A Picture Perfect Winter Break
POSTED ON January 3, 2014
With Winter Break coming to an end, I can’t help but sit back and appreciate the days these kids have had off from school. With our family’s abnormally busy life, it often proves tough to find “together time”, and this holiday break was the perfect opportunity for some much needed family bonding and even new, updated family pictures!
I love the days I get to spend with my kids without worrying about spelling words, projects, math sheets, and all the other homework-related things we get to do every day. Just lots of play time
I’m especially grateful for the holidays this year. We’ve been able to finally slow down (thank you, kidney stones, for the forced slow down!) and enjoy spending time together.
Just days until our crazy adventures begin again ;). I’ll miss this break…
My Top Ten Tips for Holiday Survival
POSTED ON December 19, 2013
The holidays are finally here! While I love this season more than any other, I have to admit that the multiple gatherings and parties can make it tough for even ME to stay on track. No one wants to go into the New Year with extra baggage, right?
Not to fear, help is here!
Behold, my top 10 tips for holiday survival
- Plan your meals ahead of time so when the holiday craziness sets in you’ll be prepared to make better choices.
- Eat before you go to parties and gatherings, and take healthy foods. Not only will you have a non-diet busting option, but those with similar goals will thank you!
- Eat breakfast. You’ll start your day out right and will be less tempted to overindulge on all those holiday goodies.
- Pack your shopping cart with lots of fruits and veggies, and make sure you eat at least five servings every day. Make them easily accessible: keep fruit in a bowl on the counter, keep cut up veggies in the fridge, and take them with you wherever you go for a quick and healthy snack.
- Move, move, move. Make time for exercise—at least five minutes—every day. Rev up your metabolism by exercising before and after holiday dinners so fewer of those holiday calories will find a final resting place! And remember, exercising is a great opportunity to spend quality, non-screen-involved time with family and friends, so involve them too!
- Give neighbors and family non-food treats—they will probably thank you for this! Some ideas: a coupon for an act of service, an ornament, or other inexpensive items that will last longer than the holidays. Or if you must give treats, give something that can be enjoyed post-holidays like frozen cookie dough, mixes, and so on.
- Stay hydrated to fight hunger and holiday fatigue by drinking half your body weight in ounces of water every day (150 pounds = 75 ounces of water).
- Do enjoy your holiday favorites—in moderation. Often a few bites will satisfy that craving for those foods you’re so fond of, and honestly, a few bites won’t blow your weight loss goals!
- Since many traditional holiday foods are loaded with calories, give your favorites a healthy tweak. I already shared our Powell Pack Twist on Thanksgiving Dinner, and you can find other yummy (and calorie-reduced) recipes here.
- And last, but certainly not least, stay focused on your goals throughout the holidays. While you might not have total control over what foods you’re served, you always have control over what you choose to eat and do (exercise!). Be sure to keep your promises to yourself, and you’ll have a healthy and rewarding holiday season and an awesome start to the New Year!
Day 22: I’m Thankful for Such a Wonderful Thanksgiving Day…
POSTED ON November 28, 2013
Day 22. I’m thankful for such a wonderful Thanksgiving Day with the people I love most.
Happy Thanksgiving!!! Love, The Powell Pack
Cash’s Thanksgiving Turkey Craft
POSTED ON November 27, 2013
Cashy and I just couldn’t resist joining in on the turkey-time fun during this Thanksgiving season. We turned to our trusty Fingerpaints to create Cashy’s very own turkey!
I should note: this craft was done pre-Ruby, pre-kidney stones, and pre-flu :). I’m just now getting around to posting though, hopefully in time for you and your little ones to enjoy before (or even on) Thanksgiving Day!
What you’ll need:
I went ahead and painted the turkey’s body for Cash so he could paint all the turkey feathers on after the body dried.
It’s starting to look more and more like a turkey!
After the paint was dry, we completed the final step: the turkey needs a face!
“Look! A turkey!!! Gobble gobble!”
A Powell Twist on Thanksgiving Dinner
POSTED ON November 21, 2013
Thanksgiving is less than a week away, and I am getting so many questions on how to enjoy this Day of Gratitude without breaking your calorie budget! Not to fear, help is here :). Today, I’m sharing with you our Powell Thanksgiving family favorites that will save you unnecessary calories, while pleasing even the pickiest eaters.
Before I share though, I have to remind you that it IS okay to indulge every now and then, and Thanksgiving Day is one of my favorite times. Remember – every single one of our carb cycles include a Reward Day. Chris and I highly suggest swapping around your Reward Days, making T-day your Reward Day this next week :).
Now for the good stuff. Here are some of our secrets…
For the turkey…
Instead of roasting an entire turkey, and basting (and even filling) it with butter and sauces, try Chris’ and my favorite: Slow-Cooked Turkey Breast. By sticking with boneless, skinless breast and cooking in a slow-cooker, you can get all of the juiciness without the extra calories. And it’s all white meat…my favorite! Season and cook on low all day for an evening meal, or bump it up to high heat and have it ready around noon.
For the stuffing…
What’s Thanksgiving without stuffing? Since half of our family is gluten-sensitive, I cook a delicious gluten-free version of stuffing that we all love. Try our favorite Cranberry Quinoa Stuffing to cut the gluten, the fat, and the calories on this Thanksgiving classic. The best part about this recipe? Gluten-lovers will never know the difference. Chris loves this so much that I make it year round for him!
For the mashed potatoes…
While I won’t be leaving mashed potatoes out entirely this year for those that insist upon their dreamy and creamy potatoes, I love to keep Mashed Cauliflower on the table for those trying to watch their carbs. You won’t believe your buds aren’t tasting spuds when you swap vegetables for carbs. My kids love it and I have a feeling yours will too. Go ahead, pat yourself on the back for getting the kids to devour their vegetables.
For the sweet potatoes…
By far and away, our family’s favorite side dish is my Maple Pecan Sweet Potatoes. This is a delicious twist on a Thanksgiving Dinner tradition. Trust me, these are SO tasty, you’ll be making them year round, like us :). Honestly, I consider this dish my dessert…yes, they are THAT good!!!
For the green beans…
While Green Bean Casserole is not my absolute favorite thing in the whole world, I do have a recipe that my entire family loves – sans the fat and cals that come with the traditional recipe. Try this healthy twist on the traditional Green bean Casserole.
For the small sides…
Along with the must have sweet potatoes, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and all other sorts of yumminess, you can add some smaller dishes too! Beets, raw veggie trays, black olives, and cranberries, are a few ideas to spruce up your table and keep smart food choices in front of you :).
For the rolls…
Thanksgiving dinner just isn’t complete without the rolls. With 4 kids and a full-plate (no pun intended), this is where I lean on trusted gluten-free brands. Udi’s Frozen Rolls are amazing, and are always a hit with the Powell clan. Simply heat your oven and bake the frozen dough balls. They will perfectly complete your Thanksgiving dinner.
For the desserts…
I’m all about indulging in moderation, occasionally, and Thanksgiving is one of my occasions. I have to admit though, when it comes to Thanksgiving dessert, I crave this tasty treat over pie! Chris and I make a Sweet Potato Pudding that tastes just like pumpkin or sweet potato pie, but with a fraction of the calories! Enjoy this incredible dessert for just around 150 calories of real, whole, natural food.
From our home to yours, Happy Thanksgiving! And enjoy
A Powell Perfect Green Bean Casserole
For all you Green bean casserole fans, here’s a healthy, and gluten-free, solution for you!
Gluten Free Green Bean Casserole
What you’ll need:
16 oz. fresh green beans
1 cup low fat cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup almonds
1/4 cup dried onions
2-1/2 teaspoons sea salt, divided
How to make it:
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Cook prepared beans in large pot of boiling water with half of the salt. Drain and rinse in cool water. Set aside.
3. In a small bowl, combine the almond milk and the mushroom soup, mixing until smooth.
4. Put the almonds in the blender and pulse until you have large crumbs. Add the onions and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the blender and pulse just until broken up.
5. Spray a large baking dish with olive oil spray and add the beans. Pour the gravy mixture over the beans and stir to coat evenly. Sprinkle the topping evenly across the beans.
6. Bake for 30 minutes until the top is lightly browned and the casserole is bubbly. Serve immediately.
What’s in it:
Each serving has : 187 calories, 6.5g protein, 14.6g fat, 1g sat fat, 12 carbs, 4 g fiber
Day 5: Thank You for My Mom and Dad
POSTED ON November 9, 2013
Today, I’m grateful for more wonderful people in my life: my Mom and Dad. They may have been young when they started having kids (18 and 19 yrs old), but they did a dang good job. I’m sure they both had moments where they questioned if they even knew what they were doing (how could you not, so young!), but their ability to love us (and everyone in their lives) deeply and unconditionally made okay any mistakes they may have made.
I’ve never met two people that complimented each other so well. My dad brought out the best in my mom, and my mom brought out the best in my dad. Until the day my dad passed away in 2011, their relationship was incredible. Not perfect…but incredible. The way a relationship should be. He treated her with more respect than I had ever seen a man treat a woman. And she appreciated and respected him more than life itself. Anyone that experienced being in a room with these two knew that what they had was something different than most. They truly loved each other, made each other strive for greatness, and were what I have always hoped to model my relationships after.
They had their trials together, believe me. But they fought harder than anyone to make it through. Seeing their support and love through all of it was unbelievable. Only best friends could endure what they did.
Because of this one-of-a-kind example we kids had in our lives, we all thrived as individuals, and as a family unit.
I am forever grateful for the lessons Mom and Dad taught us, the people we have become because of them, and for the years of wonderful memories we have to look back on…all thanks to those two ☺.
I’ve always said this, and it remains true…I feel like I hit the family jackpot in life.
Day 4: I’m Thankful for My Beautiful Arizona
POSTED ON November 8, 2013
How could I not be grateful for this great state I live in? Yes, it’s hot, but I love this heat. I prefer heat to cold any day. I love the cacti, I love the hills, desert mountains, the birds, the sunsets, the incredible hikes, bike trails, and everything Arizona has to offer.
If I could live anywhere in the world, it would be here. I love my home state.
Today, I am grateful for Arizona ☺
Day 3: Thank You for Technology
POSTED ON November 7, 2013
I so often take for granted this thing we call technology. I know many of you see me on my phone often, and may be thinking, “dang, Heidi…enough of the technology!!!” But in reality, this is how I maintain close relationships with those that matter most. Phone calls, text messages, emails…these are all done on the pink, black and white Polka Dotted Phone w/ white earbuds that make an appearance all-too-often in my social media posts.
I wouldn’t change it for the world. Yes, I believe we need balance…and there are times where technology needs to go to bed while we build our in-person relationships. But with the busy lives we lead, I couldn’t be more grateful for the things that make communication possible from thousands of miles away.
Without technology, our kids couldn’t see or talk to their dad while he travels.
Without technology, Chris and I wouldn’t be able to talk to our Extreme Weight Loss peeps as much as we do to help them along their journey. Heck, technology makes the show possible!
Without technology, Chris and I wouldn’t have the relationship we do.
Without technology, we wouldn’t feel so safe in our home at night (security systems are a HUGE blessing).
Without technology, I wouldn’t have the privilege of connecting with you guys!
Thank you SO much for technology.
Now help me find balance ;).
Day 2: Today, I am Thankful for YOU!
POSTED ON November 6, 2013
The title says it all. You, my friends, make all of this possible. Truly. If Chris and I didn’t have your support, we wouldn’t have show viewers. If we didn’t have show viewers, the network wouldn’t pay to make the show. If the show wasn’t a reality, Chris and I couldn’t help so many people in the capacity that we do each and every year. The few people that we would be able to help wouldn’t have near the reach that they have today. Audiences wouldn’t be touched, viewers wouldn’t be inspired to make a better life for themselves and their friends/family.
YOU change lives. We cannot thank you enough. We love you all and are so grateful for your love and support ☺