Peach Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding

Peach vanilla chia seed pudding 2

The past couple weeks I really have not been home very much. Between post-Thanksgiving travel, my boo traveling for work, and spending time at the hospital with my step-dad - I haven't wanted to go to the grocery store, buy a bunch produce and then have it all die before I can use it. 

So for meals, I have been trying very hard to utilize what I already have in the house (which is why you saw me eat coconut chips for lunch yesterday. Sad.). It is also helping me save money, because all my money typically goes towards food. 

Last night's dinner was Trader Joe's frozen turkey burgers (no buns) with balsamic caramelized onions along with some frozen broccoli steamed in the microwave with lemon and romano cheese. Pretty dang good. 

Yesterday I used the last of the eggs, which by now, you have realized is my go to brekky of choice. Instead of going to the store like a normal human, I chose the alternative, find a way to make what I had in the house work. And I'm so glad I did! 

Thus today's recipe inspiration emerged. I had a whole tub of frozen peaches from last summer. I had frozen them at their peak ripeness (bought too many, couldn't eat them all!!) so they have a perfect flavor! I have heaps of chia seeds (my preferred add on for my omega 3s!). I still had some almond milk. I still had protein powder. 

I made Peach Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding and it was perfect. I devoured it. My husband loved it. Even though it is cold outside, it was like a fresh taste of summer coming to warm me up! 

See the recipe below. You are over the hump babes! Happy Thursday! xx


Peach Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding

overnight PEACH vanilla chia pudding (serves 1)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup peaches
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds 
  • 1 ½ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk 
  • 1/3 cup vanilla plant based protein powder

Instructions

Combine ingredients as listed in container of your choice. Stir the protein to eliminate any powder bubbles.  Let sit overnight. Mix in the morning. Enjoy! 

NOTE: I know not everyone has access to perfect peaches right now, but you can find frozen peaches at the store- just make sure there aren't any syrups added!

Shedding for the wedding: what's the deal with exercise?

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So you've found my biz. It's called Shed for the Wed. For a lot of folk it brings up horrid ideas of living on the elliptical and drinking your meals for months before your wedding. 

I hope if you have read anything on my website at all, you have figured out I am NOT about that life. 

You know that the way we operate here is about making soulful, healthy, eating decisions – and that is what is going to make you feel your best on your big day and EVERY day (if we are being honest here). But the truth is – it could just be "SHD" – soulful, healthy decisions. That is the big picture. In terms of your waistline, yes, eating is the number one priority. But in terms of who you are and living your best life, SHD is the ticket. 

So where does that leave us re: exercise? I'm sure you all know the girl who spent her life at the gym before her wedding. That is one approach that works for some. In my humble opinion, I find that few can sustain that level of vigor, and then after the wedding the weight comes back (and sometimes more) [This also applies to extreme cleansing. NOT about it].

Moving your body shouldn't be just about trying to lose weight. It should be about what makes you feel like a #bossb**ch (someone cue the Cardi B or Lizzo or both)! But I'm going to tell you a secret—before my wedding, I think I exercised twice in the entire 10 months leading up to it. I felt amazing on my wedding day and it was just good, clean, eating. Yes, this works too, but that being said- I would not advocate you follow that approach either! It was not good for my mind or body to not exercise during that time. It's all about SHD- and I would've been much more zen during my wedding process if I had been moving my body more. 

I really found myself loving fitness AFTER the wedding. I started experimenting while I was working at Lululemon (#joblove) and I learned so much about myself and how I like to get my sweat on. 

I know that I still am in love with yoga 12 years later my first class. That HIIT is what it takes to push my body past a plateau. I know that with pilates my body can do things I didn't think were possible to my abs. I also know I need lots of hands on adjustments because of all my hyperextended joints. I know that Soulcycle is my JAM and I feel like I can do anything if I can ride on beat (#rhythmchallenged). I know I hate spinning (or any class) with a leaderboard. I know I like going to Orange Theory because they monitor my heart rate so I can compete with myself (and it's right next to my house – easy = good!). I know that a good long run can do wonders for my mind. I know that even though I love getting my sweat on – it is still a mental challenge for me to make it out the door. 

That being said, that is all my own journey, and only you can figure out what is your jam. I can't give you a magic formula that will be the answer to all of your exercise needs. I wish I could, but unforch not how it works. Every person's body is different and will have different needs. I've compiled a list of questions for you to ask yourself to find your own fitness groove:

  • What is your current level of fitness? 
  • How active are you? Daily, weekly? 
  • What are your goals for your activity? What is the why behind them? 
  • What exercise makes you feel good? During or after? 
  • Have you found something that makes you feel good and strong in your body? If so, what is it? If not, what have you tried? What are you interested in trying next?
  • Do you prefer outdoor activities or classes? 
  • Does one activity give you more joy than others? 
  • Do you feel better with cardio or slower strength? 
  • What is it going to take for your to add movement to your life? 

If you want more direction re: your fitness goals – schedule a FREE consultation with me below. I'm happy to chat to figure out a sweat sched that gets you excited to sweat and is sustainable for you! 

What's your favorite way to sweat? Let me know in the comments below or on insta! Have a lovely day, babes! xx

SHED Retreat Recap and Exciting News!

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I just had the pleasure of hosting the first ever SHED Retreat in Wisconsin! And it was AMAZING. We ate exclusively Shed meals (#shedapproved and oh so yummy), drank lots of wine (not #shedapproved and oh so yummy), and took lots of food pics (#alwaysshedapproved and oh so...wait a sec..). 

And when I say "we"- I mean #TEAMSHED! It was the first time we had the whole Shed team together in the same room since we began working on this project. The powerhouse of talent absolutely rocked it all weekend.  With combined experience in food styling, art direction, graphic design, cooking (though none of us are professional chefs!) and marketing - this crew knows how to get the job done. 

We escaped from the outside world to embrace the beautiful nature surrounding us. We tuned in, focused on our mission, the food, the program and, of course, those pesky little details. 

We documented the beauty of harvesting, cultivating and eating whole real foods as well the joy of the cooking experience. We strategized around what YOU are looking for by listening to TONS of feedback from brides and their bride tribes. And we heard you loud and clear: We're making the meals tastier, easier to prepare, faster to serve and more accessible for all of you! 

We have been through the Shed program, and understand the joys and pains of going through a large lifestyle change, especially before your wedding! One of the most consistent themes we heard was MAKE IT EASIER! And we truly believe Shed is now even easier for our brides to be. 

BONUS: We built the foundations of a robust and beautiful photo library where you'll start seeing these gorgeous images on the website, in meal plans, through all our emails and more!

Added BONUS for us: We got to eat our way through it! 

This fabulous fall weekend provided the foundation for a TON of new Shed content. Stay tuned for amazing photos, recipes, laughs, new meals and more! I literally can't wait to share it with you all, but in the meantime enjoy some of the behind the scenes action and get hyped! 

DON'T FORGET: There is still time to participate in the #shedgratitudechallenge! Tis the season to count your blessings! :) 

-AHS


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We bought A LOT of groceries. Can you tell I'm excited? 

We bought A LOT of groceries. Can you tell I'm excited? 

All of the props prepared, clean, and ready to go! 

All of the props prepared, clean, and ready to go! 

I'm an amateur photographer, but no better way to improve than to practice! If we brought in a professional, it would only be a disservice to myself later- because I'm the one in my kitchen every day! #pushyourlimitseveryday

I'm an amateur photographer, but no better way to improve than to practice! If we brought in a professional, it would only be a disservice to myself later- because I'm the one in my kitchen every day! #pushyourlimitseveryday

Emily on my left, Katherine on my right! See below for their bios! 

Emily on my left, Katherine on my right! See below for their bios! 

We drank champagne...

We drank champagne...

... and danced/photographed on the tables! 

... and danced/photographed on the tables! 

Drankin 'booch with 2 of the our #shedteambabes (Emily on left, Colleen on right!) 

Drankin 'booch with 2 of the our #shedteambabes (Emily on left, Colleen on right!) 

lake and bon fire chairs

The #TEAMSHED also happens to be some of my oldest and dearest friends in the world. 

Colleen Connolly- Graphic Designer, extraordinaire! She is the brains behind our soon-to-be released new logo and program materials! (Her portfolio is currently offline for revamping, but will update with her link when available)

Emily Carlson - Advertising Executive by day, food stylist and recipe developer by night. You can follow her instagram @traveling_gourmand! 

Lastly, Katherine Finnegan aka marketing genius, skincare guru, and incredible dishwasher. Google her (yes, she is one of Hinge's most eligible bachelorettes).  

Sweet Potato Turkey Bowl

Sweet Potato Turkey Bowl

Hey y'all! How have you been doing on your daily gratitudes? I would love to here all that you are thankful for! Remember to tag me and use the #shedgratitudechallenge if you decide to post!

Today I wanted to share the recipe for one of my fave #shedrecipes, the Sweet Potato Turkey Bowl. You may have noticed, I am obsessed with sweet potatoes and root vegetables in general. They are just so nourishing and satisfying. This week has been particularly crazy with a very sick family member, so it is nice to fall back on the quick and easy "tried and trues" when chaos ensues. (I didn't mean to make that rhyme, I swear.) 

I keep wanting to use the word "nourish" over and over - because this bowl is the epitome of nourishment. It defines "eating the rainbow": there are so many phytonutrients from the sweet potato, spinach, bell peppers, and onions. The turkey packs in your protein and keeps you full for longer! Honestly, this is the type of meal you could eat every day and it would keep you perfectly balanced. It is an awesome soulful, healthy, eating decision if there ever was one! Nourishing your body & soul! #winning

...And did I mention it's flexible? Top this dish off with a fried egg and make it a breakfast!  Or switch up the texture with some nutrient dense kale! Play around and have fun with it, it lends itself so easily for fun swaps! 

Anyways, I hope you enjoy it! Let me know in the comments if you give it a try! And apologies for all of my cheese this post- couldn't even contain myself!  :D

xx


sweet potato turkey bowl 2

sweet potato turkey bowl

(serves 1)

Ingredients

  • 1½ tsp extra virgin olive oil 
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 large sweet potato, chopped into about 1-2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup bell peppers, diced
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
  • ½ lb ground turkey 
  • ½ tsp dried rosemary
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 large handful fresh spinach (don't skimp! It all wilts in beautifully!) 
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

In a skillet, sauté oil and garlic over medium heat for 1 minute. Add in chopped sweet potato and stir. After 4-5 minutes, add in peppers and onions. Sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix in ground turkey, rosemary and thyme. Break up turkey with your spatula or spoon. Let cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring often. Mix in fresh spinach, and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until slightly wilted. Remove skillet from heat and serve hot. 

November Gratitude Challenge

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It's November and that means it's time to talk Thanksgiving. Thanks giving. Time to talk less about the food part of the holiday (that comes later) and time to focus on gratitude. 

My mom did an amazing job at instilling gratitude in me at a really young age. I have always known just how fortunate I am. And I am a firm believer that everyone has something to be grateful for every day. That being said, even for me, it's really hard to feel grateful all day, every day of life. It's also okay to have highs and lows in your day, you don't have to be grateful every minute- but the more you are in tune with all you have to be thankful for, the more grounded you will be in your life.

You have to actively choose gratitude. Gratitude is a practice, and an important one at that.  Just like hopping on your yoga mat, or sitting down to meditate, you have to bring focus and presence to your practice. But why should we practice gratitude? Being aware of all the good in your life helps to cultivate a mindset of abundance and helps to keep hardships and daily struggles in perspective. 


A couple years ago I started a gratitude journal to deepen my practice. I write 3 things I am grateful for on that day.

Ideally you do not write the same things every day. You don't want to have "family, friends, and a roof over your head" on repeat every day. Specific is better because it helps you notice the little things that you may not have thought about previously. 

For me, it has turned into a diary of sorts- I end up writing a mix of things I am grateful for interspersed with other relevant quotes from books I may be reading or with daily affirmations. I wish I could say I do it every day, but I average about 3-5x week. This journal has become a part of my morning ritual. Writing out things I am grateful for in the morning sets my attitude up for success. It gets my head clear and focused on what really matters in life (no more waking up on the wrong side of the bed!). Some people like to do gratitudes before sleep.  I think that is great, too! Whatever works for your life. 


I challenge you to personally try to write down three things you are grateful for daily. If three is too daunting, then make it one. It doesn't have to fit a particular theme. Anything you are grateful for, and make it specific! I would love to hear all that you are grateful for! #gratitudebegetsgratitude

The challenge goes until Thanksgiving, and I hope you will continue the practice after too! Tag your posts with #shedgratitudechallenge for a chance to be regrammed. 

Follow along with me @shed.for.the.wed on Instagram to keep up with my gratitudes daily! I'll be posting to my feed and stories daily! 

 

Slow Cooker Chicken Apple Stew

slowcooker chicken apple stew

A couple weeks ago I was completely overwhelmed with things to do. I had so much work to do, I was cleaning like a fiend for house guests, I had too many social things on the docket in a very short amount of time, and my husband was out of town for work. 

...And I had committed to cooking for our house guests who have eating restrictions. (WHAT WAS I THINKING?!)

It was time to whip up the old trusty crock pot. 

I love slow cookers because once you set them, you forget them, and your house smells amazing for hours. It is pretty awesome. I am also absolutely awful at making up recipes for slow cookers. I truly just don't get how to get the right flavors to mix properly when they are cooking slowly for hours. It is a very clear gap in my culinary experience. It's on my to do list. 

I turned to Whole Foods for a perfect recipe for the occasion. This slow cooker chicken apple stew was super satisfying, and my dinner guests loved it. They talked about it all weekend. <3

This dish felt perfect on a chilly autumn evening! The Whole Foods recipe is below, but I made some minor tweaks and notes: 

  •  I had purple sweet potatoes, and I swapped one out for one of the normal sweet potatoes.
  • Another confession is I am actually notoriously bad at following recipes. I chopped the apples a bit too small, which made it look a bit mushier than I would've liked.  
  • The original recipe indicated it serves 6-8. I would say it comfortably served 4 with everyone wanting more! (Also, those were big bowls, not the baby one shown! Everyone ate before I took the pics :) ) 

I think this recipe is a knockout. Especially if you want something gluten and dairy-free! I will definitely be making this again soon! 

 

Slow cooker chicken apple Stew

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
  • 3 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 3 firm, sweet baking apples, such as Braeburn or Gala, peeled and cut into 6 wedges each
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes (10 ounces each), cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 large sweet onion, halved and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons sliced fresh sage leaves
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

Toast fennel seeds in a small skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Cut chicken thighs in half. Add chicken, fennel seeds and all remaining ingredients to a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low until chicken and apples are very tender, 6 to 7 hours on low or 3 to 3 1/2 hours on high.

Because this came from WF, I have nutritional info: 

Per Serving: 300 calories (70 from fat), 8g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 165mg cholesterol, 610mgsodium, 19g carbohydrates, (4 g dietary fiber, 11g sugar), 39g protein.

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Spaghetti Squash Bolognese

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I really don't have much to say about this, except for that rarely I give myself a 10/10 on a recipe, and this meal 100% gets a gold star.  Please make it. You deserve this dinner. It's so freaking delicious.  You may think you don't need to eat the full serving, but I'm telling you in advance, you will eat all of it. 

Be sure you pick a marinara sauce with less than 4gs of sugar per serving. I used Trader Joe's Organic Marinara. It has 3gs of sugar per 1/2 cup. This marinara also has parmesan in it (missed that at the grocery- which would make it month 1 #shedapproved. I would recommend a marinara sans cheese so you can make it throughout the duration of the program. Also skip the Romano at the end as well, if you are a month 2 shedder!) 


Spaghetti Squash Bolognese

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 2 tbsp(ish) olive oil 
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb ground turkey 
  • 1/2 25 oz jar of marinara sauce
  • 1/4 cup grated Romano cheese

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 

Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Deseed with a spoon. Coat basin and sides with 1 tbsp olive oil. Place on a shallow baking tray greased with olive oil. Salt and pepper. Place in oven. Cook for 50 minutes. 

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic to pan. Stir occasionally until garlic has a bit of color. If it is browning too quickly turn heat down. Add ground turkey to the pan. Use your spatula to break it up into smaller bits. Keep cooking on low, stirring occasionally, so it is nice and brown. 

Remove spaghetti squash from oven (at 50 mins) and let sit. (I was impatient and waited 5 minutes and used a mitt to hold it.) Take a fork - scratch to create “noodles”. Add noodles to ground turkey mixture. Add 1/2 jar of TJ’s organic marinara. Add in almost all the Romano in (saving a bit for garnish) stir to coat. 

Serve back in the squash (I prefer this way because you maximize the amount of squash you can eat!)  or in a bowl. Top with remaining Romano as garnish. 

 

 

I tried Eat Purely for the first time, here's what happened.

eatpurelycubansteak

Y'all know I find lots of joy in cooking. But cooking every day is exhausting. Meal prepping in advance is great in theory, but does not play out as often as I would like. Make enough for leftovers? Yes, great idea until your husband eats it all in one sitting (love you, boo). Then what? You don't necessarily want to blow your healthy eating on some indulgent carryout. You still want to keep "living the lifestyle" but you don't want to cook right now, dammit. Where can I get healthy delivery for dinner?

Does anyone remember Sprig? It was in Chicago a couple years ago and I was OBSESSED. It was super healthy, organic meals delivered. But they closed down in Chicago, and I cried. I don't know how it is possible they closed because I was probably single-handedly keeping them in business. I'm still so sad I still haven't deleted the app off my phone. Pathetic. I have been looking for a replacement since they closed down. Cue: Eat Purely. 

I had heard about the service a bit and I had been meaning to try it for awhile. Last week, the perfect opportunity arose. It had been a busy productive day, but no time to grocery shop. I was tired. I didn't want to go anywhere. But it was a weeknight- aka "you need to keep it clean, Alexandra". Then boom! Epiphany- I could try Eat Purely. 

Okay so what exactly is Eat Purely? From their website: "artisan chefs use fresh, seasonal ingredients to create a diverse range of restaurant-quality meals and sides. Select from a daily rotating menu of locally-sourced meals. Order on demand or schedule up to a week in advance. Meals arrived chilled so everything stays fresh. A few minutes in your oven or microwave and dinner is piping hot when you're ready to eat.

Okay so that sounds great but is it healthy? 

"Our chefs create food that never relies on excess salt, fat, or refined sugars to taste great. We’d rather let our locally-sourced ingredients do the talking... Our vegetables are fresh and seasonal. Our animal proteins are raised, not grown. Our meals are made without chemicals, preservatives, or GMOs."

Hmmm... well this sound good theoretically. Seasonal and locally-sourced is important for produce. Interesting that they don't use the term "organic" if everything is made without chemicals or GMOs. It's great that animal proteins are "raised" but what are they really committing to? It's hard to say because I couldn't find any further information on the website. :/

At the end of the day, this information was good enough for me. Why? Because this sounds about equal to the standard I hold myself to. I try to make sure that my animal proteins are grass-fed, no hormones added, and raised humanely- but even at Whole Foods this is hard to accomplish sometimes. You do the best you can for where you are at. And its helluva lot better than most carryout. 

I went on the app and instantly found a #shedapproved* meal - an incredible looking Coconut Glazed Salmon- but alas- sold out. 

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eatpurelysalmonnutrition

I was looking through for another option that would be comparable. I landed on the Cuban Steak. It looked great- gluten free, dairy free, grass-fed meat! And if you follow me at all- you probably know I'm obsessed with sweet potatoes. So this meal is looking pretty fantastic. Unfortunately, when I looked at the nutrition facts, it has more sugar than I would've liked. 15 grams- but sweet potatoes add sugar. The key distinction was the addition of brown sugar. Brown sugar is not #shedapproved and is in the middle of the ingredients list. Bummer. The was rice was tricky too- it seemed by the look of the photo to be brown rice- but the ingredient list said it was "long grain"- which could be both white or brown! What a conundrum. 

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eatpurelycubansteaknutrition

I order it anyway because I was very hangry (no time- for debating) and it comes incredibly fast. I think it was 15 minutes. I set the oven for 350 degrees per the "heat and eat" directions. I put foil on the top of the container and put it in the oven. I followed the directed amount of time (8-12 mins) but it wasn't hot enough. So I put it in the microwave (no aluminum foil! lol) for a minute and that did the trick.

It came in this pretty container. 

It came in this pretty container. 

Straight out of the box, still has pretty presentation! #impressed

Straight out of the box, still has pretty presentation! #impressed

It was realllllly tasty and was super satisfying. I loved that there was a variety of veggies. I really was "eating the rainbow": from the sweet potatoes, salsa verde, black beans, to the parsley and pickled onion salad- we got quite a few colors/nutrients in there. By flavor alone I would definitely order again. It is definitely healthier than 95% of most takeout (please don't take that stat seriously). 

Conclusion? While I love the service and the quality of the ingredients- it is not the easiest to eat #shedapproved meals. You still have to be vigilant checking the ingredient list to see if you are eating within the elimination guidelines. It IS possible to find great healthy options, but don't just order anything off the menu. I also support this for Shed maintenance meals 100%! 

In the end, it tasted like brown rice to me, so I'm going to stick with that for now. :) 

If you do decide to give Eat Purely a try-  use my promo code for a $20 credit for you and for me! :) Promo code: ALEXANDRAS21

Hmmm looks like white rice in this photo! 

Hmmm looks like white rice in this photo! 

*(It was month 1 approved- soy has gluten- which makes it a month 2 nono)

**LEGIT - No one paid me to write this. I wish they did, though.**