Archive for December, 2013

December 31, 2013

Spicy Bean Soup—Nutritious and Lucky!

love beans and eat your greens

If you are looking for a delicious way to start your New Year off right, I have just the thing for you. Spicy Bean Soup—delicious, healthy, and the perfect dish to cook on a cold wintery day. This nutritional superstar is bursting with a rainbow of beans and other savory ingredients you probably already have in your pantry. You may be thinking “beans, shmeans . . .” but you would be missing out on a lot!


Beans are a powerful source of vegetable protein, complex carbohydrates, fiber, iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc, B vitamins, and folate—whew!  They are also low fat but filling, so they make a great meatless entrée if they are joined by other plant friends on your plate. Because of their fab fiber content, they’ve been shown to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of colon cancer—double win! And for us savvy shoppers, these beautiful beans are super cheap.

Peas and Prosperity

Now, I’m a Southern lady, and we have certain traditions down here, like eating black-eyed peas and cornbread on New Year’s Day for good luck and prosperity. So, to honor this tradition and to make my life easier for about 2-3 days, I add black-eyed peas to this soup and bake a cast-iron skillet of crusty, golden cornbread to go along with it. Leftovers rock so much now that I’m an adult—who knew?!? Back to the food: there’s a whole lot of heaven in one bite when that bite is made of cornbread + a dab of real Irish butter + a spoonful of these spicy beans . . . yum!! Just add a bright, crisp salad, and you will have yourself a perfectly lovely and lucky little meal.

cornbread and soup

Spicy Bean Soup

  • 2 c. dried beans (any beans you like—for example,  ½ c. black-eyed peas, ½ c. black beans, ½ c. split peas, and ½ c. kidney beans)

Rinse the beans, then put them in a large bowl or 8-c. (2 qt.) measuring bowl. Add enough water to cover the beans by about 1-2 inches of water—those puppies will expand! Soak the beans for several hours (4 hrs. is great) or overnight. Note: If you fail to plan ahead (like I often do), you can do a “quick soak”—cover the dried beans in plenty of boiling water, cover, and let soak for about 2 hours.

Drain soaking water from the beans, then rinse in fresh water. This will help reduce the gassiness of the beans. Drain the beans again and put in a large pot. Then add:

  • 2 qts. (8 c.) water
  • 1 can mexicorn (drained)
  • 1 can Rotel canned tomatoes (Original is nice, but Hot is even better . . . if you like things spicy!)
  • 1 4-oz. can chopped green chilies (not drained)
  •  ½ tsp. onion powder
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 can (~16 oz.) low-sodium vegetable broth
  • ½ tsp. minced garlic (or 1 clove, minced)
  • sea salt, to taste
  • ground black pepper, to taste

Simmer for 2-3 hours, according to how tender you like your beans and how much soup liquid you like. Flavor enriches over time, which makes this bean soup an ideal leftover for about 3 days.

May your New Year be filled with blessings, joy, and love!

XO, Brooke

December 30, 2013

Confessions of a slacker!

Hey HH fans, Danielle here. And I have a confession to make…I am a closet slacker. WHAT?! The woman who does it all? YES! But not intentionally! I missed a few weeks blogging here on our HH blog, and then it turned into habit for me to NOT blog, until Marzia reminded me, um, hey, Danielle, where is your blog. So, there I said it…you heard it here first. I AM NOT PERFECT. Let’s talk a little bit more about that. 

You might follow my journey here, or you might also follow me on my own Facebook page, You see me as the girl with the abs or the girl who works out on stage with Shaun T. You see me as the INSANITY Master Trainer who films the INSANITY rounds and travels the country certifying people. You see me as the Beachbody Coach who ranked #5 in the company and quit her teaching job all while being the mother of two girls. You see my Instagram workout videos and think…wow, she is so perfect and that comes so easy and, and and and…. I know…I get messages from you all the time. But I am here to tell you, yet again, I am not perfect. It isn’t always easy. My hair isn’t always brushed. Sometimes I don’t shower all day after a workout. I burn dinner, and yell at people in traffic who drive too slow. My laundry isn’t always done, my bed isn’t always made, and sometimes I choose the drive through over a home cooked meal for my children. Sometimes I modify my workouts, or even skip one. Sometimes I eat a brownie or three, and sometimes I have a glass of wine. I have fat days, bad hair days, and days where I do not feel successful. 


But guess what….life isn’t about perfection its about balance. Its about doing what you love and loving what you do. Its about knowing that there is no such thing as perfect. Its knowing that when you kiss your kids good night and tell them you love them, that you mean it, and they know it. Its about knowing that you did your best because your best is all you can do. Its about knowing when to say I am sorry and when to take ownership for slacking. When Marzia asked me about the blog, I didn’t make up a half truth. I was honest….I told her, hey I forgot. And I am sorry. And moving forward I will be better. Gosh, why can’t it always be that simple? But it can be….let’s practice that. 


Because each day is a chance to get things right, do them better, and be the best you that you can be. 

Cheers to 2014…the year in which WE WILL BE BETTER! Image


December 26, 2013

Spaghetti Squash, Spaghetti Sauce

Hi!! I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas! What a day! As many parents did, I stayed up way too late Christmas eve, prepping our feast and preparing for Santa’s arrival only to wake at the crack of dawn to open gifts with my daughter. We had a wonderful day and Santa was very good to us all!

 After yesterday its hard to talk about food but last week I promised my recipe for spaghetti squash, so here it is! 

Spaghetti Squash – Spaghetti Sauce

First off, I will give your two ways to prepare your squash.  And just in case you haven’t heard of spaghetti squash, I’ll tell you its a large pale yellow squash that when cooked makes perfect noodles, a great replacement to regular carb loaded noodles but still yummy and comforting! 


 Ingredients: – All Organic – Always

  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, halved
  • 1 pack mushrooms – rinsed
  • 1 small onion – chopped
  • Sea salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 jar organic spaghetti sauce
  • 1 pound grass fed ground hamburger meat (optional) or add more veggies
  • pinch of coconut sugar or xylitol
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 

Directions for Cooking Whole Squash:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Prick holes all over squash (like baking potatoes)

3. Place the whole squash in a baking pan and bake for 1 hour

4. Allow squash to cool for a few minutes, then cut in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds.  Then use the fork to scrape out the strands of noodles. 


Directions for Cooking Half Squash:

1. Cut squash in half, it will be difficult as squash is very hard and dense. Kind of like a watermelon. Scrape out the seeds.

2. Place the squash in a saucepan of water face up.  The water should cover half of the squash but do not submerge.

3. Bring the water to a boil for about 15 min. Squash is ready

4.  Use the fork to scrape out the strands of noodles. 

 Spaghetti Sauce

1. Saute chopped, mushrooms, and garlic in olive oil. When soft add in the sauce.

2. If you are going to add meat, cook in a separate pan, drain and add to the onion and mushroom mixture.

3. Let the sauce and vegetable simmer add a pinch of sugar or sweetener to cut the acidic taste and serve over squash noodles.

* My daughter won’t eat the squash noodles so I give her quinoa noodles.  Its a healthier choice to regular pasta.



December 26, 2013



In thinking all of the topics and subjects I could write about. Health and wellness , holidays , tips and how to’s ?
I asked myself this question:

If I had just one chance to write about one thing , and it was my only opprtunity to have a voice and to help change lives, what would it be?

My Wish , For you

For you, I wish:
That you choose to be happy, decide to be healthy , to experience inspiration and be motivated. To find your purpose and live with passion. To determine your own destiny and keep your faith . To love and be loved .
But most of all I hope you decide to make a difference.


I’m glad to see that “paying it forward ” is increasing in popularity . It’s becoming not just a trend but a lifestyle. However, I can’t help wishing for more .
More acts of kindness that are not just “random”. More Love,kindness and consideration in our thoughts,speech and actions .


What If ?
What if you helped 10 people and they helped 10 people and they helped 10 more ? What if the ripple effect flows into the next generation ? Just imagine possibility . I just love possibility . Don’t you?


If you are a parent concerned about giving your children a better place to Live. It starts with us .
And IF it just stops ? It won’t.. but If ?
YOU will have made a difference In someones life somewhere .
You dont have extra money ,But you have time to give ? You dont have time ,but have extra money ? Maybe you dont have either .I get that. But do you have a kind word ? a sentiment ? a smile ?


You may say . I have my OWN problems ! Who is going to help me ? You have sadness,frustration and life challenges. I get that too.

I promise , if we focus on love, kindness and gratitude: Your heart wil be full . Recoveries will come swiftly and softly .
Just .. can’t …. find it in yourself ?
Surround yourself with people that you are inspired by . Take some time to attend charity events or community celebration. There is usually an abundance and overflow of giving and goodness in people . Soak in the greatness of others . Flood your social media sites with motivation and weed out negativity . Find mentors, coaches or enlist like-minded friends .

Resolution season is right around the corner . If you make just one, let it be this:
May you go forth this year and years to follow ,
In love, peace ,happiness and hope
In joy,kindness and faith ,
In empathy and compassion.
And then pay it forward .
My wish , for you

Laurie Strough Smith


Disclaimer: Images used are not my own.

Looking to get healthier this year ?
Need daily Inspiration ? find me on Face book at Red Inspiring coming soon!!! wish

December 24, 2013

Dear Santa:

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, people were scurrying around a full house. Yes, loved ones had come from places afar, and stories abound to update us all.

The year had been filled with successes and gain. Some mentioned frustrations, defeats, or going insane. Folks spoke of their wants, their goals and their plans. But then I looked around, and to the study I ran. I write you this note, although it’s delayed, please set aside some room on your sleigh.

What if this year, we threw away the lists? I wonder instead, could we make a request? Visit those lonely, sick, or depressed, and fill up their stockings with comfort and rest. Go to the people who may not have much, and surprise them with treats, with blankets and lunch! Go to the animal who may be alone, and give him some love–maybe a place to call home?

I know you’re in a hurry, so I’ll make this brief. Can you make the spirit of Christmas last beyond this week? Make kindness grow, make evil weak. It can happen with a nudge, a gesture, a tweak. Your spirit will grow in hearts big and small. More will believe, in no time at all!

This is my ask, my only request. It’s a tall order, but you are the best. Little gestures of goodwill, kindness, or cheer, is a gift that will keep giving throughout the year.

I’ve left you some green juice and almonds to take. Be careful with all the cookies, for goodness sake! Merry Christmas to you, Santa, and if there’s time to spare–can you make the Dallas Cowboys better next year?

Love, Lacey Pruett



December 23, 2013

Happy and Safe Howlidays!

 Christmas brown lab asleep

Hi, there! This is Brooke, your pet-loving gal here. The holidays are here, and you are probably up to your eyebrows in things left to do, cookies to bake, and cards to send—I know I am! Here are some tips on keeping your cherished pets safe and happy during this festive season.

Christmas Trees

This is an example of a bad kitteh!

This is an example of a bad kitteh!

  1. Make sure to anchor your trees from adventurous kitties that climb and dogs with crazily wagging tails—you don’t want all your hard work “decking” the tree to come crashing down in the middle of your eggnog!
  2. If you have a live tree, keep your animals from drinking the tree water, which may be full of pesticides as well as bacteria from the stagnant water. Ingestion of these nasty things can cause diarrhea, nausea, and upset stomach.
  3. Regardless of whether your tree is real or artificial, be sure to clean up the dropped needles often. Curious pets will eat those needles faster than you can say “No, don’t—!“ They are toxic and will cause vomiting, even if fake (trust me on this L).
  4. Do not leave pets unattended with the Christmas tree, if possible. A fully decorated tree comes stocked with all kinds of dangerous “toys”:
  • Hot light strands can burn or electrocute dogs or cats, which have a tendency to chew on things. Keep light strands secured and covered or away from the lower levels of the tree.
  • Be sure to put glass or metal ornaments higher up on the tree, and watch for broken ornaments with sharp hooks or attachments—little paws can easily step on these items.
  • Tinsel may be beautiful, but it’s a big no-no, especially for cat households. Cats will ALWAYS find stringy, dangly items, and tinsel (along with other strings or wires) can be ingested and can get tangled in the stomach or intestines, leading to scary emergency surgery or even death if not caught in time. No thank you!!

Holiday Plants

Many plants that make our houses cherry and bright this time of year are bad news for our furry family members. For a more extensive list of toxic and non-toxic plants, check out this link from the ASPCA: If you suspect your pet has gotten into anything suspicious, whether plant, food, or otherwise, be sure to call your veterinarian or emergency vet clinic IMMEDIATELY. You can also call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Hotline, which is open 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year: (888) 426-4435.

Common Holiday Plants Your Pets Should Avoid

  1. Lilies: deadly to cats, can cause kidney failure
  2. Mistletoe (especially the berries): highly toxic, causes upset stomach and potentially fatal heart problems
  3. Holly: causes nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and lethargy
  4. Poinsettias: not as toxic as often thought, these should still be avoided as they can upset pets’ digestive system
  5. Amaryllis: causes diarrhea and vomiting
  6. Certain species of ivy, namely English ivy: can be extremely harmful if ingested

Forbidden Food and Drinks

Christmas cat and dog eating

We all know that your animal friends are very skilled at watching you pitifully as you shove another yummy treat in your mouth. Their doleful eyes entreat you to share a bit of delicious food with them. Don’t do it!! You can show your pets that you love them in so many healthier ways.

  • Be sure and feed your pets before dinner or party guests arrive—that way, Spot will have a full tummy and be less likely to beg for scraps from your guests. Also, give your animals some special treats made just for them when they have been good (or just because), and politely ask your guests to avoid passing along tasty morsels to your pets.
  • This shouldn’t even need to be mentioned, but be sure to keep the dogs and cats (and any other small creatures) in your house out of the booze and smokes. Even accidental ingestion of alcohol or nicotine by a curious pet can be deadly, so if your party is getting very merry—be careful!!

Some foods that can be harmful to your furry friends are:

  • Turkey skin and gravy: can cause pancreatitis
  • Onions and onion powder: can destroy red blood cells, causing anemia
  • Chocolate: can damage the nervous system and urinary tract as well as the heart muscle; can be deadly
  • Grapes and raisins: grapes, especially, can cause kidney failure (who knew?)
  • Bones, especially poultry bones: can tear or block the intestinal tract; these injuries can be fatal
  • Not a food but food items: strings that are used in turkeys or roast, as well as the little  “pop-up” thermometers; discarded aluminum foil; food and fixings garbage—make sure to keep these items picked up and thrown away, with garbage sealed tightly

Joy to the Animals



We can absolutely include our furry or feathered family members in the holiday festivities—we just have to be smart pet parents. Stuff your pets’ stockings with worry-free toys, like rubber dog toys, indestructible Kongs filled with special treats, durable rope “bones”, size-appropriate balls, catnip mice, interactive krinkle mats, and colorful lanyards with bells and mirrors for your favorite bird.

Ok, you guys. Get to jingling those bells, and stay warm!

Blessings, Brooke

December 18, 2013

On a Business Trip? Feeling Outdoorsy?

Businesswoman Waiting on Airport RunwayAre you traveling this holiday season? Curious how to pack so you’re prepared for your workouts? Traveling for a living for over twelve years led me to choose hotels with adequate outdoor activity opportunities either on-site or near by. It only takes a few stays in hotels with basic workout facilities or an over-crowded workout room to crave some outdoor activity. As a runner, I would seek out hotels with a jogging track or hiking trail near by, but depending on your sense of adventure, you can find stairs, an outdoor pool, or a park for your personalized boot camp workout.

Here’s a list I use while packing for trips.

  • Running shoes
  • Two pairs of socks, workout bottoms, and tops
  • Two sports bras
  • One travel pack of Tide Laundry Detergent (for sink laundry)
  • One Hair Band, visor, and sunglasses
  • iPod and holder
  • jump rope
  • resistance band
  • plastic trash bag
  • empty water bottle (to mix my Spark drink)
  • Packets of Spark

I do wash and re-wear to avoid over packing, and at the end of my trip, I put the dirty shoes and workout gear in the plastic bag, then into my luggage for the trip home.

beach heart

Wish all my business trips were here…

I met a fellow blogger who shared her account of outdoor adventure as a new resident of Las Vegas, and I’d like to share it here with you. To assist my fellow travelistas, there are also helpful links to hotels searchable by outdoor activity options and other healthy living preferences. Enjoy, and happy traveling!  Lacey

December 16, 2013

Healthy Holiday Snacking


Morning, Friends! It’s Brooke here. ‘Tis the season for decadent holiday delights. This time of year is packed full of parties, gift exchanges, and general festive cheer that usually involve treats of the most delicious kind. But let’s be honest—it’s not just the sugar haze that warms our hearts when we give and receive these treats. We show our love and care for people in our lives by the cooking we do and the food we serve them. But we can also serve tasty morsels that bring a healthy heart, trim body, and joyful energy to those we care about.

A Simple Checklist

When you or your family need a boost between meals, think about this simple checklist as you assemble your snack. It’s not rocket science, so have fun with it!

  • Lean protein (whey or vegan protein powder, hummus, (healthy) bean dip, hard-boiled egg, low-fat Greek or plain yogurt, or edamame)—protein will help fill you up and satisfy your hunger
  • Healthy fat (nuts, seeds, avocado, or nut butter)—healthy fats also satisfy your hunger and keep your brain sharp and skin supple
  • Complex or non-starchy carb (whole grains, green veggies, or fruit)—these carbohydrates will boost your mood and give you clean-burning energy

Nutritious Nibbles


Green smoothie or juice + nuts or seeds: Prepare 12-16 oz. of your favorite green drink and then grab 10-15 unsalted almonds, 10-15 walnuts halves, or 24 pistachios. You will feel amazing after this snack—so clean!

Apple and cheese plate: Thinly slice ½ organic apple, ½ organic pear, and 1 oz. hard cheese like Cheddar or Swiss. You can even add some slivered almonds or chopped dried cranberries to dress up this dish.

Grown-up popcorn: Prepare 3 c. air-popped popcorn, and then while popcorn is still hot, sprinkle with your favorite spices:

  • Grated parmesan and cayenne pepper
  • Garlic powder and smoked paprika
  • Dill weed and sea salt
  • Cinnamon and stevia

Sesame carrots and hummus or bean dip: Roll some raw baby carrots in toasted sesame seeds and add a pinch of sea salt. For a pretty contrast, you can even roll the carrots in dill weed or lemon pepper (my fave!). Serve with your favorite hummus or bean dip. If you need a bit more substance to this snack, add some whole-grain or gluten free crackers.

Berries and spiced yogurt: Prepare 1 c. of your favorite winter berries or mix blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries for a gorgeous power snack. Take 1 c. low-fat Greek or plain yogurt and mix in 1 tsp. cinnamon, ½ tsp. nutmeg, ¼ tsp. ground cloves, and if desired, stevia (to taste). You can dip your berries into the yogurt dip or throw everything together in one bowl if you want to get really wild 😉

Five Spice Pistachios

Five-Spice Pistachios

For a really elegant and easy snack, try this killer pistachio recipe. It takes 5 minutes to prepare and about 45 minutes for the pistachios to dry after coming out of the oven. Can cooking be any simpler? My mouth is already watering!

Five-Spice Pistachios

  • 6 Tbsp. orange juice
  • 6 Tbsp. Chinese five-spice powder
  • 4 tsp. sea salt
  • 6 c. unsalted pistachios

Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 250°F.

Whisk orange juice, five-spice powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add pistachios; toss to coat. Divide between 2 large rimmed baking sheets; spread in an even layer.

Bake, stirring every 15 minutes, until dry, about 45 minutes. Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Recipe shared from Eating Well:

Ok, my friends. I hope you enjoy these ideas for ringing in the merry while keeping your belly nice and trim. If you have a favorite healthy snack recipe, please share: I’m always looking for fabulous ideas to share!!

Blessings and joy,


December 13, 2013


Are you fit for Christmas?

Are you fit for Christmas?


I usually write blogs on health and fitness so naturally I had to come up with a Christmas song that has to do with fitness. This one is an original by yours truly. Yep, made it up! I thought this fitmas song would put you in a healthy holiday spirit.


On the first day of Christmas my trainer gave to me, a challenge to be healthy!


On the second day of Christmas my trainer gave to me, two shiny dumbbells and a challenge to be healthy!


On the third day of Christmas my trainer gave to me, three days of soreness, two shiny dumbbells and a challenge to be healthy!


On the fourth day of Christmas my trainer gave to me, four sets of squats, three days of soreness, two shiny dumbbells and a challenge to be healthy!


On the fifth day of Christmas my trainer gave to me, five workout days, four sets of squats, three days of soreness, two shiny dumbbells and a challenge to be healthy!


On the 6th day of Christmas my trainer gave to me, six pack of abs, five workout days, four sets of squats, three days of soreness, two shiny dumbbells and a challenge to be healthy!


On the 7th day of Christmas my trainer gave to me, seven days of protein shakes, six pack of abs, five workout days, four sets of squats, three days of soreness, two shiny dumbbells and a challenge to be healthy!


On the 8th day of Christmas my trainer gave to me, eight hours of sleeping, seven days of protein shakes, six pack of abs, five workout days, four sets of squats, three days of soreness, two shiny dumbbells and a challenge to be healthy!


On the 9th day of Christmas, my trainer gave to me, nine workout songs, eight hours of sleeping, seven days of protein shakes, six pack of abs, five workout days, four sets of squats, three days of soreness, two shiny dumbbells and a challenge to be healthy!


On the 10th day of Christmas my trainer gave to me, ten trainers training, nine workout songs, eight hours of sleeping, seven days of protein shakes, six pack of abs, five workout days, four sets of squats, three days of soreness, two shiny dumbbells and a challenge to be healthy!


On the 11th day of Christmas my trainer gave to me, eleven nutrition tips, ten trainers training, nine workout songs, eight hours of sleeping, seven days of protein shakes, six pack of abs, five workout days, four sets of squats, three days of soreness, two shiny dumbbells and a challenge to be healthy!


On the 12th day of Christmas my trainer gave to me, twelve months of training, eleven nutrition tips, ten trainers training, nine workout songs, eight hours of sleeping, seven days of protein shakes, six pack of abs, five workout days, four sets of squats, three days of soreness, two shiny dumbbells and a challenge to be healthy!


Happy Holidays and enjoy the 12 days of fitmas!





December 12, 2013

Tumeric…A very nice spice!

Hey Friends! Hope everyone is having wonderful week!  A couple of months ago I picked up a package of Republic Tea’s, Organic Tumeric Ginger tea.  Since then I have absolutely fallen in love with Tumeric and its health benefits.  Turmeric is a  natural anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial . You can read all about the benefits of Tumeric here:  The World’s Healthiest Foods –


I have two turmeric tonics for you to try.  The first I drink every morning upon waking and the other before bed.  Tumeric is a great detoxifier and I really feel great since I started drinking Tumeric teas and tonics. Try it and let me know what you think.



Morning Tumeric Detox Drink

 8 oz mug filtered or bottled hot water 

1 tablespoon organic ground turmeric

dash cayenne pepper

squeeze half a lemon

Tiny squeeze of local honey

Stir all ingredients in a mug and enjoy!


Sleepy Tumeric Milk

8 oz of warmed coconut or almond milk – side note – always warm your ingredients in the oven or in this case on the stove top – (never microwave)

splash of vanilla extract

Shake of cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon organic ground turmeric mix all ingredients and relax!