Author Archives: foodielovesfitness

About foodielovesfitness

Hi, my name's Nicole and I'm the blogger behind Foodie Loves Fitness! I'm passionate about healthy living, and my site focuses on all the elements of this -- from cooking, baking, and my vegetarian eats, to my workouts and all things fitness related, to positive thinking and the power of a great attitude in living your best life. I love animals, sports, travel, and wine, which are topics I write about often on my site. I adore my husband, dog, family, and girlfriends, and blog about my loved ones a lot as well.

10 Recipes to Try This Memorial Day Weekend

Who else is looking forward to their holiday weekend? Today’s post shares some healthy summery recipe ideas to try! 

If you’re a blogger that shares a lot of your personal life and adventures, having a blog is like having an online diary of travels and fun (…ya know, a diary that other people read that is!), and sometimes it’s neat to look back at what I was doing at this time in another year.

Floating around an infinity pool in Cabo last year with my hubs

Looking back at past Memorial Day weekends, I went on vacation to Mexico last year (surprised my love for his 30th with the trip!), spent the weekend with friends during a deployment of my hubby’s another year, and went on a wine tasting getaway to Napa and hiked around at Muir Woods when I was living in the Bay Area.

Wine tasting in Napa, circa 2013

This year, I have some fun things planned for Memorial Day weekend, including a road trip up to Los Angeles for a day of hiking + a vegan food festival. I’m excited! I also will be getting some time at home, and I’m sure I’ll be doing a bit of cooking & baking.

Since many of us Americans will be attending family gatherings, relaxing in our backyards, and getting a bit more time to cook & bake over the long weekend, I thought today it’d be fun to share some Memorial Day recipe ideas.

Of course, let’s not forget that the holiday is meant to honor the men & women who have died serving in our military. THANK YOU to all of our service members protecting America.

Let’s get to the food!

1.) Orzo Caprese Pasta Salad with Toasted Pine Nuts & Spinach. This is a recipe I created for Shape recently, and it kind of screams summertime party. It’s a crowd pleaser, and it’s easy to make!

2.) Loaded Mediterranean Avocado Toast [vegan, can be made GF]. AKA the best avocado toast ever! Perfect for breakfast on a leisurely morning, or as appetizers if you’re having guests over.

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Chocolate Chip Cherry Almond Muffins {vegan + gf}

Hello, hello!

How was your weekend? With temperatures in the 80s, mine was a summery few days! My outdoorsy weekend activities included a few hours relaxing at the beach, tennis workout with my hubs, long walk at the park with my pup and gardening work.

Snacking on a Zing bar & reading a travel magazine at the beach on Saturday

Indoors, I  did some blog and photography work, and the hubs and I watched a movie and a few episodes of our current TV obsessions, House of Cards and Westworld. Who else is into those? We just recently started watching both, so we have a lot of episodes to keep us entertained during low-key nights for awhile!

I also got some baking and recipe creation experimenting in, including the recipe I’m sharing today: chocolate chip cherry almond muffins. 

Actually, over the past week I’ve been a recipe creatin’ machine! It seems like I tend to go a week or two where I don’t come up with any new recipes – whether because I’m traveling, super busy, or just lacking ideas (oh, and also if I’m having recipe fails!) – and then all of a sudden I’m hit with recipe inspiration and come up with a bunch of new successful creations. I love that when that happens.

But anyways, let’s talk about these muffins!

In the past I’ve only used dried cherries in muffins, but I decided to give it a shot with fresh ones, and it came out great! Pitting and chopping the cherries is a little tedious, but a nice way to use up some sweet cherries that are in season (and delicious!) right now.

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Cashew Cake Batter Fruit Dip {Vegan + Gluten Free}

With the summer produce starting to pop up in markets around town, I’ve been loving all of the fruit lately. Sweet cherries, strawberries, and peaches have been my favorite. Nature’s candy is the best!

A strawberry banana protein smoothie bowl topped with locally grown cherries, shredded coconut, mini chocolate chips & cinnamon oat granola clusters

So naturally with all of my fruit consumption in recent weeks, I had to make fruit dip. Dipping fruit into a decadent tasting dip is one of my favorite desserts, especially when it’s healthy like today’s recipe!

I’ve been making a lot of cake batter recipes lately, including a few batches of energy bites, smoothies, and now, this fruit dip. I also think that cake batter cookies may be in my baking future.

To get that cake batter flavor, I combined cashew butter with shredded coconut, maple syrup, vanilla dairy-free yogurt, vanilla extract and cashew milk.

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Be an Adventurer, Wherever You Are {Weekend Recap}

I like to think of myself as an adventurer. I love exploring new places (I have constant wanderlust!), doing “dare devil” kinds of things, and looking at life as one big adventure.

Many come up with lots of reasons as to why they can’t travel, move somewhere new, or be more adventurous in general. People have jobs they don’t want to lose, family they’re afraid to leave, and a pretty fixed vision of what “home” looks like. There’s no doubt that taking risks is scary, and there’s comfort in the familiar. 

I’ve also noticed that people like to look at this kind of stuff in a “lucky you” kind of way – as in, it’s great that I have the ability to do it, but it’s not possible for them.

“You’re traveling to XYZ? Do it now while you’re young!”

“You’re thinking of moving to XYZ? You’re lucky that you CAN do that if you want to.”

But I believe that everyone can be an adventurer if they choose to be – no matter if they’re 20 or 60, married or single, a parent or childless. Sure, it may change what kinds of adventures we’re talking about and how they can be done, but that doesn’t make it impossible.

Planking fun during a hiking + rock climbing excursion to Joshua Tree National Park

I remember when I was hiking Three Sisters Waterfalls and came across a family of four doing the hike – which is not easy by yourself, let alone with kiddos. The husband had a toddler strapped to his back, and the mom was helping her little girl down an incline on the trail. I said something to them about how I was impressed that they were doing the hike with their kids, and the mom replied, “We loved getting outside and doing things before we had kids, why stop after we had them? I’d lose my mind if we just sat at home all day long!”

Touché. I want to be like that mom one day! 

To be an adventure seeker, you don’t have to have the money and time to travel, or ability to move somewhere completely new. You can find the adventure wherever you are; you can be a tourist in your own city or town.

Being a tourist in my own city was exactly what was on my agenda last weekend. There is so much to see and do in the San Diego area, and I love taking advantage of it. Since my hubs was off from school and I had nothing pressing on my agenda, Saturday was the perfect day to explore.

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The Cycling + Strength Circuit Workout of Threes

What kind of workouts have you been getting into lately?

I’ve noticed that when I get crazy busy, I tend to stop getting as creative with my workouts. And since April was a hectic month for me, my workouts were not all that exciting. I had been going to some fun classes that were challenging me, but the first thing that goes when my schedule is packed is fitness studio visits. After all, not having to drive to studios saves time in my day! I was also traveling for half of the month, during which I snuck in quick morning workouts before full days. Oh, but I did go on an awesome hike during my quickie getaway to Idyllwild!

Wheel posing on the top of Idyllwild’s Suicide Rock

No matter how busy I am, I make it a priority to workout. I tell myself, no excuses! Truth be told, I have exercise ADHD, so my “boring” workout stretch is probably still more exciting than most. I have about a dozen workout DVDs I like, I use YouTube to find new workouts (Speaking of which, check out my post on 3 at-home kickboxing workouts to try!), take my dog for long walks around our neighborhood, favorite parks, and by the beach, and use my at-home workout equipment. I have a variety of dumbbells, resistance bands, recovery tools, and my favorite thing of all, my indoor bike trainer.

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Chocolate Chip Butterscotch Cookies {vegan}

Hi friends!

How was your weekend? Mine was super low-key – which worked out since it was my first weekend home in a month. The San Diego area got a rare weekend full of rain and stormy skies, so I spent a lot of my time taking care of housekeeping stuff for the blog and actually for my house – it’s amazing how both my virtual mail and actual mail piles up when I’m out of town! – and in the kitchen baking and cooking.

I even made homemade bread, which I haven’t done in quite awhile. Making bread from scratch isn’t hard, there’s just a lot of time waiting for the dough to rise – but, being home doing about half a dozen loads of laundry, it fit in perfectly with my weekend. I decided to sprinkle some everything bagel seeds on top of the dough, and it came out like one giant everything bagel. Kind of awesome!

And speaking of baking, today I have a Monday treat to share!

A couple of weeks ago, a few of the women in my life had birthdays. In usual food blogger fashion, I wanted to give them homemade sweets as a little birthday treat.

And since I was feeling creative, I wanted to try a new recipe or two. I wound up making birthday cake energy bites, along with these chocolate butterscotch cookies.

I even brought a plastic container of treats with me in my luggage on my work trip to Vegas to give to my boss, whose birthday was that week, and got the thumbs up on the treats from her. What can I say, I like people to have sweets to enjoy on their birthday!

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7 of My Go-To Healthy Habits While Traveling

Hello, hello!

I’m back home in California after a successful work trip in Las Vegas, followed by 5 days full of family celebrating my brother getting married in New Jersey. It was quite the trip, and as per usual, I’m feeling like I love traveling, but I also love coming home. I’m ready to be home without life being quite so chaotic as it has been the past month!

{Check out my Instagram for more wedding weekend photos!}

On my flight home last night, I started thinking about the healthy habits that I routinely do when I’m on the road. I tend to splurge more when I’m traveling [translation: eat dessert a lot and enjoy alcoholic beverages daily!] than I do when I’m home, and these habits help to offset those extra things & make me feel healthy & happy. Here are 7 of my tips & tricks!

1.) I stay super active. My workouts tend to be different when I’m traveling. I may not have my bike trainer, favorite fitness studios, or workout DVDs with me, but I always scope out my exercise options. At my Vegas hotel last week, I woke up early to get a gym workout in, and it wound up being an awesome workout (and the first time I set foot in a normal gym in 2017). The only negative to that was that I wound up nice & sore for a very long work day on my feet the next day!

Whenever I visit my parents, I take their dogs for walks, since I’m not getting my daily walks in with my own pup. If I’m exploring a city, I try to walk or bike around. Not only does it give me different perspectives than taking a taxi or whatever else, I get my steps in for the day. It’s a win, win!

2.) I bring Vitamin C drinks with me to have daily. As much as I love traveling, I kind of dislike planes in the sense that I’m stuck in a small space with the germs of hundreds of other people. Someone is always bound to be coughing nonstop, and it’s no coincidence that I get sick only during/after travel. So, I bring Emergen-C supplement packets with me to give me a nice dose of Vitamin C and other vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants.

3.) I consciously eat enough fruits & veggies. I definitely treat myself when I’m traveling, especially when I’m back in my hometown – where I like having my childhood favorites. Last week I had ice cream from my favorite joint in town, as well as pizza from a place we frequently ordered food from as a kid. But, I also make sure to eat a bunch of servings of veggies & fruits every day no matter what: I’ll nab a few bananas to eat in my hotel room with single serving almond butter packets I’ve packed for breakfast. If I haven’t had any veggies yet in the day, I’ll order a salad or veggie soup as a dinner starter. If I’m in the mood for a pasta dish at a restaurant, I’ll order pasta with some sort of veggies, or I’ll custom order spinach or broccoli to the dish.

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Blueberry Banana Oatmeal Protein Pancakes {dairy free + gluten free}

Hi friends!

Things have been quiet over here this week… because my real life has been hectic!

The “canals” in The Venetian in Vegas, where I had dinner one night this week

The past week has been a whirlwind, between getting through the busiest time of the year for my publicist job, celebrating a friend’s birthday locally in San Diego (with a private Pilates class & smoothie hangout!), then packing, getting organized, and setting off to Las Vegas for work. Last night I flew from Vegas to New Jersey, where we are in the midst of wedding busyness leading up to my brother’s wedding this weekend. So, as you can imagine, there has been a lot happening in my world.

BUT! Today I’m back to share one of my favorite recipes. It’s a goodie!

Pretty much everyone that knows me well knows about my love for pancakes. They’re my favorite fancy breakfast, hands down.

I’ve shared some very yummy pancake recipes on the blog before, but today’s recipe takes the [pan]cake.

See what I did there?

I actually shared a variation of these pancakes on the blog a couple years ago, but since then, my batter recipe has evolved a bit. Over the last few years, I’ve made these pancakes so many times, I can make them with my eyes closed. Sometimes I change them up a bit, subbing in chocolate chips for blueberries or topping them with strawberries, but the basic batter combination always remains the same:

Oats. Vanilla protein powder. Banana. Almond milk. A pinch of salt, cinnamon, stevia, vanilla extract and baking powder. And that’s all there is to it!

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Chocolate Pistachio Energy Bites [gluten free]

I’m such a sucker for any kind of place where high-quality food is the focus. Farmers’ markets. Gourmet food shops. Italian markets. Bakeries. I love it all. It’s no secret that I love experimenting in the kitchen, and finding new foods and ingredients gives me inspiration to try new recipes… plus I just love eating food, obviously.

A few weeks ago, I was walking to a Starbucks to work for awhile before meeting a friend for dinner, when I passed by a spice shop. I’ve seen it before when it was closed for the day, but this time it was open.

Naturally, I walked in the shop and moseyed around smelling and tasting things. I wound up leaving with some goodies – all that were new to me, with the exception of local cinnamon infused honey (I pretty much buy that whenever I see it!).

For San Diego area locals, the shop is called Savory Spice in Encinitas, and it’s super fun to pop into if you’re a spice nut like I am!

One new-to-me thing that I bought was pistachio extract. I’m a fan of pistachios, but for some reason they’re a forgotten nut to me sometimes. I’m constantly all about peanut butter, almonds + almond butter, cashews + cashew butter… but pistachios seem to fall by the wayside. Then I make something with them and am reminded that I dig em.

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Weekend Getaway to Idyllwild: Where to Stay, Play & Explore

Last weekend, my husband and I decided to seize the holiday weekend and take a quick road trip together. We both have been super busy and have travel coming up, so we welcomed the thought of getting to spend time together in a relaxing setting.

Having done so many road trips around California, I started looking for a place we’d never been to before. I wound up finding a place we had never even heard of called Idyllwild. Located a few hours from busy San Diego life, Idyllwild is a little town nestled in the mountains with a population of under 4,000 people. It sounded like the perfect getaway spot!

Where to Stay.

After doing some research, I booked us a suite at The Grand Idyllwild Lodge. Described as the boutique luxury lodge, the hotel has a modern but woodsy kind of feel to it. It was a a bit pricier than I usually try to find in hotels, but we had a very positive experience there. It’s owned by a husband & wife team that live on the premises, and you can tell that they put a lot of care and thought into the lodge.

Idyllwild is the kind of place where most of the businesses are mom-and-pop type of places, which I love. We arrived at the hotel in the afternoon and got settled into our beautiful room – dubbed Suite Ambiance.

We brought a bottle of champagne with us, which we popped immediately. I also brought some crackers and snacks to nosh on, and we turned on the electric fireplace, enjoyed our bubbly and watched part of a movie. It was one sweet Friday happy hour!

I adored our bathroom at The Grand Idyllwild Lodge, which had a Japanese style soaking tub and dual rain head spa shower. The bathrooms in my house are older, so I get serious bathroom envy where I stay at places with awesome bathrooms.

The Grand Idyllwild Lodge also has a small gym and sauna, and guests can enjoy complimentary breakfast every day. We were served French toast with fruit (+ chicken sausage for him) on Saturday morning.

Other accommodation options that caught my eye:

Idyllcreek A-Frame Vacation Cabin. Can we talk about how cute this house is?!

Bluebird Cottage Inn. These little cottages are more budget friendly.

Creekstone Inn. I was intrigued by the above “tiny magical cabin” but Creekstone has a number of rooms plus a few other cabins available.

Where to Drink.

After our hotel room happy hour, we headed out for a second happy hour in town. We stopped at Middle Ridge Winery, a cute sister-and-brother owned tasting gallery (tasting room + art gallery).

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