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!

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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.

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!