Happy Thanksgiving + Recipe Round-Up

Autumn_Trees_2_by_Kaela1221

Big family meals can be a bit of a challenge at our house.  Jared and I keep kosher which means that not only does all of the meat need to be purchased from a kosher butcher, but we don’t eat milk and meat together in the same meal.  Basically, there can’t be any dairy in the sides or the desserts. My cousin is allergic to nuts, which tightens our parameters even more.  Add in the fact that most of the people at the table are trying to be healthy and make smart food choices and you’ve got a challenge on your hands.

Luckily, we’re a pretty supportive and accommodating bunch and every year, we seem to work it out.  This year, I offered to make the desserts so I could create something dairy free, peanut free, and guilt free. I did a lot of internet searching and experimentation before choosing my recipes, so here are some of my favorite health-ified Thanksgiving recipes!

Remember, not everything on your table has to be perfect, but choose one or two of these recipes and you’ll know that you’re offering healthy and delicious options. It’s important to note that these recipes have no fake sweetener or chemicals in them. They’re delicious classic Thanksgiving recipes with just a bit less sugar, cream, etc than the originals.

Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Recipe Round-Up

Turkey Gravy

Low Calorie Stuffing

Quinoa Stuffing

Easy Green Bean Casserole

Crispy Roasted Green Beans

Brussels Sprouts Gratin

Healthy Mac and Cheese

Pumpkin Soup

Roasted Beet and Carrot Salad

Cranberry Orange Sauce with Thyme

Pumpkin Carrot Bars with Cream Cheese

Cranberry Pear Crumble

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

 

3 Tips to Win the Willpower War at your Thanksgiving Table

14624939651_2a546034c4_z

Have you ever noticed that it’s easier to avoid snacking in the morning than after dinner? Or if you’re really sad about something you care less about getting to the gym? Well, there’s a reason for it and it’s not that you’re lazy.  It’s called the Principal of Limited Self Control or Ego Depletion – the idea that self-control and willpower are limited resources that can actually be used up and need to be replenished by rest. That’s why when you’re tired after a long day of work; it seems harder to resist that cookie. Or when you’re stressed out by family issues it’s harder to get to the gym. When you’re using all of your willpower just to get through the day, you have little left over for things like exercise and healthy food.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and for many, that means potentially stressful travel, potentially stressful family time, and a lot of tempting food – things that can easily deplete your self-control. Here are a few tips to help you win the willpower war this Thanksgiving with just a little advanced planning:

  1. Plan Ahead. Planning for obstacles in advance means you’ll need less willpower when the situation comes up because you won’t have to think about it. Find out what will be on the menu ahead of time and create a game plan. Decide in advance what you’ll fill up on (like roasted veggies and lean turkey) and what you’ll indulge in. You won’t feel like you’re missing out and you won’t go crazy when you see all of the delicious food out in front of you.
  1. Develop an ‘If-Then’ Strategy. For example, “If Aunt Martha asks me to try one of her cookies that she made just for me; I will take one, eat half of it, and put the other half back on the table.” Or, “If everyone has a drink in their hand before dinner, I will have a glass of club soda and put a lemon in it.” Like the first tip, if you’ve already developed a plan, you won’t have to think about it when the time comes.
  1. Offer to make something. What’s your weakness at the Thanksgiving table? Whatever it is, you can make a healthy version to bring with you so that you can indulge without the guilt. I have a sweet tooth, so this year, I offered to make dessert. I know exactly how much is in a serving size and I can enjoy without having to worry.

Another tip that’s been shown to help with willpower is exercising in the morning, before the meal.  Studies have shown that when you work out before eating, you tend to eat less because you’re more aware of the work you just did.  Another tip is to not starve yourself before you sit down for dinner.  You’ll be wasting that valuable resource of self-control and won’t have as much left for the actual meal.

And remember, that no matter what happens this Thursday, it’s only one day. So even if you’re not the picture of perfect nutrition, give yourself a break, enjoy the holiday, and jump back on that horse on Friday.

 

Friday Faves

This week was packed with a good mix of work and fun. I’m looking forward to the weekend with our engagement photo shoot tomorrow morning, dinner with friends on Saturday night, and an early Thanksgiving dinner with Jared’s cousins on Sunday afternoon.

One new thing I want to start doing on Fridays is listing my workouts for the week and my plans for the weekend.  This week was a 30-minute HIIT class on Monday, Complete Core on Wednesday, and Barre on Friday. I’m not sure I gave myself enough rest in between these 3 great (but intense) workouts, so I’m going easy on myself this weekend with a jazz class on Saturday and yoga on Sunday.

Have a great weekend everyone!!

 

Photo Nov 19, 8 22 51 PM

Delicious dinner with my girlfriends. We get together once a month for a themed dinner party and everyone makes something. This month was Syrian food!

behindthescenes

Behind the scenes filming the Budstraps Kickstarter video

Photo Nov 19, 7 54 20 PM

Snazzy shoe and sock combo spotted on the subway

Photo Nov 18, 7 45 18 AM

Adorable dish for my jewelry 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cauliflower and Leek Soup + Tajine Chickpeas

Photo Nov 17, 9 11 34 PM

I’m excited to share this delicious recipe with you – something that I haven’t done yet on this blog. I love cooking my own meals because you know exactly what goes into them and have total control over portion sizes.  Cooking is sometimes tough in my tiny New York kitchen and we all know what it’s like to be short on time, so I’m always on the lookout for a recipe that has these qualifications:

  1. Quick to put together
  2. Easy to find ingredients (or easily substituted)
  3. Healthy (this means nutrient filled for meals and low in fat and sugar for snacks and desserts)

This wonderful Cauliflower and Leek Soup from Gina Homolka at Skinnytaste.com fits the bill completely.  If you haven’t discovered Skinnytaste yet, I highly recommend it.  When Gina posted this recipe on Monday, I immediately decided I needed to have it for dinner that night. It hit all of my qualifications and was absolutely delicious.

Photo Nov 17, 8 06 34 PM

I adapted the recipe slightly and added my own twist to it – tajine chickpeas that worked as a side and were equally as yummy when put in the soup.  People usually think of the North African cooking dish when they hear the word tajine, but it’s also a Mexican spice that consists of chili peppers, lime, and salt.  The lime gives is a great kick. Jared and I found it on a recent trip to Dallas and have been putting it on everything ever since.

tajin

The chickpeas were easy to put together.  One can of chickpeas (rinsed well), olive oil and lemon juice to taste (about  2 teaspoons of each), pepper and tajin to taste.  Start out light on the spices and add slowly until it’s just right.

For the original Cauliflower and Leek Soup recipe from Skinnytaste, click here!

 

Enjoy!!

Hang on to your buds. BudStraps are here!

I’m excited to tell you all about a great new product that will seriously change the way you work out.  They’re so simple and functional that it’s shocking no one has come up with this before.  So what are BudStraps?

10321753_10100468337305309_8979876062885146559_o

Have you ever been running on the treadmill and your earbud cord gets stuck on something? All of a sudden, your earbud is ripped from your ear and your iPhone fall onto the floor and you need to interrupt your workout to pick everything up again. Happens to me all the time.

Or you’re listening to music and go into a Starbucks. It’s time to pay the cashier, but you can’t hear her with both earbuds in. Your options are:

  1. take one earbud out and hold it awkwardly
  2. let the earbud hang down to your knees where it gets tangled
  3. wrap your earbud cords around your ear, up your shirt, or around your neck – not comfortable

Enter BudStraps.  It’s a lightweight and flexible strap that goes around your neck and clips onto your earbuds.  You barely notice it’s there. I make a point to walk every day during my lunch break and I always bring BudStraps with me.  I take them when I’m at the gym, grocery shopping, the subway…basically anywhere that I’d want to listen to music or a podcast.

budstraps

If you’d like to get in on the action check out Budstraps.com/kickstarter.  You’ll have the chance to get discounted Budstraps before they go to retail in a few months.  The campaign will help to create a new sportier design and cool new clip.

 

**This post has not be sponsored by BudStraps.  All opinions are my own.

Friday Faves

I enjoy traveling for work because I’m lucky enough to not only get along with my coworkers, but actually enjoy them and consider many of them friends. But even so, travel is exhausting and it’s hard to get back into the swing of things.  I’m looking forward to a fun family-filled weekend celebrating my dad’s birthday, a spa day with my mom, and wedding dress shopping with my mom and nana (for them, not me).

Here are a few things I enjoyed this week.  Add yours to the list and have a great weekend!!

anthro collage

Fun displays at Anthropologie (one of my all-time favorite stores)

 

Photo Nov 08, 3 59 48 PM

Beautiful court yard in Old Town Alexandria, VA

 

haircut

Snazzy haircut from the incredibly talented Alex at the Scott J Salon

 

And HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAD!!!!!

 

**None of the links in this post are affiliates or are sponsored.  All opinions are my own.

10 Thoughts That Are Holding You Back

abis

As I continue with my studies to become a certified health coach (!!) one of my favorite topics is behavioral psychology. At its core, behavioral psychology is all about habits – how we acquire (and eliminate) certain behaviors through conditioning. Every time I read a new theory it’s like getting an insider tip and I wanted to share one that anyone can use when trying to adopt a new habit.  It’s called the 10 Cognitive Irrational Distortions**. These are 10 things that people do that get in the way of their progress.

The trick is, once you’re able to identify them, you can start tuning them out.

1. All-or-Nothing Thinking – Looking at things in absolutes without acknowledging the grey area. (I’m either a healthy person or I’m not. And I’m not.)

2. Overgeneralization – Viewing a negative event as a never ending pattern of defeat (I ate too much junk food today, just like I do every single day.  I’ll never be able to stop.)

3. Mental Filter – Dwelling on the negatives and ignoring the positives (It doesn’t really matter that I ate well today because I didn’t get to the gym.)

4. Discounting the Positive – Insisting that accomplishments or positive qualities ‘don’t count’ (Of course I ate healthy today, I wasn’t near any junk food. I still don’t have any self-control when it counts.)

5. Jumping to Conclusions – Assuming that people are reacting negatively when there is no evidence or arbitrarily predicting that things will turn out badly (I’m overweight and I’ll never be able to get in shape.)

6. Magnification and/or Minimization – Blowing things way out of proportion or vice versa (I didn’t eat a healthy breakfast so it’s going to ruin my entire day.)

7. Emotional Reasoning – Believing that your feelings are true even when there is no evidence (I feel like an idiot, so I must be one.)

8. ‘Should’ or catastrophe statements – criticizing oneself or other people with ‘shoulds’ or ‘shouldn’ts’ (I should’ve gone to the gym today.)

9. Labeling – Identifying with one’s shortcomings (I’m a failure and have no self-control. Instead of saying ‘I made a mistake.’)

10. Personalization and Blame – Blaming oneself for something that the person was not entirely responsible for (All of our plans fell apart today and it’s all my fault.)

Do you catch yourself using any of these? What do you do to combat these kinds of negative thoughts?

 

**Adapted from the ACE Health Coach Manual. For more information, go to ACEFitness.com

Photo: Markus Spiske / http://www.temporausch.com / CC-BY

Mind and Body

Language can be incredibly powerful and I love turning to quotes for inspiration and motivation. I recently came across this quote by Buddha.
white space
white space
Buddha-Meditation-Learning-2
 white space
white space
This week, I’m traveling for work and doing my best to take care of my mind and body. I find that the connection between the two is even more important when I’m out of my regular routine.
white space
Do you agree or disagree? Do you find that there is a connection between your physical and mental well-being?

Friday Faves

I can’t believe how quickly this week went by! It was a whirlwind of catching up with friends, some great workout classes, and filming the video for Jared’s exciting Kickstarter campaign (more on that later!) This coming week I’ll be traveling for work, but I’ve got some great posts lined up! Have a great weekend everyone!!

Photo Nov 04, 6 08 40 PM

Inspiration on the subway

 

DIY gold dinosaurs.  A cute and slightly dorky detail in our apartment.

DIY gold dinosaurs. A cute and slightly dorky detail in our apartment.

So excited that BFX is opening a studio near my office!

So excited that BFX is opening a studio near my office!

Funkadelic Boogey Men for Halloween!

Funkadelic Boogey Monsters for Halloween!

My Worst Nightmare

roosevelt quote

Twice in the past few weeks I’ve uttered the words ‘this is my worst nightmare’. Both instances involved all eyes on me and I was sure I was going to make a fool of myself. I was sure that I would be judged and ridiculed, and that I wouldn’t be good enough.  Have you ever felt like that?

The first was my favorite dance class that I take almost every Saturday morning.  I arrived at class to find I was the ONLY participant. While I silently patted myself on the back for getting to the gym at 10am the day after Halloween, I was mortified by the idea of a one-on-one class. The instructor would see just how badly I danced, just how long it took me to get the choreography. I prayed that class would be canceled, but of course it wasn’t.

The second was a few days later, I signed up for a 30 minute express HIIT class (high intensity interval training). I got to class and learned that all exercises would be done in pairs and we would rely on each other for every exercise. My partner seemed to be in such great shape.  What if I slowed her down? What if my form was wrong? I hated the idea of having all this attention on me!

The funny thing is that once the classes started, my partner in the HIIT class was too concerned with her own performance to pay attention to me.  And after the dance class, the instructor told me I made her entire day just by showing up.  Just as I was completely focused on myself, so was everyone around me. So much so that I didn’t really need to worry what anyone else thought of me.

It can be so scary to try something new and put yourself in a situation where you might fail but those experiences are usually the most rewarding.   I know that next time I go to a class with partners; I’ll have less anxiety about it and will be able to focus on my own performance. Have you had any similar experiences?