Splendid Spoon Review

Years ago, before kids, my husband and I were vegetarians. Once I became pregnant with my first, my taste buds rapidly changed and I became a voracious carnivore. Over the years we have been getting back to our roots. While we still love and eat meat, our bodies love us a whole lot more when we stock up on all the veggies.

I have a gluten allergy and dairy seems to be bothering my husband, so we’ve been testing new dairy free recipes. We happened upon one of those delivery services that delivers all the meals prepared and this one is GLUTEN FREE and VEGAN!

Now with the convenience of prepared meals, comes a higher price tag, but for prepared, plant based, nutrient dense food, I’d argue it is money well spent. We decided to give The Splendid Spoon a try. My husband LOOOOVES soup, while I prefer to chew my food ūüėČ However we were both a HUGE fan.

There are multiple packages available at Splendid Spoon

  • Breakfast $65,¬† Includes 5 smoothies
  • Lunch $65,¬†Includes 5 pant based lunch/soup bowls
  • Soup Cleanse $65, 4 drinkable soups and 1 plant based soup
  • Program 2.0, $135¬†– The BEST option: includes everything listed above ( Breakfast + Lunch + Soup Cleanse) – use this link to get $20 off your first order, making the program 2.0 only $115
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Smoothies
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Lunch
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Soup Cleanse

I’m a big smoothie drinker so it thought this would be my favorite part. The majority of these smoothies do NOT contain bananas. Bananas are one of the main ingredients typically seen in smoothies to make them sweet. Without the banana, they are still good, but not as sweet as you expect. My favorite was the Cacao Almond smoothie and I was especially pleased by how filling all the smoothies were. The Hibiscus was tart with the primary flavors of blueberry and cranberry, the ABJ actually tasted like a PB&J sandwich, and the Cacao Almond had a nice sweet almond flavor.

My husband and I realized we consume a lot of salt in our daily lives because while these soups were packed with flavor, we kept reaching for the salt shaker. I love the balance of flavors of all the soups, but my personal favorite was the Borscht. The sweetness of apple and bright flavor of dill made this a full bodied soup. My favorite part of the soups was that they were all such unique flavors that I normally would not have prepared myself. Each container is 2 cups making this a great meal or perfect to share with your spouse with a side salad.

Want to give the Splendid Spoon a try? Use this link to receive $20 off your first order ‚̧ We’d love to hear what you think.

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Eat your veggies

A friend told me she gets her family to eat more veggies by always keeping stock of their favorite dips. The rule is they can eat all the dip they want, if they eat it will veggies.

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Goodbye empty carbs, hello nutrient fiber filled veggies.

Grilled chicken with buffalo sauce
Veggies, olives, and homemade ranch dip

Shakeology Recipes

Shakeology makes for the perfect meal while traveling.
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Vegan Vanilla Shakeology + frozen bluberries, strawberries, and bananas
 
Interested in giving Shakeology a try, here’s a link to our $20 vegan sampler pack (chocolate, vanilla, cafe latte, and strawberry).
 
 
Have questions? Just ask ‚̧ ¬†iamglutenfreefl@gmail.com

Chimichurri

Chimichurri – added flavor you can feel good about
a bunch of cilantro
a bunch of parsley
2 cloves of garlic (or WAY more if you’re my husband)
olive oil

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Blend together in a food processor and TADA – so much flavor to brighten up any dish. We love to marinade our chicken in this and save half the mixture to pour on top when it comes off the grill. This also makes a kicks dressing for salads, potatoes, or cauliflower rice.

Be creative. What would you put this on?

Why I drink Shakeology

As a mother of 3, sometimes throwing together nutritious meals if something I can only dream of. For those days I love the ease of Shakeology. More than just a protein shake, shakeology is full of nutrients, pre and probiotics, and I order the vegan packets to cut back on my dairy consumption.
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Vanilla Shakeology + frozen banana + strawberry + coconut water
 
Try our Clean Week Challenge ($29.95)
– 7 samples shakeology
– access to online workouts
– a step-by-step guide to healthy eating, including simple and delicious recipes for your meals and Shakeology.
 
 
Have questions, just ask ¬†‚̧ ¬†iamglutenfreefl@gmail.com

Crockpot Chicken Soup

Pull out your crockpot because this is the EASIEST meal. So full of flavor and #whole30 approved if you skip the rice. PLUS, it was the best meal for being sick.

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I used a 6 lb chicken instead of 3 and have half the meat leftover for dinners this week. Tacos? Chicken salad? Whatever suits your fancy.

4 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb carrots, diced
2 onions, diced
4 celery stalks, diced
1 3-pound whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
4-6 cups water
1/3 cup chopped fresh dill (or 1 tsp dried oregano and 1/2 tsp dried thyme)
1 teaspoon fine sea salt, more for salting the chicken and more to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, more to taste
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup uncooked brown rice
i bag spinach

Directions
Place garlic, carrots, onion, and celery into the insert of your slow cooker.
Pat chicken dry and season generously with sea salt, then add the chicken into the slow cooker.
Add in the water, dill, salt, pepper, and bay leaf.
Set on low for 8 hours.
Add rice and spinach one hour before eating.
Once done, discard the bay leaf and remove the chicken to shred. Discard the skin and bones.
Place chicken back into the slow cooker. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.

Easy breakfast

I was sick all weekend, so nothing got prepped as I did nothing but nurse a baby and sleep. Luckily, a well stocked kitchen means we can always throw something simple and healthy together.

This week’s breakfast
Avocado toast (on Glutenfree Canyon Bread with trader Joe’s “everything but the bagel” seasoning) ¬†and grapefruit

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Smash a hardboiled egg with the avocado for some added protein.

How to pass the VIPKID interview

In December 2016, I quit my job as a brick and mortar teacher. We were moving states and honestly, the pressures of being a full time working mom had me walking a fine line between success and insanity. Mid-move, I stumbled upon the link for VIPKID in a facebook group for moms and something about it caught my interest.vipkidA fast week later, I had clicked on the link, signed up for information, interviewed, and been hired as an independent contractor to work as an English teacher for this Beijing based company. I had a massive fear it was all a scam, but 6 months in, I’m working 15-20 hours a week and staying home with my kiddos. Average pay is about $20 an hour, so while it does not substitute my full time salary, I have chosen to only work part time to still gave time with my family.

No Chinese knowledge is necessary, as this is a full immersion program. The program relies heavily on your use of TPR (total physical response) and the use of props. The process seems unbelievable overwhelming at first, but its just because the teaching style is unlike what us brick and mortar teachers are used to.

Key elements to keep in mind…
1. Limit incidental language– this means, VIPKID will provide you with target sentences. Use these. Don’t get carried away with long directions, just stick to the target sentences and model them in action.

For example, if you want the student to pick an answer, show them.

Say “Elephant” “Tiger.”¬† while circling the corresponding image.
Circle tiger while saying “t-t-t-t-tiger”. This shows the students you are looking for the word with the initial sound of “t”. Then ask. “Circle the picture that starts with t-t-t”

2. Encourage the student to speak. If they don’t answer your questions, no worries….you ask, then answer, and have them repeat. It is acceptable to give the student the answer, because repetition is the key to success when learning a new language. We want to model correct pronunciation and have them practice.

3.Correct their mistakes and encourage the use of complete sentences via modeling.
T: What is this?van
S: van (pronounced w-a-n)
T: v-v-v-van
S: van
T: This is a van
S: This is a van.

VIPKID offers multiple ideas for reward systems. Be sure to use it consistently and to provide physical praise (smiles, thumbs up, high fives). It is intimidating to speak a new language in front of strangers, reassure them that they are doing great!thumbs ups

Image via clipartpanda.com 

I get a small compensation, if you use my link and are hired to teach, so let me know if there is anyway I can help you with the process : iamglutenfreefl@gmail.com

Surviving off of caffeine

I’ve always been a working mom up until recently. This move to Atlanta inspired us to grab life by the horns and make it exactly what we want. Afterall, we only get to live once, right?

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#fueledbycoffee

I traded in my full time job (and salary) for a part time gig (or 2 or 3). I spend my mornings and some evenings when the kids are in bed teaching kids in China English with VIPKID school. You know the place. You’ve seen the ad on facebook. I have to be honest, at first I thought this company was a scam and figured I was donating my hours to the good people of China, but it has turned out to be a dream come true. Flexible hours, competitive pay, and I get to work from home and have the ability to devote my best self to my kids. If you’re a teacher looking for extra cash, a summer job, or maybe to take a break from the classroom, check this company out. I’m happy to help answer any questions you may have about the interview process or why VIPKID is a good fit for you. (iamglutenfreefl@gmail.com)

I spend the rest of my day writing articles about Life in Atlanta with Kids for care.com, focusing on rebuilding my family photography business here in the Newnan/Sharpsburg/Peachtree City area, and of course the best part-giving my best self to my family.

These busy days must start with coffee! My personal favorite is sipping a hot latte while the kids eat breakfast and we make plans for the day. #fueledbycoffee
If I’m in a rush (or looking to be healthier), I keep cold brew on hand and mix 1 cup coffee, 1 scoop vegan chocolate shakeology, ice, and 1/2 frozen banana in the blender and sip this protein, nutrient rich drink while on the go. High in protein, iron, and other important nutrients, this keeps me full and the extra caffeine gives me the buzz I need to get things done. Plus lets be honest, those lattes (loaded with whole milk and sugar) aren’t always so kind to my 30 something body.

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Now, working from home, sometimes I need to get out of my own house. For those days, Atlanta is the mecca for funky shops and restaurants and I love trying all the places around town. Coffee sipping and people watching- YES PLEASE! Check out a few of my favorite coffee shops in Atlanta for when you’ve got the kids in tow. These places are all designed for the convenience of your morning cup and the comfort of your crazy kids ‚̧

 

 

Keeping cool this summer

With summer’s scorching heat, my husband and I have both been hitting a wall when it comes to working or playing outside. This summer mocktail is such a refreshing treat!

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We’re trying to make this house a home and keep the kids engaged outside with all the fun that Atlanta has to offer, but goooooooodness…..this heat is enough to knock anyone on their bootay.¬†This watermelon lime concoction has become our summer go-to to beat the heat and stay hydrated and even the kids like it.

Ingredients
1-2 cups watermelon
ice
juice from 1/2-1 lime
mint leaves
Toss in the blender and enjoy!

Don’t feel like taking out the blender? Try one of my favorites, Hydrate, from the beachbody performance line. Just add water and shake!

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Tastes like orange gatorade, is similar in price, but contains natural ingredients you can feel good about. For comparison, Beachbody Hydrate has a few more items on the nutrition label than the Gatorade Organic. At just 10 grams of sugar, Hydrate is significantly lower than gatorade. The sodium and potassium counts are the same and in addition to beet sugar and dextrose it contains the stevia leaf extract as well as natural mandarin orange flavor as a sweetener. Magnesium(an electrolyte) & Quercitin are two (natural) key ingredients that improve hydrawtion, improve endurance, and decrease exercise induced muscle fatigue.

Beachbody Hydrate is far superior to the vast majority of commercial sports drinks with  a lot less sugar and the added the benefits of magnesium and quercetin. Check it out $34.95 for 40 servings means less than $1 a serving!