2 Life Happiness Hacks for 2015

Yesterday marked our 7 year anniversary! Seven years people! That’s seven years of chasing this Crazy Cotter Triathlon dream. That’s 7 years of ups, downs, triumphs, and frustrations. What’s even crazier is that my husband has been racing pro since 2006. Almost a decade of HARD training and perseverance.

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But last year…. oye! Last year was year was a doozy, a true test of our marriage and faith. When you work so hard for a dream, sometimes you spread yourself so thin you forget the one REAL purpose of that dream. TO LIVE LIFE to the FULLEST together! No amount of money can make that happen. It is, in fact,… PRICELESS.

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This year things are looking different. We haven’t give up, we shifted focus. Maybe that’s where you are too.

A healthy dose of reality can do you that to you, ya know? And although it may be hard to swallow at first, it’s really a wake up call to change your (our) perspective on life. One that opens yours eyes THRIVING versus striving. Even if that means letting go of one dream to embrace another.

This year we’re focusing on 2 LIFE HAPPINESS HACKS.

Thanks to Tony Robinson for the inspiration!

Trade your expectations for appreciations

Instead of expecting to be rewarded for hard work (in our passions and in our BIG dreamin’), maybe we need to just focus on how grateful we are for the opportunity we had to live and share our passions. The places we went, the people we met, the support system that believed in us!

This year the Cotters are focusing on one last race (for my husband) and grateful that he will still be able to coach and stay in the triathlon field when he retires. That being said, this last IRONMAN race is in New Zealand, where we can visit family. No expectations, just appreciation for the ability to be there! Sherpa wife too! And who knows, maybe it will bring us to another path … UNEXPECTEDLY.

“It’s when we’re grateful that we feel rich and wealthy, regardless of how our lives look.”

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Where focus goes, energy flows

“whatever we pay more attention to in our lives grows”

Last year we had ONE focus, but it lead to us working about 5 different jobs. I know you can probably relate to this too. One focus to WORK WORK WORK and SAVE SAVE SAVE. Well, sometimes that one HYPER focus can make you lose ALL focus on what is truly important. And it can suck your energy dry too. I personally felt that way!

Note to self: Don’t say yes to ALL things, say YES to the BEST thing.

Which brings us here. This blog. It’s my second job. The only other job I have now besides being a wife. Which is the most important job  to me right now! Our energy is focused on supporting each other. My energy is focused on being Sherpa (one that supports and guides) to my husband, to others, and to continue to share in this PATH to health, wellness, and more. Prepare to see more of that, including healthy bites, and recipes!

The kiwi (my husband) is focused on redefining his career (or potentially starting another). Either way, it’s 2 things, not 10! And we’re ready to LIFE hack our way to happiness.

newness Keep it simple and choose wisely. I choose to simply be grateful and let God do the rest.

What are your life HAPPINESS hacks for 2015? 

Cheers!

LC

 

 

The Sum of Small Efforts, Repeated….

The past month I’ve seen a certain word everywhere. I’ve heard it, read it, thought it, absorbed it.

So what the heck is this word?

Smallness (in life).

Sometimes feeling small in a BIG world is where God needs you to be so you can gain strength, grow, and support others.

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We (Crazy Cotters) often feel small trying to figure out this DREAM, this JOURNEY. The past injuries and health issues left us feeling downsized. I guess you could say we felt like we lost our “value” in this BIG DREAM of ours. One that we worked so hard to achieve.

But you know what?

Our downsizing led us to a more valuable approach to health, life, and marriage. It helped us focus on taking SMALL steps.

Small steps that will hopefully lead to success; success in our every day ambitions and in our relationship.

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But what about other passions, the ones we still YEARN for?

I often feel small among other amazing food bloggers or fitness bloggers. But that small feeling is not one that is invaluable, but more amazed with the GREATNESS and support of this community. And to be honest, I don’t think I’m suppose to strive towards becoming a “successful” blogger. I think I’m suppose to strive towards being a JOYFUL and GENUINE blogger and let God to plan that rest.

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Oh how tricky that can be at times, because we all want to “feel” successful. I blame it on this built in need to be valued, whether it be in our jobs, our fitness, our hobbies/passions, or our in humanness. And smallness (to most) does not add up to great value.

Or does it?

What if we did small things. A lot. Wouldn’t that add up? Wouldn’t that be VALUABLE? Wouldn’t that lead to more internal Success?

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Yes, yes it would. –> EVERY DAY SMALL VICTORIES –> THEY COUNT!

Small things like send a kind note or text to a friend.

Small things like saying thank you and “I appreciate you!”

Small things like listening to someone, even when we feel like we don’t have the time.

Small things like being JOYFUL. Yes, that actually can bring SO MUCH value to our lives and yet, all it takes is a small smile and word of encouragement.

So what if you are not in the place you expected be in life right now. What if you feel small in a world of BIG DREAMS?

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I say smallness is the start to greatness!

Let’s strive for that, shall we?

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Cheers!

Corny Cotter, Sherpa Wife, Small Victory Seeker.

 

The OVER FIXING Syndrome

I had it all planned out, drafted and all. I wanted to share a post about core. Heck, even the kiwi spent part of his weekend taking pictures for his “foundation” routine. Yes, we had a plan. He was going to share his routine and then I was going add it to my core post. Brilliant! Go TEAM COTTER.

And then I tried to “fix” a few things and add more plugins/widgets to his site for him. I call this “OVER FIXING” syndrome. Well, I ended up deleting the whole post by installing a faulty plugin. To top it off, I also crashed his site. Ha! Death of the white screen.

Luckily, he’s pretty easy going so he didn’t care. But I did! Why did I try to fix what was working just fine before? Why did I try to tidy up what probably was better left, untidy?

Read this devotional.

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And it hit me. I have so many untidy spaces that I often want to fix up or just delete. But maybe it’s time to embrace the untidy and real places. That’s pretty bold, yes?

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What if we didn’t try to OVER fix or meals? You know, the “no filter needed” meals? But instead, kept it simple, delicious, and nourishing? Rice, and lentils and curry. Ugly, but good.

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What if we stopped trying to OVER fix our health? Maybe we are on the right track anyway, why overcomplicate? Shouldn’t we just learn to keep it simple and enjoy it?

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Now, you know I am all about gut health and healing, but I also have learned that FOOD shouldn’t consume our every thought and stress us out more, yes? I’m taking my own advice here.

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What if we stopped trying to fix our schedules and cram everything in? What if we were able to get stuck in more good moments? No need to delete those!

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What if we stopped trying to fix or redo the past? What we should have done or could have done?

What if we started MAKING things new today?

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What if we stopped trying to change each other? In our marriages, relationships, etc.? What if we didn’t try to delete the what GOD created that person (including ourselves) to be?

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There’s my thinking out loud, a day early but that’s okay, I won’t fix it.

Let’s embracing the UNTIDY! No delete or fix it button necessary.

;-)

Cheers,

LC

Motivation Monday – Choosing Contentment

Choosing Contentment

One of the most memorable words of advice I ever received was from a clinical nutritionist and doctor that I highly respect. He said to say thank you in every situation/circumstance and FOR every situation/circumstance. Life is a gift, learn to see it as one.

Easier said than done, yes? Well, he also said that we must be a good steward of our bodies. We must do what we can to take care of it.

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Now, combine those two thoughts together. What does that ultimately boil down to?

THIS –> An attitude of gratitude, letting go of control in certain circumstances, and finding contentment in the heart of all matter.

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That’s where we begin to live.

Ever since I wrote about “stressing over and stress” and “needing more than one rest day,” I’ve had this on my mind. Why? Because I believe God uses us in our weaknesses.

Stress, Relationships, Health, Financial strains… they can all be part of our weaknesses. They can all CONTROL us because we are trying so HARD to control them.

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And I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve fallen into that control trap.

But what if we shifted focus? Instead of allowing our weaknesses to control us, what if we thanked them. Like the advice above. Then that weakness loses its grip on us and becomes CONTENTMENT.

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I speak of this today is because our circumstances changed not once, but twice within the past 24 hours. The kiwi and I both thought we’d be hanging up our BIG DREAM and looking for real 9-5 jobs. I could have sat there and stressed, knowing quite well that my body would react to it. I could have sat there screamed/cussed (oops, yes, that has happened), knowing that I would regret my reaction. And in return I’d stress more over the fact that I reacted poorly.

My stomach was in knots and I had a choice to choose… REACT with STRESS, or…stop, pray, ask God for peace and thank Him for the good we already have in our lives.

I chose the latter, I chose contentment. And little did I know that HE would answer prayers within the next 8 hrs.

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CONTENTMENT is within us if we choose to find it and accept it. Will you?

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Cheers to a Marvelous Monday!

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Oh, I almost forgot. I wanted to share this article about stress and letting the body heal  by  out Andrea Beaman. I think many will find it helpful.

Corny Cotter

p.s.

New Healthy Bites recipe, giveaway, and more workouts coming later this week. I think they will make you content. ;p

“Stressing Over Stress is What Makes Stress so Stressful”

Welcome Marvelous Monday! I think I should start off by explaining last week’s RESTING more than a day post. Yes, I closed comments for that post so that we could all rest. But I also did it because I knew I would want to respond to comments and engage in good conversation if I left them open. And to be honest, I had enough on my plate last week; I didn’t want to “stress” over not responding. Make sense?

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Now let’s touch base on this topic of rest and stress.

Another reason why I physically rested more last week was because I was starting to feel overwhelmed and stressed with certain life things and work. You see, everyone deals with stress differently. Most will take find stress relief with working out, running, or some other form of endorphin high.

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But me? Well, when I feel stress/anxious/overwhelmed, my body breaks down. I’ve learned this the hard way. And the last thing I NEED to do when I feel stressed is ..

  1. Workout at the same extent I normally do (trail running, strength, etc).
  2. Stress over stress

Something had to give. And since I wasn’t in control of certain other stressors, I needed to give up (or back off) the one stress that I was in control of; the physical stress (workouts).

Now, that’s not to say I was overtraining, I wasn’t. But, any type of stress (good or bad) over time can take a toll on your body and feel like it’s run a marathon.

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Is exercise bad for everyone during stress? HECK no! It’s a great stress relief and stress manager. Except for me…. at this time in my life.

The best way for me to manage my stress is to be more intentional about my activity and my thoughts.

Laugh, walk, get outdoors, yoga, spend time with my husband/family, and spend more time reading my bible.

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Did that happen? Yes and no.

I’d say 5-7 days it did. Which is pretty good for me.

And today?

Well, I feel much more MARVELOUS and RESTED! Ready to keep CLIMB  ON!

Photo: When you slip, remind your heart of this...http://bit.ly/1cB7aNV

To understand more about stress and the body, I recommend reading a few of my favorite links:

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Okay, now I’d love to talk. What are your thoughts on stress and physical activity? 

Cheers,

LC

Bolder Blogging: Why I will never have a perfect Blog

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These are my truths. These are my imperfections. And these reasons why my blog will never be perfect.

  • I don’t post every day.
  • I’m pretty the grammar Gods frown upon me with each post.
  • I don’t have the best food photography skills –> but at least they are improving.

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  • I’ve had a light box (for food photography) since last year and haven’t even used it.
  • I just had to drop out of a relay running race.
  • I still don’t feel like running much, still needing that mental break. Trails and hiking will always be needed though.

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  • I served multiple Frozen dinners this last week because we really had no food and no time. Hey, they were good, gluten free, and on sale! Plus if you add a little salsa and avocado, it totally counts has homemade, right?

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  • I’m trying to monetize my blog more—> there, I said it. (see side bar)

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It’s called being HUMAN. Isn’t that what blogging is about? Sharing our humanness?  I think so.

If my blog were perfect, I’d be living a lie. I wouldn’t be embracing my space, I’d be covering it up with a nice pretty pink blanket.

Bolder blogging is about sharing (and working on) your weaknesses while still embracing your STRENGTHS. Or what I like to call… YOUR SWEET SPOT.

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Sure I’d like to write a gluten free cookbook, start shipping Healthy Bites again, run a marathon or a trail race, start a family, and be at every one of my husband’s races.

But…

That would be too perfect. So I’m embracing what I am good at now, what I am THANKFUL FOR now. And will continue to follow GOD’s perfect plan, wherever that may lead us.

I read this devotional by Max Lucado this morning and it all just clicked.

Attempts at self-salvation guarantee nothing but exhaustion. We scamper and scurry, trying to please God, collecting merit badges and brownie points, and scowling at anyone who questions our accomplishments.

Stop it! Once and for all, enough of this frenzy. “Your hearts should be strengthened by God’s grace, not by obeying rules” (Heb. 13:9 NCV). Jesus does not say, “Come to me, all you who are perfect and sinless.” Just the opposite. “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28 NASB).

So cheers to being imperfect! Cheers to weaknesses, because without them, we’d all be quite boring.

LC

p.s.

Did you know that I actually failed Brownies as a kid? Yep, I didn’t even make it to be a Girl Scout. Definitely no Brownie points here. Winking smile

Try it Out Tuesday: Christmas Eve Style

Try it out…

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Try it out…

Try it out…

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Try it out…

      • Be Real. It’s way easier than than looking like you have it all together 24/7.

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Try it out…

      • Bake with Love, Count your Blessings, disconnect, and have a wonderful Holiday and a Merry Christmas!

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Cheers!

the Cotter Crew

A lesson in Dreaming Big –> Live them OUT LOUD

It’s true, we live in a “The World is Your Oyster Era”. Maybe it’s because social media is at our fingertips every day. We see other people pursuing their dreams and/or really striving in life. Or so we think. This can be a good thing for us, motivationally speaking, but I also think we tend to get caught up in other people’s successes. We see someone training for more races, running faster,  being a better “super” woman/man (this includes being a super mom, wife, friend, blogger, dad, sibling, etc.) and we start to feel inadequate. We start seconded guessing our own dreams, we hold back, we isolate ourselves, we focus on the “WHY me” or the “IF only I”…….

The funny thing is, that’s not the point of sharing our lives through these interwebs. Isn’t the point to be real with who you are, where you are going, and to be encourage and uplift others who are striving to do the same?

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Yes, that is the point, but not so when you’re always comparing, measuring the “yeah, but(s),” and being selfish with you dreams.

Dreams are meant to be shared. To be lived OUT LOUD (flaws and all). To be RAW, REAL, and VULNERABLE. We do this so that we can in return encourage others. To be that support we would want other’s to be for us.

(my healthy bites helper/supporter/etc.—my dear ABBY)

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yes my husband is photobombing in the background

The hardest thing for me (us) to realize over the past few years was that in order to chase your dreams, in order to thrive, you have to give your heart. I mean like really give. Your hopes, your fears, your joys, your sorrows. You have to give it all. And with giving your heart you start to focus less on YOU and more on what you HAVE to GIVE others. The SELFESS dreaming part. The love, encouragement, hope, faith, support, and compassion.

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Learning to care and support other people’s dreams and passions is what makes the journey RICH!  It took us years to finally see that. Personally, I was so focused on our obstacles that I was blindsided by the GRACE and SUPPORT right in front of us. That very SUPPORT that GOD intended us share with others as well.

Because let’s face it, we all need a cheerleader or someone one to go through the motions and emotions with…… no matter how long journey, no matter how big the dream.

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This weekend was just that. A race that started off well but then crashed and burned (literally). Our dreams may have been a little crushed as well, but that’s realness. That’s sharing your heart. That’s letting others into your journey of dreaming big. We can’t be selfish with our dreams, it gets us nowhere. But showing it all, well…

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That just pushes us forward together –>hand in hand.

 

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Proverbs 27:17

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another

Come now, share it! Your DREAM, the real deal, the HEART!

Cheers,

Corny Cotter

p.s.

Slow down Challenge encouragement i just had to SHARE! –> HERE

p.p.s

Winner of the LOVE grown FOODS SUPER Oats is announced here.

Race Week: living on chances.. and protein

This weekend we’re taking another chance. Actually, we’ve been given another chance. A chance to dream big. A chance to KEEP GOING. A chance to GIVE it ALL we’ve got! ….. It’s RACE WEEKEND.

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The kiwi Cotter has been been training SMART and HARD. We’ve made some major changes and some major sacrifices. All for what?

For God’s Plan. Gosh, I know it’s all about the journey and taking chances, but without FAITH and HOPE to back it up, those chances might not ever come. Scratch that, they might come, but we’d never open our eyes (and hearts) wide enough to see them.

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So yes, it’s race week. Chance week.

I had the chance to FUEL and NOURISH the Kiwi (and myself) with quality protein. I took a chance and tried them out. It was a GOOD chance, for sure!

Perfect Protein GF Flajacks—> buttermilk banana and cranberry! Nuttzo is somewhere underneath, melted!

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Perky Jerky—> Need say more? Gluten free flavors, tasty, protein deliciousness!

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I had the chance to escape and slow down a bit. Been walking the last bit of my run. It’s nice to SLOW down and NOTICE. #slowdownchallenge13 in FULL FORCE.

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I had the chance to make Strawberry Protein Healthy Bites for my nieces and nephews lunches. That, to me, is a chance of a lifetime! <3

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I had the chance to take part in Designer Whey’s 20 year celebration! Oh yes, more on that come Thursday. But I’ll be sharing a recipe, with whey. And you’ll get a CHANCE to win a year’s worth of Designer whey! YUP.

DW 20th Anniversary - Amazing (2)

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I WILL have the chance to go support my husband in Branson this weekend. And thanks to Heather, we have a place to stay and I get FINALLY meet HER! <3

I WILL have a chance to share a SLOWDOWN post from very special friend. And you’ll have THE CHANCE to read it on Friday. Life after blogging.

What are you taking a chance on this Wednesday?

Cheers,

LC

Making the Most of GF Ingredients: Indian Spiced Tuna Cakes

Well, the Slowdown Challenge has officially ended (well at least the email updates have), but I am going to continue posting about it through the month. Even though I don’t get the daily encouragement from the writer himself, I still get encouragement from others and it’s something I NEED and WANT to work on.

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Also, my friend (BLEND) Jess will be doing a guest post for me next week about Life After Blogging. Whoa, talk about major slow down and in AN AMAZING WAY! So stay tuned for that.

“If you’re not putting yourself out there, somehow risking rejection, you aren’t really inspiring. You’re performing”.—> @jeffgoins

So here’s to SHARING & KEEPING UP with the SLOWING DOWN… Hmmm, ironic yes? But I plan  on SAVORING, NOTICING, Letting LIFE get INTERRUPTED to be PRESENT, and FOCUSING on ENJOYING.

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If you want to revisit the daily challenges, go here—>  Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, and Day 5.

Hope you will stay with me the rest of the month.

Now, let’s do a big 180 and talk FOOD. Mmm, k?

We’re on a wee budget these days. Heck, when are we not? But lately we’ve been trying to get more bang for our buck when it comes to ingredients. I mean the gluten free kind.

THEREFORE I have…..

  • Stocked up on Jasmine rice, polenta, and Grits for the rice cooker

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  • Eggs, eggs, and more eggs
  • Canned Salmon and Tuna for Main meals (you’ll see what I mean)
  • Getting creative with gluten free bread- toasted GF hoagie bread. One with turkey, BBQ sauce, and chili pepper. One with Egg salad and cottage cheese mixture (sriracha to top).

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  • Stocked up on COSTCO SIZE Udis Glutenfree bread. Perfect for French toast!

One of my favorite FRUGAL dishes to make is Indian Spiced Tuna Cakes. It’s cheap, it’s easy, it’s tasty, and a little GOES a LONG way. More Bang for your buck. Making the most out of your ingredients feels good, eh?!

tuna cakes

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Ingredients:

2 cans wild caught Tuna

2-4 tbsp coconut flour

butter or coconut butter

2 eggs

fresh herbs – lemon pepper, garlic, black pepper, curry powder (1/4 tsp each)

handful of broccoli slaw

Chilli pepper

peri peri sauce

Cultured yogurt

Directions:

Mix your tuna and eggs together, then add your coconut flour (or other GF flour)and cabbage. Mix again and add herbs and spices. You can add curry in this batter too if like, but it’s optional. Then form into patties then fry in coconut butter. A couple minutes on each side.

For the sauce, just mix plain yogurt with 1/2 tbsp chili pepper flakes and curry powder. Sometimes I add a little hummus to thicken it. Top the cakes with the yogurt sauce and peri peri sauce. If you don’t like spice, feel free to use tomato sauce or mild salsa. [/print_this]

How to make the most of your go-to ingredients?

Cheers!

LC