Chicken & Broccoli Stir Fry

Clean chicken & Broccoli stir fryI like making stir fry because I can get a nice mixture of vegetables and a little bit of meat if I choose to use it in one big pan. Stir fry also gives me a wide variety of choices, helping me use whatever foods I have on hand; I can also change the taste by simply changing the spices I use.

This recipe is for a simple, healthy and hearty meal. You can eat it as is or serve it over your favorite whole grain such as brown rice, quinoa, farro, millet, sorghum, etc.

In creating a stir fry dish the basic items you will need is a large frying pan, a good quality oil, a few of your favorite spices (they don’t have to be Asian), if you like the Asian taste you’ll need soy sauce, I choose to use low sodium, and water or a favorite white wine. Some of my favorite go-to ingredients are ginger, garlic cloves, onions, cumin and turmeric; I love these flavors.

When you create your stir fry, start by choosing your main vegetable then add other favorite veggies – include string beans, quartered Brussels sprouts, onion, cauliflower, cabbage, peppers, mushrooms, celery, tomatoes (added last), spinach, kale and other leafy greens…then decide on your protein: chicken, beef, pork, shellfish, tofu, tempeh, even large cannellini beans, and finally your spices.

The amount of ingredients can vary to accommodate the amount of servings you need/want (leftovers are a great healthy lunch for tomorrow). Also, before you begin, decide what you will serve it over if anything, and begin simmering that so it will be done when the stir-fry is done.

If you’re using meat, cut it into thin strips or small chunks, add oil to your med-high heat pan along with you choice of meat and stir fry it quickly until sealed. Add a splash of water or wine to release it from the pan and to help it steam-cook a little. Immediately add your biggest vegetables, onions, garlic and spices…stir around occasionally until they are crisp-tender and bright. Add water or wine as needed to make a sauce and to de-glaze the pan.

Serve over or alongside brown rice or your whole grain of choice.

It’s delicious, filling and healthy and it doesn’t cost a lot! Enjoy!

Fast-n-Easy Shepherd’s Pie

When was the last time you had Shepherd’s Pie? We did tonight; it’s so easy to make and so warming and delicious especially on these single digit temperature days we’ve been having.

Use ground beef or ground turkey, onion, a bag of frozen corn or mixed veggies, spices of choice, a few potatoes….brown the hamburg, add onion and a splash of water, white wine or beer and let it simmer while potatoes, washed and cut into chunks, cook in boiling water until soft.

Mash potatoes with a little milk and butter…add frozen veggies to the meat mixture, toss to mix well…spread in a baking dish and top with potatoes. Bake @ 400° for 30-40 minutes until bubbly and browned.

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Homemade Chicken-noodle Soup

Feeling slightly under the weather, literally I guess! So yesterday I was craving a few things so I listened to my body and gave in. I was craving simple chicken noodle soup and citrus fruits so I found a small whole organic chicken (free of antibiotics and hormones and free-roam too), I put the chicken in a pot with onion, celery and carrots, a little salt and simmered it for about 2 hours. I removed the chicken, took the meat from the bones, easy when you simmer it for so long, and cleared the broth. I took enough broth out to make a few servings for dinner, added more carrots, celery and onion to the separated broth along with Bell’s seasoning, orzo, broken angel hair pasta and simmered until pasta was cooked then added baby kale. Results were super satisfying for both Dale and me…then Dale disappeared into the night to haul snow. A good send-off meal!
pic 1 – I added oyster crackers
pic 2 – extra broth for future meals, I froze one and refrigerated one.

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Candy Bars for Breakfast & a Few More for Lunch!

I recently went to the lab inside my GP’s office for the typical pre-physical blood work. My appointment was for 10am, I was allowed to drink only water and so I did just that until after my blood draw.

When I arrived, the phlebotomist was anxious and super talkative questioning why I allowed my appointment to be so late in the morning. My response to her was something to the tone of “oh, no problem, I’m fine, getting a little hungry now but staved it off with water”. Chattering away as she was about how she had to update my insurance information and that it will take her too long because computers aren’t her thing but that phlebotomy was; she touted how she was damn good at her job. She brought up the breakfast issue again adding in that she’s already had three, yes 3! candy bars so far today and that if she ate a normal breakfast like most people, her body wouldn’t know what to do with it. Hmmm, that explains her talkativeness and anxiousness!

As she prepared to stick my arm with her ‘piggy-back test-tube’ needle, chattering all the while she found the “perfect vein” and proceeded. As she chattered away, she pushed the needle through and further….my blood initially filled the tube but as she pushed through it slowed. She was pushing nearly through the other side of my vein and stated, “ooh, you’re gonna have a bruise”…followed by “gee, your blood flow is slow, you should drink more water”. My thought, ‘gee, you ought to lay off the candy bars and coffee for breakfast and this wouldn’t happen.

Upon leaving and saying goodbye, I ended with “no more candy bars for today”, to which she responded, “oh, hell, I have two more to go!”

I bruised as she had promised and my inner elbow was sore and lumpy for at least a week.

If you can relate to this woman in the least, please, let’s talk, I can help!

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maybe not so bad-looking but still, unnecessary

To Chop or Not to Chop…

2015-01-16 08.07.12I was surprised with this beautiful cutting board that was made by hand with rock maple – it’s so beautiful that I hate to cut on it but then again a well used cutting board is much like a well read Bible ;)

I can imagine the thousands+ of meals this is going to help me create! I good cutting board and a good knife are my favorite kitchen tools; what are yours? Share your favorite kitchen tools in the comments area.

(thank you, David, for this work of art; so very grateful)

Bucket List

Of course people have had bucket lists since the beginning of time; they might not have called it a “bucket list” but that’s what it has been called for as long as I’ve been around.

I don’t have a bucket list myself but I think I might need to start one; after all, I need to add things I want to witness people who have put me on their list doing things on my my bucket list too, a sort of payback ;) I recently learned that someone wants to hear me sing karaoke, odd? I’m not sure but it will be fun keeping their bucket list active…not that I can’t sing, I’m just a bit shy.

When I think about making a bucket list, I imagine so many things that might seem far fetched or like wishful thinking but then again, isn’t that what it’s all about, this life we live, isn’t it about setting big goals and working hard toward reaching them? If not, then what is it all about? We’re here to share, encourage, show faith, believe, love, trust, forgive, and dream.

My new small goal will be to write a bucket list and keep adding to it; my big goal is to cross off those items which I have accomplished.

Whatever is on your bucket list, don’t let go of your intentions; follow your dreams and soar.

Don’t have a bucket list yet? Why not join me in creating one? You can learn a lot about yourself in writing down you desires and dreams. Get to know your true self.

Low Blood Sugar Crashes

Let’s talk about low blood sugar here. Someone in one of my coaching groups asked about it and so I thought I’d share my response.

I’ll start by saying this happens to me very often if I don’t eat throughout the day, My friend Kathy can back me up on that one as it happened to me recently while antiquing! So what are the symptoms? First you start getting a little light-headed, you can’t focus visually or mentally, then you feel like you’re going to be sick, then you get a cold sweat.…I haven’t let it go beyond that point because the next thing you’ll most likely do is pass out.

So what do you do at times like these? Many people do grab for candy; I prefer to grab for something slightly healthier if I can – I’ll grab a piece of whole grain bread, cereal, or real food as in lunch, dinner whatever the timing is. Most often this happens to me between breakfast and lunch and usually when I’m out. You’d think I’d keep a meal bar in my bag! I try, I don’t always do it though.

What does low blood sugar(hypoglycemia) mean? How can you get it without being diabetic? Simply put, if your blood sugar is too low your body reacts. There are many causes for hypoglycemia without diabetes ranging from simple hunger, to over-exercising to adrenal & pituitary gland insufficiency to liver & kidney issues, all the way up to cancer, tumors, medications and treatment of other illnesses. To know if you have true hypoglycemia, you would be tested but if you feel the symptoms as I described above and you know it’s only when you haven’t eaten, then take the steps to keep your blood sugar balanced.

1 – eat a healthy, breakfast – with protein & complex carbs
2 – keep healthy snacks at hand at all times, fruit, veggie sticks…
3 – drink water, and whole juices
4 – plan your meals ahead such as lunch and snacks
5 – know your “crash” times.

If you get low blood sugar symptoms and these tips help you then make the tips part of your routine; but if you find that they don’t quite hit the spot then it’s important for you to talk with your doctor about your symptoms and what you’ve tried in order to alleviate them so that you can be tested and/or properly diagnosed.

Take charge of your health, no one knows how you feel except you so initiate solutions, initiate wellness for your healthiest version of yourself.

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

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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