Friday, December 30, 2011

EASY Eggplant Parm

Eggplant Parmesan is traditionally a somewhat labor-intensive meal to prepare, as each piece of eggplant must be breaded and fried. THAT ALL CHANGES HERE!

Now eggplant parm can be nearly as easy as boiling a pot of pasta and opening a jar of sauce! By the way, I also recommend doing this, since this dish is delicious atop plain pasta, and sauce will be used for the eggplant.

Check out some pasta recommendations!
Barilla Plus is great!

EASY Eggplant Parm Ingredients:

1-2 eggplants
1/2 c ground flaxseed
1/2 c chia seed
1/2 c nutritional yeast (great substitute for Parmesan cheese)
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 box whole wheat pasta

Toughest part comes first - cutting the eggplant - seriously, this is the hardest work you'll do! Cut the eggplant as paper-thin as you can. I think THIS is the secret to the recipe!

Do you love my eggplant piles?

Next, lay your slices on a glass pan, overlapping slightly. Salt. Repeat a second layer. Salt.

Now, just pour flax "eggs" (combine 3 Tbsp with 1/2 c + 1 Tbsp warm water) over the eggplant, followed by a generous amount of ground flax, chia, and nutritional yeast!

I've been coming up with quantities for my recipes because I think people fear messing up a meal, but I assure you I've made my recipes many, many times, with very few measuring cups, and it's pretty hard to mess them up. If you've got SOME TASTY INGREDIENTS, you can hardly go wrong! If you can get comfortable with this method of cooking, you'll SAVE TIME by skipping the measuring, and end up with fewer cups, spoons, and bowls to clean!

The more generous you are with the FLAX, CHIA, and nutritional yeast, the more nutrient packed and healthier the dish will be.

Have you or any guys you know ever used a strap wrench? It's plumbing tool, very HANDY in the kitchen! Different sizes help open different size jars in a flash!

Wonder about jarred spaghetti sauce?

Lastly, pour a jar of spaghetti sauce over everything. You can give the pan a shake to be sure it's all sort of even.

Now, bake at 375 degrees or so. The temperature doesn't matter too much. Here is a great benefit of vegetarian cooking: NO need to worry about cooking "enough"! 30-40 minutes should be good.

The longer the better as tomato sauce gets richer and richer as it cooks.  Wonder why eggplant is so good for you?

No final product photos to share -- everyone wanted to it up too fast to worry about pics! Hope you enjoy as much as we do! Anna even takes this to school for lunch and eats it cold!

Instead of topping pasta, you can use it as a pizza topping!  YUM! Easy Eggplant Parmesan

TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK: What is your favorite ethnic cuisine? I majorly love Italian (of course!), Indian, AND Mexican!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Top 10 Tips and Tricks to Simplify Your Life

1) Secret to Getting Things Done - a Timer! Check out the 30/10 rule and more here.

Zen Habits is a great resource for simplifying your life in easy ways! The Zen Habit's guy led me to another great blog/site/person called the FLYLady who has lots of great suggestions. She can help you make lasting habits in your life -- be more organized and calm :)

Here are some more ideas that I have been putting into action from the above sites:

2) MITs -- Most Important Things -- really it's just about prioritizing, and this new wording appeals to me :)

Also, I like the idea of picking just 3 things. It seems doable to get just 3 things done each day. Finishing 3 things provides a motivating sense of ACCOMPLISHMENT!

Choosing which 1-3 things you really need to get done, SIMPLIFIES your daily plan. If you finish your MITs, then you can get another task done ahead of time!

Thank you zenhabits :)

3) HOT SPOTS -- these are areas of clutter or messiness, which attracts more clutter or messiness, if left to grow. Examples in my house are the kitchen counter and the basement.

Taking a few minutes per day to chip away at a big mess can have a surprisingly BIG EFFECT. Once you have cleared a hot spot, you can keep it tame with just a little daily effort, a few minutes of attention per day.

Thank you FLYLady :)

4) One project that I have been working on is CLEARING out my email INBOX. What a relief to see that number continue to decrease! Once you have it under control, respond to emails quickly, and delete, delete, delete! ( discusses this with special notes regarding gmail)

5) Try filling a trash big with things in your home to THROW away. Keep going until you've found 27 items. Get them out to the garbage can in your garage, so you won't be tempted to salvage.

You can do something similar to clear your house of items you would like to DONATE or SELL. Thank you :)

6) Kitchen sink -- thanks to the flylady, I have been keeping my kitchen sink clear, for a few days now. It is SATISFYING each time I see that empty sink, as well as when it only takes a few minutes after a meal to have the sink all clean and clear once again!

7) FLYLady chooses a room per week, and an area or zone per month, or some similar organization, to help you keep getting your home and life more and more organized and clutter-free! You can sign up to get daily emails to help you do this one step at a time (

8) Routines -- more here.

9) LOGGING your time -- this is effective for just about every area of your life, from exercise to eating, drinking, and sleeping, and here, productivity. Try logging how you spend your time for just a day, and see where you could spend less time, and where that extra time could be spent more productively!

10) Limiting INTERNET use. This you may find upon completing suggestion #9. I know I can get A HUGE amount of work done, if I just keep my lap top closed for an hour, day, etc. You be the judge. Any change can help! Decreasing your Internet/TV activity by any amount can supply you with that valuable treasure that everyone wants -- TIME!

Happy organizing, and take 2 MINUTES now to de-clutter a HOT SPOT -- I promise you will be rewarded with a great feeling from just 2 minutes of effort!

TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK: What tricks help you organize your life or home?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Orange Almond Biscotti Balls

This is one yummy variation of our favorite snack, which we call "Laraballs"; a mix of nuts, unsweetened dried fruits, and spices. This flavor is called ORANGE ALMOND BISCOTTI BALLS - super yummy and refreshing!

fruit + nuts = 2 check mark snack from Dr Greger's Daily Dozen

I originally starting making "Laraballs" when I tried to create Larabars at home. My recipe AND the product are both fabulous convenience items with only a handful of ingredients which are whole foods (again nuts, fruit, and spices), and no added sugar, oil, or dairy! Note: my balls also have no salt, while Larabars do :(

The Larabar website has coupons, and now the company even makes: Larabar Bites (a product just like my balls!)! On to the recipe!

Start with a little freshness!  Slice off the very thinnest layer of the orange peel.  Use about half to all of the orange peel.  This will make up your orange zest, but you can just toss the peels in with everything else in the food chopper / processor.

Orange Almond Biscotti Balls

1 orange peel (as shown above)
1/2 c almonds
3/4 c dates

Combine all ingredients until everything sort of sticks together.
Trash can trick: fold edges of a resealable sandwich bag over a mug.

Scoop everything into bag. Almost done!
Have fun shaping the dough however you like!  KIDS like this part best! The dough works pretty well with cookie cutters, balls are great, and you can make bars by pushing the mixture into a pan, chilling, and cutting.

Keep mixture refrigerated or at room temperature, or keep it in your car.

You can make them into balls from outside the bag - so you don't get "food hands".

I can't make balls fast enough, as soon as I make one, my kids want it, until half the bag is gone. If only they new how healthy they are! Actually, they do know, and still they love them!


If you liked this recipe, "like" it or "share" it below! Many thanks!

Add a comment, to bring more life to the blog! WHAT DO YOU THINK? Do you have a favorite childhood memory? I'll always remember the Christmas Santa made us a house that looked like our actual house, with an address, front door, windows, drapes, and's still at my mom's house today! My kids play with it down in her basement :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Miracle Vitamin!

Vitamin D does more than just strengthen bones! It’s been shown to help manage type II diabetes, prevent cancer, and even minimize difficulties of menopause!

In summer it is easy for our bodies to make plenty of vitamin D with the help of the sun, but winter is here, so taking a supplement may be just the thing you need! Make sure it has a USP seal on the label to ensure the purity of the supplement! Be sure to read more about DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS!!

Besides sunshine and supplements, mushrooms that have been dried by the sun are rich sources of vitamin D, and fortified soy milk is another source.

Here is research measuring vitamin D in various types of mushrooms, via the USDA.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Help Me Raise Money for Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

My childhood neighbors, Katie and Joey (my little brother's best friend) have Cystic Fibrosis, so I decided that raising money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is a great reason to run! The treatments have come such a long way in the past few decades, but there is still no cure! Now I hope to help by running the Houston Marathon! 

THANK YOU again to so many of you who have donated to Cystic Fibrosis Foundation!

Your generosity warms my heart :)

The race is right around the corner, and thank goodness I have found nice days to do long runs outside!  You can help too by making a donation today! Every penny counts! The marathon is 26.2 miles :) 

If just 32 more people donate $1 for EVERY MILE I run ($26.20), we will provide $2000 for Cystic Fibrosis research, education, and treatment! Thanks for your generosity!

Thank you SOOO much for your support!!!!!

Instead you can send a check made out to Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to my address (589 Rutland Drive, Highland Heights, OH  44143).  

Please share if you know of anyone who might want to join in the efforts!

If you enjoy this or other posts/recipes, "like" fresh-you on Facebook!

WHAT DO YOU THINK?  Tell me in a comment below, have you ever done a walk or race for a charity?  Did it feel different during the race?  Do you make it a family or annual tradition?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

PB and Banana Sandwiches!

This old-fashioned breakfast sandwich makes a really healthy meal any time of day! Great toasted, and with a cold glass of almond milk! It will keep you going strong for Christmas shopping all morning long!

Make sure to make it with 100% whole wheat bread and natural peanut butter! Here is a link to see more about the benefits of peanut butter and a treat called PB&J Poppers!

For the bread, be sure that you see the word "WHOLE" first on the list of ingredients following the nutrition facts.

Natural peanut butter is free of any trans fats!

The best varieties only contain PEANUTS in the ingredients list. Sometimes salt is added, but avoid brands that add sugar by any name! These may include honey, cane syrup, etc.

And viola!

The meal your grandma used to make is ready to enjoy!

To read about healthy fat click here!

To stay connected through Facebook, "like" fresh-you here!

You can also sign up to get email updates for the blog to the right of this post: "Follow by Email".

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Did you eat these sandwiches as a kid? What other meals do you remember from your childhood? Have you made them for your kids?

Thursday, December 15, 2011


I am fascinated with hypnosis!

My first encounter was at an entertaining show during my freshman year in college. There were ten or so volunteers, one of which was a cross country teammate. They all did just as the hypnotist suggested, very funny, from clucking like chickens to acting out the pain of child birth.

In the end, they were told that upon waking, they would be refreshed, motivated, and better at the good things they do. My teammate went on to WIN our cross country race the next morning! Indeed, she was a quick little thing, but still, I was convinced of the great power of suggestion!

Image Link

Paul McKenna has been doing hypnosis to help people lose weight, stop smoking, and conquer their fears for years. You can check out funny youtube videos for some silly laughs, well as some motivation to make the changes you want for your life!

Paul also offers a valuable download that you can easily play on your ipod or other mp3 player while you exercise or do chores around the house, or just while you sit and relax. You have to register, but it's totally worth the short time it takes to do so.

He has a nice voice to listen to, and what he has to say can really help anybody who wants to improve their life! I have found that I have become more creative as a result of listening to his recording, as well as become more productive and positive.

He mentions a term, FLOW, which is an awesome concept that really interests me. I will post on it shortly. To give you an idea of what it involves, I'll say two words: runner's high; but the concept can be applied to all areas of life!

If you want to be a better person, and you like to listen to your mp3 player, get your copy of Paul's free trance download, and start listening today!

Follow fresh-you on Facebook, or sign up to the right of this post to get email updates!

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Tell me in a comment below: have you ever seen someone be hypnotized? Were you skeptical? Did something happen that convinced you of its potential benefits? Have you ever been hypnotized?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Chicken Artichoke Casserole

You voted and here it is! It's flavorful, unique, and it "just happens to be healthy" -- Emeril L.

BEFORE baking (above) and AFTER (below)

It'a flavorful and delicious!

"Chicken" Artichoke Casserole

1 package "chicken" pieces (Beyond Chicken is great!)
2 c artichokes, marinated, include juice
3 large onions, chopped
29 oz can pimentos, drained (or 7 small (4-oz) jars, or a few small jars, plus some red bell peppers, chopped)
29 oz can water chestnuts, drained (3 8-oz cans)
8-10 pieces whole wheat bread, ripped or cut into pieces
2 tsp pepper
½ c ground flaxseed
½ c nutritional yeast
⅔ c vegan mayo (Vegenaise)

Chop "chicken", artichokes, and onions; I sometimes do this with a large food processor (just a few pulses). Combine everything in a large mixing container: pimentos, water chestnuts, bread, pepper, flaxseed, yeast, mayo, "chicken", artichokes, and onions. Transfer mixture into rectangular glass pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 min, or until browned on top and bubbling along the edges, remove, and enjoy!

I get large cans of pimentos and water chestnuts from, definitely comparable with the grocery store, plus you don’t have to open as many cans and jars, and they come right to your door! Subscribe and Save offers an additional discount!

If you’re daring, or just that kind of cook, you can try to make pretty much any of my recipes with the ingredients, but no measuring. You might use the recipe a few times, then once you know the consistency you are looking for, and have ballpark quantities in mind, you can put away those measuring cups!

"Like" the fresh-you Facebook page here!

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Tell me in a comment: Do you ever buy food for gifts? Do you like to get food for gifts? What foods?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Snoozing for your Health

More than ever, researchers are discovering the importance of sleep. Sleep deprivation negatively affects our decision making and our mood. From disease risk (cancer, heart disease, diabetes, depression, and more) to learning and memory consolidation, sleep is one key to our overall quality of life.

When we don't get enough we gain weight by putting our bodies into a chronically "stressed" state and by increasing our cravings for simple carbohydrates and our appetite in general.

On the bright side, 16% of employers are making sleep a priority by providing a place for workers to take a nap during breaks, according to the Nation Sleep Foundation's 2008 Sleep Poll.

Do you fall asleep at night in fewer than five minutes or need an alarm clock to wake you in the morning? If so, you are probably sleep deprived. Take a siesta! You'll be easier to work with and more productive!

Begin an exercise program to improve your quality of sleep. Among the many benefits, being well rested will improve your exercise performance. Many processes cycle similarly proving once again the connectedness of everything in life.

The National Sleep Foundation has great resources to help you understand how sleep is related to many disorders, and how to get a good night's rest. Visit their website to learn more and tuck into bed early tonight, especially new moms! Listen to what everyone says - sleep when your baby sleeps!

"Like" the fresh-you Facebook page here!

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Tell me in a comment: what makes you sleep better or worse? Do you notice changes with seasons, stress, exercise, eating habits...? Tips that may help others get some more, or more restful sleep?

An Inspiration -- Player Becomes Coach!

This is so cool! This is a player I "coached" at Skidmore College, and now she is now making coaching soccer her career! So proud of you Rachael Sushner! She was an amazing player and I'm thrilled that she can teach others what she has to offer!

Rachael will tell you, I "coached" her diet more than anything! Way to go Rachael! All you young women out there who really love soccer, or even if you don't, check out this interview for some inspiration!

To get fresh-you updates, you can sign up to the right of this post, below "Popular Posts", to "Follow by Email" and/or you can "like" my Facebook page here. THANKS!

WHAT DO YOU THINK? TELL ME IN A COMMENT: Did you ever want to do something that you thought was impossible? What gave you the courage to face the challenge?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Cinnamon Cranberry Confections

A new Larabar Ball for you to try!

Imagine the yummy goodness of a date and nut roll (if you can! not many people have them anymore!) -- without the butter and sugar!

Cinnamon Cranberry Confections

1/3 c walnuts
1/4 c almonds
1/3 c raisins
1/8 c cranberries
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Follow directions in Brownie Bites or go the Skinny Mints link to read more about how nutritious these treats are, as well as a recommendation for a food processor that is great for these treats, as well as for making baby food out of whatever you parents enjoy! We once even blended up a sub sandwich for our oldest child when she was still too little for sandwiches!

Let me take a minute to highlight some key benefits of cinnamon and cranberries!

This sweet herb's main claim to fame is its ability to help stabilize blood sugar. This is not only beneficial to people with diabetes, but to anyone who ever experiences that crash and born that comes with a sugar high!

These berries have been found to prevent and significantly improve the condition of urinary tract infections! Effectiveness has come to challenge even the mostly widely utilized antibiotic drugs. They may also prevent cancer!

To get fresh-you updates, you can sign up to the right of this post, below "Popular Posts", to "Follow by Email" and/or you can "like" my Facebook page here. THANKS!

WHAT DO YOU THINK? TELL ME IN A COMMENT: Do your kids like to help you cook and bake? What do you make with them? Do they eat more when they help?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Dr Oz and Oprah copied!

Just kidding! It is so cool that 3 or 4 years ago, I chose FRESH-YOU to be my nutrition, fitness, and wellness theme! AND it still seems to perfectly describe what I want to encourage YOU to do!

Get healthy or healthier inside and out! Also, fresh-you makes me think of green: my favorite color - and fruits and veggies - and outdoors and new life! May freshness be with you!!

Now, Dr Oz and Oprah have chosen FRESH-START to be their big theme for 2012! I'm sure they have lots of great ideas and you can find them in the current issue of Oprah's O Magazine!

I only heard about it yesterday afternoon in his interview with Oprah on the Dr Oz Show. One thing that will be a key element in the plan is making a change for 28-days, so that it becomes a habit. This is great advice! You will see that if you make a conscious effort to change one thing in your life for even a few weeks, it becomes more natural to perform the new activity, than you not!

Oprah is also going to be starting a new show in January on her TV network called the Next Chapter which sounds like it will be interesting, she will be going to India with Deepak Chopra for a start, who I just adore! You can get a simple lesson on meditation from him here.

To receive more fresh-you updates, you can sign up to the right of this post, below "Popular Posts", to "Follow by Email" and/or you can "like" my Facebook page here! THANKS!

WHAT DO YOU THINK? TELL ME IN A COMMENT: What one change (it doesn't even have to be big) do you think you want to make next? ...drink more water, read more, less TV, more veggies, less meat, more cooking, take a vitamin... the possibilities are endless AND achievable!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

How to Make Brownies in 5 Minutes or Less!

Brownie Bites are every bit as rich as any brownie I've ever tasted! No baking required!

Brownie Bites

1/2 c pecans
1/3 c dates
1/4 c cocoa, unsweetened
1/8 c flaxseed, ground

  1. Simply blend all ingredients in a food processor.
  2. Continue to blend/pulsing until fine mixture forms, and begins to come away from the edge of the container.
  3. Next, put mixture into plastic sandwich bag. Hint: you can put your bag into a mug, folding the edges of the bag over the edge of the mug (like a trash can). This just helps you fill your bag fast.
  4. Now you can shape the dough into balls without getting your hands all greasy. One inch diameter is a nice serving, and even smaller is good for little kids. They can pop the whole thing in their mouth without making a mess of crumbs.
  5. Alternatively, you could mash the whole mixture into a container and cut into squares.
While some flavors, especially Skinny Mints, taste great frozen, these taste much better refrigerated or at room temperature.

These are really nutritious, just like Larabars! They even make a great breakfast with coffee! Having young children, I often find myself being up for a few hours without having eaten, even though I'm sure to feed the kids right away! These are great to pop in my mouth as soon as I come downstairs, so I can lift my metabolism, energy, and mood right away!

These are yet another "Larabar ball" or Laraball flavor! If you like these, you might also like to try some other flavors:

To receive more fresh-you updates, you can sign up on the right-hand side of the blog, below "Popular Posts", to "Follow by Email" and/or you can "like" my Facebook page here! THANKS!

WHAT DO YOU THINK? TELL ME IN A COMMENT: How do you like your brownies? Plain, smooth? Or do you like them with stuff in them, nuts, fruit, caramel, marshmallow...???


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