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I am not sure how this happened, but next week my little boy will be 4. I feel like he has always been in my life and that I have been a mother forever. Then at the same time, it feels as if all of those difficult stages of infancy and toddlerhood have just ended. Now we are onto the difficult stages of just being a little boy. Every year I have taken off for his birthday to just spend the day with him, doing whatever he wants. This will be my last year having that special time with him.

Next year he will be in Pre-K and I will be walking down to his classroom for a “big-boy” class party instead. School is very important (hello, I am a teacher) so we won’t be skipping school for our birthday anymore. I am so excited to have him come to school with me every day for the next several years. I catch myself constantly watching the Pre-K students when they walk past my wall-to-wall windows on their way to and from the cafeteria. I get excited at the thought of seeing my child in that line and so sad at the same time.

Time is so fleeting.

I never knew how many hours in the day there were until I was a full time working mom, with a blog, that meal preps, and works out super early during the week. You learn to use your time in the best way possible. You figure out very quickly what can be pushed to the side and what really matters when you have to decide whether to fold clothes, write your blog, build castles out of legos, or vacuum. I try my best to do absolutely nothing once I get home with the kids. We sit down on the couch and I put out fires as they try to steal each others’ afternoon snack. It really is my favorite time of day (when they aren’t fussing).

One of the pastors at church made the comment that when he was younger he would give anyone his time to make a few dollars. Now his time is more valuable than making a dollar and where his time is going matters. He knows that his time on Earth is limited and it is precious. Where you invest your time, you invest your heart. If you spend your time watching Instagram stories while your children play alone, it will show. If you choose to chase down a dollar and neglect your family, it will show. No one is perfect and we all need downtime, even away from loved ones, but where you invest your time lies your priorities. I want to give my children the BEST of me, for as long as I can in hopes they will become the best people they can be.

“Monkey see monkey do.” “Lead by example.” “Be the role model you needed when you were younger.” “There is always someone looking up to you.”

Whatever clever quote you want to use, where you invest your time is not only obvious based on your appearance, attitude, and friends, but it is also obvious in those that are “following” you. I am not only talking about your children, but everyone that you surround yourself with is watching you. People will naturally follow strong leaders or those that appear to be knowledgable and in-charge. I want to be a strong example for everyone when it comes to leading a healthy life.

My students at school want to get faster and be stronger, so they can beat me in a race or arm wrestle. Anderson wants to grow up and be strong like his mommy and daddy. It isn’t just the little ones that want to imitate, but grow-ups as well. It is always flattering when I get asked advice on nutrition or working out. That is obviously where I invest a lot of my time (blogs don’t write themselves). People trust me to be able to give them an answer or guide them in the right direction. They aren’t second-guessing my advice because they are seeking out my help. I don’t have a nutrition business, I don’t have my CrossFit certification. I just live my life in a manner that others trust me to guide them in reaching their full “health-potential”.

Invest your time wisely. Invest it in something that is going to make a difference in your life and the lives of others around you. You can’t change the world, but you can influence it! The choices you make today will have an impact on others one way or another. My son and daughter are going to grow-up knowing their mama is strong, their mama can cook, their mama can do whatever she puts her mind to, and their mama loves them fiercely. I will forever be the best version of myself, not only for me but for them too. Be the best you that you can be, for you and those that are looking to you for guidance.

New Food Review:

BLT Chopped Salad + Corn, Avocado, Feta I highly debated making this “salad” again next week. I made this into a BLT bowl and added in chicken for extra protein. I planned poorly and ended up using leftover shrimp and steak the next day for lunch and that was the best choice I ever made! This BLT bowl WILL be made again and with shrimp. I was unable to use the avocado I bought because the outside was soft but the inside was super hard, but I am sure it would have been great. I can’t wait to make this one again.


California Chicken, Veggie, Avocado + Rice Bowls

BBQ Sandwich

Backstrap + Simplest Basil Zucchini Parmesan Pasta

Cilantro Lime Salmon

Shrimp Tacos with Garlic Cilantro Lime Slaw

California Chicken, Veggie, Avocado + Rice Bowls

So. Much. Food. For less than 400 calories you can’t beat this meal. I upped the number of vegetables and lowered the amount of avocado. I love the creamy avocado sauce mixed in with the rice, vegetables, and chicken. I was a little impatient and didn’t let the marinade sit long on the chicken. I put the chicken on a sheet pan, sprayed both sides with low-calorie olive oil, and seasoned up. I love when a marinade has tons of fresh herbs. I skipped mixing the herbs and seasonings with olive oil and used lemon juice instead.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken tenders
*chicken breast 
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
*lemon juice 
1 tablespoon lemon zest
4 cloves garlic, minced or grated
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 cup fresh parsley or basil, chopped (or 1 tablespoon dried)
kosher salt and black pepper

2 red bell peppers, cut into fourths
1 zucchini, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
*2-3 zucchini 
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
*omit olive oil 
2 avocados, mashed very well
*3 ounces, less than medium 1 avocado
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced or grated
2 cups cooked basmati rice
*jasmine rice or your preference of rice
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
*omit walnuts
1/2 cup crumbled feta, goat, or blue cheese
*non-fat feta or goat cheese

BBQ Sandwich

There is no link for this recipe because it is so simple that you don’t need anything to guide you. I love being able to get a pork butt to cook it one way and make two completely different meals. If you see BBQ sandwich on my menu, pork tacos/bowls will be on the menu as well. 

I cook the meat in the crockpot for 8 hours on low. To season, I evenly coat all sides with yellow mustard, then season with salt, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, and paprika. Once the meat is cooked thoroughly, let it cool and then separate the meat from the fat. It really does defeat the purpose of healthy tacos and sandwiches if you leave the fat in there. Plus it is just gross.

Make sure you weigh out meat for tacos and the sandwiches prior to mixing in the sauce/salsa for each meal. To avoid overeating or coming up short on meat for the second meal, I weigh out the total amount of meat and then separate the meat according to how many meals I need to make.

I do not add the BBQ sauce until I am ready to eat each serving. I make sure to weigh out my sauce for every sandwich before I put on the bun. I made sure to get a low carbohydrate sauce, so I don’t over waste too many of my carbs on sauce. Simply put the bowl on the scale, weigh out the meat and the sauce in grams or ounces, depending on the nutritional label. Toast your bun, top with the meat, and pickles, and enjoy!

*Changes I make to meet my macros 

1 Boston Butt 
Yellow Mustard 
Onion Powder 
Chili Powder 
Garlic Powder 
Brioche Bun
BBQ Sauce 

Backstrap + Simplest Basil Zucchini Parmesan Pasta

This pasta was everything I expected and so much more. I had planned to add chicken to the dish the first time I made it, but left it as a side and ate a steak with it instead. If you are a vegetarian then PLEASE give this a try! And if you aren’t vegetarian, try it too! I was a little skeptical of this dish with so few ingredients, but it was delicious and more flavorful than I was expecting! The great thing about this pasta dish is there is no cream used. The cream comes from the mashed zucchini, butter, and cheese. Healthy-ish.

Josh killed a deer the second day of bow season, thank goodness! All the wives of hunters understand. We become weekend, week-night widows when hunting season rolls around. It is nice to have fresh, lean meat in the freezer though, especially backstrap. I like to cook my backstrap just like you would a steak. I slice the meat about 1.5 inches thick, season with my favorite steak seasoning, and sear on both sides for about 2 minutes in the cast-iron pan.

I discovered carba-nada this pasta week and I can’t tell you just how happy I am to find a substitute for pasta that isn’t a vegetable. It has 15 grams of protein, 24 grams of carbohydrates, and 1.5 grams of fat per servings. It really is so good! I don’t mind spaghetti squash with my spaghetti, because it is chunky and loaded with other vegetables. For just a regular pasta dish, like the creamy shrimp pasta I made last week, I don’t want mushy noodles. I want some consistency with my noodles. Carba-nada was the answer to this solution. I will definitely be buying it again!

*Changes I make to meet my macros

1 pound pasta, use your favorite cut
*carba-nada pasta
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
*omit oil
3-4 medium zucchini and or yellow summer squash, chopped
*6-7 depending on size
3 cloves garlic, minced or grated
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
kosher salt and black pepper 
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup grated parmesan or manchego cheese
* 3/4 reduced fat Parmesan cheese
1 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
lemon juice, for serving (optional)
*meat of choice on the side or mixed in with the pasta

Cilantro Lime Salmon

I absolutely loved this dish the first time I made it. The salsa is so good, probably one of the best that I have made so far. We had it over a bed of rice with fresh wahoo, that Josh caught on a fishing trip. This would be amazing on shrimp, chicken, or even steak. I made a bowl of this meal and put it over rice, but the salsa would be great in a tortilla too if you don’t want (need) all of the carbs.

I am either going to use this with chicken or shrimp this time.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

 4 (5-6 ounce) salmon filets, skin on or off
*meat of choice 
 2 teaspoons chili powder, chipotle or regular
 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
 kosher salt and black pepper
 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
*omit, spray olive oil 
 2 red or orange bell peppers, thinly sliced
 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
 3 tablespoons salted butter
*1 tablespoon
 3 cloves garlic, minced or grated
 zest and juice of 2 limes, plus more for serving
 1 tablespoon honey
 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
 1/4 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
 steamed rice or quinoa, for serving
 1 mango, diced
 1 jalapeńo, seeded and chopped
 juice and zest from 1 lime

Shrimp Tacos with Garlic Cilantro Lime Slaw

Instead of shrimp, I am going to use the remaining pulled pork from the sandwiches. The great thing about cooking an entire pork butt is I can easily use it for two recipes. Usually, I end up making my tacos into bowls, but with the slaw, in this one, I think I will keep it a taco.

I am not going to use the spices from this recipe since I will be using pork that is going into two different recipes. I will add the spices in with the sauce instead. Make sure you check the changes I am going to make below. I will do a review on this recipe next week!

*Changes I make to meet my macros

garlic cilantro lime sauce:
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup water
*add in last if needed 
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
juice of 2 limes
*3-4 limes
1/2 cup sour cream or full-fat Greek yogurt
*one single-serving container non-fat greek yogurt 

shrimp taco spice mix:
*add spices to sauce if needed 
2 teaspoons each chili powder and cumin
1/2 teaspoon each onion powder and garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

stuff for the shrimp tacos:
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails removed
*pork butt cooked in the crockpot 
2–3 cups shredded green cabbage
8 small tortillas (corn or flour)
*low carb/high fiber tortilla 
avocadosCotija cheese, and lime wedges for serving

E N J O Y !

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