Perfect Summer Holiday Drink – “Real Food” Blueberry Cosmo

Happy Labor Day!

Hope you have a terrific holiday – enjoy your time off if you are lucky enough to have the day off work!  holiday drink

If you are looking for something fun, festive and color appropriate to serve, give this tasty blueberry Cosmo a try:

“Real Food” Blueberry Cosmo

6-8 fresh blueberries

1 oz. orange liqueur

1 oz. fresh lime juice

1 1/2 oz. citrus vodka

Step one:  Muddle berries with orange liqueur and lime juice.

blueberries

Step two:  Add vodka and about a cup of ice and shake well.  Strain into a glass and serve.

For the holidays, I like to garnish with a strawberry – then I have a pretty red, white and blue drink to serve!

drinks

How do you spend your Labor Day?  Sometimes we stay home and hang out with the neighbors, other years we try to get away for a short vacation.  Either way, we enjoy great company and a fun way to spend the long weekend!

School is starting for the kids – that’s ALWAYS a great time to upgrade your own life – how about trying something new this fall and working with your own personal health coach?  Set up your free thirty minute consultation and we’ll work together to figure out the top three things you want to improve in your life – you can still make significant improvement by the end of 2014 by starting NOW!

Have tomatoes? You have lunch!

Today I thought I’d share my favorite quick and easy lunch ideas that use fresh tomatoes!  So, if your tomato plants are bursting with tomatoes, here are some delicious and simple ways to enjoy them:

Lunch #1:

Caprese Salad – don’t order these at fancy restaurants – the tomatoes won’t be fresh and you’ll pay twice what it will cost you to make a tastier version at home!caprese

1 tomato

a few slices fresh mozzarella

a few basil leaves

extra virgin olive oil

balsamic vinegar

sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper

Assemble:  slice tomato and layer on a plate with mozzarella.  Tear basil leaves and sprinkle on top then drizzle with olive oil, vinegar and salt and pepper.

Lunch #2:

Veggie & Cheese Plate – these tomato bites would also be an excellent appetizer!

cucumberEasy Lunch #2

2 cups spinach

1 clove garlic

tomato

extra sharp cheddar cheese

extra virgin olive oil

sea salt

freshly cracked black pepper

balsamic vinegar (optional)

Assemble:  Saute the garlic and spinach in olive oil; season with salt & pepper.  Slice cucumber and sprinkle salt on top.  Slice tomato and top each slice with a piece of cheese.  Sprinkle with salt & pepper and balsamic vinegar if desired.

Lunch #3 –  Tomato & Avocado Salad – for a change of pace, serve this as a side dish with a grilled steak or hamburgers instead of guacamole.summer salad

1 tomato

1 avocado

few slices red onion

extra virgin olive oil

cumin

1/2 a lime

sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper

Assemble:  Slice tomato and avocado.  Toss with onion, olive oil, and juice from 1/2 lime.  Sprinkle with cumin, sea salt and pepper.  Very pretty and filling!

How do you enjoy tomatoes for a quick lunch or dinner?  Share your best ideas in the comments – I’d love some new ones for myself!

Have you gotten your free copy of “Discover the Perfect Start to Your Day” yet?  If not, grab yours HERE.

Shared on WFMWReal Food Wednesday, and The Mommy Club

Weekly Goals August 25 – 31

Last Week’s Goals

BusinessWeekly Goals

  • Complete my most dreaded task first every day – meh, 3 out of 5 – I did eventually do it everyday, just not first . . .
  • Work on next project for at least an hour – probably half an hour again this week
  • Finish course education classdone

Personal

Family

  • Swim Banquetvery fun time
  • Plan a fun family activity for the weekend – my little guy got sick, so nothing too exciting
  • Date nightconcert at Klipsch – FUN!

Household

  • Get back on regular cleaning schedule – not so great
  • Two items on my master “to-do” listdone, booked fall break trip and updated health care
  • List items on e-bay, Craigslist or take to Goodwill – went to Goodwill and took care of Craigslist 
  • Pick up officegeneral pickup

 

This Week’s Goals

Business

  • Complete my most dreaded task first every day
  • Work on next project for at least an hour
  • Finish a few work files I’ve been putting off!

Personal

Family

Household

  • Get back on regular cleaning schedule
  • Two items on my master “to-do” list
  • Clean out my closet

Any big plans for the Labor Day weekend?   Right now we don’t have anything at ALL planned, and I’m kinda excited about that!

What’s YOUR excuse?

Not exercising enough?  Not exercising at all?no excuses

What’s YOUR excuse?

Here are the top 3 excuses I hear for not exercising and WHY you should never utter them . . .

1.  I don’t have time.

I bet you’ve said that one before.  I know I have – and I know better.  I understand, sometimes life gets so busy that it seems like you don’t have time to breathe, let alone exercise.  Guess what?  Those are probably the times you need to exercise the most.  Exercise will increase the positive feelings in your body and mind, relieve stress and help you cope better with a busy schedule.  Here’s how I like to look at this excuse . . . if someone was paying you $100 to exercise for 20 to 30 minutes a day, I’d be willing to bet you would somehow find the time.  Right?  If you answered that question with a yes, then somewhere in your schedule you can find that time.  Here are a few ideas:

  • Go to bed 20 minutes earlier and get up 20 minutes earlier.  That’s enough time for a short walk or jog.
  • Double up.  Combine exercise with visiting a friend, have a walking meeting, play with your kids instead of watching TV with them, walk the soccer field while your kids are at practice.  If you think through your day I bet you can find a time you can get some activity in while accomplishing something else.
  • Let go of your idea of perfection.  If this is truly a busy time in your life, you may really not have time for a thirty minute dedicated session at the gym.  Okay, then how about a few five-minute dance breaks throughout the day?  Or even squats, push-ups and sit-ups as soon as you wake up.  Remember that something is better than nothing!

2.  I’m too tired.

Are you really?  Unless you have a serious medical condition that justifies this excuse, avoiding exercise isn’t going to help your lack of energy.  In fact, exercise will INCREASE your energy levels.   Now I’m not saying that sometimes you don’t need a break – if deep down you know you need to rest, then honor your body and give it the rest it needs, BUT if you are just feeling normal, busy-life tired, exercise could be the cure to push you through the rest of the day.

3.  I can’t afford it.

This one really drives me crazy.  Walking is FREE.  Dancing is FREE.  Using your body to do simple body weight exercises (crunches, planks, squats) is FREE.  You can even borrow free DVD’s from your local library to mix things up.  I share a few more low-cost exercise ideas in this post.

I admit I’m being a little “tongue-in-cheek” in this post – I readily acknowledge that there are times in our lives when most of us could honestly say one of these three excuses and they would be legitimate.  However, most of the time we use these excuses because it’s easier than taking action.  That’s what I want you to think about the next time you utter an excuse for not exercising – is it TRULY a valid excuse?  Or am I just taking the easy way out?

What excuse do you find yourself saying the most often when it comes to not exercising?  Please share in the comments – along with any suggestions you may have for moving past them – your idea just might help someone else get off the couch and stop making excuses!

Do you need help moving past excuses for living a healthier life?  I bet you know you need to make improvements – and you might even know what you need to do but just can’t take that first step.  Working with me one-on-one is the perfect way to take immediate action in creating the healthy, happy life you love – check out the details HERE.

Too many tomatoes? Easy “Sun-Dried Tomatoes” to the Rescue!

As I’ve mentioned, I LOVE fresh tomato time.  However, even with enjoying them at EVERY meal I still often have more than I can use and/or give away.  The quickest and easiest way I’ve found to deal with the excess is to dry them!easy tomatoes

In case you haven’t checked lately, a tiny little jar of sun-dried tomatoes costs at least $5 at the store – and I can make them at home for a fraction of the cost – plus I grew them myself, so I know they are organic!  Score.

Here is my easy and pretty much fool-proof method – the only way I’ve messed these up is to forget about them for too long – but luckily they smell delicious so that doesn’t happen often.

Fake “sun-dried” tomatoes

a bunch of tomatoes – if you have several pans you can easily use 20 or 30 tomatoes

extra virgin olive oil

sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper

any other seasonings you like (Italian mix, fresh chopped garlic, etc.)

Step one:  slice your tomatoes in half if they are small or slices if they are large.  Roma or cherry tomatoes work particularly well, but you can technically use any variety.

tomatoes

Step two:  Place tomatoes in a 9×13 glass pan.  Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, etc.

Step three:  Bake in the oven at anywhere from 175 to 225 until they start to shrivel.  I’ll often start these at bedtime, stick them in the oven at 175 and they are perfect by morning – but you’ll need to play around with your oven until you get the temp and time just right.

Step four:  Cool and then enjoy on pizzas, in pasta, in dips, with cheese & crackers, etc.

These freeze VERY well – I typically make up a few bags of them and we enjoy them all year round!

Want to start your day off feeling GREAT?  Get your FREE copy of my e-course “Discover the Perfect Start to Your Day” right HERE.

Shared on WFMW, Real Food Wednesday, Create with Joy and The Mommy Club

Weekly Goals August 18 – 24

Hmm, although it felt productive, last week wasn’t my best week . . . however, I did take a business trip for half of it which took up most of Tues/Wed/Thurs, so maybe not so bad.Weekly Goals

Last Week’s Goals

Business

  • Complete my most dreaded task first every day – just a few days – traveling half the week
  • Work on next project for at least an hour – spent about half an hour
  • Listen to two new nutrition lectures – only one

Personal

on a plane

 

  • Go to bed by 10:30  Sunday – Thursday – four out of five again, pretty good – can’t go to bed by 10:30 though when I’m driving home from the airport at 11:00!

Family

  • First week of soccer games – celebrate!so much fun – even if my son’s game was WET (as in we looked like we took showers)
  • Plan a fun family activity for the weekendwe had a fun weekend of soccer, hanging out with friends, and having lunch with family
  • Start a new read aloud bookwe just finished The Saturdays (Melendy Quartet), and need to start on the next one in the series -The Four-Story Mistake (Melendy Quartet)

Household

  • Get back on regular cleaning schedule – yeah, didn’t happen
  • Two items on my master “to-do” list – did one, dropped off books at Half-Price Books
  • List items on e-bay, Craigslist or take to Goodwill –  nope . . .
  • Come up with some new dinner ideas – we’ve been in a rut lately! – done – see Monday Menu Planning Post

This Week’s Goals

Business

  • Complete my most dreaded task first every day
  • Work on next project for at least an hour
  • Finish course education class

Personal

Family

  • Swim Banquet
  • Plan a fun family activity for the weekend
  • Date night

Household

  • Get back on regular cleaning schedule
  • Two items on my master “to-do” list
  • List items on e-bay, Craigslist or take to Goodwill
  • Pick up office

What do you have going on this week?  Anything special?  If not – why not CREATE something special – here is an old post with some ideas to get you started – share yours in the comments.

Menu Plan Monday August 18 – 24

Now that school and sports are back in full swing, my life is so much easier if I’m on top of menu planning!

Monday – homemade pizza, veggies from the gardenTop 5 Reasons to Love tomatoes

Tuesday – grilled chicken, veggies from the garden, quinoa with spinach

Wednesday – Peanut Thai Chicken, brown rice

Thursday – roast

Friday – date night – who knows where we’ll end up!

Saturday –  Indian Red Lentils & Rice, fresh veggies

Sunday – swim banquet – I’ll bring fresh tomatoes from the garden with mozzarella and basil – YUMMY

Feel like you could use a refresher on menu planning?  Check out my menu planning e-course.  For less than $10 and in under an hour you’ll be a pro at planning a weekly menu perfect for YOUR family and YOUR schedule!

Shared on Organizing Junkie!

Exercise Getting Boring? Solutions Found HERE!

How often do you just get TIRED of exercising?  Have you gotten to the point where you are just going through the motions, or maybe finding excuses to avoid it completely?swim meet

If this sounds like you, it’s time to re-assess your exercise schedule.

Maybe you’ve noticed that at various times in your life you’ve been exercising consistently (but doing the same thing every workout) and then for whatever reason you take a week off and BAM, that’s the week you lose a few of those pounds that have been driving you crazy!  What’s up with that?

Often it simply means that your body has gotten bored with your workout routine, and you are starting to operate on auto pilot.  Once this occurs, you’ll stop gaining many of the benefits of consistent exercise.  You need to challenge your body as well as your mind if you want to keep moving towards your fitness goals.

And let’s face it – you KNOW when this is happening – it’s when exercise becomes one more thing to cross off your “to-do” list and you don’t feel as energized as you used to after a workout.

Whenever I feel boredom coming on, I take the following steps to break out of the workout rut:

1.  Re-asses what I’m actually doing.  Sometimes I THINK I’m working out much more often and harder than I actually am.  Obviously I’ve gone on autopilot and it’s time to pick up the pace.  Making it more challenging is often enough to break through the boredom.

2.  Think about what sounds fun.  Is there a new class I keep hearing about that I want to try?  An old workout I used to do that I loved but haven’t done in months (or years).  I schedule one or two of these workouts in my calendar.

3.  Call a friend.  When you are bored with exercise, just getting a friend on board for a nightly walk or even signing up for some sessions with a personal trainer can make it more fun again.

4.  Make it a game.  Come up with a schedule of workouts for the next month and challenge yourself to keep them.  Or even create a competition with your friends to workout 5 days each week, walk 10,000 steps a day or try two new classes in the next month.   Have prizes to help keep you motivated.

All of these solutions have two things in common – they are making you cognizant of your workouts and also switching things up for you.  Incorporating these changes (however you decide to do it) should alleviate the boredom and get you back to loving regular exercise!

What do YOU do when you feel exercise boredom coming on?  Have any tried and true tips?  I’d love to hear them, so please share in the comments!

If you feel like you need more support with creating a healthy, happy life you love, it’s the perfect time to work with me one on oneContact me and we’ll schedule a 30 minute planning session where you’ll figure out what areas you want to change and how to get started down the path!

 

Fresh, Flavorful Bruschetta

I love bruschetta – but really only in the summer when the tomatoes are ripe.  This time of the year it’s so tasty you can eat it with a spoon!!!

Bruschetta is simple, healthy and a perfect “go-to” summer appetizer or even side dish.  If you have a small garden, you can grow all the main ingredients easily.appetizer

Fresh Bruschetta

2 medium to large tomatoes (or 1 cup cherry or grape – try a variety of colors to make it even prettier), chopped

1-2 garlic cloves, minced

3-4 large basil leaves, torn into small pieces

extra virgin olive oil

balsamic vinegar

sea salt, freshly cracked pepper

Step one:  Place the tomatoes, garlic and basil in a serving bowl.

Step two:  Drizzle olive oil and vinegar on top and mix gently.  Season with salt & pepper.

This dish is actually better made early in the day – it gives the tomatoes time to absorb the flavors.  To bump it up a notch, you could also add small pieces of mozzarella – this turns it into almost a salad.  Or just enjoy as is over lightly toasted sourdough or Italian bread.

Now that school’s back in session are you struggling to get dinner on the table?  If so, get your copy of my menu planning e-course and eliminate the dinnertime stress!

Shared on WFMW, Real Food Wednesday and The Mommy Club

Weekly Goals August 11 – 17

Last Week’s GoalsWeekly Goals

Business

  • Complete my most dreaded task first every day – did this 3 days – my 3 most productive days!
  • Work on next project for at least an hourdone
  • Create September blog plan

Personal

Family

  • Plan something fun for first day of schoolwe had a great morning and then ice cream after school to celebrate!
  • Date nighthad a fun night out – dinner and a casino
  • Finish collage for 4-H book – forgot all about it!

Household

  • Get back on regular cleaning schedule – didn’t do well here . . .
  • Photo book Michigan Trip AND Spring 2014done!
  • Two items on my master “to-do” listdone!  Finished up all photo books, and made an appointment for the eye doctor

This Week’s Goals

Business

  • Complete my most dreaded task first every day
  • Work on next project for at least an hour
  • Listen to two new nutrition lectures

Personal

Family

Household

  • Get back on regular cleaning schedule
  • Two items on my master “to-do” list
  • List items on e-bay, Craigslist or take to Goodwill
  • Come up with some new dinner ideas – we’ve been in a rut lately!

What are your goals for the week?  This week we are adding all the fall sports to the schedule so things may get a little crazy!

If you haven’t gotten your copy yet, click HERE for your FREE 3 day e-course “Discover the Perfect Start to Your Day”