Words to Live By + Menu

I recently came across Don Miguel Ruiz who is a spiritual teacher and well-known author. When I stumbled on his Instagram he had several relatable quotes and guidelines for life. He has four agreements that seem to be the basis of all his teachings. I would love to buy his book and dive further into these agreements, but for now, Instagram quotes and stories will do. I love finding spiritual leaders to find inspiration and learn from. Ekhart Tolle was one of the first authors that really captured my attention and encouraged me to evaluate things in my life.

The Four Agreements are:

  1. Be Impeccable With Your Word.
  2. Don’t Take Anything Personally.
  3. Don’t Make Assumptions.
  4. Always Do Your Best.

To be impeccable with your word he says that one must speak with integrity, say only what you mean and avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. You must use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love. This is easy to lose sight of when talking with others in everyday conversation. We all want to know the latest in every situation, but that can be a dark rabbit hole. Often times, it is better to remain ignorant of situations and make decisions based on logical reasoning rather than hear-say. Currently, this one might be my biggest focus.

Everyone is in the midst of a drama-filled situation whether they know it or not. Between race relations, COVID, and other personal matters, we are all experiencing some sort of drama that requires us to think before we speak and speak the truth (as we should always do). We read countless false-truths daily and hear of them as well, then we eventually repeat them. We spread the false-truths, sometimes maliciously and other times accidentally. One of my biggest struggles is teaching my four-year-old that words matter and we have to use our words to speak positivity to others. We can talk about upsetting situations but resorting to name-calling and lashing out is not how we handle difficult matters. This is hard for adults to grasp, let alone a four-year-old. Our words are powerful and should not be used to harm other people simply because we can. Once you start using your words against people that is a reflection of how unstable you are and the projection of your unhappiness onto them.

Not taking anything personally means that you do not take the action of others personally. What others say to you is a reflection of where they are in their lives, not where you are. They are projecting their situation onto you when they speak or act in a way that you find troubling or upsetting. If you can learn to let the actions or words of others roll off of your back, you will be immune to their toxicity.

With time I have gotten much better at not letting the actions or words of others get under my skin. It has truly taken a lot of disappointment to get to this stage in life, but I no longer expect the same level of respect from others that I give to them. I have learned that some people are just plain rude, mean, or self-centered. They do not care about my expectations and likewise probably do not have high expectations of how they wish to be treated. They project their unhappiness onto me through their harsh words and actions. I used to let this bother me and it would drag my self-worth into the ground. I would feel as though I must deserve the harsh treatment and was not valued. After much heartache, I stopped caring what others thought, said, or did. There is no reason to live my life disappointed by others because of what I viewed as unfair treatment. I cannot and will not place my value in the hands of someone that does not value themselves.

Not making assumptions is harder than it sounds. Our minds run wild with ‘what-ifs’ and creating scenarios when we are unsure of the “whole story”. To avoid making assumptions, one must ask questions, sometimes difficult questions to find the truth. This not only means to not assume what others mean or what their actions mean but also do not assume that others know what you want.

To assume what the actions of someone were or what their reasoning behind their actions was can be damaging to relationships on both sides. You know what they say about assuming… To assume why someone did something rather than simply asking them can lead to a lot of disappointment, and often times we assume the worst and spread the worst false-truths before we ever ask what was the true intention. If their actions or words matter to you enough, you will ask for clarification. If it does not matter there is no sense in assuming and spreading those assumptions to others. Sometimes you will not get the truth even after asking for clarification, so I would take it with a grain of salt if you are having to ask.

Always doing your best seems logical, but we get complacent and lazy. Sometimes my best today doesn’t look like my best yesterday, it changes from day to day, moment to moment. If you consistently try your best, you can avoid having any self-doubt or judgment on yourself. Doing your best in every situation can be difficult when you are in a less than ideal season of life. When you are going through a tough time often times the last thing you want to do is put a lot of effort into something, especially if it something that does not serve you.

There are two different kinds of tired: mentally tired and physically tired. I am both. This season of pregnancy during COVID, turning on the t.v. to see yet another devastation, and worried about just when it will hit your community is enough to make anyone mentally exhausted. When you are mentally checked out of a situation, you are likely to not give your best at the moment, which you might later regret after your mental clarity has returned. For me, this looks like frustration and laziness. When I am mentally checked out I don’t put my best foot forward, the best version of me doesn’t show up to tackle whatever task is in my way. It is easy to look for excuses to not complete a task or go back on your word when you are mentally tired.

In the end, I always regret not doing my best, so I always make a conscious effort to give 100% to any task I am committed to. If I commit to something, no matter how mentally or physically tired I am, I am impeccable with my word and I do my best. I will keep my word because what you say truly matters and I will do my best because you never know just who is going to be looking at your work later on. Even in the gym, there are plenty of days that I don’t want to be there, but I know there are people that count on me to show up. There are people that are pushed by what I am doing and the fact that I am still showing up. It seems silly but knowing that others depend on me to be there, to give them an extra push can be the sole reason that I go. If I know that someone will likely be in my class alone, I am going to go. No one really wants to be there early in the morning working out all alone.

It is hard to decide which I find more helpful in the season of life that I am in because all of these agreements can be applied to pretty much any and every situation you encounter. I think I might teach these to my students this year during our first week of ‘rituals and routines’. These would make fantastic classroom rules. I will definitely be teaching these to my own children because these make ideal rules to live your life by. Josh started getting Anderson to recite positive affirmations as soon as he could talk on the way to school. It started with simple phrases like “Today is going to be a great day!” Then he moved onto things like I am confident, I am respectful, etc. He would explain to Anderson what those words meant and what they looked like. Josh would ‘quiz’ him on the meanings of the words, which really reinforced those affirmations. I absolutely love that he started doing this for him (and it really makes me so proud of the dad he is for our children). Now that he will be riding to school with me in the mornings, I get to continue these affirmations and I know that I will add in these four agreements.


Pork Chops + Roasted Vegetables

Rotisserie Chicken Coconut Curry Soup

Salmon + Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Orange Vinaigrette Dressing

Greek Orzo Stuffed Red Peppers

Roasted Pork Loin Stuffed with Baby Spinach, Mushrooms and Pine Nuts + Yogurt Mashed Potatoes

Pork Chops + Roasted Vegetables

I love simple meals that can all be cooked on the grill. Josh is loving his new RecTec and doesn’t mind cooking one bit during the week on it. I don’t mind, because the mess is little to none in my kitchen and we can all be outside, instead of being cooped up in the house while I cook or me cooking alone. Cooking during the week isn’t my thing unless it involves the grill for those reasons.

For this meal we are going to throw some pork chops on and vegetables. Josh is going to reverse sear the pork chops and we will just put the vegetables on a little bit before the meat. When tracking the vegetables, try to keep them all separate so you can weigh them all out separately.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

pork loin chops, 1.5 inches thick
preferred seasoning: honey hog 
*spray olive oil 

any seasonal vegetables
zucchini, corn, squash, onion, sweet potato, etc.

Rotisserie Chicken Coconut Curry Soup

This is one of my favorite meals, hands down. I know you might be thinking soup, in the middle of summer…but trust me this isn’t your typical soup. I don’t use the rotisserie chicken because it is hard to accurately track and it has more fat than I need. I have boiled my chicken breasts and cooked them in the oven, both turn out fine. The best way to go is on the stovetop covered. It makes for the juiciest chicken breast and you can still season them well. The chicken will even crisp a little bit, so good.

If you are going to track this meal, a few key things to know:

The kale will bunch up and is difficult to separate into equal servings. I recommend that you scoop it out without all the liquid and portion it equally into your bowls. When you add it to your app, make sure you put in how much it would have been in its raw state, not the cooked state.

Second, it is easier to top your dish off with the desired amount of meat, rather than mixing it all together.

Third, weigh the noodles out the same way you did the kale, but don’t just eyeball it. Weigh out equal amounts. Try to leave the sauce in the pot as the last thing you portion out.

You don’t have to make a recipe in your app to include the kale and chicken because those can be added in on their own. The noodles and sauce are what can be in your recipe. Even though in your app the noodles and sauce are in the recipe together, making sure you weigh out equal servings of everything individually, this will give you a more accurate count.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

1 tablespoon olive oil
*spray pan with oil
1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger (about a 1-inch piece of ginger)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
6 cups (48 ounces) low-sodium chicken broth
*4-6 depending on how soup(y) you want it
1 (13- to 14-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
*Low Fat Coconut Milk
6 cups thinly sliced lacinato or Tuscan kale leaves (from 1 large bunch)
Kosher salt
1 (8-ounce) package vermicelli rice noodles
1 (2-pound) plain rotisserie chicken, meat shredded (about 4 1/2 cups)
*Chicken Breast
Chopped fresh cilantro, thinly sliced red onion, and lime wedges, for serving

Salmon + Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Orange Vinaigrette Dressing

I have found a new recipe for seasoning salmon and I likely won’t change it any time soon. It is really similar to what I used to do, but this just has a slightly different taste and it was time to change it up. When seasoning the salmon, make sure you sprinkle the reduced-fat Parmesan evenly on before cooking. You can always add it after or skip it altogether. It tastes best when it is cooked on, but I have eaten it both ways.

Since purchasing a  RecTec Grill, we don’t wrap the salmon in tin foil any more with it being on a pellet grill. It does have a different taste to it. The skin isn’t as easy to cut, but I don’t mind, because the taste is far better. Last week we let the salmon smoke on 250 degrees for about 10 minutes before cranking up the heat and cooking it until it was easily pulling apart. Probably the best salmon we have cooked yet.

I love eating beets and am happy that my family does not mind them either. Most people do not like beets, but they are amazing to me. This is by far one of my favorite beet salads to make. If you aren’t so sure about beets, try the golden ones and this recipe. You are sure to like them then!

This recipe has oranges and uses orange juice in the dressing. I make sure to measure my orange juice and not to overdo it on the orange slices. The juice/dressing is where you will really get a lot of calories if you are not mindful. To track your dressing, make sure you are weighing every ingredient. Get the total weight of the dressing and then divide it into equal servings.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 
*spray olive oil 
kosher salt and black pepper 
4 (5-6 ounce) salmon fillets 
2 teaspoons smoked paprika 
4 cloves garlic, minced or grated 
zest of 1 lemon 
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes 
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese 
*5-10 grams reduced fat parmesan per serving

1/4 Cup Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
*omit oil 
2 Tablespoons Honey
* 1 Tablespoon Honey 
1/2 teaspoon Stone Ground Mustard
* 1 Tablespoon Mustard 
Pinch Salt/Pepper

Fresh Baby Romaine or a Peppery Greens Salad Blend
Micro Greens
4-5 Cooked Beets - cut into chunks
Goat Cheese Crumbles
*15-20 grams per salad  
1 Orange - segmented 
*1/4- 1/2 of an orange per salad 

Greek Orzo Stuffed Red Peppers

Another meatless wonder that I stuffed with meat anyway and it turned out wonderful. I don’t think I could ever get tired of this dish. I loved this dish so much. It was beautiful. It was delicious. This also makes a great side dish for salmon or steak.

This is one of those meals that you tuck away in the back of your mind for the next time you have company and want to impress them without having to try too hard. I simply loved it and the macros weren’t that bad either. You could definitely cut back on the amount of orzo used and bring down the carbohydrates. I used 1 cup, but I might even do 3/4 of a cup this time so I don’t feel as strapped on my carbohydrates next time, but the orzo is so good.

Tracking the macros on the peppers was not super difficult. I made sure each pepper had the same amount of pasta, chicken, and toppings so that no matter which pepper was picked, they were the same. Weigh out the pepper before stuffing with the toppings and meat, so that each person knows the weight of their peppers.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

3 red bell peppers, halved 
*4 peppers, 1 whole pepper per person 
3 cloves garlic, minced or grated 
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 
*spray olive oil  
3 sprigs fresh oregano 
kosher salt and pepper 
1 cup dry orzo or quinoa 
*285 grams or less 
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives 
*70-80 grams  
2 pepperoncini, chopped 
*60-70 grams 
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts, chopped 
*Omit nuts 
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese 
*12 grams non fat feta per serving 
Lemony Basil Tomatoes: 
1 cup fresh basil, chopped 
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved 
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 
*omit oil, use 1 lemon juiced  
crushed red pepper flakes 
zest from 1 lemon kosher salt  
*add cooked chicken breast to peppers

Roasted Pork Loin Stuffed with Baby Spinach, Mushrooms and Pine Nuts + Yogurt Mashed Potatoes

When we got a pork loin last week and we left part of it whole so that we could stuff it. Normally anytime you stuff something, you don’t think it could possibly be healthy, but this recipe is very healthy. I try not to over-do it on the oil when I brown the sides of the pork, so I don’t waste my calories on invisible fats.

I really enjoy this stuffed loin because it is low in calories when compared to other pork loins. I do not rub down my loin with olive oil or mix any into the stuffing. The mushrooms let out enough water that you do not have to add any oil to keep them from sticking to the pan. If you lightly spray the pan you will be fine. I go easy on the pine nuts or omit them altogether because the loin will have a layer of fat that you need to account for. If you do not eat the fat from the meat, make sure you weigh it after your meal and subtract that from what you had accounted for.

Making sure that this meal is 100% accurate when tracking is difficult because you cannot control how much stuffing is in each piece. I make sure that I track all the ingredients in the stuffing and make a recipe with that and the total weight of the loin after the center has been cut out. Don’t throw out the center that you have cut out, cook it, and keep it for a healthy snack throughout the week! You want to make sure the pieces of stuffed loin are the same size/weight, which is harder than it sounds. You might have some pieces that require you to add or take some away from to ensure they are all the same weight. Often times the ends are more meat than stuffing, so those are not ideal pieces to eat if you are looking for the most accurate.

One night we decided to make some mashed potatoes to go along with our steak. Friday and Saturday night is usually not planned but we still try to keep pretty healthy. I saw that I had some non-fat Greek yogurt in the fridge and threw it in there. Josh thought it was sour cream and I just let him think that until he tasted it. Once he gave the approval, I let him in on my secret. Since then that is how I have made our potatoes, even for guests and they have never been able to tell the difference. Make sure to use caution when adding in the yogurt, the more you use the sweeter the potatoes will taste.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for the pan
*spray with olive oil 
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/4 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
1/4 pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
*8 ounces mushrooms total
1 (5.0-ounce) package baby spinach
*2 cups
3/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt divided
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
*omit for lower fat
1 (2.0-pound) center-cut boneless pork loin roast, butterflied
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided

Yogurt Mashed Potatoes: 
900-1000 grams red potatoes 
65-75 grams non-fat Greek yogurt 
1 tablespoon butter 
6-8 ounces fat free milk 
salt, pepper, minced garlic, fresh diced rosemary

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