What's your Go-To Smoothie?

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What's your Go-To Smoothie?

I call it “Nuts and Berries.” OMG it’s my current favorite. I just layer up:

  • A handful of greens (kale, spinach, mixed greens, whatever is on hand)
  • Small handful of nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts, etc)
  • Scoop of whey powder
  • About 4 oz of Siggi’s drinkable yogurt
  • Handful of frozen berries
  • Quarter of a banana
  • Splash of water
  • 4 cubes of ice

Blend it on up! I have a cheap little Ninja that does the job just fine.

If you don’t have Siggi’s yogurt, GO OUT RIGHT NOW AND GET SOME. Just kidding, you can always sub any kind of milk you desire. I’ve used coconut and almond milk.

But Siggi’s is the best. Very low sugar, no artificial sweeteners, and protein that is comparable to greek yogurt.  Awesome stuff!


Do you have a favorite smoothie?

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Carrot Applesauce Muffins

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Carrot Applesauce Muffins

I had just returned from a trip to Texas a couple of weeks ago and I realized I had zero food in my house. For some reason, I had a bunch of carrots, one totally brown banana, and lots of pantry staples. Full disclosure, I can’t stand carrots.

We were snowed in this particular weekend so I couldn’t go out and get food that particular day. I decided some baking had to be done. If not to feed me, at least to feed the kids. They sort of depend on that for survival. A quick Google search revealed these fancy Carrot Muffins from minamalistbaker.com. http://minimalistbaker.com/one-bowl-carrot-apple-muffins-vegan-gf/.  

Love this site. She always has great, clean, recipes. And this recipe called for ONE BOWL.

Since I was working with limited ingredients, here’s how I made mine. It follows her recipe almost exactly but it is not vegan or dairy free. Or gluten free. I would have preferred it with almond milk and gluten free flour, but hey, you work with what you’ve got!

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 1/3 cup mashed very ripe banana

  • 1/4 cup honey

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

  • 1.5 tsp baking soda

  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 cup milk

  • 1 heaping cup (packed) grated carrot

  • 3/4 cup almond meal

  • 1 ¼ cup + 2 Tbsp whole wheat flour

  • 1/4 cup raw walnuts (chopped) for topping

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

  2. Prepare muffin tin with liners or lightly grease them.

  3. In a large bowl, toss in eggs, mashed banana, honey, olive oil and whisk to combine.

  4. Next add applesauce, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and whisk to combine.

  5. Add milk and stir.

  6. Add grated carrot and stir.

  7. Add almond meal, and whole wheat flour and stir.

  8. Divide evenly among 12 muffin tins, filling them all the way up to the top, and top with crushed walnuts (optional).

  9. Bake for 27-30 minutes, or until deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

  10. Remove from oven and let set in the pan for about 5-10 minutes. Then transfer them to a cooling rack.

  11. Once cooled, store in a covered container or bag at room temp to keep fresh. Freeze after that to keep fresh.

 

Did you try these? Let me know how they turned out!

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Overcome feeling Overwhelmed

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Overcome feeling Overwhelmed

In the past two months, four people very close to me have been diagnosed with cancer. Things have been a little stressful.

I know that most people are going through a much more difficult circumstance than I am. I know that no matter what happens, everything will be OK. I know that life is full of ups and downs and most days I am positive and upbeat and doing great.

But every once in a while, I have a tough day.

The definition of overwhelm is to bury or drown beneath a huge mass. And isn’t that the way it feels? As if you literally can’t catch your breath and you have an elephant sitting on your chest, holding you down?

The lessons I’d like to share have helped me on those days. Those days when there is truly no time to take care of yourself, and you just want to make it out alive.

1. TALK TO SOMEONE, NOT TO EVERYONE

Everyone does not care about your problems. But someone does. It is important to get the elephant off your chest. Find one or two people you can talk to. It can be a friend, a trusted family member, or an acquaintance. I have one friend I talk to about this stuff and she doesn't even live in my state.

I tell her how I’m doing, but most importantly, I ask how she’s doing. She's a great storyteller. She tells me funny stories, dramatic stories, and sad stories. For just a little bit, I can get out of my own mind. I try ask everyone how they are doing, and then I really listen. Gain some perspective through listening to others. Like I said before, everyone is going through something.

2. LEARN TO MULTI-TASK FOR SELF-CARE

No matter what happens in our lives, the world keeps going around. Work has to be done, dinner has to be made, the house has to be cleaned. We still have to take care of ourselves. Usually, I make it a point to schedule time out to practice yoga, exercise or read a book.

However on those tough days, it seems like there is not a second to spare in the day. Those are the days I have learned to multi-task for my own sanity.

Listening to podcasts and audiobooks are perfect for self-care. I can listen to something while I’m making dinner, folding laundry or driving to work. Listen to something to escape the stress you feel. One day I listened to instructions on how to put down sod in my backyard.  Do not listen to motivational podcasts about how to change your life or what you could be doing differently. This leads me to my next point.

3. SHOW UP
There is so much emphasis on being happy and staying positive and productive and motivated. If you are feeling a negative emotion, just start reading some Pinterest quotes, or listening to an inspirational podcast to lift you up. For those occasions when we need to get our butts in gear and get going toward our goals, this is fine.

But on those days when just getting out of bed is tough, you don’t need inspiration.You need less shame around the idea that you are not doing enough. You need to understand that what's right now becomes inspiration later. You have to be give yourself permission to be where you are when you are there.

Some days it’s ok to just show up. Don’t make it a habit, but forgive yourself one of these days from time to time. Show up, be present in the moment, don’t over think things and let that be enough. Focus on putting one foot in front of the other. Things will improve. Just breathe and let each moment happen as it happens.

Life can be beautiful and magical and fantastic. But sometimes life is difficult.

During those dark days, I ask myself, what can I learn from this? I learned that I needed to seek support. I have to escape the thoughts that take over my mind. Most of all, I learned that sometimes just showing up is enough.

If you are going through something difficult in your life, I hope something here resonates with you. I hope you can find inspiration. I hope you find a spare second to breathe.

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Veggie Rice and Beans

Rice and Beans - A Healthy Classic!

Rice and Beans are an inexpensive, ridiculously easy way to get all sorts of nutrients in your body. This dish is filled with complex carbohydrates, protein, and fiber. It's also low in fat. This particular recipe is originally from http://greatist.com/eat/recipes/veggie-rice-and-beans.

I spruced it up a bit and added a yellow pepper instead of red. Really, any veggie could be added...kale, spinach, sweet potatoes. The possibilities are endless. I  I was going for a Tex Mex feel, so I added grilled chicken to it with my homemade taco seasoning (below). The photo is of me next to my rice cooker wearing my onion goggles. A necessity for me when cutting onions!! No more tears!!

Brown Rice and Beans

  • 1 cup brown rice

  • 3 heaping tablespoons tomato paste

  • Salt

  • Pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

  • 1/2 tablespoon butter or olive oil

  • 1 medium onion, diced

  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 can (18 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
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In a large pot, combine 2 1/2 cups water, rice, tomato paste, salt and pepper to taste, cumin, and paprika. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer. Let rice cook until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain any additional water. OR if you have a rice cooker, just follow the directions for your brand. Even easier! 

While rice is cooking, sauté onions, peppers, scallion if using, and garlic in a pan with butter or olive oil until onions become translucent. Add beans and sauté another 2 minutes. Fold bean mixture into rice until evenly combined. Let rest 10 minutes before serving. There's always an option to serve this with seasoned chicken. 

Homeade Taco Seasoning

  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

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Motivation Monday - Part 1

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Motivation Monday - Part 1

It's been a while since I've posted and much has happened. I managed to get pregnant and gave birth to my second child, a son, in September of this year. So exciting! The whirlwind has kept me busy, but now I'm back in the game and ready to stay motivated. Motivated to stick to my fitness goals, my personal goals and my business goals. There will always be an excuse, a life event, something that could derail my plans. As we near closer and closer to 2016, I need to stay motivated to acheiving those goals. 

So I've decided to start each Monday with motivational tips. They have kept me on track before and I use them with my clients. So I'm sharing them with you.

TIP 1 - EVEN IF YOU FAIL, YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE. 

There WILL be days that I just can't muster up the energy or the motivation to do something that needs to be done. In the past, I would really let that get me down. I would keep putting something off, then get mad at myself, then get depressed, then be so depressed that I REALLY couldn't bring myself to do whatever it is I had put off in the first place. Does this sound familiar? You are not alone. 

Now I try to remind myself that just because I fail once or twice does not mean that I can't try again tomorrow. I work on not getting down on myself. It's said all the time, but every day really IS a new day. 

Give yourself permission to slack off one day. Or two days. Then get back to it. Take a deep breath and start again.

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Clean Eating Turkey Feta Pesto Meatballs

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Clean Eating Turkey Feta Pesto Meatballs

Holy cow, these were delicious! And so easy to make. I can tell you that since I'm six months pregnant, the very last thing I want to do in the evenings is make dinner. But it only took about 10 minutes to prep and 20 minutes in the oven. Awesome.

I also made the pesto. I've never actually made pesto before. That just shows you how foolproof these are. There is no oil in the pesto so it's perfect for stuffing things. It won't leak out into the oven. I also used pine nuts but you could use cashews or walnuts.  I got both recipes from www.thekitchenshed.co.uk.com and just converted them from metric measurements. I love her blog!

Oil Free Pesto for Stuffing Stuff: 

Ingredients:
1/4 cup pine nuts (or any nuts you'd like)
20 oz basil (1 small package)
20 oz kale
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 pinch of salt

Instructions
1. Place the pine nuts in a food processor and blend. They should look like breadcrumbs.
2. Add the basil and kale and blend until combined.
3. Add the lemon juice and blend a final time.

 

 

 

Turkey Meatballs with Pesto and Feta

1 lb Ground Turkey
4 T Pesto
2 oz Feta Cheese

Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix meat, cheese and pesto together.
3. Scoop out 1 TBSP of the mixture and place it on a greased pan. Continue until you have about 28 meatballs.
4. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

You could probably serve these with any sauce you'd like. I just ate them plain. Yum yum.

 

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What I'm Eating Today

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What I'm Eating Today

WHAT I'M EATING

So I have to give all credit to FreshPrep Denver. This granola is delicious! I make it and put it in a mason jar. Then I just keep it on my counter or in my car for a quick, delicious, healthy snack. Great for breakfast with Greek Yogurt and berries, as well! Added bonus - it's Gluten Free!

1/2 cup each, unsweetened shredded coconut, chopped/sliced almonds, old fashioned oats (if tolerable to your GF system)
1/4 cup each pepitas and chia seeds
2 tablespoons raw honey
1 teaspoon olive oil or melted fat of choice, and a pinch of salt.

Mix all ingredients, except for shredded coconut, and bake at 325 degreees for 15 minutes on a lined baking sheet. Mix in coconut and bake for about 10 minutes more, until coconut begins to brown. Let cool fully. Store in airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Makes 2 cups, 1 serving is about a 1/3 cup. Feel free to add whatever nuts/seeds/dried fruits you love

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Why You Should Eat Like a Brazilian

10 WAYS TO EAT LIKE A BRAZILIAN (and you should)

To try to combat the rising rates of obesity and chronic disease in their country, the Brazilian Ministry of Health released a new set of dietary guidelines.

Unlike the nutrient-based U.S. guidelines, Brazil is focusing on SENSIBLE eating! It's genius. I recommend all of these guidelines to my clients. Here they are. Can you eat like this?

1. Make natural or minimally processed foods the basis of your diet.
2. Use oils, fats, sugar and salt in small amounts
3. Limit consumption of processed foods (canned vegetables, fruit in syrup, cheeses and breads)
4. Avoid ultra-processed foods (packaged snacks, soft drinks, "instant" meals, etc)
5. Eat regular meals and pay attention while eating. Eat in company whenever possible
6. Shop in places that offer varieties of fresh foods
7. Develop, exercise and SHARE cooking skills
8. Plan your time to make food and eating important in your life
9. Choose restaurants that serve fresh food. Avoid fast-food chains
10. Be wary of food advertising and marketing

Look it up! The entire 152 Page document can be found HERE.

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10 Ways to Whittle your Waistline

Here you will find the Top 10 ways to shrink your midsection. If you can follow all 10 tips, you could lose up to an inch around your tummy in just a couple of weeks!

1. Drink 64 oz of water every single day.  You just need tons of water. Drinking adequate amounts of water will flush out toxins, help lubricate your joints, improve your skin, decrease fatigue, and improve your body's ability to burn calories.

2. Meditate - Meditation will help you become more aware of what is going on inside you. You will become more in-tune with your body, your thoughts and your actions. This, in turn, will help you become more aware of what you are putting into your body and why. Which can help curb binge eating and emotional eating.

3. Strengthen; but ditch the crunches - The best core exercises you can do are planks, side planks, and mountain climbers. These moves will strengthen the core without compromising the back. Pull the belly button into the spine and squeeze as deeply as you can!

4. Pass on the pasta - Simple carbs (anything white such as rice, pasta and baked goods) are not only full of empty calories, but they will cause your insulin levels to spike and will keep you puffy for days.

5. Add more vegetables to your diet -  Add more veggies and you'll eat less junk food. That's just how it goes. However you should note that you may feel a little bloated and gassy if you start eating tons of greens out of nowhere. Rest assured that will go away as your body gets used to the idea of eating so much fiber. Another reason to drink tons of water.

6. Pick up some weights - Building muscle by incorporating weight-bearing activities will automatically increase your metabolism. Muscle burns more calories than fat at a resting state. This means that the more muscle you have, the faster you will burn those calories - even when you are doing nothing.

7. Skip the Cocktails - Alcohol is loaded with calories and sugar. Not only that, but it can raise cortisol levels, a stress hormone that contributes to belly fat.

8. Eat berries - Raspberries, blueberries, blackberries or strawberries. Not only are they loaded with antioxidants, they are packed with fiber to help fight constipation and belly bloat.

9. Drink a protein shake - According to a study in The Journal of Nutrition, participants whose diets included whey protein for 23 weeks had less body fat and a smaller waist than those who consumed soy protein. In fact, dieters who included whey protein in their meal plan doubled their fat loss compared with those who ate the same number of calories but didn't drink any shakes. Try including a whey protein shake once a day or at least a few times a week. Prefer plant-based diets? Some shakes are made with pea protein instead of soy. Just check the label. ALWAYS make sure your shakes are made with real food and not processed junk you can't pronounce.

10. Consume healthy fats - No cheeseburgers here. Duh. You have to include the right fats--primarily monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) like nuts, avocados, and healthy oils--and stay away from processed foods that contain trans fats, such as baked goods. Healthy fats pack a lot of nutrition and as long as you indulge in moderation, you will feel full without expanding your waistline.

Hope that helps! Give it a try and let me know how it goes. Also, please let me know if you have any questions!

In Health,
Katie 

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Root Veggie Stack

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Root Veggie Stack

When winter comes around, getting in fresh vegetables gets more and more difficult. But don't forget about those root vegetables! Here's a quick and easy way to make them delicious, courtesy of FreshPrep Denver. Note that you can sub in any root vegetable you'd like (turnips, potatoes, etc)

Root Veg Napoleon

2 rutabagas, thinly sliced

2 parsnips, thinly sliced

2 sweet potatoes

Oil

Nutmeg

S&P

Thinly slice all veg. On a cookie sheet, layer vegetables in overlapping shingles, seasoning with S&P, oil, and nutmeg every third layer. Cover with foil, bake at 375 for 45 min, or until stack can be easily pierced with a knife. Cover with another cookie sheet, put a large can (or any other heavy object) in center to press down layers, leave can on for 2 hours at least.


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Should I Nap or Work Out?

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Should I Nap or Work Out?

Yesterday I had a 9 am session scheduled with a client. Around 7 am, she contacted me to tell me she was just too tired to work out. She was having fantasies about laying on the couch as soon as she dropped the kids off at school and taking a long nap. Conventional wisdom would have me trying to motivate her to come work out anyway.

“Just get started!”  

“Getting to the session is the hardest part!”

“You’ll be full of energy when we are done!”

What did I tell her?  “Go take a nap.”

Sometimes we just need to rest. Every day we are in states of perpetual motion. Racing from place to place, adding items to the to-do list, enduring stress at work and home. We have to learn to stop and breathe. Or meditate. Or yes, lay on the couch.

Resting the mind and body are imperative to good health. Resting the body will allow it to heal and prevent injury. Resting the mind has too many benefits to even mention here, but here are a few that have been researched:

  • Increases life satisfaction

  • Increases immune function

  • Decreases pain

  • Decreases inflammation

  • Improves attention

  • Increases memory

  • Decreases anxiety, stress and depression

Many of us live life in extremes. We push too hard all week and then we watch TV, or stare at the Facebook, or surf the Internet for HOURS upon HOURS during the weekend. This is not resting your brain, this is keeping it stimulated. You have to turn off your brain every once in a while. Ideally, every day.

Recently, I started waking up early to get in 10 minutes of meditation. 10 minutes. That’s it. I don’t even make it a formal affair. I’ll do a few yoga stretches (just so I’m awake and don’t fall asleep), set a timer, and then either sit in silence or listen to a guided meditation on YouTube. I’m telling you, it makes the day run so much smoother. Kinda crazy.

Let me make this clear. I don’t always believe my clients should skip their workouts in favor of naps. Many times just getting moving will energize you and make you feel much better. However, the lovely lady mentioned above had already gone for a run the morning of our workout, and had only slept 3 hours. An additional workout would have been worthless and possibly detrimental to her health. Her body was craving rest. So she took it. She called me later that day to tell me that she slept for a solid 2 hours and felt like a new person. And she was ready to reschedule!

The moral of the story: LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.

Don’t be lazy. But don’t be crazy, either. Know if you have pushed yourself too much. If you are exhausted all the time, you need to take a hard look at what you can eliminate in your life. Push hard for a short period of time and then rest. Live your life in a series of sprints. It’s the best way to achieve your goals, AND stay healthy.

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Quick At-Home Workout

For your Workout Wednesday, here's one you can do 1, 2, 3 or 4 times in a row. Just set your clock to 30 minutes and see how many times you can get it done!


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2 Surprising Quinoa Recipes

Cooking with Quinoa

I know quinoa is good for me. It's high in protein and nutrients, low in calories, and low on the glycemic index. Quinoa is a superfood! It just seems that I am always running out of ideas on how to prepare the stuff. So after consulting with my favorite chef, Amanda Williams, I want to share 2 recipes that might take you out of your quinoa rut.

Strawberry Cocoa Quinoa Muffins (makes 12)

1 cup whole wheat flour (or gluten free flour blend)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbs chia seeds (optional)
2 tbs raw local honey (or maple syrup)
2 eggs
1/2 cup non-fat greek yogurt
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tsp vanilla extract1 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup strawberries, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl. In a separate bowl mix eggs, greek yogurt, applesauce, and vanilla extract. Mix dry ingredients into wet, stirring until just combined. Gently fold in cooked quinoa and strawberries. Pour into well greased muffin tin. Bake 30-40 minutes.


Moroccan Carrot & Quinoa Salad (makes 4-6 servings)

2 cups quinoa, cooked
1 tbs olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground paprika (smoked is recommended)
1/8 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 pound carrots, peeled into ribbons (or buy pre-shredded carrots)
3/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup pine nuts (or sliced almonds)
1/2 cup dates, sliced
1-2 cups arugula

Toss quinoa with olive oil, lemon juice and spices. Toss with carrots, pine nuts, and dates. Refrigerate for at least one hour to let flavors blend, or overnight for best flavor. Toss with arugula just before serving.

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