cooking

Eating Lean & Green Cookbook

Hi there lovely people, Okay, so I'm continuing my theme this week of celebrating the women around me and all the amazing things they are accomplishing!

Today, I wanted you to meet my dear friend, Katie Marreel! You know the friend that is just good at whatever she does...yeah that's Katie! Creative, brilliant, kind, caring - you know that good to the core kinda person - well, Katie pretty much rocks and I feel super lucky to have had her in my life as a close friend and one of my best brain storming buddies!! Nothing better than another entrepreneurial girl to keep you going! So check this out...

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She has just launched her first cookbook and I couldn't be more proud! Woo!!!

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I have witnessed her toil lovingly over this project for a looong time but the finished product is beyond gorgeous!! Go to her website to check out this beautifully written and photographed (by Katie herself) cookbook. Chock full of delicious, healthy recipes!

So you can get to know her a little better, I decided a little impromptu interview was in order! Just like her book, she's bursting with great information and healthy tips for busy families and health minded individuals alike!

Okay here goes....So Katie.....

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What is your personal relationship like with food and fitness? (hint hint…tell us about your story. ;)

My story begins nearly 60 lbs. and 15 years ago with a quest to transform my body into something healthier. The first several years brought many new diets and exercise programs, some of which failed, and others that made their own small contribution to weight loss. Nothing, however, came close to achieving the ultimate goal.  Then I discovered the Medifast 5 & 1 Meal Plan© through Take Shape for Life©. With guidance from my physician, I followed the program and experienced radical results. I lost weight beyond my expectations and built an entirely new relationship with food. Six years later, I’m still maintaining a goal weight. Eating Lean & Green has become a way of life.

My relationship with food and fitness is always changing and growing. There are so many ideas from experts in the field, I find that I am always studying and learning as much as I can. 

When it comes to food, I have learned to think about it as fuel to power my body, and I find deep satisfaction in eating things that are nutritious.  Old emotional eating habits, using food as a reward and a comfort, continue to fade away as new healthier habits take over.  There is no reward sweeter than the satisfaction of having made the right choices!

Fitness is something I have always been passionate about, and I am dedicated to keeping it a regular part of life. I like to change it up and try new things. From yoga and strength training to running and tennis, I’m always keeping my body moving.  Although it can be exhausting in the moment, I know that it does so many healing and restorative things for our bodies. It’s worth every drop of sweat.

What was your inspiration in creating this cookbook?

As a person who has struggled with weight for most of my life, my inspiration comes from a deeply-rooted desire to help others on the same journey.  I am passionate about sharing healthy and nutritious meals that are also incredibly satisfying and delicious.  Losing weight doesn’t have to taste bad!

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What are your top three tips for incorporating healthy eating into your everyday family life?

#1:  Plan, plan, plan. It may not be the most fun task, but getting familiar with the nutritional value of your food and making a daily plan is the best thing you can to reach your goals.  I write down all the foods I plan to eat each day before I go to bed. If I’m going out to a restaurant, I will check out the menu online ahead of time and know ahead of time what I am going to order.

#2:  Don’t force it. Learning to be selective with your own foods while offering a few options for others will go a long way to getting them excited about being healthful. Forcing food choices on others will only drive them away from healthy eating.  Not everyone in my house eats on such a restrictive plan as I do, especially the kids who need more carbohydrates. The core of every dinner I cook is a healthy lean and green meal, but I will often serve a starch like beans or grains on the side to make it more satisfying for them. 

#3:  Make a daily habit. Whether you choose to read a book or magazine, listen to a podcast , or go online, spending an hour of time each day thinking about health and nutrition will make a big difference in your ability to incorporate healthy eating into your everyday life.  It will keep you focused and give you a better knowledge base to make wise decisions.

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What changes have you seen within your life and your families by implementing these healthy practices?

One noteworthy change has been in my own sense of identity and being comfortable with my body. Losing weight and maintaining it has brought a great deal of self-confidence and has opened the door to trying lots of new and exciting things in life that I might have been intimidated by otherwise.

The most exciting thing to see is the effect on people around me.  By living out a healthy lifestyle, I get to be an example for others who have a similar goal, but may have lost hope or gotten frustrated in the process.  My conversation often falls into the topics of health and nutrition because it’s something I get really excited about. I love getting to share new ideas about food that show people being healthful can also taste incredibly delicious. It’s a win win!

She's inspiring right? Katie is so passionate about helping others live a healthier life!

Now don't be shy...you can visit her at her website or Facebook too! Go say hi! ;)

Thanks for chatting with us Katie! You go girl!

xo,

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Tea for Two

Last week, I picked Grace up from school at noon so we could go have lunch together. She begged me to take her back to the "magical tea house"...also known as the Lady Di's Tea Room. How could I say no to that? Of course, my camera joined us...

Oh so serious...not for long...

the most lovely sweet potato soup and cheddar and tomato sandwiches...yum! Cheese on toast for Grace...

Sweet primroses blooming outside the window next to our table...

for dessert a plate of the most delicious English shortbread! It went fast...I almost missed a photo op!

Sitting there with her, watching the rain outside and nibbling our sandwiches, I couldn't help but wonder if we were making a memory that would stay with her. I hoped so. My mom used to take me out for lunches like this, just the two of us and I always felt so special. I had her undivided attention and she smiled and listened to all my stories patiently. If I can make Grace feel that same love, that same importance...then perhaps, one day, she will do the same for her child. When I so often feel that I'm not doing enough for her...it felt good to see the happiness in her eyes and hear the excitement in her voice.

A good Mom day.

xo,

Teacup & Tulips

Last week, I had the pleasure of having tea with a lovely mom from Grace's school. This was no ordinary experience. She took Grace and I to a real (as real as it gets in my town) British tea house. We sat in a sweet little tea room. The walls were lined with a tea-cup collection (of course) and pictures of Princess Diana held center court over the tiny fireplace mantel. We were served by a darling older woman, who looked right at home and we ate fresh scones with jam and butter. The main course was cucumber finger sandwiches and cream of asparagus soup. Desert was an array of tiny tarts, slivers of cake and other delicacies. It was perfectly delightful!

Grace sat next to her little friend and they happily munched on cheese toast and sipped orange soda from their dainty tea cups. It was too cute.

If you are wondering where my photos are....well they didn't turn out. I was so excited, I couldn't focus on picture-taking and my little camera couldn't handle the low light. I promise I will go back and take some soon with my big camera!

Since then I've been completely obsessed with finding the perfect tea-cup. I went on the hunt with my friend, Amy and finally I found one. I love her...here she is...

Isn't she pretty? Paired with gorgeous, blush colored tulips she is looking fit for a princess...or just me.

xo,

Happy Thanksgiving

Hello friends, Tonight my brother came over to make pumpkin pie with Grace.

It was so sweet. He patiently measured out each ingredient and then allowed her to add it to the bowl. With her tiny hands, she carefully emptied each cup or spoonful, making sure she didn't spill a drop. I stood back to observe the magic and take pictures...

Grace didn't like the sound of the mixer but managed a smile for me.

The pumpkin pies won't win any prizes for beauty but they tasted delicious and my brother and Grace got to bond.  I'm so thankful to have him living here in Portland! It means so much to me that Grace will grow up knowing her Aunt and Uncle.

I hope tomorrow, your family and friends will experience the delight of preparing delicious food together! Being surrounded by those we love is something I will always be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving!

xo,

A hug in a bowl

I came back from the coast today and after three fun-filled days with my girlfriends I was pleasantly relaxed but also completely wiped. Cooking did not sound good to me. I was just too pooped.

My dear husband jumped at the opportunity to control the kitchen so he whipped up a super comforting pot of butternut squash soup! I felt like a lucky girl. Here's the basic recipe that he followed...here.

He's not one to stick to a recipe so he took it up a notch by grilling the butternut squash, adding 3 cloves of minced fresh garlic, a dollop of sour cream and a splash of 1/2 and 1/2. To really give it an extra ounce of deliciousness he sprinkled in some aged cheddar cheese.

For dunking (cuz he knows I'm a total dunker) he toasted some fresh sourdough bread smeared with garlic butter...

I was in heaven.  It's good to be home.

xo,

Ivy