Contagious + Menu

If you have never heard your mama say, ‘if you lay with dogs, you’ll get fleas,’ I would venture to say you are either not from the south or you were a perfect child. I think of this saying more now, as an adult than when I was an adolescent in high school. I should have thought about it more in high school though. Having children can really change your outlook on life and make you want to lead by example. At least for me it has.

As a parent I naturally want my children to have it better than I did. I want my child to learn to work for what they get and not be handed everything they want at the drop of a hat, but I don’t want them to go without. It is a fine line. Push but don’t push too hard. Love but don’t smother. Protect but don’t be a helicopter mom. There is no perfect way to parent or if you aren’t a parent yet, no perfect way to live your life. People are not perfect.

One thing we can certainly do, is surround ourselves with like-minded individuals. I don’t mean surround yourself with a bunch of “yes-people”. You don’t need your friends to agree with everything you are saying in order for them to be like-minded. To be like-minded, you all need to have the same goal/morals/focus. If you have the same goal in mind, but have different ideas on how to reach that goal, that is even better!

When I was interviewed for my current teaching position, by now boss asked me how I felt about team teaching. I was going from teaching with one other person and one paraprofessional, to three other people and support in and out of my room all day. I told him that 4 heads are better than one. The more people you have brainstorming on how to reach a common goal, the better.

If you are trying to figure out how to lose weight but feel like you have exhausted all your resources, ideas, etc. you have a “tribe” of people to turn to for help if they are like-minded. If you have surrounded yourself with people that only care about fast food, going out for bottomless chips, dip, and margaritas, or just don’t have healthy lifestyle habits at all…then chances are they won’t be able to help you with losing weight. I am sure they can point you in the direction of a fad diet or pill they saw while trolling FaceBook, but they won’t be able to help you create healthy lifestyle habits/choices that keep the weight off.

People are contagious. Not necessarily in the sickly-germs kind of contagious, but their essence. I am sure you have heard people say that attitudes are contagious. If you are around unhappy people long enough that only seem to complain about life, you will become an unhappy person that only complains about life too. Now, it is not their fault that you were not strong minded enough to stay positive and happy nor was it their fault that you did not make smarter friend choices. It is your responsibility to keep yourself in check.

A lot of times, you will be judged by the company you keep and not necessarily by your actions. You can be the sweet non-alcoholic drinker of the group, but if you are hanging out with the crowd that shuts down the bar every night; 1. people will not think you are a sweet non-alcoholic drinker and 2. you probably won’t be a non-alcoholic drinker for long. (That was the most PG example I could come up with at the moment, but you get my point.) It is much easier to get sucked into a negative lifestyle, attitude, etc. than to bring up a group of people from a negative space to a positive one.

I am not saying it is impossible, but if you spend the majority of your time hanging around people that do not share your passion for non-alcoholic drinks and are constantly being asked to drink alcohol, then are those truly your kind of people? If you are constantly having to defend your beliefs and what you are doing to your core group of friends, are those even really your friends? No matter what your goal is, morals are, lifestyle choice is your time would be better spent with those that support you and live the same lifestyle.

Whatever stage of life you are in, find people that are sharing in that same “struggle” and thrive. Don’t paddle against the current and try to be someone you are not. People are contagious and that can work to your advantage or drag you down. I want to be surrounded by people that respect me and the choices that I make, people that have suggestions or encourage me to keep reaching my goals. No one likes a Debby-Downer. If you are constantly speaking or thinking negative thoughts, you need to reevaluate your situation. No one but you is to blame for your attitude, but who you are choosing to surround yourself with can have an impact on your life if you are not strong-minded enough.

New Food Review


This salmon was so good. I was super hesitant to even try it. The mix between the avocado and the honey-mustard was surprisingly so good. I really did not expect to like this dish as much as I did. We tried the honey-mustard and rub on pork loin chops and it was good. Not as great as the salmon with the avocado sauce, but still a decent option. Josh liked it better without the tomatoes. I think the lemon-basil tomatoes over powered the honey-mustard sauce to him, but I enjoyed it. I will be making this again. The avocado sauce and honey-mustard, per serving was 51 calories, 0.4 grams of protein, 6.3 grams of carbohydrates, and 3 grams of fat. Not bad at all. Check my Instagram post for more details on the amounts used.

Greek Orzo Stuffed Red Peppers

I feel confident in saying that I could eat this every day of the week for 3 months and never get tired of it. I loved this dish so much. It was beautiful. It was delicious. I felt fancy just stuffing the peppers and adding in all the extras. It was great. This is one of those meals that you tuck away in the back of your mind for the next time you have company and want to impress them without having to try too hard. I simply loved it and the macros weren’t that bad either. You could definitely cut back on the amount of orzo used and bring down the carbohydrates. I cut back to 1 cup, but I might even do 3/4 of a cup next time so I don’t feel as strapped on my carbohydrates next time.

Saucy Pineapple BBQ Chicken Bowls

So I ended up making my own BBQ sauce to go with this bowl. It was just a mixture of spices, ketchup, mustard, and apple cider vinegar. Nothing too fancy. I just don’t like buying a random sauce that I have not tried yet and wasting my money if it is no good. One thing Josh suggested was to use verde instead of the BBQ sauce next time. It would really pair a lot better with the pineapple, cilantro and lime. I am going to make this again, but try using the verde instead.


Pineapple Glazed Pork Roast with Bacon Wild Rice Stuffing

One Skillet Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken and Orzo

Slow Cooker Herbed Chicken and Rice Pilaf

Steak + Simple Kale Salad

Yogurt Marinated Grilled Chicken + Beet Salad

Pineapple Glazed Pork Roast with Bacon Wild Rice Stuffing

This dish is a repeat from a few weeks ago. I was so excited to cook this dish and nervous at the same time. I was nervous to see what the macros for a pork loin covered in pineapple and honey, stuffed with bacon and rice would be.

This recipe was a bit difficult to track the macros on, because part of the bacon and rice was used to stuff the pork loin with. I stuffed my pork loin instead of rolling it. This time I am going to roll it like she does. To calculate the macros for this meal, I had weigh the total amount of rice mixture and weigh out how much I put into the pork loin. That would be the weight of each of my servings to accompany the meal and that told me how many servings I had. You must weigh the meat BEFORE putting the rice mixture into it. From there I had to cut each piece of meat to weigh the same amount. Lastly, I counted how many pieces of meat I had and that was my total servings.

Counting macros and making the meals I make is not easy, but is it possible! The macros for one piece of meat was 304 calories, 41.4 grams of protein, 8.8 grams of carbohydrates, and 10.4 grams of fat. It is a lot of calories for one piece of meat in my opinion, but it is so tasty that I don’t mind giving up a snack to have two pieces.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

 1 1/2 cup uncooked wild rice
* 1 cup rice uncooked
1 teaspoon salt
6 slices thick cut bacon chopped
* 0.5 ounces cooked 
8 ounces button mushrooms sliced
10 ounces fresh or frozen spinach thawed if frozen
1 cup roasted pistachios
* omit pistachios 
8 ounces feta cheese crumbled
*19.2 grams non fat feta
1 pound pork loin roast 2 1/2
1/2 cup grainy mustard
1/2 cup brown sugar
*20 grams 
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 cup medium pineapple peeled
1 medium delicata squash halved, deseeded + sliced into half moons 
* acorn squash  

One Skillet Goat Cheese Stuffed and Orzo

I have not tried this dish yet and honestly this is a gamble. I will more than likely not have the pineapple glazed pork loin and this meal in the same day. I will need another meal that is low in fat and carbs to accompany this one.

Stuffing anything with cheese and eating it with pasta can only result in something tasty, but I am worried about the macros that come with it. If you aren’t concerned with counting your macros or watching what you eat, ignore the changes I am going to make and cook it as intended.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1 cup fresh basil, chopped, plus more for serving
* 1 container 
1/4 cup toasted walnuts, finely chopped
* omit 
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
kosher salt and black pepper
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes, add to your taste
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
2 tablespoons honey
* 1 ounce 
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
* omit or spray olive oil 
1 tablespoon salted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
1 cup dry orzo pasta
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/2 bunch kale, roughly torn
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 

Slow Cooker Herbed Chicken and Rice Pilaf

This has become a staple on my menu now. I usually cook this at least once a month. It is one of the simplest dishes and turns out great every time. Throw everything into the crockpot, set it on low for 6 hours, and you are done.

I don’t shred my chicken into the dish. I take it out in whole pieces and add it to each bowl in the amounts that I want. This makes tracking my food a lot easier. After taking out the chicken I weigh the entire pot of rice and vegetables, mix it well, and create my servings. Then I top my bowl of rice and vegetables with chicken.

The last time I made this, without chicken factored in, per serving I had 220 calories, 8 grams of protein, 44.5 grams of carbohydrates, and 1.3 grams of fat.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

1 1/2 cups wild rice
* 1 cup
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
* 2 cups 
juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 carrot, cut into 1 inch pieces
* 11-12 ounces baby carrots 
1 cup wild mushrooms, torn
* 284 grams  
2 pounds bone-in chicken breast and or thighs
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon fresh chopped sage
kosher salt and pepper
4 shallots, halved
1 sprig fresh rosemary 

Steak + Simple Kale Salad

Believe me when I tell you this salad is as simple as it gets and surprisingly so good. The secret is all in the dressing. The only thing I change to this dressing is omitting the olive oil and adding more lemon juice. Other than that, I make it exactly like it says and you must as well or you really will miss the whole effect of the salad.

We like to use sirloin steaks to cut down on the fat that a ribeye would normally have. Sirloin is probably low on the list of preferred cuts of steak, but it is cheap, good on the macros, and surprisingly tender.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

Ingredients: 2 bunches kale, fibrous stems (in the middle of the leaf) removed
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup slivered almonds
For the dressing:
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
* 2 lemons squeezed 
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
* omit oil 
½ teaspoon garlic, grated
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon pepper 

Yogurt Marinated Grilled Chicken + Beet Salad

I have not made this dish before, but I am exited to see how well it keeps the chicken breast juicy. Summer time is great time for grilling, minus how dang hot it has already gotten. Grilling chicken breasts can be a gamble because they dry out so quickly. I am going to let this marinate for a while before putting it on the grill.

I am going to substitute cherry tomatoes for pistachios. No that is not an actual nut substitution, but cherry tomatoes taste great with beets and they don’t carry fat like nuts do. I haven’t made a beet salad in a very long time, it is long overdue for that.

1 cup full-fat plain Greek yogurt
*1 cup non fat plain greek yogurt (small individual package)
1 cup lightly packed cilantro, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
*1 lemon juiced  
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Kosher salt
One 3 1/2-pound chicken—halved, breast and rib bones removed, leg bones left intact
* boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Vegetable oil, for brushing 
*spray olive oil 

Beet Salad:
2 large cooked beets peeled
* 1 bundle 
1 oz. goat cheese
1 teaspoon orange zest
* zest of one orange 
2 tablespoons chopped salted pistachios
* omit and add cherry tomatoes 
1 Tablespoon honey plus more 
* 0.25 ounce per salad 

E N J O Y !

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