Time Spent + Menu

Lately, I have heard from several people the quote ‘where you invest your time is where you invest your heart’ and I wholeheartedly agree to a certain degree. Over Thanksgiving break, I went hunting twice. The first time only lasted 20 minutes, cut short with a big buck. The second hunt I sat the whole time and I saw ten does. They got so close to me, it was unreal. It was really great considering I have not been hunting in nearly 5 years. Once Anderson was born those kinds of activities got put on the back burner.

The first time I got in the stand, I kept trying to tell myself to stop thinking, relax, this is a rare moment to sit alone in the quiet and maybe kill a deer in the process. I never did relax before getting down to track the deer. While I sat, trying to tell myself not to think, I thought about all the things I needed to be doing for Christmas and how my time could be better spent being productive like writing this blog or decorating my mom’s house for Christmas or taking pictures of my kids for a Christmas card, instead of sitting in the woods. I do like to hunt, but it is no longer a priority or hobby like it used to be.

The next night when I sat the whole time, I started telling myself not to over-think again, not to shop online for Christmas and sit in peace. Telling yourself not to think does not work. Instead, I got overwhelmed with the thought of not thinking. I made it a point to not pick up my phone unless I was telling my husband about the deer I saw and really tried to focus my mind on the sounds around me. Once I saw my first pair of does, it was easy to focus my mind and really sit in peace. It is utterly impossible for me to shut down and not think of things I need to be doing, which can suck the life out of any enjoyable moment.

Before I saw my first set of does I thought about how the holidays look so much different now than when I was little. Growing up we had what felt like monthly-group birthday parties for all the family members that had birthdays close together. We split our time between grandparent’s homes for Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. All the aunts, uncles, and cousins were there. The house was always packed and everyone was always there. You never had to wonder if so-and-so was going to come, they always came no matter what. Now it is completely opposite. Getting together once a year rarely happens. You hear about cousins having children on facebook, and no one wonders if they will see each other.

I never thought those days would come to an end when I was growing up. I did not soak-up that time enough and appreciate it when I was going through it. While going through it, it felt like a chore, something we had to do. Now, I would give anything to have all the family close enough to get together like that. I would love for all of my family members to know my children and my children know them. Instead, my children have never even met some of the key influencers of my childhood. It is sad, but that is life.

I spent so much of my childhood with these people, I invested so much of my time with my family, yet my mind was not there enjoying it. Where you spend your time, is not necessarily where you invest your heart. Just because you are physically in a space, does not mean you are whole-heartedly invested in the process. Even though I was young and loved my time with my family, I never thought that time would come to an end. I never thought to stop, sit still, and soak up the moments. I thought those days would last forever and we would always be together. Never did I dream that everyone would grow-up, move away, and get their own lives. Divorce, death, college, moving further away from home to make a home, jobs, marriage, children, etc. all these seasons of life don’t always take you in the direction that you envisioned.

I never thought to stop and truly be present in those moments that I now miss. Physically being in a space isn’t enough. You must have the mental clarity to be fully invested. If I am playing with my children, but running through a checklist in my head or scrolling Instagram I am not fully invested. If I go to visit my grandma, but I am preoccupied with my thoughts, I am not fully invested in my time with her.

As I sat in the woods thinking of all the things I needed to do, I decided I did not want my time to be spent in vain. If I was going to be there, I needed to really be there, not just physically be there. I could wait to shop later, I could wait and write this post, but this time alone would not wait. It was going to come and go, whether I enjoyed it or not. Being invested in something does not just mean just showing up, looking nice, and smiling. Being invested means putting all of yourself into that moment, being prepared to gain from the experiences, and being fully present to soak it all in. In all that you do, don’t just show up and be there, truly be present and gain something from your time invested.


M E N U

Healthy Turkey Chili

California Chicken, Veggie, Avocado + Rice Bowls

Dan Dan Noodles 

Flat Iron Tortas (steak sandwiches)

Herb Crusted Salmon with Garlicky Green Beans and Cherry Tomatoes


Healthy Turkey Chili

I need some easy and healthy meals after all the heavy Thanksgiving food. I love being able to throw everything into a pot and cook on its own all day. The recipe calls for turkey, but I always use ground venison or 80/20. This chili has a lot of vegetables, so it is very filling, but the macros are great.

Keep in mind when you look at my changes that I am making enough for my kids to eat (hopefully, kids can be so picky) and for Josh and I to have for supper and lunch. Typically this can easily get around 7 large servings. Each serving is 391 calories, 35.6 grams of protein, 25.2 grams of carbohydrates, and 16.5 grams of fat.

Ingredients: 
1 lb. extra lean ground turkey
*2-3 pounds 80/20 or ground venison
1 bell pepper -red, green, yellow or orange (I used red and yellow – half each)
*6-7 ounces of green bell pepper
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
28 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
*4 cans fire roasted tomatoes
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
*2 cans black beans
1 can of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Garnish (optional)
shredded, low fat cheddar cheese
*Omit
fresh parsley

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

Ingredients: 
CHICKEN
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

THE RICE + VEGGIES + AVOCADO
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

Dan Dan Noodles 

I really enjoyed this dish, even as someone who does not appreciate mushrooms, so that is saying a lot. The broth in this was amazing. If I am ever on a liquid diet, I am making this again and saving the broth for myself.

I did make some adjustments to the ingredients, but the dish was still over 500 calories. My meals are usually around 400 to allot for snacks and pre/post-workout meals. I will 100% make this again though, it was too good not to.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

Ingredients: 
1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons sesame oil
*1/4 cup
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or smashed
1-2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
*1/3 cup
1/4 cup hoisin sauce (make sure to use GF, if needed)
1 tablespoon honey
*1 ounce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
*4 tablespoons
3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter or tahini
*1-2 tablespoons
8 ounces Chinese style egg noodles, or rice noodles
*carba-nada garlic fetticine noodles
2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped
1/2 pound ground chicken or pork
*chopped cooked chicken breast
2 cups mixed mushrooms, chopped
black pepper
1 medium shallot, chopped
4 green onions, chopped 
*add in matchstick carrots

Flat Iron Tortas (steak sandwiches)

I found this recipe a long time ago and it is still one of my go-to easy weekday recipes. I normally only make these when we have cubed steak in the freezer. I searched long and hard to find some healthy recipes for cubed steak that did not involve oil and a frying pan.

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 if you are on a low-carb diet.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

Ingredients: 
1 pound flat iron (top blade) steak
*any tender low fat steak or cubed venison
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
*1/4 cup lime juice 
2 tablespoons finely chopped pickled jalapeño peppers, plus more as desired 

Herb Crusted Salmon with Garlicky Green Beans and Cherry Tomatoes

I have yet to make this recipe with the salmon. I made it with chicken the first time because I had three chicken breasts leftover from a pack and used those instead of buying more meat. I still used the herb crust with the chicken and it was delicious. I added rice to the meal, just to give it a bit more calories so I would stay full longer. I love these low-calorie meals, but I find myself hunting for a snack two hours later, so in comes some good old rice to save the day!

This meal was so simple and tasty. I love a sheet pan dinner when I am meal prepping and especially after a busy week of traveling. This dish is even perfect for counting macros. I can count everything on its own and I don’t have to make a recipe and weigh out servings. I love being able to make a recipe because it is easy to go back in and change numbers when I make that same dish again, but some dishes are so simple they don’t need one. If you haven’t started using an app to track your food, you really should. It makes things so much easier.

Ingredients:  
1 LARGE FILET WILD CAUGHT SALMON (OR 4 INDIVIDUAL FILETS) WITH SKIN-ON AND DE-BONED
*salmon or pork loin chops
FRESH GREEN BEANS, WHOLE
*1 bag/1 lb. fresh green beans 
2 PINTS HEIRLOOM CHERRY TOMATOES
*40-50 cherry tomoatoes
2 SHALLOTS, SLICED
3 GARLIC CLOVES, ROUGH CHOPPED
SALT AND PEPPER, TO TASTE
4 TBS+ OLIVE OIL
*Spray olive oil 
2-3 TBS. BALSAMIC VINEGAR
HERB MIXTURE*
1 SHEET PARCHMENT PAPER
*FOR HERB MIXTURE
8 CLOVES OF GARLIC
HANDFUL PARSLEY, THYME, OREGANO, BASIL AND A LITTLE ROSEMARY, CHOPPED
1 TABLESPOON OLIVE OIL
*Spray olive oil 
SALT & PEPPER 

E N J O Y !

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