Lone Star Bride – My New Historical

I have the official title to my next release with Love Inspired Historical – Yes I said historical. 1838 Texas. Jackson McCreed wanted a new start and Sofia De Zavala wanted adventure. I have cattle drives and pirates. Can’t wait to tell you more – but for now enjoy some of my inspiration.

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Going Indie?

A while back I was asked to join a group of multi-published authors to put together six never before published novellas with a Christmas theme. This was my first walk down a truly indie path and couldn’t ask to do it with a better group of women. I also LOVE Christmas stories. Well, anything Christmas.

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I’ve have some ask me what it means to be indie. I write for a publishing house in New York, Harlequin’s Love Inspired line. I love working with my editors there. They put the book together and send it out into the world. I get an advance and a royalties beyond that. That is considered a traditional contract.

With an indie it is like opening my own small business.  I alone decide on the product I’m going to produce and hire the right people such as editor, cover designer. I promote and get the word out. Working with experienced authors has been great and I’m so proud of the set of book we are offering

 

This past week the Mistletoe Memories bundle released and I couldn’t be more excited to say  it is already getting great feedback. The best part: right now you can snag this bundle for only 99 cents. Being indie we get to set the price and you can’t get a better deal.memores

My story is Forever Christmas Kiss–Jolene Navarro: Isabella Cortez is a small town librarian with a large family and has been in one too many weddings. This Christmas might be the worst. Not only is she still single, but she is standing in her twin brother’s second wedding. His best man is the opposite of everything she wants in a husband–an artist, and the biggest Peter Pan she has ever met. Xavier Sanchez grew up in foster care, and has no family or traditions. He lives in the moment, which gets him in trouble. Can the rock steady librarian help give him roots? Can he teach her to take a risk and fly?

Enjoy!

 

The Soldier's Surprise Family by Jolene Navarro. Love Inspired. In stores August 23 2016

The Cover for the Next Book & More Good News!

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.

I signed a contract for two more books from Clear Water, Texas. The should hit bookshelves 2017
I signed a contract for two more books from Clear Water, Texas. The should hit bookshelves 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?

The Soldier's Surprise Family by Jolene Navarro. Love Inspired. In stores August 23 2016
The Soldier’s Surprise Family by Jolene Navarro. Love Inspired. In stores August 23 2016

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:

Unexpected Daddy

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.

Here is the Amazon link:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/037381934X

The Barns & Noble link: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-soldiers-surprise-family-jolene-navarro/1123516286?ean=9780373719792

 

 

 

 

The Nuts & Bolts of Healthy Eating

N
N is for Nuts

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.

nuts 1
Another reason to love My H.E.B – I can buy in bulk and keep it local. They have so many choices.

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.

nuts 3
I like a touch of chocolate or dried fruit thrown in the mix.

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

nuts and coco granola chia clusters
Some cashews mixes with coco/chia granola.

 

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 :

http://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-and-nutrition/0406/why-you-should-go-nuts-for-nuts.aspx#03

 

 

 

HEB Blendable with Strawberries, Blueberries, Banana, raspberries. I added juice of half lemon, hemp and handful of spinach, & a cup of unsweetened almond milk.

My H.E.B…Love

MToday 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.

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Three of the Blendables from My HEB. Easy and fast smoothies

Here is one of My favorites.

HEB Blendable with Strawberries, Blueberries, Banana, raspberries. I added juice of half lemon, hemp and handful of spinach, & a cup of unsweetened almond milk.
Three of the Blendables from My HEB. Easy and fast smoothies
  • 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?

 

 

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Where Trouble Melt Like Lemon Drops

LLemons 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. lemons-1
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.
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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.
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Do you add lemon to your fish and chicken or maybe your water?  What is your favorite healthy L food?

 

 

 

Kiwi! Antioxidant protection, potassium, fiber, magnesium and zinc and lots of vitamin C

Kale & Kiwi sitting in a tree…

K in healthy food gives us Kale and Kiwi
K in healthy food gives us Kale and Kiwi

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.

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K in healthy food gives us Kale and Kiwi

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.

 

Kale is what's happening in healthy foods
Kale is what’s happening in healthy foods

Kiwi:

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.

Kiwi! Antioxidant protection, potassium, fiber, magnesium and zinc and lots of vitamin C
Kiwi! Antioxidant protection, potassium, fiber, magnesium and zinc and lots of vitamin C

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

kiwi-smoothie

 

 

 

 

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?

jalapeno

Hopping Jalapeno – They are good for you.

Healthy foods for J is Jalapeno
Healthy foods for J is Jalapeno

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.🙂

Jalapeno Peppers are mild on the heat level.
Healthy foods for J is Jalapeno

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.

Split open de-seed and scrape the ribs out. Stuff with cream cheese and shrimp then wrap in bacon.
Split open de-seed and scrape the ribs out. Stuff with cream cheese and shrimp then wrap in bacon.

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

Blackberries, jalapeno and Greek yogurt
Healthy foods for J is Jalapeno
  • 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?

Ice Ice Baby, Can Ice Help You Lose Weight?

I for Ice. Yes it is a healthy food.
I for Ice. Yes it is a healthy food.

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.

 

 

 

Ice water can speed up your metabolism and help you burn fat. (a little bit anyway)
Ice water can speed up your metabolism and help you burn fat. (a little bit anyway)

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.

For my smoothie: Hemp, organic banana, organic kale, organic red and black grapes and organic frozen blueberries with unsweetened almond milk.

Health Benefits of Hemp

HFirst 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.

Hemp - an complete protien source and no, it can't make you high.

Hemp – an complete protien source and no, it can’t make you high.

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:

For my smoothie: Hemp, organic banana, organic kale, organic red and black grapes and organic frozen blueberries with unsweetened almond milk.

For my smoothie: Hemp, organic banana, organic kale, organic red and black grapes and organic frozen blueberries with unsweetened almond milk.
Smoothie with black & red grapes, kale, banana and unsweetened almond milk.

H in the A to Z Blogging Challenge

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