New obsession: Blueberry Salsa!

Throughout my pregnancy I’ve noticed significant changes in my food aversions. During this third trimester I find that I can’t look at red meat and I’m eating more fruit than ever! I still need to eat chicken, beans and turkey for protein and iron so when I found this recipe to smother them in fruit I was ecstatic!

Below is the original recipe and a second version I altered for fish.

Original Recipe: Great for tacos, chicken and protein bowls. This version is Paleo, Vegan, Whole30 and low carb

  • 2 Cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/3 Cup cilantro, fresh and finely chopped
  • 1 Lime, squeezed
  • 1 Red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 Red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Jalapeño peppers, seeded and membrane removed, finely chopped

Recipe for fish:

  • 2 Cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/4 Cup fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 1/4 Cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 Lime, squeezed
  • 1/2 Red onion, chopped
  • 1 Cup watermelon, chopped (also works with mango!)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Jalapeño peppers, seeded and membrane removed, finely chopped

Baby Shower Decorations

I promised I would include links to all my decorations and favors. I also included some advice about ordering some of these items.

1. Succulent “watch me grow” attendance gift. Found these on Etsy they’re from SuccItUpSucculents. They come wrapped in plastic so make sure you get them a few days before your shower to prepare them. The sign is optional but I added it so our guests would remember where their new house plant came from.

2. Letter blocks

Got these cuties from Etsy. There were a lot to choose from but I wanted larger blocks. These are 3” x 3”. From: Punkins4Corners on

3. Safari animal balloons

I bought these on Amazon and Etsy. Tons to choose from!! We also got ‘LEO’ balloons from Party City and some accent balloons to make the arrangement look more full.

We had a jungle theme so we had a giraffe, a lion, a tiger, zebras, a monkey and an elephant.
The stuffed animals were from HomeGoods but I have seen them on Pottery Barn kids and a multitude of websites.

4. Diaper cake centerpieces

I had these customized on Etsy. They were a lot smaller than I anticipated and a little more expensive than they should’ve been for the size. Use your own discretion when purchasing. They were really cute but in reality a waste of money for overpriced diapers! They were made by LovelylittlesLLC

Fitbit sale!! Up to $50 off!

What a great way to track your activity and heart rate throughout the day! I personally wear the fitbit charge because it’s a more slender version that meets all my needs.

Follow this link to shop the sale! I am not an affiliate of this company just love the product

How to heal cracked & dry lips!

I get this question a lot so I’m giving a very quick step by step guide!

1. Stay hydrated! Make sure you’re drinking enough water (8-10 glasses a day) or more if you’re exercising, talking a lot or pregnant. Dehydration shows quickly in the delicate lip skin.

2. Exfoliate. Before you apply any lip treatments you have to remove the dead skin. I like Bliss Lip Scrub for this. You simply apply, leave it on for a few minutes, wipes with a damp cloth and run away the dead skin. This product also contains a lip conditioner to help smooth and plump the lips. You can visit my Amazon favorites to find the Bliss lip exfoliation that I use weekly myself.

3. Moisture lock. Now that you have fresh skin to work with you want to keep it healthy and moist. Apply an emollient based treatment and leave it on over night. You can use coconut oil, vaseline, shea butter or beeswax based lip treatments.

4. Maintain. The best way to maintain your fresh lips is to apply a treated coating throughout the day. Especially after eating! A lighter emollient such as jojoba oil based lip coatings can be used during the day over your lipstick.

If you notice the dry skin creeping back start the cycle again!

Nutrition and Pregnancy Apps I’m living by

I feel strongly about getting as many nutrients out of my food as possible before adding a supplement. To follow my own guidelines I had to figure out just how many calories, iron, folic acid, vitamin D etc I was getting in my regular diet. This lead to hours of research and I want to share the basics with you.

A large number of prenatal vitamins are laced with fake sugars, unnecessary additives and micronutrients with no scientific evidence of helping your fetus grow. After reviewing the research the only vitamin essential for fetal safety is Folic acid. In second place is Vitamin D and there are mixed results in the published studies. Lastly, Iron is only essential if you have confirmed Iron deficiency anemia. All the other vitamins and micronutrients you see published have no scientific evidence to back them up. Many you can get from a healthy diet.

One way to check on your diet is to see a nutritionist, ask your doctor or use an app to track your nutrient intake. No app is 100% accurate but it can give you an idea of how you’re doing. I chose the Wholesome Pro App to track my nutrients and Lose It! App to track calorie intake.

My results: I was shocked to see that I wasn’t getting enough iron or vitamin D! I had incorporated more chicken, lean beef and lentils into my diet and was sure I was absorbing enough iron. Turns out even with my new diet I was still missing about 70% of a day’s worth of iron! For vitamin D I was using a supplement so I was sure that I had enough however the intake I was getting from food was close to nothing. Turns out Vitamin D fortified orange juice has very little of your daily required dose. Vitamin D can only be found in fish and fortified products making it difficult to consume the recommended amount. I personally avoided fish due to the hidden mercury and heavy metals they carry.

What do to with your results: Make sure your OB is testing your blood frequently to measure these essential vitamins. Consider taking individualized vitamins for your deficits. You could take the full pre-natal vitamin if you can tolerate it and you’re not concerned with the extra vitamin intake. My choice to avoid pre-natals is a personal opinion. You should discuss your nutrition with your doctor to make your own informed decision. Should you decide to use a more food based method consider using these apps to help you track the nutrients rather than guessing.

Unique & Meaningful Gifts for those that are grieving during the holidays

In the last year we’ve lost my grandmother, my dog and now my grandfather is on his death bed. My mother has suffered the unimaginable loss of both parents and has had a emotionally stressful year.

What do you give someone that has everything they need or want and is grieving during the holiday season? I wracked my brain over this for weeks. I searched google, I read blogs about grieving and I asked friends. Then I found a unique gift on Etsy that perfectly fit the bill!

My grandparents we’re both known for their cooking. My grandmother specialized in what she called traditional Italian recipes and my grandfather for items only. The first, was what he called “jumbort” which basically means a mix of things AKA eggs over whatever last nights dinner was and the second was his famous apple pie that he made from scratch.

Knowing that mother was moving into a new home in just a few short months I wanted to contribute something to her new house that would bring the essence of my grandparents. I decided to have my grandparents recipes, in their own handwriting, printed on kitchen tea towels. Luckily, my cousin had kept a book of their recipes and I was able to get them authentically translated on to beautiful towels.

Tea towels are nothing special but the little hint of my grandparents living on in my moms new home was the most thoughtful way I could think to incorporate them in her life. I can only imagine the emotional distress and void of not having a parent around. I’m hoping every time she feels that grief she can look at the tea towels and remember the good times of cooking with them.

These tea towels can be purchased on from BlueMountainBags

Top 10 Health Conditions Affecting Americans: A discussion of what can be prevented.

Chances are you can name a person that suffers from each of these disorders or are one yourself. Maybe you’re thinking 7% doesn’t sound like a high number well, 7% of the US population is 26,054,000. That’s a lot heart attacks and bypass surgeries! 7/10 of these disease are 100% or partially preventable with a healthy lifestyle. Below are some tips and tricks to keep yourself as healthy as possible even when living on a budget.

  1. Hypertension (high blood pressure) 12.5% : The number one cause of stroke and heart attack. The main causes are obesity, smoking and stress. Telling people to stop smoking is a given so I’m going to assume you know that’s a non-negotiable. Obesity tends to be more frequent in populations with lower income and that rely of cheap or fast food. Being on a budget doesn’t mean your health has to suffer. For cheaper produce shop at farmers markets and stores like trader joe’s where a bag of brussel sprouts is 99 cents. Simply adding more produce to your diet will help clean out the bad stuff that’s already in there. Visit my post about cheap clean eats for more recipes! Stress can be a large component of high blood pressure. Meditation and yoga have been documented to relieve stress. Even if they sound hokey, or they’re not your speed, any form of relaxation that lasts more than 20 minutes can bring your pressure down. Consider watching a movie with out your cellphone, talking a walk or focusing on a peaceful activity like painting or drawing to distract yourself from your stressors daily.
  2. Major Depression 9%: While not preventable depression can also benefit from a healthy lifestyle. In some studies increasing the amount you exercise has been as effective as medication. Exercises improves your neuron connections, improves sleep, lowers blood pressure, reduces stress and releasing endorphins (feel good chemicals). Load up on healthy fats! Omega-3’s found in fish and flax seed have been found to help increase healthy hormones. Eat smart carbs! Smart carbs are complex, brown rice, whole grains, fruits and vegetable, they are linked to the mood-boosting brain chemical, serotonin.
  3. High Cholesterol 8.6%: This can be hereditary or diet related. Fat deposits literally pile up in your arteries until you have a stroke or heart attack. Get ahead of it now by eating cleaner and teaching your children these habits while they’re young.
  4. Coronary Artery Disease 7%: This is the end result of smoking, high cholesterol, diabetes and high blood pressure. People with this condition are at the greatest risk for heart attack. This is ridiculous! Most of these conditions are preventable. Don’t let McDonald’s or a low pay check this month tempt you into a heart attack. Lean protein and a bag a frozen vegetables is about the same price and could save your life. Who wants a big belly anyway?!
  5. Type 2 Diabetes 5.5%: 100% preventable. The causes are obesity and lack of physical activity. If this doesn’t scream get on a treadmill, walk your dog more, play soccer with your kids..I don’t know what will. 30 minutes of walking a day could keep you from needing to inject yourself with a needle several times a day. Any needle phobics out there?
  6. Substance Abuse Disorder 3.4%: 100% Preventable. Mental health is just as important as physical. Depression, anxiety, trauma, domestic violence or abuse and mental illnesses are usually what lead to substance abuse. It’s unfortunate that currently our society doesn’t recommend yearly mental health checks as we do for physical health. Difficulties and conditions caught early are much more treatable than those ignored. Think about the last time you did something stupid when you were high. Now think about how guilty and shameful you felt the next day. This anxiety probably provoked you into using again. Get ahead of the cycle and break it. You’ll have a much happier life and less apologies to hand out.
  7. Alcohol Abuse 3.3%: 100% preventable. Most people are surprised to hear what qualifies as alcoholism. For women, no more than 3 drinks on any single day and no more than 7 drinks per week. For men, no more than 4 drinks on any single day and no more than 14 drinks per week. Anyone exceeding these number would be considered an alcoholic. In addition there is the issues of binge drinking. The definition of binge drinking is a pattern of drinking that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels to 0.08 g/dL. This typically occurs after 4 drinks for women and 5 drinks for men—in about 2 hours. Happy hour isn’t sounding so happy any more is it. What happens when you surpass these numbers? Blackouts, memory loss, accidents, increase risk of rape, overdose and death are the immediate risks. Long term, liver damage, kidney damage, ulcers, increased cancer risk, depression, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes…the list goes on.
  8. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) 3.3%: Most commonly caused by cigarette smoking. Re-read paragraph 1 and don’t smoke! Unless you want to be strapped to an oxygen machine!
  9. Psychiatric Disorder 2.9% : Not preventable but again as discussed in depression you can help increase your mental health state with exercise and a healthy diet.
  10. Crohn’s Disease & Ulcerative Colitis 2.7%: Not preventable. However these unfortunate sufferers find that living by a strict diet is the only way they can live. These diseases can precipitate anxiety and depression and it’s best to maintain exercise and your diet the best you can to maintain your healthy, physical and mental.