Sunday, April 21, 2013

Recipe of the Week: BBQ Gouda Stuffed Burgers

Well I missed last week's recipe, so I do apologize....

It's becoming grilling season and Brian and I love a good stuffed burger. It's a great way to wake up your burger to keep it interesting. Brian found a nice page today with 5 stuffed burger recipes. We are trying the BBQ Gouda one.

Here is the link:

It includes : Chicken Curry, Steak and Swiss, Bacon Cheddar, Wild Mushroom and Blue cheese and BBQ Gouda.

Of course, we are using ground turkey. But mix it up the way you want and have fun with it. We are making the Green Beans and Red Onions salad that I have shared before and corn on the cob to go with it.

Have fun with your burgers, stuff them with fresh veggies, different cheeses, whatever you want!!! It can be fun and your burger will taste gourmet. Happy grilling!! :)

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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Pep Talk

Good Morning...
As I am sitting here early on this Saturday drinking caramel cappuccino (thanks to my hyvee K-cup) curled up with my pup, I wanted to give a pep talk. As spring has hit, life has been really busy and I have not had as much time to commit to my blog as I would like, but that is life right? We don't always have the time to do the things we want, need or like to do. And that is OK. But just as important as it is to live all the business aspects of our lives, work, taking care of our homes, paying bills, etc, we do need to stop and smell the roses from time to time. I always say, I don't want to be so busy not having any fun, that I look back on life and regret not slowing down. (especially as I am turning 30 this year. Yikes! lol) And slowing down is a huge part of being healthy. I recently had someone seek out my "expertise",if you will, on a diet and exercise plan for this person has decided to make changes to be healthier and happier. And as this is my biggest passion, I wanted to share a bit of the advice and pep talk I gave. First, I want to eliminate the word "diet" from your brain. We aren't doing weight watchers, slim 4 life, special K, whatever. We are recreating your everyday lifestyle habits to be healthy ones. This will be part of your everyday life, not a temporary fix. This can be so easy, but I suggest to take one step at at time. In my plan for this friend of mine, I suggested to convert breakfast for one week. Then the next week add in lunch and then the third and fourth week add in dinner. The purpose of this is to make SMALL goals that are easily achievable. This will help prevent setting yourself up for failure. I think sometimes the hardest part of striving for health, is changing everything at once and getting overwhelmed and quitting. This way, at the end of the first week, if you have ate a healthy breakfast everyday, you can feel good about it and want to keep going! I.E. Goal met and moving on to the next one. You have to change your eating habits in order for exercise to work. Once your eating habits are up to par, then add in exercise in small doses. Working on building  up your endurance first, such as walking, jogging, elliptical, etc. Do not start with some wild DVD or program or class that your endurance can't handle and that you will get overwhelmed with. Again, taking baby steps. Eventually this slow pace will pay off and you can add in more complex exercises and strength training and do HIIT workouts like myself and tolerate it.

Leading a healthy lifestyle is so important, but I know if you aren't there, it can be scary and not seem worth it. You may think it's too hard, too expensive, too much energy, but I know people who have no energy, no money, no resources who have changed their lives successfully. It will soon become your life and you won't even have to think about it. And know that you will have a bad day. But it didn't take only one day for you to become unhealthy so it won't be a big deal to have a bad day here and there. Find motivation to keep you going! Ask for help. I bet you would be surprised at how much support you have in your life if you just look around and ask people.

In this world, it is easy and more convenient to get discouraged and throw in the towel. I urge you to not do this. As a nurse, I have personally seen the effects of poor health and trust me, while you may be ok now, 10, 20, 30 years from now you won't. Make this a priority. And not only focus on your physical health, but also your mental health. Our lives are stressful, and stress can be so negative for you. Do yoga, meditate, get massages, read a good book, take bubble baths with lavender, whatever you have to do to decrease that anxiety.

I know I seem like I am just blabbering on, I just wanted you to know how serious I feel about you changing your life and I can help if you don't know where to start. I have all sorts of tips, tricks, resources, and if I don't, I will find it! Just don't give up. There is no time like the present!!

 So the sun is out, make today a great day, get outside and take the dog for a walk, plant some flowers, go to the park, just get some fresh air.....and Stay Active!!! ;)


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Sunday, April 7, 2013

Recipe of the week: Springtime Spaghetti

I received this recipe in my email from and gave it a try yesterday. As I am not huge on eating pasta very frequently, I do think this is a good option when you are wanting some. Especially for spring and summer. It has a very unique, fresh spin on spaghetti. It does go great as a side dish for BBQ. We actually grilled some fish and ate it with that. It was great! (If you don't know how to julienne the veggies, youtube it!)

Springtime Spaghetti
How I "mandi-tized" this: I used gluten free spaghetti. Another good option would be whole wheat spaghetti rather than the normal style. Instead of heavy cream, use FAT FREE half and half. This came out perfectly and it was very good.

I hope you had a great weekend. :)

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Words to live by :)

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Coconut Oil

You may have been hearing or seeing recent trends of coconut oil as the new "super food". I wanted to give a little overview of some of the proclaimed health benefits to it and different uses.  It all sounds worth a try to me!

Coconut oil has been used in ancient medicine and continues to be used that way in some cultures. However, there are all sorts of things you can do with it that you may see benefits from.

Coconut oil is thought to stimulate and recharge your thyroid gland. For me this is appealing as I have a family history of hypothyroidism (not getting enough of thyroid hormone). I tend to exhibit a lot of the same signs and symptoms such as fatigue, temperature intolerance and anxiety. But my levels always come out "normal". So I may just give this a shot.

It also can help increase your HDL (good cholesterol) and lower your overall total cholesterol. This is a good thing.

The fat in coconut oil is considered a medium chained fatty acid, meaning it does not circulate through your bloodstream, rather it is delivered straight to your liver and converted to energy. This can actually help with weight loss.

You can cook with it in place of other oils or butter. It has a higher smoke point, so it can be safer to cook with as well. The tropical cultures that use coconut in their foods and cooking are rarely overweight.

It is a great moisturizing effect. You can rub it into your skin and is quickly absorbed not leaving a greasy film. It is thought to help with wrinkles.  It is also great for your hair. I have actually been using it on my hair and I do see a difference. What I do is section my hair and rub a little oil at my roots. Then I use my fingers to distribute it to my ends. I let it sit for about 30 min or so (as long as you can) then I wash and condition as usual. It leaves my hair soft, shiny and decreases frizz and the appearance of split ends. I don't notice my hair oily or smelling like coconut. It also works great to shave with and as a massage oil. The scent is also helps decrease stress and anxiety.

Coconut oil is thought to boost immunity as it has antibacterial, anti viral and anti fungal properties. It also contains antioxidants.

It can  help regulate blood sugar and insulin response and decrease the stress on your pancreas.

These are the biggest uses for it that I could find. I think it is a very versatile, natural option to help a lot of things we struggle with. It certainly isn't the miracle answer, but I feel everything is worth trying out.

Until next time...
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Monday, April 1, 2013

What's in my lunch box?

I thought I would take the time to share a picture of what I am packing in my lunch box today. I often get asked exactly what is it that I eat throughout the day and what better way to share than with a pretty picture!
So what I have is half an avocado, a couple slices of deli chicken lunch meat, about 9 baby carrots, 2 tbs of garlic hummus, a small cluster of grapes, an orange and strawberry greek yogurt. I will most likely have the yogurt for a mid morning snack, eat the grapes, avocado and chicken for lunch and save the carrots, hummus and orange to eat throughout the afternoon. So what I have is a day packed with a lot of great nutrients, protein, good fat and fiber. I will stay full and satisfied with healthy nutritious foods. Sometimes I think it is easier to see a picture rather than just read about something. This is so easy to through together as everything is already prepared since it is all mostly fresh!! I am all about ease and this works perfectly for me. Maybe it will inspire you in your lunch packing process! ;)


Have a great Monday (I know, the words "great" and "Monday" really don't go well together, but try!).

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This is what it's ALL about;)