Friday, August 29, 2014

No Bake Muffins

I was watching cartoons with my little guy the other day & they had a little cooking with kids snippet during the commercial break.  I love getting my kids involved in the kitchen & had ingredients similar to what they were using to make their no bake muffins on TV, so the little man & I got in the kitchen & got busy.

2 over-ripe bananas
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup almond flour *
3/4 cup raisins
chia seeds (optional)

*Our almond flour was actually a failed attempt at making almond butter (I need to invest in a food processor for that task!)
We put 1 cup of raw almonds into the blender & pureed for a few minutes, scraping down the sides occasionally.  We ended up with extremely finely chopped almonds - like an almond flour.  It worked out perfectly for this recipe!

1) Use a fork to smash the bananas in a large bowl (my 2 year old had fun with this!)

2) Mix in the oats, almond flour, & raisins.  Stir well until well combined.

3) Distribute mixture evenly into 12 lined muffin tins & press down.

4) Sprinkle a few chia seeds on top if desired.

5) Refrigerate for at least 3 hours so the muffins can set up & become firm.


Monday, August 25, 2014

Clean Eating Creamy Curry & Vegetable Soup

This evening I had planned to make my turkey chili recipe....not realizing I was out of chili powder!  So I took a peek in my spice cabinet for inspiration & viola! It hit me....

Clean Eating Creamy Curry Turkey & Vegetable Soup

1 1/2 lbs. lean ground turkey
1 large onion, diced
2 large carrots, peeled & sliced into rounds
2 large parsnips, peeled & sliced into rounds
4 small sweet peppers, sliced
1 can cannellini beans - drained, rinsed, & pureed **
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups fresh baby kale
1 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbls. curry powder
1 Tbls. garlic powder

1) Season ground turkey with sea salt, black pepper, curry powder, & garlic powder. Brown the ground turkey in a large pot.

**2) While the turkey is browning, place cannellini beans in the blender & pulse until smooth.  Add a splash of chicken broth if the mixture is too think to pour.

3) Add onions to the pot & allow to become soft.

4) Add  chicken broth & pureed beans to the pot & stir to incorporate.

5) Add in remaining vegetables & stir well.  Cover & simmer over low heat for 45 mins. - 1 hour.

My entire family devoured this soup!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

School Lunch Ideas

It's that time of year again & the question is....what the heck do I pack in my kids' lunch to take to school?  Something that will keep well in their little lunch box til lunch time rolls around, something they will enjoy, something that will fuel their body & mind for the rest of the school day.  

Here are a few of my kiddos lunch box favorites:
*whole wheat tortillas with all-natural peanut butter & juice sweetened fruit spread (we like Polaner's All-Fruit)

*homemade quesadilla - whole wheat tortilla with cheddar cheese melted inside (you can do this in a toaster oven)  My kids don't mind eating it cool.

*plain Greek yogurt with fresh berries

*cucumber slices & cheese slices - they stack them or make their own little cucumber sandwiches 

*low sodium / nitrate free ham or turkey lunch meat rolled up with provolone cheese

*homemade (in my handy dandy bread machine) whole wheat flax seed bread with almond butter & fresh strawberries

*apple & peanut butter sandwiches - cut an apple into rounds crosswise & use like the "bread" of the sandwich.  Put all-natural peanut butter (or almond butter, sunflower butter, soy nut butter) in the middle.  Get a little crazy & throw some raisins in there!

*Ants on a Log - celery with all-natural peanut butter & raisins on top

*Make-Your-Own "Lunchable" - whole grain crackers, cubes of real cheese, low sodium / nitrate free lunch meat or left over rotisserie chicken (my kids love that!)

**Always throw in some fresh fruits & veggies.  We generally go with whatever is in season as that is the freshest, best tasting, & most cost effective!!**

**My kids also love left-overs warmed up & put in their little thermos.  These are their favorite "left-over lunches."**

Healthy packed lunches shouldn't stop with the kiddos!  Any time I plan to be out of the house for the day & especially when I was still working outside of the home I always pack my lunch bag full of healthy foods for lunch & snacks for the day.  Fail to plan & you plan to fail!  


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

OMG!!!  These muffins are like a party in mouth.  Moist, flavorful, and the amazing combination of peanut butter and banana.

3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup peanut butter (you could also use almond butter or soy nut butter if you have a peanut allergy)
1 egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup raw honey
1 1/2 cups spelt flour (you could also use almond flour, quinoa flour, or whole wheat flour)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2) Place muffin wrappers into you muffin tins.

3) Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl until well combined.

4) Place approx. 1/4 cup batter into each muffin cup.

5) Bake 18 - 20 minutes.

6) Remove muffins from the tins & allow to cool on a wire rack before enjoying the deliciousness.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Breakfast Burrito

This breakfast was so easy & so delicious I would eat it any time of day!

1) In  frying pan scramble 3 whole eggs or 4-5 egg whites with some pepper & a dash of sea salt.

2) When the eggs are nearly cooked through wilt 1-2 handfuls of baby spinach on top.

3) Spread 1 Tablespoon of your favorite guacamole (I used a spicy variety) on a whole grain tortilla.

4) Place eggs & spinach on the tortilla.**

5) Top with a few slices of fresh tomato & if  you are feeling extra spicy throw on a few dashes of hot sauce!  Ole!

**This would also be tasty over rice & beans or just skip the tortilla for a low carb option.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

International Travel with Four Children....and other crazy things we've done this summer

As a child my family vacations consisted of going camping at my Grandma's trailer near Shawnee Lake, renting a cabin near Pymatuning, PA (where ducks walk on fish, baby!), and every once in a while we made a venture to the beach where we usually were tent camping.  I loved every minute of it (well, maybe not that time in rained every night at Virginia Beach & we had to keep taking the sleeping bags to laundry mats to dry out...) But I would not trade those vacation memories for the world.  We laughed, we cooked s'mores & mountain pies over the campfire, we went fishing & swimming in the lake, we played board games & cards for hours on end, and went on adventures.

My children have had the opportunity to go on many vacations & adventures as well but on a more global scale.  My hubby is BLESSED with a job where he has the opportunity to earn trips to destinations around the world as part of his compensation.  I did not have a passport until I was married, my kids have more passport stamps than many people will collect in their entire lives....they are very lucky children & I remind them of this frequently.

This summer we had the opportunity to travel to Dublin, Ireland.  Now before I can tell you about our amazing Irish adventure we have to start with the packing process.... As you can imagine, packing for six people for a week of international travel to a location that has a chance of rain nearly every day can be a bit daunting.  Luckily our previous years of travel have prepared me for this & while I wasn't 100% spot on with my packing, I'm getting pretty darn close!  We got it all in 3 suitcases (one large, one medium, one small) & 6 carry-on/ personal item bags!  I planned outfits for myself & hubby that had items that could mix & match / be re-worn.  For the kids it is hard to bank on re-wearing (due to children being innately messy) but I chanced it & planned on them re-wearing jeans but packed enough tops to account for spills & general messiness.  One sweatshirt & one light jacket for everyone, one pair of walking shoes, one pair of nicer shoes for dinner (we had a few dinners we were required to dress up for).  Evening clothes could easily be re-worn, so those were kept minimal.  Travel-size toiletries & entertainment for the plane in the carry-ons, as well as a few snacks (applesauce pouches, protein bars, almonds, packets of Shakeology) for travel & days around Dublin so we weren't always searching for snacks & settling for chips or sweets.

My carry-on

We had a smooth flight from BWI to Boston. We enjoyed a nice long lay-over in Boston - went out & enjoyed some of the sights with some great friends (shout out to Jaime & Rachel!!).  Then we boarded our over night flight to Dublin.  The kids wanted to watch movies & play games the entire flight, but we finally convinced them to get a little shut-eye so they wouldn't be totally exhausted during our first day in Dublin.  My hubby & I tried our best, but only got a little sleep on the flight.

Blurry-eyed but excited we arrived in Dublin & arrived at our hotel.  We broke the rules of "pushing through the jet lag" & took a little nap before going out to explore Dublin a bit.  We were happy to find that Dublin is a walking city & with a map in hand we were easily able to navigate.  We found a great little hole in the wall for lunch where we had omelets & salad - our bodies were still on eastern daylight time & we wanted breakfast food!

The next few days our adventures took us on trains, buses, and mainly on foot all around Dublin, the towns of Dalkey & Killiney, down to Blarney & County Cork, and even a trip to Belfast in Northern Ireland.  Rolling green hills, St. Patrick's Cathedral, St. Stephen's Green (the kids' favorite place), ancient castles, pebble beaches, beautiful vistas, a few pubs, the Guinness brewery, and lots of cows (Luke loved mooing at the cows!).  

A week of restaurant eating can be kind of rough, but we sought out the best options we could, did a little indulging (it was vacation after all!), and took full advantage of the buffet breakfast at our hotel every morning.  Between a nice healthy breakfast, snagging some fresh fruit to snack on through out the day,  & the healthy snacks we had brought with us we didn't do all too bad!  But I must say that the Guinness does taste a little better when in the mother land!

Our travels home were smooth & uneventful.  I read half of a personal development book, played a few games with the kids, & watched a few good movies.  It took a few days to get over the jet-lag & get back into a regular eating schedule, but it sure did feel good to have a home-cooked clean eating meal again!

We have barely sat still all summer long & I wouldn't have it any other way!  As a family we have visited my folks in Pittsburgh on several occasions, attended a family reunion in Ohio, visited friends, attended a family meeting for my hubby's company, & I attended the Team Beachbody Coach Summit.  

When I made the decision to stay home from my full-time teaching job to be with my kiddos I feared that we would have to cut back on these trips - even though it is a trip my hubby earns, there are still expenses involved, especially when you have a family of six.  Thankfully I have been able to help add to the family coffers with my Beachbody Coaching business.  We are able to continue the fun trips & adventures thanks, in part,  to my work-from-anywhere job.  

If you would like to learn more about helping people reach their health & fitness goals, setting your own hours, working from any corner of the world you wish to visit, and the opportunity to earn family fun money or achieve financial me about the coaching opportunity.  Read more and complete a coaching application here: