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The world didn’t end….suppose I should blog!

21 Dec

Well folks, that whole 12/21 thing didn’t quite pan out, which means it’s time for me to get back to this ol’ blogging gig. Any of you track that? I literally paid no attention to it until I watched some crazy film on History channel last night. For a moment, I questioned my apathy. I was going to feel pretty dumb for being utterly unprepared if something happened. Luckily for me, I was on the winning (unprepared, non-caring) side of things when I awoke today. But, enough with that – onward and upward. 🙂

…To say that I’ve just been off the grid for the past few months would be a total understatement. A LOT has been going on and changing in my life which left me feeling a little exhausted and not the least bit motivated. I have spent most of the past months lounging, sleeping, and eating food not prepared in my kitchen. Perhaps this was a funk, or a bout of depression (hehe!), or just seasonal effective disorder?!?! Whatever it was, I feel like I’m on the other side. Woo hoo! That means, I should most definitely get back to the blog.

For those of you who actually know me and read this blog to keep up with my life, let me bring you up to speed.

Mr Military Man!

The hubs is in the Advanced stage of flight school right now, learning to fly the TH-57B (helicopter). He basically spends Monday – Friday just flying and studying. It’s a pretty intense schedule but he’s a trooper and keeps up with it all flawlessly. Thankfully he LOVES flying helicopters (way more than he ever liked flying the T6 in Primary), which is just awesome. I guess when you truly enjoy what you’re doing all of the work doesn’t really seem that bad. As of right now, he has just 4 flights left before he will have his first SOLO flight in the helo. How cool is that?

My job!

So, I have changed my professional life up a bit yet again. I took a job at a doctor’s practice doing Nutritional Counseling. I love, love, love my job! The office is quite small (only 5 of us) and the people I work with are amazing! We all get along so well, which makes the days fly by. And, I love WHAT I’m doing. When I decided to get into nutrition, I really wanted to do it from a weight loss point of view. I struggled with my weight for about 20 years before I finally got all the pieces together and learned how to get to and maintain a healthy weight. Each and every day, my job is to education and motivate others to accomplish the same. While I’ve learned that I can’t change everyone, I’ve also learned that it feels spectacular when you DO make a difference in someone’s life. Weight is such a game-changer. People’s lives change 100% when they shed excess pounds and open themselves up to possibility. My goal with this job is to learn all I can from a clinic/medical/professional point of view to apply to my own business down the road.

Simply You Health & Wellness

Simply You is my passion and my long-term goal, but for now, it’s on hold while I get all I can out of this experience. I first considered continuing to see clients through my business while working for this doctor. However, I quickly realized that it is very difficult to separate the two and ensure no conflict of interest. So, I’ve decided to take full advantage of the opportunity I have right now to learn and build my confidence in a new career. Everything I’m learning here will help to ensure that I am well trained and properly skilled to help clients when I return to Simply You Health & Wellness. As of now, we’re slated to leave Pensacola in June, which means Simply You Health & Wellness should be running full-steam-ahead by August. 🙂 Stay tuned!


Um…..errrr….well, my kitchen and I had a horrible break-up. Ok, I mean, it wasn’t all drama ridden with shattered appliances and sauce strewn across the cupboards. I guess, to be more accurate, I walked out on my kitchen. For about 10 weeks straight, I didn’t do much grocery shopping, turn on my oven, or whip up any fun dinners. Rather, we lived on greek yogurt and coffee at breakfast, tuna and cheese for lunch, and restaurants for dinner. Let me tell you folks, this wasn’t good our overall wellness, or our pocket books. Sheesh! You don’t realize how much better homemade food is until you remove yourself from it completely. I felt like a bloated, lethargic mess 24/7. Ick! And, our budget for food went right out the window. Eating out gets expensive! But, I am happy to report that I have successfully prepared meals each and every day this week which means new recipes should be making an appearance on the blog soon. Woo hooooooo for nom noms!


Just last week, I officially completed my program at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and am officially a Certified Holistic Health Coach! Woot!!! The journey was so amazing and I am excited to apply all that I learned. But, it’s not over just yet. I actually enrolled in a 6-month Immersion program with the school to continue my studies with more focus on a target market/goal. Excited to see what that brings! Also, I recently completed a Graduate Certificate Program in Graphic Design through Ashworth University – with HONORS! What, what?! It was a lot of fun, but so much harder than I anticipated. I’m not quite ready to take the design world by storm just yet, but I did learn some fun things that should help me with the blog and photography. Currently, I’m exploring the possibility of enrolling in a Nutrition program through the University of Alabama or getting my certification as a Personal Trainer. I need to make a decision on this by mid-January, so I’ve got to start listing out some pros and cons to get there! (For those of you who think I’m just crazy for continuously taking classes and pursuing certificates, I’m simply taking advantage of the free educational opportunities provided to military spouses. How cool is the opportunity to study for free? And, even if the things I do aren’t applicable at this exact moment, they may be the difference between my dream job and unemployment down the line!)

Our dogs!

Our girls are just as cuddly and playful as ever. Violet has learned the art of playing with squeaky toys 24/7 (thank you Duchess!), so our house is generally full of squeaks and running dogs. They girls absolutely LOVE playing at the dog park and hanging out downtown. We’ve discovered a handful of dog friendly restaurants and bars so we take the girls out with us as much as we can. 🙂 I’ll be sure to get some updated photos up soon.

Alright folks, well, with that, I must run. I have a few appointments today (the first in :30 minutes), and I look a mess. To shower and run! I’ll be back with more interesting, and photo-filled, posts soon!

Happy Friday (with a side of my *happy Friday dance*)


Simply You Health & Wellness

9 Apr

Well, there you have it folks, my new business name – Simply You Health & Wellness. I’m really excited to have everything set-up and running now. It’s crazy how quickly time is passing at Integrative Nutrition, and that I’m already turning what I’m learning into a BUSINESS! Wow! But, super duper excited. So, here are the details. Check me out!


Facebook: (be sure to LIKE me if you drop by)

I’m really encouraged by the response to announcing my website and Facebook page today (via Facebook). I’ve already gotten so many likes, AND I received an email from a potential client. Woo hoo! While I can’t officially start seeing clients until July 1, this is a great step to getting my name out there and networking so that I will be 100% ready to go and in business on July 1!

This whole launching a business thing has been keeping me pretty busy, so I haven’t been doing too much cool, new stuff in the kitchen. However, the hubs and I did re-do the patio this weekend which is totally sweet. It now feels so much more open and beachy. The perfect place to chill on a summer day…or evening!

Before (Unfortunately the table got really warped from the humidity so it looked gross. And, the basil plant is gone and has been replaced by a jalapeno plant that I hope to not kill...)

Notice that we did in fact break in the new patio with a couple cold beers. Celebration!!! 🙂

Well, sorry to keep things short. I hope you’ll check out the new business sites and let me know what you think. I’m a big fan of feedback (and shamelessly soliciting compliments!!!).

Happy Monday (evening) y’all!


6 Apr

I have a business name!!!

Yep, it’s true.

Apparently just telling y’all I needed to come up with one is all I needed. About an hour after the post went live, it came to me out of no where. What’s more, the name was available to register in Florida, and the domain was available. Hooray, and hoorah!

So, what is the name of your business, you ask?!?! Well, I’ll tell you soon enough. I’m putting some finishing touches on a website and Facebook page, then it’s all yours. I’m really excited to share it with you guys, and SUPER EXCITED about this next step in my life/career. Life is good!

For now, a sneak peak:








And, to add a cherry to my good day sundae, it’s FRIDAY…and the sun is out! The only down side is that work is driving me bonkers today. Bleh! Oh well…let’s focus on the positive, shall we?

I’ll be back soon with the unveiling of my new business! STAY TUNED!!! 🙂


A brain fart… and pizza time!

5 Apr

First of all, when I logged into WordPress today to write this blog post, I noticed that a bunch of my posts are scrambled in terms of dates. So, things seem to be a bit out of order now. Ugh! If you get the same post multiple times, or find a St. Patty’s day post in January, I’m sorry. I blame WordPress.

Now onto the brain fart that is consuming my life lately….

I NEED TO COME UP WITH A BUSINESS NAME!!! Yep, my program at Integrative Nutrition is moving along (too quickly I might add…) and I am at the point in my program where I need to start building my practice so I can see clients soon. The problem? I have absolutely NO idea what the heck I should name my business. Hardest thing ever – seriously. I’ve toyed with everything from “Nutrition by Natasha” to “Nom Nom Nutrition” (yes, you can laugh – that’s the point), to “Radiant Life Wellness”. But, nothing is sticking. I feel like this should be a lot like picking out a wedding dress. You try things on until one sticks and you’re like “THIS IS MY DRESS!”. That’s what I need – a sign, a feeling, something – so that I know, “THIS IS MY BUSINESS!”. Apparently, easier said than done. I’ve journaled and scribbled and meditated, and I get NOTHING! The one thing I haven’t done? Gone public with my dilemma. So, here I am. Admitting that I am likely the most non-creative future small business owner ever! Maybe just admitting I have a problem is the first step?!?!?! 🙂

If any of you marvelous readers have ideas on how the heck I pick a business name, let me know. I am so open to help here!!! thx!

In other news, I took my first test of the year yesterday and got a 97%. Not too shabby if I do say so myself. I was super nervous going into it because I have learned SO MUCH already. I mean, from raw foods to macrobiotics to the politics of children’s health – I’ve had to learn it all. I wasn’t sure how in the world I’d sort all of that newly acquired knowledge in my head, but somehow I did and it worked. Hooray! Definitely a confidence boost around this whole nutrition thing. 🙂

Since I have been so consumed with school (and wasting days brainstorming business names that just won’t do…), Mr. Military Man has been pitching-in with dinners lately and has whipped up a couple DELICIOUS pizzas. He’s such a catch!

First up? Pineapple, Red Onion, Jalapeno! So freakin’ good. Actually, my first time having pineapple on a pizza. And, I must say, I like the sweetness on the pizza. Who would have thought?

Next? Pineapple (there was a great sale on fresh pineapple at Publix, so we’re trying to move through it….), Red Onion, and Jerk Chicken! This is perhaps the greatest combination we’ve put onto a pizza crust yet. Spicy and savory, yet sweet, but some bitterness from the onions. WOW! Pure genius, I tell you!

As far as recipes go, it’s just like it sounds…

For the Pineapple, Red Onion, Jalapeno pizza, simply take your crust (yes, we use store-bought extra thin crusts) with pizza sauce (we use unsalted, sugar-free tomato sauce and add dried herbs here at home – oregano, thyme, red pepper, black pepper). Then, layer on your toppings (we used pickled jalapenos, but definitely try fresh if you have ’em). Lastly, top with mozzarella cheese and pop into the oven. We do 425* for about 10 minutes.

Now, onto the real winner – the Pineapple, Red Onion, and Jerk Chicken.

We have a small stock of Jerk marinade form our honeymoon in Jamaica last year, so why not use it for a pizza?! Marinade the chicken in Jerk marinade for at last an hour. Then, put the chicken into a foil packet (literally make a packet using a sheet of foil. Your chicken will sit on the flat foil surface on the bottom and the foil sides will come up around it and close by coming together at the top) in the oven on 350* for about 20 minutes, or until cooked through. After the chicken is done, pull it out of the oven and shred it (using two forks and pulling in opposing directions works great!). Then, you’re ready to top the pizza. Just like above, get your pizza crust and top it with your pizza sauce. This time, add your layer of cheese first. Then, add your topping – chunked pineapple, red onion slices, and shredded Jerk Chicken. Into the oven at 425* for about 10 minutes and ta-da! Delicious pizza in your tummy!

Note:  If you eat chicken, please pay attention to what you’re buying. Choose organic, free-range, and LOCAL if you can. It’s worth the extra $!

And, Duchess apparently did not want in on the fun. Either that, or there were simply no dropped chicken pieces on the floor. Bummer!

So, thank you to my sweet (and awesome) hubs for making sure we were well fed as I allowed myself to be thoroughly distracted (hello, brain fart!) the past week. What a keeper!

Thankfully the weekend is in sight. Enjoy your Thursday. See you soon!

Inspiration, and a little meal prep story!

21 Feb

Well, kids (and adults). For the first time in a very long time, I feel amazingly inspired about the future with relation to my career. For the past few years, I’ve gone through the motions and done my best to “keep on keeping on” in my current career. But, to be honest, I hate it. Yep, that’s right – I hate it. And, I do know that hate is a strong word. Trust me, I’ve considered the appropriateness of using that term for description for quite some time. And, I assure you there is no proper alternative here. Now that we’re clear on me hating my job, let’s continue, shall we? When I started at Integrative Nutrition, I really felt like it was more exploring a personal passion and developing my nutrition / cooking hobby a bit. But, I tell you what – it’s so much more than that! I am now amazingly certain that this (nutrition and health counseling) is without a doubt what I want to do (and AM going to do) for the rest of my career. The more I learn, the more I think of just how my knowledge and passion can help others. From children to parents to retirees. There are just so many people who could improve their lives through better understanding a holistic approach to nutrition and health! And, for those of you who may believe in synchronicity, here’s a great example/story for you. Yesterday, I was at the Chiropractor. He asked me how things have been going for me and what’s new. At first, I went with the easy “all is well, life is good” answer. Then, a light bulb went off – I should really tell him about Integrative Nutrition! So, I did. I told him about the school, my program, and what I hope to do with it. And his reply was a marvelous “sign” that I’m on the right path. He immediately, without missing a beat, replied:  “I keep thinking that I should really integrate nutrition into my practice for my patients. It’s part of everything we do. Be sure to keep me posted on your progress. Perhaps you can help me!” What? Yes, of course! What a great idea. I could partner with my Chiropractor to help his existing patients to enhance their therapies by altering their nutritional choices. Look at that! OPPORTUNITY!!! 🙂

Thanks for listening to that rant. I’ve already said this to Mr. Military Man about 100 times. I think if I get all, “OMG! This is so awesome. I’m going to be the best Health Coach ever!” he is going to fall over. So, it’s all for you now little blog readers. Thanks for your virtual support. 😉

On to other, more scrumptious things! Mr. Military Man and I have been busy in the kitchen. As I dive into new dietary theories each week, I find that it really sparks my creativity in the kitchen. Totally awesome!

Let’s start here:

Grilled eggplant with feta crumbles, sauteed kale with smoke paprika, and pearl barley! 

This ended up being so delicious! The star of our dinner, the grilled eggplant with feta crumbles is 100% inspired by my favorite restaurant in Annapolis, MD – Level! It’s a marvelous little small plates lounge that emphasize buying from local farmers throughout the region. On their current menu? Grilled Japanese Eggplant with Sea Salt and Feta. It is….the. best. thing. I’ve. ever. eaten. And, yes, that is indeed taking into account chocolate chip cookies straight out of the oven. You may be skeptical, but it really is A-MAZING! So…back to the point. When we were at the co-op on Saturday morning, we found an eggplant (not Japanese though – womp, womp – apparently these are grown nowhere near NW FL) calling our names. We also found a great feta in the cheese case. Wah-lah!

So, here’s the dinner breakdown (it’s like a preparation story rather than a recipe – enjoy!)

Eggplant: We cut the eggplant in half lengthwise, then cut each half into 1″ strips. We heated up our Cuisinart grill, brushed the strips with some EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) and grilled ’em for a couple minutes. When they came off, we sprinkled with some sea salt. Then, when we plated them, we simply crumbled feta over the top.

Kale: For the kale, I heated about 1 cup of H2O and .5 cup of veggie broth in a saucepan, then threw in a handful of kale leaves. After they shriveled down just enough to be cooked, I scooped out the kale and jarred up the leftover liquid to be used later (it’s a great way to take advantage of the nutrients from the kale that fell off into the water during cooking). When plated, I sprinkled with smoked paprika.

Barley: Then, there was pearl barley. I must come clean and admit that I had never before had barley in my entire life. Yep, it’s true. In fact, I wasn’t really even sure what it looked like. But, on Saturday, at the co-op, I took a stroll through the bulk aisle and examined all of the beautiful grain choices – black basmati rice, amaranth, wheat berries – and decided that barley looked and sounded pretty spiffy. Home it went with us, and cooked it was for dinner. Super easy to prepare. I just rinsed it, then put 2 parts H2O to one part barley. Bring to boil, then reduce, put on lid, and simmer for about 30 minutes. The results? A grain that is chewy like rice with the texture of steel cut oats. Mr. Military Man and I both agree that it is super delicious and will be appearing on our table much more often.

Here’s the result of all that blabbing. Healthy meal, incorporating new, fresh, whole food ingredients? Definitely CHECK! 🙂

Well, it’s off to that job that I don’t care for (remember the hate from earlier?!?!?!) and some yoga this afternoon. Happy Fat Tuesday to those of you who care!

A Change of Direction

2 Feb

Yep, it’s been a month and I haven’t visited my little blog once. It’s not that I have thought of  it. Sure, I’ve wanted to write. I’ve wondered if anyone cares if I write. But…I just haven’t had a whole lot to share. Until now!

So, here’s some news. Yours truly – the voice of Mindful Munchies – is back in school. As of January, I am a student at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition in NYC. Lucky for me, they have an awesome distance program that fits into my ridiculously (seriously, it’s dumb!) hectic and unpredictable work schedule. I am beyond excited that I have finally enrolled and am working toward something I have so much passion for. In about a year, I’ll have the certification in place to work as a Health Coach. *insert big ol’ happy dance here* Those of you close to me know that I’m a bit (okay, overwhelmingly may be more appropriate) stagnant and uninspired in my current line of work. You also know that I’ve had my own struggles with health, weight, and self-love over the years. I feel that those two things have beautifully coupled-up to drive me to this big career change into the field of health and nutrition.

Now that I have this marvelously exciting, new path ahead of me, I’m going to use my blog in a different way. To date, it’s been a place for me to share random recipes and what Mr. Military Man and I have been up to. That’ll still be here, but I want to share my journey toward becoming a healthier ME, as well as a successful Health Coach. As I complete this program at The Institute for Integrative Nutrtion (IIN), I know I’ll see all sorts of positive changes in myself and my life. I want to document that to remind me of just how right it is for me to be following my heart and soul on this path, and also to remind me of how much I have to share with others.

To those of you who read my little blog, I hope you’ll stick around. I hope you’ll celebrate the wins in the year ahead and stick it out through the tough times (and academic lessons) too. In one year, when I look back, I can’t wait to see big progress.But, for now, it’s off to do some study group work with a couple fellow students.

BTW: Don’t worry – this blog isn’t going all granola because of my new goal of becoming a Health Coach. We’ll still eat cheesy Mexican food and pizza. And, we’ll definitely be drinking coffee and enjoying delicious beer. We may just try to do it a little less often, while being a little more aware of the bigger picture of our health as it relates to what we ingest. Ha!

Oh, and on the food front (I’m such a space cadet sometimes. How do people stay on one train of thought?!?!) – Mr. Military Man is cooking dinner this evening. He found a recipe in Vegetarian Times for cauliflower mac ‘n cheese that he’s uber excited about! Yippee!

Toodles y’all. 🙂