Sweet Potato Crust Pizza

Sweet Potato Crust Pizza (Gluten Free)

By Gina Howe

sweet potato crust


  • 5 ½ Cups peeled and cubed sweet potatoes (about 2 large)
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 1 ¼ Cup gluten-free oat flour *
  • ¼ Cup Almond meal*
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • I Tea dried basil
  • 1 Tea dried oregano
  • 1 ¼ Tea garlic powder
  • ½ Tea crushed red pepper flakes


  1. Steam sweet potatoes in a microwave steamer for approx. 8 minutes or over the stove top in a steamer basket for 20-30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, add the chia seeds and water to a small bowl, whisk with a fork and let stand for 10 minutes to make a chia egg.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 ͦ
  4. Add steamed potatoes to a food processor. Add in the chia egg, oat flour, almond meal, olive oil, vinegar, basil, oregano, garlic powder, and pepper flakes.  Process until combined and sticky dough forms. **
  5. Line a large pan, rectangle or round with parchment paper. Scoop the dough onto the parchment paper and use a rolling pin to spread.  Wax paper over the top of the dough will help if dough is sticking to the rolling pin.  Take care to spread the dough to an even thickness to help in bake evenly, approx. ¼ – ½  inch thick.
  6. Bake the crust for approx. 15 minutes. Remove from oven and, carefully, turn over.  I find that a second pan placed over top and flipped is the best way.  Bake for another 15-20 minutes until edges are golden brown.
  7. Add desired toppings and return to oven for 10 minutes or until toppings are heated and cheese is melted.

The pizza pictured is topped with:

  • Artichoke hearts
  • Roasted red peppers
  • Capers
  • Red onion
  • Cilantro
  • Feta
  • Grilled chicken
  • Diced tomatoes tossed in olive oil
  • Sun dried tomatoes

*You can use store bought oat flour and almond meal or make your own with gluten free oats and raw almonds.  Pulse in a food processor, blender, or coffee mill until a fine, flour-like texture.

** If you do not have a food processor, the potatoes can be mashed in a bowl and all the ingredients combined by hand or hand mixer.  A stand mixer can also be used to combine ingredients.

Eating Clean for Staying Lean

Eating Clean Staying Lean

The first Seminar in our Eating Clean for Staying Lean series. Come and learn just what clean eating is all about………what to eat, what to avoid and WHY.  Snacks will be provided and you will leave with a packet of information, tips, tricks, and recipes!  Missed it the last few times, need a refresher, want a friend to come and hear it? Join us on Fri. Feb. 26th at 6:30 pm. Please share and invite your friends! Please contact us with any questions that you may have. Please RSVP by Wed. Feb. 24th.

Isagenix Open House

Open House 2_21_16

Join us to learn more about this HEALTH/WELLNESS company that creates no-compromise products that provide the nutrients and minerals that our food sources just don’t deliver anymore. When we fuel or bodies properly, they perform miracles!

Isagenix has a solution for you no matter your goal; weight loss, energy and performance, healthy aging, or an additional stream of income.  We hope to see you there.

Healthy Tuna Noodle Casserole


  • 2 cans tuna, preferably Albacore
  • 1 small onion , diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tea thyme
  • 1 can or package of cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 16 ounce package of frozen petite mixed vegetables
  • 8 oz sliced mushrooms (optional)
  • 2 ounces of cream cheese
  • 2 ounces plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, or volby jack work well)
  • Approx. 6 oz noodle of your choice (egg noodles, penne, macaroni)
  • 1/4 cup toasted Panko
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese


  1. In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onion, celery, ans mushrooms and saute 10 minuets or until soft. Add thyme and stir.
  2. In the meantime, bring pot of water to boil.  Add noodles and cook until tender, but firm.
  3. Add mixed veggies, soup, cream cheese, yogurt and shredded cheddar.  Stir until well incorporated.  Add tuna and stir well.
  4. Add cooked noodles to pan and stir well to coat the noodles.  Cover and allow flavors to meld and noodles to finish cooking, approx 5 minutes.
  5. Serve with a sprinkle of toasted panko and Parmesan cheese.


Ranch Chicken Quinoa Bake


  • 4 skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • ranch dip mix (clean premixed packet or see recipe below)
  • 1 can or package cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 cups broccoli cut into small florets
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar
  • 1/4 cup toasted panko or breadcrumbs
  • Chopped parsley for garnish (optional)


  1. Place quinoa, stock, cream of chicken soup and ranch mix in in slow cooker and stir to mix well.
  2. Place chicken breast in and submerge.
  3. Cover and cook for 6-8 hours on low or 4 hours on high.
  4. During last half hour, add broccoli.   Cover and continue to cook until broccoli is tender.
  5. To serve, chicken can be removed, shredded and stirred throughout or breast can be served whole on top of quinoa mixture.
  6. Place in 4 bowls and top each with shredded cheddar and toasted panko.

Ranch Dip Mix:

  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • pinch of salt

Stir all ingredients together.

The Risks of Being Overweight


The risks of being overweight……..you know these right?  Unless you truly have been living under a rock, you have been inundated with information about the health implications of being overweight or obese.  But there really is a overabundance of information and at times it can be overload.  It is easy to just tune it out and move along with life and cake.  Who doesn’t want cake?

However, there really are some important facts that everyone should know. Shedding excess weight has profound, immediate positive effects on your health. So, why shed the pounds?  Here are the top risks associated with being overweight:

  1. Heart Disease & Stroke – Hypertension and very high blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides (blood fats) can lead to heart disease and often are linked to being overweight. Being overweight also contributes to angina (chest pain caused by decreased oxygen to the heart) and sudden death from heart disease or stroke without any signs or symptoms.
  2. Diabetes – 
    Overweight people are twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes as people who are not overweight. Type 2 diabetes is a major cause of early death, heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, and blindness.
  3. Cancer – 
    Several types of cancer are associated with being overweight. In women, these include cancer of the uterus, gallbladder, cervix, ovary, breast, and colon. Overweight men are at greater risk for developing cancer of the colon, rectum, and prostate. For some types of cancer, such as colon or breast, it is not clear whether the increased risk is due to the extra weight or consumption of a high-fat and high-calorie diet.
  4. Sleep Apnea – 
    Sleep apnea is a serious condition that is closely associated with being overweight. Sleep apnea can cause a person to stop breathing for short periods during sleep and to snore heavily. Sleep apnea may cause daytime sleepiness and even heart failure. The risk for sleep apnea increases with higher body weights. Weight loss usually improves sleep apnea.
  5. Osteoarthritis – 
    Extra weight appears to increase the risk of osteoarthritis by placing extra pressure on weight-bearing joints and wearing away the cartilage (tissue that cushions the joints) that normally protects them. Weight loss can decrease stress on the knees, hips, and lower back and may improve the symptoms of osteoarthritis.
  6. Gallbladder Disease – 
    Gallbladder disease and gallstones are more common if you are overweight. Your risk of disease increases as your weight increases. It is not clear how being overweight may cause gallbladder disease.  Weight loss itself, particularly rapid weight loss or loss of a large amount of weight, can actually increase your chances of developing gallstones. Modest, slow weight loss of about one pound a week is less likely to cause gallstones.
  7. Fatty Liver Disease – 
    Fatty liver disease occurs when fat builds up in the liver cells and damages the liver. It can lead to liver failure. Fatty liver disease is linked to higher than normal blood glucose levels, which are more common in people who are overweight. Weight loss can help with blood glucose control and reduce the build-up of fat in the liver.  Also, people who have fatty liver disease should avoid alcohol.  **Insel, Paul, Don Ross, Kimberley McMahon, Melissa Bernstein. Nutrition: Custom Edition, 4th Edition. Jones & Bartlett Learning, 04/2010. VitalBook file.

    This list should convince you to that weight loss and weight management are important.  That said, beginning to make changes is the tough part.  If you aren’t sure where or how to begin, seeing a Weight Management Specialist, a Nutritionist/Dietitian, or Behavior Change Coach may help.

The most important factor though, is to find your”Why”.  Why do you want to be healthier?

To live a longer life?

To play with your kids?

To see your kids grow and have families of their own?

To walk up the steps without getting winded?

To feel great in your clothes?

To wear a swim suit with confidence on your dream vacation?

your why

Whatever your “why”………embrace it, put it on Post-Its, write it on your vision board, put it in your journal…….make it part of who you are.  If you embrace your why and keep it in your focus, it makes the beginning and staying on the journey so much easier.

Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup


10-12 Cups chicken stock

½ pound shredded cooked chicken

½ pound ground beef (can substitute ground chicken, turkey, lamb or pork)

½ Cup whole wheat bread crumbs or Panko

3 eggs

1 Tbsp. olive oil

½ tbs Italian Seasoning (or onion powder, garlic, powder, dried oregano, salt & pepper)

16 oz spinach; fresh chopped or frozen, thawed and drained

1 Cup acini di pepe pasta (can use orzo or other small pasta if needed)


  1. First prepare mini meatballs: In a large mixing bowl combine ground beef, 1 egg, Panko or crumbs and Italian seasoning. Once well combined, form into very small (bite sized) meatballs.
  2. Heat olive oil in a sauté pan and add meatballs. Brown over med heat turning frequently until cooked through.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large stock pot, heat stock to a low boil and add pasta. Continue to cook pasta until tender, 8-10 minutes and then reduce heat just a simmer. (I also save my hard ends of parmesan cheese and simmer with my stock.  Discard before serving.)
  4. Once meatballs are done, add meatballs and shredded chicken to stock and pasta.
  5. Lightly beat two eggs in a small bowl.
  6. Begin to stir stock in one direction and continue until soup is flowing in a circular motion. As soup is swirling, gradually drizzle the egg into it so that the egg cooks thin strands.
  7. Add spinach and heat until wilted.
  8. Serve with a sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese.

*I season my stock while it is cooking with the carcass; rosemary, dill, thyme, salt and pepper.  If you uses packaged stock, with the exception of salt, you may want add seasonings to taste in step 3.


Turkey White Bean Soup


Turkey White Bean Soup


10 Cups Turkey stock (*see note)

I lb. shredded cooked turkey, dark and white meat

1 Cup cooked Barley

1 Cup Navy Beans, soaked and cooked or 1 can, rinsed

1 28oz Can Diced tomatoes with juice

I bunch Kale, chopped, large veins removed

1 Tbsp. olive oil

2 stalks Celery, diced

1 large Carrot, diced

½ White Onion, diced

2 Cloves Garlic, minced

Salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, dill, oregano



  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, onion and garlic and sauté until tender.  Add seasonings to desired taste. (*see note).
  2. Meanwhile  in a large stock pot, heat stock.
  3. Add tomatoes with juice to the carrots and celery in pan. Simmer until half of the juice reduces.
  4. Add turkey, beans, and carrots mixture to the stock and allow to lightly simmer for about 30 minutes.
  5. Add cooked barley.  Add chopped kale and heat until softened and withered.
  6. Serve with chopped fresh parsley finely shredded cheddar if desired.

*Chicken stock can be substituted for turkey stock as can the shredded turkey.  I made the stock myself and did most of the seasoning during cooking of the stock in the crock pot.  So, I added very little additional seasoning during preparation of the soup.  If you use pre-prepared stock, you will need to use more seasoning during cooking for flavor.  (approx. ½ tea salt, pepper, and dill; 1 tea rosemary, thyme, and oregano)


Get Out There and Eat!!!

Gina and I hear this time and time again.

“I’ve hit a plateau. I was losing weight but I just can’t seem to lose anymore. I’m only eating (X) amount of calories and I’m hitting the gym and doing cardio 5-6 times per week. I’m starving all the time. What am I doing wrong”?

The simple answer many don’t want to believe is they have to eat more to lose weight. Sure you need to be at a deficit in calories to lose weight but not too much a deficit. Your body is an intelligent beast. If it’s not getting enough calories, It will go “starvation mode”. It will basically slow your metabolism down to a crawl. It will start to conserve fat stores and switch to burning muscle for energy. You know what happens when you have less lean mass? Your metabolism slows even further because it takes more energy to burn muscle than fat. Less muscle=lower metabolism.

Throw in the fact that you are starving and you are setting yourself up to succeed at the exact opposite of what you set out to do. Keep this up and you will end up binging. Binging while your body is in this state will pack the pounds back on and probably add a few extra. When this happens, many tend to get depressed as they feel they have failed and have a sense of helplessness about their circumstances. What do we turn to when we are feeling down?

What do we turn to when we’re feeling down? Comfort food. Do healthy fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins come to mind when you think of comfort food? Probably not. How about potato chips, ice cream, candy, cake and other less-than-nutritious food-stuffs? I would guess, yes. What does that lead to? You guessed it. More weight gain!

So if you’re ready to make that journey, come up with a plan first. Make a food log. Find out how many calories you are taking in and how many you need every day just to keep your weight steady. Start to make healthier food choices. Look for fresh fruits and vegetables you enjoy eating. Same with lean proteins. Based on your daily caloric needs, reduce your intake by roughly 20%. Ex: If you need 2000 calories to maintain your current weight, try taking in about 1600 calories for the first week or two. Monitor your progress and adjust your calories accordingly. Just don’t adjust by too much or you could end up in that starvation mode I mentioned above.

Try to add weight bearing exercises as part of your routine. As I said, the more lean mass you have on your body, the higher your metabolism will be. Have a friend who is also looking to lose weight? Do it as a team. Having someone along for the ride will make the journey much easier. Nice to have someone to lean on for support and a little friendly competition never hurt anyone either.

Don’t know where to begin or looking for someone to give you that support. We can help with that. Doesn’t matter if you live close or far away. We can work with you to help set yourself up for success.

Check us out: http://www.core-essentials-fitness.com


With a bit of simple prep work, you can set yourself up for looking and feeling better than you ever thought was possible.










Life coach, personal coach, behavior change coach, health educator, wellness professional……..perhaps you have heard some of these terms.  Have you wondered “Just what exactly is this and why would I need it?”.    Although there are slight differences between the titles, for simplicity, they are basically:

A professional who works with clients to help them adopt and maintain healthy behaviors so as to improve and extend the quality of life.  This is accomplished, hopefully, through behavior changing psychological skills, exercise programming, and nutrition planning.

In a nutshell, our hope as Wellness Professionals is to help clients identify and pursue goals that are related to their health.  These goals can be around weight loss, athletic performance, improving nutrition, or just being healthier to live a longer life and prevent disease.


So, why is this something that you may need?  Well……………change is hard. Really tough for most of us.  We are creatures of habit.  We take the path of least resistance.

I am guessing that, unless you are already on board with fitness and nutrition and just reading this for kicks, if you are reading this you need to make a change of some sort.  Chances are you know what you need to do.  You know that you need to exercise and you know that you need to make changes to your diet.  In addition, I am sure that you know how to find tools to do these things.  You can’t NOT find a home workout on Pinterest.  There are a million Facebook pages that supply daily nutrition tips, recipes, food plans.  You can Google anything…….even a printed workout from an online trainer to take to the gym with you.

So, back to the question at hand, why would you need a Wellness Coach?  Simple.  Even with all of the tools at our disposal, we are all going to hit a few stumbling blocks.  The biggest one being MOTIVATION!!!!  It is hard to get over the initial inertia.  It is even harder to stick with it. A second big  reason is accountability.  If you know that someone is going to follow up and ask for your food-log or workout journal, you are much more likely to tow the line.  A few other key reasons to enlist help are;

  • Help with uncovering your “WHY”
  • Motivation
  • Accountability
  • Setting SMART goals with appropriate time frames
  • Motivation
  • Accountability
  • Having someone holding you accountable
  • A friendly voice motivating you to step away from the cookies
  • Accountability
  • Assistance with weeding through the fitness/nutrition information overload
  • Motivation
  • Accountability
  • Putting it all together; streamlining your plan with one professional, rather than seeing someone for diet and another for exercise.
  • And finally, in case you missed it MOTIVATION and ACCOUNTABILITY


In case you hadn’t guessed, I find that motivation and accountability are the two biggies that most of us struggle with.  Enlisting the help of a Wellness Coach can greatly help in these areas.  How?   I am glad that you asked.


First, a common mistake that many people (most of us) make is not being quite sure of our “why”.  What does this mean?  Uncovering your exact motivation for making a change.  “Because my wife told me to lose weight.”…….not a great why.  Sometimes it takes a bit of digging.  Maybe it is to live to see your grandchildren.  Perhaps it is to get off of medication.  Hopefully, you get the idea.  Your why needs to be something important to you.  You need to be able to visualize how a change will improve this aspect of your life………see yourself there.  This is not easy for some of us.  We will help establish your why and we will revisit it whenever you need some motivation.

The second challenge that a Wellness Coach will help with is setting goals.  Sure, we all have a goal. You have one right now I am sure.  The problem comes from what kind of goal you have.  Many people set a big picture goal……say lose 50 pounds.  That is a big, daunting goal.  Others set too many goals, too restrictive of a goal, or too vague of a goal.  A Wellness Coach will help with SMART goals.


Having smart goals in place is like a road map of where you are going.  You wouldn’t leave on a trip with our planning your route, would you?   Okay, so I am dating myself…….pretend your GPS stopped working out in the country……..what’s the plan.  Suppose your weight loss plateaus?  What’s the plan.

Once your why is established and goals are set, a Wellness Professional will help you establish an action plan.   This can take many different avenues. Perhaps it is personal training and a written food plan.  Maybe it is just an initial nutritional consultation followed up by a few diet follow ups in addition to a work-out plan.  It could be written workouts to take to your gym and follow.  The plan and accountability will look different for each individual depending on needs, goals, and the amount of motivation (extra push) needed.


A Wellness Coach can truly tailor a program specific to you and your needs and goals.  Interested in learning how we can help you.  We would love to chat with you about the services we offer and meet with you for a free consultation……..don’t live near us.  No problem!  We offer online Coaching services as well.  What have you got to lose?  A few pounds!  Now is the time to get on the road to a long, healthy life!

Check us out at: http://www.core-essentials-fitness.com