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Cinnamon-Vanilla Glazed Nuts {DIY holiday gift}

cinnamon vanilla coated nuts

Nuts make a great every day snack. It’s a great way to sneak some healthy fat into your diet, but watch the portions. Fat contains 9 calories for every gram compared to protein and carbs which contain 4 calories per one gram. Fat is a more concentrated source of energy, so watch the portions. Buy raw nuts in bulk at the health food store or at Costco. Eat them as is or try this cinnamon vanilla coated nut recipe below.

This recipe makes a great gift idea for anytime of year. I love making these for for the holidays as gifts or to add to my snack station in my fridge or pantry.

Nutrition facts about nuts:

  • almonds: almonds are one of the lowest calorie nuts per serving compared to cashews and pistachio’s. Plus, almonds are rich in calcium and magnesium – both minerals are important for bone and nevous system health. One serving of almonds, about one ounce or 28 kernels contain about 6 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber.
  • cashews: For a one ounce serving of cashews, it contains about 5 grams of protein, 12 grams of fat and just under one gram of fiber.  Cashews are a great source of a few minerals, such as manganese, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc.
  • pecans: Pecans are an excellent source of vitamin-E, especially rich in gamma-tocopherol. Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin, one its roles is to protect the  skin from harmful oxygen-free radicals and is need maintaining the integrity of cell membrane of mucus membranes. Pecans are an excellent source of B-complex vitamins – ribolflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, folate and B-6. Pecans are also a source of manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium.
  • walnuts: are an excellent source of omega- 3 fatty acids, particularly alpha-linolenic acid (ALA for short) compared to other nuts. Omega-3 fatty acid is essential fatty acid our body does not manufacture, so it’s important to get it from food sources. Walnuts are also a good source of copper, magnesium, molybdenum, and vitamin E.
Vanilla Coated Mixed Nuts:
Servings: 16/ Serving Size: ¼ cup
Weight Watcher points plus:  5 pts
Calories: 188/ protein: 6.5 g/ carbs: 6 g/ Fiber: 2 g/ Sugars: 1 g/ Total fat: 16.5 g/ saturated fat: 2.8 g/ monounsaturated fat: 7.5 g/ polyunsaturated fat: 6.2 g


  • 4 cups of mixed nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans, etc.)
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 Tbsp of water
  • 1  tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoon ground cinnamon – or more!
  • ¼ cup of vanilla whey  protein – optional
  • 2 packets of stevia in the raw or you can use ¼ cup of your choice of sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Line a baking sheet with a silpat mat or parchment paper.
  3. Place mixed nuts in a medium bowl .
  4. In a small bowl, add egg whites, water, vanilla extract, cinnamon, salt. Mix well and pour over the nuts.  Using your hands or spatula to coat the nuts.
  5. Add one packet of stevia (or half of the sugar), half of the whey vanilla protein and the salt, stirring well into the nuts coated with egg white mixture.
  6. Spread onto the baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, making sure to stir the peanuts on the edges in to prevent burning.
  7. Let cool for 2-3 minutes and then stir the peanuts, scraping the honey from the silpat to coat the peanuts.
  8. Sprinkle with 1 packet of stevia (or remaining sugar), add the remaining whey protein; stir again.
  9. Taste and sample one nut, add more cinnamon or more stevia (sugar) to taste. Let cool completely. Before storing in an airtight container.  Yields 4 cups.

Homemade Whipped Body Butter with Vitamin E

diy whipped body butter


This Christmas I will be making homemade body butters with essential oils as gifts for teachers and the ladies in my family. I made whipped body butter as gifts last year and they were a huge hit with my training clients.

On the internet, there are many recipe post on how to make homemade body butters, this one is really no different. I adapted my recipe from Wellness Mama website but just added some vitamin E oil. I’m slowly making the transition into using more natural skin care products for my family. This body butter recipe is safe for all ages, including babies. However, if you plan on making these as gifts, find out if they are allergic to any of the  ingredients below – nut or seed allergies!!!!

I’ve played around with this recipe and what I found is that if you use 1.5 cups of solid oil/butter at room temperature and 1/4 to 1/2 cup of liquid oil at room temperature – the results will be similar. Basically, if you don’t have cocoa butter or shea butter on hand you can get away with making this body butter in time for gifts for Christmas.

This reicpe will make about 1 1/2 cups (12 fl. ounces) of final product. I used the 4 ounce Ball Jar containers and filled them to the line inside the jar (about 3 ounces).

glass jars four ounces

Below is a step by step process on how I made my body butters!

body butter collage

Homemade Whipped Body Butter adapted from Wellness Mama


  • 1/2 cup cocoa butter
  • 1/2 cup shea butter
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp vitamin E oil
  • Optional: essential oil drops. Depending on the scent you use, add 10 to 30 drops of essential oils. I personally like to add 10 drops of peppermint and 10 drops lavendar essential oils to this batch of body butter.


  1. In a double broiler or glass bowl, melt cocoa butter, shea butter, and coconut oil. Cocoa butter will take the longest to melt. I used a large glass bowl to melt my butters over a sauce pan of boiling water. Once melted, add sesame oil and vitamin E oil. Using a spatula mix oils until blended well.
  2. Transfer the glass bowl with the melted oils into the refrigerator for about an hour. (I transfered my melted oils into the immersion cup, pictured above).
  3. Take it out of the fridge when it starts to harden and look opaque. If you left in the fridge too long, just let it sit out or melt it slightly so you can whip it up. Using a hand mixer or immersion blender, blend for about 10 minutes. Now is a good time to add your essential oils and blends.
  4. Add it back into the fridge for another 5 to 10 minutes so it can firm up a bit. Blend it one more time for a minute or so.
  5. Next, transfer the whipped body butter into jars.

Grab and Go Snack Station in Your Fridge {Vlog}

snacks on the go collage


Snacks can be a valuable part of your healthy eating program.  Going without food for more than three to four hours can result in making bad food choices and/or eating more calories than your body needs.

I put together a quick video showing you a sneak peak into my fridge and how I organize the second and third shelves into “Grab and Go Snack Stations”.

snacks apple walnuts

A few days a week, I try to make sure I have fresh fruit and veggies cut up and stored into containers and/or bags.

snacks hommus eggs

I love finding preportioned snacks, such as hummus and guacamole, makes my life easier when my schedule doesn’t allow me to make my own fresh batch.

snacks guac cup

This time of year, I’m so busy with extra stuff like holiday shopping, taking my boys to their after school activities, holiday parites, etc.

snacks chobani flip

I just feel like I have less time to be in the kitchen as often as I like. So having snacks on hand that are easy to assemble makes it easier for me to eat healthy.

snacks leftovers

I’ll even try to make extra food for dinner so I can have leftovers to last me for the next few days as meals on the go!

snacks juice plus isapro

Plus, having a snack station in my fridge helps my boys to make healthy snack choices as well! Even my five-year old son can assemble a snack!

Do you have a “grab and go” snack station at your house?

What are some of your favorite “grab and go” snacks? 


7 Strategies to Avoid Mindless Eating

7 strategies to avoid me

Whether you’re at your computer munching on a bag of pretzels or watching television chomping on a bag of potato chips, or a few bites of your kid’s leftover meals, mindless eating is one definite way to pack on the pounds. In addition, just mindlessly eating 100 calories a day, can lead to consuming an extra 700 calories at the end of the week.  Worse yet, keep eating an extra 100 mindless calories a day and you’ll be gaining up to 10 pounds in a year!To prevent mindless eating and unintentional weight gain, follow these mindless eating strategies:
  1. Write it down. Food journaling is a great tool to use because it helps you discover the emotions that lead you to over snack or to overeat at meals. If you note in your food diary that you did overeat, ask yourself why, without being judgmental. What events or emotions triggered your eating?
  2. Savor the silence. Our daily lives are full of distractions. Consider making mealtime (especially with families), an electronics-free zone this includes silencing the cell phone.  Focus on the taste of your food as well as taking the time to enjoy your family.This will allow you to check in with yourself so that you can stop when you’re satisfied.
  3. Know your trigger foods. Out of sight, out of mind. Make it a rule to keep your trigger foods out of your grocery cart and out of your house!
    Eat with your stomach, not with your eyes
  4. Slow Down. Take the time to enjoy the food you are eating. Try to slow down your eating my chewing your food about 15 to 20 chews or just enough number of chews to really savor the food in your mouth. Another technique is to eat with your non dominant hand because it requires more attention to coordination and placement. Set your fork down and take a 30 seconds to determine if you are still hungry or if you’ve had enough.
  5. Eat only when hungry. Eat only when hungry. Ask yourself if you are truly hungry before reaching for something. Try drinking a glass of water or some hot tea. If you are still hungry then eat, but try to eat until about 80% satisfied, not until you are stuffed. Aim to eat until your 80 percent full – any more will make you feel stuffed and any less will make you feel deprived.
  6. Smaller Plates. Portion sizes have increased in size over the years, just like our waistlines. To avoid this, check in
  7. Avoid the Stomach Growls. When you are ravenous, the more likely you are to overeat and consume more calories than your body needs and before your brain can register all the food you devoured. Try eating smaller frequent meals every 3 to 4 hours with a small snack in between meals if need. This way you are less likely to experience the powerful stomach growls.
Start out by practicing mindful eating by taking on one or two of these strategies and gradually add them into your eating plan. Mindful eating is a process of making peace with all foods, no foods are off limits – the focus becomes how you eat, not what you eat. You may find what you want to eat shifting dramatically for the better too. It can be practiced with chocolate or salad, cupcakes or oatmeal. You can practice mindful eating at home, at work, or even as you snack on the go. Chances are, you’ll not only gain a greater appreciation for your food, but you’ll find your habits changing in the process too. In no time, you will see, feel and taste the difference.
Benefits of Mindfulness
Five Strategies for Mindful Eating and a Healthier, Slimmer, You


How To Cook Perfect Quinoa

quinoa collage

Every Sunday and/or Monday, I try to prep my meals to last for the next few days. This is a time saver for me as I can use quinoa as a side for just about any meal. I’ll add it to my egg omelet in the morning for some good carbs after my weight training or I’ll add it to my salad for lunch for filling fiber. Today, I’ll be sharing with you how to make the perfect fluffly quinoa. It’s super easy and the best part, it’s super good for you too.

quinoa box

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) comes from South America. Thousands of years ago this super grain was an important grain during the Inca civilization. The Inca’s referred quinoa as the “Mother Grain” because of it’s health benefits.

Five interesting facts about quinoa:
1. Quinoa is a high quality protein. Is one of the only grains that stands alone as a complete protein grain. Quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids. Most grains are not considered “total protein” sources because they lack adequate amounts of the amino acids lysine and isoleucine. Quinoa has a significant amount of both lysine and isoleucine making it a great choice for vegetarians who may have trouble getting in all their amino acids.

2. High in vitamins and nutrients. Quinoa is rich in B vitamins, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, and potassium. Quinoa is one of the richest sources of potassium, which helps to control blood pressure.

3. Gluten free grain. Contains no gluten so it’s perfect for those that follow a gluten free/wheat free diet. Plus, quinoa is so versatile in many recipes. (see below some of my favorite quinoa recipes).

4. Great source of iron. One serving of quinoa contains 12% Daily Value of iron.

5. Source of heart healthy fats and fiber. One serving of cooked quinoa contains 3 grams of dietary fiber and 2.5 grams of fat. Perfect for keeping you full and satisfied.

Most conventional grocery stores carry it, you’ll find it down the rice aisle. You can for sure find it at any health food store. At one point Costco use to sell a big bag of quinoa, recently I haven’t seen it on the shelves. They come in a variety of colors, such as ivory (white), red and black.

1 cup quinoa (any variety — white or golden, red, or black)
2 cups liquid, such as water, broth or coconut water
1 Tbsp of Olive oil (optional) or butter
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)

Kitchen tools:
Fine mesh strainer
2-quart saucepan with lid


quinoa 1 cup

1. Measure quinoa and liquid. Measure out 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups liquid.

quinoa rinse

2. Rinse the quinoa. Place the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer, and rinse thoroughly with cool water. Rub and swish the quinoa with your hand while rinsing, and rinse for at least 2 minutes under the running water. Drain.

Why rinse quinoa? Rinsing removes quinoa’s natural coating, called saponin, which can make it taste bitter or soapy. Although the boxed quinoa I purchased says pre-rinsed, it doesn’t hurt to give the seeds an additional rinse at home.

quinoa sauce pan

3. Add rinsed quinoa and liquid in saucepan, bring to a boil. Add quinoa, stir in the liquid and the salt (if using) and bring to a rolling boil.

quionoa lid