Quick Chili: Perfect for Cold Winter Days

10 02 2010

Alexis and her awesome chili

Originally uploaded by santheo

Part of living a balanced life involves cooking and eating nutritious and filling food. People often find it hard to find the time to cook, leaving a trail of takeout and frozen food wrappers. Fortunately, there is hope. My family has been making a version of the following chili for a few years now. It is a little spicy, but not too spicy for our toddler. It is also easy, economical, and quick. See below the recipe for tips on how to make it a little healthier. We made it tonight. It went perfect with the blizzard.

This Recipe is originally from allrecipes.com


1 pound lean ground beef
1 white onion, chopped
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
2 cups water
1 (15 ounce) can ranch-style beans
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon Cajun seasoning


In a large pot, cook beef over medium heat until brown. Stir in onion and cook until onion is translucent. Stir in tomato sauce, water, ranch-style beans, kidney beans, chiles, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin and Cajun seasoning. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.

Nutritional Information

Amount Per Serving Calories: 364 | Total Fat: 16.5g | Cholesterol: 57mg

For a healthier version: I usually buy at least 85% lean ground beef, but ground turkey would add less fat and calories to the meal. I usually leave the grease from the meat in the pot, however; you can drain the liquid after cooking the meat for less fat and calories. In addition, substitution of fresher ingredients along with organic ingredients, will increase the nutritional value of the meal.


Budget Savvy MD Style Crab Cake (without the crab)

15 11 2009

One of the hardest things about creating an ideal work/life balance is eating healthy. It is so much easier to pick up the phone or turn into a drive thru. In my search for  meals made from more simple and fresh ingredients (that do not put a dent in my pocketbook), I came across a recipe for cauliflower fritters. As I was making the recipe, I noticed the fritters were looking alot like a crab cake. Being a MD native, I love a good crab cake. So I altered the recipe and think I have a winner. Not only is it more economical than using crab, it is also better for the environment, as crabs are overfished and populations (especially in the chesapeake bay area) are dwindling. Let me know what you think.

Ingredient List:

  1. Large head of califlower (about 2 1/4 pounds) trimmed and chopped (or buy pre-chopped bags for convenience)
  2. At least 1/2 cup flour (I used whole wheat flour)
  3. 1 large egg, beaten
  4. Old Bay seasoning (to taste), at least 1 Tablespoon
  5. 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)- I used more for a deep fried approach
  6. Horseradish and Ketchup (or store bought cocktail sauce)

Steam the califlower until tender. Mash and let cool. Stir in flour and egg (I added more flour than the recipe called for). Season with salt and pepper and Old Bay. Return to fridge for 15 minutes. Roll 1/4 cupfuls into balls and flatten into patties, it will make about 12. Heat EVOO over medium-high heat. Working in batches, fry the patties until-golden brown, about 4 minutes on each side. Serve with cocktail sauce and Old Bay on the side. To make your own cocktail sauce, simply mix equal parts ketchup to horseradish. This is pretty spicy, so you might want to add more ketchup.

Happy Cooking! Namaste.

Everybody Stretch Now

20 08 2009

Ok, it is mid-afternoon (well somewhere it is). Everyone get up and stretch. That’s right, take some deep breaths. Roll those shoulders, stretch out the legs, wrists, fingers, hips. Rock back and forth from your toes to your heals (slightly). You are in the seventh inning stretch at your cube (or office). Beat that afternoon urge to grab sugar or coffee (only to crash even harder later). Get your blood pumping. Take a walk to the water cooler and back (maybe get some water while you’re at it). Desk stretches are a good way to get the blood pumping and the energy flowing through your body again. I came across a good stretch routine (link below).  Try it today. Namaste.

Get an easy 3 minute routine here

Want to Lose Weight? Throw Away that Scale!

9 07 2009

When I became pregnant two years ago, I gained 30 lbs. Unfortunately, I was already slightly overweight at the time. Many people said that breast feeding would “magically” melt off the fat. But for me, I just ate more. To kick off the New Year, I joined a gym and became more conscience of the kinds of food I was putting in my mouth. At first, I was not loosing any weight, only inches. My clothes were looser because muscle is denser than fat, which means it weighs a little more but takes up less space. Another plus to building muscle is that current research shows muscle burns more calories than fat, even at rest.

Now that I have built muscle (by weightlifting, yoga, and cardio exercise) the scale is FINALLY starting to budge. But I will not lie, before the scale started going down, I was down on myself. “Why not just eat pie if I am working this hard and not loosing weight,” I caught myself thinking. These kinds of self defeating thoughts are why I am suggesting to use at least one other tool to measure your progress. Many gyms and doctors offices have BMI (Body Mass Indicator) analyzer machines that will show your progress. You can also ask someone to measure your waist, hips, thighs, chest, and arms using a tailors measuring tape. Or, just use a pair of jeans. As muscle builds, the jeans will become less tight.

Scales can be deceiving and hinder your efforts. As with most things in life, a positive attitude and patience will help you achieve your goals. It has been 7 months since I made a commitment to getting fit. I have lost minimal weight, but I refuse to give up. There is no “magical” pill to lasting weight loss. Weight loss takes time and I am just starting to reap the benefits of all my hard work. Why would I give up now?


Do You Feel Like a Disaster Magnet?

28 05 2009

After a short hiatus, I am back. I just wasn’t feeling like my true self. The gloomy cloud that hung over my head rained on everything around me, making it difficult to find my joy again. Louise Hay believes “our beliefs and ideas about ourselves are often the cause of our emotional problems and physical maladies.” Although I believe there are many factors that lead to disease and discomfort (i.e. environmental and genetic issues), she makes some valid points. How can we heal our bodies when our mind is stuck in the negative? How can we learn to love others when we cannot love ourselves? Negative thoughts beget negative outcomes; positive thoughts beget positive outcomes.

To illustrate this point, I will share an experience from a friend who has been feeling overwhelmed. With marriage issues, a full-time job, and two years of working toward a Master’s Degree, it is easy to understand why my friend was exhausted and distracted by all the daily responsibilities and worries. One day as she was standing in line at the supermarket, a nudge came from behind. “It must be an accident,” she thought. After the second and third nudge, she looked behind her with surprise and horror. Why was this man, obviously angered by the long line, taking it out on her? Just then, she knew the answer. Being tired and annoyed, she was just attracting more of the same. In that moment, she took charge of her situation and decided not to give this frustrated man one more precious second of her thoughts. She would lighten her outlook, thereby only attracting more joy and happiness into her life.

I hope this blog does not come off as preachy. My intention is to help others become motivated to stay healthy and strong while balancing the hustle and bustle of everyday life. I am not a doctor or a self-help guru. I am just a regular person trying to live a more joyful life. The entries are designed to help me as much as you! I am just sharing information, thoughts, and experiences in hopes that it helps one other person in their journey to a strong mind, body, and spirit. Remember to think positive thoughts and love, laughter, and joy will move effortlessly in your direction. Namaste.


For free daily affirmations, visit http://www.louisehay.com/affirmations/index.php.


Everything in my life works, now and forevermore.

Biggest Loser Theme: Never Give Up!

13 05 2009

I think Daniel summed it up best in the Biggest Loser Season 7 finale when he said, “Don’t ever give up.” Daniel is the heaviest participant ever. At only 19 years old, Daniel weighted in at 454 lbs. Daniel and the rest of the contestants are not at the end of their journey by far. It is just the beginning of a lifetime of healthy habits that I hope everyone can stick to and if not, get back up and try again.

None of us are perfect and we all feel self-conscious at some time or another. Even those who seem to be the fittest have flaws and self-doubts. Take my favorite gym instructor. She is lean and mean, but has a pouch from having three kids. Anyone who had multiple children knows what I am talking about. Even if you can get rid of the layers of fat, you will always have loose skin that looks like cottage cheese. Ok, enough graphic illustrations for now.

My point is this: Weight loss is not a destination, but a journey. Never give up on trying to live the healthiest life possible, no matter how many times you fall off the horse. There are no diets, just habits. And give yourself a break and a little love. Namaste.

Earth Day 2009: Celebrating 39 Years of Taking Care of Our Home

22 04 2009

Earth Day 2009 is a day for anyone that lives on the planet Earth. As far as we know, that is EVERYONE! Although there are disagreements on how best to take care of the planet, one thing is for certain: Earth is our ONLY home. You keep your home clean by vacuuming, washing, and dusting. You fix leaky faucets, renovate old spaces, and are careful not to break, scratch, and damage your house. So why would you treat the Earth any different than you treat your house?

There are three main reasons why we take care of our houses. First, it is pleasing to live in a clean, healthy, and comfortable environment. Nothing puts me in a bad mood more than a dirty house (just ask my husband). Second, keeping a house clean means healthier family members. Germs, allergens, and many other NASTY stuff live in our houses. Finally, a clean and well kept house puts money in your pocket by creating a better resale value on your investment . These three reasons are all perfect examples of WHY we celebrate Earth Day. If you don’t care about living in filth, then do it for your health and the health of your family and friends. If those reasons are not enough to sway you, do it for you pocket book. And yes, contrary to popular belief, being green can actually SAVE YOU MONEY! Imagine that!

Use this Earth Day as an excuse to reconnect with your mother Earth, to live healthier happier lives, and to save money. So start buying organic, eating more vegetarian meals, using less plastic, driving less, turning off those lights, and anything else that will help you live in a better house. (I am downloading the Organic Gardeners Tips right now at http://www.greenlivingtips.com/). Little steps make a difference and many little steps make a big difference. Start loving your home today. Happy Earth Day and Namaste.

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