Monthly Archives: January 2020

Lasagna Soup

My goal this year is to try one new recipe a week. With your help I can reach my goal. You see I love having someone tell me, "I just made this great recipe because........" Then I get to hear first hand what they loved about it. Since I hang out with people who are busy like me, have families, with teens, and yet also want to eat healthy I find I want to try that recipe too. After completing my goal this year, I will have at least 52 recipes that are tried and true. Here is one that Lori sent to me. By the way she sent me another that is on my list to make in the coming weeks. Help me reach my goal by sending me recipes. When you send me them also tell me why you loved them. Lori said this recipe was soooooo good especially over the zucchini noodles. 

Lasagna Soup

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (28 oz)
  • 1 jar marinara sauce (25 oz)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 4-6 medium zucchini, spiralized into noodles
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella or shredded parmesan cheese

Brown your meat in a pan along with the onions. When the meat is done add in the garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add the Italian seasonings, diced tomatoes, marinara sauce, and chicken broth. Simmer for 30 minutes.

While that is cooking spiralize the zucchini. Saute lightly for 2-3 minutes then serve the soup on top. The cheese is optional.

This can also be made in crockpot. Place the first 8 ingredients in a crockpot. Stir to break up the meat. Cook for 6 hours on low then stir in the zucchini noodles. Let sit for 5 minutes and serve.

As you can see I didn't even get a picture of the soup before it was 1/2 gone. Yum. I imagine this soup would be delicious over Vegetable Fettuccini too. 

Enjoy good food,

Coach Nancy

Have you met the “Don” of Cr8 Fitness?

What can I say? Don Harty just plain rocks. He makes us laugh, he makes us thing, and he inspires us to never stop getting better. Here is his story, at least until now!

On Thursday I was honored to receive my 3 year shirt at the end of training with my 6:15AM class. When I got home I reflected on why I joined the CR8 Fitness program and how I have benefited from the 3 years with this program.

 First of all, why did I join? 

I have never been a gym guy and never worked out on my own either. I have always been an avid hiker and mountain climber since I was a teenager and with all the hiking I did my lower body was in pretty good shape. My upper body was a different story. I had always been overweight and just before joining CR8 I tipped the scales at 230 pounds. The only exercise my arms got was from writing sales receipts and tipping 12 ounce beers. For several months several of my friends who belonged to the gym kept telling me that I should give it a try, two weeks free to see if I liked it. I kept telling them it wasn’t for me.

Then in September 2016 I won a lottery to climb a mountain that had been on my bucket list for years, Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. I worked hard to get in shape for this climb by hiking a lot of mountains here in NH to get my legs in shape for this 18 mile trek. I arrived in Yosemite with 2 friends and the 3 of us set out at 3:00AM by flashlight to make the climb up the John Muir trail. It was a steady uphill climb and I struggled due to my being 40 pounds overweight and 61 years old. My friends had to wait for me several times as they were in better shape. We finally reached the crux of this climb, the infamous cables leading up the last 1/4 mile of 45 degree slope. After attaching my safety harness I headed up the cables and after a short time realized I was in big trouble. I had no upper body strength and this stretch of the climb required you to pull yourself up by your arms. Every 20 feet I needed to unfasten my safety clip that tied me into the cables and reattach it on the next stretch of cable. My heart was pounding and my arms were like rubber. I’m not a religious person but I remember saying “please, God don’t let the heart attack come when I’m not attached to the cables”. That would have resulted in a 3000 foot fall down an almost vertical cliff. Meanwhile a small parade of hikers had formed behind me because I was going so slow and there was no way to pass me. I heard some grumbling behind me and one voice stood out. I heard the words “old fat bastard” and I knew the words were directed at me. I finally made the summit of Half Dome and after a short rest headed back down to the valley. It was at this point I vowed to myself that if I wanted to keep hiking and pushing the limits at my age I needed to get my whole body in shape and lose weight.

I got home and called Nancy and asked how do I sign up for the training program. I joined shortly thereafter and I have been a part of the program for 3 years. 

What have I gotten out of the program? 

The bottom line is that the training and nutrition program that Nancy and Dean offer at CR8 Fitness has given me a new lease on life. Over the first six months I went from 230 pounds to 180 and my conditioning was the best since I was in my 20’s and finished hiking the 2000 mile Appalachian Trail. I have been able to do things that most people my age would not even consider trying. The great thing is that after 3 years, although I have the occasional relapse I always am able to get refocused with the coaching I get from Nancy and Dean.

There is no question in my mind that if I had not joined the CR8 team 3 years ago my life would not be nearly as fulfilling as it is now. It’s great to “make it happen”.

- The "Don" of Cr8 Fitness,

Don Harty

Chicken Veggie Pad Thai

Protein, Produce, and Water = PPW.  Consuming protein, produce, and water three times a day is PPW3. All the other food  and drink I take in, is extra and often lands as extra fat on my hips, in my gut, and just all around. My body feels healthier and looks leaner if I stick to Protein, Produce, and Water three times a day. (PPW3) To help keep me going, I've brought back this favorite from the depths of my cookbook. 

Chicken Veggie Pad Thai

  • 2 pounds cooked chicken meat, cut into small 1” chunks
  • 3-4 Tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons Fish Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoons Coconut Aminos
  • 4 Tablespoons fresh lime juice (or use a bottled lime juice)
  • ½ Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 12- ounce package of broccoli slaw
  • 4 medium carrots shredded or cut into small strips

Heat a skillet or wok over medium-high heat.  Add coconut oil, fish sauce, coconut aminos, lime juice, and vinegar. Add broccoli slaw and carrots.  Cook, stirring frequently, until soft but still firm, about 3- 4 minutes. Add chicken and garlic and cook until heated through.  

To make your own broccoli slaw use just the stalk ends of broccoli and run it through your food processor. It's messier then buying the bag of slaw at the store but it uses up those stalk ends.

Toss or garnish with and cilantro.  Enjoy! 

Enjoy Good Food and eat PPW,

Coach Nancy

The Day I Jumped From A Plane

Today I am tired. I am tired of people saying, "I am too old to do ......" Seriously do you hear what you are saying? Are you really too old? or are you just not able? There is a difference. 

No one is going to tell my great uncle he can't ski. He is in his 90's and still ski's. I say good for him. He might not speed down the hill like he did in his 20's but just because he had a few more birthdays doesn't mean he can't ski at all. I know he also is smart about his skiing adventures as he is an orthopedic surgeon. He knows what can happen and that doesn't stop him. 

So what is old? We could go on and on about old is such and such number. As soon as you define old with a number you are going to get an earful from people that age that aren't OLD.

So how do you define old without using a number? Better yet, how are you going to act when you get old? 

I am getting older. Growing older is a different story. I know other people my age that act 'older' than me. I also know people that have a higher age than me that act 'younger' than me. I'm not talking about maturity I am talking about ability. Coach Dean did a great job in an article a few weeks ago. "Are you Getting or Growing?"

As I grow older I want to be able to do all the things I want to do. I'm a bit competitive as I grew up the 4th child and had three brothers. I don't like it when I can't do something because of some physical challenge. That is one reason I strive to take care of myself as best I can. It's also the reason that if my grandchildren ask me to go ski diving when I am 90, I want to go if I want to go. I also want them to ask because they know I can do it. 

What is your definition of "Old"? and how are you going to defy it? 

Coach Nancy

I did it once, I want to be able to do it again.

8 Tips to Meal Planning Success

Meal Preparation: Tips and Ideas

1. Create a morning, evening or weekend ritual.

  • Do your grocery shopping on the same day(s) each week
  • Prep food meals on Sunday, the night before and/or in the morning. 
  • Get into a routine to make food prep efficient and effective.

2. Pre-cook chicken.

  • Purchase boneless skinless chicken in bulk and season to taste.
  • Cook in large Pyrex dish, covered in tin foil at 350-400° for 20-40 minutes.
  • Store in a glass container and you have a ready-made protein source.

3. Pre-chop chicken and beef for stir-fries.

  • Purchase boneless chicken and beef in bulk. 
  • Chop meat into 1-inch cubes, portion into 4-8oz servings, and freeze them.
  • Quick tip if you're in a hurry: thaw the meat in bowl of tepid water for 10-15 minutes. 
  • Make a tasty and balanced stir-fry, seasoned to your liking.

4. Pre-chop fresh vegetables.

  • Chop each vegetable into desired sizes and store in individual containers.
  • Use them or omelets, salads, stir-fries and more.

5. Prepare ahead of time.

  • Make large batches of food like chili, stews, stir-fries, and smoothies.
  • Pack your own snacks and lunch (by utilizing Tip 1).
  • Eat breakfast; or pack a Super Smoothie for on the go nutrition. (there are a ton of free recipes here.)

6. Shop at farmer’s markets, if possible.

  • Farmer’s markets provide local, fresh and sustainably grown meat, produce and eggs at reasonable prices.
  • You know exactly where, when and how your food was grown.
  • You develop a relationship with the people who grow your food.

7. Order by the principles above when at restaurants or school.

  • The healthy principles of nutrition do not cease to exist when eating out.
  • You still need high-quality: protein, carbs, fruits, vegetables and fats.

8. Spice up your food

  • Spices and herbs add tremendous health benefits and flavor to your food.
  • Different spices can make tired meals and recipes seem new and exciting.

When I first started changing my family's diet, I worked slowly through this list. Start with one thing this week you can start doing. And do that one thing. It might take a week or two for that to hit a grove, when it does add in the next item on the list. Soon you'll be tackling meal prep like a professional.

To your best health,

Coach Nancy

Game Day Munchies

It's almost Game day. What is your  plan for food? Traditional munchies on your menu? Why not break out of your normal and try something new? I'm going with a meal that can be tailored to each person - Fajitas. My family loves the spicy foods of the South. I can fix beef fajitas and then provide the fixin's so that everyone can create their own Super Bowl Feast. 


  • 2 pounds beef, sliced (top round steak works well here)
  • 2 bell peppers, sliced, choose your favorite color
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 15 ounces salsa 
  • 2 Tablespoon fajita seasoning (3

Add all ingredients to the slow cooker. Stir to mix well. Cook on High 2-3 hours or on Low 4-6 hours. This recipe will serve 6 people. I love serving this on top of Cauliflower Rice.

I'll also serve black beans, more salsa, chopped raw onions, guacamole, cheddar cheese, sour cream, refried beans, green chilis, hot sauce, and some tortilla chips. Yes, even your coach will have chips on game day. 

Need some other helpful ideas for your game day food? Try Sweet Potato Sliders or Chorizo Stuffed Potato Skins, or Mexican Casserole.

Go Team,

Coach Nancy

Shorten Your Long Term Planning

What if your "long-term planning" consisted of sitting down for just 5 minutes every night and writing out how you are going to make tomorrow count?

It's always going to be the little steps - save another dollar, do another rep, read another page - that are going to add up to wealth, health and wisdom.

5 Minutes to get a little better every day.

Make It Happen.

- DC

Fast Food Shopping at the Grocery Store

I’m late for a meeting, I’ve been teaching classes all day, the kids were acting up, and I walked out of the house unprepared for the evening ahead. Have you ever been in a situation like this before? Of course you have, but how can you change it around and end the day on a good note? What can you do?

Go hungry?
Stop at the dreaded hamburger joint on the corner?
Grab something at the gas station convenience store?
Or go grocery shopping?

Did I say go grocery shopping? Yes, hit the nearest food store for you dinner meal. Here’s a few ideas to grab quickly and go.

  • Hit the salad bar. Most store now feature a salad bar stocked with all the trimmings. As always you want to avoid items in heavy sauces and oils. Fill your container with salad greens, add your favorite veggies, throw in a few pieces of fruit, top with a sprinkling of cheese, sunflower seeds, and add a hard boiled egg or a few slices of ham and you're good to go. Don’t forget a fork or you’ll be hard pressed to look good at your meeting with salad drippings all over you.
  • Go to the Deli. What a great way to build your own sandwich. Delicatessens are more than happy to slice 3-4 pieces of your favorite meats and cheeses. No need for bread. Just roll the cheese inside a piece of meat and eat it naked. No, you’re not naked  – the sandwich is!
  • Some delis also carry rotisserie chicken, They are already cooked and kept warm. Again don’t forget to pick up a utensil pack at the salad bar.
  • In a real rush, grab a single serving of almonds, walnuts, or sunflower seeds along with your favorite piece of fruit that has a peel. Fast Food Grocery Style!

When Dean and I were in away a while ago, we couldn’t find a decent restaurant to eat in that was close to the hotel so we went shopping. We stocked the small fridge in the hotel room with roast beef, swiss cheese, precut veggies, and nuts. It was fantastic to have the option just to run up to our room in between seminars for a light snack. It was way better than hitting the candy machine.

Don’t settle for less than the best choices for your best body!

Coach Nancy

Sweet Potato, Zucchini and Beef Skillet

I love having a recipe passed to me thats been proven to taste great. Its even better when it is meal made in one dish that I can make quickly. Win/ win. Thank you Stacy for passing this recipe along just when I needed it most. Keep them coming as I have a goal to try a new recipe once a week this year. 

Sweet Potato, Zucchini,  and Beef Skillet

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 bell pepper, chopped and color will do
  • 3 sweet potatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup beef broth or water
  • 1 zucchini, diced 
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • salt and pepper

In a cast iron skillet add the ground beef, onion, and garlic. Cook until beef is no longer pink. Add the rest of the ingredients. Put a lid on the pan and simmer until potatoes are soft. This will be around 15 minutes depending on how large you cut them. Garnish with fresh parsley.

Serve over cauliflower rice. This will serve about 5 people. 

Hints to make this go even faster. I used frozen shredded zucchini as I didn't have any fresh. Saved me time chopping. You could use frozen onions and peppers in place of fresh. I used spaghetti sauce and still added the other seasonings. It was perfectly balanced. I also saved time by not peeling the potatoes. 

As a side note. 6:15am had a discussion on whether or not white potatoes were evil and sweet potatoes were not. I used a mixture of both in this recipe. There isn't any 'bad' foods. There are foods you should limit. Potatoes, whether white or sweet, should be one of those foods you chose to have on a limited basis if you are trying to lose weight. In this recipe they could be left out entirely if you are trying to drop weight. 

Enjoy Good Food,

Coach Nancy

Are You Getting, or Growing?

Another New Year has started, and with it comes one indisputable fact; You, and I, are getting older. 

But ask yourself this question.

Do I want to merely get older, or do I want to grow older?

There is an enormous difference.

As long as you are above ground you are going to get older. But growing older is an entirely different animal. 

There are a few things I want to grow in as I get older. 

Kindness. Wisdom. Grace. Understanding. Compassion.

In the physical realm I want to keep growing as well. It's a well known fact that even older adults can increase their muscle mass and mobility. I want to stay as strong as I can for as long as I can. My training goals in the last 10 years have definitely changed. Sure I still want to look good in the mirror, but it's become more than that. I look around and see people my age (53 - not all that old, unless you are teenager) losing physical abilities and capabilities. And I am not talking about feats of endurance or strength. Losing their ability to stand up straight, or get up and down off the floor, or walk a few flights of stairs. In their fifties!

That's why my goal is to keep my legs strong and my hips mobile for as long as I can. Don't lose your legs! It's why keeping my shoulders intact and my knees healthy is so important. 

Here's the rub; As you age you need to work harder at these things than you used to. CONSISTENT strength training and mobility work. Good nutrition and sensible supplementation. You can't stop any of those things, even when it's uncomfortable, you don't feel like it, and it hurts.

The alternative is to just passively atrophy, lose strength and mass, get weaker, and lose basic abilities. Doesn't sound like fun to me.

It's your choice. Get. Or Grow.

Choose Wisely,

Coach Dean