Model Meals Kitchen: My Review!

I’ve been a big fan of Model Meals for awhile now.

I started another round of Whole30 after getting back from Italy and starting to prepare for my upcoming photo shoot in Greece this summer.

In an effort to set myself up for success this time around, I decided to invest in Model Meals meal delivery to save myself some time, money, and sanity.

Working 12 hour night shifts on weekends, I have a hard time getting motivated to meal prep and actually use all of the food I buy. It’s easy enough to get all the shopping done, but then once the food is in the fridge, my life suddenly seems harder.

Enter: Model Meals!

I got my delivery on Sunday, May 7th. Currently the service delivers to Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, and Santa Barbara.

I ordered from the current menu:

  • Sonoma Chicken Salad + Market Greens with Balsamic Glaze
  • Chicken Fried Veggie “Rice”
  • Meatloaf with House Ketchup + Carrot Parsnip Pilaf
  • Pork Carnitas Taco with Celery Root “Tortilla”
  • Chorizo Scramble + Sweet Potato Hash
  • Bone Broth (there was a 2×1 special this week!)

Correct me if I’m wrong, but all of this sounds amazing!

I tried to get a few different items that sounded really good. Due to having my weight loss surgery in 2011, all of these meal portions really equate to 2-3 meals for me. So it’s a perfect way to get through the week, and I have some food on hand to prep for “filler” meals, as needed!

I’m really excited to try the bone broth also. A suggestion was to add a scoop of my Vital Proteins Collagen Powder and a teaspoon of ghee before bed as a “miracle potion,” and I’m ALL ABOUT that life.

So let’s get down to business-because I’m sure you’re wondering how the food was…some dishes don’t have photos…because as usual I was too excited to remember to snap one before eating!

Sonoma Chicken Salad + Market Greens with Balsamic Glaze


This is definitely one of my fave things EVER! It reminded me of my favorite chicken salad I usually buy at Trader Joe’s, but in totally compliant form! Also, the balsamic was pretty good…and I just came back from visiting a Tuscan balsamic estate, so I’m kind of an expert! Lol.

Chicken Fried Veggie “Rice”

I’m a big fan of the “riced” veggie trend, and this was interesting because it was a sweet potato rice! It was the perfect compliant way to enjoy fried rice, and it was a filling and hearty meal! Total comfort food, without the food coma! The flavor was different than I’d expected…really tangy due to I think the lime juice combined with the sweet potato made for a sweet/sour versus savory taste. Different, but still satisfying!

Meatloaf with House Ketchup + Carrot Parsnip Pilaf

Meatloaf is my jam! Oddly, I love tomatoes but despise ketchup. I started scraping this ketchup off and not even trying it, but then considered maybe without a ton of sugar, ketchup wouldn’t be so gross. And I was right! This added a little tang and zest to the meatloaf without that sickly sweet syrup-y taste. And the pilaf? Back to those riced veggies….love!

Pork Carnitas Tacos with Celery Root “Tortilla”


This dish had me at carnitas! The meat was tender and reheated well! It wasn’t bland or flavorless and I was really impressed with the texture of the tortillas! Also, the salsa verde was tangy, delicious, and the perfect consistency. Never in a million years would I have thought of something so clever as using celery root!

Chorizo Scramble + Sweet Potato Hash


I hate eggs. I hate them. I eat them out of necessity because it’s a fast and easy way to get protein and one of the staples for my successful Whole30. These eggs weren’t so bad. My eggs have to be cooked “hard,” but when I put my hash and chorizo in the skillet with some ghee, I added the egg and diced it up fine like the chorizo and it’s like they weren’t there! Also, that hash is an A+! I’m a fan of chorizo, but typically find the grease to be so overwhelming that I can’t eat it. That wasn’t the case with this bad-boy! I ate every bite, and my mouth didn’t feel like an oil slick!

Bone Broth

Every batch I’ve ever made has fallen short-but this stuff is good! With or without the addition of collagen peptides and ghee, it’s great for sipping on before bed, or even as a filler when I’m not totally sure if I’m actually hungry. It’s satiating and comforting and I take extra comfort in knowing it’s good for me.

The Verdict

Model Meals is a dream! It’s convenient. It came right on time, with text alerts when it was en route and again when it was delivered. I don’t have to stress about what is or isn’t in it, and even when not on Whole30, the menu offers a lot of variety and food that tastes great across the board! Also, while the meals may seem pricey, it’s not as pricey as what I spend sourcing organic/grass fed/etc ingredients and driving all over town for them (I’m talking to you grass fed beef knuckle bones), these meals are what I’d spend or less than eating a decent/healthy/compliant meal at a restaurant. And for the added convenience of doing nothing more than pre-heating them-although they’re mostly all created to be eaten cold/room temp if need be-I’m not complaining!

I have a special part of my heart reserved for companies that go above and beyond to really hear their customers, be sustainable, and take pride in the integrity of their product. I love that Model Meals scores high in every aspect, and I’m already looking forward to my latest delivery….especially a Green Chile Chicken Soup! I promise I’ll try to be better about photos next time.

If you head to the Model Meals website and sign up for their email newsletter, you’ll also get a new recipe in each edition!

I got my latest order this week:

  • Scotch Egg with Breakfast Potatoes
  • Shrimp and Sausage Sweet Potato “Paella”
  • Green Chile Chicken Soup
  • Buffalo Chicken Wings with Dill Potato Salad
  • Beef Taco Salad with Chipotle Ranch
  • BBQ Pulled Pork with Southern Slaw

Have you tried any meal services? What are your favorites? How do they help you? I want to know!

Bon Appetit!

The #GoVoxBox Reveal!

Hey Everyone,

I am so excited to share my new goodies with you all. I am a member of a website called Influenster, where you take surveys and review products. By connecting your social media outlets to your Influenster account, you can get “status” for sharing things with others. I recently was qualified for the #GoVoxBox with an over health and fitness theme, and couldn’t wait to share all the goodies that came inside!

First Look!

First Look!

 

Each VoxBox comes with a card detailing the products and gives Social Media handles to use to share via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. Typically, these cards go over the retail value of the products, as well!

Each VoxBox comes with a card detailing the products and gives Social Media handles to use to share via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. Typically, these cards go over the retail value of the products, as well!

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The Vitamin Shoppe "Next Step" Weight Management Program goodies!

The Vitamin Shoppe “Next Step” Weight Management Program goodies!

I generally have very mixed emotions about The Vitamin Shoppe, simply because on the 3 occasions Sean has taken me there to look at supplements, everyone acts too busy to help us or answer questions about which of the millions may be suitable for us. However, I was very excited to see that they have this new Weight Management line, and I can’t wait to try the shake flavors and see if they are tasty enough to make this a regular part of my life!

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Along with the Next Step shakes, there is a shaker bottle too! I love that the shaker mechanism shape is that of a jack! I can’t wait to put this baby to use! Plus it’s a super fun color!

Aqua Spa Relax Body Crème in Lavender and Chamomile

Aqua Spa Relax Body Crème in Lavender and Chamomile

I am a big lavender fan, and I am excited to try Aqua Spa Relax products. I’ll be using this after my shower tonight…. lavender is supposed to aid sleep!

Blue Diamond Fruit Flavored Almonds in Blueberry

Blue Diamond Fruit Flavored Almonds in Blueberry

I have tried flavored Blue Diamond Almonds before, but they were toffee flavored. I can’t wait to rip these open after my workout tomorrow as a sweet snack!

PROFOOT Triad Orthotics

PROFOOT Triad Orthotics

YAY!!! Athletic orthotics that are affordable, easy to fit in multiple styles, and not completely bulky and weird looking! I am trying these babies out during my workout tomorrow, and I can’t wait to see if they help my stability! They are “3 zone, everyday orthotics clinically proven to relieve knee, leg, and back pain when worn in your favorite shoes.”

PROFOOT Pedi-Rock

PROFOOT Pedi-Rock

I love the pedi-rock concept! This is way less gross than the PED-egg craze, and it’s pretty cool that it can be used wet or dry. This will definitely save me the extra $5 for the callus remover add-on during my salon pedicures. 🙂

Playtex Sport Fresh Balance Tampons

Playtex Sport Fresh Balance Tampons

So, the cool thing about these tampons is that they are designed to neutralize odors for ultimate freshness. Girls who run marathons, go hiking, participate in extreme sports…. they are BAD ASS. But they are still girls… they have periods too. Staying fresh when you do high octane activity is a must!

Müller Greek Coupon for one FREE Müller Greek product up to $1.49

Müller Greek Coupon for one FREE Müller Greek product up to $1.49

I love, love LOVE Müller Corner Greek yogurt! There is one with little dark chocolate flecks and cherry compote…. and I’m not generally crazy about black cherries or dark chocolate…. but it’s SO good. I think it’s awesome that this product is getting some more exposure. The low fat yogurt with fun toppings or fruit really making eating healthy more enjoyable!

So, as you can see, this box is full of goodies to help make a healthy lifestyle even more enjoyable! I will gradually share more about these products as I use them, and I can’t wait to find some new favorite items in the process (PROFOOT orthotics are only $10.49 a pair! Can you imagine how much more inclined to be to support your feet at a great price like that?)!

What are your favorite items for a healthy lifestyle? And if you’ve tried any of these, I want to hear YOUR thoughts!

More later!

SeeSondraSignaturePRINT

 

 

Everyday Inspiration: Meet E!

I have to admit it. I go into each and every day hoping to be of some sort of inspiration or motivation to people.

All I ever really wanted to do in life was make a difference, and I am still on a journey to find out just what medium I will use to do so.

In the process, SeeSondraSlim began. It has been one of the most rewarding, most fulfilling things I have ever ventured into, and I am blessed to be working towards building it and molding it even more.

One thing I am most proud of is my 30 Day Challenge Installments. I knew that to truly see the changes (you still have  hard time seeing the differences that are so obvious to others when you’re used to being so big!), I needed to post photo documentation. Not only did it help me see my success and boost my confidence…it inspired others! It opened up a whole new world of support for me, and that will always be one of my biggest achievements!

I am excited to announce that one of my most favorite people on the planet, my cousin, reached out to be and volunteered to share her photos at the beginning of her own weight loss Journey!

E. is 26 years old, and gave birth to an adorable baby boy earlier this year!

Here, you can see E. at her smaller size. I think this is from Christmas 2009:

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Now, she is ready to “get her body back,” and recently begun new workout routines and eating better.

Here are here starting photos, at 195 lbs:

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If you’ve been there before (or just followed my posts), you know it takes a lot of courage, and a lot of self-love to volunteer like this(clearly, it runs in the family)! Huge thanks to my cousin for sharing, and best of luck on your new journey!

We will be checking in with her periodically to see how her progress is coming along!

Here is to the beginning of a new journey!

YOU CAN DO IT!!

Got any tips for shedding weight post-baby? Share them here, or on the SeeSondraSlim Facebook Page! Let’s support E. in her endeavors!

Other new mommies on a weight loss journey?
Here are some links to sites that may be of some extra motivation to you!

50 Inspiring Blogs for Post-Baby Weight Loss

Happy Reading! 🙂

If you’re interested in submitting your own photos for the SeeSondraSlim 30 Day Challenge Support posts, please email me at SeeSondraSlim@gmail.com! Let this become the support system for you, that it has been for me!

‘Til Next Time!

XOXO

Keepin’ It Healthy While You Travel…Featuring a Guest Article!

So, I have been babbling for months about all my upcoming travel plans. As I have been struggling to maintain my weight in the post-op stage (walking ONLY for 6 weeks or more, each time! AHHH!), it has become clear to me that hitting the road next week, and heading to Hawaii in October,  I am going to need a SERIOUS plan of attack for my vacation fantasies to play out accordingly…without picking up any formerly lost weight! I haven’t thought about it enough lately, but I was so glad when fellow blogger, Cole Millen, reached out to me with an article that I thought would be awesome for SeeSondraSlim readers to check out. Whether you are post Weight Loss Surgery (WLS), or just trying to keep it low-cal, these tips can help anyone keep it healthy during a vacation!

“Smart Ways to Stay Fit on Vacation?”

You probably worked hard to get in good shape before your vacation. However, many people wind up breaking their diets and ruining all of their hard-earned progress when they’re away. This doesn’t have to happen to you. Sticking to a healthy lifestyle while on vacation doesn’t have to ruin your fun, either. Here are some smart tips to stay healthy while you’re away.

 Flying

Airports can be smorgasbord of unhealthy temptations. To prevent yourself from giving in, fill up on a healthy meal before you arrive. If you wind up getting stuck at the airport while hungry, put in the effort to search out healthy snacks such as fruit, vegetables, or fiber bars. If you want to get in some exercise, try lifting your heavy luggage up the stairs instead of using an escalator.

At Your Hotel

The best way to stay healthy at your hotel is to seek out one that is friendly to the needs of the health-conscious visitor. There are many hotels with this type of customer in mind. Look up reviews online and find a place that serves healthy food. I personally use Gogobot to determine information regarding hotels. I used the site for my latest trip and was able to filter reviews for some of the top hotels in Las Vegas regarding a number of different aspects. You should also find a hotel that has a good gym. Vacation doesn’t mean that you have to break your healthy workout habits.

Even at a healthy hotel, it is still possible to cheat on your diet. You should refuse the key to the mini-bar so that you can avoid giving in to any late-night temptations. You might also want a way to prepare your own meals. A crock-pot is a safe, portable solution that you can use to prepare healthy, delicious meals on the go.

Finding a Healthy Restaurant

Resorts tend to be awash with all-you-can-eat buffets. It’s best that you avoid these as even if you intend to stay within reason, many people find it hard to stop once they’ve already begun to pig out. You also want to avoid of the popular chain restaurants, as you’re likely to get thousands of calories just from one plate. Seafood restaurants tend to be a safe bet. Be sure to check out a restaurant’s menu if it’s available online so that you know what you’re getting into before you arrive.

At the Restaurant

Just about every restaurant has a mix of healthy and unhealthy foods. It’s important to know which foods you should stick to. In general, shy away from any foods that are labeled as fried, battered or breaded. You want to look for foods that are grilled, roasted, steamed or broiled. You can also usually replace your carb-heavy side dishes with healthy steamed vegetables. Even if the menu doesn’t say it, it doesn’t hurt to ask.

After working hard all year, a vacation is a well-deserved way to let loose. However, letting loose doesn’t mean that you have to abandon all of the healthy habits that you’ve worked so hard to develop. With some careful planning and will power, you can have fun on vacation and stay healthy.

Cole Millen, is an avid traveler and foodie who never forgets that life’s best memories are made through real life apprehension of legitimate “experiences.” Follow his blog at Cole’s Mill.

I want to thank Cole, again, for his contribution, and I hope that all of you got as much out of the article as I did. That’s the great thing about being  girl….I was just telling my friend Jenna about my taking a large tote bag as a “purse” on the airlines. I do this partially to smuggle snacks…and I am SO excited to get my newest BuluBox goodies (hopefully this week!), so I can have some extra protein samples and bars to take in my bag for trips!

If you haven’t yet, make sure that you use my personal Brand Ambassador promo code and get your FREE BuluBox of goodies! You can use the same code for 50% off a subscription of 3, 6, or 12 months too! The code is “BULUGAN342” and the discount will be applied immediately at checkout! By using my promo code, you get more support for SeeSondraSlim…and I truly appreciate the love! I am trying to build an empire here! 🙂

That’s all for now, but stay tuned for tomorrow’s post with a recipe for my Pesto and Sundried Tomato Green Beans! Using some fresh green beans from the farmers market, homemade pesto, and olive oil from my olive oil club….they are delicious alone, or as a simple, yet rustic side dish!

‘Til Next Time!

XOXO

You Want Some Water with That? (Or, the Latest Recipes in my Repertoire).

Why, hello all! I was originally going to do the latest installment of the 30-Day Challenge today, but I’m sore and lazy, so I will post the recipes as promised, and you will most likely see my half naked body in the next day or two. 🙂 I have been drinking water like my life depends on it (wait…..) as of late, and trying to cut out all juice and other sugary beverages, hence this post’s title. It seems to be going pretty well! I carry hard cups with me everywhere, and I drink at least 32 oz at bootcamp, and at the gym. At this rate, I should be see-through any day now!

….on to the good stuff!!

To start, some of you may have noticed I really like pesto. I recently decided to make my own pesto, instead of buying store bought. I use my old Trader Joe’s pesto jar to store it in, and voila! Pesto on demand when the mood hits me!

I use my handy dandy Magic Bullet blender, but you can easily use a food processor instead. Not gonna lie…I don’t really measure things. I usually just need enough for one meal or one serving, and I put enough ingredients in the “tall cup” attachment to make it.

Sondra’s Presto Pesto:

Ingredients:

Fresh Basil Leaves

Pine Nuts (I just buy the amount I need at Sprouts. More economical, less wasteful)

EVOO

Fresh Garlic

Shredded Parmesan Cheese ( the hard stuff!)

What You Do:

Add all ingredients to blender, pulse for about 45 seconds, or until it develops a coarse grainy texture……and you’re done.

If you don’t own a Magic Bullet, that probably made you reaaaallllly want one, huh? Lol.

With this pesto, I made a yummy shrimp dish last night:

Pesto shrimp scampi with broccoli and parmesan. Yum!! ❤

Sondra’s Pesto Shrimp Scampi with Broccoli and Parmesan:

What You Need:

1 lb whole, raw, peeled shrimp

1 bag broccoli florets (I prefer the Fresh and Easy steamer bags. They were recently on sale for 99 cents, and I just stick in the microwave for 2.5 mins and they’re cooked perfectly for this recipe!)

2 tbsp garlic, diced

2 tbsp EVOO

1 tbsp butter

2 tbsp pesto

Shredded parmesan

Vermicelli pasta (you could also use spaghetti or fettuccine….I just had vermicelli on hand)

What You Need to Do:

First, get your water started for the pasta. I had the water going while I cleaned and prepped ingredients, so that by the time it’s ready to strain, the main part of the meal is ready to go. Add half your EVOO and some salt to taste to your pasta water (I use garlic salt).

In a sautee pan, you want to get your EVOO heated up. Coat pan, and add garlic, pesto, and butter. Add shrimp, and sautee on medium heat. Shrimp cook quickly! When you see the pink start to form, flip them to the other side, and add broccoli. Flip pan a few times to evenly coat all ingredients, and turn heat off. Add parmesan, and let it start melting while you strain the pasta. Add salt and pepper to taste, if you like. I typically add EVOO and garlic salt to my pasta after straining.

Next? Simply put some pasta in a dish, top with the scampi, and it’s DINNER TIME! I typically do not indulge in pasta, but I made dinner for Josh and Alex as well. You could easily eat this without any pasta, and it’s actually really great cold the next day! Great source of protein, a good amount of vegetables and healthy fats, and it’s deliciously rich without excessive cream sauce or ridiculous amounts of butter.

Tonight?? Tonight was pork roast!

I caught a great sale on Pork butt roast at Fresh and Easy yesterday, and decided to try my hand at a roast. It’s so hot outside, that I definitely have my regrets….but I am excited!

Sondra’s Bootylicious Pork Roast (Get it?!)

What You Need:

Rub:

Dijon mustard

Pesto

Garlic salt

Asiago cheese

Pepper

EVOO

Cayenne Pepper

Dried Basil

Dried Oregano

Roast:

2-3 lb Pork Butt Roast (Or whatever cut you want. I’m no expert!)

Whole garlic cloves

What You Do:

In a small bowl, mix equal amounts of mustard and pesto ( I eyed mine to the size of my roast, which was 2.95 lbs). Add all seasonings, and stir in a bit of EVOO until smooth.

Trim fat off roast, and put in the center of a roasting pan. I coated it in EVOO and garlic salt like the package suggested, and then rubbed my mixture to coat all sides as well. I added some whole cloves of garlic on top, because roasted garlic is a favorite of mine! Also, when trimming the fat, I put a couple of cloves in the fold of the roast, near the bone. The package recommends cooking the roast 20 minutes for each lb.

Before!!!

During!

Dinner is served! And, my house smells FABULOUS!!!

Typically, you want to let a cut of meat like this “rest” for about 20 minutes before you slice and serve.

For sides, I used Fresh and Easy’s new Kitchen to Go line. From the Italian family, I got the Garlic Potatoes: Baby new potatoes with garlic, rosemary, lemon and onions! As a BzzAgent, I was recently chosen for a Fresh and Easy campaign, and I used my $2 off coupon on the potatoes, and only paid $2 for them! This new line of practically ready-to-eat meals is not only on a gournet-level, but you have the choice to pick just a side, or create an entire meal for four.

Photo Credit: Google.com

Often times, you can create a whole meal for a family of four for under 15 dollars, in less than 20 minutes! Does it get much better for a bootcamp going, recipe-blogging diva on a fitness mission? NOPE! The dishes are preservative free, nutritiously conscious, and amazingly delicious. Don’t even get me started; Ashley (yup! YOU MADE IT TO A THIRD BLOG ENTRY!) and I have our routine that we call “Gym ‘n’ Easy.” When we hit the gym Weds-Fri at lunch, we hit Fresh and Easy right after! They have $6 cold lunch combos wtih options like gourmet cheese and fruit protein boxes, delectable BBQ chicken salads with fresh fruit and greens….plus you add a drink and a side like chips, apple slices, or a mix of pineapple and strawberries….for six dollars. And then there’s the clearance section where we tend to find a tasty dessert for under $2. It’s delightful! Plus, F&E stores use 30% less energy than typical stores, and with things like self-check out, store-brand fresh and inventive products, and helpful knowledgeable staff? Fresh and Easy has set a new standard for green and efficient stores across the board.

Photo Credit: Google.com

One last gush about Fresh and Easy? They, like most stores, have started a new loyalty program called the “Friends Card.” You get points for every dollar spent, and 2-3x points for select items periodically. You can also load special savings onto your card easily from their website, and 500 points=$5 to shop with! I currently have $7 in points that I am saving. Once I get to a big dollar amount, I think I’ll make a fabulous dinner for Sean and I, to celebrate our success in our new fitness endeavors! And, it will be a ridiculously healthy meal!

Check out the selection and the amazing differences that Fresh and Easy brings to grocery shopping here!

Speaking of these new fitness endeavors, those of you who’ve known me for awhile know that I am not a fan of eating breakfast. I drink protein smoothies or pre-made protein shakes, because the thought of eating in the morning typically makes me feel really sick. Lately, knowing that I’m waking up early for boot camp (which, I might add, is kicking my BUTT), I have been making a conscious effort to wake up thirty minutes earlier, and make myself a protein-packed, real breakfast. You need feul to kick ass, right?

Today? I used a whole wheat sandwich thin (I like Splitz brand, which I grabbed an 8-pack of at F&E for $2.99), and toasted it. While it was toasting, I got one egg in a small skillet, and hard cooked it with salt and pepper, topped it with a slice of F&E sliced mild chedddar (they were on sale 2 for $6 Monday!) and then topped the sandwich thin with it, and voila! 15 grams of protein, 290 calories, and the perfect feul to get me through the morning. I took a protein shake to work in case I was hungry when 12pm came around, but I was still feeling great, and didn’t even end up drinking it.

Goooooood Morning! All you need is a paper towel, and you’ve got a healthy and amazing “grab and go” power breakfast!!

Well folks, that’s all for now. But I  really am trying to make more of an effort to share my recipes on here; I really just throw ingredients together, and my ideas fortunately come to good conclusions. Healthy eating doesn’t have to be dreadful, hard, or expensive. It can be efficient, delicious, and affordable! I’m here to help!

Hopefully, you see something that you like, and you try something new. If you try my recipes, or you try Fresh and Easy, let me know how it goes! Time for me to eat my dinner, soak in some more epsom salts, and get ready for bootcamp in the morning, and the gym at lunch!

‘Til Next Time!

XOXO