Joys of Summer


It’s been a while, I know.  I guess I haven’t felt very inspired lately, but it is amazing how changing your life direction can change your whole outlook.  I have applied to go back to school in the Fall.  Very nervous about whether or not I will get in, even more nervous about paying for it, but I do feel a sense of pride today.  Applying is the first step and I may not be able to control what comes next, but I am very happy about actually doing something about it.

So, inspired by today’s events, I have decided to share with you some of the little things that make me happy.  It is so important to remeber the little things.  It is easy to be dragged down by everything in life that isn’t how you want it to be. The secret to happiness is to find love and joy in each day.  Sounds so corny and lame, but the older I get, the more I find it to be true.

1.  Losing enough weight to cross my legs comfortably

2.  Freaking out about finding some sort of growth, just to realize it’s a bone that had been hiding under fat all of that time.

3. Summer vegetables!

4. Peaches, 99 cents a pound!

5.  Going for a run and being drenched with sweat. What could make you feel more accomplished than sweat?

6.  My new favorite recipe. Seriously this is so good, you need to make it tonight.

Michael Symon’s Chicken Amandine

Obviously, I don’t use the butter (just enough olive oil to make a bit of a sauce), but everything else is good to go.  Please make this, I mean it!


A Day in Food


I’m no picture of perfection, that’s for sure.  I just wanted to share with you what I typically eat in a days time.  That is not to say that I don’t have occasional slip-ups, I certainly do, not to mention those days when I have a little too much dark chocolate.  The point is, I am very proud of the way my food has shaped my mind and really my whole life.

All of the food I eat is prepared by me.  I know where my meats come from and that they are fresh and preservative free, I know that my vegetables are organic.  I know that my nuts are roasted with sea salt and nothing else.  I don’t always do everything right, but I do feel good about what I put into my body, even if I have a slip-up.

Before we start, I would like to make mention that in addition to the food I eat, water is an extremely important part of my wellness.  Every day I attempt to drink a minimum of 80 oz.  I rarely have anything else to drink and if I do, it is a cup of coffee with a bit of coconut oil mixed in.  Just remember anything that has caffeine is a diuretic.  Meaning if you have 8 oz of coffee, you need to replenish your body with 8 oz of extra water (above and beyond your normal water intake) to sort of cancel out the caffeine.

Let’s begin!


Who doesn’t love breakfast? If you don’t, start to love breakfast! I eat a lot of my fruit in the mornings, and this breakfast always gives me plenty of energy throughout the day.  Bacon is usually a no no, but no worries, I live in pork country.  This means that I can easily get fresh, preservative free bacon. Makes me very happy.  Oh and the bacon is accompanied by raspberries and sweet potatoes, in case my photography sucks and you can’t tell….it does by the way.


Okay, this has to be my favorite snack.  An apple, cored, and sprinkled with cinnamon (take note: NOT CINNAMON SUGAR…there is a difference.) What is that delicious substance where the core used to be? Almond butter, the best thing ever.  Go easy on the almond butter, but this really makes a lovely post workout snack.


Boneless skinless chicken thighs seasoned with cumin, coriander, paprika, garlic powder, and s and p baked at 425 F for about 30 minutes.  Really simple and delicious served with roasted okra (cut the okra into bite size pieces, place on baking sheet, add olive oil, salt and pepper. bake at 425 F for 20 minutes) and carrots.  I eat a lot of carrots.


More carrots! some pistachios and grapes! very yummy.


I grilled some white fish and served with sauteed kale, tomatoes, garlic, onions, and mushrooms.

Thanks for checking out my food! If you have any questions you are always welcome to contact me @  Or you can like me on facebook and send me a message! Twitter works too!

Health and Happiness,


Calories vs. Nutrition



Calories.  We all know that I don’t talk about calories often, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t matter.

I do not count calories.  I used to, but I became so overwhelmed and so distraught when I didn’t reach my calorie goals, that I had to find a better way.  Calorie counting knocked me off track more often than any other method of weight-loss I have tried.


Because with calorie counting, I thought I could eat all the food I have always eaten, in smaller portions, and lose weight.  The problem with that is the food I have always eaten is highly addictive.  Bread, sugar, processed foods…my body wouldn’t take no for an answer.  It wanted all of the calories I could take until my brain FINALLY communicated that I was full.  By the way, I was usually sick by that point.

I have found a better way.

If you eat good, whole, real foods with plenty of water and slowly with intent, you don’t have to count calories. Calories do play a part in weight-loss, I’m not saying they don’t.  My point is, when you eat the food your body needs with the amount of water your body needs, and at a healthy pace, you will most likely end up in your target calorie range.  Calorie counting was an important part in my journey, because now I can recognize what the proper amounts of food are.  If you are in control of your food, instead of the other way around, you will be successful with this school of thought.

The most important thing you can remember about calories is that a high calorie food does not necessarily mean it is unhealthy, Just as a low calorie food does not mean that something is healthy.  Calories are not commentary on the nutrition of the food. They have everything to do with energy.

We all slip up, trust me, even though I eat good food, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.  Examples: I have a really hard time not eating too much almond butter and chicken. Well…not together, but you get me, right?

How do I control my almond butter obsession? I don’t allow myself to eat it by the spoonful.  Oh it is so painful to let that one go, but I have to control my food.  Darn deliciosness. I core an apple, slice it in half, put almond butter in the valleys of both halves, and sprinkle the apple flesh with cinnamon. Seriously the best snack ever and I exercise an annoying thing called portion control.

Chicken.  I really love chicken and all meat, really.   This is something I’m really struggling with.  When I started my no grain, no processed food, no legumes, no dairy, no sugar life; it was really important to me that I would replace those things with vegetables and fruits, not more meat.

Meat can be a really scary thing.  The way animals are raised and treated makes me very weary of what you can get in a grocery store, regardless of what the packaging says.  I try to make the best decisions when it comes to purchasing meat, but really, you don’t actually know what you are getting.

Another reason I don’t want to eat too much meat is because your body has to have balance.

Do you remember Highschool chemistry? Think back…remember acid, alkalines, and homeostasis?  Well that might be some biology too…I don’t know, I wasn’t the best student.

This is critical to the way your body works! Certain foods are considered acids and others are considered alkalines.  We have to have both and we have to balance them.  What happens when we don’t balance our diet? Your body has to do it itself.  This isn’t pretty, because your body will deplete nutrients and minerals to keep itself balanced.

Examples of acidic foods: meat, grains, sugar

Examples of alkalizing foods: most fruits and vegetables.

Here is a great list further explaining acidic and alkaline foods.

This makes sense doesn’t it? As you might guess, the SAD (Standard American Diet) is highly acidic.  With all the bread, meat, cheese, and potatoes we eat, our bodies don’t stand a chance at being balanced.  So when our diet is too high in acid, the body seeks out alkalines and that is often found in the minerals our body needs.  No wonder people get sick and fat.

Calorie counting may work for you, but don’t forget about nutrition.  Always consider what your body needs to function versus what you want to eat.  When you become educated about how food functions in your body, it really is easier to make better decisions.

Knowledge = No Excuses

Comfort Food, The Better Way


My oh my what a week it has been. I know, it’s probably been quite a week for you too, so I won’t even start to complain.  I’ve been a bit disheartened as of late, because the scale has really slowed down.  I went from losing about 2 pounds a week to about .5 pound a week.  I think I have hit a plateau of some sort, but I do feel that my body is still changing in a good way, regardless of what the scale says.  This is possibly due to a higher intensity workout….well, hopefully.  Atleast i know I’ve been making excellent choices for my body, nothing bad can come from that.

Now for an awkward segue….

My dad’s favorite meal is Spaghetti and Meatballs.  I’ve never really been a fan of this dish, mainly because my mom is not a little Italian grandmother (sorry Mom), and it always seems to lack something.

Being the good daughter I am, I decided to cook his favorite dish in a way that everyone in the family could eat, guilt free.  Now I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this before, but my dad is a picky eater.  He wants everything prepared the same way his mom made it, and well that just doesn’t fit in with a healthy lifestyle.  So he can go ahead and grumble and groan when I replace spaghetti with zucchini, but come on man, we have to get your health under control.

That sounded a bit rant-ish, didn’t mean for it to happen that way.

I made a lasagna a few months ago using zucchini as the noodle and it was absolutely delicious, however, dairy is a thing of the past for me and I refuse to do a lasagna without cheese.  Zucchini is not exactly the easiest pasta replacement; you have to deal with all of the water that comes along with the vegetable.  I would say the secret to the deliciousness of this recipe is the homemade marinara.

This was seriously good, I wouldn’t post anything that wasn’t.  I did not miss a real noodle at all.  It was satiating and most importantly, comforting.


Yes, it really is as good as it looks.

Zucchini Spaghetti and Meatballs

For the Marinara:

  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 8oz pkg of mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 oz of quality sausage (that means fresh, real, no preservatives, at the very least make sure it doesn’t have nitrates or nitrites)
  • 1 32 oz can of tomatoes, doesn’t have to be exact and can be whole, crushed, or diced. Just make sure that you look at the ingredient list (all natural ingredients) and San Marzano tomatoes are really the best!
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (may omit if you don’t like any kind of spicy)
  • 2 Tbs minced basil
  • Olive oil

To make the marinara:

1.  Heat 2 Tbs of Olive oil in a pan (should be atleast a 3 quart pan, I used a 5 quart and it was perfect) to medium high heat. Add The mushrooms and cook until browned. Add onions and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Saute until the veggies are limp.

2.  Add sausage and red pepper flakes, cook until sausage in brown.  Add the chicken broth and scrape the brown bits off of the bottom. Add the tomatoes, italian seasoning, and a bay leaf.  break up the tomatoes as much as possible and bring to a slight boil.  Turn down to a simmer and let it simmer away for an hour.

3.  Remove the bay leaf, salt and pepper to taste, and serve over pasta!

For the noodles:

  • About 1 zucchini per person, for the amount of sauce listed above, 5 zucchinis were perfect

1.  Using a vegetable peeler, remove most of the dark outer skin.  With the peeler, make thin strips of zucchini.  Be sure to avoid the seedy centers.

2.  Put the zucchini strips into a colander and salt.  Make sure to mix it together so that all of the zucchini is evenly coated.  Let stand for 30 minutes, and then rinse the salt off. (This helps the zucchini shed some of its water)

3.  Bring 4 quarts of salted water to a boil.  Add zucchini and boil for 1 minute, remove and drain.

To put the dish together!:

On a platter, spread the zucchini noodles out, but not too thin.  Top with sauce and lightly drizzle with olive oil.  Top the sauce with your favorite meatballs! I would have included a meatball recipe, but it’s not a particularly special meatball.  I figured we all have our favorite meatball recipe, just make sure you use quality meat!!!! And if you’re paleo: no milk, cheese, or grain in your meatball!

Lemon Mint Ginger Bars


Oh man do I have a treat for you.  Have you ever had a Larabar? Me neither, can’t afford them or even find them anywhere local.  I’ve really wanted to try one and then I ran across this recipe. Sweet, sweet success.  Now this is delicious and what makes them sweet? Dates.

Oh man, dates should not even be considered a fruit.  Weighing in at a whopping 26g of sugar for a serving (about 5 dates), it should be considered a sweet treat instead of a serving of fruit. I know, I spoiled all of the fun.

I officially endorse this as the best thing ever.  I know, I know, you people have to have my approval to try something.  I should calm it down with the sarcasm.

I love that this is sweetened with fruit instead of having to add honey.  I consider it a treat, but I think you can have this one a little more often than my normal suggested treat distribution. Perfect for post workout, because we all know that our bodies handle sugar better after a workout (something to do with insulin…I should research this further) and it gives a decent dose of protein.

I found the original recipe here and I fell in love! I have never been so excited about a fruit and nut bar that is so packed with wonderful nutrients.  I have tweaked the recipe a bit, because I just need more of the lemon flavor and I wanted to add an herb to freshen it up!


Lemon Mint Ginger Bars

  • 1 cup of sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  •  1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 1/2 cups of pitted dates
  • The zest of 2 lemons and the juice of only one of the lemons
  • 2 tsp of grated ginger
  • 5 mint leaves, torn

1.  Combine all ingredients in a food processor

2. Process until the mixture forms a ball

3.  Line a 9x 9 baking pan with parchment and press mixture into pan

4. Refrigerate a couple of hours and cut into bars of whatever size you desire

Tip: They taste wonderful right out of the food processor, but let them sit over night and the flavors really come out!

A House Divided


Cooking dinner at home has become an interesting experiment and I’ll tell you why:

My dad wants everything fried, my mom is allergic to wheat, pork, strawberries, carrots, all nuts, and all citrus. Also, refuses to eat anything that is slightly spicy.  I of course do not eat grains, dairy, legumes, processed foods, or sugar.  Talk about a conflict of interest.

It’s worse than living with a bunch of picky 3 year olds.

So what ends up happening? Luckily, the person with the strictest dietary needs does all of the cooking (that would be me!).  I refuse to be a short order cook, but I do have to modify my meals from time to time.  Here are our most popular meals and how I modify them:

Stuffed Bell Peppers: There is rice in the hamburger mixture so I just leave the rice out of mine. It’s not too big of a deal.

Fish: My Dad refuses to eat fish if it isn’t fried….which is highly irritating, but I need to keep him somewhat happy.  I usually end up oven frying the fish and leaving the breading off of the fish for my mom and myself…so basically he eats fried fish and we eat baked fish.

Fajita night: I saute onions, mushrooms, garlic, and bell peppers with whatever meat I have (steak strips or boneless skinless chicken thighs) add some cumin and it is absolutely delicious.  I reduce some black beans in chicken broth with some cumin and garlic powder ( I used to love these and I miss them dearly). I put this out with flour and corn tortillas, rice, and all of the fixin’s.  So I just end up eating the meat with the sauteed veggies, tomatoes, and lettuce, but both of my parents can eat everything I put on the table.

A Roasted Chicken: We can all eat this and it is absolutely delicious.

My general rule is that I serve a meat with two vegetables and always have fresh fruit on the table.  It used to be a requirement that we have some sort of potato or bread with every meal and every now and then I will still serve it to them as a special treat.  It is extremely important to me that everyone who sits at the table can eat a balanced meal from the selections at the table, and yes, that means more time spent in thought and preparation.

That Roasted Asparagus I have at the top of the post? I have to serve the lemon zest on the side, because of my mom’s citrus allergy.  Where there is a will, there is a way!

Children.  I have a 3 year old niece and I watch her often, so I also have to consider what she likes to eat.  This is actually easy.  If she helps me cook dinner, she is proud and will eat whatever is on the table.  She also knows that Aunt KK (that’s what she calls me) will not let her eat junk and has accepted this fact.  She is very conditioned to eat what we eat and does not make a fuss.  Maybe I got lucky, or maybe I did something right, either way I have no issues with her being picky.  It takes A LOT of patience to cook with a 3 year old, I’m sure a lot of you know this, but you have to find a task that they can complete; it is excellent for their self esteem.  A child with a great self esteem, makes a happy adult.

Once you get the hang of it, your thought process becomes automatic when cooking.  Your mind will automatically eliminate foods that your family can not eat and preparing dinner will become as easy as it ever was.

Food allergies and gluten intolerances have really become prevalent in the past few years and you may find yourself frustrated when a family member has a special food need.  Don’t let this discourage you! When one door closes another door opens.  You will go out into the world and find delicious foods that you may not have found otherwise!

When my mom was diagnosed with all of her food allergies, she thought she had to live a life of eating chicken, potatoes, and rice.  It’s not true! Don’t be depressed by a food allergy, get adventerous and find new foods that you love that you can add to your diet.  The world is full of foods to try, don’t get stuck in a rut!

Now, you will fail.  Your family will hate some meals you cook, but that just comes with experimentation.  What if Edison had given up after his first failure? There is an amazing world past the failure, that you have to explore.  Don’t be afraid to try.

Health and Happiness,


30 Day Challenge Announcement!


I have discovered the joy of dates (the delicious fruit, not awkward, forced conversation at some dumb chain restaurant), nothing good can come from this.

Oh wait, that’s not what this post is about.  

Oh yes, the 30 Day Challenge, I’ve been talking your ear off about (or typing your eye off about?) it for the past month.

I have decided to relax the rules a bit and give you until May 15th to send me your before/after pictures! No worries I will not show these to anybody.  However, if you had mind blowing results, I will definitely ask you if I can share it on my blog! You most certainly may refuse, of course.

You’re welcome for the extension…maybe you need a few more days to catch up on a few you missed.  I’ not judging. 

Don’t forget to do this! Remember, if you send me your results, I will enter you in a drawing for the grand prize! 54 oz of Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. Wow, what a prize.

So please email me your pictures by May 15th to: