Maya Kaimal

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Well, it might be April, but it still feels like winter in NY. As we were driving down to sunny Charleston, SC last week, it was SNOWING up here in NY. Crazy!!! With the cold weather around here, these Everyday Dals by Maya Kaimal have been on heavy rotation!!

Not only are they delicious and comforting, but they are organic, non GMO, kosher, vegan, plant based, gluten-free, and get this…SO EASY to make! Which is perfect for this busy mama.

These amazing Indian dishes are tasty on their own, and they are also incredible on top of a bed of basmati brown rice. Such a great, healthy alternative to Indian take-out. They packed with flavor, spice, and nutrition as well.

My favorite flavor combinations are the Red Lentil with Butternut Squash + Cumin as well as the Kidney Beans with Carrots + Tamarind, but honestly? All 5 flavors are amazing and flavorful. Hubby is obsessed with them as well!

Right now, they are available at Thrive Market and at Jewel locations in Chicago…but they are making their way to more in-store locations soon!

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Before I tried these Everyday Dals, I was already obsessed with the Chickpea Chips from Maya Kaimal AND their sauces (Tikka Masala and Butter Masala are SO good!) Katherine, from Maya Kaimal also sent over both their Chickpea and Naan Chips in many flavors and we have been healthy snacking like crazy over here, oh my goodness, YUM! Thanks, girl! I have to hide them from the rest of the family, so they don’t demolish them before I can get to ’em! Haha.

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This week I am catching up on life after Spring Break vacation down in Maryland and Charleston, SC. We had such a wonderful trip which I will detail here on the blog soon, but I am totally exhausted from the last few days of driving. Yesterday was spent trying to get back into our normal routine, and there is still a ton of unpacking to be done over here.

I hope you all are having a great week so far, and crossing my fingers for some warmer spring-like weather here in our future!

XO,

Gina

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!!

Busy Mama Boot Camp

Busy Mama Boot Camp Invite

ATTENTION MAMAS!!!

Yes, I know you are busy. You’re a mom. So it comes with the territory. Whether you are a stay at home mom, work from home mom, work outside of the home mom, (or maybe you are a mom to a little fur baby). It means you are busy. Busy as hell. You probably barely have time to breathe or shower let alone do laundry, cook dinner, or put on a decent outfit half of the time. Especially you new mamas. You are REALLY busy. Busy trying to figure it all out and understand your new normal. I get it.

We have tiny humans to raise who make us laugh, but stress us out all at the same time. We go from melting into a puddle on the floor at something they said or did to cleaning up puddles on the floor from those things they spilled. We are on the constant shuffle, always on edge of what’s going to happen next, who’s going to throw a tantrum in the store or have a blow out in the car seat. We are constantly late to every event, but you’ll be damned if they miss that sing-a-long on Friday. We are scared to screw up because it’s going to “ruin them forever.” But guess what, we screw up anyway, and they are just fine. We love our children to pieces and would do ANYTHING for them.

But guess what Mamas? YOU are important too. Your health is important. Your sanity is important. Your happiness is important. Because guess what…those children need you around to be healthy, sane, and happy…and that rubs off on them more than you know.

So I am here to let you know that I have created a special group just for YOU. This is that FIRST STEP toward finding that time for yourself again. This is a FREE CHALLENGE group where you can take just a short amount of time out of each day this upcoming week for yourself. To exercise. To eat well. To release those endorphins. To feel happy, healthy, sane…and confident about what you will accomplish by the end of the week.

THIS IS THE BUSY MAMA BOOT CAMP.

Starting Monday May 9th, I will be putting together a SIMPLE boot camp style workout circuit that you can do ANYWHERE. No equipment necessary, so whether you are home, traveling on vacation, or you have no other time to get down on your workout except on your office lunch break, this is something you will be able to fit in. It will be simple, but it will also be a challenge. This is a challenge group afterall. But by the end you will be feeling confident and strong! I will also be sharing some simple, yet delicious family friendly healthy recipes.

If you would like to join the group, please comment below with “I’m a busy mama, but I deserve time too!” or email me here to let me know you are IN! So excited for this group, and cannot wait to get started!!!

Make it a great day everyone! 🙂

XO,

Gina

{39} Lately…

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Lately I’ve been…

reading  A lot faster than I had been! LOL! I recently finished The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Part of me wants to immediately start tidying every single inch of my apartment, and the other part of me is experience extreme anxiety at the thought of going through her process! I am also reading Balancing in Heels by Kristin Cavallari and I have to say I am enjoying it! We have a lot in common in terms of being moms, trying to live a healthy lifestyle with fitness and food, an interest in fashion yet realizing that being busy moms we have to be more practical and other things have become more important than mani/pedis and putting on a full face of makeup every day. (although it IS a nice treat to do so!) Lastly I am reading the 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman with my husband. We thought it would be a good idea to figure out what each of our love languages are and then to read about them individually to see how we can make sure we are on the same page. If you don’t know what love language you are speaking, take the quiz here! Btw…Kristin Cavallari and her husband read this book too! LOL!

writing  This blog post, e-mails, and coach welcome posts on my team page!

listening  Okay, I know I posted this on Facebook the other day, but I am completely obsessed with “Lost Boys” by Ruth B. right now. OH and Nico is requesting “My Name is NO” by Meghan Trainor on repeat.

thinking About my upcoming free challenge group that I am going to host this month. Excited to share soon!

smelling  A pumpkin spice candle. Yes, in the spring. Does that mean I’m NOT basic? 😉

watching  Orange is the New Black. And Teen Mom 2. Yup. True story.

wearing  My J. Crew jammies. So cozy!

feeling  Excited that this Mother’s Day I will be a Mama of TWO! 🙂 Feeling very blessed!

wanting  The hubby to come home! He is out of town again and I am missing him big time.

needing  To book my flight to Nashville for this July!!! I am so excited to go see my fellow team of coaches, get inspired and grow my business! It was such a blast and such a great learning experience last year. I am pumped to go again.

loving  The new Tony Horton 22 Min Hard Corps workout program. Granted I’m only on Day 3, but it’s simple and it’s quick! The boot camp style exercise moves are a total body workout and seems to be effective so far!

wishing  For sunny days. I have had enough of this gloomy, rainy stuff! bring me some sunshine please!

hoping  To find some pretty new dresses to wear for wedding season! We have THREE weddings coming up this June!

craving  Fresh fruit! My favorite time of year is approaching, where all the best fruits come out to play. Some of my favorites are watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, blueberries, and who am I kidding…I love it all…

clicking  For Mother’s Day gifts for all my favorite Mamas out there 🙂 What is your favorite place to shop for this holiday?

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HAPPY WEDNESDAY!

What have you been up to lately?

XO,

Gina

P.S. The mug is from Francesca’s. It’s sold out, but I also love this one 😉 #likeaboss

Summa Summa Summatime

21 Day Fix Invite July 13

Summa Summa Summatime!

It’s mid-summer and I am looking for 5 more women who want to commit to the next 3 weeks of healthy eating and fitness! There is still time to feel confident in that summer bikini, at that summer wedding, or at your family reunion, ladies. It all starts with you and your decision to change and make a difference both by being active and making smart choices in the kitchen.

My next round of the 21 Day Fix is starting up on July 13th, and I would love to help you reach your goals! It will include:

-A DIFFERENT workout each day of the week to keep things interesting
-An EASY to follow nutrition plan complete with portion control containers to map out what you should be eating each day
-30 MEALS of Shakeology – a super healthy drink packed with vitamins, nutrients, and super foods
-MYSELF as your personal coach and motivator
-3 week SUPPORT group full of other challengers like yourself where we will share inspiration, motivation, tips, recipes, etc.

Don’t let a busy schedule hold you back from making a change! Some of my best challengers with the most rockin’ results are busy moms, busy professionals, and have full plates. *30 min a day is only 2% of your day and anyone can make time for this program if they are ready to make a change.*

COMMENT below with your e-mail address if you would like to join the party or if you would like more information. You can also e-mail me at gina.notes26 {at} gmail.com if you want in!

Make it a good one!

XO,

Gina

Summer Sweat Sesh

Summer Sweat Sesh Invite

Can’t believe it’s almost JULY! This summer is flying by already. School is officially out and I know many of us are prepping for family vacations. Whoo hoo!

Starting July 6, I’m hosting a little Summer Sweat Sesh, because a dip in the pool always feels more refreshing after a nice workout right? Not to mention feeling even more fabulous in that swimsuit. 🙂

Most of the workouts are 30 min per day and are combined with a healthy eating plan. Our group will provide support and motivation each day along with workout tips, nutrition information, and yummy summer recipes.

So what do you say? Who’s in for a little sweat sesh this summer?

COMMENT below with your contact information or email me at gina.notes26 {at} gmail.com.

Cheers to Summer!

XO,

Gina

Bikini Body Boot Camp

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Happy Tuesday dahhhhhlings!!

It’s FREE Challenge Group time!!!

***Next Monday, 5/18, I’m hosting a free, 5-DAY BIKINI BODY BOOT CAMP***

Spend the week prepping for summer’s unofficial kick-off, Memorial Day Weekend!! We’ll focus on your core with a “crunchless” ab circuit. Then we’ll maximize those results in the kitchen with some “Bikini Bites” or ideas for healthy snacks + recipes. Get ready to ROCK your swimsuit + most importantly, feel great!!

COMMENT below with your e-email if you would like to be added to the group! You can also email me at gina.notes26 {at} gmail.com. Hope to see YOU + your beautiful bod next week. ❤

XO,

Gina