Fruit and Walnut Chicken Salad

Hello friends.

Another Friday is upon us!  How are these weeks going by so fast.  We are on the edge of summer…unless you live in a place like Houston where it is already breaking 100 degrees with the heat index! Bring on pool days!
img_8930I actually am a person who doesn’t mind the heat for the most part.  I will take it over freezing cold weather anyway. Just give me a spot on the beach and I am a happy girl.

Since it has been so hot I decided to whip together some of my favorite ingredients into a sweet and tangy cold salad. I am linking up with my fav Foodie Friday gals, Farrah from Fairyburger and Annmarie from the Fit Foodie Mama for a salad themed week.

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Ingredients

  • 1 chicken breast, cooked, cooled and cubed
  • 1/4 gala apple, chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped mango
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 avocado, cubed
  • Sprinkle of crumbled goat cheese
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp avocado oil

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Directions

  1. Place chicken, apple, mango, walnuts and avocado in a bowl, gently stir together.
  2. In a separate bowl blend the balsamic vinegar and avocado oil together.  Drizzle over the chicken mixture. Gently stir in.
  3. Top with desired amount of goat cheese.
  4. Enjoy alone or atop a bed of greens or in a wrap!

Make sure you check out all the amazing ladies and their awesome mouthwatering recipes!!

Do you have an awesome recipe you’d love to share? Link up with us on Fridays for our weekly Foodie Friday posts! (Co-hosted by Annmarie, Farrah + Esther )

  • Please link back to the co-hosts, and comment/share at least a couple other Foodie Friday posts! Don’t just leave your link and run away! :O
  • Please only link up recipe posts! 🙂
  • Join us next week for some salsa recipes.

May you be filled with joy and health!

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Gluten Free Berry Swirl Cheesecake

Hi there friends!
It is finally Friday! Can I get an amen?  These weeks lately have felt extra long even though I have been cutting back on outside activities and working on getting more restful sleep in my life.  The week was pretty good overall, and I was able to accomplish several things each day on my to-do list.  I have been posting some of the projects on my insta-stories.  Check them out for some daily laughs 🙂

This week I have been really craving berries.  Thank goodness our local grocery store had some great deals on berries! I think I ate through several containers by myself 🙂 Berries are so fresh and perfect as it has begun to feel like summer is breaking thought in the weather.  By mid afternoons this week, we were hitting close to 90*! Bring on summer, swimming and all things outdoor eating!

I am linking up with my fav Foodie Friday gals, Farrah from Fairyburger and Annmarie from the Fit Foodie Mama for an eat what you want themed week.

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Like I said, I have been ALL over berries the past week.  The other night I also had a really strong craving for some cheesecake.  I normally eat some sort of cheesecake with chocolate involved, but this time I wanted something more summery!  Enter the berry swirl cheesecake.  I used coconut sugar that simply enhanced the natural sweetness of the berries.  It is not overly sweet, but it hits the spot just perfectly.  I used lactose free dairy ingredients and it did not cause any tummy issues!  I am SO happy about that! The crust is made with gluten free graham crackers.  Paired with the berry cheesecake topping it just screams summer!

Ingredients

Crust

  • 11 small gluten free graham crackers (makes about 1½ cups when food processed)
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup melted refined coconut oil

Berry swirl

  • ½ cup fresh blackberries, washed
  • ½ cup fresh strawberries, washed
  • 2 Tbsp coconut sugar
Cheesecake
  • 16 ounces lactose free cream cheese, room temperature
  • ⅓ cup lactose free sour cream, room temperature
  • ⅓ cup coconut sugar
  • 1⅓ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 organic large eggs, room temperature

Note: If normal dairy products don’t bother you, you can use normal cream cheese and sour cream 🙂

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 325*
  2. Prep an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper
  3. Place graham crackers in a food processor.  Pulse till crumbs form. Pour crumbs into a med size bowl.  Add in the coconut sugar and coconut oil. Mix until all ingredients are fully combined. Pour crumb mixture into the 8×8 dish and press firmly down, evenly covering the bottom of the dish.
  4. Bake for 10-12 min.  Remove from oven and set on a cooling rack.

    While the crust cools, prep the berries and cheesecake filling.

  5. Place the berries in a blender.  Pulse till liquefied.  Add sugar and pulse till mixed together. Strain the berry mixture through a mesh strainer into another bowl. Set aside.
  6. Place the softened cream cheese into a bowl (use a stand mixer or a hand held mixer).  Beat till smooth. Add in the sour cream, coconut sugar and vanilla extract.  Mix well until combined and smooth. Add in each egg and mix on low until just combined.
  7. Pour the cheesecake filling into the 8×8 pan with the prepped and cooled crust.  Spread the filling to ensure it is distributed over the crust evenly.
  8. Add small spoonfuls of the berry mixture on top, spacing it out slightly.  Using a knife, swirl the mixture gently till the desired pattern is made.
  9. Bake for 30-40 min, until the cheesecake is set.
  10. Remove cheesecake and set on a cooling rack. Once it is fully cooled, place a lid on the pan and refrigerate at least 4 hours.
  11. Cut into bars and enjoy!

Make sure you check out all the amazing ladies and their awesome mouthwatering recipes!!

Do you have an awesome recipe you’d love to share? Link up with us on Fridays for our weekly Foodie Friday posts! (Co-hosted by Annmarie, Farrah + Esther )

  • Please link back to the co-hosts, and comment/share at least a couple other Foodie Friday posts! Don’t just leave your link and run away! :O
  • Please only link up recipe posts! 🙂
  • Join us next week for some salad recipes.

May you be filled with joy and health!

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Perfect Sweet Potato Fries

Hello friends and happy Friday!
I can not believe it is already the first week of May! The end of the school year is just around the corner and summertime is almost here!

I am linking up with my fav girls, Farrah from Fairyburger and Annmarie from the Fit Foodie Mama for a Spring Foodie Friday themed week.

Springtime reminds me of newness of life.  New plants, new babies, a new season.  Fresh perspective on life and trying new things for the first time or trying them again.
I have been receiving such beautiful sweet potatoes from my CSA lately and I wanted to break away from my typical roasted or baked sweet potatoes.  I wanted to try some new techniques I had been reading about when roasting different veggies!  A few of the ideas I first thought would be a little odd, but now I have been incorporating them into all my cooking and it has been making a difference!

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Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet potato, washed
  • 2-3 Tbsp avocado oil
  • Spices to taste- Himalayan salt, paprika, garlic
  • 2 cups ice cubes

Directions

  1. Slice sweet potato into thin slices then long stripes.
  2. Place in an ice bath for 30-45 min. (helps remove starch to make them crispier)
  3. Pre-heat oven to 425* and place baking sheet in oven to also pre-heat.
  4. Once ice bath is finished, drain and dry off sweet potatoes.
  5. Coat sweet potatoes with a very thin layer of avocado oil
  6. Place on the pre-heated baking sheet leaving space between each fry.
  7. Bake for about 30 min, flipping the fries half way through.
  8. Turn off oven and let fries sit for 10 more min.
  9. Remove fries from oven and sprinkle on spices to taste. I used tongues as the fries are still hot to touch.
  10. Enjoy immediately!


Make sure you check out all the amazing ladies and their awesome mouthwatering recipes!!

Do you have an awesome recipe you’d love to share? Link up with us on Fridays for our weekly Foodie Friday posts! (Co-hosted by Annmarie, Farrah + Esther )

  • Please link back to the co-hosts, and comment/share at least a couple other Foodie Friday posts! Don’t just leave your link and run away! :O
  • Please only link up recipe posts! 🙂
  • Join us next week for some new recipes.

May you be filled with joy and health!

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Out with April and in with May

Hi there friends!

I have to say I am happy it is May!  April was not the best month.  Nothing really major made it rotten (other than food poisoning), but overall a lot of little things just sucked me dry and left me depleted.  When May arrived yesterday I breathed a slight sigh and took a look at what happened to April.  I just want to pretend most of the month didn’t happen but that is not really possible, so here is to a MUCH better month.

April goals kind of went out the window after the first week so they almost all get a big F in my mind.  But that is life sometimes.  And failure isn’t always a bad thing if it gives me a boost and motivation to get back at it.  I have learned over the years that I can take a stinky day/week/month and turn it into fuel to push me further for the next days/weeks/months to come.  I allow myself a little wallow space then I jump back in it!

Here is what I had hoped would happen in April

Fitness

*Workout 5-6 days/week
*20 min of stretching/rolling daily- Establish an actual plan and follow through
*PT for hip

Health

*Stress management tools
*Refocus on eating plan
*Rachel’s challenge
*Aim for 8-9 hours of sleep

Relationships

*Cut out more social media time
*Plan anniversary trip
*Send birthday gifts
*Enjoy time with friends before they move

House

*Guest room closet
*Linen closet

*Plant garden

What actually happened

Fitness- C
I got in at least 3 workouts each week. Dealing with some pain in my hip and extreme fatigue really did a doozy on me this past month.  It def takes a toll on my well being in general when I am fighting sleep issues and physical pain.  Thankfully my hip has settled down a bit and I am in a better place for the start of May.

Health- C+
Again, lack of sleep causes me to have a lot more anxiety and then things stress me out more than normal.  There were also a lot of really busy days where I didn’t get much downtime and those also tend to give me some more anxiety when I do get to sit down for a minute.  I am still working on the eating plan (waiting for some materials to arrive).  I was getting ready to make more changes when I came down with food poisoning.  That is really just horrible!  It took me almost a week to fully recover physically.

Relationships- B-
I have been doing a lot better cutting out social media time.  I have not been as active on some sites as I used to be, and that is ok.  I decided it is better for me to not be so focused on trying to post everyday and then try to reply to people the as quickly.  I know some really rock it out with replying and that is amazing for them, but for me to de-stress more and have more quality time with those I want to be with in real life, I have cut back.  I am working on plans for our anniversary trip!  I came across 2 I was looking at and some of the information made me laugh! This one hotel would cost $20,000!!! Um NO!  And another potential trip the travel time, including layovers, was over 50 hours each way. The Hubs would def not be happy with that.  So back to the drawing board for that!

House- D-
Well, I have yet to plant my garden, I did not do anything for the linen closet except buy some new baskets and the guest room was a complete disaster until I threw everything back in the closet on Sunday when I thought an expected quest may need a place to sleep overnight!
Even thought it was not on my goals for April, I ended up redecorating our master a bit!

Before & After

So man, those are just a few areas that fell through the cracks during April. Looking back I was trying to figure out what went wrong.  I am not fully sure yet, but I am starting over with some goals for May and giving myself some grace to work through whatever needs to be worked through 🙂

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May Goals

Fitness

*Workout 4 days/week
*20 min of stretching/rolling daily- Establish an actual plan and follow through

Health

*Stress management tools- Sunday rest days!
*Refocus on eating plan
*Aim for 8-9 hours of sleep

Relationships

*Plan anniversary trip
*Plan trip to see family
*Enjoy time with friends before they move

House

*Plant garden
*Plan party for background singers to celebrate album

So I am dialing back a bit.  Leaving some of the goals from April and also being more realistic with what I will have time for this month.  The weekends have been pretty full and as much fun as that is, I need to get back to having a real rest day!

There you have it.
What is one of your goals for May?

May you be filled with joy and health!

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Weekend recap!

Hello friends and Happy Monday!

It was another full weekend with a fun surprise mixed in with all the normal plans.

After dealing with food poisoning and being out of commission all last weekend, it was great to get out and get to do almost everything we had planned.

Friday night was the P!nk concert! The concert was originally supposed to be on Sunday evening but due to the Rockets playoff schedule they moved it last min to Friday. Thankfully the Hubs and I were both able to change a few work things around to be able to make it.

I’m still BLOWN away but just how amazing it was. Not only is she a talented songwriter and singer, but she does it all while flying around the arena sometimes only being held up by her foot being squeezed between another person’s legs!! I did hold my breath a few times during a few of the stunts she pulled!

This mural was painted by a local artist (Franky Cardona) and it just made me smile! So much talent all around!

Saturday morning I taught Body Pump. This time I wasn’t just subbing but I now have my own official class at one of the gyms I’ve been subbing at since January. I’m excited to have a class but bummed because my friend who was teaching is moving. The class after mine is combat and I normally can’t stay even though I love it. This week I was able to stay and one of my other friends ended up subbing so it worked out really well!

The rest of the day was packed. I ended up watching my friends baby for a few hours and then met he Hubs over at the studio to work on background vocals. We set up the tracks for the choir to learn for the final recording session next month!

 

After that we headed back into town where the Texas Ironman was happening!! Talk about inspiring! I saw all different ages, ethnicities, fitness levels just crushing the course! It was around hour 13 when we arrived and I was cheering so loud! These incredible people were finishing off the marathon and smiling even though you could tell they were beat! We hung out by the finish line for a while and soaked it all in. Name after name being read off stating they were now an Ironman! Made me want to maybe try it one day….or the half ironman! 😂😂

Sunday we had planned to try out a new church but I woke up to a text from my uncle saying he would be in town later that day (from Minnesota!)

He was bringing me a GORGEOUS piece of furniture but somehow I missed the info that he was delivering it in person!! So we scrambled around and got the house a little picked up and I ran some errands!

My uncle showed up right after I got home. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect! He brought in the ‘prayer kneeler’ that once belonged to my great great grandmother. It originated from Germany and was made in the 1600s!! It was in my great grandmother’s home and was then passed down to my gram and now I get the honor of having it in my home!

We had a really nice time hanging out together and we really enjoyed the surprise visit!

We had planned to attend a wedding Sunday evening but we ended up not being able to with my Uncle in town. A little bummed but it’s not everyday we have family in town.

After my uncle left I got a few things done around the house then headed to bed.

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a copy of I Heart Vegetables’ new cookbook! It ends tonight!

How was your weekend?

Have you ever watched an Ironman competition live?

I am linking up with Wendy and Holly for their weekly wrap!
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May you be filled with joy and health!

The Truly Healthy Vegetarian Cookbook review & giveaway

Hello there friends!
What a month April has been! It began on a pretty smooth note but then got a bit rocky.  Between several deaths in the family/close friends, a bout of food poisoning, flare up of an injury, teaching more classes, some travel and helping friends deal with some major life changes, I have hardly had time to spend time at home, let along getting creative in the kitchen.  We have eating out a little more than typical for us, and there have been a few nights where it was cereal or toast for dinner.  Not the end of the world, but def not how we want to do very often for our desired eating plan.

Thankfully I was recently sent a preview of an AMAZING new cookbook, The Truly Healthy Vegetarian Cookbook by the one and only Liz Thompson from the I Heart Vegtables blog.

Liz and I have connected over the years through blogging and social media.  She is super sweet and always posts fantastic recipes.  When she told me about the cookbook I was so thrilled for her.  She has put her heart and soul into this book and it shows!

Over the past year my husband and I have gone more towards plant based eating.  I have always been more of a non-meat eater but it was a really big change for the Hubs! (And I am so proud of him for deciding to do that for his own health)!  When I showed him the cookbook he was so impressed by the beautiful pictures and could not wait to try some of the recipes.

I love how the cookbook is laid out.  The first chapter zeroes in on some nutrition information (SO vital in my opinion) as well as some basics about cooking.  I love that Liz is not assuming that everyone would know what to in the kitchen.  She really breaks information down in a way that anyone can understand it! I have been cooking for almost 30 years and I even learned a few things simply by reading the first chapter!

And the pictures! Oh they are oh so beautiful! The front cover is just the tip of the iceberg of the drool worthy photography scattered throughout the book!
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The rest of the book is broken down into categories- basics, breakfasts (my FAV), snacks & sides, substantial salads, soups & stews, wraps, sandwiches & burgers, roasted & baked dinners, noodles, rice & pasta, and desserts.  The cookbook finishes off with several other categories of helpful information.  It is not just full of amazing recipes, but also information to keep you safe in the kitchen and truly healthy with nutrition information.  The cookbook is golden information and recipes all packed into one beautiful book!

A few of the recipes I am most excited about are the Brussels sprouts chips, Thai quinoa salad, pumpkin almond flour muffins, cauliflower-potato soup, black bean enchiladas, bell pepper nachos and chocolate avocado cookies! My mouth is already watering just thinking of thee recipes and more!

The cookbook comes out May 1st but you can pre-order from Amazon (and it is on sale right now)! And 1 lucky reader is going to win a free copy!

Giveaway rules

– Open to US residents only (sorry friends in other countries)
– Giveaway runs until May 1, 2018 at 11:59pm CST
– Winner will be announced May 2, 2018

a Rafflecopter giveaway 

I will be back next week with Foodie Friday.  In the meantime make sure you check out the amazing ladies and their awesome mouthwatering recipes!!

Do you have an awesome recipe you’d love to share? Link up with us on Fridays for our weekly Foodie Friday posts! (Co-hosted by Annmarie, Farrah + Esther )

  • Please link back to the co-hosts, and comment/share at least a couple other Foodie Friday posts! Don’t just leave your link and run away! :O
  • Please only link up recipe posts! 🙂
  • Join us next week for some spring recipes.

May you be filled with joy and health!

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Smashed Brussels sprouts

Happy Friday friends!

Another week has quickly passed by. It is hard to believe that the first week of April is almost over! I still can’t believe that March is already over!

Earlier this week one of my dear friends posted a video of this amazing looking recipe for Brussels sprouts! I knew I had to make it (with a few tweaks) and share it with you all. The original recipe can be found here.

I love Brussels sprouts and I roast them all the time for my family and my nanny family. This recipe looked SO delicious I could not pass up on trying it out.

I am linking up with my fav girls, Farrah from Fairyburger and Annmarie from the Fit Foodie Mama for a free for all Foodie Friday themed week.

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Ingredients

  • 16 oz Brussels sprouts
  • 1 Tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup almond cheese (you can also use mozzarella)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425*
  2. Rinse Brussels sprouts and add them to a deep sauce pan. Fill the pan with water to cover the Brussels.
  3. Bring the water to a boil and simmer Brussels for 13 min, or until tender.
  4. While Brussels are simmering, create an ice bath in a large bowl.
  5. Once Brussels are tender drain them from the boiling water and put them in the ice bath for 5-10 min.
  6. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon sheet.
  7. Place cooled Brussels on the baking sheet. Drizzle on avocado oil and the spices. Use your hands to ensure all the Brussels are coated evenly.
  8. Smash the Brussels down by using the bottom of a jar. Sprinkle on the cheese.
  9. Bake about 20 min or until the cheese is golden brown.
  10. Enjoy immediately!

Make sure you check out all the amazing ladies and their awesome mouthwatering recipes!!

Do you have an awesome recipe you’d love to share? Link up with us on Fridays for our weekly Foodie Friday posts! (Co-hosted by Annmarie, Farrah + Esther )

  • Please link back to the co-hosts, and comment/share at least a couple other Foodie Friday posts! Don’t just leave your link and run away! :O
  • Please only link up recipe posts! 🙂
  • Join us next week for some new recipes.

May you be filled with joy and health!

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