Monday, December 14, 2015

One Pan Roasted Veggies

There are dozens of ways to eat more vegetables like blending, juicing, sautéing, Juice Plusing, eating them raw and more!

Vegetables are nutrient dense giving you hundreds of thousands of phytonutrients that your body recognizes as food and it uses the nutrients the right away (bioavailable).

I challenge you to eat 5 different vegetables daily. Can you do it?

Eating more vegetables daily may help you to eat less of the red light foods (empty, junk calories with little to no nutritional value). More information on traffic light eating can be found here

The following recipe is really simple because you can use any 5 or more vegetables of your liking and look here – you've just hit your daily goal! Choose various colors. I roasted: onions, carrots, asparagus, white eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, and potatoes. 
One Pan Roasted Veggies via iConveyAwarenss - Can you meet the challenge?

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Cut the five to seven colorful varieties of vegetables roughly the same size for even roasting.

3. Toss the vegetables with extra virgin olive oil (organic if possible), sea salt, and rosemary (or your herb of choice; oregano or thyme works brilliantly here too) and roast for 40 minutes.

4. At the 20 minute mark, toss them for even roasting. Don't overcook them; you want them to be al dente (little firm on the outer edge and softer in the middle). The vegetables should not be mushy.

5. Serve with a clean protein of your choice, rice or quinoa, or eat them without any sides – they can stand alone surely!

Health Coaching services to support you on your wellness journey. 

Choose, eat, and live well! =)

Monday, December 7, 2015

Baked Chocolate Oatmeal in Individual Servings

Baked Chocolate Oatmeal in Individual Servings - GF/DF - iConveyAwareness

This post has been moved to my new blog on my health coaching website. You can find this recipe on Conveying Awareness.

Choose, eat, and live well! 

Monday, November 9, 2015

A Season for Change, The Time Is Now {Guest Post}

iConveyAwareness | A Season for Change, The Time is Now - Guest Post - Rebecca Champlin

"Life is happening now. Real life can be crazy, messy with peaks, valleys; and it can be overwhelming to start something new. Sometimes we have to step back and ask, “What am I being called to right now?” The answer may be to start a project or may just be adding one new good habit, like taking a walk around the neighborhood or drinking more water during the day. Either is a good decision. These short-term, positive decisions will lead to long-term success, but it starts now. Be purposeful and plant something that will be fruitful in 20 years.

Starting a new project, implementing a change can be hard; some don’t know how to do it. There are many resources out there. For example: People who are willing to help and encourage your journey. Reach out. I submit to you four actions: Prepare, Plant, Water, and Be Patient.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Surrounded by Chihuahuas {Guest Post}

iConveyAwareness | Guest Post Andrea Cordes - Fitness is an Attitude

This is the second guest post from Tabata Bootcamp Master Trainer, Andrea Cordes of Formation Power Fitness (her Facebook page is linked). Her website is forthcoming. Last June, she wrote a guest post on moving more, drinking more for a ten day challenge I hosted several months in a row. (Drinking more water and moving your body more - exercising!) See Move More, Drink More for guidance and challenges you can set for yourself starting tomorrow for ten days. You can do it! 

"You have probably walked into a class at the gym and one of the first things the instructor tells you is to: "Leave your problems at the door, this hour is for you!" If you've been to any of my cycling classes, you've probably heard me say something similar. Leaving life behind for a while has its advantages. There's power in taking charge of when you want your problems to hold you. The escape of getting lost in physical movement and the sweat is also therapeutic. But what about the days that those problems refuse to remain in check?

And can it ever be advantageous to face the problems full on, perhaps even embrace them? I believe the answer is decidedly "yes" and I'll tell you why.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

First Annual Prime Time Wellness Summit - Highlights

Wow! What an awesome first event. I recently (9/26/15) held an all-day wellness summit on healthy aging teaching the principles of the Prime Time Health (PTH) series. PTH is a scientifically proven plan developed by Dr. Bill Sears and his wife, Martha Sears, RN, and is taught by certified health coaches that graduated from the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute. I have been a certified health coach since 2012. You can learn more about me here. If you want to know how to age healthfully, you'll want to contact a certified health coach with the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute STAT. Thankfully, certified health coaches for Dr. Bill Sears can also teach this series online providing the convenience of online education and for a fraction of the cost. Contact me if you'd like to pursue this option.

Without further ado, here are the highlights from my first annual Prime Time Wellness Summit. The summit was held at the Living Desert Wellness Center located on Ridgecrest Blvd., in Ste. B. 

Convey Awareness | PTWS 1st Annual Summit on Healthy Aging
The classroom before the attendees arrived. 

Convey Awareness | PTWS 1st Annual Summit on Healthy Aging
Preparing attendees for the first workshop of four for the all-day wellness summit. 
I have taught the Prime Time Health series at local venues around my area. I usually teach them one at a time (or two at a time on separate days) and I always serve a healthy snack. I am fond of this series as it provides sustainable tools for one's wellness journey and what a better way to make it into an all day wellness summit! 

Monday, September 14, 2015

What Seeds Are You Planting?

How does your garden grow? Don't have one... yet? Maybe this is the time to give it a go. Come learn about my experiences over the last year and a half on the MomsRising blog about school and community gardens

The MomsRising team has an excellent #BacktoSchool initiative for the first half of September focusing on healthy snacks, lunches, and sharing practical life skills for parents, teachers, and children. 

I recommend you follow their pages for further wellness awareness! BTW, [almost] every Friday at 10a EST, they host a #FoodFri talk on Twitter. You can check out their page, Good Food Force, on Facebook as well to connect with other concerned parents and care givers.

An excerpt from my guest post on the blog: 
If you’re like me, you want your family to eat well and enjoy it and maybe, just maybe, learn about where real food comes from. So whatever happened last growing season, maybe my story will encourage you to give it a try again. And, don’t give up; your family’s health may just depend on your perseverance! 
Before you go, here's a quick tip for your garden: If you happen to live in or visit the Mojave desert in the spring and you see this wildflower while out and about, pick some, and place them in a vase with water. You'll be able to enjoy them for a few days. Some say they smell like cherries and others may say they smell like grapes. I smell cherries. My son smells grapes! They have a very nice scent. 

Convey Awareness | Planting Seeds with Guest Post on MomsRising

Monday, August 3, 2015

Peppers and Tomatoes over Chicken with Rice

Need a quick and delicious dinner idea this week? 

Like many of you, I'm a busy parent. Some days require an easy approach to dinner that doesn't compromise on flavor or nutritional value - wouldn't you agree? This recipe is gluten free and if you omit the feta, it can be dairy free too.

Monday, July 6, 2015

In Season! Fruits and Vegetables (Summer), Part III

Welcome to Part III of IV. This is the Summer collection. You can typically find these fruits and vegetables in season from June - August in most U.S. climates. I chose a handful of fruits and vegetables to encourage you to step out of your comfort zone (try something new) and I also wanted to shared more recipes for various veggies and fruit for those who have expressed the need. You can find part II (Spring) here and part I (Winter) here

Convey Awareness | In Season! Fruits and Veggies (Summer) Part III - Recipe Collection

Reminder: Why do we want to eat produce that's grown in season? 
1) Higher nutrient value; they fully ripen 
2) Lower impact on the environment; reduce food miles 
3) Costs less!

Plus - You may be able to support local farmers! This puts more money back into your local economy! #shopsmall #shoplocal

You may know that I advocate for families to eat more fruits and vegetables daily. Will you partner with me by challenging yourself to eat FIVE. That is, five different fruits and five different veggies every day! Is this hard? Depends. Is it worth it? Well, your life may depend upon it! Let's choose real, colorful food by way of fruits and vegetables (and a variety from good food sources). It could very well promote healing and recovery in our wellness journey. Woohoo!! Let's hear it for whole food nutrition!!

If you're struggling to try something new because you're eating the same 2 or 3 veggies (or fruit) day in and day out, you may be interested in learning that I was just like you a handful of years ago. (Learn more here.)

You can also download my free eGuide (no affiliations mentioned) if you'd like to incorporate more colorful foods by way of fruits and vegetables in your regimen. (Click here.)

Lastly, you can always bridge the gap with dehydrated fruits and veggies that are non-GMO and NSF Certified. The starches have been removed making the capsules a good choice for most. There are 30 whole foods! More information here

I encourage you to set a new goal every week: Try a new fruit or a new vegetable. Go online, find a recipe, learn how to clean or prep it, and how to make it (if it needs cooking). Open your mind to the possibilities! Always look for ways to keep the whole food as close to its natural state as possible. 

The aforementioned served as a catalyst for me to change and nowadays I really enjoy fruits and veggies. Seriously. People ask me what I'm always thinking about and my answer is usually vegetables or cookies (you know since I'm being honest here).

How to find fruits and vegetables in season in your specific region - visit Sustainable Table and for a list of produce generally available, go to Fruits and Vegetables: More Matters

Lastly, you may want to see if there are any farmer's markets in your area or community support agriculture programs or co-ops (like Azure Standard or Frontier), visit Local Harvest. You can Google the co-op programs and find the site and drop off information for your city, if available, on their websites. 

Ready? Let's dig in! =)

Monday, June 1, 2015

Detox Your Mind and Body

Detox Your Mind and Body Cover with Skyfire Ranch

The six wellness tips on this article has been moved to my new blog on my health coaching website. You can find it on Conveying Awareness

Choose, eat, and live well! 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Almond and Oat Cookies *GF/DF*

While straightening out my pantry, I found a half bag of almond meal and recalled in that moment a recipe I had found on my Google+ feed. I went back to my feed to find her recipe and pulled it up. The image she shared was captivating but for personal reasons, I made some modifications to the list of ingredients. Go learn about the inspiration behind the sharing of her recipe on her blog, American Moments. Below you'll find the recipe adapted in several ways.

Convey Awareness | Gluten and dairy free almond & oat cookies

Almond and Oat Cookies (gluten and dairy free)

Preheat oven to 375*. Line a cookie sheet with a parchment paper for easy clean up and even baking. Yields approximately 2 dozen 1 inch cookies. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

In Season! Fruits and Vegetables (Spring), Part II

This is the Spring Collection of fruits and vegetables commonly found in most places around the U.S. Of course, as previously stated in the Winter collection published in January (as seen here), some of these fruits and vegetables grow year 'round or close to year 'round due to climate. Yay!

Convey Awareness | In Season! Fruits and Veggies (Spring) Part II

Let's remind ourselves why we should do our best to eat "in season" below:

Why do we want to eat produce that's grown in season? 
1) Higher nutrient value; they fully ripen 
2) Lower impact on the environment; reduce food miles 
3) Costs less!

Now, I should ask you --- how are you doing on your goal of eating at least 5 different fruits and 5 different vegetables a day? Understand the importance of eating the [real] rainbow. Each color and type make up an array of vitamins and minerals that your body knows exactly what to do with them! When we eat the colors of the rainbow every day, the real foods work together (synergistic) and do amazing things in our body and for our wellness. 

If you're new to eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, you may want to incorporate a new fruit and a new vegetable each week until a month has passed and you're eating 3-4 extra ones a day. Keep adding new (and / or different) fruits and vegetables moving forward and before you know it, you'll be eating upwards of ten a day. 

Let's get started for an awesome collection of real food recipes. I bet you'll find some of your favorites - don't forget to pin the collection - thanks!! 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Raising Self Reliant Youth, Part II

Convey Awareness | Raising Self Reliant Youth - Part II

Welcome to Part II of II. Last week, in Part I of my short collaborative series on Raising Self Reliant Youth, you read about Challice where she shared about sodbusting the next generation and her vision for how she would like to see her family but shares her reality instead.  

You also read about Pastor Dennit Goodwin Jr., that shared about how we should nurture our resources to meet the needs of tomorrow and shared a lesson on doing

Lastly, Cheryl, a local mom to my area, shared how service creates responsibility but produces great rewards. 

This week and to conclude this short collaborative series on Raising Self Reliant Youth, three women will share their stories. Be sure to come back and share this two-part collection. Thank you!!

Tools for Life

"We have two boys—a four-year-old and a two-year-old. They are energetic & curious children who have a daily hunger for knowledge and experience…in fact, sometimes the hunger is so strong that I find myself running to keep up with their desire to try new things, acquire new skills, and grasp the adventure of life with both hands.

It was evident from the beginning that they were both going to learn and experiment whether we were along for the ride or not (just ask about the time our then-three-year-old decided to test what would happen if he used a plastic hammer on our family iPad). As a result, one of the ways our family has decided to embrace our boys’ curiosity is to nourish it through teaching the proper context and usage for “big” tools.  We no longer snatch away knives at restaurants or bring out the plastic toy tools when they want to mimic daddy in the garage—nope, we’ve started to instruct both boys on the proper ways, times, and places to use the real deal.  My four-year-old has a small block of wood into which he practices hammering real nails with a small, lightweight (but real) hammer. And my two-year-old participates in the kitchen frequently, using a butter knife to help me cut butter, spread jelly, or prepare his morning waffle. The key for us has really been teaching appropriate context (never use these tools alone, and always use them in their proper areas) and usage. Teaching and supervising proper safety measures has also been a huge part of allowing them use “big people” tools.

By introducing the appropriate ways to wield and use real tools at a young age, our hope is that we are able to raise our children with a respect for how to use and care for things that are more dangerous in “bigger” versions. We also hope to empower our kids to know that they can use the same sorts of tools that we do and accomplish the same results—they just have to start small. They need to be patient with the process of learning and growth. And it’s been worth it. Their confidence has soared since we’ve started giving them opportunities to use real tools in a proper context. They are frequently excited to help and participate. And if we’re lucky, it will be just the beginning of many empowering experiences in which they recognize just how capable they are. In fact…maybe someday they’ll be able to pass along that lesson to their children as well." 

Convey Awareness | Raising Self Reliant Youth - with Stacia Guzzo of Handcrafted Honey Bee
Stacia Guzzo is a work-from-home entrepreneur, a joyful mama of two, & a wife to her best friend. Her business, Handcrafted Honey Bee, creates customizable DIY skin care kits that are sold all over the country. She resides in Tehachapi, California with her family and two dogs, two cats, thirteen chickens, two beehives, and a growing garden. 

Inspire for Purpose

"Resilience, another term for self-reliance, is about putting your aspirations and dreams into action every time and all the time, even when you don’t know the how, what, who, where, or when. I understood the concept of resilience at any early age because often times I was told no, when others were told yes, I was given the least and often times did not have the tools I needed to succeed. I was often chosen last or not at all when trying to make my life better. I realized that resilience made me a stronger, tougher and wiser person thus propelling me to achieve my life’s purpose.

My parents always told me that dreams should never be dreams long; at some point they must become reality. If not, then you live a life unfilled and devoid of your purpose. They were always engaged and interested in what I was doing. They spoke positive words into my life and made me believe I was important, wanted and could achieve anything I wanted in life.

My action words that get me moving are Go*Be*Do. Without these words, I would not have been blessed to assist others. It keeps me pressing toward the higher goal, the end game and to be that winner that I was meant to be. I did this by giving back to the community by feeding, clothing, employing the homeless, empowering and motivating those in search of their purpose along with donating funds to help better the life of others. I have been able to touch lives, shift negative mindsets and change the world one person at a time. You can and you will too if only you continue inspiring others for their life’s purpose."

Convey Awareness | Raising Self Reliant Youth w/ Ceandra Baker of Inspire for PurposeEmpowered to Inspire, Minister Ceandra Baker has had a lifelong dream of motivating and inspiring people to find out what their purpose is and to put it into action, thus coining the name, "The Actionist."

She is the Founder of Inspire for Purpose and CFO and Executive Director, of Extended Hands Worldwide Ministries, a charitable organization. Graduating magna cum laude she earned a B.S. in Psychology and an M.B.A. in Project Management from Columbia Southern University. 

Through servanthood, her unique style of leadership has granted her the privilege to serve communities both domestically and abroad giving aid and counsel in areas such as: Indonesia, Philippines, Korea, Poland, Cambodia, Vietnam, Italy, Singapore, Australia and Japan, just to name a few. These self-less acts, have been recognized by The National Association of Professional Women, honoring her as Woman of the year. 

Self-Reliance in Action

“Fostering independence in my boys and raising them as self-reliant children is very important to me. We do this through using Montessori-inspired techniques to teach practical life skills, encouraging them to do things themselves when they are able to and to try tasks themselves before asking for help, and I do this through providing my children with opportunities to serve others. I've seen with my own eyes that even a toddler can serve and how transformative service can be.

Raising self-reliant children is something I think most parents seek to do. Making service part of our children's lives improves their sense of self, their confidence and their independence. It makes them superheroes and magicians. It helps them understand that courage and consideration go hand in hand.

Wild Thing is studying community helpers at school. The school also recently made small collection boxes available to students to collect Pennies for Patients for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. On a bike ride to the park the other night, we grabbed the box and put it in the wagon with us (boys on bikes and scooters, me pulling the wagon with a few toys). Halfway to the park, we saw people for the first time during our walk. Wild Thing jumped off of his bicycle, grabbed the collection box and ran right up to them and asked for help. He did this throughout our walk to the park and back home. After about an hour, when we arrived back home, we added up our funds and had $17!! I was so proud of him, and he was so proud of himself. He realized that he didn't have to wait until he was a grown up to be a community helper, he could be one now. He can use his own skills and abilities to help others.”

Convey Awareness | Raising Self Reliant Youth - with Jennifer Fischer of Think Ten Media Group
Jennifer Fischer is a mom of two, as well as an independent filmmaker who has taught filmmaking to youth, most notably with Spotlight On Hope Film Camp, a free camp for Pediatric Cancer patients. Her company, Think Ten Media Group, is also embarking on a dramatic series to highlight mass incarceration in the U.S. She has written about her experiences with her sons, Wild Thing (5) and Caterpillar (3), at The Good LongRoad and Multicultural Kid Blogs, with an emphasis on mindfulness, imagination, and kid lit. 

If you feel so inclined and want to feel part of something empowering, watch Jennifer and Ramon's docudrama on The wHole - an internet series, you can support by way of sharing and/or donating to their campaign here through May 6, 2015.

Choose, eat, and live well! =) 

In case you missed it, please read Part I of Raising Self Reliant Youth (it published on 4/6 at 6:30 a.m. PST).  

Download my free eGuide when you subscribe to my newsletter and / or subscribe to my blog here to never miss a post.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Raising Self Reliant Youth - Part I

Convey Awareness | Raising Self Reliant Youth - a Collaborative Post, Part I

Welcome to Part I of II. This post was originally planned to be all inclusive but when I received the submissions, it was a no-brainer. I had to share their content over two posts. I didn't want to compress their content to fit my blog or it would have lost their voices and the overall feel would have been depleted. Part II will be available on Monday, April 13th. 

Let's get started...

Children. When you see them, what do you think about first? Do any of the adjectives in the above picture come to mind ... at all? Gosh, I hope so!

When you talk with children, you may ask them what they want to be when they grow up - isn't it peculiar how we are automatically (generally speaking) always looking to the future and hurrying along this stage in their life (whatever age they're in, you're thinking about the tomorrows). I know I do sometimes when I look at my son with admiration as I think to myself, "I wonder what he'll be like when he's 8 or 11 or 15?" But in our family, we do our darndest to focus on the present moments. 

Besides, what we do today, will have lasting effects into the future. Our children will always be our children but they will not always be young (or little). The shocker: They will grow up and move on / out but if you ask my six year old, he will live with me and his dad forever. And, how I know this reply could change when he's a teenager so I will remember these moments and cherish them. What we say and do today will echo for a long time. Let's work together in raising self reliant youth

Yes our youth needs us while they're young but as their care providers, we can encourage them to soar with the eagles and that whatever they do in this life, to do it with love and compassion for others. 

Convey Awareness | Self Reliant definition

Monday, March 23, 2015

Vegetarian Lentil Soup *GF/DF*

In January, I had the pleasure of visiting a friend and her family who had recently moved to the San Bernardino National Forest. She and I were headed to a regional training the day after. The night I arrived, it was windy and cold. Thankfully no snow because I don't own any snow chains and the climb to the top of the mountain was steep and long! The weather held off until the day after our meeting... whew!

Convey Awareness | Vegetarian Lentil Soup

The night I arrived, she was making a lentil soup. It tasted great! It was a hearty soup for a cold night. YUM!

Recently, I thought about making some lentil soup. First, I must admit, I'm not a huge fan of lentils and many beans because of their texture, and because of this, I made sure to thoroughly rinse the lentils before and after cooking and before incorporating them into the final dish. 

Without further adieu, here is the recipe! The recipe is gluten-free and dairy-free but not grain free, due to the lentils (legumes / grains) and the optional rice.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Turkey and White Bean Chili

Sometimes throwing something together just works. Ever have that happen to you on a regular basis in the kitchen? I'm happy to report that this is happening to me far more frequently and that's great for my family because the meals are coming out YUM-O!

This recipe is a cinch! It's gluten, dairy, and grain free. Very simple ingredients and you can choose the quality of your ingredients (dried, canned, fresh, etc). Since I only started working with beans in the last year, I'm still eating them from a can but if you're really good at soaking and preparing them from a dried status, go for it! =)

1 pound of ground turkey (no seasonings or added flavors)
3 large zucchini (shredded and drained)
1 medium red onion (finely diced; see note 2 for the tool I used; set aside)
1/2 to 1 full can of tomatoes with chilies (like this)
1-2 cans of white beans (rinsed and drained)
4 tsp cumin (like this)
2 tsp oregano (dry your own or like this; see note)
1 tsp salt 
1 tbs garlic (minced or 2 cloves finely chopped)
4 cups of broth (DIY here or choose a good boxed option like I did below)

Note 1: Save all your spices that come in glass containers. Remove the labels and reuse these for your own herbs that you dry out, chop, and store. =)

1. Brown the ground turkey and season it with salt, cumin, and oregano.

2. While turkey is cooking, prepare the zucchini. 

Note 2: You can use any food processor or if your knife skills are up to par, you'll dice the zucchini by hand. I use this (it's the mini) but when I have a large batch without paying attention to random sizes, I use this. After chopping zucchini, use a mesh bag and remove most of the water content. 

3. Add the garlic to the turkey and cook for a couple minutes before adding the zucchini. 

4. Cook zucchini for 3-5 minutes. 

5. Add tomatoes with chilies and rinsed beans. Stir. Cook for 2 minutes. 

6. Add the broth and cook on high. Stir as needed. When it comes to a boil, turn down the heat to medium and partially cover the chili allowing the broth to reduce. 

7. If you want there to be some broth left, cook for 25-30 minutes. Cook longer (about 45-55 minutes) if you'd like no broth to remain. Stir as needed. 

8. While broth is reducing, prepare your red onions and set aside. This will be your topping before serving. 

The chili has hints of kick and the onions lighten the heat a bit. My husband likes to add rice to the chili for added filling and satisfaction. I think the turkey & white bean chili tastes great on its own. You decide. Make it and let me know what you think it needs or if it is just right. 

I do receive a small commission from if you purchase anything through their site using one of the links above (read my full advertising disclosure here). 

Thank you very much for your generosity in helping to offset the costs of website upkeep, so that I can keep sharing wellness resources with my community and beyond.

Download my free eGuide when you subscribe to my newsletter and / or subscribe to my blog here to never miss a post.

Choose, eat, and live well! =)

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If you'd like to get one of those mini choppers, my friend is offering 10% off when you mention my blog, iConveyAwareness. Contact her at RidgecrestTW (@) {Please remove spaces.}

Monday, March 9, 2015

Whole Food Muffins Galore! *DF*

So, let's have some muffins for breakfast! Sure, we can do that! Only if the ingredients are known, wholesome, and nutrient dense though or it wouldn't be as guilt-free, right? Well, I'm sticking to that story at least. Join me? 

Today I'm sharing two new muffin recipes and a couple links to others I've shared in the past. Feel free to comment below with your favorite breakfast muffin. BTW, the two whole food muffin recipes below are dairy-free! 

First up: Coconut Oat Blueberry Muffins 

1 cup quick oats 
1 1/4 cup flour 
1/2 cup sugar 
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt 
1 tbs shredded unsweetened coconut; divided
1 egg (can use egg substitute)
1/2 cup coconut milk + 1 tbs (see note)
1/3 cup coconut oil 
1 cup blueberries (frozen makes the batter PURPLE!) =)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Brown or Green Thumb?

My mom has a dark green thumb. She has always grown with much success house plants and over the last several years she has had a garden with abundant fruits and veggies. I don't have the pleasure of living near her but we talk about what's she growing and I used to think that I couldn't do that either until I got involved as a volunteer in the community garden.

Since May of 2014, I've been learning how to garden as a volunteer at the Ridgecrest Community Garden. A year ago, I killed lavender in a hanging basket. But today, I'm growing (with the help of other volunteers) organic veggies in.the.desert!! 

Last month, the director of my son's Montessori school asked me to take the lead on their spring garden. I informed them that I'm just starting but one of the teachers suggested me since I'm into nutrition and that I also advocate for families to eat more fruits and vegetables.

Convey Awareness | My first compost pile in the ground!

The same week that the school asked me to volunteer, my husband said yes to a compost pile in our yard just a day before the school's request. I love how things work out naturally. 

The school was given 4 raised beds 5'x3' and one of the beds we made into the compost pile because it already had the fruits that didn't make it last spring decomposing. There are over 100 children at the Montesssori school so I've created a curriculum of sorts to get all the kids involved in this growing season. I will blog about the project in the coming months.

Convey Awareness | Raised Beds - Garden Project at a Montessori

So why all this attention on growing in the soil when there's also an option to own a system that requires no soil?

Well, knowing how to avoid toxic chemicals while growing food is essential and growing potatoes and other root veggies in the ground needs enriched soil from untainted sources. And, since I have a brown thumb background, I feel building the soil proves to be more work albeit fruitful, it is more than owning and growing food on a Tower Garden - not only no soil but it also has proven to yield more fruits and vegetables (Univ of Mississippi). Plus, it's an honor to be chosen at my son's school for this project and I get more opportunities to work with the children cultivating a love of real food

Another reason I'm growing food in soil to start, is that I want to get more hands-on experience - plus, it's a great excuse to play in the dirt like these kids! 

Convey Awareness | Montessori students preparing the compost

Perhaps your school will be interested in some Tower Gardens moving forward or maybe you?! 

Place your new order here for a vertical gardening system with organic produce that can be grown indoors and outside. 

Choose, eat, and live well! =)

Monday, February 23, 2015

Chocolate Banana Bread *GF*

This month has brought through some good changes!! I started walking more with an accountability partner. I'm working out for a half hour 5 days a week and going to yoga once a week (usually). Next month, I hope to increase my working out to one hour a day five times a week. 

Isn't that what the wellness journey is all about? Incorporating some good-for-you changes and seeing how they work with your body and within the harmony of your family!? Such as my posts have suggested thus far in 2015, New Year Solutions and Diets Fail!, movement is a key component of your wellness journey but my heart and attention usually falls in the realm of nutrition. Find what you're good at and then slowly add in other elements. 

This brings me to my post: Recently I borrowed a bread machine. 

I've tried numerous breads in the oven and FAIL! In this bread maker, I'm baking gluten breads to start. You see, my family isn't gluten free but like gardening, I feel I've got to start somewhere. I'll draw back to the garden statement in a moment. So far I've made three loaves with gluten and they're getting better with each loaf! Now, I must caveat and mention that I've baked sweet (mini) breads in the oven - zucchini, chocolate, carrot, banana, etc., all without fail. The sandwich bread has been the tricky one in the oven. 

One afternoon while my gluten bread was baking in the machine, I saw my brown bananas sitting on the counter. About every other month or so I make my banana bread recipe and the last time I forgot about trying my hand at the gluten free mix. This time around, I made my favorite of all time banana bread with the gluten free mix flour (I had purchased it in the gourmet aisle at the local department store, Marshall's). So I cheated and used the mix but I did call them and ask the source of the xanthan gum - it is nonGMO! I wasn't sure if I was supposed to use baking soda like in my original recipe (link above) so I threw it in anyway. Sometimes when it doubt, leave it out, but I went with my gut on this one, and left it in. 

Even though my family isn't gluten free, I'm sharing this recipe for two reasons: 
1) I'm open to learning, growing (trying), and sharing; 
2) We all start somewhere.

So if you're strictly gluten-free, this recipe may not be well suited because I didn't evaluate every ingredient for gluten. In my research, using baking soda made in a dedicated 100% gluten free facility may be best. However, if you're wanting to try something new or want some shortcuts if not strictly gluten-free, this recipe may work. 

iCA | Chocolate Banana Bread *GF* using a nonGMO mix

Many of the gluten free flour mixes are usually chock full of GMOs - corn and other derivatives that are not clearly labeled. So when in doubt, you can leave it out, or you can call the company direct and inquire like I did with the brand I used, Sugar and Spice Market. They said that their packages in the future will say made with all non-GMO ingredients. So keep your look out for the updated labels. 

Before I share my recipe, let me address that garden comment above. I am volunteering my time at least once a week with our community garden. I've been a volunteer since May 2014 and I've learned a lot! My mom has a green thumb. I killed house plants. I couldn't even grow lavender. But that was then and this is now. (Remember: Be open to learning, growing, and sharing.)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Diets Fail! Or, do they?! Tools for Measuring Success

Them: What kind of diet are you on?
Me: Real Food.

This post has been moved to my new blog. You can find the health tips on Conveying Awareness.

Choose, eat, and live well! :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Double Apple Muffins

Double Apple Muffins 

iConveyAwareness | Double Apple Muffins - Gluten and Dairy Free

Yet another recipe inspiration following the gluten-free and dairy-free food regimen. I must admit that I'm thankful that my family does not have any food restrictions which allows me the freedom to choose almost any kind of ingredient (only real food ingredients). Quality and source matter!!

Today's inspirational recipe hails from Simple Foody. Click on her name for the full recipe. As always, I put my personal spin on the recipe. The reason for my modification today was I didn't have all the ingredients so I subbed hence creating my own version.

I made these muffins the same night I made the grain-free meatloaf as seen here. As soon as my husband came through the door from work he commented, "What ya cookin' good lookin'?" I smiled and said, "Something new!" 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

In Season! Fruits and Vegetables (Winter), Part I

This is the winter collection. You can typically find these fruits and vegetables in season from December-February in most U.S. climates. I chose a handful of fruits and vegetables to encourage you to step out of your comfort zone (try something new) and I also wanted to shared more recipes for various veggies and fruit for those who have expressed the need. I think I'll have to add more recipes over time though because some categories are lacking (right, turnips and collard greens?!).

Why do we want to eat produce that's grown in season? 
1) Higher nutrient value; they fully ripen 
2) Lower impact on the environment; reduce food miles 
3) Costs less!

Most of my readers know that I advocate for families to eat more fruits and vegetables daily. My goal for my subscribers is to shoot for 5 -- five different fruits and five different veggies every day! Is this hard? Depends. The region and your resources could influence your options. Plus culture may have something to do with it too. But we can choose to have an open mind and embrace that real, colorful food by way of fruits and vegetables (and a variety from good sources), can promote healing and recovery in our wellness journey. 

If you're struggling to try something new because you're eating the same 2 or 3 veggies (or fruit) day in and day out, you may be interested in learning that I was just like you a handful of years ago (learn more here). 

Lastly, you can always bridge the gap with dehydrated fruits and veggies that are non-GMO, more information here. Whether you choose to incorporate the whole food based nutrition product or not, I encourage you to set a new goal every week: Try a new fruit or a new vegetable. Go online, find a recipe, how to clean or prep it, and how to make it (if it needs cooking). Open your mind to the possibilities!

The aforementioned product served as a catalyst for me to change and nowadays I really enjoy fruits and veggies. So the goal of 10 (5 fruits / 5 veggies) is in addition to the 30 whole foods I always get daily!

From this list below, share your favorite fruit and vegetable. I'd love to hear a memory about why these are your favorites. 

How to find fruits and vegetables in season in your specific region - visit Sustainable Table and for a list of produce generally available, go to Fruits and Vegetables: More Matters

Lastly, you may want to see if there are any farmer's markets in your area or community support agriculture programs or co-ops (like Azure Standard or Frontier), visit Local Harvest. You can Google the co-op programs and find the site and drop off information for your city, if available, on their websites. 

Ready? Let's dig in! =)


Brussels Sprouts

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

14 Taking Care of Yourself Resources from 2014

Last year was my best year blogging since inception (2010; see my first post here) and I attribute the growth to a few things: More transparency in the sharing of my wellness journey, connecting with bloggers, sharing content across several social media platforms, more nutrient dense recipes, and refined opportunities to educate about the importance of eating a variety of healthy foods. It was difficult to narrow down the Top 14 because there were a few that were within a handful of views from the ones chosen for this collection. 

If you're interested in learning more about my nutrition education services or other recipes I've written or if you have an idea for a post, contact me through my blog. One of my past clients from my online workshop, Simplified Nutrition, asked for a list of healthy snacks and the first link below is from her idea. 

So, if you've got an idea or need some clarity with regards to your own wellness journey, and the recipes (or resource) is not already covered on my blog then there's a good chance that with the sharing of your insight, it may be published with correct attribution, or better, I can point you to several resources including blogs to keep you moving forward in your journey. 

Snacks / Appetizers

Real food is fuel whether it's found in a meal or a snack or even at times, in a smoothie. Parents are looking for ways to increase nutrition in their children's choices (and individuals without children too). My recommendation always rests in eating more fruits and vegetables and a colorful variety daily. But that can get old after awhile so let this collection, Healthy Snacks for everyone, prove to be resourceful for your wellness journey. 

In addition to the collection above, you'll salivate when it comes to these apple wedges. They're made with all organic ingredients. One of the ingredients is using Bob's Red Mill. I contacted them in October to learn of their promise to source all non-GMO ingredients.

Ever wanted to experiment with a raw foods recipe? This one is really a hat's off to How We Flourish. You can find my adaptation here. My recipe uses a vegan plant based powder that I highly recommend that is gluten free and nonGMO. 

Give me a +1 if you're eating the real rainbow daily. Go back to recipe #1 for what this is (hint: fruits and vegetables). If you're eating the same two or three veggies a day or week and are struggling finding ways to get in more, give this a try for 6-8 months and see if it changes your life. When it does, you'll feel good about the investment for the long term. If it doesn't, cancellation is easy! 

As you may know I always encourage my readers to strive for 5 different fruits and 5 different vegetables a day and this in addition to any product that supports your real-rainbow-eating goals! =) We buy a boatload of organic corn on the cob in the summer and I prepare them by parboiling then freezing so that I can pull several cobs for this recipe. Salsa anyone? 

More on the real rainbow then we'll jump into the entrees (and their condiments) for lunch or dinner. You may have said, "I eat healthy; I have a salad every day at lunch," or "Fruits and vegetables go bad too quickly," or even "I'm not confident in cooking real foods." If any of this describes you, this [real] rainbow collection may be a resource for you. 


You're a busy individual and maybe, you're a parent, and you've got little time to make a nutritious meal. You're in the right place. This is a meal you can make in under 20 minutes. One of the benefits to grilled chicken is that you can have it all pre-made (pan fried in a healthy fat (oil) or grilled) on a Sunday and stored in an air tight container - some in the fridge (eaten within 2 days) or in the freezer. Throughout the week, you can pull from what's already made and make this chicken and pasta dish.  

You can learn a lot from those who can make a dollar stretch especially those who feed their children nutrient dense meals. They cut back on unnecessary expenses (no cable TV or smart phones) so that they can build the foundation of a healthy start in their children with real food solutions. As a side note of encouragement, visit my first post of 2015: New Year Solutions (paying attention to #s 3-5) for some tips in the kitchen. 

But don't run off yet, you'll want to pin some, if not all of the recipes in this collection, Eating Real Food on a Shoestring Budget. No matter where you're at on your journey, you can start with one change. 

If you're good at canning and have your own tomato sauce made already, this will be a recipe to add to your repertoire or you can buy some organic sauce in a jar (then you can reuse the jar later). One of my readers suggested freezing a head of cabbage then letting it thaw instead of boiling water (like I did in the recipe). I lack adequate freezer space so I'll stick with the latter option. I'm a huge fan of green cabbage. I love it in a stir-saute with onions, garlic, and mushrooms. Most recently, I received a new leafy green in my CSA box called Tokyo Bekana which is a mix between a bok choy and green cabbage. If you ever get an opportunity to get some, you'll prepare it like bok choy. Destem and cook first then add the leafy greens (just until they wilt). Enjoy this stuffed cabbage dish

Crockpot loving! Let me count the ways how many recipes I can make from a whole chicken made in a crockpot. This one includes at least three and over a dozen bone broth recipes from real food bloggers. 

Wild? Farm raised? Omega 3s... What about Mercury? When it comes to fish, do you ask yourself any of these questions? Be rest assured that the answers are in this Wild Caught: Fish Recipes collection. Hint: Wild always over Farmed. 

Personal Care

What are some ways that your family stays well during cold & flu season? In this post, I share my top 10 holistic ways and let me tell you, all of them but maybe two or three you can do right now! And who knows, maybe you'll want to add all ten. 

Foot Spray and Powder to keeping your [children's] feet and shoes fresh and germ-free. The spray is also helpful for use after playing sports and in locker rooms. 

I know it's popular to ingest EOs without direction from a certified aromatherapist and many don't mind doing so because it is truly a personal decision, but I don't utilize essential oils for their ingestion abilities but more so for their aromatic qualities and in this case, topically. I found a great combination of three oils to help knock out dizziness and headaches. If you deal with this from seasonal allergies or pressure changes, you may find this recipe helpful. 

A reminder to take care of self.

Your wellness journey is personal and while you're advocating for it and researching options, remember your 'why' always because seasons change. Keep your mind open, learn, grow, and share (in love). Be well! =)

"Everyone has a story to tell. Giving people an opportunity to share is the rewarding part of a relationship." ~ Jessica David, CHC, published quote

Choose, eat, and live well! =)

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