Thursday, January 5, 2012

when life gets in the way

I was all set to blog today about cold and flu prevention. I was prepared to write about nutrition, supplements and exercise. Then it happened.


I woke up to the sound of my Sarah throwing up. That is how the day began. Without going into all the gory details there was vomit, a lot of time in the bathroom, a potty training 2 year old (Oh yes, today is babysitting day for my niece) and all my JR wanted to do was play in the one inch of snow that fell last night. Time check: 6:30am.

Adrenaline pumping hard, I was feeling overwhelmed, sad for my sick daughter, and definitely feeling sorry for myself.

We do that, don’t we? These daily things that bombard our day. We feel attacked. We feel betrayed. This was not in the plan. I stopped for a moment to wonder what the universe was testing me for. What was I suppose to learn from this? My little girl sick. I am now not able to do the things I had planned for the day. I had to try to keep my niece away from my daughter. My son still bugging me  to go out and play in a dusting of snow.

There’s hardly any snow out there.” I most definitely snapped at him.

Then I stopped. I realized that this was not the day I had planned, but this was my day. I could either complain about it and be miserable all day OR I could turn this around. So I did just that.

ASK FOR HELP: I called my Dad to see if he could come and rescue the niece from this crazy house. I knew I was doing her no good at all, and she was better off having a fun day with him then a day of me disinfecting everything and not letting her touch any of it. He said yes and I felt a little more tension leave my body. Asking for help is never easy. Aren't women supposed to be able to do it all?

LOVE. Care enough for yourself to know that it is ok to ask for help.

BE IN THE MOMENT: My sick little girl. It aches my heart to see her sick, and yet, it’s a virus and must run its course. That’s it. I have no say in that. My job in this moment is to comfort her. Stop pressuring myself to be “Mother of the Year” and just be her Mom right now.

DANCE. Move with the flow of life instead of always resisting.

As for my little man. He has been outside playing in the one inch of snow for an hour now. Having a blast. This one was my biggest lesson of all: LIVE. Play in the snow, even if its only a dusting. Stop finding excuses to not do things. Play now. Call a friend, don’t just Facebook or text them. Sing out loud if you feel the sudden need to do so. And always, ALWAYS tell your loved ones how much they mean to you.  Do it now, before that dusting of time melts away.

Monday, January 2, 2012

one change at a time

Happy 2012 !

The new year is upon us and the gluttony of December is over. The new diet and workout plan has begun for many. The truth is, most people that resolve to start the year healthy don’t stick with it. Why?

#1:  Your goals have to be well thought out and fit your life. Do not set out to run a marathon by the end of the year if you are not prepared to do the work. A simple goal of “losing weight” is not really defined, so how do you know when you have accomplished it?  Take a few minutes to sit down and write out exactly what you want to achieve. How will you feel when you have achieved this? Tip: The most HIGHLY successful people still do this…how do you think they got where they are? A clear view on your goals is very important at all times.

#2:  Nutrition. Your body needs fuel.  Marion Nestle speaks on diet in her fabulously interesting book, WHAT TO EAT :

 eat less, move more, eat lots of fruits and vegetables”.

How can we do this?

  • Start with small changes, add more fruit and vegetables.
  • A few weeks later really begin to watch those portion sizes and monitor your hunger. Many times we eat what is in front of us simply because it is on the plate.
  • Another wonderful, but simple change is water. Drink it. There is so much conflicting information on how much you need. Here’s the deal: just drink it. Start the day with a glass or two of water. Have a glass of water after each meal. Sip water in between meals. Only you know what your body needs. Now is a great time to get reacquainted with your body and its unique needs.

#3:  Move that lovely body of yours!! Walk, run, lift, do a Jane Fonda video! Just move! Those dancy dance video games ( Wii, Kinect. .) are a great and fun way to start! Hop on a trampoline for a while. The point is your body was created to M-O-V-E and not sit all day at a desk. Try everything until you find what feels right to YOU.  How will you know if you like Zumba if you don’t try a class? Find a gym buddy. Hire a trainer.  Do whatever it takes to make it something you can stick with.

Most of all:  ENJOY THE JOURNEY.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Land of Confusion


Don’t eat carbs, eat every 2-3 hours, don’t snack, eat every 5-6 hours, don’t eat fruit, eat fruit, coffee is bad, coffee is good for your brain…

There is so much conflicting information when it comes to diet. How is a girl to know what to eat?  The simple truth is : you already know.

For years and years  we have followed the experts and let them tell us what to eat and when. Each time we decide to get “back on track” we find the latest diet bestseller and decide that this time we will succeed. Then we don’t, only to cycle through it all again and again.

First you need to start with what foods you like. Yes I am totally serious! Grab a cup of coffee and sit down with a pen and paper and write down what you like to eat. Even the “bad” stuff.  The next step is to figure out when you are hungry. For instance, some people are not very hungry in the morning, so a small breakfast is good for them.  Just make sure that the small meal is packed with nutrition.  A small bowl of oatmeal with a little brown sugar and some crushed almonds on top OR an egg and a piece of whole grain toast.

Then there is lunch. I prefer a warm lunch, usually leftovers from the night before OR I make a big pot of soup early in the week and I’ll eat that all week. A sandwich is a great choice for those on the go, but make that sandwich at home rather than depending on a deli to do it. Make it a little healthier by putting some dark green lettuce (not iceberg) or some sliced radishes on it.

Play with your food. YES!  Play with it and let your kids try new things…if you have never had a radish EVER then buy some and slice them really thin and use it on that sandwich or salad. Just a side note for the parents: forcing kids to eat an entire plate of food is never a good idea. Having to taste something that is on their plate is.  Everyone knows someone that has bad memories connected to a food that was forced upon them. We want our kids to grow up with a healthy relationship to food. Let them choose what’s for dinner once a week. Have them pick a grain, vegetable and protein. Have them join in on some of these decisions and it takes some of the stress off of you.

Take the time to think about your day. If you notice by the afternoon that there hasn’t been any veggies in your meals so far, make sure to have some at dinner. If you already know in the morning that you are going out for dinner and will undoubtedly order your favorite spinach&artichoke cheesy dip, then eat smart throughout the day- lots of veggies, some lean protein, you get the picture.

We know that polishing down a entire pizza is not healthy. But if you enjoy pizza, have a slice with some salad OR that delicious antipasto.  It is all about balance, isn’t it? Truth be told, the more healthy foods that you incorporate into your day, the less room you will have for the unhealthy stuff. Keep it simple, but keep it fun.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Joy to the world



I love cookies. I mean, I REALLY love cookies.

Baking them. Smelling them. EATING them.

So what does a cookie junkie do when she is found to be gluten AND egg sensitive? Well, she obsesses with making the best damn gluten and egg free cookies she can. Each batch is a success when the Sweet Lovin’ Man of the House approves of the completed cookie, but ALSO when he can’t tell that they may/or may not be gluten free. This can be quite a challenge.

I have to admit that although this particular recipe was based on the flavor of a candy bar (Almond Joy to be exact), the Hubby had no part in tasting. I never knew he didn’t like coconut.  I love that I am still learning new things about him after all this time. That put the tasting part on myself and my 7 year old daughter, Sarah. She accepted her mission and did quite well. I have found my partner in cookie crime.

As I type, the house smells amazing, kind of like a warm coconut breeze with a short wave of dark chocolate. (I DID just make 9 dozen of these little babies for a cookie exchange tomorrow.)

Be in the moment – enjoy your treats! Even better, enjoy those treats with some great friends! 


Makes 12


1 Tbsp. ground flaxseed (or flax meal) mixed with 3 Tbs hot water, let sit for 5-10 minutes

1 1/3 Cups grated sweetened coconut

½ Cup evaporated cane juice

3 Tbsp. brown rice flour

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. pure vanilla OR almond extract

12 almonds

½ dark chocolate bar (I used Lindt 70% cocoa Smooth Dark)


1. Preheat oven to 325®.

2. In a bowl, mix coconut, evaporated cane juice, brown rice flour, salt, flax gel and extract until combined.

3. Using a cookie scoop (Tb size), form 12 round cookies and place onto lightly greased cookie sheet.

4. Place cookies in preheated oven and bake 10- 15 minutes until golden.

5. Remove from baking sheet and place on rack to cool.

6. Boil a small amount of water in a pot on the stove and place a glass dish that fits tightly onto the pot (as a double boiler). Break the chocolate into pieces and place into the glass bowl. Turn off the stove and stir the chocolate until melted. Drop an almond into the chocolate and using a small spoon coat the almond with the chocolate and then, using the spoon again, lift the almond out of the bowl and place onto a cookie, pushing it slightly into the cookie. Pour an extra spoonful of chocolate onto the cookie and cool completely.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Don’t gain that holiday weight


Healthy December Tips

  1. You don’t have to overhaul your entire pantry—small changes can make a big difference the next time you step on that scale, EVEN during the holidays ! Throw some wheat germ or ground flaxseed into your pancake mix. Add lots of veggies to your homemade pizza.
  2. Drink water!! In between meals and snacks water is the best and easiest way to hydrate your body. (Have you ever taken a look at the ingredients on those sports drink bottles? Ew.. I don’t even know what the heck some of that is!)
  3. Take some sugar out of your morning coffee if you know you will be indulging in sweets later on in the day.
  4. Snack on healthy little tidbits such as almonds, walnuts, celery, carrots or fresh fruit.
  5. Chew your food well. Digestion begins the second you start chewing, help your body along and you might just notice you eat less too.
  6. December is a fantastic time to get back to the gym. Yep, I said it. Most people who have fallen off the fitness wagon think about January and the New Year. But think about this…the gym is generally not crazy in December and you can use the next 21 days to form a perfectly good habit. January is crazy time at any gym. It can be discouraging trying to get back in the swing of things when the treadmills are all taken or you have to wait 20 minutes for a weight machine.
  7. December is chock full of office parties, home parties, and people just meeting up for a drink. Eat a snack/small meal before going to your shindig. Then when you get there, you can feel free to enjoy a cocktail and good conversation with a friend, network with colleagues, or just relax and the food floating around on fancy dishes won’t be the focus.
  8. Start you day with a vitamin packed smoothie. Grab your blender and chuck some frozen fruit, water, ice, a wee bit of plain yogurt and maybe a even a kale leaf or two and put turn it on!  People who start their morning this way tend to continue making healthy choices for themselves throughout the day.

Finally, one of the best things that you can do for yourself is to be surrounded by people who are supportive of your choices. Make friends at the gym.  Talk about healthy recipes with your family, even the kids.  Do one active thing each day to get your body moving.  Hire a health coach who can support you in figuring out what your health and fitness goals are.  Enjoy December and don’t put off your health until January 1. Begin it NOW.

Friday, December 2, 2011

simple gifts


The stores are crazy.  Everyone is stressed trying to find that perfect gift.  Maybe it’s because I grew up with a very crafty momma, but I love making gifts!  A plate of a loved one’s favorite cookies OR a basket of fresh, organic fruit. Seriously, have you seen the face of someone who feels completely understood and loved? Priceless.

Recently while visiting my brother in Georgia, we had dinner at the The Crab Shack. Great food AND the kids got to see some alligators. Fun place for the whole family!  At the sinks they had some really cool salt scrub to get the crabby-fishy smell of your hands (and to keep them touchy soft too!!) Once in the gift shop I noticed a jar of this stuff was $25.  No, I’m not cheap, but I screamed out “I can make this!”  The Hubby hustled me out before I embarrassed him too much.  When we got home a few days later I got to work in the kitchen, intent on making the most delicious smelling scrub I could. And I did.


Yummy-Easy-Hand Scrub

  • 1/3 C kosher salt
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • 12 drops of grapefruit essential oil

Mix together and use any glass container you may have already have OR run your booty out to the dollar store and buy a little dish.

Give it away or keep it for yourself..

You can use a superfine OR larger grain sugar, almond oil would be nice, then just nix the essential oil. OR if your giftee loves a certain scent, make it just for them! Sit back and feel the love!


A few other ideas for simple homemade gifts:

  • basket of favorite fresh fruit (seriously, think about the person you’re buying for – don’t buy pears if they hate pears.)
  • favorite childhood story, of yours OR theirs (not homemade, but simple and loving memories still the same)
  • their favorite tea or coffee


When someone receives a gift that is truly personalized for them and their likes it is truly amazing how that feeds your relationship with them. Feeling heard and understood is so powerful and that is the most gracious gift that you can give to anyone.

Happy shopping and keep it simple.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mini Pumpkin Muffins (gluten-egg-dairy free)

I just revamped one of my recipes yet again. I had really wanted to try to evaporated cane juice instead of processed, white sugar. I was able to cut it down from 1 Cup of sugar to 3/4 Cup of evaporated cane juice AND my sweet tooth has missed nothing! I made a batch of these to take down to my brother’s house for Thanksgiving, but now I am thinking that I better pack them in the back of the minivan so that I am not tempted to eat them all on the 13 hour drive.

be thankful, be loving, and be in the moment


Mini Pumpkin Muffin Yummies

About 32 muffins

1 1/4 C gluten free flour blend of your choice ** see below
2 tsps baking powder (gluten free)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp xatham gum
1 1/2 tsps ground cinnamon
3/4 C evaporated cane juice
2 Tb ground flaxseed mixed with 4 1/2 Tb water( let sit for a few minutes before adding ) this is how you make flaxseed "eggs"
1 1/2 C canned pumpkin
2 tsps vanilla (gluten free)
1/3 C melted organic virgin coconut oil

Prepare mini muffin pans by using small muffin liners.
Preheat oven to 350
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, xantham gum, and cinnamon. In a small bowl, whisk together the evaporated cane juice, flaxseed "eggs", pumpkin, vanilla, and oil. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined. Spoon into prepared mini muffin liners. Bake until toothpick comes clean and springy to the touch., approx 15-18 minutes.
Let cool completely on a rack and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Delicious!!


Now, because I love my treats, I think I am going to blend together some cream cheese and crystalized ginger for the frosting. Of course that part is not dairy free, but the dairy free part is really for my daughter who has a milk allergy. Feel free to make it your own!


** Gluten free flour blend I used was this

1 1/2 C brown rice flour, 1 1/2 C potato starch, 1 C tapioca starch