Have You Ever Wanted to QUIT???

Do you ever struggle?

Of course, we all do! But what about getting into a time period where you feel like you are struggling a LOT? Like you can’t see the end of the struggle? What then? When do you give up?

How about NEVER???

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Never give up in a struggle. Although it feels nearly impossible, remember that within the word “impossible”, lies “I’m Possible!”  You can keep moving forward. Maybe it’s inches or even centimeters but it beats standing still!!!

Think about your struggles. You are hurting and pushing yourself forward. Willing yourself forward. Painfully moving forward every single step. And with every single step, you wonder if you should stop. You ask yourself if you’ve had enough yet. Why isn’t it easier yet? Why does everyone else seem happy around me? Is it just ME? Am I a failure?

And it that word, you have the choice to give up or to fight! Because within failure comes growth. Change happens; albeit slowly, it’s happening. You cannot see a flower grow if you sit and watch it hour by hour, can you? But is it NOT growing? Or is it growing so minutely, that you cannot SEE it with your naked eye but over time, it shows?

That is you today. That is your struggles and your rewards for just staying in the game. Moving forward, one step at a time is key. No, you are not running but you are making huge steps if you are focusing on never giving up.

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The only true failure is quitting. Quitters never realize their true potential. They simply feel defeated and then begin again; only to quit where they left off before. That is not success. That can feel like insanity and rightly so, as it’s simply repeating the same exact process time and time again; expecting a different outcome.

But when you stick with it and you don’t give up even in the most challenging of times. You move ahead. You inch forward. And one day, you look back and realize just how far you have come. If you had given up, you would be in the same exact spot.

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Feel the FEAR Much???

FEAR

Such an awful place to live, right?

When you really sit down and think about the word, “FEAR”, what does it even mean? Is it real? Is it imagined? Is it learned?

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Yes, to all of the above. It can also be the one area that continues to hold us back in life. When you hear others tell you, “It’s only your imagination”, “Don’t worry, there’s nothing to be afraid of,” ~ do these help you put your fears to rest? Probably for a few minutes or even a few hours if you are lucky. But ultimately, you still have a deep seated fear that needs to be remedied to help us build confidence and cure the fears!

Most fears today are psychological.  Worry, tension, embarrassment, panic all stem from a mismanaged, negative imagination. When people tell you that it’s “all in your mind”, it only highlights the fact that they believe you are imagining it and your best action is to ignore it.

But fear is real. It does exist and it stops us from reaching our goals and gaining success in our lives. It stops us from capitalizing on opportunities; it wears us down physically; it can make us sick; it can shorten our lives and it keeps our mouths closed when we want to speak.

I grew up painfully shy. I would hear people whisper around me, “she doesn’t talk”, “why is she so quiet”, “if only she would open up”. All these comments did for me was to feed my fear of opening up. It kept my mouth closed because my mind would be so loud as to why I should not speak up.

“You have nothing interesting to say”, “You aren’t as smart/confident/pretty/talented/etc as these people”, “You will say something stupid and turn red with embarrassment”, etc. These were the real thoughts brewing in my head, among others and they were powerful reasons to continue feeding my fear of just simply speaking.

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It stemmed from my lack of confidence. But confidence in reality is not given; it’s earned. It is a talent we need to develop over time. We aren’t born with it naturally, but can learn it through the #1 fear killer of all: ACTION.

Action can cure any fear. You know the saying, “Feel the fear and do it anyway”? That is the only true cure for your fears.

Think about some of your biggest fears today. Many fear financial strains, job insecurities, public speaking and death. So what can you do about these issues? Just ACT! If action is in your control; it HAS to be done!!! The only time action cannot cure your fears is when the control is totally beyond your grasp. For example, a natural disaster or unplanned accident. While these are concerns among many, there is little you can do to make sure they never occur. The best you can do is to plan ahead in case they happen and then turn your attention to other issues that help ease your mind. Enjoy your life and loved ones, help others who are in need and pray.

As for the fears that can be controlled or alleviated by action, you must do exactly what you do not want to do most. For example, if you fear public speaking; then you MUST work up to doing just that. Sounds debilitating doesn’t it? But it does work and I promise you that the fear is worse than the actual action in the long run.

How did I cure my awful fear of shyness? I pushed myself to talking and learning how to grow my confidence by doing what I love and helping others instead. So turning the attention OFF of me and then jumping into the issues that held me back. I loved my fitness classes and was constantly being asked to lead a class…this scared the heck out of me but I decided my desire to do what I loved was more important than the fear I held so I learned from those who knew and stumbled my way through some rather awkward classes…

But guess what?

I eventually began to grow in confidence with my knowledge which in turn allowed me to take on more challenges and chip away at the fears little by little. I can now stand in front of hundreds of people if needed and speak with little fear. How? By planning on what I will talk about, learning as much as I need to know about talking through the topics and just DOING it. Feel the fear and do it anyway. This isn’t a quote to be passed by lightly. It is the truth in all of our lives. We all have fear and insecurities. If you let those fears hold you back, you are letting yourself down from some amazing successes and joys.

I hadn’t realized how far I had moved away from my fear of being shy until a few years ago. I reconnected with a friend I knew in preschool. This friend was someone I always remembered well as being one of my closest and dearest childhood friends. I remembered her fondly and would sometimes wonder where she was and where her life had taken her. It was at a 5K run a few years back that I found her again. Small world, right? After my race, I scanned the results lists that were posted regarding the runners and how they had placed in the race. As I read through the names, I spotted HER name!! What an exciting feeling!! Where could she be??  At the awards ceremony, I saw her and ran up to ask if she remembered me and she did!!! It was truly an exciting time and as we talked, we exchanged numbers and contact information. We later planned to run another race together and on our drive to the location that day, she turned to me (who had been talking most of the trip) and asked me the big question, “Kathy, you were SOOO shy when we were young. Like, painfully shy. I don’t know if I ever recall you talking at all!! What happened to you????”

It was at THAT moment when I realized exactly how far I had come. I did not allow my fear to take over my life and stop me from reaching any goal or any challenge I set out to meet. It is possible for you today too. Feel YOUR fears and take action on making them a distant memory for you too.  Start today and do it NOW! Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 11.03.15 AM

Love is All Things Chocolate!!!

Onto day #2 of my streeeetch the chicken for my family meal plan…(was that ONE word or more?? lol)

And how do you pronounce “streeeetch”??

Anyway, onto more important matters. I made soup. Yes, I did. Now the directions recommended that I boil the chicken bones in water all night long and finish them at lunch today. I am scared to boil things all night because I am a control freak and what if…..???

So, that didn’t happen.

But, I did end up waking up bright and early for my day and getting them on the stove right away.

They boiled all day. and why the heck did it seem like more than half of my broth boiled OUT???? Anyone else have this problem? I had it on low… That made me soup for tonight. Now, granted, I made a pizza from scratch and cut a salad and served that with the soup but I only ate the soup (do you EAT soup or DRINK it??) and the salad and it was amazing!! The cooked chicken was put into the refrigerator for meal #3 tomorrow 😉

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I’m proud of myself in taking on this challenge and cannot believe one whole chicken will feed our family of 5-6 (we have a guest staying with us for now so she’s our “adopted” daughter/niece!) for 3 nights in a row. Crazy, right? yep! (add in the pizza though!)

Aside from the chicken story, I love chocolate!! ….see how I just turned the topic around and changed it without rhyme or reason? That’s how good I am or how much I really want some chocolate. Well, what do YOU do when you want chocolate and you still want to stay on track?

You browse through chocolate stuff on Pinterest, right????

duh..

And I found this!! (the angels singing should be sounding in your ears about now if you are anything like me!)

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Who is going to be first to try it??? Not before ME!!!

Non-clean chocolatey version: grandma’s delicious no bake chocolate oatmeal cookies. They’re quick, easy, and ready in minutes. And everyone loves them.
Here are the ingredients to my traditional recipe…the one I used for years:

  • 2cups of sugar
  • ¼ cup of cocoa
  • ½ cup of milk
  • 1 stick of butter
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • 2½-3 cups of quick oats

The clean version called for:

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ cup coconut oil (you could also substitute butter)
  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • ½ cup chopped nuts, raisins, or dried cranberries
  • 1 ¼ cups dark chocolate chips (or regular semi-sweet chocolate chips, if you prefer)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

How To Streeetch Your Family Meals

So, I’ve been doing some research regarding family meals and how to save money while getting MORE out of your purchases. One staple that seems to go so quickly is proteins and meats, right?

So, I am taking on a challenge to feed my family of 6 on 1 whole chicken for 3 dinners.

Now, this will be interesting bcuz I’ll have you know that I have been a doubter!!! LOL

But I’m always up for a challenge and this one wouldn’t be any different than any other challenge I take on…

As long as I do my best, I know something good will come out of it 😉

Okay, so here goes…

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Here’s one whole chicken…uncut cuz it’s cheaper that way 😉

Then, cut up the chicken and place everything into a ziplock bag and keep the breast to use for dinner #1.

 

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So, here goes nothin’. I chopped up the chicken breast as small as possible. First, I cut in in half length-wise and then in strips and then in small chunks. I cooked it up in a bit of olive oil. Then I sauteed onions, red bellpeppers, carrots and any other veggies I had on hand. I also boiled a pot full of brown rice on the side.

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The chicken and veggies simmered for awhile on low and I added some seasonings and a bit of Bragg’s Aminos and some hot sauce for some extra kick. Added a large salad and some bread and avocado for the family…(I passed on the bread, thank you very much!)

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But overall, it turned out to be a great hit and everyone complimented the flavors so I would say they liked it enough!! I’m eager for the next 2 meals now and will be sharing that with you too!!

Would saving money and feeding the family right make your life easier? I think so!

 

Who Wants ABS? (or maybe I should just ask who doesn’t to weed out the non-committed folks!) :)

IMG_0953This is for all the beautiful people who have been dreaming and wishing and hoping to one day have a sexy midsection! Is that YOU?? I am pretty sure it’s most of the population! LOL

When it comes to creating incredible abs, even the most effective workout programs can only bring you so far. That’s because you can’t get a flat, hard midsection without losing body fat. No matter how much effort you put into creating a six-pack, no one’s going to see it if it’s covered by a layer of flab.

Seriously, I know! I’ve worked out so intensely and so often that if this was a proven method, I’d have had a six pack for most of you reading this today! 😉  But, alas, foods are the KEY to getting those abs to POP!

If you’re following the dietary guidelines of a fitness program, you’ll automatically be eating the right foods to lose fat as you get in shape. But the following seven principles can give you an extra edge, and will help ensure that the effort you’re putting into your abs will bring you the results you want.

1. Get plenty of protein
Eating enough lean protein promotes fat loss and muscle gain, the two most important elements for developing great abs. It also helps keep you from getting hungry while you’re eating right. You don’t have to gobble down 12-ounce steaks—just eat a normal portion of lean meat, fish, low-fat dairy, or vegetarian protein with every meal, and make sure your snacks contain some protein, too. If you still have a hard time getting enough in your diet, a daily Shakeology shake can be a perfect addition.

By the way, protein is especially important in the morning, when a lot of people don’t get as much as they should. A protein-rich breakfast will help keep your blood sugar steady for hours, preventing the dips that can lead to cravings later in the day. (Try some low-fat chicken sausage, or an omelet with one whole egg and three egg whites, along with fruit or whole-grain toast.) Tell me how much protein do YOU get each day? I see and talk with so many women who DON’T bcuz they think it will “bulk” them up….

NOT! Get that protein in yo face asap! 😉

2.Reconsider your carbs.
Despite the popularity of low-carbohydrate diets, the average American meal is still too high in sugar and fast-burning starches to bring body fat down to ab-baring levels. It’s time to say goodbye to sweetened soda, ditch the Doritos, and save the cake for your birthday. DUH!  If your fitness plan calls for a sports drink before a long cardio workout, or a carb-and-protein recovery drink after resistance training, that’s fine. But the rest of the time, stick with foods that are on the low end of the glycemic index (refer to GlycemicIndex.com for more information)—these foods burn more slowly, so they won’t spike your blood sugar and insulin levels.

3. Have fun with fiber.
Something about the word “fiber” just doesn’t sound appetizing. But high-fiber foods can actually be quite delicious: fresh berries and other fruits, salads loaded with colorful produce, your favorite steamed vegetables or vegetable soup, stews or chili made with beans, chewy whole-grain breads and cereals…You get the picture. (These foods just happen to be loaded with nutrients as well.) High-fiber foods keep you fuller with fewer calories, and they help keep your digestive system working at its best—a double-whammy for getting rid of belly bulge. And “double-whammy” is such a fun word to use that I encourage you to try it out a few times this week!

4. Enjoy some yogurt.
Probiotics, the healthful bacteria found in yogurt and other fermented foods, have been proven to help reduce belly fat. In a recent study in Finland, new mothers who took probiotic supplements averaged smaller waist circumferences—and lower body fat in general—than those who didn’t take probiotic supplements. And while the topic is still controversial, studies have found that eating lots of calcium-rich dairy foods like yogurt may increase overall weight loss. It’s why I eat Greek yogurt and drink my Shakeology DAILY!!

5. Don’t forget to eat.
Tempted to lower your daily calorie count by skipping meals? Don’t. Seriously, I cannot tell you how many women tell me that they don’t know why they aren’t losing weight; since they only eat maybe 1 time a day!!! EXCUSE MOI??????

Going hungry can raise your levels of the stress-related hormone cortisol, which research has found can increase belly fat even in otherwise thin women. And eating too infrequently can lower your metabolism and energy levels, while increasing the chance that you’ll get too hungry and decide to chuck your meal plan entirely. If you’re eating the right foods, regular meals and snacks will keep your body fueled while you’re working toward that strong core. You MUST eat!!! It’s the ONLY way! 😉

6. Drink more fluids. Hydration is important when you’re on a fitness plan, but drinking plenty of water has particular benefits for your midsection. It helps keep your stomach full, so you don’t overeat, and it helps flush out excess sodium to prevent belly bloating. (Eating more potassium-rich foods, such as tomatoes and bananas, will also help in this area.) Plain ol’ H20 can’t be beat, but you can also switch it up with flavored waters, iced tea, and anything else you like to drink that isn’t full of sweeteners. How much do you need? The old rule of 8 glasses a day is a good start, but everyone is different: drink more if you’re exercising or it’s hot out, and drink less if you’re running to the bathroom every 5 minutes.  I will challenge you to drink the recommended amount for fit individuals; 1/2 your body weight in ounces!! So for someone who is 150 lbs; they would need to drink at least 75 oz of water every day! Or a gallon if you are really up to the challenge!

7. …With two exceptions.
It’s time to cut down on those mood-altering substances, coffee and alcohol. Too much caffeine raises your cortisol levels and can impair your sleep, which can lower the production of fitness-promoting hormones. Meanwhile, the proverbial “beer belly” isn’t just the result of extra calories—alcohol actually makes it more difficult for your body to metabolize carbs and fat. Booze also stimulates your appetite and lowers your inhibitions, which can lead to bingeing. The best road to flat abs is no alcohol at all, but if you really like a drink now and then, just have one at a time (and no more than a few a week), and stay away from higher-calorie beers and sugary mixed drinks. Something to seriously consider especially over the weekends, am I right or am I right? (you are SO smart! lol)

If you add these rules to your fitness plan, you’re sure to see faster improvements in your midsection. Of course, there’s an added bonus to eating this way: it’ll keep you healthier, too. That may not be as big an inducement as great abs, but that’s just  for free.

Do you need an added incentive? I have a BUSY MOM’S support group starting first of the month and welcome you to message me today for info on joining. You can succeed and have time for your family AND save money along the way! All thrown in for extra bonus!! 😉

Email me at: http://www.spazzykay@gmail.com

Pumpkin EVERYTHING!!! 17 recipes to kick off your Fall season!

Here are 17 different pumpkin recipes for you to try, but don’t stop there! Once you’ve tried these recipes, I think you’ll want to experiment with using pumpkin in all sorts of dishes. What are your favorite ways to cook with pumpkin? Tell me in the comments!

 

 

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Pumpkin Pie Shakeology

Make your Shakeology taste just like pumpkin pie! This healthy smoothie has a full serving of pumpkin, and tons of fiber to keep you satisfied for hours. There is a full serving of yummy pumpkin in this pie-flavored smoothie. Pumpkin is an excellent source of vitamin A, which is important for healthy teeth and vision.

Total Time: 5 min.
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cooking Time: None
Yield: 1 serving

Ingredients:
¼ cup water
¾ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 scoop Vanilla Shakeology
½ cup canned pumpkin puree
1 tsp. pure maple syrup (or raw honey)
1 Tbsp. coarsely chopped raw pecans
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 cup ice

Preparation:
1. Place water, almond milk, Shakeology, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, pecans, pumpkin pie spice, and ice in blender; cover. Blend until smooth.

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Pumpkin Muffins

Amanda Meixne  came up with this delicious, high-protein recipe for healthy pumpkin protein muffins that are just perfect for Fall.

Total Time: 28 min.
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cooking Time: 18 min.
Yield: 12 servings, 1 muffin each

Ingredients:
1 large egg
1 large egg white
¼ cup pure pumpkin puree
1 large banana, cut into chunks
½ cup all-natural almond butter
¼ cup pure maple syrup
2 scoops Beachbody Whey Protein Powder, Vanilla flavor, or equivalent
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. sea salt (or Himalayan salt)
1 dash ground nutmeg

Preparation:
1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Prepare twelve muffin cups by lining with muffin papers or coating with spray.
3. Place egg, egg white, pumpkin, banana, almond butter, and maple syrup in blender; cover. Blend for 30 seconds.
4. Add Protein Powder, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg; cover. Blend until smooth.
5. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups.
6. Bake 16 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown and tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
7. Transfer muffins to rack; cool.

 

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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

Ingredients:
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)

Preparation:
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.

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Roasted Pumpkin Salad with Lentils and Goat Cheese

This hearty salad topped with lentils and fresh pumpkin is perfect for fall and winter months. In other seasons, replace pumpkin with sweet potato!

Total Time: 34 min.
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cooking Time: 24 min.
Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:
1 lb. raw pumpkin, cut into medium-sized cubes (about 4 cups)
4 tsp. olive oil, divided use
½ tsp. sea salt (or Himalayan salt)
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1½ tsp. pure maple syrup
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
4 cups fresh arugula (or mixed baby greens)
2 cups cooked green lentils
2 Tbsp. crumbled soft goat cheese (½ oz.)
2 Tbsp. raw pumpkin seeds

Preparation:
1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
2. Combine pumpkin, 1 tsp. oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl; mix well.
3. Arrange pumpkin mixture on baking pan.
4. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stir; continue baking for 10 to 12 additional minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork. Cool.
5. While pumpkin is baking, combine lime juice, maple syrup, and mustard in a small bowl; whisk to blend.
6. Slowly add remaining 3 tsp. oil, whisking continuously until blended. Set aside.
7. Evenly divide arugula between four serving plates. Top evenly with lentils, baked pumpkin, cheese, and pumpkin seeds.
8. Drizzle evenly with dressing.

Screen Shot 2014-10-18 at 8.42.51 PMPumpkin Risotto with Garlic and Sage

Risotto is comfort food, pure and simple, but it can be loaded with high-fat ingredients. That’s why we created this delicious, lighter version with pumpkin, sage, and brown rice.

Risotto is comfort food, pure and simple, but it can be loaded with high-fat ingredients. That’s why we created this delicious, lighter version with pumpkin, sage, and brown arborio rice (if you can’t find it, brown rice will do).

Total Time: 1 hr. 10 min.
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cooking Time: 1 hr.
Yield: 6 servings, about ¾ cup each

Ingredients:
4 cups low-sodium organic vegetable broth
3½ cups water
1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 medium shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ cup dry white wine (or water)
1¼ cups dry brown Arborio rice
2½ cups cubed raw pumpkin (½-inch cubes)
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage
¼ tsp. ground black pepper

Preparation:
1. Heat broth and water in large saucepan over medium heat. Do not boil. Set aside.
2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.
3. Add shallots; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until shallots are translucent.
4. Add garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute.
5. Add wine; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute, or until wine evaporates.
6. Add rice; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute.
7. Add 1 cup broth mixture; cook, stirring frequently, for 6 minutes, or until liquid is almost completely absorbed.
8. Add remaining broth mixture ½ cup at a time; cook, stirring constantly. Add the next ½ cup after the first ½ cup is absorbed. (This will take about 50 minutes.)
9. Add pumpkin during the last 15 minutes of cooking.
10. After all the broth mixture has been added, add cheese, sage, and pepper; mix well.
11. Serve immediately.

 

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Vegetarian Pumpkin Curry

Don’t be intimidated by making your own curry! Our recipe makes it easy to prepare and oh-so delicious. This simple dish of pumpkin, bell peppers and fragrant fresh basil and coconut milk is ready in just 25 minutes.

Total Time: 25 min.
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cooking Time: 15 min.
Yield: 6 servings, about 1 cup each

Ingredients:
1 cup canned light coconut milk, divided use
2 Tbsp. vegetarian red curry paste
2 cups low-sodium organic vegetable (or chicken) broth
½ tsp. sea salt (or Himalayan salt)
1 lb. raw pumpkin, cut into large cubes (about 3½ cups)
½ medium red bell pepper, sliced
4 kaffir lime leaves (optional)
½ cup chopped fresh basil
1 Tbsp. black sesame seeds (optional)
1 Tbsp. unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)
3 cups cooked brown rice, hot

Preparation:
1. Heat coconut milk and red curry paste in medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until well mixed.
2. Add broth, salt, pumpkin, bell pepper, and lime leaves if desired. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring occasionally for 10 to 12 minutes, or until pumpkin softens.
3. Add basil, sesame seeds (if desired), and coconut (if desired); cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove lime leaves.
4. Place ½ cup of rice in each of six serving bowls and top with pumpkin mixture.

Tip: If you have an Asian market in your area, you will be able to find kaffir lime leaves and Thai basil (which you can use instead of regular basil).

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Pumpkin Chili

Pumpkin is the star of this belly-warming vegetarian chili that has only 96 calories per serving!

Total Time: 55 min.
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cooking Time: 40 min.
Yield: 8 servings, about 1½ cups each

Ingredients
1 tsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium carrot, sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Sea salt (or Himalayan salt) and ground black pepper (to taste; optional)
1 Tbsp. chili powder
½ tsp. ground cumin
2 cups low-sodium organic vegetable broth
1 (14.5-oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (15-oz.) can kidney beans, drained, rinsed
½ cup pure pumpkin puree
4 cups cubed raw pumpkin (½-inch cubes)
8 Tbsp. nonfat plain Greek yogurt (optional)
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh Italian parsley (for garnish; optional)

Preparation:
1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat.
2. Add onion, bell pepper, and carrot; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until onion is translucent.
3. Add garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute.
4. Season with salt and pepper if desired.
5. Add chili powder, cumin, broth, tomatoes, beans, and pumpkin; cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes.
6. Add pumpkin; cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes or until pumpkin is soft.
7. Top each serving with 1 Tbsp. yogurt and a sprinkle of parsley if desired.

Screen Shot 2014-10-18 at 8.43.12 PMChicken Baked with Pumpkin
This casserole with savory bites of lean chicken breast, pumpkin, and fresh herbs has a whopping 25 grams of protein per serving and only 182 calories.

Total Time: 34 min.
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cooking Time: 19 min.
Yield: 4 servings, about 1¼ cups each

Ingredients:
1 tsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 lb. raw chicken breast, boneless, skinless, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Sea salt (or Himalayan salt) and ground black pepper (to taste; optional)
4 cups cubed raw pumpkin (½-inch cubes)
¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh thyme
1 cup low-sodium organic chicken broth

Preparation:
1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.
3. Add onion and chicken; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until onion is translucent.
4. Add garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until well blended.
5. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Transfer to an ovenproof pan or casserole dish.
6. Add pumpkin, thyme, and chicken broth; cover.
7. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until pumpkin is tender and chicken is no longer pink in the middle.
8. Enjoy as is, or serve over cooked brown rice.

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Pumpkin Quesadilla

This is not your average quesadilla! It is stuffed with pepper jack cheese and spiced pumpkin puree and topped with all the trimmings. All for only 269 calories per serving.

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

Ingredients:
1 (8-inch) whole wheat tortilla
½ cup pure pumpkin puree
¼ tsp. chili powder
1 dash ground cumin
3 Tbsp. pepper Jack (or mozzarella) cheese (¾ oz.)
Nonstick cooking spray
2 Tbsp. pico de gallo (or chunky tomato salsa)
1 Tbsp. nonfat plain yogurt
1 tsp. chopped fresh cilantro (for garnish; optional)

Preparation:
1. Spread half of tortilla with pumpkin; stopping ½-inch from edge.
2. Top with chili powder, cumin, and cheese; fold in half.
3. Heat nonstick skillet lightly coated with spray over medium heat.
4. Add tortilla; cook, turning once, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted and tortilla is golden brown.
5. Place on serving plate. Top with salsa and yogurt. Sprinkle with cilantro if desired.

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Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

For a crunchy, salty snack, try these pumpkin seeds!

Total Time: 45 min.
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cooking Time: 40 min.
Yield: 6 servings, about ¼ cup each

Ingredients:
Seeds from one medium pumpkin, rinsed (about 1½ cups)
Water
½ tsp. sea salt
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
½ tsp. cayenne pepper (or garlic powder, seasoning salt, or 1 Tbsp. curry powder) (to taste; optional)

Preparation:
1. Preheat the oven to 300° F.
2. Place seeds, water (2 cups water for every ½ cup of seeds), and salt in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium; gently boil for 10 minutes. Drain thoroughly. Dry with paper towels.
3. Coat baking sheet with oil; spread pumpkin seeds on baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until seeds are lightly browned. Let cool completely.

Tip: For flavored seeds, coat with one or more suggested spices before baking.

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Pumpkin Pizza

Create this beautiful gourmet pie for your next family pizza night

and listen to the oohs and ahhs! Making fresh roasted pumpkin puree is totally worth the effort, but canned puree tastes great too!

Total Time: 18 min.
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cooking Time: 8 min.
Yield: 8 servings, 1 slice each

Ingredients for Pizza Dough:
¼ oz. active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (100 – 110° F.)
2 tsp. sugar
3 – 3¼ cups whole wheat flour, divided use
½ tsp. fine sea salt (or Himalayan salt)
2 tsp. olive oil, divided use
Nonstick cooking spray

 

 

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Ingredients for Pizza:

1½ cups fresh roasted (or canned) pumpkin puree
¾ tsp. curry powder
2 Tbsp. low-sodium organic vegetable (or chicken) broth
1 tsp. olive oil
2 cups chopped kale, stems removed
1 medium red onion, chopped, caramelized (see tips)
¼ cup crumbled feta cheese

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For Pizza Dough:

1. Place yeast, water, and sugar in a medium bowl. Let stand for 10 minutes, or until yeast becomes foamy.
2. Combine 3 cups flour and salt in a small bowl. Gradually add flour mixture to yeast mixture. Mix with clean hands until mixture does not stick to your hands. Add additional flour if needed. Roll dough into a ball. Brush with ½ tsp. oil. Place in a bowl; cover with a towel. Let rise for 2 hours.
3. Punch down dough to remove air; knead and roll into a ball. Brush with ½ tsp. oil. Place in a bowl; cover with a towel. Let rise for an additional 2 hours.
4. Preheat oven to 450° F.
5. Roll dough until it will no longer stretch. Let rest for 5 minutes. Continue to roll until it reaches your desired diameter, about 10 to 12-inches, and about ½-inch thick. Place on baking pan lightly coated with spray.
6. Brush with remaining 1 tsp. oil.

For Pizza:
1. While pizza dough is resting, combine pumpkin, curry powder, and broth in a medium bowl; mix well. Set aside.
2. Heat oil in medium skillet over medium-high heat.
3. Add kale; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until kale softens. Set aside.
4. Spread pizza dough evenly with pumpkin mixture, stopping ½-inch from edge.
5. Top evenly with kale and onion.
6. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until crust is golden.
7. Top with cheese.

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Tip: You can make fresh roasted pumpkin puree by cutting a pumpkin in half and placing it on a baking pan. Drizzle it with ½ tsp. olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Bake at 350° F. for 35 to 40 minutes. If using fresh pumpkin puree, increase vegetable broth to 4 Tbsp. To caramelize onion, heat 1 tsp. olive oil in medium nonstick skillet. Add 1 chopped onion; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes. Once onions begin to brown reduce heat to low. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until onions are brown.

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Cauliflower Pumpkin Au Gratin 

This combination of cauliflower and pumpkin sauce has all the comfort of a creamy casserole without the fat.

Total Time: 58 min.
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cooking Time: 48 min.
Yield: 6 servings, about ¾ cup each

Ingredients:
1 large cauliflower, cut into florets
Nonstick cooking spray
Sea salt (or Himalayan salt) and ground white pepper
(to taste; optional)
¾ cup unsweetened almond milk
⅓ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
½ cup pure pumpkin puree
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
¼ cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs

Preparation:
1. Preheat oven to 425° F.
2. Place cauliflower on baking sheet that has been lightly coated with spray.
3. Season with salt and pepper if desired.
4. Bake for 24 to 28 minutes, or until golden brown. Set aside.
5. While cauliflower is cooking, bring almond milk to a boil in medium saucepan over medium high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium-low.
6. Add cheese, pumpkin, and mustard; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until well blended.
7. Add cauliflower; mix well.
8. Pour cauliflower minute into 8 x 8-inch casserole dish that has been lightly coated with spray.
9. Top with bread crumbs.
10. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

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Roasted Pumpkin, Sweet Potato, and Brown Rice Pilaf

This colorful side dish packed with vegetables is hearty enough to be your main course!

Total Time: 1 hr. 45 min.
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cooking Time: 1 hr. 20 min.
Yield: 8 servings, about ¾ cup each

Ingredients:
2 cups cubed raw pumpkin (½-inch cubes)
1 medium sweet potato, peeled, cut into ½-inch cubes
2 tsp. olive oil, divided use
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium celery stalk, chopped
2 cups chopped kale
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Sea salt (or Himalayan salt) and ground black pepper (to taste; optional)
3 cups low-sodium organic vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
1 cup dry brown rice

Preparation:
1. Combine pumpkin, sweet potato, and 1 tsp. oil in a medium bowl; mix well.
2. Arrange pumpkin mixture on baking pan.
3. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stir; continue baking for 10 to 12 additional minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork. Set aside.
4. Heat remaining 1 tsp. oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat.
5. Add onion, celery, and kale; cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until onion is translucent.
6. Add garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 to 2 minutes.
7. Season with salt and pepper if desired.
8. Add broth, bay leaf, and rice. Bring to a boil, covered. Reduce heat to low; gently boil for 45 to 50 minutes, or until rice is cooked and liquid is absorbed. Remove bay leaf.
9. Gently fold in pumpkin mixture.

Screen Shot 2014-10-18 at 9.15.04 PMPaleo-Friendly Pumpkin Bread

Warning: the scent of this paleo-friendly pumpkin bread wafting from your kitchen will make family and neighbors come running for a slice.

Total Time: 1 hr. 5 min.
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cooking Time: 45 min.
Yield: 12 servings, 1 slice each

Ingredients:
1 cup almond flour
¼ cup coconut flour
1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp. sea salt (or Himalayan salt)
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
⅓ cup coconut oil, melted
2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
¾ cup pure pumpkin puree
Nonstick cooking spray

Ingredients:
1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Combine almond flour, coconut flour, pumpkin pie spice, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon in a medium bowl; mix well. Set aside.
3. Combine eggs and oil in a large bowl; mix well. Add maple syrup and pumpkin; mix well.
4. Add flour mixture to egg mixture; mix until just blended.
5. Place batter in small loaf pan that has been lightly coated with spray.
6. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

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Pumpkin Coconut Custards

Step into fall with these pumpkin custards made with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and a touch of coconut extract.

Total Time: 1 hour
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cooking Time: 50 min.
Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients:
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
½ tsp. fine sea salt
4 large eggs, beaten
½ cup pure maple syrup (or raw honey)
½ tsp. pure coconut extract
1 (15-oz.) can pumpkin puree
¾ cup canned coconut milk
¾ cup unsweetened almond milk

Preparation:
1. Preheat oven to 300° F.
2. Combine cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt in a small bowl; mix well. Set aside.
3. Combine eggs, maple syrup, and extract in a large bowl; whisk to blend.
4. Add spice mixture and pumpkin.
5. Gradually add coconut milk and almond milk; whisk to blend.
6. Pour mixture evenly into eight 6-oz. custard cups. Place cups in 13×9-inch baking pan; fill pan with 1-inch hot water.
7. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until knife inserted in custard halfway between center and edge of ramekin comes out almost clean. Cool completely on wire rack. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Pumpkin Cookies

Bake a batch of these yummy pumpkin oatmeal cookies with raisins and pecans. Only 103 calories for two!

Total Time: 25 min.
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cooking Time: 15 min.
Yield: 9 servings, 2 cookies each

Ingredients:
Nonstick cooking spray
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
¼ tsp. sea salt
1¼ cups pumpkin puree
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup golden raisins
¼ cup chopped raw pecans

Preparation:
1. Preheat oven for 350° F.
2. Lightly coat baking sheet with spray. Set aside.
3. Combine oats, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in a medium bowl; mix well.
4. Add pumpkin, maple syrup, raisins, and pecans; mix well.
5. Drop by rounded Tbsp. onto prepared baking sheet; flatten cookies with a spatula.
6. Bake for 14 to 15 minutes or until firm.

Screen Shot 2014-10-18 at 9.15.27 PMPeanut Butter Shakeology Cups

Peanut butter and chocolate combine in a healthy version of this classic candy made with Shakeology.

Total Time: 36 min.
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cooking Time: 1 min.
Yield: 12 servings, 1 cup each

Ingredients:
¼ cup dark chocolate morsels
2 scoops Chocolate Vegan Shakeology
1 Tbsp. psyllium husk powder
½ cup pumpkin puree
6 tsp. all-natural smooth peanut butter, divided use

Preparation:
1. Prepare twelve mini muffin cups by lining with muffin papers.
2. Place morsels in microwave-safe container. Microwave on 50% power for 30 seconds; stir; microwave for an additional 30 to 45 seconds or until just melted. Do not overcook. Set aside.
3. Place Shakeology, psyllium husk, and pumpkin in a food processor. Pulse until it forms a dough.
4. Divide dough into 12 small balls; place each ball in a muffin cup. Press dough down into a flat disk with a depression in the middle. Place ½ tsp. peanut butter in each depression.
5. Drizzle melted morsels evenly over each peanut butter cup; spread to create a thin chocolate layer on top.
6. Freeze for 30 minutes, or until chocolate hardens.

 

 

How to Succeed Through Halloween Candy Rush!!

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Does Halloween candy call your name everywhere that you go this time of year?  Seriously, it takes up a WHOLE aisle and MORE in the grocery stores and is passed out freely a whole month before the actual day.  When does it end? Then there’s the office candy, the candy handed out to our kids everywhere throughout the month and then a plethora of candy that fills their Halloween bags on October 31st.

If you are like the parents I’ve been talking with lately, the candy from the kids’ bags slowly “disappears” sooner than it’s being eaten. Are you with me? I mean, as a parent, it is tempting to dig in to their bags whenever a craving hits or a stressful moment appears. But where does that get you in the long run? Don’t you want to make it through the holiday season ahead of the rest this year? Stop the pattern of having your “New Year’s Resolution” be an empty promise that has been made time and time; year and year again. This year, you can succeed. And I will help you. 😉

So, back to the candy filled bags from your kids trick-or-treating.  You can give yourself the permission to enjoy a few of your favorite (and worthwhile) pieces of candy. Allow your child to keep some of their favorites and get rid of the rest. I don’t really care what you do with it; whether you throw it away or give it away is up to you. As for me; I really don’t see the point in “giving” it to someone else so they can get the unhealthy sugar load that you chose to avoid.

Throw it away.

 

How many of you are like me in having ridiculous cravings for sugar that only seem to grow out of proportions when you eat sugar? It’s like a crazy pattern that can be stopped…but you have to be committed for the first 30 days and then I promise you, it will be worth the efforts!  I have to say that I no longer suffer from overly hyped up sugar binges any longer. (and if you knew me years ago, this was a ridiculous pattern that I fell into time and time again and only made me feel guilty and awful after the fact).

So many of you know that Shakeology is my go to.  The simple fact that Shakeology has helped to CURE my sugar cravings is enough for me! Sure, every now and again, my hormones tend to kick up an extra notch and I have a craving again but the problem isn’t even an issue any longer. I can now deal with the cravings by creating some fun and tasty recipes that I’m sharing below and it is like I’m “indulging” again but this time without the guilt! You may be rolling your eyes and thinking “how could this shake possibly take the place of the candy I want”; but I guarantee you that you try it and you will agree with me 100%….or your money back! 🙂

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Butterfinger Shakeology Recipe
1 Scoop of Chocolate Shakeology
1 cup of unsweetened Almond Milk
1 1/2 TBSP of Butterscotch pudding mix
1 1/2 TBSP of PB2 (or peanut butter)
Ice and Blend to Taste
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Snickers
 
4 oz almond milk
2T PB2 (or peanut butter, the more natural the healthier)
1T slivered almonds
1T Sugar Free Caramel syrup
1 scoop chocolate shakeology.
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S’Mores
1 scoop Chocolate Shakeology
1 cup almond milk, coconut milk or water
Ice to taste
Topping – 2 slivers of graham cracker and 2 tbsp of Marshmallow Fluff
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Malted Peanut Butter Cup
1 scoop Chocolate Shakeology
1 cup skim milk (or nut or soy milk)
2 tbsp PB2
2 tbsp Malt Powder
Ice to taste
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Chocolate Cake Batter
1 scoop Chocolate Shakeology
1 cup almond milk, coconut milk or water
1/4 pkg sugar free Jello Cheesecake pudding mix
Ice to taste
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Chocolate Pistachio
1 scoop Chocolate Shakeology
1 cup almond milk
1/4 pkg sugar free Jello pistachio pudding mix
Ice to taste
Nuts for Chocolate
1 scoop Chocolate Shakeology
1 cup vanilla almond milk (or water)
1/4 pkg sugar free Jello pistachio pudding mix
1 1/2 tbsp PB2
Ice to taste
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Frozen Mocha*
1 scoop Chocolate Shakeology
1 cup almond milk
1 tbsp instant coffee
Ice to taste
Mexican Chocolate*
1 scoop Chocolate Shakeology
1 cup almond milk
5 big dashes cinnamon
Ice to taste
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I love anything with Coconut and this recipe sounds amazing!
Chocolate Shakeology
1 cup of cold coffee
Coconut extract ( a tiny dash)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
Ice and blend
It is a great replacement to the toasted coconut Starbucks Mocha Frap!!! (those aren’t good for you anyway!)
What is Shakeology?
If this is the first time you are reading this and wondering what the hype is about Shakeology Check this out!

If I were to explain what Shakeology means to me this is what I would say:

Shakeology was something that I used think was to0 expensive.  I USED to think that I didn’t need a Shake to lose weight.  I used to think that I could do it all on my own.  I CAN do it all on my own but Shakeology makes it CHEAPER (YES TRUST ME) and easier.  I am a busy mom, we are busy with activities, school and work.  I always have really good intentions of packing every bag and snack but lets face it.  Life gets in the way.  We are running late, we over sleep and our kids don’t cooperate.  You have no idea how many times I am running out the door thinking, Oh I’ll just grab something along the way.  Then inevitably there are NO healthy choices and I’m stuck with crap!  Now my Shakeology is that quick easy MEAL (not a protein shake) that I can grab and go.  It tastes really really good and it is easy to make.  You can fancy it up by blending with fruit and nuts or you can go plain jane and mix with water.  You can shake or blend and you can make it a dessert or a meal!  The sky is the limit.  I also love that it is perfectly portion controlled.  We eat healthy foods but a lot of times we eat to much!  With Shakeology you get your serving size and you don’t have to even think about it! CONVENIENCE right there!!!!
Also, Shakeology has helped me to curb my sweet cravings and has given me natural energy.  Not the kind of energy you get from a red bull but the kind of energy that just keeps you on a steady state of awareness all day long.  It’s just down right good stuff!
It’s $4.30 a day for Shakeology and it’s worth every penny.  If you compare Shakeology to any other healthy meal out there you can’t find anything that even comes close to the nutritional value.
In my opinion it’s worth every single penny invested.  I am investing in my health which will effect my family, my health and our future!!!  Think long term, always invest in your health!!
Want more information on how you too can score Shakeology.  Contact me today for options!!!