Archive for October 2011

H3 Recipe: Severed Finger Sugar Cookies

These are perfect for Halloween parties! They’re finger licking good!


1/2 cup Apple butter

1/2 cup Butter, unsalted

1 cup Powdered sugar                   

1 each Egg   

1 teaspoon Vanilla extract

1 cup Whole wheat flour

1 3/4 cup All purpose flour

1 teaspoon Baking powder

1/4 teaspoon Salt

1/4 cup Almonds, sliced

1/4 cup Strawberry jam


  • In a large bowl, beat the butter and apple butter until creamy. Mix in the sugar, egg and vanilla.
  • In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients: all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Add the dry mixture to the sugar mixture.
  • Preheat oven to 325° F 
  • Using your hands roll a tablespoon of dough into a finger shape. Place the “fingers” on a greased cookie tray.  Stick a sliced almond on the end of each finger for the fingernails. Use a table knife to make three indents for the knuckles.
  • Bake until lightly golden, about 17 to 20 minutes.  Transfer to a rack to cool.
  • In a small sauce pan, cook the strawberry jam over low heat until it reaches a thin consistency. Remove from the heat and dip the “severed” end of each cookie into the sauce.

Yield: 40 servings,

Serving Size: 1 tablespoon uncooked cookie dough

Nutritional info: 60 calories

Fat:  3 grams



Coaching Corner: Try something new for 30 days

As October comes to an end, I find myself asking that very same question … where did the month go? Whether we like it or not, it seems that life tends to get faster and the weeks roll by even quicker. I’m one of those people hwo always must stay busy so when I stumbled across this recent TED Talk by Matt Cutts, I said to myself ‘this is what I can add!’

Have you ever had that one thing that you’ve always wanted to implement as part of your lifestyle? That one thing that’s on your growing to-do list but never gets accomplished? For me, I know I need to find more time to not only relax, but reflect on my life. With this goal in mind, I’ve been working on adding beach walks once per day—no cell phone interference, music or anything—just me. I make sure to hit this walk first thing in the morning with a cup of coffee or later into the evening before its time for bed.

The beach walk is my first 30 day challenge and I totally have confidence that this small change will become sustainable. Check out Matt’s talk and let me know what you think. You may find that when November starts this coming Wednesday, you’ll be adding your own 30 day challenge!



Benefits of adding something new for 30 days:

  • You’ll remember every month and it won’t just pass you by
  • The to-do-list veteran will finally be crossed off
  • It can build your self-confidence
  • Monthly small changes will lead to sustainable changes

In addition to the video, check out HabitForge, a cool website that keeps the accountability of something you’re adding to your lifestyle through a simple email every day.



Halloween Tricks, Treats and Good Eats!

There are so many great things about the Halloween season; from the decorations, to the change in weather and making chili.  Let’s not forget that ever tempting Halloween candy….yikes it’s everywhere!  Here are a few good tricks on the Halloween candy along with some better Halloween treats that are just as good eats!

Here is trick number One!

  1. Do not buy the candy in the first place….real easy uh?
  2. If you buy candy, buy a candy bar not a bag of candy that then sits on the counter that you walk by frequently.  Place a bowl of grapes there instead. 
  3. Never keep the candy where you can see it.
  4. Try making an H3 sweet instead for your Halloween Fix!
  5. Always Remember Unwise, Better, Best!  Yes, it only comes around once a year but a bowl of Kit Kat’s will make a difference every year!

Halloween Treats!

Make sure these tempting treats don’t set you back in your healthy lifestyle. Eat quality treats that perhaps make more of a dent in your satisfaction then 8 little pieces of candy that will add up to one big lump sum of extra calories that you don’t feel.  Remember they are called treats for a reason, so eat them sparingly but do enjoy the quality lower fat H3 sweet treat items! 

Stay calorie SAFE :-)



Friday Fitness: Less Time, More Intensity

Now that the days are getting shorter, you may find it more difficult to fit a full workout into your day. It’s important to take the shorter days into consideration when planning your workouts for the week—if not, you could use the late mornings and early nights as an excuse to break your fitness routine. I like to split up my routine and do half outside while it’s still nice out and the other half inside when it gets dark. This way I can still enjoy exercising outdoors.

Now might also be the time to look for a gym with hours that work with your schedule. Group fitness classes are a great way to get in your cardio/strength and are also a great place to meet new people. Always remember to have a backup plan in case you don’t have time for a full workout—just remember that something is better than nothing. If you’re running short on time, try shortening your workout but increasing intensity. A quick 30 minute full body circuit routine incorporates both strength and cardiovascular training.

Here’s a quick 30 minute Strength routine:

Exercise Reps
Warm Up- Jump rope, Jumping Jacks, Jog in Place 5 minutes
Bench Squats 12 to 15
Dumbbell Chest Press 12 to 15
Bench Step Ups 12 to 15
Calf Raises 12 to 15
Dumbbell Tricept Kickbacks 12 to 15
*Repeat 2-3 times with a 2-3 minute rest between sets
Cool Down- Walk 5 minutes




Your Magic Cape


Do you ever feel like you are wearing this magical cape that allows you to take on more responsibility than should be humanly possible?  You’re making dinner for the kids, finishing your 7th load of laundry, writing your grocery list, preparing a gift basket for your friend’s wedding, and when all that’s done, it’s bath time, bedtime, downtime with your wife or hubby and finally you have to prepare for the next day… whew!

Sometimes we demand more of ourselves than we should.  This can lead to functioning on overdrive, which eventually burns you out.  It can also lead to resentment for the mere feeling that no one cares about our overwhelming responsibility.  Just like we have to practice a sport, playing an instrument or learning a new language, we must also practice asking for help.  Why is that so hard for some of us?

  • Do you struggle with feeling it should be under your umbrella of responsibility? 
  • Do you feel it won’t get done “right” if you don’t do it yourself?
  • Do you underestimate the responsibilities on your shoulders and how much time they account for?
  • Do you do so much “doing” for others because that is the main way you show love?

Asking for what we want or need is a skill that takes practice.  You can start with something small, like asking for a glass of water.  That’s not an outrageous request, right?  When we struggle with this skill, we also tend to struggle with feeling guilty when we can’t take care of something (whether it is big or small). 

You’re goal today is to practice asking for something you need or want.  And then… don’t feel guilty about it.  Practice makes perfect… well, almost. :-)



Get H3 Inspired – Janine Serell


Over the last 20 years I have gone to a variety of spas, usually once per year to help kick start my focus on living healthier. Though I have been to other places more than once, H3 is the only place I have continued to visit time and time again—and I plan to continue visiting from here on out.

I first came to H3 in November of 2009 for one week. I didn’t really have specific goals before coming the first time; I was simply hoping to get back on track with my health.  I didn’t know it at the time, but it turned out goal setting was something I found I needed to work on. In just one week at H3, I left 4 pounds lighter, with achievable and realistic goals for my health and a game plan for my return home. While the exercise classes were all great, the real benefits for me were the lectures and the one-on-ones I shared with my Health Habit Coach. Goal Setting, Body Image and Developing Your Week One Action Plan were lectures that truly stuck with me and that I continue to attend every trip back to H3. My Health Habit Coach taught me how to set realistic and achievable goals, which I am proud to say I actually followed through with.

One of the other great aspects of H3 is how much all the participants learn from one another. The conversations during meals of people’s experiences and journey’s have inspired me beyond losing weight; to ask myself what do I want to spend my time and money on? What brings me joy? How can I get out of the rat race or find a better balance to it all?

Before my first visit, I sprained my ankle 2 weeks prior to arrival so I thought I would be limited on the classes I could participate in ….which turned out to be one of those great blessings in disguise. Really, my only apprehension was that my sprained ankle would stop me from getting all the benefits of the program, but it didn’t take long for me to realize I had no need to worry. Since I had a hurt ankle, I spent most of the week in the pool. It reminded me how much I enjoyed being in the water—I found my passion for swimming while at H3.

To me, my newfound love for swimming turned out to be the most important thing I gained from my H3 experience because from that point on I decided I would only do exercises that brought me joy. When I returned home, the first thing I did was join a gym with a pool and started swimming. I had never swum competitively before, just recreationally as a kid. But, by January I had signed up to do a one mile swim in July 2010 to keep me focused on my goal…shockingly for a very successful person, I had really never had a goal before. In July 2010 I swam that 1 mile in the Hudson River in 38 minutes – my first race of any kind ever.

I have continued to come back to H3 ever since my first visit a couple years ago and each time it’s a different experience. The last time I attended the 3-Day Boot Camp Workshop…something I considered a stretch because I knew it would be difficult, but I gave it a try and loved it! I formed a bond with the people participating in the Workshop with me—it was great having the same group the whole time and being able to count on one another because we were all stronger and weaker at different things. It felt really great seeing that I was in good enough shape to keep up with the group…the previous year’s work had really paid off in what I could enjoy doing.

In the last two years I have made the following changes in my life, many of which were inspired and supported by my time and the great staff at H3!:

  • Quit a 35 year pack-a-day smoking habit in September 2010
  • I am 30 lbs less than the first time I went to H3 (I’m working on the next 30)
  • Swam from Brooklyn to Manhattan under the Brooklyn Bridge
  • Bought a beautiful road bike—I haven’t gone more than 20 miles but am enjoying riding it without hands while singing off key (it’s NYC, so comparatively speaking it’s not that crazy)
  • In June 2011, I swam around the Statue of Liberty in 33 minutes
  • Took up running on December 31, 2010 (didn’t want it to be the New Years Day fall by the wayside cliché)
  • And, my biggest accomplishment to date…on September 24, 2011, I swam 10k (6.2 miles) in the Hudson in 2 hours and 45 minutes!

So those are just some of the milestones during my journey in the last 2 years with H3.
Janine Serell; New York, NY




Carving Out Your Mantra


What's your sign?

Fall represents change to me. The transition from summer into winter, baseball to football, light sun-kissed veggies replaced by hearty soups and spiced fall flavors. The symbolism for change surrounds us with breathtaking saffron, amber and ginger-hued leaves rustling in cool breezes.

As the autumn engulfs us, it’s a splendid time to start reflecting on our own transformation. What mantra do we want to herald as a symbol of our journey? What change do we want to make that will shape the decisions we plan for the upcoming year. How do we want to be represented?

A new take on an old Halloween tradition, pumpkin carving, is the backdrop for the answer to all the above questions. Take time to explore or develop a symbol that represents your new mantra or identity-quest. In the spirit of the season, carve out your symbol in a hollowed-out pumpkin and ceremoniously illuminate it with a votive. Use this representational project to mark the beginning, and your commitment, to your chosen journey. Projects, such as this one, are a wonderful way to give visual and artistic meaning to your intended transformation. It takes the quest from living only in your mind to interacting with all your senses.

To represent my identity quest, I have chosen the Thunderbird, a symbol originated by Native American Indians. The Thunderbird is the Sacred Bearer of Happiness Unlimited. Thus, my new mantra is Happiness Unlimited. I can’t wait to carve it out and let the light shine through.

If you want a few ideas for symbols that represent your quest, look at the list below…

  The tortoises is emblematic of steadfast effort and eventual, inevitable success.

 The eagle is a symbol of action, a lofty spirit, intelligence and judiciousness. 

  The Celtic symbol for Inner Strength.

  The Chinese symbol representing Serenity.

What will your symbol be? I would love to see your finished project. Send me a photo and description to




H3 Recipe: Pumpkin Spice Cake



¼ cup Canola oil

1 each Egg

1 ounce Egg beaters

2 cups            Pumpkin puree

1 ½ cups Sugar

2 ½ cups All purpose flour

2/3 cup Non-fat yogurt

1 teaspoon Vanilla extract, pure

1 teaspoon Baking soda

1 teaspoon Nutmeg, ground

1 teaspoon Allspice, ground

1 ½ teaspoons Cinnamon, ground

1 teaspoon Cloves, ground

¼ teaspoon Salt


Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces Fat free cream cheese

½ cup Confectioners sugar

½ cup Skim milk

1 teaspoon Vanilla extract, pure


  • Preheat oven to 350° F
  • In mixing bowl, add all wet ingredients together
  • In a separate bowl, mix all dry ingredients
  • Slowly add dry mix to wet mix, and mix until all ingredients are well combined.
  • Spray baking pan, or cup cake pans, with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Then, use ¼ cup scoops for each cup cake or if making a full cake, just spread batter in the bottom of the pan evenly.
  • Bake in oven for about 20-25 minutes for the cake and 15-20 minutes for the cup cake tins.
  •  When done, put on counter to cool for five minutes.  Then, invert the pan and flip cake or take cup cakes out. 
  • When cooled, cut through the center of the cakes the long way, take off the top.  Then spread fat free cream cheese frosting over each mini cake or the full cake.
  • Then top with fat free cool whip or whipped topping.  (Optional).


Number of Servings: 18 cup cakes or 1/18 piece

Serving Size: 1 each, ½ cup cooked

Calories: 150 w/o frosting, 180 with

Fat Grams: 3.5 w/o frosting, 4 with



Self-Care and Love


SELF. This is one of our foundational components here at Hilton Head Health. It stands for:  Stress management, Longevity, Empowerment, Fulfillment.

Think SELF-esteem, SELF-care, SELF-love… and remember that none of these things equate to selfish.  Loving and caring for yourself allows you to better care for and love those around you.  The investment in SELF insures that we are offering our best selves to the world. It means being able to show up for your life in a better way.

Wellcoaches defines self-care as a way of living that incorporates behaviors that enable one to maintain personal health and balance, replenish energy and motivation, and grow as a person.

This is an important and often overlooked component to living a healthy, balanced life. Our culture teaches us that we are successful only if we are always busy and on the move. Those seen as successful are often times the ones you look at and wonder when/if they ever sleep.

Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.

This is a great quote by businessman Herman Cain, but it can be applied beyond the realm of work and our lives. We will be successful if we have love and positivity around us, and invest in our health. It changes our mood as well as how we react to the world and events in our life. All of this comes down to how we take care of ourselves. Know that you are worth the care. So go ahead and follow the steps below for setting up a self-care plan and set yourself up for success by being at your best.

Creating a self-care plan

The best way to start a self-care plan is to take an inventory of those actions or things we can do to bring peace and harmony to our lives. Take a few minutes to sit down and write out your ideal day. If you could take one full day to yourself to do the things you enjoy doing or know are good for you, what would you do? Make a list. Below you will find an outline of your day. Fill in self-care options for each time.

Some examples of self-care activities include: organizing your space, taking a bath, watching the sunrise/sunset, listening to music, drinking sparkling water, practicing 10 minutes of yoga, quiet time, getting a pedicure, reading a book for pleasure, exercising, journaling, eating a healthy meal, getting a massage, going for a walk or reading the newspaper. This is the fun part, you get to list all the things that you enjoy and build you up.

  • Wake up time
  • Morning self-care activities
  • Breakfast
  • Early afternoon self-care activities
  • Lunch
  • Late afternoon self-care activities
  • Dinner
  • Evening self-care activities
  • Bedtime
  • Anything additional *

Keep this list close by your computer, next to your bed or on the fridge. Whenever you have a few moments to yourself or are having a difficult day, turn to this list. Pick one of the activities that you have time for. There are always options; taking just a few moments to put yourself in a better place can have a huge impact on your day!

*Adapted from article by Jenny Sansouci



Kitchen Basics


When it comes to kitchen gadgets, keep it simple. There are several unnecessary tools and gadgets available for almost every task in the kitchen. However, for everyday cooks looking to put a delicious meal together, you really only need the basics.  Sticking to the basics will help you save money and cabinet space.

1. Sheet Pan: This works for almost everything from roasted pork tenderloin to H3 Pita Pizzas.

2. Strainer: Use your strainer to double as a steamer.  When boiling pasta set the strainer on top of your sauce pot and put any of your favorite vegetables in the strainer, this will steam your vegetables without dirtying any extra dishes.

3. Spatula: The spatula is my go to utensil. It will help you scrape your bowl clean and it is great for cooking when making anything such as the H3 Marinara or even eggs.

4. Scoops: Not ice cream scoops, portioning scoops! Scoops are excellent when counting your calories. Use a scoop when portioning out your rice for dinner or mashed potatoes.

5. Sautee pan: A medium sauté pan will work for almost anything; Ground turkey breast, searing chicken, sautéing vegetables, or making your morning scrambled eggs. Also, you do not have to go out and by a meat mallet this sauté pan will work just as well.

6. Sauce Pot: A medium sauce pot is necessary for any sauces or boiling pasta, potatoes, or vegetables.

7. Chef’s Knife: Don’t be afraid of a sharp knife! The sharper the safer!

8. Plastic Storage Containers: Plastic storage containers are your ticket to a healthy weekly meal plan.  Use your day off to whip up your entire week of dinners. Portion out each meal in a plastic container and freeze what you will not use that week. Eventually your freezer will be stocked full of good healthy meal options.

9. Cutting board: A 15×20 inch sized cutting board will do. Too small of a cutting board and your good prep will be falling off of the board. 

10. Tongs: Tongs are an extension of your hand. These are great for grilling or flipping proteins.

11. Measuring Cups and Spoons: Measuring cups and spoons are a must for a first time cook. These tools will ensure an accurate recipe.

12. Mixing Bowls: You will always need a mixing bowl, 3 different sizes will be plenty.

13. Scissors: Scissors come in handy everyday. They will help assist you in cleaning a chicken breast or cutting open the frozen vegetable bag.

14. Meat Thermometer: A meat thermometer is a must! Unfortunately, too often we overcook our meat.  Using a meat thermometer will avoid overcooked, dry meat.

15. Blender: If you are looking for a piece of equipment, a blender will do the most. You could easily use a blender for smoothies, salsa or, if you caught my post from earlier this week, H3’s Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese.

Now you’re all set! Start cooking!



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