Easy Soups for Fall

 

I recently ran a Crockpots + Squats health and fitness challenge, and it had me experimenting a little more in the kitchen! I posted a few photos which had a lot of people asking for recipes, so I decided to put this together to share. I took these recipes from my cookbook called The Italian Slowcooker by Michele Sciolone, but I added a few of my own twists to them as well to make them my own.

First up:

Butternut Squash Soup

Serves 6

1 medium onion, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large garlic cloves, chopped

1 large butternut squash, about 1.5 pounds, peeled, seeded, and cut (Mom tip: buy this pre-cut! More expensive, but WORTH saving the time!)

2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks

3 fresh sage leaves or 1 tsp dried

4 cups chicken broth

Salt and fresh ground pepper

olive oil for drizzling

*I also added a can of coconut milk and lots of cinnamon!)*

In medium skillet, cook the oinion in the oil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, but not browned, about 10 minutes. If the onion starts to color, add a tablespoon or two of water and lower the heat slightly. Stir in the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more. Scrape the mixture into the slow cooker. Add the squash, potatoes, sage, and broth. I also added cinnamon here. If necessary, add water so that the vegetables are covered with liquid (I did not add water, FYI. I just added coconut milk or more broth until it was covered with liquid).

Cover and cook on low for 4 hours or until vegetables are soft when pierced with a fork. Let cool slightly, then puree the soup in a blender or food processor. Season with salt and pepper to taste. I actually added cinnamon on top of mine, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Voila!

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The next soup I made last week was:

Creamy Cauliflower and Potato Soup

Serves 8

2 heads cauliflower, about 1.25 pounds each, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces

2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

1/4 cup olive oil

4 garlic cloves

3 cups chicken broth

4 cups water

*I replaced some of the water with canned coconut milk instead)*

1/2 cup fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (I used Romano because that’s my jam)

In a large slow cooker, combine the cauliflower, potatoes, oil, garlic, broth, water, coconut milk, salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours, or until the vegetables are very soft.

Let the soup cool slightly, then pour into a blender and puree until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with a sprinkle of cheese. Boom!

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And there you have it!!!!

Two delicious soups for fall!!!

The entire family ate all of this right up. Mom tip: If it’s difficult to feed younger children a pureed soup like this, you can also give them the chunks of veggies before you puree! My little guy devoured them!

Enjoy, and please share below any of your favorite easy soup recipes for fall!

Reminder: TOMORROW I will be announcing the WINNER for the Country Heat Giveaway!!! For your last chance to enter, please visit popcorn and pandas on Facebook before the end of the day!

Make it a great day everyone!!

Country HEAT Giveaway + More!

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Happy MONDAY!!!! I used to get a “case of the Mondays” every now and then, but not so much anymore…and especially not today. Today I am announcing the BIGGEST popcorn and pandas giveaway of the year!

Most of you know by now that I became an online health + fitness coach almost 2 years ago (Jan will be my 2 year anniversary), and trust me when I say being able to get results doing 30 minute workouts AT home while having two children has been a complete game changer. After having my 1st son, it was near impossible for me to get back into shape and to feel like my old self again. I took a different approach the 2nd time around as a coach, and it’s been life changing, for realz.

In an effort to pay it forward and show someone else that it is indeed possible to feel like yourself again and get into a routine with only 30 minutes a day, I’m giving away a COUNTRY HEAT Package on my Facebook page this week! Here’s what you’ll get:

-Country Heat DVD Workout Program

-Nutrition Guide

-Portion Control Container System (this is KEY!)

-A 7 Day Supply of Shakeology in all 7 Flavors

-A Shakeology Cup

-A Spot in My Monthly Challenge Support Group for the Month of November (the support is MAJOR!)

HUGE!!!! Not only does this program guarantee you an amazing cardio dance workout, but it’s FUN! You’re so busy movin’ and shakin’ that you don’t realize how hard you are working until you are done and in full sweat. Not a dancer? No worries. The best part about this is that you’re in your living room! LOL. So you don’t have to stress about looking silly dancing in front of others 😉

“Okay, enough already. What do I have do to WIN this program, Gina?”

Alright, here you go. Here’s what you have to do:

  1. Go to my Popcorn and Pandas Facebook page and click LIKE.
  2. Comment on the Country Heat Giveaway post which will be pinned to the top.
  3. In the comment TAG 3 friends to let them know about this giveaway, and let me know WHY you want to win this program! (do you need something fun to mix things up, do you love to dance, are you stuck in a rut, do you want to work off the baby weight, etc.?)

That’s it!!! Simple as that.

Winner will be announced on my Facebook page this FRIDAY.

For more details on Country Heat, check out this link here.

In other news…our new KICKBOXING program, Core de Force will launch on Halloween! Today (and for the next 3 days) we are opening up a FREE sneak peek of the program if you want to check it out! Sign up here if you want to try it out. I have personally tried it out, and it’s awesome!! I will be the first one buying that complete program on Monday!!!

Okay, hope this little post and giveaway has officially cured your Monday blues today. Can’t wait to draw a winner on Friday for this amazing Country Heat giveaway!!

Make it a great day!

XO,

Gina

Feeling Like Fall

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Top: J. Crew Factory – sold out but other colors here / Hat: J. Crew Factory / Denim: AG Jeans / Booties: Target / Lip: MAC Rebel

Friday night post whoooo! Maybe some of you are as lame as me and able to read this tonight…maybe not 😉 Either way, hopefully you get a chance to check it out at some point over the weekend haha.

I took these photos last weekend when it was truly starting to feel like fall and then we had a week of 80 degree weather!!!! LOL! Go figure! I scored this J. Crew top and hat over at the Factory outlet on summer vacation, and was excited to finally bust them out.

You may have gotten a glimpse of my crazy week over on Facebook, but things are looking up and trying to focus on the positive. Last weekend we had good friends in town and took them up to Bear Mountain for an awesome fall hike. We made it to the top, and I was incredibly impressed that my 3 year old did 95% of the hike himself! I carried the baby on my back which was an extra workout, and we had a great time catching up while enjoying the great outdoors. Tomorrow we are on the road to Maryland to reunite and celebrate a dear friend who has a baby on the way.

In other news, I have the BIGGEST popcorn and pandas giveaway of the YEAR coming up which I will announce here on MONDAY!!!! So make sure you come on back to see what it’s all about! 🙂

Happy Weekend!

XO,

Gina

P.S. I need a haircut. Any good ideas? Throw them my way! 😉

Dare to Dream

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When you look at this photo here, you see a smiling, happy, fun-loving, positive, fitness crazy group of friends.

But what you don’t see in this photo:

-One of these women suffered from eating disorder in her past
-One rarely sees her husband because he is in the military
-One never had a group of close girlfriends growing up
-One always felt like a social outcast
-One recently struggled through divorce
-One is struggling financially to get her family back on their feet
-One was drowning in the day to day of motherhood
-One was overweight and lost over 80 pounds to get healthy
-One struggles with a chronic illness
-One has a stressful full time job

People often comment or tell me that what I am doing is amazing, but they don’t have that kind of motivation, or they don’t have the dedication that I do. I think sometimes they believe I am this fitness machine and that this is just easy for me. But I am human. All of these women here are human. We have our struggles. We have our past. We have the daily grind of life that can sometimes be difficult.

But the difference here is that this group of women have made a DECISION. They have decided that THEY are in CHARGE of their own lives. That their circumstances will not define them. That they are WORTH it. That they will work toward a life they have always wanted, and won’t let anything stand in their way.

This is the type of job where you determine your own destiny. Especially in a country right now where women are still underpaid compared to men…this company has given everyone an equal opportunity to succeed. There is no cap to your potential…as long as you are willing to put in the work. If you believe in other people…in helping other people…that is the key. The ladies here are not in this business for a quick rise to the top or some get rich quick scheme. That’s just not real life. But they are here to help people, to grow and enrich themselves, to learn, to FACE their daily struggles, to conquer them, and to go after what they truly deserve.

I am hosting a “What is Coaching?” Happy Hour online THIS Thursday night at 8:30pm ET to give you an inside scoop on what it REALLY means to be a coach and how you can start to face those fears and go after those dreams in your life. Everyone has the potential to be the best person you can be. It’s all about making that decision. So if nothing else other than pure curiosity, I would love to see you there on Thursday for this info-only event! No pressure to join in this opportunity…only the information to see if just maybe this is the thing you’ve been waiting for.  

COMMENT, drop me an email, or fill out this application below, and I can’t wait to chat more on Thurs!!!

https://pandpfitness.wufoo.com/forms/team-spark/

Make it a great day everyone!

XO,

Gina

A Grand Occasion

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I’ve been feeling behind on my posts here lately, and it’s unintentional, but sometimes, as you know, life just gets in the way. In the next few weeks here, I’m hoping to play some catch up and share the rest of the beautiful moments, adventures, outfits, and fun times that have happened over the last few months.

You may remember my post back from early summer at the Belvedere wedding with my sparkling dress and write up of the amazing nuptials. The night was so gorgeous, I just had to go back and share some of my favorites from the event. Not only did the couple look stunning, but they seriously know how to have a good time, and the dance floor was ROCKIN’ to a Springsteen cover band all night long. Pretty sure the staff was trying to flick on the lights to give us the boot for at least a half hour before our “concert” officially ended.

Hope you enjoy these pics and hope Melissa + Patrick have been enjoying these last few months as newlyweds!!!

Happy Monday and hope you are all off to a great start to the week!

XO,

Gina