Thursday, January 5, 2012

Dinner is served

Last night I made a delicious, light and healthy dinner.  It was a hit with my husband, and Lucy as well.  I served pistachio crusted halibut and a roasted pepper and avocado salad.  It was easy to make and was delightful to consume.  I hope you enjoy this one as much as we did.  The ratios I am giving below will feed 2 (and a Lucy).

Roasted pepper and avocado salad ingredients:
1 bell pepper, any color will do but I prefer red for this.
1 large tomato, I used 3 small because that is what I had on hand
1 avocado
1/4 C cubed, fresh mozzarella cheese
chives to taste
sprinkle of roasted pine nuts
olive oil
balsamic vinegar

To start, you are going to need to roast your bell pepper.  To do this, all you have to do is char the outside of the pepper by placing it on an open flame, it's super easy.  I just turn my stove on and place the pepper right above the flame, resting it on the pot support area.  Once it is charred on the section that is facing the flame, rotate the pepper and char the next area.  Do this until the whole pepper has been roasted.  Once your pepper is covered in black, remove it from the flame and allow it to rest for a minute.  Once it is slightly cooled, scrape the black char off of you pepper with a knife, spoon, whatever.  It will come off easily.  Now, you should have a perfectly juicy, roasted pepper to work with!  Just cut it as you would a normal bell pepper, and make it into small, squarish bite sized pieces.  Cube your tomato, mozzarella, chop your chives, and combine everything in a bowl.  Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle lightly with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Garnish with roasted pine nuts, and it's ready to serve!

Your pepper should look similar to this before you scrape it clean.  I had already started the scraping process before I took this picture.
Pistachio crusted halibut ingredients:
2 .25 lb pieces of halibut, cleaned and prepared
1 C salted pistachio nuts, shelled
1 egg
splash of ice water
flour for dusting (optional)
extra virgin olive oil

To make, preheat your oven to 350.   Add nuts to a food processor and crush them until they are almost powdery.  Small chunks are just fine, you don't want to over process though.  Place crushed nuts on a plate or in a bowl.  Crack egg in a small bowl and whisk in a splash of ice water.  Season your halibut with pepper (don't salt it, the pistachios have enough salt already).  This is where you can sprinkle with flour.  I didn't and my crust still stuck on just fine.  Submerge your fish in egg wash and then coat in pistachios.  Immediately place on a well buttered/oiled hot stove top pan that can be transferred into the oven.  Sear the halibut, until the pistachios are toasted and the fish has started to cook, about 2 minutes a side.  Once you have seared your fish, place the pan in a heated oven for about 5 minutes.  The amount of time your fish needs in the oven will depend on the thickness of your cut of fish.  Thinner cuts will need less time in the oven than thicker cuts.  Remove from oven, once the fish is cooked through, and serve immediately.

I hope you enjoy this easy, fast, and healthy recipe.  It's one of our favorites!
** This would be delicious with a brown buttered sage sauce, although I did not serve that with ours last night.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Not your average grilled cheese sandwich.

It's time to throw that Wonder bread and Kraft cheese away!  We are talking gourmet grilled cheese today.  Grilled cheese isn't traditionally thought of as a healthy thing to eat, but I'm going to give some examples of ways you can make it a little more healthful than it usually is.  
Mari's post on that perfect fall butternut squash curry soup inspired me to make a fall dish I have had my mind on for a while.  Utah decided to go from 85 degree weather to snow in the matter of 24 hours, so it was the perfect excuse to make this delicious fall dish.  Here is the recipe (I got it from one of my favorite chefs, Chuck Hughes.  Love him.) for a lovely tomato soup and some iPhone pictures of the process:


  • 2 tablespoons/30ml olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 12 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 piece Parmesan rind, optional
  • 1/4 cup/60ml 35-percent cream
  • 2 tablespoons/30ml butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • Grated Parmesan, for serving
  • Chopped fresh chives, for serving


Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and onions and cook until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the brown sugar and tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes more. Add 1/2 cup water, the thyme and Parmesan rind, if using. Cook for about 25 minutes.Discard the thyme sprigs and Parmesan rind. Puree the soup in a food processor or with an immersion blender until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve set over cleaned saucepan. Stir in the cream and butter. Season with salt and pepper.
To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan and chives.

Caramelizing shallots.

 Aged white cheddar and shallot filled grilled cheese.  YUM!
Tomato Soup.

Here are some grilled cheese recipes I have tried, or am dying to try that I came up with:
  • Focaccia bread, mozzarella, basil and heirloom tomato, drizzled with balsamic vinegar and olive oil
  • French bread with brie, cranberry, and roasted turkey
  • Whole grain bread with fire roasted bell peppers, jack cheese, spinach, rotisserie chicken and spicy mustard
  • Whole grain bread with aged white cheddar and caramelized onions
  • Sourdough bread with olives, tomato, and Parmesan cheese
  • Wheat bread with Gorgonzola, prosciutto,  and caramelized pears
  • French bread with Havarti, apples and ham
  • Rye bread with avocado, chicken, and pepper jack cheese
Try adding fruits, veggies, and sources of protein to you grilled cheese next time you're in the mood for one!  It will be delicious and much more nutritious than  ever before.  I'd love to hear what combinations you come up with and what inspired you!  Share in the comment section below.

Happy and healthy this lovely fall season,

Monday, October 3, 2011

October is here!

Pull out your sweaters, scarves, and boots! The most wonderful month of the year is here & I couldn't be happier. With this wonderful change of season and to welcome in October,  I wanted to share a delicious fall recipe with you.  
It's only 270 calories per serving (1 serving: 1.5 cups + 2 tablespoons of cheese)
It's so MmmmMmmm Good! :)

 Curried Butternut Soup

You can make this rich soup with any kind of squash, or even sweet potatoes!! 


  • 8 cups cubed peeled butternut squash (about 2 pounds)
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cups chopped peeled Granny Smith apple (about 3/4 pound)
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 (14 1/2-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated extra-sharp white cheddar cheese


  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Arrange squash in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 45 minutes or until tender.
  • Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add apple, onion, celery, and bay leaf; sauté 10 minutes. Stir in curry powder and garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add squash, broth, and salt; stir well.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Partially mash mixture with a potato masher until thick and chunky; stir well with a spoon. Top each serving with cheese.
 Recipe courtesy of


Thursday, August 11, 2011

my 1st happiness project

You know what I love? Surprises. Not the 'oh, it looks like you're going to need a root canal' kind, but the gooooooood ones! Surprises like cheery flowers showing up on the kitchen table 'just because', a sweet thoughtful text or message from a friend, or 'So sorry the baby shower is canceled because Shelby is in labor!'. 

Surprises are just fun!

In my constant effort to keep life 'spiced-up' (just ask Chris, he hears me tell him to 'spice up' his life on a regular basis....and yes, the Spice Girls song has been a delivery method) I have decided that I am going to spread the surprise love & give more little surprises to others. 

I am hoping this little project of mine is as fun as I think it is going to be. I know we all enjoy making other people smile :) The little things in life go a long way.

My first surprise will be hiding these little notes around the apartment for my sweetheart (each of them saying something different). 
Wish me luck!

wishing happiness projects to all!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Organic Produce

My adorable friend Sarah over at The Thirteenth blog shared a post that I just had to pass on! As you may already know I love Organic. I do! I do! Organic (to me) means no chemicals and all of the good stuff. Sarah put it perfectly when she said "a medical investment". When I eat a vegetable I don't want to worry about what chemicals I may be ingesting, rather, I would like to think about the fact that it is entirely good for me. 

Ahem, anyway. I am a big supporter and lover of Organic.
But what if you cannot find it! (we have all been there right?) And you are forced to settle for a non-organic....(insert dramatic music "dun-dun-duhh")

Have you heard of the "Dirty Dozen" and the "Clean Fifteen"? Those are lists of produce that have the most and the least amounts of pesticides. Essentially, the idea is that you should try to buy organic when it comes to any of the fruits or veggies on the Dirty Dozen list, but it's okay to skip the organic label if a food is one of the Clean Fifteen. 

This adorable cheat sheet is printable & easy to put in your wallet for when you go to the grocery store. 
I was pretty excited when I saw this & thought you all might like it too. A special shout out to Sarah for sharing it! <3

Here's to healthy shopping & giving our bodies what they deserve!
Mari Liz

Friday, June 10, 2011

Lemony Herbed Quinoa Salad

A refreshing and tasty salad! You can add yummy things to it like grilled chicken, steak, or seafood. 
*Tip! the salad will improve in flavor if made ahead of time!

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp grapeseed or safflower oil
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 sweet red pepper, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
*sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
(recipe compliments of for the love of salad)

Enjoy your yummy summery super-healthy salad! 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My favorite bruschetta recipe

Bruschetta is the perfect healthy appetizer or lunch choice.  This recipe is easy to make and delightful on the taste buds.  We love it in the Alvord household.  It never disappoints.  The following is a single portion recipe, so if you are making it for a group just multiply the following by however many people will be enjoying this delicious concoction.  I always add the ingredients to taste so the following are approximate measurements.

  • 1 baguette (10 slices per serving)
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 5 fresh basil leaves chopped
  • 1/4 C toasted pine nuts
  • sea salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • fresh grated parmesan cheese to taste
  • 1/4 C balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 C extra virgin olive oil

To make:

Dice tomatoes, chop garlic and basil and place in bowl.  Add other ingredients and combine.  I always sprinkle the sea salt and add the vinegar before I add anything else because I like the tomatoes to marinate for a minute in that combination, but that is totally not necessary.  Slice your baguette into 1/3 inch slices and drizzle olive oil over their tops.  Toast your bread until it's golden in color.  I broil mine in the oven for just a minute or two.  Top your bread with the delectable tomato combination and enjoy!  I hope you love it as much as we do.

Happy to share a healthy recipe, 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Baby Food

Well my friends, the time has come for my daughter to start eating solids.  I can't believe we are already to this point in her life!  Where have the past 4.5 months gone?  

One thing I was sure of before I had Lucy, was that when the time came, I was going to make her baby food.  I bought a Baeba babycook before she was even born and was so excited about it.  I came to the decision to make her babyfood myself when I realized what goes into many jarred baby foods.  Many baby foods (not all, but many) are full of fillers, preservatives, water, and thickeners,  in place of real nutritious food.  Over half of Gerber's most popular selections contain these fillers instead of the fruits and vegetables advertised.  Also, many of the natural vitamins and minerals found in foods are stripped in the process of making and storing jarred baby food.  Jarred baby food is expensive, and after a little research on my part, I found it's not as nutritious as the big companies trick us into believing.  I also tasted some of the baby food options available and they taste nothing like the actual food they are supposed to be!  I want Lucy to be exposed to the taste and way I prepare food from the beginning so she is less likely to reject those foods later in life, if we were to make the switch from jarred food to my food.  I also don't want to allow her to get a separate meal from us every time she eats.  I want her to eat what we are eating.  Meal time in our home is and will be a family event and I refuse to make each of my kids something different at every meal.  So between the ingredients in shelved baby food, the taste of them, the cost and the lack of nutients, homemade baby food it is for us!

I have decided to only use organic fruits and vegetables, (and when the time comes, meats as well) to ensure she isn't getting any pesticides or hormones in her food.

It is recommended that babies main source of nutrition is breast milk until at least six months of age, one year is best.  Babies can be started on solid foods between 4 and 6 months of age, as a supplement to breastfeeding or formula.  Before starting your baby on solid food, always consult with your pediatrician.  A lot of the old baby food 'rules' are changing and things aren't as strict as they used to be (i.e. you can give your baby strawberries before 1 year of age, whereas that used to be on the 'forbidden' list).  It's more of a watch-and-be-careful kind of a policy now.  If there is a family history of food allergies, extra care and timing are crucial, and a pediatrician should certainly be consulted with before the child is exposed to any food.  I did tons of research and talked to Lucy's pediatrician about this topic, and only two things are absolutely off limits in the first year, milk and honey.  I had heard of the milk, but never the honey.  Honey can cause botulism in babies under one year old.  Although milk is off limits, cheese and yogurt are ok for babies to consume.  They are easier to digest than milk, and milk itself can cause the body to be unable to absorb iron which is a necessary vitamin for infants.

Although not necessary, it is recommended that you wait 3 days between exposing your baby to new foods in case of an allergic reaction.  If there is a food allergy, it will be easier for you to identify the cause.  

Some of the easiest foods to start baby on are rice cereal, bananas, and avocado.  All have a nice texture that is easy to swallow,  are nutritious, and are pleasant on the taste buds.  Mixing the baby's first food with expressed breast milk may allow the baby to accept the food easier than if it were plain or mixed with water, because of the familiar taste.

You can make and freeze your baby food in bulk at the beginning of the week or month and freeze it.  Just pull it out and thaw or heat appropriately before mealtime.  You can freeze your food in designated baby food freezing trays, or in ice cube trays.  Once the food is frozen, remove it from the tray and store in a labeled freezer bag.  Be sure to include the date of preparation and ingredients on the label of the bag.  The frozen food should be used within a month of being prepared.

Baby food is so easy to make!  If you are eating a healthy and balanced diet, you can most likely give them some of what you are eating every day.  The best way to prepare vegetables and fruits, in order to best preserve their nutrients is to bake, sautee or steam them.  Never prepare baby's food in a microwave, either to cook or thaw it.  Once cooked, let the food cool a bit and blend it in a blender, food processor or your baby food maker.  Naturally soft fruits should never be cooked, as cooking them takes some of their nutritional value away from them.  Just mash them up and enjoy!

I'm excited about the Baeba because it cooks, steams, thaws, heats, and purees the food all in this single bowl.  It is BPA and PVC free, easy to clean and easy to use.  Although it's a fun accessory, it certainly isn't necessary to have in order to make your own baby food.

Here is my sweet Lucy the first time she ate solids.  We chose to go with rice cereal and breast milk for her first go.

A few days later she was very fond of the bananas we prepared.

I'm very excited to introduce her to more and more foods and food combinations.  I have a whole menu planned out that we will be exploring over the next several weeks.  Below I have listed some websites where you can find more information about making your own baby food, ways to prepare it and recipes to follow.

Enjoy!  I know my happy and healthy Lucy will.

Monday, January 31, 2011

2011 Goals

One of my goals this year is to get back into running. After my foot surgery I lost a lot of muscle & became more out of shape than ever before. Now that I am able to run again I realize how much of the ability I've lost. I've always felt that running is one of those things that you have to continually work on or you lose it. Maybe that's just me? :) Anyway, at this point I can run a slow-steady 1mile. That's my limit. I would like to get back to my running level before the surgery. I know it's a slow and steady climb, but I'm going to try.

Which brings me to another point....I wanted to share my experience with the Vibram 5 Finger shoes thus far. I LOVE THEM! Really. I love them. I have had less foot pain and been less sore after my runs (as far as feet go). They are a little funny and take a few tries to get used to. After my first run I liked them but they smashed one of my toes...the next run I loosened the strap on the back and the toe problem was fixed. It was about a 3-5run learning curve for me.  My legs were a little sore in places they hadn't ever been before..I think it's because I'm now using muscles I hadn't really used in the past. Overall I really do like these shoes! I think they are going to help my feet.
I just hope that as my runs get longer that I still like them just as much! 

Here are my goals for 2011:
  • Run 3 races this year
  • Work out a minimum of 3 days every week
  • Expand my cooking by making at least 1 new recipe per week
  • Take 1-2hrs per week to do something for myself, anything that makes me happy
  • Ensure our home is filled with healthy food (so we don't have to eat garbage late at night! eek!)
  • Help my husband find balance in all aspects of his life
  • Bring Yoga & Running back into my regular work out routine
  • Show more gratitude
 Here's to a new year & to keeping my be healthy be happy goals!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Blond Barbecue Sauce + Shallot Vinaigrette

I stumbled upon some lovely recipes that I wanted share with you! I plan on making them this week. I picture the chicken and the salad served together. You could top your salad with some lovely nuts and tomato, maybe an avocado! It's a very versatile salad dressing, so the possibilities are endless.


This sweet, spicy sauce is easy to throw together with kitchen staples and makes a wonderful glaze for pork or lamb ribs (or chicken). Just salt the meat, slather with sauce, and roast on a baking sheet at 350F, basting occasionally with the sauce, until the meat is tender and the glaze is golden brown.

Makes 1 1/3 cups; Serves 6 - 8

1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
3/4 cup apricot preserves
 3   tablespoons red wine vinegar
 1   tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Combine everything in a pan and heat, stirring, until bubbling and the preserves are dissolved.


Vinaigrette is best used the day it's made but will taste good for a few days if kept refrigerated. If the oil is added slowly while whisking, the mustard emulsifies the dressing. Even after it has sat for awhile and separated, the dressing will re-emulsify when shaken if it was correctly made the first time.

The ratio of oil to vinegar varies. Use the lesser amount of olive oil first, then taste by dipping the tip of a lettuce leave into it. Depending on the flavor of your salad greens and your own taste, you may want a sharper vinaigrette (less oil) or a smoother one (more oil).

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

1 small shallot, finely minced (or 2-3 tablespoons finely diced red onion)
1 small clove garlic, crushed to a puree (optional)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (or other type of mustard)
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme)
1/4 cup canola oil (or other veg. oil)
1/2-3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 

In a deep bowl, mix the shallot, garlic (if using), red wine and balsamic vinegars, salt, pepper, mustard, and thyme with a whisk or a fork. Let stand for about 15min.

Slowly whisk in the oils, beginning with the canola oil. Drizzle the canola oil in to the bowl in a thin stream while whisking constantly, the mixture should thicken slightly. After adding canola oil, whisk in the olive oil in a thin stream. Taste. Add more oil if necessary. Sometimes you will want a very tart vinaigrette, other times a more oily one. You decide!

Eat Healthy & Stay Happy,

Friday, January 21, 2011

This is sure to make you happy

I know this is about a month overdue but it will certainly make your heart happy.  I love everything about it.  Enjoy!

I once read that when you smile, you use 42 muscles.  What a great exercise!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Forks Over Knives

In Theaters March 11
Not sure how I feel about it.
I do know that I will be going to see it to find out.
What are your thoughts?


Monday, January 17, 2011

Barefoot Running

I guess you could call me desperate.

It's been almost 1 full year since I had foot surgery on both feet. They removed two bunions on each foot, cut my big toes in half and straightened them...and finally, they put one big screw in each to keep it from happening again. Bunion + realignment surgery= ouch. So, Why? was painful to workout. Not excruciating but, painful. I spoke with my doctor and was told that this surgery would improve my feet & relieve the pain. Recovery would be 6-8weeks...


Here I am, a year later, to tell you that was not true.
Although my right foot has regained total function and range of motion, it still has moments where it just burns and aches.
My left foot, well, let's just say a day doesn't go by where it doesn't hurt, even if for just a minute. And you can forget about the range of motion, that toe won't bend at all.

Long story short, I'm frustrated. I'm in more pain than I was before surgery. But I don't want this to be the end. I don't want to give up. I don't want to just accept that I will have pain forever and that I will never be able to wear half of my shoes again.

All of this has brought me to purchase a pair of these funky looking shoes. They are called the Vibram 5 Fingers. Simply put, they are shoes that are meant to act as a shield between your feet & the elements, nothing more. They are meant to function as if you are wearing no shoes at all. I've read countless testimony after testimony about how great these shoes are. People have claimed they eliminate pain in joints, knees, and feet. They also help with your lower back (says an avid runner on a barefoot blog)... I'm sure the results vary per person. So I'm not saying they'll be the cure for my problems or the answer for everyone. But the idea is so intriguing, right? Here is what they post on their website:

"Our revolutionary design makes feet healthier by allowing them to move more naturally and freely.
The typical human foot is an anatomical marvel of evolution with 26 bones, 33 joints, 20 muscles and hundreds of sensory receptors, tendons and ligaments. Like the rest of the body, to keep our feet healthy, they need to be stimulated and exercised."

I've been watching people at my gym wear these during the fall months and have been so interested. I've read mixed reviews in running magazines, but even the bad reviews said they notice their feet are stronger after using these. Finally, a day or two ago, a good family friend told me how much it helped her cousin with foot was just enough to motivate me to buy myself a pair.

I can only hope this will aide me in my recovery. I have no idea if it will, but I am hopeful. The shoes should be arriving by Wednesday. I will be updating on my progress and my personal story with these crazy shoes, let's hope it's a success story! :)

For more information about barefoot running and 5Finger Shoes you can go here and here. Here is a personal story from a family friend.  Want more information than that? Just Google "barefoot running" or "five finger shoes"'ll get lots of info, trust me!

hoping to have happy feet soon,

Friday, January 14, 2011

Healthy Pregnancy Tips, Part 1

I have had several people ask about the things I did to stay as healthy as possible during my pregnancy.  I have decided to break it down into a few posts, so look out for more coming up in the near future.   These will consist of things that I did, that worked wonderfully for me.  Of course they are just suggestions and every woman, body, and pregnancy is different, so make sure you listen to your body and discuss your plans with your doctor before you change or add anything to your routine.

If you are having a normal, healthy pregnancy exercise is something that is great for both you and your baby.  It is recommended by the American College of OBGYN that pregnant women participate in 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise 5-7 days a week.  

When I was pregnant, I craved the movement and activity exercise provided.  My Dr advised against aerobic classes, anything with a lot of bouncing or jumping, kickboxing, and running, all of which I love and do regularly when I'm not pregnant.  Initially, I felt very limited in what was safe for me and the baby, but soon discovered I had so many options when it came to workouts that were ok.  Here are some physical activities I did while pregnant that helped me stay active, keep my blood pressure at a healthy level, avoid gestational diabetes, and maintain a healthy weight:
  • Hikes and nature walks- I did several of them throughout my pregnancy.  It was nice to have a change of scenery and breathe some fresh air.  Luckily I live within minutes of some of the most beautiful mountains in the world.  Remember to always go with someone when you are pregnant.
  • Yoga- I did yoga about once or twice a week until the middle of my third trimester.  Yoga has so many benefits for pregnant women.  It helps with balance, strength, and flexibility and muscle/body awareness during delivery, making pushing easier and more effective.  Make sure your instructor knows you are pregnant so they can modify moves for you, or participate in a prenatal yoga class.  Prenatal yoga DVDs can be purchased for practice at home.
  • Light weights/resistance training- I lifted until just days before Lucy was born.  Make sure you are using proper form, and the correct weight to ensure injury prevention.  I lifted arms, legs, and still did core strengthening exercises while I was pregnant.
  • Squats and lunge, you can find a variety of lower body exercises here, here, and here.
  • Elliptical machine- I would do a level 6 for 30-60 minutes.  I needed to be at a lower level than usual in order to avoid my heart rate getting too high.
  • Hill and stair climbing, both at the gym and outdoors
  • Daily neighborhood walks

Here I am, 36 weeks pregnant, on a hike with Josh in Park City.

This was taken just two days before I delivered Lucy on a nature walk just outside our family's cabin in Sundance.

What are some exercises you have found you enjoyed while pregnant?

Next pregnancy post:  FOOD!

Happy to have had a healthy pregnancy,

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Happy New Year!

Well, I'm back at it again!  It's a new year, and much has changed.  

My body went from this:
To this:
In just 9 short months.  I would say she was well worth it though.

I have some goals set for myself this new year, that I want to document on this lovely blog of ours.  I feel that if I make them public I will have an easier time holding myself accountable and sticking to my plan.  They are nothing crazy but they are very important to me.  Here they are:

  • I will continue to breast feed Miss Lucy until she is one year old.
  • When the time comes, I will make all of her baby food with fresh, organic ingredients.
  • I will be in bikini shape by Summer.  I don't have lbs that need to come off but I need some major toning to occur.  I want to feel fit, confident, and healthy.
  • I will cook 4 dinners a week for my family.
  • I will read 3 non-parenting books this year.  That may not sound like a big deal, but for me it is.
  • I will spend more time with my husband and give our relationship the attention it deserves.  I love that man.
  • I will update this blog, and my family blog once a week.
  • If my milk supply allows, I will run the SLC half marathon in April.  If not, I will be there to cheer on those who are running.
  • I will keep my house clean and organized. 
  • I will be able to touch my toes while standing, with my legs straight by April.  
See, nothing crazy or out of the ordinary.  I'm really looking forward to this year, it will be my first as a parent!  There are so many things to be grateful for and I want to enjoy life to its fullest in 2011.
Happy and healthy,

P.S. What are your goals for this new year?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Happiness Project

I just purchased this book:
The Happiness Project 
I am so excited to read it! For me, happiness and health include putting BOTH good things into my body AND my mind. Reading always makes me happy, less stressed, and feeling more balanced. I just love the thought of curling up with a good book for an hour, and what better book than one about a woman's journey to spend a year seeking only happiness?! Love this idea! I'm all about reading happy, positive books these days. I want to FILL my life with positive people & positive energy--and this book sounded like just that!

ahhh man I really miss Yoga...

TTFN Happiness Seekers!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Grocery Shopping List

I've received a few requests to share my grocery shopping list. Mari's last post, the one below, has many of these items included in it (it also has some great storage ideas and budget friendly ways to shop- my favorite post so far!) so this might be a bit redundant but here it goes.

Staples (I usually buy these in bulk to have on hand because they are used so often):
  • rice
  • quinoa
  • pasta, usually linguine
  • beans (I do organic canned because I still haven't mastered soaking and cooking my own)
  • steel cut oats
  • cold cereal for Josh, he prefers Mini-Wheats
  • walnuts
  • pine nuts
  • pecans
  • chicken and fish- Like Mari I buy fresh and freeze it myself.  It's better that way.
  • peanut butter
  • agave nectar
  • vinegars- balsamic, white balsamic
  • olive oil

    My regular/weekly grocery list looks something like this:
    • baby spinach or mixed greens- I love the organic Earthbound Farm brand for all my veggies
    • baby carrots 
    • peppers, usually red or orange unless I know I'll be needing other colors for a recipe
    • green onions
    • red onion
    • butternut squash
    • tomatoes
    • sugar snap peas
    • strawberries
    • raspberries
    • blueberries
    • melon- usually cantaloupe or honeydew in our house
    • pineapple
    • peaches
    • apples
    • bananas
    • lemon
    • oranges or tangerines
    • garlic
    • sage
    • basil
    • deli meat for the husband
    • hummus, or the ingredients to make it at home
    • tzatziki as vegetable dip and a sandwich condiment instead of the fattier alternatives
    • Food Should Taste Good multi-grain cracker chips
    • good quality cheese- love the Yancy's Fancy brand, it's delicious and not ridiculously expensive.
    • milk
    • plain yogurt
    • organic or cage/hormone/antibiotic free omega-3 eggs
    • fresh bread- I'm a Great Harvest snob and love their High Five Fiber bread.
    • fresh salsa
    • fresh squeezed orange juice

      Remember to only buy produce that is in season.  Otherwise, you'll be really sad when you get a bland or rancid mouthful of your favorite fruit or veggie.  To save a few bucks and to get the freshest food possible, try to find your local farmers market and shop there.  Not only do you get the best deals and the best food but you are supporting locals, which makes my heart sing.  Try to avoid buying crappy, junky food.  When you put them in your house that is what you and your family eat.  Most of what is on this list is easy to quickly grab and eat, and you can use all of these ingredients for multiple meals throughout the week which saves time and money.

       Remember to never grocery shop while hungry, you're more likely to make poor choices and will come home home with more food that is less healthy, than when you shop with a content tummy.

      Plan, plan, plan.  Always make a grocery list and stick to it!  You'll come home with healthier items and will spend less money if you do.

      If you haven't yet, be sure to read Mari's Savvy Shopping post.  She shared great, smart shopping ideas, her list of staples and some great ways to make sure you actually use the food you buy- brilliant!  If you have any requests for future posts, please feel free to leave suggestions in our comment box.  I'm really excited about my next post.  I will be sharing a meal plan for a week that is practical, delicious, and of course healthy!  It will be based off of the lists above, what I would normally cook in a week and show how to use ingredients in more than one meal.

      Happy to be healthy (and hoping this little girl gets her foot out of my ribs soon),

      Saturday, June 26, 2010

      Savvy Shopping

      Recently my husband and I have started a "new" budget--much more strict than the previous one. My biggest concern (aside from no shopping! gasp!) was would our food quality suffer? I now know that being on a budget does not mean we have to sacrifice eating well! I thought I'd share some of the tips I've come across through friends, family, and my own experience for shopping healthy on a budget.

      The biggest things I have learned are to plan ahead, stick to my shopping list, and always have the essentials on hand. The best way to eat healthy & spend less? Cook at home, no more take out!

      I use a lovely chart like these, which you can download here or make your own.

      • Plan for the week before you go grocery shopping. Map out each meal, for each day. Know what ingredients/food you will need to purchase and add them to your list. Need recipe ideas? Try these sites: Barefoot Contessa, Gluten-Free Goddess, Cooking Lite Or sign up for cooking classes in your area! Remember your budget while planning your meals
      *I personally go to the store a few times a week.  I like to buy my vegetables the day of/before I use them because, otherwise, I find they go to waste or spoil before I get the chance to use them. If this is not ideal for you, be sure to pick perishables that you know will last.
      • To get the most bang for my buck, I plan meals that have the same ingredients so that nothing goes to waste! (example: if the sauce for your chicken calls for sage, find another recipe (or two!) that also call for sage so that you can use up all of it before it goes bad, while saving money from having to buy different ingredients for each meal). Do this with as many of your meals as possible, you will end up spending much less and not wasting any food.
      • Keeping it healthy is the main priority next to staying on budget. Be sure to include PLENTY of fruits and vegetables in every single meal when doing your planning. I've found that shopping at my farmer's market is the best way to do this. I get tons of veggies/fruits for cheaper than at the grocery store! Plus, it's also a great way to support your local farmers. 
      • Stick to your list! Don't go to the store and grab anything that looks good, you'll end up spending way more than you want & have only snacks instead of meals.  If you enjoy snacking, plan it on your meal chart & buy snacks that you can also use in your meals (so nothing goes to waste!) 

      *Something that I do after I make my list & before the store is Edit. I look over my list. Do I have any "extras" that aren't necessary? That went to waste last time? Will this meet my budget? I also make sure, for healthy reasons, that I do not buy too much, if any, sugars/desserts- if it's not in the house we wont eat it. 

      Join a Co-Op (Google to see if there are any in your area!)
      Grow it yourself 
      Farmers Market
      Buy into a Community Growers Program 

      My mother in law, Linda, runs lovely cooking classes in LA (if you're in the area they are a must! Delicious recipes, tons of learning, and a fun night out!) You can visit her site for more information here :
      The Organic Kitchen.  The list below is a list she gives her students and I thought it was so handy (most of which I already do myself!) so I wanted to share it with you--she calls it her Pantry Must Haves!

      Pantry must haves
      Maldons Flaked Sea Salt (Whole Foods)~ Sea salts, unlike ordinary table salt, are not made with iodine and bitter tasting chemicals to make it flow. They have a 'clean' taste. If you use regular table salt, you are probably so used to the bitter taste you don't even notice it. Once you switch to a clean tasting sea salt, you will notice the difference! Always use just enough sea salt to enhance the flavor of the food, without making it taste salty!
      Fresh Garlic~ Keep fresh garlic on hand. Not only does it add flavor to foods, it lowers bad cholesterol, raises good cholesterol, lowers blood pressure and kills intestinal parasites!

      Extra Virgin Olive Oil ~Preferably organic, always first cold pressed! Olive oil is a heart healthy fat that is also great for the skin and the brain! Good fats help to regulate hormones...ladies... you know what I 'm talkin' about...and it makes everything taste better! Olive oil also slows digestion, making you feel full longer.

      Balsamic Vinegars~ get a few good quality balsamics. I suggest Gourmet Blends Balsamic. They are aged for up to 25 years and have a variety of amazing flavored vinegars to choose from. They are sold in stores or order online at I also love the JR Cohn white balsamic I order online from This site also carries some of our favorite kitchen tools, vanilla paste, salts and home products! Good quality balsamic vinegars can be a little pricey but when it comes to balsamics, you get what you pay for...I'm just sayin'....

      Other Pantry Essentials 
      Grains~ Keep a variety of dried grains such as pastas, rices, quinoa, couscous, barley, oats etc... used with the ingredients mentioned above, you will always have a side dish on hand!

      Nuts, Seeds and dried berries~ Add these to salads, oats, pastas etc.

      Vanilla Paste~ Yum! Thicker than vanilla extract without the strong alcohol flavor. Available at Bristal farms, or cheaper at (see below).

      Fridge Necessities
      Fruits and Veggies~ In this case I believe less is more. Make several trips to the store each week  to buy small amounts of fruits and veggies. Otherwise they spoil and you waste your money. Bagged lettuces, sweet bell peppers and avocados are essentials! Always have lemons!

      Cream, Eggs and Parmesan

      Kitchen Tools
      A good quality chefs knife~ Makes life easier... and cooking more enjoyable!

      A good quality wood cutting board~ No plastic or bamboo, bad for the aforementioned knife!

      Microplane~ Used for zesting, grating parmesan or garlic. (Bed Bath Beyond)

      Hand Held Juice Squeezers~ They come in 3 sizes and corresponding colors, orange (orange size), yellow (lemon size) and green (lime size) available everywhere. Super cheap and you will use them all the time!

      To get any of these items cheaper go to the website, their store is not up and running yet but you can email them and they will ship items to you. They have the cheapest prices around! 

      Another great way to save money is to buy all your meat/fish at Costco. I know, none of us prefer frozen meat--but I've found if you buy it fresh and then freeze it yourself it doesn't seem to  have a huge taste/quality difference. Always thaw your meat/fish early in the day--don't wait until right before and throw it in the microwave! Pull it out early and place in a container with warm water or just on the counter top,  so it can thaw nice and slow. I buy enough chicken/fish to last us one month (which at Costco basically means I buy 1 pack of each). It's cheap and healthy-wohoo!

      After you do your shopping come home and organize your fridge. Cut up any large fruits, melons, vegetables and put in containers--make them easy to eat/access (for a healthy snack, to save time when preparing dinners,etc.)

      And of course, you should pick yourself up some reusable shopping bags! 
      (it wouldn't be me if I didn't say something about being 'Green', right? :) ).

      Very Happy & Healthy Wishes to You,

      Thursday, June 3, 2010

      Delicious Breakfast Yogurt

      I go through phases of food obsession. In the past it's been fresh squeezed tangerine juice, protein shakes, fresh tortillas, perfectly ripe summer peaches, granola, bowls and bowls of get the picture. I have to have whatever my latest food craze is almost, if not, every day. Currently my food obsession is this amazing breakfast recipe. It's light, healthy and quick. What else could you ask for in the early morn?

      My mom told me about this lovely recipe that her friend shared with her. Now, I shall share with you.

      What you'll need:

      a large bowl, a clean dish towel, and a rubber band
      (the rubber band isn't completely necessary so don't fret if you don't have one laying around)

      a large tub of your favorite organic, PLAIN, low fat yogurt, vanilla and an orange

      Place your dish towel on top of the bowl and place the rubber band securing the towel in place. Tuck the bottom of the dish towel under the bowl (if you aren't using a rubber band, this step is especially important, and be extra careful when transferring the bowl to hold the dish towel in place). Scoop the yogurt from its container onto the dish towel.

      Cover with a plate and place in the fridge overnight.

      In the morning, remove your bowl from the fridge, remove the plate and take a lookey inside your bowl. Yep, that's about half of the yogurts volume sitting inside there. Congratulations, you just filtered out most of the liquid that was hanging out in your yogurt. Now you are left with the creamiest most delicious yogurt you will ever feast upon.

      Scoop the yogurt back into it's original container, or whatever you'd like to store it in. Add a couple of teaspoons of vanilla and the zest of one orange.

      Mix it all around and you're done! How simple was that? Now, when you're ready to eat, toss in some of your favorite fruit, fresh or dried, and some nuts and you're good to go.

      This is a great breakfast recipe for anyone. I love it because, being pregnant, I need to make sure I get plenty of vitamins, fiber, protein, anti-oxidants, calcium, and omega-3s. This gives me all of those things as soon as I wake up. I can feel my body appreciates it and I know baby does too because she always jumps for joy after I eat it.

      I prefer to do fresh fruit in my delicious yogurt, but if you use dried fruit try added a little honey or agave nectar to your concoction for a touch of sweetness. The yogurt on its own can be a wee bit tart and without berries you might want to make it a bit sweeter. You can also substitute the orange zest with that of a lemon.

      Happy, healthy, and getting rounder in my mid-section by the day,

      Wednesday, May 19, 2010

      Glamour Girl Fitness: Abs & Buns Workout

      Ladies, you are in for a treat! Meet Ashley Howard.
      She a fitness and health Guru.
      She is a Certified Personal Trainer, Pilates Mat/Reformer Instructor, and owner of Glamour Girl Fitness. Oh, and I should probably add stunning to the list, I mean seriously, check her out!
      Her passion for health and happiness is truly an inspiration and is a perfect reflection of what Be Healthy Be Happy is all about. She is a big believer in the body/mind/soul connection & works hard to help others find their own healthy balance. Through her training she has helped many people and we are very, very fortunate she has taken the time out of her busy life for each of YOU {and me}...US!
      Ashley has been kind enough to create a work out especially for BHBH readers- yay! {With this sneak peak you'll be dying for more! One of the best parts about Glamour Girl Fitness is what a great deal it is!} When making my request for this workout, I knew exactly what I wanted her workout to cover--ABS & BOOTY! Swimsuit season is here and there is no better time than now! As all of her clients will tell you, this is her specialty! So get ready to work hard girls, this workout is gonna make you wanna wear a bikini to the grocery store!

      Be sure to visit her site:
      to get to know Ashley & see the awesome training that she offers!

      Join her Facebook group for regular workout tips & more!
      click here: GlamourGirlFitnessonFacebook

      Glamour Girl Fitness Quick Abs & Buns Workout
      1. Jumping Jacks for 3 minutes straight
      2. Isometric Squats for 1 minute
      3. Plank on your hands for 1 minute
      1. Lateral jumps with taps for 2 minutes
      2. Tabletop abs for 1 minute
      3. Walking Lunges 3 minutes
      1. Jumping Jacks for 3 minutes straight
      2. Side plank on you forearm for 1 minute
      3. Pilates Shoulder Bridge for 2 minutes

      *Repeat this workout as many times as you can and rest for only 30 seconds between each exercise. :)

      Isometric Squat
      ~Stand with both feet hip width apart and the toes pointing straight ahead. Squat low, as if you were sitting in a chair and hold for 1 minute. Remember to keep your weight in your heels, tummy pulled in tight, and chest lifted.

      Plank on Your Hands
      ~Kneel with your knees together and in line with your hips. Place your hands directly under you shoulders. Extend one leg behind you and then the other leg so that you are balancing on the balls of your feet and your hands. Make sure that your body is in a straight line from your head, to your heels. Drop your hips, squeeze your buns and pull your belly button in towards your spin. Hold this pose for 1 minute and focus on nice, deep controlled breaths. Every time you exhale pull your abs in tighter.

      Lateral Jumps with taps
      ~Start with both feet together in front of your right dumbbell. Your knees should be bent and you want to focus on staying low throughout the entire exercise. Jump out with you left leg, land and balance on your left foot as you tap your left dumbbell with your right hand. Then jump off of your left foot and land on your right foot. Tap your right dumbbell with your left hand. Repeat for 2 minutes. Remember to keep your abs pulled in tight.

      Tabletop Abs:
      ~Lie flat on your back and hug your knees into your chest. Keep your knees bent at 90 degrees and slowly bring your knees directly over your hips. Your ankles should be on an even plane with your knees, your spine should be pressing into your mat and your abs should be pulled in tight.

      Focus on taking deep, even breaths and pulling your belly button towards your spine when you exhale. Hold for a minute. To make this exercise harder you can take your knees slightly past your hips, but remember to NOT arch your back. Keep the spine and back of the ribs pressing into the mat.

      Walking Lunges

      ~Start with both feet together. Take a step forward with your right foot and lower into your lunge position. Bring your left foot to meet your right and then step forward with your left foot and lower into a lunge. Try to keep as much weight as you can in your front heel. You want to try to feel your front glute and hamstring as you lower and lift out of your lunge. Repeat walking lunges for 3 minutes.

      Side Plank on Your Forearm
      ~Lie on your right side with your feet stacked. Place your right elbow directly under your right shoulder and prop yourself up on your right forearm. Lift your hips and pull in your abs. Make sure you are in one straight line from your head to your heels. Hold this pose for 1 minute. Try to avoid sinking into your shoulder and focus on deep breathing.

      Pilates Shoulder Bridge
      ~Lie flat on your back with your knees bent. Press into your feet, keep your weight even on both feet and lift up your hips. Lift your right leg so that that your knees are aligned. Exhale as you lift your pointed foot towards the ceiling. Inhale with a flexed foot as you bring your knees back together. Keep your hips up for the whole time. Do your right leg for a minute and then do your left leg for another minute. Keep your leg straight throughout the whole 2 minutes.

      A BIG THANKS to Ashley for sharing this workout with us!!!