Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Blueberry Oatmeal Blender Muffins

Few things make a morning better than waking up to the aroma of fresh, fluffy muffins baking in the oven. But who has the time? You do! This clever recipe mixed in a blender makes it easy to have scrumptious muffins any day of the week. Just combine wholesome ingredients like oats, banana, Greek yogurt, honey, and eggs, in a blender, mix, then pour the batter into a muffin pan and bake. In slightly more time than it takes to make a smoothie, you could have a batch of blueberry muffins baking in your oven. Clean-up is quick and painless!

There is no flour, refined sugar, or oil in these blender muffins. High-fiber, old-fashioned oats take the place of flour (choose gluten free-oats to make these muffins gluten-free). Greek yogurt makes them rich and moist, honey and fresh fruit make them naturally sweet, and walnuts provide texture and healthy omega-3s.

Not sure you’ll eat 12 muffins (come on, you’re not fooling us)? These blender muffins freeze well. Just pop one in a microwave for 30 seconds or pack them in your meal prep and they’ll thaw by snack time.

Once you’ve tried this recipe, you’ll want to make it again and again. These blender muffins can be customized with any fresh fruit you like. Try sprinkling cinnamon, cardamom, or nutmeg into the batter. Swap walnuts for slivered almonds or sunflower seeds, stir in 2 Tbsp. of peanut butter, or top them with coconut flakes or dark chocolate morsels. Remember, adding ingredients will change the nutritional profile.

Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

Total Time: 40 min.
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cooking Time: 25 min.
Yield: 12 servings, 1 muffin each

Nonstick cooking spray (optional)
1 cup reduced fat (2%) plain Greek yogurt
3 Tbsp. raw honey
2 large very ripe bananas, cut into chunks
2 large eggs
½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. sea salt (or Himalayan salt)
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
⅔ cup chopped raw walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Prepare 12 muffin cups by lining with muffin papers or lightly coating with spray.
3. Place yogurt, honey, bananas, eggs, extract, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in blender (or food processor); cover. Blend until smooth, scraping once or twice, as needed.
4. Gently fold in blueberries and walnuts.
5. Evenly divide batter among prepared muffin cups.
6. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
7. Transfer muffins to rack; cool.

Spicy Sweet Potato Fries

Love sweet potato fries? Here’s a healthier way to enjoy them.

Total Time: 45 min.
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cooking Time: 40 min.
Yield: 3 servings

2 large yams, peeled, cut into ½-inch thick lengthwise batons
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. chili powder
Sea salt (to taste; optional)

1. Heat oven to 400° F.
2. Place sweet potatoes in a large bowl. Drizzle with oil; toss gently to coat.
3. Season with chili powder and salt; toss gently to coat.
4. Spread potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
5. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, turning once, until brown and tender.
6. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Tomato Pork Burgers

Tomato Pork Burgers

This recipe makes juicy, tomato flavored burgers that don't require any sauce to go with them - they are moist enough. Another good thing about this recipe is that the eggs are optional - if you don't have any at hand you can just skip them altogether, it won't change the taste much. You will need to blend fresh tomatoes, though, so you do need to have a blender of some kind handy. If you can get a hold of cherry tomatoes - it'll work even better but generally any ripe tomatoes will work. The trick is to soak the oats in tomato juice and then mix them with the ground pork (you can use any ground meat).


* 2 pounds ( 1kg ) ground pork
* 4 oz ( 120g ) steel cut oats
* 1-2 small ripe tomatoes
* 3 egg yolks (optional)
* pepper, salt, garlic powder for taste


1. Blend tomatoes into tomato juice.
2. Pour tomato juice into a bowl and season with pepper, salt and garlic powder for taste.
3. Stir in the oats and let them absorb into the juice.
4. Add meat and mix well. Let soak for a few minutes.
5. Split into 4 or 6 portions.
6. Make them into burgers. Cling film the burgers you are won’t be cooking for later and keep in the freezer for up to a month.
7. Bake in the oven at 200 ºC/392 ºF uncovered until cooked through. 30 min 15 min each side.

Nutrition Facts:

6 burgers / 190g whole thing
300 Calories per portion
44g protein
8g fat
13g carbohydrates + Low in sodium

+ Very low in sugar
+ High in niacin
+ High in phosphorus
+ High in riboflavin
+ Very high in selenium
+ Very high in thiamin
+ High in vitamin B6

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Savory Irish Oats with Turkey Bacon, Cheddar, and Chives

It’s time to ditch the notion that oatmeal is only a sweet breakfast to be topped with maple syrup, raisins, or berries. Oatmeal’s neutral flavor profile is perfect for savory dishes as well, and leaves lots of room for creativity. Start thinking of oatmeal in the same way you would polenta or grits, which are often topped with braised meats, sautéed mushrooms, or grilled shrimp.

For this savory oatmeal recipe, we riffed on our favorite baked potato toppings. These steel cut Irish oats are cooked with vegetable broth and almond milk, then topped with turkey bacon, sharp cheddar cheese, and sliced green onions. The finishing touch is a dollop of creamy Greek yogurt. Crack some fresh pepper over everything, if you’re so inclined, grab a spoon, and dig in.

You see? Eggs aren’t the only option for a savory breakfast anymore. Although, a sunny side up or soft boiled egg would make a incredible topper to this breakfast bowl.

Savory Irish Oats with Turkey Bacon, Cheddar, and Chives

Total Time: 45 min.
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cooking Time: 30 min.
Yield: 4 servings

3 cups low-sodium organic vegetable broth
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup dry steel-cut oats
1 dash sea salt (or Himalayan salt)
6 slices cooked turkey bacon, chopped
¼ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
¼ cup finely chopped fresh chives
¼ cup reduced-fat (2%) plain Greek yogurt

1. Bring broth and almond milk to a boil in medium saucepan over high heat.
2. Add oats and salt. Return to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring occasionally, for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat.
3. Add turkey bacon, cheese, and chives; mix well.
4. Evenly divide porridge between four serving bowls. Top each bowl with 1 Tbsp. yogurt; serve immediately.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Spaghetti Squash with Tomatoes and Mushrooms

It wouldn’t be too much of an exaggeration to say that spaghetti squash is a magical vegetable. Slice it in half, roast it an oven – and voila! – this yellow, football-shaped sqaush turns into perfect strands of spaghetti. All you have to do is run your fork through the flesh to separate the strands, then top with your favorite sauce or vegetables.

In this recipe we sauteéd onions, mushrooms, and cherry tomatoes with white wine and finished it with fresh herbs and shaved parmesan. If you’ve never tried spaghetti squash before, now’s your chance! It’s a tasty way to enjoy pasta without the excess carbs. Give it a try and tell me what you think in the comments.

Total Time: 1 hr.
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cooking Time: 45 min.
Yield: 3 servings

1 medium spaghetti squash (about 3 lbs.)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ cup sliced mushrooms
½ cup white wine
½ cup cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
4 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
3 Tbsp. shredded Parmesan cheese

Optional Ingredients:
Chopped parsley (for garnish)
6 oz. diced Chicken Breast
6 oz. Broiled Salmon

1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Place squash on parchment-lined baking sheet. Poke squash 2 or 3 times with a fork. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until tender. Cool for 20 to 30 minutes.
3. While the squash cooks, heat oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
4. Add onion; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until translucent.
5. Add garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute.
6. Add mushrooms; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until mushrooms release liquid.
7. Add wine, cherry tomatoes, and basil; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until soft. Set aside.
8. Cut squash in half lengthwise. Remove seeds. Scrape flesh into stringy noodles.
9. Evenly divide squash between three bowls. Evenly top with onion mixture, cheese, and parsley (if desired).

Multi-Grain Banana Pancakes

Make your weekend breakfast something special! These hearty pancakes are made with wholesome ingredients and are naturally sweetened with bananas and a touch of honey. They’re a good source of dietary fiber and have 10 grams of protein per serving. And, they freeze well. Layer leftover pancakes with wax paper and freeze. Reheat in a toaster or oven.

Total Time: 20 min.
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cooking Time: 10 min.
Yield: 4 servings, 2 pancakes each

1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
1 cup low-fat milk
¼ cup nonfat plain yogurt
1 very ripe medium banana, mashed
1 Tbsp. raw honey
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
3 Tbsp. wheat bran
2 Tbsp. chopped raw almonds
1½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. sea salt
Nonstick cooking spray
4 tsp. pure maple syrup

1. Combine egg, oil, milk, yogurt, banana, and honey in a medium bowl; whisk to blend. Set aside.
2. Combine flours, oats, bran, almonds, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; mix well.
3. Add flour mixture to egg mixture; mix until just blended.
4. Heat large nonstick skillet, lightly coated with spray, on medium-high heat.
5. Spoon about ¼ cup batter into skillet for each pancake; cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until bubbles form on top.
6. Flip with spatula and cook for 30 seconds.
7. Repeat with remaining batter.
8. Serve pancakes topped evenly with maple syrup.

Tomato Soup

Make your own tomato soup from scratch with this easy recipe! What goes better with tomato soup than half of a grilled cheese sandwich?

Total Time: 38 min.
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cooking Time: 23 min.
Yield: 4 servings, about 1 cup each

1 Tbsp. olive oil
½ medium onion, chopped
5 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups low-sodium organic chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
1 tsp. lemon pepper (to taste; optional)

1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat.
2. Add onion; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until onion is soft.
3. Add tomatoes; cook, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until tomatoes are soft.
4. Add wine and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and gently boil for 15 minutes.
5. Place soup and lemon pepper (if desired) in a blender or food processor; in 2 or more batches, if necessary; cover with lid and kitchen towel, blend until smooth.
6. Portion into 4 serving bowls.

Apple Cinnamon Granola

Apples and cinnamon are classic fall flavors, and they both come together to create this healthy granola recipe. It’s crunchy, sweet, and perfectly spiced.

Total Time: 1 hr. 52 min.
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cooking Time: 37 min.
Yield: 32 servings, 2 Tbsp each

¼ cup raw honey (or pure maple syrup)
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin organic coconut oil
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
¼ cup coarsely chopped raw walnuts
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. ground cloves
¼ tsp. sea salt
1 medium apple, cored, chopped
¼ cup raisins

1. Preheat oven to 325° F.
2. Line baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
3. Heat honey and oil in small saucepan over low heat; cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes or until oil has melted.
4. Add extract; mix well. Set aside.
5. Combine oats, walnuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt in a large mixing bowl; mix well.
6. Add honey mixture, apple, and raisins; mix until oats are evenly coated.
7. Place on prepared baking pan; spread evenly in a thin layer.
8. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, or until granola is light golden brown and crisp.
9. Cool granola completely (it will get more crisp as it cools).

Pumpkin Spice Latte

This pumpkin spice latte has half the calories of your favorite fall treat.

Total Time: 10 min.
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cooking Time: 5 min.
Yield: 1 serving


  • 1 cup nonfat milk
  • 1 Tbsp. pumpkin puree
  • ¼ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup brewed black coffee or 1 shot espresso
  • 1 dash ground nutmeg (to taste; optional)

1. Heat milk, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and extract in medium saucepan over medium heat; cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until mixture is hot, but not boiling. It is ready when there are many small bubbles on the sides of the saucepan.
2. Remove from heat; mix vigorously with a whisk until frothy.
3. Pour coffee or espresso into serving mug; top with milk mixture.
4. Top with nutmeg if desired.

The Importance of Drinking Water

Do I REALLY Have to Drink Water?

Yes.  You do.  We all know that drinking water is important, but the reasons why are not always so clear.  And with so many other beverages at your finger tips, it’s easy to bypass the plain, boring water unless you really have a buy in as to why it’s so necessary.

Reasons Why You Should Drink Waterwater-man

  1. Weight loss- Drinking water is one of the best tools for weight loss!  First of all, it often replaces high-calorie drinks like soda and juice and alcohol with a drink that doesn’t have any calories. But it’s also a great appetite suppressant, and often when we think we’re hungry, we’re actually just thirsty. Water has no fat, no calories, no carbs, no sugar.
  2. Heart healthy -Drinking water, a good amount of water, could lower your risks of a heart attack. A six-year study published in the May 1, 2002 American Journal of Epidemiology found that those who drink more than 5 glasses of water a day were 41% less likely to die from a heart attack during the study period than those who drank less than two glasses.
  3. Energy – Being dehydrated can sap your energy and make you feel tired — even mild dehydration of as little as 1 or 2 percent of your body weight. If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated — and this can lead to fatigue, muscle weakness, dizziness and other symptoms.
  4. Headache cure- Another symptom of dehydration is headaches. In fact, often when we have headaches it’s simply a matter of not drinking water enough. There are lots of other causes of headaches of course, but dehydration is a common one.
  5. Healthy Skin- Drinking water can clear up your skin and people often report a healthy glow after drinking water. It won’t happen overnight, of course, but just a week of drinking a healthy amount of water can have good effects on your skin.
  6. Digestive problems- Our digestive systems need a good amount of water to digest food properly. Often water can help cure stomach acid problems, and water along with fiber can cure constipation (often a result of dehydration).
  7. Cleansing- Water is used by the body to help flush out toxins and waste products from the body.
  8. Cancer riskRelated to the digestive system item above, drinking water has also been found to reduce the risk of colon cancer by 45%. Drinking lots of water can also reduce the risk of bladder cancer by 50% and potentially reduce the risk of breast cancer.
  9. Better exerciseBeing dehydrated can severely hamper your athletic activities, slowing you down and making it harder to lift weights. Exercise requires additional water, so be sure you are drinking water before, during and after exercise.

How Much Water is Enough?

water-glass-headache-lgTo figure out how much water you need to drink daily, simply divide your weight in half and the answer is the number of ounces you need.  So for me, that’s 114/2=57 oz. which is seven 8 oz glasses per day.  If you’ve never measured out your water, be sure you do!  Most people think a ‘glass’ of water is much more than it actually is.  :) (hint: it’s more like the short glass, not the tall one)

When Should I drink my Water?

The best time for drinking water may not be what you expect.  Most of us are in the habit of having a glass of water with our meals, but this is actually not the best time for water intake.  At meal time, your stomach is filled with digestive acids and enzymes who’s job it is to digest your food.  If you dilute those acids and enzymes, they will not be able to digest your food as efficiently, slowing or disrupting your digestion.  Cold water makes this problem even worse.  It is recommended that you avoid drinking water (or other fluids) 30 minutes before or after your meals.  A few sips of room temperature water to help wash down your bites is ok, just avoid large amounts.
My daily water intake schedule goes like this:
  • One warm glass of water with fresh lemon juice first thing in the morning, followed by my workout and additional glass of water throughout.  Wait 20 min while prepping breakfast….
  • Breakfast.  Wait 30 min then…
  • Water, at least 16 oz.
  • Lunch
  • Water, at least 16 oz.
  • Dinner
  • Water, at least 8-10 oz (can’t drink too much before bed!!)
  • Bed

What’s This I Hear About Lemon Water?

lemonWarm lemon water in the morning helps kickstart the digestion process for the day.  There are many health benefits of lemons that have been known for centuries. The two biggest are lemons’ strong antibacterial, antiviral, and immune-boosting powers and their use as a weight loss aid because lemon juice is a digestive aid and liver cleanser. Lemons contain many substances–notably citric acid, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, bioflavonoids, pectin, and limonene–that promote immunity and fight infection.
HOW TO DO IT: You should be using purified water and it should be warm-lukewarm not scalding hot. You want to avoid ice cold water, since that can be a lot for your body to process and it takes more energy to process ice cold water than the warm. Always use fresh lemons, organic if possible, never bottled lemon juice. I squeeze 1/2 a lemon with each glass and I drink it down first thing before I eat a single thing, or workout, etc.

Can I Add Anything to My Water?

orange-mint-waterThere are lots of great things that you are free to add to your water to give it some interest for fun or if you are having trouble with plain water.  Here’s some suggestions:
  • Give a Squeeze: Add fresh citrus juice, lemon, orange or lime
  • Infuse: Fill a large jug with water, add sliced fruit (try citrus, berries, melon or pineapple); refrigerate overnight.
  • Leaf It: Tear up some fresh mint or basil leaves and steep in water before drinking.
  • Cuke It: Add sliced cucumber!
  • Tea Time:  Any herbal tea is a great way to add flavor and can be served hot or cold.

What About Coffee and Caffeinated Teas?

coffee_beansHaving a small cup of coffee or caffeinated tea is acceptable while eating clean.  It’s the stuff you put IN your coffee that’s often the problem.  Too much caffeine however has some nasty side effects so limit your intake to about 200 mg (2 small cups max).  Remember that caffeinated coffee and teas like Green or White are ok once or twice, the teas are actually quite beneficial, but the caffeine acts as a diuretic, so you will need to add a little extra water to compensate.

Crockpot Honey Mustard Chicken

Crockpot Honey Mustard Chicken

4 Servings
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 4 hrs 0 min
Ready In: 4 hrs 5 mins


  • 4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup whole grain mustard
  • 2-3 Tbsp soy sauce low sodium, non-GMO certified preferred
  • 1 Tbsp honey I use raw honey
  • 1 cup chicken stock homemade or low sodium preferred
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • salt & pepper to taste


  1. Put all ingredients into crock pot, and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.
  2. Shred chicken to serve.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Why are Excuses so easy....

Why is it that when it comes to our own Health & Fitness we are able to find the most excuses to not follow through? 

Your tired... 
You've been running the kids around all day... 
Your husband/wife got home later....
etc... etc... etc...

As a whole we all have goals. We all want to accomplish things, and for those things that are "TRULY" important to us we will find the time.... Life is busy. I know it is. Especially when you have kids and they start to have lives of their own. From sporting events, classes, after school functions, doctors appointments and more I get it. Our lives are busy, busy, busy! 

But what about you? Why is it that your own goals get set to the side to accommodate all of those other things? I have kids of my own, and their needs typically supersede my own. At the drop of a hat I would do whatever it takes to keep them safe, and as happy as possible. Its pretty hard to fulfill the "happy" part all of the time, but within reason I try. But what about your own "happiness"? I don't mean the joy you find in taking care of your family. I'm talking about the "happiness" you find in investing in yourself and doing the things that matter to you outside of the love and time you give wholeheartedly to your family and your children. 

For some that could mean the freedom to sit down and read a good book with a glass of wine. For others that may mean getting caught up with your TV series you've been missing. And for others that could mean working out, and taking care of your body.

I'm a true believer that taking time for yourself, even in the smallest doses..., everyday can make all of the difference in maintaining your sanity and your health. Working out helps to relieve so much stress and anxiety that even your own doctor recommends and sometimes prescribes it. Are you willing though to make the time everyday to exercise? Its not only healthy meals that help to take care of you. Exercise is a VITAL part of maintaining a healthy body & mind. Whether you find that time at home, at a gym or with a group you should make it a priority. 1 hour of exercise is only 4% of your day, and after all, I know that each and every one of us will find the time to do the things that are truly important to us.

So what can we do... How can we set goals, and KEEP them? Here's a few things that I do...

1. Utilize the SMART Goal Approach
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit... Aristotle

SMART goals have been utilized for years, because they work. Make sure your goals are:

* Specific: 
a specific goal will usually answer the 5 W's (what, why, who, where and which). Writing specific objectives helps to pull out your goal(s) so that you can easily identify what you want to accomplish.

* Measurable:
If your goal isn't measurable, there will be no way to know if you're making progress. You need to address the question, "How will I know when this is accomplished?"

* Attainable:
your goal must be something that you can realistically attain. I mean I would love to be able to fly like Superman, or learn to fly like a bird, but if I go and jump off a cliff I know that gravity will tell me otherwise. However, jumping off that same cliff with a hang glider will let me experience that...

* Relevant:
If your goal doesn't mean anything to you, then it isn't worth pursuing. Tie your goals to your deeper values to give them more meaning. Make sure you are behind the goal 100% so that you stay motivated to achieve it.

* Time Bound:
you need to have a Deadline, otherwise its just a dream that never becomes a reality. Putting down a deadline makes you more committed to bringing it to fruition.

2. Write your Goals down and Display them!
"I hear and I forget; I see and I remember; I write and I understand." - Chinese proverb

A large portion of your goal is already accomplished when you write it down. A study shows that among people who write down their goals with actionable commitments they put into weekly progress reports and shared with friends, 76% accomplished them. This is in comparison to a control group who were just asked to think about their goals. In this group, only 43% accomplished their objectives. Writing down your goals makes them real, they are tangible words on paper, not an ethereal dream in your mind.

3. Do your goals as early in the day as possible!
"The sun has not caught me in bed in fifty years." - Thomas Jefferson

If you study successful people, you will find that most of they time they accomplish even more before the sun rises than most do with their entire day. Get your goals done 1st thing in the morning to feel like you've started your day right. That way, you will ALWAYS find the TIME to do them.

4. Make sure that your goals EXCITE you!!!
"If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things..." - Albert Einstein 

Your goals need to be a source of joy in your life. They should be one of the main reasons you get out of bed in the morning. If your goals don't excite you, then you need to re-evaluate them.

5. Break BIG goals into SMALLER ones.
"How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time."

It's the same for big goals! Break them into manageable weekly and daily actionable bites. If you don't, you can sometimes lose motivation if the goal seems far away or to big to accomplish.

Now by no means are these 5 Goal Keeping methods out there, but they are the 5 that I focus on 1st for me. Each of us needs to find those methods that work for us. Your success depends on it....