Guest Post: Cute DIY Holiday Cards!

Today, on Dietitian Debbie Dishes, I have a special guest – Esther from Chocolate Runner Girl! We connected through Elf for Health and I’m so excited to have her share her card making expertise on the blog today. 

Hello all!  This is Esther over at Chocolate Runner Girl!  It is my privilege to be a guest blogger today for Debbie!  Thanks to the Elf for Health (Elf4Health) challenge, we were matched together for a fun blog exchange!  I normally post about food and fitness, but I wanted to step out of my box today to talk about something else in my life that I am passionate about.

During this time of year everywhere I look there seems to be Christmas/holiday cards on sale.  A few years ago as I looked for some cards to send my family and friends, there was nothing that really stood out to me.  I decided that I would make my own!  I was a bit overwhelmed at first with where to start, but once I got going I found a style that was pretty simple, and it was a lot of fun!  I ended up making cards for other holidays and celebrations and even starting a small (as in tiny) card business! It is a fun way to add a personal touch to all special occasions!

I first purchase my supplies from a craft store, like Michaels, or Hobby Lobby.  I tend to buy my paper in bulk since I make many cards at the same time. The craft stores have aisles of paper to choose from, and I have to admit I have a hard time only choosing a few!  So many pretty colors and patterns!!
Over the past few weeks, several friends have asked me how I make my cards, and I can’t think of a better time to share some of my tips!

Here is an example of how I made a card for this holiday season. Once I have picked my paper, blank card, and any stickers or stamps to add to it, I grab a glue stick  and scissors & get ready to put the card(s) together.

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Step one: Fold and cut the paper to the size of the card. It is helpful to lightly trace the back of the paper with a pencil to know where to cut.

Step two: Glue the paper to the card and then cut any extra paper off!

Step three: Add any embellishments such as stickers, stamps or both 🙂

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Here are some samples of cards: I like to make some more traditional cards, and some that are fun too!  I am a huge fan of sparkles, so adding anything that glitters to the cards makes me smile!

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You can check out more:
Facebook pages: Esma Card Company and Chocolate Runner Girl
Twitter: @run_chocolate
Instagram: chocolaterunnergirl

10 Things Tuesday

1. We experimented with homemade ricotta cheese this weekend. I would say that it was a delicious success! We added it as a topping on our cauliflower pizza on Saturday night and again in tomato soup on Sunday. Yum.

Ricotta cheese in the making…
Nothing better than homemade cauliflower crust pizza!

2. I am excited to try out this 5-minute ab workout sometime this week!
3. We unpacked our last box this weekend and finally had our dryer installed yesterday! No more unpacking or trips to laundromat – yippee! 🙂
4. As I wait to get started on my new job (there’s a lot of paperwork involved!), I picked up Anna Karenina since I have some time on my hands. It was one of those books on my “must-read” bucket list. So far, I am enjoying it so much more than I thought that I would! I can’t say that I am not still intimidated by the length – I’m already 300 pages in and that’s not even half-way. Oi.

5. This post is a great reminder about balancing healthy eating/living with the occasional indulgence. Love the 80/20 rule!
6. I am very slooowly getting back into running! So far, the farthest run I have done is 3.5 miles. I have been making sure to incorporate some good lower body (ie. leg) strength training (like this workout or this one!) to build up some of the accessory muscles in my legs that don’t get a good workout during running. I hope this will help me prevent any more knee issues!
7. Smoky Maple Lentil Salad? Yes, please!
8. This weekend, we finished up the last episode of season 3 of Downton Abbey. If you haven’t seen it yet, make sure you keep some tissues handy…
9. Remember chia pets? Would you have ever guessed that the little seeds that grew into green “fur” for your pet are now a popular health food?! I am loving chia seeds! I added them to my oatmeal over the weekend and my smoothie this morning. It’s a great way to add some heart-healthy omega-3’s to your day!
10. Lately, I can’t get enough of the band Of Monsters and Men! Here’s one of their tracks that’s been stuck in my head this week…

On Dietitian Debbie’s Plate This Week

Happy Friday! Do you have any big plans for the weekend? Will and I were thinking about checking out the food documentary starring Jeff Bridges called “A Place at the Table”.It’s by the same directors that created Food Inc, which was incredible. Have you seen it yet? Check out the preview here.
In honor of National Nutrition Month’s (NNM) “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day”, I thought I would share what has been on my plate this week! Along the lines of the NNM theme, I loved the Healthy Self challenge for Thursday which was “include at least 3 of the food groups at each meal”. I didn’t realize I have already been doing that at all my meals! Ha. Let’s take a look shall we?

Oatmeal, blueberries, and a dollop of sunflower seed butter. Yum!
Oyster mushrooms! Will and I picked these up at the farmers market to experiment with.
So fun!
Making my plate a “healthy plate” – 2 servings of veggies (hello, oyster mushrooms!),
 protein (tuna steak!), and a starch (sweet potato). 🙂
This delicious quinoa veggie chocolate chili recipe came from Nutritionella’s site.
 That’s right -there is dark chocolate included in this recipe. Check it out!
Oats with apple, cinnamon, and another dollop of sunflower butter (I can’t get
enough of that stuff!).
Spicy marinated tofu, roasted butternut squash, and a pile of green beans.
Adding lots of color to your plate packs in good-for-you nutrients!

In other news, I got a job offer yesterday!!! Woohoo! I had an interview with the Hines Veterans Affairs Medical Center a couple of weeks ago before we left Memphis. Let’s be honest, I am not the best interviewee… but they chose me anyways! Such a blessing!

Ten Things Tuesday


1. I made Kath’s Moroccan Quinoa Salad last week. Oh. my. goodness! It was so delicious! I didn’t have my camera with me when I made it, but let me tell you – red quinoa makes this salad as pretty as it tastes. 🙂
2. I am still loving the HealthysELF movement! I am looking forward to Thursday’s green smoothie challenge. Yum! I loved Saturday’s “color your plate” challenge!

Coloring my plate, one salad at a time!

3. Will and I made this delicious curry over the weekend! I’ll be doing a step-by-step instructional post on it soon!

Curry time!

4. Can’t believe I’ll be moving to Chicago next week!!!
5. I am really excited to make these Roasted Red Pepper Chickpea Burgers from Today’s Dietitian soon! Chickpeas will be in my shopping basket on my next trip to the store for sure.
6. I did this Love Your Bod WOD by Hillary from Nutrition Nut on the Run. It took me less than 20 minutes to do, but 2 days to recover! Now that’s a good workout. 😉
7. A new study came out that indicates those who consume a Southern diet (ie. loaded with fried chicken, processed meats, and BBQ!) have a 41% higher stroke risk. Yikes! Perhaps I’ll start sharing that statistic with some of my patients…
8. This post about blogging by Joy the Baker really spoke to me. I’ve been trying to take some of her advice to heart!
9. These almonds might be a weekly snack at my house now!

10. I found this quinoa breakfast bowl recipe via Pinterest. Looks amazing!!!! I have yet to try quinoa for breakfast – sounds like an interesting experiment. 🙂

Fitness for a Gym Newbie

Before I joined a local gym a month ago, I had hardly set foot in a gym before. I never had any need for a gym membership until I had this knee injury because my fitness plan centered on running. The beauty of running is that it is so simple; all you need is a good pair of shoes – no equipment or gym necessary! So, I was super intimidated by all of the equipment, weights, and muscle-y people at the new gym I joined. For the first week or two, I just stuck with group classes and bypassed all the weights and things. However, I wanted to make the most of my membership, so over the last few weeks I have been doing some research online about strength training. I didn’t realize I had so much to learn! Here’s a glimpse of my workouts this week:

Monday: Spinning Class + arm workout with weights
Tuesday: 45 minutes elliptical
Wednesday: Yoga 
Thursday: Rest Day (Burpee challenge day!)
Friday: 45 minutes elliptical + arm workout with weights
Saturday: Treadmill HIIT workout + lunges
Sunday: Yoga

Arms: To find inspiration on what exercises to do with the dumbbells – I found this 10 Best Arm Moves workout and this site which has a lot of great instructions for each exercise. I usually end up doing a sequence of triceps kickbacks (with 15# weight), bicep curls (10# weight),  overhead triceps extensions (with 12.5# weight), front and lateral raises (with 5# weight).

Burpees: Thursday’s HealthysELF challenge this week was to do 100 burpees. I totally had to Google “burpee” in order to do them! Oh. my. goodness. I think I maybe did about 40 throughout the whole day and called it good. These babies are so tough! I start huffing and puffing after about only 5. The one thing I did learn from this challenge is that burpees are great exercise and something that I would like to get better at doing!

Treadmill HIIT workout: I have been avoiding running for about 2 1/2 months now, but I am getting anxious to get back into it. I found this short, but intense workout on Nutrition Nut on the Run’s blog that looked like fun! HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. Basically, you work in short bouts of sprinting or hills into your normal jog. The purpose is to make you stronger! I had to adapt her plan a bit since I am just getting back into running and she is so much faster than me!

HIIT Treadmill Workout: 5 minute warm-up at 6.0 mph
                                            1 minute @ 6.5 mph // 1 minute at 7.7 mph (repeat 4 times)
                                            1 minute @ 6.8 mph // 1 minute at 8.1 mph (repeat 2 times)
                                            Cool-down at 6.5 mph until you hit 2.5 miles

I was a sweaty mess after this and I didn’t even make it through the 2 other repeats of the faster intervals that she had on the plan! Again, this is something I definitely want to start working towards. My knees were a bit sore after this one, so I am only going to do it once a week for a while. (Perhaps try to work in another slow, easy run in once a week as well.) There are lots of great workouts on Hillary’s blog. I’m excited to try this arm workout next! Fitnessista also has a lot of great workouts!

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Although, I really like the structure of group classes, I have gotten much more comfortable with the exercises above over the last couple of weeks. So much so, that I think I want to join a gym when I move! Who knew?!

Healthy sELF Challenge

Let’s be honest. I need a little extra motivation some days to get me out the door and headed to the gym to workout. Now that I don’t have the accountability of a running group, it’s been so much harder to stay on track! That’s why I was so excited when bloggers Nutritionella and The Lean Green Bean announced the Healthy sELF Challenge! It officially kicks off today, February 4th!

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Here’s how it works…
1. Go to http://nutritionella.com/healthysELF/ to sign up for the challenge and newsletter.
2. These lovely lady bloggers created a schedule of three weekly challenges to complete on Monday, Thursday and Saturday. The challenges relate to health, nutrition, or fitness – all with the goal of making/keeping you healthy!. For example the challenges for the first week are:
 – Go meatless for a day! (Monday)
 – Do 100 burpees throughout the day. (Thursday)
 – Start a new book. (Saturday)
3. For extra motivation and to document your challenge successes, use the hastag #healthysELF when posting on Twitter and Instagram. You’ll be able to see what other members of the challenge are doing too!
4. Join in on the fun on Facebook as well!

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Of course, I’ll share some of my Healthy sELF experiences with all of you on my blog! Won’t you join me and get healthy? 🙂

10 Things Friday

1. I am excited to start the Healthy sELF challenge! I’ll be posting more info about the challenge on Monday! If you’re curious, check out the button on the right side bar. 🙂
2. I am loving the book, Where’d You Go, Bernadette? which is our book club selection for February. Can’t wait to get together for dinner with the other book club ladies on Thursday. 🙂
3. KathEats did a post on buckwheat today. I am so curious to try it now! I may pick up a little at my trip to Whole Foods this week to experiment.
4. Will and I finally found an apartment in Chicago! It is such a relief! We’ll soon be residents of Logan Square. 🙂
5. I didn’t realize this was super bowl weekend until just yesterday. Oops! We were invited to a party and I am thinking about taking this creamy white bean and broccoli dip along. Looks delicious!
6. Totally obsessed with Downton Abbey again this season! If you haven’t caught on to this show yet, you are really missing out.
7. Will and I had falafal sandwiches yesterday for dinner. It’s been awhile since I’ve had one – oh my goodness, they’re so delicious!!!
8. On a whim, I decided to follow @VeryGrumpyCat on Twitter. Although I’m not a huge fan of all things cat-related, I have found myself chuckling at every post. If you need a smile/laugh, check it out. Ha!
9. I really want to try this Quinoa Spinach Mac and Cheese recipe out. I never knew quinoa could be so versatile!
10. Last weekend, I discovered the wonderful world of free downloadable fonts! It’s been so fun to experiment! (Also dangerous… I may never get any other work done. Ha!) This site www.dafont.com/ has thousands of really great ones. Once you download it, you can use it with any program on your computer with text. Check it out!