Branching Out

My favorite meal of the day is breakfast. In my opinion, there is nothing better than waking up, making a cup of hot coffee, sitting on my couch and enjoying a warm bowl of oatmeal. I’m also a creature of habit. That oatmeal is 9 times out of 10 topped with 1/2 banana, blueberries, strawberries, hemp seed hearts, chia seeds and cinnamon!

Since I try to come up with interesting and fun foods for my blog, I have recently been trying to reach outside of my comfort zone and try new things! I know it sounds silly, but trying new foods can be scary, especially for a control freak like myself! Well, it’s time to Branch Out!

Lately, I’ve been experimenting with different breakfast grains. I mean, oatmeal isn’t the only option (all though it is amazing)! There are a variety of gorgeous gluten-free grains that can be made into yummy breakfast creations! Lately, my favorite has been


Yea, the name may sound funny, but these little grains are AWESOME. They are super easy to make, have a chewy texture, are gluten-free, and high in fiber.

DSC_0389I present to you:

Apple Pie Buckwheat Groats

  • 1/3 cup buck wheat groats (also known as Kasha)
  • 1 cup cup water
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/2 apple cubed
  • cinnamon
  • stevia
  • 1 TBS pecans
  • 1 TBS Raisins
  • 1 tspn chia seeds
  • Optional: Flax meal, 1/2 banana, hemp seed hearts


Boil water in a small pot. When the water comes to a boil, add Buckwheat groats, cinnamon, chia, stevia and apple. Turn heat to low, and allow the water to absorb into the grain. After all the water is absorbed, add apple sauce, pecans, raisins and optional ingredients. Mix well and enjoy!

*Although Buckwheat groats are awesome, you can totally use oatmeal and enjoy them APPLE PIE style!!!

*These can be made the night before! Throw everything in a mason jar, and        re-heat in the morning!


So! I dare you to BRANCH OUT, and experiment with something new! You may find your new favorite food!!!

Question: What is your favorite Breakfast food?




Trainer Spotlight

Ever get your butt KICKED in an awesome workout class? Yea, I have. I am a self-proclaimed class junkie. Actually, I recently joined ClassPass! It’s an amazing program that enables you to take unlimited classes each month (with a limit at 3x per studio). It has opened my eyes to a ton of different amazing studios, classes and INCREDIBLE instructors!!!

(Check out ClassPass! They have services in lots of different locations!)

Finding your favorite instructor is crucial to a successful workout. Each trainer has something special and unique to bring to their workouts. I’m going to be featuring some of my favorite New York City trainers! I’ve asked them a series of questions regarding their eating habits, and any advice they may have for readers!

trainerI am so excited to introduce you to the people behind the workouts. These people inspire everyone in their classes to work to their fullest potential, and help them achieve their fitness goals!

First up, is the beautiful and talented:

BethFitness1 This girl is seriously like the “Energizer Bunny”!  Every time I take her class I am in awe of how much she gives to her classes. She is motivating, inspiring, relentless, hilarious, and always pushes you to do more than you ever thought you were capable of. She also has amazing abs (thought I would throw that little tidbit in there).

Don’t let her up beat personality and sweet smile fool you. Her signature series, “High intensity”, will turn out to be the most difficult 4 minutes of your life! Yea, her class is hard, but I promise you will leave glowing, your clothes drenched in sweat, and looking forward to the next class you can take with this incredible woman! Not only is she a fitness instructor, but she is a successful broadway performer, social media guru, and DESSERT CRITIC! Yes… You heard me right… DESSERT CRITIC!

May I introduce to you : BETH NICELY!!!!!!


Name:  Beth Nicely

Where you teach:  Body By Simone

Do you follow a certain diet?  80% healthy, 20% free for all!

What is an average day of teaching like for you?

5:30am wake up, breakfast, coffee, water, granola bars. 6:15 leave for BBS. 7am private session, followed by 1 or 2 classes. I teach a variety of classes: Dance cardio, upper body, Hips Thighs and Buns, full body, and trampoline. I also teach lots of privates, but max at 2 group classes a day. It’s exhausting but I love it!

What is your go to Dinner? 

I’m a huge fan of protein and vegetables for dinner.  I like pork tenderloin, roasted brussels sprouts and baked sweet potatoes.  I need some carbs for energy so I’ll have a little bread with olive oil occasionally.  Dark chocolate is a MUST for dessert:-).  images





What do you snack on between classes to keep you energized and fueled?? 

KashiBarsKashi makes great Roasted Almond crunch granola bars.  I have one every morning with coffee & water before mKINDBarsy workouts at BBS.  The oats sustain me and the almonds are good protein PLUS it has lower sugar than most granola bars.  I also love Chocolate Cherry KIND bars as well.

I’m a huge fan of a banana with almond butter as a snack. It really keeps me going.  I have long days full of hard workouts at BBS so I need constant energy through food!  If I have a later morning, I’ll eat Gluten Free Banana oatmeal with almond butter and honey.   (I guess I have an almond and oats theme… lol!)


Any suggestions for readers?

DRINK WATER.  You must drink a HUGE glass of water first thing in the morning to re-hydrate yourselfdrink water.  It not only gets your digestive system moving, the hydration will give you energy in your workouts.  I also recommend finding the perfect morning snack/meal that works for you and stick with it.  You have a better workout when you have energy from food in you.

I’m all about balance, as I have a popular dessert blog with my fellow BBS Trainer/Broadway gal/Best Friend Amanda Kloots…  I’m a huge believer in making the majority of your meals healthy and then have your cake and eat it too;-)

What do you want people to get from your class?

I want everyone to leave my class feeling positive, confident, and proud of the hard workout that they just accomplished. No matter the level you’re at or how well you did, if you show up you deserve a high-five!

Yea… this girl is the best.




Find her schedule at Body By Simone/ Instagram @bodybysimone






Veggie of the week Part 2: Butternut Squash

It’s Time for Part two of Veggie of the week!!!! This week, I am featuring the beautiful:


I’ve used butternut squash to make Chili, Curry Soup,  Cream Sauce, and “Fries”… but all of these recipes seemed to obvious… too uncreative.

I present to you…



These were so delicious. I enjoyed them on one slice of gluten-free bread, with lettuce, tomato, avocado, a pickle (not optional in my world) and some homemade catsup!!! They are a little bit sweet, and just the right amount of savory.

The best part is they are really easy to make! It is so common to look at a recipe, get overwhelmed, doubt ourselves and then opt for our “usual”.

I dare you to try to go outside of your comfort zone and try these!!

SO without further ado:

Butternut Squash Burgers

  • 1/2 butternut squash
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 TBS rosemary chopped
  • 1/2 TBS thyme chopped
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 TBS sun-dried tomato chopped
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 3 TBS green onion
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 TBS flour of choice (I used quinoa flakes)
  • optional 1/2 tsp liquid smoke (try substituting 1/4 tsp paprika!)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 TBS coconut oil (or olive)

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with non stick cooking spray. Place butternut squash flat side down and roast for about 30 minutes (check by sticking a fork or knife in the squash, if it goes in easily it’s done!)

Meanwhile, In a pan, heat the coconut oil, and cook onion and garlic until translucent. Add rosemary, thyme, dried basil, salt, pepper, and sun-dried tomatoes. Stir completely.

Once squash is done, (leave heat on), discard the seeds and scoop out the flesh. Mash squash in a separate large bowl. The mash should fill about 2 cups. Add the contents of the pan, plus chia seeds, green onion, egg white, flour and optional liquid smoke. Mix completely.

On a sprayed baking sheet, portion out 6 patties. Bake in the oven for about 35-40 minutes (flipping half way through). Once the patties have turned slightly browned, take out of the oven. Top with your favorite burger toppings, and Enjoy!

If you are staying away from bread, try them on lettuce wraps!!!DSC_0267I hope you enjoy these as much as I do :)

Also, here is a little sneak peek at what’s to come in our Fit For Broadway/Cookies to Kale E-Book!!!! Each meal is perfectly portioned and specifically chosen to create a balanced day of eating. We’ve done all of the work for you.. all you have to do is EAT!!!! (I know that personally I’m really good at that part).





Exciting News

So we have survived the “snowpocalypse” here in NYC. I will say that it was a nice day in. Since none of the public transportation was running here, I was kind of stuck in our apartment. That meant that I had no excuse to create some awesome things!!!awesomeMy friend Jane over at Fit for Broadway and I are collaborating to create our very first e-book!!! We are so excited to share our outlook on healthy living and provide people with nutritious and easy to make meals. My favorite thing about the book is that it is:

notWe like to think of it as a “RE-Introduction”. We all know HOW we should be eating, sometimes lose sight of how we should be doing it. Jane and I have created a 7 day meal plan that will eliminate common excuses:

  • I don’t know how to cook
  • I don’t know what to cook
  • I don’t have time to cook
  • I don’t want to eat diet food, its gross

All of our recipes are quick, easy,  and delicious. The best part is literally ANYONE can cook this stuff.  After 7 days, you will have reintroduced your body to the healthy foods it needs to feel best! You will feel amazing, look great, and be on your way to continuing with your healthy life! Can you tell I’m excited?!?!?!



DSC_0161 DSC_0158


DSC_0155 DSC_0174

My obsession with sriracha is no secret. I’ve seen some recipes for sriracha cauliflower on the internet and decided to develop my own recipe. I think they came out pretty darn good!

Sriracha Cauliflower Bites with Caesar dipping sauce

  • 1/2 head small caulflower broken into pieces (about 2 cups cauliflower)
  • 1/4 cup gluten free rolled oats
  • 2 egg whites
  • 3 TBS sriracha sauce *you may want to use more or less depending on your spice tolerance!

for the sauce

  • 1/3 cup yogurt (I used SoDelicious Coconut milk yogurt)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast (Parm. cheese works great too!)
  • pinch of pepper

Instructions:Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet and spray with non stick cooking spray. Using a blender or food processor, pulse oats until a flour is formed. Transfer flour to a small bowl. Pour egg whites into a separate small bowl. Add sriracha sauce to the egg whites, mixing completely. Dip each individual cauliflowerette into the egg white/sriracha mixture, (coating completely) and then roll in the flour. Repeat until all of the pieces are coated. Place all pieces onto making sheet and bake for about 20 minutes. Flip, and cook for another 10 (this all depends on your oven so keep an eye on them). Enjoy!!!

For the sauce: combine all ingredients and mix completely!

For someone as sriracha obsessed as I am, these were a real treat… and yes.. I ate every last bite. By myself… and I am not ashamed.



Veggie of the week

So, I have exciting news. I got a camera!!! I am so excited to share quality photos of my recipes!! I mean they do say that we eat with our eyes! (who is “they”?)

For my first new and improved post, I wanted to go back to the:Veggieoftheweek

I wanted to highlight one of my favorite veggies:


Butternut squash!!!

In actuality, squash are fruits (their seeds classify them as such). That’s ok, I still think that these bad boys qualify for veggie of the week!

Why do I love butternut squash so much?? Well, most importantly because they are delicious. They are also high in:

Potassium (helps regulate blood pressure)

This veggie is fantastic, and if you are unfamiliar with it, now is the time to introduce yourself!!!! Try this recipe (it’s easier than it seems)


DSC_0113Don’t they look good?DSC_0118They’re really yummy…DSC_0109They’re great for dipping…

DSC_0118Oh common… just make them!

Butternut squash Fritters

  • 1 cup grated butternut squash (about half a medium-sized squash)
  • 1 cup grated zucchini (equals one medium zucchini)
  • 1/4 cup flour of choice (I used quinoa flour)
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • salt and pepper (just a pinch)


  • Cut your butternut squash starting at the top and ending at the bottom. With a spoon, scoop out the seeds. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the outer skin off the squash.
  • Using a cheese grater, shred butternut squash, filling one cup (about half a medium-sized squash).
  • Layer paper towels (at least 3), transfer shreds to the center of the paper towel. Wrap paper towels around shreds and squeeze as much excess water as you can from the grated squash. Transfer to a large bowl.
  • Next, grate zucchini, also filling one cup (or one medium zucchini) and repeat paper towel trick. Transfer to the large bowl
  • Add egg white, garlic, basil, flour, salt and pepper. Stir, mixing completely.
  • Spray a large pan with non stick spray. Scoop mixture into pan (I would say about 1/8 cup per fritter). Cook until browned on both sides.
  • ENJOY!

I ate one with dairy free greek yogurt, one with catsup and one with apple sauce. The apple sauce won in my book, but be creative!!!


The Grocery Store Dilemma

So you’ve decided you want to clean up your diet. CONGRATS!! That is the first step to changing your body and your life.  You are feeling excited, inspired, and determined. You plan a trip to the grocery store, feeling like you can take over the world.. and then…grocery-store-isle

You walk into a world of overwhelming proportions. There are so many choices. So many brands flaunting the terms “low-fat”,”sugar-free”, “gluten-free”, “reduced calorie”…this list goes on and on. How are you supposed to make a smart choice,  informed choice, when there are so many products to choose from.

Tip 1: Go Strait to the Produce section:

Pretty much everything here is free game! There are millions of ways to prepare and enjoy fruits and vegetables. Buy an assortment of colors and types. If you can afford to, treat yourself to organic produce (free of pesticides and chemicals). If not, no prob! This is the safest place to shop. GO WILD!

Tip 2: Low fat doesn’t give you a free pass!!!

Just because a product says it is “Low in fat” doesn’t mean that it is necessarily a good option. Buying the “Low-fat hot pocket” as opposed to the regular version may be the lesser of two evils, but it is still evil. HowUnknown do you think they made that low-fat version taste good? THEY ADDED A TON OF SUGAR! This form of sugar, processed sugar, is not easily broken down in the body. When you throw a ton of it in there at one time, the body can’t use it quick enough. Blood sugars spike, blood sugars drop, and BAM! It is stored as fat. Sorry guys.. but stay away from that processed junk if you can.

Better Option: Make it yourself! Take a Gluten free wrap, with low-fat cheese, 1 slice turkey bacon, and low sugar tomato sauce! Roll up wrap (keep it together with a tooth pick or turn it upside down. Throw it in the microwave until the insides are melted, or heat in your oven until warm!

Tip 3: If it sounds healthy…it is?

Lots of things sound healthy. The words “Brown rice” “Bran” “Fiber” sounds great, but are they good options?

So you love cereal. That’s FINE! Lot’s of people love it. The real challenge is finding the right one. Sorry folks, those fruity pebbles you loved as a youth are a no go. Well, you knew that. Any brainiac can tell that something died bright blue is not exactly healthy. So what are your options?

1) If a cereal boasts low-fat…they’re not lying. The majority of cereals are naturally low in fat! There isn’t anything all that special about that guy… stay away.

2) You see a “healthy key word”.  Bran sounds healthy… I’ll go with Raisin bran! Ok great..flip over the box and look at the side. Calories: Look pretty good.

(image taken from the internet)



Fiber: HIGH YAY!

Sugar: WOAH..16g?!

AND THAT IS IN ONE SERVING!!! That is if you took out a measuring cup, filled it with cereal, and leveled it off. ONE CUP. ONE SERVING…

What does 16g even mean. 16g of sugar=4 teaspoons of sugar. (divide grams by 4 to get teaspoons)


So What exactly does 4 teaspoons of sugar look like?


DSC_0021 DSC_0020


Better option:  Look for something lower in sugar. I would say AT LEAST 6 grams and under (preferably on the under side). Look for High fiber and natural ingredients. Try Kashi Brand, or Natures Path.

Tip 4: Just because it’s healthy, doesn’t meant you can eat as much as you want.


“Everything in moderation”. You’ve heard that before, right? With the exception of fruits and vegetables (excluding potatoes, and avocado), all other foods need to be eaten with limitations.

You bought the gluten-free, low sugar, low fat, high fiber cookies! HORRAY! VICTORY! Opted for the whole wheat, or gluten-free pasta? FABULOUS!! I’m here to tell you that you can only have ONE SERVING. Just because a food product boasts these key “healthy” words, doesn’t mean that it is calorie free.

Another option: Feeling snacky? If you need to eat without any limitations, reach for a bag of baby carrots, lots of celery stalks, an entire bell pepper, and half of a cucumber! Dip them in salsa and eat until you feel like you’re done!!

I understand that this sounds like a lot of information…it is! When you go to the grocery store, try not to get overwhelmed and use your best judgment. You know more than you give yourself credit for.


If you ever have any questions, feel free to email me at [email protected]




Spotlight on an Under active Thyroid

It is easy to judge people. Most times, we aren’t aware that we do it, but we judge people.  We judge them on their looks, where they live, where they work, what their habits are…We judge people.

Most people think that an overweight person eats too much and never exercises. That is the “typical” judgment. It is so crucial to remind ourselves that sometimes, weight gain is out of our control.

One day, while wasting some time on Facebook, I came across a post from a childhood friend of mine that really inspired me. I always knew Kristen as being super outgoing, friendly, popular and FUNNY.  She is tall, gorgeous, and really kind. The sort of girl that anyone would want to be friends with. Social media showed me pictures of a vibrant girl who was healthy and happy…then something changed.

One day, she posted about a serious weight gain, and now weight loss that she was going through. She publicly and BRAVELY announced that she had gained over 50 lbs, was suffering from a severely under active thyroid, and was in the process of doing EVERYTHING she could to lose the weight. I was not only in awe, I was inspired by her strength and courage. Here is her story:



(above Kristen in 2012)

Name: Kristen Lyman

Age: 28

Work: For the last 8 years I have worked in retail. I have been an assistant store manager, a store manager, a buyer and a global licensing brand ambassador. For the last 3 years a typical work week was anywhere between 45 to 70 hours a week. Even when I would be on ‘vacation’ I would still spend nothing less than 10 hours working on schedules, analyzing sales data, product levels, sales operations etc. My job took over my life!

What are you suffering from?: In August of 2014 I was diagnosed with a severely under active thyroid.

What were your eating/drinking habits before your diagnosis?:My entire life I was never super skinny, but I certainly was not heavy. I played sports and was active. I would run 2 to 3 miles a day, simply because I wanted to, and had incredible amounts of energy. I ate fairly healthy but never really had to think too much about it.

When I went to college in 2004 a lot of that changed. The unlimited amounts of food in the dining hall, exorbitant amounts of take out, and of course, alcohol, really got to me. When I went away to school I was 5’6 and weighed  around 150lbs. I came home that winter weighing close to 180. I vowed that year to make a complete lifestyle change.

When I went back to school I worked out, I would go to the gym and do a lot of cardio. I used to swim in high school so I took advantage of access to swimming at the college I went to. I got down to aboutI  140 lbs, and I was really happy.

(below: after a 45lb weight loss, feeling really confident)



When did you notice yourself gaining weight again?: 

Through out high school and college I smoked a lot. Finally, after quitting (I’m 5 years smoke free and proud of it!) I noticed I started quickly gaining weight. Towards the beginning of 2014 the size 4/6 jeans I usually wore were tight. I bought a size 8, then a 10 and then late in the year I had to start buying a 12. Suddenly NOTHING fit. I had “love handles”, my thighs had never been so big, my flat stomach was gone and in the shower it was hard to shave. I started having trouble breathing and sleeping.


When did you know it was time to seek medical attention?:

I knew something was wrong because my period had become irregular. That had NEVER happened before. Of course the thought of being pregnant did cross my mind but a test cleared that up right away!

My boyfriend and I had just bought a home. I had 2 very active dogs. We had 6 wonderful acres of land to let them run and enjoy the upstate country air. Instead of enjoying those things, I was inside. I was tired, depressed and forcing myself to go to work because of obligation.

At my high schools 10 year reunion I looked at pictures of myself and
wanted to die. I could not believe how big I was. That was when I finally stepped on a scale. I literally had an anxiety attack, I weighed over 200lbs. Never in my life did I ever think I would see that number. I sobbed. I was angry. I had every emotion possible. I could not believe that in the course of 16 weeks I had gained over 40lbs.

When I was home for that reunion weekend I couldn’t  even keep up with my 6 year old niece. The sadness of not being able to play with Lily, the anger and frustration of that number on the scale all made me want to really change my life. I knew it was time to see a doctor.

What happened when you did?:

I had to push for specific blood work because diagnosing an under active thyroid is not always very clear. I had done my own extensive research. I read a TON, and learned as much as I could about thyroid issues. I knew without any doctor telling me. I had all the symptoms. It was my thyroid. Finally I was diagnosed.  I then began the difficult process of losing the weight.

(Below, with my amazingly supportive boyfriend.)


What was this weight loss journey like?: 

I tried lots of “quick fixes”,quiote but I finally realized that a fad diet was not going to work. I was 28 years old and I was on the verge of becoming diabetic, I had to do something. If I wanted any serious change, I had to seriously change my lifestyle.

I started with just going to the local High school and walking the track, everyday. Usually I would bring one of my dogs. At first it was hard, but then I started to love it!

Next I took a look at my diet. Gone were the days of the Big Breakfast from my beloved Mcdonalds (contains over 1180 calories, that enough for someone my height to eat for the day!) I swapped that for eggs or oatmeal with fresh fruit. Now don’t get me wrong the eggs were not egg whites, they were regular eggs, there was some cheese involved and the Long Island girl in me always loves her ketchup! But it was still a far cry from what I normally ate. I gave up Diet Coke (which I used to really love). I replaced it with TONS of water (Often, I added lemon to it). For lunch, I would eat a salad which chicken or tuna and then dinner I was chicken, or steak and a fresh vegetable. I also swapped regular pasta for whole grain but in moderation.

unnamed-7(ABOVE: This picture is really special to me. My  “I won’t give up” attitude allowed me to post this. My first selfie on Instagram. I had lost about 20 pounds there)

What are the hardest parts about managing your new lifestyle?:

One of the hardest parts for me is moderating sweets. I LOVE sweets. Cookies, cake, anything with sugar I’m a sucker for. So, if I did have a treat it meant an extra miunnamed-9le. Yes mile, not a lap, a mile.  Although my lungs have made great strides in healing from the not smoking, running was hard for me. I also noticed that I had to put in a lot more effort than the old days. What would have been an extra lap was now 4 laps or a mile around that track. I don’t LOVE the gym, but when my jeans started fitting bigger it fueled me.

(<-(It’s a good angle), but I’m getting somewhere! Finally seeing some definition!)

Where did you find support?:

It goes without saying, when people tell you how good you look or notice you lost weight, it feels great. It’s motivation. Most importantly I was very vocal about my entire journey through Instagram and Facebook. My father, who has just lost over 50lbs on weight watchers, was one of my biggest supporters. My family, is super supportive and my sister is a huge motivation. My wonderful circle of best girlfriends have been there through all of this. Most importantly my boyfriend, no matter what size he loved me. He always tells me I am beautiful, and even at my worst he inspired me to be better. I will never be able to thank him enough for that.

What do you want people to know?

I want people to know this can happen to you at any time in your life. I was really young when it happened to me; It doesn’t have to be in your 40’s like a lot of books will tell you.

I really noticed that it’s a lot easier in life to get what you want when your “cute” and in shape. I saw people treat me differently when I was heavier. UntitledThat upset me the most.

What I want people to get from this is to not judge, do not mock and most certainly do not ever put someone down. When your weight is out of your control, and is a medical condition, its the hardest battle. When someone is already down, help them up. Inspire them. Most importantly, love the person that you are.

I want people to know its okay to go through this! Gaining a little weight isn’t what is alarming, but when it starts to affect your health should you be concerned. Be alert. Watch the changes your body is going through and keep a journal of how you feel or whats going on.  When something is wrong you will know and your body will tell you.


Any advice?:

Surround yourself with good people, cut out the negative, and love yourself. Think of your body as your temple, you only get one and no matter what size, the best size to be is healthy!

UntitledFor every person going though this, you should never ever give up ! No matter what your size, you’re beautiful !

Ive learned  I trust My Doctors, My instinct & my heart .

(Below with the best friends a girl could ask for)unnamed-11