Tag Archives: food

Dear Me, Thank you!

Fall Folaige pic 2

Point to Ponder:
How often do you acknowledge and give thanks for all that you do and all that you are?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springman

Throughout the month of November we have focused on expressing gratitude in various ways. We encouraged making gratitude jars and everyday writing what we are grateful for and then placing it in the jar to then look at at a later date. Then, we took the time to physically write gratitude notes to the people we are grateful for, we continue to post what we are grateful for in our social media #ignitegratefulgram challenge, and we are wearing our gratitude, as ‘grateful’ is printed across the chest of all of our new fall apparel.

We believe that gratitude changes everything and of course our efforts were put in place to inspire attitudes of gratitude, but we were also hopeful that it would ignite attitudes of abundance, blessings and fun! Also, our big picture mission is that our gratitude campaign has made a positive impact on you and in your life, starting with your family and then being contagiously caught by thousands of other people.

Finally, there’s just one more gratitude request and call to action, and that’s to thank yourself by filling out our “Dear Me, Thank You!” worksheet. You may think this is totally narcissistic and weird, but stick with me. Typically, when we express gratitude it’s towards the people we love, our health, time with family and friends, things, our work, food, clothing, etc. All of these are wonderful, however what you must not neglect and absolutely must acknowledge and celebrate is everything you do and all that you are, which includes: your commitment to countless people and relationships; how incredibly hard you work on so many things; the impact you make in the lives of others; your dedication to your health and wellness, family and relationships; your beautiful and unique God-given talents and features which allows you to be you and do what you do, and so much more!

I realize this may seem like just another task during a busy holiday week, however I encourage you to take ten minutes to celebrate yourself, because ultimately when you acknowledge and express gratitude for all that you are and for all that you do, it’s simply saying “thank you” for what you’ve been given, which opens your spirit to receiving more, giving more and becoming more. And, becoming all that we were created to be is one of our greatest callings and life’s missions, and in doing so, our impact is extraordinary.

Action Item:
Print the “Dear Me, Thank You!” worksheet, gratefully fill it out and place in an area where you can frequently see it and give thanks.

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20 Austin Restaurants Not to Miss

20 Austin Restaurants Not to Miss

Living in a city that’s become such a hot destination spot has many perks — one of the best being that there are now endless options for fantastic food in Austin. But how do you sort through the clutter when there’s a new “hip” and “must-try” restaurant on every corner?  Here to help you out is our iGnite team of Austin locals, sharing our favorite spots.  Go with one of these the next time you’re visiting Austin, or, if you’re a fellow local, the next time you’re looking for a great meal or place to take your out-of-town guests, and you can’t go wrong!

Dinner & Drinks

Vino Vino

Vino Vino: “Easy to get to and easy to park, this cozy eatery has the absolute KINDEST staff you will ever meet in your life. They have known you forever from the moment you walk in the door, and the food is fresh and unique, with flavors and textures that dance on your tongue. The wine choices are diverse, and my husband and I go crazy, ordering and splitting delicious things. I love this place…ask to say hi to Kelly, the manager, because he will make you happy that you have just made a new friend.”
Cary

Justine’s Brasserie

Justine’s Brasserie on east 5th: “Such a treat! It has a great inside vibe and a wonderful outside atmosphere as well. Totally delicious French experience, but with a casual Austin flare. The food is delicious and their specialty bar drinks are fantastic! For a cocktail, try the refreshingly lemony French 76. They have wonderful appetizers — I recommend the smoked salmon, then go for a classic, Steak Frites! They also have one of the best burgers in town!  Take your time and enjoy the evening 🙂 ”
Sha

Launderette

Launderette: “This darling restaurant is located in an old laundromat in East Austin. It has an extensive veggie section to the menu with yummy brussell sprouts, zucchini salad, cauliflower gratin and more. It is portioned to share, so it’s perfect for date night or to go with girlfriends!”
Delaine

Perla’s

Perla’s: “One of my favorite “fancy” spots! I love seafood, and I think Perla’s has a wonderfully varied menu. Plus, the champagne cocktail and hushpuppies are amazing!!”
Molly

Second Bar + Kitchen

Second Bar + Kitchen downtown at 2nd & Congress: “This place is great for high quality late-night dining. I’ve never been disappointed with anything I’ve gotten here. Unlike most restaurants, they serve dinner until 11:30pm Sunday-Thursday and until 1:30am Friday & Saturday! It’s the perfect fun place to grab a really great meal after doing something fun downtown when you want to stay in the thick of everything! With everything from black truffle pomme frites, to cheese boards, yummy small plates, soups, salads, incredible pizzas, steaks, seafood and a huge drink menu, you really can’t go wrong 🙂 We go here every time my in-laws are in town because they just can’t get their last meal there of their minds!”
Catherine

 Zax Restaurant & Bar

Zax is definitely at the top of my list because it is centrally located, has great quality and a great variety of food, and it’s one of the few places that all 5 of my family members love! Thus it has become our Easter brunch spot (they have GREAT brunches), nice family dinner spot and great place to take out-of-town guests. I can order Zax Salad with jerk salmon, my husband can get the Sesame Crusted Tuna, my son Mitch always gets the Classic Burger, daughter Maggie goes for the Chicken Quesadillas and daughter Sarah loves the Frenched Pork Chops. Also, Zax is my favorite spot to meet a friend before going to A Christmas Affair at the Palmer Events Center….their Tortilla Soup and Salad are the perfect pre-shopping meal in November!”
-Amy

Mexican & Tex-Mex

Matt’s El Rancho

“We LOVE Matt’s El Rancho. From the placemats with pictures of the 1950’s unlikely young athlete who started the restaurant, to a window into the tortilla-making room (awesome for keeping the young ones intrigued)…Matt’s is just a happy place. Every time we are there, at least three tables around us break into the happy birthday song, and (I swear, just look around), EVERYBODY is smiling. Try the fish tacos…very fresh with a delicious sauce…and the traditional basket of gigantic chips is my warm blanket. When I recently took some friends who don’t get the whole “basket of chips” thing where they live, I realized, for the first time in my life, that I probably eat at least four full tortillas before I actually get my meal at Matt’s…which is really okay…it is…it’s just what we do!
Cary

Fonda San Miguel

Fonda San Miguel is at the top of my list for best interior Mexican food, beautiful decor, always delicious, fresh and dependably good dishes and a great place for happy hour with the hubster or girl friends!  I love their margaritas, salsas, Ceviche las Brisas and redfish!”
Amy

“An oldie but a goodie! I love to go meet girlfriends here for happy hour in the lounge/bar area. Wonderful atmosphere and yummy appetizers — go early on Tuesdays for half-price apps!”
Delaine

Trudy’s

Trudy’s on 30th Street has been my go-to Mexican spot for 9 years! The food and drinks never disappoint, and it’s always fun on game days. When my husband and I can’t think of where to go on a Friday night, we walk over there!”
Molly

Kid-Friendly

Hat Creek Burger Company

“Given the season of my life, my husband and I don’t find much time to go out alone and without our small children, therefore my current favorite Austin restaurant is Hat Creek Burger Company. There are many reasons why I love Hat Creek, with one being that it is totally kid-friendly. At all of their locations there are super fun and creative play areas for children, as well as an outdoor area with flatscreen t.v.’s that allows mom and dad to watch their children while sneaking some peaks at whatever sporting event they have playing. And, it’s super easy for the kids to run from the play area, grab some food, and go play some more. On top of that, the menu is simple yet delicious! They serve hamburgers, turkey burgers, veggie burgers (the Hot Dang grain burger created by my good friend Martha Pincoffs!), gluten-free nuggets, regular French fries and sweet potato French Fries (my personal favorite), salads, beer, wine and milkshakes! Does it get any better than that?! In addition, all of their meat is high quality and they are now serving breakfast. I also love Hat Creek because it’s locally owned by Austinite Drew Gressett. As a cherry on top, Hat Creek partners with Mobile Loaves & Fishes and makes 100 fresh burgers everyday and delivered free of charge to those in need in Austin. Now, that’s big time! So, for all of the reasons listed, Hat Creek Burgers is my favorite Austin restaurant 🙂 ”
Neissa

Lunch/Casual

FoodHeads

FoodHeads is my all time favorite! It is located on 34th Street close to Guadalupe. Best food ever! Great salads, amazing sandwiches and even delectable desserts!! I had a big warm brownie covered in chocolate sauce with vanilla ice cream for dessert the other day and it was SOOOO good. It is an old cozy house with indoor or outdoor seating. Very casual–perfect for lunch after workouts in your sweaty gear! The only bad thing is they are not open for dinner : ( Fresh and home made — yum!”
Kathleen

“I love the casual cafe atmosphere and the food is AMAZING! It offers unusual combinations and variations on classic Austin breakfast/brunch/lunch fare, and wholesome, nutritious, locally-sourced ingredients.  I often go with a group of friends for brunch or lunch after a morning run or workout, but I also go with my family — my kids love it too! I usually get the squash sandwich, and they make it vegan for me by leaving off the cheese and pesto and adding avocado instead. I always ask for an extra side of their home-made pickles — so good! They’re the owner Chip’s secret recipe. I also love their breakfast tacos and again they put together wonderful vegan combinations for me; oh and their homemade salsa is the.best. Finally, what I love most about FoodHeads is the people that own and run this little slice of heaven, Chip and Candi Wendt. They are dear friends of mine and just wonderful human beings, and they put their heart and soul into their cafe — they love love love their employees, love love love their customers, and take pride in every plate of delicious food that they serve.”
Alli

Galaxy Cafe

Galaxy Cafe: “The perfect girls night restaurant! Our 6pm evening group eats at Galaxy sometimes after class for a healthy and delicious dinner. When I go to Galaxy, I always seem to stay for a long time visiting with friends and never feel like the staff is rushing me to leave!”
Molly

Mother’s Cafe

Mother’s Cafe has been at the top of my list since I discovered it back in the early 80’s when I moved to Austin. It is my favorite vegetarian restaurant in Austin! It has a cool, eclectic, granola-head vibe, and every dish is wonderful and fresh. You can’t beat the Bueno Burger and side salad with the famous Cashew Tamari dressing. I go there every Mother’s Day with my family (along with other times during the year) and love to sit in the outdoor area with all the plants and goldfish pond.”
Amy

Italian

Juliet Ristorante

“A new favorite of mine is Juliet on Barton Springs Road! Excellent pasta and pizzas and a great wine list. The gluten free pasta is very tasty too.”
Betty

Pieous Pizza

Pieous Pizza is one of my absolute faves! It’s authentic wood-fired Neopolitan pizza in its purest, simplest form- so delicious!  It’s a bit of a drive — it’s right by the Nutty Brown cafe in Dripping Springs, but worth it!  They have incredible salads too, all farm fresh ingredients, homemade dressings, good wines and a fun casual atmosphere.  Get there early though because they run out!”
Jill

Southern Home Cooking

Fixe

“I love Fixe, it’s a fairly new southern cooking restaurant downtown. I love the interior and the atmosphere. The Fixe biscuits are to die for and the deviled eggs are so yummy… and the fried chicken, so if you are in the mood for Southern food and a new downtown hot spot, this is the place. Great cocktails also!”
Jill

Grab & Go

Fresa’s

Fresa’s is healthy drive-thru on Lamar! An Austin-owned restaurant where you can get fresh local chicken, homemade corn tortillas, salads, grilled vegetables, home-made ice creams and more. Their breakfast tacos are great too!”
Delaine 

Royal Blue Grocery

“My husband and I love going to pick up some fun things at Royal Blue Grocery and either taking it all for a picnic or sitting outside in their patio area and eating a casual and tasty, light meal. Their shredded chicken salad is the best in town!”
Catherine

Sushi

Komé Sushi Kitchen

“My husband and I love sushi and enjoy the experience of trying new sushi rolls, but sushi is expensive! Our favorite new spot is Komé on Airport Blvd. It’s delicious, fairly inexpensive (for two people with wine and food, we can eat for $50 total!) and a fun atmosphere. When you walk into the restaurant, all of the sushi chefs greet you out loud with a fun phrase!”
Molly

Cocktails

Garage Cocktail Bar

Garage is a small, moody bar actually hidden away inside a parking garage downtown! You feel like you’ve discovered something secret when you come here. It’s a great place to grab drinks with a group!”
Catherine


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5 STRATEGIES TO TRAIN FEARLESSLY NOW & FOREVER

iGnite - strength training

Can we keep lean, strong and fit into our golden years? Can we still get a summer-ready body even if we are flashing a senior citizen card someday? The answer is YES!!!
The strategy is UPPING THE ANTE and DOING IT WITH INTENSITY!!

by Kathleen Parker

by Kathleen Parker

You can make 70 look like the new 50 and 50 look like the new 30 if you are smart about your lifestyle choices and approach them, particularly exercise, with intensityGenes play a leading role, but even if you have elevated risk in any category of illnesses/conditions you have a solution: regular strenuous exercise. We may have received a certain genetic package from our parents, but it is not our fate to be governed by it.
Dr. John Ratey writes in his enlightening book SPARK: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, “If your brain is not actively growing, then it is dying. Exercise is one of the few ways to counter the process of aging because it slows down the natural decline of the stress threshold.” He says intense exercise is the Holy Grail for our bodies and our brains.

INCREASE YOUR INTENSITY!
Here are strategies you can incorporate into your next workout to drive the power of your workout to a higher level. Get more work done. Lift Heavier. Sweat more.

1. INCLUDE ALL FOUR VARIETIES OF EXERCISE IN YOUR TRAINING.
–Aerobic Exercise that increases your aerobic capacity
–Strength Training to build and MAINTAIN muscle
–Balance activities like training on a BOSU to build core strength–strong core AND a sharp nervous system
–Flexibility to remain limber and agile and on your feet well into your later decades

2. FOCUS ON REGULAR STRENGTH TRAINING
–Regular strength training is also cardiovascular training. It offsets the steady decline in muscle mass and metabolic rate that starts in our 30’s. Only progressive strength training, performed at least 3 times per week will help build muscle and brain mass. The weight should be heavy enough to challenge you. You need to feel the burn and be out of breath when done.

3. HIGH INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING IS KEY!
–HIIT repeatedly proves it is one of the best ways to challenge you aerobically and muscularly. HIIT works your aerobic and anaerobic systems at the same time, engaging your complete physical self.
By adding even one 30 second sprint into your cardio, human growth hormone peaks and stays that way for several hours afterward. HGH is the surefire, turn back the clock, fat-burning agent produced naturally by the body that ensures a lean and strong body!

4. PUT YOUR MIND INTO THE MUSCLE
–Engage your mind in your training. When you are mentally present for reps or sets, physical payoffs are far greater. In Dr. Norman Doidge’s book The Brain That Changes Itself, he reveals that just thinking about an exercise changes your brain structure as if you were doing the movement. This changes the structure and function of your brain by affecting the neurons at the microscopic level.

5. HEALTHY DIET
Food is Fuel. Don’t pollute your engine!!

This applies to ALL AGES–even you 20 and 30 somethings! Remember at the young age of 30 we start to lose muscle mass yearly if we don’t do something about it.

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Cranberry and Sweet Potato Bake: Perfect for the Holidays!

photo by Randy Mayor

photo by Randy Mayor

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

For at least the past five years I have prepared this delicious, healthy and beautiful dish for both Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinner. (I like to bake it in a 1-quart casserole dish instead of in ramekins.) So I thought I’d pass it along for those of you looking for a dish for your upcoming Thanksgiving celebration —  consider trying this one out!  It’s always a hit with my family.

Cranberry & Sweet Potato Bake
from Cooking Light Magazine

  • 2 (15 oz) Cans of sweet potatoes, drained or two to three large boiled sweet potatoes
  • 1 (8-oz) Can crushed pineapple in juice, drained
  • 2 T Butter, melted
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • Dash of black pepper
  • 1 Large egg
  • 1 (16 oz) Can whole-berry cranberry sauce Cooking spray

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Combine sweet potatoes and pineapple in a large bowl; mash with a potato masher.
  3. Stir in butter, salt, nutmeg, pepper, and egg.
  4. Swirl in 1 cup cranberry sauce.
  5. Spoon 1/3 cup sweet potato mixture into each of 8 (4-ounce) ramekins coated with cooking spray. Top each with 1 tablespoon cranberry sauce.
  6. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes.

*Note: A 1-quart casserole may be substituted for ramekins. (Bake at 350º for 40 minutes)

Enjoy!

OTHER HEALTHY RECIPES YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY:

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Protein Bars

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Protein Bars

We LOVE these protein bars. They are a delicious, filling, nutritious and balanced (great carbohydrate / fat / protein ratio) snack that is perfect whether after a workout or when you need a bite between meals.  They can even be a great meal replacement if you double or triple (depending on gender and activity level) the serving size.  Best of all, once you have your ingredients together they are quick and easy to make.   We know you will love them as much as we do!

Recommended for all ages, unless you have a peanut allergy.

Makes: 32 square bars; Serving Size: 1 square bar

INGREDIENTS: 

2 c              Organic Unsweetened Creamy Peanut Butter
3/4 c          Local Honey
2 & 1/2 c   Gluten-Free Old Fashion Rolled Oats (we love Bob’s Red Mill)
1 c               Gluten-Free Rice Crispies
4 scoops    Jay Robb Chocolate Egg White Protein Powder
1/2 c           *Optional* Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (gluten, dairy, nut and soy-free)

PREPARATION:

  1. Microwave peanut butter for 60-90 seconds
  2. Add honey and microwave for an additional 30 seconds
  3. Stir oatmeal, rice cereal and protein powder together before adding peanut butter and honey. Mix will become sticky and thick when together.
  4. Add chocolate chips (optional)
  5. Pour mixture into a 9×13″ pan and spread until even
  6. Refrigerate, cut into 32 equal squares and enjoy!

NUTRITION INFORMATION:

  • Calories:                172           (191 w/choc. chips)
  • Fat:                          8.6 g       (9.8 w/choc. chips)
  • Carbohydrates:    15.8 g      (18 w/choc. chips)
  • Protein:                   8 g          (8.4 w/choc. chips)
  • Fiber:                       2.3 g       (2.5 w/choc. chips)

Gardening 101: What to Plant in April

Garden

In honor of the approaching Earth Day (Monday, April 22 if you’re curious), we’d like to touch on the beauty of growing your own veggies, fruits and herbs. If you’re at all like me, the idea has always sounded appealing, but I have yet to actually jump in and take a stab at it. I think mainly because I just plain haven’t made the effort to learn anything about it!  So, now — a chance to get informed. Not sure what to plant?  The county and the all-knowing internet has made finding this out pretty easy for us, providing calendars of ‘what to plant when’ online.

So what’s on the list for planting in April in Travis County?

Between April 1 & April 15, plant:

  • Lima Beans
  • Snap Beans
  • Beets
  • Cantaloupe
  • Chard
  • Sweet Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Okra
  • Black-eye Peas
  • Pepper Plants
  • Pumpkin
  • Radishes
  • New Zealand Spinach
  • Summer Squash
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Tomato Plants
  • Watermelon

Between April 15 & April 30, plant:

  • Lima Beans
  • Snap Beans
  • Beets
  • Chard
  • Okra
  • Black-eye Peas
  • Pepper Plants
  • New Zealand Spinach
  • Summer Squash
  • Sweet Potatoes

For a full list and endless additional resources for gardening in Travis County, visit http://www.co.travis.tx.us/agext/garden/veggies/planting/aprjun.asp

Not in Travis County? Check out your county’s .gov website for resources specific to your region.

Go ahead, give it a go — and let us know how it turns out for you.  Happy planting, and happy early Earth Day!

 

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FEED ME!

People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily. — Zig Ziglar

Action: Make small changes to feed yourself regularly and abundantly with healthy food and exercise for your body and with positivity and inspiration for your spirit.

by Neissa Springmann

by Neissa Springmann

I don’t know about you, but finding time to eat has NEVER been a problem of mine. I go to bed thinking about breakfast and wake up eager to eat. In fact, as soon as I finish one meal, I’ve already planned the next one. Then there’s my husband, Russell, who often comes home after work and tells me that he hasn’t eaten since breakfast because he FORGOT! SERIOUSLY?!?!? Forgot to eat!?…I’D NEVER!!! This must be one of those “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” examples.

Ironically, when we eat regularly throughout the day, we actually find ourselves hungrier than when we skip meals. This happens because our metabolism, our internal furnace, is constantly getting fed, staying on and wanting more. But, believe it or not, when eating fresh, clean and healthy foods more regularly, our metabolism stays elevated throughout the day and we actually have better energy and burn even more calories than if we had skipped meals.

The body is our temple and it will allow us to live safely, efficiently and enthusiastically. We can become a calorie-burning machine and have optimal energy to last throughout the day if we simply:

  1. Stay hydrated.
  2. Eat regularly (every three to four hours). Consume complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and lots and lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. (See Journey XI, week 2, 3 and 4 for more information.)
  3. Exercise regularly (ideally 3-5 days per week)

In addition to keeping our bodies in optimal condition with a strong appetite for healthy food, having a well-fed mind and spirit is of equal importance too. We must have a consistently hearty appetite for goodness and positive information to keep both mind and spirit open and alive! You’ve heard the expression “You are what you eat.” It’s true for our minds and spirits too: “You are what you think.”

Friends, family, community and the company we keep play an enormous role in our ability to remain mentally and spiritually motivated, invigorated and charged. The more we practice and receive inspiration, the greater our appetite for it becomes. The result is a generously expanded life that we GET to live and share with others.

You can find inspiration in movies too. This week’s video is an inspiring moment from the movie The Pursuit of Happiness.