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Gratitude Living – My Newest Challenge to You

Bodies are my business. They have been for over 8 years now. And during that time, working with hundreds of different types of bodies through fitness, nutrition and health coaching, I’m constantly asked two things: “What exercise should I be doing + how much (to change my body/lose weight)?” and “What should I be eating?” Everyone wants to be told what to do. To receive a simple black and white instruction that they can follow and see results. I get it. That way would be *so much* easier. At least, that’s what all the lovelies who’ve asked me these questions think.

But, {spoiler alert} that’s actually not the easy way. Living in the black and white of “best exercise”, “good” and “bad” food makes you constantly at war with your body and real life. This way of moving and eating forces you to override your body’s innate signs + signals in telling you when you’re hungry, what feels good in your body, what foods and movement drive your energy (versus deplete it) and worst of all, it crashes and burns against life’s natural flow. Because life, especially the good parts, are not black and white. It’s colorful, ever-changing, grey even – but definitely not black and white (or certain).

And when we try to force rigid black and white rules onto a body that’s neither, you’ll find yourself in a constant spiral of defeat, shame + guilt, chasing results but never achieving or maintaining them, your body at war with your head. Sound familiar?

img_2795What most people don’t know (or fail to realize) is the depth of factors at play when it comes to losing stubborn weight and creating a life and body you love (because the two are one in the same, in case you didn’t know). Your metabolic potential (literally the efficiency of your metabolism) is impacted by a confluence both inner and outer conditions. To name just a few, these can include: the food you eat, the way you move, your stress levels and sleep, what you’re thinking and feeling when you’re eating or exercising, the amount of joy and purpose in your life, your fulfillment in areas I call soul food – relationships, career, spirituality and self-care – how much water you drink, how fast-paced your life is and how much time you spend in gratitude.

And that last one – GRATITUDE – is a big one. Maybe even *the* big one. Because living in a state of the opposite (being ungrateful) is the root of unhappiness (and a good majority of the metabolism busters mentioned above too). Lack of appreciation blinds us to all of life’s goodness, ultimately impeding the exact progress we’re trying to make.

  • We cannot uncover what works best for our body (food, fitness and otherwise) if the language we use always conveys that we not enough. As is. Right now.
  • We cannot hope to lose weight if we’re ungrateful for the signs + signals our body sends to lovingly convey that what we’re currently doing isn’t working. It does this in host of ways, like: stubborn weight, injuries, poor sleep, scattered focus, mental fog, skin issues, digestive issues, elevated blood pressure and cholesterol, inflammation, chronic diseases…(and more!).
  • We’ll remain (wholly) unfulfilled in this life if we’re constantly searching for the “next best” instead of being grateful for our selves, our body, our soul, our life in this moment. As is. Right now. And know, gratitude doesn’t mean we can’t move forward towards goals, it only means we are content with and present to the goodness right now.
  • No one and nothing will EVER be enough if we don’t start living gratitude on the daily in all facets of our life – those we see as both positive or not ideal. I cannot self-loathe my body into change (you know this, we’ve all tried it and failed), but I can self-love it forward.

It’s for this one big reason – gratitude – that I was inspired to create a new Challenge (after admittedly “forever” resigning from them 20 months ago)…

After Will was born, I didn’t feel 100% comfortable in my own skin. Regardless of the amazing feats of my birth and growing Will, I had to get used to my new body. Because let’s be honest – my postpartum body was very different then my pre-pregnancy body {physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually and in every way I can possibly think of}. And something that I had to get used to living and loving in.

gratitude-collage-3My appreciation for my body runs deep, built over time through a commitment to engaging in practices that make me feel good. I knew that the one constant source of feeling good in my skin, increasing energy + “lightness” in my body, while creating ease + connection was rooted in my real food foundation. And it’s from that foundation that I was able to grow into gratitude living in a whole new way.

Because believe it or not, the first (and best) place to start – when we want to feel better in our body, have more energy, be more connected to our life – is with food. I’m not talking about eating in straightjacket fashion with rules and restrictions, but rather with an open heart + mind to uncover what vibrant health looks like on you. When we make eating real food our baseline, with the pursuit of feeling good as our guide, the barriers of what we “can”, “cannot”, “should” and “shouldn’t” eat fall away. They lose their power and become irrelevant. We can begin to move through the rest of our lives with more ease and joy (in life and around food) and less to no worry, shame + guilt.

The difference? Being in tune with your body – versus overriding its intuition, being open to discovery – versus trying to force change, is rooted in gratitude and love where we become the expert of our own body. There is no right or wrong, good or bad food, black or white, instead we have choice: The choice to pursue that which makes us feel, look and be our best. The choice to heal our relationship to food + body and take that first step in self-loving forward action. Because it’s the only way we really can move forward and create lasting shifts – in weight, in our lives, in inspiration, in fulfillment.

And so the GRATITUDE CHALLENGE is just that. A starting point – to guide you in establishing your own real food foundation, while offering inspiration through delicious recipes and building momentum via 8 weeks of practice in meal planning, tuning in to your intuition and learning optimal foods for vitality. We’ll talk real food, eating psychology (more on what effects your metabolic potential), gratitude and at the end of the day what really fills you up {spoiler: it’s not food}. I hope you’ll join for me this wonderful 8 week journey. But let me warn you – your life will be forever changed if you complete it. This program is not a quick fix and certainly not a diet. It’s a real food plan for real life and real, lasting shifts – rooted in gratitude, created with love. A different path, you might say. Because in order to change your results, you have to be willing to change the approach, right?

gratitude-challenge-collage-1

img_2713You might be wondering — what kind of recipes would you be eating? All recipes are naturally gluten-free, mostly dairy-free [with options to adjust based on your needs] and vegetarian-friendly. They are loaded with seasonal + fresh vegetables and rooted in real, whole foods created to energetically warm you up from the inside-out. Expect lots of crockpot {make-ahead} dishes, soups + chowders, one-pot meals and warm salads. There is no going to the grocery store to get tons of ingredients you’ll never use again – each recipe consists of simple ingredients you always have on hand. There are no restrictions and no extremes. I believe that keeping space for the things you love is not only imperative, but crucial in creating a balanced lifestyle where you both enjoy your food AND feel awesome all the time. To get your tastebuds watering, here’s a sampling of what you’ll see:

  • Zoodle Pizza Pie
  • Ginger Maple Glazed Salmon
  • Cumin Grilled Fish Tacos with Fiesta Mango Salsa
  • Nourishing Homemade Bone Broth
  • Curry Cashew Cream Chicken Salad Wrapped in Collards
  • Crunchy Sesame-Almond Fish Sticks
  • Roasted Stuffed Peppers
  • Heart-Warming Vegetable Minestrone
  • Peanut-Thai Stir Fry over Summer Squash Noodles
  • Open-Faced Shredded Pork Yam-Wich with Cashew Aioli
  • Simple Garlic-Ginger Stir Fry
  • Melt-In-Your-Mouth Fajita Yoodle Bowl
  • My Mom’s Famous Spaghetti {Squash} Pie
  • Beef Root Vegetable Stew
  • Roasted Pesto Fish + Green Vegetable Goodness – Tin Foil Dinner
  • New Age Chicken Soup
  • White Bean + Pesto Kale
  • Coconut Fish Chowder
  • Cream of Broccoli Chowder
  • Roasted Cauliflower Panzanella
  • Cucumber, Heirloom Tomato and Olive Anitpasto
  • Green Beans with Caramelized Shallots
  • Coconut Creamed Yams
  • PLUS over 20 Breakfast + Brunch Recipes like the Quinoa + Pumpkin Parfait, Bom Dia Muffins and Almond Butter Cacao Nibs Chia Seed Pudding!
  • And Snack, Dessert, Appetizer + Drink Recipes!

Learn more about the Gratitude Challenge Challenge as a whole by CLICKING HERE. Early bird sign ups (15% off) run until Sept. 15th. Challenge content for Week #1 gets sent out Friday, Sept. 23 and we offically begin Monday, 9.26!

sign-me-up

Did you like this post? Join our email list to receive inspirational posts like this one and stay up-to-date on new recipes, workouts and get the inside track + specials on Macks Mo upcoming programs [CLICK HERE]As always, I’d love to hear from you – post any questions, comments or feedback below and be sure to follow us on Instagram, Facebook andTwitter for continued inspiration and ways to create vibrant health!

Nourishing + Blood-Building Bone Broth

*Almost* every week, I make a bone broth. I was inspired to start making it by my acupuncturist Elisa Berquist two years ago and haven’t looked back since. At the time, I went to see her to help balance out my hormones after 10 years of birth control. The wisdom she imparted to me in the process has shaped my view on how to “build my body up” when I’m feeling depleted and keep it nourished year-round. From a Chinese Medicine perspective, bone broth is blood- and qi-building. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), “blood is an essential fluid.  This means that without blood, your body will not be able to perform its usual functions.  When blood is used throughout the day, it has to be replenished so you don’t become blood deficient.  Stress, exercise, work, and studying are just a few ways that your body uses blood.  Bone Marrow is where the body makes both red and white blood cells.  By using bones filled with rich marrow, we are able to extract this property and infuse it into our own cells.  By drinking nutritious bone broth, you are giving your body what it needs to heal itself” (sourced from urbanherbs.com).

As women, “building up” our blood is even more important because we actually lose blood once a month. This period (see what I did there? : ) of blood deficiency can lead us feeling run-down, depleted, low energy and experiencing cravings to “boost” us back up. Elisa taught me to prepare for this time by consuming blood-building food + drink the week before my period. This included drinking bone broth (or use it in home-cooked meals) + consuming iron-rich foods such as dark green leafy vegetables, seaweeds, spirulina, sprouts, whole grains, richly colored foods like beets, dried apricots, dark grapes, blackberries, raspberries and organic, grass-fed or pasture-raised meat and eggs. Oh – and one other time we lose a lot of blood? When we have a baby! In addition, TCM views breastmilk as an extension of the mother’s blood and therefore it’s important that breastfeeding mama’s also eat foods that build their blood.

On top of all this wisdom, Elisa also dropped a bomb on me.

She told me that when our bodies are in balance, we shouldn’t really experience any of the awful period symptoms we’ve come to think of as “normal”. Our periods should actually involve little to no cramping, little to no bleeding, no back pain, no huge dips in energy levels and no crazy cravings.

Yep, you just read that right. And if you’re like me, you are thinking, “yeah {freaking} right”. Not possible.

At the time I went to see her, I had recently had my IUD removed and had had 2 months of rough periods, including serious low back pain + cramping. So, as you likely are now, I was skeptical. Even non-believing. Because everybody has painful periods, right?

Oh friends. I ate my words….or thoughts, rather (because I never actually told Elisa at the time that I thought she was cray-cray and full of it). But it’s true. Within two months of seeing her, taking her prescribed TCM herbs, practicing increased self-care and implementing her blood-building recommendations, I had periods with absolutely zero cramping, zero pain, zero discomfort. In fact, only a paper-thin pad was needed as primarily bled only when I went to the bathroom. And it lasted 3 days. No joke.

And until I got pregnant, I experienced this month after month. I wanted to share this with y’all today because I always think it’s important that we examine societal “norms” – especially when it comes to our health (or UN-health). And if there is a way to experience more comfortable periods AND gain better health in the process, I believe it’s something all us ladies should be looking into, right?

So, needless to say, I’m a believer in this bone-broth drinking + blood-building stuff. And whether you’re a believer too or not, the good news is that aside from all the amazing health benefits we can incur in consuming it, it tastes great and seriously ups the deliciousness factor of all recipes in which it’s used. Win win. And today, I’m sharing my personal bone broth recipe {and process} on the blog:

IMG_20160107_103652BONE BROTH: 99.9% of the time, I start my bone broth process by cooking a whole (organic + pasture-raised) chicken in the crockpot. It’s super easy – chop an onion and place in the bottom of the crockpot, then place the chicken on top. Cook on low for 8-12 hours. BOOM. On top of the chicken carcass, I usually use grass-fed + organic beef bones, but you can substitute buffalo, veal, lamb, goat; and can also add chicken and/or pig’s feet.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 – 2 grass-fed bones {knuckles, marrow, shank or other bones}
  • Optional: carcass of crockpot chicken
  • Enough water to fill the crockpot after all ingredients are in
  • 1 – 2 onions, peeled and chopped roughly {if you’ve done the crockpot chicken with onion on bottom, no need to do another onion unless desired}
  • 3 carrots, option to chop – but I usually just break + toss them in
  • 2 celery stalks,option to chop – but I usually just break + toss them in
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 Tbls. sea salt and 1 Tbls. black peppercorns
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme {or 1 Tbls. dry}
  • Big handful of fresh parsley {can put in “whole”, stems + leaves}
  • 2 tsp. raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1″ knob of fresh ginger
  • Optional: egg shells from farm raised chickens
  • Veggie scraps: throughout the week, any scraps you cut off {like leek stems, broccoli stems etc}, store in Ziplock bag in freezer. Then toss into your broth to cook with other vegetables

DIRECTIONS: 

  1. IF YOU’VE DONE CROCKPOT CHICKEN: after pulling chicken off carcass, add bones + skin back into the crockpot with the “juice” that’s there {water + onion}.  
  2. Add all ingredients and cook on low for 10-18 hours. The longer you cook the stock the more concentrated it becomes.  
  3. When done, strain liquid, discard bones and vegetables.  
  4. Place liquid into the refrigerator and fat will congeal overnight. Skim off fat.  
  5. Pour stock into freezer-safe containers {careful not to fill to the top} as stock expands as it freezes. You can freeze stock for up to 3 months or keep in the fridge for 2 weeks. 

Say Goodbye to Sugar Cravings!

Winter blues can tend to bring sweet cravings – as we miss the energy, lightness and joy of summer – but did you know that these can often be helped or eliminated by increasing our uptake in sweet vegetables? God knew what he was doing when he made most winter vegetables hearty (comforting) and sweet!!! I’m talking squash, yams, parsnips and beets baby! And speaking of… THIS. My newest winter salad.

So. Freaking. Good.

The Sweet Winter Wonder Salad. Please, please make it today. ‪#‎winnerwinnerHEALTHYdinner‬.

20151215_182136INGREDIENTS: 

  • 1 bunch roasted beets + 2 parsnips + 2 carrots, all organic, all peeled and diced
  • 1 cup Quinoa, soaked, sprouted and cooked
  • Seeds from 1/2 pomegranate, seeds removed by cutting pom in half, placing face down in bowl of water and opening/pulling seeds out)
  • Feta Cheese
  • 1/4 cup Currants
  • 1/2 cup sliced Almonds
  • Handful of fresh basil, chopped
  • Dash of Coconut Oil to toast almonds
  • Olive Oil + Sea Salt for vegetables
  • Olive Oil + Balsamic Vinegar whisked for dressing

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Toss vegetables with EVOO + salt. Roast for 60 min.
  3. Combine {cooked} quinoa, pomegranate, currants and feta.
  4. Toast almonds, add to salad.
  5. Toss finished vegetables and dressing with salad, then top with fresh basil.
  6. Be prepared for your tastebuds to die and go to heaven. 🙂

How to Increase Energy + Focus, While Creating MO(re) JOY in Your Life

AZIf you’re like me, the drear of winter seems to become more present by the time February rolls around. For this reason and the fact that within our business we always do a group challenge at the beginning of the year, Regan & I have made it a habit to schedule yearly sunny getaways in February. This vacation I had one prerogative – to actually recharge my batteries so I could come back with more enthusiasm & passion for my work. I was coming off of 8 weeks of intense working hours – writing, conducting and wrapping up our 2014 Momentum Challenge. We stayed in a condo rented through VRBO.com and went to the grocery store to load ourselves up with good food [mostly fresh fruits + veggies] for the week. The daily routine went like this – sleep in [like a serious, extra 5 hours more than usual sleep in], enjoy a cup of coffee together, move our bodies then cool down/stretch in the sun, eat breakfast, then head to the pool until we lost the sun – doing a little work, a little reading, a lot of relaxing. Then, in the evenings we would pretty much repeat the daytime, except with a fireplace instead of sun.

I have to say, this vacation, felt totally different than any other vacation we’ve taken, because I actually came back in better spirits, shape and frame of mine then when I left. So, my goal since I have been back is to recreate this nourishment every day in some way. Because who says we have to go on vacation to actually take good care of ourselves every day? Can you relate to working yourself “to death” for the weekend or an upcoming vacation? Then find you’re just exhausted all weekend or all vacation? Or maybe feeling the need to pack everything in and live it up because Monday is looming just around the corner?

recharge moreIf your answer is “yes”, I have a challenge for you – to schedule into your day, [at least almost] every day, something that you look forward to. A moment, an activity, a meal, a meet up – whatever. But something that you really can’t wait to do; and hold yourself accountable for doing it. Treat it like a mandatory meeting with your boss; you have to show up. Sometimes in order to be more productive, we don’t need to work more, we need to recharge more {tweet it if you agree – @macksmo}. And I am not talking about doing something for anyone else [even if you do receive joy in doing things for others], I am talking about doing something for YOU. Even if you love your job [like I do], we all need to step away from the work and recharge.

For many of us, we don’t realize how joy-less, stressed or over-worked we are until we take a step back and get committed to slowing down. Believe it or not, there is a direct correlation between the above three factors and poor health, lack of energy, lack of mental clarity + focus, cravings for anything – especially sweets/caffeine/salt and the inability to lose weight. So if you’re feeling “stuck”, like you can’t get ahead or perplexed as to why you can’t lose weight or never feel rested, I have a proposition for you – to embark on a 30 Day commitment to creating more joy in your life.

What would happen if you took a bath and turned on some relaxing music instead of watching your usual Tuesday night TV show line up? Would you sleep better? Instead of forcing yourself through another high-intensity workout when you’re tired & sore, what if you gave yourself permission to attend a soothing yoga class? Or instead of your usual Friday night happy hour, what if you and your gal pals met up for a cardio striptease class [just sayin’…]. Buy some flowers at the grocery store, call your best friend back, walk to the grocery store, play hookie from work, get a massage, learn to make a new recipe [click here for our newest!] or try a new restaurant, do a date night with your partner, pamper yourself with an at-home spa day [try searching Pinterest for DIY facials made from real food!], go to bed 30 minutes earlier – the options are endless! And I promise, the more you start taking care of you – in little ways, every day, the more energized, focused, clear and happy you’ll feel. Are you in? To help you with this, I created this Get More Joy Challenge chart for you to record your daily joys. At the beginning of each week [I suggest Sundays], write out one thing [or more!] each day that you can look forward to and keep it in a place where you can see it every morning – posted on the fridge, inside your closet door, your office, whatever works. I mean, come on – who doesn’t want an excuse to have a little more fun?
—————– —————

If you like this blog post, but would like more support, we’re here to help! Last week we announced the re-launch of our Momentum Challenge for March in 3 separate flights (you could join 3/3, 3/10 or 3/17). Our January group of 50+ participants lost a total of 318 inches, 212 lbs. and had an average of 49% improvement on their fitness tests. And beyond the weight loss, they all increased energy, joy, self-love and gained a piece of their lives back. And we want to meet you where you’re at, so created 3 separate levels to participate based on your needs: 

  • Level 1 – $30: Includes Building Momentum [opening] and Maintaining Momentum [closing] packets that provide you with the tools to transform your world, while creating a body and life you love. Plus bonus articles, along with group support and discussions created through our closed Facebook group and online access to myself and Regan 24/7 to answer your questions and help facilitate a personal experience for you; complete with individualized check-ins and health coaching.
  • Level 2A – $75: NUTRITION PACKAGE includes Level 1 + plus 4-week complete Nutrition Program with grocery list, 30+ new recipes and articles to change your relationship with food and increase your knowledge ($75 savings from typical Macks Mo pricing!).
  • Level 2B – $75: WORKOUT PACKAGE includes Level 1 + 4-week Online Workout Program with exercise video tutorials and tools to create body-transforming results. All workouts take under 30 minutes, require only dumbbells and are designed so you can do them in the comfort of your home ($25 savings!).
  • Level 3 – $150: MOMENTUM COMBO includes both Nutrition + Workout Programming and 2 Challenge Packets ($30 savings!).

*If you’re ready to take the steps towards transforming your life all while creating a life and body you love, the Momentum Challenge is waiting for you, just click here: SIGN ME UP!

Italian Lamb Stew + Apple Thyme Muffins {YUM!}

italian lamb stewNothing warms the body and soul like a savory soup and hot-outta-the-oven muffins, am I right? My kitchen has been stew-possessed lately and there’s nary an ingredient that hasn’t been thrown into the pot lately. And I figured it was time to spread the love. So, fresh from my oven to yours, you’ve got to try this Italian Lamb Stew + Savory Apple Thyme Muffins!
*Options for stove top or crockpot. If cooking on the stove – preheat the oven then start the stew. While stew cooks, make the muffins, they should finish around the same time!

ITALIAN LAMB STEW:

Ingredients:
1 package organic, grass fed lamb [for crockpot = stew meat, for stove top = ground]
1 leek, washed & chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped fine
2 cups organic vegetable broth
2 Tbls. olive oil
1 (15 oz.) can San Marzano diced tomatoes
Cannellini beans [for crockpot = 1 cup dried & soaked overnight, for stove top = 2 (15 oz.) cans drained & rinsed)|
1/2 lbs. small fingerling potatoes
1 red bell pepper, chopped into small pieces
1/2 bunch of kale [recommend Lacinato, but any kind works; spinach or chard great too]
1 Tbls. each: oregano + thyme
1 tsp. each: rosemary + red chili flakes [latter optional]
Sea salt + pepper to taste

  1. In a dutch oven [or large pot], add olive oil, leek + garlic and saute for 1 min – making sure not to brown the garlic. Then add the ground lamb and cook until browned.
  2. Add remaining ingredients [minus kale] and cook on medium heat for 30-45 minutes.
  3. 5 minutes before done, add kale or leaf green of choice!
    FOR CROCKPOT: Use lamb stew meat vs. ground and add all ingredients minus kale in together. 5 minutes before ready to serve, add kale to soften. Eazy breezy! 🙂

apple thyme muffinsSAVORY APPLE THYME MUFFINS: Original recipe from our fabulous client Heather and one of her Paleo cookbooks. I tweaked it by adding nuts, carrots and oats + adjusting flour ratio and swapping out some other ingredients. These muffins are dense like brownies vs. fluffy like a cake [my personal preference] and to die for. You will need an electric mixer (I use my Kitchen-Aid) and a food processor.
Ingredients:
DRY: 2 cups almond flour [you can process whole almonds in a food processor to make the flour – go until it becomes “flour-like” consistency], 1 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. each of: ground ginger + sea salt, 1 Tbls. thyme
FOOD PROCESSOR #1: 1/2 cup each rolled, organic oats + cashews (pecan or walnut yummy too) and 1 peeled/washed carrot
FOOD PROCESSOR #2 [WET INGREDIENTS]: 1 medium, cored organic apple [Gala or Pink Lady] – chopped a bit, 1/2 cup organic maple syrup or raw honey, 2 large eggs, 3 Tbls. coconut oil

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place food processor #1 ingredients in a food processor and chop into fine chunks. Add to electric mixing bowl.
  3. Add other dry ingredients to mixing bowl and combine.
  4. In the same food processor [no need to clean], add the wet ingredients and blend until all liquid.
  5. Add wet ingredients to the mixing bowl and stir on low until all mixed.
  6. Divide the batter into 12 lined muffin cups [I have reusable silicon ones that are amazing] and cook for 20-25 minutes.


*If you like this post, share the love and don’t forget to tag us “@macksmo”.  And in case you haven’t heard — as of last week, we re-launched our over-the-top successful Momentum Challenge and you still have 2 chances to join [beginning either 3/10 or 3/17]. 
Our January group of 50+ participants lost a total of 318 inches, 212 lbs. and had an average of 49% improvement on their fitness tests. And beyond the weight loss, they all increased energy, joy, self-love and gained a piece of their lives back. And we want to meet you where you’re at, so created 3 separate levels to participate based on your needs: 

  • Level 1 – $30: Includes Building Momentum [opening] and Maintaining Momentum [closing] packets that provide you with the tools to transform your world, while creating a body and life you love. Plus bonus articles, along with group support and discussions created through our closed Facebook group and online access to myself and Regan 24/7 to answer your questions and help facilitate a personal experience for you; complete with individualized check-ins and health coaching.
  • Level 2A – $75: NUTRITION PACKAGE includes Level 1 + plus 4-week complete Nutrition Program with grocery list, 30+ new recipes and articles to change your relationship with food and increase your knowledge ($75 savings from typical Macks Mo pricing!).
  • Level 2B – $75: WORKOUT PACKAGE includes Level 1 + 4-week Online Workout Program with exercise video tutorials and tools to create body-transforming results. All workouts take under 30 minutes, require only dumbbells and are designed so you can do them in the comfort of your home ($25 savings!).
  • Level 3 – $150: MOMENTUM COMBO includes both Nutrition + Workout Programming and 2 Challenge Packets ($30 savings!).


*If you’re ready to take the steps towards transforming your life all while creating a life and body you love, the Momentum Challenge is waiting for you, just click here: SIGN ME UP!

WARM COCONUT CHICKEN + BEET & BRUSSELS SPROUT SAUTE

Image

I am so excited about our 2014 Macks Mo Momentum Challenge that I just had to give you a “taste”! 🙂 Part of our “saute” series in the nutritional programming, this is one of my favorite go-to “flash” meals (it only takes a flash to make!), featuring seasonal vegetables and some seriously good flavor. Enjoy!

WARM COCONUT CHICKEN + BEET & BRUSSELS SPROUT SAUTE
IN THE MORNING: SET CHICKEN OUT TO THAW
INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 organic, free-range chicken breasts (local if possible), cut into strips
  • 8 small purple beets, scrubbed with brush, ends chopped off & cut into ¼’s (make sure these are cut small)
  • 1 lbs. Brussels sprouts, ends chopped off, then cut in ½
  • 2 Tbls. coconut oil
  • ¼ cup dried, unsweetened coconut
  • ½ cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 2 handfuls of organic spinach

DIRECTIONS:
#1:  Cut the chicken breasts into strips and add to a large sauté pan with the coconut oil and coconut, cooking on medium heat.
#2:  Prepare, wash and chop beets + Brussels sprouts.
#3:  In a large sautoir pan:

  • Add vegetables + ½ cup water and cover. Steam for 12 minutes (while chicken is still cooking). Check “doneness” with fork – want beets to be soft in middle.
  • Once timer is up, drain water from vegetable pan and add in the chicken mix, plus ½ cup sunflower seeds + 2 handfuls of spinach. Cook together for 2 more minutes, then serve! Season with sea salt + pepper to taste.

The Sauce IS Boss.

Some of you know this, but I live with two boys. Yep, not one, but two – this being the case for basically the last year and a half. My husband [obviously] and my brother-in-law, Andrew. You may also know that boys – or men, rather, tend to have different “dietary” preferences and demands than women. I love vegetables. Love them. I don’t need to sauce them up, I love them “as is” – cooked or raw. My “boys” however, are a different story. A good meal means a good sauce. The sauce — is BOSS in my house. Can you relate?

One other thing you may or may not know – most sauces aren’t healthy or nutrient-dense [two guidelines for most food choices in my household]. Whether store-bought or borrowed from a blog, they are generally loaded with salt + sugar, and generally make no designation between high-quality, good-for-you fats and over-processed, nutrient-void ones. Marinara, BBQ, ketchup, Alfredo — you know the list.

In the summer, we don’t crave “heavy”, warm foods. The temperature is warmer, so our body desires light and cooling foods – like salads and smoothies. Come fall and winter though, our cravings for comfort and warm foods awaken. So, in the summer, creating dishes loaded with vegetables and fresh salads isn’t met with “too much” challenge from “my boys”. However, with the change of season, returns the desire for…sauces. So, what’s a girl to do? Create BOSS sauces, of course.

Below is my collection of what I’ve been working on. Each recipe blends seasonal foods and “traditional” recipes with my cleaned up, “health-ified” twist. I hope they’re as big of a hit in your home as they were in mine. Accompanied by the quote coined by my brother-in-law regarding every meal I cook — “Wow, this is actually really good.”

ImageAcorn Squash Alfredo:
– Disclaimer: We eat high-quality dairy products and use them as a great source of good fat and protein in our diet. High-quality meaning it is #1: pastured (very different than pasteurized; meaning the cow was raised on grass in an open field) and #2: raw (which would be unpasteurized). Pasteurization (heating) actually destroys the enzymes present in raw milk: lactase – which digests and absorbs milk sugar lactose, lipase – absorbs & digests milk fats and phosphatase – used to absorb calcium (which allows allows lactose digestion).
Ingredients:
2 cups each: raw milk and vegetable broth (or homemade stock)
1/2 cup raw whipping cream
1 cup raw sharp cheddar cheese
Juice + zest from 1/2 lemon
1 tsp. each of nutmeg, salt & pepper
2 Tbls. raw butter
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 acorn squash, seeds & “guts” removed [could also use butternut]

Directions:

  1. In a large glass bowl, add 1″ of water. Place the half of acorn squash face down, then cover with saran wrap. Microwave to steam for 10 minutes.
  2. In a large sauce pan on medium heat, add butter and garlic. Sauté for 1-2 minutes [careful not to burn]. Have milk & veg broth handy and add to pan when garlic’s done. Add lemon juice, zest and seasonings at this time also.
  3. Whisk sauce constantly for 4-5 minutes, until it starts to boil. Add cream and continue to whisk until it returns to a boil, then stir in cheese and mix until “dissolved”. Remove from heat.
  4. When done steaming, scoop squash meat out of shell into blender, then add sauce. Blend to puree all sauce ingredients together.

*I served this once over spaghetti squash for myself, brown rice pasta or fresh linguine for Regan. Flavor suggestion: Regan thinks that if you cook a “flavorful meat” like organic sausage that the sauce is fine “as is” – if you cook it with a milder meat, say organic, free-range chicken, he likes to add a little “heat” – cayenne pepper. I also served this over farro and kale [I cooked the farro, then in a separate pan, cooked organic sausage with kale added in the last 2 minutes].

IMAG0674Vegan Pumpkin Alfredo
*Inspired by Kris Carr’s Pumpkin Risotto Recipe
Ingredients:
1 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight in 1 cup water
1 (15 oz. can) organic coconut milk [more if desired to make “thinner”}
1 cup organic coconut or regular water
1/3 sugar pumpkin, seeds & “guts” removed [stem cut off]
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp. each: sage and thyme
1 tsp. each cinnamon and chili powder
Salt + pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large glass bowl, add 1″ of water. Place the half of pumpkin face down, then cover with saran wrap. Microwave to steam for 10 minutes. If desired, you can steam the whole pumpkin and use for other recipes like a pumpkin soup or smoothie through the week [I did this!].
  2. Once pumpkin is cooked, scoop the meat out of shell into a large food processor.
  3. Add all remaining ingredients and blend until desired consistency.

* This, I served on raw zucchini noodles with grilled game sausage over top [a mix of elk, venison & antelope].

IMAG0675Master Marinara Sauce
I got this recipe from a fellow instructor and friend’s husband, Mark Caggiano. I followed his recipe to a “T” the first time and the boys swooned over it. The second time, I add a few extra ingredients to make it more of a “vodka” sauce and they loved that one too! So this is really a 2-for-1 recipe deal!
Ingredients:
1 can San Marzano Tomatoes [Mark tells me these make all the difference; and I now agree!]
1/4 cup extra-virgin, cold-pressed olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic, minced or chopped fine
1 Tbls. each of oregano & basil
1 tsp. each of: thyme & red pepper flakes
Salt + pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook garlic in olive oil 1-2 minutes [careful not to burn]. Have tomato can open & ready to go.
  2. Poor tomato can over garlic and reduce heat to medium low.
  3. Add remaining ingredients, then cover and cook 20-40 minutes [I did 30-40].
  4. Blend sauce in blender.

*The second time I made it, I added 1 Tbls. red wine vinegar and 1/2 cup raw whipping cream.