Healthy Peanut Butter Balls

peanut butter energy balls

These have been my salvation since making every attempt to eat better foods and cut out some of the sugar and processed crap in my diet.

I don’t know about you, but for me 4:00 p.m. is the witching hour. I’m hungry. I’m tired. I’m hungry. Did I already say hungry?

I make a batch of these on Sunday night and they last us all week. I keep them in a big baggie in the freezer and grab a few to stash in my lunch bag for a late afternoon snack. These stop my belly from growling and they are sweet enough that I don’t want to hit the vending machine. Not to mention they give me some great fuel for my afternoon run.

Oatmeal is a whole grain and has so many health benefits. It maintains blood sugar control, satisfies your appetite, can help lower the bad “LDL” cholesterol, maintain a healthy blood pressure and lowers risk of heart disease. The USDA recommends at least 3 servings of whole grain food every day.

Peanut butter is high in healthy unsaturated fats and contains a significant amount of protein, minerals and some vitamins.

Honey contains vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It is sweeter than sugar and has a healthy Glycemic Index.

Dried cherries are a good source of copper, Vitamin C and Vitamin A. And apricots and prunes are rich in potassium, dietary fiber and iron.

And yes even those little chocolate chips are good for you. Flavenols increase blood flow, shown to be a benefit to your brain, polyphenols have been shown to increase good “HDL” cholesterol and mixed with a glass of red wine has been shown to reduce inflammation. Doesn’t get much better than that.

Health benefits aside. These babies are super simple and contain only a few ingredients all mixed together in one bowl. Yessah! They’re also easy to switch it up and throw in whatever you want. Use the peanut butter, oats and honey as a base and feel free to throw in any kind of dried fruit you have on hand. Raisins, cranberries, cherries, apricots, dates, prunes, coconut, maybe even some sunflower seeds and flax meal.

It’s a plus that the family enjoys them also. Any kind of healthy snack I can get them on board with is a keeper.

Let me know what you would put in yours.

    Peanut Butter Balls

1 1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
2 c. old fashioned oats (dry)
1/2 c. honey
1/2 c. chopped dried cherries
1/2 c. chopped dried apricots
1/2 c. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Combine all ingredients together in a bowl until well combined. Use a mini ice cream scoop (about 1/2 tablespoon) roll em up like meatballs and place on a sheet in the freezer until solid, then I transfer them to a baggie and voila! Grab what you want, when you want! They don’t have to remain frozen, but I do keep them in the fridge or they can get messy. Eat them frozen or not. Delish either way.


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Fantasy Football

Sunday night I got a big kiss goodbye from my husband.

No he isn’t going on a trip. He’s not moving to Paraguay or “going out for the milk”.

It’s football season.

All you football widows (and widowers) know what I’m talking about.

Football season starts and we take a backseat to Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning.

We lose control of the clicker and Sunday dinner is replaced with chicken wings, crab dip and beer.

Let’s face it. I can leave for hours and would never be missed unless the chip bowl goes empty. Anyone else feel my pain? I know you’re out there.

I think even more time consuming than the televised games is Fantasy Football. Now, I’ve got to be honest with you. I have no idea how fantasy football works. I am not a fan of football. Although have you seen Tom Brady’s backup QB yummy little monkey. Sorry, let me gather myself.

All I know is my husband will lock himself into a room for some sort of imaginary draft to pick players for a made up team. Then instead of simply watching your favorite team on tv, you have to watch EVERY SINGLE STINKING GAME, so you know what you’re fantasy players are doing. Really? No really? I need to know if this is how this thing works.

I thought it was a boy thing.

Until Nina got involved.

Yep. My 7 year old little princess had to make a fantasy team. Now being a little girl who knows only that Tom Brady is number 12 and a football God, creating a team is difficult task.

Cue the boys.

We were on a little road trip the other day and they decided to help her with her team.

Here it is.


First we have the amazing “Cream Outdoulagacabar (translation…Kareem Abdul Jabbar) who won 2 Superbowls with Chris Bosh”.

Andrew suggested she grab the Hamson Brose (aka the Hanson Brothers from the classic movie Slapshot) because they come as a 2 for 1, so she really made out there.

She did figure out Pedro Martinez was a baseball player but he could still be pretty valuable, so she kept him on the roster.

Let’s not forget Myro Jenning or actually Leeroy Jenkins. This guy has no fear. Gamers, you know this guy. For those of you who don’t take a minute to watch the clip. It’s a bit lengthy, but a hoot. You’ll then realize why he needs to be on a team. A true warrior.
Goaltender Martin Pador (Martin Brodeur). You can get a point if you use “the creepy eye” on him. Folks, there are no words.
Last but not least the unbeatable trio of Tom Brady, Pedroya and Megatron.
There you have it. The mother of all fantasy football teams.

I would like to thank my boys for making my sweet, little girl look like a lunatic.

I hope you’re proud of yourselves.

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It’s In The Mix! Bob’s 10 Grain Bread Mix

Bob's 10 Grain Bread Mix

Bob’s 10 Grain Bread Mix

I’ve got a confession. Sometimes I use mixes. Yup. There I said it. I do. If a recipe has more than 5 or 6 ingredients to measure out, it usually ends up back in the recipe box. I hate measuring stuff. I really do. It annoys me.

I’ve got to tell ya, there are some pretty good mixes out there that can save a whole heap load of time and still make you look good. This new segment is designed to give you some reviews for some great mixes to have on hand when you’re in a time crunch. You know those times when your kids tell you there is a bake sale you are on the hook for TOMORROW. Or when your husbannd tells you there are guests coming…IN AN HOUR!
Or simply when the family wants a brownie NOW and you will get no peace until their mouths are full of brownie. Is that just my family that acts like that?

The first in this new blog series is my favorite. Not a cookie or a brownie, but a hearty bread mix. I’m not all about sugary desserts you know.

I am a yeast-o-phobe. It might be a word. Anything with yeast scares the bejeezus out of me. I rarely have good luck. I don’t why. But it has to be me. I am on a serious mission to conquer the yeast beast.

If you’re a yeast-o-phobe like myself, yet crave the smell of hearty bread baking in your own home oven, I suggest giving this mix a try. You can do it all by hand or use a bread machine. I do both depending on what kind of time I have. Typically though, I use the dough setting on my bread machine, then take it out, place it in a loaf pan, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with old fashioned oats, cover it and let it rise another hour, then bake it in the oven. I get the best results that way and honestly, I get a better rise and shape to the baked loaf.

I love Bob’s Red Mill products. I love everything about them. Their products and their philosophy. This bread is made of healthy whole grains, and has a perfect crumb. It is amazing as sandwich bread, simply toasted with some jam or a perfectly poached egg. It keeps well if well wrapped or can be frozen if you don’t plan on using it. It lasts me all week. And trust me, I make a loaf of this every Sunday and have a slice every morning with some peanut butter.

Look for it in your local grocery store or purchase it online at Bob’s Red Mill. It is a staple in my pantry. It will be in yours too. I promise.

Thanks Bob!

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Back to School and Dinky Doozies

dinky doozies1

It’s that time of year again. First day of school. A new grade, a new classroom, a new teacher.

Nina had a hard time falling asleep. She was so excited and anxious. I snuggled in bed with her and snuck out when she finally fell asleep. Then five minutes later she came downstairs crying and needed Dad. Twenty minutes later my husband came downstairs and told me “She said I looked like I needed a break. You better get Mom”. So, back upstairs I went. We went through the whole bedtime routine all over again, talked about all the wonderful, exciting things that will go on in 2nd grade (OMG 2nd Grade!)

Andrew is going into 7th grade. Don’t even get me going on him being an almost teenager. I can’t handle it. I keep telling him to stop getting older, but as almost all almost-teenagers do, he’s not listening to me.

Andrew always gets school lunch. He likes it. And they have a pretty good variety for him to choose from. So I fill his lunch account and we’re both happy.

Nina is a bit more particular. She doesn’t eat a big variety. On certain days she does like to get school lunch though. Brunch for lunch day, cracker stacker day (I don’t even know what that is), yogurt parfait day and of course, pizza day. These days are spread out sporadically throughout the month, not weekly. So we have to fill in the blanks quite often. Most days I do have to pack her lunch. Fortunately, even though she doesn’t eat a lot of different foods, she will still eat fairly healthy.

She is a snacker. A grazer. She rarely sits and eats a “meal”. So her lunches typically consist of an assortment of snack foods.

She does take her favorite sandwich everyday though. Peanut butter and cheese. Or as I like to refer to it as a “sawdust sandwich”. I don’t know how she eats it. I don’t even know where she came up with the idea. White (whole wheat) bread, PB and American cheese.

“Nina, do you want PB&J?”
“Do you want PB & Fluff?”
“No. Just PB & cheese. Maybe you can cut it into a heart. It always tastes good when it’s in a shape.”

PB & cheese it is. Who am I to argue?

The rest of her lunch and daily snack is usually a yogurt parfait or yogurt stick, some kind of crunchy snack like Goldfish or Pirate Booty, light ranch dip and carrot sticks, a cheese stick, some kind of fruit and a cookie.

I usually make homemade cookies on Sunday to put in the snack drawer for the week. This week I decided to try a new cookie and while checking out the lunches on Annie’s-Eats, I came across these dinky doozies. I had never heard of them, but they looked delish and pretty simple and fun.

*Sidenote: Annie is one of my all-time favorite bloggers. She is Superwoman. I want to be just like her. I want to spend a day with her so I can see how she does it all. I want to know how she gets her children to eat what they eat and how she finds the time to make everything so perfect. There you have it, my blogger crush is revealed. End Sidenote.

They were so great. So cute. So perfect for the lunch box. They are fairly small but one is enough as it is 2 cookies with a buttercream frosting in the middle.

The batch only made about a dozen after all of them were put together, so I think I will make a double batch the next time. It seems as if they have mysteriously disappeared already. Hmmmmm.

So, if you’re looking for a fun little cookie to brighten up a lunch or school bake sale, these are perfect. Hop on over to Annie’s-Eats for the full recipe and instructions and prepare to stay awhile, because this woman is UH-MAY-ZING!

Thanks Annie!

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Lightened-up Alfredo


We’ve kinda been on a bit of a pasta kick around here lately. Can you say cheap and easy? It’s convenient and oh so versatile. I’ve got a couple great new pasta recipes to share, this being a “10” on the yummy, easy scale.

Who doesn’t love a thick, rich, cheesy alfredo sauce? That being said, you can almost feel your arteries harden, right? The butter, the heavy cream, the cheese. Yup, my cholesterol points went up just writing it.

Well now you can have your alfredo and eat it too! This sauce is amazing. It uses no heavy cream and almost no butter and only half a cup of cheese. You will be amazed at how creamy, rich and flavorful this is. And, let’s not forget it only takes about 20 minutes to pull it all together.

If you are an alfredo fan but have been avoiding it because of the obvious dietary pitfalls, try this. Throw in your favorite protein or your favorite vegetables and make it even better. I used some grilled chicken breast, which the boys loved, but they even requested the addition of some broccoli. Yes, I’m in shock too.

Fettucine is the pasta shape typically used, but I used rigatoni, simply because the boys like it better. I like fettucine better, but that’s neither here nor there. Majority rules. You can use whatever shape pasta your little heart desires.

I got “Four thumbs up” from the boys. I can’t ask for much better than that.

    Lightened-up Alfredo

1 pound pasta, cooked al dente (reserve 1/2 c. pasta water)
1 Tbls olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbls all-purpose flour
2 Tbls Butter
1 c. chicken broth
1 c. fat-free half & half
1/2 c. parmesan cheese (freshly grated is best)
1 Tbls. chopped flat leaf parsley (optional)
Salt & pepper to taste

Cook pasta al dente. Make sure your water is salted. It is your only opportunity to flavor your pasta. Reserve 1/2 c. of the pasta water before you drain your pasta.

While pasta is cooking, in a large pan on medium heat, saute garlic until fragrant, but not brown.

Using a whisk, mix in flour making a paste and slowly add the chicken broth and half & half, whisking continuously.

Reduce heat to low allowing sauce to thicken. I used a strainer spoon and scooped out a lot of the garlic. This step is totally optional, I just don’t like bits of garlic. After 3-4 minutes add butter, parmesan cheese and pasta water. Continue to whisk another 3-4 minutes until sauce is thick and bubbly.

Toss with pasta. Salt and pepper to taste. Top with grilled chicken or other type of cooked protein if desired.

Note: If you want your sauce a little thinner, feel free to top off with another tablespoon of olive oil or butter at the end and mix it in.


Recipe adapted from Gimme Some Oven

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Honey Lime Dressing and my love of the Magic Kingdom

honeylime dressing

Every once in awhile I get a craving for Disney. Okay, who am I kidding, I am always thinking about Disney. If you read any of my “crap about me” lists, you’d know that I love Disney. Like, I want to live there. In Cinderella’s Castle spending my days twirling and singing with a bluebird on my finger and rockin a pair of ears, naturally. It really is the happiest place on earth. We have been there with the family a couple of times and I am ready to start planning another trip. It can be pricey, so a yearly trip is out of the question, but I am hopeful we will be able to visit again in 2015, which means it will be time for me to start planning real soon.

For me, the planning is half the fun. I spend months reviewing crowd calendars, planning our meals, snacks, shows, which rides are a must and which we can skip. I look at the best places to stay, what kind of amenities they have, how close are they to the park, what kind of activities they have. I make spreadsheets with our itinerary, reservation numbers and whatever else we need to know. It is a compulsion! If you have a Disney question, I’m your gal! But I’ve got to say, that kind of pre-trip organization made for some awesome vacations. Those people who say you can’t relax at Disney did not do their homework. Or they just try to do too much. I’ll post some Disney tips later.

Ok, that being said, I am in total need of a Disney fix. I think it’s all the ads for the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train that is getting to me. Since I can’t get there now I have to do the next best thing, make a favorite Disney recipe.

Both our trips we have stayed at the Polynesian. I just love it there. It is probably the closest I will ever get to Hawaii. The grounds are gorgeous and the atmosphere is so relaxed and friendly. The Poly is also home to our favorite restaurant, Ohana. If you are planning a trip, I strongly suggest you make a reservation. The food is amazing! There is no menu. They serve the same thing every night and that was fine by us. They would bring out plates of sweet Hawaiian bread, stir fried broccoli, pan-fried potstickers, sesame garlic noodles and skewers of spicy shell-on shrimp, teriyaki beef and pork kabobs.

But I have to say my favorite part of the meal was the garden salad. Yes, a run of the mill garden salad. Romaine lettuce, julienned carrot and thinly sliced red onion. But it had the most amazing dressing on it. It was sweet, tangy, light and refreshing and complimented all the other components of the meal beautifully.

The fact that my husband actually ate salad was just a bonus.

So, when we got back I went on a search and found the recipe.

It goes great with this and some steamed rice. This is absolutely my favorite summer meal.

Every time I make this dressing, I get asked for the recipe. If I make it for a dinner party, I always make extra and send my guests home with a small jar of it. They love that.

Now, not that I’m bossy or anything, but you must go make this now. You can thank me later.


Honey Lime Dressing
1/2 c. honey
1/4 c. diced onion (actually use a little less depending on how strong your onions are)
1/2 c. cider vinegar
1 tsp salt
1/4 c. freshly squeezed lime juice
1 c. canola oil
Dash of freshly ground pepper

Mix all ingredients, except for the oil in a blender (I use my immersion blender). Combine until smooth, then slowly add the oil until it is well incorporated.


Recipe adapted from here

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Peepshows, cleavage and other things you may not know (or care to know) about me

photo (1)

Did I catch your attention?

First, did you miss me? I know you did. I missed you too.

Well, I’m back. No excuses about life getting in the way, being too busy, sick, vacation blah, blah, blah, yaddah, yaddah, yaddah.

I’m just back. And things are changing around here. So sit back and enjoy.

I thought since I’m making a fresh start around here, I’d share some personal things. I was going to share ten things but then I got lazy. And really, how much do you need care to know? Hopefully you’ll share back and we can be like besties and we can hang out and brush each other’s hair and talk about boys and clothes and other major life events.

One person who shares five down and dirty things about themselves will get a lovely little package in the mail from moi.

OK here’s my five.

  1. I love my feet. Ok, I love all feet, but  I especially love wearing fancy little low-cut peep-toe shoes with bright colored nails that show my toe cleavage and my big freckle on the top of my left foot (pretty specific weird huh?)
  2. I HATE when people write or say ASAP. It irks me pisses me off to no end! .  You may as well be saying “You do it right now because my stuff is more important than whatever it is you are doing! Which in turn makes me move at a glacial pace, by the way.
  3. I love reading Junior Fiction. It’s quick and entertaining. Grown up books are too deep for me. Right now I am reading The Misadventures of Edgar and Allen Poe-The Tell Tale Start by Gordon McAlpine.
  4. I refuse to watch the news. I function much better with my head in the sand up my ass. I’m much happier that way and I have way fewer anxiety attacks.
  5. I am terribly indecisive. If I could actually make a decision, I would have a lot more time on my hands and I would get waaaaaaay more done during the day. It took me about a week to write this post. Don’t judge me.

Ok, so there it is.

Your turn.


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Embrace Your Fabulousness!

Today I have a very special treat for you. My very good friend Danielle is guest posting for me today. She is a Holistic Nutrition Consultant and Editor In Chief of the free online health magazine ENJI daily.  I cannot say enough about how wonderful this woman is. So, I won’t.  You will know once you read her post and visit ENJI daily.

As I read her post, I was enlightened and inspired. I know you will be as well.

Also today, because I feel so so fortunate to have this special person joining my site, I am running a little giveaway of some of my favorite things from this beauty challenge. It’ll be a surprise, but you’re going to want to enter. The winner will get a lovely box of awesome stuff. These are products that I love and use faithfully. I know they will become favorites of yours as soon as you try them.

Have a beautiful day!


5 Ideas to Inspire You to Embrace Your Fabulousness!
It couldn’t have been a better day. Miami beach, sun sparkling on the water, sand hot under my feet, chillin’ under the umbrella, a cold beverage in hand, jams humming on a little speaker. Precious family time, and so rare to have everyone together.

Should have been the Best. Day. Ever. Right? It might have been, if not for that tape running in my head, telling me to feel horrible about myself as I watched swimsuit model-gorgeous women stroll by. Want to go in the water? Uh, no thanks, I’ll stay here. Picture time! No, please, no pictures of me. I am so _________. I will never be __________. Why can’t I just _________. What’s wrong with me? Even next to my loving, supportive step-daughters and daughter-in-law, who I know care about me deeply, I felt giant, exposed, uncomfortable, a sharp contrast to (what I perceived to be) their perfect, beautiful beings.
So, how was that working for me? No bueno. That voice was loud, crushing my self-esteem, making me feel unworthy and isolated.
The voice can be a sneaky SOB. Often when you play the comparison game, you come up inferior, and put yourself down, as I did. Other times, you might come up superior, feeling smug, better than. In that case you may feel like you’re winning, but here’s the thing – you’re still losing. The results of game don’t matter, because it’s all judgment. You’re either judging yourself, or you’re judging others.

Is that voice coming from a place of love? Will it lead you to happiness?
I’m going to tell you something you already know. It’s ok, sometimes we need to hear things over and over again before they really sink in. I know I do.

Comparing yourself to others doesn’t bring you happiness. Happiness comes from loving others, and loving yourself.
I tend to want to take on my challenges – “go to the mat with them,” as my husband says – and positive body image has been, and continues to be, one of my biggest. So when I started ENJI Daily, I knew I wanted to have a section that I could fill with inspirational, feel-good stories that would give me confidence. I wanted to surround myself with – and share the stories of – like-minded people who are embracing their fabulousness.

In the spirit of today’s challenge, Stop Comparing Yourself to Others and Embrace Your Fabulousness, here are 5 ideas to inspire you, pulled from the virtual pages of ENJI!

#1. Adopt an Attitude of Gratitude.
It’s not as if I didn’t love Amy Poehler before I encountered her series “Ask Amy” and this video, but here she proves to be more than just a funny lady.

“When things get dark,” she says, “when you feel really crappy about yourself or your body or how you look, sometimes a good way to help yourself get out of it is to have some gratitude.” Less than three minutes, this could turn your whole day around. Check it out.

Speaking of gratitude, I loved this story from Andrea at This is a woman who completely changed her life – from an unhealthy lifestyle to eating well, doing cross-fit like a champ, and even becoming a personal trainer! Though she tries very hard to measure her success by her fitness goals, a few weeks before writing this post, she “got caught up in the vanity of it all,” and felt “frustrated, discouraged, and sad” about her body.


So, what did she do? She turned it all around by having gratitude. Read her story, “10+ Reasons I Love My Ugly Body.”

#2. Change the Tape.
Watching this video from Taryn Brumfitt, on the verge of tears, I knew it had to be shared with the ENJI community.


Besides sharing her moving personal story about her struggles with body image, Taryn interviews other women, asking them the first word they think of when they think about their bodies. There were women of ALL shapes, sizes, and ages, and the most common word that popped up? DISGUSTING. What a hateful, awful word, and yet, that’s how so many of us feel when we look in the mirror.
I’m kind of late to the party, but I just discovered Louise Hay (who’s been an inspiration to many since the mid-70s) in the last year. Her book, You Can Heal Your Life, was sort of like a gentle, loving, caring knock upside the head for me. Like, hello? Running that tape in your head, telling yourself you’re not good enough, is the ultimate waste of time and energy. And yes, you can change the tape!

We may habitually think the same thought over and over so that it does not seem we are choosing the thought. But we did make the original choice. We can refuse to think certain thoughts. Look how often you have refused to think a positive thought about yourself. Well, you can also refuse to think a negative thought about yourself. – Louise Hay, You Can Heal Your Life
Something Amy says in her video (see #1) really struck me. She says, when you talk to yourself, about yourself, imagine you are talking to your daughter, or younger sister. “You would tell your younger sister or your daughter that she was beautiful, and you wouldn't be lying. Because she is, and so are you.”

You can find Taryn’s story and video here: This Woman Wants To Change How All Of Us See Our Bodies. A good cause to support.

#3. Recognize How Negative Self-Talk Impacts You

I’ve been turned on to so many amazing resources through ENJI Daily, and one in particular I highly respect is Marsha Hudnall, along with her team at Green Mountain at Fox Run, a healthy weight loss retreat for women. In her post Loving Your Body – Your Best Beach Beauty Must-Have, Marsha reminds us just how DESTRUCTIVE it can be we engage in negative self-talk:
• We’re less likely to eat healthfully.
• We’re less likely to exercise.
• We might even be triggered to binge eat.

“Bingeing and isolating ourselves can represent forms of self-punishment that make us feel even more discouraged and depressed,” she writes.

Earlier I asked the question, how was judging myself working for me, and now I challenge you to ask yourself the same question: How is that working for you?

How do you feel in that negative space? Is that helping you achieve your dreams? Or is opening the door to more destructive behaviors?

If I’ve given you something to think about here, go ahead and write it down. Then write down five things you could start doing today to put yourself on a positive path. Pick one, and do it every day for the next week!
(Side note: I must give credit to the very wise “Gutsy Girl” Sarah Kay Hoffman for bringing that question to my consciousness – simple, direct, profound.)

#4. Let Go of Judgment.
Is there just a hint of truth Amy Schumer’s skit, “I’m So Bad”? (Warning: a little NSFW.)

As Robin Hilmantel points out in her article, Why We’ve Become So Obsessed with Judging Others’ Food Choices—and Our Own, these ladies, though, ahem, supportive (“Pringles? They’re like air!”), are so preoccupied with their “food transgressions,” they fail to recognize all of the really ugly things they do to themselves and others.
When it comes to food-shaming, are you your own judge and jury? Are your friends sitting in judgment of your choices? Are you judging them?

Simply put, food is neither good nor bad, and by listening to external voices about what we should or shouldn’t eat, we lose touch with that internal feeling of hunger and fullness, which we should use to guide our eating decisions. And while eating as healthy as you can is an excellent goal, perfection isn’t worth making yourself insane. You can find more great tips from the experts in Robin’s article.

#5. Do Something Courageous.
Do you have rules about what clothing you can and can’t wear, hiding your body at the expense of comfort? ‘Tis the season for bathing suits, shorts, tank tops, sundresses – do you dread it?
Cece Olisa of did, once spending 40 minutes trying to find a “summer” outfit that would hide all the flaws she saw looking in the mirror. Sweltering on the subway, she recognized it was time to stop hiding and make a change. And she uses a pretty awesome word to describe how she’s feeling now: LIBERATED.

Cece embraced her imperfections and just went for it. Although it may be scary in the beginning and take some time to feel comfortable, in the end, you might find a new level of confidence like she did. I loved her story, and you can find it here:

Wouldn’t you know, as I was writing this, another story along this same vein popped up in ENJI – Moms, Put On That Swimsuit. Writer Jessica Turner passionately encourages moms, don’t worry about how you look or what others will think, put on your swimsuit and splash around with your kids.
Why? For two very good reasons, she writes: “Because when women stay on the sidelines because of insecurity, we are modeling unhealthy behavior to our children and we are missing out.”
Just try not to get a little teary as she shares her story and the impact that her PRESENCE had on her kids, a big reward for being courageous.

Embracing your fabulousness may not come easily or immediately – like any other important change in life. It may take some digging deep and some soul-searching to find your confidence. But, here’s the thing: When you find that dazzling, feel-good smile to light yourself up, you also light up the world around you, and you teach your daughters and sisters (and sons and brothers) that everyone is beautiful.

Yours in good health,

Danielle Hart, MS Holistic Nutrition, is a holistic nutrition consultant and the Editor in Chief of ENJI Daily (, a free online wellness magazine updated daily with the latest research, healthy recipes, and fitness and lifestyle tips. Her mission is to help individuals navigate the vast (and sometimes contradictory) world of wellness information, and to inspire change.

Photo Credit: Purple Sherbet Photography via Compfight cc

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Switch your afternoon coffee for green tea

Lately I have been craving an iced coffee in the afternoon. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s hot, if I need a caffeine jolt or if it just so happens I have a free coffee every day in June from Panera Bread. In any case, I am loving my afternoon treat. I have recently switched from an iced coffee to an iced tea, which I am totally digging. Cold, refreshing and good for me.

Here are some benefits of Green Tea:

  • Increases metabolism. The polyphenol found in green tea works to intensify levels of fat oxidation and the rate at which your body turns food into calories
  • Helps prevent diabetes by slowing the rise of blood sugar after eating. This can prevent high insulin spikes resulting in fat storage, especially around the stomach.
  • Helps prevent Heart Disease by helping blood vessels remain relaxed and better able to handle changes in blood pressure and may also prevent clots
  • Reduce the risk of esophageal cancer, but also it is thought to kill cancer cells in general without damaging the healthy tissue around them.
  • Reduces bad cholesterol in the blood and improves the ratio of good cholesterol to bad cholesterol.
  • May help delay brain cell deterioration caused by Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Studies carried out on mice showed that green tea protected brain cells from dying and restored damaged brain cells.
  • “Catechins”, a type of antioxidant in tea can destroy bacteria and viruses that cause throat infections, dental caries and other dental conditions
  • Regular consumption of green tea is thought to reduce the risk of high blood pressure.
  • Theanine is an amino acid naturally found in tea leaves. This is thought to provide a relaxing and tranquilizing effect, aiding in those with depression.
  • Tea catechins are strong antibacterial and antiviral agents which make them effective for treating everything from influenza to cancer. In some studies green tea has been shown to inhibit the spread of many diseases.
  • Help with wrinkles and the signs of aging, because of their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Applied topically can reduce sun damage

The jury is out on how much one should drink. Typical consumption in tea drinking cultures is 3 cups per day.  Remember tea is caffeinated, so be careful how much you consume if you are sensitive to caffeine’s effects. Drink tea freshly brewed after steeping for 3-5 minutes. Decaffeinated, instant and bottled teas have reduced benefits.

I knew tea was good for me, but I honestly wasn’t aware of all these benefits.  I will absolutely be drinking more green tea.

Have a beautiful, refreshing day!

Harvard Health Publications

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Catching Up


Ok, so I was looking at my challenge schedule and realized my days were off.

It started with Thong Thursday. Which was actually a Tuesday. After that I got all discombobulated and stopped writing. I was way too flustered. Did you know discombobulate was a real word? I thought it was something I made up. You learn something new everyday, I guess.

So right now I’m going to catch up and stay on track. Because I have some amazing guest bloggers scheduled and I don’t want to throw them off track with my discombobulation. I may never stop saying this.

So here goes, starting with Thong Thursday (or Tuesday or Wednesday or whatever day)  I’ve got to let it go.

If you’re wondering what I meant by Thong Thursday, here it is. It is simply wearing something under your clothes that makes you feel sexy. Thongs do NOT make me feel sexy. They make me feel like my ass has swallowed my skivvies and I spend all day trying to pick it out. Not a good look.

What does make me feel sexy is a matching black bra and panties. TMI? Maybe so. But we’re all friends here. Really as long as they match, it doesn’t matter what color or print. It just makes me feel put together.

The first thing I think of when I put on mismatched or frayed undergarments (aka granny panties) is “Oh God I hope I don’t get in an accident”. Did your mom ever tell you that? “Make sure you have clean underwear on, in case you get in accident”. I don’t really know what the significance of that is, but it stuck.

Next came packing a picnic dinner, or lunch. I love the idea of doing this with the family. Taking a hike somewhere, finding a shady spot and eating lunch together. Maybe a game of frisbee afterward. Not everything has to cost a lot of money. Try it sometime.

  • DIY hair masque. This Banana mask has Potassium for healing damaged dry hair, Vitamin A to strengthen hair follicles as well as nourish dry hair, Vitamin E which promotes healthy hair and scalp and Vitamin C which helps regulate oil.

All you need are 2 overripe bananas, 1 tablespoon coconut oil, 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon honey

In a blender or food processor, process the bananas until completely smooth and silky. You can do this by hand, just make sure you have no lumps. Add the remaining ingredients until super smooth. Slather the mask onto your head starting with the scalp and coat hair. Let set for 5-10 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with warm water. No need to shampoo. You’ll smell delish and your hair will be bouncy and shiny.

  • Pay It Forward! Do something nice for someone and hope they will continue. Perfect example, buy the coffee for the person behind you at the coffee shop. They may be having a really crappy day. Donate to the food bank. Drop off a box of Joe to the police or fire department. Drop off dinner to a friend who’s super busy. Volunteer. Let me know your ideas!
  • Smile!
    A smile costs nothing but gives much. It enriches those who receive without making poorer those who give. It takes but a moment, but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever. None is so rich or mighty that he cannot get along without it and none is so poor that he cannot be made rich by it. Yet a smile cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen, for it is something that is of no value to anyone until it is given away. Some people are too tired to give you a smile. Give them one of yours, as none needs a smile so much as he who has no more to give. ~Author Unknown
  • Sparkle!
    We all need a little sparkle in our lives. Add some glitter today. Glitter nail polish, some sequins, eye shadow with some sparkle, ruby slippers. Whatever makes you feel like a shiny, happy person.
  • Meatless Monday
    I know it’s summer and everyone is throwing burgers and dogs on the grill. How about some grilled veggies? Chop up your favorite veggies, add some olive oil and spices and place in a foil packet over the grill until cooked to your liking. When done, toss in a bit of feta cheese or grated parmesan. Serve over brown rice or pasta or toss into a fresh pita for a light dinner. Maybe some grilled pineapple or peaches with some crumbled Biscoff cookies over vanilla ice cream for dessert? Drool

And finally we come to today *Phew!

  • Surrounding yourself with beautiful things. This is a good time to take a couple of minutes to clean up the clutter. Nothing feels better to me than cleaning “Clutter Island” and putting up a simple vase of fresh tulips. Surrounding yourself with beautiful things could be as simple as removing the “ugly”. I know that always works wonders for me. Clutter is always a problem. But you knew that already.

If clutter isn’t your problem, how about a home improvement project? Paint is cheap and makes a huge, instantaneous impact. New throw pillows, update photos, change your throw rugs, pretty new hand towels for the bathroom, but a new fresh scented candle. I could go on and on.

But make it pretty. Objects that do not inspire or make you happy need to be removed to create a positive energy around you. Try it. I challenge you today to get rid of one object you’ve been holding onto that you dislike. Go for it.

Make sure you check back tomorrow for a great giveaway.

Have a beautiful day!

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