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Delicious Slow Cooker Pasta Sauce Recipe

One of my favorite comfort foods is pasta. And although I have a gluten sensitivity, I still love to get my spaghetti or lasagne on every once in a while, but I use a great trick to avoid the gluten as well as the carbohydrates in pasta, and level up on the healthiness factor of this meal.

I kinda made this recipe up as I went, and it turned out pretty darn good, so I thought it was worth sharing. 🙂

Recipe Details

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 8 hours on low in your crock pot
Serving size: 1 – 1.5 cups

If you’re following the 21 Day Fix eating plan, each 1 cup serving equals:

  • 2/3 green
  • 1/3 red

Shopping List / Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef (or ground turkey for a leaner protein)
  • 1 onion – chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic – minced
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper (I also used a piece of orange pepper that I had left over in the fridge)
  • 2 carrots – chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery – chopped
  • A handful of mushrooms – chopped
  • 2 cans tomato paste – try to use one that has the least number of added ingredients.
    • The Italissima brand (in the photo) contains only tomatoes and salt.
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Slow Cooker Pasta Sauce Ingredients
Directions

  1. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium/high heat. Add ground beef (or turkey). Cook until the meat is browned (4-5 minutes), making sure to crumble the meat as it cooks. Drain excess fat and transfer to slow cooker.* This process helps melt off excess fat and water from the meat, which helps make it healthier before transferring it to the slow cooker.
  2. Get rid of the excess fat and add remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil to the skillet. Add vegetables to the skillet and cook until the onions are soft (about 3 minutes). This process helps release the flavours from the veggies before adding them to the slow cooker. Transfer to slow cooker.
  3. Add tomato paste, diced tomatoes, and herbs and seasoning to the slow cooker and mix well.pasta-sauce-ingredients-in-slow-cooker
  4. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook for 8 hours on LOW.
  5. Stir well and serve with your choice of pasta or zoodles.

Enjoy!

Pasta Sauce on Zoodles

Pasta Sauce on Zoodles (zucchini noodles)

Rock Your 2017 Health Goals With Your All-Access Pass!

How do you plan to ROCK YOUR 2017 HEALTH RESOLUTIONS?

Statistically, 88% of New Year’s resolutions are abandoned by Valentine’s Day. The gym is packed in January, and if you’re like me that makes you want to avoid it completely. I have had the same resolution for years… get fit, get healthy, and get strong! And every year, that super busy January gym would squash any chance of me achieving those goals. 

The biggest piece of the puzzle that was missing? Accountability, motivation and support.

  • I had no one holding me accountable to getting my ass to the gym – if I didn’t go, no one would notice.
  • I had no one checking in on me to make sure I got a full workout in – if I quit part way through nobody cared.
  • And I had no proper, easy-to-follow workout or meal plan in place to ensure my success.

But things are different now and I am here to tell you that 2017 WILL BE DIFFERENT FOR YOU TOO!

This is going to be YOUR year to succeed and ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS!  BAM!!

I started my current fitness journey about halfway through 2016  and I am still here 6 months later, rocking my healthy, happy, fit self. I am not tired, I’m not eating junk, and I no longer feel defeated! I’m energized, eating clean and feeling strong! All thanks to finding an at-home workout program, portion control system and accountability structure that works for me!

For one small fee (seriously, for to the results that you’ll see, it’s TOTALLY worth it and WAY cheaper than a gym membership), you will get a health and fitness plan that is so easy to follow, without starving yourself of the things you love! I am confident when I tell you that this solution WORKS! 

What’s included?

  • A full year of access to ALL Beachbody workout programs (YES, all of them!) and any new programs that will be released in 2017. 
  • This program will be done from home, and it will fit right into your lifestyle and busy schedule by saving travel time to and from the gym!
  • A delicious meal plan personalized for your goals and designed to maximize results to make planning and prepping your meals an EASY no-brainer.
  • A 30-day supply of Shakeology – you will replace one meal a day with this nutrient-dense superfood shake to curb your appetite and cravings while improving your overall health.
  • A group of women who are on a serious mission to get fit and healthy just like you and will help motivate and support you through your journey.
  • Support from ME as your coach and access to my online challenge groups
  • 10% discount on all future purchases on TeamBeachbody.com — including Shakeology!
  • VIP access to Super Trainers and Beachbody experts, including exclusive videos, nutrition tips, and delicious recipes, and cooking show.
  • Message Boards to help you find workout partners, and get advice and support from the entire community.

I’ve lost over 20lbs with this program! It works, and it could work for you too! 


Are you ready to join? Apply here for a spot in my next challenge group and we’ll get you all set up!

If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you.

Recipe: Crockpot Cilantro Lime Chicken (21 Day Fix Approved!)

I’m always on the lookout for easy, healthy and delicious meals to add to my rotation and in the winter months that often involves my crockpot! (Thank you Elisabeth Campbell for a great group!)

This was my first try with this cilantro chicken recipe, and it turned out awesome!

Cilantro Lime Chicken with Corn and Black Beans - Cooked!

Recipe Details:

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Crockpot Cooking Time: 6-8 hours on Low OR 5-6 hours on High
Serving Size: 1 cup
Serves 6-8

If you’re following the 21 Day Fix eating plan, each 1 cup serving contains

  • 1 red
  • 1/2 green
  • 1/2 yellow

Cilantro Lime Chicken with Corn and Black Beans - Ingredients

Shopping List / Ingredients: 

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken, thighs or breast
    (I find that chicken thighs don’t dry out as much as the breast in the slow cooker)
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1, 15-ounce can black beans
  • 1 orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • Juice from 2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Siracha sauce (optional, if you like it spicy)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro

Directions: 

To eat it today: Combine all ingredients except cilantro in the slow cooker and cook it on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 5-6 hours.

To prepare for the freezer:  Chop up all the ingredients (except cilantro) and place them into a ziploc bag and freeze it for an easy meal option at a later date.

When you’re ready to cook it, take it out of the freezer, run warm water over the bag to separate it from the frozen food, and place frozen ingredients in the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 5-6 hours.

Cilantro Lime Chicken with Corn and Black Beans

How to Serve Cilantro Lime Chicken:  

Stir in 2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro before serving.

Add to tacos, burritos, taco salad, nachos, or make burrito bowls with it. Or just add it to your meals as a side dish. It’s very flexible.

In the photo below I’ve made huevos rancheros with my crockpot cilantro lime chicken for breakfast – DELICIOUS!

Cilantro Lime Chicken with Corn and Black Beans - Huevos Rancheros

Do you have a crockpot recipe to share? Post it in the comments below!

Recipe: Apple Butternut Squash Soup (21 Day Fix Approved)

I’m a HUGE soup lover, so I thought I would give this delicious looking apple butternut squash soup a try with the surplus of apples I picked from my parents’ trees. I had a fairly small butternut squash to work with, so I cut the recipe in half – an average squash should be fine with the full ingredient amounts.

Apple Butternut Squash Soup Recipe

Apple Butternut Squash Soup Recipe

Total Time: 1 hr.
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cooking Time: 50 min.
Equipment: Blender, large saucepan
Yield: 8 servings

If you’re following the 21 Day Fix eating plan, each 1 cup serving contains

  • 3/4 green
  • 1/4 purple
  • 1 teaspoon

Shopping List:

  • 4 lbs. butternut squash
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 5 medium apples, peeled and chopped
    (Tip: Use the apples of your choice, a more sour apple will help reduce sweetness of the soup.)
  • 4 cups low-sodium organic chicken broth
  • 1 thin slice fresh ginger, peeled, finely chopped
    (Tip: I keep my ginger in the freezer, it helps it last longer and makes it super easy to cut into very thin slices.)
  • ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup nonfat milk
    (Tip: if you have lactose intolerance, use almond milk instead.)
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. ground white pepper
  • Optional: Cilantro to garnish

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. Cut butternut squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds.
    Apple Butternut Squash Soup Recipe - Squash cut in half
  3. Cover squash halves with foil and place them on a baking pan cut sides up. Bake until tender (about 45-50 minutes). Set aside.
    Apple Butternut Squash Soup Recipe - foiled butternut squash
  4. While your squash is in the oven, add oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  5. Add chopped onion; cook, stirring frequently until tender (maybe 3-4 minutes).
  6. Add apples, broth, ginger, and nutmeg and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, stirring occasionally until apples are tender (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat.
  7. Pour the apple mixture into the blender (in batches, if necessary). Blend until smooth. Return apple mixture to saucepan.
    Apple Butternut Squash Soup Recipe - Blended apple mixture
  8. Take the squash out of the oven and scoop the flesh out into the blender, add milk (or almond milk in my case) and blend until smooth.
    Apple Butternut Squash Soup Recipe - baked squashApple Butternut Squash Soup Recipe - Blended squash
  9. Add blended squash to the apple mixture in the saucepan and add salt, and pepper. Bring to a gentle boil over low heat, stirring frequently.
  10. Remove from heat and serve. Garnish with fresh apple chunks and cilantro.

Apple Butternut Squash Soup

If you liked this apple butternut squash soup recipe, share the love with a pin, a like, a pic or a comment below!

Recipe: Apple Crisp (21 Day Fix Approved)

I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical about this apple crisp recipe when I first read about it – mostly because there is no butter or no sugar in it. But I thought, “Hey! I have a TON of apples from my parents trees, so I may as well give it a shot.” Well let me tell you, I am pleasantly surprised by what I pulled out of the oven last night! So here, as promised, is the recipe. (Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for a bonus Shakeology recipe.)

Apple Crisp - 21 Day Fix Approved

Apple Crisp (21 Day Fix Approved)

Recipe Details:

Prep Time: 28 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes (approx.)
Serving Size: 1 cup

If you’re following the 21 Day Fix eating plan, each 1 cup serving contains

  • 1 purple
  • 1/2 yellow
  • 1/2 blue

Shopping List: 

  • Your favourite apples (enough to make 4 cups, peeled and sliced)
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 finely chopped (or crushed up) pecans and/or walnuts

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375F.
  2. Peel and slice up 4 cups of apples.
    (I had a leftover peach that needed to be used up, so those are the orange bits you see in the photo below.)
  3. In a medium baking dish; combine the apples with 2 tbsp maple syrup and 1/2 tsp cinnamon and mix well.
    Apple Crisp Recipe - 21 Day Fix Approved
  4. In a bowl, combine oats, nuts, 1 tbsp maple syrup, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and mix well.Apple Crisp Recipe - 21 Day Fix Approved
  5. Top the apple mixture with the oat mixture in the baking dish.
    Apple Crisp Recipe - 21 Day Fix Approved
  6. Bake 25-30 minutes or until the apples are soft.
  7. Clean up. There’s not a whole lot of mess…

Cleanup from apple crisp recipe

Enjoy your fresh, delicious, 21 Day Fix approved apple crisp with a cup of tea or coffee! (In the photo: Earl Grey de la Creme black tea from Steeped Tea With Jenn)

Apple Crisp with Earl Grey del la Creme Tea

Bonus Shakeology Recipe

Apple Pie Shakeology RecipeThis morning, as I was making my fiancé’s Shakeology shake, I wondered how good it might be with some of the apple crisp blended into it.

Um, Hello Apple Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream!

Apple Pie Shakeology Recipe:

Blend together:

  • 1/2 cup apple crisp
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 scoop Vanilla Shakeology
  • 1 cup almond milk (unsweetened)
  • Ice (optional)

Did you like this recipe? Share the love with a pin, a like, a pic or a comment below!

This Opportunity Could Make Your Dreams Come True!

If you’ve been following my blog and social media for a while, you know that financial freedom, time freedom and location independence have always been important to me. These are things that I have dreamed about for quite a while.

For years I have been working a day job, and taking on side projects with hopes that “one day” the side jobs would out-weigh the daily grind. But, due to the time commitment of the day job, that dream always stayed a dream. I never found the right formula and support system to make it happen.

Are You a Dreamer?

Are You a Dreamer?

Are you a daydreamer? Do you ever sit at your desk job, thinking about the other things you could be doing? Thinking where you might be if you were location independent with financial freedom? What you would be doing? Who you would be doing it with? Which passion projects you would be working on?

  • Close your eyes.
  • Take a deep breath.
  • Think about what that day dream looks like.
  • Visualize it.
  • Got it?
  • Write it down.
  • Read it to yourself everyday.

What would you say if I told you that you could HAVE that dream?

What would you do if you had the tools and the means to get there?

Would you give it a shot?

What if I told you your dream could be a reality?

Becoming a Beachbody coach has given me the freedom to work on my own terms, set my own hours and do something I’m passionate about, all from any location I choose! Whether I’m  at home, at the beach in Parksville with my family, skiing in Whistler, or somewhere more exotic like Europe or Costa Rica, as long as I have an internet connection I can get my work done! My coaching business has taken my dreams out of my head and into my life!

If this inspires you and you’re ready to take your dreams into your own hands, try something new, be a part of a supportive community of like-minded entrepreneurs, and dream a little bigger, drop me a Facebook message, comment below or shoot me an email for more info.

A “Freedomist” Is Born!

[This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 10]

Wow! That 10 days just FLEW by! Today is the last post in my 10 Day Blog Challenge with Natalie Sisson. And as this blog post says, I am now a “Certified Freedomist!”

What is a Freedomist, you might ask…?

A Freedomist has:

  • Identified their focus
  • Has explored and understands why they do what they do
  • Has created an image of and takes the opportunity to LIVE their perfect day
  • Knows which superpowers will help they achieve their dreams
  • Understands what success looks like and how to create it for themselves
  • Follows the advice of mentors – whether these are in person or via online advisers
  • Understands where their momentum originates from and creates a schedule to maintain it
  • Designs their life to include opportunities for adventure
  • Lives a life of Work/Freedom Balance that leads to their ultimate success

A "Freedomist" Is Born

  • You see, a Freedomist has created an image of their dreams in their mind.
  • A Freedomist has created a vision board to remind them of their dream in moments when it seems unattainable.
  • A Freedomist has set goals for themselves that seem out of reach, but they understand any dream they come up with is a goal to work toward.
  • A Freedomist understand that if they can think of the idea, and believe in the idea, they can ACHIEVE the idea.

Thanks to Natalie Sisson’s 10 Day Blog Challenge, I have explored all of these areas and she has helped me get clearer on many of them. Some will always be a work in progress, but the dream is there and I truly believe that it is completely attainable!

The exercise I found the most helpful and the most fun int he past 10 days was the post we wrote about Mentorship.

Mentorship #10dbc

I honestly believe that every human being has the ability to help another. You have the power to lift up every person you meet any day of the week. Whether this is through a compliment, holding the door for them, or giving them advice on a life situation.

Knowing that I have soooo much to learn in the world of online business, it was so much fun for me to think about who I would love to have the opportunity to meet and what I would ask them from a mentorship point of view. Not only did this exercise identify questions I would have for my dream mentors, it also brought up questions that I should be exploring more for myself.

As much as I would LOVE to meet and pick the brains of my dream mentors, there is so much more self exploration for me to tackle, and this exercise helped me identify even more questions to answer for myself.

Thank you Natalie, for an amazing 10 days of self-exploration! It’s been a wonderful way for me to dive back into regular blogging and I’m excited to keep this momentum rolling in the days and weeks to come!

What’s This 10 Day Blog Challenge?

This round of the blog challenge has ended, but don’t fret! The posts are still available and there is always the Freedom Plan to take you even farther down the rabbit hole of self discovery and goal crushing!

Join Natalie Sisson's 10 Day Blog ChallengeJoin the Freedom Plan with Natalie Sisson

The Work/Freedom Balance of Location Independence

[This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 9]

My first location independence experience was in Bali. My aunt has a home in North Bali, so I decided to spend a month there to take a break from the riffraff of home with a working holiday.  The key to getting the work done, as well as experiencing the freedom I so craved, was balancing the two.

The Work/Freedom Balance of Location Independence

I found that maintaining some form of schedule was imperative to making the work/freedom lifestyle balance work. I would build my work schedule around the things I wanted to see, explore and do in Bali. Having changed my personal lifestyle somewhat (I’m much more active than I used to be), I imagine an average day looking something like this:

A Day of Freedom:

Wake up early (around 6am, thanks to the local roosters) and start the day with a 30-minute workout beside the pool, followed by a dip. My tea and breakfast is ready when I finish swimming and I check and respond to email while I eat.

Today, the plan is to visit Air Panas in the late morning. We will leave at 11am. So,I get some work done, edit yesterday’s photos and upload them to Flickr while I schedule my social media posts for the day, bearing my home time zone in mind to ensure maximum engagement opportunities.

Air Panas hot springs in Bali, Indonedia

Air Panas hot springs in Bali, Indonedia

I spend the morning working on my business and then head out for the afternoon to explore and photograph the hot springs – both with my DSLR and my iPhone for easy social media posting later.

On the way back from the hot springs, we make an unexpected stop at one of the only Buddhist temples on the island of Bali. It’s so peaceful here, I could meditate here for hours.

Buddhist Temple in Banjar, Bali

When we get back to the villa, it is nearly dinner time. I try to spend so time in the kitchen a couple of times a week, learning about Balinese/Indonesian cooking. (Learning local cooking is something I always like to do when traveling in new places.)

After dinner I watch the sunset from the upper deck of the villa, as I check in on my social media, respond to engagement, post images and updates from the day and spend a couple of hours working, as my home time zone is just waking up.

Villa Kembang Kertas Bali - Sunset View from upper deck View from upper deck.

An Average Day of the Freedom Lifestyle

A basic  schedule for my location independed freedom lifestyle includes:

  • Waking up early
  • Getting my workout in, first thing
  • Eating a healthy, balanced breakfast
  • Spend 2-3 hours working
  • Spend the afternoon exploring/enjoying my current location
  • Eat a healthy dinner
  • Spend another 2-3 hours working
  • Head to bed

Depending on my location, this schedule may be changed up, depending on what is planned for the day or what opportunity is presented. However, the idea is to spend a minimum of 4 hours working each day.

The 10 Day Blog Challenge is Still Open!

Join the 10 Day Blog Challenge to explore your own freedom in business, there’s still time! You can join right up until the last day of the challenge (Sept. 20)! *Click* the image below to join!

Join Natalie Sisson's 10 Day Blog Challenge

 

An Adventure By Design – Rain or Shine

[This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 8]

Today’s adventure was not unlike most days, but today’s walk was a bit more special than other days for a few reasons:

The Rain

We had the first rain storm in Victoria in quite some time today. It poured cats and dogs! We caught a short break in the storm and we took advantage of it and headed out.

The Old Lady

Silka is our old lady dog. She’s a 14-year-old Weimeraner, and she will likely not be with us all that much longer. Her legs don’t work like they used to, and she gets cold quite easily – hence the rain jacket.

Silks the Old Weimeraner

The Quality Time

I also got to spend quality time with my man during our walk today. Our recent engagement is still very fresh and exciting, and I love every minute we are able to spend together. (ok ok, enough of the mushy stuff… haha!)

Time for a dog walk - Adam and Silka walking

The Good Days

Silka managed to make it through a longer walk than usual today. She has had a few health problems lately, from stomach issues, to a foot injury, to her general age issues with failing hips. I’m always so grateful and relieved when her body cooperates to give her her better days.

Cash and Silka
The Mushrooms

Thanks to the rain, the forest is coming back to life after a dry summer. Mushrooms are some of my favourite things to photograph, so finding this pine cone with tiny shroomies growing out of it was super exciting for me. You’ll find some of my other fave mushroom shots here, here, and here.

Tiny mushrooms on a pinecone

The Puddles

And of course, no walk is complete without the fur baby love of my life, Roxie! Roxie is a swimmer. If there is water around, she will be in it. Even though it rained, the streams are still dry as are her usual water holes, but we did come across a gigantic puddle for her to play in.

If I’m able to choose my own adventure for my days, dog walks will always be a part of them. Hikes, walks, swims, bike rides, as long as our beasties can be a part of it, I’m happy!

Want to design your own adventure?

There’s still time to join Natalie Sisson’s 10 Day Blog Challenge! The challenge has helped me find my focus, identify my road blocks as well as my superpowers. *Click* the image below to join!

Join Natalie Sisson's 10 Day Blog Challenge

Creating My Own Momentum

[This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 7]

I’ve been working at my Beachbody coaching business for a little over two months now. I’m still learning the ropes and figuring out where my momentum is going to come from, but there a couple of things that I know will make a big difference by committing 45-60 minutes every day for the next 30 days. I’m taking Natalie’s advice to take this on for 30 days as a personal challenge!

This time commitment will be shared by two tasks:

Daily Beachbody Workouts

In order for people to truly understand what I do is and the true benefits of it, they need to see the program in action. Over the past couple of weeks, I have substituted other outdoor activities (hiking, running, etc.) for my daily workouts at least 2 or 3 times a week. My commitment is to do a Beachbody workout every single day for the next 30 days. There are so many options, from yoga to bootcamp to extra ab workouts – I have no excuse to not get a workout in everyday.

Daily Personal Development

think-and-grow-rich-napoleon-hillPersonal development plays such a great part in transformation and growth. It is something that Beachbody encourages over and above all else. Always be learning. Always be developing yourself.

I have read bits and pieces from Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich,” and I have heard great reviews about this book, but I have never read it cover to cover. This will be the first personal development book I tackle and will read from start to finish.

The Compound Effect is another book I’ve heard is worth checking out. If you know of any inspiring books that I should add to my list, I would love your recommendations in the comments below.

There are Still a Few Days Left to Join the Blog Challenge!

I have found this 10 Day Blog Challenge to be a fantastic exercise to help me get back into a habit of writing everyday, as well as to explore where my personal road blocks are.

Do you have road blocks of your own that are stopping you from living your dream life? There’s still time to join this Blog Challenge! *Click* the image below to join!

Join Natalie Sisson's 10 Day Blog Challenge