Butternut Squash + Kale Salad

Butternut Squash + Kale Salad

I jumped on the kale trend a long time ago. I enjoy the coarse texture, it’s a green that actually fills me up. But I also know that a lot of people don’t necessarily love it. I personally think that’s because they haven’t had it prepared the right way, but to each his own. 😉

Kale is so nutritious and packed with vitamin C, iron, vitamin K, calcium…the list goes on. It is the superfood of superfoods so if you can add it to your weekly meal plan, your immune system will thank you. Add it to soups, eat it in a salad, and throw it in your smoothie. Just be sure to devein your kale first, which means you cut the thick stem out and just enjoy the leaves.

I made this Butternut Squash + Kale Salad for Thanksgiving and everyone loved it. Even my brother in law, who isn’t the biggest veggie lover, loved it! The butternut squash gives this kale salad a nice warm and starchy quality, and the acidity of the shallot and Dijon vinaigrette is my favorite. Add some high quality protein to this salad and you’ve got yourself a meal!

Butternut Squash + Kale Salad

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Category: Salad

Butternut Squash + Kale Salad

This butternut squash and kale salad is the perfect fall or winter salad. It’s packed with nutrients and is so tasty served warm or at room temperature.

Ingredients

    For the Salad:
  • 1 large head kale, deveined and chopped
  • 1 large butternut squash, skinned and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • cooking spray
  • salt + pepper
    For the Dressing:
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/4 c balsamic or white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablesoons coarsely ground dijon mustard
  • Salt + pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
  2. While the oven is pre heating, start prepping your veggies. Peel, seed, and coarsely chop the butternut squash into 1 inch chunks.
  3. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.
  4. Toss the butternut squash in two tablespoons of olive oil and lay flat on the baking sheet.
  5. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for 30 minutes, flipping once midway through.
  6. After 30 minutes, shut the oven off but leave the squash in the hot oven for an additional ten minutes so that the squash dries out a bit. I also like to broil the squash for a few minutes so it gets a little crispy, but that’s optional.
  7. While the squash is baking, devein and chop the kale and prep the dressing.
  8. Combine all dressing ingredients and whisk to combine.
  9. Toss salad with dressing and then toss in the roasted squash.
  10. Enjoy warm or at room temperature!
https://www.wholehealthywell.com/2019/01/10/butternut-squash-kale-salad/
2018: A Year In Review

2018: A Year In Review

At the end of every year, I like to reflect on the last 364 days and survey all that has passed. Tonight, I’m looking back and wondering “What in the world just happened?!” Lol. I’m kidding, kind of, but wow, this year has been intense. I was challenged to either mend some unhealed parts within myself or to remain in my comfort zone. While it was emotionally exhausting at times, I decided to rise to the occasion and I’m so grateful I did. On the other side, I was greeted with deep transformation and personal growth.

Last January, unbeknownst to many of you, Cole was laid off from his job. Cole is the breadwinner in our house and this hasn’t been the first time we’ve experienced job loss. Cole is fantastic at what he does but sometimes the sales industry can be cutthroat. In the fall of 2017, he found himself in a precarious place with his former company. We anticipated a potential lay off and sure enough, we received the call on a grey wintery day. Even though we understood this could and probably would happen, it still came as a blow. Cole took a moment to mourn the loss, like maybe a few hours, I gave him the pep talk of pep talks and he got right back to work, this time job searching. Thankfully he had built such a great network within his industry and landed himself in a great position within a couple of months.

Once we made it over that hurdle, I found out that one of my best girlfriends from childhood was diagnosed with breast cancer at the young age of 33. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I couldn’t believe that my beautiful girlfriend, whom I considered a sister, was breathing these words. It couldn’t be true, but it was. Something shifted within me that day, and I started unraveling, unraveling in the best way possible.

Once Tricia successfully made it through her first surgery and was on her journey to recovery and treatment, I was ready to focus my energy on lifting my girl’s spirits and taking care of myself. After years of being “strong” and helping others “fix” their issues, I was beyond ready to work on my own. I was ready to eliminate unnecessary stress in my life and prioritize my health and dreams. The transformation began. 

I began to uncover some deep wounds and heal some familial relationships that were attached to them. I also learned about the importance and necessity of boundaries in all healthy relationships. In short, boundaries are personal guidelines that teach others what you are and are not comfortable with. Boundaries teach people what your limits and tolerances are and how you want to be treated. The tricky thing about boundaries is that you really have to communicate them effectively through your words and actions. And sometimes when you do, your friends, family members, co-workers, etcetera, will not like them. Those that are meant to be in your life will respect them, and those that aren’t will fall away.

Up until this point, I was someone who said yes without hesitation, who over functioned with ease, and who swallowed any issues I had so as not to burden those around me. The woman that is proudly walking into 2019 is a woman that says no with more ease and grace so that she can prioritize the happiness and wellbeing of herself and her sweet family. She is a woman that values herself enough to walk away from anyone that is treating her unfairly. She is a woman that asks for help when she needs it and that cares a bit less about the judgmental opinions of some.

Once I was able to take my focus off others and place it back on myself and my family, I started seeing things even clearer than before. After dealing with two periods of job loss in our household I had developed some scarcity issues big time, meaning that I often felt like we never had enough so I would hoard things. I would fill our pantry full of dry goods, buy excessive amounts of clothing…perhaps my scarcity issue had turned into a spending issue. Spending turned into a way to relieve stress and purge negative emotions. No bueno. Although you might not have ever thought of this, finances are a big part of health and while some areas of my life were glowing health-wise, this area was suffering. On August 1st, 2017 we got our act together, consolidated all our credit card debt and started budgeting big time. While challenging, it has been one of the very best things that we’ve done as a couple and family and I couldn’t be prouder. At some point, I’ll write a whole post on how we changed our lives with budgeting. It has been a total game changer!

And if all of that wasn’t enough, I also developed eczema this year. Does that shock you with all that we had been navigating? Your body is so incredibly smart and will grace you with a physical response to an emotional issue at times. It is ALL connected, let no one tell you otherwise. I believe my eczema issues were stress and dietary related, although no dermatologist could tell me that. Once I got stringent about eliminating dairy and gluten and dealing with my stressors, my eczema completely vanished.

While 2018 was filled with HUGE lessons, I feel so grateful to be where I am today. I feel great resolve in all that we have worked through over the past year and while difficult at times, there were so many things to be grateful for. It’s important for me to be transparent with you on this blog, it is a safe space for myself and for all that read and share. I will continue to fill my blog posts with these little bits of wisdom in hopes that they will help someone else. I’m an open book so if you ever find yourself in a rough patch, I’m happy to lend you any guidance I may have.

And now we are hours away from a brand-new year and a fresh start which is so exciting for me. My word for 2019 is “intention”. I want to put intention into everything I do this year, from how I spend my time with others to how I show up as myself each day as a mother, a wife, a safe beauty advocate, a blogger, an actress…my word for 2018 was “surrender” and I think God really ran with that so hoping for the same with “intention” this year. Haha!

As you step into this New Year, ask yourself these questions:

1.    What worked well for me in 2018?

2.    What didn’t work so well?

3.    What am I most proud of?

4.    What do I want to do differently in the New Year?

Reflect on this year and understand that your biggest challenges are always meant to be your biggest teachers. May your days be filled with blessings and joy! Happy New Year!! Xo

Self Judgment: I’m Not A “Fun Mom”

Self Judgment: I’m Not A “Fun Mom”

Last week was a busy one. Cole was in and out of the house for work events and travel and I had a booking on Tuesday morning followed by a bunch of Beautycounter training and planning for an upcoming event. Somehow, we managed to squeeze in a date night on Wednesday. By Friday night I was exhausted, but the weekend had just begun. I packed up overnight bags for me and the girls and was asleep by 10:30 pm – Saturday morning we would head to Breakfast with Santa at the Y and then head straight to Alpharetta, Georgia for Cole’s company holiday party.

At 6:15 am on Saturday, I lay in bed wide awake, scrolling through social media for a little while, before deciding I should bundle up and get groceries for the coming week. We were expected to get a bunch of snow between Sunday and Monday and you never know what that could mean out here. It for sure means that school will be closed, and grocery stores may be too. It definitely means all the bread and milk will be gone ;). If you follow me on Instagram and happened to see my InstaStories on Friday, then you already know that I don’t take the Charlotte weather forecast too seriously. Originally from New York, having lived in Montana for three years, I just can’t imagine the snow out here being bad.

I already knew that I had pushed myself a little too hard last week. Self-care was pretty much non-existent, as I skipped all my workouts and drank a little too much wine. I could feel soreness in my neck and shoulders and like I might be coming down with a cold. I swiped my nose with Zicam and dropped little Oscillococcinum pellets on my tongue, which I swear by. My awesome girlfriend Ananda hooked me up with Fire Cider and I was ready to power through our weekend. Fire Cider is an amazing natural tonic made with apple cider vinegar, honey, and a bunch of other things and has wonderful medicinal purposes. Mama was ready.

Breakfast with Santa was adorable as always, the girls enjoyed some pancakes before hitting up the craft table and visiting with Santa. Eva asked Santa for a Litter Critter toy house and Lyla asked him for a real live ball python snake. What in the world?! She glanced up at me while I gave Santa the eyes on that one. Not even a chance. We can’t even take care of the one pet we have, never mind the fact that that said pet would eat any other pet that came into our house.

Next stop, Atlanta, for Cole’s company Holiday party. I loved that his company invited families to attend the party. The party was at a venue called Main Event. We bowled, played a bunch of arcade games, ate, laughed, and had a wonderful time. On Sunday morning the girls enjoyed some time in the pool and jacuzzi, and this is where the self-judgment came in.

We had already had such a fun trip, and this pool time was icing on the cake. We all got suited up, but I wasn’t sure if I’d really get into that pool. Maybe the jacuzzi but I just wasn’t in the mood to get wet and cold. I knew the girls were going to beg me to go in, and I could already feel the guilt creeping in before they even asked. Cole got into the jacuzzi right away while the girls got into the pool. Our girls quickly made friends with two other little girls and they all went from pool to jacuzzi, splashing around having the best time, while I observed from a lounge chair.

While sitting on the lounge chair, I also observed the parents of the two little girls that had made friends with our girls. They sat at a table, wearing plain clothes, with papers sprawled out. They were working on something and it seemed understood that they definitely were not getting in the pool or jacuzzi at all. Their girls didn’t even bother asking them. And I wasn’t judging them, I was simply observing them and thinking ‘I wonder why they seem so confident, just sitting there working, while I sit here questioning whether or not I am a good mother if I don’t get into that pool?’ I wasn’t judging those parents, but I was judging myself.

I ended up getting in the jacuzzi for a little while and the girls didn’t seem like they were any happier than when I was watching them from the lounge chair. The truth was that we had the sweetest little getaway, and whether I got into that pool with them or not, was not going to make or break our weekend. We had so much fun just the night before and yet there I was wondering if I was a Mom that had fun with her children. The thought of it sounds so silly as I’m typing this, but, at that moment, at that pool, I was ultimately questioning my enough-ness as a mother over something so small and insignificant.

It made me think of this blog, it made me think of my readers and the stories and lies that we tell ourselves. It made me think of how we downgrade our hard work and the effort we put into motherhood and all the other areas of our lives. I don’t know how to undo this habit, but I do know that the more I’m honest about it and call myself on my own BS, the better. And I hope you can do that too. I hope that you can see through your own storytelling and know that the deep truth is that a small insignificant inaction does not negate all the multiple and consistent actionable steps you take every day in the right direction.

As I sit here typing this blog while my children happily play outside in the snow with all their neighbor friends, I’m reminding myself of all the amazing ways I show up as a Mother to these two beautiful girls every day. I’m reminding myself that they will have a hot meal on the table tonight and a hot shower before bed. I’m reminding myself that tonight I’ll rehearse lines with Lyla for her school play so that she has the first ten scenes memorized by Thursday. I’ll remind myself that I’ll sneak into gymnastics practice 15 minutes early so I can watch Eva in her element. I’ll remind myself that even if I didn’t, I’d still be enough for these girls. And that even if I didn’t get into that pool, I’m still a fun Mom.

Why I Became A Beautycounter Consultant

Why I Became A Beautycounter Consultant

Last Saturday I reached out to my Beautycounter consultant friend, Sarah, to place an order for cream blush. I’ve been using the products for years but have yet to try them all. My skin seems to be getting dryer as I age and I’m hoping that cream blush will give me the dewy, fresh look I’m longing for. Lol. I’ll keep you posted on that. For those of you that don’t already know, Beautycounter is effective skincare and cosmetics without harsh chemicals. Their products are safer than most and absolutely gorgeous. Their mission is to “get safer products into the hands of everyone.”

A thought crossed my mind mid-text and literally flew out of my fingertips as I asked Sarah, “Oh and I may be interested in becoming a Beautycounter consultant, can you please tell me more about that?” One week later and here I am, a brand new Beautycounter consultant.

I’m no stranger to the MLM game. As some of you may know, two years ago, I distributed herbal supplements and became a team leader with a company called It Works! While I enjoyed my time with It Works!, my perspective and beliefs surrounding whole health shifted dramatically when I began my studies with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I could no longer sell quick-fix solutions to health and wellness, while I learned that long-term lifestyle changes were necessary concerning weight loss, stress relief, body image issues, etc. I stepped down from my role as an It Works! Distributor and into my role as a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach.

The following year, not 1, but 3 women that I know and love got diagnosed with breast cancer. One being my aunt (who is in her 60s), two being one of my best childhood girlfriends (33 years old), 3 being a dear girlfriend from college (34 years old) and all I could think was ‘What in the actual fuck is going on?’ Excuse my language, friends. But this has rocked my world a bit and all the emotions and cuss words have come out a lot.

I’m a health coach, I’m not a doctor, and I have no idea how these women developed breast cancer, but I have my suspicions and so do they. I suspect that chemicals cause cancer and that we introduce chemicals into our bodies often by eating conventional foods and by using products that are indeed toxic, unbeknownst to us. Of course, we do. We buy what’s on the shelves in the grocery stores, we take the birth control that our doctors prescribe, and we use skincare products that we find online or buy from other direct sales companies to support our girlfriends who are trying to make a living. If our government approves it then it should be safe, right? Well, it’s not. And the sad truth is that many of us are not educated on these issues. I surely wasn’t until I began my studies as a health coach.

While Cole and I have made lifestyle changes over the years, we aren’t perfect obviously. We don’t eat foods that are solely organic all the time, or use products that are 100 percent natural either, but we do better today than we did years ago, because we know better. Knowledge is power, right? As someone who cares so much about my own health and the health of my loved ones, I feel a burning desire to be part of a movement that spreads education on whole health, and that inspires women and families to make small, yet conscious decisions daily, to improve the quality of their lives across the board: mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally, financially, etc. Beautycounter will now be a piece of that puzzle.

As for me, I’m nervous, eeeek! I’m nervous to take on yet another venture, I’m nervous to fail at it, I’m nervous that I won’t be able to be the best mom and wife that I can be, as my plate continues to get fuller and fuller but as I’ve heard time and time again, “If it scares you, then you should probably do it.” So I’m doing it, and I’ll figure out the rest later. My philosophy is that risk is essential to growth and that no matter what happens something positive will come from all of this. I also intuitively feel called to pursue this, and that’s important to me.

I’d love if you would check out my Beautycounter site linked below and let me know if you have any questions! Cheers to growth and trying something new! Also, if you are familiar with Beautycounter, what are your favorite products and why?

My Beautycounter Site

And just to keep it real real, here is a photo of me moments before I drafted this blog. Living that best mom life in sweatpants and no makeup. 😉

 

 

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