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.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy, Merry, Happy, Happy

Happy Holidays Self Soul Space family!

Happy Chanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanza, and Happy New Year!
It's that time of year we are most grateful for all of the many blessings and lessons we are granted throughout the year!  We spend time with loved ones, reevaluate our year, resolve to change things about ourselves, and make goals for the upcoming year!

Last year, I challenged you to say new year, a better me instead of new year, new me. How did you do? Did you stick with your goals? Did you make 2014 a better year?  Well, here's the recap of my 2014... My goals transcended into new goals.
My original goals were 
Run another Half Marathon (maybe 2), with an improved time (again)
Work towards becoming a personal trainer and/or nutritionist
Bring webisodes to Self Soul Space
Continue to work on debt
Relearn to ride a bike
Improve swimming stamina
Participate in a family fitness event
Improve meditation
Continue to spread Positivity, Happiness, and Healthy Living ways
Enjoy being a Mother of 3!!!

Well, what changed?  I learned having 3 kids is a lot of work, lol!  I'm my head, I thought I would have all of this time to run, get back in shape, train for races... That was not the case. I forgot how much sleepless nights wear your body down, and sleep is one of the most important parts of a training program. Also, it's very hard to tape webisodes with a loud nosy baby.  So, I modified my goals.

Run... Any distance
Work towards becoming a nutritionist
Get in the pool
Don't accumulate more debt
Participate in a family fitness event
Improve meditation
Improve nap taking skills
Continue to spread positivity, happiness, and healthy living ways
Enjoy being a mother of 3, spend more time with family (immediate and extended).

I happy to report, I succeeded at all!  
I ran in the DE Marathon relay race, on a 8 person team. I am currently studying to become a certified sports nutritionist, my family ran in a family race.  I have improved both my meditation and napping skills.  I am continuing to spread positivity, happiness, and healthy living ways through my blog, as well as through a new job, I am now the Youth Wellness Coordinator at the Bear Glasgow YMCA!  And, even though it is hard work, I love being a mom of 3!  

What's up for 2015?
Train and Run in 2 races
Finish nutrition certification
Continue to improve meditation practice
Spend more time with loved ones, they can be gone in a blink of an eye!
Live each day, with gratitude, positivity, happiness, kindness, and grace
Continue to share my healthy living ideas with people of all ages, through new programs, fitness classes, and this lovely blog!

Don't forget to write down your goals, share them with a friend or two... And make it happen!

Happy New Year! Happy Better Year!  Make 2015 your healthiest, happiest year yet!

Monday, December 15, 2014

White Bean Chicken Chili

So, I was looking for a warm and yummy dish, that could feed an army during the thanksgiving weekend.  I thought what about chili... Then I remembered a recipe my friend/personal trainer Abby & I made for football Sunday... Food Network's White chicken chili. Well, here is my spin, White Bean Chicken Chili... Hope you enjoy it as much as my thanksgiving army and I did.

White Bean Chicken Chili
Serves 6-8, total time 60min
3 (14.5 oz) cans of white beans-cannellini
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 poblano pepper, chopped
1 large vidalia onion, chopped
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups frozen corn
Kosher salt & pepper
1 tbsp ground cumin
1-2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper, optional
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 lime juiced, plus lime wedges for serving
1 rotisserie chicken, skin removed & shredded
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped & divided
Sour cream (plain Greek yogurt) for topping
Loaf of crusty bread, warmed.

Drain and rinse beans, in a bowl mash half the beans with a fork or a potato masher, until chunky. Set aside.
In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add peppers, onion, and garlic, sauté until soft. Add corn, and season with s&p.  Add cumin, chili powder, and cayenne pepper, stir for 1 min.
Stir in chicken broth and lime juice. Bring to a simmer, add beans and continue to simmer for 20 minutes.
Taste, and add more S&P if necessary. Then add shredded chicken, simmer for about 5 more minutes. Stir in half of cilantro, before serving.
Serve chili, and top with sour cream, sprinkle cilantro, lime wedge, maybe some cheese, and a slice of crusty warm bread!  Enjoy!!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Dedicated December

It is December 1st!  Yes, can you believe it... Where did the year go?  Well, before it's over, dedicate the next 31 days to your health.  It's time for Dedicated December 2014!  Here is my December way of living... Side note, following this way of living, helps to balance out the holiday parties and dinners too!

Dedicated December
What? 3 meals & 2 snacks + exercise everyday
Meal Ideas:
*prep for the week ahead by grocery shopping and packing meals to go for the week ahead
*Check out the recipe tab for more healthy meal time ideas

Breakfast (Eat within 45 min of waking up)
  • Coffee, skim milk, 100% juice (not from concentrate), or water as beverage
  • 2 slices of Toast w/ peanut butter & banana
  • Oatmeal w/ fresh fruit added
  • 1 cup of cereal with skim milk
  • Egg whites on wheat tortilla w/ salsa
  • Egg whites & turkey bacon
  • Greek Yogurt & granola
  • Low fat Nutrigrain waffle w/ peanut butter & small yogurt
  • 12oz Fruit smoothie with protein added
Lunch (2-3 hours after snack 1)
  • Water, unsweetened iced tea
  • 2 cups of salad greens & veggies w/ low cal dressing
  • Turkey sandwich on wheat bread w/ Dijon mustard & slice of cheese
  • Broth based soup, 1 cup
  • 1 cup of black beans & brown rice
  • 1/2 of large Wheat pita filled with veggies & hummus
  • Whole wheat pita & hummus, veggie sticks w/ low cal ranch dip
  • Burger no bun, & a side salad
  • 16oz Green Smoothie
  • Baked potato (red potato) w/ salsa & shredded cheese
  • Baked sweet potato w/ Earth Balance butter, & tbsp cinnamon sugar
  • *Add a piece of fruit or a cup of fresh fruit as a side to your lunch
Dinner (No later than 7 pm)
  • Water, unsweetened iced tea
  • 4-5 oz of chicken breast, fish, lean beef/pork & 2 cups of veggies
  • *Substitute a side salad for 1 cup of veggies
  • *Substitute small sweet potato (1/2 of big) for 1 cup of veggies
  • Grilled chicken w/ 1/2 cup of black beans & brown rice
  • 4-5 shrimp/scallops with sautéed veggies
  • 1.5 cup of wheat pasta w/ marinara sauce
  • 4-5 oz of chicken breast, fish, lean beef/pork w/ 1 cup of veggies & 1/2 brown rice
  • 1 cup of wheat pasta w/ olive oil & sautéed veggies
  • Grilled protein taco, w/ lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, salsa
  • 2 cups of salad with grilled protein & low cal dressing
  • 1 cup of broth based soup & 1 cup of salad
  • Turkey burger w/ sweet potato fries
  • 1 sushi roll no cream cheese w/ miso soup
  • Slice of pizza & side salad
Snacks (Snack 1: 2 hours after breakfast; Snack 2: 2-3 hours after lunch/more than 1.5 hr before dinner)
  • Kind nut bar
  • 1/2 cup Sliced cucumbers & 2 tbsp hummus
  • 1/2 cup Baby carrots & 1 tbsp low cal dressing
  • Cup of fresh fruit
  • Piece of fresh fruit
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup of nut & dried fruit mix
  • Hard boiled egg
  • 1/2 cup of edemame
  • 1/2 of PB&J with low sugar jelly
  • 15 small pretzels
  • 15 tortilla chips & salsa
  • Small Fruit smoothie
  • 1 rice cake w/ peanut butter
  • Low fat cheese stick
  • Fat-free pudding snack
  • 2 small chocolate chip cookies
  • 1/2 cup of ice cream, edie's slow churn
  • Water, H2O, agua, wudder
  • Zero calorie vitamin water
  • 8 oz of 100% juice, not from concentrate
  • 8 oz of skim milk
  • Coffee (however you like it, no more than 12oz)
  • Herbal tea or unsweetened Iced tea
  • Limit Alcohol, stay away from mixers and juices, stick to wine & vodka-soda w/ splash of juice
At least 30 minutes of cardio every day, add strength/weight training, core training, and/or yoga to your workout

  • Drink 4-8oz of water when you first wake up
  • Shoot to drink half your weight in water (ounces, i.e. 130 lbs= 65oz of water)
  • Take a multivitamin
  • Organic is preferred, minimal ingredients a must
  • Avoid processed & packaged foods
  • Add lemon, limes, cucumbers, oranges to water to switch it up
  • Use a red potato for baked potato
  • When eating 2 cups of veggies, make 2 different kinds
  • Load salads with veggies
  • Shoot for vinaigrettes or oil & vinegar for toppings on salads
  • If you eat an earlier dinner, move snack 2 to a dessert
  • Use olive oil instead of butter or margarine
  • Grill, bake, broil... No fry
  • Stay away from White, get down with Brown (carbs that is)
  • Avoid take out & fast food
  • Make extra of lean proteins & beans/rice and use it for lunch & leftovers the next day
  • If craving chocolate or sweets, grab a Hershey kiss or a small lollipop (dum dums)
  • Be sure to finish eating 30-45 min before exercising
  • Eat protein within 1 hr of finishing your workout, refuel & hydrate!
  • Get sleep!
Most importantly, Stay positive!
You can do it!!!
It's time to Dedicate December to our health!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Hey Self Soul Space Family!
Just a quick message to wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving and holiday season.  I am so thankful for the family, friends, and followers of Self Soul Space. Thank you for tuning in to see my healthy tips, tricks, and recipes.  May this holiday season bring you all you wish for, including health, happiness, love, and peace!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Many Drops of Tea Tree Oil

For the past few months, I have been testing and using a wonderful product from Apothecary Extracts Tea Tree Oil.  I have found many uses for this amazing oil.  Besides it being know as a great topical skin cure-all (I used it on a sun rash, cleared it right up)... It is also an amazing cleaner and freshener... Here are the ways I've been using and will continue using my tea tree oil.

My first use was for my asthma-allergy kids... I added a few drops to our humidifiers, and it helped relieve asthma and their allergy breathing issues.

My second use was as an all-purpose cleaner.  I filled a spray bottle with 1-2 tsp. of tea tree oil and the rest of the bottle with water.
I also made a variation, with water, vinegar, soap, and tea tree oil... For my tub/showers

My third use, was another way to keep my bathrooms fresh, by using it in the toilet.  The toilet bowl receives about 1/4-1/2 cup of baking soda dumped in (I really don’t measure, of course), a few drops of tea tree oil, and a splash of peroxide (maybe 1/4 to 1/2 cup again). Sometimes I use vinegar in place of the peroxide, but I think the finished bathroom smells fresher with peroxide. Either will work, though. After scrubbing with the toilet brush, I leave it set until someone needs to use the restroom.

My fourth use, helped to freshen my basement's wall to wall carpet.
Homemade Carpet Freshener
1/2 cup baking soda
20-40 drops essential oil of choice (1/4 lavender oil, 3/4 tea tree)
The baking soda is a natural carpet cleaner, and will help to remove any odors from your carpet.
The essential oils will not only leave a wonderful scent, but will also help to cleanse your carpet as well.
Pick essential oils that smell nice and have powerful cleansing properties. My two favorites for this are lavender and tea tree oil. I love the smell of both of them, and they both have potent antibacterial qualities. However, if you have pets, the ASPCA advises you to stay away from tea tree oil.
To Make:
Mix baking soda and essential oils together, and put in a shaker container with holes in the lid (such as a large, empty spice container).
Let this mixture sit for 24 hours to allow the essential oil to permeate the baking soda.
To Use:
Sprinkle lightly over carpet. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes, and then vacuum as usual.

I love this stuff!! I can't wait to find more ways to use tea tree oil.  I completely recommend Apothecary Extracts 100% Pure Austrailian Tea Tree Oil.  It will leave your home smelling fresh and clean!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Homemade Fall Applesauce

Clearly it's Fall... no matter where you are.  The season of visiting orchards and pumpkin patches.  The weekend before last, my family and I visited one of our favorites, Linvilla Orchard in Pennsylvania.
Of course we left with pounds of apples, pumpkins, apple pie, and apple cider donuts (shhh).  Honestly, I knew I couldn't eat all of these apples, so I started making my favorite apple recipes.  We made apple muffins, apple crisp, and a new recipe... Applesauce!  And since I'm always about getting more bang for your bite, there's a secret ingredient to make it more fall appropriate.  One more bonus, this is a crockpot recipe, so set it, forget it, and your house will smell amazing!!

Homemade Fall Applesauce

8 Apples (peeled, cored, and sliced)
1 c pumpkin puree (unsweetened)
1/2 c Sugar
1/4 c brown sugar
1 tsp ground Cinnamon
1 c water

Chop some apples into smaller chunks, and leave some as slices.
Place all ingredients in a crockpot, stir.  Cook on high for 3 hrs, or low for 6.
As the apples soften, mash them or use an immersion blender to get applesauce to desired consistency.  Serve with a little sprinkle of cinnamon on top, enjoy!!

Some other variations, could include subbing the pumpkin for blueberries, or strawberries, cranberries...

Friday, October 31, 2014

Trick or Treat, Move Your Feet

Happy Halloween!!
Halloween is associated with haunted houses, ghastly costumes, and piles of candy, but it also offers a spooktacular opportunity for walking.

Trick-or-treating. Map out a path that allows for 30-60 minutes of walking while taking kids around the neighborhood; bring strollers or wagons that little ones can hop aboard when their legs get tired. For safety, remember a flashlight, walk in groups, stay on sidewalks, and visit only well-lit and trusted homes.

Outside the neighborhood. If mingling with the creatures of the night isn’t your thing, head to the mall, where you can walk in bright, climate-controlled conditions; call and ask about dates and times that retailers will be handing out treats. Visit local school district or parks and recreation department sites to find schedules of Halloween-themed events, and see if they’re in walking distance. Also, check out community calendars and websites for holiday-inspired 5Ks and zombie walks.

Get out and move, try to stay away from the mini candy bars...
Trick or Treat!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Chipotle Quinoa

We were having tacos and beans one Tuesday night, (Taco Tuesday) and I decided instead of making rice for my beans, I decided to make quinoa... Then I thought... Hmmm, let's make it like Chipotle makes their rice!  So here's a simple way to spice up your quinoa...

Chipotle Quinoa

1 c Quinoa
2 tbsp fresh Cilantro, chopped
1 Lime

Cook quinoa according to package directions.  Fluff with a fork, then transfer to medium sized bowl.  Squeeze in the juice of the lime and add cilantro, a little salt & pepper to taste... and there you have it.  Top with black beans or enjoy it solo!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Rice & Beef Burritos

While shopping, I found these neat, organic rice mix boxes... Usually, I'm not a huge fan of boxed products, but these looked tasty and easy.  I made one as a basic side with just meat and veggie.  My second box, I decided to get creative, uh oh... LOL.  It was Taco Tuesday, and I didn't feel like normal tacos, so here's what I came up with...

Rice & Beef Burritos
serves 4, total time 40 min

1 lb ground beef 93/7
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 package boxed rice mix (I used Lundberg Spanish rice)
2 c water
1 can (15oz) Black beans, rinsed and drained
8-10 taco-sized flour tortillas
1 jar salsa, divided
1 1/2 c shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook ground beef with cumin and chili powder in a large skillet, until done.  Remove beef and set aside.
In same skillet, add rice mix, water, and beans.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook covered for 7-8 min, or until rice is tender.  Stir in cooked beef.
Remove from heat, stir in 1/2 cup of salsa and 1/2 cup of cheese.
In a greased baking dish, add a 1/2 cup salsa to bottom.  Then taking tortillas, spoon rice mixture onto each tortilla, add a sprinkle of cheese, roll it up, place in dish.  Repeat until all tortillas are rolled.
You might end up with extra rice mixture, it's ok, it tastes great as a leftover.
Top burritos with remaining salsa, and shredded cheese. Cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 20-25 min.
Enjoy with a side salad, or broccoli like we did!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Pumpkin Banana Bread

Happy Fall... the season of all things pumpkin!  In honor of the crisp air and the leaves falling, I brewed myself a cup of pumpkin spice coffee and started baking Pumpkin Banana Bread.  Mmmm, my house smelled wonderful and this bread tastes amazing (and it's healthy)!   No eggs, fruit and vegetables, and minimal fat!  Here's my recipe for Pumpkin Banana Bread, so you can start the season off right!

Pumpkin Banana Bread
yields 2 loaves

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil (or melted butter)
4 ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
1 15oz can Pumpkin puree, unsweetened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp allspice
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
3 1/2 cup self-rising flour
2/3 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour 2 9x5 loaf pans.

In a large bowl, mix sugar and oil. Then mix in bananas, pumpkin, and vanilla.

In a medium bowl, mix together dry ingredients.

Alternating dry mixture and water, add it to the wet ingredients in small batches.  Divide batter between two loaf pans, bake for 40-45 min, or until toothpick comes out clean.  Let stand 10 min, then remove from pans and cool completely.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Date Night & Health... Can they go together?

It seems like whenever I have a date night with my husband, or a girls night out my healthy living habits start to go out the window.  Next thing you know, I'm ordering dessert after a few too many food or beverage indulgences.  Then I wondered why do all my "date nights" correspond around food?  So I decided to set my sights on healthier options for my date nights.

First things first, Date night by my definition can be anytime of day, with anyone you enjoy hanging out with; spouse/partner, friends, kids, loved ones, even yourself.  That being said here are some ideas...

Healthy Date Night Ideas:
  • Picnic, find a pretty park or garden, pack a meal and enjoy
  • Bowling, skip the pitchers of beer though
  • Dancing, burns calories and is fun 
  • Go for a walk, enjoy the city or area you are in (beaches can be super romantic)
  • Group Sports, Beach volleyball is a favorite of some of my friends
  • Run/Walk in a charity race together
  • Shopping, my husband and I always make Christmas shopping a date night (walking & weight lifting!)
  • Home improvement projects
  • Take a Class; pottery, cooking, dance, etc...
  • Try New Local Healthy Restaurant 
  • Board Game Night (cards or active video games- i.e. Just Dance)
  • Take in a new exhibit at a museum, doesn't have to be just art, try something different science, car, history, or sports museum
  • Yoga, anyone?
  • Visit a botanical garden
  • Golf, mini or real game can be fun & intimate
  • Spa treatments, good for the body & soul

I know, it's something about food that makes us more comfortable, it let's our guard down.  But you can enjoy the fun of Dates without food (or alcohol) being the main event.  Get your body moving, make the attraction/location the main event and food the after thought.  If you have fun, healthy date night ideas, please share!  Have Fun!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Smoothie Recipe: Mean Green

I have a large group of friends doing a green smoothie challenge... So, I made this smoothie recipe with them in mind.  It's another one that pushes the spinach taste limit.  This has become a favorite!!

Mean Green
Serves 1

10 blueberries
5 whole strawberries
4 pineapple chunks
1/2 c coconut water
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
2+ handfuls spinach

Blend and enjoy!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Updated Classic: Summer Vegetarian Chili

One of my main go to meals for meatless Monday is my vegetarian chili.  But I thought this Monday, how can I spruce this up a bit, make it more summer friendly.  So here is an update to my classic vegetarian chili. I hope you enjoy it on meatless Monday, or any day of the week.  And if you are a carnivore, you can add ground turkey or cooked chicken to it.

Summer Vegetarian Chili

Serves 6-8, hands on time 15 min, total time 45min

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped (I used vidalia)
1 green pepper, seeded & chopped
1 red pepper, seeded & chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup frozen corn
1cup frozen peas
1 (15oz) can black beans, drained & rinsed
1 (15oz) can kidney beans, drained & rinsed
1 (28oz) can diced tomatoes
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper (add more for spice)
1 tsp crushed red pepper (add more or less for heat)
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Kosher salt & cracked black pepper

In a Dutch oven over med-high heat, sauté onion, green & red peppers, and garlic until soft. Add carrots, sauté more. Then stir in corn and peas.
Add beans, and tomatoes, stir. Then add seasonings, and bring to almost a boil. Lower heat to low, cover and let simmer for about 30 min (or longer). You could also cook this is in a crockpot, 2-3hrs on high, 4-6 on low.
I served this updated classic over brown rice with a little shredded cheese on top.
Makes great leftovers too... Enjoy!!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Baby Body 4 & 5 Months

The past 2 month have flown by... It has been very busy, which is why I had to combine months 4 and 5.  Craziness: Lots of workouts, new BodyFlow launch, new training program, summer vacation, and a bigger baby!!!  At the 4 month checkup, Baby V is topping the charts at 26 inches, and 13 pounds.  Still eating like a champ, and sleeping well.  She plays, laughs, rolls over, puts everything in her mouth, and loves conversations!

What's happening on my healthy living, AKA loose the baby weight, journey? (This is a long breakdown)
Week 1, came right at perfect time... Just after my birthday and a baby V's baptism, I needed a good workout week! I taught a warm BodyFlow class, lol. For those of you who were in my class you remember... That was the first week of summer camp at the YMCA, and my normal room was taken away from me. So, we we're assigned the the very humid, and warm multipurpose room (it's connected to the indoor pool).  10 minutes into class, we were all dripping sweat... It was a great class!  Tuesday, I skipped spin to walk my neighborhood! Wednesday, Kathy kicked my butt (and back) as usual in yogilates.  Thursday, I taught class, in a cooler room, but it was a great class!  Friday was a rest day, because Saturday I scheduled a run a Glasgow. My Saturday run, was just ok, I didn't feel like running, but I pushed through and completed 3 slow miles.  Sunday was another rest day, in order to gear up for next week.
Wow, Week 2, was crazy busy for workouts. A group (myself included) within Black Girls Run Delaware, was starting our Team 26.2 training program.  Yup, you read correctly... I am training for a marathon... A Full Marathon.  It's a 18wk program, but our marathon is not until November 23 (22 weeks away), we allowed for some grace weeks, heat, summer vacations, back to school, etc.. On Monday, I taught BodyFlow, then hit the treadmill for a 2 mile easy run.  Tuesday, I practiced and started learning the new BodyFlow release at home.  Wednesday, it was insanely hot, so my girls and I met Dani & London at the mall for some laps.  We probably walked about 2 miles, before stopping to shop... Lol.  Thursday, I taught BodyFlow, with baby V in my arms... Smh, someone should of snapped a pic of me, V, and tree pose.  Long story short, baby V and kid zone did not get along that day.  Friday was a rest day. Saturday, I met up with BGR!DE/Team 26.2 and we (plus baby v) ran our first long run of our training program.  I ran 5.6 miles through White Clay Creek Park.  Then came home and did BodyFlow 65... Still learning. Sunday was a double BodyFlow day, I taught class then came home and practiced release 65 for launch next week.
Week 3-Launch week!  Monday, I taught my normal class, and practiced BodyFlow 65 for tomorrow's launch.  On Tuesday, I launched the new release.  On Wednesday, I taught flow express, a 45 minute class, then hit the streets in my neighborhood for an easy 2mile run... My body hurt! I taught Thursday, and think I lost a pound in sweat. Friday was 4th of July, BBQs and fireworks... Thank goodness, I needed a break!  Saturday, I skipped my run, boo! Sunday, I taught BodyFlow again, then walked over to Glasgow to meet up with the kids & D.  I taught a wopping 5 times, it was great... However, my runs suffered, I am grateful for those grace weeks already.
Week 4, I started working the agDiscovery summer program like I do every summer.  I taught Monday, and had a quick treadmill run. Tuesday and Wednesday were rest days for me because of program field trips. Thursday, I taught BodyFlow and hit the treadmill after class for a run.  My back was killing me, sleeping in a different bed, does crazy things to my body.  Friday, I taught again, and hit the treadmill again.  Saturday, I woke up early and went for a short run around my neighborhood, no phone, no music... Just me and my thoughts!  Sunday, I taught flow and stretched my achy body.
(at my in-laws' house)
Week 5 was an easy week for me ;-). I was wrapped up with the program for the entire week.  I even had a sub for my BodyFlow classes.  I still practiced at my in-laws, and ran around their neighborhood.  On Thursday, we headed to DC with the program, no major workout, just a little hotel room yoga.  Friday morning, I woke up early and headed out for a 3 mile run from Chevy chase to Bethesda, and back to DC.  It felt great, I felt like I had the power & speed of Michael Simmonds!  Saturday was a program day, and Sunday I headed home to teach BodyFlow!  I missed my class!  This was a nice easy week, but it was time to get serious!
Just as I say that, Week 6 brought vacation! The Thayer family headed to Miami! I taught Monday then hit the treadmill for a quick run.  Then pack and fly! I only practiced beach yoga on Friday... Other than that... Vacation was exactly what it was supposed to be!
Week 7, we returned from Miami after a long day of flying on Monday night.  Tuesday was a rest day. Wednesday, Mia and I headed to Glasgow for a 3 mile run with BGR!  Thursday and Friday class was back in session!  Saturday, I headed out for an early morning run in the neighborhood, no phone, no music... I think I'm starting to like running with just me and my thoughts.  Sunday, was another good BodyFlow class.  I truly need flow after runs... It's amazing what 60 min of stretching does for my body!
Week 8 was great... And busy! Monday, I taught my normal morning class, then headed back to the YMCA to teach the evening BodyFlow class.  I went for a 2 mi early morning neighborhood run on Tuesday. I rested Wednesday, yes!  Thursday, another great flow class, then the family and I went for a 1.5mi run/walk thru the neighborhood.  Friday, I taught (again).  Saturday, instead of meeting up with BGR! the family and I headed to Glasgow for a family sport day, we played tennis, then soccer, then walked!  We had a blast! And Sunday, was another flow day!  Oh yeah, how could I forget, I was also learning a new (old) release, to teach the following week.
Week 9, wraps up this long 2 month journey.  Monday, I taught, then J, M, V, and I walked the 1.1mi to the school playground, then back!  Tuesday, I practiced flow at home, then we headed to DC. Wednesday was a rest day, the girls, my stepmother, and aunt went to see The Lion King at the Kennedy center. Then we headed to Georgetown for some cupcakes... Yup, I said it!  I headed back home, while the big girls stayed in DC, V and I headed home, so I could teach Thursday.  Thursday evening, D, V, & I went for a 2.7 mi walk/run at Glasgow.  The weather has been so beautiful, we had to get out and enjoy it! Friday, I taught flow with a special visitor, Elysia (normal Friday flow teacher) and her newborn baby, then headed to the Wilmington blue rocks to moonlight for Toyota.  Saturday, I ran around the neighborhood again, my normal 2mi loop. Then headed to the blue rocks for another evening of baseball.  Sunday, was another great class, and my big girls finally came home from DC!

What's my body doing?
I weigh 132 lbs (woo-hoo)!
I am measuring at 30" under the bust, 32.25" top of bust, 27" around my waist, 36" around my waist, and 21.5" around my thigh.  Overall, I'm down a total of 4.5" and 2lbs!!
I'm feeling pretty good! Strong, more flexible, my core is strong, my legs are slowly Turing back into runner's legs.  My diet has been much better these past 2 months!  I'm still tired, but I guess that's the new norm with still one feeding a night, and life with 3 kids (4 if you count D).  I love the progress I am seeing!

Here are the Photos:
 4/7/14                 8/15/14
 4/7/14                 8/15/14
What are my goals for the next month?
I am extremely happy with my progress!! So, I will continue to add more runs to my schedule, get back on my school workout schedule... Yes, next month school starts for the big girls!  Yay!  I am also going to put Mr. D and myself on a 21 whole food cleanse.  I'll post more info about it later, so you may join in... stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Healthier Parmesan Crusted Chicken

I have been seeing the Hellmann's commercial for their Parmesan Crusted Chicken on repeat like everyday.  So, I decided I'm going to make it... But healthier, with less calories!  I served my chicken with spinach spaghetti, and a Caesar salad.

How did I do it?

The original recipe called for...
1/2 c Hellmann's mayonnaise (90 cal & 10g Fat per serving- 1tbs)
1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese
4 boneless chicken breast (1.25 lbs)
4 tbsp Italian seasoned dry breadcrumbs

My healthier recipe used...
1/4 c Hellmann's Light mayo (35 cal & 3.5g fat per serving- 1tbs)
1/4 c Parmesan grated cheese
2 boneless chicken breast, butterflied then split, equaling 4 pieces (less than 1lb)
4 tbsp homemade Italian Wheat breadcrumbs

The directions are still the same... Combine mayo and cheese. Spread over raw chicken. Then top with breadcrumbs. Bake at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

By swapping out the ingredients, and cutting the portion size of the chicken, you save about 25% of the calories and fat content in the chicken breasts, and over 80% of the calories from the mayo. I personally can't tell the difference between regular and light mayo, so it's an easy swap for me. And even though you are using less mayo all together, it still has the same effect and flavor on the chicken like the commercial says, "juicy chicken".   Also, using homemade breadcrumbs, you can control the ingredients and eliminate extra, unnecessary ingredients.  Overall, this healthier Parmesan crusted chicken got a thumbs up from everyone in my family!!

Here are my recipes for the pasta and breadcrumbs:
Homemade Italian breadcrumbs
2 Slices of Whole Wheat toast
1tsp Dried spices/herbs
-granulated garlic
-thyme leaves
-ground sage
-basil leaves
-Salt & pepper
In a small food processor, chop toasted bread, dried spices, and sprinkle with S & P.

Spinach spaghetti 
Cooked spaghetti (serving for 4)
4-5oz spinach
2 cloves minced garlic
Olive oil
Salt & pepper
Melt 2 tbs of olive oil and 1 tbs of butter in a skillet, sauté garlic and spinach together. Then add cooked pasta, toss to. Blend and coat. Add a bit of pasta water to loosen up spaghetti.

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Monday, August 11, 2014

Smoothie Recipe: Kiddie Kale

Remember when I mentioned that big bag of kale from D's poker buddy, well Jordan and Mia wanted to make their own smoothies... Here is their kale smoothie recipe...

Kiddie Kale
makes 2 kid smoothies

2 kid handfuls Kale, stems removed
1 cup fresh squeezed Orange juice
1 cup Strawberries, frozen or fresh
1 cup Pineapple chunks, fresh or frozen
1 tbsp ground Flaxseed

In a blender, blend kale and OJ. Then add fruit and flaxseed, then blend to desired consistency.  Or split the ingredients between 2 separate magic bullet/nutribullet cups, and blend,

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Walk this Way!

We all know walks are great for the mind, body, and soul.  So today, I went for a walk with my Family around the neighborhood.. And I decided to take a lesson from my kids, and make it fun.  We had a blast, and that 1.5 miles flew by!
Make your walks more fun: Add a game to your walk to bring a smile to your lips and a bounce to your step. Whether you’re on your own or with a partner, invite your inner child to play.  Here are some of the games we played...

ABC Scavenger Hunt. Try to spot something that starts with each letter of the alphabet — in order.

Tightrope Walker. When you come to a log or curb, use it as a balance beam.  Now, we did balance beam "gymnast" tricks, that's optional.

Follow the Leader. If the captain hops up onto a park bench, everyone must follow suit, and so on. On paths without obstacles, pretend you’re stepping through a tire run like football players in training, try funny dance moves (Walk Like an Egyptian, anyone?), princess parade, or long jump over a sidewalk crack.

Double Dog-hog Dare You. Every time we saw a dog (or groundhog), you have to complete a challenge: speed walk for 30 seconds, hopscotch a few steps, skip for several feet, run, or walk backwards.

Games not only help pass the time, but experts say combining physical activity with mental exercise also boosts brain health, which can help to protect against Alzheimer’s.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Smoothie Recipe: Simply Kale

So, A poker buddy of D'reardon grows kale in his garden. He gave us a huge bag of kale, I was so grateful!  But now... What do I do with all of it?  I made a few batches of my kale chips, yum!  Sautéed it with fresh garlic and olive oil, as a side... And made some new smoothies with it.  Here is my favorite kale smoothie recipe!

Simply Kale
Makes 1 large smoothie 
1 big handful Kale, stems removed
1/2 c Coconut water
1 whole Apple, cored & chopped (I used Fuji & pink lady apples)
5-6 Pineapple chunks, fresh or frozen
1 tbs ground Flaxseed

Blend kale and coconut water together first, to break down the kale. Then add fruit and flaxseeds, blend to desired consistency... And enjoy!!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Summertime Sadness

"I've got that summertime sadness..."  Summer is wrapping up, can you believe it?  It was going so fast, I had to take some time, the entire month of July for just me and my family.  We spent some good quality time together and with extended family, we even went on vacation to Miami... Which was awesome! Beach, fun, and family... What more could you ask for?

But we are back. Time to get the girls ready for school, get back in the grove of teaching, and get Self Soul Space running at full steam.  So no real sadness, that summer is coming to an end, but happiness fall is about to begin.  And don't worry, The Thayer healthy living journey never stopped, so you will see recipes from the summer and new ones too, new baby body posts, videos, and tips for making your environment, the inner you, and the outer you more healthy!  If there is anything you'd like to see on Self Soul Space, comment below! In the words of my friend Lelani in Ohio, "Namastayhealthy my friends!"

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Summer Chicken Ziti

I love all things pasta! Which is why I could never go 'no carb', but that's another issue... Back to pasta.  I also love 1 dish, casserole-like meals, that can be made ahead.  My husband will humor my pasta concoctions as long as there is meat in them.  Here is a new favorite, Summer Chicken Ziti... Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Summer Chicken Ziti
Serves 6, total time 30 minutes

2 tbsp olive oil
2 chicken breasts, raw- cut to 1" pieces
3 shallots, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 (28oz) can San Marzano plum tomatoes
Salt & pepper
4 sprigs of fresh tarragon, leaves off and chopped
15 leaves fresh basil, sliced into ribbons
1 lb ziti or short pasta
1 lb asparagus, cut into 1" pieces
1 c frozen peas
1 c low fat ricotta cheese
1 c grated Parmigiano-reggiano or Parmesan
1 tsp lemon zest
1-2 c shredded mozzarella

Preheat oven to 400.  Bring large pot of salted water to boil over high heat for pasta.
In a large, high-sided skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Sauté chicken pieces, until brown. Add shallots and garlic, continue to cook for 3 min. Stir in tomatoes, then crush with spoon or potato masher.  Season with salt & pepper. Cook for 5 min, then remove from heat, and stir in fresh tarragon and basil.
While sauce is cooking, drop pasta into water, cook until almost al dente, about 5 min. Add asparagus & peas, until bright green. Drain pasta & veggies. In the pot you just used to cook the pasta, add ricotta cheese, half of Parmigiano, and lemon zest- mix. Then add hot pasta and veggies. Stir until everything is coated.
In a baking dish, pour about 1 cup of sauce in bottom and spread. Add half pasta mixture, then some sauce, then remaining pasta mixture and sauce.  Top with remaining Parmigiano cheese and mozzarella**.  Bake in oven until bubbly & brown, about 10-12 min.
**Instead of baking, You may cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate upto 24hrs, or with plastic wrap then foil and freeze for upto 3 months.

Some variations:
-substitute already cooked chicken leftover from the grill or a rotisserie chicken
-add fresh spinach to pasta mixture
-add zucchini slices when sautéing shallots, chicken, and garlic.
-substitute 1/2lb fresh mozzarella for shredded on top of pasta.
-eliminate chicken, make it vegetarian

Bonus, this pasta dish, as with most pasta dishes, tastes great as leftovers too!!  Enjoy!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Baby Body 3 months

Sorry, I'm a week late... Opps.  Kind of forgot.  How has life been the past month?  Well, pretty good. Big girls just wrapped school. Baby girl is sleep thru the night... NOT... Lol, but she's down to just 2 feedings with 3-4 hrs in-between... Not all night, but I'll take it!!
So, What's been happening with my healthy living journey?
Week 1 was all about continuing to train for the 8 person DE marathon relay.  So, I taught 2 classes, completed 2 runs at Glasgow park.  Saturday was the family Run 1 4 fun race, I ran the 1.4 miles with my little runner Mia.  We finished in just under 19 min, constant easy jog, Mia didn't want to stop!  I finished the week with my annual Mother's Day gift... Participating in the DE marathon festivities.  I was a member of the Real Housewives of Delaware 8-lady relay team.  Each member had to run a little over a 5k.  I completed my 3.3 miles at a 11:08 pace.  Not bad, considering I had just got back on the pavement!  Side note: I am really proud of my cousin Lenise, for running with me in her first race!!
Week 2 was an easier week.  I taught Monday, Thursday, and Sunday. I also doubled up with a walk on Tuesday with my cousin Danielle & our babies and taught the late evening bodyflow class.  If you're counting that was 4 classes. I also worked for Toyota that weekend too.
Week 3 was a nice full week... I finally started to add some of the p90x workouts to my workout schedule.  I taught Monday, as usual. Tuesday I doubled up, with spin class in the morning and p90x cardioX in the evening. Wednesday, I attended yogilates. Thursday, I taught, and guess who attended my class... My dear cousin Arthea! And Friday was another walk with Dani and our babies.  I finished the week off with yard work Saturday and Sunday!
Week 4 was another light week, Monday was a holiday... So I took off, plus the YMCA was closed.  Tuesday, I doubled up with a hot walk at Glasgow with dani & our babies and p90x cardio x in the evening.  Wednesday, I refreshed my memory with learning a new (old) release.  On Thursday, I taught my normal class... And boy it was fun! Friday, I took off, as well as the rest of the weekend since baby V and I were flying to Dallas.
Week 5, I was in Dallas. I got out in the crazy heat and walked with baby V for 1.6 miles around the Gaylord complex.  Tuesday and Wednesday, I practiced yoga in my hotel room during nap time.  Then the rest of the week, my workouts were limited, I flew home Thursday, then headed to the Friday after the big girls got out of school.  Saturday was a day for family, I had the option to get up early and out with uncle Michael and run 10 miles... I opted to sleep in, lol. However, Sunday all the ladies of the beach house and little Michael went for a 2 mile walk around cape may point.  Once we got home from the beach Sunday evening, I did my own BodyFlow practice.
Since I was supposed to post this after week 5, and didn't...
Here is Week 6... My birthday week!  I did not run at all this week.  However, I did teach BodyFlow Monday, Thursday, and Friday.  And since it was my birthday Saturday and Veronica's baptism was Sunday.  I just enjoyed the weekend, and did absolutely no workouts.  However, sneak peak... Moving into Monday I needed a workout, badly!  One thing I do every birthday, is I set goals for the next year... My goals for 33, run a half marathon with a better time, run a full marathon- yup I said it, and pick up tennis again.

What does my body look and feel like?
I weigh 134 lbs.
I'm measuring at 30.25" under bust, 34.25" top of bust, 27.5" on my waist, 37" on the hips, and 22.25" around my thigh.
Overall, I'm feeling stronger. I can feel tightness returning to my abs.  My legs are feeling stronger as well.  I'm not feeling as tired as last month, my stamina is starting to return.  Now, honestly, my diet, these past few weeks, hasn't been the best it could be... But I will make it better... Look for my green smoothies to return, lol!
Here are my comparison photos...
Left 4/7, Right 6/16
Left 4/7, Right 6/16

What are my goals the next month?
Start my training program for my full marathon in the fall... Yikes! Continue to vary my workouts throughout the week. And most importantly, eat better! Oh yeah, and get Veronica to sleep through the night!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

It's my birthday!!

Happy birthday to me! Yes, today is my birthday.
When I was in my twenties, I had no idea what 30+ would feel like...  But I have to tell you, 33 never felt so good!  I'm in the best shape and health of my life (so far).  How has that happened? I eat healthy and drink lots of water.  I workout.  I spend quality time with loved ones.  I meditate, and laugh a lot.  And even with a newborn, I sleep well too!  I am so excited for the year to come, new goals, new events, and a whole lot of fun!! I might even run my first full marathon... Maybe, lol!
Well, happy birthday to all that share the day with me! And happy flag day!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Refuel Your Summer Workouts

Baby Veronica and I are here in Dallas, Texas while my mother is attending the International Parking Institue Conference... Side note, yes, my mother is retired, but she serves on a parking authority board.  So, that is why V and I are here.  The weather is beautiful... And HOT! Average 90+ degrees, "unseasonably warm" as Al Roaker said this morning.  After breakfast, I decided to get us out of the resort for a walk (I couldn't run bc I left my jogger back in DE). We walked 1.6 miles in the heat and humidity, with an average pace 15:50/mi.  I was dripping sweat, and she  was cool as a fan, since rode in the shade the whole time, lol.  But it got me thinking, what should we all do to refuel after a hot outdoor workout, or any indoor workout to replenish what is lost and maximize the effort.

Here's what my research revealed and what I recommend...

Power up with protein. Your muscles crave these amino acids to repair and grow. Heed their needs by having 10-20 grams of protein within 30-60 minutes after your workout. Healthy ideas are... peanut butter and banana on rice cakes, hummus and whole wheat pita, low-fat yogurt and berries, tuna on whole wheat bread, or turkey and cheese with apple slices.

Stay hydrated. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends water before and during your workout, as well as drinking 20-24 ounces of water after (instead of sports drinks, which can be loaded with sugar/carbs) to replace fluids lost from sweating, if exercising for less than an hour. Add more fluids during and after, especially sports drinks or supplements (gu, sport chews, etc.) if your workout exceeds an hour. Shoot for 8oz/hour, 2-3 oz every 2mi (approx), and/or 1 glucose/electrolyte replacement for every 45-60 min of effort. However, every person and body is different. Listen to your body, a refuel as needed.  I, personally, refuel with cliff shot blocks every hour during long workouts/runs, and hydrate with a half sport drink-half water mix every 30 min or 2 mi for heavy effort or hour+ workouts. I only use water during yoga and BodyFlow classes.  There are great calculators on the internet, that are weight, temperature, and effort/pace based.

Most importantly, BE SMART and SAFE!  If there is a heat warming or advisory, maybe move your workout to the cool early morning hours or inside with air conditioning.  Good luck and Stay hydrated this summer!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Green with Envy: My Organic Matcha Recipes & Review

 I had the pleasure to try and review Organic Matcha- Green Tea Powder by Kiss Me organics.  Matcha is a strong antioxidant, it generates new brain cells which in turn helps to improve both short and long term memory.  Matcha can also help boost your metabolism, and improve your skin health.  You really don't need much, only 1/2-1 teaspoon is recommended daily.  With green tea powder you can bake with it, or add it to lattes and smoothies.  You know I love my smoothies, so that's what I decided to make.  Here are my 2 recipes that I tried...

Green Tea Smoothie serves 1
1/2 c plain Greek yogurt
2 tbsp Agave syrup
1/4 c coconut water
1/2 tsp green tea powder
1/2 c ice
1/4 green apple, chopped

Fruit & Green Tea Smoothie serves 1
1/2 c plain Greek yogurt
2 tbsp agave syrup
1/2 tsp greentea powder
1/4 c coconut water
1 handful spinach
1/2 c blueberries
Few ice cubs

How did they taste? Well, at first, I didn't know what to think... Because the green tea flavor is strong. My next smoothie, I scaled the green tea powder back some, and I enjoyed it.  As the week went on! I added more powder.  So, my recommendation is, if trying it out for the first time use just a sprinkle then add more per your taste buds.  I did find having one of my green tea smoothies seemed to help get me over my afternoon slump, which was a welcomed change. I only tried a smoothie a day for a week, so not sure if it made a big change to my metabolism... But hey... Anything can help!  One day, I will try to bake with it... Green tea lemon muffins sounds yummy... Look for that recipe in the future.  I encourage you to try Organic Matcha Green Tea powder! But remember, you only need a little bit to help kick start your metabolism and to get a full dose of antioxidants.

If you'd like to try it for yourself here's where you can get Organic Matcha by Kiss Me Organics: http://www.amazon.com/Matcha-Green-Tea-Powder-Antioxidant/dp/B00DDT116M