Thursday, January 14, 2016

I challenge YOU to the #chimmie500

I am still in recovery from our nutty holiday season. 

2016 = Cook from scratch 3-4 days a week + exercise more.

I'm attempting to cook in larger quantities and use leftovers more creatively throughout the week. A little tweak from last years #52tries with my girl Tiffany and the gang... The pictures above show:

Meal 1: A big pot of Chocolate chili Mole (I added purple + yukon potatoes to cheer on my Big Cats in the Outback Bowl. Didn't have any sweet potatoes in the house.) 
Meal 2: Chili leftovers + cauliflower + kale under an organic rotisserie chicken (Kids made tacos with it all - Boom!)
Meal 3: Pulled Chicken and Chili leftover lasagna 
Meal 4: Homemade stock and leftover chicken in my pea + noodle soup

My favorite family table line right now is: 

"BUT MOooooooom, YOU think EVERYTHING is delicious!"

I vacillate between feeling on top of the world and somewhere else (with a skinned up knee and ice on my brain). Terri Salminen, you are always on my shoulder in the kitchen inspiring me; You are my "soffritto sister.

NOW... how do I possibly fit more exercise IN and make it FUN?

Enter in my best friend Laura who moved away from me four years ago (sob). I call her my "chimmie" from Indy (aka racing land) and I challenge YOU to join our first annual #chimmie500. Three days ago I asked her to join me and sent this video explaining it all:


The #Chimmie500 = 10 sets of 10 push ups  + 10 sets of 10 squats every day, 5 days a week (I am NOT doing 100 all at one time mind you). My phone is on a 60 min timer and no matter where I am, when the timer goes off, I do my 10 reps of each for a grand total of 100 each for the day/500 each for the week. 

It was Laura's idea to add the squats. Thanks. I had fun telling everyone at the salon about our new fun game (thanks for taking the picture Mac!)

Today is my third day and my pecs are on fire. I won't be writing everyday here, so feel free to follow the shenanigans on Instagram and Twitter (High fives to my sister-in-law Vicki who launched her 100 push up challenge to her High School Dance team last year. I remember her telling me about it and thinking... that's genius. I can do that! But I never made it past day 1... Thanks for the inspo V!)

There is something else I'm after in 2016.

As a child, "the mullies" was the silly place my sister Katie and I would catapult ourselves during playtime, flying off swings and high places, yelling "to the mullies" at the top of our lungs and transporting ourselves to "infinity and beyond" (before our feet landed quickly on the ground). 

Our little souls were unbounded.

"To the Mullies" is right now and in a little bit. I have been reading more lately (slowing down) and found these two paragraphs quite fitting in articulating what my crazy blog name means to me:

"Every time you feel even a moment of joy and love, freedom and bliss, you have stepped into the land of light. You feel so wonderful that you want to keep the experience going, the way two infatuated lovers never want to be apart. But your ego, your safe house, calls you back. This pattern of coming and going is how letting go works. It takes repeated exposure to the unbounded soul for you to know that it is real. But your old conditioning will keep pulling you back. In time, your trips outside will last longer and feel more comfortable. Your soul is starting to seep into you; with this merging you begin to understand that you can live in the unbounded permanently. It becomes more natural than your safe house because in the unbounded, you are the real you. 

Therefore, expecting the best isn't about wishful thinking or optimism. It's about recognizing in advance that your goal is attainable. The unbounded soul is experienced, however faintly, in every impulse of the soul. This counters the prevailing attitude in psychology that happiness is a temporary state stumbled upon by accident. I find that attitude deplorable. To declare that love and joy, the primal component of happiness, are occasional is a teaching born of desperation. Keep in mind the image of the safe house and the land of light that surrounds it. No one will ever force you to let go of the limited space you occupy, but you always have the choice to seek the infinite, because that is who you really are."    
                                                                  - Deepak Chopra 
                                                                    Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul

Thanks Deepak. You nailed it right on the kisser mister.

To the mullies we go... in our kitchens, at our family tables, on the ground doing push ups + squats... to being goofballs who jump out of little safe houses.

Let's begin again

And make 2016 our best one yet. 

I freaking love cheese fries too Chris... Let's just keep it to the weekends, kay?:)



I'm a goober for the Microbiome | Get more sleep: Unlocking the Sleep-Gut Connection


Loving my new cookbook and all the legos Santa brought us. The force has indeed awakened.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Bring Life Closer for the Holidays

Dear Terri,

I think this might be my most favorite ambassador smash to date! We miss you and your family dearly & I feel more connected than ever to you this holiday season (even though we are oceans apart)!

Merry Christmas to you and yours - Your Dutch "Hangop" yogurt recipe is DELICIOUS! I will never forget making it with the Prairie Farm Corps last Summer for the first time!

Enjoy this lovely Christmas Ambassador Smash video - It was crazy fun to put together!

Someday, we'll ride bikes side by side and go to your market together just like we went to mine last July. I simply cannot wait to greet your dear friends and experience your part of the world. Until then, let's keep bringing life closer, one recipe at a time!

Much love and Christmas cheers! To the mullies we GO.........


Sunday, December 13, 2015

A December Ambassador Challenge

The holidays are challenging all right... My month started out with dirt and major light problems. 

I'm swinging into mid December to answer the #1 Food Revolution HQ's December Ambassador Challenge = Healthier, Happier Holidays! 

Here are some tips from Jamie on how to have a bit of a healthier one and here are the top four hitters in my holiday line up:

First batter UP:

With the new Star Wars movie coming out, we're watching up to the big event this week. The kids LOVE helping me make popcorn from scratch and this encourages us to "use the force". Here's a great article on the WHY you should ditch the microwave pop action.

Shake and Bake Family Movie Night Popcorn
(Couldn't help to link to this super fun video we made 2 years ago... oh my babies are so BIG now!)

1. Heat up 2-3 T coconut oil in your biggest pan (with a clear lid if possible so you can see it all pop!) on medium-high heat.
2. Put 2-3 kernels in and heat with lid on until they pop.
3. Dump 3/4 cup in the oil, relid. Using oven mits, vent the lid and gently shake shake shake to coat all the kernels with oil. You'll know it's done when you only hear a few pops left (just like the microwave).
4. Shake some seat salt on top and EAT! Make it more holiday-ish by spreading the popcorn out on a cookie sheet, melt some dark chocolate in a double broiler, crunch up dye free peppermint sticks and drizzle it all over the top of the popcron. Oh yea... but you gotta wait till it dries unless you want goey chocolatey fingers all over your house (no thank you ma'am).

Second batter UP:

I recently made a simple whole grain swap to my pancake recipe! Loving this article on The Truth About Grains - Whole & Refined. I'm getting there... My kids actually prefer this recipe and it saves my more expensive flour blend for other baking and cooking projects.

You gotta try this home run recipe:

Simple Oaty Banana Pancakes 

1 cup of whole oats (I grind the oats into a fine flour with my nutribullet - It takes less than 30 sec!)
2 pastured eggs
1 mashed banana
1 T avocado oil 
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 c almond or cashew milk (or whatever milk you want)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
A few shakes of ground cinnamon

In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients well with a whisk. Pour silver dollar sized pancakes on an oiled skillet (I like to use ghee) and flippy floppy about 3-4 minutes on each side or until bubbles come to the surface.

I always feel pressed for time on school mornings, but these pancakes take less than 15 minutes to make now that I keep all the ingredients grouped for easy access in the morning. My kids love extra cut up bananas, strawberries or raspberries on top with a drizzle of grade B pure maple syrup!

Third batter UP:

We'll also be making my last year's NO BAKE collaboration with the 52 New Foods Cookbook! This year, I am going to soak my dates for 15 minutes before processing and I am also adding mini dark chocolate chips to my mint icecream! Let me know if you give these mamacitas a try with your kids this holiday season! Ho Ho Ho with Holiday G-Hoppers (Video Link HERE or below)!

Forth Batter UP = "cleaning UP"

Personally, I am trying to avoid all refined grains (with or without gluten) and attempting to keep my refined sugar to less than 32 grams a day (4 grams = 1 tsp). It's hard, but boy does it work.

Holiday Party Game plan = I am milking 2-3 drinks MAX a night (with a huge glass of water in between each drink). Gotta keep it classy - It's holiday party dress up time and I am in love with this camo skirt + anything plaid! 

Cheers to
Enjoying Star Wars popcorn nights
Making more pancake breakfasts
Cutting back on adding sugar (OOOF)
Dressing up with girlfriends
Savoring good food + drink at holiday parties
Learning how to meditate + slow it down

Note to self: PLEASE wrap the presents before Xmas eve this year and don't forget to suck in your core (at all times).



Coming soon... A brand new Holiday Ambassador Smash with my soffritto sister Terri. Here is a little sneak peak on her Instagram page!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Cooking & Talking UP the Real Food Revolution in Lake County

In early November I had the honor of speaking at the Lake County Health Department's Semi-Annual Registered Dietician and Nutritionist Seminar on gluten intolerance. It was an incredible afternoon with Kathleen Parry, MPH, RDN, LDN, Coordinator of the Nutrition Services at the Lake County Health Department and Community Health Center + Demetrius Willis MS, MBA, RDN, LDN, Sr. Dietitian and Nutrition Education Coordinator of the Lake County WIC (Women Infants and Children) Program. I have to say, speaking to them and their team of nutritionists was the highlight of the month for me.

We all left feeling more educated + empowered as the seminar included three presentations. It began with an excellent presentation by two nutritionists on the differences between gluten intolerance, gluten allergy and celiac disease. Eric Carlberg, the Prairie Farm Corps Director and Educator at Liberty Prairie Foundation followed with a presentation about current agricultural and farming practices. I concluded the afternoon with my food change story, current research trends on the microbiome/gut-brain connection and a food demonstration of my oaty 3-way pancakes & the Prairie Farm Corps sautéed greens. Yum!

Go BULLDOGS! About a week afterwards, I returned to Mrs Lori Pary's Wauconda High School Wellness classes. She has a fantastic curriculum and I absolutely LOVE coming into her classroom to talk about making small changes towards more real food. I look forward to coming back next semester!

In other news, I'm asking for this new cookbook by the daddio of the Food Rev from Santa this year... In the meantime, I'm pimping up my holiday meal planning with these lovelies: Jamie's Everyday Super Food Recipes

I haven't done a cooking video in a long time, but I tell you what, every song on Jess Glynne's new album makes me want to turn up the volume and share the real world craziness that goes on in my kitchen and family table. I can't help my silly goober self! How perfect are these lyrics when thinking about making a food change work? So, here's her song + lyrics for all of you peeps in the trenches trying to navigate buying, cooking and eating more real food for your family. The song is playing in my earbuds as I type this... I'm seriously feeling a new video coming on:) HA!!! 

So, now you'll know what I'm playing in my kitchen this month when I need a pick me up to get cooking... it seriously works every time...

"Take it from me, no rights, no wrongs..." just more real food and less added sugar kiddos.

To the Mullies we go... 

Going through hell, while looking at heaven 
Found an answer looking for a question 
Not enough words to make a sentence 
It’s not easy to find a way
How much water to kill a fire?
How many lows can take you higher?
The only road to your desire
It won’t be easy to find a way

I don’t know what I believe
I won’t let my eyes be deceived
The winds whispering through the trees
That is not gonna be, not gonna be easy

And oh, no rights, no wrongs, take it from me
Cause the answers are living indefinitely
It’s time to face it, cause you can’t change it
No rights, no wrongs, take it from me
And no (Na, na, na)
Take it from me (Oh, oh, oh)
Won’t you just take it from me (Na, na, na)
Oh, na, na, na, na
No rights, no wrongs take it from me

How many laughs to make me happy?
I’m counting stars, they make me lucky
How many turns ‘til I find me?
It’s not easy to find a way
How many lies, ‘til a confession
How many prayers, lead to a blessing
How many burns, to learn a lesson
Now, it’s not easy to find a way

I don’t know what I believe
I won’t let my eyes be deceived
The winds whispering through the trees
That is not gonna be, not gonna be easy

And oh, no rights, no wrongs, take it from me
Cause the answers are living indefinitely
It’s time to face it, cause you can’t change it
No rights, no wrongs, take it from me
And no (Na, na, na)
Take it from me (Oh, oh, oh)
Won’t you just take it from me (Na, na, na)
Oh, na, na, na, na
No rights, no wrongs take it from me

Talk to a stranger and take wrong turns
Cause in this moment we will make it work
Dance with devils, and taste the burn
Cause in this moment we will make it work
Oh, oh, no, no, yea, yea
Oh, no, no, no, no

And oh, no rights, no wrongs, take it from me
Cause the answers are living indefinitely
It’s time to face it, cause you can’t change it
No rights, no wrongs, take it from me
And no (Na, na, na)
Take it from me (Oh, oh, oh)
Won’t you just take it from me (Na, na, na)
Oh, na, na, na, na
No rights, no wrongs take it from me

Super WIDE high fives to THAT!!


Monday, November 16, 2015

It's a Chicago Food Day 2015 + Lake County BIG Apple Crunch WRAP

Golly Gee Willackers... FINALLY a recap on our Chicago and Lake County Food Day events!

Better late than never... so here we GO!

I had a ball on the planning committee with Executive Director Dana Garcia (pictured left of me) and Marketing Creative Lead, Bill Bonner. Here we all are with our fantastic Governer's State Volunteers! The event was a huge success at Daley Plaza, anchored by Cathy Kenworthy, CEO of Interactive Health who spoke in front of Daley Plaza about the impact of real food wellness in our lives. I could just feel the electricity buzz stronger at the Farmer's Market after her inspirational speech!

It was an honor to be a part of this year's Chicago Food Day events and I cannot WAIT until next year!! Be sure to visit and check out how our entire nation celebrated!

Gotta have music! Thank you Chicago Ambassador Sarvin and Awatif for volunteering with us!

Look who joined us from Lake County! Ohhhhh... I am still dreaming of our adventures together last Summer at the Prairie Farm Corps!

We kicked off our Hidden Harvest Hunt with three drops at Daley Plaza. Dana and I thought it would be fun to take a cue from Survivor's hidden immunity necklace shenanigans... Would anyone realize that it's an actual envelope and not just a decoration on the podium? 

Learn more about our incredible 3-day +6k sponsored social media treasure hunt that helped 15 Chicagoans BUY + COOK + GROW + EAT more real food HERE

I took the stage after Cathy to kick off our 2015 Hidden Harvest Hunt with a few LIVE Hidden Harvest drops on the Plaza!

He found the hidden immunity necklace... errrrr I mean envelope!

This lucky winner found his at the American Diabetes of Illinois tent!

Our first winner outside of Daley Plaza was literally panting as she came up the escalator with her stroller! She inched out another treasure hunter by only 5 minutes! WHOA!

Huge thanks to the following Hidden Harvest Drop Location Sponsors for making our social media treasure hunt so FUN & INTERACTIVE:

Thank you Foodseum!

Thank you The Chopping Block

HUGE thanks to our Hidden Harvest Hunt inspiration and sponsor, @HiddenCashChi1. This lovely family found their envelope!

The @HiddenCashChi1 twitter handle is at it year round, so don't forget to give them follow and keep up the "pay it forward" cash hunting! ...You never know how much moullah you will find:)

Thank you Uncommon Ground for hosting TWO drops with Farmer Alison at their urban rooftop farm (the 1st certified organic rooftop farm in the USA!) and at their epic Greenstar Brewery with Brewmaster Martin (the 1st certified organic brewery in Illinois!).

Thank you Real Food Northwestern for hosting TWO drops during your very own campus Hidden Harvest hunt! We are so impressed by your week of Food Day activities! GO NU!

Thank you Snap Kitchen!

Thank you Wow Bao!

Thank you Growing Home at the Green City Market

Huge LOVE to Ambassador Christina Erickson for braving our Hidden Harvest in the cold rain with me all day!!!

Thank you Holzkopf's Meat Market!

Thank you Peterson Garden Project's Fearless Kitchen for hosting TWO live drops in your community cooking classes!

The Great Apple Crunch - Lake County

HATS OFF to the Stevenson High School's NEW Food Revolution Club for organizing Lake County's first multi-district Big Apple Crunch!

Over 3500 students at Washington, Mechanics Grove, Fairhaven, Diamond Lake, West Oak, Sprague and Daniel Wright schools took part in the Lake County Apple Crunch for Food Day. Over 2,000 apples were donated by Harvest Time Orchard (Twin Lakes, WI) and hand picked by the SHS Food Rev club. District 76's apples were donated by Preferred Meals. Additional apples were donated by Sunset Foods, Mariano's and Trader Joe's.

The SHS Food Revolution club coordinated the entire Lake County effort from start to finish; I could not be more impressed by the organization and execution of the school events! WOW! 

WELCOME NEW AMBASSADOR SARA LOHRMANN to the Lake County Food Revolution Team! Sara joins me and Ambassador Christina (pictured left) as the SHS Food Rev sponsor. Together we will work to bring more energy to our local Food Revolution efforts happening in our homes + schools + workplaces here in Lake County! 

I got to meet these two amazing co-founders of the SHS Food Revolution Club at West Oak! They took charge and led all four West Oak School lunches in crunching simultaneously. Each student left with a certificate of participation including easy "from scratch" recipe ideas to take home and try out in their own kitchens.

Ambassador Christina + Food Revolution Club SHS = AMAZING!!

Congratulations to all of the apple trivia winners - They won their very own t-shirt prizes!

Big thanks to Mary (hot pink coat) at Preferred Meals for donating apples for District 76's CRUNCH and to Sue Kruckman (far right), our amazing D76 Wellness Committee Chair who helped to organize D76's big lunchroom day!

THANK YOU for supporting food education + more real food in our schools!

And that's a FOOD DAY 2015 WRAP!

See ya next year on and around October 24th!!!!