Nutritional Hacks to Rock Holiday Parties!

How do you approach the holidays in regards to food? Does your mouth water in anticipation of all of the yummy treats? Or, do you get anxious thinking about how the holidays might affect the number when you step on the scale? Either way, this post is for YOU!!!

  1. Mindset – Be mindful of your mindset. That seems simple enough, right? If you are completely stressed while eating “Christmas yummies,” your body and metabolism will respond accordingly. When I have had this mentality in the past, the stress of eating a treat, compelled me to keep eating treats in mass quantities. I wouldn’t have EVER needed to eat the entire bag of “Hershey Kisses,” if I would have simply enjoyed the first two or three sugary yum-yums! However, if your approach to eating treats in moderation is “Ah, this is so great!” your body will better digest the food food you eat!
  2. Hydration! The best advice I can give you is hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Water is the easiest way to keep blood sugar balanced!
  3. Pair a sugary goodie with a protein! The more you eat simple carbohydrates (basically anything in the form of desert), the more you will send your blood sugar on a roller coaster. However, if you eat a delicacy with a protein, you greatly improve your ability to keep your blood sugar balanced out immensely!
  4. Veggies – In addition to hydrating and eating a protein with a dessert, add a portion of veggies to the combination! By adding some quality fiber to the indulgence, you will aid the digestion process!
  5. Probiotics – I CANNOT express the value in adding pre- and probiotics to your routine! What you eat does affect your gut health! See more here at Interconnect Series – Episode 1. When eating some crazy food, I make sure and incorporate pre- and probiotics to the mix to set up my gut health for success.

Hopefully, you will find these tips helpful! Do you have other healthy tips that you use during the holidays? Please post your tips below!


Midwest Living: Seared Salmon and Roasted Veggies for $5 or Less

I USED to think that it was too expensive to eat healthy, clean meals.  While it can be pricey to eat clean food at times, so can running through the drive-thru and getting a sandwich, a medium fries, and a drink. Often, fast food can be MORE expensive!

AOL Finance (2013) shares this amazing thought, “In general, a meal costs $5 to $7 at a fast food restaurant, but the cost of cooking at home averages out to $1.50 to $3 per person. That’s a 40-79 percent savings for healthier, homemade food.” See more info here…

I wish I would have discovered the truth about clean eating back in 2013. Instead, I came to the realization through trial and error on my own part, and thankfully it was confirmed by others. In celebration of dispelling the myth that clean foods are more expensive, I am going to begin sharing ideas and recipes for clean meals for $5 or less (per serving) on a regular basis.

Here is one of my many favorites so far…

Seared Salmon with Roasted Asparagus and Red Potatoes

Prep time: approximately 35 minutes


I grew up with a strong dislike for fish in general, but the older I get, the more I like some fish selections. Salmon is a type of fish that I can’t seem to get enough of! Imagine my shock and delight that I can get a back of four salmon fillets at #Aldi’s for approximately $3.69! Even better,  I can’t tell the difference between these frozen fillets from Aldi’s and fresh fillets in the meat department at a regular grocery store.  The week I made this, asparagus was a vegetable of the week at Aldi’s for $.99, and I was able to get a 5 lb. bag of red potatoes for $2.99 at Aldi’s as well. The grand total for these items was $7.67. Now, because there are four salmon fillets in a bag, I am going to say $7.67 divided by four servings (although there are tons more servings in that 5 lb. bag of red potatoes) which comes to a grand total of $1.92 PER SERVING!!!! I don’t know about you, but that excites me! Please note: Not averaged into the cost are items such as olive oil, garlic salt, and pepper which are already in my pantry.

You are welcome! 🙂 See preparation directions below…

Meal Preparation Directions:

Sides Preparation:

  1. Turn oven to “broil” setting.
  2. Wash and slice red potatoes. Place in large bowl. Wash asparagus and place in same bowl as potatoes. Toss in olive oil and garlic salt until well covered. Place asparagus and potatoes on a baking sheet in a this layer, so they cook evenly.
  3. Place potatoes and asparagus in oven for 30 minutes on broil setting (you will want to turn the vegetables every 10 to 15 minutes in order to cook them evenly). Note: if you like your asparagus more on the raw side, you can add asparagus stalks to potatoes in the oven halfway through broil session for a total of 15 minutes cook time instead of 30 minutes of cook time.

Salmon Preparation: (Prepare during the last ten minutes of the vegetables roasting in oven)

  1. Take number of salmon fillets needed for the meal, and follow thaw directions on package.
  2. Spray nonstick olive oil spray and pour approximately 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet; place on burner on high setting. Allow the skillet to get hot for a few seconds.
  3. Rinse the salmon fillets and pat dry with paper towel. Place fillets in skillet and sear several minutes on each side. Personally, I like all my meat and fish to be done, however, some people like salmon to be more on the raw side. In other words, sear salmon to preference. I sprinkle garlic salt and pepper on the salmon fillets as they are searing.
  4. Last, take vegetables from the oven and serve with salmon.


To add variety to this meal, you can also slice Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and red potatoes and follow the same roasting directions as above. I documented this photo as an experiment. The salmon fillet shown above was purchased fresh from the grocery store. Again, I could NOT tell the difference between the fresh selection and the frozen salmon fillet that I get from Aldi’s. #winning!

Price Summary for the sides shown above:

Brussels sprouts: $1.89

Red potatoes $2.99

Sweet potatoes $1.89

Frozen Salmon (shown in first picture) $3.69

Total: $10.46 ($10.46 divided by four = $2.62 PER SERVING!!!!! Wow!!!:)


Enjoy! Please let me know how you like this meal!

Stay tuned as I publish more clean meal recipes that are $5 or less!


Fitness, Meal Planning, Wellness, Wholeness

Forgive Yourself to Bring Change


Has anyone ever not followed through for you when you were depending on that person? Most definitely, I am sure.  It happens all the time. People don’t follow through on what they say they are going to do (we are probably all guilty of this at one time or another). Of course, I always believe that those individuals had the best of intentions. Don’t you? When that happens, it is easy to let it go, and not let it get you down. When you forgive others, you experience greater freedom in life.

Here’s the thing that has been on my mind today…. What happens when we fail ourselves? What happens when we don’t meet a goal, or follow through on a promise we made to ourselves? I am so much harder on myself than anyone else in my life. I am sure you can relate… When I let myself down, it can be so much harder to bounce back.

Yesterday was an awesome, productive day. I was able to check so many important things off of my “To Do” list, yet there was one important goal I had made, as well as a promise to myself, yet didn’t follow through.  Today, I woke up with a heavy heart trying to sort through why I hadn’t allocated time and diligence to my most important goal of the day…  I am always quick to repent to God and thankful for His unending forgiveness when I fall short in life, but today I realized something new… It is also important to forgive myself, so that I can move on, and create the change that has been on my heart to implement.

This was definitely not the first time I had failed myself. It has happened so often, and looking back, it looks like a cycle. Well, I want to change the cycle today. Harboring unforgiveness toward myself will only keep me reliving the failure, which will in turn, keep me from reaching my goal.  Will I still make mistakes in the future? Yes, but I want to forgive myself today for past failures, so I can move on into beautiful successes and present change.

I want to encourage each of you today in case you have experienced the same disappointments in yourself. Maybe you didn’t meet a health goal you created, or didn’t follow through on an eating meal plan. Let it go! Clarify your goals again, and create manageable steps to arrive at the goal. Forgive yourself because TODAY is a NEW DAY to crush the goals, and take closer steps to your dreams!

You’ve got this!






Meal Planning, Recipes

Summer Fruit & Nut Salad

This salad!!!!!!!!! Drop on the floor, YUM!

I didn’t plan ahead well for taking food to Mother’s Day Celebration because of being out of town for a graduation, but woke up that day craving a fruity salad! I ran to the store and just started grabbing stuff!

  • 4 heads of Romaine hearts
  • 1 package of sliced almonds
  • 2 containers of sliced strawberries
  • 2 large cans of Mandarin oranges
  • 1 package of dried cranberries

Dressing recommendations:

Dressings that would pair well with this salad are Italian dressing, Balsamic vinaigrette, or Rasberry Vinigiarette.



Here is some of the leftover salad. It was SO good that I just stuck my fingers in it (so ladylike, I know) and ate it without dressing!!!!! I never do that!! Such a great summer salad!!!! The fruit floated to the bottom of course, but, it was delicious dressing-free!!! I guess the fruit made it sweet.. I let my puppy try some of the lettuce and he was begging for more… So funny!!🐶. People, this salad was hands-down delicious!!!

Meal Planning, Recipes

Emergency Clean Grocery List

What type of meal planner are you?
I am one that goes to the store for one to two weeks of groceries at a time, but prep food as I go… This could also mean making one meal with several days of leftovers for easy grabbing from the fridge or freezer… Weekends can be SO busy. During those crazy weekends it can be difficult to stock up plus meal prep in order to be set for an entire week!

When those busy weekends occur, here is my emergency food list that is always a good base for the week, or nearly a week, to get me going…

*3-4 types of proteins
*Approximately 3 different types of green veggies
*Potatoes (sweet and red) for healthy carbs
*2-3 kinds of multiple servings of fruit

That translates to my quick grab at Aldi’s the other day:
• 6 chicken breasts (See Garlic Infused Chicken recipe
• 2 dozen of eggs (by myself, I usually consume a dozen
and a half per week)
• 1 jar of natural peanut butter
• 1 bag of sweet potatoes
• 1 bag of red potatoes
• 1 bag of kale (I usually buy two, but there was only one
bag left)
• 4 green peppers
• 1 bag of apples
• 1 Little Salad Bar individual portions of Spicy Guacamole
(so yum!)
All this for less than $30!!!

Here are some staples I had already in my pantry and freezer:
• Shakeology!!!!!
• 1lb. of frozen ground turkey
• 1 bag of frozen Tilapia (from Aldi’s)
• Rice noodles
• 1 bag of red potatoes
• 2 large zuchini’s
• 2 bags of green beans
• California dates from Aldi’s and little oranges

This food supply usually lasts 5-7 days of eating the clean with five meals/snacks a day! I basically roast everything I can in the oven by setting the oven on broil and tossing the veggies in some olive oil and garlic salt.

Now for the chicken recipe… I had a couple of girls over for dinner last night and made Garlic Infused Chicken… I went ahead and made the rest of the chicken breast to throw in the freezer for easy grabbing later in the week.

Here is my recipe:

Garlic Infused Chicken

• 3 Chicken breasts
• 2-3 Garlic cloves, diced (my theory is you can never have
too much garlic)
• Olive oil and or nonstick olive oil cooking spray
• Garlic salt
• Pepper

Brown/sear the chicken with fresh garlic, garlic salt, and pepper on the stove on both sides until you do not see any more pink. After the chicken is browned on both sides, put the chicken in a pan with half an inch to an inch of water in the oven on 350® for 15-30 minutes (depending on the size of the pieces). Save some of the diced garlic for baking with the chicken in the oven for ultimate flavor. Also fork the chicken multiple times to allow the garlic to infuse into the meat as it finishes baking. It’s pretty delish and easy!!

Meal Planning

Tales from a Not-So-Green-Thumb: Blanching Spinach 101


I suppose that my green thumb has taken a long time to make an appearance. Perhaps I am just fooling myself and it has not appeared yet at all, but I am hoping that it has. “Green Thumb-ness” does run in my blood… My mom has grown gardens for 30 + years. My grandma has been growing gardens for 80 + years, and has had the three of most gigantic gardens I have ever seen… Simultaneously producing vegetables. I mean, I did grow up running through the rows of potatoes and help plant, hoe, and harvest over the years… But did it interest me? Not a bit… Now I am in my early 30’s and all of the sudden, I am craving to have a sun room and a yard to grow everything possible. New territory. But, I am also learning the skills don’t appear overnight. :/

Today, I had the lovely opportunity to pick lettuce and spinach out of Grandma’s garden. She is not able to get out into her garden like she used to. This afternoon, she watched/coached my sister and me from a chair on the edge of the garden as we snipped at the spinach and lettuce leaves. It was such a struggle to know that she longed to be squatting with us, squishing in the mud, and harvesting her precious plants. However, I think it still meant a great deal to Grandma by just “being” there with us. I know it meant a great deal to me!

Once we returned to Grandma’s house she told me to take all the spinach and lettuce. My intention was to pick the leaves and share with others who were coming through for visits, but Grandma insisted, and what could I say? She is a beautiful, and stubborn, force to be reckoned with.

I did drop off half of the pickings at my mom’s house so she could freeze the spinach as well, since we are all doing our best to eat healthy. I took the rest of the spinach home, sat it on my counter, and looked at it for a bit. Then, I looked at it some more… Next, I Googled, “how to blanch and freeze spinach.”

I read the instructions and got to work… First, I soaked all the spinach in my kitchen sink in cold water. I thought this was a stroke of genius because it would save a ton of water money getting all the mud off the leaves by continuing to run water over it. And let me add, that soaking spinach in the sink was not found on Google. It was all my own idea (haha!). Next, I put a pot of water on to boil… I quickly realized my sister’s popcorn making had left grease on the burner. More smoke was coming from the burner than steam from the pot of water. My solution? Turn on the vent above the stove.

(Above photo: All the dirt sank to the bottom of the sink.)

Next, I put all the spinach in strainers to give the leaves a final rinse (I have multiple strainers now because I am usually prepping multiple veggies at the same time).

At last, I placed batches of spinach in the boiling water, counted to “30,” then began fishing the spinach out of the pot with a ladle.

Tip #1: Have a ladle available that has holes in it to allow the water to drain.

After 30 seconds, I threw the spinach in a bowl of ice water.

Tip #2: Make sure you have enough ice… By the third batch of blanching, all the loose ice had been used. I had a mini igloo in my ice tray of ice that was stuck together and thawing in my sink.

After cooling the spinach, I squeezed it into four little bags. One bag is going to be for quiche, or egg cups. The other three bags are going to be blended into my Shakeology shakes when I am trying to squeeze in all my veggies for the day!

Aside from the smoky burner, the ladle that didn’t really work, and my big lump of ice, I would say this endeavor was exceptionally successful.

This success is a tribute to my grandma, who has been super patient with me for many years!

Signing off until I can share more Fit, Well, and Whole adventures, along with green thumb attempts!

Please feel free to comment if you have excellent tips for blanching spinach, or any veggies for that matter!