Every year I go back and forth trying to decide which is my favorite season…it truly is a toss up between spring and fall. I love spring with its fresh smells, new life and bright sunny skies; however, fall holds a special place with the crisp air and leaves, crackling fires, and snuggling under blankets with a warm mug of cocoa.
The temps here in South Carolina have finally become a bit chilly and, as a result, it brings the return of soup season and there is nothing than I enjoy more at then end of a long work day than a bowl of comforting, soul (and body) warming healthy soup!
Reasons why I love a good soup!
• Warms the soul (and stomach!)
• Budget friendly
• Delicious leftovers
• Chicken soup is known for it’s anti-inflammatory properties, which is great for flu season!
• Everything all in one pot…less mess for this busy mama to clean!
• Most can be thrown in the crockpot…another win for this working mama!
Now, although soup is one of the best comfort foods there is that doesn’t mean it has to have the stigma of sticking to the ribs and never leaving 😉 There are an abundance of healthy, yet absolutely delicious recipes that can keep you going strong on your journey to health and fitness.
Because I’m such a huge fan, I put together this collection of the “Best Healthy Soups And Stews Recipes” for you this fall! I’m sure you’ll find one (or two) that you’d love to try. All these fall soup and stew recipes will not only keep you warm and fill your tummies, but it will HEAL you, boost your immunity and surely satisfy you. Can’t wait to hear which ones you like the most.
21 Day Fix Soups
21 Day fix is a meal plan focused on eating from all food groups, but limiting your portion sizes with the help of portion control containers. How many portion containers you use will be determined by your weight bracket. Here’s an easy to follow guide you can save.
Having the portion containers makes life so easy by not having to count every calorie or macro. Simply place the food in the container to measure it out and tada you are done!
• White Bean and Kale Soup
• Zuppa Toscana
• Chicken Tortilla Soup
• Sausage, Vegetable and Barley Stew
• Beef Stew
• Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
• Pasta Faggioli
• Stuffed Pepper Soup
• Cheesy Potato Soup
• Broccoli and Cheese Soup
• Butternut Squash Soup
• Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili
• New England Clam Chowder
• Italian Wedding Soup
• Thai Curry Sweet Potato Soup
In a nutshell the Paleo way of eating is to consume whole foods that can be found in nature and eliminating all processed foods. This back to basics way of eating has many health benefits as it reduces or eliminates completely the amount of preservatives, trans fats, and sugars that we consume.
• Chicken Pot Pie Soup
• Cauliflower Chowder
• Cabbage Beef Soup
• Roasted Pumpkin and Ginger Soup
• White Chicken Chili
• Creamy Coconut Carrot Soup
• Sweet Potato and Bacon Soup
• Chicken Tortilla-less Soup
• Tomato Basil Bisque with Italian Meaballs
• Tumeric Chicken Stew
• Minestrone Soup
• Sausage, Kale, Sweet Potato Soup
The ketogenic (or keto) diet is a lo-carb, high fat diet that reduces your carbohydrate intake and replaces it with healthy fats. The goal with this way of eating is for your body to be in a state of ketosis, where your body become more efficient in burning of fat for energy. Because, you are upping your intake of fat it helps to keep you full even while losing weight.
• Beef Stroganoff Soup
• Creamy Spinach Artichoke Soup
• Broccoli Cheese Soup
• White Chicken Chili
• Roasted Cauliflower and Aged White Cheddar Soup
• Bacon Cheeseburger Soup
• Green Chile Enchilada Soup
• Jalepeno Bacon Cheddar Soup
• Chicken Fajita Soup
• Buffalo Chicken Bacon Soup
• Pumpkin Soup
• Chunky Chili
• French Onion Soup
• Lasagna Soup
• Crab Chowder
Trim Healthy Mama Soups
Trim Healthy Mama is a way of eating that many have had great success with. Basically you separate eating your fats and carbs. You will always have a good source of protein and veggies in your meal, but you will alternate between complimenting that meal with a fat/satisfying source (S) or a carb/fuel source (E). The reason for this is that it helps your body to more quickly burn through what you’re eating (turning your food into the energy your body uses to run), rather than having to work through processing both fats and carbs (which usually cannot all be burned through and are thus stored as excess fat). Generally you should try to wait 3 hours between eating a satisfying (fat focused meal) and an energizing (carb focused meal).
• Sweet Potato Bisque (E)
• Bacon Tomato Soup (S)
• Turkey Pot Pie Chowder (S)
• Spicy Bean Soup (E)
• Chicken Gnocchi Soup (S)
• Taco Soup (S)
• Cream of Broccoli (S)
• Chicken, Barley, Veggie Soup (E)
• Cream of Mushroom (S)
• Happy Harvest Soup (S)
• Vegetable Beef Soup (E)
• Thai Soup (S)
• Loaded Baked “Potato” Soup (S)
• Mom’s Chicken Soup (E)
• Our Favorite Soup (S)
I’m hoping you found this roundup of healthy soup recipes to be helpful and filled with delicious recipes that will keep your family warm, healthy and happy all fall long!
I’m seriously in LOVE planning and routines! However, as far as having a steady morning routine…I must be honest. I struggle!
Wanting to wake up and start the day has never been my forte. No matter how much I have wished to be a morning person. Coupled with the fact I have a 4 month old, any desire to get out of bed has gone out the window!
Despite feeling like my eyes need to be propped open with toothpicks in the morning, I have found that creating a morning routine helps to keep my mornings as a working mom flowing smoothly. And…even helps me to enjoy them a tad more.
I am falling in love with my morning routine more as the days go by, so I’d share it in a little more detail with you.
While I love
doing trying to do this routine every morning, this post isn’t about trying to get you to do it too. This post is just my way to share how I figured out what works best for me so that it might help you figure out the same.
I am working on following this routine almost every morning, even if I haven’t gotten as much sleep as my heart so desires. But, I’m am going to become morning person!
The point of this whole thing is figuring out what will work for you! So, I’ll just say now that if you’re like me and are not a morning person, try to set yourself up with a morning routine that will give you the best chance of succeeding. Make sure you only choose a few things and be proud of yourself when you do them. This is about you, not about comparing yourself to anyone else.
Focus on your strengths instead of trying to improve your weaknesses.
As you read through what I do, try to think about whether it fits your own personal needs and goals or not. Don’t do something just because I’m doing it! My morning routine gets me feeling productive and awake and ideally yours will do the same. There are a thousand ways to end up with that result. Do what works for you, it does not need to be the cookie cutter copy of mine.
To help you create your perfect morning routine, I’ve created a free easy to follow guide to share the exact process I used to create my morning routine. The guide includes worksheets to help you plan your morning routine as well as a morning routine tracker.
All right…let’s get to the good stuff!
1. WAKE UP
Ok, so I know that waking up is a pretty obvious part of this whole morning routine. But, I can attest to the fact that this first step is often the hardest.
Seriously, as a working mama it is a struggle of enormous proportions to even think about leaving my warm, cozy bed. The desire to hit snooze and get “just 5 more minutes” is many times overwhelming. I’ve definitely been there.
But it is possible to train yourself to get up in the morning. Here are some things that have helped me.
- Only setting 1 alarm and stick to it. I have come to the realization that I will get better sleep if I just set one alarm and wake up when it goes off. I only feel more groggy when I decide to hit that snooze button.
- Putting my alarm clock/phone on the other side of the room. I havne’t gotten to this point yet; however, it is an excellent option to propel yourself from the embrace of your favorite comforter.
- Don’t shock your body by all of the sudden waking up an hour earlier. I have found it easiest to get up earlier in the morning by gradually moving back my alarm in 15 minute increments. This will help you stick to your routine and not hit that snooze button.
2. OPEN THE BLINDS & MAKE THE BED
Unless my husband is still sleeping, I always make the bed and open the blinds as soon as I wake up. This is a great way to keep yourself from diving under the covers again. Who wants to have to make their bed twice?! If I don’t do it as soon as I get up, I will as soon as hubby gets out of bed. Not only does it help me to keep from crawling back in, but it gives me a sense of accomplishment to see my bed nice and tidy.
3. MORNING SKIN CARE ROUTINE
The next thing I do after jumping the hurdle of getting myself out of the bed taking care of my skin. Plus, a splash of cold water help to jolt the last bit of sleep out of my system. Not only does it help to wake up, but it helps your mindset to have a short moment of self-care.
4. DRINK SOME WATER
I love drinking water! I have come to find that my body truly does run at its optimum level when I have had enough water. However, as a busy working mom I sometimes forget to get in the recommended amount of 8 glasses. So, I make it a point to drink at least 25 oz before I even get to work.
Side, note…I also in this time frame will drink my pre-workout, because the next step is:
5. GETTING IN A WORKOUT
The final stage in waking myself up is doing some exercise. I have found that if I don’t get exercise done in the morning, it most likely won’t happen. I have found there are so many benefits to getting in a workout. For me these benefits are:
- Knocking out those last waves of sleep that try to reel me back in.
- Endorphins…exercising really does help my mood and mindset!
- Sets the stage for a great day…I’ve gotten off to a good start, why would I want to mess it up with bad eating habits?
I have always struggled with putting together a good workout routine, especially at home. BUT, then I discovered BeachBody. I know I’m seriously late to the party with this one but for some reason, even though I’ve heard AMAZING things about it for the past year, I was really resistant to checking it out. However, a few months ago when I was on Instagram I came across another mama on her fitness journey who was a Beachbody coach. Her transformation and posts got me so excited about how I could have the same results, so I finally checked it out and I’m so in love with the programs and support that is offered.
So far I have done Liift4: an awesome program that builds muscle and burns calories, with 40 min. workouts only 4 days a week. Perfect for this working mama! I can’t tell you how great this program is! Plus, with their “Netflix” of workout programs I have so many options to choose from!
There are several free workouts that you can follow too! Which I find is always awesome 😉
6. GET DRESSED AND DO MY MAKEUP
Again, this seems obvious but it’s so important.
I find that if I get dressed into a cute outfit and make sure my makeup is on point. Not full glam, just enough so that I look like my best self 😉 Feeling like I look good helps to change my vibe towards myself and the day.
I also try to always have my outfit picked out the night before so I don’t have to make any decisions the next morning (which can seriously fatigue you, as you probably know when you’ve tried on 30 outfits and still don’t know what you’re going to wear).
6. HAVE MY QUIET TIME
My favorite tool for my quiet time are the studies from She Reads Truth.
I don’t like to simply wander around in my Bible without a plan. It helps me to be more focused and learn more in my devotions when I have a guide/plan to follow for my Bible reading.
The devotionals from She Reads Truth are always timely and I have grown immensely since I found them. An additional benefit is being able to connect with like minded women in the comments section. Connecting over struggles or blessings is a great encouragement.
I also try to take a few moments during this time to create a list of things I am thankful for. Whether written or mental, spending some time considering the things I have to be grateful for, helps me to be in a better mindset and less likely to complain or be grumpy.
7. PLAN AND GOAL SET
As a working mom I have a lot on my plate. Taking a few short minutes in the morning to check and prioritize my to-do list goes a long way to accomplishing my daily goals. I’m also less likely to forget about any appointments, payments, or other important tasks I need to get done.
I highly recommend finding a paper or printable planner that will help you schedule out your day. I find that if I don’t have it written down, it isn’t going to happen! Plus…mom brain, it’s a real thing and some days I have it bad. Having a planner is crucial to me staying on top of everything.
The final part of my morning routine is breakfast . As a working mom I find it really hard to be able to make a good breakfast each morning. So, I almost always have the same thing…a smoothie. Or, if I have prepped a breakfast casserole at the beginning of the week I will have a piece of that. Find a good option that works for you and your schedule. Having breakfast planned out will make it less tempting to get drive through on your way to work.
HOW TO CREATE YOUR OWN ROUTINE
As I said at the beginning, this post isn’t about me trying to tell you that you should do my morning routine too. In fact, I don’t really recommend it. If you’re starting from scratch, it’s best to build up your routine. This routine didn’t just happen overnight. Little by little I added in a step until this complete routine came to be.
Focus on one or two things and do them every morning for a month. Then add another the next month, and another the next month. If you want to create a routine that you’ll actually keep doing, don’t try to do everything at once!
I think it’s super important to make a morning routine that involves you making as few decisions as possible while you’re doing it. After playing around with your routine for a few weeks, choose an order that you’ll do things and stick with it. I always do my routine in the order I listed it so I don’t have to decide what I’m going to do next. Thinking clearly in the morning is not on of my strong points!
Best of luck as you create your own life changing routine!
It’s taken me a bit longer than I had hoped, but I am finally finding a quiet moment where I can gather my thoughts and share with you Caleb’s birth story.
In all honesty I’m not really sure of the exact moment my labor began. I first began noticing contractions late Friday afternoon, May 25th. Throughout the night I would contract about every 10 minutes with contractions lasting about 30 seconds. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a false start as once morning came the contractions died down. From then until Monday it was the same story. Every night contractions 10 minutes apart, but then dissipating as morning came. It was exciting each night as I would think maybe it will be tonight; however, it was also slightly discouraging as they were just enough to make it uncomfortable and hard to sleep, but not enough to truly make any progress.
At four days overdue I was trying all the tricks: walking, bouncing on my exercise ball, eating pineapple and spicy food…you name it, I did it! I was so ready to meet our precious boy! Finally, on Monday my contractions maintained throughout the day. I tried not to get too excited, but as they were coming closer together and it hadn’t hit evening yet I was beginning to think that this would truly be the start to heading into active labor. I had a much needed distraction by attending my brother-in-laws birthday celebration and by the time we left the festivities they were coming every 7-8 minutes.
We headed to bed around 10 pm to try to get some sleep, but that just was not possible as it was now becoming difficult to concentrate and relax throughout each contraction. I was timing them, just waiting for them to get down to 5 minutes apart, which was the time where we could call our midwife to see if we could head to the hospital.They finally reached this around 1 am. We called the midwife and got the green light to head to the hospital. Jose told his mom and I texted my family letting them know that things were getting real and that Jose would take over any updating from there on out.
That ride to the hospital I felt every pothole, rattle, and bump! Once there it was smooth sailing through check in and we got settled into the triage room to wait for the midwife. She came to check and I was dilated to 3cm. Even though I was hoping for a bit more I was still so excited as it meant we were on the right track and getting closer to meeting our baby boy. We had to be placed in a temporary room, as the room with a tub (I wanted to be able to labor in the water) was still occupied. At this point I felt most comfortable standing, holding the bed for support, while swaying through each contraction. I felt this helped me to focus on the movement and relax as much as possible.
Tuesday morning we were able to get settled into our room and around 5:30 am they let me get into the tub. The hot water was such a relief and not only helped somewhat ease the pain, but also offered my mind some relaxation. I must mention that through this whole time Jose was my rock. He allowed me to squeeze his hand throughout each contraction and even though he tried to hide it I know there were moments in which tears slipped out to see me in such pain. I didn’t say anything, but just knowing he cared so much about me, our baby and what we were going through gave me strength.
From here on out it gets a bit fuzzy as to what happened and when…partly from pain and partly because of the lack of sleep (I don’t do well without sleep on a good day!). As far as I can remember around noon the midwife checked and said I was pretty much at 10cm and said I could push! This was so exciting and I thought it would be a short time until I was holding our baby. The only problem was that I didn’t really feel any urge to push. I “pushed” for a half hour and the midwife checked again and discovered Caleb wasn’t in the right position and even though I was dilated fully my cervix also had a lip on it that needed to go away. I was going to have to continue laboring. I tried many different positions, used the shower, ended up back in the tub…just about anything to help relieve the pain and try to get him to begin moving down. Finally, around 6pm I was so exhausted I looked at Jose and asked him if he was okay if I got an epidural. We were hoping to do everything completely natural, but at this point I just needed some rest.
The nurse ordered the epidural and when the midwife came in she was glad I had made that decision because my contractions had slowed down and they were going to have to start me on pitocin to speed them up and move Caleb down the birth canal. She said I needed to be able to get some rest so that when the time did come to push I would have strength left. The anesthesiologist came in and I was honestly so focused on remaining calm and still during my contractions that I hardly noticed when he put in the epidural. Almost immediately I felt relief and began crying in happiness! The nurses got me settled on my side to help get Caleb in position and my in-laws got to come in the room and we all talked and laughed. Even though I hadn’t planned on it, the epidural was such a blessing!
The pitocin strengthened my contractions, but I was able to get the rest I needed and at 9 they told me I could begin pushing. The family left and at this point I could begin to feel tightness of the contractions and knew when I needed to push. I thought we were so close, but it proved to be a bit more tedious than I had imagined. Looking back I feel so bad for my husband and sister-in-law who were there with me. I kept asking if there was any progress and they had to keep telling me not quite yet. Finally a few hours later they were able to tell me they could see him and once I was able to reach and feel the top of his head that gave me the extra measure of strength I needed continue and at 12:05 am on Wednesday, May 30th, Caleb Jose Morales made his entrance into this world showcasing his excellent pair of lungs! They quickly wiped him off and placed him on my chest while the midwife delivered the placenta and stitched up a small tear. I couldn’t believe he was here! I don’t know what I was thinking…hormones were crazy and I was exhausted, but apparently I asked for Jose to sing and make a video for Youtube, and then I began to sing to Caleb. Craziness aside, it was perfect…Caleb was perfect and even had a thick head of hair! The nurses handed Caleb to Jose and there was nothing sweeter than seeing his daddy holding him for the first time. Once we both had time to have skin to skin they took his measurements. He weighed in at 8lbs 4 oz and was 21.5 in. long.
We made our way to the recovery room and were thankful to spend the rest of the night and the next morning just the three of us. We were blessed with sweet visits from friends and family later that day. Recovery was relatively easy and we are loving this new journey of parenthood. I am so thankful for Jose’s support throughout pregnancy, labor, and now parenting. We are both thankful for our family and friends who prayed, supported and encouraged us throughout the entire time. God is so good!