Super Simple Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

** Remember, with my recipes, I never give exact measurements because I’m not the measuring sort… I put food together according to taste most of the time (unless precise measurement is required). That’s why my recipe writing is a bit… unconventional ;) **

It’s that time of year – when I keep hearing about Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie… I was at a networking event this week, and my friend Patti happened to mention that she had just made one… and she mentioned that it was REALLY easy… she fired off her recipe to me – seemed simple enough – AND – As luck would have it, I got some Rhubarb in my CSA Share this week.

Here’s what I did:Pie

INGREDIENTS:
Strawberries (2 to 3 cups)
Rhubarb (1 to 2 cups)
Pre-made Pie Crusts
Sugar – about 1/4 of a cup (maybe a bit more…)
Lemon Juice from a fresh lemon – juice from about 3/4 of the lemon
Cornstarch – 1 to 2 Tablespoons  – depending on how thick you want your filling.

PROCESS:
Cut Strawberries in 4ths
Cut Rhubarb in small bits (whatever size ya like, really)
Combine strawberries, rhubarb, sugar and lemon in a bowl. Mix well. Let sit for 30 minutes.
Add cornstarch and stir again. Pour into pie shell – add a crust on top. I added an egg wash and a little sprinkle of sugar on top of my crust… just because.
Bake at 400 for 35 to 40 minutes.

I am in LOVE – LOVE! – with this pie!! It may not be the prettiest pie – but it is delicious!!

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On Motivation…

IMG_0590This is me back in 2008.

Let me tell you what my life was like then…

I weighed somewhere in the 190′s. My diet was mostly processed… Kraft Macaroni and Cheese was a staple, as was Kellog’s Special K. I had very little energy to cook dinner, so it was usually something out of a box… Hamburger Helper, Stouffer’s frozen stuff… pasta – oh the amount of pasta I ate…

I drank. Probably 3 to 4 times a week… which – in and of itself isn’t bad. But – I was drinking to numb the pain I felt inside. And that IS bad. Any time you’re using something to numb out – it’s a good sign you are dancing with addiction.

I was incredibly depressed. To the point where, a couple of times a week, I’d have major melt downs… like – crying  SOBBING on the floor in the middle of my living room. My low self-esteem was holding me back from what I really wanted to be doing with my life… and I felt that my professional life was just not anything like I wanted it to be.

For me, my professional life was what I wanted to get right… for some people it’s their family life, for others it’s their dating life, for others it’s their friendships, or social life… For me – I just couldn’t get a grasp on my professional life – and it had to do with the fact that I just wasn’t confident enough to believe in myself to really put myself out there and do what I wanted to do… and it almost – quite literally – killed me.

My low self-esteem kept me small… and by staying small, it fed the low self-esteem, and eventually the depression set in… then the weight piled on… and the depression got worse… it was a vicious cycle.

Through a fluke conversation with a dear friend of mine, who also happens to be a Psychologist by profession, I discovered that I actually had depression.

That was my wake up call. I didn’t want to actually have depression. That diagnosis scared the hell out of me.

I told Nina how afraid I was of actually having depression. And how I definitely did not under no circumstances want to be put on drugs.

Now – let me just state very clearly – I’m not against taking meds for depression. I know some amazing people who HAVE to take them. And, I have nothing against that. At all.

For me – I didn’t want to go that route.

So, Nina said point blank “You used to do Yoga – what happened to that?” She told me that she had been reading some studies lately about how fabulous yoga was for depression. I confessed I hadn’t done anything fitness related for probably 3 or 4 years at that point.

Nina said – “Get back to your yoga practice and let me know how you’re feeling in about 6 weeks. If you still feel like this, we’ll talk about some alternatives.”

Done.

I went home, figured out what I could fit into my schedule, and started the very next day.DSC_0011

That over there, is me today. I’ve stuck with the plan for 5 years. And motivation has everything to do with it.

Motivation has 3 ingredients.

Why, time, and excitement.

My why? It started out being: Bust through my depression. These days it’s: I feel so freakin’ empowered and energized, I do not want to go back to being Ms. 2008 up there.

Your why for having a healthy routine has to be deep seated for you. It’s got to be powerful. It’s got to be personal.

If you start out doing this “just because you know it’s the right thing to do…” it ain’t gonna stick. I myself have been down THAT road… and I can tell you – that ain’t powerful enough.

Think about why you feel pulled to be healthier. Keep asking yourself why – my friend Grace says keep asking yourself why (at least 5 times) so you can get down to that deep root of why something is so important to you.

For example, Q: Why do you want to do this? A: Because I want to be healthy. Q: Yeah, but why do you want to be healthy? A: Because being healthy means I’ll look good. Q: But why is looking good so important? A: Because I’ll have more confidence. Q: Why is that important?

See what I mean? Keep going with the why until you hit something that makes you tingle, brings tears to your eyes, or that makes you feel like the Earth shook.

If you can’t figure out why you SHOULD do this – do that same exercise, but ask yourself why you aren’t. Chances are good, staying unhealthy is serving you in some way (it’s not really serving you in a good way – it’s keeping you safe, most likely… for example – my unhealthiness kept me numb – it kept me from really stepping up to being who I was meant to be…).

Time: These days, my alarm goes off at 4:30 AM (yep.) and I’m up by 4:50 (yep.). That ain’t always easy – let me tell you. But, that’s the only time I KNOW I can fit in my workout. If it doesn’t get done then, it may not get done.

You have to make the time, you have to stick to it, and you just have to do it. You have to carve that time out in your schedule and make ZERO compromises about it.

This one is all about discipline. And, I know – that can be a dirty word… But – there is no way around it. You MUST MAKE THE TIME, and YOU MUST STICK TO IT. End of story.

Now – on that note – you don’t have to carve out hours upon hours. I workout between 40 and 45 minutes. I go heavy 4 times a week (kettlebells or heavy cardio for 20 minutes, and then 20 minutes of yoga). Twice a week, I go lighter – Yin + Light Vinyasa Yoga, and then I take Saturdays as complete rest (so no 4:30 wake up call that day…).

When I started all this – I only did 30 minutes 3 times per week… and I could have happily stuck to that – it was my choice to up it a bit – and that will be your choice too.

The final ingredient – you must LOVE and be EXCITED about what you’re doing.

Working out should literally be fun and should absolutely not feel like a chore. If it does – that’s a sign you need to figure out what else to do.

The possibilities are endless. If something seems intriguing – go try it.

Stop telling yourself you’ll look silly in a class – you won’t. The people who go to classes are awesome. They are normal human beings just like you. And, they ALL have challenges – just like you. And – they were all new there once – just like you.

In the last 4 years, I tried Zumba and Crossfit and countless Advanced Yoga Classes. You think I wasn’t intimidated walking into those classes?

Just one example… In Crossfit – I knew I was going to be given all sorts of things I had NO CLUE how to do. I was scared and intimidated… until I walked into the class and everyone in the room made me feel welcome. That didn’t completely ease my fear – in fact – every time I went to Crossfit I had some fear… never knowing if I’d actually be able to DO the workout, or a particular movement… but I went anyway.

All of that to say – don’t be afraid to TRY something – anything! You want to find whatever it is that’s going to light you up and make you WANT to get some movement into your day.

Some ideas to get you started:

– Classes you find interesting.
– Walking in your neighborhood – get an app that tracks your mileage – MapMyWalk is a good one.
– DVD’s – there are about a million DVD’s for just about any workout you could possibly want to do. Need suggestions? I’ve tried many, many, many of them. Comment below, or drop me a line about what you want to do, and I’ll throw a few titles at you.
– Couch to 5K – if you’re interested in starting to run, this is a phenomenal program.
– Hiking – there are countless nature trails that provide obstacles, hills, and beautiful sights. Take the family!
– Biking – in your neighborhood, or find paved trails near you.

One last caveat

Do not get me wrong. This is not always easy for me. I have plenty of days when I just don’t feel like freakin’ doing it. I don’t wanna get out of bed… and I want to EAT ALL THE PEEPS! (thanks Easter Bunny…). And there are days that I do, in essence EAT ALL THE PEEPS!

But – I’m at a point now where, those days don’t turn into weeks, or months… I can get back on track. And I have people in my life who hold me accountable – who I can call or text and say “OMG – I just ate all the peeps!” And they will help me get back on track.

You can’t beat yourself up in an effort to try and be perfect. We are human.

You also NEED support. You need someone in your life who understands and who can get you back in the right frame of mind.

Now get to it! Make a Plan! Start!

When it comes right down to it – really – the only thing holding you back from starting all of this is you. I hope I’ve given you some food for thought here… that was my goal.

What can I help with? What questions do you have? I’d love for you to comment below so that others can benefit from the discussion…

 

Rice Crispy Treats – the healthier version…

IMG_1504I was watching Unwrapped on the Food Network one night and they started talking about Rice Krispie treats… I remember making them as a kid – remember how awesome they were as soon as you poured them into the pan but before they were completely cool? Yeah – I wanted THAT again!

However, I wondered if there was a way to do them healthier… of course there is!

I immediately took to the internet and found a few recipes that met my criteria for: organic, whole ingredients + as few ingredients as possible. Here’s what I came up with:

The basic ingredients:
1 Box Puffed Brown Rice Cereal (easily found in the Organic Section of your grocery store)
1 1/2 of a cup of Brown Rice Syrup (either in the Organic Section, or the international foods section)
3/4 of a cup of Peanut Butter
Cinnamon to taste

The process:

Combine Peanut Butter and Rice Syrup and heat on low/medium until melted – this is going to go quick, so don’t leave it. It took mine about 3 to 4 minutes to melt. Add Cinnamon once everything is melted and stir well.

Pour hot ingredients over Rice Cereal and mix until well combined. Pour into a baking dish (the smaller the dish, the thicker your bars, and the more cooling time you’ll need). Press mixture down with the back of a wooden or plastic spoon. Allow to cool. Serve. Enjoy!

Modifications:

I also attempted this recipe with Chocolate Puffed Rice Cereal – DELISH!!!!! I’ll definitely do that again. Those are what is pictured above…

IMG_1500I made a version substituting maple syrup for the brown rice syrup. Tasted fab – never hardened as it cooled. So basically I had a big bowl of Rice Crispy Treat – but not an actual treat. It’s hard to see in that photo to the left, but that was my big mush of Treat.

You could really do quite a few substitutions – Almond Butter instead of Peanut; add chocolate chips; add nuts of some sort… the recipe is such a nice canvas to build on – there’s a ton you can do. Just make sure if you’re substituting the sweetener (Rice Syrup) you choose something that will harden up nicely – honey might be a good choice.

If you try this recipe, or you try a modification – I’d love to hear about it – leave a comment below.

Eagle Pose – unwiding stress by twisting yourself up?!? Yup.

{Blended Yoga Video below…} Yoga always mirrors what’s going on for you. Always. Either you come to class with a mood already in place, or, a particular pose will put you right in touch with whatever it is you’re feeling and trying to ignore.

Eagle pose is definitely one of those poses… at least for me anyway. Eagle Pose can be so freakin’ maddening.

When I came back to yoga, I saw one of my teachers do this pose, and it looked so graceful… so beautiful. Which is what inspired me to want to master it. Little did I know what Eagle had in store for me.

Through lots of trying, lots of falling out, lots of cursing, lots of forcing, lots of willing my body to just get into the pose already dammit… I still couldn’t get it. And if I was having a particularly tough day – forget it. Eagle was almost completely inaccessible.

What finally allowed me to even start getting into the pose was – relaxing. Not fretting. Not forcing. Not “trying.” And NOT willing. Just… relaxing (isn’t that frustrating?!? You spend all that time stressing, and straining and get ZERO results… Pffft!).

The keys to Eagle Pose are – first – don’t worry about twisting yourself completely up. To this day (and you’ll see in the video) I can’t completely wrap myself around myself. For me – it’s a combination of the way my hips are built, and the way my thighs are structured (thank you large, strong thigh muscles!).

The second key to Eagle is B-R-E-A-T-H-E.

Instead of just launching yourself into the pose and hoping for the best (and then cursing, straining, forcing, and willing…) take a moment, let go of any thoughts or worry about what it’s supposed to look like, and just breathe.

I especially love this pose when I’m stressing. Being all twisted up, of course, mirrors how I feel – but then – when you unwind – aaaaaaahhhhhhhh… you remember that, just like the pose, this too shall pass. And, again – Eagle totally calls me out when I’m worrying, fretting, over-stressing, or obsessing. If I can’t get into it at all – it’s a sure sign I’m all up in my head.

Alright – ready? Let’s give this a go… See where ya are today, see how you do, see what comes up for you – and most of all – B-R-E-A-T-H-E…

Rich, Decadant Chocolate Pudding (it’s healthy too ;) ).

Confession – I am a sucker for all things chocolate. Well, actually, I’m a sucker for almost anything sweet… So when I find recipes that are decadent, but are also healthy – Winning!!

This pudding is one of those things. It’s super simple, REALLY Chocolatey, and has uber healthy ingredients that you can’t even taste.

Ingredients:

1 Avocado (pitted and without the skin)10002921_718616224846133_4205591525302003478_n
1/4 – 1/2 Cup of Milk (any milk is fine – I use Coconut milk)
About 1/4 Cup of Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds
1 Tablespoon Ground Flax
Vanilla Extract
Cinnamon

Process: Throw everything in a food processor, whir until smooth. Transfer to a bowl – indulge!

Now – I know – Chocolate and AVOCADO?? REALLY??? Yes. Really. You can’t even taste the Avocado – seriously. But, it imparts a creamy smoothness that makes this dessert even more delightful.

That picture is my good friend Coleen’s photo. I ate mine so fast, I didn’t get a shot of it… She tried it, and was obviously able to control herself better than I, so she snapped that lovely photo. Perhaps she will share her recipe with us in the comments below – she did her’s slightly different than mine.

Both of us served this up to our families. It passed the Tween Girl test with flying colors… the boys… meh… they weren’t sold on it. However – I encourage you to make this, don’t tell anyone what’s in it, and see what sort of reaction you get. If you do that – do share in the comments below – I’d love to hear about it!