Tag Archives: healthy family

Langsam, Bitte

Ever since we found out we were moving to Germany, my husband and I started working on learning German.  (We have been using Duolingo – a free app and Rosetta Stone -just in case anyone is interested in learning a language).

In German, “Langsam, bitte” means: Slowly please.

This has been my mantra the past few days…ever since I took my son for his 9 month check up.  Which, by the way, it’s like I blinked and he’s already 9 months old.  How did that happen?

At the doctor’s office, I began filling out the standard questionnaire.  You know, the one where they ask about fine motor skills, communication, etc.

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As I sat there, with the pink clipboard in my lap, the pen in my hand, and my son smiling up at me from his car seat, I realized something.

I couldn’t answer many of the questions.

Does he look for an object if you cover it up?  I don’t know.  I’ve never tried that.

Does he use his thumb and forefinger to grab something?  I think…maybe…I’m not sure…

Does he pick up a small object with one hand?  Um…..

Does he toss a toy back and forth between his hands?  Well…I’ve never seen him do that…

Does he say words like “ma”, “ba”, “ga”?

That last one…that last question…it was like a punch in the gut…the one where I thought to myself “I can’t believe I haven’t noticed that he isn’t doing this”.

Until I read that question…until the doctor mentioned that he had some concerns about his communication skills…I had not noticed that he is so quiet.

Talk about feeling like a crap mother.

The doctor assured me that there’s no need to worry YET.  After all, he was born a month early but it is something that we need to keep an eye on.

Holy.  Shit.

It’s not so much about me being worried that he will have problems communicating (and if he does he will just get speech therapy).

It’s the fact that I haven’t been paying ATTENTION.

It’s the fact that I have been running in twenty different directions, trying to do EVERYTHING – trying to exercise daily, to eat perfectly clean, to cook healthy dinners, to get the kids signed up for after school activities, to volunteer in my daughter’s classroom, to go see the sights, to meet friends, to do laundry, to read to the kids, to get them to bed at a decent time, to finish unpacking the house, to work (I work from home, auditing charts), to go on a date with my husband, to find decent babysitters for the kids, to learn the language, to learn the socially acceptable ways to behave in a German village, to navigate the German grocery stores…I could go on and on and on.

After that doctor’s appointment I realized I need to slow WAY down.  I need to STOP worrying about the next thing that needs to be done and just PLAY with my kids at the park.  Just sing to my baby and read him books.  Hold him and take time to sit at the table and feed him, instead of shoving a cracker in his hand as we run out the door to the next activity.

stop

All that matters is that we are healthy.  We are together.  And I will figure this all out…eventually.

Langsam, bitte.

Slowly, please.

In a world where we want everything YESTERDAY, remember that life is PRECIOUS.  Life is fleeting.  Life is NOT guaranteed.

The little moments are TRULY what matter the most.

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As a side note, one of the things that has helped me slow down is the Crockpot!  I throw dinner in there in the morning and it’s ready in the afternoon.  Instead of spending time in the kitchen after my daughter gets off the bus, I can spend time playing with my kids.

In case you find that you need to slow down as well, I wanted to share a few crockpot recipes from my current online accountability group that have been a hit here at my house!

Pumpkin 3 Bean Chili

Serves: 6

INGREDIENTS:

o 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

o 1 cup onion, chopped

o 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped

o 3 cloves garlic minced

o 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained

o 1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

o 1 (15 oz.) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

o 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin

o 1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes

o 2 teaspoons chili powder

o 1.5 teaspoons cumin 1.5 teaspoons oregano

o 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

o ½ teaspoon sea salt  o 2.5 cups vegetable broth

o Toppings: Fresh cilantro Avocado Scallions

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Add oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat.

2. Add onion and pepper, sauté until tender.

3. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant.

4. Transfer to Crockpot.

5. Add remaining ingredients to Crockpot and cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4 hours.

6. Top with fresh cilantro, avocado and scallions

 

Chicken Enchiladas

10 servings, about 1 cup each

INGREDIENTS:

o 1 tsp. olive oil

o 1 medium onion, chopped

o 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

o 2 medium jalapenos, seeded and deveined, finely chopped

o 1 lb. raw ground chicken breast (or whole breast cut into strips or bitesize pieces)

o 1½ cups dry farro, rinsed

o 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed, drained

o 1 cup frozen corn o 1 (15 oz.) can diced fire roasted tomatoes (or diced tomatoes), no salt added

o 1 cup water

o 1 (10-oz.) can red enchilada sauce

o 2 Tbsp. chili powder

o 1 Tbsp. ground cumin

o 2 tsp. ground coriander

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

o 1 cup shredded jack (or cheddar or Mexican blend) cheese

o 3 medium green onions, chopped

o ¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Heat oil in medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.

2. Add onion; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until onion is soft.

3. Add garlic and jalapenos; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until jalapenos are soft.

4. Add chicken; cook, stirring frequently, for 5 to 6 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

5. Place chicken mixture, farro, beans, corn, tomatoes, water, enchilada sauce, chili powder, cumin, and coriander in a 3-quart slow cooker; mix well and cover. Cook on high for 3 hours, or until liquid has been absorbed, and farro is tender.

6. Remove lid and stir mixture. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Add cheese; mix well. Cover until cheese has melted.

7. Top with green onions and cilantro; serve.

*You could use brown rice if you can’t find farro

*I got already cooked, diced chicken from the refrigerated section
 

Start at the Beginning

Let’s say you are at the book store.  You’ve got your coffee in one hand and the newest, just released, thriller from the hottest New York Times Best Selling Author in your other hand.

Document

You sit down in a cushioned chair (that has an awful floral pattern on it).  You  put on your reading glasses.  And you turn to….

The middle section?

To the 40th chapter?

To the last page?

NO!  Of course not.

You begin…at the beginning.

the

Everything else in life is no different than this…starting a new career, a new relationship, a new fitness program, a new hobby…no matter what it is….you have to begin at the beginning.

So why is it, then, that after spending, let’s say, a week, exercising religiously and following a meal plan to the exact number of carrots we are allotted per day, we throw in the towel because we aren’t seeing results?  Because the scale hasn’t moved?  Because that dress still doesn’t fit?

Y’all!  It takes TIME.

We are a society of instant gratification.  We (and I am definitely including myself in this “we”) want it NOW.

You can’t expect to start doing a fitness program by doing 100 burpees when you’ve never even done one.  You can’t expect to look good in that bikini after a week of exercise.  You can’t expect to have end results when you are still at the beginning.

Everyone has to start somewhere.  The MOST important thing is that you just START.

If you want to start exercising…than just START.

If you want to eat healthier….than just START.

If you want to switch careers…than just START looking for a new job.

The month of August has just begun.  A new month.  A new  start.  A new chance.

192156-Hello-August

What will YOU do to START working on your dreams?

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In honor of new beginnings and a new school year already starting in some areas, I wanted to share some tips on how to pack a healthy lunch for your kids!

  1. Skip the juice box!  It has tons of added sugar and unnecessary calories.  Pack milk or water.
  2. Pack a balanced meal.  Include fruits, veggies and protein
  3. Breakfast for lunch is always a hit!  Pack a hard-boiled egg, turkey sausage and a multi-grain waffle with berries.
  4. Make your own lunchables.  Bento boxes are a fun way to pack a variety of foods into your kid’s lunch.  Here’s an example – you can find tons more on Pinterest.

lunch 1

5. Dessert is okay – in moderation!  Give them one cookie instead of a whole package.  Better yet, make your own cookies at home, with your kids, and put one in their lunch – they will be proud of their contribution!

 

 

Thanksgiving Desserts – Paleo Style

Y’all!!!  I did not realize, until today, that Thanksgiving is next week!!  This year is seriously flying by!

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I know Thanksgiving is largely about the food…but it’s about family also!  It’s about being grateful for what you have and it’s about counting your blessings.

If you feel that the only way you can enjoy Thanksgiving is by stuffing your face, needing to put on elastic pants and than feeling sick for the rest of the day because you ate too much – THINK AGAIN!!!

Five orange pumpkins sit in a row in front of a distressed, wooden background.

It does NOT have to be like that and is NOT what’s it’s about!  It’s a day to be grateful, a day to step back from the craziness that is life and ENJOY the moments and the people you are with.

And even though the food is the main attraction, it doesn’t have to make you feel bloated, sick, gross!  Hence…Paleo Thanksgiving!

I know you’re wanting to do your menu planning and so forth…so today I am going to be sharing with you some delicious paleo dessert recipes for Thanksgiving!  (Check out last week’s post for some tasty paleo side dishes)

I have made all of these and they are FANTASTIC!!!  Scout’s honor!

Paleo Pumpkin Cheesecake

Source: http://paleomg.com/thanksgiving-pumpkin-cheesecake/

Serves: 4-6
paleo-pump
Ingredients
For the crust
For the filling
  • 1.5 cups roasted, unsalted cashews
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup raw honey
  • 2-3 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 5-6 tablespoons canned coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the topping
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Let’s first make the crust!! Add walnuts to your food processor and blend until you get a meal, almost a walnut butter. Then add the rest of your crust ingredients and blend until well combined.
  2. Add crust mixture to an 8×8 glass baking dish lined with saran wrap, press down until evenly distributed and smooth on the top.
  3. Wipe out the inside of your food processor, no need to scrub, then add your cashews and blend until you begin to get a clumpy mess.
  4. Then add your coconut oil, lemon juice, vanilla extract and honey and puree until well combined.
  5. And lastly, add your coconut milk, 1 tablespoon at a time to break down the cashews completely. I used about 5 or 6 tablespoons for mine until the cashews became this soupy paste.
  6. Pour your filling onto the crust and use a knife or spoon to spread mixture throughout the entire pan, covering the crust, then place in the freezer for about 1-2 hours or until completely hard.
  7. When you cheesecake is almost hardened, add all topping ingredients to a food processor and mix until smooth and silky.
  8. Smooth out on top of your cheesecake.
  9. Place it freezer for about 30 minutes until everything has set.
  10. Cut cheesecake into cheesecake slices like I did OR bars, any size you want. The saran wrap will help you pull them out without destroying their gorgeous looks. Just pull on the side of the saran wrap and it will pop right out.
  11. Eat. Eat and remember how wonderful it is to be paleo.
  12. PALEO IS AWESOME!

Paleo Pumpkin Pie

Source: www.thepaleomom.com/the-best-paleo-pumpkin-pie/

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes

Cook Time: 20-22 minutes

Serves: 6-8

Ingredients (Pie Crust):

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Grind walnuts in a food processor or blender until finely ground and almost starting to turn into walnut butter (i.e., just starting to clump together).
  3. Mix walnuts, almond flour, egg white, and salt together (you can pulse in your food processor or do this by hand).
  4. Press/pinch into a 9” pie plate (an 8” deep dish pie plate will work too).Pumpkin Pie-045
  5. Pierce the crust with a fork every ¼” or so to stop the shell from bubbling up while it bakes.
  6. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until starting to turn golden brown.
  7. Let cool at least 10 minutes before pouring the custard in.

Ingredients (Pumpkin Pie):

  1. Preheat oven to 350F (if you’re making your pie right after making the crust, just reduce the temperature).
  2. Place cashews and walnuts in your food processor or blender and pulse until finely ground.  Add eggs, honey and maple syrup and blend for 2-3 minutes until completely smooth (you could also add some of the water if it’s too thick for your food processor or blender to puree well).  It is very important to blend until completely smooth, otherwise your custard will be watery. Pumpkin Pie-055
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until combined.
  4. Pour into cooled pie shell (doesn’t need to be room temperature, just cool enough to touch).  Spread the top out evenly with a spatula.
  5. Bake for 40 minutes.  Allow pie to cool completely before serving.
  6. Enjoy!!!

 

Paleo Pecan Pie

Source: http://naturesknockout.com/best-pecan-pie-ever-paleo-diet-diet-health/

pecan

CRUST
3/4 cup organic tapioca starch
3/4 cup organic almond flour
2 tablespoons coconut sugar
1/2 teaspoon pink himalayan sea salt
1/2 cup extra virgin , cold pressed coconut oil
5-6 tablespoons filtered water
FILLING
3 eggs hormone free, omega 3 enriched 
1/3 cup raw honey
1 cup coconut sugar
3 tablespoons extra virgin , cold pressed coconut oil
a pinch of pink himalayan sea salt
2 cups raw organic pecan halves

Directions

PREHEAT oven to 350ºF or 175ºC

CRUST. Stir together crust ingredients except the oil and water. Add oil using a pastry blender. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time until it forms into a ball. Roll out on a well (GF)floured surface. Place in pie pan and shape it really cute 🙂 Refrigerate.

SAUCE. Stir together all of the sauce ingredients with a spoon. Remove thepie shell from refrigerator and pour the sauce into it.

For safety, place a large cookie sheet under the pan as it cooks, in case of spill over. Bake for 25-30 minutes. This pie needs to be cooled and refrigerated 2 hours prior to serving. That kinda thickens it and makes it so authentically amazing.

Store in the refrigerator.

 

Paleo Apple Crisp

Source: http://www.thepaleomom.com/paleo-apple-crisp/

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Ingredients (Crisp Topping):

  1. Chop walnuts and pecans by hand for the best texture.  Mix with almond meal, shredded coconut, muscovado sugar, and spices.
  2. Pour melted coconut oil over the top and stir to fully combine.  Pat down slightly and place in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes (1 hour is better), to harden.

Ingredients (Apple Crisp):

  • 6 medium to large apples (about 2½ pounds)
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp cardamom
  • Crisp Topping (see above)
  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Peel and core apples.  Cut into large bite size pieces (I cut into quarters and then slice each quarter into 5 or 6 ½”-thick slices).
  3. Toss apple with lemon juice, lemon zest, cinnamon and cardamom.
  4. Place apple in the bottom of a casserole dish, 8” or 9” square pan, or a 9” deep dish pie dish.
  5. Remove crisp topping from fridge.  Use a knife or your fingers to break/crumble into pieces, making sure there are some bigger pieces and some smaller pieces.  Cover the surface of the apples with the crisp topping crumbs.
  6. Bake for 40 minutes.  Then, turn the oven temperature up to 425F for 5 minutes to brown the crisp a little more (watch it carefully to make sure it doesn’t burn).
  7. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.  Serve warm!

I hope you truly enjoy these desserts!  Share them with your friends and family and share this blog with others also!!  Remember:  Sharing is Caring!!!

Weekly Recipes – Slow Cooker Breakfast Style

Mornings can be BUSY, right?!?

Whether you’re trying to get your kids out the door, yourself out the door, your spouse out the door or all of the above…it can be super hectic and difficult to do anything else other than throw a bowl of cereal in everyone’s face before they rush out the door.

Have you ever been guilty of this?

Me!  I have!

Want to know a secret to making your mornings easier?  Start the night before by throwing breakfast into the crockpot so it will be ready to go in the morning!

Here are 4, clean-eating slow cooker breakfast recipes!

Slow- Cooker Pumpkin Pie Steel Cut Oats

Slow-Cooker Pumpkin Pie Steel-Cut Oats

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups steel-cut oats (not to be replaced with quick or rolled oats)
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 apple, diced with skin
3 tablespoons almond butter
4 1/4 cups unsweetened soy milk (can use almond)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup chopped nuts (almonds, pecans, or walnuts)
1/2 cup raisins

Directions

  1. Add all the ingredients except for 1/4 cup of the nuts and 1/4 cup of the raisins to a glass bowl that will fit inside your slow cooker. Give it a good stir, and place the bowl in the center.
  2. Carefully fill the slow cooker with water, to about 1 inch below the rim of the glass bowl. Cook on low for 8 hours.
  3. In the morning, remove the lid and stir up the oatmeal. Scoop out about a 1-cup serving, and top with a sprinkling of nuts and raisins.
  4. Store uneaten oatmeal in the fridge.

Tip:  Add Greek yogurt to this delish dish if you want some protein!

Source: http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Slow-Cooker-Pumpkin-Pie-Steel-Cut-Oats-35883531

Cauliflower Hash Brown Slow Cooker Breakfast Casserole

b-casserole

Ingredients

    • 12 eggs
    • ½ cup milk
    • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • ½ teaspoon pepper
    • 1 head cauliflower, shredded (I buy mine already chopped)
    • additional salt and pepper to season the layers
    • up to one small onion, diced (can omit or use less)
    • two 5 oz packages pre-cooked breakfast sausages, sliced (I used turkey sausage. Can also omit, or use about 1 lb bulk breakfast sausage cooked and crumbled, or bacon, turkey bacon, vegetarian sausage crumbles, or chopped ham)
    • 8 oz., or about 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. Grease or coat a 6 quart slow cooker with cooking spray.
  2. Lightly beat together the eggs, milk, dry mustard, salt, and pepper.
  3. Place about a third of the shredded cauliflower in an even layer in the bottom of the slow cooker, and top with about a third of the onion. Season with salt and pepper, the top with about a third of the sausage and a third of the cheese. Repeat the layers two more times.
  4. Pour the egg mixture over the contents of the slow cooker.
  5. Cook on low for 5-7 hours, or until eggs are set and the top is browned.

Tip:  Serve with a side of sliced tomatoes and avocados!

Source: http://cupcakesandkalechips.com/hash-browns-slow-cooker-breakfast-casserole/

Slow Cooker Huevos Rancheros

b-casserole

Ingredients

  • Nonstick spray
  • 10 eggs
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 12 ounces shredded Monterey Jack
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. ancho chili powder
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chilies, drained
  • 10 ounces taco sauce
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • Scallions, avocado, cilantro and lime, for garnish

    Directions

    Spray the inside of the slow cooker with nonstick spray.

    In a large bowl, beat eggs with half-and-half, 8 ounces of the cheese, pepper and chili powder. Stir in the garlic and chilies. Pour into the slow cooker and cook (covered) on low for 2 hours. Check occasionally to make sure the edges are not burning.

    Remove lid and pour taco sauce over the eggs, using the back of a spoon to evenly cover the eggs, as you would sauce on a pizza. Scatter remaining 4 ounces of cheese all over, replace the lid and continue cooking on low for 15 more minutes.

    Let cool slightly, then cut into wedges and serve over warmed tortillas. Garnish with sliced scallions and avocado, chopped cilantro and a squirt of fresh lime juice.

 

Source: http://www.oprah.com/food/Slow-Cooker-Huevos-Rancheros-Recipe

Slow Cooker French Toast

slow-cooker-french-toast-casserole

Ingredients

  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups 1% milk, (almond or soy will also work)
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 9 Slices whole grain bread

 

  • FILLING:
  • 3 cups finely diced uncooked apple pieces (Honey Crisp or Gala are both great in this recipe)
  • 3 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup diced raw pecans
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions

Add the first 6 ingredients to a medium mixing bowl, whisk to combine. Lightly spray the inside of the slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.

Add all the filling ingredients in a small mixing bowl and stir to coat apple pieces, set aside.

Cut bread slices into triangles (that’s in half, just triangle shaped). Place one layer of bread (6 triangles) on the bottom of the slow cooker, add ¼ of the filling and repeat until there are 3 layers of bread. Add the remaining filling to the top.

Pour egg mixture over bread. Cover and cook on high 2 to 2-1/2 or low 4 hours, or until bread has soaked up the liquid.

3 Bananas (diced) can be substituted for apples.

Note: Drizzle with 100% pure maple syrup if desired.

Tip:  This would be a great recipe to make on the weekends when you know the kids are going to sleep in (if you’re lucky because mine don’t).  You can have this cookin’ while they are snoozing away

Source: http://skinnyms.com/slow-cooker-french-toast-casserole/

ENJOY these recipes and don’t forget- SHARE them with others!

I Would Walk 10,000 Miles

Do you have a Fitbit?  Do you have trouble getting your 10,000 steps in?

I know I do!

Some days are better than others but I wanted to share with you some tricks and tips to log those steps in and burn a few extra calories along the way!

walk

Even if you don’t have a Fitbit, these are GREAT tricks to gettin’ your body moving!!

  1.  Do some exercises during commercial breaks (this is my favorite one!)
  2. Use half of your lunch break to go for a walk
  3. Use a treadmill desk (It’s a desk with a treadmill underneath so you can keep moving all day- so cool!)
  4. Park further away.  Yes, I know we all like to circle the parking lot, looking for the closest spot BUT what if you skip all that extra time behind the wheel, park at the back of the parking lot and get in some extra steps?!?
  5. Choose the stairs (rather than the elevator or escalator)
  6. Skip the shortcut – take the longer way.  I know it’s hard to do in a world where we want everything NOW, but take a few extra minutes and go around
  7. Play with your kids – you can get in a lot of extra calorie burning moves by playing hide and seek or tag (plus it’s healthy for them too and it’s good for your relationship!)
  8. Take extra trips – Do you have a lot of groceries to unload?  Good!  Take fewer bags at a time!
  9. Walk with a friend – instead of meeting for coffee, meet for a walk (or better yet, walk to a coffee shop and take it to go)
  10. Take a walk after a meal – helps with digestion and it’s a nice, relaxing way to end the day.  In fact, bring your kids with you!  It’s a great way to spend some quality time together

There are so many benefits to walking and so many more reasons to do it than just to get your 10,000 steps in – although it is nice to have that sense of accomplishment!

Here are some other reasons why it’s important to include walking in your daily routine:

walk-1

  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Prevent or manage various conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.
  • Strengthen your bones and muscles.
  • Improve your mood.
  • Improve your balance and coordination.
  • Reduce the risk of depression.
  • Improve sleep patterns
  • Releases endorphins