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Weekly Recipe Round (2) Up

Hey y’all! I’m glad to hear so many of you liked the weekly recipes so here is Round 2! And, I just have to say – I am particularly excited about this meal plan that I’m sharing with you today because not only are these recipes TASTY and HEALTHY, but they are different than what I would usually cook during the week.

chalkboard weekly menu



Because there are more vegetarian-friendly recipes since my husband is gone and I could care less about eating meat. One of his favorite statements in regards to food is: I didn’t claw my way to the chop of the food chain to eat vegetables.

I, on the other hand, think vegetables and tofu are delicious! Plus, it’s typically less expensive to eliminate meat from recipes and who doesn’t like to save money? But if you don’t feel the same way and are more of a carnivore type like my husband, and if you must have your meat because you enjoy being at the top of the food chain, you can always add some kind of meat to these recipes.

Which ones am I especially excited about you may ask? The Quinoa Taco Bake – because it’s just insanely good! Do I need a better reason than that? And the Frittata because my kids and I like having breakfast for dinner! It’s really exciting for us!   I guess because it’s kind of like breaking the rules…and I’m not really a rule’s girl anyway. Which begs the question…what am I teaching my kids? But that’s a discussion for another blog post at another time.

And come to think of it, I’m also really looking forward to the Artichoke Lemon Pesto Pasta because it tastes like a dish you’d get at a fancy Italian restaurant BUT you actually know what’s going in it. And the Paleo Shepherd’s Pie, well you just can’t beat that on a cold, winter day. It’s hardy and healthy! We had it tonight and guess what I packed for my lunch tomorrow for work? You guessed it – Paleo Shepherd’s Pie!

You can find all the recipes below! Enjoy!

Did you like any of these? Or all of these? Did you make them and consume all of this delicious healthiness? I want to hear about it! Make comments, share these recipes and this post on any of your social media pages and tag me!

artichoke lemon pesto pasta

Artichoke Lemon Pesto Pasta

(Adapted from:

Prep time: 25 mins

Cook time: 20 mins

Total time: 45 mins

Serves: 4-5



  • 1 large spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise (get a BIG one)
  • 12-15 artichoke hearts, cut in half (I used jarred artichokes that were in olive oil for more flavor)
  • ⅓ cup walnuts
  • 4-5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4-5 tablespoons vegetable broth
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup fresh parsley
  • ½ cup fresh basil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3-5 cups of spinach (optional)



1.Preheat oven to 400

  1. Poke holes in the squash and put it in the microwave (usually at least 12 minutes) until it’s soft and you can easily stick a fork through it.
  2. Let it cool! It will be HOT! Cut it in half, discard the seeds, and scoop out the spaghetti strings and put them into a large bowl.
  3. While the squash is cooking in the microwave, make the pesto!
  4. Place a large pan over medium-high heat, add a splash of fat and 1 minced garlic clove. As soon as the garlic becomes fragrant, add the halved artichokes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and let cook until slightly browned and tender on all sides.
  5. Once artichokes are browned, add them to a food processor along with the walnuts, olive oil, vegetable broth, and second garlic clove. Puree until smooth.
  6. Then add the parsley, basil, lemon, and salt and pepper. Puree once more until smooth. Taste and add more lemon and salt and pepper to your preference.
  7. Add the pesto to the spaghetti squash and mix it all up. Add it back to the pan, heat it up for a few minutes (maybe 5 or so).
  8. Eat and enjoy!

Tip: You can easily add chicken breast to the dish for all you carnivores!

shepherd's pie


Paleo Shepherd’s Pie

(Adapted from:

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes


◾1 bag frozen cauliflower

◾2 large white sweet potatoes

◾2 Tbsp butter

◾1/4 cup almond milk You could also use other dairy substitues

◾1 can petite cut diced tomatoes I use organic

◾1 can chicken broth You can also use beef or veggie broth

◾1 tsp basil

◾2 tsp minced garlic

◾1 tsp italian seasoning

◾2 tsp tapioca starch This is to thicken the sauce. Don’t worry if you don’t have any. I didn’t and it still turned out fine!

◾1 lb ground beef You can also use ground turkey or chicken

◾1/2 small white onion, chopped

◾1 cup chopped carrots

◾1 cup frozen peas

◾1 cup frozen green beans



Topping (Mashed “potatoes”):

  1. Follow the instructions for cooking the cauliflower

2.Poke holes in the sweet potatoes and cook in the microwave until soft. Scoop out the insides

3.Mix the cooked cauliflower and sweet potatoes in a food processor

4.Add almond milk, butter, and salt and pepper to taste

5.Set aside

Sauce and Filling:

  1. Sauté the garlic and onion in a pan (use olive oil or coconut oil) until they soften

2.Add the meat and cook thoroughly

  1. Add the veggies and cook until the carrots soften

4.Add the basil, Italian seasoning, tomatoes, broth and tapioca starch. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes

5.Place the sauce and filling at the bottom of a 9X13 baking pan. Spread the mashed “potatoes” on top. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes

6.Serve and Enjoy!

Tip: Serve with a side salad

 quinoa taco bake

Quinoa Taco Bake – 21 Day Fix Vegetarian Recipe

(Adapted from:

Prep time: 20 mins

Cook time: 30 mins

Total time: 50 mins


  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • ½ package Boca Recipe Crumbles
  • 2 cups tomato sauce (homemade if possible)
  • 1 chopped pepper (red, yellow or orange)
  • ½ chopped red onion (white onion would work too)
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 5 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro


1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.Spray 9×13 pan with cooking spray (I use avocado oil or coconut oil – both come in spray form)

3.Cook quinoa according to package instructions.

4.Saute onion & garlic over medium heat until onions are translucent (3 minutes).

5.Add the Boca Crumbles. Cook together for 5 minutes. (You could add black beans instead)

6.Add chopped peppers.

7.Add the lime juice, chili powder, cumin, onion powder and cilantro. Stir.

8.Remove pan from heat and add quinoa to veggie mixture. Stir.

9.Pour tomato sauce into pan and stir.

  1. Add ¼ cup cheese and stir.

11.Pour mixture into prepared 9×13 pan, even with spatula.

12.Sprinkle with all remaining cheese.

13.Cover with aluminum foil.

14.Bake for 20 minutes.

15.Remove foil and bake for 10 more minutes (until cheese is melted and edges are brown)

  1. Eat and Enjoy!

Tip: You could serve this in lettuce wraps and have a “taco” or serve it with a side of black beans and ¼ of an avocado!

 spinach tomato frittatta

Spinach, Mushroom and Tomato Frittata

Serves 4

Prep Time: 20 min

Cook Time: 20-25 minutes until set


1 ¼ cup of egg whites (I use the 100% egg whites that come in a carton)

6 large eggs

¾ cup almond milk (or other milk of your choice)

¼ cup parmesan cheese, shredded

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

½ tsp ground nutmeg

1 TBSP olive oil

½ medium onion, chopped

2 cups of spinach

2 beef steak tomatoes, sliced


  1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet.
  2. Sauté onions until soft. Add the spinach and cook until wilted and soft.
  3. Mix the eggs, spinach and onions, milk, seasoning and parmesan cheese.
  4. Pour into a 8X8 baking pan. Top with sliced tomatoes.
  5. Optional: You can add some mozzarella cheese on top
  6. Also optional: for all you meat lovers à you can easily add cooked, chopped bacon or cooked, crumbled sausage to this.
  7. Bake in the oven at 350 for 20-25 minutes until set
  8. Eat and Enjoy!

Tip: Serve with a side of home-made sweet potato fries and fruit or some crispy home-made kale chips!

My Why


Okay, so I am going to bear my soul a little here.  This isn’t easy for me…but here it goes…  I know many of you are wondering…Why is she posting all the time on Facebook?  Why is she taking pictures of every salad she eats and every workout she accomplishes?  Why is she posting motivational quotes all over the place and sharing recipes and nutrition tips?

Is it because I’m narcissistic?  I’d like to think not.  Is it because I like to take selfies?  Not really  (but I do have to admit, they are kind of fun).   Is it because I think I know everything there is to know about fitness and nutrition?  Hell no!


Because I freakin’ love it!  Because I love what this experience has done for me and I want to share it with the world!  It’s not about the fact that I can fit into my favorite pair of skinny jeans (although, I will admit, that is an awesome feeling).  It’s not about the fact that I finally, after 16 months of trying, have reached my pre-baby weight (although, again, I’m not complaining).  And it’s not about the fact that my arms look more toned than they ever have (but I will say that I don’t mind looking at those muscles in the mirror while I’m fixing my hair).


I have gotten so much more out of this fitness journey than just physical results!  There are some transformations you can see…and some you can’t.

If you recall, in my very first blog post I said:  It’s about the journey, not the destination.

ME!  Right here!  I am living proof that there is so much truth in that!  I feel good on the INSIDE.  I feel good on the inside because I am putting good food and good nutrition in my body.  I feel good on the inside because I’m taking care of myself from the inside out!  I’m exercising, I’m learning, I’m sharing what I know and being honest about what I don’t know.

be bold be brave be you

Does this sound selfish?  It’s all about me, me, me, right?  Selfies and what I know and what I look like.  To some of you , it may seem that way.  But, to me, it sounds like a mom who has decided to take care of herself.  It’s not selfish for me to take care of myself, to spend an hour in the morning doing a workout at home or prepping a week of meals on Sunday for me to take to work.  In fact, it’s the opposite!

It would be selfish for me NOT to do these things!  Not only am I giving my children the gift of example – the example of living a healthy lifestyle, of exercising, of taking care of yourself – but I am also, ultimately, giving them the gift of me, their mom.

When I take care of myself, I feel better.  When I feel better, I have more energy.  And when I have more energy, I can play with my kids, chase them in the park and roll around with them on the floor.  I have energy to run races with my husband and do crossfit with him , to spend a little extra time cooking meals for my family and I even have the energy and desire to set my alarm for 5AM to get my workout in before everyone wakes up.  (And, I’d just like to say, I used to be a person who would absolutely not get up until 10AM.)

Our society puts so much pressure on women in general, and mothers in particular, that we need to take care of everyone else.  We need to take care of our families and put our children first, we need to Pinterest the hell out of every party we throw and every snack we bring to preschool and that we need to do all the laundry, make sure the floors are shiny and make sure dinner is on the table by 6 every night.

And if we aren’t doing those things, if we take an hour away from our kids to workout or get a pedicure, we are ridiculed.  We are talked about.  We are criticized externally AND internally.

The thing is, if I don’t take care of myself, I can’t take care of anyone else.

If I take care of myself, I will live longer.  If I live longer, I will have more time to enjoy everything life has to offer and I will be here to watch my kids grow up.

I am NOT the same person I was back in October when I started this new chapter in my life.  I have purpose.  I have meaning.  I have the “why”

So…back to the main question…WHY?


(in no particular order)

  • for my kids
  • for myself
  • for my family
  • for my physical health
  • for my emotional health
  • because I want others to learn what I’ve learned and feel good
  • because I want to share what works
  • because I want to share the tools you need to live the healthiest version of your life that you can
  • because I want to see you get results

I want to hear from you!  What have you been working towards?  But more importantly, WHY are you doing it?  Comment below!

Book Recommendation:  Start With Why by Simon Sinek



Weekly Recipe Roundup



I don’t know about you…but sometimes it’s SO hard for me to come up with meals for dinner! I may flip through some cookbooks, look up some recipes I’ve emailed to myself and ultimately, I end up looking for recipes on Pinterest (which I have a Love/Hate relationship with.  Anyone else with me on that?).  I literally have thousands of pins on my boards which can get monotonous sorting through!

If Pinterest fails me because:

  1. I get too over-whelmed with it
  2. I start to feel inadequate because I did not plan on making my family roasted chicken with a braised wine sauce, baby pearl onions, a warm spinach salad with bacon and a homemade apple pie
  3. I think that in theory, cheesy “bread”sticks with a cauliflower crust would be delicious but when I actually make it, it’s just cauliflower mush and melted cheese

I will resort to asking my husband – What do you want for dinner this week? His typical response is “Food.”  (Big sigh).  So, in my desperate attempt to come up with some dinners my family will like, I ask my daughter…who’s 4.  Because, come on, let’s face it… I’m desperate and I don’t want to spend another unfruitful hour on Pinterest!  Her response?  “I don’t know.  Beans.”

In order to spare you this weekly saga, I thought I’d start doing a weekly meal round-up! I will provide you with a week’s worth of recipes that are HEALTHY and DELICIOUS!  (Because HEALTHY does NOT have to equal gross!)

Here are my recipes for this week (in no particular order):

  1. Taco Salad with a side of Roasted Sweet Potatoes
  2. Shrimp Stir Fry with Bang Bang Cauliflower
  3. Tomato Basil Spaghetti Squash Bake (I will add a grilled chicken breast for my husband because according to him: It’s not a meal unless someone died)
  4. Whole 30 slow cooker Beef Stew with a side of Paleo cornbread
  5. Leftovers from all of these delicious meals J



  • Taco Salad with a side of roasted sweet potatoes



Taco Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 lb lean ground beef or ground turkey
  • ¾ cup of water
  • For the taco seasoning à (I don’t use store bought stuff with all of the preservatives – yuck!)- 1 tsp of onion powder- 1 tsp oregano- 2 tsp of cumin
  • – 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • – 1 tsp of garlic powder
  • -1 TBSP of chili powder

– Lettuce mix – any kind you like

– sliced tomatoes

– sliced avocados (go easy!)

– jalapeños

– organic or home-made salsa

– shredded cheese (go easy!)


  • Fully cook the ground meat
  • Add the seasoning and water
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Assemble the salad and EAT!



Roasted Sweet Potatoes:

4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

– mix them in with 1 TBSP of olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste.

– Bake in them in the oven at 400 degrees for 25-30 min. (Depending on the size you cut them into, it may be more or less).  When you can stick a fork through them they are done.  EAT!

  1. Shrimp Stir-Fry with Bang Bang Cauliflower (source –


– half onion, diced

– 2 cloves of garlic, minced

-1 bag of frozen shrimp (you can also use chicken or beef if you prefer!)

-2 cups of vegetables (choose two types from snap peas, bok choy, broccoli, green beans,

cauiflower, mushroom, onion etc)

-1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

-1/2 tsp sesame oil or coconut oil

-2 TBSP lite soy sauce (Braggs Liquid Aminos is best option)


  • Heat olive oil and sesame/coconut oil in a skillet.
  • Add garlic and onion and cook until onions soften.
  • Add veggies and sauté until tender.
  • Add soy sauce and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Add shrimp and cook for 2-3 minutes
  • Mix it all together

bang bang cauliflower

Bang Bang Cauliflower


1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into bite sized florets

2 cups panko bread crumbs (I used 1 cup of panko crumbs and 1 cup of almond flour instead!)

2 large eggs, whisked

1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped (optional, for garnish)


Bang Bang Sauce

2 tbsp sweet chili sauce (I bought mine from an Asian grocery store. Make sure to buy the kind that is just sauce without chili seeds)

2 tsp hot sauce (I used sriracha)

1/4 cup light/low fat mayonnaise (I used Greek Yogurt instead!)

1 tbsp honey


– Preheat oven to 400F. Dip cauliflower pieces in egg and then roll in panko until fully coated and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You will need to use your fingers to press on the coating to help it to stick to the cauliflower bites. Repeat until all cauliflower is coated.

– Bake for about 20 minutes or until coating is a dark golden brown and crunchy.

– While cauliflower is cooking, make the bang bang sauce. Add all ingredients into a small bowl and whisk until uniform and no mayonnaise lumps remain. Drizzle over finished cauliflower, reserving additional for dipping. Garnish with fresh parsley if desired. EAT!


  1. Tomato Basil Spaghetti Squash Bake (source:

tomato basil bake

Yields: 4 sevings


  • 1 whole spaghetti squash, roasted, seeds removed, and scooped out (I cooked mine in a slow-cooker on low for 4 hours)
  • 2T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4c fresh basil leaves, finely sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4c parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 whole ripe tomato, sliced
  • 1/2c mozzarella cheese


Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease an oblong shallow casserole dish (or similar).

To a mixing bowl, add the cooked squash “noodles,” olive oil, garlic, basil, a generous amount of salt and pepper, and the parmesan cheese. Toss to coat (more olive oil can be added if needed – you want it moist, but not dripping). Spread mixture into the casserole dish. Lay tomato slices on top and season them lightly with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and a little bit more freshly grated parmesan. Bake 25-30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown. Serve promptly (a drizzle of balsamic and some more fresh basil on top is tasty, but optional). EAT!

  1. Whole 30 Slow Cooker Beef Stew with a side of Paleo Cornbread

Serves 4

whole 30 beef stew


2-3 lbs beef chuck, cut into 6-8 large pieces

1 lb carrots, cut into 1″ pieces

3 medium-sized white sweet potatoes, cut into cubes

½ chopped large sweet onion,

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 tsp Dijon mustard

2 cups beef broth

2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary

salt and pepper, to taste

olive or avocado oil

To thicken: 2 Tbsp arrowroot powder


Add meat and vegetables in the slow cooker. Mix the ingredients for the sauce in a medium-sized mixing bowl.  Pour into the slow cooker.  Mix it up evenly.  Cook it on Low for 7-8 hours.


Paleo Cornbread


1 1/2 cups refined almond flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/3 cup raw honey

4 eggs


Preheat oven to 320. Combine all ingredients with a stand mixer until no lumps remain. Pour into a greased pie pan and bake in a 320 oven for 15 minutes. EAT!


There you have it! Do you like this recipe round-up?  I would love to see the pictures of how your recipes turned out!  Post them in the comments section!


Then and Now

   I remember New Year’s Eve, five years ago. My husband and I had just moved to Washington from Oklahoma a few months prior, it was bone-chilling cold and we were walking to a friend’s house. We played poker (which I didn’t know how to play and still don’t because maybe… there was a little too much drinking involved) and drank Disaronno and Coke (which I’d never had before, and, is delicious).

poker chips

We stayed out until way past two in the morning and then staggered our way down the street to our house. I slept in until noon, drank coffee to clear my alcohol-saturated brain and took my dogs for a long walk. I probably took a nap somewhere in there and read a book. It sounds relaxing, right? Relaxing and quiet.

coffee cup

Fast forward to this New Year’s: We went to my mom’s house and played games while eight children ran up and down the halls (two of which are mine). The sweet noise of children screaming, chasing each other, crying, whining, tattling on each other, fighting over who gets the blue crayon and who gets the bigger piece of pizza filled the air. In between the tantrums, melt-downs and the carrying on, if you listened closely, sometimes you got lucky and you could hear the beautiful tinkering of their laughter. Ah, yes. That…right there…is one of my most favorite sounds in the world.

As the whining and tears escalated and the laughter dissipated, we decided it was time to pack up and go home. Was it 10:30? Why yes, yes it was. I know…we are party animals…what of it?

Just for the sake of posterity, we decided to go all out…and wait for it…stayed up until 11 PM so we could watch the ball drop in New York. My husband gave me a quick kiss before we scooped up the kids and dashed to the car.

2016 new years

This morning I got up at 6am, not by choice, but because my daughter jumped on top of me and said in perfect dramatic fashion, “The sky’s awake! So I’m awake! So we have to try on dresses! (The kid changes literally, at least 5 times a day). And even though I was exhausted because I’d only gotten five hours of asleep, not to mention that I haven’t gotten a decent night’s sleep since December 18th when we started traveling, I smiled and got up with her.

It doesn’t sound relaxing does it? And it definitely doesn’t sound quiet, right? And it certainly sounds different from my New Year’s Eve five years ago…BUT, I wouldn’t change it for anything.


Every day I am thankful and grateful for my healthy, beautiful children, my wonderful husband who works so hard for us and this family we have created.

What are you grateful for? Comment below and tell me! I’d love to hear it!

CHALLENGE: I challenge you to keep a gratitude journal! Every day, for the month of January, write down at least one thing you are grateful for. You can write it, draw it, or cut out magazine pictures and glue them in there. It doesn’t matter…make it your own! You will be amazed how this one SMALL activity can make a HUGE difference in your attitude and mood.

DID YOU KNOW: Studies have shown that happy people practice the habit of being grateful – that means that being grateful, genuinely grateful, is linked to happiness, a decrease in depression, an increase in positive attitude, and an overall appreciation of life and what’s in it. Try it today!


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License:  CC BY-SA 2.0

Photo Source:

License: CC0 1.0

A New You For A New Year

2016 new year


Do you have a goal in mind for the new year?  Good.  Now forget about it.

That’s right.  You heard me.  Forget it.

Why?  Because it isn’t about the end result, it’s about the process.  It’s about how you feel and the person you become along the way that truly matters.  Reaching your goal, coming to the end state, is just an added bonus.

write down goals

Are you determined to lose weight in 2016?  Great!  I hope you do!  But think about the steps along the way that will get you there.  You may have to change your diet, drink more water, get more sleep, eat more vegetables, fit daily exercise into your routine, convince your family to eat differently, bake, not fry things and learn new recipes.

The end result of all that?  You lose weight and you can fit into your favorite pair of jeans.  Wonderful!  But what about how you have changed along the way?  What about the person you were yesterday, last week, or last month?  You aren’t that person anymore.  You’ve learned new habits.  You feel good on the inside because you look good on the outside.  You have more energy, more spring in your step and all of your clothes fit.  You’ve learned how to take better care of yourself which in turn allows you to take better care of the people you love.  You are an inspiration to others.  You are PROUD of yourself.  As you should be!

Are you determined to finally do that muscle up or that handstand push up?  Do you want to get every single room in your house organized? (that’s a personal vendetta of mine)  What about finishing that project you started last year or running that half marathon that you keep alluding to but never actually sign up for?

Can you see, how, in the end it’s all the same?  No matter what you are striving for, you will need to take certain steps to get there.  These steps will change you because you will have learned new things and developed different habits.

destination quote picture

I challenge you…right here…right now…to focus on the present.  To focus on the process.  To focus on the daily steps you need to take to get you where you want to be.

How?  Make a list.  Make a detailed list of daily habits you need to implement, of things you need to add or remove from your routine, etc., in order to be successful on this journey.

Finally reaching your destination, will of course, be wonderful.  But I encourage you to keep in mind that it is only the icing on the proverbial cake.


Below is a link to another great goal setting worksheet you can use to set your overall  goals

After you do the worksheet above, do this one:  It can help you determine what DAILY steps you need to take to reach the goals you outlined for yourself.  (source:

to do list


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