BLT Pasta Salad + Homemade Ranch Dressing

I saw this recipe on Pinterest a couple weeks ago and knew I had to try it. Not only was the photo mouth-wateringly amazing, but I loved that it was a combination of veggies, pasta, and meat. In other words, I had a pretty good feeling it would please everyone in my family. πŸ˜„

It’s a BLT-inspired salad with bow tie pasta noodles, bacon, tomatoes, and a creamy ranch dressing. What’s not to love?😍


I didn’t have ranch dressing on hand, so I quickly searched Pinterest for “homemade ranch dressing recipes” and found one that I had all the ingredients for. Here it is!

The only change I made to the recipe was that instead of buttermilk, which I didn’t have, I used the lemon juice + milk trick. I simply added 1 1-2 teaspoons of lemon juice to the 1/2 cup of milk the recipe calls for and let that sit for 5 minutes before adding it to the other ingredients.

The dressing literally took me less than 10 minutes to make and I did it a couple hours before dinner to allow time for the flavors would really blend together!

The dressing turned out SO well. Yum. Not sure I ever want to eat store-bought ranch after this!πŸ˜‹

The salad itself was super simple to make too. While I was frying the {nitrate-free} bacon, I boiled the pasta and chopped the tomatoes. πŸ…

Once it’s all done, throw it in a bowl and drizzle (or if you’re like me, douse…) it with dressing. πŸ˜‚ Voila! Dinner is ready to go.

One little thing I added to the original recipe was that I put avocado on my salad, and I loved that extra flavor! If I wasn’t pregnant, I might have added bleu cheese, too. The options are endless!πŸ˜„

This was a big hit with both the hubs and the toddler. Win-win! Definitely will be making this again. πŸ™ŒπŸΌ

3 of My Favorite Quick, Healthy Breakfast Ideas

I love breakfast. Every time I hear someone say, “I’m not really a breakfast person,” I die a little bit inside. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, hands-down. I wake up ravenous every morning, so I typically eat a pretty large breakfast (we’re talking 3 eggs + 2 pieces of buttered toast, people). Now that I’m pregnant, you can bet I most definitely eat SECOND BREAKFAST as well. It’s fantastic.

Not only do I think breakfast food is amazing, but eating breakfast is also such a great healthy habit. Eating breakfast has been linked to:
1) Lower risk of heart disease
2) Lower risk of obesity
3) Lower risk of Type 2 diabetes
4) Higher metabolism

A common question I get from clients, friends, and random people in the grocery store (yes, this did happen once), is “Well, what’s quick and simple to eat for breakfast if I don’t have much time to cook anything?”Β 

Here are 3 of my favorite simple, healthy breakfast suggestions:

I’ve had people tell me that eggs “take too long to cook” but I’ve timed myself multiple times, folks, and they literally take less than 3 minutes to make! If your morning routine is sooo rushed that you don’t have 3 minutes to make eggs (and maybe 3 minutes to eat them), might I gently suggest you set your alarm 6 minutes earlier in order to free up a little time for breakfast? πŸ™‚

I love eggs in all forms, but one of my favorites is scrambled with toppings like tomatoes, cheese, and avocado. I always want toast with eggs, so I make 2 slices of sprouted multigrain toast with Kerrygold (grass-fed!) butter on top. Yum. If you’re not a big breakfast person like I am, you might just want 1 egg and 1 piece of toast, which would be a great balanced way to start your day.

Another great way to enjoy eggs is a simple egg sandwich:

  • sprouted multigrain toast with Kerrygold butter on top
  • sliced avocado or tomato (or both!)
  • slice of your favorite cheese (I like cheddar, gouda, or swiss)
  • over-hard egg on top

YES. If you have never tried an egg sandwich like this, you need to, STAT. So good.



Pre-made yogurt parfaits at the store tend to have a LOT of sugar in them, soΒ I suggest you make yours at home instead. I use plain whole milk Greek yogurt, mix in whatever fresh fruit I have on hand (berries and bananas are my fav) and top with a sprinkling of granola. If you’re really ambitious, you can make homemade granola with no refined sugar, or use a lower-sugar variety with 8 grams or less per serving. (I’ve found some great ones at ALDI before!)


If you really don’t feel like eating much in the morning, or you absolutely MUST eat your breakfast on your drive to work (not ideal, but sometimes it has to be done), a smoothie is a great option. We make green smoothies at our house all the time with a whole banana, huge handful of kale, about 1/2 cup of liquid (OJ or water) and a dash of lemon juice. I’ve also made fruit smoothies with just frozen berries, a whole banana, and a little water or milk. If you want an extra protein boost (always a good idea) you could throw in a scoop of protein powder. My favorite, healthy brands: Juice Plus and Vega!

Hopefully this post has given you some ideas for starting a healthy breakfast routine! None of these take me more than 5 minutes to make. No excuses, people! πŸ˜‰

Happy Breakfast-ing!






Instagram Reboot!

<posted originally on Instagram. Head over to to follow me for healthy recipes, workout tips, and resources!>

While on a Starbucks date yesterday with this guy ⬆️ we were talking about our goals for the year and some changes we want to make in our personal lives as well as our family. πŸ™ŒπŸΌ Somehow it got me thinking about my usage of social media. πŸ’» I deleted my Facebook account a few months ago and have looooved being off Facebook. I don’t have any other social media accounts now, besides Instagram. I love Instagram because it’s an easy place to share pictures πŸŒ… and snapshots of our lives with each other without there being a lot of dramatic rants, political debates, or arguments in the comments section. 😝.

.However, I’ve realized lately that I never post much any more about my biggest passions/hobbies: health and wellness! πŸŽπŸ‹πŸΌβ€β™€οΈThis account was originally created as my business account for Health with Hope but it quickly morphed into a personal page that has been taken over with photos of my daughter. πŸ˜† Nothing wrong with that, of course😍 but I’d love to get back into sharing healthy resources, recipes, workout tips, etc, especially geared toward busy women like myself that don’t have time to make 2-hour gourmet meals πŸ™‹πŸΌπŸ˜‹ I’d love to make this page into more of a resource and inspiration for healthy living. I thought about creating a second IG account for it, but I’ve already got lots of content on this page so I’m going to just stick with this account. There will definitely still be posts about our family life and of course I’ll never be able to stop posting photos of Lydia πŸ˜†πŸ˜œ but I’ll also be mixing it up with some of our family’s favorite ways to eat healthy and stay fit. πŸ₯•πŸ’ͺ🏼 All of that being said, I won’t take it personally at all if you choose to unfollow me. πŸ˜„ If you’re not interested in the health and wellness stuff, I don’t blame you.☺️.

.➑️➑️➑️disclaimer: I promise I won’t become one of those people who posts photos of their abs every day (read: I will *never* do thatπŸ˜†) or encourages you to count calories, go on crazy diets, or never eat dessert. Uh, no. πŸ‘ŽπŸΌI’m all about balance and that’s the kind of page I hope to create here.


#andchocolateistoogood 🍫

#everythinginmoderation πŸ™ŒπŸΌ

One Heck of a Week

Can I just say, it’s been a heck of a week? 😬 I don’t want to seem like I’m complaining, but just wanna be real. Rob and I admitted to each other last night that it feels like it’s been one thing after another lately. We all have those weeks, don’t we? Or months, even. πŸ˜”

I know the problems of our past week have been SO minor compared to many others who are going through real pain and hardship. But even in our petty, part-of-real-life stressors, there have definitely been times this past week where I’ve let frustration and exhaustion get the best of me. πŸ‘ŽπŸΌ

The message at church today touched on how there are two kinds of overwhelmed: 1️⃣ an exhausted, stressed-out overwhelmed, or 2️⃣ a grateful, overwhelmed-by-God’s-goodness overwhelmed. It hit me during the message today that we have SO, so much to be grateful for, despite the stresses we’ve been under the past week. πŸ™πŸΌ.

First, there was a car accident. But thankfully Rob was fine and no other cars were involved. (Just icy roads that hadn’t been treatedπŸ™„) Could have been a lot, lot worse.


On Tuesday, our dog stole FOUR chicken drumsticks off the kitchen counter while I was gone and Rob was upstairs putting Lydia to bed. And she ate them, bones and all. We were in tears on the phone with the animal hospital and prepared that she would need emergency surgery or even pass away. Miraculously, she passed all those bones and is doing just fine.❀️🐢.


Wednesday evening, our kitchen sink started acting up and despite valiant efforts from both the hubs and a legit plumber, we can’t get it unclogged. Our kitchen is a disaster of unwashed pots and pans but we are so grateful our furnace is working in this bitter cold, and we have hope that a solution will be reached this afternoon with the pipe clog. πŸ’¦


These are all such minor stresses compared to what so many people are going through right now. I hesitate to even write this because I know they’re such #firstworldproblems 😣 but I do think it’s good to be honest when we’re stressed and not feel guilty just because our problems could be worse.

Today, I’m guiding my heart to focus on all I have to be grateful for. Like these two cuties walking out of church together. 😍 And a warm house. Food on the table and in the pantry. πŸ—

I started back up with my gratitude journal in 2018 and wow does it help refocus my heart and perspective. I’ve heard people make fun of gratitude journals or say that they’re cheesy, but there is SO much good to be had when we write down a tangible list of the little and big things we are thankful for. πŸ™πŸΌ

Today, I am overwhelmed, not by all the little stresses going on, but by God’s faithfulness and goodness. Cheesy, I know. But for real, He has gotten our family through so much this past year that will never be shared on social media. And even though this first week of 2018 hasn’t been the smoothest, it’s all surrounded by so many blessings on every side. πŸ™Œ

The Secret Ingredient to Make Green Smoothies Taste Good

I’ve never been a huge fan of green smoothies, even though I know they’re amazingly healthy. πŸ’ͺ🏼🌱 I just couldn’t stomach the taste of them because a lot of times they seemed really bitter. 😝 When Rob started making them about a month ago, I just raised my eyebrows and bit into another crab rangoon…πŸ˜† but when he finally convinced me to try his one day, it actually wasn’t that bad. And after drinking them consistently now, I’ve actually grown to like the taste! πŸ˜³πŸ‘πŸΌ The key he found is adding lemon juice, which amazingly disguises the bitterness of the kale! πŸŒ±πŸ™ŒπŸΌ Lydia asked for a taste and we couldn’t believe she didn’t spit it out. Now she LOVES green smoothies and we’ve been making them every morning for the 3 of us. 😍 Lydia’s not generally a huge fan of veggies so I love that she’s getting so many nutrients through these smoothies!! πŸ’ͺ🏼πŸ₯’ {our smoothie “recipe” is really just whatever we have on hand: carrotsπŸ₯•, apples🍎, berriesπŸ“, bananas🍌, kale, spinach, + lemon juice πŸ‹ and water!πŸ’¦}