10 Tips To Stay Healthy – Sponsored Post



It’s a new year and my main goal is to eat healthier, exercise and stay healthy. I’ve fallen off track on my healthy eating goals so many times I’ve lost count. This year I decided to pick myself up, brush myself off and get back on track. I made peace with the fact that there’s no quick fix, it requires a lifestyle change. I’ve tried fad diets, prepacked food diets, eating like a bird, not eating, you name it only to end up frustrated and returning to my bad habits.  

They say timing is everything. When I was contacted by Molina Health Care to do a post on health issues that affect me and my family I gladly accepted. The first step to overcoming struggles is to talk about them. I had put together a list of tips to achieve and maintain a healthy eating lifestyle and I thought it would be perfect to share for this post. 

The turning point for me to get healthy was when I looked at pictures and realized just how much weight I had gained. I reached a point where I hated to get my picture taken. I was missing out on three generations of family pictures with my daughter and granddaughter, because I couldn’t bear to look at the majority of the photos. If there’s a health issue blowing in the wind it will find my family, so I knew that I had to get serious and get to work. We have a family history of high blood pressure, diabetics, obesity, heart attacks, cancer and the list goes on.   

Eating healthy was always a must in my home. A snack for my daughter was jello when she was growing up. I truly believe my high stress job took its toll on me over the years, but I knew that I could no longer allow my job to control me. My job was a means to make an income, not a means to end my life. Here’s the tips that I’m now using to stay healthy:

  1. Incorporate more fruits and vegetables into my diet –  I started a kitchen garden several years and I grow the majority of my vegetables during the summer along with fresh fruits. There’s nothing better than being able to pick fresh fruits and vegetables outside your door. 
  2. Preserve fresh vegetables – I now preserve fresh vegetables during the summer to make soups and other dishes throughout the year. I also grow fresh herbs to flavor my dishes. If you don’t have a kitchen garden, visit a local Farmer’s Market. Seal and freeze the fresh vegetables for later use. 
  3. Get a partner to help you stay on track – My daughter is a Beach Body coach so we have teamed up to ensure that I stay on track. 
  4. Don’t deprive yourself – Give yourself a day or two to enjoy the foods that you truly love. Depriving yourself is a set-up for failure. Saturday or Sunday are my days to eat out and enjoy a burger, slice of pizza or pasta dish.  I look forward to it and I don’t feel guilty. 
  5. Give up the excuses – Make your health a priority. 
  6. Exercise –  Exercise at least 30 minutes a day. If you can’t get in 30 get in 5, 10, 15 or 20. Some is better than none. 
  7. Educate yourself  –  Learn what foods provide nutrition and energy for the body. Prepackaged and junk food are empty calories and contain high amounts of sodium and sugar. I’ve replaced chips with popcorn, candy bars with fresh fruit, ice cream with frozen yogurt. Gradually add healthy items into your meal plan. 
  8. Drink plenty of water and don’t skip meals – I love water, so drinking it has never been a problem for me. I replaced soda with water and Gatorade and eat 4 – 5 small meals a day. 
  9. Learn portion controlI took a class at my local hospital on eating healthy. You will be surprised on what is considered a healthy portion. (I got my answer on how I gained the excess weight). 
  10. Relieve stress and get rest – Know the stress factors in your life and eliminate as many as you can. Get plenty of rest. Replace bed pillows if they are old and purchase them according to how you sleep. I’m a side sleeper, so I purchased pillows made for my position. I sleep throughout the night now. 
I have incorporated these 10 tips into my life and now they’re pretty much second nature. Getting healthy won’t happen overnight and there are no quick fixes, believe me I have tried them all. It requires a lifestyle change, which requires you to make your health a priority every day. Check out the Eating Well article on Molina Health Care. It discusses acceptable servings from each of the food groups and is worth the read. It’s great information for healthy eating.  

The opinions in this article are my own. I do not work for, or with, any brand mentioned in this article, nor do I have any official relationship with them.  I have a relationship with GigaSavvy, for whom I create original editorial content.

     






Breakfast Recipe: Sausage, Biscuit and Gravy Bake

breakfast casseroles



This dish is so delicious we eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  It’s hearty and great for week-ends when you just want to relax, have guests, or you just want to enjoy each other and reheat for lunch.  If you have kids, they love it too.  It’s a great recipe to use for a brunch or office breakfast. The best thing about the dish is it’s easy to make.  Here’s what you need:


Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground pork or turkey sausage  ( I used hot Italian for this one)
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • 8 refrigerated jumbo biscuits
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 3/4 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

Preparation
Preheat oven to 350°. Cook sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat 8 minutes or until crumbly and no longer pink; remove from skillet, and drain. Melt butter in skillet; whisk in flour. Whisk constantly 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly; cook 2 minutes. Stir in sausage. Grease an 11- x 7-inch baking dish with cooking spray; place dish on a baking sheet. Split biscuits in half lengthwise; place 8 halves in baking dish. Top with half of sausage mixture and 1/4 cup chopped green onions. Repeat layers. Sprinkle with 3/4 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese. Bake 40 minutes or until golden.


Serve with scrambled eggs and fresh fruit.  Yummy!

Kids Breakfast Ideas: Oatmeal Funny Face

Do you have a hard time getting your kids to eat breakfast?  Did I just ask that question.  Getting kids to eat any meal can be difficult at times.  I’ve been in search of fun and kid friendly recipes that can help us make meals enjoyable for our little ones and will be starting a series of posts with fun meal ideas. 


Oatmeal is big in my household, especially in the winter.  It’s hearty and warm on cold, rainy days and the kids love it.  I came across this little guy and immediately tossed him into the kids recipe box.  He’s adorable and has earned a spot on the breakfast table in the Gales household minus the squiggly lines.

It’s simple and the ingredients are healthy.  I think my 5 year old would enjoy decorating his bowl of oatmeal.  You will need the following ingredients:    

Oatmeal ( I use Maple Quaker Oats)
Sliced strawberries (eyes, nose, ears, mouth)
Raisins (eyes, hair)
Walnuts (eyebrows)

This recipe is from the book  Funny Food: 365 Fun, Healthy, Silly, Creative Breakfasts by Bill & Claire Wurtzel and can be purchased from Amazon. 

Shari’s Berries Review

Shari's Berries
Shari's Berries
I decided to splurge this Christmas and order a box of Shari’s Berries.  I’ve seen the advertisement for years and they looked so delicious, I had to try them.  The lowest price was a 1/2 dozen at $19.99.  They offered an additional 1/2 dozen for $4.99 more so I ordered a dozen.  The shipping was quite expensive, $12.99.  Wow!  Because I had my heart set on them, I went the extra mile. 

They arrived packaged nicely.  The original packaging had an ice pack ensuring they arrived fresh and in tact.  The box was nice, it had a white bow which gave it a little class.  I must say, I was disappointed with the assortment.  I was expecting the berries to be colorful and appetizing.  As you can see, colorful was not a part of the package.  Two were dipped in white chocolate, 2 in nuts, and 2 in chocolate chips. 

The berries were fresh, quite delicious none the less and I did enjoy them.  Would I order them again, no.  Not for this price, and for the assortment I received.     


Easy Recipes: Crockpot Cube Steak


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  • Family pack of cub steak
  • 2 cans (10.75 ounce size) cream of mushroom soup or 1 large family size
  • 1 envelope onion soup mix
  • 3/4 cup water (I did not use water)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:
Place all ingredients in a crock pot. Cook on low all day.  The recipe calls for a 3/4 cup of water; however, I didn’t include the water.  This recipe makes a nice gravy and is best served with mashed potatoes.  I didn’t want to put the energy into mashed potatoes today, so I fixed a baked potato and a side salad.  You can also serve it over rice, noodles or with your favorite side dishes.  Enjoy. 

Cabbage and Sausage Recipe


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cabbage recipes

I love cabbage.  If you’re a fan, here’s a recipe that you must try.  Did you know that cabbage is great for your health?  It’s actually considered to be one of the best health foods.

Besides being delicious, here a few reasons to try this recipe:  

  • Cabbage contains the least fat and the fewest calories of any vegetable
  • It helps lower cholesterol
  • It’s loaded with Vitamin C
  • It’s a great natural source of fiber
  • It’s a great source of antioxidants  
  • It’s expensive to eat 

 Now that we have the health benefits down.  Here’s the recipe: 

  • 1 stick butter or margarine
  • 1 small head of cabbage, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 pound polish sausage, sliced into round pieces (I use smoked sausage)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes  (Pull out a quart of your canned home grown tomatoes and chop) 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 of chopped green pepper
  • few drops of hot sauce (optional)
  • chopped garlic clove (optional)
Melt butter in large skillet.  Add cabbage, onion, and green pepper and cook on medium high for about 5 minutes stirring to keep from sticking to pan.  Add remaining ingredients, cover and simmer for 20 – 25 minutes.  Season to taste. 
Note:  I brown my sausage in the oven and have it ready to add to the simmering ingredients.  I found the recipe rather bland, so I added garlic.  Serve with diner rolls and apple sauce.   Makes about 8 servings.

Cheese Ball Recipes


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Holiday cheese ball recipes from Michelle Buffardi

Cheese balls are back and just in time for the holidays.  I watched Access Hollywood, my first time, and they were making these adorable cheese balls which I love.  I’m a big cheese and cracker fan, especially during the holidays, so these are going on my menu this season. 

Here’s the recipes that were used on Access Hollywood:

Herbed Turkey
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 6 oz. goat cheese
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. herbs de Provence
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tsp. mustard
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds

Note:  I will be substituting my Chipped Beef and Green Onion cheese ball recipe instead of the herbed.  Not a big fan of goat cheese, but I love the turkey idea. 

For decorating:

  •  dark raisin for eyes
  • 1 whole almond for nose
  • 1 small piece red pepper
  • Thin pretzel sticks for feathers
  • Dried papaya for feet (I will be using an orange pepper)
  • Chopped almonds to roll cheese ball in.  (I’m going to substitute chopped walnuts)
Using a stand mixer or a bowl and a spatula, mix together the cream cheese, the goat cheese, the herbs de Provence, garlic, mustard and salt. Form the mixture into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least two hours.
Making the Turkey Cheese Ball: 
Before serving, pinch a walnut-sized portion of cheese mixture from the ball; you will use that for the head. Re-form the remaining cheese ball and roll the ball in the almonds. Roll the remaining portion of cheese into a small ball and set it on top of larger ball – this is the turkey’s head. Cut the raisin in half and place each half on the head for the eyes. Place the almond in the middle for the beak, and arrange small piece of red pepper under the beak for the turkey’s wattle stick dried papaya slice into the bottom of the cheese ball for the feet. Last, arrange pretzel sticks on the back of the cheese ball to look like tail feathers

Chilly Penguin

  • 16 oz. cream cheese
  • 4 oz. blue cheese
  • 2 tsp. chopped shallots
  • 1/4 tsp. coarse salt
  • Dash hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup poppy seeds, for coating
For decorating:
  • 2 dark raisins
  • 1 almond
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 scallion
Using a stand mixer or a bowl and spatula, mix together the cream cheese, the blue cheese, shallots, salt and hot sauce. Form the mixture into a ball and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Before serving , remove a 2-inch piece of the cheese mixture, roll into a ball, and set aside, this will be the head. Re-form the remaining cheese mixture into an egg shape. Cut out a triangle shape roughly the length of your cheese ball from a sheet of wax paper. Press the wax paper into the cheese ball , with the widest part on the widest part of cheese ball. Roll the cheese ball in the poppy seeds and set the ball on a plate.
Slowly remove the wax paper; the ball should be covered in poppy seed, except for the penguin’s breast. Set the head on top of the penguin’s body and add the raisins for the eyes and almond for the beak. Slice off 2 equal sized rounds of the carrot and arrange them on either side as earmuffs. Connect the earmuffs with the green part of the scallion. Using a vegetable peeler, peel 1 long strip off the carrot; winds this around the penguin’s neck as a scarf. Slice the remaining carrot into toes and arrange at the bottom of the penguin’s body to make its feet, or use two red bell pepper slices.

                                                               

Easy Homemade Vegetable Soup Recipe

                                                     

         
I love making soups and chili during the fall and winter months.  I adapted a soup recipe that you don’t have to spend all day in the kitchen making and it’s delicious.  Here’s what you will need:

  • 1 package of stew beef
  • 2 cartons of Swanson’s Beef broth (32 oz.) or store brand  (I have used Food Lion brand)
  • 1 quart of your whole canned tomatoes or 32 oz. from the grocery store 
  • 1 package of Hanover frozen veggies or your garden veggies from your freezer
  • 2 -3 small potatoes cubed
  • 1/4 box of elbow macaroni (optional)
  • 1 cup water

Brown your beef in a tablespoon of butter or margarine. Drain, remove from skillet and place on a cutting board. Add your tomatoes, 1 carton of Beef Broth and 1 cup of water to a stock pot and bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer.  (You can cut up your tomatoes before placing them in the pot if you like smaller pieces). 


While tomatoes are simmering, cut beef into bite size pieces.  Add  beef and additional broth to pot and simmer for 30 minutes. Peel and cut potatoes into cubes. Rinse and add to pot. Simmer until almost done.  (You don’t want them to be completely done or they may get mushy). Add frozen vegetables and simmer until all vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.  Stir pot occasionally. Add 1/4 – 1/2 box of elbow macaroni and simmer until tender.  Season to taste. 

This soup gets better if it sits for a few days. You can freeze it in mason jars or soup containers for a quick and healthy meal.  It’s Yummy!

                                                           

Freezing Green Tomatoes

fried green tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes anyone?  They’re delicious.  I had a ton of green tomatoes left in my garden, and decided to freeze them for use during the winter.  Yes, you can freeze them or water bath them in the canner in wide mouth pint jars. 

I decided to slice and freeze mine.  The easy way to prepare them for the freezer is to slice and than place individual slices on a cookie sheet or pizza pan.  Make sure slices are completely frozen, otherwise, they will stick together.  Place individual slices in freezer bags.  When you’re ready to prepare them, place the frozen slices into an egg and flour batter and drop them into hot oil until golden brown on both sides.  Season to taste.

No Dyed Eggs For Me!



This year I decided to
not dye eggs.  As a matter of fact, I won’t be dying them ever again.  I will be
exposing my grandchildren to a variety of naturally colored eggs.  I have been
blessed with light brown, dark brown, white, green, pink and light blue eggs for
my edification.  Who needs dye!  The photos don’t do the color of the
eggs justice.  I’m able to purchase these eggs fresh, and the only date stamped
on the egg carton is the date that I write on an Avery label.  I even provide
the egg cartons. 



I want my
grandchildren to learn about nature and all its beauty.  I want them to be able
to share unique experiences with classmates and have special memories when
they’re visiting me.  I want them to remember grandma cracking colored eggs for
their omelets and brownies.  I can’t wait to hear the giggles. 


                                                                  Jersey Chicken


                                                                Black Cochin Chicken

Speckled
Sussex Chicken

           
                                                                    Easter Egg Chickens
                                                                     

I’ve started purchasing fresh eggs a year ago.  Here are some of the chickens that work to produce my order.  I place my order and the next day the eggs are retrieved from the hen house and brought to me.  I’ve never been into chickens, but I think the black Cochin chicken is beautiful.  My grandparents had chickens on their farmette, but they where just your regular chickens that laid white eggs.

If I could withstand the smell and cleanup, I might invest in a few of these beauties.  Okay, that thought didn’t last long.  I’ll just continue to purchase them when I need them. What do you think about my colorful eggs?  Do you have chickens?  If so, what kind.

Happy Easter!