“Monday Recipe: Beef Barley Soup”

beef-barley-soupThis is one of my all-time favorite soups.  I will often use leftover beef after a Sunday dinner but the option to use stewing beef is good as well.  I like it because the ingredients are usually on hand, it gets better each day and it works well for lunch or dinner!
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 2 tbsp butter (or coconut oil, other oil)
  • 2 cups stewing beef, finely chopped
  • 6 cups water
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • 1 28oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1½ cup dry pearl barley ( rinse well)
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  1. In a large soup pot, cook onions, celery and carrots with the butter. Once the onions and celery are tender, about 6-8 minutes, stir in the beef.
  2. Cook, stirring often, until the beef is cooked. This should take another 6-8 minutes.
  3. Add the water, beef broth and diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil and stir in the remaining ingredients.
  4. Let the soup cook at a low rolling boil for 30-45 minutes. The barley should be fully cooked and the beef should be tender.

Source: Steve Cylka, The black Peppercorn

Nutrition per Servings ( Recipe is 12 servings and based on using butter): 190 calories, 4 g Fat, 25g CHO, 12g Protein, 6g Fibre, 4g Sugar, 449 mg Sodium


Lorrie Mickelson M.A., B.A/BPHE, Registered Yoga Teacher, Certified Pilates Instructor, Certified Personal Trainer, Activeoptionsbylorrie@gmail.com.  705 647 2848




Snow Shoveling & Breath

Well winter has arrived! I know that not everyone is a winter lover but this is the north so at some point you have to accept it. I enjoy the winter, mostly, except for those -40 days. Nothing like a sunny crisp day to get outside and enjoy all that snow has to offer. That being said the shoveling season has also arrived. As beautiful as snow is, it is also heavy and often our muscles get quit a workout at the end of a shovel. Learning to breath to maximize your efforts will help make the experience easier on the body and maybe even more joyful!

Engaging your core muscles while shoveling is an important tool to help support your back and shoulders. You can do that with your exhale of the breath. Here is an exercise to help you get in touch your breaths ability to fuel your powerhouse (the core).

Place your hands on the sides of your rib cage and take a deep breath in, feeling your ribs expanding into your hands. As you practice this inhale through the nose notice that the breath also moves into your back ribs. Focus on your inhale until you start to feel your ribs expand.

Next place your hands just below your belly button and observe if you can feel your exhale starting there. Their is a sense of the belly flattening as the exhale is pushed up and out of the body. Focus on your exhale through the mouth until you start to feel that your abdominal wall is helping you to exhale. (don’t work to hard here, and be sure not to over compensate by clenching your butt cheeks or pushing into your groin as you exhale)

Once you feel comfortable with this breath start using it as you shovel. Inhale to dig the shovel in and exhale to lift. You may start to notice that you feel stronger and more efficient shoveling. The snow may even feel lighter on your shovel, imagine that!! Hey what do you to lose!!!!

If you would like to learn more about your breath and Core please visit our website. We offer a wide variety of classes designed to help you move better! http://www.balancedmotionpilatesandyoga.com/



Sherry Morton-Jibb,
PTS. RYT. FIS. HWL (Healthy Eating Weight Loss Coach)
Certified Pilates Mat & Reformer Instructor, Certified Personal Trainer, Registered Yoga Teacher

Sher-Fit Personal Training ,Yoga & Pilates
Cell 705-648-0591



Sweet Potato Fries

I have tried so many sweet potato fry recipes but they are always too soft on the outside. This recipe is a keeper for sure. The fries are crisp on the outside and taste amazing.

Author: My Natural Family

Serves: 6


  • 3 Large Sweet Potatoes
  • 3 tablespoon Arrowroot Starch or Tapioca starch
  • ¾ teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • ¼ teaspoon Paprika
  • ½ teaspoon Coarse Real Salt
  • 2 dashes pepper
  • 1½ tablespoons Fresh Parsley, finely chopped
  • 1½ tablespoons Coconut Oil, in liquid form


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or you can use a pizza stone with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, combine the arrowroot/tapioca starch, garlic powder, paprika, parsley, salt, and pepper. Set aside.

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into thin, long slices, about ¼” thick

Place the sliced sweet potatoes in a bowl, pour the spice/arrowroot mixture on top of the sweet potatoes and toss until well coated.

Drizzle the coconut oil over the potatoes and toss until evenly distributed.

Lay out the sweet potatoes on the parchment lined sheets, spaced out in even layers and not touching, if possible.

Bake on the top racks of the oven for 20 minutes, remove and turn the sweet potatoes over with a spatula, then finish cooking for another 5 minutes.

Fries are done when the flesh starts to look bubbly and turns golden brown in spots.

Note: *Fries are best eaten, and are the most crisp right out of the oven

Nutrition: 93cal, Fat3.6g, carbs 14.2g, Protein .7g, sugar 1.5g


Sherry Morton-Jibb,
PTS. RYT. FIS. HWL (Healthy Eating Weight Loss Coach)
Certified Pilates Mat & Reformer Instructor, Certified Personal Trainer, Registered Yoga Teacher

Sher-Fit Personal Training ,Yoga & Pilates

“Blog Of The Week:  Feeling The Luv!”

Organized religion has never spoken to me in a spiritual way. I am baptized and confirmed (as a young adult) in the Anglican church but I have never connected to the Anglican God within church walls. I see how much comfort and solace some people draw from religion and I respect that. I consider myself to be a spiritual person, but for me, spirituality has always come from elsewhere.

In university I had the good fortune to be taught by Professor Yaroslav Havelka. Both a Psychology professor and artist, Dr. Havelka taught me courses on the Psychology of Creativity and Religion. He was a deeply spiritual man who was truly interested in his students. He spent time outside of class chatting with, theologizing and sometimes almost counselling us. It was he who first helped me understand spirituality and the nature of how it can be both separate from and overlap with religion. On his spiritual journey, as a young Yugoslavian during and after World War II, he had been persecuted and forced to give up his personal religious beliefs to toe the line with “mother party” as he referred to Communism. Finally, he found a way to flee his beloved homeland and loved ones in order to preserve his choices and beliefs. He was somewhat embittered by the isolation from his family (this was late 1980’s during the Cold War) but he was pivotal for helping me and my fellow undergrads as we tried to sort out our own beliefs, our sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves and our search for meaning in life.

I always feel the most spiritual while in nature. The times when I have felt the deepest connection to something bigger than the self I have been experiencing something extraordinary in the natural world: a sky full of stars or the huge bright full moon of this month; witnessing the dance of Northern Lights; countless sunsets (more often than sunrises for me); cloud formations; vast expanses of water plus the power of waves and weather; the spectacular underwater world of coral reefs; the quiet of old growth forests; and the majesty of mountains and most recently canyons.

If we are friends on Facebook you may have seen some pics from a recent vacation to Arizona. I tried my best to photograph the overwhelming beauty of our settings but the pics didn’t really cover it. The vistas were unbelievably awesome. Even though I know zillions of others have been there too it felt incredibly personal for me in the moment. The connectedness of experiencing it with my best friend only deepened the feelings of peace, gratitude and inspiration. That, to me, felt deeply spiritual.

But… it is good to be home. How lucky are we to live in Northern Ontario? Here, we don’t need to travel too far to be enveloped by amazing natural settings and experiences if you seek them. And furthermore, we have the gift of freedom to choose how we think, where we go and what we believe in. In the current international and political world, more than ever I am so grateful to be living where we do. I have lost touch with Dr. Havelka over the years, but I sincerely hope he has been able to reconnect with his family since the end of the Cold War.

Look after each other and your world.


Lisa Goddard, BA, BScOT, Certified Pilates Mat & Reformer Instructor-Owner, HWL Coach

“Recipe Of The Week: Jalepeno Garlic Cornbread Muffins”

Gluten free & vegetarian (serves 12)

(Source: Sage Magazine, October 2016)


Jalapeño’s signature bite only serves to elevate these wholesome gluten-free cornbread muffins. They would make a different and tasty addition to brunch (especially Heuvos Rancheros) or any number of hearty soups or stews. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can make a substitute using lemon juice and milk. Add 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice to a one cup measuring cup. Top lemon juice with milk, stir, and let sit for two minutes. For a lactose-free as well as a lower fat option, substitute the cheese with nutritional yeast and use lactose-free milk to create your soured milk. The nutrition info has been calculated with both the cheese called for an half that amount to compare.



1 ¼ cup yellow cornmeal

3/4 cup all purpose gluten-free flour

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

½ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

2 large organic eggs

1 cup low-fat buttermilk

2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced

3 garlic cloves, grated or very finally minced

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil

1/3 cup – 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese



Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a large bowl, whisk together cornmeal, gluten-free flour, honey, thyme, salt, baking powder and baking soda.

In a separate bowl lightly beat eggs and whisk in buttermilk, jalapeño, garlic and oil. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and fold in cheese.

Divide batter among 12 standard sized greased or paper-lined muffin cups. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out nearly clean, about 18 minutes. Let cool for five minutes before unmoulding.


Nutritional Value (per muffin using 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese): Calories: 144, Fat: 6.5g, Carbs: 19.4g, Protein: 3.6g: Fibre: 1.2g


Nutritional Value (per muffin using 2/3cup of Parmesan cheese): Calories: 149, Fat: 6.8g, Carbs: 19.7g, Protein: 4g, Fibre: 1.3g

Lisa Goddard, BA, BScOT, Certified Pilates Mat & Reformer Instructor-Owner, HWL Coach

“Feeling a Little Pooped this Week?  How Yoga can Help!”


You would think that our bodies would be loving this “extra” hour so what’s up with being soooo tired this week?     By now, if you have been following some of my blogs, you know I am a huge fan of routine.  Turns out, our bodies are huge fans of routine as well.   Every system in our body has a clock and a rhythm .  Our bodies and our brains are most content when they  know what is coming next and this is everything from what and when we eat,  when we poop ( loving this word in this blog), when we  take our medications, when we exercise, when we go to  bed, get up etc.   So an hour can make quite a difference.  Some people breeze through these time changes but some people need a little time to transition.  If you are like me and need a little time to transition here are some tips to try:

1)  Keep your routine as regular as possible – going to bed and getting up at the same time, eating at regular times and even exercising around the same time.    

2)  Get out in the sunshine or at least daylight for 30 minutes every day to manage that serotonin/melatonin connection.  You may also want to consider a SAD light this time of year.

3)  November is Nap month ( not really…I just made this up but I like it). Take advantage of the darkness and greyness of this month to nestle in to your couch and read a good book on the weekend .  Even grab a  nap when you can.  To not affect your sleep try no more than 30 minutes and before 3:00 p.m. 

4)  Start your day with Meditation – just 10 breaths focussing on your inhalations and exhalations is all you need to get started.  It helps to set the tone for  your day. 

5)  Do a few cat/cows (standing or on all 4’s) to get your digestion going for the day. 

6)  Make sure you have changed all of your clocks.  Full disclosure – I have not changed the clock in my truck yet as my son has not been in my truck since the time change to do that for me.

7)  Be kind to yourself – allow at least  2 weeks to manage this time change. 

Good luck and we will talk again in the Spring…….


 Lorrie Mickelson M.A., B.A/BPHE, Registered Yoga Teacher, Certified Pilates Instructor, Certified Personal Trainer, activeoptionsbylorrie@gmail.com  705 647 2848



“Recipe Of The Week: Meatball Soup”

Meatball Soup (10 Servings)

Source: Jessica Seinfeld , Deceptively Delicious

This is a real comfort food. If I’m short on time or don’t have vegetable purées I finely chopped the carrot and sweet potato, raw, in the food processor – it works just as well.


* Since I purchased this cookbook a few years ago, I have been roasting, pureeing then freezing my squash, sweet potato, carrots and other veggies in 1/4 cup portions in freezer bags. They can then be added to my sauces, soups, casseroles and baking all year long. This is great way to “sneak” more veggies in to everything. Shhh….don’t tell!



3 ounces whole wheat pasta ( or your favorite pasta)

Nonstick cooking spray

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, with their juice

¼ cup carrot purée *

3 cups reduced fat low sodium beef or chicken broth

3 slices whole wheat bread, cubed ( or gluten free bread or breadcrumbs)

1 large egg, lightly beaten

¼ cup squash purée *

¼ cup nonfat (skim) milk

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan, plus more for serving

¼ teaspoon pepper

¼ teaspoon paprika

½ pound lean ground turkey



Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water according to package directions until al dente. Drain in a colander and set aside.

Coat a large pot with cooking spray and set it over medium high heat. When the pot is hot, add the oil and then the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until the onion is softened but not browned, 3 to 4 minutes.

Purée the tomatoes and their juice with the carrot purée in a food processor or blender, then add to the pot along with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add the broth, reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile put the bread in a large bowl. Add the egg, squash purée, milk, Parmesan, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and paprika, and let soak until the bread is very soft. Stir to break up the bread, add the ground turkey, and mix until smooth. Form into mini meatballs ½ inch in diameter.

Add the meatballs to the pot. Simmer, covered, until the meatballs are no longer pink in the centre, 12 to 15 minutes. Stir in the pasta. Serve sprinkled with Parmesan.

Nutritional Value (per serving): Calories: 125, Fat: 3.9g, Carbs: 13.4g, Protein: 9g, Fibre: 2.1g.

*Carrot Purée (1/4 cup): Calories: 14, Fat: 0.1g, Carbs: 3.2g, Protein: 0.3g, Fibre: 0.3g.

*Squash Purée (1/4 cup): Calories: 21, Fat: 0.1g, Carbs: 5.4g, Protein: 0.4g, Fibre: 1.7g.

Lorrie Mickelson Registered Yoga Teacher, Certified Pilates Instructor, Certified Personal Trainer, M.A., B.A/BPHE

Love the Skin Your In

I have been reading a book recently titled “embody” Learning to Love your unique Body ( and quiet that critical voice!) by Connie Sobczak. You know that voice I’m talking about, the one that tells you your not enough, everything you own in your closet looks horrible, you should lose weight, your getting old and on and on it goes. What your critical voice says may be different but in the end it’s all the same, self doubt, self hatred, and self criticism. This book talks about connecting to your intuitive wisdom, in all areas of your life and practicing positive self care.

It has taken me decades literally to come to a place where I love the skin I am in. I am not perfect by any means nor do I claim to have all the answers, but I do know this right here, right now I am good and I have a peaceful relationship with my body. I rest when I need to (most recent recognition of my intuitive wisdom), I eat foods that provide good nutrition, fuel, empower my body and are right for me. I exercise regularly and chose activities that bring me joy and make me feel good about me. Setting boundaries with those I care about, that ensure I practice positive self care on a daily basis. After all if I am going to be teaching my clients about self love & care I better be practicing it!

I love this quote from Embody, “Imagine living in a world where people of all ages possess genuine self-love and experience their own authentic beauty-where compassion overcomes self-criticism, and having an appetite for life is both honored and valued.”

The author Connie Sobczak co-founded The Body Positive, non-profit organization that helps adults, teens and children turn away from body dissatisfaction and self-criticism to live with joy and purpose. Here is the link to the Body Positive site if you want to check it out thebodypositive.org/what-we-do


Sherry Morton-Jibb, PTS. RYT. FIS. HWL Certified Pilates Mat & Reformer Instructor, Owner of Sher-Fit Personal Training, Yoga & Pilates