Apr 202015

In Mid-April, I began the #ProteinChallenge, a 30 Day guided challenge that aims to help you get a balanced amount of protein at each meal.  Some of the more remarkable benefits of eating protein throughout the day include feeling satisfied after a protein-packed meal, which helps reduce mindless eating. Also, meals with protein helps to build muscle and reduce body fat.  You can read more about the challenge and our participation in this #ProteinPartner collaboration from my RD partner, Melissa Joy Dobbins here: Join Us on the 30 Day Protein Challenge


Monday April 13 – Sunday April 19

This Week I Learned… It doesn’t matter how many times I start and stop food journaling/tracking, whenever I go back to it I always learn SOMETHING.  This time around there were a few things I noticed on day 6 of the challenge when reflecting on the first 5 days of journaling.

Off the bat I was surprised at how most of my breakfasts were really close to my goal of 23-30 grams of protein without trying.  I found that most of my morning meals hit at about 18-25.

Reflection on my journaling experience also helped me realize that I had fallen into the eating for the sake of eating habit.  Where did my intuitive eating awareness go?  I’m thankful for this wake up call pointing me back in the right direction of paying attention to the reasons I am eating what, and how much, of what I’m eating.

I was also reminded of my natural habit of healthy choice making becoming easier and more frequent whenever I’m focusing on any one specific area of my diet [upping my greens, leveling sodium, or in this case, counting my protein intake.]  It also helps that I’m in a healthy choice making challenge with some good friends and giving myself POOOOOOOOOOOINTS! every day for certain healthy decisions I make while also trying to log #100MilesbySummer along with many of friends who love TIU so much that they’ve convinced me to play run along.


Favorite Meal of the Week: I’m going with breakfast as a whole.  I recently spent one day of a 3-day weekend doing food prep, specifically filling the freezer with microwavable breakfasts.  I was pleasantly surprised when I first started adding the breakfasts I made into my food journal and saw that I wasn’t far off from my protein goal for the meal.

I made four different freezer breakfasts and I’m loving them all:

Omelet and Potato Breakfast Bites from Ella Claire Inspired
18-23 grams of protein, 320-390 calories for 2 bites, depending on mix-in combos
I used the base of this recipe and cleaned out the freezer [shredded hash browns and sweet potato tots,] the crisper drawer [broccoli, peppers, and spinach,] and the deli drawer/leftover spot [shredded cheese, feta, leftover sausage and shredded beef] to create a bunch of different muffin tin combos. I love how you can totally go wild with the mix ins here to bring variety in.

Baked Breakfast Taquitos for the Freezer from Healthy Delicious
10 grams of protein, 230 calories for 2 taquitos // served with 6oz Greek yogurt = 24 grams of protein, 380 calories
Unique and absolutely delicious, I’ve been eating these at times outside of breakfast, too.  It’s really nice to not have every breakfast be the exact same as the day before and these flavors help mix up the week for sure. SO GOOD.

Loaded Breakfast Biscuits from Richly Rooted
12 grams of protein, 320 calories for 1/8th of recipe // served with 5.3 oz non-fat Greek yogurt = 22 grams of protein, 420 calories 
These would be easily customizable, but I stuck with the recipe and am loving eating a couple of these smeared with fruit preserves or dipped in barbecue sauce [because, honestly, I dip EVERYTHING in barbecue sauce.]

Deli Meat Freezer Breakfast Sandwiches – see my recipe below!
23 – 26 grams of protein, 304-310 calories  each sandwich
These are so easy and would be a great way to use leftover roast or ham in the future, too.  Our local market has great deli counter sales every week so I’ll likely rotate the kind of meats I use based on the sales paper for sure.


Snacking Notes: Thanks to a freebie from the Blue Diamond Tastemakers Program, I have fallen obsessed with these Honey Dijon BOLD almonds.  BOLD is right, they are super flavorful and 1 ounce of almonds [about 28 almonds] brings in 6 grams of protein.  I can see myself reaching for some almonds to add on to my lunches or breakfasts  when they fall a little short of my goal 25 – 30 grams.

Other between meal snacks include pieces of fruit [I’ve been big on oranges and pears lately!] and crackers with sliced cheese [I’m digging this Farmhouse Reserve and White Oak cheddar blocks from Cabot.]  Overall though I’ve noticed I’m not reaching for snacks as often because I’m paying closer attention to what I’m eating and how hungry I am when I’m reaching for food.

#ProteinChallenge Reflections: One of my favorite things about this challenge is that it is realistic for a busy lifestyle.  You don’t jump in on day one and expect to devote 100% of your priority and focus to a new way of living.  The focus is really on making a lifestyle change by shifting the protein you are eating over the course of the challenge.  Take a look at the 30-Day #ProteinChallenge calendar to see what I mean.  You’ll see lots of days of “eating as you normally would” or “rest days” which help from challenge-burnout and creating effective, lasting change.

And now – BREAKFAST!

DIY Frozen Breakfast Sandwiches

DIY Frozen On-the-Go Breakfast Sandwiches


  • 1 package Arnold’s 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Thins
  • 8 Eggs
  • 6 ounces deli meat of choice [I used half Boar’s Head Buffalo Chicken and half Gabriel’s store-made Roast Beef]
  • 8 slices cheese of choice [look for a cheese that has 5-8 grams of protein a slice]


  • Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a large muffin tin with nonstick spray in eight cups.
  • Add one egg to each copy, seasoning with salt and pepper.
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes, depending on your egg preference.
  • Meanwhile, prepare either 8 small freezer bags or eight squares of both parchment and aluminum foil, placing an Arnold’s Thin on each.
  • Add 3/4 oz of deli meat on each sandwich, half using buffalo chicken and half using roast beef.
  • Add a slice of cheese to each sandwich.
  • When eggs are done in the oven, remove and place muffin tin on cooling rack.
  • Allow to cool for several minutes before spooning one egg onto each sandwich.
  • Wrap and stack in freezer.
  • When ready to eat, remove from freezer, wrap in paper towel and microwave for 90 seconds.
    Cooking time may vary in your microwave.

Nutritional Info

  • Servings Per Recipe: 8
  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories: 304.8
  • Total Fat: 14.2 g
  • Cholesterol: 224.3 mg
  • Sodium: 402.8 mg
  • Total Carbs: 23.4 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 5.0 g
  • Protein: 24.6 g

View full nutritional breakdown of DIY Freezer Breakfast Sandwiches calories by ingredient

Disclaimer: I am a member of the Beef Expert Bureau.  Though this post is NOT directly sponsored by The Beef Checkoff, my participation in the Protein Challenge does full under my Bureau membership activities, which is a paid position.

Apr 132015

Hi, everyone!  Just a quick post today to remind you about the 30-Day #ProteinChallenge I’m starting today – and hoping you’re starting today, too!


As a reminder, I’m facing the challenge Partner style with Melissa Joy Dobbins, the Registered Dietitian and Media Specialist behind Sound Bites – the blog AND the podcast. I’m super pumped for the opportunity of having a nutrition science professional on my healthy, happy living team! 


Melissa and I have spent time together on a couple of trips over the past year and I am so thankful to have her in my life!  She is a barrel of fun, kindness and a WEALTH of knowledge. She’s been a great source of encouragement and a wonderful resource when it comes to my nutrition questions and having her by my virtual side to tackle this Protein Challenge feels like the luckiest win of the year!  [You can read Melissa’s take on the challenge here: Join Me on the 30 Day Protein Challenge! ]

We’d love if you joined us in the challenge, too! 


Reminders & Resources:

  • This is not a “perfection” challenge – take a look at the 30 Day calendar layout to see what I mean!  This challenge is really rooted in a lifestyle change that benefits you and YOUR lifestyle. If you ask me, the reflection and rest days are key to evaluating where you are and finding what works best for you, your life, and your body.
  • Are we REALLY getting enough protein?  Are we paying enough attention to protein in our diets? Do we need a reality check when it comes to the some of the assumptions we hear and perpetuate in the media?  Check out Sound Bites Podcast: The Power of Protein – Interview with Doug Paddon-Jones for a great discussion on the macronutrient! 
  • It’s not too late to start the #ProteinChallenge!  You can start at ANY TIME and I love that the first several days take NO effort in changing how your eating. It makes starting [which is often the hardest part] this thing EASY!  And you can do easy!
  • Sign up HERE and check out all the great tools to support your 30 Day journey including a food journal, protein cheat sheet, meal and snack ideas, protein tips and more!

I hope you’ll join us on the #ProteinChallenge <<< I love seeing this hashtag popping up in my TweetDeck and Instagram feed!  If you are participating in the challenge, I’d love to see/read about your experience!

Disclaimer: I am a member of the Beef Expert Bureau.  This post is sponsored by The Beef Checkoff.

Apr 092015

As I mentioned back when I challenged you to join me in trying a new cut of beef in your kitchen this month, I purchased a sirloin tip roast when it was on sale at my local market and had wrapped it and stored in the freezer.

Thanks to the Interactive Beef Counter [a resource I can’t stop raving about because I can’t stop using it!] I knew I wanted to cook this cost-friendly roast slowly in the oven and slice it thin.


Rather than use a metal rack in my pan, I choose to cut some of my veggies purposefully to be used as a edible-rack underneath the roast. [You can start to see my row of carrot slices peaking out underneath the pre-seared piece of roast in the photo above.]

When it comes to the freggies in this recipes, use what you love.  The size and variety of the produce available at the market often helps dictate how much of which ingredients get roasted with dishes like this in my kitchen!


I often double up on veggies in weekend dinner recipes to get extra, easy veggie power for leftovers throughout the week, and this recipe is a great dish in which to try this food prep trick. If you are over crowding the pan due to the amount of veggies you’ve got going on, just add an additional baking dish, sheet, or pan to the oven containing just veggies.

Sirloin Tip Roast with Freggie Medley

Rosemary and Thyme Rubbed Sirloin Tip Roast with Roasted Freggie Medley
1.5 – 2 lbs Sirloin Tip Roast
kosher salt
3 T chopped fresh rosemary
2 T dried thyme
2 tsp pepper
2 T mustard of choice
2 carrots, peeled and cut into long, thick strips [if using as roasting bed]
1 C baby carrots or bite sized chunks of peeled carrots
2 sweet potatoes, diced into large bite-sized pieces
3 red potatoes, diced into large bite-sized pieces
2 pears, cored and diced into bite-sized pieces
2 apples, cored and diced into bite-sized pieces
4-5 T EVOO, divided

[Not required, but I personally find that a little planning and including this step adds an extra bit of juiciness to the roast!…] The night before cooking, salt the roast evenly over all sides before wrapping tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerating overnight.

Remove from fridge an hour before cooking.

Move one of the racks to the center of your oven and preheat to 275°F.

Unwrap the roast and pat away any access moisture with a clean kitchen or paper towel.

In a small dish, toss together rosemary, thyme, and pepper.

Toss apples, carrots, pears, and potatoes in 2-3 T EVOO [depending on the amount of freggies] and half of herb mixture and place in bottom of roasting pan.  If you don’t have a roasting pan, a deep 9 x 13 oven-safe dish can work.

If you plan to place the roast on top of the vegetables, using the larger, long pieces of carrots to create a sort of rack/bed underneath the roast for support while keeping it off the bottom of the pan.

Rub roast with mustard, then rub half of herb mixture evenly over sides of roast.

In a large cast iron or stainless steel skillet with 1 T of oil, sear each side of the roast until browned, which should take about 2-4 minutes each side. I added more oil about half-way through the roast rotation.


After searing each side, place in prepared roasting dish and place in the preheated oven on the center rack.

Cook roast for a little over an hour, or until temperature reaches 115°F on your meat thermometer.  Turn your oven off, leaving the roast in for about 30-40 minutes or until it reaches 140°F for medium rare; 150°F for medium.

Transfer roast to carving board; tent loosely with aluminum foil. Let stand 15 to 20 minutes. [Temperature will continue to rise about 5°-10°F to reach 145°F for medium rare; 160°F for medium.]

Carve roast to deserved thickness.  Serve with roasted veggies and your favorite dinner grain.  I love herb-flavored cous cous or quinoa made in broth!

with freggies

Disclaimer: I am a member of the Beef Expert Bureau.  This post is sponsored by The Beef Checkoff.