Lighten Up!

This is the week we all start to prep for Thanksgiving dinner; whether we are hosting and cooking or bringing a dish to someone else’s house, we begin our preparations.

Tonight, we’re headed to church for a Thanksgiving potluck dinner, Thursday is Thanksgiving and we’re hosting Chuck’s father and some of their old family friends.

I know that gives us at least two nights off of the healthier eating band wagon; so, last night we lightened up a little with some healthy options.

Tomato Soup, Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and a Salad… comfort food, but with a lighter twist.


For starters, regular condensed tomato soup can be very high in sodium and if you add the recommended amount of milk it’s also now high in fat. I lightened this up by adding low sodium vegetable broth instead of milk, a little fresh ground black pepper, garlic and fresh basil from my herb garden.

For the grilled cheese sandwich, we used whole grain bread… we’ve pretty much eliminated bleached white flour and really focus on whole grains. I really like Dave’s Killer Bread with 21 Grain and Seeds. (If you are buying this at your local organic market you might want to check out Sam’s Club, ours carries a two pack for about the same price you pay for one at other stores, and it freezes really well.)

On the inside of the sandwich; sharp cheddar for flavor and low fat, low moisture mozzarella cheese for that great stringy texture and to cut some of the fat. For the outside, a quick spritz of light extra virgin olive oil from the pump sprayer and a nonstick griddle.

Paring that with a salad of dark leafy greens, shaved carrots, mushrooms and tomatoes; a light vinaigrette dressing and we’ve got a great lightened up dinner in about 20 minutes.

We saved time so we could prep for tonight’s dinner, Thanksgiving and made sure not to over eat when we know the week will be filled with meals that might side track us.

Mark Kingsdorf, Wedding Ghost, Blogger, Wedding Planner,


He’s BACK!!!!!!

OK, OK, so I took a vacation from blogging… I was really good about posting blogs after the first of the year about healthier eating and taking care of myself.

In May we put the house on the market, packed, sold the house, found a house in St. Petersburg Florida and moved. (Breathe).  I was at my in-law’s place in Leesburg while I finished up my position at the Mission Inn Resort, spending days off in St Pete with Chuck.

We explored St Pete, went on a cruise to Alaska with my siblings and unfortunately lost Chuck’s mother while we were away.  We returned home in time to batten down the hatches, just in time for Hurricane Irma.

While I was somewhat still working on healthier eating, the extra walking fizzled a bit. I held my weight but didn’t lose any more.  Blog posts were shortened to Facebook posts; as life got in the way.

As many of you have seen, I recently launched “Wedding Ghost” as a ghost blogging company for wedding professionals from across the country.

Part of the allure of Wedding Ghost is the privacy; busy wedding professionals can have me write and post blogs for them, just as they would if they had the time and ability to drive their SEO.

Sometimes people who never read my blog at the the Philadelphia wedding planning company I founded,  The Queen of Heart Wedding Consultants, ask to see samples of my writing. But, I can’t (for privacy sake) send them to client’s blogs… so this blog is coming back with a wide range of topics, all Authentically Mark.

You’ll see some of St. Petersburg’s great murals, fun restaurants and breweries; sometimes it’ll be the beaches, our travels, my cooking or random quips.

The one thing to remember is that the writing will be authentically me… the same as when I blog for a client, it will reflect the uniqueness of their business, local market and their personality.

Thanks for coming along for this Authentically Mark ride.

Getting Over The Wall


So, New Year’s Eve I weighed in and pretty publicly shared my very overweight 262.5 pound body and how unhealthy I was feeling.

We (Chuck and I) both strapped on our Fit Bits, weighed in, set a number of steps and a goal weight. While our goal was to feel better, weight loss was an obvious side effect of cleaner eating.

We walked every night, worked to practically eliminate white flour, processed sugar and processed foods. We both reduced our diet soda intake and increased our water…

The weight fell off pretty quickly, it was noticeable and felt really good. We shared lower fat, healthier food options, talked about meal planning and weighed and measure all of our food and religiously logged everything in our Fit Bit App.

Somewhere in the last month, life got in the way; the slight obsession with hitting out step goal was replaced with “I’m within about 200 steps so I’m good”,  diligent measuring was replaced with “that looks like four ounces”.

Neither of us gained back the lost weight but we also didn’t lose any more; neither were closer to our goal weight and it has stayed there for about 3-4 weeks…


So tomorrow we climb over the wall, we are back measuring and weighing everything, water is logged, food added into our counter and we’re back to walking every evening, regardless of how close we are to our steps goal…

It’s back on track –



One Step Closer

For those of you who have been following along on this journey to get healthier; Chuck and I have been really diligent with watching what we eat, preparing healthier meals and walking 10,000+ steps a day.

We’ve had our cheat days, I’ve eaten pizza, had some fried chicken and have gotten back on track the next day.

I’ve been pretty clear that weight loss should be a byproduct of healthier eating but is NOT the primary goal. Today I do want to share that as if this morning I have lost 30 pounds since New Years Day! (55 days).


More importantly, I feel better, can walk farther with out getting winded, have more energy and am hoping by my next visit that my doctor may take me off my cholesterol and blood pressure medicine.

On to my next target number, I’m One Step Closer!

#HealthierEating #HealthierLiving #AuthenticallyMark




Last night, Chuck and I had fried chicken.

We’d both done 30 days of healthier eating. We’ve cut out all of the fast food, made great choices when we’ve eaten out with family and friends, added vegetarian meals, more lean meats, smaller portions and lots of veggies. Eating less and moving more.

Last night was a big splurge, we both said this would never work if we denied ourselves things we enjoyed. So we had fried chicken.

We both balanced that with our usual healthy options the rest of the day and an extra long walk last night.

Today is a new day, we enjoyed our splurge and are back on track – tonight I’m lightening up Thai Green Curry. Ground turkey, coconut water instead of coconut cream and lots of crunchy vegetables.

#EatingSplurge #ItsANewDay #HealthierEating #AuthenticallyMark

Lighten Up: Shepherds Pie

Tonight I was in the mood for some comfort food…. something with rich gravy, beef and lots of vegetables.

Chuck bought a pound of extra lean ground beef  (96% lean); I cooked it up in a nonstick pan with no oil, a little garlic sea salt, black pepper and diced onion. (600 calories in the entire pound).

I portioned out the cooked beef into two baking dishes – not to self, one pound of extra lean beef cooks up to about 10 1/2 ounces of cooked, seasoned beef. 5 1/4 ounces per dish or 300 calories.

I added 3 ounces of frozen mixed peas, carrots, corn and green beans to each dish. (60 calories each).

I mixed in one cup of Swanson Beef Gravy (it’s thickened without flour) 1/4 cup has only 15 calories.

After mixing everything in I topped it off with a cup of mashed cauliflower. I cheated and used Green Giant frozen because we didn’t have any fresh and was working on dinner after work. It had slightly more calories than fresh at 160 calories per cup.

I topped it off with a sprinkle of paprika and some grated Parmesan cheese (about 20 calories).

All in we’re a 600 calories for a huge portion that was really filling.



Ciambotto is the Italian version of ratatouille with sausage.


Japanese eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, onion, peppers, kale, garlic, sea salt, ground pepper and oregano. I tossed this with homemade tomato sauce made from canned plum tomatoes, roasted garlic and fresh basil.

15 ounces was only 225 calories!

I added 2 links of Italian roasted pepper sausage – 140 calories each

We topped it off with 1/4 cup of low fat mozzarella cheese and 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese.

The entire dinner was 610 calories and packed with great vegetables and lots of flavor.

#ItalianRatatouilli #BigFlavor #AuthenticallyMark