Spicy Guacamole

guacamole final

Today I’m sharing the recipe to one of my all-time favorite healthy snacks, guacamole! It’s the perfect thing to whip up for a BBQ with friends or to pair with lunches throughout the week.

The way I make my guacamole leaves the actual avocado smashing until the very last minute. This is because when entertaining, I like to have the ingredients for my guac already prepped. Mixing the avocados in last minute allows for optimal freshness & a “tableside” feel to the dish.

The ingredients you’ll need are below:

3 avocados, chilled
½ cup chopped red onion
1 chopped tomato
1 chopped jalepeno pepper
1 fresh lime
1 tsp cumin
1 large garlic clove, pressed
¼ cup chopped cilantro
½ tsp cayenne pepper
Salt & pepper to taste

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Step 1: Chop the onion, tomato & jalapeno.
If you prefer less heat, remove the inner seeds of the jalapeno before chopping.

chopped veggies

Step 2: Add pressed garlic, cumin, cilantro & cayenne

garlic cayenne

Step 3: Cut & squeeze the lime into the mixture. I used this handy tool:

 lime

Step 4: This step happens right before I serve the guacamole. I peel the avocados & scoop them out using an avocado scoop.

avocado scoop

Step 5: Season with salt and just a dash of pepper, mash avocados & serve!

Mashed

Variation: I recently had dinner over at La Hacienda at the Scottsdale Princess Resort. They served a “Pomegranate Guacamole” that was to die for. It was a basic guacamole topped with a medley of chopped green apple, mango, pomegranate, pistachio & balsamic drizzle. It really cooled down the dish and was an amazing twist on traditional guacamole!

The best thing about guacamole is that every recipe can be tweaked to fit your liking. People have different preferences on level of salty & spicy which is super easy to adjust when making it.

Enjoy!

Workout Tips for Busy Girls, part 1

workout tipsFitness is super important to me, but I’m sure I’m not alone when I admit that I’ve skipped a workout (or ten) simply because of a hectic schedule. There are lots of things that get in the way of a good sweat session, in every stage of life. Learning how to prioritize working out AND making it fit your individual lifestyle is crucial. Below are some tips that have worked for me:

1. Pick the time that works best for YOU. I can’t stress this enough. We all have completely different lives, so what works for one person isn’t necessarily going to work for another person. Just because your best friend gets up at 5 am for a spin class doesn’t mean you are a slacker for not joining. Choose a time that you have the energy & mental state to be able to get the most out of your workout. During a particularly busy time in my life last year, the only time that I could realistically get my workouts in was during the morning before work. Right now since I’m working from home, the mid-morning suits me better. If you feel drained after a grueling day at the office, maybe a 6pm yoga class isn’t for you. Pick a time that you’ll be able to stick to & enjoy if you’re hoping to make it a habit.

2. Keep your gym bag packed. I have to confess: There have definitely been a few times where I skipped the gym entirely because of forgetting a gym necessity at home. Could I have made it work without my heart rate monitor or ipod? Probably. But it was enough for me to have an excuse not to pull into the gym parking lot those days. That’s the thing about fitness, it’s extremely easy to come up with an excuse not to do it. I try to not give myself those excuses, and keeping my bag ready at all times is one way to do just that. Besides a change of clothes, I keep my bag stocked so it’s easy to toss in the car on a gym day. I keep “mini”s of all my favorite toiletries so it’s easy to shower & get ready without having to remember to pack my shampoo, hairspray, etc. The less excuses I can have for not getting my workout in, the better.

3. Sneak in a workout. This is probably one of the best ways to make sure fitness stays a part of your life even during a crazy busy season. Going back to the excuses thing, I used to make an excuse for not using the extra time in my day for fitness by thinking to myself, “Is is really worth it for just 30 minutes?” The answer is yes. The fact is, 30 minutes (or even 10) is more than zero minutes. I had to stop making excuses for why I didn’t want to change into my gym clothes and get my butt moving. My favorite ways to sneak in a workout have been a quick hike, a jog around a park near my office or just a brisk walk up and down the street I worked on with a co-worker.

The fact of the matter is we spend our precious time on what we value. We are all busy. Making it a point to prioritize fitness no matter where we are in life is the first step!

How do you guys stick to your fitness goals in your busy lives?

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Boost Your Health: 3 Steps You Can Start Today

sunflower boost health

I think most of us, at least deep down, have a desire to get healthy and stay healthy. It generally isn’t difficult to convince someone that their health is important & worth fighting for. The challenge lies in seeing that desire through in everyday life.

I am a firm believer that being healthy is the result of a series of small steps and decisions & simply the outcome of many, many outputs. It seems like every day I read about something new that can improve my health, change my skin, help me lose those last 5 pesky pounds, etc. There are so many ways to define & achieve “health” that it makes my head spin! Some of the best health advice I’ve received centered around the same basic principles that can help anyone take the first step towards a healthy lifestyle. Below are some of the easiest ways you can start integrating healthier habits into your day-to-day, starting right now:

1. Go outside. No seriously, do it. And when you’re out there, walk around until your heart beats fast. One of the simplest things we can do for our bodies is to feed it what it needs most- oxygen. A perk? It’s remarkable what a brisk walk can do for our mood. Next time you feel overwhelmed at a company meeting or your kids are driving you nuts at home, take 5 minutes and get your heart pumping out in the fresh air! Your coworkers and/or family will thank you for it!

2. Drink more water. This is probably one of the most common health-boosting tips you’ll hear and easily one of the most important.  I’m not the first person to command you to get more h2O into your life, and certainly not the last. I was told recently that an easy way to gauge how much water you should be drinking each day is to take your weight, divide it in half, and pour yourself that many ounces of water in a given day. For myself, I see the biggest difference in my body when I’m NOT drinking the water amount I need: Dry skin, headaches, lack of energy… not worth it. Our bodies are almost 90 percent water and needs it for almost every function.

3. Have fruits & veggies at every meal, if possible. There are so many tasty ways of enjoying healthful vegetables and fruits. You can make your own smoothie at home using bananas, strawberries, blueberries & ice (my favorite). You can toss a delicious green salad with goodies like nuts, berries & feta cheese for lunch. Getting healthy means much more than just cutting bad foods out of your diet…it’s about adding the good stuff in! Anyone who hopes to make long-lasting change to their health should focus more on what habits to add to their life rather than negative habits to beat. The energy you’ll get from trying to add fruits & veggies to most meals will be all it takes to get you hooked!

There are thousands of amazing health tips out there. What are some of the simplest & best steps you’ve taken towards a healthier lifestyle?

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Get to know me: Week 1

What do you do when you’re not blogging?1472087_443607019098439_353719788_n

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve had a hard time doing one thing at a time. My life outside of healthypretty is no different. I’m the type of person who loves being busy & has a hard time actually carving out time to relax. I’m the queen of multitasking and I enjoy every minute of it!

For work: I’ll share a little more in an upcoming post, but until just recently I’ve worked full-time in marketing at several agencies. I’d always wanted to work for myself but had never quite had the courage to make the leap to self-employment. I finally did and now I’m busy doing freelance marketing consulting & project management for small businesses. Feel free to check out my consulting website at www.ariellecottrell.com.

For play: My absolute favorite thing to do outside of work involves spending time with friends & family. My love language is definitely “quality time” so I always find room in my schedule to grab a cup of coffee or glass of wine with a friend, new or old. I also enjoy working out, reading, travelling & cooking healthy meals.

IMG_0296For work/play: One of my longtime loves is dance. Since 2009 I’ve coached a high school dance team, focusing on local & national competitions. There are ups and downs to coaching a team, of course, but I consider it a work/play because I’m getting paid to do what I love and invest in the lives of younger girls.

In addition to everything above, I’m also in school at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, studying to be a certified health coach. I’ll be done in November 2014 and plan to get board certified from AADP (American Association of Drugless Practitioners) and integrate my marketing background with my love for health & nutrition!

 

What do you guys do for work and play?

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