Skip to content


You may remember from our Sarasota post that we mentioned we had Spinach with Meat sauce and the recipe would follow. Well, I thought that was a perfect Fearless Friday dish. I don’t know why but I find Italian food in general to be yummy comfort food. Pastas, lasagnas, baked ziti…all dishes that are usually made in large quantities for friendly gatherings and for the most part, everyone loves it.

On this particular evening, we were all exhausted from a long day at the beach. We got home and didn’t know what to make for dinner and Yaimy mentioned that she had a box of Spinach pasta – gluten free 🙂 She bought this box at Whole Foods and brought it with her…just in case.

Well, we had ground turkey in the fridge and Orlando whipped up this meal quickly and it was DELICIOUS!

Orlando likes using the 93/7 ground turkey. Meaning 93% meat, 7% fat. He feels that anything less is so high in fat that you might as well use the ground beef…but the 99% fat free ground turkey is so lean that he finds it too dry for certain meals. We avoid SUGAR mainly, so a little fat doesn’t scare us.

So, on to the recipe…

Meat Sauce

  • 2 – 2 1/2 lbs ground turkey
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • mix of oregano, basil and thyme
  • peas, carrots, and any other veggies you want to sneak in 🙂
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 small can of Rotelle tomato paste
  • 3 chopped tomatoes


  • Cook the spinach pasta according to the instructions on the box


Yaimy had taken a nice block of Manchego cheese on the trip also, so we grated the Manchego on top of the pasta… WOW!!!! We all loved it!

FYI: Sneaky Orlando had made a cabbage soup the night before and true to form…he snuck some of the veggies from the cabbage soup into the pasta. The result: our brains registered that we were eating a delicious Italian pasta dish that satisfied all our taste buds…but the truth is that we were having leeks, garlic, tomatoes, cabbage, carrots, green beans, peas, and asparagus under all the deliciousness and actually eating a quite healthy meal. Obviously, we welcome vegetables and it is not necessary to sneak them in to anything, however, its good to know that you can offer this dish to your friends and family whether they are anti-veggies or not. They’ll never know the difference!!!!!!

Enjoy your weekend!!!!!!


The Juice



I decided to make our family a juice this morning instead of a smoothie… Why… Because quite frankly I find it difficult to tolerate the consistency of carrots in a smoothie. They just don’t get liquidy enough in my bullet. And I was in the mood for carrot/ginger. So I whipped out the juicer and started tossing in everything I could find.










Delicious!!!!!!!!!!! I mean wow!!!!!! Don’t get me wrong, I like smoothies a lot and they are definitely a healthier option because they keep all the fiber from the fruits and veggies in the drink. But I must confess that the juice was awesome and easier to swallow. It may however make me hungry quicker because its all liquid. I’ll have to keep you posted on that one.


Juicing for a family of four is no easy task! I forgot to count but I used approximately 10 carrots, 4 long celery sticks, 1 1/2 inches of ginger, 4 pears, 4 apples, 4 small mandarin oranges, and 1/2 a cucumber. And I used the cucumber at the end really when I was trying to finish filling the cup and ran out of other stuff. I made approx 5 8-ounce cups. That doesn’t seem like a lot to me at all since thats our breakfast. The boys and i got 8 oz each and Orlando got 16 oz.

So the conclusion is if you’re going to juice, make sure to stock up on plenty of vegetables and fruits so you don’t run out and get frustrated.

Note: juicing is especially beneficial If you have a cold and need to be drinking lots of fluids. You get all sorts of vitamins and flush out the cold at the same time.

We’re Back!!!!!

Hi Everyone! 

We came back from our vacation with lots of info and ready to get back into the groove of things. 

We shared a condo with another couple who share a lot in our healthy belief system. We split the groceries in between both families and cooked at home every night. Of course this was the kind of vacation that called for staying in to eat because we would be at the beach all day and had a fully stocked kitchen in the apartment. Once the kids went to sleep we cooked and ate and drank some wine – well, they did; I, true to form, am pregnant once again during vacation! 

As for the meals, we made more exceptions than we at home but that was to be expected. But we are proud to announce that our lifestyle DID IN FACT survive our vacation!!!!!! 

How we cheated:

1. Orlando made chocolate chip pancakes in the morning for the kids. I can’t help myself…I love them!!!!! So on those mornings, I treated myself to the pancakes! 

2. The gang drank alcohol. Orlando normally saves his glasses of wine or scotch for the weekend but since we were at the beach the whole week and it was a like an extra long weekend… they drank every day. 

3. We ate more deli meat. Sandwiches seem to fit well into a day at the beach and although I am not a fan of deli ham because it is processed and usually has corn syrup or high sodium, on this trip, we did have ham and cheese sandwiches on certain days. We tried to buy good quality deli from Publix but nonetheless, we ate it. 


1. We ate more WHOLE foods than anything else. 

We bought things like

  • eggs
  • berries
  • bananas
  • cherries
  • avocados
  • tomatoes
  • zucchini
  • squash
  • salad
  • mangoes
  • nuts
  • organic chicken
  • extra dark chocolate
  • ezekiel bread
  • sweet potatoes
  • quinoa
  • leeks, onions, fresh garlic

2. For dinners we made

  • Cabbage Soup one night
  • Spinach pasta with ground turkey one night – absolutely delicious – recipe to follow
  • Tacos one night – we cheated on the flour tortilla but the contents of the tacos were healthy
  • Salad one night
  • Steak with sweet potato and vegetables one night 
  • Fricase de pollo with Quinoa one night – recipe to follow – made by Yaimy and delicious!

3. For the beach we got creative

  • after taking ham and cheese sandwiches one day and feeling that wasn’t too good for us, Yaimy made us some grilled chicken the next morning. We put the chicken in a container and while at the beach we made chicken sandwiches on ezekiel bread. We used ketchup and mayo and mustard, but made sure to buy all ingredients without high fructose corn syrup.
  • we hard boiled eggs and cut up avocados and took them to the beach. With a little olive oil and salt it was a fresh delicious treat.
  • we cut up a ton of fruit – mangoes, berries, cherries, melon, pineapple…etc. Instead of munching on chips, we munched on fruit. It was nice and cold. 

4. Other things we did:

  • chop up zucchini and squash, toss in olive oil and salt and toss in pan until cooked for snack
  • Dessert –  a nice piece of dark chocolate
  • we took frozen vegetables like peas and carrots and when in a pinch with the kids, we’d steam them for the boys. 
  • we also had oatmeal and almond milk for the boys when they were really tired and wanted something quick and easy. 

OVERALL, the vacation was a success. There was a nice balance between having some treats…the last night Yaimy escaped from us and bought a small container of Strawberry ice cream between the kids and us we all had a little cup 🙂 

but not forgetting to eat our vegetables and fruits. We avoided most of the junk that people eat during vacations – chips, sweets, sodas, processed foods…etc. 

We did buy 2 bags of Pita chips to snack on but they didn’t have a major role in the vacation. I actually ended up throwing almost a full bag away at the end. 

Surprisingly, we didn’t make any smoothies throughout the vacation. We ate heavier breakfasts since we were going to be at the beach all day and then there just wasn’t an opportunity to make them later on. We’ll explore that next time!!!!! 



Can lifestyle survive vacation?????

It used to be (for us) that when we went on vacation, we left everything behind, including whatever diet we may be on. I mean, really,it’s our vacation… We should be able to enjoy ourselves. We work too hard to deprive ourselves from what we like on one of our rare moments of freedom!!!!!!

Well I sit in my balcony overlooking the ocean realizing that as I approach my 1 year anniversary of the day I began my journey to get healthy (July 19)… for the first time in my life… I actually brought my lifestyle on this trip! What a concept.

Biggest factor: I am on a beach vacation and I can do groceries. I think that’s pretty huge. But on my previous beach trips, our shopping list would be filled with chips, dip, cereal, cookies, sodas, and “easy” stuff. This time around, we split our groceries with ouR dear friends and we bought things like fruits, salad, quinoa, natural peanut butter, real jelly, Ezekiel bread, and vegetables. We made sandwiches for the beach but used Ezekiel bread and good quality deli meat. We took fruits such as mangoes, grapes, berries, and mandarin oranges. We have cabbage soup and lentil soup and eggplant lasagna on the menu for dinners.

I just came up to my apartment to put my kids down for nap and I made myself this delicious salad:


I used organic girlgreens,mandarins, carrots, tomatoes, almonds, craisins, a little leftover chicken that we had for dinner last night, avocados, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and my vacation treat: manchego cheese!!!!! Yummy.

I devoured my salad and it was delicious.

That being said, this morning my hubby made chocolate chip pancakes for the kids and us. We love pancakes and Orlando thinks its a nice tradition to make pancakes in the mornings on weekends or vacations. We used dark chocolate chips,but other than that they weren’t particularly healthy. And that’s ok with us!!! Because it’s a worthwhile treat for us and we are not dieting. I think it’s beautiful and significant that we don’t have to give up every guilty pleasure that we enjoy. But we exercise discretion and moderation and it makes us happier, healthier people and teaches our kids to have positive feelings towards food. They can enjoy a pancake in the morning and have delicious fruits and veggies for lunch. It’s all about balance. Ishould note that Orlando made the delicious pancakes but did not eat them. He doesn’t really likebreakfast foods and pancakes just aren’t worth it to him. So he doesn’t put food in his mouth thats not worth it to him. Instead he will treat himself to some wine while he plays dominoes on the beach because that is something he enjoys. We all have to pick and choose the things we really enjoy instead of indulging on anything just because it’s in front of our face. That is a valuable lesson he has taught me.

As for tomorrow morning, we have our bullet ready for some delicious smoothies and we’ll continue to enjoy our vacation healthily and happily. We’ll keep you posted!

On a road trip

We are on the road heading towards our vacation spot for a week. Thought we’d share with you what snacks we took with us for the road.



We chose these raw veggies because they are easy and not messy. The ranch makes them yummy and it’s a nice treat although orly (my 3 yr old prefers them without the ranch)

We also brought a fruit bowl and water in our cooler. We also put some cheese sticks for the boys. It keeps us satisfied while we’re in the car and beats stopping at a fast food place.

Fearless Friday… Carb-free lasagna

By Caroline:

We all know that at the end of a long week sometimes we just want comfort food. And we definitely want to treat ourselves to something delicious… But at the same time we’re afraid of totally going off the rails. So we thought about the concept of fearless Fridays. Giving you a recipe from time to time thats a healthier alternative to comfort food. It doesn’t have to be the healthiest meal in the world, but we are striving to make better choices. So here’s our first attempt at a healthier weekend meal. It takes some time to make so it’s perfect for Fridays or Saturdays with friends.

By Orlando:

Eggplant lasagna.

It was as good a lasagna as any I’ve ever had. I know it is hard to believe, but I swear it’s true. In place of pasta sheets, we use eggplant sliced in 1/4 inch slices length-wise. A mandolin is ideal in order to get even slices, but you can eye-ball it with a knife. This is a take on a recipe I found online.

The meat in the lasagna is ground turkey and chicken. You can use one or both, but I wanted the depth of flavor that the combination would provide. You can use turkey or chicken sausage as well if you want. A quick note on ground turkey: always check the fat % on the package. Turkey that is 85/15 (15% fat) is as bad as eating ground beef. A 99% or “fat-free” turkey is ideal, but it is super dry. I usually use a 93/7 blend which is still healthy and reasonable.

This is NOT one of our weekly go-to dishes mainly because I use a good deal of cheese (even though they are all fat-free or 2% milk cheese). Also, it is not as packed with vegetables as I normally like. But the true genius of this dish is that you don’t use any spaghetti sauce. The sauce is comprised of all ground turkey/chicken and a combination of red wine, tomato paste, and a small can of Rottela. In other words, you are saving the 100-plus grams of sugar contained on Prego or Ragu. Add to that the absence of any pasta, and you have a relatively healthy, very low-carb lasagna that you can make as a “weekend cheat” dish. As I always do, I will eventually find a way to add a lot of veggies to this dish and make it even healthier, but I didn’t want to go crazy on my first attempt and risk watering-down the lasagna. One of the keys to a good lasagna is that it can stand on its own after plating. This lasagna did so in large part because it was not overly-sauced, but it still had an awesome saucy taste inside of the ground meats.

Mock Noodles

  • 2 large eggplants, peeled, sliced lengthwise into 1/4 inch noodle-like strips
  • cooking spray (olive oil spray is best)
  • salt and pepper

Meat Sauce

  • 1 1/2 lbs ground sirloin or 1 lb ground turkey breast and 1 lb ground chicken (or 2 pounds of your favorite)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 (16 ounce) package sliced mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons italian seasoning (or mix of oregano, basil and thyme)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (if you dare!) (optional)
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 small can of Rotelle tomato sauce
  • 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes (for less sugar, 3 chopped tomatoes)

Cheese Mixture


  1. 1
    Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. 2
    Spray cookie sheet, arrange eggplant slices and season with salt and pepper.
  3. 3
    Cook slices 5 minutes on each side.
  4. 4
    Lower oven temp to 375.
  5. 5
    Brown meat, season with salt, pepper, and Italian Seasonings and place in a bowl.
  6. 6
    Add red pepper, onion, mushrooms, and garlic in olive oil until cooked (don’t forget to season).
  7. 7
    Add spinach, season, and cook for 5-10 minutes. Please DRAIN any excess liquids!!!!!
  8. 8
    Add the meat to the mixture and add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, and red wine. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  9. Blend ricotta, egg and onion mixture in a bowl. Spray cooking spray in bottom of 9” x 13” glass pan. You can use a smaller pan for a taller lasagna.
  10. 10
    Layer ½ eggplant slices, ricotta, meat, mozzarella and parmesan.
  11. 11
  12. 12
    Add last layer of sauce, then mozzarella and parmesan on top.
  13. 13
    Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour.
  14. 14
    Remove foil and bake or broil another 5-10 minutes until cheese is browned.
  15. 15
    Let it rest 10 minutes before slicing, if you can wait that long!

Weekly Staples

Lots of people have asked me what are the staples we have in our home and what we do for meal planning. I have to confess…my situation might be a little different from most other people because my husband likes to cook dinner and therefore he goes to the grocery store every evening to choose what he’s going to make for dinner. Yes, Orlando goes to the grocery store almost every single day. THAT DOES NOT MEAN YOU HAVE TO DO THIS!!!!! This has it’s benefits because we tend to eat fresh foods instead of frozen foods, and because I can always have Orlando pick up something we need, but this doesn’t work for everyone…I, for example, would NOT go to a grocery store every day!

This being said…we do have staples in our home, and as time has gone by, we have started planning our meals much more than we used to in the past. Plus, the daily grocery visits only have to do with dinner. We buy at BJ’s, Costco, or any other grocery store for the week food for our breakfasts, lunches, and snacks.


SPICES- One of the things Dr. Sanchez has told me is the importance of consuming different spices. Spices and herbs are supposed to have incredible healing powers and its really so easy to add them to your meals while cooking.

  • Turmeric
  • Coriander
  • Cumin
  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger root
  • Garlic cloves

TURMERIC, CORIANDER, & CUMIN: These spices are relatively new to our diet. I had never even heard of Turmeric until I met an Indian nurse who told me about it. I had always heard that Indian food was medicinal. This nurse told me that Indians season their meats in the United States with Turmeric to kill the pesticides. I don’t know if this is true or not, but I researched the benefits of Turmeric and found tons of literature. We incorporate spices such as Turmeric and coriander to most of our meals now, including our soups, our chicken, and anywhere else we can sneak it in. And we ALWAYS have it at the house ready to use. You can google the health benefits of any of these spices and take a look for yourself. Here are some articles I found interesting.

Ginger -I love having these 2 staples in our home because they add a delicious taste and are also so good for you. Ginger is supposed to help with headaches, swelling, digestion, common colds, etc. I put a little ginger in our smoothies in the morning. I don’t juice very often but I LOVE juicing carrots, ginger, and oranges. IT is delicious!!!!

CAVEAT: A little ginger goes a LONG way. I tend to buy a small root so it doesn’t go to waste. You only need put a little bit like half an inch when you’re incorporating it into your meals or smoothies. Otherwise it will overpower your meal and you will hate it! So make sure you err on the side of caution and start very small. Then you can add more and see what your palette and your family’s can tolerate.

Fresh Garlic – we love to roast our Garlic. It squeezes out like butter and has a sweetness to it. Its absolutely delicious in recipes. We used it when we tried our red beet soup and started incorporating it into other meals. We also chop up the raw garlic and use it as a base for soups, stir fries, chicken, etc.

The more herbs and spices you can cook with, the better. We are just giving you some we always have at the house.

FRUITS AND VEGGIES- In this department we go crazy because most of our daily diet consists of fruits and Vegetables. Since we order from a coop, Annie’s Buying Club, we get a box of fruits and vegetables every 2 weeks that forces us to cook vegetables that we’re not really familiar with. Our cabbage soup, which is now a weekly meal in our home, came from getting a head of cabbage in this box that we didn’t know what to do with. We’ve also discovered other jewels like eggplant lasagna, and beet soup.

But the weeks we don’t have that box, we stick to a few basics that we know we love.


  • bananas
  • organic apples
  • pears
  • organic grapes
  • organic strawberries
  • organic blueberries
  • organic  raspberries
  • melon – watermelon or cantaloupe
  • mango
  • tomatoes – some think this is a vegetable but its a fruit. I like to add it to my salads or for with balsamic vinegar for snack.
  • kiwi
  • peaches
  • oranges
  • Pineapples
  • frozen organic berries
  • any other frozen fruits
I don’t necessarily have all of these fruits in my house at one time. I tend to buy a big pack of organic apples at BJ’s because they don’t spoil quickly. I love putting apples in our morning smoothies, and chopping them up in our salads. I also use a cheese grater to make apple sauce for my 1 year old and he loves it. I do the same thing with Pears. I usually buy what’s in season so when mangoes are in season, we eat a lot of mango. When berries are in season, we eat a lot of berries. Fruits do not last in my home. Every morning I chop up pieces of whatever fruits I have at the house and let my kids pick at them until their smoothies are ready. I also have fruits available for snacks.
For my smoothies- I use the frozen fruits because its cheaper and the smoothies come out colder.


  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus
  • Leeks
  • Green beans
  • Organic Girl Greens
  • squash
  • zucchini
  • sweet potatoes
  • butternut squash
  • onions
  • mushrooms
  • carrots
  • avocados
  • kale

AGAIN, we don’t necessarily have all these at the house at the exact same time. The food we eat is perishable and therefore we buy with caution. We don’t buy more than we know we can consume. The week we get our box we eat the veggies in the box and sometimes buy some additional veggies if a recipe calls for it. The week we don’t have our box we usually make cabbage soup one night a week (recipe in prior post) which requires a lot of veggies, asparagus and leeks (a combination we love) once a week. Steamed broccoli once a week. Sweet potato once a week (this serves as our carb and we have another green vegetable on the plate like green beans, broccoli, asparagus, etc.)

We also like to make a vegetable stir fry once a week where we add a ton of veggies and no animal protein (recipe to follow in another post).

Raw veggies and Leftovers – I tend to use as much of our veggies as I can in our daily salads. I usually break a couple of pieces of broccoli from and toss in the salads. I use a peeler to peel the carrots. Instead of baby carrots or pre-cut carrots, I like the thin strips of carrots that I get with the peeler in our salads. I switch up the greens from Organic Girl. They have a super greens box which I like a lot. other times I get the 50/50 mix and sometimes I get just Spinach. They’re all good and I try different ones simply for variety. If I have leftover stir fry from the evening before or red beets that we roasted, I pack it up in a separate container. Then at lunch time I heat it up and sprinkle on top of my salad. I like adding hot food to my salads once in a while and the veggies are a nice mix.

FOR MY SMOOTHIES-  I always have kale, collard greens, or watercress for my smoothies. I love adding other ingredients which I will discuss in other posts but I have those as staples. When I run out of these, I can always grab some greens from my organic girl box and use that instead.


  • Organic chicken
  • Wild caught Salmon
  • Turkey picadillo

I find organic chicken at Costco. I usually buy dark meat for the boys because it is softer and easier to eat. And I buy boneless chicken breast for us.
I buy wild salmon at Whole foods. I wait for the sale, sometimes they have it at $9.99 per pound and they’ve even gone as low as $7.99. When they have this sale, I buy tons of it. and store it in my freezer. Then I leave it out to defrost and eat it for dinner once a week.

We usually eat chicken, salmon, and turkey picadillo each once a week and the other nights eat soup or stir fry and try to go without animal protein or fish. But from time to time, Orlando goes to Captain’s tavern (a fish market by our home) and buys a nice sea bass, or shrimp for us. And once in a while we have a new york strip. We have red meat maybe once a month and its usually on a Friday as a treat for us.


Nuts and seeds are a great snack because they are portable. Its probably one of the only things we have that we can put in a ziplock baggie and take with us anywhere, or keep at our desks.

  • sunflower seeds
  • pumpkin seeds
  • raw almonds
  • raw pecans
  • walnuts
  • sliced almonds
  • raw cashews
  • macadamian nuts
  • pistachios

I always have nuts in my bag in case i’m starving and i’m driving home or at my desk and ran out of food. I don’t spend all day snacking on nuts by any means, but I do probably eat them once a day.

I try to incorporate these into our salads as well as for snacks. I usually put walnuts, sliced almonds, and pecans in our salads. Sometimes I put the sunflower seeds in our salads also. I love adding crunch to our salads!


  • almond milk
  • grassfed cow’s milk
  • oikos yogurt
  • cage free eggs
  • organic unsalted butter

I personally don’t eat yogurt. Its a texture issue for me. But my kids love it so I give them a yogurt every day. Orly drinks one cup of cow’s milk in the morning usually and I have one cup of the milk to make my cafe con leche. That’s it for our milk consumption. Justin doesn’t drink cow’s milk because he’s allergic to it so I give him almond milk, goat’s milk, or rice milk.

I use almond milk with my oatmeal.

I always have eggs in our house because I make hard boiled eggs in batches. Then I put them in our salads, with avocados (Recipe in prior post) or by themselves.

Grains and Beans – Grains and beans are really the only items we buy that have a longer shelf life and don’t have to be consumed within the week. I go to whole foods and buy grains and beans such as

  • Millet
  • Barley
  • Quinoa
  • Germinated brown rice
  • steel cut oats.
  • black beans
  • red beans
  • lentils.

I keep these in containers at the house. Then we have them in case we need them. Sometimes I make a batch of quinoa and use it for dinner one night,and for lunch for the boys the next day, etc. I do the same thing with all the other grains. We do not eat grains every day. We make lentil soup once every week or two weeks. And we always make enough to have leftovers.

I love making steel cut oats and storing it for breakfast for the boys. I sweeten it up with some vanilla extract and cinnamon.

CAVEAT: Sometimes we need to be practical. As much as I love steel cut oats, I always keep the little microwaveable oatmeal packets at my office or at home. I love these little packets because again they are portable and if I’m in a pinch in the office, I make myself a little oatmeal packet. And of course sometimes my kids want oatmeal in the mornings and I don’t have any more of my steel cut oats batch so I make them a quick packet with almond milk.

My motto is I try my best to eat as healthy as possible, but we have to always be prepared for when we are in a rush and eat as best we can in those situations also.

Other staples-

  • liquid stevia
  • natural peanut butter
  • a good jelly made of pure fruit and with no preservatives
  • ezekiel bread
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • coconut oil

We try to cook with coconut oil as frequently as possible to avoid altering the olive oil properties. I use olive oil for salads and to drizzle on other foods.

I think this is a pretty comprehensive list of the items we keep in our home. We use to have things like wheat crackers and deli meats, and slices of processed cheese. We have eliminated those foods from our diet. But as I’ve said before, we buy what we eat. We don’t typically have food sitting in our shelves, fridge or freezer for long periods of time. Sometimes I buy something different like Mint. And then I spend the whole week making different recipes with mint. I will post about all those things along the way, but at least this is a good starting guide for what to look for in your grocery stores.

Please let me know via comments or email if you have questions, suggestions, or if this is a helpful list for you.