Basal Cell Carcinoma – Entry One

To update friends and family and to raise awareness of skin cancer, I wanted to share my basal cell carcinoma skin cancer experience here.

Background

To give you some background about me, I have fair skin and medium blonde hair. Growing up, my dad had red hair and fair freckled skin. My mother has dark brunette hair and olive skin. My skin is a mix of the two.

Growing up my mother was very vigilant about applying sunscreen on us children. As a teenager, I would often apply a daily moisturizer containing broad spectrum SPF. As a grade school athlete, I would always wear sunscreen, hats, and protective clothing (covered shoulders and chest) when practicing and competing outside. I have never fake baked in a tanning bed, despite invites from others to do so.

There are a very small handful of times where I have laid out in the sun. Obviously, that wasn’t the smartest thing to do, although, I always covered my face and never was severely burnt. I never was one to sunbathe by pools at friend’s, family’s, community’s, or hotel’s pools. I felt like I was always the one wearing sunscreen, a hat, and a sundress while sitting in the shade. A couple of times in my life I have had sunburns, but it was never anything too severe. I never had any sunburns that caused blistering or major peeling.

Since graduating high school in 2010, I’ve been very vigilant about skin protection. I have even received a comment that I must not get outside much because of my paleness. I proceeded to tell that person that although I get outside, I try to take the proper precautions to prevent skin cancer because I have a strong family history of it. Both of my grandfathers, several of my uncles, and my dad all had skin cancer primarily on their faces. Most of their cases were basal cell carcinoma, however, some of the skin cancer cases were melanoma.

Dermatology Skin Check

About three years ago in 2015, I thought it would be a good idea to get a dermatology skin check to make sure I didn’t have any irregular spots or moles, which would show skin cancer. No issues were found at that appointment.

As I was approaching my 26th birthday this year on February 6th, I needed to use up some cash that I had on a health insurance card. I used that money on a specialty office visit copay to get another skin check at the dermatology office.

I scheduled a skin check the day before my 26th birthday, on February 5th. I showed the dermatology nurse practitioner a couple of spots I thought we should keep an eye on. I had a mole on my back that was irregularly colored. I also had a new growth in the crease of my nose on the left side. It was a recent growth since having my son in March of 2017. I thought it was either a new mole or a molluscum contagiosum lesion. My daughter had recently healed up from a severe case of molluscum contagiosum that transferred to me. Luckily though, I only had a minor case.

At the appointment, the dermatologist took two biopsies, one from the mole on my back and the other from the new growth on my nose. While the mole on my back was two different colors, the spot on my nose was a pink shiny bump.
 The nurse practitioner notified me that they would call me and report the findings of the biopsies.

Basal Cell Carcinoma

I received a call from the office a week after my appointment to tell me that the nose biopsy came back positive for basal cell carcinoma. I was very surprised, as I mentioned before, I have been very careful about not damaging my skin. When I told my husband, he told me that he didn’t know of anybody else who was more careful about skin protection than I.

Basal cell carcinoma is a common skin cancer that is slow-growing. It is rare that it metastasizes and is removed through surgery and other medical treatments. Although it’s not urgently life-threatening, it should be treated promptly.

Skin Cancer Removal

I have a Mohs surgery scheduled for February 24th, however, my family and I want to consult with a trusted plastic surgeon we know to make sure we are proceeding in the best possible way to get cancer removed from my face. The surgery date might change.

Skin Protection

I cannot stress enough how important it is to protect your skin to prevent sun damage and skin cancer. I highly recommend getting skin checks by a dermatologist to check your skin for issues. I will continue sharing updates on my plans for skin cancer removal and plan of care.

Blessings In Trials

Throughout this whole ordeal, I am reminded how blessed I am to have such a supportive family. Trials such as these put things into perspective. My family and faith in Christ are of the utmost importance.
 May we all realize that we are all fighting secret battles. Know that you could be an answer to somebody’s prayer. Reach out to those in need and you will be blessed.

If you have any questions, please ask them in the comment section and I would be happy to reply.

Resources

Skin Cancer – https://www.skincancer.org

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – https://www.lds.org/

Health and Fitness Measurements

Health And Fitness Progress Trackers

When beginning a new health and fitness routine, it is helpful to do an initial assessment of your current health and body state. As you use progress trackers, such as body measurements, photos, and journaling, you can see the improvements you have made.

Non-Measurement Progress Trackers

Pictures

Take a picture of your current body state. Use the same location, body position, and time of day to take the photograph. Keep a folder on your phone or computer of your dated photos. Tracking progress through photographs is a visual reminder of the physical progress you have made.

Journal

In a self-development journal, write down the goals and progress you have made throughout your health and fitness journey.

Measurement Progress Trackers

Heart Rate

Measure how many times your heart beats per minute. The WebMD article, Your Heart Rate, includes instructions on how to take your pulse. The range for a normal resting heart rate is 60-100 beats per minute. When exercising, you can work towards achieving your target heart rate. The article above describes how to calculate your target heart rate and how to use that number when exercising.

black sphygmomanometer

Blood Pressure

A normal blood pressure is 120/80 mm Hg. People who have raised blood pressure are prone to cardiovascular diseases. To lower blood pressure, practice heart-healthy habits.

Blood Pressure Cuff

Weight

A high amount of body fat can lead to being overweight. Therefore, if you are overweight, tracking your weight can show pounds lost or gained. For those who are underweight, track healthy weight gain through the scale as well.  Healthy body weight depends on your sex and age. Just remember, weight is not always an accurate indicator of health. Body shape and composition are unique to every person, therefore, healthy body weight is unique to every person.

Body-Fat Percentage

Body fat percentage is the percentage of fat your body has. Common methods to measure body fat percentage are skin-fold measurements and bioelectrical impedance analysis. More accurate methods are x-ray analysis, water displacement, and DEXA body fat scan.

Body Mass Index

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a broad and general equation that provides a numerical rating of your health based on weight and height. As your BMI increases,  your risk for weight-related diseases increases as well. Nevertheless, BMI doesn’t show body composition and cannot distinguish fat from muscle. The WebMD article, Body Fat Measurements, discusses the exact ranges for a healthy BMI and body-fat percentage and how to measure and equate them.

Tape Measurements

Grab a flexible tape measure and a close friend or family member to record the body measurements.

Thigh // measure where the thigh meets the buttocks.

Hips // measure the widest part of the hip.

Waist // measure at the level of the navel.

Bicep // when measuring the bicep, use the same spot for accuracy.

Chest // to measure, lift up your arms and have someone wrap the tape measure around your chest. Measure above the nipple line with your arms lowered.

Shoulders // to measure, have both arms down at your side and have a friend measure the widest point from shoulder to shoulder.

Neck // have a friend measure around your neck. Relax your neck and make sure your friend isn’t plotting to strangle you.

Bonus Measurement

Hair // if you are trying to grow your hair out long, a healthy lifestyle will promote healthy hair and cell growth. Measure how long your hair is and how quickly it grows when taking care of your body!

blue tape measure

Check out my article, Workout Motivation and Goal Setting, where I include tips on how to make smart goals and how to meet them.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

These delicious and chewy pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are wholesome and nutritious.

As we approach holiday festivities, I am sharing one of my favorite cookie recipes.  These pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are nutritious, delicious, and wholesome! When I bring these little bits of goodness to parties, my friends and family rave about them. They are a feel-good after eating it kind of dessert. Those who are trying to eat “healthy” love these little morsels of wholesome ingredients. These cookies are not the “healthiest” cookie out there, however, the ingredients such as wheat flour, olive oil, ground flaxseed, cinnamon, oats, and pumpkin purée help me feel better about eating a dang delicious cookie.

Ingredients

  • Wheat Flour – 1 cup
  • Old-Fashioned Oats – 3/4 cup
  • Ground Cinnamon – 1 teaspoon
  • Baking Soda – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Sea Salt – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Ground Nutmeg – pinch
  • Canned Pumpkin Purée – 3/4 cup
  • Sugar – 1 cup
  • Olive Oil – 1/4 cup
  • Ground Flaxseed – 1/2 tablespoon
  • Pure Vanilla Extract – 1 teaspoon 
  • Milk Chocolate Chips – 1/4 cup 

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Stir together dry ingredients (wheat flour, oats, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg) in a mixing bowl.
  3. Mix together in a separate bowl the wet ingredients (pumpkin, sugar, olive oil, flaxseed, and vanilla extract).
  4. Combine and mix dry and wet ingredients.
  5. Stir in the milk chocolate chips in the dough.
  6. Drop rounded tablespoons on a greased cookie sheet. Press cookie dough down into a cookie shape with a utensil. Space the dough about 1 inch apart.
  7. Bake for 15-16 minutes.
  8. Take the cookie sheet out of the oven and move cookies to a wire rack to cool.
  9. Consume and enjoy! Makes approximately 24 cookies.
Dry Ingredients
Wet Ingredients
Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
Cookie Dough
Yummy Cookies!
Watch out for those little hands!
Kirtley Freckleton

Kirtley Freckleton Interview – RN + Health Coach

I feel that one of the best ways to gain knowledge is by learning from others. I wanted to know more about Health Coach Kirtley’s view of health and why she enjoys being a health coach. Kirtley is a registered nurse, horse-enthusiast, outdoorswoman, and lover of health! So obviously she is my kindred spirit!

You can find her website here.

Here is the interview I had with Kirtley:

Breanna: Introduce yourself. 
Kirtley: I live in Utah with my husband in an old farmhouse. I’m a horse lover and we’ve got two horses outside. One is a thoroughbred and a racehorse and the other horse is half Clydesdale. It is so fun to have them. We have three miles of cornfield property. We have a labradoodle and I love training him. He is a bit of a trick dog. I want to do competitions with him one day.

Breanna: Why are you interested in health and fitness?
Kirtley: I grew up playing soccer and running track. My mom is pretty healthy and has been a good example of exercising. I decided to go into nursing. I graduated from nursing school and after I graduated, I asked myself the question, “What would be the most fulfilling thing to do?” I decided that I wanted to help people lose weight and get healthy. I love having a healthy body and I want to pass that on. I am a health coach and wellness practitioner. I love it!

Breanna: I think nursing really does go hand in hand with health coaching. I think when you know what the consequences are of these unhealthy choices, you are better able to teach and understand why a healthy lifestyle is so important. 
Kirtley: I’ve had broken bones before and my ACL tore, so I couldn’t walk. I was really struggling in my life when I couldn’t do the things that I wanted to do. It really taught me to love my body and made me very grateful to have it. I’ve always been an outdoorsy person. I enjoy hiking, biking, kayaking, and camping. I just love having a body and I want to enjoy the freedoms that come along with a healthy one.

Breanna: Definitely a healthy mind and a healthy body go hand in hand. So, you told me a bit about your credentials. You are a registered nurse and a certified Health Coach. Do have anything more to say about that?
Kirtley: I was a full-time nurse for the most part of two years. I just didn’t feel fulfilled because I didn’t feel like I was actually helping people the way I thought I would. I didn’t have time to connect with anyone. I was taking blood pressures, handing out medications and then doing paperwork. I really didn’t feel like I was helping anyone and I felt more like a waitress. So, I was coaching on the side and I didn’t think it would go anywhere, but then somebody told me that I had saved their life. I had never been told that as a nurse, not even something close to that. I was told that I had made them feel better. I became bored with my job and I just wanted more fulfillment and love my job every single day. Love every day of your life. If you hate your job, find one that you love. Life is short. That is when I looked at my business and I was doing better than I had thought. I quit nursing and went full-time coaching and treated it like a full-time job. It took off and now I feel way more fulfilled!

Breanna: I feel that if we focus more on preventive care instead of treating high blood pressure and diabetes, we would be better off. If we are trying to prevent chronic diseases, we wouldn’t have to take care of it later. What does your weekly health and fitness routine look like?
Kirtley: I like to work out in the mornings. My husband and I will go to the gym together in the evenings. I rotate between doing arms, abs, legs, and cardio. I’ll do my own weight-lifting at home with 5-10 lb weights. I do those weights with higher reps to create muscle tone for me. I love abs. I’ve also been focusing a lot on cardio. I love to play ultimate frisbee with a team nearby. I am getting into road biking again. My friend and I went on a 2.5-hour road bike ride on Saturday morning. It was so fun! I also enjoy running.

Breanna: What is your favorite healthy treat?
Kirtley: Dates. I love to make date paste. It’s incredible and super sweet. You can just blend up dates together. I also love 100% cocoa baking bars. It helps me not eat chocolate. I’ll overeat chocolate if it is in my house. It is incredibly bitter but you can dip it in date paste. Fruit is also my go-to treat. I love herbal tea, especially the ones that have licorice root in them because it is super sweet. Celestial Seasonings Cinnamon Apple Spice is my favorite herbal tea. Whole dates dipped in peanut butter is a really good snack as well. Those are my magic tricks!

Breanna: What are your go-to healthy meals?
Kirtley: I have four fast and easy meals that only take ten minutes. Almost every country has a stew and once you learn the basics to each stew and you know their basic seasonings, you can almost make anything. I like to make a 10-minute curry. I love to throw in vegetables and frozen vegetables and cashew cream. I also love making a Mexican one pot dish. Spaghetti and chili are easy to throw together as well. They are also nice for multiple meals throughout the week. They are so fast and easy!

Breanna: I also love soups and stews. I feel that it is a good way to get a lot of food groups into a meal. What fitness goal are you working towards?
Kirtley: I love working on physical goals! Last year, I saw a couple on Facebook doing acro yoga and I thought it looked like the most magical thing on earth. And I thought I need to get more flexible. Therefore, I made a goal to do the splits and straddles. I really got into that, in which got me more into yoga. So I was able to meet my goal. That was super fun for me! And I want to do even better, so I am still stretching. My arm was injured for a while and then it got better. However, I had the goal to do 12 pull-ups and so I have worked on my upper arm strength. I want to have really strong triceps. I have focused on that.

Breanna: What are some other ways you like to stay fit?
Kirtley: I think my favorite current sport now is ultimate frisbee. It is exhausting and is kinda like soccer in a way.

Breanna: What else are you passionate to communicate to my readers?
Kirtley: I was able to lose 30 lbs. Not everybody knows that. My first step in my weight loss was to love myself. That is what I have my clients do first thing. You can love your body! You don’t have to love how you look to love yourself. So first, be grateful for your body and decide to take care of it. As you take care of it, listen to it. Listen to your own body cues. Your body knows everything. At least start listening to when you are hungry and when you are satisfied. Start eating slower and actually think about the food you are eating. We also view our food emotionally. Are you eating this chocolate to satisfy your emotions? When you view it this way, you will realize that you don’t need food as much as you think. I love teaching about emotional eating. Wake up and come into awareness. Understand yourself and have a better relationship with yourself.

Breanna: I agree that we need a shift in how we view our bodies. As a postpartum mom, I have stretched out skin and stretch marks. Who was that person years ago that decided that those were ugly and hideous? It is a normal thing that happens to our bodies. Why can’t they be indicators that my body is amazing and grew to babies! We need to view our bodies as beautiful things that can do amazing stuff. We need to focus on our strengths. 
Kirtley: I love coaching because my mission is to help people become free and experience more fulfillment in life. That comes with physical health and emotional health. You can also say spiritual health as well. I love it because when I work with people, we are going to focus on what is going on emotionally. I ask them, what are your habit cycles? Then we create new ones. I talk about social eating. A lot of people have the same routine. And their friends eat unhealthy so they eat unhealthily. I empower my clients. I like to start slow. I try to match their pace. Start off with really good and simple nutrition. I help them to do gradually more and more healthy choices on their own. If they want to learn themselves about how to be healthy, they need to be educated. They need to learn how nutrition affects their body. Most women I work with lose about 10 pounds a month, which is pretty fun. The men go a bit faster. However, the biggest thing is the lasting benefits of choosing a healthy lifestyle. We want to keep the weight off forever. It’s not like a diet. It’s about really connecting with your body.

Breanna: It’s all about sustainability! How is health coaching different from personal training?
Kirtley: As a health coach, I don’t even use exercise for weight loss in my coaching. If you use exercise for weight loss, you are more likely to say, “since I worked out for an hour, I can go and eat a brownie.” Then the justification comes and the obsession comes on how much do I need to exercise to eat this much. It is really in the diet mode. Health coaching focuses on the whole being and holistic wellness. I focus on nutrition first and then as they feel better, they naturally want to exercise. Exercise then becomes a part of a healthy life. If you naturally enjoy Zumba, that is what you are going to do. If you like walking your dogs, that is what you naturally are going to do. I want them to choose something that they can habitually do for the rest of their lives.

Breanna: It truly is about finding what you enjoy doing because that is what will stay with you. 
Kirtley: Find something that you love and you are more likely to do it forever.

Breanna: What is one piece of advice you would give someone who is just starting out on their health journey. 
Kirtley: My number one is to clean up your environment. It is surprisingly simple and most people actually aren’t willing to do that. That is what has helped me the most and kept my 30 pounds off. You cannot keep unhealthy food in your house. Your home needs to be a very safe place. Home is where most of your emotions occur. Keep your house clean so you are forced to eat clean.

Breanna: How do you help your clients find motivation?
Kirtley: That is a great question and I love the topic of motivation. When my clients ask me how do I find motivation, I tell them you don’t wait for motivation to come. Stop relying on your feelings because we naturally want to take the easy way out. That will lead into laziness. Decide that this is what I want, these are my goals, and if you want to start making more homemade healthier foods, you are going to have to meal plan. Force yourself to do it and then the motivation comes after. After you start feeling the benefits of your choices, motivation will be there.

Breanna: Mentally you need to say, “This is something I do.” Every day when you want to make a habit to be a part of you, tell yourself it is just something you always do. 
Kirtley: Yes! It is like defining and branding yourself. This is Kirtley. This is what I do every day!

Breanna: I think that in this day and age, so many people think you have to purchase things to be healthy. However, we have food from the earth and the outdoors to play into health us achieve health. With your business, what are your keys to success? What has helped you the most?
Kirtley: Consistency. I have to commit to putting a little bit of work in every day. There are days where I really don’t feel like working. That is ok but I can’t let that get me down. It is always good to remember my why. Health coaching is not this fairytale job where clients are rushing through your door. It is a lot of work and you have to be ok with people not being ready to get help. I am throwing them a life jacket and they can take it or not. I will not be offended. Don’t care about rejection and be. That is what helps me the most. Every morning I have that vision of seeing me help someone become free. I use visualizations and affirmations.

Breanna: Thank you so much, Kirtley, It was a pleasure talking to you!

Zucchini Egg Waffle Breakfast

Simple & Substantial Zucchini Egg Waffle

Happy Monday! I can tell it is going to be a great week! As the end of summer is approaching, my garden is producing some tasty fruits and vegetables. So far, we have harvested a couple of raspberries, cherry tomatoes, and zucchini squashes. At the bottom of this post, you can check out my garden!

I am excited for the beginning of the month of August tomorrow. With every new month, I love to check my progression towards my goals and recommit myself to them. One of my goals is to eat more wholesome foods, including vegetables. Out of all the meals of the day, I tend to not eat as many vegetables during breakfast. So, I want to find ways to incorporate vegetables into my morning meal. With zucchini coming out of our garden,  I was wanting to incorporate them into my breakfast.

Zucchini Egg Waffle

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil spray
  • 2 eggs (OR 1 egg + two egg whites)
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini

Instructions:

  1. Rinse and clean zucchini. Shred enough zucchini to fill 1 cup (I use a salad shooter to shred the zucchini). Turn on waffle iron to preheat.
  2. Break and whip eggs in a mixing bowl. Add shredded zucchini in mixing bowl and mix with eggs.
  3. Coat hot waffle iron with olive oil spray.
  4. Pour mixture into waffle iron.
  5. Cook! (Don’t open until iron beeps that it is done!)
  6. Add toppings of your choice such as cheese, salsa, ketchup, tomatoes, and etc).
  7. Enjoy!

Zucchini Egg Waffle

For more garden inspiration, click on the hashtag #brehealthygarden on my bre.healthy Instagram page!

#BreHealthyGarden

Garden Starters
Garden Starters

Zucchini in metal colander
Gorgeous zucchini

Sun Sugar Tomatoes
Toddler favorite finger food – sun sugar tomatoes

Garden

Frozen Banana Cream

Yesterday, I saw that it was National Ice Cream Day and didn’t realize it before I headed up Little Cottonwood Canyon to visit my family at Snowbird. I didn’t want the national ice cream day to go to waste, so, I got resourceful and used some ingredients we already had. We made a frozen banana cream treat and it hit the spot!

Ingredients:

  • 4 yellow bananas, diced and frozen
  • 1 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • optional: milk chocolate chips

Instructions:

  1. Dice the bananas and put them in a plastic baggy. Put the bag in the freezer.
  2. Once the bananas are frozen, put the frozen segments in the blender with vanilla yogurt and milk.
  3. Blend and enjoy! We also added some milk chocolate chips for fun! Serves about 5-6 people.
  4. So tasty and wholesome!
White Chicken Chili and Sour Dough Bread

Family Favorite And Flavorful, White Chicken Chili

White chicken chili is nutritious, flavorful, and easy to make! It will surely become one of your family’s favorite meals, as it has become mine!

Family and Food

I attribute my love of creating delicious and wholesome meals to my mother Elizabeth and Grandma Melva. A lot of my favorite recipes are ones that have been passed down through my ancestry. Some of my sweetest childhood memories were created in their kitchens as I was surrounded by loving family members making and eating homemade food. The importance of family meals is underestimated. Family ties are strengthened when we sit down and eat as a family. Now that I am a wife and mother, I love sitting down to eat with my handsome husband and two beautiful children. It’s a time when we can laugh, visit and talk about how our day is going while being nourished with wholesome food.

This white chicken chili recipe is from my mother. I make it at least once a month if not more! I love this recipe because it is easy to make, flavorful and serves a large number of people. When I make it for other people, they always ask me for the recipe! So here it is!

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp salted butter
  • 1 chopped yellow onion
  • ½ tsp garlic minced (I use bottled minced garlic)
  • (2 cups chicken broth) OR (2 cups water with 2 TBSP chicken bouillon OR 2 chicken bouillon cubes)
  • 1 pinch cayenne red pepper
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 pinch of pepper
  • 4 oz. can of diced green chilis
  • 3 cans of great northern white beans
  • 15 oz can of chicken OR rotisserie chicken OR freshly cooked chicken
  • 8 oz of sour cream (I haven’t tried it yet, but a lot of people substitute plain greek yogurt for sour cream. I bet it would work well).

Instructions

  1. Gather all ingredients. Chop the onion.
  2. In a large soup pot, saute the chopped onion and minced garlic in butter. Tip: While the onions are sauteing, I put all the spices together in a little bowl so I can put them into the pot all at once. Also, open up the cans so they are ready to pour into the pot.
  3. Once the onions are soft, add the broth from the can of chicken and the 2 cups of broth (or two cups of water).
  4. Add the spices to the pot (cayenne red pepper, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, and chicken bouillon – if you didn’t use broth). Add the can of chilis, great northern white beans, and chicken.
  5. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Before serving, add the sour cream.
  7. Serve with homemade bread or rolls. Pictured above is tasty sourdough bread. Recipe coming soon!
White Chicken Chili in Large Pot
White Chicken Chili

Oven Roasted Seasoned Asparagus

Oven-Roasted Seasoned Asparagus

It is extremely satisfying to watch my husband and toddler chow down on a meal that is not only delicious but nutritious as well.  As a mother of a two-year-old and a nursing infant, I don’t have time to spend all day in the kitchen making an extensive meal.  Therefore, I’m sharing an easy prep meal that is a go-to favorite in our home.

I’m overwhelmed with the mass amount of information on what foods are good for our bodies and what is not.  Within my religion, there is a law of health that I have loved relying on. The law of health includes:

  • Abstaining from alcohol, tobacco, and hot drinks
  • Eating meat sparingly but with thanksgiving
  • Eating fruits, vegetables, and herbs within its season
  • Using grain as the staff of life

As I live this law of health, I try to eat fresh produce. I love finding different ways to cook and season vegetables! Hope you enjoy this recipe!

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch asparagus spears, trimmed
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • sea salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • garlic powder to taste
  • onion powder to taste

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°  F.
  2. Spray baking sheet with olive oil cooking spray.
  3. Rinse and trim asparagus spears, then place them lined up single-layer on a baking sheet.
  4. Spray asparagus with olive oil spray. Sprinkle salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder on asparagus to taste.
  5. Cook for 30 minutes.
  6. Enjoy!

Resources:

http://www.michiganasparagus.org/our-team

Oven-Roasted Seasoned Asparagus

Memorial Day Weekend Safety

What are your plans for Memorial Day Weekend? Take advantage of the long weekend to play outside and have fun! Oftentimes when there is increased thrill-seeking activity outside, the risk of injury increases too!

Therefore, I give you tips on how to stay safe and healthy during Memorial Day Weekend!

On the Road

Oftentimes we travel to fun destinations to enjoy the long weekend. With that, car travel is required. Make sure your car is in proper working order and know what pit stops you should make! When driving, make sure you use a buddy system. Don’t drive alone or at least let friends or family know where you are at. Don’t drive drowsy or under the influence of drugs, alcohol, and CELL PHONE distraction. Have an emergency car kit if the car breaks down. Know who you can call for help in a predicament! Bring extra water and food if you get stranded somewhere. Have a first aid kit in the car to be ready for any injuries or accidents that might occur. Watch out for motorcycles!

On the Water

Two words. LIFE JACKET! I cannot stress enough how important it is to wear life jackets when playing on the water. I heard too many stories last summer about children drowning. It makes me so sick to think about losing children that way. As a parent, keep tabs on where your children are. Have your kids use a buddy system when playing in the water! Also, SUNSCREEN is so important. Skin damage has short-term and long-term disadvantages. A gnarly burn can be painful and uncomfortable, especially to young children. Long-term effects of skin damage are early aging and skin cancer! No thank you!

On the Land

If riding bikes or any off-road vehicles, wear HELMETS and protective gear! A brain injury is no laughing matter! Wear other protective clothing when there is an increased risk for injury or accident.

My husband lost a toe to dirt biking, and would have lost more than that if he would not have had dirt biking boots on! Be so careful!

On the Inside

When attending barbecues and parties, make sure the food is cooked thoroughly and is clean. Nobody wants to spend their long weekend cooped up at home with an upset stomach.

I love party food and as my momma always says, “any activity is more fun with good food!” However, be mindful of what you eat. Don’t stuff yourself. You don’t want to feel sick later.  Eat food that will give you the energy to play hard!

When vacationing, our food choices change. With that, sometimes constipation can occur. Drink lots of water and fresh fruit and vegetables!

Have so much fun and thank you to all those who have died while serving in the country’s armed forces!

Refreshing Strawberry Rhubarb Lemonade

Refreshing strawberry rhubarb lemonade is a perfect pink picnic drink, sweet strawberries, tangy rhubarb, and sour lemons make for the perfect combination of flavors!

As warm weather and summer approaches, thoughts of backyard parties and picnics come to mind! Refreshing strawberry rhubarb lemonade is a perfect pink picnic drink, sweet strawberries, tangy rhubarb, and sour lemons make for the perfect combination of flavors!

Ranch Life and Lemonade

The first time I was formally introduced to rhubarb was on my senior trip to Bedford, Wyoming. After high school graduation in 2010, a group of my friends, two guys, and four girls traveled to my friend’s family’s farm and ranch.  They had cattle and a beautiful spread of fresh produce.

During the trip, we helped move sprinkler pipes in the pasture and pick produce. On our trip, we hiked to Periodic Spring (the largest rhythmic spring in the world), floated the Salt River, and enjoyed the acreage surrounding the ranch and farm. I’ve always had an attraction to country life and experiences like this solidified my love of it. Now I’m married to a handsome cowboy, live on horse property, and enjoy raising produce and livestock.

After a long day of playing on the ranch, we went and picked a bunch of produce, which included rhubarb that we brought back for dinner. That night, with our help, my friend’s grandma prepared a whole spread of delicious vibrant homemade food.  We enjoyed greens from their garden, freshly picked vegetables, and warm homemade bread.  Nothing beats self-grown and homemade food and cooking!

She also made strawberry rhubarb lemonade! It was so refreshing and new! I love lemonade so obviously, I was hooked. Rhubarb is the perfect addition to lemonade with its tangy and tart taste!

Country Living

Speed up to now, my husband and I bought a home in 2015 that is on the property that allows livestock. A portion of the property is pasture and our home, garden, and yard are on the rest. In the north-west corner of our yard, we have a patch of soil for gardening.  My neighbors, who I consider another set of grandparents, had a line of rhubarb in their garden and let me have a start. So I transferred the plant starts and hoped for the best.

Last gardening season, I didn’t do much with the rhubarb. However, this year as I am working on developing my skills as a nutritionist and gardener; I am putting in the time and effort to learn how to grow, care and cook with fresh produce. As I was brainstorming what I could make with my rhubarb this year, I remembered the strawberry rhubarb lemonade I enjoyed on that picturesque Wyoming ranch. I loved it so much, I wanted to share it with you all!

Ingredients

  • 5 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 pound rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
  • 3/4 cup sugar OR 3/4 teaspoon stevia powder or extract
  • 2 three-inch strips of lemon zest removed with a vegetable peeler plus additional for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries plus additional for garnish
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Instructions

  1. In a saucepan, stir together the water, rhubarb, sugar, strips of the zest, and vanilla. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved, and simmer it, covered, for 8 minutes.
  2. Stir in the strawberries and boil the mixture, covered for 2 minutes.
  3. Let the mixture cool and strain it through a coarse sieve set over a pitcher, pressing hard on the solids. Stir in the lemon juice.
  4. Divide the drink among stemmed glasses filled with ice cubes, and garnish each glass with additional zest and strawberries.
  5. Enjoy!