Clean Eating, Diet, Gluten Free, Health, Healthy Eating, Recipes, Weight Loss, Workout

5 Tips to Survive Thanksgiving (and the Holiday Season)

IMG_4340Well, Thanksgiving aka THE ULTIMATE CHEAT MEAL DAY, is upon us and for some that could be the opening of Pandora’s Box when it comes to staying on track with your health and fitness goals.   According to the John Hopkins Weight Management Center, people gain 7 – 10 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years Eve.  Which isn’t too surprising with most people packing in around 3,000 calories during their Thanksgiving Meal. (That’s right, I said meal, that doesn’t include the post nap leftovers and late night turkey sandwiches).

On top of that, Thanksgiving kicks off the Holiday Party and travel season, where your calendar gets filled with social events and visiting friends and family.  Which can lead to higher stress, minimal sleep, and less time to spend on your needs, wants and goals.  I know that I am being a bit of a downer when it comes to the holidays, as it pertains to your health and fitness goals, but you can still be victorious this holiday season and stay on track!

Here are my top 10 Tips & Tricks to Survive Thanksgiving & The Holidays

  1. Have a Plan: As I mentioned, this time of year can be stressful and you can be pulled many different directions, but if you can take the time now to plan out your holiday schedule with work, social events, travel, and family, you will feel less stressed, which will keep your cortisol (aka the Fat & Stress Hormone) levels down.  Once you have a better idea of what your holiday season will look like, take some time plan out your workouts. Your workouts should be a priority and when you schedule things into your calendar, just as you would a meeting, your chances for working out increase greatly.
  2. Set Realistic Goals & Have Realistic Expectations: Chances are, you won’t be able to spend as much time working out or meal prepping as you would want during this Holiday Season, which is totally okay. The key is to make a valiant effort, but also realistic with what you can physically do.  If you know that you only have 30 minutes to workout, focus on doing High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts that get your heart rate up and burn fat in only 30 minutes or if you can’t make it to the gym, hop on to YouTube and find a workout video to do at home.  If you are on the road and can’t do a full meal prep of your meals, at least pack healthy snacks to take with you and do your best to make healthy choices at non-social meals.   The key is to have a “No Excuses” mentality and make it work.
  3. Be Mindful: This one is a great one for Thanksgiving, as you will be bombarded with tons of food, the key is to think about what you are eating and pay attention to how your body feels.  On Thanksgiving, I aim to have half of my plate full of all of the green vegetables that are available – salad, green beans, brussel sprouts, etc – then I add the turkey.  Most of my meals consist of green veggies and protein, so I’m still able to be on track.  After that, I take a small scoop of whatever carby deliciousness I can find – stuffing, sweet potato casserole, cranberry sauces, macaroni and cheese.  Remember, it’s just a scoop!  When eating my meal, I take my time, chew eat bite and enjoy each morsel.  I also give myself a 20 minute break after my first plate, to decide if I am still hungry (which I’m normally not). This helps to keep me from overeating and ensure that I actually enjoy my meal without feeling stuffed.  I also give myself a designated dessert time, so that way I can be ready to really my dessert. Here’s a video that gives a great overview of how to create your plate for Thanksgiving.
  4. Stay Hydrated: Remember that there are many calories hidden in many holiday beverages. Your best bet is to stick with drinking as much water as possible throughout the day, as many times, we mistake thirst for hunger.  When it comes to your holiday meals and parties, alternating between a cocktail and a glass of water (sparkling, if you want to be fancy) is your best bet to stay on track. I personally, love a glass of champagne, as it is lower in calories and quite festive. If you want to get ideas of how to jazz up your water, check out these fruit infused water recipes. 
  5. Eat Breakfast: One of the best ways that I have been able to stay on track, during the holidays or when I travel, is to make sure that I eat breakfast.  I aim to have a breakfast that has a good mix of protein, fiber, and good carbs, to ensure that I stay full throughout the day and get a good dose of nutrition to start my day.  Eating breakfast during the crazy holiday season, can also help you to avoid overeating when attending Thanksgiving Dinner and holiday events. Before Thanksgiving eat a big, yet healthy, breakfast to ensure that you arrive for dinner not starving and you will be able to enjoy your meal and yourself, without feeling stuffed or without the guilt of eating 3,000 calories.

Hopefully, you found these tips helpful and if you are looking for some healthy recipes for Thanksgiving, check out my Pintrest Board or my menu from last year’s Gluten Free Thanksgiving. 

Beachbody Products, Beachbody Programs, Clean Eating, Diet, Fitness, Gluten Free, Health, Healthy Eating, Juicing, Motivation, Personal Development, Recipes, Weight Loss

My 3 Day Refresh Results!

Well, I successfully finished the 3 Day Refresh and I am proud to say that it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.  If you are considering a cleanse, I want to share with you the good, bad and ugly!

The Good:

  • Satisfied: I didn’t feel hungry during the 3 days, which was a big concern for me, especially since I am on my feet pretty much all day with training.
  • Mental Clarity: I felt that my mind was much more clear and I was able to focus on specific tasks much easier, if anyone knows me, you would know that I am the definition of organized chaos.
  • Energy: I found that I didn’t really feel sleepy or groggy, especially during the 3PM slump, I felt energized.
  • Improved Sleep: I typically am up each morning around 4AM, sometimes I wake up feeling tired and drag a bit, but each day on the Refresh I woke up feeling refreshed and didn’t wake up during the night.
  • Easy to Make Meals: I like that you actually get to eat real food and the recipes that you are given and guidelines make it really easy to find options for all of your meals.
  • Shakeology & Vanilla Fresh: I love Shakeology and was happy that I could continue to drink it during the 3 Day Refresh, but I was also pleasantly surprised by the Vanilla Fresh shake! I am hoping that this will become the new Vegan Vanilla formula, if so, I will be in heaven.  It was delicious!

The Bad:

  • Stay close to the bathroom! Since you are drinking a lot of water to facilitate the cleanse, you will have to pee quite a lot!
  • Although, I never felt hungry, there were times when I felt that I couldn’t finish all of the food and shakes that were required, which could have been because I was full or just was over eating the same thing.
  • Since my days are long and I don’t have much time to really think about my meals, I had to prepare all of my meals in advance and ending up eating the same meals and snacks every single day.  It helped to prep the meals, but I will say by the third day, as delicious as it was, I was over my Veggie Stir Fry.  Next time around, I will prepare a bit more variety with my meals and snacks.

  • While I wasn’t hungry, I did have two bouts of cravings – one was prompted by a dream I had where I ate an entire bag of Kettle Cooked Salt & Vinegar Chips and then craved them during the day. The other was a craving for a bacon cheese burger. Random, but I was shocked because I typically crave sweets, so I guess it’s a good thing that I got my sugar craving under control.
  • The Fiber Sweep wasn’t my favorite, but it wasn’t awful. I just had to make it really cold water and made it in a Shaker Cup then chugged it down as fast as I could.

The Ugly: 

  • Well, I should say more of the smelly…I did experience a bit of gas during the first day, but by the end of the day, I felt totally fine and no one was injured! 🙂

The Results:

Now, I’m sure that you are more interested in knowing if it actually did work! Well, I am proud to say that I got amazing results!

  • Starting Weight: 128.4
  • Starting Waist: 27
  • Ending Weight: 123.4
  • Ending Waist: 25.5

Yup, I love 5 pounds and 1.5 inches in 3 days by eating real foods, nourishing shakes and drinking tons of water.  Plus, I feel rested, energized and not bloated!

As I mentioned, my meals were pretty basic each day:

  • Breakfast: Vegan Chocolate or GreenberryShakeology made with Water and I also ate a pineapple spears or apple apple slices

  • Mid-Morning: Fiber Sweep (It wasn’t too bad)
  • Lunch: Vanilla Fresh Protein Shake (it was so delicious) with Tomato Cucumber Salad made with Lemon Juice, Garlic, and Cumin, and a handful of berries and avocado slices.

  • Mid Afternoon Snack: Carrots with Guacamole or Lemon Garlic Green Beans

  • Mid Afternoon Tea: Caffeine Free Chai (Unsweetened)
  • Dinner: Vanilla Fresh with Veggie Stir Fry made with garlic, ginger and cayenne pepper.

All in all, I would recommend the 3 Day Refresh to anyone who is looking for a way to kickstart or jumpstart their weight loss, find relief if you feel that you have overdone it with the junk food, or simply want something to help you get your body on track with your nutrition.

If you have any other questions or want more information about the 3 Day Refresh, including how to get your own kit and to join one of my 3 Day Refresh Accountability groups, fill out this form and I’ll get you more information! In the meantime, check out this awesome video that talks more about the 3 Day Refresh.

Beachbody Products, Beachbody Programs, Clean Eating, Diet, Gluten Free, Health, Healthy Eating, Juicing, Motivation, Recipes, Self Care, Weight Loss

3 Questions to Ask Yourself before starting a Cleanse

Well, today is the day that I start my 3 Day Refresh program.  I will be honest and say that I am not one to go Ga-Ga for cleanses, but after the past month of emotional eating due to some lifestyle changes and major decisions being made, my eating took a bit of a toll.  Which, we all know, you can’t out train a bad diet.  I wasn’t going crazy but I will say that after discovering Cookie Butter ice cream from Trader Joes and sneaking to the bakery next to the gym (yes I said it!) time to time, I can tell that I need to get a bit more focused on my diet again.  After looking at photos of myself from last spring break’s trip to Mexico and preparing for my upcoming trip to mexico, I realize that I need to get it together.

So, I’m giving the 3 Day Refresh a shot and luckily I have a group of other people doing it with me to help me stay on track. To be honest, it’s not that bad, you are pretty much eating fruits and veggies and drinking high protein shakes and fiber drinks each day, so you are not starving and it’s pretty simple.

However, I have known about this program for about a year and have yet to try it, again, I am a skeptic, but before I made the decision to do it, I asked myself these 3 questions and after reviewing my answers, I knew that a cleanse would be the best thing for me. If you are thinking about doing a cleanse in the near future, ask yourself these 3 questions first before you invest:

  1. Why am I doing this cleanse?   Many of my clients will tell me that they are doing a cleanse to lose weight quickly or they even think that they can sustain it for longer than the cleanse suggests.  A cleanse should not be a quick fix, actually, nothing you do with your health and fitness should be a quick fix.  Why? Because you didn’t gain the weight quickly, so don’t expect it come off overnight. Instead, you should look at a cleanse as a way to make sure that your body is operating at its best to help facilitate the other good behaviors that you want to incorporate into your lifestyle.  If you are only looking for a quick fix, the second that you are done with the cleanse, you will go back (or even worse) to where you were.  When you do a cleanse shift your focus to HEALTH not WEIGHT LOSS. 
  2. Will this fuel and nourish my body or will it deplete my body?  Many people do these drastic cleanses that are out on the market or that they read about some celebrity doing, you know like only eating cauliflower puree and drinking pickle juice for 5 days.  The thing is that the body actually can do a pretty good job of cleansing itself if you simply focus on eating fruits and veggies and make sure that you have a good dose of plant based proteins and fiber.  Coupled with drinking lots of water.  Do you see that you don’t have to starve yourself or only eat one or two things??  Also, a lot of these shakes and pills that are on the market are filled with tons of fillers, preservatives, and chemicals, which yes, you may lose weight as they can help to make you feel fuller, make you poop more, or even suppress your appetite, this is not what a cleanse should do.  A cleanse is a very intense thing that your body may be going through and if you are not nourishing your body during the cleanse, you could be doing way more harm than good.  That’s what I love about the 3 Day Refresh so far, I have yet to feel hungry or cranky, to be honest I find it hard to eat all the food I’m required to eat. When you do a cleanse shift your focus to NOURISHING not DEPRIVING your body.
  3. What is my plan of action after completing the cleanse? As I mentioned above, cleanses are not quick fixes, they are more of a way to jumpstart or help you to get back on track so that you can build upon the results of the cleanse. After the cleanse is over, you should have a plan of action to continue the progress and results, that means that you are not going back to eating crap and junk food, as much as I want to go back to eating Cookie Butter Ice Cream and fresh baked cookies on the regular, I know that it will ruin the progress I made. So instead, I will focus on only indulging from time to time. I will also make sure that I am staying on top of my meal prep Sundays (another thing that I let go to the wayside last week causing me to eat junk and feel a bit bloated).   I am also going to make sure that I continue to keep drinking my water (on the Refresh I’m drinking about 90 ounces of water to help facilitate the cleanse).  The cleanse should never be your end all be all, but moreso an opportunity to set you up for success.  When you do a cleanse shift your focus to LONG TERM RESULTS not SHORT TERM RESULTS.

Cleanses are great, if you are 100% clear of why you are doing it, have a cleanse that nourishes your body during the cleansing process and you have a plan of action after the cleanse is over.

I will be sharing my results with the 3 Day Refresh at the end of the week and give you the good, bad, and ugly.  But in the meantime, if you have any questions about the 3 Day Refresh or any other cleanse that you have done in the past or are thinking about doing, let’s chat about it so we can make sure that you are prepped for ultimate success!

Clean Eating, Diet, Gluten Free, Health, Healthy Eating, Recipes, Weight Loss

5 Ingredient Burrito Bowl Recipe

IMG_4537I have been trying to experiment with Meal Prep recipes that are 5 ingredients or less, healthy, and that are easy to make ahead and freeze if needed. I’ve had some complete failures, but this Burrito Bowl is a SLAM DUNK!

It’s super easy to make, I got everything from Trader Joe’s (but you can get these ingredients from any grocery store)  I made this  in less than 5 minutes and made enough for two meals this week and then froze two more for later in the month. This is the perfect dish if you are short on time and cash, but want a great meal.


  • Frozen Organic Brown Rice (in the freezer section)
  • Can of Cuban Style Black Beans (in the canned food section)
  • Just Chicken Pre-cooked Chicken Breast Slices (in deli section or you can bake/grill your own)
  • TJ’s Mild Pico de Gallo salsa (in the deli section)
  • Natural Shredded Cheese


  1. Microwave the frozen brown rice and divide the packet into two portions. Place one portion into a plastic container (or a bowl if you are eating it right away)
  2. Open the can of black beans  and divide the can into two portions, place the beans on top of the rice.
  3. Dice about 1/2 – 3/4 cup of chicken breast and place on top of rice and beans
  4. Pour one-half of the container of pico on to each of the containers or bowls
  5. Top with a sprinkle of cheese

Either freeze or eat right away….serve it with avocado, sprinkle on some green onions,  and add a dollop Salsa for more kick and flavor.  You can also use ground turkey or beef for this recipe or regular salsa.  Let me know how you spice it up!


Clean Eating, Diet, Gluten Free, Health, Healthy Eating, Self Care, Weight Loss

The Perfect (Gluten Free) Bar

Sooo, you know that feeling when you fall in love for the first time? I just had that feeling again once I bit into this bar…my first thought was “This is Perfect!” Only to find out the bar is called “The Perfect Bar”.  It was absolutely delicious!


This bar is 100% all natural and no preservatives, so you don’t have any weird after tastes or weird texture issues to deal with. It literally tastes like someone’s mother made it in her kitchen. But what I also love is that it is packed with tons of “superfoods” and tastes like a dessert!  It’s like the bar version of Shakeology! 

I found them at Costco in the refrigerator section and I will be back to buy the entire section out! Perfect for breakfast, snack or even before a workout! Do yourself a favor and get these! #LoveAtFirstBite

If you don’t have access to Costco or can’t find them in your local store, click here to order it online The Perfect Bar – Perfect Foods Bar Almond Butter. You won’t regret it!

Clean Eating, Diet, Gluten Free, Health, Healthy Eating, Recipes, Weight Loss

My 1st Gluten Free Thanksgiving!

This year, my family decided that they wanted to go Gluten Free.  The decision for them, was spurned after reading Grain Brain and Wheat Belly.  Although, I didn’t decide to jump head first into being 100% gluten free, I now am open to experimenting with gluten free options and recipes.  The biggest concern I had was when I was asked, “What will be on the menu for Thanksgiving, now that we are gluten free?”   My father placed in charge of Thanksgiving Dinner after last year’s performance, so now I was stuck figuring out what I could do to create the same reaction to last year’s gluten packed Thanksgiving meal.  But I gladly accepted the challenge and was pleasantly surprised with the meal.

This year’s menu included Herb & White Wine Roasted Turkey Breasts, Sautéed Green Beans with Caramelized Onions, Maple Pecan & Bacon Glazed Sweet Potatoes, Mango Chicken Sausage Stuffing, Loaded Cheesy Cauliflower Casserole, & Orange Ginger Cranberry Sauce.

I will share recipes for all of the sides that we made, as the turkey unfortunately was just a random throwing in of wine, fresh herbs, spices, and chicken stock.  But we did opt for 2 boneless organic turkey breasts (4 pounds each) instead of the full turkey.  It was crazy that 1 breast served 9 people without any issues, so now I am trying to figure out what recipes we can use for the next few day (stay tuned for that).

Maple Pecan & Bacon Glazed Sweet Potatoes

  • 4 Medium Sweet Potatoes, diced & parboiled
  • 1/3 Cup of Maple Syrup
  • 6 Pieces of Bacon, crumbled
  • 3 Tbsp of Bacon Grease (saved from 6 pieces of bacon)
  • ¼ cup of pecans
  • 3 Dashes of Cinnamon
  • 1 Dash of Paprika
  • Salt & Pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Peel, Dice and place sweet potatoes into a large pot of water. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  3. While sweet potatoes are parboiling, dice uncooked bacon into small pieces and fry on high heat.  As the bacon releases the grease, drain into bowl. Do not throw the grease away.
  4. Once the bacon is drained, remove from pan onto a plate with a paper towel to finish draining.
  5. Add sweet potatoes, bacon crumbles, bacon grease, pecans to a baking dish and mix until sweet potatoes are covered with grease.
  6. Drizzle maple syrup onto the potatoes and sprinkle cinnamon, paprika, and salt and pepper (to taste).
  7. Cover and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove foil, stir, and bake for another 20 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender.

Mango Chicken Sausage Stuffing

  • 1 loaf of Gluten Free Bread, cubed
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 pound bulk chicken sausage, removed from casing
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped or grated
  • 1/2 cup of green onions, diced
  • 3 Stalks of Celery, chopped
  • 2 cups turkey stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoon poultry seasoning
  • Salt, Pepper, Paprika, and other spices
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Dice gluten free bread into 1 inch cubes and place into a bowl.  Add 1 tbsp of poultry seasoning, 2 tablespoons of melted butter, salt, pepper, and garlic. Mix with hands and spread on baking sheet. Bake until lightly golden and slightly dried out, about 15 – 20 minutes.
  3. In a large skilled, melt remaining butter and add sausage and cook for 5 minutes. Add onions and celery to the pan and cook until tender, additional 7-10 minutes. Transfer mixture to the large bowl.
  4. Add bread crumbs, remaining poultry seasoning, eggs, and stock to the bowl and mix together (you can use your hands).
  5. Add some salt, pepper and any other spices that you may want to add.
  6. Place into a buttered 9×13 baking dish, lightly cover with foil, and bake for 30 minutes.

Loaded Cheesy Cauliflower Casserole 

  • 2 lbs cauliflower florets
  • 1 Medium onion, diced and sauteed
  • 8 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 8 oz shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
  • 8 oz block cream cheese, softened
  • 4 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 bunches green onions, sliced (1½ cups),
  • 6 sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • Season to taste – salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, etc.
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Steam the cauliflower florets and roughly chop, set aside.
  3. Fry 6 pieces of bacon into a pan, drain the fat (especially if you are going to use it for the Maple Pecan & Bacon Glazed Sweet Potatoes). Crumble up bacon and set aside.
  4. In the same pan as the bacon, sauté the onions. You can add some additional oil or butter if need.
  5. In a saucepan, onions, add cream cheese, 6oz of Cheddar Cheese, 6oz of Monterey Jack Cheese, heavy cream, and garlic and cook on medium heat until the mixture is melted and combined.
  6. Once the mixture is combined, add the cauliflower, bacon, and green onions.
  7. Add salt, pepper, etc until you have the desired flavor you are looking for.
  8. Pour into a casserole dish and cover with remaining shredded cheese and green onions.
  9. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
  10. Remove foil and broil for 3 minutes or until top is browned.

Sauteed Green Beans with Caramelized Onions 

  • 2 pounds haricots verts or slender green beans, trimmed
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbsp of lemon zest
  1. In a pot, add water and salt and bring to a boil. Add green beans to pot and boil for 6 minutes. Drain and transfer to a bowl of ice water to cool. (You can steam as well).
  2. Slice onion lengthwise and melt butter and onions into a pan over medium-high heat. Add onions to pan and sauté for 1 minute, then reduce the heat to medium-low, salute until onions are tender and brown, about 20 minute.
  3. Sprinkle onions with salt, pepper, and add garlic.
  4. Add in green beans and raise heat back to medium-high. Salute until beans are heated through, about 6 – 8  minutes.
  5. Add lemon zest and mix until distributed.

Orange Ginger Cranberry Sauce 

  • 12oz of fresh cranberries
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup of water
  • Juice of ½ orange
  • ½ teaspoon of grated ginger
  • 1-2 tablespoon of honey
  1. Add cranberries, water, sugar, ginger and orange juice to a sauce pan and cook on medium heat until water is evaporated and to desired consistency, about 10 minutes.
  2. Once at the desired consistency, add honey to sweeten the sauce to your liking.
  3. Let cool, then refrigerate until ready to serve.

BONUS RECIPE – Gluten Free & Refined Sugar Free Pumpkin Pie 


  • 1 ¾ Cup of Pumpkin Puree
  • 3 Eggs
  • 2/3 Cup of Maple Syrup
  • 3 Teaspoons of Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1 Tablespoon of Cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract


  • 1 ½ cup of crushed almonds (or mix of pecans and almonds)
  • 3 Tbsp of Melted Coconut Oil
  • 3 Tbsp of Maple Syrup
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Combine Almonds, coconut oil, and maple syrup to food processor, mix until even consistency. Spread mixture into the bottom of a pie dish to form the bottom of the crust.
  3. Combine Puree, Eggs, Maple Syrup, Cinnamon, Salt, and Vanilla Extract and Pumpkin Pie Spice into a bowl until evenly mixed.   Spoon mixture into pie pan on top of almond crust.
  4. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, until the pie is firm.
  5. Let cool and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream with a dusting of cinnamon.

For more information on Clean Eating,please check out my Clean Eating Guide or set up a time to chat –

Clean Eating, Diet, Gluten Free, Health, Healthy Eating, Recipes, Weight Loss

Clean Eating Recipe: Zucchini Noodles with Homemade Marinara Sauce

So, it is no secret that I love a good kitchen gadget, especially one that is super simple to use and easy to clean up.  Recently, a good friend of mind sent me a Vegetti Vegetable Spiralizer (see below) and I am obsessed!  I decided to try it out by doing something simple, to really get a good feel for it.  For anyone who is skeptical, like I was, I promise you, it’s super easy and I think that this may be my new favorite way to eat “pasta” with marinara/tomato based sauce.    Plus, you don’t feel bloated, heavy, or uncomfortable after you eat it.  I actually was thinking that next time I double the portion size, just because I was still pretty hungry after eating my bowl of “pasta”.   Nonetheless, I am actually about to make another dish today, after I finish this blog, this time using a yellow squash I got from the Farmer’s Market this weekend and to finish off my homemade marinara sauce.


Using the Veggetti is much like sharpening a pencil.  You just decide if you want thick or thin noodles, I choose the thick option for my pasta and then just inserted the Zucchini and spiraled away. I left the skin on and it was perfectly fine.  As you can see, you get long strands of “pasta”.  So it is best if you cut the strands up a bit, so it is easier to eat.


Next, I decided to sauté the noodles in a pan with a touch of olive oil and I added some crushed red pepper and salt free italian seasoning, to give it more flavor and more of a “cooked pasta” texture.  I sautéed them for about 4 – 5 minutes, then immediately transferred them to a plate.


Then I topped with my marinara sauce, which I made the night before (Throw 2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes into a blend, blend up and pour into a pot, add seasoning, herbs, and some olive olive and cook for about 30 – 45 minutes. Add salt to cut the sweetness).   I also topped it with some parmesan cheese and it was delicious. I couldn’t believe how tasty it was and how I didn’t even miss the actual pasta.

IMG_4104.JPGThis is a great investment for anyone who is looking for a healthier option to pasta or who just wants to mix it up from time to time.  Click on the picture to get more information on how to get your own Veggetti, then make sure to share with me what recipes you create with it! 🙂

Veggetti Spiral Vegetable Slicer Makes Veggie Pasta – click to check it out on Amazon
Clean Eating, Diet, Gluten Free, Health, Healthy Eating, Recipes, Weight Loss

Quinoa 101: How to Make & Love Quinoa

designSo, many people ask me about Quinoa, pronounced Keen-Wah, as they often see it in my photos and meal plans. It’s also got a lot of interest, when I shared that it is part of my Top 8 Foods to Eat to Get Abs. So I wanted to share a bit more information about this staple in my nutrition and how to make it and love it!

What is Quinoa? 

It is actually a grain, not rice, as most people think, and it is gluten free and cholesterol free. It’s also a “complete protein” so it is perfect for vegans and vegetarians who need more protein in their diet.  A complete protein means that it is complete with all nine essential amino acids, plus it is also a great source of magnesium, potassium, fiber, iron and Vitamins B & E.

How to Cook Quinoa? 

It’s actually pretty simple to cook quinoa. Since it does a peculiar taste, I prepare it to be packed with flavor, as it will absorb whatever flavors are added to it.

  • 1 Cup of Quinoa (I like to give mine a nice rinse before I actually cook it, just to remove any residue and to give it a cleaner taste
  • 1.5 Cups of Organic Broth – I typically use chicken or vegetable, but if you are cooking it to accompany a heartier meal you could use beef stock
  • .5 Cups of Water
  • 1 Tsp of Olive Oil

Add all of those contents to a pot and bring to a boil, once it boils, reduce to a low to medium low setting and stir occasionally until the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa becomes fluffy and translucent.  That’s how you know it’s ready.

You can also add any seasonings or spices to the pot, if you would like.  For example, my aunt adds curry powder to her Quinoa.  I’ve also added garlic and rosemary or other herbs depending on how I serving it.  But that’s it pretty simple right?

What do you do with it? 

10409644_10106927488234934_150445255685398379_nI love to serve Quinoa as a side dish to chicken or fish, but I also love to make spruce things up, and I create various different types of pilafs or salads.  Here are some suggestions for you to use to make as standalone meals or side dishes that are picky eater approved!

  • 2 Cups of Cooked Quinoa, 2 Cups of Shredded or Diced Chicken Breast, 1 Cup of Diced Roasted Sweet Potatoes, 2 Handfuls of Sauteed Kale and 1/2 cup of Dried Cranberries (Pictured to the left – Click for recipe)
  • 2 Cups of Cooked Quinoa, 1 Cup of Diced Cucumbers, 1 Cup of Cherry Tomatoes, 1/2 Cup of Red Onions, 1/2 Cup of Feta Cheese & Greek Salad Dressing (used sparingly)
  • 2 Cups of Cooked Quinoa, 2 Cups of Roasted Veggies, Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing (used sparingly)
  • 2 Cups of Cooked Quinoa, 1 Cup of Shredded or Diced Chicken Breast, 1 Cup of Diced Tomatoes, 1 Cup of Chopped fresh mozzarella, Pesto Sauce (used sparingly)
  • 2 Cups of Cooked Quinoa, 2 Cooked Salmon Filets (flaked),  and sauté 2 Handfuls of Chopped Kale, 1 Onion, diced, 1 Cup of Cherry Tomatoes, 1 clove of garlic (crushed). Serve with a mustard or champagne vinaigrette (used sparingly).

All of these dishes make about 4 – 6 servings, so you can have them as full meals or as sides.

Bonus Points: 

If you are not quite sure how you want to use your Quinoa throughout the week, just make a double serving and store it in the fridge and then section it out through the week and just add in the ingredients listed above or get creative and add your own.

Hopefully, this is helpful for you as you venture out to try something new! For more Clean Eating Guidelines and Recipes, check out my Clean Eating Guide. 

Clean Eating, Diet, Gluten Free, Health, Healthy Eating, Recipes, Weight Loss

5 Ingredient Clean Recipe: Quinoa Salad with Chicken, Sweet Potatoes, Kale, and Cranberries

I am a big fan of meal prepping and when I know that I have a busy week ahead of me, the key is to make meals that are filling, satisfying and easy to grab and go.  Here is one of my all time favorites, especially because it can be eaten hot, cold or even room temperature – Quinoa Pilaf with Chicken, Sweet Potatoes, Kale and Cranberries.

Here is the recipe:

  • 2 Cups of Cooked Quinoa (I use 1 cup of dry quinoa, 1.5 cups of organic broth, and .5 cup of water with a splash of olive oil to cook my quinoa).
  • 2 Cups of Shredded Chicken (When I’m in a crunch, I buy a rotisserie chicken and shred the breast).
  • 2 Handfuls of Kale which I sauteed with a touch of coconut oil (if I had garlic I would have used that with it)
  • 1 Sweet Potato diced and roasted with coconut oil, salt, pepper and any other seasonings you want to add. Roast on 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.
  • 1 Handful of dried cranberries









Combine all ingredients together, add more seasoning if you would like or add a salad dressing if you would like.


Diet, Gluten Free, Healthy Eating, Recipes, Weight Loss

Cheesy Veggie Casserole (Gluten Free)

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Mother’s Day! Yesterday, we decided to skip the crowded restaurant brunch scene and I surprised my step mother with a healthy picnic outside with a Quinoa Salad and a Kale Salad. I will post the quinoa recipe later this week. My dad wanted to go out to a nice dinner, but my stepmom and I decided to cook together and whip up something tasty and healthy. She has been having issues with gluten lately, so we tackled making a comfort food dish that was gluten free. This is what birthed our Cheesy Veggie Bake.

We used quinoa and amaranth pasta instead of traditional pasta and we made our cream sauce with Uncle Bob’s Oat Flour.  Check out the recipe


  •   2 Packages of Ancient Grains Pasta
  • 1 Eggplant
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 Bell Pepper
  • 1 Container of Mushrooms
  • 1 Zucchini
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp of Italian Seasoning (salt free) of your choice

1. Boil the pasta per the directions

2. Dice up all of the veggies and place them into a large bowl.

3. Drizzle with olive oil (about 2 Tbsp) and the italian seasoning.

4. Toss in a bowl and pour onto a baking dish.

5. Roast on 400 for about 20 – 25 minutes, until the veggies are nice and roasted.

While the pasta and veggies are doing their thing, create your cheese sauce:

  • 2 Tbsp of Butter (the real deal, not the stuff in a tub)
  • 1 Tbsp of Oat Flour
  • 1 Cup of Milk (keep it on hand in case you need to add a bit more)
  • 1 Tbsp of the pasta water
  • 3 cups of grated cheese, we used Gruyere and Sharp Cheddar (leave a handful to sprinkle on top)
  • 1 tsp of Vegetable Bouillon powder
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • Salt, Pepper, & Vegetable Bouillon Powder
  • 1/4 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese

1. While the veggies are doing their thing, add the butter to a sauce pan and let it melt.

2. Add the flour and mix vigorously until the flour and butter have combined.

3. Add the Tbsp of the pasta water and continue to stir the butter and flour mixture

4. Slowly add the milk and continue to stir the mixture

5. Stir until it thickens up, you can add more milk if it is too thick, that’s what I ended up doing, slowly adding milk until it was a smooth and creamy state

6. Add the cheese and continue to slowly stir until it is a nice thick cheese sauce

7. Season with vegetable boullion powder, nutmeg, salt and pepper

IMG_0303Pour veggies and pasta into a glass baking dish, mix around so they are evenly distributed in the pan.

Pour the cheese sauce on top of veggies and pasta.

Sprinkle the handful of shredded cheese and parmesan on top of the mixture.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake on 350 for about 15 minutes, then broil for 3 – 5 minutes to add a crunchy cheesy crust on top.

It was delicious, comforting and no belly bloat afterward! Woo Hoo!

Also, here is the brand of pasta we used – Ancient Grains







Here is the brand of flour we used – Bob’s Red Mill Oat Flour