Wednesday, April 30, 2014

It's Peanut Butter Jelly Time!

Momma's PB&J

Luke & Hunter's PB&J

Who doesn't love peanut butter & jelly?  It's like comfort on a plate, right?  But it's time for an UPGRADE!  Step away from your white bread, put down your JIF, & replace your typical jelly.

Momma's PB&J - PB&J Chocolate Shakeology

1/2 cup frozen (or fresh when in season) strawberries
12 oz. unsweetened coconut or almond milk
2 Tbls. PB2 (powdered peanut butter)
1 scoop chocolate Shakeology

Blend & enjoy your picnic in a glass!

Luke & Hunter's PB&J Roll-Ups

1 whole wheat tortilla
1 Tbls. all-natural peanut butter*
1 tsp. juice sweetened fruit spread (I like Smuckers Simply Fruit or Polaner's All Fruit)

*The ONLY ingredient in your peanut butter should be PEANUTS!!  Skip the added salt, sugar, palm oil, blah!!!  I was a serious, die-hard JIF fan for life & thought I'd never switch.  But once I gave all-natural peanut butter a try, I WILL NEVER GO BACK!!  And don't be fooled by the "all natural" on the label....READ THE INGREDIENT LIST!!! It should only say PEANUTS!

Surviving Soccer Season & Eating Clean along the Way

I love soccer season, I really do!  It gets us all outside & spending Saturdays together on the side lines.  Our community soccerplex is in an amazing location where we have a gorgeous view of the Blue Ridge Mountains & the kids love that there are train tracks not far away & you can sometimes see a train roll past during games.  But now that we have 3 out of 4 kids in soccer, that often means spending some LONG hours at the fields on Saturdays.  Additionally, we have soccer practices 3 - 4 days during the week.  That means a lot of running around & a lot of evenings when we are short on time.

Here are some of my tips & recipes that help us fuel our bodies for best performance during these busy times.  You too can get through soccer (baseball, t-ball, soft ball, lacrosse...) season without depending on drive-thru meals or pasta 4 times a week!

PACK A COOLER!  For those long hours on the side lines be prepared with some healthy snacks to not only fuel your little kickers, but also to keep you satisfied & away from the greasy burgers at the concession stand!  Throw in healthy choices that will fuel the whole family, be easy to eat, and not be super messy...though I always recommend carrying a package of baby wipes & hubbies make messes, that's a fact, Jack!

-fresh fruit
-veggies & hummus
-sliced fruit & all-natural peanut butter or almond butter
-whole grain wraps with all-natural peanut butter & juice-sweetened fruit spread
-homemade protein bars

LOTS & LOTS OF WATER!!!  With all this running around you need to stay well-hydrated!  Fill up those water bottles & skip the sugar-filled sports drinks.  Need some flavor in your water?  Add a few slices of lemon, lime, or cucumber.  A few sprigs of mint leaves are also a tasty addition to plain water.

PLAN YOUR MEALS FOR THE WEEK!  Look at your weekly schedule & plan your meals accordingly.  If you know you have to be running from place to place on Tuesday, plan a portable dinner.  On Thursday you have guitar lessons & three soccer practices?  Plan an easy crock-pot meal that will be waiting for you when you get home.  

Here are a few of my favorite crock pot & easy to prepare ahead meals:

FOOD PREP!  This will take a little time on the front end, but it will save you loads of time in the long run.  When you get home from the grocery store, or one a day that is a little less hectic, take the time to prepare some of your food.  Wash & cut up fresh veggies & put into individual containers so they are just as easy to grab & go as some not-so-healthy chips or crackers.  Wash your fruit & cut up any items that need to be sliced (i.e. fresh pineapple, melons, etc.).
Do a little batch cooking of items you can use in recipes throughout the week.  Some items that I frequently batch cook:
-baked boneless, skinless chicken breasts - cut the breasts in half to adhere to proper portion size! (I use some for dinners & put one on my lunch salads almost every day.)
-hard boiled eggs
-protein bars
-quinoa (a high-protein seed that can be used like a grain...very versatile and delicious)

Here is to a happy, healthy spring sports season!!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Whole Wheat Quesadillas

This dish is not only a crowd-pleaser, it is quick, easy, & a great way to use up some left-overs hanging out in your fridge.

2 whole wheat tortillas per quesadilla
4 thin slices of sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup thinly sliced chicken breast*
*You could use any left over meat or vegetables you have hanging out in your refrigerator to personalize your quesadilla.  We made half of our quesadillas with left-over chicken breast & the others with some left over turkey bacon.

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.  Place whole wheat tortillas on a pizza pan or cookie sheet.  Place slices of cheddar on tortilla.  Top with meat or veggies.  Place a second tortilla on top.  Bake for 5 minutes & check to see if cheese is melted.  Bake for an additional 1-2 minutes if needed.  Allow to cool for 2 minutes.  Slice into fourths with a pizza cutter.

Serve with Homemade Corn & Black Bean Salsa and some plain Greek yogurt.  Enjoy!

Homemade Corn & Black Bean Salsa

I made this delicious homemade salsa to pair with our Whole Wheat Quesadillas this evening, but it would be good with any variety of dishes or great to serve as a snack or at a party.
2 cups fresh tomatoes, diced
1/2 small onion, minced
1 sweet pepper, minced
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 can no salt added black beans, drained & rinsed well
1 Tbls. flat leaf parsley, sliced thin
1 Tbls. garlic powder
2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
the juice of 1 lemon

Mix all ingredients in a resealable container & allow to marinate for one hour or more before serving.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Sweet Potato & Egg White Scramble

Do you have some left over sweet potatoes?  Eat those puppies for breakfast!  I saw a coach friend post a picture of sweet potatoes & egg whites so I thought I'd try it out...YUMMO!!!

I had some left over oven roasted sweet potatoes left over from dinner the night before (thinly sliced sweet potatoes that had been tossed in a little EVOO, sea salt, & pepper, baked at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes).  I put the left over sweet potatoes in a frying pan on medium heat & warmed through.  Then I added 3 lightly beaten egg whites & a sprinkle of cinnamon.  I cooked them as I would scrambled eggs, stirring occasionally until cooked through.

Tasty, nutritious, and a great use for left-overs!

Check out more clean eating recipes here!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Coaching Opportunity Webinar

If you would have told me two years ago that today I would be a work-from-home mom, able to take my kiddos to library story time, attend field trips with the older children, set my own hours, and helping others improve their health & fitness I never would have believed it.  But that was before Beachbody workouts, clean eating, & Shakeology changed my life.  Want to read more about how I went from Flabby to Fit Momma of Four? Click here.

I was an elementary school teacher for 12 years & loved helping my students learn how to read.  Aside from being a Mommy, teaching is the only occupation I ever remember wanting to pursue.  However, when we started having children in 2004 I felt torn.  I wanted to spend more time with my own children every day.  At the time I did not have any other option but to continue teaching.  As years passed we had more children & I felt that tug to stay home grow stronger & stronger.  But each time we talked about it the numbers did not make sense.

Finally, in February 2013 it was time to make a decision as to if I would return for the next school year, or if this would be the year that I would finally stay home with my own kiddos.  I had been through 3 Beachbody challenge groups with my coach & I had gotten amazing results.  Friends & family were asking what I was doing to gain such energy & to drop the pounds & inches I had been holding onto through my "baby making phase" (as I referred to it).  I had been referring all these folks to my wonderful coach, thinking I didn't have the time to add one more thing to my plate...finally the light bulb went off.  THIS coaching opportunity could be my ticket to stay-at-home Mommy-hood!  I could set my own hours, work on the computer from the comfort of my home, still be a teacher of sorts - just now teaching adults the fitness tips & ways of clean eating that had lead me to success.  I found a way to contribute to the family income but spend more time with my family!  WIN, WIN, WIN!

Are you ready to live your life by design?  Listen in to a live webinar hosted by me & two other diamond Beachbody coaches on Wednesday, April 30 at 9PM/Eastern time to hear all the benefits of becoming a Beachbody coach.  You will also have the opportunity to ask questions after the presentation.  Want the link to listen in? Simply email me at or complete a coaching application now (no risk or obligation):

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Woman's P90X3 Transformation

When I began my fitness journey back in July 2012 I was just hoping to fit into some non-maternity pants for my return to the classroom.  Little did I know I'd gain energy, endurance, a passion for fitness, and shrink out of my regular pants & need to buy new, smaller ones!  But even after completing that first challenge group with ChaLean Extreme, I was still completely intimidated by programs like P90X & Insanity.  I thought Tony Horton & Shaun T were totally intimidating & their workouts were way beyond my scope of comprehension.

I continued my journey with Turbo Fire (a totally fun, kick-butt, kickboxing dance party) and Brazil Butt Lift (great shaping & toning for my bum bum & entire body).  Then came my "AH-HA" moment...I attended Coach Summit in Las Vegas & realized that it was time to Dream Big, push myself outside of my comfort zone, & do something I never thought possible - a Shaun T fitness program.  So I took on the task of completing Focus T25 & found out that not only is Shaun T NOT scary, but I LOVE this guy & the strength & endurance I was gaining from the T25 workouts.  My mind was changing about my physical abilities...I can do anything I push myself to do!

So when P90X3 came along with all the benefits of P90X packed into convenient 30 minute workouts I was sold....challenge accepted!  My main goals were to become more lean, gain some more tone & definition in my muscles (particularly my core, thighs, & backside), and to increase my strength.  P90X3 offers four different schedule options - Classic, Lean, Bulk, & Doubles.  I opted to follow the Lean schedule because the description best met my goals.

I started P90X3 in early January with a group of motivated challengers, ready to get more fit & healthy for the new year.  We came out of the gates running & realized from day one that these 30 minute workouts were no joke.  I left each workout dripping with sweat & feeling accomplished.  The sore muscles were not far behind & after just a week I was noticing a difference in my strength & endurance.

Within 30 days I was already seeing physical changes, specifically in my backside!  Additionally, I was getting stronger - able to do more push-ups on my toes, and able to complete the workouts with more ease.

I had a few bumps along the road when life got in the way causing me to have re-do weeks a few times.  The added hustle & bustle associated with a family trip to Disney & my birthday week caused me to miss several workouts, so I chose to revisit those weeks & crush them before moving on to the next week of workouts.  This put me "behind" schedule, but I wanted to give each week my best effort, so I am happy that I took the time to give those weeks another shot & complete all of the workouts to the best of my ability.

All in all it took me 15 weeks to complete the P90X3 Lean Schedule.  My weight stayed the same, but weight loss was not my goal.  What did change was the definition in my arms, I got an all natural booty lift, and my tummy is more toned.  There is still lose skin in my abdominal area & there probably will always be to some degree - I had 4 babies & 4 c-sections after all!   The biggest change & the one I am most proud of is the increase in my strength.  I can now do a full set of push-ups on my toes!  This is something that was till a struggle when I started P90X3 & they are still not the prettiest of push-ups, but I have improved greatly in this area.  It felt so awesome the first time I made it through a set of "plank sphinx push-ups" that I literally started yelling "whooo-hoooo!" & my kids came running to see what I was celebrating.  Momma is crushing goals kiddos, Momma is crushing goals to be strong for YOU!

Maintained weight
Down 4 inches overall (primarily in hips & thighs)
Tightened, toned, improved endurance, & feeling STRONGER!

Are you ready to begin your health & fitness transformation?  Click here to join a challenge group today!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Pickled Shrimp

This dish was an absolute hit at Easter dinner.  It was so easy to put together ahead of time & would be an tasty addition to any special occasion.

1 lb. medium shrimp (peeled & cleaned, tails on)
2 quarts water (for boiling the shrimp)
2 Tbls. Old Bay seasoning

2 cups extra virgin olive oil
2 lemons
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 yellow onion (thinly sliced)
2 cloves garlic (minced or pressed)
1/4 tsp. red pepper flake
1/2 tsp. ground mustard
1/2 tsp. celery seed
1/2 tsp. whole corriander
1/4 tsp. whole cloves
1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley (chopped or torn)

1) Boil water in a large pot with Old Bay seasoning.  Simmer for approx. 10 minutes.  Add shrimp & cook until just pink - about 30 seconds. Drain.

2) Combine remaining ingredients in a large resealable container.  Add shrimp.  Close lid tightly & shake to coat shrimp well.

3) Allow shrimp to marinate for at least 5 hours & up to 2 days before serving.  Serve cold.

I paired this shrimp with a delicious clean eating coconut cocktail.  

Click here for more clean eating recipes.

Clean Eating Coconut Cocktail

I am typically a water drinker all day, every day...but occasionally I like to enjoy an adult beverage on an evening out or a holiday.  I usually go for a glass of wine, but yesterday I wanted something different.  I saw a friend share a recipe similar to this on Facebook & I had to give it a try.  Let me tell you, it was DELICIOUS!  So delicious it was HARD not to go back for a second drink!

Clean Eating Coconut Cocktail
1) Fill a highball glass half way with crushed ice.

2) In a shaker mix 1 shot coconut rum, 1/2 cup chilled coconut water, the juice of 1 lemon, the juice of 1 lime, & 2 tsp. stevia.

3) Shake well.

4) Pour over ice & enjoy!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Free 7 Day Introduction to Clean Eating

Clean eating does not mean that I spent an extra long time scrubbing my vegetables before making my salad.  Nor does it mean that I eat nothing but "rabbit food."  Clean eating is a healthy lifestyle that has increased my energy, improved my health & fitness, and made me look at food in a whole new light.

I never thought of myself as a terrible eater.  I always enjoyed vegetables & drank lots of water.  I never ate a lot of junk food or drank soda often.  But when it came to sweets & starchy carbs, I was eating far too many!  Additionally, my portion sizes were way out of whack!  Did you know you could over-eat healthy foods??? You can!

Join me to unlock the mysteries of properly fueling your body, what to eat, when to eat, & in what combinations.  Find out how meal planning, food prep, and batch cooking can make healthy eating accessible for every busy family.

Would you like the opportunity to learn the basics of clean eating, be provided with a meal plan & healthy recipes?  The week of April 21 I will be running a Free 7 Day Introduction to Clean Eating via Facebook.  Email me at to join!  Have a friend or family member who could benefit?  Send them my way.  All are welcome.

Check out some of my family's favorite clean eating recipes here.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Crockpot Quinoa with Turkey Sausage

During soccer season my crockpot is my BFF, providing us with yummy, low maintenance suppers. This dish was actually a happy accident.  I had intended for it to be a soup, but it turned out to be more of a casserole consistency.  It was thick, hearty, yummy, and HEALTHY!  My daughter scarfed hers down & asked for seconds.

-1 medium onion, sliced
-4 large carrots, sliced
-10 oz. frozen spinach
-1 lb. lean turkey sausage (I used sweet Italian sausage, but I think hot sausage would taste amazing as well.) - cut sausage into bite-size pieces 
-32 oz. reduced sodium chicken broth
-1 cup uncooked quinoa
-2 tsp. garlic powder
-1 Tbls. freshly ground black pepper
-1 Tbls. dried oregano
-1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
-a sprinkle of sea salt

Combine all ingredients EXCEPT QUINOA in your crockpot & cook on high for 3-4 hours.  Stir in quinoa, turn heat to low, & cook for 1 hour.

This made enough for us to have dinner for two nights.  Score!

So Easy & so Delicious!  Enjoy!

Click here for more family friendly clean eating recipes. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Red & Black Bean Burgers

Last week I was looking through some cooking magazines for some inspiration for new dishes & this one really caught my eye!  I am always  using beans in other dishes (mixed with rice, in chili, in soups), but I never really made beans the star of a meal....until tonight!  This evening these Red & Black Bean Burgers were a hit with the whole family.  I was seriously skeptical & though that at least one of the kids would turn up their nose, but that was pleasantly surprised when everyone happily chowed down.  Matter of fact, my 9 year old didn't even realize what the burgers were made of until he just peaked over my shoulder as I write this post & asked "there wasn't any meat in those burgers??"  Awwww yeah!  Momma wins again!  The family is eating healthy & enjoying it.

2 cans dark red kidney beans (no salt added), drained & rinsed well
1 can black beans (no salt added), drained & rinsed well
2 carrots, peeled & shredded
1 cup wheat germ
2 Tbls. ground flax seed
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
sea salt & fresh ground black pepper used generously to taste
extra virgin olive oil

1. After draining & rinsing beans place them in a large bowl & mash them lightly, leaving some beans whole.  Stir in the remaining ingredients & combine well.

2. Coat the bottom of a large frying pan with a thin layer of extra virgin olive oil & put on medium heat.

3. Use your hands to form the bean mixture into burger patties & place into the pan.  Do not move the patties once you have placed them in the pan.  Allow them to cook for approx. 10 minutes until  a brown crust has formed on the bottom of the burger.  Flip the burgers & allow to cook for an additional 8-10 minutes until both sides have  a nice brown crust.
*This recipe made about 10 burgers & was enough to feed my family of 6 & still have some left overs for lunch tomorrow!

*Instead of using a bun I used a pizza cutter to slice whole wheat tortillas into fourths.  Then I put them on a pizza pan & popped them into a 400 degree oven for 5 minutes, just to toast them up a little bit.  Then everyone got two triangles of tortilla to use as a "bun" for their bean burger.

Looking for more kid-tested, hubby approved clean eating recipes?  Click here!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Beachbody's Special Sales for April

Beachbody has some awesome sales going on this month on workouts that I LOVE - Focus T25 & Brazil Butt Lift!  I have completed both of these workouts & seen great results.  In celebration of these workouts becoming available for an AMAZING price, I have added an extra-special challenge group that will begin on April 14 - Operation: Swimsuit.  Want to join this exclusive 60 day challenge?

 Click here to learn all the benefits of a challenge group & complete an application to join TODAY!

Check out this video to learn more about the amazing specials Beachbody is offering this month!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

BBQ Chicken Wraps

On super busy nights with guitar lessons, soccer practice, & keeping everyone in line I am so thankful for my crock pot & it's amazing ability to cook our dinner ahead of time & allow us to eat quickly between activities.  Today I tried something new & came up with this tasty dish.

BBQ Chicken Wraps

In your crock pot combine:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 can diced tomatoes with mild green chiles (no salt added)
1 Tbls. Cajun seasoning (or paprika, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, sea salt, black pepper)
1/2 cup water

Cook on low for approx. 6 hours.

When chicken is fully cooked use two forks to shred the chicken.
Add 1 cup frozen (or fresh when in season) corn & homemade BBQ sauce*.  Stir well & allow to cook on low for an additional 30 minutes.

*Homemade BBQ sauce
1 15oz. can tomato sauce (no salt added)
1 Tbls. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbls. Blackstrap molasses
1 Tbls. raw honey
2 Tbls. black pepper
2 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. garlic powder

Whisk together & enjoy!

I served this on whole wheat tortillas for the kids & for the grown ups we used romaine lettuce leaves for our BBQ chicken wraps.  I topped my BBQ chicken with some fresh, crunchy Rainbow Slaw.

Rainbow Slaw

Here is a new, fresh twist on coleslaw!

1/2 head cabbage, sliced thin or shredded
3 carrots, shredded
6 small sweet peppers (I used 2 red, 2 yellow, 2 orange), sliced thin
1/2 onion, grated

Combine all veggies & top with this simple homemade dressing.

1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 Tbls. apple cider vinegar
the juice of one lemon
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. celery seed

Whisk together all dressing ingredients, pour over veggies, & stir well.  Cover & refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving to allow flavors to marry well.

Looking for more clean eating recipes?  Click here!