Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Snowball Cookies with a Healthy Twist

It is snow much fun to have friends over for a snack and craft play date, isn't it?! 

With an average of 3 inches of rain per year in the high desert, the chances of having snow to play in locally is slim to none. I did hear about some scant snowfall 3 years ago. So, why not bring the snow to where we're at even if for an hour! 

My son and I made snowball cookies! 

1 3/4 cups of organic flour 
1/4 cup organic flax seed, milled, (see note 1)
1 cup of softened organic butter
1 cup of organic powdered sugar (or make your own see note 2)
1 tsp of vanilla
1 cup of chopped nuts of your choice (I used almonds)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Add this to YOUR wellness journey!


How do you know the supplement you've chosen was the right choice? You know when your lifestyle changes and I'm not talking about money. I'm talking health because it is the greatest wealth.

Your product(s) should change you; it should change your mindset about having (being in) a healthy lifestyle. You can't simply use your product as a way to stay the same. When there is no transformation, there is no growth.

You may need to question your intentions. Why did you select the product in the first place? Is it still meeting your needs today as it did when you first selected it? Has it become an income earner for you but you're not totally in love with the product (anymore)? I've seen and heard all of this before.

What if? 

What if you could have both - a product you absolutely enjoy and can make some income sharing it, and a third reason - with a company you respect. I think all components are important but nothing, and I repeat, nothing beats a changed lifestyle. If your product offers you a safety net so that you don't have to make the real changes then it's not going to be a long term solution for you. I believe that most people who go into wellness and align themselves with a product are doing so for a health need. Some see the potential dollar signs and are in it only for the income. Be cautious of these kind. They *may* not have your best interest at heart. I did not run into these kind when I first learned about Juice Plus+. I ran into people who had a passion for wellness. They were in the medical field and they were into incorporating more holistic changes in their day to day activities and in the services they provided. 

Where it began

You see, nearly six years ago, I was eating one fruit OR one veggie a week, if that, and I knew nothing of ingredient labels. I didn't know about pesticide overload. I didn't know that filtered (heavy metals removed) water was the best drink for hydration. Oh, I could tell you about snack cakes and the cereals that I thought were 'healthy' because they had the words, natural or made with fruit, but I (we) know this means absolutely nothing - the proof is in the ingredients! When I first heard about Juice Plus+, I was a bit skeptical. I mean, who isn't when they hear about the 'next best thing'? Plus, I don't make haste decisions about investments. (More information on my wellness journey, visit my About section and my guest post on Honey Colony.

So, I looked into it a bit more and then I read the studies, the first one that caught my eye was from the Journal of Cardiology that I interpreted to mean that whatever high (bad) fat foods I was eating; I could neutralize it with the Juice Plus+. (You can read the study here.) This thought gave me hope because I ate horribly but then I really had no idea how JP+ would change my mindset about food! It did. It took about 5 months for me to start seeing / feeling any changes because I was not a healthy individual. I had years of GI problems. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Wild-caught. {A Fish Recipes Collection}

Fish. It's what's for dinner. 

I wish I could share with you a story and images of our family fishing for our own fresh, wild-caught marine staples, but, I haven't gone fishing since I was a kid! In my youth, I enjoyed spending some peaceful quality time with my parents when I went fishing with them. In high school, I did learn how to crab but you know what, I may have enjoyed both experiences more if I had enjoyed eating fish. It wasn't until much later that I even tried fish. 

At one time, I thought fish sticks were real fish (some may be but most are probably filled with junk). But when you don't know, you don't know! I never liked fish sticks (filled with junk kind). While we were visiting Dublin, Ireland in 2007, we had the BEST fish and chips and from there I was hooked (no pun intended!). 

Then fast forward some more time. It wasn't until I studied to become a certified health coach did I learn the difference and the importance of eating low-mercury fish (medium is okay but in-moderation is essential) and wild-caught over farm raised. I used to eat tilapia but all of it is farm-raised (and it's low-mercury as seen in the chart below but I no longer choose / buy it). That's why it's so cheap! There are plenty of articles (like this one from The New York Times) that addresses tilapia being farm raised and what they eat! It's not even food that fish naturally eat; it is soy and corn (both genetically modified (the top two crops of highly GMd)! When you know better, you do better! 

So, before I share a collection of fish recipes and education about fish (importance of Omega 3s), I'm going to share a resource from Nordic Naturals on the mercury levels of fish. If you're looking for a quality fish oil to bridge the (Omega 3) gap, you may be interested in Nordic Naturals. If you'd like wild-caught as fresh as you can get without fishing fish, you may be interested in Vital Choice. 

Nordic Naturals has a handy pocket guide on mercury levels based on information from Natural Resources Defense Council (nrdc.org). I reproduced the information below, but you can also find more materials pinned here

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

What?! More fish? YES!!

From my first post in October, I addressed the common complaint I hear among clients (and friends) is that they want to eat fish but they don't know how to prepare it so I shared a recipe for cod with veggies! Today I'm sharing a quick post on a salmon recipe. Later in the month, I hope to share a collection of fish recipes from real food bloggers. Stay tuned! 

This recipe is gluten-free but not dairy-free because I used butter and parmesan cheese but you can sub out butter for a vegan (non-GMO spread) and omit the cheese. There is also dairy in the Lundberg Risotto (but it is gluten-free) so opt for a jasmine rice if you're avoiding dairy as well. 

You'll need 1/2 to 1 stick of butter depending on how much fish and asparagus you have. I used 1/2 stick for the amount of fish in my recipe. Use more or less (to your liking). 

6-8 ounces wild caught salmon 
1/2 stick softened butter 
2 cloves garlic mashed (or 2 tsp of minced garlic)
1 tbs fresh parsley
Slices of lemon for cooking and garnish
1/2 pound asparagus 
Risotto (or rice of your choice). 
salt to taste 
Optional: Top cooked asparagus with Parmesan cheese.

1. Preheat oven to 375*. 

2. While oven is warming up, make risotto according to package instructions. 

3. Wash asparagus and trim to 1" pieces and discard fibrous ends (or compost!).

4. Prepare butter mixture for fish (and asparagus). A half stick of butter is enough for 6-8 ounces of fish (or 2-3 filets). Mix the garlic, parsley, and optional salt to taste with the butter. If the butter is too soft after mixing, put it in the freezer for a few minutes to let it harden (just a bit) so that it will cook on top of the fish.

5. Salt the fish (just a sprinkle). Then spread a dollop of the butter mixture on top; it should be a thick coating on top of the fish. Add a slice of lemon to each fish filet and cover.

6. In a separate bowl, toss the asparagus with the remaining butter mixture and sprinkle some salt. Cook uncovered. 

7. Cook the fish and asparagus for 17-22 minutes. Fish will flake with a fork and asparagus will be al dente. Toss the asparagus half way through. 

8. Watch your risotto while the fish and asparagus are cooking. You want everything to be done about the same time. =)

9. Optional: Sprinkle the finished asparagus with Parmesan cheese. Add a lemon garnish to each fish filet before serving. 

9. Buon Appetito!! =) 

Choose, eat, and live well! =)

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

31 Days of ABCs: F is for Fish

This week's post is focusing on the letter F and will not only include a nutrient dense recipe but also fun activities you can do with your small children before, during, and while you're waiting for your dinner to cook.  

I bet you've read over a dozen articles about eating more healthy fats and then wondering how you'll incorporate them along with more vegetables (balanced nutrition). Are you at a loss where to start? I once knew that feeling! It seems like a huge undertaking when you're wanting to start new in your wellness journey. You've heard it before: Take baby steps and my advice: Start where you are! 

Where do you fall short when making healthy meals for your family? Is it the confusing food labels? (I can help with that in one of my classes or consultations.) Uncertain about which fish is the healthiest? (Source and quality matter!) Green veggies aren't appealing? (They can become a norm in your home.) Unsure about which fats are the best? (I use two of the healthy fats in this recipe.) You like fish but aren't sure how to prepare it so that it will be appetizing? (This recipe is simple, flavorful, and nutritious!)

This post is part of an ABC Collection for the month of October. My friend, Jennifer, of The Good Long Road (here's her post from last year), asked me to do letter F and I kindly accepted! What an honor. So this post, will be to share all about the letter F which will include a recipe and activities for children / families. Let's start with the activities and then the recipe will follow. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Fighting Hunger for Hunger Action Month: My Thoughts

Fighting Hunger

Did you know that September is the official “Hunger Action Month?” Even though September is the official month, we can always find ways to fight hunger. What can you do? Every day children go hungry. National Geographic states that 1/6th of the American population doesn't get enough to eat (more on this here). How is this so in the world's richest country? Do you think it doesn't happen in your community? It does. Probably more than we care to acknowledge. Most of us are blessed beyond comprehension in having food in our fridge and pantry whereas others are barely getting by. We hope to change that! 

With regards to my community: There are many resources in Ridgecrest that offer what I’d like to call a “fighting hunger” service. Having lived in Ridgecrest for two years and an advocate for families to eat more whole foods namely fruits and vegetables, I have done some research to learn which locations in our community offer these services.

First: I have compiled a "Meals & Resources" PDF that I can email you with the various locations around the community who offer affordable (and sometimes free) meals. Send me an email if you’d like a copy. If you live out of my area, you can still have a copy as this may help you fine tune your search in your own community. 

Second: A California grocer, Albertson’s, has coupons for children to receive a free apple or banana. Ask customer service the next time you go in there. The dates may be expired but as of July they were still honoring them. Just ask!

Third: Did you know that Ridgecrest has a community garden? Yes! It is located behind the police department and it is run by volunteers. The visionary behind this resource is Dr. Iresha Goonesinghe of Compassionate Doctors. The garden services single parent homes and low income families. If you’d like to volunteer your time (we need you!) or know of a family in need, please get in contact via Facebook. “Like” the We Love Ridgecrest then send them a message. Please let them know Jessica David sent you. I am a volunteer there. If you have a brown thumb, please don’t let that stop you from volunteering your time. I have one too!

In the beginning of this article, I asked, “What can you do to fight hunger?” Did you think of anything? You can do one of the above, but I've got some more ideas for you. Take one of these ideas and run with it and get others involved too!

From The Good Long Road: Hunger Action Month, 11 Simple Ways. This is a short list from Jennifer Fischer’s post:  

+ Collect Spare Change and donate to a local cause or nonprofit.
+ Donate (and volunteer) at our local food pantry. Ridgecrest has two that I know of: St Ann’s Church (SARP) and the Salvation Army.
+ Garden.
+ Eat a meal with gratitude.
+ Support a neighbor in need.
+ Organize a food drive.
+ Learn about hunger / talk about it.

I know one of these ideas inspired you to get involved. Still want more ideas? Great! Go to the Moms Fighting Hunger blog hop here to grab more resources.

If your plate is already full, you can “eat a meal with gratitude.” You can ‘like’ the Facebook page: “We Love Ridgecrest.” You can tell people about these resources. We all have something wonderful to give. That’s what we were created for anyway! Learn, grow, and share!! Be well.

P.S. Last year I partnered with The Good Long Road and we both shared a post on "Moms Fighting Hunger" for Hunger Action Month by taking the #SNAP challenge. Find our posts here and here

P.P.S. Contact me on my blog if you'd like a copy of the "Meals & Resources" PDF. 

Like what you have read here? Follow me on my social media sites. Scroll up to find the buttons on the top right side of the blog. 

Choose, eat, and live well! =)

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Community Garden and More from Summer 2014

Take the pledge here to do as the words encourage us to do (Sep 2014)

Summer! ... it is my favorite season. This post is a little late getting out there but I cannot miss the opportunity to share some of the highlights of our summer break with you! I know, I know... this should have gone out in August but better late than never. =)

Many of the images will be to share about a resource in my community that was created late Fall last year by a local doctor, Dr. Iresha Goonesinghe; she is compassionate, shares resources, and is always looking for ways to partner with the community. She is the visionary behind the "community garden!"

With a team of volunteers, the Ridgecrest community garden was formed and continues to flourish! The vegetables grown in the garden are organic and non-GMO and are given to single parent homes and low-income families; it is one way we are able to fight hunger. I helped a half dozen times throughout the summer with my son at my side. Now that school is back in session, I plan to help a little more consistently. I like to get my hands dirty plus it's a good work out. Since school began I have volunteered twice and am looking to go again this week (after this post publishes). 

In the image above, pictured is Angela Cooper of Angela Cooper Wellness who just happened to open her new Massage and Yoga Center in Ridgecrest on 9/8/14!! I'm pictured in the center and for those who don't know me, I'm a certified health coach (my services) and I focus on real food nutrition, label reading, and empowering the consumer and Anna Lynn (on the right) who you will learn more about as you continue reading. 

I do not own a garden (yet) but I'm starting to think about one more and more. I may consider doing some berries in raised beds or potatoes but I'd like to get a compost going. I've been talking about starting an aeroponic garden that requires no soil or kneeling that sounds really rewarding but due to the extreme climates in my area, I haven't started one. And, at this point in time, not sure when or if I will (yikes did I just admit that out loud?!). However, if a few friends and clients order a Tower Garden then we all can help each other out in the various seasons (dry, windy, cold) and in times of overgrowth. Win-win! =)

I did enjoy having my son at my side during our learning at the community garden. Anna, one of the volunteers, is a wealth of information and has the most patience you could ever imagine and is eager to learn and share what she's learned with others! There's plenty of room in the world for people like her!!

Monday, September 15, 2014

{Chicken 3+ Ways!} No matter how you slice it!

... it'll be good, right!? Well, that's what they say anyway.

Chicken is a staple animal protein in our home. But we are also big fans of fatty fish like salmon and plant protein too! I was able to an organic whole chicken and though she was small, it was a good decision to purchase it because I have been wanting to make several recipes using one for awhile. (I am keeping my eyes peeled for a pasture raised chicken. Hard to come by in my area.) One recipe that I had been eyeing was by Organic Kitchen here. I didn't have some of the ingredients her recipe asked for so I found another recipe based on the ingredients I did have on hand by the little kitchen

Crock Pot Chicken 

I even attempted to broil the whole chicken but I slow cooked it too long (which was a really good thing, but not so much for presentation) to crisp the skin. The chicken was so tender it was falling off the bones! YUM!!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Eating for Two: a Recipe Collection for a Healthy Pregnancy and Beyond

I've partnered with a midwife offering two types of nutrition classes at her studio in Lancaster, CA. One class is for prenatal nutrition and the other is for postpartum through baby starting solids aka Mom & Baby Nutrition

The midwife asked me to put together a list of recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, to be used by busy moms (and their supporting family members) who need ideas in a pinch that do not take long to prep/cook and can be used as nutritious leftovers. I was able to pull all of the recipes from my blog. The ingredients are listed per recipe; you can visit the link for the how-to if you're interested in preparing it. 

The recipes cover vegetarian, grain free, and lean meat selections, fish, as well as dairy free and lots of fruits and vegetables! For Pregnancy and Nursing Mothers: "Eating for Two" means that you're doubly conscientious of what you're consuming. So be mindful of every mouthful!

This list can be used by anyone; not just for females of the child bearing age or nursing mothers. 

Do not consider this a meal plan but you're welcome to use the recipes as suggestions as you put together your plan for the week. See disclaimer for more information. 

*** Breakfast ***

1 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup uncooked oats
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3 T brown sugar + 1 T sugar
(can sub 4 T coconut sugar)
1 T maple syrup
1 cup chopped apples
2 lightly beaten eggs
1/4 tsp real vanilla

10 oz almond milk
1 banana
2 tbs natural peanut butter
1 tbs ground flax
1/3 cup Complete
2 tbs ground almonds
1 tbs unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tbs shelled hemp seeds
1/2 tbs chocolate chips

2 tsp olive oil
1 sweet potato, peeled & chopped
1/2 sweet onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 zucchini, diced
1 package sausage - optional
1-2 tsp of oregano
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp coconut oil / olive oil to coat 
10 eggs + 1/2 cup milk, divided
1/4 cup of mozzarella - optional

1 1/3 cup of organic whole wheat flour
2 tbsp coconut sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
large pinch of sea salt
1 cup of almond milk + *2 tsp 
1 egg
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup of vanilla Complete protein powder (or your choice)
1/2 to 1 1/2 cups of blueberries (your preference); partially thaw if frozen.
1-2 tbsp of butter

*** Lunch ***

1 cup corn
1 cup black beans
1 small tomato
2 sweet peppers
1 shallot (diced)
3 tbs olive oil
1 tbs dried cilantro (2 tbs fresh, chopped)
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or use a small seeded & diced jalapeno)
Juice of 1 medium lemon (or 2 small limes)

4-6 slices of sourdough bread 
1+ tbs butter, divided 
3+ tbs pesto, divided 
1/2 cup fresh spinach
1 avocado thinly sliced 
1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella 
S&P to taste 
1 - Cuisinart grill  
3 medium red potatoes
2 tbs EVOO
1/2 tsp rosemary
1/2 tsp onion and herb (salt-free) seasoning
1 tsp parmesan cheese

*** Dinner ***

3-5 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
1 tsp Sea Salt
2 tsp Rosemary (dried; 1 tsp fresh)
1 T Garlic (minced; (2) fresh diced)
2 T basil (lemon basil, frozen fresh in EVOO)
Red Potatoes (6 medium sized)
Sunburst Tomatoes (1 pound)
4-6 Chicken Breasts 

Bonus: Fresh Herb Preservation Tip!

1 pound of ground turkey 
1 head of green cabbage
1/4 cup EVOO
1/2 cup diced onions
1 clove diced garlic
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup chopped kale
1 cup shredded zucchini
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
1 jar of organic spaghetti sauce
2 tsp oregano 
2 tsp basil
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp S&P 

Tomato Sauce:
1 small onion, diced
1 large carrot, shredded
1 large parsnip, shredded
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
1 large tomato, diced (skins removed)
3 garlic cloves, diced
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp himalayan salt
2 T grapeseed oil

Pasta substitute:
2 large zucchini, cut into thin strips
1/8 tsp himalayan salt
1 tsp grapeseed oil

Extra filling:
I purchased a jar of ready-made artichoke spread. I used half of the jar or about 4 oz for where the cheese filling would be in traditional lasagna.

Wild caught salmon (organic)
Various in-season veggies
Thai Basil (10 leaves; or use 1 tbs of dried basil (any variety))
1 garlic clove, smashed or 1 tsp of minced garlic
1/2 cup of oil of your choice (I chose EVOO)
Couple pinches of salt, divided

*** Side Dishes (can serve as a main dish)***

2 tbs of coconut oil
1-2 chopped garlic cloves
2 tsp of dried herbs of your choice
1 tsp of sea salt, divided

Prepare ¼ cup chopped onions, 2 carrots, ½ cup of chopped daikon radish, 1 zucchini, ½ head of green cabbage, and 1 medium tomato. (Use your in-season on-hand vegetables.)

2 large brown (or ripe) plantains (not green)
1/2 tbs coconut oil
1/2 tbs coconut sugar divided (like this)
1/2 tbs avocado oil (like this) (can use olive oil)
1/2 tsp sea salt divided 

*** Snacks ***

2 apples cored, cut into rings
1 heaping cup of almond meal 
5 tbs melted organic coconut oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp organic coconut sugar

3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed
1/3 cup melted butter
1/3 cup of organic cane sugar 
1/3 cup of unsweetened applesauce
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon real vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup of ground flax + 1 cup of organic whole wheat pastry flour

Air Popper
1/4 cup of organic popcorn kernels (yields about 4 cups)
2 tbs of organic coconut oil
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp nutritional yeast (or to taste) 

2 cups chocolate Complete powder
4 cups organic Hemp Plus Granola
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup maple syrup
2 cups creamy peanut butter 

*** Desserts ***

1 cup flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon + 1 tsp of nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup natural sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tbs vanilla
1/2 cup butter + 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1 cup of parsnips + 3/4 cup of shredded carrots

4 persimmons pureed
3/4 cup raw cane sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
1 tsp real vanilla
2 cups 100% whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt

*** Other Great Collections (and Recipes)!! ***

Collaborative Posts -

Various Dishes -

Crock Pot Cooking -

Disclaimer: Certified Health Coaches and Nutritionists cannot meal plan for you. The only professionals who may do so are registered dietitians and doctors. We can, however, guide and share resources as you make your own meal plan.

Choose, eat, and live well! =)

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