Healthy eats for the summer heat.

Grilled pesto turkey burger

Tonight, I was able to enjoy dinner at a close friends home. With ingredients in hand from researched recipes found on Pinterest, we prepped and prepared our meal together. With a glass of spiked lemonade (YUM), our small boys giggled, argued and played in the background as we sliced, mixed, and sizzled our way to dinner. It’s always nice to have some adult momma conversations, what little we were able to squeeze in between corralling kids and “what needs done now?”

Some of the recipes I tweaked and modified a little 😊, but I will share just where I found those recipes below.

What was on our menu? Lookie here.

  • Grilled Pesto Turkey Burger
  • Sweet Potato Fries with Chipolte dip
  • Summer Spinach Salad
  • Avocado salsa
  • Fruit Salad

I am not a burger lover. I couldn’t tell you how many times I have been criticized for this fact. It’s something about the grease, the sound and feeling it makes when you bite into it and then the chewing factor. HOWEVER, I love ground turkey. I have made turkey burgers before and they were very dry. Like, take a bit and powder would poof from your mouth dry. The recipe we used this evening, provided delicious burgers. We opted out of the grill outside and used the good ole’ George Foreman. I love anything grilled on an open fire just as much as anyone else, but George proved to be an upstanding option when our burger came off the “grill” cooked just right. We later added a slice of fresh mozzarella and the avocado salsa to top. MMMMMM, MMMMM good! You can find that recipe here: Grilled Pesto Turkey Burgers . We did minus the pesto and arugula but it was still scrumptious!

 

As our side, I washed and cut sweet potatoes into fries size slices. Mixed the bast and prepped them for the oven. Baked for 25 minutes and broiled for about 5, wall-a! Yumm! We also mixed the honey chipotle dipping sauce, willing to give it a try. Honestly, we all thought the dip tasted a little strange but once the dipped fry entered the taste bud world, ahhhhhhhhh, it just worked. It was delicious! You can find that recipe here: Sweet Potato Wedges with honey chipotle dipping sauce.

Next up was the avocado salsa topping for the burger. Since we opted out of the pesto and I LOVE avocado (really, I eat at least one a day), we thought we’d give this simple recipe a try. So basically, you cut up two ripe avocados, 1 English cucumber, 1 pound of roma tomatoes, and 1/2 a red onion then simply drizzle olive oil and lemon juice over it and the season with sea salt and pepper… oh and finely chop some cilantro. Stir and enjoy! I had the pleasure of using a cool kitchen utensil, a pair of herb scissors. I may just invest in a pair and I found some on Amazon for only $10.95! As much as I would use them, I would definitely get my money’s worth.

I just can’t even begin to explain my happiness here. Consider me strange but salsa’s are one of my favorite, as well as avocado, so this was an exciting thing for me. Okay, if I’m being honest, I love food so it was all exciting.  But for the real recipe, find it here: Cucumber Tomato Avocado Salad. (Okay so they call it a salad, I call it salsa. No matter the name, it delicious!)

Next up was a simple summer salad. No real recipe here, just Spinach leaves, blueberries, quartered strawberries, pecans (you can candy them for extra sweetness, we like them plain), crumbled blue cheese and drizzle with my homemade (clean) Honey Mustard dressing. I actually found this recipe months ago and haven’t stopped using it since. I never liked honey mustard dressing. It was too creamy, or I don’t know, just not in cahoots with my taste buds. This new clean dressing is my new go to dressing. Find the recipe for that here: Clean Honey Mustard Dressing. The dressing paired very nicely with the salad.

Summer spinach salad

Super simple colorful dessert was loved by everyone. Especially the littles. In which case they ate most of everything on their plate tonight. Always introduce new foods to them. NO, not chicken nuggets instead of burgers, tater tots instead of french fries, taco instead of nachos and cheese. Right, we are all busy and sometimes a stop at the drive thru is necessary, but it is very VERY important that these instances are few and far between. You can find healthier choices on most menus when you do have to make that stop. My son gets treated every now and then. Nothing wrong with a treat, just don’t make it a habit. Learn about the food you are feeding your children. They deserve real meat, real vegetables, real fruits, very little soda if any at all (or sugar filled juice.) and no toxins or chemicals.

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Okay, okay, enough about all the health lecture, got off a little on a soap box. Seriously, this was a most delicious dinner. I dare you to try at least one of the most simple, familiar foods that your family just may well like if you just try it. Let us know what you think.

A big thank you to Tara over at Tara Nicole Photography for photographing the meal. Her belly was very happy to comply! If you get time, head on over to her photography site (here: taranicolephotography) for more pictures. She’s pretty amazing!

Look for more food shares in the future! This was too fun not to.

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I forgot, have you?

I forgot my why. I forgot my goals. It all became unimportant.

I have time. I can make time. I can do it. It’s so easy to find an excuse. Lazy is lack of a better term, and dang it hurts to classify myself as lazy but it’s so damn true. You just have to start somewhere and began dismissing the excuses. Dismiss them one at a time, until they are no longer a problem.

Accountability is what I’m looking for. I need an accountant. Not for my money but to keep pushing me to be a better person. Anyone else in the same boat?

Sure, I have MyFitnessPal that can tally my calories, fat, and sugar intake. But I am doing just fine in the eating department. Working out on the other hand, I need some accountability people. My why was tossed to the wayside and I really had to search my inner soul for the reasons and purpose again. So I dug deep and sat in quiet as I could concentrate on my why…

I thought about how many months that my Instagram feed was filled with what was suppose to be inspirational posts of “that body”. At night I laid my head went to sleep thinking of that goal. When I woke, I turned to notice my once flat butt was still in fact flat. I was looking in the wrong place for inspiration. Would it be nice to walk around with a perfect goddess body that looks as if it was made from a mold? I would answer yes to this on some days but truth is, no. I wouldn’t. We are all made differently and I don’t want a perfect body. I have no real complaints about my body. I really am in no competition with anyone but myself. I just know that I want a healthy body that can carry me through my life.

As we age, our bodies change. Our health is also changing as the years pass by. You should do all that you can to keep yourself healthy now. Healthy doesn’t mean you have to be a size 2. It can be a size 8, a size 10, a size 5. Heck! Size does not matter at all. Being healthy does!

Find a way, not a way out. Find time, not a time out. Find your strength and dismiss your weakness. I don’t want to be skinny, I want to be strong. I want to be healthy and feel good, everyday. I want to be positive and kind and spread my knowledge and gather knowledge and support from others.

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I began to write my purposes out on a picture I had taken just after a workout. I’m going to plaster them somewhere I’ll look everyday. I suggest you do the same. Sit down and think of your whys. Why should you change the way you eat? Is that even a problem? Why you want to be healthier. Or are you the healthiest you’ve ever been and there’s no room for improvement, but you may enjoy sharing your knowledge? What are the reasons behind your why? Have you even had the slightest voice saying, “you need to do something” but maybe just haven’t convinced yourself that you need to start anything? Could it be that you know someone struggling and want to be a guide for them? An encourager, a coach, a directory for them to follow. Whatever it may be- Start here. Make a list of all your whys.

Then hang them somewhere you’ll see them daily: on the fridge, above the stove, on your dresser, your mirror, the bathroom wall. Look at them and read them each time you pass by them. It’s okay to need reminders. Don’t be ashamed of your goals. Be proud you’re willing to make a change. It may take hundreds of times of reading it but encouragement is needed everyday. Remembering your whys are important!

It’s been 2 weeks since I started this post. And in those 2 weeks I’ve been starting small and working at my goals with proper rest days in between. I honestly forgot how good sore feels. It’s energized my day. The short time I gave to myself in the morning kept me going, unlike before when I wanted to use nap time for my personal time or quiet chores. I feel better subconsciously because I didn’t give in to the voice saying, “maybe tomorrow” or “maybe later”. We all know tomorrow may not come and later will be forgotten.

Do it now. Start today. Open your eyes and say, I’m going to give myself 30 minutes. Start small. A friend has been an posting #onesimplechange. Starting small doesn’t mean you’re weak, it means that you are ready. Starting small and making one simple change is better than making no change at all and then later wishing you had.

There are a few ladies that I religiously follow. One workout I’m currently doing is Sore to the Core with Alexa Jean Fit (her website but move to the bottom of the page to connect with her through other social media. She also shares videos). She not only shares her workouts, but she truly has an inspirational soul. Another wonderful inspiration is Natalie Jill Fit who shares monthly workout plans you can subscribe to and she even has YouTube videos to accompany for how-to’s. She started out as an over weight single mother focused on work and then completely turned her life around. She shares her story on her page. Here’s an example of one of her YouTube example video’s- Best Lower Ab Workout. Another one of my favorites who just so happens to be from Australia is Emily Skye. Each one of them started somewhere and gained all their knowledge and are willing to share it with the world.

Those ladies are just a few of my favorites and all of which are on Instagram and Facebook. A large majority of their workouts require no equipment unless it’s a ball, weights, kettle bell or a resistance band. They focus more on using your body weight and resistance. I love this because I can do any workout from the convenience of my own home instead of carting around a toddler or looking for a sitter.

So let me ask you this… Do you know your why and would you be able to hold your yourself accountable alone? Or would you possibly benefit from joining an accountability group?

Accountability and sharing your experiences will take pure raw honesty. The downfall to working out from home is that it requires major determination and liability on your part. You are responsible for your own workouts. You are responsible for the food you put in your body behind closed doors. From home, no one will really be aware how hard you worked, if you completed the entire workout or whether you even started it. Be honest and you’ll eventually be rewarded. There are people like you who can relate to your struggles, you are not alone.

Whether you find someone to join the journey with you on a personal basis or you join an accountability group, you will more than likely push yourself further. If you had someone or a group that you can send daily updates to, wouldn’t you work harder? A person or group text of people you can share encouraging thoughts, inspirations, recipes, a completed workout picture or routine to. Or simply failings from the day. You will have bad days, struggles, set-backs and let downs, BUT DON’T LET THEM KEEP YOU DOWN! Also, remember just because you know, doesn’t mean someone else does and it may be information they have been looking for. Share it!

Facebook is a place for every little type of information. Both negative and positive. I would like to start a private group on Facebook, somewhere that we are all familiar with and have easy access to by the click of a few buttons. Even if you’re not ready to start today, someone may share the information there that will change your mind and eventually your life. We are all knowledgeable creatures and what I know, someone else may not and vise versa. I want it to be a friendly, empowering, encouraging and supportive atmosphere.

SO- Would you be willing to join an accountability group?

If so, let me know you like this and I’ve already got it in the works.

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You have to start somewhere.

The start to my lifestyle journey in a very small nutshell-

The year was 2011 and I was chunky, self-conscious and unhappy with not only my appearance but my life as well. I don’t honestly recall what the deciding factor was, but I made the decision I was going to try a new lifestyle. NOT DIET! I did minimal research and decided to give it a go. I started out by counting calories and limiting my portion sizes. I used the App “My Fitness Pal” and logged every single little minuet molecule that went into my mouth. Liquid by ounces, food by cups, condiments by teaspoons; everything was logged and accounted for. As the changes were slow at first, I could feel the transformation before I witnessed changes physically. I did minimal workouts because I was still feeling a bit lazy, yet I still continued to change physically, mentally and deliberately.

Once the pounds started shedding, my clothes began to become looser fitting. Do you know what that feels like? It’s like running your first mile without stopping. It’s an irrevocable giant leap towards your happy ending, only if you want it bad enough. Trust me, I wanted it bad enough. I wanted something permanent, hence the lifestyle change, not DIET! I was in it for the long haul.

Was it easy? Is wrestling a 200 pound volatile wild hog with piercing tusks easy? No. It’s one of the toughest things I’ve ever decided to stick with. But I am here to tell you, it does get easier as time goes on. Once you get to know the foods you eat, what the proper portion size looks like and what are the right foods for you are, you begin to feel more confident in portion sizes and your food knowledge. I religiously used the app for about 6 months. When we would go to out to eat, my husband would be so annoyed (at first) with the time it took me to research, look up and calculate what exactly I could have to eat. The app allowed the decision making to be easier. If I went to Texas Roadhouse, I would type in the food I wanted along with the restaurant name and BAM! There was the food I was looking for with all the nutritional values listed. Once I figured out what the healthy choices were and how the app worked, it made the dining out experience much more enjoyable.

I have to also rave on the app because it is so easy to use. When you begin to use the app, you create your log-in and profile. You enter in information like, how much you weigh presently, what your goal weight is, and your activity level. You also choose a weight goal. For instance, do you want to lose 1 pound a week or 2 pounds? Once you’ve achieved your goal weight, change your goal to maintain goal weight and the app will adjust your caloric intake amount. Not only does it allow you to count your calories, it keeps track of ALL nutritional values. Sugar, fat, carbs, protein, fiber intake, etc. It calculates it all and keeps a running record for your entire day. Every little detail that is vital to a lifestyle change. Once you’ve put in your foods, the diary keeps your favorites on top so you don’t have to search a food you regularly eat. Another perk to inputting your foods is that they also have a barcode scanner. You choose that option, a camera screen comes up. You shoot that baby and up loads the nutritional values. Easy as pushing a button. Who doesn’t like easy? This gal does.

Just to clarify, you start your day out by logging breakfast, lunch, dinner and any snacks. I know there is an app for just about anything but if you feel more comfortable they also have the website option. Which I have included the link here—–> MyFitnessPal. MyFitnessPal is gracious enough to give you a remaining balance, so-to-say, so that you know what you have left to eat. NEVER skip a meal! Starving yourself doesn’t help you to lose weight. Maybe for immediate results but the aftermath of meal skipping for days only puts on more poundage later. Not something I wanted to do after working hard to lose it in the first place. It does your body more harm than good. Remember this.

Did I already mention that you can log your exercises and once you start burning calories, you get to eat more? For those of you that feel like you’ll starve if you eat what is set for you, then get up off the couch and try something new. Go for a walk if you can’t run. Do couch squats if you can’t squat it out in the middle of the floor. What’s a couch squat? Stand up, sit down, stand up, sit down, etc. Do this without using your hands to help yourself up or down. Once you log your exercises, it puts calories back onto your daily intake accordingly. I like to eat. Correction, I LOVE to eat so I exercise regularly to be able to eat more. It’s a win win for me.

5 years since I’ve had more than a bite of pasta (I loved pasta con broccoli!). 5 years since I’ve had something from a drive-thru (greasy, salty French fries dipped in cheese with a fried chicken sandwich with bacon, cheese and mayo, and a large soda to wash it down…). 5 years since I’ve had cheese in excess like I used to (I thought cheese was a staple to every meal). 5 years since I’ve had bread at every setting (cheesy, buttery garlic bread with my pasta con broccoli). 5 years since I’ve had a whole entire candy bar in one sitting (one candy bar can last me a month now).  5 years without stomach problems, skin break-outs, lethargic episodes more than once a day, sluggish unmotivated behavior. Sorry guys, I’ll take the road I’m on now. It’s worth the pain and (now) very occasional cravings. I’ve trained my mind and body to make healthier decisions. If you want someone to walk with you, I’ll walk beside you. You can do anything you set your mind to. Be free from daily temptation but give in once in a while so that you don’t break. One “treat” (let’s say treat instead of cheat, it sounds much nicer) meal isn’t going to set you back miles. More than one every day is what will get you in to trouble.

You can use the app/site to find friends. Invite them through your contacts, Facebook, or an email. When you have someone to encourage and in return you get a partner through your journeys, it makes it a lighter load.

This app/site is all the above and more. It brought awareness to what I was putting into my body and feeding my body with. This education and milestone lead me on to more. You have to be willing to take the first step towards a healthier lifestyle. If you need assistance, awareness and education, this is the route for you. Give it a try and explore it’s abilities to help you along your journey.

(Sidenote: Since August, I have lost motivation to work out weekly. With school, work and bringing an 18 month old into our home, I have been less than accountable for working out weekly. My food intake is still the same, as it is extremely important for me to feel good. Therefore, clean eating is important for my health- physically, emotional and literally. This fitness app is amazing as it was a first and giant step towards cleaning up and holding me accountable for food that was nourishing my body! If you are looking for a starting point to change the way you are eating and an accountability partner, MyFitnessPal is a great start. I’m using this blog to hold me accountable to exercise. I will be hopefully leading my husband along on this journey. We’ll see if I can tug him along. 🙂 )