2009 I decided to stop dreaming about being a published author and actually pursue a career as a romance novelist. In 2013 my first completed story, Lone Star Holiday, hit the shelves with Harlequin’s Love Inspired Line. (faith based fiction)
Today I’m excited to announce that two more stories of Clear Water, Texas will be in stores in 2017.
Book five in the series is single dad, Adrian De La Cruz. He has been helping out in the background throughout all the books and now he gets his own happy ending with the oldest Bergmann sister, Nikki. Book six is another Bergmann sister, Danica. Boy, is she in for a surprise.
But before you get to meet them, I hope you fall in love with book four. It will be in stores Aug 23. It is already available for preorders and today I get to reveal the cover!!!!! (Shh… it hasn’t been made public so you get to see it first)
I’m proud to introduce you to Garrett Kincaid, Anjelica Ortega-Garza and Garrett’s son Rio. They are sitting on the porch of Anjelica’s old family farmhouse. Don’t you want to join them and watch the sunset over the hill country of Texas?
Garrett and Anjelica’s story is a touching tale about letting go of the past and moving boldly into your future.
Here is the backcover blurb:
Texas state trooper Garrett Kincaid is a lone wolf—until he becomes an instant father of two young children. The former solider never knew he had a son…or that his little boy has a baby sister with nowhere to go. His landlady, lovely widow Anjelica Ortega-Garza, offers to help, and suddenly Garrett’s life is all about nap schedules and baby bottles and trying to make his traumatized son smile. Falling for Anjelica isn’t part of the plan. Yet even Garrett can’t deny that love has begun building a family of four right around him.
I can’t wait until they arrive in the real world. To preorder you can use the links below. The other three are also available online.
Nasty rumors are floating around about the fat in nuts. Instead of being afraid of the little nuts you should embrace them for the nutritious, healthy snack they provide. Almonds, cashews, walnuts, or pistachios, any whole nut makes a healthy high-protein snack. And these nuts are high in fiber.
You mix protein with fiber and you will fill full longer. Even though they are loaded with the good fats, it’s still important to measure out portions.
A hand full can lower cholesterol, make for a healthy heart, help weight control and even lower cancer risk and that is just the tip of the iceberg for these tiny little nuts.
Unfortunately, too few Americans eat nuts regularly: They account for less than eight percent of daily antioxidant intake. Let me remind you that just a small handful can add protein, fiber, good fats and important vitamins and minerals to you diet.
Here are my favorites.
Pistachios: They slow down your eating
Pistachios are my travel companions. This nut has the fewest calories, less than four calories each. If you eat them shelled, then you are working for your food and you’ll eat less but it takes longer. I love eating them in traffic on my long trip home.
Pistachios are rich in the antioxidant gamma-tocopherol, a form of cancer-fighting vitamin E. Pistachios are also packed with potassium, which we need for healthy nervous system and muscles. Vitamin B6, is another gift that comes in this tiny package. It helps lift your mood and build up your immune system.
About 50 nuts make up a serving.
Almonds: They keep things moving.
Of all the nuts, almonds have the most fiber. If nothing else I hope you have learned how important fiber and a healthy digestive system is to your overall health.
They are also rich in vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant. Some research shows that almonds are good for someone trying to keep their blood sugar levels healthy. In one study: Those who ate about 20 percent of their calories from almonds for four months saw their bad LDL cholesterol drop and their insulin resistance decrease compared to a control group who didn’t eat them. They may also help if you are on a healthy weight loss journey. In one International Journal of Obesity study, when two groups of obese adults followed low-calorie diets for six months, those who included almonds in their weight loss plans lost more weight than those who ate more complex carbohydrates. Almonds may even keep your gut healthy: A test-tube study (funded by the Almond Board of California) found that Almonds brought more good bacteria to the body’s immune system.
Unsweetened almond milk and unsweetened Almond/coconut milk are two of the milks I use in my smoothies.
About 23 nuts make a serving.
Pecans: The Heart of Texas. This is a native and our state tree.
Pecans are famous for those tasty pies. But what they should be know for is the health benefits to your heart. They may help prevent plaque formation in your arteries. In fact, a Journal of Nutrition study (funded partly by the National Pecan Shellers Association) found that consuming pecans can help lower LDL cholesterol levels by as much as 33 percent. Pecans may also buffer your brain health, according to an animal study from the University of Massachusetts Lowell. The vitamin E found in the nuts could delay progression of degenerative neurological diseases like amyotropic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Serving size is only about 18 halves.
Cashews: Good for your brain
Cashews deliver the magnesium. Which may help improve memory and protect against age-related memory loss, according to a study in the journal Neuron. They also are heavy in iron and zinc. Our body uses iron to carry oxygen to our cells, and zinc helps with immune health and healthy vision. Unsweetened cashew milk is the other liquid I like using in my smoothies. It has less calories than skim milk (25 compared to 80) but has more calcium (45% compared to 30%). It is also creamier.
About 1/4 cup is a serving.
Walnuts: A happy nut.
A handful of walnuts may level out any mood swings you might be having because of hormones. Manganese has been given credit for happy mental health and nerve health. It also has the most antioxidants of all nuts. This is the stuff that helps protect your body from the cellular damage that can lead to heart disease, cancer, and premature aging. If you would rather avoid fish, walnuts have the highest counts in omega-3 fatty acids. They fight inflammation. I like to drop a small hand full to a smoothie every now and then.
A serving is 14 walnut halves.
A couple of my favorite smoothies:
(Right) Walnuts, fresh blackberries, kale, frozen blueberries and a cup of unsweetened cashew milk. (left) Unsalted almonds, frozen blueberries & strawberries, fresh bananas & spinach along with unsweetened almond milk. I throw them in my Ninja for about 40 seconds and enjoy!
There are more nuts to explore and this is a good site to find information :
Today is M and I’m going to tell you about a great MEAL deal at My H.E.B. Okay so I might be stretching the M part a little much. but I wanted to tell you about these meals I found at My local H.E.B. In the Texas Hill Country there is one grocery store. It started in Kerrville and grew from there, with a huge heart for non-profit work and giving back. They also pride themselves in local and healthy choices. I buy my organic bulk seeds and grains at My H.E.B.
Once I started making so many smoothies I needed to keep fruit in the freezer. I wasn’t looking for pre-made mixes but found the HEB Blendables. The best part? They were $1.50…Yes, that’s right. One dollar and fifty cents. That is cheaper than a happy meal. You could just add water and call it good, but I like to add my own little touch. It is still the cheapest meal you could get for the nutritional value.
Here is one of My favorites.
The Powerhouse Smoothie
Handful of fresh spinach
3 tbs hemp
half juice of a lemon
1 cup unsweetened almond/coconut milk
Plus there are the Spurs commercials.
Do you have a fast go to for an easy morning meal?
Lemons are happy fruits. I love just having them around the kitchen. They bring sunshine indoors. Lemons are to bring joy and happiness. Even Judy Garland as Dorthy, sings about troubles melting like lemon drops in Somewhere Over the Rainbow.
Lemons bring happiness. The home remedies that use lemons are endless. They are one amazing little fruit. I’m going to freeze some lemon juice to add to my ice cold water.
The health benefits of lemons are due to its many nourishing elements like vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin A, vitamin E, folate, niacin thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, copper, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus and protein. Lemon is a fruit that contains flavonoids, which are composites that contain antioxidant and cancer fighting properties. It helps to prevent diabetes, constipation, high blood pressure, fever, indigestion and many other problems, as well as improving the skin, hair, and teeth. Wow, I need to start putting lemon in my water everyday.
Studies conducted at the American Urological Association highlight the fact that lemonade or lemon juice can eliminate the occurrence of kidney stones by forming urinary citrate, which prevents the formation of crystals.
Next time you make a smoothie, cut a lemon in half and squeeze some juice to perk it up.
Do you add lemon to your fish and chicken or maybe your water? What is your favorite healthy L food?
No surprise that Kale and Kiwi are on the list of healthy foods. Kale is a dark green that packs more iron in a serving than beef (calorie for calorie). It’s rich in carotenoids lutein & zeaxanthin.
Okay, and that means???
Kale delivers these to the retinas and they absorb the sun’s damaging rays. The nutrients in kale have been shown to help bone health, aid in natural (non-stressful) detoxification and it may lower the risk of cancer.
It can get a little tough and bitter, so I take the stems off and with a little almond milk with smoothies or oil for salads you can “massage” the leaves to soften them. I also like the baby kale. Adding a fruit such as strawberries or kiwi helps too.
The fuzzy skin of a kiwi can be eaten the same way the fuzzy skin of a peach can be eaten. It’s great when mixed with other fruits such as strawberries, pineapple and banana.
It is actually a giant berry and has more vitamin C than an orange. It’s loaded down with fiber, vitamin E, polyphenolis, potassium, magnesium & zinc. And it is my nephew, Kennan Ward’s favorite fruit. (Kennan is another great thing that starts with K).
Kale, Kiwi & Banana Smoothie
2 kiwi, peeled and cut into small chunks
1 cup of kale
1 banana, peeled and chopped
quarter of avocado (love the color)
handful of sliced almonds
Half a lemon squeezed into mixture
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup vanilla nonfat Greek yogurt
And there you have K – as you can tell I substituted spinach for kale (I didn’t know I was out of kale). I think this might be one of my favorite smoothies. What about you? Do you have a favorite kale or kiwi recipe or maybe another food in the K family?
These mild peppers come with only 4 calories and just 0.91 gram of carbohydrates in a serving. If you looking for low-carb you can’t get any better. They also have less than a gram each of protein and fat.
What they do have is a rich amount of vitamin C and A. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that works to project cells from damage. Vitamin A is known for helping keep skin and eyes healthy.
Capsaicin is the stuff that makes your eyes water if you get too much. It is also a potent anti-inflammatory agent.
If you want the milder peppers avoid the older one with the white wrinkles. The older a pepper gets the hotter it gets. Just like us girls.
At first I was just going to give you a pepper popper recipe, but I thought there has to be a way to add them to my smoothie list. I have to confess when it comes to heat I’m a baby.
But with yogurt, vanilla and a bunch of blackberries a touch of zap is fun and refreshing. If you have a problems with the all the seeds in blackberry switch them out with cherries.
Blackberry & Jalapeno Smoothie
1 cup of frozen blackberries (or cherries)
1 medium banana
1/2 jalapeno (scrape out insides and chop)
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 pure vanilla extract
1 Vegan Smart Vanilla nutritional shake
I couldn’t think of any other J healthy foods. Can you and do you love jalapeno peppers or avoid them?
I LOVE ice. Crushed ice is the best. When I’m sick or sad I want ice. Ice helps me wake up in the morning. I eat ice the way some people need coffee. At work I start my day getting a large cup of ice.
If I start feeling sluggish I refill my mug of ice.
My favorite ice is from Sonic. I’m thinking many other people like it too because they started bagging it for sell. If I have good ice I will drink twice a much water.
So when I saw that drinking cold ice water could help with fat loss – well, I printed that baby up and put it in my healthy food file.
The science behind this claim? When the body is exposed to cold tempertures it will go into over drive to keep the core temputure at a nice warm 98.6 degrees. Metabolism will rev up it’s internal heater to get your body back to toasty happy tempture.
For every 16 ounce of ice water you can burn and extra 17 to 18 calories. It doesn’t sound like much, but for not getting on the bike it is extra calories you wouldn’t have burned otherwise. So yes, drinking ice waters burns more calories than are in the water & ice (hint: there are no calories in water or ice which iswater in solid form. More ice is more water). So if you are changing your diet and moving more, drinking ice water can give you a little edge. I love it when something I crave has good benifits.
Do you love ice, crushed ice? I couldn’t think of any other I foods once I saw ice was good for you.
First of all you can not get high from hemp. Even though hemp and marijuana are both made from the Cannabis plant, hemp seeds contains less than a trace of THC which is the psychoactive substance in marijuana.
What hemp does have is a complete source of protein, which means that they provide all the essential amino acids. Complete protein sources are very rare in the plant kingdom. Quinoa is the only other example of a complete, plant-based protein I can think of. Hemp seeds are also rich in healthy fats. They have a 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 along with good amounts of vitamin E, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc.
Whole hemp seeds are high in fiber, both soluble and insoluble. This is great stuff for your digestive health. I made the mistake of buying shelled hemp seeds. They have less than 1g of fiber, but all the other good stuff.
Soluble fiber forms a gel-like substance in the gut. It is a valuable source of nutrients for the beneficial digestive bacteria, and may also reduce spikes in blood sugar and regulate cholesterol levels.
Insoluble fiber adds bulk to fecal matter and may help food and waste pass through the gut. Consuming insoluble fiber has also been linked with a reduced risk of diabetes.
This is great stuff for your digestive health. I made the mistake of buying shelled hemp seeds. They have less than 1g of fiber.
This week I will be adding three tbs of hemp seeds to one of my smoothies every day.
This is one I had today:
Three tbs of hemp
one cup kale
one cup red & black grapes
one cup frozen blueberries
one cup unsweetened almond milk
I threw it all in my Ninja for about 40 seconds. I like the bites of graped you can see in the smoothie.
I had a hard time finding healthy foods that start with H. Did I miss one? Do you know of any healthy H foods
Let’s all pretend it is still April 8 and we can talk about healthy foods that start with the letter G. Yes, in today’s A to Z Blogging Challenge it is all about the G. In my research for the perfect G food, I came across a receipe that had a sauce of ginger and grapes over garlic chicken. I added fennel and Greek yogurt and claimed it as my own. I tested it on my teenage sons. They ate it and came back for more! They said they liked the “sweet” flavor of the chichen.
First let’s look at Garlic. If my parents were cooking on the stove or over the fire pit, garlic was on the menu. We grew our own garlic. (well, they grew garlic and I ate it) They used it like other people used salt. You should too.
Garlic has some serious health benifts. It is credited with bolster immuity and keeping joints healthy. It is well documented that garlic is cardioprotective along with being an
Now ginger is new to me. I’ve always thought it was interesting, but had no idea what to do with the twisted root. A little will go a long way and you can store it in the freezer. Use it with fish, chicken, salad dressing. Anywhere you want to put a little snap to the flavor of your dish. It can be tasty in a smoothie also.
I love my Triple Zero Greek Yogurt in my smoothies so I thought it might make a good base for the chicken to keep it moist. That is when I discovered that my large 32 oz of yogurt was empty! This is very telling people. In the past when I would buy yogurt we never ate the whole thing – it would end up going bad. So to find it all gone, well that is evidence to our life style change. I ran to my H.E.B and found they were out also. So after ten minutes of reading and comparing lables I went with Stonyfield Organic Nonfat Greek Yogurt. Why did I spend so much time reading the lables?
Yogurt has been marketed as a health food and in it’s basic for it is. Conventional yogurt is rich in protein, calcium & potassium. The Greek varieties knocks it out of the park with double protein but half the sodum and carbohydrates of regular yogurt.
Now a word about this HEALTHY food. It is healthy as long as compnies are not adding to the natural yogurt. Look at the sugar amount on the lable if it is 10g or higher put it back on the shelf. Yogurt might naturally have up to 9g of sugar, if it has more than that the healthy food has been contaminated. You have to read the lable.
The good thing about raw fruit? You don’t have to worry about the added ingrdeents (well other than pestacides). The main stay of this sauce was organic seedless grapes (green, red and black)
Grapes are a healthy choice for people who are looking to cut calories or reduce fat. Each 1-cup serving contains only 62 calories and less than 1 gram of fat. A cup of grapes also provides you with some protein, fiber, and has only 15.78 grams of carbohydrate.
Dark grapes have anthocyanins. It’s what gives them their color; the darker the fruit, the higher the anthocyanin content. A natural antioxidant, anthocyanins protect your body from damage from free radicals produced as your body breaks down food, reducing the risk of cell damage and death and potentially slowing down the aging process. A study published in the 2010 “Annual Review of Food Science and Technology” found that anthocyanins may help reduce inflammation and cancer activity, alleviate diabetes and control obesity. Yes, I will be adding more grapes to my diet.
Antioxidents: We hear that word a great deal. A study published in “BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine” in July 2013 said that grapes may prevent oxidative damage because of the antioxidants and antiglycation that are found in the little fruits. Glycation is a protein cross-linking process that leads to harmful consequences, which may contribute to the development of many age-related diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, autoimmune diseases, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Man, grapes are sounding better and better.
So I made this Glazed Chichen with Grapes, Ginger, Garlic & Fennel
6 thinly sliced skinless, boneless chicken breast
1 TBS olive oil
Freshly ground Himalayan Pink Salt & Black Pepper
6 cloves garlic, sliced
1/5 cup of nonfat organic Greek yogurt (no sugar added)
3 cups of seedless grapes ( 1 c. red, 1 c. green 1 c. black)
TBS fresh Fennel
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 TBS honey
1 1/2 bold spicy mustard
Make sauce: The yogurt, grapes, ginger, fennel go into the blender. It will be a beautuful pink color. Whisk in honey and mustard.
.Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Run chicken with the oil, salt, pepper, and garlic. Place in the roasting dish with 1/2 cup of the sauce. Marinate for ten minutes.
Heat oil in saute pan ( I actully used cocunut oil here) over medium heat. Brown the chicken on both sides. Return the cooked chicken back to the pan (I use a stone roaster from Pampered Chef)
Cook for fifteen mintes, uncovered, until chicken is cooked and tender.
In a clean saute pan heat remaining sauce over low heat until thickened. Drizzle over cooked chicken and serve. (confession – It was getting late so I just poured the remaining sauce over the chicken for the last 10 minutes in the oven.) The drizzling probably looks better.
So I’m looking for more ginger recipes. Do you have one? What about G…what’s your favorite healthy food that starts with G?
If I hurry this post will be for April 7th, the day of F in the A to Z Blogging Challenge. For our healthy foods there is one that brings to mind sweet childhood memories and another that is all new to me.
When my parents moved us back to the Texas Hill Country the twenty-seven acre property they bought, included a fig and peach tree. I remember people coming to fill bags of fresh fruit. My mom would make preserves, but they still produced so much fruit she was always giving it away. Along with their quarter acre garden and chickens we always had fresh food. Any heath issues I have now I can not blame on my childhood. Memories like these make me wish I could thank my parents for so many things I took for granted, but I digress.
Figs: These little fruits are high in vitamin A, K & C along with a gram of fiber in one fig. Just a few can give you about 20% of the RDA. For their size, figs are one of the most nutritious fruits you can eat. Not only are figs high in fiber, but they deliver potassium and magnesium also. Figs and fig leaves a have been shown to help prevent chronic diseases and help in weight management. Be careful if you are on a low sugar or low carb diet. To much of a good thing can be bad for you. You might need to limit their intake or you will lose the health benefits of eating figs. (Fig Newtons do not count as a health food. just FYI).
Oh, flaxseed. How did I not know about you? So so tiny yet so full of good stuff. The flaxseed has one of the largest nutrient payoff for it’s size. Did you know they have over 100 times more phytonutrients than oats, wheat bran, or buckwheat? What phytonutrients? ( I had to look it up).By Laura Dolson Low Carb Diets Expert, says, “Phytonutrients, also known as phytochemicals, are compounds found in plants (apart from vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients) that have a beneficial effect the body. There are over 30,000 of them, yet only 100 have been analyzed and tested. Phytonutrients are what defend and protect our trillions of cells from disease. They have similar effects as an antioxidant, boosting the immune system, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, and cellular repair. Along with flaxseed, highly colored vegetables and fruits tend to be highest in these chemicals, but tea, chocolate, nuts, and olive oil are also great sources of phytochemicals as well.”
So throw some in your smoothie! Make sure you blades chop them so they don’t wash straight through you. You can also grind them right before you eat them to make sure all the nutrients are easily available to your system.
While it’s not technically a grain, it hangs out well with them in the vitamin and mineral data, while the amount of fiber, antioxidants, and Omega-3 fatty acids in flax well, doesn’t compare.
To make it even better, flax seed is very low in carbohydrates, making it ideal for people who limit their intake of starches and sugars. All of this makes it a great food for weight loss and maintenance.
But wait there is more! Flax Seed is Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids.
I add a couple of tablespoon to almost all of my smoothies. Here is one I tried with figs! It was delicious, maybe even one of my favorites.
1.5 cops of fresh Spinach
1 cup of frozen blueberries
2 tablespoons Triple Zero Greek Yogurt
one cup of unsweetened almond milk
Okay, so bring on the F foods I forgot and if you have a favorite flaxseed or fig smoothie share please!