Sunday, November 18, 2018

Curbing Your Sweet Tooth During the Holidays

I hate such a love/hate relationship during the holiday season. The last 90 days of the year is so marvelous and magical obviously because of Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas - visiting family, showering my friends and family with gifts, and eating mass amounts of food. But, I start slowing down on getting my butt up and going to the gym (or being active in general), I’ve officially changed my regular old boring bedsheets to my warm comfy snowflake flannel sheets from target making me want to live in my bed, I start losing all motivation and again, eat mass amount of food – especially sweets.

I have a freaking sweet tooth like no other, like it’s not just one tooth – it’s my whole dang mouth. I’ve struggled with this since I was a little one, and this time of year has become my heaven – BRING ON ALL THE PUMPKIN PIE, SNICKERDOODLE COOKIES AND PEPPERMINT BARK. I tried giving up all the sweets one year, and lemme tell you… it didn’t go well.  I literally was almost crawling out of my skin and ended up in a circle of Christmas Tree Shaped Reece’s wrappers (because let’s agree that reecees in different shapes just taste better) bundled up in a blanket burrito, sitting on the couch, crying and watching another re-run of Friends. Not pretty.

Let’s get real, trying to give up one of the best things about the holiday just turns me, and a lot of others into a straight up scrooge. You don’t want to sit off to the side and eat your kale salad while everyone is enjoying the holiday potlucks, company parties and friend get together that includes all the delicious foods. But, you also don’t want to completely throw your body into a food and sugar overload the last ¼ of the year. Here are some tricks I’ve learned that help me get through the holidays without packing on the extra pounds

1)      Eat a big healthy breakfast every morning – My go to is avocado toast on Ezekiel bread, two scrambled or over east eggs, and 1 cup of mixed fruit. The mix of protein, carbs and fats keeps you full well until lunch.

2)      Keep healthy snacks at your desk or easily accessible during the day. I am snack queen at work. I used to sit right next to the empty cubical where my department kept all of our snacks (ie chips, cookies, banana bread, candy, etc) and lemme tell you – I would roll my little self the 5ft across the walkway to that desk several times a day. I started my own “snack drawer” with healthier options of almonds, kind bars, and I keep fruit and yogurt in our break room kitchen. At home, I do a clean-out of my pantry and get rid of all the goldfish, chips and bad snack foods so I’m not tempted to snack away when I’m at home.

3)      Stay hydrated – I cannot express the importance of this! Most of the time when you get the 3pm munchies, it’s probably because you are just thirsty. I keep a lot of different types of tea bags at my desk or around the house for something different than water. Typically some hot green or earl gray tea in the afternoon can keep my sweet cravings at bay

4)      Try to keep your thoughts busy – read a Buzzfeed article, write an email to your mom, go talk to a coworker, call your best friend, or play a quick game on your phone. Keeping your mind occupied and brain stimulated and focused on something other than food will help distract you and keep your hands out of the candy dish

5)      Check your portions – When heading to the buffet line at a party or corporate event, your eyes become bigger than your stomach. You are much more willing to eat more if it’s already on your plate. Take much smaller portions than you typically would, and take your time eating. This will help you feel fuller faster, and you more than likely will not feel the need to go back for seconds.

*tip – if you are CRAVING a sweet or junk food like nobody’s business, take a second and remember all the goals you have for yourself the rest of the year and don’t break the promise to yourself. If you slip up and give in, IT IS OKAY. If you feel the fire burning inside that you have to have it, then do it. This will help you from unhealthy eating habits and binging later on.

Either way, just keep your goals in mind and you will be more confident going into the new year. 

xoxo, Claire


Monday, November 5, 2018

Venison Chili Recipe

Growing up in South - i was surrounded by hunters. I had friends that hunted, teachers and neighbors.  Now, my boyfriend and his brother are avid hunters and keep our freezer well stocked with deer meat. Because deer are pretty big, you end up with a lot of meat and eat it in everything from burgers, steak, tacos and of course, chili! 

If you’ve ever cooked with venison, you know that it is especially lean. That means you don’t have to drain off the fat in your after you cook the meat, but it also means you have to add in a little extra of a fattier meat to create a little more flavor. 

After some trial and errors, I've created a Venison Chili recipe that is comforting and delicious - absolutely perfect for the cold months of hunting season or really anytime when you've got some extra ground stocked up!

I've found the most flavor is brought out by cooking your chili in a Slow Cooker Crock Pot so all your do is  combine everything in a crockpot, cover, and cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 8 hours.

Prep Time - 15 mins
Cook Time - 4-8 hours
Servings: 8

- 2 (15.5 oz) cans kidney beans 
- 2 (10oz) cans diced tomatos
- 1 (6oz) can tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- 2 tablespoons cumin
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- salt and fresh ground black pepper
- 8-10 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 pound ground venison
- 1 pound Jimmy Dean's Mild Country Pork Sausage
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 yellow onions chopped 
- 1 green pepper (seeded and chopped) 

1) Heat oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add in venison meat and pork sausage. Use wooden spoon to break up crumbs and mix together meats. Stir until fully cooked and lightly browned. Add in onions, chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano, thyme and salt and pepper to taste. 
2) Stir in garlic and peppers slowly until aromatic.  
3) Add meat mixture into crock pot and stir in Kidney beans, tomatoes and tomato paste. 
4) Cover the lid and set for either 4 hours on HIGH or 8 hours on LOW

Serve with preferred topping including shredded cheese, sour cream, and oyster crackers. 

I always make a side of cornbread to go with my chili. My go-to is Krusteaz Honey Cornbread. Boom - easy weeknight meal for those chilly fall evenings.

Happy Hunting, and enjoy! -

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Happy Fall!


I don’t know about everywhere else, but here in NC – it’s been 90 degrees until about 3 days ago. And let me tell you that I am
My basic white girl comes out in full force as soon as the clock strikes October. I’m talking flying down the aisles at Target and Tj Maxx looking for the newest decorative pumpkins to add to my already ridiculous collection, scooping up ALL the apple and cinnamon candles, and of course snagging a new cozy blanket. Something about coming home from work, lighting every single candle in my living room, closing the blinds, staring at my new inspirational quote hanging above my TV from Hobby Lobby, and turning on a Halloween movie just really gets my fire going (no pun intended).
When it comes to decorating for the seasons, i've been trying to find timeless pieces that will fit into any room, and won't break my bank. 

Deer Head Wood Pallet - Hobby Lobby - $34.99 *ON SALE NOW FROM $64.99*; 
Small Green Wreaths - TJ Maxx/Homegoods

                     *All above items found at TJ maxx/Homegoods, except for ceramic leaf coasters  are 
from dollar sections at Target - $5

Not sure what it is about fall that makes everyone so happy? Maybe the idea that another year is starting to wind down and we physically start seeing change outside. The change in the weather and the leaves indicates the idea that a new year is going to be starting soon, along with the soon to be promises of “starting new” and doing all those things that you were going to go this year, but kept pushing off and pushing off. Next year will be the year. You just know it. I try to take this time, as everything around me is changing and as we dive into what the promises I made for myself this year. What promises were kept, what was broken, and how you realize that a year in your life never turns out like you thought it would. You just have to take each day as it comes and keep living it with the mindset of one of my favorite quotes (which is currently above my tv - so i can remind myself during my Netflix binges). Thank God for Hobby Lobby, they are always having the best sales

Always Pray Wood Wall Decor - Hobby Lobby - $14.99 *ON SALE FROM $29.99*

A lot happened for me this year! I went out of the country for the first time, I got to visit one of my very best friends in LA (she moved out there over a year ago for a bad ass job), I went on countless date nights with the sweetest man alive, we moved in together, I grew closer to God, I learned to not take BS anymore, to let go of negative people, I decided to make more of an effort to be a better friend, a better person, to give myself better goals.
Whew - And the year ain’t over yet! I’m thoroughly enjoying and full out embracing the season that we are in. I am READY for some bonfires (mostly for the s’mores because….duh), cute oversized scarfs, boots, trying out new breweries, the changing colors of leaves and just excited to see what’s in store.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Allow me to introduce myself...

I would like to think that i am one hell of a hype man. Being the middle child of my siblings (and being the one who was never really that "good" at anything), i took on the role to be the cheerleader. I was always on the sidelines at every one of my sister's soccer games, or in the stands every football game that my brother played in marching band in, or at every music concert my baby sister showed off her immense self taught abilities of the multitude of instruments she could play - i was there. This bled into my college and adult years too with my friends. I was right there with them to celebrate their successes, to be their #1 fan - but never had much to celebrate in myself. I had pretty music tried everything once (or twice) ranging from athletics, to singing, to dancing, to teach myself to play an instrument, to academics.... nope. Just wasn't there - all the talents were distributed elsewhere. BUT, need a pick me up? I AM YOUR GIRL. It made me feel good, to make others feel good.

I refuse to let my friends or family speak negatively of themselves, and am "annoyingly" (so they say) trying to keep a optimistic attitude and find that good ol' silver lining.

While i'm sitting here pouring out this positivity, and living vicariously through those around me - i began feeling lost. I cry hard, and feel worthless. Questioning what i was meant for.  I realize that i started feeling this way because i feel STUCK. Like most mid-20 year olds, i couldn't wait to graduate college and now i'm like wait..... who let me out into this world? I knew nothing about being an "adult", or what i am going to do. Taxes confuse me. Why is furniture SO EXPENSIVE? 401k and investing - you lost me. I stumbled my way through some jobs, and ended up at a great company with good benefits, everything i was "supposed" to do - but still felt so lost.

"You haven't gone to the gym in over a week, put down the cheetos puffs"
"you are almost 27 - and literally not doing anything you wanted.... you're just wasting life"
"You need to go out and join a new club, or volunteer or DO SOMETHING else... other than watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S. for the 10th time through."

Then i sit back and realize - Why am i so hard on myself? You wouldn't let anyone talk to you that way, or you best friend that way, or YOUR MOM that way? Why is our inner monolog so mean?!

Because you know you deserve more.

A flip switched in my brain that i need to be by own hype man, my own cheerleader... rather than waiting around for someone to say the exact words i know i need to hear., or waiting for life to happen. That i am the only one telling myself that i can't. I've been sitting here telling everyone else they can, but telling myself the opposite.

My goal is to bring you along on this journey, and create authentic content of real things that i would want to see! Like getting advice from your BFF, favorite cousin, or co-worker. I want to cater to woman from all walks of life - of shapes, sizes, and colors. Because we can all get a little lost in the idea of what we are made for, what is our purpose? My hope is to be a beacon of light in your life. To share stories with you that will make you smile, laugh, cry and give you some pretty sweet life hacks recipes and advice along the way.

I'm your new bff, Claire. And i'm here to help clarify some life with you.

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