The recipe for my S’mores Protein Bites is up over at The Mommy Spot Tampa Bay! Click this link to check it out: http://www.mommyspottampa.com/2017/06/smores-protein-bites/
I hope you love it!!
The recipe for my S’mores Protein Bites is up over at The Mommy Spot Tampa Bay! Click this link to check it out: http://www.mommyspottampa.com/2017/06/smores-protein-bites/
I hope you love it!!
I follow an amazing woman on social media by the name of Anna Victoria. Anna is a personal trainer who empowers others to be their best selves. One of the things she regularly posts are her “2 seconds apart” pictures where two photos are posted side by side, one usually the picture of perfection fitness pose and the other is a relaxed pose with the caption “2 seconds apart”. She says she posts these side by sides to tell people to love themselves in every way, not just in the posed pictures. This got me thinking. What other “2 second apart” examples are there and how can we embrace all the parts of our lives, even the ones that are less than ideal? I am totally guilty of seeing pictures on social media and instantly wishing my life was “more like that”, but I know full well that that’s just one moment out of their day and that more than likely it wasn’t that perfect for the other 23 hours and 59 minutes. I think we all know deep down that the majority of the photos we see of our friends and family on social media are only snap shots of their highlight reel, so why is there such a disconnect between what we see and how it makes us feel? Why is it that for the most part our emotional reaction doesn’t match our intellectual knowingness and what can we gain by diving a little deeper?
2 Seconds Apart…There was a period of time after I had both my sons that I had a considerable amount of weight to loose to “get back to my pre baby weight”. I had gained 50 and 40 pounds with each pregnancy. This is actually when I found Anna Victoria because I had purchased her fitness plan to help get back on track. The statement “get back to my pre baby weight” never sat well with me though and she really made me think of myself in a better way. I tried to appreciate what my body had gone through to crate this little life and give myself allowance to just feel good about where I was. With time I learned to love myself just as I was and ultimately wanted to loose some weight because I knew my body would feel better without it. My first photo I took for this post was a fitness inspired one. Side note: it took about 18 photos to get a good posed shot. I will have to put a blooper reel together to post all the ones that didn’t make it and we can sit and drink wine and laugh together about my ridiculousness. My ideal fitness scenario would be what I like to call the “European Fusion” workout: slow paced with wine and appetizers incorporated. This hasn’t quite caught on yet so in the meantime I do yoga and ride my bike around the neighborhood for my workouts and try to eat really clean because I seriously hate working out. The picture on the left took countless tries while sucking in and flexing. I think I look pretty damn good, but that’s not really what I look like all the time. No one walks around posing and flexing and not breathing! I am just like everybody else, I would love to have the tight abs and a perkier rear, but ultimately I am happy with where I am (relaxed and breathing especially) and I’m still happy if I gain a few pounds here and there.
2 Hours Apart…I love the pictures right after you step outside the salon. Your hair has never looked better and you have a pep in your step that you didn’t have going in. Insert the picture on the right. That IS NOT how I look when I wake up. I look like I do in the picture on the left. I am not the girl who is posting this that has tinted moisturizer, concealer and mascara on and claims I don’t have a stitch of make up on. No. I rolled out of bed with my still damp hair from washing it the night before and grabbed my phone to take this picture so I would be sure that I was being authentic to this post. You know what happened? I felt like I didn’t look that freaking bad! Almost every day I woke up and took a shower and looked in the mirror and picked myself apart. I thought I plucked my eyebrows too thin or my rosacea is so red or another zit has emerged. Why? That negative self talk is completely unnecessary and unkind. I’m not saying I’m regularly going out without make up now, but I am a little more lax about having a full face on before I leave my bedroom. Make up makes me feel good and feminine, but it shouldn’t make you feel less than beautiful without it on.
2 Seconds Apart…Ah my children. Aren’t they cute. Look how they are smiling and getting along. Look at how happy our home is….for this micro second of bliss. Literally two seconds later they were scratching each other and holding each other down until they were both crying. This is what parenting toddlers with siblings looks like. It’s a rollercoaster of emotional extremes and it’s hard to keep up! I see the pictures of other peoples kids coloring easter eggs or something like that and I just envision them frolicking in a field of daisies with their clean finger nails saying softly ‘I love you Mommy”. I know deep down that’s probably not what’s happening, but I can’t help but go there! We all want to know we aren’t alone when our kids act like they are remaking Alien vs Predator!
By now you get the point. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t put pictures of our best times in life out there. The point is that we have to begin the journey of figuring out how to find joy in exactly where we are however mundane. Celebrate simply feeling good in something you’re wearing not just the 5 pound weight loss because confidence is more attractive on someone than the physical impression. Embrace the messy bun hair not just the fresh out of the salon days because that looks good too! Look for little things that bring a smile to your face like the fact that there’s a Starbucks in some Targets now because, well, life! If we only put out A and Z people around us fill in the rest with assumptions based on the information they are given. This can deprive us of having meaningful, loving, supportive relationships. Pictures are wonderful and we should post them. They are what gets us through the crap in between the momentous picture worthy snap shots of our lives. They provide proof of our best memories created, but some reality thrown in the mix every now and then makes for great bonding opportunities. We are bonded by commonalities and I have a feeling our homes and lives look a lot more alike behind the lens than we think.
Consisting of mostly grains and vegetables (depending on who you ask) and little bits of just about any and everything, Buddha Bowls are one of my favorite things to eat! Like Captain Jack Sparrow says about the rules of Piracy, they’re more like guidelines, so are the rules of the Buddha Bowl. This recipe looks a little lengthy, but don’t let that fool you. This is a 30 minute meal at most and almost all of the ingredient groups call for the same things! There are only 14 total ingredients and that includes the olive oil!. You can even set it up like a taco bar and let everyone make their own Buddha Bowl, my kids especially love to do it this way! Happy Eating!
They say the way to a man’s heart is through is stomach. Why not a woman’s?! That surely is one of the ways to mine! Maybe I should have named this the “Don’t Knock It Till You Try It” Fish Spread because this is so great in so many different ways, but sadly most people will get scared off by the fact that it has sardines in it. DO NOT let that steer you away! Not only is this dish seriously healthy for you because sardines are packed with health promoting goodness, it is also crazy tasty. If my three year old loves this you should probably just try it! Don’t let a three year old be braver than you! Kidding, kind of. (You can always use canned tuna if you really really can’t do the sardines) In all seriousness, my husband didn’t appreciate sardines until our family trip to Spain when I made him try them. We went to a little fishing town called San Vicente’ to eat at a restaurant on the water. We ordered sardines and were told it would be about 20 minutes before they could serve them to us as they were just coming off the boat. Todd wasn’t thrilled, but agreed since he figured he wouldn’t again get them as fresh as they would be today. One taste and he was hooked. He said they weren’t at all what he thought they would be or had remembered as a kid. Maybe it was the fact that they were right off the boat or maybe it was because we were sitting outside eating them on the coast of Spain, but after that he had a new appreciation and love for this humble and under appreciated fish. When we got back home my Dad gifted him with an entire box of canned sardines. While he had enjoyed them in Spain, he wasn’t sure what to do with them out of the can that would do them justice. He came up with this recipe one day with ingredients we always have on hand in the fridge. It was really amazing, tasty, fresh, even the kids loved it! We put it on whatever crackers we have on hand and serve it with olives and celery. Give it a try, you never know, you might find something new to really love!
What do you do when one of your tribe tells your they are moving to the complete opposite side of the country? You make a BFF cocktail of coarse! My friend Tina is one of the rare ones. She is just an incredible person that any words I would write here wouldn’t do justice to the magnitude of her spectacularness! Her husband is in the military and they were recently stationed to another state. As my fellow foodie, before she left I wanted to make sure I documented us making something in the kitchen together as that is one of the cornerstones of our friendship. Naturally a cocktail was the first thing to come to mind. I bought special glasses for us (info on these following the recipe) each to make our drink in while we are far away from each other (temporarily). We made this with one of Tina’s favorite liquors, gin, but feel free to use vodka or tequila, both of which would taste amazing! As this is a play on a Moscow Mule we decided to call it the Backpacking Burro.
I’m blogging over at The Mommy Spot Tampa Bay today! Here is the link to check out my post: A Day in the Life of an Autism Mom http://www.mommyspottampa.com/2017/04/a-day-in-the-life-of-an-autism-mom/ I hope you enjoy!!
Over the course of my adult life, five books have completely changed me, giving me new perspectives, a healthier lifestyle (directly resulting in feeling (a lot) better) and a good chance at living longer. Here are the highlights of those books listed in order of which I read them on my journey and who, in my opinion, they are best suited for.
Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin (for those who care about the animals) When people find out I’m vegetarian they always ask two questions: why did you go vegetarian and what do you eat? The first answer is simple: It was an accident! I was working as a spa coordinator and one of the reps from a product line that we carried came in and said she had gone vegan. I asked “Why?!” with slight horror at the thought. I could not fathom why anyone would do such a thing! She said she had read a book and now she can’t even think about eating it. “That would never happen to me!”, I laughed. She dared me to read it and continue eating meat and dairy. I accepted her challenge stating “I’ll read your book, but my favorite meal is filet mignon with mac and cheese so I’m pretty sure I’ll still be eating meat and dairy by Monday.” I read through the pages like a best selling suspense novel only putting it down long enough to sleep and grab something to eat. The author was hilarious, to the point and had a mouth like a sailor (my kind of gal). Her descriptions of what happens on commercial farms and slaughter houses were extremely vivid. Infected pus from the overworked teats of a cow dripping directly in the milk container and the way she called a spade a spade or more specifically the fleshy muscle fibers of pigs instead of ribs or bacon were things I had never even thought of or thought that way about. I was disgusted. I also felt naive that I only viewed meat products the way they are packaged in the grocery store never really giving any thought to how it got there or the animals that they came from. I was vegan by Monday. A side note to answer question two: I felt very limited in the beginning of my vegan journey. Now that my plate didn’t consist of a meat, starch and a veggie I wasn’t sure what to eat. After a ton of experimenting I now feel the opposite. I walk into the grocery store feeling like I was so limited before and now there are a ton of options even more than before. Let Pinterest be your guide!
The China Study by T. Colin Campbell PhD (for those who want scientific research, evidence based findings and like looking at charts and graphs) After going vegan for a year and then switching to vegetarian (I still wanted to consume honey and I did indulge my cheese cravings occasionally while out to eat) I found that when I told people about reading Skinny Bitch most of them seemed not to really care about the animals welfare enough to change their eating habits. Some viewed animals existence as food for the human race while others just simply said it tasted too good not to have. Totally understandable. No one here is denying the unbeatable flavor of pig flesh, I mean bacon. I also thought to sustain this new way of living for the long haul I would probably need more of a reason to abstain from eating meat and dairy as well. Enter The China Study. The China Study is the largest human study ever completed researching the link between diet and disease. The book reads more like a research paper than a novel, but for those seeking facts this is for you. They find fairly early on in the book that there is a 100 percent direct correlation between consuming dairy products and the growth of cancer cells. 100 percent. The book continues on making the connection between meat and dairy with heart disease and diabetes, the leading causes of death among Americans. My brother in-law read the book after I was talking about it and ended up going vegan for a time and now shares the same vegetarian habits as I do. This is the same person who “baaa’d” at me while waving a lamb chop in my face the year prior. He was certainly one of the last people I thought would turn vegan. He later shared that he met someone who was diagnosed with stage four cancer given four months to live who adopted the China Study habits and is still here, cancer free, six years later. He said it was thought provoking to read the book, but to actually meet a living example of what happens when you implement these ideas was life changing. He was hooked.
Meat Is For Pussies by John Joseph (for the dudes in your life that need you to give it to them straight) Even after I read Skinny Bitch and The China Study I still couldn’t sway my husband. He didn’t care that much about the animals and The China Study was a really long book and he’s not much of a reader. I bought him Meat Is For Pussies because it’s a short funny read and I am really subtle. It sat on our coffee table for over a year before he started it. The book is direct and funny combining both animal welfare and what meat and dairy does to your body. One day after reading a few chapters (that I might have read a few lines out loud from) he started ordering vegetarian or fish when we went out to eat. I took notice and he said he was fine not eating meat anymore. I chalked it up to possibly being a phase, until one day he went to a business dinner and ordered a steak. He came home and the entire next day told me how much he regretted it because of how it made him feel and that it wasn’t even tasting worth it anymore. Color me shocked.
The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan (for those who don’t really know where they lie between animal welfare and the affects of meat and diary on the body as well as those wanting an inside look at how the food on your plate gets there) New York Times bestselling author, top ten books to read of 2006 and on Time’s list of the 100 books you should read in your lifetime, The Omnivore’s Dilemma is a must have. Wanting to know how his food got on his plate, Pollan goes on a wild goose chase, no pun intended, looking for answers. The questions he poses to others and himself are insightful and what he finds will surprise you! Reconfirming my thought that you vote with your dollar every single time you are at the grocery store this was another angle that gives me further motivation to keep going down the rabbit hole and questioning the practice of commercial (government) agriculture and the affects it has on the world we live in.
How Not To Die by Dr. Michael Greger, M.D. founder of NutritionFacts.org (for those wanting purely evidence based studies of the affects both meat and dairy (short and longterm) have on the body) This is my most recent read and possibly my favorite. Dr. Greger’s sarcasm drips with every sentence discussing how we can eat our way out of the grave and into living a longer, better life. Being a mom of a son who has Autism, my mission is simple: Don’t die…ever. Totally realistic I know, but I’m certain I share the same sentiment with most other special needs parents that we feel the need to live longer than our children however impossible this seems. The title is a large part of the reason I picked up this book in the first place. I love how the book is laid out so you can really just flip to the chapter you want to read about. Broken into two parts and then sub divided into the top 15 leading causes of death among Americans, the book is easy to pass to anyone concerned about any of those ailments from heart disease to Parkinson’s. Once you read one chapter it compels you to read the rest. He presents studies that once changes in the diet have been made, positive results are present in as little as hours! Although similar, I like this book better than The China Study because of the ease to read and Dr. Greger’s sarcastic personality that gets you laughing out loud, but I will note that it still would have taken reading something as jarring as Skinny Bitch to kick start me on this journey in the first place.
I hope this makes you want to read at least one of these great books and I’d love to hear your thoughts after you do! Here’s to your health! Happy reading!
Not every worthy charitable cause gets an entire month dedicated to raising awareness. ‘Worthy’ being a completely subjective word because realistically speaking if it doesn’t affect your daily life or someone you love dearly, you are fairly unlikely to deem something worthy. What is quite possibly one of the largest medical epidemics of our time, Autism however, is very likely to touch your life in some way over the course of your lifetime, which is only part of the reason you should care about Autism Awareness Month.
The statistic for an Autism diagnosis in the United States is 1 in 68. Think about how many people you went to high school with or how many people were on your soccer team or how many people were in your fraternity or how many people you see at work on a daily basis. Even just going to the airport and boarding a plane or going to the mall. How many people are you going to encounter on any given day? I will bet on average that it’s greater than 68, yet many people still don’t think it’s important to know how to be helpful in situations that involve people who have Autism.
There are many reasons I’m thankful for Autism Awareness Month…Here are are a few that also present the case for why you should care too!
This month also means (to me) celebrating the teachers and therapists who work tirelessly for our children. Can you imagine having a career that you go to every single day, underpaid, working yourself thanklessly to the bone for no visible improvement in your product other than the hope that one day after countless repetition that some kind of progress is made? That’s maddening! Yet that’s what the teachers and therapists of special needs students do each and every day. So I like to take this month to celebrate the magical unicorns for which they are.
Speaking of magical unicorns, the friendships I’ve made along this journey are ones worth celebrating as well. Ask any number of people in the Autism community what Autism Awareness Month means to them and you’ll probably end up getting as many different answers as you would have if you had asked what did you eat for dinner last night? I asked some of my fellow Autism parents what this month means to them and here are some of their answers:
A very famous Army General (who will remain nameless) once said “One of our doctrines is: Live your values, and there are two arguments for living your values. One is you have the moral obligation to do it. It is the right thing to do. If you don’t buy that, you have a practical reason to do it, because every time you violate it, you pay for it.” Perfect examples for this post. So as we enter Autism Awareness Month this year, maybe we can come together not just for this month, but really try to be an active member of the community that we all are a part of. Thinking about how can we help each other and how we can be stronger and better together than we ever would be apart. Or because you want money to retire with someday, you want to be a contributing member of your community and you really do want world peace. All worthy reasons to support a worthy cause.
This is my absolute favorite way to make rice! I grew up in a Spanish household so my Dad would make rice for dinner just about every night. Anyone from my childhood would tell you we had a pot of white rice on the stove pretty much permanently. I actually didn’t even know there was another way to make rice until I started dating my husband when he was making us dinner one night and pulled the rice out of the microwave. I was so confused! I had never seen MinuteRice before! I actually experimented with that for a while, but in the end, I just really love homemade white rice off the stove. It’s super easy and cheap and brings back great memories. I love it plain, but the creaminess and flavor that is added with just a few simple ingredients takes everyday rice to another level with this dish (and still totally doable for a 30 minute weeknight meal)! Happy cooking!
I absolutely love salads that you can make a big batch of and snack on all week. Only having to chop and assemble once while providing multiple snacks/meals is speaking my language! We are all busy with life so this is the perfect go-to snack you can munch on anytime or even take with you! This is almost a raw dish with the exception of the black-eyed peas being cooked so if you wanted to make it all raw you could substitute another vegetable like button mushrooms and/or peas! Enjoy as a side, snack or add a piece of salmon to make it a full meal as a salad!