Monday, July 17, 2017

Seven Tips for Post Travel Detox

Traveling for vacay and work are two different things. Let's face it, on vacay... I lay on the beach ALL DAY. For work... I usually am busy from sun up to midnight therefore not on my normal sleep schedule, a bit off my typical nutrition and I usually come home feeling tired from late nights and early morning flights. So after multiple trips and big conventions for this introvert... here are my TOP TIPS to get back on your game by Monday!

My Top 7 Post-Travel Tips
1. Get & stay hydrated! Easier said than done with TSA always confiscating your water, but buy one, get some on the plane and most definitely chug 4-5 glasses of cold water once you're home. This also helps WAKE UP your body if you did take an early AM flight.

2. Take a short 30m power nap. A power nap can leave you feeling refreshed. A 3 hour nap can leave you feeling more tired. You still want to sleep TONIGHT, so trust me... set your alarm for 30-40 minutes.

3. Pick healthy food choices post-flight. I know healthy options aren't always easy when you travel, so if you skipped placing a few healthy options in your bag don't sweat it... do your best and pick the best once you're home. Skip ordering pizza tonight, instead opt for a large salad or home cooked meal to have you feeling leaner tomorrow.

4. Go for a walk. After stale travel air honestly one of the best things you can do for your body is to get some FRESH air! 

5. Do a brain dump. Make a list of things you wanna tackle post trip be they things at home or work. Then prioritize your list, so that on Monday you know what's most important for you to get done.

6. Unpack. Ugh, I'm with you--I hate unpacking, but waking up on Monday morning with your luggage empty, put away and your laundry already sorted feels amazing come a new week. If you suck it up and do it, I promise, you'll be glad you did!

7. Get to bed on time OR even 30-60m earlier than usual. Once home, the best way to get back on track is to get right back to your normal schedule and that starts with sleep. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep and head to bed a bit earlier if you need to get up for work, the kids, your dog, etc... at a usual time tomorrow AM so you can get a bit more shut-eye without hitting the snooze 6 times and starting your Monday stressed & late. 

Traveling is not easy on our bodies or families, but there are some SIMPLE things we can do to manage travel stress, jet lag, dehydration and less sleep while traveling. Employ a few or all of these tips the next time you travel!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Shakeology No-Bake Cookies

Who doesn't love no-bake cookies?!  I know I do.  I mean, first of all, you don't have to bake them.  You can whip up a batch for treats for your family in 10 minutes or less and bonus, with these cookies... they're healthy for you too!  The trick is to only eat one or two and not the whole batch!

Shakeology No-Bake Cookies

 - 2 scoops Chocolate Vegan Shakeology
 - 2 1/4 cups oatmeal
 - 1 cup natural peanut butter
 - 3/4 cup honey
 - 1/2 cup coconut oil

 1. Melt peanut butter, honey and coconut oil     in a sauce pan over low heat.  Stir consistency to ensure no sticking.
 2. Once melted remove from heat and let    cool.
 3. Add Shakeology and oatmeal, stir.
 4. Drop spoonfuls of your no-bake cookie  mixture on wax paper on a cookie sheet.
 5. Place in fridge and allow your cookies to chill.

 Then.... ENJOY!

You may store these cookies in the fridge for up to a week in an air-tight container.  But good luck, my family cannot keep their hands out.  In fact, my girls had no idea I even snuck Shakeology inside, but I truly love that I can not only make them gluten free, by using gluten-free oats, but they're also dairy-free too!

21 Day Fix/Portion Fix Conversion:
1 cookie = 1 tsp oil

Monday, January 30, 2017

Sweet Potato Sloppy Joes

Comfort food at it's finest, but let's face it... that big bun on any sloppy joe just adds lots of calories and carbs and little nutrition.  So if you're looking for a healthier alternative or you're following paleo or whole 30 plans, this is perfect for your dinner table.

My girl's thought these were good.  My husband ate all of the leftovers.  And I just loved that it was easy to prep and gluten-free!

-4 washed sweet potatoes
-1 lbs lean ground turkey
-2 large carrots, chopped
-1/2 large onion, chopped
-1 red bell pepper, diced
-8oz fire roasted tomatoes
-1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
-1 tbsp ketchup
-1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
-sea salt, ground pepper & salt to taste

1. Place sweet potatoes in a baking dish and bake for 45m or so at 400 degrees
2. In a separate pan on the stove brown your lean turkey, once cooked begin to add your chopped & diced veggies, plus your canned fire roasted tomatoes.  Let this mixture cook for 10 minutes on medium heat.

3.  Then add the vinegar, ketchup, worcestershire sauce and stir.  Add seasonings & stir.  Simmer on low until ready to serve.
4. Remove cooked & cooled sweet potatoes and slice them in half, lengthwise.  Smash open with a fork 1/2 a sweet potato and then top with the sloppy joe mixture.

Makes 8 Sweet Potato Sloppy Joe Boats.
21 Day Fix/Portion Fix Conversion
1 yellow
1 red
1/2 green

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Home Gym Baby

When we were designing our home one of the first rooms we allotted space for was our home gym.  I mean, we were building our dream home afterall... I was going to get my dream gym!  Tons of room to move around while doing 21 Day Fix or PiYo or ChaLEAN Extreme streaming from Beachbody on Demand and of course, plenty of room to swing around free weights and get under the squat rack. And it turned out perfect.  In fact, it ended up being a gym I loved spending time in, daily.

I've joined gyms before and quit.  Or just stopped going.  I hated getting there or being there or just having to take the time away from work or family to make it there.  Having a home gym in my basement meant never having to leave home or make up an excuse as to why I wasn't gonna workout that day.

And just to keep things fun... this was my boldest paint choice in the entire home!

The word wall was an after thought.  I mean, I knew I wanted one, but we just ran out of time before our home was featured on Parade of Homes, so I purchased it this past fall.  And then it sat in the gym in an huge roll for several weeks.  Finally, before Thanksgiving, Jeff and I got brave.  We decided to measure and layout the word wall one Sunday afternoon.  Six hours and nearly one divorce later, it was done.  We love how it turned out though and now our gym feels complete!

So beyond some fun paint, a big mirror, cushy flooring & inspiring words, what do you need?!  Well, I happen to love access to Beachbody On Demand--I can just stream workouts like P90X, Insanity, 21 Day Fix and more right into our gym.  Of course, we have free weights and bands, a bench and stability ball, and some other fun stuff... but the majority of our workouts are 30, 60 or 90 day programs that keep us mixing it up & motivated.

And well, long before I ever had a real "home gym" I worked out in my basement overtop Barbies while my girl's played.  Those were the best days, so don't let your lack of dedicated space or equipment deter you.  I started about 6yrs ago working out at home with 5lbs weights and a program on DVD.  Where there's a will... there's a way!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Mama Makes Meatloaf & Gluten-free Mac & Cheese

There's no doubt about it my family loves meatloaf night.  It's so simple to make, but yet... warm and hearty and the perfect comfort food.  The same thing can be said about mac & cheese. Thing is, many meatloaf recipes are loaded with fat and mac & cheese if usually never gluten-free friendly, so I took a few classics and whipped them up MY style.  My family isn't gluten-free, but I am so making gluten-free food that tastes as good as the original is key.

Get ready to rock your family's mealtime with these two classics!

21 Day Fix Approved (also gluten-free) meat loaf:

-1.5lbs lean ground turkey
-1/4c. gluten free quick oats
-2tbsp simply heinz ketchup
-1tsp mustard
-1 egg

1. Pre-heat your oven to 350
2. In a large bow combine all ingredients.
3. Mix with your hands, then form into a loaf.
4. Bake for 50 minuted covered with foil, then remove foil and top with my secret sauce (optional of course, but my family loves it!)

Secret sauce is 1/4c ketchup, 1/4c mustard, 2tbsp honey.

And last, but certainly not least my mac & cheese.  It's not required you serve this as a side.  In fact, many times I just do potatoes or a sweet potato, but on those days I have a wee bit of extra time... it's a treat.  And the leftovers are perfect for chilly winter days alongside a salad or soup.

Homemade Gluten-free Mac & Cheese

-gluten-free elbow noodles (I prefer a rice noodle)
-unsweetened almond milk
-Earth Balance soy-free butter
-cheddar cheese (dairy free if u like)
-Homemade bread crumbs from dried gluten-free bread

1. Boil your noodles according to direction, let cool
2. Butter a baking dish with a bit of spray or butter
3. In a sauce pan combine 1tbsp butter plus 1 cup almond milk, a little garlic powder, plus sea salt and then slowly add in 1 cup cheese while stirring
4. Arrange noodles in your baking dish
5.  Once sauce is all combined pour over your noodles
6. Top noodles with homemade bread crumbs and a few extra sprinkles of cheddar cheese
7. Bake at 350 for 20-30m until cheese is bubbly

21 Day Fix Conversion:
1 slice of Meatloaf: 1 red
1 serving of mac & cheese: 1 yellow, 1 blue


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Powerball Bites

Kid tested!
Meal Plan approved!

I just created my best yet protein-packed powerball bites recipe and I'm so excited to share my recipe with you.  I made a batch last night before family movie night and didn't even mention what was in these, but my girls asked for one... and then another.  Add in the fact that these quick energy bites require no baking means you can make them even if you're short on time.  After school for snack time?!  Sure!  Having a sweet tooth craving?  Whip them up!  Girls night in?  Heck yes!  Trust me, these are always a hit!

Here's the recipe:

Shakeology Powerball Bites

- 1/2c chocolate vegan ShakeO
- 1/4c oats
- 1/8c unsweetened flaked coconut
- 1/8c chopped pecans
- 1/8c mini chocolate chips
- 2tbsp honey
- 6 dates, pitted
- 1/4c almond butter, sun butter, etc
- splash almond milk 

1. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl.
2. Mix in almond butter, puréed dates & honey. A splash of almond milk to help combine.
3. Use your hands!
4. Roll into small balls, approx 24.
5. Store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 10 days.

Portion Fix/21 Day Fix Conversion:
1/2 Orange
1/2 Blue

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Christmas with the Kortes'

Me: C'mon in!
You: Oh, should I take my shoes off?
Me:  Not if they make your outfit!  Would you like coffee or tea?  Let's sit by the fire... and would you like a Gluten-free Christmas cookie?!

That's Christmas at our house and let me tell you celebrating the holidays in our new home has been amazing!  I got to work decorating right after Thanksgiving.  I knew it was going to take some time.  We needed to move furniture and then erect our new 12' Christmas tree.  I took me 2 hours to fluff and shape this tree, but once she was up and plugged in... I was in love!

Then I had to get to work decorating our tree... bottom to top on a 10' ladder where I often wondered "Am I scared of heights?" and "Why did I get a tree this big?"  But in the end, she's stunning and I'm basically convinced I need to re-create this tree year after year.

It didn't stop there though... stockings, lanterns, candles, garlands, all the Christmas decor and MORE.  In fact, I ended up with five fabulous Christmas trees around our home.  The 2nd tree was all white and found it's home in my girl's perfectly posh playroom and we decorated it up with every Paris-inspired black, white & pale pink ornament we could find.  It was just adorable!  I found the 3rd tree at Home Goods and after having a store employee drag it across the store for me to plug it in and ensure it lit up, I bought it & brought it home.  It's a flocked tree, sits in a stand and already had some bulbs and berries wired on it, so I just wired on more plus ribbon!  It was just perfect for the space in our sun room.  The 4th tree was our basement Christmas tree, which may have been a favorite of nearly everyone who made the trek downstairs to see it.  It wears a top hat, has a bit of an equestrian vibe and my girls loved it's classic Christmas feel.  But then, our master bedroom just felt bare.  Neglected.  So I made a quick trip to Kmart (going out of biz sale!) and happened to snag a 7' pencil tree for a $60 deal, brought it home and decorated it up to coordinate with our bedroom.

At this point I'm fairly certain my husband had thought he was going to have to have me committed for being addicted to Christmas decor.  Almost every inch of our home had a touch of something somewhere.  But in the end, after two weeks of non-stop decorating it was done and we could just ENJOY.  Enjoy it with family and friends and reflect on the blessing of the season.

After these photos were shot and I got proofs I just sat there thinking, "Woah!  We've only lived here for six months and we've created THIS for Christmas!"  I just felt overcome with gratitude.  It's a time of year where we do a lot of celebrating, continuing traditions, starting new ones and paying forward our many blessings.  So I hope you will stay and enjoy Christmas with us...

Come on in and enjoy some coffee with me by the fire... 

I think any other tree would have just felt TOO small.  This 12' beast fit the bill perfectly and while I could have probably done a 14 footer... I'm glad I didn't have to take my husband's huge ladder any higher!

To me, Christmas has always been about going a little over the top.  Adding just a little more sparkle, glitter and shine.  

I designed the main floor of our home with a whole "rustic glam" vibe, so I said I was going to do the exact same for Christmas!  Everything purchased for this room was bought with that in mind.

So warm & cozy.

 Ahhhh... symmetry.  Just gets me all giddy.

 Even our sliding barn door got a little touch of Christmas with a rustic wreath.

I almost needed a picture shot at night... this doesn't quite capture of sparkle & light of this tree.

Our sunroom got a little holiday make-over too.

Christmas red, leopard prints, plaids, cozy throws & velvet.

Little details have my heart.

Candlelight and Christmas trees!
Now imagine it filled with family & friends gathered around the island, because that is ALWAYS where everyone is no matter the party we host.

I do not know if this was totally fire dept approved.  However, the real cedar garland looked & smelled amazing and since it was so high... never was a fire hazard!

So simple, but perhaps one of my favorite holiday touches... swags of cedar garland!

An old wooden tray decked out with loads of greens & fresh winterberry, plus 3 sparkling candleholders was the perfect centerpiece for our table.

Me + Plaid ribbon = Kinda obsessed.

Our back hall most definitely had a very woodsy theme.  

Gimme all the gold & candlelight.

I hated to put away many of these things that were once on my fireplace or console table, so I arranged them on the floor and it was just FABULOUS when all lit at night.

 I think the horses approve.

These orbs!!!  They're truly meant to be hung, but when I saw them... I just knew I needed one on either side of my fireplace.  I purchase lightweight cement pots to place them on, filled them with floral foam, added fresh greens, then the orb, glass hurricane, candle and VOILA.  
I am in love with how these turned out!

Yes, yes... even our master bedroom had to have a little glow!

Wintery and warm.

The tree reflecting in that mirror with those lanterns... just perfect.

I love my glitter swan... she wears a fur cape.  And leaves glitter all over, everywhere, every year.

Our basement was completely filled with fur, Christmas reds & plaid, cable knits, velvets, glittering golds, chunky knit wools and everything buffalo plaid.

Oh Christmas plaids.... Oh Christmas plaids.... you make my heart so merry.

Cedar garlands wrapped our entire stairway.

Of course I even had to "Christmas-up" my husband's bar with a few things!

All the little touches make Christmas special to us.

Like glittering reindeer and old santas.

Even our home gym got a little Christmas decor.

Urns & wreath by me.  I LOOOOOVE outdoor decor just as much--I'm a total gardener at heart.

Snowy and serene in December.

An old sled, basket, cozy throw and toss pillows warm up the front porch.

What you do with all of your leftover greens... 
toss 'em in a basket with branches for an effortless look!

Wreaths with big bows hang from wire coat hangers shaped around 
our lanterns on either side of the garage.

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope to see you at Christmas next year!

There is no holiday I love more than Christmas because it is a time to give, reflect, be blessed, bless others and share in the joy of Jesus.  So from our family to yours, Merry Christmas and may your New Year bring you bountiful blessings.