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Organized Chaos

To Do I can only imagine how chaotic most households are on a weekly basis.  We don’t have any children and there are times that I can’t tell what is up from down!  For those of you who have children, what are your techniques to staying organized in your day to day activities?  There are a few things that I can suggest that work for us, but I would love to hear your ideas as well.

  • First, I am definitely a Type A personality, so lists and I go hand in hand.  Not only is it easier to remember items and activities that are in need of my attention, but it’s a great feeling to mark off the list as it’s accomplished.
  • Second, making a weekly schedule of activities that need to be done (and sticking to it) seems like a fail-free way of getting done the tasks that I really don’t want to do, but in return, having time for the fun activities as well.

I remember growing up; my brother and I had chores to do every week.  How is it in your household?  Does everyone have their own list of chores?  Are they held accountable?  Just as with any sort of partnership, when everyone chips in, the list gets done that much quicker!

What favorite ways do you stay on top of your household chaos?  Being a person who enjoys structure and clever ideas, I’m always looking for new ideas to help me stay organized.  I want to hear yours!

Glow Run!

glow run Anyone out there signed up for the Glow Run?  This will be my first time running it.  Looks like it will be a great time and I like that it’s a night race.  I tend to have an easier time running in the afternoon than in the morning.  What’s your best time to exercise?

What are other races that you would suggest?  Has anyone been on a committee that puts together a race?  I would love to hear about the process that goes in to it.  Good luck to those who will be participating in it.  Maybe I’ll see you down there!

Fish en Papillote

En Papillote While on vacation we ate quite a bit of fish.  One of the more memorable meals was a white fish that they baked en Papillote.  I had done this in cooking school years back but hadn’t thought much about it since.  It looks complicated but is actually really simple and the end result it always yummy.

This recipe looks exactly like what we ate on the island and it was delicious. The quality of the fish and herbs is what will make or break this meal.  I also added a link that explains the steps of wrapping the parchment in more detail.  Be a bit adventurous and try it out.  You won’t be disappointed!

How to cook en Papillote

Fish en Papillote

Recipe courtesy Melissa d’Arabian

Prep Time:20 min    Inactive Prep Time:15 min    Cook Time:12 min
Level:Intermediate
Serves:4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/2 red onion, julienned
  • 1 zucchini, julienned
  • 1 large carrot, julienned
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 (4-ounce) sole fillets, hake, flounder or other white fish
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced, seeds removed
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 pats butter
  • 1/4 cup white wine

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a bowl, mix together the onion, zucchini, carrot and garlic. Adds the oil, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and toss to combine. Put each fish fillet in a large square of parchment paper and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Arrange the vegetables on top, dividing evenly. Top the vegetables with 2 lemon slices, 2 sprigs thyme, a pat of butter and 1 tablespoon white wine, layering in order. Fold the parchment paper around the edges tightly in 1/4-inch folds to create a half moon shape. Make sure you press as you crimp and fold to seal the packets well, otherwise the steam will escape. Arrange the packets on a baking sheet. Bake until the fish is cooked through, about 12 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. To serve, cut open the packets and serve directly in the parchment on a plate or remove the fish to the plate using a spatula, being sure you don’t leave the juices behind.

Vacation Bulge

beach Why is it that we work so hard to look good for vacation, then get there and blow our diet and toned body completely in a week’s time?  How about a play on words and call it in the time frame of a weak!

Honestly, do we really think eating and drinking anything we want on vacation won’t latch on to our tummies and thighs and hitch a ride home with us?  Evidently that’s what was going through my head.

Oh well, what’s done is done.  I had an amazing time spending the week with my husband in the Caribbean.  I might have brought back a few pounds but I also brought back a more relaxed mind and a high level of Vitamin D 😉

Maybe that’s the moral of the story…  It’s called a vacation for a reason.  Enjoy every minute, remember that it’s not forever and when you get back home, don’t even think about putting on your skinny jeans for at least two weeks!

Let the Training Begin!

running Well, the training has begun…  I forgot how boring running on a treadmill is.  Thankfully, I found a great trick last year while training that got me through MANY hours of treadmill time.  Netflix!!

I finagled a laptop stand in front of the treadmill and can watch episodes while I’m putting in the miles.  My show for the time being is Bones.  After that, on to How I Met Your Mother.

How are your New Year’s resolutions going?  Are you hanging strong or just by a thread?  Is there anything I can do to help you?  How about a quick, YOU CAN DO IT!!!

Seriously though, I would love to help out in any way I can so please don’t hesitate to ask!

Kale Chips

Did you know Kale is very high in Beta Carotene, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and rich in Calcium?  Although it is very pretty when used in food presentation, it’s also an amazing super food and should be incorporated more into our meal planning.

This is one of my favorite ways to eat Kale.  It is very easy and my husband even loves it.  Bonus!

kale chips Kale Chips

Buy a head of Kale that is not limp or discolored.  Organic is my choice but does not have to be yours.

Tear bite-sized pieces away from the stems of each leaf.  No need for perfection.

Soak in salt water for about 5 minutes.  Rinse the pieces at least twice and spin using a salad spinner until they are as dry as possible.

Place the pieces in a large bowl.

Drizzle

  • 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
  • A touch of Sea Salt or Kosher Salt

If you’re feeling adventurous:

  •  1 to 2 teaspoons of Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons of Cumin
  • A dash of Garlic (either granulated or powdered)

Toss until covered evenly.

If you have a dehydrator, place the leaves in a single layer on the shelves.  Turn it to the vegetable setting and let it go for at least 9 hours.  Take them out when they get to your preference of crispness.

You can also do kale chips in the oven.

Preheat to 375 degrees.

After they are tossed evenly, place them in a single layer on parchment covered sheet pans.  Put them in the oven and turn once at 7 minutes.  They should be done between 13 and 15 minutes depending on your crispness preference.

There are numerous flavor combinations that can be used.  Experiment and find your favorite, then share it with me!  I love trying new things!

The Word Healthy

It’s the time of year that everyone is using the term “HEALTHY”.  What does that word mean to you?  I’ve heard some people say that just hearing the word puts them on the defense.  Why would that be, I wonder?  Could it be because some people register healthy with change?  I could see someone resistant to change not liking the thought of having to change their lifestyle.

healthy heart What are your thoughts?  Do you not like the word healthy?  What word would bring a positive reaction?  How about: energized, choices, fresh, goals, results, motivated. Whatever the word is, say it and say it with enthusiasm!  Don’t let a negative attitude get the best of your goals.

Every year, you say you are going to take back control of your body and make better choices.  Make this the year that you follow through.  At the end of the day, it’s all on your shoulders.  YOU have control!  Have fun with change and challenge and reap the benefits of proving to yourself that you exceeded by your own determination.   You will be pleasantly surprised.  I promise!

Happy New Year!

resolutions Welcome 2013!  Am I the only one thinking that 2012 absolutely FLEW by?  It’s almost scary how fast it came and went.  The saying is true.  The older you get, the faster time goes by.

So what are your plans for the year? Any good trips or house renovations planned?  Have you set any health improvement goals yet?  What are your well-intended New Year’s resolutions?

This year, I intend to run another half marathon.  I’m still trying to find a spring race out of state but might just end up running Dam to Dam and then wait until October to run the Des Moines half.

Share your plans and goals with me!  Sometimes, just vocalizing your goals and aspirations is all it takes to set them into motion.  Happy New Year!

Power Carob Bark

This recipe is brought to you by guest blogger and friend:

Amy Nichols – Owner/Baker
Healthy Grains Bakery
515-745-6693

 I found this recipe online and fell in love with is the first time I made it! It is so yummy, quick, and versatile! The stars of the recipe are Carob Powder and Coconut Oil.

Carob powder has been given a bad rap as a chocolate substitute when it doesn’t taste like chocolate at all! Carob has a sweet, earthy flavor. Carob has some fantastic health benefits too! It can improve your digestion, has been found to be antiviral, and can even be used to treat diarrhea. Carob is a low glycemic, high fiber food and is a rich source of vitamins and minerals including vitamin E and calcium! Because of carobs natural sweet flavor there is no need to add sugar to this recipe!

Coconut oil has had a bad reputation as well. It was labeled as bad for us because it is high in saturated fat. But the fat in coconut oil is a medium chain fatty acid which has healthy qualities. Medium chain fatty acids are sent directly to our liver and converted into energy so they are not stored as fat! Coconut oils also has lauric acid which gives it anti viral, anti microbial properties.

Combine these two ingredients with your choice of add-ins and you get one powerful snack!

Power Carob Bark

1 cup Coconut Oil

¾ cup carob powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1-2 cups add-ins*

Melt coconut oil in microwave on low. (Or melt in small saucepan on stove top over very low heat, stirring until melted)

Put carob powder in a bowl, stir in melted coconut oil until well blended. Stir in add-ins.

Pour onto waxed paper lined cookie sheet. Spread to desired thickness.

Freeze until firm. Break into pieces. Because coconut oil has a low melting point this bark should be kept in the freezer or refrigerator.

*Add-in options. You get to pick your favorite options! You can just choose one or any combination. For a thinner bark limit the total add-ins to one cup. For thicker bark bump it up to two cups total. Some of my favorites are: sunflower seeds, chopped walnuts or pecans, chopped cashews, unsweetened shredded coconut, raisins, chopped dried fruit, crisp rice cereal, hemp seeds, or cacao nibs. Let your imagination run wild!

Both carob powder and coconut oil can be found online if you local health food store does not carry them.

Score 1 for the health coach!

Of all the things I thought I would never hear come out of my husband’s mouth, requesting organic ANYTHING probably tops the list.  But that’s exactly what he did!  Evidently, the produce he had been picking out just wasn’t cutting it.  Well let me think… of course I will!!  Score for the health coach!

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