Broccoli Soup

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In the mood for a quick, comforting meal?  Don’t want to break your bank?  Need to eat healthy?  This broccoli soup is PERFECT for ALL of that!  Quick, cheap, and comforting.  What’s not to love?  You’ll thank me later.  Don’t forget that I like gift cards to Target and bottles of wine 😉

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Broccoli Soup

Yields:  3 to 4

Prep/Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1.5 pounds fresh broccoli
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 carrot chopped
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
  • S & P to taste
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 large dollop fat free sour cream

Directions:

  1. Melt the butter over medium heat.
  2. Add broccoli, onion, and carrots.  Saute until translucent (about 3-7 minutes).  Add red pepper flakes, garlic powder, and salt/pepper to taste.
  3. Add flour and stir for 1 minute until incorporated.
  4. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat and let simmer for 15-20 minutes until broccoli is tender.
  6. Add sour cream and stir.
  7. With an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth.  (You can also use a blender)
  8. Serve.  Enjoy.  Love me.  🙂

Here’s to cooking.  Here’s to eating.  Here’s to living!

 

Cook and Eat On, my friends! 🙂

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BE ADVENTUROUS!

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Now that winterguard is over, I finally have my weekends free!!!  This time of year is the time that I’m able to get out on the weekends and do what “normal” people do.  Its my chance to make plans, sleep in, go on adventures.

In the spirit of adventures, I decided for my 30th birthday that I wanted my best friend to go kayaking with me.  He had never been kayaking before, and there is a state park here in Miami that I had yet to visit.  It seemed like the perfect gift!

Thanks to my best bud for entertaining my crazy ideas!

Thanks to my best bud for entertaining my crazy ideas!

I’m a big fan of ocean kayaking.  It all started when my brother and sister in law came to visit me in Miami YEARS ago (pre children).  We took a trip to Key West for the weekend and decided to rent a kayak.  I fell in love that day!  There’s something about feeling your arms pull you along and the salt water misting your face.  The view of the open ocean is incredible.   You will get views of the world that you would NEVER get on the land.  And the calming feel of you and your quiet vessel is like a strange sort of meditation.  It is absolute heaven.

There are views of Miami you will NEVER get on land!

There are views of Miami you will NEVER get on land!

Ever since that trip, I’ve made it a point to incorporate this sport into my life at least once every 6 months.  For good reason, too!  Do you know that there are mega health benefits to a kayaking workout?  Here are some of them:

  • Beginners to Advanced Fitness Buffs can ALL do this!
  • It is a FULL BODY WORKOUT!  Your arms are getting an intense workout, but did you know that your core and legs have to fire, too, as you twist and rotate to paddle?  Everything is working out!  Trust me.  I got out of bed the following morning and my glutes were on FIRE! 🙂
  • Kayaking can elevate your heart rate, so it becomes a great cardiovascular workout as well.
  • About 395-465 calories can be burned in an hour of this activity!

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So what does it cost?  Well prices vary, but I typically spend about 20 dollars per hour of rental.  My best bud and I rented the tandem kayak (two passenger) for three hours and it came out to 50 bucks!  That’s 25 each for three hours of fun!!!

Here's Shane paddling away!  Meanwhile, I'm sneaking in a little selfie action. :)

Here’s Shane paddling away! Meanwhile, I’m sneaking in a little selfie action. 🙂

So have I sold you yet?!?  I hope so!  Its the bomb dot com.  Yeah, that’s right…I said “bomb dot com.”  Remember, I did turn 30.  Regardless, though, if you are looking for a little shake up to your “normal workout” routine, I encourage you to find something local that will inspire you and make you forget you are working out.  Hike a mountain, go for a bike ride on a nature trail, snorkel and swim in some nearby water, hit up a batting cage!  The sky is the limit.  The point is to make it fun and adventurous!

 

Kayak On.  Adventure On.  🙂

Why Do We Cheat?!

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I know you’ve been there.  You decide that today is the day that you will commit to a healthier you.  Today is the day you will put the donut down and pick up the salad fork.  No more junk.  No more sweets.  Forget the fries!  It is a BRAND. NEW. YOU!

And then you get home from work.  Stressed and tired you just need a quick snack.  You grab the first thing you see, then the second.  Already knowing you’ve destroyed your diet plan you call up your friend and head to Happy Hour, where just one appetizer won’t hurt, right?  Finally by the end of the day we realize today wasn’t a good day to start our new, healthy life and that hopefully tomorrow will be better to us.

Why do we do this?  What are the triggers that make us cheat so easily on our diet?

For starters, may I be so bold to say, that you probably didn’t plan well enough?  Having a diet requires planning so that when life happens (and it will) we are fully prepared to battle it.  Most people “lose” their diets later in the day when you don’t want to think anymore.  In those moments you should have healthy snacks prepped and ready to grab.  Cut up fruits or veggies and have them in eye sight in your fridge.  Portion out salty treats, like pretzels, in snack sized bags so you don’t grab the whole bag.  Keep string cheese in your reach.  If you are not used to grabbing these foods as your “go to” then it will require planning.  Spend your weekends grocery shopping and planning out your snacks and meals for the week.

Another reason we fall off the wagon could be that we are not being thoughtful.  Yeah, that’s right.  You aren’t THINKING about what you are eating.  Do you eat in the car?  Do you eat while watching something on television?  These are thoughtless practices and they are grounds for overeating.  Again going back to planning, if you have your snacks and meals planned out in front of you, that becomes the first step in being thoughtful about your intake.  Eat slowly, stick to your pre-planned snacks and meals, and think about what you are eating WHILE you eat it.  Tell yourself how delicious it is, think about whether or not it is filling you up, be thankful for the chance to be present in your mind.

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One more reason we cheat on our diets is because we attach too much pressure and guilt to our eating.  STOP FEELING BAD ABOUT EATING SOMETHING YOU ARE CRAVING!  Yes, you should feel bad about eating pizza, a Snickers, two cans of pop, fried chicken, a large order of fries, and a tub of ice cream.  But, really, who does that all day, every day?  MODERATION, my friends.  Eat the foods you crave and love.  Just eat them in moderation.  Try to have a cheat meal once a week.  It will actually rev up your body and its fat burning because you are shocking it with foods you don’t normally eat.  Deprivation is not the answer, so don’t do it.  I personally LOVE fries.  So I eat them.  Once every week or two I eat them to get my fix.  When I do allow myself that cheat, I acknowledge that I’m enjoying it and I don’t feel guilty.  Its ridiculous to treat yourself poorly for enjoying something.  Its also ridiculous to torture your body with junk food all of the time…so find the balance.  🙂

So when it comes to your diet and nutrition, once a week and in moderation, I say-CHEAT ON!

New Gear, New YOU!!!

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Imagine your first day of school as a child. I remember having everything laid out perfectly and ready to go. My new outfit, my new supplies, my new lunchbox, my new backpack. The excitement of starting the school year with NEW STUFF!!!

 

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It wasn’t simply because we were children and new things were exciting. I get excited for new “things” all the time. I love WGI because I get to buy new outfits, I love going home for Christmas because I definitely need new boots and scarves to brave the cold. I love when summertime comes because my old bathing suits won’t do-I NEED A NEW ONE! Running season starts? New shoes. My journal is all filled up? Buy a new one. New year?! NEW CALENDAR and PLANNER!!! Do you get my point? New STUFF is a big deal to us. It motivates us and fills us with this initial joy to jump start ANYTHING new.

So I ask, then. Why should working out be any different? If you are prepping to jump start a weight loss journey or a healthy eating lifestyle, are you fully equipped to make that happen? Do you have your supplies? There are a couple reasons why new gear becomes essential. Let me break it down…

  • New gear gets us excited.  If you are diving into a new workout plan, a new workout outfit, shoes, or headphones may be JUST the thing that revs you up!
  • Old gear can be dangerous.  If your shoes are worn down you could be putting unnecessary strain on your body that could lead to injuries.  If you are jumping into a new workout plan, the last thing you need is an injury to derail your plan!
  • New gadgets make it easier.  There are so many health and fitness related apps that can help you track workouts, log calories, and schedule reminders-ALL at your fingertips!
  • The right equipment can bring you results faster.  A new set of light weights, a resistance band, a yoga mat, or maybe a heart rate monitor.  All of these can boost a workout and keep you on your path to success!

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So, just like our parents treated us to that bright new shiny lunchbox to get us motivated for school, we need to do JUST THAT to ourselves.  Healthy living is all about motivation.  Find simple ways to motivate yourself to commit and stick to your workout!

Sweat on!!!