Monthly Archives: April 2014

Mint Chocolate Chip Date Balls

Hey friends, how’s it going?

Greetings from the east coast — my parents’ house in Jersey to be exact. Things around here are pretty up and down. As I talked about in my last post, I flew here because my sweet little grandma is really sick. When I’m not at the hospital or working, I’ve been trying to do things that soothe my soul a bit and help me keep it together. This includes fitting in an at-home workout this morning, going for a long walk with my brother’s girlfriend and their newborn baby yesterday, and having brunch with a close girlfriend today.

Yesterday after being at the hospital, I wanted to try to take my mind off of my grandma for a bit, so I decided to spend time in the kitchen whipping up some snacks and dinner for my family. My mom got a food processor last year that she had yet to open, so I unwrapped the packaging and broke it in.

food processor

My mom’s new kitchen gadget

Baking and cooking is such a stress soother for me. And as you probably know by now, I love to make food for people, and though my hubby is a happy eater of my creations, being at my parents’ gives me many more than willing tasters in my family members.

kitchen creations

My creations from top left clockwise: a roasted red pepper hummus platter, mint chocolate chip date balls, rosti potatoes with goat cheese and arugula (recipe here), cinnamon raisin flaxseed granola (recipe here), and a mixed green salad with blueberries, goat cheese, & honeyed walnut -n- hemp seed clusters (recipe here).

In preparation for making this food, I made a stop at the food store, and while I was there I  spotted mint chocolate chips. I love chocolate and I love mint, so I had to give these babies a try. Immediately what popped into my mind was to make date balls.

date balls-1

date balls-4

Date balls make such fun healthy dessert-like snacks. Next time I may put a few drops of peppermint extract into the date ball dough to make it have even more of a peppermint flavor, and I would have if I had some on-hand. However, they turned out tasty as is. Everyone enjoyed them and my sister said that these babies taste like Girl Scout cookies!

date balls-2

date balls-5

Mint Chocolate Chip Date Balls
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 12 Medjool dates, pitted
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • 2 TBSP brown rice syrup (honey or agave syrup would also work)
  • 2 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup mint chocolate chips
  • Pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, combine the dates, almonds, brown rice syrup, cocoa powder and salt. Pulse until it forms into a sticky ball. You may need to scrape down the sides once or twice to get everything mixed together well.
  2. Mix in the chocolate chips, and stir with a spoon to mix them in there evenly.
  3. With moistened hands, roll the dough into 8 even balls.
  4. You can stick them in the fridge to harden a bit, or enjoy them a little softer as is.
Notes
*You can also add in a few drops of peppermint extract for an extra minty flavor.*

 

Date balls – love em, hate em, never had em?

Ways to Keep Stress Levels at Bay During Difficult Times

Hello friends!

So, I have to tell you guys that my life has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster lately. I hope that you recognize this blog to be a happy and positive place. My blog is an extension of my personality and my life, and I’m usually pretty upbeat. Plus who wants to read a blog that’s a downer? Not me, and probably not you. But, I also am a real person with real, sometimes crappy life happenings, and since I want to always be authentic in sharing my life with you guys, today I’m talking about it.

not okay

 

My grandma has been really sick. She’s not just a grandma I see a few times a year at holidays and get cards from on my birthday. She’s one of the closest people in my life. Longtime readers may remember that last year I was in New Jersey for nearly a month as she fought to get through cancer and a horrible bout of pneumonia. It was extremely hard to sit by her bedside in the ICU as she struggled, but she miraculously made it through. After dealing with chemo and radiation for months, she was declared cancer free for the time being…and now here we are, just a couple of months later, and the cancer’s back, she has a blockage in her stomach hindering her from eating or drinking anything, she has developed pneumonia once again, and is back in the ICU.

Cross Country

I’ve been stressed out by it all. It’s a sickening feeling to have someone you love so much suffer and be in pain, plus I live 3,000 miles away. This has all been happening in the midst of my taking a trip down to San Diego to go house hunting, and now in the process of buying a house there, and also in the middle of the busiest time for work, and going on a work trip to Las Vegas. I was going back and forth about when and how I could get to Jersey to support her and be there with my family in the middle of trying to close on a house and move nextgrowing month, but you know what? I knew that heading to the east coast now is what’s best, so I booked a last minute trip there tomorrow.

I’m all about de-stressing and not worrying about little things in life, and so I tend to have pretty low stress levels. But let’s face it – some things in life cause a lot of sadness and stress, and my grandma being extremely ill is one of them. There’s no way around that and it is what it is, but what I have found helpful over the last month is to do certain things to de-stress as much as I can. It has definitely helped me, and I’d otherwise probably be quite an emotional mess during this time. Here are some ways I’ve been keeping my stress levels at bay:

#1- Practice mindfulness & positivity.  When thinking about big changes, life & death, it can be so overwhelming to contemplate it all in your head over and over again. The thoughts can suck you dry mentally. I’ve been trying to stay focused and present on the here and now, and to be mindful of the moment and all that I’m grateful for.

In terms of my grandmother’s life, I’ve been trying to focus on the pretty long life that she has lived, and all of the people whose lives she has touched. I think about how lucky I am to have had her be such a big role in my life. In terms of my trip back to the east coast at a less than ideal time, I’ve been trying to center my attention on being excited to meet my new nephew earlier than intended, and getting to spend quality time with my family and friends. I’m also reminding myself that no matter what, I have the strength to get through it.

raspberry bars

Yesterday’s breakfast: homemade raspberry oatmeal bars with freshly juiced mandarin juice

#2- Find outlets. I find cooking and baking to be relaxing, so I’ve been making sure to spend time in the kitchen. Partake in whatever activities calm you.

#3- Just breathe. 

Redwoods

A shot of Redwood trees from my hike yesterday

#4- Partake in exercise that feeds your soul. Our bodies recognize good stress and bad stress pretty much the same, so if I’m feeling really anxious and emotionally exhausted, I don’t do a really intense workout that’s going to deplete me even more. That’s why I’ve done a ton of hiking lately. On days when I’m feeling pretty good with pretty high energy levels, I’ve headed to the gym for workouts with higher intensity. It’s all about listening to your body. Exercise should be aiding you to better health not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.

#5- Sleep. To me, everything seems worse if I’m exhausted. Making sure to get enough Zzzzz time is always important, but during a stressful time it’s even more crucial. This is ironic since a lot of us don’t sleep well during stressful periods in our lives, but I think it makes things a lot easier to deal with.

Tell me, how do you cope with hard times? 

Fontina, Artichoke & Roma Tomato Calzone

Sometimes I hear about a recipe or see a picture of a meal, and I just know that I need to make it myself in the near future. I feel as though there’s a section in my brain solely dedicated to keeping a constant list of recipes to create and grub to try.

calzone-3

This is how I felt when I was recently reading Brittany’s blog and she was talking about different meal delivery services that she had given a try. With one of the services, she had eaten an artichoke and fontina calzone for dinner one night. As soon as I heard mention of fontina cheese paired with artichokes, rolled in pizza dough to make the classic Italian fare, I knew that I would be creating a recipe for it myself very soon.

Calzone Ingredients

And so here I was last weekend, with all of the ingredients to whip up a calzone recipe….and excited to finally sink my teeth into the cheesy, bubbling calzone that I had visions of dancing around in my foodie brain for a couple of weeks.

Calzone Ingredient-2Chopped Roma tomatoes. Grated fontina cheese. Marinated artichoke hearts. TJ’s whole wheat pizza dough, because I always cheat and buy the dough instead of making it from scratch.

dough

Sometimes I have recipe ideas that seem brilliant in my head, and then when they come to fruition, they totally disappoint me…while other times, recipes turn out exactly as I want them to, or even better. This, my friends, is a case of the latter.

calzone-1

As a teenager, I used to order a calzone often from a local pizzeria. They were always oozing with ricotta, spinach, and mozzarella, and so, so yummy. But what I love about this fontina, artichoke & Roma tomato calzone recipe is that it’s a little different than what you’d typically find in an Italian restaurant. The artichoke hearts and fontina cheese give it a little calzone pizazz.

calzone-2

Currently writing this post at 10:00 pm, I would like nothing more than to walk into my kitchen and whip up a late-night calzone. It’s probably a good thing that I don’t have any of the ingredients on hand!

calzone-4

This recipe is dedicated to the lovely Brittany for giving me the idea. Thanks lady! 

Fontina, Artichoke & Roma Tomato Calzone
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1-16 oz whole wheat pizza dough, prepared and ready to be rolled out
  • 8 oz fontina cheese, grated
  • 1-6.5 oz jar of marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ yellow onion, minced
  • 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • ½ TSP salt
  • ¼ TSP pepper
  • ½ TSP Italian seasoning
  • 2 TBSP-1/4 cup of flour for rolling out dough
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and cook until lightly browned.
  3. Add the chopped tomato and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow it to cool.
  4. Meanwhile, lightly dust your surface and rolling pin with flour. Cut the pizza dough into 4 even sections. Roll each section out into a circular shape.
  5. Once the tomato has cooled, transfer to a large bowl. Add chopped artichoke, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, grated fontina and parmesan. Mix together to combine well.
  6. Spoon the tomato mixture evenly onto one side of each dough circle. Fold the empty dough side of each circle over the opposite mixture-filled side, pinching the edges to seal.
  7. Transfer each calzone to a large lightly coated baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until dough is lightly browned.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 calzone, Calories: 555, Fat: 27 g, Saturated fat: 13 g, Carbohydrates: 54 g, Fiber: 6 g, Protein: 25 g, Cholesterol: 56 g

And lastly, I can’t write a delicious calzone post without showing you pictures of the calzones that Adam and I had in Europe last year:

Italy calzone

A calzone in Venice

Adam's hand compared to a calzone he had in Austria

Adam’s hand compared to a calzone he had in Austria

They were monsters!!

Are you a calzone fan? 

What’s on your list of recipes/restaurants to try?

Weekend Recap: Easter Winery Picnicking

Hi everyone!

I hope that your week is off to a great start. Today I’m sharing my favorite eats & activities from my three-day Easter weekend! I kicked off my weekend Thursday evening with a hiking workout with this little lady…

Harley hiking

…followed by some at-home yoga. It was perfect weather that fortunately continued throughout the weekend.

Hiking selfie

By the way, I’m sporting a t-shirt sent to me by My Social Canvas — a really neat design company based in NYC that’s dedicated to giving back to various causes in the community. I received the shirt as I was about to go hiking, promptly put it on, loved it and just kept it on. Got to love comfy and cute clothes!

Hiking yoga

On Saturday morning, I was up and out early for a date with Gina in Los Gatos. We bought a Groupon a few months ago for a hiking & yoga class that we cashed in on…

hiking yoga-2

hiking yoga class-1

…and then we had fruit and salads for brunch at a restaurant called Hult’s.

HultsSpeaking of food, there were some awesome eats in my weekend, including these to die for bananas foster waffles:

banana foster waffles

Recipe to come soon, but let me tell you, they were ah-mazing!

There were also pumpkin cajun roasted chickpeas in my life…

pumpkin chickpeas

…and a bowl of vegetable udon soup at a local Japanese restaurant:

veg udon soup

And then this might have happened….

cocoa cookie butter

I swore off Trader Joe’s cookie butter awhile ago because that stuff is addicting, but somehow a jar of their cocoa cookie butter swirl wound up in my shopping cart a couple of weeks back. I hid it from myself for awhile, but found it unintentionally over the weekend. And then proceeded to eat some with a spoon. Okay, I’m really swearing it off this time!!

Living far away from our families, sometimes we kind of just ignore holidays happening, while other times we celebrate it on our own or with friends. On Easter Sunday, my hubby and I decided to spend the afternoon on our own at our favorite local winery, Clos LaChance.

winery picnic-2

I brought quite the picnic: fresh bread, 3 types of cheese, an Edible Arrangements fruit bouquet that my parents sent us, dried mango, crackers and almonds.

Easter picnic-1

We sat outside in the glorious weather enjoying a bottle of chardonnay and our eats, and it was really nice! Since we’re most likely moving next month, this may have been our last time picnicking at the winery, so we made sure to enjoy it. It has been one of our favorite spots for the past 13 months, and I think you can see why!

Clos LaChance

After the winery, I declared that I was doing nothing productive for the rest of the day besides drinking wine, sitting on my patio and relaxing…and I have a bit of a headache today as a consequence of that, serving as a reminder of why I usually just have a glass or two! 😉

patio wine

Questions: 

Have you ever had cookie butter? 

What was the best thing you ate/drank/did last weekend?

Gear Review: Fitbit Flex

Hi there! Hope that you’re having a fabulous weekend. Happy Easter to all of those who celebrate it! Today I have a healthy living gadget review for you on the Fitbit Flex!

FitBit-2

If you’re a longtime Foodie Loves Fitness reader, you may remember that I used to have a Fitbit Ultra, which I adored and constantly used (I did a review on it in 2012 here). I used to clip it onto my pants at the waist, which never really was a problem…well, until about a year ago when I went for a motorcycle ride with my hubby, got home, and realized my Fitbit had somehow flung off of me during our ride (whomp, whomp). It was obviously never to be seen again, and while I loved using the tracker, I just didn’t feel like buying a new one.

Fast forward to last Christmas. My father-in-law and I had talked about the Fitbit, so we bought him one as a gift, and he wound up giving me one as a present. I was really excited, because naturally I had missed a gadget telling me to get off the couch and get moving if I needed a little extra motivation. 😉

FitBit Screen Shot

The Fitbit Flex activity tracker measures steps taken, calories burned and distance travelled. Now that I’ve been using it steadily for a bunch of months, I feel ready to give you the 411 on the Fitbit Flex. So here we go!

Pro: The Fitbit Flex has a simple bracelet design and is pretty easy to use once you learn the basics.

Con: Unlike the Fitbit Ultra I had (which, by the way, they no longer sell – but the Fitbit One on the market is similar), the Fitbit Flex doesn’t display all of your stats on the device itself. It simply displays 1 LED light for every 2,000 steps you’ve taken for the day. At the beginning, I actually really didn’t like my Flex because of that. It just seemed like a hassle to have to go on the computer to look up my stats during the day, and I found myself just not doing it much. Until…

Pro: I discovered the Fitbit app on my iPhone! It tells you all of your stats in realtime, and the Flex automatically syncs up to your phone. After figuring this out, I like my Flex so much better!

Con: A few times the bracelet has unhooked and flipped off of me by accident. The last time it happened I was getting out of a taxi at the airport, and I just happened to have noticed it. But given my track record with Fitbit devices, I’m predicting this to be the demise of my Fitbit Flex. Let’s hope I’m wrong!

FitBit-1

Pro: The Fitbit is pretty good at accurately measuring steps taken in a given day. However…

Con: What it’s not good with is gaging most other activities or even calorie burn during walking activities. I can spin for an hour, and according to my Fitbit, I haven’t moved at all. I’ll go for a 2-hour hike, and while my step count will be awesome, the Fitbit will estimate my calorie burn pretty low. It seems like it can’t really distinguish between a walk on a flat surface to a hike with crazy inclines. However, I manually add calorie burn during workouts to MyFitnessPal because I have the Polar heart rate monitor, which provides me with that info (I know, I kind of seem like a gadget nut!).

MyFitnessPal Screen shot

Pro: My Fitbit data automatically syncs up to the MyFitnessPal app I have on my phone where I log in my eats for the day, which on one hand, is neat. On the other hand…

Con: Refer to the con above. It incorrectly gages calorie burn, and then once I manually add the correct number, every time it automatically syncs, it changes my number back to what the Fitbit estimates. I’m all NO! I’m not lying about this Fitbit, I burned 700 calories! Why don’t you believe me??

Okay, it’s not that traumatic, but MyFitnessPal readjusts daily net calorie goals based on activity and it just bugs me a bit.

Pro: A feature of the Flex that I love is its silent alarm. I set the alarm via my iPhone Fitbit app, and it silently buzzes in the morning to wake me up. I’ve always gotten startled by ringtones and noises as my wake-up call, and it’s so much nicer to be woken up gently by my wrist buzzing. Side note: I always wake up right away, but I suppose if you’re a really deep sleeper you possibly could sleep through it.

I love to get my steps in for the day by hiking with Harley!

I love to get my steps in for the day by hiking with Harley!

Pro: You can wear the Fitbit 24/7. It’s waterproof, and I really only take it off to charge the tracker.

Con: In my experience, Fitbit products aren’t the most durable or glitch-free products out there. With my last Fitbit, I experienced some malfunction issues, and it has been the same thing with my Fitbit Flex. Just a few months after I got it, I was experiencing display issues. However…

Pro: The Fitbit team is awesome at responding to complaints to help you troubleshoot or to send out a new product ASAP. I had a new Fitbit Flex in a couple of days, and so far so good with the new one.

Con: The FitBit Flex also monitors your sleep. I like to check this feature out just to see what it says, but to be honest, I don’t trust it or find it to be very reliable. Some nights it’ll say I wake up and toss and turn a ton, which is usually true. But some nights I put it into sleep mode while I’m laying in bed watching TV, and the next day, my Fitbit will say I was snoozing for the entire time I was watching Law & Order.

FitBit Sleep Shot

Overall, I think that the Fitbit Flex is a neat healthy living gadget to have. It’s a nonchalant-looking bracelet that costs $100 and comes in a bunch of colors. I like just knowing how many steps I’ve taken because I’m a number crunching kind of gal. Some weeks I’ll make it a goal to get at least 10,000 steps each day, since my steps can be around 8,000-9,000 during the week when I tend to be more stagnant working. Here were my stats for the last time I challenged myself to this a few weeks ago:

  • Sunday – 10,288 steps
  • Monday – 13,807 steps
  • Tuesday – 11,094 steps
  • Wednesday – 17,525 steps
  • Thursday- 10,189 steps
  • Friday – 12,103 steps
  • Saturday – 15,451 steps

One of the nights that week this happened…

Twitter FitBit-2

…but hey, I met my goal!

Twitter-FitBit-1

Have you ever used an activity/step tracker?

Do you think that you walk at least 10,000 steps most days?

A Visit to The Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam-1

Last week while in Vegas, my co-worker and I ventured over to the Hoover Dam to check it out. When staying there, we always try to do something outside of work and the strip. Last year, we went to Red Rock Canyon, and a free afternoon this time allowed for a visit to the famous dam.

Hoover Dam-2

Five facts about Hoover Dam:

1.) It was constructed in the 1930s and spans the Colorado River in Black Canyon between Arizona and Nevada.

Hoover Dam-3

(The left of the photo is in Nevada, the right in Arizona)

2.) Building the dam required more than 5 million barrels of concrete, enough to create a two-lane highway from Seattle to Miami.

Hoover Dam-4

3.) 21,000 men worked on building the dam over the course of its construction. It’s estimated that around 110 of them died while building the dam.

Hoover Dam-5

4.) The dam’s generators provide power for public and private utilities in Nevada, Arizona and California.

Hoover Dam-6

5.) Hoover Dam impounds Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States by volume.

Hoover Dam-7

After walking around and checking out the dam and bridge from afar, we headed up to be on the bridge itself.

Hoover Dam-8

View from the bridge:

Hoover Dam-9

Hoover Dam-10

The dam was neat to check out, and was certainly a pretty sight to see! Have you ever visited the Hoover Dam?

Vanilla Peanut Butter Cinnamon Smoothie

Now that it’s spring and half the world is starting to get out of freezing temperatures and polar vortex slumps, smoothie season is getting underway.

PB cinnamon smoothie-2

I know what you’re thinking: I live in California and can pretty much drink smoothies year-round. But the truth is, here in the south bay area, the temperature swings are pretty nutty. It’ll get up to 75-80 degrees during the day, then drop down to 35-40 degrees at night. Literally, the temperature doubles most days! When I first moved here I couldn’t believe it.

Vanilla Bean Yogurt

While I drank smoothies somewhat often during winter, my smoothie habit wasn’t nearly as frequent as it has been the last few weeks and will be probably until late fall. You see, the house I’m living in stays really cool – as in, it’s 80 degrees out but I’ll work from my office with a sweatshirt and slippers on, my dog generating heat at my feet, and a hot cup of tea in hand because it’s chilly inside.

cinnamon

(source)

Lately, due to the nights being more mild and the days being warmer in general, the house has been staying around a nice 70 degree temperature…which means that my teeth aren’t chattering when I sip on a protein shake. Yes, smoothies have been drank all winter, but they’re so much more enjoyable when you don’t have to bundle up first!

PB

(source)

And so, I know that I just posted a smoothie recipe recently, but I’m posting another one today because my smoothie obsession is fully back in action! This vanilla peanut butter cinnamon smoothie was inspired by Sprouts Natural Foods Cafe in Lake Tahoe (you can read all about my eats in Tahoe here), where I recently had a delicious, creamy drink that I wanted to recreate at home.

I’m not pretending like this is one of the most innovative smoothie recipes you’ve ever heard of, but it sure is a winning combo. It may be my new favorite simply because it highlights a few of my long-standing kitchen obsessions: cinnamon, banana and peanut butter. I’m not going to lie to you, I could eat all of these things every single day. Oh wait, I pretty much already do.

PB cinnamon smoothie

Vanilla Peanut Butter Cinnamon Smoothie
Author: 
Serves: 1
 
Ingredients
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup vanilla almond milk
  • 6 oz vanilla bean Greek yogurt (or regular vanilla)
  • ½ TSP cinnamon
  • 2 TBSP peanut butter
  • ¼ TSP vanilla extract
  • Ice
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and pulse until smoothie.
  2. Pour into a large glass and enjoy immediately!

 

Vanilla peanut butter banana cinnamon smoothie…get in my belly! 😉

Have you been drinking smoothies? What’s your favorite smoothie combo?

Random Weekend Ramblings

Hello friends! Hope that you all had a fabulous weekend.

I’m in a random kind of mood, so I’m going to share some rambling thoughts and recent happenings in my life with you tonight. Sound good? Let’s get started!

FitFluential Is Fitness Found
I’ve been meaning to mention this, but recently I became a FitFluential Ambassador! For anyone not familiar with FitFluential, it’s an awesome community of influential fitness enthusiasts, and was designed to connect health and wellness brands with their ideal target market through customized marketing campaigns. I applied to be a brand ambassador for them not long after I began blogging and wasn’t accepted, and last year I decided to apply again. Second time’s a charm! 🙂

green juice

I’ve been a juicing maniac lately. Between putting my juicer to work at home and picking up Evolution juices in my hotel every morning in Vegas, there have been lots of green monsters in my life and I’m loving it!

yoga room

Last week while flying Virgin America (which I pretty much never do), I discovered that its terminal at the airport in San Fran has a yoga room. How awesome right? I had woken up so early to get to the airport, got through security, and then BOOM, I spotted a yoga room! I obviously spent the half an hour I had before my flight boarded to stretch and do some light yoga in it. It was awesome to do right before a flight and amongst the business of traveling. I vote for a yoga room in every terminal of every airport!

hibachi

Ginger tofu with spicy veggies & rice

I went out with my co-workers to hibachi for the first time in quite awhile last week. It made me realize that I’m a big fan of it and I need to go again very soon for a date night!

Confession: I think my obsession withThe Following and all reality murder mystery shows on television is messing with my head friends. When I came home from the airport at 11:30 PM a few nights ago, my hubby hadn’t been answering his phone for a few hours. His car was in the garage, my dog was home, and he wasn’t sleeping, so I immediately assumed that he had been kidnapped or was hidden in a closet tied up with rope and duck tape. I wish I was kidding! I walked around with my taser opening doors and freaking out until he walked in the door from having dinner at a neighbor’s house — which, in my defense, he has never done before. Whew, close one!

countryside

The view from my mountain biking excursion

I was quite the outdoorsy exerciser this weekend. On Saturday I went mountain biking, and today I went for an awesome hike at a new spot called Pinnacles National Park (recap to come later this week!).

Speaking of exercise, I’m currently on a hiatus from upper body workouts. Recently I tweaked my shoulder by reaching backwards awkwardly to plug in my iPad. With all of the exercising I do, I hurt myself plugging in a cord?! This may be a sign that I’m getting old. After some rest and a massage, I thought it had gone away, but a few days ago I woke up in a lot of pain and unable to move my arm over my head without wincing. It feels a little better now, but I’ll be forgoing any upper body strength training or rowing until it’s feeling a-okay. A massage may need to happen this week to help iron it out!

pancakes

In case you were wondering, my long-standing pancake obsession has not ceased in the least bit. Both this morning and yesterday I made oatmeal banana pancakes and topped them with fresh strawberries and Just Great Stuff powdered chocolate peanut butter. So yummy and healthy!

Harley playtime

And lastly, I’ll leave you with a picture of Harley during our afternoon playtime session a couple of days ago, just because she’s so damn cute.

Have you ever injured yourself doing something silly?

What are you obsessed with for breakfast?

Am I the only one who is warped in the head from watching too much Dateline and the I.D. Channel? 

My Next Bold MOVE

Happy Friday!

I’ve been MIA working in Vegas all week, but now I’m back home in Cali and excited to share a big announcement with you today.

Vegas view

I think that my hubby and I are adventurous people. For instance, we went skydiving to celebrate our first birthdays together.

skydiving 006

Before we jumped out of a plane together in the summer of 2007

We make decisions with our intuition and heart. For example, we had an engagement party a few months after the proposal so that our families could meet each other, and when people asked when we were getting married we said, “We’re going to the courthouse to make it official this Friday!” It felt so crazy and exciting, but I knew it was right for us.

engagement party

Our engagement party, 2009

While I don’t make impulse decisions, I also don’t plan life out strictly. I like to think things through, decide what feels right to me, then just go with it and be confident that it’s the right move. If you listened to my recent podcast, you know that the life mantra I spoke of is fear less, live more. I truly believe in doing that.

So what’s our next bold, awesome, scary, exciting move?

San Diego

We’re moving back to San Diego and buying a house there!

The Bay Area has been great, but both of us have missed San Diego. While we took advantage of all the Bay Area has to offer in the past year, we knew early on in our time here that we ideally wanted to get back to Southern Cali. It seems a little nutty to move 8 hours away from somewhere, only to move back a year later, but life is short and it’s what we want to do, so we’re going for it. We plan to move back towards the east side of the country at some point in the future to be closer to our families again, but for now, the beautiful, wonderful city of San Diego is calling our names.

We just went into escrow on the adorable house we’re buying earlier this week. This will be the first home we’ve ever owned. In addition to that, my hubby will be starting his own business later this year. It’s all both thrilling and scary, but it feels right to us and that’s all that matters right?

wine

We obviously celebrated with wine and cupcakes last night. 🙂

cupcakes

Mint Chippin’ + Peanut Butter Cup + Salt & Sweet heavenly cupcakes

Stay tuned for more details as things progress, but know that in the near future, this crazy awesome life of mine that I share on Foodie Loves Fitness will be continuing on in the place where my blog began — San Diego….and I can’t wait!!

The Morning Burst of Energy Workout

I’m sure I’ve said it before, but I love to start my day off with some movement. During the week I’m typically sitting down working a lot of the day, and it’s nice to just begin my day with either a long walk with Harley, some yoga, or a quickie workout that wakes my body up. It may just be the endorphins flowing, or perhaps it’s the way that movement makes me feel like I’m setting a good tone for the day, but I really think it gives me more energy throughout the morning and afternoon.

wake up be awesome

In the spirit of morning workout love, I’m sharing with you a workout sequence I created last week as a way to get that first thing in the AM movement in. The workout itself takes only 15 minutes. With around a minute of dynamic stretching to start, then a few short minutes of stretching at the end, it takes less than 20 minutes to do, making it an awesome quickie workout to begin your day on a positive note!

Morning Workout

I should note that while I like to exercise a bit when I wake up, I actually prefer to have my real  workout later in the day. This is probably because I don’t like waking up super early! Case in point: This morning I set my alarm for 6 AM to squeeze a workout in at my hotel’s gym since I’m in Vegas at the moment… but I totally snoozed through it and opted for the extra sleep. Instead of an AM exercise session, I worked out at 8:30 PM this evening after work. Whatever works best right!

Question: Are you also a fan of getting some exercise in first thing in your day?