Broken is Beautiful

Have you heard of the Japanese art of ‘kintsukuroi’?

japanese pottery

I just heard about it today at work and thought it was absolutely perfect and beautiful…It means to glue a piece of broken pottery back together with gold lacquer…to restore something that was once broken and make it even more beautiful than it was before.

Do you know what this reminds me of? LIFE!

No matter who you are, no matter what you do, no matter where you live, no matter what you have…we all have hardships we must face. To be alive is to know pain. To be alive is to know struggle. To be alive is to know shame and vulnerability and sadness.

BUT – we can either continue to hurt and fall deeper into this chasm of pain and despair OR we can turn it into something beautiful and amazing and meaningful!

These scars, whether they are visible or not, whether they are on the outside or on the inside, can show our strength, our determination and our courage. We can wear these imperfections as a badge of honor, as proof of not only what we’ve been through but what we’ve overcome.

No, we won’t look the same ever again and we won’t feel the same ever again BUT we will be more beautiful than ever before because this is what’s REAL. This is LIFE.

I have imperfections (gasp).  I have hang ups (double gasp).

I have been through some HARD stuff in my life (just like you).

jap writing

I have been through break ups where it literally felt like someone had ripped my heart right out of my chest, threw it on the side of the road and ran a 18-wheeler right over it.  I seriously thought I was going to die.

But low and behold…I survived.  And I was stronger because of it.  Not only did I get stronger, but I ended up being grateful for those break ups.  Looking back, if I had ended up with any of those guys I would have already been divorced by now.

I’m grateful for these relationships, for these learning experiences because they eventually led me to my husband.

I’ve dealt with addiction in my nuclear family.  I watched my family fall apart, piece by piece, until there was nothing left but some dust on the floor.  I watched my parents get divorced after 41 years of marriage.   And even though I was 25 when they got divorced, it still hurt like hell.   BUT  I survived.

I have dealt with low self-esteem my ENTIRE life.  I have hated myself, wished I was someone else, wished I had been born in someone else’s body and wished I would just die.

BUT now, after years and years (literally) of working on myself, my issues and my hang ups, I can truly say I am loving who I am today.  I am finally at peace.  I am finally content.

I am the person I am today because of all the people who have walked in and out of my life, or walked in and stayed.  I am who I am today because of the experiences I’ve had, because of what I’ve endured, what I have chosen to do, because of what I have learned, what I have worked hard for and because who I have chosen to be.

me outside

Even though these things I’ve been through were excruciating at their worst and hard at their best, I can honestly say I wouldn’t change a thing.  Because the cracks that these experiences have left behind…I have filled them up with gold…and they are beautiful.

 

You know I love to hear from you!  Make comments, share your opinions and share this blog on all of your personal social media pages!

 

 

Weekly Recipe Round (12) Up

 

The theme this week is – things you can wrap in lettuce! Any of these recipes would be great for lunch OR dinner – talk about versatI firstility AND deliciousness AND healthy food! You’re welcome!!

When I first heard about wrapping burgers, tuna, etc. in lettuce wraps, I thought – no thank you!  I like carbs!  I like tortillas and bread and hamburger buns!   But, I gave it a try over 3 years ago because my husband was doing the paleo thing and I’ve never looked back!

So, if you feel the same way I did, all I can say is – don’t knock it til you try it!  And here are some great recipes to get you started!

Clean-Eating Korean Beef

korean beef

Adapted from: http://www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com/2013/04/cheater-korean-beef.html

Ingredients

◦1 pound lean ground beef or turkey meat

◦ 1/4 cup coconut sugar

◦ 1/4 cup Tamari or Coconut Aminos (substitute for soy sauce)

◦ 1 Tablespoon sesame oil

◦ 3 cloves garlic, minced

◦ 1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced

◦ 1/2 – 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (depending on how spicy you like it)

◦ salt and pepper

◦ 1 bunch green onions, sliced

Instructions

1.Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Brown the ground beef in the sesame oil. Add the garlic towards the end of browning and cook for a couple of minutes. Drain the fat.

2.Add the coconut sugar, Tamari or Coconut Aminos, ginger, salt and pepper and red pepper. Simmer for a few minutes to blend the flavors.

  1. Eat and Enjoy!

Tip: Serve over quinoa and top with green onions. Serve it with a side of steam green beans or sugar snap peas.

Another Tip: If you like your meals paleo style – serve this with a side of veggies and wrap the beef in lettuce leaves instead of serving over rice.

Rainbow Thai Chicken Salad

rainbow salad

Source: http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/rainbow-thai-chicken-salad-recipe/

Thai Chicken Salad Ingredients:

  • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken (I used Rotisserie Chicken)
  • 2 cups shredded purple cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded green cabbage
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 mango, peeled, pitted and diced
  • 1 (large) carrot, julienned or shredded
  • 1 red pepper, cored and julienned (or diced)
  • 1 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped cashews or peanuts

Peanut Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 2-3 tablespoons hot water
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce (if you are gluten-free, use GF soy sauce or tamari)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
  • juice of 1 lime
  • pinch of red pepper flakes

Directions:

To Make The Salad:

Toss all salad ingredients together until combined. Drizzle with dressing or toss to combine. Serve immediately.

To Make The Dressing:

Whisk all ingredients together until combined. If the dressing is too thick, add hot water a teaspoon at a time until it reaches the consistency you desire.

Tip: This can obviously be a salad OR you can take that delicious salad mixture and wrap it in large lettuce leaves, drizzle the dressing in there and enjoy it! Either way, it’s really good!

Side Note: I LOVE this salad because not only does it meet the requirements for clean-eating, paleo and whole 30, but my kids love all of the goodies in it too!

Chicken Gyro Lettuce Wraps

gyro lettuce waps

Source: http://www.cookingforkeeps.com/2016/02/23/chicken-gyro-lettuce-wraps/

Ingredients:

1 lb ground chicken or turkey meat

1 1/2 cup Cucumber

1/4 tsp Dill, fresh

1 Garlic clove

1 Garlic clove, small

1 Onion, small

1 tsp Oregano

1 tbsp Rosemary, dried

1 Tomatoes

2 tsp Lemon juice

1/4 tsp Salt

2 tsp Olive oil

8 oz Greek yogurt, plain non-fat

Directions:

1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.In a bowl, use your hands to combine ground chicken, dried rosemary, oregano, garlic, grated and diced onion, and olive oil. Use a small ice cream scoop to form mixture into heaping tablespoon meatballs. Line up on baking sheet. Bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 15 minutes.

3.While the meatballs cook make the tzatziki sauce by combining all ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.

4.To assemble, put a small amount of sauce on the bottom of each lettuce, top with two to three meatballs and finish with more sauce. Garnish with chopped tomatoes.

  1. Eat and Enjoy!

Tip: Serve with a side Greek salad!

Chicken Tortilla Lettuce Wraps

chicken tortilla lettuce wraps

Source: http://www.averiecooks.com/2015/10/chicken-tortilla-lettuce-wraps.html

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
  • 3 tablespoons taco seasoning (I make my own)
  • 1 head butter lettuce
  • 1 medium tomato, diced small (I used Roma, vine-ripened or cherry tomatoes may be substituted)
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced small
  • 1/2 cup corn, fresh or frozen (leave this out if you follow Paleo or Whole 30)
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (I use a Mexican blend with Monterey Jack and cheddar)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup seasoned tortilla chips, crushed (leave these out for a healthier meal!!)
  • 1/2 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed (leave these out if you follow Paleo or Whole 30)
  • 1 medium Hass avocado, peeled and diced or make into guacamole, optional
  • salsa, optional for garnshing
  • sour cream, optional for garnishing

Directions:

1.To a large skillet, add the olive oil, chicken, and cook over medium-high heat for about 4 minutes, flipping and stirring intermittently so all sides cook evenly. After the chicken has cooked through, evenly sprinkle with taco seasoning and stir to evenly coat. Cooking time will vary based on thickness of chicken breasts and sizes of pieces. Allow chicken to rest in pan off the heat while you prep the remaining ingredients.

2.Peel off the leaves of the butter lettuce from the core and stack them on a plate.

3.Place 2 leaves of butter lettuce on a separate plate (I like to double up the leaves so the wraps are sturdier) and add about 3 tablespoons chicken, 1 tablespoon tomatoes, 1 tablespoon bell peppers, 1 tablespoon corn, 2 tablespoons cheese, a pinch of cilantro, and sprinkle with tortilla chips to taste.

4.Optional- add black beans, avocado or guacamole, salsa, or sour cream for garnishing. Fold up and serve immediately

Tip: Serve with a side of guacamole and homemade sweet potato chips!

Do you like these recipes?

You do???

GREAT! Than please share with others on your personal social media page!!

Are You Up for a Challenge?

Have you ever heard of a Pray Rain Journal?

Me neither…until today.

I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts on my way to work this morning– Your Kick Ass Life – and Andrea Owen mentioned a Pray Rain Journal.

I thought, “Hmmm…that name is pretty cool but other than that, I have no idea what that means.” Just hearing that name brought a wave of calm and peace within me. Go on – say it out loud.

Pray Rain Journal.

It kind of rolls off your tongue, doesn’t it? When I say that name I feel like I should be right smack dab in the middle of a lush, green meadow filled with wild flowers, a rainbow in the distance and a light mist of rain sprinkling down on my face. Wow. If the name alone can evoke such feelings in my heart and images in my mind than I think it’s definitely worth a try!

the moment

So, what is a Pray Rain Journal anyway? It’s a particular type of positive journal, if you will. Instead of writing down what you are grateful for, the blessings you have in your life, 5 things you like about yourself, etc., you write down your wildest dreams and most far out fantasies AS IF they have already happened.

Interesting concept, huh? I thought so too! Jeanette Maw, author of the Good Vibe Blog and The Magic of Pray Rain Journaling, describes this type of journal as a way to manifest whatever it is that you want from the universe.

Okay…stop right there…manifest what? From who?

follow your dreams

To be honest, it sounds a little woo-woo to me BUT at the same time I’m thinking WHAT IF? What if something like that is actually possible? According to several self-help gurus such as Andrea Owen, Jen Sincero, Jeanette Maw and Patricia Moreno (to name a few and by the way, does it make me a total geek to know the names of so many self-help experts?), it most certainly is possible.

Can you get good vibes from the universe simply by believing you can? I do believe that having a positive mindset (something I work on daily because it definitely doesn’t come naturally to me) will bring positive things into my life – sort of like a “like attracts like” kind of thing. I think that if someone believes in herself than she can do GREAT things…which begs the question – Did she do great things because she believed in herself or did she believe in herself because she was already doing great things??? Or, did she simply write her dreams down in a Pray Rain Journal and manifest them from the universe? (Yes, there is a bit of sarcasm in there because there’s a part of me that’s skeptical BUT there’s also a part of me that is curious…)

And, if any of y’all know me, than you know that the curious part of me, the part that is always dying to push the red button, typically wins over the sane part of me (whatever little bit is left of that).

SO…I challenge YOU to keep a Pray Rain Journal! And guess what? I’m going to do it with you!

pray rain journal

I’ll show you mine if you show me yours!!!!!!!

You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat.

Resources:

http://yourkickasslife.com/blog

http://goodvibeblog.com/pray-rain-in-action/

http://goodvibeblog.com/pray-rain-in-action/

https://www.satilife.com/about/patricia-moreno-2/

 

Weekly Recipe Round (12) Up

THERE IS NO DIET THAT CAN DO WHAT HEALTHY EATING CAN

Week 12 of weekly dinner recipes (how has it been 12 weeks already?!?) is here!!!! The theme this week…drum roll please…is dinner recipes from my online accountability groups!  I usually have about 2 going on at a time (like right now) and in case you don’t know what they are (where have you been?) than here’s a quick explanation:

A BIG piece of this health and fitness road I’ve been traveling on is running online, health and nutrition-focused accountability groups. We offer meal plans, clean-eating recipes, support, fitness and nutrition tips, daily exercises AND, of course, TONS of support and motivation!  The women and mamas in these groups seriously keep me on track and I am very grateful to them!  There is NOTHING quite like gathering a group of women together who are all determined to reach their goals!  Just to give you an idea of how truly POWERFUL and LIFE-CHANGING these groups can be, I’ll share with you some of the things that people have said to me about them…(and then yes….I’ll get to the recipes…)

workout pic of me

  • I want to say thank you. You have shown me that it isn’t easy. But you have shown me that it’s possible.
  • Good stuff! So glad I’m doing it. The focus is apparently something I’ve been slacking on!
  • Felling proud: Have a super sweet tooth tonight…Instead of giving in to something I’d regret, I blended frozen mango, yogurt and a squeeze of honey for a yummy “ice cream” treat.
  • Decided to weigh myself this morning and I couldn’t be happier! I’m down 8 lbs in 7 days!! Feeling so motivated and loving this lifestyle change!! Thank you so much for introducing me to Shakology!
  • I want to say thank you because you are the main reason I did that 15k race this weekend. You are a big part of how I got there.
  • Morning fuel – Shakeology! Pants are loose this morning! Have to go down another size. Feeling pumped!
  • This group definitely makes all the difference! So thankful to have found you!

I seriously LOVE, LOVE, LOVE hearing this stuff! This is what it’s all about…changing lives…developing positive habits…making a difference!

4 day focus

I have one already that’s been going on since the beginning of March and I have a shorter, 5 day one that is starting TOMORROW!! So, because I’m excited about that, because I’m excited about all the women and mamas I get to help for the next week, I want to share my FAVORITE dinner recipes from these groups so far…

And just FYI – they all have the 21 Day Fix container counts because typically, many people in the accountability groups are following that!

And one more FYI – there are no pictures for these recipes because there are not any on the recipe documents that we upload to the group…want to know why?? Because we take pictures of the recipes/food we make and share them with each other in the group (for accountability and motivation purposes)

 Vegetarian Pizza Salad

Container count- 2 green, ½ blue, ½ orange, 1 tsp

Ingredients:

1 tsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

1 Tbsp. tomato sauce, no sugar added

½ tsp. dried oregano

Sea salt (or Himalayan salt) and ground black pepper (to taste; optional)

1 cup fresh arugula

1 cup romaine lettuce

10 fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces

½ cup halved cherry tomatoes

¼ medium green bell pepper, sliced

¼ medium onion, sliced

¼ cup sliced mushrooms

5 black olives, sliced

2 bocconcini (small mozzarella balls) (about 1 oz.)

1 pinch crushed red pepper (optional)

Preparation:

  1. To make dressing, combine oil, vinegar, tomato sauce, and oregano in a small bowl; whisk to blend. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Set aside.
  2. Combine arugula, romaine, basil, tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, mushrooms, and dressing in a large serving bowl; toss gently to blend.
  3. Top with bocconcini and crushed red pepper (if desired); serve immediately.

Fiesta Shrimp

Container count- 1 red, 1 green, 1 tsp

1 bag frozen precooked, de-veined and shell-off shrimp,

cook from frozen (thaw for faster cook time)

2 tsp coconut oil

½ tsp chili powder

½ tsp paprika

3 cloves minced garlic

½ tsp onion powder

1 tsp oregano

¾ tsp sea salt

2 tbsp low sodium chicken broth

2 tbsp fresh cilantro, for serving

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Combine all seasonings and shrimp in bowl, toss to coat
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet. Add shrimp when pan is hot.
  3. Brown each side for about a minute (if thawed)
  4. Remove shrimp once cooked through.
  5. Pour broth into the skillet and scrape the brown bits. Bring to a boil until the broth thickens.
  6. Remove skillet from heat and add shrimp back into the thickened broth. Toss to coat.
  7. Top with chopped cilantro and serve immediately

­ Note – Serve over spaghetti squash with a side of roasted veggies and garnish with cilantro. I added hot sauce to mine and feta cheese is delicious with this too! Enjoy!

Crockpot Pork Carnitas

Container count: 1 red, 1 yellow

3 lbs of Pork Loin (you can also use chicken or beef if you don’t eat pork- like me)

1 bay leaf

1½ cup of water

Rub

2 tbsp of chili powder

2 tsp of cumin

1 tsp of ground coriander

½ tsp cloves

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp oregano

Extras

Container count: 1 yellow, 2 green, 1 blue

2 corn tortillas

2 greens of your choice

1 blue of avocado

1 blue shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. Mix all spices together except the bay leaf in a bowl. Rub down the entire pork loin with the spices and place in your slow cooker.
  2. Add the bay leaf and water and cook on low for 6–8 hrs.
  3. Keep an eye on the pork just to make sure the water doesn’t absorb and it dries out. If you have to add more liquid please do.
  4. Your pork should pull apart easily so you can shred it. Once you it is able to be shredded take it from the crock pot, shred, and then place back into the crock pot. Stir the meat to coat with the juices. You can fill a red container.
  5. For the extras, lightly spray your corn tortillas with cooking spray (use coconut oil or avocado oil cooking spray) and place on a foil lined baking sheet. Crisp in the oven on 350°F degrees for 8–10 mins until desired crispiness.
  6. Place the pork meat in the tortillas and add toppings listed above.

For an additional topping, see Cilantro Lime Topping…

Cilantro Lime Topping

Ingredients

Container count: 1 red, ½ green

1 cup Greek yogurt

¼ cup fresh lime juice

¼ cup fresh cilantro chopped

1 lime cut into wedges for garnish

Instructions

  1. Combine these ingredients in a bowl for the dressing and set aside.

 

English Muffin Mini Pizzas

Serving Size 1: 1 Yellow, 1 Purple, 1 Blue

             2 whole wheat English muffins (100 calorie or less ones)

             1 purple container of sauce

             1 blue container of shredded mozzarella

             Seasonings /other toppings of your choice

  1. Split muffins and bake at 350 degrees until toasted (can also use regular toaster oven)
  2. Divide sauce evenly among the four halves
  3. Divide the cheese among four halves and top with seasonings and other toppings of your choice
  4. Return to oven/ toaster until cheese is melted

Bacon Cheeseburger Skillet makes 4 servings

Container Count: 1 ¼ Red, ½ Green, 1 Blue, 1 Yellow

Ingredients

1 lb lean ground beef

4 slices turkey bacon, coarsely chopped

2 tsp Dijon mustard

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2-3/4 cup red onion, finely diced

1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained

3/4-1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Sea salt & pepper, to taste

1 whole grain pita pocket (if you choose)

Instructions

  1. In a 12″ skillet, cook turkey bacon until done to your liking.
  2. Remove and dice the bacon into small pieces.
  3. Brown beef, breaking it up as it browns.
  4. When beef is brown, add all of the ingredients and mix well.
  5. Cover and let simmer on low for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Sprinkle cheese over meat, re-cover until melted.
  7. Serve over fresh lettuce or in a whole grain pita pocket

{"total_effects_actions":0,"total_draw_time":0,"layers_used":0,"effects_tried":0,"total_draw_actions":0,"total_editor_actions":{"border":0,"frame":0,"mask":0,"lensflare":0,"clipart":0,"text":0,"square_fit":0,"shape_mask":0,"callout":0},"effects_applied":0,"uid":"07FD079A-D652-4C53-947B-7531A94B609C_1457970874213","width":960,"photos_added":0,"total_effects_time":0,"tools_used":{"tilt_shift":0,"resize":0,"adjust":0,"curves":0,"motion":0,"perspective":0,"clone":0,"crop":1,"enhance":0,"selection":0,"free_crop":0,"flip_rotate":0,"shape_crop":0,"stretch":0},"origin":"gallery","height":1001,"total_editor_time":6757,"brushes_used":0}

REMEMBER:  Sharing is Caring!  If you like these recipes…if you like this blog…don’t forget to SHARE it with others and post it on your personal social media pages!

HOW do you talk

most dangerous stories

 

I have a question for you….how do you talk to yourself?

And no, I don’t mean where you are when you talk to yourself (we all do it, don’t lie) or why you talk to yourself or where you are when you talk to yourself…I mean HOW.

HOW do you talk to yourself when you make a mistake? HOW do you talk to yourself when you look in the mirror?  HOW do you talk to yourself when you accomplish something?  HOW do you talk to yourself when you fail?

It’s kind of a hard question, isn’t it? Most of us don’t think about what we actually say to ourselves.  It’s automatic.  The thoughts just come and that little voice whispers in our head and then we go on our way and we either end up feeling like crap because of that little voice or we end up feeling really good because of that little voice.  It can go either way.

These automatic thoughts are SO important because they impact how you feel! Did you know that your thoughts can determine how you feel about yourself?  About your life?  About other people?

Did you know that you can CHOOSE to change your thoughts? You can CHOOSE to change how you feel about yourself, your life and others.

That’s impossible – you might say – I don’t have control over my thoughts or how I feel.

BUT…you do!!

Now that we’ve talked about this and I’ve pointed these automatic thoughts out to you, you’ll start noticing them. You’ll begin to listen for that voice inside your head.

What is it saying to you? Do you find a lot of automatic negative thoughts running through your head?  Then STOP them and CHANGE them!

You may think I’m nuts (and that’s okay) and you may think I’m full of feces (and that’s okay too) but I encourage you to try it anyway!

Here are some steps you can take to start changing things around

  1. Notice your automatic negative thoughts. Pay attention when they come.
  2. Argue with them. Tell them off. You can say something as simple as: Stop. I’m not going to think like that anymore.
  3. Replace that negative automatic thought with a positive one.
  4. That’s it! Easy, right?
  • Actually, no…it’s not…but it is possible.

It takes practice. How do I know?  Because I do this!  I still have negative thoughts (gasp) but I also know how to combat them.  Some thoughts take longer than others to grapple with.  Some are more ingrained in others.

It’s freakin’ hard BUT I also promise you it’s totally and completely worth it!

 

blog post pic

I’ll give you one of my own examples:

My automatic negative thought:  I am not a good mother because my child keeps having tantrums.  I am doing something wrong.  I can’t fix this.  It’s getting worse.

  • Result – I feel like crap about myself. I feel like I’m not good enough or worthy enough to be a mother.

My positive thought that I CHOSE to replace this negative thought with:  I am enough.  I am doing the best I can.  I am trying.  This is a phase.  It will eventually pass.  I will support her, love her and give her what she needs as best I can while keeping in mind that I have to take care of myself too.  It will eventually be okay.

  • Result – I feel better. I don’t feel wonderful or perfect, but I feel better. I know I have the skills and strength to get through this.

Do you see how that works? It’s AMAZING…seriously.

Practice this! Treat yourself with kindness!  Pay attention to your thoughts and talk to yourself as you would talk to a friend!

Here are some resources to guide you further:

http://www.therapistaid.com/content/0087.pdf

http://danielamenmd.com/3-quick-steps-to-stop-negative-thinking-now/

Book Recommendation: You’re a Badass by Jen Sincero

Book Recommendation: 52 Ways to Live a Kickass Life by Andrea Owen

 

DON’T FORGET:  Sharing is Caring!!  Share this with others on your personal social media pages!!