Hello August! 7 ways to keep cool in the heat.

It’s August 1st and yes, back to school ads and fall decor is being pushed on us.  However, it’s still hot and it’s this month is usually the worst.  High temperatures plague the everywhere.  Here are 7 ways to beat the heat in the dogs days of summer.

  1.  Spray yourself-  That’s right.  You can buy a Dollar Store spray bottle and keep it filled with cold water.  When you feel overheated, spray yourself down.  Trust me, I know.  Earlier this year, I lived through my first “hot season” in Costa Rica.  WITHOUT AIR CONDITIONING!  My spray bottle was my go to method for cooling down.  Which brings me to number 2…
  2. Take a cold shower.  The thought of it might seem bad, but trust me, even a few minutes spent having that cold water wash over you will make you feel so much better.
  3. Drink plenty of H2O.  Keep cold water bottles filled in your fridge at all times.  Remember to rehydrate yourself often.
  4. Soak your feet.  Yes.  Take a bowl, a basin, whatever and put some ice cubes in there with water and a few drops of peppermint essential oil.  It will cool down your core and help you feel much better.
  5. Make a cold compress.  Using the above recommendations for a foot bath, apply it to your cold compress.  Use it to cool down your temples and neck.
  6. Ease up on the alcohol.  I know that’s hard during all these summer months with BBQ’s and parties, but drinking alcohol can increase your body temperature.  Be careful!
  7. Last, but not least, close your shades.  Shutting these can help to reduce the heat in your house.  This will not only help to keep you cool, but may reduce your electricity bill.
Not kidding about spraying myself down in the heat.
Not kidding about spraying myself down in the heat.


10 Great Summer Salad Recipes

Summer is right around the corner and let’s face it – as the weather warms up eating clean and healthy suddenly becomes a lot easier! Hurray for summer!

To celebrate, here are 10 great summer salad recipes!

These salads all offer a unique flavor combination, some that you may have never thought of! Don’t let your salads get boring – try one of these recipes for the next 10 days and we promise you will love all of them!

 pineapple and avocado salad recipe.  Photo by: http://icuban.com/food/ensalada_de_aguacate.html
pineapple and avocado salad recipe. Photo by: http://icuban.com/food/ensalada_de_aguacate.html

This pineapple + avocado salad recipe (ensalada de aguacate) is one of my favorites. A few simple ingredients that when combined, will make your mouth and body oh so happy!

It’s a delicious Latin dish that is the perfect combination of sweet, sour and salty. Sounds weird, but trust me – you want to try this one!


Honey Mustard Fruit Chicken Salad.  Photo by:  http://pinchofyum.com/rainbow-chicken-salad-almond-honey-mustard-dressing
Honey Mustard Fruit Chicken Salad. Photo by: http://pinchofyum.com/rainbow-chicken-salad-almond-honey-mustard-dressing

Delicious chicken salad with fruit and an amazing honey mustard dressing made with almond butter.

Do you like fruit in your veggie salad? This Rainbow Chicken Salad calls for grapes and blueberries. And chicken. And a delicious honey mustard dressing made with almond butter.

It’s super yummy, can be served as a main dish and will satisfy your taste buds in a variety of ways.

Our Clean Bean Taco salad is not only simple to make but delicious as well.

Chop up romain lettuce (or other favorite lettuce of your choice) then add in avocado, corn, whole red beans,tomatoes, black olives, red or white onion, shredded cheddar or jack cheese. Toss together and top with red or green salsa and a creamy dressing of your choice (ranch is always our favorite). You can top with corn tortilla strips for added crunch or eat with corn tortilla chips on the side.

Fast Greek Salad.  Photo by: http://fastsaladrecipes.com/vegetable-salads/fast-greek-salad/
Fast Greek Salad. Photo by: http://fastsaladrecipes.com/vegetable-salads/fast-greek-salad/

This Simple Greek salad can be made in just a few minutes with tomato, cucumber, black olives, red onion and feta cheese. Topped with a balsamic + olive oil dressing.

Light and fresh, best served in an extra large bowl by the pool.

Moroccan Quinoa Salad/  Photo by:  http://www.greenkitchenstories.com/moroccan-quinoa-salad/
Moroccan Quinoa Salad/ Photo by: http://www.greenkitchenstories.com/moroccan-quinoa-salad/

With zucchini, eggplant, green onion and more, this salad is definitely on my list.

Maybe you aren’t spending your summer traveling through Morocco but you can still experience t taste of an exotic far away land via this Moraccan Quinoa salad.

Zucchini, eggplant, green onion, almonds, avocado, cilantro, mint, lemon and raisins – full of protein from the quinoa. Clean and gluten free!

Crunchy Cabbage Salad.  Photo by:  http://www.scalingbackblog.com/day-3-crunchy-cabbage-salad-with-spicy-peanut-dressing/
Crunchy Cabbage Salad. Photo by: http://www.scalingbackblog.com/day-3-crunchy-cabbage-salad-with-spicy-peanut-dressing/

Spicy peanut dressing on top of crunchy cabbage and carrots, seeds and cashews.

This Asian inspired Crunchy Cabbage salad is full of flavor and delicious textures. Fresh veggies, herbs, cashews and seeds make it so much more interesting than just your typical veggie salad.

Topped with spicy peanut dressing which can also be used as a dip for spring rolls or lettuce wraps.

This romaine and avocado salad is super easy summer salad recipe but what really makes it is the dressing!

Take a look at this article for a bunch of good ideas on variations for a simple yet delicious summer salad dressing recipe.

This super simple Summer Tomato salad recipe is made with cherry tomatoes, cucumber and avocado.

Add feta, red onion and a simple balsamic dressing for a delicious salad that can be served as a side or eaten for the entire meal.

Enhance Your Healthy Lifestyle Knowledge by Using Udemy Online Courses

Summer is finally here.  Why not take advantage of the longer days and more free time to take some diet, fitness and wellness online courses at Udemy?  The internet is a massive collection of anything and everything that you want to know.  If you want to learn more about how you can change your diet, access a new workout regimen and find new ways to improve your overall health, then sign up for a course at Udemy.com.

Udemy is a worldwide marketplace of students and instructors and they have courses on almost everything you can think of.  Now, it’s so easy to jump on the internet and teach yourself whatever you want, let’s apply those ideas to help us gain new knowledge about getting fit and becoming healthy.

I’m going to breakdown the 7 courses in the health and fitness space that I want to take.  Maybe this will inspire you to take advantage of the current and huge sale they have going on and improve your knowledge in these areas.  From the beginning of summer, Udemy is offering 30% off on all of their courses until July 1st, 2016.  Jump on this deal while you have a chance.

30% Off! 

These are the 7 courses that I recommend for you to try.  Each one offers something unique and has an in depth learning modules.  *These are in no particular order and all prices are before discount.*

Click on each picture to see more information!

1. Getting the Body you Want by Understanding the Body you Have


What you Will Learn:

·         How a slim body processes food

·         How an overweight body processes food

·         Why you cannot lose the weight you have gained over time.

·         How our hormones sabotage our attempts to lose weight

·         How to control these hormones

·         Why you get exhausted and irritable on a diet

·         Why eating too little will make you fat

·         How to make ‘weight loss’ food choices in the real world

·         10 specific, impactful actions to reverse your downward spiral

Price: $30

What is offered on this course?

Over 50 lectures and 2.5 hours lecture time, including PDF’s to download for easy reference when you are not online.

Information on how you gained the weight in the first place (and not just because you ate too much) and why it becomes more difficult to lose weight as you grow older

2. Health and Wellness with Kitchen Herbs & Spices

What you Will Learn:

  • Better care for yourself and your family
  • Increase overall health and well-being
  • Help prevent chronic disease by reducing oxidation and inflammation
  • Support the healing of chronic conditions through food
  • Reduce medical bills and visits by treating acute, non-emergency situations at home
  • How to use herbs and spices that you already have on hand as medicines

Price: $20

What is offered on this course?

25 lectures and a certificate of completion.

3. All About Tea: Surprising Health Benefits you Should Know

What you Will Learn:

  • Learn how to improve health issues, just by sipping on the right kind of tea.
  • Build a Strong Knowledge Base on the Subject of TEA and its Potent Anti-Cancer Properties.
  • Learn the health benefits of TEA
  • Obtain company secrets regarding their tea bags
  • Discover 10 different cultural tea ceremonies
  • Learn about 5 types of tea best for good health

Price: $25

What is offered on this course?

13 exercises, each with a short activity and a quiz.

Upon completion, you will gain a strong understanding on how sipping on a cup of your favorite tea can change your life for the better, by warding off sickness and dis-ease. Students completing this course will be able to enjoy the healing properties of drinking tea anytime. Also, you will receive a verifiable certificate of completion upon finishing the course.

4. A Quick Start to Losing 30 Pounds on a Ketogenic Diet

What you Will Learn:

  • What is ketogenic diet and nutritional ketosis.
  • Shopping list of foods to buy.
  • Foods to avoid.
  • Proper macronutrients.
  • Exercises to do and exercises to avoid.
  • Useful tools and technology.
  • Intermittent fasting on the ketogenic diet.
  • Supplements.
  • Frequently asked questions.

Price: $20

What is offered on this course?

22 Lectures

  • Free full lifetime access to the course.
  • Free access to all future lectures added to the course.
  • Free access to any updates to the course.
  • Udemy’s unconditional 30 day money back garauntee.
  • You will lose weight and keep it off.
  • You will be more healthy.
  • You will have more energy.
  • You will see results quickly.
  • You will not be hungry.
  • Your clothes will fit better.

5. Learn Optimal Sleep to Improve Your Health, Energy and Mind

What you Will Learn:

  • How to achieve a quality sleep so you can actually feel rested
  • A bunch of simple (and weird!) stuff you can do with light to have higher energy and better sleep
  • How alter your activeness, consumption, environment to achieve quality sleep
  • The best ways to fall asleep, nap, and prevent yourself from waking up 6x a night (THE WORST)
  • A blueprint to take action on everything I’ll teach you so that you’ll be sleep-hacking in no time!

The class is delivered in easy to follow video modules, and also includes PDF versions so you can go at your own speed if you prefer.

Price: $50

What is offered on this course?

37 Lectures and a PDF.

I will personally respond to any questions you may have as you go through the material so there’s no worry if you’re not sure how to take all of the information and apply it to your life. So sign up no

6. Health Improvement: How to Optimize Your Health in 30 Days!

What you Will Learn:


  • Learn how to become more ENERGETIC and FIT
  • Learn how to create more ENERGY
  • Learn how to effectively BURN FAT
  • Learn which food is providing you with ENERGY
  • Learn which supplements create the MOST ENERGY for you
  • Learn how to DETECT DEFICIENCIES within your body
  • Learn the BASICS about ENERGY PRODUCTION in your body
  • Learn why some people DON’T BURN FAT anymore
  • Learn what NUTRIENTS deliver you with the most ENERGY

Price: $50

What is offered on this course?

26 Lectures

I will be updating this course regularly. So you can be sure that future developments in this field of knowledge is in this course. Now and in the future.

You have lifetime access to all the lectures in this course. Enjoy en I’m convinced that this course can make a difference for you. How I know this? Because I’ve applied the principles in this course to many of my athletes and patients. And I can tell you…..it worked!

7. Yin Yoga to to Heal & Restore

What you Will Learn:

  • Soften the upper body and melt the tension in your neck and shoulders by focusing on the scalene, trapezius and deltoid muscles…
  • Relieve lower back pain as you open the front and back of your body through focusing on stretching the pectorals, latissimus dorsi and rhomboids…
  • Eliminate daily stress and emotional trauma by diving deep into your lower body and opening tight areas by doing poses that target the glutes, psoas, hamstrings and rectus femoris…
  • Relax completely and deeply, and rid yourself of stress and unacknowledged emotions as you experience peace and self-reflection…
  • And finally, bring positive changes to your mental and physical well-being.

Price:  $35

What is offered on this course?

Downloadable Content and Free Bonus Included

Each video lesson is downloadable so you can put them on your tablet or smart phone. Watch them anywhere! What’s more, you’ll also receive a FREE BONUS “Yoga at Home – 100 Yoga Poses”. In this eBook you’ll see illustrated pictures of Kassandra’s favorite 100 yoga poses with complete instructions.

Included is a Money-Back Satisfaction Guarantee. If for ANY reason you aren’t satisfied within 30 days, we’ll happily refund every penny. In fact, go ahead and TRY the course out right now. See for yourself. If it’s not everything and more… get your money back promptly.


*this post may contain affiliate links* 


21 Ways to be Healthier this Week


There are small things you can do everyday to make your life healthier.  In fact, implementing a few, tiny changes can lead you down the path towards better health, weight loss and happiness.  Minute and simple changes work the best to start this plan.  This way, you can achieve a healthier lifestyle without even realizing it.

With the holiday season upon us and the new year only six weeks away, this is a great time to start making little changes to make you the best you possible.   This way. when it comes time to make your New Year’s resolution (if you do that), you will already be a step ahead.  Your can train yourself to form these habits that will carry over into the New Year.  So go on, try these  21 simple, easy and effective diet, fitness and life tips this week to make yourself healthier and happier in just one week.

Let’s start with your diet.  This one is probably the easiest to incorporate into your week.

drink more water


1.  And obvious, but often overlooked tip:  Drink more water. 

Now is a good time to question whether or not you are drinking enough water daily.  You should be drinking at least 64 ounces of water daily.  Not only does this help to flush out toxins from your body, keeping yourself hydrated, makes your organs and brain function better.  If you are always on the go, try using a customizable, stainless steel and BPA free water bottle to keep with your busy days.

2. Eat your vegetables.  

Add more darker colored vegetables to your diet.  Dark reds, such as beets and red peppers or dark greens, like spinach and kale provide tons of vitamins and nutrients to your diet.  Also, they are low in calorie and high in flavor!

3. Pick better snack choices.  

Craving something sweet and crunchy?  Why not eat some mixed berries and nuts.  It can give you the energy boost you need and can curb sugar cravings.

4. Try not to drink your calories. 

Even though this is the start of the holiday season, this tip isn’t just limited to alcoholic beverages.  Think about how many calories, sugar and fat is in that grande, flavored coffee you are about to order.

5. Make sure you are getting the right type of protein.

Yes, almost everyone loves a bacon cheeseburger.  And there is nothing wrong with that.  However, make sure you are getting lean protein with every meal.  Whether it’s eggs, tofu, chicken, turkey, tuna or any other type, add it to all of your meals to help aid in weight loss, muscle building and help your heart be healthy.

6. Make healthy food swaps. 

Instead of using mayo when making tuna or chicken salad, reach for the greek yogurt.  It’s taco night, so why not go for the grilled fish instead of ground meat or fried fish.  There are tons of easy swaps you can make to add healthier foods to your diet without losing flavor and if you get stumped, pick up a copy of “Eat This, Not That.”  There are over a dozen different variations of the book, ranging from the original to the restaurant adaptation.

7. Share a meal when dining out.  

Going out to dinner?  Take advantage of America’s notoriously famous large portions and split the meal.  If you don’t want to share it or can’t, divide it in half and take it for lunch the next day.

workout partners


8. Exercise daily.

You’ve probably heard this one before, but it’s worth repeating.  Try to exercise daily.  Even small amounts can add up and improve your overall health.  Try taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking your car further away at the store, walking an extra few minutes when taking the dog out, etc…

9. Workout with music.

Some studies show that working out to music, especially upbeat tunes that are your favorite, can lead to better results.

10. You don’t need a gym membership or fancy equipment.

Try YouTube instead.  There are tons of full free workouts on YouTube.  They have ballet barre to crossfit and everything in between all waiting for you to utilize.

11. Don’t exercise alone. 

If you can, bring a friend to workout with you.  Not only will it make it more fun, you will also be more accountable and more likely to stick with your fitness goals.  If you can’t find a friend to go with you, ask your significant other or even have your children get in on the fun with you.

12. Try using an app or a device to track your workouts. 

An app like myfitnesspal lets you login all of your exercise details to keep track of your progress.  It also lets you track your food intake too.  Use a fitbit while working out so that you see exactly what your body is doing.  This works both intentional workouts to the everyday tasks you might not think about.  It’s step counting feature is really amazing!

13. Buy new shoes or a new workout outfit.  

I’m serious!  If you can splurge and treat yourself to new shoes, outfit, heck, even socks.  Do it!  You will want to wear your new purchase and therefore, you will increase your chances of wanting to exercise.  Subscription services are a great new way to add and diversify your outfit choices.  Kate Hudson’s Fabletics is a perfect example of this concept.  You fill out a survey and then it takes your answers and customizes your monthly workout clothes just for you. How motivating is that?  Getting fresh new attire each month for a small price might be just what you need to keep you healthy!

14. Find something you like doing that doesn’t feel like exercise.

This is often easier said than done.  Almost everything that is a workout feels like a workout to me.  However, there are definitely things that I love to do that I’ve never considered to be actual exercise.  I love taking photo walks.  Sometimes, I will set out with my camera and take a 30 minute to an hour walk just photographing things around me.  This is a great way to get a workout in without having that dreaded feeling towards exercising.  Find something you love, turn on your fitbit and see just how much your fun makes you fit.



15.  Get plenty of sleep.

I’m sure you’ve heard this over and over again, but it is so important.  Not just the recommended 8 hours of sleep, but make sure your sleep is a good quality sleep.  Even if you get 8 hours of sleep, it needs to be uninterrupted.  This is key to becoming healthier.

16. Make time for yourself. 

Today everyone is always busy and on the go.  Life demands you to be this way sometimes.  However, don’t forget about you.  Yes, you!  Even if it’s a 15 minute quiet break.  Even if you have to lock yourself in the bathroom to find a moment of peace.  Do it.  Clear your head and take some deep breaths.  These zen moments are so crucial for a better wellbeing.

17. Wash your hands. 

It’s simple.  It only takes 20 seconds and can prevent you from getting germs and getting sick.

18. Have a good laugh. 

Remember that friend you are going to workout with when you are trying to not exercise alone?  Make sure you guys have some good, deep down in the belly laughs.  Laughing boosts the immune system, lowers blood pressure, reduces stress hormones and might help you burn more calories.

19. Take an Epsom salt bath.

Epsom salts contain magnesium which is absorbed through your skin.  This not only helps to relax your muscles and reduce their pain levels, it can eliminate toxins in your body.  Add a scope of these premium Epsoak epsom salts to your bath and try to aim for a 20 minute soak in warm water.

20. Hangout with nature.  

Mother nature is powerful, amazing and tranquil.  Being outdoors helps to ease stress and helps us become grounded to the earth and her energy.  Trees and other plants turn carbon dioxide into the oxygen that we can breath. This means that breathing in the fresh air can help to kill viruses, bacteria and give us more energy. Take a walk outside, find a tree to sit under and read a book or spend some hours gardening to get these free benefits from our earth.

21. Think positive. 

It’s as simple as that.  If you want to change and can visualize it, then there is a good chance it will happen.  Thinking happy thoughts and putting smile on your face prep your mind and body to embrace all of the changes you want to make.  Whether they are big or small, take this week to implement any or all of these 21 ways to be healthier this week and hopefully these changes will make you happier and whole.


*this post may contain affiliate links* 



Things You Should Always have on Hand in Your Kitchen to Make Your Dinners Easier

Week night dinners can be hectic.  You’ve worked all day.  Took care of the kids, the dog, the cat, etc…and now you have to cook something for dinner.  Why not make it easier on yourself and use this guide on what to keep stocked in your pantry and fridge.  This also comes in handy when you have no idea what to cook or your when your go to recipes need some spicing up.  Because, let’s face it, when those nights happen during the week and you’re already exhausted, it really sucks.  So utilize this guide to help you effortlessly cook your week night dinners.

kitchen essentials

This list, compiled by Bon Appétit Magazine, is a great go to list for elevating your cooking.  It makes for quick and easy week night dinners.  Follow this guide to make your life easier and your meals more delicious.


Parmesan: A little bit of Parm makes nearly any savory dish sing. Plus, Parm lasts (almost) forever. Just make sure to take it out of the fridge for a while before using. Or, if you go through a lot of Parmesan in your life, just leave it out. Rinds add oomph to soups, too.

Eggs: Our I-don’t-know-what-to-eat-for-dinner crutch? An omelet, or a fried or scrambled egg.

Butter: Buy a pound and keep it in the freezer. Pull out a stick at a time (or more, if needed) to keep in the fridge.

Dijon Mustard: A lifesaver for salad dressings.

Carrots and Broccoli: These trusty, go-to vegetables will last forever. Roast, steam, or simply slice for crudités.

Parsley: Fresh herbs are wonderful, but who can use whole bunches in five days? Keep parsley on hand—it stays fresh way longer than its compadres.


Bread: Bread defrosts quickly and typically retains its texture and flavor after freezing (ditto for pita and tortillas). Slice before freezing for nearly instant toast.

Chicken Stock: You know that one Sunday you were hanging out at home and decided to make loads and loads of chicken stock? Keep that stuff in your freezer in pint-size containers, and it will be your best friend when you’re cooking lentils, rice, and pretty much any grain, ever.

Sausage, Bacon, or Pancetta: Add to pastas, grain bowls, and salads. Or think breakfast for dinner.

Shrimp: Real talk: Most shrimp you buy “fresh” has actually already been frozen. So in some ways, you’re just saving a step here. Think soups, stir-fries, noodle-heavy dishes.

Pantry/Doesn’t Need Refrigeration

Onions: From soup to stir-fries to pretty much any savory meal, onions are clutch.

Garlic: Who cares if your breath smells bad? Garlic makes everything taste better.

Potatoes: They may not be quite as healthy as carrots or broccoli, but they also last forever, and they are so good no matter how you cook them.

Spaghetti and Other Pasta: Sometimes we all just need a spaghetti dinner or a Back Pocket Pasta meal.

Canned Tomatoes: Because fresh tomatoes aren’t always in season. Buy fire-roasted tomatoes for soups and chili.

Olive Oil: Our hero, our savior, our love.

Vegetable or Other Neutral Cooking Oil: Helpful for cooking at high heat, or when you don’t want your food to taste like a flavored oil.

Lemons: If salt won’t save a bland dish, fresh lemon juice will.

Canned Beans: Douse with olive oil, Parmesan, salt and pepper, and lemon, and dinner is ready.

See the full list here. Thanks  Bon Appétit Magazine!


Essential Oils for Stress Releif

Let’s me start out by saying the I love my essential oils.  Yes, I’m one of those. I do think that I have an oil for everything.  However, I honestly can’t say enough things about Stress Away.  It truly is a miracle worker.  It is a blend of Copaiba, Lime, Cedarwood, Vanilla, Ocotea and Lavender and it smells divine.  Just the scent calms me down; however, my favorite use for it is to mix it with coconut oil and massage on my shoulders to relieve stress.

Mix this with PanAway and all of the tension in your shoulders will melt away and you will feel like a new person again!

stress away essential oil
Stress Away Essential Oil

Use Stairs to Burn Fat and Get Healthy- For Free!

One of the most overlooked and underutilized things to use for working out are your own stairs.  Everyone has access to them somewhere.  Whether it’s your house, your apartment, your work, etc… stairs are everywhere.  A staircase workout is an incredibly effective way to improve fitness and overall health and it’s free.

Why are we not using this free and amazing tool to help get us healthy and in shape?

Stair exercises can range from quick and easy to long and intense.  The most obvious workout is running up and down the stairs.  Simple, easy and you’ll crank up your heart rate, burn fat, and engage your glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and core more intensely than you would treading on flat ground.  Add in HIIT to your staircase workout and you will burn more fat, build muscle and improve your overall health.  But this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to maximizing your access to stairs and using them to their best, fat burning potential.

Cue the Rocky soundtrack and get ready to burn some fat and get healthy!


stair workout



5 Ways to Spice Up Rice and Beans

We aren’t living on just rice and beans here in Costa Rica.  But, close.  Rice and beans are our go to ingredients and it can get boring.   I feel as though they are a worldwide staple, so here are a 5 ways to spice up your rice and bean dishes

rice and beans


1.  Cilantro Chicken and Veggie Rice

  • One pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Four cups of chicken stock
  • One cup of dry, uncooked rice
  • One bunch of cilantro, chopped up and divided
  • One can of mixed peas and carrots, drained
  • Two cans of garbanzo beans, drained
  1. Rub olive oil, salt, pepper and half of the cilantro on to the chicken breasts.  Brown the chicken breasts on both sides, then add two cups of the chicken stock and cover them on low until they are cooked throughly.
  2. In a separate pot, add the rice, cilantro and the rest of the chicken stock in place of the water.   Cooked until finished.
  3. Cut up the chicken and mix into the rice.
  4. Add the mixed peas, carrots and garbanzo beans.

2. Mexican Beans and Rice

  • Two cups of cooked, white rice
  • One tablespoon of olive oil
  • 8 oz. of tomato paste
  • One small bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 an onion, diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of chili powder
  • One can of black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup of chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  1.  Heat up the olive oil in a sauce pan.  Add in the tomato paste, bell pepper, onion, salt, pepper, garlic powder and chili powder.  Sauté for 5-8 minutes.
  2.  Add in the beans, stock and tomato paste.  Stir well for 3-5 minutes, then add in the rice.
  3.  Mix well, then serve.

3. Black Bean Rice Burgers– Adapted from theeverydayveggie.com

  • One or two cups of brown rice, cooked
  • Two cups of precooked black beans
  • One onion, diced finely
  • 1/2 a zucchini
  • Salt and Pepper
  1. Heat a pan on medium and sauté the onions and zucchini until soft and translucent.  Add in the black beans and cook for about 5 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and take 2/3 of the mixture and blend it in a blender for just a few seconds.  Take the blended mixture and add it back in to the remaining 1/3.
  3. Mix the rice into the pan with the bean mixture.
  4. Heat a little oil in another pan.  Divide the rice and bean mix into 8 portions.
  5. Fry each portion for about 3-4 minutes on each side.  They should be crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

4. Black Bean, Rice and Veggie Salad

  • One cup of romaine lettuce
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 cup of rice, cooled
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed ( Dried and then cooked black beans are better)
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 can of corn, drained
  • 1 small tomato, chopped finely
  • 1/4 of a small onion, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Mix the lettuce, olive oil and lime juice together and set aside.
  2. Add in the rice, beans, carrots, corn, tomato and onion.  Mix well.
  3. Salt and pepper to taste.

5. Lentil Rice Soup

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 onion diced into small pieces
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup dried lentils
  •  1 teaspoon thyme
  • 2 teaspoons of low sodium soy sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  •  8 cups of vegetable or chicken stock
  1. Add the olive oil to a pan on medium heat.
  2. Sauté the garlic and onions together for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the celery and carrots and sauté for another 5 minutes.
  4. Mix in the rest of the ingredients and simmer with a lid on it for 20 minutes.

10 Ways to Eat Clean on a Budget

I think this all the time.  How can I even afford to eat clean on a budget?  There’s no way that I can feed a family of four AND maintain my clean eating lifestyle.   When I make my grocery list, even just the thought of the word organic bumps my budget up several times what I planned it to be.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

And it shouldn’t be this way.  But that’s a topic I will cover another time.  A huge part of our grocery bill is meat.  I used to be a vegetarian, so for me, meat isn’t that big of a deal.  However, for my husband and son, there needs to be meat at dinner.  This has lead me on a quest to find recipes and dinner ideas that not only fit within our budget, but are still considered clean eating.  And this isn’t an easy task when you are trying to please everyone with your choices of meals. However, it is doable!  It does take a bit a meal preplanning, but it is totally worth it.  Here are 10 ways to eat clean while on a budget.

eat clean on a budget

  1. But a whole, organic chicken.   The price may shock you at first, but trust me, it’s worth it.  It can be broken down into four meals.  Roast it at the beginning of the week.  Then use the chicken breasts, thighs and rest of the meat into separate meals.  Save the bones to make homemade chicken stock for another meal.
  2. Remember to buy fruits and veggies that are in season.  Even if your grocery store carries them year round, it doesn’t mean that they are always the same price.  Learn what your seasonal fruits and vegetables are.
  3. You don’t always have to buy organic. Remember that there is a guideline to should be bought organic and what doesn’t need to be.  Check out the Dirty Dozen rule on what should be bought organic and what not to buy organic here.
  4. Buy in bulk.  Try to but your beans, grains, rices,etc… in bulk.  The price per whatever is cheaper this way and you always have staples on hand just incase.
  5. Prep ahead of time.  This is VERY important!  If you are going to buy a whole, organic chicken, you need to know all the ways that you can use it.  One whole, organic chicken, can provide your family with four meat dinner, if planned out the right.
  6. Become a vegetarian.  Ok.  you don’t have to, but you must accept that meat at every meal (while on a budget) isn’t possible.  If you understand that giving up meat for a few nights is necessary to both your budget and your clean eating plan, then you will save a lot of money.
  7. Don’t overlook the frozen food section.  The frozen vegetable section that is.  Frozen fruits and vegetables can be a great, affordable option when it comes to eating clean.  Try to remember to combine them with the almost always available coupon offer, and you will see the discounts and be able to enjoy their low cost value.
  8. Try to buy the store brands of things you need.  Believe it or not, most store brands are manufactured by the same company.  More importantly, they are often made by the same company, just outsourced to the store brands.  Just and example, Whole Foods Market’s 365 Everyday Value line, for example, features more than 3,000 food products, almost half of which are organic. Other brands to look for at supermarkets include Safeway’s O Organics, Trader Joe’s, Stop & Shop’s Nature’s Promise and Wegmans Organic.  If you read the labels, then you can get a good idea if the store brand is just as goo as their premier brand.
  9. Coupons!  I can’t emphasis this enough.  There are so may coupons out there.  Wether you clip them by hand or use and app. There is no excuse for you not using coupons.
  10. Try making enough for leftovers.     That’s what I do.  I carefully make sure that if what I’m making for dinner could turn into a lunch.  If so, I sometimes double the recipe.  This helps keeping the cost down on my other meals.

Costa Rica Here We Come- New Foods to Explore

Finally!  After all of the fighting and nonsense (with Jonas’ mom), we have his passport and we are headed out to Costa Rica.  We are all so excited and can’t wait to see what new food we will be eating.  This might be a hard sell to the kids.  How do I tell the oldest, most pickiest eater that this new country’s featured dish is Gallo Pinto.  That’s basically black beans and rice with your morning breakfast eggs.

Gallo Pinto Recipe

2 cups of cooked black beans*

3 cups of cooked white rice

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1/2 of an onion, chopped

1/2 of a green or red pepper, chopped

One clove of garlic, minced

One tablespoon of cilantro

3 tablespoons of Salsa Lizano (Another Costa Rica speciality)

  1. Heat the olive oil in a pan on medium heat.
  2. Add the onions, peppers and garlic.  Sauté for about 5-8 minutes.
  3. Add in the beans*, Lizano and cilantro.  Cook for about 5 minutes.
  4. Mix everything together and serve as a typical Tico breakfast

*Ideally, the black beans you use should be the dry ones that you make the day before.  You can use can ones instead.  Either way, make sure you reserve some of the black bean liquid to add to the mixture.

What’s a typical Tico breakfast?

A traditional Tico (what the locals in Costa Rica are called) breakfast consists of:

  • Eggs made how you want
  • Gallo Pinto
  • Plantains
  • Tico Cheese
  • Torillas

Gallo pinto is a rice and black bean dish that

gallo pinto


I can’t wait to try it and see if my picky eater will like it or not!


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