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HEY, I’M OVER HERE NOW!

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Come visit me on my new hotness website: 50peach.com!

It’s where the cool kids hang out. ūüôā

Big Things, people.

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I promise there are good reasons for my lack of posts and slacking on joining Yeah Write this week.

You see…. I have a surprise for you. I can’t tell you what because duh, it’s a surprise. But I can tell you the¬†when. Here goes.

Sometime over the weekend (but definitely by Monday) you’ll see these Big Things.¬†Check back with me over the next few days to find out!¬†

Yes, I know this is evil. But I’ll give you a few hints:

  • This has been a long time coming.
  • I’m seriously sweatypits right now.
  • No, I’m not pregnant. Or engaged.

Send me good juju that all goes well, please?

In the meantime, I’ll share a few pictures from yesterday, which was my birthday! It was an amazing day and I was showered with texts, calls, Facebooks, tweets, flowers, and LOVE. I’m so blessed to have so many wonderful friends IRL and here through this blog. This girl is grateful. Sniffffff.

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Cake Batter Pancakes. Enough said. Recipe here. 

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TROUBLE. Lululemon gift card. There goes a paycheck. #zerowillpower

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Gorgeous sunshine from my west coast bestie. ‚̧

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Amazon gift card, silicon baking cups, Bob Harper sweaty yoga and a new speed rope for CrossFit. Yay!

To make my birthday even better? Something really awesome happened professionally and they didn’t even know it was my birthday! Remember when I tweeted this?

maya

I GOT IT!!!

Again… blessed.¬†

See you all very, very soon!

~Peach

A day in the life of Peach’s Clean Eats (and Instagram addiction)

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Yeah, yeah… I know I Instagram more food than is probably necessary. So be it. I own many of the stereotypes so accurately and hilariously depicted in this parody. ¬† I recently even stooped to the crazy CrossFit handstand shots. Sorry, you don’t get to see those. Yet.

However, there is a reason for all this IG nonsense. These pics make posts like this one way better, so that I can share my latest FAILS adventures with clean eating and Paleo-ish foods with pictures! Because I know you’re all just on the edges of your seats to know what my daily calorie intake looks like. ¬†Admit it. Or not. The hell with my self-esteem. I’ll go cry in the corner now.

Breakfast:

Savory choice: Egg scramble with veggies, sometimes with leftover protein. Depends on the leftovers… I haven’t quite adjusted my system to crave¬†crock-pot¬†chicken curry at 8am. *burp* The ingredients: 1 whole egg, 1-2 egg whites, 1 cup of veggies, 1/2T coconut oil. ¬†Heat the oil, add the veggies and cook until warmed. Push to one side of skillet, then add egg/whites and let those firm up. When almost firm but still wet, mix with veggies and cook until eggs are desired doneness. Top with leftover turkey burger, meatloaf, ground beef, steak, bacon, sausage…you get the idea.

Sweet choice: I go this route far more often, but try to keep the choices high in protein, low in fat and low in carbs.¬†I experimented last week with a recipe for some Spaghetti Squash Breakfast Fritters. From the final pic, you’d think this was a breeze, right? ¬†WRONG. Here’s what really happened.

making smaller ones worked well enough...

making smaller ones worked well enough…

let's make a BIG ONE!

let’s make a BIG ONE!

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Flip….FAIL.

maybe if I arrange it pretty enough on the plate and add a fancy label it won't suck so bad?

maybe if I arrange it pretty enough on the plate and add a fancy label it won’t suck so bad?

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A way less messy option is my Cake Batter Yogurt Fruit Bowl:

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1/2 C Fage 0% greek yogurt
1/2 medium banana, mashed
splash of Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla Milk
2TBSP PB2 w/ Chocolate
Top with fresh fruit, nuts, more nut butter or a drizzle of honey/maple syrup

Recently, I brought back an old favorite by Lauren at The Informed Health Nut РProtein Pow Pow Pancakes  (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

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in YO FACE.

1/2 of a small, ripe banana
1 scoop protein powder (~1/4 cup) I used Jay Robb’s Strawberry Egg White
1 egg
1 egg white
2 tbsp coconut flour
1/4 cup coconut beverage, or almond milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
stevia, to taste (I omitted)
dash salt
slightly less than 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp butter or coconut oil, to grease pan between pancakes

Directions¬†‚Äď Mash banana in a mixing bowl. Add the egg and egg white and mix. Add the protein powder and coconut flour and mix well. Add the coconut beverage, vanilla, stevia, and salt and mix well. Add the baking soda and mix well. Turn on the stove to medium lowish heat and place a pan on the burner. Add enough butter to coat the bottom. Once heated, pour the batter in the pan. When there are LOTS of bubbles, flip the¬†pancake. Repeat until the batter is gone. Serve with grass fed butter, nut butter, sugar free maple syrup, shredded coconut, etc.

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Lunch and Dinner Options:

I’ve discovered I actually¬†love roasted¬†Brussels¬†sprouts. Who’da thunk it?? And they are SO easy: Wash em up, cut off the ends, chop in half or quarters if they’re big mommas, toss in olive oil and salt/pepper to taste. Roast for 10-15 min at 405 degrees.

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the crispier, the better! YUM.

If I’ve learned one thing eating Paleo/Clean, it’s that you need to be creative. Sometimes you’re staring down an empty fridge/pantry and you’re so hangry that you could step on a small child*. Going to the grocery store is not gonna happen. You need to EAT. NOW. Your available options are:

  • A sad looking avocado on the counter
  • a small spaghetti squash chillin’ in the veggie bowl
  • frozen broccoli florets and¬†Jenni-O’s frozen turkey burgers in the freezer
  • a wheel of Laughing Cow Light Herb and Garlic Cream Cheese wedges in the fridge

Let’s do this. Stab some holes (carefully!) in the squash and microwave 6 min on each side. Then microwave the broccoli until just tender. While those are cooking, throw a turkey burger into a skillet and cook until done. Cut up half of the avocado into bite-sized chunks. De-thread the spaghetti squash and put about 1-1.5 cups into a large bowl. Add the drained broccoli, then immediately add the Laughing Cow wedge and stir until it’s all melted into the hot veggies. Top with diced turkey burger and avocado. EAT. Fork is optional.

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lunch

dinner

dinner

* No children were harmed in the making of this meal.

So tell me,¬†What quick and easy meals do you cook when you’re HANGRY? ¬†

13.1

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The sea of runners crushed around me as we were all herded towards the starting line. I thought of my friends Bertie and T, who had already begun and would surely be waiting a long time for me at the finish. Trying to calm my racing heart, I prepped my Nike+ app to record my mileage and started my 13.1 playlist. As “Thrift Shop” began pumping through my noggin’, the starting line loomed. I had to pee. Kind of. Shit, too late now.¬†I hit start on my Polar monitor and off I went.

I was running my first half marathon.

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After jockeying my way to a clear path for what felt like an eternity, the masses finally thinned out a bit. The first two miles flew by, and so did the second two. Still comfortable territory, but I’d been warned that the hills on this course were a doozy. ¬†My plan was to manage them cautiously – quick steps and lean forward on the way up. Long strides and breathe deeply on the way down to recover.

Instead of worrying, I focused on the people watching. I smiled and waved at the pregnant lady cheering us on, wearing a tshirt that said “FUTURE RUNNER” with a down arrow. I ran past people offering me Krispy Kreme donuts!! and stations set up with M&Ms and jelly beans. Tailgaters offered beers, which I breathlessly declined. Later, though… yes. GOD YES.

My mind was kept occupied with the lyrics playing through my earbuds, the scenery of the city around me, and with what people wore or didn’t wear. There were lots of St. Patty’s Day festive outfits with garland, Irish shirts,¬†leprechauns, green sequined tutus. Me, I was set with my bang buster and my turtle socks.

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The skyline didn’t draw my eye when the view appeared. I was drawn to the coral-strewn sunrise on the other side of the road. Typical me. And I kept on running.

Somewhere in Piedmont park I saw someone waving a sign that said, “We don’t know you, but we’re proud of you!!”. My heart lifted and I thought about how sweet they were. And at that moment, I felt proud of me too.

The miles kept rolling on and I feel like I hit my groove. My body knew what I wanted it to do and it did it without complaint. I kept my (turtle) pace and my breathing under control and laughed inwardly at the signs that said “We’re not wearing any underwear!” or “We tailgate for ANYTHING”.¬†The race photographers loved me – I was the¬†cheeseballing¬†one who pointed directly at the camera and open-mouth laughed. I might have also been the one flexing her bicep. One guy lowered his camera and laughed at/with me. Nice, Peach. ūüôā

When I hit mile 10, my face lit with pride. I’d just run the farthest I ever had in my life. And I wasn’t done yet, but I was okay.

Then, it was on that next hill that I felt the first twinge in my right calf muscle. The kind that threatened a vicious cramp if I didn’t back off. So I power-walked that up hill. And the next. Dammit, why do the steepest hills have to be at the end??? Sadistic course planners, I tell you.

Miles 11-12 wound up being significantly slower than my previous pace from all the walking of the hills. I nearly got upset about it. Instead, I thought, Dammit… be proud. You’re doing this race the best that you can, and it’s okay if you walk the hills after you’ve just RUN for TEN MILES. Just keep going. You’ve got this.

And just then I saw a mom-type lady waving a sign that said “RUN, [MY NAME], RUN!!!” And I thought of my own mom’s¬†Facebook¬†comment that had said the exact same thing the day before. I kept running for my mom and dad. Because they can’t.

The next hill nearly did me in, but as I was cursing inwardly, “**** THIS ****ING HILL ALL TO ****ING HELL.”, I thought of my big brother. He completed his first half this fall and I felt him cheering me on in spirit, too. I kept running for him.

I cheered when the race sign appeared that said “1/2 mile left!!” and I kept running. For me. Because I could do this.

And… it sucked. That last stretch felt so long. I was tired. I wanted to be done.

Then I looked over to my right and thought, hey, who’s the really skinny guy running over there on the other side of the barriers? ¬†And then it hit me. OH. THAT’S THE MARATHONERS. WHO ARE FINISHING A course TWICE as long as yours and IN THE SAME TIME AS YOU. Oh the humility!!! ūüôā

But as the spectator crowds got bigger and I could hear the race announcer’s peppy voice, my gloom lifted. I’m no Kenyan. Never will be. I’m just Peach. Running her first half and doing a damn fine job of it.

The finish line finally appeared and I kicked it up a notch. My legs felt like they weren’t going to agree with what my brain wanted, but they did. ¬†I crossed the line with a victorious overhead fist pump and a huge grin. I bowed my head for my medal and posed for pictures, then went off to find Bertie and T. AND FOOD.¬†Holy crap I was hungry.

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The post-race rewards were worth every drop of sweat. I did it, y’all!

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Come What May

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brene1

To write down your intentions is one thing. To begin to live with intent is quite another.

Starting The Mighty Peach List pushed me to attend Camp Mighty. It was there that I met the most incredible people and told the world my dreams. Suddenly, the dreams-turned-words-on-paper became tangible actions and realities. I had professional portraits taken, traveled to Portland, tasted foie gras for the first time, saw the Christmas tree at Rock Center and had a frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity. I ran a 5K, 10K and a half marathon. I’ve planned¬†to visit London and to hug a gigantic Redwood at Yosemite. I declared my desire to buy a house and start my book.

All this has been heady and empowering. But these are things. Stuff.

The real work appears when you realize that you’ve been living your life and dreams at the will of others, or at least in consideration of their judgment. The real work comes when you finally choose to stop letting THEM decide YOU.

At first, the change happens in small ways. Someone makes an assumption about your feelings, casually dismissing a hurtful remark. Calmly and honestly, you correct them and state your hurt aloud. ¬†And the moment you receive acknowledgement – the moment you’ve shown up to be seen and heard¬†–¬†the moment you get a heartfelt apology and an admission of wrongdoing? That’s when you promptly crumple into an¬†ugly-crying mess.

Because WOW you just put yourself out there, utterly naked emotionally, fully expecting to get your heart stomped on. And instead you were given validation.

The actions snowball. Other difficulties are confronted. Each instance is more awkward and difficult and scary, but you’ve grown to understand that you matter enough to be heard and seen. No more will you sit quietly and let assumptions be made about your heart or your life. Careless people that once would have been silently resented for their thoughtless actions are now admonished aloud for their behavior. Relationships are ended because you realize that if someone cannot make room for you in their lives, then they are not worthy of having your heart.

You learn to stand alone in your skin. To take pride in the person you’ve become and the person you’re still growing to be. You’re able to reflect on the thorny path you took to get here and you’re grateful for each tumble over twisted roots. You start to live with your whole being.¬†You’re able to use this¬†new-found¬†strength to reach out to the one person who never left your heart.

And blessedly, luckily, find love in return.

The possibilities are staggering.

Because in the end, stuff is just stuff. Go seek out the scariest work. Face your biggest fears and don’t be afraid to eat some concrete. Once you set your intention to live for your own happiness and no one else’s, the rewards are significantly greater. ¬†Do the work and be ready for what comes your way. You’ll be amazed.

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This piece is being submitted to the amazing Yeah Write Weekly Challenge grid. If you don’t know Yeah Write, you should. Git you some.

I’m only running for the pancakes.

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Please think of me on Sunday morning, when I’m hauling my sleepy ass from my cozy bed at 4am. Why would I wake up at o-dark-GIVEMECOFFEE-thirty?¬†Oh, just to go run a half marathon. Voluntarily, mind you.

Damn, I’ve come a long way in a year. ¬†This used to be my attitude towards running:

phoebe

And then, I had to go and get all motivated to get healthy. Silly me.

This whole running thing started when my big brother convinced me to run a 5K in April of last year. That was my first 5K since ohhhhh, 1997. I’d just started working with a trainer and was maybe 3 weeks smoke-free. Yay me, but my lungs and my body were still utterly shit a far cry from healthy.

I was SO SLOW. Hated every second of it. I was exhausted after 2 miles. At 2.5 I remember that my face was on fire and just wanted it to be OVER already. I mean, my linebacker-sized brother and my 8 year old nephew were both WAY far ahead of me if not already done. And it was starting to rain, and WHAT THE FUCK is this hill doing right before the finish line? It sucked.¬†My time was something embarrassing… my brother finished in 32, my nephew in 34 and me? 38 something. Or more. I don’t know, I blocked it out.

But since then, I ditched the trainer and the globo-gym, started and stuck with CrossFit, kept my diet clean and healthy and Paleo-ish. I’ve put on muscle, remained a non-smoker, and have tackled a few other runs since then. They got better. I got better. So I did a few more 5Ks, a 10K in July, ¬†a relay in a tutu!,¬†a 15K in January, and now… a half marathon.

Yep, this weekend I’ll be tromping through Atlanta for 13.1 miles until I either a) reach the finish line or b) have to be scraped off the pavement with a pooper-scooper. Hopefully not c) both.

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My only goal. Finish.

Is this ambitious progress in under a year? Uhhhhh… I’m either the most motivated amateur runner ever or I’m just flat-out DUMB. But I really think I can do it. My body is in the best shape of my life, thanks to CrossFit, yoga and running. But my concern with the half is my endurance. I’ve never run that far or that long¬†at once and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared. I thought about joining one of the free pacing groups they offer, but I think I’ll do better going at my own speed with my running playlist blasting in my ears.

I have my trusty Brooks Ghosts that I wore for the 15K, so they’re broken in. I’ll be hydrated and fueled beforehand. I’ll get enough sleep the night before. It will be warm but not hot: high 50s are the low that morning, creeping up to 70 by mid-day, so extra layers won’t be needed.

As for the run, all I can think to do is adopt my approach to the 15K – running an easy pace for 2 miles, have a few sips of water and 1-2 energy beans, then repeat until done. That plan kept my pace steady and the 9.something miles were very doable. I didn’t feel like I ran out of gas anywhere along the route. I was a little stiff for a day afterward, but it really wasn’t awful. Why wouldn’t 13.1 be as doable? At least… that’s the theory.

Hopefully I’ll run with grace and elegance, and not like this:

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But even if I finish dead last, there will be none of this.


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Because you best believe that afterward there will be piles upon piles of pancakes and pints and pints of BEER for St.Patty’s! ¬†Pancakes make me sooooo happy.

Finally, I’m way grateful that I’ll have excellent company for the race in the lovely Bertie: a gorgeous Crossfit badass, ¬†running inspiration, yoga buddy, brunch/coffee partner and fashion¬†advisor.¬† That last one? Seriously, she should have a fashion blog. Like, yesterday. ūüôā But on race days, her self-proclaimed propensity to run like her favorite hashtag cracks me up: #wilddogontheloose.

As if keeping me motivated to run and preventing me from dressing like a homeless person wasn’t enough, Bertie gave me the coolest good luck gift for the half. My very own Lululemon Bang Buster in a gorgeous reversible minty-polka-dot/kelly green! ¬†Check out the awesome card she gave me, too… snifffff…. she is the most thoughtful, sweetest friend ever.

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no pinching allowed!

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polka dots and shamrocks

That minty fresh baby will be worn on race day as my good luck charm, my green for St. Patty’s, and to keep my *#)&%#@*ing bangs off my face while I run. Not that I’m salty about the bangs… Wait. I am.¬†Don’t get bangs, people. Not if you work out all the time. Better choices have been made, Peach.

But can y’all help a girl out?!

What say you,  fellow runners and athletes? Do you have any advice for me, the half-newbie? (Newbie-halfer? Newfer? Halfbie? What do you call me?)  Am I crazy? 

…don’t answer that last one.

Jugular Exposed

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hands

He missed her. He still cared. He needed the truth.

“I have things I need to say to you. Things that it’s taken me over a year to process and come to terms with. I hope you’ll listen?”

His eyes softened. “Of course I’ll listen.”

She gathered courage she’d never possessed and told him that the person he’d loved was a broken, twisted version of herself. The depression had its claws deep and wouldn’t let go.

She knew she would cause pain, but explained where their relationship turned dark. She held back nothing, spilling the many hurts that had caused her countless hours of lost sleep and miles of self-doubt. Her words held no heat. Only honesty. She was strong enough now to give him that.

The bottom line was that she’d needed him to help navigate the darkness. But instead he’d caused her more pain, deepened the sad. Because she¬†wasn’t¬†good enough at her worst. Not for him. Not for anyone. So she had to leave him, and leave that place. It was the only way to survive.

Pausing there, her heart thumped heavily. ¬†She felt the fear spidering as she waited for an indication that he understood why he’d lost her. What if he said she was dead wrong? What if he didn’t take any ownership of the destruction? She sat there, jugular exposed, swimming in a level of vulnerability she’d never experienced before. Underneath her calm expression she was a frightened child, ready to haul the steel curtain up around her heart.

Finally, he spoke. ¬†“I have no excuses. I wasn’t there for you. All I can say is that I was so blinded by how much I love you that I couldn’t see. I couldn’t see what you needed. I let you down. And for that, I’m so fucking sorry. I’m sorry I made it worse, when all I’ve ever wanted to do was make you happy.”

His hand came across the table to grip hers tightly. She looked down at the joining, feeling the familiarity of his skin and the shape of this union.

I finally got through to him.

Fighting the knot in her throat, she replied softly, “And I didn’t have the capacity at that time to tell you what I needed. I was too far gone. I could only manage one of two extremes: sad and mad. I hated the person I was, but I could barely even hold on at that point. I couldn’t live that life any more, trying so fucking hard to make you happy when I was alone in the dark. It wasn’t fair to either of us.”

Neither heard the bachata song blaring through the speakers. The unspoken was far more deafening.

They searched each other’s faces, wondering what in the world to do now.

Her heart calmed, knowing that no matter what happened between them, she’d finally been brave enough to tell him the truth. She’d broken through to the light.

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This piece is being submitted to the amazing and 100th!!! Yeah Write Weekly Challenge grid. If you don’t know Yeah Write, you should. The crew at YW are not only amazingly talented bloggers who write and writers who blog, they’ve become my friends.  Not friends with benefits, you perv. Just friends. ;)

Clean Eats – The Greek Yogurt Edition

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Who else is glad that it’s almost the weekend???

My work laptop decided to roll over and DIE ON ME last weekend. Since I’m a remote employee, I had to wait for our guys to ship me a replacement. Well, I also have shit to get done so… I took a deep breath, opened my office closet door, and pulled out this baby.

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Needless to say, my productivity this week has been in the shitter. That’s what happens when you go from modern technology to a 2002 caveman OS, not even 1GB of memory and a turtle-speed processor. Luckily the replacement arrived in record time and I’m now back up and zipping along! It’s not a Mac, but it’ll do, pig. Wait… I just discovered that MS office isn’t installed. What the f***.

Come on, weekend.

Today’s Clean Eats post is all about my love for Greek Yogurt. First up is my¬†Creamy Curry Dipping Sauce.

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  • 2TBSP Plain 0% fat Greek Yogurt
  • 4-5 shakes of curry powder
  • 1TBSP Dijon Mustard

This made an excellent topper and healthier alternative to tartar sauce for my Salmon Cakes. The Salmon Cakes can be found here and they are gluten-free and dairy-free!

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what? I was hangry.

Next up, I love to snack on red bell pepper, so I decided to whip up something southwestern as a dip for them.

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Southwestern Dipping Sauce

  • 2TBSP Plain 0% fat Greek Yogurt
  • 4-5 good shakes of Mrs Dash No-Salt Chipotle Seasoning
  • let these sit and get to know each other for a bit to open up the flavors
  • It’s super cute if you serve them in mini-Mason jars.

People, I understand this snack is not quite the Guacamole¬†and Scoops mind asploshun I caused my friend Eric…. guac3 …but it’s still tasty and much less guilt-inducing.

Next up are two of my favorites when the sugarmonster is getting the best of me. Rather than killing an entire bag of Oreos, I’ll grumble but eat this instead.

Coconut Cinnamon Apples with Fruit Dip

  • One small to medium apple of your choice, cut into slices or chunks.
  • 1TBSP of coconut oilz

Saute the apples in the oil until they’re softened but not mushy. Mushy is no bueno. Unless you want chunky applesauce. Then go for it. ¬†When they’re done, sprinkle them with cinnamon.

Now for the dip!

  • 1/2 cup 0% fat Greek yogurt
  • Splash of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 TBSP plain or chocolate PB2
  • shake of cinnamon

Mix all this up together in a large bowl, then dump those cinnamon apples over it. Proceed to die and go to heaven. ¬†PS – thanks to CarrotsNCake for the apple¬†genius! appleWM I originally posted the next recipe back in September, and it’s worth mentioning again.

PEACH’S BANANA CAKE BATTER

  • 1/2 ripe¬†banana,¬†mashed till it‚Äôs nice and mooshy. Isn’t that a fancy description?
  • 1/4 to 1/3Cup Fage 0% Greek Yogurt, Plain
  • dash cinnamon
  • dash nutmeg
  • splash Coconut/Almond Milk, unsweetened
  • Organic unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)

Mix it all up and eat as-is. Or serve it over waffles. Or as a fruit dip. Or use it as a hair mask. Not really. That would be weird. But you’d smell delish.

If you’re bored of your usuals right now,¬†you can also find these recipes/links in my previous Clean Eats post:

  • French Toast Scramble
  • Mini Crustless Quiches
  • Peach’s Veggie Saute
  • Peach’s Spaghetti Squash Bake
  • Salmon Cakes
  • Italian Meatloaf
  • Peach’s CrockPot Curry Chicken
Mason jars > tupperware.

Mason jars > tupperware.

Have a great weekend, y’all!

Sharp Edges

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unfinished

Leaning against the hotel sink to touch up her makeup, she remembered her own sharp inhalation at the sound of his voice when he’d answered her call.¬† Thank god he couldn’t hear her inwardly curse at her heart for daring to do a slow flip flop after all this time.¬† After all the work she’d put into getting over him. And now just a few hours after making contact again she had a belly of butterflies wondering how this dinner with him would go.

He picked her up from the hotel, surprising her with his new car but not with his choice of cologne. He wordlessly strode around the car’s rear and grabbed her into a bone-crushing hug. As his scent invaded her thoughts, her legs went a little wobbly. The flood of olfactory memories bowled her over for a brief moment.

Steady…steady, now. God, he smells good. But still. Just keep your shit together, girl.

She recovered from the sensory jolt on the ride to dinner and was relaxed again by the time they’d settled into their wine. It was easy, actually. They’d always been friends as equally as lovers. She told him all that she’d overcome since leaving the North a year and a half ago. All that she’d achieved and accomplished – physically, mentally and emotionally. Sincere pride shone in his eyes as he congratulated her. She returned the same pride as he shared his own growth and experiences.

Wow, I’m impressed. He’s changed so much.¬†

They caught up on each others’ families and the gossip in their old circle of friends as babies, weddings and all the expected drama were laughed over.

“Love the hair, by the way.”

She looked down at the bold strands draping over her shoulder and smiled. “Really, you do?”

“Yes, I really do. For years you’ve said you wanted to go red. I’m glad you finally did it. It suits you and GOD that dimple still kills me when you smile… but I didn’t just say that… Um. What else? Tell me more.”

She delighted in the flattery, but decided to address the first of the elephants in the room.

“So, were you surprised to hear from me?”

“Stunned, actually. Why now? It’s been over a year.”

“I honestly don’t know. I’d told myself all week leading up to this trip that I wouldn’t reach out to you. But the moment the plane touched down, something told me that I had to. It was such a strong feeling… I can’t really explain it.”

Looking at her intently he said, “Well, I’m glad you listened to that feeling. I’ve missed you.”

Their server arrived to refill their wine glasses then, which gave her a moment to ponder over that single statement.

He had missed her.

Once the Pinot was poured she held her glass up to his and toasted. “To reunions.” They clinked and sipped, gazes locked on one another.

Lowering the glass she asked directly, “If you missed me, then why didn’t you reach out to me at all since our last text? Not a single word. Nothing.”

He cast his eyes downward and said softly, “I thought I’d scared you off. I thought I’d hurt you, so I decided to give you space. To be. To let you heal.” Looking up, he locked eyes with her. “I figured when you were ready, you’d let me know.”

The old her would’ve accepted that without pause. The new her could not.

Screw diplomacy.

She leaned forward and blurted the raw feelings. “Didn’t you stop to think that maybe your silence would have made me feel like you didn’t care? That you were done with me, got what you wanted from me, and tossed me aside?”

His voice heated with passion as he fired back,¬† “I would never. You know how I feel about you. How I’ve always felt about you. That never changed. It still hasn’t.”

Shocked into silence, she sat there feeling the sharp-edged emotions crackling in the space between them.

So many fucking feelings. Shit.

She didn’t have a choice. She needed to tell him the truth.

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This piece is being submitted to the amazing Yeah Write Weekly Challenge grid. If you don’t know Yeah Write, you should. The crew at YW are not only amazingly talented bloggers who write and writers who blog, they’ve become my friends.  Not friends with benefits, you perv. Just friends. ;)

The Unfinished

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Sitting in the lush back seat of the chauffeured car, she stared down at the iPhone in her lap. His name and number stared back at her.

She was there on business for only a few short days and could have easily slid in and out of town without him knowing the difference. After all, it had been over a year since she’d pulled him up on her screen. Over a year since they’d exchanged a final painful goodbye. Yet something indescribable was screaming at her to make contact. It was a pull like the love she’d always had for him – undeniable and annoyingly persistent.

They were together for nearly three years. Everything fell apart. She moved away. And she moved on.

Except she didn’t.

Since the two of them had shattered she had dealt with blind dates, suffered the torment of speed dating, endured the crazies of online dating and had an embarrassingly horrific one night stand. She’d made poor decisions while drinking and tried to force feelings when there were none. She smirked, remembering the tribal-tattooed musclehead. That one had almost resulted in an intervention by her friends. She remembered the men who claimed to love her but left coldly and without explanation. Men that weren’t looking for the same things.¬† Men who were devilishly handsome but devoid of emotional connection.¬† Men who amused her but never managed to make her belly-laugh.¬† Men who could certainly turn her on, but never gave her butterflies. Shorter men, taller men, military men, musicians, men far away and men right around the corner… hell, her friends teased that they needed to create a flowchart to keep her love disasters straight.

All she knew was that she had things to say to this man. There was risk, for sure. Reaching out to him meant facing the possibility that he may be seeing someone else, or be married with kids. She didn’t think he would be, but he could also be completely cold or cruel towards her. Yet even though she was opening myself up to a world of potential hurt, she didn’t care. There was no way she could ever completely be whole again if she didn’t take the opportunity to voice her side.

She wouldn’t live her life as a fraud, having never faced the full extent of love and pain and letting go. She knew it was the unfinished holding her back, preventing her from fully opening her heart to anyone else. Yes. She needed to charge headfirst into this, acknowledging fully the element of danger.

The deep inhale and long exhale had a finality in its weight.

Still glaring at her phone, she thought to herself, “He needs to know how much he hurt me. He needs to know what I’ve gone through since the day I packed my car and drove away in tears. How I’ve changed. How the person he dated for three years was a broken, unhappy version of myself. And he needs to see the strong, vivacious woman that I’ve become since him.” Her heart didn’t leave her any choice.¬† It was time.

Her finger hovered over his number on the screen. And then it made contact.

The screen filled with his name.

rrriiiiiiingggggg….

rrriiiiiinggggggg…

*click*

“Ohmygod. …….¬† Hi.”

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This piece is being submitted to the amazing Yeah Write Weekly Challenge grid. If you don’t know Yeah Write, you should. The crew at YW are not only amazingly talented bloggers who write and writers who blog, they’ve become my friends.¬† Not friends with benefits, you perv. Just friends. ūüėČ