Green + Menu

It gets increasingly easy to compare yourself to others. With the constant Instagram and Facebook stories/posts, showcasing all the highlights constantly on display, how can you not compare or be envious? For me, the things that I wish I had or would like to change are what I zero-in on. Someone could be telling a story on how their dog ran away, but I am busy checking out their forehead wrinkle situation or lack thereof. Pictures of your cute kids, I have those too, but I am looking at your charming full-of=character house.

The things you want in life are what you see. You don’t see the hard work and stress that it took to reach those goals, you just see the end result. Right now, when I see other people’s pictures and stories on social media, I am not as concerned if they can lift more weight than me, do unlimited muscle-ups, or handstand walk 100 yards. Really all of that is super cool but it is on the backburner. It is hard for me to not care about my physical ability and appearance, but I have other goals that I am wanting to accomplish right now. With my current schedule, if I was obsessive over my fitness goals, I would be completely miserable, so for now I am focused on other things to fill that void.

I am finding that this awkward stage of easing back into working out is less appealing than when I was 9 months pregnant trying to stay in shape. Honestly, there are points where I am disgusted with how I feel. Like physically how I feel when my jeans are a little too tight and the extra pounds are rolling over. Literally rolling over the sides of my pants. I refuse to buy different pants. I ain’t doing it.

Since I am going to the gym when no one else is there, it is easy to be less envious of those constantly hitting PRs with their flat stomachs and wrinkle-free faces. Avoiding mirrors and working out alone makes it a little easier to stomach these extra pounds. Ten pounds to be exact, all for the sake of breastmilk and not pushing my c-section recovery too quickly, but man it is hard. Living in my pajamas, workout pants, and wearing jeans only when I must are helpful to the cause. I keep telling myself that Thomas’s schedule is going to improve, deer season will be over soon, and that maybe even returning to work will get me back on track.

Even though my focus has slightly shifted, I am not completely losing sight of those back-burner goals. I am going to the gym and doing something, it might not be what is programmed, but it is better than sitting at home hating the way my fat feels against my pants. Some days Thomas falls asleep and I can do the workout. Somedays he and I have a little partner workout, which means I get to ride the bike and do lots of bodyweight plus Thomas lunges or squats. There are even those fun times where Thomas is just mad and I end up having to quit the workout entirely or I quit the workout on my own because my body physically cannot handle it.

The days that I quit are very deflating. It becomes an emotional struggle. I read a post this week where a woman sat in her car at the gym and left, I felt that and so did so many other women. It was comforting to see so many comments from ladies in town that have dealt with the same scenario. We all have our struggles when it comes to walking in the gym, staying focused on our own goals, and not giving up. The most in shape to the most out of shape person deals with insecurities, but we only see what is on the surface. We only see what we want for ourselves in others, we don’t see the struggles they face to have what we want.

Instead of posting a ghost menu for Thanksgiving week, because I am going out of town and don’t plan on cooking a lot, I am going to post a few of my favorite fall foods.

I will definitely be baking all the goodies. Pumpkin bread, pecan pie, apple pie…maybe something else too.


Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Casserole

White Chicken Chili

Apple Butter and Sage Pork Chops  + Yogurt Mashed Potatoes

Autumn Glow Salad with Lemon Dressing

 Ginger Roasted Pumpkin + Quinoa Salad

Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Casserole

The first time I made this, it was solely for my husband. I am NOT a casserole girl. I don’t like the idea of all the mayonnaise and cream of whatever people typically use in casseroles. This recipe has neither, so I was excited to give it a try. He is a true lover of casseroles with all mayonnaise and cream of whatever though.

I put my own spin on this and it turned out to be so great and healthy! I was so surprised, I have made this several times since and have even made it for a few friends. It is a great comfort dish without all the guilt.

This is not easy to track because it is all mixed together. There is no way that each piece cut will have the same amount of chicken or cheese. It will be precise on the macros but the slices themselves won’t be 100%.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
*spray olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
*10-20 ounces baby carrots sliced
1 pound boneless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
2 tablespoons salted butter
*1 tablespoon
1 1/2 cups basmati or jasmine rice
*1 cup jasmine rice
1/2 cup dry orzo pasta (use gluten free, if needed)
2 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, plus more for topping
3 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
*2 cups
3 cups broccoli florets, roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, more or less to taste
zest of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 cup whole milk or canned coconut milk
*non fat milk 
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
*100-180 grams depending on how cheesey you want it to be

White Chicken Chili

I have two different chili recipes that I use for white chicken chili. One has very few ingredients and the other just gives you more options as far as flavor goes. You can’t really go wrong with either one.

There is a local restaurant in town that makes white chicken chili that he adores, so I tried my best to find a recipe that could hold its own. If I tweak the recipe that contains very few ingredients, then it is a hit. If you leave out the sour cream and refrain from grabbing the crackers, this is a super healthy meal and a great option for these cold days.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

6 C. Reduced Sodium Chicken Broth
*4-6 depending on broth
3-4 C. Cooked & Chopped/Shredded Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast (1 1/2 lb.)
2 (15 Oz.) Cans White Beans, Drained & Rinsed
2 C. Salsa Verde
2 Tsp. Cumin
Salt & Pepper to Taste 
*add in: onion, cilantro, jalapeno 

Apple Butter and Sage Pork Chops  + Yogurt Mashed Potatoes

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.

I was so nervous about the macros the first time I made these pork chops. I was not familiar with apple butter, I just assumed it had to be loaded down with carbs like jelly was and then adding apples too! I couldn’t imagine that these would be good for my macros, at all. I just knew that I would be blowing my carbohydrates for the day. I don’t usually calculate macros before I decide to cook a dish, typically I can make some pretty good guesses on what needs to be altered to make things healthier. 

The second time I increased the apple butter and it still did not push my macros to the limit. I was so happy to find a new tasty recipe for pork chops. Just like chicken breast, pork chops get really boring after a while if you don’t mix things up. This is the perfect recipe to mix things up with.

To make sure each pork chop has the same macros for apple butter, I add it to each chop individually. I make sure that each pork chop gets the same amount. Each pork chop will weigh differently, but they will still have the same macros for the apples and apple butter.

*Changes I make to meet my macros 

2 bone-in pork chops, about 1 inch thick
*4-6 pork loin chops 
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
*zero calorie olive oil spray 
Kosher salt and black pepper
3 tablespoons salted butter
*1 tablespoon 
12 fresh sage leaves
2 garlic cloves, smashed
2 tablespoons apple butter
*around 50-70 grams depending on your macros
1-2 honeycrisp apples, cut into wedges
*2 apples, for 4 servings
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme 

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

Autumn Glow Salad with Lemon Dressing 

I am pulling out all of the fun fall recipes. Pumpkin, butternut squash, sweet potatoes…all the good yummy carbs.

I love a good salad, that is more than just lettuce and the boring typical toppings. My kind of salad has a homemade dressing, toppings that you would not think to use, and typically don’t have lettuce. This salad has all of those things and more!

Make sure you want the carbohydrates because this is packed FULL of them. Between the quinoa, apples, and sweet potatoes you can easily lose track and eat way more carbohydrates than you think. Just because they are “healthy carbs”, does not mean you need to go overboard with them. Make sure you track what you are eating and of course eat a good deal of chicken with this so you aren’t leaving the table still hungry. If you do leave the table wanting more, go split a container of Halo Top. 

Ingredients For the Salad
1 cup freekeh or other grain (quinoa, bulgur, etc.)
*quinoa 1/2 cup prepared per salad
1 head cauliflower
2 sweet potatoes
*3-4 depending on size
1 tablespoon olive oil
*spray olive oil 
1 large apple
*1-2 apples split between 4 salads

For the Lemon Dressing
1 bunch parsley (about 1 cup), minced
1 small clove garlic, minced
⅔ cup olive oil
juice of one lemon (more to taste)
1 teaspoon agave (optional)
*1 ounce honey 
½ teaspoon salt
pepper to taste
*Add-in cooked sliced chicken breast or serve as a side dish

Ginger Roasted Pumpkin + Quinoa Salad

I have not made this salad for a very long time. Usually, I make it with sweet potatoes or butternut squash if pumpkin is not in season. It is so, so, so good. Don’t question the roasted pumpkin, just make it! I know most people don’t roast pumpkin. They buy the canned pumpkin and throw it into a cheesecake. I can appreciate pumpkin cooked that way too, but this is one of my all-time favorite salads for the cooler months of the year.

In the past, I have been made this into a bowl, by just adding in chicken or pork loin chops. I am going to be eating it as a side this time.

I use a sugar-free syrup and honestly, you can’t tell the difference especially since it is in the dish and not the main ingredient. The last time I made this with butternut squash per serving (without chicken) it was 4 servings for 264 calories, 4.9 grams of protein, 35.7 grams of carbohydrates, and 7 grams of fat. This time I won’t use any olive oil, so it should lower the calories a little bit.

The amount of quinoa you use can be (should) be based on how many carbs you need for that day. Likewise, the amount of servings you make for this salad depends on how many carbohydrates you can afford to eat that day. 1 cup of quinoa prepared is about 40 grams of carbs. I would not use an entire cup of quinoa for this. If you want to ditch it altogether, I would recommend using arugula instead.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

Back Strap or lean cut of steak 
Preffered Seasoning 

1kg piece pumpkin
*1 medium cooking pumpkin
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
*1 inch piece
2 green or red chillies, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
*Lemon juice
2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
*1 tablespoon sugar-free syrup
a handful of finely chopped coriander (cilantro) roots and stems, optional
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (185g) quinoa
*1/2 cup prepared per salad 
1 1/2 cups (375ml) water 
The juice of two limes (or large lemon)
a good handful each of fresh mint and coriander (cilantro) leaves
toasted pumpkin (pepita) seeds
*omit seeds

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