Monday, March 9, 2015

Spring is 'round the Corner!

On this rainy morning all I can think about is that Spring is just around the corner. Spring brings fresh flowers, new leaves on trees, sunshine, and a preview of the summer. One of my favorite things about Spring is that it is the season of planting! Many plants flourish during the Spring with very little effort from humans. I used to think that there was absolutely no way I could ever keep any plant alive but in the past year I have learned that herbs take very little maintenance. My herb garden barely survived through the winter, but the cilantro held strong.

This is why Spring is SO exciting for me, it means an herb garden that will be green and thriving again. I spent $5.00 a piece on my herbs last year, $20.00 on a garden box, and $10.00 on soil. For under 50 dollars I had an herb garden that provided fresh ingredients that I could put in every type of meal I was preparing and I almost entirely eliminated using store bought seasoning. The reason that eliminating seasoning out of my diet is a good thing is because a lot of store-bought seasonings have food dye (that is from unnatural sources), extra salt, and chemical preservatives.

I am not the type of person that has a perfect,  100% clean diet but I am determined to minimize the harms I cause to my body, or at least have my unhealthy stuff be food I enjoy. I would take a glass of wine over food dye any day of the week.

I also think that having fresh herbs will make cooking a more delightful experience. If you have fresh herbs on hand you might be more proactive to look for recipes that contain them. Let's also be honest, seeing fresh herbs everyday is also not such a bad thing. ;)

I bought all my herbs already grown as opposed to seeds because I just didn't trust myself to bring something to life from the get go, but I have read so many great articles on other blogs that give great direction on how to do this!

Blog Post on growing herbs from seeds

The article above has such a great author and is really well written, definitely a must read for anyone interested in growing an herb garden from seeds!

If you aren't sure where to start for your upcoming herb garden please use the visualization below! I personally grew basil, rosemary, oregano, cilantro, and mint. I adore basil and think it belongs in everything, against my husband's wishes but the great thing about a diverse herb garden is getting yourself to experiment and explore your preferences!

(Art work by

As we head into spring start keeping your eyes open for gardening pots, boxes and planters! Catching a sale on a cute planter will only motivate you more to fill it up!



Monday, March 2, 2015

Drunk on Pasta: 100% Clean Vodka Pasta Sauce

If you haven't noticed already I am crazy about making sauces, mainly because gluten-free pasta just doesn't taste the same as the real stuff. Regardless, I can't claim to be a sauce expert, specialist or even a sauce consultant but I AM someone who just delights in making them.

My best friend is actually in culinary school and could probably put my sauces to shame but this blog isn't about first class recipes, it's about recipes that an everyday person can make easily. So as you read over my blog please keep in mind I am just your average girl who has a 40 hour a week job that tries to find easy and delicious ways to be healthy.

So vodka sauce has always been one of my favorite sauces to flood my pasta with and although it is not the healthiest sauce, it can be healthier if you make it yourself!

Necessary ingredients:

Tomatoes (5 big ones, or 7 roma ones)
Heavy Cream ( 1 cup)
Red Pepper Flakes (less than a handful)
Parmesan ( 1/2 cup)
Onion ( 1/2 cup, finely chopped)
Garlic (1-2 clove, finely chopped)
Vodka (1 cup)
Mushrooms (optional)
Red Bell Pepper (option)
Herbs (optional)

First step is to cut up all of your tomatoes and bake them! You can make sauce by putting them on the stove top, but I am a big fan of baking the tomatoes and while they bake cutting up the other ingredients. So set your oven to 350 degrees and throw the tomatoes in the pan with some olive oil drizzled over the top with your herbs and red bell pepper.
Let it bake for 15 minutes.

In the meantime...slice up your onions, garlic and mushrooms finely and put them in a pan on the stove-top on low heat with some olive oil. Letting garlic simmer is just by far the best thing you can do to add flavor to your food and a nice smell to your house. During this time I also tend to get water boiling for the pasta.

After the tomatoes are nice and soft go ahead and put them in the blender for 10 seconds max and then pour into the pan with the garlic and onion. If you notice, the pan I use is more of a wok so that the sauce doesn't spill everywhere.

I then turn the heat up to high and bring the tomatoes to a boil. Once at a boil pour the cream and vodka in and let it sit on low heat for 4-5 minutes. I added some red flakes and cheese after everything looked and smelled perfect. The sauce turned out AMAZING, and even though it is not as healthy as a pure tomato sauce, this sauce has very little sodium because I added zero salt. When you have garlic, onions and herbs there is no need for other seasonings!

I think a sauce like this is fun to make and can be made differently according to a person's taste. I would be interested to see what other vodka sauce recipes are out there, but in this moment right now..I am enjoying this rich sauce poured over my gluten-free pasta and ground beef.



Wednesday, February 25, 2015

100% Clean Dinner: Cilantro Lime Chicken Stir-Fry with an Arugula Salad

 First let's review what clean eating is:

Clean eating: Eating natural foods that aren't processed, don't have any added chemicals or preservatives and are generally meats, fruits and veggies.

Eating clean benefits your body in so many ways, but the main benefit is that your body will actually use the nutrients in the foods you are eating. My husband got me hooked on stir-fry for a clean meal, and it would be what I recommend to anyone who is looking for a healthy, easy and relatively quick dinner. I am not as hooked as my husband, who could eat stir-fry seven times a week, but I am a huge fan!

First rule of stir-fry: pick out your favorite veggies and put it with a meat. If you follow that rule, your dinner with taste good and likely be something you already have ingredients for.

The stir-fry I made Monday contained:

- 1 chicken breast

- 1 orange bell pepper

- 1 zucchini

- 1/2 cup of onion

- 1 cup of mushrooms

- a handful of fresh cilantro

- 2 baby limes

- 1 tablespoon of olive oil

First I squeeze lime juice on the chicken, pepper it slightly and then put it in a pan on medium heat. I get the outside a little golden and then turn down the heat somewhere between low and medium. (I put oil in the pan!)

In a second pan (that has coconut oil as well) I put my veggies that I have cut up. I put this pan on a high heat for about 4 minutes, and then put it on a medium heat and let it sit for about 4 minutes while stirring every once in a while. I sprinkle cilantro on the chicken and veggies.

When the chicken looks 90% cooked (white inside) I mix everything together in one pan just so the chicken absorbs the flavors of the bell pepper. I put a lid on this and let it sit for about 3 minutes.

After the chicken is cooked through and the veggies are mostly soft you are ready to eat! The prep time for this was maybe 2 minutes to cut everything up, and the cooking time was about 12 minutes or so. Making stir-fry is so easy and is such a healthy meal!

I added a salad to get more veggies in, so I combined a handful of arugula with half a tomato and half a cucumber with a garlic vinegar dressing. I like to add cheese to everything, so I grated some Parmesan over this.

Eating healthy can be EASY, QUICK and CHEAP. This meal cost maybe 8-12 bucks, and it made dinner for 2 people...who eat a lot. If you are new to clean eating, this recipe can help you get started. Make this stir fry idea your own! Sometimes we use ground beef and put that over rice or mashed potatoes; there is a lot of creative ways to make stir fry hit any craving you may have.

If you need more recipes like this, or need a personal meal planner feel free to reach out to me! My BeachBody challenge groups always have tons of people sharing their own recipes and meals.


Friday, February 20, 2015

Why I Decided To Be a Beach Body Coach

Growing up I ate whatever I wanted and what I had access to, which neither was healthy. As I got older I thought this was in my benefit since I was so skinny and able to do this without any consequences, or so I thought.

My final 2 years of college I realized I had a severe gluten intolerance as well as many other health issues that seemed to be linked to nutrition. My husband ate very healthy and worked out about 7 days a week. I started to change my habits and eat clean.

Clean eating: Eating natural foods that aren't processed, don't have any added chemicals or preservatives and are generally meats, fruits and veggies.

Changing my eating and exercising changed my life. Suddenly I had more energy, suffered through less depression, had less digestive issues, got sick less, and generally felt like I was given a whole new body. I started researching nutrition like crazy every single day. I wanted to know what facts I should consider, and what myths there were out there. All the fad diets and get skinny quick fads seemed so illogical to me at that point. I started to analyze my diet by thinking of it like this: if I can't tell you what's in it, I won't eat it. This proved to be the best mentality I ever adopted because my potassium deficiency went away, my low iron levels went back to normal, I started having zero cavities (before this I had 26 cavities, all with fillings now!) and I wasn't feeling sick every time I ate.

My diet now is pretty much the same! I go by a 80/20 rule: 80% clean, 20% cheats. By cheats I mean alcohol, candy, soda, cheese enchiladas, you get the point. I think this makes sense because it is a way of life, easy to follow, and isn't so strict you can only do it for 30 days. 

I started training people in college by taking them to the gym, showing them recipes, talking about clean eating and generally just promoting a healthier life. Helping people put me on fire, I loved it.
I knew it wasn't something I wanted to make my full time job because I also enjoy business.

I am a financial analyst for one of the largest oil companies in the world and ENJOY analyzing variances and investigating cost and all that nerdy stuff. I have many sides of myself and the one I want to be the most is the business analyst.

BUT my second choice is being a health coach. Teaching people from my mistakes, showing others how to eat food they like in a healthy way, helping people figure out how to like healthy food, helping build muscle and confidence, it all lights me up.

I work 40-50 hours a week as an analyst and love it, but I want to chase down my passion for helping people and really put some time into it. I joined Beach Body because they have at home programs that people love and see so many great results from. This was perfect for me because it is very time consuming to design workouts for people I trained and I no longer have that sort of time. I do have time though to help people figure out a program that works for them as well as teach them about nutrition.

I joined Beach Body because it was the perfect catalyst for me to help others. I do not want to sell people stuff to make money off of them, frankly my job covers all my financial needs. I want to recommend programs to people so that their lives can change in a positive way. So that they may teach their children or families about the power of being healthy. The financial opportunity is there with Beach Body if that is what you are looking for, but I want to reinvest my earnings BACK into the clients and helping others.

I am so excited to be on fire again, and I hope that I can help others come to life as well!


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Homemade Tomato Sauce : Healthy, clean && easy!

Before finding out that I couldn't eat pasta, I ate pasta. Well saying I ate pasta is really not doing it justice..I more like devoured pasta frequently, and by frequently I mean multiple times a week. Pasta was my go-to food for when I was happy, sad, angry or bored. Once I did find out that pasta was something I couldn't eat anymore I was devastated. What other food was out there?

Now-a-days I still eat pasta, but it has to be gluten-free (i.e. pretty tasteless). I buy quinoa pasta and it is by far my favorite type of gluten-free pasta, mainly because it doesn't dissolve like rice pasta.I haven't figured out how to make gluten-free pasta from scratch besides using squash and spiralizing it (and be sure to look for a post about that coming up!) so I am forced to resort to buying a processed item. This pasta however is all natural and probably the healthiest you could find, so I recommend it.

Given that my favorite food was taken away from me and replaced with an alternative I do not find TOO tasty I was forced of ways to make pasta taste good. I bought a Vitamix 2 years ago, and that blender came with a recipe book that includes making sauces with the blender.

"Sauces in a blender? How stupid is that?!"- I thought. I was desperate and so I tried it. After 2 years of practice I have figured out how to make a delicious tomato sauce to drench my gluten-free pasta in that is super easy, relatively quick and mighty delicious.

First think of all the flavors you enjoy in a tomato based pasta sauce; mine were garlic, basil, onions, mushrooms, and oregano. So there you have it: 99% of my ingredients. I use fresh herbs from my herb garden and would HIGHLY recommend buying fresh herbs to use in any sauce you make, it will kick ass.

I cut up 4-6 tomatoes in 1/4 and put them in a baking pan. I then cut up one clove of garlic, 1/4 an onion, a handful of fresh basil, a tablespoon of fresh oregano and I drizzle olive oil all over it. I don't measure my olive oil, but I would say I don't drizzle more than 2-3 tablespoons.

I put a little pepper and no salt; you don't need salt when you are messing with fresh herbs, they provide all the flavor you need.

I then bake these ingredients at 350 degrees for about 15-25 minutes. Your kitchen should start smelling like heaven!

After you bake the tomatoes you can either blend it for 10 seconds OR you can put it in the stove top at a medium heat and stir everything up. If you like creamier sauce feel free to add a little milk.

After I blend it up for 10 seconds I put it on the stove top to simmer and I usually cut up mushrooms and bell peppers to add some chunkiness to my sauce. I do this for about 10 minutes until I get a consistency I like. I know you might be skeptical about a sauce that is "blended" and has all natural ingredients, but let me tell you that this sauce is so delicious and flavorful. Modify this recipe to fit what you like, and try adding new things! My next sauce project is a vodka sauce, though I can't be sure I can claim that to be healthy. ;)

I mix in my gluten-free pasta and voilĂ  : a dinner that is clean, healthy and super easy. On nights I feel naughty, I sprinkle munster cheese over it. Yum.

Give me feedback, let me know how you liked this!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Meal Planning 101

Meal planning is so crucial to sticking to a healthy balanced diet, and I wanted to share a wonderful list that I came across while reading a blog I follow!  (

This is a meal planner she constructed that I think so perfectly captures what meal planning should look like!

The first step is to probably think about what snacks and meals you want to have through-out the day!

I don't plan for the whole week, I usually take it 2 days at a time since I cook my meat everyday so it's fresh.

So when I make dinner I usually make enough to have for lunch the next day, and then I plan out my snacks for the next day. I will separate everything out into containers or bags the night before so that in the morning I throw them into my lunch box and I am ready to go!

I usually think about what types of meals I want for the week, for example:


  • Breakfast: Shakeology, eggs
  • Snack: oatmeal with blueberries
  • Lunch: Chicken with squash
  • snack: cottage cheese
  • Snack: ham slices, nuts, 1/2 apple
  • Dinner: Spaghetti with ground beef
  • Snack: protein shake, greek yogurt
That dinner becomes the lunch for the next day so I only have to cook 1 meal a day. So when I grocery shop I have a general idea of what types of meals I want for the week and so it makes it easy to have everything I need so I have zero excuses to pick something up that I shouldn't be eating.

If you want to print this meal planner I am including the link that her blog so graciously has posted:Meal Planner

I hope this was helpful!


How much should you be eating?

One of the first things I learned as I started picking up a healthier lifestyle was that LESS food doesn't necessarily mean HEALTHIER body. My husband was eating all day non-stop and was losing fat and gaining muscle. It literally blew my mind. I started to realize though that is wasn't all about how much to eat but more about the WHAT, and how much of that what.

Before I was forced to give up gluten I would say that 70% of my diet was carbs. Carbs encompass fruits, veggies and of course BREADS. I would snack on carbs, have 90% carb meals (spaghetti, with bread) and I would turn to carbs for days when things didn't go as planned. I ate what I liked to eat, even though I didn't always feel so good afterwords.

There are 3 macro-nutrient groups: Carbs, Proteins and Fats. A healthy diet consist of a balance of the 3, fat being the least consumed. My husband's eating habits were a lot different than mine, and he rarely seemed to have the upset stomach and low energy levels I did.

I started to look up what a healthy balance of macros looks like, and tried to incorporate it into my life. I recommend looking at a tool like Macro Calculator if you want to get an idea of your diet needs based on your weight and activity level. Below is a picture of what mine is:

This is based on MY weight and MY activity levels. Although this is super useful, what is difficult is ACTUALLY counting my macros. I work 40-50 hours a week and eat all day long. I tried to use various apps on my phone to track how much of what I am eating has so many macros, but it was just too time consuming for me. If this is something you are capable of doing, then I think this is a great place to start!

This at least made me re-evaluate my diet and showed me I wasn't consuming enough protein, which many people are guilty of. What I did find helpful was using the 21dayfix meal planning containers! The booklet comes with instruction on figuring out how much each food group you should be eating and instead of counting macros the containers measure out your food for you and you simply check a box each day to see if you are eating the correct portions. I find it so helpful and I think this is a great way for people to start off when considering changing up your eating lifestyle to something more balanced. A balanced diet between the 3 macro groups will help ensure your body is getting the proper nutrients. Buy these containers - Go to shop beach body then nutrition and supplements

I would NOT recommend counting calories for this reason: just because something is low calorie doesn't mean it adds ANY benefit to your diet. You could drink wine all day and meet your calorie intake WITHOUT providing anything beneficial to your body. 

The picture above demonstrates that 200 calories of different types of food means different things! 200 calories of something healthy is better for your body as opposed to 100 calories because you ate half a doughnut. 

I think that finding a balanced meal plan that suits YOUR body's need is extremely important for hormonal balance, digestion health, and overall bodily function.

I hope this helps and of course feel free to reach out to me about any questions of concerns you may have!