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Favorite Things

Favorite Things! Here's what I'm cooking, watching, reading, learning, & all the things bringing me joy right now.

As we approach a new month, I'm trying to reflect on things that bring joy to my life and share them with you each month. I hope you find a new favorite or two!

I'm loving...

Being in Colorado! In lieu of Christmas gifts this year, Al & I decided to plan a quick trip to Colorado for some winter fun. Despite flights getting cancelled (twice), we weren't willing to throw in the towel on this trip so we decided to make the drive with my brother.

We spent a few days skiing, snowshoeing, and hiking, which was AWESOME. Blog post to come with everything we did!

brainard lake // brainard lake recreation area

I'm watching...

Nathan Chen's free skate that gave him a gold medal at the 2022 Winter Olympics! If you want to feel inspired, I highly recommend watching this free skate. You might has well watch his record-breaking Nationals performance as well.

Also, Saint Louis Billikens Basketball! We have really loved going to all the games this season with a group of friends.

I'm listening to...

The "Where Optimal Meeting Practical" podcast. This podcast is new to me but I've been learning a lot about training and nutrition. I really loved this episode about concurrent training (running and lifting) and have 4 more episodes queued up.

I'm reading...

A few weeks ago I was going to start reading Colleen Hoover. Well, things got busy and I never actually started the book... but now I actually have! I read It Ends With Us in one sitting and I can't wait for the sequel to come out later this year. Here's my Goodreads account if you want to see what I've been reading!

I'm dreaming of...

Skiing!! If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen I picked up a side job at Hidden Valley, a ski resort outside St. Louis. I usually work twice a week and am hoping to get in some ski team (now free because I'm an employee) once the season ends.

I'm wearing...

This winter hiking outfit. I wear pretty much the same outfit every time I hike in colder weather. Here's the outfit (with cheapest websites I could find) and here's everything on Amazon.

winter hiking-4
Tap picture for links to outfit

I'm learning...

About hybrid (concurrent) training. I bought this Hybrid eBook to teach me about combining running & lifting programs together. I'm excited to learn how to combine these two physical activities I love so much!

I'm cooking...

Of course my own recipes... but also quite a few Half Baked Harvest recipes! We made a few of her recipes for Super Bowl Sunday, like this Buffalo Cauliflower and this White Chicken Chili Bake... both SO yummy!

I'm drinking...

This Dreamsicle Protein Drink. Okay trust me on this combination... but mix some vanilla protein powder (I use Bad Athletics - code JORDO for a discount) with orange juice and cool whip. Shake and you'll get total Dreamsicle vibes.

tap picture to watch video tutorial

I'm ordering...

New meal prep containers. While I have several glass containers, I ordered these containers with compartments. I plan to make snack boxes (and maybe start a snack box series on Instagram?) with these containers!

Monthly Meal Plan

This month I'm starting something totally new & making free monthly meal plans! You might be familiar with my free weekly meal plans which are published every weekend. They have a menu, macronutrients for a few days, and a full menu.

This monthly meal plan was highly requested by all of you! Some people really wanted a plan that focused on dinners, so I created this monthly meal plan. It has dinner plans for a whole month of eating easy, healthy, and delicious recipes.

Download the PDF so you're able to click each recipe! Or check out the monthly meal plan post.

tap pic for the full monthly plan with links

Most Popular Recipes of the Month

#1. Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole

Plenty of trios are worthy of praise. Earth, Wind & Fire, perhaps, or the Jonas Brothers. What about Chicken, Bacon & Ranch? You got it with this recipe.

This is a casserole dish filled with chicken bacon ranch casserole. There are penne noodles with shredded chicken, chopped bacon, and melted cheese on top. Chopped green onions are covering the top.

#2. Healthy Chicken Enchiladas

When I think of enchiladas, I think of green chiles, crispy tortillas, and a creamy sauce on top. That is exactly what you're doing to get with this healthy chicken enchiladas recipe!

These are healthy chicken enchiladas. There is a pan filled with the stuffed enchiladas and a small plate featuring two enchiladas topped with cheese, cilantro, and avocado.

#3. Rice Cake Snacks

Whether you're in the mood for something sweet or savory, these four dressed-up rice cakes have your snack time covered.

These are four rice cake snacks, each topped a different way. One is peanut butter and banana, another is sliced avocado, another is cottage cheese and seasoning, and the last is berries and yogurt.

#4. Cookies & Cream Overnight Oats 

These overnight oats are creamy, delicious, and have actual Oreo cookies.

This is a bowl of cookies and cream overnight oats. The bowls are filled with chocolate oats topped with a dusted coating of crushed oreos. There is a spoon filled with the oats and crushed oreos as well.

#5. Pancake Sausage Bites

The easiest 3-ingredient recipe that is perfect for busy mornings & meal prep.

These are pancake sausage bites. There is a muffin tin filled with little pancake muffins with pieces of sausage on top. There is a small bowl of syrup as well. This picture has a hand holding up a pancake bite with a bite taken out of it.

Questions of the Month

Q: “Any advice for finding your maintenance macros after a deficit?” 

I recommend using tools created by professionals! I had a really bad experience with trying to reverse diet on my own (a long history of hormone issues & issues I can explain another time), and because of this, I use experts to help me.

Grace Terbrock shares really helpful macro information and reverse dieting tips on her page. She also has a DIY Reverse Diet Bundle. I think something like this is the perfect medium for having the tools you need and teaching you how to reverse properly!

Q: “Have you ever tried clean simple eats protein with your recipes?”

I exclusively use Bad Athletics protein (by choice) because it's delicious, is made with high-quality ingredients, and is affordable. I haven't tried many of my recipes with other proteins, though I imagine it'd still work (you might want to compare portion sizes)! Use whatever protein powder you like best.

Q: “Curious your weekly grocery budget for 2 people with healthy eating habits?

I shared pictures of receipts on Instagram, but we spend about $100/week. We buy the bulk of our groceries at Aldi and the remaining items at Schnucks (both grocery stores right by where we live in St. Louis).

Of course this doesn't include some ingredients fo recipe testing and such, but it's usually around that amount.

Q: “How did you start becoming consistent with workouts?”

Start small! You have to start by doing something that is sustainable & achievable. I know this can be so frustrating! When I first started running, I could barely jog for 5 minutes on the treadmill. I remember slowly adding on a minute every couple of days. I even remember trying to run outdoors for the first time but calling Alan crying to come pick me up because I couldn't do it (he actually couldn't get me because he was at work so I cried and walked home.. lol). BUT, I continued to show up because I went back to something small and knew I could do that. I kept doing it, over and over, and eventually it was part of my routine. My mental & physical strength continued to increase.

I think it's important to pick activities you ENJOY & WANT to do. It'll probably be much harder to be consistent with something you hate. Here's some morning workout tips that might help you show up and be consistent in the mornings.

Here's a little bit about my weight loss journey as well. This post was written a few years ago and hasn't been updated since 2020, but it talks a lot about how I started. I know my mindset, goals, and perspective have changed a lot since this post was first written (the biggest shift being that WEIGHT isn't my focus. I would never pick a weight goal right now).

Q: “Where are your upcoming travels?”

A: We just finished a quick trip to Colorado! We're in this long few months of waiting for the summer months to get here because then trips really pick up! But we're trying to soak up the fun winter adventures while we can! Here's a glimpse of the next few months...

Q: “Any yummy ways to cook green veggies?”

Maybe this is too simple, but I make all of my veggies the same way. I chop them, lay them on a baking sheet with tin foil, spray with cooking spray (or drizzle in olive oil), and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and maybe a fun seasoning from Trader Joe's. I bake for 400 degrees for about 30 minutes and call it good!

Q: "Cold lunches for work?"

My go-to cold lunch is healthy chicken salad! It's so quick to make and lasts in the fridge all week. I enjoy with crackers, bread, pita, or veggies.

Pictures I Love

We got to ski at Keystone, which was AWESOME. It was our first time skiing there & we will definitely be back!

My brother spent the day snowshoeing with us & that was a blast. We took the trail to Brainard Lake, which was lovely. I highly recommend this area for either a winter OR summer trip! I noticed some great campsites near the lake that would be awesome for a summer camping trip.

Recipes to Try This Month

Looking for some new recipes? Here are a few of the newest recipes to my website...

Banana Chocolate Chip Bars

This is a picture of a hand holding up a piece of banana chocolate chip cake. There's fluffy light brown cake with pieces of melted chocolate chips scattered inside.

Sausage Potato Kale Soup: way more exciting than it probably sounds

This is a bowl of sausage potato kale soup. There are chopped potatoes, cooked sausage, white beans, onion and kale all mixed together in the bowl. There is a large dutch oven filled with the soup in the back.

Cheesy Veggie Egg White Bites: a high-protein spin-off of Starbucks' egg white bites

This is a cheese & veggie egg white bite. There's a egg white muffin with cheese, spinach, salt and pepper on top. A hand is holding up the egg white bite and there's a plate full of bites in the back.

Buffalo Chicken Bites: because what's better than dipping buffalo bites into sauce?

This is a picture of the buffalo chicken bites. There is chicken nuggets with a layer of orange breading piled on a plate. There's a dipping sauce in a bowl on the side. A hand is holding up one of the chicken bites as well.