Quinoa is.......


yummy

gluten free

a carbohydrate that is also super high in protein

a healthy grain

yummy

an amazing source of fiber

low in calories

yummy

flavorful

full of 9 essential amino acids

and did I mention it's yummy yet?

There's so many things you can do with this ancient grain of the Incas. History lesson for the day - quinoa provided the nutrition the Incas needed to survive the harsh Andean climate. This is my quinoa salad. The ingredients will vary depending on what's in my fridge, but as long as it's all natural and green it's safe to toss it in and I can guarantee it will be delicious. It keeps in the fridge for several days, although it never lasts that long, and it's delicious cold.


1 cup quinoa

2 cups water

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 limes, juiced

3 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more to taste

1 1/2 cups halved cucumber slices

1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed5 green onions, finely chopped

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/4 cup bell peppers

1/4 cup jalapeño peppers

salt and ground black pepper to taste

  1. Bring quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until quinoa is tender and water has been absorbed, 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Whisk olive oil, lime juice, cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, and red pepper flakes together in a bowl.
  3. Combine quinoa, tomatoes, black beans, and green onions together in a bowl. Pour dressing over quinoa mixture; toss to coat. Stir in cilantro; season with salt and black pepper. Serve immediately or chill in refrigerator.

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These have quickly become a go to breakfast and snack item in my house. The mixture will keep for up to two days — if you don’t add the banana, up to four days. However, once you are experienced, you’ll have no problem whipping up another batch midweek if needed!

Refrigerate overnight or at least 5 hours
Ingredients:
1/3 to 1/2 cup rolled oats
1/3 to 1/2 cup liquid of choice
1/3 to 1/2 cup yogurt (optional)
1/2 banana, mashed (optional)
1 teaspoon chia seeds
Toppings of choice
Method:
1. Add the desired base ingredients to a jar or other container and give them a good stir. Refrigerate overnight or for at least 5 hours.
2. In the morning, add additional liquid if you’d like. Once you achieve the desired consistency, add any toppings that you have on hand.
 
Nutrition information per serving (calculated based on 1/3 cup oats, 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1 teaspoon chia seeds and 1/2 medium banana):
Calories 190; Total Fat 4 g; Saturated fat 0 g; Sodium 62 mg; Total Carbohydrates 34 g; Fiber 6 g; Sugars 8 g; Protein 6 g

As you can see our oats are labeled by owner. Whipping these up with Taylor not only give us quality time together, but encourages her to eat a natural Whole Foods treat that she's created instead of a quick processed food snack.

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Feeling happy with the progress I've made. I have been far from perfect - it's football season - a girls gotta indulge a little, but I have been consistent. Eating 6 meals a day consisting of whole foods, drinking a gallon of water, taking my supplements and going 100% on my workouts. You don't have to be perfect to make progress you just have to be consistent with what your doing and never let a day of indulging set you back. #keepitmoving

Life is too short to give up all the good stuff.

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I get a lot of question about supplements. People always would like to know my personal regimen, what brands I use, what I think about certain products and/or ingredients, and especially what I simply cannot live without because let's face it most of us are on a budget and cannot afford to buy everything we need when we begin a fitness regimen. Over the next week, I want to do my best to share with you the products that I feel are essential to everyone and what I think are some of the additional supplements that one can add in later as their budget allows.

Multivitamins

No matter who you are or what your lifestyle entails taking a quality multivitamin everyday is essential. Especially if you are trying to build muscle or lose weight. There are many health issues that stem from deficiencies in micro-nutrients, and being low in them can be the reason why your not reaching your fitness goals. I use M-Factor Goddess by 1st Phorm because you can get all your micro-nutrients in M-Factor. Its a whole foods supplement and is chelated for maximum absorption. I've done this fitness thing both ways - meaning with and without supplements and because I saw the difference that incorporating a few key products into my regimen and how it increased my results. I always recommend what I find value in to my personal training clients however, I highly recommend certain brands over others. Quality over quantity is huge for me in every aspect of my life. It's not about brand recognition. It's simply about feeding my body with the best fuel out there. Yes, I am affiliated with 1st Phorm, but I started using their products and recommending them long before I represented their brand. I was lucky enough to become affiliated with them a few years ago and because of that I receive training on all of their products to increase my knowledge.  Their manufacturing standards and the quality of their supplements are, by far, best in the industry and one of the best investments you can make is in quality supplements. Whatever you buy, make sure it’s made in an FDA approved lab with GMP standards and do not buy tablets! If you’re pills are not in capsule form you are wasting your money!

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Life the past 2 weeks have been similar to being on a ride I couldn't get off. There are so many unexpected things that have occurred that were completely out of my hands. I'm happy to say I was able to stay on point with my diet and workouts. I haven't been 100% but that's why this is a lifestyle program because missing a few meals or a few workouts isn't going to throw me completely off my program I just pick everything up the next day and keep moving forward. There are always going to be unexpected things popping up - that is life - it's how we handle ourselves during those moments when we are on the roller coaster that isn't stopping that helps us to either reach our goals or fail miserably. One or two off days, a missed a meal, the night you have to eat two pieces of pizza because you have a meeting at your child's school and you just simply don't have enough time for anything else, the days you only get half a workout in, those are the times that you have to push through put behind you and pick back up where you left off. If I was to quit every time I had an off day or a missed work out and throw in the towel because everything was ruined by missing a day I would be a quitter and I refuse to be a quitter. I would never want to set that example for my children so I know I have to stay strong and push through. I put a smile on my face deal with the stressful times best I can and then get back into my routine.

I am happy to share that I've lost 3 inches and am down one pant size. I don't own scale so I have no clue what my weight is and I don't care. The numbers on a scale mean nothing to me and I refuse to gauge the product of my hard work on a number. All I truly care about is how I feel. After all the stress I've had over the past 2 weeks I was happy to see I had lost a few inches and went out and bought myself a new pair of jeans. I gave myself 3 days off of everything. I ate pizza, I drank one too many glasses of wine, I went to an amusement park and had a sausage sampler with a piece of heavenly carrot cake and I don't feel bad about it, but I knew I needed to reset and restart on Monday morning.

I have felt an immense amount of stress over the past few weeks that I told myself I would let go of as of this morning. I had to restart mentally and emotionally. I love my life so I have to choose to focus on how happy I am because I can't control the unexpected curveballs life throws at me, but I can control how I'm affected by them. I need to get motivated to workout so I started with a walk just to clear my head, made a plan of attack for my day 1 workouts of phase 2 of the 90 day challenge and I'm going to spend a minimum of 5 minutes tonight and every night moving forward doing my favorite yoga posture Legs-Up-The-Wall pose (Viparita Karani). It calms the mind. Try it. As you breathe, surrender and let go, you may find yourself slipping into bliss. If nothing else you get all the benefits of an inversion without any effort.

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EAT


Start eating! I know I'm constantly preaching about eating but it takes so much longer to speed up your metabolism than it does to slow it down. Eat every 3 to 4 hours everyday to keep it moving!!!! The human body is a ‘refuel as it goes machine,’ which simply means it needs to be consistently fed to provide energy to live and this type of consistent feeding stabilizes your blood sugar levels and creates internal hormonal balance, which keeps you from packing on the pounds. In order to eat every 3 hours you must always have food prepared and on hand. Eat within an hour of waking to kick-start your metabolism. Then keep eating every three to four hours ending at bedtime.

Preparing food tonight for this weekend because Friday night preps are essential to my success. My 10 year old has a field hockey tournament tomorrow and a lacrosse tournament Sunday, which means her biggest fan will need meals prepared and ready to go at 6am. Yes that's right 6am....

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Push Yourself

Want to see a change? Then you need to increase the amount of weight you are lifting on a weekly basis whenever possible. Women are always concerned if they lift heavy their physique will be too muscular. We are women and our bodies on not made to become bulky like a man's body. We are not genetically made to look like bodybuilders. Most of the time when you see a woman who appears to be "bulky" or "manly" she is more than likely taking something such as a PED to assist her in transforming into that type of physique.

Do not be afraid to push yourself to increase the amount of weight you are lifting. Lifting weight builds muscle by creating micro tears in your muscle. As long as your nutrition is on point, your body heals these tears while you are sleeping and your muscle becomes more dense.

I record every single amount I lift every single workout in a little notebook and each week I hope to add a bit more weight wherever possible. For my heavy squat and deadlift days I like to break out the chalk on the concrete and I take a picture so I can improve each week. Remember, master your form first then the fun starts!!!

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Keep it simple

Due to our busy Labor Day yesterday I missed recipe Monday so I hereby declare today recipe Tuesday!!

This is one of my absolute favorites and it's super quick and easy.

I'm obsessed with one bowl recipes.

Half a medium avocado

One medium sized vine ripe tomato

Sliced leftover steak (I recommend NY strip)

Add a little sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Voila!! Delicious and healthy meal.

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Balance

Flashback - Past few days were amazing and crazy busy. Both days I woke up super motivated. I got my workouts in early and my nutrition was on point from the time I woke up until the time my head hit the pillow. Everything else that happened in between there was a hectic, overwhelming, cluster F of crazy. As a mom of three, all of whom are a very different points in their adolescence I have learned that rather than stressing out over getting it all done in one day I just have to get done what's at the top of the priority list. My kids are always number one and what comes after changes on a daily basis!

Finding balance is something that I have always struggled with. Priorities change day by day and there is always the unknown that is bound to happen in life. For me, I have all I need in life with my beautiful family but that doesn't mean I don't want to take time to invest in myself and find a way to spend time working on other things that I'm passionate about. I have many goals and dreams that I sometimes have to put down for a while because I simply don't have time for them but it doesn't mean that I won't pick them back up.

Myself and all the other mothers that I know are constantly chasing the dream of a balanced lifestyle. It doesn't matter if you're a stay-at-home mom, a self-employed work at home mom, a part-time working mom, a full-time working mom or any combination of two or more of these. All I can do is hopefully find stretches of blissful balance where I'm spending exactly the right amount of time on both mothering and fulfilling my passion/earning a little bit of additional income for my family.

Spent the day storm chasing with these two daredevils. Never a dull moment and I wouldn't have it any other way.

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A little over 2 weeks in is the point where I see a lot of people start to struggle and fall off their health and fitness program. My advice to anyone who is looking to make a lifestyle change is before you start think long and hard about why you are doing this, set some very clear and realistic short-term and long-term goals for yourself, know that this is going going to take constant attention and effort on your part. It might mean getting up an extra hour early in the morning or staying up an extra hour late at night. It might mean sacrificing something you once thought was important in order to gain something that was once impossible to achieve. To be successful you're going to have to push through the pain of that last set, you're going to have to take the time to have food prepped at all times, you're going to have to do without overindulging at parties and events, you're going to have to get your priorities straight and believe in and push yourself because no one is going to do this for you.

I love looking at pre-baby number 3 pictures of myself because I know that I did exactly what I'm doing right now in order to get there. It took nine months to grow my beautiful baby girl and I know it's going to take at least that much time to get back to where I was prior to my 3rd pregnancy. If you are looking for overnight results, hopefully they will happen in your dreams, because in reality, this is a process that you have to trust in and know that it takes time.

Find something that inspires you to put in the work.

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