New year. New me.

I’m not sharing this so people feel bad for me. I’m not sharing this so that people who keep tabs on me anonymously through the internet can gain knowledge of my personal story. I’m not sharing this because I am an expert.

I am sharing this so that if someone finds themselves in my position, they know that there’s hope.

I know that I needed hope.

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New title, same great site!

To my faithful followers,

Thank you so much for your continued support! I have made the decision to change the title of this page to reflect my evolving life. “Mommy” is now the most important role I play. It’s the best job title I have ever had! Don’t worry, even though there is a new name, you will still get the same awesome recipes!

xoxo,
Sara (and Lyra too!)

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Teacher. Foodie. Athlete. and now Mommy!

When I say I fell off the paleo wagon, I may as well say I canonballed off and didn’t look back! Teacher. Foodie. Athlete. became starving pregnant woman with carbalicious cravings. In the year that I’ve been MIA, my husband and I created the most beautiful baby girl and she is a happy (and more importantly healthy) little three month old now. With my diet change and that whole growing another human thing, I gained WAY too much weight. Three months postpartum I have decided it is time to get back on the paleo train! I am nursing my sweet girl, so my doc advised to add a calcium supplement to the paleo regime, but it’s safe to say I’m baccccccck! Stay tuned for some new creations as I look to get back into the best shape of my life! For now, I introduce you to the most perfect daughter I could have ever asked for – Lyra Maria!

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Eating Our Way Through the Mediterranean

The name of my blog alone pretty much sums up my life. Lately, the “foodie” portion is taking over. After an incredible wedding, my husband and I were off on a dream honeymoon. We chartered a sailboat in the Mediterranean (ok, actually the Tyrrhenian Sea) and we were off to explore Sardinia and Corsica. Not only were we in one of the most beautiful places on Earth, but it was also the most delicious! We spent half of our trip in Sardinia (Italian cuisine) and the other half in Corsica (French cuisine). Lunch on the yacht was prepared for us using the freshest of local ingredients and styles. This blog is a photographic journey through the scrumptious trip of a lifetime. I was inspired by the simplicity of good ingredients and tasty combinations. I hope you are too.

**Warning: Do not proceed if you are hungry. You may drool.**

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Our “welcome” lunch complete with roasted chicken, chopped salad, and tasty bread.

IMG_0382Upon boarding, we were greeted with a yummy bottle of champagne, the right way to start the trip!

IMG_0386There was always fresh fruit available to us. These were some super juicy apricots!

IMG_0436Our first “happy hour sunset” in Alghero, Sardinia. We enjoyed a glass of red paired with out cheese, meat, olives, onions, and toasts.

IMG_0457I worked my butt off leading up to the wedding dreaming of pasta. It is incredible how PERFECT the Italians prepare it! Al dente spaghetti with mussels, clams, and calamari in a delightful tomato sauce.

IMG_0458Mako shark stew with tomatoes, olives, and capers.

IMG_0460Sardinian white. Yum!

IMG_0461Nutella gellato. Why stop with just the creamy delight, throw a yummy wafer on top!

IMG_0466We were served french press coffee each morning on the deck. So yummy!

IMG_0485Cured beef over a bed of arugula with shaved Parmesan and spicy mustard.

IMG_0486Bruchetta. SOOOOO fresh and delish!

IMG_0487Rice salad. I would have never thought to use rice in place of small pasta in salads like this.

IMG_0488Cathleen tossing an incredible Greek salad with lots of tzatziki sauce!

IMG_0489Fresh lunch!

IMG_0558Snack with our afternoon tea.

IMG_0577This may be the only picture of me where I am totally at peace. Just looking at it calms me!

IMG_0629My handsome husband and a bottle of prosecco!

IMG_0630Mixed seafood salad. Citrusy calamari, mussels, clams, and tomatoes.

IMG_0631Garlicy clams over perfectly cooked spaghetti.

IMG_0633Horse. Yes, you heard me right. Served with grilled eggplant and “grilled cheese”.

IMG_0634Simplicity. Swordfish with salt, pepper, and lemon. Perfect!

IMG_0639Yes, those were stuffed with Nutella.

IMG_0641I wish we had stands like this in New Jersey!

IMG_0642Beautiful.

IMG_0643So fresh and perfectly ripe!

IMG_0644Perfect produce!

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Heirloom tomatoes.

IMG_0646Sweet as candy!

IMG_0647So fun!

IMG_0676Sardinian beer!

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Prosciutto wrapped melon! Salty sweet deliciousness!

IMG_0679Citrus fennel salad with almonds. Tasty!

IMG_0680Panchetta, spinach, and mushroom quiche.

IMG_0777Seabass on the grill.

IMG_0788Grilled zucchini.

IMG_0789 Tomato salad topped with parsley and olives.

IMG_0807Incredible dessert! Grilled nectarine and fig topped with Greek yogurt and a reduced syrup!

IMG_0838Caprese salad on a bed of mixed greens and topped with olives.

IMG_0839Melanzana Ensalata (aka eggplant goop)

IMG_0840Mackerel cous cous salad

IMG_0841A classic ceasar

IMG_0901My favorite red of the trip

IMG_0905Inferno pizza – With hot pepper oil and pancetta!

IMG_0906Oh yum! Margarita pizza!

IMG_0927Yep, more carby breakfast!

IMG_0929Fennel, orange, and radicchio with a sweet vinaigrette.

IMG_0930Chicken waldorf salad complete with grapes, apples, and walnuts.

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Stuffed grape leaves.

IMG_1045Rose wines are a must in Corsica!

IMG_1046My first French meal – a delightful plate of cured meats, cheeses, and wild boar terrine.

IMG_1047Octopus stew!

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Nutella crepe

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Lemon-sugar crepe

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Yep, more carbs.

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Corsican beer.

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Wild boar pate. So very very very good.

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Fresh salad with avocado and tomato.

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Duck confit salad. AWESOME!

IMG_1101The first “brown” bread of the trip.

IMG_1102French cheeses.

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My favorite wine of the trip!

IMG_1175We need our local wine bar to find this in the states!

IMG_1178Fish soup, a Corsican specialty.

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The whole fish grilled with a coconut sauce. Yumm-o.

IMG_1186 Fish grilled with a red pepper puree.

IMG_1189Pistachio mousse.

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No caption needed.

IMG_1195Fruit salad with cantaloupe, grapes, and lemon plums topped with limoncello.

IMG_1196A Corsican red, Dave’s favorite.

IMG_1197Eggplant caponatta on crackers.

IMG_1198 Beans with a soy dressing.

IMG_1199 “Tuna Sandwich” Salad – tuna, croutons, tomatoes, herbs, and a delicious vinaigrette.

IMG_1200Hummus with lots of paprika.

IMG_1211Sailor Mussels with the sweetest onions I have ever tasted.

IMG_1212Salty goodness.

IMG_1213Wild boar stew on top of fresh pasta.

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There was a chestnut crepe there. I had no willpower to resist and then realized I forgot to take a picture.

IMG_1216Cheese dessert plate.

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The French take on Nutella gellato.

IMG_1269Our last happy hour. French cheese, bread, and rose wine.

IMG_1278So sad to be having our last dinner, but very excited in anticipation for it.

IMG_1279Incredible fish soup!

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Thick pieces of prosciutto.

IMG_1281Roasted quail.

IMG_1282Roasted goat.

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Caramel creme – much like flan.

IMG_1285Creme brulee.

IMG_1293Tasty espresso.

IMG_1294Sweets for breakfast.

IMG_1295DELISH cappuccino!

Mission Accomplished. Advocare 24 Day Challenge Advice.

I can’t believe I am about to say this, but I have reached my wedding goal weight… 13 days early.

I have been working towards this since October, but have gotten very serious since April 1st. Between intense workouts and a completely modified diet, it has been very hard work.

The Advocare 24 Day Challenge is what I give a lot of the credit to. When starting it in April, I was at a loss for how I would go about this lifestyle change. Upon its completion, I put together this list of advice for friends of mine who were about to embark on the challenge themselves. I hope that this list finds its way into the hands of other people who are looking to be successful on the 24 Day Challenge too.

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Purchase the Challenge Bundle

Things I wish I knew before starting the challenge:

-Spaghetti squash, almond flour, hard boiled eggs, fresh ground peanut butter, and almond milk were all staples for me. A trip to Whole Foods may be a good idea before starting.

-Plan ahead! Knowing what you are going to be eating the night before makes a big difference! I also would sort out all the pills so that I didn’t have to worry about it throughout the day.

-I went through so much lemon and garlic. Great flavor without the calories. Also, Savory Spice Shop in Westfield has amazing spices that seem to have way more flavor than what you get at the supermarket.

-Google “paleo recipes”. They are carb and dairy free! I also use Pinterest a lot and there were some awesome idea there.

-Instead of planning out lunch each day, make an extra helping of dinner and reheat it the next day!

-The fiber “drink” during the cleanse phase is awful. Unfortunately, I don’t have any suggestions so it doesn’t suck so much. The only perk is that you won’t have to do it every day.

-During the second phase, you get a protein shake. I suggest getting the chocolate one and then making it in the blender with water, ice, and a spoonful of peanut butter. It is like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup!

-The supplements come with Spark energy drink. If it isn’t totally mixed with ice cold water, the clumps have a nasty aftertaste. I would make mine in my blender bottle (a plastic cup/lid with a metal ball that mixes the powder in. They sell them at Whole Foods too).

-I was told every day to stop weighing myself each morning. I couldn’t resist, but when the scale stopped moving for the last week and a half it was so discouraging. I would really suggest trying to wait until the last day, because even though is may be stuck at the same number, you will be losing inches.

-There were times when I really just needed something sweet. I always had sugar free Jello ready to go in my moments of weakness. 20 calories a serving!

Reflection on a “Year”

For the past 8 years, June has always been a time of reflection for me. Being a teacher, “years” don’t start in January and end in December – rather, they are a journey that you embark on with a new set of young minds in September. This year has been the most memorable one yet. I wish I could say this was because of joyous events, but that is not the case. This year has been tragic. Heaven took on far too many new angels at such a young age and a storm tore apart our beloved state.

As a teacher, I never expected to lose a student. The unthinkable happened twice this year.

Allie was a beloved member of my volleyball team. Her smile lit up the entire gym. She fought a courageous battle against cancer, serving as an inspiration to us all.

Mark was a sweet and quiet soul in my seventh period class. It was great to watch as he found his place at our high school. Just as he began to open up as a kind young man, he gained his angel wings too.

Hurricane Sandy brought a different type of destruction to this year. To watch as entire communities were swept away was shocking. Things like this never happen to us right? We just watch the stories unfold in faraway places on the news. Not this time.

I feel guilty saying that the loss of our family’s summer home has flipped my world upside down. People lost their ONLY homes. I realize this, and can’t imagine how hard that must be. I am having a really hard time coming to grips with the fact that my life as I have known it for 30 years has completely changed.

This year has been hard, but what is the point of toughing it out if you don’t learn lessons and grow as a person because of it?

Don’t take life for granted.
Seize the day.
Reach out to someone who could use it.
Donate.
Look to be better tomorrow than you are today.
Smile when it is hard, you never know who needs to see your smile.
Love.
Do good.