Sour cucumber snack

One of my favorite snacks is this sour cucumber bowl!!

 

It’s a super cheap, easy and quick snack.

All you need is peeled and sliced cucumber, fresh lemon juice, a bit if sea salt and some cayenne pepper for a kick!  It’s also a great way to clean your palate. 

Put everything in a bowl and enjoy!

Let me know what you think!

Cheers!

~Nancy Rae

Cute thrift finds

What do we do for fun? We thrift! A couple of times a week the hubs and I go thrifting.  Austin, Texas is a great place for that!

Pictured below is a Roxy girls dress $3.99 (Goodwill), red necklace $1.99 (Salvation Army) and red earrings &0.99 (Salvation Army).

 

Come back to check out more of my thrift finds!!

Cheers!

~Nancy Rae

My personal motivation

Lately I have been pushing myself to lift more, add more sets and concentrate on the present.  It has been difficult yet easy at the same time.  The difficulty comes from lack of sleep (I’m a night owl and can’t get my butt to bed early), fatigue, stress and my schedule.  The easiness comes from my determination and dedication as a musician, goals I’ve set for myself and my dedicated husband.  

Yes, I am a musician.  I studied clarinet (classical) for over 13 years.  In high school I was in the marching band.  I practiced before school, during lunch, and even after evening marching practice.  In high school we marched in the very humid and 100+ degree heat.  We learned structure, discipline, responsibility and team work.  Later I practiced my instrument for over 5 hours a day while in college.  The skills I gained as a musician are amazing and irreplaceable.  My training involved learning from mistakes and pushing myself to reach multiple goals at a time.  I was frustrated, angry and sad many times but never gave up.  A musician is strong in breath and in various detailed techniques.  I never realized that I was using that dedication for health and muscle strength until recently.  I have been so motivated and dedicated to working out and making sure I use correct posture.  I also think about my breathing and pushing myself to reach further goals that I never thought I would surpass.  

Goals…. We can write them down, think of them, tell someone about them but they mean nothing till we act on them.  A few years ago, all I could curl was 10 pound hand weights.  I never thought I would be able to lift anymore.  It wasn’t until I got injured while running that I had to look for other ways to feed my workout craving.  I began attending a small local gym and trained with an awesome trainer that pushed me to levels I thought were beyond my reach.  Now I can curl 20 pound hand weights and I’m on my way to 22s.  I can go up to 50 pounds on a cable machine too!  If you saw my petite frame, you would never think I could lift that much.  I’m honestly shocking myself!!  I have new personal goals that I’m getting even closer to but  making sure I put them in action.

My husband.  He drives me nuts but I love the guy!  Something we have always had in common is working out. He is also very dedicated to his own health but in his own way for various reasons.  One reason is his scoliosis.  His spine is curved.  To keep his back muscles active he works out quite a bit.  On average we workout 5-6 times a week.  If I am not at my local gym then I go to a 24 hour gym with him. His strength and determination motivates me.  His need to go to the gym motivated me.  Our future together motivates me.  The children we hope to have in the future motivate me.  My want to be that “fit mom” motivates me.  My husbands scoliosis motivates me.  I’m honestly scared that in the near future his back will become more painful and I will be taking care of him. I’m ready to take that role if the day comes but I’m just scared for him. He loves to workout and he would absolutely hate to stop because of his back.  It’s not a disability as he is very able to live a normal and for life.

There are so many things and people out there that can motivate you.  Find them!  Create goals for yourself.  Even if it’s walking 20 minutes a day or drinking one less can of soda a day.  The difficult part is putting those goals into action.  Don’t expect to teach them over night either.  It will take time.  Go out there and do it!  Don’t let anything stop you! 

Whole Foods & Protein Smoothie

Today we had a long workout at the gym.  I pushed myself a little too far working out back and legs.  Now I’m a hungry beast!!! We decided to go to Whole Foods for some grub.  To save money and get a quick eat, we decided to order a pizza. This is pretty rare for us but you can get a good deal on a pizza at Whole Foods.

The hubs digging into our pizza.

We ordered a large whole grain pizza with roasted red peppers, spinach, pepperoni and riccota.  The total cost was $14.99!  The pizza was going to take about 20 minutes to bake so we decided to try a new smoothie from their smoothie bar.

My new friend Ashley B helped us decide on an awesome post-workout smoothie.  It has coconut water, whey protein, bananas, strawberry, flaxseed, bluebonnet extreme edge post workout, and vanilla Greek yogurt.  Ashley suggested we try the smoothie with the chocolate whey protein and said it was very good.  She was right!! While we waited, Ashley let us try out her “secret” smoothie called the Blue Moon. It was so delicious!!! I’m ordering it the next time I visit Whole Foods! The Blue Moon has blueberries, bananas, 1/2 a cup of coconut water and unsweetened almond milk and a scoop if coconut oil.  She even gave me a tip on how much liquid to put in a smoothie.  Basically, if your want to make a 16oz smoothie, fill it up half way with the liquids, pour that in the blender and add the other ingredients.    Voilà, you have an awesome smoothie!

Ashley B from Whole Foods at the Domain in Austin, Texas!

Thanks so much Ashley B!!!  We hope to see you the next time we visit Whole  Foods!

Cheers!

~Nancy Rae

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Spicy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Spicy Chicken Tortilla Soup

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It’s that time of year! The fall season is coming to an end and it is finally cooling down here in Austin, Texas. I love the cool weather as long as it doesn’t ice or snow. (Typical Texan!) I decided to cook up some soup to go along with the amazing weather we have had recently.   Plus, we need to get back to our regular eating habits. I have not been very good at my healthy lifestyle with such a busy schedule the past two weeks. Time to get back to it! No excuses!!

This recipe is very big because everything is big in Texas! It is perfect for a large family or a very hungry husband like mine. The recipe calls for a rotisserie chicken. The easiest, cheapest and less time-consuming option is to buy a cooked rotisserie chicken at your local grocery store. The best, biggest and cheapest we have found is at Costco. Sprouts Farmers Market has some good options as well. Our other grocery store is HEB. Theirs are quite good but are more expensive than the rotisserie chicken at Costco.

Here is the recipe! Give it a try and let me know what you think!

You can cook the soup in a crock-pot for 2 hours or just cook on the stove on high heat in a large pot. You can limit the Serrano peppers and use half the chipotle peppers if you don’t like as much spice in your life. We all need some spice in our lives!

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Ingredients

1 whole rotisserie chicken shredded

2 cartons or 8 cups of chicken stock (I use Kirkland Organic Chicken Stock)

2 cups of chopped cilantro

1 can of chipotle peppers (3.5 oz)

1 can diced green chilies (4 oz)

1 can black beans

1 chopped large tomato or 1 can of diced tomatoes

¼ c chopped white onion

2 finely chopped medium-sized Serrano peppers

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. ground pepper

2 tbsp. fresh lime juice

2 finely chopped garlic cloves

½ tsp. chili powder

1 tbsp. olive oil

Toppings

Avocado

Mexican blend cheese

crushed Tortilla chips (if that is all you have lying around at home) or tortilla strips

Cilantro

Lime juice

Directions

  • Blend or chop the chipotle peppers if they are not diced. I used a bullet blender.
  • Heat a small skillet on medium heat. Add olive oil, onion, Serrano peppers, garlic, green chilies, and chipotle peppers. Sauté until onion and peppers brown.
  • In the large pot over the stove (or the crock-pot) add the chicken stock, shredded chicken, sautéed onion and pepper mix, tomatoes, lime juice, cilantro, cumin, ground pepper and black beans. Heat on medium-high until the soup begins to boil. Set the temp to low-medium and place a lid on the pot.  Allow the soup to soak in all the flavors for about 10-15 minutes.  If you use a crock-pot, it should be set on high for about 2 hours.
  • Serve in a bowl and top with avocado, Mexican blend cheese, tortilla strips (or crushed tortilla chips), cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.

Cheers!

~Nancy Rae :)

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Super Easy Paleo Pancakes!

Ingredients:

1 cup milk (I use almond but you can use any paleo milk.)

5 eggs

2 tablespoons coconut oil (I buy mine in bulk at Costco.)

2 tablespoons honey

½ teaspoon of vanilla extract

1/4 cup almond flour (I buy mine in bulk at Costco.)

1/2 cup coconut flour (I use a very affordable one from Trader Joe’s.)

1/2 cup tapioca flour or arrowroot (I use Bob’s Red Mill.)

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon flaxseed

  • Quickly put all ingredients in a blender on high until creamy. Do not let the ingredients sit too long or else it will cake up.
  • Use coconut oil or coconut spray on a pan. Pour the batter on a pan and cook evenly on both sides.

Feel free to add nuts or your favorite fruit.

You can make the whole batch and freeze the rest separating the pancakes with parchment paper.

Enjoy!

Cheers,

~Nancy Rae

Wedding and Health Journey

Man I have been gone way too long!! The reason is that I am getting married in about 7 weeks. Eeeek! I know! My fiancé and I are extremely excited!

These past few months have been quite a journey especially health wise. I got a trainer at X-Train, lost weight, gained muscle and started sculpting my body. It was easy at first but it’s been tough recently. I had to give up running due to some hip issues and now I am attending weekly physical therapy sessions.  My latest addiction is hot yoga at Black Swan Yoga. I have tried it before but never stuck to it until I realized it was really improving my physique and hips issues. Not only that but it is really relaxing me with all the recent events (ahem wedding stuff and people who cause unnecessary drama).

Party of my journey has been my eating habits. I started eating a lot more and a lot cleaner. My daily protein intake has increased. The current protein brand I love is Jay Robb. He makes the cleanest and most delicious whey protein out there.  My favorite is the chocolate whey protein.  It is a bit pricey but it doesn’t taste like you are eating grass! My cheat meals also became healthier as I could not stomach the same old junk foods. It feels so good to not want or crave things like donuts, cereal, and cupcakes! My big problem has been over snacking and snacking on little sweets. Not like cup cakes or anything but like a lot of fruit (sugar) and candies like Swedish fish (YUM). This all needs to be put to a stop… I’m almost there!

A few things that are helping are the little motivations. My wedding and wedding dress are two major motivating things that are helping me want to get in better shape. Another motivator is having a family. My fiancé and I really want children and pretty soon. I don’t want to have them until I feel like my body is truly ready. I want to still be able to workout while pregnant even though it won’t be the same. I also want to be able to bounce back quicker and get ready for more kids and life. A few inspirations have come from other food bloggers and fitness moms like Danielle Walker from Against All Grain and Maria Kang. I have a list of bloggers I follow but that would take all day to list!

There are quite a few things going on in my head that are helping me on my healthy journey. There will be a lot more in the future that will tag along some intense challenges. I am ready for it all!!

Right now, I am cooking up a bison casserole for dinner. My fiancé will be a very happy camper when he gets home late from work! Yeah! I am going to be one hell of an awesome wife!!

Stay tuned for some amazing new additions that will be happening this summer! My blog will show a huge difference along with other sites.

Share your health journeys with me by commenting below! Let me know what motivates you to be healthier.

Cheers!

~Nancy Rae :)

Here is a little funny photo and me and my adorable pup Bobby.

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Chocolate, Peanut Butter, chia, and Strawberry Protein Smoothie!

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Mix all ingredients together into a Vitamix or blender for 2 minutes. Enjoy the deliciousness!

1tbsp JustGreatStuff peanut butter (or any other powdered peanut butter)
1/2 tbsp Chia seeds
1 scoop Warrior Blend Protein ( or any other chocolate protein)
1 1/2c milk or water (I use lactose free milk)
4 frozen strawberries (I used fresh strawberries that I froze for smoothies)

Cheers!

~Nancy Rae

Low-Carb Alfredo “Pasta” and our healthier food journey

I LOVE carbs and pasta! Well, I used to…  I literally cooked pasta about 4 times a week, but that was back in college when I was not as health conscious.  These past three years have been very adventurous for my fiancé and I.  One of the changes we made was trying to eat as healthy as possible without driving our taste buds crazy.  We removed a ton of processed foods, started cooking more at home (well I am the cook) and we only eat at local restaurants with healthy choices.  Our cheat days also turned into a cheat meal and a cheat snack.

We were already pretty healthy but our digestive systems have been changing the older we got and the more fit we became.  We have become sensitive to lactose, wheat and artificial sweeteners.  I became bloated 24/7 and was having trouble digesting food even those gluten-free products.  I also got bored with my normal workout routine and started subscribing to online videos from Barre3 and signed up with a personal trainer (who is also a friend) at X-Train in Austin, TX.  I also track most of my food intake on My Fitness Pal.  One of the most important changes we made was looking at nutrition information and ingredient labels in detail.  Most people don’t pay attention to that and assume “low-fat” and “low-carb” labels are enough… My health has drastically changed since I am paying closer attention to my diet.  I lost some pesky pounds that took me about 4 years to get rid of no matter what I did.  My clothing fits better and I even went down a size or two!  This is a big deal for someone who is 4ft 10in!!  My body is changing and I can see muscles I never knew I had.

We now get discussed by things we used to eat as our cheat meals like pizza, burgers, and some of our favorite brunch meals.  90% of our meals are now made at home and I food prep 1-2 times a week.  My fiancé does not really cook unless it’s eggs or oatmeal so he will eat whatever I make.  In no way did I force anything on him.  He did it all by himself by noticing that he feels much better.  His digestive system has improved and he is more sensitive to artificial foods with additives and preservatives.  He has decreased his sugar intake and is now very serious when it comes to eating out.  I love it!!! He is my best friend and my support machine!  Without him, I would probably cave!  I make some pretty great food so it’s not like we eat like rabbits.  In fact, I can barely eat a salad I make.  I am SO picky about veggies and salad dressings.  Most veggies are disgusting to me if eaten raw.  Oh and I am a BIG fan of sauces, only if they are healthy of course.  If I can eat healthy while being picky, anyone can eat healthy and change their lifestyle.

I have some great suggestions for sauces and using alternatives to carbs.  One of my favorite kitchen toys is the GEFU Spirelli Spiral Cutter.  I discovered it thanks to Pinterest!  It was more expensive than I thought but it is amazing!  I have not purchased any type of pasta in months since we changed our diet so this was a great buy!

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Here is one of my first experiments with the spiral cutter…

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This is my version of low-carb Alfredo pasta.  I used a zucchini and a yellow squash as the alternative for pasta.  You can also use peppers and other veggies that fit in the spiral cutter.
There are various ways to cook the spiral “pasta.”  I steamed mine in a pot.  You can also try boiling or baking the veggies.  I was afraid of the pasta becoming too mushy so steaming it was a better decision.  It came out great!  This also only took about 10 minutes to make!!

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IMG_3678I found this very tasty Alfredo mix at Sprouts for under $2.  There are very few ingredients, it is gluten-free, low-carb and low-fat.  All you have to add is milk.  I would not suggest using soy milk, coconut milk or any flavored milk as you will change the texture and the taste.  Butter is an option but not one for me.

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Apologies for the awful photo…

Not only was this delicious but my fiancé asked me to make some more!   This Alfredo Pasta is now on our “pasta” recipes list.

I hope I inspired at least one person out there to make some changes in their lifestyle.  Like my blog, my posts and send me a message.  I would love to hear from you! :)

Cheers!

~Nancy Rae

Banana Bread Pancakes- Gluten free and Guilt Free

Banana Bread Pancakes

Gluten free and Guilt Free

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Ingredients:

  • 1 large ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 egg
  • ½ c almond flour
  • 1 tbsp. Milled flax seed
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • **Optional** ½ tbsp. organic sugar (also try coconut sugar)
  • **Optional** fresh blue berries

$$ Tip: For the almond flour, use a coffee grinder and grind up almonds.

Mix all ingredients except for the blue berries.  Heat a skillet on medium heat and spray with cooking spray.  Spoon ¼ c of the batter onto the skillet then spread it a little so it doesn’t stay as a blob.  Add the fresh blue berries and lightly press them down into the pancake.  Allow the pancake to cook for about 3 minutes then turn it over.

Food prep tip: You can double the batch, make all pancakes and then freeze for later.

Mix makes 4 mini pancakes.

Nutrition info per 1 serving – 1/4 c (4 servings total)

  • Calories – 119.5 g
  • Fat – 7.68 g
  • Carbs – 6.35 g
  • Sugar – 2.38 g
  • Potassium – 45.3 g
  • Protein – 5.23 g