Category Archives: Holidays

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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Pasta Shells with Easy Arugula Cherry Tomato Sauce [vegan]

Sometimes keeping it simple is the best.

Every Easter when I was growing up – and really, almost every other holiday – my family would go over to my grandma’s for a big family get together. I’ve talked about my amazing grandma before, but she loved to cook for everyone – and she pretty much always overdid it with how much food she made.

There would be a ridiculous amount of dishes for everyone to enjoy. From a giant antipasto salad and homemade breads, to a gigantic spread for the main course, to probably half a dozen desserts, complete with her annual bunny-shaped Easter cake, my grandma always spent days preparing. She also always made me eggplant parmigiana because I loved it (and later on, I developed an allergy to it, probably from eating it too much!).

One type of dish that my grandma made for holidays was a simple pasta. It was usually designated as a go-to for the picky eater kids in my family, but everyone typically wound up scooping some onto their plates. She would often make a cavatelli pasta with just a homemade tomato sauce. It was maybe her most simple dish, but we all ate it every time.

Today, in honor of the upcoming holiday and my grandma, who we lost just about three years ago and I miss so damn much, I wanted to share an easy pasta dish. This one comes together in 30 minutes or less, and the stars of the sauce are heirloom cherry tomatoes and wild arugula.

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Healthy Chocolate Chip Matcha Banana Muffins [vegan + gluten free]

This is the story about how I tried three times to create a naturally green recipe and totally failed… but came up with two yummy recipes in the process!

St. Paddy’s Day is coming up this Friday, and I was actually thinking ahead a few weeks ago when I decided I wanted to come up with a sweet recipe that had a green hue, sans food coloring.

I first heard that the chlorophyll in sunflower butter can turn baked goods green when it interacts with baking soda/powder when a friend of mine accidentally wound up with a green colored sunflower butter recipe, so my original idea was to make sunflower butter banana muffins. The result? They did not turn green, and they also turned out a bit dry, so it was a no go.

I decided it was possible that because I mixed all of my muffin ingredients together in my food processor, it too vigorously combined the ingredients and broke down the baking soda properties too much to successfully interact with the sunflower butter enough to turn them green. So for attempt #2, I made sunflower butter breakfast cookies that I only mixed by hand until the ingredients were combined.

While the cookies turned out yummy & I’ll be sharing that recipe soon, they did not turn green at all. Whomp whomp.

Feeling over the whole sunflower butter idea after two failed attempts, I moved onto another idea: making something with matcha. Matcha is a green tea powder with powerful antioxidant properties and a bright green color.

So for naturally green recipe attempt #3, I made matcha chocolate chip banana muffins. The batter was looking like it may have had a green hue to it prior to baking, but when I pulled them out of the oven, I practically screamed, “NOO, they look normal!”

While these muffins aren’t green in color, it turns out they’re delicious, so I’m sharing the recipe with you today. Made with oats and banana, they have some of my favorite healthy baking hacks – including the use of apple sauce & coconut oil. They’re sweetened only with maple syrup, banana and dairy free dark chocolate chips, and the matcha flavor is subtle.

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Healthy Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cinnamon Cookies {vegan}

Does anyone else just all of a sudden get in the mood for baking sometimes?

The measuring and mixing, pouring and stirring, baking and cooling. The smells of something delicious coming together and the anticipation of taste testing. It’s therapeutic to me.

Last week as I was jotting down a bunch of things to nab at the food store and planning out what healthy snacks I’d make this week, I got bitten by the baking bug. And I didn’t feel like just following a recipe, I was in the mood for experimenting and getting creative.

Today’s recipe is a result of that baking bug. These cookies center around a few of my favorite things: the combination of chocolate + peanut butter & cinnamon.

Cinnamon is without a doubt my favorite spice. I’m constantly sprinkling some on my fruit, in my smoothies, and on my toast. It gives meals a bit of something extra, au naturel.

I also love pairing cinnamon with peanut buttery goodness. Cinnamon sprinkled on top of sliced banana, topped with peanut butter. Oats with baked apple chunks, peanut butter & cinnamon.

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5 Healthy Valentine’s Day Desserts [All Dairy Free!]

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, so today we’re chatting about healthy dessert recipes!

My hubby and I don’t get too crazy for Valentine’s Day. We’ll sometimes go on an adventurous date, like going kayaking in La Jolla as we did last year, or sometimes we’ll just have a nice dinner at home. To me, Valentine’s Day just serves as a reminder of what’s important in life. It should just be about spending time with the people you love – whether that be a spouse, your kids, your girlfriends, or even just dating yourself.

I’m not sure what we’ll be doing for V-Day this year yet, but if there’s one thing’s that for sure, it’s that I’ll be baking something fun surrounding the day of love…because I take advantage of any excuse to bake!

Baking is definitely a de-stressing activity for me, especially when I have time to get in the kitchen and just play around. As a healthy foodie, I like to substitute better-for-you ingredients into recipes to make them more wholesome. For instance, I’ll use maple syrup or coconut sugar instead of refined sugar, or I use oat flour instead of white flour. I love enjoying treats that I can feel good about eating!

I’ve rounded up 5 of my dessert recipes that would be perfect to make this Valentine’s Day, so let’s get to it!

1.) Chocolate Peanut Butter Brown Rice Crispy Squares. This healthier take on rice crispy treats has been a favorite in my household since I first posted the recipe on the blog last year. I mean, is there a better combination known to man than peanut butter + chocolate? In a word, NO! –> Get the recipe here

2.) Apple Pie Banana Bread. Made with oat flour and fresh cinnamon apple chunks, this banana bread is one of my favorite ways to use browned bananas. Sometimes I throw chocolate chips into the batter, but either way you make it, it’s delicious! –> Get the recipe here

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2016 East Coast Holiday Vacation Recap: Cookie Baking, Christmastime in Philly & More

Hi friends!

How did your first week of 2017 go? I was fighting an annoying cold all week (not my favorite way to start off a new year!) and feeling pretty worn out, and I’m happy that I’m starting to feel more like my energetic self again in week 2 of the year.

Today I’m looking back at my 2016 Christmas to share what I’ve been up to lately. My holiday trip to the east coast included lots of family time and good food, with some workouts sprinkled in, and a day in Philly!  

My hubby and I kicked off our Christmas celebrations with our annual early gift exchanging prior to our holiday travel. I made us a picnic in the living room and we enjoyed some food and wine while opening presents and watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas. He gave me a new camera for Christmas, which I’m excited to learn how to use well for my food and travel photography!

The next day, I tired my holiday bow wearing fur baby out on a hike, brought her to the pet resort, then off we went on a flight to Philadelphia!

Our trip was a typical whirlwind of visiting with different sides of our families across New Jersey, and here were some of the highlights:

Our annual cookie baking tradition continued on! My aunt, mom, cousins, and I baked our butts off – and Adam even helped roll out doughs for the first time ever.

We used my grandma’s kitchen to bake – which has THREE ovens – so it was a busy scene as per usual. I think I counted a dozen types of cookies that we made to share with friends and family, and I did my fair share of tasting! My pictured favorites are peanut butter cookies, 7-layer bars, and chocolate kiss peanut butter cookies. I might be a tiny bit bias, but I swear, our tried-and-tested cookie recipes are the best (tasting-wise, not health wise….!).

Christmas morning was spent at my parents’ house with my parents, siblings, sister-in-laws, and nephews, plus all of my parents’ and sisters’ fur babies – which equals 2 dogs + 4 cats (plus a bearded dragon and a pet rat that didn’t participate in the festivities). We are all animal lovers!

We exchanged gifts, drank mimosas, and I made my healthy apple crumble. Adam gave my sister, soon to be sister-in-law and I the above pictured ridiculous, fun animal onesies as a joke. He’s going to regret it when I start actually wearing my wolf onesie around the house!

Christmas dinner was spent at my grandpa’s with all of the above mentioned family, plus my aunt, uncle, cousins and grandpa. We all made a couple of dishes, and my favorite eat of the day?

Cream puffs!! My grandma made it a tradition to make these every Christmas, and we’ve kept many of her food traditions, including cream puffs, going since her passing. I’ve actually never made them myself, so I’m thinking that perhaps I need to learn and share the recipe with you guys this year!

A few days after Christmas, we journeyed into Philadelphia to check out the holiday scene in the city with my father-in-law.

I love walking around cities like Philly, and it was the first time I got a chance to experiment with using my new camera.

Growing up, I lived closer to New York City and visited it way more than Philly, but in recent years, I’ve spent a lot more time in Philly whenever I visit the east coast. I love how historic of a place Philly is, and it was fun to just walk around and soak the city in a bit.

It was chilly, but not too cold that it was uncomfortable being outdoors exploring – which I thought was better in comparison to the last time I was in Philly last summer, when it was about 100 degrees with disgusting humidity. It was like a sauna then!

We checked some things off of Visit Philly’s 20 must-see holiday attractions list, including visiting city hall’s Christmas tree, The Rothman Ice Rink and Christmas Village at Dilworth Park.

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17 Life Mottos to Inspire You in 2017

There’s something about having a new year on the horizon that makes me feel excited, reinvigorated and motivated – but not in a New Year’s resolution kind of way, more of in an enthusiastic for what’s to come and what I want to do sorta way.

In the spirit of making 2017 a wonderful a year, today I’m sharing 17 inspiring life mottos. I’ll be coming back to them throughout the year as reminders of how I want to live my life, and I hope that they serve as inspiration as you crush your 2017 goals!

#1 –  

#2 – 


…because mindfulness is an important piece of the happiness puzzle!

#3 – 2017-quote-1Let your light shine is one of my favorite mantras.

#4 – 


#5 – 

2017-quote-7#6 – 


…because I firmly believe that the law of attraction is a powerful thing. Optimism has always been my mindset, I don’t see the point in being any other way!

#7 – 


Gratitude is the open door to abundance, so I make it a daily practice to stop and think about all of the blessings in my life. Oh, and I sometimes don’t eat vegetables until dinner… so eating more veggies is a good thing for me to keep in mind!

#8 – 


…because consistency and perseverance are keys to success.

#9 – 


Don’t get me wrong, diamonds are nice and all, but adventures are what light my soul on fire. Adventures are what give me memories that’ll last a lifetime. In 2017 I’ll be going on as many adventures as possible!

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Dark Chocolate Cherry Sunflower Butter Cups [vegan + gf]

Hello, hello from the east coast!

I flew in via a red eye this morning, and am looking forward to lots of holiday  fun in Jersey. Bring on the relaxing family time!


I have one last holiday dessert recipe to share today… and this will also be the last Foodie Loves Fitness recipe of 2016!


We all have our favorite traditional holiday dessert recipes, but sometimes I think it’s nice to switch things up and add in new ones. Truth be told, I get a little tired of seeing the same cookies all around every December… so  today’s recipe is a bit of an unconventional holiday dessert, but trust me, it’s oh so good!


These sea salt dark chocolate cherry sunflower seed butter cups are a mouthful – to both eat & say out loud! We’ve got the richness of dark chocolate, sweetness of dried cherries, and the salty contrast with the inclusion of sunflower seed butter and a touch of sea salt.

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Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies {vegan}

Have you gotten bit by the holiday baking bug?

I definitely have! Last weekend I baked up a storm making treats to give to my San Diego friends and neighbors this week to spread some holiday cheer.

It was quite a festive weekend for me, because I also watched Elf and visited a neighborhood in a town called Poway nicknamed Candy Cane Lane. My friend Tiffany had told me about it, and while she probably knows about it because she’s a mom, I’m a little kid myself when it comes to the holidays…so I was thoroughly intrigued!

Processed with Snapseed.

Naturally, my hubby and I headed to Candy Cane Lane on Saturday night to check it out. You guys, it was amazing – so many gorgeous houses decorated so beautifully for the holidays! Some houses even were showing movies on projector screens and giving out hot cocoa & treats. Local readers, I definitely recommend visiting there to get into a festive holiday spirit. We may or may not have been the only ones there without children… 😉


But back to my holiday baking.

Over two days, I experimented with making chocolate peanut butter swirl cookies (came out yummy, but not visually what I wanted them to look like), mini chocolate peppermint cups, dark chocolate cherry sunflower butter cups (I’ll share that one later), peppermint snack bites, and today’s recipe: chocolate chip oatmeal cookies.


My holiday baking goal was for things to be delicious, but also pretty healthy. I decided to make everything vegan….but am leaving that tidbit out when I give treats to my neighbor who’s always offering me plates of authentic Mexican carnivorous dishes. When sharing a plate one time, he actually said to my hubby, “You aren’t one of those vegans or anything right?”

Oh if he only knew. 

PS – He RAVED about my cookies last year! Muwahaha. (That’s my evil tricked-ya-with-my-healthy-dairy-free-treats laugh!)

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Three Workouts to Try This Holiday Season

Between holiday shopping, parties, travel, and family traditions on top of the usual busyness, most of us are pressed for time at the end of the year. But don’t let that stop you from fitting in exercise! Today I’m sharing 3 workout ideas to try over your holiday season.

The first routine is a 30-minute HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout that consists of 5 circuits, with 3 exercises in each circuit: a cardio move, a bodyweight strength move, and an abdominal exercise. For each exercise, it’s 30 seconds on / 10 seconds off, and once you complete the three exercises, you repeat it for 3 rounds, then move onto the next circuit. This one can be done anywhere, and chances are I’ll be doing this one when I’m staying at my parents’ house over Christmas!


Tip: I use a free app called Interval Timer for HIIT workouts. I set up my desired intervals (in this case, 45 intervals with 30 seconds on, 10 seconds rest), and then once I push start, I can just listen to the alarm interval noises to switch exercises while I’m watching TV or listening to music.

The second workout is a treadmill + bodyweight circuit workout that’ll take around 40 minutes to complete. My father-in-law has a treadmill in his basement, so when I’m staying at his house I usually fit in a workout incorporating incline walking intervals. This workout begins with building treadmill inclines, then switches over to 5 bodyweight exercises for a total body workout. Do 4 rounds for about a 40 minute workout. Only have 20 minutes to spare? Complete 2 rounds for a quickie workout!

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