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I missed our Monday blog post. Sorry about that. I got carried away in making memories. My husband and I woke our kids and told them that we came down with a serious case of Disneyitis. It was very serious and we needed to go to Disneyland; not school today. By now, everyone knows that Disneyland is my happiest place. But truth be told, the best part of the entire day was surprising my kids, and making memories.

We spend so much of our lives stressing on the past and worrying about the future. But what about today? Today is special. It will never happen again. We don't need parties, vacations or even Disneyland to make a day special. Eat dinner as a picnic on the floor or build a fort or go run in the rain. Maybe we are too busy just "surviving" each day to be worried about making memories. But how cool would it be if we could change our perception from surviving to thriving? Don't add any more work per se but add fun, spontaneity, laughter, dance, play. You won't remember whether the dishes got done or the laundry was folded. But you will remember belly laughs, deep hugs...

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Makes 6 burgers

Ingredients:

· 2 cups rice medley (or other favorite rice)

· 3 cups veggie broth

· 3 cups diced butternut squash

· 1 cup chopped shallots

· 2 cups diced granny smith apples

· Himalayan pink salt to taste

· 2 tablespoons fresh thyme (leaves only)

· ¼ cup pumpkin seeds

Toppings:

· Caramelized Onion Sage Aioli (recipe on blog)

· 6 pieces of lettuce

· 6 Pretzel Rolls, or other gluten free or sprouted wheat burger buns

note: I used a mixed rice medley for these but a wild rice would work too. I liked the different textures of the rice medley. You can also use water to cook the rice instead of the broth but the broth gives it a much better taste. If you want to roast the squash/apples/shallots with a drizzle of oil you can, however I did not and it turned out great. I originally was going to add 2 “flax eggs” to this recipe but once I mixed everything together I found the mixture was a perfect...

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It's pretty official...the holiday season is here! While this is such a joyous time with friends and family, it also means events and parties with all sorts of "goodies". It is not enough to simply say, "This year will be different", "I will make better choices" and/or "I will keep my workouts consistent". YOU NEED A PLAN. What are some ways that this year will be different? We all know what it feels like in the aftermath of making a bad food decision; Does guilt, lethargy and a belly-ache sound familiar? You already KNOW those feelings. Let's plan for a different aftermath this holiday season.

WHAT'S YOUR PLAN? Here are some tips in creating yours:

1. First and foremost, decide WHY you want to move through this time of year differently. Why does it matter to you? Get clear on that and you will be driven to make better decisions with reason in mind.

2. Keep good food choices in your home...and eat them! With healthy options at your fingertips, you won't choose foods that aren't as good when you are hungry.

3. Schedule your workouts and honor that time for...

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This dish is so delicious, you’ll never miss the gluten! The warm flavor of cinnamon combines with the richness of maple and the crunch of walnuts for a loaf that is perfect for a hearty breakfast or anytime snack. Everyone is sure to enjoy this recipe, though your gluten-free family members will be extra thankful you thought of them!

2 ¼ cups gluten free flour blend (such as King Arthur)

2/3 cup tapioca flour

2/3 cup potato starch

1 tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 ½ teaspoons xanthan gum

1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup pure maple syrup from Canada

1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature

2 large eggs

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

¾ cup chopped walnuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl combine flours, starch, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, cinnamon and salt .

Heat butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until butter turns a nut brown color. Remove from heat. Set aside.

In a large bowl combine...

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Advertisers spend billions of dollars to get their message in front of you. They put messages on your phones, computers, television, on billboards and even on your texts. Why do they do this? Because it works. They can get people to believe that driving a certain car will make you cool and drinking a certain cocktail will make you sexy. So, why don't you consider advertising to yourself? YOU have control of where your eyes go far more than they do!

How often do you look at the back of your bathroom door? Your medicine cabinet? Your dashboard in your car? Or your computer screen?

I am suggesting that you decide what you want to tell your brain. Print your favorite quotes, pictures or poems. Advertise to yourself!

What's on the back of my bathroom door? The Optimist Creed! I share it with you!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned or gluten-free oats
  • 1 scoop Vega All-in-One Vanilla Chai Nutritional Shake (tons of micronutrients plus dairy, gluten and soy-free, no sugar added)
  • 1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons organic stevia (liquid or powder)
  • 1 cup unsweetened canned pumpkin
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Toppings To Roll ‘Truffles’ In:

  • Crushed walnuts
  • Slivered almonds
  • Unsweetened shredded coconut
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Unsweetened rice crisps

Directions:

  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients.
  • In a separate small bowl, combine pumpkin, stevia extract (if liquid – if powder or granulated, add to dry ingredients) and pure vanilla extract. Add to dry ingredients and mix thoroughly until well incorporated.
  • Freeze mixture for about 30 minutes. Roll into...
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We are so excited to introduce the new Motivating Mom podcast. My goal is to give women the strength for motherhood at every stage of motherhood. We do this through our classes, but now we can also give you support and inspiration through our podcast.

We will be covering topics from fitness to nutrition, life balance to relationships. I'll be bringing on special guests such as Dr. Alan Greene, Mareya Ibrahim and Leah Segedie. If you need some motivation, please do check out our brand new podcast!

Podcasts are so great, especially for moms! You can listen to them in your nooks and crannies of the day, while you are driving or working out.

To get the word out about this podcast, we need you! Please do download all of the episodes, subscribe and share with your friends. And if you like it as much as we think you will, we thank you for writing a review!

So, what are you waiting for? Go check out Motivating Mom!

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This challenge is a great way to keep your fitness as a priority as we head into the holidays! Each day add in another new exercise, in combination with the one(s) before, and you will be building upon your strength with each new day! If you start on December 9th and add in these challenges each weekday (in addition to your regular workouts) you will have your biggest day on the 24th...and will be feeling very proud! You game?

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It's no secret that we love our partners. I am proud to say that we turn companies away regularly who don't match the vision and values of FIT4MOM. I love knowing that the products we endorse are the same ones in our own homes, with our own families.

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Andrew Abraham, the founder of Orgain®. You might already know about his great products, but I bet you don't know the story behind them!

At age 17, Andrew had a rare form of cancer. During treatment, he had dropped to only 100 pounds and was dangerously weak from months of chemotherapy and radiation. On the advice of his doctor, he was drinking several nutritional shakes each day in hopes of gaining strength to fuel his recovery. Because he was confined to his home and hospital, he immersed himself in books and journals about nutrition, and learned that the shakes he was drinking daily contained the same ingredients many nutritionists said to completely avoid. This was truly an eye-opening epiphany that launched his efforts to find a better option for himself and ultimately led him...

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A recent facebook comment teased me about my always clean counters and perfectly plated meals that I post. Of course, I clean up for a post! But, she wanted to see the "real" kitchen with gooey counters and slop on the plate. Made me laugh and also realize how much pressure we may be creating in social media with our posts.

We post pictures of our perfect family photo sessions, our special meals, our blissful vacations. Really? Is that really what's going on? Not in my house. What if we posted what's real for one day?

Post your messy kitchen, unmade bed and the meal that was a flop. Post the tantrum, the dog poop and the Pinterest project that didn't work. It's a double edged sword. I believe that we get what we focus on, so I don't want you focusing on the yucky stuff. But, don't we all feel better to know that we aren't alone? We aren't perfect. No one. Nobody. Nada. So, as a response to this blog, I challenge you to post the real stuff, even if just once!

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Makes a 9 x 12 baking dish

Ingredients:

· 1 box brown rice lasagna noodles (can also sub whole grain)

Creamy butternut squash sauce:

· 1 small butternut squash

· drizzle of veggie broth for roasting (or your favorite oil)

· ½ cup cashews (soaked overnight if not using high speed blender)

· ½ cup walnuts (soaked overnight if not using high speed blender)

· 1 ½ cups water

· Himalayan pink salt and ground black pepper to taste

Sun dried tomato cashew walnut ricotta:

· ½ cup sundried tomatoes (not in oil)

· ½ cup cashews (soaked overnight if not using high speed blender)

· ½ cup walnuts (soaked overnight if not using high speed blender)

· ¾ cup water

· Himalayan pink salt and ground black pepper to taste

Veggie filling:

· 1 cup chopped crimini mushrooms

· 2 cups chopped fresh spinach

· ½ cup chopped shallots

· 2 teaspoons chopped fresh...

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This blog was written by FIT4MOM franchisee, Anna Catherine Rutledge as she reflects back on our first GRIP Retreat.

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I love the word retreat. Looked it up just now and the official definition according to

Merriam­ Webster is

1. an act or process of withdrawing, especially from what is difficult, dangerous or

disagreeable.

2. a place of privacy or safety

3. a period of group withdrawal for prayer, meditation and study.

Man, who couldn’t use some retreating in their life.

A few weeks ago I went down to Virginia to go to the first ever Fit4Mom retreat with Fit4Mom founder, Lisa Druxman. The title of the retreat was GRIP, Grow, Recharge,Inspire, Plan. Now, while I’m all about a good cheesy acronym (I ran a theater company called the Fabulous And Ridiculous Theater...) what sold me was the concept. Boy oh boy do I need to get a grip on my life. It didn’t hurt that it would mean I would HAVE to go to DC by myself for a whole weekend.

As a mom, wife, business owner...

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Parents:

Winter is upon us, and we are faced with the reality is that many of you will have days when you literally are snowed in. When you physically can't get to your FIT4MOM workouts...NO WORRIES! Here is your "Snowed In" workout to help you stay on track AND keep your sanity! ENJOY!

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What brings us together is motherhood. But it's no secret that we sometimes need the strength in motherhood. When you have "those days" that seem to never end, come back to this list of things that we are grateful for in motherhood.

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Stuffing

One 1/2-cup serving typically contains 180 calories and 9 grams of fat.

- Make a stuffing out of quinoa. High fiber and protein, lower carbs

- Use low-sodium chicken broth instead of butter and cut the fat in half.

- Add more vegetables to your stuffing

- Use cornbread lightened up with lowfat buttermilk for a gluten-free alternative

Mashed Potatoes

One cup delivers about 220 calories and 8 grams with lots of butter, cream, whole milk and lots of salt.

- Use skim milk or nonfat rice milk instead of cream.

- Use cauliflower or kohlrabi instead of potatoes and save almost 100 calories a cup.

- Use non-fat Greek yogurt and Earth Balance buttery spread to save on saturated fat and calories.

Gravy and Turkey

100 calories and 4 grams of fat for a 1/4-cup serving, most of which comes from grease.

- Skim the drippings from your roasting pan when cooking the turkey and blot fat with a paper towel and use low sodium chicken or vegetable broth.

- Thicken sauce with cornstarch and mushrooms and...

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Why her instructor chose her:

There is no way to do this amazing woman justice in a written paragraph, but I’m going to try. When I met Julie at our grand opening class with her “train” stroller as we called it, pushing her twins around that track as fast as she could, I knew she was going to be something special. This woman has endured many sleepless nights, illness, travel and all the wonderful hurdles that come with motherhood as graceful as any. And not only that, she strives to motivate and inspire other moms to do the same. This mom not only participates in class, she pushes herself to the limit each and every time, I never hear a complaint or an “I Can’t” out of her. Not only that, she also strategizes with me on how to get others to reach their true potential and I know I can count on her to boost morale if needed. This isn’t just to help me, she does it because she genuinely cares for every person she meets. I feel so lucky to have such a positive influence in my class, and I cannot wait to see where this journey takes this amazing Mom. -Maggie, Naperville...

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