Homemade applesauce and apple chips

A couple of weeks ago J and I spent some time making homemade applesauce and apple chips. We had added on to our bountiful basket 40 pounds of Braeburn apples (my favorite). They were HUGE, gorgeous and very, very tasty. We decided that the two of us obviously couldn’t eat 40 pounds of apples before they went bad so we decided to break out the dehydrator to make some apple “chips”. Out came the mandolin slicer to cut them into 3/8″ slices and then dried them at 135 degrees for about 10 hours. We then turned the dehydrator off and left them to cool overnight. They are so crispy and wonderfully delicious!Apple Chips

Next I decided to try out making some homemade applesauce and canning it. I followed the recipe from the Detoxinista. It is a slow cooker applesauce recipe with no added sugar! Prior to putting the apples into the slow cooker I added them to a solution of 4 cups water with 1 tsp citric acid to prevent browning and preserve the apples some. After cooking it in the slow cooker I added 1 Tbsp of lemon juice and used an immersion blender to coarsely chop the apples. Then with the slow cooker on warm I ladled the sauce into prepared canning jars and processed both pints and quarts for 20 minutes in a boiling water bath as per the ball canning website instructions for applesauce! This is by far the best applesauce I think I’ve ever had. However, I have only ever had store-bought up until this point! Besides being delicious it was also very easy to make and can while not being too time consuming!




Happy St Patrick’s Day! Copycat Shamrock Shake!

Happy St Patrick’s Day! Today I have a Copycat Shamrock Shake recipe for you. You know the shake that I’m talking about, the big green one from McDonalds that everyone can’t seem to get enough of!? Well I decided to make my own healthier version of it. I actually have to admit something, I’ve never had the real one from McDonalds….I know I know some will think that is crazy. But it just never seemed like something I had to have, unlike the fall favorite at starbucks, the Pumpkin Spice latte. A lot of the recipes out there that I found used Greenberry shakeology. First off, I don’t have any of the greenberry on hand and second I feel like it is a flavor that isn’t quite as popular as your vanilla is. Plus you can always sub just plain ol’ vanilla protein powder in for shakeology if in a pinch. Granted you won’t be getting near the amount of awesome dense nutrition as you would with Shakeology but it is still better than the junk shake you would get at McDonalds. Okay here is the recipe!


Copycake Shamrock shake

Copycake Shamrock shake

Healthy Copycat Protein Shamrock Shake
1 scoop vanilla shakeology (or protein powder)
1 cup milk of choice
1 cup ice
1/8 tsp mint extract
handful of spinach for the green color (can also use food coloring)
1 packet stevia or sweetener of choice (honey etc)

Blend and enjoy!


Make Running Easier

I have a confession….I absolutely love my beachbody workouts but for me, they just aren’t enough. I also love to run. Well, sort of. Back when I was still in DPT (Physical Therapy) school I loved lunch time. The school was downtown close to the river which meant great running paths. I loved taking a break from studying, from sitting at the desk and from my classmates and just going for a run. It was so freeing during a very stressful time of my life. I loved running at that point in my life. It was new to me and I found a love for it by being able to enjoy being outside and escaping.


The beautiful river trail


make running easier abbysilerfitness.com

Running on the river

Fast forward 3 years and it is a different story for me now though. I still enjoy running, when I do it. However my problem now is that I can’t get back into the swing of regular runs. I’m a morning person and that’s when I have to do my workout or else I won’t get it done. I make excuse after excuse until it is bedtime. But morning runs are hard for me. I love doing them and I feel so refreshed after doing them but they are hard for me to get my butt out of the door so early! Not only that but while I thoroughly enjoy running, it isn’t easy for me. Thus the point of this post. I was reading an article on Runner’s World the other day about how to make every run easier. PERFECT!!! It called my name. I decided that I wanted to share the tips in this article with everyone because even though it is geared towards running, I think it can pertain to any exercise regimen!

Here is the link to the original article on Runner’s World!

1. Start slow. This one’s basic, and it works every time. Ease into your runs and pick up the pace only when you feel warmed up. Johnny Kelley, who completed 58 Boston Marathons and won two of them, starts each run by walking. You think this is a tip useful only for old-timers? Kelley has been walking to start his workouts for half a century. “It’s a secret I picked up from the Finns,” he says with a smile.

2. Ignore peer pressure. When running in a group, don’t get lured into always running a hard pace. Run your pace–-and ask them to do the same if they’re willing. Hint: If you want to run with faster runners now and then, rest the day before as a “mini-taper.” Then treat the workout almost like a race. Warm up before they arrive, then go for it.

3. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. When she finds running difficult and gets frustrated, Marie Nuzzi of Albertson, N.Y., reminds herself of people who are unable to run even as slowly as she does. “I think about people who can’t run a step,” says Nuzzi, “and it reminds me of how lucky I am to have two legs that function.” Nuzzi has dedicated countless miles to actor Christopher Reeve.

4. Pick scenic courses. Maybe it’s a sense of ennui from running the same route day after dreary day that makes running seem difficult. Find some local beauty spots. Head to the park. Run on the beach. Seek soft surfaces. A change of scenery can do wonders for your mental outlook. You’ll be so focused on the new surroundings, you won’t even notice the minutes flying by.

5. Run away from home. Vacations and business trips are excellent occasions for finding new and scenic running routes. Call ahead to locate the best areas for running. Or click on “Travel” on the Runner’s World Web site (www.runnersworld.com) for running routes in different cities. Bill Wenmark, a coach from Deephaven, Minn., recommends carrying a bag with running gear in your car in case you want to stop for a workout whenever you come upon a scenic running spot.

6. Find an internal rhythm. Think about your favorite music while you run, whether Mozart or Metallica. Try to recall lyrics to entire songs and sing them out loud. (A standard 5-minute rock song will carry you through a half-mile or more.) One runner I know memorizes poetry before heading out so he can recite it to himself while running. (His favorite: Pushkin.)

7. Run different paces. Not only on different days, but also in the same workout. Slow down. Speed up. Moving faster sometimes forces you to concentrate on form and actually makes the run feel easier, even while your pulse rate is climbing. Taking a water-fountain break and stretching briefly can rejuvenate you as well.

8. Vary your workout times. One day, David Greenfield of Evanston, Ill., missed his usual morning run, so he ran in the evening, an hour after dinner. “It was the best run I had had in a long time,” Greenfield recalls. “It made me realize that I might have more energy in the evenings.” Or it may simply have been the change that did it for him.

9. Run without a watch. Wearing a watch can create pressure to perform on every run, which infringes on the freedom and enjoyment that running brings. You don’t have to run a set number of miles. You don’t have to run a precise pace. Once in a while, simply head out the door and run whichever way your impulses suggest.

10. Let your heart beat freely. The heart-rate monitor is a great training tool, but some runners become so dependent on it that they forget what it means to run by feel. Others compute their maximum heart rates too high, so every “monitored” run is faster than it’s supposed to be. Our point: Don’t let your heart-rate monitor control your running.

11. Avoid streaking. There are plenty of other things to obsess about (money, the job, the squirrels infiltrating your birdfeeder), so don’t go overboard with your running. (British runner Ron Hill has run every day for 33 years, but there aren’t many Ron Hills out there.) Days off are essential, particularly during super-busy periods, or when you’re not getting enough sleep.

12. Make running your oasis. Michelle Campbell of Waukesha, Wis., is the mother of three young children. “I’m constantly at their service,” says Campbell, “changing diapers, fixing meals, getting them dressed.” Running is her oasis, her time to be free. Knowing this makes every workout a joy because she knows it is “my time to do nothing but run. My mind is at ease.”

13. Run with someone. Again, this one’s so basic we almost left it off the list. But it’s so important we had to include it. Run with people who are slower; run with people who are faster. Run with your wife. Run with your boyfriend. When discussing work or the kids or the latest political news, you’ll forget about all those miles you’re covering.

14. Get a dog. Can’t find a companion willing to join you at 4:30 a.m.? Try running with a dog. My daughter, Laura Sandall, who lives in Plymouth, Minn., recently went that route. Dogs don’t wear watches, so they don’t mind getting up early for a run. (Then again, they get to go back to sleep when you have to go to work.) And they have more energy than you can shake a stick at.

15. Deck yourself out. I know it sounds vain, but it works. Looking good out there can really give you a mental boost, which is going to make the effort seem easier. So get yourself a great-looking, color-coordinated running outfit that you enjoy wearing.

16. Eat more. Many runners–particularly women–don’t consume enough calories to support their running habit. If running seems difficult, you may not have enough fuel in your tank. Certain low-carbohydrate diets promoted for weight loss are disastrous for endurance athletes. A quick-energy snack an hour or so before you run can also help.

17. Create an incentive list. Keep this list handy and pick from it every once in a while. Some people always have incentives they’re aiming for. When you reach a certain mileage, weight or performance goal, reward yourself. Treat yourself to a night out, a massage, a manicure or a weekend getaway.

18. Get a massage. Speaking of massages, I can’t think of a better way to make running easier. I routinely schedule a sports massage every other week, and more often if something hurts, or if an important race is coming up. Massages are good for repairing sore muscles and preventing injuries. And they just plain relax you.

19. Do it yourself. Can’t fit in a once-a-week massage? Self-massage works well, too. Taking even 30 to 40 seconds to knead your feet or calf muscles before heading out the door can really make a difference. Try making this part of your warmup.

20. Strengthen those quads. The quadriceps muscles are essential for lifting your legs off the ground, and for protecting your knees against pounding. Don’t overlook the quads when you do your strength training. Lowell Weil, D.P.M., a podiatrist from Des Plaines, Ill., suggests a simple isotonic exercise you can do seated at your desk. Put one ankle over the other, then lift and straighten the lower leg 10 times. Do several sets with both legs. (You should feel the burn above the knee.)

21. Visualize your run. Skiers, bobsledders and luge athletes have this one down. They do the course in their minds before heading downhill. It helps them relax and allows them to rehearse where they’re going. Visualization also works in running–both in races and workouts. Gwen Heist of St. Charles, Mo., visualizes herself flying over the ground. “I also imagine myself racing the Kenyans,” she says, “and trying to match their smooth style.”

22. Learn yoga. Yoga is a great way to relax, stretch and get stronger. Katy Dunn of Raleigh, N.C., took a class in yoga as a way to improve her running. And it’s true, as any coach will tell you: to run well, you need to run relaxed. “I feel like I can fill my body with oxygen by sitting in a relaxed position and breathing deeply for several minutes,” says Dunn.

23. Go back to school. Enroll in a training program. Sign up for a summer running camp. Hire a coach or personal trainer. Even veteran runners can learn new lessons about their running by doing this.

24. Take a cold shower. Not after you run–before! Especially in hot weather. Studies show that a lengthy bath or shower in cold water lowers body temperature and keeps it lower during a run. This means your body’s cooling mechanisms won’t have to work as hard, and the run will feel easier.

25. Run with an agenda. Bird-watch. Identify tree or flower species you pass. Count out-of-state license plates. Look for coins. One runner in my hometown runs with a trash bag and picks up cans off the road. Not only does he remove unsightly litter and recycle the cans, but he also makes money when he turns them in.

26. Have an out-of-body experience. Hover over your own body on the running path and turn on that remote video camera. Imagine TV viewers looking at you, thinking, “Wow, she’s fast. Smooth form!” The power of suggestion goes a long way. And once you “see” yourself running, think about what you can do to run even smoother and look even better.

27. Think metric. A kilometer is slightly more than half a mile, so kilometers pass much more quickly on a run than miles do. It’s definitely time to mark off your favorite courses in kilometers rather than miles.

28. Run point to point. You see more scenery if you run from point A to point B. Plus, there’s a sense of accomplishment; you’ve actually done something more than run in a circle. Some runners run to work one day, then home the following day. Others shop with their spouses, then run home. This sort of thing takes a little planning, but it’s worth it.

29. Run a crooked course. Runner’s World editor Amby Burfoot prefers courses that twist and turn as often as possible. (Run with him, and it’s either hang on to his pace or bring a map so you can find your way home.) The big advantage here is that you never have to stare at long straightaways that seem to go on forever.

30. Stop and stretch. Stretching works best after your muscles are warmed up. So, 5 to 10 minutes into the run, stop for a stretching break. Pick a scenic spot if possible. I’m willing to bet you’ll feel invigorated once you start up again.

31. Wear the right shoes. Running will not feel easy if you’re in the wrong shoes. Plain and simple. For help in choosing the right pair, consult the quarterly RW Shoe Guides and seek out a specialty retailer, where the employees are knowledgeable about running.

32. Have a plan. Some people respond better to planning, others to spontaneity. If you’re the planning type, sit down on Sunday night with a calendar and schedule your workouts for the week. Include where and when you’ll be running, who you’ll be running with and the pace and distance you’ll be tackling. Then, when it comes time to run each day, you’ll know exactly what to do.


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Weekend Meal Prep

Over the last couple of days I did a HUGE weekend meal prep. I had started slacking off on having pre-portioned healthy meals ready to go. Usually I will do a huge cooking weekend to get stocked up and then every weekend I will prep one recipe to add to the ones that I have in the freezer so we don’t run out. This also helps with decreased amount of time in the kitchen each weekend prepping meals! Here is the breakdown of what I made this weekend with recipes linked! As a side note I decided to use ground chicken instead of beef or turkey to simplify and reduce cost of the meals! I grind my own chicken at home with my Kitchenaid stand mixer which is amazing! Okay here goes!

Chicken Pad Thai – forgot to take a picture of this!

BLT turkey/chicken meatballs from The Perfect Pantry meatball Cookbook

healthy meal prep, weight loss, BLT meatballs

Taco Meatballs (made with ground chicken)

healthy meal prep, taco meatballs, weight loss

Chile Garlic shrimp with Brown Rice

healthy meal prep, chile garlic shrimp, weight loss

Healthy Chicken and Rice Enchilada Casserole

healthy meal prep, healthy chicken and rice casserole, weight loss healthy meal prep, healthy chicken and rice casserole

Don’t forget about the new Beachbody on Demand! Try it out with a challenge pack and Join my next fitness accountability group! Apply below if you are interested!

Do you currently own any Beachbody Fitness programs?*
Have you ever tried Shakeology?*
My coach is Abby Siler on Teambeachbody.com*
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Clean Meal Planning

Hello all of the beautiful people out there! Today is Friday which means it is meal planning day in my house! I only work a half day on Fridays so this is the day that works best for me to get organized and ready for the next week. With planning the next week on a Friday I am able to use the weekend to prep anything that I might need done ahead of time for the week as well as get my shopping in. It is also the day that I get my Bountiful Basket every other week and therefore I can plan my week around the produce I get from there! Remember that the key to success is to plan ahead! Failure to plan is Planning to fail!! Okay off my soap-box.  I base all of my (most since I follow the 80/20 rule) food off of this awesome little powerhouse of a book. tosca-reno-eat-clean-diet

If you are unfamiliar with the principles behind clean eating do some research. The basic jist is this…eat less processed food and more fresh food. Sounds like a good plan right? I try to eat 3 meals with 2 snacks each day. I am for 6 servings of fruits/veggies, 6 servings of protein, and 3-4 servings of complex carbs. I count some fruits and veggies as my complex carb like sweet potatoes and bananas. If you want more details I highly recommend Tosca’s book! I also love her “just the rules” book as well!

Here is what next week’s meals look like for me. I workout at 5:30 every morning so my pre-workout snack is the first meal and then I have my “big” breakfast after my workout. Keep in mind that it is ideal to eat every 2-3 hours to keep you metabolism up!

 2-17-15 meal plan

Do you currently own any Beachbody Fitness programs?*
Have you ever tried Shakeology?*
My coach is Abby Siler on Teambeachbody.com*
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Before Pictures

I hate taking before pictures. I mean, come on who wants to take a picture of themselves looking the worst? The general concept behind taking before pictures is to show how far you have come and also give you motivation. That is great and all but taking pictures of yourself looking like you do at the time that you decide to make a change with your health and fitness is not always the easiest thing to do. Let’s face it, typically when taking before pictures it is because you want to change something about how you look. You are getting ready to start a journey with health and fitness. Why in the world would you want to take a picture looking like you do now if you want to change it? WHY?! Well for one so you can see how far you have come. Two, you can use it to enter the Beachbody Challenge (win money). Three, MOTIVATION.

First thing I want to share are some tips for taking good before/after pictures.

It’s best to use a digital camera. Save the original high-resolution photos to send in.  Have someone else take the photo for you, (avoid selfies).

Stand in front of a plain background or white wall. The less clutter in the background, and the more attention on you the better!

Wear swimwear or tight fitting workout wear.  We must be able to clearly see your face and abs in each photo so we can see your results and that it is you in both photos!

Take the photos from two different angles. Front view, and a side view, photos are required. You can put your hands at your sides, or your hips.  Whatever you choose, just make sure that you have before/after photos in the same pose so we can accurately see your transformation!

Don’t suck it in or push it out – let us see the REAL YOU!

Now for the different poses.

1. Front view

2. Side view

3. Back view

4. Half twist view

IMG_1286-177x300(Sorry for the blurry picture but you get the idea on what three of the four poses are!)

Don’t forget about my FREE challenge group coming up! Fill out the form below if you are interested in joining! Daily tips, motivation and group support for your health and fitness goals this year!

Do you currently own any Beachbody Fitness programs?*
Have you ever tried Shakeology?*
My coach is Abby Siler on Teambeachbody.com*
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Cheesy Mashed Cauliflower – Healthy!

Last night I tried out a new recipe on the husband, cheesy mashed cauliflower only healthy….I was skeptical I have to admit. The recipe that I followed actually called it Skinny Mashed Cauliflower and said it was a mashed potato substitute. Mine didn’t turn out quite like mashed potatoes but it was de-lish non the less. The recipe is from www.skinnymom.com and it was fabulous! I absolutely loved it and so did the husband. I’m not a huge cauliflower fan but this was amazing. Okay now that I’ve gone on and on and on about it here is the recipe!

Print Recipe

Cheesy Mashed Cauliflower

Source: www.skinnymom.com

Course: Side Dishes

Prep Time: 5 Min

Cook Time: 35 Min

Total Time: 40 Min

Serves: 4


  • 1 head cauliflower trimmed
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken (or vegetable) broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream 
  • 2 oz reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut cauliflower heads to florets. Boil on medium-high heat with chicken broth and water until VERY soft (about 10-15 minutes), stir occasionally.
  3. Drain and return to pan. Mash well (to desired level of smoothness) and stir in remaining ingredients. (I kept mine a little more chunky and loved it)
  4. Put into a round 1½ quart baking dish (I used mini-casserole dishes for picture purposes), cover and bake for 20 minutes.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 87
Fat: 3
Sugar: 2
Carbohydrate: 9
Fiber: 3
Protein: 5

Powered by
Plan To Eat

We paired this with a side salad and some turkey meatloaf and it made for a great cold weather comfort food meal that was satisfying and healthy! I hope you enjoy it!


21 day fix EXTREME

Who is excited about 21 day fix extreme! I know I am! It is coming soon and you have a chance to win it for FREE! What do you have to do to win it for free you ask? Just sign up by following THIS link. That’s it. You will get a notification when the program is ready for purchase and be entered into win a copy of your very own! How easy is that? So what is 21 day fix extreme you ask? Well it is the all new program from trainer Autumn Calabrese.


What is 21 Day Fix EXTREME?
• A 21-day program that features simple portion control, clean eating, and extreme 30-minute workouts.
• The portion-control containers take all the guesswork out of how much you should eat.
• The Eating Plan will tell you exactly what to eat and when—and how to eat cleaner than ever.
• This is how you get seriously shredded in 21 days.

What are the unique benefits?
• No other program has you eating this well and working this hard. It’s going to take guts, intensity, and drive. But it’s only 21 days.
• The 30-minute workouts are extreme. They combine steady-state aerobics, resistance training, and explosive power moves that target every muscle in the body—to help you get shredded in a short amount of time.
• Seven workouts; one for every day of the week so your mind never gets bored and your body never adapts.
• For your nutrition, you’ll not only be practicing portion control—you’ll be eating ONLY clean foods. No treats. No cheats. No excuses.
• Autumn has included her own competition nutrition plan, which she uses to get stage-ready and ripped in 21 days

Who is the target audience?
Women and men who:
• Are impatient to get serious results.
• Don’t want to make longtime commitments or have tried and failed at longer, more complicated diet plans.
• Are serious with a “No BS” attitude toward workouts and nutrition.
• Have a dramatic short-term weight-loss deadline, or need a final push to achieve the hardbody they’ve always wanted.
• Don’t have much weight to lose, but want to get shredded and have defined abs.

• Don’t want to count calories, weigh their food, or follow complicated recipes.
• 21 Day Fix graduates who want to take their workouts to the next level, and get seriously shredded.
• Graduates from other programs who want to get in the best shape of their lives and stay that way.

PLUS if you order through me HERE, you  will also get a FREE bonus workout—The Fix Challenge
(a $19.95 value).

If you are interested in joining my next challenge group to help you with your journey through the 21 day fix extreme then fill out the form below! For more information on what a challenge group is click HERE!

Do you currently own any Beachbody Fitness programs?*
Have you ever tried Shakeology?*
My coach is Abby Siler on Teambeachbody.com*
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New Year New You – Bountiful Basket

I am so excited! The husband and I went to pick up our first Bountiful Basket last night! I first learned about Bountiful Baskets a couple of years ago but at the time they weren’t available in my area. I randomly decided last week to start looking into food co-ops again and found out that they are now in our area. eek! I was super excited. What are bountiful baskets you ask?

From their website:

Each week different items will be in the Bountiful Basket! We base the basket contents on what is in season, high quality, good value, and local. We generally have 6 fruit items & 6 vegetable items. We focus on what would be well received in our homes, and the extensive surveys we’ve done with participants over the past 5 years to know what families eat.

Bountiful baskets is a volunteer based organization meaning you get more for your money since no one is paid to work.

So what are my thoughts on the basket? I’m glad you asked. First of all there is quite a bit of produce in the basket for this week. My main concern was that there would be a lot of produce in there that I wouldn’t like since I am a fairly picky eater. Thankfully that isn’t the case. I had a couple of items in there that I don’t usually use so  it  will force me out of my comfort zone a little  but not too much!  I know I know, I’m sort of a little kid.  I’m trying though!!


Okay so now for the good stuff. PICTURES!  I know I get a little excited about pictures but this is what I got in my basket this week.



Here is all the food in the basket!


Some lettuce and rhubarb (one of those outside my comfort zone)


Strawberries and blueberries


Yellow bell peppers and broccoli


Spaghetti squash and red potatoes


Finally 8 oranges (they are delicious oranges), 3 grapefruit, and 4 Fuji apples!


All in all I think we got a great deal! Lots of produce for not very much  money! That’s a win in my book.



To start the new year off right I am having a free healthy eating and fitness challenge group that lasts 21 days. If you are interested and want more details comment below!


~ Abby





Insanity Max 30

Insanity Max 30

I am SO excited to announce that the WAIT IS OVER! Insanity MAX 30 is now available through us at beachbody ONLY.It will be released to the public on December 9th at the full retail price.  What is even bigger news is they put it on promotion for the december challenge pack!!! That means HUGE savings if you get it through me.
You get the whole pack for $180! 
What is included in the Challenge Pack?
Beachbody Challenge Packs are the complete package, offering total support for achieving health and fitness goals. The formula? Fitness + Nutrition + Support = Success. With the Challenge Pack, customers will receive:
Beachbody Insanity MAX 30 Kit
Shakeology (Choice of flavor 30-day supply on Home Direct)
Team Beachbody Club (30-day FREE trial membership)
What is INSANITY MAX:30?
INSANITY MAX:30 is the challenging new 30-minute, in-home workout program from Shaun T, creator of INSANITY and Focus T25. Shaun T has developed 150 new cardio and strength moves that will make customers push harder and dig deeper than ever before to get the best body of their life in just 60 days.
INSANITY MAX:30 will be the hardest 30 minutes of the day and customers need to be ready to MAX OUT. It’s not about “getting through” all 30 minutes, it’s about going as hard as possible, for as long as possible, until becoming “MAXED OUT” (i.e. until taking the first rest and/or breaking proper form). No equipment needed… just push to the MAX for INSANE results in just 60 days.

Need a little extra support with your new program? Join my next FREE online challenge group starting in January! Just fill out the form below!

What are your health and fitness goals?
Current Programs Owned*
If other, What program?
Any other information I should know?*


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