California Cheeseburger Salad

April Fitness Challenge Recap

Today is the last day of April which means that today is the last day of my April Fitness Challenge. If you will recall, at the beginning of April I challenged myself to work towards the goal of being able to do at least one solid chin-up by April 30th.

chin up pull up bar


We bought a pull-up bar, I hit the weights but not nearly as much as I should have, and I began Insanity workouts about two weeks ago.

I have to report today that unless a miracle happens in the next 24 hours, I am still not able to do an unassisted chin-up. However, I refuse to claim this challenge as a fail because I have seen major progress in my attempts and I know it won’t be much longer before I am able to do one.

And yes I use my legs to help shimmy myself up–I don’t care if that’s considered cheating.

chin up

Am I disappointed? Actually I’m not, not at all. I am very happy with my progress and excited to keep reaching toward my goal. It has been very helpful having a pull-up bar in our house so I can give it a go at my leisure.

You WILL be hearing from me as soon as I reach that goal! I think I will be rolling this goal over into May. Yea, I like that idea.

Anyway….changing tracks. I have a super tasty meal to share with you all from last night.

This dinner was extremely easy, it came together in about 15 minutes or less, and it was SO delicious!

I made what I like to call California Cheeseburger Salad!

What usually comes on a California burger? Tomato, lettuce, avocado, and mayo right? Well I excluded the mayo but used the other ingredients. In addition to the California burger, I also incorporated an all-American classic: the cheeseburger. Instead of a bun, I turned this concoction into a salad.

california cheeseburger salad


Let’s break it down…

I began by sauteing about 1/4 cup of diced onions on the stove top. I then added 1/4 pound of lean ground turkey, seasoned it with salt and pepper, and let it brown.

Meanwhile, I chopped up the lettuce, tomato, avocado and arranged them on my two plates.

Next, I made a mustard dressing which was simply deli style mustard (about 2 tablespoons), apple cider vinegar (about 1 tablespoon), garlic powder, onion powder, and a little water. I gave it all a good stir and then drizzled it over the salads.

After the turkey was finished browning and fully cooked through, I shredded 1/4 cup of natural cheddar cheese over the hot meat in the pan. I let it melt and then used a spatula to scoop it onto our salads.

california cheeseburger salad


You put it all together and what do you get? California Cheeseburger Salad! So very simple and it was the perfect dish for a warm spring evening.

California Cheeseburger Salad
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 2
  • ¼ cup onion, diced
  • ¼ lb lean ground turkey
  • salt and pepper
  • As much mixed spring lettuce as you wish, chopped
  • ½ small avocado, diced
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced
  • 2 Tbsp deli mustard
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • a sprinkle of garlic powder
  • a sprinkle of onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  1. In a small pan sprayed with olive oil, sauté onions for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add ground turkey, season with salt and pepper, and let brown.
  3. Meanwhile, arrange lettuce, avocado, and tomatoes onto two separate plates.
  4. Prepare mustard by mixing together mustard, vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder, and water in a small bowl. Drizzle over plated lettuce.
  5. Once meat is finished cooking and lightly browned, sprinkle cheese over the top and let melt. Once melted, use a spatula to transfer the meat on top of the salads.
  6. Enjoy!


You could easily make this vegetarian by substituting pinto beans or black beans instead of the ground turkey! Give it a go tonight! You won’t regret it.

Have a fabulous Tuesday my lovely readers!

What are your go-to summer dinners?

I notice that once the warmer weather rolls around, my meat consumption goes way up because we are grilling so much more. In the summer our go-to dinners are probably grilled chicken or turkey burgers and grilled veggies or a huge veggie and bean salad.

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Chicken Stir-Fry with Coconut Aminos

It’s Friday! Oh yea, baby! Before we get too excited about this glorious day of the week, let’s take a quick look at Thursday, shall we?

I had a really great day. I actually kept thinking yesterday was Friday. I was super messed up on my days.

I had the day off and I started it off by meeting up my high school friend Ted, for coffee at Caribou. Why on earth have we not gotten together sooner, I don’t know. All I can say is it was so nice to catch up with him. He is such a positive person and I love having positive people in my life! There is no room for negativity in my life.

In the afternoon Dana and I took the pup out for a 3-mile loop around our neighborhood. The weather was absolutely perfect for an outdoor run; about 50°F and sunny. I was even able to wear my capris outside for the first time this year!

Moose is still working on his stamina. He was pretty wiped immediately after the run.


Allergy Update

I seem to have worked whatever food or medication allergy I had out of my system, because I have been feeling back to normal. The only thing I can think of that may have triggered it is the abundant amount of strawberries I had eaten those few days, but I’ve never had a problem with them in the past! Again, another reason I would like to have an intolerance test done.


For lunch I threw together a ginormous veggie-packed salad. I loved the volume of this salad. In the mix was mixed spring greens, broccoli, carrots, red pepper, celery, a spritz of olive oil, hummus, and sunflower seeds. Wowza it was GOOD.

veggie salad

There were a few snacks eaten throughout the day to tide me over between meals, all of which went unphotographed.

We made a purchase yesterday to add to our “at-home gym”…..


chin up pull up bar

I wasn’t messing around when I said I am going to conquer at least one unassisted chin-up before May. We put this up in the doorway on our main floor so that I will be more likely to use it often. Like I said previously, I still have a LOOONNNG way to go, but I’ll get there!

Stir-Fry Dinner and Coconut Aminos

Mmm mmm, dinner was tasty last night. Stir-fry has got to be one of the easiest meals to make and it always comes out well.

Last night I pulled out the wok and sautéed up onion, garlic, red bell pepper, broccoli, sugar snap peas and carrots in sesame oil. Once the veggies had cooked through, I added about 1/3 of a cup of bone broth along with 5-6 splashes of coconut aminos (more on that in a sec). I also added a few sprinkles of garlic powder, onion powder, ginger, and salt. I then let the liquids cook out, added some leftover cooked chicken, allowed that to heat through and VOILA!

stir fry

I served the stir-fry over cooked quinoa (I let the quinoa soak for 24 hours before cooking to help with digestibility) and had myself a deliciously gluten-free and soy-free dinner!

stir fry

stif fry

So, about those coconut aminos I mentioned….

Yesterday I stopped in at Whole Foods and oogled over all of the great products. I meandered down the Asian-food aisle and my eyes spied this intriguing sauce:

Coconut Secret’s Raw Coconut Aminos

coconut aminos

I had to give it a go after what I read on the label. Here is what I have learned about Coconut Aminos (information taken from their website):

Their product is:

  • 100% Organic
  • Gluten-free
  • Soy-free
  • Dairy-free
  • Vegan
  • Contains 17 naturally occurring amino acids which are important for muscle tissue repair and rebuilding, enhance nervous system function, and aid in boosting the immune system
  • It is made from certified organic raw coconut sap and naturally aged and blended with sun-dried, mineral-rich sea salt
  • It can be used as a substitute for soy sauce!


The flavor is a bit more bland compared to regular soy sauce, and less salty, but it did add a really nice flavor to this stir-fry dish. For those of you out there who are looking for an alternative to soy-sauce, I would definitely recommend giving this a shot. I will be 100% honest with you though, I still prefer soy sauce.

But it’s still pretty neat, right? What will they think of next?!

I had a fun new treat later in the evening including another Whole Foods find:

Gluten Free Cereal

These are SO good! And the ingredients are so simple: Organic corn meal, organic evaporated cane juice, organic peanut butter, organic soy oil, sea salt, tocopherols (natural vitamin E), organic tapioca starch. I don’t plan on eating these daily, but they are going to be nice to have around if I want a little treat.

Alright, now that we caught up on Thursday we can officially celebrate Friday. I hope you all have a FANTASTIC day! Keep on smilin’ my friends.

Question of the day: Have you ever used liquid aminos before? What are your thoughts?

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A Lovely Easter & April Fitness Challenge

Is anyone else recovering from a slight sugar shock from yesterday? Yes, I had some sugar yesterday. I don’t regret it and I absolutely enjoyed it, for ONE day. Now that Monday is here, the candy will hide out until next weekend. At least that’s the plan.

I do not believe in depriving yourself of the foods you love, it is all about MODERATION, but since I am in the last stages of my gut healing, I’m trying to stay clear for now.

Our Easter celebration yesterday was absolutely lovely. My parents, my brother Kevin,  Dana and I all went to 11:00 church service and I loved everything about the service; the music, the atmosphere of all of the happy people, being there with my family, the message, everything.

Easter 2013

After church we headed home. The Easter bunny did a great job of filling Dana and my basket with mostly healthy things since she knows we are watching our sugar intake. 😉

Easter 2013

It was 12:30 at this point and we were all pretty ravished, but mom had plantain chips and salsa, sweet potato chips and hummus, and shrimp all ready for us to munch on. I really enjoyed the plantain chips.

Once 2:30 pm rolled around, dinner was served. I brought a fruit salad which I found on Pinterest. I wish I could take credit because this bowl was beautiful. It was simply fresh strawberries, blueberries, and green grapes which I drizzled with a honey and lime homemade mixture. I had two bowls of this sweet goodness!

Easter 2013

The rest of the delicious fare….deviled eggs, which I have officially decided I need to eat more than once a year because they are so tasty and I love them so much.

Easter 2013

Cheesy potatoes….I actually resisted these this year except for one bite to taste! I could have had some but I’m trying to let my body continue to heal and didn’t want to push it with the richness of this dish.

Easter 2013

I loaded up on the asparagus! The ham tasted awfully good too and I’m not always the biggest ham fan. NUM.


Easter 2013


After dinner, both mom and I were a little antsy, so we went for a quick walk around the neighborhood. It was windy and a little cold but it sure felt good to get the legs moving.

When we returned, I plated the dessert. I made a gluten-free, no refined sugar, Key Lime Pie. It may not be picture perfect, but it definitely tasted GREAT! I will be posting the recipe this week so stay tuned!


Easter 2013

Both Easter #1 and Easter #2 were huge successes. I have so much love for my family and I so enjoy spending time with them! I love the holidays!

So, back to that sugar real quick. Up until this point in the day I hadn’t had any processed refined sugar, but when we got home last night, I really wanted some Easter candy from my basket. I had a few piece of licorice and some dark chocolate M & M’s. They tasted very good. I was very excited to have this special treat, but like I said, now that Easter is over, the candy will go away for the week and I will be back to limiting my sugars throughout the week. Next weekend, I might dabble into a piece or two, but we’ll see. I really savored those sweets last night, though. Mmm mmm. I can’t lie and say I didn’t like them, but again I remind you all of my favorite word: Moderation.


April Fitness Challenge

I’m hesitant to make this public and hold myself accountable for this, BUT, I have a fitness goal that I have been wanting to attain since I can’t remember when and it’s about time I gave it a go.

This month, I am challenging myself to do at least ONE UNASSISTED CHIN-UP. 

There, I said it. It’s out there and it’s published. It’s time to start making these dreams come to life!

Q: Any words of wisdom/tips/advice for me?

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