Friday, December 6, 2013

Winter Styled: High-Rise Skinny Jeans

American Eagle High-Rise Jeggings (here), Ankle Boots: American Eagle (similar), Pullover Sweater: (similar), Flannel Button-Up: Hollister (similar)
In this edition of the Friday Style Files, I wore my American Eagle Skinny High-Rise Jeggings with a black pullover sweater and a Hollister button up flannel shirt. I have several pairs of these jeans, because as a mom, they are ESSENTIAL. Cozy, comfortable, chic and effortless!


Can't go prep and not have the pearls.
 
Hope this gives you a little winter style inspiration!
 
Happy Friday,
 
~B

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

What's for Dinner, Mom? Forget Delivery, Try Pita Pizzas!

Eating clean takes practice and is a state of mind. In order to practice clean eating and help my children eat healthy, I try to find healthier alternatives to the usual fast food fare. The older my kids get, the harder it is to control what foods they are exposed to, including pizza. As much as I try to keep my kids eating healthy, pizza is the one thing everyone really likes. I need a plan to stay away from delivery/frozen pizzas (I know they are so convenient!) while still satisfying the pizza craving and keeping it basic, simple and easy. Even though I have found a few frozen "organic" pizzas, they tend to be high in sodium and veggies, low in flavor, three things my kids, nor I, get excited about.
 
I have seen lots of recipes for using pita bread to make pizzas instead of pizza dough or prepared pizza crusts. I decided to try these a few years back and my kids love it.
 
The best thing about pita pizzas is each kid can make their own, including the adult kids. Everyone gets their own personal pizza! I use everything from chopped peppers to onions to nitrate, nitrite gluten free chicken sausage. I have also found nitrite, nitrate free organic pepperoni. I use regular three-cheese pre-shredded cheese but have used organic mozzarella and shredded it myself. My daughter loves cheese pizza. My son loves cheese and black olives. Hubby not so much, he's an absolute meat freak. The more meat and cheese on the pizza, the happier he is. The more veggies on mine, the better. With pita pizzas, we all get what we want.

Easy Pita Pizzas
Crave Worthy Pita Pizzas

1 package Wheat Pita Bread
1 Can Muir Glen Pizza Sauce
1 Package Three-Cheese Shredded Cheese
1/2 Cup Chopped Green, Yellow, Red Peppers (your choice)
1/2 Black Olives
1/4 Cup Chopped Red Onions
1 Package Organic Chicken Sausage (Cooked)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare cookie sheet or pizza pan. I place everything in individual bowls so the kids can easily prepare their own pizzas. The only thing I do is place a spoonful of pizza sauce and spread it on the pitas. The kids do the rest. Place on your cookie sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Yum!

Add caption


Variations:

I have used cooked left over chicken chopped using Alfredo sauce instead of pizza sauce topped with fresh grated Parmesan cheese and fresh spinach. Or instead of pita bread, use portobello mushrooms!







Portobello Pizzas





 
 
 
 
 
I also use the chicken sausage in my Sweet N' Spicy Asian Meatballs, but that is a recipe for another day!
 
Happy Cooking,
 
~B


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Thursday, June 13, 2013

For Real....Don't Trash Talk My Shows!

The other evening, after the kids were in bed, I decided to take a break from my usual nighttime ritual, household chores, to catch up on a few of my shows. A select few television shows I DVR, my way of staying in tune, I guess.

I head to the TV Room/Office in the hope of having a few peaceful moments, enjoying the first TV (I don't count Sesame Street) I've watched in at least a week.

I sit through one episode, peaceful, quiet, enjoying thinking about one subject for more than 5 minutes, engrossed in the plot, excited for the next episode and the fact I can fast forward through the commercials :)........

Here he comes, the Mavenator. Waltzing in like he just don't care, plops down on the couch, phone in hand, playing a game, of course. He proceeds to talk trash about my show. "Getting your fix, huh? Oooooh some more vampire soap opera. When are they gonna turn into bats? I wanna see that." In a particularly dramatic part of the show, "This is worse than one of those real housewives shows." No sense in me trying to explain that THESE vampires don't turn into bats and they don't fly. They can just run really fast. Then I say to myself, he knows exactly what to say to get a response and you fall for it. Every. Single. Time.

Finally, I've had enough. I ACTUALLY say, in my most serious voice possible, "You wait one minute, Mister.  Don't talk trash about my shows. I don't give a running commentary when you're watching that show about catching crabs." (you know, the one about those Alaska fisherman, ;)

To which, for once, he does not have a response. Hmm? Did I make him speechless? Not sure I could do that again if I tried........




~B

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Espresso, Oh My

Fabulous Caffeine Kick-Start Frappe`



















I love the combo of coffee, chocolate and peanut butter. In fact, my favorite ice cream is from a little store called Cold Stone Creamery. I am so glad we do not have one of those anywhere close because their Mud-Pie Mojo ice cream creation is TO DIE FOR! I don't just LIKE IT, I LOVE IT. This Chocolate Peanut Butter Espresso Protein Smoothie recipe gives me the satisfaction of the flavors I crave without all the calories and is sure to kick-start your morning in a good way! Yum! All this and it has no bananas or yogurt!

 Caffeine Kick-Start Protein Frappe`

1/2 Cup to 3/4 Cup of Coffee or 3 shots of freshly brewed, cooled Espresso (Try different combos for taste)
2 tbsp Organic Peanut Butter
1 Scoop Chocolate Protein Powder
Ice to fill blender cup

No bananas or yogurt! Just place this all in your blender cup and blend away.

You could add a banana but for me it adds too many calories and carbs. Plus my daughter likes to try everything I am eating or drinking and since she and I have "issues" with bananas, I leave them out of my protein smoothies. And no, I don't let her have this one since it has espresso in it. This protein shake is the best I have EVER had and let me tell you I have tried them all from my over 17 years experience in weight training and eating clean. I do always have vanilla protein powder on hand.

Since this is my morning snack, I sometimes choose to add only 1 shot for less caffeine plus coffee or water to make the 1/2 cup of liquid needed. You could add milk with less coffee, if you choose. Even though technically this protein powder is dairy (whey), dairy is one of my stay-away-most of-the-time foods. My body is very sensitive to dairy (meaning it blocks my bodies fat-burning ability), but not the whey protein found in it.

If you want more chocolate flavor, you could add a handful of chocolate chips. I use Jay Robbs' Protein Powder exclusively, because it doesn't have any added artificial ingredients. I tried this with a prepared chocolate protein shake and it turned out too watery. I literally cannot stop drinking this shake until it is all gone! I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I do!

Thanks for stopping by!

~B



Tuesday, June 11, 2013

What Happens at the Beach Stays at the Beach

Our little respite on the coast was a reminder of what summer is all about. We had a blast at the beach even though we were only there for three days. It was a glorious three days of sun, sand and summer fun. There is nothing in the world like waking up every morning, opening a door and hearing the ocean waves. Fixing a pot of coffee, enjoying a cup on the veranda overlooking the ocean or walking a few blocks to a local coffee shop for a latte. At night, walks watching the moon rise over that ocean. This. Is. Absolute. Bliss.......Rejuvenating. Reinvigorating. Bliss.



 

One of the other great things about the beach are the pictures. The amazing camera shots that just jump out at you begging to be taken. There is so much inspiration.




 
Feeling the sand between your toes, the sun on your face and the water on your skin. Everything about the beach awakens and soothes your soul.
 
 















And the delicious, fresh seafood. Grilled Ahi Berry Salad at Pompano Joes. I love a good steak of sushi grade tuna!

 
Nothing says relaxation like this.................
 
 

What Happens at the Beach, Stays at the Beach. Here's to sun, sand and water!

~B
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Monday, June 10, 2013

Clean Eating Chocolate Madness Muffins

I know what you are thinking "Not another "clean" eating muffin recipe. Ugh, those are always so gross." I know, I usually say the same thing. The pictures always look great but the end result is less than appetizing. I tried this twice on two finicky kids and had rave family reviews both times. This one is called Chocolate Madness Muffin! Can you believe it? A recipe that involves chocolate, stevia leaf extract and NO FLOUR!! Oh the insanity! Stop me now!

Here is the recipe inspiration.

Clean Eating Chocolate Madness Muffins

1 3/4 Cup Oatmeal
3 Egg Whites
3/4 Cup Carob Powder (I chose carob bean powder because it has no caffeine as compared to cocoa)
1/2 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract


Chocolate Madness Muffins
1/2 Tsp Cream of Tartar
1/2 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt (I used Chobani)
1 1/2 TSP baking powder
1 1/2 TSP baking soda
1/4 TSP salt
1 Cup Hot Water
1/4 + 2 TBSP Cup stevia leaf extract
1 Cup Chocolate Chips
1/2 Scoop Protein Powder (can be omitted)

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare your muffin tin by using the silicone liners like I did or tin liners and spray with cooking spray. Place oatmeal in grinder/blender and blend until the oatmeal becomes a fine powder. Here is the secret: I take the cup of warm water and let the oatmeal "flour" soak for a few minutes before adding all the ingredients. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Pour into individual muffin liners and place in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes.

Variations:

I made these for my family twice. The first time with cocoa powder and semi-sweet chocolate pieces. I then remembered that cocoa powder has caffeine and decided to make the second batch with carob powder. The carob powder muffins had less of a chocolaty flavor, though. I also made some with pecans and some with butterscotch chips. I enjoyed all of the variations. This is one recipe I tried variations and still like the original best!

Note: Both times I made these, they did not seem to "rise" or have a muffin/cake like consistency but they were still good. The picture is of the ones I made, no tricks, that is what they really look like (very much unlike the pictures I saw of the three recipes I found online).


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Sunday, June 9, 2013

This Father's Day Dinner is Sure To Please

Why not make that special dad in your life a wonderful dinner to say thanks for all the things he does? The Father's Day dinner I have planned, I've prepared several times and I can't take credit for the recipe. This one came from my weekly Publix circular several months ago, Prosciutto Steak and Arugula Salad. I just HAD to share this! Sounds delish, right?

There are three things I LOVE about this meal. Prosciutto, steak and arugula. What's not to love? I made some teensy, weensy changes to the recipe. I love the end result. Quite possibly the perfect steak dinner this side of....well....Perini's Ranch by which I compare all steak meals....

Which reminds me of that delicious meal I once had at a little steakhouse called Perini's Ranch in Buffalo Gap, TX many years ago. Maybe it was the ambience sitting at an old, thick wood table beside a roaring fire or the rustic décor or that we drove over cattle grates to get there, this place is authentic Texas steakhouse. The filet I ordered was so tender I could practically cut it with a fork not to mention the grilled onions and mushrooms and sourdough bread. My mouth is watering just thinking of that meal. Even though I am a clean eating and exercise FANATIC, I do indulge from time to time. All work and no play makes B a dull girl.....But I digress....

Here is a Father's Day Dinner That is Sure to Please....

Prosciutto Steak and Arugula Salad

3 Slices Prosciutto, torn into small pieces (I used an all-natural only salt and pork)
1/2 onion, chopped
2 Steaks of your choice
Season Salt
Special Ingredients
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Cup Sun-Dried Tomato Butter (recipe to follow)
1 bag Organic Arugula
2 Tbsp White Balsamic Glaze

Start the grill. Then season your steaks. I used this Mediterranean Season Salt (pic). Cook to your temperature preference. When the steak has about 5 minutes left of cooking, start the arugula salad. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add onions and prosciutto. Sauté
until onions are soft. Add 1 TBSP of the sun-dried tomato butter. Once melted, add the arugula. Toss until just slightly wilted. Pour the white balsamic glaze on top and toss. Place some arugula on the plate, place your hot-off-the-grill steak on top and add one tablespoon of the sun-dried tomato butter to the steak.


Father's Day Prosciutto Steak and Arugula Salad







 
Sun-Dried Tomato Butter

4 TBSP of Margarine
4 Sundried Tomatoes, Sliced

Slice the sun-dried tomatoes in thin strips and mix well with the margarine. I make four tablespoons because I LOVE this stuff and use it on other things.















Is your mouth watering yet?
 
 
All nutritional information about this is available here. Personally it didn't matter because this was just so dang good!




Happy Cooking,
 
~B
 
 
 

 

 
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Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Escape Artist Strikes Again...

"Here we go again." I think this morning when my 2-year-old climbs in my bed at 5am. The Mavster groans and says a few choice words before walking her back to her room. While we are both sitting in the living room awaiting her return from her room after having escaped, what I thought was, the inescapable crib, I look over at Mav and say "ya gotta give it to her, she is tenacious and determined which are all REALLY great qualities." To which his only response is a flick of his wrist playing whatever game it is he's playing on his phone. Mav is not a morning person...

As I wrote a few weeks ago, our little Houdini was escaping her crib and having parties in her brothers room at 2 am. By parties I mean, screaming, jumping on the bed, lights on, kinda raucous parties....Needless to say, the Mav and I were determined to FIX this. We tried several things, none of which worked. See our 6 year old never did this. He would just wake at 5 am screaming. If I had to choose, I kinda like Ms. Escape Artist's wake up call. At least she is quietly coming in my room to give me "huggies"...

Then we had an epiphany, take the springs out and put the mattress on the floor. Great idea!!! It took her a whole 2 days to figure out she could climb out....So much for that brilliant idea.....

I even tried a little bit of a guilt trip. I figured since I was up at 5am I might as well fold the laundry that's been sitting in the dryer since yesterday afternoon. While she was attempting to fold and I was actually folding, I said "If mommy wasn't awake right now, I wouldn't be folding laundry" as I look at the clock which reads 5:54 am. At least the laundry's done...for now.





Thursday, June 6, 2013

Simple Grilled Pineapple-Orange Smoothie: So Clean, So Healthy and So Delish!

Summer Smoothie
Pineapple Orange Smoothie

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Thanks for visiting armylifeaviatorwife.blogspot.com. Welcome! I hope you enjoy your time on this site! I have this simple, basic and ooooh sooo yummy and healthy Grilled Pineapple Orange Smoothie. This smoothie will take you to the beaches of Hawaii and the cool, crisp freshness of the trade wind's blowing in the palm trees.

After living in Hawaii for over 7 years, I have a lot of great pineapple recipes. Rarely do we have left over grilled pineapple, but when we do I make this smoothie the next day! I love this recipe because it is so quick, so easy to make in the mornings to take me back to my precious Hawaii or to cool off from an afternoon of summer fun. My kids LOVE it! This delicious smoothie reminds me of sitting on a lanai enjoying the breeze!


Cool Grilled Pineapple Orange Smoothie

1/2 Cup Real Orange Juice (I use Simply Orange)
1 Cup Fresh Grilled Pineapple
1 Cup Ice
1/2 Cup Vanilla Greek Yogurt (I always use Chobani) or 1 Scoop Vanilla Protein Powder
1/2 Fresh Lemon

Add all ingredients but lemon to your blender. Squeeze lemon juice on top. Blend until smooth. All of my recipes are simple, basic and easy for anyone to try. I believe that fresh, healthy food doesn't need many ingredients to taste delicious! So smooth, so crisp, so summer!
 
Happy Summer,

~B

Do you have any favorite smoothie recipes? I would love to hear them.



Easy Summer Fun Ideas for Kids!

With summer closing in and most kids out of school, many mommas, myself included, are scouring the Internet hoping to find ideas to keep their kids busy this summer. As I was doing my scouring, I found lots of ideas for summertime fun. Crafts that require what must take 2 hours to put together or messy ice cream sandwiches are not my cup of tea. It would melt in my house before I could get all the decorations placed and look like some scary alien leaking fluid instead of a cute little ladybug. My children don't have that much patience, therefore my summertime fun activities are simple, basic and easy. I found several local, low-cost summer camps, one at a local art studio!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Summer Detox Beach Body, HIIT Training and Busting the Scales: The Conclusion

It has been four weeks since I wrote about the summer detox revolution with a detox "juice" I was going to try and, as promised, let you know my results. I will first start by saying in my original post which gives you the method and recipe for the Jillian Michaels' detoxification tea, the experiment is meant to last for seven days. To tell you the truth, I liked the way I felt and the way my clothes fit so much, I continued for a WHOLE MONTH! In fact, I drank a glass of it first thing this morning. As far as losing weight, I don't like the scale. I didn't weigh myself instead measuring my results on how my clothes fit. After working at a weight loss company and having our weekly weigh-ins every Monday morning, I cringe at the thought of stepping on the scale, EVER. I also began a new exercise regimen that I included below. I had some INCREDIBLE results!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Best Summer Ever: Reflections of a Disorganized Mommy

Today is the last day of school for my little kindergartner and I am already starting to feel the anxiety. Partly because there isn't a plan for summer vacation. Partly because my 2 year old has figured out how to escape her crib and is refusing to sleep through the night while simultaneously waking her brother by jumping on his bed at 2 am AND refusing to nap. Both of which produce cranky kiddos if not handled properly, which in turn presents a bit of an issue since I rely on their "schedules" to get my to do lists done.

As I have confessed before, I am a bit of a perfectionist and thrive when things are organized, on task

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Clean Eating: South o' The Border Tilapia and Better Than Guacamole Broccomole

I am a lover of south of the border inspired dishes. I would venture to say that most of the food I serve my family is inspired by Mexican and Asian cuisine. I have immense appreciation for the complex flavors and freshness in both styles of cooking. For some reason my palate believes lime juice and fresh cilantro make everything better as well as a little dash cumin. I hope the South o' The Border Tilapia and Broccomole recipes will satisfy a craving for Mexican food.

For my family, anything that involves tortilla chips is a hit. The recipe I have (thanks to my in-

Saturday, May 4, 2013

It's Summer, Beach Body Ready Detox Time Baby!

Detox tea is a good entry point into the beach season. With this knowledge, I set out on a researching journey into all-natural detoxification. My goal was to find some sort of drink or detoxification process that utilizes nature as its fuel. I researched lemons, dandelion root tea, sulfurous vegetables, proteins and the like. What I found was an interesting detoxification juice recipe touted by Jillian Michaels' herself. She can't be wrong, right? Are you ready to do a little work for that beach body? Here we go.

I am venturing into unknown territory with a "detox juice". According to Ms. Michael's, this detox drink is meant to detoxify your liver, kidneys and intestines plus get rid of that pesky extra water weight therefore should be drank for seven days prior to the start of the womanly time of the month. In order to avoid any TMI comments, I will begin this sometime in the next four weeks and will report back my findings. I plan to spend one week drinking Jillian Michael's "Detox Drink" which is lemon juice, water, dandelion root tea with pure cranberry juice and eat clean sulfurous proteins such as eggs, veggies (broccoli, onions, garlic, cabbage, again sulfurous) and fruits. Here is a thorough list of sulfur rich foods if you are interested. This is similar to the eating regimen which was with the liver detox I did years ago.

I am not a "diet" person. I have tried many diets in my life out of curiosity mostly (Atkins, South Beach, plus the weight loss place I worked for, to name a few). It was only when I decided to make HUGE lifestyle changes that I truly saw and felt a change in my body. Plus for me, deprivation=overeating later.

For anyone wanting to detox their body with an eating plan, I do recommend a book called the Fast Track Detox Diet by Ann Louise Gittleman. Even though I never tried this "diet", the book is in my reference library for research purposes. I first came across this book when I looking for an all-natural way to "detox" my body from all the heck it had been through with the pregnancy and breastfeeding.

From there, I set out to find something to help give me advice on how to accomplish the goal of getting rid of these awful body aches, sleepless nights and headaches I was having. After much researching, I found a liver cleanse online through, where else, Amazon.com, and proceeded to follow the instructions to the tee. I used Renew Life Liver Detox. This utilized all natural herbs to detox the liver. It was a 30 day cleanse with two pills taken in the morning and two pills at night plus an eating regimen to follow. I stuck with this for about 2 1/2 weeks. I seriously could not stomach another egg, broccoli or bland chicken meal. What I did have were some amazing results. I had more energy than I had had in years and I slept better plus my headaches and body aches went away. I had pep in my step. After this, I was hooked on detoxing, just not for 30 days at a time. I had to figure out something that worked for me, my schedule and my life. Since I am attempting to get my body back to it's pre-child muscular state, I need a good detoxing.

The Detox Plan

This is my detox plan. Drink 64 ounces of Jillian Michael's Detox "tea" daily for seven days, eat nothing but fresh, whole fruits and veggies and lean meats then report my results. I will try to limit my caffeine consumption and eat no sugar for this week.


Jillian Michael's Detox Tea Recipe

64 ounces of fresh, filtered water
2 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp no sugar added cranberry juice ( I used Knudsen's Just Cranberry brand)
2 teabags Dandelion Root Tea


I make the tea first since it needs to steep for at least 15 minutes and also cool off before pouring it in the juice container. I searched far and wide for this tea and only managed to find it at a local health foods store but I am so glad I did. It was reasonably priced at $5.50 for 16 bags which will last the week since I use two a day. The instructions say to steep for 15 minutes and then squeeze the teabags so you get all the goodness out of the tea. Many recipes I found for this juice online said you could use any tea but after researching Dandelion Root Tea there is no substitute. This tea is supposed to "get the digestive juices flowing" which means the liver, kidneys and intestines which allow the lemon juice and cranberry juice to do their jobs of ridding the body of toxins. Lemon is a natural diuretic and cleansing agent. As far as the cranberry juice, it is supposed to help with urinary tract health and is prescribed by many natural practitioners for relief in this area. I used R.W. Knudsen's which makes one of the only no sugar added JUST cranberry juice out there, which I found at the commissary but have seen at Publix. I would not personally use a sugar free or Splenda blend because this is meant to be easy on the body and the simpler the ingredients the better and easier for your body to digest. Once I add all the ingredients to the container, I refrigerate overnight so it is nice and chilled the next day.

So I am off to the detoxing races. Wish me luck.

Happy Detoxing,

B
 
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Saturday, April 27, 2013

How to be a Perfect Wife and Mother

Obviously, this is a satirical post. The perfect wife and mother do not exist. I learned this the hard way by comparing myself to other women, wives and mothers. You see, I'm a perfectionist by nature. I have been as long as I can remember. Once I became a mother, the most natural thing was for me to be perfect at it. I read everything I could. Researched every little thing. The biggest problem with being a perfectionist mommy is there is no way to be perfect at anything, ever. Learning this was the best thing I could have done for myself and my children.
 
Thing I have done to STOP being a perfectionist:

1. Don't compare yourself to other mothers. I am not as skinny or as fit as so and so who has 5 kids. I feel exhausted 90% of the time but see mothers who are either on caffeine overload or just have the personality of the Energizer bunny bouncing from their PTO meetings, home room mother outings, gardening, blogging, photography, volunteer board positions, all while holding down a full time job. Instead of comparing yourself to others, do the best you can with what you have and call it a day.
 
2.  Don't be a helicopter parent. If you don't know what that is, you may want to look it up. I fuss over my son who insists on wiping his nose on the front of his shirt, picks holes in the knees of his pants and my daughter who seems to find every dirt pile in her path and high place to climb only to subsequently fall off. I used to be one of those parents who spent an inordinate amount of time obsessing over EVERY, LITTLE, THING. Now with two, not so much. If my daughter has a piece of candy, I don't have a breakdown thinking of how it will scar her taste buds for the rest of her life because she had one piece of candy. (Trust me I did this with my son. He had his first piece of candy at his preschool when he was four!!)

3. Don't obsess over the cleanliness of your house.  I am also not the best or most efficient house cleaner. Cat fur tumbleweeds blow in the ceiling fan breeze, my toilets are in constant need of attention and dried milk always coats my tabletop, even though I clean daily. Anyone who knew me before children could attest to my almost obsessive need for things to be clean and in its proper place. I'm not saying I don't fight that little gremlin but motherhood certainly humbles your existence. Maybe it's because I have a 2 year old. Maybe it's because I am somewhat of a lazy perfectionist these days. Or maybe it's that my children and my family are what makes me happy. Maybe my priorities of health, playtime and a semi-clean home are what I feel my children need from their mommy. The dishes will get washed, the laundry folded and the beds made. Take that moment when your child says, "Mommy, wanna play?" and instead of saying "I'm busy" say, "Absolutely!"
 
4. Last an certainly not least: Make your health a priority, too.  How would our children's lives be without us in it because we didn't make our health a priority? I believe I am the best mother I can be when I take time to take care of myself. Not just physically by exercising and eating healthy but also by making sure I pursue interests outside of motherhood, things that exercise my mind. The pursuits I had before taking on the persona of mother of the year (only in that alternate universe of my overinflated ego mind). Take time for yourself everyday and make sure to have a date night with your significant other at least once a month. Even if its only for a few hours, date night is essential.

All this being said a happy mommy=happy children, right? Not necessarily. Each child has their own personality. My son is the pessimist, my daughter the optimist. My daughter laughs easily and loves intensely. My son loves intensely, unknowingly and laughs cautiously. My son loves to cook, my daughter loves to eat. My son cannot be bothered from his toy cars to help, my daughter sees a task and does it. They are different sides of the same coin. How can two human beings produced by the same two people be completely different? The answer is that they came from two completely different people. Two people who love each other with everything we have to give. One who sees the good in others and one who struggles to see the good in anything. One who laughs with all her heart and the other who laughs at her laughing. One who pursues childhoods' simplicity and the other who fights it with all he has.

My children are as happy as two children can be considering the life we lead. One of my children has special needs and the daily struggles of this are sometimes so overwhelming all I can do is focus on anything else. I put too much pressure on myself, feeling as if somehow my childs special needs are my fault. My son experienced his father deploying when he was 3 and I heard him say "See ya later, tater" as we waved goodbye. I did all the things the military tells you to do. I let my son help his father pack and took pictures of it. I made him a photo album with pictures of all the fun things he and Daddy did with captions that read "Fun with Daddy at the Waterpark" and we would look through the book during the year separation to remind him that Daddy loves him. I took him to the farewell. I let him watch his father board the white bus and then I held my son as he cried when he finally realized he was not going with Daddy. All he kept saying was "I wanna go on the white bus with Daddy." My heart broke in those moments. Even though he is almost 7, he still talks about "daddy leaving" and I still have to explain that Daddy isn't going anywhere for a while. I did all the things I was told to do to help him cope. At least this is one stressor he doesn't have to deal with for now.

Paraphrasing one of my dearest friends: "I will never be the perfect mother or the worst mother. As hard as I try, my children will end up in therapy either because I wore myself out trying to be the perfect mother or because I wasn't the perfect mother, so I just do the best I can". I strive to be a better mother, to achieve the goals I set for myself, to show my children determination by making lemonade when we are handed lemons. I want to teach them that life doesn't always turn out as you planned. Happiness is a choice not a chance. Personalities are predetermined but it does not have to mold your emotions. Instead of pushing for perfection, I strive for my children to feel secure, safe, loved, cared for and most of all cherished by their mother, as the miracle they are. I strive for them to understand that home is where the people you love are and not some tangible, touchable place. For it is in the heart, where the home lies.


~B

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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Healthy Clean Eating Recipe # 4: Clean Eating Berry Muffins

The last few weeks have been incredibly busy for the fam with Spring Break, Easter, and lots of beautiful days, we have spent much of the last two weeks outside. We have taken trips to the park, the zoo, bike rides and Easter egg hunts. The last few weeks have been loads of fun, but I have been missing my little caveat, blogging and trying new recipes.

I am a fair weather kinda gal, the main reason I'm still in love with the time we spent in Hawaii and would seriously consider moving back there. Needless to say, I love this time of year with the sunshine and fresh produce to eat that motivates me to try new recipes. All of this great weather always motivates me to eat healthy with nothing to weigh me down, literally and figuratively.

The Clean Eating Strawberry Muffin recipe is right up the healthy beach-ready-body alley. Part of the inspiration for the choice of this recipe was that California strawberries were on sale at my local supermarket. I LOVE California strawberries (they are the sweetest strawberries I have EVER had, sorry Florida) and got hooked on California produce while in Hawaii. I also feel a little safer eating California produce because of the strict regulations the state places on its farmers to not use potentially cancer causing agents on the crops produced in the state. So with all this the recipe was a no-brainer. I found a similar recipe on Pinterest a few weeks ago which gave me the idea.

I tried the recipe once but have suggestions for my future try. I couldn't get the right consistency from my food processor for the oatmeal to turn to "oat flour" which produced a grainy texture muffin. For the second attempt, I will try a coffee grinder to get the desired "flour" consistency. The recipe on Pinterest said to add strawberries to the mix but I found that made them very gooey and the kids wouldn't touch the muffins. So the second time around I will place strawberries on top of each muffin prior to placing them in the oven which should produce a slightly less strawberry-ee and less mushy muffin and hope to achieve a better consistency muffin. If I add some chopped nuts to the mix it would be more of a nut muffin which would suit my tastes anyway.

Clean Eating Berry Muffins

2 1/2 cups Old-Fashioned Oats (not quick cooking) ground to a fine powder
1 cup Non-Fat Vanilla Greek Yogurt
2 eggs
1/2 cup Splenda for Baking or 1 cup sweetener of choice
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 cup Strawberries quartered or diced whichever way you like them, dried with a paper towel

Optional:
1/2 cup Chopped Pecans


No-Flour Strawberry Muffins
Line your muffin tin with either foil liners or silicone muffin liners or spray each cup with non-stick spray. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place oats in a blender, food processor or coffee grinder and grind until you can't grind anymore. Actually just until you get to a "flour" consistency. Or if you are particularly in need to spend some serious cash and save some time, buy oat flour. Once you have reached your desired consistency, place all the dry ingredients in the blender and just blend slightly to distribute the ingredients. Pour all blended ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Add the wet ingredients except strawberries, unless you don't mind the gooey consistency of baked strawberries. Mix with a wooden spoon or any spoon until well blended. My first try I placed a few strawberry pieces in the bottom of each cup then filled 3/4 of the cup with mix then added two strawberry quarters to the top. Way too much work for me. So my next attempt, I will only place the strawberries or most likely blueberries on top of each muffin cup. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Serve with all natural or homemade jam. I loved these little morsels but couldn't get the kids to eat them because of the consistency! With approximately 100 calories, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of protein (unless you add a scoop of protein powder) and 4 grams of fiber, you can't miss!!! Slather a tablespoon of peanut butter to these puppies and you've got a great way to start your day. Plus they keep in the fridge for several days so make these in your spare time and keep them in your fridge for an easy breakfast. To change it up a bit, you could add blueberries or mango or even papaya to the mix instead of the strawberries and top with local made honey. Or you could add chopped walnuts or almonds for some Vitamin E and a scoop of vanilla protein powder for an extra protein punch! There are so many yummy variations!

For my next culinary adventure in the no-flour muffin world, I will attempt the triple chocolate no-flour muffins! I will for sure post about that experience. My perfect dessert and my husbands' perfect breakfast. Hmm.....Maybe for his birthday breakfast? Except his birthday falls on Mothers' Day this year. Uh-oh troubles a' brewing in Mav-land. He will be feeling totally neglected this year. Gotta come up with something good that involves both of us having a special day! What to do, what to do?

On the menu next time.....my Very Berry Protein Shake using left over frozen strawberries and organic frozen blueberries, plus South o' the Border Tilapia using fresh lime juice with Better Than Guacamole Broccomole. Delicious!

 
Happy Cooking,
 
~B
 
 
 
Leave me a message. I would love to know how these recipes turned out for you!


Saturday, March 9, 2013

Clean Eating Recipe #3: Grecian Goddess Lettuce Wraps


The Grecian Goddess Lettuce Boats incorporate lettuce and low-calorie Greek Yogurt tzatziki sauce to tantalize your taste buds and are certain to make you come back for more! Plus these little morsels won't challenge that gorgeous, Grecian, goddess body you've worked so hard for! :)
Grecian Goddess Lettuce Wraps

Grecian Goddess Lettuce Boats

Leftover Fajita Chicken with Onions and Peppers
8 Whole Romaine Lettuce Leaves
Greek Tzatziki Sauce

Rinse and dry lettuce leaves, break in half. Heat up left over chicken and place a little onion, peppers, and chicken on each piece of lettuce. Add a tablespoon of tzatziki sauce to each and enjoy! You can either have this set up as a buffet, make your own or you can make them and place them on a plate. Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy. Lettuce all say yummy! Hehe.

I have included the recipe for the fajita marinade and the tzatziki sauce below.

Grecian Goddess Tzatziki

1 cup Non-fat Plain Greek Yogurt
1/2 cucumber, diced
1 TSP Fresh or dried Dill
Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice, to taste
Pinch of Salt and Pepper, to taste

Mix all ingredients together. It is best to let this sit overnight in the fridge to allow the flavors to melt together.

Chicken Fajita Marinade Ole

1 tsp Minced Garlic
1 tsp Minced Onion
3/4 tsp Cumin
3/4 tsp Oregano
1/2 tsp Cilantro
black pepper and salt to taste
1/4 cup each of lime and orange juice

You can add more or less of the herbs and spices according to what your taste buds like. I use this particular amount of each.

Mix all ingredients together and pour about half over the chicken. Marinate at least four hours. Use the other half for your peppers and onions. I always cook mine in a skillet in a little olive oil. I serve this with either romaine lettuce wraps or tortillas, sour cream and cheese for the kiddos. I also make my clean guacamole recipe and serve that with three-ingredient tortilla chips. We will save that little gem for another day!

Everyone in my family really enjoys these recipes. They are now a weekly favorite and hopefully will be for you and your family. Remember, clean eating is only a recipe away!

Happy Cooking,

B

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Delicious Clean Eating Slow-Cooker Italian Pot Roast

As I promised, I have another clean eating recipe for you. This week's recipe is Williams-Sonoma Italian Pot Roast. This is my go-to recipe for pot roast. I discovered this little gem of a recipe in my Williams-Sonoma Slow Cooker cookbook several years ago. I love this cookbook! Even though they no longer sell this particular cookbook you can find this recipe at Williams Sonoma.com.
I made this recipe three times and all three times I have changed something about the method. My first attempt I omitted the red wine. I followed the recipe but it didn't seem to have enough flavor. During my second try, I decided to use left over red wine (whats that?) and came out with an even less flavorful dish. As they say, the third time is a charm. I found my groove and figured out how to make the dish flavorful, the meat moist and the end result something I am proud of. I dropped the flour from the dish altogether and added salt and pepper to the slow cooker instead of only the flour mixture. After all, I like to have leftovers for a second meal and if it doesn't taste good hot off the pot then it REALLY won't once it's reheated. This is the best Italian Pot Roast recipe ever!

Delicious Italian Pot-Roast

4 lbs (or about) Boneless beef chuck (I used bottom round)
1/4 cup Olive oil
4 Garlic cloves, minced
1 cup Dry Red Wine (make sure it tastes good otherwise it will make your meat taste bad, too)
1 can Organic Roasted Tomatoes
1 TBSP Oregano
1 Packet Stevia
2 Bay leaves
1 TBSP Basil
1 TBSP each Salt and Pepper

Deglazing with Red Wine
Heat the olive oil in a skillet on medium-high heat. I used a cast iron skillet which holds heat well, so medium heat was fine for browning my roast. Place the beef in the pan and brown on all sides about 2-3 minutes on each side but no longer than 8 minutes total, just enough to leave pieces of meat on the bottom of the pan. Once all sides are browned, remove the meat and place in your slow-cooker. Leave the pan on medium heat. Add some oil to the pan if there isn't any and throw in the garlic. Saute just until you can smell the garlic. Stir about one minute. Add the red wine. Deglaze the pan. Use a spatula to pull up the bits and pieces of meat left on the bottom of the pan from browning. The liquid should be bubbling.



Once you have stirred all the bits off the bottom of the pan, pour over the roast in the slow cooker. Add the tomatoes, sugar, bay leaves and basil over the top of the roast. At this time, I add a little fresh ground salt and pepper. Cover and cook, depending on your slow-cooker, 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low. I cooked mine for 6 hours on low. I like to fix this in the morning and forget it. Simple, easy and delicious!


Italian Pot Roast
Once the roast is done cooking, transfer to a plate and slice. Then spoon the sauce from the slow cooker over the roast. Serve this tasty Italian Pot Roast with Warm Arugula Salad. Make this delectable warm salad by heating olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic in a skillet, add a package of organic arugula and sautéing just until the arugula is slightly wilted. Transfer the arugula to a bowl and sprinkle with sliced almonds. Serve immediately. This is delicious and won't challenge your waistline! You'll feel better for it!
 
Happy Cooking,
 
 
B
 
 
 
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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Clean Eating Recipe 1# Mini Prosciutto Frittatas

I love clean eating, so my recipes will follow that guideline. My other stipulation is the recipe must have ingredients that I think will taste good. If there is one thing I learned about food while living in Hawaii for 7 years, it was healthy, clean, food can taste GREAT. So here goes.

Clean eating is defined as foods that are whole, unprocessed and as free as possible of unnatural substances such as sugar, sweeteners and trans fats. While my recipe uses pasteurized egg whites which some would argue is not considered "clean", separated egg whites could be used. The prosciutto, which was left over from another meal, is just the pork and a little salt for curing. Making sure the recipe was a clean recipe meant I skipped the shredded cheese which is traditionally in frittatas, too. I did use non-stick spray but you could easily use the silicone muffin cups or muffin tin to make sure they don't stick to make this recipe even more "clean".

Technically these are individual frittatas. Frittatas are my go-to breakfast, especially when we have guests in town. They are quick, easy, tasty and healthy. I love them because they are simply eggs, milk, and whatever meat and/or veggies you want. That's it, they are that easy.


You can pretty much add whatever you like to frittatas. You could add chopped mushrooms, peppers, onions, kale, spinach, asparagus, etc, etc, etc. The possibilities are endless!! This is the reason I love frittatas. They are so versatile. You can even customize each muffin cup and let the kiddos choose their own "toppings". Plus the munchkins think they are getting muffins, salty muffins, but muffins. They enjoyed their muffins with strawberry jam. A trick courtesy of Maverick. But I'll take mine plain with a side of fruit, thank you.

Here is my clean eating egg recipe:

Healthy, Tasty and "Clean" Egg Muffin Mini Frittatas

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray non-stick muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray or use silicone cups or muffin tin.

3 slices of prosciutto, chopped
1/4 cup Fat Free Organic Milk
6 whole eggs
1/2 cup Egg Beaters, 100% Egg Whites or just separate 6 eggs keeping only the whites
1TSP Garlic Salt, more or less to your taste
Fresh Ground Pepper
Pinch of Salt-Free Herb/Spice Seasoning of your choice



Beat the eggs and spices together. Place a little prosciutto in the bottom of each muffin cup. Pour eggs over top to about 3/4 full. Stir each cup lightly with a fork just to get the prosciutto to mix. Place in oven for 15 minutes. If they are slightly brown on top they are done. If not, leave them in another few minutes. Once done, gently loosen each with a knife and enjoy immediately. The first batch was gone that morning and the second batch, pictured on the left, I placed in the refrigerator and heat for about 15 seconds in the microwave every morning. Since there is about one egg per cup this mean each cup has about 6 grams of protein. Eat two egg muffin frittatas for breakfast and you start your day with 12 grams of protein! Add some fruit and what a way to start your day. Clean eating is only a recipe away!

Try this recipe and let me know how it turns out for you. Happy cooking, everyone!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Half-Marathon Training, Frustrations and Inspirations

Setbacks in the last several weeks in my training for the half-marathon, have had me a little under the weather, literally. It all started with a very unassuming sore-throat and then melted into a full blown cold/flu. This is a problem because it started on a Friday and my long run was the next morning. Since my training began in 5 months ago this is the third week I have taken off due to illness or injury. My worst training record yet.....

While this is frustrating, I have learned to listen to my body. Whereas 10 years ago I would have pushed through pain or illness and ran my scheduled mileage, but I have learned that with age comes wisdom. Plus it seems to take longer for my body to recover. Ha! Sometimes, that is.

My longest run, so far, has been 9 miles. I am still not to my pre-marathon pace, either. It is frustrating because I trained for the marathon in 2 months and was up to 12 miles. I have had 5 months already and a total of 6 months prior to this half-marathon to train and just can't seem to get my body going in the right direction, until this week.

I must've been in a plateau for several weeks. I got comfortable running 2 miles, 2 times a week with my long run thrown in on Saturday. So this week I bumped it up to 3 miles, 3 times a week plus my long run and the difference was amazing. By the third 3-miler this week, I was running at my pre-Princess Lilliput time. While I seemed out of breath and my muscles ached, it felt good. I felt the way I used to feel running, like I couldn't get enough of it.

I also changed my eating habits. I added steel cut oatmeal with almonds and cinnamon to the mornings I run. So I was able to put the energy gel chews away. Yay! Those things are just gross. I dropped my coffee consumption to half a cup a day and only to aid in recovery after a run. I am eating more protein which also aids in muscle recovery and drink Propel before and after every run. These are all the things I did when I was training in 2008 for the marathon. They seem to be doing the trick.

 
I also added interval training to one of my 3 mile runs. I run at a faster pace for 10 minutes in the middle of the run. I believe this has made the biggest difference for me. As far as my long runs, I always take two bottles of Gatorade on my hydration belt. This has really helped to get me through the long miles. While I am not a big proponent of Gatorade for most exercise sessions, I limit my consumption to those days I am exercising for an hour or more. It all depends on the exertion level. If you are going hard for an hour you may need the bump that Gatorade can give you to add that extra mile to the end. Any less time and water is just as good, if not better, at hydrating. My hydration belt also houses my cell phone on a long run. What can I say, I'm a safety gal. You never know what will happen when you are that far away, especially where I live.  If you travel five miles in either direction you're in the boonies.

Four weeks to go and I can't wait to see the half-marathon course. It is supposed to run by the beach. What more motivation do you need if you can run by the water?



I only have 4 more long runs before the big day. I am super-duper excited!!! Plus Mav's gonna take the kiddos for the whole weekend, so I get a mini-vacay at the beach by MYSELF!! I am the luckiest girl in the world......




Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Years Resolution 2013, Are You In?

Today is the first day of the year 2013. The New Years resolution decision is looming for some while others are choosing to opt-out. For the 40% of Americans who will make a new years resolution this year there are many companies willing to help you. Whether it be advertisements of monthly deals on fitness facilities or experts offering financial advice to combat the forthcoming tax increases, the resolution season is in full swing. Are you in?

New Years resolutions began innocently enough thousands of years ago but have now become somewhat of an enigma in our society.  Through trial and error, many individuals have given up the thought as just a passing dream which will never come to fruition lost in their own concession. After all, a year long resolution is a hard one to achieve. For some, the New Years resolution is a must for starting the new year on a positive note.

The word resolution is derived from the word resolve. The definition of which is to have determination, tenacity, doggedness and firmness in solving a problem or dilemma.

To create a solution to a problem, for instance, becoming healthy, one may ask, how do I achieve that? Since becoming healthy can involve anything from eating right, to exercise to meditation, it is helpful to break it down into smaller, documentable, attainable goals. This will help to determine the outcome, success or failure, of your resolution.

So once you break down the necessary ingredients for your resolution recipe, write it down. Break down the parts into weekly goals. For example, this week you resolve to eat a healthy breakfast 5 out of the 7 days. Then make a list of healthy breakfasts, go to the store and stock up. This list from Real Simple Magazine is great!


Once you have completed the first week, move on to lunch and the next week, dinner. By the end of the month you have achieved the goal of eating healthy 75% of the time. A helpful way of keeping track is to use a calendar to track your progress or if you are particularly organized, an Excel spreadsheet, print it out and place it on your refrigerator door. You have a reminder every morning of the goal you set for yourself. Continue this until you have completed your eating healthy new years resolution.

If you are particularly brave, you can add an exercise regimen resolution with your eating resolution but as they say, slow and steady wins the race. Remember that smaller goals are more easily attainable and they also keep you motivated. After the first month of achieving your eating healthy goals, add an exercise regimen. You can say you will exercise, walk, jog, ride a bike, etc., for 30 minutes most days of the week. Write that down on your calendar and put a check mark by it when you have completed the daily goal. Then each week resolve to add 5 minutes to your time until you have achieved one hour of exercise most days of the week. If you can only walk, then say for the first month you work on your time. Then the next month resolve to add jogging to each walking session. By the end of the next month, you could be jogging for most of the hour.

The main thing to remember is that you will have setbacks and successes.  The best way to stay motivated is to focus on your weekly or daily short term goals. That way if you have a setback today, tell yourself tomorrow you will eat healthy. Maintaining a positive attitude is 90% of the battle. Write down things you want to say to yourself should you have a setback instead of allowing yourself to fall into self-deprecation mode. Keep a list of inspirational quotes next to the calendar on the fridge. Get a massage or manicure after achieving your goals for the month. Allow yourself 2-3 pieces of your favorite fun size candy after a particularly good day. Give yourself one cheat day a week where you can eat whatever you want. Choose to do a new hike you heard about, instead of your usual daily exercise. These are all great ways to proactively and positively motivate yourself.

Remember, set the goals, write them down, check them off,  do a happy dance and give yourself a pat on the back or massage! You deserve it!

Good luck!

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