Monthly Archives: June 2013

The Basil Thief

Hi friends!

Hope you had/are having a wonderful weekend. Mine has been a lot of fun, and it’s not quite over yet! I think that True Blood episodes make Sunday nights a little bit more fun. 🙂

Here are some snapshots of my weekend:


I broke my weeklong hiatus from dairy with an even more awesome grilled cheese than I made last week: fried zucchini + cheddar + avocado + tomato [from my own plant] + horseradish mustard on whole wheat = deliciousness.


Since it was ungodly hot in my town this weekend, my hubby and I headed to the beach to cool off.  We hit a lot of traffic on the way there and were wondering if going to the coast was a good move, but then we got to the beach in Monterey and it was perfect weather there – totally worth it.


After beachin’ it, we went into town to grab a bite to eat and walk around. Not too shabby of a view to enjoy a glass of chardonnay and a salad!


Adam and I spent some time watching some sea lions hang out, which we always love to do. They are such funny creatures!


The papa sea lion of the pack was the biggest one I’ve ever seen before:

seals-2Whoa there!


My Sunday breakfast: whole wheat oatmeal banana pancakes with sprinkled cinnamon and drizzled honey.


Besides roasting during a half-hour walk with Harley, I kept my exercise indoors today with some Jillian Michaels DVD action in my living room.

pasta-with-sauceDespite the triple digit weather, I was in the mood for making homemade tomato sauce. I whipped up a big pot for a saucy spaghetti dinner.

In other picture news, Harley’s eyes have looked like the devil in almost every photo I’ve taken of her as of late. Case in point:


following me around for a bite of fresh tomato


playing with her new toy


wrapping herself up in a blanket… because she’s a nut!

Speaking of being devious, Harley has been a very naughty puppy. She likes to hang out and sunbathe on my patio where my plants are, and lately I keep noticing her sniffing around near them. I know that I’ve mentioned it here and there, but I’ve been growing a couple of things: strawberries, mint, basil, tomatoes and bell pepper. I thought that Harley was trying to eat the dirt, because she’s a weirdo like that. But this evening as I was making my tomato sauce, I went outside to grab some fresh basil to chop in and throw in the sauce….

And guess what? My entire basil plant was COMPLETELY GONE! Harley must have been eating it every time I caught her looking guilty over there, and she had even chomped off the little branches of it. While I do find it pretty comical, I was also a bit peeved. Sauce is so much better with fresh basil!! Now I keep referring to her as the basil thief.


In other news, I’ve been wanting to share the link to an article I wrote that’s up on the Girls Gone Sporty website. As you may or may not have picked up on, I hike all the time and it’s my favorite outdoor workout. Since I began hiking, I’ve definitely realized some important things that make for a happy trail workout. In my article, Hiking 101: Tips for Hitting the Trails, I chat about what some of those things are. Check it out!

Taking Time to Date Myself Today

Earlier this week, I realized that I hadn’t really pampered myself in awhile. With feet in need of some TLC and the idea of a massage in the back of my mind for months, late this afternoon I decided to kick my weekend off with a spa date.

Aroma Therapy (photo credit)

I think that so often, it’s easy for us ladies with busy schedules to forget about treating ourselves and to put any special indulgences on the back burner (especially for all you mamas out there!). Usually on Thursdays and/or Fridays, I squeeze in a few spare hours that I don’t really even have to volunteer at the Humane Society. But this week, I decided that a few hours of “me” time would take precedence over my volunteer gig. I think that once in awhile you just need to switch your priorities around and skip something else in order to fit in dating yourself, and there’s nothing wrong with doing so.


my neon polish choice today

I must say that my massage today felt FABULOUS! For someone who works out nearly every day, I often have muscle aches and tightness, and getting a massage really makes me feel like so much tension is alleviated. I really would like to get massages more often and might consider getting a membership somewhere. And it’s always fun to get your feet prettified!

So friends, whether your idea of ideal “me” time is a stroll in the park, reading a good book, going to the spa, taking a hot bath, going for a run, making cupcakes, or whatever else you may take pleasure in, make sure to carve at least a small chunk of time out of one of your days in the near future to treat yourself. You deserve it!



Have a wonderful weekend!

7-Ingredient Cleanse: Days 2 & 3

It’s Thursday night and I have nearly made it through my 3-day detox – barring that I don’t cave in and shove ice cream into my mouth in these last few hours of it!

Yesterday was the roughest day of the cleanse for me. I was feeling pretty icky from having a cold, and a lot of the time when my head is congested, I’m not in the mood for most foods – let alone plain cleansing foods like broccoli and beets. I alternated between feeling like I was doing fine with the detox, then wondering what the hell I was doing and wanting to crawl up in the fetal position with a bag of dark chocolate chips. 😉

Day 2 –









Dinner was the low point of the day for me, and this picture gives you a glimpse as to why:


My hubby ate delicious leftover homemade pizza and guacamole with tortilla chips while I ate the above meal. It was kind of torturous!

My exercise activities yesterday were a 30 minute walk with my pup + a 60 minute barre workout DVD. When I’m under the weather, it’s a delicate balance between resting and getting a bit of movement in, and this was a good amount of low impact exercise for the day while cleansing.

Day 3 – 

Today was definitely the best day of my detox. I woke up feeling a little better with less body aches than I’d been having because of my annoying cold, and I took Harley for an hour hike in the morning before it got too warm…


It’s a heat wave!


Surprisingly, I wasn’t even hungry, but I was afraid to exercise without eating anything at all, so I munched on some blueberries + raw almonds on the car ride over to the park.


I wore a very fitting shirt for a girl whose a vegetarian currently doing a cleanse from Vegetarian Times


..and Harley was a pretty happy girl after our hike:



Since I was feeling better, I decided to stop being a beet hater and incorporate them into my lunch. I made a spinach salad with sliced avocado and beets, toasted slivered almonds, a drizzle of olive oil + balsamic vinegar and a touch of sea salt. I also added some chopped dates to the mix because I was dying for some sweetness, and they totally spruced up the salad flavor. I don’t mind beets when they’re chopped up in salads like this, and lunch was not too shabby!



I made yet another frozen blueberry + unsweetened almond milk + honey bowl:



This evening I tried another one of the recipes from the cleanse article. First, I made avocado ginger sauce by combing avocado, fresh ginger, fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, sea salt and olive oil.


I then sauteed broccoli with kale, onion, and garlic, and placed it on a bed of spinach. I topped the veggies with sesame seeds and some of the avocado sauce.


And that concluded my meals on this detox plan!

Besides hiking, I also did an hour kickboxing DVD of Jillian Michaels today. It was a little bit higher impact than I had planned on doing during this cleanse, but what can I say – I love to sweat!

My overall thoughts of the cleanse: It’s definitely doable for anyone who wants to try a detox but really is not into the idea of only drinking juices and not chewing a morsel for days (me!). While I definitely felt (and currently feel) hungry during it, I didn’t feel like I was starving throughout the course of it. I may try the detox again when I’m not under the weather with a cold, because I’m curious to see if I would feel more energetic during it. It felt nice to push the reset button and give my body a bit of a rest… but at the same time I’m looking forward to NOT eating spinach and broccoli and being able to eat other foods tomorrow (HELLLOOO almond butter, which I’ve been craving a few TBSPs of the entire detox!).

I also think that doing a cleanse is totally mind over matter. I wrote down an outline of what I’d eat ahead of time, then just tried to focus on everything else in my life besides food and what I couldn’t eat. I skipped looking at any scrumptious food blogs this week for fear of my level of self-control plummeting and just wanting to give up. Good move on my part I think, because I made it through 3 days of eating just broccoli, lentils, spinach, beets, almonds, blueberries, avocado and a few other easily digestible foods!

The Vegetarian Times 7-Ingredient Cleanse

Hello, hello!

Here’s a little tidbit about me: I love to read hard copies of things, and I get tons of magazines delivered to my house. I know that I can read things online, but there’s just something nice to me about having a real magazine (or book) in hand and getting away from technology. My favorite places to read are at the gym while I’m cycling or doing the stair master (because it makes the time go by fast!) or while I’m relaxing at the beach.

One of the magazines I love checking out is Vegetarian Times. I’m always tearing out pages from the magazine of things to note or recipes to try. Last week as I was reading their June issue, I came across an article called “The 7-Ingredient Cleanse” and was intrigued.



With summer’s stellar lineup of naturally detoxifying fruits and vegetables, there isn’t a much better season for a cleansing tune-up. And no, we don’t mean fasting; and you won’t be drinking green juice morning, noon, and night. This easy three-day plan is meant for people who love food – real food, in its purest state. 

I always have found cleanses interesting, but have never tried one because… well, I obviously love to eat. The thought of fasting sounds pretty torturous to me. But when I read the above opening sentences of the article, I thought I can totally do this! I knew that it’d be a good test of willpower.

The article explains that the cleanse will give your liver a rest by providing it with tons of antioxidants and not forcing it to process heavy, inflammatory or stressful foods. Here are the 7 superfoods that the detox revolves around, and a few of the reasons why these are the chosen ingredients:

  • Broccoli: high in antioxidants, helps regulate toxin removal in cells
  • Beets: full of minerals and vitamins and high in betalain antioxidants, which reduce inflammation and purge harmful toxins
  • Spinach: offers tons of immune-boosting flavanoids, balances pH levels in the body
  • Blueberries: packed with anthocyanins, boost brain power and heart health
  • Avocado: provides the body with healthy monounsatured fat, omega-3s and tons of other nutrients and fiber
  • Lentils: high in soluble fiber, easy protein for the liver to digest  
  • Almonds: lots of vitamin E and flavonoids

So, I bought lots of each ingredient and planned to do the three day detox this week. Yesterday, when I planned to start the cleanse, I woke up feeling sick. My hubby had a bad cold all of last week, and I thought that I had come out of it unscathed, but I unfortunately caught it as he was feeling better. I wondered if this was a bad time to cleanse, but then decided that I had already bought all of the food and that perhaps the abundant antioxidant intake would help me get over the cold faster – so I just told myself to suck it up and go for it. Plus I had drank multiple glasses of wine three nights in a row, so I knew that my liver could use a rest!

It’s important to note that the cleanse isn’t strictly 7 ingredients. You can add other ingredients in when necessary, as long as it isn’t processed food, added sugar, dairy, gluten, coffee or alcohol. I wanted to focus on the main ingredients as much as I could, but also knew that I’d need to add in a few things like honey, olive oil, and unsweetened almond milk in order for me to not be completely miserable. Here is what day 1 of the cleanse looked like:

The 1 ingredient out of these 7 that I do not really like is beets. I bought already steamed ones since I’m iffy about them and used a few for breakfast: a blueberry beet avocado smoothie, a recipe that the magazine included in the article.



The smoothie was….definitely beet-y. Not a big fan.

To prep for lunch, I cooked and horribly burned lentils. Whoopsies.


I combined my charred lentils with a bit of tahini and olive oil, sea salt, lemon juice and garlic in my food processor to make lentil hummus. I ate some with carrots and celery, and even though it resembles dog food, the taste was not bad at all.


For a snack a few hours later, I had some raw almonds and blueberries: 


Dinner was a broccoli salad tossed with lentils, red onion, & slivered toasted almonds, with a dressing of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey and mustard (also per the magazine’s recipe suggestions).

lentil-broc-saladThe first day was definitely a detox success, and I’m proud that I didn’t cheat one bit. My hunger levels were fine in the morning and afternoon, but then I was hit was a feeling of FEED ME!  before dinner and I got momentarily hangry (hungry + angry). The feeling subsided after my broccoli salad. I did feel hungry last night going to sleep, but I wasn’t in the mood for more blueberries and almonds (the only snack-like ingredients to me) so I just toughened it out.

I had planned on doing low-impact exercise during the cleanse simply because I didn’t want to feel famished after hard workouts, and this idea was solidified once I got a cold and didn’t feel like working out in the least bit. Yesterday’s exercise included a 30 minute walk with my dog + 45 minutes of yoga and stretching.

I’ll be back tomorrow with an update on how the rest of my detox went!


Book Giveaway – Warrior Pose: How Yoga (Literally) Saved My Life

Growing up with a grandfather who taught (and at age 81, still teaches) yoga, I was exposed to the teachings of yoga and meditation at an early age. Back then, I remember feeling so bored during the meditation parts of class and thinking that everyone was just taking a nap. I was too young for the purpose of meditation to resonate in my mind. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to learn that  the poses and meditation are only two aspects of yoga. It’s a way of life that has the power to permeate into every aspect of your world. As Bhava Ram, the yoga guru whose book, Warrior Pose: How Yoga (Literally) Saved My Life, exclaimed as we spoke last week, “Yoga is the greatest science ever created on how to be a human being.” 

Enjoying the book at the beach one day

Enjoying the book at the beach one day

Warrior Pose is the story of Brad Willis (whose taken on the yoga name Bhava Ram), an ambitious journalist whose career took him to the middle of major conflicts and events in places like Afghanistan, Colombia, Saudi Arabia, Kurdistan and Hong Kong. In the book, Willis talks about his experiences as a reporter and the sometimes heartbreaking things he witnessed. I found this aspect of the book to be educational, giving me a sort of inside look to events that happened when I was either not born yet or just a kid. In reading about his travels and work, I could sense that Bhava is a unique person who was really motivated to make a positive difference in the world through his journalism.

Warrior Pose is also the story of Brad Willis’ pharmaceutical-induced nightmare, gradually brought on after a fall that caused a mildly broken back. After years of ignoring the injury and covering the pain up with alcohol and pills, Willis’ unwillingness to put his life on hold to take time to heal his back leads to a majorly broken back. He soon also learns of another medical horror – that he has stage IV thyroid cancer. Fallen into a deep abyss, the chronic pain and illness consumes Willis until one day, his loved ones stage an intervention and Willis agrees to get help. Constantly motivated by the phrase Get Up, Daddy!, something his young son said to him one day when Willis was far from able to easily jump up out of his chair, Willis embarks on a journey to try to get his life back.



Willis finds hope at an unconventional treatment program that focuses on mind-body medicine such as biofeedback and Jin Shin Jyutsu. It’s through this program that he is introduced to yoga, which he truly believes will be the key to helping him heal. Willis wholeheartedly devotes most of his time and energy into yoga to remove the toxins in his body and mind. Remarkably, Willis eventually heals his back –  which could not be fixed with fusion surgery and Western medicine – and rids himself of the cancer that he once believed would claim his life within a few years. It’s almost too miraculous to believe it to be true, but Bhava, whose yoga name translates to “Pure State of Being in the Heart,” is living, breathing proof of the healing power of positive thinking, and how resilient the human body can be when the mind makes a positive shift.

**Interested in reading the fascinating story of Warrior Pose? Today I’m hosting a giveaway of the book to one reader! How to enter: Simply leave a comment below telling me why you’re interested in reading the book. Are you into yoga? A lover of autobiographies? Fascinated by the power of positivity? A history buff who wants to read a journalist’s tale during some of the major conflicts of the world in the 1980s and 90s? All of the above? Tell me below, and I’ll randomly pick a winner next Monday, July 1.**


Bhava Ram (source)

I was lucky enough to get to chat with Bhava last week and ask him some questions. He seemed as lovely a person as I’d imagined him to be while reading about his journey. I wanted to share a couple highlights of our conversation:

ME: When you talk about the chronic pain consuming your life and causing you to be cranky, snappy, and having no tolerance for anything, you say, “I don’t like myself this way, but I can’t figure out how to turn it around.” For anyone out there, whether they’re suffering from an illness or injury or not, who feels like they’re stuck in a negative place, what would you say should be their first step to getting out of their mental funk?

BHAVA: I’d say that learning to truly believe in themselves is the first step, to realize that there’s always a way out. Miracles do happen. I’ve found that when you look deep inside and start to make positive changes, the whole world sort of rises up to support you in that effort. Having faith in yourself and knowing that you were born with a great power for transformation is life changing.

ME: What are the greatest misconceptions about yoga?

BHAVA: Most people think that yoga is just poses and postures, but there are so many aspects to it. There’s a philosophical piece, a medical piece, a nutritional piece, a breath work aspect, a nutritional piece, meditation, and poses and postures. Yoga is the greatest science ever created on how to be a human being. People also think that yoga is a religion, but it’s really about unifying the deeper inner being, regardless or religion or spiritual belief. The word yoga means unification, so it’s about harmony, not exclusivity of any kind.

ME: If you could give people one healthy living tip, what would it be?

BHAVA: I’d say to connect more with nature – being in nature more often, eating what nature produces, and unplugging from mass media and allowing only more natural impressions into your mind. It’s really just about finding that which is more natural and harmonious.

Being such a quote lover and believer in the power of positivity, I highlighted some thoughts throughout the book that resonated with me. I’ll leave you with two of my favorite paragraphs from Warrior Pose:

“I’ve learned that humility and softness are far more powerful than the sharp edges of bravado and hubris of my earlier years. That accepting what is takes more courage than forcing what I think should be. That judgments, opinions, and the need to be right cant be great hindrances. That it’s always better to give rather than to receive. Affirm rather than criticize. Serve rather than be served. I’ve also learned to be grateful for the smallest, more ordinary things. The morning light. A sip of water. A breath of fresh air. The privilege of being alive.

Yoga has taught me that a fundamental principle of life is that energy follows intention. When we create a strong intention and really believe in it, the world magically seeks to support us. People who think positively and have faith in something are vastly more likely to manifest it than those who feel doubtful and negative. It still takes great devotion and hard work, but it always starts with the mind. One of the great ancient texts of Yoga puts it well: ‘Your thoughts determine your actions. Your actions create your habits. Your habits form your character. Your character determines your destiny.'”

Now leave a comment below to win the book! 🙂


Homemade Winemaking: The Basics

Happy Sunday!

Guess what yesterday was in my house?


That’s right, our merlot has been sitting pretty for about a month, and yesterday was the day we rented a corker and bottled the wine. This is my first batch of homemade wine and I learned a lot throughout the whole process, so I thought it’d be fun to talk about what’s involved in making wine at home.

The first step is buying all of the supplies and figuring out what type of wine you’ll make. There are a good amount of things you’ll need – from yeast and cleaning powders to a hydrometer, wine thief and oak chips – but we luckily found a fermentation store that easily provided everything we needed. As far as the type of wine to make, we decided to just buy grapes already crushed since this was our first go-around, and chose merlot grapes from California’s Stags Leap District. I would love to go to a winery around here next time around and crush the grapes ourselves, and also look forward to trying our hands at making a white wine sometime!


The first phase of making wine is primary fermentation. With a red wine like merlot, this involves combining the grape juice with warm water, bentonite solution, oak powder, and the grape skins, which are placed in a mesh bag. Making wine is pretty scientific, and you need to take samples and measure levels of things throughout the process. At this time, you have to make sure that the temperature of the juice is between a certain range before adding yeast in. Temperature is also pretty important when it comes to where the juice is stored, and I was kind of obsessed with checking out the thermometer during this phase to make sure the juice wasn’t too warm or cool.


It’s pretty interesting to see how the mixture bubbles when the yeast activates. This is the first step in the grape juice turning into wine! For the next week, you pretty much just wait it out, push the grapeskins down into the mixture, and make sure the temperature is within an ideal range.

Next is secondary fermentation, which begins after you wait the week, then draw a sample of the juice to check its specific gravity. This indicates the amount of potential alcohol in the wine, and has to be within a certain range to move forward with what’s referred to as racking the wine for the first time. This is done so that sediment is left behind and the wine comes out clear, and pretty much entails siphoning the wine from one container (called the primary fermenter) into another (referred to as the carboy). You also remove the grapeskins at this time, then let it sit for 10 days.



After 10 days, you have to check the specific gravity of the wine again. This next stage involves adding in some fancy chemicals (metabisulphite, chitosan clarifier and sorbate) and vigorously stirring the mixture in order to drive off CO2. You also add in oak cubes at this time, then wait a bit over a week to allow the wine to clear.


The next step is to rack the wine again to really polish it. A lot of sanitizing and cleaning is involved in making wine, which is kind of annoying but necessary to make sure that the wine doesn’t get contaminated with anything.


You now just let your wine sit for about a month to finish clarifying. The last step (the exciting part!) is to bottle the wine. We rented an old school corker, which was fun to use:



bottling-1Harley was not impressed with us bottling and corking our wine.


And voila, we now have 31 bottles of homemade merlot!


I was worried about the still faintly present rotten eggs smell of our wine, called a “sulfide stink” by winemakers. I consulted a few books and the experts at our fermentation place about this, and they said that the smell is normal. Even when we bottled yesterday, the wine didn’t smell great, but it needs a lot more time to mature. Making wine is a test in patience, and hopefully our wine will not disappoint. Only time will tell!


Goddess Kale Salad

Happy first day of summer! Summery things I did today include:

Going hiking with Harley…


…and thoroughly enjoying this dinner on my patio this evening…


Lightly fried zucchini + beefsteak tomato + cheddar + horseradish mustard = one bangin’ grilled cheese. I was craving grilled cheese all day, and this guy totally hit the spot. I refrained from eating a second one… though I easily could have!

And now onto more yummy eats…

Recently I had a blogger date with Gina, the chick behind Health, Love and Chocolate. We met for lunch, and while we were both enjoying kale caesar salads, I started talking about how I’m a pretty new kale eater. I told her I feel confident that I can whip up a yummy kale salad now, but that I like the kale super tender and never seem to get it quite that way by letting the veggies marinade in the dressing. My lovely new kale guru friend said that the best way to tenderize the kale is to massage it with the dressing for a good 5 minutes. Hmmm, why have I never tried that before? I wondered, and yesterday I put her tip to the test.


The word Goddess refers to femininity, charm and supernatural powers. Isn’t the bursting purple color from this flowering kale gorgeous, and does kale not offer a slew of health benefits (read: supernatural powers) to those who consume it?


General rule of thumb: any food this naturally vibrant is bursting with goodness (besides the exception of poisonous berries or some other shenanigans). Any who, the word “Goddess” seemed fitting to me, and so a Goddess kale salad it shall be referred to as.

After chopping a couple cups of kale up, I drizzled a dressing of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and fresh lemon juice on top, sprinkled sea salt on top, and massaged it for a bit.


Massaging the kale totally worked and left the veggie perfectly to my liking. Anyone who is turned off by kale because of its toughness, try massaging it – it really does the trick!

I added a few cups of green leaf lettuce, chickpeas, toasted slivered almonds, creamy goat cheese, and dates, to make one DELICIOUS combination. The goat cheese added a tang to the salad, the dates provided some sweetness, the almonds gave it a crunch, and the chickpeas… well, I throw chickpeas in nearly everything because they’re my favorite. I munched on this salad for about an entire hour while I worked, and will definitely be making it again very soon!



Goddess Kale Salad
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
  • 2 cups kale, chopped
  • 2 cup green leaf or other type of lettuce, chopped
  • 2 TBSP slivered almonds, toasted
  • ½ cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 oz goat cheese
  • 40 g whole pitted dates (about 6 of them)
  • ½ TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 TBSP balsamic vinegar
  • Juice from ½ small lemon
  • Sea salt to taste
  1. Place kale in a salad bowl.
  2. Whisk together olive oil, balsamic and lemon juice. Pour over kale, and sprinkle a touch of sea salt on top. Massage the kale for a good couple of minutes to tenderize it.
  3. Add green leaf lettuce, almonds, chickpeas, goat cheese and dates. Sprinkle additional sea salt to taste, and toss to combine well.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 500, Fat: 22 g, Saturated fat: 5 g, Carbohydrates: 63 g, Fiber: 9 g, Protein: 18 g


I’m off to relax with my hubby and pup. Hope that your weekend is off to a fabulous start!

This Vegetarian’s Wednesday Eats

Good morning!

I’m switching up my day a little and blogging on this Thursday morning, instead of my usual nighttime blog action.

First off, in the past couple of days I’ve made some blog changes I’d like to point out. For one thing, I’ve updated my recipe page. My recipe list was getting too extensive to be on one page, so the recipe tab you see on my menu bar above is now a drop down list, so you can check out whatever category of recipes you want to look at in separate pages. I think this makes it easier to view.

I also have added a “work it out” tab in the menu, which contains links to workout related posts I’ve written. Feel free to browse. 🙂

Lastly, I also added access to my Instagram on the blog, and it’s now on my sidebar under my Twitter feed. I haven’t really been too active on Instagram thus far, but I’m now starting to get into Instagram mode and post pictures on a daily basis. If you use Instagram, let’s follow each other!

Now onto food…

WIAWLet’s talk about what a day in the eats of this vegetarian looked like yesterday:

Breakfast was a colorful one – a huge bowl of yummy fruit!


For lunch, I made pumpkin cinnamon pancakes:


I doubled my recipe, and the batter turned out looking a bit runny, so I added an extra TBSP of wheat flour – this did the trick! I topped the pancake with a Laughing Cow cinnamon cream cheese wedge and crumbs from the bottom of my Kashi Go Lean! cereal box.


A couple of hours later, my pre-workout meal was an English muffin with mashed avocado, a slice of provolone cheese, and a few tofurky deli slices:

eng-muffin-sandwichAfter a nice gym session, a few hours later I made a simple healthy dinner – asparagus drizzled with a touch of balsamic glaze + olive oil, and a serving of quinoa brown rice mix:



A little while later, the munchies hit me and I had a piece of dark chocolate + a peanut butter oats bar from TJs.



And that’s what my 1,400 calorie day looked like yesterday. I could have gotten more veggies in my eats, but overall it was a pretty healthy day. I’m planning on eating a big salad this afternoon to get more veggies in today though!

I’m off to get some work done. Have a wonderful rest of your day!


Losing My Family Dog: A Tribute to Rosco

For the past couple of days, I’ve had a heavy heart. After finding out that my family’s dog was really sick with a mass that was obstructing his bowel movements, he had to be put to sleep this morning.

I grew up with Rosco. I remember the day we got him nearly 14 years ago.

When I came home to an empty house one day, my mom, infamous for leaving notes around for everyone, had left me a note that read, “There’s a cute puppy in the laundry room!”


I found an adorable, excited, stinky black lab in our laundry room. Turns out that this puppy, along with the others in his litter, had been found in a drain pipe, and my parents decided to adopt him on a whim.

Rosco was quite a rambunctious pup.


For awhile he had a food complex where he would scarf down his food as fast as he could, only to throw it up about half of the time – perhaps because he had spent the first few months of his life in an environment where food was scarce.

He loved to escape from our backyard and run around like a maniac in the neighborhood. One time animal control came to the house, and I remember them opening the back door of their van and Rosco jumped out, looking completely oblivious and happy as ever. Even in his old age, he still was finding ways to get out of my parents’ yard and into someone else’s.

He was petrified of thunderstorms. There were so many times when Rosco would pace around the house for hours on end in the middle of the night while it rained, or when he would bust into one of our bedrooms, probably thinking that hanging out near people was more safe than being downstairs alone.

A lot of the time he had a guilty look on his face when we’d come home, either because he had been sleeping on the couch where he wasn’t allowed, or because he had predictably eaten all of the cat food when no one was around.

In his older years, he would drive my mom crazy by peeing on the palm trees my parents had indoors during colder months.

Yes, Rosco had plenty of quirky behaviors and nutty antics… but as you do with any family member, we loved him unconditionally. Rocky completed our household, he completed our family…


One of my last memories of Rosco is from this past February. I was staying with my parents in Jersey so I could be with my grandma, who had been diagnosed with cancer and wasn’t doing well. I came back from the hospital feeling deflated and heartbroken at the thought of losing my grandma then. I spent hours that night laying in front of the fire cuddling with Rosco, who in true Labrador form, would hang out with anyone as long as they pet him. There’s something about snuggling with your dog that just makes you feel better when life is sad.


They say all dogs go to heaven. I’m not sure that I’m sold on the idea of heaven & hell, but I like to picture Rosco up there now, in a place where he’s getting pet for hours on end, where it never storms, the cat food is plentiful and there’s lots of room to run around looking for trouble.

Best Easy Day Hikes San Jose: Trail # 1

Now that I’ve lived in the San Jose area for almost 3 months, I’ve developed a couple of favorite spots for hiking and biking. But since I like to explore as much as possible, I recently made a trip to the book store to get a hiking guide for the area. I was a bit disappointed at the selection – or rather, the apparent fact that there aren’t all that many awesome hikes in my immediate vicinity. A lot of the Northern California hiking books had mostly hikes that were hours away. This isn’t good for me because 1.) I like to hike with a certain canine, but she’s an absolute nightmare in the car, therefore I avoid long car trips with her unless necessary…


and 2.) while I like to do all-day hikes, there are definitely a lot of times when I want to do a hike but don’t have the whole day to do so. For those instances, I look for hikes that are going to take me 3 hours or less from the time I get in my car to the time I get back to my house.

In the end, I wound up nabbing this book:


Adam, Harley, and I picked an easy short hike as our first trail recommended from this book and went to a place called Miller Ruins Loop in Mount Madonna County Park.


The trail was pretty quiet, except for one thing that gave us all a bit of a heart attack. Check out where Harley is looking in the following picture – do you notice anything funky?

Miller-Hike-2AHow about now with the exposure adjusted?

Miller-Hike-2BYes, right after I snapped this photo with my phone, Harley started growling at the man hiding next to the tree, Adam jumped ten feet in the air when he saw him, followed by me yelling out of total surprise. The man was completely camouflaged and said that he was a target for search & rescue. We later saw a search & rescue dog hot on the trail for this guy. Had Harley not noticed him, I think that Adam and I would have walked right by. That’s definitely a first!

Besides that unexpected moment, it was a peaceful hike with typical things, like Harley chasing squirrels every chance she got…


…my capturing of a pretty moment in nature…


..and hiking by redwood trees and climbing around some ruins of some sort.


Miller-Hike-9One interesting aspect of this trail area is that the park has white fallow deer enclosed in one spot. Apparently a couple of deer were given as a gift to the the Henry Miller Estate in the early 1900s. When the land was later purchased by the park, they inherited the deer. Fallow deer are not native to the U.S. The deer are kept in the pen because of “resource management challenges” to prevent the spread of the population. Don’t ask me what that means, because I’m not exactly sure. What I do know is that this was the closest to deer that Harley has come, and she acted like a bit of a maniac. I think she was actually trying to bite them through the fence like the nut that she is. I suppose that’s natural instinct kicking in or something?!



My overall impression of this hike is that it was pretty, quiet and super easy. It’d be best for beginners, people who are really sore and want an easy hike, or those who are just looking for a nice walk out in the forest. We also saw a picnic area, and it looked like a nice spot to relax and nosh a bit.