Two pro chefs in our kitchen? 

Chefs 3

Not a bad place to be….

Chefs 2

While Meg, Liv and I hung out, my Uncle E and Kyle were busy whipping up an amazing feast. As soon as he got home from work, we made a Pilot sandwich…

Photo 6

Sleepy girl went up to bed, and then the rest of us all dined on the patio. 

Family din

My uncle taught me the secret to perfect bolognese sauce: the spoon has to be able to stand up in the middle.


Pasta with the BEST turkey bolognese sauce (or any sauce, really) I’ve ever met,

Pasta 4

salad (walnuts, greens, gorgonzola, green apples, balsamic),

Salad of perfection

bread drizzled in butter and parmesan.

Pasta 3

It was the kind of meal where you needed the bread to soak up everything that was left.. and then sat there with a goofy smile on your face before coming back down to reality.

We hung out on the patio and chatted for a long time, and then I hit up the gym for a little easy cardio. It was nice to shake out my sore legs and read the reason behind Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise’s split. Important things.

This morning, I’m off to work (then my weekend begins!)- it’s a ZUMBA day.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend so far! 

See ya laterrrrr.



Something to talk about: Diet fads. We’ve talked about this one a little bit before, but on the way home from the gym last night I heard a commercial for the HCG diet, which creates a fury in my soul. Word to the world: they say HCG is totally natural because it’s produced by the body, but fails to mention that it’s the same thing your body produces when you’re pregnant! So to all the dudes out there who are taking it: surprise! Please stop taking it. I’m all about telling readers to make the best decision for them, but if something is downright unsafe or ridiculous, I’m happy to spread the word. Have you seen anything crazy lately as far as diet fads go? It bums me out because quick fixes are always being promoted, but creating a healthy lifestyle takes time. It shouldn’t be rushed, it’s always a learning process, and usually doesn’t come packaged nicely in a box with a 6-pack on the cover. Slow and steady wins the race, not quick and cray cray <3 

Just for kicks:  

Source: Uploaded by user via Tia on Pinterest

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  1. Jackie on July 21, 2012 at 11:36 am

    Haha, one of the things I love about Zumba is that not everyone looks like the pic on the top. It makes me more comfortable to know there are a bunch of other Napoleon Dynamites right there along with me!

    And, yes, fad diets. I’ll admit I’ve done a couple, and surprise, surprise, I put the weight back on. Since February though I’ve made lifestyle changes, so, while I’m not on a diet, my diet has changed. Now I know what a portion should look like, how my belly should feel after I eat (not full and definitely not so full that I’m feeling nauseous), and I find myself craving the healthy stuff the majority of the time. Slow and steady takes patience, but it’s totally worth it. I think I needed that time to retrain my brain and my body.

  2. kim@hungryhealthygirl on July 21, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Your pasta and salad look so pretty and I have the exact same red plates. Agree with you on the HCG! Your zumba picture cracked me up….so true. Have a great weekend!

  3. Chelsa on July 21, 2012 at 11:38 am

    That pasta dinner looks so delicious. That is pretty sweet that you have so many chefs in your family. I’m not a big fan of fad diets. I think we should eat what makes us feel good.

  4. Caryln@CarylnRambles on July 21, 2012 at 11:38 am

    Mmmm any chance we can get a recipe for that sauce! It looks heavenly!

    • Natalie on July 21, 2012 at 11:56 am

      Agreed! Please share if that’s alright with your uncle! 🙂

      • Jessica on July 21, 2012 at 1:25 pm

        ditto 🙂

        • Cerissa on July 21, 2012 at 6:45 pm

          Me too!

          • Allison on July 22, 2012 at 4:32 pm

            Amen! That looks incredible!

  5. Jan C. on July 21, 2012 at 11:39 am

    You people sure know how to LIVE!!! I am so jealous-good friends/family/food-can’t be beat. And all the great restaurants you feature.

  6. Brittany on July 21, 2012 at 11:40 am

    Love that family picture! The pilot has all his girls! Liv looks most interested in his watch!

  7. Cate on July 21, 2012 at 11:40 am

    I second the sauce recipe! I’m drooling!

  8. Jan C. on July 21, 2012 at 11:40 am

    Are you willing to share the sauce recipe?

  9. Michelle@Peachy Palate on July 21, 2012 at 11:41 am

    That food looks awesome!

  10. Leslie W on July 21, 2012 at 11:45 am

    LOL! And, that salad makes me want to hop a plane to AZ!

  11. Jenny on July 21, 2012 at 11:55 am

    That Zumba picture made me laugh very hard. I think I dance like Napoleon Dynamite! Lol
    So many people don’t understand what’s healthy! I hate when people think they can drink 50 diet sodas a day and that’s healthy. Or they try to go from fast food everyday to an intense raw diet. And then, when they fail, say they just can’t be “healthy”.
    My biggest struggle is going from vegan to some meat and really trying to relearn what is healthy omnivore eating!!

  12. Shaina Anderson on July 21, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    Omg…. I get so angry when I hear of people doing the HCG diet. What on EARTH makes anyone think it’s okay to take a hormone that is only produced when a woman is pregnant?! It makes me angry to think about the people that are making money off of this stuff.

    On a lighter note, happy Zumba day! 🙂

  13. Katie @ Talk Less, Say More on July 21, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    Looks like an absolutely amazing dinner! I’d like to dive head first into that salad – whoa!

  14. Danielle@cleanfoodcreativefitness on July 21, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    That Zumba picture is the best!!!! That pasta looks absolutely amazing!

  15. Averie @ Averie Cooks on July 21, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    Love that the men in your life know their way around the kitchen!

  16. Beth on July 21, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    Begging for that sauce recipe… 🙂

  17. Maddy on July 21, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    I was going to ask the same thing about the recipe! Yum! I was drooling looking at that photo.

    I should get that Zumba poster. It is me to a T. I used to catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and feel so embarrassed at how uncoordinated I look, but now when I catch the occasional glimpse I laugh. I look a lot like that second photo!

  18. Melissa on July 21, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    HAHAHA re: the Zumba picture! I took a class this morning and thought “I’m pretty sure I look beyond ridiculous” but I thought “oh well, maybe I’m just creating some good energy or laughs for the instructor” 🙂

  19. Sam @ Better With Sprinkles on July 21, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    That diet just creeps me out! For anyone to be on it (male or female) you’re just asking to screw something up with your body. Definitely not the best way to go about losing weight.

  20. Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin on July 21, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    Mmm I love a good bolognese sauce! Actually I just love pasta period. 😀

    Fad diets drive me insane too. Especially ones that involve pills, supplements or hormones. How can people think that pumping your body full of chemicals is healthy!?

  21. jodie on July 21, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    So glad you mentioned HCG, it makes me so upset so many people are taking it. Eat right and exercise is my motto.

    Your meal looks awesome.

  22. Stephanie @ Legally Blinde on July 21, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    Love the presentation of that salad! Looks like a great dinner, and great company! Kudos to you for making it to the gym after that – I’m not sure I would have been able to muster the willpower. You’re an inspiration, for sure!

  23. Rachel @ The Mallory Report on July 21, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    I think that a lot of the detox/cleanse fad diets are terrible, as well as the ones that encourage you to replace 1-2 meals with different “diet” shakes. Real food is always best! I also remember seeing something on the back of a Kellogg’s Special K box that encouraged people to eat their cereal for both breakfast and lunch to lose weight. What a horrible idea!

  24. Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy on July 21, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    hahahahha what a great zumba poster — SO true! and wow what a feast! that salad looks outrageous!

  25. Courtney B on July 21, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    ugh hgc! Fury in my soul is the perfect way to describe that! I’m getting angry just thinking about people on that horrible diet.

  26. Michelle in Alaska on July 21, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    Ok….I have to throw this out there – my daughter watches the Wizards of Waverly place and the pilot looks like he could be related to David Henrie you seriously need to check it out!

  27. Jennifer on July 21, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    Add me to the ‘can’t stand to listen to people going on and on and on about hcg’ group. I know 4 women
    (all in different towns) who got pregnant while taking it and all 4 lost their babies. 2 of them each know
    other women who also got pregnant while on it and lost their babies. I don’t understand how that stuff is legal.

    (To be fair I’m not saying the hcg caused the miscarriages. It probably had as much to do with the fact that
    eating only 500 calories a day can’t really be creating the best environment for a baby – but it’s all still linked.)

    Also and I know they’re not exactly fads but I don’t like the pre packaged food plans (Nutrisystem/Jenny/Medifast).
    I don’t know one person in my real life who has ever lost weight on those plans and kept it off. I do however
    know plenty who move from one of them to the next. They’re looking for something ‘fast’ but what good is fast if you
    can’t keep it off? In all the time they’ve wasted on those kind of plans they could have already slowly lost it all eating
    real food.

  28. on July 21, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    Love Napoleon Dynamite! Reminds me of all the things I used to wear and the hair styles that I grew up with! lol I think that diet is similar to what my sister in law is doing. She told me that he is eating 500 calories for 21 days and gets some sort of hormone. I tried to talk to her about it but she said she was going to stick with it. She has lost 31 lbs in 21 days. I told her that was really fast and she needed to be careful. She isn’t allowed to exercise at all while in this phase. Its crazy! On July 4th, I made an awesome salad with fruit and lot of veggies and she thought it was awesome. I put plums in the salad after I read that on your blog! She loved it. I told her eating healthy does not = boring! I try to encourage her to eat right and exercise, so I am going to try to be more involved with her in the next few months. I think diets suck! Healthy habits are so much better.

  29. Jenny on July 21, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    I thought the same thing when I got an e-mail about the HcG diet from my brother of all people. His wife is pregnant so I thought it was suiting to warn him!

  30. Amanda on July 21, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    I could not agree more! I hate seeing ads for losing weight quickly because it makes a healthy lifestyle seem like a joke or a waste of time to others. I can only urge people so much to be good to their bodies but in the end it’s our own choices really. Bummer because I would force people to eat healthy and exercise! 🙂 BTW, that dinner looks fabulous!

  31. Christie on July 21, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    A lot of my co-workers and friends have been on this program where they go see a “doctor” and get a prescription for a diet pill. They also get b-12 shots weekly. The program is supervised but having looked into the pills, it seems really sketchy. I thought HcG was a joke until I heard a few people I’m friends with were taking it. Ridic!

  32. Gina @HealthLoveandChocolate on July 21, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    I totally agree about the diet fads, balance and healthy living is the way to go. When I first heard about the HCG dietI was thought it was crazy (and still do)!

  33. Julia on July 21, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    I know you’re probably not in control of what ads show up at any given moment on your site, but I clicked over from facebook and the ad on the top of the page is for “Free HCG.” Just a little amusing given the content of the post. 🙂

  34. Abby on July 22, 2012 at 12:40 am

    My father-in-law is doing the hcg diet, in conjunction with taking meds for high blood pressure and using an apparatus for sleep apnea(both caused by being over weight according to his doctor). I feel like this is s recipe for disaster but that its not really my place to say anything… Scary to say the least

  35. Emily on July 22, 2012 at 1:16 am

    That’s such a great tip about the spoon in the pasta sauce! I’ve never heard that before. Your entire dinner looks absolutely perfect. I’m glad you enjoyed it! And how nice to be able to hand over the cooking reigns for a night!

    The HCG diet is something that reaaaalllly gets me frustrated. I don’t understand how anyone can think it’s healthy or beneficial. Although, I don’t understand putting unnecessary chemicals of any kind into your body. Society is constantly looking for a magic pill, potion, diet-plan, etc. to make getting fit or losing weight “easy”. The reality is, there are no short-cuts. It’s a matter of finding and maintaining a healthy diet (combined with exercise) that works for YOU. Every person’s body is different so it’s completely naive to think there is a one-size-fits-all diet out there.
    Thanks for addressing the topic!

  36. Jess on July 22, 2012 at 8:20 am

    HCG is found in the Urine of pregnant women! Gross! I would rather be heavier then consume it!!!

  37. Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie on July 22, 2012 at 9:53 am

    Omg I love that picture of the pilot sandwich, you guys are so cute!!

  38. Kanoelani on July 22, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    OMG thank you for this post! I have friends that either were on HCG or are on it now and obviously they are not PREGNANT LOL! As someone who has constantly struggled with their weight for years and FINALLY is doing the right thing these types of diets burn me! You are so right about slow & steady winning the race and the results you get is amazing and feel so good! It’s not about a diet its about a lifestyle change… you have to change for a healthier life so you’ll be alive to be with your family & friends. Since February I’ve went from 324 lbs to 265 lbs all with changing my diet and lots of exercise. Doing it right is the way :-D. Thanks again Gina for this post!

  39. Melissa (Better Fit) on July 22, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    Urgh- I get so angry at these never-ending scary diets! Who comes up with these things!?
    Haha- so important to know all about the Tomkat split!
    That salad looks fantastic!

  40. Amanda on July 22, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    Few things make me see red faster than the hcg diet! Its just bad science! Slow and steady will always win out.

  41. Lauren T on July 23, 2012 at 11:10 am

    That meal looks amazing! I had a salad almost exactly like that at Biaggis (one of my favorite restaurants) over the weekend. It had greens, green apples, smoked chicken, spiced walnuts, gorgonzola and poppy seed dressing. So good!

  42. Staci on July 23, 2012 at 11:37 am

    the salad looks gorgeous, I definitely feel that you eat with your eyes first 🙂 i like making my food pretty too!
    I’ve never made a bolognese before, I’ll have to try it!

  43. Emma on July 24, 2012 at 8:57 am

    Is your Uncle interested in doing a guest post with the recipe for this bolognese and/or those ribs?! 😉

    • Fitnessista on July 24, 2012 at 12:44 pm

      ohh i can ask him!

  44. Adriana R. on July 27, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    Ok, i’m late to the comment party but what about Sensa? You shake stuff on your food and it makes you loose weight? I get so mad when I see the commercial! I’d like to be the person who answers the phone when people who have seen the ad call in for more information…

  45. Sarah on July 29, 2012 at 11:48 am

    That pasta looks so delicious! I love that you promote slow, steady, REALISTIC health goals. I mean, you’re eating pasta, too! And you look incredible! If you can do it, that makes me feel like I can, too. You’ve been a huge inspiration to my change in diet lately. I decided to take up “the daily Salad Beast” and I’ve noticed a huge improvement in how great I feel! Energy, no bloat, and salads are so easy to make ahead of time.

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