Crustless Pumpkin Pie... and a Thanksgiving Travel Workout

Thankful and Grateful...


I want to take a moment to say THANK YOU for signing up for being part of my community here on the inter-webs.  I look forward to creating even more recipes, workouts, videos, and all-things-womens-health moving forward….so that I can share it all with you!

If you're hosting on Thanksgiving this year, or maybe just want to bring along a dessert that you know you'll enjoy, this Crustless Pumpkin Pie recipe will hit the spot!  Best of all, it's gluten free, dairy free, soy free, and contains no refined sugar.  If you or any of your friends or family are avoiding these categories of food for health reasons, you'll be the hit of the party for serving (or bringing) a dessert that they can have.  :-)
 

Check out my Crustless Pumpkin Pie recipe here.
 

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Are you traveling this holiday season?

Did you catch my video that includes a quick & easy full-body workout? It's perfect for hotel rooms or extended family's bathrooms…whichever!  ;-)

You can watch that right here.

Cheers to a peaceful, laughter-filled holiday!

In health and gratitude,
Tara

You're Invited: 25 Tips to Stay Healthy During Holiday Travel

With Thanksgiving Day right around the corner (11 days away, to be exact), many people are finalizing plans to hit the road via plane, train, automobile, or all of the above to visit loved ones and tolerated ones alike.  :-)

Many of my clients tell me it's the hustle and bustle and travel of the holiday season that sets them back further than the actual holidays themselves when it comes to their health goals. Can you relate?  Me too!

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So, I have put something together for you!

Starting tomorrow, inside my private community on Facebook, we will be taking the whole week to talk about ways to stay on track while you make your rounds this holiday season.

To get in on the fun, join this (FREE) group of awesome ladies that are striving to take better care of themselves and their families.

Hope to see you inside the group!

In good health,

Tara

Lentil - Veggie Soup

When does soup season officially start in your household?  My car said it was 45 degrees outside yesterday morning when I was up and out early.  Commence souping!  

I've been focusing on natural immunity boosting this past week with my private Facebook community, Lean In with Tara Allen Health.  The omnipresent echo of late October sniffles always seem to inspire my most nurturing of recipes.  Besides the winning ingredients (garlic, spices, plants, protein) in this next recipe, the fact that it is a soup - a hot liquid - will be key in helping to fight off some germs.  When we bring a mug of something nice and hot close to our face (no burning yourself though, deal?!), the steam helps to kill off those pesky buggers that like to hang out in our nostrils and cause head colds.  So, take your time with your soup or tea or coffee and try to inhale as you canoodle with your warm cup of ANYthing. :-)

Here's a soup recipe that I happen to love.  I wanted something warming, hearty, plant-based, and free of dairy and gluten so my whole family could partake.  If it passes that taste-test for your family, make it in large batches next time around and freeze some so if/when you ARE feeling under the weather, you have this on the ready and don't even have to worry about cooking.

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***Lentil-Veggie Soup***

 

Ingredients:

 

1 pound lentils, rinsed

2 quarts broth (chicken, veggie, whatever)

1 cup onion, chopped

1 cup tomatoes, chopped

1/2 cup celery, chopped

1/2 cup carrots, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 T olive oil

2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp chili powder

 

Directions:

 

1. Pour olive oil in bottom of large saucepan on stovetop (medium heat).

2. Add carrots, celery, onion, and garlic, and cook about 5 minutes (onions should become slightly translucent).

3. Add all remaining ingredients.

4. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low.

5. Cook an additional 30-35 minutes on low.

6. Serve as is for a chunkier consistency.  Or, use an immersion blender (or transfer to a blender in batches) for a smoother consistency (picky toddlers, anyone?). ;-)

7. Freeze any leftovers that won't be eaten over the next few days.

 

Here's why I'm breaking up with hand-washing...

What are YOUR big rocks?

Are you mopping the floor when your house is on fire?

Are you chewing gum for the extra calorie burn, but then chugging down a Venti Frap on your way home from work?

Watch this #WonderWednesday LIVE video to see what the heck I'm talking about…and help figure out where to start with your weight loss and health goals.

Then, come back and drop a comment.  Tell me, what is one of YOUR big rocks?

In good health,

Tara

P.S. It's subtle, but around a minute or so in, I shoo away a neighbor so I can keep talking to you guys!  :-O  Oops.  At least I'm passionate!  Haha.

Pumpkin Cider Muffins

We've made it through our first official week of Autumn.  The older I get, the more I realize that I'm a Fall kinda person.  The Summer is nice and all (hello beaches and flip flops and berries), but there's just something about the Fall that's refreshing.  I like rediscovering my sweaters that were hibernating during the hotter days and I really like when the barista knows that the latte I just ordered is supposed to be hot.  In the Summer, it always seems to puzzle people that I still enjoy a hot cup of coffee!

Driving around town, I get excited to see the Halloween and Fall decor on suburban stoops everywhere as we begin several months of back-to-back holidays to look forward to.  There are bails of hay, some semblance of a colorful leaf kid's craft hanging on the door, and pumpkins - one for each family member - lined up on the steps.  I love that.  In fact, that's the extent of the future for all the pumpkins we hunted for today.  For the following recipe, I highly recommend purchasing (organic, BPA-free) pumpkin puree.  Unless, of course, you're a glutton for punishment and lots of extra work...??

I dreamt up these Pumpkin Cider Muffins when I was feeling left-out for seeing cider-everything.  Don't get me wrong, I can get down with some apple cider, but where did the cider doughnut craze come from?  

Here's what I needed... a healthier, tasty, Fall-like baked good that made my house smell like one of those toxic candles that we no longer buy.  If it was healthy enough to work as breakfast, a snack, or dessert and could be made in batches and frozen so I don't have to make them 28 times this season....even better!  

Hope you enjoy these Pumpkin Cider Muffins as much as my family does.

Happy All-Things-Pumpkin Season!

 

In good health,

Tara

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Pumpkin Cider Muffins

 

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups pumpkin puree
  • 6 eggs
  • ½ cup honey
  • 6 T coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 T cinnamon
  • 2 tsp nutmeg
  • ½ cup walnuts

Directions:

1.    Preheat oven to 350 F.

2.    In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Mix well.

3.    Spoon batter into paper-lined muffin tin (or grease muffin tin).

4.    Bake for 22 – 25 minutes (until golden brown and toothpick inserted comes out clean).

5.    Optional: Serve with nut butter and hemp / chia seeds on top to increase protein content.

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After School Smoothie Routine

We're heading into the fourth-ish week of school here in New York and at this point, we've changed up our routine quite a bit to accommodate a 3.75 year-old who is now in preschool in the afternoons.  This beautiful child of mine is usually TIRED and HUNGRY!  If not hungry, she's "starving".  Did I mention how hungry she is? Yikes!  I'm assuming she'll be going up a size…or 5…soon with the way she's been putting back food lately.

In this video, I talk about how we're satisfying her hunger, specifically after-school, without skimping on the veggies she so badly needs.

If you are new to smoothies or would like to simplify things a bit for yourself, sign up for my newsletter here and receive my Formula For the Perfect Plant-Based Smoothie.  This PDF can be saved or printed and will help give you fresh ideas to make healthy and balanced smoothies that you and your kids will love.

Tell me, how have you adjusted your schedule with food and/or sleep since the school year began?  Any tips for a newbie school-mama like me?  ;-)

In good health,

Tara

FREE Webinar!

In just 3 days, I am hosting a FREE webinar - The truth about calorie-counting and what you can do instead.

This live event is for you is you find yourself jumping from diet to diet, have ever tried to count your calories or macros, or would like to learn more about your metabolism and a better way to manage portions without making you want to pull your hair out.

Is this you?  Join the group now so you're all set to pop in and catch the webinar!  If you can't make it live, the replay will be available in this group as well.

Can't wait to see you there!

In good health,

Tara

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Wine and Weight Loss

Have you ever wondered what, if anything, your beloved glass of wine at the end of a long & hard day might have to do with your weight loss efforts?

I went live on my Facebook page yesterday to discuss how your (well-deserved!) glass of pinot or merlot is messing with your fat loss efforts.  I know, I know....don't shoot the messenger!

Check out the video if you want to learn the 3 ways alcohol consumption can interfere with your weight management and body composition goals.

What's coming up???

FREE Webinar: The Truth About Calorie Counting: Why it doesn't work and what you can do instead.

Whatcha doing next Tuesday, August 22nd at 8 PM EST?  Join me LIVE as I talk about the reasons calorie counting does not work for weight loss and tell you what you can do instead!

This free webinar will be hosted inside of my Facebook group, Lean In with Tara Allen Health.  The replay will be made available there as well if you can't make it at that time.  :-)  Join now so you are all ready to watch on Tuesday!

In good health,

Tara

Pioneer Nutrition and Fitness Coaching

Some of you have been requesting more information about my new coaching program.  Most importantly, you get me as your coach.  ;-)  I am your partner, guide, educator, cheerleader, and accountability buddy.  I have partnered with another company to bring you the best of the tech world, while allowing me to focus completely on YOU and your health journey.  Along with high-quality videos, we will be communicating through the very portal where you will also view your daily lessons and workout program. 

What does this portal look like once you get started?  Well, here is a sneak peak!

This is a 12-month program.  12 months will pass whether you make a change or not.  I want you to be the person you've always imagined one year from today.  And, I want you to start seeing and feeling this progress as soon as we start working together!

Hit me up with all of your questions!  Tara@TaraAllenHealth.com

 

In good health,

Tara

6 Easy Meal Ideas - Mix N' Match Style

Do you want to be able to make a few things on a weekend and have meals to eat for the rest of the week?  I'm not talking about the same meals every night either!

The video is complete with a baby vs. mom battle over a pen. I won, for the record.  Haha!

With just a few extra ingredients, your 1-2 hours in the kitchen on a weekend can create SIX different dinners to put on the table during the hustle and bustle of the weeknights.

Tell me, what's your favorite way to meal prep?

 

In good health,

Tara

Bringing Your Own Food

Hey Superstar (felt like an appropriate greeting for this rainy, Monday afternoon),

Have you ever tried to bring your own food somewhere and been denied?  Maybe you or your kiddos have food allergies or you're just trying to feed real food to your family?

This is something we are faced with all the time.  Usually it's no big deal - we just bring our little cooler bag everywhere with us.  However, there are some instances where outside food is not permitted.  

What do YOU do?  What has your experience been like?

Let's change the culture!  If there is a facility that cannot accommodate allergies and those looking to eat mostly unprocessed food, then they should be allowing outside food.  We're more than happy to buy silly souvenirs to make sure you make money on us.  :-P

In good health,

Tara

Oatmeal Bites

 

Full disclosure here...

Sometimes it gets quite tedious to feed Jagger (the baby) anything liquid-y and messy like oatmeal.  Often, his time in the highchair eating breakfast is when I like to chat about what we're doing for the day, eat my own breakfast, and/or load the dishwasher while no one is trying to crawl inside.

I decided it was about time to create another recipe that got in some healthy, breakfast ingredients in convenient, finger-food bites.

Alas, these oatmeal bites were born.

Jagger-dude polishes these off within minutes and Magnolia feels like she's getting dessert for breakfast.  I don't correct her - these could absolutely be used for a dessert at well!  

I've since experimented by adding and subbing lots of other mix-ins, and let me tell you, these bad boys are pretty versatile!  Feel free to get creative and let me know how they come out for you.

Oatmeal Bites

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 cups of quick oats (we use gluten free)
  • 1 cup pureed carrot (pumpkin or sweet potato work well too)
  • 2 large & ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 medium & ripe avocado, mashed
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 T crushed walnuts (optional)
  • 2 T raisins (optional)
  • 1/2 large carrot, grated - save half for garnish (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients.
  3. In a blender, mix the wet ingredients and add to dry ingredients.
  4. Spread batter in a greased, 8X8 cake pan.  (Any baking pan with an edge will be fine, just keep a close eye and adjust cooking times).
  5. Add grated carrot garnish to tops, if using.
  6. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until top is golden brown and batter no longer jiggles.  
  7. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting into squares (or triangles or dinosaurs…whatever will make your kiddo smile).

Enjoy!

 

In good health,

Tara

 

Quality PLUS Quantity for healthy fat loss

Hey there! 

[Thanks for rolling with the kiddos interrupting my live video!]  :-P  

Food quality PLUS food quantity is the secret sauce for healthy fat loss.

I'm NOT a believer in counting calories - at least not over the long-term.  I believe, in general, we could benefit from less stress surrounding food choices and body image.  However, it IS true that if you take in more energy (calories) than your body uses, you will gain weight.

Quality of nutrition is SUPER important!  Less chemicals and additives; more real & whole food.  That's what truly nourishes our bodies.

So, if you're looking for both HEALTH and FAT LOSS, the key comes from eating high quality foods in appropriate portion sizes for your body / activity level / hormones.

This is one of the topics that is customized specifically for you in my online program - Pioneer Nutrition & Fitness Coaching.  It is a 12-month program, with the option of committing to just the first 3 or 6 months if you're a get-my-toes-wet-first type of person.  

Instead of trying every single year to lose the fat, this program takes one year and since it's done in a lifestyle-changing & sustainable way, you'll have to find some new thing to obsess over every year for your New Years' resolution.  ;-)

Intrigued?  Ready to dive in?  Here's the link. 

In good health,

Tara

Watermelon "Cookies"

I've been on a watermelon kick lately, because…Summer.  Our latest creation involved the baby, the toddler, some fun cookie cutters, and MOST DEFINITELY a couple of baths afterwards.  ;-)

Check it out:

Squeezing Exercise in (For Busy Peeps)

I was approached by the Diabetes Council a few weeks ago to participate in an article about squeezing movement into our busiest of days.  With a little preparation and a bit of creativity, you can rack up a good amount of heart-racing, muscle-pumping exercise right there inside of the daily grind…and fun!

Interested in these tips?  Be sure to stop and read #26.  ;-) 

Coconut Oil - Friend or Foe?

Have you heard the rumors?  Coconut oil went from health superstar to washed-up junk food overnight - if you follow the press.  I recorded a video to set the record straight in light of the latest research.  Check it out:

So, what is your take on all of this?  Will you continue (or start) to use coconut oil?  What are your favorite ways to cook or bake with coconut oil?  

In good health,

Tara

Super Green Protein Cookies

So here's the deal…my kids like cookies.  I like cookies.  There was a 2-for-1 deal on spirulina, and alas….the Super Green Protein Cookies recipe was born.  

I should mention, my investigative 3-year old does always double-check, "These are healthy cookies, right mama?".  Yes, of course!  And they're GREEN!  These cookies will awaken the inner Hulk in us all.  They satisfy a sweet or crunchy tooth without sending your blood sugar on a roller-coaster ride.

Spirulina is what gives these cookies its color and is a type of blue-green algae that comes packed with protein, vitamins A, K1, K2, B12, iron, chromium, and maganese.  With that fresh-from-the-ocean smell and taste, it's best to keep portions small and include it in recipes in which it can be camouflaged (such as these cookies or a smoothie).

I used goji berries too, to add texture, sweetness, and plant magic, but feel free to substitute with raisins or omit altogether.  The green-red combo was really pretty though!  I'm thinking I'll have to repost this recipe closer to the holidays for the Christmas celebrators.  (Can someone remind me?  I've got that mommy-brain-sleep-deprived thing going on).  ;-)

The key to the perfect crunch is allowing them to bake until the edges are golden-brown and then being patient enough to let them cool down on a cooling rack (or some other place where the air can get all around).

This recipe makes about 24 cookies.  I've had a lot of inquiries recently about serving sizes (more information to come on that).  To be technical, 1-2 cookies is a good serving for most… per sitting.  So just stand up and sit back down to have more.  Ha!  Wouldn't it be wonderful if it worked like that?!?!

Let me know if you try these and what you think.  The million $ question…did your kids like them?

 

In good health,

Tara

Super Green Protein Cookies

Ingredients:

 

Dry:

1.5 cups almond flour

½ cup ground flaxseeds

3 T dried goji berries (sub: raisins)

1 T hemp seeds

1 T chia seeds

1.5 tsp. spirulina powder

½ tsp. baking soda

¼ tsp. salt

 

Wet:

¼ cup coconut oil, melted

¼ cup honey

1 T vanilla

 

Directions:

1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2.    In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients and stir well.

3.    In a medium bowl, combine all wet ingredients and stir well.

4.    Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until dough is formed.

5.    On a greased baking pan, place tablespoon-sized balls about an inch apart.  Press down / flatten slightly with a fork.

6.    Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees F – until the edges are golden brown.

7.    For best results (and crunch!), allow to cool 5 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack for an additional 20-30 minutes.

Are you sure? Pediasure? That time when I disagreed with my kids' pediatrician...

I had an interesting experience at the pediatrician's office last week with my 1-year old.  Watch the video to find out what happened and what we plan on doing about it.

Have you ever disagreed with advice given to you for your child by his/her doc?  What did you say or do?

***Please note: I respect our pediatrician, her experience, her knowledge, and her kindness a great deal.  She's an amazing professional and mother, from what I can tell.  This in no way means that I have not or do not take other advice she gives.  However, I am very comfortable with the level of knowledge I hold in the field of nutrition.  I am also very aware of the alarmingly low amount of nutrition education given to doctors as they are coming up.  I hope that changes very soon.  Regardless, here I am trying to do my part - as a coach to my clients AND as a mother to my kiddos.  

When you know better, you do better.  Let's do better.

 

In good health,

Tara

27 Healthy School Snack Options

With our little threenager's impending entry into preschool, I was feeling relieved about the rumors (and downright claims) that this particular school program is known to be "strict" and "healthy" in their nutrition policies.

Awesome!  I got 99 worries, but a snack ain't one!  :-P

Then, this curious little packet arrived in the mail.  Along with doctor forms, emergency contacts, and mandatory meetings came a sheet claiming to educate parents, like myself, about what is considered a 'healthy snack'.  This…..THIS is what they wrote:

Hmmmm…..really?!?  "Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers", "animal crackers", and "graham crackers" made THEIR list!

Hmmmm…..really?!?  "Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers", "animal crackers", and "graham crackers" made THEIR list!

WHAT in the graham cracker did I just read?!?!  

A few of the items, at least, are in fact healthy.  However, my biggest problem with this list is that it comes from an authority that claims to have a superior understanding of what we *should* be feeding our children.  This means that some parents without much knowledge in nutrition may trust and follow these guidelines in hopes of nourishing their kiddos.  If goldfish and graham crackers are a healthy, everyday-type snack, what do they consider a treat?!

I do not judge others' decisions for what they feed their families, when, why, etc.  I like to believe that everyone is doing the best they know how.  I also believe this is one of my purposes in life - to help raise the bar.

After posting this list on social media a couple of weeks ago, some of you said you'd like to see me post a list of my own.  So, I am!

**The following list takes into consideration that most schools are tree nut and peanut free these days.  Although there are no overt peanuts or tree nuts in this list, many packages / ingredients will need to be double-checked to make sure they are in-line with your school's allergen policy.

Feel free to use these ideas however you see fit - to send in for snack, to combine and give as a quick meal, or just enjoy at home with your kiddos.  You will find some of these are meant to be paired together with other items on the list to balance it out, because….can you really eat hummus by itself?  ;-)  (Give me a spoon - I certainly can!)

  1. Dried chickpeas
  2. Cheese stick (organic, if possible)
  3. Fruit - apple, banana, fruit salad
  4. Sunflower seed butter
  5. Hummus
  6. Guacamole (with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice)
  7. Seed crackers (such as Mary's Gone Crackers brand)
  8. 100% whole grain crackers
  9. Raw veggies - peppers, halved grape tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, snap peas, green beans, halved olives
  10. "Chips" made from baked sweet potatoes, zucchini, beets, or kale
  11. Seaweed
  12. Homemade granola (99.9% of store-bought has added sugar)
  13. Apple "nachos" - include sunflower seed butter, hemp seeds, and coconut flakes
  14. Trail mix with just seeds and dried fruit (goji berries, raisins)
  15. Freeze-dried fruit
  16. Hardboiled eggs or deviled eggs
  17. Celery with sunflower seed butter or tahini and raisins ("ants on a log")
  18. Air-popped (organic) popcorn
  19. Seed pretzels (such as Mary's Gone Crackers brand)
  20. Yogurt (coconut or Greek - unsweetened and plain…send in fruit to dress it up)
  21. Applesauce (make yourself or buy organic with no added ingredients)
  22. Savory yogurt dip (add spices, herbs such as dill, etc.
  23. Chia seed pudding
  24. Brown rice cakes 
  25. Yogurt parfait - layer yogurt with fruit, seeds, granola, a layer of chia seed pudding, etc.
  26. A smoothie
  27. Small portion of leftovers or soup (a small thermos is helpful here)

As a special treat for holidays, birthdays, or other celebrations, consider sending in a homemade / healthy muffin or "cookies" such as those made from oats + banana.

Raw veggies are crunchy, colorful, and convenient little vehicles to get dips into little mouths.  :-)

Raw veggies are crunchy, colorful, and convenient little vehicles to get dips into little mouths.  :-)

I hope this helps!

 

In good health,

Tara