Monthly Archives: January 2014

Things I’m Digging this Friday: Food, Beauty & My Favorite TV Show

Hi friends, and happy weekend!!

I’m joining in on the blogger trend I’ve been seeing everywhere of talking about things I’m loving lately. Here we go:

body conditioner

LUSH Ro’s Argan Body Conditioner

I was introduced to LUSH and its products over the holidays when Christmas shopping with my aunt, and now I’m seriously addicted to this stuff. Made with cocoa butter, cupuacu butter, almond oil and Argan oils, you use this product like hair conditioner: smooth some over your whole body in the shower, rinse it off, towel dry, and voila! Your body is soft and conditioned – no lotion necessary. It’s awesome, and it smells like roses! Oh and did I mention that all of the LUSH products are vegan and never tested on animals?

Zing bars

Zing Dark Chocolate Sunflower Mint Bars

I’ve been a fan of Zing bars for awhile now, but their new dark chocolate sunflower mint flavor is my favorite. These vegan, gluten-free bars are made with ingredients like organic dark chocolate, rice protein, sunflower seed butter and chicory root fiber. When I began really nixing foods that contain ingredients I’m not familiar with, one of the things I missed was Balance bars – specifically their chocolate mint bars. These Zing bars are an all-natural replacement, and they’re even more yummy to me!

Evolution Fresh

Evolution Fresh Juices

Even though I have a juicer, I got a little lazy last week and picked up a few Evolution Fresh juices to try out. While their sweet greens with ginger juice wasn’t sweet enough for me to love it, I did come up with a winning combo this week by combining their mango juice with spinach, celery, and cucumbers that I juiced myself. If you’re wondering why I bought juice and then wound up dirtying my juicer anyways…. I have no response, as there is no method to my madness.

TheFollowing

The Following

The second season of this showed premiered last week, and it is suspenseful to say the least. I don’t think I take a breath for the entire hour that I’m watching it! I do think I need to try to stop watching it at midnight so that I can stop having crazy nightmares. I can’t help myself though, it’s so good!

veggie-gos

Veggie-Go’s Fruit & Veggie Strips

Last week after hiking with Gina, I took her to the quirky little health food store I go to in my town, and she pointed out these veggie strips there. They come in flavors like carrot ginger, sweet potato pie, and mountain berry spinach, and they’ve quickly become my favorite I-need-something-to-eat-while-I’m-waiting-for-my-meal-to-cook snack.

Nuance Mask Nuance White Clay Treatment Mask

I’ve been on the hunt for a face mask that feels good and doesn’t burn my sensitive skin, and I found this goodie at CVS in Salma Hayek’s beauty line, Nuance, with its white clay treatment mask. It contains lemon & calendula extracts, isn’t pricey and is not tested on animals.

So there ya go — some food, some beauty loot and a little entertainment thrown into the mix for my list of current favorite things!

Hope that you all have a fabulous weekend, and for all of my football fan readers in the U.S., enjoy the Super Bowl! Just in case you missed it, check out my post on dip recipes to make for the big game.

Sweet Potato, Kale & Pasta Soup

This fall and winter more than any others in the past, I’ve been a soup eating machine. When eating out, I keep going for the soup on the menu. At home, there have been countless lentil, tomato & spinach soup dinners, and then there have been some soup experimentations, like zucchini puree and tonight’s recipe: sweet potato, kale and pasta soup.

sweet pot soup-2

This soup has so much goodness in it – including antioxidants, iron, fiber, Vitamin K, B6, A, C and D, calcium, magnesium, potassium… and the list goes on. Let’s just say that it’s nutritious!

This recipe came about because I had a bag of tuscan kale about to be past its prime in my fridge. I decided that it would pair well with sweet potato and pasta in a soup. Celery, onion and basil came into the picture because they’re soup staples to me. This recipe was the first time I tried out Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute – which is a combo of ingredients, including celery seed, cayenne pepper, parsley, marjoram, bay leaf, oregano, rosemary, cumin, mustard, coriander, garlic, carrot, and orange peel – but if you don’t have this mix of spices in your kitchen or a TJ’s near you, just substitute your favorite seasonings in the soup instead.

sweet pot soup-1

I served the hearty soup with fresh toasted bread for dipping, and it was the perfect meal on a chilly night.

sweet pot soup-3

sweet pot soup-4

Sweet Potato, Kale & Pasta Soup
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 4 cups chopped kale
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1½ cups dry fusilli, or other short shaped pasta
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • ½ sweet yellow onion
  • 2 TBSP chopped fresh basil
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 TSP Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute
  • ½ TSP salt, plus more to taste
  • ½ TSP pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a deep pot over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until lightly browned, about 7 minutes.
  2. Add the broth, sweet potatoes, basil, celery, 21 Seasonings Salute, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Add the pasta and kale, and cook for 15 minutes or until the pasta is tender.
  4. Season with more salt to taste.
  5. Spoon the soup into bowls and serve warm.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 235, Fat: 4 g, Carbohydrates: 44 g, Fiber: 6 g, Protein: 6 g

 

There’s always something comforting about a bowl of warm soup. I have minestrone soup on the menu for this weekend, and I’m pretty excited about it!

What’s your favorite kind of soup? Are you a sweet potato fan?

Fit Tip Tuesday: Jillian Michaels’ Yoga Inferno DVD Review

Hi everyone!

Today I’m joining Lisa‘s Fit Tip Tuesday link up party for the first time. Basically it’s a way for bloggers to share links to their posts about workouts, healthy living, or diet tips in one spot every week on her blog. What an awesome idea right?

Fit Tip Tuesday Button

I thought I’d do things a little differently and not talk about one specific move or tip, but share with you my love of doing yoga and thoughts on a new workout DVD from Jillian Michaels called Yoga Inferno.

If you’ve never done yoga, I highly suggest that you try it. It’s beneficial for every single person out there — whether you’re a seasoned athlete trying to improve flexibility, a person with back issues, or an exercise newbie who wants to expand your horizons. The great part about yoga is that you do things at your own level and pace. If you’re interested in trying yoga but don’t want to go to a class, I suggest following a few YouTube videos or DVDs to get a feel for what style works best for you.

Dancer's Pose

I used to not practice yoga because I thought it was too slow-paced for my liking, but my how things have changed! I like doing yoga on days when my muscles are achy and sore from tough workouts the day before, and also as a way to wake my body up first thing in the morning. I kid you not, after a good yoga session, I feel longer and leaner. My body just feels loose and relaxed. Then there are the times when I want to do yoga, but I also want to sweat and get my heart rate up….and that’s where Jillian Michaels comes in.

Jillian DVDs

I got the new Jillian Michaels’ Yoga Inferno DVD expecting to love it because, well, I’m a
Jillian Michaels workout junkie. I own her first yoga DVD, Yoga Meltdown, and like how it’s somewhat fast paced so that I feel like I’m really getting a workout in.

Yoga Inferno takes fast-paced yoga to another level. It’s more like a hybrid version of Yoga Inferno
yoga, incorporating stretching and mobility aspects while also including high impact moves to get your heart pumping.

The DVD includes two dynamic 30-minute workouts that combine traditional resistance moves with classic yoga poses and 30-second cardio intervals. The first few times I did each workout, I looked at my watch halfway through and thought Yikes, I’ve only been doing this for 15 minutes?!  Those interval cardio bursts of plank jacks, mountain climbers, and jump squats sure can make time feel like it’s going by slow!

The only con I have about the DVD is that there are a few pretty awkward sequences — not in that they were challenging (which I usually like), but in that the transitions from one move to the next just felt weird. Not as a huge deal, but it has been something I’ve noticed each time.

Yoga Inferno HRM

According to my heart rate monitor, I burn 200-250 calories during each 30-minute workout. Overall, I think that Yoga Inferno is a great workout for those who want to incorporate some yoga moves and stretching into a workout that’ll also work up a sweat and get your heart rate up.

Thanks to Lisa for hosting Fit Tip Tuesday!

 

Snapshots of Weekend Awesomeness

I thought of titling this post, “Hiking, massages, and wine tastings, these are a few of my favorite things!” but then thought better of such a lengthy title. But, my weekend had a lot of awesomeness in it, so I thought I’d share some of it with you all.

My weekend started off with a hike with Gina and Harley at Mount Madonna Park.

mount madonna-1

hiking-2

The weather was nice and mild, Harley acted like a maniac as usual, and with Gina and I just chatting away, our workout just flew by. I think that these hiking dates need to happen more often!

hike HRM

Some of my at-home meals included this delicious breakfast creation….

PBJ Waffles

[Whole wheat flaxseed PB & J waffles topped with strawberry sauce]

Does that not just look and sound like a whole lot of yumminess?

pizza

[A slightly burnt but still good whole wheat pizza topped with mini heirloom tomatoes, zucchini and mozzarella]

veggies

[Lots of roasted veggies, including these cool locally grown carrots that were purple and yellow on the outside and orange on the inside]

On Saturday morning I had a long yoga & stretching session in my living room.

yoga

I also went to my first massage at the National Holistic Institute, a massage therapy school where students need 900 hours of training to graduate (whew!). It was recommended by my physical therapist as a place to go for cheap massage therapy to address my ever-tightening calf, which has been bringing my recurring foot pain back lately.

My masseuse was really good at listening to me, and she pretty much dug into my calf muscle for half of the session. I feel like she really helped to release a lot of those built-up toxins and knots. It hurt so good, and I was really sore yesterday from it, but it was just what my body needed. I’m thinking that I’ll try to make it there every other week to get my calf worked on, and I’m happy I made it there on Saturday!

My weekend also included some long walks with my hubby and pup…

Harley with ball

Saturday night my hubby and I went on a date night in San Jose. We’re about half an hour away from the city but don’t hang out there all that often, so we thought it’d be something different to go spend an evening there downtown.

san pedro square

First we went to a wine and chocolate tasting at Sherman Cellars. I had nabbed a Groupon for it a couple months back. No surprise there, as the words “chocolate” and “wine” always seem to grab me.

choc wine tasting-1

It was kind of funny because the tasting room is part of Creekview Vineyards –  a place located nearby our home that we’ve passed before but haven’t visited – and I didn’t know this until we got there. Each tasting was paired with different kinds of dark and milk chocolate.

choc wine tasting-2

My verdict? The chocolates were good, the wine was just so-so. There were 2 kinds that I liked: the zinfandel and their port. I wasn’t really a big fan of the other wines, but the tasting was still fun.

choc wine tasting-3

Next we went to dinner at Paolo’s, an Italian restaurant that Adam’s dad had gifted us a meal to over the holidays. This Wine Spectator award caught my eye when we walked in…

paolos-8

…and indeed they did have a nice selection on their wine list. We chose a bottle of French wine called Jean-Paul Brun “L’Ancien” Beaujolais, which is a red wine made from the Gamay grape. Both of us enjoyed it.

paolos-6

paolos-4

Caught him! 😉

For an appetizer we ordered their Italian cured meats and cheese plate. The dish was slacking in the cheese department (about 1 oz of cheese total is not acceptable in my book for an appetizer for two!), and Adam obviously ate all of the meats.

paolos-5

paolos-7

I had seen a butternut squash pasta dish on the menu online beforehand that I was going to go for, but it wasn’t on the menu at the restaurant last weekend. Instead, I ordered beet, potato and cheese ravioli with poppy seeds. The dish was decent but I wasn’t overly impressed.

paolos-3

Adam’s entree featured house-made pasta, broccoli and sausage. He thought that it was good, but as he described it, “not the best, not the worst” dish.

paolos-2

Despite the fact that we had eaten a bit of dessert prior to dinner, we ordered some sort of peanut butter ice cream cake with caramelized bananas on the side to share.

paolos-1

This was tasty, though I did find myself wanting more banana to enjoy.

Overall, I thought that the service and presentation at Paolo’s was great, but it fell a bit short to me as far as some of the food goes. I don’t even like big portions, but I also don’t like when a restaurant gives you itty bitty amounts of yummy things. I just wasn’t wowed, though we all know that I’m a huge Italian food lover and have somewhat high standards. Regardless, we had a nice dinner and date night together.

And those were the highlights of my weekend!

Questions: Do you get massages often? Are you a big Italian food lover? 

6 Dip Ideas for the Super Bowl

With the Super Bowl coming up in a week, I know that there are plenty of people out there trying to come up with easy but tasty (and hopefully somewhat healthy!) munchies to bring to a party or have at their own place. As I mentioned in my last post when sharing my recipe for queso fresco black bean dip, I am most definitely an appetizer and dip lover. So, without further adieu, I thought I’d share 6 awesome dip recipes with you today:

French Onion Dip

onion dip

I just whipped up my take of this classic yummy dip for the first time last New Year’s Eve. I liked it so much, I just may make it again on Sunday! Serve it with carrots, celery, pretzels, or (homemade) potato chips. You can check out the recipe here.

Spinach & Artichoke Dip 

spinach artichoke dip

A lighter version than what you’ll find in restaurants all over the place, this dip is one of my all-time favorite football watching recipes. You can find the recipe here.

Avocado Hummus

avocado hummus

In my opinion, you can never go wrong with hummus. It’s so easy to make, delicious and healthy. For a twist on classic hummus, throw some roasted red pepper in or make this avocado hummus.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Dip

cinnamon cc dip

It’s well known that I’m obsessed with cinnamon, so coming up with a cinnamon dip was a no-brainer for me. It’s great to serve with your favorite fruit. Personally, I’ve been dipping cinnamon toast Pretzel Crisps into the dip because they’re out of this world yummy.

Pretzel-Crisp-Cinnamon-Toast

This 5-ingredient dessert dip recipe is new up on the Girls Gone Sporty website! You can find it here.

White Bean Pesto

Pesto Ingredients Collage

white bean pesto

pesto-3

I slightly altered this recipe from Chef Del’s Better Than Vegan cookbook, and my hubby and I have been eating it with everything, including as a sandwich spread, dipping veggies into it, or as pictured above, as a crostini topper. I even got a little fancy and threw some dried cranberries and cashews around the dish, which takes all of 10 seconds and adds a nice touch to the appetizer. Here’s the recipe:

White Bean Pesto
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 4 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1 15-oz can cannellini or other white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ cup nutritional yeast
  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
  • Sea salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.

 

Yogurt & Cream Cheese Dip

yogurt dip

This 4-ingredient sweet dip is great with fresh fruit. Fruit skewers like the ones pictured are always a hit! Check out the recipe here.

My fellow football watchers, do you have any fun Super Bowl plans? What food are you planning on making/eating for the game?

Queso Fresco Black Bean Dip

Sometimes whipping up a quick dip makes for the perfect meal.

When watching primetime football. 

When you’re having a game night. 

When you feel like being lazy in the kitchen but still need to make some sort of dinner. 

If you’re a dip eating kind of person, then I’ve got a recipe for you today:

queso black bean dip-2

Slowly but surely, my husband has shifted from being a bean-hater who would say, “Are there beans in this?” with distaste every time I included them in a dish, to someone who doesn’t mind them all that much. In fact, when I put this dip on my kitchen table, he not only said nothing of the dip’s focus on black beans… but he even commented on really being a fan of the dish.

I think that if/when we have children one day, I’ll use similar kitchen tactics of slowly integrating “hated” ingredients into dishes little by little until they come to their senses and realize that things like beans – healthy, delicious beans – are actually not bad.

queso fresco bean dip-1

This dip idea was conceived when queso fresco caught my eye amongst the cheeses at the grocery store. Queso fresco is a soft, quinessential Mexican cheese that tastes like a mild feta. From there, I ran with the idea of a Mexican themed dip and used veggies like avocado, red bell pepper, cilantro, and of course, black beans.

queso black bean dip-3

Just chop your veggies and combine them, crumble queso fresco on top, pop it in the oven for a couple of minutes, then serve warm with tortilla chips. BAM — an easy, somewhat lazy, tasty meal!

Queso Fresco Black Bean Dip
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 6 oz queso fresco
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 avocado
  • ¼ red onion
  • ½ red bell pepper
  • 1 TBSP fresh cilantro
  • 2 TSP fresh oregano
  • ¼ TSP salt
  • ¼ TSP pepper
  • juice from ½ small lemon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Chop tomato, red onion, cilantro, oregano and red bell pepper. Slice avocado into small chunks.
  3. Place black beans, tomato, cilantro, oregano, red onion, pepper and avocado in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Pour lemon juice on top, and toss to combine evenly.
  4. Place mixture in a 6x9 or other small baking dish. Crumble the queso fresco cheese evenly on top. Bake in the oven until cheese is melted, around 10 minutes.
  5. Serve warm with tortilla chips.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 180, Fat: 10 g, Saturated fat: 4.5, Carbohydrates: 12 g, Fiber: 5 g, Protein: 10 g

 

Question: Do you like beans? If so, what’s your favorite kind?

I myself loveeee chickpeas!

My Happy Marriage: The Happy Wives Club Blog Tour

At the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where I’m currently a student, one of the core concepts is the idea of primary foods – the things that feed you and bring joy and satisfaction into your life that AREN’T food. Examples of primary foods are primary foodeducation, career, spirituality and relationships. In order to live a happy, healthy, fulfilled life, you need to not only follow a diet that fuels your body well, but you also need to have balance and contentment in your primary foods. If you hate your career, hardly ever get much physical activity, your finances are in shambles, and your life is full of toxic relationships, you are not going to be a really healthy person, no matter how many vegetables you eat every day.

When the Happy Wives Club contacted me about writing a post as part of their “It’s All About Love” blog tour, I immediately was on board. Being that this is a healthy living blog and I explore so many aspects of my health, I thought it’d be great to write a post about my marriage – a main primary food in my life that brings me so much joy and happiness. I’m a little late to the party, since it began at the beginning of January, but better late than never right? 😉

HWClub_SqBlogButnA

With so many negative portrayals of marriage dominating the media all around us, Fawn Weaver started the blog Happy Wives Club because she was determined to find and connect with women just like her—happy and optimistic about marriage, deeply in love with her spouse, and committed to building a strong marriage that stands the test of time. The new Happy Wives Club book is Fawn’s journey across the world to meet new friends and discover what makes their marriages great.

Sometimes when people talk about relationships and marriages, they use the word ‘work’ a lot. They love to say, It’s a lot of work making a marriage successful. 

During my husband’s military career, we endured living on separate continents during deployments, cross-country moves and long work hours. Since then, there has been career change, more moving, and more long work hours. All of this has been part of what has made our marriage thus far an adventure. I wouldn’t want it any other way, and never once has the thought of our relationship being a lot of work crossed my mind.

If you look up the word work, nouns listed include: labor, toil, drudgery, grind, sweat, elbow grease. We’re each other’s biggest supporter, and that’s a genuine loyalty and feeling that has come naturally to us, with no elbow grease or drudgery involved. The simplest way I can try to put it into words is just to say that we’re true partners in life.

Sea cave canoeing in Thailand, 2012

Sea cave canoeing in Thailand, 2012

In thinking about what my secrets are to a happy marriage, there are a few words that stick out in my mind, and one of them is respect. You can’t have a healthy relationship without respecting one another. The moment you stop respecting your partner and their ideas and opinions is the moment your relationship starts to deteriorate. I have so much respect for my man, and I know that it’s a mutual feeling.

Another important word in our relationship is honesty. Both of us are pretty straight-forward people, so being honest has come easily in our relationship, and it’s an integral part of why we work as a couple. Being honest and genuine takes the guesswork out of figuring out your partner. If I want to know something, I ask, and I trust in the answer being truthful. Life’s too short to play games!

Maintaining our individuality has also been the backbone to our happy life as a couple.  In a marriage, I think it’s so important to never lose sight of yourself. Ask yourself, What are you bringing to the relationship? What makes you unique, lovable, and awesome?  My husband and I are our own people. While some of our interests and hobbies overlap, we also bring some different things to the table. We support each other in our own individual endeavors and aspirations. As an individual, I want him to be the happiest he can be, and as my own person, I want to be the happiest that I can be. In taking those individual experiences and personalities, respecting each other in our quests to be our best selves, and being honest about what we want out of life, our lives mesh together beautifully to make the happy marriage we have today.

In the spirit of spreading the wisdom, I ask you, what are your secrets to a happy relationship? 

If you’re interested in checking out Fawn’s journey in discovering the best marriage secrets the world has to offer, you can learn more about her book and grab a copy here. I think the book’s concept is pretty awesome!

HWClub_BlogButnA_600x150

 

Breakfast for Dinner & Oatmeal Almond Protein Pancakes

Hi there!

I’m a day late in posting this, but in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day being yesterday, here are a couple of my favorite of his quotes:

MLK Quotes

Ever have days that you feel like are just off? Today was definitely one of those days. I was having an issue with my Mac where 2 of the keys weren’t working right, so I had to drop my computer off at the Apple store for a repair yesterday. Because of this, I had to work on my iPad and hubby’s PC today, neither of which I know how to use that well, without any of my files or previous emails on hand. It was a pain in the butt but I worked through it without getting too frustrated, and luckily my computer was ready to pick up later on today.

My off work day rubbed off on me when coming up with what to make for dinner. I had just come home from a gym workout and just didn’t feel like eating any dinner food. What to do when you’re not really in the mood for dinner? Breakfast for dinner my friends!

breakfast for dinner

I made whole wheat pancakes with a few dark chocolate chips thrown in for good measure, veggie “sausage” patties and fruit.

And speaking of breakfast, I have yet another pancake recipe for you today. I know I know, pancake recipes 2 weeks in a row? What can I say, pancakes happen pretty often in my kitchen!

almond pancakes-1

This is another recipe creation made with my new Designer Whey almond protein powder. You can just as easily use vanilla protein powder, they just won’t taste as almond-y.

almond pancakes-2

almond pancakes-3

These babies pack 21 grams of protein, plus I added a bit more by topping mine with Kashi almond flax cereal and raw honey.

Oatmeal Almond Protein Pancakes
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup old fashioned oats
  • ½ scoop almond protein powder
  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 TBSP of natural almonds
  • 2 TBSP whole wheat flour
  • ¼ TSP almond extract
  • ¼ TSP cinnamon
  • 1 packet of stevia sweetener (or a bit of regular sugar)
  • Dash of salt
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until mostly smooth.
  2. Spoon batter to form 3 pancakes onto a large griddle coated with cooking spray over medium heat.
  3. Cook until bubbles form and the bottoms becomes lightly browned, then flip the pancakes and cook on the other side for a few minutes more.
  4. Serve warm with your favorite pancake toppings.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 370, Fat: 13 g, Saturated fat: 1 g, Carbohydrates: 48 g, Fiber: 5 g, Protein: 21 g

 

Question: Do you ever eat breakfast for dinner?

Zucchini Puree with Oregano Cream

Happy weekend everyone!

My Saturday so far has been lovely. I put my juicer to work for breakfast, finished up this week’s IIN lecture, took Harley for a long walk, and visited the Morgan Hill farmers’ market and health food store. Today was the first time I’d been to my town’s farmers’ market in awhile, and I forgot how much I love just walking around markets picking up local food. There’s a certain energy at a market filled with locally grown food and the happy farmers and workers who sell it. My market picks:

 

market picks

All of the apples I’ve been getting at food stores have been browning quickly and aren’t as crisp. It’s amazing how much crisper and fresh the apple is that I’m eating at the moment, along with some strawberries (Strawberries in January? Sure why not!) while sitting on my patio enjoying the beautiful day. I also couldn’t resist raw honey made in the town next to me, some multi-colored carrots and cherry tomatoes, as well as mandarins and ginger, which are staples of mine when it comes to juicing. I’m planning on using the broccoli rabe to make an easy pasta & broccoli with garlic and oil dish during the week, and how could I say no to nabbing sunflowers to brighten up my kitchen table? But I digress.

Speaking of veggies, the recipe I’m talking about today centers around zucchini.

Zucchini Soup-1

Zucchini is a staple veggie in my kitchen. I almost never know what I’ll use it for when I buy it, but I know it’ll get used somehow, because I throw zucchini into so many different dishes. If I’m making rice, I’ll throw some sautéed zucchini into the mix. If I cook a simple pasta with marinara dish, diced zucchini finds its way in there. Not to mention my almost weekly quesadilla dinners, which inevitably wind up happening when I get home from the gym starving and need to make something to eat as quickly as my little fingers will allow me to prepare a meal.

I can’t take credit for this zucchini puree, as I spotted it in my Williams-Sonoma Soup book recently when browsing it, since I’ve been soup obsessed this fall and winter. I made minimal changes to the original recipe, which includes just a simple ingredient list. Besides zucchini, the other star of the dish is fresh oregano – an aromatic, spicy herb. What pulls the puree together well and gives it the extra kick it needs is the oregano cream, which is made simply from sour cream (or plain yogurt), fresh oregano and salt and pepper.

Zucchini Soup-3

I served the puree with fresh toasted bread for dipping. My hubby and I both loved this meal. I don’t recall how much he actually verbalized this at the time, but I know so because the leftover soup was gone by the next day. That is always the surefire sign of a thumbs up from him!

Zucchini Soup-2

Zucchini Puree with Oregano Cream
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 6 zucchini, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • ½ TBSP olive oil
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 TBSP plus 1 TSP of finely chopped fresh oregano
  • ½ cup light sour cream (or plain yogurt)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the zucchini and season to taste with salt and pepper. Continue to saute until the zucchini and onion are browned, 5-7 minutes longer.
  3. Add the vegetable stock and 2 TBSP of the oregano, and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Remove the soup from heat.
  4. To make the oregano cream, stir together the sour cream, remaining 1 TSP or oregano, and salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl.
  5. In a blender or food processor, puree the soup in batches until smooth. Return the soup to the pan and reheat it. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish each bowl with a big spoonful of oregano cream. Serve immediately.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 125, Fat: 5 g, Saturated fat: 2.5, Carbohydrates: 16 g, Sugar: 12 g, Fiber: 3 g, Protein: 6 g

 

If you have some zucchini around that need to be used, are a zucchini lover, or are just looking for a new healthy soup to make, go ahead and click the print button and give this recipe a try!

Foodie Loves Fitness Turns TWO!

Hello, hello!

First thing’s first: Using a random number generator… Jordan Lynn at Life Between Lattes is the winner of my giveaway for Chef Del’s Better Than Vegan cookbook! I’ll be emailing you for your address shortly. 🙂

Book-Winner

In other fun news, Foodie Loves Fitness turned two today!

It’s amazing to think about all that has happened in my life since this blog started. When I began the blog, my hubby had just deployed and I thought it was a good time to start a cool project. I loved food, cooking, and staying active, and had been reading health blogs for awhile. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing (which is very evident if you read my posts at the beginning!), but I am so happy that I went for it and delved into this big yet somehow small world of healthy living bloggers.

Happy Birthday FLF-2

Starting Foodie Loves Fitness ignited a passion inside of me. I had grown up always being active and exercising, had become a vegetarian at the age of 10, and was always into health, but I hadn’t realized just how much I loved it all until I began blogging. With the creation of my little space here on the Internet, it became very evident to me that creating recipes and workouts, talking about health, and writing were giant callings in my life.

Okay, that’s not entirely true. I always knew that I loved writing. I’ve been writing my whole life – for fun, for school, for work. But starting the blog made me realize that I wanted creative writing to become an even bigger part of my life, and so I began freelance writing.

Blogging has also allowed me to make so many great connections with awesome, like-
minded people and companies – whether through the brands that I’m an ambassador for, the random comments and emails I get from readers, the products I’ve gotten to review,
heart fruitevents I’ve been fortunate enough to attend, or the people I may or may not have actually “met” who I feel like I know from reading their blogs all the time. It’s a never-ending cycle of having fun creating recipes and workouts, documenting my life, learning from other bloggers’ opinions and healthy living ideas, and just growing in my knowledge and experience as a healthy living enthusiast.

Starting Foodie Loves Fitness also made me realize that I want to make a difference in this
world by helping others to lead healthier, happier lives, whether through my recipes, workout ideas, random healthy living talk, or in a more direct one-on-one way — which is why I just began school at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to be a certified health coach. I am so excited to learn as much as I can about living healthily and helping others to do so, especially at a time when America is in such a health crisis that’s only worsening.

Lastly, there are the life lessons I’ve learned from having my blog and all that comes with it.be fearless My blog is a constant reminder to be fearless and do things your own way. If you want to do something, GO FOR IT! You never know where it might lead you. I only have this one life to live (Side note: Hey, I mean, I think reincarnation is a possibility…. in which case, I’m hoping I’ll come back as a lion next!), and I want to be my happiest, healthiest, most fulfilled version of myself. I thank you all for stopping by to read my little piece of the Web and for being on this journey with me. I’m so excited to see how Foodie Loves Fitness evolves and grows in the next year!