Food, From my drafts...

Draft from 3 years ago: Buzzfeed Clean Eating Challenge: Review of Week 1

I’ve decided to clean out  my Drafts folder and post them here! Here’s the first one – a Buzzfeed Eating Challenge..from 3 years ago! Haha!



After stumbling upon the Buzzfeed Clean Eating Challenge online two weeks ago, I decided to give it a try last week. Before doing so, I read a few things online about it and found some mixed reviews. Some people were saying that the small calorie counts each day (ranging from 1,300-1,600 calories) were way too low, others were saying they were annoyed with the buzzwords “clean eating” and didn’t think it was fair for this to be called a clean eating challenge (more thoughts about that specific topic here), while still others were saying it was a good way to try new recipes and think about what you are eating. I’m fully in this last category – I was before I started and that’s where I still stand. However, I think the fact that I’m not the kind of person to just blindly follow something without using my own judgement helps here. I used the challenge meals more as a guideline than a strict rulebook. This may have something to do with the fact that I also started Insanity that same week, but either way, I decided to follow the meal plan while supplementing it with a protein bar or a handful of blueberries here or there if I felt hungry.

The biggest thing I’ve loved about this challenge has been eating 5 meals a day and sticking to that (99% of the time). As I’ve listened to my body this week, I’ve come to see that this is a really natural and intuitive way to eat. Before this, I would have 3 meals a day with lots of snacking in between. Without putting a name or real importance on the ‘snacking,’ it was free to become much more than it should. I had even gotten into a terrible habit of eating my dinner and then going to the pantry…to look for my second dinner? I don’t know why, but I had taught myself that I needed more snacks right after dinner, and this was certainly not the case.

A few takeaways from my first week:

-I was so surprised that I didn’t have real cravings or feelings of hunger very often (again, the only time I added something was after doing Insanity – and I only added something if I wasn’t already eating a snack or meal soon after)

-It was so much fun to try new recipes. This week, I learned that I LOVE roasted cauliflower and that I DO NOT LIKE fennel (raw or roasted haha, I really did give it a chance all days it called for it) or lentils. I also don’t love overnight oats, but I’m still willing to experiment with some different recipes.

-I thought I would most miss my ‘dessert’ after dinner (I had been having a blended banana with chocolate chips, or yogurt with chocolate chips every night before bed for a while), and while this plan does give you a night snack after dinner, it isn’t always my idea of a dessert. One night it was 2 pitted dates stuffed with an almond each…and while I can’t say that this was my favorite meal from the plan, I never ate anything additionally at night, which I thought would be my hardest time sticking to the plan. After dinner, I was always able to feel satisfied and know that in a few hours, I would eat a small snack and then be done for the night. This is probably my favorite thing I’ve taken away from this challenge so far!

-Meal prepping is fun! I really like having my meals planned out for the week! Even sometimes when I’m not in the mood for a certain thing, I still eat it and I find myself satisfied. It’s pretty fun to be excited for my “cheat meal” in two weeks as well (I’m thinking a cheeseburger and fries from this delicious restaurant downtown). A side note about cheat meals – I think this might work for me, eating well all week and saving my cravings for Saturday night. While I also like the idea of having a little bit of real dessert each day, I don’t always have the best self-control to keep it at that. With a seemingly more strict idea of having that one great cheat meal each week, I think I might get a better balance!

-All in all, I’ve loved the challenge so far and am looking forward to week 2. I’m also excited to take my favorite recipes and make my own 1-week clean eating plan when this is done for the following week!




Family, Food, Thoughts

Second Whole30

This Whole30 has been completely different than my last one.

Last time, in March 2015, I don’t remember complaining about it at all, I don’t remember being extra hungry, and I don’t remember having cravings. I talked it up so much to everyone I know, sharing how I was satisfied without all my snacking, how I had lost 9 pounds, and how it was a great reset for my body. Even though I didn’t end up having any HUGE health changes, I basically just confirmed that I don’t have any food intolerances. I didn’t notice a change in energy levels, skin clarity, sleep, or anything else. Going into the Whole30, I didn’t particularly have any issues in any of these areas either. I just thought it would be neat to try it, and I love giving myself challenges.

Fast forward to October 2016. I convince my roommate to do the Whole30 with me, and we start it with no problems at all. Then, the whole slicing my foot open thing happens. My coworkers at school SO generously started a food sign-up sheet where they provided meals for us after my surgery. This was amazingly thoughtful and it was so nice to not have to cook while on my crutches. Needless to say, I wasn’t going to pipe up that I was on the Whole30 and all the food needed to meet those guidelines. I happily thanked everyone for the soups, corned beef, pastas, stuffed peppers, desserts, and more. And that was my first Whole7.

Fast forward once again to March 2017. I started getting the idea in my head that I wanted to do another Whole30, starting on April 1. The main reason this was popping in my head was because I had been snacking a LOT more than normal at the time. It became a joke with my students that I was always eating candy….yeah, I soon realized this wasn’t a great joke and it wasn’t sending a great message to my students either. I figured a Whole30 would be a great reset. Whenever I explained what I was doing to anyone, I would simply explain that I already knew I didn’t have any intolerances, but that I was just doing this as a way to reset my body back to a healthier baseline. I got my sister on board, and I even convinced my mom and dad to try it out, too. Honestly, this has been the BEST part about my Whole30 this time around!! I have always wanted my parents to try the Whole30 as a way to see how their bodies feel without added sugar, gluten, wheat, etc. and to find out if my dad is intolerant to one of these things. He has been having stomach issues for a few years now. I thought there was no way that my dad would ever do a Whole30, but he proved me wrong by being right on board with my mom. My mom was pretty excited to try it out, and she and my sister have been ROCKING it up in PA. They both say that it’s really helpful that they’re doing it together in the same house. They’re all eating the same so they make great meals and enjoy encouraging each other.

Then there’s me..down here in Virginia. This time around, my Whole30 is full of complaining (most of it in my head), cravings, and too much snacking (although at least the snacks are Whole30 compliant). I know that it’s strongly suggested not to snack, and just to eat three big enough meals, but that’s just not really how it’s been working out for me this time around. Of course, I’ve stuck to the Whole30 as I knew I would, even going out in D.C. till 3am one night and then having a Girls Night another night where everyone was drinking drinks that I couldn’t have, eating pizza that I couldn’t have, and eating all kinds of other deliciousness..that I couldn’t have. In all honesty though, those days weren’t even challenging. I knew exactly what I could and couldn’t have and I brought my own snacks. Alicia and I even did a 4-day thru-hike on the Appalachian Trail, carrying all Whole30 compliant food! To an outsider looking in, I’ve been kicking this Whole30’s butt. Even my meals throughout this Whole30 have been pretty yummy. There’s been a few super delicious ones, and lots of ones that were just fine. I haven’t been as motivated in the kitchen overall, so I think maybe that’s part of what’s making me feel not as successful. It’s going..fine, but I’m definitely excited for it to be over. This is super different than how I felt last time around. I feel pretty guilty for feeling this way…but also, it’s life. Sometimes you’ll have a good Whole30 and sometimes you won’t haha.

There’s only 5 days to go, and I really am looking forward to eating some yummy things I haven’t eaten in a month!


Two noteworthy additions from this Whole30:

-Whole30 Easter! As a family, we had a Whole30 approved Easter dinner. We were surrounded by donuts and candy at church (and of course in stores leading up to Easter), but we had a great dinner of pork chops, applesauce, and some delicious side dishes.

-My parents have been doing AMAZINGLY with the Whole30. My mom has talked about even continuing it in some capacity forever! She said she feels so much better with this way of eating that it’s worth it. She has been super inspiring to me during these 25 days so far. It’s funny that I was the inspiration for her to start in the first place, but now she has become my inspiration with how well she’s doing with it!


I’ll be excited to share another health update in a few weeks. Half marathon training just started, and I’m motivated to get back to a nice healthy balance with my eating.




Food, Random


I’m sitting on my couch with Four Weddings on the TV and my feet up on the coffee table. Books and papers are spread out around me and one of my roommates, Elyse, is sprawled on the chair across from me. We both have our laptops open on our laps, seemingly absorbed in our homework. Once in a while, we’ll share something funny or start a random conversation that normally ends in laughter. We’ve been best friends since 7th grade, so this is the norm for us. Elyse is finishing a paper while I write up a lesson plan. We’re both trying to get our work done before heading to Zumba tonight. The blinds are pulled up and the windows are open, letting in the fresh air and subdued light of the evening sun. Cars drive by on the street outside the windows, giving us a smooth lullaby of background noise. As I glance at my huge to-do list, one thought runs through my mind……

Should I do some more homework or make chocolate chip cookies!?

Yummm, Elyse and I made these a few weeks ago and I think we might need to again tonight!



I made the gyros and cheddar bay biscuits!! The biscuits tasted exactly like the real Red Lobster ones and they were amazing! I didn’t love the gyro as much as I loved the biscuits, but it was still pretty good! Yay!



Pinterest + Inspiration = pinspiration!!

Today I’m making a very random dinner that was inspired by two pins that I can’t stop thinking about!

Cheddar Bay Biscuits::

And Chicken Gyros::

They completely don’t go together at all but I can’t wait to make them! I already made the tzatziki sauce and it’s getting ready in the fridge now. Can’t wait!

Fall, Family, Food, Random


If I had to pick one word to describe this current semester, it’d have to be constant. I’ve been constantly going, going, going these past few months. I’ve always heard that your junior year of college is where you get more into your major and things start getting harder. While I can’t necessarily say anything is hard per say, it’s definitely a ton more work. These days, I think back to last year when I could lounge around in my dorm room and read a book and that sounds amazing right now! I normally read a book or two a week, but it took me almost 3 weeks to finish the last book I was reading! It’s just constant everything! With a little over a week left in the semester, everything is coming to a close…but first a million final projects have to be completed and handed in. I have two projects to do tonight that are due tomorrow and I’m teaching a lesson in the morning as well. After that, I can move on to the things that are due on Friday and then on Monday and Tuesday and so on. I really am loving all my classes though; everything is going so well. My Assessment for Instruction class is still so interesting and my Special Education Pre-Student Teaching is going great. I really love it and I love the community of teachers that I get to work with.

Here’s what November looked like:

freezing cold football games
yummy chicken, veggie, and alfredo pasta and apple pie filled apples
double dark chocolate pomegranite cookies..and no, there's no pictures of them after baking lol i have no idea why. i got the recipe from under her recipes tab. she posts the best recipes and i always love them. (it's not letting me link up to her blog but it should come right up if you try to find it)
favorite new pillow case with sleeping people on it and a group project for my sociology class
A very emotional week with a scandal rocking Penn State to its core. A heartbreaking week and a heartwarming vigil and game to show that We Are Penn State. One person's actions do not define us all. We're all still praying for the victims and hoping nothing more is to come out of this.
I went to my first wedding! My cousin Geoff married Jessica and it was a beautiful ceremony.
The reception was a blast as well.
this collage might give a hint as to who I hung out with the entire time =) I love them ❤
my favorite picture from the wedding ❤
Thanksgiving!!! Siblings G and D. Haha love these two pictures, nice smiles and then crazy happy smiles lol. they didn't do that on purpose, they were just laughing and being happy
moustaches with cousins
pin the feather on the turkey
brother ❤
sister ❤

Thanksgiving break was really nice, but now it’s time to get back to work! Pretty sure my math teacher just called on me…..



Decor, Food

Farmer’s Market Goodness

Fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, pretty flowers, yummy baked goods, homemade drinks and jams, fresh bread, pies, donuts, oh my goodness I could go on and on. I love the Farmer’s Market!

Where I live, it goes on downtown every Tuesday and Friday, but on Fridays, there are a lot more vendors there with lots more selection than on Tuesdays. So even though I sometimes stop by on Tuesdays, I usually save my money to get everything I need on Fridays. Two Fridays ago I got apples, nectarines, and fresh cinnamon raisin bread. This past Friday, I focused on getting fresh vegetables and flowers. I knew I wanted to make sauted veggies for dinner, so I got zuchinni, squash, green peppers, an onion, and potatoes.

This is a horrible cell phone picture, but I just had to share how delicious everything looked all cooked up! I sent this picture to my mom the night we made this =) And Matt brought over the yummy orange pepper that adds the pretty color.

We cooked the potatoes in the oven and also had salmon to go along with this meal. It was soooo good and now I’m making myself hungry!!

Fresh Farmer's Market potatoes
Cute chef
Okay, another horrible picture; I couldn't even tell what it was until I made it big on my computer. Here's all the parts of the meal though: veggies on the left, potatoes in the middle, and salmon in the pan to the right.

Like I mentioned before, the other thing I got at the Farmer’s Market was flowers! I absolutely love fresh flowers. I put them a few places around the house and I love walking in and seeing them.

Exotic pink flower on my dresser

Pretty petals to brighten up the bathroom

And a single little pink guy for the living room

Dinner was amazing, the flowers are beautiful, and the Farmer’s Market was a complete success!

Food, Random


This week has been the craziest of the semester so far; I feel like I haven’t taken a breath since Sunday night! I did manage to do some baking while doing homework though. Sometimes I just want the satisfaction of making something, but I don’t have much time.

I ended up making cupcakes from a boxed cake mix, and I even used store-bought frosting which is a huge no no when I’m at home. My  mom makes amazing homemade icing so we never use store-bought, but this time it was too easy to pass up.

It was perfect to be able to mix up the batter and then get some assignments done while I waited for them to bake.

When I’m at home, this many cupcakes would last about 3 days with our family of 6. Here at school, I’ll be having cupcakes for a lot longer, even after giving some away to my roommates and friends.

some without sprinkles..
and, my favorite, some with sprinkles

This past Sunday, before my week got crazy, I actually made my favorite cookies ever. Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies. Unfortunately, they’re all gone already =( They’re so good and everyone loves them so much, they really didn’t last long at all. I saw the recipe on MADE (a blog I LOVE) back in November of last year, and I knew I had to try them. I love soft cookies and even though I don’t remember ever trying pumpkin cookies before, I thought it’d be worth it to make them. Oh my goodness they are amazing. They’re seriously my favorite cookie ever and everyone who has tried them has loved them just as much. I’ll definitely need to make those again soon. I’ve never even made the cream cheese frosting that Dana puts on top, although I really should try that some day.

I’m looking forward to this weekend and doing some relaxing along with going to the football game and practicing for a lesson presentation that I have on Monday morning. Oh man, that sounds busy already. I’m planning to start the weekend off right though, with breakfast tomorrow morning with friends and then a bike ride later after classes. I can’t wait to explore the bike path near my apartment some more. My boyfriend, Matt, and I rode it for 3 miles last week and we wanted to keep going but it was getting dark. So we rode the 3 miles back and I’ve been wanting to explore it further ever since.

The local Farmer’s Market also takes place every Friday (along with every Tuesday), so I might stop by if I have a chance. Last week I bought peaches and fresh cinnamon raisin bread and they were both delicious.

Oh, and completely random, but when I went to bed last night I looked over at my night stand and saw this:

Happy little ghost friend!

It made me laugh to see this little guy glowing in the dark next to my bed. I know the picture is really dark, but I wanted it to show exactly what I saw from my bed. He’s just a faint glowing ghost with a huge smile haha. He’s actually on a little pail that I got in the dollar section of Target. I know it’s a little early for Halloween stuff, but it was too cute to pass up. I got one pail with a ghost and one with a spider. Here’s what they look like with the light on:

Since I change bags almost every day, switching between my backpacks and messenger bags and laptop bags, I put all my little necessities that need to change bags with me into these pails at the end of the day. It makes it really easy for me to throw it all into whatever bag I grab before leaving for the day.

Anyway, really random post.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to relax a lot this weekend, while still being productive. Wish me luck!

xoxo, Sarah