Easiest Spiralizer Meal Prep Hack

Having healthy options in our fridge at the start of the week is my number two sanity saver behind working out. I do not require anything elaborate, but I need to have plenty of grab and go options that together, make balanced lunches, dinners and snacks. Otherwise, what’s the point of 5 a.m. workouts (and let’s be serious…it is Girl Scout cookie season)??

But during ski season we are gone numerous weekends in a row and I fall way behind on meal prep each weekend. The result is a lot of weird combinations at night and a reliance on canned soups, frozen meals and bagged salads at work.

Since we still have a few more weeks to go of enjoying the mountains on the weekends I’ve been doubling up on vegetarian crockpot recipes when I can to stock the freezer. However, I have a new go-to for lunches at work that I am totally obsessed with eating.

What’s my latest, “takes one minute, clean eating meal prep hack?” Spiralized zucchini + whatever sounds good to you.

Spiralized Meal Prep

I learned from the Inspiralized cookbook that zucchini noodles can stay fresh in tupperware for up to four days. I find this to be very true! Unlike cucumber noodles which get soggy fast, zucchini noodles hold up well and can be enjoyed cold or hot.

I buy two or three zucchinis over the weekend when I grocery shop and then spiralize them Sunday afternoon or evening. I trim and separate the noodles into individual storage containers and stack them in the fridge. I’ll also ask Mike to grill me some extra salmon or in a pinch, stock up on sustainably-caught canned tuna. When it’s time to pack my lunch I grab a container of zucchini noodles, a handful of tomatoes (and wash at work if the morning is mayhem), an avocado and my protein of choice. At lunch I assemble everything, usually cold, and drizzle the top with a little avocado oil and garlic salt.

The result? Well, it’s typically devoured in minutes and I feel satisfied without being bogged down for the afternoon. If I’m really hungry from an early workout I grab a few crackers to eat alongside the bowl of goodness.

The zucchini noodles can be “dressed up” countless ways to beat lunchtime boredom. Build a rice-less burrito bowl. Add some pesto and shrimp. Toss with hummus and roasted vegetables! Anything goes in my book as long as the prep time is close to zero.


Surviving PukeFest 2015

Credit: Chris Pawluk

Credit: Chris Pawluk

I write this with complete uncertainty if we have weathered the storm that lasted from approx. 10:30 p.m. – 4 a.m. last night. All signs thus far point to a quick-moving bug, but Internet forums tell me more might be on the way. Please let the Internet be wrong.

“Puke n’ rally,” while disgusting in college, is exactly what we’re hoping for today as Thanksgiving looms and all of our fun weekend plans in Breckenridge hinge on having a healthy and somewhat agreeable toddler. Why do kids ALWAYS get sick around holidays?

All in all, for having a kid who has gone to daycare since four months old, we’ve been quite lucky on illnesses. We’ve had our colds and coughs, the standard hand, foot and mouth party, one stomach bug at five months, a quick bout of croup, and a one really weird viral/strep-type infection that my mom had to deal with over the summer while we drank margaritas in Mexico (thanks again mom!).

But last night Mike and I earned what I am calling our “wash everything and pull an all-nighter because your kid keeps throwing up everywhere” parenting stripes. Yuck. Gross. Sad. Really sad.

Rylan didn’t know what throwing up was until last night and the way it scared him and made him cry broke our hearts. I kept hearing myself reassure him over and over as he cried while getting sick and it made me think back to all the times my mom and grandma did the same for me. If Rylan ends up being a “pukey kid,” he’ll have me to thank for that. Sorry buddy.

Whether it has already hit your house or you are nervously watching the calendar for the end of cold and flu season, let me share a few rookie suggestions with you from #PukeFest2015.

  • Get everyone involved. I seriously cannot imagine if last night would have happened when Mike was traveling. I know that you have no control over when the exorcism bug takes hold but I pray for you that at least two healthy adults are present. Rylan gravitated toward Mike for comfort so I sprung into the “it’s okay Rylan” coach and crazy sanitizing lady. As more and more surfaces got hit I raced loads of laundry downstairs. Oxiclean got the stains right out and my Thieves Laundry Soap got everything smelling fresh again.
  • Speaking of smells, our house smells (ironically) pretty yummy thanks to the dozens of times I used the all-natural Thieves Household Cleaner on every soiled surface and every place I knew he had touched earlier in the evening.
  • Beach towels saved the day when he wanted to get back in the crib but we weren’t sure what was yet to come. We covered his sheet with one, and made a path from the crib toward the bathroom with two more. Genius.
  • Back to oils and natural remedies, Thieves Essential Oil has been diffusing in his room all day and rotating around our house in a second diffuser since about 6 a.m. I also immediately applied it, diluted in a bit of olive oil, on the soles of our feet and behind my ears. On Rylan I also diluted DiGize in olive oil and rubbed it behind his ears and over his tummy.
  • Download the Children’s Hospital Colorado mobile app or the app of your local children’s hospital. All of the symptom checkers and at-home care advice has been both comforting and invaluable today.
  • Always, I repeat ALWAYS, have at least one bottle of Pedialyte on hand.

As we wait to see who might be next I’m washing my hands like an insane person, totally glad I splurged on Thieves Hand Soap and my favorite Honest hand sanitizer.

I in no way get compensated for all my product plugs above. I just love and believe in them that much.

Ok mamas…time to share your war stories or natural remedies! Or, just send coffee and wine. Both are sounding pretty epic right about now.

Daily Fitness: It Is Possible

Credit: Aryaziai.com

Credit: Aryaziai.com

The world doesn’t need another fitness blogger. And I am absolutely not qualified to offer fitness advice or routine suggestions.

However, working out is a huge part of my “me” life outside of parenting, marriage and a full time career. In fact, my workouts are what allow me to do all of those other things semi-well. I also think I am a pretty good motivator…I think?

Here’s my belief. Under very few circumstances can I NOT fit in a workout. Finding and maintaining this mindset has been a long, slow evolution. I used to be the queen of excuses. Work is busy. I’m sore. I have an 8 a.m. meeting so I can’t go before work. I have plans after work so if I go in the morning I’ll miss seeing Rylan. It’s Saturday, I deserve a break.

But then I decided to try my hand at a 5 a.m. class, and it changed everything. It opened up daily opportunities throughout the week to work out without Rylan even knowing I had left the house. I also blocked time on my calendar once a week for a 4:30 p.m. class. This gave me a reprieve from daily 4:30 a.m. wakeups and still let me pickup Rylan from daycare, a small task that makes me smile every time.

I downloaded squat, sit-up and pushup challenge iPhone apps to get me moving on the days the gym just isn’t possible. My Jawbone steps tracker pushes me to park a little further or take the stairs.

I find ways to move daily. “Never miss a Monday” is a guiding mantra that truly keeps me on track. Healthy decisions on Monday set the tone for a stronger, healthier week.

I’d be lying if vanity isn’t a driver. Who doesn’t like to feel their best in a bathing suit or bounce back from a pregnancy, stronger and more fit than before? But it’s bigger than that. Much bigger. Daily movement is my Xanax. It’s one of the only assurances I can control to help me stay healthy for Mike and Rylan. I can’t answer emails or go down the Facebook rabbit hole when I am doing sprints in an Orange Theory class.

How did I function for so long without daily fitness?

This weekend I am lucky enough to be a part of The Blend Retreat (#blend2015) in Boulder, Colo. The bloggers who flew in from all over the country and brands that graciously gave bags upon bags of free product were inspiring to say the least. The experience also made me realize that I want to infuse more fitness and wellness into what I talk about here–through the lens of a hectic working mom of course.

I hope to create a culture of motivation here!

Conscious Cleanse Check In


I am writing this as I round out day seven of my Conscious Cleanse experience. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t exhausted. But not from lack of food. Far from it in fact. I am worn out from the immense prep it takes on the weekend since weekdays do not allow much time for anything other than survival. This weekend I shopped on Saturday, prepared a slow cooker meal for Mike and Rylan and roasted beets. I should have done more on Saturday…

Sunday morning brought a rush of prep requiring the Vitamix since our kitchen is so close to Rylan’s room and blending during nap would lead to complete chaos. Homemade almond milk, zucchini hummus, beet hummus, dressing for the roasted beets and sunflower seed dressing for the week. I also snuck in my green smoothie for breakfast. It combined frozen pitted cherries, kale, spinach, banana and pear. Amazing.

Once Rylan was down for nap I quietly carried on with my prep — rainbow chard and white bean soup, salads through Wednesday, wild rice salad, cauliflower mashers (not my favorite), green smoothie packs for the week and pre-portioned veggie snack bags for easy snacking with hummus. Mike also lent a hand by making a batch of meatloaf in muffin tins for Rylan. There are a lot of great recipes on the Conscious Cleanse website if anything sounds appealing! You certainly don’t need to be cleansing to enjoy these.

Prep aside, this is an incredible program. My body is resetting more and more each day and I have never felt more hydrated. I am learning new habits, like grabbing a handful of veggies instead of always reaching for crackers or other carbs. I’ve learned that life is possible without coffee. Forgoing wine for more than a week at this point means I am sleeping sounder than ever.

I know I won’t stay free of coffee, cheese, wheat, wine and sweet treats forever. Life is too short and a hot cup of coffee hits the spot before a long day. Wine will flow through the holidays and I look forward to sharing in a few glasses with family and friends. And if the cleanse ended today, I think I’d opt for a big piece of garlic bread.

But I’ve learned that life doesn’t end when you cut out dairy, wheat, alcohol and processed foods. Reconnecting with salads, veggies and grains is more than possible with pre-planning. At this point of the cleanse I am learning so much still.

Here’s to the home stretch!

A New Journey: The Conscious Cleanse

Screen Shot 2014-11-02 at 2.07.52 PMMonths ago I was contacted by organizers of The Conscious Cleanse in Boulder, Colo., based on my blog. They gave me background on the concept and asked if I would be interested in participating in the November cleanse for free in exchange for talking about my journey.


At first I was skeptical and intended to decline the kind offer. I’ve been lucky post-baby and lost the weight quickly with regular exercise and a mostly-healthy diet. In fact, I struggled keeping enough weight on while breastfeeding in my final months and sought advice from a doctor and a nutritionist. “Cleanse” only meant weight loss to me at first and I imagined Mike and my parents being angry with me for choosing to give it a try.

So I responded to the email with my concerns and anticipated the Conscious Cleanse coach would bid me farewell. However, she responded with a lot more information about the benefits of this cleanse and pointed out that there are no restrictions to the amount of food you can eat during the 14 days. I was intrigued.

It has been a busy summer with lots of travel, adult beverages at weddings and on-the-go eating. I have always had my fair share of stomach problems and the endless summer and fall celebrations did me no favors. I’ve also noticed an uptick in my coffee cravings and sweets have been my downfall for as long as I can remember–made even harder to control while breastfeeding earlier this year.

Therefore, I decided to embrace the 14 day Conscious Cleanse with intentions other than weight loss. My intention is to clear my body of what I know doesn’t agree with me, but I consume anyway…mainly dairy. To take a break from alcohol before the holidays and test how gluten and wheat impact my digestion. To drink a lot more water and determine if my breakouts improve. To see how clean eating impacts my stress and anxiety levels along with sleep patterns. To rely less on frozen and prepared foods. To get out of my comfort zone and reconnect with scratch cooking despite our hectic dual-working household schedule and Rylan’s needs.

I intend to monitor my weight closely during the next 14 days to remain healthy and energized and focus on all of the other intentions that led me to accept the Conscious Cleanse challenge.

Day 1 begins tomorrow, Nov. 1, and I am glad that I’ve followed many of the recommended Transition Day tips. I cut out coffee last Thursday and seem to be through the headache phase. With just a few slips, I have mainly avoided processed sugar, gluten, wheat and dairy as well. The result? I won’t lie. I’ve been pretty fatigued up until today (Sunday) and experienced a lot of frustration at night when I would normally grab a “sweet treat” before bed. But I am committed to giving this my all for the next two weeks and once it is over, again embracing my 80/20 approach to eating that kept me feeling my best through my pregnancy and first months of Rylan’s life.

Today started with a shopping trip that kept my mainly to the perimeter of the store, avoiding packaged foods, dairy, etc. Once home I made big batches of quinoa and brown rice for the week, along with pre-portioned salads for dinner and lunch. I also downed the most delicious green smoothie I’ve ever had. The Conscious Cleanse recipe called for spinach, banana, blueberries and a bit of raw almond butter. It was like a milkshake! Then I used my Vitamix to make homemade hummus and pre-sliced veggies for easy snacking. Tonight I’ll broil salmon, make a quick pesto for zucchini noodles and break out the Vitamix again for a raw carrot soup to serve over quinoa on cold nights. My fridge is bursting with vibrantly colored fruits and vegetables. It is going to be a good week.

I look forward to sharing periodic updates here. Let me know if you have questions about this cleanse and I’ll share my honest opinions!

Pin of the Week: A Healthier Slice


Cauliflower pizza crust? The pizza-lover in me is quite intrigued. Mother Thyme is a gorgeous blog and I was thrilled to stumble upon it via this pin earlier in the week. When I get brave enough to give this a try, you will all be the first to learn about the taste test results. Mike may need some convincing first!

Gym Guilt

Source: fitsugar.com via Alexis on Pinterest


I could not get up for spin class this morning. Yet, I laid there in bed fretting about missing spin so how much extra sleep did I get this morning? Not much at all. And my mood is worse because of it.

Isn’t it amazing when we can’t listen to our own advice? I’m also constantly surprised by how much going (or not going) to the gym class impacts my mood. It has finally, for the first time in my entire life, become so much more than about how I look. An hour of spinning, lifting or yoga-ing is my mood booster and stress reliever. It’s where I get perspective and realize I can take on anything at work or at home. I need it badly.

But today, I needed the snooze button…and I have to learn to let that be okay too.

Pin of the Week: Make Workouts a Habit

Make taking care of yourself, however and whenever you can find the time, a HABIT! Motivation comes and goes…just ask any bride a few months after the big white dress has been worn. But a habit can be followed for life, and you’re worth it.

Get to know your gym teachers, schedule workouts on your calendar, plan ahead for meals and other evening responsibilities, and ask your friends, family and coworkers to encourage and respect the time you are carving out for yourself.

Source: fitsugar.com via Alexis on Pinterest

Friday’s Favorite Pin of the Week

Maybe it’s because half of my office seems to be on some sort of cleanse right now. Or maybe it’s because I am committed to taking good care of myself during the next few very hectic months. Whatever the reason may be, this blender full of fresh goodness represents, in one picture, how I strive to treat my body so that physically and mentally I am in a wonderful place.

Do you have a favorite pin of the week?


Go Veggie?

VegetablesOkay mom and dad. Don’t freak out. Mike and I are not becoming vegetarian or vegan.

We have however been talking a lot about health and wellness, and questioning what we can and should be doing as we go into our 30’s (Mike in March followed by me in July) to be in the best health, with even better habits established for the years ahead.

I’ve been fascinated by the “meatless Monday” trends for awhile. However, I’ve done little to act on my intrigue with vegetarian and vegan cuisine. I was raised in a household where an easy, last-minute healthy meal always fell back to BBQ chicken. In & Out calls my name when I land in California. I like my pizza topped with pepperoni. I can’t imagine cutting out meat altogether. I’m picky enough about meat as it is, so the occasional chicken breast, burger or meat sauce just doesn’t seem that bad.

But who says it has to be all or nothing? Well, plenty of people do but we are not plenty of people. A light bulb went off for me when I was talking to a client at lunch last week who is vegan. She said, “there is a way to eat meat responsibly.” I appreciated that sentiment from her, and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since. Can Mike and I become more RESPONSIBLE eaters in 2012?

We already get twice monthly shipments from Door to Door Organics–a gift to ourselves in 2011 that we both enjoy. However, on the “off” weeks I almost never buy organic because of the price. But what will that cost us health-wise in 20 years? How will we be leaving the environment for our kids?

Any adoption of a semi-vegetarian/flexitarian lifestyle Mike and I attempt to make in 2012 will be a slow one. We’re both going to be busier than ever so temptation will be high to fall back on what is easy–frozen pizzas, BBQ chicken, turkey sandwiches. I’m going to have to take meal-planning to a whole new level and rely on our freezer to store plenty of healthy, make-ahead frozen dishes…some with meat and some without. I personally am interested in cutting way back on dairy products–not for any ethical reason, but for a “reset” of my system.

It won’t be a surprise to those who know me that I’ve already started to research some new recipes that hopefully won’t cause Mike to run to the nearest Kentucky Fried Chicken. I hope to try one or all of the recipes below:

I also stumbled upon this great About.com resource for freezable, make-ahead vegetarian meals.

Have you cut down on your weekly meat consumption or cut it out entirely? Any advice for a phased adoption of a daily diet that is more focused on fruit and vegetables?

Design by Designer Blogs