Tell us a little bit about yourself
My name is Annamarie and I am 24 years old and am an elementary special education teacher! I have wanted to be a teacher since I was in high school and adore my students. I am currently in my second year as a teacher. I'm also a runner and currently training for my first half marathon this spring. I believe exercise is as vitally important to your mind as it is your body, so finding more fun ways to move my body has recently led me into hot yoga. Both running and yoga give me peace of mind and escape from the millions of to-do lists and everyday thoughts. Since it's currently winter I also absolutely love going snowboarding with my friends, long days at the mountain are so much fun. When I am not teaching or exercising, I can typically be found having some wine at happy hour with my friends or snuggling with my two kitties Tucker and Zoe!
When and why did you start blogging?
I started my Instagram Foodnsunshine in the fall of 2017. In the spring of 2017, I started to get back into running and really focusing on the positivity behind health and wellness. Since high school, healthy eating and exercise stemmed from a place of wanting to attain an unrealistic body image goal. I stumbled upon a few health accounts and really enjoyed their messages. I learned how many people had similar struggles and were working towards positive health styles and everything 'clicked'. From there, I decided I wanted to be more a part of the community. I think my main goal is to show people how much more attainable it is to achieve a healthy, balanced, and happy lifestyle.
What do you share on your feed?
On my feed, I mostly try to show how simple and forward healthy and balanced eating can be. Most of the things I post are my everyday meals which contain less than 10 ingredients. In my stories, I like to share different running and other exercises I'm doing. I also share real-life moments where I am doing my best to practice balance. Whether that be having some wine, ice cream (the real stuff), melty skillets of mac and cheese, french fries and everything similar to that. I also love showing those totally abnormal meals of whatever is in the pantry thrown together, because I know others can relate to it. Healthy eating does not need to be a perfectly balanced meal of ingredients that go together, just what your body craves and what will nourish you.
What’s your favorite meal? Could you share the recipe?
My favorite meal always varies and whatever I am in the mood for recently. Right now I have to say its chicken parmesan with spaghetti squash! I usually bake a piece of chicken with marinara, mozzarella, and parmesan. Then serve it with baked spaghetti squash drowned in marinara! Sometimes I'll make an easy piece of garlic bread to go with it using a slice of sourdough. You can check on my feed for the exact details!
What are the 3 products that should be in everyone’s kitchen?
3 products everyone should have in their kitchen....that is very tough. I don't have many useful gadgets in my kitchen right now actually. The other day I had to borrow my friends' grater for a recipe (and I'm supposed to be the foodie!). However, I think everyone should have a good pan for sautéing vegetables and making eggs. They truly make a difference with the taste of your food. I am going to bundle the next two by saying you should always always always have kitchen "staples" in your pantry/freezer that you know how to throw favorite easy meals together for busy days. This is hard, I know but the past year or so I have found that there are certain things I always have and replenish the next time I am at the store because I know meals or snacks I can cook in under 20 minutes with them. This saves me from being hangry and ordering too much takeout.
What would be that one meal leaving everyone speechless?
Loaded BBQ Chicken Ranch Skillet Mac and Cheese. Absolutely nothing healthy about this. However, when I think of something all my friends and family constantly ask me to make for them, it's this. If you are from the capital region of New York, it's a copy cat recipe from Druthers that I think I have perfected. I love healthy eating, I love seeing others enjoy healthy food I show them, but there is something wonderful about making an indulgent meal for someone and enjoying the company and conversation while eating something fun like skillet mac and cheese!
Do you have any grocery shopping tips? How to save money and still eat healthy and tasty?
Grocery shopping can be daunting but recently I have a strategy that currently works really well for me. I plan! I make a note on my phone with all the ingredients I need and what meals they are going to make. I think this will help anyone. Going into the grocery store without a list or plan may cause you to overbuy and waste food, not buy enough food, or buy items that may not help you make rounded meals. I try to plan for three dinner recipes and three lunch ideas and from there eat leftovers! I also always make sure to keep certain kitchen foods stocked at all times so those get thrown in when needed.
We are what we eat. Yay or nay?
YES! You are what you eat! This relates to what I just talked about with the mac and cheese. When I think about it, what does that meal mean or give to me? happiness, memories, laughter, friendship. When I eat meals that aren't deemed healthy, I see what else they bring to me. They actually tend to me moments at a table I sit at the longest sometimes because I am with someone I care about. Think about it, I am sure I am not the only one where some of the most 'unhealthy' meals have been eaten with some of my closet friends and family. At the most unique and adventurous places, I have been. So, yes I am what I eat. Healthy meals that I eat on a day to day bases are nutritious, good, fueling, and nourishing for my body. Other meals are equally so for my soul!
Thank You, Annamarie, for sharing your story! Follow her on Instagram for delicious pictures @foodnsunshine