For today’s Try-It Thursday, I searched the internet for some fun and healthy Halloween Treats. A special thanks to all the great bloggers out there sharing their ideas.

This cute idea comes from Copy Cats

Image Source: Copy Cat Kids

For the recipe please go to Copy Cats website.

What a fun way to display some fruit kabobs.

Recipe Source:

For more ideas go to Listotic website.

Here’s an idea for a great after-school snack, or add a few fresh cut veggies and make it a meal.

Image source:

For this recipe, visit Recipe Runner’s website.

So simple, yet so fun!

Recipe Source: Flo And Grace

For this recipe, visit Flo and Grace’s website.

The Flu and YOU!

October 25th, 2017 | Posted by Kimberly Vanderpoel in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Key Facts About Influenza (Flu)

What is Influenza (also called Flu)?

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.

Signs and Symptoms of Flu

People who have the flu often feel some or all of these signs and symptoms that usually start suddenly, not gradually:

  • Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (very tired)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in young children than in adults.

*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.


How Flu Spreads

Most experts believe that flu viruses spread mainly by tiny droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.

Period of Contagiousness

You may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Although people with the flu are most contagious in the first 3-4 days after their illness begins,  some otherwise healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. Some people, especially young children and people with weakened immune systems, might be able to infect others with flu viruses for an even longer time.

Onset of Symptoms

The time from when a person is exposed to flu virus and infected to when symptoms begin is about 1 to 4 days, with an average of about 2 days.

Complications of Flu

Complications of flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes.

People at High Risk from Flu

Anyone can get the flu (even healthy people), and serious problems related to the flu can happen at any age, but some people are at high risk of developing serious flu-related complications if they get sick. This includes people 65 years and older, people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), pregnant women, and young children.

Preventing Seasonal Flu

The first and most important step in preventing flu is to get a flu vaccination each year. CDC also recommends everyday preventive actions (like staying away from people who are sick, covering coughs and sneezes and frequent handwashing) to help slow the spread of germs that cause respiratory (nose, throat, and lungs) illnesses, like flu.

Diagnosing Flu

It is very difficult to distinguish the flu from other viral or bacterial causes of respiratory illnesses on the basis of symptoms alone. There are tests available to diagnose flu.

Treating Flu

There are influenza antiviral drugs that can be used to treat flu illness.

DON’T WAIT~Get YOUR Flu Shot Today!



As the weather cools in early fall, pumpkin and pumpkin spice starts popping up everywhere.

Did you know? Pumpkins are very nutritious – they get their orange color from a range of carotenoid compounds, all of which are converted to Vitamin A by the body. Pumpkins are also high in Vitamin C and and beta-carotene.

Sugar-Free Pumpkin Spice Syrup


  • 1/3 cupPumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cupBaking stevia OR 1 cup sweetener that measures like sugar
  • 1/2 tspVanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cupWater
  • PinchSalt
  • 1 tspCinnamon
  • 1 tspPumpkin pie spice 

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn heat down to medium, and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally to keep syrup from burning. (Be sure to stir from the bottom of pot, to make sure the syrup is not burning at the bottom).

Let mixture continue to simmer until it thickens up to become a syrup and begins to coat the spoon for about 10-15 minutes. You will know it’s about ready when it starts to bubble and get thick.) Remove from heat.

Let come to room temperature, and refrigerate in a sealed container. The syrup will thicken a bit in the refrigerator, but will become syrup again when heated in the microwave for 20-30 seconds, or you could add a few tbs of water to thin it to your liking.

***Use this syrup in pumpkin spice lattes or a regular cup of coffee. Also good over pancakes or waffles.

Recipe Source: Dashing Dish

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

1  box (16 oz) Macaroni (whole wheat if possible)
3 TBSP butter
3 TBSP flour
2 Cups 1 % or fat-free milk
1 tsp mustard
1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)
2 cups shredded cheese
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp pepper

A generous pinch of salt.

Preheat oven to 350F
Cook macaroni according to package directions
Melt butter and add flour. Allow to cook for about 2 minutes, then add milk. Heat back up to a simmer, and simmer for about 4 minutes, until milk mixture coats the back of a spoon.
Add seasonings and pumpkin. Stir. Add cheese and stir occasionally until melted.
Mix in macaroni, and pour into a lightly greased 9×13″ baking pan. Bake 20-25 minutes until top is golden brown.

Recipe Source:

Eight years ago, I heard the words no one wants to hear, “I’m sorry to inform you that you have invasive ductal breast carcinoma.” What? Not me, I was only 40 years old. I didn’t smoke. I didn’t have a family history. I lived a fairly healthy lifestyle. I  nursed my children. I seldom drank alcohol. I was a nurse and health coach and trying to do everything the magazine’s told me to do to prevent being the 1 in 8.

But…YES…it was me.

I had had my first mammogram in May that year–a birthday gift to myself for turning 40. Six months later, I was diagnosed with breast cancer in both breasts. (This is one time being an over-achiever wasn’t such a good idea.)

As a cancer survivor, I have asked myself the question~was there anything I could have done to prevent breast cancer? Maybe. Maybe NOT. And guess what? We’ll never know.

Many factors over the course of a lifetime can influence your breast cancer risk. You can’t change some factors, such as getting older or your family history, but you can help lower your risk of breast cancer by taking care of your health in the following ways—

  • Keep a healthy weight.
    • Research has shown that being overweight or obese substantially raises a person’s risk of getting endometrial (uterine), breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers. Overweight is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 25 to 29, and obesity is defined as a BMI of 30 or higher. Among postmenopausal women, those who are obese have a 20% to 40% increase in risk of developing breast cancer compared with normal-weight women
  • Exercise regularly (at least four hours a week).
    • Many studies show that physically active women have a lower risk of breast cancer than inactive women; in a 2013 meta-analysis of 31 prospective studies, the average breast cancer risk reduction associated with physical activity was 12%
    • Lowering the levels of hormones, such as insulin and estrogen, and of certain growth factors that have been associated with cancer development and progression
    • Helping to prevent obesity and decreasing the harmful effects of obesity, particularly the development of insulin resistance (failure of the body’s cells to respond to insulin)
    • Reducing inflammation
    • Improving immune system function
  • Research shows that lack of nighttime sleep can be a risk factor.
  • Don’t drink alcohol, or limit alcoholic drinks to no more than one per day.
  • Avoid exposure to chemicals that can cause cancer (carcinogens) and chemicals that interfere with the normal function of the body.
  • Limit exposure to radiation from medical imaging tests like X-rays, CT scans, and PET scans if not medically necessary.
  • If you are taking, or have been told to take, hormone replacement therapy or oral contraceptives (birth control pills), ask your doctor about the risks and find out if it is right for you.
  • Breastfeed any children you may have, if possible.

If you have a family history of breast cancer or inherited changes in your BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, you may be at high risk for getting breast cancer. Talk to your doctor about more ways to lower your risk.

Staying healthy throughout your life will lower your risk of developing cancer, and improve your chances of surviving cancer if it occurs.

Source: and National Cancer Institute


One of my favorite things about fall….apples, apples, apples.

Did you know that apples are one of the healthiest foods to eat? They are extremely rich in important antioxidants, flavonoids, and dietary fiber. The phytonutrients and antioxidants in apples may help reduce the risk of developing cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease.

Mini Peanut Butter and Apple Sandwich Recipe

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Dash of sea salt
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cooking spray
1/4 cup raisins
4 medium apples
1 teaspoon lemon juice (optional)
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter


  1. Preheat oven to 300° F.
  2. Combine the first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl.
  3. Combine orange juice, honey and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat just until sugar dissolves, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; stir in oil and vanilla.
  4. Pour honey mixture over oat mixture, stirring to coat. Spread mixture in a thin layer onto a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes, stirring well halfway through.
  5. Stir in raisins and let cool completely.
  6. To assemble sandwiches, core each apple and cut into ¼-inch slices (8 slices per apple). If you won’t be eating these right away, brush the apples slices with lemon juice to keep them from turning brown. Spread two teaspoons of peanut butter on eight apple slices then sprinkle with granola. Top with remaining apple slices, pressing down gently to make the sandwiches.

Sweet Potato Apple Cinnamon Muffins

1 sweet potato
2 large apples, cored and chopped into 1 cm pieces
2 1/4 cups whole rolled oats
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
6 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
3/4 cup coconut sugar


  1. Bake the sweet potato in the oven at 375° F for about one hour or until it is tender. Alternatively, you can microwave it until it is tender. Set aside. Cut the apples into 1 cm pieces. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Put the rolled oats in a food processor or high speed blender and process until the oats resemble flour (about 1 minute). Put the flour in a large mixing bowl. Put chia seeds in a small bowl and add 3 tablespoons water and stir (it will form a gel). Set aside. Remove the skin of the baked sweet potato and add the flesh to the food processor or blender (no need to clean it out from the flour). Add up to 1/4 cup water and process until smooth. Set aside.
  3.  Add the baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon to the bowl of oat flour and mix well. In a separate bowl, mix the melted coconut oil, coconut sugar and chia seed gel and mix very well. Then, mix in 1 cup of sweet potato puree.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Fold in the apple chunks. Divide the batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle with oats and a bit of coconut sugar, if you like.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes, turn the heat down to 400°F, and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes. Enjoy them fresh out of the oven or store them in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Recipe Source: