About Me

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Who am I? Wife. Mother of 2. "Newbie" to fitness. Personal Trainer-in-training. Lover of health. Fitness. Religion. Family. Gluten and refined sugar intolerant. Welcome to my journey. Learn with me.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Thursday Confessions

This is one of my very favorite types of post that I have seen on various blogs. Want to know a little too much about me? No? Well stick around anyways! It could be fun!

1. I could eat popcorn EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. for the rest of my life and never get sick of it. My variously flavored air-popped popcorn is my absolutely FAVORITE thing. Although I wouldn't recommend trying smoked paprika with nutritional yeast.... it just didn't float my boat.

2. I am a picker. Majorly. Ask cute hubster. Zits? Whiteheads? Blackheads? Stray hairs? Pick. Pick. Pick. Way TMI? Okay... moving on.

3. I rarely sleep well. I psych myself out and anticipate everything to death and so I toss and turn and incessantly look at my clock as the hours tick by.

4. Sometimes, okay a lot of the time, I worry about making it in the fitness field. I don't know if I will ever feel like I know enough. Piano has always come so naturally to me and so teaching it has always been no big deal. But fitness? I want to share my love and passion for this subject but I NEED to get over all of these irrational fears!

5. I check Facebook on my phone a lot. Lots of people play games on their phone? I check Facebook for the gazillionth time of the day. I know, I know... I never spend long on it I just randomly check it over and over and OVER all day long. Update your status more for my benefit, okay? ;-)

QUESTION FOR MY DEAR READERS: Do you have any confessions to share? I would love to hear them!


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

One Word Wednesday


QUESTION FOR MY DEAR READERS: Do you multitask or try to just focus on one task at a time? Any tips for how to slow down and still get everything done?


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tuesday Tidbits

Recently I had an interaction with a friend that really got me thinking about the concept of goal setting and how to become what we desire to be. I am definitely one to expect more of myself than anyone else could expect of me; however, I believe firmly in a concept that I shared with her and want to share with you now:

Start from where you are now...

I think that too often too many of us see where we want to go and jump into trying to be the person that would already be there. I know that this was really hard for me to not do when I first started my fitness journey, and if we are being completely honest, it is still something that I struggle with.

Start where you are and build from there #CreativeAttitude

When we create an image in our minds of how we should be we don't naturally desire to follow a painstaking process to become that person. We put ourselves into positions and situations which are part of the life of our future selves, but not yet maintainable by the person we are today. That doesn't mean that we won't get there someday. We absolutely will as long as we stick to it. But we must arrive there step by step. 

#Goal Setting Quotes: Follow a process to achieve your goals. Don't compare your ambition to someone else's. Start from where you are and once you start achieving your goals, your ambition will naturally increase | www.achievegoalsinlife.com/personalgoalsetting

In completing the questionnaire sent to me by Prevention.com on, "Is This The Life You're Meant to Live?" I have realized many different things about myself... I am 1st in line of setting goals far and away above myself and then worrying about what I cannot yet achieve with the means available to me. 

So what do we do? Is there an aspect of your life that you wish to change? Is there something about your life that you want to make different?


It is alright that we aren't there yet. We want to be there and we will get there. So today we will set goals that we can achieve right now. 

Yesterday, I couldn't stay on top of my homework, my kids, and the housework. There was just too much to be done. The kids aren't optional and I had several homework assignments that were due by 11:55 pm. Sorry housework... where I was yesterday was not a Superwoman housewife. (Although I am sure even with a pile of laundry on our bedroom floor my amazingly cute hubster would beg to differ. How did I get so lucky?) 

This was brought into a huge light of perspective for me when I read Daring Young Mom's blog post on Drops of Awesome. Have you read it? Go and do it now. Maybe yesterday I wasn't a Superwoman housewife that could do everything that needed to be done. But by golly I started from where I was, took what I could in stride, and I even managed to put a few dishes away and a few more into the dishwasher! The kids were taken care of and fed and happy. Woohoo - drops of awesome.

So no matter where you are in any aspect of your life... start from there. Don't expect to go from the bottom of the mountain to the top just because you want to be at the top - appreciate and enjoy the climb. 

Do just one thing. Take one more small step. Don't worry about sprinting or leaping or being everything that you believe you see around you and is expected of you. Do what you can today to improve by just one small step.

The top of the mountain is coming as long as you keep climbing. 

QUESTION FOR MY DEAR READERS: What have you found that best helps you set and maintain goals? Do you have a personal niche that works for you every time?


Monday, February 25, 2013

Menu Monday

Time for another round-up of what we will be getting to enjoy this week! I am excited for some of these new meals!


I have class on Monday and Tuesday nights normally. Cute hubster does a great job providing for himself and the kids on these days and I usually just grab something quick before I leave.

Happy birthday to my dear sister-in-law, Marie, on the 26th!

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 27TH - Soy Lemon Chops with roasted potatoes and peas. We will need to use Tamari instead of soy sauce because of my gluten free needs but I think that this meal will turn out to be easy and delicious!

Photo courtesy of Allrecipes.com

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 28TH - Naughty Nutty "Noodles"

Photo courtesy of Delightful Taste Buds

FRIDAY, MARCH 1ST - Spicy Vegan Tofu Rice Bowls (It is based on the sauce from the recipe below but otherwise is an original creation of mine so watch for the recipe later this week!)

Photo courtesy of Kalyn's Kitchen

SATURDAY, MARCH 2ND - DATE NIGHT! We have a fun get together planned with our best friends. We like to get together for dinner (Outback Steakhouse this time) to catch up and play games but this time we get to celebrate the engagement of the beautiful girl on the far right! CONGRATULATIONS CARI and PAUL!

SUNDAY, MARCH 3RD - EXTENDED FAMILY DINNER: Sunday we are getting together to celebrate the birthday of this wonderful man, my Grandpa. He is one of the most amazing men I have ever known and I am so happy to be able to celebrate his 70th birthday with him! I will be making a special family dessert recipe for this day - Frozen Ice Cream Angel Food Cake. I will take a picture and post about it later this week!

QUESTION FOR MY DEAR READERS: What exciting things do you have on your menu this week? Leave me a comment and let me know!


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Supper-Time Sunday!

This week contributed some very tasty eats to our pallets and I am excited to share these gems with you!

Recipe + Photo Courtesy of Prevention.com

We don't eat a whole lot of beef around here so it is always kind of a special treat when we do. Plus, petite sirloin was on sale this week so that is just an amazing excuse to pull out one of my beef pins to try out. I have never heard of skirt steak so if any of you have... enlighten me!

I also don't know why they call it petite sirloin - these babies were huge! I sliced mine in half BOTH ways and they cooked up quickly. Besides the baked potatoes that I served on the side of this the whole meal came together in a half hour. I also served it with roasted red and green peppers and yellow onion. Very delicious.

We particularly liked the sauce which I didn't change anything about. It is a bit on the sweeter side of things with a tiny bit of a kick from the dijon mustard. Cute hubster loved it.

Recipe + Picture Courtesy of Eating Well

Not kidding, this is one of my new favorite soups. Now, granted, I am not much of a soup person. Maybe that is more comforting to you because I am really picky about the soups that I like. But we loved this. I will admit that I balked at the recipe list... when you look at it it just doesn't seem possible that it would all come together but it does and it just... works!

I thought that this soup was extra tasty fresh but it is still quite good as leftovers. And it is filling too. One bowl was plenty for me to feel satisfied 

The only changes that I made to the recipe were that I used olive oil instead of canola, we used the tomato-vegetable juice blend, and we didn't garnish with cilantro. Cute hubster doesn't like cilantro so I leave it out when it is optional. 

Recipe + Photo courtesy of Beth at Eat.Drink.Smile.


This week I made this crust again for our pizza eats on Monday. 

I used ~3 cups riced, cooked cauliflower (1 large cauliflower worth), 1 1/2 cups part skim mozzarella, 3 whole eggs, 1 tbsp minced garlic, 3 tbsp nutritional yeast, and 3 tbsp ground flaxseed. I oiled my pan and spread the whole thing on a cookie sheet and baked for about 17 minutes. I then proceeded to top the pizza and cook for 5 minutes more. 

It was FABULOUS! Best time we have had it yet with the best texture. And this way you can do a whole pizza and have the family separate it out into individual sections instead of having to do little pizzas individually. 


QUESTION FOR MY DEAR READERS: Have you made anything delicious this week that you can share with me? I LOVE getting new ideas! I am particularly looking for a single serve pizza crust that you can cook in a frying pan and is gluten free... too much to ask? 


Saturday, February 23, 2013

My Girl [A]

It just wouldn't be right for me to let this day pass by without saying something about my girl [A]. It is her birthday today and we are going to be out and about celebrating with her.

My dear [A],

You and I have learned so much together.

You gave me all of my first experiences with being a mom.

You have taught me so many lessons about patience, kindness, curiosity, happiness...

And mostly about love.

We have had our ups and downs.

And sometimes we don't always get along...

But no matter what,

I always love you.

Happy birthday, my dear girl!

Love always,


QUESTION FOR MY DEAR READERS: What fun things are you doing this weekend? Any special events in your household?


Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday Fun: [Healthy Living Survey]

I saw this Healthy Living Survey at the wonderful Best Body Fitness - another blog that I love and one you should definitely check out if you haven't already! It looked like a bunch of fun so I decided to complete it as well.

1. What did you eat for breakfast?

This is my typical breakfast set up - breakfast, water, journal, scriptures. Since there has been a whole lot of talk about pancakes on the web lately because National Pancake Day is coming up it was definitely on my mind after Cardio Circuit this morning. This gluten free, Tone It Up Pancake from SarahFit is definitely my favorite. I just add water to thin out my batter if I need to. Topped with homemade almond butter and however much banana I have left after what I use in the pancake. 

2. How much water do you drink each day?
Picture Source here

Just call me a camel. Did you know that camels can drink as much as 200 litres [of water] a day? Okay so I certainly don't drink that much but if the recommendation for water drinking is 1/2 ounce for every 1 lb that you weigh I almost always double that recommendation. On average I get over 100 ounces per day although during the week I usually average around 150. (Weekends are harder...) It is something that I crave and I just drink as my body desires it. 

3. What is your current favorite workout?
Picture source here

I really do like all of my workout classes (Boot Camp, Powerflex, Power Pump, Cardio Circuit) and most all types of working out (except Spinning... YUCK!) but my heart belongs to Step. I absolutely adore step! I am just starting into it and I'm not very good at it yet but someday it is absolutely one that I want to certify to teach.

4. How many calories do you eat each day?
I honestly have no idea what the answer to this question would be. I don't track my calories and try to intuitively eat what I feel like my body needs. Some days that may be fewer calories and some days it may be more!

5. What are your favorite healthy snacks?
Popcorn, popcorn, popcorn!!!! Did I mention popcorn? I absolutely adore air-popped popcorn. I recently discovered how delicious nutritional yeast is on it as well. I usually toss it with just a little melted coconut oil and whatever seasonings I am feeling. If I don't eat popcorn I usually nosh on an apple, carrot, or some lowfat cottage cheese.

6. What do you usually eat for lunch?
Lately I have been switching between two different main lunches: Tuna Salad (albacore white tuna, classic hummus, lowfat cottage cheese, balsamic vinegar, crushed red pepper, fresh ground pepper, sprin mix and extra spinach, and some Craisins), and Veggie Loaded Sweet Potato (baked sweet potato topped with salsa mix of sauteed onions, kale, purple cabbage, black beans and a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese).

7. What is your favorite body part to train?
Favorite would definitely be the lower body/legs. I really like lower body exercises and {Step} and running.

8. What is your least favorite body part to train?
Core and triceps... but that is only because I need to train them so much. But oh it BURNS!

9. What are your “bad” food cravings?
I really don't like the word "bad." A better question would be, "What are foods you crave that should be eaten in moderation?" The funny thing is though... this still doesn't greatly apply to me. I crave things that I cannot eat because of my gluten/sugar intolerance. (ie: cheeseburgers and pizza). But if I do crave them then I eat plain patties with all the trimmings and make cauliflower crust pizza. YUMMY!!!

Photo source here

10. Do you take vitamins or supplements?
Sure do! I take Fish Oil and Evening Primose Oil (for my bad eczema skin) every day. I just ordered a Calcium+Magnesium w/ Vitamin D vitamin to start taking daily. When I did a nutritional analysis on myself for a class last semester Calcium and vitamin D were the ones I was consistently low on.

11. How often do you eat out?
Once a week for date night! WOOHOO for date night! We used to get take out for emergency dinners occasionally but that is hard when you don't eat gluten. I would much rather throw together a quick salad for myself than buy a $6 mediocre replacement.

12.  Do you eat fast food?
Uhhhhh... no not really. Again with the gluten free business. I hate paying high price for mediocre food just because I need to eat gluten free. However, if Cafe Rio counts as fast food then the answer is yes. I get their chicken salad without the tortilla or dressing and just flavor it with the salsas and lime - SOOOO yummy!

13. Who is your biggest supporter?
Absolutely this guy! I am so glad that I am married to him!

14. Do you have a gym membership?
Yes I do! And whatever bad things you have to say about Gold's Gym... it is very inexpensive for me because we get a discount through my husband's work and I have really enjoyed it. It isn't the Ritz but it works and I have really enjoyed the people that I have met there.

15. How many hours of sleep do you get each night?
Typically 7. Since I get up about 5 am each day we try to go to bed no later than 10. I would prefer to get more but 7 usually does the trick for me.

16. Do you have a “cheat” day?
No. I eat relatively the same every day. Occasionally on special occasions I will splurge and eat more than I usually do but I can't eat desserts out and don't splurge on free breads either so... yeah.

17. Do you drink alcohol?
Nope. Never have, never will. The members of my faith promise to abstain from alcohol. If you want to learn more visit this site here.

18. Do you have a workout buddy?
I don't go to the gym with anyone but if I am working out at home you can bet that my kids will happily be my buddies. My girl [A] loves to do yoga with me and cute hubster will occasionally do some exercises with me although his primary focus right now is getting better at push-ups.

19. What is the best thing that has changed about your life since committing to a healthy lifestyle?
Oh man where could I even start with this question!? So much of my life has changed since committing to a healthy lifestyle. I am healthier, I am happier, I have more energy, I have more lasting joy. I have new purpose and direction and I am loving the challenge!

20. What is the last healthy thing you did?
We made a healthy, homemade DELICIOUS dinner (look for my review on Sunday).

QUESTION FOR MY DEAR READERS: Answer any of the above questions about yourself! I would love to get to know more about my readers.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Watery Reflection

This week in my Healthy Body Image/Weight Management class we talked about hydration. Our assignment? Research the benefits of water. Seems easy, right?

Well yeah, but it depends on what you are looking for. The media loves to tout the benefits of water now, despite turning Benedict Arnold on it when the 2008 study by Negoianu and Goldfarm stated that drinking 8 glasses a day was not supported by sufficient evidence. Just Google "health benefits of water" and you will get plenty of information:

Woman drinking water
Picture source here

13 Surprising Benefits of Water - Ladies Home Journal
15 Big Benefits of Water - Health Magazine
Top 11 Benefits of Drinking Water and How - Mangosteen Natural Remedies
Benefits of Water - Shapefit.com
5 Reasons to Never Neglect Water - Men's Fitness Magazine

But what is actually fact and what is over-hyped glamour? Turns out that the lack of real scientific evidence makes that pretty hard to find.

Now I am not saying that water isn't important because it absolutely is. Our bodies need water to survive. But is it the miracle skin shrinker, hair shiner that so much of the media would lead us to believe? Evidence doesn't prove it yet.

So what is true? Here are a few links that I really like that I feel are more trustworthy in their information:

Water & Your Health, Hydration & Your Body - The Fact about Water from Drinking Water Research Foundation ~ I also really like their interactive chart on "The Importance of Water in the Body."
Don't Stop Drinking Water by Jon Barron from The Baseline of Health Foundation
Make Better Beverage Choices - ChooseMyPlate.gov
The Health Benefits of Water - DorchesterHealth.org

Water is wonderful. It is necessary for life. We must have it and I will continue to drink it. I get between 100-150 ounces a day and sometimes more if that is what my body wants. Set a goal but figure out what is right for you and your body.

QUESTION FOR MY DEAR READERS: On average, how much water do you drink daily?

Loves... Shayla

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What I Ate Wednesday

You see these around the web all the time and I wanted to join in the fun! The eats that I chose to share were from Sunday, February 17th. Weekend days can be scary and don't usually reflect the normal eating patterns you follow but Sundays aren't really like that for me. Now if we were talking Date Night Fridays... :0)

Tone it Up Protein Pancake topped with homemade almond butter and 1/2 banana (sliced), "lemonade"

I put "lemonade" in quotations because all it really is is 1/2 lemon squeezed into 24 ounces of water with a little bit of stevia to help take the super sour edge off. And I am just not sure if there is a way to make protein pancakes look really pretty; however, they taste so delicious that it doesn't even matter. This has been my go-to breakfast for the last couple of days ever since I got a new protein powder:

I am loving this stuff and since it is not sweetened with any artificial or refined sugars it is great for me! The scoop that it came with was HUGE so I replaced it with a smaller scoop that I had from a previous protein powder. This recipe is courtesy of SarahFit. The only things that I do differently are that I just use the whole egg instead of only the egg whites and I add water if I need to to thin it out. 

I don't like wasting the egg yolk but also... here is a bit from Livestrong about Egg Yolks:

"An egg yolk provides almost 2 mg of highly absorbable lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoids beneficial for eye health. The Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University suggests consuming 6 mg of dietary lutein and zeaxanthin daily. An egg yolk provides 27 percent of the adequate intake, or AI, of choline for adult women and 21 percent of the AI of choline for adult men. An egg yolk also offers 17 percent of the RDA of selenium and 9 percent of the RDA of phosphorus."

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/544071-calcium-and-egg-yolk/#ixzz2LCIf1ULM

Anyways... onto the eats!
SNACK 12:35 PM
1 can low-sodium V8 Vegetable Juice, 1 rice cake with lowfat cottage cheese

This is one of my favorite snack combos. I get the low sodium Quaker rice cakes and I love the Darigold 2% fat cottage cheese that you can buy in a big tub at Costco. The V8 juice is refreshing and a wonderful way to get 2 servings of veggies during a snack.
1 small bowl leftover Picante Chicken and Black Bean Soup topped with lime juice and green onions, 1 small braeburn apple (sliced) with ~1 tbsp all natural peanut butter, 1 organic carrot

I almost always start lunch and dinner with a carrot. I have a big bag sitting in a very accessible place in my fridge and I munch away at it while I am prepping food. It helps me to not mindlessly munch on other less healthy things and helps to take the edge off of my hunger. I also really like the Braeburn apples because they are a bit sour instead of super sweet like the Red Delicious or Jonagold apples. 
Kyle's Favorite Beef Stew

My lovely mother made us this wonderful stew for dinner. The recipe is from Allrecipes.com. It was DIVINE! The broth had an almost sweet taste to it and it was hearty and delicious with the beef tender. YUM!

She didn't dredge the meat in flour at all so that it would be gluten free for me. She didn't use any of the real onions (just the onion soup mix) and just added 1 tsp onion powder. She used red wine vinegar instead of the burgundy and just poured the onion soup mix on top of everything in the crock pot.
Chili Maple Cinnamon Popcorn

My friends who know me really well know that it wouldn't be a "What I Ate" any day without some popcorn. I LOVE popcorn. Love love love it. I air pop the popcorn and add melted coconut oil. This particular popcorn is sprinkled with pure maple syrup, cinnamon, chili powder, and sea salt. I definitely had more than just this one small bowl. 
24 ounces "lemonade" + 84 ounces normal water = 108 ounces total

Not my best water intake but pretty good for a weekend day. It is harder to drink water away from home when I don't have my trusty orange cup with me. 

QUESTION FOR MY DEAR READERS: Is there something that you eat regularly? A favorite meal or snack? Share your ideas with me!


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Fun Fact on [The Plank]

According to Wikipedia.org: "The current world record (according to Guinness World Records) for the plank position is 1 hour 20 minutes and 5.01 seconds, set in Naperville, IL on 3 December 2011 by 54 year old George Hood."

Honestly, that is unfathomable to me. That is an incredibly long time! Can you imagine the absolute total body strength that that would take? In case you aren't that familiar with the complexity of the plank (and since I have to give this presentation in my class tonight) here is a rundown for you:


Picture source here

  •  Get in the pushup position, only put your forearms on the ground instead of your hands. Your elbows should line up directly underneath your shoulders. Toes on the ground.
  • Squeeze your glutes and tighten your abdominals.
  • Keep a neutral neck and spine.
  • Create a straight, strong line from head to toes – a plank, if you will.
  • Hold that position. Beginner = 30 seconds, Intermediate = 30 to 60 seconds, Advanced = anything over 90 seconds.
Muscles that are worked:

Specifically, supporting yourself with only your forearms and toes forces the rectus and transversus abdominis of the abs, the erector spinae, trapezius and rhomboids of the back, the rotator cuff and deltoids of the shoulders, the pectorals and serratus anterior of the chest, the quadriceps and gastrocnemius of the legs and, finally, the gluteus maximus to contract and exert force.


Don’t let your hips sag down to the ground. Sagging hips makes the exercise initially easier, but it’s not a plank and it defeats the purpose of the exercise.

Look down at the ground. This is a good prompt for maintaining a neutral neck position.

Keep your shoulders sliding down your back. As you get tired they might start to creep up towards your ears, try to keep them down the whole time!

Don’t forget to breathe, many people hold their breath without realizing it during planks and this will definitely shorten your plank! Tell yourself to inhale and exhale to keep oxygen moving to all those muscles.

When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.


To make the plank easier you can come down on your knees, maintaining the straight plank from your knees. 

To make the exercise harder you can raise one arm or leg or both (on alternate sides) at the same time.

Other main variations include a plank with arms fully extended, reverse plank, and side plank. You can mix up each of these main variations with about a dozen other variations by just moving your arms or legs. 


My current "record" is 2 minutes. My goal would be to be able to do at least 5 minutes eventually. 

QUESTION FOR MY DEAR READERS: Have you ever done a plank? What is your longest record? What are your favorite variations? What have you found helps you to do a longer plank?

Loves... Shayla

Monday, February 18, 2013

Menu Monday

Okay so things don't ALWAYS go as planned and I am adding the disclaimer that this is not set in stone! It might not work out exactly like this but this is the PLAN. And since I am an OCD freak I like to have a plan - even if that plan doesn't come to fruition. So, without further ado I introduce:

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 18TH (PRESIDENT'S DAY) - Cauliflower Crust Pizza topped with Exquisite Pizza Sauce and toppings of choice (I like ham, spinach and onions. Cute hubster usually goes for anything that ends with banana peppers and green olives on tops)

Photo courtesy of Eat.Drink.Smile.

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 19TH - I have class right after I finish teaching so cute hubster and I tag team and he makes whatever sounds good to him for dinner. I usually eat a Tuna Salad, leftovers, or my Veggie Loaded Sweet Potato before I leave for school. Usually this is the meal plan for Monday as well but thanks to our dear day for celebrating Presidents... I have Monday off.

And Happy Birthday to my bestie, Ashley, on this day!

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 20TH - Maple Lemon "Skirt Steak" with sauteed peppers and onions. We don't eat a ton of beef around here but I am not opposed to it occasionally, especially when petite sirloin is on sale for $2.89/lb. And this recipe sounds amazing!

Photo courtesy of Prevention

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 21ST - Sweet-Potato Peanut Bisque with fruit of choice on side

Happy birthday to my BIL, Wilford, on this day!

Photo courtesy of Eating Well


My brother is starring in Bingham High School's winter play. We will be dining out and then laughing it up at this comedy! If you are in the area you should definitely come. Event information here.

Photo source here

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 23RD - My girl [A] is having a birthday! We will be spending the day with her and then taking her out to dinner that evening.

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 24TH - Ahhhhhhh... isn't she cute? My girl [A] will be celebrating her birthday with the rest of the family this day. We will be doing make your own pizzas, breadsticks, jello salad and then going over to her great-grandparent's house for chocolate cake and ice cream. I will need to make my own crust for my pizza and won't be able to eat anything else... but that is okay! It isn't my birthday! And she will love it.

QUESTION FOR MY DEAR READERS: Do you menu plan? What exciting things do you have on your menu this week? Leave me a comment and let me know!


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Supper-Time Sunday!

Hello all! It is time for another recipe round-up! There are lots of delicious eats around the web and here are the ones that we have tried lately!

Recipe + photo courtesy of Stacey over at Stacey Snacks

From Stacey Snacks blog, "This recipe won a contest on a television show called The Chew.

Mario Batali and others judged 3 chicken recipes made by regular people, and this won first prize!"

Confession... it has been a long time coming before I thought I would ever be okay eating artichoke hearts and mushrooms - let alone this much! But, I kid you not, we loved this meal SO much that I made it twice in two weeks. Every bite is extremely flavorful and the combination of the mushrooms with the onion and artichokes is just heavenly. 

And guess what? I did this in the crockpot! I placed all of the veggies on the bottom of the crockpot, topped with the chicken, topped with the sauce and let it go to town. My crockpot believes that it is the depths of Mordor itself and I have to keep a careful eye on my dishes so that they don't get over cooked but I think that if you go by the standard of 6 hours on low that you will be alright. I did this in the crockpot both times and both times it turned out great.

I also did not use chicken with bones or skin. I used 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts and 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs. The only other changes that I made were that I used dijon mustard and chicken stock instead of the wine. We served this over Lemon Parmesan brown rice. YUMMY!

Make this one! You won't be disappointed!


Recipe + Photo courtesy of Gina over at Skinnytaste.com

Was the above crock pot recipe not really to your liking? Well I have another one for you! This came together so quickly and got rave reviews from cute hubster, my girl [A] and my boy {N}. The chicken came out tender and delicious and shredded with hardly any effort whatsoever on my part. 

Unfortunately, I waited too long to make this after buying my groceries and so my avocados were no longer good. But we did use the lime juice and sliced scallions (aka green onions). I sprinkled a little bit of cheddar cheese into the family portions - not mine though. I like my food tasting more fresh!

Cute hubster added some Greek yogurt to his 2nd portion to tone down the heat a bit. It is fairly spicy but neither of my babies complained about it. If you are worried about it I would use Rotel tomatoes without the green chiles and it should be just fine. 

I didn't have ancho chile powder so I just used normal chile powder but I kept everything else the same. I know that 2 chicken breasts seems like a small amount but it really was perfect for this recipe.


Recipe + Photo courtesy of Katie over at Chocolate-Covered Katie: the healthy dessert blog

Sometimes a girl just needs some chocolate! And chocolate mousse/ice cream is a delicious treat that I have not been able to enjoy for a long time thanks to my body rejecting refined sugars. 

Enter the always reliable Chocolate-Covered Katie! I love love love love her. I have never had trouble with any of her recipes and I have ALWAYS liked them. This dessert did not disappoint at all. And at only 4 ingredients there is NO reason to not try it out!

I didn't need to refrigerate my coconut milk overnight - it was thick enough when I opened the can. I used Stevia in the Raw + a little pure maple syrup to sweeten our desserts. I would normally be alright with just stevia but my family likes things a little bit sweeter than stevia can provide without going too bitter. 

I divvied this recipe up into 4 small cups and stuck them in the freezer while we ate dinner. When they came out they had just started freezing around the edges but the middle was decadently creamy. If you want a mousse like texture = refrigerate. Ice cream = freezer.


QUESTION FOR MY DEAR READERS: What recipes have you tried from around the web lately? Share your faves with me! 


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Is This The Life You're Meant To Live?

I got this e-mail from Prevention.com today and it really got the wheels in my head spinning. This is something that I have been reflecting a lot on lately and wondering about these questions myself. I intend to explore each entry as a private journal entry on my own - I feel like these questions are too personal to share on a public blog. But I thought I would put the questions out there in case any of you have similar questions.

Are you really living?

Is This The Life You're Meant to Live?
From Prevention.com (Source here)

Living soulfully means going beyond looking and feeling good. It’s more than being mindful of your thoughts or transcending your ego. It’s about being able to tune in to your own inner compass and determine what feels right for you. It’s easier said than done, but the result is the ability to live abundantly and create your life as you dream it. Seriously.
So what does it take to live a soulful life? To get started, it’s important to ask the right questions, such as wondering why you’re really here and how your life could be different. It’s being willing to look at your journey through life as something much bigger and with more purpose than you could ever imagine. 
Once you open to these possibilities, it often requires a leap of faith to confidently declare that you deserve to be abundant, happy, and free. But that leap means the difference between a whole life and holding yourself back out of fear.

1. Am I Happy?

This is a very simple question but it’s also the basis for life. Find a moment of silence, pause, and ask your heart “Am I happy?” Try to feel the answer in your body. Do you feel a sense of contraction or expansion? Soulful leaving is a feeling thing not a thinking thing. Your emotions are a good measuring stick for determining the quality of your life at the soul level.

2. Do I trust my own inner guidance?

At the heart of every soulful life is the ability to ask your own questions and get your own answers, free from other’s judgment. It’s about tuning in to your own innate guidance and wisdom and trusting what comes forth. The only way to do that is to cultivate a deeper relationship with yourself and better understand your true essence, free from the filters of fear, doubt, and scarcity (meaning, not having enough—of anything). If you’re going to trust your instincts, you must also trust where your instincts come from. Allow the source of your inner guidance to lead the way.

3. Can I let the past go?

When we hold on to the past, we’re not free to create a new life in the present. We place the experience of our past into the potential of our future, leading us to repeat the same patterns. There is an incredible freedom in forgiving, letting go, and transcending the pain of the past. So, instead of reliving past drama or repeating old patterns, see how you can release yourself from the grip of past experiences, no matter how painful, and bring more power to the choices that will create your life now. Keep your focus on what you do want in life, not on what you don’t want.

4. Do I follow my heart - or listen to my head?

Your heart never lies; your head does. We can overthink, doubt, and rationalize away almost anything. The reason is that the mind is linear, logical, and rational. It likes stability and a step-by-step process. That is its function, but it serves us only so far. The heart, however, is non-linear and sensing. It aligns itself with our true essence and is connected deeply to our highest self and the ultimate potential of who we are. So while our minds often constrict us into believing that it’s best to stay put, not take risks, and avoid repeating the pain of the past, our heart always knows the way to our greatest happiness.

5. What great wounds have I healed?

When in your life have you been the most tested? Your most challenging moments also offer you tremendous gifts, no matter how deep the pain. They provide clues to what you are meant to learn in this life and how you can share the gifts of those lessons with others. They are your strength, and also your potential. When you can see your experiences for the lessons they were, you then have the power to evolve and be in greatest service to the world. To refocus your view of your wounds, think about what you learned and how it helped you grow.

6. Do I view life as abundant?

It’s one thing to want abundance—of money, of love, or of health—but it’s another thing to actually believe in abundance. We’re taught the world is full of “not enoughs.” Are you someone who complains there isn’t enough, or feels deep down that you’ll always come up short? Living from a place of abundance is an open state and expansion to life, whereas scarcity is a contraction. Where in your life can you see that you truly are abundant? You can’t have one hand out asking for abundance while the other hand is clutching on to scarcity. They are polar-opposite energies and require a soul-level commitment to viewing life in one way or the other. So choose, and trust the rest will follow.

7. How often do I take time for stillness?

It could be a few minutes, a few hours, or an entire day. Soulful living is about slowing down and developing a present-moment awareness. Our western lives have a tremendous velocity to them that pushes us—or rather hurls us—towards a certain future. It’s often not until we crash and burn or have a major crisis that we’re forced to pause, breathe, and consider the bigger picture. Returning to stillness is not necessarily about taking a week-long vacation: It can be as simple as a daily 10-second pause where you become conscious of your breathe, present to your surroundings, and tune inwards to your current state of being.

8. When in my life have I felt most alive?

Think back to a moment in your life when you felt the most alive, radiant, and happy. What was it about the way you were being that had you feel that way? Was it a sense of freedom, of adventure, of leadership, or perhaps of being in service to others?
Whatever that feeling was is a clue to where your innate gifts are. It’s what allows your soul to shine. Soulful living is about pursuing the things that come easily and effortlessly to you. Your innate gifts are your natural talents that you can harness when you allow yourself the freedom to follow your heart’s desires.

9. Do I approach life full or empty?

You can’t approach a new situation, relationship, job, or potential experience with what you think you know will happen. That is mental living, not soulful living. Soulful living is about starting from a place of “maybe I don’t know.” No matter how many times the past has proven you right, you are better off approaching life with a natural curiosity instead of thinking you already have all the answers. And when you approach life in this open way, you allow the universe to conspire on your behalf. Your soul’s path will always dream bigger than you will. But if you’re so sure of yourself and how you think things will go, you leave little room for the universe to work its magic.

10. Am I powerful to create life as I dream it?

We’ve all heard about the power of positive thinking or manifesting that which we desire. But living from the place of the soul goes beyond thinking you are powerful. It’s about truly knowing you have the power to change your life and create it as you dream. 
The path to living abundantly requires a firm belief that you are the creator of your life. Your thoughts, actions, and emotions all feed the container that is your life. When you don’t believe you are powerful, you allow others to hold the key to your happiness. To live a soulful life, its important to know that no one is more powerful, more all-knowing, and more wise about what you need than your own soul.
A lot to ponder about on a Saturday! Maybe, if you're like me, you'll take the weekend to think about it? 

QUESTION FOR MY READERS: Have you ever asked yourself any of these questions? Have they led you into any grand adventures? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Loves... Shayla