Fit Food(ie)

Fit Food(ie)
Fit Food(ie)

Fit Life

Fit Life
Fit Life

Fit Work

Fit Work
Fit Work

Instant Pot Chicken Cauliflower Rice Soup

Chicken Soup, Instant Pot, Instapot, Crock Pot, Slow Cooker, Cauliflower Rice, Autumn Calabrese, 21 Day Fix, Tosca Reno, Clean Eating, 80 Day Obsession,,, vanessa mclaughlin

Instant Pot chicken and cauliflower rice soup was amazing, and we have been eating leftovers all week long. Canned chicken soup is always so full of sodium and half the time you aren’t even sure if it’s real chicken in there. So homemade is our way to go!!
Here is a new recipe I made with my Instant Pot that was delicious!!!


1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
5 carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
2 celery sticks, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
2 bay leaves
1 TBSP thyme
Any vegetables of your choice (I used broccoli, chopped red pepper, and peas)
3 large frozen chicken breasts
6 cups low sodium chicken broth or stock
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
One package of frozen cauliflower rice (I get mine at Trader Joe's)


  1. Set Instant Pot to Saute function.
  2. Heat olive oil and onions until onions start to soften and become translucent, 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add garlic, carrots and celery and saute for another minute.
  4. Add frozen chicken to Instant Pot, followed by chicken broth, bay leaves, thyme, 2 teaspoons of salt and several turns of freshly ground pepper.
  5. Turn off Saute function, lock Instant Pot lid in place, make sure pressure valve is set to sealing and set Instant Pot to High Pressure for 20 minutes, via manual mode.
  6. Instant Pot will take 15-20 minutes to come to pressure, then will countdown from 20 minutes.
  7. After 20 minutes at high pressure, Instant Pot will beep and switch to keep warm mode.
  8. Turn pressure release valve to Quick Release pressure.
  9. Carefully open Instant Pot, keeping lid angled away from you to avoid very hot steam.
  10. Remove chicken and set aside to shred.
  11. Turn Instant Pot back to Saute function and let chicken broth come to a boil.
  12. Shred the chicken.
  13. Add frozen cauliflower to the soup.
  14. Return shredded chicken to the pot.💓
  15. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
To get more healthy recipes, my newsletter, or more info about my Fit Clubs, fill out the form below! Or subscribe to my newsletter! There is strength in numbers!
Fill out my online form.
The easy to use Wufoo form builder helps you make forms easy, fast, and fun.

How to cook a whole frozen chicken in an Instant Pot

chicken, instant pot, frozen chicken, autumn calabrese, clean eating, tosca reno, 80 Day Obsession,
Let’s get real. Who has time to defrost? Even though I make a meal plan in advance, I always forget to defrost the meal I planned! And by the time I realize this, I have to come up with something for dinner at 4 pm.

That’s why I was so excited to meet the Instant Pot!! It allows me to think of something to make for dinner at 4:00 pm and have it on the table by 5:30…even if it’s a whole frozen chicken. Yes! It’s true. FROZEN TO COOKED! I know that’s hard to believe. But miracles do happen. I threw a 5 lb frozen chicken in the Instant Pot and it set the timer for 50 minutes. It took about 15 minutes to come to pressure and then I let the pressure come down for about 15 minutes before opening the pot. So about an hour and 20 minutes total time. The chicken was perfectly tender and we ate some of it plain that night with a salad and then saved the rest for wraps and sandwiches.

One thing I did notice was that I had to really work to get my 5 lb chicken to fit in my Instant Pot. It was placed on the trivet and I had to maneuver it around a bit. So next time I’ll probably choose a 4 lb chicken, which would actually take a few less minutes to cook, as well as fit better.

If you’re a fan of the crispy skin on a chicken then you’ll probably want to take the extra step of placing the chicken under the broiler after it cooks. I just stuck my chicken on a cookie sheet and put it under a broiler set on high for about 5 minutes. That way my sons and husband, who live for the skin, can be happy.To cook this frozen chicken I used my 6 quart Instant Pot Duo 60 7 in 1 for this recipe.

If you love getting those whole rotisserie chickens at your grocery store, you’ll love this recipe for pressure cooker whole seasoned chicken. The chicken is cooked in minutes in your Instant Pot (my chicken was actually totally frozen) and then stuck under the broiler to crisp up the skin. Slice the chicken up to eat plain or use it in any recipes that call for cooked chicken.

1 whole chicken (mine was 5 lbs and fit just perfectly in my Instant Pot, so I wouldn't buy it any bigger).
1 cup water
1 bay leaf
4 Tbsp melted butter
1 TBSP dried rosemary
1 TBSP dried sage
1 TBSP dried thyme
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper

1.  Remove packaging from frozen chicken. Run a little warm water over the chicken and pat dry with paper towels. (I didn't removed the packaged giblets and neck until after the chicken was cooked).
2. Add 1 cup of water to the bottom of the Instant Pot and put the bay leaf in there too. Place the trivet in the bottom.
3. In a little bowl combine the butter, rosemary, sage, thyme, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Use your fingers to run this mixture all over the chicken. Place the chicken, breast side up, on the trivet.
4. Cover the Instant Pot and set the timer on manual for 50 minutes. Make sure valve is set to “sealing.” When the timer beeps let some of the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes and then switch the valve to “venting” and release the rest of the pressure.
5. When it is done cooking, use a meat thermometer to check the temperature of the meatiest portion of the chicken. It should read 165° F. If it’s not up to temperature then you’ll want to cover the pot and cook on manual setting for 5-10 more minutes.
6. Optional: Place the chicken on a cookie sheet and put under the broiler for 5 minutes to crisp up the skin.
7. Slice chicken and serve. Season to taste. I save the leftovers to use in other recipes or make sandwiches and wraps with it.

To get more healthy recipes, my newsletter, or more info about my Fit Clubs, fill out the form below! There is strength in numbers!
Fill out my online form.
The easy to use Wufoo form builder helps you make forms easy, fast, and fun.

Top Ten Kitchen Gadgets I LOVE!

avoSaver, avocado keeper, avocado saver,
1. Avo Saver Avocado Holder - Prevent your avocados from browning! I eat half an avocado each day, so I want to make sure the half I'm saving is still good for the next day. The Avo Saver is an indispensible kitchen gadget for anyone who eats avocados. Even though avocados are such a culinary delight they are also quite expensive and have a short life, once cut. Save money, time and aggravation with this truly innovative gadget. The Avo Saver is easy to use and will reduce a cut avocado’s exposure to air, greatly slowing the destructive oxidization process. Unit is top-shelf, dishwasher safe.

2. Jaxx FitPak Meal Prep Bag - This bag is my favorite! It comes with six leakproof, portion control containers that fit perfectly into the insulated bag, an ice pack, AND a shaker cup! It's a great deal too. When I need to take several meals and snacks for my day, this bag is perfect.

3. Aerolatte Original HandHeld Milk Frother - This tool makes EASY cappuccinos....well, at least frothed milk to put on top of your coffee. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon, and it tastes as good as a coffeehouse in your own home!

4. Culina Mechanical Whisk (Hand Push Mixer) - GAH! I love this mixer. So easy to mix dressings, whipped cream (for special occasions) or anything else that needs a quick mix. Just push down. The kids love it too!

5. Vitamix Blender - The only blender I use for my Shakeology. Makes it as smooth as a milkshake. It crushes ice, and makes delish frozen drinks (for special occasions - ha!) and I also use it  to blend hot soups and sauces. Whenever I want to "hide" soup vegetables for my kids, I blend them up, then add pasta and chicken for a veggie chicken soup. They can't even tell I made it with onions and kale!!

6. Meal Prep Containers (3 Compartments) with Lids These are perfect when I need to prepare meals for the entire week. When I was working in an office from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm, and prep all my meals on Sunday. I'd put a protein, veggie, and sweet potato or rice in each of the compartments, and just grab and go all week long.

7. KitchenAid Mezzaluna I love, love, love chopped salads. I bought this gadget, along with a large metal bowl. Veggies, protein, and dressing go in the bowl, I chop, chop, chop, and I get a perfect chopped salad, just like in a restaurant. It also chops garlic and herbs, and has a cover to protect the blade.

8. Stainless Steel Lemon Squeezer When drinking lemon water each morning, and throughout the day, I love this little squeezer. It gets all the juice out of the lemon and into my glass. I also love it for juicing lemons, limes, or oranges for sauces and dressings.

9. OXO Silicone Steamer, Green From the microwave to the stove, to my Instant Pot this Silicone Steamer makes steaming simple. High walls keep food from falling into boiling water and a large center makes the steamer perfect for fillets of fish and other large food items. The pleats on the Steamer make it flexible enough to fit into many different pot sizes. Silicone feet elevate and stabilize steamer over water and it won't scratch pots, making it perfect for both glass and non-stick cookware. I use it to steam the perfect hard boiled eggs. Flexible handles fold inward to accommodate pot lid and stay cool to the touch to safely and securely transport food.

10. Instant Pot This tool makes Sunday meal prep a breeze! Last Sunday I made 3 meals in 2 hours!! It's a smart electric pressure cooker designed to be safe, convenient and dependable. It speeds up cooking by 2~6 times using up to 70% less energy and, above all, produces nutritious healthy food in a convenient and consistent fashion. Instant Pot Duo is a 7-in-1 programmable cooker, it replaces 7 kitchen appliances as it has the functions of a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, sauté, yogurt maker & warmer. It generates almost no noise and leaks no steam. It traps all the aromas in the food without heating up the kitchen. The best part? If I forget to defrost chicken, meat or fish for dinner, I just put it all in the pot, set it for 20 minutes, and dinner is ready!

Creamy Garlic Dressing

This creamy garlic dressing tastes rich and decadent, but it is completely dairy free! I got the recipe from the Ultimate Reset, but I've been using it for every salad, and even make it when I have guests!
Lately, I've been using it for my chopped microgreen salads, which I'm eating for lunch on my 30 day elimination plan
It totally makes the salad! Enjoy!

  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp. Himalayan salt
  • ½ tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. raw honey (or pure maple syrup) - I did not use sweetener, because I don't like sweet dressing.

1. Place oil, vinegar, garlic, lemon juice, parsley, salt, mustard, and honey in a blender or food processor; cover with lid.
2. Blend until smooth.
3. Refrigerate dressing if not using immediately. 
4. If dressing solidifies when cold, hold at room temperature for 30 minutes. Stir before serving.

To get more healthy recipes, my newsletter, or more info about my Fit Clubs, fill out the form below! There is strength in numbers!

Fill out my online form.
The easy to use Wufoo form builder helps you make forms easy, fast, and fun.

Breakfast sausage crumbles

Turkey sausage crumbles, whole 30, 21 Day Fix, gluten free, paleo, clean eating, tosca reno, autumn calabrese,, vanessa mclaughlin
This recipe was adapted from Dr. Amy Myers' Book "The Autoimmune Solution" AND "The Whole 30" book. I took both recipes and made a few changes. Below I have the variation I made. I'll also add that you can form this recipe into patties when the meat is raw, and then cook them. Because it saves time, and I don't like touching raw poultry or meat, I cook the ground meat, loose (without making it into a patty), with spices, which is also a time saver. I measure out the quantity per serving, with my 21 Day Fix containers.
Serve with Hearty Sweet Potato Hash.
This recipe is gluten free and paleo.

  • 2 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1 pound ground meant (turkey, pork, beef - I use turkey)
  • 1/2 tsp ground sage
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp turmeric (optional - but helps decrease inflammation)
1. Heat coconut oil in skillet over medium heat.
2. Add onion and cook 2 mins or until translucent.
3. Add garlic, ground meat, and spices. 
4. Cook until meat is cooked through. 
5. Serve!

Want more healthy recipes and support in your fitness and nutrition journey, check out my accountability groups or fill out the form below for more info! THERE IS STRENGTH IN NUMBERS!!
Fill out my online form.
The easy to use Wufoo form builder helps you make forms easy, fast, and fun.

How to get more ENERGY for your workouts!

Nearly everyone that’s familiar with Beachbody knows about Shakeology, but few people know about the Performance Line! I love the Performance Line, but Energize is my favorite! In the past I’ve used some of the products on an as-needed basis (especially Energize). But with challenging programs, these products helped me so much throughout the process with curbing soreness, keeping me energized, and giving me the strength to power through each workout.
There are currently 5 different supplements in the Performance Line:


And just like Shakeology, they’re all made with no artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners, no fillers, and no preservative. No JUNK ingredients like other sports supplements out there!

Realizing that so few people have used the Performance Line, and now after having such a great experience with them myself, I figured I HAD to share more about each of the products with you! So, over the next few weeks, let me enlighten you!

Today we’re talking about my absolute favorite supplement, one you’ve probably seen me post about before: Energize.
What is Energize? FAQs
Energize is Beachbody’s pre-workout formula, but honestly, it’s perfect for anytime you need a little pick-me-up for your energy throughout the day. I know I’ve used it on many occasions when I wasn’t working out!

Think of it as coffee without the jitters… but better.
What does it really do, and how does it work?

I’m not going to bore you with the specifics because honestly, it’s all very scientific and half of you probably with just skip over it anyway. But here are the basics:

Two of the key ingredients in Energize are beta-alanine and quercetin, both of which work in different ways help to delay exercise-induced muscle fatigue. So, whether you’re doing 100 pushups or holding a difficult yoga pose, your muscles won’t start to feel tired as quickly. The third key ingredient is where we get our energy: caffeine. The low-dose caffeine, which comes from green tea & coffee bean extract, improves focus, reaction time, and even gives you a mental boost!
How does Energize taste?
Energize currently only comes in one flavor: lemon. And it. Is. Delicious.

Sometimes lemon-flavored drinks can taste too sweet and too artificial, but this is the perfect combination of sweet and tart! Even if you’re not a fan of lemon, I promise you’ll enjoy drinking this—I haven’t met anyone that’s tried Energize and NOT liked the taste.
When should you drink Energize?
Beachbody recommends using this pre-workout drink 30 minutes before most workouts. But for more intense workouts, it can be consumed up to an hour before.
How do you make it?
Simply add 1 serving of Energize to a blender bottle with water, shake it up, and you’re good to go!
Servings sizes of Energize depend on your weight:

If you weigh <160 lbs: 1 scoop + 8oz water
If you weigh ≥160 lbs: 2 scoops + 16oz water

And finally, why is it SO yellow?
“Are you sure there are no artificial colors?” Seriously, when you prepare your first glass you will ask this question. It’s SO yellow! I actually had to look this one up myself because I was too curious! If there are no artificial colors, why does it look like that?

So, apparently, quercetin (one of those key ingredients I mentioned above) is naturally an extremely bright yellow color. Totally fine to consume and 100% natural, but likes to stain anything it touches.

When you’re preparing your pre-workout drink, remember that and be very careful not to get any of the powder on your clothes!
Does this sound like something you need?

Give it a shot, you don’t even have to commit to a full container!

Sample it with the Energize 10-day pack

Or go all-in with a 40-serving container

Already tried Energize in the past? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below!

30 Day Elimination Plan - Week 1 Review

Vegan Vanilla Shakeology everyday!
Week one. No cheats. Down 6 pounds.
If I actually nourish my body with wholesome food and cut out sugar completely- it takes me about 4 days to feel normal. Detox is real. Sugar addiction is real.

Seems like there is something to be said about what we fuel ourselves with... how it almost masks what we really need. Sugar has been a total mask. Drink it, eat it, spike of energy- crash.

I am sleeping well. But craving more of it. So each night I’ve allowed myself about 8 hours. I need this and ya know what- I’m gonna give myself the grace of it.

But then I got to thinking when advertisers talk about these amazing quick fix solutions about having more energy and getting great sleep... umm this actually the same solution. But like legit natural. No mask.
The 30 Day Elimination Plan program:
Sunday (day 1)
My knees are in a lot of pain, and I am limping, barely able to walk. This is frustrating, because I've been to many doctors and practitioners and no one has been able to diagnose the problem, or even have a hypothesis about the cause.

So, I took today as a rest day.

I am excited for this new program, so I spent the day meal planning and prepping. I read the first two chapters of the Goddess Revolution, a book about learning how to really love your body, and break your addictive habits with food. While I already love my body, no matter what the number is on the scale, I realize I've been carrying these extra pounds and just don't FEEL good - I feel physically weighed down.

There's a difference. I don't hate my body. It's a beautiful, strong, healthy being. But because my clothes have been tight, and my knees are in pain, I've felt uncomfortable.

And while I eat healthy, I haven't been able to adhere to a meal plan for more than three days without a cheat

Time to change.

At 9 pm was a live video face time call with Beachbody nutritionist Melissa McAllister. She talked about intermittent fasting, which I've tried before. However, she also talked about eliminating inflammatory foods for 30 days.

After listening to her, I tweaked my meal plan to eliminate my daily sweet potato, and replace it with avocado. Sweet potatoes aren't inflammatory themselves, however, too much natural glucose could cause inflammation. So, I reduced my carbohydrates, which are converted into glucose in the body, and upped my healthy fats.
Monday (day 2)
Microgreens Salad
Slayed my workout at noon, but because of my knees, which are sore and stiff, I modified any leg movements. Autumn is doing live workouts on the West Coast, and begins at noon EST. Today, this fit in my schedule, and I LOVED the Core workout. Different moves, new and fresh, kept me motivated. I have a bit of workout ADD, because I love new workout moves!

Slayed my water, my nutrition; I'm excited and motivated for this plan. I haven't been able to go 3 days without a cheat, or diving into a bag of popcorn, so I'm ready!

I started eating at 11 am and finished all food by 7 pm.

This was what I ate:
Turkey Bolognese over Spaghetti Squash
Upon waking: 25 ounces of water. Energize before my workout.
  • Breakfast: 2 eggs, 2 large handfuls of spinach, 1/2 an avocado
  • Lunch: Lettuce, pea shoots, 3 cherry tomatoes, 4 slices of red pepper, shred carrots, cucumber, 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, 1/2 avocado, 2 tsp evoo
  • Vanilla Shakeology with almond milk and 1/3 banana for "dessert"
  • Dinner: Spaghetti Squash, spinach, red container of ground turkey, purple container of tomato sauce

Mexi-Chicken Spag Squash
Tuesday (day 3)
Down a pound, but my knees are still sore, and stiff. Cardio workout was amazing, and I love using the slides and bands! Stuck to my water and nutrition.
Today's menu:
  • Upon waking: 25 ounces of water. Energize before my workout.
  • Breakfast: 2 eggs, 2 large handfuls of spinach, 1/2 an avocado
  • Lunch: Lettuce, pea shoots, 3 cherry tomatoes, 4 slices of red pepper, shred carrots, cucumber, 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, 1/2 avocado, 2 tsp evoo
  • Vanilla Shakeology with almond milk and 1/3 banana for "dessert"
  • Dinner: Spaghetti squash with spinach and Mexican spiced chicken.
Microgreens salad with pumpkin seeds
Wednesday (Day 4)
A bit grumpy today, and tired. Guess I'm feeling the effects of no sugar!

With today's schedule, I barely had a moment to breathe. I woke up at 5:15 am to go teach Bootcamp, came home and got everyone out the door for dinner. Then I did my own workout. Couldn't do it at noon with Autumn, because I have to hold office hours for students, so I did 21 Day Fix Extreme Upper Fix, and my arms felt like jello!

After my workout, returned to the gym to personal train a client, ran home, changed and went to campus for office hours and teach my two classes. Came back home at 4 pm to quickly eat my lunch, and then went to pick up the kids from after school activities. Brought them home, another quick change to go to my husband's formal work dinner!!

The dinner started with a salad (yeah). Then, I ordered Salmon, which came with a pumpkin cream risotto. I ate the salmon, but this pumpkin loving girl took one small taste of the delicious pumpkin cream risotto and left the rest! I will NOT crack!

Then dessert came: creme brûlée! I am determined - yes, I had one taste, and that was it! Today was a WIN!
Today's menu:
  • Upon waking: 25 ounces of water. Energize before my workout.
  • Breakfast: 2 eggs, 2 large handfuls of spinach, 1/2 an avocado
  • Lunch: Lettuce, pea shoots, 3 cherry tomatoes, 4 slices of red pepper, shred carrots, cucumber, 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, 1/2 avocado, 2 tsp evoo
  • Vanilla Shakeology with almond milk and 1/3 banana for "dessert"
  • Dinner: see above
Booty Workout
Thursday (Day 5)
Down 5 pounds!!!! Incredible! Feeling great!

The workout was great! It was a booty workout, and I was worried it would be too challenging for my knees. They are feeling much better. But the workout used the sliders and the bands, new fresh exercises, with no impact and no strain on the knees!!
Beef and Broccoli

It was another day with a crazy schedule, one thing after the other. At one point, I came home, and I thought about opening a bag of popcorn, but I knew if I did, I wouldn't stop. I had pre-made my salad for when I got home, sat down and ate it, drank my shake and lots of water. Then I distracted myself, and got back to the busy schedule.
Today's menu:
  • Upon waking: 25 ounces of water. Energize before my workout.
  • Breakfast: 2 eggs, 2 large handfuls of spinach, 1/2 an avocado
  • Lunch: Lettuce, pea shoots, 3 cherry tomatoes, 4 slices of red pepper, shred carrots, cucumber, 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, 1/2 avocado, 2 tsp evoo
  • Vanilla Shakeology with almond milk and 1/3 banana for "dessert"
  • Dinner: Beef and Broccoli with turmeric, black pepper, Everything But The Bagel seasoning, coconut aminos and sesame oil

Friday (day 6)
Down 6 pounds!
Exhausted today, because of the previous two days. Feeling hungry and grumpy, but lighter! The waist of my pants is not tight! The waistband of my underwear is not digging into my hips! My knees are less swollen.

But I'm hungry. By dinner, I looked at my salad and was a little annoyed - this was all the food I had left for the day! For dinner, my husband and my sons ordered pizza. I had my salad - ugh. Was tired. Tired of salad, tired of this plan already....but I stopped and took a breath. I didn't get enough sleep the night before, yes, I was TIRED. That's all. But after I ate my salad, my son's four pizza crusts were on his plate, and I reached over and ate one!

Oh, sweet, delicious, chewy carbohydrate!! It tasted so good.....But then I stopped myself. This is how I had gotten out of control. I was not going to let pizza crust ruin my good feeling.

Today's menu:
  • Upon waking: 25 ounces of water. Energize before my workout.
  • Breakfast: 2 eggs, 2 large handfuls of spinach, 1/2 an avocado
  • Lunch: Lettuce, pea shoots, 3 cherry tomatoes, 4 slices of red pepper, shred carrots, cucumber, 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, 1/2 avocado, 2 tsp evoo
  • Vanilla Shakeology with almond milk and 1/3 banana for "dessert"
  • Dinner: Salad with ground beef, evoo, turmeric, salt and pepper.

Saturday (day 7)
Pumpkin Protein PancakesDown 7 pounds. 
Down 7 pounds.
I know I'm losing so quickly, because I'm losing water and bloat that my body had been retaining. I slept 10 hours last night, and I'm feeling amazing! YES more energy, YES happier, YES less pain in my knees!

Live workouts with Autumn are only Monday-Friday, so today I completed a 30 minute functional core workout, and walked for 45 minutes on the treadmill, as it is 20 degrees out today!
Relaxed and spent time with my family.
Today's menu:
Upon waking: 25 ounces of water. Energize before my workout.
Breakfast: pumpkin protein pancakes - SO GOOD!
Lunch: Vanilla Shakeology with almond milk and 1/3 banana for "dessert"
Dinner: Spinach and onion frittata, salad

This week I practiced what I preach to all my clients.
I gave my body loving foods, I gave my body loving movement, I gave my body sleep, and I gave my body love.

So maybe this is kinda my gut check: "Vanessa- if you want to love your job and do your job amazingly- dude take care of you first."
Like duh, Vanessa.
I've legit fallen in love with it all over again!

Thanks for all your love and support this week! Let's go Week 2!!

To join my exclusive Fit Club where we will use these same principles, or to get more info, please fill out the form below. In my Fit Clubs, we will hold each other accountable, and take care of our own wellness!!

Fill out my online form.
The easy to use Wufoo form builder helps you make forms easy, fast, and fun.

30 Day Elimination Plan

Finally able to share the BIG NEWS!!!
I have been selected for a special project: a 30 day elimination program to create a new curriculum for nutrition and fitness with TWO of my most favoritest celebrity trainers and top nutritionist!

To be part of this Test Group, I had to commit to 30 Days of no alcohol, a balanced nutrition plan, my superfoods, and daily exercise. It's only 30 days!

Check out my first week on the 30 Day Elimination Plan, and follow my journey!

I've been having problems with my knee that have sidelined all my intense workouts, and I've had to modify any moves involving lower body and give up most of my cardio.  BUT, I haven't modified my nutrition to match my workouts, and the pounds have started creeping on, and I'm just feeling like I can't move as well as I used to.,, autumn calabrese, 80 day obsession, elimination diet, tosca reno
My Week 1 Meal Plan
I know this 4 weeks will challenge me and this will go through Thanksgiving as I am equipped with some amazing plan approved recipes (don’t worry I will share some) and sparkling water with a lime will be my cocktail of choice.

I know it won't be easy, but we are going into one of the busiest season of the year, where I tend to lose control, eat all the food, drink all the drinks, because hey, it's the holidays!
But, I am committed to be in control of my thoughts with nutrition and exercise. LOVING MY BODY and teaching my mind to respect it!!

So, this is to eliminate toxic foods, toxic habits, and toxic stress (a bit redundant, I know)!
THEN, when the 30 days are done, I get to share this new program when it is released in December!

​I'll be blogging about this experience weekly, and daily on Facebook and Instagram, and I'd love your support! 

Took my "before" photos and measurements, made my meal plan and I'm ready to go!! 
Wish me luck! 
elimination, toxic habits, tosca reno, autum calabrese,,, vanessa mclaughlin

To join my exclusive Fit Club where we will use these same principles, or to get more info, please fill out the form below. In my Fit Clubs, we will hold each other accountable, and take care of our own wellness!!

Fill out my online form.
The easy to use Wufoo form builder helps you make forms easy, fast, and fun.

Loaded Nachos - healthified!

21 Day Fix Nachos, Autumn Calabrese, Healthy Nachos, Loaded Nachos, Tosca Reno, Clean Eating,,, vanessa mclaughlin
I made these nachos made with my own freshly-baked tortilla chips - which are SO EASEY to make!! They’re topped with lots of good stuff, like pinto beans, jalapeños, tomatoes, avocados, and—of course—cheese! Add any other fresh veggies you want, like shredded lettuce or cabbage, radishes, or green onions.

1 Green
1 Yellow
½ Blue
1 tsp.

Makes 4 servings

  • 4 corn tortillas, cut into wedges
  • 2 tsp . olive oil
  • ½ medium lime
  • 1 dash chili powder
  • Sea salt (to taste, optional)
  • ½ cup cooked pinto beans , warm
  • 4 oz cheddar (or jack) cheese, shredded
  • 2 medium tomatoes chopped
  • ½ medium onion , finely chopped
  • ½ medium green bell pepper , chopped
  • ½ medium jalapeno , seeds and veins discarded, finely chopped
  • ¼ medium avocado , chopped
  • 4 fresh cilantro sprigs , chopped
  • 2 Tbsp plain Greek Yogurt

  1. Heat oven to 375° F.
  2. Brush both sides of tortillas with oil. 
  3. Take a pizza cutter and cut tortillas into 4 triangles each. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until crisp.
  4. Squeeze lime over chips. Sprinkle with chili powder and salt (if desired).
  5. Arrange half of the tortilla chips in a medium baking dish. Layer with half the beans and cheese. Repeat.
  6. Bake chip mixture for 3 to 4 minutes, or until cheese melts.
  7. Top with tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, jalapeno, avocado, cilantro, and yogurt.
Want more indulgent, healthy recipes that fit in your nutritious food plan and support in your health and fitness journey? Interested in accountability to reach your health goals? Fill out the application for more info!

Fill out my online form.
HTML Forms powered by Wufoo.

Halloween Fit Tips, Tricks, and Treats!

Even if you hung up your trick-or-treating tote many full moons ago, Halloween is still a fun holiday for the conscious splurge (emphasis on conscious).

Healthy halloween, clean eating, tips for halloween, tosca reno, autumn calabrese, 21 Day Fix, clean halloween
The problem is that, for many of us, Halloween kicks off the first of three months of far too much sugar… Sugar that, in some cases, wasn’t even that good (stale tootsie rolls anyone?). I get it, because I have a huge sweet tooth!! Bowls full of candy are super tempting, especially at work. So I’m here to offer my suggestions for kicking this holiday season off right, starting with Halloween…

Go opaque.
If you have any control over how the Halloween treats are displayed at work, do yourself a favor and avoid clear containers. Studies suggest that environmental factors like visibility and convenience play a major role in how much we consume. In fact, researchers at Cornell University found that participants in a study ate twice as many Hershey Kisses when they were in clear containers than when they were in opaque ones. Makes sense, right?

Avoid the “fun-size” trap.
Let’s face it: Most of us aren’t being honest with ourselves when it comes to “fun-size” candy. Despite being adorable, bite-sized treats can make it all too easy to indulge mindlessly. A tiny Twix with your morning coffee, a couple Snickers at 4pm when emails start piling up, and sure, why not one for the road. The biggest issue is that when we convince ourselves that fun-sized candy is so small it barely counts, we lose track of the individual bites and can wind up eating a whole candy bar or more. Tip: Save your wrappers on Halloween to keep yourself accountable throughout the day!

I’m not the kind of person that’s going to recommend celery sticks in place of chocolate. I LOVE sweets and I LOVE chocolate! In fact, I encourage you to make a mental note of your all time favorite Halloween treat and to enjoy it during this holiday, consciously, sans guilt. Let it melt on your tongue and take in all the goodness. Eat it, enjoy it thoroughly, and then move on. Making this mental note also helps weed out the not-so-worth-it sweets—the sweets you eat because they’re there and you’re hungry, stressed or tired. In short, you’ll be better off saving up for the good stuff.

Self care.
Speaking of being hungry, stressed and tired, these states will most definitely make you more likely to seek out sugar. Be aware of how you’re feeling. Making sure you aren’t going too long without eating—particularly protein, healthy fats and fiber—is a really great way to thwart sugar cravings. And know your sugar triggers… If you didn’t sleep great the night before, or you’re having one of those weeks at work, cortisol (the stress hormone) will likely be contributing to intense sugar cravings (as if you needed more on your plate). Knowing this provides some perspective. It helps us take a step back and realize we’re not craving sugar because we need it to fuel us. So here’s to pacing ourselves this holiday season, starting with All Hallows’ Eve.

This is really part of "self-care." Exercise is a TREAT for your body. You don't have to workout for hours, but just add some intensity to your workouts. Do a minute of high intensity cardio between exercise moves, or add in some extra walks around the office throughout the day. Need suggestions? Contact me.

Better-for-you options.
Make your own candy. Here's my recipe for sugar free Freezer Fudge.
Of course if you are indulging, I’m always going to recommend going for the highest quality options. Shakeology has helped me control my sugar cravings, and is a sweet treat to my day! When I drink my shake, I don't need to eat candy. Especially when I can drink it as a chocolate almond fudge or pumpkin pie!

And there you have it! I hope these tips and tricks will help you this holiday season. Just remember that whenever you feel yourself starting to cave, you can always come back to this post for a refresher and a little dose of motivation to keep you on track.

What’s your favorite Halloween indulgence?

Let me know in the comments below.
If you want more healthy tips, motivation and inspiration on your nutrition and fitness journey, complete my form below.

Fill out my online form.
There are tons of Wufoo features to help make your forms awesome.

Sugar Free Freezer Fudge

Pop a cube when you have a sweet tooth and need a treat.

1 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup cocoa powder
8-10 drops liquid stevia
1/4 -1/2 cup Almond Butter (Optional if you desire a thicker consistency)
Maldon or Pink salt (Optional)

Melt Coconut Oil in glass pyrex bowl.
Whisk in coco powder and stevia. (and almond butter if you don't love coconut oil consistency)
Pour into ice cube tray.
Sprinkle with Salt
Fudge is ready in 20 minutes
Want more sweet treat recipes or motivation on your nutrition and fitness journey? Complete the form below for more info. 

Fill out my online form.
There are tons of Wufoo features to help make your forms awesome.

How to get it together when you're in a funk...

It’s happened to all of us at one point or another. You get into a bad mood which doesn’t seem to lift or get better, and before you know it you’re in a funk and it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere anytime soon. It may last a few hours or even a few days, so here are my top tips to help you move up the emotional scale.

But before I get into that, let’s deal with those feelings that come with the funk that are less than fun.

Most people who are in a funk will experience feelings of sadness, anger, frustration, hatred or something similar, and it’s okay to have those feelings. The trick with feelings is to feel them fully and not judge them. As humans, we tend to label things (including feelings) as good or bad, but actually a feeling is just a feeling.

With that in mind, here's how to handle your feelings:

1. Witness the feeling.
2. Accept the feeling.
3. Don’t judge the feeling.
4. Do something that brings joy.

Now try the following to help get you out of that funk.

1. Eat clean.

It’s easy when you’re not feeling like yourself to get stuck in the dangerous cycle of eating junk food, but remember that food plays a huge role with mood. Eating clean, green foods not only fills your body with enzyme-rich and vitamin-fueled nutrients, but it brings vibrant positive energy and helps to improve your mental clarity, creativity overall joy and happiness. Check out my healthy, clean eats, fit recipes!

2. Spend time in nature.

Getting outside and being reacquainted with every form of life will remind you of the beauty that exists around you always. Being aware of how beautiful and how sacred life is should help to boost your mood. 10 minutes does the trick!

3. Meditate.

Hanging out in stillness with no one but your inner self is a surefire way to reconnect with the part of you that's always there and never changes. I practice breathing. Just one minute, once or twice a day.

4. Be thankful.

Listing all the things you're grateful for in your life can help you appreciate what you have and attract more of the good stuff to you. Either write a list each day or make a mental list while brushing your teeth, washing in the shower or running errands. If you write it on a piece of paper or your phone, you can use them to refer to at another time.

5. Exercise.

Getting that body moving will help to release feel-good neurochemicals like serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine to boost your mood. Spiritual and more gentle loving exercise like yoga or qigong will also help to get you back in flow. It just takes 30 minutes!

6. Spend time with people and things that you LOVE.

Carve out time with your favorite people or things and indulge in doing what you truly love and are passionate about.

What do you do to pull yourself out of a funk or get yourself back in the flow?

Need help getting out of a funk, or need motivation? Complete my form for more info.

Fill out my online form.
Use Wufoo templates to make your own HTML forms.

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

family recipe, mac and cheese, 21 Day Fix, Clean eating, tosca reno, autumn calabrese, double time recipe, dinner recipe,
I don't know about you, but I could live in a house made of cheese, oh, and pasta!!

Sticking to a healthy diet does not have to mean living a life without mac and cheese! I don't sacrifice my love of food. This family friendly recipe is from the Double Time recipe booklet, and the rich and creamy macaroni and cheese casserole tastes as good as the original, but wouldn’t wreck your healthy eating! It has less than 300 calories per serving and 15 grams of protein! The recipe makes 10 servings, so it can feed a hungry family or make several servings for healthy meal prep. It is also compatible with the 21 Day Fix, and the portion fix meal plan.

This recipe boasts two types of cheese – yes, real cheese! – sharp cheddar and Gruyere. The secret is using extra-flavorful cheeses, so a little bit goes a long way. They blend with a silky butternut squash puree to create an intensely flavorful sauce. Then, the added peppers, onions, and a sprinkling of parsley to make the dish even more tasty and nutritious.

Serves 10
Container Amounts
½ Green
2 Yellows
1 Blue

  • 1 lb. dry whole wheat macaroni
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 medium red bell peppers chopped
  • 3 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 1¾ cups low-sodium organic chicken broth
  • 1 cup low-fat (1%) milk
  • 2 Tbsp. low-fat (1%) plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyere (or Swiss) cheese
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper (to taste; optional)
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  3. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Add onion and bell peppers; cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 6 minutes, or until onion is translucent. Set aside.
  5. Combine squash, broth, and milk in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium; gently boil for 22 to 25 minutes, or until squash is tender.
  6. Place squash mixture in a blender or food processor; cover with lid and kitchen towel. Blend until smooth.
  7. Combine squash mixture, macaroni, onion mixture, yogurt, and cheeses. Season with salt and pepper if desired; mix well.
  8. Place macaroni mixture in a 13 x 9-inch ceramic or glass baking dish that has been coated with spray. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until sauce is bubbling.
  9. Garnish with parsley if desired.
Want more family friendly recipes and support with your nutrition and fitness goals? Complete this form for more info. 

Fill out my online form.
HTML Forms powered by Wufoo.

Loaded Sweet Potato Skins - Healthified!

Love loaded potato skins? This is usually a greasy bar snack, but the version below turned that grease-laden dish into a delicious appetizer that is healthy enough to eat for a meal! These baked sweet potato skins are topped with spinach, spiced chicken, turkey bacon, and parsley, with a dollop of Greek yogurt.

It was football game day, and I wanted a healthy appetizer for the game. I got this recipe from 21 Day Fix creator Autumn Calabrese and her brother chef Bobby Calabrese on FIXATE, the exclusive Beachbody On Demand cooking show.

Portion Fix Containers
1 Yellow
1 Red

Makes 4 Servings


4 baked medium sweet potatoes cut in half
1 tsp olive oil
½ tsp sea salt (or Himalayan salt)
4 oz shredded cooked chicken breast
4 slices cooked turkey bacon
2 tsp thyme or salt-free poultry seasoning
1 cup steamed spinach
½ cup reduced-fat (2%) plain Greek yogurt
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

  1. Heat oven to 400° F.
  2. Scoop flesh out of the sweet potatoes and reserve for another use.
  3. Place skins on baking sheet. Brush with oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 10 minutes, or until crisp.
  4. While skins are baking, combine chicken and poultry (or thyme) seasoning in a small bowl; mix well. Set aside.
  5. Top each sweet potato half evenly with spinach, turkey bacon, chicken, yogurt, and parsley.
Want more indulgent, healthy recipes that fit in your nutritious food plan and support in your health and fitness journey? Interested in accountability to reach your health goals? Fill out the application for more info!

Fill out my online form.
HTML Forms powered by Wufoo.

Pumpkin Pie Energy Bites

pumpkin pie energy bites, autumn calabrese, clean eating, tosca reno, healthy pumpkin pie recipe
I don’t know about you, but when the days start getting darker and that crisp breeze picks up, my craving for pumpkin pie, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin spice lattes, and all the pumpkin-y goodness of fall skyrockets.

Lucky for me (and hopefully for you) pumpkin treats don’t always have to be unhealthy. These Pumpkin Pie Energy bites pack all the autumnal flavor I want without the added sugar and calories I don’t. Perfect for the very real struggle of trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle amid all the holiday temptation.

So why are these delicious little pumpkin balls called “energy” bites? Dates! The sweet and sticky fruit that holds all the good stuff in this recipe together is known to be a great source of energy and fiber. In addition, pumpkin’s high concentration of potassium helps replenish that important electrolyte after workouts. Sweetened with pure maple syrup and rolled in coconut flakes, these treats are a clean alternative to candy and cake cravings – and they won’t cause you to crash. Plus, the addition of raw pecans and hazelnut extract take the nutty and earthy flavors up a notch; because healthy doesn’t have to be boring.

But maybe the best thing about these Pumpkin Pie Energy Bites is that they don’t involve any baking. You can get that pumpkin pastry flavor without turning on an oven – just a few spins around a food processor and rolling into balls and you’ve got more than a dozen sweet morsels packed with clean and healthy fall flavor.

This Pumpkin Pie Energy Bites recipe is from Autumn Calabrese’s FIXATE cookbook. That might be helped by the fact that each serving includes not one, but two pieces of pumpkin goodness. And, this sweet treat doesn’t even use up those scarce and precious yellow containers, which is a major score. 21 Day Fix-ers, you know what I’m talking about! These energy bites count as one purple Portion Fix container and half of a blue container.

Watch 21 Day Fix creator Autumn Calabrese and her brother, chef Bobby Calabrese make a similar version of this recipe for Pumpkin Pie Energy Bites on their healthy cooking show, FIXATE!

Container Equivalents
1 Purple
½ Blue


1 cup pitted dates
Warm water
½ cup raw pecan halves (or pecan pieces)
⅓ cup canned pumpkin puree
¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes , reserve small amount for garnish
1 tsp . pure hazelnut extract (or pure maple extract)
1 tsp . pure maple syrup
2 tsp . pumpkin pie spice
1 pinch sea salt (or Himalayan salt)


1. Place dates in a medium bowl; cover with water. Let soak for 10 minutes. Drain. Set aside.
2. Place pecans in food processor; pulse until finely ground.
3. Add dates, pumpkin, coconut, extract, maple syrup, pumpkin pie spice, and salt; pulse until well mixed. Place in a medium bowl. Refrigerate, covered, for 30 minutes.
4. Using clean hands, roll into tablespoon-sized balls; roll in reserved coconut (if desired).
5. Store, refrigerated, in airtight container.

Want more indulgent, healthy recipes that fit in your nutritious food plan and support in your health and fitness journey? Interested in accountability to reach your health goals? Fill out the application for more info!

Fill out my online form.
HTML Forms powered by Wufoo.