Friday, July 31, 2015

Budget Series Begins: Everyone Needs a Budget!

***If you read this and want to start budgeting, email me and I'll send you this budget on an Excel file blank so you can get started!  Send an email to and write BUDGET in the subject line***

So, most of you that know me know that I'm a budget QUEEN. Some call it cheap, frugal, money savvy, whatever. No matter what you call it, being on top of my budget and finding ways to save money has allowed me to cut out my entire deputy salary (but still do the job), be home with kiddos and follow my passion in fitness while vacationing with my family regularly AND realizing our dream of owning our RV (and actually being able to use it since I'm not always working!), own a beautiful home and be able to give back to charity and our church as well! So, after a few asked, I've decided to start a budget tip series starting with this blog post!  After this, I'll try to share tips several times per week. If you have any tips of your own you'd like to share, I'd love to hear them and share them here as well! Feel free to email them to Now, let's talk BUDGETS!

The MAIN thing you need to have...and yes I said in you MUST have... is a budget. You have to give yourself spending limits and budget your money each month.  You start with your total monthly income then disperse it in the budget.  

As I mentioned above, I can send you my budget without all of my numbers on it so you can enter yours.  I'm totally transparent about what I make, how I budget, etc so I don't mind that you guys see it but I want you to have a blank one so you can put YOUR info into it. I add EVERY single penny we spend or make to it. EVERYTHING in it. The coffee I have on the run from Starbucks, the $2 I may spend on a lotto scratcher, the money I put into savings, etc. When you first use it, you need to customize it and add what your income is and where it comes from, what your monthly fixed expenses are and what your variable expenses are as well.  Below is an example of the columns for one of the months with random amounts added in. Once your budget is all set up, it will show you how much is budgeted for and how much is left in each category.  Once you have it all set up, you can begin using it!

When you enter your spending limits on the main page (Budget tab), it shows up on each monthly page.  When you click on the "This Year" tab, you'll see that it automatically totals your monthly expenses and if you're over or under your budget each month.  

If you look above the "Income" box, you'll see where it says "Money Left to Budget". I like to leave some money there because that becomes my savings. And yes, you need to save money each month.  Ideally, you should have at least 6 months (preferably 1 year) worth of income in your savings account for emergencies.

Once you've filled out your income, variable expenses (expenses that change each month) and fixed expenses (expenses that don't change each month such as mortgage, car payment, etc), you're ready to start budgeting.  To keep this accurate you need to keep track of everything you spend money on, even the Starbucks coffee you had on the way into work, the pack of gum and soda you bought at 7-Eleven at lunch, the beer you bought with the guys after work, the ice cream  you bought your kids at the mall, etc.  It ALL adds up and it adds up fast.  Use your phone to keep track of it if you need to. I just send texts to myself each time I spend or put it in my notepad. 

So, give this budget a shot and let me know what you think.  Shoot me an email and I'll sendit to you within 24 hours! After a few months, it's truly eye opening!! 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Authentic Argentine Chicken Milanesas

Authentic Argentine Chicken Milanesas

The amount will depend on how many you want to make. 2 lbs should serve 4 to 5 of you. I buy extra to prepare and freeze. Saves me time during the week for dinner!
  • Chicken breast cut very thin. Some delis will already sell it that way and called "Chicken milanesa"
  • chopped garlic clove
  • Seasoning of your choice 
  • Parsley
  • 5-7 eggs
  • Container of breadcrumbs
  • Optional:  Chimichurri to add on top

  1. Separate or cut the breasts into several pieces.  Lay them flat on a cutting board, counter or what my mom does, a piece of plastic! She's all about easy clean up and I'm with her!
  2. Sprinkle them with your fave seasoning, some salt and pepper. Flip over and do the other side.
  3. Prepare your marinade by mixing eggs, parsley, seasoning and garlic in a large bowl or dish.
  4. Place all of the pieces of chicken into egg mixture and let sit for a few hours to soak up flavor.  IF you have time. If you don't, continue to step 5. I like to let mine sit overnight. 
  5. After removing them from the egg marinade, place breadcrumbs into a bowl or dish and cover each of the breast with breadcrumbs thoroughly. If you have a meat pounder, remove the chicken from the breadcrumbs and pound the chicken to ensure they're fully covered.
  6. Once they're all covered in breadcrumbs, you're ready to cook. Now, because these are pretty labor intensive, when I make them, I make plenty at a time and freeze about half of the batch.  When you separate them for freezing, make sure you place wax or parchment paper between each one to prevent them from sticking to each other. 
  7. You have 2 options when it comes to cooking them..... frying or baking. I'll be honest, they taste pretty good fried but I'm a health nut and don't fry anything at home.  It's easier and healthier to bake too. IF you want to fry them, add a little bit of olive oil (and my mom adds a little bit of garlic too) to a skillet.  Not too much, but just enough to cover the bottom.  Cook each side until golden brown.  Have a large tray or dish ready lined with paper towels and place them on the paper towels to soak up some of the oil. You can dab them with paper towels as well to remove even more of the oil.  
  8. If you bake them, you can bake them all at once and, if you're really into it, make them "Napolitana" style by adding a little bit of marinara sauce, tomato, a slice of ham and cheese on top about 5 minutes before they're done cooking while baking.  They should be golden brown already before you add the Napolitana toppings. 
  9.  Bake them at about 375 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on your oven. 
  10. Serve them with a green salad, mashed potatoes & garnish with lemon. Squeeze the lemon on the milanesa and some on the salad and enjoy!
Are you following the 21 Day Fix? If so, here's the container breakdown per 4 oz (about the size of your open hand) milanesa!  1 red (chicken) and 1/2 yellow (breadcrumbs) If you make them Napolitana style, it would also be 1 blue (cheese), 1 more red (ham), 1 purple (marinara sauce since it has sugars in it) & 1 green (tomato).  

3 generations of woman cooking in the kitchen! 

This is an example of Napolitana style!

Monday, July 20, 2015

10 Time-Saving Tips for Meal Prepping!

10 Time-Saving Tips for Meal Prepping

  1. Buy pre-cooked chicken breast or fish. You can buy it frozen or from the deli section.  When you have time, make it yourself. When you don't, improvise & do what you can! 
  2. Choose canned tuna or canned salmon for quick meals.  Like I said, not ideal but easy. Open the can, squeeze some lemon and eat. 
  3. Buy pre-cut vegetables or buy frozen ones. Just make sure nothing is added to it! Sometimes they're even better than the fresh ones.  
  4. Hard-boil several eggs at once and save them for quick, high-protein snacks or to add to salads. Low cal, low carb and packed with protein. Here's an easy, fool proof way to make them.
  5. Bake all of your sweet potatoes at once & keep those in the fridge as well for snacks. I love them when I'm craving sweets and carbs.  It takes care of both! 
  6. Pre-cook enough quinoa or brown rice for the week. And you can even pre-cook it for the month and freeze it! 
  7. Chop all carrots, cucumber, bell peppers, etc. at once for healthy snacks and ready toppings for salads. You can also use them to add to recipes during the week when sliced and cut your prep time for dinner in half!
  8. Mornings can be hectic. Have your breakfast ready to go by prepping a large batch of oatmeal, easy egg cups or have your Shakeology in the blender jar ready to add ice and mix in the morning. 
  9. Stock up on berries or fruits that don’t need to be cut like apples, oranges, and bananas. They're easy to throw in a baggie and take with you.
  10. Raw, unsalted nuts make a great, portable snack.  No need to cook or prep and they last a while so you can keep them at work or in your car when you know your cravings will kick in. 

Meal Prep Monday: Meal Prep on the Fly!

This weekend we were super busy and I just did NOT have time to meal prep. That doesn't mean I didn't prep at all though. Where there's a will there's a way! I just prepped on Monday afternoon while making dinner! Here's a breakdown of my meal prep. Some stuff is pictured and some is not but the complete list is here!

  • CHICKEN: marinated about 6 lbs of chicken in balsamic vinegar, lemon juice & no salt seasoning. I use Costco organic no salt seasoning. Grilled it outside on the barbecue 
  • SWEET YAM FRIES: sliced them, sprayed them with olive oil, sprinkled no salt seasoning and baked at 350 for about 25 minutes
  • ZUCCHINI SQUASH:  sliced it, marinated it in balsamic and lemon, sprinkled it with no salt seasoning & baked it with the yam fries above!
  • COTTAGE CHEESE:  separated 6 servings into small, 1 serving containers
  • STRING CHEESE:  single servings already packaged
  • SHAKEOLOGY:  placed 1 serving of blueberries, 1/2 banana & spinach in small containers in the freezer to just throw in the blender for hubby and I during the week.
  • ALMONDS:  Put 12 almonds in 6 different little containers for each day
  • STRAWBERRIES:  separated 5-6 in small plastic containers and placed in the fridge
  • YOGURT: I buy it in a bulk container to save $ and I buy plain because it has less sugars. Then I separate it into small containers and add a little Shakeology to it for flavor when I'm going to eat it!
  • BABY CARROTS:  separate them into small container in serving portions
  • CUCUMBERS:  slice them up and separate them into serving sizes

Friday, July 17, 2015

Chimichurri: An Argentine Staple That's Perfect for Anything on the Grill!

Chimichurri is something that I grew up eating. We have always had it at home and my mom makes it better than I've ever tasted.  We put it on our asado (an Argentinian style barbecue) and pretty much everything else....bread, chicken, fish, vegetables, name it, we add chimi to it!  With that said, there are a lot of recipes for it but this is how we make it.  Hope you enjoy it and become as addicted as we are to it! If you make it, take a pic and tag me in it! I'm on Facebook and Instagram @fit_fluential_mom 


  • 1 cup (packed) fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/2 cup oil (see below for the types best to use)
  • 1/3 cup red or white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup (packed) fresh cilantro
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. The ingredients above are a rough estimate.  Taste it and alter them as you go for the taste you desire. It's hard to mess this up! It's easy and delicious. Now, here ya go!
  2. Combine all ingredients except the oil in a food processor or blender.  
  3. Stir in the oil. 
  4. Transfer it to a bowl. 
  5. Cover and let stand at room temperature.
  6. Refrigerate what is not used. 
  7. As long as you don't use olive or coconut oil, it will stay in the fridge for at least a few weeks. My mom, born and raised in Argentina, always makes hers with vegetable oil so I do the same.  She and I make plenty in advance since I add it to virtually everything I eat (hey I was born in Argentina!) including steak, seafood, poultry, salads, vegetables, etc! 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Southwestern Spaghetti Squash Boats

This recipe was a last minute decision. I always make spaghetti squash with meatballs and turkey tacos but I wanted to do something different this time. So, since I had the squash and the turkey, I decided to make my own recipe inspired by a friend's FB post.

It turned out pretty well and it was a hit with the family! You can add other ingredients if you'd like and/or substitute some of mine to make it versatile and mix it up. Top it with sour cream,  Greek yogurt and/or some sliced avocado for am extra southwestern flair. Hubby also thought it may taste good topped with marinara sauce so I may try that next!
Now, for the recipe!

➡Spaghetti squash
➡Lean turkey
➡Roasted corn
➡Black beans
➡Browned onions
➡Chopped tomatoes
➡Chopped garlic
➡Mrs Dash seasoning
➡olive oil

1.  Cut the spaghetti squash in half, brush some olive oil inside and place both halves face down on a cookie sheet. Bake at 375-400 for about an hour.
2. While the squash is baking, brown 1 large chopped onion, 1 chopped garlic clove, 1 cup of corn kernels & 1 chopped tomato. 
3. Add the black beans (about 1 cup) to the pan, blend together, remove and set aside.
4. Brown about a pound of lean turkey & season with any seasoning of your choice. I used Mrs Dash because it's what I had on hand. Add chopped cilantro as well.
5. After the turkey is done, mix all ingredients (except squash) together in the pan or a bowl.
6.  Remove the squash from the oven
Take a fork and remove a small portion of the inside. Place some of the turkey filling inside and top with some of the squash you removed.
7. Serve and ENJOY!

Monday, July 13, 2015

The 21 Day Fix Cookbook Fixate and All You Need to Know About It!

Would you – yes YOU – like to be a part of the most amazing, complete, super awesome recipe cookbook review ever?  If so, get on the list to download 5 recipes from Fixate and learn how you can be an official recipe tester.  I’ll be choosing 100 people to each review a recipe from Fixate and you can be one of those lucky peeps.
All you need to do is sign up to make one of the 101 recipes, test it out at home, and send your recipe photo along with your thoughts about the recipe, and I’ll include it in my big ‘ol review.  Yes, YOUR review will be featured right here.
Click to download sample recipes and to get on the list with all the details.

Here's the scoop on the much anticipated 21 Day Fix Fixate Cookbook!

 “When it comes to being healthy and fit, it’s not just about what you do in the GYM, it’s really about what you do in the KITCHEN.” Autumn Calabrese

Do you ever feel overwhelmed planning tasty, simple recipes that the whole family will enjoy?
Do you want to eat according to your fitness goals but dread hours prepping meals or chopping veggies?
Do you just want a delicious dinner on the table without a scavenger hunt for special ingredients?

If so, get ready for FIXATE: 101 My August Boot Camp which will feature meal plans that include recipes from Fixate along with sample daily menus, over 50 snack ideas, personal recipes I created to use with the 21 Day Fix and much more! 

Oh yeah, Beachbody Celebrity Trainer (and busy working mom) Autumn Calabrese to the rescue.
FIXATE is a brand new cookbook (coming July 14, 2015) designed to work with the 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix Extreme eating plans. There are 101 recipes (many of Autumn’s family favorites) and each recipe lists color-coded container equivalents and nutrition facts.
You’ll find breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes, yummy snacks, Shakeology recipes and even Fix-approved cocktails. Yay for a healthy happy hour! And, as someone who eats gluten-free, I was thrilled to hear that there is an entire section of gluten-free desserts!
The cookbook will provide you with everything you need in the kitchen to nourish your body well, so you have the energy to rock your workouts.

Who needs this cookbook?

Totally my readers – super busy people who want to be healthy without diet or fitness becoming a part-time job.
FIXATE is for anyone who:
  • wants to eat clean
  • is new to eating healthy
  • needs a little help with portion control
  • wants easy-to-follow recipes
  • loves great tasting food
  • is a vegetarian or vegan
  • eats gluten-free
  • needs help with meal planning
  • is tired of eating the same meals over and over
  • wants to feed their families well
  • follows a paleo diet
  • does not want to spend hours in the kitchen.

fixate zucchini chips recipe weigh to maintain

How will the FIXATE cookbook simplify your life?

I love eating fresh, delicious, food, but I’ll confess – I don’t like spending a lot of time in the kitchen. I can cook, I just choose to spend my time doing activities I find more appealing, like playing guitar or playing on Facebook.
Autumn promises the recipes in FIXATE are:
  • easy-to-follow
  • don’t require hours in the kitchen
  • use simple ingredients found in any grocery store, and
  • don’t require gourmet cooking utensils or gadgets.

Autumn shares her personal tips for preparing meals quickly and easily.

She’ll also help you organize your pantry and (I’m pretty sure she was thinking specifically of me) how to upgrade leftovers. I am all about planned leftovers to make lunches quick & simple.
“We’ve really tackled all the tough topics that make meal prepping and staying on track sometimes a little bit hard,” says Autumn. “Hopefully we’ve made it a little bit easier.”

Why do we need a cookbook?

There are lots of 21 Day Fix recipes floating around (and the Team Beachbody Blog is a great source), but the cookbook was created in response to a demand for more recipes.
We needed to give people “more options for using the containers. It can get a little tricky at times, so I think 101 new recipes will sort of reinvigorate everybody to get back at it, especially at the start of summer,” says Autumn.
I love the idea of planning my weekly meals from a cookbook that is specially designed to go with the portion-control program I follow. I am all about quick and simple, and the FIXATE cookbook will be a great tool to pull together meals in a snap that keep me on track AND my family will enjoy as well.

FIXATE helps with portion control.

When you plan meals using FIXATE recipes, you’re not just enjoying healthy meals, you’re eating the right amount. And portion control is critical. We’ve all known overweight vegans and chubby peepse following paleo eating plans. I’ve been in that camp myself, so no judgment.
fixate vegan vegetarian paleo weigh to maintain

FIXATE includes gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian and paleo recipes.

“We’re getting asked a lot for vegetarian recipes and I don’t want to neglect anybody with the cookbook, so let’s dive into vegan recipes, let’s get the vegetarian recipes, and the paleo recipes, plus an entire section of gluten free desserts,” says Autumn.
Sounds good to me.

 fixate autumn and son better

FIXATE has kid-friendly recipes.

“They’re amazingly delicious, phenomenal recipes,” claims Autumn. “I wouldn’t put them in if I wouldn’t eat them, my 6 year old son eats them. I’m excited about it, I’m proud of it. I think we covered the whole spectrum with 101 recipes in the book. There’s something for everybody in there.”

FIXATE is designed for the 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix Extreme.

Each of the 101 recipes has the color-coded portion control containers listed. This makes it super simple to stick to your Fix plan. Following the recipes will automatically track your portions so you are eating the right amount for your body.

But, the FIXATE Cookbook works for all Beachbody programs AND just for healthy eating in general.

You don’t need to follow the 21 Day Fix plan to enjoy simple, clean eating. Recipes in FIXATE use whole, real foods found in any grocery store. You’ll have meals crafted using lean protein, fresh veggies, fruits and healthy fats.
No icky, fat-free concoctions; no weird diet foods or ingredients.  Everyone can benefit from nourishing their body with wholesome, real food.
“I’ve also included all the nutritional information for each recipe so anyone on any program can use this cookbook and be totally sure that they’re enjoying tasty, healthy and well-balanced meals.”
fixate gluten free desserts weigh to maintain

FIXATE is a supplement to the 21 Day Fix and Fix Extreme meal plans.

The FIXATE cookbook is not meant to replace the eating plans that come with the 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix Extreme programs. FIXATE will include the food lists, but refer to the Eating Plans that came with your program to calculate the number of containers to eat each day.

When and where can I get FIXATE and how much does it cost?

FIXATE will be available to purchase from Team Beachbody on July 14, 2015.
The cookbook alone is $19.95 (USD) or $17.96 for Club Members. (If you’re not a Club Member yet,you can join here and not only get the discount on FIXATE but you’ll have access to Beachbody on Demand and the ability to stream tons of workouts on your computer, smart TV, phone and tablet.)
This will be an option of purchasing the cookbook plus a set of the portion control containers which is $34.95 or $31.46 for club members.

Wanna get cooking now??

Here’s a link to a blog post for a downloadable PDF with five recipes from the cookbook:

Check out Autumn’s introduction to her cookbook…

What do you think? Ready to bring some new deliciousness to your clean eating kitchen? If so, shoot me an email, friend me on Facebook, follow me an DM me on Instagram or simply leave a comment below and we'll get you started!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Chocolate Peanut Butter Shakeology Ice Cream!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Shakeology Ice Cream
Chocolate and peanut butter ice cream that’s good for you? Believe it. This is the ice cream you’ve been waiting for. It has only 4 ingredients, and takes less than 10 minutes to make, plus freezing time.
Total Time: 4 hrs. 10 min.
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cooking Time: None
Yield: 2 servings
1 medium banana, cut into chunks
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
2 scoops Chocolate Shakeology
2 Tbsp. all-natural smooth peanut butter
1. Place banana in plastic bag; freeze for 4 hours, or until completely frozen.
2. Place almond milk, bananas, Shakeology, and peanut butter in blender (or food processor); cover. Blend until smooth.
3. Serve immediately.

Via the Team Beachbody Blog. For more recipes, go to or my Team Beachbody personal coach page!

FREE 21 Day Fix Fixate Cook Book Recipes

Ok, if you know me and you follow me on Facebook, you KNOW I'm a HUGE fan of the 21 Day Fix. I host monthly boot camps with that program and I'm incredibly passionate about it because it has changed my life AND my family's!  It's an incredible program that not only moms can benefit from, but dads and the kiddos too! Balanced, proportioned eating without the need to measure, count calories, estimate points or use those pesky food scales!

So, when I found out Autumn Calabrese was coming out with a cook book for the program with over 101 recipes for it, I was like a kid in a candy store and now, it's just days away from being released! It will be available starting on July 14th but we get a sneak peek at 5 recipes from it NOW!!

Want to check them out?  
Here ya go! ====>>>>>> 21 Day Fix Fixate Cook Book Recipes

Give them a shot and tell me what you think!!