career, change, faith, family, goals, happiness, health, love, marriage, motivation, positivity, self-confidence, The Savvy Kitchenista

My Wish List

I’m only a week into my year of nutrition school and I’m loving it! I was tremendously frightened to start the new journey, for multiple reasons:

  • It was so much money
  • I have no background in nutrition or medicine
  • I don’t know if I can start a business
  • There’s no degree that comes from this program – just a certification
  • What if I fail?
  • What if I’m not a good coach?
  • What if I can’t relay the material to others?

But, I prayed about it. I know, to some that might sound lame, and I used to agree with them. I thought that I was in charge of my fate and that praying was a sign of weakness; of not being in control of one’s life. But, I’ve come a long way since those days in the “dark” and this was one of the first decisions that I really left up to God.

And now, here I am! Seven days down and…. 358 to go?! {Hope I did the math right there}

This week, we had 3 assignments we had to complete. I honestly spent over an hour working on the assignment and I got super worried that I was spending too much time on the assignment. A good friend of mine is 6 months ahead of me and said, well if it speaks to you, you should definitely spend the time on it. {I wound up flying through the other two assignments, so it all worked out in the end}.

Anyways, the first assignment was called “The Wish List”, where we had to write about what our wishes are for the key elements that are meaningful in our lives. For me, that would be health, spirituality, relationships, and career. The first two are of more importance to me right now because that’s where I see my life going. So relationships and career kind of fell to the short list without as many details. Honestly, this is because I don’t believe that I have a lot of control over that (well none of it is in my control, but I can’t just will myself to be pregnant here), so I don’t want to expend energy in those areas. I’ve spent energy there – countless days, hours, months, and years – without much positivity. Why continue to beat a dead horse, so to speak?

Now, we didn’t have to formally submit this assignment, but I’m finding that I really do love the prompts that they give us. And after reading all of my response, I felt compelled to share the ideas here for others to try ❤️

My Wish List

I want a marriage full of trust and happiness. I know that things won’t always be carefree, Snip20170326_5but I don’t want things to be awkward or a constant battle of wills. I also want to start a family and raise my children in a home of love, fun, and knowledge. My mother was blessed enough to stay home with us and homeschool us for several years (my brother only went to kindergarten). She never had to choose between watching us grow or work – she was there every step of the way. I don’t want to ever have to choose between putting food on the table/roof over our heads and whether or not to help my child succeed/watch my child grow. I don’t want to have my child forego activities because a) I can’t take them or b) I am never there to see them. In saying this, it leads me to my decision that I want a career that supports my choice to put my family first. I want to watch my children grow and have them partake in activities, knowing that I will go to their games/shows.

Snip20170326_4I want to feel alive and healthy. I was never super active as a child – I preferred to read inside. And while I never experienced obesity as a child, I was always a bit heavier (my mom called it big-boned). I chose studies over sports in high school and then partied too much in college. College is where it all went downhill with the late nights serving at restaurants or partying with friends. I drank and really ate very unhealthy, causing me to gain weight. I would do Weight Watchers and lose it, but I yo-yo’ed for several years. The heaviest I think I was close to 200 lbs, which was winter of 2011-2012. I dislocated my knee the 2nd week of January and I have to admit that was a HUGE eye-opener for me. I hated no being able to move, and when I finally got cleared for the gym, I made myself go every day for the bike and the elliptical. I lost nearly 50 lbs and when I met my husband, I was about 30 lbs down. He asked what I hated most about my body and I said “my legs”, so he worked on me running.


I began to enjoy it and got a kick out of eventually beating him on our nightly jogs! However, I used running as a means to stay skinny and to feel good about how I looked. Not necessarily a terrible thing, but not the healthiest reason to be doing something. I was desperate for approval on my looks and being skinny was the only time I ever got it. I dropped down to under 140 lbs right before our wedding and that was 2 years ago. I think with all of the stress and wanting to look “sexy” took over me and I began to develop some unhealthy habits. Prior to the wedding, I was taking Hydroxycuts daily to help with my energy and my appetite. I continued to take them up until Halloween 2015, when I also chose to get off birth control. Those two combined (paired with the holiday sweets) really set me up for a weight battle.


I remember going home for Christmas and hating how bloated and yucky I felt. I know I was eating more and drinking due to stress (we were just starting to try to get pregnant). Four months and many fights later, we weren’t getting anywhere. I was driving myself crazy with tracking and testing. I found a clean eating group and decided it was time to shift my focus. Instead of obsessing over what days I might be ovulating (or the fact that I wasn’t actually ovulating according to ALL tests), I started working out and running 5 days a week. I set mini goals for myself and started to do things for my health and body – for ME. It was an enlightening change of mindset and one that I frankly fell quite in love with. What I didn’t realize was how these little things would so drastically change my life.

Here I am, a year later, starting nutrition school. Has you told me last year this is where I would be, I would’ve laughed at you. I never in a million years would have dreamt of signing up for nutrition school I never would have dreamt of runninwhatsapp-image-2017-02-24-at-8-12-52-pmg a half marathon (which I’ve done once and will do twice more within the next 30 days), let alone running a FULL marathon. I never would have dreamt that I would have left my husband and my best friend to move home; to restart my life. Although I am not at my skinniest (and probably not my healthiest), I am working on the lesson of learning to love myself. I am learning to judge myself based on improving how I feel, not on what others think. I’m still struggling with self-image, but it’s really tied more to how I feel. When I feel bloated and constipated, I feel gross and ugly. BUT, the
se are true feelings and while yes, I do feel ugly due to them, they’re also not healthy feelings! So by diminishing these feelings, I will in turn elevate my self-love and self-care.


Finally, I want to feel connected. I am so tired of drama and ego-driven chaos that has ruled my world for, oh, the last 12+ years. I am tired of relationships (acquaintances, friendships, family connections, and even intimate relationships) that no longer serve me. I am tired of holding grudges and not forgiving. I’m tired of the evil and toxicity that I’ve allowed to lurk in the shadows of my life. I’m tired of not healing from the past and dragging it around from relationship to relationship, only to add more to the luggage as each year passes.

Last year, right before the new year began I made a promise to myself to not bring in the chaos and toxicity into 2017. I have been struggling – dealing with the lurking ex-best friend attacks and then the ego-driven email she sent in response to my wishing-you-well email. Dealing with the husband and all of the drama of that relationship – up and down/depression. But overall, I have felt more connected and on a calmer level. More strength and a willingness to give it to God. I owe this to my study of The Course of Miracles and my openness to new experiences.

anxiety, balance, career, change, faith, goals, happiness, love, love yourself, marriage, meditation, motivation, passion, peace, positivity, purpose, relationships, running, self-confidence, self-improvement, self-love, Soulful Sunday, The Savvy Kitchenista, trust

What Is My Body Saying NO To?

In preparation for my new journey, I had these two questions posed to me during my orientation exercises for school.

  • “What does my body need in order to heal?”
  • “What is my body saying no to?”

I was actually really shocked at how quickly I was able to answer both of these questions. It’s like my mind had been secretly dwelling on these questions for months, formulating the answers and waiting until the right moment to be asked. Let’s address them, shall we?

What does my body need to heal?

A heck of a lot of love, time, and some more tough love. I have always put myself last unless I’ve been single. Which is, like, never. I never ever think of myself – I’m always thinking of others. I will enter into a relationship and give you everything that you want and ask for, but take little in return. Which, in typing this now, is a fucking joke. All the times I heard, “you must love yourself in order to be loved and love others”, I was like, “yep – I got that”. Which was bull shit, because I don’t. I would seriously sit there and try to convince myself that I loved myself, but deep down I knew it wasn’t true.


Well, last spring I’d had enough. I had spent 6 months trying to get pregnant and was pretty much fighting with my husband because I wanted it, but he didn’t see the point in it having to happen “right now”. I was about to turn 30 and I was losing my mind that not only did I not have children (something I was SURE would have happened by this age), but I wasn’t even pregnant. I was beginning to doubt my marriage and whether I’d chosen the right man to marry. It’s not that I didn’t love him – because trust me I did and still do. I just questioned why we were at such odds against each other and were we meant for each other? I know – heavy, right? Add to this that we were just celebrating our first wedding anniversary and I’m having these thoughts. Oh, and he’d pretty much not been around for those first 12 months because he was studying for a major exam – one that could change his career. Yikes.

So, yah, there I was – freaking out because I was not ovulating, my period was out of sync, and I was not feeling quite secure in my marriage. Shortly after my 30th birthday, I realized I needed to take a huge chill pill and just LIVE. A friend of mine offered me to join her 5-day clean eating group and I thought, why not. I had no clue what it was, but it sounded cool. And I fell in love with it. It was so simple and made so much sense! I joined her Beachbody team and started working out, which actually really helped my knees (which were having issues because I’d taken up running again). Oh, I had found happiness. And routine – which I love, by the way. I was eating better, meal prepping, working out 5 days a week, and running/training for a 10K five days a week. I was on cloud 9.

My husband was not and that whole darkness pretty much imploded then exploded onto me. My whole life changed. I had to make a hard decision – stay and see if he was right about “never doing it again” or hightail it for the hills because I’d heard that line before. For once in my life, I took the hard road. I left, convinced that I would never work things out with him. I continued eating healthy, but I also continued to pressure myself.


In early December, I pretty much had a breakdown. I was pushing myself to eat clean, work 40 hours, read/write/blog, cook my own meals, train for my 15K, and continue to work out 7 days a week. Holy crap, right? I literally woke up one Wednesday morning and was like, “I can’t go to work”. I cried and cried and my mom didn’t know what to do with me other than hug me and pray. I slept that day and when I finally woke up, I spent time with my puppy and baked Christmas cookies. That day was a wide awakening moment for me because I realized I couldn’t continue to do this to myself. I was being so harsh on myself that I still felt like I was living in the very chaos that I had left.

Since then, I’ve been trying to take more time out for ME.

  • I am still working 40 hours, which is a blessing that I never thought I would have. I work from home, which is nice because when I do have my bad days, no one has to see/hear me cry. I can do it and still work.
  • I cut the workout regime and told myself to choose – running or working out. I couldn’t do both and maintain a level of sanity and at least 7 hours of sleep. I chose running and although I lament and gripe at myself sometimes, I’m really happier.
  • Running allows me to escape from the house and my problems – even for just 3 miles. I’ve just completed my 15K and I’m training for two half marathons, followed by a marathon. I’m even contemplating if I should become a running coach (although I literally only have a year’s consistent experience).
  • I’ve started studying A Course of Miracles with one of my best friends, which has brought me into a more spiritual connection and provided me with many positive tools.
  • I’m beginning to meditate more and practice yoga, which is helpful on so many levels.

I would say that my body and mind still need this separation from the “real world”, if you will. I’m home with my parents, working to save up money for a place of my own. I recently visited my husband, who I’ve been separated physically from (not on paper or anything) since late September. The time I spent with him was actually quite nice, but even in just the 48 hours I was there, I noticed my habits falling off. I chose to sleep in with him instead of waking up to read my Course lesson before appointments. Not the worst thing, but that’s something I’ve done religiously every day since January 1st and I chose not to this one day because I knew he wanted to sleep in.

And that is what triggered my fear – that already, after just 48 hours, I was giving up what I wanted for what I thought he wanted. Now, had I told him I needed to get up in time so I could read – would he have been ok with it? Probably, but maybe not. I won’t know until the next time I visit. But one of the things that was very very wrong about our relationship is that he was good about declaring what he wanted and easily angered when he didn’t get it. I never stood up for myself when he didn’t do what I wanted; I always forgave him or turned a blind eye. When I would finally put my foot down and state what I wanted/needed, it would be done begrudgingly and I would hear about it later in arguments. As I began to stand up for what I wanted and putting my foot down, it quickly turned into a me vs. him situation. It was quite disastrous!


I have worked so hard to break myself down into the tiniest pieces and I’m finally beginning to understand the way that I am. I’m finally realizing who I am and learning to love who I am – imperfections and all. I’m not completely healed and I’m not completely back together – but I’m still on that journey. And I’m not willing to give that up for anyone or anything. Maybe that sounds selfish, but it’s something that I should’ve done years ago. Had I done it then, I could have saved myself a lot of pain, abuse, and heartache. I may have never entered into this relationship or marriage. All I know is I can’t turn back time and there’s some reason that God wanted me to go through this. So I am, and I’m not stopping until I have fully claimed myself.

What is my body saying no to?

  • Stress – but it’s always going to be there. Tapping, meditation, and running have really helped me with this.
  • Anxiety – feeling out of control. Tapping is something that I’m learning to tap into (no pun intended) so that I can work through the attacks that I have.


  • Conformity – I am so tired of trying to “fit in” or be a part of something. I have struggled most of my childhood and well into my adulthood with trying to find some way to be accepted by the world and those around me. It has driven me to drugs, alcohol, and so many negative beliefs that are now hard-wired into my soul. I pretty much lost myself over the past 20+ years and showed up face-to-face with myself last year like “who the fuck are you??” And you know what’s sad? I couldn’t answer that simple of a question, because I never have known who I am. I am a chameleon – I conform and change to meet the situations I’m in and the people I’m with. Isn’t that terrible??
  • Chaos – I lived in chaos for most of 2016 and I absolutely hated it. You feel out of control in the world and it reflects back on your own life… and when you lose control of yourself – the inside, deep-down part of you – you lose everything. I refuse to go through that hell again.


  • Anger – I can’t do it anymore. I have enough anger as it stands on my own; I don’t need any front the world, my marriage, my friends, or my family. I have been working to channel, understand, and control my anger over these past 3-4 months. The work is far from over, but I have learned one thing: I don’t want the anger in my life. I believe anger is a triggered reaction – a reaction triggered by FEAR. When I hear something I don’t like or I’m afraid of, I get angry and I lash out. Often times, I don’t really mean it – I’m just fearful of what could happen. I have to learn to channel or re-direct that fear. I expect those I allow into my life to do the same.
breakfast, clean eating, cooking, food, home cooked meals, homemade, oatmeal, paleo, pancakes, The Savvy Kitchenista

Breakfast of Champions

Breakfast has to be one of my favorite meals of the day. I am a sucker for sweet things, but I don’t want all that sugar going straight to my waistline! So, over the past few months, I’ve been experimenting with new ways to have my French toast and eat it too. (Yep – you see what I did there?)


I would have to say my favorite breakfast dishes are (in no particular order):

  1. French Toast
  2. Pancakes
  3. Crepes
  4. Waffles
  5. Oatmeal or Overnight Oats

I know – not a protein or egg in sight!! Just pure carbs stacked upon carbs and topped with syrup. But isn’t that what makes breakfast so grand? It’s like having dessert, but not having to eat all your dinner! Not to mention, you get to have it first thing in the morning! Sadly, just like dessert, I always wind up filling bloated, too full, and sluggish after one of this sugar-loaded dishes.

Which is why I began searching for solutions. March 19th is National Breakfast Day and in honor of this holiday, I thought I would share with you a few of my lightened up favorites!



  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp butterscotch pudding
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • ½ tsp lemon zest
  • 4 T butter, melted
  • 1¼ cups milk with 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp toffee bits
  1. In a small bowl, mix together milk and lemon juice. Allowed to sit for 30 to 60 seconds, until thickened.
  2. Whisk together all dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together eggs, sugar, and lemon zest. Drizzle in melted butter and whisk vigorously. Whisk in lemon milk.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring until just combined. Add toffee bits, stirring until just combined.
  5. Pour batter into a greased, heated griddle or skillet. Cook on each side for 2 to 3 minutes, then flip and cook another 2 to 3 minutes until golden brown.
  6. Serve with butter, maple syrup, and additional toffee bits if desired!

Adapted from recipe from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook



Sweet Potato Waffles with Blueberries


  • 1 medium sweet potato, cooked and cooled
  • 1 T flax meal mixed in 2 1/2 T of water
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 T cornstarch or arrowroot powder
  • 2 T agave nectar
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 T cornstarch or arrowroot powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 T water
  1. In a small bowl, mix together flax meal and water. Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes.
  2. If you haven’t already cooked your sweet potato, do so now using the microwave. Once cooked through, mash it completely.
  3. Using a food processor or blender, pulse oats until flour-like consistency.
  4. Grease and begin heating your waffle iron.
  5. In a blender, mix together flax meal mixture, oats, sweet potato, and remaining waffle ingredients. Blend until smooth. Note: You may have to add a little more milk to get the blender to work, or use a food processor.
  6. Pour 1/3 of batter into the waffle iron and cook according to its instructions.
  7. Meanwhile, heat syrup ingredients in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir constantly while bringing to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer 4-6 minutes, stirring occasionally to be sure it doesn’t burn and powder is dissolved.
  8. Serve waffles with fresh blueberry syrup!



Mediterranean Omelette

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 T milk
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 cup tomatoes, diced
  • 2 artichoke hearts, diced
  • 2 T kalamata olived, sliced
  • 1 T feta cheese
  1. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat.
  2. In a bowl, mix together eggs, milk, and spices. Pour into heated skillet and cook until slightly set.
  3. On one half of the eggs, sprinkle on half of tomatoes, diced artichokes, olives, and feta cheese.
  4. Cook another 2 minutes before folding the other half of the egg over the toppings.
  5. Cook until eggs are set, then top with remaining tomatoes and enjoy!




  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • Pinch Himalayan salt
  • 1 T almond butter
  • 1-3 T non-dairy milk (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla powder OR vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar
  • 1 T chopped almonds (optional)
  1. Bring oats, water, and salt to a boil over medium heat. Stir occasionally so oats don’t stick at the bottom. make the oats: throw the oats in the cold water with a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally with a spurtle or wooden spoon. 
  2. Lower heat to warm and stir in almond butter, vanilla powder/extract, and milk (if using).
  3. Remove from heat and scoop into serving bowl. Top with almonds, coconut sugar, and enjoy!!


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Citrus Fruit Salad

  • 1 large Autumn, Honeycrisp, or Pink Lady apple, chopped
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple, chopped
  • 1 orange
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 T maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  1. Place your chopped apples in a small bowl and mix with lemon juice.
  2. Peel and slice your oranges, adding them to the apples.
  3. Add in remaining ingredients, mixing to distribute the cinnamon and syrup.
  4. Either chill for 30 minutes or serve at room temperature.



Paleo Apple Leek Sausage

  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 1/2 cup leeks (white ends only), chopped
  • 1 small apple, cored and diced
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1 T honey or molasses
  • 1/2 T lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  1. Bake bacon in a 400 degree oven for 4-5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, place all ingredients except pork in food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
  3. Remove bacon and roughly chop. Add to food processor and pulse a few more times.
  4. Finally, add in ground pork and mix until blended. Note: If you have a small processor like I do, you can hand mix this in a bowl!
  5. Reduce oven to 350 degrees and grease a baking sheet.
  6. Form patties and place on baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes.
  7. You can serve immediately or freeze for later use.



Brussels Sprouts Hash

  • 1 T olive oil
  • Bacon or sausage (like Apple Leek Sausage)
  • 1 cup butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt & pepper
  1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat and add protein of choice.
  2. Add squash, garlic, and sprouts; season with salt and pepper. Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Once everything is cooked, crack eggs over hash and cook until set.
  4. Serve immediately!


breakfast, chocolate, cooking, desserts, food, holiday, holidays, home, home cooked meals, homemade, homemade meals, Irish, pancakes, Shakeology, St Patrick's Day, The Savvy Kitchenista

Luck of the Irish!

Today is St Patrick’s Day and in addition to wearing green, you just have to enjoy something that is Irish! Personally, I feel it’s bad luck to NOT enjoy some of these traditional meals. Here are a few to keep you safe from being pinched this year! 😉



Boxty Cakes with Fresh Fruit

  • 1 potato
  • 3/4 whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Salt
  1. In a saucepan, cook potato in water until fork tender.
  2. Remove from heat and mash potato. Place potato in paper towels and squeeze out any additional moisture.
  3. Add in flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir to combine, then slowly add in buttermilk.
  4. Meanwhile, heat a griddle with butter. Ladle out batter into 6 cakes.
  5. Allow to cook for 5-6 minutes on one side before flipping. Cook an addition 6-8 minutes on the other side.
  6. Serve immediately with fresh fruit and/or jam!



Boxty Cakes with Bangers & Eggs

  • 1/2 lb. sausage
  • 1 T oil
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1 T dijon mustard
  • 1/2 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 T brown sugar
  1. To make bangers, heat oil in a skillet. Add onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add in sausage and cooke for another 3-4 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, mix together remaining ingredients (garlic through sugar). Pour over top the sausage onion mixture and simmer 2-3 minutes.
  4. Remove mixture and cover to keep warm.
  5. Add oil to skillet and crack 3 eggs. Cook until desired consistency.
  6. Using recipe from above, make boxty cakes.
  7. To serve, top 2 boxty cakes with 1/3 sausage mixture and 1 egg.

Serves: 3 (2 cakes per serving)


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Skinny Shamrock Shake

  • 1 scoop Vanilla Shakeology
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp mint extract
  • 1 small banana, mashed
  • 2 drops green food coloring
  • ice
  1. Mix together all ingredients in blender and serve immediately!


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Corned Beef Salad with Thousand Island Dressing


  • 1 cup salad greens
  • 1/4 cup tomato, diced
  • 1/4 cup cucumber, diced
  • 1 slice provolone cheese, chopped
  • 4 slices corned beef (from the deli), chopped


  • 2 T avocado mayonnaise
  • 2 T ketchup
  • 1 tsp sweet pickle relish
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • Pinch of salt and black pepper
  1. Mix together dressing ingredients and set aside.
  2. On a plate, combine salad greens and veggies.
  3. Top with chopped corned beef and cheese.
  4. Drizzle dressing on top and serve with a slice of Irish soda bread (recipe below).


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Irish Soda Bread

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  •  1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 T sugar
  •  4 T butter, softened
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  1. preheat oven to 425 degrees and grease a 9″ cake pan.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt, and sugar.
  3. Mix in the butter until combined.
  4. With a wooden spoon (I grease mine with cooking spray first), mix in the egg and buttermilk until a dough just begins to form.
  5. Flour a clean surface and dump the dough onto this surface. Flour your hands and knead the dough briefly, just until the dough comes together.
  6. Form dough into a round ball and place in greased cake pan. Using a knife, score the top with a large X.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees; then turn the heat down to 350 degrees. Open the oven door to make sure enough heat is released and the temperature lowers.
  8. Cook for another 40 minutes or until golden brown.
  9. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Recipe from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook



Corned Beef with Carrots and Potatoes

  • 6-8 red or golden potatoes
  • 1 small onion, wedged
  •  3 cups carrots, sliced (or baby carrots)
  • 1 corned beef brisket kit
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 head cabbage, chopped
  1. Wash and pierce 4 potatoes, placing them in the center of the crock.
  2. Wash and quarter remaining potatoes, along with carrots and onion. Place around the other potatoes.
  3. Rinse off corned beef and add to the crock, placing on top of the veggies and potatoes. Pour in 4 cups of water.
  4. Cover with lid and cook on low for 8 hours.
  5. In the final hour, add cabbage leaves to the crock. Season with salt and pepper, then cook for last hour.


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Bailey’s Mini Cheesecakes

  • 8 Oreos
  • 1 T unsalted butter, melted
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 2 T cocoa powder
  • 1 small bottle of Bailey’s
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  1. To make crust, grind together Oreos in food processor. Mix together with butter.
  2. Spoon crust into 4 small bowls or dessert glasses. Set in fridge to chill.
  3. In a stand-up mixer with whisk attachment, cream the cream cheese until it begins to break apart.
  4. Add in sugar and cocoa powder, then beat together on low speed until mostly mixed. Stop and scrape down the bowl.
  5. Add in vanilla extract and return to medium speed.
  6. Scrape down bowl again, finally adding in Bailey’s.
  7. If the filling is too runny, chill for 30 minutes. Otherwise, spoon the filling into each of the cheesecake crusts.
  8. Chill overnight and enjoy!


attitude, happiness, love yourself, self-love, The Savvy Kitchenista, Thoughtful Thursday

3 Things to Give Up to Be Happy

Who doesn’t want to be happy? Go ahead, raise your hand up high – loud and proud.

That’s what I thought.

The truth is, we’re all looking for it – happiness. We’re all seeking ways to have it in our lives. Faster. Sooner. Right now. Yesterday. Tomorrow. Forever.

But what we don’t consider is how much WE have to do with our happiness. I may not be that old, but in my thirty years on this planet, I’ve heard a lot about what will make someone happy. Recognize any of these?

  • A new car or truck
  • A new house
  • A new lover
  • A change in job
  • A new career path
  • No job
  • Diamonds
  • New clothes
  • New shoes
  • The newest gaming system
  • A new book
  • That new CD 
  • A new phone
  • A new computer
  • A new husband or wife
  • No kids
  • A baby

I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture. And I bet one or two of these may have rung a bell. I know I’ve uttered several of these as I was going through life’s valleys. In fact, I know I’ve uttered these in the past 6 months!

But what often happens when we finally obtain that long sought after thing? We’re content for a little while…but then we find ourselves sad, angry, or frustrated. And we begin to think to ourselves, “If I only had ________, I would be so much happier…”

And so the cycle goes, over and over again, until you reach an old age and realize that NONE of those things that you begged for really mattered. They may have mattered at the time, but in hindsight, they were just THINGS. They didn’t change our personal circumstances and they didn’t get rid of those pesky things about life. They didn’t keep the sickness away, the drama at bay, or the depression under wraps. Instead of focusing on what the real problems were, we just found something to distract us.

Yep – I’m saying it. These things that you feel will make you happy are really just distractions from the real things that are plaguing us.

Heavy, right?

So, how about instead of pushing the problems aside and distracting ourselves for the next few months, we instead choose to deal with the problem. No, it’s not as fun. No, it’s not easy. No, it’s not clean – it’s actually pretty messy to deal with personal issues. But in the long run, you will feel happier.

So what are these problems that are at the root of all our unhappiness? Below are some particularly common issues that I think most humans can relate to. There are definitely more than this, but after doing some research, I’ve compiled a list of about 10 of the most common problems. These three would have to be the most difficult for me and so, I’m choosing to tackle them first. We’re only into the 3rd month of the year, leaving me plenty of time to work on all 10 of these problems. My goal? By the end of 2017, I will be a much happier person than the one that started this year.



What I need to give up in order to be happy

The need to always be RIGHT

Ever notice how wrapped up you’ll get in a conversation when you’re trying to convince the other person that you’re right? A simple comment or criticism can set you in a tail swing headed straight for a crash landin510cwouldyou1g disaster. I truly believe it’s human nature to jump on the offense when it comes to criticism or a difference in opinions. We pride ourselves in being right, especially when our job or credibility is on the line. But sadly, sometimes we get so wrapped up in proving that we’re right that we lose track of everything else that’s going on.

The next time you’re in a situation where you feel yourself feeling threatened, take a deep breath and ask yourself: would I rather be right or be happy? Then based on your answer, choose how to move forward.

The need for CONTROL

Oh the ever elusive search for total control over our lives. We always tell ourselves that we can handle it all – that we can get it all together and then we’ll have fyou-cant-control-everythingull control.

Who do we think we are – God? I don’t know about you, but I certainly can’t control the weather, the traffic, the moods of others, the line at the grocery s
tore… No, I’m not God, nor am I a puppet master. I am not able to predict things or control things outside of myself. This includes the people around me. And if I were able to control everyone else, that would be kind of creepy and very manipulative.

When you relinquish the need to control everything, you wind up being able to experience life a little bit more. Take this bit of advice coming from a control freak: sometimes it’s nice to just let go. Not of everything – I didn’t say space out – but of just the things that deep down are out of your control. Take a deep breath (or a few) and tell yourself “peace begins with me.”



Complaining just to COMPLAIN

Oh the ever so resilient complaint – no matter how great life is, we always seem to find one teensy, weensy thing that could be “better”.

  • If I could just get a dollar more an hour, life would be perfect.
  • If my hair would just stay straight/stay curly, everything would be perfect.
  • If there was just an extra hour in the day, I could get it all done. 
  • If they just learned how to to drive, we wouldn’t have so many accidents!
  • If I could just drop 5 more pounds, I would never ask for anything ever again.
  • If I could just have a baby, I would be happy – life would be perfect.

How many of us have uttered these things? Go ahead – raise your hand. No one’s looking! I know I’ve uttered every single one of these phrases – some more often than others.


And let’s face it – no one’s life is perfect. All of us have these little areas that could use tweaking. In some cases, these little tweaks are necessary and can improve our lives significantly. Most of the time, though, we don’t really need the things that we’re complaining about. I think often times we pick our lives to pieces and complain because we’re so busy playing the comparison game. And that’s a completely different battle in and of itself (we’ll tackle that in a later blog)

If you truly want to be happy, you’ll have to stop the complaining, or at least cut back significantly. It’s very difficult to see the rainbow if you’re only focused on the rain. And who wants to see the rain when you can see beautiful colors?? Here we are – alive, breathing, working, cultivating, moving, speaking, hearing – all things that we take for granted. All of those things make up the beautiful rainbow in our world. But yet, instead of reveling in the gorgeousness, we are looking at the rain by complaining about all these things we wish we could change.

So I’m going to level with you – it’s time to cut the complaining. If you stop long enough and just be present and acknowledge everything in your life that is going right, you’ll be surprised at how much happiness you can find. And for those of you who insist that it’s not possible, then I have this much to say to you: if you’re not happy, then do something about it. Action speaks louder (and gets more done) than words.



If you don’t like something and want to get out of it, then get out of it! If you’re unhappy with something and have the ability to change it, then change it. I understand that not everything has a simple solution, but sometimes we are our most stubborn enemy! If we just got out of our own way, we could create the world we’re looking for. But if you’re staying in a situation and continuing to complain, then a) you’re choosing your pain and b) it’s just plain unhealthy.

Remember this: holding onto your grievances only blocks the love and happiness from entering your life. If you can learn to look for the rainbows and the stars, you will attract the love into your life. ❤️


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3 Things I Learned from Living Mediterranean

Let’s face it – the Western diet is pretty ridiculous if you sit back and think about it. Most Americans don’t eat breakfast because they’re too busy or because they’re trying to lose weight. Either way – skipping this meal is disastrous for your health. Lunch is typically something that’s quick – which sadly can often be described as “unhealthy” and “greasy”. Dinner is often served late due to our busy schedules and is probably the main meal that’s eaten at home. Whether the meal is homemade or partially prepped, the centerpiece of the meal is some sort of protein, surrounded by starches and sometimes veggies. And after a long, hard day working, a dessert is usually consumed because we feel we earned it.

If you’re reading this and your face is slightly contorted with disbelief or disgust, or you’re nodding your head in agreement, you’re not alone. Welcome to the eye-opening realization of what our society and world has succumbed to! When you look at our lifestyles in this manner, it’s no wonder we aren’t all walking around with more health and weight issues. In fact, it’s a wonder there are so many of us walking around period – we haven’t killed ourselves with what we’re eating.

My intention isn’t to alarm you, but there is a serious epidemic that’s sweeping our nation and endangering all of our lives. The fact that so many of us view what we’re ingesting as “ok” and “it’s what I can afford” shows how utterly clueless we are. We do have a right to feeding ourselves good foods so that we can continue to function.

And with that… I introduce to you the Mediterranean diet.



What is Mediterranean?

One of the primary focuses of the Mediterranean diet is the incorporation of healthy fats. Olive oil is pretty much a staple in this lifestyle and they’re very proud of it! I recently learned that in this area, they host olive oil tastings and people will judge all sorts of oils. I’ve been told that the key is the “bite” that you feel at the finish of the oil.

Another key feature of this lifestyle is the choice of fish other proteins like beef and chicken. People who follow a Mediterranean lifestyle don’t view proteins (especially meats) as the “star of the show” when it comes to meals. Often times, fruits and vegetables and even whole grains will be the centerpiece of a meal. Incorporating so many fresh and raw foods can only do wonders for your body vs. filling it with processed grains and meats.

Why choose Mediterranean?

As I mentioned earlier, the Western diet is not the model that the world should be following. It’s primarily composed of animal fats, sugars, and processed foods. Fruits and vegetables are thrown in here and there but they certainly aren’t the focal point. Sadly, research continues to show that diets such as ours are largely responsible for many of the chronic diseases we face today – cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and Alzheimer’s (just to name a few).

The Mediterranean diet, on the other handle, focuses on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. These three food groups on their own provide an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. The best part – these foods are natural and in being so, can’t contain processed ingredients. Instead of using salt to flavor items (Western), this lifestyle instead incorporates herbs and garlic. Unlike the Western diet, which is predominantly made up of saturated fats, the Mediterranean diet understand that healthy fats are actually good for you. This is why healthy fats like olive oil and avocado are considered staples of this lifestyle.

What can I eat and not eat?

What you SHOULD eat: mediterranean-diet-benefits

  • Olive Oil – healthy monounsaturated fats, polyphenols
    • 4-6 servings a day (1 tsp per serving)
  • Olives
    • 4-6 servings a day (5 olives per serving)
  • Avocados
    • 4-6 servings a day (1/8 avocado per serving)
  • Fruits
  • Nuts & seeds – fiber, protein, fats, and antioxidants
    • Eat a small portion daily
  • Legumes – fiber, protein
    • Eat at least 1/2 cup twice a week
  • Fish
    • 4 oz, two – three days a week
  • Eggs
  • Dairy – from cultured milk (kefir, ricotta) because it’s easier to digest
    • 1-3 servings a day (1 cup yogurt/milk or 1 oz. cheese per serving)
  • Whole grains – healthy fats, proteins
    • 4 small portions daily
    • Quinoa is an excellent choice
  • Vegetables
  • Herbs and spices – antioxidant and inflammation-fighting effects



What to eat in MODERATION:

  • Lean meat
  • Poultry
  • Red wine



What to AVOID:

  • Fast foods – high in salt and saturated fats
  • Dairy products like cream and butter
  • Salt
  • Cakes/cookies
  • Potatoes


What did you like the most?

I loved that I could include olives and feta cheese into pretty much anything! I’ve never been a fan of olives until about a year ago when I tried Kalamata olives for the first time. Talk about love at first taste.

What did you dislike?

It’s sad – but true – I missed red meat. Just a bit. I mean, I wasn’t craving a hamburger or steak at any point, but I did miss red meat after five days. I was also sad that I couldn’t have yogurt as often as I was accustomed to.

What was the most difficult?

Not consuming as much dairy as I would like to. I’m used to having Greek yogurt every day – sometimes twice a day. I didn’t feel that having the word “Greek” in the name made it suitable for this lifestyle, so I did try to limit my intake. Since this is a key source of protein for me (I usually eat as an afternoon snack), I did experience some slight withdrawals.

What did you miss the most?

Red meat, which may sound strange, but sometimes I crave it. I usually have red meat once or twice a week, depending on leftovers. But to go 5 days without red meat and primarily consuming tuna was  bit of a shock for me.

A Sample Day


Oats with Fresh/Dried Fruits and Nuts

Oatmeal with Fruit & Nuts (M)

Greek Yogurt & Fresh Fruit

 Greek Yogurt with Berries (M)


Salads on on their own or stuffed in pita bread

Tuna Salad Pitas (M)

Vegetable Sandwiches

Veggie Sandwich on Ciabatta (M)

Vegetable Stews

Med. Kale Cannelinni Farro Stew (M)


Veggies or a salad with whole grains and protein

Tuna Salad with Couscous (M)

Salmon & Med. Zoodles (M)

Want more? Check out recipes here!


  1. Protein can be found in many different sources – not just red meat. Try a small serving of unsalted nuts and/or seeds as an afternoon snack!
  2. Fats are not the enemy, so long as you eat the right kinds! Avocados and olives and especially olive oil should be included in your diet.
  3. Sugar is highly overrated and not necessary to survive as we envision. Sure, we consume it in foods like fruit, but that’s naturally occurring. We don’t need the extra sugar in sweets, the sugar that is created when our body breaks down starches, or the sugar found in other processed foods.


If you eat natural foods – ones without a barcode label – you’re doing it right.