She’s There

I’ve always had a problem with lateness, even before I had kids.  It’s kind of my thing.  I have to say above all else I excel at lateness.  Haha.  I say that knowing my mother will laugh, but at the same time, I honestly do try to be on time.  It just isn’t one of my strengths.  So that being said, it will be no surprise to her that this post is one day late.

Yesterday was Mother’s Day.  Happy belated Mother’s Day out there to all you mommas.  I know Mother’s Day is a celebration of you, so I hope you were pampered and loved and didn’t have to cook or clean or do the dishes or change diapers, but alas, I know that days like that don’t come because mothering is in our hearts, even if we get tired.  It’s almost like we don’t know how not to take care of people.  It’s part of who we are in our souls.

So there’s this woman.  I am not sure I have words to describe her.  But what I do know is therethat she is consistently there.  I am not sure that thereness is celebrated often enough in our society.  We value success and ambition and drive, but I am beginning to see the absolute value of someone you can constantly count on.

Her thereness is something I trust, something I depend on. I am sure I often take advantage of it.  I call her last minute, late at night, early in the morning.  I wake her and then I often nag her a little for still being in bed when I have been up for a few hours already.  And then I talk to her because I love her and then I ask her for something.  Sound familiar?  You see my existence, even as an adult, still depends on her.  She is still one of the main pieces of my world, and I once again love spending time with her.

Mom-Quote-Home-isYou know how they say your children love spending time with you when they are young, so you should enjoy it because there will be a period of time where they push away from your thereness.  They want to assert their independence as teenagers, but you have to be there for them as they do it.  So tricky.  No one does it perfectly.

But her thereness even in the hard times has drawn me back to her. I need her.  I don’t want to be an adult without her, and I sure am thankful she loves my kids and me enough to save me from myself when I need a break as a mom.  If you haven’t guessed, she is my mom.  She built my world in beauty as a kid, and she continues to build beauty in it as an adult.  I hear her words come out of my mouth, and though I may disagree with her at times, I see the truth in everything she tells me, even when it’s not what I want to hear.

She knows me.  She’s seen me at my greatest and at my worst, and she has been there brokenthrough it all.  And though I call it thereness, its the sacrifices and the heart of love to be there.  She has given of herself and yet maintained her identity.  She has held her ground when I am sure she wanted to cave.  She was strong when I am sure she wanted to cry.  She stayed when I am sure there were times she wanted to run. (And I will only be slightly scarred that she tricked me when I was young and sent me to get ice cream with my dad so she could secretly leave with my older brother to visit my aunt in Illinois….haha).  She remained silent when I am sure she wanted to speak.  She helped when I am sure she wanted to rest.  She spoke gently when I am sure she wanted to yell.  And she loved when I am sure it wasn’t easy.

Mom, you embody love.  I am so thankful God made you.  Though we are not the same and we often see things differently, I would not change you.  I need you.  I love you!  You created a world for me that is beautiful, full of love, full of strength, full of Jesus.  You taught me how to live and love, and for that I honor you every day!  I’ve said a lot, but they still feel like the words fall short.  You are beautiful, lovely, and above all, my favorite friend.  Happy Mother’s Day….one day late!

Love you!

Amanda

 

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Zucchini Noodle Lasagna

I just had a Pampered Chef party.  Cooking has always been a passion of mine.  At the party our wonderful host, Meghan Morris, showed us the veggie spiralizer.  It was amazing and so easy.  Can’t wait to try it….been wanting to zoodle for so long!  (PS…if you need a great consultant, here is Meghan’s link).

That party was the inspiration for a great dinner this week.   I wanted to use noodles instead of pasta, but my spiralizer isn’t here yet.  So I was searching on Sunday as it is my meal planning day for healthy pastas with zucchini noodles.  Bonus: Aldi had a special on zucchini last week, too!  Anyway, found a recipe for zucchini roll ups, like lasagna roll ups.  So I was like, bam, there it is.  Got the ingredients and went on my way.

But I got a little lazy on Tuesday and thought this is azucchini noodles lot of work to roll up these guys individually, so I decided, ehhhh….let’s make it easy and go for lasagna.  So I did that instead…much easier.  Grabbed my trusty mandolin (If you have one of these you know to watch your fingers….I cut myself every time I use one.  Except this time because I was extra careful! ) I sliced 2 small and 2 medium zucchini.  Took me about 5 minutes.

Whipped up the cheese mixture in my Ninja…..yummy! I was rather leery of this step btw.  Most recipes I have made for lasagna leave the cheese mixture chunky, and I kind of love that.  But don’t skip it here!  So good.  Plus I threw in about 1-2 cups of spinach and hid extra veggies from my kids!  That’s a pat on the back for me!  Mom win!

I made the sauce super easy.  I used a jar of Barilla fresh basil sauce.  I checked the ingredients no added sugar, and only whole foods and spices.  I was pumped.  I did doctor it a little by browning Italian turkey sausage, onions, garlic, and some refresh tomatoes.  Then I added in the jar of sauce to warm through.

So without further ado, here is the recipe.  You won’t be sorry.  Oh and btw, most recipes said to grill the zucchini.  I think this was to help with water content.  That was too much work for me.  I skipped that step, and my lasagna was NOT watery!  Happy lasagna making!

Zucchini Noodle Lasagna20160503_221920

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium and 2 small zucchini mandolined into 1/4″ slices
  • 1 jar of Barilla Basil and Garlic sauce
  • 3 Roma tomatoes diced
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic diced
  • 1 lb Italian style turkey sausage, casing removed
  • 3 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 12 oz Ricotta cheese
  • 8 oz cottage cheese
  • 1/2 c fresh basil
  • 3 tbsp dried parsley
  • salt and pepper
  • 1.5 c fresh spinach
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 fresh clove of garlic
  • 4 tbsp Romano cheese

Preparation:

  1. Prepare the zucchini by slicing on a mandolin and letting slices sit on a baking sheet until the rest of the ingredients are prepared.
  2. Begin making the sauce browning the turkey sausage  with onion and garlic.  Once meat is cooked through, add in diced Roma tomatoes and allow the juice to begin coming out.  About 2-3 minutes.  Add in jarred sauce leaving just a little remaining in the jar for the bottom of the lasagna pan.  Heat through.
  3. Making the cheese filling by combining the remaining ingredients (except Mozzarella cheese) in a blender.  Pulse until smooth.  Yum!
  4. Prepare your pan.  Preheat oven to 375.  Put some olive oil in the bottom of a 9×13.  Spread to grease the pan.
  5. Put the remaining jarred sauce on the bottom of the pan and spread.  Put down a single layer of zucchini overlapping each piece slightly.  (Direction doesn’t matter…I actually changed directions while layering mine!) Cover the bottom of the pan with zucchini noodles.  Put down 1/2 of your sausage sauce.  Then add a little more than a 1/3 of your smooth cheesy delicious filling.  Sprinkle with 1/2 c shredded mozzarella.  Repeat the layers reserving a little sauce for the top but using all the chunks of sausage in the middle layers.  Last layer: zucchini noodles, just a little tomato sauce for yumminess, a little of the cheese filling, stirring the sauce and filling together.   Top with about 2 cups of shredded mozzarella.  Cover with foil.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Uncover.  Bake for 20 min.  Let sit for about 10 min after cooking and before serving.

21 Day Fix Equivalents: 1 green, 1 red, 1 blue (Yay….no yellows!)

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Asian Chicken Mason Jar Salads

So I have been into making Mason jar salads.  Why?  Because they are quick, easy, and a great way to get nutrients at lunch time.  You can prep about 5 of these babies in about 40 minutes time and have lunch for the week.  It’s really great!  And honestly, you can be as creative as you want.  You could make pasta or quinoa salads in these.  You could even do hot meals in mason jars. You could do a burrito bowl in a jar.  The great thing about Mason jars is the seal.  You don’t have to put them in a boiling water to create a great seal that will keep veggies fresh for a week.  If you add meat, obviously you will want to be wise about how long you keep them.  My suggestion is no more than 4-5 days.

So what do you need?  Inspiration.  Clean, dry jars.  Clean and cut veggies, a protein like chicken or tofu or beans, and a great dressing!  This is one of my newest creations, and it’s perfect because if you know me, you know I love ALL things Asian!  Plus I have a friend who has been asking for an Asian Chicken salad too, so Lena this one is for you!

Prep is so important.  It is easiest to wash and chop all up front, so that filling them is quick.  You will eat your frog first….get the hardest part out of the way, and then you can assemble them 5 in about 10 minutes.

So you can see that I prepped my veggies first.  Just an FYI I bought the scallions, carrots, and almonds pre-chopped that definitely helped.  I chopped the snow peas, red and yellow peppers, Romaine, purple and yellow cabbage.  I buy a rotisserie chicken and pulled the chicken off the bone for salads.  That is a huge help, too!  The oranges are cuties.  So I simply peeled them and segmented them.  The amount you see above is enough for 2 salads.  Think about how many you are prepping while you are chopping.

20160411_161200The next step is dressing.  This is a crucial part of the salad, too.  Come on, you know.  The dressing can make or break the salad.  I love this one!  It’s a combo or orange juice, soy, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, and evoo.  Then I make it better with spices like garlic and onion powder, salt, pepper, ginger, and Sriracha.

Finally, you combine the ingredients for the salad, starting with the veggies that are tough and won’t easily get soft or mushy.  So carrots first, then snow peas, peppers, oranges, scallions, almonds, chicken, cabbage, and finally the lettuce.  Sometimes, I place a small piece of paper towel in the top just to absorb excess moisture.  Then I screw the lid on tight.  20160411_164032

Asian Chicken Salad

Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 Cutie mandarin orange, peeled and segmented
  • 2 green onions chopped
  • 1/4 red and yellow pepper diced
  • grated carrots
  • snow peas
  • almonds
  • Romaine lettuce
  • chicken
  • purple and green cabbage, thinly sliced

Dressing Ingredients (enough for 4 salads:

  • 1/4 c orange juice
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1.5 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp evoo
  • 2 tsps sesame oil
  • 1-2 tsp Sriracha
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp garlic and onion powder
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp mustard (to emulsify)

Preparation:

  1. Combine all dressing ingredients in jar with a lid and shake to combine.  Taste to adjust seasonings.
  2. Put 2 tbsps dressing in the bottom of a clean dry, quart sized Mason jar.  Then layer your salad beginning with carrots, snow peas, peppers, oranges, scallions, almonds, chicken, cabbage, and finally Romaine lettuce.
  3. Put a small square of paper towel in the tops of the jars to absorb excess moisture.  Twist lid onto jar tightly.  Refrigerate for up to 4-5 days.
  4. Enjoy!

It’s my joy to make these salads and fill my family’s bellies with great food that will truly fuel their bodies. I am so thankful God has given me the opportunity to share this with others!

Much love,

Amanda

If you have questions or just want to connect, please feel free to Email Me!  If you are looking for a health and fitness coach that will motivate you and help you on your journey, please feel free to check out My Site, join my team, and check out products I believe in. Let me take this journey with you! Can’t wait to meet you!

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A Good Kind of Work

Think back to when you were a kid.  What do you remember the most? childhood-memories-quotes-7 Camp outs in the backyard? Popsicles on the porch on a warm summer day?  Christmas traditions?  I remember, this is so funny, the smell of the kerosene heater when the power would go out in the winter and snuggling to keep warm.  I remember the sound of the Temptations, The Righteous Brothers, Smokey Robinson, and many more in the back of our van as we watched movies on our long trips to family vacations ( and I can still sing most of the words).  I remember eating fresh blue crabs at the beach with my dad and mom, grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles.  I remember macaroni and cheese and cauliflower with mayonnaise and cheese and other scary foods like Spam at my great grandmother’s house.  I remember playing princesses and princes with my brothers and neighbors.  I remember feeling safe and secure and all that came from love not from things.

Sometimes, I think, rather I know, our culture has it backwards.  We are so busy chasing the American dream that we miss the forest for the trees.  It’s never the things that make you feel complete.  It’s the time.  It’s the love.  It’s the stability of hearing the same phrases over and over and now repeating them to your kids because you know they are true.  I don’t think money or things are bad, but I think we get so busy trying to give our kids a better life that we forget that giving them a better life comes from being truly present with them.  And I am speaking all of this to myself.  All of my blogs are meant to preach to me, because unless I say something out loud, I often don’t feel it become cemented in my heart.

A friend posted this in a mom’s group I’m in the other day, and wow, what a reminder.  Good workThis thing we call motherhood, though it is hard, and it is hard on some days, is such good work.  And honestly as much as it is for our kids, it is for us too!  It provides us the stability and love that will keep us strong and fulfilled until we go to be at home with Jesus.  I think we get so caught up in the selflessness of it that we forget that it sustains us, too.  I want to be old and wrinkled with Joel by my side and our house full of our kids and grandkids who love to be there.  But how do we create that?  Time and being present.  Time is not hard for me, but oh that being present thing….it gets me.  Anyone else?  My mind could be thinking of dinner or what I have to do next week instead of the book I am reading to my kids or the puzzle we are putting together.  No one is going to make your life, you have to go after it with all the love you’ve got.give yourself away

But I believe that when you give yourself away, and that it scary I know, you find yourself.  It seems so scary, right?  Like will I lose myself?  The answer is a resounding no!  You will find your heart in giving it away to others.  Now don’t get me wrong.  You should be wise in who you invest in and boundaries are necessary, but your kids and your husband and your family and your friends will make life worth living.  Give yourself away to the people that matter.  Forget the things.  They will take care of themselves, but investing in others makes life more full.  It won’t cause you to lose yourself.

I want to stability and love and security and mom and dad and friends for my kids.  I don’t want to give them everything!  I want to leave more in them than I could ever leave to them!  But that is my job that only Jesus can help me with!  So Jesus I need help to be fully present, to play and be messy, to say yes at the right time and no at the right time, to balance work with play, and to let love be the driving force of my life in my relationship with you, my husband, my kids, my relationships, and my career! Help not to miss it chasing something that doesn’t matter!laughlifeismessybeautiful

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Getting Back to Me

It is 2:28 AM.  Crazy thing is I’m just starting to blog.  Why?  Why I am doing this?  Mostly because it feels right.  Because for the first time in a long time, I feel like me.  The me that sometimes stays up late to plan future projects and cook and watch a chick flick….on the Hallmark Channel.  Because is there any better place to watch a chick flick?  Why do I love Hallmark so much?  Because there are stories that feel romantic dreams, but I have begun to realize they are possible if you make them possible.

Things don’t often happen by accident.  You have to give your heart to them.  And giving your heart to them begins the journey to change to possibility.  So if you want a good marriage, start talking to God about it.  Start believing it’s possible, and start to listening to how to make it happen. Because changing your beliefs is the key to changing your circumstances.  The same is true of all things you desire.  Find out what God says about that area.  Trust Him all the way to help you as you follow His leading to the most beautifully, full life you have ever imagined.

I feel like I have been grabbing handfuls of darts and throwing them at a board.  I am getting a lot of hits but off the target because I am trying to do everything. All of these things at the expense of being me, the real me.  The me that loves connection with people.  The me that loves being with my kids.  The me that is slow on purpose to live in peace. The me that longs to be deeply connected to my husband.  The me that is purposefully not in the rat race.  The me that follows the leading of my heart even when it is hard.  I am not willing to sacrifice that…anymore!

It’s time to be me.  And it’s time to be you!  Don’t sacrifice who you are and what really matters to your heart to meet expectations, even ones that only exist in your mind.  All things are possible if you believe, even being yourself in the midst of  a crazy world that calls you to be everything.  Just be you.  You were amazingly crafted by a God who say the greatest things in you!  Believe they are true, and follow His leading to the most beautiful life ever!

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If you are what you eat, you might as well be Greek!

I know….the title!  I am just in a goofy mood today.  But I am Greek, so I love Greek food and Greek ingredients!  But it also means I need an extra razor, some creme hair remover for my face, and a muzzle at times since most Greeks are known for their loudly dynamic personalities.  Ever heard of Christine Caine?  She says it best.  I am a Greek woman.  So I only know how to speak 3 ways: hard, fast, and continuously.  It is also kind of the way we like to consume our food.  Lol!  We are pretty serious about talking and eating as Greeks.

Okay, okay, back to the topic at hand.  Food, right?  Ever hear that saying you are what you eat?  I know at least one of you is thinking this.sexy beastI hope you laughed at that because I got a good chuckle when I read it, too!  But in all seriousness, your body was created in an amazing way.  Did you know that your body actually reproduces itself in cycles.  For example, your skin replaces itself every 35 days from the food that you consume.  Your brain does as well.  So as your cells die, your body regenerates new ones using the food that you eat to do it.  Are you thinking what I am thinking then?  You should be screaming…..WHAT YOU EAT MATTERS!

I know we don’t think that, but if we don’t pay attention to what goes in, as our cells regenerate, they won’t be as healthy as they could be or our bodies will feel the effects of that stress.  Often times we monitor what our children are eating to be sure they are getting key elements from a variety of food groups to ensure adequate nutrition, but that monitoring falls off largely as we become adults.

And speaking from experience, inadequate nutrition happens in an even greater proportion of moms who are trying to meet the demands of career, home life, etc.  Quick check to prove my point.  Have you ever skipped a meal to take care of fixing your kids one? Have you ever given your child your snack because they gave you the please eyes?   And all women said in unison, “Yes!”   Women, it is important to take care of yourselves.  Why?  Because you can’t care for your family, if you are not well.  I used to roll my eyes at the flight attendants when they told me to put my oxygen mask on first before helping my kids.  But they are right, kids can’t help themselves.  They depend on you!  So take care of you, so you can be around to take care of and enjoy them!  Because these statements will ring true forever!

Just a slight addition here.  I am not against medicine, and I do believe that there are times when medicine is necessary to help you as you try to get other nutritional factors taken care of.  But I believe a lot of the medical issues people are dealing with now are a direct result of what they have fed their bodies throughout their lives.  That being said, I am not perfect.  My goal is to eat as much healthy food as I can and enjoy food, too.  Because stressing over food won’t help you live a healthy life either! And don’t try to argue with me either.  Why?  Well, because this will be you!  (Refer back to paragraph 1 if you need more details!  LOL).greek woman

So, I have decided it is fitting to give you a recipe you won’t be able to resist and it can be made in one skillet!  Can you guess the origins of the main ingredients of this recipe??  You guessed it!  Greek food it is!  I am sure there are lots of cultures that use these ingredients, but they scream yummy Greek food to me!  Hope you enjoy this one!  And just a thought, try making small changes to achieve big goals.  If you need to overhaul your diet, start one meal at a time.  You will be more likely to succeed and less likely to quit!

Greek Chicken with Veggies

(I know the name is a little lacking, but only because Yummy Greek Chicken Amazingness with Veggies sounded a little over the top!)  This recipe will serve 6.20160204_183715_resized

Ingredients:

  • 1 small onion diced
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic diced
  • 8 oz mushrooms sliced
  • 1 med zucchini diced
  • 2 tomatoes diced
  • 1/3 c sundried tomatoes chopped
  • 1 jar artichoke hearts drained and chopped
  • 1/3 c chopped kalamata olives
  • 1.5 lbs chicken breasts cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 c fresh spinach
  • 3 tbsp evoo
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1/3 c fresh parsley chopped
  • 1/3 c fresh basil chopped

Preparation:

  1. Heat skillet over medium-high heat.  Add 1 tbsp evoo.  Add diced chicken into pan and season with salt and pepper, and allow to cook for 2 minutes before flipping so each side cooks thoroughly and meat has a little brown on it.  (Brown is flavor!) Flip chicken over and allow to continue cooking.
  2. Add onion, garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes until it begins to soften and become translucent.   Then add in the mushrooms and allow them to begin to soften and become deep brown in color.  About 5 minutes.  (You may need a little more evoo here to help saute the mushrooms, feel free to add a few tsps more if needed!)
  3. After mushrooms have sauteed, add zucchini and season with a little more salt and pepper and half of the oregano.  Allow zucchini to cook for about 2 minutes.
  4.  Move veggies and chicken to the sides of the pan to create a little bowl of sorts for the remaining evoo and balsamic vinegar, along with the diced tomatoes, olives, sundried tomatoes, and artichoke hearts.  Sprinkle with remaining oregano and stir to combine and coat all veggies and chicken with the balsamic and evoo combo.
  5. Cover the veggies and chicken with spinach and allow to wilt for about 2 minutes.  Then add fresh basil and parsley.  Stir in spinach and fresh herbs until all is combined.
  6. Very important step: taste a piece of heaven to ensure the seasonings are just right!  If not add salt, pepper, or oregano as needed.
  7. To serve: Eat as is or serve over brown rice or quinoa with a sprinkle of crumbled feta or goat cheese!  🙂

Hope this satisfies your appetite as much as it will nourish your body!  Enjoy your day! Enjoy your family!  Enjoy your life!  Trust God!  Talk with you all soon!

If you have questions or just want to connect, please feel free to Email Me!  If you are looking for a health and fitness coach that will motivate you and help you on your journey, please feel free to check out My Site, join my team, and check out products I believe in. Let me take this journey with you! Can’t wait to meet you!

 

 

 

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Comfort Foods, Soul Foods…Healthy Style

So, I love healthy eating.  You know that, but every once in awhile, I need a good comforting dish to fill my stomach but to warm my soul a little.  Now listen, I am not suggesting emotional eating daily!  I am suggesting that we use food to fuel our body, but we have the ability to indulge, too!

Now listen, this food I am about to show you is no joke!  It is serious comfort food, but it is on the healthy end of that spectrum.  It uses healthy, densely nutritious ingredients to satisfy your hunger and that little part of your soul, too!  🙂

I hope you enjoy these recipes!  I enjoyed them!  Still working on self control.  I am working to get the belief system down that I can and should enjoy foods like this, but in the proper portion sizes.  So please check out these recipes, and do your best to control your portion sizes!

Peach Blackberry Cobbler–Gluten Free and Refined Sugar Free

  • Topping Ingredients:
    • 1/2 c coconut flour
    • 1/3 c rolled oats
    • 1/4 c chopped pecans
    • 1/4 c almond meal
    • 1/2 c unsweetened, flaked, and toasted coconut
    • 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 2/3 c honey
    • 1/4 c melted coconut oil
  • Fruit Filling Ingredients:
    • 2.5 c fresh blackberries
    • 2.5 c fresh peaches
    • 1/4 c fresh squeezed orange juice
    • 1 tbsp tapioca
    • 2 tbsp fresh chopped mint
  • Preparation
    1. Preheat oven to 350.  Little grease 6 individual ramekins or an 8 in round or square baking dish.
    2. Combine filling ingredients and stir gently to combine without breaking up the berries.
    3. Combine dry ingredients and whisk to combine.  Add in liquid ingredients and stir to be sure all dry ingredients are moist.
    4. Pour and spread the filling in the bottom of the pan.  Crumble the topping over the filling ingredients until the fruit is covered.
    5. Bake for 25-35 minutes depending on baking dish.

Whole Wheat Ratatouille Pizza

20160123_174911_resized

  • Whole Wheat Crust Ingredients:
    • 1 c warm water (110 degrees)
    • 1 tbsp honey
    • 1 tbsp evoo
    • 1 envelope rapid rise or instant yeast
    • 2 3/4 c whole wheat flour
    • 1/4 c Parmesan cheese
    • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Ratatouille Topping Ingredients:
    • 1 can organic diced tomatoes blended to smooth with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and italian seasonings
    • 1 tsp evoo
    • 1 zucchini halved and thinly sliced
    • 1/2 eggplant, halved and thinly sliced
    • 5-8 mushrooms sliced
    • 1/2 c grated or shredded carrots
    • 1/2 onion diced
    • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
    • 1 tomato diced
    • salt and pepper
    • 1 tbsp Italian seasonings
    • 6 basil leaves julienned
    • 1 c shredded Mozzarella and Provolone cheese
    • 3/4 c crumbled goat cheese
    • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Preparation:
    1. To make the dough: Combine the warm water, honey, evoo, and yeast in a cup.  Allow to sit and proof for 5 minutes to activate the yeast.  In a separation bowl, combine the remaining dry ingredients and whisk to combine.  Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and use a wooden spoon to stir.  Soon you will need your hands to work the remaining flour into the dough.  Knead on a floured surface for a 5 minutes to work the dough.  Put in an oiled bowl and cover for 10 minutes allowing the dough to rest before rolling.
    2. Preheat oven to 500.  Saute veggies for topping.  Heat oil over medium heat.  Add onion, carrot, and garlic and saute for 3 minutes.  Add in mushrooms and saute until soft.  Add zucchini, tomato, and eggplant and saute for 3 more minutes.  Season with salt, pepper, and Italian seasonings.
    3. Roll out dough on a floured surface and place on pizza stone or pan.  Spread the blended tomato sauce over the top of the dough leaving about 1/2 inch around the outside for crust.  Cover the sauce with the shredded Mozzarella and Provolone cheese with freshly grated Parmesan.
    4. Cover the cheese with sauteed veggies.  And top with the julienned basil and goat cheese.  Place in the oven and cook for approximately 10-15 minutes.

I hope this recipe livens up your cold winter or your hot summer nights.  If you have questions or just want to connect, please feel free to Email Me!  If you are looking for a health and fitness coach that will motivate you and help you on your journey, please feel free to check out My Site, register, and check out products I believe in.  Let me take this journey with you!

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Coconut Lime Cod with Strawberry Salsa and Ginger Soy Snap Peas

Good morning!  It is a snowy cold morning here in Pennsylvania.  We were on the very edge of the blizzard of ’16, and we got a whopping 2 inches!  Haha!  I was actually kind of ready for a decent snow.  I wanted to play in it with the kids, but it wasn’t meant to be!  I will say though, the temps were freezing.  Last night on the way home the thermometer read a balmy 17ºF.

So the question is what do you to lift your spirits in the freezing cold of winter?  1. I prepare tropical foods for dinner.  2. I bake comfort foods and desserts.  Now, here is the best part.  Tropical is no problem….fits right into the meal plan for Hammer and Chisel.  The comfort foods can too, but the trick is portion control.  The question is can I make it and keep it to 1 serving?  The answer yesterday was no.  I couldn’t.  So my goal for today is to get back on track.  Drink more water and stick to the plan!  But if you could eat a single serving of the comfort foods, then by all means make and enjoy.  They fit right in.

Coconut Lime and Panko Cod with Strawberry Salsa, Sugar Snap Peas, and Quinoa

(I am not sharing the quinoa recipe, since all I did was make it according to pack directions using chicken stock instead of water.  To liven it up a bit, I drizzled it with some sauce left over in the pot from the peas!)

For the Cod: (I used 2 fillets that equaled approximately 1 lb)

  • Breading Ingredients:
    • 1/3 c whole wheat panko
    • 1/3 c shredded, unsweetened coconut
    • 1/4 c almond meal or chopped sliced almonds
    • zest of a lime
    • salt and pepper
  • Marinade Ingredients:
    • 1/2 c Greek Yogurt
    • Juice of 1 lime
    • 2 tbsp almond coconut milk
    • pepper
  • Preparation:
    1. Preheat oven to 425.  Combine all Breading ingredients in a flat square baking dish.  Combine all marinade ingredients in a separate flat, square baking dish.
    2. Dredge the cod fillets in the marinade first.  Then place them in the breading and press into the breading to allow it to stick to the fish.  Flip and repeat.  You may need to sprinkle some extra breading when placing it on the pan to cook.
    3. Melt 1 tsp coconut oil and drizzle the fish with the coconut oil just to add some moisture to the breading.
    4. Place the fish covered lightly with a aluminum foil to allow the cod to cook without browning the breading too much.  Take the covering off in the last 5 minutes of cooking to allow the breading to toast.

For the Strawberry Salsa:

  • Ingredients:
    • 10 small -medium strawberries, diced
    • 1 yellow pepper diced small
    • 1/2 large cucumber diced small
    • 1/2 jalapeno diced small
    • 1/2 avocado diced small
    • 1 tbsp mint diced
    • 1 tsp evoo
    • juice of 1/2 lime or 2 tsps rice wine vinegar
    • salt and pepper to taste
  • Preparation:
    1. Combine all ingredients and toss.

For the Sugar Snap Peas:

  • Ingredients
    • 16 oz sugar snap peas
    • water to steam the peas
    • 1.5 tbsps low sodium soy
    • 2 tsps rice wine vinegar
    • 1/2 tsp grated ginger
    • 1 tsp honey
  • Preparation
    1. Heat a pan on the stove with about 1/2 inch of water and peas over medium high heat.  Steam the peas for about 5 minutes until bright green and tender crisp.
    2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a glass and use a whisk to incorporate the honey.
    3. Dump out the remaining water.  Pour the ginger soy sauce and allow it to heat through slightly.  (Use extra ginger soy sauce to drizzle quinoa if making it!)

 

I hope this recipe livens up your cold winter or your hot summer nights.  If you have questions or just want to connect, please feel free to Email Me!  If you are looking for a health and fitness coach that will motivate you and help you on your journey, please feel free to check out My Site, register, and check out products I believe in.  Let me take this journey with you!

 

 

Posted in Dinner Recipe, Fish Recipe, Recipes, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stop Screaming at Me, Head!

Hey y’all, so you may be able to tell this from my writings, but I am pretty driven. tired I like to multitask, and I like to be busy.  And I am doing most everything I do because it’s in my heart, and it isn’t stressful….most of the time.  So though I have gotten my head right about it, that doesn’t mean my body doesn’t get tired.  Ever been there?  You like to be busy, but you just get down right pooped?  (Pardon the potty word, but it is just honest!)

7609847d06691594acae89626854f3a3That was me this week.  But can I tell you about my driven nature?  My driven nature tells me rest is weakness.  It is hard for me.  While my body is trying to rest, often times my mind is still going.  It is analyzing everything I am doing.  It is nagging me that I am not enough.  It is screaming at me the whole time I rest, so I am tempted every time to just keep going.  Ever been there?  It is hard to quiet the voices in my head, and because of it, I am tempted to just stay busy to avoid dealing with it.  But that is not good, at all.  And honestly, I need the rest to recalibrate the direction in which I am heading.

So I honestly had to sort through a barrage of thoughts and get myself straight.  I needed to hear my heart!  To realize that I have to STOP saying yes to every opportunity that comes available to me.  I don’t have to be a yes woman because it seems like it might loosely be affiliated with my calling, and I do have to get back to the heart of what I am doing.  20160123_060933-1_resizedI have to remind myself of why I stay home, why I am a health and fitness coach, why I have chosen the people to surround me that I have, and to just be thankful for how God has worked out the areas of my life.  Because you know what, my busyness is my form of control, but I don’t want to pilot my ship.  I want to allow Him to pilot my ship.  To be sensitive to His direction for my life, and not just do everything so I magically hit the bullseye because I was doing everything.  Boundaries, Amanda, Boundaries!

I struggle with that mostly because my head screams at me….through Facebook, through ambition, through comparison, through ideas.  And when I get quiet, I have to face all of them.  And I shutter at that a little.  Like it’s a rough couple days.  But as much as I want to avoid it, I know I have to get it right.  I know God needs to change my course maybe just be a degree or two and hear do you want to see Me work, or do you want to see what you can do? Ouch.  So I have friends I call when life gets like this.  I say hey, I am struggling tell me the truth while we drink coffee! And I force myself to watch a movie.  Why?  Because I NEED to slow down.  2 workouts a day 3x a week, blogging, making lunches, cooking dinners, motivating and encouraging people on their health journey, tutoring 2 little girls, being a mom, being a wife, leading a small group…though I know laying those things down is not the way I am to go….rest is needed every week to do them the way I want to do them out of my heart.

Pilots in the cockpit during a commercial flightBut that means I have to slow down and I have to allow those thoughts to come and ignore the ones that I know are lies and call them such, and then spend some quiet time with Jesus to allow Him to say….don’t go that direction.  Slow down here.  Let me be God.  The kids need this.  Joel needs that.  Message this person.  Slow down and watch a movie.  And yes, God says that to me because He knows I need it.  Controlling your brain and saying no when it’s hard isn’t easy, but it’s possible and it’s worth it.  Why?  Because God knows my heart, and He knows the direction I need to get there.  And if I don’t learn to rest in Him and control my brain, I will be overwhelmed, stressed, and burn out early.  I’ll miss out on my dreams or add extra stress and missteps.

The only way for me to do this though is to get quiet, spend time with Jesus, get the mess in my head straight, and recalibrate the direction of my business, my parenting, my wifehood (is that a word?), my friendships….everything.  And sometimes the process of slowing down just helps me enjoy the things in my life more.  I have time to see them for the amazing things that they really are!  Like my messy boy! I can laugh and take pics and not miss out on his amazing little self.  Or I can play legos with my daughter and hear how she chooses characters and laugh at the scenarios she comes up with.  Or I can make homemade lotion that I have been wanting to do because that is part of my personality, too! There has to be time for restoration!

Did you ever look at someone and think they never struggle?  Like they don’t have any issues.  They have it all together.  That is the biggest lie on the planet.  Everyone struggles, but if you want win in life, you have to get control of that thing between your ears.  You want to win in life?  You must be moved by the truth about who you are and learn how to respond to the lies and thoughts your brain sometimes tells you!  Everyone needs this, and we need to teach our kids how to do it early!  If we all did it, we would have a much more enjoyable life, following our own dreams, being our own selves, chasing our own dreams.

Easy? No.  Worth it?  Oh so much yes!  Be You!  Let God direct your life.  Spend time with Jesus who loves you and is not picking out your flaws.  Learn to recognize the lies you hear and replace them with the truth!  Ask for help!  Find friends who will tell you the truth when you are tired and need a rest, ones who know your heart! And slow down.  You just might be missing out on your heart and direction because you are trying to do it all!  Everything in your life will get better!  rest

So this week, I took 3 rest days from Hammer and Chisel.  So what am I doing?  Right now, I am not driving and doing 2 a days to catch up.  Right now, I am in a short season of resting.  So I am picking up where I left off and continuing.  I am not quitting.  You shouldn’t either.  Temporary delay isn’t failure.  It just may be exactly what you need!

 

 

Posted in anxiety, God's direction, Inspiration, recover, rest, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

So it’s freezing outside.  Screenshot_2016-01-19-17-11-30_resizedI mean like cold enough to have a 2 hour delay for most schools!  So the real temp is 16, but it feels like 4.  It’s cold enough to make you feel like your toes and fingers would freeze instantly if left exposed too long.  What do you want to do on days like that?  I’ll tell you.  Stay inside.  Snuggle under blankets.  Eat comfort food.  Watch movies.  Pray.  Hang with friends.  But all INSIDE, where there’s heat.

Well welcome to that day for me.  It’s Hammer and Chisel Day 9.  But I have to confess yesterday’s schedule due to errands and the PiYo class that I instruct  meant I didn’t have time to get my Hammer and Chisel workout in.  And honestly, due to double workouts some days because I do instruct, I had 20160119_162006_resizedmaxed out.  Today, I needed a day off.  I am 2 days behind, and I will catch up!  I promise, but for today, I just enjoyed not rushing and good friends.  Two of my besties and their kiddos came over and played, and we ate pizza and fresh guac with chips for lunch!  I know.  I know.  Not in the diet plan, but some days, you just have to relax and rejuvenate before pressing onward.  And honestly, the laughing, the conversations, the mess, the pizza, and the COFFEE rejuvenated me!  Life is too short to work all the time and constantly be thinking about the next thing.  So often when you do that, you miss out on the beauty that is right in front of you!

So that being said, it means tonight is a comfort food kind of night.  And in the winter comfort food for me is hearty soup with a mix of veggies, noodles, and meat.  So I went the minestrone route, but I added meatballs to it to make it heartier. And I will be honest, it is perfect!  I adapted a recipe from 21 Day Fix Food with a few changes that really made this a meal that would even satisfy a man’s appetite.  My favorite part of the recipe is this!20160118_113629_resized

Do you see it sticking out like an iceberg in the middle?  What is that you ask?  It’s a parmesan cheese rind, and it is delicious!  Makes the soup have a cheesy flavor.  So perfect.  My favorite addition was the turkey meatballs, and my favorite swap out was ditalini for brown rice elbows.  (I use Tinkyada brown rice noodles.  Get them at Walmart.  Never mushy and perfect al dente!)

If you are jonesing for a good soup, give this one a shot!  You won’t be sorry!  And please don’t skip the step of pureeing some of the beans for the broth.  It gives it this perfect silky thickness that makes it all the more comforting!  I am bumping up the fresh herbs in here because I think the soup needs it.  It will look like a lot, but will give it the best flavor.  And be sure to top with a tsp or 2 of Parmesan or Romano cheese!

Mighty Meatball Minestrone

Ingredients:

For the meatballs:

  • 1.33 lbs ground turkey
  • 1 medium zucchini or yellow squash grated
  • 1 small onion grated
  • 2 cloves garlic grated
  • 1 tbsp spicy brown mustard for moisture
  • 2 tbsps each  chopped sage, rosemary, and thyme
  • salt and pepper

For the soup:

  • 1.5 cans of white beans (I used great northern and keep the juice for the broth)
  • 1 32 oz box reduced sodium chicken stock plus 1 cup extra stock
  • 4 small carrots, sliced
  • 3 celery stalks halved and sliced
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1 medium zucchini quartered and diced
  • 3 garlic cloves microplaned
  • 28 oz diced tomatoes with juice
  • Parmesan rind (Don’t leave this out)
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary….leaves left on the sprig
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • 1/3 c chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 c chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsps fresh thyme
  • 2 cups spinach, kale, swiss chard or a combo of them
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice elbows (I love Tinkyada brand)
  • Extra parmesan or romano cheese for garnish

Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 º.  Oil your baking sheet to Make your meatballs.  Put all your ingredients into a ball and combine with your hands!  (They’re your best kitchen tools!)  Roll into small meatballs and place on baking sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes or so depending on size.  (They don’t have to cook through completely because they will finish cooking in the soup!
  2. Make your soup thickener.  Take 1 cup beans with a little of the juice from the can and blend them with 1 cup chicken stock to make the broth of the soup a little heartier.
  3. Add meatballs, pureed beans, and the rest of the ingredients (except the brown rice elbows) into your slow cooker.  Turn crockpot on low and heat for 6-7 hours.
  4. Check your seasonings with about an hour left to determine if you need more salt, pepper, or herbs.
  5. About an hour before the soup is done, cook your brown rice pasta or whole wheat elbows according to package directions.  When ready to serve, you can use your 3/4 of a yellow container of noodles and place in your bowl.  Then top it off with 1.5 green container of soup and a little cheese for garnish.  (If you need a little extra broth feel free to add.)
  6. The serving info above will utilize 1 yellow, 1 red, 1 green, 1/2 blue.

I hope you enjoy this soup.  I hope it is easy for working mommas and papas, but it brings comfort to a cold winter’s day as you snuggle up with your family!

And just to end on a high note.  My hubby is starting to join me in the working out department.  Caught him in this stellar outfit yesterday working on his waistline!  LOL!  Love this guy.  It’s the socks that especially steal my heart.  20160118_170744_resized

a-Funny-fitness-the-burn

Any questions or comments, please feel free to Email Me.  Need help on your journey to the healthiest, happiest year of your life?  If you need a fitness coach that will walk your journey with you and encourage you that all things are possible, check out My Site, join my team, shop for amazing products to help get your journey started, and automatically get entered into my next challenge group!

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