Friday, September 30, 2011

Balancing the Mommy Schedule

Calling all moms!  I'd love to encourage an open dialogue where we share best practices, tips and suggestions on balancing the busy Mommy Schedule.

This is my busiest year yet - both in terms of my own personal schedule and my three girls' schedules.  Here's what we've got going on these days...

Daughter #1 ~ 1st grade, soccer 2 nights per week and on Saturday
Daughter #2 ~ preschool 3 days per week, gymnastics one day, soccer on Saturday
Daughter #3 ~ preschool 2 days per week, dance one day

Then onto my schedule - Teaching TurboKick on Tuesday nights (1-2 classes) with an October class starting on Thursday nights in 2 weeks; Studying for my Holistic Health Coach certification via at home study through Institute for Integrative Nutrition; working at home as a Beachbody Coach; part time work with Brad's Raw Foods; at home work via blog and social networking.  Oh - and let's not forget all that I do as Mommy.  We all know the Mommy List contains endless chores, driving, errands, and a bazillion other things.

I am still trying to find balance via time blocking and prioritizing with To-Do lists.  I have five calendars.  Why so many?  I have no idea.  I use a Google calendar online & on my phone.  I have a Mom Agenda which allows me to have sections for each child along with my own schedule that I carry in my bag.  I have a wall calendar in the kitchen, a wall calendar in my office and a spiral weekly calendar that I use for my To-Do list.  That is enough to confuse me.  Trying to cross reference each calendar and make sure I have certain tasks & activities on all of the calendars gets confusing.  I think I spend more time trying to do that than actually doing those tasks.  What happens when I forget to put something on one of my calendars?  Good question.  I completely forgot about school pictures last week.  Oops.

Did I mention that I color code my calendars?  It goes a little something like this...
  • Black - Beachbody business
  • Light Blue - husband activities
  • Pink - all 3 daughters (although on the kitchen calendar they each have a separate color)
  • Green - my Brad's schedule
  • Purple - Anything else that relates to me
  • Dark blue - Integrative Nutrition activities, webinars, conference calls, modules
  • Red - Integrative Nutrition tests
And this is not including the online & phone calendars!

I think I am drowning in schedules.  I'd love to hear how you busy moms keep your schedules.  If you have tips on how to make mine less confusing, I'm all ears!  Please share your tips, suggestions and what works for you.  I know I'm not the only one trying to juggle so much at once.  Your ideas might help lots of us!

If you'd like more information on my TurboKick classes, Beachbody workout programs or Fit & Healthy Mommy, please email me at

Monday, September 26, 2011

Fall into Fitness & Nutrition - Support & Accountability Group

It's that time of year again!!  Let's all Fall into Fitness & Nutrition together!

If some of you are like me, you might relate to this.  Fall is a time of year where I absolutely love to EAT - apple, pumpkin, cinnamon - YUM.  Unfortunately, a lot of the things I tend to eat are sugar-laden, processed, and made with refined ingredients.  Not so good as it quickly contributes to belly fat (which we know can lead to an array of health problems).  Add on work, studying, school schedules, kids' activities & sports, and a plethora of other time consuming tasks, and my workouts fall to fewer and farther between.  I always gain weight in the fall and early winter.  I'd like to crush it this year and avoid those temptations, while still making time to exercise regularly.

Who's with me??

I will create a Facebook group for accountability, support and motivation (see *note below).  I'll plan on doing the following:
  • sharing recipes
  • daily workout and nutritional tips
  • answering questions & giving suggestions
  • and  most importantly, encouraging active participation from group members so that we can all work together as a team. 

My plan is to keep the group open and active from October 1st through the end of the year (or beyond).

There are no requirements from participants - no need to do a specific exercise program or follow any group rules.  Past experience has proven that active posting (i.e. posting daily or several times per week, as opposed to drop-in or occasional posting) results in ability to stay on track and reach the goals set at the beginning of the challenge.  Therefore, I do ask that group participants please think of at least one goal that you would like to attain by the end of this year.  We'll talk about intentions & affirmations, ways to keep that goal clearly in mind each day so that we can keep working towards it, even if we have setbacks.  Having a goal in mind at the onset of this group will establish a strong start out of the gate.

The purpose of this group is not only to be accountable to yourself, but to reach out and support others as well.  We all do better when we have people cheering us on, celebrating our successes and comforting & lifting us through our struggles, don't you agree?  I'd love to see us all providing that support as well as receiving the encouragement we need to propel us towards our own goals.

I am offering a few incentives for those who wish to participate further.  If you remain active in the group, post often, and share this Fall Into Fitness & Nutrition accountability and support group with friends, I will enter your name into a random drawing for two 45 minute health coaching phone consultations (one can be face to face if you're local!) where I can help you come up with a nutritional guideline including meal planning & shopping lists, assess your goals and write them out, set future intentions, and help with any struggles or questions you have.

Also, keep an eye on my Facebook page (be sure to like it too!): Fit & Healthy Mommy on Facebook; my blog (please follow!): Fit & Healthy Mommy's Blog; and follow me on Twitter: Fit & Healthy Mommy on Twitter because there's a very good chance I'll be giving away some goodies, thanks to the support of some awesome businesses, and you don't want to miss out on the chance to grab some of these!!

Please tell your friends, invite them to join - how fun to do this with a buddy!!  Have them tell their friends.  Tell your family - mom, dad, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings - anyone you think might benefit from a no-strings-attached support group.

(note from above) *The Facebook group will be closed to the public, although it will be searchable - only members of the group can view posts and reply.  If you would like to join, we will have to be friends on Facebook so that I can add you - I love meeting new friends! You can Friend me HERE

Monday, September 19, 2011

And the winner is...

Drumroll, please!!

And the winner is....

J (Jen)

Jen, please email me at and provide your mailing address so that I can have the Happy Herbivore cookbook sent to you.

CONGRATS!!!!  This is an incredible resource for you and your new nutritional goals!  :o)

Monday, September 12, 2011

~ * Happy Herbivore * ~ Book Giveaway

I am SUPER excited to offer my very first giveaway here on Fit & Healthy Mommy!!

As many followers of my Blog, Twitter and Facebook know, I am a HUGE fan of Lindsay Nixon and her Happy Herbivore vegan cookbook.

Lindsay has simplified veganism for those of us who are curious but not sure how to go about taking the steps to make the nutritional changes in our lifestyles.  Her recipes are not at all difficult to follow, the ingredients are easy to find, and every recipe I have tried thus far has been delicious.  My kids have given the thumbs up on many of the dishes I've presented to them - and my husband, the meat eater, has approved of every recipe I've made.  When he goes back for seconds, I know these are winners.

In short, this book is an incredible resource for families who want to gravitate towards a more plant-based diet, but need simplicity due to busy schedules.

Here's a few things I love about the Happy Herbivore cookbook, in addition to what I noted above:
  • Notes on the benefits of vegan diets and how the lifestyle has impacted Lindsay, personally
  • LISTS!  Pantry, Fridge, Freezer, Spices
  • Kitchen Lingo (descriptions of terms to make them easy to understand - no need to Google!)
  • Troubleshooting tips
  • Icons to indicate which recipes are gluten-free, far-free, soy-free, quick, etc.
  • Top 10 Tips from Lindsay
  • Cute little elephant graphics everywhere!
  • I can easily substitute ingredients for things I have on hand, if need be.
  • Chef's Notes for tips and suggestions
Here are some of my favorite recipes
~ Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins ~ I blogged about them HERE
~ Chocolate Zucchini Muffins ~ I made these a few weeks ago and am making another batch this weekend - my girls LOVE these
~ Black Bean Burgers ~ Can also be made with other beans, chick peas, etc.
~ Dirty Rice
~ Single-Serve Brownie ~ one word: YUM!
~ Black Bean Brownies
~ Apple Crisp Muffins
(Yes, I like those baked goods!)

Here's how you can enter the drawing for the book (click each link):

  1. Like my Facebook page ~~>  Fit & Healthy Mommy
  2. Like Happy Herbivore's Facebook page ~~> Happy Herbivore
  3. Follow my blog ~~> Fit & Healthy Mommy Blog
  4. Follow Happy Herbivore's Blog ~~> Happy Herbivore's Blog
  5. Follow me on Twitter ~~> Fit & Healthy Mommy on Twitter
  6. Follow Happy Herbivore on Twitter ~~> Happy Herbivore on Twitter
  7. Share with us - any or all of these:  Have you have made any nutritional changes (or are you planning on altering your diet) that are leading you towards a more plant-based diet?  What brought about these changes?  Why would you like to win this book?
Also, share these links on your pages and ask your friends to like/follow us too!  We welcome visitors and new friends to our pages!!

Please comment on this blog post and let me know which of the above you have done so I can make sure you are entered into the drawing.

If you cannot comment on my blog post, please go to my Facebook page and post under the Happy Herbivore Book Giveaway note here:  Fit & Healthy Mommy ~ Happy Herbivore Book Giveaway note 

Here's a sneak peek of Everyday Happy Herbivore which can be pre-ordered now.  These new recipes will get your meals on the table fast!

Also, be sure to watch for Lindsay's updates on her blog & Facebook page.  She's been posting some awesome information recently!  Some of my favorite posts include her menu plans complete with grocery shopping lists.

*Winner will be posted on my blog on Monday, September 19th at 9PM EST.  Please keep an eye on my blog, Facebook or Twitter to see who wins!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Dinner: Spanish Quinoa = Fabulous!

Spanish Quinoa - wow.  It was SO good!!

I planned on this dinner after seeing the recipe in Peas and Thank You.  I posted about it on Facebook and someone replied that it was fantastic.  How could I not try it on my first day of the 10-Day Pledge (see my previous blog post for more info on the 10-Day Pledge).

  • 1 cup quinoa - rinsed, drained and patted dry
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup organic tomato sauce
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • salt & pepper, to taste
* I added diced sweet peppers too, and omitted the s&p

Heat large saucepan over medium heat.  Add quinoa and toast until slightly golden-brown (about 4-5 minutes).  Add onion (and peppers), broth, tomato sauce & chili powder and bring to a boil.  Cover & reduce heat to low.  Simmer for 20 minutes.  Remove from heat and fluff with fork.  Optional: season with salt & pepper.

I served mine with sauteed swiss chard & spinach.

Quinoa - after rinsing and pressing between paper towels

Toasting the quinoa prior to cooking gives it a nutty flavor

Q: Why is quinoa good for me?
A: Where should I start?  It's a complete protein, containing all 9 essential amino acids which the body needs for building muscle.  It's also brimming with phytonutrients and antioxidants.  It's also a valuable source of magnesium and fiber along with other essential nutrients.  It's suspected to lower blood sugar levels as well.

Q: Is quinoa a grain?
A: Actually, it's a seed and it's related to the spinach family.  

Q: Is quinoa better served hot or cold?
A: Quinoa is very versatile.  It can be made hot - as in the recipe above.  It's delicious mixed with beans and vegetables and is great in stews.  It's also fantastic in summer salads with crisp vegetables and fruits as well.  Quinoa is also used as an oatmeal alternative.

10 Days of Real Food Pledge = Nutritional Overhaul

When I recently saw a link on Yahoo to the 100 Days of Real Food site, I thought, great - another challenge to get myself involved in.  As some of you know, I am wildly successful at signing up for challenges, but not so much on actually following through and completing said challenges.  After exploring Lisa's site and seeing the impact that cutting processed foods has made on her family's health & wellness, I determined that my own children (as well as Josh & I) could use a bit of a nutritional overhaul.

I am committing us to the 10-Day Pledge.  We can totally do this for 10 days, right?  So, what's involved with this 10 Day Real Food Pledge?  Good question!!  In short - we will be eating whole foods such as fruits, veggies, dairy (kids), local meat (Josh & kids) & wild caught seafood, whole wheat and whole grains, seeds, nuts and some all natural sweeteners.  What we will be avoiding are: refined grains & sweeteners, fried & fast foods, and boxed/bottled/jarred/canned food items with more than 5 ingredients.  Will this be easy?  HECK NO - not for this sugar addicted family.  Will my girls embrace this?  Most likely not.  However, I'm going to stick to it and I am going to keep offering them as many clean, whole food options as I can.  I am going to set the example here.

To help me prepare for these 10 days, I started a binder and printed some of the important info regarding the 10 Day Pledge rules and tips.  Next, I sat with some great cookbooks, such as Happy Herbivore and Peas and Thank You and I planned a weekly menu.

The menu above is mine for the week.  Of course Josh's will vary due to his work & travel schedule, and the girls will have a slightly different menu as well (I'll post one of theirs soon).  Their menu will consist of more single-ingredient foods and baked items.  I will offer them some of our dinners though.  They will at least be introduced to foods like quinoa & chick peas.

Now, it's a matter of sticking to it - and to be less wasteful.  I plan to finish all leftovers and/or make them into different meals to keep it fun & fresh.  I will do my best to take some pictures during the week and post every few days, or do a weekly recap.

I encourage you to try this 10 Day Pledge as well!  Click HERE for the challenge rules and HERE to sign up for the pledge.  Join me!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Whole Wheat Blueberry Banana Oat Muffins - Oh My!!

On my quest to introduce my girls to more homemade whole foods, I decided to try another recipe from Happy Herbivore this morning for breakfast.  Last week I made the HH chocolate zucchini muffins and they were outstanding.  All three girls loved them.  Today, I opted for Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins, with a few slight changes based on what I had in my fridge & pantry.  Another WIN!!
This recipe makes 12 muffins.

We are HUGE fans of Happy Herbivore!
While at Wegman's yesterday I picked up two pints of Organic wild Maine blueberries based on the produce manager's recommendation.  Apparently these blueberries are only available for about 2 weeks during the year.  They are tiny, sweet and loaded with antioxidants.

Here's the recipe per the Happy Herbivore book.  Below that are my alterations.

  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp fine salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup frozen wild blueberries

    *I omitted the ginger, ground the oats in the blender to make them finer, added 2 whole over-ripe bananas, used only 1/2 cup applesauce, used Turbinado instead of brown sugar.

My girls LOVE to help cook & bake.  I have found that they are more apt to eat the healthier foods presented to them when they help to create those foods.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon & ginger until well combined.  Add applesauce, sugar & maple syrup and stir until almost combined.  Add blueberries and stir until just combined (don't overmix!)  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease or spray muffin pan.  
 Spoon into muffin tins, filling until about 3/4 full.  Optional: sprinkle oats & brown sugar on top of the muffins.  Bake for 18-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.  I used a dark coated muffin pan and baked for 20 minutes - they were perfect!  Transfer to a wire cooling rack...then ENJOY!

Blueberry goodness!

Korinne loved her muffin!

Lexi was also a fan!

Ashelyn asked for a second one!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Crispy Sliced Potato Bake ~ YUM!

Last week, while reading one of the bazillion recipe emails I get every day, I stumbled on a blog called Fish Food and the featured recipe for Crispy Potato Roast sounded awesome.  I kept it open in a tab on my laptop for several days until I decided today was the day I'd try it.

Like I do with most recipes, I altered it a bit.  I was really happy with the results.  Josh loved it too!

  • 8 (or so) full sized red potatoes, not the baby ones
  • 1 medium onion, sliced into thin rings
  • Extra virgin olive oil (2-3T)
  • Italian herbs, dried
  • Sea Salt

Preheat over to 400 degrees.  Slice the potatoes, skin on, thinly (I used my mandarin on 4.5mm) and slice the onion on the same setting.  

Red skinned potatoes - scrubbed, skins on.

I used Red potatoes because they contain fewer calories and a little more protein than their white counterparts.

Thinly sliced yellow onion

Thinly sliced red potatoes

Take a medium round casserole dish and brush with oil.  I used a basil infused olive oil and brushed the dish very lightly as it was a non-stick casserole.  Line the potato slices, on their edges, around the casserole making a ring along the edge of the dish, then fill in the center with additional slices.  Take the onion rings, gently and place them between the potatoes at intervals (see picture below).  Brush the top with the rest of the oil, sprinkle with the Italian herbs & sea salt (not too much salt!)
Prior to baking

Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for about 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Yes, it takes awhile, but it's worth it!!

After baking

Close up view

Crispy on top, soft on the bottom - these ROCKED!

Served with Bourbon Salmon from The Fresh Market & fresh local corn on the cob from Richardson Farms

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