Fall Food: Stuffed Squash

I have almost a dozen squash to figure out what to do with! I spent the day yesterday scouring the internet for just the right recipe. I couldn’t find what I was looking for, so I made up my own. As my friend Julie would say…I “scratched” it up! And the finished product was…

Lean Turkey & Quinoa Stuffed Squash with Apples and Cranberries


3-4 squash (depending on size and variety) – cut in halves

1 T. olive oil

salt & pepper to taste

1.25 lbs extra lean ground turkey breast

1 C. quinoa

1 C. broth + 1 C. water

1 t. olive oil

1/2 onion – diced

2 stalks celery – diced

1 apple

1/3 C. dried cranberries

1/2 t. sage

1/2 t. pepper

1.   Preheat oven to 400 degrees & prepare squash halves for baking: brush with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Bake for 50-60 minutes.

2.   Cook quinoa in broth and water per package instructions (apx. 15 minutes)

3.   In 1 t. olive oil, cook onion and celery until tender, apx. 5 minutes. Add ground turkey and cook until browned.  Add diced apple and cranberries, cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, season with sage, and ground pepper and salt to taste. Add cooked quinoa to the pan and toss together.


4.   Heat oven to 350 degrees. Stuff the squash halves with turkey, quinoa mixture and return to oven until heated through 15-20 minutes.

Done & Delicious!


30 Day Results Are In!

There are some excellent results coming from my October Challenge Group!  With 5 challengers reporting so far…check this out…

In 30 days they have lost:

5.1 pounds and 6.25 inches

9 pounds and 6 inches

3.4 pounds and 6.5 inches

8 pounds and “I lost my before inches number, but it must be less now”

5.6 pounds and 9.5 inches

Five of the participants so far have reported losing a total of 31.1 pounds  and 28.25 + unknown 🙂 inches !!!  And more importantly…they’re still in it, pressing forward and committed! We are all using programs such as ChaLEAN Extreme, Turbo Fire, Yoga Booty Ballet and Tony Horton’s 10 minute Trainer. You don’t need a gym to get results like these! The participants were all able to accomplish this while working out in their own homes, and eating well. Most importantly, we keep ourselves accountable and provide support to each other along the way! I cannot wait to see how we all do over the next 30 days.  I love my job!

Also…want to see how I make my Shakeology every day? It’s quite possibly my favorite meal of the day. I actually start looking forward to it the night before. Is that weird?

Have Box, Must Climb

What are you doing RIGHT now? Where are you right now? Because NOW is what matters the most. You’ve heard this before right? It’s not a new concept, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. I am all for learning from the past, and having goals for your future, but I think we all need to focus a lot more on being present, in the present tense and living for the moment of now.

What is ‘now’? Now is happening every second, in every opportunity and in every choice you make. Every step you take, every move you make…no wait, that’s a Police song, and I won’t be watching you, cause that’s creepy. But consider this, there are 86,400 seconds in a 24 hour day. So let’s say a third of those are spent sleeping, which leaves 57,600 seconds every day that you spend awake, and engaged in the activities of the day. That means you have 57,600 opportunities in your day. How will you spend them?

Will you reflect on the past? Or will you just be in the moment of now? I think that when you spend your time thinking too much about the past, you might become complacent and assume that not much you do will change your course. Let’s talk about this in terms of health. Maybe you’ve dieted in the past, and fallen back to old habits. Maybe you tried a new exercise, and slowly fell away from that, too.  Well, now you have a story, and that story becomes an excuse, and you don’t seize the opportunity to make a change NOW. You have 57,600 opportunities a day that can make a difference now. You can’t change your past, but you can start with now. Take a walk, choose the fruit-not the doughnut, park farther away from the store instead of wasting time circling the parking lot, take the stairs, try to a new exercise program, look for a healthy recipe on the internet to make for dinner…etc. These choices take seconds to make. Just think how many good choices you could make in one day, rather than let time tick by…grab a second by the neck, and show it who’s boss!

Will you dwell on the future? Do you live in the land of ‘someday’? Make someday happen today. Sure, write down your goals, visualize the future, and then do something about it. Someday never happens if you don’t start now. Did you miss an opportunity a second ago? That’s ok, because you have 57,599 other seconds to get it right. Why start your diet on Monday, when you can do it now? Why wait until after the holidays to undo all of the mistakes that seem inevitable? You give yourself permission to fail when you ignore the opportunities that you have right now. Plan less, act more. 🙂

Now exists in the middle of “I did” and “I will”. What will you DO today. Do something that flies in the face of the past, and brightens your future. Just Do It…Now! (Nike should have added “now” to their slogan, don’t ya think?)

Here are the last 2 days of my Clean Eating Challenge:

And finally, if you haven’t seen my results already, here they are. I cannot believe what I was able to accomplish in 25 days! I made a lot of really deliberate choices everyday during this challenge. And they were choices! You can make them, too….guess when…NOW!

Oh Happy Day!

Happy Halloween!

So good news first! If you’ve been following along, you know that I decided to start Beachbody coaching about 2 months ago. Since then, I have lost 12 pounds and almost 10 inches! This alone is so fantastic and thrilling, but on top of that I’ve been working with friends and family members who are all on their fitness journeys, too. It’s been so fun to connect with friends and family and new people as well!  Thanks for being supportive, and please feel free to contact me if you’d like any information about the programs I use, the food I eat, or the coaching opportunity!

So here are my updates for days 20-23 of the cleaner eating challenge.

Actually…there really isn’t anything too exciting to report in terms of food, come to think of it. I think the most exciting thing I did was to make a warm-up for Thanksgiving meal last night that was all squeaky clean! I cooked a turkey breast in my crock pot all day, with some carrots and celery, and made some green beans (which happen to be one of my favorite veggies!). The hubs and kids wanted Stove Top stuffing of all things with it…though I did not partake. Enjoy the turkey recipe, maybe it’ll come in handy for your Thanksgiving! 🙂 I need to start thinking about how I’m going to clean up that holiday menu…it’s going to be a real challenge, but I’m up for it.

Caterpillars Squirt When You Step on Them!

Today was the last day of the Farmers Market, which means no more 5:00 a.m. alarms on Saturdays, and no more f-f-f-freezing cold mornings spent standing behind the bounty of veggies I’ve come to know and love. It also means no more chats with repeat customers about the soup they plan to make with their swiss chard, or the kale chips they’re going to bake later that day. No more chats with my co-farmers between customers, or wafts of bacon and sausage, cinnamon bread and coffee.  There is a lot going on at the local farmers market.  And despite the fact that I am NOT a morning person, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every minute, and learned a lot in the process.

What brought me to be here, early Saturday mornings while my whole family snoozed happily in their beds? Well, we decided to do a helping share at a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), which means that we spent 3 hours a week working at the farm in some capacity. At the beginning of the season, we spent evenings at the farm with the kids clipping up rows and rows of tomato plants, until we were literally GREEN! Other times we would weed and weed, because somewhere in the thick there was certainly a row of kale to be found. Stone Coop Farm is certified organic, meaning they don’t use any pesticides, or weed killers of any sort.  As a result, they rely very heavily on good old-fashioned manual labor! Pulling weeds is such a KILLER hamstring workout, you have no idea! As summer temperatures rose and kids became busy with friends, I decided to work the three hours myself, at the farmers market every Saturday. Good times…

I learned so many things that I never would have otherwise. Here are just a few:  I learned that kids LOVE chickens! They had such a blast chasing them around as little chicks, and not-so-little chickens. They gave them names, learned the proper holding techniques, and stepped in lots of poo. I learned about the most interesting vegetables too, like kohlrabi, indigo rose tomatoes and sweet reba squash. The varieties and colors are endless and amazing! We really miss out on so much variety when we only shop at the grocery store! And the taste is unparalleled! We discovered that tomato worms are very juicy and squirt up your leg when you squash them! This is an activity that was performed many times! At fifty cents a pop, the kids were motivated! 🙂 Most of all we learned where our food comes from, who grows it, and how important it is to help sustain such an operation. We’re big fans. This was my last early Saturday, for this year, but I’ll be back…if they’ll have me. 😉

I’ll post my Clean Eating Challenge pics, and highlight a couple of the recipes I particularly enjoyed!

Let’s see, day 17 highlights would be the super yummy pumpkin steel-cut oatmeal that my crock pot cooks for me overnight while I sleep.  I posted that recipe about a week ago.  If you’re interested, just search “oatmeal”, and you’ll find it. For dinner I made a family favorite, which also happens to be clean and healthy, as long as you avoid a lot of ‘dirty’ toppings: shredded chicken tacos.

Day 18 consisted mostly of leftovers and quick grabs. Nothing fancy or fun to report here.





Two yummy things happened on Day 19. I discovered that I could make a clean version of french toast, which sounded so delicious after I made standard french toast for the kids. For mine, I used Ezekiel bread that I dipped in egg whites, almond milk, cinnamon and vanilla. I used blueberries sweetened with a little Stevia for the topping and Oh My was it yummy. It really satisfied a craving, and I love when that happens. For dinner I made stuffed portobello mushrooms that were a real treat too, if you’re a fungus-lover like me. 🙂

And that sums it all up for today. Going to go take a nap, or workout…or both. 😉

Just a Quick Post Today + BONUS Sushi Recipe!

We started having a little too much fun with my clean-eating challenge pictures.  If you look hard enough you’ll find the Green Lantern in one of the food pictures each day.  We crack ourselves up over here.  Day 14 started with coffee, and my homemade vanilla coffee cream (the recipe is a few days down in the blog), and an “omelette” that sort of fell apart :(. I had an apple with chocolate PB2, mixed with a little yogurt for dipping, as a snack. Lunch was another tasty, colorful salad. I did my workout and then ENJOYED a Tropical Strawberry Vegan Shakeology…so tasty! And for dinner, I had part of a spicy tuna sushi roll made with brown rice.  I was low in the calorie department, but felt fine…so there ya go.

Day 15 was organic oatmeal for breakfast (with coffee…duh!) and a hard-boiled egg. I grabbed a honey crisp apple and some almonds for snack.  Of course I had my Shakeology after my Chalean Extreme workout. I made an extra lean turkey burger and sweet potatoes from our CSA for dinner.  I LOVE PICKLES (sorry, I just had to get that off my chest!) And when I’m low on calories…it’s popcorn, for a little chill time on the couch with the family. 🙂

Day 16…more than half-way done with my challenge.  Can you find the Green Lantern.  He may never recover from this challenge.  He might be scarred for life. I had an omelette and some cinnamon raisin Ezekiel toast for breakfast. I enjoyed my Shakeology after a super sweaty TurboFire workout. Look at my pretty salad that I made for lunch. Eating a rainbow just isn’t a sacrifice! I made a snack with plain greek yogurt, blueberries and almonds. And then I rocked a tasty dinner of HOMEMADE quinoa and brown rice California roll sushi for dinner! Anyone can make this! You can use the tried and true old-school method of rolling with a bamboo mat, or you can use one of these nifty contraptions:

 It kind of looks like some sort of Star Wars laser shooter thingie. You can order it on Amazon and it really makes the whole process easy and fun.  The kids enjoyed helping me make our sushi!

And here is the recipe to make your own HEALTHY brown rice & quinoa sushi rolls:


I Swore I’d Never Do This!

Check out these statistics: 69 percent of children aged 2-5 can use a computer mouse, but only 11 percent  can tie their own shoelaces. More young children know how to play computer games (58 percent) than swim (20 percent) or ride a bike (52 percent).  There is no gender divide either. Boys and girls under the age of 5 are equally capable  of using technology.

So, I’m about to do something I said I’d never do.  I’m going to say something that used to make my skin crawl when my parents would say it to me.  At the risk of sounding like an old lady, I’m just going to say it:  When I was a kid….

When I was a kid, I played from morning til night, outside usually.  I’d ride my bike, play kickball or kick the can (my personal favorite).  I’d climb trees, play football with the boys in the neighborhood and jump rope with the girls.  I was a bit of a tom-boy, the son my dad never had. 😉 It wasn’t just me either, it was all of us.  We played…a lot! I was thinking recently about the trend of childhood obesity and wondering how much the changing times plays a role.

Technology has taken the place of Nerf balls, jump ropes and bicycles.  I’m not saying that kids NEVER do these things anymore, but you have to admit it’s probably far less than when we were kids (look, I said it again…pretty sure another gray hair just sprouted out of my head). My kids go in streaks where they’ll play outside for a good chunk of the day, and then suddenly a video game, or an app, or a tv show takes precedence. My personal favorite is when the neighbor kids come over and ‘virtually’ play with each other; everyone on their own personal device. It’s bizarre. But, I’m an old lady, what do I know?

I’m not going to make the argument that all of this technology is a bad thing. I think it’s awesome that the kids have all of this information at their fingertips. The things that they can do on the computer never cease to amaze me! I think the Wii is a pretty cool thing, too.  At least they’re moving right? And I’m just as guilty of enjoying my own technology. You will rarely find me without my smart phone in hand, or laptop on my…lap. (duh :P) But I’m a grown up, on the way to being an old lady, and I played my heart out as a kid!

I don’t actually have a real solution to this conundrum.  I’m not really an advocate of forcing my kids to play. That seems silly right? “Go outside and play, and have fun, or you’re grounded!” ??? I do want them to WANT to play outside and be active, however. For now, I think we have a pretty good balance. I don’t worry too much about my own kids. I’m just concerned with the trend, and how it started, and how we’re going to end it.

We are a fast-moving, information-seeking, technology-loving society. We eat more and more fast, convenient and processed food as a result. And that is a topic for another day…don’t get me started!!!

And that brings me to my 30 Day Clean Eating challenge, Days 12 and 13.

Day 12 was fairly unremarkable. I’m falling into a groove now! I made a 1 egg plus 2 egg white omelette with peppers, mushrooms and reduced fat feta for breakfast. I had another quinoa salad for lunch. Shakeology, almonds, and an apple for various snacks during the day. For dinner we went out for Mexican food with friends to celebrate a birthday. I did well with grilled lime swordfish tacos (white tortillas weren’t the greatest, but what can you do?) with a cabbage and carrot slaw and avocado. They were really tasty!

Day 13 was a long day. I was up a 5:00, so spacing my meals out was a bit of a challenge. Coffee and a 1 egg/2 white mushroom, spinach, reduced fat feta scramble for breakfast. Tropical Strawberry Vegan Shakeology is my new favorite!  It’s so yummy! It was leftover turkey chili for lunch. I enjoyed a beautiful, red honey crisp apple and almonds for a snack.  We had a chicken fajita dinner at my parents’ house. They really hit the spot! I put mine in a wheat tortilla with chopped tomato, avocado and onion.  They were so colorful and delicious. Finally, I chilled on the couch with my husband and a bowl of popcorn.  It was a really good day. 🙂

Now I’m going to put this laptop down, and go play. I’m doing TurboFire for my workout today and I’m pretty sure that counts! It’s too fun not to be considered playtime!

Now go play!

Challenge Update & Yummy Recipes

Day 10 was a hurry hurry day. I was running around from the second I woke up in the morning.  That’s the one tricky thing about clean eating, your ‘grab-and-go’ food items are limited to fruits, some veggies and food that is leftover from a previous meal. Even cereal is off my list because it’s processed. So for breakfast I microwaved an egg, threw it on some Ezekiel toast and sliced up some avocado on top.  It was fast, and surprisingly tasty. I like the egg and avocado together.  For lunch I made my favorite Greek salad…again.  For a snack I had a bowl of plain Greek yogurt (I have a thing for Greeks) sweetened with a Stevia packet, and cut up strawberries and almonds on top.  Very satisfying!  Even though I was short on time, I made Tilapia, quinoa and lemon roasted broccoli.  It came together quickly and everything was delicious.  Here are the recipes.  *You could probably use any fish with this recipe.


Eleven is my favorite number and it was a good day, too.  I woke up and made breakfast for 5, I packed up lunches for 5 (we were going to be out all day again…surprise!) and put dinner for 6 in my crock pot!  All before 9:00! I had oatmeal with strawberries and almond milk for breakfast and Shakeology on the road. For lunch I used my leftover quinoa to make a tasty salad to go.  For dinner we ate the delicious turkey chili that my crock pot made for us  while we were gone.  It was super tasty!  There were a few healthy snacks tossed in throughout the day as well…but let’s get on with the recipes, shall we?

Quinoa Avocado Salad

(for 1, modify for additional servings)

1 C. quinoa

1 tomato (I used a roma)

1/4 fresh, chopped cilantro

1/2 avocado (cut into chunks)

 1  T. chopped onion OR 1/2 t. onion powder

1 garlic clove, minced OR 1/2 t. garlic powder

1/2 fresh lime, juiced

salt and pepper to taste

* Toss everything together in a bowl and serve!

Turkey Crockpot Chili

 1 1/4 pound lean ground turkey, I use the EXTRA lean ground turkey breast:

3/4 C. yellow cornmeal

1 C. chicken or vegetable broth

1 – 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes

small can of green chilis

1/2 C. or your favorite salsa

1 small onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

3/4 cup frozen (or canned) corn

1 can kidney beans, rinsed & drained

2-3 T. chili powder

1t. cumin

Directions:  Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and cook turkey until it’s browned and cooked through. Meanwhile, soak cornmeal in broth, whisk and let sit for about 5 minutes. Add cooked turkey and cornmeal mixture to the crock pot along with all of the other ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 7-8 hours.

Optional toppings:  reduced fat shredded cheese, low-fat sour cream, black olives, avocado, whatever you like 🙂

Nice for a chili weekend, get it?! 😉

Fall Off Horse, Get Back Up, Repeat?

If you’ve never ridden a horse before, it’ll take some time to learn how, right?  If it’s been awhile, you’re going to need some practice.  If it’s something you want to do…you’ll keep trying until you are securely in the saddle and riding into the sunset, or wherever you want to ride…it’s just that the sunset seems like a place that people on horses want to go.  Just saying.

You’ve heard all of the sayings…”Fall down 7 times, get up 8″, “If you fell down yesterday, stand up today”, “I get knocked down but I get up again…” (ok, maybe not a saying, but a catchy tune).  I guess you can hear these words and say these things until you’re blue in the face, but until you’ve lived it and embraced it might not seem real.  I can say these words to someone everyday, loudly even, and that person may hear what I’m saying, but not believe me.  What advice would you give to someone who thinks they’ve failed, and finds it easier to stay down rather than get up and try again?

We’re all going to fall down sometimes right?  But if you’ve clearly defined goals in your mind that you really want to achieve…you MUST get back up.  Don’t forget what’s important to you, and don’t let a misstep or a step backwards distract you from what you want.  Keep it in sight, remind yourself of it everyday.  Let every choice you make start with a question: “Is this going to help me reach my goals?”  I want to shout from the mountain top, or at least a really high hill, that YOU CAN DO IT!!!  Of course you can! It’ll take time, committment and a whole lot of hard work, but if it’s your goal, than do it.  Take the time, make the commitments and do the work. We may or may not be discussing horses at this point, but you get where I’m going here. I can believe in you, your friends can believe in you, but you’re the one who needs to get in the saddle and ride.  So…do you believe in you?  If so, than grab my hand, get up and try again.

Challenge Days 8 & 9

Nothing fancy going on here.  I did find some tasty organic pomegranate oatmeal at Costco that I like…so that’s good.  I had my leftover frittata for lunch. That tasty looking snack is some plain Greek yogurt, sweetened with a little Stevia and blueberries and crunched up almonds on top.  A big salad, some Shakeology and a ChaLEAN Extreme workout rounded out the day.  I was pretty low on calories, but I ran out of time in the day, and wasn’t particularly hungry…so what are you gonna do?

Man, I need to do some more cooking.  Yesterday I was a little desperate at dinner time and seriously just grabbed stuff out of the frig and threw it together and called it dinner.  I had a leftover chicken breast that I chopped up and put on 2 whole wheat tortillas that I spread with avocado.  I put a little reduced fat cheese and homemade salsa on top and that was that.  Not pretty, but filling and fast.  I made another bowl of yummy oatmeal for breakfast.  We went hiking so I grabbed a bag of almonds for the trail.  I enjoyed another big salad for lunch and worked out like a ninja in my black clothes. No mask though…too sweaty.

If you fell down while reading this blog…GET UP!

The Glass is Almost Totally Full! and Challenge Catch Up

I am an optimist.  It has mostly served me well in my life.  I say ‘mostly’ because I can think of a few instances where it hasn’t…like believing that people are always good, nobody will ever hurt me, and nothing bad could possibly happen.  I’ve been wrong a few times about those things.  But overall I’d say I’m right most of the time.  I like to give people the benefit of the doubt.  Actually, I have no choice.  I’m a die-hard optimist.

I was thinking about this today in terms of health and nutrition.  Here’s how an optimist looks at these particular goals: I like to think of what I CAN eat, as opposed to what I CAN’T.  As you know I’m participating in this cleaner eating challenge, and when I look at the pictures I’m taking, I can’t help but think how pretty and delicious everything looks.  It doesn’t seem like a sacrifice at all to me when I GET to eat all of that yummy food.  I go to the store with a different mindset.  I’m looking for what I can have, and not begrudging what I can not have. I come home with bags of fruits and veggies and other healthy foods. I get excited to cook new recipes and try new foods.  Maybe I’m weird.  Ya, probably.  😉

For exercise, I like to think of what I CAN do, and not what I CAN’T.  Maybe not everyone can, or wants to try, to run.  So, what CAN you do?  Can you walk?  I bet you can.  Maybe not everyone has weights in their house.  Can you do push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups (there are a lot of “ups” here that require only your body as weight) squats, lunges, etc? I bet you can.  Maybe you can’t go to the gym, but do you own a DVD player?  I’ve got some awesome workouts I could recommend to you.  And they’re FUN, too!  You see where I’m going here.  Start with what you CAN do.  Focus on what you CAN eat. Your mindset will change, and so will your habits. You’ll be on your way to eternal optimism. Well…maybe. 🙂

Who would think that they could start a new health and fitness business at 40?…Me! But this one was kind of a no-brainer for me.  I love to workout.  I enjoy eating healthy foods. And I LOVE to talk.  That just about sums up my new job.  These are things I most definitely CAN do.  🙂

So here are my weekend Clean Eating Challenge pictures and a couple of recipes:

 Nothing remarkable on Day 5, except I learned how to make my own “almost” fat free coffee cream.  Want the recipe? Click here:   Oh, and the pretty green drink is a spinach, kale, strawberry, pineapple smoothie that was delicious!  Seriously, don’t knock it til you try it.

Day 6 looked like this:

  This was my “cheat” day, well sort of.  I ate really clean during the day and then it was “Ladies Night Out”.  So for dinner I splurged on 2 small pieces of veggie pizza and a salad with a little drizzle of raspberry vinaigrette dressing…oh…and 2 vodka tonics :o. Ladies night out doesn’t happen very often, so I forgave me.

Day 7 looked like this:

 I had a big salad for lunch, with lots of veggies and 1/2 of a very lean turkey burger sliced on top. Raw almonds are an excellent snack to keep in the house. I had mine with half of a honey crisp apple and a tall glass of water and felt very full.  Dinner was so yummy, I’ll have to share the recipe.  I made a spinach, ricotta (low-fat), tomato frittata.  It was delicious!  Recipe here:  (I added tomatoes to mine, but it wasn’t part of the original recipe).

So there you go!  What CAN you do today?