I am so excited to be doing a guest post on Joanne’s blog! When I first saw that she was on the lookout for people, I was on it! So just a quick thank you to Joanne for allowing me to guest blog while you’re on your BabyMoon 🙂 I hope you have the time of your life in St. Lucia!!

To introduce myself, I am a simple-food-loving girl who enjoys exercise, clothes, being a wife and play at home mom. I have two totally-amazing-but-sometimes-out-of-this-world-insane kiddos! There’s our 1 year old girl and our 5 year old boy and they 100% keep me on my toes every single day. The husband works graveyard shifts and does full time school, so life can get pretty crazy around the home front – I’m outnumbered! 🙂 Therefore, I have an intense need to have optimum energy and strength and health.

I started working out when I was 16 and over 200 lbs. I made sure to start with less intense activities, like getting on my mom’s stationary bike while watching a TV show, then I started doing some light Pilates. Once I felt my endurance building some, I moved on to walking, then rollerblading, then biking, then running. I got to the point where I was able to run 6 miles in 45 minutes and I would do this straight through the winter (in UTAH!) at 5-6 AM. Well, that was about 6 years ago (I stopped when I got further into my pregnancy with my son) and I’ve since resorted to at-home HIIT, Tabata, Pilates and dance workouts. I also seriously love my Total Gym! Before my two kids and when I was running like a crazy maniac, I was the thinnest I had ever been because I was doing all that cardio and no weight training. I was happy with that because I believed the old myth “weight training will bulk up girls, man!” but what I didn’t realize is that women don’t carry high levels of testosterone so we’re not going to bulk up like men do! So over the years my goals have changed. I have started to lift more and do less cardiovascular exercises. On a lift day, I still incorporate about 15-30 minutes of dancing or something, but I don’t make it my main focus.

Even with all this exercise, I still found myself a little unhappy with the reflection in the mirror. Obviously my body has changed after two pregnancies, but I felt like I could be 100% happy with myself again and I didn’t have to chalk it up to “hey! I’ve had two bouncing healthy babies, accept that and be happy and move on.” No. So I actually just finished a 24 Day Challenge. My friend introduced me to it and I am completely thankful that she did! Having a positive body image has been a thing of the past for me, so it has been such a blessing so see that it is possible again. Hop on over to my blog to see my results and give me a cyber high-five! Or don’t…you know 😉 I have never felt this energetic and amazing! When I was my thinnest from all the cardio, I was also that way because I wasn’t eating. I was hospitalized from downing so much Ibuprofen to drown the hunger headaches I would get, so to know that now I am reaching goals in a healthy, sustainable way I am just over the moon! I am so full of life and ambitious and it’s completely refreshing. I hope to inspire with my journey and that was the reason for me starting a blog.

My main focus was supposed to be a recipe, but I wanted to share my story so you knew me a little better and knew what I meant when I tell you that this recipe is 24 Day Challenge approved and goes to show you that you can have a delicious meal while loosing weight and reaching your goals. Starving yourself is not the answer!  I alternated between this and a super simple bean chili recipe of mine. Here’s goes…..

Balsamic Chik’n Topped with Sherry Tomatoes
Serves 4
What you’ll need:
1 box of Quorn Chik’n (for vegetarian version) OR 4 chicken breasts for you meat-eaters
1 container of grape or cherry tomatoes, halved if desired
fresh basil, to liking
cooking sherry, to liking
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
Balsamic Marinade Ingredients:
2 tsp PB2 + 6 tsp water
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp ground thyme
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 bay leaf, crushed/crumbled
3/4 tsp ground mustard (or dijon)
1/4 cup low-sodium veggie broth
a bit of sea salt and ground pepper
Here’s what you do:
1. Let your Chik’n unthaw (I usually put it in the fridge the day before I make this and it’s completely thawed by the time I’m ready to start marinading).
2. Mix all the marinade ingredients together, starting with the PB2 and water so you can whisk them together to remove any clumps.
3. Put your Chik’n and your marinade in a large ziplock together and let sit in the fridge all day.
4. When ready to make, spray a large pan with non-stick spray (or coconut oil). Add chik’n to hot pan and cook on both sides until it’s how you like it. Set Chik’n aside on a plate.
5. Spray more non-stick spray (or add more coconut oil). Add garlic and cook until fragrant, then add tomatoes and a touch of sherry. Cook the tomatoes until they start to burst and wilt, then add basil for just about 30 seconds.
6. Top  your Chik’n with the tomato concoction and enjoy with any side you would like!

Enjoy!  I hope to see some of you on my side of blogland! Happy Holidays, everyone!