Crock Pot Goodness

IMG_3033I LOVE recipes. I am not a chef that can just toss things together. I like knowing that if I follow steps, the dinner will taste good (well – most of the time!).

I put this together this week because I had some chicken breast in the fridge and wanted to use them before they went bad. I bought some pesto and had a can of diced tomatoes in the pantry – super easy, pretty quick and my kids LOVED it!

4 chicken breasts


4 tbsp of pesto (This just needs to cover each chicken breast so you can use a little more or a little less pending the size of the chicken breast)

1 can of diced tomatoes (28oz is what I had on hand)

Place the chicken in the crock pot and put 1 tbsp of pesto on each chicken breast, then cover with the can of diced tomatoes. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.

Once you’ve cooked it – sprinkle a little bit of shredded mozzarella on top and then allow it to melt.

We shredded the chicken and served it with long grain, wild rice and green beans.

Update: We turned the above into tacos & then I made it for a second time. Instead of using the pesto I chose diced tomatoes with green chilies in them. Another quick and easy dinner! 



Time – The Most Valuable Commodity

2.pngI recently asked someone about joining one of my fitness accountability groups and mentioned that one of the requirements was to have a workout and drink a superfood shake called Shakeology.

The response I received was almost comical to me…

“No. And I wouldn’t pay for those things.”

It was a fair statement and a few years ago, I would have completely agreed.

I have belonged to a gym before – granted it was at our apartment complex BUT  I did go…when I could wake up with enough time to head out with Tim. Aside from that I always found time to fit in some kind of fitness. At my job I used to hike the warehouse quite often…especially during my busy seasons. Now? I hit the warehouse when absolutely necessary – otherwise I’m at my desk working – even during the busy season. I thought I could walk in my neighborhood – but who am I kidding? The most walking I did was when I was pregnant with the kiddos…since then it is go – go – go.

There was also that time I thought I could become a runner. I had lofty aspirations to do the WIPE OUT 5K. That lasted a few weeks I think …sometimes running back and forth between my mailbox and my neighbor’s mailbox looking a fool because it was too dark to make the circle in the neighborhood – we have no streetlamps and no sidewalks – but I digress.

All this to say that when I decided that health and fitness needed to become a priority I had to look at my options.

The gym was out. Even if I lived near one my hour + commute was going to limit me, especially when you factor in picking up kids from school and carting them to and from activities.

Walking/running was out. From the paragraph above you can guess that I am #notarunner. And by utilizing that hashtag you can also find some pretty comical pics of my “trying” to be a runner. Walking wasn’t necessarily out BUT Tim and I juggle late nights sometimes and excuses being what they are – it wasn’t going to happen.

Intro PIYO. My girlfriend was doing it and I thought – hey…I could use some Zen in my life! I gave it a go and even bought the superfood shake that came with it. I loved that the workouts were in my air conditioned home and could be done at anytime…even 11pm…which SHOCKER is when a lot of mine happen. The shake – well I started with Strawberry and it was not my favorite…I added some frozen fruit and it made it better. I drank it and did notice a change in how I was feeling.

I wasn’t perfect, but it was a start…and it gave me the feeling that I could actually fit some health and fitness into my life without adding one more thing to my day. Even the shake has its benefits…For one thing, my child that refuses to eat veggies without a massive resistance…will struggle some down knowing that he can have a shake for dessert – and I get the relief that he will be growing and gaining all the nutrients he needs – regardless of what he thinks. I know as he gets older his tastebuds will change and eating veggies will be less of a fight – but for now, while we struggle through it – I know I’m winning regardless;)

So back to time. We don’t get it back. Ever. Once that second hand moves it’s gone. I think about this a lot. My father died of cancer when I was 13. It’s a bit why I’m pretty intent on keeping my family healthy…and why when we started getting off-track I became laser focused on getting it back. My dad didn’t die of a heart attack – it was cancer, but I watched what it did to his body. I also know the impact it had on my life, my brother’s life and my mom’s…and even to a certain extent my blended family.

I can’t stomach the thought that my boys would grow up without myself or Tim by their sides (figuratively of course!) for as long as possible. I don’t want them to go through what I went through and SO MUCH OF IT IS PREVENTABLE!

So, yes, in the past I never would have spent money on at-home workouts or shakes…now I do because it’s the way I make it work. I’m guaranteed amazing workouts and a community of women (and men) that are able to lift me up and encourage me. I’m able to get amazing nutrients into my body without buying a bunch of ingredients, blending them together and then trying to stomach drinking it (I made a mango smoothy one time and it tasted like grass – for real…just cut grass – you can ask my friend Jen. I’m pretty sure I told her over the phone while I drank it!). For me this simplifies life…and that’s what I need right now in this season and why I share it with folks – because if it helps me, it might help someone else too.

Simplicity. Practically impossible to find…but when found – I embrace it with my full being.


Life Hack & the Herb Pesto Salmon

I was going through Publix and in the mood for Salmon. They had giant long fillets for sale as well as the usual individual portions. I inquired about ways to make salmon when it’s on a long fillet. The gentleman behind the counter went on and on about cedar planks and grilling. I did not have time to grill or feel the desire to find a cedar plank…it was Friday evening after all and I was ready to be home, with the kids, eating and drinking  a glass of wine!

Lucky for me, the conversation continued by leading me to a free booklet which held salmon recipes perfect for my oven!


I flipped through the pamphlet and while there were several that sounded delicious, the one that stood out was the Herb Pesto Salmon due to the fact that I had a bottle of pesto at home. The remaining ingredient list was quick (and would allow me to make it AGAIN withOUT purchasing anything) so I went with it!

Kellen, my 6 year old, LOVES food. And when I say LOVES I mean LOVES!!! He is continually asking us when the next meal is and by reminding us that there are more meals left to be had in the day. A perfect example is today – we had lunch at home (sandwiches); we then went to a shower where there was food. He ate a lot. Then we came home and he kindly reminded me that the food at the shower was a snack so we still needed to have dinner. As a toddler I would find boxes of (unopened) food and cans under his bed….

So Kellen opted in to helping mom cook! First I had him juice the lemon. I helped a little bit, but he did the bulk of the work. His little hands had trouble at first making the handles pull together, but with a little help from mom we did it!


Next I had him scoop out the Dijon Mustard and the Pesto together and mix it with the lemon juice. They we added a little salt and pepper.

He was pretty impressed with the size of the salmon and made me flip it over so he could see the scales. The recipe called for skin off, but the butcher told me he thought salmon with skin on was better (and I agree).

Now for the life hack!

I was out of baking sheets – which means the only one I have was dirty:) I scrounged around the kitchen to figure out what I could use. Normally, I would pull out my stone to cook on, but the salmon was too big (and I didn’t want to cut it!).

I looked under the counter and found a cookie cooling wrap…I then remembered that I had aluminum foil (which I was supposed to put on the baking sheet) and presto! I wrapped the aluminum foil around the cooling rack and the salmon fit perfectly!


So hack finished, I then let Kellen put the pesto mixture on the salmon and then I put it in the oven.

Literally 15 minutes later it was done! I added green beans and Long Grain Wild Rice to it and suddenly we had a meal!

A seriously long piece of salmon!

The kids and hubby gave it 2 thumbs up (and Tim might have dug a piece of salmon off the sheet before I had a chance to get a good pic:) and even better news – there was plenty for leftovers too!

Yet another reason I LOVE Publix!

Nonstick aluminum foil
1 lemon, for juice
3 tbps basil pesto sauce
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
4 salmon fillets (about 1 1/2lbs)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 375F, line baking sheet (or cookie sheet!) with foil.
Squeeze lemon for juice (1 tsp).
Check fish for bones (or have the butcher do that for you!).

1. Combine pesto, mustard, and lemon juice. Season fish with salt and pepper; place on baking sheet.

2. Top each fillet evenly with pesto mixture; bake 14-16 minutes or until 145F (or opaque and separates easily). Serve.


*This is not a promotional post – I did not get any type of monetary contribution for this – I just love Publix THAT much…and the meal was pretty awesome too:)


What’s the Beachbody Health Bet?

Lately, I’ve been talking to a lot of friends and family about the Beachbody Health Bet. It’s a bit silly but I LOVE what Beachbody has been doing the last few months! A lot of people look at Beachbody and think Insanity, P90X and while all of those fabulous programs DID come out of Beachbody – it’s not what they’re all about.

Yes, they are about fitness.

Yes, they are about health.

But truly, their desire is to reduce obesity in America and across the world – and if we get down to the nitty gritty – they’d like to get rid of it altogether. They want it so bad that they are going out of the box to try and make it happen.

Day 17 Only Happens When You Start at Day One!

The Beachbody Health Bet
Beachbody believes that if you get into a rhythm of health and fitness you will actually stick with it…but it’s getting people to take the first step that is SO HARD!

This might make it a little easier🙂

Beachbody is betting $1 million dollars that you will fall in love with getting healthy.



The bet is simple:

Work Out + Drink a Superfood Shake = Win a Piece of Up to $3 MILLION DOLLARS!

You read that right! Up to $3 MILLION DOLLARS [insert fun evil laugh and put your pinky out too:)]

It can’t be THAT easy!

Um, yeah, it is:)

And for fun – let’s run the numbers:)*

If 25,000 people participate in the Beachbody Health Bet Challenge. Think about it, lots of people SAY they are going to commit, but usually a SMALL percentage actually do it – so let’s say maybe 10% make it all the way to the end – that is 2,500 people…splitting a potential of $3M!

10% of 25,000 people = 2,500 people

$3Million split between 2,500 people = $1,200

What would you do with $1,200 extra in your wallet??

The actual requirements:CoachShakeWorkout

  • You need to join my Health Bet Challenge (starts Sept. 5)
  • You have to commit to eating healthy. And the way this is measured is by adding Shakeology to your nutrition plan. You must drink Shakeology (and track it in our group with a selfie) at least 5 days a week.
  • You have to commit to working out at least 3 times a week and log it into our group.

Voila – that is it!

So what are you waiting for? I’m so pumped I have actually gotten some smaller prizes to reward the folks who join my challenge group as we go through each week!

If you want to join in fill out this challenge group application and then I’ll reach out to you ASAP:) The best thing is to remember you won’t be alone. Taking the first step is the hardest, but once you do, you’ll be so glad! The group of women and men that are gathering for this Beachbody Health Bet Challenge are amazing people on their own health and fitness journeys!

Put Down the Patron!

First off, let me just say that I have friends that work for Patron and I care about them. A lot. However, when my parents and I go to their local Mexican restaurant they are CONSTANTLY ordering Patron margaritas. All. The. Time.

A few weeks ago I looked at my mom and said, “I love you, but you are sending my friends’ kids to college – not mine!” and although laughing it sort-of struck a nerve with my mom…and when we’re together she will now order another margarita featuring a different brand…like Hornitos or Tres (I’m sure you really wanted to know!).

Now, for those of you who don’t know, I work for a local beverage distributor and I LOVE my job. I love supporting my brands…and it KILLS me when my family uses a brand we don’t distribute. They roll their eyes when I make comments (let it be known that while I do give them crap about it – I also am not super psycho – if my mom lived by Patron, obviously I’m not going to get into a bar room brawl about it…but she might hear some verbal digs…I’m loyal – what can I say? 🙂

Okay – so what is this really about? Well, I was driving home today and I started thinking about our finances. This is not unusual…I have a long drive home and my brain tends to wander through various items while I stare at cars on the interstate.

I was thinking about this side hustle I have going on…building a side business while I work full time is a little crazy. I honestly thought I would never be able to do it, but I have a vision of not being held hostage by debt and so I’m pushing through:) Anyways, I started thinking about Starbucks. I LOVE Starbucks… In fact, back in the day, my parents had Starbucks stock and I would joke that my stops at Starbucks were just “supporting my inheritance.”

I was suddenly struck. I’m supporting someone else’s kids college funds by going to Starbucks. And that’s awesome – I’m all about giving back…but right now I need to be focused on my kids. They’re young…but time is FLYING by…

And so I am making this pledge in front of God and WordPress and you fine folks that have opted to read this blog today…I’m GIVING UP Starbucks…now if someone happens to throw me a gift card for a birthday or something I will be more than happy to indulge…but as for my hard earned dollars…They are no longer going to be visiting my favorite coffee house.

I have big dreams. I have big goals. My kids have bigger goals (my 8 year old wants to be a paid writer…that follows the Falcons around the nation…in a camper).

What are you hanging onto today that is keeping you from going after your dreams? I’ll be honest, hanging onto Starbucks as silly as it may sound is a roadblock for me.

That changes today.

So long Starbucks! I bid you adieu!Signature_Pink



Mood, Music & Me

Music has been a huge part of my life…IMG_3018

Age 3…I played harmonica to the cows in our backyard…and apparently they liked it because they would line the fence and listen.

Ages 6 – 10…We made multiple treks to Cincinnati to visit family. Long, 8 hour trips. I had an amazing Walkman with cassette tapes that ranged from kids records to Chicago (my mom’s favorite band). I also joined chorus and felt chills as we would sing “I’m proud to be an American”.

Music continued for me in middle and high school as I played trumpet and then explored other avenues…like the time I wrote a play based on my high school experience and tried to develop my own theme song…and yes I may have sung that song into a tape recorder and then replayed it for my mom. And she might have laughed aloud after hearing the first stanza…all in love, of course:)

I love the way music transports you to various times and places. It swirls around you and makes you tear up, or laugh, or a variety of other emotions.

Music moves me. states, “An analysis of 5 studies on music for depression concluded that music therapy is not only acceptable for depressed patients, but it actually helps improve their moods. Music has proven useful in helping patients with serious medical illnesses such as cancer, burns, and multiple sclerosis who are also depressed. If it can help in these situations, it may be able to help you and your loved ones experience more positive moods.”

I believe it. I have had times where I have needed to put on music to change my mood – or to focus me. When I attempted running I needed music that would keep me motivated and pumped up. When I’m writing a sad section of a story, I want music that gets me in that mindset. I’m loving the my new workout, Country Heat, because the music is upbeat and not twangy so I find myself singing as we go which makes me more inclined to continue it to the end (there have been yoga videos I’ve done where the music was too crazy for me so I was more inclined to turn it off than to finish).

How do you utilize this knowledge to your advantage? Put together song lists so that you can instantly grab them when you need them. Happy songs – motivational songs – inspiring songs. When you’re at work, working out, driving to the store you can put them on and be transported to a happier place no matter the time  of day.
Not sure what moves you? Spotify is fantastic. You can go to their website or app and click on the mood your in (or the mood you WANT to be in) and instantly it will play music that falls into that category. Some of their categories include: Brain Food, Celebration, Chill, Mood Booster, Happy Hits, Songs to Sing in the Shower, Calm Down, the Cure for Loneliness, etc. In those moments where you feel like you can’t get out of your funk – remember – you have tools around you to help…it might not get rid of it completely, but it can definitely improve it!Signature_Pink

Working Out & Mental Health

IMG_2929I’ve had an up and down battle with exercise. I love to workout – but have no time for the gym (or really know what to do at the gym!). A friend of mine started doing in-home workouts and I was at a place where I felt the need to tone up…and the need for my family to get into some healthier habits.

Confession: I’d do it until life got so busy that I’d put it off…and instead catch a show on TV…but all the while, thinking, “I should be working out right now”.

I let a few months go by and each night I’d sit down on the couch and justify not working out.

I’m too tired. ..

I’m going to get up later…

One day off won’t kill me…

And on and on…we’ve all been there, right?

The CDC website suggest: “Regular physical activity can help keep your thinking, learning, and judgment skills sharp as you age. It can also reduce your risk of depression and may help you sleep better. Research has shown that doing aerobic or a mix of aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities 3 to 5 times a week for 30 to 60 minutes can give you these mental health benefits. Some scientific evidence has also shown that even lower levels of physical activity can be beneficial.”

I believe it. I got into a funk. I was eating okay…but no superfoods were in my diet (at least not as many as were in my shake which equals a crazy amount of salads in one sitting) and the working out lapsed. I felt awful – lethargic and exhausted.

All. The. Time.

I made a decision and I vocalized that decision to my husband. Saying out loud what needed to be done began the accountability process. And then I made the commitment to some friends too.

It was almost comical. I started feeling better right away – I think it was because I was proud of myself. In a “I’m getting it done” way…and then one day I listened to a podcast that I had been listening to weekly until I’d quit working out and the peace that came over me as I listened was so bizarre…but it just reaffirmed that I was making the  right decision. Incorporating some positive, encouraging, motivating words in the morning was not a bad decision.

Mental health is just as important as physical health and the two are intertwined together in a magnificent way. It’s no surprise that the good feelings have been a welcome adjustment to everyday life.

And for the busyness? Well – I just had a whirlwind wedding weekend where Tim and I drove up to Cincinnati on Friday and came back home on Sunday…a crazy quick weekend…About a 7 hour drive each way. I figured out a way to get in my 30 minute workout in my hotel room. One night at 2am (don’t be too shocked – I do most of my workouts in PJs) and then then next day in the afternoon. I incorporated my superfood shake into an iced latte (a tip I picked up from my friend).

I conquered my fitness this weekend…and still had time to fit in 2 weddings (one is tonight!) and TONS of fun with my family!!

I’m looking forward to the challenge of figuring out ways to stay on track…it doesn’t have to be difficult or overwhelming…and the reward is so worth it!



Claiming Truth Over Lies

IMG_2841I was talking to a friend on my drive home from the office a few days ago. She was telling me that she is going on a trip and is already feeling nervous. She is going to be around women that have always intimidated her. I found myself uttering the words that I am constantly having to tell myself – and in God’s fabulous humor – words I need to hear more often because I tend to forget my own advice:)

The truth she was telling herself is that she is not equal to these women – they are farther along in their careers, have done more in life, have better lives – that whole “the grass is always greener and looks that way because we only put the BEST of ourselves on our Social platforms”…The truth of the matter is that we ALL have ups and downs and NO ONE should feel less than due to another person’s success or status…

But how do we make that a reality? I mean, seriously Courtney, I feel that way ALL THE TIME!

We have to CLAIM the TRUTH. For me it means recognizing that I’m a child of God. He created ME…The timing had to be perfect or I’d be someone else…I could be a BOY or I could HATE to read! But no, mom and dad did things at the right moment and they got ME (thanks to Gary Vaynerchuk who puts this way more elegantly than I just did:)

So what does that have to do with claiming the truth? Well, recognizing that you are YOU and no one else. You have a specific set of skills, qualities, character, etc. that make you unique.

When thoughts come to our mind we need to offset them. We’ve trained our brains over time to believe what we say…and if you’re a parent you may have experienced this with your kids. “Mom, I CAN’T do it!” and my response is: “Get rid of the word CAN’T!” Why do I say that to my kids? Because if they say they can’t that is the word their brain will hold on to and they will begin with a defeatist attitude.

A few months ago I was listening to a podcast and the gist of it was that we need to speak words of affirmation over ourselves and speak with a positive mindset. EVERY. DAY. We need to retrain our brains to think in the positive INSTEAD of in the negative. In other words…when our brain tells us one thing…we are going to voice the TRUTH. Out loud if you need to.

When your brain says: You are worthless. You will never amount. Respond with: NO! That’s not the truth. I AM good enough.

When your brain says: You are a horrible mother. You were late dropping them off AGAIN. You were late picking them up AGAIN. You are terrible – you forgot to send in that paper work. RESPOND WITH: NO! That’s NOT the truth: I AM a good mother.

When your brain says: Why can’t you just get it TOGETHER. The house is a mess. The laundry hasn’t been done – you are TERRIBLE. Respond with the TRUTH: NO! I AM a good wife.

When your brain says: Wow, you really sucked at that presentation! You really messed up in that meeting… Respond with: NO! I AM a good [plug in job title].

At the end of the day, our brain likes to lie. It likes to run on the emotions of the moment. That isn’t always good. A few years ago I made a MAJOR mistake at the office. It was heart-breaking for me because I had worked really hard, but at the end of the day it didn’t matter. And when the project completely fell apart I made a mistake…a lot of mistakes. I was written up and it CRUSHED me. After a few weeks my boss pulled me aside and said, “You need to quit walking around like the world is coming to an end. Hold your head up. It’s over, you need to move on.” It was true. I felt like I would never gain upper management’s trust again. (The old mantra ‘You’re only as good as you’re last…) But here I am, several years later in the same position at the same company. I had to readjust my mindset. I had to realize that that was one moment in time. I had been holding onto it like I’d just written my death sentence and it was TAKING ME OVER.


Jeremiah 17:9 says “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”

I will never understand why my brain wants me to focus on the negative over the positive. What I do know is that I need to focus on the positive more than ever. We are in a world that loves negativity. It sells. It draws attention. I need to speak TRUTH over myself so that I can speak TRUTH over my family.

There is power in the words we speak.

Speak truth today. Take it a day at a time. I promise you will see a change…and if you find that you’ve stopped – just start again:)



IMG_2822Mental illness. The words have stigma attached. No one wants to admit there’s an issue. I’ve found myself doing it too…

A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with a friend. We were having a conversation about depression and mental illness in general. I told my friend that I take medicine daily for anxiety. Then I followed it up with, “well, apparently it’s because of my jacked up thyroid. The doctor said that if I hadn’t been taking it, he would have put me on it. I was treating the symptom before I knew what was causing it.”

And you know what? Later I realized that the reason I added the addendum was because I didn’t want to say that I had an issue. That I have anxiety. That my mind races over and over and over again and I can’t stop it. No matter how much I pray for it to stop, to slow down, to just chill…it doesn’t. And it sucked. For a long time.

My relationships with women have never had longevity. My closest friends I’ve met in the last 10 years. I always thought I had a problem. I had two sets of friends at different times in my life turn their backs on me because they didn’t agree with a choice I had made. It hurt. All of the relationships recovered, but over the years they faded…and some never recovered to what they had been. It hurt.

Those moments hit me as I’m driving home from work. There’s a lot of time in the car…and as I sit here, I think that this could be a part of the reason why I don’t like silence. Where there is silence my brain likes to talk…and it’s not always talking nicely.

The last few months I have been in a downward spiral. Too many thoughts…nothing that is detrimental…but I let laziness take over. I gave myself a pass because I was tired. I am tired.

This past weekend I was at a Coach Summit (some of you might have seen just a few posts – sorry about that;) in Nashville. Shaun T spoke on one of the days and I was floored. He shared something extremely personal from his past. Something I don’t know that I would’ve had the courage to share had it been me…but then again, maybe I would have, because here I am writing this post*.

He stated that admitting the problem was only part of it… Sometimes you can’t move forward unless you’ve divulged everything. For me, it was thinking about all of the conversations I’ve had with friends and co-workers where I felt like I was justifying the medicine I’m on…where I let my thoughts define me. When I let them defeat me.

I have been feeling God leaning on me lately to do more in certain areas of my life…to encourage and provide help in some way to those suffering from the ripple effects of mental illness…It could be depression, it could be anxiety, it could be so much more that I’m not aware of yet.

Praying our issues away is not always the answer. Sometimes we need something to balance it out…sometimes that’s medicine…and that’s okay. It doesn’t matter if there’s a reason that’s causing the illness, what matters is that we are doing something about it.

The more we share what we are dealing with the easier it’s going to be to find answers…Similar to AIDS back in the 80’s, I feel these are the years where we will be able to learn more about mental illness because we are talking openly about it, despite the repercussions. I’m okay with the stigma… because it won’t be a stigma for long.

The theme at the Coach Summit was #strongereveryday. We have to take it day by day. I can talk myself out of doing something because my brain always tells me I’m a failure…but I’m not. I’m a child of God and a miracle in itself when you really diagnose how children are created…I’m not going to waste this miracle and neither should you. Let’s be encouraging and let’s dig in and find a way to eliminate stigmas in general.

I’ll start…will you join me?






*Watch Shaun T’s talk here.