Happy New Year! Welcome, 2016! Can you believe we have waved “goodbye” to 2015 and are moving onward and upward! The New Year is a fantastic time to start fresh, re-focus, write out your goals and make some changes. I mean…you can do it anytime of the year, month, week, day, etc. but their sure is something about that January 1st date that seems so new and exciting.
Start by taking in the year of 2015 – the ups, the downs, the stretches in areas that may have been uncomfortable, but have helped you grow.
Be grateful for it all.
Reflect on it and then remember that it has passed.
Hold on to the positive. Release the rest.
And make this NEW year everything that you want it to be.
We started this year like we have the last three with a delicious Black-Eyed Pea Cabbage and Ham Soup. This year we added some brown rice on the side too. There seems to be a lot of different thoughts on how this tradition goes, but really…they are all pretty awesome, so no matter if it is “peas for peace and rice for riches” (hence the rice add on this year) or “black-eyed peas for good luck and cabbage for financial prosperity” or any other breakdown…you just can’t really go wrong. That and it is just plain delicious.
Here is what ours looked like:
New Year’s Day Slow Cooker Black-Eyed Pea Cabbage & Ham Soup
* 1 Ham Shank (unless really little, then two…though they contain more meat than it looks)
* ½ Large Onion – diced
* 3-4 Cloves of Garlic – minced
* 3 Cans of Black-Eyed Peas (or 3-4 cups of dried, soaked, and cooked ones – ideal scenario)
* 1 Large Cabbage Head – we used Savoy (yum), but any would likely work.
* 8ish Cups of Broth – divided (ideally homemade stock, but we used Organic Chicken from a box)
* 1 Cup Brown Rice
* Seasonings (optional): We didn’t add any and it was amazing, but you could always add a little garlic powder, onion powder (or flake), sea salt (really not likely needed with the ham), black pepper, and/or bay leaves.
1. Dice onion and mince garlic. You could sautee them a bit to richen the flavor, but we used ours raw and they were great too.
2. Place ham shank in bottom of the slow cooker. We bought ours from Whole Foods. It was packaged in the fridge section by the butcher, but not processed with a bunch of nastiness. 😉 Get the cleanest version you can find. You wanna start out the year on a toxin-free note, yeah?
3. Rinse beans and place in slow cooker.
4. Add onions and garlic slow cooker.
5. Pour in 6 cups or so (really up to you) of the broth, making sure you leave room to fit the cabbage in later.
6. Turn on low for about 6 hours.
7. Somewhere within that 6 hours, you’ll want to get the cabbage out and prepped. Remove the first layer outer leaves and toss them. Cut out the heart, if it is big and obnoxious. Chop it into pieces roughly the size of a torn piece of lettuce for salad…or slightly bigger.
8. Add the cabbage to the pot and continue cooking on low for another 1-2 hours.
9. With an hour-ish left of the cooking of your soup, rinse your rice and place it into a medium sized pot. Add two cups of broth and bring it to a boil. As soon as it boils, toss in a touch of avocado oil or a ½ tsp of butter, reduce it to low, cover with a lid and let it cook for about 50 minutes.
10. When you are ready to eat, turn off the slow cooker and remove the shank. Remove the meat from the bone and return the meat to the soup. Stir to combine all the deliciousness and serve!
11. You can add the rice to the bowls of soup at the end or serve it on the side, whichever you prefer. Enjoy!
A couple of Saturdays ago, I had a super-weird day. I wasn’t feeling all that well – my body was trying hard to beat a cold before it really got me (my body won, by the way. 😉 ). I had felt sort of overwhelmed on Friday afternoon and evening so I checked out, disconnected and cancelled Saturday morning plans. I woke up with the kids and decided to try and make our one family day (man…this 5 days a week of school stuff is seriously putting a damper on our fun family time) start off right with some yummy clean eating-style pancakes.
The kids wanted to help and that always makes my heart happy, so there we were…four people around the island, measuring, scooping, pouring and stirring. All cool right? Well…except that in addition to the measuring, scooping, pouring and stirring, there was also whining, screaming, hitting, finger sticking in batter-ing, more whining…you get the picture. The crabby that I went to bed with, woke up with, and that I was trying desperately to push away came back with a fury. My patience was thin. My voice raised. Helpers were fired (haha). Grouchy won. Boo.
I decided to bail on family day and take a solo trip to the market, work on a special craft (that is over a year behind schedule) for Anthony, start the kids’ Halloween costumes and take a nap with the girls. The girls decided not to nap. Haha. But, thankfully Anthony was home and I took a momma day off. I was “blue” and weapy for really no apparent reason. And then I was frustrated with myself for it. It was a mess.
The goodness that came out of it all though? It reminded me of how far I have come in the last two years. You see, after the girls were born (and basically for their first year of life…awe…boo), I fell into a really dark place.
We moved to a new state. N potty trained and started school all within two months of our move. Then another month in, we moved again (just around the corner).
N’s school transition was than ideal…uhm…like I went with him every day (two days a week) and wore both baby girls the whole time on the majority of those days. Even when we weren’t at N’s school, I pretty much wore the girls 24/7 or they screamed.
I basically never slept and when I did, I was sitting up, holding them both and nursing at least 65% of the time.
I got the worst bought of the flu I think I have ever had…and then had an accompanying (and totally wicked) sinus infection. I cracked a rib coughing and baby wearing.
It was ugly. I felt overwhelmed. I felt alone. I felt lost. I felt like I was drowning in this life that I had built – a life that I had so desperately wanted. My heart was still raw and ached for my angel, Sofia. I was bitter and angry. I was negative. Ugly.
And then…a few things happened. First, my ugly was brought to my attention (haha…that was uncomfortable. Haha). It is amazing how deep you can fall without even realizing it. Next, I decided to make some changes with the girls’ sleep that seriously sucked, but in the end, totally saved (at least a piece) of my sanity. Third, I let my body rest and heal from illness and injury. And then…I dove head first into my workouts and into the world of Beachbody…and their focus on community, service, love, personal development and positivity.
It is true, Beachbody has an incredible library of workout programs (life changing for me). They have supplements and skin care. They have Shakeology (also…totally changed my life). But..that isn’t all they are about. The best thing though is the heart of Team Beachbody! It has yet to cease to amaze me. The focus the company puts on building yourself up to be the best you that you can be, on giving, on serving, on remaining positive and going after your goals, on believing in your dreams and helping you to reach them…and then on sharing that with others so they can do the same…it just is so refreshing.
I have incrementally cut out the resources (depressing news), experiences and things (crap TV, etc) that were surrounding me that brought me down, that filled my life with negatives. In their place, I worked (and still work) to build a community of amazing people (mostly mommas like myself) who have had their own struggles and are working to come out stronger on the other side.
I had never really heard of personal development before I was a Challenger and a Health and Fitness Coach. Now…I live for it. The last three books I’ve read? “The Compound Effect” by Daren Hardy (about little changes adding up overtime to be big, huge changes), “You Are A Badass” by Jen Sincero (about…well…how freaking amazing you are and how to live the life of your dreams through trust, confidence, and being awesome) and now “The Motivation Manifesto” by Brendon Burchard (the name says it all). What do I listen to as I cook or as I run? YouTube videos, podcasts, trainings on how to be confident, how to believe in yourself, how to believe in all the amazing serendipities in the Universe, and how to stay inspired, stay authentic to you, and how to build your dream life.
I actively reach out to meet new people to fill my life (and hopefully theirs) with joy. We connect through life, motherhood, and due to the nature of the business, through fitness and nutrition. We connect through mutual goals of positive mindsets, empowerment, the desire to love and help others, and because of all that, I am slowly, but surely, becoming the person, wife, mother, friend, daughter that I truly want to be. Pretty cool, huh?
Don’t get me wrong. I slip up. I have really crappy days when I go back to that negative, sad, scared, dark, overwhelmed momma. That is what last Saturday was about. BUT now I know…it is temporary. A rough day. I feel it. I take time for me. I breathe. I meditate. I workout. I reach out and give love to someone. I sleep. I fuel my body with clean food (still a work on progress on that stress eating thing… 😉 ). Sometimes I flip my lid. I check in with my community. They help build me back up…just as I do for them on rough days. And then…I move forward.
Because of the community that I am building. Because of fitness. Because of clean nutrition. Because of accountability groups. Because of personal development and actively working to master my mindset, change focus, stay positive and be grateful. Because of the heart of Team Beachbody…well…I actually am stronger. I am healthier. I am happier. And I am more ME!
Does any of this sound like you? Know…you are not alone. You are in a season. You are awesome. You can get out. But…you need to act. You need to consciously decide to be better…to be healthier…to be happier.
You need to do it for those that surround you – your family and friends.
But most of all…you need to do it for YOU.
You deserve to feel awesome. You deserve to believe in yourself, in your dreams, your goals and your future. You deserve to be surround by people who lift you up, who celebrate with you, who learn from you and who teach you. So…what is it for you? What is going to be your biggest challenge, but the challenge that when you have achieved it, you will feel immeasurably proud of yourself?
Do you think community could help? Do you think moving your body, getting stronger, healthier, etc. could help you? Do you think that recipes, nutritional information and added community support and accountability could help you?Are you ready to commit to change, to work hard, and change your life?
If you answered “yes” to any (or all…I know that is where I was)…then you should consider hitting me up for some details about my next Online Fitness & Nutrition Accountability Group . You will likely feel better about your body and feel better in your body…but… never know. It may just change your entire world. And what would that be worth to you? ❤