Friday, March 28, 2014

Loaded "Quesadilla" ~ gluten-free, dairy-free, corn-free, vegan

Breakfast has been a challenge for me since I found out about my body's negative reactions to gluten, dairy and eggs. I am so excited about this quesadilla which is a fantastic option for any meal of the day! I make the filling in a big batch ahead of time and then make the quesadilla when I'm ready to eat it.

1/4 of a medium sweet onion, finely chopped
1 small/medium sweet potato, cut into small cubes
1/2 package of tofu, cut into small cubes (I like superfirm)***
4 Tbs diced green chiles
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp coriander
1 brown rice tortilla (I use Food For Life)
1/4 cup cheddar Daiya shreds

***If you are avoiding soy or if you don't like tofu, I tried it with lentils instead and it is also delicious!

Drain the green chiles. In a bowl, sprinkle the cumin and coriander over the tofu. Mix thoroughly so that the tofu is evenly coated and then let it sit while you cook the onions and sweet potatoes. Over medium heat, cook the onions and sweet potatoes for about 10 minutes. I have a fantastic non-stick Scanpan so I didn't have to use any oil. If I did, I'd probably use a small amount of coconut oil. Add the tofu and the green chiles to the pan and cook for another 10 minutes. Add a few shakes of salt and pepper to taste (I also added a few more shakes of cumin and coriander at the end).
Set the filling aside. Wipe out your pan or grab a new one and place the brown rice tortilla in it on medium heat (again, I didn't use any oil but you could spray a little olive oil on the tortilla before you put it in). Sprinkle the Daiya shreds on the tortilla and cook until the cheese starts to melt. Add the filling and cook until the tortilla gets a little brown on the bottom. If I'm taking the filling out of the fridge I heat it in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Fold the tortilla over, put it on a plate, and enjoy! You have a meal that is satisfying, delicious, and packed with complex carbohydrates, healthy protein, fiber and loaded with nutrients from the chiles, onions and sweet potatoes. My son likes to have a side of raw avocado with it which is a great way to add some healthy fats and more nutrients.

If you're interested in buying a Scanpan for yourself, here's an Amazon link. You will pay the same price through this link but I will get a small affiliate fee to help maintain this blog. Thanks for your support!

I'm sure there are a ton of ways to play around with the filling. If you try anything and love it, please share!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Braised Coconut Spinach and Chickpeas with Lemon

This recipe fits all of my criteria for a great dish: it's delicious, it's quick, it doesn't have a gazillion ingredients, it's nutritious, and it's allergy friendly!  It's got sun-dried tomatoes, chickpeas, spinach, onions, garlic, lemon, ginger ~ it smells incredible when it's cooking!  I normally tweak recipes after I've tried them once or twice until I find my perfect version but this one is perfect as it is. This is a fantastic recipe for a make-ahead meal. My son and I both really like it so when it's done cooking, I portion it out for he and I as lunches and keep them in the fridge. I've eaten it on it's own and over steamed brown rice. I think it would also work over Super-Easy Spaghetti Squash or Cauliflower Couscous

If you are trying to manage your calorie-intake, you should use light, unsweetened coconut milk. Also, be sure to use sun-dried tomatoes in a bag, not the kind packed in jars of oil. You'll cut out a significant amount of fat and calories without sacrificing much in the way of flavor and consistency. 

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! To see the recipe, follow the link below:

Braised Coconut Spinach and Chickpeas with Lemon from The Kitchn

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

To Make Big Changes, You Sometimes Have To Make BIG CHANGES, Part 1

I generally recommend baby steps to achieve lasting behavior change. Research shows that if we try to bite off too much at one time, we are probably setting ourselves up for failure. Most people prefer little changes because it's a more comfortable process. But sometimes, tweaking our current behavior isn't enough. Sometimes, our behaviors are so disconnected from what they need to be, that we have to make big changes. To make big changes, you must first identify the challenges you face and then be open to experiencing difficult emotions like fear and sorrow.

I am currently leading a weight-loss group and we've hit on what I believe to be very common challenges in reaching, and maintaining, a healthy weight. One that comes up most frequently is that socializing tends to revolve around food. For some people, eating out and going to parties is a weekly, if not daily, event. Common sense would say that you should make small changes, like asking the server not to bring bread or ordering grilled chicken and steamed vegetables. For some of us, that is unrealistic in the long run. We may do it a few times, but then we run into the issue of willpower (which ultimately fatigues). If you don't think you'd be able to stay away from the food and the drinks that you know are going to throw you off of your eating plan, you may need to skip the actual events for a time. You might have to completely change the way you socialize or even change WHO you're socializing with. For some of us, food can be like alcohol or drugs are to an addict. When people go through rehab or a 12-step program, they usually have to stop hanging out with their old friends and stop going to their old hang-outs. You obviously can't avoid food entirely, but you can avoid the situations that prevent your new behaviors from taking hold. However long it takes, making that big change will give you some space to breathe, think, plan, and grow some confidence in your ability to handle those situations in the future. Self-efficacy is a powerful force ~ once you give yourself a chance to build it up.

This process will probably be uncomfortable. You might feel sad to miss the social events (Is FOMO holding you back?). You might be worried that your friends are going to be upset with you. You might miss the feeling you get at a party when you're letting loose and just enjoying yourself. Whatever the pain is that comes along with making this change, you have to ask yourself: Which pain would I rather have~ the pain of change, or the pain of my life staying the same?
Change can be scary and difficult, but if it will transform your life, isn't it worth it?

Next post will deal with the process of being vulnerable and asking for support in our efforts to change. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Wild Huckleberry Mango Green Smoothie

This summer, my family and I visited our cousins in Idaho and had the incredible luck to be there right when the wild huckleberries were ready for picking. If you've never had a huckleberry, they are like small, tart blueberries but they pack in even more antioxidants per serving. No one has been able to cultivate them and they only grow in a few places in the United States. 

All of the families of the valley have their "patches" and it can get pretty territorial. Luckily we were allowed to hang out even though we are from California (thank you extended Somsen family for "grandfathering" us in) ;) We spent most of two days picking huckleberries ~ it was magical. I think it is the closest I've ever come to really meditating! We brought the huckleberries back in a cooler and I froze them in mason jars as soon as we got home. I've been enjoying our bounty now for months. If you can't get your hands on huckleberries you can always substitute blueberries for a similar taste (but if you have to beg, steal, or borrow to get some of the real deal, they're worth it!).

2 handfuls spinach
1 big handful kale
1 handful parsley
1/2 cup mango
3/4 cup huckleberries
1 inch square fresh ginger
1 mandarin orange
1/2 small avocado
1 Tbs. orange flavored Calcium Magnesium Citrate (totally optional, it adds a little sweetness but I include it more for the minerals)

Blend it all together with your liquid of choice until it's smooth. I love my Vitamix but any good blender should work. This is a relatively big batch. It made enough for me to have a large smoothie and then a small one for my husband. You might want to halve the recipe if you are making one serving as a snack.

This is us at the end of our first day of picking. Dirty, stained, and so happy!

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Saturday, February 8, 2014

10 Healthy Valentine's Gifts

Nothing says "I love you" like a gift that tells your beloved that you want him or her around for a long, long time. So instead of giving gifts of candy and champagne, why not give gifts that will improve your Valentine's health and encourage intimacy? And when it comes to my kids, I'm trying to break the connection that all celebrations center around food. To that end, I've come up with a few non-traditional ideas for both your grown-up sweetheart and your pint-sized love-bugs.

1. Balloons ~ For the last few years, we've gotten our kids huge mylar balloons for Valentine's Day. They loved the balloons and played with them for weeks. Last year my husband bought balloons with a little music player inside of them so that when the kids hit the balloons a song would start playing. When the balloons finally bit the dust, my husband cut out the music part and hid them in their backpacks. It was hilarious to watch my daughter's face when she put on her backpack and it started singing, "You're The One That I Want"!
2. A box of "chocolates" ~ This year, I bought papier maiche boxes at Michaels and am making what look like candy boxes. I painted them, glued a decorative heart on top, and then filled them with toys. I got Valentine's cupcake papers and filled them with Rainbow Loom bands, plaster magnets to paint, sugar-free gum, and a small toy. It looks like a box of chocolates but I think the kids will like these treats even better.  If you'd like more ideas for small toy "stuffers" check out my post on Easter treats.

3. Love Notes ~ I plan to top the box of treats off with love notes my husband and I will write to them like, "I love listening to you sing", or "I love cuddling with you", or "I love that you are brave and try new foods".

4. Stuffed Animals ~ My kids are still into stuffed animals, especially the Beany Baby "Boo" animals with the big eyes. It is one of the few indoor activities that my nine year old daughter and six year old son will do together so this gift feels like an investment in their relationship :)

5. Healthy(er) food treats ~ If your kids are in elementary school they will most likely have a Valentine's Day party. I saw a post on Facebook of an inside-out caramel apple which looked delicious and is more nutritious than just about any candy you'd buy at the store. I thought it'd be even better if you pushed some healthy granola into the caramel while it was still a little soft. It would cut down on the amount of caramel you'd be using and would add some healthy whole-grains while maintaining that "treat" feel. I tried experimenting with making a lower-sugar, dairy-free caramel to use but my candy thermometer broke on me (darnit!). When I achieve success, I'll post the recipe and a photo. Until then, please try it and let me know if it works! And anything cut into the shape of a heart is cute. You could cut apple slices (horizontally across the apple) and then cut them with a heart-shaped cookie cutter. My kids love when I use them like a sandwich and put peanut butter in between. Fruit is always a good party food and strawberries already look like hearts so you don't even have to do any work!

1. A shared experience ~ preferably an active one. Classes are a great way to spend time together! You can take a class in dance, rock-climbing, trapeze, or snowboarding. You can take a class in healthy cooking. You can go for a hike, a bike ride, or a nature walk. You can go roller-skating, ice-skating, snow-skiing, or trampolining. Research has shown that one of the best ways to increase intimacy with your partner is to experience NEW things together. So get out there, get active, and get closer to your partner.

2. Photo book ~ Photos of happy times will help your sweetie FEEL happy. Make it a size that your partner can take with him or her to work or keep handy. Then, when the world doesn't seem like a loving place, your Valentine can take a few deep breaths, look at the pictures, and remember how cherished he or she is.

3. A jar of "I Love You"s ~ Take slips of paper or small note cards and write loving things. They could be quotes about love or specific things about your partner. You might write, "I love how you make me laugh", or "I love that you are a caring friend", or "I love how you ______________ me in bed" ;) Make them honest and personal. Again, your sweetheart can pull this jar out in times of need and boost his or her happy brain chemicals.

4. Massage accessories and massage(s) ~ Touch is incredibly important for human beings and the act of touching promotes the release of oxytocin, a happy hormone. Oxytocin improves mood and also make us feel more connected and intimate. You can use fancy oils or go basic with some coconut oil. The key here is to create a relaxed environment and to really focus on your partner.

5. Gadgets that promote health ~ Okay, I realize that most other women would not get giddy over a Valentine's gift of new dumbbells, but try to think of something that you could buy your sweetie to help his or her healthy lifestyle. New exercise equipment? New cooking equipment? I will admit that this gift could be a landmine so tread carefully. The last thing you want is to give someone a Valentine's gift that they will receive as, "so you're telling me I'm fat?". You should do a little recon before going this route. 

Finally, we don't usually celebrate Valentine's Day, but Dwayne, if you're reading this and are moved to show how much you love me, I'd really like a spiralizer ;)

I hope these ideas help! If you have any ideas to add, please comment below :)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Thai Green Curry ~ Dairy-Free and Gluten-Free

This is a very easy recipe that is great for leftovers. I love bulking it up with veggies ~ I used zucchini and yellow squash, but you could really use whatever veggies are in season (or are hanging out in your fridge)

1 can regular coconut milk
1 can light coconut milk
3 Tbs + 1 tsp Green curry paste (I used Thai Kitchen)
3 medium zucchini
2 medium yellow squash
1 Tbs xylitol
2 Tbs fish sauce
4 basil leaves per serving for garnish (I add this right before I serve it or right 
  before I reheat it when I'm eating leftovers). I used my kitchen shears to cut 
  strips but you could just tear them up.

***To make it vegan, just omit the fish sauce

Shake the cans of coconut milk and then pour them into a deep sauce pot or pan. While cooking the liquid on medium heat, stir in the green curry paste. Once the milk is simmering, add in your squash and stir well. Lower the heat to low-medium and cook for about 15 minutes or until your squash is your desired firmness, stirring periodically. Stir in the fish sauce. I removed the pan from the heat and let it sit for about another 5 minutes. The squash was tender but still firm. 

You can also use all light coconut milk. I did that last night and it was fine, but the sauce was quite a bit thinner than using even just the one can of regular coconut milk. If you are trying to lose weight or are watching your total fat intake, though, you may want to stick with only light coconut milk. It still tastes great!

The photo is with it over brown rice. I ate it the other day over spaghetti squash and it was delicious! I am sure it would also be great over quinoa. I also added some shredded chicken before I reheated it one day and plan to try it with shrimp soon. There are lots of possibilities!

It's a little bit spicy but both of my kids tried it and liked it. They haven't sat down to eat a whole bowl of it, so I'm not quite ready to give it the "kid-approved" stamp yet ;)

Please let me know how you like it and if you change it up at all, please share your results!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Super-Easy Spaghetti Squash

This is what it looks like when it's done cooking
Spaghetti squash is a fantastic food, especially if you are trying to lose weight or limit your carbohydrates by cutting back on grains. According to Self website's Nutrition Data analysis, it is "low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Niacin, Vitamin B6, Pantothenic Acid, Potassium and Manganese, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber and Vitamin C." The fiber is key to helping you feel satisfied and to stay full longer.

While I don't think you are going to believe you are eating pasta, the texture is enjoyable and the taste of the squash won't compete with whatever you put on it. I have two recipes I'll be posting soon, Thai Green Curry and my Happy Accident Sauce, both of which worked very well with spaghetti squash.

The only thing I don't like about spaghetti squash is cutting it raw. It's hard and unwieldy and my knives aren't big enough to cut it in one try. So I was very excited when I saw that you can roast them whole and make life much easier. This method takes a little longer than cutting it and microwaving it but I still prefer it.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Puncture your spaghetti squash several times with a knife and then place it 
   whole on a baking sheet
Put it in the oven
Cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on the size of the squash. Once you 
   can pierce the skin easily with a knife it should be good.
Let it cool for about 10 minutes
Cut it in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and discard them.
Using a fork, scoop out the flesh (it will come out in strands that look like spaghetti) 
Top with whatever sauce or dish you like

Easy, delicious and nutritious! Can't get better than that!

What do you like to put on your spaghetti squash?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Happy Accident "Cheesy" Sauce

I was trying to make a squash lasagna and it did not work out . . . at all . . . BUT, what I ended up with was a thick, creamy, "cheesy" tomato sauce with squash and mushrooms. I've eaten it plain (like a super-indulgent soup). I've eaten it over rice, and I've eaten it over spaghetti squash. I think my favorite was actually over the spaghetti squash because I liked the al dente "bite" of it in contrast to the creamy sauce and the other softer vegetables. Plus, spaghetti squash is super-healthy and weight-management friendly!

2 small/medium zucchini
2 small/medium yellow squash
1 1/2 jars of spaghetti sauce (I like the Mezzetta brand because they use quality ingredients with no added sugar)
2 bags of Daiya Mozzarella shreds (vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free and soy-free)
1-2 small cartons of sliced mushrooms
16 oz ground turkey (optional)

I browned the turkey with salt, pepper, oregano, thyme and some basil (I didn't measure the herbs, probably a teaspoonish of each and a couple turn of the salt grinder). If you want to keep it vegan you can omit the turkey. 

I sliced the zucchini and squash with a mandolin. They didn't stay in layers but the more uniform size probably helped things cook evenly.

I rubbed a little olive oil on the large glass casserole dish and then started layering:
a little sauce
Daiya shreds
yellow squash
Daiya shreds
Daiya shreds

I covered the pan with aluminum foil and baked it in the oven for about 45 minutes at 375 degrees. Cook time may vary depending on your oven. I let it sit for about 30 minutes to cool before I scooped it out into mason jars. It freezes really well. My son LOVES it ~ and big shocker ~ my very-particular-foodie-daughter likes it too!

Please let me know how you like it and share any "tweaks" you come up with!

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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Fall Harvest Slow Cooker Oatmeal ~ Gluten and Dairy Free

I was hesitant to make slow cooker oatmeal in the past because I was the only one in my family who ate oatmeal. My Crockpot is big enough that I figured I wouldn't be able to eat as much as I'd have to make for the recipe to turn out right. As luck would have it, my kids recently decided that they DO like oatmeal and proceeded to eat all of my single-serve packets. So I finally decided to a try a slow cooker oatmeal hoping it would actually get eaten. Boy am I glad I did! I prepped everything Sunday night and turned on the Crockpot before I went to bed. I came home from a Crossfit workout the next morning and was delighted! It smelled wonderful, was cooked perfectly, and the kids LOVED it! I've made it now 4 times, tweaking as I went, and finally found my perfect version.

4 medium Granny Smith apples peeled and cubed

1 TBS Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Spread (you can use any butter or butter 

1 cup Steel Cut Oats (if gluten is an issue look for oats marked gluten-free)

2 Tbs Xylitol (you can use any sweetener you like here, granular or liquid)

2 Tbs Hulled Hemp seeds (totally optional~ I had them and decided on this        
   last batch to throw them in for the added nutritional value)

2 tsp Cinnamon (or to taste~ I like a lot of Cinnamon!)

1/2 cups Dream Blends rice/quinoa drink (unsweetened)  (You can use any 
   dairy or non-dairy drink, but if it's sweetened you might want to ease up on 
   the other sweetener you use)

1 cup water 

Zest of 1/2 an orange

A few twists of a salt grinder

Place all of the ingredients and mix well. I cooked it for 6.5 hours on low and then it sat on warm for a couple of hours. The texture was good (I like some "bite" left). Everyone's slow cookers are different though. You may want to think about how your slow cooker has behaved in previous recipes and how firm you like your oatmeal before deciding how long you cook it. 

I did not add any liquid when I reheated it in the microwave on subsequent mornings, but if you like your oatmeal less firm, then you might add a few Tbs of "milk" or water.

An added bonus is that my daughter, who would rather sing in the morning than get herself ready for school, has something easy to eat for breakfast. A delicious, healthy breakfast with less mess and time spent in the morning is definitely a clear winner in my book!

I hope you enjoy it! If you change things up and like the results, please share in the comments. It's always nice to have more options!

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Why I'm Staying Out of the Crossfit Box

I've been wanting to try Crossfit for a while. I like intense workouts. I like group workouts. I like lifting heavier weights. I was interested in trying box jumps and Olympic style lifting. Bob Harper is a big fan of Crossfit and I'm a big fan of his. I figured Crossfit and I would fit like a hand in glove. I read about the criticisms but I wanted to experience it myself and come to my own conclusions. So when I saw a great Groupon deal for 20 classes and had a friend who wanted to try it with me, I figured I had the perfect opportunity.

I will preface my judgement by saying that just like most fitness experiences, every Crossfit "box" is going to be a little different. I only have experience with the one I tried and the four instructors I took classes from there. My experience is by no means universal and should not be taken as an evaluation of Crossfit on the whole; however, my experience did reinforce some of the main criticisms I've been hearing about Crossfit for years.

Here's my take-away:

1. Crossfit Instructors can be bullies. There is a fine line between encouraging participants and bullying them. As a fitness professional, my approach to working with new clients is to assess them and figure out what they are already capable of BEFORE I tell them they can do more, faster. It seemed that because I look relatively fit, the instructors assumed I could do heavy weights (I exercise a lot but haven't been doing any strength training for months). When I listened to them the first few classes, I ended up so sore I could barely move for days. In the last two classes I took (#7 & #8), I explained to the instructor that I would not do the weight he was suggesting because I had to be able to teach my own classes and couldn't be THAT sore. He pushed until I got irritated and then finally he backed off. It's one thing to encourage people to push their limits, it's another to make them feel like lazy-losers if they are not performing to your expectations.

2. Crossfit is all about doing it fast, heavy, and A LOT. I strongly believe that form HAS to come before reps or speed. While the instructors gave that idea lip service, they certainly seemed to care more about speed and completion than safety. As much as I know about proper form and tried to be careful, even I ended up overdoing it and having sore muscles which should not have been active during certain exercises (my low back after doing dead lifts). I cringe to think how many people are injuring themselves because they are finishing with poor form due to fatigue.

3. The instructors contradicted each other about form. I had a really hard time figuring out the Olympic power lifting exercises, moves like the "wall ball", and even a basic squat because all 4 of the instructors demonstrated and taught the moves differently. I didn't feel confident that I was performing the exercises correctly and while the instructors tried to give corrections, I didn't feel like they could, or did, spend enough time teaching the moves thoroughly or consistently.

4. Crossfit puts you on stage at your most vulnerable. This is totally personal to me and is obviously not a feeling shared by everyone, but I only like being watched when I am good at something. At the end of one of the workouts, one participant was finishing his WOD, a descending ladder of wall balls and dead lifts. He had 3 rounds to go when participants started gathering around him to cheer him on. I realize that everyone had the best intentions, but all I could think about was that if I were him ~ exhausted, shaky, overwhelmed ~ and I had a crowd of people telling me to "finish strong", "keep pushing", "do it again, faster", I would want to punch each of them in the throat. I am ready to look foolish and take risks in life, but if I'm being singled out in a workout, I don't want it to be because I'm the last one to finish.

5. The workouts are not Functional Fitness. I get the idea behind keeping the WODs simple, however, basic fitness principles tell us that we need to work ALL of the muscles in our body. Every workout doesn't need to hit every muscle, but you have to hit them all at some point. I don't recall a single upper body "pull" exercise in the 8 classes I took. We had one workout which was essentially an hour of squats. Even with complex or hybrid movements, you will miss major muscle groups if you only do 2 or 3 of them in a workout.

The individual workouts were unbalanced and the WODs throughout the week didn't correct for it. The last class I took was a lot of deadlifts. My friend continued to take classes that week and out of the 5 days she looked at the WODs, 4 were primarily dead lifts! Where is the recovery period for those muscles? What about all of the other muscles you aren't working when you're doing 150 deadlifts every day? Maybe other Crossfit boxes are better at balancing the workouts, but based on most of the WODs I've viewed online, I doubt it. And for most of the classes, we barely warmed up. A couple of times, we were instructed to go straight into a 400 meter run in the freezing cold as our "warm-up". There was also typically no cool-down or stretching at the end of class. Again, the workouts seemed to lack the balance we are taught is necessary for a body that functions well in real life, rather than a body that just performs well in a specific workout.

For me, Crossfit was a learning experience.  I learned that as a participant, I don't like the military, bootcampy feel. I learned that while I like to strive for a high level of performance, if the expectations are unrealistic, I just feel like a loser. I learned that I get bored with a workout that consists of just a few movements. I learned that I don't like Olympic power lifting. I learned that I do like box jumps and wall balls. I learned that as an instructor, I always want to balance motivating my clients and pushing them to improve, with taking care of them and putting their safety first. I learned that any workout that leaves my muscles so sore and bruised feeling that I can't sit on the toilet without pain days after the workout is not okay for me. Finally, I learned not to wear a lace thong to Crossfit because when you do a gazillion Crossfit style sit-ups, you will wear away three layers of skin at the top of your butt-crack and will be in agony for weeks.

What's your opinion on Crossfit?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Chair Exercise Video

Florence, one of my awesome students at TASC
I know I've mentioned before how much I love my job. Every week I get to hang out with the coolest people on the planet, helping them improve their physical and mental health. The classes at the Tustin Area Senior Center in Orange County, California are all low cost or FREE! In our efforts to keep it this way, we've produced a video of our Basic Chair Exercise Class which we are selling as a fundraiser. The video is $10 ($11 if you'd like it shipped to you) and all proceeds go directly to the Tustin Area Senior Center Fund. To purchase, please contact me at

The workout in the video is designed to be appropriate for most exercisers. Participants can use the chair as much or as little as needed and should modify movements as they see fit. Please consult your physician before performing any exercise program.

Here are a couple of clips from the hour-long workout video:

Basic Chair Exercise Warm-up: New York, New York

Basic Chair Exercise Strength Work: Fever

Pepperjack Bacon Waffles ~ Dairy-free and Gluten-free

I'm always on the lookout for new recipes that I think my kids will like. I recently saw a recipe for a savory waffle and immediately thought what a great side it would make for soups or chili and maybe as a "bread" for sandwiches. I really wanted to be able to eat them too, so I made some substitutions and they turned out GREAT! I made these for the kids last week and I got the typical reaction ~ my son and I loved them, my daughter asked if I'd just make plain waffles next time (she's a purist). I packed one the next day in my son's lunch but he said it was no good ~ dry and chewy. Next time, I'll make the amount I think we will eat at dinner fully cooked, and then cook the others a little less brown so that they can be frozen and then popped in the toaster to reheat.

This recipe is exciting to me because it seems decadent and is something I definitely wouldn't allow myself to eat every day. Even though it feels "forbidden" I'm able to make it without ingredients that would make me sick. Yay for us gluten-free, dairy-free -ers! These are definitely a bit denser than your typical waffle but for me, it just made them feel more hearty and dinnerish.

**Note** I don't normally eat eggs as I do have a reaction to them. This recipe only has one egg though, and I've not found a good egg replacer for a recipe like this that needs the rise in addition to the bind the egg provides. The fact that I might get sick if I eat too many helps me to eat just one or two instead of devouring the entire batch myself!

1 large egg
1 cup "milk" (I used Dream Blends Unsweetened Rice/Quinoa Drink)
1 Tbs oil

1 + 1/2  cups Bob's Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour
1 Tbs sugar (I used Xylitol but any granular sugar should work)
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup Daiya Pepperjack Shreds (dairy and soy free!)
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
1/2 cup crispy bacon (I use Applegate Farms Sunday Bacon ~uncured)

Cook the bacon and then chop or crumble into bits. Preheat your waffle iron. Mix the wet ingredients and then whisk in the dry ingredients until fully incorporated. Gently fold in the add-ins. Let the batter sit for 5 minutes. Everyone's waffle irons will be a little different so you may or may not need oil on your iron. The amount of batter you need to put in will also vary as well as the cooking time. The general process should be the same for this recipe as for any other waffles you make specific to your waffle iron.

Please let me know how you like them! And if you change it up at all, please share your results :)

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