29 March 2013


Easter baskets

Sometimes I think I complicate things.

   It could be so easy.  

I could go to the store and pay for a pre-prepared Easter basket.  

Right?  Most people do that.  


1.  We are Christians and therefore have more reasons to celebrate Easter than a bunny and chocolate.
2. We try not to eat anything with artificial colors or ingredients.
3. We try to limit sugar.
4. We do our very best to eat only organic

So... no peeps for us.

This makes things a little harder.
And a little more fun.

This is what the boys are getting this year for Easter.

Jack (4yo)
This is a veggie tales DVD all about the Easter bunny vs Jesus rising.
Veggie tales rock btw. 

Calvin (6yo)
Calvin is just learning how to read which make the Book perfect and he LOVES mazes.

Oscar (8yo)
Oscar is reading way above his grade level right now so I got him this awesome Heroes / Villains book (Bible Heroes and Villains)... along w/ a crossword puzzle book which I got because he loves to research stuff and each question list the verse in the Bible where the answer can be found.... it's like a clue!

And each basket has a few fake eggs too... but with quarters inside rather than junk.

And because I'm not a total spoil sport... some organic dark chocolate.  My kids are chocolate snobs anyway and would turn their noses up at those hollow milk chocolate bunnies.... so this is a win win.

Happy Easter!
What are you doing this year for Easter baskets?

06 February 2013

Calvin's Chocolate Layer Cake

Calvin turned 6 last week.  

He requested a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.  Of course.

MMMM chocolate cake.  

If you've been following me you know I've lost 35 lbs and am now back to my pre-baby size.  I've become a Health Coach with Take Shape for Life and am loving all my new energy and enjoying a healthy lifestyle.  

I believe that part of having a healthy lifestyle and maintaining a healthy weight is to live a little occasionally.   

If you never allow yourself any indulgences you will find it difficult to maintain it for life.  Which I plan to.  So I allow myself a glass of wine now and then and a piece of cake on birthdays. (if you are in a weight LOSS phase... you should do your best to hold off on indulgences until the maintenance phase)

In the past I'd make a HUGE 9" double (sometimes quad) layer cake.  It would take my family a week to get through it all. 

So here is my NEW way to indulge but keep myself on track.  

Make the cake smaller!  

I'll pause for you to grasp my genius.

Did you know a standard 9" double layer cake is supposed to serve 15-20 people? 

A 6" double layer cake serves 6-8 people.  And you can use ANY cake recipe... just half it.

So now you can indulge in home made birthday cake.  Once.  And then get back on track with out the other half of the cake staring at you each time you open the refrigerator door.

(btw:  I ordered really good 6" cake pans w/ high sides and removable bottoms on amazon.com)

Chocolate Cake

6 T unsweetened cocoa powder (the best you can afford) + extra for pans
6 T super hot water
1 1/2 C flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
3/4 t salt
1 1/2 stick unsalted butter (12 T) + extra for pans
1 C + 2 T sugar
2 large eggs, room temp
1 T vanilla extract
1/2 C sour cream, room temp

Preheat oven to 350.  Butter & coat w/ cocoa powder 2 - 6" round cake pans. 

Mix together in small bowl cocoa powder & hot water until smooth. Set aside.

Mix together flour, soda, baking powder & salt in medium bowl.  Set aside. (I'm a big believer in getting everything lined up first)

Melt butter and sugar in saucepan over low heat. Stirring the whole time.  Remove from heat, beat in electric mixer (with whisk attachment) for 5 minutes at medium.

Add eggs, mix.  Add cocoa / water mixture, mix.  Add vanilla, mix.  Add 1/2 of flour mixture, mix.  Add sour cream, mix.  Add remainder of flour mixture, mix.

Divide between the two pans.  Tap gently.  

Bake for 40m.  Cool in pans for 10m, remove and cool completely on wire rack.  

Wrap in plastic wrap and chill over night if possible before frosting.

Chocolate Ganache Frosting

1/2 lb bittersweet chocolate
1 C +3T heavy cream
2 T corn syrup

Put chocolate in large heat-proof bowl.

Bring cream and corn syrup to simmer over medium heat.  

Pour over chocolate.  Let sit for 5 minutes.  Stir with spatula until smooth.  

Refrigerate until cool.  Using beater attachment of electric mixer... mix until light an fluffy.  This only take a few minutes.

You will use this frosting immediately.


Get a cake plate.  Put a tiny blop of frosting in the middle (to hold the cake in place).

Now.  Cut the 2 cake layers in half horizontally to make 4 cake layers.  If you do this right out of the refrigerator it should be easy.  Then simply layer, cake, frosting, cake, frosting, etc.  Only use enough frosting between layers to very thinly cover the cake.

Then do your crumb coat (super thin layer of frosting to seal in the crumbs)

And the final frosting.  This is frosted very thinly btw.  Use an offset spatula to smooth.  For a super smooth surface dip the spatula in hot water... shake off and then smooth.

Put the rest of the frosting in a plastic bag w/ a pastry tip in one corner (you'll have to cut off a small corner for the pastry tip to go through)

Do whatever detail you want.

Now enjoy your single slice of cake!  It's a special occasion after all.  And the best part is you won't have tons of left overs to call to you tomorrow when you get back on your weight loss track!


Read my Getting Healthy story.
If you are interested in learning more about getting and staying healthy please contact me!

Jennifer Z. Lewis
 Certified Health Coach
Web site: teamlewis.tsfl.com

02 February 2013

Baked Eggs

This post is about a recipe I created for a brunch I was hosting.

I wanted a fancy dish worthy of a "BRUNCH"... if you know what I mean.

The scones and lemon curd kind of brunch.   

Now everyone coming to my "BRUNCH" wasn't doing Take Shape for Life so I also made scones, fruit salad, etc.  But for those of us working hard to burn off our extra fat....I came up with this.

Baked Eggs

2 eggs
1/2 c diced ham
1 T 1/2 & 1/2
1T freshly grated Parmasan *
Salt & Pepper

*Let's have a quick chat about ingredients   I am a big believer in buying the REAL thing.  
Don't skimp... I know it is more expensive but here is the ticket.  

Are you ready?  

Eat less of it.

Revolutionary I know.


IF you are doing the 5+1 this is considered a special occasion meal.  Ham is pretty high in sodium and shouldn't be eaten regularly as the lean.  You could substitute diced chicken.  And for your daily lean of the Lean and Green 2 eggs with out additional meat is sufficient.   But as I said above... I was hosting a "BRUNCH".

Back to the recipe.  
Spray a ramekin with oil.  
Throw in the ham & gently crack the eggs over the ham.  
Pepper heavily (or lightly if you like)
Grate the cheese over the top.

Now.. the secret is the 1/2 and 1/2.  Pour it right in there.

Bake at 350 until the eggs are how you like them.  Probably about 20 minutes.

Serve with a green salad and you are good to go!


Read my Getting Healthy story.
If you are interested in learning more about getting and staying healthy please contact me!

Jennifer Z. Lewis
 Certified Health Coach
Web site: teamlewis.tsfl.com

31 January 2013

It's all math baby

How is your New Years Resolution of losing weight going?

Mind is going great.  Because I am good at math.  Let me teach you.

I think we make this weight loss thing WAY too complicated.

Here is what it boils down to.   

Are you ready?

If the calories in EXCEEDS the calories out you GAIN.

If the calories out EXCEEDS the calories in you lose.

See the teal & green columns?

See.  That isn't hard.


Look yourself up on this chart (from WebMD)

Moderately Active*


 I use about 2000 calories a day.  So if I want to lose 1 pound a week I need to keep my calories at 1500 / day.  If I want to lose 2 pounds a week I eat 1000 calories a day.  The problem here is any "diet" that goes below 1200 calories a day for a woman can get dangerous.  

Which is where Take Shape for Life comes in. Our parent company Medifast has developed Medically Designed Meal Replacements.  They give your body everything it needs to thrive during a calorie reduced weight lose program.

With my clients I use the 5+1.  You eat 5 Medifast meals and one regular meal.... a Lean and Green.  It doesn't get simpler than that.  No appetite suppressants.  No extra vitamins.  Just 5 Medifast meals & 1 meal you cook.  


And suddenly you find your calories out EXCEED your calories IN and BOOM... you are losing weight!

The beauty of TSFL is you learn portion control.  
You lean to eat small frequent meals.  
You learn the Habits of Health.
And I help you get from your fat loss stage through the purple transition and on to the dark blue which is your personal Optimal Health.

On the 5+1 Take Shape for Life I get about 1000.  And boom... there is my 2 pounds a week weight loss.  

Now... go & do your math. 

Let me know if you want my help in getting yourself healthy!  That is what I do!

Read my Getting Healthy story.
If you are interested in learning more about getting and staying healthy please contact me!

Jennifer Z. Lewis
 Certified Health Coach
Web site: teamlewis.tsfl.com

28 January 2013


One of the things we Americans love is our pasta.  

I know I do.  

But lots of carbohydrates don't support our weight loss efforts. 

When I have a craving for spaghetti and meatballs I opt out of the spaghetti part and make this:


1 pound lean ground beef
1 T mustard
2 t reduced sodium soy sauce
2 t Worcestershire sauce
2 t hot sauce
1 clove garlic
1 egg

Mix everything in a bowl except the meat.

Add the meat. Work as little as possible to get it all mixed. up.

Now I have tried 2 method of cooking these.

The mini muffin pan... bake in the oven way.  (350 deg for about 15 m btw)

And the brown in a pan way.

I MUCH prefer the pan way. The browning is better.


Don't forget to weigh your portion size.  If you are doing the 5+1 with me you need to keep it at 5 ounces.

Now all you have to do is add your "green".  I picked steamed broccoli.  1 1/2 cups of it to be exact.


Read my Getting Healthy story.
If you are interested in learning more about getting and staying healthy please contact me!

Jennifer Z. Lewis
 Certified Health Coach
Web site: teamlewis.tsfl.com

25 January 2013

Lean & Green in a Restaurant

Restaurants are not our friend when it comes to weight loss.  

The portions are huge.  

There are hidden fats, HFCS, calories, sodium, carbohydrates and artificial ingredients everywhere.

Did you know that crispy beans WITHOUT sauce at PF Chang's will run you 895 calories.  

A chicken chopped SALAD at the same restaurant will run you 670 calories.

Cesear salad at the Cheesecake factory will cost you 860 calories.

And those are things you might order if you were being calorie conscious.  Salads, beans, etc.  

If you wanted to splurge you might order the BBQ pizza and consume 1120 calories.  
And that is the LUNCH portion.

Let's put those calories into perspective.

First a minute on exercise.
If you  believe that exercise alone will get you thin... take a minute and read THIS please.  I'll wait.  It is worth a read whatever you believe.  Good info to have.

Ok... so back to putting those restaurant calories into perspective. If you are doing Take Shape for Life with me and are in weight loss mode you are consuming between 800-1000 very carefully balanced calories a day.  Go back up & look at the calories again.  

So what's a person to eat?

The same thing you do at home of course.

Lean & Green

At any restaurant you should be able to come up with a lean protein and vegetable combo.  You may need to be specific with the waiter.  Leave off the croutons for example   No dressing.  Ask how is that chicken prepared.  Find out if the salad has candied nuts and cranberries in it.  Get chatty.  It is your health at stake here!

One of my clients and closest friends always says...
NOTHING tastes as good as skinny feels.

One of my go-to restaurant meals is the Grilled Chicken Caesar salad (no dressing, no croutons).  You can find that almost anywhere.  Even fast food places like Subway.  Most restaurants will provide you with nutritional content if you ask. Some have them right on the menus.

Be aware of trick words like "low-carb" or "skinny".  Lots of restaurants have options they say are healthier and they may be compared to the 2200 calorie burger and fries.. but that doesn't mean they are healthy ENOUGH.

Here are some examples of things you can order and stay on plan.
"Naked" salad with grilled meat
Grilled chicken or fish with steamed vegetables
Meat & Vegetable Kababs are great.  No sauce please.
Chicken & Vegetable fajitas are a good choice.  No sour cream or guacamole or tortilla.

THIS is a link to the dining out guide published by Medifast. 
If you have a mobile device and you eat out a lot... download this file and search for suggested menu items when you are ordering.


Read my Getting Healthy story.
If you are interested in learning more about getting and staying healthy please contact me!

Jennifer Z. Lewis
 Certified Health Coach
Web site: teamlewis.tsfl.com

23 January 2013

Chicken soup for one

Chicken Soup for One

Sometimes when you are trying to get healthy or lose weight you default to meat and salad.  

But  it is winter and I understand the need for soup.  

Soup can be great.  Full of good thing.  

Or it can be full of things that don't support your weight lose efforts.... like butter or cream.  

So if you are craving soup like I was here is one solution.

Take all your Lean and Green ingredients... and heat them up!  Sounds simple because it is.

Here are the ingredients.

Chicken soup for one

6 ounces pre-cooked chicken, shredded
1/2 C mushrooms
1/2 C celery
1 C spinach
1 C low sodium chicken broth
spices (more on this later)

Throw the mushrooms, celery & chicken in a pan sprayed w/ oil.  Saute until fragrant.

Measure 1 C low sodium chicken broth & slowly add to pan while stirring.

Add 1/2 teaspoon of something.  I used Thai seasoning.  I love this stuff.  You can add 1/2 teaspoon thyme, oregano, whatever.  Just make sure the seasoning doesn't have any salt or sugar and you are good to go!  If you are using thyme you might need to grind in some pepper. This Thai seasoning has red pepper already in it.

Get a bowl.  You'll need a bigger size bowl for this.  Put the raw spinach in it.  If you want, you can add the spinach to the pan and cook it.  I like to do it this way:

Pour the hot soup over the spinach.  Let sit for a minute or two.


Don't try to tell me THAT doesn't look amazing right?

Happy winter.


Read my Getting Healthy story.
If you are interested in learning more about getting and staying healthy please contact me!

Jennifer Z. Lewis
 Certified Health Coach
Web site: teamlewis.tsfl.com