Harley’s 5th Birthday & Tales of Puppyhood

Last weekend marked a special occasion in my house: my forever puppy turned FIVE!

Harleys 5th bday-2

Every year I get Harley a huge treat to celebrate the occasion. My hubby and I had a chance to take her to the dog beach on Saturday, where she was her usual happy self greeting every man, woman, child, and puppy with a ton of enthusiasm.

Harleys 5th bday-1

Harleys 5th bday-6

I grew up in a household where pets are considered family members, and when I rescued Harley, that couldn’t have become the case more quickly. She stole my heart right from the start as the very first dog that A and I are the “pawrents” of together.

Harley's homecoming

Harley's homecoming-2

Photos from the day that we adopted Harley

While she is such an awesome dog to have today, for awhile at the beginning she was quite the little troublemaker pup. I thought that in honor of her birthday, I’d share a few stories of how naughty Harley could be as a puppy!

Harley then and now collage

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White Broccoli Pizza Pockets

It’s Friday! This calls for a celebration in the form of a pizza party….
pizza pockets-3

….a pizza pocket party that is! Pizza pockets are like a cross between a slice of pizza and a calzone… except calzones are known to be humongous, and pockets have perfect built-in portion control. These guys are also more neat & tidy to bring to work as leftovers than pizza.

First, we take a precooked whole wheat pizza dough to rest on the counter coated in some flour. You can be an overachiever and make your own dough, but truth be told, I most often take the easy route and buy dough from the farmers’ market or my local grocer. pizza dough

Next, we chop and sauté some garlic, onion and broccoli. Once cooked, we combine the veggies with the mozz and ricotta cheeses, then add in some salt, pepper and lemon zest. The lemon is optional, but I find it to be a fun little unexpected flavor twist.

After rolling the dough out into six thin circles, we spoon the broccoli/cheese mixture evenly onto the center of each one.

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20 Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipe Ideas

I can’t believe how fast 2015 is speeding by! Can you believe that we’re only a few weeks away from December? Before we know it everything will be decked out for the holidays, and I can’t wait! I love Christmastime so much. But us Americans can’t get all excited about the upcoming December holiday festivities before first celebrating Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Recipe Collage

I know that some people are completely on top of it when it comes to recipe planning for holidays, while others wait until the last minute. I’m somewhere in between the two, and I usually start seriously planning dishes for a holiday a week or two before it happens.

So, today seems like the perfect timing to share some vegetarian Thanksgiving recipe ideas for those of you who fall into the latter categories of holiday meal planners. Some of the recipes were recently published, some are from when I first start blogging, and some are recipes from my friends around the Web…. and all of them are delicious recipes for plant-based eaters and meat eaters alike to enjoy! Let’s get to it.

Baked Apples & Sweet Pots-5




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Recovering from a Tough Mountain Biking Adventure

Hi friends!

How was your weekend? Mine was full of time outdoors – just how I like it! The weather was in the low 70s and glorious. We also got a teeny bit of welcomed rain yesterday afternoon. My time spent in nature over the weekend included an early Friday evening hike with my pup at Elfin Forest

Hand to Big Toe pose

Harley’s butt photobombing my yoga picture of the day

…a long Sunday morning walk with my little family on an otherwise pretty lazy rest day…

Splits at Calavera Lake

…and my outdoorsy highlight: a super challenging mountain biking workout with my hubby on Saturday afternoon. We decided to venture southeast to a park we’d never been to before called Goodan Ranch Sycamore Canyon Preserve. We hadn’t gone mountain biking in at least a few months, and whew, it was a killer one!

The park was set in a pretty rural area, and we even got a taste of  autumn with the park’s abundance of yellow-leaved trees. Besides seeing a couple of other bikers along the way, the park was empty.

mountain biking-1

On our way out, we were cruising! The cool breeze hitting your face as you race around on a bike is such a great feeling, and I think my face hurt from smiling. The trail we were biking along was more downhill than up going out, which is sometimes trouble because that means that it’ll be tough on the way back when I’m already getting tired – which is exactly what happened.

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San Diego Spotlight on Crepes & Corks Restaurant and Wine Bar

Hello and Happy Friday!

You may remember that a few months back I started a post series where I highlight an eatery, bar, or winery within San Diego County. There are so many great places nearby, and I thought it’d be fun to share more of that with you guys. Last time I talked about Elizabethan Desserts in Encinitas, and today I’m putting the San Diego spotlight on a restaurant called Crepes and Corks Restaurant & Wine Bar.

Crepes & Corks sign

I first visited Crepes & Corks not long after I moved to the San Diego area. Crepes have a special place in my heart, and combining them with wine? Sounds like a good time in my book!

Crepes remind me of studying abroad in Italy, and of roaming the streets of Thailand on vacation gobbling up irresistible crepes from street vendors…

Thailand street crepe

In Thailand, circa 2012

…and Crepes & Corks brings the crepe awesomeness to the adorable beach town of Del Mar. I happen to have just dined there earlier this week when I met up with my friend Tiffany for some wine & eats, so my love for Crepes & Corks is fresh in my mind! Let’s discuss more of what they’re all about.

Crepes & Corks has a European sort of feel to it. It’s casual and cozy, with a nice outdoor patio area. The menu features both savory and sweet crepes, including Greek, Margherita, and Veggie Garden entree crepes…

Crepes & Cork veggie crepe

The Veggie Garden crepe

Not surprisingly, what I love the most is their sweet crepes.

Crepes & Corks Nutella crepe

Crepes & Corks’ Nutella Delight

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How I Eat, Workout, Work & Sleep When I’m Flying Solo

Hi there!

Happy 240th Birthday USMC, and Happy Veteran’s Day! Thank you to everyone who has served in the military to help keep America safe.

Speaking of the Marine Corps, at the military birthday ball last weekend I was thinking about how nice it has been to have my hubby around a lot since he’s gotten out of active duty and has a full-time civilian job, as well as a position in the USMC Reserves.

My very first Marine Corps ball, circa 2009 in Pensacola, FL

My very first Marine Corps ball, circa 2009 in Pensacola, FL

I think the longest we’ve gone this year without seeing each other was 3 weeks due to me traveling and him away for Reserves training, which is nothing compared to the months at a time apart that we’ve spent apart in the past. These days we get to eat dinner together most nights… and it’s definitely nice!

Last week was the rare occasion when A was traveling for his civilian job, and it was just my pup and me at home all week. Thinking back on it and all of the months that I’ve lived alone, there are definitely things I do differently when I’m flying solo:

EATS. My dinners are way different when I’m making food for one. I’d much rather have a savory meal full of veggies for lunch, and then eat non-dinner food for dinner most of the time. Last week for dinner I ate things like chocolate peanut butter protein shakes (this recipe with a scoop of Halo Top chocolate protein ice cream)….

Chocolate protein shake

….and banana almond butter waffles.

Banana Almond Butter Waffles

Can you tell that I have a sweet tooth at night? The only night I actually had typical dinner food was when I met Laura out for happy hour and ordered a Mexican salad.

En Fuego taco salad

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Cinnamon Apple & Sage Goat Cheese Crostini + Weekend Recap

Happy Monday! Are you as psyched about your week as my dog was about letting the breeze hit her face riding in the car last weekend?Harley in the car

Trying to capture her funny faces as she sticks her face out of the car window is hilarious. People that aren’t entertained by dogs perplex me. My knucklehead puppy makes me laugh all the time!

Before I get to this fabulous appetizer recipe…

apple crostini-3

I’m backing it up a couple of days to chat about the food, fitness, and fun of my weekend. On Thursday night (I know, not technically the weekend yet!) I attended a yoga class at the new PUMA Women’s store at South Coast Plaza Mall in Costa Mesa on behalf of FitFluential.
PUMA yoga-2

Holy moly, that shopping center is gorgeous! My cousin Michelle lives somewhat close a bit north of there, so I invited her to come get her yoga on with me.

PUMA yoga-1

The yoga class was relaxing with a lot of pose holding, and afterwards everyone mingled as PUMA offered champagne, snacks, discounts and gift card giveaways.

PUMA yoga-fallen angel

Fallen Angel pose

There were a couple of other ladies there on behalf of FitFluential – a few of which I recognized from social media – so it was nice getting to meet them in person. I think we’re all trying to meet up for a hike sometime soon. I just love the healthy living blogger community!

The other workouts of my weekend included a family hike on Friday evening at sunset…

Sunset at Calavera Peak

…Saturday morning yoga + a HIIT session, as well as a long walk along the beach on Sunday morning during my rest day.  backyard side plank Continue reading

What Makes You Fit?

“Are you fit?” 

“Did you say that you workout?” 

These were the questions our tour guide was shouting to me as I struggled to keep up with him and my husband biking through the hills of Austria. We had booked a bike tour in hopes of seeing more of the beautiful Austria countryside and getting some leisurely exercise in during our vacation there, but I wasn’t so prepared to be huffing and puffing with my heart rate at a sky-high level.

Hohenwerfen Castle

Austria’s Hohenwerfen Castle

Our guide was a little man in his 60s, originally from somewhere in Asia, who seemed to be in good shape for his age and told us he exercised daily. While I already knew that my husband was stronger and faster on a bike than I was from our bike date workouts through the hills of California, I wasn’t really expecting our guide to be as hardcore of a cyclist as he turned out to be.

Austrian Bike Tour Guide

Our tour guide

I grew increasingly annoyed at both him questioning me about my level of fitness, and his refusal to slow down a bit for one of two people on his bike tour. It’s something my hubby and I jokingly say to each other nowadays, saying, “Well are you fit?” if one of us is panting during a hike or complaining about post-workout muscle soreness.

Austrian bike excursion

The day of the discussed bike excursion in Austria

Looking back on that day – which was a great experience despite my bike pace apparently slowing the group down – I later realized the reason why our tour guide was aggravating me. He was questioning if I was in good shape. He was making me feel inferior, and touching on a subject that feels very personal to me.

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My Workouts Lately: Frequenting The Fit Mill

Hi friends!

First thing’s first: the winner of my Fit Body Bakery giveaway is Danielle Priser. Congrats, Danielle! I’ve emailed you for your contact info.

Let’s dive into the topic of the day: recent workouts!


You might know this by now, but I have total exercise ADHD. One month I do a ton of barre, hiking, and cycling, then the next month I’m all about boxing, Pilates and tennis. Sitting on the elliptical with a magazine every day is a horribly boring idea to me. I just love switching my workouts up and keeping things interesting!

So what have my workouts been like lately? I’ve been doing a lot of yoga, HIIT sessions, and at-home kickboxing, with a few Pilates classes and hikes mixed in (really only because the last few months were too hot for hiking inland in SoCal). The other thing I’ve been doing a lot is taking classes at The Fit Mill in Carlsbad.

The Fit Mill

I briefly mentioned this studio the very first time I took a freebie class there a couple of months ago. Well, I liked it so much, I decided to buy a package and frequent it more in September and October… and I loved it!

If I were to open a fitness studio, it would embody many of the things that The Fit Mill does: The instructors are spunky and personable. The workouts are dynamic, challenging and always evolving. The classes incorporate a nice balance of cardio and strength, and the moves change often.  The Fit Mill-2

With each class, you workout at each of their six circuit stations: biking, TRX, rowing, the gravity machine, the wall station where you usually work on your core in some way, and what they call “Toys” – which includes exercises with a step, and sometimes incorporates bars, weights and/or medicine balls, among other things. Each circuit includes 3 rounds of 4 exercises. The focus on fast timed intervals makes the classes always whiz by for me. You go, go, go and then before you know it, you’re done!

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Apple Pie Autumn Granola [Gluten Free & Vegan]

One of my favorite autumn activities in apple picking. There’s this little town in San Diego County called Julian where I like to visit a family apple orchard to pick some fruit, wine taste at a few of their small wineries, and have an obligatory slice of apple pie – because pie is what Julian is known for.

apple picking

Unfortunately, when I went to plan out an apple picking day at the start of fall, I was sad to see that none of the family orchards were open in Julian for U-Pick due to a shortage of crop from the drought. While I was totally bummed about it, we luckily still have local farms around at farmers markets and such sharing their sweet, SoCal apples.

Scenes from apple picking in 2012

Scenes from apple picking in 2012

Now that it actually feels like fall here, I’m all about apples (and pumpkin and squash too). While we get mild seasonal changes compared to everywhere else and I did pop over to the beach in a bikini for a bit yesterday, the San Diego area is now getting cooler nights and breezier days. My house is a perfect 73 degrees right now, and I even heard that we might get some rain this week. Say what?! I think we’re out of our uncharacteristically hot summer season.

chopped apple

So back to apples. They were my recipe theme last weekend, when I spent a couple of hours in the kitchen for some Sunday recipe experimentation. One of the recipes I came up with was this granola:

Apple Pie Autumn Granola

It’s got cinnamon apple baked with maple cashew butter syrup, and I can’t stop eating it. Fair warning: It’s delicious and addictive!

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