Cut + Menu

The Cut is Over

Josh is finishing up the last week of his cut strong. I haven’t made it easy by baking my emotions and tempting him with these high-calorie apple butter pork chops. Other than this week, he has done really well not coming home angry. It has been a crazy few weeks adjusting to this new non-existent schedule, yet still needing to be productive. Josh likes to give my cooking all the credit for his success on his cuts, but he is the one that is dedicated and sticks to the plan.

On this cut, Josh started out at 175 pounds and 16.4% body fat. Not a bad place to start to begin with. After our first year of marriage, Josh was closer to 190 pounds. We ate like we wanted to, drank like we wanted to, and we ate out most every Friday and Saturday night. Before we met, he did not weigh that. My cooking definitely helped him put on some weight. We were in the gym, but we were out eating our performance. The key to any successful body composition transformation is what you put into your body, more so than the work you are doing. You can train all you want, but if you are not eating to perform it will show.

After we took our nutrition class I started to really dive into counting our macros and really took on that task for the two of us. When I first started I did not weigh out all of my servings. I would scoop out servings and just roll with it. It was not accurate, but it was better than what we were doing before.

Now I think I have this macro counting pretty well perfected. I don’t play with my macros as Josh does. The only time I change anything is when I am pregnant or nursing. I use my weight to guide me. If I am gaining weight then I know my macros are off and I need a change. If I am losing weight unintentionally, then I know I need a change. Maybe the change is working out more and other times it might be that my calories need to be tweaked. I want to keep my strength, so I never like to drop my calories too low. I only get one chance to workout, so I have to make the most of it.

Josh has been able to keep his strength throughout this cut. He maintained his stamina, well actually improved his running times as his body weight dropped, and PR’d his back squat. He was able to do this because he increased his workouts and made a conscious effort to increase his calories burned every day. He rarely ever took a rest day. He knew that he had to keep his calorie burn high every day for this to work. The weekends are where a lot of people mess up and consume an excessive amount of calories compared to what they are burning. That is mainly our issue.

We (Josh) might lift weights on the weekend, but it is not as intense as you may think. When you are lifting you are building muscle, but you are not burning a lot of calories at that moment. Muscle tissue burns more calories than body fat, even when you are at rest, but typically you are not burning a lot of calories while you lift weights. To burn calories during a workout it needs to be intense, you need to keep your heart rate elevated for an extended period of time. Weightlifters, don’t get all defensive, I am not saying lifting weights is not intense and you don’t burn fat, but it is not the same as running 8 miles or doing a 30-minute workout at an intense level. I think that is why I love CrossFit so much, it gives me the best of both worlds.

Josh made sure to keep even the weekends intense and at times, his weekend workouts were more intense than the weekday workouts. You can plan for a big weekend of calorie consumption in two ways. One way is to save your calories for that big meal, cake, drinks you plan to consume or get an extra workout in to ensure you are burning more than you are consuming.

From January 13th to April 3rd Josh was able to drop 12.8 pounds and 6.7% body fat. He ended his cut at 163 pounds even and 9.7% body fat. Compared to his last cut numbers where he started at 172 and ended at 163.8 pounds with 10.3% body fat. He was able to get down slightly past his lowest weight, lowered the body fat even more, and gained strength. This cut was definitely a win for him! Maybe my cooking and tracking our macros does work after all.

The abs are an obvious, but you can see the definition even in his chest.
You can tell a difference in his arms and side.
He was most pleased with his back. I told him his back had abs now, I feel like he lost a lot of fat there.
A lot more definition when he’s relaxed.

New Food Review:

Unstuffed Spicy Tomato Basil Shells + Whipped Ricotta was a great dish! I could have left out the kale and probably would have liked it even more. I either didn’t let the kale wilt down enough or should have used spinach. The kale was a little crunchy and took away from the creamy sauce. It was very similar to the penne pasta that I have made, but a lot fewer calories. Both dishes are supposed to have a meatball, but I skipped that this time and used chicken breast. I didn’t miss the meatballs one bit.

One-Skillet Cheesy Cuban Chicken Rice Bake I really liked this dish a lot, but even with the changes, I made the calories were still very high for a little bit of food. I am used to having more than 10 ounces of food on my plate so I was still hungry when I ate my serving, but my macros would not allow me to have more than that. I don’t like it when my dishes are over 500 calories, so I had to keep the serving size small to accommodate my calories. It happens, but I likely won’t make this again until I am further into my pregnancy and Josh is consuming more calories too.


Pulled Pork Sandwich

Crispy Chipotle Chicken Tacos + Cilantro Lime Ranch


BLT Chopped Salad + Corn, Avocado, Feta

Hamburgers + Sweet Potato Fries

Pulled Pork 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. Usually, I will have a sandwich and tacos on the menu to use up the whole pork butt. I am planning on freezing half of the meat for tacos next week.

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 in the crockpot I add in soy sauce and apple cider vinegar so the meat does not dry out and soaks up some extra flavor. 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.

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 make sure to get a low carbohydrate sauce, so I don’t over waste too many of my carbs on the 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 
1/4 cup Soy Sauce 
1/2 cup Apple Cider Vinegar

Brioche Bun 
Low Carbohydrate BBQ Sauce

Crispy Chipotle Chicken Tacos + Cilantro Lime Ranch

Don’t let the simplicity fool you, this was the BEST beef taco I have ever made. It was so good I got seconds I love that there is a sauce with this one, that I can make completely healthy. I also like the idea of using ground beef. We made those box tacos it seemed like every week when I was growing up, this will be a nice nod to the 7,000 El Paso seasoned tacos I had growing up, just better.

THIS time I am going to use the meat from the pork butt. I love the tomatillo sauce with pineapple salsa that I make for the pork bowl, but we just had those and I want to try something new with this recipe. Just by changing up the protein in your dish, it really takes on a whole new flavor and creates something totally different. Since I will be using meat that is already cooked I am able to skip the spices on the meat, but can still use them when I sautee the onion to add to the taco.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
*omit oil
1 pound ground chicken, beef, or turkey
*pulled pork
1 yellow onion, chopped
2-3 teaspoons chipotle chili powder, use to your taste
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, use to your taste
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt
12 hard shell tacos (see notes for homemade option)
*low carb-high fiber tortilla
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese
*10-12 grams per taco

1 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
*non fat Greek yogurt 
3/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 cup pickled jalapeños, chopped + 2 tablespoons brine
juice from 2 limes
1 teaspoon kosher salt 


With the shortage of healthy meats at the store, we are digging into our freezer and using our ground deer meat. Spaghetti is an easy option for ground meat and makes a ton of food. I know we just had this but with the shelter in place, we are keeping things are as simple as possible. Even though I am stuck at home things are not calm and easy.

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

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. I don’t use noodles anymore with my spaghetti. If you still want noodles, Carba-nada is a great low-carbohydrate noodle option!

Once I tried spaghetti squash I never went back. It really is not that difficult to make. I cut my squash lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, spray with olive oil and bake in the oven on 425 degrees until I can stick a skewer all the way through the squash to the outside (not through the outside). I allow the squash to cool and then use a fork to scrape noddle-like strands out of the squash. 1 cup of cooked spaghetti squash is 42 calories, 10 grams of carbohydrates, and 0.5 grams of fat.

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 
3-4 spaghetti squash or noodles of your choice

BLT Chopped Salad + Corn, Avocado, Feta

I do love this as a salad, but it is much better as a bowl. Last week Josh lowered his amount of rice and I upped the serving of vegetables to make up for the lack of rice. It was a win because he hit his calories just right and was super full from having the extra vegetables.

This dish is a little aggravating to track because every single item has to be weighed out individually so you have it all correct. It would be nice to just mix it all together and weigh out servings, but that would not be as accurate.

What I do love the most about this salad is there is no dressing, only lime juice. I am not a generic salad lover, they just don’t speak to me. This is my kind of salad, with no dressing. Perfection. I hope you give this one a try!

*Changes I make to meet my macros

2 cups butter lettuce, chopped
*lettuce or rice for a bowl option
2 cups fresh arugula, chopped
*1/2 cup cooked rice per bowl 
1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
*10 tomatoes per salad
4 slices thick-cut bacon, fried and crumbled
*0.5 - 0.8 ounces cooked bacon per salad 
1 cup sweet corn
*pan seared sweet corn 60 grams per salad  
1 avocado, chopped
*0.5-0.7 ounces per salad 
4 ounces feta, crumbled
*12 grams non-fat feta per salad 
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
*omit oil 
1 lime, juiced
*1/2 lime per salad 
1/4 tablespoons salt
1/4 tablespoons pepper 
*cooked chicken breast

Hamburgers + Sweet Potato Fries

We just had hamburgers, but I literally had the B E S T burger of my life from Liam’s in Thomasville. I am going to try and recreate them…I know it won’t hold a candle to theirs but I shall try. They are well known for their cheese, so it was just your basic cheeseburger by any stretch of the imagination.

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 was originally in the raw meat.

I am going to add some sweet potato fries with the hamburgers for the kids. Hamburgers have your fats, protein, and carbs (if you eat a bun). The only thing I do is eat a second hamburger patty without a bun to get in more protein. Macro-wise there is no reason to add a side dish. I know everyone loves fries with their hamburger but you are doing some major calorie intake if you do that.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

80/20 meat 
Brioche buns 
Heirloom tomatoes 
Yellow mustard 
Cheese (optional)

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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