I'm Katie Lynne. I'm a gal in her late 20's whom by day is a registered nurse in the Endoscopy suite and by night develops recipes. I'm a bariatric surgery patient who revamped her diet and made every necessary change to live a healthier lifestyle- while still enjoying life. It's all about balance! I'm a gourmet salad addict and adore my four legged furbaby Spencer (aka 'Pug'.) I'm an aspiring runner and love to travel. I'm here to share my experiences and some new recipes with ya'll! Follow me on instagram @kburg21 :)
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.
Weight loss surgery is the easy way out.
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?”
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.
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).
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!
Hope you make them- and like them as much as we did!
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!
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
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.
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
Who doesn’t love a good taco?! I mean.. if you answered “me!” – are you even human?!
But for real… tacos are life… and these Zucchini taco boats sure hit the spottt, you know what spot I’m talkin’ about right!? The one that makes you close your eyes, sit back and just say “mmmmm” that was good.
The best part- they are low carb and SUPER easy to make!
Here’s me perfect low carb recipe- just in time for Cinco de Mayo!
What you’ll need…
Taco seasoning (I used Twang chile lime and Daks sodium free taco blend)
Corn bean salsa
Slice the 2 zucchini’s in half and scoop out some of the zucchini forming little boats. Drizzle them with olive oil and a sprinkle of Twang chili lime seasoning then toss them in the toaster oven at 350 for about 8 minutes.
Meanwhile cook your beef and season it up with some taco seasoning! Now mix in the salsa.
When your zucchini is semi-soft layer them with a little Mexican cheese blend and load the boats with the meat and salsa mixture! Now- back in the toaster oven for about 5-6 minutes.
Garnish with diced avocado, a drizzle of Ole white queso, and a sprinkle of Chile lime seasoning and BOOM! Dinner is served!
Great paired with some blue corn LateJuly tortilla chips and guacamole!
Tag me on Instagram if you make ‘enough! Can’t wait to see! @kburg21
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!
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!
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.)
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
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!
(it helps when the sky looks like this!)
Finally, Friday –which means it’s time for the Summit!
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.
“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. 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!
First I tossed the meat, egg, and 1/2 cup panko into a bowl and mixed it up. Then I rolled them into bite size balls and rolled them in the other 1/4 cup of panko crumbs. While I was forming he meatballs I drizzled my EVOO in my cast iron skillet and let it warm up on the stove on medium.
Now toss the meatballs in the pan and roll them around until the outsides are seared all the way around. I seared mine because I like that extra crisp that the meatballs get but also because it seals all the juice! Next, toss the cast iron skillet into the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes to cook the meatballs all the way through.
While the meatballs are baking away- prepare the rest of your bowl! I sliced up some beef steak tomatoes, cucumbers, spinach and red onion and tossed them in a Greek vinaigrette. Whats Greek food without a little Tiziki though?!?! And better yet- mini StoneFire naans for dipping!
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
garlic powder, salt, pepper
2 tsp Greek vinaigrette
juice from one small lemon
Mix all the ingredients together and garnish with a little diced red onion and wahh-lahh!
Now assemble, eat and enjoy!
These are great treats to keep in the refrigerator for a snack, appetizer for a party, or you can even freeze some of them for later! They heat up almost as good as if you had just made them!
Who doesn’t love a good slice of toast?! I feel like millennials have taken toast to a whole new level- I mean come onnnnn, avocado toast y’allll! But what’s better than a perfectly ripe avocado smashed onto a slice of bread…a perfectly ripe avocado smashed onto the perfected baked slice of sweet potato! Trust me- it’s even better than it sounds. I hated sweet potatoes for virtually my entire life…and this last year they have become one of my staples in my refrigerator. However, I’m still not a fan of a baked sweet potato…there’s nothing like the real thing there if I want a juicy loaded tater I’m going all in!
Back to sweet potatoes…they are utterly delicious and I eat them for breakfast at least 3 days a week. So today I was craving some good sweet potato toast… I’m never really sure what I’m going to use for toppings because you can literally put anything on them and it’s a flavor burst in your mouth. I usually just dig through my refrigerator and grab some ingredients that need to be used up anyway and toss them on a slice.
First and most importantly you’ve got to pick the perfect sweet potato that’s worthy of toasting. I typically always have at least one potato that I keep on hand just for toast! It’s got to be long enough but not too skinny and not too fat…but also it has to be about the same size around throughout the whole potato! None of those- fat in the middle skinny on the ends kinda sweet potatoes. I feel like the people at the produce stand definitely judge me as I dig through the sweet potato crate in search of the perfect tater but hey! a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do! Right!?
Now, in order to slice the potato evenly and without cutting off one hand I toss mine into the microwave for 1-2 minutes (just long enough to make it not feel like a total brick.) Then I slice the potato into 3-4 slices depending on the size of the potato.
Now drizzle with your favorite oil- I use LaTourangelle Artisian garlic oil and season mine with Primal Palate breakfast blend because -YUM. Now toss them on a rack in the toaster oven for about 10-12 minutes at 400, then broil for about 3-4 minutes to crisp them babies up! While those are toastin’ away –prep some toppings!
Like I mentioned before you can top yours with any of your favorite toast toppings! But here’s was I scavenged up to top mine with today… Slice 1
1 scrambled EgglandsBest egg with @fairlife milk Ole choizo Cacique queso fresca
Chopped green onions
½ avocado smashed
1 sliced grape tomato
Chopped green onion
Slice 3 President CheeseGarlic herb cheese spread
1 slice crumbled ButterBallTurkey low sodium turkey bacon (this is my ABSOLUTE favorite bacon)
A handful of frozen roasted corn from TraderJoes Cacique queso fresca
Chopped green onion (are you seeing a trend here 😉 )
Slice 4 Soom Tahini
Drizzled with original Sunbutter
And sprinkled with Salba chocolate covered chia seeds
And of course I had to have a fried egg seasoned with FreshJaxto dip my toast in the runny yolk because what’s toast with a runny yolk for dippin’?!
Simple, healthy, and oh so satisfying!
Tag me if ya make ‘em!
Stuffed peppers have become one of my go-to low carb meals over the last year. They are just so versatile and you can pretty much stuff anything inside of a pepper…leftovers, chicken, vegetables, cheese, pork, beef, rice, quinoa…did I mention cheese…because we all know cheese is the way to my heart…along with tacos..so what’s better than a cheesy taco stuffed pepper? The correct answer is nothingggggg! HELLO YUM!
Here’s what you’ll need!
1 lb Mighty Spark Food Renegade Chef Blend (beef, beef sirloin, beef brisket, and beef short rib blend)
First, cook your beef blend on medium until there is no pink. While the meat is cooking- cut the tops of the peppers off and clean out the seeds. Drizzle the peppers with the grape seed oil and sprinkle with garlic salt. Once the meat is finished cooking you can add in the taco seasoning and mix in the multigrain blend.
Now it’s time to assemble these bad boys!
I like the bottoms to be extra cheesy so I stuff some a few cubes of cheese into the bottoms of the peppers before adding in the meat and grain blend and then evenly distribute the tomatoes and the rest of your cheese into the peppers and you’re ready to bake ‘em!
I tossed mine into the toaster oven, but you can use a regular oven if you don’t have one. Cook them at 400 for about 20 minutes or until the cheese is browned on top and the peppers are a little soft. I don’t like my peppers to be too crunchy so I tend to leave mine in a little longer to assure they are thoroughly cooked. Now toss your sliced green onions on top and whaaa-laah!
And just like that- dinner is served! Protein, carbs, and vegetables all in one easy dish!
As always- tag me on Instagram if ya make ‘em so I can see!
You know how certain dates kind of hit home- they bring up old feelings, remind you of past experiences, celebrations, moments of pure joy and mile stones for accomplishments. We celebrate birthdays, wedding anniversaries, sobriety, holidays, and then we countdown the days until we get to celebrate them once again. But there are also those dates that remind us of difficult transitions, of loss, and goodbyes.
For me- September 3rd is a day that resonates with me. To me- it’s a day of celebration as well as a day of mourning. Because on September 3rd, 2013 I lost my best friend, my confident, my world came crashing down around me in a matter of seconds. On September 3rd, I unexpectedly lost my mother. Fast forward 2 years and September 3rd, 2015 I made the biggest life decision I have ever made. I had weight loss surgery that forever changed my life. You see… every day of the year marks the beginning and the end of something for someone out there…and for me…September 3rd marks both the start of a new life and the ending of another- in more ways than one.
September 3rd, 2013
The day my world changed. I was a new grad nurse and had just started my first day of orientation as a Registered Nurse in Florida. My parents were back in Indiana spending the summer at their lake house and had just closed up for the year. Sadly, my cousin had just passed away from undiagnosed condition known as myocarditis. She was a young nurse back in Indiana and it was a total shock to everyone around her. My parents were on their way back to our hometown where the services were being held. They were driving two cars and like any other trip back home they always stopped for ice cream at the halfway mark. They had only been back on the road for 10 minutes when my mother’s car left the road, hit an embankment and plunged into a tree. I cannot fathom the feelings my father must have felt as he witnessed this unfold before him. And just like that, in the blink of an eye, my mother was gone. We will never know what caused her car to go off the road. There are so many unanswered questions that will forever go through my head.
The days following her accident are all a blur. Flying back to Indiana. Saying goodbye to my mother for the last time. Days passed by..months…a year…2 years…
Rewind a few years…
I had always been the bigger girl…in middle school…high school…I had convinced myself that I was built that way. That I had a larger frame than the other girls I knew. I tried dieting. I tried exercising. I fell off the wagon time and time again. I felt like no matter what I did I would always be “big.” I would spend weeks losing 20 pounds and felt like it only took a few days to gain it right back. Each time I failed I become more and more discouraged with myself. And when I lost my mother I totally gave up on myself. I fell into binge eating. Fast food ruled my life. My life was spiraling out of control and I had no one to blame but myself. Until one day something clicked inside of me. I wanted better for myself. And my mother would have wanted that too. That was the day I decided I was having weight loss surgery.
As many of you know, you don’t just decide you are having surgery and then you have it the next week. There are months of supervised diets, psych evals, dietary consults, weigh ins, insurance approvals, and mental preparation that go into having surgery. I think that the scariest decision I ever made was actually deciding to have surgery…and the second was the day I decided to tell my family. I was terrified that they would not be supportive, afraid of being judged and scared that they wouldn’t approve of my decision. I know that my father (having lost 100 pounds without surgery) was not thrilled with my decision, but he supported me regardless of his reservations. Today, I can confidently say that he would agree that having gastric sleeve surgery was the best decision I ever made for myself. I still remember getting the phone call from my surgeon’s office stating that I was approved for surgery and that they scheduled me for September 3rd. Of all days. September 3rd. I wasn’t sure how my mother would have felt about my choice to have weight loss surgery. For me- this was the sign I had been looking for. I felt like this was her way of telling me that I was making the right decision and that she supported that.
September 3rd, 2015
The day my life changed….again!
I arrived at the hospital at 5 am- full of every emotion from one end of the spectrum to the other-fear, excitement, anxiety, joy, and hope. I spent months preparing for this day. For the day that would change my life forever. And all I could do was hope that I was making the right decision. My hospital stay did not go as smoothly as anticipated. I spent countless nights in the ICU with kidney failure after having an allergic reaction to medications. I don’t remember much from those days because I was so ill that I could barely think. But I can tell you if I had to do it all over again- I wouldn’t change a thing. My experience as a patient taught me so much about being on the other side of the hospital bed. As a nurse it’s difficult to relate to patients when you haven’t experienced being a patient yourself. My entire experience has helped be become the person I am today. I am beyond grateful for that.
September 3rd, 2018
Today! Today marks 5 years since I lost my beautiful mother. My mother was a saint in all of its meaning. She was the bravest, strongest, most awe inspiring woman I have ever known. I never met a soul that didn’t admire her. She had the most contagious smile with a laugh that could fill the whole room. The lady that taught me how to live and more importantly – how to love. They say that time heals. That eventually it doesn’t hurt as bad. But that’s not true at all. I’ve learned that although time doesn’t heal the wounds in my heart from losing you- I have gotten stronger over these past 5 years. Growing up we don’t anticipate life without our parents until much later in life. I’ll never understand why you had to leave us so early. But I’ll forever cherish the years I did have with you by my side. Thank you for teaching me all the important things during your lifetime but also for the lessons you taught me after you left this earth. Since you’ve been gone I’ve learned how truly special life is. Life is precious. It’s temporary and should never be taken for granted. The present moment is where life happens. Right here, right now. Take a deep breath and experience life in the present time. You can’t spend your life second guessing your past or waiting to live your life in the future. All you have is now. This moment. Loss can bring unexpected blessings into your life. When you experience enormous losses you open up your soul for healing love from new sources. I am in awe of the resiliency of the human spirit. Love is the true meaning of life. It’s so easy to get caught up in school, careers, and material items. But really all you need is love. Love is what matters. Love is what’s remembered. And love will last forever.
Today I am 3 years post from my gastric sleeve surgery. I am down over 120 pounds and have been maintaining here for 2 years. The weight did not magically fall off. It took a lot of discipline and hard work to get to where I am today. I lost a lot in order to gain so much more. This experience has not only given me my health- but it’s given me an entirely new outlook on life. I wouldn’t be the person I am today had I not overcome the obstacles I encountered to get here. It’s taken me a long time to realize that my weight does NOT define me. All the negative feelings I once felt about myself did not magically disappear when I lost weight. I had to take it upon myself to look within myself and find the love that I so desperately needed. We are all creators of our own happiness. Love who you are today and tomorrow will become easier.
September 3rd is an emotional day in my house. It symbolizes the last day that my mother walked on this earth and it represents a new beginning in my life. The day my life changed- in so many ways.
That’s what September 3rd means to me- every day has a significant meaning for someone. What’s your day?