Weekly Cookup: Old Favorites… A Tried & True Fitness Program & A Trusty TJ Shopping List

Phew! It’s been a few weeks without a legit meal plan in place over here. We’ve had a ton going on (refer to my latest instagram post… more on that later), so we’ve been flying by the seat of our pantalones as far as meal prep goes around these parts.

This week, I’ve got something else up my sleeve. Aside from a few occasional flare-ups, my neck issues are mostly in check (aided by dietary turmeric and topical magnesium supplementation, nutrient-dense whole foods, and an otherwise anti-inflammatory diet, and complemented by consistent Pilates rehab therapy), so I’m feeling strong and ready for a challenge. We’ve got a month left on our gym membership before we make the big move back to the land of CLE, and I’m feeling inspired to make the most of it by once again revisiting my favorite workout of all time, Jamie Eason’s Live Fit Trainer. I cannot say enough great things about this workout program, as I’ve followed it before and saw just how capable and strong my body could be. It was a fantastic feeling. That being said, ANYONE can do this program. Any age, any gender, any shape or size. It’s easily modified to your fitness level, aka, completely easy to start where you are.

With this fitness program plan in place, and with all that we’ve got going on in the next month, I want to have some easy, grab+go meals in the fridge. Lucky for me, a while back I purchased these meal prep containers on Amazon, so I’m all set to make this as simple as possible.

This week’s shopping trip is going to stray from my beloved Whole Foods (gasp! I know!), and over to my OTHER BFF Trader Joe! Why, you ask? Simple! I was going through some old blog posts and found a complete 21-Day Sugar Detox compliant shopping list for Trader Joes, so I thought… why make more work for myself? This weekend is going to involve a (cheaper than Whole Foods) shopping trip to TJ, and a mass meal-prep party to stock my fridge with healthy meals that I can grab and go all week. Who’s with me??!

Curious about that blog post? Read it here, all my favorites from Trader Joes… then stock up and get preppin’!




Anti-Inflammatory Turmeric Tea

Hey friends… wanted to share something with you all today that was outside the normal weekly meal plan and a bit more on the side of medicinal, healing nutrition. By now we’ve likely all heard of the powerful healing properties of turmeric and curcumin, and if you haven’t, just google “benefits of turmeric” and you’ll come across a slew of evidence-based articles touting positive side effects such as aiding in digestion, slowing the progression of multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease, purifying the blood, improving skin conditions, reducing the side effects of chemotherapy, aiding in weight management, speeding wound healing, reducing symptoms of arthritis, among a million other things just shy of miracles! It’s pretty powerful stuff. SO! I thought I’d share my new favorite way to consume it, in a twice-daily cup of creamy turmeric tea.

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Those of you who know me personally know that I’ve been suffering with some inflammation issues for the better part of a year now. After L was born, I experienced what I thought was simply a pinched nerve in my neck, that resulted in numbness, tingling, and weakness in my left arm, hand and fingers, stiffness in my neck, and extreme pain in my upper back and shoulders. I later found out through a series of doctor’s visits and tests that the issues I was experiencing were a result of herniated and bulging discs in my neck that were pressing on my spinal cord. Um, ouch! No wonder! Though I did see a surgeon about the issue, which was causing basically affecting my whole life (no working out, no yoga, no lifting, trouble sleeping, stiffness, and pain pain pain… etc.), he agreed that surgery didn’t have to be the only option, and that with time and rest and proper care, my herniated discs would heal on their on. GREAT news for me, considering I am in the camp of natural healing (um, DUH, did you not know this about me by now?), and did NOT want to go under the knife, or even consider taking any prescription (or OTC) drugs for pain or anything else they would have me take post-op. So I felt super fortunate I had the option to say NO to all of that.

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I actually slept better with the soft collar the surgeon sent me home with, and applying peppermint and wintergreen oils along with other anti-inflammatory therapeutic grade essential oils to my neck seemed to help soothe the pain I was experiencing. I have to admit, though, I was still waking up stiff and sore until I added this turmeric tea to my daily regimen. I know it might sound extreme or hard to believe, but I swear I noticed a difference the very next morning after I had made myself a cup of this the night before. I didn’t wake up feeling like a crippled old lady (did I mention I’m 33?)!! It was pretty amazing. I’m still progressing in my healing, but the changes I’ve felt in just a few weeks of adding more turmeric to my diet have been so profound, I felt the need to share with everyone I know who could benefit from it, and figured writing a post here with a recipe would be a good idea, too!

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I searched the Google and Pinterest for recipes and what I make now is a combination of a few, and one I find not only works to ease the inflammation in my neck (and all my joints, my whole body!), but also tastes pretty delish. I typically have a cup of this mid-morning and in the evening while we’re enjoying some down time after L has gone to bed.

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Oh, AND! Bonus! I played around with adding some of my essential oils to the recipe… cinnamon bark and lemon are my two favorite, but there are sooooo many that would not only taste good, but also add a little extra healing plant power to your cup. Clove, nutmeg, ginger, orange, black pepper… the options are endless! Just make sure not to use them all in one cup or you might gag. Yikes.

Here’s my recipe:

Anti-Inflammatory Turmeric Tea

1/2 – 1 tsp turmeric paste (recipe below)

1 cup hot water

1 tsp raw organic honey (or more to taste)

1/2 – 1 tsp coconut oil or ghee

pinch ground cinnamon*

pinch ground ginger*

1-2 tbsp Aroy-D coconut milk (or other full fat coconut milk with no additives), or more to taste

*may substitute therapeutic-grade essential oils for ground spices

Add the turmeric paste, honey, ghee or coconut oil, and spices to the hot water in your favorite mug and stir well to combine, and until honey is dissolved and ghee is melted. Add coconut milk to your desired creaminess. Take it a step further and give it a little whir in your NutriBullet for a bit of extra froth. Sip and enjoy!

Turmeric Paste

1 tbsp turmeric

1/8 tsp black pepper

2 tbsp water

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl until a thick paste forms, adding more or less water to get the right consistency. Store covered in a glass dish in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Hope y’all enjoy! Happy weekend!



Weekly Cookup: Week of March 6, 2016

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Hey y’all… This week, I picked a few recipes out of a new cookbook (I know, I know, I can’t help myself with the cookbook addiction), The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook by Mickey Trescott. Fun little tidbit – Mickey is an NTP certified through the Nutritional Therapy Association – the same  nutritional therapy certification course I took!

As I mentioned last Friday, this past week I was really just kind of getting back into the swing of things with planning and cooking meals after a little hiatus from my own kitchen. Though I felt better about the food I was preparing and eating, I couldn’t help but notice that my body still felt tight and stiff and sore. I know I’m still battling some inflammation issues, so I was super excited to incorporate some recipes from this book into this week’s cookup. You’ll notice, none of these delicious recipes look, feel, or taste like detox foods, so you don’t have to tell anyone (family/etc)… Just watch them clean their plates and feel great knowing that they’re getting some powerful healing nutrition.

Since spring hasn’t quite sprung (but we all are ready), you’ll still see a couple stews and soups on this week’s cookup, but I chose ones that had bright flavors, like the Beef Butternut Stew which has sweet notes from the squash and pear and feels springy with fresh thyme… and the Under-the-Weather soup, which is lemony and gingery but still feels hearty and comforting with pureed potatoes and green veggies. If you’re in a warmer climate (like me), just pair your steamy bowl with a salad of greens and your favorite squeaky clean vinaigrette (I’ve mentioned before, my favorite is Tessemae’s Lemon Garlic, which I typically buy at Whole Foods).

Last week, I spent Sunday afternoon prepping and chopping and cooking a few things in advance so my week was SUPER EASY when it came to throwing meals together. I plan to do the same this week, making my stew on Sunday (since it’s a little more work), and prepping my chicken and beef patties to pair with soups and salads throughout the week.

Here’s what we’ve got!

Beef Butternut Stew with Pear and Thyme 

Under the Weather Soup with mixed greens and lemon-garlic vinaigrette 

Garlic Sage Chicken Patties with baked sweet potatoes and leftover Under the Weather soup

Three Herb Beef Patties with grilled portobello mushrooms, sautéed onions, and sliced avocado

That should get everyone feeling healthy and nourished this week! Hope you all enjoy!



Easiest-Ever Crunchy Raw Veggie Salad

Veggie salad

Stop. Just stop. Whatever you’re doing right now, whatever excuse you have for not eating more veggies, all of that – just stop it right now. Get yourself to a Whole Foods or the nearest farmer’s market and fill your reusable shopping bag with all the crunchy and delicious veggies you can get your hands on and get to choppin’. You can thank me later. ;)

This salad is SO AWESOME – I added it to my weekly cookup and made a big batch this past Sunday so we would have it in the fridge for the week. I had really been feeling like I needed more veggies in my life, especially throughout the day when I was pressed for time and didn’t have something ‘ready-to-eat’ already in the fridge and instead was downing a bag of plantain chips or grabbing something equally not-as-healthy-as-vegetables (ahem – chocolate) to satisfy my snacking urges. The raw veggies in this salad really soak up the dressing and become tender and flavorful… and because it’s so easy to throw together (and makes it easy to get in more veggies at every meal), it will probably become a staple in your fridge! SO GO MAKE IT RIGHT NOW!

Crunchy Raw Veggie Salad

What you’ll need:

  • Any/All of the following veggies, chopped to uniform bite-size
    • Broccoli
    • Cauliflower
    • Carrots (love those jumbo rainbow ones!)
    • Crimini/mini portobello or white button mushrooms
    • Bell pepper (any color, but I love red)
  • Kalamata olives
  • Feta or parmesan cheese – if you tolerate dairy
  • Tessemae’s Lemon Garlic dressing (or your own favorite squeaky clean vinaigrette – Tessemae’s Lemon Garlic is my #1. Use as much as you feel is appropriate)

What to do:

Toss your chopped veggies into a giant mixing bowl along with the olives and feta cheese. Dress your veggies with the Tessemae’s Lemon Garlic dressing and don’t be shy! Really coat them up good – be generous with your dressing. Toss everything to coat well. Refrigerate and enjoy!

This salad is best after the veggies have had a chance to marinate, a few hours or so.




You Have a Choice.

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Okay, you guys. Do me a favor and while reading this post, try to forget that I am a registered yoga teacher, and instead just pretend that I’m a beginner. Because, guess what? In a way, I am. Without getting too woo-woo on you, we all are, even the most advanced yogi. Every time you step on your yoga mat, you are new, the practice is new, your body is new, it’s all new. Some parts may seem familiar but for the most part, you have a fresh clean slate and you’ve never been where you’re going. And that is honestly one of the many things about yoga that I love! Anyway…

This morning I went to an actual class for the first time in… a while. I mean, I have a million excuses… injury, exhaustion, that whole kid thing, time, etc, etc, etc. Whatever. I was literally in the parking lot trying to talk myself out of going, I had other things with which I could easily fill up 90 minutes, I hadn’t practiced in months (um, total ego working, that’s exactly why I SHOULD go in to class), I was restless and impatient and feeling like I had fallen behind in my practice and would be stiff and sore and too wrapped up in my own self-deprecating thoughts to get anything out of the practice… wow, clearly I really needed this class. So, once I realized what was happening in my head and how much I actually needed to get my butt in there, I went for it. And boy, oh boy, was it my lucky day, because the teacher’s message was just for me.

We have a choice. In every moment, we have a choice. We can choose to take the yoga class, or choose to drive away and sit at Starbucks and get sucked into the internet instead. We can choose to plan ahead and prepare healthy meals to support our body and our best health, or we can choose get take-out for the third time in a week. We can choose to yell at our kids in a moment of frustration, or choose to stop what we’re doing, take a deep breath and take a moment to get on their level. We can choose to argue and disagree with our significant other, or choose to slow down and try to understand their point of view. We can choose to dwell on regrets we have over the past, or choose to live fully in the present and appreciate all the gifts we have in our life right now. We can choose to let anxiety and worry and stress take away our peace of mind, or we can recognize what a waste of time that would be, and instead choose happiness, gratitude, and love for the present moment. We can choose to judge ourselves (or others) harshly, to let our own negative judgments keep us from experiencing all that this life has for us, or we can choose to be OPEN, to slow down, recognize the recurring patterns of our thoughts and subsequent behavior, and then again, choose to change.

There is no need to push negative feelings down, to ignore them, or to try to replace them. The need lies in recognizing and allowing yourself to feel these things, but then also in understanding that you are not your feelings. It’s so easy to identify with our feelings, to believe we are that which we feel. But we are so much more! We are strong, powerful, beautiful – we are filled with light! We are meant to connect with each other, we are meant to give and to receive… we are meant for soooooo much more than what 99% of the population believes is true for themselves.

My request for you today is to simply slow down, recognize that you have a choice. You don’t have to be sad, you don’t have to feel rushed, you don’t have to feel sick and tired, you don’t have to be angry, you don’t have to be anything but the light and the love that you truly are.

Namaste, y’all.



Weekly Cookup: Week of February 28

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Hey y’all… phew. It’s been a whirlwind few weeks full of travel for both Tim and I, which means menu-planning and cooking has fallen to the wayside and been replaced with takeout, convenience foods, and people other than me cooking (thanks, Mom!). I don’t know about you, but when my schedule gets crazy, if I haven’t planned well, my eating gets way out of whack and I can feel it and see it in my body. My skin gets dry and often breaks out, my joints get stiff, my body aches, my eyes get puffy, my digestion is clearly messed up… basically, I’m a hot mess. But rather than get upset about it or fall into a downward spiral of feeling crappy, I just feel grateful that I’m that tuned-in to my body that I notice these things and can directly connect them to the food I am putting into my body… and that it’s fixable! Sadly, the majority of the population just doesn’t make this connection!

Sometimes when coming off a bender of unplanned eating, I have to ease back into the process. This week I’m mixing in some easy and familiar staples with a handful of new recipes to try so as not to overwhelm myself with the “work” of shopping and cooking. I feel like this is probably a good place for most people to start anyway – picking two or three new recipes to mix into what you already know how to prepare not only sets you up for success, but also gives you a taste of something new and motivates you to keep on branching out with your cooking so you avoid getting into a rut. Check out what I’ve got on this week’s menu:

Tender Asian Marinated Flank Steak with Cauli Rice, Flash Pan Mushrooms & Peppers, and Sliced Avocados

Roasted Chicken & Asparagus Salad over Mixed Greens with Sliced Avocados

Burrito Bowls with leftover Cauli Rice (or white rice)

Grilled Marinated Chicken Breasts with Twice-Baked Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

If you didn’t notice, I’m doing the recipe links a little differently this week, and from here on out, since most of you weren’t making all the recipes but just picking and choosing what you’d make each week from the menu I provided. I’m also no longer including the shopping lists. I know, I know, it’s one more step for you, but guess what? You can handle it. Print out the recipes you want and make your shopping lists from them, easy peasy! I was just finding it a little redundant each week to make the lists straight from the menus… plus, you know what you already have in your fridge and pantry, so only make a list for what you need, duh!

Hope everyone has a great week of healthy and delicious meals now that we’re back on track!



Weekly Cookup: Week of February 7, 2016

Hey guys! This week went by so fast! AH! STOP!

Tonight, I’m sitting down with a glass of vino, a handful of dark chocolate chips (judge me), and a couple brand spankin’ new cookbooks to pick out a few recipes. I just came across this excerpt in Easy Paleo Meals by Kelly Brozyna, which was a total sign and I knew I HAD to share it with you:

To meal plan or not to meal plan?

Maybe a little of both. Being organized isn’t about perfection, and neither is meal planning. Meal planning is just another tool to make your life easier. But some weeks, it’s like, “Forget it. I just can’t do it. Let’s go to Chipotle!” When you feel this way, don’t beat yourself up! No one is perfect. I certainly have weeks when I make nothing but scrambled eggs or pancakes and go out to eat. Then, after giving myself a break, I can get back in the kitchen again. It’s okay.

How’s that for getting real and in your face? Have we not all been there?! Sometimes I have family in town, sometimes I have events or meetings or other commitments on the weeknights, and sometimes Tim goes out of town for work, and sometimes I have all three of those things and more going on in a single week, which makes the typical weekly meal plan not make so much sense for me. This week happens to be one of those weeks, so guess what? Tonight, I’ll finish off my vino and my chocolate chips, go to bed early, and skip the plan all together this week, knowing I’ll be relying on a couple staples I have in the freezer, probably some scrambled eggs, and definitely a visit to Chipotle (that sounded like a good idea!). Next week, I’ll come back fresh and ready for ya.

The good news is, my paleo cookbook bundle arrived today in the mail, which means we’ll be testing out recipes from three brand new books! So stay tuned!



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