In this blog, I wanted to share my recipe for some warm quinoa, spinach, tomato and feta salad. It is easy to make and a favorite of mine. This recipe includes some healthy vegetables and spices, which promote vitality and contain some anti-inflammatory properties. It also includes avocados, which have feel good-fats your body needs to move and function properly. In addition, it includes the ancient grain, quinoa, which is considered a super-food. Quinoa not only has a number of healthful vitamins, but includes a healthy dose of fiber and is rich in protein, which helps sustain energy. If you are looking to plan a meal, you might want to give this recipe a try. It is easy to prepare, wholesome and delicious.
Warm Quinoa, Spinach, Tomato & Feta Salad
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1 or 2 large handfuls fresh spinach
1 small red onion chopped
6-8 cherry tomatoes halved
1 clove garlic crushed
1 handful feta cheese crumbles (1/8 cup feta cheese, approximately)
1/2 avocado cut in to pieces
soy sauce or coconut aminos
Coat the bottom of a large frying pan with olive oil.
Add the spinach, onion, and garlic. Stir on medium heat, until the onion begins to brown and the spinach is slightly wilted. Sprinkle the top with the turmeric and Cajun seasoning. Stir in the quinoa with the warm with the vegetables. Add the tomatoes and stir, until they are just warm. Spoon the salad on a plate. Add the feta cheese and avocado pieces on the top of the salad. Sprinkle with a little coconut aminos or soy sauce, if desired and serve warm.
Note: You may also add black beans, chick peas, or another vegetable to the mix to make it your own.
Smoothies have become a popular choice for breakfast these days and why not?Many people are concerned about their well-being and are looking for ways to eat healthier. Smoothies provide a quick, easy way to include a variety of healthy, whole food ingredients in your diet. They also can be fun to make, as there are many options and combinations you can try. While many people use protein powder and fruit, there other selections you can add to your smoothie mix to add more vitamins and boost your nutrient intake to make it better for you. In this blog, I wanted to share 5 ways to boost your smoothie. Let’s take a look…
Learn 5 Ways To Boost Your Smoothie:
Greens—Many people naturally add a banana or another type of fruit to their smoothie, but adding vegetables, especially greens, is a great way to boost your nutrient intake. Try adding a handful of spinach, or kale to your smoothie for some added vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin K, vitamin B6, iron and more. When I was dealing with iron deficiency anemia, smoothies became a staple in my diet. Many protein powders contain a healthy dose of iron and when you add greens and other vegetables, it boosts the iron content even more. In my book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living, I talk a little about the importance of eating vegetables at every meal and how adding more greens to my breakfast smoothie helped improve my energy level. As an added bonus, I became less prone to getting sick. Make sure you experiment with adding more greens to you diet to experience a boost in your nutrient intake and health too.
Super Foods—Why not start your day with an added boost of energy?Super foods are foods that are considered nutrient dense and extremely beneficial to the body. Try adding super foods such as coconut oil, maca powder, cacao nibs, or chia seeds to your morning smoothie to help improve your well-being. Super foods can help make you feel super good and super energized and who doesn’t like an extra kick-start to get the day going? Try adding one or 2 to super foods to your smoothie to see how they make you feel. As you go along, you can try more or mix them up and see how your energy improves.
Protein—Over the last several years protein powders have become extremely popular and many people like to add them to their smoothies. There are many options when it comes to protein powder including, whey, vegan and bone broth varieties. Make sure you choose one that works best for you and look for a good, quality brand, (one without a lot of additives and sweeteners). If you are not a protein powder fan, try adding peanut butter, another nut butter, nuts or seeds to your smoothie to get your morning dose of protein. Play around and see what you like best.
Healthy Fats—Avocados are another nutritious item you can add to your smoothie. Avocados contain healthy fat and fiber your body needs and craves. Try adding a half of avocado to your mix to not only get some good fat, but some extra vitamin C, E, potassium and more. You can also add cashew butter, peanut butter, almonds, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds.
Spices—You can also add a variety of spices to your smoothie to enhance the nutrient content and flavor. Try adding cinnamon, turmeric, cayenne, nutmeg or ginger to your smoothie. Many spices contain antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that help promote good health. Some of them also contain warming properties, which are especially beneficial during the winter months.Try adding some fresh ginger to help fight a cold, the flu, or aid in digestion.
In this blog, I wanted to share a recipe for some easy sausage spinach vegetable lasagna that I made over the weekend. This recipe is a favorite of my family and I make it quite a bit, especially in the fall and winter months, when your body craves more comfort foods. It combines a healthy dose of vegetables including spinach, mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, onions and olives that not only are good for you, but provide a host of vitamins and nutrients your body needs. I also put in some options if you have a gluten sensitivity, or prefer a vegetarian version. Give it a try if you are looking for a new recipe to try for dinner.
Easy Sausage Spinach Vegetable Lasagna
1 small box lasagna noodles (1/2 lb or approximately 9 noodles). You can use a gluten-free variety if you have issues with gluten.
1 24 oz. jar spaghetti sauce I used a local brand called Anna Lisa Spicy Pasta Sauce I got at Whole Foods that had no sugar or preservatives added. I really like this brand, but you can use any variety you like.
1 container cottage cheese You can also use ricotta cheese
2-3 cups shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese I usually shred my own to avoid the added cellulose in cheese and other pre-packaged foods used to prevent caking. It is derived from wood pulp. Yes-wood pulp.
1 pound Italian sausage
You can also leave this out if you prefer to make a meatless version of lasagna
Fill a large pot with boiling water and add the lasagna noodles. Turn down heat a bit and boil the noodles for 10 minutes and then strain off the water and set aside.
In a large skillet, brown the Italian sausage. Add the garlic, onion, green pepper and mushrooms. Stir the mixture until the vegetables are slightly browned. Add in the olives and the salt, pepper and cajun seasoning to taste and stir. Add the spaghetti sauce to the meat and vegetable mix and stir to combine all of the ingredients. Add the tomatoes to the top and stir, just so they become warn and then remove from the heat.
Grease a 13″ x 9″ cake pan with olive oil. Place 3 noodles on the bottom of the pan. Then spoon about 1/3 of the meat and vegetable sauce over the noodles. Grab a handful or so of the spinach and place it on top of the sauce. Next scoop about 1/3 of the cottage cheese on top of the spinach and then add a layer of the mozzarella or cheddar cheese.
Repeat these steps 2 more times to create 3 layers total.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Place the prepared pan of lasagna in the oven and bake for 30-40, or until slightly crisp on the top. Remove from the oven and let set and cool for another 30-45 minutes. Serve warm with a fresh garden salad.
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Have you ever wished for something or had a dream about doing something and wondered if it would ever happen or come true? Everyone has dreams and aspirations, but unfortunately not everyone puts forth the effort to make them happen. What most people don’t realize is that in order for any dream to come true, you must take action. You can hope all you want, but unless you take the necessary steps to move forward, you most likely won’t get anywhere and will probably be left feeling drained and unfulfilled.
Maybe one of your dreams is to get a new job, but have you taken the time to update your resume and send it out? If not, what are you waiting for? If one of your dreams is to change careers, you can take action by going back to school to learn something else that interests you. It may take some time, but the end result will move you in a new direction. How about your health? Are you interested in losing weight and becoming healthier? Instead of talking about it, you need to make a plan and commit to it. One place to start is to ditch the junk food and sugar-filled drinks and start buying more wholesome foods. You can also look for healthy recipes to make and find some sort of exercise you like, whether it is walking, swimming, basketball or tennis. Whatever it is, just do it and do it frequently.
Many people are in the same boat and get stuck in those rapids of life, instead of taking action to move themselves forward. In the book, Spiritual Economics, author Eric Butterworth, mentions the Quaker says, “When you pray, move your feet.”¹ In other words, you can hope and pray, but you also need to take steps to get you moving on the path to your goals and dreams. If you don’t, most likely you will feel frustrated and disappointed. David J. Schwartz, in his book, The Magic of Thinking Big,” tells us, “A good idea if not acted upon, produces terrible psychological pain. But a good idea acted upon brings enormous mental satisfaction. Actions feed and strengthen confidence; inaction in all forms feed fear.”² Now those are some words of wisdom we can all use.
A few years ago, I was invited to a friends home for a dinner party along with a few other ladies. After we ate, my friend who is a life coach, gave each of us a box that looked like a book that opened, along with a few pieces of paper and a pen.
She asked us to take a few minutes to write down a few dreams we would like to see happen in our lives along with the date of the get together and place them in the box. While she didn’t really say why, I believe the idea was for us to examine where we were in our life with where we wanted to go. Anyway— It took me a little time to ponder what I wanted to record, but finally I came up with a few ideas.
When I got home, I took my box and put it on a book shelf in my office, where it blended in with the other books and I forgot about it.
Fast forward 3-1/2 years later…
I recently was decluttering my office space and low and behold, there was the box on the shelf just where I had placed it. As I opened the box and read one of the notes, I smiled and felt a warm feeling come over me.
I had been thinking of taking some nutrition classes and after the dinner party, I decided to take action and enrolled the next week at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition®, (IIN) to become a certified health coach. At that time, I had no idea that IIN also offered a Launch Your Dream Book program, which I enrolled in after I graduated as a certified health coach. While this may all sound easy and straight-forward, let me assure you the process was not easy. Writing a book can be scary and over-whelming, which is one of the reasons it took me some time to complete it. I had to keep pushing myself forward to push through the fear of it all.
I am happy to say that with some strong determination and many action steps, I completed the task and made my dream true.
You’ve probably heard the saying, “Less is More,” but how many of you really believe in this concept or practice it?
Sadly, many people don’t and may not understand the benefits. It is easy to see why. We live in a fast-paced society that promotes working hard, gaining wealth and buying, buying, buying. While there is nothing wrong with wanting nice things and working hard for them, over time all of these things tend to accumulate and can actually block your energy. As a matter of fact, having too many things can have a negative impact on your ability to focus and process information, as it competes for your attention. It can also promote stress and cause anxiety. That is why it is important to practice the concept of less is more from time to time.
One way to practice a little of the less is more concept is to declutter your work space and home periodically. Some people do this now and again, but others tend to let stuff build up. I have always been more of a neat freak then a person who collects or hoards things, but over the years, we’ve definitely collected way more than we need. Last week, however, it was time to get a little decluttering on and open my mind to some new possibilities.
We are in the process of down-sizing and will be moving sometime this fall and this was the week to list our house. I knew I would have to get rid of some things for the move, but after meeting with the staging person our realtor sent over, it was time to get to work. I started boxing up pictures, personal items and lots of books to make the house look less personal. By the end of the week, I made at least 5 trips to the Goodwill and I have to admit, it felt good. Who knew letting go of some stuff could produce such good feelings?
In reality, practicing the less is more concept can be freeing and can help contribute to living a healthy life-style. What’s more, the less is more concept can be applied in other areas of your life besides decluttering. You can also apply it towards making conscious choices in your diet.
In my new book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living, I talk a little about how less is more in regards to eating. These days, sugar is included in almost everything processed. We all could stand to eat less foods filled with sugar, eat less processed foods and sip less sugar-filled drinks to stay healthy. Instead of choosing that sugary donut for breakfast, why not choose something a little more wholesome, like an omelette with fresh vegetables? Instead of choosing a sugar-filled coffee drink from your local coffee shop, why not opt for a black coffee with a little cream and then add your own sweetener? You can make healthy choices with your snacks too. Why not grab a handful of nuts for an afternoon snack versus a bag of Doritos? Nuts contain protein, fiber and good fats your body needs and are way better for you than a bag of chips, which typically contains a lot of ingredients, that aren’t good for you. The bottom line is we can all make better choices in our daily living to create a healthier life-style.
Following are a few ways you can practice the less is more concept in your life.
Downsize your wardrobe: Take an inventory of your closet. How many of your clothes have you actually worn over the last year. Get rid of any items you haven’t worn in that time-frame.
Get rid of some shoes: Many people have way more shoes than they really need. Again—get rid of any shoes you haven’t worn in the last year, just like your clothes.
Clean up the garage: The garage is another place that quickly accumulates stuff. Organize the stuff you use on a regular basis and get rid of the stuff that is sitting in the corner, or on that bench that you haven’t used in years, such as an old tent, or camping gear.
Get rid of old paint: Many people save paint cans thinking they may need that left-over paint again. Old paint is great for touching up nail holes, or knicks in a wall, but if you’re never going to use it again, get rid of it!
Down-grade your kitchen items: It is funny how kitchen items, such as lids for containers can accumulate. I don’t know about you, but I always seem to end up with extra lids that don’t match up to any bowl. Go through your lid drawer or cupboard from time to time and get rid of any unmatched lids. The same holds true to other kitchen items. If you have something that doesn’t match, or you haven’t used the item in forever, get rid of it.
“Follow your passion. It will lead to your purpose.”
At one time or another, you’ve probably had someone tell you, or maybe you at least heard, that we all have a purpose in life. But what does that really mean and how do you find it if you don’t know what it is? That’s a good question, but can be hard to answer. Some people seem to be born knowing what they want to do, as they have a gift for music, are artistic, love math, or have some other calling. Other people however, have a harder time pin-pointing their purpose, but over time may figure it out by trying different things, or having different life experiences. Still others may keep searching and wondering, while working and living their life.
Last year, my husband and I sold our granite countertop business of 20 years. I can’t tell you how many people have asked us, “How’s retirement going?” Retirement? This to me is an odd question. What is retirement anyway? I know it means different things to different people, but most people associate it with not working and really living the life. I don’t know about you, but that seems contradictory to me. Can you have a happy life not doing anything anymore? I know there are plenty of retired people who are happy because they keep busy doing things they enjoy. There are others however, who retire and are miserable because they feel they no longer have a purpose.
Dan Buettner, in his book, The Blue Zones, describes regions around the world where people live to 100 years of age and beyond. These people live a healthy life-style with plenty of activity and incorporate a diet of healthy whole food. “In one such region, located in Okinawa, there is no such thing as retirement. In fact, there isn’t even a word for it. Instead, there is one word Okinawans live their life by: Ikigai, (icky guy) which when translated means the reason for which you wake up in the morning.”¹ You’ll find some of these Centarians fishing, teaching karate cooking for the family, etc. They really are living their life, by living their passions.
So back to the question…
Retirement? We made a conscious choice to sell our business, so we could do other things. I am too young to retire anyway and don’t believe in the concept. I am a Certified Health Coach and recently wrote a book titled, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living.
I like to cook, bake muffins, exercise, write and inspire others. I am currently working on offering programs to help others to live a healthy life-style.
What is the reason you wake up in the morning?
If you don’t know, start by asking yourself a few questions:
What do you really enjoy? Do you like music, entertaining, cooking, reading, connecting with others? Think about the things that really make you come alive?
What can you do to live more authentically? Be yourself and don’t be swayed by what others like or do. You are unique and important. Make your own decisions.
What is your intuition telling you. We all have an inner knowing. Trust in that wisdom.
What are you waiting for? Take the first step to move forward by taking action. Whatever it is, just begin.
It is hard to believe that the Fourth of July has already come and gone. Hope you are enjoying your summer and finding ways to feed your spirit. Summer is a great time to get out and enjoy things you like to do, which help you feel balanced such as swimming, boating, biking, golfing, reading and spending time with friends and family.
Over the Fourth, I had plenty of time to experience some of these things, especially family time. We had a family gathering at our lake home that included 27 people total with 2 babies, 2 toddlers and 9 dogs! Crazy, huh? Thankfully some people came at different times, so it was more manageable. Everyone pitched in and helped out with food and clean up too. Thankfully, one of my daughters made a meal plan using a spreadsheet to help make things easier, so we could all enjoy ourselves more. I have to say, overall it was a good weekend and everyone had a great time! There were plenty of good conversations, and lots of great memories were made. Hope you created some good memories of your own with your family and loved ones.
Having healthy relationships is important and help us feel balanced in our lives. In my new book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living, I talk a little about primary foods and secondary foods. Primary foods include relationships, physical activity, career and spirituality. Secondary foods are the foods we eat.¹ While both are important, primary foods feed us at a different level. They feed our soul and help us to feel balanced, feel joy and help make us happy.
Following are 5 ways to help you feed your spirit and feel balanced:
Have Healthy Relationships— Relationships play a big part in our day to day lives. Make sure you are including enough of them in your life. You can join a church group, bowling league, health club, tennis team, etc. If you have family near by, make an attempt to get together from time to time.
Stay Active— Your body was meant to move. Make sure you find ways to stay active. Go on a walk, run, or a bike ride. If that doesn’t interest you, find some other activity that does. You can join a gym, lift weights, do yoga, kick boxing, etc. You can also look back at your childhood and find something you used to like to do such as play basketball, swing, jump rope, or hula hoop.
Find Work Your Enjoy— We spend a big part of our day and our lives working. It is important to find something that you like to do, or a job that has a fair amount of duties you enjoy. If you don’t have enough tasks you enjoy, maybe you want to consider finding a different job. If that’s not an option, maybe you can find something outside of work that fulfills some of your needs, or find a hobby you enjoy.
Spend Some Time Embracing Your Spirituality— Many people like going to church and enjoy the community and worship that it offers. Other people however, are more spiritual in nature and may prefer less structure. No matter which one fits your practice and beliefs, it is important to take some time to reflect and be alone. You can also practice meditating, spending some time out in nature, doing yoga, or taking a meditative walk.
Take Time For Self Care— Many people are good at taking care of others, but when it comes to taking care of themselves, it might be another story. Make sure you take some time to practice a little self care. You can have a massage, go shopping, have a pedicure, go to a concert, go to the golf range, etc.
Thanks for reading!
¹”Primary Food.” Institute for Integrative Nutrition. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 July 2017.