Sweet Cream, Mountain Views, & A Little Zen

Friday

This past weekend was incredible! Matt spent the weekend with one of his best friends, Mitch. Mitch built the deck at our lake house, and he has been building a home for him and his family, and Matt went to the property to help.

For breakfast, I made a delicious smoothie with frozen kiwi plus a smoothie combination from Aldi: banana, apple, mango, spinach. I included yogurt, milk, and ground ginger then topped it with Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheerios, granola, and peanut butter.

The weather this weekend was finally bearable and quite mild in comparison. I enjoyed not freezing when outside even for a brief time!

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My MIL got this for me in my Christmas stocking. I had it as a mid-morning snack, and it tasted pretty good. But I’ll never buy their products. The name is absurd. Yes, eating this will make you thin and that is supposedly everyone’s goal. Eye roll. It’s really condescending in my opinion.

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On my way to our monthly meeting, I stopped by the house to feed the babies and bring our Wild Friends order inside! I have been waiting to get my paws on these oatmeal cups.

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I also couldn’t help myself and went by K Brew for a decaf Americano.

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Lunch during the meeting included wheat pita / steamed vegetables with lemon, tuna, avocado / broccoli slaw with avocado oil, cucumber feta dip, cumin, smoked paprika, garlic, and salt. I had a delicious apple for dessert.

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Friday evening Kaci and I met at Cruze Farm to celebrate Dolly Parton’s 72nd birthday! Colleen Cruze is so awesome, and she offered free sweet cream cones with sprinkles all day. They served at least 2000!

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They were offering their Dolly Parton cone, which is a double scoop ;), but I believe they may have run out in the afternoon. This was perfect, though!

I love my girl!

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I even won this t-shirt!

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Kaci took the photo below.

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I love all of their merchandise!

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I love signs/infographics like this!

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I bought a pint of red velvet to take home.

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Kaci snapped this fun photo too.

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“Udderly” adorable.

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Kaci shared the next two photos with me as well. She’s my blog contributor and Editor-in-Chief. 😉

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Once home, I put my new yoga mat to use with a Barre3 workout.

I wanted to enjoy our black bean-butternut squash dish baked with an egg, but unfortunately, I over cooked it. Womp womp. But it did still taste good, and I liked how crispy the bottom got in the cast iron skillet. I topped it with green siracha.

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I couldn’t decide, so I had both Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter and Nutzo. Poor Macey wanted some, but he can’t eat either.

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Saturday

I decided to use Erin’s golden milk recipe and turn it into an oatmeal. I combined cow’s milk, cinnamon, turmeric, nutmeg, clove, ginger, pepper medley, espresso sea salt, oats, and vanilla in a saucepan. I added frozen berries and fresh spinach then topped my bowl with honey and Nutzo. It turned out really pretty!

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I have to share this. Carbs get a bad rap and are thought of as unnecessary. This demonstrates that they are, in fact, healthy and useful to the body.

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Sara, Kaci’s sister-in-law (I consider her mine too!) shared this recipe for chocolate beet muffins. Per Matt’s awesome suggestion, I made them with the applesauce we already had on hand. I will make them with beets soon as well. Instead of cocoa powder, I used carob because again, it’s what we have. They took quite a while to bake, and I mistakenly didn’t grease the muffin tin. However, they still taste great. I had one with yogurt after a quick Barre3 workout.

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This!

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After getting ready, I met with Kaci and Drew at their place to ride up to Max Patch together. Axl had to get in more Zzzz for the fun-filled day ahead. Look at his smooshed nose!

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We stopped at Arby’s for lunch, and I enjoyed a turkey salad with some curly fries. I had noshed on Triscuits a bit earlier too.

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It was soo muddy from the snow, and while it was cold, it was so worth it! This was on our way to the summit.

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Panoramic view

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Kaci told me I looked like Johnny Bravo with my bangs. Hahahaha that wind was intense!

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Signature pose

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Love. We both repped our Kavu backpacks.

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Group shot! A sweet couple offered to take our photo, and then we returned the favor.

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I loved this edit. The sky is my favorite color, turquoise.

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Kase captured this and Axl’s sweet portrait!

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Kaci’s in-laws are building a cabin out there. Isn’t it adorable?

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He looks like a puppy!

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Afternoon snack, and it hit the spot.

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We had to grab a few non-windy photos.

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Once back home, I had a quick dinner of toast with feta cucumber dip + avocado and leftover shrimp gumbo.

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Dessert included yogurt, banana, tahini, and Cheerios with Earl Grey tea for sippin’.

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Sunday

After feeding the babies and getting a little more shut-eye, this is how I woke up. My heart melted into a giant puddle.

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You should’ve heard his purrs!! He was so happy.

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My breakfast was rather epic, if I do say so myself. Two over easy eggs on wilted spinach, thawed wild blueberries, two roasted root veg hash brown patties and one mixed potato hash brown patty with ketchup.

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I also was craving a muffin, so I had it with my coffee.

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After enjoying a leisurely morning, I showered and then whipped up this quick lunch. I warmed the last of our steamed veg and tuna drizzled with lemon juice and then topped with avocado, feta cucumber dip, and Triscuits.

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I later ate a small banana with drippy pb and cinnamon.

One of Kaci’s awesome wedding photographers shared a retro photo shoot she did with a girl that Kaci and I actually attended high school with. Some of the photos included these killer cat eye sunglasses, so I snagged myself a pair from Amazon. Kaci also got a pair too! I’m already obsessed.

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I love Chobani’s new packaging! Their new products not only look pretty, but they’re delicious.

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Kaci and I attended a free Tone + Sculpt Yoga class by Unity Yoga and Wellness. Per usual, I was five minutes late, but ohmygosh I needed this class. I loved the flow and the instructor’s guidance.

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Y’all know I love the turquoise walls! It’s small but cozy with a great vibe.

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I want these for our house one day; they’re so fun!

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I decided to bake another batch of muffins, but this time I used almond flour. Worked like a charm!

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Dinner was sauteed seasoned shaved Brussels with black olives (say that five times fast), ricotta toast, the last of our Thanksgiving turkey, carrots, and Imagine Super Reds soup.

Dessert was a mug of this fabulous Cruze Farm ice cream. Red velvet was one of my mom’s favorites. {I so wish she could be here to enjoy life, my cooking, and explore with Kaci and me. Hug your loved ones often.}

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I enjoyed it with a sprinkle of granola and roasted nuts.

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Wishing everyone the very best start to the week!

Friday Favs

I haven’t shared a Friday Favorites post in a while, so I wanted to do so this week. I have been discovering and enjoying a lot of fun things lately!

First up, this all-butter pretzel croissant from Aldi. I paired it with a fluffly scrambled egg over wilted spinach, fresh navel orange with ricotta, and delicious black coffee.

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Pancake puffs. I’ve already brainstormed some different combos to try: dip them in pb, drizzle with maple syrup, have on a skewer with various fruits (I saw this on their Ig page!). Basically, the possibilities are endless.

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I forgot to snap a photo of the new Triscuit flavor I bought, but their Ginger and Lemongrass is excellent. Next up to try is their Fig and Honey!

I cannot say enough great things about Simi Botic’s book, Letting Go of Leo! While there are definite differences in our experiences, I also share very many similarities and can relate to her perfectionism trait and orthorexia. I flew through the book in two days! I have also been enjoying reading Intuitive Eating.

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I so love Haley Goodrich‘s page full of positivity, wisdom, and insight. I took these two screenshots to refer to if/when I am feeling down. I love all of the positive mantras that are being shared!

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This golden milk by Erin of Wellplated. I had it yesterday evening, and it was perfect! Sadly, my inexpensive frother wand died, so I’ll have to get a new one. But that would’ve taken it to the next level. 😉 I have plans to turn the recipe into a smoothie this weekend too.

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I recently bought new contacts, and while I adore wearing glasses, I’m going to start changing it up a bit. I bought these shades at Tarjay (one of their new brands, A New Day). Kaci and I also ordered such fun retro cat-eye sunglasses on Amazon. I’m hoping they work!

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Kaci and I will be meeting at Cruze Farm after work to enjoy a free Dolly Parton cone that they are offering in honor of her 72nd birthday today! I hope everyone has a wonderful Friday and weekend!

A Quick Weeknight Shrimp Gumbo

I absolutely love to cook, but some nights you don’t want to spend much time putting dinner together. Rather than default to oatmeal, which I have done (!), I hope this gives you inspiration to pull together a few staples to result in a tasty meal!

First, get your ingredients lined up so that you can work efficiently.

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I made sure to put our shrimp in the refrigerator over night to thaw. I bought these from Aldi already peeled and deveined to make prep even faster.

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All together before serving.

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We enjoyed ours over the above photographed long grain and wild rice 90-second rice pouch. Feel free to use other grains or even roasted potatoes!

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Ingredients

Two 14.5-oz. cans of diced tomatoes

One bag of frozen gumbo vegetable medley

Salt-free herb spice blend

Old Bay

Garlic powder

Cooked greens – we had a combination of mustard, turnip, and kale

12-oz. thawed peeled deveined shrimp

unsalted butter

Directions

Simply put the greens, frozen vegetables, and tomatoes together in a large pot. Season with Old Bay, garlic, and seasoning blend to taste. Bring to a gentle boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer. Meanwhile, heat butter in a saucepan and add the seasoning blend to toast. Saute the shrimp until just cooked through. Be careful not to overcook. Add the shrimp to the pot and stir to combine. Serve over rice or potatoes. Cornbread would be awesome on the side as well.

Enjoy!

Spinnin’, Sippin’, & Brunchin’

Good morning! I hope where ever you are that you are staying warm. Temperatures will be dip dip dipping low going into Wednesday morning. Maybe we’ll actually get a little bit of pretty snow.

Thursday

Kaci and I had the pleasure of attending two free Turbo Spin Cycling classes last week! We took our first on Monday and our second on Thursday. It was very different from our Barre3 exercises, and it was fun to switch it up.

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I should’ve reversed the order of these results, but Thursday’s are on the left with Monday’s are on the right. I didn’t dial in enough resistance on Monday, so I made that my focus. ‘Twas a killer but rewarding class.

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Friday

We began Friday with our egg ham hash brown casserole warmed over spinach with avocado, salsa, Greek yogurt, and we split a pear.

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Jennifer keeps spreading amazing messages about how diets do NOT work and how the scale is not a measure of self-worth.

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I finally tried this meal for lunch, and it was so good!

Later in the afternoon I felt like enjoying this piece of chocolate. Hit the spot.

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Kaci and I met at Honeybee Coffee’s South location to celebrate their first anniversary!

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I enjoyed an oat milk latte, and Kaci had their salted maple iced latte.

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Simpl. Food, Arts, & Catering provided the food, and it was phenomenal! Chef Kendale very nicely gave me the pork belly instead of tofu at no extra charge. This sandwich, y’all. It was so flavorful.

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I love my girl so much! I love exploring our city together.

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I finally decided to try StitchFix! Sadly, nothing worked and was really expensive. So I’ll be sending it back. Perhaps I can try it in a different season.

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I had some frozen fruit with yogurt and Nutzo for dessert later.

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Mason just warms my heart so much!

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Those paws ❀

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Jackson has whiskers for days!

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Saturday

As soon as Alexis posted her shakshuka recipe, I planned to make it for our Saturday brunch.

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Aren’t these colors so pretty together?

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The finished product! I used spinach to garnish because we didn’t have cilantro or parsley. Worked like a charm in this case.

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We split the pan and enjoyed it with Aldi roasted root vegetable hash brown patties. Guys, do yourselves a favor and make this asap. Your taste buds will thank you.

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Matt drew this of me December 2005, and I finally decided it needed to be framed. It makes me smile every time I see it. He’s one talented man!

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I ate a late snack of yogurt and cinnamon out of the pb jar plus a Jazz apple on the side. It did a nice job fueling my Barre3 workout. I had been dragging and feeling a little lethargic, but it recharged me nicely.

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Lunch was lentil soup with added green beans along with crunchy veg and ricotta jam toast.

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I took a shower, did some cleaning, and then I settled down with a mug of tea and read more of Intuitive Eating.

We had leftover tacos for dinner. We split steamed vegetables tossed in fresh lemon juice to go along with them. I photographed Matt’s plate because his were so much nicer than mine. 😉

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Dessert was this epic banana split with Greek yogurt, Nutzo, and Chocolate PB Cheerios.

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Baby Girl positioned herself like this on Matt’s lap and was so content. Look at her squishy face! We watched an episode of Sherlock Holmes and then called it a night.

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Sunday

I have to say we had some amazing brunch meals last weekend. I used our GF Aldi pancake mix to whip up this plate.

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I enjoyed mine with thawed fruit, pb, and maple. Delish coffee followed before I got ready to head out west for a Target run.

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I first stopped at Zoe’s to treat myself to lunch.

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Cauliflower rice bowl sounded awesome, and I chose to get their braised white beans to go with it. I’m obsessed with them. I saved what I didn’t finish of the bowl and split it for Matt I to enjoy with our lunch today.

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Kaci and I had planned to attend a sculpt + tone yoga class but couldn’t make it on account of timing, so we rescheduled for next Sunday. I think many things happen as they should because we ended up feeling like staying home and doing Barre3 together with the babies giving us motivation. Love sister time!

I found a Target Cartwheel coupon for this new Larabar flavor, and I bought two boxes. It’s so tasty!

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I was quite productive with laundry and such, so after taking care of those chores, I made green tea and relaxed. I used this amazing sauce for our dinner.

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I caramelized a red onion before adding peppers, garlic, and chicken to sauté. I then simmered it all in the sauce before wilting in fresh spinach. Lastly, I added amaranth that I cooked in vegetable broth before serving. So warm and a nice amount of heat and spice! I plan to try all of the flavors now. Matt and I brainstormed and thought it would be good heated and served over pork tenderloin or with meatballs over noodles.

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Dessert was another fruit and yogurt bowl with fresh kiwi, Nutzo, and TJ’s mango cereal.

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Monday

I was going to take a photo of my breakfast this morning, but it was a mess. Haha. My oatmeal overflowed from my bowl a little in the microwave. I made spiced carob oatmeal topped with banana, dark chocolate pb, Nutzo, and molasses. It was so good and filling!

I don’t know why it’s taken me this long, but I finally am using one of my fav, pretty binders for my work materials. Makes working a little more fun.

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I hope everyone has a fabulous day!

Good Vibes Only

Good Monday morning lovely people! I hope where ever you are that you are staying warm and safe.

Thursday

There are a few highlights from Thursday that I wanted to share before I got into our weekend recap. Mason exudes all of our feelings towards getting out in these cold temperatures. 😉

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One of my super sweet coworkers surprised me with a Starbucks gift card for Christmas, so I took a break that morning to enjoy a lightly sweetened holiday flat white at the café. They have branched out a lot in food and offerings since I worked there four years ago (how has it been that long ago?!). This drink was in-credible.

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After I finished my 50 minutes of Barre3, I received a message that I had won the LOVE GROWN + Nutzo giveaway. I was so excited!!!

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Friday

Friday started with a package of KIND protein granola bars over yogurt with banana and drizzly peanut butter. It ended up being too much yogurt, so I left the excess yogurt in the tub and made sure to eat all the toppings.

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The lighting is bad, but I rocked one of my fav pairs of tights that are a bright mustard shade. This outfit felt fun despite it being so cold here.

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We had our Quarterly RD Meeting, and they catered delicious Jason’s Deli. I enjoyed chili with a cute mini cornbread muffin along with half a turkey sandwich. I was pleasantly full, so I saved the corn bean salad. Later that afternoon I enjoyed each of the three dessert bites. It’s hard to say, but I think the furthest left one with caramel was my favorite!

After completing some laundry and cleaning, I pulled together our dinner: sautéed tender kale in avocado oil with mango habanero seasoning and garlic powder. I split and heated our Naked Foods vegan bowl. It was so good!

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While doing laundry, I finished listening to Jennifer Rollin’s webinar and shared this on Facebook. Jennifer sweetly took a screenshot and shared in her Ig stories. ❀ I love sharing these messages to help inspire others! So many people may be suffering in silence with disordered eating or an eating disorder, and their recovery may be, in part, positively triggered by seeing these posts. A friend reached out to say that (s)he has begun reading Intuitive Eating and is striving to overcome his/her struggle with a former eating disorder. I can’t express how good it made me feel to hear this and that I played a small role in helping!

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Dessert included the rest of the yogurt with kiwi and TJ’s mango cereal. Matt and I began watching the Sherlock Holmes series with Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role. The episodes are long, but so far, it’s pretty entertaining.

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Saturday

All thanks to Kaci we enjoyed this incredible brunch! I used the recipe she shared as inspiration. I combined six scrambled eggs with two cups of milk and poured that over top eight toasted and crumbled hash brown patties, ham, and half cup each dill Havarti and aged sharp white cheddar.

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We enjoyed it with avocado, salsa, and yogurt + split an apple. I didn’t quite finish the apple, so I saved the rest to go with lunch.

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After relaxing with my coffee, I completed a 60-minute Barre3 workout. Matt and I then had lunch of veg with hummus and roasted red pepper tomato soup with added sautéed kale and brown rice. I had the rest of my apple with some warmed cookies for dessert.

After showering, Matt and I enjoyed more coffee from our coffee maker. I’ve now figured out the best ratio for my taste, and it was delicious!

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I finally dusted and vacuumed – something that has been needed for a while. I also updated our picture frame and love it!

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I’ve been trying to paint my nails much more often.

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I was hungry, so I ate my leftover corn bean salad with blue corn chips. It hit the spot.

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Dinner was another fabulous Naked Foods meal: roasted harvest vegetables with chicken + Aldi’s awesome eggplant mĂ©lange frozen vegetable blend. Jaxxy was all about photo-bombing obviously!

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Another evening, another kiwi. 😉 This was I enjoyed with Multigrain Cheerios and cashew butter.

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Sunday

Kaci very kindly invited me to join her, Drew, and Cindy at Wild Love Bakehouse for brunch. I noshed on a cutie with dark chocolate peanut butter to tide me over.

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Matt made this epic French toast stack with peaches, maple, powdered sugar, and ham. He gave me a bite, and holy moly it was phenomenal.

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I had to rock my new tote by Jennifer Rollin. Diet talk is in full swing and a high from the new year, so I’m going to do everything I can to spread the message that diets suck, don’t work, and need to be a thing of the past!

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Café au lait with a side of pretty sunshine.

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I chose their egg, herb, and goat cheese biscuit. I got another mug of black coffee to sip on before we left.

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I love these two!! I so wish Matt could’ve joined, but given his Celiac disease would’ve prevented him from getting to enjoy practically anything, he understandably didn’t join. Maybe one day they’ll find a cure!

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After stopping by the house, I went to Wal-Mart for a few things. Sadly, one of our dinner plates cracked. đŸ˜„ I was able to buy a replacement and then had to strongly avoid temptation to buy allthethings from The Pioneer Woman’s collection. This butter dish is so cute!

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Even though I was hoping to find these Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheerios at Kroger where I have a coupon, I finally snagged them. Unfortunately, they aren’t GF, so Matt can’t enjoy them. Ugh.

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Kaci gave me a string of copper lights that I wrapped around our sand ceremony stand. I haven’t taken a photo yet at night, but I will! I meant to do so yesterday evening, but I’ll add it once I do.

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My late lunch included this salad topped with pumpkin cider vinaigrette, hot veggie burger, and green siracha.

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For dessert, I tried the Cheerios with grapes. Yes, you could buy their chocolate Cheerios and add peanut butter, but having it included in the cereal itself was so good! Perfect sweetness in my opinion.

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Jax was so sleepy. He just passed out on my tote as soon as he laid down. They live a hard life, I tell ya!

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I participated in Haley Goodrich and Jennifer Rollin‘s live Ig video discussing four main diets including why they are very unhealthy and not recommended. These ladies continue to inspire me and really got me fired up to continue “fighting the good fight” against the diet industry. If you have an Ig account, I recommend you follow them both and watch the archived video!

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I completed a 40-minute Barre3 workout that was a more relaxed flow that incorporated plenty of yoga throughout. {I feel it’s necessary to just say that while some weeks I do more Barre3 and/or am more physically active, there are also days or weeks that I am not. I have found that this approach to physical activity works for me, and Barre3 + yoga are two of my favorite forms of movement. It doesn’t actually change my eating at all because, as I’ve said, I don’t have to earn my nourishment. These workouts just help my mind and my overall body. You do you. 🙂 } I then got underway with plenty of meal prep. I cooked a pear with spices and sugar for this morning’s oatmeal, I made our lunches, and then I made dinner. Roasted broccoli, onion, mushrooms, and thinly sliced garlic tossed with avocado oil, salt, and smoked paprika. I cooked the last of our black rice with vegetable broth + Welch’s orange, pineapple, mango juice that I got at the yoga event on New Year’s Eve. The salmon was pre-seasoned from Aldi that I easily thawed and baked. I left a small portion because I felt full and satisfied.

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I recently bought Aldi’s GF waffle/pancake/baking mix and decided to make them for this waffle Wednesday. Can’t wait to try them!

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Monday

This  morning was a fun one. I tried heating my oatmeal in a glass Mason jar to transfer to this cashew butter jar, but I misjudged the volume. I used a ratio of half cup oats to one cup milk, and it overflowed. I saved it, and then I had to transfer it to a bowl. After multiple stops to prevent overflow, it finally cooked. Hahaha. I had added vanilla and half of the cooked pear during the last bit of cooking time. The warmth picked up all of the remaining cashew butter.

The city has salted the roads, but ice continues to stick. I am really really hoping it melts soon because I am scheduled to take my first free Turbo Spin Cycling class this evening. I’m excited and hope I can go! Everyone stay safe and have a great week ahead!

New Year’s 2018

I hope this post finds everyone doing really well on this second day of 2018! I must say that along with Christmas, I think this was the best New Year’s I have ever had. =D I’m going to start my recap with Thursday evening.

Thursday

I came home to find that my new Shutterfly phone case had arrived, and I absolutely love it! The photos are quite crisp/detailed in my opinion, and I love seeing them often.

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Kaci and I had the pleasure of participating in a Barre3 charity event. It was approximately 30 minutes of each Barre3 to start and yin yoga to finish. It was so perfect! Then when we walked out of class, we immediately smelled an amazing spread of food catered by Naked Foods. As you may remember, Naked Foods founder, Alison catered Kaci and my weddings. Postmodern Spirits provided two delicious cocktails as well.

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Friday

Friday morning began with the last of our Christmas Day frittata topped with green siracha and enjoyed over wilted greens. Classic buttered toast and navel orange segments.

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I had to leave work early to take Mason to the vets for an evaluation. He’s still in remission!! He’s at a really healthy weight too. They decided to have us administer chemo at home Monday, Wednesday, and Friday because they felt that not providing any treatment at all may allow the cancer to regain strength. We will do everything to prevent that from happening! Poor Mason was so nervous, but he quickly calmed down by the time we got back home.

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For dinner, I pan-seared and roasted pre-seasoned turkey tenderloin from Aldi that we ate over wilted spinach. I mashed our baked sweet potato to split and completed our meal with sautéed onions/peppers/mushrooms/garlic with cumin and turmeric. We both thought the pepper seasoning was a bit overwhelming, but the meat was very tender and still enjoyable. After eating two of those slices, I felt pleasantly full, so I saved the third.

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Dessert included hidden grapes, cereal, yogurt, cashew butter, and a milk.

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Saturday

As you will notice, I’m having quite a bit of fun with this new portrait setting. 😉 I made stove-top oatmeal with pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, espresso salt, and milk. I ate it from our nearly empty honey jar with a drizzle of another dark raw honey, and one each crumbled and whole pumpkin spice yogurt-covered pretzel. This was so good!

After I sipped my coffee and took a quick shower, I went back to our Barre3 studio for one last killer class for 2017. It. Was. Awesome. The instructor was so fun and had a very challenging and rewarding routine.

I was craving pizza, so I thawed and heated a slice of my Jet’s cheese and had it with vegetables dipped in hummus. Dark chocolate covered almonds for a sweet finish.

I also received my new tote bag designed by Jennifer Rollin!! The front is a photo of a donut with the caption, “I donut care about your diet” with the back reading, “#allfoodsfit”. I’ll be sporting this message proudly as we go into the time of the year when the greatest number of people will sadly fall victim to the diet industry.

Once showered, I made a fabulous mug of chai and started reading Intuitive Eating. This opening paragraph is everything. It compares how we wouldn’t blame ourselves if an auto mechanic failed to maintenance your car appropriately after frequent tune-ups and plenty of money spent. But regardless of the statistic that 90 to 95% of all diets fail, people generally blame themselves.

Dinner included a salad topped with homemade cranberry sauce stirred up with extra virgin olive oil. We split a carton of Pacific brand chicken and wild rice soup.

Sweet Mason! I love this shot of him so much. Matt sweetly covered him with the blanket, and he didn’t seem to mind.

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Dessert was a chopped apple with cinnamon, yogurt, and dark chocolate peanut butter.

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Sunday // New Year’s Eve

Woke up to these sweeties on the last day of 2017! It’s a miracle and a blessing that Mason is here with us and healthy. He was purring up a storm. Rachel loves her catnip toys! Jackson is just so precious and full of unconditional love.

This was quite an awesome breakfast. We split the last homemade waffle, and after toasting it, I drizzled it with peanut butter and molasses and finished with sprinkles; half a banana on the side. I took our shredded and sautéed sweet potato and added an extra yolk that we had before heating it in the pan. Seasoned it with salt/pepper/garlic and melted mozzarella on top. So good!

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Matt had wilted greens under his waffles with peaches, blueberries, yogurt, and maple. He had cheesy hash brown patties with two seasoned over easy eggs. He gave me a savory bite, and it was delicious.

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I saw that a complimentary yoga class was being held at our Lululemon store, so I most definitely attended. It was so refreshing and rejuvenating. The slight soreness from Barre3 diminished, and I felt so calm.

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They kindly provided some light refreshments too! They gave us a $10 gift card that I used to get a pair of Barre3 grip socks. The yoga instructor just opened a studio called Unity Yoga, and we were given two free class passes. I gave one to Kaci, so we’ll be scheduling soon!

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After going by the pet store, I stopped by K Brew. Last year on NYE I took a Barre3 class and went by K Brew. This is a tradition I intend to keep going each year. They also had a break-in the night before. No one was harmed, and they did not let it ruin their day. They carried on with their original hours – I love the resilience that so many local Knoxville shops have! So I absolutely wanted to show my support.

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I finally got to try their “Knogsville” – eggnog latte with nutmeg on top. It was perfect!

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For lunch I made an open-faced turkey sandwich with mayo, which tamed the peppery spice. I steamed spinach and had fresh radish and sugar snap peas for crunch.

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Sweet girl! She loves these catnip toys.

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My love. I am so thankful he was by my side as we had our many ups and downs throughout the year. We decided to stay home, and it was the best decision.

He surprised me by finding Planet Earth 2 was finally available on Netflix! We watched the first season together way back in 2007, and I fell in love with the documentary then. We watched two episodes, and between them, I grabbed a snack of yogurt, orange, ground flax, and roasted pepitas.

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We also received this card in our Lululemon bag that I intend to fill out this evening. I’ll leave it in my side dresser, and I plan to check it periodically throughout the year to remind me of my intentions and goals for my own personal growth in 2018.

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I wish we had a video of us preparing this plate. Both our cornbread dressing from Thanksgiving and cooked greens were frozen, but I failed to freeze them in individual portions. So Matt chiseled at the greens while I worked to separate the dressing slices. It was hysterical!

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Every year I made a 15-bean soup with our leftover ham hock and serve it with greens for good luck.

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Kaci and Drew celebrated their four year anniversary from when they began dating, and they enjoyed a lovely dinner at Cappuccino’s. They then came by and spent time with us, and I loved their visit!! So much laughter. It wouldn’t have felt right not seeing my girl on the last day of the year.

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Essie polish, BFF bracelets, and shiny rings. 🙂

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I thawed and warmed the other half of my Jack Daniels tart from a few weeks ago and had it with yogurt.

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Matt and I have been watching Bob Ross on Netflix (I’d actually never seen his show before!), and Rachel is very into it as you can see here. Girlfriend seriously watches tv with us. She’s loving Planet Earth 2. Matt and I decided to go to bed at 11PM so that we could be well-rested for New Year’s Day.

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Monday // New Year’s Day

I ate my mixed berry cereal bar that the Lululemon staff had provided along with a spoonful of peanut butter. Then I took care of some chores, showered, and got ready for brunch at First Watch!

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I proudly wore my new Stranger Things swag!

Cheese!

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I love the atmosphere and design at First Watch.

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First coffee of 2018, cheers!

I added a side of lightly dressed greens to my entrĂ©e, which was…

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their avocado toast! I’ve wanted to try it for a long time but had yet to order it until now. I ate one half and saved the other. They gave me Matt’s ciabatta bread, so I used part of it to soak up the remainder of yolk.

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Matt enjoyed what I had last year at my first visit: smoked salmon omelet with an added side of roasted potatoes.

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We grocery shopped together, which is always a blast. We find a lot of great items together. I decided that instead of restocking our olive oil, I would splurge on avocado oil. It was very pricy, so I’ll be cautious in how much I use. But looking forward to trying it in a variety of dishes! Channeling my inner Hummusapien. 😉

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We made more coffee because duh, coffee is life. Hahaha. We meal planned and then began to make our way to check on the lake house. It has been so frigid here, I’m talking single digits at night, so we wanted to be sure the pipes were intact.

Even though it was so cold, it was a gorgeous day.

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Matt cracked me up doing his running man impersonation!

Once back home, we each had a snack plate. I finished the piece of ciabatta with radish, hummus, and mozzarella. I then had a warmed bacon-wrapped almond-stuffed date.

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After putting away laundry and doing some prep for today, we had dinner. I served the last of our sautĂ©ed vegetables with 90-second brown rice and split a tin of lemon olive oil sardines. They’re our fav.

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I started listening to this webinar by Jennifer Rollin, Healing from Body Hate. It’s so enlightening!

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We enjoyed our dessert while watching one more Planet Earth 2 episode then called it a night.

Tuesday

This morning I cooked an over easy egg to enjoy with my leftover avocado toast plus a slice of mozzarella and half of a very large, juicy navel orange.

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Wishing everyone the absolute best day and first week of 2018!

**Editing to add this fabulous order I just picked up from Naked Foods. Matt and I are set to have a really awesome week ahead! Protein zucchini oats with blueberries, vegan entrée, Thai meatballs (one of my favorites), and roasted root vegetables with chicken. Matt and I are able to split the large entrees, and so this is really an awesome price for quality foods.

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Reflections on 2017 // My Year of Resilience

I don’t have any flashy blog stats (although I will state that I have connected with so many amazing anti-diet RD’s, bloggers, and inspirational people thanks to this blog!), but I simply wanted to share my highlights and thoughts on the year that was 2017. I love how this blog, if nothing else, can help inspire others and serve as a journal for me because I often forget just how much I have experienced, how much fun foods I have made, and all that has happened over these past twelve months.

January

// I began the year as a newlywed and as a Matron of Honor for my twin sister’s wedding that was planned for October!

// I had taken a break from blogging after our wedding, but thanks to Matt’s encouragement and my genuine desire, I came back excited to share snippets from our life.

// Matt and I flew together for the first time, and Matt got to visit my family’s home in TX for the first time.

// Kaci, Sara (her awesome sister-in-law!), and I started attending a number of Barre3 and Barre Belle classes together. I truly feel like these past two years have been my very best in physical activity, and I feel very strong, capable, and have increased my endurance. As a result, my mental health has improved as well.

February

// At our fur-babies’ routine dental cleaning, we discovered that Rachel was experiencing some blood glucose trouble and was said to be more-or-less pre-diabetic. That was really tough for me to accept, but our sweet, sassy girl has done incredibly well on her special diet.

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// I went through a tough experience at work, but after the initial hurt wore off, I used it as a learning lesson.

March

// Matt and I enjoyed a fun but frigid weekend at the race track! It was Matt’s first of three visits to VIR this year.

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// Kaci and her bridal party, that consisted of her sister-in-law, good friend, and myself, all rocked a Barre Belle class together, and it was so fun to hang out with her the girls like this!

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April

// I tapped into more of my vulnerability and shared my story regarding disordered eating and discovery of intuitive eating, body kindness, and self-care.

// Matt turned 34, and we had an awesome time celebrating his birthday that weekend!

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May

// I attended Kaci and Drew’s super fun engagement party while Matt went back to VIR and won an award!

June

// We received the absolute worst news that rocked our world and broke our hearts: Mason, our sweet middle fur-child, was diagnosed with lymphoma in his liver. We were so shocked, scared, and very angry. Thankfully, the great team of doctor’s at our Animal Hospital were able to get him started on chemo immediately. We even had to provide tube feeding, which broke our hearts that much more. Sadly, after seemingly responding so well, Mason fell out of remission. We were once again faced with uncertainty and thought we had to say goodbye. The doctors then went to plan b: an oral form of chemo versus IV chemo. Today is Mason’s check-up, and we are so hoping he has remained in remission!

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// I entered the last year of my 20’s, eeps!

July

// One of the highlights of July was getting to go paddle boarding for the second time. We met at the Ijam’s Nature Center Quarry, which I didn’t even know existed until then, and it was so serene and enjoyable.

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August

// Kaci, Sara, Cindy, her mother-in-law Susan, and I all traveled to Nashville for her bachelorette weekend!! It was an absolute blast! Abundant sunshine, brunch, massages, and allthecoffee. Everything that a celebratory weekend should include. Kaci did an amazing job finding us a cute Airbnb too!

// I had a wonderful time attending Dale’s Fried Pies’ anniversary pop-up at the Central Collective!

September

// We entered my fav season ever, and we hit the one-month mark for Kaci and Drew’s wedding!

October

// Kaci and Drew’s magical wedding!

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// Matt and I celebrated our one year wedding anniversary with a day trip to Asheville and an epic photo shoot with Brittany Sidwell. ❀

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November

// Matt and I had the pleasure of attending one of my friend’s beautiful wedding.

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// I finally got out on a fall hike, which is a bucket list item I’ve had for quite some time.

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// Celebrated our second Thanksgiving as Mr. and Mrs. Daniel.

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December

// Matt and I celebrated one of the best, if not the best, Christmas together.

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// This year marked the best holiday season for me because I finally had shed so much of my disordered eating and could thoroughly enjoy the food and festivities.

// Of course these sweet babies have my whole heart, & they always brighten every single day!


I am proud and not shy to say I am still seeing my therapist, and I truly have seen a growth in myself. I have shed quite a bit of worry and anxiety that I’ve had for so many years. I suppressed it with my false sense of control with food and other aspects of my life. So this year has been one of a lot of growth for myself and for Matt and I as a married couple. I am, as I always seem to say, sad to see another year pass by, but I am very excited for 2018!

Merry & Bright // Christmas 2017

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas and holiday weekend! It was one of our very best, and I’m so very grateful.

Thursday

Even though I was unable to fully participate in the secret sister Santa exchange, I did receive this adorable, fun bag. I’m very appreciative to whoever sent it! It holds my next book, Intuitive Eating, so well. We also bought this waffle maker on Amazon with a gift card and my Chase credit card points. So it went from retail of $50 to $19.95!

 

Friday

I was craving a classic bowl of cereal on Friday, so I had TJ’s Mango O’s with ground flax, frozen wild blueberries, pb, and milk.

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Jax loves his “present”! He is obsessed with boxes. Sweet baby.

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One of my super sweet coworkers surprised me with a Starbucks gift card! I treated myself to an herbal peach tea latte with honey that afternoon, which was very enjoyable.

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Lunch included organic mixed greens, leftover steamed seasoned vegetables from Aldi, organic canned cannellini beans, sardines, Havarti, and a KIND maple cinnamon protein granola bar. It’s one of their new products.

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That evening Matt and I went over to Kaci and Drew’s for a super fun tacky Christmas sweater party. Our awesome gang included her mother- and father-in-law, sister- and brother-in-law, and her niece and nephew.

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Twinkies! She got her sweater at Planet Exchange, and I love it!

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Matt’s EPIC sweater!! We got it on sale at Kroger. My favorite.

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The cute couple!

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David and Susan

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Sara, Neal, Baylor, and Piper

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The guys enjoying a chat and a beverage before dinner.

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Kaci and Drew made an incredible chicken and rice soup, and Susan made cornbread. It was perfect.

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I can never help myself. SnapChat Christmas/winter filters.

Love him! He knows how to be goofy and have fun. That headband is hilarious. It bounces around and lights up too.

I made Alexis’ pumpkin gingerbread that was loved by all! I only made two changes: GF for Matt, and I used real butter because we don’t keep vegan butter on hand. Otherwise, I stuck to the recipe.

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Kaci bought this fun ugly sweater cookie kit from TJ’s. Here was my masterpiece.

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She was sweet and snapped this shortly before we headed back home.

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Saturday

I had plans to visit Awaken Coffee Shop, so I noshed on half a banana with pb and cinnamon.

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Matt made seasoned over easy eggs on top of cheesy hash browns and steamed spinach plus half a toasted gingerbread slice.

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It was a really rainy, ugly day, but that wasn’t going to stop me from enjoying it! Awaken has an adorable Christmas tree with these fun coffee ornaments.

I had my eye on trying “The Mean Grinch”: matcha green tea latte with peppermint and two shots of espresso. I got it half caf, and it was the perfect amount of caffeine for me. Isn’t it gorgeous?

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I also enjoyed a house made biscuit with chipotle cream cheese. I ate every. last. crumb. If you’re local, then hurry down there and try one!

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I had a fabulous time at the nail salon. The tech was super sweet, and I loved the color I chose!

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After shopping at Target, I enjoyed this salad and Lindt dark chocolate truffle in the car.

After shopping at Aldi, I finally got back home and put away my purchases. I used this Modern Table Meal and jazzed it up for dinner.

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I added seasoned roasted vegetables along with turkey from Thanksgiving that we had frozen. It took it from three to five servings, and Matt immediately said how amazing it was after his first bite. Sure made me feel good!

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Kaci, Drew, and Axl came over and surprised the babies with these awesome catnip mice for Christmas! Our dad also surprised us each with an iPhone 8 Plus! I didn’t realize I had not backed up iCloud in a looooong time, so that was a nightmare. Then trying to activate it was a challenge. So some of this post’s photos were taken with my old phone, new phone, and Matt’s phone. Whoops.

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Sunday // Christmas Eve

I was so excited on Sunday because I got to try out our new waffle maker. I already had a recipe on deck: Abbey’s GF high protein waffles.

I ended up with five plus one baby/silver dollar waffle rather than the eight called for, but they are perfect. Look how fluffy!

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I apologize for the lighting. We topped ours with thawed wild blueberries, maple syrup, pb, chia, and a sprinkle of powdered sugar.

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I cleaned and had intentions of doing a Barre3 routine, but I didn’t want to drain the Wi-Fi while my phone was completing the backup. So I simply didn’t worry about it. But something to note is that it didn’t change what or how much I ate at dinner. Working out for me is something I enjoy. It’s not a chore, and it isn’t a means to “earn” my food. It shouldn’t be for anyone. We all have the right to nourish ourselves independent of our workouts.

Alright, now that I’m off my soap box. Here’s a photo we snapped before leaving to meet with his mom and step-dad for Christmas Eve dinner at Bravo Cucina.

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I feel like we can never have too many photos because I always love looking back and reflecting. Love this of us! 🙂

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Matt chose their GF Bravo pasta with chicken plus a delicious salad to start.

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I had a chopped salad and enjoyed their grilled harissa shrimp, which included orzo, farro, arugula, zucchini, roasted red peppers, feta, a red pepper aioli, and parmesan. It was fabulous! I have leftovers for lunch today that I added spinach to as well.

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We had coffee and their dessert trio sampler. Classic crĂšme brulee, chocolate brulee, and seasonal peppermint brulee. Deeelicious.

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Matt was a sweetheart and agreed to drive around to look at Christmas lights. There weren’t many, unfortunately, but the ones we saw were pretty!

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❀

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I loved the blue and color combination on this tree.

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His mom gave us each a stocking to open, so we enjoyed that after getting settled at home.

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We both got hungry since dinner was on the early side, so we each ate a lovely snack. Intuitive eating for the win.

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Christmas marked two years ago when we got engaged, and Mason played such a huge role! In the morning, Matt loosely tied a gift tag around his neck that read, “will you marry my dad?” Mason walked over to my pillow, and after I read it, Matt surprised me with my gorgeous ring. After what Mason has been through this year kicking cancer’s ass, we are beyond grateful he is happy, healthy, and spent another Christmas with us!

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I made us a frittata using four whole eggs and four egg yolks that were leftover from making the waffles. To that mixture I added milk, freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese, and chopped roasted vegetables.

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We enjoyed our slices with lightly dressed greens on the side.

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Matt broiled grapefruit for us. Sugar for him, cinnamon for me.

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I was still craving something, so we split and toasted a slice of gingerbread, which complimented my coffee wonderfully.

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We watched a show on the history of toys, and one episode was devoted to Barbie. Holy crap there is so much controversy behind that doll!

After doing some cleaning, I did complete three 10-minute Barre3 exercises that focused on calm, stretching, and core. It was enough to make me feel refreshed and rejuvenated. I showered and finally got to wear my new Christmas pajamas!

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Matt stayed bundled up in that blanket. Cozy, comfortable, low key Christmas was the absolute best.

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Our stockings to each other.

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I promise this is the last of SnapChat filters in this post. Lol

I snacked on an apple with one half filled with pb and the other with cashew butter. Matt spoiled me and got me a Stranger Things t-shirt and hoodie!!! I’ll be wearing them on New Year’s Day when we enjoy brunch at First Watch. I’m looking forward to sharing them in that post. =D

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Mason is a fan too!

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I must say I was super happy with out well all of our food was over the holiday weekend. I have been wanting to make appetizers to try, so I figured a plate of them for lunch would be perfect. I roasted green top organic carrots with curry and cumin, and they were really good. Both the zucchini roll-ups and nut-stuffed bacon-wrapped dates were thanks to my Pioneer Woman cookbook. I simply added olives and roasted peppers to classic hummus that we enjoyed with smokehouse GF crackers.

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Then it was on to building a gingerbread house! I whipped an egg white, added the powdered sugar and lemon juice, and made a thick paste.

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Ta da! I decided to use the last two chocolate candies to make it look like the dog had an accident. Bahaha, sorry but we’re goobs.

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Matt tried making it look like there was light coming through the window, but I realized it looked like an over easy egg. Lol!!

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Mason wanted to check it out and wasn’t pleased we wouldn’t allow it. Look at that face!

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The babies were most definitely thrilled to have us home. I’m not sure that Matt and I have ever both stayed at the house together the entire day. It was very much needed.

We both sipped on Earl Grey and watched the classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas. We also got to FaceTime with my parents. Technology can be a pain sometimes, but boy is it a blessing!

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Matt helped me put my Eleven decal on my car. Representing my Stranger Things obsession!

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Dinner was phenomenal. We made uncured glazed ham from Aldi, bakeded sweet potato fries spritzed with balsamic spray and seasoned with mango habanero mix, Pioneer Woman recipe for roasted broccolini with garlic and lemon. I’ve never sliced and roasted the garlic like that, but we both agreed it’ll be happening regularly for sure. I also made cranberry sauce for dipping. Matt added green chili siracha to his, and it balanced the sweet and spicy nicely.

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While watching Jim Carey’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas, we each enjoyed a slice of our wedding cake. It’s still good even after being frozen!

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This past weekend was just incredible. No fancy trips or big gifts, but presence > presents. I loved spending time with those I love, and I will always cherish these memories. Here’s to a great last week of 2017!

 

 

 

 

Soaking Up the Season

Good Monday morning! I’m actually starting this week well-rested, and it feels awesome. I wrote most of this post while sitting next to my girl, Kase at K Brew. It sounds corny, but that was the best. I also revised my post on her wedding day to include much better resolution photos, so please check it out!

Friday

I need to work on this recipe, but I tried making an “oatmeal muffin” in a mug per LOVE GROWN oat cup recipe. I lightly pulsed old fashioned oats down to a quick cooking size and scrambled in one egg, one tablespoon peanut butter flour, cinnamon, and coffee creamer. Microwaved for two minutes then topped with thawed wild blueberries, plain Greek yogurt, and local honey. It needed some more creamer and maple syrup added to the batter.

 

Mid-morning I had a square of delicious dark chocolate then later ate this bowl of shredded smoked Love Beets and roasted green beans and zucchini tossed in pumpkin vinaigrette prior to roasting.

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Before attending our monthly meeting, I placed an online order for Jet’s Pizza. I had never tried it, and after both my sister and Alexis of Hummusapien raved about it, I knew it was time I did!

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I chose their cheese with sesame crust. I love how thick and doughy the crust is, and it was really delicious! (Side note: my coworkers were astounded that I ate pizza. They believe I only eat “rabbit food” and am restrictive/follow certain food rules where RD’s don’t eat pizza. Just another example of why I am very passionate about doing away with diets, restriction, and food rules. I *never* want to come across as preachy as I’m a work in progress and always learning! But I hope to really help others through my nutrition career.)

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Later that afternoon I tried this Chobani flip cup and added some roasted peanuts.

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I received my Body Over Mind Nutrition tank top, and I loooove it! I rocked it at Barre3, and I had such an amazing time in class. The fit and soft material are both perfect.

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Matt was super awesome and had our shrimp and grits heated along with carrots peeled and cut to be dipped into hummus by the time I got home.

We watched most of Anastasia, cartoon movie from the mid-nineties. Matt chose it, and sometimes you just want a goofy movie to watch. I was pretty tired, so we finished the last thirty minutes Saturday evening.

Saturday

For breakfast, I combined half of a large apple with cottage cheese, multigrain Cheerios, granola, pom seeds, and drizzled peanut butter.

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The boys looked so cute soaking up the sun!

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Matt’s epic bacon, egg, cheese sandwich with greens and roasted pepper and artichoke heart spread. He gave me a bite, and it was heavenly.

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Rachel is serious about her snuggle game. ❀

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I took my time getting ready because Kaci and I planned to meet for a late lunch at The Front Porch.

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We started with their spinach artichoke dip with house-made tortilla chips.

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I chose their trout cakes that come over grilled cabbage and topped with parmesan cream sauce. I ate one and felt pleasantly full.

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Kaci enjoyed their pimiento cheese sandwich with a side of grilled cabbage.

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Twin selfie!

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We made a Target run together and had a blast. While looking at their Christmas pajama sets, a sweet lady struck up conversation with us. She said her teenage daughter attended a pajama party where some of the girls wore those pajamas. The wi-fi was being odd, so she couldn’t pull up the Facebook photos. I offered to give her my number, and so a little while later, she text the photos to me. Just chatting and sharing laughs was so awesome. I think that’s what the season is all about; not getting frustrated by crowds or getting caught up in the shopping aspect. All this to say that I will be wearing these pajamas all Christmas day because Matt and I are planning to enjoy it at home. It looks like it’ll be an ugly day, so all the more reason not to go anywhere!

After we finished at Target, we went over to Trader Joe’s. We each enjoyed a coffee sample.

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They also had these fabulous feta and caramelized onion phyllo bites to try. Kaci bought a box for her upcoming tacky Christmas sweater party this Friday!

Action shot!

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Little bites with big flavor.

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Again Matt was so sweet and prepared our black rice for us. He used our whole baked chicken reserved stock plus water. This rice is so so good! The texture and flavor is so different than brown or wild rice varieties. We had some of our leftover whole baked chicken and roasted green beans.

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For a late dessert/snack, I had mashed banana on toast with cinnamon, nutmeg, and tahini.

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Sunday

This was basically on repeat, but I changed up a few ingredients. I chopped up a Snap Dragon apple with cottage cheese, pom seeds, TJ’s Mango O’s, and tahini. Has anyone tried this apple variety? I saw it at TJ’s and had to see what they tasted like. I think they’re quite delicious!

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After relaxing and then getting ready, I munched on some roasted nuts before heading down to K Brew for my latte fix. They were out of their eggnog simple syrup, but the sweet employee advised I go with their Winter Spice latte topped with both cinnamon and nutmeg. It was perfect. I chose half-caf because sometimes a double shot of espresso proves too much for me.

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Kaci met me down there too!! A super sweet lady in front of us offered to take our photo after she saw our first failed attempt. I love kind people who are willing to strike up convo or offer to take our photo. I used to be so shy when I was little, but now I love talking to different people!

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I had planned to enjoy my other trout cake for lunch, but I didn’t want to leave yet. Kaci ordered their pimiento cheese and bacon sliders on brioche buns, so we each enjoyed one. Hit the spot.

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I think my slider + latte must’ve been the perfect fuel because I did three loads of laundry, scrubbed our toilets, vacuumed, made the bed with clean sheets, washed dishes, and made dinner. Love feeling productive on Sunday and ready for a fabulous week!

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For dinner, I baked spaghetti squash, shredded it, and then added it to a pot of simmering spicy black beans. I divided some of the mixture over spinach inside the squash skin halves/boats. I topped them with spicy guacamole, salsa, cheese for Matt (I wasn’t feeling like having more cheddar), blue corn chips and the chips pictured above, and jicama sticks. This was pretty awesome! Those chips are different and amazing.

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For dessert, I had yogurt with kiwi, ground flax, and half a chocolate almond biscotti. ‘Twas delicious.

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If you choose to celebrate Christmas, it’s crazy we’ll be doing so just one week from today! May you all have a fantastic week!