Learning the beauty of letting go.Read More
Hi you guys… Boy! So many changes happening. I feel like there are curve balls being thrown at me everyday. As I have said in other recent posts, I wanna keep as much continuity in our lives as possible. Being consistent in small daily habits yields big results in the long run. That I know is true whether you are making major life changes, or starting new diet habits.
Full disclosure, these photos were taken a bit ago. Hayden was starting pre-school and I was making sure he was getting a probiotic and multivitamin everyday. Being exposed to new germs at school and adjusting to a new schedule can throw a toddler off!
We all know that our bodies absorb the outside stress in our lives. Stress from simple things like traveling to major life changes like moving can affect our health. If you’re feeling like anything is “off” with your body, TRY A GREAT PROBIOTIC—- sometimes something that simple with a lot of water can help tremendously. I’m reminding myself of this as much as reminding you!
Hayden gets his yummy probiotic after dinner. It helps keep things regular and moving, if you know what I mean;) Plus, he thinks it’s dessert!
And for me, a morsel at night helps sleep. The probiotic, turmeric, calm… I’m eating all the good chocolates. I mentioned in my instagram stories recently that you can grab all of their flavors at Whole Foods now!! I was so excited Good Day Chocolate was in Whole Foods. I had to do some stories right there with Huck and Hayden. You can also get them all on amazon.
This brand has been a part of our lives for a while. If you’re new to this blog, check the posts HERE and HERE and HERE. We are real fans. Today I get to share the love…. we’re doing a fun GIVEAWAY with GOOD DAY CHOCOLATES because we just love you all that much!! They are making a generous variety pack for one of you to try all the different products. Make sure you LIKE THIS POST here on instagram and leave a comment here on the blog. That’s it! You’ll be entered. I’m really loving these giveaways. It’s a fun way to connect with you guys and give a little something back. It gives me joy. Hope you are liking them, too!
FAGE is back sponsoring this blog post...how much do we love our FAGE®? FAGE has become such a staple in our lives. My mom even stocked in her fridge in Texas this week for Hayden because he requested it! I bring it along running errands, to Disneyland (scroll all the way down for photo;), playdates at the park. If we’re planning on eating it sooner than later, I literally throw it in my bag without lugging a cooler. I even included it at the kids’ recent birthday party. I wanted an alternative for parents that didn’t want their kids eating so much sugar. And, although we had great food there, I wanted to make sure I had a quick, healthy, low fat, protein packed snack for me. Especially during set up time before the food arrived.
We brought quite a few FAGE® Total Split Cups. They were gone at the end of the party! I could not believe how many parents indulged (guilt-free) right along with me, or said they were grateful we had an alternative to cake for the kids. (Just remember to bring spoons if you follow suit.) I loved sharing FAGE with our friends.
Clearly, by the look(s) on my face, I was grateful to sneak away for one second and enjoy my split cup. My husband thought it was so funny, he wanted a photo of me “taking my moment.” Because I TOOK A MOMENT and indulged. These pictures crack me up. The love is real. Do you blame me? A 3-year-old and 7-year-old’s birthday! I needed energy.
A friend at the party came up and mentioned they have the same ones in their fridge. She said her son thinks of them as dessert! A treat worthy of bribery. She loves how they taste and appreciates how healthy they are! Sometimes her son doesn’t always eat his protein at dinner, but he’ll always have his FAGE.
It’s true. I don’t worry so much about Hayden and Huck finishing their meal if they eat yogurt afterward. It’s packed with so many good benefits, it’s covers a lot of the basics. Probiotics, proteins, Vitamin D, etc.
The split cups are almost like arts and crafts. The boys enjoy folding the perforated seam and pouring the flavored goodness over into the creamy white bowl. Hayden begs me, “let me pour it,” he says. Sometimes, if it’s right out of the fridge, it’s too cold to pour over, so I often set them out as I’m cooking dinner. By the time dinner is over, they are the perfect temperature for Hayden’s little arts-and-crafts-with-food time.
The last post on the blog about FAGE I described what I like that it DOESN’T have! No GMO’s, growth hormones, artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners or preservatives and no added sugars.
I have to admit, my husband did not want me to substitute the 0% fat FAGE® plain yogurt in our recipes or dishes. He wanted all the fat of old school sour creams, heavy creams, butters and oils. There is a time and a place for all that, but living your daily life, it’s better to have healthier options. I don’t mind fat. But saturated fat catches up with you quickly. Once I did the swap out, he couldn’t even tell the difference. He loved it!! Substituting with FAGE Greek yogurt, lowers the fat content greatly. Recently, we’ve made lasagna with 0% yogurt, crustless quiche with yogurt, and I took out sour cream and added FAGE in our homemade burritos (see photo). FAGE now makes sour cream, so don’t be surprised with a new list of recipes coming your way. Have you made the swap?
and ps- I got all your recommended FAGE flavors! (thank you!) Loving my new dessert choices;) What other recipes would you like to see on the blog? Below I’m adding a new mac and cheese recipe that is quick and easy and healthier than the normal ones because of a yogurt substitute. Oh, and it’s sooo good!!
I’m gonna attempt a fat-free cheesecake soon, so I’ll let you know how that goes, but I added the recipe below! HAPPY WEEKEND!!
This scene is sponsored by FAGE®, but it was a real moment documented at our home;)
Int. House-MOTHER’S DAY
Hayden, what is your favorite thing to do with Mommy?
Um…what does that mean?
If you could do one thing with just mommy today, what would that be?
Let me show you.
EXT. HOUSE- PORCH
Hayden takes his mother’s hand and leads her outside to the patio. Points to the outdoor couch.
Sit down right here.
Let’s eat oatmeal right here. With yogurt.
Most weekdays, after his dad and brother leave, Hayden and I have our special moments. Sometimes eggs and toast, but more often than not, oatmeal. Even if we’re rushed, I grab an oatmeal packet (yes, I use instant often #busymom), boil water, cool if off with a large dollop of Greek yogurt and fruit. I think there’s lots of reasons he loves this. He gets to help me “make” it, even though it’s just combining a few ingredients. And I’ll have my coffee, he has milk. We cheers to the day, say our thanks and he talks. “Remember mommy? Remember yesterday when Hucky was here and….”
If I grab my phone for something, he takes my face in his hands to let me know this is his time. I got that memo and honor that. Of course, we have moments all day everyday…books, learning our letters and walks and outdoor time and family time, etc. But I know he loves this breakfast time in the morning on the weekdays. It’s our love language. Sounds stereotypical that a boy’s love language is food…. starts early, I know! It may be more that toddlers like structure and habitual activities; Hayden is no exception.
If you follow my stories, you’ve seen Hayden begging me for yogurt in the morning. It’s pretty funny how excited he gets over yogurt. Specifically FAGE® Greek cause that’s what we keep stocked. And that is actually an understatement… he and Huck beg for it for lunch and dinner, too. FAGE® is so creamy and rich in taste, it’s often dessert for our family. I appreciate FAGE® is Non-GMO Project Verified and all natural, no added sweeteners, no preservatives. All of FAGE®’s products are verified through the Non-GMO project, which offers the highest level of transparency about GMOs. I know exactly what -and what isn’t- going into my little boys’ bodies, and my body!
I incorporate yogurt in so many dishes. Substituting yogurt in a recipe can lower the fat substantially. From simple things like oatmeal (pictured here), to taco dinners, baked potato (my personal favorite), lasagna and obviously desserts (angel food cake - or biscuits- with FAGE® yogurt and strawberries. Name something better in life!). Scroll down for the recipes. Substituting Greek yogurt in many recipes lowers the sugar and raises the protein (and LOVE) for your family. You can use FAGE® plain to replace butter, sour cream, oil, shortening or milk! I keep FAGE® plain fat free yogurt in our fridge, as well as the 30% less sugar split cups. I also brought a bunch to the boys’ birthday party last weekend. I liked the option to have this for dessert for people that didn’t want to eat cake, but I did NOT expect them to all be eaten. Every single split cup was gone!
So… if you’re a regular here on the blog, you’ve heard me talk about FAGE®- have you tried it yet? What recipes do you substitute in Greek yogurt? Would LOVE to hear.
Also, another fun summer idea I learned from FAGE®—- add yogurt to an icing dispenser. Squeeze the yogurt into the opening of raspberries, then let them freeze in the freezer to make frozen yogurt pockets!
See below for other recipes!
Last week, I had the pleasure of hosting a fun day with Cali’Flour Foods. New and old friends joined to learn about cauliflower recipes, eat, pick out some jewelry and catch up with each other. It really was such a good girl gang that day!
I love friends from different parts of my life getting to come together and meet each other. I should add here that this post is not sponsored- I just enjoy sharing….PLUS I AM doing a GIVEAWAY in this post!!! And since we have all these fun photos, I had to show off my friends;)
Amy Lacey wrote CALI’FLOUR KITCHEN, a book all about cooking with cauliflower and incorporating her brand, Cali’Flour Foods. We wanted to try out some recipes (and add a southern flare cause, you know, your girl IS from Texas!). Chef Ameera graced us with her cooking and dropped some knowledge. One of the my favorite things she said was that food should inspire you to be the best version of yourself— and her food will. I thought about that later. It’s a simple concept, but what we put in our bodies DOES affect a lot: our moods, our digestion/nervous system, brain power, waistline and even affects levels of anxiety. The old saying we are what we eat holds some truth.
So much of this blog is about healthy lifestyle choices, so it’s fun to bring another idea for you all to try and incorporate in your lives. I started enjoying Cali’Flour pizzas a while ago when I tasted them at an event. Then, I ordered some to try at home. We love the italian crust. I like to put it on this pizza stone the last few minutes so it gets extra crispy. IF YOU want to try it out, we are randomly picking from comments below to pass along a $50 gift certificate. Tell us why you’d love to try it for yourself or your family. One of the things I love about using their crusts or pasts? I sneak veggies in for the kids. Hayden and Huck happen to love mashed cauliflower, but it’s not the easiest to make sure they get a decent amount of vegetables everyday.
Amy wanted to heal herself from an autoimmune disorder- necessity is the mother of invention. This lead her to creating Cali’Flour foods. She shared her story with us while we (cried a little!) and munched on the awesomeness.
Our friends from EmmaJ Jewelry set up a mini-shopping experience where the girls got to pick a piece to take home. Vitacups provided the afternoon pick-me up! (They would love you to try out their sample pack for free! Just pay shipping at $2.95!) ALSO… THEY ARE GIVING 30% OFF TO YOU. Code ASHLEYJ works on their site until May 25th. Yay!
And last but not least, everyone went home with my some Usana goodies. Anyone that’s followed along on this blog knows I’ve been a fan and often times ambassador of sorts, so I asked for some of my favorites to share with my friends. We went with the Booster C 600, Pure Rest and new pretty in pink water bottle. Polkatots did the cutest dessert cupcakes and our dear friends at Bashful Rose did the arrangements!! (If you are in the area and need flowers, I’m telling you… it’s been almost a week and these haven’t even wilted!!!)
Also, for those wondering, the dress I’m wearing is great for summer! Per usual, I love the pockets! I slipped my Tight Lip’d gloss in there and my phone while I hosted. It’s also in the shop section (under boutique) on the blog.
I’m gonna throw a few other items from our gift bag goodies in the package! So seriously— leave a comment letting us know that you’d love to try Cauli’Flour foods and we’ll announce the winner (maybe 2?) this Saturday, May 4th. So, may the force be with you. LOL.
It’s March 1st! Happy National Nutrition Month! Last month, I wrote some posts on wellness; I’m happy to go into March with a few posts coinciding with nutrition.
I wanna start with one of the basic six essential nutrients…. WATER. You may feel like I’m beating you over the head discussing water. I realize I’ve been talking about drinking enough water for basically the passed 6-12 months. I guess I’m not done! #sorrynotsorry (scroll all the way down for fun art on how to get more high water content foods in your diet!).
Hayden is picking up on our habits— and I’m proud this good one he is choosing to copy. LOL. He loves saying, “I need more water, mommy,” while grabbing his bottle and stool and heading to turn on the filter. Little mess!! But so happy because I’ve read potty training is an incredibly important time to stay very well hydrated.
Yesterday, if you saw my post (here) I squeezed in a hard workout, drank a ton of water and felt so much better afterward. Less anxiety, more focused. I believe endorphins help greatly, but I also notice a distinct difference when I drink my water, specifically my filtered mineral water. The main difference is feeling more focused and energetic and grounded. It’s easy to forget the importance of water… but it only takes a headache or lots of anxiety to remind us.
I thought this was a perfect day to answer a few more of your questions that keep coming in about our Water Filter System! And I love it!! The main questions have been about the Home Master® Filters RO system Joel and I have. I also want to say the only thing I regret is waiting so long to get this. It has made our lives easier! If you’re on the fence, lemme know! I drink probably 25% more water now that I have this mineral water on tap.
What do you mean by “mineral water on tap?”
Great question! I kept asking Joel this, too. These Home Master® Filters are patented, advanced pH balanced water purification systems that ADD minerals back to your water two times during the process of purifying, hence, #MineralWaterOnTap.
Did we get upgrades?
I asked Joel to go over everything we got (I honestly just loved the mineral on tap at my sink, I didn’t know every little thing Joel did, but I’m learning!). YES, we got the loaded package which Joel strongly recommends.
The Loaded version adds:
1. Luxury Standard Brushed Nickel RO Faucet
2. Fridge Connection Kit
3. Dow Filmtec High-Performance RO membrane (75 GPD)
4. Permeate Pump
For more information regarding our Home Master Upgrades visit here.
Can I just buy the refrigerator kit?
Yes - you can install a Home Master® RO System and connect it solely to the refrigerator. You simply have to purchase a Home Master® Refrigerator Connection Kit, and also cap off the line going to the faucet with an additional 3/8 inch inline ball valve. All of which are available right on the company website.
What if I want hot and cold water at my #MineralWaterOnTap filter (like ours at the kitchen sink)?
YES! I hear you and I feel you! This is our next upgrade. And it is possible, affordable and doesn’t take up much space.
HOT TANK INFO:
You can purchase the Waterstone™ Hot Tank to add to your Home Master® drinking water filtration system for instant hot tea, coffee, instant soup, water with lemon in the morning, etc! When you purchase the Waterstone™ Hot Tank, you will need to purchase one of the four Hot/Cold Waterstone™ Water Filtration Faucets.
Hot/Cold Faucets will come with a secondary lever. One lever for cold water, the other for hot water.
CHILLED WATER INFO:
You can add the Chiller Daddy®, a compact undersink water chiller to your Home Master® RO system to provide you and your family with chilled purified water! The Chiller Daddy® is compatible with any of the Home Master® Water Filtration Faucets.
QUESTIONS? So much info here!! Please leave any thoughts or concerns in the comments below. If you can, tune into our Q & A live next week (scheduled for 10:30am PT on facebook and I’ll be chiming in on instagram live, too. Home Master will be on there with us helping answer questions). Home Master® Filters and I will make sure all your questions are answered. You can also contact HomeMaster at 1-877-693-7873. Tell them I sent you and you will get free shipping and a second year filter free on your RO system.
Or use codes ASHLEY for free shipping and free second year filter ON YOUR RO SYSTEM. Or ASHLEY2019 on your whole house system!
CANCER PREVENTION #realtalk today
Continuing with the health and wellness series, I want to thank the American Cancer Society for sponsoring this discussion about cancer prevention. This is all my own #realtalk, but trying my best to bring positivity to this heavy topic.
A bump in my breast led to being slightly cut open for a surgical biopsy. I was very young. Too young to know about cancer yet. I don’t recall that much about it, although I remember the look on my mother’s face when she was listening to the doctor. It was a scare, a benign fibrocystic lump. But something about that time stuck in my mind forever.
Fast forward to my twenties when a dermatologist dramatically reacted to moles on my body. And more biopsies happened. I have long, deep scars from the scares that time. And although my parents taught me a lot about protecting and taking care of myself, this series of tests really woke me up. I started reading more about prevention and taking some big steps. I slather on sunscreen and have never gone near a tanning bed again.
It seems I hear way too often that someone is going through chemo. Or was diagnosed with stage...you name it. These people have their lives changed in an instant. The thing about cancer is this: it does not discriminate. It affects any race, any way, at any time. But, the more knowledgeable we are, we can actively work to try and prevent it to some degree.
There’s so much we cannot control with the unknowns of cancer, but if we can make small daily changes, it definitely won’t hurt and very well might greatly help. Approximately 42% of cancer cases and 45% of cancer deaths in the United States each year that are linked to modifiable risk factors, thus potentially being preventable. Those statistics woke me up! February is world cancer prevention month. It’s a great time to gently remind those we love of little habits we can implement to change our world...and BE GOOD TO OURSELVES, too. Any regulars here know I’m all about clean living. DOESN’T MEAN I DO IT EVERYDAY. I try. I’m not a doctor (even though I'm Dr. Bridget Forrester on B&B;), but I have the privilege of meeting with specialists that lead me in the right direction.
I bet you could write the below on your own. However, it never hurts to be nudged. I just took a break from writing this to refill my water bottle and go walk on the treadmill because all this is reminding me of the benefits. You all help me stick to my regimen, too. It’s so easy to get lazy; accountability helps.
MY TOP TIPS:
I got my first mammogram last year. It’s already time to get my next one. I’ve been avoiding scheduling the appointment, but I’ll do it today. Will you? Screening and early detection of certain types of cancer is paramount. If you’re feeling something is off anywhere or if you have a question, please, talk to your doctor. And even if there’s not a question, talk to your doctor about what screenings are best for you. PLEASE.
2. NO TOBACCO
Quitting smoking is not easy, but you can do it. To have the best chance of quitting and staying quit, you need to know what you’re up against, what your options are, and where to go for help. Check out a great source here at cancer.org.
3. FOOD AND ALCOHOL
Diet: what are we putting in our bodies food and drink related (if it’s not pure water)? High calorie foods, regular consumption of alcohol, and processed foods are not wise choices. We know we should be eating more whole foods: fruits and vegetables high in anti-oxidants, limit processed foods. My boys love going to our local farmer’s market. I remember blogging about it last year and loved reading your responses about your local markets — those that have access to one.
Exercise. Yep. Yep. Just do it. I try to get in at MINIMUM 3 hours a week. I’ll be honest, before Hayden, I was a 6 day a week girl. I did the work. Now, it’s harder, so I get that life can take over. If we are trying to look like Cindy Crawford, we probably need to put in the time, but if we are trying stay healthy and work at preventing cancer, a little goes a long way. 150 moderate minutes a week, or 75 high intensity minutes will fit the bill. (And when I make time to do this, I feel like I’m floating afterward. The natural endorphins seriously kick in.) If you’re following my stories, you often see me participating in yoga. I love the intensity and principles of yoga.
5. PROTECT FROM THE RAYS
SUNSHINE I love it. I need it. I live near the beach for it. A little goes A LONG WAY. My family and I are so used to slathering sunscreen all over us, my kids know the drill, even thought Hayden hates it. Appreciate the sun and all its Vitamin D benefits and mental health benefits, but don’t worship it. Our skin cannot take the heat, so to speak. Even in cloudy, snowy climates— wear your sunscreen. And your sunglasses; protect your eyes! Just a reminder that the top of our heads, hands and tops of our feet need protecting, too. Hats, glasses, enjoying the sun IN THE SHADE, and sunscreen protect us. Give your whole body the love of protection. You all know I’m pale. If you ever see me tan, it’s spray or makeup. The real me is as white as Capser the friendly ghost.
I sincerely appreciate and praise those that share their own stories with cancer. I followed the hashtag #worldcancerday and broke into tears. It isn’t fair.
BE GOOD TO YOURSELF. Love life. Visit the American Cancer Society’s website for more tips. Don’t forget to share this post with those you love as a gentle reminder. And will you share with us in comments what you’re doing for yourself for disease and cancer prevention? We can continue to encourage each other.
Continuing the new wellness series with this post supported by FAGE yogurt. In full disclosure, we have been a FAGE family for a long time. This partnership just makes sense to spread our love and we hope to continue to partner with more awesomeness in the future.
What’s in MY fridge?
It’s the middle of winter. Whether you’re in Arizona’s 69 degree weather, or you’re in the snowstorm in the northeast freezing or here in California where it’s been raining, it’s winter. And this, my friends, is an excellent time to start our spring cleaning preparation of mind, BODY and space. Last year, I embarked on a wellness series with y’all and enjoyed it. I feel like we’ve already started with all the “drinking more water” talk. And I’m not gonna let down on that..reminding myself to drink more clean water everyday.
Today, I’m continuing the topic with healthy food choices. So many of you ask me what I make for dinner, or what I’m feeding my kiddos. I also get asked if I EVEN make dinner or what I heat up that’s frozen! VALID, I’ll admit! Any parent in the world has to figure out food for their family—a normal question, albeit a DREADED ONE. Anytime I have the opportunity to ask friends and get new ideas— you bet I do!
Today is a busy day. It’s raining in LA and I have appointments. So, I threw chicken in the slow cooker with salsa as a base. Later when it’s time for dinner, I’ll shred it, add a bit of yogurt, yes, FAGE (read benefits of greek yogurt from HEALTHLINE here), low-fat cheese, cilantro, and roll it into a burrito and voila! When I got home, I gave Hayden a FAGE Total Split Cup yogurt container. We have been eating yogurt a lot. FAGE reduced the sugars in FAGE Total Split Cups (fruit varieties) by 30%!! From 16-17g down to 11g per serving! That’s incredible sugar cutting with no artificial sweetners. I love nothing more than to feel like I’m giving my family GOOD, whole foods that help their bodies function properly and fight off sickness.
And for ME!
Who can relate to this? Whatever I give the kids or my husband, I usually give a portion to myself. Or at least take bites here and there. So, if our snacks or dinner are really fatty (which we went through a phase), I take those bites. Then, I would also eat my dinner later. I have gained a bit of weight (different topic) but am working to makeover our family lifestyle. We are committed to good food, organic or all-natural as much as possible, locally grown, etc, but then my husband still loves melted cheese all over chips. Or brownies. Or muffins. (okay, fine, I like those things, too!). I know there’s a balance, so when I can offer lower calorie, lower sugar snacks, I will. More nuts, fruits and yogurts, or yo-guns, as Hayden calls them. My husband loves FAGE and the individual split cups were easy to tote for the kids. If we go to the Huntington Gardens (a regular activity when it’s nice outside), I throw a few packages in my backpack with some mixed nuts and a banana. I keep them in stock for my own pre/post workout snack. If I’m leaving the house for auditions and meetings, I have one with me. I can park, read over my lines and eat a high protein snack. The probiotics are healthy for our digestion and fighting toxins in our bodies, too. The benefits run deep!
One thing I love about FAGE Total Split Cup packages is that you add the fruit component. So, I control how much I put in. I can add a few nuts, a few spoonfuls of the fruit component and mix it together. AHHH so good. I also mix the two components in oatmeal most mornings. Hayden and Huck LOVE it. Even if I do make low fat blueberry muffins for the kids, instead of butter, we spread FAGE.
What’s in YOUR Fridge?
Check out recipes idea here under the “recipe” section at the top! Their sweet potato toast pictured below looks amazing, so does the Macaroni and Cheese!
Now, it’s YOUR turn. What’s in your fridge? What are you making for dinner? gimme ideas! Any new things with Greek yogurt;)? Would love to hear about it in the comments below or on my latest post on social media!