Sunday, November 28, 2021

How I became a health coach

I never would have guessed 6 months ago that I would be a health coach now. And yet here I am writing about it. When I started this blog back in 2009 (yikes!) my first post was about pork chops! Since then, I have recorded a library of my favorite recipes. Some are healthy and some with way too much butter. You all know that baking is my specialty (just ask my neighbors) and everyone knows I love my wine and cocktails (just check out my IG.)

But, it was time for a change. 

I started a new health program in mid-April, 2021 because I had gained the dreaded Covid-15. After 2020, with all the stress and time spent indoors baking sweets, and cooking, and eating, and being stuck in the house I had gained back half of the 30 pounds I had lost on another program. The funny thing is, I have actually done that other program twice. I lost 30 pounds both times. And gained it back. So, it didn't really work. 

Fast forward to spring of 2021, and I see some posts from this girl I know from my blogging days. Tori is a busy wife, mom of two, and a nurse. Her Instagram posts always caught my eye because they were super colorful, positive, and motivating but all of a sudden they were different. She was posting about her health and her weight loss and she seemed really happy. Like when it's your birthday and you're 8 kinda happy. Just full of joy. Literally radiating through her pictures. 

Coach Tori and me, Aug. 2021

I had to know what she was doing. The thing is, we didn't really know each other. We met virtually about 10 years ago as part of a blogging group called "The NorCal Lady Bloggers." Dumbest name ever, I know. Our purpose was to support each other and boost each other's posts by reading them and leaving comments. (Kind of like our new coaching community!) 

So anyway, we've been "friends" on social since like 2010. A long time. But we had never talked or met in person. 

So I sent her a DM. "Hey, you look great. Tell me what you're doing!" Or something to that effect. 

It was Easter weekend. She responded right away which kind of surprised me. We got on the phone and had a great conversation. I was sitting in the parking lot of Target pouring my soul out to a stranger. Which oddly is always easier to do. She told me all about the program she was on. I listened. I shared my situation. And then I told her I wanted to sleep on it before I made a decision. 

I had tried so many diets before: Weight Watchers, Jump Start M.D., Cabbage Soup Diet, Raspberry Diet (I know!) It was a bit exhausting to think I was going to do it again. Don's first question was "What does it cost?" 

The next day I just decided to go for it. Something about Tori made me trust her that it would be different this time. I loved the fact that I would have a coach. There would be a community of people to connect with which was my favorite part of Weight Watchers when they used to meet in person back in the day. I could work on my mental health and hopefully, lose some weight (for good this time) in the process. 

Average weight loss on the Optimal 5:1 Plan is 12 pounds.

My BMI was 26 in the overweight zone. UGH. So I set my goal to get to 135lbs. I was starting at 148lbs and needed to lose 13 pounds. Seemed totally doable. I started on April 14th, 2021 and after one month I was at 137.5lbs. I couldn't believe it. By June 6th I hit my goal. After having a conversation with my coach I decided to set a new goal of 125lbs which would put me at a healthy BMI of 21. I hit that goal on August 16, 2021.

I actually lost a few more pounds after hitting transition and have been hovering around 121-122lbs since then. So in total I've lost 26lbs. At 5'4 1/2 " it's the perfect weight for me and I feel great. 

Nov 2021 vs. Nov 2020

My biggest fear with this plan was if I could keep the weight off. And the best part of this plan is the answer is yes. Because it's not completely focused on diet. It's a complete health program that teaches you how to fuel your body and your mind.

Along the way, I recruited my husband (he's released 20+ pounds), and my sister (she's released 30+ pounds), and about 10 friends! Coaching them just happened. I didn't set out to be a coach. But I honestly could not help myself from telling people how I felt. I have now met my Coach and her amazing husband Kevin and we have become fast friends. 

So you're probably thinking, are you qualified to be a coach? The great thing is the program has a ton of resources and trainings and they take a "team coaching" approach so you are always supported. I took the Coach certification test (and scored a 95%) but I'm still learning every day. This has become my new passion/hobby. It's not a job for me. It's a passion. I want everyone to feel this great!

My sister Kathy and myself, Nov. 2021

I'm excited to help more people on their health journey. So if you, dear reader, are interested in changing your physical (and mental health) take a minute and fill out the health assessment below. It's confidential and comes straight to me. 

Free Health Assessment CLICK HERE.


Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Healthy Shrimp Tacos with Jicama Taco Shells

We love eating tacos. What we don't love is that heavy feeling you get after eating corn and flour tortillas.

Now we eat tacos with Jicama Taco wraps. The best part is, you can now buy them at your local Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, or specialty grocery store. They are much sturdier than lettuce. They actually hold the taco fillings without breaking and falling apart. 

We love grilling up some shrimp seasoned with taco seasoning. Make up a slaw of cabbage or broccoli and top the tacos with some pickled jalapenos and Chohula sauce.

So easy. So tasty. And so much better for you. 

Shrimp Tacos

Give it a try and let me know what you think!



Sunday, November 14, 2021

Healthier Thanksgiving Menu

I've been thinking a lot about holiday meals and entertaining and how I want to do it differently this year. Don and I have been on a new health plan for the past 6 months and it's going great. We've lost a few pounds. Have a ton of energy. We're eating less. Feeling great. And want to have a fun holiday without gaining any weight back. But still eat yummy healthy food. 

I think a lot of people want the same!

Traditions are fine. But maybe it's time to start some new traditions. 

I think our ancestors would be ok with us mixing it up with a healthier meal.

So this Thanksgiving we're going to be preparing a healthy and delicious dinner - leaving out all the starchy, carb-heavy, gluten-loaded items that make you feel so full and blah. It's going to be just as flavorful and delicious. You don't have to sacrifice flavor when cooking healthy. Fresh herbs, lots of spices and fresh vegetables are key to amazing food.

Thanksgiving Menu

What are we leaving off the table? Mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, pie, home-made rolls, heavy appetizers (aka, no hot spinach dip and charcuterie board!) before the meal. 

Will Don miss his mother's cornbread stuffing recipe? Probably. And the Coconut Cream Pie? Most definitely. But he also knows that he's started new habits and is ok skipping these traditional recipes. I'm totally ok skipping this stuff. I feel so much better that it's not worth it - and even more important I'm not craving these foods. So I have no desire to eat them!

I would love to know what you're serving! Are you going with the traditional menu or mixing it up?

I've seen some amazing recipes from NYT Cooking that I'm going to check out. Stay tuned for more details!

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Crustless Mushroom, Spinach, and Tomato Quiche

Is it a quiche or a frittata? I don't know. All I know is it's yummy!

I love quiche, mostly for the flakey and buttery crust and cheesy goodness inside. But since we've been cutting back on carbs (to shed a few pounds) it's not the best option. That's where this crustless quiche recipe comes into play. It's low-carb and BONUS is so good! It has all the yumminess of a regular quiche. Ok, almost all (you know, the whole crust thing.) So grab your cast-iron pan and whip up this yummy quiche for breakfast, brunch, or lunch. I think you'll love it. 

Crustless Mushroom, Spinach, and Tomato Quiche

1 T butter

1/2 onion sliced thin

1/2 cup cherry tomatoes quartered

1 cup mushrooms sliced thin

4-8 oz frozen spinach thawed and water squeezed out (I used 8oz, but 4oz would be ok)

4 eggs

2/3 cup half n half

1 cup Italian blend shredded cheese

dash of nutmeg

1/2 t. salt

1/4 t. pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

1. In a medium cast-iron skillet over medium heat add onion and cook until translucent. About 5 minutes. 

2. Stir in cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, and spinach. Cook 2 more minutes. 

3. Whisk cream, eggs, salt, pepper, and nutmeg in a bowl. 

4. Layer 1/2 cup cheese over vegetables in the pan. Add egg mixture. Add remaining 1/2 cup cheese. 

5. Bake in the oven until eggs are set and the top is golden brown. About 25 minutes. 

Recipe alternatives: here are some ingredients you could add if you have them on hand: bacon would be delicious, so would diced ham, sun-dried tomatoes, different cheeses, or sausage. Hate mushrooms? Leave them out. Add what you like!

Don't have a cast-iron pan.? Go buy one. They're awesome. You can also use an oven-friendly pan. But really, you need a cast-iron pan. Just make sure your pan doesn't have a plastic handle and don't forget your oven mitts when the pan is out of the oven. Don't touch the handle!!


Sunday, January 10, 2021

Yellow Coconut Chicken Curry Recipe

I love a steamy bowl of curry filled with chicken and veggies over sticky rice. It's such a yummy comfort food on a cold winter night. (Or any night, lol.) I've nicknamed this recipe "Sunshine Curry" because it looks like sunshine in a bowl! 

Yellow Coconut Chicken Curry
Sunshine Curry

We never ate curry when I was a kid. In fact, the only type of ethnic food we ate was Chinese, Italian, or Mexican food. It wasn't until I was an adult and out of college that I tried other types of foods - Indian, Thai, Greek, Cuban, and Japanese. Back then my mom was timid to try new things so we kept to the basics. Plus, I don't recall seeing restaurants like this in our neighborhoods. There are so many more options now it's amazing. 

Our diet was pretty bland and definitely all-American. Nothing wrong with that. There were four kids to feed and kids can be so picky! But it certainly wasn't adventurous with new flavors or recipes. We ate a lot of casseroles (blech!) They were one-pot wonders but they were mushy. Everything was the same texture.

It wasn't until I started eating out with friends or clients in new restaurants that I really got exposure to new flavors. If you're open to trying new things you'll find your palate will just explode with curiosity. It took me a while to start cooking different things because I honestly didn't even know where to begin or where to find ingredients. Today our grocery stores have so many amazing options it's incredible. And specialty stores are everywhere. 

The great thing about this curry recipe is all the ingredients are from Trader Joe's and it's so easy. If you can buy veggies pre-chopped do it! It will save you time for an easy weeknight meal. You can also substitute any of the veggies with what you have on hand (sweet potatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, carrots - add what you like!) You should be able to get this prepped and on the table in about 40 minutes. 

"Sunshine Curry" Yellow Coconut Chicken Curry

Serves 4-6


1 lb chicken breasts cut into strips

3 T extra virgin olive oil (evoo)

2 cloves garlic minced

1 yellow onion sliced

1 yellow or red pepper into slices then bite-size pieces

1/2 bag of fingerling potatoes (1/2 pound). Cut potatoes into thirds so you have bite-sized pieces.

1/2 container of zig-zag butternut squash (6 oz)

One 11 oz jar Trader Joe's yellow curry sauce

One 13.5 oz  can Trader Joe's coconut milk

Cilantro for garnish (optional)

Serve with white or brown rice.


1. In a large frying pan add 2 T of olive oil. Heat over medium-high heat until the pan is hot. 

2. Add chicken, saute for 3 minutes or until just cooked through. Remove from pan and place in a bowl while you cook the vegetables.

3. Add a little more evoo to the pan and saute the garlic and onions for ~3 minutes until tender. 

4. Add fingerling potatoes and butternut squash and saute for about 5 minutes.

5. Add bell pepper and cooked chicken to the pan, saute for 2 minutes. 

6. Add curry sauce and coconut milk and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. 

7. Cook until potatoes are tender and chicken is cooked through about 10-15 minutes. 

8. Garnish with cilantro and serve with fluffy rice.

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Cornbread Muffins and Honey Butter

There is nothing like a warm, moist cornbread muffin. Add a little honey butter to it and oh my. That is one delicious bite. 

These muffins are so easy to make with just a few ingredients. I really like this Trader Joe's cornbread mix because - surprise! - there are whole kernels of corn in the mix. I was totally surprised by this! These muffins do have a little sweetness to them and when you add the honey butter you might want to save them for dessert. So good!

We spiced them up with some diced jalapeno and added about 1/2 cup of grated sharp cheddar cheese - but that's totally optional. 

Cornbread Muffins
makes 12 muffins

1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup oil
1 box of Trader Joe's cornbread mix
6 slices of Jalapeno's chopped (optional)
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese (optional)
cupcake liners

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1. Mix egg, milk, and oil in a medium-size bowl. 
2. Add cornbread mix. Stir until combined. 
3. Add jalapeno and cheese. Stir. 
4. Pour into cupcake liners. I used a 1/4 measure to fill the liners evenly.
5. Bake 15-20 minutes until firm and a toothpick comes out clean. 

Honey Butter

1 stick of unsalted butter
2 T Honey

1. Soften butter in a small pyrex dish in the microwave 20 seconds.
2. Add the honey and mix until combined. Taste for flavor. Add more honey if needed. 
3. Smooth out butter in the dish or transfer to a ramekin and refrigerate. 
4. Serve at room temperature on muffins or toast.

Friday, January 1, 2021

Spicy Turkey Chili Recipe

Cold winter days always make me think of eating chili. It's so warm and filling. It feeds a crowd, or in our case just three people for days. It freezes well (if you don't feel like eating it for days.) And tastes great with cornbread muffins. 

I've had some bad luck with chili in the past. For some reason, I had issues getting the seasoning right so I usually buy the Carroll Shelby Chili seasoning packet. It's ridiculous. I know I can make my own seasoning mix. I have all the spices. I just need to try a little harder. 

Trader Joe's had a chili seasoning jar so I picked that up too (just in case!) If you shop at Trader Joe's you're in luck. A lot of the ingredients are from TJs! Of course, you can also find most items at your local grocery store. 

Spicy Turkey Chili Recipe


1 T olive oil
1 large yellow onion diced
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 red bell pepper diced
2 lb ground turkey
1 tsp Trader Joe's Chili Onion Crunch (optional)
1 (15oz) can Trader Joe's organic pinto beans (drained and rinsed)
1 (14.5oz) can Trader Joe's organic diced and fire-roasted tomatoes with green chiles
1 (15oz) can Trader Joe's organic tomato sauce
1 T tomato paste (the tube of tomato paste is great when you only need 1T!)
3 cups of water
3 T Trader Joe's chili seasoning
2 T chili powder
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp sugar
2 1/2 tsp salt
pepper to taste

Thickener: 2 tsp corn starch + 3 T of water
Chili topping: grated sharp cheddar cheese, sour cream, green onions (optional)


1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil and cook your onions for a few minutes before you add the diced bell pepper, garlic, and ground turkey. 
2. Once the turkey is cooked through add in all the other ingredients (except the beans!)
3. Simmer covered on low for an hour or so.
4. Add the beans in the last 15 minutes of cooking. 
5. To thicken the chili, mix the corn starch and water in a small bowl. Gradually stir the mixture into the pot of chili. Let simmer 15 minutes more. 
6. Serve with grated cheese, sour cream, and green onions (optional)

I hope you enjoy it!

Click here for the EASY cornbread muffin recipe.