Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Corn Chowder

It is officially Autumn now and the other day it actually felt a little like it here.  So to celebrate I made some soup.  I love soups.  Soup is my favorite comfort food.  In the dead of winter, it can warm my soul.  Okay, maybe that is a little over the top, but it does hit the spot.
Corn chowder is one of my favorite soups.  I used to love love love the corn chowder at Mimi's Cafe until I actually made some myself.  Don't get me wrong, I still love theirs, but I like that my version has less of corn-starchy texture.  I used a few recipes to come up with my own.  I would recommend serving it with the Brown Sugar Muffins I mentioned last week.  I hope you enjoy!

Corn Chowder

5 strips of bacon, diced
1/2 a large onion, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (or more or less to taste)
1 large potato, diced
2-1/2 cups corn (fresh or frozen)
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup half-and-half or whole milk

Cook bacon in a soup pot until browned.  In the meantime, blend celery with the chicken broth until smooth. (You don't have to do this, I just do to get a less chunky soup.  You could also blend the onion, especially if you are serving children).  In the same pot you cooked the bacon in, saute the onion and red pepper until soft (and celery if you choose not to blend it).  Add the garlic, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper and cook 1 more minute.  Add the broth and celery mixture as well as the potatoes and corn.  Let simmer until the potatoes and corn are cooked all the way through, about 20-30 minutes.  Pour into bowls and top each serving with crumbled bacon.  Garnish with chopped cilantro if you have some on hand.  Enjoy!    

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

SMART Goals - Part 5

(This is Part 5 of a 5 part post on setting goals.)  Click here for Part 4.
When it comes to health, setting goals is very important.  However, it is easy to make goals and then slowly (or even quickly sometimes) watch them fizzle out.  Let's talk about how we can make more effective goals!


S- Specific
M- Measureable
A- Attainable
R- Realistic
T- Time-Oriented

Time-Oriented:  Last, but not least, it is important that your goals are time-oriented.  This will help you get focused rather than putting things off.  Make sure your deadline isn't too far in the future.  Or if you do have a big goal that will take a while, make smaller goals along the way to help you reach the big one, as I mentioned before.
With my example, my half marathon race was my deadline.  Races are a great way for me to stay committed to my goal.  I figure, if I pay for a race, I want to be prepared and do well.  Therefore, I have to stay on top of everything.  If races aren't your thing try these other ideas.
  • simply make weekly or monthly goals, that way you have a strict amount of time that you have to accomplish things
  • pick a special day to work toward; birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, etc.  I once had a client who wanted to reach her goal by the time her son came home from serving a mission
Remember, make sure your goals are SMART goals.  Seriously, do it.  I challenge you.  Make 1 SMART goal health related or not.  You can do it!  Feel free to ask me for any advice or suggestions, or to just share what you want to work on and when you succeed.  I would love it.  Good luck!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Farmer's Market

This past week I had the opportunity to go to a new farmer's market.  The purpose of it is to give students easy access to organic, locally grown produce.  I loved it because I was able to put my baby in the stroller and walk a few minutes to get delicious produce.  If you live in Provo, please take advantage of this great event!  It will continue the next three Thursdays from 2-7 p.m. in the LaVell Edwards football stadium parking lot.  Stock up on tomatoes, pumpkins, peaches, raspberries, honey, and even BYU Creamery ice cream.  I think if it is successful there is a better chance of it continuing.

Friday, September 24, 2010

SMART Goals - Part 4

(This is Part 4 of a 5 part post on setting goals.)  Click here for Part 3.
When it comes to health, setting goals is very important.  However, it is easy to make goals and then slowly (or even quickly sometimes) watch them fizzle out.  Let's talk about how we can make more effective goals!


S- Specific
M- Measureable
A- Attainable
R- Realistic
T- Time-Oriented

Realistic:  You may wonder, "what is the difference between attainable and realistic?"  Realistic goals are ones where you are both willing and able to work toward.  Let me use an example my husband shared that explains it well.  He said, "I could run a marathon if I wanted to, but I don't want to."  Therefore, he might be able to do it, but he is not willing to do it.

Again, in order to be realistic, you must be honest with yourself.  But be sure not to put yourself down, stretch yourself!  You can likely accomplish more than you might think.  Remember, make sure your goals are both attainable and realistic!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Brown Sugar Muffins

These muffins are delicious.  I got the original recipe from my sister.  They are simple and sweet and everyone who has ever tried them has loved them.  They are a great thing to take with a meal to a friend in need.  Try them out and I promise you will think they are wonderful.  Here is the recipe.

Brown Sugar Muffins
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups flour (try using 2 cups whole wheat flour, or 1 cup white and 1 cup whole wheat)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
Cream butter and sugar.  Add the rest of the ingredients and beat until smooth.  Bake 375 degrees for about 15 minutes.  Makes 12 -15 muffins.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

SMART Goals - Part 3

(This is Part 3 of a 5 part post on setting goals.)  Click here for part 2
When it comes to health, setting goals is very important.  However, it is easy to make goals and then slowly (or even quickly sometimes) watch them fizzle out.  Let's talk about how we can make more effective goals!


S- Specific
M- Measureable
A- Attainable
R- Realistic
T- Time-Oriented

Attainable:  If you plan your steps wisely, you can likely achieve any goal you set.

My example:  My main goal was to run a half marathon.  However, I had to make several goals to meet that big and lofty goal.  When I started, I was only running about 3 miles at a time.  I had to progress to 4 miles, 5 miles, 6... all the way 14.  (13.1 miles is a marathon, but I wanted to make sure I could do it before I actually ran the race.)

Another example might be if someone wanted to lose 30 pounds.  Losing that amount of weight is not a simple task.  But if you break it down by working on losing 5 pounds at a time, your goal will likely be more attainable.

If your goal is lofty, make sure to break it down into small steps to make it more attainable and SMART!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

rock-a-bye baby

That is my mama's lovely rocking chair you see.  She rocked me as a baby and now I rock my baby in it.  However, we had to fix it up a bit before I could use it.
This is the back of the chair.  It is a weave called "caning."  The seat was like this as well, but with all the use this chair got, it wore out.  We called around to see if we could have it re-caned, but it was going to be a pretty pricey.  Instead, my dad helped me upholster a new seat so I could use it. 
Isn't it lovely?
In case you didn't get a good look.  My sister made that adorable pillow for me.

Aren't these photos great?  My husband took them.  The light was glowing perfectly through the window, so I asked him to take some photos while I fed the baby.
I love my chair and all of the warm fuzzy feelings I have already acquired by using it for my sweet girl.  I hope to use it as long as I can.

Monday, September 20, 2010

SMART Goals- part 2

(This is Part 2 of a 5 part post on setting goals.)  Click here for Part 1.
When it comes to health, setting goals is very important.  However, it is easy to make goals and then slowly (or even quickly sometimes) watch them fizzle out.  Let's talk about how we can make more effective goals!


S- Specific
M- Measureable
A- Attainable
R- Realistic
T- Time-Oriented

Measurable:  Establish specific criteria to measure your progress toward your goal.

For my half-marathon example, I kept track of my daily and weekly mileage.  Increasing my mileage each week helped me stay motivated to do my workouts throughout the week.  I knew if I missed a workout, I would be  in trouble when the next week rolled around and the mileage would be more.

Here are some other ways you could measure your health related goals
  • have your blood pressure measured weekly
  • have your cholesterol levels measured 
  • weigh yourself (although be careful with this one and don't do it too often)
  • have your body composition analyzed
  • keep track of miles, the amount of time exercised, or the amount of resistance used for strength exercises
  • track calories
  • keep track of the number of fruits and veggies you eat each day
  • keep track of fiber grams
  • keep track of saturated fat
Just make sure what you measure connects to the purpose of your goal.  Good luck with making your SMART goals!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

just some photos

Our baby girl loves to be outside and go to different places.  Therefore, we go on a lot of walks and other adventures.  We often use this opportunity to practice with our new camera.  Here are some shots I took on our Sunday stroll. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


(This is Part 1 of a 5 part post on setting goals.)
When it comes to health, setting goals is very important.  However, it is easy to make goals and then slowly (or even quickly sometimes) watch them fizzle out.  Let's talk about how we can make more effective goals!  .


S- Specific
M- Measureable
A- Attainable
R- Realistic
T- Time-Oriented

I'm sure we have all heard this goal-setting method at one point in our life, but I think it's definitely worth remembering because it really does work.  Here is a more in-depth explanation of these components with an example of a goal I have made using this strategy (and it worked!).

Specific:  It is easy to say, "I want to be healthier," or "I want to get in shape."  Although these may be good aspirations, they are too vague.  Try answering the following questions to help you be more specific in your goal setting.  This practice will help you identify what you really want to accomplish.
  • who?     Who is involved?
  • what?    What is it that you want to accomplish?
  • why?     Specific purpose, reasons, and benefits of your goal
  • when?   Set a time frame
  • where?  Identify a location
  • how?     Are there any constraints or requirements
 My example: 
  • who?   me
  • what?  I want to run a half-marathon.
  • why?   I want to run more regularly than I am now so that I can improve my cardiovascular endurance, I just feel out of shape.  I feel better when I have a regular exercise program.  I love races, signing up for one will help me stay motivated and stick to my plan.  I have never run that far before, I would feel very accomplished!  It might give me the confidence to run a whole marathon.  I wouldn't mind losing 3 or 4 pounds.  Training would motivate me to eat healthier.  (Really do some soul searching on this one and be honest with yourself). 
  • when?  There is a half-marathon in Moab in March- 5 months from now.
  • how?  I need to sign up for the race.  Training may be difficult during the winter months.  
If there is something you want to work on, try this exercise to help you set a goal.  Use it for any aspect in your life, not just health!  Stay tuned for the next four parts of this post!

Monday, September 13, 2010

southwest pita pizza

I love making pizzas out of pita bread.  It makes for a really quick and delicious meal.  Of course, you can do the same recipe with real pizza dough, which would be even more amazing.  But I'm all for quick meals.  I thought this pizza was delicious and more fun than a basic pepperoni.  Here is how I did it.  Oh, and excuse the lack of measurements, with pizza just throw on as much or as  little of each topping that you would like.

Southwest Pita Pizza
  • 1 flat pita
  • Mexican style tomato sauce
  • shredded chicken
  • pepper jack cheese
  • frozen corn
  • tomato, diced
  • red onion, diced
  • cilantro, chopped
Top pita with Mexican style tomato sauce (not hard to find, Western Family even makes it- just look by the Mexican stuff if it isn't with the regular cans of suace).  Then add chicken, cheese, corn, tomato, and red onion.  Throw it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 8-10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden.  Add the chopped cilantro before serving and enjoy!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

attempting to quilt

I love the idea of quilting.  Picking out fabrics and arranging them into a beautiful design is such a satisfying activity to do.  Those are generally the parts of quilting I'm best at.  I love to look for fabric, cut them up, and arrange them on the floor... and then watch my mom sew it all together. 

Yep, that is how I quilt. 

Recently, I had the urge to start a quilt.  I have my favorite parts done and now it is on to the sewing and my mom is miles and miles away.  I am determined that this quilt will be the first that I sew together all by myself.  Wish me luck!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


I've decided to incorporate something new into my blog.  The best way I can think to summarize it is with the word, "wellness."  For the past six years I have been going to school studying exercise science; including a BS in Fitness and Wellness Management, a minor in Nutritional Science, and masters degree in Health Promotion.  I have also spent the last four years working at my university's wellness program.  There I counseled faculty members, students, and people from the community to make goals and improve their lifestyle.  Now that I am done with school, I miss sharing my knowledge, so I thought utilizing my blog would be a good way to continue.
I have a few words and phrases that best describe my philosophy about health; "prevention," "quality of life," "every bit counts," "do what you enjoy," and "add rather than restrict."  Perhaps these phrases are self explanatory, but in these wellness posts I will try to give tips to further explain my philosophy.  I'm not about quick fixes.  Just like everything worthwhile in life, I feel that acquiring health is a lifelong process.  I know not all of my tips will work for you, but hopefully you can benefit from at least one.  Look forward for tips on aerobic exercise, strength training, nutrition, stress management, among other things.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

McCall, Idaho

I have vacationed in McCall, Idaho every summer for as long as I can remember.  If you have never even heard of it, it is definitely worth looking into.  It is a sportsman's paradise with everything you need to bike, hike, run, water-ski, snow ski, fish, snow mobile, snowshoe, and simply relax.  Shore Lodge is a nice hotel that is located right on the beautiful Payette Lake.  We don't stay there when we go, but we went there for dinner one night and it was a lovely atmosphere.  These are photos I took from that night with my new camera.  I'm still learning, so these aren't perfect, but it was hard to make these photos look horrible given the beautiful scenery.

Friday, September 3, 2010

baby things

Naturally, much of my attention has been on baby things for the past year.  One thing I have really enjoyed doing is appliqueing on onsies.  It is fun to come up with a new design and pick out the fabrics to accomplish the look.  Here is one that I have made.

blue elephant  

here is a closer look at the elephant and stitching
I think they turn out pretty cute and they make a great personalized shower gift.  I have made several and will continue to share them with you.  Have a great weekend! 

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Penne with basil, tomatoes, and feta

I love finding new pasta recipes because they are usually quite easy and quick to prepare. This pasta dish is perfect for the end of summer, especially if you have a bounty of fresh tomatoes and basil you need to use up. The combination of tomato and basil is one of my favorite flavor pairings. There is so much you can do with them and it never seems to fail. This holds true for this dish as well. The ingredients are simple, yet flavorful and satisfying. Serve it as a main dish or as a side and enjoy!

Penne with Basil, Tomatoes, and Feta

12 ounces dried penne pasta (don't be afraid, try whole wheat)
1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, diced
1 cup fresh basil, chopped
3/4 cup cumbled feta cheese (about 4 ounces)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Bring 2 quarts of water to boil. Add the penne and cook until al dente. Drain. Meanwhile, go to work on all the chopping. Mix the tomatoes, basil, 1/2 cup feta, garlic, and olive oil in a large bowl. Add the hot cooked pasta and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle with the the remaining 1/4 cup feta.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I'm back

Wow, has it really been more than a year since I have posted on this poor blog? Let me share with you what I have been up to the past year. I've been working on my best creation yet (I can't take all the credit, but I did help)!

This is my beautiful baby girl. I found out I was pregnant with her shortly after the last post I did on here. She was born in April and she is an absolute joy and I love being her mother.

The past year I have also proposed, carried out, and defended my thesis project. I am officially done with my master's degree! It wasn't necessarily difficult work, but it took a lot of work. It provided me with great experience where I really learned the importance of persistence.

In addition, I went to school, worked, tried to take care of myself and my husband, etc. I probably could have continued this blog had I really wanted to, but it was at the bottom of my priority list. Actually, it was thrown out the window completely. But now that my schedule is more flexible, this blog has made it back on my priority list. I'm so excited to share the things I've been working on.