Health and Fitness, Healthy Recipes, Motherhood, Uncategorized

Not Your Average Pancake…and the kids LOVE it!

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I am always looking for HEALTHIER CHOICES to serve at the table for my kids, husband and I. As I was searching through my @theFITm0m Instagram newsfeed, I came across a recipe for Whole Wheat Oatmeal Pancakes on @healthfoodguide (credited through @sallysbakeblog).

I instantly knew that I wanted to try these because of how DELICIOUS they looked…

For our modifications, I diced up an apple and my oldest son helped me mix all the listed ingredients together. I then cooked it using organic coconut oil, which always proves to be the perfect greasing option for my meals. We chose to slice up bananas to put atop the bed of pancakes, followed by a dusting of powdered sugar, and a drizzle of maple syrup.

This combination reminded me of a mix between an apple cinnamon muffin and a traditional pancake with a banana’s foster treat on top.

 

THESE WERE THE FLUFFIEST PANCAKES I HAVE EVER MADE!

 

I always become a little anxious when giving my children new things that are good for them because there is a small bit of hesitation and hope that they won’t dislike it…

As my five-year-old sunk his teeth into the first bite, I asked him what he thought of the new pancake recipe. He quickly replied with, “Mom, I don’t even like these new pancakes”.  I asked him why and what was wrong with them. He started to giggle and then replied, “Because I LOVE THEM!  They are soooooo delicious and you can never make any other pancake again!”  My one-year-old devoured TWO of them, which displayed his approval, as well!

Every time I bring a new recipe to our table, I tell everyone I encounter about it. A major reaction I get from parents is how their kids would NEVER eat anything that healthy.

THIS REACTION BAFFLES MY MIND!

Kids are a product of their environment; they become accustomed to what they are exposed to on a regular basis. You have to explain the benefits behind eating healthy to your kids and let them know that there are tasty options… And have them TRY THEM for themselves.

Many people are surprised that my kids’ first smack option is usually a piece of fruit or fresh cut vegetables that I bag up and place in the bottom of our refrigerator for them to have easily accessible…

IT IS WHAT THEY KNOW, it is what they see me doing, and it is what they hear me encouraging and explaining to them on a continual basis.  I TELL THEM exactly what it is so they can know and understand what they are eating and how it is helping their bodies.

Even before a child is able to verbally reply, it is it essential to build a FOUNDATION of healthy eating and lifestyle habits within him/her. Children are our future and we need to treat them properly.

From what I have experienced, a lot of the hesitation with what kids eat lies within what the PARENTS eat or introduce them to.

I like to involve my children in the preparation of healthy meals as much as possible; as long as it safe. When they have an acting role in preparing it, they seem to enjoy it even more and become more excited to try!

Try taking baby steps with getting kids to eat healthier options; rather than giving them a bag of chips to snack on, cut up an apple and banana and have them dip it in peanut butter….

It’s never too late to start!

HAPPY EATING!

Stay Healthy,

Tara

Health and Fitness, Uncategorized

Ditch those store-bought granola bars!

imageDitch those store-bought granola bars! Banana Oat Energy Bites have won over our entire family and are actually GOOD for you… Unlike any granola bar you find in the store. These were so easy to make and taste SO good!

I used organic peanut butter in place of almond butter because it’s what was in our cabinet and we didn’t have chocolate chips, so I crushed up a chocolate bar from our Valentine’s Day stash. Resourceful, right?!

Anyway! These literally take a minute to gather the ingredients and mix up, maybe 2 minutes (MAXIMUM) to form into balls, then vuala; yummy goodness that the whole family can enjoy!

There are so many variations of DIY granola bars that meet all families’ taste buds…. And ALL homemade options are better than ones in a wrapper!

A nice rule of thumb I go by when choosing what to eat… AND FEED MY CHILDREN… Is that if it’s in a wrapper, don’t eat it!

Obviously, no one is perfect and there may be times that the “wrapped” foods are all we can get, but having the goal of avoiding them is the first step toward a better state of health.

Next time, I will be tripling the batch (they’re almost all gone in only 2 days because everyone divoured them!) and freezing at least half of them to save on time.

HAPPY EATING!!!

Stay healthy,

Tara 

About the Blog... And the Mom, Motherhood, Uncategorized

A working mom’s daily struggle

When I was a little girl, I always had high hopes and dreams to have a booming career; to be independent and make something of myself. I remember being around 8-years-old and telling myself that I would never give up on my dreams…. Even though I didn’t really know what my dreams were at that point in my life. 

I just always knew that there was a professional purpose for me in life. From the time I began working at the age of 15, I could never settle and continued to seek for better jobs with more potential and better pay, of course!  During the summer between my sophomore and junior year of high school, I went through an 8-week course that trained me to take the exam to become a Certified Nursing Assistant. I studied and practiced my skills and passed the exam!

At only 16 1/2-years-old, I began working in a nursing home on their 3-11 work shifts as a CNA

I remember being so proud of myself… Of what doors I was opening up for myself… And for the financial security I could have!

Some might say I was a workaholic. I loved being independent and knowing that I was able to buy the nice shoes and clothes I wanted.

That mindset continued on, and maybe grew even stronger, as I continued to evolve my goals and dreams….

Fast forward a few years later…

As I attended Slippery Rock University, I did not live the average college student’s lifestyle.  Rather than “cruising through life” and worrying about nothing besides my studies, I worked a full-time job bartending at my step-sister’s bar, which happened to be in Pittsburgh and over an hour away from my school! 

I quickly learned what time management was and taught myself a strict schedule that involved little sleep, much coffee, much studying, and of course… A whole lot of work and dedication!

I graduated with high honors with a degree in Health and Physical Education and defeated all of crazy odds that were against me.  Once again, I could truly say that I was so proud of what I accomplished…independently.  

I landed a full-time teaching job a month after graduation…. I know, again, another HUGE pride-booster! For those that don’t know, finding a teaching job in Pennsylvania is just as common as hitting the lottery…. So I guess I could say, “CHA CHING?!”

After having my first son, I still wasn’t professionally satisfied, so I decided to attend an online Graduate School program to earn my Master’s Degree in Educational Development and Strategies.  All while planning a wedding (we bought a house when I became pregnant with our son and put the wedding off until later in our lives together)!  I graduated a week before our wedding with a 4.0 GPA.  Again, I was very proud of myself and what I was able to accomplish.

I am, by no means, trying to brag.  Only make it clear how hard I have worked and how much pride I have found in my professional accomplishments…because I did it all on my own.

Fast forward a few more years…

Now that you know the background, this part should make more sense. I am now a mother of two AMAZING boys.  As you may have read in my previous posts, they are my reason for living each day. I cannot imagine not being “mom”… Which is why I find every Monday-Friday to be the hardest, most emotional days of my life. I struggle continually to come to a reasonable choice of whether or not all that hard work and dedication that brought me to the amazing career I now have was even worth it?

I can honestly say that I LOVE my job; I love my co-workers, my students, am so passionate about what I teach…. And yet I still find every day a complete struggle to be there… Away from the two little people that mean more than anything in the world to me.  

I just keep telling myself that in a few years, when my youngest son, Adam (now 18-months-old) goes to school, it will be easier and that I am making a difference in so many children’s lives and am giving my children a more financially-stable life.  I try to remind myself that I would like to be a role model for my sons; of what type of woman they deserve…

But is that the truth?  I still struggle to find the answer…

I truly envy stay-at-home moms.  Not because they “don’t work”…because I truly think that a dedicated mother does MORE work when she is home with her children.  But, because I would give anything to freeze my career and be able to spend these early years of their lives with them.  I envy the moms that can have daily playdates, or even just stay in their PJ’s and cuddle on the couch on rainy days.  I envy the moms that can take their children to and from preschool, take them to a nice lunch, or to just have those extra few hours together each day.

After 5 years of being a working mom, I still don’t know if it’s the right choice. I do know a few things, though. I know that I will always try to be the best mom I can be; no matter how tired I am at the end of the day. I know that I am eternally grateful to have the career that I have because it enables me to help provide for our family. And I know that I am so grateful for Summer break…. Because I get a small sample of what it’s like to live my ultimate dream of being home with my children.

And with all of that, it’s still a CONSTANT STRUGGLE

Stay Healthy,

Tara

Motherhood, Uncategorized

Ryan is 5!

 

So, I cannot believe how fast these past years have gone by… My baby is 5!!! How is this real? For all the moms out there, I’m sure you can relate to how sad it is to realize that your chid is growing up so fast.

It seems like it was just yesterday that I looked into his blue eyes in that hospital bed; the moment that my life forever changed for the best. That moment made me realize what my true purpose in life is; to be the best possible mother to my children. To make the moment even more special, he was born on Marc and I’s first date anniversary, which also happens to be Valentine’s Day. This little person made such a positive impact on my life from the very second I met him. Now, 5 years later, he is one of the funniest, smartest, and all-around coolest kids I know. He’s an amazing big brother, a compassionate son, a caring friend, and is always looking for the next adventure!

Every year, Ryan asks for a special gift from me; for me to make a cake that matches his chosen theme.  At first, I was so hesitant, but have really began to enjoy doing it for him. The cakes might not be perfect and definitely take a lot of time and effort, but the joy on his face and gratitude that he shows makes every bit of it worth while!  I decided to make all of his decorations this year, which took FOREVER, but really made the party unique!  This was his special day and I was able to show him how much he means to me through my time and efforts!

If there is one thing that I can hope for, it’s for my children to always know how much I love them and how much they have positively impacted my life. Being a mom is the ultimate “title” I behold and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world!

Stay healthy, everyone!

Tara

Health and Fitness, Healthy Recipes, Motherhood, Uncategorized

Frothy Coffee

Who doesn’t love a good cup of coffee in the morning?!  What you may not know, is that coffee (by itself) is actually GOOD FOR YOU!  The problem is, the naturally bitter taste causes most people to put unhealthy additives into it, which causes it to be UNHEALTHY.

This is a DELICIOUS and HEALTHY alternative to coffee with cream and sugar!

THE TRICK IS IN THE BLENDER…that’s right, I said blender!! If you want that coffee shop froth on top, you have to use it. I choose to use my NutriBullet to save on dishes; I drink it out of the same cup I mix in!

All I do is combine:

1 cup of brewed coffee

1tbsp coconut oil (gives natural energy, good flavor, and adds to the froth)

Almond milk (as much as you prefer)

Optional sweetener: Honey (natural sweetener)  I use 1tsp, but this amount can be adjusted depending on how sweet you like it.

BLEND AND ENJOY! 🙂

Stay healthy!
Tara