December 29, 2017

New Year’s Day Black-Eyed Pea Recipe Round-Up

I love a traditional, lucky New Year’s Day meal. Who am I kidding? I love a good meal any day.

But there is something special about carrying on the tradition of a lucky New Year’s Day meal. In the south, Black-Eyed Peas, Greens, Cornbread, and Pork are the dishes that will bring you good fortune in the year ahead.

A lot of people turn their noses up at these dishes. It’s really all in how they are prepared that make or break the dish. I always make the recipe as clean as possible, reduce the amount of sodium, and go easy on the pork (even though the pig is a symbol of moving forward!)

Do you know what each of the foods represent?

Representing gold, cornbread represents having money to spend in the new year.

Collard Greens
Green like the color of money. Skip the greens, your luck is sure to run out! ;-)

Black-Eyed Peas
The more you eat, the luckier you will be! Why black-eyed peas? They represent pennies, and over time pennies add up to more wealth!

So, here are some black-eyed pea recipes I pulled together to help you rack up on the luck in 2018!

What are other New Year's Day traditions? I would love to hear from you!

I love sharing recipes and finding new ways to make food delicious and healthy! Each month, I support a small group of women in an online health and fitness challenge group. That's a fancy way of saying that I help them learn to meal plan, share my meal prep tips, and keep the group accountable to healthy choices on a daily basis! 

If this sounds like something you would like in your life, let's chat:

Wishing you the best in 2018!


December 20, 2017

80 Day Obsession Focus and Nutrition

I am a lot of things, good and not-so-good, but obsessed is not a word that I relate to often or find describes my thoughts and actions very well. Maybe I have tunnel vision at times about a project or planning something, but obsessed seems a bit over the top.

So with the launch of this new fitness and nutrition program, 80 Day Obsession, I had a difficult time wrapping my mind around how I can relate to it personally and share about it with others. In no way do I ever want to convey a message that women become obsessed with the scale or body type. That is exactly the opposite of what I am all about. But something clicked last night while I was on a call with the creator of the program. She explained what it is and isn’t. It is not about the obsession with calories or body image. The obsession is about being healthy and pushing yourself to see how *well* you can take care of yourself. That perspective lit my fire, and I’m all in now!

If you follow me on my Facebook or Instagram, you at least know that I am all about working on being the best me through faith, family, fitness, and nutrition. Also, you likely know that I support other women in doing the same as a healthy lifestyle coach. My role and truly honor is to teach people how to get in shape, how to meal plan, and eat clean while balancing a busy life. Programs like 80 Day Obsession allow me to do that by providing you with access to an online library of workouts that are proven to give results, nutrition plans that are customized to your needs, as well as accountability and support. Any time there is a new program like this, I do my homework to find out what it entails and who it will benefit the most. That is part of my job as a coach, and I love it!

My focus is both physical and faith. I am recalibrating my own fitness and nutrition routine after a rocky fall. I have gained weight and inches, as well as lost definition from not being consistent. Any of you mamas that endured a season of ear infections and a set of tubes/adenoids removed feeling me?! I won’t lie and say that this weight gain has affected how I feel about my body. Not in a body shaming way, but my body plays a role in being my best self. I am not at my best when I am crabby putting on my favorite jeans or leggings and feel just how tight they are on my thighs and booty. I also feel sluggish, moody, and overall less energy than when I am nailing my workouts. So, there is definitely a personal physical focus. Maybe you too. There is no judging here!

I’m also challenging myself to see just how healthy I can be by leaning into Christ for the strength to do it. I am going to pray through every step of this journey, listening to God for guidance, and what He reveals to me about myself. It takes 21 days to create a habit, but to create deep, significant change, it takes around 3 months. Just so happens that is right around 80 days. 
So let’s get to it. What is the 80 Day Obsession all about?

This program is about total body transformation. Even with a little more focus on booty and abs, you will see lean muscle definition in your legs and arms. It is 80 days of focus on fitness and nutrition over 13 weeks.

It is intermediate to intense! Stay with me here – don’t panic! There is a modifier but not the traditional modifier. Consider the modifier taking the reps from a 10 to 6-7. However, you can still modify the modifier if you need that. Workouts average 45 minutes to one hour; so this in itself is a change for a lot of spoiled by those 30 minute workouts!

You follow a professionally calibrated meal plan that is perfectly timed to balance macro-nutrients through the day. There is science behind this, and it works! The time nutrition is designed to give you the best results at each phase of the program.
Yes, the program is intense and designed to get you in the best shape of your life! To me, the intensity and challenge is so worth it! I loved when Autumn told our team during the private call, “If you want something different, you gotta do something different.” Each workout is different for 80 Days. That is awesome, right?!

There is no coincidence this program is launching in January. I encourage you to start thinking NOW about your health in 2018! There are open spots in my 80 Day Obsession Launch Challenge Group, so what are you waiting for?! We will START later this week with some preview workouts, daily devotions, and a trial of timed nutrition. The Launch Challenge begins January 8th with prep week, then Day 1 of workouts begins January 15th. So let’s get started with your plan!
Because I am your coach, you will have access to Autumn Calabrese in different ways than some other groups. We will apply food freedom, elimination, and emotional eating methods to help you in this group. 

As part of a Launch Challenge Group, you will be one of the FIRST to ever complete this program. That is such an awesome experience that I love sharing with my Challengers!

If you’re ready to rock 2018 and go all in, here’s what to do:
  1. Complete the application below. 
  2. Join my Prepare to Be Obsessed Launch Group on Facebook. 
  3. Let’s collaborate on choosing the best package, so you can order before December 31st for a special gift from me. 

Fill out my online form.
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November 8, 2017

New Goal Getter Apprenticeship

Ok, so my brain and heart are in over-drive right now, because I have something new to share with you! I think it is a brilliant concept and love everything about it! For those of you watching and thinking about joining this community of driven-women and becoming a lifestyle coach like me, this my sweet friend is for you! I am hosting a single week apprenticeship to help you decide if this coach business is for you!

Here's a quick list that describes the characteristics of the mamas, sisters, and friends, I am looking to for:

  • loves Jesus with all her heart and wants to share her God-given gifts in a special way!
  • willing to lead by example by getting in their best shape by working out at home
  • wants to make an income - anything from extra money to for Christmas gifts to retiring from your day job
  • enjoys trying new recipes, smoothies, and sharing about it!
  • have a servant heart and love helping others succeed
  • someone that desires to be a business owner without risk
  • women that appreciate and feel rewarded by empowering other women
  • believes they can make a difference through leadership, prayer, and not afraid of hard work to get big results
So, here's how this will work:
  • First, pray about it if this is for you! That's what I ask of you before anything else.
  • Request to join the private Facebook group (link below)
  • You will subscribe to the FREE trial of Beachbody on Demand (BOD) (if you are not already a member.) We will provide you with a calendar of our favorite workout programs to follow Monday - Sunday!
  • Each day you will workout, snap a sweaty selfie for accountability, and post in our private group! This is where accountability and leadership come together!
  • Each day, the leaders on our team will provide daily trainings on topics like social media, apps, and how we share our story! This will give you the opportunity to test the waters so to speak about sharing your own journey!
  • At the end of the week, you can decide for yourself! If so, we will enroll you in our New Coach Mentor Program, welcome you to Team SoulFit, and help you get started right!
You truly have nothing to lose with this apprenticeship! The truth is, there is SO MUCH to gain from it!
 Being a healthy lifestyle coach as positively impacted every part of my life. That is why I am so passionate about sharing it with other women! My family, my personal health, and my friendships have all grown through this. I will show you what it can do for you too!

The Apprenticeship will take place from Sunday, November 12th - Sunday, November 19th! Are you ready? I can't wait to see you there!
Complete these steps to join:
  1. Subscribe to the free trial of Beachbody on Demand. You will be required to enter a credit card, but will NOT be charged until your trial expires. I will give you directions to cancel or upgrade before then! Select the 3 month option because that one comes with the 14 day free trial. 
  2. Complete this application, so I know your goals. 
  3. Then request to join our private apprenticeship group here: Goal Getter Apprenticeship
  4. And don't forget to PRAY!
If you have any questions, please email me at Let's chat about it!

October 20, 2017

Time-Saving Tips to Help Busy Moms Create a Healthy Lifestyle

As a toddler mama, extra or free time feels about as extinct as my son's favorite animal right now, DIN-SAUR! 

I get it. Time is precious and there isn't a mama out there that feels like she has an extra minute in the day. So as a healthy lifestyle coach, I encourage busy moms to do something that seems absolutely absurd - make time for themselves by making their health a priority. A lot of times, and you may be thinking, "Ain't nobody got time for that." 
But hear me out. Yes, you can. 
Regardless of that mom-guilt ringing in your head and heart, mama you are allowed to have your own goals! 

Here are some tips on how to save time and do more when it comes to living a healthy life.

It's ok to say "no"
It's okay to set boundaries. So often, I see mamas running ragged because they feel like they will let others down if they don't commit. I'm here to tell you from personal experience, when you over commit and can't do things well, that is when you let people down that are counting on you! Sometimes, it's not even about saying no but more about thinking about what you're actually saying yes to in life!

Avoid the morning shuffle
Do as much as you can to prepare for the next day, before your head hits the pillow at night. Here are some simple ways to get things together.
  • Pack snacks and lunches
  • Layout my workout clothes
  • Place all bags together and near the door
  • Stay off social media until everything is set to go
Learn to meal plan and prep
Plan what your family will have for the week ahead and get your grocery shopping done. This will prevent multiple trips to the grocery, as well as wasting time thinking about what you will cook each night. Regardless if you prep on Sunday or Monday, cook full meals or simply wash and cut produce to be cooked during the week, get as much as you can done in advance. Meal planning and prep are huge time savers in the long run! Click HERE for more meal prep tips.

Put yourself first
This may seem selfish but is actually the opposite. For me, this means waking up before my family to have my quiet time in prayer, get in a daily 30 minute workout, work on my coaching business, and finish any last minute lunch assembly. I get these things done first thing, and it helps me with my focus and energy level to care for my family.

Track your time
If you're not getting everything done every day, it may be that you have unrealistic plans or it could mean that you aren't being as efficient as you think. Time management is something I learned in my career as a former event and meeting planner. I had to create these very tight timelines that including setting up to how long a speaker had on stage. 
Start tracking how long it takes you to do different tasks. Then you will know how much you can actually plan to accomplish each day. You may also find that once you begin tracking, you work more efficiently! This will surely help you identify tasks and non-essential things like TV binging that sucking your time!

These are just a few ideas on how to make this busy life a little stressful! What are some other ways you save and maximize time for your family and health?

October 8, 2017

7 Meal Planning and Prep Tips

To kick off my new mini challenge, Clean Week - aka Success Week, I am sharing 7 meal planning and prep tips for clean eating! As a former event and meeting planner and project manager, planning anything is my jam!

Meal planning is a non-negotiable for me. Now as a toddler mama, meal prep can be anything from “boiling” eggs in the Instant Pot for snacks to a complete throw down of fully cooked meals for the week. It truly depends on my son’s mood on any given Sunday of how much I get done. Regardless, I still have my basic tips and best practices that go a long way when it comes to planning and prepping.
While Clean Week is only a 7-day program, these tips will go a long way as you continue your journey. Because, you’re not going to just stop are?!

1. Plan for Success
This is how I look at meal planning. You’re going to eat. You’re going to the grocery store at some point – surely. You’re setting yourself up for success with a plan. It’s that simple. Click HERE to download my newest meal plan template. I am loving it

2. Repeat
I definitely repeat breakfasts and snacks, and often times dinner and lunches. Because I drink Shakeology most every day for breakfast, that is a slam dunk, easy-peasy part of my menu. Snacks are not only easy to repeat but cost efficient. As for full meals, consider the number of people in your family and multiply the recipe accordingly. Usually for us, this is doubling ingredients. However, my little guy eats a lot of what we eat!
3. Cook in Bulk 
When planning your menu for the week, choose recipes that have the same ingredients, so you can cook a big batch at once. Easy foods to cook in bulk:  
  • Ground Beef: If you plan for spaghetti and tacos in the same week, you can cook 2 – 4 lbs of ground beef/chuck/sirloin at once in a large cast iron skillet or using the saute feature on the Instant Pot.
  • Roasted Veggies: Wash, chop, toss in oil, salt and pepper, garlic, and roast in the oven on 425 F for 30-45 minutes. Have them as a side dish one night and use in a vegetable beef stew later in the week.
  • Quinoa: It doesn’t get easier than this! Cook 1-2 cups in the Instant Pot and scoop out during the week for salads and then a side dish with chicken or fish.
  • Hard Boiled Eggs: These are great mid-morning snacks, to chop in salads for protein, or breakfast with turkey bacon. 
4. Rinse, Chop, Store You don’t have to cook everything right away. Sometimes, the most labor required for a recipe is preparing to do the cooking. So take some time after you grocery shop to rinse, chop, and store fresh vegetables and fruit in air-tight containers. You can scoop out your snack portion or have the hardest work done when it’s time to cook your planned meal.
5. Plan Your Portions
Whatever you do, stop eating directly from large containers. These handy containers are lifesavers when it comes to portion control. When you plan portions, you’re not only preventing overeating. You are also less likely to waste food by preparing too much, as well as save money only buying what you will eat each week. 
6. Safety First 
Cooked food lasts 3-5 days when properly stored. If you cook large quantities of food and some won’t be eaten until the second half of the week, pop it in the freezer. Then place in the refrigerator thaw overnight. For food that don’t freeze well (eggs, sweet potatoes, squash, ...), plan those to be eaten the first half of the week or schedule time mid-week for a quick prep session. 

7. Time Management
Two tips that will save you time. I don’t know about you, but my family time is precious. For just a couple more dollars, I will often spend more on pre-cut fresh produce. My neighborhood grocery store has always provided pre-cut squash and asparagus. Recently, they really lured me in with pre-riced cauliflower, riced-sweet potatoes, sweet potato noodles, and zoodles (zucchini noodles!). While I have a Spiralizer (check it out here), some weeks it worth having it already prepped. 

The second tip is online grocery shopping and curbside pick-up. Oh my goodness, this is the best ever service grocery stores have provided for customers! Walmart and Kroger are my favorites! 
Want my meal plan template? Drop your email address, and I will share with you! 

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October 3, 2017

Clean Week - It's Here!

Hi friends! Something brand new to share with all of you who follow my fitness and nutrition journey, maybe have considered joining me but aren't quite sure you're ready to commit to a full 30-day clean eating, 30-minute fitness program, meal planning, challenge to create a new health lifestyle! Or maybe you did join me at some point, but the timing was terrible and you fell off the clean eating wagon!

My Team and I have heard your concerns, objections, and hardships for starting and stopping. That's why I'm so excited to share something new with you - CLEAN WEEK!

There is no denying it is difficult to create new, healthy habits like clean up your diet, learning to meal plan, and working out. It can be down-right overwhelming to think about tit. Trust me on this - i may be difficult in the beginning, but it does get easier! Especially in my online accountability groups where I am with you eery step of the way!
I love clean eating and hot it along with in-home workouts have helped me lose over 20 inches and almost 15 pounds. Not only that, my body feels so much better providing it with nutrients to fuel instead of junk bogging it down! I know first-hand how nutrition and fitness can make such a positive impact on lives! So it is always great to share new tools to help you start with the fundamentals of clean eating, introducing you to some of the most popular exercises within 30 minutes, and a sampler of Shakeology. If you are willing to commit to a SINGLE week, I am willing to cheer you across the finish line! What do you say?

Ok, so let's say you're in. How is this going to work?

Beachboy's new program - Clean Week - launches TODAY! This program is all about trying out this new healthy lifestyle for 7 days. Sounds awesome, right?

Clean Week is for both beginners and anyone that has tried a fitness program but never finished, someone that hasn't started because you're afraid to fail, or you simply don't know where to start. This could be the perfect program to start your transformation, boost your confidence, or get you back on the healthy bus!

It can be scary to start something new. I totally get it. I didn't follow fitness program for the longest because I told myself I wasn't capable of finishing or truly making a change. Now, I regret waiting so long and holding myself back. Today, I workout sand eat clean out of respect for this one and only body God gifted me with. I also have a responsibility to care for my family. If I'm not caring for myself, I sure won't be able to care for them too long!
How Does Clean Week Work?
This is a 7-day fitness and nutrition program created to introduce to you a healthy lifestyle with new super trainer Megan Davies. The Clean Week pack provides you with 4 workouts, a step-by-step meal planner, and a week's supply of nutrition and delicious Shakeology.

Each of the four workouts are 30 minutes: cardio, strength, core function, and flexibility. You do not need to be a member of Beachbody on Demand to access these workouts. You will only need a set of dumbbells for the strength workout. The workouts are beginner level; however, there is an intensifier if you're ready to rock it out!

Meal Plan
NO calorie counting in this program which is so freeing when it comes to nutrition! The Clean Week pack comes with a meal plan and a sample of Shakeology. Packed with all the nutrients, vitamins, and protein that you need, Shakeology is a tool that help you with getting healthy. You can choose between Regular and Vegan Shaekology flavors: 2 packets of chocolate, 2 packets of vanilla, 2 packets of cafe latte, and 1 packet of strawberry (regular) or 1 packet of tropical strawberry (vegan). I personally drink the Vegan flavors, and love them!

Accountability and Support
I think the best part of Clean Week is the support and accountability you will get from my Challenge Group! In a provide app beginning October 9th, my team and I will provide you with daily motivation, info, and tips to help you have a successful week!! WE are actually going to run the group of r14 days to make sure you are prepared! On October 9th, we will start the plan and prep process. Then on October 16th, we begin with Day 1 of our workouts and following your meal plans!

Will One Week Really Matter?
YES! On week can make a huge difference. Think about how great it will feel to success. You GOT THIS!

If you are interested, fill out the application below. Looking forward to a healthy, Clean Week with you or get your CLEAN WEEK CHALLENGE PACK HERE!
Fill out my online form.

Rustic Pesto Shrimp Zoodles

Everything in this savory dish can be cooked in the same skillet! Of course, you can use pesto in a jar, but this provides a dairy and egg free option. Eating clean doesn't have to be boring. This is a favorite at our house!

Rustic Pesto Shrimp Zoodles

1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
32 oz fresh, whole Bella mushrooms, washed
3 medium zucchini
1 cup fresh basil
3/4 cup oil, divided
1/2 cup water

1. Heat 2 tsp oil in a large skillet. Add whole mushrooms. Once mushrooms begin to cook well, add 1/2 cup water and cover with a lid. Let them cook down for about 10 minutes.
2. While mushrooms cook, wash zucchini, cut off ends, and spiralize zucchini into zoodles.
3. Chop basil. Add to 1/8 cup oil and blend with a stick mixer or in food processor. This will create a simple, clean pesto!
4. Drain mushrooms and place in a bowl.
5. Add 2 tsp oil and shrimp to skillet. Cook until they begin to turn pink.
6. Remove shrimp as they change colors and place in bowl with mushrooms.
7. Add 2 tsp oil and zoodles to skillet and cook until they begin to wilt.
8. Add mushroom and shrimp mix, along with pesto, to the zoodles already in the skillet.
9. Stir until everything is blended. Continue cooking until shrimp are pink and begin to curl.
10. Serve immediately!

September 29, 2017

4 Ways to Make Fall Flavors Healthy

Cinnamon, Apples, Pumpkin, and Squash What do these foods have in common? They are all great for bringing fall into your meal plans. These foods add a lot of seasonal flavor without derailing your diet!

I dont know about you, but my Pinterest feed and grocery store are bombarded right now with pumpkin everything! The problem with all these pre-packaged fall foods is they are usually crazy in calories, full of sugar, and a lot of processed snacks.

But guess what there are plenty of recipes and snack ideas that are smart, healthy, and nutrient dense!
Here are a few ideas to get you started. 

Spice it UP with cinnamon.
Cinnamon can be a flavor game changer for things like coffee, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, and apples. Amy Gorin, M.S., R.D.N., cinnamon can not only help regulate your blood sugar, it’s particular flavor can also help you cut back on added sugar when you’re making holiday treats. 

When I cut the dairy from my coffee, I sprinkle cinnamon in it. This will get you right in the fall mood! Try this tasty apple crisp recipe with cinnamon, maple syrup, oats, and sliced apples. It is super simple too!

Fall in love with apples.
We may eat apples all year, but they seem to just taste better in the fall. One medium apple contains about 14 percent of your RDA for vitamin C and just over 4 grams of fiber. This is just the right amount to keep you full. 
Here are five quick and easy ways to jazz up your apples!
  1. If you’re short on time, peel and slice an apple, add a few teaspoons of water, sprinkle with cinnamon, and microwave for 30 60 seconds. Relish!
  2. Chop apples into cubes, mix with a few other ingredients and make this homemade applesauce recipe.
  3. Shake it up with a nutritious apple pie smoothie.
  4. Add apples like Ambrosia or Honeycrisp for sweetness and a pop of color.

Get creative with pumpkin...and not just carving them.
Pumpkins are versatile and packed with nutrients like fiber, vitamin C and A, and potassium. Its seriously low in calories (were talking only 30 per cup of cubed pumpkin). This makes it ideal to use as a substitute for butter when baking savory dishes.

Try these pumpkin muffins with maple cream cheese, instead of artificial pumpkin-flavored pastries. This recipe relies on pumpkin puree instead of sugar for the sweet flavor. Of course, these are healthier alternative but still count as a treat!

Roasted pumpkin seeds are delicious. I remember carving pumpkins for Halloween in kindergarten (omg, how long ago was that?!) and then roasting the seeds.

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We cant forget about oatmeal, a quintessential fall breakfast or snack. Swirl a scoop of unsweetened pumpkin puree in your oatmeal, along with nutmeg and vanilla.

Bring on the butternut squash.
Just a short few years ago, I had never even tasted butternut squash. Im not quite sure how I made it, this squash is that good. It isnt only tasty but rich in fiber and important vitamins and minerals.

Craving comfort food? Try this recipe for butternut squash mac and cheese

Or whip up a savory butternut and ginger soup under 200 calories. 

And who doesnt love an all-in-one sheet pan meal? Add this pan roasted chicken and vegetable dinner with butternut squash to your next meal plan!

Hope these ideas and recipes help you keep your nutrition on track without missing all the fall flavors. Let me know if you need help with other nutritional recipes and meal planning! 

Butternut Squash Soup with Ginger

This butternut squash soup recipe gets maximum flavor from ginger, curry, and coconut milk. Freeze individual portions for quick meals anytime. That will for sure help with meal prep this fall and winter!

1 Tbsp . olive oil
1 medium onion , chopped
2 cloves garlic , finely chopped
1 thin slice fresh ginger , peeled, grated
10 cups cubed butternut squash (about 31⁄2 lbs.) 1 tsp . sea salt
2 tsp . yellow curry powder
6 cups low-sodium organic vegetable broth
1 cup coconut milk

1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat.
2. Add onion, garlic, and ginger; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until soft and fragrant. 3. Add squash, salt, and curry powder; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes.
4. Add broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until squash is soft.
5. Place soup in a blender or food processor, in small batches; cover with lid and kitchen towel. Blend until smooth.
6. Place blended soup back into saucepan. Add coconut milk; cook, over medium heat, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until heated through.

Tip: Blend small batches of hot liquids in blender or food processor since they expand during the blending process, therefore increasing the chance of overflowing. 

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

There are few comfort foods that I love as much as macaroni and cheese. Traditional mac and cheese is a diet wrecker, no doubt. Not only is it a comfort food, but I have never met a kid that doesnt love it!
Butternut squash puree is the newest ingredient to hit the mac and cheese scene.

This recipe has less than 300 calories per serving and 15 grams of protein! The recipe makes 10 servings, so it can feed a hungry family or make several servings for healthy meal prep. Add some chicken or beef, and you are set with an all-in-one meal!

1 lb. dry whole wheat macaroni
1 tsp. olive oil
1 medium onion chopped
2 medium red bell peppers chopped
3 cups cubed butternut squash
13⁄4 cups low-sodium organic chicken broth
1 cup low-fat (1%) milk
2 Tbsp. low-fat (1%) plain Greek yogurt
1 cup shredded Gruyere (or Swiss) cheese
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Sea salt and ground black pepper (to taste; optional) Nonstick cooking spray
Finely-chopped fresh parsley (for garnish; optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
2. Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
3. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
4. Add onion and bell peppers; cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 6 minutes, or until onion is translucent. Set aside.
5. Combine squash, broth, and milk in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium; gently boil for 22 to 25 minutes, or until squash is tender.
6. Place squash mixture in a blender or food processor; cover with lid and kitchen towel. Blend until smooth.
7. Combine squash mixture, macaroni, onion mixture, yogurt, and cheeses. Season with salt and pepper if desired; mix well.
8. Place macaroni mixture in a 13 x 9-inch ceramic or glass baking dish that has been coated with spray. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until sauce is bubbling.
9. Garnish with parsley if desired. 

Pumpkin Muffins with Maple Cream Cheese

Pumpkin, muffins, cream cheese...perfection! These pumpkin muffins with maple cream cheese are a surprisingly healthy treat from Autumn Calabrese’s FIXATE cookbook. Pay close attention to the recipe calling for PURE maple syrup. Make sure you arent buying maple-flavored syrups with artificial sweeteners and colors.

This recipe also includes almond flour, which is gluten free and lower in carbs compared to traditional wheat flour. You can also use any other gluten free flour like coconut or blending baking mix. 

2 oz . cream cheese

1 Tbsp . pure maple syrup
1 large egg , lightly beaten (or flax egg if you have allergies) 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
11⁄2 cups almond flour
3⁄4 tsp . baking soda , gluten-free
1 dash sea salt (or Himalayan salt)
2 Tbsp . pumpkin seeds (purchased or
roasted at home)

1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Prepare nine muffin cups by lining with muffin tin liners or coating with spray. Set aside.
3. Combine cream cheese and maple syrup in a small bowl; mix well. Set aside.
4. Combine egg and pumpkin in a medium bowl; mix well. Set aside.
5. Combine almond flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; mix well.
6. Add almond meal mixture to egg mixture; mix until just blended.
7. Spoon batter into each prepared muffin cup, filling a little less than 1⁄2 full.
8. Spoon about 1 heaping tsp. cream cheese mixture into the center of each muffin. Evenly fill muffin cups 3⁄4 full with remaining batter.
9. Sprinkle muffins evenly with pumpkin seeds.

10. Bake 18 to 22 minutes, or until golden brown and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
11. Transfer muffins to rack; cool. 

Homemade Applesauce

My son is crazy about sauceaka applesauce. If thats the case for your little one, try this homemade applesauce recipe that will be ready in less than an hour.

4 lbs. quartered apples (like Golden Delicious, Gala, McIntosh, Honeycrisp, or Jonathan) cored

1 cup water
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
3 to 4 1-inch strips lemon peel

1. Place apples, water, cinnamon, lemon juice, and lemon peel in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low; gently boil, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 30 minutes, or until apples are soft.
2. Remove lemon peel. Mash until applesauce is desired texture. 

Seasoned Pumpkin Seeds – 6 Ways

If youre carving a pumpkin this fall, dont throw away those seeds!
I remember roasting pumpkin seeds for the first time in kindergarten. I was truly amazed that we could eat the seeds. Can't wait to do this with my little guy soon!

Seeds are filling, nutritional powerhouses packed with healthy fats, fiber, protein, minerals, and vitamins. They are also a great alternative for people with nut allergies.

Per each half cup of seeds:
Ranch Pumpkin Seeds: 1 tsp oil, 1⁄2 tsp sea salt, 1⁄4 tsp onion powder, 1⁄2 tsp parsley, 1⁄4 tsp garlic powder, 1⁄4 tsp dill, 1/8 tsp dry mustard, 1/8 tsp celery seed, 1/8 tsp paprika, 1/8 tsp black pepper

Pizza Pumpkin Seeds: 1 tsp oil, 1 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese, 1⁄2 tsp basil, 1⁄2 tsp oregano, 1⁄4 tsp sea salt, 1/8 tsp garlic powder

Dill Pickle Pumpkin Seeds: 1 tsp oil, 1 tsp white vinegar, 1 tsp dill, 1⁄2 tsp garlic powder, 1⁄2 tsp sea salt, 1/8 tsp black pepper

Salt & Pepper: 1 tsp oil, 1⁄2 tsp sea salt, 1/8 1⁄2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper

Cinnamon Sugar: 1 tsp oil, 1⁄2 tsp cinnamon, 1 Tbsp coconut sugar (or brown sugar), pinch of salt
Sweet & Spicy: 1 tsp oil, 1 Tbsp coconut sugar (or brown sugar), 1⁄2 tsp sea salt, 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/8 tsp black pepper (leave out the black pepper for less heat)

  1. Preheat oven to 300.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. When you start carving that big ole jack-o-lantern for the porch, remove the seeds and clean
    them. Remove as much of the pumpkin gutsfrom the actual white seeds. Then fill up a large bowl of warm water and transfer the seeds. Loosen any remaining guts from the seeds. Let the seeds stand for 5 minutes. When the seeds begin to float. Now, you can use a slotted spoon or hands to remove the seeds from the water.
  4. Place the seeds on a dish towel and pat dry.
  5. Transfer seeds to a clean bowl.
  6. Per half cup of seeds, toss with 1 tsp avocado oil (you can also use olive oil, grapeseed oil, or
    coconut oil).
  7. Immediately toss in a bowl with the spice combo of your choice. Make sure each seed is coated
  8. Spread the seeds on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer.
  9. Bake for 20 30 minutes, stirring two to three times while cooking.
  10. Seeds are ready when they begin to brown. As they cool, they will become crispy. 

Apple Pie Shakeology

Craving apple pie but working on your fitness goals? No problem. Unsweetened applesauce and cinnamon make this Shakeology smoothie taste like apple pie with whipped cream. Not familiar with Shakeology and want to try it? Let me know!
1 Serving

1 cup water
1 cup ice
1 scoop Vanilla Shakeology
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Splash of unsweetened almond milk

1. Place water, ice, Shakeology, applesauce, almond milk, and cinnamon in blender; cover. Blend until smooth. 

Apple Crisp

This savory dish includes apples, walnuts, oats, and a touch of maple syrup. 

4 Servings

4 cups peeled sliced apples
3 Tbsp. pure maple syrup divided use
1 tsp. ground cinnamon divided use
1⁄2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (use gluten-free oats if desired) 1⁄4 cup finely chopped raw walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
2. Combine apples, 2 Tbsp. maple syrup, and 1⁄2 tsp. cinnamon in a medium baking dish; mix well. Set aside.
3. Combine oats, walnuts, remaining 1 Tbsp. maple syrup, and remaining 1⁄2 tsp. cinnamon in a medium bowl; mix well.
4. Top apple mixture with oat mixture. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until apples are soft. 

September 16, 2017

3 Day Refresh Details and Results

Until earlier this year, I never had a desire to do a cleanse. Primarily because of the name in the of itself sounded terrifying. My perception changed after I researched the 3 Day Refresh and did it. Let's all agree that calling it a Refresh sounds a lot better than a cleanse!

First things first, what is the Refresh? The Refresh is a healthy alternative to the traditional cleanses that don't provide nutritional values. Team Beachbody created a stratight-foward, 3 Day program that will give you a clean break from bad nutrition habits, feel immediately cleaner, lighter, and more healthy without starving yourself! So think about it like this - If you have fallen off the healthy eating wagon and want to ump right bac
k on, the Refresh will help. 

So what comes with the Refresh? The Refresh kit provides you with three packets of Shakeology, three Fiber Sweeps, six packets of Vanilla Fresh, and nutritional guides. There are not artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, caffeine, or preservatives.

How do you Refresh? You have Shakeology and fruit for breakfast. Mid-morning, you have Fiber Sweet as a snack. For lunch, you have veggies, fruit, and a healthy fat from the list in the nutrition guide, as well as Vanilla Fresh. Another snack mid-afternoon that is more veggies and another healthy fat. For dinner, you choose a meal from the nutrition guide and a second Vanilla fresh shake.

What is not part of the Refresh is living in the bathroom for 3 days. You also do not starve. The Vanilla Fresh shake has 20 grams of plant-based protein, as a well as nutrients and probiotics. It is actually very filling!
Ok, so what kind of Results does it provide? The first Refresh I did in June served multiple purposes, including weight loss. Fast forward a few months to this week, and I just finished my second Refresh with my only focus being Non Scale Victories (NSVs). 

Lately, I have been snacking on my son's food even when I'm not hungry. When I got home from the office, I was immediately thinking about what snack to sneak from the pantry. I was bored with my food and not following the portions that I plan each week. 

I already know the Refresh will provide weight loss results from my experience. In June, I lost 4.6 pounds and 3.875 inches in 3 Days. So yes, there is weight loss with Refresh! 
June 2017 Before and After
This time, my only weight comparison is from the last time I stepped on the scales mid-August. According to the scale today, I lost 2 pounds. I haven't been perfect in my nutrition overall this past month, so I will give 3 Day Refresh credit for those 2 pounds.

Back to my real reasons for doing this - NSVs!
  • Gratitude: I was sincerely grateful to God for each piece of food I ate during the Refresh. Not because I was starving at each snack or meal, but it shines such a perspective on how I take for granted the availability of food and the quantities I have available to me.
  • Snacking: I caught myself multiple times reaching for my son's food when I wasn't even hungry. Each time, I stopped myself and recognized this impulse. I realized this has become such a natural tendency and by Day 3 wasn't reaching anymore. 
  • Bloating: This can be a NSV and weight result, but I am focusing on the NSV piece of it. In 3 days, I lost all bloating in my belly, and my fingers were smaller. This tells me something in my normal diet is causing bloating. Now, I can work to identify what that is as I reintroduce meat, other veggies and fruit.
  • Mindset: Realizing the Portion Fix nutrition program that I primarily follow is AMAZING and SIGNIFICANT portions. Going back to these balanced portions seems like a gift. 
How often can you Refresh? You can do it monthly, responsibly. I plan to Refresh quarterly around holidays, vacations, or when I may have gotten way off track in my nutrition.

If you are interested in doing the 3 Day Refresh, I can help you! If you would like more long-term support, you can join my upcoming September Sweat Sesh 30 day challenge to kick-off our new Fall Boot Camp. We will focus on clean eating with Shakeology and fitness programs to match your personal goals. I provide resources and teach all that I have learned! 

Fall is a cray time of year, so join me! I will help you get back or stay on track!

Fill out my online form.
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September 12, 2017

Instant Pot Chili - Whole 30, Paleo, Low Carb

I can eat chili no matter what season. Who is with me?
But you better believe the first chance I get as the season turns from summer to fall, chili is on.

About five years ago, I really started paying attention to how food is either helping my body or hurting it. A dear friend shared this protein packed, low carb chili recipe with me. She is such a brilliant cook and made it up herself! And when my husband tasted chili with smoked sausage, it was a game changer!

Fast forward a few more years, and I paired that new food knowledge with portion control and balanced nutrition to lose weight. During that time, I learned that you have a darn good bowl of chili without the beans. Yes, there are nutrients in beans. However, eating beans on the regular doesn't settle well with my tummy.

Here is an article with a view from the Paleo diet that goes into detail on various beans. I do eat beans occasionally. However, I found my chili tastes as delicious without them, so why bother adding them.
Of course, if you think life will turn upside without beans in your chili, by all means - add them to this recipe.

So you know, I can't handle a lot of heat. If you love extra heat, increase the chili powder, add 1 tsp of cayenne pepper, and maybe serve with jalapeño.

These instructions include cooking the recipe in the Instant Pot or on the stovetop.
Instant Pot is not only quicker but makes a thicker chili, which I love!!

1.5 lbs lean ground beef
1.5 lb smoked sausage
1 lb choice of beef (sirloin filet, left over roast, etc.)-OPTIONAL
1 medium to large white onion
1 28 oz can whole or crushed tomatoes
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes (fire roasted for extra heat)
8 - 15 oz can of tomato sauce
2 tsp chipotle smoked chili powder
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp paprika
4 tsp garlic powder, divided
Himalayan salt and pepper to taste

- Cook ground beef with 1/2 chopped onion, 1 tsp garlic powder, salt & pepper to taste. If cooking chili in the Instant Pot (IP), brown ground beef in the IP on sauté setting.

- If using fresh sirloin or another cut of beef, but into small pieces, cook with 1 tsp garlic powder, salt & pepper to taste, just until browned on the outside and rare in the center. If using leftover beef from earlier in the week, that is a bonus of one less protein to cook at this time!

- Slice sausage in small circles. Add sausage and 1/2 onion to cast iron skillet and cook on medium-high heat until sausage is crisp on the outside.

- Combine all cooked meat, onion, tomatoes, and remaining seasonings. Stir until mixed well. Take a quick taste to see if you think the flavors will meld to your preferred heat for chili. You can always adjust the amount of seasonings.

- If cooking in the Instant Pot, press the Stew/Meat button instead of Chili/Bean button. The difference is Stew/Meat cooks at High Pressure for 35 minutes instead of 30 minutes with Chili/Bean setting. Since you used the sauté setting for the ground beef, the IP usually takes around 10 minutes to get to High Pressure.

- When the IP beeps and is finished cooking, leave on Warm setting for 10 - 20 minutes letting it depressurize naturally.

- If cooking on the stove, I use a large stock pot. Bring to low boil.

- Simmer for at least 1 1/2 hours covered, maybe even 2 hours to let the chili thicken. Stir occasionally.

I even tossed in some roasted purple cabbage steaks that I diced up fresh out of the oven. This added texture instead of using crackers, added to my veggie intake for the day, and introduced a whole new flavor. Another idea to add veggies and texture is putting a base of riced cauliflower in the bottom of your bowl, then topping with the chili. What other veggies do you pair with chili?

Let me know what you think and if you adjust the recipe to make it your own!

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