Welcome to Self Soul Space! This blog is designed to bring you healthy lifestyle tips. A true healthy lifestyle, embodies a healthy mind, body, spirit, and environment. Thanks for stopping by to check out my way of living.

Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year, a New You!

It's that time of year (again), where everyone around the world is saying good bye to the past year, and hello to a brand new year! With the new year upon us, I have been reading a lot of resolutions on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, with a lot good byes to Drama, and promises to make 2013 better.  But by February-March, the drama returns, the resolutions are forgotten, and the promises are broken.  And like Disney's Sofia the First says, "A broken promise can never be glued back together..."  So instead of making lofty promises that you can't keep, make realistic goals.  Set your sights no something you want to achieve, and you'll stick to your goal.  Last year, I posted on Self Soul Space my goals for 2012...

Some of my personal short term goals:
run a half marathon
recycle more
continue to fill my house with healthy organic foods
spend more quality time with my loved ones
Some of my long term goals include:
become a certified personal trainer & yoga instructor
help my extended family get on a healthy life path
get out of debt
save more money
continue to spread the info from Self Soul Space to anyone who is willing to listen (in the community, online, etc)
I am proud to say, I achieved all but two of my goals, and I'm not disappointed because I'm still working towards them... I ran a half marathon in May. We recycle so much our trash can never fills up between pick ups, while our recycling bin over flows. My house is always full of healthy organic food, plus allergen-free (didn't ask for more allergies though). I spend as much time as possible with my family, at least while they want to hang withy me.  I meditate everyday!!! My extended family members are starting their paths to a healthier life!  We are continuing to save money, and more money.  Self Soul Space has grown more then I could ever imagine, thank you!  Now, I am still working towards becoming a personal trainer and getting out of debt (we're almost there, yay!). 

2013 Goals:
Run another Half marathon, with an improved time
Become a personal trainer/fitness/or yoga instructor
Continue to build Self Soul Space, maybe even webisodes
Get out of Debt
Re-learn how to ride a bike... Not a spin class bike.
Improve my swimming stamina... For future participation in a  triathlon
Continue to spread positivity, happiness, peacefulness, and healthy living

So, for 2013, write down your goals, share them with others (they hold you accountable & provide support), make a plan, and achieve your goals!!  Cheers to you, wishing you a healthy, positive, peaceful, prosperous, Happy New Year!!

P.s. Be safe if you're going out, and have a true DD with you if you plan to enjoy some cheer. Happy New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Turkey Noodle Soup

I'm baaack!  After my own much needed 2 week Christmas break, I'm back with a another great healthy recipe for you.  I know many of you are looking at tons of leftovers in your refridgerator from the holidays, well my turkey noodle soup, is a great answer for them.  I had 1/2 a turkey in my fridge, and honestly, we're all getting a little sick of turkey sandwiches.  Plus the hubs is a little under the weather, so soup is what's for dinner!  My recipe is hearty, healthy, and super yummy... Here you go!

Turkey Noodle Soup
Serves 4,  Total Time 20 minutes

1 tbs olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp ground sage
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups shredded turkey (or chicken)
2 cups uncooked pasta (I used brown rice rotini)
1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans, drained & rinsed
2-3 cups fresh baby spinach
Salt & pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large cast iron pot over medium-high heat.  Add garlic, onion, celery, and carrots, sweat veggies.  Add thyme & sage, stir to blend.  Add broth, turkey, pasta, and beans.  Stir well, and bring to a boil.  Add spinach, then reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 15 minutes, until noodles are tender.  Ladle into bowls, serve, eat... Yum!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wellness Wednesday

Today is Wednesday (can you believe it), and we are right smack in the middle of the holiday season.  Today's Wellness Wednesday tip is focused on the wellness of our environment.  It actually has to do with lights and involves a trip to your local home improvement store.  This Wednesday, I want you to Light the Lights with compact fluorescent bulbs or LED lights.  Please don't go replacing bulbs that work perfectly fine, that's wasteful. But as lights around your home blow out, replace them with compact fluorescent.  These wonderful bulbs actually, produce more light, while using less electricity, and they last a few years longer than your traditional bulb.  They now come in different wattages, softer colors, and in different sizes, so all of your lighting needs can be met.  You will also lower your electric bill with these bulbs, which is financial wellness!  
Now, since it is the holiday season, and I'm sure there's a Clark Griswold deep down in all of us, replace burnt out twinkle lights with new LED strands.  They are brighter, and use less electricity, bonus.  They also come in different colors too.  So feel free to light the entire neighborhood, if you're neighbors don't mind!  But don't forget your timers!  There are even menorahs with LED bulbs as the candles, your Hanukkah lights can shine bright all 8 nights.  This Wellness Wednesday, I want you to Light the Lights with compact fluorescent bulbs or LED lights, and save some electricity.  Have a Well Wednesday and a Happy Holiday Season!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Holidays can be Healthy & Fun

With the holiday season in full swing, dinners and parties are filling up your calendar.  Speaking of parties, The Tiffany & Ashley 2nd annual holiday party was just this past weekend.  Anyway, back to the matter at hand, so many people throw their healthy habits out the window during the holidays, only to be greeted with the present of unwanted weight gain at the new year.  But how can you throw a fun party with all the yummy treats, but stay on track?  How can you eat healthy at a party where you can't control the menu?  Here are my tips to keep your holiday parties fun, yummy, and healthy.  Also some tips on how to enjoy a party you are attending.

Hosting a Party:
  • Stay organized, make a list, and a timetable to help avoid stress, and stress induced eating/drinking.  
  • Don't forget to carve out time for exercise and meditation.  You'll keep peace in your soul, feel energized, and be more mindful about what you eat & drink at your party.  
  • Eat as you would normally eat throughout the day, so you don't starve & binge by party time. 
  • Making substitutions for healthier, lower fat, less calorie ingredients help to keep you and your guests on track while hosting a party.  
  • Making yummy-decedent foods in smaller portions will help too!  
  • Move parts of the party, like games, dancing, etc. away from the food, to avoid mindless snacking by all.  
  • Keep plates small, even if offering full dinner, the bigger the plate, the more you and your guests will put on it.  
  • Always, keep the water flowing, in addition to whatever punches, cocktails, or beverages your are offering.  
Attending a Party:
  • Don't worry, first things first... Focus on the fun and fellowship of the party, not the food.  
  • Get out and exercise the morning/day of the party.  You will generally feel better about what you eat, if you put in a heart pounding workout session beforehand... don't forget the shower! 
  • Stick to healthier options as your filler food, like veggies, fruit, lean proteins, salads.  But don't be dramatic or ungrateful and complain if the food is not super healthy... Go with the flow.
  • Do try in moderation the yummy- special foods and treats, but don't waste the space in your tummy for something you're just lukewarm about or something you can get anytime.  
  • Avoid or limit creamy dips, and sides.
  • Laugh, converse, move, dance... Now is not the time to be anti-social... It's not polite to talk with food in your mouth, and the laughing-moving-dancing will help burn more calories.
  • Drink lots of water, before, during, and after the party.  
  • If you like the taste of libations, by all means enjoy... But alternate or double-fist it with water & cocktail... Water will also help from any mishaps, party fouls, or hangovers, but always be responsible and have a DD!
Everyone can host or attend a fun, healthy party, without weight gain knocking on your front door this holiday season.  Remember the reason for the season, and the joy of getting together with friends and loved ones.  Go with the flow, make smart choices, move your body, but most of all have fun!!  Stay healthy my friends!!

In case you were wondering about our party, here you go...

We tried to balance some healthy options with treats.  We did not schedule our party around a major meal time, and we played a active game of battle of the sexes (of course the women won) and we had a sneaky gift exchange.  For the food, we offered a veggie tray with my homemade herb dip, fried ravioli & marinara, roasted shrimp & cocktail sauce, pizza dip w/ tortilla chips,  Italian meatball sliders, moscato cupcakes, mini cheesecakes, orange-white chocolate cookies, sangria, and a champagne holiday punch.  Lets be honest, most of this food doesn't sound healthy except for the veggies, I know... But I'll tell you how I made it healthier. 
For my herb dip, original recipe called for 6oz of sour cream + 6 oz of regular mayonnaise + 2-3 tbs of dried (or fresh) herbs.  I swapped the sour cream for plain Greek yogurt (Chobani 0% plain), plus I cut the mayo down to 4oz and switched to low-fat mayo.
For the fried ravioli, we skipped the additional dredging & breading, and fried the pasta directly. With marinara to dip.
Pizza dip, is a hit where ever I take it... Thanks to April Reynolds for the recipe. Layer 8oz cream cheese in a baking dish (i use a pie dish), then layer marinara until you can't see cream cheese, and top with shredded mozzarella, bake in 375 oven until bubbly. I used low-fat cream cheese, and part-skim mozzarella to lower the fat and calorie count. I serve it with multi-grain or blue corn tortilla chips. 
The shrimp, were super easy.  Toss peeled & de-veined raw shrimp w/ drizzled olive oil, sprinkle w/ kosher salt & fresh cracked pepper. Roast at 400 degrees until opaque.
Italian Meatballs, I made them with turkey and whole wheat bread crumbs, served with part-skim shredded mozzarella... These were a hit!  I'll post the full recipe at a later date.
Now for the desserts... Let's be realistic here, for truly yummy baked goods, it's hard to substitute. But we used low-fat cream cheese and reduced fat vanilla wafers for the cheesecakes, and made them mini to help cut the calories.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wellness Wednesday

"Eat your vegetables"... Can't you just hear your parent's voice?  So, this Wednesday, since I know you all already listened and learned from your parents nagging about eating your veggies... I want you to try a new vegetable or fruit every Wednesday... Step out from your normal go to vegetables, and try something new.  You might find something you like.  Studies have shown, even my own experience, that your tastebuds change as you get older.  Something you didn't like or dreaded as a child, you might find quite tasty.  Do you like summer squash or zucchini, try butternut?  Do you like broccoli, try broccoli rabe?  Do you love lima bean, try edamame?  Do you like oranges, try blood oranges?  Do you like Granny Smith apples, try Pink Lady apples?  Ever eaten a pomegranate or a kumquat?  Now, if you are a lover of all fruits and vegetables, you can still step out of the box, by finding new ways to prepare your veggies.  There are endless possibilities, try something new, you'll be healthier for it! 

p.s. There are 53 Wednesdays in 2013... Can you try 53 new fruits and veggies?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Spiced Apple Crisp

The other evening, while making dinner, I decided to make a variation of my favorite Self Soul Space dessert, Spiced Apple & Pear Crisp.  Spiced Apple Crisp!  I actually didn't have any pears in the house, and every time I make Spiced Apple & Pear Crisp, we have tons of leftovers... So, this time I halved the recipe, too... which was just enough for my family.  This is an easy dessert to take with you to holiday gatherings, plus it's less calories then Apple pie!!  I hope you enjoy this variation as much as the original, we sure did!!

Spiced Apple Crisp
Serves 4-6  Time: 60 min (10 min hands-on, 50 min baking)

1/4 cup cold butter, cubed (plus additional for greasing dish)
3 Fuji apples, peeled, cored, & sliced thin 
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 

*if you have apple pie spice, use 2 tsp intead of cinnamon and nutmeg
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (I used g-free flour)
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly butter a 2 qt round baking dish. In baking dish, toss apples with lemon juice, granulated sugar, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.  

In a food processor, pulse flour, oats, brown sugar and salt until combined. Add butter and pulse again until mixture resembles coarse meal. Spread oat mixture evenly over fruit and bake until fruit is tender, juices are bubbly and topping is crisp, 45 to 50 minutes.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Dedicated December 2012

Is that time of year, again... Holiday time, yes, but NO. It's Dedicated December!  Dedicate the next 31 days to healthy living, self, soul, and space.  The Holidays and all it's yummy goodness are inevitable!  So, why not counteract the usual damage from the holidays with 31 days of eating right; exercising; staying positive;  spreading kindness; meditating; recycling; reducing waste; organizing and improving our personal and global environment.
On Twitter and Facebook, I will post daily Dedicated December tips, so follow me or like my Facebook page, and contribute your own healthy living tips.  I will also post Dedicated December photos on Instagram!  At the end of each week, I'll recap the weekly tips on Self Soul Space.  When Tweeting or posting on Facebook be sure to hash tag #dedicateddecember.
Let's jingle (not jiggle) all the way into a new, healthy year!!