Accept + Menu

New year, new word.

One year, maybe last year or the year before, for Christmas I got my sister and mom empty necklaces. The purpose of these necklaces was to imprint them with a word. This word was to set the tone for the year, to set an intention, or focus. They could pick any word they wanted to. This was something a lot of people where I live do and I think it is a beautiful idea. There is a local shop in town that has really gotten this trend going for our town. It is more than a piece of jewelry though, it is a constant reminder to stick to your goal, stick to your word, and be “better”.

If I had a word this year, it would be “accept”. For me, this would mean to accept the hand that I have been dealt with and to work with it. I would not dwell on the past or wish away the present time for better times to enter, which so many of us are guilty of. We are so quick to wish away bad circumstances and wait for a better one to come when we could accept what is happening and deal with it. We dwell on the past, remaining angry and bitter over situations we cannot change.

Honestly, in my younger years I wished away many bad days that I could have dealt with and changed into great days. Instead, I stayed in my negative mindset and ruined the rest of my day, week, month… We place blame on others for our bad days, instead of accepting it and moving on. We place blame on others for our “bad lives” and all the bad choices we have made instead of taking ownership over them. If we take ownership over our bad days/choices and make an effort to change the circumstances we find ourselves in, we would find ourselves in a much better state of mind.

I have had some pretty crappy things happen in my life, when I was much too young to know how to deal with them. Some happened because of my poor choices and others were placed on me. Regardless of the way I found myself in a few unthinkable situations and had to deal with them or dwell on them. In my younger years, I chose to dwell on things that bothered me…I stewed for years and years on them. I bottled everything up, venting and crying here and there. All that venting and crying really just made my life worse. I would rehash things in my head that I could not change and made myself feel horrible over them. I still think about the poor choices I have made from time to time, but I do not let it ruin my day.

Dwelling on the bad and doing nothing to make things better, will most certainly make things worse. I feel as though there is no way to make things better until you first ACCEPT what is happening or has happened. Without accepting the situation you cannot change it. If you resist the things that have happened and constantly rehash situations that you can no longer change, they will continue to happen. By accepting the things that have happened, it does not mean that you agree with them or take the blame for them, but you are letting those negative feelings go.

It takes more than just accepting the situation for what it is, but that is the first step. Sometimes it takes a conversation with others to get through the issue, removing yourself from certain places/people, changing your mindset, etc. There are many ways to move past issues, FULLY move past without rehashing, but without accepting “it” for what it truly is, you will not move past it. You cannot turn the situation into what you perceive it to be, you have to accept it for what it is, as if you are a 3rd party watching it all happen. It is a lot easier said than done, but once you learn to remove yourself from the initial sting of the unfortunate situation, accept it, and then act you will be much happier.

New Food Review

Best Super Easy Penne was so good that I am making it again this week! Keep scrolling to see the changes I am making to make it a bit more healthy!


Best Super Easy Penne

Deer Stew

Black Bean Tacos + Avocado Cilantro-Lime Sauce

Rosemary, Chicken, Bacon, Avocado Salad

Hamburgers + Sweet Potato Fries

Best Super Easy Penne

If you’re currently on a cut, fast so you can eat this. This is probably one of the highest calories meals I have cooked in a while. I made a few adjustments, like using 80/20 ground beef and cooking my meatballs in a separate pan so I could cook out some fat and accurately track the meat, but it still ended up being super high in calories. I like to keep my meals around 400 calories but this tipped the scales at almost 600 calories.

I could have made the sauce into more servings, but it tasted SO good that I wanted as much as possible. There really is not a whole lot to this dish, it was just a ton of food. The sauce was 10 ounces, the meat was 5 ounces, and one serving of pasta is just over 5 ounces.

Josh is going to be going on a cut soon, so we won’t be eating this for a long time, which is why you see it on the menu again this week.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

1 cup extra virgin olive oil
*spray olive oil
25 to 30 garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated 
*pre-peeled bag of garlic 
1 tablespoon dried oregano plus fresh oregano, for serving 
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
2 24 ounce jars marinara sauce
Kosher salt and black pepper
3/4 pound spicy ground Italian sausage or chicken sausage
*ground beef meatballs cooked separately
1 pound dry penne pasta
grated Parmesan cheese, for serving 
*low fat parmesan cheese 60-80 grams add to sauce or top off each serving

Deer Stew

When deer season rolls around, deer stew is always something that I like to make. I am not a fan of fried meat anymore, french fries heck yeah, but I just don’t like my meat fried. I searched and searched for recipes with cubed steak that did not include flour and grease/oil. It took me a while, but I found a few good ones that I have stuck to come deer season. I don’t recommend using cubed steak in fajitas, it just doesn’t hold up, but this recipe is a great option.

The only thing I am going to change is the amount of butter used in this recipe. It calls for 1/2 a stick, but I am going to use 1/4 a stick instead. I am using small new potatoes, not baking potatoes and I like to use a cubed steak. If you don’t have deer meat, you can always use any thin, low-fat strips of steak.

I have tried cooking this in the crockpot and it turns out fine, but the meat is hard to track when it is cooked like that. The meat really falls apart and makes it difficult to accurately separate the meat from the other ingredients. I am going to try the crockpot one more time, This time I will keep the meat on the bottom and pull off the other ingredients first.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

3-4 Potatoes
*8-9 New Potatoes 
3-4 Large Carrots
*16 ounces baby carrots 
1 Onion 
*1-2 cups
*1/2-1 cup 
*1/4 stick 
*4 slices or 6 ounces 
Cubed Steak or Thin Lean Steak 

Black Bean Tacos + Avocado Cilantro-Lime Sauce

This is dish is originally intended to be meatless, but I need more protein than what the black beans provide. I used to use tilapia with this dish, but there was a huge tilapia scare about 3 years ago, so we stopped using it all together. It was only “safe” to buy the fish from one certain place, so I quit making these and haven’t thought about them until Josh brought them up this past week. I had to scroll to the very bottom of my Pinterest board to find these.

To add protein to this dish we are gong to use shrimp instead of fish. Fish is a great add-in, but we have been on a shrimp kick lately. I am going to use the same spices as I did on the zesty shrimp salad with the shrimp. It is the easiest little spice mix and tastes amazing.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

Two 15 oz. cans black beans
*1 can 
1 cup salsa
*Fresh salsa in the produce section 
1 tsp. cumin
Corn tortillas
*high fiber/low carb tortilla 
Lettuce, tomato, onion, roasted red peppers, corn, avocado, cilantro, dairy-free cheese, etc.
*cilantro, lime

1/2 ripe avocado
*3 ounces 
3/4 cup cilantro (stems removed)
Juice from 1 lime
1 clove garlic
1 Tbsp. olive oil (omit for oil-free)
1 tsp. agave (or other sweetener)
*1/2 ounce honey 
1/8 tsp. salt 

2 pounds shrimp or meat of choice 
Zest of one lime and one lemon 
1/2 ounce honey 
*zero calorie olive oil spray
2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder 
1 teaspoon smoked paprika  

Rosemary, Chicken, Bacon, Avocado Salad

I love a good salad, especially one that doesn’t kill my macros, even more so one that I can turn into a bowl but leaves me feeling STUFFED. I loved this salad. It had an amazing dressing…the fresh rosemary on the chicken and the dressing is KEY. I used a TON of rosemary because other than salt and pepper that was the only seasoning used.

I did not use any oil and stuck to the bacon and avocado as the main sources of fat. I will cook one slice under one ounce per bowl and split 2-3 ounces of avocado into 4 servings. It is all about moderation and counting those macros.

When I put this salad into my app I only made a recipe for the dressing. I add the actual ingredients for the salad/bowl one at a time. This way I can customize how much fat, protein, and carbs are in each bowl. My husband doesn’t always need as much fat as I do and usually requires more protein, so he may have a different amount of bacon, avocado, and chicken.

*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
*rice for more carbohydrates  
1 bunch watercress
*arugula if needed or omit for a bowl
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 large avocado, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
*omit oil, lemon juice
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
salt and pepper 

Hamburgers + Sweet Potato Fries

Hamburgers will never go out of style and can be healthy if you don’t smother them in cheese, bacon, and mayonnaise. When I track my hamburger I weigh out my meat after it has cooked. This is controversial in the world of tracking food, but I think that it makes sense. The fat is going to cook out of the meat, so I don’t actually end up eating all of the fat that is cooked out.

I am going to add some sweet potato fries with the hamburgers. It is going to add a good bit of carbs so make sure you pick a low-carb bun or opt for a lettuce wrap. I usually don’t have a side to go with the hamburgers, but I love oven-roasted sweet potato fries and the kids will eat them too!

*Changes I make to meet my macros

80/20 meat 
Brioche buns 
Heirloom tomatoes 
Yellow mustard 

1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
*spray olive oil 
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
fine sea salt, to taste 

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