Food Revolution Day- Fight for Healthy Kids & Food Education

Photo credit: jamie oliver

Photo credit: jamie oliver

Today is Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Day! He’s always been a huge inspiration to me and I’ve been following him for almost 10 years. I love everything he stands for and his campaign to fight for food education and healthy kids is one of my passions as well! Today is his day to get the world involved and stand  up for our children not only in the UK and the US but all over the world.

The generation of children today are at a high risk of dying before their parents. That’s terrifying! Our children are our future and we’re not even giving them the chance to thrive, live healthy active lives, and understand that what they are consuming is slowly killing them.

As a mama of two beautiful little ones, I do my part every day to make sure they are getting the best nutrition I can possibly give them and yes they are kids they want their treats and sweets and I indulge them some times. Life is short and beautiful, you have to enjoy the sweet and yummy things in life just in moderation.

As a Certified Holistic Health Coach and Master Gardener, I’ve made it my mission to try to spread the word on health and wellness, how to grow your own food and start your own garden, how to shop locally, and for the past 2 years I’ve started a nutrition program and edible school garden at one of the local elementary schools. I love being able to be out there with the little guys, and they get so excited to know what is growing, things they can make and cook with what they have harvested, and know that what they are eating is actually fueling their body to run, learn, read, and play.

Jamie’s big thing this year is to make “Squash It Sandwiches.” Simple, fun and healthy food to have the kids get involved and make their own. (See video) Teachers, Parents, Food Revolution Ambassadors, celebrities, and schools all over the world will be getting involved today. See how you can!

Continue reading

Mango, Strawberry Chia Seed Smoothie

mangoIt finally feels like spring here in the Mid-Atlantic. The temperatures have finally reached the high 70’s and low 80’s all week. It’s a great time to finally get out and start working on the gardens and your yard. But with all this gorgeous weather, everything begins to bloom, making the world a much more fragrant and beautiful place, it also brings the pollen count sky rocketing to an all time high. My little guy even asked the other day, “Why did Daddy paint the porch yellow?” That will tell you how much pollen we have in the air this week.

If you’re plagued with seasonal allergies you probably feeling it big time right now, scratchy throat, water itchy eyes, sneezing, coughing, runny nose, sinus infections, upper respiratory infections, the list goes on and on with allergies. So you’re probably not feeling to hot lately. With all this beautiful weather you don’t want to stay couped up in your house. Up your antioxidants and protein with this new smoothie recipe! Have it for breakfast, a pick me up in the middle day, or save it for a healthy dessert! Help kick the allergies, boost your immune system, replace an unhealthy snack with something a lot better for you. simple and fast you’re guaranteed to love this one!

Ingredients:

  •  1 mango chopped- save a piece for garnish
  • 1/2 cup strawberries sliced- save half a strawberry for garnish
  • 2 cups organic coconut milk
  • 1 Tablespoon chia seeds

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients into a blender or Vitamix and mix well.
  2. Pour into a glass and add a straw
  3. garnish with mango and strawberry slices
  4. top with a sprinkle of chia seeds if you wish

Drink up and enjoy! Slip away for a little down time while you enjoy your smoothie!

National Pilates Day

DSC_8740National Pilates Day is this Saturday, May 2nd. If you’ve never done Pilates before, today is the perfect day to get out and try it! Grab a friend and check out the studio in your area. Most studios will have special events or promotions for Saturday! Some may even be holding classes in a park, on the beach, on a SUP board, or even check what time the class is at your local gym.

Pilates has been a part of my life for over 13 years as a student and 9 years as an instructor. I got into Pilates after a bad car accident left me with serious neck injuries. So much I could barely get out of bed some days. Pilates was the only thing that relieved the pain and tension and didn’t leave me still in bed in tears every morning. Flash forward to now, I’m training people with knee and hip replacements, chronic illness, scoliosis, osteoporosis, athletes, men, and women. After some health issues of my own for the past year,  (which by the way is the most frustrating thing for a healthy and mindful person to have health concerns out of their control.) I learned Monday of my diagnosis and the specialist eased my mind that I have been rehabilitating and healing myself for over 10 years now. To think what I could be like today, if Pilates was not already apart of my life!

So if there is some reluctancy or you’re nervous to go a class alone, grab a friend, talk to the instructor before class about your concerns, may be Pilates will be your answer to healing and it could possibly change your life forever.

Benefits of Pilates:

  • injury and prevention
  • strong core
  • long lean muscles
  • resistance and assistance training
  • weight loss
  • rehabilitation
  • increased flexibility
  • coordination and balance improves
  • mind-body connection
  • learn coastal breathing or lateral breath
  • low impact
  • great for anyone
  • can be done anywhere
  • pain management

The list continues on and on. So this Saturday celebrate National Pilates Day whether you’re a newbie or a veteran! If you take class, message me and let me know how it goes!

Earth Day 2015

Today is the perfect to start giving back to Mother Nature! The world, climate, food, ecosystems, etc are changing so rapidly once we finally realize the damage we are continuing to do every day it may be too late. And yes we may not see the end results in our lifetime but think about your kids, grandkids, great-grans, nieces, and nephews. What kind of world our we leaving behind for the next generation?

I don’t mean run out and put solar panels on your entire roof, become completely vegan, or sell your gas guzzler for an electric! Even the littlest things can cause a ripple effect and can set the world in motion to make a change to the world that offers us so much. Teaching ourselves, loved ones, the public, and the next generation could be the deciding factor to global warming, our water resources, our food supply, air quality, and livelihoods.

Here are some small changes to make a bigger difference.

  • Turn off all lights, appliances, radios, etc when not in use. (I send my little ones around the house to turn things off all the time, just so they get in the habit of turning things off-plus your electric bill will go down! Bonus for everyone!)
  • Learn and teach how to recycle. Reduce your trash. Once you start recycling you’ll realize how much can actually be reused and yes I know it’s another thing on your to do list on Saturday morning, get the kids or neighborhood involved. Make it fun to take “the chore” out of it.
  • Turn off the water while you brush your teeth and wash dishes. Run full loads of laundry. Track the rain- do you really need to water the lawn in the morning if it’s going to rain in the afternoon. (If you pay for your own water, this will be huge for your bill too!)
  • Start a garden. It doesn’t have to be huge, you can even just do a couple pots. Save money and gas, running to the store and know where your food is coming from and pick it from your own yard!
  • Garden too much for you to handle this year? Buy local and seasonally! Shop farmers markets and produce stands. Reduce your carbon footprint and keep money in your own community. Plus you can always ask the farmers questions. Even join a CSA and get a share delivered each week to your front door!
  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle- Pass down unwanted clothes and shoes or have them donated. Sell things on consignment. Find ways to reuse materials, boxes, bags, wood, furniture, paper, etc
  • Buy a water filter, cut back on plastic bottle use. Filter your own water. Keep the money in your wallet more often and control the amount of BPA you’re exposed to on a daily basis. Have half glasses of water or bottles lying all over the place? Don’t just dump it down the sink. Water your plants with the left over water. It’s just another way to save on your water usage!

The ideas are endless! These are just a few to get you started! Enjoy Earth Day this year. If you’re lucky like me today it’s 70 and sunny. At the very least get outside for some fresh air on your back porch, go for a walk and get some Vitamin D, listen to the birds chirp, enjoy nature and the world today. Be grateful for everything we have! Happy Earth Day Everyone! Make sure to check out Earth Day 2015 for more ideas on how to contribute today and in the future.

 

5 Reasons Everyone Should Try Pilates…

2014-09-16 05.53.30If you didn’t catch my original post to Mind Body Green you can check it out on their site. It’s gotten almost 13,000 likes! I was so excited to have this article accepted and to see if it travel around the world. I got lots of feedback and some great response so I thought I would share it will all of you guys! Here is the link if you want to also check out their great site of health and wellness! 

Have an injury? Does chronic pain or illness make it hard for you to exercise? Feel like you don’t have a lot of time with your busy schedule? Want to build core strength and long lean muscles? Ready to see your body transform right before your eyes? Pilates is your golden ticket!

Originally invented for men and athletes in the early 1920’s, people around the globe are experiencing the lifelong benefits of Joseph Pilates’ vision and how it can change your body and life forever. Here are five reasons you should try it, even if you’re not sure it’s for you.

1. Prevent injuries.

Injuries can leave us incapacitated for weeks, months … even years. But what if we could use exercise as a way to prevent injuries rather than cause them?

Pilates focuses on your core, strengthening your abdominals and back muscles. Take a second to think about how much you use your core every day without even realizing: to stand up, walk, bend over, even to sit in a chair. If you suffer from back pain, it’s probably because these muscles are weak. If you strengthen them, it’ll got a long way to alleviate current woes and help prevent future pain.

2. Build core strength and long, lean muscles.

For most of us, the core is the weakest part of our bodies, but it’s our center, where all our strength originates from. When it’s weak, the entire body is weak.

Pilates focuses on exercises that constantly engage the core, leading to flat abs and a strong back. Unlike weight lifting that can cause muscles to shorten and bulk, Pilates focuses on resistance and assistance training to work both sides of muscles simultaneously. This allows the muscles to elongate to get that long, lengthened, toned muscle.

3. Increase flexibility, coordination and balance.

Not surprisingly, your balance and coordination come from your core as well. When Pilates strengthens your core, those muscles that control balance and coordination are also strengthened, helping to prevent falls and injuries. Increased flexibility also allows muscles to lengthen and be more pliable so they can bend and stretch further to alleviate the possibility of injury.

4. Pilates is for everyone.

Women, men, children, the elderly, anyone with chronic illness and pain, athletes, dancers, and even pregnant mothers can benefit from Pilates. It builds a stronger core, betters balance, increases flexibility and promotes stability. Pilates improves posture, body awareness, builds optimal health and helps you to move more efficiently. It’s gentle while also challenging. It’s proven to aid with treating and managing pain because low-impact exercises take the stress off joints and bones. There are no excuses NOT to give it a try.

5. You can do it anywhere.

Pilates is so versatile that you can do it almost anywhere: at home, in the gym or studio, in a hotel room, even on the beach! Even if all you’ve got to spare are 15 minutes, you can reap the benefits just from doing warm up exercises. All you need is your own body weight to use as the resistance. Want to up your practice? Add balls, bands and other small equipment to increase the intensity and resistance.

Still wondering if Pilates is right for you? Joseph Pilates once said, in “10 sessions you’ll feel the difference, in 20 sessions you’ll see the difference, and in 30 sessions you’ll have a whole new body.” Doesn’t that seem like something worthwhile?

Guinness Blackberry Dipping Sauce

guinessSundays are my day to play in the kitchen. I tend to have Food Network on in the background. The little ones running around having pretend tea parties, hiding Easter eggs, or watching “Narnia” for the 100th time! ;)

I use this time as “my time” which I don’t get much of these days with a busy business and two crazies taking over the house. :) I know most people would watch their favorite show, take a nap, or read a book for down time. But I don’t sit still well so I’m happiest in the kitchen and this cold snowy winter has been a good one to experiment and create new recipes. Last weekend, the 6-pack  of Guinness continued to stare at me from the refrigerator and all I could think of was, “great we’re having boring chicken for dinner again!” So hence the new dipping sauce that my kids are now eating with a spoon! Hope you enjoy this one as much as we are!

Ingredients:

  • 1 bottle of Guinness Draught
  • 1 1/4 cup fresh blackberries
  • 4 oz organic tomato paste
  • 2 Tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 dried Bay leaf
  • Honey (optional-if you want it to be sweeter. I left it out)

Directions:

Pulse blackberries, balsamic vinegar, tomato paste, and salt in a food processor until pureed. Make sure to scrap down the sides. Heat Guinness in pan over medium to high heat for about 25 minutes. Don’t forget to whisk it now and again, otherwise it will stick to the bottom.  It should reduce down by 2/3. Add in blackberry puree. Whisk together and add bay leave. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Season with salt, discard bay leaf. Spoon into a jar and refrigerate.

 

Apple Fennel Salad with Prosecco-Lemon Dressing

apple saladChange up lunch a little with this salad recipe! Great for a mid-day “snack” if you’re planning to eat dinner on the later side. I know what you’re thinking Prosecco in the middle of the day or at work? But it’s only a little, I promise you won’t be stumbling to the office meeting or not able to drive home a few hours later.

This salad is incredible even for dinner also. It’s light and flavorful. I love mixing fresh fruits and vegetables with a citrus for a homemade salad dressing. Making your own dressings can cut a lot of fat and calories from your diet. They’re so easy you can make a large batch or just a bit for you salad. The Prosecco adds a little zing to the palette for this special salad. Make sure to comment below and tell me whatcha think!

Salad: 2-3 Servings

  • 2 Apples-cored and sliced thinly
  • 1 bulb fennel- sliced thinly
  • 2-3 slices of red onion
  • ¼ cup pine nuts-toasted
  • Fresh thyme leaves

In a dry sauté pan on medium heat, toast pine nuts for 3-5 minutes.

Prosecco-Lemon Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons of good cold-pressed olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of Italian Prosecco- (champagne can be used also)
  • 1 Tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp of minced garlic
  • 1/2 shallot- chopped finely
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Fleur De Sel salt

Add all ingredients to a Mason jar or empty container. Shake well. Shake again when ready to use. Store in cool place for 4-5 days.

Add sliced fennel, apples and onion into a bowl. Pour on salad dressing and mix until coated. On a plate stack fennel, apples, and onion. Top with toasted pine nuts and fresh thyme leaves.

Enjoy!!!

 

 

 

 

 

Homemade Muesli

muesliNeed a little pick me up in the middle of the day, something nutritious to kick off the day, or healthy dessert. Spring is upon us and we can start to move on from all that heavy winter food and start eating lighter again! Fresh berries, nuts, and seeds help with digestion, keep your snack attacks healthier and more under control, keep you feeling fuller longer, and won’t leave you feeling guilty for having dessert tonight!

 

Simple, healthy, and delicious, this recipe is a must! Make a large                                   batch store it in a mason jar and keep it in the cabinet to use                                           throughout the week. Serve it with your favorite nut milk or                                               yogurt, or add fresh fruit to change it up every day!

Make your own  almond milk using our recipe-you won’t regret it!!!

 Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup almonds
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon flax seeds
  • ¼ cup unsweetened coconut
  • 1 cup fire raisins
  • ½ cup Goji berries
  • ½ cup dried cranberries, cherries, or apricots
  • ¼ cup cacao nibs
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons nutmeg

In an air tight container, Mason jar, zip lock bag, or plastic container. Mix all ingredients and store in a cool, dark place.

 

 

 

Berry Chia Seed Jam! Yum!

chia seed jamJams and Jellies can be loaded with tons of refined sugar and aspartame sugar substitutes. Ewww! And making your own jam or jelly can be a huge process that takes hours. Believe me I’ve done them all from peach to fig and I’ve spent hours and hours in the kitchen sterilizing, washing, cooking down the berries, filling up the jars, and sealing them for yummy spreads. But it takes way too long! Like way too long!

Now there is a super fast way, add a little honey to sweeten up the berries or leave it out, it’s totally your call! It takes maybe 15 minutes and you can store it in your refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. If it will last that long! Use it for kid’s sandwiches, spread for crackers, add it to your gourmet cheese plates, use it for topping on yogurt or ice cream!!! Did I say yum!!!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound blackberries (fresh if in season-other wise use frozen)
  • 1/2 pound raspberries (same as above)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or for a citrusy zing use lemon juice!
  • 2 teaspoon local honey (optional)
  • 3 Tablespoon chia seeds

Directions:

  1. Wash any fresh berries. If you using frozen add to a pot and cook on low to bring to a soft boil. Make sure to continue to stir so it won’t burn the bottom or stick.
  2. Then reduce heat and simmer, continue to stir. Make sure to mash the berries or leave a little chunky, if you’d rather have a “chutney” consistency.
  3. Add honey and chia seeds and stir well.
  4. Pull from heat and let jam cool.
  5. Add vanilla extract or lemon juice once cooled and mix well again.
  6. Spoon into a clean jar and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks!

ENJOY!!

Minty Banana Ice Cream for St. Patty’s Day!

minty bananaHappy St. Patty’s Day!!! I love this holiday! I think I may like it better than Christmas! Must be the Irish blood that runs through my veins, or maybe it’s my small addiction to Guinness? Either way I always count down the days till St. Patty’s!

This holiday tends to be the day of eating heavy; cabbage, potatoes, soda bread, beef or lamb, and lots and lots of whiskey and beer! So for dessert, I decided to make something minty and a little lighter to help cleanse the palette and not leave the belly feeling so heavy so that there’s no more room for Guinness!! :)

So here’s to a happy St. Patty’s day and to finishing off the day with Minty Banana Ice Cream and another Guinness of course! ;)

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 frozen bananas (I always store over ripe bananas in a baggie after I’ve peeled them and save them for smoothies and desserts. If you don’t have any frozen. Peel, slice and store in freezer for a couple of hours before at least, or over night is best)
  • 1-2 drops of organic peppermint extract, 1 drop of doTERRA peppermint oil (seriously 1 drop is almost too much peppermint- watch how much you put in using essential oils because they are so strong and potent.) or a handful of your favorite kind of mint.
  • 1-2 Tbsp unsweetened coconut milk (use to soften up the bananas)
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 Tbsp hazelnuts or pistachios chopped
  • 1 tsp cacao powder to sprinkle on top
  • 1 tsp cacao nibs
  • spring of mint for garnish

Directions:

  1. In a food processor or blender add bananas and peppermint and mix well.
  2. Add coconut milk to soften the bananas and to help make it smoother. Be careful how much you add, too much will make it soupy.
  3. Pour into separate bowls. Top with coconut, nuts, cacao nibs, and cacao powder
  4. Garnish with mint spring and you’re ready to dive in.
  5. Serve immediately and enjoy!

So easy and fast!