Fridays-giving via Instagram

Here’s a little look at our Thanksgiving on a Friday festivities in the mountains of Mexico!

Why Friday…well holidays are just more flexible out here. 🙂  The day started with setting up and cleaning our village clinic for a dental clinic that begins Monday. image Loading all the supplies into the truck. That’s my hard working hubby and co-worker, Rachel.

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Organizing the medical items in the clinic so we can remember where everything goes when we clean up after the dental clinic.image image

My cute man putting together the dental chair. Good thing some of us know what we are doing. 🙂

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We finished the night off with a humble Thanksgiving feast. It was memorable.

I made some butternut squash (transported all the way from New Mexico) and real cranberry sauce. You taught me well Mom. 🙂

Rachel and Katie made stuffing, and pie, and we all enjoyed every bit.

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Oh…and I can’t forget the whip cream on the coffee..MMmm!

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Hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving as well, filled with great family memories, and good food.

Blessings for the weekend!

Liesl

Tips for Healthy, Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday of the entire year. The food is AMAZING, but not only that, I love Thanksgiving because it is all about family. A whole day centered around being with those you love, and remembering how thankful you are for them and how much God has blessed you everyday because of the love and care that you experience through relationship. Isn’t that truly what life is about?

Last night Pete and I ate dinner (very impromptu) with one of the families in our village. They are a completely different culture than us, very poor, and yet they showed us love and willingly gave of the meager means that they had. It wasn’t stuffing, and turkey, but it was served with care and we left feeling; well, excepted. And that, even though we are hundreds of miles away from our family, made us feel like we are beginning to have “family” here in our small mountain community.

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These are some of the families’ kids and grandkids.

With that in mind, I wanted to encourage you to enjoy your Thanksgiving. Relish each moment with those you love. Each one is so precious.

I remember back when I started to eat healthier and exercise more, I used to go into the Thanksgiving meal with fantastic intentions of self control and leave the table feeling stuffed and uncomfortable, and just plain frustrated with myself. Since then I’ve learned and practice some healthy tips when it comes to holidays. Not only do they help me enjoy my Thanksgiving, keeping my focus on what’s truly important, but I get to enjoy my Madre’s stuffing, and homemade green bean casserole guilt free. 🙂

Healthy Tips for your Turkey Day:

1.) Eat Breakfast-  This may seem like strange logic since most often we try to strategically “save our calories” for the big show on holidays, but hear me out. Eating breakfast will jump start your metabolism, keep you from mindless snacking when hunger starts to set in, and keep you pleasantly full until the big meal. I’m not saying go out and have a belgian waffle covered in strawberries and whip cream, but something light with carbs, protein, and healthy fats.
 Try this:
– A bowl of plain greek yogurt w/ some Pumpkin Pie Granola on top, or a simple egg and pumpkin coconut muffin with almond butter.
– Fruit/Veggie smoothies are also great light breakfast options, add some protein powder for extra staying power.

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2.) Move – You are probably wondering, who has time to exercise on a holiday…YOU..yes, you do. 🙂 Your gym maybe be closed for Thanksgiving, but that doesn’t mean you can’t move your body to start the day. Not only will your metabolism be firing all day after your workout and burning up all those holiday calories, but you will feel energized, and ready to tackle all the play time with those crazy nieces & nephews.
Try this :
– 20 Minute Interval Workout or quickly tighten your tush with this 10 minute circuit.
– Go for a walk with a family member, getting in some quality chat time before all the craziness starts.
– Plan a 5K family fun run/walk on a nearby route or trail. Have hot coffee, and cider at the end and a healthy snack as an appetizer to the turkey dinner to come.

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3.) Drink Water – To make sure you are drinking enough water throughout the day always aim to carry a glass with you. Often at parties or family gatherings we think we are hungry when the truth is our body is dehydrated and we are thirsty. Water is your combat weapon against mindless noshing.
Another tip: If you want to have a cocktail-like drink or something fun to sip, try some seltzer water with lime and a splash of cranberry juice. Refreshing and healthy.

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4.) Use a Smaller Plate – When dishing up your Thanksgiving dinner ask your hostess for a smaller plate. Studies show that people have been known to reduce their calorie intake by up to 30% by mindlessly choosing smaller portions just because their plate is smaller than a normal size dinner plate.

5.) Wait 5 Minutes – Finished eating and some more of Mom’s sweet potato casserole is whispering your name? Wait 5 minutes, sip some water, engage in conversation. After 5 minutes ask yourself, can I live without more of whatever it is that I want? If the craving is still peeling you out of your chair, get up and get more, if you feel satisfied, be done.

6.) Bring a “Non-Traditional” Bite Size Dessert – Not only will you wow the other guests at Thanksgiving dinner with your creative juices in the kitchen, but you now have an easy decision when it comes to dessert…already pre-portioned so you don’t over do it.

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These mini pumpkin cheesecakes by Pinch my Salt look divine.

Or these truffles…adorable.
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Or these…okay, I need to go bake something now.

Or if you don’t have time to make fancy little pastries and your not much of a pie gal (like me), drink your dessert. My favorite: a flavored coffee from a local coffee shop (like pumpkin spice or cranberry creme) topped with some fresh whipped cream. MMMmmm!

And last, but most important:

7.) Don’t Sweat It –  When it comes down to it, Thanksgiving is about being thankful for family, friends, and all the blessings God has so unselfishly given us. So if you eat too much mashed potatoes, or stuffing (my downfall), don’t sweat it. Like anything in life making healthy choices in fitness and diet is a life-long learning process, and is based on long term consistency. Our healthy life style is not made or broken by any one success or failure…and I like to believe that if we don’t fail sometimes, we probably aren’t learning much at all.

Enjoy the hugs and warmth of loved ones this holiday…

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And Happy Thanksgiving!

Liesl

 

Tight Tushie Tuesday

Heeeeey, Happy Tuesday! While this post was supposed to come your way on Saturday, our internet connection had other plans. Cough…plans to rest for over 48 hours. 🙂 Needless to say, my weekend booty burner post has now turned into Tight Tushy Tuesday post. That title makes me laugh.

Any who…this last week felt like it flew by. On Wednesday the 20th, our little pueblito celebrated Revolution Day. The school age children in the village paraded with Mexican flags and festive dress in the colors of the flag, red, green, and white. Afterwards the entire community gathered for chicken pozole, a tradition dish of chile broth chicken and spices, accompanied by fresh made corn tortillas.

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We joined in the fun, spending time with all our neighbors and friends. It was a nice break from language study and our other weekly duties.

Hope you’ve enjoyed some of the posts this last week. I feel like I’m kind of getting back into the swing of writing again.

Today I wanted to share a quick Tight Tushy workout with you all that tears up my glutes. It is quick, and will only take you 10 minutes, but you will feel the burn.

I recommend trying this booty burner at end of a cardio workout, run, walk, or a strength training legs sesh…kind of like dessert, but better for you. 😉 Also, if you only have a short time to get in a workout this is a great quicky workout!

Tight Tushy Workout
* how: do each move for 10 reps each and move directly to the next exercise. Do as many complete rounds of all the exercises as possible in 10 minutes (move through each exercise quickly, but with good form)
** equipment: just your body weight & and a chair or step. However if you prefer, grab a set of weights, or something heavy for resistance and an even greater burn!

Goblet squat – 10 (don’t forget get your booty low) 🙂

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Step ups Right -10 (complete all 10 step ups on your right leg)

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Plie squat pulse x3 + plie squat jump – 10 (3 pulses in the bottom of your plie squat, and 1 jump = 1 rep)

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Glute bridges -10 (each leg)

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Step ups Left -10 (same as above step ups, all completed on your left leg)

Let me know if you try the workout, and come back tomorrow for some tips on staying on track with your health and fitness this Thanksgiving holiday!

Best!

Liesl

Pumpkin Pie Granola

Sometimes on a rainy, cloudy day I just want to bake.

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It may have something to do with the fact that our house is made out of adobe bricks and has no insulation, or heat. Granted it doesn’t get that cold here. We aren’t brushing the snow off our truck, or shoveling the walk like some people, but it still gets pretty darn bone-chilling.

The other day when I got the baking itch I thought I’ll make a loaf of bread…but I didn’t have enough flour, and the cloudy weather meant no electricity for grinding more, and there is no store.

So what is a girl to do…make granola!

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This granola is delicious. Watch out you will want to eat every last cluster as it emerges from the oven.  And speaking from experience you will burn your mouth. 🙂

PUMPKIN PIE GRANOLA

Ingredients:
4 cups rolled oats
1 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup dates, chopped
sea salt

4 Tbsp. virgin coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup pure maple syrup (I like Grade B from Trader Joes)
3/4 cup pumpkin puree’
2 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (check the end of this post to find out how to make your own!)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Begin by melting your coconut oil in a saucepan or metal bowl on the stove top. Or in the microwave. I don’t have a microwave, so the stove top it is. Just call me old-fashioned.

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Once the coconut oil is melted, add the maple syrup, pumpkin, and pumpkin pie spice. Whisk until combined.

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While your wet ingredients are cooling, mix together the oats, pecans, pepitas, golden raisins, dates, and sea salt in a large bowl. Stir.

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Add your pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until the dry mixture is blanketed in pumpkin goodness. Taste…quality control. 🙂

If you like more spice, add it now. Mix again. Spread the granola out onto a lightly greased baking sheet. And bake in the oven for around 30-45 minutes, depending on how crunchy you like your granola. You will want to stir it half-way through and rotate the baking sheet so that it bakes evenly.

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Now get some of that pumpkin-y deliciousness in your mouth pronto!

We’ve been enjoying our granola on top of plain yogurt, with almond milk, or the best combo, with a pumpkin protein smoothie! Yummo! We ate this combo twice last week, and I’d eat another one right now. It was that good. Way better than pumpkin pie.

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Some tips/suggestions:

** Next time I make this granola (tomorrow…)…I would spread it thinner on two baking sheets instead of one. I like my granola to crunch in my mouth even when combined with milk, so the thinner it is spread the more crispy it will be once baked.
** To make this granola gluten-free, use gluten free oats.
** For a spicier flavor try adding 2 tablespoons of molasses to the wet mixture.
** If you can’t stomach raisins, add cranberries, or currants.

Make your own pumpkin pie spice:
Combine 2 Tbsp cinnamon, 1 Tbsp ginger, 2 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp allspice, 1/2 tsp cloves in a small glass jar. Shake to mix.

What is your favorite granola recipe?

Be & Stay Warm,

Liesl

Why Is Exercising SO Hard?

Exercising is in style. Being healthy; it’s trendy.

To me it’s  kind of like skinny jeans. I think they look cute on the rail thin models in magazines and on TV, but I just can’t seem to find the perfect pair, because every one looks too tight, or gaps in the waist, or makes my muscular thighs look like tree trunks. I quickly remove them from my body and place them back on the shelf, because I wouldn’t be caught dead in public with them on. It would be too much to bare…literally. We’ve all been there…please tell me you know what I’m sayin’.

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I think it’s often the same with exercise. We see our girlfriends (and guy friends) hitting the gym, running races, going to Crossfit, doing yoga and loving their lifestyle and how they feel and WE WANT THAT. At least we tell ourselves that we do. We tell our friends and family that we are going to start Monday. We are going to join the gym, we are kicking sugar to the curb, we are going to hire a personal trainer…and on, and on. But we lack one thing, the knowledge of how to cross the bridge from where we are at right now, to where we want to be.

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So how do we get there? How do we arrive at a place where exercise is part of our daily routine that we love and look forward to?

I am an athlete. Well, I was. Competing as a gymnast for 7 years and playing high school basketball I feel like exercise and working out is in my genes. I’ve literally been lifting weights and doing conditioning since I was 10.  So,  I’ll be brutally honest, sometimes it is very hard for me to understand why someone wouldn’t like working out…especially after they tried it. Ha…I know that sounds ridiculous, but I’ve come to realize that I am in the minority. Working out is hard…and I know many of your don’t love it, or even like it.
However, I sincerely believe than anyone, yes even you, can learn to love exercise.

People have asked me, how do I start? “Whenever I try to start exercising I just can’t stick with it.”
Well…here’s my advice:

1.) GOALSDo you have some? What are they? What are you doing to meet them? 

To make exercise part of your lifestyle you have to set some goals for yourself. They don’t have to be anything crazy, just goals. In fact, the best kind of goals are the ones that you believe that you can achieve, so be realistic.
Some starter ideas of goals would be:
– exercise for 20 minutes/3x week
– walk for 30 min every other day
– get up from my desk every hour and do 20 pushups
– strength training 1-2xs per week

You get the idea. 

Ideas to help you meet those goals:
– schedule them in your daily planner and be specific, days, times, places
– schedule childcare for the times you have planned to exercise
– call a friend and schedule your exercise times with her/him
– buy a cute new workout outfit that you will WANT to wear (whatever it takes)
Write your goals down in a notebook, be specific, and include how you plan to meet those goals. Then do it! 

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2.) BUILD A SUPPORT SYSTEM

Tell everyone you know and care about that you are exercising. Tell them to keep you accountable by asking you how your workout went on Wednesday. Better yet, text or call your best friend or better half the workout that you did for that day, or if you took a rest day. If they don’t get a text, they’ll be asking you, plus if you know you have to send that text or make that call you’ll want to follow through with your workout. 🙂
Also, tell your closest friends that you’ll need their encouragement, and you may be surprised they may even want to join you!

Personally I love working out with my hubby. He is my greatest compliment giver (not just because he’s bias) but because he’s objective, smart, and he motivates me to work harder. And I like to think I motivate him too. We make a good team. 🙂

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3.) DO EXERCISE THAT YOU ENJOY

This one is SO important. You must find something that you like doing, otherwise you will not be excited to go and spend time doing it…especially if it requires hard work, sweat, and sore muscles. So ask yourself, what do I enjoy? Do I like the outdoors? Maybe try running, walking, hiking, or a local outdoor bootcamp class. Do I like dancing? Zumba or some kind of aerobic dance class might be your cup of tea. Do you enjoy the comeraderie of other people working out with you? You might consider joining a gym and trying some of their group exercise classes, joining a Crossfit box, or trying out your local running club. There are literally tons of options out there!

And trust me, if you look forward to your fitness activities every week, you will be out there making exercise a habit & a priority.

4.) REMIND YOURSELF IT’s OKAY TO TAKE TIME FOR “YOU”

I have met so many women who say they feel guilty when they exercise. They feel they should be doing something else with their time because so many people around them have needs that they must fill. You know what, that might be true, but you have needs to, and I haven’t met one woman ever who didn’t need some “me time.” Especially you Mommas out there.

Can I just tell you that when you take time for yourself to exercise, you will feel better physically, and mentally. You will sleep better at night, and you will have more energy and love to give than if you were burning the candle at both ends for everyone else 24/7. Try it for a week, just take 20 minutes every day to move your body. We all need to start somewhere. Tell your hubby to take the kids, or your Mom, just so you can do something healthy for yourself, and in the long run for your whole family.

5.) DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP

Once you begin your exercise program, whatever it may be, try your best to stay consistent, and don’t beat yourself up when you miss a scheduled workout, or something comes up and you just can’t fit exercise into your day. I used to get so stressed out about missing a workout, and feel guilty, which then led to feeling guilty about what I ate, etc. It was a vicious cycle that was completely unmerited, and ridiculous.

With time, and age I have realized that  IT IS OK to listen to your body, and rest. And sometimes interruptions are unpreventable, living in a relationship centered culture I have truly learned that. And the reality is tomorrow comes sooner than you realize, so get back on your horse and start again. Missing one workout in the long run will not effect your exercise routine or fitness level, it is a tiny brush stroke in the bigger picture.  The important thing is that you are consistent most of the time, which is making day by day decisions to move and be healthy.

6.) DO IT!

The absolute best advice I can give you is to just get out there and get moving! Seriously. Don’t wait until January 1st to start your journey towards your fitness goals. Start now, and make goals for today, tomorrow, and the day after that. Make long term goals, find a fitness buddy, and find what you love to do. No one is standing in your way except yourself.

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What is the hardest part about exercising for you? What changes do you need to make to love your fitness life?

Get out there and work it!

Liesl

Smoked Trout & Herb Burgers

When I was a girl my Mom made salmon patties. It was one of those dinners that she repeated, like every few weeks, because we loved it. The patties were a little crispy on the outside from the pan frying, but tasted fresh and light. She used dill from her herb garden and always made a homemade tartar sauce. J

These trout burgers are a quick, and healthy weeknight meal that can be super fun for kids, and an easy way to sneak in lean protein, healthy fats, and fresh herbs.

A fun idea would be to be two or three dipping sauces, kids love to dip food. My suggestions would be one of these tahini dressings, a tartar sauce made with greek yogurt instead of mayo, or a honey mustard sauce. MMmmm…I need to get cookin’.

Enjoy!

HERB TROUT & MILLET BURGERS

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¼ medium onion
1 clove garlic
¾ cup millet dry
2 cans smoked trout ( I used Trader Joes brand)
1/8 cup sunflower seeds
2 Tbsp. ground flax seed
2 Tbsp. chia seeds
½ tsp. chili powder
fresh basil
fresh parsley
salt to taste

Bring 1 ½ cups water to boil in a small sauce pan. Once boiling add the ¾ cup millet and bring to a boil again. Once boiling turn down to a simmer and let the millet simmer covered until all the water is absorbed. Let cool.

Meanwhile add the ¼ onion and garlic to the bowl of a food processor, chop fine. Add the trout, seeds, chili powder, and fresh herbs.

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Pulse several times to mix. Add the millet and pulse until the mixture comes together. You will probably have to scrape down the bowl several times to get everything well mixed. The mixture should be clumping so that you will have no problem forming patties

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Form the mixture into patties with your hands, about 3 inches in diameter. This recipe should make about 6 burger patties.

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Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat and add a small bit of coconut or olive oil. Once hot add the patties and cook until starting to brown and then flip over; around 3-5 minutes per side.

Serve the trout burgers with whole wheat buns, avocado, tomato and carmelized onions, or on top of a big green salad with some of this tahini dressing

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*If you can’t find smoked trout, try canned salmon or even tuna.

Try these for dinner tonight…you’re welcome. 🙂

Homemade burgers: What’s your favorite recipe? Anything life changing I need to try?

Liesl

Eats & Fitness – 11.17

We had our pig, Otis, castrated this weekend. He squealed like I used to as the youngest girl in the family when my brothers would barge into my room unannounced. However, his life has been altered much more than mine was at the time. 🙂 He is now on his way to becoming fatter, and the most organic-ish pig in the village. We gave him extra scraps yesterday…it was hard day.

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All our Nahuatl friends want to come and help us eat him, but he may not be as delicious as the poop-eating, free range pork that they are used to. Just a day in the life of a gal living in a tribal village.

What’s going on at your place this weekend?

I also did some hair trimming. Their parents kept talking about how the girls would be walking around bald…not sure what they thought I was going to do. 🙂

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This little man just watched. Cutie pie.

We’ve again been blanketed by clouds here in the Mexican Sierra that have also brought some rain, and living off the grid with solar power as our electric source means there hasn’t been much online time for this girl this week. I usually check the web for new recipe inspiration, so I was flying solo as I menu planned for the coming week. Even though I do have some pretty amazing cookbooks that I consult often for ideas.

And in fun news: the hubby put up a new light bulb for me in the kitchen today! So excited, it’s right above where I do most of my food prep. Yeah, for men learning to be handy. 🙂

So here’s what we’ll be munching on this week:

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Main Meal Ideas:

Mexican Pie

Roasted Zucchini Stuffing

White Bean, Bacon, & Rosemary Soup w/Pumpkin cornbread

Smoked Trout Millet Burgers & Edamame (recipe will be up tomorrow)

Sundried tomato & basil omelets

Weekend prep: pressure beans (using this method), pre-cut zucchini, shell edamame, make snacks:

Gingerbread Snack Bars & Spicy Quinoa Clusters (recipes in process)
And…some Pumpkin Pie Granola! Yum!

Tentative Fitness Plan:

Monday: 6s Leg Burner Workout

Tuesday: Run + Sprints & 6 min Fab Abs

Wednesday: active rest day – walk or yoga & 6 min Fab Abs

Thursday: Run (HIIT intervals) & 6 Min Fab Abs

Friday: Total Body Workout

Saturday: Upper Body + Quick Tabata

Sunday: Run – longer run day + 10 min booty burner (stay tuned for this)

I’m mixing up my routine a little bit this week. I’ve been digging a mid-week rest day as my week days are the busiest, and I’ve been wanting to start running a little longer once a week. I’m thinking this schedule will work a lot better, but we’ll see…this week will be the test run. And Sunday is pancake day, who doesn’t love pancakes after a run?! Sounds like a match made in heaven.

What’s new on your fitness plan this week? What is working for you? Let me know I love new ideas.

And is anyone making their Thanksgiving menu yet? Can’t wait to hear what you are making! I’m experimenting with a veggie cornbread stuffing this week. Mostly because one can never have enough stuffing.

Happy Weekending!

Liesl