Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Perfect Thanksgiving Dishes

Happy Thanksgiving week, lovelies! For a foodie like myself, this week is a big one! You can bet your sweet cheeks that I look forward to piling my plate high at least twice on this festive, food-filled day!! Oh my heavens, it's a holiday for the books for foodies!

If you're still planning your recipe list for Thursday, I have some delicious recipes I created just for the big day! When you're piling your plate high and eating more food than your belly cares to handle, it's important to make sure your filling up on healthy and nutrient-dense foods, as well.

I have created four recipes that are packed with nutrients and a serious punch of deliciousness! I promise that your guests won't be disappointed!

(from left to right, clockwise)

Dairy free and vegan, this casserole is sweetened with ripe bananas, organic brown sugar and a touch of coconut oil.

A fresh, wholesome, and nutrient-dense salad ... spinach tossed in a light dressing with toasted almonds, granola and fresh, juicy pomegranate seeds. 

This is the perfect combination of savory with a dash of sweet and a touch a creamy goodness. This dish, alongside your stuffing and turkey, is sure to leave everyone's taste buds dancing with joy!

A healthier alternative to the traditional apple pie: trading white flour for wheat, using half the butter, less sugar (but still amazingly sweet), and no shortening! 

On this holiday celebrated around food, I would like to encourage you to think about those who are going without. One in six Americans fight hunger on a daily basis. There are many families who won't be able to celebrate 'round a turkey and way too much food. Unfortunately, there are many who will be woried about having enough food for their families. So if you're able to this holiday, I encourage you to drop of a turkey or some holiday fixins at your local food bank. Ensure that no food is wasted. Remember to give when you are able. Share in food with one another. And help #fighthunger amidst a time when you have so much to be thankful for.

xoxo Lauren

You can buy our fresh + healthy, organic-based granola here

For more: Website | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | Twitter  

Friday, November 21, 2014

#nbnhealthyliving: 8 Ways to Drink More Water

Water is the basis of you being alive. It's important. Really important. So if you're not drinking several glasses a day, then chances are, your body is not properly hydrated. Up to 80% of your body is made of water. You're pretty much a big ol' water droplet with a pretty face! :) So, when your hydration level goes down, a lot of bad things can start to happen. Your body cannot function to the best of it's ability.

Love your body better and drink more water. Small changes can make a big difference. If you don't usually drink any water during the day, start with one cup. If you already drink a cup or two, great! Make it 3 or 4!! Here are 8 easy ways to drink more water! Try one, try two, heck, try them all!!

8 Ways to Drink More Water

1. Glam it Up!
It’s time to toss out that old, faded water bottle and upgrade to something cute, something glam, and something that will make you excited to guzzle down some water!! Make it fun!! Who doesn’t want to drink out of a super cute water bottle?! Toss in a cute straw for good measure!

If you’re looking for a cute water bottle or cup, you should definitely check out these and these! They’re awesome! 

2. Make it fruity!
Adding fresh (or frozen) fruit to your water makes for an amazing taste and it’s super fun, too! I’m a sucker for a glass of cold water with fresh lemon. Don’t stop there, though! There are so many sweet and fruity combinations! Try blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries! Forget ice cubes and toss in frozen berries! How fun! Some other fun and tasty additions to water are fresh basil, sliced cucumber, orange slices, lime, and strawberries!

3. Swap out your midday coffee or tea break for water!
Some of you ladies are drinking several cups of coffee (or tea) a day! I get it, I get it! The days are longer and the lists are even longer and you need that extra boost! Try swapping out one of those cups for a glass of water. When your body is hydrated the way it should be, it’s amazing what a difference that can make in your energy levels!!

4. Drink with the sunrise!
Rise and shine, beauty! Start every day with one full glass of water before anything else!! Not even your coffee!! Guzzle down one full glass while you’re getting ready or fixing breakfast! It’s a great way to start off your day and get hydrated right off the bat! 

5. Remember Your Bedtime Hydration!
Before you hit the bed for some lovely dreams, guzzle down another glass of water. Now, unless you want to wake in the wee hours of the night racing towards the bathroom, I recommend drinking this last glass at least an hour before you head to bed!!

6. Set an alarm!
Set 2 or 3 alarms to go off throughout the day as a reminder! Every time an alarm goes off, get up, get a glass of water, and drink it!! It’s so easy to get caught up in the busyness of our days. Having that simple reminder can really help to make sure you’re drinking enough water!

7. Set goals!!
I love small wins! Checking an item off of my to do list is the best feeling in the world! So, make your goal to drink more water a little competition and reward yourself with the small wins! Find a large water bottle and using a bright colored marker, write some goals! Mark it on your water bottle - a quarter of a glass drunk my 7am, half by 8am, and the whole bottle finished by 9am! Draw cute doodles and markers on your bottle for great reminders! You’ll feel so great about yourself when you see that you’ve finished the bottle and it’s only 8:45a! You water warrior, you! ;)

8. Drink a Glass Before Each Meal!
Mealtime is a great time to remind yourself to drink more water! So, before you even dig into that plate, drink one full glass. If you’re cooking, finish your water while dinner is cooking! If you’re at a restaurant, this is easy! You have time to wait for your meal, so use that time wisely! :)

xoxo Lauren

You can buy our fresh + healthy, organic-based granola here

For more: Website | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | Twitter  

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Nothin' but Nola Recipe: Roasted Brussel Sprouts + Granola + Goat Cheese

I have fallen in love with brussels sprouts! They make such a delicious and easy side dish to most any meal! They're perfect for these cooler months and make a beautiful dish for a holiday table.

I am so excited about today's recipe!! Some of you may be thinking what a strange combination! - brussels sprouts, granola, and goat cheese! Oh my friends, you have no idea! It's absolutely wonderful!! It is the PERFECT combination of savory with a dash of sweet and a touch of creamy goodness. This dish, alongside your stuffing and turkey, is sure to leave everyone's taste buds dancing with joy! It is the perfect Thanksgiving dish!! Serve it alongside sweet potato pie, a spinach, pomegranate, and almond salad, and apple pie for dessert! You're sure to be remembered for years as the one who made that amazing dish at thanksgiving!!!!

If you're looking for a dairy-free option, just leave off the goat cheese!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts + Granola + Goat Cheese
(Serves a group of 4-6, as a small side dish)

1 lb brussels sprouts, halved and stems removed
2-4 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
juice of half a lemon
1/2 cup Goin' Nuts granola
1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbled

Chop! Mix! Roast!
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Toss brussels sprouts with oil, lemon, salt, and pepper.
3. Roast for 20-23 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes to ensure they cook evenly.
4. Remove from the oven, sprinkle in the granola, and bake for another 7-10 minutes.
*the brussel sprouts are done when they're golden on the outside and tender inside!
5. Transfer the cooked brussels sprouts to a bowl and toss with crumbled goat cheese.
6. Serve alongside your favorite meal and enjoy!!

For the perfect Thanksgiving meal, serve this alongside your turkey with some sweet potato pie, a spinach, pomegranate, and almond salad, and apple pie for dessert! 

You can buy our fresh + healthy, organic-based granola here

xoxo Lauren

For more: Website | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | Twitter  

Friday, November 14, 2014

#nbnhealthyliving: 5 Reasons to Stop Counting Calories

 If you're human, you've probably obsessed over the number of calories you're consuming at one point or another. Maybe you're stressing about it this very minute, constantly reading the calories per serving for every bite you eat and stressing about eating too many calories (or not enough)! I'm sure you've noticed that it's a horrible, terrible, restrictive way to live. It's not fun and typically doesn't produce the long-term results you're looking for. So today, I'm giving you 5 reasons why you should stop counting calories. 

Enjoy the foods your eating. Focus on feeding your body well rather than feeding your body X number of calories. Learn to know when you're actually hungry and when you're actually full and start to enjoy eating again. Give food the power to nourish and fuel your body (like it's supposed to do) and stop allowing it to dictate your every move (or bite!).

5 Reasons to Stop Counting Calories

1. Not all calories are created equal. 
Ever heard the term “empty calories”? They’re calories from foods that provide no nutrients. Zero. Zip. Zilch. These foods are providing zero nutrition to your body. They just leave you hungry for more, resulting in you actually eating more. Counting calories can also be extremely inaccurate. It is a common misconception that calories from different foods are all the same. They’re not. Each food is metabolized differently by your body. Some are used for energy and some are stored as fat. High-quality, nutrient dense foods (that are higher in calories) actually satisfy you for longer, so you eat less overall!

2. Focusing on nutrients is more effective 
Counting nutrients rather than calories is much more effective for weight and health management. When you eat nutrient-dense foods (versus lower calorie, low nutrient dense foods) your body normally burns more calories. On the flip side, overfeeding your body with unhealthy foods or eating a lack of nutrient dense foods, will result in it burning fewer calories. When you’re focused on consuming a certain number of calories, you typically are more focused on the calories versus the nutrients. This can lead to a chronic nutrient deficiency, and nutrient deficiency can lead to continuous overeating. Your body will continue to tell you you're hungry until it has the proper nutrients. So, until you fill your body with good, rich, nutrient-dense foods, you will stay hungry.

 3. Counting calories creates a relationship with food based on restriction rather than health.
Counting calories takes away from the joy of eating and keeps you from having a positive and healthy relationship with food. Oftentimes, it can lead to an eating disorder. This stems from the restrictive behavior and mindset behind counting calories. This constant focus on "how many calories" leads to a paranoid attention on food. Food is so much more than energy in and energy out. Food is life sustaining nourishment. Incessant counting of calories also creates a disconnect between how much you eat and your hunger levels. Rather than learning to tell when your body is truly hungry or full, you become completely focused on reaching your calorie goals or limiting the calories you consume. Allowing yourself to eat when hungry and stop when you’re full is a much healthier approach that will lead to natural weight maintanence. 

4. Calorie counting is not a long-term solution.
Counting calories is not a good, sustainable, long-term weight management strategy. It is a very tedious and time-consuming process that typically leads to yo-yoing between weight gain and weight loss. Most people eventually get tired and wind up overeating, finally glad to not be consumed by such a restrictive diet. Instead of counting calories, change your lifestyle, the way you eat, and what you eat. Learn about the foods you’re consuming, the nutrients they’re giving your body, and how your body uses them. Learn to appreciate food. And listen to your body - it will tell you when you’re hungry and when you’re satisfied. This will lead to a much healthier and happier life where naturally, your body will find it’s own rhythm and maintain your weight without the stress of counting every bite you put into your mouth. 

5. Calories are just one small part of the story. 
A calorie is not just a calorie. What your body does with the calorie is what actually counts and the quality of the food determines how your body uses it. So, stop focusing on calories and instead, focus on the food you’re eating. How is it nourishing your body (or not)? Is it providing you with the nutrients you need?

xoxo Lauren

You can buy our fresh + healthy, organic-based granola here

For more: Website | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | Twitter 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Nothin' but Nola Recipe: Spinach + Pomegranate + Almond Salad with Granola

This is the second recipe in our Thanksgiving Classic series! Growing up, I don't recall having a salad at the Thanksgiving table. We had other veggie options like green bean casserole, corn, broccoli casserole, and any veggie casserole you can think of! The south is known for amazing casseroles, and trust me, they're worth all the hype! But I thought it would be nice to create a traditional salad recipe geared towards the cooler, holiday season!

This dish is a delightful addition to any Thanksgiving table or holiday spread! Today's recipe  is a fresh, wholesome, and nutrient-dense salad ... spinach tossed in a light dressing and topped with toasted almonds and fresh, juicy pomegranate seeds.

In case you haven't seen these beautiful pops of red in your local grocery store, it's pomegranate season!! Pomegranates are full of so much nutritious goodness! These juicy seeds pack an awesome antioxidant punch, are a great source of fiber, and are a great immunity booster!! Yeah!

The healthy fats in the olive oil-based dressing along with the toasted almonds will help you stay satiated and satisfied. This is a super-food, good-for-you salad that you don't want to skip!

Spinach + Pomegranate + Almond Salad with Granola
(makes one large salad)

1 large container organic spinach
1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
1 cup pomegranate seeds
1 cup Goin' Nuts granola

1/2 cup olive oil
juice from 2 limes
4 cloves of garlic, diced or smashed in a garlic press
salt and pepper, to taste

Mix salad! Make dressing! Eat up! 
1. Brown almonds: preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread almonds out onto pan. Bake for 5 minutes. Stir. Bake for another 5 minutes. Stir. Repeat until almonds are a golden brown. Just trust your nose! They'll smell deliciously toasty!
2. Whisk together ingredients for salad dressing.
3. In a large serving bowl, toss the spinach with the salad dressing.
4. Top with almonds, pomegranate seeds, and granola.
5. Enjoy!

You can buy our fresh + healthy, organic-based granola here

xoxo Lauren

For more: Website | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | Twitter    

Friday, November 7, 2014

#nbnhealthyliving: 10 Easy Ways to Move More During the Day

 I'm back with another Nothin' but Nola Healthy Living Tip this week! Ladies, this is a biggie. It may be one of the most important tips we ever discuss. Your body was created with movement in mind. You were meant to move around, daily. Today's world has made it very easy to move very little, though. We sit at a desk all day. We sit in our cars when going from point A to point B. We don't even have to leave our couch to get groceries or make dinner, thanks to the internet and online ordering systems.

Now, I'm not saying that any of these modern-day conveniences are bad things. They're not bad at all! In fact, they're brilliant. They have been created to give us more time to do more important things. But they create an environment where we aren't required to move as much.

That's where you come into the picture. You. Yes, you!! It's up to you (and only you) to make sure you're actually taking the time to move your body daily! It's what your body was made to do. The effects of not moving enough and living a sedentary lifestyle are extremely dangerous. They can be deadly. The benefits of moving your body, however, can create such a wonderful, healthy, and happy life!

The NCHPAD (National Center on Health, Physical Activity, and Disability) has some interesting facts I want to share with you.
  • People who are physically inactive have an increased risk of colon and breast cancer. One study showed a 40% decrease in cancer mortality in persons who were physically active compared to those who were inactive.
  • People who are sedentary have the highest rate of heart attack. In the Nurses' Health Study, women who were physically active 3 hours or more per week (half an hour a day) cut their risk of heart attack in half
  • Physical activity helps prevent insulin resistance, the underlying cause of type 2 diabetes. A recent study reported that for every 2 hours that a person watched TV, the risk of type 2 diabetes increased 14%.

So, let's make moving daily a priority! I have put together 10 easy (and super FUN!) ways to move more during the day, below!!

10 Easy Ways to Move More During the Day
1. Walk it Out! This is my favorite trick for moving more! When you're catching up with a friend on the phone, head outside for a walk! If you're stuck inside, then get up and walk around your house. Stand! Just don't sit! This is such a great way to multi-task -- moving your body and catching up with that special person!

2. Turn Your Morning Routine Into a Dance Party!! When you're putting on your make up and fixing your hair, don't sit at your vanity or in front of the mirror. Turn on some music and shake it a little! I've even done squats while blow drying my hair (talent?!)! Getting ready is SO much more fun! Plus, you'll start your day feeling great about yourself and in a terrific mood! Watch out world!

3. Be a Kid Again! All of you mommies, get down on all fours, jump around, and run across the yard like a crazy person chasing that ball! Have FUN with your kiddos and be a kid again! I promise you will have so much fun, reduce your stress, and get in a little extra workout (and when you're playing, it never feels like working out!)!!

4. Make Your Bathroom Breaks Worth it! Do a few squats while you're in the stall (no, I'm not kidding!)! Or take a few extra minutes afterwards and walk around the entire office! Moms, I know this is your precious time. So lock the door, take a breather, then do 10 jumping jacks. This will energize you and give you that extra boost you so desperately need during the day!

5. Get Your QT On! Spending quality time with the ones you love most is so very important. Rather than meeting a friend at the local coffee shop, take it outdoors and meet for a walk at your local park. Or those 30 minutes you spend on the couch catching up with your hunny after work? Take it outdoors and go for a walk around the neighborhood!

6. Find the Best Parking Spot! ...that's the furthest from the store! You heard me! Finding the furthest spot takes a lot less time and gives you the opportunity to walk a little more!

7. Ditch Your Car! If you live within walking distance to frequently visited places - the bank, grocery store, etc. - then ditch your car and walk! Re-useable bags will allow you to carry more groceries in less bags and it's one heck of a workout carrying all of your groceries home! I do it every week!

8. Take Hour Hangover Breaks! You know those "hangovers" you get after staring at your computer and sitting for over an hour?! Set an alarm on your phone for every hour. Take 3 minutes to get up, stretch, do a little dance, or walk around. Just move!!

9. Do The Walking Dead Workout. Ok, I've never watched this show, but I hear about it all of the time, so I'm going to assume most you watch it every week (or some other TV show). Use this time to move your booty! Some great moves to do while watching TV are squats, push-ups, crunches, sit-ups, planks, and leg lifts. All you need for these moves is your own body weight, so no excuses! 

10. Make Moving a Requirement! Make daily exercise a requirement rather than an "if I have time."!!! It's important!!! Schedule it on your calendar for at least 3 days a week. Even if you only have 15 minutes, that's better than nothing. Make exercise and moving your body a normal part of your life. 

Now go get moving! ;)

xoxo Lauren

You can buy our fresh + healthy, organic-based granola here

For more: Website | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | Twitter 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Nothin' but Nola Recipe: a healthier Sweet Potato Casserole with Granola Topping

 It's November and that means one thing for all of us foodies! Thanksgiving!!!! Oh my heavens, how I do love this holiday! I love cooking (in case that isn't obvious), so it's no wonder that a holiday involving hours upon hours of cooking, dozens of dishes, and eating 'til your hearts content (and your belly full) would be so near and dear to my heart!

Now if we're all being honest, we each really look forward to the terrible, horrible, super-bad-for-you-but-oh-my-gosh-it-tastes-so-good dishes!! Me too (says sheepishly!). But I am truly on a journey to living a healthier life, and that includes the foods I am putting into my body. So this month, I'm striving to recreate healthier versions of several Thanksgiving classics with a dose of Nothin' but Nola granola, of course! First up, Sweet Potato Casserole! Oh yeah!

a healthier Sweet Potato Casserole with Granola Topping
(one 7x10" casserole dish, or dish of similar size)

2 large sweet potatoes
1/4 cup organic unrefined coconut oil
1 banana
2 tbsp organic maple syrup
1/2 tbsp organic vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp organic ground cinnamon
2 tbsp organic brown sugar
1 cup Goin' Nuts granola (for topping)

*I list the exact ingredients that I use when creating these recipes. I strive to use organic when possible, so please adjust your recipe accordingly using all organic ingredients or what you're able to!

Cook it! Mash it! Bake it!
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Peel sweet potatoes. Add potatoes to boiling water and boil for 30-45 minutes or until the potatoes are very tender (they should almost fall apart when poked with a fork). Remove from water.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3. Place potatoes in a large bowl and mash. (I used a potato masher, but use whatever method you prefer! Just mash 'em!)
4. Add coconut oil (It's OK if it is hardened. the warmth from the potatoes will melt it.), mashed banana, maple syrup, vanilla, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and sugar. Use an electric hand mixer, mix until smooth.
5. Pour into casserole dish.
6. Sprinkle granola evenly over the top.
7. Bake for 15-20 mintutes.
8. Enjoy!

You can buy our fresh + healthy, organic-based granola here

xoxo Lauren

For more: Website | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | Twitter