Slow Roasted Seasoned Tomatoes (Sauce)

A gas range is something I am still getting used to. No one quite understands the difference between an electric stove and a gas range until they actually go from having one to the other. I’ve always heard that a lot of food not only tastes different when using a gas stove (or oven), but also cooks much quicker. It’s still too early for me to validate the taste answer, but I can absolutely attest to the cooks quicker one! I learned just how quick after burning french toast.

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Since we are now officially in the new home, I can settle in more comfortably and get back into the swing of things – meaning actually cooking again; something I desperately missed both mentally and physically. I always feel so much better about myself when I know where my meals came from and who prepared them. Don’t get me wrong, eating out every once in awhile is nice but not only does it get expensive but it’s also most likely not healthy.

Tonight’s dinner was a late one due to schedules so it had to be something more on the simple side. It’s been some time since I made a marinara sauce and pasta can be both satisfying to all tastebuds and a quick clean-plater. I had most things already on hand, aside from the tomatoes which I happily walked over to Whole Foods to acquire. It’s awesome just how good even a basic marinara sauce can taste. Those tomatoes really do their job!

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Tomato? Tomahto? Marinara is a personal preference. I happen to like mine sweet so cherry tomatoes that were roasted in an oven were sure to give my marinara a sweet taste. I made sure to marinate them with some olive oil, minced garlic, sea salt, italian seasoning, oregano and fresh basil leaves before I cooked them in the oven for a couple hours. And if you don’t want to get out the whisk and crush your tomatoes after they’re done roasting; you can puree them the lazy (and super smart) cook way – in a blender! Just make sure to pulse for less than a minute if you would like to have some “chunk” pieces to your sauce.

What would you add in your marinara sauce?

Creamy Tuna Noodle

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I always purposely plan meals that I know my husband or children will not eat on days when they aren’t home so that I may enjoy them for myself. It’s totally worth it, even if cooking what could be considered a big meal for just one individual sometimes doesn’t seem like it. 

No one in this house likes tuna fish but me. Actually, I don’t think I’ve met a kid who likes tuna yet. But this is a meal that I can remember my mom making every once in awhile. Definitely not the same recipe, but the same concept is there. 

Aside from waiting for your egg noodles to cook, this entree really doesn’t take long to make. And I love the fact that instead of traditional tuna noodle recipes that use cheddar cheese, you’ll be using parmesan. It gives the meal a lighter taste to it so you aren’t left feeling heavy and full when finished. That’s always a good thing 🙂

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Creamy Tuna Noodle
Serves 4
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Total Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 6-ounces wide egg noodles
  2. 1 cup cooked sweet peas
  3. 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  4. 1 medium onion, diced
  5. ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  6. 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  7. 1¼ cups whole milk
  8. 5-ounce can solid white tuna
  9. ¼ cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Bring a large saucepan full of water to a rapid boil and then cook egg noodles accordingly.
  2. In a medium saucepan over med-high heat, add butter and stir until it has melted. Add onion, garlic and black pepper; stirring frequently until combined well. Next add milk. Continue stirring frequently and allow to cook until sauce has thickened and is bubbling. Remove from heat, adding both tuna (drained), cooked peas and parmesan cheese. Stir well.
  3. Add tuna sauce to your large bowl of drained egg noodles. Combine well until all noodles appear to be lightly covered with tuna sauce. Serve warm.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

Parmesan Chicken Casserole

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Have you ever wanted to take the same meal you enjoy immensely, but switch it up just a little bit? Same ingredients and hopefully the same taste; it’s just prepared a little differently. That’s what this casserole reminds me of. The list of items just scream Chicken Parmesan, you’re just giving it a whole new look!

I had spotted this recipe while browsing my Pinterest feed quite some time ago and was intrigued. I’m not quite sure who came up with this fun recipe, as I quickly jotted the ingredients down and added it to my list of potential meals. I can see how this can be either a family favorite or something you bring to a potluck party at work.

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Unlike the original recipe for Chicken Parmesan, you’re using creating a base for bake (breadcrumbs) last instead of coating the chicken in it before adding the marinara sauce and cheese. It gives it a crispier outer shell, while enjoying a more moist italian taste when you bite in. I recommend using rotisserie chicken if you’ve got it, but any leftover shredded chicken will do.

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I allowed my casserole to bake for 25 minutes, but that can always vary depending on your oven. If your breadcrumb topping has begun to take on a golden brown shade, there’s a good chance it’s ready.

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Chicken Parmesan Casserole
Serves 6
Craving something hot and easy to prepare? This Chicken Parm Casserole is a great bake for when you've got leftover chicken and an extra jar of marinara sauce.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 2-4 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
  2. 28-ounce jar marinara sauce
  3. 1½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  4. ½ fresh parmesan cheese
  5. 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  6. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  7. 2 tablespoons italian seasoning
  8. 1 tablespoon oregano
  9. salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Use cooking spray to well coat an 8x8 casserole pan. Add chicken to bottom followed by marinara sauce. Mix well, evenly spreading throughout the pan. Cover with mozzarella cheese and parmesan.
  3. Add panko bread crumbs, olive oil, italian seasoning and oregano to a medium size mixing bowl. Stir well and add a pinch of both salt and pepper. Spread bread crumb mix over-top cheese layer, covering well.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

Taco Tuesday: Stuffed Potato-Style

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I have no problem whatsoever dedicating a night each week to tacos. And for the most part traditional style tacos always hit the spot, but I like to switch it up every once in awhile. So why not combine a taco with something else I love to eat: a potato! I originally wanted to test this on a sweet potato, but we only had russet potatoes in the refrigerator and I wanted to avoid a trip to the grocery store for at least one day. Does anyone else feel like they’re at the grocery so much they may as well have stock in it? 

Did you know that potatoes are the number one vegetable crop in the United States? That’s crazy! It probably helps that the low-calorie veggie is loaded with potassium and Vitamin C; both essential things needed in our daily dietary. In my book, that makes it A-OK to stuff them with some extra stuff; especially if it’s additional healthy things like ground turkey, beans and corn.

Stuffed Taco Potatoes
Serves 4
This is a recipe for taco styled potatoes that are chockful of all your favorite mexican toppings. Great to use for any Taco Tuesday or Mexican-themed meal.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
1 hr 10 min
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
1 hr 10 min
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 russet potatoes
  2. 1lb ground turkey
  3. 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
  4. 8-ounces low-fat refried beans
  5. 1 cup fresh sweet corn kernels
  6. 1 medium onion, chopped
  7. ½ cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Scrub potatoes well, pat dry with a paper towel and add to oven rack to bake for 1 hour. While doing so, line a baking sheet with foil and lightly spray with cooking spray.
  2. While potatoes are cooking, brown ground turkey and onion in a skillet over med-high heat. Drain excess grease in a strainer and return turkey mix to skillet. Add taco seasoning, corn and refried beans; stirring well to combine. Lower heat to low and allow to cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring often.
  3. When potatoes have finished cooking, remove from oven and allow to slightly cool down before cutting in half. Scoop the inside out, leaving a thin layer at bottom of potato. Spray potato inside and outside with cooking spray. Place each individually on baking sheet, upside down, and bake for 5 minutes.
  4. After potato skins seem crispier, add turkey mix. Top with a tablespoon of salsa and sprinkle cheddar cheese. Add to oven and allow to cook for 3-5 minutes, or until cheese has melted.
  5. Serve with additional garnishes like sour cream, green onions, bacon.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

 

Italian Sloppy Joes

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Italian sloppy joes. You know, for when you’re tired of the same ol’ sloppy joes recipe, or if you have a jar of marinara that you need to get rid of.

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Italian Sloppy Joes
Serves 4
The italian version of an old-fashioned sloppy joe, cheese included.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1lb ground turkey
  2. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  3. 1 onion, diced
  4. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  5. 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  6. 2 cups marinara sauce
  7. 4 hoagies or italian buns
  8. 4 tablespoons shredded mozzarella cheese
  9. parsley for garnish, optional
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and allow to saute for 5 minutes. Add ground turkey, oregano seasoning and cook until browned. Drain excess grease in a strainer.
  2. Add marinara sauce and lower heat to simmer, cooking for an additional 8-10 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken.
  3. Meanwhile, set the oven to broil. Arrange 4 hoagies on a baking sheet. When meat sauce is thick enough, add 4-5 tablespoons full and fill hoagie bun. Add shredded cheese on-top and cook until cheese has melted.
  4. Remove from oven and add bun to top. Serve immediately.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

Oven-Cooked Paleo Italian Meatballs with Sauce

We’ve been using ground turkey instead of ground beef for so long that I’ve forgotten what beef actually tastes like. I like ground turkey. The kids have grown to like it too, so I really see no point in switching back. It’s healthier and that makes spending a couple extra bucks worth it to me.

While trying to expand my “bowl recipes,” I stumbled across this particular one for with what seemed like extremely good-for-you meatballs. I liked that they were an oven-bake and the marinara was an easy homemade sauce you could put together in no time and patiently hang out in the kitchen with a cup of tea while it slowly cooked over the stove. 

And so I did just that.

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Not to mention, it tastes great over whole-grain rice. Which obviously makes it a keeper, a blog post and handwritten down on a recipe card to go in my book. But if you don’t like rice, you can eat just the meatballs with the sauce, overtop a plate of linguini noodles or on a sub. 

That makes it pretty hard not to want to give it a try, don’t you think?

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Oven-Cooked Paleo Italian Meatballs with Sauce
Serves 4
Healthy ground turkey meatballs baked in the oven and then simmered in a sauce-pan of delicious and hearty homemade marinara sauce. Recipe is both paleo and gluten-free.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Meatballs
  1. 1lb ground turkey beef
  2. 1 tablespoon italian seasoning
  3. 1 egg, beaten
  4. ½ tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
  5. 1 teaspoon salt
  6. ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  7. 3 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs, divided (optional)
  8. whole grain rice, (optional)
Sauce
  1. 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
  2. 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  3. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  4. 1 bay leaf
  5. 1 garlic clove, chopped
  6. 1 tablespoon parsely, finely chopped
  7. 1 teaspoon black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a large baking sheet, cover with foil and lightly grease with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, add beaten egg with ground turkey, 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs, italian seasoning, parsley, salt and black pepper. Combine well with clean hands.
  3. Using hands, roll meatballs, about 2 tablespoons of mixture, evenly and spread on baking pan. Space out each meatball at least ½-1 inch apart from each other.
  4. Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes or until cooked all the way through.
Marinara Sauce
  1. Add olive oil to a large skillet over med-high heat. Add onion and allow to saute for 5 minutes. Next add garlic and saute an additional 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Both onion and garlic should appear transparent. Add canned tomatoes, bay leaf and pepper. Combine well with a wooden spoon and lower heat to low. Simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  2. Serve overtop meatballs and whole-grain rice.
Notes
  1. Recipe has been adjusted from original posted via adapt link.
Adapted from Noshtastic
Adapted from Noshtastic
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

BBQ Chicken and Pineapple Open-Faced Quesdaillas

When the sound of chicken and cheese quesadilla just doesn’t sound like too appetizing of a choice, live’n it up a little.

Tonight I felt like a little barbeque chicken and pineapple. Those two ingredients on their own taste good, but still lack a little more punch to the flavor. With some red onion and cilantro, you’re adding a touch of spice. Drizzle some additional BBQ sauce and low-fat yogurt ranch and now we’re talking! 

Just make sure you take a picture of your food before you eat it. I gobbled this up so quick, that had I not, I would have had to wait another week or so to repeat the recipe and take photos for the recipe. 

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BBQ Chicken and Pineapple Open Faced Quesadilla
Serves 4
Add some flavor to those quesadillas with some barbeque rotisserie chicken, pineapple tidbits and more. You'll never want a cheese and chicken quesadilla again.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
7 min
Total Time
17 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
7 min
Total Time
17 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 large burrito size flour tortillas
  2. 2½ cups rotisserie chicken, tossed in your favorite BBQ sauce
  3. ½ cup pineapple tidbits
  4. halve of a red onion, sliced thin
  5. handful of cilantro, chopped
  6. 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  7. 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  8. BBQ sauce, for drizzling
  9. low-fat ranch yogurt, for drizzling
Instructions
  1. Grease a large skillet with cooking spray over med-high heat.
  2. Add tortilla. Sprinkle ¼ cup of sharp cheddar cheese and ¼ cup of mozzarella cheese evenly on-top of tortilla. Follow by adding enough rotisserie chicken, pineapple. onion slices and cilantro to fairly cover entire tortilla. Cook until bottom of tortilla is a light golden brown, or crispy; about 5 minutes.
  3. Remove from skillet and drizzle BBQ sauce and low-fat ranch yogurt over-top. Repeat with each tortilla.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

Chicken Caesar Salad (Homemade Dressing Included)

While we’re on this chicken and salad combo mix, I figured I may as well go ahead and add Chicken Caesar to the lineup. You can get as fancy as you want with salads, (or any meal for that matter) but you almost always go back to the basics when the plate is clean. See what I did there?

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When we go out to eat, 8/10 times I order the Chicken Caesar Salad no matter where we are. There are some places that I have had the salad quite a few times and I already know how good it is. There are other places where I am just going to assume the salad will be good enough because it’s a safe choice on the menu. Can you really mess up a caesar salad? Absolutely. Serve it with anchovies for someone who is deathly afraid of the look of anchovies. Sure, a lot of the times the dressing is made with it. I don’t need the proof right in front of my face though. 

I can totally avoid the anchovies at home because caesar dressing I’ve been using on my salads is actually really simple to make. It just consists of 6 ingredients: mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic, parmesan cheese, worcestershire sauce and black pepper.

Nothing fishy going on here. 

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And remember, if you want to add a little extra to your salad; pasta is always a good choice. (Thanks for the introduction to it, Skinnymom) – Just be cautious with those croutons! While croutons in a salad are ohsodelicious, they’re also bread and you know what they say about bread: “All aboard the carb train.” 

Enjoy!

Chicken Caesar Salad
Serves 4
A simple recipe for chicken caesar salad with homemade caesar dressing.
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
For the Salad
  1. 8 cups romaine lettuce, divided
  2. 2 cups rotisserie chicken, shredded
  3. 1 tomato, deseeded and diced
  4. 20 fat-free caesar croutons
  5. 2 tablespoons reduced-fat parmesan cheese
For the Dressing
  1. 2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
  2. 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  3. 1 teaspoon reduced-fat parmesan cheese
  4. ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  5. ¼ tablespoon minced garlic
  6. ¼ teaspoon worcestershire sauce
  7. 1 tablespoon water
Instructions
  1. Using a fork, remove pieces from rotisserie chicken, shredding and then placing in a large bowl. Add romaine lettuce, diced tomato. Toss well.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together ingredients for dressing. Pour over salad evenly. Toss well.
  3. Add croutons (5 per plate) and sprinkle ½ tablespoon parmesan cheese on top.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

Baked Jumbo Stuffed Shells

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I like to test around with recipes and try new things pretty often so every once in awhile there’s a meal that doesn’t turn appeal to everyone. Fortunately, I can always count on a dish of Baked Stuffed Shells to turn out appetizing.

Baked Stuffed Jumbo Shells
Serves 6
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 12-ounces jumbo pasta shells
  2. 1lb ground turkey
  3. ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  4. 30-ounces whole milk ricotta cheese
  5. 1 egg
  6. ½ cup parmesan cheese
  7. 24-ounce jar marinara sauce of your choice
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly cover the bottom of a large lasagna pan with ¼ cup of marinara sauce.
  2. Heat a large saucepan of water over med-high heat until boiling. Add pasta and cook according to directions. While draining in a strainer, run cool water overtop shells to cool. Set aside.
  3. In a large skillet, cook ground turkey until brown. Drain grease. Add remaining marinara sauce to skillet and reduce heat to simmer. Allow to cook for an additional 5-10 minutes with marinara sauce.
  4. In a medium size bowl combine ricotta cheese, 1 egg, ¼ cup mozzarella cheese and ¼ cup parmesan cheese. Whisk well. Using a small spoon, scoop cheese mix and fill shells. Add to lasagna pan.
  5. Gently pour meat sauce overtop shells evenly. Sprinkle ¼ cup mozzarella cheese overtop. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and cook for remaining 10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

 

Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Corn Enchiladas

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I may not be able to stand hot sauce on anything, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to shy away from anything slightly less spicy. By that I mean anything considered medium and below. Generally red enchilada sauce can be spicy, but I inhale it anyway and imagine that I may pay for it later. Why in the world would I ever turn down such a yummy meal? 

For my first qualifying Meatless Monday post (!) – I decided to make Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Corn Enchiladas. My husband is out of town for a few days so this is the perfect dish to make and have as leftovers so I’m not consecutively cooking for one (and one child who is not as fearless when it comes to food) – luckily it tastes just as good, if not better the next day!

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Enchiladas are usually made of just a few ingredients. Your meal-prep time isn’t going to be ridiculous, so you can make this when you’re in a pinch, ahead of time or just because you’re craving an easy Mexican meal. This particular recipe calls for black bean and corn salsa, so your preparation time is cut down dramatically just because of that. Even with it being meatless, the salsa packs in such a flavor combined with the weight/size of diced sweet potato pieces that the enchilada still tastes and appears fair in size.

Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Corn Enchiladas
Yields 6
A delicious Vegetarian version of Enchiladas featuring diced sweet potatoes and a rich and flavorful black bean and corn salsa. Enjoyable as either a main course or potluck dish.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 extra-large sweet potato, cooked, skin peeled and diced into cubes
  2. ½ cup black bean and corn salsa
  3. 2½ cups shredded mexican blend cheese, divided
  4. 2 cups mild red enchilada sauce, divided
  5. 6-8 white corn tortillas
  6. 1 medium tomato, diced for garnishing
  7. cilantro, for garnishing
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a rectangular baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Cook, or bake sweet potato. If you're in a pinch for time, place sweet potato in a microwave and cook on high for 8-10 minutes. It can also be baked in an oven at 400 degrees for 50-55 minutes. When sweet potato is cooked through, use a fork to slide skin off. Dice into ½ inch cubes.
  3. Using a large bowl, add sweet potato cubes, black bean and corn salsa and 1½ cups of shredded cheese. Carefully mix all ingredients together.
  4. Pour about 1 cup of red enchilada sauce into prepared baking dish. Make sure sauce is even and has covered entire bottom of pan. Set aside.
  5. Add ¼ cup of sweet potato salsa mix into middle of tortilla. Roll both sides up, placing your seam side downward. Repeat with each tortilla.
  6. Pour the remaining 1 cup of red enchilada sauce overtop of tortillas, covering them entirely. Lightly sprinkle 1 cup of shredded cheese onto each, following with diced tomatoes and cilantro for garnish.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate for up to 4-5 days.
Notes
  1. I love to make this at the beginning of the week and reheat leftovers for either lunch or dinner the following day. It tastes just as good!
Adapted from Averie Cooks
Adapted from Averie Cooks
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/