Archive | August, 2013

Garden Summer Lovin’ for a Delightful Fall Harvest

26 Aug
Newly planted Red Winter Kale on my garden's North side.

Newly planted Red Winter Kale on my garden’s North side.

I am a novice gardener. I plant, water, weed and let nature do its thing. So when I see a vine full of  sweet Cherry Tomatoes or a bountiful Basil bush, I geek out. I think it’s the Bee’s Knees. It’s true. I have a bit of a love affair with my garden… I tell my plants their beautiful, shower their feet with chicken poop and manure chocolates, but nothing compares to the nourishment I get in the end. I think I first became enamoured as a little girl, eating strawberries straight from the patch and selling our pumpkins on the highway after Nebraska Husker Football games.  This is why I’m so excited for my first Fall harvest! I probably planted a bit too late this summer, but who cares? I got nothing but love.

If you want to join in on the late summer planting party for a delish Fall harvest, I put together a handy-dandy veggie list for us Midwesterners and Great Plainers (is that even a word?!). Choose whatever your little heart desires and give it a go: arugula, beets, broccoli (transplants), Brussels sprouts (transplants), cabbage (transplants), cauliflower (transplants), carrots, chinese cabbage, collard greens, kale, mustard greens, peas, radishes, spinach, swiss chard and turnips.

I want to know about your experience. What is the best time to plant for a Fall harvest? What are your favorite vegetables to plant?

For more fabulous health and wellness tips, visit Stephanie Bell Wellness on Facebook or Twitter.

School Lunch Ideas for Healthy and Happy Kids

18 Aug

healthy lunchMost parents are aware that school lunches are lacking in the nutrition department. Hello mystery meat! So, how do you pack healthy lunches for your kids without them feeling “different” compared to what their friends are eating? First of all, let them pick out a cool lunch box (I still remember my Empire Strikes Back tin lunch box), a fun thermos or bottle to go with it for water, ice pack to keep it fresh, not funky and let them be a part of the lunch making process as much as possible. The gift of choice will give your child a sense of ownership, appreciation and pride–they will feel amazing! All of these ideas require no re-heating and are great for adults too. (Note: kids need more starches for their growing brain and body, so if you are an adult looking to lose fat, try using collard greens for your wraps or Julian’s Bakery bread and wraps.) 

Sandwiches or Wraps

Use Ezekiel sprouted bread and wraps or Julian’s Bakery coconut bread and wraps for gluten-free kids. You can even use cookie cutters for fun sandwich shapes.

1. BLT: nitrate-free bacon, tomatoes, lettuce (romaine, kale, arugula, spinach), guacamole.

2. Southwest: add taco seasoned chicken, turkey or grass-fed beef, tomatoes, bell peppers, lettuce (romaine, kale, arugula or spinach) avocado, black olives.

3. Italian: Applegate Farms nitrate-free frozen cooked chicken sage sausages (cooked and chopped), little mozzarella, fresh basil, sliced tomatoes, drizzle balsamic vinegar

5. Greek: chicken breast (shredded), kalamata or green olives, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, feta cheese, hummus

6. Nutty: almond, cashew or sunflower seed butter, sliced fresh fruit (banana, apple or strawberries)

7. Standard: Applegate Farms nitrate-free roast beef, provolone cheese, tomatoes and lettuce (romaine, kale, arugula or spinach).

8. Egg Delight: 2 soft-boiled eggs (sliced), hummus or guacamole, lettuce (romaine, kale, arugula or spinach)

Mini Pizza

Make this the night before or on the weekend and refrigerate (or freeze if needed). Again, let the kids have fun and pick out their own toppings.

1. Spread high quality pizza sauce (or make your own) on wrap.

2. Add meat: Applegate Farms nitrate-free pepperoni, ground turkey or grass-fed beef or shredded chicken.

3. Add additional toppings: olives, roasted or sautéed veggies, pineapple, cheese, etc.

4. Bake in oven on 325° until cheese is melted and wrap is crisp.


Take skewers and add leftover roasted chicken or chopped steak, cheese, veggies and fruit. Again, cookie cutters are fun here too!


Their growing bodies need plenty of fiber, vitamins and minerals. Toss in some raw veggie sticks with guacamole or hummus dip, fresh fruit, greek salad, celery with nut butter or any other veggies they like.

Sweet Treat

Sometimes it is fun to throw in a little treat now and then, especially if they are wanting cookies or candy bars like their friends have in their lunches. Try making your own trail mix with nuts and dehydrated fruit, date and walnut brownies or 1/3 of a Larabar.

Recipes courtesy of Stephanie Bell

***While nitrate-free deli meat is easy when you’re in a pinch, still keep it in moderation and try not to feed it to your kiddos more than once per week.

Top 3 Workout Mistakes That Hinder Results

12 Aug

If yofruit dumbbellsu are exercising daily, but not seeing the results you want, then you might be making these common workout mistakes.

1. Performing Long Duration Cardio for Fat Loss. Running has always been perceived as the Holy Grail for fat loss, but it may very well be one of the biggest factors as to why you ARE NOT burning fat. Say what?! While cardiovascular exercise is an important part of a well-rounded exercise program, pounding the pavement or doing any repetitive movement consistently for 60 minutes will actually make you an efficient fat burner. Less energy needed to do an activity = fewer calories burned. Long duration cardio also produces more cortisol which makes a nice, squishy home around your mid-section. Not cool. Rather than kickin’ it on the treadmill for 60 minutes every day, opt for strength training and interval training instead. Strength training builds muscle for an around-the-clock fat burning party and interval training improves cardiovascular health without boring the body. A perfect pairing is 3 days of strength training and 2 days of intervals. Add in stress-reducing walks or yoga on your recovery days.

2. Skipping Your Post-Workout Meal. Not eating within 30-45 minutes after your workout is like Daniel Craig keeping his shirt on throughout an entire movie–a complete muscle waster! Resistance training breaks down muscle fibers so we can rebuild them and gain strength. The only way we can repair our bodies is through proper nutrition and recovery. So after you finish your challenging weight training session or metabolic intervals, grab some grub. An ideal recovery meal consists of clean and lean protein, vegetables, fruit and a healthy starch like a yam. If the thought of a full meal after your sweatfest makes your stomach churn, blend a protein shake with pea protein, fresh and frozen fruit, raw unsweetened cacao, kale/ spinach and 6 oz of water/ coconut water/ almond milk.

3. Staying in Your Comfort Zone. Change happens when you push yourself out of your comfort zone. This can be accomplished by increasing weights in small intervals, switching your exercise program every 4-6 weeks and putting forth 100% effort. If you are squatting for 10 reps and feel like you could do 10 more reps, then the weight isn’t heavy enough–challenge yourself and increase it so you can only do 1-2 more reps with good form. Not tired after your 20 second interval and feel like 30 seconds is too long of a break–push yourself and go faster (without sacrificing form). Going out of your comfort zone doesn’t mean entering your pain zone. “No pain, no gain” is lame. Challenge yourself to be your best. You are your greatest competition.

Incorporating these 3 tips along with healthy eating (you can’t out-train a poor diet) will help you achieve the life you deserve. After all, a little daily sweat equity and optimal nutrition is well worth a lifetime of happiness.

For more health and fitness tips, visit Stephanie Bell Wellness on Facebook.

Farmer’s Market Frittata

5 Aug

IMG_1665Frittatas are my lazy answer to healthy and inexpensive cooking. I throw in everything but the farmer in this protein, vegetable and fiber packed dish. Got something from your local CSA and you have no clue what it is? Chop it up and throw it in a frittata. Why not?


2 red bell peppers, diced

1 bunch green onions, sliced

4 baby zucchini, diced

2 carrots, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 lb spinach, chopped (or 1 lb package frozen chopped spinach, thawed)

2 T fresh basil, chopped

1 T fresh oregano, chopped

10 free range eggs

8 egg whites, free range eggs (or 1 carton of organic 100% liquid egg whites)

black pepper to taste

sea salt to taste

coconut oil


1. Sauté bell peppers, green onions, zucchini, carrots and garlic in coconut oil for 5-8 minutes. Set aside to cool.

2. Use coconut oil to grease an 9×13 glass baking dish. (That’s right, this is a super lazy frittata. No fancy “cooking it on the stove, then placing it in the oven.” Some may categorize this as an “egg bake.”). Preheat oven to 325°.

3. Whisk eggs and egg whites together. Add remaining ingredients, making sure sautéed vegetables have cooled so they don’t cook the eggs. Pour into glass dish.

4. Bake in oven for 35-40 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

5. Enjoy plain or serve topped with sliced tomatoes, avocado, kalamata olives or a touch of goat cheese.

Serves 4-6

Recipe courtesy of Stephanie Bell