Monday, November 2, 2015

Meat Free Monday Spaghetti Casserole

Seth loves pasta. Any kind really, but his favorite is lasagna. I love making it for him, but in it's traditional form it's not so healthy as an everyday meal. I've been experimenting with different ways make both of us happy at dinner time and here's what I've been cooking.

In exploring creative ways to consume generous amounts of protein without being too hard on our bodies I've been cooking with vegetarian proteins every now and then. High protein diets are touted for weight loss, but they can be hard on our liver and kidneys over time. Click here to learn more. To add variety to our diet and keep our bodies functioning optimally I believe that using vegetarian sources of protein sporadically can be beneficial. Meaning that I don't think meat is bad, but sometimes I think it's appropriate to less meat and more veggies and legumes (don't get crazy my meat loving friends.)! But if you really want some "vegucation" check out this video. Without further ado...

8 oz Spaghetti or noodle shape of choice
1 Jar Spaghetti Sauce (no corn syrup or weird stuff and homemade is even better!)
1 carton sliced baby bella mushrooms (or about 15 sliced mushrooms)
20 cherry tomatoes
1 sliced white onion
1 head of  chopped broccoli
1 sliced zucchini
1 can garbanzo beans
2 Tbsp Oil ( I used MCT, you'll want one that can sustain high heat)

2+ oz of Mozzarella Cheese and or parmesan
Red Pepper flakes
Crushed Garlic


1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2. Cook spaghetti, drain, place back in pot and pour sauce on top. Mix together and set aside. (while pasta is cooking it's a good time to chop veggies.)

3. Once your veggies are chopped place them on baking sheet and season with sea salt, pepper and toss with oil. Place in oven for 10 minutes at 450 degrees.

 4. While the veggies are cooking spread the spaghetti in bottom of a large glass baking dish as pictured below.

5. Place the drained and rinsed garbanzo beans on top in an even fashion.

6. If using cheese place a light layer of cheese top of the garbanzo beans and spaghetti.

7. When the veggies are done place them on top of the spaghetti, garbanzos and cheese.

8. Add more cheese if desired and place place oven at 450 degrees or until cheese is golden brown and bubbly.

9. Remove from oven and let rest before serving. Enjoy!

Before it goes in the oven for it's final melt.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Quinoa Pasta Salad

Hi All-

Since grad school started I've done very little blogging and posting of recipes, but I tried to take as many pictures as possible and keep creating new tasty things so that I'd have many recipes to share when grad school ends. And guess what?! I graduate in 5 weeks! Right now instead of doing homework (as I should be) I'm writing and sharing this yummy meal. It's a just a little taste of what I hope to spend my free time doing after graduation.

This has been a go-to meal for my hubby and I because I can prep it ahead of time and it keeps for several days (in fact I think it tastes better after a day in the fridge). This recipe has a lot of room to be creative and add vegetables of your choosing, these are just some of my favorites!

Quinoa Pasta Salad


1 box quinoa pasta (8oz) (I use ancient harvest brand) Cooked and drained
2 small cucumbers diced
2 bell peppers diced
3 cups chopped raw broccoli
1/3 cup crumbled Feta Cheese (seasoned, fat free or your choice)
1 cup shredded carrot
1 can garbanzo beans (rinsed and drained)
1 can smoked sockeye salmon in EVOO (remove skin and drain oil)

Dressing: 1 tsp ground sea salt, 1 Tbsp minced tried onion, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/8 cup EVOO

Mix all ingredients together with dressing & enjoy! It keeps in the fridge 4-5 days and is great served on a bed of lettuce and topped with cherry tomatoes like in the picture below!

Lunches packed and full of good nutrition!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Next Month!

Hi All!

Grad school, work, home ownership and wedding planning has taking me away from writing. As they say, "something has to give." BUT... Next month I have 30 days off school starting 5/8. I intend to paint the inside of our house rearrange our furniture, work in the backyard, cook, bake, and blog! And my favorite pastimes, working out outside and spending time with friends!!! Until then, here's some new ideas I'm working on...

1. More Small Group Yoga Classes

2. Meal Prep Meet Ups

3. Women on Weights (an educational series)

4. 30 Minute Outdoor Small Group Cardio Meet Ups!

Do you see something you like or have thoughts about? Other ideas? Let me know!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Now Offering E-programs!

The new year brings new offerings! The first program I'm offering builds cardiovascular endurance and core strength; each day has specified objectives and designated exercises, sets and reps as well a recommended weekend flexibility training practice.

I'd suggest repeating this weekly plan for 2 consecutive weeks or more depending on how quickly your body adapts and where you're starting from (keep thorough notes and measure your progress). This can serve as your weekly routine or compliment your existing exercise practices, but having visible abdominal muscles takes healthy eating & exercising. This program is just one piece of the puzzle so I'll be publishing an accompanying "Meal Plan" and "Next Level" programs soon! Click the "Buy Now" button at the right to get started with this program for a STRONG foundation! 

**After your purchase on PayPal click on return to E.S. Fitness to retrieve downloadable link.**

Hopefully at this point in your exercise journey you've learned the names of several exercises and you're pretty confident in your ability to navigate the gym (if not, YouTube will be very helpful in identifying exercise names). On the other-hand, if you're feeling entirely overwhelmed, contact me directly and let's chat!

In Health,

Friday, December 19, 2014

New Years Resolutions and Exercise as Punishment...

While working on a discussion question for school, a classmate and I started chatting about self awareness and really thinking about what your body needs. It made me think about this study I saw not too long ago which I don't have a citation for at this time. To sum it up, it concluded that if personal trainers can re-frame the way their client views exercise (specifically making it enjoyable) the client would be less likely to consume excess calories post workout. An example could be running around playing Frisbee verses running on the treadmill. If the client burned the same amount of calories in both activities they were less likely to consume extra calories after playing Frisbee verse running on the treadmill. Sounds crazy, right?! But it makes perfect sense to me because I've seen and experienced it. 

Many people exercise because they don’t like the way their body looks. They see exercise as punishment (not a healthy perspective because they're so many great reasons to exercise). Then, they’ll eat badly as a reward for surviving the so called punishment or vice-a versa (think New Years Resolutions, eat bad through the holidays and then beat yourself for it). In some cases this becomes a vicious cycle; eating poorly, and exercising too much to make up for it....repeat, repeat, repeat. In the end, the person becomes over trained, exhausted and frustrated. Be cautious because if you're thinking this sounds like a eating disorder, you're right. 

If you've been in this trap maybe next time take a rest day, sleep in, and relax. What if we could view exercise as a means of rewarding ourselves for taking care and listening to our body? If we can change the way we think about and exercise, we can change the way we view our health and wellness disposition. I like to remind my clients to exercise and eat well because you love your body and take care of it because you only get one.

If you find yourself in this vicious cycle don't be afraid to ask for help, but feel free to try some of these tips too:

1. Drink lots of water and throw some sliced lemon and cucumber in there too for their cleansing properties

2. Focus on green vegetables in your diet (especially at holiday meals). Load up on filling fibrous veggies, like broccoli and brussel sprouts.

3. Limit exercise in duration or intensity or take time completely off if that's what your body needs. Get outside for a walk or play in the park with friends or kids. Just be active without thinking about intentional exercise. 

4. Spend quality time with family and friends (it's amazing how powerful this in almost every situation).

5. Finally.... Don't look in the mirror naked and set short term goals this New Years. Instead, look in the mirror fully clothed and set long term, meaningful goals. Get my drift? Short term vanity based goals don't last, dig deep and think big picture so you don't fall in the "New Years Resolution"  or " Exercise as Punishment" trap.

Happy Holidays! Wishing you a happy and healthy 2015!


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Fiber One Chocolate Peanut Butter Crispy Bars

I made these for Gertrude's 15th Birthday at Fitness Rehab. If you've been to FR then you know Gertrude...she's kinda famous!  This recipe is quick, easy and high in fiber. It's still sweet, just a little less sinful!


Layer 1: (From the bottom up)
1.5 cup Fiber One, 3/4 c Coco cripsies, 1.5 c rice crispies, 1/3 c all natural peanut butter, & 3 c mini marshmallows
Layer 2:
1/2 cup Semi sweet chocolate chips, 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips, 1/4 cup all natural peanut butter
Layer 3: 
1.5 c Fiber One, 3/4 c Coco cripsies, 1.5 c rice crispies, & 3 c mini marshmallows, 2 T butter

I don't typically measure things exactly and this time of year my house is freezing so when I made this I had to move even more quickly because everything was setting up before I could mix it all together! That said, these measurements are not exact, but the nice thing about these kid of treats is that you can always add more cereal if the ratio's don't seem quite right when you mixing the wet and dry ingredients.


1. Prepare large baking dish with butter or coconut oil.
2. In a medium sauce pan, melt marshmallows and peanut butter for layer 1, stirring constantly on medium heat, when well combined mix with dry ingredients for layer 1 and press in to the prepared pan.
3. Wash your pan in warm water while the marshmallow is still easy to get wipe off. Put 1/2 inch water in sauce pan and place it back on the stove on low-medium heat (or if have a double boiler use it). Place a glass bowl inside the sauce pan and melt/stir layer 2 ingredients together.
4. Evenly pour layer 2 ingredients over the top of  layer 1, spread with spatula.
5. Empty out sauce pan and dry thoroughly. Replace sauce pan on stove and melt butter for layer 3 on medium heat, stir in marshmallows until well mixed and melted, combine with remaining cereal and spread on top of layer 2.
6. Use a buttered spatula or hands to press layers together. Let cool, cut and enjoy. This a huge recipe and could probably serve 20ish people.