Tuesday, July 22, 2014

RECIPE} Homemade Taco Seasoning

My family loves tacos, nachos, taco salads, etc. myself included. I think I could eat Mexican pretty much every day, however store bought taco seasoning is filled with sodium! So, after months of reviewing different recipes and trying a few out, I think this one is great and I'm sharing it with all of you!

Hope you enjoy it as much as we do! 

Homemade Taco Seasoning

1 TB Chili powder
1/4 tsp Garlic powder
1/4 tsp Onion powder
1/4 tsp Crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp Dried oregano
1/2 tsp Paprika
1 1/2 tsp Ground cumin
1 tsp sea salt (I use pink himalayan)
1 tsp Black pepper

Mix all of the ingredients together in a small bowl.

Depending on how spicy you want to make your taco meat, you can add as much or as little seasoning to the meat, as you would like. You can use this recipe for ground beef, turkey or shredded chicken.

Whatever is left over, store in a small air tight container.   


I Quit Fast Food

Just over 3 years ago, I quit fast food. My definition, to make it easy and clear myself from any unnecessary guilt: anything with a drive-through!

I lasted for over two years, without entering one McDonald's, Culver's, Taco Bell, Burger King, all of my old favorites. 

It was amazing. We were eating healthier. I was feeling energetic, less sluggish and without changing anything else, I was losing weight. Oh, and we were saving money! I never realized how often we were eating out, until we stopped!

Now, don't get me wrong. This was NOT easy. It took a lot of planning, preparation, thinking ahead and WILL POWER! The food that is served at these "restaurants" is addictive! Know WHY this food is so addictive? Because the food is mass produced and needs to be cheap, so the flavor comes from the food being pumped filled with flavor enhancers, sugar, fat, and salt. It's actually been scientifically proven that fast food is as addictive as heroin (UndergroundHealth.com)!

So, after breaking this addiction, habit or whatever you want to call it and being successful for such a long period of time, we began our search for a house to move out of state, to Michigan. The many long drives back and forth (usually by myself) with a baby and two dogs became a battle that I started to lose. It was exhausting and my priorities became convenience, time, and expense.

I started rationalizing a meal on the way there or back wouldn't kill me. This was my son's first ever experience with fast food, a Happy Meal from McDonald's. He didn't even really seem to enjoy it. But, that one time, became each time, or whenever we were running around and hungry, or tired or whatever excuse we had.

If my husband (who still eats fast food quite frequently, on the road) would suggest it, I'm the first to say "fine!", even if I don't want it.... just because it's simple and easy. My choices always seem to come down to 

1) I have to plan the meals, grocery shop, prep, cook AND clean - in order to eat healthy


2) Ask my husband what he would like for dinner and we end up eating out, usually fast food and spending way too much money  - which leads to guilt, laziness and exhaustion. 

A few weeks ago, I realized this was happening. I was losing the battle, while 34+ weeks pregnant. I realized that while I was pregnant with my son, I was SO aware of what I was putting into my body. I wanted to make sure I was as healthy as possible, because I needed HIM to be healthy! Somewhere, somehow, something had changed. While being pregnant this time, I knew all of the same information, in fact probably more now. But, I was making poor choices WAY more often. 

At my 35 week doctor's appointment, I was upset that I had gained as much weight as I had. So, my emotional and illogical response of course, was to leave and go through a drive-through for breakfast afterwards. GENIUS (I know)! As I was sitting in my car eating, I got so grossed out. I parked, got out and threw the bag away.  In that moment, I realized I had taken too many steps backwards and it was time to give it up again. 

At that moment, I QUIT fast food... again! It's been two weeks and again, it's been difficult. I find myself driving around, rationalizing why it's okay to have one meal. Or that I'll get the small fry and share it with my son or get the chicken, instead of the hamburger... but it's all lies. I know that I won't do it, that's just how I convince myself it's okay to go!

Today, I did just this. I convinced myself I could go to Culver's. I planned out my grilled chicken sandwich, with the side salad (no cheese). My Son would get his hot dog with applesauce, we would sure a small fry... 

Last minute, I checked my side mirror, review mirror and switched lanes to turn right. I knew I couldn't go there. I promised myself I was done. If not for ME.... then for my son, for my daughter! They aren't making these choices, I AM! I don't want to be responsible for instilling these habits into them. 

I knew I wasn't strong enough in that moment to drive PAST Culver's, so I drove around it. No joke.... I've realized that if I am having an internal struggle like this, I won't win if I go past it. I'll drive a route that takes an extra 10 minutes, just so I don't have to see, smell or go past a fast-food "restaurant" that I'm craving in that moment. It might seem a bit extreme, but it's what works for me. If you think it will work for you too, TRY IT!

The power you feel, when you realize you've won that battle is amazing. You are worth it. Stay strong and make the choice you know you should, not the choice you FEEL like at the moment.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

I did WHAT?!?

Today, a coach of mine posted this "how to do a scorpion".

She listed it as one if her goals for the upcoming year, which is awesome, because she has dealt with an injury leading to multiple surgeries and pain, caused by doing simple tasks such as griping a door handle to open it, all the way up to  doing a plank.  I was so excited and impressed with her determination, I said I was totally going to join her and add it to my list of goals!!

The more I thought about it, the more excited I got. I wondered how long it would take me to get there. How far I was, from where I currently am. 

So.... At 36 weeks 2 days pregnant, I decided to give it a try!! I used the wall, AND my husband was right next to me, just to make sure I was safe, but seriously, I was shocked that I was even able to to this today!! (Thank you PiYO for helping keep me flexible).

Moral of the story: Don't EVER limit yourself. You are stronger than you know, physically, mentally AND emotionally!

***DISCLAIMER: I would NOT recommend this to most people who are new to fitness, new to yoga/pilates/piyo etc, and definitely not if you are either of those and in your third trimester of pregnancy. I have not stopped working out throughout my entire pregnancy and am a certified instructor. If you are unsure about a new program or exercise, please contact your physician prior to trying something new.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

36 Weeks Pregnant

Well, I'm officially in the home stretch at 36 weeks pregnant, today. I feel like I was just announcing my pregnancy to all of you just last week and now here we are rocking the last month!

I've been able to continue my workouts, with modifications as needed. Throughout this pregnancy, I've done multiple programs such as 21 Day Fix (twice), I made it through 8 weeks of P90X3 and I'm currently on my third week of the brand new PiYO program.

PiYO has been AMAZING for my lower back and hips. I sound like a bowl of Rice Krispies, as the milk pours in - "SNAP, CRACKLE, POP!"

As of my doctors appointment yesterday, I've gained a healthy 18 pounds (I think)... I'm chalking my math skills up to baby brain right now (if that's wrong!).

My current cravings are Carbs and Cheese.... KILLER! I'm trying to eat it, because I believe cravings are my body telling me, I'm lacking a nutrient somewhere... BUT, I'm trying to keep it all in moderation. That's the key, right?

If any of you have any questions or concerns with workouts, fitness, nutrition during your pregnancy, please feel free to contact me!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Back on Track!

I've been up and down for the last few months. I could probably blame it on a busy schedule, pregnancy, work, life and a billion other excuses... but come on. My job is to to help others realize that their excuses are NOT worth more than the AMAZING and AWESOME feelings you get, when you eat clean, workout and stick with it! This is not a diet, I hate diets, I even hate the word diet, when referencing nutrition, because people automatically panic and think RESTRICTION!!!!

Anyway, before I get too far off topic. I'm back. I started week THREE of PiYO today, with the support of my husband, with a 5:30AM wake-up call (ugh!). I'm feeling pretty good at 35 weeks 4 days pregnant.  Yup, that's right, super pregnant and really, could go any day now! I just realized that this weekend and that actually may have been just what I needed to realize, in order to get back on track!

Once this baby comes, I will have even LESS time and even MORE tired than I am right now... so, no time better than the present! Yesterday, I spent most of my day doing meal prep. I even made a few extra and froze them for the future. 

I planned out my meals and snacks for the week AND put my workouts on my schedule also. I shared them with my current Accountability group for my OWN accountability and to inspire them to share theirs with all of us!

This is something that doesn't take long. I use google docs. If you haven't tried it yet, do it! It makes everything simple and easy and you can save it to the web, so you have access from your computer, phone, or tablet. 

Monday is checked off my list, so now it's onto tomorrow... One day at a time, back on track!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

RECIPE} Overnight Oats

I've been reading about refrigerated overnight oats for almost a year now. I won't lie, the sound and though pretty much disgusted me. I mean, COLD oatmeal?! YUCK! However, after repeatedly seeing this recipe pop-up over and over again on Pinterest and on my Facebook newsfeed, I finally decided it was time to try it!

First attempt, complete SUCCESS! My two year old son and my husband loved it! What I love about this is that you can make multiple jars, in bulk and take them on the go, and make different recipes, so you don't have to get bored with the same thing each day. You should be able to make these on Sunday during your weekly meal prep and they should last 3-5 days, depending on which ingredients you use.

1/3 C Oats
1/3 C Greek Yogurt (I use Greek coconut yogurt for non-dairy)
1/2 C Milk (I use unsweetened almond milk)
1/2 TB Honey
1/2 TB Flax seed


Add all basic ingredients into a mason jar, or other type of jar/container, cover and shake until ingredients are well mixed.

Then, Add your fruits, spices and/or nut butters to make different flavors.

So far, we have only made two variations and both were delicious!

Cinnamon Apple:
1/3 diced Apple
1/C  tsp Cinnamon

Cinnamon, Peanut Butter & Apple:
1/3 diced Apple
1/C  tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp All-natural Peanut Butter

Friday, July 4, 2014

RECIPES} Last Minute Quick and Easy, Healthy Red, White & Blue Recipes

 Happy 4th of July everyone! I hope that you all have a SAFE and HAPPY holiday, filled with warm weather, sunshine, family, friends, fireworks and FUN!

No matter what you are doing today, you will be eating. So, why not be festive?? Here are three last minute SIMPLE recipes that you can throw together and take with you if you are heading to a friend or family members house or the pool or beach.

Dessert Shish kabob 

1 Angel food cake
Fresh Fruit (Blue and Red) of your choice, I used strawberries, blueberries and blackberries
Whipped Topping (optional)


1. Slice angel food cake into 1 inch chunks. and slice all strawberries into 1/2 or 1/4's depending on how big you would like them.  I also slice my kabob skewers in half, to make them mini. Everyone LOVES a mini dessert, right?

2. Slide fruit and angel food cake onto skewer, making sure to rotate between colors and items. Once complete, make sure to cover the pan with saran wrap or tin foil, to make sure the dessert doesn't dry out and place in fridge, unless serving immediately. 

I would recommend serving within a few hours, so fruit and cake do not go soggy. 

Star Spangled Fruit Salad


1 Whole Organic Seedless Watermelon
Organic Blueberries
Organic Strawberries


Wash all fruit. Slice Strawberries in quarters and add to a bowl, long with blueberries. 

Lastly, slice Watermelon ACROSS into 1" round slices. Then, using a star shaped cookie cutter, slice star shaped watermelon pieces and carefully place them in a bowl. 

Carefully mix everything together, cover and place in refrigerator until ready to serve. ENJOY!

Red, White & Blue Fruit & Cheese Tray


Organic strawberries
Organic Raspberries
Organic Blueberries
Your favorite white cheese


Wash and cut fruits and slice cheese to display on your tray. Arrange the fresh ingredients, as shown above, to look like an American flag. 

Once complete, cover and place in refrigerator until ready to serve. ENJOY!

Have you enjoyed these recipes? Don't forget to share them with your friends and family!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

RECIPE} Red, White & Blue Yogurt Parfait

Want to give the kids a cute 4th of July breakfast? This is SO quick and simple, but still healthy! How about a Red, White & Blue Yogurt Parfait? You can even whip one up for yourself and keep your tummy's full for hours. 

Red, White & Blue Yogurt Parfait


Organic BLUE Fruit of your choice: i.e.Blueberries, Blackberries
Organic RED Fruit of your choice: i.e. Strawberries, Raspberries, Cherries (pitted!)
6-8oz vanilla or plain yogurt of your choice (we do Greek Coconut yogurt, non-dairy!)
1/8-1/4 C Granola


1. I begin my parfait layers with about half of the yogurt on the bottom. Then evenly distribute your red and blue fruit, just enough to cover the yogurt and then top with about half of your granola.

2. Repeat this process, using the rest of the ingredients. Serve immediately and ENJOY!

My two-year-old son gobbles these up IMMEDIATELY and then tries to eat mine, so make sure you are ready to fight off the kiddos!

RECIPE} Red, White & Blue Fruit Popsicles

The 4th of July is a Sunny, Warm Holiday that most of us try to spend OUTSIDE, right? So, why not treat yourself and the kiddos with a cool, homemade, healthy treat like these delicious fruit filled popsicles? The take a bit of time to make, with this many layers, but are oh so worth it when you are heated up, from the sun!

Red, White & Blue Fruit Popsicles

**Amount will vary, depending on how many popsicles you make!

Organic Strawberries
Organic Blueberries
Vanilla or Plain Yogurt (can be non-dairy)


1. Chop Strawberries finely and place 1/2 TBL in bottom of popsicle mold. Add just enough water to barely cover the berries (just a few drops at a time). Place in freezer for a minimum of one hour.

2. Remove from freezer and spoon 1/2 TBL plain or vanilla (can be non-dairy such as coconut!) yogurt on top of strawberry layer. Place back in freezer and freeze for a min of one hour. 

3. Repeat steps one and two. Don't forget to add the sticks!

4. Top the popsicles off, by filling to the top with blueberries and covering with water. Return to the freezer until popsicles are completely frozen. Then, ENJOY!!

**Can use juice instead of water, in fruit layers!

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

RECIPE} Red, White & Blue Salsa

Looking for a HEALTHY and tasty treat to share during your 4th of July BBQ this weekend? How about a Red, White and Blue Sweet Salsa? You can use it with dehydrated fruit chips,  sweet or salty tortilla chips OR top your chicken or fish with it! It's delicious, fun and festive!

Red, White and Blue Salsa!

1 C Fresh organic Blueberries
1 C diced organic Strawberries
1 C diced jicama
1/3 C chopped Cilantro
1/4 C finely chopped Red Onion
2 TB finely chopped jalapeño pepper, stemmed and seeded
Juice of 1 large lime
Salt, to taste

1. In a medium bowl, combine blueberries, strawberries, jicama, cilantro, red onion, jalapeño, and lime juice. Stir until mixed well. Season to taste, with salt. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Best if eaten the same day, made.  ENJOY!