Monday Motivational Meal

Monday, December 30, 2019

Ready for a simple light meal between the big holidays? Try this Salmon Caesar Salad! It looks smashing served up on Vivente!

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Building on Positive Change

Friday, December 27, 2019

Isn’t it amazing how many conversations can be going on in our head at the same time? We can have part of our mind ready to get going and spur us on to embracing change and new habits. Then there is another part of us that believes we have the right to not work out and to eat what we want whenever we want. The truth is both parts are speaking the truth. We are capable of positive change and embracing new habits that help us live a healthier life.  On the other hand we have absolute right to choose how and when we want to do anything that has to do with our lives. We have the right to our own autonomy. So how do we help these warring sides work together to help us live a more balanced, integrated life? We agree to what is most important to us, stick to that plan and build on the positive change we are achieving.

By agreeing to our overall priorities we can calm some of the conversations in our head. It doesn’t mean we are perfect, but it means we can avoid sabotaging ourselves and what we really want to accomplish.  We have the right to succeed.

Change is hard. Change can be both positive and negative. To keep constructive momentum we want to build on positive change. Sometimes it is good to remind ourselves of the changes we have made and embraced. Think of all the changes we make all the time. We change jobs, the location where we live, our relationship status, how we look, our interests…even our opinions.

It is important to acknowledge the successful changes we have made when it comes to our health. If we have committed to living life as our healthiest selves it is inevitable that we will want to change some habits, introduce new habits to support our overall goal and continue to build on the positive changes we have already made in our lives. We need to take the time to acknowledge where we are and how we have been able to honor our priorities.

There is strength and momentum in reflecting on where we are in our health journey and how far we have come. Without reflection it can be hard to see the change we have made and use that change to further our success. We can even get depressed because we have not named our achievements.

As we look back on the past year, take time to think about the advances you have made in your healthy lifestyle, even list them. Once you have articulated the positive change you have made it is time to start thinking about how you can build on those to make the coming year your best year yet.  There is no doubt about it, you deserve it!

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Monday Motivational Meal

Monday, December 23, 2019

Do the smells of baking and aromatic spices make it feel like the holidays for you too? For us, it just doesn't seem festive without them. Looking to add a new bread to your repertoire? Here is one of our healthy favorites--Pear Poppy Seed! Make sure to take a moment for you and enjoy a slice on your favorite Livliga dishware while sipping a cup of tea from your favorite healthy lifestyle mug! Happy Holidays!

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Monday Motivational Meal

Monday, December 16, 2019

Meatless Monday: Savory Bread Pudding with Butternut Squash is a wonderful vegetarian meal that fits our holiday mood and also our need for comfort food during the cold of winter. It looks stellar served up on Halsa dinnerware!

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Healthy Holiday Happiness

Friday, December 13, 2019

The holidays almost demand that we be happy. Thanksgiving through the New Year are all about celebrating. We celebrate a specific holiday, being with family, gift giving, and specific annual gatherings. Health is not a focus. In fact, it is a time when we can feel the most stressed and eat in a way that is not ideal or particularly healthy. Often this affects us emotionally as well. We more likely feel like we are “surviving” the holidays rather than reveling in what is good about them.

When we have committed to living as our healthiest selves, the holidays can be a time bomb waiting to go off.  We don’t want to get sucked back in to the unhealthy holiday habits. But it is hard to break free of the tradition and expectations surrounding each holiday.

There are ways to make sure we hold on to our priorities and take time to nurture our well being during the holidays.

First things first…Your Emotional Well Being.  Check into how you are feeling. Your emotional health is so important to your ongoing success in living a healthy lifestyle. Keep to the patterns you know work for you…like working out, planning your meals, and getting enough sleep. Just as you plan for your success also plan for the holidays to ensure you can enjoy them.

A great way to check in on your emotional well being and to remind yourself of what is important to you is to download our free resource we created with Connie Stapleton, Ph.D., Emotional Barriers to Sustained Weight Loss Success: Facing Our Fears, Mindset, and Addictions.

Celebrate some quiet moments. We can feel overwhelmed with the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. We can get depressed. Sometimes it is good to carve out some time to just be and nurture our well being. Check out this list of some up-lifting movies that might come in handy.

De-stress and de-clutter. One way to find more joy in the holidays and a lot less stress is to simplify your gift giving and the tools you have in your own kitchen. The stuff we keep around us can ultimately be a distraction and create unwanted visual noise in our lives. Take it from Wendy Tranz, someone who has taken the steps to de-clutter and de-stress:

Pay attention to spending. One way to help avoid stress during the holidays is to plan the healthy meals you will be serving from Thanksgiving through the New Year…week by week.  By planning ahead you can save money on what you spend. There are also specific meals and menus that are particularly budget-friendly. Here are some ideas for you to consider over the holidays that are both budget-friendly and one pot simple-to-prep meals:

Slow Cooker Brisket with Onions
Slow Cooker Vegetable Beef Soup
Herb and Goat Cheese Frittata

Create memories beyond food. The holidays tend to be all about food. When we call on our memories of events inevitably it is the food served that immediately comes to mind. For those of us committed to a healthy lifestyle and right sized eating, focusing on the food can be undermining. How can we combat this? By creating new memories that focus on the meaning of the holidays and the activities that are seasonally specific so they make the moments and memories special. This doesn’t mean that special foods and gatherings that include traditional meals are no longer allowed; instead it is about a re-balance of our memories and traditions so the focus is where it should be…on living life to the fullest as our healthiest selves. Here are some ideas about ways to incorporate Healthy Holiday Memories into your overall Holiday Traditions:

On the Day of a Holiday Build in Activity

  • Walk before cooking the Thanksgiving Meal
  • Touch Football after the big meal
  • Playing Games like Charades, Twister or a Video Dance Game like “Just Dance”
  • Go to a movie on Christmas Day and get away from all the food

Take a moment to make some homemade chai tea and write a note to a friend, make a call to someone you have not talked to in a while, or curl up and read a book…maybe even watch one of your favorite holiday movies. Take a moment to enjoy and acknowledge the good in your life. Now that is something to celebrate!

Enjoy! And remember to always Live Vibrant!


Slow Cooker Brisket with Onions—Simple and Scrumptious

Sunday, December 8, 2019

 A slow cooker turns a tough, less-expensive cut of beef into a flavorful, hearty meal that's ideal for Hanukkah and for all-types of entertaining. Because of its simplicity and scrumptious flavor, it is sure to become a family favorite. We served ours up on our festive Livliga pattern Celebrate!

I was fortunate to grow up with friends and family who are Jewish. Being included in Hanukkah celebrations was fun and the foods served were delicious. This past year my husband and I got hooked on the Amazon series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. At the beginning of the series, in just about every episode, Mrs. Maisel brings a prepared brisket to an audition or to the talent manager at a local comedy club. It brought back memories of those wonderful Hanukkah celebrations and the oh-so-delicious brisket I ate. It made me want to recreate the dish.

To complete the memory I also wanted to serve up latkes with the slow cooked brisket. I searched around, tweaked some recipes and the ultimate results for brisket and latkes is below. I did produce a healthier version of the original recipes but without giving up any of the deliciousness. The tastes lived up to the fond memory and all those gathered around the table enjoyed the dishes.

Slow Cooker Brisket with Onions

  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced 
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled 
  • 1 first cut of beef brisket (4 pounds), trimmed of excess fat 
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt 
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper 
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth 
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves, for serving 

  1. In a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine onion and garlic. Season brisket with salt and pepper and place, fat side up, in slow cooker. Add broth. Cover and cook on high until brisket is fork-tender, about 6 hours. Remove brisket and thinly slice against the grain. Serve with onion and some cooking liquid; sprinkle with parsley.
  2. If you make this ahead of time, cover and refrigerate brisket in cooking liquid, up to 1 week. Reheat in a 300-degree oven.

Nutritional Information
Serves: 12. Calories: Calories: 289; Total Fat 9.4g; Saturated Fat 3.6g; Cholesterol 135mg; Sodium 124mg; Total Carbohydrate 1.6g; Dietary Fiber 0.3g; Total Sugars 0.6g; Protein 46.4g.

Seasonal Roasted Root Vegetable Latkes 
(Originally from Cooking Light)

  • 3 cups roasted root vegetables (potato, parsnip, carrot, turnip, sweet potato), finely chopped (about 14 oz.)
  • 1/4 cup finely grated onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons instant potato flakes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon small fresh dill sprigs

  1. Place first 11 ingredients in a bowl, stirring to combine. 
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add 1/4 cup vegetable mixture to pan; flatten slightly. Repeat procedure 5 times to form 6 latkes; 
  3. Cook 2 minutes on each side or until golden. Place latkes on a plate; keep warm. 
  4. Repeat procedure with remaining 2 tablespoons oil and remaining vegetable mixture. 
  5. Combine sour cream and horseradish in a bowl. Top each latke with about 2 teaspoons sour cream mixture. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon dill sprigs.

Nutritional Information

Serves: 6. Serving Size: 2 latkes. Calories: 196; Fat 14g; Satfat 2g; Unsatfat 11; Protein 4g; Carbohydrates 15g; Fiber 2g; Sugars 4g; Sodium 247mg.


Bariatric Meal Plan: Holiday Edition with Chef Rose Archer

Friday, December 6, 2019

I adore the holidays. I love the lights, the time off work to spend with family and friends, cutting down our own Christmas tree and, of course, I love all the foods that we often don't eat any other time of the year.

What I don't love is how I often feel afterward. Both right after the meal and in January! 😒

People like to blame the amino acid, tryptophan, in turkey as the thing that makes them sleepy. But it's not. It's the volume of food and the high amount of fat and sugar in everything. (Curious to know more? Check out this article here)

So what would it feel like to know you get to decide how you felt after your festive holiday meal? I think pretty well!

And that starts with what you put on your Livliga plate.

Side Story 😜: When I was married in my 20's, I was at my first Thanksgiving with my in-laws. I adored them, and when one of them said we would be having "green salad" at our big dinner, I was surprised and excited. So when we sat down at the table and they passed me the "green salad" I was in for a bigger surprise. Green Salad in Texas meant green jello with fruit cocktail stirred in. Maybe even cool whip! 😂 I think they still tell that story of the health nut from Maui that used to be married to their son!

So back to our conversation! One of the recipes I could never embrace (besides "green salad”) was the sickly sweet canned yams with brown sugar and marshmallows. 🤢😆 So this recipe started with wanting to find something that would fill that spot.

Sweet and Spicy Butternut Squash--a great holiday edition

Deciding to add spiciness was intentional. Something our palates like is variety and something that is often lacking on holiday menus. Everything is either salty and rich or sweet and rich, which I delicious!

But because there is no variety, it's easy to overeat as our palates are wanting to feel satisfied. By adding different flavors, spices, and complexity, it makes us satisfied sooner, and we eat less food. You can vary the spice level in this recipe to your liking. You can use half a jalapeno or none at all. The Fresno chilis are very mild, so I would keep them in.

The sweetness is a little bit of a trick. There is no sweetener of any kind in the recipe. But by adding pumpkin pie spice, we trick our brains into tasting sweetness because it associates that flavor with sweet pie.

If this recipe doesn't make it onto your holiday menu, I hope you will try it sometime this winter while the squash is at its peak flavor and lowest cost.

You can find the full recipe here:


Monday Motivational Meal

Monday, December 2, 2019

Is cranberry sauce one of those seasonal foods you just have to have? Try this easy and healthier homemade version that can be enjoyed with so many meals! Delicious and healthy holiday meals are a must have...especially on Vivente dinnerware!

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