Best of the Bean – Year 7

Hi friends!

I can hardly believe that today marks the start of my 8th year of blogging! That’s 7 full years in the books, folks. And boy has a lot changed since I hit publish on that first post back in 2010.

The blogging world is a unique space that is constantly evolving and changing. I continue to be eternally grateful that I’ve been able to turn my passion into a career. It took hard work, dedication and sacrifice, but I’m so proud to see all that hard work paying off. I get to wake up every day and divide my time between raising my kids and sharing my love of food and nutrition with all of you – my two favorite things in the whole world!

Every time I sit down to work on this blog, I strive to stay true to my tagline – Balanced. Simple. Real.

I’m just a girl attempting to navigate the world of motherhood, on a mission to show you that healthy eating doesn’t have to be restrictive, complicated or expensive.

But when it comes right down to it, the thing I value most about my blog and my social media accounts is that they give me a platform to keep it real.

I share my life with you guys in hopes that it’ll help just one person every day. Because despite what a lot of social media today wants you to believe:

Real life isn’t perfect. It’s reheated coffee, dirty clothes, screaming kids, sleepless nights, mile long to-do lists, messy play rooms and forgotten appointments.  It’s feeling immense amounts of love and pride for some of the tiniest people in your life, while simultaneously feeling overwhelmed, frustrated and hopelessly inadequate. 

If me sharing everything from healthy family dinners to epic toddler meltdowns helps even one person feel like they’re not alone…then it’s worth it! And on the flip side…when I share my life with you, it gives you the opportunity to teach and help me as well…And for that, I’m eternally grateful.

So thank you so much to all of you who read this blog and choose to follow along on our crazy journey. I certainly couldn’t do it without you!

Every year I like to take a look back at all of the posts I published and share a recap with you. If you’re a new reader, here are some resources and recipes to check out. If you’re a longtime reader, perhaps it’ll remind you of a recipe or two you’ve been meaning to try!

So, here are some of my favorite posts from the past year:


Healthy options for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

5 Minute Breakfast Hash
Turmeric Yogurt Chicken
Skillet Mediterranean Chicken Pasta
Wild Rice Power Bowl
Instant Pot Beef Stew
BBQ Pulled Pork Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
Instant Pot Asian Chicken
Greek Shrimp and Farro
Pesto Chicken Caprese Pasta
Instant Pot Pasta With Meat Sauce
Instant Pot Shredded Hummus Chicken
One Pot Orzo Pasta Salad With Chicken Sausage
Asian Flank Steak
Spicy Chicken Pitas
Instant Pot Thai Peanut Chicken Soup
Lentil Sloppy Joes
Quick & Easy Vegetable Recipes


Snacks that kids and adults alike can enjoy!

Easy Smoked Salmon Dip
Sweet Potato Waffle Nachos 
Easy Banana Oat Bars
Green Smoothie Snack Bars
Peanut Butter Chickpea Bars
Nut Free Toddler Trailmix
Dessert French Toast Waffle Bites
Peanut Butter Banana Chia Pudding
Blueberry Cauliflower Smoothie


Healthy food inspiration for your little ones!

Easy Toddler Meals
40 Healthy Toddler Meals
50 Healthy Toddler Meal Ideas
What My Toddler Chose To Eat
Kid-Friendly Food Prep Recipes
Kid-Friendly Vegetable Recipes
Table Talk – An ebook full of tips & tricks for feeding young kids

On my blogiversary last year, I was about 6 months pregnant so the past year has been a big one for our family. Squish turned 2 at the end of October. Little Miss was born the first week of November.  I wrote a day in the life post every 3 months and monthly updates for Little Miss (click here to read those).


Tips for keeping the kiddos busy!

Kitchen Tasks For Toddlers
Indoor Activities For Toddlers
How to Make a Busy Box For Toddlers
Toddler Gift Ideas {Ages 1-3}


For my fellow mamas!

Gifts For New Moms
Make-Ahead Snacks For Breastfeeding Moms
Dairy-Free Lactation Cookies
To The Parents With The Colicky Baby
How To Handle Toddler Meltdowns 


Old blog recipes that were updated and/or republished!

Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Bars
Cranberry Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Baked Pumpkin Donuts with Cinnamon Glaze
Tuna Quinoa Cakes
Sausage & Wild Rice Stuffing
Lentil Vegetable Curry
Spicy Salmon Cornmeal Cakes
Zucchini Carrot Apple Muffins
Homemade Whole Wheat Tortillas
Blackberry Crumble Bars
Sweet Potato Protein Pancakes
Cheesy Mexican Quinoa
Cranberry Corn Muffins
Cajun Meatloaf
Easy Fish Chowder


Posts and resources to encourage you to give food prep a try!

How to Find Your Food Prep Focus Area
My Weekly Food Prep {By the Minute}
A Beginner’s Guide to Food Prep
Top 10 Foods For Sunday Food Prep
6 Months of Food Prep
15 Quick Food Prep Dinners
30+ Ways To Use Leftover Chicken
Dinner Made Easy: One month of meals, shopping lists, food prep tips and more
The Ultimate Guide To Food Prep – my ebook full of all my food prep secrets!


Some of my favorite collaborations with brands I love!

Maple Cinnamon Latte
Pork and Egg Breakfast Pizza
Spicy Ranch Popcorn
Mediterranean Turkey Spinach Salad
Roasted Sweet Potato Yogurt Bowls
Chocolate Sweet Potato Mug Cake
Berry Farro Breakfast Bowl
Small Batch Cinnamon Roll Scones
Vanilla Cake Parfaits
Grilled Foil Packed Tilapia with Pesto Veggies
Sheet Pan Italian Salmon with Green Beans
Ginger Peach Turkey Tenderloin



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Dear Alyssa – Months 1 and 2

Dear Alyssa,

You turned 2 months old yesterday and I can’t even believe it! I wrote these letters to your brother during his first year so I’m going to do the same for you. We took you to the doctor yesterday and you weighed 12 pounds 12 ounces and were 24 1/4 inches long. That’s 87th percentile for weight and 99th percentile for height.

I looked back at Squish’s 2 month recap and you’re not quite as big as he was….he was wearing 6 month clothes at this point and you’re still in 3 month and a few 3-6 month…but you’re holding your own! He was also on formula at this point and you’re still successfully solely breastfeeding! I had a lot of trouble with your brother and I’m thrilled it’s going so well this time around – even if it is a lot of work! You look just like Squish did as a baby…it’s crazy.

They say every kid is different and that couldn’t be more true in our house. Your brother was sleeping 4 hour stretches at night soon after he was born and didn’t cry all that much unless he was hungry. You’ve been a bit more work. For the first six weeks, you never slept more than 2 hours at a time. You would eat at 12, 2 and 4 and your brother was getting up at 5, which made for one tired mama. Luckily, just when I was about to reach my breaking point at 6 weeks, you started sleeping a 6-8 hour stretch at night. Thank you!

If we had to describe you in one word, it would be dramatic. You’re demanding, you’re loud and you cry ALL THE TIME. All the time. Especially the first 6 weeks. If you were not sleeping or eating, you were fussing, crying or screaming. And nothing helped. We tried walking, bouncing, pacifier, swinging, loud noises, soft music, reflux medication and more.

Luckily for us again, at the six week mark things got a little better. You still scream a lot every day, but there are at least a few periods where you’ll sit quietly. Things are best in the morning or worst in the evening but we’re working on it. We’ve found a few things that are starting to calm you down, like the Ergo, bouncing on an exercise ball and the hairdryer.

You love sitting up and facing out and you like to be moving. You hate pacifiers. For the most part you do pretty well in your carseat since car rides usually put you to sleep. You’re not on much of a schedule, partly because I really just let you do your thing…and partly because your brother kinda runs the show. You do a lot of sleeping in your carseat in the kitchen or at the gym, in your swing or just on the floor while your brother is playing.

You’ve celebrated your first Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.

You’re officially 2 months old and at this point you tend to nurse yourself to sleep around 11 or midnight and sleep until anywhere between 5-7 am. You’re usually asleep again by 9 or 9:30 and tend to take a pretty good morning nap. Afternoon naps are sporadic but typically you sleep from 3-4 until about 6. Your witching hours are 7-11pm and you also tend to clusterfeed. During the day you can easily go 3-4 hours without eating but at night you want to eat constantly from 6-11ish. I do my best to follow your lead and just let you do your thing.

Despite being a bit overly dramatic, you’re a very sweet girl. You like to snuggle with me and you’re starting to smile and coo. You’ve got very good neck control for your age and are very strong. When you arch your back and cry you can almost flip yourself right out of your carseat or swing if you’re not belted in. You love watching your brother and although he doesn’t show a ton of interest in you, he has held you a couple times and will tell me to pick you up if you’re crying.

Your hair is still dark so we’ll see if it turns blond like your brother’s or not.

I can’t wait to watch you keep growing, sweet girl! Mama loves you!


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Party of Four

Hi Friends!

Happy Monday. Hope all you moms out there had a great Mother’s Day! It was an extra special mom’s day over here because….

Baby Bean #2
Coming November 2016



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Dear Chase – Months 17 and 18

Dear Chase,

Here we are! You’re officially 18 months old today! How did that even happen?!

The past two months have been a bit of a whirlwind. The weather has turned warm for the most part and you LOVE being outside. From the time you wake up until the minute you go to bed you’re asking to go outside.

You’re constantly on the move. Sitting still definitely isn’t your thing and I’d say you easily walk 1-2 miles per day on your little legs!

Since daylight savings time, you’ve been waking up like clockwork at 6:45 every day. You’ve also started going to be earlier and are typically in bed by 7:30 at the latest. You’re still sleeping like a champ at night and really don’t wake up once you go down. Nap time is another story. While we’re not quite officially down to one nap per day, I think we’re pretty close. Most days you take a morning nap for an hour to an hour and a half. Afternoons you’ll occasionally take a short nap but it’s rare. I’m working to get your morning nap a bit later and longer but it’s been a battle!

You had your 18-month checkup on Wednesday. You’re 31 pounds and 34 1/4 inches tall which means you’re still in the 98th percentile for height and weight. You still love to eat. I’ll be sharing a post this weekend with a full day of eats so everyone can see just how much food you can put in that little body, but in general, you pretty much eat something – a meal or a small snack- about every 2 hours.

You’ve discovered water and you absolutely adore it- sprinklers, tubs, buckets of water, bottles of water….all forms…you don’t discriminate.

You’re very vocal and pretty much babble all day long. While you haven’t really started saying more actual words besides mama and dada, we think you’re pretty close. I’d say within the next month or two you’ll perfect that handful of words you’re oh so close to mastering. In the meantime, you’re still a very effective communicator with your pointing and sounds.

Over the past few months you’ve:

  • Continued to spend time at the gym. You love cheering people on, playing with your barbell, throwing balls around the gym and hanging from the rings.
  • Attended Little Gym classes weekly. You love exploring your own little gym and it’s a great chance for you to interact with other kids your age. I’ve also been taking you to story time at the library on Thursday mornings, which you like.
  • Started climbing on EVERYTHING. Nothing is safe. You climb up on anything you can pull yourself up on including benches, chairs, your toy box etc. You also like jumping so we got you a mini trampoline. You’re also getting much better at going down stairs, especially the ones on the deck.
  • Worn through your shoes because you walk so much. You run almost everywhere you go and you also love pushing things. Everything from your stroller to  your bike to the neighbor’s recycling bin. Your feet also grew so you’re wearing size 6/6.5 shoes.
  • Went on your first egg hunt at Easter.
  • Gotten better at throwing the ball for Tucker. He loves that we’re spending so much time outside now.
  • Got your haircut again. You did about as well as you did the first time. Not great, but well enough that they could cut it!
  • Had your first froyo date with mommy.

It’s so fun and exciting to watch you learn and grow. I think we have a great summer ahead of us!

Love you, little man!




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RDs Who Blog

Hi Friends!

Just popping in with a quick post today. Turns out yesterday was National Registered Dietitian Day. For the past several years I’ve published a post to celebrate and highlight some of the amazing RDs out there who are doing great things in the blogging world.

This year I kinda dropped the ball. I had grand plans, but I thought RD Day was tomorrow….not yesterday. SO, I just wanted to take a second to direct you to last year’s post:

Registered Dietitians Who Blog

If you’re looking for some new blogs to follow, click the link or image above and check out some of the great blogs my friends and fellow RDs are writing. Tons of great, healthy recipes, nutrition information etc from reputable sources! And be sure to read the comments on last year’s post as well for links to even more RD blogs!




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A Day In The Life – 15 Months

Hi Friends!

Somehow as I sit here and write this, I have a 15 month old baby. Not quite sure how that happened but excuse me while I go cry! As promised, I’m doing my best to write one of these posts every 3 months. I just went back and read my 12 month post and it’s crazy how much things have changed!

In case you missed the past posts, here they are:

Day in the Life – 12 Months
Day in the Life – 9 Months
Day in the Life – 6 Months
Day in the Life – 3 Months

So here’s how our day looked yesterday. I tried to link to some of the things in the pictures people might ask about. Some of the links are affiliate links:

4 AM – Wake up and feed the animals.

5 AM – Wake up to make sure hubby is up. Like I mentioned the other day, there have been some changes at the gym and he’s currently coaching the 5:30am classes during the week before he goes to work. He’s doing great, but it’s been an adjustment to get used to waking up at 4:45 instead of 7:45 like he was previously. So, we both set alarms to make sure he gets up and out the door.

6 AM – Up and at ’em. Squish’s wake up and nap schedules have been less than predictable lately, which means it has been increasingly hard for me to get work done during the day. He typically wakes up around 7 so I try to get up by 6 to get a solid hour of work in before that. This is typically when I do a lot of social media stuff, as well as a lot of my daily tasks for Healthy Aperture, etc. I do my best to focus on Squish when he’s awake but I do occasionally need to answer work emails throughout the day.

7:30 AM – Hubby gets home around 7:15 and Squish wakes up around 7:30. He gets him up while I get breakfast ready. If Squish wakes up earlier, I get him up myself and breakfast gets delayed a bit…but this morning it was nice to have a few minutes to get his breakfast together in peace. He doesn’t always need to eat right when he wakes up…but when he decides it’s time to eat, food better be ready in about 30 seconds or total meltdown ensues. My go-to breakfast for him is a baked egg muffin, a sweet potato bite and some fruit. Plus Cheerios and a glass of milk. (This is the cup he uses and these bibs are dishwasher safe!). I cram down a fried egg and some Cheerios myself while feeding him.

7:45 – 9 AM – Playtime. Hubby heads to work and Squish and I play. He watches some PBS, plays in his kitchen, we read books, etc. (Rainbow Stacker, Magnet board + magnets, wooden blocks)

9 – 10 AM – Errands. We don’t run errands every day but today I had a few things to do. We headed to the grocery store to pick up a few items I forget to get over the weekend, picked up a prescription and bought some cat and dog food at the pet store.

10 – 10:45 AM – Snack and playtime. As you’ll see, we spend a large part of our day eating. Squish is in the 95th percentile for height & weight and he’s a very active little guy. So he eats A LOT and he eats OFTEN. In fact, he’s pretty much always hungry. For his morning snack I usually give him a popsicle. I make them with mashed sweet potato, peanut butter and prunes. He’s had poop issues all his life so he gets a lot of prunes 🙂 He then thinks it’s time for lunch and has a fit when I tell him he’s mistaken. (Shopping cart, high chair)

10:45 AM – Nap. I put him down in his crib and race downstairs to see how much work I can get done. Every day is different. Some days I’m working on my computer, some days I’m in the kitchen. Today the goal was to get videos two videos made and I got it done…just barely. (Food processor, Tripod, iPhone tripod attachment)

12:00 PM – Lunch. Hubby comes home for lunch and Squish wakes up ready to eat. I give him half a cheeseburger, some roasted squash and a clementine. Unpictured- me eating cold meatballs, green beans and a brownie.

12:15 – 2:00 PM – Playtime. Hubby takes a nap and then heads back to work. Squish and I explore the house, play with the recycling, Facetime with Mimi & Grandpa and pull out every kitchen utensil in the kitchen.

2:00 PM – I have a call scheduled for 2:30 and I know he’ll be hungry around then so I preemptively try to get a snack ready….but I’m not fast enough. Meltdown ensues while I make our smoothie (kefir, vanilla Greek yogurt, frozen wild blueberries and peanut butter).

2:30 PM – Phone call with a prospective blog client. I do my best to schedule phone calls during naptime, but it’s been pretty much impossible to guess correctly lately so since he’s still awake, I turn on the TV and hope he stays relatively quiet. (activity table)

3:00 PM – Nap time. I put him in his crib and race down to get things set up to take pictures. Apparently Squish isn’t in the mood to take a second nap today so I know I have about a 30-minute window before he’s had enough of the crib. I get my photos taken and then head upstairs to retreive him.

3:30 – 4:45 PM – Play time. Most days he’ll nap from 2:30 or 3 until 4ish and then we head to the gym. Today happened to be a rest day for me so I didn’t need to head to the gym until a bit later. I try to encourage him to play on his own for at least a little while each day. I’m able to sit at the kitchen table and do a little work while he entertains himself. (Binky clip)

5:00 – 6:30 PM – Gym time. We head to the gym to see daddy, hang out, cheer people on, etc. Most days we get there a little after 4 and I workout from 4:30-5:30 and then hang out for a while before coming home. At the gym, Squish gets another snack – usually a hardboiled egg and raisins, plus some Cheerios to keep him happy in his playpen for a little while so we can workout. (Snack Bowl)

7:00 – 8:00 PM – Dinner. Hubby went to a beer tasting dinner with a friend so Squish and I headed home to have dinner. I give him some chicken and hummus, sweet potato and blueberries while I eat a few more cold meatballs and some chips and salsa. We spend a little time emptying all the cupboards and drawers in the kitchen, dumping out a few baskets of toy and books etc. and then it’s time for jammies and bed for Squish.

8:00 PM – 12:00 AM – Work. I do my best to cross the rest of the things off my to-do list for the day. Hubby comes home and heads to bed around 10 so he can get up to coach and I work some more before heading to bed around midnight.

For the record, the day I documented was Tuesday Feb 9, 2016. Every day is different so for comparison, here’s a brief synopsis of Wednesday Feb 10th as well:

5am – wakeup to check on hubby
6am – wakeup and work
7am – Squish wakes up, eats and plays
9am – head to the gym to cover our 9:30 Crossfit class
11am – snack and playtime
12am – he naps, I eat with hubby and work
2pm – playtime
3:30pm – back to the gym
6:30pm – home to make dinner (chicken taco mac and cheese), fed him some but he was overtired and didn’t eat much
7:30pm – put him to bed and took a shower
8pm – sat down on the couch with my computer to work for a few hours.

So there you go friends. A glimpse into our life! I’d apologize for the disaster of a house, excessive number of tearful photos etc….but that’s real life. And it isn’t always picture perfect…but I wouldn’t trade it for the world!




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Dear Chase – Months 13 and 14

Dear Chase,

A few days ago you turned 14 months! I can hardly believe it’s been 2 months since your 1st birthday. (If you’re interested, you can find all my monthly Dear Chase letters from his first year here.) I’ve decided to switch to writing you these letters every other month, because even though you’re changing every single day, the changes are starting to get a bit more gradual than they were in your first year. I thought about stopping writing them now that you’re one, but I really like being able to look back and remind myself when you did certain things or hit certain milestones. Hopefully one day you’ll enjoy reading them too!

So anyways, here’s how things have been going for the past two months:


You went to your one-year appointment a few days after your first birthday. You weighed 25 pounds (92nd percentile), were 31.5 inches long (98th percentile) and you still have a big head 🙂  The doctor told us a few things: it was time for you to get some shoes and it was time for you to make the switch from formula to milk.

You’d been eating real food for lunch and/or dinner for several months but now it was time to make sure you started getting it for all three meals. You did pretty well with the transition from formula to milk. I started by giving you 20 oz of milk (2%) per day but after a couple weeks you were still having pooping issues so we started using Miralax, in addition to things like prune juice, raisins and probiotics, and we also cut back your milk to 15oz a day. You get a cup with breakfast, lunch and dinner. We had a great time starting to eat breakfast together every morning.

While you sleep like a champ at night, usually going down around 8pm and sleeping until 7:30 or 8am, this month was rough in the nap department. You had a several week stretch where you boycotted your afternoon nap every day and took only a short morning nap. That made for some ROUGH afternoons and evenings as you definitely weren’t ready for just one nap.

I took you to get your first pair of choose at Stride Rite (size 5 wide) and you absolutely loved them! You love to run and get them and bring them to me and then sit down and try to put them on yourself!

We had great weather in November and we spent a lot of time going on walks with the dogs and playing at the park. You still love going to the Little Gym and reading books and you’re walking like a champ. You no longer love sitting in the cart. Instead, you want to help mommy push the cart around the store. You still spend a lot of time at the gym and we switched to putting you in your popup playyard most of the time instead of in your jumper seat.

We celebrated your second Thanksgiving at Grandma and Grandpa’s house and your aunt Katie came to visit you the weekend after Thanksgiving.

We started letting you explore the kitchen a little more and you spent less time outside your gated community, although we still put you in there a fair bit. For the most part you’re a happy boy, except when you’re hungry or when you can’t poop.


Mimi and Grandpa came to visit the first week of December. You loved running errands with them, reading books and taking walks outside. We put up a few Christmas decorations and you did really well leaving the Christmas tree alone. Mommy was worried you’d try to knock it down every day. We ended up taking you to the doctor in early December because you had a rattling sound in your chest for a couple weeks, but luckily your lungs were clear and it was just some extra mucus rattling around when you couldn’t clear it out by coughing and it resolved on its own.

The weather continued to be nice so we took LOTS of daily walks, went on a couple playdates and started brushing your teeth! You absolutely love brushing your teeth!

You love your daddy and bath time and you still love when mommy carries you in the Ergo. You seem to be going throw another separation anxiety phase and you throw a fit most of the time when I leave your sight.

Some of your favorite toys are everyday kitchen items and you like to have ALL your toys out all at once.

And then, just like that, it was time to celebrate your second Christmas. You enjoyed helping us rip the wrapping paper off presents and tearing up the tissue paper into little pieces. We celebrated a few days early with Grandma and Grandpa and they got you a shopping cart. You love pushing it around the kitchen and crashing into things. Daddy had to add a little extra padding so you wouldn’t destroy the cabinets and appliances.

We headed to Chicago for Christmas with Mimi, Grandpa and Aunt Katie and you had a great time!

Mommy did a 25 Days of Joy photo project and I loved capturing the magical little day to day moments with you.

Overall, you’re doing great. You hopped back on the 2 nap train this month so you typically take 2 solid naps a day and sleep for 11-12 hours at night. You eat 3 meals and a snack each day. Raisins are by far your favorite snack. You’re not a huge vegetable fan unless they’re dipped in hummus. In fact, you’ll eat pretty much anything that’s dipped in hummus. You love meat, eggs, nut butter and more! You drink 15 oz of milk each day and we’re still trying to get your pooping issues under control.

Most of your tops are size 2T but you’re still wearing mostly 12-18 month or 18 month bottoms. You don’t like socks but you love wearing shoes. You love your animals, especially the kitties. You say mama and dada and are pretty close to saying doggy, kitty and ball. You love to read and enjoy throwing your ball around the kitchen and chasing after it. Mommy and daddy got you a kitchen for Christmas and you like to make us dinner and pour us coffee. Currently, your favorite toys are a salad spinner and a ball and you LOVE the vacuum. You hate wearing hats or gloves but love being outside, even when it’s cold and your new favorite activity is shaking your head no any time we ask you a question.

You make us smile at least 100 times a day and every day I’m grateful that I get to take care of you and watch you grow!

Mommy loves you!


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Crossfit 1803 – Months 1 and 2

Hi Friends!

Time to talk fitness. It’s been just over 2 months since we opened Crossfit 1803 so I figured it was about time to catch you up on some of the workouts I’ve been doing!

  • First wod back after about a month off while we got ready to open. Did my last 4 clean & squat complexes at 135#, then finished 5+2 Rx for the wod.
  • Brutal. 16:55 Rx 
  • New one rep max for push press:115#. Followed by some snatch work, then a wod of snatches and sprints – 8 min AMRAP: 50 m sprint, 2 snatches (+1 snatch each round). Finished the round of 7 snatches with 85#. 
  • Saturday morning partner wod.

  • Double wod today. Wasn’t sure if I’d be able to do the class wod bc of squish so I did a modified version of Tommy Mac while he napped. I used 75#, did 24″ box jumps instead of burpees and for round 2 I dropped the reps to 12 for barbell stuff and 6 for box jumps. Then ended up being able to do the hero wod. I switched to 20 ring rows per round after round 1 cuz I ripped my hand and did 95# overhead walk
  • We got my mother-in-law in to try her first workout! So awesome! Crossfit can be modified for anyone! Hubby and I did her first wod with her- 3 RFT: 10 cal row, 10 dumbbell push press, 10 ring rows
  • Running and doubles. Hubby and I alternated pushing squish in the stroller every 400m. I finished in 21:21.

  • Sunday Funday at the gym with my wod squat. Bottom – Monday’s wod– made it through 4 rounds, then ripped my hands in 4 places and did ring press outs for the last round. Did all my 95# squats though!
  • Deadlifts, then a fast and furious wod. Add one rep after each round. I finished through the round of 11 box jumps and SDLHPs + the run of the next round.
  • All-time Grace PR! 4:15 Rx (previous PR 4:35 pre-baby)
  • Sweaty partner wod. Squish cheered us on as usual. We made it through all the rounds (4 seconds to spare in that last round)

  • Family time at the gym.
  • Sunday hero wod – 19:21
  • Crawls around like a maniac and gets into everything when I workout but stands there nicely and cheers for daddy during his wod
  • Harder than it sounds! Plus I did it twice! Hopped in to the 4:30 class to help out with an odd number, then did it again at 5:45. Plus some back squats.

  • If you wanna feel your forearms BURN, try this wod. 7 + 8 Rx.
  • First bar muscle up EVER!
  • Crushing a partner wod to kick off the weekend
  • File this under: hard. Did 85# squat snatches (Rx was 135/95). It’s been 2 years since I did any sort of hspu. I used an abmat on a 25# plate, but I did them all! Finished in 16:31.

  • Saturdaze
  • Our first gym outing! We went stand up paddle boarding – so much fun and perfect weather! I even managed a few headstands and pistols on the board (and took a few spills while trying!)
  • Wasn’t the prettiest but I tied my all-time split jerk PR today at 125#! 
  • Hit 145# for 10 on my last round of back squats. Finished one full round of the wod with about a minute to spare. Did 20 kipping ring dips, then added a band for the second 20. Ran my mile in 7:43!

  • 60 pull-ups for time. 3 wall balls EMOTM. Finished in 3:48.
  • When baby won’t nap, he joins the workout. Since squish was my partner, I had to do all the reps. Almost finished the second set of lunges in round 3. Switched to holding the weight in front instead of overhead after round 1.
  • Hangin with favs.

  • Hero wod Sunday. The Seven. Absolutely one of the hardest crossfit workouts. Did 95# thrusters, 165# deadlifts, 44# KB swings and hspu with a mat on a 25# plate.
  • Sweaty mess after this one.
  • 42 in box jump and then a miss with a goose egg on my shin to prove it. Then 3:22 Rx for the wod
  • Squish learns to use a selfie stick. And we wod. I used 85# for snatches.

  • Post-baby PR Friday! 125# push press (up from 115#). Then hit my previous deadlift PR (215#) for 3 and hit a new PR at 235#! Almost back to my all-time PR of 265#!
  • Played photographer during the community wod, then tackled today’s hero wod with @thepatjhess. Finished 10 rounds (75# push press, 35# KB, 20″ box)
  • Working on those ring dips and strict pull-ups.
  • 400 m run
    30 push-ups
    800 m run
    30 pull-ups

    Weight: (95/65)

  • Finished 5 rounds Rx.
  • Death by rowing. 145 calories total.
  • All-time front squat PR of 150#.
  • Friends that squat together get nice butts together.

  • It took me for-freaking-ever, but I did Elizabeth Rx for the first time!!! Finished in 13:48.
  • Smiling thru the post-wod pain. Today was a sweatfest! 20 min AMRAP – 50 double unders, 40 Russian KB swings, 30 sit-ups, 20 burpees. Finished 4+60 Rx.
  • Death by sprints. Goal was to make it to the round of 16 ten meter sprints in a minute and we did! Then a fast and furious wod – finished in 4:34 Rx.
  • Saturday morning wod! Wall balls, planks, wall ball thrusters and ring rows.

  • Finished 7 rounds with 10 unbroken pull-ups each round! Feeling pretty proud of my pull-up effort! 
  • Rx weight was 135/95. Finished in 8:15 Rx.
  • Tabata of KB swings (I got 85 swings), then this quick little wod. Weight was 115/75. Finished in 3:53 Rx.
  • Joined the 9:30 ladies for this Friday wod. Finished in 19:42 Rx.

  • Anniversary wod. Finished in 27:27
  • Squish’s favorite gym activity.
  • 3 RFT – 400m run/21 burpees – finished in 10:41 with Squish.
  • Rough on the forearms for me. Have to pick a weight you can do all the reps without dropping the bar. You can rest as long as you want between rounds. Did it with 85#.

  • Tonight’s wod was a doozy! Finished 6 full rounds plus the run & 7 thrusters of round 7.
  • Finished in 16:27. Sweaty mess.
  • Filthy 50 (finished in 24:24)

    50 box jumps
    50 jumping pull-ups
    50 kb swings
    50 walking lunges
    50 knees to elbow
    50 push press
    50 back extensions
    50 wall balls
    50 burpees
    50 double unders
  • Squish be cruisin’

  • Allergies are kicking my ass and this wod almost killed me. First wod in a while where I almost quit after one round. Finished in 9:56 with 85#. (plus 135# for 2 on the hang squat cleans)
  • Helen

    3 RFT
    400m run
    21 kb swings
    12 pull-ups
    Finished in 10:31 Rx
  • Ring dips with squish man.
  • Took the help of a lot of people tonight to entertain a very grumpy Squish so I could get a workout in, but got it done!

It’s been a busy couple months but the gym is doing well and I’m getting stronger so it’s all good! It can be a challenge to fit workouts in with Squish around but for the most part we do pretty well. Luckily he likes his jumper seat and we can usually get a solid half hour of workout done with him in there!

We had an owners meeting last weekend and talked about some marketing strategies and fun upcoming events at the gym! Looking forward to seeing what the next couple of months bring!



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Blog Brulee 2015

In exchange for speaking at Blog Brulee this year, my travel and lodging expenses were covered and I was compensated for my time. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Photo Credit: California Almonds

Hi Friends!

As you may have seen if you follow me on social media, I spent last weekend in Vermont with a group of lovely ladies at Blog Brulee.

Blog Brûlée is an invitation-only, exciting, experiential weekend shared among a small, intimate number of healthy food bloggers and Registered Dietitian bloggers. The event is designed to provide education and professional development opportunities, as well as a forum for discussion and relationship building surrounding topics such as blogging and social media best practices, fundamentals of food photography, communication and marketing strategies, community niche development, brand identity and monetization.

I was scheduled to speak at BB last year but it ended up being too close to my due date for me to fly, so I was thrilled to have the chance to attend as a speaker this year! The conference is organized by some of my favorite RDs – Regan, Deanna, Robin & Gretchen. They rounded up some awesome sponsors (Siggi’s, Smuggler’s Notch, Davidson’s Safest Choice Eggs, California Almonds, and California Ripe Olives) who also helped make the weekend possible!

That’s Siggi!!

This year’s group of attendees were pretty fabulous as well:

  • Alanna Waldron, RD – Eat Real Food
  • Emily Hein, RDN, LD – Zen & Spice
  • Lisa Lin – Healthy Nibbles & Bits
  • Katie Oberwager – 24 Carrot Life
  • Sally Twellman, RD – Twellman Nutrition
  • Whitney Reist, RD, LMNT – Sweet Cayenne
  • Selena Sharpless – The Nutritious Kitchen
  • Amee Livingston – Amee’s Savory Dish
  • Alexandra Caspero, RD – Delicious Knowledge
  • Vicki Shanta Retelny, RDN – Simple Cravings. Real Food.
  • Jennifer Pullman, MA, RDN, LDN – Nourished Simply
  • Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN – Nutrition Starring YOU
  • Sara Haas, RDN, LDN – Sara Haas, RDN
  • Katie Sullivan Morford, MS, RD – Mom’s Kitchen Handbook
  • Emily Cooper, RD, LD – Sinful Nutrition
  • Anne Danahy, MS, RD, LDN – Craving Something Healthy
  • Deborah Davis, MS, RDN – Dietitian Debbie Dishes
  • Dana Artinyan, RD, LDN – Art of Nutrition
  • Marisa Westbrook – Uproot From Oregon

I’ve gotten to know many of these ladies online over the past several years and it was so fun to get to meet them in person! Be sure to go check out their blogs for great recipes and nutrition info.

Over the course of the weekend, there were several very informative sessions. Regan and Deanna give us some tips and tricks for food photography both using a DSLR and an iphone. Katie of Healthy Seasonal Recipes (one of my personal photography idols) shared some great tips about food styling and editing photos. She inspired me to dig out the cord that came with my camera so I can try shooting tethered! Lisa, an editor at Eating Well, gave some great tips for improving your writing and pitching editors. Katy Widrick (one of my blogging heroes) gave an amazing presentation about SEO…something I’m constantly working to improve. And finally Anne, from Fannetastic Food, shared all sorts of great info about monetizing your blog, working with brands and more!

Which brings me to my session! I teamed up with Kylie from Yeah Imma Eat That and Sally from Real Mom Nutrition to talk about building your virtual community. Kylie is an Instagram rockstar so she shared some tips for success and Sally has built an amazing Facebook community and she had some great examples of how to write great Facebook posts that get engagement and drive traffic.

I talked a little bit about social media, but I spent most of my time talking about building your blogging brand. I shared some suggestions for growing your blog and talked a lot about some of the things I wish I’d done from the very beginning to help define my brand and focus my blog.

I have a few Periscope broadcasts planned to share some of these tips with you guys and I’ll be sure to upload them to YouTube in case you miss them.

For now I’ll leave you with a quick list of lessons from the weekend:

  • Take a step back when you’re taking your pictures. You can always crop in, but there’s nothing you can do to fix a photo that’s cropped too tightly.
  • There are apps for your phone (like Camera+) that give you a lot of control and allow you to adjust things like aperture and shutter speed when taking a photo.
  • You can be confident without knowing everything. Add people to your team who excel at your weaknesses and improve your chances of success.
  • In Lightroom, you can increase the saturation to add some color and then individually turn down colors like orange if they look a little over the top. You can also make preset filters to apply to all photos you take in a common lighting situation (like at a certain time of day wherever you take pics in your house).
  • Cut to the chase. You can almost always cut at least 100 words from a blog post after it’s written. Remember that more and more people are reading on mobile devices which means you have less screen space to initially get them interested.
  • Focus on growing your search traffic. Get a plugin like Yoast and be sure you’re filling in your alt text, meta descriptions and key words.
  • Take the time to define your ideal reader. <– This is from me. It’s my #1 piece of advice to help you define and build your blog brand. (More to come).

That’s all for today! If you’re an RD or healthy living blogger, definitely check out the Blog Brulee website and consider applying to go next year!



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4 Spring Vegetables To Try

Don’t be intimidated by the new vegetables you see at the grocery store or in your CSA box this Spring. Here are 4 Spring Vegetables to try and some recipe suggestions!

Hi Friends!

Let’s talk vegetables, shall we? Specifically Spring vegetables. Spring is an exciting time of year. The weather gets warmer. You might be getting ready to plant the first seeds in your garden. Perhaps you signed up for a CSA and in a few weeks you’ll start enjoying lots of farm-fresh veggies. Or maybe you just get excited about seeing some new produce in the grocery store aisles.

Whatever the case may be, I bet there’s a few veggies out that there that you’re not sure what to do with. Here are 4 Spring Vegetables To Try and some ideas for using them! Several of these are veggies I don’t eat enough of myself. I had some fun taking pictures of them this weekend and now I’m challenging myself to eat more of them this Spring.


A great source of Vitamins C & K, folate and fiber, asparagus is also packed with antioxidants! It’s a fairy common spring veggie and is super verstatile. You can roast it whole, steam it, chop it an add to stirfries or shave it to add to salads or pizza! Be sure to snap off the ends and discard them before cooking the remainder of the stalks. To keep it fresh, store it standing up in a mason jar in the fridge in a little bit of water!

Not sure what to make with it? Try these recipes:

Coconut Ginger Braised Asparagus via Teaspoon of Spice
Basil Lemon Chicken Quinoa Salad via The Adventures of MJ & Hungryman
Balsamic Roasted Asparagus via The Lean Green Bean
Asparagus Egg & Bacon Salad via Skinnytaste
Bacon Wrapped Caramelized Sesame Asparagus via How Sweet Eats


Fun fact – Fresh artichokes are one of my favorite vegetables to look at, but I rarely eat them and I almost never cook them. When I do cook with them, they come from a jar or can, never fresh. My goal is to change that this year! They’re a great source of fiber and folate and Vitamins C and K. If you’ve never prepared fresh ones yourself, here’s a great article on How To Cook and Eat An Artichoke with step by step directions!

If you’re ready to step up your game and cook with fresh artichokes,  here are some recipes to try:

Italian Stuffed Artichokes via An Avocado A Day
Crockpot Artichokes via Family Fresh Meals
Grilled Artichokes via Proud Italian Cook
Stuffed Artichokes via Eatin On The Cheap
Braised Chicken with Artichokes via Feasting At Home

 Snap Peas

Peas are one of my favorite veggies but I admittedly often forget to use them. I almost always have a bag of frozen green peas in the freezer to add to things like casseroles, but I especially love spring when snap peas are in season. Such a great, crunchy snack!

I usually just eat mine plain but here are some recipes you could use them in:

Roasted Sugar Snap Peas with Sesame Dipping Sauce via Edible Perspective
Sugar Snap Peas and Carrot Soba Noodles via Cookie and Kate
Confetti Quinoa with Snap Peas via Cooking Treaty
Sugar Snap Pea Slaw via Better Homes & Gardens
Minty Grilled Snap Peas via The Wimpy Vegetarian


Pretty much the only memory I have of radishes is that my dad used to eat them when I was growing up. My mom would always have some floating in a bowl of water in the fridge for him to munch on. But yet again, here I am almost 30 years old and I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve eaten radishes. But I’m already taking strides to change that! After I took the above photo, I cut up this bunch of beautiful radishes. I added some to my tuna salad and sliced some to use to scoop up my Greek Hummus Plate! I’m loving their crunchy, peppery flavor!

Here are some other ways you can enjoy them:

Ginger Carrot Radish Salad via Healthy Seasonal Recipes
Cinnamon & Sugar Radish Chips via Pinch of Yum
Taco Pickles via Eva Kolenko Photography
Bacon Radish Salad via Nellie Bellie
Radish Avocado Salad via Best Recipe Box

Like these recipe ideas? Pin the image above to remind you to make them later!

[Tweet “Spring veggies are coming! Here are 4 to try, plus recipe ideas, from @Leangrnbeanblog!”]

Let’s chat:
What’s your favorite spring veggie?




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