Relative + Menu

I have a love/hate relationship with the saying ‘it could always be worse’ or ‘someone out there has it worse than you do’. It is true that we should be grateful and appreciative for what we have, but why should our lives be compared to those that are not in our shoes.

People say not to compare yourself to someone’s Instagram or FaceBook posts, because that is their highlight reel, not their “real” life. If I shouldn’t compare my life to their highlight reel, then why should I compare my bad days to their bad days?

I am allowed to have a bad day. I am allowed to be upset that something expensive broke, even though other people can’t afford said expensive item. Right? Maybe I am way off base, but if I can’t compare myself on good days then why compare myself on the bad days too.

It is all relative.

I have been doing a squat program at the house, at least once a week, twice if I am lucky. I do my squats outside under the carport and Josh watches the kids if they aren’t napping (thanks babe). The program works off of %s based on my last PR. Some weeks I only go up to 85% and others it goes up to 95%. This past week I was supposed to do 100% of my max. I was nervous/excited/heart pounding, which is just plain silly. It is only squatting, but it’s a goal for me so hitting that 100% was a BIG deal.

I got it up pretty easy and was so excited. I rushed inside and told Josh that I had gotten it, which he already knew since he was watching from the sun room that is off of the carport.

Two days later, we had squats at the gym and I totally ruined my proud moment by looking at the past weights from other people. I am constantly comparing myself to others in the gym, even when I tell myself not to.

Seeing how far ahead of me other ladies are, just ruined my high. It shouldn’t have, because I have been working hard to get back to my PR, but I want to be better. Comparison in this way does not push me to be better, it deflates me.

I have never been strong on squats, but have always wanted to be. I have always envied those that are busting out 200+ like it’s 125. It sounds so silly and I am sure someone, somewhere reading this thinks I am stupid for caring about my back squat weight, but it’s relative.What is important to me, might not matter to you at all.

A girl in the gym that weighs 180 and is squatting 240 is comparable to my weight and squatting ability, but it’s hard to think that way when you see such a high number on the board. Sometimes it’s like comparing apples and oranges, even though you are doing the same workout. Someone that isn’t in the best shape, but still showing up moving nonstop to get the work done, is getting just as good of a workout in as I am.

We have to move based off of our abilities. Our ability levels are just that, our own. They are relative to no one, but me. It is good to use others to push you to keep going, but not good to use others to beat yourself up about a job well done. A job well done that is relative to your abilities. If you are giving it all you have, be proud of that. You (I) will get better with every passing day, that you continue to put 100% in.



White Chicken Chili

Pork Loin Chops + Broccoli & Yellow Rice

Steak Fajitas

Chicken Breast + Butternut Squash Soup


This is not your typical spaghetti. When I think of a traditional spaghetti I think of a thin (can) sauce, with very little substance to it.

This sauce is thick and chunky. It was adapted from a lasagna recipe and I love it so much. The yellow bell pepper, wine, and whole milk are things I would have never thought to put into spaghetti but really are key players here.

Don’t forget it’s made with spaghetti squash, not pasta noodles. I started using spaghetti squash a few years ago and never looked back.

The last time I made this, it made 10 servings. If it is a one pot meal like spaghetti, I make the whole pot of food, then as I pour it into a container I weigh it out. Once I have the total weight I can create the amount of servings based off of the macros I want each serving to have. Per serving I had 155 calories, 15.7 grams of protein, 8 grams of carbs, and 6.8 grams of fat. Per cup, spaghetti squash has 42 calories, 10 grams of carbs, and 0.5 grams of fat.

There is no link for this spaghetti but it is very simple to make. I use two pans. One skillet to brown the meat and a large pot to saute the vegetables and transfer the meat to.

Preheat your oven to 425. Cut the spaghetti squash in half, discard the seeds, and place on baking sheet cut side up. Generously cover the inside and rim of the cut spaghetti squash with olive oil and bake for approximately 30-40 minutes or until you can stick a fork completely through inside of the squash. Once the squash has cooled, scrape out the squash with a fork, creating thin spaghetti noodle like strands.

While the squash is cooking, brown your meat and drain it. While the meat browns, saute the chopped onion and yellow bell pepper until soft. Add in the rinsed and dried mushrooms. You can chop the mushrooms before putting them into the pot or wait until they get soft and break them apart with the spatula. Add in the tomatoes, 1 cup of whole milk or heavy whipping cream (if desired, I skipped the milk the last time I cooked it), and about 2 ounces of red wine. Mix together well, then add the tomato paste. This will thicken the sauce up and add a more traditional tomato flavor. I put around 1 cup, but add this at your own discretion. Add in the meat and let simmer to mix the flavors well. Don’t forget your spices; salt, pepper, fresh basil or your favorite Italian seasoning.

White Chicken Chili

I can’t think of a healthier option for chili than this one. It has very minimal ingredients and super tasty. The salsa verde has minimal to no macros and adds a ton of flavor. I like to chop a fresh jalapeño, onion, and cilantro to add to the pot while it cooks. Then I top it off with a squeeze lime and more cilantro.

The macros for this meal per serving, last time I made it was 261 calories, 34.2 grams of protein, 28.3 grams of carbs, and 2.4 grams of fat.

I don’t make any major substitutions for this dish and that makes me so happy. You can use a rotisserie chicken for ease, but that is too difficult to calculate for macros, so I keep it lean and just use chicken breast.

Pork Loin Chops + Broccoli & Yellow Rice

It doesn’t get more meal prep friendly & stereotypical than your basic meat, rice, and vegetable. Josh used to eat this regularly before we started dating. This really is the epitome of simple and well rounded, not to mention I could eat my weight in yellow rice. Add a tiny bit of salt and butter after you have cooked the broccoli and it is delicious.

Broccoli is one of those vegetables that is a great “cut” staple. You don’t have to eat loads of raw broccoli, but it is very filling and you can make it taste great if you aren’t afraid to add a little butter to it. 148 grams of broccoli is only 50 calories, 10 grams of carbohydrates, 4.2 grams of protein, and 0.5 grams of fat. It is so healthy, not to mention the micro-nutrients you are getting.

Steak Fajitas

There are two fajita recipes that I love to rotate between. I picked this one because it has less ingredients, so less of a fuss and the vegetables aren’t raw. One thing I ALWAYS forget is to save part of the marinade for the dressing to add later. So don’t forget, but if you do it isn’t the end of the world, it still tastes great.

I am going to skip the oil in the marinade and add more lime. I don’t fire up the grill for this meal, I just cook them on the stove top. Use the reserved marinade to brush onto the vegetables. You can cook the vegetables in the oven or saute them on the stove top while you cook the meat.

This meal cooks quickly on the stove. If you don’t want to completely meal prep and cook this ahead of time, you can prep it before you cook. You can always just chop your vegetables and marinate the steak prior to and cook them the day of. If you aren’t feeling tacos again, make this into a bowl. Jasmine rice is always my go-to rice for bowls, but whatever strikes your fancy.

Chicken Breast + Butternut Squash Soup

This soup is such a great fall/winter dish. It really can be the main dish, but just doesn’t meet our protein needs. It says to use goat cheese and that is a great addition, but it doesn’t need it really. There is enough fat in this dish with the bacon for us. I like to add the broth in while I blend it to adjust the thickness. I like this soup to be thick, not thin and really soupy.

The last time I made this, per serving it had 285 calories, 14.6 grams of protein, 31.2 grams of carbs, and 9.7 grams of fat. This soup is a labor of love, but it is so good. The bacon is a MUST so don’t skip it. I weigh out the bacon raw that goes into the oven and weigh out the bacon that is used as a topping AFTER it is cooked. So much fat cooks out, I just don’t see how the macros could possibly be the same cooked vs. raw for bacon.

Don’t forget the list!


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2 thoughts on “Relative + Menu

  1. Jackie,
    All of your recipes here look scrumptious! You know love cooking! Can’t wait to try these meals!

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