Hope Wissel, Tasty Tuesday Recipes

5 Simple Tips for Healthy Habits

As many of you know, I have been on WW for an eternity. LOL.   I lost my initial 105 pounds and am happy to say, I have kept most of it off.  MS has caused some weight gain – the only thing I can attribute it to since I track and am stepping. I’m not beating myself up over it.  It is all about healthier eating and NOT the numbers on the scale.  Now if I could only remember that, all would be well.  Are you focused on healthy eating or the numbers on the scale?

Here are five tips to help you adopt some new healthy habits:

1.     START WITH A PLAN 

Planning out your meals for the week is a great way to set you up for success. I started doing it so I didn’t have to deal with MS struggles over what to fix for dinner.

My advice – Keep it simple. 

I usually plan out on Friday or Saturday knowing I will grocery shop on Sunday or Monday.  Pick least busy day of the week and take a few minutes to pick out some recipes and create a grocery list. I have a meal planner I post on the fridge so I can not only plan meals but also not repeat the same ones constantly.  For some, having “Meatless Mondays” or “Taco Tuesdays” can make it a lot easier!  Epicure has several collections with pre-made grocery lists, swap options, perfectly balanced plate suggestions, and pro tips throughout!

2.     MAKE TIME FOR COOKING 

Now for the fun part—preparing those delicious recipes you picked out!  Making time for cooking gives you the opportunity to try out new recipes, make good food choices, or even remake your favorite takeout dishes in a healthier way at home! YES, it’s also a great way to lower your food bill. Meal prepping looks different for everyone.  For some, it may involve prepping a variety of foods in larger quantities, so you don’t have to worry about it during the week. For others, it is cooking once and using the meat in several meals during the week.  Of course, you’ll need plenty of containers to store your meals and keep things fresh. Our storage solutions make it simple to portion out your ingredients and tackle hassle-free meals on the go!

3.     EAT COLORFULLY 

Adding color to your plate is a simple way to ensure you’re getting a variety of nutrients. Keep an eye out for recipes with more vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds. These foods are full of antioxidants, fiber, protein and healthy fats—key components to maintaining good health! Plant-based foods are also friendlier to our environment as they require fewer resources and greenhouse gases to produce. You’ll be reducing your carbon footprint while also benefiting from the amazing nutrition benefits these foods bring to the table.  Check out some of our favorite plant-based recipes here!

4.     MAKE USE OF HERBS & SPICES 

Many people consume more sodium than they need. It’s easy to exceed the dietary recommendations, but the good news is salt is a largely acquired taste. So, over time you can actually sensitize your pallet to embrace lower levels of salt. Changing to sea salt or himalayan pink salt is better too. Seasoning your food with more herbs and spices is a great way to limit your sodium intake without missing out on flavor!  Epicure’s hand-crafted spice blends are perfect for creating low-sodium meals while also simplifying your time in the kitchen!  Many of them have NO sodium too!

5.     DON’T SKIP OUT ON DESSERT! 

Toss out the idea there are morally “good” and “bad” foods!

A healthy, sustainable diet won’t leave you feeling deprived and miserable. Food is meant to be enjoyed and your journey to good health should be no different. By giving yourself permission to eat “bad” foods, they lose their novelty and we’re less likely to obsess over them. Remember it’s not about restricting yourself, rather making balanced choices. Give yourself the freedom to consume the foods you love and your health journey will be a lot more enjoyable.  PLUS you’ll be more likely to stick to your routine long term.  Take a look at some of our favorite healthy dessert options !

The journey towards getting AND keeping healthy habits can take time so be kind to yourself. There may be challenges along the way but try to view them as opportunities to learn and grow. I am always here to bounce ideas around with you.  Remember, you are NOT alone. If you’re looking for motivation, support, and dietitian-approved tips, we invite you to join our online community and #EpicLife Challenge starting on May 10th!

Have an Epic day!

Hope Inspires, Hope Wissel, Unclutter Your Life

Looking for Your Sweet Spot

“There are different kinds of gifts. But it is the same Holy Spirit Who gives them. There are different kinds of work to be done for Him. But the work is for the same Lord.” 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 (NLV)

When I am looking for inspiration, I scroll through past blogs and on this day in 2014……..I was talking about finding my “sweet spot”.  I truly believe God nudges us in the direction we need to go.

Suzie Eller’s blog post on crosswalk.com has me thinking seriously (yes, AGAIN) about my “gifts”.  She talks about her Pinterest frenzy and how she tried all kinds of things.  Then one day her daughter after surveying her efforts said “Mom, you need to know your sweet spot and this isn’t it”.  YIKES!  How many times do we try things in an effort to be something we aren’t?  OR maybe our sweet spot has seasons, and it is time to move on.

WOW!  I know I have been talking about this A LOT lately but life has been changing for me.  I’m sure I am not the only one who experiences seasons with their gifts and talents, eight? I struggle with people pleasing so change is not easy.  Each of us is designed differently on purpose so we can come together to make a whole. So, what is your sweet spot? How has God gifted you for His purposes?

I struggle because although I know I have gifts and talents, Doubtful Debbie comes a knocking just when I think I am making strides.  Along with age (hitting 65 this year), recovery and MS issues all seem to play a factor.  Here are a few of my sweet spots:

  • Making a difference – I truly believe this is one of my greatest gifts.  I am a glass half full kind of person and believe in sharing it.  Don’t get me wrong, there are days when Negative Nellie is around but they are fewer and far between lately.  Whether it is as simple as a card, a kind word or an angel to brighten someone’s day – I want to bring a smile to others.
  • Crafty.  Angels have become the center of my crafting world – from sewing them to jewelry pieces to plastic canvas.  I love to share them with others and hear the stories as to why people pick certain ones.
  • Writing.  I love to write.  Crazy as it sounds,  it started with poetry as a child then it moved onto grants in my professional career.  The initial challenge to blog was scary but exciting at the same time.  It is my hope I can inspire others through my strengths, hopes and experiences.
  • Cooking.  Since moving to our forever home, I have found I LOVE cooking and sharing it with friends and family.

God can use these sweet spots for His purposes. God uses my unique design when I invite a neighbor or friend for dinner.  If your sweet spot is hospitality and making a home beautiful, then there are people who will be touched by this gift. If it’s humor and laughter, then someone needs to find that joy, too. If it’s teaching, teach.  Whatever your sweet spot, God has a purpose for you.

Time for me to focus on my sweet spots and make strides in all areas of my life.  How has God formed and fashioned you? Share your sweet spot with us.  It is not about being like someone else, it is about being ourselves and ACCEPTING ourselves including the gifts and talents God has given us.

Have an Epic day!

 

Business Tips and Tricks, Hope Wissel, Relax, Reflect, Recharge

What is Your Passion?

The New Year triggers LOTS of talk about setting BIG goals, and following your passion.  So, what are you passionate about?

Passion is defined as: a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something.

 

Sadly, for me……I feel like my MS has stolen this from me.  😦  I have always kicked off January excited about what the year would bring…. Over the years, my passion for things has changed – I have to admit I don’t think I was really passionate about anything (or at least I don’t remember) until I started volunteering with the South Jersey AIDS Alliance.  That is when I started to understand what the word passion was all about.  My passion for those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS continues even 25+ years later.  It may not be as evident now but there was a time when everyone knew it was my passion. Then my passion became a larger group of underserved populations (the homeless, the underemployed, etc.) when I began working for Bethel, a non-profit with a soup kitchen, food pantry and many other programs.  Making a difference in the lives of people was what I wanted to do……

Then Thirty One entered my life.  In the beginning it was just a hobby then it became a passion. Sparks are flamed by my hostesses, my customers and my team.  it brought in a steady income and allowed me to make a difference in the lives of others.  Now, 10+ years later, my passion seems to be smoldering.  As I kick off the new year…..I can’t seem to latch on to a goal or get excited.  I still LOVE ❤ ThirtyOne and the life it has given me yet I am struggling.  I know I can still make a difference, but I need to figure out how.

Did I let Satan steal my passion?  Or is God leading me towards another path?  You may know what I mean – those days when nothing feels right, no excitement or joy in what you are doing, just kind of going through the motions.  These days I always wonder…….is this an MS thing, or a recovery issue?  I ask for guidance and yet nothing comes, WAIT, right?  God’s time, not mine.  Can I stamp my feet & throw a tantrum?  Will it get me the answers?  LOL. Probably not.  I feel like it would take longer to hear them.

I’m enjoying cooking again – the new bigger kitchen combined with trying new recipes created the spark.  I don’t always understand how you can be creative when you have to cook dinners every night?  I never knew how good I had it.  When Belinda was growing up, it could be the same thing multiple nights since there was always a practice (gymnastics, field hockey or cheering) to rush off to.  When I moved in with hubby, he worked night shift so I only needed to cook 2 meals per week.  Yes, I was spoiled and didn’t even know it.  LOL.  Fast forward to retirement and a BIG (okay big for me) kitchen and I am enjoying trying new things and sharing about them.  Is it a passion?  Who knows – some days it seems like it and then some days it seems like a chore?

Creating angels and sewing has become another new escape.  I am exploring.  I have the Etsy store which does okay and I am booking craft shows on a limited basis for the spring.  Creating sparks another part of my brain which helps with my MS issues too.  I also love hearing the stories of why people pick certain angels as they talk about family and friends.

Working through the steps in my recovery, and learning about me is an ongoing journey.  I’m reading again too – light things which don’t take much thought.  I’m learning MS has stolen many of my emotions and feelings while in my addiction I stuffed the feelings.

I came across an old link from John Maxwell’s word of the day which was PASSION.  Click the link to hear him talk about this AWESOME word. it will definitely trigger some thoughts…

Whether it is your business or something in your life……. I ask you again – what are YOU passionate about?  I would love to hear about it.  Share your passion with us.

Have an Epic  day!

Tasty Tuesday Recipes

Tasty Tuesday – QUINOA ENCHILADA CASSEROLE

A lightened-up, healthy enchilada bake that you can enjoy guilt-free, chockful of quinoa, black beans and cheesy goodness. And the leftovers taste even better! This recipe is courtesy of DamnDelicious

Quinoa Enchilada Casserole - A lightened-up, healthy enchilada bake chockfull of quinoa, black beans and cheesy goodness!

Anyone that knows  me, knows that I LOVE Mexican food – the hotter and spicier, the better. Whether it’s fish tacos, cheesy enchiladas or a giant burrito, I could live off of it for the rest of my life.

 

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Now this is a super easy enchilada bake with quinoa instead of tortilla. By using quinoa, we’re adding in some fun healthy goodies, like protein and fiber, and there’s absolutely no rolling or wrapping of any kind. You can simply throw everything into a bowl, mix it up, and bake it from there. Yes, it doesn’t get easier than that!

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After you let this bake through, you’ll have the most amazing cheesy enchilada bake! It’s so good, you’ll never want to have traditional enchiladas ever again!

Prep Time 10 minutes     Cook Time 30 minutes     Total Time 40 minutes

Yield 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 (10-ounce) can Old El Paso™ mild enchilada sauce
  • 1 (4.5-ounce) can Old El Paso™ chopped green chiles, drained
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels, frozen, canned or roasted
  • 1/2 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and diced
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced

Instructions

  • In a large saucepan of 2 cups water, cook quinoa according to package instructions; set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil an 8×8 or 2 quart baking dish or coat with nonstick spray.
  • In a large bowl, combine quinoa, enchilada sauce, green chiles, corn, black beans, cilantro, cumin and chili powder; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in 1/2 cup cheddar cheese and 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese.
  • Spread quinoa mixture into the prepared baking dish. Top with remaining cheeses. Place into oven and bake until bubbly and cheeses have melted, about 15 minutes.
  • Serve immediately, garnished with avocado and tomato, if desired.
For those of you on Weight Watchers, it is 8 Smart Points per serving.  If you make it, share your thoughts. Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!