chemical free, citrus, dr. bronners, essential oils, healthy, seed to seal, thieves, young living

Investing in my health, wealth, and self

So it’s probably pretty clear by now that I am trying to live a more healthy life. I recently added a tagline to my blog, “investing in my health, wealth, and self” and I truly believe in it. Investing in my wealth just means making smart financial decisions, getting great deals, finding awesome DIY projects, and making sure I spend my money wisely and invest in my future. Investing in myself means doing things that better who I am, whether it be taking more classes to further my education (more on that in a future post), reading and learning, and doing things that continue my personal growth. Investing in my health has probably been the most obvious thing lately on here since I post a ton of paleo recipes, my weight loss and workout progress and what foods I try to avoid.

JoeyWaffles has been a real sport about everything, especially since I’ve been trying to go chemical free around the house as much as we can. I completely realize that there is no way to go 100% chemical free because that’s impossible but I do believe in minimizing what I can. What surprised me was how easy this has been with only some minor changes.

The first change I made was easy and has made a huge difference. I simply decided that since we don’t have a dishwasher and I wash ours by hand, I would change out our dish soap. I figured it would be easy and looking at what’s in normal soap, a welcome change. So with a little internet research, I found a great alternative to my usual dishwashing liquid. Joey get’s annoyed because it’s doesn’t bubble up as much as other soaps but I remind him that the bubbling up and lather isn’t always such a good thing lol Anyways, here’s my alternative to store bought dishsoaps.

Dr. Bronner’s Castille Soap as dish washing soap-using my Dr. Bronner’s castille soap and my Young Living Essential Oils, I have been able to replace my old dish soaps like Dawn, Oil of Olay, and the like with this homemade recipe. When you consider that we eat off plates and are washing those said plates with chemicals, how can that be a good thing? Also consider this, when we wash our dishes we are not only adding those chemicals to our bodies but into the environment. So mixing the vegan, chemically free, and awesome Dr. Bronner’s soap with a few drops of Young Living Essential Oils (I usually do citrus, lemon, lavender, or peppermint) and some water, I have a great soap that leaves my dishes sparkling and safe. Check out this article on Dr. Bronner’s, it was incredibly interesting and made me happy I support this product.

Recipe: Dilute the Dr. Bronner’s with 1:10 water ratio. Add in a few drops of your favorite citrus essential oil. That’s it. You’re done! I like lemon oil the best but the Citrus is also really nice. You can also use lavendar or a few drops of Thieves.

At the end of the day, I realize I will never be able to go chemically free because it’s all over our enviorment. I can’t control everything and I do have a cell phone, drive a car, still drink out of plastic water bottles on occasion, eat at restaurants, etc. I just think that if I can change the things I do have control over and make those changes, I might be in better shapre in the next 30-40 years. It can’t hurt right? Or do you just think I am a total nut job? Comment away lol!

You can read more about specific essential oils here and see which ones you would use. If you want to sign up you can go here and get a 24% discount on all purchases, sign up here.

avocado, caveman, food, garlic, health, healthy, paleo, recipe

Now That’s a Mouthful:Paleo Creole Burgers

So I’ve instagrammed about my favorite burger to make at home and wanted to share the recipe with everyone who asks me about it!

To the left is more of a lunch version, with an avocado and tomato salad underneath. This is a really versatile burger and easily customizable! You can always top with a fried egg, peppers, or even bacon! You can make the burgers ahead of time with a weekly meal prep and then just oven warm up for a few minutes while you cook your sides.

Eating paleo is something that is so easy and tasty and this burger is a great example. No sauce or cheese needed, there is so much flavor on it’s own. When you have good meat and seasonings, you have all the flavor you could want and don’t need to disguise anything!

Now That’s a Mouthful: Paleo Creole Burgers

Ingredients
1lb grass fed burger
Tony Chachare’s Creole seasoning
1/4 onion
1/2 avocado
1-2 handfuls of spinach
4-6 cloves of garlic
1/2 lime or some lime juice
Coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
Directions

The prep work 

  1. Grab a medium sized mixing bowl and put in all your ground beef
  2. Add one egg
  3. Add creole seasoning to taste. I add a pretty good amount to really enjoy the flavor, like 5-6 shakes
  4. For the garlic, I peel 2-3 cloves and throw in my ninja. You can also just dice it up small with a knife if you don’t have a food processor and feel like getting it dirty. You can also do a few more cloves now for the spinach if you want
  5. Add the 2-3 diced cloves to the bowl with the other ingredients
  6. Mix with your hands which you will have washed before you started cooking and maybe again right now. Mix thoroughly so the egg is mixed and all the meat. (feel free to use a burger press if you’d like)
  7. Add a few more shakes of seasoning if you think there’s not enough, I usually do a shake or two more since I figure, why not?
  8. Shape the burgers into patties. I use make them into a ball or sorts and then squish a little and start rolling them into my hands and shaping
  9. Size will depend on how you portion, for the lap-band I do smaller so I can control the size
  10. Set aside
  11. Cut about the end of your onion off and then cut a 1/2 inch thick slice. If you are making bigger burger, cut onion in half and then cut the slice so you get bigger rings. You really only need a 1/4 of an onion, just to get a nice set of slice to grill
  12. You can also cut the avocado into slices but leave the skin on
Making the magic

  1. Get a medium sized frying pan and set the heat to 5/medium to high heat
  2. Put the burgers in the pan, I usually do 3 at a time if they fit
  3. Burgers have fat so you do NOT need to add any oil
  4. Get a second smaller pan ready so you can cook the spinach simaltaneously
  5. Add a little oil to that pan and put in the rest of the garlic,  set to medium heat
  6. Let the burger get a nice char going and when you think it’s to your liking, flip
  7. Go back to the spinach pan and add in about 2 handfuls of spinach, always add more because it becomes a much smaller portion when cooked
  8. Add a splash of lemon juice 
  9. Go back to the burger and keep the char to your liking. Mine go for a few minutes because I like a good char
  10. Keep the heat at medium , about a 3/4 and cook to your taste. I like a medium rare to medium so I cook it about 5 minutes on each side
  11. Stir spinach until wilted and remove pan from heat
  12. Grab your serving plate and add the spinach to the middle of the plate
  13. Add one of the burgers on
For the onions

  1. You can honestly use the same pan as the spinach or start a new one
  2. Using a medium sized frying pan and pour some coconut oil
  3. Set the stove to a medium heat and let the oil heat up some
  4. Add in the onion and maybe a little seasoning, creole or garlic powder, if you want
  5. Sauté the onions, flipping the onion after a few minutes
  6. Flip again after a few until onions are grilled to your liking. I like mine pretty grilled and a little charred but you can stop sooner
Finishing moves
  1. Add the onions to the top of the burger
  2. Garnish the plate with the avocado
  3. Add lime and garlic salt to taste on the avocado or leave plain
  4. Feel free to add some baked sweet potato fries (recipe coming soon!)
Enjoy!!

bathing suit, carido, fitness, health, healthy, transformation tuesday, weight loss, working out

Transformation Tuesday

This blog is something that’s not anonymous. My friends, family, co-workers, even my trainer knows it exists. While I don’t put everything in my life on here, everyone who experiences my life, knows this blog is something I really love. I decided I would have transparency and it has not held me back yet from saying what I want but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. Whether it’s talking about my Hanes underwear preferences over Victoria’s Secret or just posting recipes I like or the trashy tv I watch, it’s a look into my life, unfiltered.

The hardest part though is having something I really want to say, for a specific group of people, and knowing that on here it’s open to everyone. I have to remember though, the people in my life (family, friends, co-workers) are completely supportive and amazing and they won’t judge me (unless it’s Paul and Alex and I’m throwing a tantrum). So today’s post is an honest, embarrassing, and hard to post but it’s been on my mind.

The weirdest thing about significant weight loss is the mental aspect. No matter how prepared you think you are, there comes a point where you’re thrown for a loop. It all seems so simple as first right? I mean, you just need to lose the weight and everything will be better and you’ll love your body and life will just be peachy. A lot of people find out this isn’t exactly true, that a losing weight isn’t a miracle cure for your problems. But…to be honest, this has actually been surprisingly really true for me up to this point. It wasn’t a miracle cute but things in my life have changed significantly. I have slowly and steadily lost the weight over the last two years. I got an amazing job, fell in love, and have been really happy with the progress my body has made. My life has actually just gotten better and better the more weight I lost.

I’m only 15lbs away from my goal weight and it’s terrifying. Up until this point, I have just been excited to see collar bones, watch my fingers get thinner (so weird!) and drop some pant sizes. Actually five sizes. That’s crazy to me! 85lbs is really a lot to lose but it’s been sp spread put over 2 years, it’s hard to really absorb that I’ve lost that much.

I know I’ve come a long way on the lap-band/weight loss right? I see the photos, my before and after’s but the journey doesn’t sink it sometime. Then, this weekend, I found a photo of myself two years ago in a bikini and was shocked. Jaw dropping shocked. I never saw myself that heavy. When I remember taking that photo, I felt attractive and didn’t care. I was at my favorite place and with one of my favorite people, my Aunt Susan. and we were having an awesome vacation. I felt sassy and sexy and to some extent, I see that I did my best to rock it.

When I see the picture on the left, I am so glad I made the journey back to health. I wonder how I let myself get that way. I don’t feel ugly but I feel so incredibly unhealthy. I can’t believe I lived for years with that weight. I keep looking at my hands, the  way my hips are huge and padded. The way how my “confidant” pose isn’t really so confidant at all.

When I see the the picture on the right, I love how far I’ve come and that I am in much better shape but…I still see all these ways I can improve. I am trying not to be so hard on myself and remember that right now I am still continuing on my journey. It is long and there are ups and down but I have come so far. I love that I am standing straight, feeling sassy, and looking healthy.

I guess just some days I will always feel like the girl on the left. When I was at Target trying on pants this weekend and the size 10’s fit perfect, I was in shock and so happy that they fit but I also could see the flaws in my body in the dressing room. Maybe the answer to that is that dressing rooms clearly have the worst lighting ever which seems counter productive to me buying their clothes. Maybe the answer is, it’s okay if I have days where I feel bad because we all do but to keep on keeping on keeping on.

When people think that Lap-band is the easy way out, I can promise you it’s not. I currently have a personal trainer through LA Fitness to help me in the nest few months, tone my body and make it stronger. I eat unprocessed foods, follow the paleo diet, and try to stay accountable for my choices. Lap-band has been the best tool for me, on my journey, to health. It isn’t for everyone. Maybe for some people it’s just a mental switch to eating right and working out, Maybe some people take the RNY/VSG journey. But whatever path takes us to health, that’s the right one. When you seem someone who’s heavy you don’t know their struggle, so be kind.

No matter how much weight I’ve lost along the way, I have gained so much more knowledge about myself. I know that even if people treat me different, the only thing that has changed is my outward appearance. That sometimes just being able to write how I feel gets me more motivated to stay on this journey and to remind myself that I am beautiful and smart. We are who we are, no matter the size or shape of us.

day one health, fitness, groceries, grocery store, gym, health, healthy, lapband, meal prep, produce, salmon, work out, working out

How to say bye, bye, bye to weight loss plateaus

(Because who doesn’t need a little N’sync reminder in their day?)

Today I took a half day so I could go get my lap-band fill. Actually an un-fill as it was a little tight. I love going seeing thewonderful staff at Day One Health. Dr Elli has been amazing and is such a great guy. One of the most important things about having the lap-band is the maintenance and listening to your body. When I notice I am eating more than I should and am not able to maintain my portions, I can go in from a fill to make it a little tighter. If it gets too tight due to various reasons (have I traveled, weather, stress, etc) I can go in and get in un-filled, like I did today.

I have lost 25lbs since my last fill and I feel great! Total weight loss is about 85lbs to date. I have about 15lbs to go to my goal weight and this is always the hardest to lose. I have been stuck here a few times and really want to get past this. So what do I do when I’m stuck on the weight loss plateau? Revise and revamp my habits.

Whether you have lap-band or are just trying to live a healthier lifestyle and lose some weight, check out what I am doing to get off the plateau and back on track to weight loss.

1. Make a meal plan. Making a meal plan is great because it helps keep me accountable for what I’m putting in my body and doesn’t let me take the easy way out. It takes away the annoying question of “What am I going to eat for dinner?” and doesn’t leave room for getting off track health or budget wise. It’s not always easy to come up with different things every week and I have to admit, sometimes I like eating the same things over and over so it might be boring to some. Luckily JoeyWaffles and I also like to try new things as well and incorporate them in with our staple meals. Tonight’s dinner was salmon and lemon garlic spinach with avocado. I deviated a little from the menu but that’s okay. It’s about eating at home with simple, delicious, unprocessed meals.

2. Buy things you’ll actually eat. It’s great to get excited about eating well and wanting to 100% change what you’re eating but it’s not going to do you any good if you don’t eat what you buy. I used to put a ton of things in my cart I thought I should be eating and ended up with a huge cart of great food, a lot that went to waste. I would end up throwing out great produce because it never got used since I bought so much. Sometimes I didn’t like it but thought I should be eating it because it was healthy. Now I buy just what’s on my list and try not to deviate. As you can see on the right, these are my groceries for this week. Underneath the island we keep spices which we’ll use on most of the food above it (we even add some cayenne pepper to our smoothies). Remember, don’t buy all the things you think you should be eating, buy what you’ll actually use. Even if you slowly transition your unhealthier foods out for better alternatives, make sure you won’t be causing cravings that can lead to binge eating junk food. If that happens, forgive yourself, get back up and keep on prepping and making healthy changes!

3. Prep your food. This is a great follow up to making a meal plan and going grocery shopping. Once you know what you’re eating, it really helps to get it ready, This is the best defense to eating off your plan or eating something not to good because it’s faster and easier to deal with. JoeyWaffles and I spent Sunday grocery shopping and meal prepping, among other things. Sunday and Monday are usually fish days because we buy it fresh and don’t want it to go bad. We marinate our chicken, steak, even make our burgers ahead of time, so that everything can be cooked as soon as it’s needed. If we’re having chicken for lunch that week we cook it (grill in warmer weather) ahead of time so we can grab it and go. Vegetables are faster to cook so unless it’s for lunch, I usually make them fresh. It’s just as easy though to sautee, steam, or bake them ahead of time. You can make the banana pancakes ahead and they last all week as well. Pair with some cooked chorizo and you’re good to go for breakfast on the go! We even pre-bag our smoothies so we can just dump them in and blend instead of peeling and chopping which can be time consuming. Plus it’s a fun way to spend time together.

4. Hit the gym. Eating well might be 75% of losing weight but it isn’t going to tone my body. No matter how tone you are, being healthy is important. You don’t have to look magazine perfect to be healthy. I know that no matter what the scale says, I need to be heart healthy as well. I just made 2 appointments with my personal trainer and I will be going to yoga tomorrow. I might have to start practically all over again but I don’t care. I will re-start working out and re-gain my muscles and strength. If you fall 7 times, make sure you get up 8. Plus the benefits of exercise are so numerous and affect your mental state as well as physical so it’s really important to do. Finding a balance in my day is hard when there are always so many things to do but meal prep helps with this as well. If I can get home by 7 and throw food in and eat by 7:30 it’s a lot easier then getting home with nothing prepared and then having to start from scratch and eat late. Plus, just getting into the routine of the gym is important, once you’ve made it a habit then you can start switching up your workouts and incorporating weights. Maybe try a new class to keep you motivated!

How do you keep yourself on track if you’ve hit a weight plateau? Hope these tips help.
 I’d love to hear what you do!

health, healthy, paleo, soy, starbucks, water

Why Starbucks and I are going on a break

Investing in my health means being honest with myself about what I put in my body. As I ordered my Starbucks Grande Caramel Macciato on Sunday for my “cheat day” I had to wonder what choices I’m making for myself. Sure, Starbucks is delicious but not any kind of investment in my health or my wallet for that matter!

1. The truth about “sugar free” syrup So first things first about going to Starbucks, they advertise making their drinks more healthy (less calories, sugars, carbs) by ordering them “skinny”. This means using sugar free syrup and skim milk. It really surprises me to see on Instagram that a lot of my weight loss/bariatric friends post their favorite Starbucks drinks which include up to 10 pumps of SF syrup. Say what? Now, I promise you I am not judging anyone with what they order or where they chose to save calories or whatnot. What is really concerning is how society makes SF seem so tempting and makes us think we are making better choices.

Still with me or just think I am secretly judging you? Hopefully you’re still reading and giving me a chance! So it was only a year and a half or so ago that I really understood why SF products weren’t for me. My favorite Starbucks drink was a grande skinny caramel macciato, SF syrup and skim milk and I loved it. I thought it was an obviously better solution to the calories in the more sugary drinks and I could still enjoy a caffeine pick me up.

So why is SF bad? Isn’t better to have no calories or carbs? That’s a good point but don’t you wonder what’s in there? Chemicals. That’s what’s in there. Chemicals that are not good for the body. In fact, they often increase your appetite for sugar because the brain still thinks it’s getting sugar, I think The Skinny Confidential’s post on Starbucks sums it up perfectly. You can also check out this article on Starbucks SF syrup. So that means no skinny lattes for me.

2. Soy milk I love ordering a cinnamon dolce latte with soy because I don’t have dairy (paleo) if I can avoid it and I like the added vanilla flavor. That right there is a problem because what makes the vanilla flavor are chemicals, which obviously are just as bad as ordering SF syrup. Foodbabe posted a great article on Starbucks Pumpkin Spiced Lattes which went pretty viral and changed a lot of people’s minds about ordering them. Once I read her article, I never ordered one again. But it really should have sunk in more about what is in their soy. Carrageenan is scary and when you start reading about it, it definitely makes me rethink my ordering. Really, this makes me rethink soy in general.

3. High amount of sugar and carbs. If I could just drink black coffee life would be great. Granted I would still have to worry about the pesticides that apparently are contained in the actual Starbucks coffee (and other places) I’m sure but I don’t know how extreme I am yet so I would probably still drink it. Since I love sweetness and my favorite drink is a grande cinnamon dolce latte, I am getting 260 calories with 44g carbs and 38g sugar. Love ya Starbucks but that is not worth the work I’d have to do at the gym to make up for it.

4. The cost. Let’s face it, I don’t need to pay for bad nutrition even though I love the baristas and the way the coffee tastes. I would rather go to a CorePower class or two or buy something cute than waste money for empty calories. With everything in my life I want to buy and the money I would love to save for retirement and whatnot, I just don’t need to spend money on a want like this, when it’s definitely not a need.

So, until I can learn to love an unsweetened coffee and deal with adding some organic stevia, which I don’t really enjoy, I am going on a break. My wallet and body will thank me. I can always grab a tea if necessary and add some of my own honey if I want something warm. Plus, I really need to make sure I drink even more water because when my lapband is tighter I am less thirsty for some reason. This doesn’t mean I will never have Starbucks but it will truly become a treat for me. I will instead be using my Life Factory water bottle more, adding some cucumber and enjoying the hydrated and healthy life. Plus, if I am really missing coffee in my life I will try The Sweaty Bettys Bulletproof coffee that she has been drinking and enjoying and that I’ve seen on some paleo sites.

body, health, healthy, paleo, thankful, yoga

The best is yet to come: my 2015 goals!

Well, so much for blogging more during the holidays! Really though, like everyone else, there was just so much going on. Sometimes I feel guilty that I don’t have any children and work normal hours and still don’t seem to have time for everything I want to do. Thinking about all the things I want to do and need to make time for naturally got me thinking about the upcoming year and the goals I am setting for myself. Since accountability is a grand thing indeed (and sometimes the devil), I am going to post my goals and hope you all can help keep me on track in the upcoming year!

The Goal: Invest in My Health
Normally I might just say I’d like to lose another 20lbs and be done with it but that is not the goal I have anymore. My goal is really and truly to be healthy. To invest in my health. To look at what I am eating and really care about what I am putting in my body and how it will affect my future. So how can I consciously and consistently invest in my health? How much am I willing to give, of myself, of my finances, and of my time? Because that’s really what it comes down to,  the changes that will effect where I go, how I shop, how I feel about myself and so much more.
Step 1: Live 80/20 
One of my favorite things about eating healthy and following a Paleo diet is that it is 80/20. So you try to eat 80% of your meals following the guidelines and then 20% of your meals are whatever you want. By allowing a few meals that aren’t paleo and working with moderation, I am able to be realistic about my food intake and goals. I love the above quote from Bobby Flay because it’s simple but to the point. I don’t need to eat fast food; there is nothing good about it for my body and quite frankly, I don’t enjoy the taste at all. That doesn’t mean I am not going to eat a decadent desert but at least if I am going to eat decadent I will use better quality ingredients than just junk. I want to be able to not let food control my life and over the last two years I have made that change sucessfully. 
Step 2: Don’t beat myself up when I am not perfect. 

Eating moderately helps me maintain a healthy relationship with food. I don’t break down if I have a brownie, I just make sure I don’t have one with every meal or make sure I hit the gym a little harder. I am not going to be perfect and I am more than okay with that. Perfect means that nothing needs to change and I always want to change, grow, and keep learning. So I am going to recognize there are moments I will fail and will eat something awful. I will not always make it to the gym for as many days as I would like that week. It’s inevitable. What I will strive for is accepting these moments and remembering that Scarlett O’Hara was a badass who never quit and always knew that “after all…tomorrow is another day”. This doesn’t mean that I will think my excuses are valid but it allows me to look at why I made a mistake and learn from it. Maybe I didn’t got to the gym because I was so tired and had to listen to my body. Maybe the reason I am so tired is because of lack of sleep. That lack of sleep causes my body to not function as well as it could and leads to overeating as well. So what I learn is to get more sleep and listen to my body.
Step 3: Be consistent with Paleo
I made mention above about following a Paleo diet. A Paleo diet means not having grains, dairy, or artificial sugar. There are a lot of nuances about it and different people follow different levels, much like there are pescatarians, vegetarians, vegans and so on. I have been pretty bad about following this lately so I need to get back on track. So starting January 2nd I will resume my 80/20 Paleo lifestyle which means: no dairy, processed foods including sugar, no legumes, starches or grains and no alcohol. Instead you eat lean meats, seafood, fruits, vegetables, nuts/seeds, and healthy fats, You can check out Nom Nom Paleo for more info! Cooking at home and meal prep is the best tool to stay on track and eat paleo. It also saves money so it’s a triple threat. Plus, watching JoeyWaffles cook, grill, and try new recipes is pretty hot. When I followed Paleo consistently I was leaner, had more energy, and really just overall felt better. It’s little changes that can make a big difference: making my own maple bacon instead of buying the Oscar Meyer version; reading the back of everything I buy so I know what I’m putting in my body; and just staying away from unnecessary foods like Doritos, fast food, and such. I still will have a Reese’s or enjoy a Coke Slurpee but it might be once a week or every few weeks. It makes me feel better when I know I am giving my body good fuel and investing in a better future.

Step 4: Control my food portions 
Sometimes I think like the girl who weighed 80lbs more and feel a compulsion to order a ton of food. I usually remember I am not and start to order like a normal, average, adult. Usually after the fact when it’s too late to change my mind, I remember I have lap band and need to only eat a kids size portion. It’s kind of crazy to think that often, especially going out, a kid’s size portion is really more appropriate for an adult and that we really have huge over sized meals. It’s not even about over eating, it’s really about wasting food and money because I never eat what I think I’m going to and end up wasting it or giving it to JoeyWaffles. That doesn’t work because it means he ends up eating a meal and a half which isn’t good for him either and I want his health to be optimal as well (total Rick word!) So I resolve to order more appropriate sized meals when I do go out and when I am home, use a smaller plate and grab smaller sizes.
Step 5: Use more Young Living Essential Oils in my life
Since getting more into oils and learning a lot from Kristen @ Naturally (un)Balanced, I really want to use more essential oils in my life. There are a lot of oils out there and feel free to do research but this is a great video about the difference between companies and the oils they produce. Thanks to Kristen, I have replaced my toothpaste with Thieves AromaBrite toothepaste, clean my house with a Thieves spray, use lemon oil to get anything stuck with adhesive off, diffuse with eucalyptus and purification for Joey’s asthma, and more. I am just learning and the more that I can replace toxic products with essential, all natural, and organic oils I am all for it. So this year I strive to replace more products, educate myself more on the oils and share my knowledge. Diffusing is so great when I sleep and the epsom salt and Oils baths Kristen recommends are amazing! I also have a roller ball of Stress away that I use when I am feeling…stressed lol
Step 6: Take more Yoga classes
Yoga is amazing. I am so lucky the company I work for offers it once a week thanks to our amazing CEO. Without my work offering it I would have never tried it and found out how truly amazing it is. Everyone is all about weights and I think they have their place but simply adding yoga into my routine has made a huge difference in my muscle definition. Yoga makes your body flexible, stretching alone has so many great benefits and when you add in the peace of mind, it really is something special. Being able to take an hour out of your day and connect with your body and mind is special and often something we neglect. I have a great CorePower Yoga near my house and my goal is go there there a few times a month in addition to my practice at work. The first month of two or even three of doing it I was still unsure if I was doing it right of some of the moves but the great thing about yoga is no one is judging you because they are all in their own state of mind and thinking about themselves (in a good way). I can’t believe how much more flexible I am and how much I enjoy my body after yoga. So treating my body better doesn’t just involve the food I do or don’t put it, but how I use my body as well. As White from America’s Next Top Model once said, “my body is a temple…and my temple wants cheesecake” Mine too girl but sometimes it wants yoga as well so I feed it both!

Steps 7, 8, and 9: Stay Organized, Buy a Meat Cooler, and Keep on smiling!
These are really simple little odds and ends I would like to accomplish. I strive to always stay organized and keep the house clean (enough) and not become a pack rat. JoeyWaffles hates throwing things out but has gotten a lot better so the house is coming together. Along with cleaning I would love to be able to buy into a meat CSA and have a cooler for meat so we only use that. It would be great to know exactly where our meat comes from and have access to quality food all year round. This also includes hitting up the Evanston farmer’s market more. Along with these changes I just want to keep having a happy and positive attitude and keep on keeping on. Life is what you make it and I want to keep on living, loving, laughing, and learning.
I can’t wait to make one of these for 2015!!
So, what are your goals? What are you hoping to accomplish in 2015?
budget, cooking, cranberry, health, healthy, paleo, recipe, salad, steak, thrifty, tilapia

Three under $20 meals for a healthy body and budget

So cooking is something I’ve never been very good at. My family all are great cooks and there’s just never been a need to really learn until recently. I’ve learned it’s more fun and better on the budget to cook for two. JoeyWaffles and I cooking started more in the last year and it’s going well. 

We try to eat little to no bread save a bagel here and there, low sugar, minimal dairy, basically a modified Paleo. Being healthy is something we both actively strive for so cooking at home is a great way to make that happen.

Everyone says that eating healthy costs more and while that is true, it’s an investment in your health and future. Trust me when I say you don’t have to break the bank to have a meal that’s tasty, healthy, and look fabulous. Here are 3 dishes that are under $20, healthy, and easy to make! 

So everyone needs a go to dish. Something you can bring to a party or a potluck that everyone likes and makes you a hit. So what’s my easy go to? This under $20 Cranberry Goat Cheese mixed green salad with pecans. So how do you make it? Easily. Very Easily.

North Shore Poor’s Fancy like Iggy Azalea Any Season Salad

Grab
-1 container of mixed green or spinach. $5
-1 package of Fisher Nut Pecans $5
-1 package of crumbled goat cheese $4
-1 package of dried cranberries (8oz will do) $3

For a dressing I usually mix
-olive oil
-lemon juice
-balsamic vinaigrette
-some minced garlic, salt, and pepper
-Dijon mustard

Directions (5 minutes or less total time)
For presentations sake, I don’t mix this but put the ingredients on top.
-Place the salad greens in your desired container
-sprinkles pecans, cranberries, and goat cheese on top.
-artfully arrange
-leave dressing on the sides
-voila! you’re done!

As you can see above, that took me about 2 minutes to make and I didn’t even take use a different container. Place in a fancy dish and you are all set!

North Shore Poor’s Easy like a Khardashian Steak Dinner

Sometimes you just want an easy dinner. You don’t want to spend an hour in the kitchen but the idea of picking up fast food holds no appeal for you. If you’re like me, it’s actually not even a last resort. Well, unless it’s a DQ blizzard, then that’s always good. So instead of hitting up a fast food joint, here’s what I do:

First, I figure out the nearest grocery store to me on my way home from work/the gym. I go in, grab a my ingredients: steak, an avocado, and some cous cous. I pick a small but good steak, usually grass fed/organic, I eat a lot less because of lap band and I always want quality over quantity. An avocado completes any meal in my opinion. You can get out of the store for under $20 even at Whole paycheck Foods, I usually have a glass of Pinot Grigio or Tempranillo in my fridge but feel free to skip the wine.

Directions (15 minutes total time)
1. Follow directions on cous cous box. Usually involves boiling water with some olive oil and the spice pack. I use Near East Roasted Garlic and Olive Oil.
2. Chop 1-2 cloves of garlic.
3. Coat steak with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder
4. Make a few shallow cuts in steak and put in cut up garlic
5. Flip steak and repeat.
6. Grab a pan and turn stove on medium heat with a little olive oil, I lie adding a little lime juice over mine but that’s a personal preference. Try it once to see. You will no be disappointed.
7. Check on cous cous and continue to follow directions. When the water is boiling add the cous cous, cover and remove from heat I believe, I don’t have the box in front of me but I’ve made it enough,
8. Place steak in hated pan.
9. Start cutting up avocado. I l ike garlic salt and lime sprinkled on mine but it can be plain or even with some lemon juice and/or salt. Again, a preference.
10. Cook steak 3-4 minutes on each side should get you to a medium rare, add more time to get your temperature preference.
11. Plate the avocado and cous cous.
12. Add the steak and enjoy!

North Shore Poor’s I Want to Binge-Watch TV in my Pj’s Tilapia 

I love any and all seafood. I guess this is from my Italian side because my Dad absolutely abhors any kind of fish. This just means at the Japanese steakhouse I get his shrimp which is a win for me. A quick and easy seafood meal is great for being low cal and delicious! Tilapia is great dinner and easy to cook without smelling to fishy.

All you need is:
-cabbage, which can you can get pre-shredded if you feel like it
-olive oil
-mayo
-lemon (bottled lemon juice is fine)
-tilapia filet
-avacado
-lime (bottled lime juice is fine)
-handful of cherry tomatoes
-1 egg

Directions
The Israeli Cabbage Salad (5 minute prep)
1. Chop us a quarter to half of a cabbage and out in bowl. Otherwise use the pre-shredded stuff.
2. Chop the cherry tomatoes in half and add to bowl
3. Add a tablespoon or so of mayo
3. Add salt and pepper to taste
4. Add lemon juice, enough to wet the cabbage
5. Mix.
6. Put in fridge. Doesn’t matter covered or not since it will only be there about 15 minutes.

The Tilapia
7. Get a shallow bowl and crack egg into a bowl
8. Mix salt, pepper, garlic powder and put on a plate
9. Coat filet in egg and then dip in spice mixture, evenly on both sides
10. Get pan ready with a little olive oil and medium heat
11. Add filet and cook on each side for about 3-4 minutes, until flaky.  I like a char so I use a higher heat for about 3 minutes. Put on plate.

12. Cut up avocado, plate, add lime and/or garlic salt
13. Take Israeli salad out, mix, plate.
14. Eat and enjoy! Use lime juice for added flavor.

Simple easy meals are the way to go to stay healthy and well fed. When you start cooking and realize how easy it is, it becomes a lot easier to make a great meal at home with fresh meat/seafood than go to a restaurant where half the time it’s poor quality and frozen. When I do go out to eat, I make it count and this weekend was no exception. Joey took me to Sabatino’s on Sunday night and I had amazing garlic tilapia and a nice glass of Pinot Grigio followed by a decadent chocolate mousse cake. Quality food in a romantic setting made for a wonderful Sunday night.

Sunday morning was even better.  JoeyWaffles went to t-mobile with his brother and took my phone while I went into home goods. I assumed he was asking about a new case or battery life or something with our plan. I met his up at Potbelly’s and he told me he got me a new case. He handed me my phone in a new case and then I realized it wasn’t my phone, it was the new Sony Xperia Z3. Besy boyfriend ever. I love surprises and I have been getting sick of my phone since I have too many pictures and no memory card slot.

Sabatino’s + new phone + seeing our friends Rick and Sara who came in from Indy= a perfect weekend.

So how about you? What are your easy to make go to recipes? Anything fun happen to you this weekend?