Vegan and Soy Free Pumpkin Bread and Muffins

I tried these pumpkin muffins and I was really happy with how they turned out. My three year old daughter loved them! My husband, brother and his girlfriend also really liked them! Hope you enjoy them also. They are quick and easy.

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Almost Everything You Might Want to Know About Push Ups

There are many different kinds of push ups, and we like to use them to switch things up during our workouts. Here I’m going to explain 11 different variations and the muscles groups that they work, so that you know exactly which version to use depending on what your goals are.

Standard push ups: hands directly below your shoulders, hands and elbows pointing out at about a 45-degree angle as you go down. Targets chest, triceps, shoulders, core. This is your baseline.

Wide push ups: hands placed to the outside of your shoulders, 6 inches or so to each side, but still in line with shoulders. Targets chest and shoulders more, triceps a bit less. Continue Reading →

CSAs Are Great + A Yummy Recipe

This year my family is part of a CSA (community-supported agriculture). I’ve always wanted to join one, but the timing has never seemed quite right. Then, finally, it was! It’s been so fun to get fresh fruits and veggies while supporting a local business and being forced to try new recipes in order to use them. I would recommend joining a CSA to everyone!

One of the greatest benefits of being part of a CSA is how it’s helped my daughter try some new foods. She’s always been a picky eater, with verystrong preferences based on texture. At one point in her life she would only eat crunchy food; she survived on freeze dried fruit, and green bean and beet chips dipped in hummus! Thankfully, we’ve moved beyond that, but we still have a hard time with new foods. There’s something about going to a farm, however, seeing where the veggies are grown, picking them out ourselves, and carting bagfuls of them back to our house, that makes them seems more appealing. I have found, too, that leaving them on the counter where she can see them (and reach them) is helpful. As we unload the bags, or as she walks by the veggies sitting out in the kitchen, she’ll ask to try them. Since the start of the summer, she’s tried: scallions, grape tomatoes, chard, radishes, beets, zucchini, peppers, eggplant… so many new things! Her favorite has been the little cherry tomatoes, which shocked me. But they’re just the right size for her, and we started calling them “squirty tomatoes;” since then she thinks they’re really fun to eat. She will frequently grab one when she sees them out in the kitchen. Continue Reading →

Protein Powders + Cholesterol

In our latest virtual accountability group, we got into a discussion on protein powders.  In general I recommend to look for two things when choosing a protein powder:

  1. It has 25-30 grams protein per serving
  2. It has five grams of carbs OR LESS

And now a third criteria is watch the cholesterol.  Our resident #specialkindofcrazy mom and local OBGYN Elyse gave us some pointers when it comes to cholesterol.

Here is what Elyse said:

“Dietary cholesterol guidelines used to be 300 mg per day or 200 mg for heart disease diabetes etc.  The American.Heart Association updated those guidelines a few years ago because low fat diets were leading to high sugar diets and sugar is actually the problem not fat (check the link for more info on this!)  The reason I bring this up is I have seen a dark chocolate protein powder at the commissary (military grocery store) with 800 mg cholesterol per serving.  Even though AHA recommendations aren’t specific they still recommend low consumption of dietary cholesterol… and 800 mg is almost 3 times the old recommended limit.”

This is a great nugget of info to have when choosing a protein powder! Thanks so much Elyse!

Building Routine – Tips from a FITness Instructor

I love it when my instructors share their tips and tricks for FITness.  I think it is an awesome glimpse into ‘REAL LIFE’ FITness.  As we focus on routine this month, Amanda shares with us some of her tips and tricks for routine in #reallife.

Routine often gets a bad wrap.  Some call it “getting in a rut” or “same old, same old”.   Routines aren’t sexy, but that’s the point!  Routine are suppose to be predictable and stable and the right routine can help us accomplish our goals amidst life’s general chaos.

All that being said, routines come in all shapes and sizes and can be set to meet any goal.  Larger goals require larger more set routines, smaller goals, smaller ones.  I have three young children and husband who is hardly ever home.  To meet my goals, routines run my life.  I have big goals like, keep children alive.  That requires a pretty monstrous routine of getting up for school on time, breakfast, packing lunches, drop off, pick ups, dinners, child hygiene and bedtime.  Most of us are familiar with those kind of big routines, but those are not the only kind of routines nor are they the only kind of routines that matter.

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Smoky Sweet BBQ Rub

I found this recipe in Southern Living years ago and it has been a staple in my pantry ever since.  I usually double the recipe, put it in a Mason jar and use it for nights when I am in a hurry.  It is delicious on anything.  Pour it on chicken breasts, salmon, chicken thighs, or pork chops and let marinate for at least 15 minutes (when you are in a hurry).  Obviously, the longer the better.  Bake or grill your meat and it always comes out fantastic.  My brother will even mix it into black beans, peas, soups or roasted veggies. It is not spicy, so my kids love it.

You can buy most of these spices in bulk at Costco.  A few years ago, I made a huge batch then went to Walmart (or World Market) and got some cute glass jars.  I filled them with the rub and gave them as little Christmas gifts.  You can do that now and they will be ready to go when the crazy Christmas season hits! (because you have nothing to do right?) I hope y’all enjoy this as much as my family does.  I wish it didn’t have so much sugar, but I realized while writing this that I will try a version with half the sugar.  I’ll let you know what I think!

Ingredients

  1. ¼ cup salt
  2. ¼ cup brown sugar
  3. 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  4. 2 tablespoons, plus 2 teaspoons paprika
  5. 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  6. 2 teaspoons pepper
  7. 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  8. 1 teaspoon cumin
  9. 1 teaspoon ground ginger

Mix all ingredients together.  Store in a sealed container.

 

 

The Easiest Mug Brownie and Thoughts on Treats

My sweet friend Anna has been a huge help to me learning the allergy ropes.  When I texted her about SJ’s issues she immediately sent me the recipe for this amazing mug brownie. And it has been a “life-saver.”  Allergy or not it is the perfect sweet treat! And there are no leftovers, which is key for me.  Because if it is in the house, I will eat it.

I will never forget the first party I went to after I learned that I was dairy free.  There was literally NOTHING on the table that I could eat. I never thought of myself as a person who had self-control with food, especially sweets.  But to walk away from that party and not cheat felt very empowering.  (NOTE:  I ate dinner, this was a late football game and a dessert party.) This process has made me realize that I can make healthy choices, I can turn down the endless dessert table at parties and church potlucks.  I can give myself good, healthy food that gives me energy rather than fill up on junk.  But, it is not easy.  Some days I get mad that I cannot eat these foods.  Sometimes, I am resentful.  I have found that it is much easier mentally to go into these situations knowing I will make myself a treat when I get home.  It is easier to resist knowing I get something well portioned and delicious at home.  And I don’t have to spend all night making it and then have the leftovers tempting me all week or hanging out in my freezer.

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Fast and Healthy Lunch Ideas for Packing Days

Fast and Healthy Lunch Ideas From Hannah

My girls are not yet old enough for me to pack them school lunches. In fact, my oldest is just starting preschool this Fall! She’s very excited, and has been playing “school” ever since I showed her the calendar and we counted 3 weeks to school. However, packing school lunches is intimidating to me since I have a somewhat picky eater, so I’ve been brainstorming what I will pack for the past couple of years!

I have listed below some easy and healthy suggestions that will hopefully be helpful to you as we begin another school year. One thing that could fit into—and help—your routine is by doing some lunch prep on the weekends so that on your busy morning when you’re trying to get everyone out the door to catch the bus, packing lunch will not be stressful. Making lunches ahead will allow you to more thoughtfully prepare healthy choices instead of just tossing in an extra bag of Cheetos to keep them full. Lunch prep = healthier, less stressful, faster mornings = win, win, win!

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Confessions of a Pregnant Fitness Instructor

 

We are super excited to welcome Amy as a guest blogger. You can read more about Amy here! She is one of our awesome FITness instructors and has an amazing FITness background.  We couldn’t be more excited that she is expecting her third mini one!  Congrats!!!! I am even more excited that she is willing to share her pregnancy journey with us. I know she has tons of tips and #reallife moments for us to show us how to maintain realistic FITness during pregnancy.  Follow along with us as we hear the Confessions of a Pregnant Fitness Instructor.

Meet Amy!!!

Confession: I love drinking copious amounts of coffee, lifting heavy weights, and teaching bootcamp classes.  All of these loves had to be modified when I found out I was pregnant with our third baby in June.  That is not to say I was willing to give anything up (I was not), but I needed to find a way to make lifting weights and teaching a few bootcamp classes work with my changing (growing) body!

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How One Busy Mom Gets Motivated

As always – hearing from our FITness Instructors is enlightening. Every instructor (and mom) has their own tips and tricks to how FITness works for them. And we have the honor to hear how our Maryland FITness Pro Hannah stays on top of her FITness goals!

As a mom of little littles, I know how tough it can be to fit a workout in. I have two girls — a 3 year old and a 4 month old — and between the two of them there a million obstacles to exercising.

I can’t get in a whole workout at once; I’ll be interrupted 20 times during my 20-minute routine; I’m exhausted because my baby was up half the night; when they happen to both be sleeping at once, the pressures of housework/emailing/cooking weigh on me; when they happen to both be sleeping at once and I don’t have much housework, I just want to sit down and rest; I don’t want to give up time with my husband. Continue Reading →