Tag Archives: healthy choices

The Girl I Was

It was the summer of 2008.  My husband ame and dognd I had just gotten married two weeks prior and there I was…lying in our bed, clinging to my dog and crying my eyes out.

He had just left for a 2 week field exercise.  I wouldn’t see him for 2 weeks.  I wouldn’t talk to him for 2 weeks.  I had just moved into our apartment.  I had just moved to Killeen, Texas.  I didn’t know a single person there.  I didn’t know where anything was.

I was devastated.  Seriously.  I had no idea what to do with myself or how to occupy my time besides walking my dog and working out at the little apartment job.

I had just graduated from grad school.  I had no job.  Nothing to do.  And 2 weeks to kill before my brand new husband came back.

The days and hours loomed in front of me.  I had no idea how I was going to get through these next 2 weeks, let alone the upcoming deployment.

Now, 9 years later, 3 deployments later, here I am, in a foreign country with three little kids, all under the age of 7.

And he is gone.  Only for 5 days this time but still…(did I mention that we just got to this foreign country 7 weeks ago?)

Here are the things, that 9 years later, still haven’t changed:

  • I doubt myself…every time he leaves.  Whether it’s for 5 days or 5 weeks.  I doubt whether I can do this…whether I’m strong enough.
  • How will I be able to take care of these three kids by myself?  Get them dressed, fed, to school, to their activities, to bed?
  • I miss him.
  • I can’t wait until he gets back

Here are the things, that 9 years later, have changed:

  • Even though doubt creeps in every…single…time…I KNOW, deep down, that I AM strong enough to do this.
  • That girl who laid in bed and cried her eyes out is gone (although, I will admit, that as I laid in bed that first night in our new house in this strange village, I slept with all the lights on because I was scared)
  • I KNOW that I have all the tools and skills I need to get through this.
  • I know that I am stronger than I give myself credit for.
  • I know, that with time, it will get easier

nobody

I am no longer the girl who can’t even deal with getting books for her college classes without having to call her mom and ask her for help

(Really.  That happened.)

Not to blow my own horn or anything…but I have come a LONG way.  I am still a work in progress.  I still have a long way to go…BUT…I can say, that I am, without a doubt, PROUD of how hard I have worked to be who I am today.

Who do YOU want to be?  What do you need to do to get there?

And…what are you waiting for?!??!!!!

Here are a few exercises to help you out:

reasons

self esteem journal

goals

 

 

This is Summer

Summer time can be wonderful.

The word Summer written on a sandy beach, with beach towel, starfish and flip flops (studio shot - warm color and directional light are intentional).  Note: extreme wide angle shot with curvature of field and focus on the word Summer.

The kids are home from school, the sun is shining, the pools are open and there’s plenty of time to do family activities that may not be possible during the busy school year.  There’s time to play together, eat together, vacation together….

But summer time can also be CRAZY!  Did I mention that the kids are home from school?  All the time?  Like every day?

Did I mention there’s plenty of time?  Plenty of time…for them to fight with each other because they are bored.  Plenty of time to get on each other’s nerves…and to get on my nerves because they don’t know what to do with themselves…plenty of time to whine about being bored and plenty of time to drive me to drink wine nightly.

bored

Summer time can be especially crazy for people in the military because it’s PCS season (permanent change of station).  Not only is school over and your routine is shot, but you are having to pack up and move.  Sometimes across the country.  Sometimes to another country – as is the case with our family!

This summer has been especially crazy for us – moving out of our house, our house that we brought our third child home to, a house on a street where the neighbors were absolutely wonderful to living out of suitcases while visiting family for several months as we prepare to move overseas.

moving-day

This life is CRAZY.  Being a military spouse is crazy.  Having little kids ages 5 and under is crazy (and exhausting) BUT…as I played with the kids in the pool this afternoon…as I watched them splashing and laughing…an overwhelming wave of something came over me.  It’s a feeling I’m not really sure how to describe but I found myself thinking – This is what summer is all about.  Just being together.  Playing outside.  Laughing together.

And for those moments that we were in the pool together…for those moments that they were smiling from ear to ear as they took turns jumping to me- I realized – this is summer.  This is what it’s all about.

Hell, this is what LIFE is about- moments of pure joy, of being in the now, of being present with your kids and the people you love…only to be broken by the sounds of the kids bickering over a ball and whining over whose turn it is with said ball.

Life is filled with GOOD things.  Life is filled with BAD things.  But…get this…

The beautiful thing is you get to CHOOSE which things you dwell on.  You get to CHOOSE which things matter in your life.  You get to CHOOSE which things to remember, and which things to discard.

lifeisbeautiful-e1458411303728

CHOOSE wisely, my friends.  You only get to live once.


In honor of summer boredom…I’m going to share some of my favorite, HEALTHY summer treats to make with the kids!

Chunky Monkey Banana Ice Cream

chunky-monkey-banana-ice-cream-vegan-gluten-free-7

http://www.emilieeats.com/chunky-monkey-banana-ice-cream/

Healthier Fruit Pizza

FRUIT-PIZZA-1-220x280

http://www.layersofhappiness.com/fruit-pizza/

Healthy Pineapple Dole Whip

Healthy-Tropical-Dole-Whip

http://www.chelseasmessyapron.com/healthy-dole-whip-smoothie/

Shame On Me

Shame on me.

Shame…shame…shame on me.

IMG_5090

As I sit here and write this, I’m shaking my head at myself because I know better.  I really do.  And yet…

And yet…

I still had to learn the hard way.  Or, should I say – I had to remind myself the hard way.

Let me explain.

It is easy to get caught up in the hype of new trends-especially diet trends…especially when one of your guilty pleasures is scrolling through Pinterest.  And then there’s Facebook too.  You know what I mean?

And it seems like everyone is posting their before and after pictures and photos of their  food they are eating and it looks delicious and they are posting new recipes and they are talking about this new product they are using and they feel amazing and they have lost all the baby weight and if you just try it you can feel and look that way too.

I’m talking about ketones and the Keto diet.  (Google it if you aren’t sure what I am talking about)

Now, before I go any further, I would just like to say that I am not, in anyway, bashing these products, the people who take them or sell them.  That’s not my intention at all.  They seem to really work for some people.  Some people seem to be getting great results and that is awesome!

I am just sharing my experience, what I’ve learned and how it affected ME.

So…I decided to give it a go (even though my husband told me not to.  I rarely listen to him the first time around).

I was so excited when the ketone supplements came in the mail!  I ripped open the package and immediately made myself a ketone drink.

I was so ready to feel the surge of energy and the mental clarity that so many raved about.  I was ready to lose the last 10 lbs of baby weight that just seems to be hanging on no matter what I do.

BUT guess what?  I ended up feeling like crap.  Like serious crap.  I was nauseous, couldn’t think straight, had a pounding headache and was completely exhausted.  I was so exhausted that I sat my kid in front of the TV (which I hardly ever do) and took a nap because I just couldn’t function.

My friend said I was  probably just dehydrated since ketones are a diuretic.

“Okay,” I thought.  “I’ll try again.  Maybe I need to drink more water.  Maybe I need some salt.  Maybe it’s just my body adjusting to this new stuff.”

Day 2 – I still felt like absolute sh*t.  My brain was all foggy.  I had no energy.  It was hard to eat because I was nauseous.  It was SO hard to take care of my kids.  I thought – I probably shouldn’t even be driving them around right now.

My friend gave me some more suggestions about what I needed to do while I adjusted… but I just couldn’t. I didn’t make it to Day 3.   I couldn’t go another day feeling like that.

And just like that – I learned my lesson.  AGAIN.  Because I already knew better.

skip

Yes, I am a BeachBody coach.  Yes, I talk about eating clean and healthy and drinking Shakeology and exercising.  Yes, I tried Ketones because I thought they could give me an extra boost.

BUT guess what???  There are NO quick fixes!  There is NOTHING out there that can do what healthy eating and exercise can do.

This is my third kid.  It will take me longer to lose the rest of the weight.  It will take me longer to get my body back.

I have to be patient.  I have to be KIND to myself.  I have to REMEMBER that eventually, it will come – the results I want…the results that I have been working hard for…they WILL come.

 

Spring Forward with Salads

There’s something about Spring that makes me think of salads.

spring

Maybe it’s because the trees are starting to bloom or because the air smells fresher or because it’s a new beginning OR maybe it’s because Spring is quickly followed by Summer which means it’s bikini time and I am DETERMINED to wear one despite having a baby in January!

Sundays are meal prep days and for the past few weeks I’ve been prepping salads to eat for lunch for the week.  (This has worked out REALLY well since, during the day, I don’t have time to chop veggies and put together something other than a PB&J – which is what was happening before I started meal prepping).

So, I wanted to share some delicious salads that I’ve recently discovered that you can have for lunch OR dinner OR both 🙂

QUINOA AND SMOKED TOFU SALAD

(serves 6)

q salad
INGREDIENTS
  • 2 cups water
  • ¾ teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed well (see Tip)
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 small cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 6- or 8-ounce package baked smoked tofu, (see Tip), diced
  • 1 small yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
    1 cup diced cucumber
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ cup chopped fresh mint

PREPARATION

  1. Bring water and ½ teaspoon salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add quinoa and return to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until the water has been absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Spread the quinoa on a baking sheet to cool for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk lemon juice, oil, garlic, the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the cooled quinoa, tofu, bell pepper, tomatoes, cucumber, parsley and mint; toss well to combine.

source: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipe/251928/quinoa-smoked-tofu-salad/

QUINOA SPINACH SALAD

QUI

Ingredients
  1. 2 cups fresh spinach
  2. 1 orange, sliced
  3. 1/2 cups strawberries, sliced
  4. 1/4 cup blackberries
  5. 1 apple, diced
  6. 1/2 cup prepared quinoa
  7. 1 lemon, juiced
  8. 1/2 cup olive oil
  9. 1/4 cup fresh basil, sliced into strips
  10. salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Assemble the ingredients for the salad.
  2. Sprinkle with prepared quinoa
  3. For the dressing, combine olive oil, lemon juice and fresh basil into a small mason jar.
  4. Cover and shake until well combined.
  5. Toss the salad with some dressing and serve.

source: http://www.carrieelle.com/quinoa-spinach-salad-lemon-basil-vinaigrette/

(NO MAYO) MEDITERRANEAN TUNA SALAD

tun

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1 can light tuna in water, drained
  • 1/4 cup red onion, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup roasted red bell peppers (jarred in water), chopped
  • 2 Tbs fresh basil, chopped
  • black pepper to season

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and olive oil until emulsified. Stir in the tuna, red onions, roasted bell peppers and basil. Season to taste with black pepper. Boom.
  2. Serve as a sandwich with bread, half of a pita, or a sandwich thin. This is also AMAZING served over some greens for a yummy, filling salad.

source: http://thefoodieandthefix.com/no-mayo-mediterranean-tuna-salad/

DECONSTRUCTED FISH TACOS  SALAD

FISH

INGREDIENTS

  • 12 oz fish or shrimp
  • salt-free taco seasoning
  • fresh cilantro
  • 3 limes
  • 1 cup diced mango
  • 1 avocado, 1/2 of it diced
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1 Tablespoon diced jalapeno
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Salad greens, chopped
  • Cabbage, shredded

DIRECTIONS

  1. Marinade the fish in taco seasoning, juice from 1 lime, and a small bunch of cilantro. Let sit for 20 minutes.
  2. Combine the mango through the diced red onion from the list of ingredients to make the salsa, using the 1/2 diced avocado. Add juice from one lime and a tablespoon of chopped cilantro.
  3. Grill fish until flaky and white.
  4. While the fish is cooking, make the Avocado Cilantro dressing. Simply place 1 cup of cilantro leaves and stems, the remaining half of avocado, the Greek yogurt, water, garlic and squeeze of lime. Pulse and you are DONE! Go check on your fish.
  5. Plate your salad with greens and cabbage, fish, mango salsa, and top with a Tablespoon of the delicious dressing.

source: http://confessionsofafitfoodie.com/2015/08/21-day-fix-deconstructed-taco-salad-with-avocado-cilantro-dressing/

 

I hope you enjoy these!!!

Weekly Dinner Menu Made Easy

Alright y’all!  As I said, I’m back on this blog and one of the things I like to do is post a weekly dinner menu.  Let’s face it – it’s HARD to come up with meals that are HEALTHY for your family and relatively easy to make.  Maybe it’s not that hard…but…having to do it every…single…week makes it seem tedious and monotonous.

If I don’t have the mental energy to devote some of my creativity to meal planning for the week, I’ll ask my husband – “What do you want for dinner this week?”

His answer usually?  “I don’t know.  Food.”  OR “Something with meat.”

(Insert eye roll here)

I don’t know if it goes like that in your house or not…but in case it does…my goal is to make it simple for you!!

So…here you go…here are 4, HEALTHY and TASTY meals you can make!!!

P.S. They are all Paleo since my plan this week is to follow the Ultimate Reset recipes for breakfast and lunch and have a Paleo meal for dinner.

CHICKEN SATAY WITH CREAM ALMOND SAUCE AND CUCUMBER SALAD

satay

Ingredients:

1 lb chicken thighs, boneless skinless

½ small bunch cilantro

2  English cucumbers

1 (1 inch) piece ginger root

1 lime½ medium red onion

crushed red pepper

honey

natural almond butter

rice vinegar

tamari soy sauce

turmeric

virgin coconut oil

 

Directions:

1. Peel and mince ginger. In a medium bowl, whisk together ginger, almond butter, water, vinegar, soy sauce, honey, lime juice, turmeric, and crushed red pepper. Transfer ½ of mixture to a small bowl (to use as sauce) and set aside.
1 (1 inch) piece ginger
3 tbsp natural almond butter
2 tbsp warm water
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 ½ tbsp gluten-free soy sauce
½ tbsp honey
½ lime
1 tsp turmeric
⅛ tsp crushed red pepper

2. Wash and dry cilantro. Shave leaves off the stems; discard the stems and mince the leaves. Add ½ (save the rest for the salad) to the medium bowl.

½ small bunch cilantro
3. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces. Add to medium bowl and toss to coat.
1 lb chicken thighs, boneless skinless
4. Heat a grill pan, outdoor grill, or skillet over medium-high heat.
5. Thread chicken onto 6 skewers and place on a plate. Alternatively, you can cook the chicken pieces directly on the grill/skillet without using skewers.
6. Coat grill or bottom of skillet with oil. Add skewers and cook until chicken is cooked through but still juicy, 3-4 minutes per side.
about 1 tbsp virgin coconut oil
7. In a medium bowl, prepare salad dressing by whisking together remaining cilantro, lime juice, vinegar, soy sauce, honey, and crushed red pepper.
½ lime
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp gluten-free soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
⅛ tsp crushed red pepper
8. Peel and thinly slice onion. Wash, trim ends, halve lengthwise, and thinly slice cucumbers into half rounds. Add everything to bowl with dressing and toss.
½ medium red onion
2 English cucumbers
9. To serve, place chicken skewers on a plate, add salad, and have with almond sauce on the side. Enjoy!
Source: http://cooking.mealime.com/recipes/chicken-satay-creamy-almond-sauce-thai-cucumber-salad/1204?servings=4

ZUCCHINI AND SWEET POTATO FRITTATA

FRI

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp butter (Ghee) or coconut oil;
  • 8 eggs;
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut in slices;
  • 2 sliced zucchinis;
  • 1 sliced red bell pepper;
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley;
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Preparation

  1. Heat a pan over a medium-low heat;
  2. Add the oil and sweet potato slices and cook until soft, about 8 minutes;
  3. Add the zucchini and red bell pepper slices and cook for another 4 minutes;
  4. While it cooks, whisk the eggs in a bowl, making sure to incorporate a lot of air in the mixture;
  5. Season the egg mixture with salt and pepper and add to the cooking veggies;
  6. Cook on low heat until just set, about 10 minutes;
  7. Finish the frittata until golden under a heated broiler.
  8. Cut the finished frittata into wedges and serve with fresh parsley.
Tip:  Serve it with a side salad!
Source: https://paleoleap.com/zucchini-and-sweet-potato-frittata/

PALEO PIZZA SOUP

tall

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz chicken sausage, sliced (check ingredients)
  • 4 oz uncured pepperoni, cut into 4ths
  • 1 25 oz jar marinara (check ingredients for no added sugar or oil)
  • 1 14.5 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 16oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 3oz can sliced black olives (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Instructions:

  1.  In a large saucepan, cook all ingredients until the onions and mushrooms are tender or for 30 minutes.
  2. Taste add any extra seasonings as desired.
  3. Serve hot!
Tip:  Serve it with a side salad and/or paleo bread
Source: www.jaysbakingmecrazy.com
CREAMY BASIL & TOMATO CHICKEN
Creamy+Basil+&+Tomato+Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound chicken boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 package basil
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon arrowroot powder
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

Directions:

  1. Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat until it sizzles. Slice the onion into strips while the oil heats, and then add it to the pan. Cook until translucent.
  2. Once the onion is translucent, add the chicken to the pan. Cook for 12 minutes, then flip over and cook for 13 more minutes. (To get the best sear, avoid moving it around too much between flips). Chicken should be cooked through. If it is not, continue to cook until chicken has no pink in the middle and juice run clear).
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the pesto: place the garlic in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the garlic is finely minced. Add the sunflower seeds and pulse serval times. Add the nutrition yeast, a sprinkle of salt, and a dash of pepper to the food processor. Finally, add the basil and avocado oil. Pulse until the basil is well minced.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk the arrowroot powder into the water. Add the coconut milk, and then whisk in the pesto. Pour the sauce into the skillet with the chicken. Bring to a gentle simmer. Add the sliced cherry tomatoes. Allow to simmer for 1-2 more minutes, until tomatoes are warmed, and serve.

Tip:  Serve it with a spinach salad

There you go!  I hope you and your family enjoy these recipes!