Desert Flour

A 20-Something's Musings on Life, Love and Faith

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Holiday Pet Peeves

Nothing spreads Holiday cheer like singing loudly about sexual assault for all to hear.

It’s that time of year again. All across our town plastic luminarias are appearing along strip mall rooftops, sweaters with bells and glitter are gleefully pulled out of winter clothes boxes and joyful holiday music can be heard playing from cars, radios, laptops and cell phones.

At least most of it is joyful.

All year round I am a patient person – slow to anger and I try very hard to be understanding or be the first to give benefit over doubt. But there is one holiday “traditional” carol that I cannot stand. If everyone is allowed their short list of things that absolutely drive them crazy then here is possibly the number 1 item on my list:

Baby It’s Cold Outside

I just find it terribly distressing that such a nice vocal arrangement and catchy tune masks aggressive and intense language.  And I know I am not the first to point out that this song has grievous date-rape implications – but this song continues to make the holiday rounds, new artists are re-recording it each year and it seems like there isn’t enough dialogue about how inappropriate, and downright creepy this song is.

If you break down the lyrics and isolate them from their sing-song duet it helps to better demonstrate what I mean. Just taking a look at the masculine lyrics:

“Beautiful, what’s your hurry?
What’s the sense in hurting my pride?
Baby don’t hold out.
Man, your lips look so delicious.
Gosh your lips look delicious.
How can you do this thing to me?
Get over that hold out.”

This isn’t romantic. And the fact that it can be portrayed as such during our Holiday season speaks to the larger societal misconceptions of “healthy” relationships and the power balance in gender politics.

The first line “Beautiful what’s your hurry?” is the equivalent of those street catcallers yelling at female commuters. The real irony in this aggression is that it’s phrased as a “compliment.” Women know that if they passed someone on the street and they heard this question – both responding and ignoring it can lead to dangerous situations (either engaging further in unwanted advancements or encouraging greater verbal/physical aggression).

The remainder of the prose describes the male’s attempt to guilt the female into submission – “What’s the sense in hurting my pride? How can you do this thing to me?; evokes the sentiment he would like to devour his guest – “your lips look delicious”; And of course includes the epitome of blue-balled rage when a man is sexually frustrated with his partner – “don’t hold out.”

Looking at the feminine lyrics provides even greater support for some unwanted sexual advances:

“Really I’d better Scurry…
Say what’s in this drink?
I really can’t stay-
I simply must go-
The answer is no.
I’ve got to go home.”

The majority of the female lines in this song describe escapism behavior – “Really I’d better scurry” “I can’t stay” “I simply must go” “I’ve got to get home”– this language seems pretty straightforward as she is trying to leave this situation.

However others have said this is just flirtation! That kind of cat-and-mouse game where she’s saying she wants to leave, but doesn’t really mean it! Now I could take further issue with the implications of that kind of relationship dynamic – but I think some of the other lyrics in this song speak more strongly towards the aggressive undertones.

The chills you feel in response to the question “what’s in this drink?” is the same defense mechanism when you learned never to leave your drink unattended at a college party. Did he just spike it with extra alcohol or with something else?

And of course the most telling line in the entire song – “The answer is no.” It doesn’t really get any clearer than that, in a sexual flirtation situation, “no means no” is the trump card that says one member of this soiree is not interested and wants you to stop.

But the song doesn’t end there of course and the male advances continue. The predator feeling is even written into the lyrical interaction, as the male part constantly interrupts the female’s protestations. The male part seemingly ignores her lines and is incessantly persistent.  (“What’s in this drink? – No cabs to be had out there.”)

There are more lyrics to unpack in this song, but I feel this should give you at least marginal insight into why this song rubs me wrong.  I think it speaks to the larger societal injustice about rape culture and our victim blaming doctrine (cat-and-mouse games?)

This kind of hostile seduction offends me. I won’t stand it being a part of my holiday celebration.

Again, I am clearly not the only one who shares some distaste for this Holiday Anthem – and I particularly enjoy this remake put out on Youtube a few days ago.


Any final thoughts on your opinions of this song? Or some Holiday Pet Peeves you have?


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Thick Skin in the Professional World

There’s a reason phrases like – “Never let them see you cry” or “Emotions are for the weak” are consciously, or unconsciously, adopted by a significant portion of Corporate America. To be successful you need the winning combination of skills, determination, luck and emotional fortitude.

The ability to act rationally, without allowing your emotions to interfere with your work is a highly valued skill for many positions.

I wouldn’t say you need this same kind of extreme corporate behavior in the realm of psychology, but you do need to grow some thick skin – or you’ll fail.

That ability to take space away from your gut reaction to a situation can help you when working with patients or research participants.  If they reveal some harrowing experience of trauma or abuse – they don’t need your shock and horror, they need some more appropriate response to help them manage their own emotional turmoil. You have to be the one to gain some external perspective – and not be consumed by their subjective experience.

Similarly this kind of critical thinking applies to the world of psychology research.  When you receive negative feedback from your professional colleagues or government institutions on projects towards which you’ve devoted countless hours of passion and energy, you have to respond with humble grace and carry on a constructive dialogue.

Rationally I know this.

I know the motions you are supposed to go through and the words you should be saying when you receive harsh criticism – “I appreciate your thoughtful comments, these will help improve the ultimate quality of the piece….yadda yadda..”

But still.

This week I finally received feedback on my first manuscript I submitted as first author (meaning I created this article from the ground up: did the background literature review, collected all the participant data, analyzed the data for significant statistical findings, created the tables and figures, reported my conclusions, edited the article to match the journal’s stylistic specifications and submitted it 6 weeks ago feeling quite self-satisfied).

And then, I receive:

“The reviewer(s) had significant concerns about the manuscript but also judged that it has potential to be publishable.”

What did I see in this opening email line?

Significant concerns… Significant Concerns……SIGNIFICANT CONCERNS


Concerns?? And they’re significant??

(Oh and the other additional horror feeling coming from my realization that I submitted this same manuscript version to all of my graduate schools as my writing sample and now I know my peer reviewers have significant concerns with the article so did I also sabotage my applications into graduate programs because of this early bravado? Why would I have submitted that ahhh!)

I know now I definitely submitted this first article with the naïve pride of a young professional thinking everyone will love this work I did! I mean I got great grades on all of my school papers – why should this scientific community think any differently?

Womp. Womp.

Hello reality check.

I realize also, the editor was sending me a rejection with suggested major revisions – but that they were also still interested in the topic and invited me to resubmit it again for further review.

Still – I am obviously a work-in-progress when it comes to growing some of that professional thick skin. I was feeling pretty crushed the first two days after receiving the reviewer comments.  They didn’t feel the discussion was nuanced enough, they didn’t like my title, they were confused that I didn’t distinguish between participants and patients more distinctly.

I took two days and set it aside for a while. But then now as I am starting to work through some of the comments in more detail, I will still bristle at things I disagree with – using “written” vs “documented” – but overall the reviews are from insightful professionals that will help improve the quality of the manuscript.

I needed to give the manuscript some space when I first received their reviews – but I can now approach it with a mind towards making the necessary changes.

I am doing important work! And I will happily jump through your recommendation hoops to get it out there!

But more seriously – I learned some important self-humbling from this first review. I may approach my next submission with more caution. I know I’ll still be hopeful they’ll approve of my work, but, ideally, in the future I’ll also be a bit more prepared to handle some of the criticisms I will inevitably receive.

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Passive Aggressive Behavior – Dealing with Masked Hostility

In my work space and personal life I take on a number of different leadership roles. These are often team-driven positions that require an ebb and flow of sharing ideas and responsibilities.

My work life is a great example of how this can be done efficiently. We have open dialogues, respectful disagreements and know that when we ask someone to complete a task – we can count on them to complete it.  This is effective collaboration. This is how people act professionally.

Unfortunately some of my personal life commitments struggle with this kind of group cohesion.

This is where the ugly monster of passive aggressive behavior exists all while hiding behind the mask of a smiling everything-is-fine behavior.


Everything is fineee…..See? Smiling?

First I’ll say – I don’t think it’s fair to call all passive aggressive behavior negative. At times it stems from a position of wanting to avoid unnecessary direct conflict and can serve as a form of compromise. “I don’t really agree with you – but I don’t want to make this a huge issue so I’ll just go along with it.”

Under this rationale, it is passive aggressive behavior because you aren’t openly acknowledging your disagreements – however there isn’t an underlying hostility in the action. While it may not be the best form of group work, it can still result in a workable outcome for everyone.

It’s the other traits you see with passive aggressive behavior that are rooted in actual anger or hostility that can completely derail a group’s momentum. These look like:


Withholding any opinion

Being critical without solid rationale

Conscious or Unconscious Sabotage

Running Late

Not doing something that’s asked of him/her

These actions may not even be intentional – but they are predictable behaviors that come from someone who is dissatisfied with the group and is acting with a kind of tempered hostility. It’s really damaging to both the group’s productivity as well as the friendships or interrelationships amongst the members.

I am getting better at recognizing these signs within our group – when someone will smile and agree with a group conversation – but then never complete the task of sending out an email or making a contact call. They didn’t want to do it, and instead of saying something outright, they just “didn’t get to it” for whatever reason.

Or the times our group will propose an exciting new idea for growth and someone will tear it to shreds for no real tangible reason – perhaps other than it wasn’t their idea to begin with?

Or the person who doesn’t have prior work or family commitments, but still comes late to your designated meeting time, because they just really don’t want to be there.

It can be hard for me to understand.

I really care about our group and about being an effective leadership team. And whenever you are passionate about a cause or a group you really want those who are supposed to be on the same page as you, to show the same kind of dedication and excitement you feel.

And so I am trying to be patient and kind and loving to my friends, but it is taking a significantly greater amount of energy to self-check that I’m not responding in passive-aggressive ways to their initial passive aggressive behaviors.

When someone needs another reminder to compete a task – I’m trying to let go of my frustration and impatience and just be glad when it does get done.

When someone makes unreasonable demands or snarky comments on a proposal – I’m trying not to mass text other people for confirmation on just how unreasonable and snarky they are, thereby perpetuating these feelings of negativity amongst our other group members.

I think it especially helps me to understand that a lot of this behavior is stemming either from a place of indifference or insecurity on their part.

They are acting hostile either because they are so checked out and really need a break from some of this stress. Or they are acting this way because they feel their own power is threatened and they are doing what they can to assert themselves – in what they feel is a socially acceptable manner.

Especially as we turn to the end of this week towards giving thanks for all that we have and hold dear – I am trying to look at these petty squabbles as just minor irritations.

They will flow off me like water over stone.

(I recognize this simile also implies the water will wear the stone down eventually …. But I am finding it a nice meditational touchstone image for now…)

So I would encourage you to approach those passive-aggressive people in your life with some more patience this week. Don’t necessarily back down on things you really care about, but just try and gain some elevated perspective on why they may be acting a certain way or pushing your buttons.

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The Cost of a Healthy Lifestyle

Two weeks into our clean eating meal plan for “8 Weeks to a Hot Body” we have come to the same realization that many other healthy eaters have surely encountered before – it’s rather expensive!

Now this does require some consideration of perspective. What is “expensive” to me maybe reasonable for others, but I have never been one to spend significant amounts of my monthly earnings at the grocery store.  College loans sure. Movies and other entertainment you bet. Bars and restaurants – all the time.

But I guess I never realized if we stopped supplementing our meals with times we eat out, we obviously would buy more food. And particularly if we spent more time and care in buying healthy food – that cost goes up even more. I might eat out a bit – but I’m looking for those Happy Hour cheap menus or the 2 Dinners for $20 deals.

It’s tricky though, because when you are in the store it all seems necessary at the time!

Our Week 1 Grocery list was designed to just purchase the ingredients that we would need for two people to eat 5 times a day for 7 days. … Ok so 70 meals worth….  (Ok maybe that is a big number? That’s a lot of meals to prepare for?)

While circumnavigating the perimeter of the store we purchased what seemed like a lot of pretty cheap and necessary perishable items: Bananas, Apples, Tomatoes, Oranges, Grape Tomatoes, Avocado, Bell Peppers, Onions, Lettuce, Cucumber, Celery, Zucchini, Mushrooms, Edamame, Sweet Potatoes, Eggs, Laughing Cow Cheese, Almond Milk, Greek Yogurt, Ground Turkey, Deli Turkey, Ground Chicken.

All of this seemed totally reasonable! We also weren’t starting with a bare pantry so we had all of the spices and basics (peanut butter, protein powder, garlic, oatmeal, etc.) already stocked.

This first grocery trip came to $71.68.

Not too bad.

So cue next Sunday when we go grocery shopping for Week 2, with the same idea to get enough produce/protein to cover 2 people eating on this Hot Body meal plan.

We make our circuit picking up tomatoes, bananas, apples, pineapple, bell pepper, onion, carrots, celery, lettuce, sweet potatoes, broccoli, edamame, eggs, Almond Milk, Ground turkey, Salmon, Tuna – and this time we also head down the aisles for Low Carb Tortillas, Brown Rice and Apple Cider Vinegar.  (Gah writing this is making me hungry!!)

Total this trip = $80.29.

It doesn’t seem too bad. But for our previously meager grocery budgets it is starting to feel like a little much.

So far this month we have spent just under $152 on groceries. I anticipate this will remain a pretty consistent pattern so about $300 / month for two people.

Am I completely off base in thinking that seems like a lot to spend on food?? I’m struggling with this number as during our previous grocery runs:

  1. We didn’t have to go once a week – we just got to enjoy the more perishable fruits and veggies when we first bought them and then did without near the end of the cycle and
  2. Our previous grocery bills were only about $150 a month total.

I’m starting to question whether I have just been completely off-base in what proper food and nutrition costs. Or whether this all clean food meal plan is just more expensive? Or whether I really was only buying cheaper processed goods so didn’t notice the actual cost of real food? Or whether I am just shopping at expensive grocery stores and should be heading to more Farmer’s Markets?

I don’t know. But it is taking some budget reorganization.

Healthy food plans also demand quite a bit more of your time than our normal eating habits.

Normal lunch might consist of a PB & J Sandwich, Bag of Chips and an Apple. (No school like the old school?). This might take a max of ~10 minutes to prepare.

Healthy meal plan lunch calls for cooked meatballs, baked sweet potatoes and steamed broccoli. Or ground turkey and mushrooms that have been cooked in chili sauce and garlic. These take time to prepare – maybe ranging from 15-45 minutes. If I am already cooking breakfast in the morning (another 10-20 minutes) I really do not have the time to also cook a complex healthy lunch.

But we are really serious about making this work – so you make the time. And for me – as I am already trying to fit in my workouts in the mornings – I accomplish the week’s worth of Breakfast and Lunch cooking on Sunday nights.

So we make our grocery lists, head out to the store, cart everything home and cook everything that requires advanced preparation for the week all in one big afternoon marathon.

This works really great!

If you have 2-3 hours on your Sunday to devote to getting it done… xD

Healthy food plans are actually quite a bit of work – beyond the working out and dedication to eating the food – getting it and cooking it has been a slightly unforeseen obstacle.

It also has been a very enlightening glimpse to what a privilege a healthy lifestyle can be. I am in the position where I can re-budget some of my entertainment money to go towards my groceries. I only have to give up social engagements or TV time to shop and cook my meals. I can wake myself up early to do Pilates or leave work on time to head to the Hot Yoga Studio without balancing carpools, kids, high maintenance pets, demanding jobs or other family needs.

It can be a lot of work – but it really is a privilege to be able to do what we are doing.

And I am trying to keep that in mind as we continue towards our fitness goals – that our struggles are really nothing compared to the trials standing in the way of other people. This kind of self-humbling perspective may not motivate you, but nothing shuts up my whiny complaints about having to skip buying a movie premier ticket to instead purchase more quinoa like a healthy dose of guilt at my first world problems.

fwproblems qinoa

Let’s not be this person while we work on getting healthy k?

We are still doing well on Day 10 of this plan, but I’m trying to remain humbled and still think of creative ways to make this more sustainable for us in the long run.

Do you have any advice on where to get more cost effective groceries?
How much do you typically spend a month on food? Are your numbers like ours?

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My Delicious and Terrible October

It happens every time the weather gets colder – the candy, the baked goods, and the delicious party drinks are suddenly accessible and completely everywhere.

It doesn’t help that there are so many people with Birthdays in October (Oh yeah. We know what your parents were doing for Valentine’s day. Giggity! …Awkward…) And with Birthdays comes more parties and drinks and cake.

And come on – Pumpkin Spice Lattes! Not only are they delicious. But there is something so tantalizing about the seasonal, limited-time-only, get-one-now-or-you’ll-miss-your-chance-for-another-year advertisement that makes any plans to continue to eat healthily or to save that coffee $$ for more worthwhile causes just fly out the window. Because you need it! Just for the season!

For me personally there were two other factors to this October that completely weakened my resolve: Graduate School Applications and our Honeymoon.

Part one. The Honeymoon.
We went to Hawai’i for two weeks in the middle of September, which meant lots of flirty skirts, bikinis and apparently miles of hiking.  This following our July wedding by a bit of a gap meant that we have been eating clean, hitting the gym and getting into great shape really since April.

That was 7 whole months of killing it.

All for the goals of looking fabulous on our wedding day (Check!) and the grand goal of sitting on those beaches in skimpy clothes and thinking “Damn! We Look good!” (Haha maybe check?)

But all of that resolve and dedication really meant that when we returned from the islands and it suddenly became sweater season and we didn’t really have a large fitness goal to strive for anymore we took a little extra vacation from our good habits.

Part two. Grad School Applications
Currently I am in the process of trying to apply for Clinical Psychology PhD programs for admittance in the Fall 2015 semester.

For those unfamiliar with this long process, that means applications are due December, Fall 2014.

I knew I was going to be out for the honeymoon in September, so I had been working on preparing my Resume/CV, Personal Statement, Ordering GRE scores etc. in later August and early September. This was when a few people made these fatalistic comments about how far ahead I was in preparing – and didn’t I have a long time to worry about any of my applications?

Now when you are sitting in the August summer sun – December does feel eons away!

I thought – Hey! They’re right! What am I doing??

So I went on my honeymoon, but then returned completely derailed for the entire month of October. It just felt like – well we are taking a break from all of our wedding/honeymoon planning duties, workout regimen, food prep – might as well take a break from working on graduate school applications too!

I just let that stressful process sit in a binder on my desk for a few weeks.

The realization: Halloween Weekend

Now this past weekend marked the end of five weeks of living the slattern life.

I think a good example of how far we let things go was how we bought Halloween Candy a week early on Saturday the 25th to put outside our door on Friday while we were out at an event.  I do not believe we have had any candy in our apartment since last Christmas. We finished off the entire bag before Wednesday.

And then decided to just not put any candy out, turn our porch light off and not return until really late that evening. (Sorry neighbor kiddos!!!)

But I think the real realization that we weren’t doing good things to our minds and bodies came on Saturday when we were getting dressed for a Halloween Party with some friends.

We had spent the whole day lazing about our living room watching scary movies and eating pumpkin treats and then when it started to get dark outside the Hubs and I started to prepare for our Lilo and Stitch costumes.

You will recall from the eponymous Disney Movie – the Hawaiian theme of our costumes. Remind yourself too of the more revealing nature of Lilo’s hula dancing outfit I had chosen to wear that evening. Now add in the five weeks of poor dining choices and low levels of physical activity. It made for some great depressing jokes between the Hubs and I on how I was definitely going for costume accuracy – including the cute round belly…. :/

Lilo tummy

Now don’t get me wrong.

We still rocked those costumes. And I’d like to add a huge disclaimer here that I’m not trying to make any comment on Lilo’s weight. I am just trying to express that trying on my costume made me realize I wasn’t where I want to be with my body and my lifestyle right now.  I went from having a relatively defined 4-pack to being cute and round.

Now I know you can’t really destroy 7 months of progress and good habits with 1 month of bad choices. (Right? Right??)

But I don’t feel healthy. I miss the energy and soreness that come from a good hard workout. I want to check back into Grad School and really commit to having strong polished applications.

So I am making a commitment for the remainder of this year to get back on track with making some healthy life choices. I have already made some positive steps in this direction by:

  1. Ordering the 8 Week Hot Body meal plan and fitness journal from Blogilates
  2. Purchasing 10 classes at Blissful Spirits Hot Yoga Studio
  3. Moving that scary Application binder a little closer to the center of my desk (small steps here people.)

These are all things that will help motivate me, to get back to the better version of myself. But I know it’s not going to be as simple as just hitting the fitness switch to get back into my groove.This process is going to take some retraining and a little conditioning. It won’t be a seamless transition. I will falter and stumble on the way. But I’m starting with things that motivate me and have proven to give me some enjoyment in the past.

The only way I’m going to improve and see any change is to just get started — So! Here we go!


The Name Game…

Caitlin! Caitlin, Caitlin Bo Baitlin Banana Fanana Fo Faitlin Mi My Mo Maitlin…

Nothing sends a confident, independent 24 year old woman into an existential crisis like the post-wedding name change game.

I married my best friend (gag barf. Cliché death <3<3) back in July 2014. It was all wonderful and we were surrounded by both our families and all of our dearest friends. But now as my honeymoon tan starts to fade there are a number of legal and self-identification issues to sort out.

Scott and I decided during our wedding ceremony planning that we would love to be called Caitlin and Scott Rancher when they announced us after that first newlywed kiss. I was happily prepared to jump into my new life together with my husband and I was really cherishing the thought of sharing the same family name as him.

I had no idea this would offend so many of my friends.

So many women in my life were surprised. I received comments along the lines of – “Didn’t think you were one of those girls.” Or “Wow I really thought you were such an individual in your relationship, guess looks can be deceiving.”

And even comments from within my family circles suggesting – “That’s too bad. We thought you would be the only sister to carry on the family legacy.”

Um. What?

Excuse me?

My decision to change my name to that of my husband’s in no way reflects whether I am an “individual” or my personal belief in my self-worth. My achievements in my life, my family and my everyday actions have constantly, and will continue to constantly, give breadth and depth to my “family legacy.” This suggestion that by somehow sharing something that was my husband’s as we embark on a new life together is self-depreciating – actually really offends me.

Our society seems to have taken the see-saw approach to defining modern feminism in the context of weddings and legal name changes as it teeters as far over as it can from the previous male-dominant standard of the past.

I recognize the historical system of taking on the male’s name following the wedding union was the result of some pretty sexist and degrading practices of marriages made business transaction. The exchange of money and goods for good wife property. The man runs the household and is King of the castle. etc. etc. I know.

I agree that the Patriarch naming scheme should no longer be the forgone conclusion to every marriage. And in some circles it can’t be – prime example: marriages between two women. Obviously there needs to be a conversation there.

And really every couple getting married should be having this conversation. I think the outcome and rationale for the “Last Name Decision” is totally individual to each couple.

I don’t think it’s fair to judge someone else’s decision to either change their name, or keep their name, just because you personally are interpreting the internal relationship hierarchies at play.

I recognize now I am just venting. But it’s not like I made the decision lightly or didn’t put great care and thought into whether I should become Caitlin E Rancher, Caitlin E Cole Rancher, Caitlin E Cole-Rancher, Caitlin C Rancher, stay Caitlin E Cole, etc.

I went through the canon of pros and cons on this decision, considering both how it influences my career and graduate school aspirations, legal documents, and publication record as well as how it influences my family, my husband’s family, my social circles, my social networking, FB, email addresses and on and on. Besides putting great thought into what implications I was setting for myself, I also asked my husband whether he had any expectations or preferences. (If you know Scott you will not at all be surprised to hear he wanted whatever would make me happy. Barf. Jk. Love you. But at least we had a conversation.)

Regardless. This isn’t a decision to be made flippantly. But you must define your own standard and your own sense of what is right for your relationship.

The sentiment that I would share something so intimate and so defining to your persona with this man I love, was a really strong argument.

To have those values called into question has been an ongoing struggle. Probably made obvious by the fact that I am still sitting on my Social Security name change papers now at the end of October. After 3 months of marriage.

I am still going forward with my name change – to become Caitlin E Rancher – but I fully admit all of those comments really made me call my decision into question. I think it is very hard to walk the line between evolving social norms and maintaining traditions.

So! I just wanted to provide some of my experience and maybe offer some support to other 20-something newlyweds playing the name change game.

And since that got a bit heavy and ranty – here’s something uplifting to leave you with as you maybe muddle through your own existential crises:

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Cooking Trials: Blogilate’s Clean Meatballs

On Sunday afternoons, if we are trying to be healthy and productive, I will do mass food prep for the hubs and my lunches for that week. We both pack in a lunch every day M-F in order to 1) Save $$ by purchasing grocery items for multiple meals vs. daily purchases of single meals 2) Try and eat a little cleaner for our mid-day meal.

Our typical lunch boxes include the following:

  • Mid-Morning Snack of Fruit or Veggie and a protein. (My favorite is a cut up Gala apple and peanut butter)
  • Main Lunch with protein, veggies and minimal carbs if possible
  • Afternoon Snack of a Granola Bar or Protein powder to be made into a shake

An extremely useful resource I use when making lunches is the popular Blogilates site run by the entertaining and infectiously enthusiastic Cassey Ho. She has a number of tasty recipes and meal plan options (all for free!) for those looking for some advice on how to construct a healthy diet.

This Sunday I returned to one of our favorites from her website — Delicious Clean Meatballs!  (Follow the link for the full recipe.)

I didn’t really have all of the ingredients required for the recipe so I modified with the following:


I don’t really like Green Bell Peppers (so I don’t buy them..) so I used an Orange Bell Pepper! I find they are a little sweeter and don’t dominate the other ingredients quite as much.
I only had 1 Bell Pepper, so I added in 4 stalks of celery.
I only had a yellow onion so that took the place of the purple one called for.
I also don’t like wasting egg yolks (and we don’t buy egg white cartons) so I just used 1 full egg to replace the 3 egg whites.
I also like the 3lb Ground Turkey you can buy at Smiths vs Ground Chicken by the single pound at some other stores. (I only used 2/3 of that big log).
Spice wise, I love garlic. (Hence the huge Costco container.) So I added in two health spoonful’s.
I also added in some other random spices we had laying around the kitchen to give it a bit more flavor.

Once you have completed taking your aggression out on cutting up all your veggies – you just put everything in a large bowl and mix it up.


I am a hands on cook. I like to mash it all together with my hands. But if this distresses you I am sure a spoon would work as well…(shown for posterity’s sake).

Then you put big balls of your mixture into a greased muffin tin. (Easy to do when you’re already elbow deep in your bowl). And bake at 375 for 35 min.


We eat 2 meatballs for 1 serving – so this will make 3 lunches for the week. Yay!


Nom nom nom

Let me know if you’ve tried this recipe! Or have any other resources for our healthy lunches 🙂