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Blogging Hiatus

10/28/2012 *Sara-Marie* 0 Comments

Hello everyone!

I just wanted to let you know that I'm taking a little blogging hiatus.

I promise, I will be back soon!

God bless!


Psalm 103 - Praise the Lord, O my soul!

10/22/2012 *Sara-Marie* 0 Comments

Psalm 103
Of David.  
1 Praise the Lord, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.  
2 Praise the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
6 The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all the oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses,
his deeds to the people of Israel:
8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
the Lord's love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children's children—
18 with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.
19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all.
20 Praise the Lord, you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his bidding,
who obey his word.
21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
you his servants who do his will.
22 Praise the Lord, all his works
everywhere in his dominion.
Praise the Lord, O my soul.


Paleo Brownies - Success!

10/10/2012 *Sara-Marie* 1 Comments

To top off our comfort food night, I decided to give this recipe for Paleo Brownies a whirl.

So glad I did! Before doing the Whole30, I had ventured with a few paleo dessert recipes that just didn't work. This is the first time that I've had a successful attempt! I did follow the recipe pretty closely, but used an egg and less almond butter. Mostly because I only had about 3/4 cup of almond butter left. It turned out perfect, so I might just keep making it this way.

DISCLAIMER: This recipe is not Whole30 approved (the agave is the culprit), but it is a perfectly fine paleo substitute to treat yourself after you've completed your Whole30. If you're not on the Whole30, then go ahead and make this right now!

Paleo Brownies


1 1/4 cup light agave syrup, gently heated (or honey)
3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup almond butter
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
2. Beat 1 egg with the vanilla extract and baking powder. Set aside.
3. Over very low heat, warm up the agave. Once warm, stir in the cocoa powder until it looks like delicious hot fudge.
4. Taste it. I did!
5. Whisk in the almond butter until smooth. This takes a good minute or two and some elbow grease.
6. Whisk in the egg mixture and salt until completely combined and looks like this:

7. Line an 8 x 8 pan with parchment paper (easy clean up later!) and pour that chocolatey goodness into the pan. If you taste the batter again now, it will taste a little almond buttery. BUT once baked, the almond flavor is gone. I promise.

8. Bake for 40-50 minutes. I pulled mine out at 45 minutes and it was perfect. Test for doneness with a toothpick. 

9. Let cool completely before serving. We let it cool for about 40 minutes. 

10. Enjoy and try not to consume the whole pan. 

We LOVED the way this came out. It was very chocolatey so you only needed a tiny square to be satisfied. As I mentioned before, once baked the almond flavor is non-existent and all I tasted was the richness of the chocolate. It still kind of boggles my mind that it was a perfect consistency, despite the fact that it has NO FLOUR! With the right ingredients, you can make anything happen!

Thank you to BakerGal for testing out 5+ recipes before landing on this one. It's a keeper!


Word Filled Wednesdays - Jeremiah 1:5

10/10/2012 *Sara-Marie* 6 Comments

"I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb. Before you were born I set you apart." Jeremiah 1:5

I have always loved this verse as well as this whole chapter. It spoke to me from a very young age. It told me that God knew who I was and who I was going to be before He even decided to plant my soul and spirit into my wonderful mother's womb. It means that I have a purpose.

And so do you.


Balsamic & Tomato Pot Roast with Veggies

10/09/2012 *Sara-Marie* 0 Comments

Pinterest is a wonderful place to get inspired for many things, but my favorite pins are recipes! Today's dinner was inspired by this pin for Balsamic & Onion Pot Roast. It's very rare for me to ever make a recipe as is, so below is my take on the recipe and lots of pictures along the way!

Balsamic & Tomato Pot Roast with Veggies
  • 2-3 pound boneless chuck roast
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • liberal amounts of onion powder, garlic powder, and Herbes de Provence
  • ghee, coconot oil, olive oil, or other fat of choice
  • 1 cup beef stock, reduced by 1/2 
  • 1/4 cup beef stock, not reduced
  • 1 large white onion, thickly sliced
  • 1 large sweet potato, cubed 
  • 1/2 pound of baby carrots (about 1/2 of the 16 oz package pictured below)
  • 1 can of tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F and heat a Dutch Oven over medium heat on the stove top.

2. In a separate and small sauce pan, add 1 cup of beef stock and reduce by 1/2.
All three of these will make the sauce, but first reduce the beef stock by half before adding the others

3. Quickly prep veggies.

I like to cheat by always having baby carrots on hand. Just throw in the pot!

4. Liberally season meat with salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and Herbes de Provence.
5. Melt cooking fat of choice (I used ghee) in dutch oven and sear meat on all sides.
Don't skip this step. It's worth it.
6. After all sides are seared, remove the meat from dutch oven and place on a plate. Add a bit more cooking fat and saute onions for a few minutes.

7. After onions have slightly browned, add sweet potatoes, carrots, and 1/4 cup of beef stock (not the reduced one).
Using the extra liquid now in the pot, scrape up any brown bits using a wooden spoon. Adds flavor!
8. By this time, the beef stock that has been reducing should be good to go. Add the balsamic and tomato sauce and mix well.

9. Snuggle the meat back into the dutch oven and pour the sauce over everything
10. Bring sauce to a simmer, cover and transport to the oven.

11. Slow cook the pot roast for 4-6 hours. Timing depends on the size of your roast, and whether or not the meat was at room temperature prior to beginning to cook. Mine was done in about 4 1/2 hours. 

12.  Once done, shred meat with two forks and serve!
Check out all the juice that the meat releases while slow cooking! This picture is from when I did a sneak peak after about 3 hours


13. Enjoy!

My hubby and I really enjoyed this. It's that warm, comforting meal that is perfect for fall and winter nights. We will be making it again! As my husband said, "Yummy is an understatement!"

What's your favorite pot roast recipe?


Simple Spicy Cashew Sauce

10/09/2012 *Sara-Marie* 1 Comments

I was craving something along the lines of lo mein or pad thai. Basically some saucy noodles with meat and veggies.

I only had about half hour to throw some dinner together last night, so I started to get creative with what I had on hand. What turned out was very delicious, satisfying, and the base of even better recipes to come.

Simple Spicy Cashew Sauce


  •  3/4 cup cashew butter
  • 1 13.5 oz can full fat coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
  • 1 Tbsp chili garlic sauce (or more or less, depending on how spicy you want it)
  • pinch of salt (may not need if using soy sauce)
  • About 1-2 tsp of freshly grated ginger (I didn't measure, this is a guestimate) 
Super Easy Directions: 
  1. In a sauce pan over medium heat, whisk all ingredients together until it reaches a low simmer, is well combined, and slightly thickened.

 I decided to toss some of this sauce with some zucchini noodles (zucchini + julienne peeler + microwave for 1-2 minutes) and some left over garlic-herb chicken:
Slightly spicy, nutty, and very comforting
This recipe does make a pretty big batch, so I stored the left overs in a glass container:

Note: The sauce is kind of thick, but zucchini noodles tend to add moisture to a dish that thinned out the cashew sauce nicely. If using with regular noodles, you may want to add a little bit of water or more coconut milk to thin out.

Since I had so much sauce left over, I got creative again this morning for breakfast. I stripped up another zucchini and quickly scrambled 2 eggs with some salt and pepper...
Before the sauce arrived
...reheated some of the cashew sauce and gave it all a big toss!
As the hubby put it "interesante!" and I would have to agree. It was different, surprisingly very good, and a nice change of pace. Plus, it's the perfect well balanced breakfast: veggies (a whole zucchini) + protein (eggs) + good fat (nut butter + coconut milk).

I still have a ton of sauce left, so I'm sure I'll keep coming up with ways to use it up!

While the sauce is very good as is, I do think I can make it great! 
What else would you add to make it even more flavorful?


Whole30 Recap - A Man's Perspective

10/07/2012 *Sara-Marie* 6 Comments

After successfully completing my Whole30, I was very excited to hear my husband decide to complete a Whole30 of his own. Below is his experience and how eating whole, real foods, changed his life as well! Enjoy my man's perspective :)


Hello.  Many of you may know me as "Hubby" or "the Husband".

 After seeing my beautiful wife adopt the "paleo" life-style and then discover "It Starts With Food" and the Whole 30 and the amazing transformation that it brought about in her, I decided to see for myself what all the fuss was about.

A little background about myself.  I would say that I am a fairly active person and that I am in good physical condition.  I run, I go to the gym and lift weights, and I try to be conscientious of what I eat.  Not only are these important for my overall health but they are greatly important in my chosen career field.  There are days where I can be completely sedentary for hours and there are days when I am non-stop, going full speed for eight hours.  As you can imagine this can be detrimental to one's health and well-being.

Despite my best efforts, I have been known to indulge on occasion. Pizza, Goldfish, pretzels and chocolate ice cream were my weaknesses.

As you all know, my lovely bride discovered ISWF and then completed her Whole 30 in the month of August.  Her willpower and dedication, especially in the face of some of my humorous attempts to be "supportive" (see the time I got McDonald's French Fries on her Day 1), inspired me to learn more about this book and this lifestyle.

From the moment I opened ISWF until I put it down, it was an eye opening experience to say the least.  It was a total paradigm shift, learning that foods that I previously thought, and growing up was always told, were good for you, were in some cases quite the opposite!  After seeing the transformation in my wife, I decided to give it a shot as well.

I knew that it would be a challenge, given both my previous eating habits as well the fact that in my line of work you don't exactly get a "lunch break".  Also challenging was trying to incorporate eggs into the mix, as I had been averse to them since childhood (it's a long story).  The first few days were a challenge, especially getting over the cravings for something sweet, but after about Day 5 or 6 I noticed that I was sleeping better at night and waking up more refreshed, and that my energy levels were consistent throughout my workday as opposed to being alert, then hitting a lull, then being alert after a meal, then a lull shortly afterwards.

I also noticed that both my personal clothes and work clothes were fitting more loosely, the latter to the point where I decided to get them tailored for a neater appearance. I was also enjoying the food my lovely wife was preparing for me and helping me to prepare.  I even started to like eggs again!  I was able to break the cycle of eating "good" for a week or two then having a "cheat" day, which would turning into a "cheat" couple of days, to completely falling off the wagon.  In completing my Whole 30, I learned to appreciate my food more and have a healthier relationship with my food.

One of my favorite meals while on Whole30: sweet potato, all-natural sausage, avocado, and cilantro.

 Now that I have completed my Whole 30 and had the opportunity to reintroduce some non-Whole 30 compliant items, I realized that on the occasion that I will indulge in those foods, I will enjoy and savor them that much more than I previously did.

So now onto the part that everyone really wants to find out, whether they read through all the fluff above or just scrolled down to this paragraph...

In my short 30 day journey, I managed to lose 15.6 lbs, lose 3.7% body fat, reduce my BMI by 2.2, and gain 1.5% of muscle mass...all from just eating clean.  I'm not saying it's easy, but I have a great support system in the form of my wife, and numerous reasons to keep moving forward with trying to remain as Whole 30-compliant as I can be.  It just make sense, as this is the way I eat now, and why go back to not being as optimally healthy as I could be?

In closing, I want to thank you for the time you've taken to read my post here and I hope that you continue to keep coming back and checking out my wife's blog. 
If it wasn't for the Whole30, we wouldn't have looked this good at a recent wedding we attended!


A wedding? I love weddings!

10/07/2012 *Sara-Marie* 2 Comments

Yesterday, we celebrated Tricia and Ed's wedding! Tricia grew up next door to my husband so I guess you can say they have been friends since birth!

We had a great time! Enjoy some pictures!


Must make Brussels sprouts recipe!

10/06/2012 *Sara-Marie* 2 Comments

I'm traveling this week so I'm using the Blogger app to post. If you've ever used it before you know that it's not the best, but it gets the job done!

Earlier this week, I made the most delicious Brussels sprouts ever. I based the recipe on one I found on Pinterest (

I eliminated the dairy and the barley and still ended up with the best Brussels sprouts ever. Like for real.


About a pound of Brussels sprouts, stems removed and halved
Salt, to taste
1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup of dried cranberries
1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp of pure maple syrup
1/3 cup of toasted pecans

1. Preheat oven broiler (high)
2. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat
3. Toss cut Brussels sprouts in a bowl with olive oil and salt
4. Once skillet is hot enough, dump those cute little cabbages into the pan and quickly turn them so the flat cut side is on the skillet.
5. Let cook for 3-4 minutes
6. Throw in cranberries and transport the skillet into your oven
7. Let broil for 2-3 minutes
8. Remove from oven, toss in pecans, balsamic, and maple syrup. Taste and add more salt if needed.
9. Enjoy the most delicious vegetable side dish ever.

I have to admit, I ate an entire batch for breakfast on Wednesday and made them again for dinner that night. I'm obsessed.

Paired with some delicious ribeye


Best husband ever?

10/05/2012 *Sara-Marie* 3 Comments

I've been super busy with work, trying to resolve an issue that seems to have no solution. The situation has made me a little cranky.

This is how my husband responds:


Word-Filled Wednesdays - Luke 9:23

10/03/2012 *Sara-Marie* 2 Comments

Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. 
(Luke 9:23 NKJV)


Oh blog, how I missed thee!

10/02/2012 *Sara-Marie* 9 Comments

It's been over a week since I wrote a post, and I was actually really missing my blog! I used to go months between posts, but now I feel like my blog is more a part of my regular routine and I miss when I can't spend time on it! I'm also behind on reading up on my blogger friends!

Work has been REALLY BUSY plus a lot of random things were going on over the last week or so. Today's post is a mix between a random event update + a good food recap. Enjoy getting caught up on my life! :)

My daddy returned safely from Haiti! Thank you for the prayers!
I received my iPhone 5!
I fit into a Size SMALL shirt! Snug, but it fit! :)
I cried at my best friend Vivian's 3D Ultrasound! Auntie can't wait to meet you Baby Ethan!
My handsome nephew on Picture Day
I got sick.
My hubby took care of me...
Then Hubby got sick. He's going to kill me for posting this picture!
Sick and all, we went to the should be scared. I have great aim.
Note to self: Don't wear a low cut shirt when shooting a gun. Hot brass will go into your shirt and burn your chest.
I bought this fresh new blazer. I was invited to speak at a Youth/Young Adult church service, so I wanted to look professional, yet still fabulous! ;)
After the church service, I drove to NJ to attend my friend Julissa's baby shower! Isn't she so pretty?! I have lots of pregnant friends right now.
AND I got to see my other bestie - STEPHANIE! It was an action packed day! Cathy was there too :)
Now, I have to admit that I did a little bit of nutritional off-roading, but tried my best to stay as close to Whole30 compliant as possible. But let me tell you, the tres leche baby shower cake was definitely worth it. 

While I was sick, this chicken & veggie soup totally hit the spot.
Another comforting meal during this time was my Bowl of Comfortliciousness
Veggies before getting roasted...
While veggies roasted, I browned some italian sausage and then deglazed the pan with balsamic.
All mixed together and ready to consume. YUMMY.
Zoodles + garlic herb chicken in a tomato basil sauce
2 fried eggs + 1/2 plantain = my favorite breakfast
my new favorite breakfast: cashew butter + fruit jam omelet! I made this again this morning and added sliced bananas - AMAZING!
Our new Sunday Night Football Pig Out Session - without any of the guilt!
My adorable husband staying strong on his Whole30, even while dining out!
My plate during our little date
Garlic herb chicken breasts + broccoli
Balsamic & Sundried tomato chicken breasts over some greens
Today's lunch time sprint - yummy salads for lunch + dinner for Mark's evening shift
 I would like to give another shout out to my mother-in-law who successfully completed her Whole30 on Sunday! GO MOMMA POPS!

My husband is also on DAY 30 today - and he looks GREAT! I can't wait to throw him on the scale tomorrow morning!

And my sister is on Day 15! Woo hoo - I love seeing my family taking steps towards healthier lives. It helps me to stay motivated too, knowing I'm not the only crazy one :)

Until next time,