Calorie Free Yumminess 

Do you love a little treat in the evening? But the glass of wine or bowl of ice cream in the evening is doing a number on your weight?   Try my calorie free Mojito!  This is my new favorite concoction!    Seltzer, Lime, Mint and a little liquid Stevia!  Stevia takes the place of simple syrup.. and gives you that sweet taste!   Since good Mint is hard to find… I buy a lot of it, wash, remove the leaves from the stems and freeze!

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When I want a little mint in my drink, I simply remove from the freezer… crush a few leaves and enjoy!    Now… if you want to turn this into a cocktail for the weekend… add a little Titos Vodka or Organic cucumber Vodka for a little something low carb!

I’ve been enjoying my mocktails every evening…. and if you don’t have mint… just do lime, seltzer and stevia…. Let me know what you think!

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Eating Healthy For Spring

 

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Are you working on your Spring Slimdown for bathing suit season?   Almost every woman I know…. and some men, are trying to exercise and eat healthier for Spring!

For the last 30 days or so, I’ve eliminated sugar, carbs/gluten and even fat from my diet… except good fats like nuts, coconut oil, avocado etc.   I have not had anything to drink but water, tea and coffee and have basically eaten WHOLE foods!  Lean protein, vegetables and limited fruit.

First 7 days were hard!  I admit it!    The natural inclination to grab a cheese stick, a piece of chocolate, a chip or two was super strong!  Now… I’m almost reformed although I admit I crave an occasional bagel, cookie or pasta, I’m really doing well!

Just thought I would share some of my favorite new healthy recipes with you over the next few weeks…. I would love to hear some of yours!

One of my favorite lunches is tuna with onions and dijon mustard wrapped in lettuce and topped with chopped tomatoes!   Lunch is under 200 calories and is filling and delicious!  Add salt and pepper to taste!   Leave out that mayo!  It’s packed with unnecessary calories!

Getting slim doesn’t mean not eating….. it just means you can eat REAL food … delicious food!   Here’s to our heath!

What do home decor, Campbell soup, football, royalty, Scouts, military, sororities and fraternities all have in common?

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This little symbol… is the Fleur de Lis!    Do you recognize it?   You have probably seen it in home decor accents, The New Orleans Saints, scepters,  and crowns and flags of royalty and of european countries, the Scouts… the military, some sororities and fraternities and even vintage Campbell’s Soup labels used to have this little symbol on it!  It’s a super star!    It’s French in origin…. Fleur means “flower” and Lis means “Lily”.

If you are curious in nature… click on the link to learn more!   Fleur de Lis

Anyway… I just LIKE it!  I LOVE it in the new eSBe Designs Mardi Gras collection!!!   It’s timeless….and detailed per our designer!  It truly is a piece of art to be worn proudly and timelessly for years.. but for now… Enjoy it’s beauty…. and if you happen to relate to the organizations or nationalities that it represents, even better!

These pieces can make a great addition to any jewelry wardrobe or make a great gift for someone who identifies with this symbol!   Enjoy!

Where else have you seen this little symbol?  I’d love to know!

Mardi Gras Gold Necklace ($99) with Sundial Collection Agate necklace ($85)

  
 

Look skinnier without dieting!

I am actually trying to lose some holiday weight that’s accumulated over many holidays I think…. but in the meantime, while I am NOT purchasing clothing since I do plan on being thinner….. I can accessorize my current wardrobe with some jewelry and look thinner in the process!  It also helps me to feel complete when I go out… even if I’m wearing an outfit I’ve had a while,  jewelry simply dresses things up a bit… even a t-shirt as shown below!  (great for travel too)

Women typically wear a pendant necklace… usually something meaningful to them or just simply trendy or nothing at all.   Notice how adding a few longer thin and lightweight necklaces can actually draw your eye vertically…. making you not only look thinner but even taller than you are!   Your visual lines are vertical not horizontal.

Layering jewelry is also very trendy right now… but it can be intimidating at best!   You want to know how to do it right… and that is what I sincerely love about eSBe Designs Jewelry!  

I have learned a lot by representing our  designer and well, it’s like Garanimals!    Everything mixes and matches flawlessly… because we have ONE designer.. not a design team but one talented American designer that designs every single piece!  

So while you are exercising and eating healthy to shed a few pounds to get into that swimsuit….the right jewelry can transition you flawlessly into the next size down.

I love helping my clients select just the right pieces to suit their jewelry style and wardrobe!   I’d love to help you to either locally or electronically through messaging!   Send me photos and I’ll provide  custom jewelry wardrobe selections  for you based on your preferences!  Visit www.esbedesigns.com/theda to view the entire collection.

Gluten free pancakes

  

I love carbs! I love a good pancake breakfast but being at an age where carbs seem to make a difference… I’ve been trying to cut them out. Can I tell you I love carbs? These pancakes have literally nothing bad in them. A banana, two eggs, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and real maple syrup .  They taste “real”

The key to making him look good is just a little bit of cooking spray in the bottom of the nonstick pan. I use coconut oil spray to be healthier.

Just mash up One banana, mix in two eggs, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, and sprinkle Pumpkin pie spice in!   Whisk together and pour into a hot non-stick skillet.   Use real maple syrup and and there’s no artificial sugar or carbs in this decadent breakfast. Easy and a totally enjoyable treat!!

Christmas Cookies

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How many of you still bake Christmas cookies?   I know sometimes you don’t feel like it…. the busyness… the time it takes.    I totally get it!   Besides, we don’t need those calories anyway, right?Well, all that may be true, but when it comes to Christmas cookies…. it’s a tradition passed down from generation to generation…. it may even have significance to family heritage.   For example, my side of the family is mostly German… so a cookie I grew up with is Pfeffernusse.    It’s a spice pepper nut cookie covered in powdered sugar!  I think I appreciate the cookie more and more as I get older….. it’s a familiar taste… its something that reminds me of my childhood.  I also noticed my kids devouring them with excitement over the taste of our traditional home baked cookies!   Gosh… remember when we REALLY made homemade cookies every week because they didn’t come in the store?   Well anyway……

It’s always fun is to create new traditions with new cookies that you enjoy too!  For example…. my mother made a persimmon cookie… which was delicious…. it was like a spice cake cookie of sorts with a green or red candied cherry on top but this cookie is dreadfully hard to make since you have to find persimmons and also get the pulp out of them.  I honestly prefer something different… so I created a new tradition sticking with the German theme…. a Butter/almond cookie that is much like a shortbread.   Oh how simple and delicious….

Per request…. I’m sharing my recipes…   Maybe they’ll make it to your kitchen as a new favorite!

 

Pffefernusse cookies before confectioners sugar

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Pfeffernusse

2 1/4 c all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground pepper

1/2 tsp ground anise seed

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp ground allspice

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/8 tsp ground cloves

1/2 c unsalted butter

3/4 c firmly packed brown sugar

1/4 c molases (unsulfered)

1 egg

2 c confectioners sugar for dusting

  • In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, pepper, anniseeds, cinnamon, baking soda, allspice, nutmeg and cloves
  • In a large bowl using an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat together the butter, brown sugar and molasses until light and fluffy – about 4 min
  • Beat in the egg.
  • Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the flour mixture
  • Cover and refrigerate dough for several hours
  • Position rack in the middle of the overn and pre-heat to 350 degrees.
  • Scoop up about a tablespoon of dough and form into balls between your palms and place 1 1/2 inches apart on greased or non-stick cookie sheet.
  • Bake until cookies are golden brown – approximately 14 min.
  • Transfer the sheets to racks to let cookies cool slightly on the sheets
  • Place the confectioners sugar in a sturdy paper bag and drop a few cookies into the bag.  Close the top securely and shake gently to coat the warm cookies in the sugar.
  • Transfer to cooling racks to let cool completely.
  • Store in air-tight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Vanille Hoernchen (German Christmas Butter cookie)

1 1/3 C flour

2 1/4 C finely ground almonds 

2 1/3 C butter

1 1/3 C sugar

1 TBS vanilla extract

1 1/2 C powered sugar for coating after baking

  • Mix all ingredients ( except powdered sugar) in a bowl.  Knead dough just until it is mixed.
  • Divide dough into managable sections and rool loogs or snakes and cut into even sections to about 1 1/2 inch balls.  Shape into horns or crescents and flatten a little with your hand or use a cookie cutter.
  • Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 10-12 min or until golden brown.
  • Cool a bit on the cookie sheet and then dust with powdered sugar and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
  • Store in airtight container for up to a week.

 

 

 

 

Half Empty Nesters


So it happened…. we took my son off to college and things changed.

I knew it would… but wasn’t quite sure how.   I have a 16 year old daughter at home so I thought I wouldn’t feel so much change all at once but maybe it’s her age, but she barely needs me anymore.   She does not have her full drivers license yet so the good news is, I’m needed for something for a few more months.

Now you have to understand, I am a glass FULL kind of person and I was finding myself a little down, (I won’t use the word depressed)   My family noticed… and after my daughter and I had a chance to talk through it, we figured out that my role after the past 18 years was changing and I was feeling less important, less needed, less significant in their lives.

Don’t get me wrong, I have a great relationship with my kids so they’ll always need me in some way, but my “mom” role was clearly diminishing.

I feel pretty blessed though because my husband and I have a great marriage and we like hanging out together…but even a few weekends of going out to dinner with each other alone has found us feeling a little lost with all the focus on the kids for so long!  I know this is the new normal… and we are getting to just be together as a couple again, which is great!   I do feel quite a bit of stress thinking about marriages that are not as strong and having to endure this “loss” of kids in the house.   Either a marriage will be ignited in a different way after the kids move away, or the marriage will be so comfortable that no change will occur or… it could be the end of some marriages.. .so NOTE TO PARENTS… nurture that marriage because THIS is coming!

So.. cheers to all those parents who successfully got their kids off to college and beyond… I know a whole new world awaits for us as parents experiencing first jobs… kids not living with us (hopefully) and we hope, eventual marriages, grandkids and more… but we won’t rush that.   For now… we will enjoy this transition the best we can.

We visited my son at college this past week and we fed a bunch of kids breakfast before we headed home…. It’s funny how just simply taking care of our kids in some way gave us such joy!   For them, they probably just appreciated the free meal and a little break from campus, but for us it made us feel so much joy to give them some nurturing… because we won’t get to do that much longer!

Would love to hear from other “empty-nesters” or “half empty-nesters”!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Off to College – Part 2

 Oh my goodness!   Just dropped my son off at college this past week and surprisingly no tears!   Yes…. I’m emotional… Yes.. I love him so much… but when I saw how happy he was, I couldn’t help but be happy for him!  I couldn’t help but be at peace!

The first day… all the packing and organizing paid off…. but I was not prepared for having to lug dorm furniture out of the room and disassemble it in order to unroll the rug that had been delivered!  I was a hot sweaty mess!

After several hours of moving stuff around, deliberating and lots of opinions about how his room should be arranged… He was ready to say goodbye to us!   For our sake, it was good that we stayed a few days to enjoy the town, and meet with friends, however, I could see that he was totally ready to let us go…. in fact, we were hindering him from all the things he wanted to do with new friends!

I also know that it had to be easier letting him go to a school that was our alma mater!   We were familiar… and he had grown up with the university.  I knew this was HOME for him!

It’s been a long time preparing… from SAT and ACT prep… applications, decisions, graduation and learning how to be a parent of a college student.  We’ve navigated Bed Bath and Beyond like any pro…. we’ve shopped, we’ve organized and now all that to let them go on and learn how to be “on their own” in what I remember to be the BEST days of my young adult life!

Cheers to all the moms and dads who left their first, second, third or even 6th kid at college!  We did it….. and as much as we want them back…. and we love them… we pray that they find jobs and are self sufficient one day!

It’s a new normal we have to get used to but you know you’ve done well as a parent if they are thriving on their own.   There’s so much for them to learn and experience for the first time.   We did it too!  Remember?  ;-).  Be happy and proud mom and dad!

Today is my sons “first day of school” and I only hope I get a phone call or maybe a photo!   Gosh I miss him and think about him all day but I’m so excited for him.   I hope if you just got your college student off successfully you’re celebrating your success and pat yourself on the back.  A job well done!

 

Eating Healthy – Losing Weight

We all want to eat healthy right?   It’s soooooo hard!   I know!   I’ve been struggling with the same 2-3 pounds again and again.    After my mom passed away, my comfort may have been excess calories ;-).  I have tried lots of things over the past year!   I have been exercising about 3-5 times a week for the whole year doing everything from exercise videos to walking or biking outside.   I have gained muscle definition and strength but still have a cushy layer over it.  ;-/.

I tried some other systems from protein shakes and cleanses and nothing seemed to work for me.   They “work” but you have to be super strict about them. No deviation.

I needed a system that I could eat REAL food and that I could incorporate into a very social calendar.

So out of desperation I tried a green smoothie “diet”.   A friend of mine told me about it…. AND…. it worked.  It was easy too!    I felt super good about it because I bought my ingredients and blended them up in my Nutribullet.  I have not gone to a nutritionist… YET… but for the first time in years, I’m losing weight and keeping it off.

So 2 times a day, usually, I’m blending spinach or kale with frozen fruit like Bananas, Oranges, berries etc.   sometimes adding a bit of mint.. or some Stevia for added sweetness.  After you get over the green color, you’ll find the smoothies are delicious!   Snacks are usually a hard boiled egg, kale chips, a Kind Bar, a few almonds or a green apple and a nice salad for dinner with a little egg, grilled chicken or turkey for added protein.

I’ve pretty much eliminated meats from my diet… no dairy and no processed sugar but I’m not being totally nutty about it.  On vacation,  I tasted dessert… and had a glass of wine or two.

If you are struggling with weight in your 40’s… maybe you would want to try this too and let me know how it’s going.   I’m excited to finally have found something that works for me.  I’m not at my goal weight yet.. but for the first time, I see results!

If your bananas or other fruit are about to go beyond ripe…. slice and freeze so you can use in your smoothies.  Frozen fruit eliminates the need for ice cubes and keeps your smoothie nice and cold!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The PERFECT Kale chips….. I found that if I spray them with coconut oil… they get the perfect amount of “oil” and then sprinkle with garlic sea salt or just salt and pepper… even tried cayenne pepper and that’s yummy too!  Broil on Low or bake at maybe 450 degress… turn off the oven and let the oven just simply dry it out so it does not burn.  This is a great method when you are in a hurry, want to make kale chips but don’t have time to watch the oven…. put them in a hot oven, turn off the oven and leave.  When you come back….. Voila…. kale chips!  Enjoy!

Dorm Life

Well, my first-born is going to college this fall…. and we just got back from freshman orientation.     I remember college as the BEST 4 years of my young adult life!  So I should be excited for him, right?

There are so many emotions.  I’m proud as can be, I’m excited  for him beginning this new adventure, I’m nervous he won’t get a good roommate, I’m worried he’ll get sick or need that extra nudge to get out of bed every now and then.   I’m sad about leaving him but know he’s going to have so much fun!  He’s ready.   I think I am 🙂     So now I’m overwhelmed with all the lists… the stuff one needs to set up a dorm room and get ready for college.

One idea my girlfriend told me….I thought was fabulous is for the kids to bring beach chairs into the dorm for extra seating.  Chairs can be folded and stored out of the way when kids are not using them.   Oh… I guess they are not “kids” anymore.  Maybe I should say “students”…. but they are still “kids” to me! 🙂

Definitely got gray sheets and towels…. thinking I’ll be lucky if they get washed and gray won’t look as bad if it does not get washed.   Gray should hide most things.    Maybe I should have gotten black?

Boys are definitely easier … my son truly did not want to go shopping at all.  He was, however, excited to get his new computer.

Oh.. tell me this, now is this generational or a boy thing.   I proposed getting him a white board for friends to write messages on like we all had xx years ago 🙂 but he reminded me…”Mom, they can just text me”   Wow, I thought.  Yeah, I guess they can, but what if they don’t know your number?   My son then told me that there is a directory.  Okay… So I guess we really don’t need a white board.  I suppose my son could put a sticky note on his door with his cell number for people to find him.

Finally, what about communication?    I called my mom and dad once a week I think.   With today’s technology… I really want to connect more frequently,  at least via text.     So how much is too much?  How often would you want to connect with your child/young adult/student 🙂

So much is happening to change our life… we’ll have to get used to our “new normal”.  I’d love any advice any parents have out there…. ideas…. anything!   This is my first kid leaving home and I want to be ready!