Vacation: From Washington DC to South Carolina- Days 1 & 2

Hey all!

It’s been a while since I’ve ventured to these parts, and while I’ve missed my outlet to share what’s been going on, life and food wise, we’ve been busy!

We recently just came back from a much needed and wonderful vacation, with which I’d like to share with you all!

Vacation, whether it be going away or staying close to home, is needed in this busy, sometimes stressful world we live in. We all work hard, both inside and outside of our homes, and leaving the normal responsibilities of life behind, even just for a little bit, definitely puts some pep back in all our steps!

I’ll be breaking our vacation down into different posts, to not inundate you with loads of pictures and words. We really had a wonderful time, and I hope you all have some plans to do what you love this year, whether it be travel, or just stay home!

Day One: Washington DC Bound!

The week leading up to our road trip vacation was a little chaotic, which made us crave some freedom! We were so excited to hit the road, mostly in part because we knew my momma would be staying at our house and caring for our sweet pups. Love my momma!

Our day started out not so bright (rain, rain go away) but definitely early, and we hit the road excited to get to our first destination, Washington DC!

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We stopped to get our beloved Starbucks, because well, vacation mode!

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The drive was nice into DC, cloudy but full of sunshine from our car! Love driving with the hubs, we have some of our best conversations in the car.

When we arrived to Washington, just a little after five hours, we were hungry. Okay, I’m lying, I was hangry. So after driving around for a little while and not having a clue where we wanted to go for lunch, we ended up at a really cute restaurant on Connecticut Ave! The irony! Lillies Restaurant & Bar was a nice treat to start our trip, and we definitely would recommend this restaurant for anyone in that area.

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Lillies is a family owned-and-operated Italian local neighbourhood restaurant, located steps away from the Woodley Park Zoo. It features modern Italian and Mediterranean cuisine.

We shared an appetizer of their calamari served with a herb aiola sauce, and it definitely curbed the hunger beast that may or may not have come out 😉

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Since we felt like continuing our shared lunch, we opted for their Herb Chicken dish and it did not disappoint.

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Herb marinated chicken in the house sauce, served with wild rice and steamed vegetables

We licked the plate clean, the hubs eating the rice and I enjoyed the vegetables with the tasty sauce!

After eating, we decided to visit the Smithsonian National Zoo! The sun was shining and it was free, so perfection!

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After the zoo we drove to our hotel for the evening, the Hyatt House in Herndon, VA. We  picked this hotel based on location and a great price. I would recommend it, it was clean, spacious, and had a free breakfast buffet!

After relaxing for a little bit, we showered and got ready for our dinner reservations at the Founding Farmers. After doing some research, I really enjoyed what this restaurant company stands for and I’m so glad we got the opportunity to dine there.

The values of the American family farmer are at the heart of all we do at Founding Farmers. Like the more than 47,000 family farmers who own our restaurant, we strive to work hard and operate with a genuine concern for our land and our community. We believe that everyone should be able to enjoy high-quality food that is delicious, and grown with care.

(To hear more about the restaurant, visit their website and then go eat there!)

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We started our dining experience off with none other than a well deserved bottle of vino!

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Cheers to vacation!

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For our appetizer we ordered the Bread, Chips, Crisps. This was served alongside four different dips, Romesco, Pimento Cheese, Green Goddess and Onion Dip.

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Here is where my love of pimento cheese became a reality. Oh my word, if you have never had it, go get some. Better yet, just make it yourself. It is so easy to make! I see that in my future summer festivities!

For my entree, I tried to remain with a healthier choice so I ordered their Rotisserie Chicken with green beans. It was very good!

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We wrapped up dinner, finishing our wine and talking about what the future week would entail. Then we headed back to our hotel because we had a 7 1/2 hour drive the following morning!

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Day Two: Road Trip to South Carolina

Day two started off early (again) because I was super enthusiastic to head down south! We got ready, put our bags back in our car, and headed to the free breakfast buffet the hotel had to offer.

Trying to be good in my low carb lifestyle (for there were many meals consumed during this trip that didn’t live up to that hype, haha), I went simple with an egg omelette and sausage with salsa. It was rather good!

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Back on the road again, we left the dreary Washington and headed straight for our lunch destination in Fayetteville, North Carolina. The hub’s love for BBQ runs deep, so after driving for about five hours, we went to Fuller’s Old Fashioned BBQ for their well known BBQ buffet.

Here’s my take on the buffet, it was good! Although, a lot of the food I felt was off limits for me, since I wanted to stay somewhat on track to my healthy goals, they had a great variety of BBQ, Chicken, and all the good ole’ southern comfort foods.

My plate consisted of chicken, okra, shrimp, corn and I caved and tried my first hush puppy! Mmmm, I get it now. Oh that I do.

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After lunch we continued down to South Carolina taking a very scenic route, and it was such a beautiful drive through the country. I would do it again in a heartbeat. The sun was out, the music was on and we were crossing a destination off our bucket list!

We went from this….

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To this!

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We arrived to our final destination around 4:00 pm, just in time to check into the Plantation Resort. We settled in, we explored the area, then went to the grocery store to stock our refrigerator with water and snacks. Afterwards, we relaxed and hit the hay because our vacation was just getting started!

Stay tuned!

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Weekly Review: Good Eats, Friends Date & The Weekend

Another week of March has come and gone, what?! In exactly five days we are going to be into April and I am so excited! April is my favorite month! Why you ask?

It’s BIRTHDAY MONTH!

One of my favorite parts of life is being able to celebrate my beautiful sister’s and my birthday together since they are only two days apart! This year will be different, for the mister and I are traveling during birthday week, but that doesn’t mean anything in regards to birthday month! 😉

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I thought we’d have coffee together on this dreary Monday and just recap our last week. Was yours good? I hope so! Not a lot of sunshine the past few days, but I know that it’s coming. “Be patient Melissa.”

Monday

Monday was a typical day in the life, meal planning, grocery store for vegetables, cleaning & organizing, and of course some time in the kitchen!

I made up a delicious Beef & Veggie Taco Pasta for dinner. Low carb √, healthy , dairy free  and easy √ ! I’m going to have to make it again, so I can share what I did, but all you need to do is make taco meat, add all the vegetable you want, pasta of choice, add a little pasta water to help make a sauce and there you have it!

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I also tried out a new recipe for dessert Almond Flour Blondies. I substituted swerve sweetener for the sugar, and halved the amount brown sugar called for by using truvia brown sugar. Then used dairy free chocolate chips. OMG. Get on that recipe. It’s good!

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Wednesday

Wednesday started out on a happy note, the sun was shining and I got to enjoy a lovely breakfast while reading my early birthday present from a dear friend!

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Trim Healthy Mama cookbook is amazing! So if you are looking for great recipes to add to your current way of eating, get on that! Thank you so much to my Lauren for the awesome surprise!

I then joined some of my favorites from work to see Beauty & the Beast! It is everything you dreamed it would be. At one point I did feel like I might be tripping (although I never have so hmmm). Just go see it!

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We ended up getting a late lunch at J. Timothy’s Taverne and it was really nice spending time with these lovelies outside of work.

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Buffalo Chicken Cobb Salad

I’m very grateful to have a job where we can all get together on a Wednesday, it really made for a great midweek treat!

Thursday

By the time Thursday came around, I was feeling the need to slow down {for no apparent reason} so the day is a blur. I’m sure I spent most of it relaxing and looking at recipes, because that’s what a foodie does, when she wants to do nothing!

We did have some delicious Roasted Cauliflower & White Cheddar Soup paired with some leftover ham. I used Kerrygold’s grass fed white cheddar (which I know is not dairy free) but sometimes, we have to indulge a little!

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Friday

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Can you believe this sunrise? That’s what Friday started with before work, and it was just gorgeous. I really need to start using my “adult camera” more. I am amazed at how beautiful nature, life, everything is, if we just take a moment to really see it.

Before we knew it, the weekend was here!

Saturday & Sunday

Our plans for the weekend were up in the air and I’m happy with how relaxed it was.

We enjoyed a delicious weekend breakfast.

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We went grocery store hopping- Market 32, Costco, Adam’s and Whole Foods in one weekend! (I would live in grocery stores if I could)

We hit up Whole Foods Hot/Cold Bar for some lunch.

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I found some great new items to add to my list of wholesome products I love. We are prepared for some healthy good eats this week!

We ate our favorite The Best Turkey Sloppy Joes over spaghetti squash.

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We marathon watched Bridget Jones, all three of them! Well, the dogs and I did.

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We spent time with our family for Sunday dinner.

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This handsome boy is always on the go, so that’s the best we did! I still love it.

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And we ended our weekend on a sweet note. Sugar free Strawberry Banana Jello, strawberries and coconut whip!

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All in all, a great week of good eats, some wonderful moments with the ones we love, and another week to be thankful for.

Until next time, enjoy all your moments, whatever they may be. They all count!

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies + Happy Spring

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Happy Spring! What what?!

I have all the faith that by next weekend all this white snow will be melted, flowers will be blooming and our souls will be warmer. No? Too far fetched? I’ll still be a believer. 😉

I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful weekend! While this was my weekend to work, it was a good weekend, both at work and out, so I call that a win!

My “weekend” started on Friday again, with some grown up responsibilities, baking (I’ll be getting to that), and my favorite breakfast! Thinslim’s low carb toast with two eggs and some cholula. Seriously, my all time favorite one and if you haven’t tried it, get on that!

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I went for a walk outside with my fur babies, and I cannot wait until it is nicer out again. I want to be outside now! Give me all the sunshine! Just like these two, trying to get the last of it.

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Later in the evening we went over to visit my family, have dinner and spend time with this little lady! Oh, how we adore her.

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Look at these fingers!

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We were missing our favorite boy but he was back by Sunday, so all was right in the world. So I’ll insert the best picture ever here.

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On Saturday, it was time for work but the mister made me a delicious, simple dinner to come home to, which was fabulous. I usually don’t really like red meat but maybe it’s because I’ve changed my diet so much lately, this steak was yummy.

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Sunday started off on a lovely note, we went for a coffee date before work. How much do we swoon over these new spring cups?! I had to get the grande because well, I love all things teal. I didn’t need it, definitely didn’t finish it (waster) but it made my heart happy!

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Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Latte with Almond Milk….. its good!

After work, we headed to Sunday family dinner, to spend more time with the family. There really is nothing better!

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Now that you maybe spent too much time reading above, let’s get to what you really want….these cookies!

These cookies don’t make me miss regular chocolate chip cookies, at all. They are easy to make, and I dare you to try not to eat the cookie dough before baking- it’s difficult. I hope you enjoy!

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Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup grass fed butter, softened
  • 1/8 cup truvia brown sugar**
  • 1/4 cup swerve sweetener**
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg + 1 egg white
  • 2 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup chocolate of choice (I use dairy free)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, add dry ingredients {almond flour, baking soda and salt} and combine, put aside.

In your mixer, add butter and both sugars and mix until combined and creamy. Add your egg, egg white and vanilla.

Slowly add in your dry ingredients until mixed and cookie dough is formed. Then, add in your chocolate chips.

Place silicone mat, parchment paper onto baking sheets for easy clean up. Using a cookie scoop {I use medium 40, which is about 1 1/2 tbsp of dough), scoop cookies onto baking sheet. Using your hand, flatten the cookies to about 1/4″ thickness.

Place in oven and bake for 14 minutes.

Yields approximately 2 dozen cookies

**You can substitute regular brown sugar, double to 1/4 cup- the truvia brown sugar is sweeter. You can also use equal parts regular sugar or sugar of choice. Swerve is a 1:1 ratio to regular sugar.

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These cookies are good. The mister sat with his glass of milk and finished off the remaining cookies while indulging me in my Fifty Shades Darker movie moment. Don’t judge!! (Either of us haha)

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Hope you all have a wonderful week!

Weekly Review: Food, Things & A Baby

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Hey guys! Wow what a week it has been, I hope it was a great one for you! I had a very long weekend that got stretched just a bit more with the snow storm, so I am rested and happy!

I really believe long weekends are the perfect solution for life. You have time to relax, get things crossed off your to do lists, spend time with people you love, and make memories! It’s just what any of us need to get ready for our upcoming days that could be full of work and obligations.

Friday

The weekend started last Friday for me, and it was such a lovely day! I had a doctors appointment in the morning {which allowed me to realize my next steps in this crazy journey to healthy}, and then met up with my favorite people to spend the day! My momma, sister and nephew!

We went to an appointment with my sister, then out to lunch at Ruby Tuesdays. It’s always a great spot due to their salad bar. Why don’t more restaurants do salad bar? Its amazing! While I am usually jumping right up to the chance to stand in front of all the options (give me all the food), I decided on their BBQ Chicken Salad because it sang to my heart.

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BBQ seasoned grilled chicken with roasted corn, black bean salsa, tomatoes, smoked bacon, avocado, and cheddar cheese. Tossed with BBQ ranch and finished with a drizzle of BBQ sauce and tortilla strips.

What is their not to love?! I sadly said no cheese please, but with the creamy avocado it wasn’t missed!

We then walked around the mall and let this little man make a forever, fuzzy friend!

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Love our day dates together with my ladies and favorite boy!

Saturday

On Saturday the hubs and I spent some time together and did errands in the morning. We ended up going out to lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings which wasn’t planned but the hanger monster came out. When it happens, she MUST be tamed, for reals. It should be a medical diagnosis, just saying. 😉

I ordered the Garden Salad with Chicken and had it with their southwestern ranch dressing.

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Grilled or Crispy chicken spun in your favorite BUFFALO WILD WINGS sauce. Served over a lunch portion of fresh greens topped with cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes, onions and croutons served with fat free ranch dressing.

Oh my goodness, it was so good! While the dressing is not on my plan, I’m striving for a mostly dairy free lifestyle with some exceptions. So I don’t feel guilty.

When the beast was happy, aka ME, we ventured home because it was game night with some of our favorite peoples. I didn’t take my phone out once during that, because while I would love to share photos of my beautiful friends, I really just enjoyed their company. So here is my face, in case you wanted to see it. No? I’ll share anyways.

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Sunday

Sunday started out with a nice workout, followed by his + hers protein shakes using my new Vitamix blender!

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I did some journaling, meal planning and then spent the rest of the day hanging out with my favorite guy and these furry faces!

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Dinner was simple but so good. Steak and roasted vegetables, mmmmm.

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Monday

Weekends go by so fast and I was sad to see my mister go to work Monday morning, but I kept busy doing all those grown up chores.

I made some Low Carb Chocolate & Coconut Amazeballs to have a delicious treat that adds in some more fat to my diet (doctors orders).

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I may have drizzled on some sugar-free chocolate because, well it just made them better.

I also recreated one one of my favorite meals at Applebee’s, the Oriental Chicken Salad! I made it a lot healthier and it was a nice treat for a Monday.

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We watched some TV and then were settling into bed when I got the call that my beautiful sister’s water broke! AHHHH!

::insert snow storm here::

Tuesday

While the snow fell and we were all trapped indoors with a travel ban, I paced through my house all morning. I wanted to be with my sister but it just wasn’t in the cards. I knew so many people were watching over her from above, and the love being sent to her from family and friends, came in bountiful measures.

So while we waited, and she waited continuing to bake my perfect little niece, I baked too. Just in the form of a Low Carb Kentucky Butter Cake!

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Get on this people! So good, and even better cold so put that cake in the fridge!

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Before we knew it, this perfect miracle came into our lives, and the rest of my week has been about this little one.

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It was a great week, no absolutely perfect week.

We are blessed, hearts exploding, happy people over here.

Low Carb Vegetable Lasagna Soup

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Spring is in the air people! The birds have been singing, we’ve had a lot of warm sunny days and I’m personally absolutely thrilled! So are my buddies, obviously.

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Despite good weather being on the cusp, there is snow on the horizon, and I decided to make some tummy warming soup. The kind that fills you up, makes you happy, and tastes unbelievably decadent. Although, it’s healthier for you and easy to make in one pot!

One pot meals are my  jam. Because I literally hate doing all the dishes and when you cook at home, dishes pile up everywhere. It’s the one major downside to eating at home, in my opinion. The good outweighs the bad though, delicious food made to show how much you love your family, that is winning every time.

I found this recipe on one of my favorite blogs Carls Bad Cravings. I had to tweak it though to fit my nutritional needs- lower carb, no meat {Lent}, and limited dairy. I have eliminated most dairy for over a week now, and I feel so good! Less bloat, more energy and I have restarted my weight loss from the plateau I’ve been in for a few months. I say limited, because I completely put parmesan cheese in this soup, and I’m not upset about it! 😉

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Vegetable Lasagna Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp grass-fed butter or ghee
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 4-5 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp each of dried basil, oregano, thyme, crushed red pepper and garlic powder
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp xantham gum
  • 1-2 tbsp gluten-free cornstarch {depending on how thick you want your soup}
  • 15 oz can cannellini beans
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 oz of uncooked pasta of choice {I use thinslim pasta}
  • 1 cup cashew milk {or almond milk, cream, milk, etc}
  • 9 oz fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, shredded or grated
  • water to thin recipe, if desired
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter/ghee in a large Dutch oven/soup pot over medium high heat. Add onions and carrots, cook for 4-5 minutes while stirring. Add bell pepper and garlic and cook for 1 minute, until garlic is fragrant. Add in all your spices and mix into vegetables. Sprinkle in xantham gum.

Turn heat to medium low and gradually stir in 7 cups of the chicken broth. Stir in beans, bay leaves and pasta, bring to a boil then reduce to simmer to allow vegetables to fully soften and pasta to cook. Stir occasionally so pasta doesn’t stick to the bottom (approximately 15-20 minutes).

Whisk 1-2 tablespoons cornstarch with 1 cup additional chicken broth and add to soup, to thicken.

Turn heat to low, discard bay leaf and stir in milk {of choice} and spinach, warming through. Stir in 1 cup Parmesan cheese until melted. Stir in additional chicken broth or water if desired for a less “chunky” soup. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

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Now it’s time to enjoy! This is a thick, creamy soup that is so good. I didn’t miss the meat, but if you want to add it, go ahead!

What I love most about soup is that it is so versatile. You can add anything to it, and it usually will end up being the best bowl of soup you’ve ever had!

So while we have some snow coming our way over the next week, grab your veggies and get chopping! Soup’s on!

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Zucchini & Sausage “Baked Ziti”

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Mmmmmm…..just say that with me. Mmmmmm….

Now that we’ve established our favorite noise for the day, let’s get on with the good stuff.

Food. Be still my beating heart.

I will never be able to give up my passion for food. I may be on a journey to healthy, but that doesn’t stop me from creating good real food that both my stomach and heart purely enjoy.

They say weight loss is approximately 75% diet, 25% exercise. They also say that the 90/10 rule is a pretty good guide for eating healthy. Eating healthy and on point 90% of the time seems pretty decent, if you ask me. I believe in a cheat meal a week mentality. I don’t think anyone can be perfect 100% of the time, because let’s be real- who wants to live that life? I don’t.

That being said, I am all about changing what is meant to be a cheat comfort meal, into a healthy meal I can eat whenever I want!

For example, in walks pasta, dives head first into a steamy jacuzzi of sauce, then welcomes a cozy blanket of cheese. That is my love language.

I can’t have pasta though. So instead we use our trusty zucchini and spiralizer to make dreams come true. It’s amazing and my life is forever changed.

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Zucchini & Sausage “Baked Ziti”

Ingredients

  • 2 large zucchinis, spiralized
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
  • 1 lb italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 tbsp italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (depending on level of heat you like)
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese + more for topping
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese + more for topping
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large oven safe sauté pan, brown and crumble sausage.

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When cooked, add diced onion and pepper to pan. Saute 5-7 minutes until vegetables start to become tender. Add minced garlic and saute 1-2 minutes until fragrant.

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Then add diced tomatoes and marinara sauce.

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Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, italian seasoning and crushed red pepper flakes. Add 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese to sauce. Allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes and for sauce to thicken. (When zucchini is added and cooked, it will give off water).

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When sauce has thickened, add 1/2 cup ricotta cheese and mix into sauce.

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Pour in zucchini noodles and mix into sauce.

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Top with dollops of ricotta cheese and shredded mozzarella.

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Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, until cheese is melted. Set oven to broil on high for 3-5 minutes until cheese is browned and bubbling.

 

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This dish is full of so much flavor! The zucchini noodles are cooked just right with a little bit of bite, leaving your palate feeling like you are eating al dente pasta!

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The cheese, oh the cheese. No description ever needed. I heart cheese, hard.

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Please make this. The husband told me he’d eat it once a week from here on out. That’s a big ole’ compliment in my book!

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Happy eating my friends!

 

Last Date of 2016

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If there is one piece of advice I could give anyone in regards to relationships, it would be this….

Date each other.

No matter how many years you’ve been together, no matter how your situation has changed, kids, jobs, life….

Date each other.

Your hearts deserve that happiness called the beginning of every relationship, the love bubble. You deserve to keep that feeling alive throughout your lives together, and the best way to do that….

Date each other.

Our last date of 2016 was a good one, it left our hearts happy and was the perfect end to a year full of much hard work and joy!

Our first stop of the day was to Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory & Gardens, to spend some time with one of my most favorite little beauties, butterflies.

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It was relaxing, happy and so wonderful to have them all flying around us.

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Some even enjoyed some quality time.

I have always had the belief that a butterfly that lands on you, is a little angel in your life that has passed, coming to visit. I don’t know why this has always been my belief, but nothing is going to change that. It’s a beautiful thought and it makes me happy!

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After that magical moment, we went to Yankee Candle Village. Oh my goodness, is all I can say. There is so much to see, and so much you can buy! I really enjoyed our time there, looking at everything, smelling the candles and just being with my husband.

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I was able to finally get something that I have wanted for a long time, my mantra bracelets! Words are very meaningful to me, I am a quote junkie and certain things just call to my very sentimental side. These bracelets represent all that the past years have been and what 2017 will be, a continuation of our infertility journey, our journey to parenthood.

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After spending what seemed like not enough time to soak in all that Yankee Candle had to offer, we took a drive to Richardson’s Candy Kitchen.

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Because what is the end of the holiday season without candy, right?

Immediately upon walking through the door, you are greeted with the most amazing smell of chocolate everything. How do people work there?!

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I was happy to see that they have a selection of sugar free candy for those of us that can’t have sugar. I know it isn’t the best choice, but we all need to live a little!

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We continued to drive around the area to site see for a little while, not much to report but we enjoy our drives 🙂

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Later in the evening, we went to Chandler’s Restaurant for dinner. I had high hopes for this place, but the food wasn’t amazing. We still had a good time in the cute and cozy environment.

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Calamari

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Pork Tenderloin Marsala with Pecorino Romano Spaetzle

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Crab Cakes

I love dates that last all day and feel very blessed that we have been able to continue this tradition. Life is busy, we both work (which we are grateful for) but making time for each other is very important in our lives. We are definitely looking forward to what 2017 has to offer!

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If you haven’t gone on a date in a long time, try to make it happen! You will feel like a new couple, I promise you!

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Spinach & Bacon Smothered Chicken

The fall has been good to us this year. Beautiful, vibrant colors and the most delightful sunny days have been our normal. Such amazing weather can temporarily transport you back to the summer heat, but then you are reminded when the leaves continue to fall, that autumn is more than already upon us.

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We have spent a large amount of our time outside this year and I have loved the fresh breeze on our faces, and the pure happiness being outside brings.

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I hope you have been able to enjoy all that autumn’s beauty gives us and if not, it is not too late! Go outside and play in the leaves!

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If the weather is a little dreary in your neighborhood, then pour yourself a steamy hot cup of coffee or a nice smooth glass of wine, either works just fine. Then break out all the ingredients for this delicious dish and get cooking! While it is easy to make (always a winner in my book), it has so much flavor and feels like quite the fancy dinner! It’s definitely a hit with guests!

Spinach & Bacon Smothered Chicken

Makes 4 servings

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Ingredients

  • 1 lb chicken breast, cut into 4 pieces
  • Salt, pepper and garlic powder {to season chicken}
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tsp minced garlic
  • 9 oz fresh spinach
  • 2/3 cup light cream
  • 2/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup of shredded cheese of choice {more mozzarella, pepper jack, cheddar, etc}
  • 1/2 lb bacon, cooked and crumbled

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Season chicken breasts on both sides with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Spray a 9X13 baking dish with nonstick spray and place chicken in baking dish. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Heat tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat in medium/large skillet.

In the skillet, add your spinach and sauté allowing spinach to wilt down.  Add in minced garlic, sauté until fragrant. Then add in light cream. Bring to a light boil and remove from heat. Stir in your shredded mozzarella and grated parmesan cheese. Place back onto heat, turn down to simmer and keep stirring until you have a smooth creamy spinach. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon creamed spinach over chicken breasts evenly, then top with crumbled bacon and shredded cheese of choice.

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Place into the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until chicken cooked through. Then, turn the oven to broil on high and allow cheese to become slightly browned and bubbly. Remove from oven and enjoy!

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This recipe is delicious and easy to make! The best creamed spinach I’ve tasted! So you can try that as a regular side dish!

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Pair it with any side that you fancy. Or just eat it alone, you could do that. You can do anything you want.

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Happy Eating!

Do you have a favorite creamed spinach recipe?

Sausage, Spinach & Ricotta Frittata

Whenever I hear or say frittata, I immediately want to break out into dance, is anyone else with me?

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Whether or not the word invites you to move those hips, the aroma of this easy and delicious dish, will definitely have you running to the kitchen!

It’s light, fluffy and packed with some awesome ingredients, that will surely leave you asking for an extra serving!

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I originally saw this recipe on Racheal Ray Show, and adapted it with one tasty ingredient to make it just a little heartier for my dear husband.

It was a complete success and I am looking forward to the leftovers feeding me some breakfast and lunch over the upcoming days!

One of my favorite meals is brinner (breakfast for dinner) and to be absolutely the corniest person you will encounter today, this brinner was a winner!!

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Sausage, Spinach & Ricotta Frittata

Ingredients

  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4-5 Italian sausage links, casings removed
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • salt and pepper
  • 6 oz of fresh spinach, chopped
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Directions

Preheat oven to 375.

In a large ovenproof skillet over medium high heat, add the italian sausage. Break sausage up with a spoon and allow to cook. When mostly browned, add diced onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes. If there isn’t enough cooking fat/oil in the pan from the sausage, this is when you would want to add a little olive oil.

Next add the minced garlic and thyme, allowing the ingredients to merry together and become fragrant. When the onion is translucent, add the spinach and allow to wilt and cook down.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, the ricotta and parmesan cheese together.  Season with salt, pepper and ground nutmeg.

When the sausage spinach mixture is cooked, pour the egg mixture over the top and evenly spread out the sausage and spinach with a spoon or fork.

Place into the oven and bake for about 20 minutes until the center is just set. Take out of oven, allow to cool or serve right away.

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Serve it along side a salad, or with some toast.

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You won’t feel guilty eating this, which as you already know is my favorite kind of meal!

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Do you have a favorite brinner recipe?

Life Lately…It’s Fall!

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The end of summer has come and gone so now it’s time to enjoy the beautiful season of fall! While I’m sure we were all sad to see the longer days of sunshine leave us, there is something so wonderful about this current season.

From the crisp, fresh air to the absolutely breath taking views of the leaves changing colors, these are just a few things that the lovely autumn has to offer us!

I know I am not alone in saying when fall rolls in so does my desire to be in the kitchen more. This is the time to make more hearty meals, bake more and time to slow down and enjoy the people in your life. Since fall is already here and the days seem to go by much faster as we age (thanks momma, for always driving that point home 🙂 ) I am trying to embrace all our moments. There is no better time to do something than the present because every day is such a gift. Maybe that is what fall is all about. Learning to slow down from the hot and busy summer, and to really be grateful for everything you have in this life.  It’s like a yearly reminder that the holidays are coming, and there is so much to be thankful for, every single day.

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There are many wonderful activities to do in the fall and I am hoping to cross these off my list this year!

Fall 2016 Bucket List

  • Big E  Done!
  • Apple picking
  • Make Low Carb Pumpkin & Apple Treats
  • Cornmaze
  • Haunted House
  • Pumpkin Carving/Decorating
  • New England Day Trip to see the leaves
  • Go on a fall picnic
  • Autumn Hike

These are just a few things I hope to do, I’m sure there are so many more!

Until I am able to cross off those activities, I’ll take a step back and reminisce about the past month or so.

There has been fun activities with some of my favorites…

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There has been some delicious eats….

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Pecan Crusted Chicken Salad…last salad of the season!
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Philly Cheesesteak Mini Meatloaves
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Low Carb Blueberry Cheese Danish Coffee Cake

There has been the continued hard work on our new deck…

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There has been many strolls with these lovelies….

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Quiet time too….

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We also celebrated 12 years of dating each other by going out to Marketplace Kitchen & Bar for dinner! While it was a bit noisy, the company was amazing and we shared this awesome appetizer that I will one day recreate. So simple, but yet, so tasty.

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Fresh mozzarella wrapped in prosciutto, over garlic spinach and vodka sauce

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There is nothing more that I love to do, than just spend time with this handsome face. He really has been my rock, my best friend, and life entertainer for these past 12 years. I feel so blessed to have spent these moments with him, and hope for as many more that we are able!

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What are some of your favorite fall activities?