31 Days of Yoga

During the month of October I participated in this yoga challenge put on by Grow Soul Beautiful on Instagram. Each day brought a new pose, some were a little challenging. I managed to complete every day with the help of my mini photographers :)

As you can see, a few of these shots were photo-bombed by my mini yogi! My boys actually really got into this challenge, too. Ryan, my main photographer, would say, "Mom, are you ready to do your yoga picture?" Brendan, 2, would say "Oh-ga? Oh-ga time Mama?" And my oldest, Nathan, could do a headstand better than his mama :)

If you're interested in participating in this challenge, the November challenge starts today! Open your Instagram app and search either @growsoulbeautiful or #yogaaday to get started. 



Mini Pumpkin Muffins

It's October! One of my favorite months of the year. Fall is in full effect and Pumpkin Spice Lattes are a plenty :) Last week I made some pumpkin muffins with the boys. They were just OK. Not great. They were a little bit chewy, I have to admit. I tweeked the recipe a bit and gave it another go today. I made them mini this time and added a crispy crumbly topping. Yum!! They came out much better than last week...

Mini Pumpkin Muffins

You will need:

For the muffins
3/4 cup oatmeal flour (I grind my own from oats)
1 cup whole wheat flour (or regular if you want)
1/2 cup sugar (raw, evaporated cane juice, etc...)
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 eggs
1 can organic pureed pumpkin
1/4 cup evoo
1/4 cup any other oil (I used canola, but I bet coconut would be yum!)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

For the topping
1/4 cup oat flour
1/4 cup sugar (or variation)
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup cold butter, diced
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare mini muffin pan with cooking or baking spray, or butter. 

2. Combine all the dry ingredients for the muffins in a medium bowl (flours, sugar, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice).

3. In another bowl combine wet ingredients for the muffins (eggs, pumpkin puree, oils, vanilla).

4. Fold wet ingredients into the dry ingredients just until combined. Set aside.

5. Add the ingredients for the topping into a food processor and pulse until it forms small pea-sized clumps (or cut with pastry cutter or a couple of forks).

6. Add muffin batter into muffin pan, filling each spot about 3/4. Top with the topping mix. Bake at 325 for 16 - 17 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for about 2 minutes, then remove from pan to a cooling rack.

This recipe allowed me to make two batches, 48 mini muffins. (About 41 of them are gone already.)

In other news, it's a new month, perfect time to set new goals. I found this #yogaaday challenge floating around on my Instagram feed so I thought I'd give it a try. This is day one...

Ryan, my four year old, took this awesome shot for me. I may not have a photographer everyday, but be assured I'm going to try each pose everyday this month.

Happy October!


Apples, apples and more apples!

Hello Friends! It's definitely starting to feel like fall around here. Finally, not seeing any 90 degree temps in the forecast. In fact, the weather has been pretty much perfect for the past week. So good, we decided to go apple picking last Friday. And twenty pounds of apples later, I've got a couple of recipes to share with you. 

Apple Crisp

You'll need:
6-8 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup raw sugar (or regular sugar, evaporated cane juice, whatever your sugar preference)
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
5 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
2/3 cup whole wheat flour (or all-purpose)
1 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Lightly butter either two 8x8 baking dishes or one 9x13 baking dish. 

2. Combine your sliced apples with the lemon juice, the 1/4 cup of sugar and 1 tbsp of the cinnamon. Make sure all of the apples are coated, then set aside.

3. Using a food processor, combine the other tbsp of the cinnamon with the remaining ingredients. Pulse the processor until the mixture has a pea-like texture.

4. Spread the apples into the prepared dish (or dishes). The apples will have made some juice at the bottom of your bowl, go ahead and add the juice to the dish. Cover the apples with the crisp mixture.

5. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until the crisp is golden and the apples are bubbly :)

To top it off, you'll need this...

Apple Cinnamon Ice Cream

You'll need:
2 cups half and half (or milk)
1/2 cup raw sugar
5-6 egg yolks (your preference, I use 5)
1 cup heavy cream
3 apples (Fuji, Gala, Jonathan, Delicious, your choice), peeled, cored and pureed
1 tbsp cinnamon

1. Heat half and half with 1/4 cup of the sugar, stir frequently with a whisk until it steams. About 3 or 4 minutes. Remove from heat.

2. Beat the egg yolks with the remaining 1/4 cup of the sugar until light in color. You could use a mixer, I just use a whisk and my muscles ;)

3. Take about half a cup of the half and half mixture and slowly mix it into the egg mixture. This will temper the eggs so they don't scramble. Then poor the egg mixture back into the half and half mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk until the mixture thickens, about 3-5 minutes. You'll know it's ready when it can thickly coat the back of a spoon and when you draw a line with your finger it stays intact.

4. Cool completely, then stir in the 1 cup of heavy cream. Then follow the instructions for your ice cream maker. About halfway through the ice cream making process, stir in your pureed apples.

My boys loved this dessert! Even more knowing that they picked the apples that went into it. If you have an apple farm near you I highly recommend going out and picking your own apples. I still have about 10 pounds of apples left. I see more apple butter in my future :)


Birthdays + Homecomings

Last week was a big week for our family. My husband returned from a three-month TDY to Virginia. It was a long, hot summer with three boys home from school. After two long days of driving, he finally made it home on August 31st. Which also happens to be my youngest son's birthday. What a birthday present seeing Daddy was for him!

All three boys were so excited to see him. He actually made it home one day before we expected. They were all pretty surprised, especially Nathan when Mike picked him up from school. So we got to celebrate Brendan's 2nd birthday together as a family. All five of us :)

Homemade pizza and chocolate cake were on the menu that night. I have to admit though, even though the cake was homemade, it wasn't exactly "healthy" per se (hello, 1 cup of butter!). I do know, however, that there wasn't a single artificial ingredient or preservative in it. It was really easy to make, too...


Homemade Chocolate Icing

2/3 cups granulated sugar (I used raw sugar)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup milk (I used almond milk)
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

Melt your chocolate chips, then set aside to cool a bit. In a small saucepan whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa, and milk; bring to a boil, whisking frequently. Boil 1- 3 minutes until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and transfer to a small bowl. Coop completely in the fridge.

Beat the butter until creamy, about 1 minute. Beat in the cooled chocolate mixture until well combined and fluffy, about another minute. Finally, add in the melted chocolate and beat again until well combined and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add more cocoa powder to taste if you'd like.

Spread on your cake or cupcakes. Makes enough for 24 cupcakes, or a double layer 8 inch round cake. Store any extras in covered in your fridge.


I'm happy the single parenting is over. It's nice to have our family complete again. We went for a really nice, fifteen mile bike ride this weekend as a family. It's been a while since I had a chance to ride my bike.

While I rode solo, Mike pulled all three boys -- about 115 pounds :) Two boys in the back, Brendan in the front. What a workout! Welcome home, Dad :)


Bye Bye Summer

Even though there's still a few weeks left of summer, ours has officially come to an end. My baby big boy has started the 2nd grade! I know this is cliche, but seriously, they grow up so fast. I swear he just started preschool not too long ago.

Before school started though, we did have the opportunity to go to Virginia for about a week and a half. We stayed in Norfolk, and also traveled to Virginia Beach, Washington DC and Richmond. It was my first time ever on the east coast. It was pretty cool seeing our nation's Capitol and even though they may not remember this trip because they are still so young, I think this was a really great experience for the boys.

Nathan's first day back to school was Tuesday, two days after coming back home from our trip. It was a race to get laundry finished, groceries picked up and last minute back-to-school shopping done. We didn't really have a chance to adjust bed times because of the traveling and what not, but eh, what are you gonna do?

I have to say the house has been a bit quieter since school started. Not that Nathan is a loud and crazy kid, but when they are all together it can get a bit crazy around here. I've been keeping pretty busy with the other two. In a couple of weeks it will just be me and Brendan, Ryan will be starting pre-K. Waaaa! Don't get me started. But anyway, with only two kids at home I can run outside again. Albeit, it's hauling about 80 extra pounds on my run, but at least it's outside and not on the DREADmill. It was a beautiful, fall-like day today. I'm SO ready for fall.

Since being back home from our trip, it's been so nice to cook in my own kitchen. Eating out is great, but really gets tiring day after day, not to mention the not-so-healthy options that are available. Two things that were a hit with the boys this week...

This was really easy, basically just throw together everything you see here... brown rice, black beans, homemade salsa, grilled chicken and onions, and avocado. Of course you could always add some grilled chicken or steak, too.

My boys LOVED these, even Nathan my pickiest. I found the recipe HERE. The only thing I added was flax seed for fiber :)

Hope you all had a great week!


Peach Frozen Yogurt

Watch out froyo shops, I just made my favorite flavor at home! It was so easy, if you have an ice cream maker you can make it too. All it takes is three ingredients:

3 cups plain Greek yogurt
1 cup puréed peaches (about two peaches)
1/3 cup sugar (I used raw)

Combine all ingredients until sugar is dissolved. Now its ready for the ice cream maker. Follow directions for your ice cream maker. Mine only took about 15 minutes. I put it in the freezer for about 30 minutes then served. Good stuff :)

(And I wrote this entire post from my phone, including taking/editing the photo!)


Blueberry Lemon Muffins

My boys wanted some muffins and we decided on blueberry lemon. Only problem, I only had 1/2 cup of flour on hand. I really did not want to pile all three boys in the van to drive to grocery store for more. So I searched my pantry for something I could grind up into flour. I first thought about almond, but that would take a whole lotta almonds. Then I saw the big giant bags on oatmeal. Bingo! I just put a few cups of it into my food processor for a few minutes until it was fine like flour. I went ahead and used the 1/2 cup of flour I had as well, because I had read that oat flour tends to crumble when baked (unless it is mixed with regular flour). So, here's the recipe. They turned out great!

Blueberry Lemon Muffins

3 tbsp melted butter (or oil if you'd prefer)
1/2 cup whole wheat (or all-purpose) flour
1 1/2 cups oat flour
1/2 cup sugar (I use the Sugar in the Raw brand)
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 cup milk
3 tsp grated lemon zest
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray or grease a 12-cup muffin tin or line it with muffin cups.

2. Mix together the dry ingredients in a bowl. Beat together the egg, milk, melted butter and lemon zest. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and combine just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in blueberries.

3. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins and bake for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for about five minutes before taking them out of the tin.



Things I like to eat...

I'm always on Pinterest looking for some ideas of what to eat, aren't you? Well, here's my own little roundup of some things I like to eat. Try them, if you'd like :)

1. Some of my go-to lunches :: tuna salad with cucumbers and homemade cilantro-lime vinaigrette on spinach; fresh fruit with a side of greek yogurt; sliced veggies with hummus and a hard boiled egg; BLT wrapped in whole grain tortilla with more cilantro-lime vinaigrette.

2. Snack time faves :: fresh fruit, usually with a handful of almonds.

3. Breakfast :: I almost always have an egg over-easy on a piece of whole wheat toast, but sometimes I'll mix it up with oatmeal, fresh fruit and chopped almonds.

4. Dinner :: usually consists of chicken breast, salmon and very rarely (like once a month) red meat. Usually I'll pair salmon with a fruit salsa or grilled fruit, a grain (like brown rice or quinoa) and some fresh veggies; roasted veggies with extra virgin olive oil and garlic to go with grilled chicken; and, one night a week I'll make pizza with homemade dough, this is the boys' favorite night of the week.


Omaha Women's Triathlon 2012 :: Race Recap

The Omaha Women's Triathlon :: June 3, 2012

This is a sprint distance, women's only triathlon with a 750 meter swim at Lawrence Youngman Lake, a 20 kilometer bike and a 5 kilometer run.

It is one of about 50 USAT sanctioned, women's only races in the United States. This year was the 2nd annual race and I feel honored and proud to be a part of the first two races.

I always get nerves before a race, but there is something calming about being surrounded by a bunch of women with the same goals and fears as me. This race included women of all ages, the oldest being 67 (!) to the youngest at 9 competing as part of a team with her family. There is such great camaraderie at this event. I mean, at how many races do you see complete strangers hugging each other before the gun sounds to start? That's women for you :) That is why I do this race.

OK, so here are the details of my race. First, let me start of by saying that my main competitor? It was me.  Last year, despite it being my first triathlon ever, I felt like I could have done way better. I went into last years race with a goal time of under 2 hours. I finished in 2:02, slap in the face.  So this year I was really determined to finish in under 2 hours.

The Swim
For the swim they had us start in waves, an under 34 group, a 35-44 group and a 45 and older group. The young-ins went first, then my group 3 minutes later. As my group is waiting for our start time, a woman next to me nervously asks me about the swim caps, if I think they will pop off during the swim.  In my experience, over my years of competitive swimming, I have never had a problem with my swim cap popping off. So I tell her confidently, Nah, shouldn't be a problem. Hahaha! Guess whose swim cap popped off 5 minutes into the swim? MINE! I kept yanking on it to try and get it back into place, but between all of my super thick hair and the new-swim-cap-talc it was just not going to stay on. I was hoping this wasn't a sign of things to come in the rest of the race. I stopped for a few seconds, tread water, and tried to get my cap back on. Note to self: Rinse powdery stuff from new swim cap! I should have known this, it's not like I'm a rookie swimmer. So, compared to last year, I finished 4 seconds SLOWER! I'm sure it would have been different if it wasn't for this. Ah well, you live, you learn.

The Bike
After the swim cap debacle, I made my way out of the water, stripped off my wetsuit and other swim gear and got ready for the bike portion of the race. Last year, this leg of the race was my demise.  It was hard. Very hilly and I had no prior bike racing experience. I borrowed a bike from a friend, but it wasn't a road bike. This time I had my own bike, a road bike, and I think it made all the difference in the world.  It was still hard. But I also had much more outdoor training this year.  Mike told me as I was changing in the transition area I looked very "nonchalant" and it looked like I was in no hurry at all.  He said all I was missing on my bike was a bell and tassels! That's me, though, I'm a very nonchalant, stress free person. Like I said, I wasn't really racing against the other women, I was racing against myself. And somehow I knew that the bike portion of this race was going to be better than last year. And it was, I finished a whole 12 minutes faster this time!

The Run
I think I was most nervous about the run this time around. I know my quads will be on fire and the first part of the run is uphill. The best part of the race was seeing my family's faces at the beginning and end of each event. I remember seeing them at the beginning of the run and telling Mike, "I'm tired!" He said, "Nah, you got this!" And hearing my boys saying GO MOMMY GO gave me the fuel to finish off the last 3.1 miles of the race. But, oh so hilly! I seriously didn't think I could get my legs to move after that HILLY 12.5 mile bike ride. But I did, and managed to finish the run about a minute faster than last year.

The Finish Line
It was surreal to see the finish line, it took me a minute or two to realize that I was done. People were handing me water, removing my timing chip, putting on my medal. I wasn't until I was out of the crowd of people at the finish line that I was like, "Oh, I'm done!"

And yes, the first thing I did was pull out my phone and snap a pic! :)

The Results
Swim (0.5 miles) 17:04
T1 1:48
Bike (12.5 miles) 55:29
T2 1:01
Run (3.1 miles) 33:26

Overall Time 1:48:50
Official race results here.

Compared to last year this is a little over a 14 minute difference! I won :)

And then I slept.


Jicama Salad

I made this last night...

I used to make this back in my restaurant kitchen days. Jicama is a root vegetable that is a little bit sweet with a texture kind of like an apple. I saw some in the store the other day and it reminded me of the salad we used to make in the restaurant.  Here is my version...

1 jicama, sliced
2 oranges, sliced or segmented
1 cup watermelon, sliced
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 lime, juiced and zested
1/2 teaspoon chili powder

Mix the ingredients for the dressing in the bottom of a large bowl.  Add the jicama, the fruit and cilantro to the bowl.  Toss it all together, and there you go.

It is so fresh and tasty. I served it along side cilantro lime ground turkey, black beans, brown rice, homemade salsa and avocado slices.


My day in a few pictures...

{are you on Instagram? if so, follow me! i'm @jkyamzon :)}
So, this is what was supposed to happen today... run at least a 5K on the track while the two older boys did their tennis lesson.  What really happened today... cuddled with sick baby on the couch for two hours while the boys did their tennis lesson.  Once the poor little guy went down for his nap I ran downstairs on the DREADmill while the big boys make blanket tents upstairs.  At about mile two, I started to get blisters. However, I was determined to get the 5K done so I took of my shoes and ran barefoot the rest of the way. I know not everyday will go as planned. Today was one of them.

Side note: Blisters, huh?! That's nice, since the triathlon is in less than two weeks. I don't foresee myself taking off my shoes during the race, so now I'm considering socks.

Aaaanyway, that was my day.  How was yours? :)


Step away from the can!

I love a good infographic.  Especially this one that explains why we all need to stop drinking soda, or pop, or coke, however you want to say it.  I mean, this isn't really breaking news, we all know that soda isn't the healthiest beverage option. But I like how it's all visually laid out to make it easier to understand the harmful effects. 

My husband stopped drinking it at the first of a year as a new year's resolution and hasn't looked back.  I stopped a few of months ago, but would allow myself a "treat" every once in a while.  But it's actually been a couple months since I've had any at all and honestly I don't miss it.  It's been years since I stopped drinking regular, or non-diet, soda.  But, diet soda is just as bad, if not worse, it turns out.  All that artificial stuff, our bodies just don't need it.  Step away from the can!  Nice knowing ya, Diet Cherry Coke :)

{infographic by Term Life Insurance}
click above link for a larger image


Plank a Day

First of all, I hope that all the mommies out there had a wonderful Mother's Day yesterday.  I sure did.  My boys made me cry with all the little handmade gifts.  I'm so blessed with all my little dudes :)

{me + my boys, mother's day 2012}
So, I can't remember when I first seeing this whole Plank A Day revolution thing, but I knew I wanted to get on board.  I read about it here, and thought it would be a challenge to get rid of the ole baby holder/kangaroo pouch.  I won't be needing it anymore, so why am I still holding on to it??  I seriously need to strengthen my core and planks are a good way to do it.  I've gotten much stronger core-wise since I started doing yoga once or twice a week, but I still have a way to go for a strong back and flat abs.  

So the ultimate goal is to hold a plank for for at least a minute, or more if you can.  I first thought, pshh, how hard can that be?? Then I tried it and I was losing it at 45 seconds.  But I kept at it and was able to hold at least a minute in no time.  That doesn't mean it's easy though :)

Try it.  Aim for a one minute plank at least once a day.  If you're on Twitter, like me, you can also follow other plankers using the hashtag #plankaday.  If you'd like, post some pics on my Facebook page.  Let's keep each other accountable!

{me, just plankin' around the house}


Keep Cool...

It's getting hot and my kids are always asking for cool treats after school.  Here are a few I think I'll try...

1.  Cream Goodness | How Does She?
2.  Watermelon Sorbetto | Indo Chine Kitchen
3.  Honey Yogurt Berry Pops | Joylicious
4.  Old Fashion Pink Lemonade | The Family Kitchen on Babble


Dig deep.

{endure necklace by endure jewelry co.}
Today day I did a brick workout as part of my triathlon training.  Per my training schedule, I rode for about 30 minutes then ran for about ten.  If you remember me talking about my last triathlon, you may have heard me say how hard the bike leg was.  It is definitely my weakness.  I could swim forever, I can run just fine.  But being on the bike sometimes makes me want to cry.  Some things that went through my mind during this mornings ride...  Dig deep. This is your weakness. Find your strong. This is a race. This is not a leisure ride. Ooo, downhill. Crap, another hill. Almost there. Use your legs. Hustle.

Those last two thoughts are words I say to my kids when they're on their bikes.  I took my own advice.  I finally turned the corner to my street.  I dropped off my bike at home, ditched the helmet, put on a hat and took off for a quick run.  I know the person who came up with the name "brick" workout must have also considered how your legs feel when you try to run after being on the bike.  I'm pretty sure I said this when I trained for my last tri, but it feels like my feet are cemented in buckets and I have weight belts attached to my quads.

Sometimes I wonder why I sign up for these things.  But to answer my question with a question, "Why not?"  If I can endure this, I'll certainly come out stronger on the other end.


Making the time...

{wall clock, uncommon on etsy}
One question that I get asked often is, "How do you find the time to exercise with three boys?"  That's a good question.  How does any mom find the time to do anything for herself?  What with the piles of laundry, the sink full of dishes, the dusty furniture, the drop-offs, the pick-ups, the meals to be made.  Not to mention the moms who go to work full or part time on top of all that.  

So, how do we find the time?  Let me rephrase that question, how do we MAKE the time?  We make the time to do the things that are important to us.  We make time to prepare healthy meals, to read to our kids, to make morning coffee (important, right?).  On the other hand, the things we need to find time for tend to get put on the back burner (read: laundry, dusting, etc...).  At least this is the way MY mind works.   Yes, cleaning the house is very low on the totem pole for me!

What I'm getting at is, if you are serious about your health and being fit you need to MAKE time.  How.  Here is what I do, the busy mom of three.

1.  Get up early.  I admit, I don't do this often.  I cherish my sleep.  But sometimes you need to leave your comfy bed comfort zone.  On one of the days on the weekend I'll get up at 6:20 and go for a run.  I'm usually done before my brain realizes what I just did.  Once I'm done I feel so accomplished and I can tackle the rest of my day.  Workout done.  When I do it:  When my husband is home and everyone is still asleep.

2.  Make a date with a friend.  No one likes to be stood up.  Make yourself accountable and show up.  Plus, working out with a friend makes it fun and before you know it you're done with your workout and caught up on the latest gossip.  What.  When I do it:  On a weekend or afternoon when my husband is home.  

3.  Make it quick.  A workout does not have to be very long.  All you need is 30 minutes.  Make it count though, a quick workout should have some intensity.  When I do it:  Naptime.

So, that's what I do.  Obviously my husband plays an important role in this.  He is very supportive and I am thankful for that.  When he is away for longer periods of time (military) I will rely heavily on #3.

Tell me, how to you MAKE time to exercise?


Baked Corn Tortilla Tostadas

I got this recipe from my beautiful cousin, Celaine.  She has had amazing success with Weight Watchers and I am so very proud of her.  One day on Facebook she posted a picture of these tostadas and I knew I had to make them.  They are so fresh and crunchy and healthy (and if you're counting points on Weight Watchers, they are only 8 points according to Celaine)!

This recipe is for one serving, so just multiply it by the number of people your cooking for.

You will need:

2 corn tortillas
1/2 cup cooked and smashed pinto beans
1 cup chopped lettuce
4 oz cooked chicken breast (I baked then shredded mine)
2 tbsp guacamole (smashed avocado with salt, pepper and lemon)
1/4 cup salsa (I made some using my new Magic Bullet) :)

To Make:

This is really easy! Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Brush your tortillas with a little bit of oil on both sides. Put them in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, depending on your oven and how crispy you want them. Make them crisp enough to hold all the goodies you'll put on later. While the tortillas baked, this is when I made my beans and guacamole, I already had chicken and salsa from another night.

Once everything is ready, just add half of the above ingredients to each tortilla. Super easy and really yummy! Enjoy! And thank you Celaine for the recipe :)

Oh, and this recipe (two baked tostadas with all the fixin's above) is only 385 calories!


Fresh Eats

Simple ingredients:
2 oz hummus
1/2 avocado
6 slices cucumber
1/2 cup spinach leaves
lemon juice to taste
salt and pepper
wheat bread

Easy to make:
Mash the avocado and mix with the hummus, lemon, salt and pepper.  Spread on the bread, add your spinach leaves and cucumber.  That's it! Enjoy :)



Just when you think you can't...

{ handwritten and manipulated in Photoshop by me :) }



I've gone and done it.  I just opened another Etsy shop!  That makes three.  Crazy?  Maybe.  But, I just couldn't help myself.  I've only added one item so far, but plan to add many more useful, and pretty, printables.  Like this one...

What do you think?  I plan on adding printable menu planners and shopping lists, too.

What else would you like to see that would be useful to your healthy lifestyle?


Four Things I Ate

1.  WARM QUINOA SALAD :: Delicious! This recipe has all my favorite ingredients, spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, kalamata and green olives, pepperoncinis and lemon.  I just made the quinoa in my rice cooker.  When it was done I sauteed it for a few minutes with the spinach, just long enough for the spinach to wilt.  Then, I removed from the heat, added the rest of the ingredients then tossed with a homemade lemon vinaigrette.

2.  SHRIMP PESTO PASTA :: To satisfy my craving for carbs, I made a homemade basil almond pesto to add to thin spaghetti and shrimp.

3.  BREAKFAST SMOOTHIE :: I love smoothies because you can get so creative.  I love experimenting with different ingredients.  This one has vanilla greek yogurt, soy milk, banana, blueberries, strawberries, almonds and a handful of spinach.  Sometimes I'll even add some cooked oatmeal.

4.  CHICKEN + VEGETABLE FAJITAS :: I marinated chicken breast in the same lemon vinaigrette above for about an hour.  Then I put it on my stovetop grill with some mini bell peppers and sliced onion.  I also made some salsa and guacamole.  Throw it all together with some pinto beans in a tortilla and enjoy :)


Quick Lemon Vinaigrette

This is my go-to salad dressing, it's so fresh and tangy :)  I also use it as a marinade for chicken or fish.

You will need:

1 lemon, zest and juice
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1/4 cup vinegar (I usually use red or white wine vinegar)
1/2 cup oil (I use canola or olive oil)
pinch of coarse salt, like kosher salt
cracked pepper to taste

I like to add the ingredients to a bowl with a lid for easy storage.  To zest the lemon and grate the garlic I use a microplane kitchen tool, if you do not have one a cheese grater works, too.

Add all ingredients to the bowl and whisk, or cover with the lid and shake.  Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

This usually lasts about a week in my fridge.  Enjoy!


Four Things I Ate

1.  BLUEBERRY PANCAKES :: Every Saturday is Pancake Day in our house.  Usually Sunday, too, for that matter.  These were a little special.  I ran out of the mix I normally use to make them, so I had to make some from scratch.  I happen to see this recipe on the back of my Chobani Vanilla Greek Yogurt package.  I only made a couple changes... I added one more egg, used a full cup of milk instead of 1/2 cup (the batter seemed a little thick to me), and no cooking spray (I have a super cool non-stick pan).  They were delicious!

2.  VEGETABLE SINIGANG :: I kept Nathan home from school one day last week because he was having tummy issues.  The only thing he really wanted to eat that day was one of his favorite meals, sinigang.  I normally make it the way my husband likes it, with pork short ribs, but the kids and I like it meatless.  Would be good with shrimp, too :) It happen to be a gloomy day that day so this nice, warm soup was perfect.

3.  BAKED CHICKEN WITH HOMEMADE BBQ SAUCE :: Since we've been married, Mike has whipped up this tangy and easy BBQ sauce.  It's basically a combination of whatever condiments we have in our fridge, i.e. ketchup, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, hot sauce, sweet chili sauce, worchestershire sauce, etc... Sometimes when I make it I'll add some orange marmalade.  We also had a side of sweet potato fries and Thai Crunch Salad.

4.  CHICKEN ADOBO WITH SPICY BEANS :: Mike made one of our family favorites for dinner last night, chicken adobo.  He used chicken legs (we've also used boneless chicken thighs) and cooked them with garlic, pepper, equal parts soy sauce and vinegar, and chicken stock.  I made a side of Spicy Beans, a recipe I learned from a college friend years ago.  Just get some long green beans and saute with chopped garlic, soy sauce and hot sauce.  So yum!  And of course, can't have adobo without rice.


Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

Homemade pizza makes a regular appearance in my house each week.  The dough is much easier to make than you might think.  I typically make the dough around lunch time then let it rise until it's time to make dinner.  And the more times you make it, you will certainly come up with your own style and way of making it.  This is how I make it... (or scroll all the way down to find a link to print)

You will need:

1/4 ounce Instant Dry Yeast
1 1/3 cups lukewarm water
pinch of salt
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp honey (optional)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour

Combine the water and yeast in a large mixing bowl
(I use a stand mixer) and leave alone for about 5 minutes until the yeast has dissolved.

Add the oil, salt and honey (if you decide to use the honey).  Then, about a half cup at a time, add the flour, mixing as you go.  Mix using the dough hook on the stand mixer, or by hand if you’re not using a stand mixer. Knead with dough hook, or by hand, for about 10 minutes until the dough is nice and smooth. 

Move the dough to a large, lightly oiled bowl.  Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place (I put it in my turned off oven) for at least 2 hours.

Preheat your oven to 475 F.  Punch the dough down to release the air.  Divide it in half, roll each piece into a ball and let rest for about 10 minutes (covered with the damp towel).  You can prep your toppings during this time.

Flatten each ball on a floured surface.  You can use a dough roller, but I like to do it with my hands.  Place each circle on lightly greased pans.

Poke holes in the dough using a fork to prevent air bubbles forming during baking.

I like to brush the outside of the dough (which will become the crust) with olive oil seasoned with garlic, salt and pepper.  Then add the rest of your toppings and bake for about 12-15 minutes.

And that's it!  Next time I make it I will take pictures to accompany this recipe.  You can find yeast in the baking aisle of the grocery store, usually above the flour.

Seriously, it's easy, yummy and better for you than take out pizza. 


Four Things I Ate

1.  Ham + egg muffin with strawberry jam on whole wheat english muffin

2.  Tuna Sandwich with Avocado and Spinach :: I didn't use any mayo, instead I mixed the tuna with some lemon juice, green onion and salt + pepper.  Instead of using mayo on the bread, I smashed up the avocado and spread that on.  Mmm mmm MMM!

3.  Salmon on a bed of quinoa with spinach and red pepper :: The Salmon was marinated in low sodium soy sauce, honey, lime and ginger.

4.  Blueberry vanilla smoothie :: Just some blueberries, vanilla greek yogurt, some ice and about 2 cups of non-fat milk.

What were some of your favorites this week?


Quinoa for Breakfast

As I was poking around Pinterest this morning, I came across this recipe for quinoa (a protein packed seed). I have always liked quinoa (still working on my husband and kids) and make it for dinner occasionally, but never thought about making it for breakfast.  This recipe was from the Martha Stewart website, below is my version with just a few tweeks.

You will need:

2 cups milk (I use non-fat)
1 cup quinoa
pinch of salt
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp cinnamon
8 raw almonds chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup fresh blueberries

Carefully bring milk to a boil.  Add quinoa and salt to milk and return to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for about 15 minutes or until about 3/4 of the milk has been absorbed.

Stir in honey and cinnamon.  Cover again and cook for about another 8-10 minutes or until most of the milk has been absorbed.  Add the nuts and fruit.

Now you have yourself a warm and healthy breakfast cereal.  Enjoy!

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Thai Crunch Salad

I've been seeing a lot of salads using broccoli slaw lately and they all look so good.  I've been trying to find one using a little less oil or mayo.  I wasn't able to find one that I really wanted to try so I made my own using all the ingredients I love in a crunchy salad.  The recipe below for the salad is for one serving, so you can easily multiply it.  The recipe for the dressing is two servings.

For the salad you will need:

6 oz broccoli slaw
1 apple (I used Gala)
10 almonds, chopped
1 oz cilantro leaves, chopped
1 green onion sprig, chopped

For the dressing you will need:

1 tbsp creamy peanut butter
1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
4 tbsp red wine vinegar (or rice vinegar if you have it)
1 tsp sriracha sauce
1/2 tsp sesame seed oil for flavor
juice from half a lime

So first, you'll need to get chopping.  I made little match sticks out of the apple, skin on.  Then add the apples, cilantro, green onion and almonds to the broccoli slaw.  That's pretty much it for the salad portion.

Then, in a seperate bowl add the peanut butter.  Zap it in the microwave for about 30 seconds to a minute to soften it if you need to.  Add the soy sauce, vinegar, sriracha, sesame seed oil and lime juice to the bowl and combine well with a wisk or fork until smooth.  And that's it for the dressing part of it.

Now, just pour half of the dressing (remember, this recipe makes two servings) over the salad and mix.  Top with a lime wedge to make it pretty.

It is so delicious. The almonds give it a nice crunch and apples give it a nice sweetness.  And get this... This whole salad, which is a mountain on my plate, is approximately 302 calories!  Yes, please :) Enjoy!

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