Monday, October 26, 2015

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

If you are carving jack-o-lanterns this week for Halloween, DO NOT throw out the pumpkin guts!!!  You can roast the seeds for a crunchy, healthy snack.

* Separate the seeds from the other pumpkin guts and place in a bowl of water.

* Skim the seeds from the top of the bowl and place on a paper towel to pat dry.

 *Place the seeds on a baking sheet.

 *Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt.

 *If you want to spice things up, sprinkle with a little chili powder and ground cumin.

 *Stir with a spatula to be sure all of the seeds are covered with the oil and seasonings.
*Spread seeds into a single layer on the baking sheet.

 *Bake at 300°F for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

 *Allow seeds to cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Pumpkin Pecan Granola Bars

Chewy granola goodness that the whole family will devour!
3 1/4 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
a sprinkle of sea salt
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup honey or pure maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2/3 cup roughly chopped pecans
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (optional)
*raisins would also be amazing in this!
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit &
grease an 8x8 baking pan with cooking spray or coconut oil.
2. In a small bowl combine applesauce, pumpkin puree, honey, & vanilla.
3. In a large bowl combine rolled oats & spices.
4. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients & stir until well combined.
5. Fold in pecans & chocolate chips (or raisins).
6. Spread evenly in a greased 8x8 pan.
7. Bake 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees, or until golden brown.
8. Remove granola bars from the oven & allow to cool for 20 minutes before cutting into 8 bars or 16 squares.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

No Sugar Added Crock Pot Applesauce

So easy, so tasty, so good for'll be making this homemade applesauce over & over again.
 Tastes like dessert but without any guilt!

🍎 Thinly slice 12 apples - I used 6 Granny Smith & 6 Stamen but you can use whichever apple is your favorite!
🍎 Place in your crock pot
🍎 Add cinnamon to taste - I used about 2 Tbls.
🍎 Add 1 Tbls. vanilla extract (optional)...
🍎 Cook on high for approximately 3 hours, stir once per hour.  We like our applesauce a little bit chunky, so this texture was perfect.  You could cook yours a little longer / stir more for a smoother texture.
I topped mine with pecans for added texture & crunch.  Healthy fats are always an added bonus.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Awesome Autumn Accountability Group

Autumn is the time of year when we start putting on more layers of clothes, firing up the crock pot for warm, hardy meals, & begin the endless season of celebration.  Whether it's over-the-top tailgating before the football game, sticking your hand in the kids' trick-or-treat bucket, or feeling more stuffed than the Thanksgiving turkey, autumn can be an easy time to fall off the fitness wagon....but not you, not this year!
This year you can stick to your guns, fit into your favorite jeans, & feel great throughout the fall & beyond! The Awesome Autumn Accountability group will give you daily motivation to make healthier choices, weekly clean eating meal plans, delicious recipes that your whole family will love, & tips to bust those junk food cravings. 
This will be my fourth autumn participating in & now coordinating accountability groups. 
Why do I continue to use this method to keep myself on track & help others do the same? Because I tried to get into a workout routine & make healthier food choices on my own, but without someone to keep me accountable I easily slipped back into unhealthy habits.  Not only did I get real results, but I have sustained those results for over three years & have helped many others do the same.  Check out a few of our success stories here.
To give you extra incentive to stay on track this fall, I will be running a friendly contest amongst the participants of the Awesome Autumn accountability group.  We will build a positive community of support with a fun twist of competition to keep everyone accountable to their goals. 
You will earn points daily for completing your workouts, sticking to your meal plan, sharing your own healthy recipes, & checking in with the group....all the things that you need to do to succeed in your health & fitness journey!  The top two participants with the most points will win a new workout program to help keep the ball rolling.
When you win, you will be able to chose from classic P90X or P90X+.
Are you ready to have the most awesome autumn ever? 
Complete the 'challenge group application' below.  Then I will help you select the Beachbody home workout program that will best meet your needs & goals.  I will help you select the Shakeology  flavor(s) that will most please your pallet & get you set up in the Awesome Autumn private accountability group on Facebook where we will do our daily check ins.

Fill out my online form.
Use Wufoo templates to make your own HTML forms.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Maple Ginger Crock Pot Pork Chops

6-8 lean, bone-in pork chops
4 large sweet potatoes, cubed
3-4 large carrots, chopped into bite-size chunks
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 Tbls. brown mustard
1 Tbls. apple cider vinegar
sea salt
fresh ground black pepper
garlic powder
approximately 1 inch piece fresh ginger
Layer sweet potatoes & carrots on the bottom of the crock pot.  Add 1/2 cup water to the vegetables.  Season vegetables with sea salt & pepper.  Place 1/2 of the fresh ginger into a garlic press & smash, then distribute over the vegetables.
Fresh ginger - use half to season vegetables & half in the pork chop glaze
Season pork chops with sea salt, pepper, & a little garlic powder.  Place pork chops on top of vegetables.
To make the glaze: In a small bowl whisk together 1/4 cup pure maple syrup, 2 Tbls, brown mustard, 1 Tbls. apple cider vinegar, & remaining fresh ginger (pressed in the same manner as earlier). 
Pour the glaze over the pork chops.
Place the lid on the crock pot, set crock pot to low, & cook 5-6 hours.

Chicken & Vegetable Soup

With autumn upon us my family craves warm, comforting foods like soups & stews.  This recipe is easy & versatile.  I could be made with a wide variety of vegetables to suit your family's tastes, be adjusted to the ingredients that are on sale at the market, or tweaked to accommodate what you find in your fridge & pantry.

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4-5 red skin potatoes, cubed
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
4-5 large carrots, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 bag frozen brussel sprouts
1 box low sodium chicken stock
sea salt
fresh ground black pepper
*Other favorite ingredients for chicken & vegetable soup that I did not have on hand today - parsnips, fresh green beans, kale, & spinach.
Layer onions & potatoes in the bottom of the crock pot.  Season with some sea salt, pepper, & garlic.

Add carrots, brussel sprouts, & season a little more.

Season chicken breasts & place on top of vegetables.  Pour the entire box of chicken stock on top.  Place lid on crock pot.

Set crock pot on low & cook for approximately 6 hours.
Use two forks to shred the chicken breasts.  Mix to incorporate chicken throughout the soup. 

Monday, October 5, 2015

Crock Pot Comfort Foods Cleaned Up! - Free 5 Day Recipe Swap

Fall is in the air & soccer season is in full-swing for my kiddos.  So my go-to kitchen appliance these days is my crock pot!  I can throw my ingredients in the crock pot in the morning, set it & forget it until it's time to feed the brood.  On nights when I'm not even sure how we are getting everyone everywhere they need to least I know they will have a delicious, nutritious, home-cooked meal that will be warm & ready to eat, even if we don't all make it to the table at the same time.
This week I am hosting a crock pot recipe swap over on Facebook where I will be sharing some of my favorite crock pot meals, introducing a few new recipes, sharing some clean eating tips & shopping lists, as well as answering questions about how I feed our busy family healthfully.
If you'd like to join us click here: