health, happiness, and earth friendly thoughts to improve your life :)

Quick and Easy Summer Salad

This salad takes only 5 minutes to prepare and costs about $2-3 per person.

Quick and Easy Summer Salad

Prep Time: 5-10min

Serves: 4


1 bunch of spinach

1/4 C. of raw pumpkin seeds

1/4 C. of dried cranberries

2 oz. goat cheese crumbled

12 oz. of left over grilled steak

1/2 C. of balsamic vinaigrette




“The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.” Dr. Ann Wigmore

This statement hopefully should encourage you to take a closer look at the types of foods you’re using to fuel your body. Here are some interesting things I found about the ingredients in Rio’s “favoritest” summer salad.

  • Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, magnesium, folate, manganese, iron, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin B2, potassium, and vitamin B6. It’s a very good source of protein, phosphorus, vitamin E, zinc, dietary fiber, and copper. Plus, it’s a good source of selenium, niacin, and omega-3 fatty acids. It’s also beneficial for gastrointestinal health, heart health and brain function! Popeye was all over it.
  • Cranberries are full of antioxidants! These are important for protecting our cells from free radicals. It is also key in lowering LDL (bad cholesterol), and raising HDL (good cholesterol)!
  • Pumpkin seeds are amazing. I just have to say that if you can start incorporating these tasty seeds you will definitely reap awesome benefits such as overall improved prostate health, improved bladder function, guard against depression (tryptophan), lower the risk of osteoporosis (zinc) , increases joint health, prevention of kidney stones (calcium oxalate), prevention of parasites, lowered cholesterol, and prevention cancer. On top of all of that, one 1/2 cup serving contains 92% of your Magnesium for the day.
  • Goat cheese is a little lower in fat and calories than some cow cheeses as well as higher in protein. It can be easier to digest for those experiencing some level of lactose intolerance. Goat cheese also contains tryptophan, phosphorous, riboflavin, B2, potassium, vitamin A, niacin, selenium and copper.  It is a delicious spreadable cheese!

Enjoy your salad with someone you care about and know that you are improving their health with every bite.

From the Green Earth kitchen to yours,


1 Comment »

Better than ice cream? You be the judge…


There was supposed to be a before and after picture for this smoothie but the before escaped Green Earth headquarters, aka the Caras household, and we are left only with these remnants. Is this smoothie really better than ice cream? You be the judge.

Cantaloupe Black Cherry Smoothie

Makes 4 Servings

Prep Time 5 minutes


1/2 cantaloupe cut into cubes and frozen

1 Cup of frozen black cherries

1 Cup of Greek Yogurt

1 1/2 Cups of Soymilk

4 packets of Truvia


Place all the ingredients in the blender. Blend until smooth. Serve in small glasses or bowls with a scoop of TruWhip, or not. Your choice 🙂

1 Comment »

Skinny Jeans

Kristi talks about how to fit into your skinny jeans… one week at a time!

Leave a comment »

Rainbow Chard aka Bright Lights in a new summer recipe!

Good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Iron, Fiber and Calcium, yumm!

Sometimes I just make stuff up in the kitchen and it usually turns out pretty good but I really liked this dish so I’m sharing! It cost me less than $3/serving.

Chard is a great vegetable to pair with brown rice, whole wheat pasta or to make a salad. It’s very healthy and it changes things up. Notice the pretty colored stalks in the picture 🙂






Read more:

Wheat Pasta with “SAWWWWCE” 

(this is what Rio is calling it, call it whatever you like… for normalcy!)

Serves: 8

Prep Time: 10 min

Total Cook Time: 45min to an hour


  • 1 box of whole wheat pasta, try Ezekiel sprouted grain pasta
  • 1 bunch of rainbow chard, cleaned well and sliced into ribbons
  • 1 lb. of chicken breast, fat trimmed and cut into 1-in cubes
  • 2/3 Cup of dried lima beans
  • 1 Tbsp of coconut oil
  • 1/2 Cup of low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cans of Diced Tomatoes
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced or smashed
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese


About 4-6 hours in advance, place lima beans in 6 cups of cold water and leave to soak. If this is too tedious, most stores have cans of lima beans that you don’t have to prepare. Bring a large pot of water to boiling for the noodles, but don’t cook yet. In a large skillet, on medium heat, add chicken broth, coconut oil, lima beans, both cans of tomatoes, and the garlic. Simmer over lower heat and cook for 30-40 min, checking doneness of the lima beans towards the end of the cooking time. Add the chicken cubes into the tomato mixture and cook for 8 minutes. While the chicken is cooking cook the pasta per the directions on the box. When the chicken is cooked through add the entire bunch of chard, that has been sliced into ribbons, to the tomato mixture and steam. Plate the pasta. Incorporate all the ingredients in the tomato sauce and arrange on top of the pasta. Freshly grate 1 Tbsp of parmesan on top of each serving. Mangia!

Nutrition Facts

Fat 5g

Sat. Fat 3g

Cholesterol 5mg

Sodium 631mg

Carbs 41g

Fiber 9g

Sugar 5g

Protein 31g

Leave a comment »

How far can grateful take you?


Thankful, in my experience, can take you from physically incapable of regular everyday activities, such as climbing a set of stairs, to running your first half marathon in 2:38. You see, in 1999, when I was just 13 years old, I dislocated my left knee cap for the first time playing volleyball. I did physical therapy for a while and everything seemed to be normal. Except for the fact that I kept dislocating… in some cases keeping me from being active for weeks or months at a time. No big deal right? I’m young… I’ll recover. Wrong! I went into the U.S. Navy when I was 18 years old and things went downhill from there. I’ve dislocated both of my knee caps running, climbing stairs, standing up and even walking. It got to the point in early 2008 where I was afraid of doing any physical activity. By the time I got in front of a surgeon, who seemed confident to help me, every medical professional who I spoke to told me I would never run again. Probably wouldn’t be able to hike, mountain bike, walk for extended periods.


These are my legs about two and a half years ago. I decided to go with a surgery called tibial tubercle osteotomy which in layman’s terms means they cut my tibia and restructured the way my knee cap tracks in the hopes it would stay put.

To be blunt it was (twice!) the most painful experience I’ve been through to date. For about 2 years I was in and out of physical therapy and crutches. If I wanted to go further than my apartment to my car I would need a wheelchair. I longed for the day I could be “normal” again. Below is a picture post surgery of my bruising. This is barely a visual representation of the pain I endured.


With some help from my friends, an improving mental attitude and a change in my heart towards deep gratitude for life I recovered and began doing moderate physical activity, but not without excruciating pain. I knew I was healed but didn’t understand why I still couldn’t do everything I wanted to do. In March 2010 I was introduced to the most influential part of my success, my husband. He believed in me when no one else did and encouraged me. Some friends also recommended I try some glucosamine from Nutrilite. I had already been taking glucosamine prescribed by my doctor and I didn’t notice any difference at all when taking it. After 7 days of taking the Nutrilite glucosamine I was running a mile with no knee pain and starting hip-hop dance. The best part is that my pain had significantly decreased.

If you fast forward to March 2012 I actually finished my first half marathon. The reward really wasn’t crossing the finish line, unlike I had originally imagined. The most rewarding part of my journey so far was the being in pursuit of a goal and being thankful for my progress to date. I specifically remember traveling during the week of my longest training run (12 miles). It would’ve been very easy to sit down on my dream and skip the run altogether. Instead I made no other choice but to start running as soon as I landed in Miami, FL. Coming from Orange Country, CA I’m used to breezy 70 degree days with no humididty. When the plane landed I walked into humid, hot, 87 degree weather… only for it to get hotter. While all my friends were preparing for their cruise the next day with frozen yogurt and leisurely strolls I was pushing myself and winning up the coast of Miami Beach. I finished that day feeling victorious! Let me tell you, dinner never tasted so good!


If you’re working towards what seems to be an impossible goal and maybe you even have people in your life telling you that you can’t do it, I want to encourage you that with vision, determination, gratitude, and hard work you can have anything you dream!

So thankful…


Crab Salad… Salad. A great summertime lunch!


This is a great recipe to serve on a warm summer day. It’s so quick and easy to prepare and it’s only about $2-3 per serving. I hope you enjoy the yummy flavors with someone you care about!

Crab Salad… Salad

Prep Time 15min

Serves 4


  • 8-10 oz. of fresh salad greens of your choice
  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 16 oz. package of imitation crab meat broken into smaller pieces
  • 4 tbsp. of mayo
  • juice yielded from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 head of cabbage finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno diced
  • 4 tbsp. of parmesan cheese

Prepare green salad by washing lettuce and drying gently with a damp paper towel. Slice tomatoes and arrange onto four dinner plates.

Mix crab, cabbage, jalapeno, parmesan, mayo, and lemon juice in a medium sized bowl. Incorporate ingredients well with a fork. Separate into four servings and place on top of green salad. Serve!

Nutrition Facts

Calories 290

Fat 13g

Sat. Fat 2.8g

Cholesterol 16mg

Sodium 781mg

Carb 34

Fiber 6.5g

Sugar 13g

Protein 14g

Vit A 172%     Vit C 134%

Calcium 17%   Iron 12%

Leave a comment »

Can you travel and still lose weight? Is it worth the effort?

So this past weekend I went to Charlotte, NC for a ladies leadership conference which is about 8 hours of travel time from my home in Orange County, CA. I was a little apprehensive as to how I was going to remain accountable to my health and fitness goals. I figured with a little bit of planning and setting my mind would help and this is what I found:

“Preparation is the key that unlocks accomplishment”

The following tips are from South Beach Diet App for iPhone under Healthy Living…

  1. Eat a healthy meal before you leave. You will most definitely save money and calories and it basically sets the tone for your entire trip. I had a healthy breakfast of Greek yogurt with strawberries and almonds with my awesome hubby and I felt great heading out the door.
  2. Pack diet friendly foods. This saves tons of money, especially at the airport, and you will feel incredible munching on your healthy snacks while other people are paying $12 for a soggy sandwich on the airplane. I packed a Nutrilite Chocolate Delight protein bar, Goji Berry snack bar, pack of nuts and piece of fruit for each of the four days I would be away. I even made a quick trip to the farmer’s market with my best friend Amber for fresh veggies!Image
  3. Don’t skip meals and snacks. Trust me you do not want to do this to your blood sugar! If you snack modestly often throughout the day you won’t be ravenous by the time dinner rolls around. Pun was intended for the awesome sushi dinner my good friends Brian and Jenny treated me too. For this meal I made sure to have my Nutrilite Carb Blocker 2 on me. It blocks up to 500 carb calories per meal. Score!Image
  4. Make time to exercise. This could be as simple as taking a quick walk or you can kick it up a notch by going for a jog and bringing a resistance band to do some strength training. Either way you’re definitely going to want to move after a long plane ride… even if you don’t feel like it. We went for a walk, run, did Zumba and laughed A LOT!Image
  5. Enjoy dining out. There are plenty of healthy options these days and you should take this time to enjoy the company you keep. One of my favorite tips is getting a dessert and only taking a few bites and then passing it around. I always like to have a taste but I don’t want the calories of an entire plate.

So, I lost 3 lbs this week even though I traveled for 4 out of the 7 days. I spent $40 total on the entire trip including a cd I bought at church on Sunday. Hopefully these tips come in handy for you on your next trip. If you have any other tips you’d like to share feel free to leave a comment. I’d love to hear feedback!

1 Comment »

Goji Berry Energy Bar… NOM!

These bars are great as a pre-workout snack or while you’re hiking and need some extra energy to get through. They’re chock full of fiber, protein, healthy fat and very delicious! If you can’t find goji berries at your local market feel free to substitute another dried berry of your choosing.


GOJI BERRY BARS by Kristi Caras

Prep time: 15 min     Bake time: 12 min     Serves: 32


  • 1 cup of a multi-grain flax or bran cereal, whatever you have on hand
  • 3/4 cup of flax seed
  • 1 cup of rolled oats
  • 2 cups of whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup of coconut oil
  • 1 cup of smashed banana
  • 1/2 cup of dried goji berries
  • 1 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup of sliced almonds
  • 1 cup of bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of Nutrilite Protein Powder
  • 24 packets of truvia OR 1 cup of sucralose

Preheat oven to 350*F. Use a kitchen aid or recruit the help of a burly friend to mix cereal, flax seed, rolled oats, flour, baking powder, salt, Nutrilite Protein Powder, and sweetener. In a separate bowl combine banana, eggs, and vanilla. Slowly pour wet mixture into dry while the kitchen aid is on medium or your burly friend is working fairly hard. The final step is adding the good stuff! Add goji berries, shredded coconut, sliced almonds, and chocolate chips and mix until evenly distributed. In an 8×8″ baking pan give a quick coat of cooking spray and spread 1/4 of the batter evenly into the pan. If you have multiple 8×8″ pans feel free to do as many of the four batches at once. Place the pan in the oven for about 12 minutes checking to make sure they are cooked thoroughly but not browning too much on the the top. Once they have been cooled cut into 8 rectangular bars per pan. To store place cooled bars in an airtight container in the fridge and it will keep for 2 weeks. You can also place into individual baggies and take them on the go!

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 bar

Calories 187

Fat 11g

Sat. Fat 6g

Cholesterol 27mg

Sodium 117mg

Carb 19g

Fiber 5.2g

Sugar 4.6g

Protein 7.3

Vit A 3%          Vit C 0%

Calcium 5%     Iron 8%

Leave a comment »

Starting small…

“In baseball, my theory is to strive for consistency, not to worry about the numbers. If you dwell on statistics you get shortsighted, if you aim for consistency, the numbers will be there at the end.” –Tom Seaver

My usual modus operandi when I get all jazzed up about something is to change EVERYTHING now. Make it all better. Take away all the bad. This routine is totally overwhelming and lasts about 2 days (if that). Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about consistency and what that means over the span of someone’s life. If I were to be completely honest I have, in the past, been the most consistent inconsistent person. I get excited and start, stay excited while there’s visible benefit, putter out… and eventually quit. Then I get deflated and stay off the bandwagon until my next external motivation. This doesn’t work!


With all of this in mind, I’m starting today fresh and clear with no guilt and I’m making small additions and subtractions over a long period of time. Today for instance was the beginning of week 2 of doing 10 minute workouts in the morning with my hubby. We are not running a marathon, we are not doing crossfit, we are not saving the planet… yet. We are just taking a day at a time by doing this workoutIn addition we are walking after meals, taking the stairs, and parking farther away from the store. Is this even beneficial, working out for 10 minutes a day, you ask?

Here is what consistency in you life will do:

  • Consistency increases yield. Right now 1 unit of effort gives you 1 unit of result (or maybe <1 unit which can be frustrating). This is the boulder of getting started with something it’s hard to push but once it’s rolling you’ve got serious momentum and the same 1 unit of effort will yield 10 units of results. #boom!
  • Consistency increases capacity. When we say “I don’t have time to workout”, “I don’t have time to prepare healthy meals and snacks”, “I don’t have time to serve people or to make the Earth better”… we’re right, we don’t. When those patterns are built into our lives over time our capacity to do those and other things grows. That’s exciting news!
  • Consistency increases credibility. Everyone has an intrinsic need to be living a life on purpose for a purpose. If that purpose cannot be seen by the fruit currently on the tree of our lives this means we are making no impact. When we’re consistent we have credible, tangible, helpful things to offer others and better impact our worlds.
  • Consistency increases influence. You may feel like you can barely help yourself right now, and that’s OK. We can start the journey towards helping you become stronger, together. If you have something to offer others I know that you will find life’s greatest happiness in giving it away… for free!

Will a 10 minute workout make a difference? I guess only time will tell 😉

Leave a comment »

a simple trip to the farmers market could mean more $ in your pocket!

Have you ever seen a banner up directing traffic to your city’s local farmer’s market? I ignored them for quite a while and made all my pit stops at Ralph’s, Von’s, Albertson’s, Piggly Wiggly, Market Basket, and Farm Fresh… whatever the largest chain that was close by. I noticed on average I was spending about $125-$200 per week for 2 people to eat. This is quite expensive per month and it also resulted in a lot of wasted food. I mean it’s just me and my hubby here… so far. This week I made a shopping plan and decided to take my list to Newport Beach Farmer’s Market with $60 in cash to see what I could find. I spent $26.75 on 1 large bunch broccoli, green lettuce, spinach, 4 onions, green beans, snap peas, 1 avacado, a pint of strawberries, 1 lb. of Rainier cherries, 1 lime, 1 lemon, 4 oranges, 2 white peaches, and a truly fun experience. Then I stopped at a local market and grabbed 1 dozen organic eggs, a few sugar-free protein bars, tomatoes, gouda, organic lean beef and chicken breast, raw shrimp and pistachios! The total bill (including everything in the picture) came to… drum roll please… $65 with tax. More than enough food for us for the week! I’ll be taking a picture of any waste at the end of the week. Whoever says you can’t eat healthy and save money… insert foot in mouth now and do not eat, please.

There are lots of great ways to make a smaller impact on your environment–and your wallet–and the easiest way to start is by adding a weekly trip to the farmer’s market. There’s something very rewarding about getting fresh beautiful produce from the farmer, or worker of the farm, that is most likely organic and is MUCH cheaper. Take for instance the Rainier cherries in the picture of produce: I bought them organic for $6 and then on the way home saw that they were non-organic for $6.99+tax at the local grocer. This isn’t a massive savings, but over time, and with the wide variety of produce you can get, you will be adding dollars to your wallet in no time. I hope this post encourages you to try some new veggies, fruits and other foods organic from your local farmer. I know you will be delighted with your experience!

Leave a comment »