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Easy Homemade Granola

Hey lovelies!

Happy Monday! ¬†I hope this post finds you doing fantastically ūüôā ¬†I’m trying to be more consistent with my posts, which also happens to mean that they’re not all super lengthy and deep/meaningful. ¬†Most are short and sweet, including recent recipes I’ve made, and just some random thoughts. ¬†My plan is to have a more meaningful post for next week.

Things have been routine around here… work, babies, eat, clean, laundry, babies, repeat repeat repeat. ¬†The hubs was off one day this weekend, so he got some yard-work done while I got some food prep done. ¬†Then, in the afternoon, I got to escape for a hot minute… I went to Target alone! ¬†Thrilling, for reals. ¬†I also went to this unique little coffeehouse/ cafe nearby. ¬†It’s super cute and the people there were nice, but I sort of felt like an awkward old lady in a room full of college hipsters. ¬†Nonetheless, it was nice to get that 15 minute coffee break.

So this week, I’m sharing a granola recipe. ¬†It’s easy to make because you just throw everything in a bowl, mix it up, and bake for a quick 15 minutes. ¬†Feel free to add in whatever you like, such as dried fruit, freeze-dried fruit, coconut, or chocolate chips. ¬†I usually add raisins to mine while the hubs hates dried fruit. ¬†We generally add it to whole milk yogurt and berries for a quick breakfast or snack. ¬†Enjoy!

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Ingredients

1 cup rolled oats

1/1 cup ground flax

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (or less, if you prefer)

1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (if you don’t have this, just omit)

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons melted coconut oil (yes, it’s okay to use coconut oil!)

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup prickly pear syrup (if you don’t have this, just substitute more maple syrup)

1/2 cup chopped nuts of your choice (I used cashews and pistachios)

Mix everything together except the nuts, and spread evenly on a baking sheet. ¬†Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, stirring halfway through. ¬†Once it’s out of the oven, stir in the nuts. ¬†If you’d like the nuts slightly toasted, stir them in after 10 minutes and finish baking for another 5 minutes.

Happy eating ūüôā

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We got this during our recent trip to Arizona. It’s great in recipes, in oatmeal, or just poured over pancakes!

Brownie Batter Overnight Oats

It’s no secret that I love bananas, nuts, and chocolate. ¬†I generally have a cupboard stocked with chocolate bars and a pantry with at least 2 bags of chocolate chips (I currently have Godiva and semi-sweet.) ¬†It’s also no secret that I enjoy oats for breakfast 90% of the time. ¬†Lately, I’ve been on an overnight oats kick. ¬†I’ve also been devouring Elli Quark’s new whole milk yogurts. ¬†So I thought what better breakfast than combining all my favorites? ¬†And with a severe lack of time, preparing breakfast the night before makes life so much easier. ¬†I’m I right, moms?

This recipe is the perfect combo of chocolatey, sweet, creamy yumminess.

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Ingredients

1/2 cup rolled oats (not the quick cooking variety)

1/2 cup chocolae milk (I prefer chocolate almond milk or Fairlife milk)

1 individual Brownie Batter Elli Quark

1/2 banana

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

3 Tablespoons chocolate chips

1.)  Combine the oats and milk in a container.  Leave in the fridge overnight.

2.) Layer the rest of your ingredients on top of the oats:  1/2 the yogurt, a few banana slices, some of the nuts and 1 tablespoon chocolate chips.  Repeat the layers once more.

3.) Melt the third tablespoon of chocolate chips in the microwave and drizzle over the top.

4.) Devour and enjoy!

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See you soon! ¬†Until then, happy eating ūüôā

Arizona Recap (Phoenix and Tucson)

The hubs and I recently took a few days to get away together.  He won manager of the year for his hotel, so it was a trip on his company to honor him and the other winners from across the country.  Both of our mothers flew in to take care of the boys so we could be at ease and not worried 24/7.  Okay, we were still worried, but we also knew they were in good hands.

We spent the first night in Phoenix. ¬†We went swimming, went out to dinner, got cocktails, and went to bed early! ¬†In the morning, I got up pretty early (why would a mom of two sleep in?), so I listened to a few webinars and read for a bit on the balcony. ¬†Then we ordered room service. ¬†For the first time in YEARS, I ate breakfast while watching the Today Show. ¬†It’s the simple pleasures in life.

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After breakfast, we headed to the gym.  I spent a little time on the elliptical while watching TV (again, such luxury!), and then did some yoga.  And I swear, yoga in the mountains in just more relaxing.

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Then we headed out to Tuscon, which was about a 2 1/2 hour drive. ¬†When we got in, we relaxed for a short bit before heading out to the BBQ dinner. ¬†It was fun getting to know all the other winners and their guests. ¬†We went to bed early again (we are getting old now…)

In the morning, Michael headed out for a desert Jeep tour while I opted to just chill for the day.  I ate breakfast in the cafe and RELAXED.

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I walked some trails around the resort and enjoyed the beautiful views.

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That evening was the banquet. ¬†We had an amazing dinner, drinks, and dessert. ¬†Due to the dark lightening, I couldn’t get a great photo of dinner, but it was pan seared white fish, cheesy lobster risotto, and sauteed spinach with orange segments. ¬†And dessert was waiting for us back at our room – churros with chocolate sauce. ¬†Could someone make this for me every night, please?

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The next day was pretty fun – we headed up Mount Lemmon, but first breakfast. ¬†The views at Mt Lemmon were gorgeous! ¬†At the bottom of the mountain, it was over 100 degrees while at the top, it was a beautiful 73 degrees. ¬†It takes about an hour to drive up, but it’s so worth it. ¬†There’s actually towns up there and it’s adorable. ¬†We were hungry, so we stopped at this super cute place and had a gigantic cookie. ¬†And I have to say, if I was going to live in the desert, living in the cooler oasis of Mount Lemmon would be much more appealing.

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In the evening, I ended up with a lighter dinner of salad while also celebrating National Donut Day ūüôā

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And just like that, our mini vacay was over! ¬†The next morning, we drove back to Phoenix and spent the rest of the day traveling back to the sunshine state. ¬†I was happy to be home, though. ¬†I missed my boys more than I could have ever imagined! ‚̧

Apple Pie Overnight Oats

I used to hate overnight oats. ¬†I think it was because I was in that diet-y mentality, so I wasn’t adding enough delicious ingredients… I was left with too small of a breakfast that tasted like cold paste. ¬†Now that I have the freedom to add anything and everything I want, I find that overnight oats are a quick and easy breakfast that’s filling and yummy. ¬†Enjoy this recipe for apple pie overnight oats!

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Ingredients:

1/2 cup rolled oats (using instant oats just doesn’t work here)

1/2 cup Elli Quark whole milk apple pie yogurt

1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or any milk of your choice)

2 teaspoons ground flax (or you can use chia seeds)

Light sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice or just regular cinnamon (If I had to measure, I’d say about ¬†1/8 teaspoon)

1 teaspoon brown sugar (or more if you like it sweeter)

1/2 apple, chopped

Mix all ingredients together and put it in the fridge overnight. ¬†Take it out when your coffee is brewed and you’re ready to dig in ūüôā ¬†Or pack it for a super easy breakfast-on-the-go. ¬†I top mine with Trader Joe’s almond butter. ¬†Because everything is better with nut butter. ¬†Literally my motto ūüėõ

See you soon!

10 Tips for Self-Care

Michael and I were able to take a mini vacay last week to Arizona. ¬†He won manager of the year for his hotel last year, so it was a work vacay in honor of all the winners across the country, and it was wonderful! ¬†I’ll write a post soon to share that trip.

But what I really want to talk about today is self-compassion and self-care. ¬†Many people talk about how important self-care is, but when it comes to real life, it’s pretty hard to make any time for relaxation. ¬†Between working full time, raising two tiny human beings, being a wife, caring for two cats, owning a home and two cars, prepping foods for various dietary needs…. there’s just not much time for self-care, so I understand! ¬†Nevertheless, if we don’t take care of ourselves, we just can’t care for others or be very productive.

When people talk about “self-care,” I think most of us automatically envision massages, pedicures, weekend beach getaways, drinking wine by the pool with our best friends… but reality soon sets in and we realize that there’s just no time for that stuff (on most days.) ¬†So how do we incorporate some amount of self-care into our daily lives while still living in the reality of our own high stress, uber busy worlds? ¬†Below¬†are 10 tips for working in some self-care and self-compassion into a busy life when anxiety is through the roof and time is lacking.

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1.) Minimize the “musts.”

What are your true priorities, and can you realistically fit them all into your life right now? ¬†It’s important to prioritize and balance our lives. ¬†Try making a list of all the things you think are must-haves in your life. ¬†Number them in order of importance. ¬†For me, these things are family (kids, cats), my husband (I need alone time with him, too, not just family time), work, blogging/continued learning, our home, life’s daily tasks (cooking, cleaning, laundry). ¬†When I put these in order, I realize that it’s okay to leave the laundry for the night and spend time with my husband.

2.) What makes you happy, fulfilled, excited, relaxed?

Incorporate these things into your life on a daily, weekly basis!  My list consists of a number of things, all of which bring me some amount of peace, calmness, and joy: learning, cooking + creating new recipes, blogging, journaling, gardening, yoga, dance, being outside and in nature, socializing with friends, TV shows that bring me comfort (HGTV, Fixer Upper, and Food Network), and less clutter in my home/work spaces.  These are random parts of life that bring me excitement, relaxation, and joy.

3.) What Gives you relief from anxiety and obsessive thoughts?

For me, it’s cooking, coloring, organization/less clutter, socializing with friends, and music. ¬†Cooking is very therapeutic for me, as is coloring. ¬†Organization helps to keep my living space and my head a bit clearer. ¬†Socialization helps keep me out of my head. ¬†And music keeps me in touch with my true emotions and reminds me that emotions are so important.

4.) Meditation!

I know what you’re thinking, but really, as hard as it is to actually commit to, it can bring such peace and calmness into your life.

5.) Do silly things.

Find something mindless and silly to do on a regular basis – maybe it’s dancing to fun songs, giggling over cat videos on YouTube, or watching your favorite comedy movie. ¬†Whatever it is, do it often and laugh hard.

6.) Eat regularly and eat all food groups.

Nutrition is super important for our physical, mental, social, and emotional well-being. ¬†Eat regular meals and snacks. ¬†Don’t follow the latest fad diets or cut out food groups. ¬†Listen to your body and your own cravings, and honor those! ¬†If you listen to your body, it will tell you what it needs.

7.) Move your body in a truly joyful way.

Joyful movement is great phrase.  It means moving your body to keep it fluid, flexible, and strong.  If you enjoy dancing, do that.  If you love bike rides out in nature, do that.  If you look forward to zoning out on the treadmill with your favorite movie playing, do that.  Whatever it is that brings your body and mind joy, do that!

8.) Remove negative people.

It’s hard to do, but it can be a great way to care for yourself. ¬†Cut out harmful, negative relationships that drag you down and disconnect you from who you really are. ¬†If you constantly feel a cringe when you’re around certain people, do your best to disengage with them, even if you can’t cut them out completely (as in perhaps they’re a co-worker or a neighbor.)

9.) Routine + Spontaneity

Create routine so you know you have the time do all the necessary things, but also leave room for spontaneity. ¬†And if you already did #1, you’ll know when you can make time for random fun and adventure.

10.) Medication.

If you’re at the point at which just thinking straight has become impossible, you’re feeling depressed every day, or your anxiety is out of control, it may be beneficial for you to be on a medication for at least the time being. ¬†Talk to your doctor and/or mental health provider to see if this an option for you.

Kristen Bell is one of my favorite celebs – I’d say people, but lets face it, I don’t personally know her, so that’d be weird. ¬†But this video of her, her honesty, brings me to tears. ¬†Probably because I relate, and having someone so… beautiful, cool, and popular describe what I’ve been through, is just… helpful. ¬†So if this is you, too, chat with your doc because you might be struggling with a true mental illness. ¬†(On a side note, when I can, I’ll probably write a much bigger, more depth post about depression and anxiety.)

Life is about so much more than just work, work, work, clean, clean, clean, stress, stress, stress. ¬†If it feels like that is all you’re doing lately, take a step back and read above ūüôā ¬†See you soon!

Body Image as a Parent

Seventeen months ago, I gave birth to my two amazing children (twins), and just over two years ago, I found out I that I was pregnant. ¬†Up until that point, I had been working on my body image for years, making small steps forward (and often large steps backward). ¬†It was a difficult battle, as you probably know and relate to the struggle. ¬†Then, once I became pregnant, something incredible happened… I realized that I had no control over my own body. ¬†At 34 weeks, I went into labor and my boys were born. ¬†Immediately after having them, I actually lost quite a lot of weight and felt relatively “normal” within a matter of weeks. ¬†I pumped milk the for the first month, so I while I was eating and nourishing my body very well, I was also burning a number of calories. ¬†Then I stopped pumping (I had no milk supply whatsoever.) ¬†Slowly, but surely, my weight crept back up again. ¬†My boys are now 17 months old, and my weight has remained relatively stable within a certain range. ¬†But also, my body has changed… A LOT. ¬†Since having my kids, my body composition if different…everything is just different. ¬†And I’m not special; this is what happens to most women following pregnancy and birth. ¬†What you realize during this time, is that your body image issues aren’t just a nuisance of negative thoughts… it will one day soon begin to impact your children’s lives. ¬†You’ll spend less time focused on them when your preoccupied weighing yourself, critiquing your flab and sag, body checking, comparing yourself to others in real life and on social media, and counting calories or overthinking and feeling guilty over your meals/snacks. ¬†Personally, I know that I don’t want to be the mom who refuses to play on the beach with her kids because she’s too scared to wear a bathing suit in public. ¬†I don’t want to sweat my a$$ off in this ridiculous Florida heat because I’m too embarrassed to wear shorts and a tank top when I take my kids to the park.

Emily Fonnesbeck says it perfectly and truthfully in this awesome post: “When negative body image feels overwhelming and suffocating, it‚Äôs probably because you believe appearance to be most important.”

While you may be disagreeing with her, vehemently insisting that you do not believe appearance to be most important, chances are, you’re lying to yourself. ¬†It’s hard to admit it, but it’s okay, I’ve been there, too.

But what can you do when you have kids now and you feel like your negative body image is impacting them?  How can you stop this wild fire of negativity from spreading to them? (Whether they are girls or boys.)

  1. Read the above mentioned post by the wonderful Emily Fonnesback, RD, CD, CLT regarding putting body image into perspective.
  2. Fake it til you make it. ¬†Act like you love yourself even when you don’t. ¬†This is MUCH easier said than done, but really give it your best shot (especially when you’re in front of your children). ¬†Go out of your way to say something positive about yourself around your kids (physical things and otherwise). ¬†For example, when you get a new dress, say something like “how cute do I look in this!?” ¬†And when you make a delicious dinner one night, comment on what a great cook you are and how proud you are with your self-taught skills.
  3. Just wear it! ¬†Wear whatever fits the day and occasion without fear of what your body might look like or what someone else may think. ¬†So what if your thighs have cellulite or jiggle; so what if your arms aren’t toned; so what if your tummy is soft, feminine, and has rolls.
  4. Focus on the most important things in your life… your children, your spouse, your career and pursuits, faith, friendships, experiences and new adventures. ¬†Whatever brings you joy, keep focusing on that. ¬†On your last day of life, you’ll look back and remember all the amazing moments, not what your belly looked like in a bikini on the beach that one time.
  5. Disconnect from all the negative social media that’s out there and replace it with body positive, fat positive people. ¬†There’s an INCREDIBLE community of supportive body positive people out there. ¬†You can find a bazillion blogs, sites, articles, podcasts, Facebook pages, and people on Instagram and Twitter.

You can do this – you can improve your body image. ¬†Expect that it will first be extremely hard work, combating negative thoughts and actually having to remember that you’re working towards having positive body image. ¬†Then, you will feel more neutral about your body. ¬†You won’t hate it as much, but you certainly won’t love it. ¬†And hopefully eventually, you’ll learn to appreciate, respect, and embrace your body with positivity and warmth. ¬†But know that it’s a process that takes time and work. ¬†Keep reading my posts for more positive thoughts and join in on the body positive community ūüôā

 

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The Honest Body Project

Diabetes and Intuitive Eating

As you know by now, I’m all about intuitive eating (IE) and the non-diet approach. ¬†I read and hear a lot about people with diabetes fearing and believing that because of their medical condition, they can’t and will never have the opportunity to eat intuitively. ¬†I completely disagree with this. ¬†What is intuitive eating all about? ¬†It’s about connecting your body with your mind. ¬†It’s about learning to recognize and listen to your hunger and fullness (satiety) signals. ¬†It’s about mindful eating and coping with your emotions without using food. ¬†It’s about respecting your body and learning to exercise in ways that feel good, as well as respecting your body by honoring it with the nutrition that supports it and helps it to thrive. ¬†Doesn’t all of this sound perfect for someone with diabetes?! ¬†See, you CAN eat intuitively with diabetes.

I personally think that IE should be part of all diabetic education, especially those with type-1 diabetes. ¬†Eating disorders are almost twice as likely to occur in diabetic patients, especially those with type-1 diabetes. ¬†It’s been shown that 30-40% of teens/young adults with diabetes skip insulin after their meals as a means to lose weight. ¬†This is not healthy or safe. ¬†In fact, poor blood sugar control can lead to major, extremely dangerous complications. ¬†When we teach diabetics to focus on numbers, counting, and portion control without factoring in their mental and emotional health, it puts them at a greater risk for developing obsessive behaviors around food, weight, and their bodies. ¬†This is where IE can be extremely helpful.

Contrary to what some people may think, IE is not about eating cake for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. ¬†It’s about learning to eat by simply tuning in to your own body and mind. ¬†It’s about never following another diet in your life. ¬†It’s about not needing to google if you should be eating carbohydrates or oils. ¬†It’s about shutting out all the gibberish regarding any kind of diet or eating routine/regimen. ¬†You’ll learn what foods feel best in your body. ¬†You’ll learn how eating too much of any food (including sugar) will make you and your body feel. ¬†You’ll learn that you don’t have to (and you probably won’t want to) clean your plate just because it’s in front of you. ¬†You may even learn that the cupcakes you’ve secretly been bingeing on don’t even taste good and in fact, you dislike them all together.

Now, will all of that come to you overnight? ¬†Absolutely not. ¬†It’s a long process, as is anything. ¬†But the longer you do it, the more experience and knowledge you’ll gain. ¬†The bottom-line is that you want and deserve to feel good in your body. ¬†Following a set diet and being hyperfocused on numbers is not likely to lead you down a path of peaceful eating. ¬†And eating should be peaceful – not chaotic or tied up in morals. ¬†If you eat a piece of cake and also happen to be a diabetic, you are not a bad person. ¬†Nor does it mean that you have sabotaged your health. ¬†We need to teach diabetics differently. ¬†If you’re reading this and you are diabetic, don’t think you’re any different than anyone else, because you’re not. ¬†And you deserve to live a happy, mindful, peaceful life ūüôā

Happy Eating, Whole Living ‚̧ Kate

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A recent tofu sandwich with plum sauce made by a co-worker. ¬†Such a nice treat for something different ūüôā