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Weddings at The Mansion

Nicki Ann's Wedding Blog

In her blog, Nikki Ann shares with you her insights, thoughts, and feelings on all things women, wedding, marriage, and event-related.

Bridal Boot Camp: Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Protein Bars

December 23rd, 2013

These are seriously one of my favorite snacks EVER! I love to make these because they are so incredibly easy. They are from one of my favorite clean eating sites, The Gracious Pantry. She truly has some awesome recipes that will make eating healthy so easy for you. You’ll wonder why you haven’t done it sooner!

The cinnamon chocolate chip protein bars make me feel like I am cheating on my diet.



Photo by The Gracious Pantry

You really need to head on over to her website and get the full recipe and make these. If you are a late night snacker, then these are the perfect thing to snack on after dinner to curb your sweet tooth craving and keep you full until the morning!


Bridal Bootcamp: Banana Muffins

October 22nd, 2012

I haven’t posted a healthy recipe in quite awhile. Since I just made the best muffins ever, I thought I’d share the recipe with you. Of course it is completely clean and they are delightfully, delicious as well! I got the recipe from my favorite site, The Gracious Pantry. If you haven’t been over there to check out and try out some of her amazing recipes, I definitely recommend that you do that ASAP. You will thank me.

So without further adieu, I give you the best banana muffins ever:

Clean Eating Banana Muffins
Makes 18 medium-sized muffins (or 12 large muffins)


Click on over to The Gracious Pantry for the Ingredients!

(And while you are over there, check out some of the other goodies too!)



Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Step 1 – Mix all ingredients in a large bowl using an electric mixer. Make sure all ingredients get really well blended together.

Step 2 – Pour the batter into the muffin tin or muffin papers. Fill only half way (I filled to the top to make larger muffins).

Step 3 – Sprinkle nuts of your choice over the top and place in oven (Optional).

Step 4 – Bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through (I had to go with 27 minutes since I made larger ones).

Eat and Enjoy!


Bridal Boot Camp: ICE CREAM!!!!!!!!!!!

June 28th, 2012

Now that it is officially summer, the ring a ding ding of the ice cream trucks are a frequent sound in my neighborhood. They actually have a new tune for this summer – a fun little Caribbean tune! It makes me want ice cream so bad!!!! But in order to behave myself, I try to stay away.

So when I found this recipe, I was INCREDIBLY excited. If I can have my ice cream and eat it too, I will be one happy girl. This month’s issue of Self has a recipe for a homemade Fro Yo with all of my favorite flavors.

Peanut Butter, Chocolate and Banana Fro Yo – Serves 4

2 – 6 oz containers of nonfat vanilla Greek Yogurt, divided among ice cube tray sections and frozen

2 small ripe bananas, cut into 1/2 inch pieces and frozen

4 tsp natural peanut butter

4 tsp mini chocolate chips

Cinnamon (optional)

In a blender or food processor, blend yogurt cubes and bananas on high, scraping down sides every minute, until mixture holds together, 3 minutes. Add peanut butter; blend on high until mixture is creamy, like soft-serve ice cream. Stir in chips. Serve immediately, sprinkled with cinnamon, if desired.

When you try, please share your thoughts!!


Bridal Boot Camp: Why Water?

June 6th, 2012

You have heard it a million times. Drink 8 glasses of water a day. Your body is 70% water. Water is healthy for you. Etcetera, etcetera. And like a 4 year old, I want to know WHY?

I briefly touched on this in my 5 Simple Rules for Getting in Shape post. Today, I want to delve into that a bit more. So the first question is:

What does water do in the body?

Well, it does quite a bit actually. Water can dissolve almost anything. It is essential for digestion (because of the molecules that make up water and some other scientific stuff) and also helps to deliver the nutrients from your food to different parts of the body. Think of it as if the nutrients are ships floating to their destination via the Three Rivers (only WAY cleaner). Water also helps maintain your body temperature and is necessary for proper body function. We’ve all heard of the stories about people dying of dehydration. You know how you feel after a particularly indulgent night out at the bar, right? Headache, body aches, tired, dry mouth, nauseous… Now imagine actually dying from these symptoms. That’s what it feels like to die from dehydration. So I’m told.

How much water should I drink in one day?

You’ve probably heard a ton of different equations for how much water to drink in a day, but let’s face it. Everybody is different. Some are short, tall, fat, skinny, athletic, flabby, and the list goes on. Typically, your body will tell you when you need water. Now, if you are more like me, I used to feel like I never got thirsty. Hence why I rarely drank water and probably lived a good portion of my 20s being at least slightly dehydrated every single day. I am sure now, looking back, that is a contributing factor to why I always felt tired and sometimes foggy. I have gotten to a point where I crave water now. Still, there are days when I barely drink any.

So I use this simple rule of thumb to make sure I get enough water daily. Here’s what you do. Take your weight in pounds. Divide it in half. That number is how many ounces of water you should consume in one day. For example, let’s say you are 140 pounds. Half of that is 70, so you would want to drink at least 70 ounces of water per day. Invest in a good BPA free water bottle that has at least a 20 ounce capacity. Fill it up in the morning as you get ready for work and drink it before/with breakfast. When it’s gone, fill it up again and drink it before lunch. Fill it up a third time with lunch and drink it before dinner. With or after dinner, drink one more bottle. Yes, I know that is 80 ounces of water, but you can always round up! Plus, if you are doing a hard workout every day, you need to replace the water that you lose sweating during the workout! And if you aren’t sweating when you are working out, then we have another issue.

Don’t like water?

Me neither. So I dress it up. Rarely, do I drink plain water. I buy fresh lemons, limes, oranges, strawberries, cucumbers, mint and keep it on hand. I slice them up before hand so I can just toss one in and go every morning. I usually only need to use one lemon slice for my entire day. Sometimes , I’ll add another slice after lunch. The point is that you should add these things to make water more appealing. A slice of orange and some mint… heaven!

While they do sell flavored water, sometimes these are not the best options. Take a look at the nutritional value on the back. If there are any artificial flavors or sweeteners in it, it isn’t “water” anymore. It should not have a high sugar or sodium content. Besides, it is just as cheap to buy fresh fruit for your water as it is to buy these flavored bottled water, if not cheaper. A whole lemon is $.79 for Pete’s sake and I space that out for at least 4 days!!

And the million dollar question – How can water help me lose weight?

Besides all of the stuff I mentioned above, water is pretty awesome because it can help you lose weight. Did you know that many people mistake thirst for hunger? Have you ever finished a meal and then a half hour later realized you are hungry again? You probably aren’t hungry. You’re probably thirsty. I KNOW this was a main cause for my weight gain originally because I never drank enough water.

Water will help to flush out the toxins and other bad stuff, quite literally. That is one unfortunate thing about increasing your water intake. You will be in the bathroom more, but once your body adjusts to the increased fluid, you will go less.

Water is going to make you feel full longer. Please do not mistake what I am saying. You should NOT replace food with water. But if you have planned out your meals and are eating properly and are still hungry, you should try drinking more water first. Then if you find you are still hungry 30 minutes later, you should eat more.

Ultimately, you need to learn to listen to you body. There isn’t some easy formula to follow that will help you get fit. You will play around with your diet, exercise and lifestyle to find out what works. One thing that is consistent is water. You NEED water. To lose weight. To feel good. To get healthy. To live.

All the facts from this blog were found in The Eat-Clean Diet: Recharged by Tosca Reno. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is really serious about getting healthy!!!


Bridal Boot Camp: Super Foods to the Rescue!

April 30th, 2012

I can’t contain it. I am so excited to write this post. People always talk about how you should view food as fuel rather than a treat or reward. I don’t understand why we can’t do both. There are so many amazingly nutritious and delicious foods out there. It is just a matter of figuring out how to prepare it!

Photo Source

I recently started a love affair with quinoa. I was scared at first. I wouldn’t find it in the grocery store and was too afraid to ask where it was because I had no clue how to pronounce it. So let me help you with that… keen-wa. Easy enough, right? I was so excited and inspired to write this post to share with you when I was reading the April issue of Self magazine. Among the top 10 super foods, quinoa was featured and a bunch of recipes followed. I am pretty excited to try some of them out and I am going to share them with you in just a moment.

But first, what is quinoa and why should we eat it? Quinoa is a whole grain, actually more of a seed. A lot of people like to use in in place of rice and is actually pretty similar to prepare. It is gluten and wheat free, packed with protein, low on the glycemic index and full of fiber. I honestly don’t think I need to explain why you need to eat it after listing all of that, right?

Now to share the recipes from Self…

Banana Nut Pancakes

Mix together 1/2 cup cooked quinoa, 2 egg whites, 1/4 cup milk (1%, skim, or almond are good!), 1 tsp brown sugar, and 1/4 tsp vanilla. Add in 1/4 sliced banana. Spray pan with non-stick spray and pour in batter. Cook pancakes like usual. Top with 2 tbsp non-fat Greek yogurt, another 1/4 sliced banana, 2 tbsp chopped walnuts and 1 tsp maple syrup.

Parmesan Quinoa

This one is really easy… 1/2 cup cooked quinoa and top it with 2 tbsp marinara (preferably organic!) and 2 tsp grated Parmesan. Done!

Chicken and Quinoa Tossed Salad

In a bowl, toss 2/3 cup cooked quinoa with 1/4 cup baby spinach and 1/4 cup shredded carrots. Top with 3 oz chopped, grilled chicken, 2 tbsp crumbled blue cheese, 1 tbsp dried cranberries, 1 tbsp chopped walnuts and drizzle with 1 tsp balsamic vinegar and 1/2 tsp olive oil. Sounds great for a warm, spring day, doesn’t it?

Blueberry Maple Hot Cereal

Like oatmeal but are getting tired of it? Here’s a great alternative! Combine 3/4 cup cooked quinoa, 2/3 cup milk (again, 1%, skim or almond are good!), 1/4 tsp cinnamon in a microwave safe bowl. Cook until hot, about 90 seconds and top with 1/2 cup blueberries 1 tbsp chopped walnuts and 1 tsp maple syrup.

Fried Egg over Spinach Quinoa

Cook 1 cup spinach with 1/2 cooked quinoa in a small skillet until spinach wilts. Transfer onto plate. Fry 1 egg in pan with non-stick spray and put cooked egg on spinach/quinoa mixture. Serve with 1 grapefruit or other fruit of your choice!

Quinoa-Edamame Salad with Ginger Dressing

Toss together 1 cup cooked quinoa, 2/3 cup shelled, cooked edamame, 1/4 cup shredded carrots, and 1/4 chopped cucumber. In another bowl, mix 2 tsp toasted sesame oil, 1 tsp rice wine vinegar, 1 tsp low-sodium soy sauce, 1/2 tsp grated ginger, and 1/4 tsp garlic powder. Toss together and enjoy! 

That last one is the most intriguing to me. I can’t wait to try it!!

If you want to read more about the super foods or recipes listed in Self, just click here.



Bridal Boot Camp: Five Great Full Body Workouts

April 19th, 2012

Even though nutrition influences 80% of your physique, exercise is just as important for creating a lean, toned look. Exercise helps keep your heart, lungs and every other part of your body healthy. Since you are a busy bride-to-be, you may or may not have an exorbitant amount of time to spend in the gym. You should make your health a priority, so try to squeeze in some exercise at least 3 days a week – more if you want to make drastic changes in your body before the big day. Along with eating healthy, exercise is going to allow you to trim fat and achieve that lean body of your dreams. I figured I would share a few exercises that really help to get your body in bikini shape fast.

1. Push ups

Push ups have been around forever. Why? Simply because they work everything and are effective. When I first started working out, I could barely do 5 girly push ups (on my knees rather than toes) without shaking all over. Now I can do 10 “real” push ups. I know it isn’t that many but I am proud of that accomplishment. I can tell you that I was sore ALL OVER at first. Push ups work your back, shoulders, biceps, triceps, chest and core muscles. No worries if you need to start on your knees. You will get stronger. Eventually, you will be able to get up on your toes and bang them out like nothing. So hit the deck ladies!

2. Zumba

If you haven’t tried Zumba yet, you should find the nearest class location and start now. Zumba is a Latin-inspired dance fitness program and about 12 million people do it weekly (says Self Magazine). Basically, you get to shake your booty to upbeat Latin grooves and call it exercise. Not only is it a great workout, but it’s fun. I find that I always smile and laugh (even if it is at myself!) during the classes. Even if you aren’t the best dancer in the world, the key is to just keep moving through the whole class. You will eventually learn the moves and your inner dancing diva will come out.

If you are nervous about flaunting your non-existent dancing skills in front of a bunch of strangers, there are a ton of Zumba videos out there that you can do in the comfort of your own home. Don’t forget to keep a large bottle of water and a towel handy. You will need it!

3. Circuit Training

Circuit training is one of the best ways to really get a good workout in a short amount of time. A good circuit consists of a combination of strength training and cardio. Muscle helps burn fat, so don’t be afraid to lift a few weights. Cardio alone will not cut it. The most important thing to keep in mind while doing the circuit is that you must move from exercise to exercise quickly only taking a few seconds to switch your workout space/equipment if necessary and take a quick drink of water. You have to keep your heart rate up to burn the most amount of calories in the shortest amount of time.

Not sure what to do during the circuit? If you have a gym membership, you can always hire a trainer for a few days to teach you how to use the machines and work with you to create the best circuit for you and your body’s needs. If you don’t, you can always seek help from the good old internet. I found this article featuring a few moves from the mastermind of P90X ,Tony Horton, from Self Magazine. It will give you a taste of P90X so you can decide if it is for you. I have a love/hate relationship with superman banana, but that sucker works!

4. Lunge/Arm Combo

I can’t think of a woman out there who does not long for lean, toned, supermodel-like gams. With summer coming and shorts weather looming over us, it’s time to get those legs in shape! Lunges work your thighs, calves, butt and core all in one little step, literally. Add in some bicep curls, shoulder presses or other arm exercises while lunging and it is a completely different story. There are a couple of key things to note when doing a lunge. Make sure your front knee does not extend past your ankle when stepping into your lunge. This puts unnecessary pressure on your knees and can cause pain. If you have bad knees, simply do not go as deep into your lunge. Going about halfway down still works those muscles. Once your legs get stronger, you may be able to lunge deeper. Just take it slow. Rome wasn’t built in a day!

5. Yoga

I admit it. I hate yoga. I know I am probably one of the only people out there who feels this way about it. Still, I can’t deny that it is a good workout. It works every muscle in your body through calming moves and stretches. I think the thing that I dislike about it is the speed, or lack thereof. I prefer upbeat workouts. However, yoga can give you quite a workout without the faster pace of aerobics or circuit training. If you do Bikram yoga, you are probably going to sweat more than a cold glass of iced tea on a 110 degree day. We all want long, lean muscles and if you’ve ever seen a yoga instructor, you know you can’t go wrong with this exercise.

So now that I’ve laid out a few options for you for exercise, I don’t want to hear any excuses. Every single one of these workouts can be done in the comfort of your own home and do not require a ton of gym equipment to complete. I know you will love how you look and feel if you just commit to doing at least 30 minutes of exercise 3 or 4 times a week for the next 30 days. Mix that with a healthy, clean diet and I can guarantee you will be super excited to strut your stuff on your big day and honeymoon!




Bridal Boot Camp: 5 Easy-Peasy Breakfasts

April 18th, 2012

So if you read my post last week about the 5 Simple Rules for Getting in Shape, you now know that it is true. Breakfast IS the most important meal of the day. A healthy breakfast does not consist of coffee, cream and sugar. There is absolutely nothing nutritional about coffee, even though I know we all love it.

There are so many options for breakfast, but I typically tend to stick with just a few of my favorites. I like to keep things simple. Since I know you have most likely not taken a sabbatical in order to plan your wedding, you need quick and easy breakfasts that you can grab and run out the door. So today I am sharing a few of my simple favorites.

5 Easy-Peasy Breakfasts

1. Oatmeal 

OK, let me just get one thing straight here. Do not, I repeat, do not eat those instant oatmeal packets. They are loaded with sugar and all other kinds of crap that is not really healthy. Remember, if you cannot pronounce the ingredients listed, it isn’t clean. What you want to do is purchase Steel-Cut Oats, Rolled Oats or Quick Oats. If you like instant oatmeal, I suggest that you start with the Quick Oats and work your way up to the Steel-Cut, which is the best of the three options. It will be less of a shock to your taste buds since they have quite different textures. Now, you not condemned to eating bland oatmeal forever. You can load it up with yummy fruits, spices or even protein powder to make it taste amazing. A few combos that I like are fresh apples and cinnamon, banana and sliced almonds, or some blueberries and agave. It is really a simple breakfast. Just add water and cook! If you figure out a way to keep the oatmeal from exploding in your microwave, please let me know. I always walk away and come back to an overflowed bowl. Every darn time.

2. Egg Sammies/Wraps

This one is a no-brainer. Egg sammies are easy and quick to take on the road if necessary. I love this Egg & Spinach Sandwich recipe that Kati Heifner posted on her blog (which has a ton of other recipes so be sure to stick around on there for a bit!). This one is super simple and you can freeze them to  make any morning you are running late. Honestly, I love egg sammies so much I could eat them every day. The protein is super filling and keeps me energized for the morning ahead. If you make these with meat, make sure you are using a lean meat. Ham and bacon can be full of sodium, so look out for low sodium alternatives and even turkey based options. I personally love turkey bacon and prefer it to regular bacon! If you haven’t already, definitely try it at least once.

3. Omelets

I love omelets. Wanna know why? Because if I have that bottomless pit feeling, I can always eat a nice big omelet and get rid of that feeling early. Depending on the intensity of your workout, you can eat between 4-6 egg whites per omelet. I don’t know if you realize just how big of an omelet you can make with that many whites! I like to use the All Whites in a carton so I don’t waste so many eggs. Once you have the egg whites separated or measured out, just spray your pan with non-stick spray and pour them in. Here is the best part – you can eat as many veggies as you want! So load that omelet up with whatever you want- mushrooms, green peppers, onions, broccoli, etc. I have even used brussel sprouts and asparagus! Then, you can sprinkle a bit of cheese on the top and you have your omelet. It literally takes 10 minutes to make and if you have to eat it on the go and have some whole wheat tortilla shells, you can toss it in a wrap and go!

4. Ezekiel Toast

If you are one of those people who used to skip breakfast, you might need a lighter option to help break yourself in to eating a larger breakfast. I have been hearing about Ezekiel bread for the longest time, but just recently tried it. I am in LOVE! I love the flavor of the toast all by itself. I sometimes have one slice with my omelet if I’ve had a hard workout that morning. But if you want to skip the eggs, layer on some peanut butter (my favorite is Smucker’s Organic Peanut Butter with only 1 gram of sugar per serving) and 1/2 of a banana sliced and split between the two slices. The thing about eating toast for breakfast is that you still need to incorporate some sort of protein, otherwise there is not enough nutritional value in that meal. So by adding the peanut butter, you are getting more protein in that meal which will keep you energized. Another favorite of mine is almond butter and fresh, sliced strawberries. Yummy!

5. Protein or Meal Replacement Shake

Don’t laugh. I drink protein shakes. It’s true. I find that one of the easiest ways to grab a quick meal is to mix up a shake. Now, there are a few things to look at when choosing a protein for you. Make sure they are not loaded with sugar and a bunch of other junk. I have a few ways I make these. One is to use Blue Diamond Unsweetened Almond Milk as the mixer. I simply fill up my blender bottle (the little plastic to go cups with the metal whisk ball inside) with 8-12 ounces of almond milk, shake and go. The other way is to put the powder in a blender with 8 ounces of water and a fruit of your choice. I like to use 1/2 banana, 1 cup of blueberries or 1/2 cup of sliced strawberries depending on the flavor of powder I am using. I am also a huge fan of using 1 tablespoon of peanut butter or PB2, which is a peanut butter powder, and the chocolate flavored protein. Talk about heaven in a cup!

Well that is it. Five Easy-Peasy breakfasts. I know that you are going to eat your breakfast every day now, right?

Now, let’s get honeymoon bikini ready!!!




Tuesday Shoesday, Edition 42

April 17th, 2012

How could I devote this entire week to bridal fitness and post a pair of heels? No, no, no. This week’s Tuesday Shoesday fits right along with my theme.

These running shoes are my favs. I actually have the Asics Gel Nimbus 11 (or is it 10?) and LOVE them. It is getting about time to buy a new pair , so these will most likely end up on my feet. They are super comfortable. When I first bought mine, I wore them the first day for a 3 mile run. No blisters or rubbing. Just awesomeness.

It is really important to have good shoes when you are working out to protect your knees and joints. You need support!! And who doesn’t love a color called “Maui Blue?” It just sounds spectacular… Click on the pic to purchase!




Bridal Boot Camp: Diet Excuses

April 16th, 2012

This week is being dedicated to bridal boot camp. It’s all about the exterior since we already know you are awesome on the inside :) I want you to look and, most importantly, feel your best on your wedding day! From my last post about the 5 Simple Rules for Getting in Shape, you probably feel a little overwhelmed and unsure of where to start. I think having a better understanding of where to start and how to follow through will make sticking to it a bit easier. So let’s go over the basics so you don’t let excuses get in your way.

I don’t want to starve to death.

Let me just say first and foremost that I love food. I like eating. I like cooking. I hate feeling hungry. So when someone told me to eat more in order to lose weight, I was skeptical to say the least. I thought that by skipping breakfast, I’d skip a few calories and drop weight in no time. Who else out there thinks that? In reality, you should eat 5-6 times per day. The catch is that you need to eat 5-6 healthy meals per day.  There are some days when I feel like I can’t possibly eat that much. There are other days when I could eat 3 days worth of food in one day.

So how much food should you be eating in one day? You can click here and go to a BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) Calculator. This tells you how many calories you’d burn if you did nothing but lay in bed all day. Then you can use the  Harris Benedict Equation to figure out how much you burn in your normal day to day activities. Once you have this number, subtract 500. That is the number of calories you can eat in one day and still lose weight. If you want to make it even easier on yourself, just go to My Fitness Pal and sign up. It will do all the calculations for you. You will also want to pay attention to the amount of protein, sugars, sodium, fats and carbohydrates you eat in a day. But again, My Fitness Pal will keep track of all of that for you. You just have to log in online or download the app to your smart phone.

I don’t want to eat only carrots and lettuce. I want options.

I think it is important that you find options that you like when you are trying to change any habits, whether it is exercise or foods. Some people say they don’t want to diet because they don’t want to give up the foods they love. I am not perfect and sometimes still have pizza. The key is really finding alternatives to the foods you love that are just as delicious. For example, Joey and I both love breaded chicken. I also want something that is easy to cook since I work long hours and sometimes don’t feel like spending hours in the kitchen when I get home. I found a recipe for Parmesan chicken and we both LOVE it. Literally, we have it once a week. It is that amazing. I have even swapped out the Parmesan cheese in it for crushed almonds and gave it a slightly different flavor. It was just just as amazing. Honestly, if you google “clean eating pizza,” “clean eating pasta” or really “clean eating” anything, you can find way to turn just about any recipe into a healthier version. You just have to be willing to do a little background work. Bringing me to my next excuse…

I don’t have time to sit at the computer to find recipes and then stop at the store everyday for ingredients.

Yeah, me neither. That is why I sit down every Sunday and plan out our dinners for the week. I actually have a small whiteboard that I keep on the side of my fridge. It makes it easier for us to remember to set out the meats to thaw or plan ahead for prep if I will be working late. Once I have it all written out, I sit down with a notepad and write my grocery list. I think about what I might need to make our meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks!) and write everything out. Then when I actually go to the grocery store, I do not deviate from this list. That really helps keep me from walking down the cookie aisle and buying those damn Oreos and it also helps me stay on track with my budget. One other tip is to “shop the perimeter.” What I mean by this is most of the items you should be buying are found in the perimeter of the grocery store. Think fresh fruits and veggies, meats, dairy, eggs… all found in the outside walls of the store. You may need to venture down the middle aisles for a few things like bread, oatmeal, canned goods and frozen items. Just make sure you are steering clear of the foods that normally tempt you. Damn Oreos…

Hunger always hits me when I am out and about.

Me too! It isn’t until you stop running that you realize it is 5pm you haven’t eaten since breakfast. You need to fuel your body with good nutritious foods and I can tell you that fast food restaurants do not have the best options. Even the “healthy” options aren’t really that healthy if you take a good look at them. How do I combat these hunger pains and stay on track with my diet? Well, as I mentioned above, I plan for snacks. I plan to have at least 3 snacks per day that contain both a complex carbohydrate and a protein. It might be celery with some peanut butter or an apple and a handful of almonds. When I am doing my meal prep and planning on Sundays, I also pack snacks that I can grab quickly and go. My favorite is a Chocolate Cinnamon Protein Bar found on my favorite clean eating blog, The Gracious Pantry. At this point, my body is so used to being fed 5-6 times a day, I can tell when those 2-3 hours are nearing. If you aren’t quite there yet, set an alarm on your phone. Yes, eat even if you are not hungry.

As I mentioned, I am also rarely seen without my bright green water bottle. Many people mistake thirst for hunger. So when I have just eaten and am still hungry, I drink some water and wait until I am sure it is really hunger before eating again. Plus if you are only 30 minutes from home and those hunger strikes hit, you can fend them off by drinking water to hold you over until you get home.

I’ve already hit my goal weight, so I don’t want to lose anymore weight and have to get more alterations.

Well, good for you! And I don’t mean that in a snide kind of way. You were dedicated and reached your goal weight before your big day. Now, with the fun activities and events leading up to the wedding, you should be aiming to maintain your weight. So you remember that little formula I told you about above where you figured out how many calories you should be eating in a day based on your daily activity? Instead of subtracting 500 calories to help you lose weight, you get to eat each and every one of those calories!! This is the number of calories you need to eat to maintain your current weight.

Now that you are at your perfect size, don’t splurge too much on those cookies and cake found at every wedding related event. Why? Because one other HUGE bonus from eating clean is better skin. Did you ever notice how people say the bride (and pregnant women!) “glow?” It is typically not only because they are happy, but because they are taking better care of themselves and eating better! If you want to avoid those horrible wedding day blemishes and puffy eyes, you need to eat clean and drink at least 2-3 liters of water per day.

I am sure that eat and every one of you will look absolutely radiant and stunning on your big day. These are just a few little tips to help you get there. If you want a little more guidance on how to eat healthier, I always recommend Tosca Reno’s book The Eat Clean Diet: Recharged. It is a great resource for learning how to eat better and what to eat. Plus, there are some really great recipes in there too! As always, if you have questions or comments, please leave them below! I’ll be sure to get back to you as soon as possible!



Recipe of the week: Turkey Muffins

April 12th, 2012

I know. That sounds gross, but I promise you they aren’t. They really aren’t even muffins at all. They are actually more like meatloaf. Mini-meatloaf. And I love them. They are perfect because you cannot possibly eat them all in one sitting. I like to pack two with some veggies for a snack. Yes. I said snack. Talk about a filling snack! Who said you have to starve when you are dieting?

Check out the ingredients for Jamie Eason’s Turkey Muffins here!

*I made some changes to this recipe as I was cooking. I ran out of cumin the day before and didn’t realize this called for it, so I left it out. Instead of chipotle pepper spice, I used cayenne pepper. I also dislike (I was always told hate is a strong word) onions, so I added in onion powder instead. And lastly, I didn’t have celery like I thought I did, so I subbed in celery seeds instead. You will also see in the photo above that a lone jalapeno pepper is sitting there. I chickened out as I was mixing the ingredients and in hindsight am so happy I did. I LOVE spicy food, but even still they are quite spicy with the amount of cayenne pepper I used. If you are not a fan of spice, you may want to cut the cayenne pepper amount in half or omit all together. They definitely have some zing to them!*


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • Spray muffin pan with olive or canola oil.
  • Mix all your ingredients together in one large bowl.
  • Roll the mixture into balls and place in muffin tin.  Muffins should be about the size of raquet balls.
  • Bake for 40 minutes.
  • Makes 12 muffins.


I really enjoy these tasty treats for my snacks. They are really easy to grab and go too. Just pair them with a complex carb (I picked cucumbers!) for one of your 6 small meals and you have everything you need to keep yourself fueled up for all those vendor meetings!!