One Skillet Turkey Sweet Potato Dinner

Hey friends! I’ve been in quarantine for over seven weeks, and have been cooking up some delicious meals I find on Pinterest or Google! I should have shared all of my creations, but I haven’t done that because a lot of recipes I’ve followed very closely to their original, and didn’t want to take credit for someone else’s meal. This recipe, however, I doctored and cooked differently than the original recipe directed. I also added a few ingredients to expand the taste, so I wanted to share what I created. It was a hit with my family and very easy to make!

You will need:

1 lb ground turkey (93-99% lean)

1 yellow bell pepper, diced

1 white onion, diced

4 cloves minced garlic

2 large sweet potatoes diced (or 3 cups worth)

4 tablespoons of olive oil (two for the pan, and two for the potatoes)

1 tbsp fresh rosemary

1/2 cup of shredded low-fat mozzarella

1 tsp chilli powder

1.5 tbsp cumin

2 tsp Soul Seasoning (you can buy this online here)

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

*Optional* 1 and 1/2 tsp of chopped parsley, cilantro, or chives – your choice

To begin, mix your diced sweet potatoes with olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary. Toss until coated. On a parchment paper lined cookie tray, roast the potatoes at 400° farenheit for 25 min.

Next, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a 12 in cast iron skillet. Add garlic and let the skillet and garlic get hot and fragrant about 3-4 min. Add ground turkey. Cook on medium heat until no pink shows 6-8 min.

Add cumin, chilli powder, red pepper flakes, and soul seasoning to season the turkey. Add salt and pepper to taste. Then add your small diced onion and yellow pepper. Let the onions cook until they’re translucent.

Now this is where your preference plays a role in your cook time. If you want your potatoes crispier, you can add a few tbsp of water to meat mixture to avoid the meat drying out as you wait for the taters to crisp up. You can lower the heat on the stove top while you wait. But I found the potatoes were cooked and somewhat crisp after around 25 min.

After potatoes are finished, immediately transfer them into the meat skilled and mix everything together. Top with your mozzarella cheese, and then take the whole skillet and stick it in the oven. Set the oven to BROIL for 1.5 min to brown and melt the cheese.

Take the skillet out of the oven, and top with chopped parsley or chives or cilantro! Or serve plain! Your choice!

Serve immediately and enjoy 😉

The end result is savory with a little kick of heat at the end, but the sweetness of the potatoes offsets the spice. It’s SO good, and low-fat!! I served this with corn muffins as a side, and it was very filling to feed my family of four (mom, dad, brother, and myself!). If you have a larger family, you can definitely double the recipe and cook it in two skillets or one larger pan!

I hope if you try this recipe, you enjoy it! Enjoy your meals with your families and loved ones, and stay healthy and safe!

Xoxo

Gluten-Free Protein Pancakes

Hey loves! I wanted to share a yummy recipe for all my quarantine-folk who want to try something different for breakfast! These gluten-free protein pancakes are also vegan because I use a vegan protein powder and unsweetened coconut milk, but feel free to use whey protein and dairy milk if you so choose!

The recipe is fairly simple, and you can doctor it to your liking. I add frozen blueberries to mine, and mix in half of a mashed banana, and slice the other half of the banana on top when they’re done. I’ve added chia seeds in the batter as well for even more protein, but you can also just add them on top afterwards for texture.

For this recipe, you will need:

2 scoops of protein powder
(I used 1 scoop of vanilla and 1 scoop of chocolate Arbonne protein powder which you can buy here)
1/4 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk
2 tablespoons of almond flour
1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 egg whites
Optional toppings You can add whatever kind of fruit, seed, or sweetener, like maple syrup or honey! Feel free to mix any kind of nut butter in the batter, or spread it on top! Yum!

Mix all ingredients and add-ins in a bowl. I add a spread of coconut oil into a non-stick pan and cook the pancakes until they are light brown on both sides and not liquidy on the inside. You’ll be able to tell by taking a spatula and pressing down gently on the pancake. If nothing spills out, the inside is cooked.

The texture of these pancakes will not be a normal pancake texture. They’re a little softer/squishier, and less “cakey” than their traditional, glutinous counterparts. They’re still delicious, and keep me full for hours! This recipe yields about 4 silver dollar sized pancakes. Perfect single serving!

If you try this recipe, I hope you enjoy it! Any and all variations will probably turn out perfect! Stay healthy and happy my friends! ✌️

Xoxo

Why You Shouldn’t Compare Your Body to an “Instagram Fitness Model”

Hi everyone,

In wake of my Arbonne 30 Days to Healthy Living, I’m inspired to write this piece about the importance of recognizing what we see on the internet as staged, superficial, and anti-reality. I wanted to write this article a while back, but because it is January and this month “diet culture” becomes synonymous with “New Year’s Resolutions”, I want everyone to keep some things in mind while they strive for their 2020 goals – specifically if they are related to health and fitness.

Also as a disclosure – this article is in no way shaming men and women who are dedicated to health and fitness, and/or those who make their business/money from that online. This is for all hard-working people who care deeply about their health and physical fitness, who feel they cannot “live-up” to the standards they see on social media.

Let’s get one thing straight – Instagram is a galaxy of humans young and old wanting to display their BEST selves to all of their peers, colleagues, and family members. Yes, people post for themselves, but deep down people post for validation for the things they are doing. As a member of this generation, I don’t see anything wrong with it. Social media has completely changed the course of online marketing, business, and self-promotion. If I have a great photo of myself, or something I did, ate, drank, saw – I will probably post it somewhere online.

That being said, do I ever post photos of myself I feel ugly in? Of course not. Do I untag myself from friends’ photos I don’t like of myself? Of course I do. No one wants to be seen in their “worst light”. I will add, a lot of the time we are all our own worst critics, so many times what we feel is “ugly”, we don’t actually look ugly. However, the point is, people post the best version of themselves online. And there is nothing wrong with doing that.

Nonetheless, the greatness of social media comes with a sleu of other issues. Seeing everyone’s best version of themselves online every day, at any time of the day can become mentally and emotionally exhausting. It can make you feel like you’re not “doing enough” or “being enough” – either for others, or even yourself. Being recovered from anorexia, I see my favorite dancers and fitness professionals online everyday and think to myself,

“I am not doing as much as their doing. That’s why I haven’t reached their level of success.”

Or their level of beauty. Or their level of fitness, technicality, etc.

It makes me feel terrible if I don’t keep my thoughts in check – If I don’t sit back and take a second to recognize that these images and videos I am seeing are not that person 24/7. No one can uphold the “Instagram standard” every day, 24 hours a day, every day of the week. We are all human and we are all FLAWED (physically, emotionally, mentally – in all capacities). And flaws can be and are beautiful too.

Here is an example. Before I started my 30 Days to Healthy Living, here is an image I took of myself on Snapchat immediately following a HIIT workout.

The image depicts me at a moment where I felt “fit”, at an angle where I felt “showed off” my body in a great way. I had compression pants on and felt put together. The lighting was good, and photo editing apps make filtering the photo to be more appealing really simple and easy.

Is that what my body looks like all the time? No. Now here are some images of me first thing in the morning, before I ate anything, PMSing, hadn’t worked out in three days.

I took these images the first day I started my cleanse last week. These photos were snapped three weeks after the gym photo – totally unrelated to each other. These photos of me I do not like. I wouldn’t really think to post them anywhere because I do NOT like the way I appear in them. Also, you’d think if these were a “before and after” shot, the more recent photos would be first and the gym photo would be most recent.

Reality is – a good angle and good lighting can make anyone appear “better”. Im also not being self-deprecating. I love my body, and I’m a firm believer that muscular definition wouldn’t appear in photographs if it wasn’t truly there. Meaning, the main way to look muscular is to have muscle. So if you see muscular definition, it’s because it’s there. That being said, good lighting and nice filtering can enhance the definition of our muscles or our appearance. We can smooth out fine lines/wrinkles, shrink waistlines, make our skin appear tanner or fairer, etc. Heck, I even increased the color saturation on these photos before I put them into this article!

So next time you’re scrolling through Instagram and see your favorite dancers, athletes, models, whoever – remember their life is not always that glamorous. It is not always picture perfect, with a friend on standby ready to snap gorgeous “candid” photos of you at your best angles in your best light. Instagrams are carefully curated by each owner, and they are meant to display us “living our best lives”.

Wherever you are in your journey – of life, fitness, health, and your goals – you are exactly where you are supposed to be. You are ENOUGH, and no one is uniquely like you, even if their Instagram makes you feel like you’re not in the gym enough/working hard enough. Comparison is the killer of all dreams, and never compare yourself to others because of what you see. Everything online is surface level.

Xoxo

May 2019 Life Update

WOW it’s been a minute since I posted on this account, and for that I am deeply apologetic. Life has been throwing me curve balls left and right, and I’ve been working and training a LOT in preparation for my summer.

Here are some of my recent activities, endeavors, and favorites for you all to see what I’ve been up to!

Orange Theory Fitness

A brand new Orange Theory Fitness opened very close to my home town. If you don’t know what Orange Theory is, it is a high intensity interval training (HIIT) fitness program. I’ve been curious about OTF for about a year now, and was SO SICK of my old gym membership. I have a membership at Crunch Fitness, and my schedule is so busy, I was barely using it. When I did go to the gym, I was so unmotivated to work out hard because it was late at night. I spend so much time preparing and teaching classes for clients and students, that the last thing I wanted to do at the end of the day was go to the gym and create an intense workout for myself to complete. In addition, the classes at my home gym are AWFUL.

For those reasons. I bought an OTF membership before they opened, and have been going for about a month now. I LOVE it. I plan on writing a whole post about Orange Theory and how I am running faster and rowing faster than I ever have before. This workout yields serious results. It’s fun, and because I spend a pretty penny on it, it forces me to go. I love working out in a group setting (that’s probably the dancer in me), so to be in a large group with everyone’s workout stats visible and updating in real time, it motivates me to work really hard. Another reason why I joined Orange Theory was to prepare my body for the intensity of my summer training. – see below for more on my summer dance training!

Pure Barre Training*

I am not sure if I mentioned this to you all, but the Xtend Barre I worked at closed very abruptly and permanently back in February. I was very upset because I just passed my test-out in October of 2018, and invested a lot of time and money into being a great barre instructor. I was reluctant, but a new owner bought our old space, and is turning it into a Pure Barre! He reached out to me, offered me a position, and I am being re-trained in Pure Barre method starting on Monday. I can’t wait! Pure Barre as a company has a much better corporate organization and structure, and the workout is very intense. It is also very different than Xtend Barre training. I miss teaching Xtend, but I am very excited for this new adventure.

*My opinion is not the opinion of Pure Barre, and does not reflect the opinions of the company. All opinions are my own*

Auditions

After a VERY stressful and somewhat awful audition back in April, I’ve been taking some time away from auditioning. I was auditioning at least once a week since January, and to be honest, I am feeling a bit burnt out. I don’t like when dance/performance becomes a source of an unhealthy amount of stress. That being said, I haven’t auditioned for anything in about a month. But in typical Julia fashion, I have an audition this Saturday evening for a company I am very interested in working with. I am looking forward to this audition because it is for concert, contemporary work instead of commercial work which is what I’ve been focusing on the last few months. Hopefully all goes well – I am looking forward to the opportunity.

Photo by Tim Lytvinenko

Summer Dance Training

As you all know, I am attending Joffrey Ballet School in Genoa, Italy this summer, and the Peridance Capezio BLUEPRINT summer intensive in NYC. I’ve been working full-time between all of my jobs to save and pay for my trips! I am currently looking to book my flight to Italy, and then I am basically all set to go! I can’t believe I’m going to live in Italy for two weeks, and then hop right on a plane back to NYC to train with some amazing choreographers and perform in a show! I am looking forward to all of my experiences this summer!

I will hopefully have more time to post as the recital season draws near, and my studio teaching comes to a close for the summer. Life is really busy right now, but I am excited to see what is in store for the rest of 2019!

How are your 2019 goals coming along? What are you working towards, and what are you doing every day to bring you closer to those goals?

Xoxo

Long2 Final Showcase and My First Solo Performance

Hi beauties!

If you recall, around this time last year I was invited to join a second company in NYC. Our season ran from October 2018 until March 13, 2019 (last week), and I wanted to share some photos and thoughts about that experience.

Related: My First NYC Dance Job Starts This Fall! (2018)

Photography Credit: Marisa Augustine
Alvin Ailey Studios February 27

Long2 is the second company to Vanessa Long Dance Company which is based out of New York City. The opportunity to join came the day after I was cut from her main company audition. It was such a thrill to be asked to participate.

We performed a studio showing at the end of February at the Alvin Ailey studios in NYC, and our final showcase was at the Tank Theater in NYC on March 13. Not only did I perform choreography and repertory from her company and other choreographers who set work, I also performed my first SOLO ever which happened to be self-choreographed!

Photography Credit: Marisa Augustine
Alvin Ailey Studios February 27

It was a very empowering experience to perform a solo for the first time – in a NYC theater – that was self-created. My solo is titled “Joe” and is a dance celebrating my grandma and grandpa’s relationship and love for each other. The dance is set to the song I Can’t Believe You’re In Love With Me by Billie Holiday. I edited and mixed an interview with my grandma over the track as well. In the song, my grandma tells a story of how she realized my grandpa liked her back as they bonded over playing piano at their school.

This weekend, I am performing with my other company in Hudson Valley, NY. I have the opportunity to perform “Joe” again, and I am very excited to do so! I changed some of the choreography, and I will be dressed in 1940s/1950s fashion which will fit the theme of the piece much better than what I wore for the show in NYC.

Photography Credit: Marisa Augustine
Alvin Ailey Studios February 27

This experience was fun, and has connected me to the NYC dance network better than I could have imagined. I am very grateful and thankful for my time with Long2, and look forward to new auditions and opportunities that will arise this spring. I will also be auditioning for her main company again in April!

I hope to take good footage of “Joe” at my show this weekend, and if I do, I will post it to YouTube and post the video in this post. Dance is such an amazng part of my life experience, and I am forever grateful for the way it heals me.

Photography Credit: Marisa Augustine
Alvin Ailey Studios February 27

Write again soon!

xoxo