Tag Archives: food

My View through the Windshield

I’ve heard life compared to driving a car. From the drivers seat I can either view the road through the rear-view mirror or the front windshield. Anyone who drives knows that intently focusing in the rear-view mirror while attempting to drive forward would cause an accident, or at best a slow and swervy drive. If I want to drive well and arrive at a specific destination then I better be looking out the BIG front windshield. Glances in the rear-view mirror are good when focus is out the windshield.

windshieldAfter two months of processing (no doubt there is more processing to come!) I am ready to put my focus on the windshield. I am ready to move forward, toward a goal, at a quicker and more focused pace. We have not yet arrived at our destination, but today I get to share more specifically what we see through the windshield. And, even better than just telling you about it, we get to ask for your continued and/or increased partnership on this journey.


First:

I am continuing my work with USANA Health Sciences (my 12th year). The products provide the foundation for our  family’s well-being and have been so helpful in maintaining health during this particularly stressful season. The business side of USANA provides me the opportunity to have a flexible schedule, be home with the kids, pay off bills, work closely with Joe and travel for ministry whenever necessary.

Second:

In December, after about five years, I reconnected with The Healthy Edge. This is a great system and program that provides information and tools to continue on my personal health journey. I am also able to receive training and experience to grow my coaching skills and coaching business in an area I care about. In the past I did group classes with weekly meetings. Now I am focusing on online, Skype, and phone connections so that my location does not hinder my ability to coach and have classes.

Third:

As was shared in my previous post, Joe and I are launching Overboard Ministries full-time. This part-time dream is becoming a full-time reality. The small publishing company that began 4 years ago was never the big or final dream of Overboard. Joe articulates some of those dreams in this 10-minute video.

This video shares only the beginning. There are also dreams for ministry centers in multiple locations, and the viral spread and multiplication of Overboard living. This is why we are launching a 6-week initiative (through April 30, 2015) to raise financial and prayer support. This support will allow us to transition quickly into working Overboard full-time, rather than part-time as we have for the past 4 years.


Sometimes it takes a while to have real clarity about goals, dreams, and the future. For us, I think the clarity has been there, but there was uncertainty and fear about how to take that leap out of the boat (how to truly go Overboard)! Well, here we are. We took the leap and we are trusting with full-faith that everything we need physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, relationally, and financially WILL be provided! It is already happening!

Be Extraordinary! . . . It’s worth it!

 

(I’m Traci, the “Be Extraordinary!” blogger. I share insights that challenge and encourage moms to be the best version of themselves. To me, that’s an extraordinary life! Click HERE to receive blog updates and a free newsletter.)

Traci’s Test Kitchen: Bob’s Chili Recipe

ChiliWatching the movie Ratatouille with my family inspired my 13-year-old to want to do some cooking. I enjoy cooking for my family, even trying new recipes, but doing this task with my son was a true treat!

AJ’s first task was to choose a recipe. I was open to just about anything and he is willing to eat just about anything so the options were endless. He ventured into the notebook titled, “Traci’s Favorites”. This notebook was a craft created at a MOPs event at least five years ago. Please don’t let the title fool you. Although this notebook does contain many of my favorite recipes it also contains many recipes that I have yet to attempt.

The recipe selection: Bob’s Chili Recipe (from the notebook) and Cornbread (from the Original Betty Crocker Cookbook).

Chili2I’m not actually sure why I have never made Bob’s Chili. Years ago (not sure how many) I was trained and then facilitated health and weight-loss classes through a program called Trinity Health. The founders of Trinity Health are Bob and Vicki and this recipe is Bob’s. So, this is not only a good-tasting chili recipe, but it is also a good-for-you recipe! Win-win!

The recipe was simple to follow. Check.

The recipe did not involve any crazy or hard-to-find ingredients. Check.

There was plenty of chili for leftovers. Check.

Everyone in the family liked the chili. Priceless.

Bob’s Chili Recipe

Ingredients (ingredients we used, if different, are placed in parenthesis)

2 lbs. lean ground beef or ground turkey (beef)

1 large onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic

1 green pepper, chopped (red pepper)

3 stalks celery, sliced

2 cans (15-16 oz each) whole tomatoes, cut into pieces (petite diced tomatoes)

1 can (6 oz) tomato paste

1 Tbsp salt

1 tsp Splenda (Stevia)

1/4 cup chili powder

1 tsp red pepper sauce (Tapatio Salsa Picante)

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

2 small can diced green chilis, or 3-4 whole roasted green chilis, peeled and diced (canned)

1 can black beans

1 can rd beans

Directions

Chili3Cook and stir meat, onion, and garlic until meat is light brown, then drain. Stir in remaining ingredients, except beans. Heat to boiling, reduce heat, cover, and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add beans (don’t drain) and simmer another 45 minutes or until desired consistency, stirring occasionally. (30 minutes, followed by 15 minutes)

Honestly, I can’t wait to make this recipe again. It was so delicious! Yet, even more than making the chili, I can’t wait to cook with AJ (or one of my other children) again. It was awesome!

Even the simple, mundane, everyday tasks can Be Extraordinary!

Inspiration For Sale (Tamale Purchase Required)

InspirationFrequently on Facebook I run into something extraordinary. More often than not I hear people complain about all of the complaining and drama on Facebook, but the amazing stories are there too if you look for them.

I was inspired by a post written by my Facebook friend, Heather. If you are ever looking to buy or sell a home in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, Heather is your woman. Here is Heather’s story one Wednesday morning in September:

“I’m home working this morning. Two offers, a couple new listings coming up, and inspections to complete. Kinda busy, but handling it fine in the quiet of my home office. Kids are at school – you know – a normal early fall morning. Then there is a knock at my door. Standing there was this little lady I have seen in the neighborhood before. She has a few little ones and I was thinking maybe she lost her dog or something. I say good morning and she does too, then she asks me if I want to buy some tamales. I see a heavy pack on her back. Weighted down with a bunch of them.

“I decline.

“I wish I hadn’t. But who buys homemade food from someone knocking on your door, right? Then she asks me if I have received her flyer and hands me a flyer about housecleaning. We talk a little more. She is bonded, licensed, and lives nearby. I promise to refer some clients her way who also live nearby. I tell her I am a Realtor and she recognizes my name. She gives me a couple extra flyers and we say goodbye. I go back to my desk and start working again, but I can’t stop thinking of her. What must it take for her to provide for her family, walking door to door selling food? She obviously spent a lot of time on the tamales AND she cleans houses too.

“The strength of women I meet often inspires me. It fills my spirit, but this lady really did today. Next time she comes by, I will buy the tamales. Sending her lots and lots of success energy today. Feeling inspired.”

There are so many things to draw from Heather’s story. When you think about what it means to live an extraordinary life, what lessons can you draw from the lovely woman selling tamales and house-cleaning? What lessons can you draw from Heather and her response to the situation?

So far in the story there are valuable lessons and I hope you are seeing them, but Heather did not become Senior VP at Coldwell Banker or receive numerous awards in her profession by sitting back. Heather was moved, even “inspired”, and here is what she did next:

tamale“I went and chased her down!!!
“My conscience was YELLING at me!
“We are eating them right now for lunch! They are still warm!! Soooo good!!”

Heather was moved, inspired, and then she took ACTION!

Are there any lessons for you now? How can you take the lessons of this story and apply it to your business, family, health, marriage, or finances?

There are ‘tamales’ worth having and they often require getting off your butt, getting out of your house, and even chasing them down the street. And the payoff is totally worth it!

Be Extraordinary!

Connect with Heather for your house-buying or house-selling needs by clicking here.

Birthday Ice Cream . . Yummm

starbucksThe extraordinary journey doesn’t always seem all that . . extraordinary. Sometimes it lacks the intense feelings and emotions that are experienced in other moments. I had one of these experiences on my birthday.

No, my whole birthday was not one of those experiences. The day was filled with peace, fun, laughter, new friends, old friends, hugs, cards, texts, Facebook messages, phone calls, and free coffee from Starbucks. It was a wonderful day and I knew (as I know now) that I was loved, appreciated, and cared for by many.

But I did have one little moment.

birthday moomersI honestly thought my trip to Moomer’s (America’s best ice cream and only 15 minutes from my home) would be an emotional and inspiring experience. That sounds so silly even as I write it, but I really believed that would be the case. After all, I had gone more than eight months without eating ice cream even though I have been to Moomer’s well over ten times in those 8 months.

I love ice cream! I worked at Baskin Robbins for several years in college and did not grow tired of it, but only found more flavors to love and enjoy.

And yet, in spite of this love, I held to my commitment of no sweets, treats, or ice cream for more than eight months. Because of this “ice cream fast” I thought that eating the ice cream would be an amazing, thrilling, and emotional experience. I pictured a “What About Bob?” moment when he is eating dinner with Dr. Marvin’s family and truly enjoying his mashed potatoes and hand-shucked corn. There were so many moans, yums, and looks of pleasure on Bob’s face.

My chocolate peanut butter and peppermint stick in a cup was just ice cream – really great ice cream – but just ice cream. I enjoyed every bite, but it was still just yummy ice cream. In fact, the anticipation of the ice cream was so much greater and even more fun than the eating of the ice cream.

This may sound silly, but I have a feeling some of you understand.

This was a victory. Food, especially sweet food, has had a grip on my life for years. To simply enjoy something, without obsession, is amazing and I am so grateful I was able to experience ice cream in that way.

Darren Hardy talks about fasting from things (movies, wine, ice cream, spending money) that potentially have a grip in his life. The only way to really know if something is controlling you versus you have control over it, is to fast and take great notice to your response. Hardy does a 30 day fast of some sort every few months just to make sure he is still the master.

Is there a ‘master’ in your life that needs to be put in its proper place? What do you need to fast from in order to regain control?
Be specific. How long and from what specifically will you fast?
Be accountable. Now share what you are going to do so you can receive support and greatly increase your chances of success. The comment box is open.

Be Extraordinary!

Traci’s Test Kitchen: Energy Bites

No Bake Energy Bites

No Bake Energy Bites

Whenever a commitment is made to remove something from our lives, it is important to find a positive alternative. I made the decision to remove sweets, treats, candy, and soda from my life beginning back on February 20, 2014. The cravings for candy bars, soda, and sugary treats are lessening for which I am very grateful! As part of this health journey, it is fun to find healthy treats that fit within the boundaries of my commitment.

I do not know the origination of the “No Bake Energy Bite” recipe. (If you do, please send me the info). The recipe was passed along through a friend on Facebook. Many good recipes have made their appearance on social media platforms. I hope you will enjoy this one and pass it along so others can enjoy it too!

Dry Ingredients - Oats and Flax

Dry Ingredients – Oats and Flax

A delicious combo - honey and peanut butter

A delicious combo – honey and peanut butter

Recipe:
1 cup slow cooked oats
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (original recipe calls for 1/2 cup)

No need to bake. Simply refrigerate for 30 minutes and then enjoy. It may be helpful to store them in an air-tight container so they don’t disappear too quickly!

Replacing old habits to keep us in line with our commitments is an important step to success on this extraordinary journey called life.

Be Extraordinary!

Traci’s Test Kitchen Recipes:
Green Smoothies
Grain-Free Cookie Dough Bites
Nut Butter Muffins

Traci’s Test Kitchen: Green Smoothie

Smoothie #1

Smoothie #1

I love green. It’s my favorite color. I love to wear green and I love to see green in the grass and trees in the summer. There are so many beautiful shades of green. I even like to eat green foods – celery, cucumbers, broccoli and spinach. In spite of all of this love for green I have never wanted to drink a green smoothie. Actually, I may have wanted to but couldn’t get past the thought of it tasting like wheat grass. I know some of you love that, but I have a limit in eating things that taste too much like the earth. Personal problem, I know.

Smoothie #2

Smoothie #2

I decided to get over my fear and brave the green smoothie. I was very pleasantly surprised, in fact, a little shocked. Since my first green smoothie adventure I have tried a few varieties of the beautiful green drink. If you have not yet ventured into the world of green this is a great (and pretty tame) way to do it. If you are a green smoothie expert, please share your recipes below, on my Facebook page, or on my Pinterest Smoothie board.

I have included several “Traci Tested” recipes to get you started.

Smoothie #3

Smoothie #3

Very Green Smoothie #1 (this was the first recipe I tried)
– Extra large handful baby spinach
– Half an avocado
– One cup frozen strawberries
– Half a banana
– 1 cup water

Super Berry Green Smoothie #2
– Extra large handful baby spinach
– One scoop Vanilla Nutrimeal
– Two scoops Orange Cream Nutrimeal
– Half cup Bolthouse Farms Berries + carrot
– Half cup water
– Five ice cubes

Smoothie #4

Smoothie #4

Apple Blueberry Green Smoothie #3 (made by my sister-in-law, Naomi)
– Large handful baby spinach
– One cup blueberries
– Half an apple
– Ice
– Water

Chocolate Green Smoothie #4
– 3 scoops USANA Chocolate Nutrimeal
– Large handful spinach
– Ice
– Water

The green smoothie world is a great, healthy adventure!

Be Extraordinary!

Tis the Season to Be . . Stressed Out!!

stressThe causes and experiences of stress are different for everyone. I tend to hold my stress inside, often without realizing it. I feel fine and everything seems ok . . then that ‘one thing’ causes all my stress and frustration to be expressed with great force. At that moment I feel the anger, disappointment, sadness, and exhaustion of days or weeks of underlying stress. I had one of those moments yesterday that turned into an evening of questioning so many things about life, family, and my ability to see circumstances with clarity.

I realize I am being a bit vague here, but I hope you grasp the idea. I have let little bits of stress – physical, emotional, mental, financial – go unchecked and it caught up with me. When I feel this kind of stress I make poor choices in how I take care of my physical self. By doing this I actually create even more stress in my body.

In thinking about stress and my response to it, I was reminded of some great tips from Sanoviv Medical Institute about managing stress. Sanoviv says the following about stress:

“Stress is an adaptation response in your body when there is a perceived challenge or danger. In this response, your body readies itself to either fight this challenge off or flee from it. Chronic stress is a pervasive stress response in the body that can have serious health repercussions as this does not allow your body to rest and heal itself effectively. Chronic stress can trigger or exacerbate most of the major health conditions that we face today.”

Here are just a few simple daily habits that can help lessen the stress in your  life.

Fruit-and-Vegetables1) Reduce or eliminate refined carbohydrates, sugar, caffeine and alcohol.

2) Increase your intake of healthy fats from nuts, seeds, avocado, olives, and cold water fish while decreasing your intake of damaged fats and oils (hydrogenated oils, deep fried foods).

3) Stress can deplete B-vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium and zinc. Take a high-quality, pharmaceutical-grade supplement. See my recommendation here.

4) Engage in regular, moderate exercise.

5) Eat more fruits and vegetables, and less processed foods. (This can be a challenge through the holidays, but is possible and worth it!)

6) Identify the source of your stress and deal with it effectively. When there is an elephant in the room it causes a lot of stress!

I am incorporating these tips in my plan for a healthy 2014. If you would like help, encouragement, and resources in creating a healthy game plan for 2014 please contact me by clicking here. It will take work, but the results will definitely be worth it!

Be Extraordinary!

Traci’s Test Kitchen: Grain-Free Cookie Dough Bites

20131104-165123.jpg

I am choosing to avoid refined sugars. I don’t like to admit this, but I feel physically better when I avoid these sugars. I love sweets and want to keep eating them; however, sweets seem to like me quite a bit too. The reality, in this extraordinary journey, is that I must master this vice rather than letting it master me.

During my recent 90-day challenge, one of my victories was eliminating iPad and iPhone games from my daily habit. I made this a goal because I realized how much mindless time I spent playing these games during the day and late into the night. It was tough at first, but today (nine days after completing the challenge), I still haven’t played a game. It has definitely become a new, positive habit in my life.

Mastering my iTime played a role in my decision to eliminate refined sugar. The other motivation and encouragement in choosing this new habit is the inspiring story of my son, AJ, completing a one-year, No Candy No Soda Challenge. Here’s what AJ had to say, “Without doing challenging things (like this challenge), I wouldn’t be ready or able to do other challenging things God has for me later.” He’s right! I want to be ready. I want to inspire, motivate, teach and coach. I don’t want to be in this same space, working on this same vice five years from now. It is a challenge, no doubt, but it is worth it.

I strongly believe in replacing old habits with new ones, replacing iTime with new productive habits, and old sweets that don’t serve me with new ones that do. Simply eliminating anything from our lives without replacing leaves a gaping hole that desires to be filled. The easiest thing to put in the empty space is the old habit I am attempting to eliminate. Therefore, I must fill it with a new healthy, positive habit that serves my long-term goals.

I want to thank my friend and blog editor, Sharilyn, for this awesome recipe. If you would like to see the original recipe from Texanerin Baking, click here.

20131104-165048.jpgThis recipe is delicious and relatively easy (necessities for me to choose a recipe). Here are a few pointers:
1) Make this recipe!
2) Use a food processor. I do not currently have a full-sized food processor and I would highly recommend that tool for this recipe because the ingredients are fairly dry. (Magic Bullet, which can do wonders with so many things, didn’t work well here).
3) Follow the instructions for “natural peanut butter”.
4) Enjoy a healthy, guilt-free, sweet treat.

Ingredients

  • 1¼ cups canned chickpeas, well-rinsed and patted dry with a paper towel
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons (165 grams) natural peanut butter or almond butter – room temperature
  • ¼ cup (80 grams) honey (commenters have used agave and maple syrup with success!)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • a pinch of salt if your peanut butter doesn’t have salt in it
  • ½ cup (90 grams) chocolate chips (use vegan or dairy-free, if needed)

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F / 175°C. Combine all the ingredients, except for the chocolate chips, in a food processor and process until very smooth. Make sure to scrape the sides and the top to get the little chunks of chickpeas and process again until they’re combined.
  2. Put in the chocolate chips and stir it if you can, or pulse it once or twice. The mixture will be very thick and sticky.
  3. With wet hands, form into 1½” balls. Place onto a Silpat or a piece of parchment paper. If you want them to look more like normal cookies, press down slightly on the balls. They don’t do much rising.
  4. Bake for about 10 minutes. The dough balls will still be very soft when you take them out of the oven. They will not set like normal cookies.
  5. Store in an airtight container at room temperature (or in the fridge) for up to 1 week.

Don’t want to bake but still want to enjoy yummy, healthy, sweet treats? Click here to see what I use and recommend.

Be Extraordinary!

20131104-165111.jpg 20131104-165102.jpg

Clean Sinks, Floss, and Sit-Ups

Cleaning_Sink What do clean sinks, floss, and sit-ups have in common? Quite a bit actually. Each one of these is a relatively small act that has great impact. Many years ago I heard about Fly Lady, a woman who teaches people how to keep their houses clean. What is the first and continual step for keeping your entire house clean, according to Fly Lady? Clean the kitchen sink to sparkling clean and keep it that way. I was sceptical, but I gave it a try. What happened when I cleaned my kitchen sink? I ended up cleaning the kitchen counters too. I swept the kitchen floor. I cleared the kitchen table and even placed a centerpiece on the table. The entire house became more clean – not overnight – but very quickly the house was in better shape, starting with the simple act of cleaning the kitchen sink.

stick_figure_sit_ups_sticker-r48557f93248940129e6ee904b500d55c_v9waf_8byvr_512I have had similar experiences with exercise, most recently with sit-ups. I am currently participating in a 30 day Strong Ab Challenge. Day 1 involved 15 sit-ups, 5 crunches, 5 leg raises, 10 second plank, a healthy nutrimeal shake and protein snack bar. The rest of the day I could do and eat whatever I wanted. This relatively small challenge inspired even greater things out of me on that first day. I chose water to drink, I snacked less and I avoided late-night eating. Just like the clean sink, making a small, easy change can motivate change and better decisions in even more areas of the house and my life.

sanseusanaOne more example: I rarely choose to wash my face at night. I use the best skin care products and I love the feeling and smell after washing my face – in fact I think I even sleep better at night – yet I still choose not to do it. After my last dentist appointment, I made a decision to floss my teeth every night for the six months between appointments. Guess what happened 21 days into this new daily routine? I started washing my face! Flossing my teeth at night is a very small thing that very quickly impacted another area of my health and life – washing my face (not to mention the fact that my mouth is experiencing great benefits also).

So what’s the point? Go clean your kitchen sink, floss your teeth and do some sit-ups? The point is to embrace the small changes – daily – and allow those small changes to impact greater areas of your life. What is a small change you can add to your life that does not feel too difficult? Commit to doing this new habit daily for 30 days and watch what happens. This may be the thing that propels you into an even more extraordinary journey.

Be Extraordinary!

Traci’s Test Kitchen: Nut Butter Muffins

I love cookbooks, especially ones with beautiful photos. In fact, I actually love cookbooks more than I love cooking. If I could look through wonderful food photos and simply pin them in the kitchen for my personal chef that would be a dream come true.
Since the personal chef is not yet in the kitchen, I am making attempts at some beautiful, healthy, new recipes. I made one the other day that met my criteria:

1. Simple
2. Tastes good
3. Contains ingredients I usually have on hand
4. Turns out reasonably close to how it should

Bonus: Gluten and dairy free for the many who choose to avoid those ingredients.

This recipe is from a new cookbook of mine, Raw Food Chef, by Dr. Libby Weaver. I had the privilege of hearing Dr. Libby speak at USANA’s 2013 International Convention. Dr. Libby is super knowledgable about how our bodies work and I am inspired to eat healthier and take my USANA supplements every time I hear her speak. She also has a fantastic Australian accent – so jealous!
Recipe: Nut Butter Muffins

Ingredients:
1 cup nut butter (we love peanut butter!)
2 bananas, peeled and smashed
2 eggs, well beaten1175000_10151797156384362_87162544_n
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees farenheit
Blend nut butter until smooth
Add banans and eggs and mix until combined
Add baking powder and apple cider vinegar until well mixed
Fold in the blueberries
Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups and bake for 10 minutes (took my oven 12-13 min.)

I hope you will give this recipe a try and share similar (healthy muffin) recipes in the comments below or on my Facebook page.

Be Extraordinary!

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