How to Host a Stress Free Thanksgiving

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If you are anything like me then you love the Holiday season and you love to host, but sometimes you can find yourself in over your head and the joy of the holidays seems to be swept away with a to do list a mile long.

Several years ago my husband and I started hosting Thanksgiving at our home, this year will mark the 5th year in a row that we have opened our doors to family and friends to gather round our table and break bread (or turkey) and give thanks together. We have come to love the tradition of hosting this holiday at our home and over the years we have found a few ways to help alleviate some of the stress and make it a more enjoyable event for all.

Here are some of those ways:

  • Delegate dishes to all that plan to join you, not only does this help in the financial department, it helps take some of the stress off of your shoulders, I have also found that my guests love to contribute their favorite dish or dessert! It’s a win win! We supply the main dish, the TURKEY and a few sides and drinks and our guests bring the rest!
  • Save the new recipes for another time and stick to the tried and true! No one likes the added stress of trying out a new and unfamiliar recipe in the kitchen when guests are on their way, stick to recipes you know well and love to make.
  • Set your table and rearrange furniture the day or evening before Thanksgiving, you do not need the added stress of rearranging the house in order to accommodate everyone as they arrive, have a space ready for them well in advance.
  • Get the family to pitch in and handle chores around the house, clean the bathroom mirror, vacuum the living room and all that other fun stuff! Have this all done in the days leading up to the big event.
  • Will there be little ones at your gathering? Have something fun for them to do, dollar and craft stores have lots of fun little turkey crafts or coloring pages and games to help keep little hands occupied as guests are arriving and even after the meal.
  • Prepare any foods that you can the night before, I usually make any dessert I plan on serving and my cranberry sauce the day prior to Thanksgiving, they are done and in the fridge and out of my way as I prepare my turkey and other sides on Thanksgiving day.
  • Be a team player, especially with your spouse! It can be stressful to pull off a big event in your home, and we often can take that stress out on those we love the most, decide to be a team before the big day, check in and see how you can help each other out, communicate well as you open up your home, believe me, it will make all the difference in the world to set the tone for your gathering!
  • In the end, remember that this is real life, real life is messy and not always perfect so give yourself grace! Have fun, let your hair down and truly marvel in all of your blessings this day, your friends and family will appreciate all of your hard work and more than anything your presence with them, so go on and have some fun!

I hope you find some helpful tips above, do you have a favorite Thanksgiving tradition? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

 

21 Ways to Romance Your Husband This Valentine’s Day

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Welcome ladies! So, yesterday I posted ways that our husbands can romance us this valentines day and today we are going to focus on ways to romance him! 21 ways to be exact!! Are you ready to find some idea’s that help inspire you to tap into your romantic side this valentines day? Great, lets get started!

  1. Start the day by making his coffee and breakfast, heart shaped pancakes and a valentine note next to his plate are a good idea! Oh, and if your man likes bacon (and I have yet to meet one that doesn’t) splurge and make him some! There are many healthier options, just leave the heavily processed pressed fake bacon behind and opt for uncured nitrite and nitrate free from an ethical source!
  2. Write a message on the bathroom mirror with a dry erase marker, or with your finger in the steam after he gets out of the shower (you can make it a steamy message!)
  3. Send him a text during his work day telling him something you love about him
  4. Send him a picture text during his work day of you wearing something pretty (or perhaps nothing at all, if you are bold enough)
  5. Be bold enough!
  6. Laugh, smile and flirt with him
  7. Be engaged, give him your full attention
  8. Make sure you feel pretty, if you feel pretty you will be more able to be fun, flirty and free
  9. Create an atmosphere, make your home a haven for him (as best you can) try to create a place of calmness vs a place of chaos when he walks through the door
  10. Go on an adventure with him and be his companion! Hike, bike, take a train, visit a new town, if your man is into fishing and hunting go with him (just maybe not on valentine’s day, but you get the idea)
  11. Kiss him passionately when he walks through the door, let him know he has been on your mind and you are so glad to see him
  12. Tell him he is handsome and sexy and strong and why you can’t stop thinking about him
  13. Do a project together, build something, paint something or just for fun build a fort in the living room for just the two of you.
  14. Go on a date to one of those paint your own ceramics places and make a gift for each other
  15. Go on a date and wear something you feel absolutely confident and beautiful in, do your hair and your make up, and then smile and accept his compliments!
  16. Take a hot and steamy bath together, perhaps while enjoying a glass of wine or champaign
  17. Get the kids to bed early so the two of you can get to bed early
  18. Wear something pretty and lacy that he has never seen before to bed or perhaps hasn’t seen for a long time, refresh his memory
  19. Give him a massage with the assistance of essential oils that will act as an aphrodisiac such as myrrh, black pepper, pine, ylang ylang, ginger and Balance blend  just mix a few drops of these oils into an unscented base or carrier oil such as coconut oil or sweet almond and oil and message into his back (and rest of his body)
  20. Be adventurous in the bedroom, leave soft lights on, candles or a string of white lights etc.. Play music, diffuse essential oils that boost your libido such as geranium, ylang ylang, ginger, and lime.
  21. Express gratitude, be thankful for your husband, love him, respect him, pray for him, pursue him, make him feel like the luckiest guy in the world to have you by his side!
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Again, don’t forget the bacon! Happy Valentines Day!

Do you have anymore ideas? please share them below or join the community with us on facebook and share!

Husbands! Romance Your Wives This Valentines Day :)

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Gentlemen! It’s that time of year again, where red roses and heart shaped chocolate boxes are lining the store shelves, when romance is in the air and YOU, yes you are carrying the pressure of what to do for your wife this year that is better than last year and better than what your buddy is doing for his wife! So what is the big deal about Valentines day anyway? Well, I will let you in on a little secret, we women like to be romanced! We like to be noticed, we like to be thought of, we like to feel pursued! And you as our husbands  take the position of honor when it comes to fulfilling this mission! I thought I would put together some thoughts to help you get into your wife’s head a little bit better this Valentines day and  give you some tools to really wow her! Are you ready? Good, lets dig in 🙂

 

Say it!

How beautiful you are, my darling!
    Oh, how beautiful!
    Your eyes are doves.

Take it from King Solomon in Song of Solomon, he knew how to be generous with his words in complementing his bride! Now you may not want to use some of the same imagery as he did, such as comparing certain parts of her body to small woodland animals, however… He was a wise man indeed when it came to lavishing  his wife with complements, he USED DETAIL! Don’t miss this one guys,  detail is VERY important to your wife. What about her is beautiful, be specific and creative with your compliments, you wont be sorry!

 

 

Do it big! 

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Okay, maybe not that big, but don’t skimp! Does she mean the world to you? Then show her 🙂 plan in advance some ways to let her know you were intentional about romancing her. This means, have a plan (now would be a good time) and execute it well. Don’t stop at flowers and a card (though those are a great place to start!) make the goal be for your wife to wonder how she got so lucky to have a husband who put so much thought into loving her well!

 

Study Her!

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No matter how many years you have been married, there is always more you can learn about your wife. What is her favorite color? What is her favorite flower? You should know this guys! And if you don’t, now is a good time to find out. How does she like to be pursued? When does she feel loved? How does she like to be touched? She will give you clues, such as pulling away=no like or leaning in close= like. One of the most loving things you can do for your wife when it comes to romancing her is to never stop honing your own skills, don’t let things get boring, but instead be intentional about finding new ways to let her know she is still the one for you!

 

Make Her Your One and Only!

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Do NOT compare your wife to ANY other woman! She is your wife, her beauty is your standard of beauty. Let her know that no one else will ever do and no one else could ever come close, and don’t just say this, believe it! Live as a man with integrity, a man that is faithful and a man that willingly forsakes all others for the good of his marriage. Your wife will be able to come into her own beauty when she does not fear that she cannot ever measure up to the worlds standard of beauty. Love her earnestly and valiantly and this will romance her soul!

 

Be a Giver!

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This Valentines day, give give give, without worrying about what you will get! Take the time, put in the effort, and take it slow. Gifts are wonderful, but not all gifts have to come from a store. Write her a note, or several love notes for her to find through out the day, buy her or pick her fresh flowers and put them all around the house, write her a poem, sing her a song, just make sure your attitude is to give her your love, she will feel this and that is what she is really hoping for!

 

One last thought, do these things all year long and not just on Valentines day! Your wife and your marriage are an amazing gift and just like any investment you will always get out of it what you put into it! Enjoy romancing your wife this valentines day, and be sure to have her check back here tomorrow to find out about 21 ways to romance you!

 

 

 

Gluten Free Pumpkin Pecan Caramel Cheesecake… Oh yeah!

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So this weekend we celebrated my handsome husbands 35th birthday, and I tell you, if anyone in this house loves pumpkin flavored food more than me… it’s him! This Cheesecake was indulgence at its finest!  When I coach my clients they are sometimes shocked to see me endorse desserts! And to bring clarity to the matter, I coach my clients to not fear indulging from time to time, losing weight and being truly healthy in mind body and  spirit is never brought about by following rigid rules or by deprivation dieting!

*Coaching tip… I always say when you indulge, make it count 😉 be sure it is the best quality food and that you really truly enjoy it, eat it in the presence of loved ones and with great appreciation for the “sweetness” in your life 🙂 eat it with the understanding and acceptance that we allow no food to be our master.

So back to this beauty! I originally  found this recipe on Pinterest  but as I always do, I made my own additions and modifications to it, and the raves and reviews from my family were well worth the time and effort put into this cake! My mother in law even said that this was the BEST cheese cake she had ever tasted! As for the birthday boy? He was full of compliments for the chef as well! My advice is to make this cake the day before you plan on serving it, this gives it time to really “set” not to mention builds the anticipation for something to look forward to!

Here is what you will need for the crust:

  • 1 cup of ground up Gluten Free Ginger Snap Cookies (I got mine from Trader Joes)
  • 1/2 cup of Raw Pecans coarsely ground
  • 1/4 cup Grass Fed Butter melted
  • 2 tbsp organic brown sugar

Coarsely grind up your ginger snap cookies and your pecans and toss them into a medium sized mixing bowl along with 2 tbsp brown sugar. Melt your grass fed butter and pour over your crumb/sugar mixture. mix together until all of the mixture is nice and moist then press into the bottom of a 9″ spring form pan and set aside.

Here is what you will need for the filling:

  • 2/3 cup Raw Turbinado Sugar
  • 3/4 cup Organic Pumpkin Puree
  • 3 egg yolks from pastured (cage free) hens
  • 3/4 tbsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1/4 tbsp Cinnamon
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
  • 3 (8 ounce) packages of Natural Full Fat Cream Cheese
  • 1/2 cup of Raw Turbinado Sugar
  • 1 Large Pastured egg
  • 1 Pastured egg yolk
  • 2 tbsp Organic Grass Fed heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp Organic Tapioca Starch
  • Additional whole Pecans
  • Jar of Fluer De Sel caramel (I got mine from Trader Joes)

Pre heat your oven to 350 degrees. Let your cream cheese get nice and soft at room temp, beat all 3 packages with an electric mixer until they are well blended and fluffy. In a separate bowl, add your pumpkin puree, 2/3 cup of turbinado sugar, spices, salt, vanilla and 3 egg yolks and mix well and set aside. Slowly blend in your 1/2  cup of turbinado sugar to the cream cheese, add the 1 large whole egg and blend in, then add the 1 remaining egg yolk, once this is nice and incorporated add in the 2 tbsp of heavy whipping cream, lastly add the tapioca starch. When the cream cheese mixture is nice and blended slowly pour in the pumpkin  mixture until well combined. Pour into your ready to go 9″ spring form pan (you may want to grease the sides for easy release later, I use trader joes coconut oil no stick spray) Place cheesecake in middle rack of preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 50-55 min (some of the filling may leak out so place on top of foil or a cookie sheet when baking 🙂 )

After the cheesecake bakes for 50-55 min (a knife in the middle should be mostly clean) turn the oven off and let stand in the oven for an additional  60 min. This tip is supposed to keep your cheesecake  from cracking, perhaps you will have better luck than I because mine still cracked : / luckily no one seemed to care, and it sure did not affect the taste!

Once the hour is up, remove from the completely cooled oven and cover with foil and place in the fridge, preferable overnight,  about 2 hours before it is time to serve, take the cake out of the fridge and let sit on your counter for about 15 min before removing the spring form pan. Take your jar of caramel and a clear plastic zipper baggie and fill about 1/3 of the baggie with caramel, cut one corner tip of the baggie off to create a “piping bag” and use this to drizzle or “pipe” lines of caramel over the top of your cheesecake, go up and down, side to side and zig zag. As you can see in my picture above, the caramel ended up all “smooshing” together anyway 😀 but it was still fun to do!

Then lastly add your remaining pecans around the edge and place back into the fridge until cutting time! Enjoy and I would love your comments below!

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Ryan on his 35th Birthday

Spice Up Your Summer With Some Romance

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Attention Husbands and Wives!!! Looking for some summertime fun with your spouse?? Be sure to catch our latest podcast 🙂 Listen to the end to take advantage of my FREE gift to you!!

Click on the picture to Listen and grab a pen and some paper to write down all these fun romantic ideas!

Nourish Your Body, Romance Your Spouse Online Workshop

 

You don’t want to miss this online workshop! Here is what others are saying about the experience:

“Michelle you have really opened my eyes on food. I’ve enjoyed experiencing new and fun things with my husband, thank you for that.”

                                                                                          Ann M.

“Just want to say that I am loving this!! I look forward to the new assignment each day! And the body brushing is awesome!! Love that I am learning new things!!”

                                                                                        Stacey E.

Register for your spot today!!

 

Simply Real Health Talk

Podcast

I am so excited to announce the arrival of a BRAND NEW podcast! I have joined forces with another holistic health coach and together we are bringing you “Simply Real Health Talk” . In this weekly podcast we will discuss fresh and relevant topics to help you simplify your life and help you embrace real health on all fronts! Our goal is to help you make changes that are simple, and will produce lasting results! Interested in what we have to say?? Check us out 🙂 our first episode is ready to go, Rachel and I discuss our personal journeys that led us to health coaching and how having a health coach can benefit you!  Make sure to subscribe on iTunes!

Why I Have Been Away So Long!

I have been knee deep in furthering my education at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and I am LOVING it! Check out what I have been up to and see my New website here gracioushealth.net

and be sure to like me on FaceBook too! I look forward to sharing some great health coaching tips with you in the near future!

Blessings,

Michelle