The Power of Colors

Colors are a very personal preference for each of us. We all have our favorite color and for me that color is light blue…and various shades of pink…and more recently, orange. Orange?!! Where did that come from?

For the past year I’ve become attracted to oranges, not the burnt, muted nor bright neon orange shades, but the cool, bright, full oranges. First I would see an orange car, it was a cool, bright, almost creamy orange, then It would be a shirt or a phone case, another blog site I have is orange, a notebook, kitchen ware, not to forget the beautiful orange trees this time of year, etc. This week I saw a photo of an orange colonial home and I was in love with it – it just popped but it was subtle and classy. It’s difficult to describe what my eyes feel like when I see the perfect orange for me, it’s as though they are filled to the rim with love and joy and a little happy dance.

I decided to look into my new obsession with orange. After learning the what power that colors can do to us or for us I decided I like changing my favorite colors because I believe change happens for a reason. Here’s what I found orange to influence in us:

Orange represents transformation, warmth, happiness, emotional strength, it’s optimistic and uplifting; orange induces spontaneity & a positive outlook and is motivating. Orange suggests adventure & risk taking, it inspires physical confidence, competition and independence; it’s extroverted and uninhibited. Orange is known to stimulate the appetite (be careful of orange in your kitchen or wherever you dine if you’re controlling your diet!), as well as aid simulation of new ideas. This vibrant color frees the spirit of limitations-giving freedom to be ourselves and it encourages respect of self and of others. Whew! After all this positive representation, who wouldn’t love orange?

I believe things we need to push us forward come into out lives when we need them. For me, orange just might be that ‘thing’ that helps feed my spirit for growth. When something that you feel is unusual for you comes along, don’t fight it, go with it and learn from it; there’s a lesson in everything.

What is your color? What does it mean for you?

When You’re Ready, It Will Happen

We all have the desire to lose weight or eat better for better health. We all struggle too. Not one of us is alone no matter what discipline we use. Even the firm bodied, glowing fitness trainer struggles. As a nutritional and lifestyle wellness coach, I hear people tell me all the time that I’m perfect, I eat only the good things and I get a workout in every day; the truth is, I’m human, imperfect and I don’t workout nearly as often as I want to. I have the time so why don’t I do it? It’s not fun to me, I’d rather do something else, I’d rather do it with someone, I’ll do it later…these are only a few of the excuses I give myself. I most often eat only foods that are healthy, but I often eat too much; I do workout, but I don’t workout hard or regularly.

I coach people to let go of habits that don’t do them any good and to adopt good habits that make them feel renewed and re-energized. I love my work and I love my clients, every single one of them that I’ve had and I can assure you that I will love each new client down the road. I love them because they care about themselves to get better and they inspire me to share my knowledge and inspire so many more to follow their dreams and reach their goals.

One of my first clients in 2011, whom also happens to be a good friend, went through my entire 6-Month Progressive program with the desire to lose weight, limit eating sugary snacks and develop healthy eating habits overall. She will confess to you that it wasn’t and isn’t an easy thing to do; there is no simple, quick fix; it takes time, know-how and dedication. I myself was confused and disappointed for a while at the fact that the process was slow-going. Then something clicked. My client learned all the steps while working with me but the one thing that wasn’t 100% in gear was the commitment to herself. Know-how, desire and commitment are three entirely different things but together they work amazingly well. In the past five to six months my client has lost twenty-three or more pounds! That is a huge accomplishment and she hasn’t stopped, she uses what I taught her and she finds it easy to follow without craving the unhealthy snacks. Stress no longer takes control over her dietary discipline nor does she let stress eat at her. What happened when she suddenly began dropping pounds? She was ready.

Don’t give up hope, don’t throw away your dreams and goals of being healthy and fit. When you learn what it takes for your particular body and lifestyle and when you’re ready to commit, you will succeed. Commitment comes from within and there’s no right time or wrong time, it’s personally up to you to decide when it’s right.

Love yourself enough to be healthy and happy. Here’s to you and your personal journey. Want help? Write me.

In health and happiness.

Fresh Peach Salsa

2014-08-27 15.48.28

Peaches are in season and I’m fortunate to have an orchard a mile down the street from my house. A few days ago I picked up a big bag of donut peach “seconds” for a great price. I’m free to get creative trying to use up the peaches before they go bad so I’ve begun my peach craze!

I love salsa, ok, I love dip, any kind of dip and salsa qualifies in my book! I had garden fresh tomatoes, cilantro and onions so I set off to work.

For the Peach Salsa you’ll need

Peaches – I didn’t count but probably used about 10 donut peaches – they’re small

Tomatoes – same deal – try about 5 large tomatoes

1/2 sweet onion – I used Vidalia, chopped

a handful of cilantro, chopped

1/2 – 1 lime or good quality lime juice

1 Tbls. apple cider vinegar (ACV)

Salt to taste

Dice tomatoes small, dice peaches small, toss all ingredients together, cover and refrigerate to let flavors blend.

Use as you would any salsa.

I scooped a few spoonfuls onto foil and roasted it on the grill to serve over steak tips and it was delicious – it would be great over grilled chicken too!

I have never canned before, but I think I will give it a try with peach salsa this year; I’ll let you know how it goes!

Roasted Peach Salsa over Steak Tips

Roasted Peach Salsa over Steak Tips

 

Sometimes it’s about the food…

2014-08-19 18.43.24Many people I talk to want to know how to make a fast meal that is healthy, many of those people don’t like to cook; that is the reason I share many of my meals here.

I recently made a meal that while it doesn’t look healthy,  it is. My son was over for dinner and although it is August, the air was cool, nice actually so I didn’t mind using the oven. I made sausage & peppers with tomatoes, onions and mushrooms. The sausage might not sound healthy but they were organic chicken sausage with Italian spices, a pretty good choice for a comforting meal.

Here’s the recipe:

Baked Italian Sausage & Peppers (the amounts can vary depending on how many people you’re serving)

4-12 links Italian chicken sausage cut in half on bias

2-4 bell peppers, red and green

1 large onion – 1/4″ slices length-wise

1-2 cups mushrooms, sliced

1-5 cloves garlic, sliced or chopped

8 tomatoes cut up into large chunks or 28-oz. can whole, peeled roma tomatoes cut up

1/2-1 cup wine

Herbs such as basil, oregano, rosemary, mint, sage, thyme, chili pepper flakes…etc.

Combine all ingredients in a large baking dish or pan with high edges. Bake at 325° for 1 1/2-2 hours. Serve over or alongside brown rice, quinoa, small pasta or as is with a crusty bread and a leafy green salad and other fresh vegetables.

 

 

 

 

A Bust for Us – Chain Restaurants

Dale and I went out to eat last night. We typically choose locally owned establishments and if they are chains, they are only chains to the area with up to 5 locations tops.
Last night we had a few errands to run and decided on the 99 Restaurant because it was close to where we were and we were hungry. Big mistake or lesson learned.
I ordered what I thought would be healthy, bruschetta chicken topped with tomatoes and asparagus…a whole 3 of them! Dale ordered chicken parmesan.
I bit into the chicken expecting well, chicken. The texture was sponge-y and watery and tasteless. I took another bite and had to investigate since the second bite was like the first. As I cut into a third piece and examined it closely, I saw layers as you would see in plywood. The chicken had perfect criss-cross grill-marks and looked like a boneless chicken breast – for the most part but ugh! it was processed, tasteless and kind of gross. Dale isn’t real particular but upon eating his meal he was not impressed either and boy were we thirsty.
On our drive home, he was driving so I decided to look up the fat, sodium etc contents of our meals on my smart phone. My thought to be healthy meal boasted 1770 mg. of sodium and 950 and Dale’s chicken parmesan meal had 6320 mg. of sodium and 2130 calories! Yikes! I almost got the chicken parmesan, glad I didn’t but we are both so sorry that we went to a chain restaurant and vowed to not do it again if we can help it.

This weekend we will consciously eating and detoxing that junk out of our systems!
We both should have gotten a salad, better yet, should have stuck with our local gems or homemade.

Homemade Mayonnaise

Mayo ingredientsI was clean out of mayo and wanted to use some for a fun summer meal that typically includes mayonnaise. Instead of running to the market for one small item that potentially has sugar or worse, high fructose corn syrup(!!) in the mix I decided to make my own. I based my recipe on a video that happened to pop up in my email earlier in the day; instead of logging back in and searching for the video I made my mayo by memory and it came out pretty great for the first try.

I used the ingredients listed in the video but amounts except for the 2 egg yolks were just estimated; I used too much mustard so I added 2 more egg yolks and roughly another cup of oil ending up with a double batch which is a perfect 12 ounces.

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 egg yolks , a teaspoon or less of Dijon mustard (next time I will try my spice shelf dry mustard instead)
  • dash of salt – I used pink Himalayan salt
  • 1 cup of a mild tasting light oil, I used grape seed, you can use a light olive oil, sunflower seed oil or any light nut oil for variety
  • if you use dry mustard instead of prepared you will want to add a teaspoon or so of apple cider vinegar
  • A handheld mini-blender or a small handheld type mixer (you probably can use your stand mixer too, I will try that next time and check in if no one else does

Put the yolks, salt and mustard in a 2 cup measure and begin beating, slowly drizzle the oil in beating until it mixes well and thickens, you’ll know when to stop due to consistency.

Put into a jar or container with a tight-fitting lid and store in refrigerator.

Tip: I cooked up the 4 egg whites and added them to my 2 dogs dinners for added protein. You can refrigerate them and make an egg white omelet the following day or for dinner.

Mayo finished

 

 

Second Day Chicken – 1 chicken, 3 meals, great deal!

Cilantro-Lime Chicken

Cilantro-Lime Chicken

Last night I posted about how to easily let a chicken roast in the crock pot while you are away at work or just busy at home doing things other than worrying about cooking dinner. Today, I’ll share a few ideas on how to use the leftover chicken for equally delicious meals.My first recipe is something anyone can do and has done, Chicken Salad. If course it’s easy to chop up chicken and throw some mayonnaise in it and call it chicken salad, but I’ll share my favorite preparation of it; if you’re allergic to nuts or opposed to some of the ingredients leave them out and/or substitute them with something you do like.

Chicken Salad ~ Dawn’s Cape Cod Style

2 cups chicken shredded with a fork

1/8 – 1/4 of a small onion, diced

small handful dried cranberries, coarsely chopped

small handful walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped

1 stalk celery, diced

dash salt and ground black pepper

1 teaspoon lemon juice-or juice of half a lemon

1-3 tablespoons mayonnaise or if you prefer not to use mayo. you can mix plain Greek yogurt with 1/4 to 1/2 an avocado until creamy, it will make your chicken salad greenish but that’s fine, it will be delicious.

Gently mix all ingredients together until well blended. Serve immediately or cover and chill overnight so flavors meld.

This would be great to mix the night you roast the chicken once it’s cooled. Before you sit to eat, take 2 cups of it out of the heat and set it aside – it will be cooled by the time you finish your dinner and are ready to clean up the kitchen – which by the way is a breeze because dinner was so simple!

Serve the chicken salad atop a salad, in a sandwich or Pita pocket. This will make enough for several sandwiches/meals.

A dinner idea for the rest of the leftover chicken is a simple chicken and fresh vegetable soup using a good quality pre-made organic chicken broth and your choice of in-season vegetables cut up and simmered till tender and warmed or if the weather is too hot for soup make Cilantro-Lime Chicken with a side salad and fresh veggies and/or steamed red potatoes or brown rice. Veggies and chicken alone is truly all you need for a healthy, filling dinner.

Cilantro-Lime Chicken – cooling and simple for a warm summer evening

Use the remaining chicken from roasting night, tear it into big chunks

Sprinkle well with salt & freshly ground black pepper

1 large handful cilantro chopped – I was short on cilantro in my garden so I added fresh dill and parsley with the cialntro I had

juice of 2 limes or 2-3 Tablespoons lime juice

1/4 cup olive oil

Mix all ingredients together and gently toss, set aside while you prepare the vegetables and/or salad.

Serve on plate alongside your salad and veggies of choice.

Don’t get stuck, get creative!

Chicken Salad - Dawn's Cape Cod style

Chicken Salad – Dawn’s Cape Cod style

Chicken Salad w/Avocado-Yogurt Dressing

Chicken Salad w/Avocado-Yogurt Dressing

Fast, Cheap and Easy! (and healthy)

Who doesn’t like fast, cheap and easy especially when it’s healthy?

I get many requests and confessions from people about not wanting to spend a lot of time cooking, not wanting to eat processed box food and fast food take-out meals. Are you one of them? I have many tips up my sleeve and I plan to share them with you often.

For the Crockpot lovers out there here’s a fast, cheap and easy dinner with plenty to feed a larger family or for more than one meal. I respect that everyone is busy and wants to get the rules and not the fluff so here goes; there are no rules! :)

Crockpot Roasted Chicken

1 whole chicken, one chicken cut up, or chicken breast, boneless chicken pieces – whichever you prefer

favorite herb/spice mixture – I used poultry seasoning with a low salt content

I also used 1/2 cup white wine you can use your favorite beer too or just water

Put the chicken in the pot, pour wine or beer over the top, sprinkle generously with your choice seasoning. Turn crockpot to low if cooking for 8+ hours or high for 4-5 hours.

Sides: I used leftover quinoa-wild rice mixture from the night before, I didn’t heat it, I just added olive oil, a little salt & pepper and chopped tomatoes from my garden. I also sautéed yellow summer squash and cut up string beans from the garden. You can make a salad, simmer up some quinoa in just 15 minutes; while it’s cooking you can set the table or slow down, breathe deeply and slowly to unwind and de-stress a little bit after your busy day.

The chicken will fall of the bones so carving isn’t even necessary – just be sure to pick the bones out ;)

After you eat, work for 10 minutes to de-bone all the chicken and put it into the refrigerator for another meal. Set a little aside for lunch the next day alongside some leftover salad and quinoa. Healthy dinner, healthy lunch, happy you!

Crockpot chicken 8-5-14

Outside Wellness Matters too!

Initiate Wellness inside and outside has become my catch phrase; not to sell more of anything but because wellness throughout matters. What is wellness inside and out? Inside wellness includes the foods we eat and how they affect us. Whole  foods in their natural state are healing and nutrient dense which help feed our cells. There is no one particular food that is absolutely perfect for everyone because every one of us is uniquely different and we each react to foods differently. Finding what works for you personally keeping your weight, organs and blood optimal is the place of perfection for you.

Outside wellness involves things you do that help you experience happiness, inspiration, calm, confidence, joy, peace, stress-free, care-free and clean environment and similar things which brings me to my point in this post, the environment around me (and you).

I live in a spot that is pretty, lush, wooded, hilly, quiet and damp. Everything is good except the dampness. I would never have thought a wooded rolling area would be damp but the spot I am in is and that isn’t healthy for me personally. I have had only slight breathing issues due to exercise and moldy-mildew(y) induced asthma. When I moved here almost five years ago I didn’t realize it was as damp as it is and because of the environment I live in, my asthma inhaler has become my best friend, unfortunately.

This past weekend I had an opportunity to take a few days down the Cape, where my heart truly is and has been since I was a child, with my sister-in-law. One would assume the cape is damp and mildew(y) because it’s surrounded on three sides by ocean but I didn’t have any breathing issues and boy-oh-boy was my head draining and clear. The air felt clean and fresh and my inhaler never got to see the light of day! I walked….a lot. I slept well. I felt peaceful and inspired and I felt healthy.

I returned home last night, not saying good-bye to my Cape Cod, but saying until I see you again. Surprisingly and sadly within about an hour of being home my chest got heavy and wheezing began. I was heading to bed so I chose to try sleeping without taking any inhaler because it keeps me awake and leaves my body feeling like it was plugged into an electric socket, well, what I imagine it might feel like if it were charging up like a cellphone.

Outside wellness is not just the things we do to make us happy but it involves how and where we live that make us feel truly healthy. The air we breathe and the full environment around us makes a difference in how we feel and how we react to life in general. Our environment can make us happy, inspired and healthy or it can leave us feeling lethargic, sad and depressed, sluggish, labored and toxic.

Take the necessary steps that lead you to your healthiest on the inside and on the outside!

Down to earth juicing

Earthy Beet juice blendI love smoothies but sometimes I like the smooth thinness of a juice. I have a great blender that can almost build a house, ok, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but it is pretty helpful in many ways. My juicer on the other hand is just a cheap but equally handy piece of equipment; it does its job and makes a very nice juice.

I’m not in the habit of juicing every day but I’d like to be. I juice when I have fresh veggies and fruit on hand…I’m more of a veggie lover than a fruit lover but fruit helps break the deep earthy flavor to a slightly more naturally sweet earthiness.

Today’s juice is deliciously earthy. The recipe I concocted includes a beet-peeled, 3 ribs celery, 4″ piece of cucumber, 2 carrots, a handful of spinach, 1 green apple-cored, 2″ piece of ginger-peeled, splash of water in the end to get every last bit of juice out of the machine.

Beets help detoxify, improve heart health, anti-oxidant, and have shown to reduce tumor size among several other health benefits.

Looking to increase your veggie intake and feed your cells as well as possible? Try juicing and smoothie making, all homemade of course so that you have full control and knowledge of what you are putting into your body!

Cheers, bottoms up!