Mini Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins, Gluten free Dairy free

Mini Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins, Gluten free Dairy free

This week has been slow paced and relaxed which is a really nice change of pace for us. Cole has been traveling most of the week and I’ve just taken things off of my plate that weren’t necessary so that I could feel calm while taking care of the girls solo and keeping up with their activities. It’ll be nice to get back into the routine while having Daddy around but I’d say we’ve held down the fort pretty well, just us girls. 🙂

I haven’t cooked much this week but I did whip up these mini muffins today so that we can have a healthy sweet treat to enjoy throughout the week. I love mini muffins! They’re cute and little, and fit nicely into lunch boxes for the girls. I also really like to taste something sweet after I’ve had a savory meal so having a little healthy treat close by is quite convenient.

These muffins are naturally sweetened by ripe bananas but you could add a tablespoon of honey if you are wanting a sweeter treat, totally optional though. I also added pecans to this batch but you can add any nut you like or none at all really. I’m already picturing an afternoon cup of tea tomorrow with a couple of these babies, yum!! I hope you enjoy friends! Xo

Mini Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins, Gluten free Dairy free

Category: Recipes

Mini Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins, Gluten free Dairy free

Ingredients

  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 3 eggs at room temp
  • 1/3 cup almond butter
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey, optional
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup walnuts or pecans, optional
  • Cooking/baking spray
  • Makes 3 dozen mini muffins

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Spray muffin tins with baking spray.
  3. Combine all wet ingredients into a large bowl and mix well.
  4. Add coconut flour, baking powder, and cinnamon to the bowl and combine with wet ingredients.
  5. Once batter is well combined, mix in chocolate chips and nuts.
  6. Using a tablespoon, divide batter evenly into muffin tins.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes.
https://www.wholehealthywell.com/2018/10/29/mini-banana-chocolate-chip-muffins-gluten-free-dairy-free/

5 Simple Self Care Tips for the Busy Ones

5 Simple Self Care Tips for the Busy Ones

The word self-care is thrown around like confetti these days. Some of you may have even rolled your eyes upon hearing this phrase a time or two and if you see one more picture of a bubble bath that you don’t have time to take, you’re going to lose it. I get it. But let me break it down for you so you can understand the value of the term self-care, which seems to be relatively new age and almost trending right now. Women have been doing the most for a very long time. We have been having the babies, working the jobs, taking care of the households, taking care of the husbands, (using plurals for dramatic effect here) but forgetting one thing, taking care of OURSELVES! SELF CARE IS A NECESSITY, OR YOU WILL ALWAYS WANT TO CRAWL INTO A HOLE AND LIVE THERE. Ok maybe that’s a little dramatic but it is seriously the basis of mental, physical and emotional health and if you are having an issue with any of these aspects, your self-care game is probably way off or non-existent.

I understand that you are incredibly busy, so I want to share a practical list of 5 Simple Self Care Tips that I faithfully believe you can squeeze into your day or week. At first it may seem really strange and selfish to be so focused on your own wellbeing but trust me, if you go too long without taking care of yourself and have an emotional breakdown or have to take a week off from life because you have the flu, you will wish you had heeded my suggestions, and so will everyone else in your family.

1. Move Your Body as often as you can.

If you aren’t someone who works out regularly, this may seem daunting, but the more you do this the better your mind will feel. Some quick and easy ideas include taking a walk a few nights a week or in the mornings and putting the babes in a stroller, signing up for a yoga class, dancing in the car on the way to work, having sex… (See how casual I threw that last one in there?) The bottom line is that physical movement will lift your mind and make you feel good and feeling good is one of the best ways to take care of yourself. Happy wife= happy life, world, and universe.

2. Put the wine down.

(I already know I’m not going to be the most popular Mom in town for this one, but hear me out…) I really enjoy wine and I’m not saying that a weekly wine night or occasional glass here or there is going to ruin you, I’m talking about the ritual of reaching for a glass of wine after every stressful day, therefore becoming habit, therefore cancelling your morning workout, therefore killing chances of having an amazing mood…you get the point. While wine may take the edge off at the given moment, it’s a depressant (as in something that is literally going to spike our blood sugar, depress our mood and toy with our emotions), yet we’ve become so obsessed with it as a culture and dependent on it. That just doesn’t make sense to me. Again, in moderation, totally cool, in excess, your immune system will be weak and so will your mood. Get the point? Less wine, better self-care.

3. Spend at least 10 minutes every day doing something that you genuinely enjoy.

Schedule it in your planner if you need, but everyone can find ten minutes for themselves! (If you can’t, call me, because we’re going to look at your daily activities.) This might overlap with number one on the self-care list of moving your body too. Some things that you may enjoy are a ten- minute conversation with your best friend, ten minutes of watching reality tv, ten minutes doing your nails, reading, journaling, or anything that makes you feel good and is somewhat constructive. Find ten minutes for yourself so you can feel refreshed and release some stress.

4. Ditch the toxic people, media, conversations, etc, as often as possible.

People are going to complain, totally natural, people are going to be rude, people are going to radiate negativity, post crazy stuff on social, but the more you can limit your exposure to all of that, the better. You do not have an obligation to watch the news every day or to speak to people that make you feel like you’re losing your marbles, you have an obligation to take care of yourself. You have one life to live, steer clear of toxic energy!

5. ASK FOR HELP!

I want to scream and shout this one from the rooftops. This form of self-care is a friendly reminder that we do not have to be superwoman every single day. It’s exhausting and daunting and it’s so unnecessary. Cole loves when I ask him to do the dishes and take the trash out! Haha! I’m being silly, but the truth is if I didn’t ask for help or lean on my family and friends, I would be a ball of stress all the time, snapping at everyone, eating my feelings, and resenting my role as a mother. Asking for help does not mean that you’re weak, it means that you’re human and you really value your sanity and your relationships.

I truly hope that this is helpful! What are your favorite ways to take care of yourself? I’d love to hear about them! Please comment below. 😊 xoxo Mel

Kale + Turkey Meatball Soup

Kale + Turkey Meatball Soup

The temperature dropped here in Charlotte this week and it finally feels like fall. Yay! This obviously means that soup goes back on the weekly rotation and this kale + turkey meatball soup is one of the best. I wouldn’t say that anyone in our house is as big a fan of kale as me, however everyone, even Eva, the pickiest of the bunch, loves this soup. Throw some parmesan cheese on top and serve it up with a warm baguette. Or, if you’re anything like me and have some food intolerances, serve this up with a side of gluten free avocado toast. Yum!!! I hope you and your family enjoy this one as much as we do, and don’t forget to tag me @wholehealthywell if you post about it! Xo

Kale + Turkey Meatball Soup

Category: Recipes

Kale + Turkey Meatball Soup

Ingredients

    For the Meatballs:
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 3 tablespoons gluten free panko (or regular)
  • 2 tablespoons dried herbs (basil, parsley, oregano)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (to coat your pan)
    For the Soup:
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 cups broth (veggie, chicken, or bone broth)
  • 1 bunch of kale, deveined and chopped
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • crushed red pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine whisked eggs with ground turkey and remaining ingredients through black pepper.
  2. Combine ingredients well with your hands and form small meatballs, about 1 and a half inches in diameter. You will end up with 2-3 dozen meatballs.
  3. Warm up two tablespoons olive oil in a large sauté pan and gently pan fry meatballs until golden brown, rotating every 3 minutes or so.
  4. Remove from pan.
  5. In a large soup pot, heat up two tablespoons olive oil over medium heat.
  6. Add onion, carrots, celery, and garlic to the pot and sauté for 5-10 minutes or until beginning to soften.
  7. Add bay leaves and broth and bring to a boil.
  8. Simmer for 15 minutes, uncovered.
  9. Add kale and turkey meatballs to your pot and cook for 5-10 minutes, until kale is wilted.
  10. Adjust seasoning to your liking with salt and pepper and serve hot. Top with crushed red pepper and parmesan cheese if you like. Enjoy!!
https://www.wholehealthywell.com/2018/10/15/kale-turkey-meatball-soup/

This recipe is adapted from The Savory Lotus. 

For The Mommy of Small Children

For The Mommy of Small Children

Our girls are getting so big. Lyla is 8 years old and Eva, the baby, just turned 5. Next year they’ll both be in elementary school and I’ll for sure be sobbing. We’ve officially closed a chapter in our lives…no more babies or toddlers for the Van Heels. I remember wishing that some days would hurry up and end while tending to tantrums and finding lost binkies. But now, it’s hard to wrap my brain around the fact that somehow, the years went by so quickly.

I remember being stressed out A LOT while the girls were little. I was barely keeping my head above water as a new mother and wife and I had to really learn how to keep my sanity. If I could have shared a few wise words with my young Mom self, this is what I would have said:

1. This chapter won’t last forever.
It’s funny because I distinctly remember standing in my kitchen in Montana, thinking ‘one day they’ll be in elementary school and it’s going to be AMAZING’. Is it bad that I was wishing away time back then? Smiling through my teeth emoji again. No, it’s not bad, it’s just that some days in parenthood are really freaking hard. I know you know exactly what I’m talking about. Your husband is out of town on business for the third week in a row, no one will eat the extra veggies that you snuck into the pasta dish, and you’re lonely despite having two small children wrapped around your calves most of the time. Then you blink, and your babies will be big kids, running into school without hesitation, and you’ll be waiting for them to look back at you, so you can blow them one last kiss. Ugh, I’m not crying, you’re crying.

2. Yourself and your sweet little family should be your number one priority.
Cole and I both have pretty big extended families, and we both have a bunch of friends from childhood and adulthood. We feel very blessed and fortunate to have so many loved ones, but we’ve had to learn how to say no to different requests and celebrations, at times, and meet our own needs first. It’s chaos to have kids at any age, but then toss in conflicting work schedules, taking care of a home, feeding a family, trying to find alone time with your partner, and maybe taking care of yourself too so you don’t spontaneously combust, and times get even wilder. Learn how to say no to those that live outside of your home, so you can say yes more often to yourself and your own little family.

3. Your best is good enough for them. It’s more than enough.
Your babies love the stuff out of you. They don’t care that you had a bad day, that you haven’t gotten a home cooked meal on the table in days, or that you had to miss field day at preschool because you had to work. They love you unconditionally and the fact that you care so much about the fact that “maybe you aren’t doing enough” tells me you are doing more than enough so stop sweating the small stuff and take the pressure off yourself to be perfect. Feed them, bathe them, love them, everything else is icing on the cake sister😉.

4. Do more things that make you happy, because when you’re happy so is everyone else.
Last Friday morning, right before school, Cole and I tried to replicate this weird dance that Lyla had taught us the night before. Typical, we embarrass ourselves for the sake of a good laugh around here, but Google search the Orange Justice dance. Now envision Cole and I busting that out and have yourself a little chuckle on us. Every morning is not like that. Sometimes we’re all tired and cranky, but that morning I woke up before sunrise, went for a run before the family was awake, and it made me happy. I also had dinner planned with a friend that evening so no amount of “I don’t want to wear this dress Mom!” was going to shake my great mood that morning. The point is that when I take the time to make myself happy as an individual, I am better for it and my whole family is rewarded.

5. People will give you their opinions on what you should be doing with your life. Smile and keep it moving.
“So, you’re a Mom, and you’re going to be an actress, and start a blog? Why don’t you just get a normal job?” I’m smiling as I write this because no one has said this to my face, but I can only imagine the thoughts running through some minds as they look at our very unconventional lifestyle. If someone is not positively encouraging you to move forward in the direction of your dreams, it’s ok, they just don’t understand, and they probably won’t anytime soon. You don’t need to overexplain the fact that you are doing what makes you happy and what works for you and your family. Conserve your energy and just keep going!

Different strokes for different folks, but if you ever feel stressed and overwhelmed during these younger years, these reminders might help you too. And if you’re kids are grown, what might you have said to yourself when you felt frazzled during the baby and toddler years? I’d love to hear from you Mama!

 

Kale & Quinoa Chicken Salad

Kale & Quinoa Chicken Salad

“I’m not a food blogger, so I probably won’t focus on posting recipes too often,” I tell Cole in the kitchen last week. He’s so used to the constant changes and shifts that I verbalize, he’s learned to just hold space for me because I’m probably not going to take his advice anyway. Not that he doesn’t have great advice, but I like to figure things out on my own, through my own experiences, mistakes, etc. Within minutes, I’m whipping up a salad for dinner that comes out so delicious, I pick up the camera and starting shooting. This is going on the blog, this needs to be shared! LOL! I’m still finding my way out here, trying to figure out what you guys really enjoy and want more of. Is it the personal stories, healthy living tips, recipes, mental health conversation? I think I’ll include a little bit of anything that can help you improve the quality of your life on any level.

Anyway, this chicken salad came out so so good and was dinner last Tuesday, and lunch and breakfast for me more than a few times throughout the week. I’m such a creature of habit that when I find something to eat that I love and it’s healthy, I eat it until I get tired of it or it’s gone, whichever comes first. The recipe below makes for a HUGE salad, so this would be a great option for a party or meal prep for the coming week. I hope you enjoy it and if you make it please post a photo and tag me on social media. I’d love to hear what you think!

Kale & Quinoa Chicken Salad

Category: Recipes

Kale & Quinoa Chicken Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 large rotisserie chicken, shredded or chopped
  • 1 cup rinsed quinoa
  • 2 cups water
    Salad:
  • 1 large bunch kale, ribs removed, leaves finely chopped or shredded
  • 4 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 4 ribs celery, chopped
  • 2 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
  • Cooking spray
  • Fine sea salt
    Dressing:
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, from 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 4 teaspoons whole grain mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Boil 2 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Add quinoa, stir and cover with a tight fitting lid. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and remove from heat.
  2. While quinoa is cooking, prepare and mix all salad ingredients.
  3. In a small pan, coated with cooking spray, lightly toast sliced almonds.
  4. Whisk together all dressing ingredients.
  5. Add shredded chicken, warm quinoa, toasted almonds, and vinaigrette to salad. Toss and enjoy!!
https://www.wholehealthywell.com/2018/10/01/kale-quinoa-chicken-salad/

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