Create The Perfect VDAY With Your Loved Ones

According to the Enneagram Test, I am Type 2… “Twos are caring, warm, empathetic, thoughtful, appreciative, generous, affectionate and demonstrative.”  Yup, tell me more… “Twos get into difficulty, however, when they begin to tend to others’ needs without adequately dealing with their own.”  Yeah… that last part is 100% me.  I have yet to master the idea of not feeling overwhelmed.  Often times giving so much to others that I forget to give back to myself when I need it most.  The week of LOVE will not only be about loving those around you, but most importantly, loving yourself when fueling, moving, and recovering.  I have found I love giving to others because I see the immediate impact it makes on them based on their energy.  I am extremely tough on myself, because the immediate impact doesn’t always show up right away.  In a workout, in recovery, in fueling.  It takes time, patience, and consistency.  So, this week, I am going to shift my thoughts when I feel the tough love showing up, by being patient through my personal goals, and applying self love into my daily routine.  Enjoying the workout I power through, enjoying the food I’m fueling my body with, and enjoying the extra downtime it takes to recover with rest.  I will allow myself to insert activities each week that I genuinely enjoy, that I tend to push aside because of the common phrase, “I don’t have time.”  That’s the most overused excuse.  We always have time.  When it’s something important to us, we will make time for it.  Now, why aren’t we making enough time to apply the self love and care to the body and mind that has carried us through the last 27 years of life?  We lose sight and focus.  What happens when we lose sight and focus of a relationship that is between you and another individual?  Most likely, it causes confrontation.  Have you ever felt exhausted, fatigued, bloated, down, etc?  This is the conversation your body is having with you to wake up and pay attention before it causes a scene.  There is no “breaking up” in this relationship, so it’s time to compromise.

Recently, I have been dealing with a lot of bloating, fatigue, and just feeling overworked.  This is all under my control, if I decide to acknowledge the situation.  This week, I’ve decided to journal the next few days of eating.  Taking notice to what foods I eat and finding the cause of my discomfort.  I will be able to do some trial and error here, especially if I am cooking from home, because I know the exact ingredients going into each meal.

Not only will cooking from home help me in the process of elimination, but I LOVE to cook.  An activity I plan to implement more often throughout the week because it genuinely makes me happy!  I used to use my college friends as my guinea pigs.  From my three roommates to the linemen on football team, I was able to try everything from date night style meals to a family style dinner.  Once I bought my own place after graduating, I naturally renovated the kitchen (I will be doing a whole blog on my little home in Pittsburgh!).  I am constantly trying new recipes that I get to test on my family.  I love hosting them, because they are willing to try all the things, and most importantly, they are going to give me their most honest critiques, HA!  I have to make tweaks before sending recipes out to my swEATs nutrition clients, and before posting on here for you to replicate!  

I had a mini Valentine’s Day Dinner on Friday with some of my family members to test out some new recipes, AND my nephews were able to be their own “little chefs”.  Some of these recipes were inspired by ones found on Pinterest, with my own little touch (because I tend to lose focus.  I applaud you if you can stick to a recipe 100%!), while other recipes were created by throwing ingredients together that I felt paired well.  I have created a menu for you and your “little chefs” to create for this very special Valentine’s Day:

French Cheese Board 

The Assortment:

  • Brie
  • Mimolette
  • Blue Cheese
  • Dry Aged Salami
  • Jambon
  • Olives
  • Candied Walnuts
  • Chocolate bar
  • Honey
  • Mustard
  • Parmesan Crackers
  • French Baguettes
    • On an angle, carve into 2 inch thick slices.  Place slices onto baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and salt.  Broil in oven until browned.  About 10 minutes.  Keep an eye out ever 3-5 minutes to make sure the slices do not become burned.


Let’s put it all together!

I chose this assortment because French is known as the Love Language ;).  Grab your favorite Charcuterie Board and replicate a similar layout as the one above!  Let’s be honest, it doesn’t matter if it looks pretty, it will taste the same either way!  I have found that tossing the candied walnuts around the board after the cheeses and meats have been placed, makes for a professional look without feeling too staged. 

Truffle Scallops & Mushrooms 


  • 1/2 lb Scallops Washed and “smooth muscles” Removed
  • 8 oz Mushrooms Sliced
  • 2 tsp Truffle Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Sunflower or Vegetable Oil
  • Himalayan Salt and Pepper to Taste

Cooking Instructions:

  • Add Sunflower or Vegetable Oil to medium skillet on Medium High Heat
  • Add Mushrooms.  Add salt, pepper and 1 teaspoon Truffle Olive Oil.  Saute until tender
  • Remove mushrooms from skillet and set aside
  • Add 1 tablespoon sunflower/vegetable oil on medium/high heat
  • Add scallops to pan, frying for 3-4 min on each side, or until browned.  Add mushrooms to skillet with scallops and saute for 3-5 min on second side
  • Remove from skillet and plate to serve!  I love this as a little appetizer for the family to enjoy while we all gather the table with wine and games!

Burrata & Tomato Salad:

  • Burrata
  • Cherry Tomatoes Fresh
  • Chopped Parsley
  • Bib Lettuce
  • Drizzle Olive Oil/Balsamic Vinegar, salt and pepper to taste

Chilean Sea Bass In Butter Wine Sauce (Pinterest Inspired)

Butter Wine Sauce 

  • 2 tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Shallot, finely minced
  • 1 Clove Garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup White Wine
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 tbsp White Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 cup Unsalted Butter, cubed
  • Himalyan Salt
  • Pepper
  • 3 tbsp Chives, finely minced
    • Melt butter and olive oil in medium sized sauce pan over medium heat.  Add shallot and cook until they become translucent, about 2-3 min.  Add garlic and cook 30 seconds, stirring.  Add white wine to deglaze the pan, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.  Add lemon juice and white wine vinegar and allow to simmer until reduced, about 8-10 minutes.  Add butter cubes, 1-2 cubes at a time, and whisk constantly untill emulsified.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Keep warm until until ready to serve.


Preparing Sea Bass 

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • Himalayan salt
  • 2 6oz sea bass filets (I had cut both filets in half for serving purposes)
    • Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and the butter in a large nonstick skillet over high heat.  Season fish with salt and olive oil on both sides.  Add fish (skin side down if your fish has the skin on it) and cook for about 5 min per side.  Remove to plate and serve covered in the Butter Wine Sauce and fresh chives. 

Chocolate Lava Mug Cake


Baking Instructions:

Place coconut oil and chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave 60 seconds then stir well.  Continue microwaving in 30 second bursts, until chocolate is completely melted and smooth.  In medium bowl, whisk the eggs with the egg yolk, coconut sugar and salt well.

Combine chocolate mixture with egg and sugar mix, then add in tapioca starch and almond flour. 

Spoon into mug.  Fill mug about 1/3 of the way with mixture.  Microwave for 45 seconds (I like to cover top lightly with napkin so the mixture does not topple over the mug.  Let sit for 1 min.

Top with Vanilla/Chocolate Ice Cream and enjoy!

Little Chef

Personal Pizzas!

 My nephews were so excited to create their own pizza.  What little kid doesn’t love to get their hands messy, especially when getting to pick their own pizza toppings!  This is such a fun activity for the kids to use their creativity and food cravings.  Not to mention, it also keeps them busy while you’re cooking.  I know there is “an app for that”, but the real thing is always better!  Teach them to be their own “little chef” this Valentine’s Day.


First Step

Pick the crust!  I found two nutritious options for the boys to use in the frozen section at Whole Foods!  

Live Life On The Veg: Cauliflower Crust
Capellos:  Gluten Free Crust 

Second Step:

Use a pizza or pasta sauce that provides fresh ingredients you can stand by, with little to no added sugars.  Our Little Chef needs to be fueled properly!  Although we love nap time, strong nutrition aids in a deep sleep.  I chose the Primal Kitchen: Tomato Basil pasta sauce!


Third Step:

I have yet to find a dairy free cheese option that melts just right for a pizza, so I went with Mozzarella.  It is a traditional cheese used for pizza, melting perfectly to create the greasy, gooey, soft cheese to make the perfect pie.  Sometimes you can’t get all of the ingredients 100% clean, don’t sweat it, we are trying our best.


Fourth Step:

Choose the toppings!  My nephews are pepperoni lovers, so I went with Applegate: Uncured Turkey Pepperoni.  Applegate is a swEATs approved brand in our nutrition program at the studio.  I trust their products have been made properly with strong ingredients that I can stand behind.

Fifth Step:

Follow the cooking instructions on the back of the crust box!  They typically take just 15 minutes, but it’s probably best you allow your Little Chef to check on it every so often for the perfectly browned and crisp crust by putting the oven light on.

Final Step:

Allow the pizza to cool, slice it up into quarters, and let the Little Chef enjoy their masterpiece!

I hope you enjoyed diving into my Dinner Menu above!  Comment below on your favorite recipe on my blog so far, and tag me so I can see your creation.

Happy Valentine’s Day!