Wednesday, December 17, 2014

WIAW 12/17 - What I will be eating!

So I had a whole post ready to show you what I ate on Monday, but lets be honest, my eats were not amazing. I had toast. Salad. Fruit. Peanut Butter. You know the drill.

Instead, I want to share with you what I will be eating as I head off to see my family tomorrow. I am committed to a semi clean diet with lots of fresh produce and plant-based proteins. I love my family, but they are not on the same train.

My wonderful southern family cooks things in real butter and bacon grease. We eat dessert after every dinner and often during 4pm coffee break too. Does this sound like your family? Often, I leave our visits with a full, happy heart, but a sad, heavy belly.

I wanted to share some of my tips for enjoying the holidays and family, while listening to your body. Here are the things I plan on doing over the next two weeks:

1. I won't let food control my holiday. 
I confess, I have spent time stressing over holiday meals. Ex: "Oh no, we are having ham for dinner. I don't eat ham. And the potatoes are loaded with butter and cream. Actually, everything is loaded with butter an cream." Not. Worth. It. This Christmas, I refuse to let food be a stress point for me. I know that having a few bites of rich food won't hurt me.

2. I will come prepared. 
Following step one is really dependent on me coming prepared. I bring protein powder on my trip and a blender bottle - Vega is an excellent option because it includes veggie servings too. I grab yogurt, fruit, and almond milk at grocery store once I get there to enjoy as snacks. I bring a reusable water bottle and drink TONS of water each day. Those things help significantly.

3. I will modify and maintain my workouts. 
My Grandmother's home (holiday headquarters for my family) is in a more rural area of Texas. While I have done lots of running out there, I get a little worried about running on those back roads. 1) I could get lost because everything looks the same, 2) I could get hit my a truck because everyone drives trucks, there are no sidewalks, and the speed limit is 60, and 3) I could get bit by a dog/snake/other animal.
So I run the the local high school and use their track for speed workouts. I also run laps of the town square - each lap is about a half of a mile - and I break it up with stair sprints up the courthouse steps.
I also plan on using workout videos from you-tube. I have recently become obsessed with the Tone It Up yoga videos, ab workouts (this is sooo good), and butt workouts. These will come in handy over the holiday!

4. I will recognize that it is all about balance. 
Healthy eating is a balance. It is about making good choices and enjoying those choices. So I may limit breakfast more if I know we have a big dinner planned. Or, I will enjoy our large breakfast and have a fresh salad for lunch. The key is balance, and planning ahead lets me enjoy each meal.

I hope these tips helped as you prepare for your holiday travels and family visits! Do you have any other ways that you maintain your health over the holidays? Please share in the comments below!


As always, thank you for hosting, Jenn! Sorry if I didn't quite follow the rules ;) 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Weekend Recap & a Brunch Recipe {12/15}

Hello all! Thank you to everyone for your sweet words about our christmas photos over the weekend!  We loved them and are planning on using the same photographer for our engagement photos in the spring.

It is the week before Christmas and I am in full Christmas spirit!

AR and I stayed in on Friday night and got into the Christmas prep! We picked up our little tree and ran by Whole Foods for the ingredients for homemade pizza. We spent our evening decorating the tree and eating pesto chicken pizza. For dessert? almond milk vegan egg nog!

Of, and remember my elf suit I blogged about a few weeks ago? You can bet I wore that while we were decorating. Costumes are everything. AR said he can't take me seriously when I wear it.

Saturday was seriously the best Saturday in ages (I wasn't in the library!). AR had a hair appointment in the morning, so I went with him and walked to the coffee shop next door. Look at this cute sign they had hanging up:

I grabbed coffee and took it over to AR, then walked down the the Paper Source. This place is my version of heaven. I bought some accessories for my gift wrapping and some paper to make a Christmas banner (I found this DIY on Cheers Y'all).

We went to the gym, came home, and started breakfast. I made my whole wheat biscuits and turkey "sausage" gravy. So so yummy! (recipe below)

Our evening was filled with christmas shopping and dinner with friends. We went to a casual burger spot, where I enjoyed a chicken burger and a peppermint chocolate milkshake. So so SO yummy. Side note: I may need to take a sugar break post holidays. This is getting out of control. 

On Sunday morning, AR and I went to church and ran some errands. We love our weekly trips to Whole Foods so much - anyone else like this? I just love the grocery store and we have so much fun.

We took an afternoon 6 mile run on the Atlanta Belt Line, and came home for dinner and Christmas Movies. After we sat on the couch for a bit, AR said "this has been the best weekend" and I totally agreed.


** linking up with Champagne & Suburbs and B Loved Boston today. Thank you, ladies!

Biscuits & Turkey Gravy

1/2 lb of ground turkey
1 T. olive oil
1/2 t. rosemary, thyme each
garlic powder, salt, and peper to taste
3 T. flour
1 c. chicken or vegetable broth, plus more as needed
1 c. milk
Whole Wheat Biscuits - my recipe here!

In a small skillet over medium heat, brown ground turkey in olive oil until cooked through. Season with spices and salt and pepper. Sprinkle flour over turkey and stir for 1-2 minutes to cook the flour - this is important to get the doughy taste out of the gravy. Reduce heat to low. Slowly stir in broth, mixing well. To avoid lumps, pour a little bit of broth in at a time and stir well after each addition. Let the broth thicken for a few minutes, stirring constantly. Add milk and continue to cook until desired thickness.
Slice warm biscuits in half and top with turkey gravy. Enjoy!

Friday, December 12, 2014

5 on Friday

Hello Friday! 

It feels so good to be back on the blog this week. Ladies, I have missed y'all! I have a million reasons to be excited this weekend and I cannot wait to share them with you. On with the link-up!

1. I am half-a-lawyer. 
I am completely finished with my third semester of law school, which means I am half way done. Oh yes, I am thrilled. 

Has anyone else been dying for one of these? Every southern-blogger-under-40 has one but me. I wanted one last year and couldn't find one to save my life. I even searched ebay, but nothing. I almost bought a knock-off this fall, but gave up on it. 

Then, I was christmas shopping yesterday at the outlets and saw a women with the vest. I literally ran up to her and said "I have been searching for that vest! Are you buying it or can I have it?" <-- I am such a creeper. She handed it to me, I saw the size (XXS) and died. PERFECT. 

3. As I type this, there are a million chocolate covered pretzels across my dining room table. 
I shared my go-to holiday treat yesterday on the blog and made a large batch for AR's office. 

I haven't met everyone at his new office yet, but I want to be sure to get on their good side ;)

4. Our Holiday photos are absolutely perfect. (IMO - haha)

Now that my cards are out, I can share these. Here are some of my favorites:

Our photographer here in Atlanta was amazing and snapped a gorgeous set of pictures for our holiday cards on a chilly saturday morning in Piedmont Park. Didn't she do a gorgeous job?? 

5. I started my christmas shopping..
But is it weird that I'm more excited about wrapping gifts than buying them? I really love wrapping presents. My friend and I have the best trip to the mall yesterday and made a great dent in the holiday shopping list, but we are already planning a hot chocolate/holiday movie/ gift wrapping afternoon. Cannot wait. 

Have an awesome weekend!

** Linking up with the lovely ladies for 5 on Friday. Thanks for hosting! 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

My go-to Holiday Snack

Who is headed to another weekend of holiday parties? 

I love a good party. I like to dress up, eat yummy food, and sip a good drink with all of my friends. So often, I need to bring something to parties and just don't have the time to make a massive dessert. 

Yet, the Martha Stewart in me refuses to buy something pre-made. So I cheat and whip up these pretzels in under 30 minutes. 

I buy chocolate and fun toppings: nuts, sprinkles, peppermints. Anything yummy, crunchy, and pretty. 

If you are heading to a party, anticipating friends stopping buy, or just wanting something yummy and pretty to snack on, here you go. Yummy and adorable AND easy. 

Party Worthy Chocolate Covered Pretzels 

You will need:
Milk or semi-sweet chocolate (either buy bars or good chocolate chips)
White chocolate (see above)
Pretzel rods (carefully check that you bag doesn't have too many broken ones!)
Toppings - crushed peppermints/candy canes, chopped pecan or peanuts, sprinkles, mini m&m's, anything.
** To crush peppermints, place unwrapped mints in a ziplock bag, seal, place on the floor, and hit with a rolling pin. Yep, those are my instructions. #letsbereal

Line baking sheets with parchment paper (or foil, if you are in a pinch).

Pour one kind of chocolate into a microwavable bowl. Microwave for 40 seconds, stop and stir. Continue microwaving in 20-30 second increments and string in between. Once the chips/bars are half melted, stop heating and stir until fully melted. Do not add any butter/milk/oil. This can lead to grayish chocolate and prevent it from hardening.

Hold pretzel rod over the bowl and spoon chocolate over the rod. Gently spread the chocolate out evenly and place the rod on prepared pans.

Continue dipping until the pan is full. Sprinkle toppings over the pretzels while still melted and let harden. Cover with plastic wrap until chocolate is cool. If you are in a hurry, place the pans in the refrigerator for a few minutes!

For drizzle: Melt chocolate as above. Spoon melted chocolate into the corner of a plastic bag. Twist the top closed and clip a tiny hole in the corner. Quickly drizzle chocolate over contrasting pretzels. Let harden and enjoy!

What do you like to bring or eat at parties?


Wednesday, December 10, 2014


Life has been a little hectic lately, so here is where I am at.

1. Wedding planning is SO HARD! Okay, so it is not the planning that is hard, it is the decision making. I still have not selected a date/venue/STATE/anything. I cringe every time someone says "when is the wedding?" because I honestly do not know. In my defense, I had finals, and it was important that I stay focused. Because flowers and table settings are obviously more interesting than Bankruptcy Law.

2. I have made a million appointments to tour venues over the winter break. My goal is to book something by the 31st. Think I can do it?

3. Sneak peak at our fall photo session - which I threw together in time to order holiday cards. I absolutely LOVE them all and will post more after I mail out our cards. We got such perfect weather and fall colors for the shoot, I am so happy with them.

4. Speaking of cards, AR and I addressed them on Monday night and had so much fun. We have such amazing friends and family, I feel so blessed. Of course, when we ask people for their addresses, they ask if we are sending wedding invites. Nope, not yet. Just sending holiday cheer.

5. I am pretty much done with finals. I have on assignment due on Friday, and I am just about finished with it. In all honesty, I could submit it now and it would be great, but I always hold onto the last assignment of the semester because I want it to be perfect. It is a pass/fail advanced writing course. Being perfect won't make a difference, but here I am, color coding my edits.

6. I have not bought a single christmas gift. Not one. And all of my gifts need to be wrapped and ready when I fly to Texas next Thursday. I better work on that at some point...

7. My workouts have been on the struggle bus lately. I've been sick since saturday and have only worked out once. So much for combating all of the holiday sweets with strength training. Now I am just sitting on the couch eating Whole Foods organic pho-Oreos. #thisismylife

Has anyone purchased their christmas gifts? 
How many venues can I tour before I need to just pick one?