FRIEND FRIDAY–CHELSEA VAN NOY CLARKSON

I’m so excited to share this amazing Friend Friday post by Chelsea! She is an amazing wife, mother of 4, yoga instructor, runner and just a sweet friend. I first met Chelsea when she was here for the summer many, many years ago when she was staying with her Aunt Bev, who is another amazing friend. She was helping Aunt Bev with her four kids at the time and getting her house in ship shape.  I remember thinking, “I really need a Chelsea in my life.” Haha. Chelsea has an amazing smoothie recipe to share with us today! Thanks so much Chelsea!!


Here’s the scoop about Chelsea 🙂

John and I met at Dixie College. After moving around a bit for school and work, we came back to St. George and have been here for 10 years. Our oldest is 11 and our youngest is 2. I enjoy baking, running, yoga, taking pictures of lightning, and getting out on my paddle board.  

Here is the smoothie stuff.

So here’s the deal, I don’t really have a specific smoothie recipe. Yes, I’ve looked up recipes on Pinterest and googled recipes from different smoothie joints, but really I use whatever ingredients I happen to have that sounds good to me at the time. The whole reason I want to drink a smoothie is because it’s a simple and great way to get fruits and veggies into my diet as a busy mom. A few years ago I realized that the whole smoothie trend is great and all, but we are only going to be successful at consuming healthy smoothies if making one is easy. And that’s why I smoothie prep.
I bought some 24 ounce freezer safe plastic containers from Amazon to use, and re-use over and over again.  I gather all of my ingredients, lay out the empty containers on the counter, 

fill them up with various fruits and veggies, 


put the lids on, and then store the containers in the freezer.  

I always use spinach and/or kale. That goes in first because it’s easy to smash down. Then I add strawberries, bananas, berries, carrots, those cute little baby cucumbers Costco sells, kiwis, pineapple, tomatoes….truly whatever you want. Not every smoothie is the same. Sometimes I even add parsley, or various seasonings like cinnamon or nutmeg.  

I do not like to waste food. And I like to save money. Here are some things I do when it comes to smoothies: 
1. I only buy the banana in the bag, or with the red tape on them because they are cheaper, and they make a smoothie a bit sweater.  

2. I buy the big bag of spinach from Costco, you know the one that we all have good intentions of using? I will use it for meals for a few days, and then before it starts to go bad, I throw the entire bag of spinach in the freezer. On smoothie prep day, I pull out the bag and use it for my smoothies.

3. Repeat the same idea for kiwis, pears, grapes, or whatever produce you buy but then doesn’t get used before it goes bad.

When I want a smoothie, I take a container out, add my liquid of choice, and blend it up.
I love to use coconut water or almond milk. Sometimes even pomegranate juice. I will also add protein powder, sometimes almonds, chia seeds, or whatever else I want to spice up the smoothies. And if I know the smoothie really isn’t going to taste great, I’ll add some honey or agave, but just a little bit!



And then I drink it! I usually end up with one giant cup of smoothie, or two glasses of what’s pictured here. Sometimes my kids drink the extras, or sometimes I save the rest for later in the day. You can actually buy thick smoothies straws from Amazon, too.  

Quick and Easy Salmon

Hey Y’all! I’m still here. I’ve just been busy with welcoming this new little grand daughter into the world and helping with her adorable big brother. Seriously, grand children are the spice of life (no pun intended ha :). 

Isn’t she ADORABLE!!!  We all have so much love for her all ready and are so happy she’s finally here!! She’s perfect and her big brother is just as adorable. 

Now that we have the fun stuff out of the way, let’s move on to my next recipe to share. Lately, I’ve had limited time so I’ve opted for some of the quickest recipes that I can come up with. This idea came from a good friend’s daughter and I thought I would use it for a salmon marinade. It’s super simple–2 ingredient simple! Ready???

3/4 c. Low sodium soy sauce

1/4 c. sugar (you could probably sub part of this with honey if you’re trying to watch your sugar intake)

I like the salmon from Costco but if you live someplace where you can get fresh salmon, that’s best :)! Harmons has great salmon too. 


Mix together and place salmon portions in marinade. I let that sit for a 5-10 min and then I started some quinoa. 


I like cooking my quinoa in chicken broth. It’s so much more tasty! Make sure you rinse the quinoa before cooking it. If you don’t, you will get a bitter flavor and it’s nasty. Want to ask me how I know that? LOL. I just subbed out the chicken broth for the water on the cooking instructions on the package. 


Once the salmon is done marinating for a bit, I put a little olive oil in a pan and cook the salmon. Depending on the thickness of the salmon, the time will vary. I like cooking the first side around 4 min until it’s looking nice and brown. You could also grill it or some times I use my panini maker to cook it. Turn the salmon and cook the other side to your liking, just make sure you don’t get it too done. It gets dry and isn’t as good. I cooked mine for another 4 minutes and then I had one piece that was a bit more thick so I had to leave that one on for a minute longer. 

Enjoy!!

Also, tomorrow is my Friend Friday guest post that you won’t want to miss!! AND how many of you have tried Christina’s Overnight Oats recipe? It’s turned out to be my morning favorite. I now have it every morning for breakfast– it’s like having a breakfast treat!! My new fav! 

If any of you have a favorite recipe to share, I would love to have you as a guest for my Friend Friday post.  Please email me at itsapegslife@gmail.com. I would love it!!

Hugs to all!

Luscious Leftovers–another version of Sweet Potato Enchiladas with the Mexican Sweet Potato Boats

Earlier this week I posted a recipe for the Mexican Sweet Potato Boats and I had leftovers. Rather than just warm them up, I decided to make them into one of my favs. Can you tell I love Mexican food and I love sweet potatoes? Haha. 

So here is the baked Mexican Sweet Potatoes cooked just for a refresher. :). 

Additional ingredients needed for this recipe:

1 can Green Chile Sauce

1-2 c. Pepper Jack Cheese

1-2 c. Cheddar Cheese

Large Flour Tortillas or Corn

Sour Cream

Avocado

Salsa


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. To make the enchiladas with this recipe, I just took a spoon and scooped out the goods from the peeling of the sweet potato and placed it in the tortilla. Now put some green chile sauce on top and a little more cheese, roll the tortilla and place a baking pan. Put the rest of the can of green chile sauce on top of the enchiladas and more pepper jack cheese and cheddar cheese. Place in oven for 20-30 min. Enjoy!

Meatless Monday–Mexican Sweet Potato Boats

I’m excited to post this Meatless Monday recipe! I got the idea from a picture I saw and ran with it! 

Ingredients:

Sweet potatoes (I like the fatter ones for this particular dish)

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 Jalapeño, finely chopped and seeded

1/2 white onion, chopped

1 small can Green chile sauce (you won’t need all of this can)

1 c. Salsa

Pepper jack cheese

Cheddar cheese

Serve with sour cream, avocado, lime and salsa


Half sweet potatoes, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake in a preheated oven on 425 for 40-45 min. You can tell if they are done when you poke it with a fork. It should go in easily and that’s a done sweet potato :). I poked all of mine because they were all different thicknesses. 


With the back of a spoon slightly smash the middle of the sweet potato to form a half circle so you can fill it with delicious goods :). 


Sauté jalapeño and onion in olive oil until onion is translucent and add drained and rinsed black beans. Heat for a few min and set aside. At this point, you can add 1 c of your favorite salsa. 


Place groved sweet potatoes in a 9×13 pan or larger if needed. Now it’s time to fill those babies! First, fill with the bean mixture, put a couple of spoonfuls of green chile sauce on top and then sprinkle pepper jack cheese and cheese cheese to top it off. Mmmmmm my belly is growling!

Bake for 20 min or until cheese has completely melted. This is one of my new favorites and if you have any leftovers, I’ll show you how to make them into a Luscious Leftover later on in the week :).  My hubs loved this one too :). Bonus!


ENJOY!!!

FRIEND FRIDAY-HEIDI NOWATZKE–GLUTEN-FREE CARROT CAKE

I’m so excited to post this guest post!!  Heidi has been one of my dear friends for many years.  She is a wife and an incredible mother to FIVE very handsome boys.  She is a master cook, an incredible runner (one really fit chick 🙂 and just one of the sweetest friends you’ll ever meet.  Also, no matter what happens to her in life, she always has a smile on her face :).  Also, Heidi has some amazing gluten free recipes and they are sooooo good.  Thanks so much for this post Heidi!  You’re a sweetie!

Here’s the scoop from dear Heidi :).carrotcakeonplate1

This is one of my favorite treats! I haven’t been a huge gluten free treat lover, but since I was diagnosed with celiac a little over a year ago I have tried a lot of gluten free treats and many of them are ok but not great. But not this one! It’s one even my family will eat and you can’t tell it’s gluten free.  I got this recipe from a friend, Crystal Boren.
Here are all the ingredients that go into  making the cake:

carrotcakeingre

1 cup white sugar
 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
 3 Eggs
2  cups Bob’s Red Mill 1 to1 Gluten Free Flour
1 1/2  teaspoons baking powder
1  teaspoon baking soda
1/2  teaspoon salt
1  tablespoon cinnamon
1/2  cup buttermilk
1  tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2  cups carrots, finally shredded
1/4  cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup  sweet coconut flakes
Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°
2.  Grease 2 (9 inch) cake pans and set aside
3.  In a large bowl cream together oil, sugars, and eggs.
4.  In a separate bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
5.  Gradually add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, alternating with buttermilk.
6. Mix until just fully combined. Be careful not to over mix.
7.  Fold in shredded carrots. I like to shred my carrots in my vita mix because it’s easy.
8.  Also fold in the applesauce, coconut flakes and vanilla extract.
9.  Pour batter evenly into prepared pan’s.
carrotbatterinpan
10.  Bake about 25 minutes until center is set. Do not over bake! Mine usually takes about 28 minutes but check it after 23 minutes.
11.  Put cake directly into freezer to cool.
12.  While cakes are cooling prepare the frosting.
These are the ingredients that are used:
carrotfrostingingre
Ingredients for the frosting and you can double the recipe if you like the thicker layer of frosting :
8 oz.  Cream Cheese,  room temperature
 4 tablespoons of room temperature butter
 2 cups  confectioners sugar
1  teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Chopped walnuts, optional

1. First cream together the room temperature butter and room temperature cream cheese. I like to use Greek cream cheese because it has less fat and more protein.

2.  Add in the confectioners sugar and vanilla extract.
3.  Mix until silky and creamy. Add more sugar if the thicker texture is needed.
4.  When cakes are cool remove them from the pans and frost, sprinkling the tops with walnuts.
Yes the finished cake is on a different platter because it fell off of my cake stand, so frost with care–haha.  And WaLa! It’s delicious!

Luscious Leftovers–BBQ Beef :)

bbqbeefWhat do you do with all of that leftover roast beef?  You make it into a different meal that is delusciousness :).  I just totally made up that word haha, but it is is fitting :).  I chose to make some BBQ beef sandwiches.  You could also put the beef on top of some rice and that would be amazing too!  Either way, BBQ beef is a hit at our house :).

The homemade BBQ sauce is one I adapted from “A Taste of Home” recipe and it’s the best one that I’ve found.

BBQ Recipe:

3/4 c. Ketchup

1/4 c. Brown Sugar

2 T. White Vinegar

1 tea. Salt

1 tea. Ground Mustard

2 tea. Worcester Sauce

1 clove Garlic, minced

1 Bay Leaf

1/4 tea. Garlic Powder

1/4 tea. Paprika

3-5 drops Hot Pepper Sauce

Roast Beef, shredded (if it has been in the refrigerator, I like to warm it in the microwave for just a bit and then put it in the BBQ sauce).

Stir together ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, salt mustard, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, bay leaf, garlic powder, paprika and hot pepper sauce.  Bring to a boing.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 min or until heated through.  Discard bay leaf.  Add shredded beef and serve on hoagie buns or rice :).  AND don’t forget those veggies :).

Enjoy 🙂

Slow Cooker Roast Beef with White Potatoes and Carrots

Who doesn’t like a good roast beef dinner?!!  I remember after having my 5th child nearly 20 years ago, a good friend brought me a roast beef dinner and, my oh my, did that hit the spot!!  It was just what my body needed after going through child birth.  Beef has some great protein and iron in for the bod and sometimes that’s exactly what we need :).

This recipe is from my dear sister-in-law, Tami, who is one of the best cooks I know and it is SO SIMPLE!!  You will love how tender the meat is, especially, if you buy the right cut.  I like to buy chuck roast and make two roasts, so I can use the leftovers during the week for another delicious meal, which I will blog about later this week.  Also, on Friday, I have an exciting Friend Friday post that is going to be so delish for us to make and it is gluten free too!  You would not even know it though, so stay tuned :).

Now for the roast…….

IMPORTANT: Get the right cut of roast. All roasts are not created equal. I had a friend try this recipe and it didn’t turn out great because of the cut of the roast. Get the chuck tender cut or chuck roast for best results. 

THE NIGHT BEFORE COOKING

roastunseasoned

Place unthawed roast on a clean platter or sometimes I use a cookie sheet to catch all of the salt and pepper that some times makes a mess.  Also, notice the marbling in the roast. That means this is going to be a very tender one. 

roastunseasoned2GENEROUSLY, sprinkle garlic salt, onion salt, pepper and minced garlic on both sides of the roast.

roastwrapped

Wrap roast in saran wrap and let set over night in the refrigerator.

THE NEXT MORNING…….. ALLOW 8-10 HOURS COOKING TIME ON LOW.

roastpot&carslowcooker

Place roast, quartered white potatoes, and carrots in slow cooker and salt and pepper the veggies.  DO NOT ADD WATER!! I know, I know, you want to, but TRUST ME, PLEASE DON’T!!  As the roast cooks on LOW, it will cook in it’s own juice :).

roastcookedsc

Remove the veggies and the roast and place on platter.  I like separating them and putting the veggies in a bowl and the roast on a platter.  I made the gravy with the drippings from the roast.  First I strain drippings and then put them in a pan or back in the slow cooker if your cooker has a sauté option.  This one does and I love it!  Boil the drippings and make a gravy thickener with 1 c. water mixed with 1/4 c. flour in a shaker and shake it up well.  Slowly, pour flour mixture in boiling drippings and in a couple of min the gravy should thicken.  Taste to make sure gravy is seasoned to your liking.

roastspread

The meal spread :).  I served a green salad and fruit to complement the roast beef dinner.

roastplated

Such a great comfort meal!

roastfamily

Nothing is better than gathering family and friends around for a delicious great meal.  ENJOY :).

Are You Up For A Health Goal Challenge?

Oh man, Oh man!  I don’t know about you, but this winter, I have put on some weight and I’ve got to get it off.  Swim suit season is around the corner!  Yikes!  Normally, I don’t step on the scale, but occasionally, it is a necessity just to check in.  Well, needless to say, I wanted to throw it out the window LOL. My workout schedule is always in check because I LOVE to workout hard, but my eating has not been on target (those darn Cadbury eggs), so it’s time to do something about it :).

This last weekend one of my friends on Facebook, Jolynn Bulkley, posted and asked her friends if they wanted to do a Health Challenge and HELLO!!  YES!!  I do!!  I’ve been a little mindless of my eating habits lately and so this is just the ticket!  Please let me know if you want to join and I will add you to our private Facebook group, which started today, but don’t worry—it’s not too late to join!

This is the scoop:  It’s a six week challenge and starts right now :).

The challenge is based on a point system and each Monday we check in, so Sunday, we tally our points and report.  It’s going to be awesome.

Oh, also, I recorded my weight and measurements (chest, waist, hips, thigh, calf and arm) today AND took pics.  Yuck!  It’s a great way to record your progress though–kind of one of those evil necessities, like the scale haha.  When you take the pics, make sure you are wearing the same thing each time and take them in a sports bra and leggings or shorts–a front view and a side view.  I’m waiting 2 weeks before checking in again and then recording weight and measurements once again.

Each of these are worth 10 points a day:

  1.  Get at least 6 hours of sleep a night.
  2.  Eat 3 veggies a day and 2 one half c servings of fruit a day
  3. Water intake is at least 8-12 c. a day.
  4. Nor refined sugar or decrease your intake to less than 200 calories a day.
  5. Workout for 30 min a day (also you can get more points if you workout longer but it caps out at 50 extra points a day).

Also, there are different challenges each week to earn extra points.

For Example:

WEEK 1, CHALLENGE 1: Worth 100 points. This challenge has 3 parts so you will definitely earn your points! This will be ongoing throughout the challenge!
Part 1. Journal or list an accomplishment or goals that you were successful at achieving. List the steps and strategies that helped you succeed. Also write how you felt when you achieved it and who were your biggest supporters.
Part 2. Journal or list challenges you’ve encountered before, when trying to improve lifestyle, nutrition and fitness. How can you apply the success and strategies from part 1 to help you in part 2? What can you do to better plan and prepare so you are successful in this challenge to make it ongoing part of life? What strategies can you use to overcome your temptations, weaknesses, obstacles. etc.?
Part 3. Journal or list Goals you want to accomplish by the end of this challenge. “Begin with the end in mind”. This helps you focus what you want to achieve avoid bad habits. Start by setting short term goals. You can always tweak and edit as you go along, but this will help you focus. week by week. For example Week 1: Create a meal plan and exercise schedule, shop and do meal prep. Involve friends and family for support. Week 2…Week 3… all the way to week 6. If it’s easier start at week 6 and work your way to week 1. The more clear and specific you can be what you want to accomplish the easier it is to create the vision of a healthier self. Does that make sense? We will eventually be creating vision boards, but we will save that for another week!
If you are short on time just make an outline of all 3 parts! Fill it in with details when you have time.

This is just a fun way for friends to come together to be more healthy and happy, so come on–JUMP IN AND LET’S GET STARTED!!  Email me at itsapegslife.com if you want in!!