Clean Eating on a Budget


Let’s talk grocery budget for a sec… a lot of people assume that healthy food is expensive but that just isn’t true! It might seem like junk food is cheaper based on the $ label, but the nutritional value is absolutely zero. So you’re eating empty calories that will leave you hungry in just a few hours. On the other hand, nutrient dense foods that are packed with vitamins will leave you feeling fuller longer, and they don’t always have a high price tag!! 

But really, even healthy food goes on sale, plus here are a few money saving tips to use while buying healthy food!:


The most expensive item on my grocery list is always meat, so we try to eat it sparingly. When we do buy meat, it’s always on sale and I try to buy enough to stock my freezer for the month which saves a lot of money in the long run!

Check stores like Costco for great deals on produce! A pack of spinach is the same price at Costco as it is at Walmart, but you get twice as much!


Save money by cooking at home! If you know you’re going to be busy, throw chicken into a crockpot with salsa and black beans for a quick and easy dinner. Or pack a picnic for a fun “kids meal” without having to compromise on fast food. Try not to eat out- that will blow a budget in no time and you don’t know what sneaky ingredients are hidden in seemingly healthy options. 

Another great way to stretch your grocery budget is to make a few low cost meals every week (like this spaghetti dinner or tacos) and you can always add beans or veggies to the meat to make it go a little farther.

Replace all beverages with water! There are so many benefits to drinking just plain water, but especially if you’re on a budget because it’s FREE!


One more way to save some money on healthy groceries is to portion and prepare your veggies at the beginning of the week so nothing gets wasted. I don’t know about you, but my kids will eat all of our fruit in one day if I don’t have it in separate bags for them, so that’s another way to stretch it!


Utilize bulk bins to save on expensive packaging and shop local! If you have a farmer’s market, that’s always a great place to score awesome produce and support a local family. See if your area has a local co-op or check out Zaycon foods for bulk meat delivery to your area. There are other regional grocery stores that have better sales than others, so always ask the meat and produce department when they mark items down and check back frequently for manager’s specials!


As far as paying more for organic… that’s a little bit trickier. I try to buy organic/non-GMO as much as possible but I realize that’s not affordable on every budget. So the best way to decide is to always buy the “dirty dozen” organic and as much as possible after that. 


And let’s be honest, even if you do end up spending a little bit more on your groceries each week, you’ll definitely save money on healthcare costs by avoiding preventable illness and disease! Which is ALWAYS worth it in my opinion ✌️️

Here is the weekly menu with recipes and grocery list that feeds our family of 5 for under $125 per week! 


To keep things simple, I meal prep all of our lunches for the entire week and we eat the same thing each day. If you want to switch things up, you can add different seasoning or sauce to give some variety! Some weeks I make salads, other weeks I make turkey bowls, but this meal plan is based on eating grilled chicken, brown rice, and broccoli or cauliflower for lunch every day. And for my kids lunches, I pack them paper bags with peanut butter sandwiches, string cheese, apples, bananas, turkey rolled up, etc. I’ve included all of these items in the grocery list, but it’s up to you to decide what to put in each of their bags! 
The reason I cut our grocery budget down to $125 per week (from $150) was to be able to afford Shakeology every month ($99) which replaced my breakfast. I still make breakfast for my husband and kids, but they just eat eggs (hard boiled, omelet, scrambled, etc) and a side of toast or oatmeal or banana pancakes (meal prepped of course!). If you aren’t interested in drinking Shakeology for breakfast, just plan on having one of the other options!
I also included the following snack options in the shopping list, but you can decide what to have each day when you’re feeling hungry- fruit, nuts, hard boiled eggs, Greek yogurt with honey, string cheese, raisins, small salad.
I try to focus on simplicity, which is why I don’t make gourmet meals every single day, and hopefully each of these recipes will show you that anyone can eat healthy on any budget! And maybe you are already an expert on clean eating, which is awesome!! But I wanted this meal plan to be easy to follow and to show you what we actually eat every week- nothing fancy! 
So here it is…
Monday: 

     Breakfast- Shakeology or eggs with toast

     Lunch- Meal prepped container

     Dinner- Chicken sandwiches on CloudBread

(Recipe: used leftover grilled chicken from meal prepping and just make CloudBread- recipe and instructions are on www.oursplendidlife.com Serve with a side salad or top your sandwiches with romaine and tomato)
Tuesday:

    Breakfast- Shakeology or oatmeal seasoned with cinnamon and honey

    Lunch- meal prepped container

    Dinner- Tacos

(Recipe: Brown ground turkey and add taco seasoning. Serve on tortillas or in a lettuce wrap with salsa and tomato)
Wednesday:

    Breakfast- Shakeology or banana pancakes

    Lunch- meal prepped container

    Dinner- Spaghetti with salad

(Recipe: Cook noodles, brown turkey and add spaghetti sauce. Serve with side salad)
Thursday:

    Breakfast- Shakeology or eggs with toast

    Lunch- meal prepped container

    Dinner- pulled pork with coleslaw

(Recipe: Place pork in crockpot on high for 6-8 hours- season with liquid smoke, garlic and cinnamon. Make coleslaw- whisk ¼ c red wine vinegar, 2 Tbsp honey, 2 Tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper then add to coleslaw mix and refrigerate. Once the pork is cooked, shred and eat on a bun, cloud bread, or on top of coleslaw.)
Friday: 

    Breakfast- Shakeology or oatmeal

    Lunch- meal prepped container

    Dinner- Burgers with sweet potato fries 

(Recipe: Use ground turkey to form patties and grill until juices run clear. Preheat oven to 375 and slice sweet potatoes into fries. Toss them in garlic and olive oil and bake for 30-40 minutes turning often. Serve burgers on buns, cloud bread, or wrapped in lettuce topped with tomatoes)
Saturday:

    Breakfast- Shakeology or banana pancakes 

    Lunch- Leftovers or meal prepped container 

    Dinner- Carnitas with black beans and rice 

Recipe: Place carnitas in crockpot and cook on high 6-8 hours. Serve with brown rice, black beans, and salsa)
Sunday:

    Breakfast- Shakeology or eggs with toast

    Lunch- leftovers or meal prepped container

    Dinner- Roast and brown rice with salad

(Recipe: place roast in crockpot with jar of pepperocinis, cook on high for 6-8 hours. Serve with brown rice and salad)
Salad dressing recipe- whisk ¾ cup olive oil, ¼ cup balsamic vinegar, 1 Tbsp garlic, salt and pepper
Banana Pancakes Recipe- place 2 bananas, 2 eggs, ½ cup oats, ½ tsp baking powder, pinch of salt in a blender until mixed. Pour batter into a skillet and cook until brown.
Meal Prepped Containers- marinate chicken in olive oil and seasoning for 30 minutes and grill until tender. Marinate broccoli and cauliflower in garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper for 30 minutes then roast at 425 until crispy (20-30 minutes) Place brown rice in rice cooker. Measure portions and place in containers!


Romaine lettuce (pack of 3) $2.78

Whole wheat tortillas $.88

Bananas $1.32

Strawberries $.99

Apples $2.56

Plain Greek yogurt $1.78

Whole wheat pasta $.99

String cheese $1.88

Broccoli $4.38

Cauliflower $3.11

Almonds $2.87

Cashews $2.66

Raisins $1.28

Black beans $.88

Shredded cheese $1.98

Spinach $1.88

5 dozen eggs $2.98

Peanut butter $3.38

Coleslaw mix $.98

Sweet potatoes $2.53

Brown rice $.88

Salsa $3.28

Oats $2.67 

Spaghetti Sauce $1.98

Tomatoes $1.88

Jar of pepperocinis $1.48

Almond milk $2.98

Deli ham $2.51

Ground turkey (3lbs) $3.78

Boneless Skinless chicken breasts (12 lbs) $24

Carnitas from butcher $5.74

Pork loins $3.48

Roast $5.86

Bread $3
Items from pantry:

Taco seasoning

Cream of tartar

Olive oil

Balsamic vinegar

Red wine vinegar

Garlic

Seasoning for chicken 

Baking soda

Maple syrup

Honey

Cinnamon

Liquid smoke

Training at The Body Shop


I walked into a gym for the first time in 3 years and had absolutely no clue where to start! I love working out from home, but since I’ve started teaching HIGH fitness classes I get access to the full gym and wanted to take advantage of it!


The first time I went in, I turned on BeachBody On Demand so I could do Body Beast (my soulmate program) because I was so intimidated and overwhelmed by all of the machines! It was basically like I was working out at home, only less convenient haha! But I was determined to figure out a way to make it work. My kids are old enough to stay in the play area and I really wanted to get out of the house more often!

So I decided to ask Hailey to show me the ropes and she totally went above and beyond by creating a personalized fitness plan for me! 

I really just expected her to take me around and just show me how to not kill myself on the machines 😂 but she performed a customized fitness test to determine my skill level, assessed my indivual movements, and created a comprehensive plan tailored to meet my needs. She walked me through an entire workout, corrected my form when needed, and pushed me to do just a few more reps! She noticed that I was having some lower back fatigue and showed me different ways to strengthen other muscles to correct it.


After evaluating my current fitness level, we set some personalized goals to step up my game and I’m so excited to implement this new training into my exercise routine once a week! I’ll keep you posted on my results! 

A Weekend in Oregon

We decided to take a quick weekend getaway and head to Oregon! The drive to Portland is about 6 hours so we spent most of the day Friday driving. 

We arrived around 4 and checked into our hotel which was just south of downtown. 

Dinner on Friday night was at the Laurelwood Public House. We chose to go there because they have a special kids area where Carter and Clare could play while we enjoyed a “date night”.  And it was amazing! The kids had a blast and the food was great. 

As we were walking out, a mom with a baby stopped us and said that she was watching us talk and eat and she was thinking how we must be newly married but then our kids ran over! She was so nice and it was so genuine for her to take the time to share that with us! 

After dinner I ran into the grocery store to buy some snacks and the man in line in front of me started small talk and told me that he was going foraging for mushrooms tomorrow! Isn’t that great? And the cashier was so friendly, it seems like everyone in Portland is genuinely caring and authentic!

Saturday morning we had to get up bright and early so that I could attend a HIGH fitness certification (which took up most of the day). 


While I was busy, Matt took the kids to the Portland Science Center. They had so much fun! We have a membership with the Discovery Center in Idaho and the pass allowed them to get in for free (huge perk!). For lunch, they went to the Tin Shed Garden and Blue Star donuts and raved about both. 


Saturday night we went to VooDoo Donuts and Pine State Biscuits. I haven’t been able to find good fried chicken since I left the south but this place did not disappoint! I ordered “The Chatfield” which was topped with apple butter and Matt had their most popular “The Reggie”. Anywhere that serves Cheerwine is just fine by me! And I actually don’t like donuts so I didn’t have any, but the kids loved their VooDoo dolls and Matt had the maple bacon which he really enjoyed. Not sure it was worth the wait, but how can you go to Portland and not go, right?

While we were at VooDoo, the couple in line in front of us started telling us about all the different flavors and which ones were the best. We let the kids play pin ball and ride an elephant ride which made everyone in line laugh! Honestly, the best part of our trip was meeting all of these fun, friendly people! 

Sunday morning we woke up and headed to the coast. We knew it would have to be quick but we didn’t want to miss the opportunity while we were so close! First stop was a little town called Astoria. We had lunch from a little boat called The Bowpicker and they only serve fish and chips. Luckily we got there right when they opened so we missed the line, but it was amazing and definitely would have been worth the wait! Carter (our picky eater) even loved it!! 


We didn’t really know what to expect in Astoria and didnt realize there wasn’t a real beach there, so we walked around for a bit then drove to Sunset Beach. Beach access was so convenient and it wasn’t crowded at all. The kids played and the weather was a little misty and chilly but we hardly noticed. 

Clare was playing in the ocean, letting the waves chase her when one knocked her over and she got soaking wet! Even after that she enjoyed playing in the sand on the shore. Eventually Carter fell in too and everyone was really wet and sandy by the time we headed back to the car. 

On our way home we stopped by Multnomah Falls since it was on our way and right off the freeway. The kids had fallen asleep for a nap but we could see it from the car and it was breathtaking! Hopefully we’ll have time to take a hike up next trip. 

We had such an amazing weekend and we loved exploring Oregon! It was such a short drive so I’m sure we’ll go again soon!

Road Trippin’ Tradition


So basically I’ve driven across the country every summer since 2005. It started my freshman year of high school when my parents decided to move from Utah back to South Carolina and has continued every year since then for different reasons. It wasn’t a “tradition” back then… But I’d like to think that it is now! 

I’ve grown to love the open road and watching the landscape change, cruising down the highway and taking detours to stop in little towns along the way. Being able to share those experiences with my family and teaching them to observe their surroundings, appreciate our nation’s geographical and historical sites,   and just spending quality time together (unplugged) has been an amazing opportunity. 

(Did you read that right? Did I say unplugged? Yup! One rule on our road trips is that no one is allowed to be on any electronic device, but I’ll save that for another blog post!)


(Photo is from one of our cross-country moves)

Some trips I’ve driven the fastest route from point A to point B, other times I’ve gone so far out of my way that it added days to the trip. We’ve stayed with family and we’ve stayed in hotels. We’ve had flat tires, transmission trouble, and perfectly smooth sailing. 

Taking a road trip is always an adventure, and I’m so excited to start sharing our experiences with you! 

{Fall Recipe} Sweet Potato Bisque


Nothing says fall like golden leaves, crisp air, and sweet potato soup! I made this healthy recipe today and it was absolutely delicious!

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 medium sweet potato (peeled, cubed)
  • 1 tsp finely grated ginger root
  • 1.5 tsp extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 2 tsp miso paste (mixed with 2 Tbsp hot water)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • Bragg liquid Aminos, coconut Aminos, or Himalayan salt (to taste)
  • Herbal seasoning blend (to taste)


Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat, add sweet potato, cook for 5-7 minutes, then drain. Roast bell pepper (char skin evenly, cover with kitchen town for 10 minutes, then peel skin under running water). 


Place ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. If consistency is too thick, add water. Heat soup in a saucepan over medium heat for 4-5 minutes until hot. Enjoy! 💛🍂

A Perfect Fall Picnic

Summer heat is giving way to crisp fall air and there is no better time to have a picnic!  


Italian salami, Mediterranean cheese, freshly baked olive loaf, grapes on the vine, honey crisp apples and sparkling water complete the spread.

We went on a picnic for one of our very first dates and it’s a memory that I will never forget. We were young and in love and always looking to find ways to spend every moment together! Here we are 7 years later, and I am still completely smitten.

“We’ll look back someday

 at this moment that we’re in 

and I’ll look at you and say, 

I thought I loved you then”

 

Chambray Top: J. Crew

Embroidered skirt: Anthropologie

Wedges: Prada

Photography by Sophia Nolan


Rain Boots and Memories

Today was hard.

Clare wanted to wear Elle Kade’s rain boots. Just seeing her in them reminded me of the last time Elle Kade wore them… back when she was living with us. It was a rainy day and I took the kids outside to jump in puddles. I cherish the memory and can still hear the little squeals and giggles that ensued.

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Today was another rainy day but Elle Kade isn’t here to enjoy it with us. I get snapchats from her stepmom of her dancing in the rain in Florida and I’m so happy that she’s happy, but those 2,000 miles are too far some days. She wakes up, gets dressed, goes to school, comes home, does her homework, plays outside, eats dinner, and goes to bed… Every single day. Without me. The thought of not being there to kiss her goodnight or help her with her homework or pack her lunch breaks my heart. I told myself this would be temporary. That she would change her mind after one school year. I wasn’t prepared to let her go again.

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Some days, I feel so guilty for having a normal life- for creating a routine that doesn’t include her. My coping mechanism is to ignore. I wake up and fill my day with distractions so I forget. And then… on days like today, I remember. I remember so vividly, it’s almost unbearable.

I pray for strength. To have faith and trust that everything happens for a reason. To know that there is a plan greater than anything I can comprehend and someday this will all make sense. I pray for my daughter that she will eventually understand that despite my flaws, I tried my best.

To those of you struggling to keep up with everyday life, who face challenges great and small every single day, who pray for guidance and forgiveness for our shortcomings of today and go to bed with a renewed sense of hope for a better day tomorrow. To YOU- I want to say- You are doing your best. Don’t feel guilty for giving your kids cereal for breakfast because the dishes weren’t clean. Don’t beat yourself up because you turned the TV on so you could get the laundry done. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else, because you never know what battles others are facing behind closed doors. And just remember that whatever you do will be enough because  TRYING COUNTS ❤️

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Parking Lot Workout Circuit


Here is a quick lower body circuit that you can do anywhere there are lines on the pavement! 

I started out with a quick set of ladders between the parking spaces as a warmup. Then just do each move for 30 seconds with a 30 second break and repeat 5 times.

•Square Jumps

•Fast Feet

•Single Leg Square Jumps

•Forward Lunges

•Reverse Lunges

•Squats with a Calf Raise

•Heisman 

{here’s a quick video but it doesn’t show the last 3 moves}

Back to the Beginning

This has been on my heart for a long time now, and I have been intimidated and honestly terrified to start talking about this… But I have such a strong conviction that my story is valuable and could somehow in some way help someone. I hesitate to post anything out of fear of judgment, fear that it could be used against me, fear of transparency. At this point, I just feel so strongly that I need to say something. To speak out and shed light on a situation that is so common but still so taboo.

And this is MY story to tell from my point of view in my own words. That being said, I believe that there are 3 sides of every story- mine, yours, and the truth that lies somewhere in the middle. Everyone has a different perspective and I understand that my point of view will be different than his. But I have been consistent in keeping my integrity throughout this entire situation- I have tried so hard to be completely honest for the sake of knowing that I have to live with myself when all is said and done and I take complete responsibility for my actions.

My purpose in writing this is not to make anyone else look bad, but I will not make excuses or hide any of the facts. I am going to share my story, exactly how it happened from my perspective, in hopes that someone who is going through a similar situation might find hope and inspiration.

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I was so young when I became a mother. It completely changed my life and I am so grateful for that opportunity and blessing. But when I first saw that positive pregnancy test my world turned upside down. I felt completely inadequate and so confused. I wasn’t married at the time and there were so many decisions to make.

I seriously considered adoption, the possibility of being a single mom, and trying to make things work as a family. I have to be honest and say that I still don’t think there is one right answer. Every situation is different and I know that my decision was exactly what I needed to do at the time. I believe that everything happens for a reason and because of that, I have never doubted my decision. The path of motherhood is HARD regardless of what type of situation you are in.

{If you are pregnant and struggling with how to decide between so many options, email me and I can share my perspective with you.}

After months of prayer and consideration, I decided to get married. There were many factors that contributed to my decision and the pressure to do the right thing was overwhelming.

On my wedding day, I stood waiting to walk down the aisle with so many doubts. I turned to my best friend and said that I didn’t want to do this. But I put one foot in front of the other until it was too late and my decision was made.

The next few months passed quickly and before I knew it, I was having a baby! The moment I laid eyes on my darling daughter my mindset completely changed. 9 months ago I was a self-centered, materialistic, immature girl who became a loving, overly cautious,  first time mother. And with that realization I began focusing completely on my daughter and being the best mother possible. It didn’t really matter if I had a good relationship with her dad or not. I was comfortable and complacent.

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Make it a Habit

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If you could do one thing to create a more positive, impactful, purposeful day… Would you do it?

Studies show that waking up early is directly correlated with a successful day. According to Forbes.com early risers are more proactive, anticipate problems, are better planners, and are more optimistic! Now those are some qualities I would like to take advantage of.

My journey as an early riser began a few months ago when I decided to work from home. I didn’t want my business to impact the quality time I was spending with my children, so I created a routine that allowed me to accomplish all the necessary tasks before they woke up every morning.

And what I discovered in the process was life changing! On the days that I woke up early I was more patient, slow to anger, had MORE energy, and felt so much happier overall.

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Creating a morning routine was critical in the process of learning to wake up earlier. After reading The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod, I adopted a few of his S.A.V.E.R.S. to incorporate into my morning ritual.

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Each morning I take the opportunity to go for a quick jog. (Disclaimer: I hate to run!) I’ve discovered that I actually love to be outside before the sun comes up and the world is still asleep so I just happen to run/jog/walk or whatever you want to call it at the same time. Sometimes in silence, sometimes with a good audiobook, and sometimes I turn up whatever music I’m in the mood for! The point is to find a way to silence your thoughts and enjoy the fresh air (the peace and quiet) before the chaos of the day begins.

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Affirmations have such a positive impact on our energy. By creating a pattern of uplifting and encouraging thoughts, we have a natural tendency to believe what we are saying. If you have self doubt or worry, make a list of affirmations to repeat every morning and before long, you will notice a difference in how you think and act!

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As soon as you wake up, drink a large glass of ice water. It will help awaken your senses and also jump start your metabolism! Fuel your body with whole foods and always start your day out with a good breakfast. It doesn’t have to be complicated… Try making overnight oats or have some hard boiled eggs and fruit ready to go so you don’t have to overthink what you’re going to eat first thing in the morning.

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I’ve always loved to read, but learning to incorporate at least 30 minutes of personal development was something that totally changed my day. Instead of diving into fiction where I could lose myself for hours (not always a good thing!) I reach for a self improvement book and take notes as I strive to implement the practices I learn from each author. Not only do I get a daily reminder of habits I’m striving to develop, but reading establishes a pattern of higher education which we should all have a goal of attaining!

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Exercise!! I mentioned going on a quick walk earlier which is a great way to start. But I’ve found that incorporating weights and high intensity interval training not only helps boost my mood, but has also helped me lose and keep off the baby weight I had gained with 3 pregnancies. I ENJOY working out from home and look forward to pressing play every morning!

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Change doesn’t just happen. You have to challenge yourself and push past your comfort zone to really see what you are capable of. And creating habits like waking up early might begin as a struggle, but someday you will see how far you’ve come. And that’s what life is all about- making progress!