Friday, June 28, 2013

Southwest Quinoa Salad

Trying to find a salad to take to a party this weekend and this one sounds like a winner!! I usually try to make something ahead of time so I know if it is good or not, but who doesn't like a southwestern salad !! I will let you know how it goes :)

Southwest Quinoa Salad
Gluten Free and Vegetarian
Serves: 8
Makes: 8 cups
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted, or 1 tsp ground cumin
  • High-heat cooking oil (such as sunflower, safflower, peanut or grape seed oil), as needed to lightly coat grill grate
  • 2 cobs fresh corn, husks and silk removed (or 1 1/4 cups frozen corn, thawed)
  • 1 cup cooked black beans, drained
  • 1 plum tomato, diced
  • 1 zucchini or yellow zucchini squash, diced
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  1. In a small bowl, whisk lemon juice, olive oil, cilantro, salt and pepper; set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, bring 2 cups water to a boil; add quinoa and cumin. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until liquid is absorbed, about 12 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Uncover, fluff with a fork and let cool for at least 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat an outdoor grill to medium-high and lightly oil grate with cooking oil. Add corn, close lid and grill, turning once, until tender and lightly charred, 10 to 15 minutes. (Alternatively, boil cobs in a large pot of simmering water. Cover and cook until tender, 6 to 10 minutes.) Let corn cool, then cut kernels from cob.
  4. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, corn kernels, beans, tomato, zucchini and onion. Pour lemon-cilantro dressing over top and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate salad for at least 1 hour to allow flavors to meld, or up to 2 days.

Nutrients per serving (1 cup Southwest Quinoa Salad): Calories: 221, Total Fat: 11 g, Sat. Fat: 1.5 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2 g, Carbs: 26 g, Fiber: 4.5 g, Sugars: 2 g, Protein: 6 g, Sodium: 23 mg, Cholesterol: 0 mg

If you try it let me know what you think !!
Enjoy !! Sara

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Pesto Quinoa Salad


pesto quinoa
Awesome for lunches
I’m constantly on a quest to find good dishes that are something different than the classic sandwich. It’s a tough deal because you want something flavorful and tasty, but it also needs to be filling and healthy.
If I don’t have a filling lunch, I find myself snacking on the chips at about 4PM. Ok. I sometimes snack no matter what, but it’s especially bad if I skip a hearty lunch.
Quinoa has been the perfect base for my lunch salad experiments. It has a good amount of protein and fiber which will keep you full. It also has a great texture and can be thrown in with a huge list of other tasty ingredients.
In short, quinoa is my salad king.

Yield: Serves 6-8.
Prep Time:
Total Time:


8 ounces quinoa, cooked
1 small red onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 orange or green pepper, diced
1 cucumber, seeded, peeled and diced
1 Cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 large beet, roasted and diced (opt.)
1/3 Cup parsley, chopped
Basic Pesto:
Makes about 1 1/2 cups pesto
2 Cups basil
2 cloves garlic
1/3 Cup pine nuts
1/2 Cup olive oil
1/3 Cup Parmesan Cheese
Salt and pepper

Helpful Equipment:
Food Processor for pesto


1) Combine pesto ingredients in a processor and pulse until combined.
2) Cook quinoa according to package and set aside.
3) While quinoa cooks, chop all your veggies and roast your beet (350 for about an hour) if you're using beets.
4) Combine veggies with quinoa. Crumble in feta. Toss with pesto.
5) The salad is best if you let it chill before serving.

Making the Pesto

I make pesto all the time and I love playing around with the flavors. A bit more garlic or pine nuts can really change the flavor of it and make it very different. If you’re making it, don’t stress about the exact amounts. Just taste it as you go and adjust.
It takes just a minute or two to toss all the ingredients into a processor and pulse it together. When I make pesto, I normally make a double or triple batch and then freeze some pesto for later.
If you’re in a super-rush, you can use jarred pesto without a problem also.
Pesto is so easy.

The Quinoa

Cooking quinoa is like cooking a strange mix between oatmeal and beans. Basically, I just always follow the instructions on the package and it ends up being great.
It’s a really flexible grain so if, while you’re cooking it, you notice that yours is a bit dry, feel free to add more water. One time I added way too much water and just strained my quinoa through a strainer when it was done and that worked great also.
So, basically, it’s pretty hard to screw up.
Love this stuff.
Cooking it takes maybe 15-20 minutes. It’s not too bad.
If you have leftovers, this stuff freezes great actually. Just cool it down completely and then seal it in a freezer bag. Try to get out as much air as possible and it’ll keep in your freezer for a few months. Then you can just thaw it in the microwave (low power) when needed.
quinoa cooked
Nice and fluffy.

Chopping Practice

It’s okay that the quinoa takes a few minutes to cook because you’ll have a lot of chopping to do to finish off the salad.
The veggies I used in the salad are just a suggestion. I would definitely keep the onion, feta and chickpeas though. Those are really nice flavor additions.
Mix and match to your liking
Try to dice up all your ingredients so they are roughly the same size. The onions should maybe be a bit smaller.
Unless you’re an expert chopper, this will take a few minutes, but it’s worth it because you’re getting meals for days out of it.
all chopped
Chopping skillz.

The Beet!

I had a spare beet sitting around so I roasted it up and included it in the salad. This is very optional. The beet added some nice sweetness to the dish which I liked but it also had the unfortunate side effect of turning the salad a kind of purple color!
If you’ve never roasted a beet before, just toss it on a baking sheet and roast it at 350 until it’s very tender, about an hour normally.
Let it cool a bit and then you can peel it and dice it up.
Love this.

Combining everything

A salad like this is very flexible. Start by adding your quinoa to the veggies that you’ve chopped and then add enough pesto to lightly coat the salad. You should need about 1 to 1 1/2 Cups of pesto, but feel free to use more or less depending on your tastes.
I stirred in my beet last to try to minimize the color burn, but it still turned stuff pretty red.
beet added
A slight change in color...
My final salad wasn’t quite as appealing as the nice green salad in the first photo, but it tasted better in my opinion. I loved the beet addition.
So let the record state that pesto plus quinoa plus a bunch of random veggies makes for a really good Dinner!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Don’t Just Change Your Body, Build Your Dreams!!!


Instead of just working on your body and changing your body, you could be building your dreams and building the dreams of others at the same time.
Are you just going to the gym or working out at home and solely thinking about your issues? Well what about the same issues faced by all of the people around you that you could be solving while you solve your own? If you could change a person’s life and give them the gift of health and fitness and better quality of life, wouldn’t you do it? And if you could help them take their dreams out of the closet and dust them off and help them make their dreams a reality, wouldn’t you do it?
Team Evolve and Team Beachbody have those solutions. You can lose weight, get healthy and feel great with Team Beachbody workout DVD’s and products. With Team Evolve, you can build your own business that will move you toward financial independence just by sharing your success with others.
Everyone around you has a story – whether they are fit and healthy and have good jobs, they still have something that they wish that they could change. Everyone wants either more money, more time or more recognition and Team Beachbody can offer you all three. Maybe the fit person is going to the gym all the time to work out. With Team Beachbody you can save on gym memberships, have more time and spend more time with your family. Maybe the person with the good job is working 60 hours a week and needs more time to spend with family and friends and just enjoying life. With Team Beachbody, you can build a business that will give you residual income and allow you to work less hours and make more money.
If you have passion, ambition and a dream, don’t just focus on problems that are affecting you because virtually everyone has the same problems, the same desires and the same dreams and you can reach out to them and help them change their lives while you change yours.
Wondering how much it costs and how you can start? There is a $39.95 one time sign up fee to start your Team Beachbody business and after 30 days, you will be billed $14.95 a month for the 3 websites that you are given to promote your business. You will need to purchase a workout DVD that best suits your needs and the prices range from $44.89 to $89.89 with your 25% business member discount.
So for an initial outlay of no more than $130.00 and then just $14.95 a month, you are the CEO of your own company, you have a workout program with a personal trainer, a nutrition plan and a personal coach to help you get fit and build your business. You have the ability to be the Jillians and Bobs of the world and you have the ability to change the physical condition of everyone in this country. You may have success now, but changing the life of someone by helping them lose weight, get in shape, improve the quality of their life and maybe in the process add a few years to their life will give you significance.
If you focus on helping someone else and building friendships and relationships in the process, your own problems will have less meaning and will be solved along the way as a byproduct of passionately reaching out to others in need.
C.S. Lewis said, ” A Friendship Is Born at That Moment When One Person Says to another, ‘What! You Too? I Thought I Was the Only One.” You aren’t the only one with problems and if you could solve other people’s problems while you solved your own, why wouldn’t you do it?
To start your own business today, just click here for a 30 day free trial. If it isn’t for you, you can get a full refund before the trial period is over. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose…
If you are interested in changing your life and starting a career with beachbody message me .

Here is a application to join.

Announcing the New Vanilla Shakeology- Recipes, Nutrition Facts and More

It is so nice to finally be back at home!  After a crazy busy week in Las Vegas I am glad to be back in somewhat of a normal routine. 

But while in Las Vegas for the Annual Coach Summit there was some big announcements that took place! Today I want to share with you the first big announcement!  A lot of people that follow my blog are huge Shakeology fans!  Some are not and that is ok!  But today I really wan to share with you the brand new addition to the Shakeology family and that is Vanilla Shakeology.

Vanilla Shakeology has been 2 years in the making.  
Vanilla Shakeology Recipes

Here are some great FAQ's regarding Vanilla Shakeology:

I thought [heard] Shakeology would never be able to launch a vanilla version because of all of the chemicals used in Vanilla flavoring. How did they finally do it?

Because we absolutely refuse to compromise on quality, it took years of searching and testing to hunt down a pure, flavorful, and ethically sourced vanilla bean that would meet Shakeology's standards. By using this particular vanilla we are able to achieve complete traceability of vanilla beans coming from a multitude of small Madagascar farms. Through our purchase of these premium beans, we are helping to invest in a wide variety of training for the indigenous Malagasy farmers as well as the building and ongoing maintenance of schools in Madagascar, enhancing the educational environment & resources for more than 3000 children.
Where can I find the nutritional information and ingredients for Vanilla?
You can download the PDF of the ingredients and supplement facts at bottom of my site,

What is the nutritional info for Vanilla Shakeology?
Vanilla Shakeology has 130 calories, 16g of protein, 14g of carbs, 7g of sugar, and 2g of fat. For more nutritional information and the list of ingredients, please view or download the PDF at bottom of

Does the Vanilla contain both whey and pea protein?
Yes, Vanilla Shakeology still has whey protein in it. We also added a small amount of natural pea protein to round out the amino acid profile.
Vanilla Shakeology Nutrition Facts

Vanilla Shakeology Nutrition Information

Will you be coming out with a Vegan Vanilla Shakeology?
We are considering a vegan version of Vanilla for the future. Check back with us next year for an update.
Is Vanilla Shakeology gluten-free?
The Shakeology formula does not contain any gluten-based ingredients and we make every effort to prevent any ingredients with gluten from coming into direct or indirect contact with our products. However, because of our high standards we do not feel it is appropriate to make a gluten-free claim since Shakeology is produced in facilities that also handle gluten based ingredients. If you have a concern about gluten it is best to consult your doctor before making any dietary changes.

When will Shakeology be certified gluten-free?
There are no gluten-based ingredients in the Shakeology formula. Although we can apply for a gluten-free certification, the safety of our customers is extremely important to us and until we are satisfied that our high standards can be met we will not put a gluten-free certified statement on the package. To meet our internal standards, we are reviewing our entire supply chain of nearly 100 ingredients to ensure that there is no potential exposure to gluten-based grains from the farm to the Shakeology product being sealed in the final package. At this point we cannot say when that assessment will be complete.

Is Vanilla Shakeology free from allergens?
Shakeology is formulated to be free of the common 8 allergens, however, Shakeology is made in a manufacturing facility that also process allergens such as soy, wheat, milk and gluten. While our manufacturing procedures follows strict, required FDA Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), which include cleaning and breaking down of equipment between production runs and proper air filtration systems as precautionary measures, the possibility of cross-contamination can never be 100% eliminated, therefore we include the warning statement as a precaution to make our customers aware that Shakeology is Manufactured in a facility that also processes soy, egg, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, and wheat (gluten) ingredients." We feel this is a responsible approach to help those with extreme sensitivities to such ingredients make an informed decision about the use of Shakeology.

I had the chance to try Vanilla Shakeology last week in Las Vegas.  It is smooth, amazing and really really good!  I have to say that this is going to be another great addition to an already amazing line of Shakeology flavors.  If you are looking to add some nutrient density to your day then this is the way to go.  Beachbody believes in creating a product that stands up to its name.  They work to make sure that the ingredients are of optimum quality and that they do not compromise your health!!!  I truly believe that Shakeology is what keeps me and my family healthy.  We replace 1 meal a day with a shake and we are healthier than we have ever been.  I used to be a skeptic about meal replacements but not any more.  I truthfully believe in clean eating, Shakeology and Beachbody.  They have changed my life and the life of my family as well!!

You can actually try it now and get me as your coach!  I can also help you customize a meal plan to meet your needs!  80% of your weight loss comes from the foods that you eat.  If you put good quality foods in your body you will get a good quality body in return!  So while Shakeology is only 1 meal of the day, lets really get the rest of your health under control!!!!!  

If you are nervous about trying Shakeology because you are afraid that you won't like it, then this is the perfect opportunity.  Starting on July 8th I will be doing a 30 day Shakeology and Clean Eating Group to aid you in finding the balance between diet and exercise.  We will focus on the principles of clean eating, preparing healthy meals, snacks, grocery shopping, temptations, emotional eating and more! Especially this time of the year when everyone is traveling, going to graduation parties and weddings. We have to be on the top of our game when it comes to our health!  Do you need that gentle little nudge, some encouragement and support along the way?  Then join my July 8th challenge group and I will guide you in the right direction!!!

Vanilla Shakeology

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Watermelon, Mint, and Feta Salad

Watermelon, Mint, and Feta Salad
This refreshing watermelon salad is a great addition to any meal this summer!

Total Time: 10 min.
Prep Time: 10 min.
Yield: 4 servings, about 1 cup each
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
¼ tsp. sea salt
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
1 dash hot pepper sauce (like Tabasco®) (optional; to taste)
3½ cups cubed watermelon
2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 2½ oz.)
3 Tbsp. chopped sweet onion (like Maui or Vidalia)
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1. Combine oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and hot sauce (if desired) in a medium bowl; whisk to blend. Set aside.
2. Combine watermelon, cheese, onion, and mint in a large serving bowl.
3. Drizzle with dressing; toss gently to blend.

Nutritional Information (per serving):
Calories: 172
Fat: 12 g
Saturated Fat: 5 g
Cholesterol: 22 mg
Sodium: 425 mg
Carbohydrate: 13 g
Fiber: 1 g
Sugar: 10 g
Protein: 5 g

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Shrimp Scampi


Shrimp Scampi
Try this healthy version of classic shrimp scampi.

Total Time: 25 min.
Prep Time: 10 min.
Yield: 2 servings
3 oz. dry whole wheat pasta
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided use
8 oz. medium shrimp, peeled, deveined
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp. yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
¼ cup low-sodium, organic vegetable broth
2 Tbsp. white wine
Ground black pepper (to taste; optional)
Crushed red pepper (to taste; optional)
3 fresh parsley sprigs, finely chopped
2 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1. Bring large pot of water to boil for pasta.
2. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain; set aside.
3. While pasta is cooking, heat 1 Tbsp. oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
4. Add shrimp and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until shrimp is opaque and firm. Remove shrimp from pan. Set aside.
5. Heat remaining 1 Tbsp. oil over medium-high heat. Add bell peppers; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes or until soft.
6. Add lemon juice, broth, wine, black pepper, and red pepper; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 to 2 minutes.
7. Add shrimp, parsley, and basil; cook until heated through.
8. Divide pasta between 2 plates; top evenly with shrimp mixture.
Nutritional Information (per serving):
Calories: 413
Fat: 16g
Saturated Fat: 2g
Cholesterol: 173mg
Sodium: 538mg
Carbohydrate: 36g
Fiber: 0g
Sugar: 1g
Protein: 30g

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

5 Ways to Break through Dreaded Weight Loss Plateaus

You're tracking calories, working out each day, then bam! For a week or two, the scale refuses to budge...and you realize you've hit a dreaded weight loss plateau. Now what?

Even though it's completely normal to hit a snag in your fitness journey, a perceived setback like this can send even the most dedicated dieter off course, away from healthy eating and toward cookies, cake, and pizza. But you can be strong and start getting back on the weight-loss track again. Try at least one of the following techniques, and there's a good chance you'll burst through your plateau in no time.

Here are five important things to know about hydration and exercise:
1. Zigzag your daily calorie intake.
In theory, you've got to eat less to lose more, but this isn't always the case. Sometimes you just have to shake things up. Here's one way to do it: If your average daily intake is 1,400 calories, try dropping to 1,200 one day, going up to 1,800 the next day, and then dropping back to 1,400. The idea is to keep your metabolism guessing. There's no magic number that works for everyone, so you'll have to experiment until you find the right calorie levels for you.

According to Beachbody Director of Results Steve Edwards, what happens when you zigzag is that you force your body to choose how many calories it needs to recover from the rigors of your exercise program. "Most people who hit a plateau are undereating. If you are indeed undereating, adding calories for a few days, then lowering them again, will help you force your body into a hormonal response that will not only help you break out of a plateau, but—as you learn to recognize the signals—will teach you how much food you should be eating."

2. Switch up your exercise routine.
If you do the same workout each day, eventually it can start to become less challenging, and (unfortunately) less effective. If you push yourself to new levels of strength or exhaustion, you'll almost certainly see a shift. Here are some ways you can challenge your body:
  • Swap your jog for a bike ride.
  • Try weights with your cardio routine. (ChaLEAN Extreme® or RevAbs® can help you do this.)
  • Add intervals of high intensity to really make you sweat. (INSANITY® is a great workout for this.)
  • Drop to the floor for 10 push-ups right now!
The idea is to try something different. According to Edwards, "The better you get at something, the easier it becomes. That's why we're always telling you to add more weight as you get stronger, and to move faster and jump higher as our programs progress. But it's also why all of our programs have phases of training. As your body adapts to stimulus, you need to change that stimulus in order to keep results happening."

3. Eat some almonds.
Almonds are a great snack, plus there's some research that indicates that they can help you burn fat. That's because they contain fiber and fatty acids—the good kind of fat that helps you lose weight. A study published in the International Journal of Obesity compared two groups of people who ate a 1,000-calorie-a-day diet. As part of their daily diet, one group ate 3 ounces of almonds every day. The other group ate a mix of complex carbs. What happened? The group that ate the almonds lost more weight.

So next time you grab a snack, try a small handful of almonds, or as Edwards says, "Any nut, really. While almonds are one of the better nuts, all of them have a similar nutritional profile and make excellent snacks. That research probably would have turned out similarly if they'd used walnuts or filberts or whatever."

4. Get more sleep.
This may seem like the opposite of number 2, but the truth is is that you could be training too hard, which is about the quickest way to hit a weight loss plateau, because an over-trained body holds on to weight as if it were starving to death. There's no better way to test this than to try and sleep more. The reason is that your body recovers much more quickly from exercise while it's asleep, and if you're burning the midnight oil while trying to do INSANITY, you could easily plateau from lack of recovery time.

In a recent study at the University of Chicago Medical School, researchers found that during a period when study participants were deprived of sleep, they metabolized glucose less effectively. Additionally, they had higher levels of the hormone cortisol, which has been shown to impair memory, increase insulin resistance, and slow recovery in athletes. "There's a good reason why five-time Tour de France winner Eddy Merckx said, 'The Tour is won in bed,'" says Edwards. Your body's recovery response during deep sleep is only rivaled by performance-enhancing drugs. When you're on the borderline of overtraining, getting more sleep is the first thing anyone should try."

5. Relax.
Believe it or not, the one big thing besides diet and exercise that can cause you to plateau is stress. When you're stressed, your body sends out higher levels of the hormone cortisol that, as stated in number 4, can encourage your body to hang on to fat. "Cortisol is actually a performance-enhancing hormone," says Edwards. "But it's gotten a bad rap because we've begun living our lives at too high a volume. Cortisol is released at times when the body is in an emergency state. It increases performance, but only over a short period of time. When cortisol is released and forced into action at regular intervals, it causes your body to wear down and switch to more drastic means of survival, like holding on to excess amounts of body fat. Your life shouldn't feel like one big emergency. As a society, we need to learn to be more tranquilo, as the Spanish say."

We get stressed for many reasons, almost all of which are influenced by the society around us. One of the best ways to combat stress is to get some alone time to chill. If you're the type who can't let go, try some forced relaxation techniques, of which yoga seems to be one of the most effective. There's something special about the mind/body interaction of yoga that forces a relaxed state even from the most stressed of us.

If you feel you need a lot of help, dig into an intense course, like P90X Yoga X. For others, something lighter, like Yoga Booty Ballet® Pure and Simple Yoga, will do the trick. If you're not into yoga, then consider at least adding some stretching into your schedule. Most of Beachbody's programs have at least one stretching session. TurboFire® even has two!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Banana Mousse


Banana Mousse
Craving mousse but not the fat and calories? Try this banana mousse sweetened with honey.

Total Time: 55 min.
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cooking Time: None
Preparation Difficulty: Easy
Yield: 4 servings
2 Tbsp. low-fat milk
1 Tbsp. raw honey
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1¼ medium banana, sliced, reserve 8 slices for garnish
1 cup low-fat plain yogurt
4 fresh mint leaves (for garnish; optional)
1. Place milk, honey, extract, and banana in blender. Cover; blend until smooth.
2. Place milk mixture in a medium bowl. Fold in yogurt; mix well. Cover.
3. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 45 minutes.
4. Portion mousse into four small serving bowls. Garnish each with two banana slices and one mint leaf.
Nutritional Information: (per serving)
Calories: 105
Fat: 1 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 4 g
Sodium: 45 mg
Carbs: 22 g
Fiber: 1 g
Sugars: 17 g
Protein: 4 g

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Lentil-Lime Salad

(Makes 1 serving)
Lentil-Lime Salad
  • 1 cup cooked green lentils (see recipe on pg. 88)
  • 1 medium carrot, shredded
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1½ tsp. sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • Braggs Liquid Aminos (to taste; optional)
  • Himalayan salt (to taste; optional)
  • ¼ tsp. ground cumin (optional)
  • Herbal seasoning blend (to taste; optional)

  1. Combine lentils, carrot, cilantro, oil, lime juice, and Braggs Liquid Aminos, plus salt, cumin, and seasoning blend (if desired); toss gently to blend.
  2. Let salad marinate, covered, in refrigerator for 2 hours before serving.

  • Calories: 326
  • Total Fat: 8 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 335 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 49 g
  • Fiber: 18 g
  • Sugar: 7 g
  • Protein: 19 g

Clean Eating Blueberry French Toast Casserole

Father's Day and I am making my husband a Daddy day treat for breakfast!! Our kids may have four paws but he shows them love and care and I am thankful for him everyday! Besides this recipe is AMAZING and it is fun to make something different for breakfast on Sundays! The house smells so good!! Enjoy :)


(Makes about 12 servings)


  • 6 cups cubed, whole grain bread
  • 8 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup honey (or maple syrup)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the egg whites, almond milk, honey, extracts and cinnamon. Whisk well.
  2. Oil a baking dish (about 9 x 13), and fill it with the bread.
  3. Pour the liquid mixture over the bread and allow it to sit for at least 30 minutes, mixing once or twice to be sure all parts of the bread are moistened.
  4. Mix in the blueberries.
  5. Bake the casserole at 350 F. for about 45 minutes or until there is no longer any liquid between the bread.
  6. Allow to cool a bit and serve.
Nutritional Content:
(Data is for 1/12th the recipe – approximately 1 cup)
NOTE: This data can vary widely based on bread used.
Calories: 132
Total Fat: 2 gm
Saturated Fats: 0 gm
Trans Fats: 0 gm
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 205 mg
Carbohydrates: 22 gm
Dietary fiber: 3 gm
Sugars: 8 gm
Protein: 7 gm
Estimated Glycemic Load: 11

Clean Eating Grocery List

Clean Eating Grocery Lists
I found this page on one of my favorite recipe sights!! The Gracious Pantry has so many ways to eat good healthy clean food. Here is a easy way to find what you need to keep your meals tasty and healthy :)

For the last few months, I’ve been going around to different stores to see what types of clean eating foods you can buy at different places. At first, I thought the lists would be about the same, since really, clean eating is all about fresh, whole foods. But surprisingly, the lists did seem to vary. So I’m happy to now have a collection of shopping lists to help you navigate your local grocery store.
The truth is, I can only do lists for the stores I have in my area. So I realize there are some of you who may not be able to actually use these lists. But hopefully, the majority of you will find at least one list you can use, and if nothing else, you can get a good idea of the products and brand names that work well with clean eating.
The truth is, this will take a bit of time. It will require some label reading and an understanding of what clean ingredients are.
You will want to build a master list. A list of all clean ingredients that you find at a particular store.
Divide your list by categories such as “Dairy”, “Protein”, “Grains”, etc.
Every time you go to the store, look for one or two more items to add to your list.
By the time you’ve compiled this list, you will be very well acquainted with what is available at a particular store and the list may no longer be absolutely necessary. But one thing I’ve found is that shopping habits change over time. Products also change, so it’s a good idea to occasionally re-read labels. So overall, the list will evolve with time if you keep it maintained. But even if you end up with just a short list, it’s a good reminder of the types of things to buy at any particular store.
Another way to create your list is to write down a list of everything you usually buy, and each week, hunt down clean versions if you can. But I find this second method can be a bit frustrating for those just starting out because it will seem like there’s just nothing you can buy! Of course, that’s not the case, but it will feel overwhelming to start with. The choice is yours however.
The most critical element to all of this is, of course, learning to read labels for clean eating (see link above). But once you’ve got that down, the process becomes much, much easier.
Here are a few lists to get you started:
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Hope this helps!!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Leandro’s Booty Bundle

I am super excited about this new deal with the Brazil butt lift challenge pack!! Just in time for summer!! Get daily support with this workout in my Challenge group!! Message me ASAP :)

Brazil Butt Lift + Brazil Butt Lift Master Series + Shakeology

If you’re serious about sculpting your perfect booty, then you should train like the world’s top supermodels. In this 90-day program, Brazil Butt Lift creator, Leandro Carvalho, guides you to shape, lift, and firm your behind for the tightest, sexiest body you ever imagined.
In addition to Brazil Butt Lift® and Brazil Butt Lift Master Series®, your Challenge Pack includes:
• Your first 30-day supply of Shakeology®
• 2 FREE bonus workouts! Get Cardio Carnivale and Leandro’s Secret Weapon workouts FREE – a $39.90 value

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Shakeology Breakfast Bars


Shakeology Breakfast Bars
These chocolatey, fiber-rich, vegan-friendly bars will help keep you satiated until lunchtime. Another great way to enjoy Shakeology everyday !!

Total Time: 10 min.
Prep Time: 10 min.
Yield: 9 bars
• 4 scoops Chocolate Vegan Shakeology
• 2 cups quick-cooking old-fashioned oats
• ½ cup unsweetened grated coconut
• ¼ cup chopped raw walnuts
• ¼ cup raisins
• 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
• ½ cup natural, creamy peanut butter
1. Combine Shakeology, oats, grated coconut, walnuts, and raisins in large mixing bowl. Mix well.
2. Add almond milk and peanut butter to mixture. Mix well with clean hands.
3. Press mixture into 8x8-inch baking pan; cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
4. Cut into 9 bars.

Nutritional Information (per serving):
Calories: 300
Fat: 14g
Saturated Fat: 4g
Cholesterol: 7mg
Sodium: 122mg
Carbohydrate: 28g
Fiber: 5g
Sugar: 8g
Protein: 15g

What's going on in June?

Now Accepting Applications
Did you wake up this morning feeling like you are tied to a job that is going no where? Do you feel like there is more to life than going to a 9-5 each day? Are you a stay at home mom who wants to add a little extra income to the family? Are you a fitness professional, teacher, business owner or someone like me who just has BIG DREAMS and is DRIVEN to do something AMAZING with your life? If so, this is your invite to join my team, THE DREAM TEAM and let me mentor you for the next 8 weeks in a 1:1 group and group setting via online support groups. 

I will teach you everything that you need to know to build a income in less than 2 years. As a 2 star diamond Beachbody Coach I have no plans of slowing down or stopping. My goal is to create a team of coaches who are successful, achieving their dreams and creating the life that THEY want! Imagine yourself in 5 years? what could $100, $500 or even $2000 a week extra do for you? When I started coaching I had no idea the potential that I could earn. Now, I am blown away by the opportunity! My family has changed completely because of Beachbody. I would love for you to feel the same way!

Maybe you are just a loyal Shakeology and fitness program user.  Did you know that you can save 25% off of everything that you purchase as a discount coach. There are no minimum sales required and if you decide that you want to try something else you can cancel your account and move on with no penalties or fees!  This is a great way to be mindful of your budget but still get the awesome benefits of the products!!

Are you in?

If you would like 1 of the 6 spots left please complete this application below and I will be in contact with you as to whether or not you have been accepted into the program!

If you want to achieve your dream, you need to bring it into action today!

You may or may not know but Beachbody recently re vamped the Greenberry Shakeology.  I was able to score a few samples myself to try.  I can honestly say that I am NOT a greenberry fan, I did not like the after taste and I ran the other way!  So I can say that I was not enthused about trying the new one.  

Much to my surprise when I opened the package it smelled sweet and mouth watering.  I mixed it with 1/2 cup almond milk, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 banana and 1 tbsp all natural peanut butter and ice.  It was actually so good that I switched my next bag to Greenberry.  That takes a lot because I love love love my chocolate!!!  So the verdit is in.... IT'S REALY GOOD AND YOU SHOULD TRY IT!

So what has changed?  It's still the same great Shakeology ingredients.  It is lighter, sweeter and fruitier than before.   It has lower sugar, increased fiber, added superfoods (moringa, Luo Han Guo, and Himalayan Salt).  

Here is what other people had to say:

4 out of 5 current Greenberry drinkers preferred the new version.
3 out of 5 non Greenberry drinkers preferred the new version (ME!!!)
The new Greenberry won hands down, with better sweetness, aroma, texture, taste and after taste.

It truly is the healthiest meal of the day!  If you would like to try it or switch your next order to Greenberry you can contact customer service at 1800-470-7870 and request the next shipment be Greenberry.

If you are not currently drinking Shakeology now is a great time to start.  You can place your order by going to  and logging in with your user name and password.  Click the Shop tab and then Shakeology.  From there choose the flavor you want, and make sure you choose the autoship option.  The reason I tell you this is because you save at least $15 in shipping. You are NEVER locked into anything and you can cancel or change your flavor at any time with no questions asked!!!

So don't delay, get your healthiest meal of the day today!!!

Greenberry Recipes:

Mojito Lemonade:  1 scoop Greenberry, 1 tsp mint or 2 tbsp chopped basil, 1 cup lemonade, icea, water and blend!

Smooth Coconut:  1 scoop Greenberry, 2 tbsp avocado, 1/4 tsp coconut extract, 1/2 cup coconut milk, 1/2 cup water ice and blend.

P90X Punch:  1 scoop results and recovery, 1/2 scoop Greenberry Shakeology, 14 oz water ice and blend. Perfect for your post workout refuel!!

Coco-Pineapple:  1 scoop Greenberry Shakeology, 2 cups coconut water, 1/2 cup pineapple.
Black Bean Burger Recipe
The flowers are blooming and the weather is getting warmer.  Do you know what that means?  It's time to pull out the grill!  There is nothing like the smell of BBQ.  I have found that it is super easy to eat healthy when you have a grill. 

One of my favorite things to eat in the summer is a burger on the grill.  While red meat is ok every once in awhile it's not the leanest meat and there are definitely better forms of protein out there!!  Black beans are a great source of protein.  If you have never had a black bean burger you have no idea what you are missing.  These black bean burgers were full of flavor and everyone loved them.  I served the burgers with avocado, lettuce, tomato and onion with a side of sweet potato fries and grilled zucchini. 

My husband who is the most difficult to please was very happy with the dinner!!
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or granules
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 whole wheat hamburger buns
  • 6 green leaf lettuce leaves
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
Put beans in a large bowl and mash well with a fork. Add egg, yellow onion, bread crumbs, oregano, basil, garlic powder, salt, pepper and hot sauce. Mix well to combine then shape into 6 patties.

Heat the grill and cook each burger until cooked through and golden brown on each side. Transfer to buns, top with lettuce, tomatoes and red onions and serve.
Here is the link to their website where the recipe is.   
You can find more recipes like this on my blog,

If you are struggling to meet your health and fitness goals, plan out your meals, find recipes that work for you and your family then I encourage you to join one of my challenge groups.  I take pride in providing you the very best customer service. There is nothing more rewarding to me than seeing you reach your own success!  If you are not getting the results that you want on your own then now is the time to join!

I am planning a very special summer challenge group that is going to focus on VACATION!  I am going to address clean eating while traveling, eating out on vacation, exercise while away and packing snacks for the ROAD!!  You have worked to hard to let a weeks worth of vacation ruin your progress!  I am a firm believer in the 80/20 rule.  80% of the time you are on track while 20% of the time you kick back and enjoy!!  It's all about finding that perfect balance!!!

If you are interested in learning more about my upcoming challenge groups please contact me at for details.  

Sara Stakeley
2 Star Diamond Coach

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

8 Tips to Eat Healthy on a Budget


Eating fresh, healthy, organic, local foods sounds great—but what if you're on a budget? Maybe you dream of shopping at Whole Foods, but the cold, hard light of day finds you wheeling down the aisles at Aldi's.

Woman Smelling the Tomatoes

I feel your pain. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to eat well and actually save money in the process. Your shopping list isn't going to include vegetarian, brown rice sushi rolls from the macrobiotic deli case, but trust us, you'll live.

1. Don't shop hungry!

How often do you swing by the market on your way home from work, tired and starving? While this seems like grandmotherly advice, it's firmly rooted in current research; a new Cornell study shows that people who shop while hungry are more inclined to buy more calorically dense food.1 Keep a piece of fruit or a small Ziploc® bag full of raw nuts in your bag to guard against filling your cart with foods you're craving now but wouldn't buy on a full stomach.

2. Buy flash-frozen fruits, vegetables, and fish.

While any processing takes away from a food's maximum nutritional value, flash freezing is a great way to preserve vitamins and minerals when vegetables and seafood are at their freshest. And the convenience of a bag of veggies or a filet of fish in the freezer can't be beat. The price? For seafood, there's no comparison: fresh is much more expensive—when you can get it at all. (If you check at your local grocer's fish counter, you'll find that much of what is being sold in the case as fresh has in fact been previously frozen.) Produce is trickier: frozen is sometimes, but not always, cheaper than fresh, in-season, fruits and vegetables.

3. Shop at your local farmers market.

Farmer's Market ShopperThis may surprise you, but it's cheaper to get your veggies—organic or not—at the local farmers' market than at the local supermarket. A 2011 study by the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont is one of several around the country showing that farmers' market prices are consistently lower than those of neighboring grocery stores.2 Who knew? So have a great time shopping with your neighbors and supporting local farmers, and be happy in the knowledge that you're saving money too.

4. Stick to your list.

Don't cave in to the snazzy packaging on the supermarket shelves. Make your meal plan and shopping list at home, and then stick to it. Here's the exception: when you shop at the farmers' market or local produce stand, sometimes a gorgeously fresh fruit or vegetable will stand out—one you hadn't planned on. Build some flexibility into your list to account for these unanticipated treasures . . . just decide which meals you want to add them to before purchasing. A good rule of thumb is to stick absolutely to your list of pantry items, but give yourself some leeway with fresh, seasonal foods.

5. Eat lots of beans and always soak your own.

Bowl of BeansBeans are a great source of protein and fiber, and form the cornerstone of many world cuisines. And they're dead cheap—if you buy them dried. Soaking your own beans is easy, though it does take more planning than opening a can of them. But it's no big deal. Just decide the night before what you're going to eat the next day. If a meal includes beans, then put them in a pot of water to soak and leave them overnight. In the morning, let them cook as you're getting ready for the day.

6. Buy in bulk.

Costco® and other warehouse stores sell fruits and vegetables at ridiculously low prices—if you're willing to buy, say, 15 pounds of potatoes or 8 pounds of oranges at a time. You're in for some work at home, but at those prices, who's complaining? Also, in many regions it is possible to pair up with another family or two and buy a portion of either a cow or a pig directly from a local farmer. In exchange, you will receive many, many neatly wrapped and labeled packages of meat. An extra freezer is necessary for this, but well worth the investment if you live in a region where such arrangements exist. Another huge benefit of this is that you know the animal was not raised on a factory feedlot. Therefore, the meat will likely be free from the steroids and antibiotics that plague grocery store bargain meat cuts.

7. Join a CSA.

Basket Full of VegetablesCommunity Supported Agriculture is another way to save money by cutting out the middleman. With a CSA, you pay a flat fee up front. On the East Coast it's typically $400-$500—for a whole growing season of produce! Every week you get a box of whatever came out of the farmer's field. Like buying in bulk at warehouse stores, this calls for some time and creativity in the kitchen. In late summer, we sometimes freak out trying to figure out what to do with all those perfect, ripe tomatoes. What a problem to have!

8. Cut your consumption.

Over the last few decades, restaurant portions have become gargantuan, and we somehow seem to think that a platter of food is actually a single serving. Most restaurant entrées can easily feed two or three. So when you're out, either share a single entrée, or get half boxed for another meal. And at home, serve smaller portions on smaller plates. It won't take long at all before you're satisfied with sensible portions!

Hope this helps!! Happy Shopping !!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Cooler Plan #2- Eating for best long-term results

I get so many people who want to eat clean but don't know where to start.  How many servings a day!  What is a complex carb, is Corn a vegetable?  So hopefully this will clear the air just a bit!  Tosca Reno the author of the Eat Clean Diet calls her meal plans, cooler plans!  She has different cooler plans based on the type of results you want to get.  So today I am focusing on Cooler plan #2, which is for steady weight loss and maintenance once you goal weight is reached.  So this is basically the plan I stick to year round at this point!  This will give you a good idea of what to eat and when!

What is it?  This IS EATING CLEAN!  Do this year round for steady, healthy weight loss.  But this plan can also be used for maintenance.  Here's why:  when your body begins to approaching its set point (its genetically predetermined healthy weight) you will find that weight loss will stop or slow.

The occasional treat (glass of wine, piece of chocolate, ect) is permitted in limited amounts.  Unhealthy sugars and fats are not recommended.

How it works:
 Follow the eat clean principles as listed below
What to do:
  • Eat more- eat six small meals each day.
  • Eat breakfast every day, within an hour of rising.
  • Eat a combination of lean protein and complex carbs at each meal
  • Eat sufficient (two to three servings) healthy fats every day.
  • Carry a cooler packed with clean foods each day.
  • Depend on fresh fruits and vegetables for fiber, vitamins, nutrients and enzymes.
  • Adhere to proper portion sizes.
What to Avoid:
  • Avoid all over-processed foods, particularly white flour and sugar.
  • Avoid all chemically charge foods.
  • Avoid foods containing preservatives.
  • Avoid artificial sugars.
  • Avoid artificial foods such as processed cheese slices.
  • Avoid saturated and trans fats.
  • Avoid sugar loaded beverages, including colas and juices.
  • Avoid or do your best to limit alcohol intake.
  • Avoid all calorie dense foods containing little or no nutritional value. I call these anti-foods.
  • Avoid super sizing your meals.

Complex Carbohydrates from Fruit and Vegetables:
6 portions each day.  A portion is:
  • 1 cupped handful or a piece of fruit such as berries, grapefruit, melon, apples and mangoes.
  • 2 cupped handfuls of vegetables including broth based/vegetable puree soups.
Complex Carbohydrates from whole grains and starchy carbohydrates: 
2-4 portions each day.  A portion is:
1 scant handful of high-protein, sugar-free cold cereals, such as clean muesli or granola.
1 handful of cooked cereal
1 piece of whole grain bread or wrap (Sante Fe tortilla wraps from Costco are a great option)
1 handful sized serving of sweet potato, yam, banana, corn, carrots or squash

Lean Protein
6 portions each day.  A portion is:
  • 1 cup or handful of dairy products such as low fat soy, almond, hemp, rice, or skim milk, cottage cheese, kefir, yogurt cheese or plain fat free sugar free yogurt.
  • 1 scant handful of raw, unsalted nuts (also a healthy fat)
  • 2 tablespoons of all natural nut butters such as almond or peanut butter (also a healthy fat).
  • 1 palm sized portion of lean meats
  • good quality, sugar- and chemical- free protein powder (hemp, soy or whey).
  • 2-3 liters per day of fresh water with no sodium
  • Clear herbal tea (unsweetened)
  • Black coffee in moderation
  • Green/Black tea
Sweeteners:  Use in moderation.  Avoid Artificial Sweeteners.
  • Agave Nectar 
  • Maple Sugar Flakes
  • Rapadura Sugar
 For more tips on what a typical day of eating looks like for me and how I prepare go to my meal planning page! 

If you would like even more support please head over to my site and sign up and I'd be glad to provide you with daily motivation and support to help you accomplish your health and weight loss goals!  I have lost 30 lbs to date with clean eating and regular exercise.  No starvation just healthy whole meals.  As you can see above this picture is an idea of some of the foods that I enjoy on a regular basis!!!  I would be glad to add you to my weekly newsletter!!!

Have a great day!

Meatless Monday Make Clean Vegan Pad Thai!

This one is for my veggie lover Sister !! I try to pick one or two days a week to make a meatless meal.
A healthy, low-calorie, oil-free and vegan version of this famous Thai dish. If you're short on time, replace the chopped vegetables with a shredded store-bought mix such as broccoli slaw or rainbow salad.

Ingredients (2 servings)
2 medium-sized zucchini, ends trimmed off
1 cup thinly sliced bell peppers and carrrots
1 cup snap peas
2 small scallions, sliced
1 cup shelled edamame, defrosted if frozen
For the Sauce:
2 tbsp natural peanut butter
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp tomato paste (or crushed tomatoes)
2 tsp low sodium soy sauce or tamari
chili flakes

Optional toppings:
2 tsp crushed peanuts
4 thin slices of avocado
sprigs of cilantro
lime wedges

Stir all ingredients for sauce together in a small bowl until smooth.
Spiralize zucchini, or peel into ribbons with a julienne peeler, regular vegetable peeler, or mandolin.
In a large bowl, toss the zucchini noodles in sauce. Set aside.
Chop the carrots, peppers, and scallions, and trim snap peas if necessary.
Add the vegetables to the zucchini noodle mixture and toss to combine.
Divide the contents of the large bowl into 2 smaller serving bowls. Top each with crushed peanuts, avocado, cilantro sprigs and lime wedges if desired, and serve.
Recipe Notes:
This dish tastes great freshly made, but if you can give the zucchini noodles at least 20 minutes to soak in the peanut sauce, they'll taste even better!

Tips & Bonus Information

Want to switch up the protein? Try adding 2 cups worth of cooked shrimp, tofu, lean chicken breast, turkey, or extra lean thinly sliced beef.
Yield: 2 servings
Preparation Time: 15 mins
Cooking Time: 0 mins