Work + Menu

Weeds and Leaves

Yard work is not something I love to do, but I will randomly work in the yard. Pulling weeds and blowing leaves with a two and four-year-old has its challenges. Anderson loves to help in the yard, but Scarlett has her own agenda. She would much rather watch Elsa or ride her car than be beside me working in the yard. Anderson just wants to chop down (hit with a hammer) all the trees or attempt to pull them down with a rope. True story. Lately, working in the yard has just become a way to keep us busy and get us out of the house.

At first, I loved our yard, well the front yard. The back yard is small and is mostly covered by part of the driveway, lots of random trees, and a broken stone wall. I still do love the front yard and our grass (we have the softest grass), but as a whole, I really dislike our yard. When Anderson was little we would sit outside in the shade and play with the dogs. Now, with the kids “independent”, sitting to play fetch just doesn’t happen, sitting doesn’t happen period. Our time outside now is filled with riding bikes, pushing Scarlett on something to race her brother, building ramps, digging in the dirt, etc.

Our house sits on the corner, which is great because corner lots are usually bigger. At the same time, it can be bad because it feels like we are surrounded by busy streets. I have begged for a fence, but that isn’t happening. Sinking $10,000 into a nice fence with two automatic gates, for a house we will not live in for the rest of our lives does not make sense. I get that, but I still want a fence. We love being outside, but with the yard we have, it is hard. My “mama-anxiety” is on high when it’s just me with two kids and two dogs outside, right up next to a busy street. It is no longer just a relaxing time, throwing the ball for the dogs.

The only way to successfully be outside with the kids is to give them a job. Since we have been on lockdown, going outside is our only break. Going for walks is great, but after a month of going for a walk every day (sometimes twice a day)…you just need something else. Our backyard is tiny, due to a driveway that goes from the side street to the front, so there really isn’t much room for big toys like a trampoline or pool. Normally, I don’t get to do any improvements to the yard until the weekends, after work, or during the summer. Typically, it gets pushed off until summer comes and then it is too hot so it gets avoided easily.

Maybe out of selfishness or boredom we have been working in the yard more. Just sitting is not ideal for me. I can’t just sit in the chair while the kids do their own thing in the yard. For one, when they are idle they argue a whole lot more and two I am burning little to no calories sitting on my butt watching them play. I love my Whoop strap, but seeing how few calories I am burning being on this quarantine is disheartening. Add that to being pregnant and eating more, I need to make myself move. I want to be pregnant, not fat. I know that I am burning more than it shows because it can’t detect that I am creating a human being based on my heart rate…but gosh I wish it did. I am used to it saying I am burning 1,800 + calories before I get off work and now I am lucky if it says that by 8 o’clock some days. Getting outside to work in the yard or go for walks is a way for me to keep moving, but also a way to keep the kids moving and occupied.

While I was working in the yard this week, I kept thinking about how I always put this kind of work off. We hire someone to cut the grass and put out pine straw, but that is the extent of making our yard look nicer. We make the front look nice and presentable, while the back is a hot mess. We did pull out some ugly shrubs and plant new ones a few years ago, cut down some dead and randomly placed trees, and we get flowers every now and then. I have always felt like our yard is hopeless, so why even bother making it look better. We won’t live here forever after all.

Such a bad attitude to have.

Our yard gives me anxiety, so I just avoid trying to make it look better, and the process is never-ending. You don’t just pull weeds one time, rake or blow leaves once and the job is done forever. The process of beautifying your yard is never-ending. I can mostly avoid the backyard and all of its messiness until the leaves are so overwhelming someone has to rake them, we have a birthday party happening, or there is a pandemic.

I thought about how our yard is probably how most people feel about their bodies.

Hopeless. Pointless. Overwhelming. Time consuming. Never ending. Hard.

For me, good nutrition and exercise are necessary and come naturally. For others, learning about how to make improvements to their health seems hopeless and brings about much anxiety, I get that. Maybe this connection between my yard and a healthy lifestyle is strange. I find it hard to relate to people that have no desire to want to be healthy; however, I can relate to those that want to make improvements, but they just don’t know where to start. Why wouldn’t you want your body to be at its best? Why would you want to keep neglecting something so important to your life? No, my yard is not important to my overall wellbeing, but it is something I neglect and put off. It is something that without me, will not get better.

Without effort, you will not get better. Improving your health and body composition cannot possibly happen overnight and as soon as you stop, it will become overwhelming again. The “weeds” and “leaves” will take over and it will be like you never started in the first place. Some of us are lucky enough to start with a pretty well-manicured “yard” and others of us are starting with a big mess. I can’t neglect my yard because the neighbor’s yard is less of a mess than mine. Just because someone seems to have the advantage of starting out with better body composition than you, is no excuse to give up or never try in the first place. You always have the power to change your circumstances. You are not a prisoner to your current condition.

There are two options, work on it and make it better or let it go and let it get worse. The choice is yours and the outcome is based on the work that you put in. This idea of ‘I am “big-boned” and it is pointless to try and change that or genetically I am just big’, are the biggest excuses in the book. That would be like me saying I moved into this messy yard and there is nothing I can do to change that. No, I am just lazy when it comes to yardwork and avoid it because I dislike the yard so much. Stop avoiding your health and the work you need to do to make it better or stop complaining. Reach out to someone (me) if you don’t know where to start. All you have to do is start and stay committed to yourself.

and if you don’t know ask.


Crispy Chicken Tinga Taquitos + Lime Avocado Crema

Orzo + Zucchini and Tomato

30 Minute Chicken Fajitas with Roasted Pineapple Salsa Verde

Greek Chicken Traybake

Pulled Pork Sandwich

Crispy Chicken Tinga Taquitos + Lime Avocado Crema

I am so excited to try these! Normally Josh is too impatient to wait on crispy tortillas, but I think we can make an exception here. I am going to prep these and reheat them in the oven.

For those that are going to be reheated, I will not fully toast the tortillas so they don’t get overly crunchy and burnt when we eat them for lunch the next day. I will finish toasting the next day or assemble and toast them at lunch. Right now I have the luxury of not meal prepping, but 100% still am. It would be super easy to just throw the meat into the tortilla and toast the next day.

If you are still going to work and do not have access to an oven, I would opt to skip the crunchy tortilla. A crunchy tortilla in the microwave is not going to taste very good. Keep the tortilla and stuffing separate, heat the chicken, then assemble with cheese and avocado. Keep your fat intake in mind when using the avocado and cheese. It is delicious but can easily put you over on your calories.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus more for rubbing
*spray olive oil 
1 pound ground chicken, beef, or turkey
*chicken breast cut into strips
1 yellow onion, chopped
2-3 chipotle peppers in adobo finely chopped, use to your taste
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup red enchilada sauce homemade or store-bought
16-20 corn tortillas warmed
*1-2 high fiber/low carb tortilla per serving
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese
*10-15 grams per serving 
pineapple salsa, shredded lettuce, and pickled onion, for serving

1 avocado, halved
*3 ounces
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup pickled jalapeños
juice from 2 limes
kosher or flaky salt

Orzo + Zucchini and Tomato

By now I am sure you have picked up on that these recipes are not mine. I link the recipes for you to see the original post. Below I list the ingredients, but make a not of what I will actually use. If I used the recipes as originally intended, then they would not meet my macros.

Most of the recipes I choose are fairly healthy on their own, while others are definitely not and would KILL my macros if I ate them as is. I try to only make necessary changes so I keep all the flavor and don’t feel like I am missing out. So far, I have only made a dud or two, which is winning in my book.

I am going to add chicken breast to this meal to get more protein in. This would be a great side for a steak or pork loin too. This will be my version of a light pasta salad.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

5 oz uncooked orzo pasta
*200-250 grams (weighed uncooked)
1/2 large zucchini, 1/4-inch dice (5 ounces total)
*2-3 zucchini
1 small plum or Campari tomato, diced
*10-15 cherry tomaotes per serving
2 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
*1 lemon juiced
kosher salt and fresh pepper to taste
1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan or Pecorino
*20 grams reduced fat parmesan per serving

30 Minute Chicken Fajitas with Roasted Pineapple Salsa Verde

This bowl is my go-to when we are cooking a pork-butt. I love the fresh salsa and ease of it all comes together.

This recipe is pretty identical to the 20-minute shrimp tacos I have made, which were delicious. If you haven’t made them yet and you have some shrimp on your hands, run and go make them now! Seriously, one of my favorite salsas yet. The shrimp version had more ingredients in the salsa, but I like that this recipe is a bit more simple.

The only thing to really track in the salsa is the pineapple and tomatillos. The tomatillos are awesome roasted with the other ingredients. If you can’t find tomatillos, you can use a jar of premade Verde. Add the Verde, garlic, jalapeno, and spices to a mixer pulse together until blended well.

These fajitas always turn into rice bowls for me instead of tacos. I love this salsa so much and the macros are so great that I can have a lot of it. If you are going for a low carbohydrate diet, then skip the rice and just eat in the low-carb tortilla or top the meat with the salsa. Add some fresh cilantro, lime, and maybe avocado to top it off and you are set!

I interchange pork and chicken breast in this recipe often. Usually, I cook the pork-butt in the crockpot for 8 hours on low. This time we are going to smoke this pork-butt on the RecTec grill. I am really excited to see how that turns out. So far this grill has not disappointed me.

*Changes I make to fit my macros

1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips 
*chicken breast or pulled pork
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
*Spray with oil 
1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder 
2 teaspoons smoked paprika 
1 teaspoon dried oregano 
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder kosher salt and black pepper 
2 bell peppers, sliced 
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced 
6-8 small flour tortillas, warmed 
*High fiber/Low carb tortilla or rice 
crumbled cotija or shredded cheddar cheese mashed avocado and limes 
*Omit cheese OR avocado 
6 small tomatillos, husked 
*verde if you can’t find tomatillos 
1 jalapeño 
4 green onions 
juice of 1 lime 
1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped 
1-2 cup diced pineapple
*1/4 -1/3rd cup per serving 

Greek Chicken Traybake

I loved this dish! This dish is so light, easy, and delicious. Right now I need all the food, but being pregnant I get full quickly and end up regretting all the food. If you have never been pregnant just imagine that one time you ate so much you felt sick and needed to throw up. It is like that all the time. I am craving light food. The heavy meals just make the feeling worse.

This dish was SUPER healthy and full of flavor. I stopped people to recommend it to them that are watching their calories. I don’t usually do that. I added rice to my meal because I do need the extra calories, but without the rice, it was the perfect “cut meal”. Make sure you try this one, it would be great for a large crowd and sure to please everyone! 

*Changes I make to meet my macros

1 red bell pepper cut into 2 inch pieces
1 yellow bell pepper cut into 2 inch pieces
*10-12 ounces total bell peppers
1 red onion cut into eighths
2 cups cherry tomatoes
*around 50 
165 grams artichoke hearts
1 lemon
2 large chicken breasts, cut in half or 4 chicken thighs
*chicken breasts (3-4 for 4 servings)
2 cloves garlic crushed
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
2/3 cup black olives
*15 grams per serving
1/4 cup chopped feta (omit for Paleo/Whole30) 
*12-14 grams per serving nonfat feat crumbles

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 or a bowl on the menu to use up the whole pork butt.

Usually, I cook the meat in the crockpot for 8 hours on low. This time we are going to smoke this pork-butt on the RecTec grill. I am really excited to see how that turns out. So far this grill has not disappointed me.

To season for the crockpot, 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. Everything is the same for smoking the pork, except for adding the liquid.

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

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