New website! 

Hello Everyone! New and exciting things are happening at A Hearty Journey. 

My blog has moved to :: A Hearty Journey

New design and some posts that you may have not seen! Check it out and let me know what you think. You will also notice my new logo .. Something special will be coming in regards to that as well!! 

Thanks my friends!! 

Happiness Project Week 7

The whole point of a Happiness Project is to become a happier person, right? This month as many of you know I am working towards being happier at my 9-5 job and with what I create. This isn’t as easy as I thought it was going to be. I have moments where I am completely happy at work and others where I want to rip my hair out. I am on the precipice where I really want to be grateful that I even have a job and why should I be stuck doing something for 40 hours a week that I am not passionate about.

This has created some interesting thoughts in my head. On Friday I couldn’t wait to leave for the weekend because I had so much fun stuff planned and I just wanted to get on with it! That was 8 hours of not enjoying the moment but thinking of things to come. I am so sick of doing that. I don’t want to just work for the weekend. I want to enjoy my week as well. I can’t do my passion for my career but I can enjoy my time dammit!

So here comes my little craft project. I have a cubicle just like thousands of other people in the world. Mine is actually hilarious because the office I work out of is in a converted house so technically I am in the kitchen. Anyway, I am so sick of looking at boring gray walls day in and day out.img_3601

I grabbed some random scrap paper, scissors, twine and a hole punch and made a really cute banner to hang on the wall (see directions below my friends). I also printed out some uplifting quotes and my favorite pictures. At any craft store (or even Walmart) you can get mini clothespins to use to hang up all of these happiness triggers on your walls. My thought process is that I have to spend 8 hours a day in this place. I might as well have a space that makes me feel happy and positive. Now I can just look to my right and see my motivation for why I do this job. I need to enjoy these moments because one day I will look back on this time and realize that everything happened so fast and I never got to sit down and enjoy myself.


Cubicle Decorations


  • Scrapbook paper (or any paper you have laying around)
  • A Hole Punch
  • Scissors
  • Twine
  • A printer to print out pictures and/or quotes

I measured out the length of my cubicle and then cut out twine to that size. Then I cut out some triangles from the scrapbook paper and punched two holes at the time, threaded them onto the twin and BOOM a cute little banner that brings me way too much joy.

Underneath I just took some more twine, attached it to my cubicle walls and hung the quotes and pictures I printed out with the clothespins. This is a very and inexpensive way to  make your space fit your personal style and make it enjoyable for 8 hours.

Food and Football


I was so excited to write this blog post. Fall if my absolute favorite time of year. Not only is it when I got married, but it also represents change for me. The leaves turn colors, the clocks go back and all my favorite foods come out (yes I am one of the “everything pumpkin person” – but  am also loving things apple cider lately). Also, it is the start of football season. I was raised by a football loving family. Every Sunday (even the Sunday I got married) everyone would gather around the TV and watch the game. Now that my sister and I have both moved out of the house, we watch these games while on the phone yelling at the TV, because you know that football players can hear you.

This year I wanted to have my parents over for the first game to kind of celebrate my Dad going back to work and the fact that I believe we are finally over the slump of his heart surgery. I know my Dad and I know I would have to provide some game day snacks for him to munch on. So I did some research and came up with some healthy options for him. One was salty and the other one was sweet. I thought it would be a nice balance for him. I was so happy to be able to provide something healthy for him. I know this journey is hard on him and he is used to watching the game with a beer in one hand and a bowl of chips and pretzels with cheese in the other. He still had that beer (who would have ever thought my Dad would be drinking light beer) and he still got some cheese!

Apple Cookiesimg_3562

  • Granny Smith Apples (or really any apple of your choosing)
  • Almond or Peanut Butter
  • Toppings: nuts, chocolate chips, coconut etc…

Core and slice thickly the apple. Place them on a plate and cover with your choice of nut butter and toppings. This is such an easy snack and it is so delicious.

Cuban Stackers

  • Low Sodium Ham
  • Dill Picklesimg_3563
  • Swiss Cheese

You will need some toothpicks for this one. All I did was cut some swiss cheese into cubes and the dill pickles into chunks. Then I stacked everything on a toothpick and that was it! So easy and you honestly do miss the bread on this one. I had some mustard to dip but you can really eat these plain.


My journey to a healthier lifestyle has really taught me about how food brings people together. And unfortunately is can be struggles to eat right in social situations. You don’t want to be left out so you will just grab whatever everyone else is eating. I am so lucky to have supportive experience has really shown me what you can do when you put your mind to something and have an amazing support system.

Did anyone else have a get together for the beginning of football season? I would to hear about it!

Happiness Project Week 6

This is the situation I am currently in. Let me know if it sounds familiar.

I sit behind a desk all day, answering phones and entering data into spreadsheets. While doing this my brain is going a thousand miles a minute. Blog post this and recipe idea that. I wish I could bring my laptop and on my down time get this stuff done. I can’t. So I keep a yellow tablet next to me at all times and write this shit down so I don’t forget it. I get through my day, come home and take out that tablet. I probably have at least 10 items on it. Do I do them? No. There are a million other things that i need to get done while I am at home and none of those things are on that list. Soon bed time rolls around and I start out my day all over again. Sound familiar? I am so sorry if it does.

I can’t just quit my job and blog full time. I wish I could, but it is just not in the cards for me. Until that time comes I need to better utilize my time. This month I have been reading books about creating on down time and how to find the perfect job outside of the 9-5. These books have been so eye opening. It has shown me that there are a lot of people out there who dream big. Their creative selves are stifled by their cubicles. I have one life; I will not get a redo. This past week has been about finding the extra time to be creative. I have been forcing myself to follow an amazing writing prompt by Lisa Sonora. She does these monthly and this month the theme is FIRE. The prompts really get me thinking about why I create and why it is important to be creative. There are so many times where I just say fuck it and sit and watch TV or read a book. The least I can do is be creative. Create a new dish or write a page in the novel that I keep forgetting about, work on vision boards that I have been wanting to start for a year now. I have to not let the mundane control me. So what that I have a boring job – a lot of people do. I have the time and the space to do the things that make me happy. I will look back on this time and be pissed at myself if I don’t do them.

If you have haven’t already, read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert – it will change your life  I swear.She is so funny and just speaks the truth. She also has a podcast called Magic Lessons where she helps fellow creative souls continue on their journeys. I have been listening to her while I make dinner. She inspires me probably more than anyone else every has. Read, listen and watch what inspires you. It will make a world of difference.

Be creative in everything you do. If you want something go out and get it. That is the best advice that I can offer. No one is going to do this shit for you. You are in charge of your life. One day my friends, we will all be able to do what we want to do, not the things that we have to do.

Mexican Night

I was sneaky this week. I love Mexican food. My family however hates it. So that means that anytime I go out I have to get a Mexican dish because it is the only time I get to have it. Well, I wanted to try something new this week and I used them as guinea pigs. My husband loved the quinoa which really surprised me. I took my favorite taco dip and stuffed it in some chicken with peppers. I then made a little avocado salad and served everything with Spanish quinoa. I was in heaven. I am pretty sure that they just tolerated it!

Taco Dip Chicken

  • 3 chicken breasts pounded into cutlets
  • 4 oz fat free cream cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • bell peppers (I used a mix of yellow, orange and red but you can use whatever you have. You need about 5-7 strips per chicken breast)

Take each chicken breast and pound it until you get cutlets. I used a rolling pin because that is all I had.  If you can’t do this you can just cut a pocket into each breast, same thing! Cut the peppers into strips. Mix the cream cheese and seasonings. (You can use taco seasoning from a pack but it is always a little too salty for me so I just make my own). If you are rolling the chicken spread the cream cheese onto the chicken, add the peppers and roll. If you cut a pocket just stuff everything in there. Place in a baking dish and bake at 375 for 20 minutes.

Spanish Quinoa

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • small green pepper – diced
  • small onion – diced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 15 oz can of diced tomatoes (do not drain)
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • cilantro to taste

Soak the quinoa in warm water for 10 minutes. While you are doing that put the olive oil into a deep skillet, add the pepper and onion and seasonings. Saute until translucent. Add everything but the cilantro. Bring to a boil and then cover and turn down to simmer. Let cook about 20-25 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed. Place the skillet off of the heat and let sit for 5 additional minutes. Fluff, add the cilantro and serve!

Avocado and Tomato Salad

  • 2 avocados
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup red onion finely diced
  • cilantro to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • half of lime squeezed

Chop the avocado and tomatoes. Add the rest of the ingredients together. Let sit for about 10 minutes to marinate. Enjoy!




Happiness Project Week #5

Welcome to week 5 of My Happiness Project. I honestly cannot believe it has already been a month since I have started this crazy journey.

This month my goals consist of being more productive at work and my home life so I can become more focused on my creative dreams.

Ever since I was little I have always wanted to be a writer. I used to sit in my room late at night watching Sex in the City and pretend to be Carry Bradshaw typing away on my fake laptop. Side note … yes I was way too young to watch that show but my brain honestly just thought how cool it was to write for a living. What type of writer has always changed but my main goal is and always will be to see my name in print somewhere. I don’t need to be famous – I just want one person to know who I am because of the words I have written.

The problem – Like many of you other bloggers out there,is that  I need to work a 9-5 job to make ends meet. So I am forced to be creative after 5. The problem with that is I have a thousand other things to accomplish as well. My biggest tool is my Bullet Journal. This planner has literally changed the way I do things. The system was first created by Ryder Carroll. It is essentially a planner and a journal mixed into one amazing creation. You do not need a fancy notebook, just a pad and a pen and you are good to go. If you look up Bullet Journal on Facebook or Instagram you will see all sorts of crazy things, washi tape, stencils and complicated designs.  Don’t be intimidated. Just start off basic. Watch the getting started video and see how beneficial this can  be.

I bullet journal in a travelers notebook so I can have all my journals together because I use one for work as well. I can’t show you my work one but my personal one can be seen below. I have my morning and evening routines, my daily affirmation, what I eat during the day and my daily to-do lists. Those little colored squares at the top, yep that is my time trackers. The purple is my creative time. Only three hours in a day, hopefully one day that will change! When I have all my boring things finished I can finally start being creative.img_3474

Take a look at the links below. You will find the original bullet journal video, the Facebook groups I belong to, as well as the Etsy shop where I purchase my tools.

Bullet Journal Video

Bullet Journal Junkies

Bullet Journal In A Traveler’s Notebook


Do any of you have a way of keeping your life organized so you have time to do what you love? Let me know! Extra credit goes to anyone with pictures! And for those of you that do not have time for something like this – don’t worry I may just have something up my sleeve for you.

Stay Tuned!



Smoked Chicken with Scalloped Potatoes

I love carbs. I think we talked about this before.My last post was about zoodles – which has become a staple in my house. What happens though when you have a craving for carbs and a huge pot of vegetables just won’t do?

I found this awesome recipe for scalloped potatoes. I know, I know they are usually heavy in cheese and butter and cream and you feel guilty for just looking at them. Would I really give you a recipe like that? No. These scalloped potatoes are just as creamy as the ones you remember but they are so much better for you. It is all about the substitutions.This recipe only calls for 3 tablespoons of butter! I used a combination of skim milk and chicken stock for the sauce and added a bunch of garlic, thyme and onions for flavor. I also may have put in a little bit of nutmeg for some extra flavor. The cheese is low-fat and sharp so there is extra flavor along with some parmesan. Finally I added some smoked chicken for some protein. My Dad actually got me hooked on this stuff. I hate ham, I don’t know why, I just do. He found this at a local shop and bought it for me to try. I love it. It gives me a smokey flavor of ham without the dryness that I always get from the stuff.

If you follow me on Instagram (@ aheartyjourney) you saw this recipe straight out of the oven. It was bubbly and cheesy and oh so yummy. If you don’t follow me – well you should! You never know what is going to show up there. I made my meal complete with some vegetables and trust me, I was not left unsatisfied. I learned a little trick that I think you guys will find really useful. When you are eating, eat the most healthy option on your plate first. That way you are filling up on the good stuff first! I started doing this recently and I have really saw a difference in the way I eat.

Check out the recipe below and let me know what you think. Also go over Gimme Some Oven. This was the recipe I used with some little tweaks of my own.

Until later my friends!

Smoked Chicken and Scalloped Potatoes

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small white or yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 large garlic cloves chopped
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 cups milk (skim)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 4 pounds potatoes
  • 1 pound smoked chicken or ham diced into cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups sharp low fat cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup parmesan


Pre-heat oven to 400 F. Heavily grease a 9×13 pan and set aside.Grab a large saute pan and melt 3 tablespoons of butter into it. Add the onions and let cook until translucent (about 5 minutes). Chop your garlic and add it to the onions. Cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add the flour to the onions and garlic and cook until it incorporates. Slowly add the milk and chicken stock to the mixture and bring to a boil. Remember to stir! Add the nutmeg, salt and pepper and thyme. Set aside.

Slice the potatoes and dice the smoked chicken or ham. Layer half of the potatoes first, then the ham and finally the cheese and sauce. Do this one more time and finish off with the cheese. Cover with foil and back for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additonal 25-30 minutes until the potatoes are soft and the cheese is bubbly.



Happiness Project Week #4

I want to talk about affirmations today. My step-daughter started her last first day of high school today and it got my thinking about my past a little bit and how happy I am now.

An affirmation is just a fancy word for a type of positive saying.

I try to be as positive of a person as I can be but a lot of the time I catch myself thinking negatively.

On one of my many study sessions about energy  I came across the term ‘affirmation’ and I was immediately intrigued. I started researching and I found this was something that I was missing throughout my day. I have added this to my morning routine and it has helped me become a more positive person, and stay focused on what really matters. There are some times where I go through the day and I don’t stop to appreciate the small things. I am alive. I have a great group of friends and family. I have a roof over my head and food to eat on my table. Not everyone can say that about their lives.

I am in no means able to help out everyone no matter how I wish to do so. What I can do is be grateful for all the things I do have.

For those of you that think that you have no time for this, you do. In the morning while I am drinking my tea I take five minutes to go over my affirmations.

I follow Louise Hay on Instagram. Let me tell you her blog is amazing. It is inspirational and uplifting. Go check her out! Tomorrow go to her Instagram account and take a look at her affirmations. I promise you won’t regret it.


I love pasta. LOVE IT. However, pasta is not the healthiest option for me. Carbs in general are not healthy for me. I have been trying to come up with alternatives to unhealthy side dishes. My family loves pasta, mashed potatoes and rice and I honestly do too. My father texted me while I was at work one day and asked if he would like zoodles. I love that he always asks me if he would like something. He loves squash so I told him I didn’t see why not.

Oh, what are zoodles? They are zucchini noodles made with this awesome machine called a spiralizer You can eat them raw in a salad, or cook them and cover them in your favorite sauce. It doesn’t have a lot of carbs like pasta and its a vegetable so its so much better than traditional pasta. If  you don’t want to invest in a spiralizer you can always buy your zoodles at the store. More and more grocery stores are starting to sell them.

This week I made my first homemade zoodle meal and I had so much fun doing it! The zoodles were so easy to make and it took no time at all. I decided to take some garlic, and some tomatoes from my garden and I came up with a delicious dish. I even got my husband to try it and he didn’t hate it. Which is a total win in my book.

Zoodles with Tomatoes, Garlic and Parmesan

  • 2 zucchini squash
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 small plum tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons butter (or olive oil)
  • Parmesan cheese to taste
  • Salt & Pepper

To Make the ZoodlesIMG_3205

Take your zucchini and cut the ends off of them. Attach them to your spiralizer and get to crankin! (there is a clip of me doing this on my Instragram account @aheartyjourney)

Sprinkle the zoodles with salt and let sit for a half of an hour. This is a really important step. You need to get the moisture out so you won’t have soggy noodles. Squeeze any extra water out of the zoodles before cooking.

Add the butter or olive oil to a skillet. Heat and then add the garlic and tomatoes. Cook until soft. Add the zoodles to the tomatoes and garlic and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes until cooked. Add some salt and pepper and some cheese and you are good to go! This can be used a side dish or if you are me and alone for the night a complete meal.