Monday, June 16, 2014

Fix It And Forget About It

My Very First Crockpot Breakfast

I attended a lovely Baby Shower for a dear friend this past summery and gorgeous weekend. It was at ten o'clock in the morning and our hostess had planned a delicious brunch. I just had to have the recipe for the yummy frittata and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was prepared in the Crockpot (one of my favorite ways to cook). She was kind enough to share the recipe with me upon discovering my crockpot obsession.

Fathers Day was the next morning so I switched up our breakfast menu and gave it a whirl. The end result was perfect and now I've discovered even more healthy and delicious crockpot breakfast ideas that I'll share as I try them out. Seriously, this was almost too easy and my eggs turned out perfect.

The plan for my future crockpot breakfast meals is to prepare and let them cook in the evening so that breakfast/lunch is ready to go for the next few days. With a vegetarian daughter home for the summer and a husband who is ALWAYS hungry, I'm perpetually on the lookout for quick, easy and low maintenance recipes.

This recipe comes to you from Kalyn's Kitchen where there are plenty of nutritious, delicious recipes for you. 

Slow Cooker Frittata Recipe

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Are You Taking Care Of You?

Staying well through the tough times...

  Life has it's peaks and valleys and then there are those in between times - I liken them to a freefall, a time where you know whats coming, it's inevitable - it's that space in time before you hit the ground. It's at this time, if we aren't paying attention, that we can slip through the cracks and let ourselves go.

  As a fitness professional, part of my job is to maintain a certain level of fitness and to lead by example as best I know how. I pride myself on my consistent practice and in keeping myself fit and healthy year after year. But, I am human after all and, just like everyone else, I have a life outside of my work.

  So far it has been a rough year and, as I write this, my family and I will be losing someone very dear to us. This process has turned us all upside down. Sadly, some of you may be all too familiar with this experience in your own life. Based on my own observations I can honestly say that it's right here, in this ugliness, that it becomes absolutely necessary to dig deep and find out what we are made of.

  There is no handbook that I am aware of and every individual handles their personal situation differently. I thought that I'd share here on my blog some advice on how to perhaps better manage the arduous days ahead. My hope is that perhaps it will be of benefit and encouragement in some way to someone in a similar circumstance.

#1  Make yourself a priority. You can't even begin to look after anyone else if you, yourself, are ignoring your own health and well being. Take time-outs. Really just allow yourself to carve out a bit of me time, whatever that means to you. It's a vital part of life when all is going well and even more so during a difficult time.

#2  This is not the time (for me, at least) to set ambitious fitness/strength goals, pr's or challenges. Having said that, it's also not a good time to be completely inactive. My only goals week to week at this point, are to get a 30-45 minute practice in twice a week and to soak in a hot tub for 30 minutes at least twice a week as well. Not lofty, but I can do this. That's the point. Finding time away from the chaos and allowing myself to recharge has helped me tremendously. However,  I do have to constantly remind myself to do this.

#3  Once you've set a minimum that is almost too easy, stick to it. This will allow you to add more activity in if you are up to it and, if not, That's okay too. If I have more time, I'll add a yoga class, walk the beach trail or test my lifts on a day 3 practice.

#4  Drinking any more than what is your fair share does not help any situation and could make matters much worse. Period. Had to say it if I'm going to be honest.

#5  Accept help when it is offered. Don't be a martyr, allow people to be blessed by doing what they can to help you. Let them be a friend to you. Also, get really good at delegating as needed. This is a must.

#6  Be flexible and kind to yourself, and, be flexible and kind to everyone you come into contact with, especially those in the trenches with you. You never know what is going on in other peoples lives. We've all got problems.

#7  Don't disappear. If you find yourself unable to cope, please tell someone and get the help you need to create a sense of normalcy and balance in your life. If you haven't seen a friend around, why not give them a call or shoot them a text. Let them know you are thinking of them. Getting a sweet text or note has truly boosted my morale on numerous occasions.

#8  Finally, be sensible with nutritional needs. If I can't prepare my own meals and I'm out with others, I'll try to choose food that satiates me and will keep me going.  Also, I'll do my best not to go down the comfort food vortex which has a tendency to make me crash and burn.

Most importantly, accepting the things that I cannot change has made every day that much more bearable and positive.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Kid Friendly Health In A Glass!

Usually I don't get hungry until after noon and I'll tide myself over with either a Dale's Protein Bar,  a Perfect Food Bar, or,  a Homemade Green Juice. Both bars need to be refrigerated, which is a good indicator that they consist of real live ingredients and not processed garbage, but I digress.

This morning I went for the green juice but felt like I needed a little extra oomph. In the process I discovered something too healthy and delicious not to share. This recipe yielded 32 oz. of green juice from which I used 8 oz each for a berry smoothie for myself and my husband. I may be onto something as the Spring and Summer seasons begin to offer up some delicious berry varieties for me to use.

My Green Juice consisted of the following:

4 Handfuls Earthbound Organic Power Greens
1 Large Cucumber
5 Stalks Celery
2 inch Ginger root Knob
1 small Bunch Mint Leaves
1 Inch Thick Slice Of Fennel
1//2 Lemon
1 Lime
1 Green Apple
1 Green Pear
1 Cup Pineapple

I use an Omega Vert 350 Masticating Juicer which gets me so much more bang for my buck, your mileage may vary.

It was at this point that I felt more like having a smoothie so in to my Vitamix Blender I blended the following:

16 oz Prepared Green Juice
1 Avocado
1 Banana
1 Cup Organic Frozen Mixed Berries (more or less)

Makes 2 glasses


And the best part for Mom's with picky little (or big) ones? Vegetables can't be tasted OR seen!!
Now I have 16 oz of my yummy greens for later after just having had a mid morning satisfying berry smoothie with no added chemicals. 

Just fruit and vegetables!

Try it out and let me know what you think.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Hello, September!

Or as my good friend Sharon likes to call it..."Strength-Tember"

Ah yes, the kidlets are back to school. Beach days and vacations have been successfully completed along with the requisite amount of BBQ's and happy hour sunset shenanigans.

Don't get me wrong, I love summertime! I live at the beach so, there's that. But there is something so refreshing about a brand new and shiny Autumn on the horizon. I'm always eager to get there. The jeans, sweaters and boots, cozy fires and once again, my little village by the sea is just the right amount of not crowded.

What I especially love, as a personal trainer and coach, is that typically many people begin to naturally gravitate towards getting "back on track". It happens just about every year. Make that every year. So if you are reading this and this sounds like you, you are not alone.

I'm always ready for it and this year is no exception. I'm just coming off of the high of assisting my mentor and chief instructor for StrongFirst, Pavel Tsatsouline, this past August. It was an honor not only to assist the Chief, but to watch as four of my strongest friends and students successfully completed the challenging StrongFirst Certification. To say that I am humbled is an understatement and I'll be blogging about this experience in a future post.

To kick things off each Fall at NBKB, I'll typically hold a "Challenge" that is 30 days in duration. Nutrition and general fitness goals are set and, for the most part, those goals are met and success is obtained. 

And then....

It's not.

There will be those that stick with it and continue on a healthier version of themselves and for most, it's a very eye opening experience. But old habits die hard and once that door opens again, it can be difficult to hang on to that discipline acquired during the challenge. You know, when no one is looking and cheat meals suddenly become cheat days, cheat weekends, midweek girls night out, etc.

It's been said that it takes 21 days or 3 weeks to form a habit. Hmmm, in my experience with these seasonal challenges, that's just not the case. We need more time to further cultivate the mindset away from a number on the scale and what one should or should not eat to quality of movement, quality of what we put in our pieholes, and wonderful, beautiful strength!


So this year we will embark on a 10 week "Strength-Tember" Challenge beginning Monday, September 16th! The program focus of course being STRENGTH! 

It's not about a diet, (I loathe that word) or no pain-no gain, (spare me, please). That mentality, in my experience, can only last so long and then something snaps. Either a worn out, starving body, or a stressed out mind needing a break from it all.

Like any other attempt to be successful at something in life, it's about setting goals, having a plan and doing the work. Nothing more, nothing less. Why on earth would taking control of your one and only lifelong vessel be different.

Smart, efficient practice along with common sense nutrition, and recovery is a recipe for long term success. Period. 

It works for me, it worked for my StrongFirst candidates crew, and now I'm dishing it out to all who walk in my studio.

Here's to "STRENGTH-TEMBER"!! 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Cuban Paleo Picadillo

Being of Cuban/Mexican descent I was raised on wonderful spices and flavors of both cultures and I tend to use them in just about everything. Picadillo or "Cuban Hash" is a staple and it's easy to make. The best part is fits in to my Primal/Paleo plan AND it's just plain delicious.

It's hard to write out the recipe as I'm a pinch of this, pinch of that kind of cook when it comes to latin food and that is how it was taught to me but I will do my best:


3 lbs Grass fed ground beef

1 tbsp olive oil

1 chopped yellow onion
1 chopped red bell pepper
1 chopped yellow pepper
1 chopped green bell pepper
4-5 trader joes frozen garlic cubes (or) 5 real cloves
4-5 trader joes frozen cilantro cubes or 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
2 cups spanish olives sliced
3 tbsp capers
1 14oz can tomato sauce 
1/2 cup of red wine vinegar or whatever wine or vinegar you have will do.
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp cayenne (more or less)
1 tsp chili powder (more or less)
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 bayleaf
salt and pepper to taste

-Saute the onion, peppers, garlic, cilantro in the oil
-add the beef and brown
-drain the fat
-lower the heat and add the rest of the ingredients
-stir well cover and simmer for about 10 minutes

Serves: Many


I like to serve over cauliflower rice.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Primal Crock Pot Pork Tomatillo Stew

This is a new favorite that came about from my recent crock pot obsession. Leftovers for days and the meat makes a great breakfast scramble or tacos wrapped in romaine topped with avocado and salsa.

3 lb. Pork loin roast cut into 1-2 inch cubes
1 lb. Tomatillos shucked and split in half
2 jalapeno chilis split in half
2 poblano chilis split in half
5 garlic cloves minced
1 cup of chopped cilantro chopped
2 tsp. of cumin
1 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. chili powder
salt and pepper to taste

*I use Trader Joe's frozen garlic cubes and cilantro cubes in a pinch. If you use them, use 5 cubes each. 
*Play around with the spice levels, I leave the seeds in the jalapenos because we like some heat.
*You can brown the pork in some oil first and you can fire roast the chilis. I don't. I want quick and easy and not much difference in the outcome to me.
*Add some cannelini beans or hominy at the end if you want a non paleo/primal version.

Place the tomatillos and chilis in crockpot. In a small bowl toss all of the spices with your garlic and cilantro and then toss 1/2 with your tomatillo and chilis. 
Rub the rest on your pork.
Place the pork on top.

Cover and slow cook 4-6 hours depending on your crockpot. I like the first hour on high and then turn it down to med. for another 3 to 4.

We are loving this as a great source of protein that is just delicious...