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Sunday Dinner: Buttercup Squash Mac n’ Cheese

It’s the Sunday before Thanksgiving, and it is quiet at our house. I am the first one up. The best part of the day is getting up early, watching the sun rise over the heard, enjoying a good cup of coffee in my favorite mug, and writing. The perfect way to start out a perfect week filled with food and family.

I am already starting to plan my grocery list for the week. It’s my first time hosting Thanksgiving at our house, so I want to make everything perfect! I will be cooking, cleaning, and prepping everything over the next three days.


Thanksgiving morning, I am having everyone over early for a breakfast of caramel rolls and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! I just can’t wait for it to be here! I am also looking forward to a FULL four day weekend!

Yesterday, I made this amazing and totally healthy, gluten free Buttercup Squash Mac n’ Cheese casserole. It’s so yummy, healthy, and the perfect dish for a cold, snowy evening! It has snowed here, but nothing stayed! The first REAL snowfall is so exciting! Anyway, this is the perfect recipe for winter comfort food!


For Thanksgiving, I will be making an un-healthy version of baked mac n’ cheese, I will be having the healthy version! The recipe calls for whole wheat noodles, but I used Quinoa noodles, which are so yummy and gluten free! I also used Monterrey Jack Cheese instead of Swiss. It was amazing!


Here is the link to the recipe! For every one cup serving, for the 21 Day Fix, it is 2 Yellow, 1 Blue, and 1 Green! Enjoy!


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How to Wake Up Happy and Motivated

For the past several weeks, I have been getting up at 4:30 AM to get my daily workout in, send emails, get some personal development reading in, and even clean my house or do laundry. Just a few months ago, if you would have told me, I’d be getting up this early and workout out, I would have said you were crazy. Granted, I already got up at 5 or 5:30 to get to my big girl job in town, so 4:30 is only a half hour extra.

Waking up at 4:30 at first, was an experiment for me. I wanted to see my how my days goes when I wake up early, get my workout in, vs. working out after a 9 hour day at work and 2 hours of driving. My little, but big experiment worked! I found that when I workout in the morning, I am more energized, motivated, and I also do better with my eating choices throughout the day. It’s so amazing what just a little change can do!

Today, I am her to share with you some of my tips to get up early, be happier, and be more motivated not only in the morning, but throughout the entire day!

  1. Don’t Snooze. This is one of the major problems people have today, the snooze button!! I NEVER hit the snooze button, instead, I stroll through my Insatgram or look at emails. Then I tell myself three times, “I’m Awake”. It seems silly, but it definitely works! It’s almost like you are telling your body that your mind is awake and your body needs to get out of bed and get moving ASAP!
  2. Get Motivated! While I am scrolling through my Instagram, I look at motivational quotes. I follow a lot inspiring fitness people that I look up to and admire. Some of them are on East Coast time, so they are already working out! If seeing someone else sweating doesn’t make you want to workout, you need help! 😉
  3. Throw on Those Workout Clothes. The night before, I make sure I go to bed wearing a clean sports bra and that my workout clothes are accessable and laying out for me to thrown on right away. In our master closet, we have some built-in shelving where all of my workout clothes lay and are waiting for me in the morning! Just getting in my workout clothes, makes me want to workout! Whether you workout in the morning or at night, and you feel like you don’t want to workout, just get in your workout clothes! I can guarantee that workout WILL happen!
  4. Wake Up 30 Minutes Earlier.  Right now, is probably when you’ll stop reading! Yes, getting up earlier helps you get movitivated to GET STUFF DONE! Make that date to workout. Make it a GOAL to get up and be working out by 5 AM, or whatever time you want. The secret of a productive day, is getting up early!
  5. Go to Bed an Hour Earlier. Right along with getting up earlier comes, going to bed earlier. We all need that beauty sleep especially if we are working out in the morning! It is SO improtant to get 7-8 hours of sleep EVERY night! Since I have been getting up earlier to workout, I also get to bed earlier! How else do you think I get up that early?!
  6. Skip a Late Night Dinner or Snacking. In order to get up early, I cut off all food, with the exception of my Vanilla Recovery Shake, at 7:30 PM. If I get home from work late or don’t get to eat before then, I just drink more water. It helps keep me feeling fuller. Eating late at night will hold you down for getting up early in the morning. Don’t snack either! Have a complete “shut down” time for your kitchen.
  7. Fun Tunes! Set your alarm to a fun tune or a song that will get you up! If you sleep through your alarm easily, switch the song up every week if you have to!
  8. WORKOUT! Half of this post was about my switch to AM workouts. Working out and getting your sweat on, really does make a difference in your ENTIRE day! Plus, you get to get it done and overwith, so you can do other things in the evening!
  9. Don’t Watch TV! For some people, this might seem strange, but I never watch TV or the news in the morning, unless I have the day off, or I chose not to workout that morning. Watching TV will be an excuse the get off the couch and workout! The only button you should push is play to get your workout on! Plus, let’s be honest, the news isn’t exactly happy and positive! It can add more stress to your already hectic morning!
  10. Take a Shower. Last but not least, one of my favorite morning rituals is taking a shower! It is so invigorating! I usually shower at night, but on Sunday mornings, or when I can, I love showering in the morning! It just gets me up and ready for the day!

Are you a morning person?! What do you do to get yourself up and motivated in the morning?!

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One Year of The Life of the Dakota Farmer’s Wife

Can you believe it? One year ago TODAY, I started this blog. I started out not really knowing what to post about, share, or what this whole “blogging” thing was really about. All I knew is that I loved writing and I needed a creative release outlet.

I can remember the day I created my blog! I remember being over-whelmed by setting everything up and not knowing what to write at all. Looking back, my first posts were well, tough but good. I enjoy looking back. It’s so emotional and biter-sweet, remembering feeling the exact emotions I was feeling when I was writing each and every post.

After one year, I have actual, real life followers, a like page (two actually!), and one year under my belt as a blogger. I seriously LOVE writing and being able to share it creatively with all of you is just mind-blowing.

When I first started, I had no idea how many people my blog would reach or touch. This past year, has been amazing. Today, I am sharing with you some one year flashbacks and stats of The Life of the Dakota Farmer’s Wife/ The Fit Farmer’s Wife!

Views: 73,747

Most Popular Posts:

  • A Letter to the Future Wives of Our Farmer’s (over 47,000 views in many different countries like Canada, South Africa, Germany, France, Mexico, United Kingdom, Netherlands, New Zealand, Japan, China, many countries across Europe, Africa, and Asia. (Seriously, WOW!)
  • What I Learned Growing Up as The Farmer’s Daughter – over 12,000 views

Likes: 34

Comments: 119

Followers: 1,364

Finally, I just want to say THANK YOU. Thank you so much to all of you who shared, liked, and commented over the past year. It means so much that people actually read what you write, and more than anything it has meaning to you! I just can’t believe it has been a year.

Here’s to MANY more years!

As a thank you, I am going to be giving away a VERY special and the BIGGEST prize EVER worth up to $130!!!! To win, please 1.) Share your favorite past blog post, 2.) Share my Fit Farmer’s Wife Page, 3.)Leave a comment on this blog post! I’ll be announcing it this weekend! Good Luck!

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Building Your Home Gym

Before I started my fitness and healthy journey in January, I had a few fitness-y things and equipment. I went to the gym or else I ran or walked outside. I didn’t see a need for building my home gym Now, however, I workout nearly every day from the comforts of inside my home. It’s the greatest. No busy, sweaty, gross gyms. And of course no one is stealing your treadmill here! I truly love working out from home.

When I moved back to the farm from Bismarck, when Taylor and I got married, I was really sad about leaving my gym and my membership behind. Now, I don’t miss it at all! I have learned and grew my own mini home gym! Today, I am sharing with you 6 things to help build your home gym!

  1. Kettlebells. Kettle bells are a great alternative to weights. I got my set on Amazon and they are great and effective! Kettle bells are said to burn more calories than hand held weights alone, because it takes momentum to get them moving. Here is similar to my set.

2. Hand-Held Weights. These are a must. Whether you get a couple of sets from Walmart or a full weight set from a sporting goods store, they are great to have. Most workouts do call for weights, so it’s a good investment. Here is a great weight set. Here is a great idea for individual sets.

3. Yoga Mat. If you haven’t fallen into the trend of yoga yet, you need to. I like to do it weekly after a full week of hard, sweaty workouts, it’s nice to have a calm session that stretches and strengthens your entire body. It also helps you to prepare for another week of tough workouts. Here is a great option.

4. Stability Ball. A stability ball is a great tool to have on hand. Yes, I said tool. There are SO many great workouts using a stability ball. It shapes your back. abs, legs and arms. Here is a great stability ball workout.

5. Resistance Bands. Most of my workouts have a modifier using resistance bands. They are a good alternative to hand held weights. Don’t think of it as “easier”, but rather more low impact! You are still going to burn a ton of calories and it’s using your body weight with the strength of the resistance band! Here is a great resistance band.

6. Medicine Ball. A medicine ball is a weighted ball, similar to a kettlebell, but minus the handle. It’s great for core and arm workouts. You could probably just use a kettle bell if you don’t have a medicine ball. Here is a great medicine ball workout.

These 6 items will really help you develop your home gym into a successful workout sanctuary for great results! Now all you need are couple of BeachBody workouts!! 😉


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Paleo Hot Cocoa

One of my favorite things about cooler weather is enjoying a hot cup of hot cocoa! I love my hot chocolate! Now that I have made the change to go paleo and part-time vegan (with the right meats and proteins), I chose not to have the not healthy, SwissMiss Cocoa Mix.

Last year, I shared my Grandma Hess’s dry hot cocoa mix recipe, which is amazing and I still have some in my cabinet! It is a staple here in our home! This week, it was a mission on mine to figure out the perfect recipes for hot cocoa! I have tried other healthy recipes, and they just don’t taste creamy or as sweet. I know, I know, I am asking for a lot, but I am very picky about my hot cocoa! Without further or due, here is my Paleo Hot Cocoa Recipe!

Here’s What You’ll Need:

Makes 1 serving!

  • 1 Cup of Unsweetened Cashew Milk
  • 1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Tablespoon Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Truvia, or add in by teaspoon by teaspoon and taste
  • Mini Marshmallows, optional or you can make your own!

In a small saucepan over high heat, mix the milk, cocoa powder, vanilla, and truvia and whisk continually until no lumps. Bring to a full boil, stirring continually. Add in marshmallows, if desired. You can also top with full-fat coconut milk for a substitute! Pour into a mug and enjoy with a good book!

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Weeks 3 & 4 of the Ultimate Reset AND Results!

Well, I DID it! I finished the Ultimate Reset! It wasn’t always easy, but I made it! It seemed that after the first week, it really went fast! I got used to all the meal prep and spending time in my kitchen, totally not complaining! 🙂


Week Two consisted of adding a gritty, detox drink 30 minutes before my meals, as well as my regular supplements. It kept me fuller longer, as if the portions weren’t big enough to start! That is the one thing that I was amazed by! The portions! They were huge! Most times, I couldn’t finish them all, so I would cut them in half and typically that was my lunch the next day!

My new favorite soup! Roasted Red Pepper and Sweet Potato Bisque! It was SO good!

Week two, I could notice a change in my focus and energy. I felt good, and at work, my focus was like a laser. I could get tasks done quickly and without taking breaks, like I usually do. I was less distracted and I felt good. I made the mistake of weighing myself about half way in, and I freaked. I had only lost .4 pounds, after that, I figured it wasn’t working. It made me push harder.


When week three came around, I found out I had to go out to the field for a road construction job that is only 10 minutes from my house! No more getting up at 5 AM!!, for awhile! But… My Ultimate Reset took a hit. I was working, and still am, 13 hour days and no access to a kitchen or microwave. Which makes meal prep and taking things with a nightmare. So, the last few days were hard and I was worried that  my results would be compromised, which they probably were, but I was still impressed with my results.


On my last day of the Reset, I had made massage and facial appointments! My hubby got my a gift certificate for my birthday a few months ago, and I thought, now was the perfect time! I took Friday off, and it was complete relaxation! The facial was absolutely amazing! The massage was also great! I totally recommend, doing this to treat yourself! It is wonderful and much needed! My face looks amazing after my facial!


Saturday morning, it was time for results. I lost 4.5 pounds and 3.5 inches! It’s not a lot, but I was still impressed and I look good! I plan to stay on the Pegan Diet! It is a combination of vegan and paleo. It goes off of the 80-20 plan, where you can have meat for 20% of your day, while being vegan 80% of the day. I still have cravings, but they are less powerful. This weekend, my hubby had Tastee Freeze, and was eating onion rings, burgers, and of course ice cream sitting right across from me, and it didn’t even really bother me. I would have been drooling all over that before the reset!


My RA also is good! I tried to re-introduce wheat this week, I ate just a few Triscut crackers, and a few hours later, my joints really started aching. So, I plan to keep wheat out of my diet as much as possible, and stick with good carbs like sweet potatoes, brown rice, beans, millet, and quinoa.


Overall, I am glad I did it. I was a whole new experience to clean, whole foods. It opened my eyes to a bunch of new, yummy foods to incorporate into my new diet. It also made me better in the kitchen, as far as making homemade dressings, and well, basically everything that I ate, was homemade. It was a lot of work, but worth it. Going on, I am now working out again (after 3 weeks on not, it was hard jumping back on), but I am doing PiYo and Brazil Butt Lift. While I am focusing more on my diet right now than working out.

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Day 2 of My 24 Day Journey… The Ultimate Reset

“To get through the hardest journey, we need to only take one step at a time, but we must keep on stepping” – Unknown

Today marks Day Two of my 24 Day Journey. I am doing the 3 Day Refresh followed by the 21 Day Ultimate Reset!

This is my fourth time doing th 3 Day Refresh, and it doesn’t get any easier with time! It is tough, but it is only three days to get your body back on track and fights cravings! Every time I do the Refresh, I no long crave coffee! With the 3 Day Refesh, you are given a meal plan for the 3 days, which you can select different fruits and veggies from. You are also given the Fiber Sweep (a once a day drink), a high fiber, digestive drink and the Vanilla Refresh, a high protein, craving cutter shake (2 times a day), paired with the right fruits, veggies, and healthy fats you are going to get amazing results including, feeling less bloated and having less cravings, like coffee and sugar!

The Refresh also shows you timing of how you eat and waiting until you are actually hungry to chow down! Your body starts paying more attention to what you are feeding it with!

You can read about my first 3 Day Refresh, Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3.

The Ultimate Reset

The Ultimate Reset is quite different. Not only is it longer, it is more time consuming and extensive! It basically sets your body back to factory settings! It has a structured meal plan to follow with recipes. You don’t workout, with the exception of light walking or yoga during the 21 days! I am actually really looking forward to this break! Plus having meal plans already pre-planned for your week, will also be nice!


The Ultimate Reset also comes with different supplements that I will be taking every day. There is Optimize, Alkalinize, and Detox. Each one has a different function and support that your body needs during the time of cleansing.

detox alkalinize BUR_TBB_Store_Detail_opti_03

The Opimize helps boost your metabolism and also helps reduce inflammation, this is taken three times a day at least a half hour before meals. Alkalinize helps neutralize the acid in your system, improving the overall pH balance, while supporting your body against bacteria, infection, and inflammation. This is taken daily with water. Detox promotes a healthy digestion and immune system (without having to be in the bathroom all day and night)!


ultimate reset team beachbody food

I was actually surprised when I looked at the menu for the reset! You get to eat a lot and meals are consistant. However, grocery shopping did take me awhile! I had to order somethings from Amazon (Thank God for Amazon!), because in rural North Dakota we don’t have seaweed sheets floating around! Yes, I will be making homemade sushi/seaweed rolls!

Here is an example of what I will be eating on Day 1!

Breakfast: 2 slices of Whole Grain Toast, 2 Eggs scrambled, and Steamed Spinach.

Lunch: A Microgreen salad with dressing

Snack: 1-2 Cups of Veggies with Cottage Cheese

Dinner: Baked Salmon Steamed Asperagus and Baby Potatoes

By week three, the Reset slowly cuts out carbs and meat protein. So, it definitely gets harder, but you still get to eat more than I thought!

The End Result

Before I start anything, I always like to have a WHY. A reason to stay committed, even when you are tempted to give up. My why is number one for my health. I am excited to see how this reset, really resets my system. My second, is for my eating habits. I like having an actualy planned menu so there is less chances of me running off course and cheating! I do better when I plan and have everything ready. Not that I eat terrible now, but I could do better! So for the next 22 days I will be eating my best, staying committed, no matter what, and hoping for great results!


The Reset end result is to be “testing” what foods effect you, like carbs for example. By slowing cutting out and re-introducing, you’ll know how your body reacts. I am also very excited for this portion (not just because I will be done!), but to see how my body reacts, as well as how my arthritis acts when I start re-introducing foods! It will be great to know what foods trigger my flare-ups!

Odds and Ends AND This and That

I’ll be doing weekly posts on my new Ultimate Journey! So stay tuned!

If you haven’t yet, find my page on Facebook, The Fit Farmer’s Wife, and give it a like! I have LOTS of new and exciting things coming up VERY soon and I can’t wait to announce!

My next Challenge Group is also coming up! Lunges for Labor Day: On August 24th, we will be starting a 21 Day Journey with the 21 Day Fix! Get ready for easy to follow recipes, meal plans, heart-pumping workouts, 24-7 accountability, one-on-one coaching, and of course, AMAZING results! Please contact me you are interested! I’d love to have you!