Apple Brownies

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Chewy edges, crazy moist blondies, and a crackling crust add up to these mouthwatering, slightly sweet Apple Brownies.

blondies made with apples sliced on parchment

Apple Blondies

I am a firm believer that there is no such thing as too many apples. When making apple crisp if it says to use 6 cups, you better believe I am using 12 cups. And so far, no one has ever complained.

This recipe follows that philosophy. Other versions have some nicely chopped apples scattered throughout. Not this one – pack ’em in, it makes it so good!

The secret to the apples baking up so nicely is to use the varieties that are meant for baking. Johnathon apples are perfect for apple brownies as they hold their shape so well. McIntosh, not so much, use those for applesauce as they cook down and get deliciously saucy quite easily.

Back to our brownies – Oh. my. word. Friends! How have I never had apple brownies before now? They are AMAZING. Huge thanks to my friend Katie for telling me about them and encouraging me to try the recipe.

With hints of cinnamon and an abundance of sweet apples in every single bite, the reviews of this recipe have been overwhelming. Double thumbs up every time.

I’ve made these a couple of times already and shared them with friends and everyone went positively crazy over them. The texture is that of a blondie packed with cinnamon apples.

apple filled blondies on black plate next to apples

Apple Brownies

  • butter
  • white sugar
  • egg
  • all-purpose flour
  • salt
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • cinnamon
  • apples 
  • chopped walnuts
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Pineapple Mango Smoothie

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Pineapple Mango Smoothie, a refreshingly delicious and naturally sweet kid-approved green vegetable and fruit smoothie.

green smoothie in tall glass next to fruit

Pineapple Mango Smoothie

Using up leftover bits of this and that from the fridge or freezer can often result in some great new recipes. Quite a few of our favorite breakfast smoothies have begun this way.

These Pineapple Mango Smoothies with spinach are exactly that. I mixed this smoothie together recently because I wanted to use up the remaining pineapple juice from the canned pineapple I used in a batch of Hawaiian muffins.

When I shared this recipe with a friend her kids renamed these smoothies “Green Monster Smoothies” which gave me a good laugh.

I need to take notes from her because she has also convinced her kids that smoothies and crackers and cheese or hard-boiled eggs are a meal. That meal is a special treat they beg for when dad is out of town on business!

 

Frozen fruit creates a smooth texture for this drink. Often smoothies have ice cubes in them, which is fine, but we prefer ours this way. In order to always have ingredients on hand, you’ll want to freeze your fruit in advance.

If you have produce on the verge of spoiling, I like to prevent waste by freezing it. Just place the fruit on a sheet pan and freeze it. Then transfer the loose, frozen fruit to a zip-top bag for later use.

I do like to use fresh spinach when I have it on hand, but if you’re staring down a bit of leftover baby spinach don’t hesitate to toss it in the freezer. While it won’t be great on its own or if you try to cook it later, it will work well tossed into future smoothies.

Personally, we don’t care for the flavor of it after it is frozen and it just doesn’t seem to incorporate as smoothly. Speaking to smoothness though, since you are using spinach be sure to blend this extra to really get it purred in with the fruits.

All smoothies need some extra liquid to help the fruits and vegetables blend. Pineapple juice is the main one but water is your other liquid. Regular cold water is fine, or if you have some coconut water on hand it will be quite tasty.

The combination here is a great one. It was very smooth and much more juice-like than some of our other green smoothies. The kids and I enjoyed our smoothies on the back patio along with our Favorite Pancakes made into PB&J sandwiches. It was a fun lunch.

Antidepressant withdrawal: find out what to expect and how to manage it

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When the time comes to end a course of antidepressants, many people face concerns about what’s next. So we’re laying out what to expect

Antidepressant withdrawal: find out what to expect and how to manage it

“I have experienced anxiety since childhood and developed depression in my 20s, after the birth of my second child. Following my divorce, I became more affected, at times struggling to cope with my work which involved travelling around the UK delivering training in, ironically, mental health and exercise. Eventually, I went to my GP, who recommended antidepressants and counselling.”

Sarah Bolitho’s story is likely to sound familiar to many. In the UK, the latest NHS statistics from January to March 2021 show that there were 20.2 million antidepressant drugs prescribed, a 1% decrease from 20.5 million items in the previous quarter, and a 3% increase from 19.6 million items for the same quarter in 2019/20. They’re incredibly common, and yet mental health stigma means that there are often unanswered questions about the experience floating around.

One such question is what to expect when you end a course of antidepressants? The length of time an individual will need to take antidepressants varies from person to person, and while one may take them for up to six months, another may continue to take them for five years, or more. But how can you tell when the right time to stop taking them is for you? What should you expect? And how can you do it safely? Read on to find out. But, first, we need to take some time to get to know what we’re dealing with.

What are antidepressants?

“Antidepressants are medications prescribed for depression, anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and some other mental and physical health conditions,” The Royal College of Psychiatrists tells us. “There are almost 30 different kinds of antidepressants. We don’t know for certain how antidepressants work, but they affect the activity of certain chemicals in our brains called neurotransmitters. These pass signals from one brain cell to another. The neurotransmitters most affected by antidepressants are serotonin and noradrenaline.”

And antidepressants can make a huge difference in individuals’ lives. A six-year study by the NIHR Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre, that looked at the results of more than 500 trials, found that around 60% of people respond to the drugs by two months, with about a 50% reduction in their symptoms.

When is the right time to stop?

From week five of taking them, Sarah recalls feeling more positive, and she noticed that her symptoms were reducing. She had also started counselling at this point, and was gradually starting to identify areas in her life that needed to change, and develop new coping skills. She continued to take the medication for about three years before she decided to speak to her GP.

“I was concerned about coming off the medication, as I was not sure if I would experience depression again, or what the effects of withdrawing would be,” she shares. “I am thankful that I was given good advice to do this slowly – I’m so glad I took the time, as it gave me the confidence that my symptoms were gone and that I could cope.”

According to The Royal College of Psychi

Integrative Health Practitioner Certification

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Sharing my review (so far!) of the Integrative Health Practitioner certification and my thoughts on the program. I’m so thrilled to be partnering with Dr. Stephen Cabral on a few podcast episodes, and he also generously gifted access to my level 1 and level 2 certification programs. In this post, I’ll be sharing an update on the course and my thoughts on level one now that I’ve finished. If you’d like to join me as a study buddy, head here and use the code FITNESSISTA for $100 off Level 1 and $250 off levels 1 and 2. 

Helloooooo. Happy Monday. I hope you had a lovely weekend. We’re here enjoying our last moments with Caro before we have to say our goodbyes later today 🙁

For today’s post, I wanted to share an updated review of my experience with the Integrative Health Practitioner course and how I plan to use this certification. I recently finished level one and have started level two. I’ve loved diving into these modules and know that it will be an entirely new layer to my coaching.

Integrative Health Practitioner Certification

There have been times when I’ve worked with a nutrition client online and wished I could suggest specific labs (it’s NOT in the scope of practice for a nutrition coach or personal trainer to do this. All you can do is refer out to an RD or doctor). I’ve added other members to my coaching team who are able to run these tests, but as my online practice continues to grow, I’ve wanted to be able to learn how to do all of this myself.

Integrative Health Practitioner Certification 

What is the IHP certification?

The Integrative Health Practitioner certification was created by Dr. Stephen Cabral. If you’re not familiar with his work, Dr. Stephen Cabral is a Board Certified Doctor of Naturopathy and founder of the EquiLife & the Integrative Health Practitioner Institute, and Author of the International Best-Selling Book, The Rain Barrel Effect. After almost 20 years and over 600,000 pages of research study completed, dozens of certifications in the natural health field, over a quarter of a million private client sessions, and a doctoral degree in Naturopathy – Dr. Cabral‘s knowledge, experience, and passion are at the top of his field.

I’ve been following him on Instagram for a couple of years and recently had him as a guest on the podcast. I’d looked at this certification

BBQ Chicken Quesadillas

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Crisp tortillas filled with saucy bbq chicken and melting cheese add up to these BBQ Chicken Quesadillas. They are a little bit spicy, awesomely cheesy, and they are a very popular lunch in our house.

quesadillas made with bbq chicken

BBQ Chicken Quesadilla

I am fairly certain that some of the most delicious dishes come from staring into the refrigerator looking for inspiration from leftovers. This was a very successful lunch quickly put together using leftovers from the refrigerator.

This isn’t a complicated meal at all, but it sure was delicious! I’m planning to BBQ some chicken this week, just to have it in the fridge for a couple of easy lunch quesadillas and enchiladas.

Quesadillas are a meal or a snack that once kids can safely use the stove, they can be taught to make. When teaching my boys I started with the skillet on fairly low, basically, let the cheese melt then I would turn up the heat to get it crispy.

I would also suggest a big spatula like my favorite one. A larger spatula makes flipping so much easier without the insides coming out everywhere. A fish spatula does the trick as well.

A recipe really isn’t necessary for quesadillas but it is helpful to have a short guide and inspire new flavor combinations. While there isn’t much traditional about this quesadilla one thing is for certain, be sure to go for a creamy cheese melt.

Combining mozzarella with cheddar or Colby jack gives a creamy melt with a bit of sharpness. And don’t forget to “spill” a little in the pan, those melty cheesy crispy bits are the cook’s snack!

How do you cut your quesadillas? Sometimes I use a big chef’s knife to cut them in one swoop. But I have found that a pizza cutter is even easier and a bit safer for kids too if they are the ones doing the cooking.

chicken quesadillas on cutting boardRead more
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