Baked Sun-Dried Tomato & Artichoke Goat Cheese Dip

Meet my new favorite kitchen gadget: my brand new Kitchen Aid food processor.

new food processor

You know when something happens and you’re initially bummed about it, but then everything turns out well in the end? This was the case with my food processor a couple of weeks ago. I was happily making these date truffles in it, and when I went to scoop out the dough, my blade was stuck on the processor base. Superglued on there.

Unfortunately, this was a dejavu scenario because it happened once before to me with the same gadget a couple of years ago. I took it this old fix-it man who took forever to get it back to me, but I was happy because he fixed it. However, when I went to call the same man this time, I found that he had retired. And there are no other Kitchen Aid support people in my area. Noooo.

goat cheese dip-3

Initially I was really annoyed, but then I realized how much use my food processor has gotten over the last several years and I decided that I’ve gotten my money’s worth. But before I got over my aggravation, I sent out a tweet complaining about Kitchen Aid. Ha. They responded to it and asked for my contact info, then called me and sent me really good savings offers for all of the processors they sell.

So what wound up happening? I obviously bought a bigger, better food processor!

Kitchen Aid food processor

You win this time Kitchen Aid! I like your products even though your blade getting glued onto the base situation is not cool at all. 

Naturally when it arrived, I went crazy food processing things and recipe experimenting. I had missed my food processor so much! It’s definitely a kitchen gadget that I heavily rely on, and today is my first recipe where my new food processor was used.

Baked Goat Cheese Dip

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My Yoga Practice Lately {July Recap}

Greetings from the northeast!

My sunrise view this morning

My sunrise view this morning

My red eye arrived bright and early this morning. Between seeing my family, my hubby’s family, my girlfriends, and my friend’s wedding that I’m in next weekend, there is a lot of fun to be had on this trip. Today is also my hubby’s birthday! I’m sure I’ll be filling you guys in on all of the excitement going on here, but today I want to talk about my life lately when it comes to yoga.

DCIM100GOPRO

My yoga practice is always an interesting journey. Some months I slack off a bit on practicing as much, and then some months I really get into frequent and heart opening yoga sessions.

Side Bend stretch

July was a case of the latter. I went to a few yoga classes on the beach and at my favorite studio in my town, but mostly I practiced at home. Sometimes I get into following a lot of videos, but for the past month, I mostly put on my latest yoga playlist, started moving, and let my practice take me wherever it wanted to go.

Inverted Twist pose

Sometimes I get more into the spiritual aspects of yoga, and other times what brings me to my mat is just some achy muscles that want to be stretched out, the hope of increasing my flexibility, and the desire to get a gentle workout in. But I always leave the mat feeling more centered and calm.

Wild Thing pose

Some days I would do a more gentle flow, other days I would incorporate light hand weights into my yoga. Some days I would practice headstands and balancing poses, other days I stayed away from any inversions. Thanks to an Instagram yoga challenge that I took part in, many of my poses this month focused on heart opening postures….   Warrior I

…and of course, the month entailed some dog photobomb yoga pictures: Camel Pose

When you have a crazy dingo who hates actually looking at the camera but loves just getting in the way during photos, it’s inevitable!

The Instagram challenge I took part in was called Back to Backbends, and was designed to incorporate a lot of poses that strengthened your backbend practice.

Low Lunge pose

While sometimes during a yoga challenge, it’s a pain to get a photo each and every day posted on social media, I thoroughly enjoy them as a way to try new poses. The challenges also bring about a fun sense of community with yogis on Instagram.

Reverse Plank

Here are some yoga poses that I’ve been working on:

Compass Pose

Compass pose. Stretching my arm over my head and grabbing my foot is not an easy task! This is a pose I definitely practice only once I’m warmed up. Otherwise my body does not want to bend this way!

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Protein Pops

Happy Wednesday friends!

I’m really excited because I’m leaving for the east coast tomorrow! I can’t wait to see my family and friends and enjoy some vacation time in my home state of New Jersey. I’m a little crazy this week trying to wrap up so many full-time work and freelance things, take care of house stuff before I leave, as well as get some blog posts set up for next week. I usually don’t schedule blog posts ahead of time, but next week I’m going to really try to take a break from my computer for a change. I’m going to be so busy hopping all over the state visiting everyone that I wouldn’t have much time for it anyways…but I’ll let you know how it goes!

Any who, onto today’s topic: ice pops!
Choc PB banana pops

One of the most common questions I hear when people find out I’m a vegetarian is, “Where do you get your protein from?” Despite common misconceptions, there is protein in lots of foods besides meat, poultry, and fish, and I make sure to get enough protein to feed my muscles – especially since I lead such an active lifestyle. One of the ways that I supplement my protein intake is to have a protein bar or protein smoothie on most days, and I also make sure to eat snacks that are a nice protein source – like a yogurt or a protein packed ice pop.
choc pb banana pops-2

At 90 calories and 8 grams of protein each, these little chocolate peanut butter banana pops make for a sweet little snack.

choc pb banana pops-3

The pops are made with just 5 ingredients, and I whipped them up as part of Almond Breeze‘s “Easy as Breeze” campaign to create summery recipes with few ingredients.

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A Weekend of Firsts: Vegan Sushi & Standup Paddleboarding!

Hey, hey!

You know that feeling of satisfaction you feel after an awesome weekend? That’s definitely what I’m experiencing on this Monday, as my weekend was an adventure filled few days that has left me smiling! In contrast to the San Diego area being rained out two weekends ago, last weekend was full of sunshine, and we took full advantage of the beautiful weather.

Before I get started with sharing it with you, I want to announce that I’ll be sending out my monthly newsletter this week! The newsletter is full of healthy living tidbits, recipes, workouts, and health coaching exclusives. If you aren’t on my subscriber list yet, you can sign up here:



Any who, on Saturday afternoon, my hubby, pup, and I went for a nice long walk in Carlsbad. We often walk along the coast there, but we tried walking around a new pretty area called the Agua Hedionda Lagoon.

Tiger Pose at Agua Hedionda Lagoon

Tiger pose around the lagoon trail

I love exploring new trails, even if they’re flat, and especially when they’re on the coast. I have a bunch of different routes that I do with Harley because I like to switch up our scenery and keep it interesting, and I think that this walk will now be added into the rotation!

Later in the day we decided to act like little kids and have some underwater fun with our GoPro camera. We got one as a gift for Christmas last year, and while we’ve brought it on hikes and mountain biking excursions, we haven’t used it as much as we should. My hubby was videoing himself cannonballing into our pool, and I was trying to capture underwater yoga shots (it’s harder than it looks!).DCIM100GOPRO

The above photo cracks me up! We had fun being goofballs.

Since A’s birthday is in a few days, Saturday night I planned a pre-birthday dinner for him. Since he loves sushi, which is not my thing at all, I took him to the Wrench and Rodent Sebasstropub – a small restaurant in Oceanside that I had heard has great sushi.

Tofu Nigiri

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Maple Blueberry Fontina Grilled Cheese

Hi there and Happy Friday! Let me start this Friday post off with something sweet…

banana split

So, I totally ate this for dinner last night! I’ve been doing a thing where I eat dessert for dinner about one night a week, and it’s working out great for me and my sweet tooth. 80/20 balanced eating baby!

The above deliciousness is scoops of Halo Top Creamery vanilla bean, strawberry, & chocolate flavors (despite me talking abut them twice this week, I’m not affiliated with them at all…. yet! I’d certainly like to be since I love them :) ) with banana, caramel, a TJ’s brownie & oats bar and some chopped up Bark Thins dark chocolate pretzel with sea salt chunks. I went on a kick butt hike with my pup yesterday and just was not feeling any kind of typical dinner, so a dessert bowl for dinner it was…and it was fabulous!

Hiking at Elfin-7.23.15

Scenes from yesterday’s hot & sweaty hike

But let’s get to the real matter at hand today: grilled cheese.

maple blueberry grilled cheese

Pretty much anyone that eats cheese likes grilled cheese. I like to get a little creative with my grilled cheeses: Sometimes I put avocado, tomato & horseradish mustard with a cheddar grilled cheese, other times I put lightly fried zucchini in the sandwich. Today’s grilled cheese is kind of fancy, and a combo you probably don’t see very often:

Blueberry Grilled Cheese

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5 Yummy Dessert Ideas Under 200 Calories

Hi there!

I’m blogging today as I take a lunch break and sip on a yummy smoothie, and speaking of eats, today I want to talk about some low-cal dessert options that I’m loving!

Thin Mint Smoothie

While some people are totally against counting calories, for me, it’s what works and keeps me on track. Being mindful of the calories I’m taking in and planning my meals so that my macros and calories hover around a certain range for the day helps me stay balanced. I’ve been tracking it for years now and it’s just a part of my healthy diet and approach to eating in a way that I make sure I’m getting the nutrition I need in my food, while also enjoying it…. because food is too good to not enjoy!

With that being said, sometimes I want a snack or dessert at night, but I also want to keep it under 200 calories. Below are some of my current favorite low-cal snack ideas!

Halo Top with strawberries

#1 – Halo Top vanilla bean with fresh strawberries 

You guys, I’ve been obsessed with Halo Top for the last couple of months. It’s the best low-cal/high protein ice cream I’ve ever had, and I even make special stops to random grocery stores that I don’t frequent just to stock up on some pints! Since I’m always and forever obsessed with fruit, it only makes sense that I’d pair Halo Top with some strawberries. While I’m normally a chocolate person, strawberries pair awesomely with vanilla bean ice cream.

A cup of Halo Top with a cup of sliced strawberries totals just 170 calories.

cashew butter apple

(The image also shows pieces of a chocolate brownie Pure Bar on top of the apple slices.)

#2 – Apple with cashew butter and cinnamon

Cashew butter and apples have both been on my list of nearly daily eats for awhile now. There’s just something so good about a crunchy apple with a smear of creamy cashew butter and my all-time favorite spice, cinnamon that makes for a satisfying, healthy dessert or snack.

An apple + a TBSP of cashew butter + as much cinnamon as your heart desires come in around 180 calories.

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Food Touring in Carlsbad [Weekend Recap]

Hey, hey!

How was your weekend? I’m writing this on a Monday night, which is late for my usual Monday early AM posts, but today was a super busy day. Just another manic Monday friends! Any who, backing it up to last Friday, my weekend started off with a tropical acai bowl date with a friend…  tropical acai bowl

…an evening tennis session with my hubby… tennis session

…and then a Saturday morning HIIT workout, walk with my pup + yoga practice: one legged wheel pose

I had planned on having this nicely healthy start to the weekend because I knew what was coming up next: eating and drinking the entire rest of Saturday, because A and I went on our very first food tour! I had recently mentioned us doing a few fun activities as pre-birthday celebrations for each of us before we travel to the east coast and spend our actual birthdays there, and it was only natural that my celebration of choice included food. And wine. And sweets. And in this case, exploring a town we love and live just a few minutes from! Carlsbad Food Tour collage

The Carlsbad Food Tour takes guests around town on foot to a variety of restaurants to get a “taste” of what Carlsbad has to offer. The tour also sprinkles in some tidbits about Carlsbad itself, from its origination to explanations of its street art. I was especially looking forward to the day because I spend a lot of time in the cute beachfront town. In fact, my acai bowl date the day before was in Carlsbad.

Our first stop on the tour was to Caldo Pomodoro, a family owned Italian eatery whose location used to be a hotel. We tried their signature garlic bread with marinara… garlic bread

…as well as their baked artichoke hearts appetizer: marinated artichokes

Next up was a trip to Humble Olive Oils – a tasting room for gourmet olive oils and balsamic vinegars. Humble Olive Oils-3

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The Ultimate Leg & Booty HIIT Workout

Happy Friday friends!

Do you have anything awesome planned for the weekend? I’m very much looking forward to spending it with my hubby, and we have something special planned for tomorrow. More on that to come!

As usual, I’m sure that I’ll fit a workout or two into my weekend… and speaking of workouts, I have a good one to share with you guys today! In honor of me breaking my muscle tweak streak and not having any muscle spasms or serious aches in the last few weeks, today I’m sharing a leg & booty HIIT workout that’ll definitely make you sweat.

HIIT Workout Collage

I created this routine months ago and have done it a bunch of times, but for some reason I’m just getting to sharing it now. Perhaps it’s because I wanted to snap some shots of me doing the moves for some visual explanation, and that took forever for me to do for some odd reason. I finally got to photographing the exercises this week, and wound up burning the bottoms of my feet on my fake grass. Ouch. I’m not sure how my dog can lay out there for long periods of time when the sun is so strong!

This workout combines strength training and cardio, and includes some moves from one of my favorite types of workouts – kickboxing. It takes me roughly 35 minutes to complete, and I typically burn between 300-350 calories doing it. All you need is a pair of dumbbells. I use 10-lb weights, but use whatever feels best for your strength level.

Leg & Booty HIIT Workout

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Cocoa Cherry Watermelon Smoothie

Sweet ripe cherries, how I love you so.
cocoa cherry watermelon juice

The same goes for smoothies. While I drink them year-round since I live in SoCal where it never gets really cold, my smoothie habit has been in serious full swing since summer started. I usually drink one a day, and lately my smoothies have been extra summery.

cocoa cherry watermelon smoothie-4

A week or two ago I bought a huge watermelon. I was eating a lot of it on its own when I was hot and sweaty from working out or being outside in the hot sun or in my simple and favorite (and super refreshing!) strawberry watermelon smoothie. But I wanted to come up a new way to enjoy watermelon. And sweet cherries. And smoothies… which led to today’s recipe!

cocoa cherry watermelon smoothie-3

A couple of months ago I went to a fitness event and ZICO was there giving out coconut water samples. In all honesty, I’ve never been a coconut water drinker, but I tried their chocolate flavored coconut water and was surprised that I really liked it! They gave me some samples to take home, which had been sitting in my fridge until this smoothie idea popped into my head.

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Dating Myself as an Early Birthday Treat

Hey, hey!

Hope that you had a lovely weekend. My Marine was away for training all weekend and my birthday is coming up in a couple of weeks, so I decided to spend some of the weekend treating myself to early birthday fun. I’ve talked numerous times on the blog about the idea of dating yourself. A couple of times a year I have a total “me” day, and I’ve made it an annual thing in recent years to do a birthday celebration day of sorts all on my own. Let’s rewind it to the beginning of the weekend, shall we?

Lucille Ball love yourself quote

After I finished working on Friday, I went for the massage I had mentioned wanting to get in this post about recent workouts. It was only half relaxing, as the other half of the time I was wincing in pain as things were crunching and getting unknotted, but it was much needed and I felt great afterwards! I also took Harley for a long walk along the Carlsbad coast, which is always nice and relaxing, and met up with a girlfriend for a wine night.

Saturday morning I went to Black Sheep Yoga for their 90-minute rock ‘n roll yoga class. I was contemplating if I should go for timing reasons, but I’m so glad I went because it was such an awesome class! The studio’s Saturday morning class is definitely my favorite yoga class that I’ve ever taken. It’s a legit workout and I leave drenched in sweat.  I also love listening to upbeat music during fast paced vinyasa yoga!

Reverse Plank

Reverse plankin’

Although the class is always packed, I certainly think of it as “me” time where I can do some self-reflection, as well as practice mindfulness and gratitude. At the beginning of the class, the instructor – a sort of rough around the edges, interesting kind of character who has a scratchy voice, talks about smoking weed, and always wears bathing suit board shorts to class – always asks us to dedicate our practice to someone that day that could use some extra positive energy.

He also always talks about giving thanks for everything that happened that week, both the good and the bad, and reminds us that everything we need is inside of us. Both the studio in general and the vibes from this class in particular are very quintessential Southern Cali, and I love it!

Parigasana

Parigasana pose during a quickie hike with Harley on Sunday morning

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