“Where do you start?”

How did you get started? Where did you begin? What’s the first step? What was your turning point?

These are the top questions that I receive every single day. I’m no expert on weight loss. I’m not a pro in the gym and I wasn’t born with the instinct to make healthy meal choices.

But I know what works for me- and maybe it can help some of you as well.

Firstly, and most importantly- where do you begin.
I can clearly remember the moment I decided enough was enough. I was sick of feeling tired, ashamed of my eating habits, annoyed with sciatic nerve pain, and just plain unhappy with where I was physically and mentally. I know- I know, being skinny doesn’t make you happy- and I wholeheartedly embrace that. However, being overweight CAN make you unhappy and I can say that from my own personal experience. I constantly felt like I was being judged (looking back now I think that was often in my head). I was angry that I couldn’t find clothing that fit right. I would get out of breath very easily. I didn’t feel comfortable playing sports anymore. I was a new nurse and it was my job to teach my patients about healthy living yet how could they take me serious if I didn’t take my OWN health serious.

It was a long time coming and multiple failed diets before I finally made a real decision to change. I, me, myself- I had to make that choice on my own. Your friends and family cant make that decision for you. They can encourage you and guide you until the world ends but if you aren’t ready to change your life then you will not succeed. No one else can do the work for you. It took me a long time to realize this- and when I finally did it was a light a light bulb had switched on.

The next morning I scheduled a consult to see a bariatric surgeon and three months later I was on my way to a healthier life.
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Weight loss surgery is the easy way out.
FALSE.
Don’t knock it til you try it. Ha, but really, if you have not personally had bariatric surgery then you cannot make that claim. I don’t care if your mother, sister, son, wife, cousin or friend had it. Adapting to life after weight loss surgery has been the hardest thing I have ever done. I am 4 years post op and I am still learning how to adapt to my tool. The weight did not fall off magically and it won’t stay off magically either. It took a lot of heard work, sweat, tears, and dedication to get where I am today. All said and done- if I was faced with the decision again, I wouldn’t change a thing. This experience has shaped me into the person I am today. My struggles have given me the strength to keep moving forward instead of backwards.
So, back to the question that started all of this…
“How did you start?”
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I started with admitting to myself that I was not taking proper care of my body. I started with telling myself I deserved better. Is started with putting down my excuses and taking full responsibility for my health. I started with a new mindset. And the rest is history.
Mindset is key. Find your will-and trust me, you’ll find your way.
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What was your defining moment?

Ohhhhh Canadaaa

Life has been pretty crazy over here! Between traveling and work I feel like we are constantly on the go! We had a few days off last week and really wanted to go somewhere fun. If you haven’t used flymeanywhere.com then you are missing out! When we have a few days off and don’t know where we want to go, we leave the destination open to “anywhere” and you can find cheap flights all over the world!

So here is a low down on our last trip—that landed us in Toronto, Canada!

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Day 1!

Out Canada adventure started on a very small aircraft that Ted kept referring to as a “puddle jumper.” Not gonna lie, it was a pretty loud flight and you should have seen the look on Ted’s face when one of the flight attendants was handing us our drinks and another flight attendant told her to “hurry up because it’s about to get bumpy” and her response was “oh, it’s going to get THAT bumpy.” Haha! Luckily it didn’t end up being that bad.

Once we made it to Canada we rented a car, drove it onto the ferry to get off the island and there began our trek to Niagara Falls (we only made one wrong turn that ended in a 45 minute mistake) 💀. We were pretty surprised with the village of restaurants, arcades, and activities near the falls.

Niagara Falls is simply breath taking, but I’ll be honest, it doesn’t look nearly as big and powerful from above. We took the journey behind the falls which really put the falls into perspective.

Then we explored the area, spent too much money at the arcade 😂 and had poutine at the Ontario Distillery. We were sadly disappointed in the gravy smothered French fries. By that time we were pretty exhausted, so we made the trek back to the airport, dropped off the car and took an Uber to our Airbnb. But the night didn’t end there! We ventured out and explored a few local pubs and soaked up the environment. People watching is truly one of our favorite past times.

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Day 2!

The day started with a big ole breakfast in downtown Toronto. One of the ways we avoid spending too much extra money during vacation is finding a meal that has plenty of food for us to split. I hate wasting food and money and who really eats leftovers on vacation anyway?!

Then it was time for the CN tower! What a beautiful view of the city.

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We walked down to the harbor waterfront and soaked up the gorgeous views. Sadly, Amsterdam Brew House didn’t have power so we didn’t get to have lunch there (this was Ted’s number one item on the “to do” list for our trip.) Luckily,  @joebirdto did not disappoint! We went to the hockey hall of fame (Ted was in his glory of course). I have to admit- I was pretty impressed with all of the interactive activities they had there! Of course that was followed by a mid-day nap.

Then we headed out for a few drinks before the Blue Jays vs Rays game where watched the Rays win make it into the playoffs! If you don’t know our background- the Rays are our home team back in Florida, so that was a pretty cool experience!

I tried pierogis for the first time before calling it a night!

Day 3!!

We started the day looking for breakfast and decided to try Eggbae, sadly we picked the wrong breakfast sandwich 😞 but we were in china town which meant DUMPLINGS —Aka, my favorite food. I’m pretty sure the dumplings from @juicydumpling were the best dumplings I have ever had- and definitely the best food we had while in Toronto. We tried a few local bakery snacks and explored Chinatown- which let’s be honest, was much bigger than we expected and made us feel like we were in Asia!

Next, we explored Kensington Market and walked around for what seemed like forever. We even walked right through the middle of a protest rally on our way over to the St Lawrence market. This market was everything I hoped it would be. Canadian goods, all the fresh food and a feeling of community. Something about tight, packed little markets just makes me heart happy.

Then, we walked the underground and found a huge mall to explore. Did you know Toronto is known for its “underground pathway”?

All of that walking clearly earned us a nap, after all- it WAS vacation!  We headed out to explore the Canada food exhibition which to our dismay was closed 💀 luckily, football games always have a good hotdog. We bought last minute tickets to the CFL Argonauts game which turned out to be a lot of fun!

Then we ended the night with a few drinks and some @blazepizza.

 

Day 4!

Out last day in Toronto we kept it pretty low key. Spend the morning packing up our bag and relaxing in our room before we took a long walk along the harbor front (tried to go to Amsterdam Brew house again and failed yet again.) Then it was time to Uber back to the port, take the underwater tunnel to the airport and fly back home to DC.

This was our first time in Canada, but it surely won’t be our last! Any guess where we are going next!?!

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Low carb beef and zucchini enchiladas

I have always been a sucker for a good enchilada. I mean- who doesn’t love a warm gooey tortilla stuffed with meat and cheese and lathered with red sauce? Sign me up!

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So, as Ted and I have been trying to stay on the healthy eating wagon during our week day meals I figured I’d make us some healthy enchiladas! Ya’ll know how I feel about Mexican food after all.

So here’s my take on a healthy enchilada! And as always- if you make them at home, tag me on Instagram so I can see them! @Kburg21

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Here’s what you’ll need:

½ lb lean ground beef

¼ cup onion chopped

½ zucchini diced

½ cup frozen corn

½ cup diced grape tomatoes

1 can Old El Paso enchilada sauce (I like the medium one)

4 Tumaro’s carb wise wraps

LaTourangelle Sunflower Oil

Taco seasoning (I like FreshJax)

¾  cup shredded Sargento Mexican Cheese

A dash of Twang Chile lime seasoning

 

First, brown the ground beef in a skillet on medium and season it with your taco seasoning. Once it’s cooked toss the ground beef into a bowl and throw the onions and zucchini into the skillet for 3-4 minutes with some sunflower oil -just enough to soften them.

In a non-stick pan pour ¼ of your can of enchilada sauce into the bottom (just enough to cover the pan).

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Now it’s time to assemble! Line the tortillas with the meat, zucchini, onions, and cheese and drizzled a tablespoon of the enchilada sauce inside each one before rolling them up. Roll the enchiladas as tight as you can and lay them seam down into the pan. Pour the sauce over the top of your enchiladas and top with cheese and a sprinkle of Twang Chile lime- them cover with foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and broil for 3 minutes on high. BOOM. That’s it!

 

 

 

We paired ours with fresh guac, fried Cacique cheese and Trader Joes low sodium Tortilla chips!

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Hope you make them- and like them as much as we did!

Life is about balanceee (how we are balancing our budget- and diets while living in DC)

Hey guys! Long time no see, right?! Life has been crazy with my new job- oh and packing up my life to move to Washington DC with Ted! Things are finally settling down and I can get back to doing some of the things I love that I have been neglecting- like blogging and recipe development!

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Moving to DC has been quite the life change, that’s for sure! Both Ted and I have been living alone for so long that we had to learn to adapt to one another on a different level- but also financially. So with that change came a revamp of our budget. A big part of our budget is around food, because grocery shopping and cooking for two is a totally different ball game than when it’s just you all by yourself. This took us a little bit of trial an error and compromise to come up with a good budget that allows us to eat healthy while also enjoying ourselves and getting the full DC foodie experience.

 

Ted and I both have a focus on eating healthy- but we agreed that we do not want to miss out on the restaurant experiences that DC has to offer so we decided that during the week we cook at home and meal prep our meals for breakfast and lunch. Ted cooks on the days I work and I cook on the days I am off. It creates a pretty balanced schedule for us and doesn’t leave either one of us feeling overwhelmed with cooking- but also prevents us from getting burnt out and ordering take out or eating out too often. This allows us to enjoy ourselves on the weekend without feeling the financial burden of eating out or the guilt of eating unhealthy all week.

Did I mention that we typically split meals too? Haha, at first Ted was not really on board with sharing meals with me… but he quickly realized how little I can actually eat at once and I convinced him we could save money as well as get to try more things this way. So we usually get one entrée and an appetizer and that’s plenty of food for the two of us without breaking the bank- because lets be honest, eating out in DC cost a pretty penny.

For breakfasts I usually make us some sort of eggs whether it be a big ole omelet that I can divide up, scrambled eggs, instant pot  egg bites,  or baked egg cups.

Lunches typically consist of salads or leftovers from the dinner the night before.

Dinners we try to plan together- at least the meat portion so we can be prepared the night before.

By the weekend we are ready to explore the food that DC has to offer!

One of our favorite spots is Liberty Tavern where we have had the best breakfast pizza that either of us has ever had. I mean- it’s THAT good.

Witlows on Wilson has quickly become our go to spot when we are out with friends and want a decadent mac and cheese ball- because who doesn’t love mac n cheese rolled into a ball and deep fried? #drooling

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Last week we went to The Pig for date night and their pork shoulder mac with their Burnt End sliders hit the spottttt- you know what spot I’m talking about, right? The one where you both take a bite and just sit there in awe of how good it tastes. Yep- that one.

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This is what has been working for us! What works for you? How do you eat healthy but also allow yourself to experience life without the guilt and without breaking the bank!? I wanna know!

 

As always you can find more about my meal preps and date nights on my Instagram Kburg21 

My all American experience in Washington DC!

I’m not going to lie, the day Ted accepted his new position in Washington DC my heart throbbed a little. We have spent a decent amount of time apart during the months that we have known each other, but to be honest…I think it has shown me a lot about myself that I didn’t previously know. I miss him every single day- but it makes the moments we have together that much sweeter.

Enough about that!

Ted living in DC gave me the opportunity to see the nation’s capital city and boy did it not disappoint!

I flew into Ronald Reagan Airport where Ted was there waiting to pick me up. I had been keeping a close eye on the weather that way I knew what to expect when I arrived, luckily I was wearing leggings AND jeans because when I walked out of those airport doors- damn was it cold! We drove back to Ted’s house where he gave me a quick neighborhood tour since he would be working the next day- leaving me to explore the city solo!

Day 1!

Ted lives about a mile away from the US capital building, in a cozy little basement apartment below a family. It is most definitely not a quiet place to live, with the stampede of children upstairs bright and early every morning, and as soon as you walk outside you are tossed straight into the hustle bustle of the city. This was quite the experience for me- I have never lived in a large city! That first morning I walked outside and caught myself standing in the middle of the sidewalk just taking it all in. All of the business professionals  wearing suites and hurriedly walking through the crisp morning air on their way to the metro station (luckily the closest metro is less than a 5 minute walk!) However, on this particular morning I decided I was going to walk instead of using the metro.

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I wandered through the nearby neighborhood with the capital building in sight! I have to admit- that view never gets old! I had walked about ¾ a mile when I decided I needed to find a place to warm up. Let’s not forget I am a Floridian used to the warmth and it was a chilly 35 degrees in DC that day! My first stop was at the Smithsonian National Museum of American Indians. I did not spend much time here, but the warmth was welcomed! Next, I found myself exploring the Hirshhorn Museum. If you haven’t been to the Hirshhorn, you’ve got to go and check out the “Pulse” exhibit! It uses your heartbeat to adjust the beat to the lights, play music, and so much more. It was my favorite exhibit in the museum by far.

Then, I ran across the National Library. Wow. It is SO BIG! Unfortunately I didn’t go inside and venture around- but there is always next time! Finally I made it to the Nation’s Capital building! I stood in awe of this building just thinking about all of the important decisions and significant people that had stood right here in this building.

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I walked through the gardens of the Smithsonian Castle and found myself standing in front of Ted’s office building. Ted took his lunch break with me where we walked to see the Washington Monument and he gave me directions to visit the White House! I explored the WWII monument and found myself at the Lincoln Memorial. Standing at the Lincoln Memorial had been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. It was even bigger than I had imagined! As I was walking past the reflecting pool a squirrel chased me down and attempted to crawl up my leg! A lady sat on a bench as I passed her running from the little guy laughing and said I was “Cinderella”) ha!

Last stop of the day was to find the White house! What a good spot to sit back and “people watch.” I’m not sure if I have mentioned before but people watching is one of my favorite past times. Here I watched people from all walks of life stopping to take selfies in front of the White House- let’s just say, not all of their photos were…appropriate- if you know what I mean. By this time I had walked 10 miles, my feet where killing me (clearly my foot ware was not appropriate as evidenced by the 4 blisters I had on my feet.) I found the metro station and made my way back to Ted’s with about 30 minutes to relax before Ted made it home. It had been a long day for both of us so we decided to find a nearby spot to have dinner and call it a night. We walked to a place called ‘Ted’s Bulletin’ where I ate the best fried chicken I have EVER eaten in my life. After all- calories don’t count on vacation, right? I have to say- day one was a successful solo day in DC!

Day 2!

We decided to cook breakfast tacos at home and get a later start to the day. For a city that wakes up early- nothing is open until close to 11 o’clock! We caught the metro and started our exploring at the Holocaust Museum. What a heart wrenching place. This museum was such an eye opening experience. Next we explored the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. I still cannot believe how many museums there are in DC and how big they all are! By the time we finished there it was getting dark and we were off to explore the National Zoo’s Christmas light display! This brought me back to my childhood growing up on a zoo and for the first time in 8 years- it finally felt like Christmas time.

We explored Dupont Circle and enjoyed pizza at a cute little place called Pizza Paradiso. Can we say- YUM!? We ended the day with nearly 12 miles of walking!

Day 3!

img_6418We started day 3 with brunch at Ted’s Bulletin where I ate the best homemade blueberry cheesecake poptart known to man.  We also had some yummy chicken biscuits here! Then we were off to the Eastern Market before the rain set in! What a cute little market with fresh plants, produce, crafts, and other goods! Sadly, at this time the rain began so we ventured back home to watch football and relax.

Once the rain let up a bit we took the metro in and explored the Museum of American History. I have got to say- this may have been my favorite museum of the trip!

We explored awhile and found ourselves enjoying a drink and nomming on the BEST buff-chicken dip in the city at The Ugly Mug. Sadly the rain stopped us from watching the National Boat Parade at the Warf.

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Day 4!

The weather was still not great- but at least it had warmed up a bit! We explored The Warf, had lunch at the Shake Shack (umm, YUM again!) What a cool spot to hang out!

Next stop- Old Town Alexandria! This cute town had all kinds of shops and the streets were lined with Christmas lights. This town felt homey and welcoming. I can see why people want to live here- that’s for sure!

After making back home to relax for a bit- it was time to go see the National Christmas Tree! As we were walking to the metro we noticed a lot of activity happening at the local park. We stopped to see what all the commotion was and there was a gathering for the lighting of the Menorah! They were handing out hot chocolate and goodies to everyone. Finally we made it the National Tree! Surrounding it were multiple smaller trees representing every state and region associated with the United States. Here the National Menorah was also being lit. We saw the White House lit up at night and just took in all the sights (and or course did some people watching, because Ted is just as much into that as I am. But who isn’t?!) 😉

We grabbed a quick sandwich at the Organic Market and called it a night.

Day 5!

img_6524My last day in DC was also a solo day. I woke up early and had to pace around the house listening to the kids stampeding around upstairs. I caught the metro and made my way to China Town. Let’s just say- nobody warned me about how sketchy this area was! There wasn’t a lot to see so I explored a while and made my way to the Museum of Art and the National Portrait Gallery. Outside the museum the Christmas Market had come alive. I strolled through the market and indulged in a Dulce De Leche churro. Next, I found Ford’s Theater and did some shopping at a few local tourist stops.

Next stop- Arlington National Cemetery!

I took the metro in and walked through the cemetery that houses the remains of so many individuals that died for our country. What a humbling experience this was. I was able to witness the changing of the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and see President Kennedy’s grave. Standing on the top of a hill and looking down at graves as far as you can see does something to you. It makes you feel things that you can’t quite explain.

My last night in DC was by far the most memorable.

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I happened to be walking past the Capital Building when I noticed hundreds of people gathering to watch the funeral procession arrive for President George HW Bush. As I watched the procession arrive and drive around the capital I realized how lucky I was to be a part of such a moving experience. President Bush was a great man, a hero, the epitome of an  American. I stood behind the cannons as they shot off the 21 gun salute in honor of our 41st President.

That night Ted and I waited in line for over 2 hours in the crisp air outside of the Capital Building in order to pay our respects to President Bush. Hundreds of people were lined up in rows inside and outside of the building- some had been waiting for hours before they let anyone inside! We stood at his casket and witnessed the changing of the guards from every unit of the Armed Forces of the United States. Standing along side the casket of an American legend, a man with such integrity and courage left me feeling such gratitude. I am grateful that this man once led our country and I was given this opportunity to pay my respect to him as he left this world. We stood in silence for probably 15 minutes just absorbing the moment and taking it all in before we left and signed our names in the book of condolences.

What.an.experience.

It was a sad day to lay a President to rest, but I feel very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to experience this moment in history first hand. I will remember this night for the rest of my life.

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And just like that- my trip to DC was over! We nommed on some yummy tacos at District Taco and finished the night with over 15 miles of walking! I 5 days I was able to eat all the good food and soak in so much history, culture, and of course Ted time!

I had to be at the airport at an early 6am where I had to say yet another hard goodbye to Ted as I flew back to Florida.

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Until next time DC!

Baked Delicata Squash!

I have been waiting all dang summer for it to be fall so that I could get my hands on a delicata squash again. If you haven’t experienced the goodness of this squash- trust me, you have been missing out! Delicata squash is the king of all squash, its time to up your squash game! I’m all about seasonal eating. Why would I eat strawberries in the middle of the winter when I know they won’t be at the top of their game? Well with fall comes pumpkin, apple, and squash season!

Delicata squash is suppppperr easy to cook, and has a sweet flavor that leaves me swooning every single time I make it! Unfortunately they are not the easiest produce to find. However, Trader Joes never disappoints with my fall time favorites and I even spotted them at Whole Foods last week too!

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First, throw that sucker in the microwave for about 2 minutes so that it’s soft enough that you can cut it in half without also cutting off one of your limbs…trust me- this is necessary. Now, scoop out all the seeds and it’s ready to bake! Drizzle your squash with your favorite EVOO and toss it in your oven [I use my toaster oven] at 350 for about 8 minutes. Then it’s time to fill that bad boy up!

The good thing about delicata is that you can eat the skin! It bakes really well and becomes very tender. My favorite way to cook delicata squash is with an Italian spin. Here’s what I used on mine!

 

Ingredients

While your squash is cooking, cook your meat! Then scoop it into the squash with the mozzarella and top it with the marinara! Now, time to bake for about 10 minutes. I took mine out after 10 minutes and added a little more sauce and cheese on top and then broiled it until the cheese got melty and brown (a couple of minutes give or take.)

 

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Wahh-laaa! Easy peasy! And its’s great as a meal prep because it heats up well and doesn’t get all soggy!

Enjoy! And tag me if ya make it! #katiescardiokitchen @kburg21

PMA Fresh Summit Recap

I often send snaps of myself at the local produce stand and jokingly say I’m “at my happy place.” But honestly, I really do get excited when I walk into the produce market and pick out all the fresh foods that I will get to incorporate into my meal plan for the week. When NatureFresh approached me about attending the PMA Fresh Market Summit as a social media influencer I was beyond excited! I mean…c’mon, the PMA Fresh Summit is one of the largest produce conventions in the world, of course I couldn’t turn down the opportunity (even if it did mean I had to face my fear of driving on the interstate)!

Rewinddddd. So my boyfriend is always giving me a hard time about how I have made it 28 years without driving on the interstate. Technically- I made it 2 weeks short of 28 😉 and that takes dedication! But in all seriousness, interstates and traffic just don’t fend well with me. So when I decided to make the trek to Orlando, I knew this was going to be a ride for the books! Everything started out smoothly…packed up the car (as I was arriving a day early to stay with a local friend) and off I went! About 40 minutes in to my 2.5 hour drive my phone spontaneously turns off and I was unable to turn it back on. Hello anxiety. Luckily I had programmed the address into my car’s GPS. 10 minutes later…the car next to be blows a tire and there are debris flying all around my car. I tried to remain calm as my heart began to race and my hands gripped the wheel with angst. All I could think of at this time is that if I drive off the road I don’t even have a phone to call anyone! Luckily…I made it to my friend’s house (but not without a few more bumps in the road along the way) and her husband was able to fix my phone. Thanks Toby!

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Finally, Friday –which means it’s time for the Summit!

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We arrive at the Orange County Convention Center only to find there is no parking in the west wing. I was unaware of the size off the convention center. We parked on the south side and had to take a shuttle to the west wing. Why would you have to shuttle from one side of a building to another you ask? Yeah, I asked the same thing…the building is literally.that.big. Anyway…. we made it! Our tickets were ready for us at registration and we eagerly entered the doors to the Expo.

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“ahhhhhhhh” Yeah, that was the sound of the angels singing as we entered the land of produce. Could it be true that I was in a room with hundreds and hundreds of companies representing the global produce and floral supply chain from supplies, producers, growers, packagers, transporters, and everything in-between.

Our first stop of course was to visit NatureFresh! I am in complete awe of this great company. Firstly, their tomatoes are AHH-mazing! Their tomberries (the smallest tomato in the world) is also in my opinion the best tomato in the world 😉 It was such a pleasure to finally meet  Kara and have the opportunity to talk with Peter, the president and founder of the company as well as Ray, the director of business development.img_4290 Standing in the middle of this great event, chatting about health and changing the world was a very memorable experience for me. It was so refreshing to be surrounded with such positive people. I am humbled by the opportunity that I was given by this company and I cannot thank them enough for inviting me to tag along! All I can say is, wow. I was thoroughly impressed. I’m excited to watch this company grow more and can’t wait until I can buy all of their goodies at my local grocery store!

 

Now it was time to explore! I have never eaten so.much.guac in.my.life. I promise. And I’m not complaining! Guac on hot dogs, guac on tacos, chips, crackers, vegetables, blueberry guac, guac.on.guac. Sign me up! I tried it all! We had everything from bloody marys, to vegetable jerky, to carnival grapes, apples, BLTs, caprese salad, kraut, chocolate covered everythinggggg, coconut water, fresh nuts, fruits, vegetables, salads, seasonings, fruit juices, fresh cider, and soooo muchhh moreee. Let’s just say- I didn’t leave with an empty stomach 😉

Five hours of exploring the land of produce until my heart was content. I met some really awesome companies that I’m excited to work with and create some yummy new recipes for y’all! Starting with these yummy breakfast tacos I made this morning! Details are linked in the picture on my Instagram!

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Goodfoods

Twang

Happy Cooking!

 

#katiescardiokitchen @kburg21 #freshsummit #pmafreshsummit

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shout out to all these yummy companies for providing me with snacks for daysssss!