WTEW: Holiday Beverage Recipes

holiday bevs

Get your favorite mug out, my friend, and GET READY for some holiday beverage recipes. This week’s What to Eat Wednesday is all about the beverages that will make you smile this holiday season. I asked for fave recipes from my friends on Facebook last night. I also browsed the internet, Pinterest included, for some goodies. And, of course, Rachel Ray did not disappoint in her little magazine this month.

So, let’s hop to it. Here are some cheerful holiday beverage recipes to keep you merry all season long:

  • Old Fashioned Inspired Hot Chocolate from A Thought and a Half. All you have to do is click on the recipe name and you will be taken right to her chocolate greatness. Take one look at her pictures and you will want to make this ASAP.
  • Reindeer Martinis given to me from my friend, Erin. This is such a cute idea for a Christmas party.
    • Use about 1 bottle of vodka, a full container of cranberry juice, 6 packets of cider, and a few cinnamon sticks. Let it sit for a while in the fridge to chill, and share! Soo yummy, and you can garnish with a cherry, for the “red nose”.
  • Mulled Wine by Alton Brown. My cousin mentioned this last night so I HAD to find a tasty recipe. You can also make this in the crockpot. How is that for an easy holiday beverage?
  • Tom and Jerry from The Chow. My Uncle Tom mentioned this recipe and he gave it two thumbs up. There are quite a few ingredients in this one though so it isn’t an easy one to come up with on the fly.
  • Winter Chai Tea by SimpleVeda. I have been eyeing this for weeks now. Once I can get the ingredients together, I will be making this all winter long. Guaranteed. I love me some chai!
  • Mulled Punch in Rachel Ray Everyday. This serves 10 so share with others.
    • 3 bottles of white wine, 1/2 cup light brown sugar, 22 cinnamon sticks, 4 star anise pods, juice & peel of 1 small orange, peel of 1 lemon, 2 mangoes (peeled & sliced), 2 apples (peeled & sliced), 1 pear (peeled & sliced), 1/2 pineapple (cubed), freshly ground nutmeg. In a saucepan, combine 1 bottle wine, the sugar, 2 cinnamon sticks, the star anise, orange juice and peel, and the lemon peel. Bring to a boil and cook until syrupy, about 10 minutes. Add the remaining wine, mangoes, apples, pear and pineapple. Simmer over low 20 minutes. Strain. To serve, ladle warm punch into mugs and garnish with cinnamon sticks and freshly ground nutmeg.
  • Orangesicle Smoothie Recipe from Sarah Halstead. I know some of you aren’t big fans of warm beverages so if you are up for a cold treat, dive on in to this recipe. You can make it more “holiday-esque” by adding a peppermint straw or putting it in a Christmas mug or cup!

Do you have a holiday beverage you have been eyeing? Do share!

My Favorite Fitness Accomplishments

MyFavoriteFitnessAccomplishments

Happy Tuesday, dear friends! Hope your week is off to an AWESOME start! Mine has been busy (work is kicking my butt these days) so not sure I would use the word awesome for mine, but I did get a pedicure after work yesterday. I wanted a little Christmas on my toes so I may have had the lady paint a snowman on the big toes too. Perhaps that itself made my week off to an awesome start. Yeah, I will go with that. Screw busy work days… I have snowmen ON MY TOES!

Okay enough about that. Today is The Fit Dish link up with Jessica Joy and Jill Conyers. We are sharing our favorite fitness accomplishments OF ALL TIME! Oh boy, this will be fun. I have many favorites.

Let’s do this… in no particular order, here are my four favorite fitness accomplishments:

  1. Experiencing & completing the MS 150 with one of my best friends. This happened in 2007 when one of my best friends and I worked at Shell in Houston. Almost all of the oil companies sponsor the MS 150 so Shell had a team and we joined it. The MS 150 is a bike ride from Houston to Austin over 2 days to raise money and awareness for MS. The main reason this made my favorites list is because I have some hilarious memories from it. You really do get a little delirious riding on a bike for that many hours straight. I may have to share these memories in another blog post sometime because I am laughing just thinking about it.
  2. Teaching my very first group exercise class. I took a general group exercise course in college probably about 10 years ago. It was a course to gear you up for getting certified. I got certified a few years later when I finally decided to JUST DO IT (yes, like Nike). I taught my first class at a local country club gym. I was so nervous! The first class is always the hardest, but once you get that class out of the way you realize it AIN’T THAT BAD. And it becomes a hobby. I love it. I currently only teach Pure Barre, but have a feeling I will be teaching some type of group exercise class throughout my life.
  3. Running my first 10K. I had never ran anything past a 5K at the time, but I had a goal of completing a half marathon so used the 10K as a little milestone. It was my favorite run by far! It even beats the half. My older brother was by my side the whole time cheering me on and we were running on the weirdest terrain. It was all grass and hills. This was also a very small, local run in October so the drama department of the local high school dressed up like various dead people and acted their parts. I saw the twins from The Shining. Creeeeepy!
  4. Completing my first triathlon. I was a little more hardcore in Houston for some reason. I did the MS 150 and a triathlon in the same year. But, once I moved back to Dallas I hung up my swim trunks and bicycle shoes. No more crazy bike rides or tri’s. Maybe someday though. Anyway, my first triathlon makes my favorites list because of the transitions. I felt unstoppable being able to swim, bike, and then run. It was tough, but so worth it!

I have other fitness accomplishments, but what makes an accomplishment a FAVE for me is the experience. I find the most joy when I experience these milestones with others. That is the one constant in all of the above. I experienced the MS 150 with a best friend, my first group ex class with all of the gracious & patient participants, the 10K with my older brother, and the triathlon with a coworker. Cue the Beatles now… ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE! 😉

What about you? What is one of your favorite fitness accomplishments and why?

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Have you heard about Elf for Health?

The Lean Green Bean

Are you in the mood for a little holiday challenge? And yes, it will be SO fun! I read a blog post today about Elf for Health over at The Lean Green Bean (The blogger is Lindsay and I love her stuff. Another dietitian, I might add. High five!). I am over the moon excited about this challenge and I hope you will join in too. Lindsay and Elle (with According to Elle) are co-hosting this challenge.

I will give you a small rundown of the challenge today on the blog, but PLEASE visit one of the hosts’ websites to actually sign up for the challenge. You can click on “Elf for Health” in the first paragraph above to be taken right to the info you need. You’re welcome!

Challenge deets that I am super stoked about:

  1. The challenge starts Monday, November 24th. Yes, that IS next Monday!
  2. Each day will have a challenge “to do” that encompasses either food, fitness, for you, or for others. Isn’t that great?! Well-rounded wellness right there.
  3. You can join the Facebook group for even more support. You will also get assigned an elf (if you want one) for that extra encouragement. I believe you get assigned at least 2 elves during the duration of the challenge to meet more peeps. Hello, social butterfly!
  4. Prizes are available throughout the challenge. You’re looking like a winner these days!
  5. And my favorite, you can save the calendar to your google calendar. For days you forget to look on Pinterest or on the blog, you will get that pop up reminder. No forgetting your good holiday habits this year, my friend!

So… are you with me!?! Who else wants to participate in Elf for Health this holiday season? Comment below if you end up signing up!

Happy Monday, friends!

WTEW: Dreaming Cow

Dreaming cow

If you are at all interested in where food comes from, you know that many food companies treat animals inhumanely. But, there are also food companies that don’t. And those I like to spotlight. Those are the companies I am going to support with my dollar and cents, fo sho! So, that leads me to today’s What to Eat Wednesday… Dreaming Cow yogurt.

Have you heard of them yet? I found these gems at Target and had to try them right away. I was blown away by the flavor and texture. I like to add a little crunch so put in a tad of granola and dark chocolate chips. Holy cow (pun intended), it was delish!

So how do they treat their cows? Well, they let the cows roam freely. They let the cows eat from the pasture. They let the cows…. well, be cows. You can see for yourself by the vid below. You really only need to watch a few seconds to catch the drift.

I am so inspired by companies who create a product AND do well by the environment, nature, or animal kingdom. Humans are not the only ones on this planet so we need not be greedy. Am I right, or am I right? And if you are a pet person, you for sure understand. You would NEVER want anything to happen to that sweet ‘lil ‘ol pet of yours. So when we are taking milk from a cow for whatever reason, we can do it with dignity. Yes, I know cows aren’t technically pets and we even kill some for beef, but that does not mean that we let them suffer or put them in incredibly horrible living conditions. All animals deserve to be happy while living on planet earth.

Okay, off soap box now. Don’t I sound like a little treehugger? No, but really.. you do vote with your dollar so make a wise choice when purchasing goods. Even if you don’t try Dreaming Cow and plan to stick with your favorite yogurt brand, do your research. Make sure the supplier treats its cows well. Same goes for any other milk product.

So back to Dreaming Cow. I bought 5 different flavors at Target this past week and have not had a bad flavor so far. I’ve tried the Dark Cherry Chai, Maple Ginger, and Vanilla Agave. They run about $1.25 per container so not much more than the Chobani or Fage brands.

Oh and I LOVE their slogan… Happy Moo, Happy You. Totally diggin’ it!

Have you tried Dreaming Cow yet? If so, which flavor is your favorite?

Life in Pictures: Cooler Weather

Before I get started, let me give you the scoop on this link up real quick. This is a link up geared towards posting pics from this past week or day, no text needed. You can guess what happened or just enjoy the pics. You read text all week on here so it is time for a break… Happy Friday and here’s to cooler weather!

Fit Fed and Happy

A few things I do when the weather is cooler… and I do this to _______ _______! Can you guess?!?! Oh, I am sure you can… and if not, here are the clues in pictures.

This is by FAR my favorite soup! The dill takes it to a new level.

Eat Harvest Vegetable Chowder. This is by FAR my favorite soup! The dill takes it to a new level.

Yoga indoors like this cat. He looks mad, but he knows he LOVES it! This was on a card I wrote to my grandma this week.

Do a workout indoors like this cat. He looks mad, but he knows he LOVES it! This was on a card I sent to my gma.

Drink more hot beverages. Of course, I love my tea! But also hot water with lemon.

Drink more hot beverages. Of course, I love my tea! But also hot water with lemon.

Go country dancing! Well, last night was my first time in a long time but this is going to be a regular to do this Fall/Winter.

Go dancing! Well, last night was my first time in a long time, but going out to dance will be a regular to do this Fall.

Have more cuddle sessions with my favorite animals! Usually my cats or my parents dogs. Love them all!

Have more cuddle sessions with my favorite animals! Usually my cats or my parents dogs. Love them all!

Buy more hoodie's. I can't ever get enough of these when the weather is cooler. Just bought a new one this week!

Buy more hoodie’s. I can’t ever get enough of these when the weather is cooler. Just bought a new one this week!

Working Out: Average vs Awesome!

‘Tis time for The Fit Dish Link-up with The Fit Switch and Jill Conyers. Today we are talking about working out. What is the difference between an average workout and an awesome workout?! Boy do I have my thoughts on that. And to sum it all up in a simple phrase, this is what I think…

workout

Don’t you agree? The effort is what makes the action average or awesome. You can have an awesome workout climbing a mountain just as much as you can have an awesome workout taking a barre class or stretching it out in yoga. The difference is in how you prepare or set yourself up for the workout, both in mind and body, and then the energy you put forth during it.

I will give you an example. I am a visual person so some of you may be as well. If I think I “should” run a few miles tomorrow, but I have to get up at 5am to do it I probably won’t have an awesome workout. I will have an average workout. Why? Well, because currently 1) I don’t get to bed early enough to have energy for a 5am workout, 2) I don’t find value in running that many miles (aka lack the motivation), and 3) I would rather be sleeping and do a workout later in the morning or mid-day. Some women and men thrive off of 5am running workouts. And I could too, but only if my motivation, energy, and effort were all on the up. Perhaps if I were training for a half marathon, going to bed at an earlier hour, and still getting in enough zz’s I could make that 5am run an awesome workout. I would have more energy to give it my all the whole way through! The effort would be smashing, babay.

Do you want to know a little secret? Individuality is HUGE with working out and can also take a workout from average to awesome. I know what I LOVE, what I LIKE, and what I consider ho-hum. Do you? Do you know which activities you kick ass and take names at? Do more of those. And go with the flow.. they may change every now and then. I currently LOVE doing PiYo, yoga, Turbofire, walking, and dancing. Not that long ago I went through a love affair for running. Kinda over that now, but it may come back in the future. You will also never catch me on a treadmill or elliptical. I would seriously rather march in place than get on one of those machines.

Know your preferences. If you don’t know them yet, get to know them. Try things out. Make your workouts AWESOME!

What is your top tip for making a workout awesome?

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Could Use Your Votes!

Top 100

Happy Monday friends! I have a HUGE favor to ask… I have applied for the Top 100 Health Promotion Professionals and could use your votes. If you like me, of course. I will never force you. 😉 Maybe a kick in the rear, but that’s it…

Anyway, so I applied and am in the running. If you have any free time (I know, I know.. do we even know what free time is?!) over the next 4 days, please give me 5 stars. And if you find yourself having even more free time, vote again. You can vote up to once per hour.

Click directly on this link: Nominee Brianna Peterson and it will open up to my nomination page. Thank you times a million!!!

I love what I do and love that WELCOA (the organization that awards the top 100) wants to give recognition to those in my field. I will be a strong supporter for all 100 that win. I may not make the cut and am totally okay with that. I don’t do this type of work for the recognition. Although, it is pretty cool every so often. Can’t lie about that.

And I love supporting others too. If you have anything you need votes on, send my way. I will definitely reciprocate. Especially if you have nominated your baby for one of those next Gerber baby contests. Oh my gosh, those are so cute!

On a side note, anyone else excited about holiday season? It is officially upon us. I almost bought the cutest Christmas mug from Target yesterday, but I refrained. Told myself I would buy it in December. Now I am wishing I would have just bought it so you may see a Christmas mug pic soon.

What is your FAVORITE thing about holiday season? 

What my past has taught me…

We are digging deep today, people. I am linking up for the Fit Dish with Jessica and Jill. Today’s hot topic is, “What has your past taught you about living today?”

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I have learned a TON from my past, but of course will focus on the health-related items. So, let’s get to it…

never say never

{Lesson One:} Never say never. Growing up, I didn’t enjoy running so I thought I wasn’t cut out for it. I thought only certain types of people find enjoyment with running. And I definitely did not think that I would EVER run a half marathon (or even want to). But, I did. I gave it a shot and I ran a half marathon earlier this year. I even enjoyed the training… for the most part.

  • I have the ability to hold myself back or push myself forward. I know my limitations and strengths. I will give just about anything a try, because there may be joy in a new adventure or goal. Never is no longer a word I subscribe to.

oreos1

{Lesson Two:} Fat-free Oreos are a joke. Well, fat-free anything is a joke. If a food company is taking fat out of a product, more than likely more sugar is going into the product making it just as unhealthy as it was before.

  • I followed the fat-free bandwagon for awhile. In fact, I thought it was cool that I could buy a container of fat-free graham crackers, eat the whole box, and not eat any fat. No joke. Good thing my metabolism was on fire back then. Fat-free and sugar-free and now gluten-free are all labels. They can trick your mind so be sure you know exactly what you are getting yourself into whenever you are buying a product or eating more if it just because of the words displayed on the label.

{Lesson Three:}The scale is not your friend. It is not your enemy either. It is literally a rectangle of junk that you step on and it shows you a number. That number does not define you and it is not what you are worth. That number is simply a number. Don’t judge yourself by it.

  • I spent way too much time in my past trying to reach an arbitrary number. Numbers do not matter nearly as much as the way you feel. And for me, eating well and moving more help me feel bad ass!

Rules are meant to be broken!

{Lesson Four:} Rules are meant to be broken. I was a rule follower growing up or a goody two shoes if you will. It’s no wonder that I also fell into the nutrition and exercise rules. Eat this, not that. Do this, not that. Blah. Blah. Blah. I tell you from experience that the BEST way to a healthy lifestyle is to carve your own path. Make your own rules. It makes sense too.. only you know the nuances of your body and taste buds. Right?!

  • There are many fitness and nutrition professionals with good intentions, but I think there is way too much misinformation out there. Listening to everyone else’s advice can drive you crazy and keep you away from listening to the most important expert on your body, YOU. Take what makes sense and forget the rest. Experiment and try things out for yourself.

well-being

{Lesson Five:} There is no perfect workout. In fact, just working out is AWESOME and worth the kudos. Doesn’t matter if you lifted a car off the ground, ran around the block, pushed play for a Turbofire workout, or even connected your mind and body with a little yoga. Movement is good. And doing more of it is great.

  • It’s easy to think that you will get a dancer body by doing this workout or get a killer 6 pack of abs by doing this other workout. The fact of the matter is that your body is different than your neighbor’s body and his/her body is different than another neighbor’s body. Striving for the body that has been photo-shopped will probably lead to disappointment. It is best to focus on goals that have less to do with a picture perfect body and have more to do with overall health and well-being. (Side note: I can almost guarantee that you will LOVE your body if you focus on overall health and well-being too. Consider it an added bonus for focusing on the good stuff).

Lots of words on this post. More than any other post I think. We covered a lot, dear friends. But, before I go… answer me this… what is 1 thing you have learned over the years and would like to share with others?

Life In Pictures: Healthy Inspo

 Fit Fed and Happy
Before I get started, let me give you the scoop on this link up real quick. This is a link up geared towards posting pics from this past week or day, no text needed. You read text all week on here so it is time for a break… Happy Friday, dear friends!
LJ for Lorna Jane
Life in pictures: Yoga
Life in pictures: Lorna Jane App Inspirational words
Life in pictures: I have to try this recipe!
Life in pictures: favorite breakfast of the week
Life in pictures: Go for the great!
I look so serious in the yoga pic, but don’t you worry… I was just uber “focused”. I love posting random wellness-related pics on Instagram. What is YOUR favorite type of picture to post?

Sunday Social: Favorites

SocialSundayNew4

Howdy, y’all! I think I have Big Tex on the brain. Only a couple more weeks until the Texas State Fair and of course, we are getting closer to Fall too. I love Fall. The weather in Dallas this weekend was more fall-esque than summer. It was in the 70’s and heavenly. Please stay awhile, weather!  Anyway, it is Sunday so time for Sunday Social. This one is all about a few favorites…

  1. Favorite Scent: Currently, I will have to go with Vanilla Chai. I bought a Vanilla Chai candle from Bath & Body Works and I absolutely love it. When I am having a somewhat stressful day with work to do’s, I light this while working. It really does take at least a little of the stress away. I think of Fall, cooler weather, warm blankets, cozy fireplaces, and hot tea. A few of my favorite things… simple delights if you will.
  2. Favorite Food: Can I be 100% honest with you? My all-time favorite meal is one that I have at least 4 times per week and sometimes every single day. I LOVE it. It never gets old. This will be my go-to meal for life. I just know it. Anyway, drum roll please… my favorite food is peanut butter toast. I prefer freshly baked sourdough bread or Ezekial brand pita with chunky, natural peanut butter, topped with cinnamon, a drizzle of honey, and either raisins or sliced banana. Yum, yum, yum!!!!
  3. Favorite Sound: Any water sounds. I like the sound of rain hitting the window. I also like the sound of waves hitting the shore. Me love H2O!
  4. Favorite Picture currently on your phone: Me loving on my cat, Cali. She is my baby. And I don’t care if you call me the cat lady. I am one proud cat mama. Pets ROCK!IMG_3640
  5. Best memory of the year so far: I love all of my memories from this year so far, but I would say the best was visiting Hawaii. I am a beach girl at heart, even when living in concrete city. I loved being by the beach and, of course, spending time with my cousin-in-law and her son. Making memories in an awesome place with loved ones is perfection in my book.

What is your best memory of the year so far?