Monthly Archives: March 2016

My New Travel-Inspired Workout Room

Being that I’m on vacation this week traveling up the gorgeous Cali coast, I thought it’d be fitting to take a break from food and fitness to share a post about a new room I just redid in my house with a travel & adventure theme.

Workout Room-Adventure sign

This room serves as my exercise room for when I do at-home workouts – housing all of my fitness equipment like my bike trainer, dumbbells, yoga mats, stretching/foam rolling/recovery toys, workout DVDs, etc. It also serves as a guest room when we have visitors in town, and is the room where Adam’s closet resides (…because I refuse to share the walk-in closet in our master bedroom!). Before we redid it, the room was dingy looking and plain… and now I kind of love the space!

Workout Room Gear-1

Workout Room-Bike Trainer

It seems like I’ve always moved into places in a hurry, decorated in a rush, and then never felt like putting too much time and money into redoing things:

When I first moved in with A, we were temporarily living in Florida while he was in a school for the Marine Corps. Since we knew our stint in the area would be short-lived, we rented furniture and kept our place pretty basic.

Next up, we packed up a Uhaul and moved cross-country to San Diego. We literally pulled into furniture stores, picked out stuff, and loaded up the Uhaul to move into our new place. I decorated our apartment in San Diego, but since we were renting and were kind of limited with space, we couldn’t alter it too much.

Our next move was up to the Bay Area, where we pretty quickly decided that we weren’t going to stay there for the long haul. We rented a condo for a little over a year before traveling back down to Southern Cali for a weekend, seeing 30 potential houses, and putting in an offer to buy one that same day.

The period when we bought our house was a whirlwind. While we were going through the escrow period, I was on the East coast for nearly a month as my grandma passed away….inspections, assessments, never-ending paperwork, it all was a blur. I flew back to Cali with a heavy heart, packed up all of my stuff in a few days, and drove 9 hours south to move into the very first home that we’ve owned.

Canvas Prints Collage

While we’ve definitely made improvements and done some projects and updating on the house since then, this room was the first total room overhaul we’ve done. I put a lot of thought into decorating it, and picked an adventure theme because I wanted my workout room to be inspiring.

Because we knew we’d be hanging up a lot of colorful pieces, we repainted the room with a simple color, “Moonlit Beach” aka white with a slight bluish hue. Hung up on the walls are canvases I made of photos I’ve taken: from adventures in Catalina Island, CA; a rain forest in Thailand; Venice, Italy; hot air ballooning in Del Mar, San Diego; Lake Tahoe, CA; and Joshua Tree, CA.

Workout Room-World Map

Showcased in the middle of that wall is a Christmas present that A gave me: a world map where we’ve pegged the places we’ve lived (red), places we’ve visited (white), and places that we want to go next (black). I had wanted a map like this for years, and absolutely love it!

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Chocolate Cherry Cashew Smoothie Bowl [vegan]

Hi friends, Happy Friday!

I couldn’t get my act together to get this post out this morning as planned, but better late than never! Shall we catch up and talk about my recipe of the day? cherry cashew smoothie-3

So, my father-in-law flew into San Diego from the East coast last night and will be here for the long weekend, I’m working on Monday, and then come Tuesday, I’ll be on vacation for the rest of the week. My hubby and I going on a road trip up to wine country and meeting my parents there, who are flying in from the East coast. I am really excited for it and can’t wait to be wine tasting in Sonoma with my favorite people!

This has been a really busy time with work, so I can’t decide if this is a great time to go on vacation. On one hand, it’ll be lovely to get to unwind and relax after being in go-go-go mode for weeks, but on the other hand, I’ve been a maniac trying to get everything done in preparation for being out of the office for 4 days. I’m drowning in blog/healthy coaching emails, have been up doing late-night publicist work most days, and I feel like my brain hasn’t been able to shut off come bedtime. Ah well, my attitude is that I’ll do what I can do, then thoroughly enjoy my time off next week.

cherry cashew smoothie-4

Oh, and after experiencing pain in my foot for awhile, I finally went to the doc this week and found out that I have two little broken bones, so I’ve also been dealing with that saga (more on that later).

So I guess to sum it up, things around here have been a bit hectic. But all we can ever do is roll with it all right? And remember that life is wonderful. And do yoga to center our bodies and minds. And of course, no matter what’s happening in my life, you better believe that I’m making time to eat good food. Like today’s recipe.

Cherry Cashew Smoothie

What I love about smoothie bowls is that 1.) they’re just as delicious as my beloved regular smoothies, but you can enjoy it with a spoon, so 2.) you can put tons of fun toppings of them, and 3.) they aren’t as bold-chilling cold as regular smoothies with tons of ice mixed in like I usually do. For this smoothie bowl, I used the awesome combo of chocolate + cherry + cashew flavors.

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WIAW: Easy Eats + Snacking on Kala Beans {Review}

Hello, hello!

Today I’ve decided to switch it up & do something I haven’t done in quite awhile: participate in the What I Ate Wednesday party, hosted by my friend Laura this week!

WIAW-New

This is actually a recap of my day of eats one day last week when I actually remembered to snap photos of every meal. Let’s get to it!

blueberry coconut smoothie bowl

For breakfast in between my morning yoga practice and a conference call, I made a berry smoothie bowl and topped it with coconut shreds and blueberries. So good! I think that fresh blueberries + coconut is a new favorite combo of mine.

Yogi Tea wisdom

Early afternoon, I took a break from work to take my pup for a walk and make some lunch – which was really breakfast #2: banana protein pancakes with blueberries, a few dark chocolate chips & honey + Yogi green tea.

chocolate blueberry pancakes

Pancakes never get old to me!

A bunch of hours later, I noshed on a Luna bar as a pre-workout snack while finishing up a writing assignment.

Luna cookie dough bar

Bars = the easiest snack ever. I have bars all over the place – in my car, gym bag, purse, beach bag, and probably a few other places.

white bean burger dinner

For dinner, I tried out Morningstar Farms’ new white chili bean burgers. I placed one on a slice of whole wheat toast and topped it with mashed avocado + salsa, along with a salad on the side.

Who says healthy can’t be convenient? Dinner was ready in 10 minutes flat!

As a snack a bit later, I ate a few handfuls of Kala Beans pineapple kick medley – which is a mix of roasted fava beans and orange-glazed chickpeas with pineapple, blueberries and paprika. It’s a bit of a sweet & spicy kick, and I liked this sort of strange but good combo!

KALA Beans-1

Recently Kala Beans sent me an adorable package of their bean snacks to try out. It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of beans. They’re a wonderful plant-based protein source that pack in lots of nutrients, including iron, magnesium and zinc.

KALA beans-2

One of my favorite ways to tout beans and their benefits in conversations is to reference Blue Zones, which has explored the communities around the world where people live the longest to research how they’re doing so and what their secrets are. While these communities differ a lot, they also have a lot of commonalities…. one of which is the daily eating of beans! People in these communities also eat lots of veggies & fruit, little meat, and usually drink wine nearly daily (yes!)… but I digress.

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My {Vegetarian} Easter Menu

Can you guys believe it’s already mid-March? I feel like this year is flying by so far! Since I was a bad food blogger who didn’t even mention St. Paddy’s Day on here or make any festive recipes for it this year, shall we move on to the next holiday & talk about Easter?

mini-carrot-cake-cupcake

The cutest carrot cake cupcake that I ever did see.

Normally my hubby and I don’t really celebrate Easter since it’s neither one of our favorite holidays and we live so far away from our families’ celebrations of it, but this year, my father-in-law will be in town. I love entertaining, so this Easter I’ll be whipping up some fun recipes.

I’ve been brainstorming some menu ideas, and here’s what’s on my list for Sunday’s holiday:

Apple-Dapple-Pancakes-3

Apple Dapple Pancakes. I’m planning on throwing together this family recipe as a breakfast/brunch thing on Sunday. Made with fresh apples, eggs, honey, whole wheat flour and cinnamon, it comes together in half an hour & makes for a perfect special occasion morning recipe.

spinach artichoke dip

Spinach & Artichoke Dip. This recipe is a go-to dip of mine, and I plan to whip some up to serve with tortilla chips and pretzels as an appetizer.

Rosemary Potatoes

Sautéed Rosemary Potatoes. Cooking baby potatoes in fresh rosemary, garlic, olive oil, and butter (I’ll probably use Earth Balance) makes for a tasty side dish.

spring-quiche

Spring Veggie & Fontina Quiche. This quiche packs in some of the flavorful produce of the season, including asparagus, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes, which pair well with fontina cheese.

It’s kind of funny that I don’t usually eat eggs and will be making two recipes that center around eggs, but quiche tends to be a crowd pleaser, plus it’s pretty simple to make. I love the veggie & cheese combo in this quiche!

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Chunky Monkey Protein Bites [vegan, gf]

It’s Friday, and I feel like this Friday calls for a chocolatey recipe! Shall we dive into it?
Chunky Monkey Bites

I’ve often mentioned my love for on-the-go snacks on the blog. Even though I work from home most of the time, I seem to always be eating in my car bouncing around from place to place. I have the protein bar and smoothie stains on the seat of my car to prove it. Whoops. 

Chunky Monkey Protein Bites-3

I often whip up some type of bars or balls to have as snack options throughout the week, and today I have a new one to share that I’m loving: Chunky Monkey Protein Bites.   Chunky Monkey Protein Bites-1

We’ve got some rolled oats, chocolate protein powder, cocoa powder, and hemp hearts as our base. These ingredients get thrown into the food processor with some smooth peanut butter, maple syrup, and banana to hold them together well.

chunky monkey bites-batter

Pulse until it forms a dough, roll into balls, and they’re ready to go!

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Healthy Smoothies Made Easy with Green Blender {Review}

Smoothies. They’re kind of a never-ending obsession in my household. It’s an almost daily occurrence in my diet to blend up a bunch of goodness into one nutritious, delicious cup.

Smoothie Collage

While my hubby has his standard go-to smoothie (a chocolate peanut butter protein shake), I like to switch it up. However, sometimes in the busyness of life, I feel like I lack smoothie creativity. I’ll get into a routine of making my same few smoothie favorites. Don’t get me wrong, they’re delicious, but I could use some new smoothie ideas sometimes.

And that’s where Green Blender smoothie delivery service comes in. Recently the NYC-based company reached out to see if I’d like to try them out, and I happily agreed to see what they’re all about. When my delivery arrived, I was like a little kid in a toy store excited to see what was inside.

Green Blender-1

The box contained pre-portioned fruits, veggies, herbs, nuts, spices, and coconut milk for me to make 5 different smoothies (each make 2 servings). Included in the delivery is a recipe sheet for those smoothies, along with info about the smoothies’ benefits and nutritional content.

Green Blender-2

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3 Food Trends Seen at Natural Products Expo West

Hi friends!

How was your weekend? I spent my Saturday in Anaheim for my very first time at Natural Products Expo West. The event brings together brands from a broad spectrum of food, health, and beauty areas to showcase their products. Last year, the event drew in 70,000+ attendees and had 2,700 companies exhibit from 113 countries!

Expo West Collage

I met up with Sarah from Making Thyme for Health and Julia from The Roasted Root, who both flew in for the event, to explore the vast show floor together for the day.

Me, Julia, and Sarah posing at the Amazing Grass booth with some rather large props

Me, Julia, and Sarah posing at the Amazing Grass booth with some rather large props

It was definitely the largest industry event I’ve been to, and I was both excited and overwhelmed to see so many great companies there. There was no shortage of food to try. The yummy samples were seemingly endless! I munched on vendor goodies for a solid 8 hours straight, and today I’m sharing a couple of trends that I noticed around the show floor. 

Banza pasta

Image via Banza’s Instagram

Beans everywhere! From crunchy bean snacks to bean pasta from Banza, beans – particularly chickpeas – were a star of the show floor. As a lover of the plant-based protein source and proponent of its nutritional benefits, I dig this trend. I had actually just made garbanzo bean pasta for the first time a week or so ago, and I’m finding it to be a great alternative to regular pasta.  Plus it packs more of a protein punch!

Expo West-free2b

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Tomato, Artichoke & Spinach Pizza Bites

Hello!

Whew, it’s been a busy week – so busy that I didn’t get to do my usual Wednesday blog post yesterday. I’ve been pretty consistent with a Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule for awhile, and it’s rare that I’m here on a Thursday…well hi friends!

So shall we hop right into the topic at hand? Delicious food, of course.

Spinach Artichoke & Tomato BitesLast year I planted an herb and veggie garden, and out of everything, my tomato plant has flourished the most. It’s a total hog that has crowded the rest of my raised garden bed, and at some point last summer it overtook the zucchini plant next to it.

As it grows and spreads out of control, we continue tying it to new wooden sticks to hold its different ever-growing branches upright. Certainly no complaints here though, because it’s been producing lots of gorgeous tomatoes!

ripe tomato-feb 2016

The tomato plant growth slowed when we were hit with some colder winter weather for awhile, but ever since we had a stretch of 80 degree days and a couple of rain storms at the beginning of the year, it’s been providing me with some pretty veggies. Or fruit, if you want to get all technical.

spinach artichoke bites-1

My homegrown tomatoes were the spark for this recipe, as I was trying to come up with some fun, new ways to use the ripe tomatoes I had just picked and thrown into my fruit basket.

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Bernardo Mountain Summit Trail

Hi everyone!

Hope that you had a fun, rejuvenating weekend. My weekend was pretty low-key, and one of the highlights was hiking a new local trail called Bernardo Mountain with my little family.

Bernardo Mt-12

Located in the town of Escondido within the 55-mile-long San Dieguito River Park along Lake Hodges, Bernardo Mountain is a dog-friendly trail that offers pretty views of San Diego County – and of the many mansions in the area.

Bernardo Mt-13

Bernardo Mountain is an out-and-back hike that’s about 7.2 miles roundtrip. It was easy for us to get to the park from North County by driving east on Rt 78, hopping on I-15, and parking at the end of Sunset Drive.

The trail starts off as a concrete walkway, where you walk underneath I-15 and find yourself next to Lake Hodges. I imagine that the reservoir was once much more full and roaring. Oh California drought. 

Bernardo Mt-2

The hike started off kind of slow as we walked on the concrete path and around the lake for a good 1.5 miles or so before hitting the trailhead. Once we hit the Bernardo Mountain trail, it was a nice slow ascend up. We never were out of breath climbing, but it was a nice slow burn.

Bernardo Mt-4

We passed some people walking around the lake, but once we started to ascend up the mountain, they weren’t many hikers around for a Saturday afternoon. We did see a good amount of mountain bikers. I think that A and I may return back to go biking soon, as it seemed like a good trail to try out on our bikes.

Bernardo Mt-10

A couple of notable things along the trail were how green the scenery was and how many gorgeous homes were around. We definitely enjoyed checking out the luxurious houses throughout the hike.

Towards the end of the hike, we passed the odd trail scenery of a huge water tank surrounded by barbed wire fence. This is the part of the hike that seemed most strenuous, with deeper ascends than the rest of the hike. It’s nothing too crazy, but it gets your heart pumping a bit.

Bernardo Mt-6

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San Diego Spotlight on Cafe Topes

Happy Friday friends!

I’m here today with another post in my San Diego Spotlight series, where I highlight a local business that offers lots of deliciousness. Today the spotlight is on a breakfast & lunch spot in Carlsbad called Cafe Topes.

cafe-topes

Ever since I first found out about Cafe Topes and got to sample their signature cinnamon bun when I did the Carlsbad Food Tour last year, I’ve been itching to go back for brunch. With a style described as “American with a modern twist,” Cafe Topes has been serving breakfast favorites to locals since 2013. The restaurant has a fun, modern feel to it, and one of the first things you spot when you walk in is a wall full of succulents.

Cafe Topes-inside

Open 7 AM to 2 PM every day except Monday, Cafe Topes has a nice sized patio so that you can enjoy your eats while soaking up the SoCal sunshine. Located a block away from the main drag of downtown Carlsbad, Cafe Topes is quite a popular spot. Every time I pass by it, it’s packed… and for good reason! How many places do you know that make Oreo pancakes and Kap’n Krunch French Toast? Healthy? Nope. But for a decadent brunch, Cafe Topes has plentiful options – and they have some more nutritious menu items available too.

Cafe Topes-specials

On Sunday after kicking butt at the conclusion of my 6-week fitness challenge evaluation, my hubby and I decided to meet up at Cafe Topes for brunch. It seemed like the perfect way to treat myself after lots of sweat & hard work.

When we arrived, the cafe was insanely crowded. We waited on a long line to get into the restaurant to order, but I was happy knowing that pancakes were in my near future.

Cafe Topes-chai tea & cinnamon roll

First came out my iced chai tea with almond milk and their signature cinnamon roll to split. You can order a regular cinnamon roll or get it ‘dirty’ with a thick layer of cream cheese frosting on top. It was a smart decision going for the former; otherwise, I think a complete sugar coma would have ensued (well, even more so than it did!).

Cafe Topes-cinnamon roll

I don’t consider myself a cinnamon roll connoisseur by any means, but it was pretty damn delicious. Soft, gooey, and sweet… just as a cinnamon roll should be!

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