Thursday, January 30, 2014

Happy Kids = Happy Mom

As a health and wellness blog, one thing I frequently forget to blog about is a healthy mind.  With two young boys running around, sometimes my sanity is the last thing I seem to have control over.  So moms, this post is for you.  For anyone who's ever lost it when your kids are driving you nuts because you are stuck inside all day.

Monday, January 27, 2014

New Year Abs

So you want abs?  Don't we all!  And this time of year there are lots of people headed to the gym to get their workout on.  Just yesterday, after class, a woman approached me and wanted me to show her some moves she could do in the water to strengthen her core.  For her, it was not about wanting that six pack.  She had been in an accident and has finally recovered enough to work out again after six months.  She used to be very fit but now is feeling quite weak.  She wanted to work on her abs to help with everyday activities.  We all use our core muscles for so many day to day tasks.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Homemade Pasta

I used to shy away from homemade pasta, believing it to be too big a chore to mess with.  In fact, even after I received my pasta maker attachment for my Kitchenaid as a gift, I still felt like the task was just too big for years.  But that was then.  Now, I feel making pasta is pretty easy and very satisfying.  Worth the trouble even.

Really, the work is not hard.  It's time that you need.  My pasta maker attachment sure makes the work part a breeze.  So how do you make homemade pasta?  And what if you don't have a pasta press?

Monday, January 20, 2014

Real Food, Real Convenience

As I think back a few years ago, I remember all the convenience foods I used to eat.  Mac and Cheese for the kids, boxed muffin mixes and cakes, and canned anything - fruit, veggies, soups, beans, etc. We frequently ate bottled spaghetti sauce with boxes of pasta, taco seasoning packets or taco kits, boxes of Asian fair, or frozen bags of skillet meals.  I used to have a steady supply of frozen chicken nuggets, fish sticks, veggie steamers, hot pockets, pizzas (lots of frozen pizzas) and low fat microwave meals.  When it was time to make a meal, I basically heated water to boil something, warmed it up in the microwave, or put a frozen meal in the oven.  Occasionally I would use my crock pot but mostly for pre-made frozen bags of slow cooker meals.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Awesome Apple

"An apple a day keeps the doctor away."  And also dentists, cancer, Alzheimers, Parkinsons, diabetes, heart disease, diarrhea, constipation, hemorrhoids, weigh gain, cataracts, and more!  What's your favorite way to eat an apple?  Slice it, cook it, bake it, juice it, pulverize it?  How about your favorite variety?  So many options to choose from and so many wonderful health benefits!  The apple is truly awesome.

I found this great chart at Sprouts one day so I had to take a picture of it.  I love it because it gives you a good idea of which variety to choose for whatever your feeling in the mood for.  If you want something sweet, go for the Fujis.  If you're looking for more tart, go with a Granny Smith.  Personally, my favorite is Honeycrisp. 

I shop deals.  Apples are the cheapest in their peak season which is fall.  But you can usually watch ads and find great deals throughout the year.  Sprouts had a sale on all varieties so I bought 20 pounds.  Here's what I did with them.  Hopefully it will give you some good ideas on how to get your apple-a-day.

Apple chips

Core the apple.  Leave the skin on or peel it.  However you prefer.  Leaving the skin on will give you more nutrients though.  Using a mandolin, slice the apple into 1/8 inch or smaller slices.  Let slices soak in cool water mixed with Fruit Fresh or lemon juice to prevent browning.  Place slices in a dehydrator for 12 hours.  Chips will be done when the are dry enough to snap apart.


This is a staple in our house.  We eat it for snacks, when we are sick, or in muffins and cakes.  I like to use a blend of apples to get a fuller flavor.  If you use sweet enough apples you don't even need to add any sugar as it is naturally sweet.   If you buy organic, you can make nutritious, chemical free applesauce at a fraction of the cost of buying it already jarred at the store. 

Simply peel, core, and chop your apples, simmer in a pot with a little bit of water until they are nice and soft.  Then either use a potato masher to smash to your desired consistency or blend it for a smoother texture.  If you made a large batch you might want to can the excess. I used the water bath method and added a tsp of lemon juice to each pint.

Apple juice

What did I do with all those leftover peels and cores?  I put them through my juicer along with a few extra apples and saved the juice.  Then to get to most bang for my buck, I added water to my apple pulp (leftover from juicing it) brought it to a boil, and then strained through a fine mesh sieve to double the amount of juice I had.  The end result was a little watered down but still tasty.  I added a little bit of simple syrup to sweeten it up a bit and then canned it in quart sized jars.  You can drink it chilled or get creative and make a warm spiced apple drink.

Have a favorite apple recipe?  Please leave a comment and share!  I would love to try some new recipes out.  Enjoy your apples!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Two Ingredient Cough Drops

It's that time of year again.  Cold and Flu season.  There's a little bug going around that seems to plague people for about 12 to 24 hours.  And then there's the cold that last for weeks.  There are all kinds of home remedies to try to ease your symptoms.  Some work better than others and sometimes sleep is all you can do.  

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Homemade BBQ Sauce

With the super bowl around the corner you may be in search of a good BBQ sauce for your wings and burgers.  Look no more.  This sauce is made with ketchup.  Use your favorite brand or use your own homemade ketchup! (Check out my Ketchup post HERE)  I made a huge batch of ketchup, canned a bunch and then used the rest for my BBQ sauce.  Sweet and spicy all at once, this is a hit at our house and it doubled as Christmas gifts for the guys of our family.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Easy DIY Fancy Soap

For my birthday last year, my sister in law gave me this nice homemade bar of soap and some lip balm.  There is something very soothing and luxurious about natural homemade soaps.  The smell, the texture, the color.  It's heavenly.  Enter Christmas present ideas.  

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Eat Clean, Train Mean!

Happy New Year!!  And welcome back to my blog.  I'm sure you have a list of resolutions for the upcoming year.  Some of them may have to do with exercising or nutrition, or losing weight.  Some may have to do with getting more sleep, or reducing stress.  Some may have to do with paying down debt, saving for a trip, or spending less on frivolous things.  Or maybe you want to work on some bad habit that you want to turn around.  Whatever your goal is, take some time to sit down and really think about it for a minute.  How are you going to make changes?  What will you have to do to make it happen?  Is it reasonable?  

I have a love hate relationship with New Year's Resolutions.  I tend to make very large lists in my head of things I'm going to do differently and then get disappointed by about January 21st because I've managed to screw them all up!  I am a list person.  I get this crazy satisfaction in crossing things off of my lists.  This is the love part.  But when you don't get to cross things off it's quite depressing.

Real change takes time.  Start with only a few you want to work on and don't beat yourself up if you go off course.  No one said you had to be perfect.  Last year, I vowed not to drink Diet Coke anymore.  Or any soda for that matter.  It has been a whole year since I made that promise and I maybe had 5 sodas the entire time.  I could have said, "well I blew it" and gave up.  But I stuck with it and now I look back and think 5 sodas in a whole year is pretty good!

So here is my list of things I want to do in 2014.  I would like to:  
Go to bed early - 10 pm would be great because I could ensure 8 hrs of sleep each night.  I'll be writing on sleep deprivation soon!

be better at sending cards.  Thank you's and birthdays mostly.

tame my temper towards my children during their temper tantrums.

reduce my sugar intake.

learn to sew.

regularly post to both this blog and my family blog.

What are your goals or resolutions?  To help with that last one I am going to start posting to this blog on a schedule.  Come check out new posts every Monday and Thursday.  I have so many great posts planned.  Things to help you stay fit and healthy.  I'll also have some new DIY posts for making body care products, and recipes for homemade foods and sauces. Look for new workouts to try at home, at the gym or in the pool. Join me each week and share the love.  If you like a post, leave a comment or share on your Facebook or Pinterest pages!  

Happy New Year! Lets eat clean and train mean!