A Lesson on Balance & Comfort – Brought to you by my crockpot.

For a while now I’ve been using my crockpot as storage. The most action it’s gotten in the past few months have been the bottom of miscellaneous stacked bowls. This also goes for my gym membership. For awhile, my $39.99 membership mine as well had been cash I dropped on the ground. I wasn’t going. I couldn’t get myself up to go before work, and couldn’t get myself to go after. I had been a morning person before, so I knew, eventually, I’d be back at it. But it took time. I am four months into my first big girl job and I have finally nailed down my schedule and daily routines. As I continue to get used to my new schedule, I’m slowly learning how to balance my time in order to keep a balanced diet and a balanced social life. I wasn’t really sure what clicked. It could have been seeing the dust on my crock pot, realizing that I don’t cook anymore. It could have been that I work for a denim company, and that denim was getting a little tighter as the holidays drew closer. It also could have been my swollen face from taking in way too much sodium, which made me realize I didn’t have to participate in every happy hour special, no matter how good $5 beers and half off nachos tasted. I realized I was missing this little thing called moderation, self discipline and general comfort in my clothing. In the past few years, I’ve gradually graduated from the phase of wanting to be a size 4, to focusing on comfort and overall health and happiness.

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So – I’ve laced up my shoes, given in to my alarm clocks, and made a few moderate changes that have gone a long way. My energy has already improved a long with my attitude. Results take time, but I feel them coming (I know, just in time for me to have four helpings of eggplant parmesan on Christmas). Sundays, for me, are crucial. As are my weekends. I have started to make the best out of my Sundays. I make sure to make a trip to the gym, whether it’s a good or bad workout, it’s a workout, and I always feel great after it. I make sure to not binge on fried food and carbs, and allow myself to eat something I love, in moderation, like the sushi roll and gluten free cookie I had yesterday. I grocery shop, make sure I’m outside even if it’s just a walk to the gym or store, and cook up some food for the week. The only thing I let myself binge on is Netflix. It is Sunday, after all.

I have been using my crock pot a lot recently. Meal prepping for the week has me in the kitchen like a spazz and using the crockpot has really calmed down the process. I throw a few different ingredients into my crockpot – leave it for a few hours – and there I have it. Dinner or lunch for every day of the week.

Chicken Chili Soup

Don’t worry – it tastes better than it looks. Confession – this wasn’t supposed to be a soup. I decided to wing it and threw the below ingredients into my crock pot. Though I was hoping for a chili, it turned out a bit soupy. (Is soupy a word?) It could have easily thickened over night / throughout the course of the day but for now – I’ll call it a soup. Update: It was perfect. Absolutely perfect. 

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1 lb. Chicken Breast
1 cup Chicken Broth (low sodium)
1 can Refried Black Beans
1/2 bag mixed veggies (carrots, peas, corn)

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Makes about 4 servings.

1 serving:
326 calories
6 g Fat
28 g Carbohydrates
38 g Protein
(6 g Fiber , 5 g Sugar)

Chicken & Vegetable Soup (with or without Rice)

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3/4 lb Chicken Breast
2 Cup Chicken Broth (low sodium)
1 bag mixed vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, corn)

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Makes 3-4 servings.

1 Serving:
254 Calories
3 g Fat
10 g Carb
35 g Protein

Optional: Make your soup into 4 servings and add rice. I cooked quinoa and brown rice and mixed it together – switching it up every now and then is important! (Recommended serving size – 1/2 cup cooked rice)

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Sundays in Chelsea

Holy moly – has it been awhile or what?! I apologize for my absence, I know the world was quite effected by my lack of posts. I wanted to do a fun, picture based, post to get myself back into this thing! So as I have blogged & ranted about before, Sundays were always a bit of a rut. Well, now that I’m not a bobcat anymore (tear), I decided that my Sundays need to be productive & positive (or filled with mimosas & waffles)! Not to mention, I am currently living in New York City. There’s never not something to do. So sometimes Sundays are filled with brunch, grocery shopping or scoping out street markets. This sunday was filled with beautiful sunshine, some cardio and some cookies!

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Take a look at my adventure through my lovely neighborhood of Chelsea, as I run a long the chelsea piers, lay out a long the Hudson River, and take a bite out of somethings scrumptious!

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IMG_1172So – This was my Sunday! Grabbed some groceries on my way home and found some new almond butter to try! I am going to try to post more. I am cooking, but I am unfortunately not cooking anything recipe worthy – so those will be lacking! I am going to try to post about my adventures in NYC. Where I go, what I eat & what I see! Stay tuned 🙂

Yours Truly,

Stef

Advocare 24 Day Challenge & Easy Meals

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If you follow me on my other various social networks, you know that I have recently started the ADVOCARE 24 DAY CHALLENGE! How exciting. I’ve spent months and months wondering what the heck Advocare was, and thinking it was some silly little fad-diet where they tell you to eat nothing and go on a liquid diet and take fat burner pills etc etc etc. After a couple of phone calls with Drew, one of my crossfit coaches, he explained everything Advocare has to offer! On my own, I learned that Advocare sells quality products that are not only extremely reliable, but they WORK! I spent time going through personal Advocare success stories on the internet and other social networks, and decided that Advocare was just what I needed! Now that I have graduated college, I’ve decided it’s time to finally beat my plateau! It’s been about two years since I’ve been at my most comfortable weight, and I’m done with settling with the uncomfortable!

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So, it’s Day Two of the challenge and I’m already feeling great! The first ten days is the cleanse phase. I will do more updates as the days go on, as two days is almost too early to talk about too many results – but so far I’m feeling good! Today, I got a procedure done on my lower leg and have to lay low for a while. My doctor told me that I need to go two weeks minimum without workout out, and we will reevaluate then. Meanwhile, I need to wait one month until I squat, all so I don’t tear my stitches apart. I was pretty bummed out that this was all happening around the challenge. Though, I figure it’s a good sign because the challenge will keep me on track while I am not active! I hope to start working out my first weekend of work. I make the big move to NYC next week and I am so excited to start my internship. I’m hoping Advocare will help keep my energy high for those long work hours! Other than Advocare, I like to make sure that my food is also my fuel for the day. Here are a few meals I’ve had since I’ve started the challenge:

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1/2 Cup Quick Oats, microwaved for 2 minutes with 1 cup of Water. 1 Tablespoon Slivered Almonds. 1 Large Strawberry. 1 Cup Egg Whites, with some dollops of horseradish mustard & hot sauce!

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This was 1/4 cup (uncooked) Quinoa, 5 oz Ground Turkey, and 1 cup Mushrooms, 1/2 cup Zucchini, 1/2 Large Tomato, sautéed!

For lunch today, I had 3/4 cup Brown Rice, 6 oz Chicken Breast, 1 cup Mushrooms, 1/2 Large Tomato, and 2 tbsp Hummus! I wish I took a picture of that because it was delicious. The hummus was a perfect addition to my meal!

Stay tuned for more easy meal ideas and inspiration during my 24 Day Challenge!

Yours Truly,

Stef

 

Don’t Blink

There’s a million and one things I can compare this feeling too. The end of the beginning, as I like to think of it. This past week has been spent trying to catch my breath, rushing to catch up with time. Spending every moment in my cozy apartment on Congress, dive bar on Court, and Crossfit gym down the road, hoping that if I stay just five minutes longer, leaving will get easier. You could call it a break up, the depressing feeling of not spending time with something you’ve come so accustomed too. Or, you could call it a crush, the rush of something you’ve hoped for, something that excites you so much, yet you still question if you’re ready for it. Graduation, the real world, it’s gonna happen one way or another.

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I’m wondering if I did everything right. Did I not get drunk enough, did I get too drunk, did I study enough or did I get too many C’s? I do know that I learned more about myself, life, and love more than any books could have taught me. I learned the meaning of a true friend. I learned the difference between love and lust. I learned that I still have so much to learn, and so much to live. I learned the difference between a wine hangover, a beer hangover, and a liquor hangover. I learned how to power clean, barbells and apartments. I learned how to pick up heavy things, without letting them weigh down on my back. I learned how to breathe through miles along the Hocking River and the woods of Athens. I learned how to attempt to act 21 at the ripe age of 18, and learned how freakin’ cool it felt, while later realizing how freakin’ dumb I looked. I learned that places and people change. Like how Stephens bar used to be known as a weird place to trip acid, and now it’s one of the most poppin’ bars on campus. Court Side was that senior bar, with the rare, nervous, freshmen honorably gaining access. Now, it’s a trap for blacked out 18 year old girls in crop tops and mini skirts. We’re all guilty. The Junction became J bar, Crystal is still Crystal, and Pawpurrs is, and will always be, the place to be. I learned that keeping in touch is not always in the plan, and sometimes you meet people just so you can un-meet them. I learned that meeting 50 people at the bars freshmen year doesn’t come close to the friends I know I’ll keep dear in my heart for ever. To those 50-so people I boogied with at Crystal, thank you so much for those memories that I still randomly crack up at. I learned that I say things like “poppin” and “boogie” and it’ll never be cool but it’ll still be okay. Which leads me to the fact that I learned that being cool is really boring.

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I’m not just an Ohio University student, I don’t just live in Athens, I am in love with Athens and everything it has taught me. I learned that there is so much more to Athens than Ohio University. There is a whole community, a tight knit family, local businesses and pure happiness. There are no high rises, five-star restaurants or fancy hotels, and I couldn’t have it any other way. The cobblestone streets, brick buildings and crisp air share the feeling of home. I have been lucky to not only form friendships with Ohio University students, but with people in the Athens community. There are a million reasons why I can thank crossfit, and specifically crossfitSEO, for coming into my life, but the people I’ve met through that community are what I will take with me. Being surrounded by students, and not to mention 20-some bars on a one mile radius with no friday classes, you tend to lose touch of reality. Crossfit kept me grounded, structured and strong. The community kept me accounted for. I’ve always heard that it is important to surround yourself with like-minded people, and though it took me awhile to learn and grow, I listened.

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If you couldn’t already tell, I’m sitting here, on a Sunday, writing this sappy little blog post. Sundays in Athens kinda remind me of scenes from the walking dead. It’s dead. It’s hungover. There are more empty Natty Light cans laying around than there are people. Sundays in Athens are for tweeting, instagramming, Netflixing, crying, laughing, and a whole lot of eating. The essential Sunday in Athens consists of Court Side Pizza, Chipotle, your occasional day drinkers, and a whole lot of embraced shame. I remember how easy it was to bounce back from a night of drinking four years ago, which is why it was so easy to go on those five day freshmen benders. After five days of senior bar crawls, day drinks and two am burritos, I feel like I got punched in the face by the incredible hulk. These hangovers are one thing I’m not going to miss, but I wouldn’t have done it any other way, and that’s all I can ask for.

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It wouldn’t exactly be me if I was sitting here telling you that in order for you to “do it right” and “live up” your senior year in college you have to black out every weekend and spend Monday-Friday at the bar. Though that does call for some good times, there are other things that are key on your last days in Athens. Go to Strouds, lay out on your roof, eat at Jackie O’s, or your favorite restaurant. Eat somewhere you can’t typically eat anywhere else. Clear your head and go for a jog around the Athens bike paths. Specifically around sunset, you won’t be sorry. Walk around campus and take it all in. The big brick buildings, south green, west, east, and college green. You’ve spent four years here, and as an upperclassmen living off campus, it’s easy to forget the beautiful campus that is Ohio University. Don’t forget to look around. As much as you want to cry, don’t forget to laugh. We sure as hell didn’t spend four years here crying, so spend the last few weeks laughing. Do what you want to do. If you want to go to the bar, go. If you want to eat that burrito, and then that pizza, and then those chips, sure, do it. If you wanna get a blackout at paw purrs, a black widow at pigskin, or a liquor pitcher at Luckys, do that, too.

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Sure, Athens will always be here, but we won’t. We can visit, and take a walk down memory lane, but things will never be the same. We have done everything we can in these past four years to get us to this very moment. As sad as it is, there is no more important emotion to feel than the feeling of accomplishment.

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Congratulations Class of 2014! And to the underclassmen, whatever you do, just don’t blink.

 Yours Truly,

Stef

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(P.S Nobody warned me about the Senior 20? Get ready for some health food posts because this betch needs to get back to the grind.)

Be Flawless; Accessorize with Kensie

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As some of you may know, I landed myself an internship with Kensie and am moving to New York City! I couldn’t be more excited about this for so many reasons. One, as I have always loved fashion, I dreamt about living in New York City. Big city dreams are real and now I am so lucky to be working right in the Garment District in one of the greatest fashion capitals of the world! Two, I was not only recognized professionally by the company, but personally. I was so happy to know that the interviewer checked out my blog. It is important to feel comfortable in the work place, and the fact that I could relate with them when it comes to health & fitness is a big plus!
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When I was in High School, I was the big girl. Fashion, style, and accessories were all I had to show. During my college days I’ve let my style go to the wayside just a tad. Dressing up for class was not only time consuming, but not exactly normal at Ohio University, especially considering I was most likely headed to the gym right after! Though I don’t show my style every day, I still have a knack for it. Yes, I’m excited for the learning experience that Kensie will provide me with, but who wouldn’t be excited to get the opportunity to dress up everyday and really move forward with their own personal style?! I know I am. When I worked at Macy’s Columbia I worked directly with Kensie’s merchandise. I had always loved Kensie and was so excited to see the job postings online!  It almost seemed surreal to be interviewing at such a beautiful showroom, which motivated me to nail the interview as best as I could! After being denied from countless jobs these past two years, I felt like this was my calling. Receiving this job opportunity was one of the most rewarding moments to happen to me in a while! Another thing I love about Kensie is their sizing. Their sizes are not only comfortably fitting, but they go up to sizes that many brands do not. This gives girls who are not a size 2 a chance to have some of the most trending merchandise today.

One product line I have not been familiar with with Kensie is the accessories. After browsing their accessories in department stores and shopping online, I think I may have a new obsession.

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Be Flawless; Accessorize with Kensie

Pictured above is the Flawless Flannel Shirt you can purchase on Beyonce.com. I love Beyonce, we all love Beyonce, we all want to be as flawless as Beyonce, here’s step one. I pictured this flannel to be worn open, with the NastyGal.com Lace Bustier and Gaps Destructed Sexy Boyfriend Jeans. You can go to starbucks in this outfit, or a friends house, but this can also be dressed up with a little help from Kensie. I’d describe Kensie’s Imelda High-Heel Sandals as casual glam, because that gold piece creates such a statement. Without it, they’d just be your typical black sandals. Accessorize your outfit with more gold statement pieces from Kensie’s selection of jewelry. Kensie’s Gold Plated Pyramid Stud Earrings and Printed Matter Gold Platted “Wish” Pendant are perfect additions to your already flawless outfit. I accessorize with gold all the time and would wear these accessories in a heartbeat. Lastly, I threw Kensie’s Sophie Satchel in there to finish the outfit and bring the black to full circle.

Click the image above to check out more of my Polyvore sets and find out wear to buy these items online or in store!

Yours Truly,

Stef

Fashion Meets Fitness: Dark Knike feat. Nike

Colors are great, but sometimes black is just the answer. You have your girls who wear black when they’re bloated, black when they’re sad, or your girls who refuse to wear any black at all. Yes, black is a very dark and ominous color (I only use the word ominous because of the movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall..). Black is also a slimming color when it comes to outfit choices. Some of us girls generally love to wear the color black all the time. I am one of them. One reason could be that my beloved yoga pants are always black, and what’s a better way to match them then with a black sports bra, black v-neck, black nikes, and a black beanie? (Say black again. Black.) Another point I’m trying to prove is that girls get lazy. Last minute night out with the girls? Nobody has time for MATCHING?! Please. Putting together an all black outfit not only takes minimal effort, but it’s most definitely always a win-win situation. Black on black is so chic, and I don’t think it will ever go out of style. That leads me to my first few looks that I’ve put together. Keep in mind, I’d almost never wear this outfit in public, but what high fashion looks would you ever wear out in public, anyway? My first step was to name these pieces Dark Knight. Then I looked at my merchandise and my title, and came up with…
Dark Knike
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Pictured above is a look that is athletic, yet chic. Your Nike Dunk Sky Hi Women’s sneaker puts emphasis on the fact that no, you’re not about to go work out, you’re about the run the town. Nike’s Vintage Gym Shorts… wait did I just say vintage? Enough said. Adding a touch of old school to your outfit makes you go from Taylor Swift to Rihanna in two seconds. Nobody has time for the new stuff. Vintage is and always will be in. The Printed Nike Pro sports bra adds a little bit of a twist to things with it’s bold, yet subtle, pattern. And now we’re talking accessories. Walking out of the house and walking out of the house with sunglasses on is two completely different things. Another way to go from Taylor Swift, to Rihanna, in seconds. (Goin 0 to 60 in 3.5 …that Rihanna song, anyone?) Anyways, not only do the sunglasses physically add a sense of glam to your ever-so-simple outfit, but they mentally make you feel like the world is your oyster. If you’ve never put on a pair of sunglasses and instantly felt slightly more bad ass than before, you’re lying. Lastly, we have your Nike Jordan Jumpman Air hat. The great thing about wearing all black is that any color pop is dramatic, and we love dramatic. The red creates a dramatic effect. This is one color pop that does not calm the outfit down. Pairing red and black together is one of my favorite things to do, and that’s why I started with two outfits with such similar tastes.
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I’m looking at this outfit and I want it on my body right now. It’s so… Bronx meets Upper East Side. Am I right? You have your Marc by Marc Jacobs Baker Watch. All black watch? A must have. Your Black Spike Bracelet pretty much brings the outfit together and lets everyone know you mean business. From the gym, to the streets, it’s a statement piece. A long with your color pop item, your Nike and Jordan Beanie, which calms the outfit down to keep it casual. Your Nike Air Max’s aren’t just black. They glisten, and shine, like a new car. Your shoes are like your transportation, why not keep them as chic as possible. I paired the Nike Pro Capri Tights with the Nike Thre-D Tank and the Nike Compression Swoosh bra. All. Black. Everything. To emphasize the fancy Nike logo that everyone knows and loves.
To shop these items, simply click on the photographs above. Don’t forget, the color black does not have to promote all the negative. To me, wearing all black is a confidence statement. Here I am, not giving a crap, wearing all black, cause I can. It takes style to put together a chic all black outfit, though it does not take time. And that is why I love my beloved color black. Why do you love the color black?
Yours Truly,
Stef

Quick Meals & Sweet Snacks

Before you read; This post isn’t all about chicken. But naturally, I rant about it for a solid half hour.

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Chicken is a pretty touchy subject for those who eat it all the time. When I first started becoming more aware of my eating habits, my focus was mostly on counting calories. Chicken seemed to be something that fit my macros appropriately. I could also eat a larger portion of chicken for a lower amount of calories than, say, ground beef. I always favored chicken… chicken breast, chicken thighs. I’d have chicken for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Chicken for days. And I mean…DAYS. So here I am, making my grocery list, and realizing that I have to buy some chicken. Buzzkill of the century. It’s more the thought of chicken that’s been pissing me off. In reality, when I sit down and eat it, it’s not that bad. I go through stages with my diet. Sometimes my go-to is chicken and sometimes it isn’t. I realized it’s because I never really experimented enough with chicken. Pictured above is chicken I seasoned with Lemon Juice, Mrs. Dash Chicken Seasoning & Mrs. Dash Spicy Seasoning. The lemon juice adds some moisture to it, and the mix of seasonings keep it exciting.

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Pictured above is a dish that looks a lot more fancy that it is. It is, simply, 5 cups of Kale, 2 cups of Mushrooms, under 1 pound of chicken, seasoned with Lemon Juice & Mrs. Dash Chicken Seasoning.

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I cooked this dish on 400 degrees for I don’t know how long. Estimate 25-30 minutes. Depending on the intensity of your oven. Anywho, I cut the chicken up into slices, added more lemon juice, and put it back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes to ensure that the chicken was fully cooked. (I realize I need to start writing things down when I cook them so I don’t forget how to cook them. On my way to be the number one cooking blog in America..)

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I served my dish over a mixture of brown & wild rice and quinoa. It was very tasty and the chicken kept it’s moisture! Nobody likes dry chicken.

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This chicken dish was prepared in my cute little crockpot. I stared at my chicken for a solid ten minutes because I couldn’t figure out how to cook it and the last thing I wanted to do was cook these babies whole. Shredded chicken was my best bet. I put a pound and a half of chicken in my crock pot with 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth. I added Lemon Juice (obvi), Basil leaves, and Mrs. Dash Italian Blend seasoning. You haven’t lived until you’ve used Mrs. Dash Italian Blend seasoning… it’s a game changer. I let it cook on low for about 8 hours. I then changed it to warm and let it sit, which is something I’m never gonna do again because it wasn’t nearly as juicy as it should have been. So, next time, I’ll probably cook it on high for about 5 hours max and take it out. In the middle of the day, I slowly started shredding the chicken. Once it was cooked through, I shredded it completely and let it sit. The flavor was perfect but the chicken was slightly overcooked. I think I’m gonna try again today. I would have taken pictures of the finishing project but it was gone in 60 seconds or less. I’ll document when I’m more successful.

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Oh, tilapia. I have the same opinion about tilapia as I do with chicken. I cooked 7 ounces of Tilapia in Mrs. Dash Italian Blend seasoning and lemon juice. I put my tilapia over sliced celery, and a delicious slaw I’ve been buying from Kroger! I added lemon juice, hot sauce and horseradish mustard to the top and mixed it like a salad. It was delicious! I’ve been doing this with my tuna, too. The slaw adds a perfect crunch!

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I cooked about 3 pounds of Ground Turkey meat with Lemon Juice, Basil Leaves and a blend of italian seasonings that my mother gave me while I was home last weekend. The seasoning is delicious and has no sodium! Pictured above is just 6 oz of Ground Turkey with asparagus and carrots. I added hot sauce to my ground turkey. Perfectly portioned meal. Meat & veggies, you can’t go wrong!

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Pictured above is the same ground turkey meat I cooked, over rice and veggies, and a little bit of Mia’s Basil Marinara sauce! This meal gave me my italian fix, without the splurge! This was about 6 oz Ground Turkey, 3/4 cup rice, and two cups veggies! When I eat rice I typically eat 1/2 cup (measured cooked) brown rice.

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Onto some more “sweeter” options. Everybody likes a sweet every now and then. We’re only human. Sweet potatoes aren’t exactly a “sweet”, but they taste like candy when cooked to perfection! I turn my oven on 400 degrees and let my sweet potato sit for about an hour. I take it out when it starts oozing. (Oozing? Ew.) I haven’t made sweet potatoes in awhile, but I’m back on that bandwagon.

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Rice cakes have been my go-to snack lately. It may be one of those obsessions that I will soon get tired of, but right now I’m on a roll. I have been limiting my nut butter to, barely, twice a week. Rice cakes are also a great snack choice when eating nut butter because you are less likely to overeat. I just spread one tablespoon of nut butter on one rice cake, add some jelly, and I get my peanut butter and jelly fix! I haven’t been eating nut butter because it is so easy to overeat. You’d be lying if you said you’ve never sat there with a spoon and your jar of peanut or almond butter. Once I stop eating nut butter for a week or two, I stop craving it. Allowing myself to have it every now and then keeps me disciplined. I know I can eat it, but the less I have it, the more likely I am to have it in moderation. Portion control.

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I might do a whole blog post about Quest Bars, so I’m going to keep this light. This is a Cinnamon Roll Quest Bar, baked in the oven on 350 for 6 minutes, with 1 tbsp Nut Butter & 1 tbsp Jelly on top. I’d talk about it, but all you have to do is look, and you get the picture.

IMG_5296Last but not least… Cucumbers? As many of you know, there is a huge community of “fitness freaks” on the social media site, instagram. #FitFam #EatClean #InstaFit I recently saw someone post a bowl of cucumbers with…cinnamon? I thought it was weird, but then I heard from a friend how delicious it really was. So I cut up my cucumbers, added cinnamon and liquid stevia, and holy crap it was good!

As you can see, all of these meals are very healthy, easy, and diet friendly! Eating healthy doesn’t have to be a chore. It can be fun! You just have to get in the right mindset and you’re halfway there. Enjoy!

Yours Truly,

Stef