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Pumpkin pancakes

I get a lot of questions regarding what our family eats because of all of our different food sensitivities. I wanted to post some of our favorites on here, 1) for me to look back at while I’m meal planning, and 2) for you to try for yourself if you’re stuck on what to feed your family if you are struggling to feed someone with similar food allergies/sensitivities.

Please feel free to share with someone you may know who has food allergies. For some of us, it is not always easy to find healthy, tasty, easy recipes that we can eat!

*While I do not consider myself a professional in any way, I do take our family’s food sensitivities very seriously. My husband and girls have been tested for food sensitivities and thus we know exactly what foods to cut out. If you are having any problems due to food (there is such a broad spectrum of symptoms!), I highly suggest getting the IgG ELISA test done by a professional. The results are very specific and our family’s symptoms have been completely eliminated due to our diligence. 


My girls absolutely love breakfast. They wake up and the first thing on their mind is food. I searched quite a bit to find something tasty all the while not upsetting their tummies from food sensitivities. I found a tasty “pancake” recipe that my girls could both have. If you have traveled this road with limited food options, you know how much these recipes are worth (which is why I’m sharing it with you today)!

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These are really easy to make, leftovers still taste just as good as fresh when heated up, and they fill up my girls’ stomachs!

Please keep in mind, these pancakes do not flip as easily as a normal pancake. I make them a bit smaller to help reduce mess.

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PUMPKIN PANCAKES  

(yields 15 small pancakes)

1-15oz canned Pumpkin puree (I use Farmer’s Market brand from Vitacost)

6-8 eggs (depends on their size)

dash of cinnamon

(sometimes we add Enjoy Life Chocolate chips instead of putting maple syrup on top)

*Mix all ingredients together really well. Spoon onto a hot skillet or pan. I like to use avocado oil when needed to ensure they do not stick. Pour a little bit of maple syrup on. Serve warm.

If possible, please use USDA certified organic/locally grown food and make sure your ingredients specify that they are gluten free. 

Does not contain: gluten, dairy, nuts

 

*I have linked my Vitacost order above by the pumpkin puree. If you sign up under this link, you will receive $10 off your first $30 purchase! I will also receive money off towards my next purchase. I use Vitacost on a very regular basis. They contain a lot of allergy-free foods and ship directly to your door! I highly suggest this company!

 

 

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How to Stay Fit as a Mom {PART THREE}

If you are like most moms, it can be hard to find the time and energy to work out with kids! I put together a three part series on how I stay fit as a mom. You can check out the first two parts here and here.

I’m back here today with a couple more tips that might help you get or stay fit while having kids around!

1. FIND A GYM WITH CHILDCARE

I understand not everyone wants to work out at home. Sometimes it’s refreshing and can be motivating to get out of your home and workout with others around you. I personally love taking classes at a gym! TRX, Zumba, Body Pump, etc are all really fun to do with friends or fellow moms.

If you have it in your budget and live near a good gym that provides it, sign up for a gym that has childcare available for you! You can usually drop your children off for a set amount of time that allows you to get in a class or two, shower in peace, and pick your children up afterwards. It’s easy, relaxing for you, and everyone goes home happy! {unless you have a child that hates childcare in general. Which I have had. Thankfully she’s older now and deals with separation anxiety better than she did her entire first two years.}

2. TRADE OFF

Sometimes when my husband and I both want to participate in a sporting event, we trade off. Either we each play part of the game while the other watches the kids, or he plays in one whole game and I get to play in the next game.

It’s nice to both get a good workout in, and not need to pay a babysitter to watch the kids. Also, our girls absolutely love watching their parents run in races or play in basketball games! They are the best cheerleaders out there!

 

What are your favorite workout classes to do at the gym? Any new ones I should try?  

 

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How to Stay Fit as a Mom {PART TWO}

Last week, I wrote a post with a few tips that help me stay fit as a mom. You can read more about it here. Today, I’m back with a few more tips that might help you find time to stay fit and get moving, even with small kids in your home!

Just because you have a baby and/or toddler, it doesn’t mean you can’t find time in your day to get a workout in, even if it’s a quick one! Here are three tips that might help you out:

 

1. GET YOUR KIDS INVOLVED

I am a huge proponent of an active lifestyle not only for my husband and me, but also for my kids. I want them to see us going out for a run or getting in a good strength workout at home because it teaches them that it’s a part of our every day life. Even if my husband is around to watch the kids, sometimes I’ll take one or two of them with me in the jogging stroller (we have BOB jogging strollers) to get in a tougher run and also for them to be a part of it.

If I am doing a strength workout inside, I try to get them involved. They love doing squats, push-ups, wall sits, and jumping jacks with me. Also, seeing them attempt these moves is one of the cutest things you’ll ever see. If you make it fun for them, they will want to do it!

If you like your own space for working out though, insert my next tip…

 

2. UTILIZE NAP TIMES

My children are still young enough that they all nap. Their naps don’t always overlap with each others’, but I do sometimes like to utilize that time to get in a good, concentrated workout. It’s nice to not have to push pause on a workout DVD or stop mid-squat to run over and help them fill a water cup or the hundred other requests they always have going on.

 

3. WAKE UP EARLY

Before we had children, I used to do this every day before work. I was an assistant manager at a financial institution and usually helped close the branch so my work day didn’t start sometimes until 9-9:30am. This allowed me to wake up early, get a good run in, shower, and get ready for work.

It worked well for me then. And I know plenty of moms who are able to get up before their kids wake up in the morning. If their kids wake up around 7am (I don’t remember what that feels like, but I’m sure it must be glorious) then they set their alarm for 5:30am.

(I will be honest with you. This isn’t the best option for me and my family right now. Some nights I am getting up 6+ times between my three kids and it just isn’t feasible at this point in our lives. In a few years though, I will most likely go back to waking up early to get in a workout before my husband leaves for work and the rest of our day begins.)

 

Do you have any other tips that help you workout with little ones in tow?

 

 

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Easy Egg Casserole

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My husband’s work schedule changes daily. Some mornings he is out the door before 6am.  With the way our house is set up, we can’t be clanging dishes around in the kitchen at 5:30am while preparing breakfast because our oldest daughter will wake right up.

To save time and dodge a cranky child, I try to cook a large, healthy breakfast for my husband at the beginning of the week that he can quickly heat up on those really early mornings.

Insert this delicious egg casserole!

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This recipe is one of those quick, easy and healthy meals you can make ahead of time and eat throughout the week without it going bad before you finish it.

With our family’s many food sensitivities, I am limited to certain foods that I can use. You can cater it to whatever your family prefers.


 

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EASY EGG CASSEROLE 

1 onion*

2 bell peppers*

1 pound ground pork*

10 eggs*

salt and pepper, to taste

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Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Chop up onion and bell peppers and sauté in a saucepan in an oil of your choice (I use extra virgin olive oil due to our allergies). In another saucepan, cook up the pork. Once the pepper and onion mix is done, spread on the bottom of a greased 9×13 dish. After the meat is cooked, layer on top of the vegetables.

Mix up the eggs well in a bowl and pour over top of the meat and vegetables. Sprinkle salt and pepper on top.

Cook in the oven for 30 minutes.

I keep the rest of the casserole in our fridge and we take out whatever amount we need each morning and reheat in the microwave.

 

*I cook with organic, locally raised/grown foods as much as possible. I highly suggest finding a local farm that you can support! We love our local farm food!

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How to Stay Fit as a Mom {PART ONE}

 

Staying fit while being a mom can be really difficult. We are in a constant state of exhaustion. It can be hard to find time around our busy schedules to prioritize working out. Some days the only exercise we get is chasing after our toddler all day long as they are constantly getting into things they shouldn’t be!

{cue me running to stop my toddler from permanently ruining our house as she loves to do!}

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For the next few weeks, I am going to be posting tips on how I make time to work out with little ones under foot. 

Currently, I have a four-year-old, two-almost-three-year-old, and a four-month-old. Yes, I am in a constant state of sleep deprivation. My children have never learned the concept of sleep.

While I could just write off the next 10 years as lost in the exercise department, I’ve learned to embrace this stage of life that I’m at and thrive as best I can.

How do I do that? 

Here are some steps that help me stay active while mothering young children:

 

1. SCHEDULE YOUR WORK OUTS 

I sit down the day before with my calendar and figure out what time I will be able to run or work out the next day. Running is my stress relief and I know if I am able to get a run in, even if it’s a quick 2-miler, I will be a better mom for it.

I will be happier and healthier, which allows me to be a better wife and mama to my family. It’s a win-win for everyone!

 

2. HAVE SUPPORT 

My husband is my number one supporter. Seriously, I couldn’t do it without him behind me 100%!

Before I sign up for a race {currently, I have two half marathons lined up in the next couple months}, I talk it over with him to see if training for a race and running the actual race will be feasible with his work schedule.

If I don’t convince him to run with me, then he watches the kids during the race. I like to choose races that we can all travel to and are family friendly, so the logistics of taking a family of five is something to take into consideration.

 

3. BE FLEXIBLE!

The past week and a half we have been passing around a bad virus between our family members. I have never had to wash so much bedding and clothes as I have in the past week! This means some of my planned work outs have not gone as I wanted.

Having kids has demanded flexibility for this type-A mama. I love having things scheduled out (see bullet point #1), but I also know that it doesn’t always happen as planned. So, I have back-ups to fall on.

If the weather isn’t cooperating with me, I work out inside instead. I have workout DVD’s ready to go!

If I was planning on my husband watching the kids during a long run but his work schedule changes on me (seriously, happens all the time!) I push my long run back a few hours or do a quick run that day and schedule my long run for the next day.

The key is always having something else to fall back on when life changes!

 


 

What do you do if your schedule doesn’t go as planned? 

 

 

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Rainy Day Workout

Are you looking for an indoor workout today?

If the weather is the same by you as it is here, it’s not the nicest to get a good workout in outdoors.

I love keeping a stock pile of quick indoor workouts that I can do at home for days just like today. I don’t have a lot of time and don’t want to be derailed too much during my half marathon training.  I got this particular one from Skinny Mom. {you can check out her website here}

She posts a great mix of healthy tips, great workouts, and monthly challenges for you to try out.

 

TODAY’S WORKOUT:

50 JUMPING JACKS

15 PUSH UPS

40 SIT UPS

25 SQUATS

10 LUNGES (PER LEG)

60 SECOND WALL SIT

 

REPEAT 3x

 

Do you have any great go-to workouts for rainy days? I’d love to hear what they are!

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How to Keep in Shape While on Vacation

 

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Today, I’m collaborating with Kendra Thornton (@KendraThornton) to offer you tips on staying fit while on vacation. With the summer months just around the corner, we thought it would be helpful to give you some ideas to not lose your fitness level when traveling. While being on the road sometimes poses some difficulty because you are out of your norm, it is possible to keep up with exercising and eating right.

Kendra’s Tips: 

Kids can make it difficult to eat right. That’s what I always though, but really it became easier when I started eating healthier food. My kids followed along for the most part, but it can still be pretty difficult to get them to eat spinach. I’ve found the best way to stay healthy when traveling is by planning out what I’m going to eat and also including a few activities where I know I’ll get all of the exercise that I need to stay in shape. Whether I’m at home or on vacation, I have a few tips that I’ve developed that I think can help out anyone struggling with their diet this summer break.

What to Eat When Traveling

I think one of the worst experiences is to look for dinner with your family and find that everything is too expensive or too commercial. My favorite restaurants are always locally owned and provide ingredients from local farmers. Sometimes these are also organic, which is a bigger bonus because I’d rather not eat food with pesticides. Eating vegetables is always better knowing that it’s incredibly fresh and locally grown.

How to Avoid Buffet Foods

Buffets are probably the biggest temptation on vacation. They offer a great value for families because you can fill your plate up multiple times. However, I’ve learned that this can be bad for anyone’s health, and it certainly didn’t do me any favors. When my family wants to go to the buffet, I only fill my plate up once and try to avoid some of the richer foods. I know that I can treat myself, but I also want to balance it out with a lighter meal the next day.

Always Drink Water

I try to always bring a lot of water with us when we travel. It can be difficult to stop on the highway especially when you’re trying to arrive for a reservation at a hotel. That’s why I always pack water beforehand or pick up a case once we’ve reached out destination. It’s just cheaper this way.

Pick Health-Friendly Hotels 

Hotels have changed their attitudes towards food and working out. A number of hotels are providing healthier menus, organic meals and even have fitness equipment to make it easy to exercise whenever you want on vacation. I always try to pick these hotels first whenever I go anywhere with my family.

My family and I always love going on vacations, however we try not to totally abandon our healthy eating habits when we’re away from home. For our upcoming trip to Orlando, I even booked a hotel with a quality gym in case of rain and for convenience. This can be a difficult process at times as there are so many hotels in Orlando. You can always check out sites like Gogobot as these types of sites make it easier to learn about what hotel is right for you.

Sarah’s Tips: 

Plan vacations around a race

I love planning a vacation around a race. What better way to enjoy a new area than to run around and see the cool sights? Having locals cheer you on as you go is always a fun incentive as well. My family and I have a beach trip planned soon. We knew we wanted to go to a beach and I looked for a race and found out there is a half marathon on the weekend that works for us at a beach 3 hours from our house. I thought what better way to experience the beach and to get a good workout in than to sign up to run the half marathon while we are there?

Take a cooler full of healthy snacks 

Usually convenience store snacks are full of unhealthy ingredients and also cost much more than pre-made snacks from home. Every time my family travels, we take along two small coolers. One with ice in it to keep the necessary foods chilled, and the other for regular snacks. Because we have two young girls, they are constantly asking for something to eat. We always bring along homemade wheat bread (pre-sliced) with peanut butter, fruits and veggies already cut up and other organic snacks that I had previously had on hand. This helps make the trip go by much quicker (less stops), and also we are able to eat lunch in the car instead of stop for fast food which as we all know can be very full of sodium and not so healthy foods.

Use rest stops or layovers for moving 

When you stop to get gas during a long trip, take advantage and get moving! I love to get the girls out while my husband fills up the car at the pump. We usually run a few laps around the buildings on the sidewalks or run on a near by patch of grass. This gets the blood flowing and helps with all that pent up energy. The same works while flying. If you have a layover and time to kill, take that time to walk around. Get a good 20-30 minute walk in. It will help pass the time and burn some calories while you’re at it.

Always take your running shoes along

No matter what trip we have planned, I always take my running shoes along. I don’t necessarily get a run in every day (although, I try to as much as I can!) but it’s always good to walk as much as possible. If you are staying within a city, you can usually walk to most of places which allows you to see the sights better than if you were driving by them. My husband and I have taken some pretty cools trips and logged in 8-10 miles a day sometimes just by walking everywhere. This saves you on taxi cab prices and also you get a good workout in. If you have small kids that won’t be able to talk everywhere, take along an Ergo or a Kelty hiking backpack to carry them in.

Eat off the lighter menu

While eating out on vacation, try to order off of their healthier menu. If these options aren’t marked clearly, ask if they have a separate healthier menu or what options are healthier than others. Try to order grilled instead of fried and salads instead of pasta. These options will be much healthier for you and won’t add those extra vacation pounds. And, always order water!! Any other drink adds calories. If you want a little extra flavor, get a slice of lemon with your water.

Stay at hotels that include breakfast 

This is a must for our family. We usually look for a Hampton Inn. They have great service and also have a rewards system you can use. I highly recommend them. You know you will get a great hot breakfast in the morning, which saves our family quite a bit of money and also you can choose healthier options than if you went out to eat at a restaurant.

Also, try to get a suite if possible that has a kitchenette. This allows you to cook (minimally) and keep snacks and food in a refrigerator (such as yogurt, apples, left over food, lunch meats, etc) that you can grab for a quick lunch. Our rule of thumb is to eat breakfast and lunch at the hotel (or from our cooler while we are out) and eat at a restaurant for dinner. This allows us to save money and eat much healthier.

Also, every Hampton Inn I have been to has a pool and a nice workout room. Take advantage of those on down time.

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We hope these tips help to keep you on track!

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Poofy Organics

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I am so excited to announce something big over here!

I have recently become an independent consultant for Poofy Organics. As many of you know, I am always striving to lead a healthier lifestyle both for myself and for my family. We try to eat healthy and while that is very important, I also have been feeling that what we put on our bodies (ie. deodorants, soap, etc) is also just as important as what we ingest.

If you have not heard of Poofy Organics, please feel free to head on over to their website now and peruse their products. All of the products are USDA Organic certified with the seal to prove it.

If you have any questions about the products or would like to host a party (you can get some pretty cool incentives!) please feel free to contact me. 

 

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Homemade Wheat Bread Recipe

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My parents gave me a bread maker for Christmas and since then I had been on the search for a good, relatively healthy loaf of bread that my family would all enjoy. I asked around the bread maker community and was given some great recipes. I am happy to say I have finally found our family’s “perfect” bread recipe! I consider it perfect because it is made with whole wheat flour, doesn’t have the preservatives that the breads found in stores have, and my girls love to eat it!

I’ve had a few people ask me about a good bread recipe recently and since I’m not one to keep great things to myself, I wanted to share with you the recipe and hopefully you’ll find this to be a go-to bread as well.

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Whole Wheat Bread – 2 lb loaf 

1 5/8 cups water

1/3 cup packed brown sugar (I use pure cane light brown)

2 tsp salt

4 2/3 cup whole wheat flour (I use King Arthur’s Whole Wheat. Sometimes I will substitute 2 of these cups with King Arthur’s 100% wheat unbleached bread flour – my girls like this version just a tad better)

3 tsp active dry yeast

2 tbsp wheat germ (I added this myself. It does cause the bread to not rise quite as much so you will have a more dense loaf but I like the added folic acid, protein, and vitamin E that is provides.)

1. Measure and add water to the bottom of the baking pan.

2. Measure and add dry ingredients (except yeast) to the bread pan.

3. Use your finger and make a small hole (big enough for the 3 tsp of yeast) on the top. Make sure the hole doesn’t go down to the water. Dry yeast should never touch liquids before it is baking in the bread maker. Pour the yeast into that hole.

4. Snap the baking pan into the bread maker and close the lid. I then program the bread machine for a whole wheat loaf (mine is option 3), set it to a 2 lb loaf, and then I put mine on medium crust color.

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I was also asked about storing to keep it fresher for longer since there aren’t any preservatives in the bread. I have found these containers to be the answer!

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They lock on top with a suction-like button which then keeps them air tight and the bread fresher for longer. They are OXO brand and can be found here. Depending on what we eat for the week (how many breakfasts or lunches that we use the bread), one loaf usually lasts us about 5 days. I have never found the bread to be dry on that fifth day. We have not had a loaf survive longer than five days so I honestly can’t tell you just exactly how long these keep the bread fresh.

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No Sweets Challenge

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While I am not Catholic, I always took the 40 days of Lent as a challenge to look beyond myself and at the sacrifice of Jesus’ death on the cross by giving up something of “value” to me. I started doing this in high school and continued throughout college. I usually gave up sweets which means I would not eat candy or dessert (one year I went so far as animal crackers being a “no-no!!”)

But for the past four years during Lent, I have either been pregnant or nursing. Yes, four years. And while I am pregnant or nursing, my sweet tooth is seriously out.of.control. I tried a few times to start giving up sweets but unfortunately, just could not do it. My girls apparently liked the sweets in the womb…

Well, this year I am not pregnant or nursing and so I decided to do it again. And I’m asking any of you who want to, to join in with me! We can keep each other accountable and when you commit to something and tell others about it, you are more likely to stick with it!

So, what you do say? Are you with me?