We always love a solid recommendation from a friend & there are so many things that we have really been loving lately that we wanted to share with you. There are a lot of different things in a lot of different categories so hopefully there’s a little something for everyone!
While we both may or may not have our Christmas trees up, that doesn’t mean that we aren’t still so excited for Thanksgiving next week! Last year, my parents had sold their house and were in an apartment while their new house was being built so we hosted Thanksgiving at our house. It was honestly so much fun!
This year, we will be celebrating Thanksgiving with my family on Wednesday, Trey’s family on Thursday, and some of our friends on Friday! While I won’t be planning a whole Thanksgiving dinner on my own, I will definitely be helping my mom cook & will have to plan a little ahead for the potluck dinner on Thursday since I have so many dietary requirements.
A lot of the dishes that we make at my family’s Thanksgiving are the same year after year, but we always like to add in a few new things here & there! Here are a few of my favorite cookbooks & blogs that I use to create Thanksgiving dishes…
I love all of Against All Grain’s recipes! She has quite a few on her blog & even more in her three (almost four) cookbooks. Her third cookbook, Celebrations has Paleo friendly recipes for each and every holiday & we have made many of these recipes! They are all so good. If you happen to have special dietary needs or are just trying to stay on track with your clean heating during the holidays, this is an amazing resource.
You truly can’t ever go wrong with Southern Living’s recipes. No one does comfort food or holiday food like the South. Obviously I can’t have a lot of the recipes that are found in the magazine, but I love to play around with them and use substitutes to get as close to the real thing as possible! Along these same lines is The Pioneer Woman. We made her Macaroni & Cheese last year (we made it gluten free of course!) and it was SO good. I may have to sneak just a couple bites of dairy and enjoy it again this year!
Once you’ve landed on the recipes you are going to make, I love to use Day Designer’s Holiday Menu Planner & Grocery List to try to keep things organized!
Are you hosting Thanksgiving at your house this year? Already overwhelmed with figuring out your cooking schedule and making sure you have enough bakeware to pull it all off? I know I was there. I’m not type A by nature and organization doesn’t always come naturally to me, however, I’m definitely motivated to be organized by avoiding stress and figuring out how to have the most fun and enjoyment out of the day. Last year, something that was really helpful for me was to take out all the bakeware that I thought I would need and to use sticky notes to label what each dish would be used for. You can also add the general time that you need to begin making that item! It can help keep everything in order!
What are your favorite Thanksgiving recipes? What do you use to keep yourself organized? Tell us all your secrets below!
Getting back into the routine of working out is never easy. The summer offers all sorts of excuses for getting out of your consistent exercise routine and it’s easy to lose your motivation. I know for me this summer in particular has been especially difficult to workout because of the extreme heat that we have had in Texas this summer. As many of you know the majority of the workouts that I enjoy are outdoors, however the 100+ temperatures combined with pregnancy has kept me indoors. I’ve definitely lost some of my overall motivation, but now that I am nearing the third trimester of my pregnancy I want to do everything I can do to stay healthy and to prepare for labor. Yikes. As we’re all getting back into the swing of things, I wanted to share some of the tips I have for you to get back into fitness or maybe if you’re trying to begin a consistent workout program. While I write this to you all I want you to know that I am right there with you. Consistency is hard especially when you feel like you’ve fallen off the wagon, but it is ALWAYS so worth it to get back to it. Your body and mind will thank you, and you’ll never regret a workout once it’s over.
Set a realistic goal of how many times a week that you plan on working out and write them in your calendar. Starting out with 5-6 times per week might not be possible for you or even for me, but doing at least 3 days a week of high intensity activity for at least 30 minutes could be an excellent goal. Maybe for you it’s starting even smaller with walking for 30 minutes a day 5 times per week. My workouts in pregnancy have consisted of daily 2 mile walks with my dog and then a 20 minute weight circuit at home where I focus on total body strength training.
Text a friend or someone for accountability. I’ve mentioned the importance of accountability here before, but I can’t stress it enough. Whether you have access to a personal trainer who can hold you accountable or your best friend who is also supportive of your workouts, if someone is following up with you, you are more likely to follow through with your workout plan.
Buy a new workout outfit. This one might sound silly, but it is 100% proven in my experience when I am trying to get back into the swing of working out. Never underestimate the power of new shoes or a new leggings to get you back into the routine. I know for me when I have pair of new running shoes or a new pair of great shorts I want to break them in with an amazing workout. You definitely don’t have to break the break for new workout clothes either. Don’t hear me say to go spend all your money on a new fitness wardrobe! But even a new sports bra could do the trick!
Try something new. Have you plateued in your current fitness routine or maybe gotten bored doing the same workout over and over? If so, this might be a great time to try something new. Many fitness studios offer free classes for first time members, and maybe now would be a great time to try a new class or style of training and get out of your comfort zone. Our bodies need to be challenged with new ways of movement so that we don’t get stuck in the same training routine and eventually plateau. I enjoy boot camp style workouts where every single workout is different and that constantly is challenging my body with new movement patterns.
Whatever you do make sure that you are doing something that not only challenges you, but that also makes you happy! I know from experience this summer that when you get out of the routine it is never easy to jump back in, but I do know I always feel better when I have moved my body that day. I’d love to know what motivates you to stay consistent with your workout routine, OR how you plan to jump back in to your fitness routine!
Meal planning is not my favorite thing by any stretch of the imagination. However, because of my dietary restrictions & the fact that we try to eat healthy -- it is a necessary evil. For the most part, I stay pretty on top of my meal planning, out of necessity, but it’s something that is easy for me to put off when I am feeling like I have too much to do. To combat this, I try to make it as easy as possible for myself. I’ve learned a lot over time about what works for me & what doesn’t. Here are a few of the things that have made this process easier for me...
Mondays are not a good day to meal plan. This might be specific to me, but my Mondays are always a little hectic work-wise. I have a lot to do & I don’t have time to think about what we are eating, plus, I need a meal for that night so if I wait until then, it often puts me in a pinch. I like to go into Monday with that already taken care of whenever I can so that I can focus on everything else I need to get accomplished that week. For me, Fridays or Saturdays tend to be a good day to meal plan. If I have time, I like to do it Friday afternoon as I am shutting down work for the weekend, but often, I will do it on Saturday mornings while Trey is at work.
Ordering groceries is the best thing ever. Meal planning takes time and grocery shopping takes time. You can cut that time almost in half by ordering your groceries & just picking them up. The closest grocery store to us is Kroger and so I use Kroger’s Clicklist. It allows me to save time AND money. That’s right -- even with the small fee for ordering, our grocery bill has decreased significantly since I started ordering groceries because I am not picking up random things off the shelf that I don’t actually need.
Keep a record of your previous meal plans. I make a lot of decisions throughout the week & expel a lot of creative energy. Often times when I get to meal planning, I just don’t have it in me to dream up a delicious menu of things to eat. I want stuff that tastes good & I don’t want the same thing week after week, but I don’t want to have to spend a ton of brain power coming up with it. About 3-4 months ago, I started using Evernote to plan my meals for the week. I will type up the menu at the top with either the cookbook or URL to the recipe and then make the grocery list below. I can also make note if I need to make a trip to a certain store like Costco or Natural Grocers for certain ingredients. When I am feeling completely stuck on what I want to make for the week, I will just scroll back through past plans and pick out the things that sound good for that week. If you want to use a paper planner, I love this Day Designer Weekly Meal Planner. I still use it at times & just hang on to them so that I can re-use them later!
Now that I’ve shared a couple tips with you, I’ll share what a typical week looks like for my meal planning.
On Friday afternoon (or Saturday morning), I will usually text Trey and ask if anything in particular sounds good for the next week. I then sit down with my go-to cookbooks and my computer & start perusing for a few minutes until I find something that looks or sounds good. From there, I slowly start to compile the menu for that week. I usually try to mix it up -- if we do tacos one night, I might try to do something with Asian influences the next night. If we’re having chicken several times in a week, I try to break it up. It’s definitely not necessary to do so but I get bored easily and like to have some variety. By writing out the different meals, it helps me think through some of that. I also take into account the nights that we have something going on that we will either eat out for or that I need to make a quick dinner before we head to something. As I land upon a recipe, I add to the list of ingredients I need to buy at the bottom of my Evernote. After I’ve compiled all the meals and all the ingredients I need, I’ll make a quick check in my pantry and fridge to make sure I don’t already have some of those things. I also make note of any light prep work that needs to be done prior to the day I’m cooking (for example: if there are 4 recipes that need chopped onions, I might go ahead and chop up the onions while I’m putting groceries away just to make it easier the night of.). Then, I will pull up Kroger Clicklist and start ordering. Throughout the week, I will tell Alexa if we need anything like paper towels, etc. so I will check that list before submitting my order to ensure I’m not missing anything. And then, viola… the magical grocery fairies pick out all my groceries ready for me when I go to pick them up. I’ll bring home my groceries, unpack them, and do any prep work that might need to be done really quick and then I just make each meal on the night of.
I hope this helps as you are getting back into meal planning for those crazy school nights! What are your favorite meal planning tips? Share with us below or on our latest Instagram post!
We’re baaaaack from our summer break & we know many of you are starting to gear up for new beginnings now that August is here! As many of us are starting to get back into routines, we thought we would share some of our daily or weekly rituals that help us get back into the swing of things after some time away!
Here is your week 2 upper body workout! This one can be done as is as a quick upper body burn out, or you can add in your own little cardio in between rounds, choose your own challenge!
Start with 20 reps of all 3 exercises, from here you can go for a quick lap, or run for 3 minutes on the treadmill, whatever you enjoy doing to get your heart rate pumping, then return and repeat each exercise with just 15 reps this time. We will be dropping the reps by 5 until you finish with 10 reps of each movement.
-Chest press to narrow press
-Overhead tricep extensions
If you have any questions about these movements, you can check out the stories in our Instagram account!
I put together some of my favorite 30 minute meals and two of my very favorite websites for finding healthy meal options when I need to switch things up. I am not a big fan of cooking, so give me a meal that takes 30 minutes or less and that tastes delicious and I am sold. I hope that this post will give you some inspiration for some healthy and quick recipes to add into your weekly routine!
I am so excited to announce our first Fitness Friday Giveaway! Today, we are giving away a pair of mini resistance bands from FitSimplify! These mini bands can easily be thrown into your workout bag to take with you to the gym or even when you travel for a little workout on the go! See the details in the post on how you can enter to win!
Did you know that February is American Heart Month? American Heart Month is a federally designated month in the United States to bring awareness to cardiovascular disease including heart disease and stroke. I really am not trying to be a downer, but I write this today to really encourage you to take care of your heart, and to encourage you to partake in some sort of cardiovascular exercise.