Citrus Salmon

Grilled Citrus SalmonSalmon is one of my very favorite proteins and is a great alternative when I am sick of chicken. I know that a lot of people shy away from cooking fish. I am here to tell you that it is SO simple! I buy frozen salmon fillets from Costco. They are individually wrapped, skinless, and the perfect portion! If you don’t have a Costco Membership, don’t worry! I’ve found them at most other stores, too. I’ve also tried tilapia, if you want a cheaper option. 

Here is the simplest of recipes. Let me know what you think!

 

Grilled Citrus Salmon
Serves 2
Simple grilled salmon!
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 salmon fillets (frozen)
  2. Avocado or olive oil
  3. 1 large orange, sliced
  4. 1/2 yellow onion, sliced
  5. Lemon juice (fresh), to taste
  6. Lemon pepper, to taste
  7. Salt, to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat grill to medium high. Layer orange slices and onions on foil. Top with salmon. Brush oil on fish and sprinkle with seasoning. Close foil, tightly. Grill until internal temp reaches 145 degrees, about 5 minutes on each side.
  2. Once cooled, squeeze fresh lemon (or orange) on top.
Exercise Through Grief http://exercisethroughgrief.com/

Strawberries & Cream

 

wordswag_1462586774049So, I had a MAJOR sweet tooth 10 minutes ago. I blended up a bunch of frozen strawberries and bananas and added in vanilla Shakeo, which I previously mixed with a small amount of almond milk, Chia seeds, and a bit of honey. It was actually the consistency of froyo! Oh, and my husband ate some, too! 👌

Frozen Strawberries & Cream
Serves 4
A healthy alternative to ice cream!
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 C frozen strawberries
  2. 1 frozen banana
  3. 1/2 C almond milk
  4. 1 scoop vanilla Shakeology
  5. 1 t Chia seeds
  6. 2-3 T honey
Instructions
  1. Mix almond milk, Chia seeds, and Shakeology. Add fruit & honey and blend until smooth. Be sure not to overblend.
Notes
  1. Shakeology is optional. 👌
Exercise Through Grief http://exercisethroughgrief.com/

The Thing About Grief

squarepic_2016417112856334Loss is inevitable. Every one of us will lose someone at some point in our lives. I lost my grandpa, my uncle, and my nanny when I was a little girl. A favorite patient of mine at the old folks home where I volunteered died when I was a teen. My childhood cat, who lived for 18 long years, died in my twenties. I lost my mom before I turned 30 and my dad died the year before I was married. So I guess you could say that I know a thing or two about loss and heartache. But to define grief, to explain how it changes me, to express the way it makes me feel, is nearly impossible. There are tons of quotes on grief. There are books about it. Studies on it. Every one has something to say on the topic. I mean, the 5 steps of grief are common knowledge. But the thing about grief is that it isn’t just one thing.

Grief stuns you. It takes your breath away. It blinds you from everything beautiful and covers up all of the light. It drowns out the sounds of laughter and magic and music. It clouds your brain, messes with your memories, and makes it nearly impossible to focus. It is scary. It is heavy. It is constant.

And yeah, there are 5 stages. But they aren’t linear. It isn’t like you graduate from each stage and move on to the next, eventually mastering the sadness. Some days, I experience denial and anger and depression within the same couple of hours. Sometimes I’m stuck in bargaining for days. I rarely hit acceptance and if I do, it is quickly followed by one of the other four stages. I remember writing this blog post six months ago but I deleted it because when I read it back, it sounded so damn angry. And I should have posted it. Because that’s just real life. I’m angry. A lot. Sometimes I can’t see past it. And of course when I snap out of it, I can’t believe I acted that way. But I did and I will again after some time passes. Maybe weeks, possibly hours later.

I think one of the hardest parts of grief is apathy. Grief does this thing where it takes away every part of you that makes you care about literally anything. Seriously, nothing matters. And you know that you don’t care, but YOU DON’T CARE about that either. I was in a pretty bad place about six months ago and was completely overwhelmed with apathy. I didn’t care about what I did, what I ate, who I spent time with, what others were going through, or what would happen to me. It wasn’t like I was actively trying to not care. I just didn’t. There were days when I would sit on the couch in the morning and hours would pass without me noticing. And I’d just be sitting there. My mind would actually shut off. And the little things, well, they didn’t exist. I didn’t notice how things tasted or sounded or made me feel. Everything was grey and I didn’t care.

I eventually snapped out of this. I don’t really even remember what changed in me. It had happened a few times before and I could pinpoint the moment. But this time, I’m not sure. I can say that it was like waking up from a coma. I looked around to see that life was still going on around me. But in the time that I was checked out, I changed. My body, my mind, my everything. I gained a good amount of weight. I was unhealthy and it showed in my body, my hair, my skin. And my confidence sank. I have always been incredibly self confident. I mean, I’ve always gone up and down with weight and it isn’t that I think I’m perfect. I’ve just been comfortable in my own skin. But for the first time, I wasn’t. I felt weak and ugly and I actually hated looking in the mirror. My emotions were now manifesting in my pride and self-confidence.

So, I looked around me and I took inventory of what I had. Of course I noticed that my sweet husband was still here, in love with me as always. Patient, kind, understanding, loving. He was sad and he needed ME, but he was there. I thought about the friends and family members who checked on me on a regular basis, the people who let me know they were always thinking of me. I thought about the people who counted on me with their health and fitness journeys and I realized that they were still there, waiting for me to help them. And so I just started. Communicating. Opening up. Listening. Loving on others. Helping those who needed it. Working out and eating healthy. Writing. Spending time doing things that mattered. And it was a conscious choice, every single day. I would feel the apathy start to creep up on me and I’d run from it.

The upside to apathy is that you don’t feel much. I think that is probably why it hit me so hard. I actually couldn’t deal with my losses and my mind sort of shut off. So now that the apathy is (mostly) gone, I feel everything again. And it hurts. And I go through the 5 stages, over and over again. But I’m learning that that isn’t ever going to change. Yes, I’ll get stronger over time and I’ll learn to deal with it. But it won’t go away. I find myself worried when I get sad sometimes that THIS moment might be the one that sends me back into that dark place. I keep waiting for the free fall on this roller coaster of life. And I know it is naive to say that it won’t come. I just hope, every day, that I’ll be able to hold on and come right back up!

So that’s it. That’s the thing about grief. It isn’t linear and there isn’t a cure. No amount of time changes what happened. And I can’t always sugarcoat it because it IS sad and it needs to be said. So that when people experience loss, they don’t feel like they are losing their mind because their grief takes them to such dark places. I wan’t people to understand that YES, I AM OKAY. Of course I am! Life is good. But that doesn’t mean that this isn’t a part of me now. And the thing is, people won’t understand. Of course they love you and they are sad for you, but they’ll never really get it. Even if they’ve experienced loss themselves. Because our grief is just that. It is ours. But I think that is where the strength comes from. It has to. Because we HAVE to rise. And we do.

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Mediterranean Salad

My husband and I went on a cruise a couple years ago and enjoyed all of the delicious food. (Seriously, I gained 8 pounds in 8 days. Yikes!)  We’d get back to our cabin pretty late most nights and I’d always want a snack. I’d usually order the Mediterranean Salad because it was fresh and crunchy.

I added a few changes to their rendition and I make it pretty often now. It gives a whole new spin to your typical salad!

Enjoy!

Mediterranean Salad
A delicious twist on your typical salad.
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cucumber, peeled and diced
  2. 1/4 red onion, diced
  3. 1/4 yellow or orange bell pepper, diced
  4. 10 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  5. 6-8 green olives, quartered
  6. 1 T green olive juice OR fresh lime juice
  7. 2 T feta cheese, crumbled
  8. Crushed black pepper, to taste
  9. Himalayan Salt, to taste
Instructions
  1. Prepare all veggies (except tomatoes) and mix them in a bowl with spices. Add tomatoes and feta right before serving. Top with lime juice, if desired.
  2. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. I served this with a boiled chicken breast. It pairs well with any protein or you can eat it by itself! Feel free to add any veggies, but try to use those with a crunch to avoid a mushy salad.
Exercise Through Grief http://exercisethroughgrief.com/

Neapolitan Banana Split Shake

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One of my BIGGEST struggles with maintaining a healthy lifestyle is avoiding the midnight snack. It’s not that I’m necessarily hungry at night, but I always seem to want something before bed. This is the perfect snack for me because it is healthy and delicious!

Here is the recipe for 2!

———–

*1 scoop vanilla powder

*1 scoop chocolate powder

1 1/2 C Water

1/2 C Almond milk

1 banana (frozen)

4-5 frozen strawberries

1/2 C ice

———–

Blend and enjoy!

 

***           Are you looking for a HEALTHY shake? This one is my absolute favorite because it is delicious AND it is packed FULL of superfoods. Send me a message if you’d like more info!

 

Dancing in Heaven

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One of my very favorite things about my dad is that he was a dancer. I’m not talking ballroom here. I’m talking middle of the kitchen after he served himself a GIANT bowl of ice cream, up from the couch after the 9ers scored a touchdown, or over my bed as he pulled open my shades and yelled, “RISE AND SHINE!” at 8am on a Saturday. And he wore hospital pants for his pajamas (because they were incredibly comfortable) so I picture those surgical green scrubs dancing around our house. It’s one of those images that my mind always goes to when I think of my dad. And when I picture him tired and weak and pale from the cancer, I squeeze my eyes shut and force that image to the forefront. And for a moment, I’m taken back to a time when both of my parents were healthy and alive and when the thought of that changing wasn’t ever present. When I think of my dad now, I like to think that he is somewhere, dancing. And now that my mom has left us, I hope that she is up there, too. I don’t really see her dancing. It is more like watching him and laughing and clapping gleefully. That’s my new image.

As a little girl, I was incredibly close to God. Seriously, he was my best friend. He was always with me. I talked to him all day long, just as I would with a tangible friend. As life happened, He was always my one constant. It wasn’t until the last 8 years or so that things changed. My friendship with God. My religious affiliations. My complete understanding in His plan. And I’m sure a lot of that can be attributed to the loss of both my parents. I get that. But it really is so much more. But today, that isn’t the point. Today I simply say thatI miss Him. And that I’m still, and forever, grateful.

Now I’m not looking for others to read this and immediately bear their testimony. I actually hope that doesn’t happen. I’ve started a new post on my relationship with God over the years and I’ll post it when I’m really ready. I wrote it with the hope that it will give some clarity to those who don’t understand my choices. But writing it did so much more for me. It made me start to feel His presence again. I love that. Anyway, more on that another day.

The point of this post is to address today. I woke up with an overwhelming sense of gratitude. Seriously, like a heavy blanket over my soul. I have no doubt that it is because of today and what it means for my family. I know, with complete certainty, that families are eternal. We only get such a small time together here on earth and that is incredibly hard to understand. But one day, because of His ultimate sacrifice, we will be reunited.

The week before my dad died, he went to church with me.

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I should mention that he was completely against my chosen religion and had never attended a service with me. But he went and the opening hymn was “I Know That My Redeemer Lives.” There is a line in the song that says,

He lives and grants me daily breath.

He lives, and I shall conquer death.

My dad broke down in tears because at that point, he was looking for a miracle and he took that line as hope that God would give him another chance and he’d conquer death and live. I knew that it meant that even if he didn’t make it here on earth, he would conquer death by receiving eternal life, BECAUSE of the resurrection. And in that moment, I was overwhelmed with gratitude. Quite like today.

Now, I’m not one to preach but the thing is, THIS knowledge is what holds everything together for me. It is the idea that one day I get to hear my mom’s laugh and see my dad’s smile. And that lights me up and carries me through. So on really hard days, I picture all of us, together. Dancing it out in surgical green hospital pants. Free of pain. Free of heartache. Full of joy. Forever. That is what today means for me.

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I know that my Redeemer lives.

What comfort this sweet sentence gives!

He lives and grants me daily breath.

He lives, and I shall conquer death.

He lives my mansion to prepare.

He lives to bring me safely there.

 

I hope that we can all feel this peace, today and every day.

Salsa Zucchini

Do you need a way to spice up your veggies? This is perfect! My mom used to make it for me when I was stressed because the cheese does something for my soul! 😉

Serve it as a side or as the main course over a pile of brown rice! Just remember, you can’t skimp on the cheese! 

Enjoy!

Salsa Zucchini
A tasty alternative to boring squash
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 or 5 medium zucchini
  2. 1 C salsa (I prefer Costco's organic salsa)
  3. 8 oz swiss cheese, sliced (the more, the merrier)
  4. 1 C mozzarella cheese (again, MORE is better!)
  5. Salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Boil water zucchini until al dente (about 8 minutes). Be sure not to overcook. Let cool. Slice in half, lengthwise and blot dry.
  3. Place zucchini flesh side up on a baking sheet. Salt and pepper, to taste. Add mozzarella cheese. Place in oven for 1 minute, just long enough for cheese to melt. (This helps the salsa stick.) Douse the zucchini with salsa. Top with swiss cheese. Broil until SUPER crispy. Seriously. Don't take it out too soon. 5 minutes? Be sure to keep a careful eye on them!
  4. Let cool and enjoy!
Notes
  1. -Be sure to blot dry. You want to remove as much excess water as possible before baking.
  2. -Use a lot of cheese. I'm serious. If you are looking for a clean zucchini recipe, just eat it boiled. Or roasted. THIS recipe should be stretchy, and crispy, and oh so delicious!
Exercise Through Grief http://exercisethroughgrief.com/

Pork Roast

Roasts are one of my favorite things to make because they are simple AND versatile. Serve this bad boy as your main course but be sure to shred what you don’t eat on night one and use it for another meal. Check out my other posts using this roast, especially my crock pot chili.

 

Pork Roast
Flavorful, juicy, versatile!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 large pork roast, boneless
  2. 1/2 C low sodium chicken stock
  3. 1 T coconut oil
  4. 1 T butter
  5. 1 yellow onion, chopped
  6. 4 or 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  7. 2 T Italian seasoning (or fresh herbs)
  8. 2 T salt (Himalayan is best!)
  9. 1 T black pepper (crushed is best!)
  10. 1 can chopped green chiles
Instructions
  1. Turn on crock pot to low. On the stovetop, heat butter on high.
  2. Season roast all around and be sure to press it in. Be sure to wait to sear roast until it is room temperature.
  3. Add roast to HOT pan and sear on ALL sides (even the ends.) Once the entire roast is dark and crisp, add half of the onions and garlic with the coconut oil. Baste for a couple minutes.
  4. Add roast and veggies to crock pot. Top with remaining veggies, including the chiles. Pour chicken broth over meat.
  5. Cover, and cook on low for about 3 hours. Let cool before slicing.
Notes
  1. If you do not want to use the crock, cover the pan you used to sear it and bake for about 70 minutes (depending on size of roast.) Be sure to add another tablespoon of butter or oil.
  2. If you are using this recipe as step one for another recipe, be sure to shred the meat while it is still hot. Simply beat on high with a handheld mixture right in the crock pot!
  3. If you want REALLY tender meat, add a can of beer to the crock pot and omit the broth. I promise it won't taste like alcohol. 😉
Exercise Through Grief http://exercisethroughgrief.com/

Egg Muffins

These tasty “muffins” are perfect for crazy mornings because you can just pop them in the microwave for 45 seconds (preferably with a turkey meatball! See previous post) and you are good to go! Plus you can pretty much add whatever you want to them.

Here are the cups I use. They are a lifesaver. The muffins pop right out and clean up is a breeze!

Enjoy!

Egg Muffins
Muffin style frittata
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
12 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
12 min
Ingredients
  1. 10 eggs
  2. 1 T coconut oil
  3. 1/4 C unsweetened almond milk
  4. 1/3 C spinach, chopped
  5. 1 red bell pepper, diced
  6. 1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
  7. 1 clove garlic, chopped
  8. 1 T ginger, grated
  9. 1 T italian seasoning (or fresh herbs!)
  10. 1 t salt (Himalayan is best!)
  11. 1/2 t black pepper (crushed is best!)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheet with muffin cups. (See blog for link to the cups I use.)
Eggs
  1. Beat eggs and milk with a dash of salt, pepper, and italian seasoning. Set aside.
Veggies
  1. Season and sauté chopped veggies (except spinach) in coconut oil until al dente. Let cool slightly.
  2. Poor egg mixture into cups. Add about 1 T of sautéed veggies to each cup. Add in a pinch of spinach to each. Gently mix with fork.
  3. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until the top of the cups do not jiggle.
  4. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. Add whatever you'd like! Mushrooms, zucchini, spaghetti squash. It's all good! I make these when I have left over veggies. You can also add cooked sausage, crumbled bacon, or cheese. These reheat very well. Make a dozen and reheat a couple in the morning. If they seem dry, drizzle with a bit of water before reheating.
Exercise Through Grief http://exercisethroughgrief.com/

Turkey Meatballs

Turkey Meatballs
Yields 32
Simple, tasty, and healthy!
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Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 3lbs lean ground turkey
  2. 3 eggs, beaten
  3. 1 C rolled oats
  4. 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  5. 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  6. 1 C shredded carrots, chopped smaller
  7. 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  8. 3 T organic ketchup (or tomato sauce)
  9. 2 T Worcestershire sauce
  10. 2 T Italian Seasoning (or fresh herbs!)
  11. 1 T avocado oil
  12. 1 t salt (Himalayan is best!)
  13. 3/4 t black pepper (crushed is best!)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375. Cover baking sheet with foil and coat with avocado oil cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. - Combine all ingredients in large bowl. Mix with hands. Cover and refrigerate 15 minutes.
  3. - Form into 1.5" balls and place on baking sheet. Cover with foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes.
  4. -Sprinkle with salt. Let cool. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. Tip: Chop all of the veggies ahead of time. Also, feel free to add more veggies! Sometimes I use chopped mushrooms and spinach. 60 minutes IS a lot of time if you're making these to eat them right away. Plan smart and cook these bad boys ahead of time. The quantities are large because you should freeze half. 😉
Exercise Through Grief http://exercisethroughgrief.com/
These meatballs are simple, healthy, and delicious! Eat them with a couple eggs for breakfast, with quinoa and veggies for lunch, or over whole wheat noodles + pesto sauce (with a spinach and strawberry salad!) for dinner. Make a big batch and freeze half. So versatile. So filling. SO good!