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December 2, 2015
Julie Yuccas

3 comments

Apple Walnut-Pecan Salad

With apple picking season coming to a close, this healthy recipe is sure to cure your sweet tooth. If you have adapted the “eat smaller meals more frequently,” you will be pleasantly surprised. Half or less of this recipe can be a small, filling meal.

If you struggle with stress eating, the combination of crisp apples, celery, and nuts satisfies the need to crunch. The bonus is every ingredient is healthy and beneficial to your body—guilt free.

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I found this recipe on the Sugar-Free Mom website. I modified the recipe slightly, because I don’t use fat free yogurt. When I use the Wallaby Organic Greek Whole Milk Vanilla Bean Yogurt, this yogurt has a wonderful flavor and consistency, I don’t need oil. I normally don’t eat yogurt, but this specific Wallaby yogurt has a wonderful flavor! My other go to yogurt is Stonyfield Organic Smooth & Creamy French Vanilla.

Apple Walnut & Pecan Salad

  • Difficulty: easy
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♥  Ingredients  ♥

2 large or 3 medium apples, chopped
1/4 lemon
3 stalks or ribs of celery, sliced
1/3 cup walnuts, pieces
1/3 cup pecans, pieces
1/2 cup raisins
1 5.3 ounce container of vanilla yogurt
1 teaspoon honey

– Toss chopped apples with lemon juice.
– Add to apples: celery, walnuts, pecans, and raisins.
– Blend honey into yogurt.
– Add yogurt to apple mixture and toss.
– Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving.

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Don’t forget to drink plenty of water to help the fiber and live active cultures in this meal do its job efficiently in your digestive system. What is your body weight? Cut that number in half. Drink that number of ounces of water a day, minimum.

Blessings to your health!

November 23, 2015
Julie Yuccas

no comments

Mama’s Fried Rice and Rainbow Carrots

My mom used to frequently make us fried rice for dinner. It was probably an easy go to because she could make it with leftover rice or meats—and we always liked it. You know me, I am always trying to step it up a notch and add more vegetables. Here is my version of homemade fried rice.

The last two years, I have been using sautéed tofu instead of meat. Seasoned just right and cut very small, it is hard to notice the tofu. Last week, I was visiting my daughter in LA. I wanted to make her a dinner that she would have easy leftovers for work. Fried rice it is! However, she asked me if I could add meat, so the meal would last longer in her stomach for those long designing days. Steak it is! This recipe is made with steak, however, you can use any meat or tofu you want. Enjoy!

DSCN9723 I use organic as much as possible. Although, I haven’t found organic bean sprouts. For meats and eggs, I use hormone and antibiotic free. For tofu, I use non-GMO organic.

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Rice should be made first or a day ahead of time, so it has time to cool before stir frying. When I make rice the same day, I put my cooked rice in a large bowl, so it has room to breathe, and I cool it in the freezer. Rice should be firm, not mushy.

 

 

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I grate my carrots in the food processor. If I don’t forget, I add the carrots to the uncooked rice before turning on the rice cooker. Add 1/4 cup extra water if cooking carrots with rice. Notice the rice photo…I forgot! So I sautéed the grated carrots with the mushrooms. Either way works.

 

 

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I sauté almost each item separately and set it aside in a large bowl. Eggs are cooked separately, then I wash the pan. The meat or tofu is cooked separately, then I wash the pan. Mushrooms and carrots are cooked together. Pan does not need to be washed. Lastly, bean sprouts and greens of your choice are cooked together, then set aside. The original reason everything was cut so small was to add as many plant-based foods without them being noticed. It worked!

 

 

 

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Before stir frying the rice, brush and rinse the rainbow/heirloom carrot skins. Cut into medallions. Steam to desired tenderness.

 

Now it is time to stir fry the cooled rice in a little olive oil. If you like the Asian flavor, you can add a teaspoon of sesame oil. Sprinkle with soy sauce or Liquid Aminos to taste. Once the rice is warm, add all the other ingredients and toss gently. If needed, season with more soy sauce to taste.

 

Mama's Fried Rice

  • Difficulty: easy
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♥  Ingredients  ♥

2 cups uncooked rice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced, or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
Extra virgin olive oil as needed
3 to 5 eggs with 2 tablespoons water, whisked together
8 ounce steak*, or 1 pkg organic, non-GMO extra firm tofu**, or meat of your choice
1 8 ounce pkg mushrooms, minced
2 large carrots, grated
1 pkg bean sprouts
2 large leaves of chard, grated (can use 2 large leaves of kale or large handful of spinach instead)
Soy sauce or Liquid Aminos to taste

*Garlic powder and/or Teriyaki sauce to flavor the steak
**Organic vegetable broth for sautéing tofu

– In medium pot or rice cooker add olive oil, minced garlic or garlic powder, sea salt, rinsed uncooked white rice, and shredded carrots. If cooking rice without carrots, add 2 and 1/8 cups water. If cooking rice with carrots, add 2 and 1/2 cups water. Cook as usual. When rice is done, cool in frig or freezer.

– Whisk eggs and water together. Add a quarter size drop of olive oil to your warm pan, whisk eggs while cooking like scrambled eggs. Set aside cooked eggs in a large bowl.

– Cut steak or tofu*** into 1/4″ size pieces. ***Pat tofu with paper towels to remove excess fluid. If sautéing steak: stir fry in small amount of olive oil and dust with garlic powder and/or teriyaki sauce. To keep steak tender and prevent overcooking, remove from heat while steak is lightly pink. If sautéing tofu: stir fry in 1/2 cup vegetable broth. When broth cooks out add another 1/2 cup vegetable broth and continue stir frying. Repeat this one more time. Set aside cooked proteins in the large bowl.

– Sauté mushrooms (and carrots if not cooked with rice) until tender. Toss in a little soy sauce to taste. Set aside in large bowl.

– Sauté bean sprouts until soft. Add grated chard, kale, or spinach to bean sprouts and stir fry one more minute. Set aside in large bowl.

– In a large pot, sprinkle olive oil and warm the oil. Add cooled rice and stir until warm, not hot. As stir frying, add soy sauce or Liquid Aminos to taste. When rice is warm, add all the other ingredients from large bowl and stir fry for one or two minutes until everything is warm. If needed, season with more soy sauce to taste.

Tips:

– If you like a more authentic Asian flavor, add 1 teaspoon of sesame oil to the olive oil before stir frying the cooled cooked rice.
– More chard, kale, or spinach can be added to your liking.

Rainbow Carrots

  • Difficulty: easy
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♥  Ingredients  ♥

2lb bag organic rainbow or heirloom carrots
1 tablespoon organic butter
Honey

– Wash carrot skins, trim tips, then slice into medallions.

– Steam cook to desired firmness or softness.

– Drain any excess water. Add 1 tablespoon butter. Lightly drizzle honey over carrots and toss lightly.


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For those family members that are afraid of vegetables, notice how well the vegetables are hiding in the rice! I invite you to read What’s All the Hype About Smoothies and Juicing to learn one amazing benefit of chard and kale for your health. Also click on the highlight to read some quick facts about What Are the Health Benefits of Carrots by Dr. Mercola. This Rainbow Carrot recipe would make a quick and easy dish to pass for your Thanksgiving table too.

Happy and healthy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

November 6, 2015
Julie Yuccas

4 comments

Keep Trusting

Life’s challenges can easily throw us into panic mode. If anxiousness is allowed to visit too long, reacting in haste seems to be the tempting answer—but it’s not. I do not want to make decisions based on fear. Nor do I want to live the consequences of making a wrong decision either. Here is where faith kicks in. Do I take matters into my own hands, or do I patiently trust God to intervene on my behalf?

These past couple of years have been a learning experience as I trust God to provide. You are welcome to read some of my experiences in Overcoming Fear – Sneak Peek Chapter 30. Today, I am at another crossroad. In a few short months, logically my finances won’t work. Anxious thoughts go back and forth of possible options. Human nature wants to panic and make rash decisions. Another part of me, deep inside of me, is calm and says wait for God.

I don’t know about you, but I need God’s guidance when it comes to big decisions. I don’t want to venture on my own, I want God to lead me. He knows what is best for me and has my best interest at heart. Plus, God promises to give us wisdom when we ask, “For the Lord grants wisdom…and you will know how to find the right course of action every time.” (Proverbs 2:6, 9b NLT)  He also encourages us to, “Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand.” (Philippians 4:6-7 NLT)

I finally quieted myself down and asked God for wisdom. What should my husband and I do? He answered me so interestingly. I sensed He was leading me to read Psalm 1 for encouragement, then to Psalm 78. Psalm 78 shows us several miracles, provision, protection, and guidance God gave to the people He so loved. “In the daytime He led them by a cloud, and at night by a pillar of fire…He split open the rocks in the wilderness to give them plenty of water…He rained down manna for them to eat…He rained down meat as thick as dust…He gave them what they wanted…He kept them safe so they were not afraid…”

Without pointing a finger, I can easily forget God’s loving provision for me and allow thoughts of worry to creep in. God provided for His people in ways that are not humanly logical—but He always provided. God gave them provision and soon after their response was, “Yes, He can strike a rock so water gushes out, but He can’t give His people bread and meat.”  “For they did not believe God or trust Him to care for them” (or meet their needs). Too quickly, they spoke doubt and unbelief. How easy we can do that too. My prayer is that I will never forget what God does for me, so my faith stays strong. That is one reason I keep a journal.

“They forgot about His power and how He rescued them from their enemies. They forgot His miraculous signs in Egypt, His wonders on the plain of Zoan.” All these things God did for the people He loved, and their thoughts and words kept returning to doubt, fear, and complaining. How did that make God feel? His heart grieved and it was frustrating to Him (vs 40, 41). I can imagine when a person’s actions display consistent integrity, how frustrating it must be when they are frequently met with doubt and mistrust.

The keyword that stood out to me when I was asking God for direction was “grieve.” Grieve means to cause great distress to (someone). God was telling me, when I was contemplating rash decisions, it grieved His heart, because hadn’t He proved over and over His provision on my behalf and that of my family? Then He gently reminded me of a recent “aha” moment.

In Overcoming Fear, I shared an example of minor daily provisions. Well this was a similar situation. I was going to need shampoo in a few weeks. I was trying to be prepared ahead of time and ordered shampoo from my hairdresser. Mind you, I had a few weeks before I needed some more. A day or two before my shampoo ran out, my daughter sent me a bottle of Wen as a birthday gift. So, technically I didn’t need the shampoo I bought. Because “all good gifts come from our Father above,” He used my daughter to provide me with a gift that I needed at just the right time.

Now some of you may think, there is nothing wrong with buying things ahead of time and being prepared. It is not wrong to be prepared. My mom was like that. Her basement storage room was proof. However, I see that God is dealing with me differently. He is training me for a deeper level of trust. One source of encouragement I feed on is a message from Dale Crall. Pastor Dale Crall gave a wonderful, personal testimony of God’s provision, healing, and miracles, that continues to strengthen my faith. Strengthen your faith with me, click on his name and you can hear the same testimony, free of charge.

So in the end, the message God was lovingly sending me was, “Haven’t I proved myself to you before. I have always been faithful to provide. Please don’t grieve my heart and choose to doubt me and take matters into your own hand. Wait patiently. I won’t fail you.” And that is where I rest. I wait for God to do His thing and lead me for the things that are my responsibility. It will all work out in His perfect timing, and that peace that passes all understanding calms my heart.

Blessings to your mind, body, and spirit!

October 29, 2015
Julie Yuccas

no comments

Broccoli & Cauliflower Cheese Soup

Last time we were at the farmer’s market, one vendor had an abundance of cauliflower in the back of his pickup truck—priced to sell. For one-dollar a head and the brisk fall air, it was time to make soup again!

I used to make a California Medley soup with broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots, but the recipe called for two cans of cheddar cheese soup. I wanted to step-it-up a notch and use better ingredients, so here is an organic version. I found a recipe on Horizon Organic’s website and changed it to fit my needs. Hope you like it!

You may want to make a Comfort Food Grilled Cheese with Garlic & Kalamata Olives along with your soup.

Broccoli and Cauliflower Cheese Soup

  • Difficulty: easy
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DSCN9689♥  Ingredients  ♥

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 sweet onion, diced
1 head of broccoli, cut into small pieces
1 small head of cauliflower, cut into small pieces
4 tablespoons flour
6 cups organic vegetable broth
2 teaspoons honey mustard (or Dijon mustard)
1 pint organic half and half
4 to 6 ounces organic mild cheddar cheese, shredded
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Asiago cheese, shredded

– Warm olive oil in a large pot. Add diced onion and sauté until tender.

– While onion is cooking, steam broccoli and cauliflower pieces for 6 minutes. This can be done in a separate pot on the stove or in a covered glass bowl in the microwave.
– Add vegetables and flour to onions. Sauté for 3 minutes.
– Add broth and mustard, bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer 5 minutes.
– Add half and half, cheddar cheese, salt and pepper, and allow to simmer for 5 more minutes.
– Before serving, garnish with Asiago cheese.

Tips:

– To boost the nutrient value, add two carrots-diced, 2 leaves of kale or chard-chopped. Steam the carrots with the broccoli. The greens can be added when you put in the steamed vegetables.
– I try to keep Asiago on hand. With its rich flavor, you do not have to use very much.
– Use as many organic products as you can to consume less pesticides in your diet.

Broccoli and cauliflower are both cruciferous, nutrient-dense vegetables. They are known for their rich source of cancer-fighting phytochemicals. Soup is an easy way to add them to your diet. Keep eating your veggies! They bring life to your body. Enjoy!

DSCN9689_2Blessings to your health!

October 22, 2015
Julie Yuccas

2 comments

Beauty Comes in Every Size – Sneak Peek Chapter 40

Ladies, when you look at other women, do not be fooled and allow insecurity or intimidation to creep in. As humans, we have a tendency to form initial first impressions with those we meet. Sometimes our own insecurities get in the way and cause us to incorrectly prejudge other women. Whether it is something about their personality, or what they are wearing, or their size and shape. We do not know what her story is and what she is currently experiencing. To prejudge and then compare ourselves to others is not a healthy place for our thoughts to engage in.

Unless you are looking at other women for good ideas for yourself, it is self-defeating to think that because a woman is visually appealing in her outfit she looks like a bikini-clad model underneath her clothing. Go into a woman’s locker room at the gym or workplace, and the reality of nature taking its course is revealed. Thank you Lord for clothing!

We have to stop comparing ourselves to others and be comfortable in our own skin. Then we can enhance whatever we want, however we want, because we want to. Do it for yourself—no one else! Every woman deserves to feel good in her own skin.

We have to shed insecurity and intimidation like a snake’s skin, and walk with a new skin of confidence—beaming from the inside out. Let go of the old habit to look at other women and automatically think that everyone who is thinner, taller, shorter…is better than us.

You Are a Treasured and Valued Woman

Yuccas_Julie 14bw_2_3Your natural attractiveness radiates from within. Your beauty comes from your heart. People can see it. Inner beauty is portrayed through your eyes, and your lips when you smile. When you feel good about yourself, it is reflected by how you posture yourself. When you allow yourself the freedom to accept yourself and feel good inside, the old habit of measuring yourself to others loses its grip.

Make the decision to not compare yourself to others. Maintain your heart’s peace knowing who you are. You are a treasured, valuable woman, God specifically created for Himself. It is my prayer that you will arrive at the place where you are self-assured. Where you are at peace with your unique looks, talents, and purpose. Give yourself permission to wear things that make you feel pretty and feel good about yourself. Represent yourself the way you want people to treat you. You deserve nothing less.

Blessings to your health and your well-being!

October 16, 2015
Julie Yuccas

no comments

Calling a Truce With Our Body – Sneak Peek Chapter 41

A woman cannot live under the pressure of continuous self-condemnation. It has to stop. Years ago, my friend Mo, one of the most encouraging women I know, graciously opened my eyes to see my strengths. Mo pointed out that I had these beautiful high cheekbones. Thirty years old, and I never saw them. I always gave too much attention to what I thought were my weaknesses to ever notice any positives.

Mo’s investment in me with compliments and encouragement impacted me for life. I am reminded that all good gifts come from our Father above. I know her words were gifts from God to help me feel better about myself. Accepting compliments is an important piece of the healing process to stop condemning and judging ourselves.

You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.
Song of Solomon 4:7 NIV

 Compliments Are Good Things

Compliments used to be impossible for me to accept. My response was usually in the form of self-criticism. On my fifty-first birthday, my sister-in-law Kassey took me shopping. I was trying on clothing, and the young sales girl said, “You know you have this really nice shape. Everything looks so nice on you.” Her compliment did not sound fake or like she was forcing a sale. In response, I said thank you and nothing more. I have taught myself to receive compliments knowing God uses other people as messengers. With that belief in place, I treasure sincere compliments as to how God wants me to view myself.

In the past, I would have spewed out my concealed imperfections. I don’t do that anymore. Number one, realistically, why would I want to advertise what I feel to be my shortcomings? Number two, who wants to hear about my imperfections in the first place? Number three, it is time to stop criticizing myself! God lovingly gave me this shape, this bone structure, and this height. It’s okay. It’s all good!

I was watching a ninth-season episode of What Not to Wear with my daughter. Stacy London had on a cute pair of red pants! She looked adorable in them. Her legs are so lean, the pants looked great on her. In the past, I would have beat my brains wishing I had her thighs. “Why can’t I be more disciplined and diet harder?” Blah, blah, blah!

Today, I compliment her. I appreciate her beauty. I can separate the fact that we have different body shapes. I am okay with the fact she is smaller than me. Self-condemnation and self-criticism is not part of my thought process, and jealousy is a wasted emotion. I appreciate my strengths and the strengths of others.

I finally had a revelation moment. It took me long enough! I accepted the fact that there are other women in this world that are thinner, prettier, and more outgoing than me—and it’s okay! I can quit trying to be somebody else. Once I accepted this obvious truth, I was set free in my mind. No more need to perform or strive to be a certain weight. I am at peace with my body. I love my body. I am at peace with who I am. If there are things I want to enhance that make me feel good, like coloring my hair, by all means I do it. God planned our height. God designed our bone structure. It is what it is. Time to be at peace with our body and enjoy the ride!

Blessings to your well-being!

October 8, 2015
Julie Yuccas

no comments

What Do You Want to Overcome? – Sneak Peek Chapter 7

I was so obsessed with my weight, I weighed myself a minimum of three times a day. This scale obsession spurred an unhealthy preoccupation with dieting. For the state of my well-being, I had to quit weighing myself everyday. Truth is, the scale changes several times a day based on:

  • How much food or fluid I have consumed.
  • How heavy my clothes and shoes are.
  • How much fluid my cells are retaining based on how much salt I consumed.
  • How much water I did or did not drink.
  • What my hormones are doing at this stage of my menstrual cycle.

You and I have the power to choose to not let the numbers on the scale dictate our moods. Our goal is to get away from the “scale determines my worth” mentality. You are neither good nor bad by what the numbers read on a scale. Emotional eating based on weight does not have to be part of your repertoire anymore. You are worth the investment to stop the damaging behaviors that used to go along with stepping on a scale. Practice makes perfect, and the old habits will cease to exist. Your mindset should convert over to: The scale is only an occasional tool to assist in monitoring progress.

DSCN9669I recommend you stop weighing yourself every day. If you are trying to lose weight, the scale should not be your only source of measurement to monitor progress. Please note if you are improving your muscle health, inch for inch, muscle is denser than fat. Fat cells do not convert into muscle cells and vice versa. You may be shrinking in size, by muscle mass increasing and fat cells reducing. However, the scale cannot indicate that fact. How your clothing fits and your good health are better tools in determining progress.

Goals to Measure Success

Victories do not always come by how low the numbers on the scale go. Successful weight loss is not about whether you can follow the rules of a diet without cheating. Having healthy new habits and thought patterns ingrained into your belief system is key to success. Are you noticing a pattern here yet? Ownership and application of sound belief systems, principles, and habits keep you grounded and healthy. Establishing solid principles that easily fit into your lifestyle and become second nature to you, will free your mind of the distress of “I can’t eat, I am so fat, blah, blah, blah!

Every positive change I made, stirred excitement in me and helped me delete my dysfunctional thinking and behaviors about food and my body. Below is a partial list of situations I overcame, and you can too:

  • I do not have to eat food because it is there.
  • I do not have to eat until I am stuffed or feel sick.
  • I do not have to finish everything on my plate.
  • I do not have to eat unappetizing food that is cold, hard, overcooked, dry, or nasty.
  • I do not have to buy candy because I see it at the checkout aisle.
  • I do not have to buy every visual stimulus I see at the grocery store or restaurant.
  • I have eliminated the “failure,” “defeat,” and “I’m bad” mentality.

These are a few examples listed from Chapter Seven, What Do You Want to Overcome?

What food, dieting, or scale battles have you overcome?

Blessings to your health!