Circumstances + Menu

I think it would be safe to say that Josh and I are more health conscious and in better shape than most of the members in our family. Neither of us grew up eating healthy food though, with parents who meal prepped, and worked out regularly. That is okay. We turned out just fine. Yes there were obstacles with food and weight issues, but we managed to turn into healthy adults. This is not always the case for those that do not start out eating healthy.

We were talking the other night about how our children might turn out, health wise. Fast food or restaurants were seen as a treat when we were growing up and now they are everyone’s go-to for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Who is to say that they won’t rebel against my meal prepping, workout ways and go completely rogue eating all the junk, all the time. Some children want to grow up and be just like mom and dad, while others want to go in the complete opposite direction.

We live in a state of instant gratification now compared to when we were growing up. I got Facebook when I went to college and it went from there. Facebook then was a lot different than it is now obviously. Now you know the very second someone comments or likes or shares your post. We post all the pretty pictures and wait for someone to like it. That is not how fitness and living a healthy life works.

We all expect miracles to happen after just one week of dieting or working out. It takes a LONG time, a lot longer than some people would like to devote to getting healthy. I get so annoyed with the pills, wraps and juices that promise that you will lose 20 pounds in two weeks (or something unhealthy like that). No hard work involved, just take this pill and lose the weight, no life style change necessary. Take this pill and it will block all the carbs from ever entering your system.


I want my children to have to work hard for what they get. To hell with all the participation trophies. Your 10 year old doesn’t need a super bowl ring for participating in baseball. A win is a win and a loss is a loss. Work ethic is a thing of the past and undervalued. I know everyone likes a pat on the back and to be noticed, but people should be noticed for stepping outside of their comfort zone and putting in the work. I don’t like to be told that I did well, when I know I did a poor job. I don’t want false praise, no one believes the person that is blowing hot air. If my form is crap at the gym, I want to know. If I am eating horribly, I want to know.

Don’t pick the easy road, pick the road that will get you to your long term, sustainable goals.

No matter where you are starting out at, you can make changes. Even the best of the best can get better. My circumstances growing up did not define my ability to meal prep, eat healthy, and workout. It is all about how deep your desire to be healthy is. Most people won’t understand why you feel the need to change. You are alive, you’re living just fine with the extra weight and less than active lifestyle. Sure that is true, you can live just fine without eating healthy and working out. YOU can be happy with a gut and not working out, but I can’t. I can’t just accept being unhealthy, when being healthy is such an easy choice to commit to. My father-in-law said he doesn’t understand why I work so hard at being in shape, but I really don’t see being healthy as work.

Be a doer, not just a talker. Do something about your circumstances, don’t just accept how things are if you don’t like them. You literally can look up all the nutritional information you need and free body weight workouts in a matter of seconds to educate yourself. I did not go to college to learn about nutrition, I wish I would have though. It is my passion, so I have researched and learned what I needed to know about fueling my body, losing weight in a healthy way, and working out. Don’t just starve yourself to lose weight, it won’t work…not for long. Educate yourself- email me, go take a nutrition class, look up information from credible resources don’t just take the easy way out. Take the narrow path that is not taken by many and change your life for the better and for the long haul.

New Food Review

Cajun Pepper Shrimp + Cream Corn Orzo

New favorite dish!! #halfbakedharvest is amazing! I opted for chicken breast instead of sausage and backed off the butter a good bit, but it was so delicious!! I made the kids their own pot of orzo so they wouldn’t dip into my servings…it’s THAT good. Side note: Don’t skip the lemon juice and basil, it sets the dish off! 


Rosemary Chicken, Bacon and Avocado Salad

Flat Iron Tortas (steak sandwiches)

Zesty Grilled Shrimp, Bread, and Sweet Peach Salad with Avocado Vinaigrette

Garlic Butter Creamed Spinach Salmon


Rosemary Chicken, Bacon and Avocado Salad

I love a good salad, especially during the summer. I have been lacking fat in my diet, big time. We cook such low fat, high carbohydrate meals that I am not hitting my macro fat goal. Fat is essential for moving food through your body, keep your hormones in check, and helps you absorb certain vitamins.

The bacon and avocado in this salad are sure to help me hit my fat. I am not going to go crazy and have an entire plate of bacon, but one slice under one ounce cooked and 2-3 ounces of avocado split into 4 servings won’t break the bank. It is all about moderation and counting those macros.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

4 slices thick-cut bacon
*1 piece per salad, less than 1 ounce cooked
1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
*omit, spray olive oil
2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
6 cups spring greens and/or butter lettuce
1 bunch watercress
*arugula if needed 
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 large avocado, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
*lemon juice
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
salt and pepper 

Flat Iron Tortas (steak sandwiches)

I have not cooked these sandwiches in a long time. Josh and I got to talking about using greek yogurt in a new recipe and this oldie, but goody came to mind! It is such an easy delicious recipe. You can meal prep the whole dish and reheat the meat before you assemble the sandwiches. The sauce is super simple and you can make it as spicy or mild as you like, depending on how many jalapenos you use. I usually skip the avocado on these sandwiches because the steak has a decent amount of fat. If you are on a high fat diet, be my guest. I would opt for a smaller brioche bun or do an open faced sandwich or wrap.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

1 pound flat iron (top blade) steak
*any tender low fat steak
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 chewy, crusty rolls, split
*fresh baked brioche bun
1 cup finely sliced romaine lettuce
1 large carrot, grated
*matchstick carrots
1 small avocado, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
*single serving container nonfat plain Greek yogurt 
Juice of 1/2 lime
2 tablespoons finely chopped pickled jalapeño peppers, plus more as desired 

Zesty Grilled Shrimp, Bread, and Sweet Peach Salad with Avocado Vinaigrette

I have not made this salad yet, but I have been using a lot of shrimp lately and you can’t help but want to add some creamy avocado to any salad during the summer! I love avocado, but a little bit goes a long way. From my experience, 1/4th of an avocado is typically around 1 ounce and that is 45 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 2 grams of carbohydrates, and less than 1 gram of protein.

Avocados are not very big, so be mindful of how much you are putting into your dressing. If you use two avocados you are looking at 360 calories and that does not even include the oil (if you use any). Just to put that into perspective, eating two avocados or 8 ounces is like eating an entire meal. Like I said, be mindful of the amounts you are using.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
*1 pound shrimp, 2 chicken breasts
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
*spray oil
2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon honey
zest of 1 lemon and 1 lime
kosher salt and pepper
4 thick slices ciabatta bread
6 cups mixed greens spinach or arugula
1 peach, thinly sliced
2 ears, grilled corn, kernels removed
*1 cup sweet corn 
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved if large
1 avocado, halved and pitted
1 cup fresh cilantro
1 jalapeño, halved and seeded, if desired
juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 pinch of kosher salt 

Garlic Butter Creamed Spinach Salmon

If you are looking to cook an impressive meal but don’t want to put in a ton of effort, I suggest making this for the fourth. It is not your typical grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, or ribs for the holiday. You can grill the salmon or the pork chops then top them with the sauce. I was very hesitant to cook this because of all fat the original sauce would have. Just like I always do, I cut back on the things I saw as excessive and omitted where I needed to. I can’t explain to you just how much I loved this dish. I even added jasmine rice to it, so I could soak up all the sauce, you could even add pasta!

The sauce per serving, I made it into 5 servings, had 129 calories, 7.6 grams of protein, 1.6 grams of carbs, and 10.1 grams of fat. If you can handle a higher calorie sauce you can make it into larger portions/less servings.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

4 salmon filets, skin on or off (your preference)
*pork chops or salmon
kosher salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
*omit oil 
2 tablespoons salted butter
*1 tablespoon
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced or grated
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup canned full-fat coconut milk, or heavy cream
*3/4 cup light coconut milk & 1/4 cup  whole milk 
2 ounces cream cheese, cubed
* low fat cream cheese 
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
4 cups fresh baby spinach
juice from 1 lemon
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives, plus more for serving  


Personally, I don’t think spaghetti is a summer time dish, but Josh disagrees. We both agree that it makes for an easy dish though. I don’t use pasta noodles, I prefer using spaghetti squash instead.

The spaghetti sauce I use is adapted from a bolognese lasagna sauce. It is a thicker sauce, with lots of meat and vegetables. I love it.

To make the sauce, dice the onion and bell pepper, and saute’ with the minced garlic until soft. Add the mushrooms to the pan (mushrooms are not in the lasagna). Once the mushrooms have cooked down, drain any excess water. Add the vegetables to a large pot, along with the canned tomatoes. Once the meat has cooked thoroughly, drain and add to the tomatoes and vegetables.

Stir in the milk and wine, if you are going to put those in. Let the spaghetti simmer on low. Add the tomato paste to thicken the sauce if needed. The amount of tomato paste you add depends on how thick you want your sauce to be. I use to add the whole milk and wine but have recently opted out of putting it in. It is delicious with or without the wine and milk.

I like to add dried oregano, thyme, salt, pepper, parsley, and any other Italian herbs I have on hand.

4 cans Fire Roasted Tomatoes 
1 can Tomato Paste (about 1 cup)
3 cloves Garlic
1 Yellow Bell Pepper (diced)
1 Onion (diced)
8 ounces Mushrooms (diced) 
2-4 pounds 80/20 cooked and drained (depending on amount of people serving, I use 3.5 pounds typically and always have leftovers for the kids)
8 ounces Whole Milk (optional)
4 ounces Red Wine (optional)
Italian Herbs  

E N J O Y !

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