Saturday, November 29, 2014

Next-Day Turkey Soup with Mashed Potato Polpetti


8 cups chicken broth
1 turkey carcass, all meat removed
1 carrot, halved lengthwise, plus 1 carrot, minced
1 whole stalk celery, plus 1 stalk, minced
1 onion, halved, plus 1 onion, minced
2 bay leaves
3 cups dark turkey meat
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups leftover cooked Thanksgiving side vegetables (Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, green beans)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
Mashed Potato Polpetti (Patties), for serving, recipe following


Put the chicken broth, turkey, carrot halves, celery stalk, onion halves and 1 bay leaf in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil and then simmer, about 1 1/2 hours.

Dice the turkey meat. Make sure the meat pieces are no larger than the size of a soupspoon. (If preparing the soup the next day, be sure to store leftover turkey meat in an airtight container before placing it in the refrigerator. Top with 1 or 2 ladles full of broth to keep the meat moist.)

Before straining the broth, remove the large bones and carcass with tongs. Strain the broth through a sieve covered with wet cheesecloth. Discard the solids. Transfer the broth to a bowl set in a bath of ice water, which will cool the broth quickly and help keep it fresher longer. This can be done the night before and stored in the refrigerator until the next day.

In a large soup pot, heat the garlic in the olive oil over medium heat. Allow to brown slightly, about 3 minutes. Add the minced carrots, celery and onions. Sweat over medium-low heat until softened, 7 or 8 minutes.

Dice the leftover Thanksgiving vegetables. Add the sage to the soup pot along with the turkey broth and the remaining bay leaf. Bring to a simmer. When simmering, add the Brussels sprouts, green beans and diced turkey meat to the soup. Bring it back up to a simmer. Finally, add the sweet potatoes to the center and gently push them down. Turn the heat off and cover. Allow to sit and steam, 5 to 7 minutes. Let simmer for 5 more minutes and serve with the Mashed Potato Polpetti.
Mashed Potato Polpetti (Patties):

3 cups mashed potatoes
Grey salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
All-purpose flour, for dredging
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Leftover gravy, for serving

Re-season the potatoes with salt and pepper. Stir in the cheese. Take a mayonnaise or peanut butter lid and line with plastic wrap to use as a mold. Pack the potato mixture into the lid, unwrap it and place the patty on a baking sheet. You may refrigerate them covered with plastic wrap until the next day, or fry immediately.

To cook, dredge the patties in flour. Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Just before frying, dredge the patties again with flour.

Add the patties to the oil without crowding them (you may have to cook them in batches). Cook until the underside is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Flip and brown the other side. Remove from the skillet and drain on paper towels. Serve hot with leftover gravy. Makes 6 servings.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Sweet Potato-Pecan Casserole

Cooking spray
3 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 5 medium), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1/3 cup honey
1 large egg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
Kosher salt
1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup finely chopped pecans


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Mist an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Split Squats

Looking for a great leg workout? Try these! Do on one side and then switch legs! Add weights for more of a challenge!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Pear, Prosciutto & Hazelnut Stuffing


• 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
• 4 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced, cut into ribbons
• 2 cups onion, chopped
• 2 cups diced fennel bulb
• 1/4 cup minced shallot
• 2 teaspoons minced fresh sage
• 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
• 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
• 8 cups stale baguette, preferably multi-grain (not sourdough), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
• 2 Bosc pears, ripe but firm, chopped
• 1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
• 1/3 cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted
• 1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• Freshly ground pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
2. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add prosciutto; cook, stirring, until crispy, about 5 minutes. Drain on a paper towel.
3. Wipe out the pan and heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, fennel and shallot and cook, stirring, until softened and beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add sage, thyme and rosemary and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Transfer everything to a large bowl and gently stir in bread, pears, parsley, hazelnuts and the prosciutto. Add broth; toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon the stuffing into the prepared baking dish; cover with foil.
4. Bake for 40 minutes; remove the foil and bake until the top is beginning to crisp, 25 to 30 minutes more.

Per serving : 176 Calories; 5 g Fat; 1 g Sat; 2 g Mono; 8 mg Cholesterol; 29 g Carbohydrates; 9 g Protein; 6 g Fiber; 489 mg Sodium; 283 mg Potassium
1 1/2 Carbohydrate Serving
Exchanges: 1 1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 1/2 fat

Tips & Notes
• Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 3 and refrigerate for up to 1 day.
• Note: If you don't have stale bread ready to use, spread the baguette cubes on a baking sheet and toast at 250°F until crisped and dry, about 15 minutes.
• Tip: To toast chopped nuts & seeds: Cook in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Standing oblique crunches

Work those abs without doing standard crunches. Start with putting your
weight on your right leg. Fully extend your arm up and extend your left
foot out. Then crunch in. 30 seconds, and then switch sides.
**make it easier by allowing the foot that is not carrying the majority of the weight to carry more weight.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

21 Day Fix containers!!

I have had many of you ask if you can get EXTRA 21 Day Fix containers. The answer is YES!!!

**If you have the PiYo program, these containers will also work with that meal plan too!!


Friday, November 21, 2014

Tough Cookie Challenge

You asked for it...the 3rd annual "I'm a Tough Cookie" Holiday support group is back! Happy, healthy holidays ARE possible! This FREE group will offer support, motivation, accountability, recipes, healthy substitutions and fun as you MAINTAIN, NOT GAIN, AND EVEN LOSE A FEW POUNDS IN DECEMBER! The group runs November 28-December 31.

***Last year's group of 22 people LOST a combined 92 pounds!!!***

Questions? Message me as this group will fill fast! You will be required to check into a private Facebook accountability group. Shakeology is not required but encouraged as a way to combat the sweets and feel fully satisfied!

Thursday, November 20, 2014


My job is AWESOME! On those days where I don't feel like getting out of bed, I don't have to. Working in my PJs this morning! 

Does this sound appealing? Let's talk :)


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Monday, November 17, 2014

Monday Motivation

Sound advice! The only way you can EVER reach your goals, is just to keep trying!


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Why I am a Beachbody Coach

I am often asked, "Melissa, why are you so into fitness and nutrition?"

The truth is that I wasn't always into fitness and nutrition. Several years ago, I was at a point in my life where I realized that my health was truly affecting me. I couldn't be the mom that I wanted because I didn't have the energy or the motivation for my kids. I found that with each passing year, I was adding new health issues to my list. I was depressed and playing the victim. I let my weight take over, and I honestly believed that it was part of life and that there was nothing I could do about it. Just before my 34th birthday, I finally took a good hard look at myself, and realized that I did not want to continue down this path. I wanted to be more active in my children's lives, and I definitely wanted to be around to watch them grow up.

It was a slow process, but I made the effort to eat right and exercise more. I lost 45 pounds in that first year, and another 10 in the following year...while consistently maintaining my weight loss along the way! In May of 2013, I joined a Slim in 6 challenge group on Facebook, through my old college roommate, Jen. Participating in that group forever CHANGED MY LIFE. It was through that group where I realized how much my life had changed because of my new healthy habits. Now I was adding in a fantastic exercise routine that helped me slim and shape my new body. I realized that the group support that I was getting was giving me confidence and motivation to keep up my journey.

I started my Facebook page several weeks later, and discovered that sharing my story, not only motivated me, but gave others hope for their own journey as well. I find that the more I learn about others and help them find their path to good health, the more inspired I am to stick to my path. It only takes, one person or one moment to completely change your perspective. If I can help someone find that turning point, I know that they will most certainly reach their goals!

Being healthy is about fitness AND nutrition. I am conscious of the foods I eat because I want to fuel my body with the best foods. I am human, I still eat junk food...just not as often as I used to. I have also learned that regular exercise is SO VERY important. it took me YEARS to make it part of my daily routine. Running and participating in Challenge groups keeps me motivated to keep it up too!

Want to start your journey? Message me today and I can help!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Be an example for your kids

I KNOW kids can be PICKY, but if we don't introduce them to the good stuff, they will NEVER learn to enjoy and appreciate it! 

#‪#‎startemearly‬ ‪#‎endthetrend‬

Friday, November 14, 2014

Squat Alignment

Are you getting the most out of your squats? Here are some great tips to maximize your results.
- keep your knees BEHIND your toes
- keep your back straight
- for a sumo squat, tuck your pelvis under you as you squat
- for a traditional squat, sit back into your heels (if you are about to fall backwards, you are doing it right)
- when you stand, push your hips and thighs forward, and squeeze your glutes

Thursday, November 13, 2014

21 Day Fix - Upper Fix

A glimpse of some of the exercises from Upper Fix from the #21dayfix
program. Look like something you would like? Let's talk! Comment

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


OH MY....this looks like heaven!!! 


large Granny Smith apples
(21 ounce) can apple pie filling
teaspoon ground cinnamon
(14.1 ounce) package Pillsbury rolled pie crust (use just 1 of the 2 crusts in the box)


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Slice the top off each of your apples and scoop out the inside of the apple. I used a knife and a spoon to hollow out the apple.
  • In a small bowl, mix the apple pie filling with the cinnamon. Spoon the filling into the well of each apple.
  • Unroll one pie crust and cut it into fourths; one for each apple. Then cut each quarter into 1/4-inch strips.
  • Lay strips of the dough on top of the apple. Then take one new strip at a time and alternate weaving it over and under the pie strips already in place. Repeat until the top of the apple has been covered. Trim excess pie crust around the edges with a knife.
  • Place apples in a baking dish and fill with 1/4-inch of water. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until crust if golden brown. Remove from baking dish and enjoy.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Support is important

My life isn't just about fitness. I believe that the key to good health is being and a healthy eating lifestyle are just icing on the cake. Life is always better with good friends! I have been blessed to live in a neighborhood with such a close knit group of friends. They are always willing to lend a helping hand, help with the kids, and provide a listening ear. They are definitely my second family and I love them all!

How about you? Do you have a close knit family, neighborhood, or other support system that you couldn't live without?

If you need someone to be YOUR support through your fitness journey, I am here.  Send me a message or sign up for a free Team Beachbody account  with this link, and I will message you soon!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

What IS the 21 Day Fix?

It is a 3 week fitness AND nutrition program designed to help you slim and trim your body!

What is included in the program?
7 different 30 minute workouts, a 10 minute ab workout, and a BONUS Plyo Fix workout! You will also get a set of portion control containers, and a detailed guide on how to use them. Plus extra support and motivation by your own personal coach (that's me ). <<<Bundle this program with 30 days of Shakeology (at a discount), and get even better results>>>

What kind of results can I expect?
I have been running challenge/support groups for this program since February. Most of my participants lose at least 5 pounds in 3 weeks. I have had some lose as much as 15 in 3 weeks!!! Either way, most everyone loses inches!!! Personally, I gained some amazing muscle definition in my arms, legs, back and abs.

Where can I get more information?
EASY!!! Comment below or message me directly for more information! Or if you are truly ready to just jump in , follow this link to buy your 21 Day Fix Challenge Pack today, and secure YOUR spot in my next challenge group!!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Gluten Free Pumpkin Muffins

Gluten Free Pumpkin Muffins

3 large eggs
2 tablespoons molasses
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin purée
1 3/4 cups all purpose gluten free flour blend
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup soft butter

1) Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan, or line the pan with papers, and grease the papers.

2) Whisk together the eggs, molasses, and pumpkin purée. Set aside.

3) Whisk together the gluten-free flour or brown rice flour blend, sugar, baking powder, xanthan gum, salt, and pumpkin pie spice.

4) Add the soft butter, mixing with an electric mixer until evenly crumbly. The mixture will look like coarse sand.

5) Add the egg mixture a bit at a time, beating well with an electric mixer after each addition. Beat for 1 to 2 minutes, until the mixture is fluffy.

6) Scoop the batter into the prepared pan, mounding the cups full. The batter will rise above the level of each cup; that's fine.

7) Let the muffins rest for 10 minutes.

8) Bake the muffins for 22 to 25 minutes, until the middle springs back when lightly touched. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before removing from the pan. Best served warm.

Yield: 12 muffins.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Transformation Thursday

CHECK OUT PATRICIA... At age 67, she completed P90X3 (and the original P90) to lose 51 POUNDS, and she won $500 in the Beachbody Challenge. If you think you can't do these workouts, guess again! If you are motivated enough, you can do ANYTHING! 

see her story:

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A Helathly lifestyle can help with Depression

Do you or anyone you know suffer from depression? Read this article. I can help you get started on a path to healing :)



From the Beachbody article,

Can Exercise Help Relieve Depression? by Denis Faye

Throughout his life, former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill suffered from depression, a disease he described as the “Black Dog.” Having wrestled with it myself since childhood, I can say with some authority that there’s no more apt description. Although its presence has lessened over the years as I’ve “done the work,” there are still mornings when I awake to find my own, private Black Dog waiting for me at the foot of the bed, its mournful stare setting the tone for the entire day. In my youth, it would follow me for weeks or months, becoming bigger and more menacing the more I tried to ignore it. Today, I have fixes that shorten its stay.
I’m one of those fortunate depressives who can find solutions without pharmaceuticals—although it takes effort. So when the Black Dog visits, after I’ve dealt with my usual daily tasks like watering and feeding my charges, feeding and watering myself, and sending a few work emails so that I appear productive (all challenging tasks on a bad day), I slide into my cycling kit, clip on my shoes and helmet, hop on my bike, and head out on the road for some therapy.
Although anyone who’s ever gone for a walk to clear their head already knows this, the notion that exercise fights depression is fairly well established. A review of 25 studies in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine unveiled strong evidence of its preventative benefits, even if that exercise is just light cardio a few hours each week. Does that make it a great way to shake the occasional “blahs”? You bet! Will it cure you if you have a major issue? Probably not. “Exercise doesn’t necessarily solve the whole problem,” says Sport & Exercise Psychologist Dr. Haley Perlus, “but it alleviates a lot of the day-to-day symptoms.”
And, as anyone who’s ever dealt with depression knows, alleviating those day-to-day symptoms the Black Dog presents can be incredibly powerful, so exercise should surely be one of the primary tools in your psychological toolbox.
What is Depression?
There are many shades of depression, but it’s best defined by the Mayo Clinic as “a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest.” There are a number of possible causes, including brain chemistry, hormone imbalances, genetics, and life trauma. It can range from temporary melancholy to lifelong clinical depression. Triggers are also varied. Major events such as death of a loved one or divorce may cause it. Many mothers experience postpartum depression. Some people experience Seasonal Affective Disorder, meaning they’re actually impacted by a lack of sunlight. Others—as is my case—simply wake up some mornings feeling rotten without being 100% certain why (although I can usually dig up the root cause with a good meditation session).
One tricky aspect of depression is that people who’ve never experienced it have a hard time sympathizing. It’s not like diabetes or a heart condition, with easily comprehensible pathology. You don’t just “snap out” of a depression and you should never write off a friend or family member’s depression as something that’ll just pass. Speaking firsthand, there’s a lot of ugly stuff floating around in your gray matter when you’re having an episode—including thoughts that can lead to choices seemingly illogical to the outside observer. Case in point, the recent—and very tragic—death of comedian Robin Williams.
So, it’s important to address the issue head-on, typically with therapy, medication, or some combination thereof. There are also a number of practices that can help, including meditation, journaling, self-help books, and the focus of this article: exercise.
How Does Exercise Help?
Exercise makes you feel good. Yes, it can also make you feel sore and exhausted—but in a good way, on many different levels.
For one, it has a direct, chemical impact on your brain. How this happens isn’t 100% understood, but in his book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, Dr. John Ratey does a great job at fleshing out the various hypotheses, which all seem to center around the way exercise impacts your brain in much the same ways antidepressants do.
The first theory is that both boost endorphins, the morphine-like hormones responsible, at their most extreme, for the “runner’s high.”
Another theory looks at neurotransmitters, chemicals in your brain responsible for ushering various specific signals to where they need to go. For example, norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter and hormone that helps you focus in stressful situations, including exercise. With it, you make smarter choices. Another neurotransmitter, dopamine, motivates you and improves your mood in general. When you exercise, it pushes you to work harder. Serotonin is also released when you exercise, but it has the opposite influence. It improves mood like dopamine, but it mellows you out, counteracting the various stress hormones activated by exercise and helping you wind down after a workout.
These neurotransmitters are boosted in various degrees by various antidepressant medications. They’re also boosted by exercise.
Both antidepressants and exercise also increase a substance called brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF), which protects the brain against the damaging effects of the stress hormone cortisol. It also helps the brain stay strong in general. As Ratey puts it, it serves as a “fertilizer that encourages neurons to connect to one another and grow.” It’s been found to be low in depressed patients.
Beyond your cranial chemistry, exercise also helps you feel good about yourself from a psychological standpoint. Working your body is a choice you make to better yourself, so doing it makes you feel better about yourself. It’s a process that Dr. Perlus refers to as “coping self-esteem,” a way of proving to yourself that you have at least some control over your life. “If I go outside for a walk, or put on a DVD and do ten minutes of core work, that’s a choice I made to help myself and I got through it, and that increases my coping self-esteem,” she explains, “and that’s as important as all the serotonin, norepinephrine, and other neurotransmitters I’ve released.”
But there’s a catch. For exercise to work like this, it needs to be something you actually dig. “It needs to be something you choose, that brings you joy otherwise it won’t help from a depression standpoint,” Perlus adds. This is yet another reason why when people ask me which Beachbody program will give them the best results, I tell them to pick the one that looks the most fun.
Does Exercise Replace Antidepressants and Therapy?
If you’re temporarily down in the dumps, exercise alone might do the trick. “If you’re having a depressed mood because something negative happened in the day, but you generally have a positive outlook on life, then exercise would be my primary recommendation,” says Dr. Perlus.
But if it’s a persistent or intense depression, the answer is no. Depression is a serious medical issue and, like all medical issues, your best path is to seek professional help. Explains Perlus: “When we’re talking about clinical depression, while exercise is an important tool for relieving depression, you need to balance it out with all the other tools. Some people do need to be medicated. I’m a high advocate of talk therapy.”
Dr. Perlus isn’t alone in recommending exercise be part of your healing strategy. It’s become a common prescription for depression in Europe and in 2013, the Journal of Psychiatric Practice laid out information for doctors wishing to include prescriptive exercise in their recommendation. The guidelines call for exercise 3–5 times a week (more wouldn’t hurt) for 45–60 minutes. 10–12 weeks of this are needed for maximum anti-depressive effect. Although this is a good starting place, other recommendations vary. Also keep in mind that research shows inactivity to increase the occurrence of depression. In other words, it doesn’t matter which exercise you do to beat the blues. But, by all means, get off your butt and do it.
I fought depression for years on my own. It wasn’t until my mid-twenties, when I embraced therapy and discovered my passion for outdoor sports, that solutions presented themselves. After years of work, I’ve reached a point where exercise and meditation are my primary sources of depression management.
Today, I know that when the Black Dog randomly visits—or if life issues a blow that knocks me to my knees—getting on that bike is key. (Sometimes it’s the surfboard, kayak, or yoga mat, but you get the idea.) Rolling for miles and miles on an open road, feeling my legs burn as I strain up hills, racing fellow cyclists to the nearest stop sign, these things don’t solve my problems, but they put my brain in a place where I can cope with the issues. When I come home, sweaty, exhausted, hungry, and (sometimes) smiling, the Black Dog might not be gone, but he’s no longer a threat. I now have the strength to simply acknowledge him and go about my day—and that’s the best way to make him go away.
 Article here:

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

AMAZING November Deals!!!

 3 of my favorite things are now available in ONE bundle!!!
It's the PiYo Kickstart Challenge Pack!!!  PiYo, Shakeology, the 3 Day Refresh, and a whole lot more!!!  AND IT IS ON SALE!!!

Need an extra boost to your holiday season? The PiYo Kickstart is just what you need. You’ll kickstart your workout with the 3-Day Refresh® and then get long and lean with PiYo. This Challenge Pack is $180 USD during November ONLY (normally $205).
***That $80 in savings off the retail price of all 3 programs!!***

Not up for the 3 Day Refresh?  The PiYo Challenge Pack is on sale too!  Get your Piyo and your Shakeology for and EXTRA $20 off!!! 

PiYo® Challenge Pack 

Oh Yeah, and the AMAZING Ultimate Reset is on SALE too!!! Reset your metabolism and get your body back to it's peak performance in this 21 day ALL INSTRUCTIONS INCLUDED plan!!  

Beachbody Ulitmate Reset® Challenge Pack Available in U.S. Only

  Regular Price Promo Price SAVINGS
Complete Kit $229.95 USD $199.95 USD $30.00 USD
Dual Kit $399.95 USD $349.95 USD $50.00 USD
Refill Kit $199.95 USD $179.95 USD $20.00 USD
Challenge Pack $305.00 USD $275.00 USD $30.00 USD

Monday, November 3, 2014

Happy Healthy Holidays!

Got 5 minutes? Watch this video!!! If you:
1. Need a good laugh (because this is pretty funny)
2. Need some Christmas gift ideas
3. Want to start planning for your New Years Fitness resolutions
4. Want to learn more about what I do as a coach, and how I can help you
5. Need a little Monday motivation
6. Need a reason to give up your excuses
7. Want to know why I am always posting about fitness and healthy eating
8. Want to be successful in reaching your fitness goals
9. Need some direction in starting your journey
10. Just NEED to "do something" to get started

I promise it will be worth your time! When you are done, know that I am here to help you with all of the above, and I am just a message away.