Argentine Empanadas w/ Chimichurri Sauce-My way

Empanadas are probably in my top 5 favorite foods! My family is Argentine, so we make them often and I’ve loved passing the tradition down to my girls. If you haven’t had an empanada before, it’s basically meat stuffed in pie dough. Pair it with the best chimichurri sauce, and you will be in heaven!

I’ll never forget the first time I had an empanada. I was in my early teens and my aunt and uncle had come to America for the very first time. All our family gathered at my grandma’s house as my aunt made Empanadas for our whole family.

It was so exciting because food really makes me happy, for one. But also because as an American kid, I had never really tried anything different than hamburgers and French fries. They were so good!

Since then, as relatives have traveled to the US to visit, I’ve requested empanadas. Last year when my cousin visited I asked if she could teach me how to make empanadas since I never learned. It was an amazing experience and I can’t wait to learn more traditional Argentine dishes that I can hopefully share with you again!


*Recipe Notes*

After making a empanadas a handful of times now, I’ve adjusted the recipe a tad. So these are kind of MY version of empanadas. Argentines are not huge on spice, but my husband and I are, so I added a lot more seasonings than my relatives do. My suggestion would be to adjust the flavors to your desired taste.

Also these contain a few ingredients that might seem questionable, such as eggs, green olives, and golden raisins. It’s one of my favorite things about the empanadas. My husband isn’t a fan of green olives so I’ll make half the batch without. Feel free to do so as well. I have had friends who are not green olive fans that love the taste of them in the empanadas. The main idea is just to go with what you think will taste best :).


This recipe makes a million empanadas. Like SO MUCH FILLING. But it’s the way I was taught, so I’ve always stuck with it. I usually freeze half the filling so that I can make more empanadas in the future and the filling is already done :).


60 Empanada dough circles*

4-5 TB. olive oil

9 sweet yellow onions, diced

sprinkle of salt

1 bunch green onions, diced

4 roma tomatoes, chopped

3 pounds ground beef

2 TB. sugar

7 TB. paprika

6-7 TB. cumin

2-5 TB. red pepper flakes (adjust to your desired spice)

salt and pepper to taste

1 1/2 cups golden raisins

1 1/2 cups green olives, halved

12 hard boiled eggs, each egg cut into 8ths

2 eggs, beaten for brushing on top of the empanada

*Empanada dough is similar to pie dough. You could definitely make it on your own, but there are markets that sell pre-made empanada dough already made in the discs. I just googled specialty markets in my area. Sometimes regular grocery stores sell them, you just need to call and check! They should be frozen when you get them. I will put the link of the disc I buy from our local store, but I wouldn’t suggest buying them from amazon as they are SUPER expensive!


  1. If your empanada dough is frozen, make sure it has been thawing in the fridge for at least 24 hours.

  2. In a large pot, add the olive oil. Add the onions and begin to sauce. Sprinkle generously with salt. This releases the liquid of ALL those onions :). This will take about 10 minutes until they have softened and become translucent.

  3. Add in the tomatoes and green onions, and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes.

  4. Add in the ground beef. Mix it all together and cook the meet until browned. You can drain a little of the fat if needed, but sometimes I like to keep the fat in there to keep moisture in the mixture. Up to you! Slowly add in all the seasonings and adjust to your desired taste.

  5. Once the meet has cooked and the seasonings are added, allow it to cook for an additional 5 minutes on low heat, then turn off the heat. Cover and let it cool a little before adding in the green olives and golden raisins.

  6. Once it has cooled a little bit, stir in the olives and golden raisins.

  7. Get ready to assemble the empanadas.

  8. Using a larger silver slotted spoon, add about 1-2 TB. filling in the middle of the empanada. Place one of the chopped egg pieces on top of the filling. (Not one egg per empanada. Place 1/8 of the egg on the empanada. (Pictures below.)

  9. Dip your finger in a bowl full of cold water, and rub it around the outside of the empanada. Fold the empanada in half and press a fork all around the edges to seal the empanada. (Pictures below.) Brush the egg on top of the empanadas.

  10. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-40 minutes, or until the empanadas are golden brown. (Time depends on the type of dough you use.)

*Traditional Chimichurri sauce isn’t blended like I blend mine. The herbs and seasoning are finely chopped and then incorporated in olive oil. I like to puree mine almost like a dressing, so keep that in mind. :)


4 garlic cloves

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 bunch cilantro

1/2 bunch parsley

1 TB. dried oregano

1 jalapeño, seeds removed

1/2 -1 tsp. salt

3/4 cup olive oil


  1. Add all the ingredients, minus the olive oil, into a food processor. Blend together.

  2. While it’s blending, slowly add in the olive oil.

  3. Adjust seasonings to desired taste.

  4. Store in the fridge in a tightly covered container until ready to use.

  5. Can be saved for up to 2-3 days.


5-Minute Alfajores - Argentine Cookies

Alfajores have a special place in my heart, and my belly.

My grandma is from Argentina, but moved to the US in her twenties. She would travel back to Argentina every summer and when she would come home she would bring home boxes of Alfajores. I loved them, and looked forward to them every year.

If you’ve never had an Alfajor, imagine a buttery cookie sandwiches between layers of dulce de Leche. Dulce de Leche is a similar texture and taste to caramel but in my opinion SO much better!! It’s caramelized sugar, but with milk. Then the Alfajor is either covered in coconut, chocolate, or powdered sugar.

As Monica from friends would say….”I KNOW!”

Obviously there are ways to make these completely homemade but whenever I would ask my grandma how to make them she would just tell me to do this recipe. I’ve made it for years, specifically I remember making it in Elementary school for a project I did on Argentina.

So if you want a super QUICK dessert that comes together in minutes that taste delicious and looks super fancy…

Then meet Alfajores…My first true love



1 box Nilla Wafer Cookies

1 Can Dulce de Leche

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips, melted

1 cup shredded coconut


  1. Spread a spoonful of dulce de Leche on a Nilla Wafer cookie.

  2. Top with another Nilla Wafer cookie. Dip half the cookie in melted chocolate. OR roll the sides in shredded coconut.

  3. You could also do both, chocolate plus shredded coconut. Store in an air tight container in the fridge.


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{Easter} Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

For years I searched for a non boxed recipe for vanilla cupcakes. I finally came up with the perfect recipe and it’s been one of my favorites to use! Plus this buttercream frosting is the one people have continued to ask me for the recipe, so it’s definitely a keeper! Enjoy!

Every holiday my girls and I love to bake a themed dessert to coincide with that time of year. Easter is probably the biggest in our house because we are all PEEP obsessed, so much so that it’s become a problem. You will find bright pink and neon blue peeps hidden in corners of the pantry so no one else can find them…

We recently started dipping them in chocolate which is like a GAME CHANGER from my usual toast them over the burner treat.

We also are sprinkle obsessed and you should know that MARSHALLS/HOME GOODS has the best selection of cute sprinkles. I know there are so many companies out there that make adorable sprinkles, but you can get a great selection at one of those stores for about $4-5, which is amazing! The ones pictured below are from there, as are the cupcake liners :).

If you are looking for a fun way to decorate Easter cupcakes, plus the perfect Vanilla Cupcake & Buttercream recipe, then I have something for you!! Keep scrolling to get all the delish deets!

And Happy Peepster!



Makes 12-18 cupcakes, depending on cupcake liner size. The ones pictured are larger and the batter made 12 cupcakes.

{For the Cupcakes}

1 1/2 cups unbleached flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 cup pure cane sugar

3 large eggs

1 TB. pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup buttermilk

{For the Frosting}

3 sticks salted butter, room temp**

4-5 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1 TB. vanilla extract

**I like to use salted butter in my frostings because it gives it a little saltier taste to balance out the sweetness. I know some people don’t always like that so you could use 1 salted stick and two non salted, or all non salted. It is up to you!**


{For the Cupcakes}

  1. In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

  2. In a mixer add your melted butter and sugar. Mix together for 1-2 minutes until combined and incorporated. Next add in the eggs one at a time while mixing, and then vanilla.

  3. Next alternate adding the flour and buttermilk to the batter, until you’ve incorporated it all. Mix on slow while doing this so you don’t over mix the batter.

  4. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 the way full.

  5. Bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes, or until done.

{For the Frosting}

  1. In a mixer, attach the whisk attachment.

  2. Add your butter and beat until fluffy and creamy, about 2 minutes. Next add in your powdered sugar and vanilla. Cover the mixer with a towel and beat the buttercream until soft and fluffy. This could take anywhere from 2-3 minutes.


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BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches

This delicious vegetarian/vegan take on BBQ ‘chicken’ sandwiches is definitely one you have got to try! The jackfruit shreds just like if you were shredding chicken. I served this to my kids and they didn’t even notice a difference! If you haven’t tried jackfruit, you definitely must!

A majority of the people on my side of extended family members are vegetarian and vegans. Also for some time many years ago I myself was vegetarian so I’ve always been super comfortable with eating that way! Whenever family visits I have to come up with dinner ideas that can please meat eaters and non meat eaters…and let me tell you, there are only so many soups and tacos you can make before it gets boring.

I had heard so much about jackfruit that I knew I needed to give it a try. I was a little hesitant because it was new and when I started to shred it I gave me the willies. (Please tell me I am not the only one.) I was also afraid of the texture, taste, etc…But honestly…

I couldn’t tell a difference.

I would say that chicken is a little more tough, and this has more of a tender/artichoke heart type texture…But the taste and everything was the same.

Want to know HONESTLY what my family thought?

  • My kids had no idea. They ate the whole thing I didn’t complain of any differences.

  • My husband immediately took a bite and noticed a difference. He’s incredibly picky because he eats Taco Bell 5 times a week so…

(Yes Ari…THAT’S why he didn’t like it.)

Either way I will definitely make this again when family comes out. It was incredibly easy to pull together, and there are so many options to go along with it to please everyone. (All the toppings and textures you could add would really make this a crowd pleaser!)



Two 14 once cans jackfruit, drained

2 TB. olive oil

3 TB brown sugar

1/2 tsp. each garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, and paprika

1/4 tsp. chili powder

salt and pepper to taste

2 cups BBQ sauce


  1. In a bowl, add your jackfruit. Using two forks, potato masher, or whatever you choose…separate the jackfruit into shreds. Add all the spices to the jackfruit and combine.

  2. Add oil to a low/medium heated skillet. Add the seasoned jackfruit to the skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring often.

  3. Stir in the BBQ sauce and continue to cook through until the BBQ sauce is heated through.

  4. Serve on buns with desired toppings and enjoy! Good in a sealed container in the fridge for 2-3 days.


How To Conquer Gym Anxiety

A few years back when I was in the midst of my daily panic attacks, going to the gym seemed like THE LAST thing on earth that I wanted to do. It didn’t matter that every blog/suggestion/doctor said that exercise would help reduce my stress and anxiety…For me and in my anxious mind, the gym was not the answer.

One of my biggest triggers was being a lone…(It still is the main trigger of my anxiety)…So the thought of going to a large over-crowded gym where I would be working to get my already high heart rate up, it just didn’t sound appealing. You see, when anxiety controls your life, it tells you where you shouldn’t go or what you shouldn’t do because of fear. Literal fear, as if you could die. Being anxious you avoid that fear at all cost because, why wouldn’t you?

Only, when you say it out loud it sounds so stupid really. You avoid walking in the middle of a busy freeway because it’s dangerous. You could die, among many other things that could happen.

But avoiding the gym because you’re afraid of a panic attack among other anxiety ridden thoughts just sounds…Stupid.

Now that we’ve addressed the why, we need to address the HOW. How do you go to a place that would benefit you so much in the long run, but it’s causing you incredible fear?

For starters you might think, what is the problem if I work out at home? I have a treadmill, weights, youtube…

Here is the thing. If gyms/studios aren’t your thing, that is ok. But part of dealing with constant anxiety is isolation. We isolate ourselves out of fear of something bad happening, and a lot of times we become agoraphobic. So whether it’s the gym or target, we make excuses for putting our selves in uncomfortable positions. Now I know that sometimes going to a place to workout really isn’t peoples thing, and I can only share from my personal (and some friends) experiences, going to a gym by myself, without my children has been one of the greatest hurdles for me. It was so hard, but in the end was one of the reasons why I was able to overcome daily panic attacks and anxiety.

I will be honest and say that it is sometimes difficult to get there. Sometimes I get on the elliptical and my anxiety starts to creep in. But having the tools to overcome it, and being so comfortable now in that environment, is SO FREEING. Whenever I leave the gym I am seriously so much more mentally strong. It’s time for ME to heal and to grow…and it has been amazing.

Whether you are in the thick of your panic and anxiety, or you just have a little bit, these steps will help you overcome that fear of going to the gym! You cannot give up. The way to overcome this is my going through it.

  • Start Small

There very first thing I did was get out of my house. It was SO hard for me. I hired a babysitter and started to go on walks/runs near my house. I would tell myself to just go for 10 minutes. Then after 10 minutes, if I could go longer, I would. I kept pushing myself for a longer and longer time, until it was easier to leave my house alone.

  • Get a friend to workout with

The next thing I did was get a gym membership with a friend. We would meet at the gym, my biggest fear, and I would workout beside her and have that piece of mind that she was with me. It wasn’t easy, but having someone there forced me to stay and really helped me to reach that next step.

  • Start to go alone, slowly

Obviously if working out with friends is really helping, continue doing that. But also go a few times alone to really conquer those feelings of fear. It was so hard for me just to DRIVE there, so when I got there with an already elevated heart rate, the last thing I wanted to do was run. SO I started slow. I would walk around the track. And go back to the beginning where I would just try and stay for 10 minutes. And each time I would push my self to stay longer and longer.

  • Good music/show/podcast

Music is known to change an anxious mind into a calm one, there are so many studies on this. Create a play list of your favorite songs that excite you and listen to them. Save your favorite shows for when it’s gym time so you can watch them on a piece of exercise equipment. Or find a motivating podcast to help you. Whatever it is, these subtle distractions will keep your mind busy and less likely to bother you with a stupid, “What if?!”

  • Do not give up, even if you have a setback

If you are doing well and then all of the sudden you are lifting weights and have a full blown panic attack…keep going. Walk around a few times, get some water…but don't leave. Leaving just tells your body that you are in trouble, when in reality you really aren’t. Fight those feelings that something bad will happen, and stay. Or if you had a panic attack and left, and now you can’t workout because you remember that feeling…GO ANYWAYS. It’s scary, I know! But I promise you…When you go, you are telling yourself there is NOTHING to be afraid of. You are gaining control of that anxiety, and that is the best feeling.

  • Take care of you

Are you well rested? Drinking enough water before the gym? Taking the right supplements for anxiety, like magnesium? All of these things matter when it comes to anxiety. If you do these things, anxiety is less likely to creep in.

  • Have the right tools and resources

One of my biggest saving graces is my Anxiety Bible, as I call it. It’s really called DARE. But it gives you the tools to overcome ANY anxiety. It talks about everything you feel and go through, and how to work through them. A good resource will help you continue goin

Click the picture to find the book on Amazon!)

  • As always, make sure if you feel Anxiety/Panic Attacks/etc. that you tell someone, talk to someone, see someone, and get some help. It’s not easy to admit we are struggling…but I promise, it’s the first step into getting better and healing. Just remember, you would go to the doctor or tell someone if you had bronchitis! Mental health is just as if not more important than our physical health!

Sweet Potato and Chicken Chili

This is a super quick dinner to put together on those busy weeknights! It’s filling, healthy, and delicious! Pair with a delicious cornbread topped with honey and this meal will definitely become a family favorite!

I was thinking about a time a few years back when dinner time was crazy because I had a little baby clinging to me, while another one was taking every item out of the pantry closet. It was hard and exhausting but now more than ever I can admit I wish I could pull a jar of baby food out of the pantry and call it dinner!

Every season is exhausting, but with each season certain things become easier while certain things become harder. As of now, having three kids In school with homework, dance classes, singing lessons, piano, soccer, and reruns of Gilmore Girls to catch up on…I HAVE NO TIME!

So while I love to make a good ol’ peanut butter and banana sandwich for dinner, sometimes I feel the need to make a healthy home cooked meal because I love the idea of adding a lot on my plate. I thrive on stress. ;)

Luckily, for you and for me, I have nailed down a handful of delicious, quick, and healthy dinners that come together in under 20-30 minutes. I’ll definitely continue to share these as time goes on because we have to stick together! Also, this meal can be made simultaneously while your 1st grader reads to you a story about spiders and their babies.

In case you were wondering…


Sweet Potato and Chicken Chili


3 TB. olive oil

1 yellow onion, diced

4-5 cloves garlic, diced

1 orange bell pepper, chopped

1 orange sweet potato, peeled and chopped into small chunks

1 TB. chili powder

2 tsp. cumin

3 cups canned crushed tomatoes

1 can chili beans OR black beans in sauce

1 can mild red enchilada sauce

1 cup vegetable or chicken broth

3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken

Toppings: Fresh lime, sour cream, scallions, cilantro, and crushed tortilla chips.


  1. In a medium heated pot on the stove, add the olive oil. Toss in the onion, garlic, and bell pepper. Cook until the vegetables have softened and are translucent.

  2. Add in the sweet potato and spices, stir and cook for 3 minutes. Next add in tomatoes, beans, enchilada sauce, and broth. Cover and cook until the soup has thickened and the sweet potatoes have softened. Continue to stir frequently.

  3. Once the chili is ready, fold in the chicken and remove the chili from the heat. Serve immediately and top each bowl with the toppings!


Red Velvet {Blood} Halloween Cupcakes

This MAY be a healthy living blog, but I am a firm believer in doing what you love and eating what you love! (I guess within certain limits haha!)

I love to bake…and I love to eat baked goods!


I’ve been making these RED VELVET cupcakes for years! Back when I was baking for parties, weddings, and other fun events these were always a request! I’ve topped them with glittery white flowers and even delicious chocolate ganache.

But today…Today it’s blood.

These are perfect for Halloween or maybe even Valentines Day…

Or maybe a day when you are stressed ;).

Either way, I love a good Doctored up cake mix because it makes things a little easier, especially when baking with a three year old.

Have you ever been faced with a 3 year old demanding to add 3 cups of flour to a bowl??

None of it makes it in that bowl…Most of it ends up on the floor. ;)

{Doctored-Up} Red Velvet Chocolate Chip Cake

Yields 24 cupcakes


1 box Duncan Hines Red Velvet Cake mix

1 box Godiva white chocolate pudding, 3.9 ounce

4 eggs

1 TB. vanilla

1/2 cup + 2 TB. buttermilk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup sour cream

2 cups chocolate chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.

  2. In a mixer bowl, add all of your ingredients except the chocolate chips. Mix until combined, but do not overmix.

  3. Fold in the chocolate chips.

  4. Using a cookie scoop, add batter to cupcake pan and fill liners 3/4 full.

  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until cupcakes have baked all the way through.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

Yields 3-4 cups


1 block cream cheese, softened

2 sticks salted butter, softened

2-3 TB. heavy whipping cream

1 TB. vanilla Extract

3-4 cups powdered sugar


  1. Add the butter and cream cheese to a mixer bowl. Using the whisk attachment, beat together until creamy.

  2. Add the rest of your ingredients and beat until creamy and fluffy! Frost cupcakes when cool. For this recipe I used a FRENCH STAR FROSTING TIP.

Fake Blood

Yields 1/2 cup


1/2 cup corn syrup

1 TB. cornstarch

Red Food coloring


  1. Mix all ingredients together until combined. Drizzle on top of cupcakes for a bloody look ;).


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Apple Cider Bundt Cake

It’s Faaaaalllllllllllll.

You have no idea the joy that this time of year brings me! I tend to bake a lot this time of year…and I tend to eat a lot of those baked goods too…

Which brings me to this delicious cake! The flavors are SO on point with this cake! It’s moist, has all the right fall spices, and in my opinion would pair perfectly with a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream! Or plain with breakfast…Or on the go in your car driving your kids to school…Or late at night when you can’t stop crying while watching ‘This Is Us’…

As you can see, there are so many options.


Spiced Apple Cider Bundt Cake


2 1/2 cups spelt flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. ground cloves

1 tsp. ground allspice

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1 1/2 cups coconut sugar

1/2 cup canola oil, or melted coconut oil* (I haven’t tried this but I assume it would work well)

1 1/2 cups apple cider, cooked down to 1/2 cup cider. (See notes below for directions)

1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce

2 eggs

1 TB. vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

  2. Add apple cider to a small saucepan. Turn the heat on medium low and continue to cook the apple cider until it has cooked down to 1/2 cup. Continue to whisk while it cooks so it doesn’t burn. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and spices. Set aside.

  3. In another bowl add the cider, applesauce, oil, eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Whisk together.

  4. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Do not over mix.

  5. Spray a bundt pan generously with cooking spray. Pour the batter into the bundt pan.

  6. Bake for 30-50 minutes, depending on your oven and altitude.

  7. Let cool before removing from pan. Dust with powdered sugar/serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Serve and enjoy!

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The Best Chicken Salad Sandwich

My kids spill their drinks everyday.

Every. Single. Day.


On a day when it's almost bed time and the spill hasn't happened, I literally visualize the calm before the storm. A few weeks ago we went out to eat with the kids and ordered a large lemonade.

First mistake.

 Somehow the restaurant messed up and they brought us three. THREE large lemonades on a table with three kids.

Second mistake.

We let the kids all have sips.

Third Mistake.

Then...Each cup of lemonade was knocked at some point during the dinner and proceeded to spill  all over the floor, table, their clothes, my purse, my pride...

After the first spill we removed the remaining two lemonades to the other side of the table. My husband got up to go to the bathroom and some how his butt knocked the other cup off the table. The third happened when we were getting out of the booth and my 3 year old grabbed the large cup when I wasn't looking and dropped it everywhere.

You guys!! Who gave us children?!  

In my defense, I helped the waiters clean up each mess as I jokingly said we shouldn't be allowed outside and each time not one of them laughed...BECAUSE WHY WOULD THEY?


What does this have to do with chicken salad sandwiches you might ask?


It's just an easy dinner for a tired mom who is holding a mop and regretting throwing away the sippy cups.

I love chicken salad sandwiches for dinner because it comes together SO easy and I don’t have to turn on my oven. It’s versatile and you could add what ever you have on hand, but the touch of fresh herbs and lemon juice take this meal over the top! Trust me, everyone will ask you for the recipe! I cannot take full credit for this recipe, because the amazing blog How To Feed a Loon came up with the original recipe. I adapted it a little to what I had on hand.

The Best Chicken Salad Sandwich


1 rotisserie chicken, shredded

1 cup purple grapes halved

3 small or 2 large celery stalks chopped

3 scallions sliced

1 cup  candied pecans

1 cup mayo or plain greek yogurt, or half yogurt/half mayo for a lighter version 

1 1/2 TB. ground mustard

2 TB. finely chopped dill

1 TB. finely chopped Italian parsley 

Juice of 1 juicy lemon

1/2-3/4 tsp. salt

lots of fresh ground pepper ;)


1. In a large bowl toss together the chicken, grapes, celery, scallions, and pecans together.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the mayo or yogurt. Add chopped herbs, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. 

3. Pour dressing over salad and mix to combine. 

4. Let set in the fridge for at least an hour if able. 

5. Serve and enjoy!

Original Recipe From How To Feed A Loon


I Eat Dessert

There was a time in my life where all I ever ate was health food. I was the girl at a dinner party who would skip the creamy baked chicken casserole, eat only the lettuce and tomatoes from the taco dinner, and say no to homemade brownies and ice cream made by a loving friend who invited my family to dinner.



Like, how rude.

I am still such a major lover of health food. I would say that 70% of the time I opt for healthier options. I would also say that I'm not as skinny as I was 8 years ago when I was a 22 year old vegan. I almost wrote virgin. But at 22, it's a lot easier to eat healthy and exercise and look good, versus 30 years old plus three kids. It's basically torture after that. And if your husband is addicted to Taco Bell, well then it's pretty dang impossible to turn it down after 10 years of marriage.



I had this thought come to my mind as I was mindlessly ruining a perfectly good nights rest by scrolling through Instagram. I follow a lot of fitness, healthy eating type people. I love them. I'm jealous of them sometimes when they have managed to make a full healthy dinner after 5 hours of their kids baseball practice and homework. But every once in a while, on some random holiday that they allowed themselves, they would post a picture of a piece of pie and say...

"It's ok to indulge. Enjoy life! I'll be working this off in the gym tomorrow!"


"Ate some ice cream and cookies tonight and feel like CRAP. That's why I never eat like this. Love that I choose to eat healthy!"

(I'm paraphrasing here, but all I hear is, "blah blah blah I'm a dirty tramp!") #namethatmovie

You guys!!!

If you were lying on your death bed tomorrow would you say to your self, "Im so glad I allowed my self one piece of pie on Christmas!"

NO! You would say, "DAMNIT! I wish I would have at least allowed my self to have a cookie every once in a while!" That's how I've grown as a healthy lifestyle blogger. I'm not the girl who is going to lie to you and tell you I only eat desserts on holidays and birthdays. No.

I have dessert every week. I have ice cream, cookies, bites of brownies, and ice cream...

But I also eat so healthy, I *try my best* to exercise, and chase three little kids around. I have a husband who is gone a lot, so after a long lonely day...I EAT MY FEELINGS. I'll admit, sometimes I eat apples. But there are days when it's been 14 hours since my last quiet moment and a chocolate chip cookie just does wonders. It's ok do that and NOT feel guilty!


We shouldn't feel guilty for being normal. We shouldn't feel bad or feel like we have to run 30 minutes because we ate pie. We should run because we love it and it's good for our bodies. And because exercise is cheaper than therapy ;). 

We should eat healthy and whole because we love the way it makes us feel and because we know it's helping us live long and healthy lives. But I'm also a firm believer that allowing your self a bowl of ice cream here and there isn't going to be the end of you. TREAT YO' SELF. 

Now, I feel like I'm rambling ...

If you get anything from this message it's this:

Have you had dessert this week? If not, do so now. 

The end. 






My First Panic Attack

I remember the night I had my very first panic attack. I can still picture it so clear in my mind, and can basically do that with every other panic attack I've had since then.

I was 14/15 years old and my family had just moved to an apartment because our new home was being built. It was our first night in that two bedroom apartment, and I wasn't too happy that I had to share a room with my two brothers. My friend Heather was with me and we decided to watch a new Jennifer Lopez movie called 'Enough'. It's about a girl who is being beaten and terrorized by a boyfriend/husband...sounds amazing right?

My friend Heather and I. She's so beautiful!!

My friend Heather and I. She's so beautiful!!

Perfect movie for a 14 year old girl.

After the movie, we went to bed. It was a dark, quiet new place. The movie was pretty 'anxiety' ridden, which I think was what triggered it. 

I started to feel I couldn't breath, like I couldn't catch my breath. My heart was racing, and every time I would try to take a deep breath, I couldn't. (You guys...I can't even write this without FEELING these emotions.)

I went to my parents room and told them I was having trouble breathing. After a few minutes my dad decided to take me to the emergency room. I remember walking back into my room and whispering to my friend, "Hey, my dad is going to take me to the emergency room because I'm having trouble breathing." 

I don't remember much except for sitting in the ER with a paper bag because my dad thought it would help as I breathed in and out through it...and then I remember the doctor telling me it was just a panic attack...something I had never heard of.

After that, everything changed. I couldn't sit in class without freaking out. I would get up and go to the bathroom multiple times. I starting skip class and sometimes skipping school. I remember telling a teacher that she couldn't call on me in class because I would get a FULL blown panic attack if I was asked to read...I remember going to class with a senior friend of mine and sitting in her science class. The teacher bent down and talked to me and told me I could stay as long as I wanted and he understood. I remember thinking how much comfort that gave me.. that someone understood and told me it was ok. 

It wasn't until one day I woke up and realized I would never be able to leave and go to college if this didn't stop. And seriously that day, I didn't get another panic attack for YEARS. (If only I was young and naive today like I was back then!)

I ended up doing a study abroad in Central America, attended college thousands of miles a way, and drove multiple times alone for hours to and from different states all after I told myself anxiety would not control my life...

 I did however drop a Spanish honors class in college because we had to read spinach aloud....haha!

As the years followed, certain things made me anxious, but never took control of my life. I didn't let things that made me nervous bother me. I had confidence that things were no big deal and I paid little to no attention to the anxiety that did creep up..

Skip to the summer of 2016 when I attended a Youtube conference by myself. I was in traffic all morning and was semi nervous to do such a big thing alone. I walked into the conference center and got on this mile long escalator when it happened. I felt like I couldn't breath. I was trapped on this escalator with thousands of people everywhere.

Love my little sidekick.

Love my little sidekick.

I was alone.

I was freaking out.

I walked and pushed people out of the way to the top, just so I could turn around and go to the bottom. I walked a mile to my car, trying my best to keep my composure. When it got to my car, I lost it. It all came coming back, and being alone surrounded by thousands of people...doing this whole blog/youtube thing alone...It triggered me. 

After that I tried to go back to the convention but I couldn't. I made my mom come with my kids and wait at a mall near by so I could try and attend. I took my oldest daughter with me just so I could sit through one class. I remember my left arm going numb because I was freaking out inside SO bad. I wanted to get out of there as fast as I could. 

After that I couldn't do anything. I couldn't go to the grocery store or target without having a panic attack in the checkout line. I dreaded picking the girls up from school because I would have an anxiety attack having to walk all the way in to get my daughter, worried I would pass out and embarrass myself and her. I was afraid to leave my house, go out with friends, live my life....

Then my heart started having the worst palpitations. (It's a natural side affect to anxiety.)

I remember my heart palpitating so bad as I pulled up to my daughters school. I called my dad hysterical telling him I was going to die. My 5 and 2 year old were in the back, and my 5 year old came and hugged me in the car. My dad stayed on the phone with me as I walked in to get my daughter. (I had to park far away and walk a ways to get her...)

Anxiety was and IS the worst. 

Anxiety feels like tunnel vision. It's like your are SO scared, your body is in flight mode and your adrenaline has reached it's highest peak. It's one of the scariest feelings in the least scariest scenario. It's bizarre...

Anyways...skip to today. 

My.Whole.World.  My why.


My why.

I've learned a lot about myself. I'm way stronger than I was two year ago, but I do have my days where I'm weak. I have to remind myself that it's ok to be weak. It's ok if I don't feel up to doing something, but I also know when I have to push myself. I know so much more about myself and what I need to do to be confident in my abilities...But sometimes those things are the HARDEST things to do. Sometimes it's so hard to tell myself to go do something. But I really try and tell myself to do it. Because if I don't, then I am 10 steps back after taking 5 steps forward. 

-How I have, and how I am, overcoming my anxiety.-

Taking care of me.

My third daughter is quite the girl and we've had our fair share of challenges with her. From her lack of sleep, to her severe lack of eating...Then this past year after dealing with some behavioral issues, we decided to put her into a  preschool where they can help her work on certain behaviors.  All of this alone has been quite the challenge for me as a mother, and probably one of the reasons my anxiety has skyrocketed over the past couple of years. Every time I would go somewhere or do something, my daughter would really struggle. Immediately I felt, and was a lot of times judged. I was already anxious to go get my daughter from school because every time my baby would scream bloody murder and I would have to walk a half mile with her completely melting down. It was humiliating. On top of it all my husband was working 12+ hours a day 5 days a week, plus a half of Saturday and some Sunday. I was completely mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted.

My sweet and sour baby!

My sweet and sour baby!

 Part of healing, especially when dealing with a child whose needs are quite demanding, has been to take care of myself. It hasn't been easy. I don't mean relaxing at the end of the night with a bath and a good Netflix binge. I mean leaving my house and going somewhere alone or with friends. Saying yes more to those type of situations that are SO hard for me, that I know will give me anxiety. Even if it means my palms are sweaty and I can't sit still, I always try and go. (Because eventually I WILL calm down.)  It was also really hard putting my husband in charge and leaving the house, even though I do feel an enormous amount guilt because he just worked 13 hours that day.

Also saying no to my daughter, or my other kids, and being ok with it. Not feeling guilty about hiring a babysitter every week so I can do date night...Things like that. Things that are not easy for me to do, but doing them always makes me feel better.

I'm also really trying to make time for myself. More exercise, that's a tough one for me because I legit can't deal, I hate exercise haha! But making time for me to be healthy, it's so important. Otherwise if I've taken care of kids ALONE from 6-8 at night, then I go to bed late, and well eventually I've snowballed myself into a gallon of Ben and Jerry's tonight dough. (Which by the way I feel is totally healthy and acceptable every once in a while.) But most likely the next day, and the groundhog days of motherhood that follow, will cause my anxiety to creep back.

Lastly, less phone time. BIG ONE. Social media is good and evil. If you are struggling, the last thing you should do is look on Instagram for inspiration. It it no way will make you feel calm, I can do this, I'm amazing, and I'm strong. It will however make you feel more anxious, weak, insecure, less than, and like 'everybody has their shit together but me' type of attitude. 

Going there, even when I absolutely do not want to.

Some times the hardest thing for me is to go to the grocery store that's 5 minutes away. Already my nerves start to build up just thinking about it. It could be because every time I go to the store, and I'm already on edge, my daughter will most likely throw a huge tantrum. Which doesn't make it easier. But if something scares me, I do it anyways. I'm not always good at this, but I've been so much better these past couple months. If I'm afraid to go to the store, I go. Every night by myself. I buy one thing, or more the next night. But I go. I (you) have to train your body to know that you are not in a harmful or dangerous situation. And going and doing even when you don't want to is KEY.

Talking about it.

Something I did differently a few months ago was tell my closest friends about my anxiety. Shame and embarrassment is something that gives me anxiety, about anxiety. Makes total sense right haha?! But just knowing that I could openly talk about it with my friends made it not so scary, and I knew that if I ever had a panic attack with any of them I could tell them. It was comforting. But I've never had to because It made anxiety much less threatening when I talked about it.

Also having that someone you can call and talk to when things get rough. It's not easy to open up with someone when you are afraid to admit a weakness. Afraid to admit you might be crazy, even though dealing with this in no way makes you crazy at all. But if you deal with it all on your own, it's so much harder to overcome. Talk to someone. Anyone. A family member, friend, partner...whatever. Just casually bring it up that you have anxiety, and get more comfortable talking about it as time goes on. You won't believe how many people have experienced or are experiencing anxiety or panic attacks. TRUST ME...And you won't feel so alone. I know it's hard. It's probably the hardest thing to talk about...But you can do it. I promise.

The Book that changed my life.

One of my biggest turning points in my anxiety was reading this book: (Click book for link.)


It was like reading my inner most thoughts. It answered every one of my fears and questions, but also told me how I can control the anxiety and even overcome it. That's what we all want right? I call it my Anxiety Bible because whenever I feel myself starting to have a rough week, I go back and read on things I'm struggling with and I almost immediately feel so much better off.

If you are struggling with anxiety you MUST read this book. It saved me.


Last but definitely not least is my Faith. I know we all come from different background, religions, and beliefs. So whatever your lifestyle is, this may not be for you. But my faith, and my Anxiety Bible lol, are probably one of the two things that had the most impact on helping me with my anxiety. I'm a Mormon, and I relied a lot on prayer and scripture. I prayed daily to have strength to overcome this. For faith that I could do small and simple things that seemed so hard. I read my scriptures nightly and relied on my Heavenly Father. I became so much stronger I know because of this. Again, we all believe and live differently, but I really feel that relying on a greater being of some really does help.

No special occasion, we always dress fancy and match at the same time. It's how we roll.

No special occasion, we always dress fancy and match at the same time. It's how we roll.

You can be stronger, I have so much faith in this!

Something so comforting to me is when someone believes in me. When someone assures me that everything will be ok and that I can do this even when something is telling me I can't. But I promise you that you can. As someone who has and does struggle, I know that there is and will always be the light at the end of the tunnel. That we are SO much stronger than we let ourselves be. 

And lastly...Tonight Dough Ben & Jerry's really does calm all anxiety. 

One Pan Baked Chicken, Butternut, and Pecan Dinner with Orange Dijon Maple Glaze

My ‘One Pan Baked Chicken, Butternut, and Pecan Dinner’ is going to be your new dinner favorite! This dinner is on repeat weekly at my house. It’s made in one pan, which makes cleanup amazing. It also all comes together in about 30 minutes! Lifesaver
— (Me)-Ari

This week marked the first week my three year old started preschool. Before she started I began to realize it was the first time in 7 years I wouldn't have a child attached to my hip for a couple of hours every day.

Sheer panic set in because I don't think I know how to do anything without someone saying,"Mom.Mom.Mom.Mom.Mom!!!!" 56 times while I'm taking a shower. How will I learn to make decisions when I am not under an extreme amount pressure?? 

Like, how am I supposed to brush my teeth, hair, and wash my face without a toddler screaming, a 5 year old who refuses to get her shoes on no matter how many times I ask her to, and a 7 year old yelling, "MOM! We are going to be late AGAIN!"



My husband. Bless his 1950's heart, told me that now that I have a few hours without the kids I can actually get stuff done.

He's hilarious. And dead to me.

But in all actuality, I'm really quite sad. As hard as motherhood is, it's almost harder to not be in 100% control..For me at least. I can't be a helicopter parent when they are at schoo!l! Unless...I spy on them through the parking lot while they are at recess. Or, I call the secretary to make sure my daughter made it to class even though I walked her in. 

You guys. ISSUES!!

I'm not always that bad, but I think some time alone will do me some good. Give me time to chill, relax, recharge...and watch Bachelor alone.

(And obviously come up with yummy recipes like these, which make life easier!)


One Pan Baked Chicken, Butternut, and Pecan Dinner with Orange Dijon Maple Glaze


3-4 boneless skinless chicken breast one inch thick, or more if you can fit them the plan

(Salt/pepper to season chicken + EVOO to cook)

3 cups chopped butternut squash

1 cup pecans

2 TB. melted butter

2 TB. pure maple syrup


(Orange Dijon Maple Sauce)

1/3 c. pure maple syrup

2 TB. whole grain dijon mustard

juice and zest of 1 orange

1 TB. cornstarch mixed with 1 TB. cold water


1. Preheat the oven to 357 degrees. 

2. Cover a large baking sheet with tin foil. In a bowl, mix together squash, pecans, and a nice sprinkle of salt. Add to one side of the baking sheet and place in the oven.

3. Heat a skillet on med/low heat with 1-2 TB. EVOO. Season both sides of a chicken breast with salt and pepper. Make sure your breast are about 1 inch thick. Pound with a meat mallet to thin out if needed.

4. Cook chicken on both sides, 3 minutes. Set aside. Continue to cook each chicken, same amount of time, until you've cooked all of the chicken. Pull the pan out of the oven and add the chicken breast to it. Cook for 15 minutes.

5. Before the chicken is almost done, make the sauce. In a small sauce pan add all of the ingredients, minus the cornstarch mixture. Heat on low/medium hit until the mixture begins to bubble slightly. Add the cornstarch mixture, bring to a bubble and allow the mixture to thicken. Set aside.

6. Remove the pan from the oven. Check to see if the butternut squash is soft enough. If it's not, remove the chicken and cover it in foil and set on a plate, and place the pan back in the oven until the squash is tender. 

7. Once everything is done, drizzle it with the sauce, serve over rice if wanted, and enjoy!


Now, share with my your motherhood craziness! Like, do you spy on your kids at recess. Pop in unexpected at lunch time to make sure no little punk kid is being a bully to your baby?