Sunday, October 26, 2014

LARABAR GIVEAWAY | Eat Healthy & Get Outside

As we draw closer to the end of the year and towards the holidays and cold weather where we just want to bundle up and stay inside, I'm reminded that I don't want to slack off now and lose the fitness level that I worked so hard to achieve earlier this year.  It's so hard to get in shape, but so easy to get out of shape! I'm definitely going to enjoy myself and won't be sticking to a rigid routine these next couple months, but I plan to continue to exercise and eat healthy because I want to take care of myself and feel good.  As part of my daily meals, I typically eat a LÄRABAR each afternoon as that's about the time I'm hungry and heading out the door to get my son from school.  I'm never without them, because my son likes them too (as picky as he is), so there is always a LÄRABAR in my purse, gym bag, or car.  Do you do that too?  If you've ever been out and about, starving and grouchy, with equally grouchy and starving kids, you probably do. 


November 17 is National Take a Hike Day and if you need a bit of fuel before or after your walk, a LÄRABAR is the perfect thing for you.  I love that LÄRABAR is actually made by a real woman named Lara, who, in 2000, found herself hungry after a hike and created a natural food full of wholesome ingredients like fruit and nuts to give her a tasty healthy snack to fuel her active lifestyle.  Lara has a passion for natural foods (each LÄRABAR has no more than 9 ingredients, is gluten-free, non GMO, kosher, and most of the products are soy-free, dairy free and vegan).  There are so many flavors to choose from.  I'm a big fan of the chocolate and peanut butter flavors, but I know other people who prefer the fruity ones. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos

Happy Friday friends!  My friend Leanne (And Away We Go) sent me a slow cooker recipe for chicken tacos (one of my faves!) that I had to share with you! Don't you just love a slow cooker/crock pot meal?  Nothing better than getting dinner going at the beginning of the day and then not having to worry about it again!  I think this will be on our menu this weekend!  

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Now that the days are cooler and our routine is busier, I have pulled out the old slow cooker and started to add a few soups and casseroles to our weekly menu. These slow cooker chicken tacos have been an old stand by in our house for a few years and I was excited to make them again the other night!

chicken tacos

The recipe is just what I think every slow cooker recipe should be; toss the ingredients in the pot and turn it on! The mixture of chicken, beans and corn makes for a filling meal, packed with protein. 

chicken tacos

I've made this dish for guests and taken it to parties and have always had lots of requests for the recipe...

So here it is!

Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos

1 can of black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 large jar of chunky salsa
2 large chicken breasts (bone and skin removed)
2-3 Tbsp taco seasoning 
1 cup frozen corn

Add black beans and salsa to slow cooker. Place the chicken breasts on top of the mixture and sprinkle with taco seasoning. 

Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 5 hours.  

Remove chicken breasts and shred with a fork. Return shredded chicken to the slow cooker, add frozen corn and mix together with black beans and sauce. Turn the slow cooker to low and cook for a half an hour. 

Serve with soft tortillas and top with shredded cheese, sour cream and guacamole.

chicken tacos

chicken tacos

Thank you for sharing Leanne!  We'll be thinking about you as your new little bundle is about to arrive! 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Walking/Running Shoes for a Cause

This month is National Breast Cancer Awareness month and I'm proud to wear my Skechers in support of breast cancer.  (I shared my own family experience with cancer on Honey We're Healthy and you can go here if you want to read it.)  I already love and wear Skechers GoWalk line of shoes because they are the most comfy and lightweight shoe I've found- perfect for busy days running errands.  This new performance division line where proceeds go to the American Cancer Society are not only helping win the fight, but are a truly fantastic shoe.  Anyone who walks, runs, or exercises consistently knows the importance of a great performance shoe to keep you moving.  This one is cute too in pink and grey. ;) 



Skechers Performance Division proudly supports American Cancer Society in the fight against breast cancer with a special collection of products.  In addition to the “Awareness” footwear and apparel line, Skechers Performance Division supporting American Cancer Society in several ways:


  • Skechers Performance Division is offering a donation to American Cancer Society, and all of the Skechers Performance Division Awareness apparel and footwear will feature the ACS logo and messaging.
  • Skechers is hosting the American Cancer Society San Francisco Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk, and will be donating a percentage of proceeds from the sales of Skechers shoes on-site that day. 
  • Skechers is launching a register round-up program in Skechers Retail stores in which customers can round up their purchase to the nearest whole dollar to benefit American Cancer Society for the entire month of October.  If consumers donate $5 or more, they will also receive a 20% off discount for their next visit. This will offer anyone shopping for any item in a Skechers retailer store the opportunity to give back and support the cause.
  • Skechers Retail stores are offering a gift with purchase for customers who purchase a pair of limited-edition Awareness shoes. The gift with purchase will be either a breast canvas awareness canvas tote back or a pink water bottle.

Please visit Skechers site and check out their cute, quality shoes to help end breast cancer.  If you visit, please write "visited" in the comments so we can acknowledge your support.

                             

*Thank you Skechers for sponsoring this post.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Clear Skin & Non-Oily Hair

During high school, my skin (especially on my cheeks) would break out pretty bad.   I heaped on the makeup to try to hide it, which I'm sure only exacerbated the situation.  My skin was never "perfect", but later, when I got on the birth control pill, my skin cleared right up.  I also noticed that it kept my hair from getting oily.  I got off the pill awhile ago and ever since, I've noticed my hair getting greasy and my skin not looking as clear.  My forehead and the area around my jawline was full of little bumps under the skin. After about two months, I ended up going to my dermatologist and he prescribed Acanya, which is a combination of Benzoyl Peroxide (2.5%) and Cindamycin Phosphate (1%), and also told me to use Witch Hazel as a toner after washing with Cetaphil cleanser (which I've been using since high school).

So far, so good.  My skin is looking much clearer.  I wish I had visited my dermatologist when I was pregnant with my son- my back/shoulders broke out terribly in big, ugly blistery pimples.  We don't have to suffer!  Benzoyl Peroxide is available over the counter without a prescription, but I would recommend finding a good dermatologist in your area.  It's amazing how bad skin can affect your self-esteem.  Even though my break-outs weren't terrible recently, I was still self-conscious about it.


For my hair, my dermatologist gave me samples of this DHS Clear Shampoo, but he was out of the conditioner.  The shampoo has no scent, but lathers well and seems to be working.  I couldn't find this brand at my drug store, so I just ordered the shampoo and conditioner on Amazon (it's available on Prime).  I was also advised to let my hair get oily so that my hormones can balance out my oil production.  Oh man, is this hard to do?!  But, I found a cornstarch/baby powder combination at my grocery store that I love to use between washings if my hair is oily.  It's better than straight-up baby powder because it's not as strong-smelling.  It actually feels really cool and nice on your scalp when you put it in and just a little goes a long way!


But, before I headed to the doctor, I started researching online what I could do at home to help the acne situation.  I came across the Alkaline diet, which is supposed to help balance your hormones my keeping your body's blood pH level slightly alkaline at 7.35-7.45.  Below 7 is said to be acidic and above 7 is alkaline.  I'm new to this info, but here are two charts that explain which foods are on the acid-forming side, and which are more alkaline.

ALKALINE DIET




NO SUGAR.  That's what I'm working on eliminating.  

HEALTHY FATS- I'm adding back in healthy fats like a few crushed almonds and slices of avocado on my salad, cooking my protein pancake in a teaspoon of coconut oil instead of cooking spray.  

FRUITS/VEGETABLES- eat to your heart's content.  I realize I hardly eat any food- instead always serving them to my son.  I need to partake in this goodness! 

WATER- Spring, river, or tap water is completely neutral.  I'm doing good on my water intake.  Keeping my insulated water bottle nearby helps. 

The biggest no-no's on the Alkaline diet are coffee, alcohol, processed foods, sugar, salt, and red meat.  Coffee is the hardest for me to give up, I drink two cups most days.  


How do you keep your skin clear?  Have you noticed whether your diet affects your skin?  













Sunday, October 5, 2014

Cardio Kickboxing

I'm so excited to tell you about the new group exercise class I tried last Monday, "cardio kickboxing".  My husband said he was going to do it with me, but when we got there, it was only women lined up, so he politely declined. (don't blame him!) I'm so glad I tried this class- it was my absolute favorite of all the group classes I tried!  


It was a new experience for sure, I've never worn boxing gloves before or punched a heavy bag.  The bags were all stored in one corner of the class and you had to move it to the room to use.  They are so heavy, you have to squat down with your back against the bag to even move it into position for class- that's a workout in itself.  Most people were two to a bag, but I had my own. 

The class was an hour long, but went by fast.  The instructor played awesome music and was great at explaining what combinations to do.  I watched the two women in front of me (they seemed experienced and knew what to do) so I just followed them.  I have to say it feels GREAT to let go and take all your stress, aggression, and anger out on that bag.  I put a beating on it for sure.  Even though I was wearing gloves, my knuckles were all red at the end.  I was thinking I'll buy my own gloves for the next class and maybe tape my knuckles. 


But, the problem is, I hurt my right shoulder in the process.  I woke up on Tuesday morning and it was kind of sore.  By Wednesday, it hurt to move it.  I still have a range of motion, but I can tell I strained it because it hurts to lift it shoulder height.  Passing anything to my son in the backseat of the car is a killer.  I'm so bummed because I want to go back to kickboxing, but I know I need to lay off it for awhile so it can heal.  

I didn't do any other exercise for the rest of the week, but I think I can run or do the stair master this week.  Or maybe one of the other classes and just not use the weights.  That would be more fun!

Have you tried kickboxing?  What did you think?  Any injuries or pointers to avoid injury?  I'm going to talk to the instructor about my shoulder and see what he says.  

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