Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Simple Dinner Recipe for 1, Please

I love being a wife.  I love cooking dinner for my husband and sitting down to enjoy it together.  It takes a lot of time and planning, but it is something I really do enjoy.  Unfortunately, we have only lived together for about 8 months of our 2 1/2 year marriage (another story for another day!)

During that time, we had a few of our "staple" dinners (chicken, turkey burgers, tacos..usually with a starch and veggie). The other days, I would try a new recipe or two.

However, my husband and I are apart for much of the year and I've grown accustomed to cooking for myself.  I still keep the same idea.  This is a very simple recipe that is filling and appropriate for anyone doing the 21 Day Fix, 21 Day Sugar Detox, or Paleo (Score!)

A few notes:
I usually make a spaghetti squash and ground turkey on Sunday during my meal prep for the week, so I have it to grab and warm up quickly.  Otherwise, throw the spaghetti squash in the oven and unwind with a good book while it cooks :)  SO it will make extra, but I use it for lunch or other recipes for myself during the week.  If you don't like leftovers, well, only make about 1/4 lb of ground turkey...and I wouldn't say spaghetti squash is the best choice for ya!

Also, for the most part, it is better to steam veggies instead of boiling them. WHY?  Because most veggies have water-soluble vitamins...meaning they dissolve in water. So when you boil your veggies, they release all of their delicious nutrients into the water the longer they cook. Whoops! Steaming them is a much better option when you can!  You can use the microwave or stovetop.

Turkey Spaghetti Squash + Broccoli




Ingredients:
1 lb Ground Turkey
1 Spaghetti Squash
1 Frozen Bag of Broccoli
Ghee (or Grass Fed Butter or Coconut Oil)
Sea Salt
+Any spices you enjoy on ground turkey

Cook the Spaghetti Squash{{ Great Resource }}
1. Preheat to 400 degrees
2. Cut the spaghetti squash in half from stem to tail.
3. Scoop out the seeds.
4. Place in a roasting pan (or really any pan!)
5. Add a little water if you want to help steam the squash.  The roasting will happen even if you omit this step :)
6.  Cook 30 - 45 minutes.  Use a fork to see how tender the skin is to determine if it is finished cooking.
7. Remove from oven and let cool.
8. Use a fork to remove the inside of the squash. Yum!
{Can hold for up to 1 week in the Refrigerator!}

Cook the ground turkey on the stovetop.  I sauté mine with a little coconut oil, depending on the fat content.  Add any spices to your ground turkey that you enjoy {i.e. chili powder, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, lemon pepper, ...}  Since I had a higher quality ground turkey, it did not need any 'extras' :)

Steam the Broccoli. If you have frozen broccoli that can be steamed in the microwave, read the directions accordingly.  Otherwise, steam the broccoli on the stovetop or you can steam them in the microwave.

*Containers are based on the 21 Day Fix*
Serve yourself a green container of the Spaghetti Squash and top with a tsp of Ghee (or Grass Fed Butter or Coconut Oil) and some Sea Salt.  Top with 1 Red Container of the Ground Turkey.  Also give yourself a green container of the broccoli and top with a tsp of Ghee (or Grass Fed Butter or Coconut Oil).



ENJOY!





Sunday, November 30, 2014

Week Four of Thanks! (Last One!)


Thankful that I have finally found balance and harmony in my body.
PiYo is such a huge part of this contribution!

It's beginning to look at lot like Christmas...

Girlfriends and Wine <3

Homemade Pecan Pies for Turkey Day!

Our Post Turkey Burn Boot Camp Picture :)
Raised money for Adopt a Family while sweating it out to enjoy the feast
I prepped for the day by drinking my Shakeology.  Never go hungry to a big meal!

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care...

Somehow I lost my Day 29 photo! :(

Puppy Snuggles and Feeling Loved <3 He's the best.

That's all folks!  #30daysofthanks was super fun!





Sunday, November 23, 2014

Week Three Of Thanks

I love personal development.
This week I discovered Marie Forleo and I'm in love with her!

Sundays are good for the soul. <3

Needed a little help falling asleep and 
I was so grateful that there was at least this one lonely tea bag left!

AHHH!! I'm SO excited!! Desperately trying to figure out how to get to NYC

Amen.  I am SO grateful for ALL of my relationships.

End of the course = Survey time!
I am always nervous to read them, but this warmed by heart.


Just my pups and I snuggled on the couch!








Sunday, November 16, 2014

Week Two of Thanks

Day 8 - I LOVE New Recipes! 
Today, I made homemade almond butter. 
So easy & so delicious! 3 cups of almonds in the food processor and GO!

Day 9 - Penn State's THON and Canning
It was a canning weekend for the current Penn State students and it always makes me proud to see them on the corners raising money for The Four Diamond Foundation and pediatric cancer.  I was a THON dancer with my best friend in 2010 and it was truly one of the most challenging, yet rewarding experiences of my life.

Day 10 - Sometimes you just need to "soak it off"

My Grandfather, Vic

My Late Grandfather, Jerry

Day 12 - This is a screen shot of our pup Murphy running for joy with his new bone.  It reminded me that sometimes you just need to get excited about the little things.

 
Day 13 - Snow Flurries...the first snowfall of the winter! Since I missed Winter for the most part in PA last year, I was excited for it! (But once Christmas is over, I will not be!)

Day 14 - Muggsy <3
He was our family dog growing up - he made it to 17 years old!
Today would have been his 18th birthday.  Our family misses this little dog so much.






Sunday, November 09, 2014

Nutrition is PERSONAL

We make a lot of mistakes when it comes to nutrition, and this happens because we want simple rules.  We want a black and white list - "What to Eat and What NOT to Eat."  We want a SIMPLE go-to for how to structure our meals: low carb, no carb, no gluten, low fat...Paleo, Atkins, South Beach Diet, Cabbage Soup Diet, on and on and on.  Just walk the "health" aisle in Barnes & Noble to find your selection.

The truth is Nutrition is PERSONAL.

NO one has the same genetic make-up and therefore the way that food responses in YOUR body will be different than the response in MY body.  Those are the facts - those are the rules.

Do you know people that SWEAR by a certain way of eating? Awesome - that is what works FOR THEM.  It does not necessarily mean that it will work for you.  Can you try it?  Absolutely, but learn to take notes about how you feel while you do it. (And I wouldn't always trust Joe Shmo on the street.  A lot of people have a lot of opinions about nutrition).

What we do know is that processed foods are not benefitting anyone.  Eating real, whole foods is the best way to go, and then see how it works for you from there.  Make adjustments and listen to your body.



For example, I WANT to eat oatmeal, quinoa, dairy, beans (to name a few).  I DO love to eat them and the variety of meals I can make with those ingredients, but the fact remains, my body does not respond well to them.  Even having a "Shakeology Protein Ball" made with some oatmeal does not settle well :( Occasionally, I will eat them, but I'm aware of the consequences.  I've listened and had enough "experiences" to know my body's response..it's a risk I choose to take! 

So naturally, some people ask "What exactly are whole foods?"

Well, I think that will have to be the next post ;)

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Week One of Thanks!

In my last post, I explained my idea of dedicating the month of November to publishing #30daysofthanks!  Here is a recap of the photos from the first week :)

We are high school sweethearts and I cannot imagine going through life without him!

Our puppy, Murphy, is an English Springer Spaniel.
He is 16 months and certainly a rascal!

I teach a fitness format called PiYo on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.
They are my favorite hours of the week :)

I LOVE a good smelling candle.  They are constantly lit in our home.

"If I were a tea, I would be Yogi Tea" -- I LOVE the inspirational quotes each cup provides :)

I love birthdays {except my own!}  My husband turned 27 today.
It was a Thursday so I posted a #throwbackthursday from our graduation week of high school!



Saturday, November 01, 2014

30 Days of Thanks

November 1st.

November marks the start of the holiday season.
The stress. The penny-pinching. The calories.  The lack of time.

Not this year!

Beginning this holiday season with a different attitude....one of appreciation and thankfulness.
For my family, friends, health, career, and everything else I am lucky to have!

Therefore, I have decided to kick of the month of Thanksgiving with a #30daysofthanks challenge.


Day 1. I am appreciative for the opportunity to coach others.

Monday begins the start of my next health challenge group.  We are all completing the 21 day fix together.  I started the group with a ZOOM call this morning discussing the program, planning, organizing, and more! It was great to interact face-to-face (or via phone for those challengers that were on the go!) I shared my plan of attack with the challengers.  Although it was a Saturday and technically this is part of my job, I do NOT consider it "work" at all.  I woke up excited to share the opportunity with my challengers.  I know they are going to do a wonderful job these next 3 weeks!





Thursday, October 23, 2014

Nutrition Tip #1: Be Aware

It was nearly impossible to decide where to begin for my first nutrition post.

So I ditched my old school pen and paper brainstorming technique, opened my computer, and bam! "Be Aware" just appeared in the title.

Perhaps it is this "spooky" time of year that sparked this epiphany (a neighborhood full of elementary kids leads to pretty interesting Halloween decor with "beware" signs and caution tape galore...), but it made me realize the irony of these words.

Beware. Be Aware.

Kinda eerie, right? ;P My intention was for "be aware" is to be mindful. My blog is titled "Happily" Ever Kate for a reason - I do not want to dwell on the negatives and all of the scary information about our food and habits (although they will definitely creep in, I have no doubt). I'd like to focus on ways to pick ourselves up from our daily routines and find ways to incorporate health, instead of contributing to the Negative Nellies of the world.

A great quote I've heard recently is appropriate here:  "When you focus on health, disease and weight problems will naturally go away."  As a society we focus on the disease, the weight loss, the bad habits - ALL the negatives.  We can talk about these same issues from a different perspective and I think we can all be more positive about our health and start to trend in the right direction.

But I digress.

BE AWARE.

Do you know how much you are eating?  Sounds silly, right? Of course you  know how much you are eating.

But really, think about it.  Just the amount that you eat every day - I am not even worried about the what (yet!).  First, just think outside of your main meals.  That handful of chips or cereal or nuts. That Halloween candy that is just sitting around the office.  Or even at your meals - That extra 'little' scoop of mashed potatoes at dinner.  That bun you mindlessly eat as you wait for dinner to come or the scraps on your plate as you wait to pay the bill....

When you ask someone what they ate in a day, they typically leave out these "details." In reality, those little nibbles can add up to 500+ unnecessary calories a day.  They do not add VALUE to your body or your nutrition.  Perhaps you do not snack.  Great! But assess your meals.  Do you overindulge? Do you feel stuffed at the end of a meal?  (Food Baby anyone!?)

So step one is to be mindful and aware of how much (and then we will eventually look at what) you are eating. When you are going to eat, just quietly assess why you are eating.  Are you bored?  Are you stressed?  Is it just in front of you?  Do you really need that "little extra"?

Start with the "How much?"  You have to evaluate. You have to start by understanding what your habits are before you can change them.

One of the best ways to track this is a food journal.  I know, some people find these extremely annoying and tedious.  But I have to ask then: Are you serious about getting healthy?  Can you take 3 minutes after eating to write it down?  If your answer is no, then you are simply not ready yet.  If you have a smartphone, I find that MyFitnessPal is one of the best ways to track foods.  If you have a fitness band (JawboneUP, FitBit, etc), they also feature food trackers.  You could create a Google Doc or have a small notebook with you.  There is no "best solution" - everyone is different.

For the next 3 days, Be Aware.  Be Mindful.  Think about what you are naturally trying to do with your eating habits.  Then get ready to change them!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Once upon a time...

Let me explain a bit about my history with nutrition & fitness.

I was -- okay, maybe still am a bit?! :/ -- a sweet food addict.  I learned and firmly believed that "calories in=calories out" was the way to design my diet and food choices throughout much of my life.  Therefore, in high school, I would eat ICE CREAM for lunch because it was about 450 calories...about the same as the sandwich or salad and soup I could have opted to eat.  That is, I ate my beloved ice cream for lunch until the lunch lady saw my mom and TOLD on me. {if looks could kill...}  But looking back, I'm glad she did it!!

I was victim to the marketing extravaganza of low-fat diets, low-carb diets, and an array of eating habits that I now know are just not good for our bodies. No wonder I felt like c.r.a.p.

I was also the cardio queen, partially because I was terrified of the dudes lifting weights at the gym.  I would stop on my way home from work and run on the treadmill or feverishly elliptical away that ice cream every time I stepped into LA Fitness.  Sure, I added some crunches, maybe some tricep dips.  But overall, I just have to shake my head.  ESPECIALLY because I see so many people still doing the same.

On some level, "calories in=calories out" will keep your relationship with the scale in check.  But my body composition was not what I would consider healthy.  I suppose I would call myself a "skinny-fat person" if you have heard that term lately.  I'm glad no one was measuring my body fat composition then.  Slowly, I started realizing that my mindset was wrong.

Insert Beachbody home workout programs & nutrition drink, Shakeology.  I moved away from those machines and pure cardio and found a way to satisfy my sweet tooth with a healthier alternative and workouts that incorporated more strength training.  I can save that story for later, but this was another AHA! moment for me.

I believe in knowledge and education (I mean, I do teach!) and in the past few years, I have researched and studied and researched and listened.  I've conducted "experiments" on myself.  I now have the firm belief that we have to feed ourselves the way BIOLOGY (or our creator, depending on your viewpoint) intended.

I believe in eating REAL foods. I do not believe in counting calories (this is what works for me - you may not agree!). I believe in treating my body with respect.  I believe in having energy.  I believe in FEELING GOOD.  

I am excited to share what I have learned. Decide today that you are going to make the change and educate yourself.  It is SO worth it!!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

What is Happiness?

Happiness is ________.

Happiness is tricky because it is unique to every single person on this planet.  Kinda crazy.

So how WOULD you describe it? Honestly, "What is Happiness?"

And while I am asking that question, I can't help by wonder why so many of us seem to live in a state of "unhappiness" (perhaps more easily defined) and continue to do so year after year after year.

I find it somewhat ironic that I am writing about this topic.  Not long ago, I had a very negative mindset.  In a lot of ways, I just felt trapped - feeling sorry for myself and being depressed felt like my only option.  Perhaps it was my perception, but everyone around me seemed extremely UNhappy too.  SO at least I didn't feel alone. Complaining was the only way to go through life, right?

Wrong. Finding the silver lining and pulling myself out of that downward spiral, I now have a better perspective.  I realized I gave way too much power to others and allowed them to control my feelings and emotions. It was a classic example of "Is the glass half empty or half full?" It was all about perspective.  I focused on the negative, even when there were so many positives surrounding me.



So think about the word happiness and what it means to you.  No one else can define it for you.

And the name of this blog finally came to me...Happily Ever Kate. I now live my live attempting to make choices that are going to contribute to my happiness and the happiness of my family and friends.  It has become a priority.

Beyond your own definition, I challenge you to think about what happiness means to the people that you love most in your life.  How can you contribute to their happiness today?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Intention

Welcome to my first blog...and my first blog post!

I wish we were chatting face to face so I could hear more about your story as I share mine...and so I hope you will reach out and connect with me after reading a bit more about my intention for this blog :)

For several months, I have wanted to start a blog.  But what to blog about?! I have SO many interests and hobbies...health, nutrition, fitness, wellness, happiness, cooking, baking, art, diy projects...I was having a hard time deciding what to choose! How could I narrow it down to one topic? I mean I went through 10000x of blog names in my head: From Kate's Plate, The Sweaty Wifey, etc.

That's when that AHA! moment happened.  I was driving and listening to a podcast (yes, fun fact - I listen to podcasts any chance I can!) and a line spoke directly to me.

Live your life with intention.

Now, I know I had heard that line in the past, but for whatever reason it was ringing in my head that day and everything was starting to make sense. I suddenly thought, "This is exactly how I live."   Everything I do in my life has to have a meaning.  It has to have intention. Let me example: I cannot sit and watch a TV show...unless I am also spending that time with my husband or a family member or friends.  I cannot simply drive to the gym or the grocery store without listening to a podcast or audiobook because I am always seeking to improve myself or learn more.  I cannot sleep (ok, bad habit!) because my head spinning with ideas or questions.  I suppose this makes me a queen of multitasking.

But because of this "habit," I have learned a lot about all of these topics and my intention is not to keep them bottled up, but to share them in a fun and creative way with all of you.

I hope you will continue this journey with me.  But even more, I hope I can inspire you and bring a better purpose to your day and your life.