These are a few of my favorite things from this past year.  Here goes...

1.  My engagement! I can not imagine my life without B and I can't wait for 6.14.2014 we will be joined as man and wife.  

2.  Vega One Nutritional Shake makes the list because it is a vegan protein powder made from peas.  I love it because it is not whey or soy based.  I love all the flavors, but the Vanilla Chai is the one I like best.

3.  Vegetarianism!  In March I posted about plant based eating and even took on a vegetarian challenge for the month of April, but it wasn't until July 4th weekend that I decided to convert completely.  I have never felt better and whole foods taste so much better than nasty processed meals 8 days a week.

4.  DIY Wellness Motivation Board:  Not only is it inspiring having this in my workout space, but I love having all my motivation and exercises easily available.

5.  B bought me a used spin bike off Craigslist from my birthday and I love it.  I got it to help with conditioning for half marathon training and it has yet to disappoint me.

6.  Weekly Meal Prep/Freezer Cooking:  I love cooking food on Sunday afternoons for the week ahead or prepping food for the freezer for easy weeknight meals.  I commute about 3 hours a day, so this is a massive life saver.  I prep lots of soups for the slow cooker and cut up lots of raw fruit and veggies for the week.  Overnight oats is only of my favorites too.

7.  Long hair don't care.  I have stopped coloring my hair and have let it go long.  All the supplements and healthy foods have made my hair grow faster and shinier.

8.  Pink Polar Heart Rate Monitor:  This little baby is awesome for making your workouts more effective and really help you know the calories burned.

9.  Tea:  Because I have been trying to rehabilitate my thyroid, I have eliminated caffeine and that means limiting coffee to once every week and a half or so.  I have learned to love hot tea and I enjoy everything from English breakfast to chai.

10.  CSA or Organic Farm:  We have finally found a program that works for us and have been enjoying organic farm fresh produce that is easy and affordable for us to get our hands on.  

11.  Vitamins and Supplements:  While I eat a lot of raw foods and get an amble amount of micro nutrients I have been taking lots of vitamins and supplements.  I joke that if someone saw what I take they may think I have a terminal illness or cancer.  I carry all my "drugs" in a massive pill case in my purse and take them with lunch at work.  I take a high potency multi vitamin, vitamin D, liquid B-12, iron, selenium, zinc, kelp, B complex, biotin, and a pre natal vitamin (to repair the hair loss because of my thyroid).

12.  Ready Made Snacks:  Instead of spending lots of money on protein bars I have taken up the challenge of making homemade granola and even homemade Oatmeal Cookie Larabars.

13.  Plant and Food Education:  I have watched lots of documentaries including Forks Over KnivesFood MattersFat, Sick and Nearly Dead and Farmegeddon.  I am also mid way through reading Michael Pollan's book In Defense Of Food and so far it is AH-Mazing.  I can't wait to read his other books.

14.  Smoothies:  I have come to look forward to a smoothie and have found that it is an easy way to get a lot of raw fruit or veggies into my diet.  Here are some of my favorites:  Pink Pineapple Smoothie and Double Berry Smoothie.  I also like to add spinach, banana, fresh orange juice, strawberries, and chia seeds to a blender for a breakfast smoothie on my drive to work.

15.  Juicing:  Juicing is a fantastic way to flood your body with micro nutrients and allow your body to easily digest everything because a lot of the fiber has been stripped out.  I got a new Omega Juicer for Christmas and I can't wait to really break it in.  Check out some of my juice recipes or whip up your own using what you have on hand.

B and I also embarked on a Spending Freeze in 2013 and are taking measures to start again in 2014 so we can save more money and pay down our debt further.  The spending freeze was a huge part of our 2013, but it is far from my favorite highlights of the year.

Happy New Year!

This cheese ball contains only whole ingredients and is free of powder mixes.  This is perfect for the holidays or anytime when you are expecting company.  Who doesn't love a yummy cheese spread on crackers or veggies?


  • two 8 oz. packages light cream cheese, softened
  • 8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • one 10 oz. package frozen spinach, thawed and drained thoroughly
  • 1/4 c. onion, grated (with juice)
  • 1 tsp. ground garlic powder
  • 1/4 c. chives, chopped
  • 1/4 c. dill weed, chopped
  • 1/4 c. parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • chopped nuts (optional)

  • In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, mix cream cheese and cheddar together.  Once mixture is combined add all remaining items except nuts if using.
  • Place two pieces of plastic wrap on a flat surface and divide among the plastic wrap.  I used chopped pecans but you could use walnuts too. 
  • Divide the mixture and place on the plastic wrap then form into a ball and roll the chopped nuts around the cheese ball.
  • Once the cheese balls have been formed store them wrapped in plastic wrap in an airtight container.
  • Makes 2 Cheese Balls.
*You can shape the mixture into balls like I did here or shape the mixture into a log.


I've been pretty busy with everything holiday related.  Lately, here is what I've been up to...

I love delivering goodies baskets and spreading holiday cheer.

This year I made B's sister a beauty basket this year for Christmas.  I put everything from lip glosses, nail polishes, eye liners, and even a shimmery gold clutch in this gift basket.

We made a basket of goodies for B's parents with homemade jams I made in the summer, peanut butter pretzel ballspretzel toffee, and sweet and spicy nuts.

We also bought for a 12 year old little girl this Christmas.

And a 10 year old little boy this Christmas.  We got them lots of clothes that I know they need as well as lots of fun things.

I also made this yummy Ranch Spinach Cheese Ball to take to my parents.  There are no powders or strange ingredients in this cheese ball and it is so tasty.

There were lots of smoothies this month.  I go crazy for almond milk, frozen fruit and chia seed mixed with ice.

Staying busy means lots of quick dinners like this pizza toast on  Ezekiel Bread.

Or this baked pumpkin spiced oatmeal, gala apple, jack cheese and crackers.

Pizza zucchini is also a big hit and so easy.  This is a great low carb all veggie option.

The firm I work for even had a lot of holiday dinners and this one even had a lot of veggie options.

I even purchased more wedding items this month.  This beautiful glassware was bought at Goodwill Thrift Store and I can't wait to add it to the lot for the centerpieces.  Some of them will hold flowers and some will hold candles.

B and I went to see the Nutcracker Ballet last weekend and it was magical.  I am so intrigued by the beauty of the everything and the performance was amazing.

I hope your holiday was a wonderful as mine.  I will be posting goals for 2014 soon as well as meal ideas. Happy Saturday!

Move over Thanksgiving!  Cranberry sauce is not just for the big tofurky day anymore.  I did make this recipe for Thanksgiving, BUT cranberry sauce is delicious for anything holiday related.  I have been enjoying this on toast lately and it is mighty tasty.

This recipe makes a lot so if your family isn't as crazy about cranberries as we are then just half the recipe and you will still have plenty.

This sauce would also make a beautiful gift to give in a basket of goodies too.

What You Will Need:

  • 24oz fresh cranberries
  • 2 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1 1/4 c. pomegranate juice
  • 1/4 c. whiskey (being a Tennessean I used Jack Daniels black label)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1 large or 2 small cinnamon sticks 
  • 1 tsp. lime juice

  • Mix all the ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil.
  • Once the mixture comes to boil, lower the heat and simmer the cranberry sauce for 20-25 minutes.
  • The mixture will thicken and the berries will pop and become syrupy.
  • Makes 36 oz.

I like the cranberry sauce to have some berries that are still whole, but the majority of the sauce I like to be drippy.  Let the mixture to cool and then store.  I like to store the cranberry sauce in a large Mason jar because its so beautiful and because glass is the best health wise for storing (no leeching).

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!



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