Together + Menu

Getting back in shape is for the birds. I feel like I have never run before in my life or lifted more than twenty pounds. It was so much easier to maintain my fitness with 20-30 extra pounds than it has been to get back into shape. I am all for taking a week or so off, but six weeks off is no fun. I was itching to get back into the gym after I had Anderson and Scarlett, but this time around, I have really taken my time. One factor has definitely been our schedule. Finding the time to go and really workout has been difficult. Now that I am near the end of my maternity leave, I feel as though we are getting into a groove and I have really been able to consistently go at the same time.

I have mostly been doing solo workouts or workouts that involved holding Thomas. This allowed me to really ease back into things and not feel pressured to do more than I should. It was really nice, but at the same time pretty boring/lonely. Just having a group around to talk to mid-workout is nice. Someone to enjoy in the suck, that is CrossFit. I am pretty competitive, but right now I know my lane and it isn’t the fast lane or the heavy lane. I am just doing what I can, but still trying to push myself without pushing too hard.

The stars aligned last week and I got out of the house in time to show up just slightly late to a class. Thomas went to sleep shortly after we got there. He stayed asleep the whole time, but I wouldn’t have minded if he had stopped my progress, because I was struggling to keep up. Being my first workout with a group, I definitely pushed more than what I was doing alone. I know if I had done that workout alone, I would have stopped several times, taken my time, and likely would have been completely stopped by a hangry baby. I do love being able to go at my own pace, but having a group to push me without saying a word is priceless.

I love my gym family and though I do not get to see everyone that attends classes there, I still feel connected to them. Pivotal people have come and gone, yet we remain. That is just how it goes, life is full of ebbs and flows. We all share in the same suck in the form of workouts and keep coming back for more. We have good days and bad days in the gym. We inspire each other through our times and weights on the board. Even if I don’t get to see someone working out there, their name on the board pushes me.

When I was transitioning back into the gym after having Anderson, the coaches and owners would take turns holding him for me so I could workout. They didn’t have to do that, soothing my child is definitely not their job, but they did it anyway. They know all too well that a workout isn’t just a workout. It is so much more than that. For most going to the gym is their only form of stress relief and alone time.

Thomas was fighting his nap one day this week. I usually stretch (really just squat) and rock him in his car seat until he falls asleep, while he listens to The Revivalists. This time the coach rocked him until he went to sleep while I got started on my workout. For me, things like that reassure me that I am where I am supposed to be. Acts of kindness like that mean so much to me and stick with me. We are going through this suck together, but still manage to push each other and make things a bit better no matter the circumstances. I love my people.



Sweet Potato Fry Steak Salad + Blue Cheese Butter

Rotisserie Chicken Coconut Curry Soup

Butternut Squash Soup + Pork Loin Chops

Greek Chicken Traybake


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, to simply cut down on the calories. Save the wine and just drink it. 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 
2-3 spaghetti squash or noodles of your choice

Sweet Potato Fry Steak Salad + Blue Cheese Butter

I have a lot of favorites, but honestly, THIS is on the very tip-top of my list for salad favorites. It is the most amazing flavor and you can go as light or heavy on the sweet potatoes as you want. I go easy on the butter and make sure to pick a lean cut of steak so I can have more potatoes. If you like a high-fat meal, go crazy with the butter and steak, but keep the potatoes to a minimum.

Josh loves to challenge my macro cooking abilities and boy did I deliver. I made several changes and left a few things off, intentionally and unintentionally. I skipped the avocado because I did not want it to be too much on the fat side. I had plenty of fat leftover at the end of the night for a snack, so it was a good choice. I used reduced-fat blue cheese and sirloin steak to keep the fat at bay as well. The recipe calls for 4 tablespoons of butter, but I used 1.5 tablespoons for 4 servings and it was plenty for us.

To track this I weighed out the steak amount first and then put on the butter-cheese mixture. The size of the steak does not matter as long as you input it separately into your macro count, but the serving size of the butter-cheese mix needs to be the same for every salad.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

3 small-medium sweet potatoes, cut into matchsticks
*2-3 ounces cooked potato per serving
4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
*spray olive oil 
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
kosher salt and fresh black pepper
1 (8-10 ounce) ribeye steak or 1 1/2 pound flank steak
*sirloin steak
6 cups shredded romaine lettuce
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
*10-12 per serving 
1 avocado, sliced
*0.5-0.8 ounces per serving 
4 tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature
*1-2 tablespoons 
3-4 ounces gorgonzola or blue cheese, crumbled
*40-50 grams reduced fat blue cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
*1 lemon juiced 
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoon honey
*0.5 ounce 
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
*1 tablespoon 
1 small shallot, finely diced
2 tablespoons fresh chopped thyme
kosher salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste

Rotisserie Chicken Coconut Curry Soup

This simple dish packs a big punch. I don’t use the rotisserie chicken because it is hard to accurately track in my app 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. 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. I am going to use pasta zero to cut down on the calories. Rice noodles taste amazing, but I don’t want all the calories that come along with them.

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, 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
*pasta zero
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 

Butternut Squash Soup + Pork Loin Chops

If you have never made butternut squash soup, just trust me. It is so good. A lot of people forget about butternut squash and opt to just roast vegetables. This soup is roasted with a few added goodies and then blended with chicken broth to make a delicious soup. Overall, this is not heavy on the calories around 200 calories with 27 grams of carbs. What you add in as your protein is where you might get hit hard with the calories. Pork loin chops are not friendly to the calorie bank, you will get hit hard, but it is so delicious and tastes better than just a side of chicken breast.

This soup is such a great fall/winter dish. It really can be the main dish, but just doesn’t meet our protein needs. It says to use goat cheese and that is a great addition, but it doesn’t need it. There is enough fat in this dish with the bacon for us. I like to add the broth while I blend it to adjust the thickness. I like this soup to be thick, not thin/soupy.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

1 butternut squash (about 3 pounds), peeled, seeded and cut in 1-inch chunks
*45-55 ounces 
1 onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 slices bacon, diced
*2 ounces
2 tablespoons olive oil
*omit, spray pan with oilve oil 
2 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

4 slices bacon, diced
*0.5-1 ounces cooked bacon per serving 
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 1/2 cups chicken stock, or more, to taste
*2 cups
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
*10-15 grams non-fat goat cheese per serving
2 tablespoons chopped chives 

Greek Chicken Traybake

This is probably one of my favorite dishes to make. It is super easy to throw it all in one dish and just cook until the chicken is done. I love finding new recipes for chicken that have a ton of vegetables. I was pretty skeptical because I don’t cook much with artichoke hearts and have never been a fan of them on my pizza. Sometimes it just takes one ingredient to ruin a whole dish.

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!

To get the most accurate macros, you can cook the rice separately and take out the pieces of chicken to add to servings as needed. In doing this, it allows you to get the amount of protein and carbs that your macros dictate.

*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 total tomatoes 
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

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