Sauced Calamari

This was amazing. It took me two trips to find the calamari tubes. The local grocery only had steaks, so I bought some of those and sliced them up as well to see what they tasted like too. I found the tubes at New Seasons Market.  We really enjoyed this light, but hearty tasting meal. And it was fun cooking with vodka.


6 baguette slices
1 clove garlic, peeled and halved
1 1/2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil, divided
Salt and Pepper
1 small red onion, sliced thinly
4 tsp minced garlic
1 can (28oz) crushed plum tomatoes
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/4 c vodka
1/4 c brined capers, drained
1/2 c fresh basil leaves, torn
10 calamari tubes, thinly sliced


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Rub baguette with garlic and 1 TBSP olive oil. Toast in oven for 8-10 minutes.

In a large pot, over medium heat, add remaining olive oil and onion, season with salt an pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, 1 minute more. Add tomatoes, broth, vodka, capers, and basil; season to taste with salt and paper. Lower heat to let simmer 10 minutes.

Add calamari, let simmer until just cooked through about 6 minutes. Serve it up!

Out with the old, in with the new....

“Make New Year's goals. Dig within, and discover what you would like to have happen in your life this year. This helps you do your part. It is an affirmation that you're interested in fully living life in the year to come. 

Goals give us direction. They put a powerful force into play on a universal, conscious, and subconscious level. Goals give our life direction.

What would you like to have happen in your life this year? What would you like to do, to accomplish? What good would you like to attract into your life? What particular areas of growth would you like to have happen to you? What blocks, or character defects, would you like to have removed?

What would you like to attain? Little things and big things? Where would you like to go? What would you like to have happen in friendship and love? What would you like to have happen in your family life?

What problems would you like to see solved? What decisions would you like to make? What would you like to happen in your career?

Write it down. Take a piece of paper, a few hours of your time, and write it all down - as an affirmation of you, your life, and your ability to choose. Then let it go. 

The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.” 
― Melody BeattieThe Language of Letting Go: Daily Meditations on Codependency

Thursday Thoughts Ed.105 : 5 Ways to Lighten up the Holidays (that you haven't thought of)

5 Ways to Lighten up the Holidays (that you haven't thought of)

1. If you can eat it in the middle of March, don't do it now. The holidays are not the time to indulge your Snickers habit or binge on Trader Jo's brownie bites. Those are hardly festive foods - they are really just junk! There are so many delicious homemade treats this time of year - wait for those to come along.

2. Only eat food that's passed around at parties. Seriously. "I will only eat that if you hand it to me." If you only eat the little nibbles passed around on trays you are sure to get some yummy food and eat a lot less than if you guard the buffet. Also, use a napkin. You can't pile food on a napkin.

3. Keep mints handy. I do not support chewing gum in public but popping a potent peppermint throughout the evening can stave of mega eating binges and keep your breath fresh for unexpected holiday kisses. Pucker up.

4. Beware of the baker. If you make a bunch of cookies and pies every year, keep one days worth of treats and give away the rest. Received a food gift? Love it? Share it. Don't love it? Re-gift it. Really.

5. Lean out the middle. In other words keep your sides clean. Go ahead and chow down on your yearly turkey leg but save room for pumpkin pie but making the side dishes healthy.

Here are a couple of my favorites....

This simple gem comes from Wolfgang Puck and makes a traditionally calorie laden side dish (think bacon, butter and sugar) just as delicious. Your jeans will be grateful.

Serves 4

Kosher salt
1-1/2 pounds (750 g) medium to large Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
Nonstick cooking spray
1/2 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup (60 ml) organic, low sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley

Half-fill a large saucepan with water and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, place a colander in the sink. Partially fill a large bowl with ice cubes and water and place it near the sink.

When the water in the saucepan is boiling, salt the water, if you like. Add the Brussels sprouts and cook them just until they turn bright green, 1 to 2 minutes. Drain the Brussels sprouts and immediately but carefully transfer them from the colander to the bowl of ice water. Leave them to cool for several minutes. Drain thoroughly, and then pat the Brussels sprouts completely dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels.

Over medium heat, heat a cast-iron skillet or saute pan large enough to hold all the Brussels sprouts in a single layer; or if necessary, use 2 or more smaller pans. Spray the bottom of the pan or pans evenly with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle the bottoms evenly with the brown sugar and quickly place the 
Brussels sprouts cut sides down in the pan or pans. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper to taste.

Cook until the undersides of the Brussels sprouts are caramelized and a deep brown color, 5 to 7 minutes. Drizzle them with the broth and continue to cook, stirring, to dissolve the caramel-brown glaze on the bottom of the pans and lightly glaze the sprouts with the liquid, 1 to 2 minutes longer.

Serve the Brussels sprouts directly from the skillet or skillets, or transfer them to a serving bowl. Garnish with the parsley. Serve immediately.

Serves a bunch

1.5 TBSP Sugar
1 TBSP Water
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans 
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided 
2 pounds green beans, trimmed 
2 tablespoons unsalted butter 
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a jelly-roll pan with parchment paper.

Bring sugar, 1 tablespoon water, cumin, and red pepper to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves. Remove pan from heat; stir in pecans, rosemary, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Spread pecan mixture in an even layer on prepared pan. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes or until fragrant and browned. Cool in pan, stirring occasionally.

Place green beans in a large saucepan of boiling water; cook 4 minutes. Drain and plunge green beans into ice water; drain.

Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add beans; sauté 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and black pepper over green beans; toss. Place beans on a serving platter; sprinkle with pecan mixture. Serve immediately.


4 cups unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson) 
2 cups uncooked farro
2 tablespoons olive oil 
2 cups diced peeled butternut squash 
1 cup chopped red onion
1 cup thinly sliced carrot 
3/4 cup thinly sliced celery 
3/4 cup almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
3/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon minced fresh sage
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt 
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 


Bring stock and farro to a boil in a large saucepan; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes or until farro is al dente. Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving cooking liquid.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add squash, onion, carrot, and celery; sauté 5 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup reserved cooking liquid. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook 7 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir squash mixture into farro mixture. Stir in almonds, parsley, thyme, sage, salt, and pepper. Spoon into an 11 x 7-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve. 

Meal Plan: Eat right to fight dull winter skin.

The Best Foods for Gorgeous Skin

Fish - Salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, and rainbow trout all contain omega–3 fats, which help fortify skin cell membranes, protect against sun damage, and may also reduce the risk of certain forms of skin cancer. These healthy fats allow water and nutrients into the skin while keeping toxins out, and may also fight inflammation in the skin. Just don't cancel out the benefits of eating fish by preparing it in unhealthy ways. Avoid deep–fried fish, and go for baked, grilled, roasted or poached instead!

Broccoli - This cruciferous veggie is high in antioxidants, including vitamins C and E. The vitamin C in broccoli aids in collagen production and keeps your skin healthy and supple, while vitamin E protects your skin cell membranes and guards against UV radiation damage.

Nuts - Nuts are one of the best food sources of vitamin E. Eat whole almonds or walnuts as a snack or add sliced or chopped nuts to salads, cereal, yogurt, stir–fry or baked goods. You can also toast almond slivers and serve them on top of fish, chicken, or even rice or pasta dishes. The vitamin E in walnuts can help nourish your skin and protect it from the sun's damaging UV rays. Just be sure to eat them in moderation, since almonds and other nuts are calorie–dense.

Carrots - Crunch on carrots to keep your skin healthy and vibrant. Carrots are high in beta carotene, an antioxidant that is converted to vitamin A inside the body. It helps repair skin tissue and protects against the sun's harsh rays. Enjoy carrots raw in salads or with a low–calorie dip, or try roasting them to develop a rich, sweet flavor. (Bonus! Cooked carrots deliver even more skin–friendly beta carotene than raw ones.)

Pumpkin Seeds - Pumpkin seeds are a skin superfood because they're so high in zinc. Zinc protects your cell membranes, helps maintain collagen, and promotes skin renewal. Enjoy pumpkin seeds on their own as a snack, add them into a homemade trail mix, or sprinkle them on yogurt or oatmeal.

Low-Fat Dairy - The Vitamin A is low-fat dairy, like natural low fat goat cheese, feta and yogurt keep skin smooth and soft. The "live" bacteria in these foods also helps with digestive health which turns out to have an impact on skin health as well.

Here's a super charged meal plan to keep your skin glowing this winter.


Yogurt Parfait: 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt, 2 TBSP chopped walnuts, 1 handful of berries (in winter I like to microwave frozen ones for 20 secs, warm and juicy!) sprinkle with cinnamon.


10-12 baby carrots with 2 TBSP hummus or 1/2 avocado in a bowl drizzled with lemon juice and red pepper flakes served with a few small whole grain crackers.


Spinach salad with 4oz grilled chicken, 1 ounce goat cheese and 1/4 cup sliced apples, top with 1/2 TBSP each olive oil and lemon juice, sprinkle with a TBSP roasted pumpkin seeds.


A sliced apple or pear with 1 tablespoon almond butter or about 25 almonds.


Four ounces poached salmon over 1 cup each sautéed kale and broccoli with 1/2 cup steamed brown rice. 


Here's something I read this week that really got me thinking. Setting daily goals is a smart way to make sure you check the priorities off your to-do list. Somedays it all gets done, somedays it doesn't.    For example, when you set a goal to get to the gym and don't make it, it's very easy to call that day a wash. Instead, take a moment to review all the things you DID get done. And then take a moment to ask yourself what you can do to make sure you take care of your health and fitness today and everyday.  Reading this email from Todd Durkin, a fitness pro I think is just awesome, and love getting a chance to see speak -- got me thinking about a different way to approach goals, successes and obstacles that I feel could be a practice worth trying. I scheduled 30 mins on Sunday night after dinner to do my WLAG's. 

From: Todd Durkin <>
Subject: I do this EVERY Sunday

Good morning. Happy Sunday.

I love Sundays. Church. Family time. Football.

And I get to plan out my entire week.

At my recent 3.5 Day Mentorship, I shared “18 Things I’m Doing Really Well Right Now.

It is these ‘best practices’ that ultimately allow for maximum productivity and personal productivity.  

I would like to share 1 of my 18 today because I do this one EVERY Sunday without fail. And I share it with my Fitness Quest 10 leadership team and my “power of 10” Mastermind team every week.

Here is one of the 18 things I do:

I do my “W.L.A.G.’s” every Sunday! And they help me plan my week. And be more efficient with my time and energy. All-in-all, it probably takes me about 20-30 minutes to complete.

WLAG’s stands for:

Wins” of the past week. 
Losses” of the past week. 
Aha” moments from the past week. 
Goals” of the upcoming week.

Wins and losses from the past week allow me to pause and reflect for a few minutes on what I accomplished or didn’t accomplish. It puts me in a more reflective and present state of mind versus always just thinking “what’s next?”

Ahas” simply allow me to go a step deeper and think about any/all moments from the previous week that made me stop in my tracks or made me catch my breath.

For example, my “ahas” from this past week are:
  • So proud of Brady. I loved seeing him up in front of his school doing his speech Friday.” Brady is my 9-year old son who is running for Student Council at his elementary school and he was nervous as heck to do it. And he crushed it!
  • Loved going back to my graduate university (San Diego State University)  this past Tuesday and speaking to about 150 undergraduate students on ‘entrepreneurism.’ And I loved seeing the light bulbs go off in these young students eyes and giving them hope and conviction that anything is possible if you have massive courage, crazy work ethic, and undeniable belief.

And finally, I write out my GOALS for the upcoming week. “Goals” are simply what I WILL accomplish in the next 7 days. While I typically put down 15-20 things on that “To Do” list for the week, I narrow it to a BIG 5 for the week. These are the 5 things that MUST get done this week come hell or high water.

Planning your week is vitally important and will set you up for successful days and a successful week. And I believe that a successful week starts BEFORE the week actually starts.

Take a few minutes out of your Sunday today and do some “WLAG’s.” And if you would like to share them with someone on your team or in your family, it makes it even that much more powerful.

Enjoy your Sunday!


NEW Fall Training Options! Eat, bike, run!

Happy Fall Everyone! 

Finally, my favorite time of year. Driving home today it was warm enough to roll the windows down and cool enough to wear a fuzzy sweater. The air smells sweet and crisp. Pumpkin scented candles burn in every room (sorry Andrew). 

Whenever the seasons change it feels like a good time to take notice of how the last one was spent and what you want to do, where you want to go, and how you want to enjoy the next one. 

Summertime was exciting! Between races on weekends, moving in and decorating our very own home, BBQ's and dinners outside and an awesome family vacation, we smiled a lot and soaked in the sunshine. 

When the weather cools and the leaves change, our focus moves inward, cozy nights at home and renewed energy to tackle some things we put off while we played over the summer. 

For me, this means hitting the gym and strength training as well as hitting the books and expanding my knowledge and passion for coaching people toward better health and fitness. 

I've put together some new offerings to bring to the changing seasons. Check out these three new training options and find one that excites and motivates you. 


LUNCH TIME TABATA: Starting next Wednesday, October 1st, I'm offering a super fun 45 min session combining the best parts of my Adrenaline Cycle class and off the bike strength training in the Tabata style of intervals. Work, rest, work, rest, repeat! This class will take place at NW Women's Fitness Club at 12:15 - 1pm. You'll be pumped for the rest of the day! 10 weeks for $250. 

NUTRITION TEAM TRAINING: I'm excited to offer this 10 week program geared toward improving your diet quality, changing habits for the better and getting fit with friends. The small group atmosphere will provide personal attention, focused coaching, and the support needed to create real results. 10 weeks for $250.

STRENGTH TRAINING GROUPS:  Beginning Thursday October 2nd I will be working with my own awesome coach, Mr. Bryant Howard to offer an 8 week Women’s Run/Strength group that will meet at 10am on Tuesday/Thursday.  Our goal will be to build strength in the weight room and on the road. This combo workout will take place at The O2 Endurance Training Center and we will run on the Springwater Trail. (We have a place to duck out of the rain!) It's gonna be good! Cost will be $130 for 1x/Week or $240 for 2x/Week for the 8 week group.

Write me at or call me up at 503-348-9369 with any questions. I can help you get signed up and started with the group of your choice.

What's it going to be?

PS. I spent the day home sick with a cold. Look for new recipes coming soon!

Play Hard, Eat Well, Rest Up.

Thursday Thoughts Ed. 104 - Play hard, eat well, rest up.

I hope this message finds you all enjoying the last few days of August. 

I am always excited about the start of a new month. I relish any chance to realign, rebalance, prioritize and move forward. Truly, it feels like we should do this every morning. Days will go by before I realize I have become distracted, that I've let my healthy habits, getting plenty of sleep, drinking lots of water, eating smartly, slip and bad habits have found their way back. 

Today was one of those days. 

The 5am alarm felt cruel. Dehydrated and crunchy from a late dinner with friends, worn out after a weekend of long hot workouts - I was a sorry mess of sore muscles and a troubled tummy. Not 10 minutes into my weekly track workout my coach gave me a pat on the back and sent me home and back to bed. 

I spent much of the day feeling pretty down on myself. I know better! 

But, I also made a point to look past this crappy moment, see the bigger picture and take the time I needed to recover and regroup. 

My afternoon was spent talking to a group of amazing young people about what healthy eating means to them and how to make nutritious food a part of their lives. It was awesome to see their excitement and willingness to change long standing habits that might not be the healthiest and try to discover ways to make new habits that will make them feel strong and vibrant.

We can start now. The point is to keep trying. Keep starting. Even if you do it over and over and over again. 

Take some time to ask yourself what being healthy means to you. How many of those things are part of your life right now?  What can you do to make your definition your reality? Try today. Try tomorrow. Just keep trying. 

Need some help? I've got your back:-) Come see me next week at NW Women's Fitness Club - I have Tuesday evening time slots available for personal training or nutrition coaching as well as Wednesday and Friday, or reply to this email to book appointments. 

Phone and Email consultations are great ways to hash out goals and make plans.

There are two new posts at Manifest the Best!! And I'm also in the middle of a website overhaul. Excuse the construction. It's gonna be good! 

Get strong from the inside out with Beyond Planks
and fill your tummy with BBQ Chicken and Peaches!

Play hard, eat well, rest up!