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$300 giveaway!!

I can’t believe it’s been a year since Lucy, Kerry, and I started blogging, here at Coffee With Us 3!

We’ve learned so much (honestly, I never knew there was so much to learn!), and we’ve had a lot of fun getting to know our readers, social media followers, and other bloggers. 

If you are reading this, Thank You! We wouldn’t still be here if it wasn’t for our awesome readers!

We thought it would be so much fun to celebrate Coffee With Us 3‘s blogging anniversary, or “Blogiversary” by giving away a huge present: $300!!!Enter to win $300 at Coffee With Us 3's 1st Blogiversary Giveaway #giveaway

We want to give a huge shout out to the amazing bloggers who are joining with us to give away a chunk of cash to one lucky winner!

These bloggers are amazing women, and we’re so glad they joined with us in this giveaway, so please take a second to check out their blogs and let them know who sent you!

linda-food-storage-momsLinda at Food Storage Moms

Play Party PinBritni at Play. Party. Pin.

Dial M for MomsDeb at Dial M for Moms

Frugality GalJazmin at Frugality Gal

Smile and WriteShannon at Smile and Write

Life a Little BrighterpicAlison at Life a Little Brighter

My Real Food FamilyApril at My Real Food Family

Hoyby CraftsShannon at Hoyby Crafts

 JaseysCrazyDaisyJasey at Jasey’s Crazy Daisy

And now, the giveaway!!! Good luck everyone!

 

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Our Favorite Quinoa Recipes

Quinoa was one of those foods that I was afraid to try for a long time but once I did, I was hooked!  How many foods can be used for any meal or even dessert?  Quinoa can be used for so many different recipes.  So I thought I’d put together a collection of a few of my family’s favorite quinoa recipes!  If you don’t know all the amazing details about quinoa, read What the Heck is Quinoa?

Quinoa Pizza Bites

quinoa pizza bites

Gluten Free Quinoa Brownies

quinoa brownie

Spicy Quinoa Shrimp

spicy shrimp quinoa

Quinoa Breakfast Bites

quinoa breakfast bites

Sweet Potato Quinoa Chili

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Quinoa Spinach Pilaf

quinoa spinach pilaf

 

Have you tried quinoa?  What is your favorite way to eat it?

 

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The Best of 2013

Happy New Year!  I hope your year is off to a fantastic start!  I always like to spend the last couple days of the year reflecting on the past year and reviewing all the amazing things that happened throughout the year.  It really sets the tone for the upcoming year.  And this year was no different!  2013 was an incredible year!  I published a ton of new recipes and experimented with many foods that I had never really eaten before.  Some were flops but some turned out great!  I am super excited about 2014….I’ve got some amazing things coming soon!  But for now, I want to share with you the top 13 most viewed recipes from 2013!

1.  Gluten free Quinoa Brownies

quinoa brownie

2.  Slow cooker chicken tortilla soup

chicken tortilla soup 2

3.  No Bake Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut butter cookies

4.  Quinoa Pizza Bites

quinoa pizza bites

5.  Crock pot Minestrone

minestrone

6.  Delicious (and easy) No Bake Chocolate Truffles

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7.  Tomato Spinach Salad

tomato spinach salad

8.  Chocolate Chia Pudding

chia pudding

9.  Easy Granola

granola

10.  Vegetarian Lasagna (Gluten Free)

veggie lasagna

11.  Chocolate peanut butter oatmeal cookie bars

chocolate oatmeal peanut butter bars

12.  Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken

slow cooker salsa chicken

13.  Spicy Tabasco Chickpeas

tabasco chickpeas

What was your favorite recipe of 2013?

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Spicy Bean Soup

Today was a crock pot soup kind of day.  If you don’t already know what that means, it means that I’m too lazy to actually cook a meal.  But we’re going to call this being efficient, ok?  And it actually turned out well and made plenty for leftovers!  That means that, in addition to dinner being ready, my lunch for the next couple of days is done too.  Definitely a win!

There is very little prep work involved in this recipe.  Just chop an onion, celery and garlic and you’re good to go!  Near the end, you’ll have to also chop some cabbage and spinach (or you could chop it when you chop the other ingredients).  Easy enough, right?  And if you don’t want a vegetarian soup, you could add some browned meat.  But this soup is hearty enough on it’s own!

DSC_0472-EditSpicy Bean Soup

Ingredients:

1 red onion, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 cans petite diced tomatoes

4 cups vegetable broth

1 cup water

1 can kidney beans, rinsed

1 can great northern beans, rinsed

1 tablespoon dried parsley

1/2 tablespoon dried thyme

salt and pepper, to taste

2 cups thinly sliced and chopped green cabbage

1 cup spinach, chopped

pinch of red pepper flakes
Instructions:

Chop the onion, celery and garlic.  Rinse the beans with cold water until no more foam appears.  Add all ingredients except cabbage, spinach and red pepper flakes to the crockpot.  Cook on low about 8 hours.  In the last hour, add the spinach and cabbage.  Serve hot with grated Parmesan.
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January Clean Eating Challenge

January is that time of the year when we all make new resolutions to eat better, get in shape, or lose weight.  So that’s the perfect time for a clean eating challenge!  We could all use a little support and encouragement in reaching our goals and that’s what this group will do for you!  Will you join us?

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There are many different interpretations of clean eating around….some are fairly complicated and restrictive.  I don’t believe it has to be anything like that!  My definition of clean eating is eating as close to nature as possible….fruits, vegetables, lean meats, eggs, nuts, and many, many other things.  You can’t go wrong spending most of your grocery shopping time in the produce department!  On foods that have labels, you should read the ingredients.  If you don’t know what it is, your body probably doesn’t either.  Throughout this challenge, I ask you to review and consider every food you eat.  I will provide you with a list of foods and how they rate on a scale of 1 to 5.  If you stick with foods rated 1 or 2, you have a near perfect diet.  Your challenge is to eat clean at least 80% of the time.  I’ll be here to provide you coaching, encouragement, support and accountability throughout the month!

If you have 10 or more pounds to lose and would like to join the VIP Clean Eating Challenge Group, please contact me at aprilmims72@yahoo.com.

To join the challenge:

  •  Set up a Free Team Beachbody membership at www.teambeachbody.com.  There are many nutrition and meal planning resources that we will be using throughout the challenge.  When registering, be sure to list me as your coach.
  • After I receive notification that you have joined, I will email you the link to join the private Facebook challenge group.  (This may take up to 24 hours)
  • Once you are in the group, please go to the introduction post and tell us a little about yourself so we can all get to know each other.
  • Each week, I will publish a meal clean eating meal plan.  These are just suggestions for you.  I’ll also share some of my favorite clean eating recipes and resources with you.  Since everyone has different likes and dislikes, you may not like some of the foods but I encourage you to be adventurous and try new things!
  • We will have prizes and incentives for various things during the month as well so you’ll want to stay active within the group.  I would also encourage you to share pictures of your food and any progress or challenges you have.  We are all here to support each other!
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Marathon training – Week 9: Running is a team sport

I knew this week was going to be a challenge since it was Thanksgiving and I was travelling out-of-state to visit family.  Considering this was a tough training week without any changes to my regular schedule, I was a bit concerned.  Weeks like this are the reason they advise us to plan ahead and to make time for exercise.  I definitely had to be focused and committed to make it happen this week.  And I won’t even talk about the food I ate….at least not yet 🙂

Here’s how the week worked out:

Monday:  The weather forecast was bad for today.  There was a lot of talk about ice and freezing rain and just generally bad conditions.  I had a pretty good idea that I wouldn’t be leaving the house to run outside.  So I opted for an 8 mile treadmill run after work.  Definitely much better than running in freezing rain!

Tuesday:  Since today was a speed work day, I decided run on the treadmill again.  I’ll admit it, I’m somewhat of a fair weather runner.  I managed to get in 8 awesome miles and felt pretty good.  I think this speed work thing is working…

Wednesday:  Because I took a vacation day today, I was able to run with 2 friends that I haven’t run with in a while.  It was so nice to run and chat with them (even though it was bitterly cold).  Before I knew it, 7.5 miles had passed!

Thursday:  Since we were driving from Texas to Arkansas to celebrate Thanksgiving, I knew it was highly unlikely that I would be able to run today so it was a rest day.  I would have enjoyed an evening run but considering we were way out in the country and there are all kinds of wild animals, I passed on that.

Friday:  Today was a tempo run that ended up being run on the track at the high school.  The roads in the area are super hilly and since that wasn’t the purpose of my run, the track it was.  I consider this run to be an exercise in mental toughness.  Just imagine how difficult it is to run 40 circles around the track (and pass your car 40 times).  But I got it done and hit every mile faster than I planned to.  Maybe that was partially because I just wanted to get it done.  Regardless, I got it done!

Saturday:  Since we were headed back to Texas today, I knew I needed to get my run done early.  It was highly unlikely that I would want to run after being in the car for 6 hours.  Had I been home, I would have run a local 10k with my friend.  Since I couldn’t physically run with her, I did the next best thing and ran with her virtually!  I think I ended up with the hillier course but it was fun to know that we were supporting each other.  See?  Running isn’t just an individual sport, it’s a team sport!

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Sunday:  I usually do my long runs on Saturday morning but that wasn’t an option since I was in a different state.  The thought of running 18 miles on my own wasn’t very appealing at all.  I’d like to say I would have done it, but I’m not sure that’s true.  But my training partner suggested switching our long run days so we could still run together.  Um, yeah, let’s do that!  After being off of my regular schedule and not eating the foods I normally eat, I wasn’t feeling my best.  Although I wasn’t 100%, it ended up being the fastest 18 miles I’ve run and actually felt good.  I can honestly say that would not have happened if I had to run on my own.  See?  Running is still a team sport!  As if a tough 18 mile run wasn’t enough, I started Insanity.  Even the fit test was hard!  But I’m not one to back down from a challenge!  I ended up with a total of 58 miles this week even with those challenges!

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I don’t even want to talk about what I ate this week.  Can we just leave it at it wasn’t good?  Even though I eat clean most of the time, I don’t make a big deal about it and act like a picky eater.  I enjoyed a Thanksgiving feast with all the sides and dessert.  That was followed by dinner out the next night and pizza the day after that.  But I’m back on my regular diet and have been 100% clean today!

How was your Thanksgiving?  Did you struggle finding time to work out or challenges to eating healthy?

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No Bake Frosted Brownies

After making a couple other no bake desserts, I decided that I loved them and there was no reason to ever turn my oven on again.  So maybe that’s stretching it a bit, but I do love that I only have to throw a few ingredients into my Ninja and out comes some deliciousness that is healthy too.  Put some frosting on it and I’m all set!  Once again, these no bake brownies are the  perfect healthy alternative if you love brownies.  Mr. Real Food even said we should have them at our family Christmas dinner.  No one will ever know they are healthy and I’ll get all the credit for an amazing dessert…yeah, ok, we can do that!

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No Bake Frosted Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups walnuts
  • 1 cup medjool dates, pitted and cut in half
  • 3/4 cup cacao powder
  • pinch sea salt

Frosting

  • 1/2 cup coconut butter/oil (melted)
  • 1/2 cup cacao powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup

 

Directions:

Process the walnuts in a food processor until finely ground.  Add cacao powder and salt and process until combined.  Add the dates a few at a time to avoid over-working your food processor.

Transfer the mixture into a baking dish lined with parchment paper.  Press the mixture down so it is firm and even on top.  Set aside.

Combine all ingredients for frosting and pour over brownies.  Chill in the refrigerator for about an hour to set.  Cut and enjoy!

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Marathon training – Week 8: Halfway There!

This cutback week came at the perfect time.  After last week’s awful race (I’m totally over it now, really), this was a much needed break.  It gave me a little time to relax and enjoy each run and get my mental focus back.  I wouldn’t say it was an ideal week since I started having some knee pain but I was able to take care of that with minimal impact to my training.

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So here’s how my week looked:

Monday:  I took Monday as a rest day.  Or a mental day.  Or whatever.  I just didn’t want to run.  Or do anything.  So that’s what I did (or did not do, depending on how you look at it).

Tuesday:  Today was a great 7 mile run.  Everything was good, including my attitude.  I even did Pilates after I got home from work that evening.

Wednesday:  The plan was to run 8 miles this morning but a couple of miles into it, my knee was really hurting.  Rather than push through it, I decided to go home.  Fortunately, I already had a chiropractic appointment scheduled so I got that fixed.

Thursday:  Today I was still pretty sore from yesterday’s adjustment and massage so I took another rest day.

Friday:  Since yesterday was a rest day, I needed to get my speed work done.  So that’s what I did, 8 miles DONE!  Probably not the best idea to do speed work the day before a long run but this is a shorter long run so hopefully that works out okay 🙂

Saturday:  It’s kind of funny that a 14 mile run doesn’t seem like that big of a deal anymore.  It’s definitely a beautiful thing to see on your schedule when you’ve been running high mileage weeks.  The problem with today’s run is that it was freezing and kind of rainy.  Yep, one week after it was 80 degrees.  I’ll admit I kinda had a bad attitude about doing this run.  It was WAY warmer in my bed!  But the nice thing about having training partners is that they motivate you when you don’t feel it yourself and that’s exactly what happened.  I got it done with a little pushing.  But done is done, regardless of how you look at it!

Sunday:  Today was a nice, easy 10 miles on the treadmill.  I know that sounds awful to many (or all) of you, but I was able to listen to some self-improvement podcasts and that really kept me going.  So, all in all, I had an up and down week but ended on a high note, ready to face the next block of training.  I can’t believe we’re halfway done with this training already and the race is only 8 weeks away!

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My eating has been better this week.  I don’t remember the details, but I generally don’t if I’m eating well since that’s common practice.  The next 8 weeks will really be a time to focus on making good food choices and staying healthy during the holiday season.

How is your training going?  What do you listen to on the treadmill?

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Marathon Training – Week 7: The ideal running temperature

Well….seems that I’m a little late again getting this post out.  I could make all kinds of excuses (race on Sunday, too tired, etc) but the truth is that I had a pretty bad ending to the week.  The rest of the week was great but one day seemed to overshadow the other 6 days.  Even the one “bad” day wasn’t that bad.  It just wasn’t what I expected and I let that get to me.  But that’s one of those things that I really need to accept and move on.  I’ve analyzed the day and know what I could have done differently and the things that were beyond my control.  More about that later.

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Here’s how my week looked:

Monday:  I was feeling pretty beat up after the 5k and 19 mile long runs from the past 2 days so I decided not to run today and give my legs a break.  Since I was off work for Veteran’s Day, I decided to check out a local yoga place.  I went to a strictly core class.  It was pretty tough!  I’m not sure that I’ve ever sweat during yoga (this wasn’t hot yoga) but I did here.  Can’t wait to get to another class.  From there I headed to my gym for Body Pump.

Tuesday:  I’ve often heard people talk about tripping and falling during a run but it had never actually happened to me.  Well, my 7 year streak ended today.  Somehow I tripped over a rock hole in the street or something and fell hard.  Luckily, it was dark and there was no one to witness it.  I don’t even know why I’m admitting to it since there were no witnesses.  Oh well, it happened.  But fortunately, I wasn’t really hurt and just ended up with a bruised knee and scraped up hand and shoulder.  Obviously that was my slowest mile but it ended up being a great run otherwise.  I finished 7 miles in 1:01.  Not too bad for an easy run!

Wednesday:  I am so loving the cooler temperatures.  Capris and a long sleeved shirt and I’m good to go!  These 7 miles felt good….finished in 58 minutes.

Thursday:  I didn’t have a specific plan for doing speedwork so I decided to do 800 meter repeats on the road.  I figured out how to set my watch to beep every half mile so I didn’t have to keep checking (or find a track that was open at 5 AM).  I was able to hit every half mile between 3:37 and 3:43!  Adding a half mile easy run between each interval, I ended up with 10.5 miles at an overall 8:18 pace.  The cooler temperatures are really, really helping!  At this point, I have no doubt that I’ll be able to PR my half marathon on Sunday.  I was only 2.5 miles short of the distance here and faster than I need to be.

Friday:  I ran a nice, easy 5 miles in the morning and felt great!  After work, I went to Body Pump.

Saturday:  Decided to take a rest day today to relax before tomorrow’s race.  That will leave me with miles to make up some other day, but that’s fine.

Sunday:  After running in the mid-30s – low 40s all week, the temp at race time was well into the 70s.  Ugh!  Not at all what I had planned for.  Then, 15 minutes after leaving my house, I realized I had left my watch at home.  Double ugh!  So I downloaded a running app to my phone so I’d be able to monitor my times.  Unfortunately, the race started without much warning so I wasn’t able to start the app.  This is the first race that I carried my own water bottle with Generation UCAN.  My plan was to drink it around mile 6 or 7.  I have no idea how fast I ran the first mile but it was pretty quick and much faster than I should have.  Near the end of mile 2, I was really feeling it and had to slow down.  The temperature continued to rise and the course was not shady at all.  That water bottle was gone before mile 6.  I took water and gatorade from the other water stations after that but was still hot and getting dehydrated.  The rest of the race was a combination running and walking, finishing in 1:57.  It wasn’t a bad time but it’s not what I had trained for.  It was enough for 2nd place in my age group though!  That afternoon, I really felt like *@%! from dehydration and tried to rehydrate and rest.  It was kind of a bummer day and I let it overshadow the rest of the awesome week I had.  But next week is a cut back week so that will be a time to reassess and get over this race.  I’ve got one more half marathon scheduled for the year.  Surely it won’t be 80 degrees on New Years Eve, right?!?

My eating this week wasn’t ideal but since I waited so long, I can’t remember the details.  I’m going to say it was at least 80% clean but I’ve still got some work to do to get where I want to be.  So on to next week and a whole new attitude!

Michael Jordan 4

Have you had any bad race experiences that overshadowed your training?  How did you get over it?

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Healthy Eating Highlight #4

Hope you guys all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  We’ve been visiting my brother in Arkansas for a few days and loving the relaxing family time!

This week’s featured healthy eating highlight is Jungling from Living Natural Today.  Like many people, Teresa’s transformation was the result of health concerns.  She offers some excellent advice that will help you make healthy choices in your own life.  Be sure to check out her website and follow her on social media to learn more!  If you’d like to be featured on upcoming healthy eating highlights, email me at aprilmims72@yahoo.com.  I’d love to share your story with others!

MyRealFoodFam

Tell us a little about yourself.I am happily married to my best friend.  I have a business degree and used to work in Corporate America.  Currently, my husband and I own our own business in digital marketing.  Seven years ago, I began experiencing different symptoms which started me on a long health journey trying to find answers.  I have had problems with my adrenals, thyroid, hormones, immune system, digestive system and a condition called Multiple Chemical Sensitivity.  Due to these health challenges, I started a blog called Living Natural Today.  In addition, I am a Mission Marketer with Beyond Organic, founded by NY Times Best Selling Author Jordan Rubin, which offers some of the healthiest food and beverages delivered to your door.

What do you consider to be a healthy lifestyle?  Since I experienced poor health for so many years, I have had to learn how to live a healthy lifestyle.  The healthy lifestyle that has worked for me is one that incorporates a whole food, organic (as much as possible) diet, exercise, limits stress and reduces toxins.

What does your typical day look like?  Being involved with 3 different businesses stretches my time.  However, owning your own business allows for flexibility and freedom.  Because of that, each day is different for me.  Some days, I work from home.  Other days I go into our office.  Other days I’m out meeting with clients, or networking.  I try to work during regular business hours, but with the flexibility of time, I can run to the store throughout the day and work some after dinner instead.  Speaking of dinner, I try to make whole food meals for my husband and myself at least 4 days each week.  Other things I try to do each day are exercise and daily devotions (reading the Bible and prayer).

What is your biggest challenge to living a healthy lifestyle?  Since I wanted to get better, I had to make changes to my diet and reduce toxins around the house.  Those were a little challenging at first, but now it is just my way of life.  Some things I am still challenged with are exercising consistently on a daily basis and taking time to relax and eliminate stress.  I need to make both of those daily priorities.  If I don’t set aside specific time to do them each day, they sometimes get overlooked.

What motivates you to choose a healthy lifestyle?  My health.  I know what it’s like to be bedridden and extremely ill.  I don’t ever want to go through that again.  I also want to help others choose a healthy lifestyle.  If I’m not healthy, how can I help others?

What advice would you offer to someone struggling to get started?

Don’t get overwhelmed:  allow yourself room to take one step forward and two steps back because it will happen.  Start by making small changes.  One of the first things I eliminated from my diet was pop.  Then I began reading food labels and eliminating high fructose corn syrup.  It snowballed from there!  In regards to toxins, I began by looking into healthier alternatives for cleaning the house instead of using cleaning chemicals.

Research online:  there are many great blogs from people who offer stories and suggestions of what they have done to make changes.  Follow their suggestions.  Also, look for recipes from whole food bloggers, like this one from April!

Remember:  by beginning to make a change, your health will ultimately improve.  Some results will be immediate and others will take a while, but in the end you will be so much better off!

How can readers contact you? 

Living Natural Today (http://www.livingnaturaltoday.com)

Twitter: @livenatural2day

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/livingnaturaltoday

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/livenatural2day

MyRealFoodFamProf

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