Happy Hanukkah to all who celebrate!
Thanksgiving dinner can be a minefield of temptations. While I’m all for enjoying special occasions and holidays, it can be really useful to be thoughtful about how and when you indulge. Plan your meal right, and you can have that slice of pie with a little more room in your belt at the end of the night.
21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix Extreme Creator and Celebrity trainer, Autumn Calabrese has some simple and helpful suggestions about how to get through Thanksgiving dinner (or any holiday meal) while sticking to your meal plan and you long term goals. Check her out-
It’s actually incredible how quickly my body has adjusted to getting the proper servings of vegetables each day. Whereas before I would start itching for a high carb, high sugar treat in the late afternoon energy lull, I now long for something crunchy and green. Not to say I wouldn’t go for a good pumpkin spice muffin if you’re offering… But seriously, my body has started to crave the real good stuff.
What also might surprise you is that both my husband and I are getting VERY full from our veg-heavy meals. It’s amazing what balanced nutrition can do! Now that we’re in the habit, it seems natural to have vegetables as the majority in most meals.
The only trouble? Keeping enough veggies in the house!
Set yourself free from sugar addiction and get on the good stuff. Eat real, whole foods, and fuel your body with only the best. Ready to join me and make a commitment to your health? 21 day Fall Fitness Bootcamp starts September 14th and space is limited! Click here to participate and learn more.
Search them on Instagram, I promise you, it’s a thing. It’s a thing for a good reason, too! Planning and preparing meals in advance is a great way to stay ahead in healthy eating.
This week it was my birthday. I didn’t feel like making a giant salad and portions of protein on Sunday. I took the day off for other things. Well, whaddaya think happened? Monday I went out for lunch, not ideal, but delicious. Then Tuesday rolls around and there was no time for lunch packing or breakfast making. I grabbed whatever was easy to transport or fast to throw together (my shipment of Shakeology needs to get here already). I sat down to eat lunch and immediately regretted skipping prep day. Hardly any veggies, not enough of anything, dense calories but not really satisfying…
When I fail to prep, I’m left with a raggletaggle bundle of random things. There’s most often no semblance of balance to my meals this way. I’m left hungry for that something that was missing (most often either the proteins or veggies), and I’m more susceptible to temptations and “easy” snacks.
Since I started the 21 day fix it’s been really interesting to see where the holes are in my eating habits. It’s obvious now I was definitely eating WAY TOO FEW veggies. That’s right. Not too many, too few. In this meal plan sometimes the issue is you need to eat more, not less. I would fill up on nuts and cereals, calorie dense foods but I’d still be missing something, and it was definitely veggies. By prepping my week day meals I’m able to make sure I have enough veggie snacks, protein, and veggie-full lunches to keep me going strong.
I’d love to hear new ideas for balanced lunches. Post your pics on my Facebook page or tag me on Instagram @Sarah_Ivy! Are you looking for a meal plan to follow? Drop your email below or send me a message here. I’ll help you find the best program for your goals.
Happy preppin’ y’all!
I’m falling in love with eating this way. Even just 5 days in I’m starting to worry what am I gonna do when the meal plan runs out!
Challenge Tip: If you need to pack your lunches and snacks as well as make dinner, at first be prepared to spend about 2 hours prepping food at night… make this a week you don’t have plans! It get’s faster but unless you are already a pro at this be prepared to spend time on it. You can find the Challenge details here, and here is a link to the printable version of the full challenge instructions and recipes (I found it helpful to print it out and put in a binder. You can read more here about my prep). Links to each day’s menu and recipe are included in the title, “Day #” below.
*Review Key: Eat it= Delicious. Skip it= you guessed it, I don’t prefer this item.
Other than the morning shake, all of the meals seemed more bland than I would have hoped. I could definitely feel myself detoxing from sugar and coffee. The Asparagus salad tasted a bit gross after being in the fridge overnight (Skip it). Perhaps my lemon was too big and made it too “lemony”. Since this is supposed to be a Sunday meal I’m guessing it’s not meant to be made in advance. Dinner wasn’t bad, just nothing to write home about. I think this is really the “cleanse” day… if you know what I mean. I felt great the next day and was all cleared out. I definitely recommend starting Day 1 on Sunday not Monday to see if these meals are better fresh.
Lunch was easy to prep in advance. I was worried about not prepping breakfast in advance since I can be slow in the mornings… I managed to get it all prepped in time, though the traffic still made me late :-(.
Both lunch and dinner on day 3 are SO GOOD.
Last night we went to a free, preview showing of the Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore movie Blended. They are always a cute pair and the film was funnier than I had expected. We got home really late but I was determined to stick to the challenge! I whipped up the Big Batch Cooked Lentils and Cauliflower steaks as swiftly as I could
Challenge Tip: If you need to eat dinner later like I do (because of my commute I can’t start prepping dinners until about 7pm most nights), you might want to consider taking your night time snack as an afternoon snack for between lunch and dinner. I’ve found that I’m really hungry around 3-4pm and need something to hold me over so I’m eating my morning snack
I’ll admit, when I saw the headline for the Buzzfeed Food Clean Eating Challenge I thought it was satire. I didn’t even click through. Later a friend mentioned that the recipes actually looked pretty good, so I gave it a second look.
Though the lengthy shopping lists and daily instructions seem a bit daunting at first, I was glad to see every detail of how to logistically follow the challenge laid out in full (i.e. prep this today, defrost that, etc.).
Be prepared to spend A LOT up front ($160+). We had many expensive ingredients already on hand, like chia seeds and flax seeds, and it still cost an arm and a leg.
Clean out your fridge in advance because you are going to need the room. I wish I’d taken a pick of the packed shelves before I started the meal prep!
I did most of my shopping at Trader Joe’s (that’s our usual store so we were headed there anyways). I ended up making a separate trip to Whole Foods and Meijer for the remaining vegetables that either were not available, didn’t look good or were too much in quantity at TJ’s ( I had to go to Meijer’s because Whole Foods was out of Arugala, apparently that’s a hot item on Mother’s day). If you don’t mind the price tag, you could do your full shopping trip at Whole Foods and avoid the running around. We also had a number of ingredients already in the house. Be sure to take stock before you leave to save yourself the money (and space!).
There is a bit of extra food prep on day 1 to get all of the smoothies frozen ingredients bagged up, and if you are going to need to pack your next day lunches to take with you, I recommend you start earlier in the day to prep, not 9pm. If you have any evening plans during the week you may want to pre-make or prep the ingredients for those as well.
Daily Instructions (instructions without images are included in the printable plan as well)-
I started on Monday (the plan starts on Sunday) so I’m just shifting each day forward one. So far so good!
Wish me luck! After just shopping and prepping I’m already a little nervous about what I’ve gotten myself into. If you’ve tried a challenge like this before or are doing it now too, or eat like this on a regular basis (look at you, super star!!), please comment with any tips or tricks for staying on top of it all.
Now let’s just see if I can go two weeks cranking meals out like this. The eating isn’t the hard part, it’s definitely the prep time.
To capitalize on my recent urge to write, I figured I’d go back and complete the series of posts about our little family trip up north this February. We spent 3 cold but fabulous days in Traverse City exploring the region with my mom. Read about day 1 here.
We woke up to a partly sunny second day in Traverse City, the wind was heavy but the sun was shining so we decided it was safe to make the trek up to Petoskey. First things first, we needed coffee.
Our original plan had been to go snow shoeing in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. They offer guided snow shoeing tours in the winter that sound pretty awesome. We called too late to book the tour for Saturday (they were already full), and we decided we that was probably for the better since we lacked adequate snow gear. If you haven’t been to the Sleeping Bear Dunes, I highly recommend a trip. The views are incredible and there are plenty of great hikes in the warmer months. I can only imagine the snowshoeing is awesome too.
Crow about it
According to Yelp, the only coffee joint near the Traverse Bay Inn is a local shop called Crow About It Coffee and Cakes. From the outside (strip mall) we weren’t sure what to expect, but we were impressed by the quality and thoughtfulness they put into their their coffees and treats. While ordering we got into conversation with the barista about their sugar-free flavor syrups. They have a TON of sugar free flavor options. Turns out all of the syrups they use have no dye in them, and the sugar free is sweetened with Stevia! They get their syrup from a local source who worked with them to remove all the dye and artificial sweeteners from the syrup they buy. The sugar flavors are made with organic sugar, too! You can taste the difference in the drinks, in a very good way. If you stay at any of the resorts along hwy 31 just east of Traverse City, this is a great little coffee shop for breakfast pastries and tasty drinks.
The drive up 31 took about an hour (it’s around 60 miles northeast around Lake Michigan). We drove through Charlevoix and planned to go back on the way home. Next time I would love to show my mom some of our favorite little shops there.
Roast & Toast
We rolled into Petoskey just in time for lunch. We spent New Year last year in Petoskey and had some of the best gluten-free sandwiches at a place called Roast & Toast. My mom is GF too and I couldn’t wait for her to try it. Their menu is HUGE. So many sandwiches!!!
I had the Peppered turkey with Swiss on Udi’s gluten-free bread. Mom had the grilled barbecue chicken sandwich on Udi’s, and Brian got a chicken ranch wrap and creamy chicken noodle soup (not GF). We loved our lunch, and it’s been packed with people both times I’ve been here, I’m guessing others love it too.
It started snowing while we were eating lunch, but that didn’t stop us from poking around all the little shops in Petoskey. I had to restrain myself from buying my niece “Bean” (due in June) every little adorable baby item I saw. At Grandpa Shorter’s I fell in love with an adorable pair of Minnetonka Mocassins, but I couldn’t convince my mom to buy’em.
American Spoon is a northern Michigan staple like Cherry Republic. So, of course, we had to take mom there to taste all of the delicious preserves and jams! While there we took advantage of the many samples. SO GOOD.
We brought home some Blueberry Cherry preserve, and my mom bought a cherry salsa to give to my aunt and uncle in New York. The shopkeeper gave her a recipe to make a chicken dish with the Cherry Peach Salsa, which I since have heard was DELICIOUS! The recipe was from their website here.
We stopped in a few more shops, including the adorable general store (pics below), before heading to Kilwin’s for some Michigan fudge.
Scariest Drive Ever
It was pretty clear out, but the icy roads and high winds gave us cause for worry so we headed home while it was still light. Highway 31 on the way into Petoskey was pretty icy and treacherous, so we opted for the inland route back to Traverse City. Though it was plenty sunny, the high winds and tall snow drifts on the roadside made it the most terrifying drive EVER. There were moments when it looked like we were driving through an ocean of snow. By the time we made it back to Traverse City I was a bit rattled and felt lucky we had made it back safely. The sunset at the other end of the drive made it well worth it!
Om Cafe dinner
Tired from the long day of exploring and driving, we opted for a low-key dinner. Om Cafe was the perfect, cozy, low-key choice. There is an Om Cafe in Ferndale just a few miles from where we live, but we haven’t made it there yet. After our yummy dinner in Traverse City I will definitely be trying the Ferndale location. My mom and I split the mushroom burger and stir fry noodles. We absolutely loved the mushroom burger. My mom swapped the cheese for goat cheese and it was sooooo good. Would absolutely get it again. We all shared the Cherry “cobbler” for dessert. The tart cherries and the nutty crumble topping were a great pair. It would have been incredible with a small scoop of vanilla rice dream ice cream!
Last year was one busy year. So busy that I hardly had a chance to share about all of our wedding festivities and preparation. Thinking back on happy memories is a great way to lift ones spirits, so I thought I’d begin the process of looking back and sharing our wedding journey :-).
We started with an engagement BBQ party hosted by my parents, and then another joint engagement party hosted by Brian’s parents celebrating his sister’s and our engagement. The coolest part: Brian’s parent rented an ice cream truck for the engagement party! We were so caught up in the excitement that I never got a single picture of the fun. If you are looking for engagement party ideas, I highly recommend a summer party with an ice cream truck, it was a hit!
Brian and I went on our first date April 6th, 2010. Three years later, on April 6th 2013 my best friend Micah and a close family friend hosted my first of 3 wedding showers. It was a gorgeous, sunny, California day. Sitting out in the bright mid-day sunshine, sipping on mimosas, surrounded by women I love, we celebrated our love and future! My favorite part: copious sunshine and my closest friends 🙂
A little later in April my mother-law’s friends got together to throw us another lovely wedding shower! They rented a space at a golf course and hosted a lovely lunch. Though we got some actual April showers that day, it was a really nice gathering and we were really grateful to have the chance to celebrate with Brian’s family. My favorite part? The AMAZING gluten-free cakes from Rumi’s Passion Gluten-Free Bakery in Plymouth Michigan. The hostesses were so thoughtful and even picked up some of Rumi’s Passion’s gluten-free dinner rolls for me to have with our lunch. I love this bakery, it is a fully gluten-free bakery with a ton of sweet and savory specialties.
At my old job I worked with an amazing group of women who became great friends (and luckily, I think this will be true for my new job as well). These lovely women put together an adorable tea party themed bridal shower at the office and I was happy as can be. One of my colleagues formerly worked at a home for aging nuns. There she met many older nuns who have a LARGE collection of assorted tea cups and saucers, and they were kind enough to loan them to her for the party. Each cup was unique and had that feminine delicate prettiness that makes tea parties so adorable. It was really a special day, I felt so loved and cared for with my work family around me, I will always be grateful!
At the beginning of June, Brian and his best friends headed up north to a rented home on Torch lake for a weekend of Bachelor party debauchery. To keep my mind of things, and as a loving gesture, one of my bridesmaids (the Best Man’s wife and amazing hostess-with-the-mostess, Jes) hosted a garden shower/bachelorette celebration that was absolutely divine! Jes has incredible taste and throws great parties. She pays attention to every detail and it always comes out beautifully. We started the afternoon with a backyard brunch. We all had a fair share of delicious (and strong) champagne punch, and were soon dancing away! We ended the night out on the town. We didn’t get into too much trouble though ;-).
Another delicious grab and go breakfast experiment!
We’ve been eating Banana Oat breakfast muffins in different variations for a few weeks so I decided to try another high protein option for those rushed weekday mornings. I’ve seen a few different “egg muffins” on Pinterest and I thought it might be fun to give them a try. Most of the Pinterest versions include a lot of dairy (cheese, milk, etc) and pig products (ham muffin liners, bacon bits, etc), but since Brian and I are cutting back on dairy and I don’t eat any pork products I made up my own version.
Here’s what I put in (makes twelve muffins):
1) Chop up the veggies and sausage into small pieces and mix together.
2) In a separate bowl use six whole eggs and with the other 6 separate out the egg white and yolk and use only the egg white. Add the almond milk and rice flour and whisk until mixed thoroughly.
3) Sprayed the muffin tin with coconut oil pan spray and lay about a half a slice of turkey into the tin as a liner.
4) Fill the cups of the muffin tin with a scoop of the veggie/sausage mix each. I filled them up pretty high since the egg mix filled in around it all. Pour the eggs, almond milk and rice flour mix over it.
5) I baked these for about 25 minutes at 350 (checking back until the center of the cups were solid and not liquidy).
6) Let them cool and enjoy!
I didn’t freeze any because I wasn’t sure how well they would thaw… a friend told me they thaw better with dairy in them. It didn’t matter though because between Brian and I we went through them in one work week. We’d pop them in the microwave for about 40 seconds in the morning. Super fast, satisfying and easy.
Weekends, the best of days.
What more are Sundays for than long walks with your pup, baking, and watching football? It may be early fall (or technically late summer) but we are settling in to Michigan’s finest season in style. Yesterday my alma mater #BeatND while we watched from my sister-in-laws birthday dinner celebration. Today, we are watching our Detroit Lions in style while enjoying delicious healthy muffins and even more delicious Mimosas. Ah weekends, I love you so.
Before the game today we took Brinkley for a long walk around the neighborhood. We had planned on putting her in her Lions jersey, but discovered that she is nearly twice the size she was last football season and will definitely need a new Jersey this year. I mean, a girl needs a jersey if she is going to watch football with her daddy, right?
Sunday’s are usually my meal prep day for the week (when I’m being good). So I spent the beginning of todays game making Banana Oatmeal Breakfast muffins that I discovered on Pinterest (here). I’ve made them once before and they taste and smell amazing! Full disclosure they stick to the muffin liners but are delicious enough that I don’t really mind. I used Trader Joe’s Gluten Free rolled oats and I added pecan pieces and some cocoa powder to personalize the recipe. They are serious yum.
To top off this relaxing afternoon, Brian suggested we pop open some wedding celebratory Champaign and make Mimosas. I’m telling you, these muffins pair very well with orange juice and Champaign. Happy Sunday and Happy Football day!