Pieces in Progress: Living fit, healthy, & happy!

I’m a firm believer that to make healthy food delicious it needs a balance of “the good stuff” and the “not so good stuff” and this recipe is a perfect example! It still has the full fat mayo and whole eggs but lightens that up with Greek yogurt and lots of egg whites. You get all the delicious, rich flavor but for a fraction of the fat and extra protein!
I enjoyed this with some gluten free multi-seed crackers but it would also be great on some toast (gluten free Udi’s for me) or wrapped up on a big lettuce leaf!
For more healthy salads & lunch ideas go here. :)

I’m a firm believer that to make healthy food delicious it needs a balance of “the good stuff” and the “not so good stuff” and this recipe is a perfect example! It still has the full fat mayo and whole eggs but lightens that up with Greek yogurt and lots of egg whites. You get all the delicious, rich flavor but for a fraction of the fat and extra protein!

I enjoyed this with some gluten free multi-seed crackers but it would also be great on some toast (gluten free Udi’s for me) or wrapped up on a big lettuce leaf!

For more healthy salads & lunch ideas go here. :)

I am so excited haha! I already have my dream job teaching English, leading yoga, and living/working on dorm at my school but now that I get to be a student again too, I am just overwhelmed with happiness and gratitude! I am so thankful for my fiance, my job, this blog, and now the ability to continue my education. In truth, today my joy comes not only from happiness, but also from relief. I’ve been waiting for the last few months to find out if my contract at work would be renewed, if David would get into his PhD programs, if I would get into  my MA program. I struggled everyday to not stress and I turned to God constantly for the strength to trust His plans. Then in this past week I was asked back for a second year at work and I recieved this email. God’s timing is a mystery but the goodness of His plans is not. It’s taken years of hard work to be where I am today, to be who I want to be and to do what I want to do with my life but I’m here and it’s because I never gave up, and I have God to thank for that (and everything haha). Wherever you are, whatever you want your life to be, please don’t ever give up. It might take months or even years but the day you can look at your life and say yes, this is right, you will relish every difficult moment for the role it played in getting you where you want to be. I know I certaintly look at my life, my whole 22 years, as building to right now and I am thankful for every painful, joyful, beautiful moment of it.

I am so excited haha! I already have my dream job teaching English, leading yoga, and living/working on dorm at my school but now that I get to be a student again too, I am just overwhelmed with happiness and gratitude! I am so thankful for my fiance, my job, this blog, and now the ability to continue my education. In truth, today my joy comes not only from happiness, but also from relief. I’ve been waiting for the last few months to find out if my contract at work would be renewed, if David would get into his PhD programs, if I would get into my MA program. I struggled everyday to not stress and I turned to God constantly for the strength to trust His plans. Then in this past week I was asked back for a second year at work and I recieved this email. God’s timing is a mystery but the goodness of His plans is not. It’s taken years of hard work to be where I am today, to be who I want to be and to do what I want to do with my life but I’m here and it’s because I never gave up, and I have God to thank for that (and everything haha). Wherever you are, whatever you want your life to be, please don’t ever give up. It might take months or even years but the day you can look at your life and say yes, this is right, you will relish every difficult moment for the role it played in getting you where you want to be. I know I certaintly look at my life, my whole 22 years, as building to right now and I am thankful for every painful, joyful, beautiful moment of it.

These workouts use combinations of strength and cardio to really make the most of your time! They all work on the idea of HIIT workouts (High Intensity Interval Training) by using shorter periods of more intense cardio with longer periods of medium intensity. This helps get your heart rate up and keep it up! If the weather’s nice you can even go outside and soak up some sun while getting your workout in! (If it’s rainy I love to put on my favorite show on Netflix and do these right from home). You can add these into your existing cardio plan (they’re great for cross training!) or cycle through them for a weekly total body plan!

For more at home workout plans go here! :)

I was happily surprised when I worked out the nutrition on this recipe. The serving size is big and the dish is so filling but there’s still plenty of room to add more veggies or proteins to customize this to be exactly what you want! The trick that makes this rice so delicious is that it’s cooked almost like risotto where instead of boiling it in water, it’s cooking in and absorbing flavorful tomato, onions & garlic! I used my favorite chipotle seasoning (Chorizo blend from Williams Sonoma) blend but you could also just use a packet seasoning or your own mix.

Here’s some other great healthy additions:

  • Vegan: avocado, green beans, peppers/ chilies (fresh or dried), pinto beans, okra, carrots, spinach, kale, even mango or grilled pineapple!
  • Vegetarian: cheddar/ light cheddar, low fat sour cream (or greek yogurt), queso sauce, egg whites/ scrambled eggs, vegetarian “meats”
  • Carnivore: grilled chicken, shrimp, grilled turkey, lean ground meat
  • You could also try wrapping this up in large romaine leaves for fantastic lettuce wraps!

For more easy healthy meal ideas go here!

These are amazing! I call them breakfast puddings because they’re the perfect make-ahead, no time in the morning, sleep as long as possible, grab on you’re way out the door breakfast (can you see what my mornings are like? haha)! I came up with these 3 varieties based on what I had around but you should absolutely feel free to get creative! I also used plain Greek yogurt and flavored it with vanilla and honey but you could also start with a flavored yogurt and use toppings that compliment it (lemon yogurt with blueberries? yum!).

I made my pudding the night before then spent 10 minutes assembling all my jars Saturday afternoon so that through the week I had a delicious, super healthy breakfast ready to go. I like to enjoy my jar with a nice big soy latte but you could also pair this jar with a piece of fruit, toast, or cheese to make it a full meal.

For more easy breakfast ideas go here and for more healthy dessert recipes go here (okay I’ll admit it, these are dessert for breakfast but with 9g protein and nutrient-packed chia seeds I’m okay with that!)

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This week I was asked back for a second year internship at my school (yay!) so today David and I celebrated by really “moving in” to my kitchen. We created this beautiful pantry and put up faux-tiles on the backsplash (Smart Tiles, they’re peel & stick but look and feel like tile) so I thought this would be the perfect time for some pantry organization tips!

PRIORITY NUMBER 1: KNOW WHAT YOU NEED

Before you can organize, you need to think about what your goals are. What do you want out of this space? What do you need out of it? What jars & tools do you already have? I started by making a list of the items I have then put them in order of most frequently used.

I USED THESE GROUPS:

  1. GRAINS: brown rice, white rice, lentils, quinoa, arborio rice
  2. TRAIL MIX: assorted chocolate chips, pecans, chia seeds, coconut, assorted dried fruit, lots of sliced almonds
  3. SWEETENERS: powdered sugar, brown sugar, Truvia for baking, extracts
  4. CANNED: black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, pumpkin, diced tomato
  5. LESS OFTEN USED: almond flour, GORP (for David haha), gluten free flour, cocoa powder
  6. BAKING: baking soda/ powder & a basket with cupcake liners/ molds & sprinkles

I tried to keep similar items together and as much as possible use the shape to differentiate groups. I put the chia seeds and each type of chocolate chip (white, milk, mini, & 60% dark) and each type of dried fruit (golden raisins, cherries, cranberries) in small mason jars but had to use bigger containers for the almonds & coconut.

imageI staggered the jars of grain-type foods so that I could see and easily access everything without searching for what I wanted.

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The tiles really pulled my kitchen together and, to me, made it feel more like home. They’re not re-usable but they won’t hurt the walls when I take them down.

GENERAL ORGANIZATIONAL TIPS

  • Put the items you use most in the most accessible place, for the cabinet I used that meant the lowest shelf.
  • Work with the space you have. I had to be careful in selecting what type & shape jars to use because I have a very small kitchen and needed to make the most of my space.
  • Make everything visible. I stacked cans, for example, in a way that let me see what types I have even if my inventory looked a little different in the second or third row (I have SO many cans of chickpeas haha).
  • Start fully stocked. It’s easier to make decisions about where to put items when you have everything you need. Your pantry doesn’t always have to be full (mine certainty wont be) but it was helpful to start with full counts so I knew what I had room for and where I had to get creative.
  • Make it your own! I styled mine with a pretty basket and mason jars. I used clear canisters but you can just as easily use colored or patterned ones with pretty labels. Your pantry & organization should reflect both your design taste and your food preferences!

This is the first time I’ve ever created a fully stocked pantry and it makes me happy every time I go in my kitchen. I hope these tips help you create your own kitchen-happy-space and if you do I’d love to see it! :)

This week I’m performing in my school’s faculty play and this easy, delicious grab & go jar has been the perfect on the run to rehearsal dinner! My acting skills aren’t fantastic but these healthy, flavorful jars are! I had to really hold myself back from just eating the roasted veggies on their own but it was worth it to put the whole jar together. It’s filling, easy, great hot or cold, only took a few minutes of active prep time (the oven did most of the work here) and lasted in the fridge all week! I highly recommend prepping these over the weekend if you have a busy week coming up. Best of all, the ingredients are super cheap, especially bought in bulk! You can use fresh or frozen cauliflower too. :)

For more healthy grab & go meals go here!

Here it is, the final installment of my 20 minute at home cardio & strength workouts! This one targets your lower body but will also engage your core a lot for balance, stability, and controlled movements. Especially in the squats and lunges, I highly encourage you to take your time, focus on form, and actively engage your muscles to really get the most out of what you do!
This is the perfect workout to take on the go, do from your home or dorm room, or, best of all, take outside! It’s beautiful out there so soak up some sun while you’re working out!
For tons more at home, equipment free workout ideas go here! :)

Here it is, the final installment of my 20 minute at home cardio & strength workouts! This one targets your lower body but will also engage your core a lot for balance, stability, and controlled movements. Especially in the squats and lunges, I highly encourage you to take your time, focus on form, and actively engage your muscles to really get the most out of what you do!

This is the perfect workout to take on the go, do from your home or dorm room, or, best of all, take outside! It’s beautiful out there so soak up some sun while you’re working out!

For tons more at home, equipment free workout ideas go here! :)

Gluten free can still be delicious and healthy, and here’s the proof! Sometimes it means getting a little more creative but the results are so worth it. All of these recipes use simple, common ingredients (no chemistry experiments here, I leave those to my fiance haha!) and take just a few minutes of prep time.Whether you’re gluten free or not, these recipes are tasty, healthy, and sure to satisfy your sweet tooth!

With all of these I highly encourage you to customize the recipes! Pick your favorite dried fruit or nuts in the breakfast bars, your favorite fruits in the cheesecakes, your favorite toppings for the banana ice cream, these are recipes you can truly make into your personal favorites.

For more healthy gluten free recipes go here and for more lightened up dessert recipes go here! :)

This recipe is so simple but such a delicious way to make cauliflower! The chickpeas add protein & heartiness and the curry powder packs a ton of flavor. This version is not spicy so if you like hot food definitely add red chili flakes, cumin, or your spice of choice!
Here’s a few great ways to use this!
I paired mine with quinoa & red lentils and chilled it
Eat it straight off the pan (or as a side dish haha)
On top of baby spinach with a lemon or yogurt based salad dressing
Rolled up in a whole wheat wrap (or naan!) with Raita
Add chicken or fish to the pan & roast it all together for a veggie loaded main dish
Pureed with vegetable stock (optional light cream or soymilk) for a flavorful soup
Lightly stir fried with basmati rice for a veggie filled take on byriani
For more easy veggie recipes go here! :)

This recipe is so simple but such a delicious way to make cauliflower! The chickpeas add protein & heartiness and the curry powder packs a ton of flavor. This version is not spicy so if you like hot food definitely add red chili flakes, cumin, or your spice of choice!

Here’s a few great ways to use this!

  • I paired mine with quinoa & red lentils and chilled it
  • Eat it straight off the pan (or as a side dish haha)
  • On top of baby spinach with a lemon or yogurt based salad dressing
  • Rolled up in a whole wheat wrap (or naan!) with Raita
  • Add chicken or fish to the pan & roast it all together for a veggie loaded main dish
  • Pureed with vegetable stock (optional light cream or soymilk) for a flavorful soup
  • Lightly stir fried with basmati rice for a veggie filled take on byriani

For more easy veggie recipes go here! :)

This lunch came out so delicious that, after trying it the first time, I made a second batch the next day! I used Cava hummus which is lower calorie & fat (I found it in my local whole foods) but if you can’t find it just use your favorite brand (and add about 30 calories to the nutrition). Also feel free to swap the veggies for your personal favorites! One of the great things about this recipe, besides how incredibly delicious & healthy it is, is how easy it is to make. Just roast veggies, cook quinoa, & layer up! (If you do eat meat grilled chicken would probably go really well in this too).

For more healthy, easy grab & go lunches go here! :)

Walk your way fit challenge week 1!

I made it through my first week of the challenge (I had a bit fo a head start) and am so happy to say I’ve done 6 5k walks in the last 7 days! Here are the stats on my walks:

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Are you in the challenge? It’s not too late to join! We’re walking 25 5k’s in 30 days. Get all the info on the challenge here and a printable chart to log your walks. Here’s the challenge poster though :)

I’m posting updates on my walks each day on Instagram and I would love to see your progress too so if you’re walking tag me! Oh and for fun here’s a picture of me being a sweaty ridiculous after walking with David on Saturday.

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Everything about this plan fits together to make the most of your time and energy, and it’s color coded! The higher intensity cardio (in yellow) gets your heart rate up quick while the lower intensity cardio (in pink) keeps it up while giving you a little bit of a rest. The ab training exercises (in white) all work multiple muscle groups and hit your midsection from every angle to help you build strength. What makes this workout so effective is that it combines fat burning cardio WITH targeted and effective strength training! Remember though, the key to seeing real change in your body comes as much from what you eat as what you do so make sure you’re feeding your body well, giving it all the nutrients it needs, and hydrating!
For more at home, equipment free workout plans go here! :)

Everything about this plan fits together to make the most of your time and energy, and it’s color coded! The higher intensity cardio (in yellow) gets your heart rate up quick while the lower intensity cardio (in pink) keeps it up while giving you a little bit of a rest. The ab training exercises (in white) all work multiple muscle groups and hit your midsection from every angle to help you build strength. What makes this workout so effective is that it combines fat burning cardio WITH targeted and effective strength training! Remember though, the key to seeing real change in your body comes as much from what you eat as what you do so make sure you’re feeding your body well, giving it all the nutrients it needs, and hydrating!

For more at home, equipment free workout plans go here! :)

In my kitchen, these are truly a classic. Whenever I’m stumped on what to make, this is my go to. You can use whatever veggies you like but this combo is my favorite. They’re great in salads, on sandwiches, tossed in pasta, and over the weekend I’m using them for a quinoa grab & go lunch jar recipe, but, truth be told, my favorite use is to just eat them as is straight off the pan haha! 
For more easy, delicious veggie recipes go here :)

In my kitchen, these are truly a classic. Whenever I’m stumped on what to make, this is my go to. You can use whatever veggies you like but this combo is my favorite. They’re great in salads, on sandwiches, tossed in pasta, and over the weekend I’m using them for a quinoa grab & go lunch jar recipe, but, truth be told, my favorite use is to just eat them as is straight off the pan haha!

For more easy, delicious veggie recipes go here :)

Go. Make. These! Haha they are every bit as delicious as they look, super sweet but refined sugar free, and surprisingly easy to make (sticky but easy). Today was my first venture into date-based truffles and I can’t wait to keep trying new combinations and possibilities. You could very easily make this vegan by using a vegan protein powder or swapping protein powder for almond flour.

For more healthy dessert recipes go here and for more gluten free recipes go here! :)