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

Continue reading

Introducing My Custom Meal Planning & Health Coaching Program!

Happy February!

How’s everyone doing with their New Year’s resolutions & goals for 2017?

According to Forbes, only 8% of people actually achieve their resolutions. JUST EIGHT! Not surprisingly, I’ve also read that the #1 New Year’s resolution for 2017 is to lose weight & eat healthier.

Personally, I’m less of a New Year’s resolution person, and more of a make-goals-at-any-time-and-crush-them kinda girl. Why? Because while I like the idea of a fresh start with a new year, I believe in the power of hard work & consistency to make changes in any month. I also believe that if you’ve already given up on your resolutions, you always have the power to start again with a renewed sense of motivation – no matter the time of the year.

When it comes to weight loss, eating better, & getting healthier, a lot of time people give up because they don’t have the support they really need to be successful – whether that means understanding their food cravings and unhealthy habits, having someone there to support & motivate them, becoming more knowledgable about nutrition, or a bit of all of the above.

So, I want to help you rock your New Year’s resolutions.

I want to help you develop healthier eating habits, shed unwanted pounds, and be the confident, happy person that you’ve been envisioning in your head.

ANNOUNCING… MY CUSTOM MEAL PLANNING & HEALTH COACHING PROGRAM!

Continue reading

Easy Mediterranean Flatbread Pizza

Hey, hey!

Last Saturday’s sunset

How was your weekend? Mine was a good one that was full of sports!

My husband and I went to the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, which was neat. I’m not a huge golf person but find sporting events of pretty much any kind fun – plus it was my first time at the Torrey Pines golf course, and the views were beautiful as expected!

I also watched a lot of tennis, as the Australian Open came to a close. Watching the Williams sisters compete against each other in the finals was inspiring – I mean, they are such badass female athletes! – so on Sunday my hubby and I headed to the tennis courts nearby to get in a workout together. We’re not technically all that great at tennis, but we have fun and get some exercise, so that’s all I really care about.

Besides a weekend full of sports, my weekend was also filled with good food, as per usual. For dinner one night we enjoyed Mediterranean flatbread pizza, and today I’m sharing the recipe with you guys!

These flatbreads are a great healthy recipe idea for this weekend’s Super Bowl – and they’re ready in 20 minutes flat! Since I love to make a bunch of appetizers & finger foods to graze on during the big game, I tend to go for recipes that are easier to whip up. Otherwise, the game’s starting and I’m running around the kitchen like a madwoman trying to finish cooking. Anyone else ever been there on Super Bowl Sunday? 

The flatbreads center around Mediterranean diet-centric ingredients like baby arugula, crumbled feta, cherry tomatoes, artichoke hearts, red onion, and olive oil that give these babies a ton of flavor, a nice dose of produce, and a bit of healthy fat without being calorically heavy.

Continue reading

Potato Black Bean Soup [vegan + gluten free]

Lately the weather in the San Diego area has been nuts. Rain, rain, and more rain for the past month! This is usually the “rainy” season – though I use that term loosely – but this has been more rain than I’ve seen in my 7+ years in California.

For the state, this is good news! California’s reservoirs are swelling for the first time in half a decade, and the drought we’ve been in for years might be over if Mother Nature keeps it up.

With all of the rain lately, a few things have been happening in my world.

For one, my dog has been super whiny and energetic. She literally does sprints around the house when it’s raining out, and cries at the door yet doesn’t want to go outside and get wet… not that I blame her, I’ve been missing our outdoor workouts too.

Secondly, my backyard has been getting a little out of control. A few of my trees were close to falling over last week due to flooded soil and strong winds, and we did our best to temporarily secure them. My pool looks like it may overflow with a few more big rain storms, and I have about an entire tree’s worth of leaves in there. There are also a ton of oranges that have fallen off my front yard tree and gotten smushed in my driveway. Now you guys know a few of the things on my to-do list to take care of this weekend! 

And third, I’ve been obsessed with eating soup. There’s nothing better on a chilly, rainy day than a big bowl of healthy, hearty soup with a hunk of fresh bread. Add a fire crackling + hit play on a good movie, and that’s my idea of a perfect night in.

I realized that I haven’t posted any soup recipes this winter yet, and knew that had to change this month.

Continue reading

How to Spend a Weekend in Santa Barbara

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” – Jawaharial Nehru

One of my favorite things about California is how there are endless road trip options within the state itself. Two weekends ago, my husband and I went on our first road trip of 2017. For this little getaway, we traveled up to the charming central California coast city of Santa Barbara. Situated next to the Pacific Ocean and Santa Ynez mountains + wine country, Santa Barbara is a popular tourist destination – and for good reason!

Even though we’ve been to Santa Barbara before in passing through on bigger road trips, this was our first time where Santa Barbara was our end destination. I love planning trips and enjoyed doing research online beforehand to find out the best places to eat, drink and explore in Santa Barbara.  And so, today I’m sharing a guide on how to spend a weekend in this beautiful town!

If you happen to be driving into Santa Barbara from Southern California as we were, you can get your sweet fix en route by stopping at the popular vegan Los Angeles donut shop, Donut Friend.

I happened to find out about this donut shop while reading a travel magazine last month that had an article about road tripping from San Diego to Santa Barbara, and I knew it was meant to be that we stopped in for sweet treats.

Donut Friend makes delicious dairy free stuffed donuts. We ordered two of their signatures: one “Custard Front Drive” – a donut filled with Bavarian cream and topped with chocolate glaze – as well as an “X-Ray Speculoos” donut – which was stuffed with cookie butter and topped with chocolate glaze and sea salt. I think we might have finished our donuts in abouttttt 2.5 seconds! But totally worth the stop off.

One you make your way into Santa Barbara itself, check into your hotel room, throw your bags down, and get ready for a fabulous day! There are tons of hotel options in downtown Santa Barbara. We stayed at the Hyatt Centric Santa Barbara, which had a nice location right next to the ocean and was within walking distance of the downtown action.

If it’s a nice day out (chances are it will be!) and you want to soak up a bit of sun, head over to the beach or to one of Santa Barbara’s parks. A few that were nearby our hotel were Cabrillo Park and Chase Palm Park. You can explore your walkable options on the City of Santa Barbara’s website.

Santa Barbara is about a 4-hour drive from San Diego, so by the time we dropped our dog off at the kennel, stopped for donuts, drove up to Santa Barbara, and checked into our hotel, it was after noon and we were ready for some wine tasting!

While there are numerous wine tasting routes and gorgeous vineyards outside of the city of Santa Barbara, including ones that I’ve visited like the Santa Ynez Wine Trail and in the Danish town of Solvang, there’s also wine tasting right downtown. Called the Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail, it offers many wine tasting rooms that are all walkable.

While I tend to like to visit the vineyards themselves, wine country is a bit of a further drive out, so we opted to keep it easy and experience the urban wine trail for the first time.

Continue reading

My Workouts Lately [Nov & Dec ’16]

Hi friends!

Is it just me, or is January flying by?!

Today I want to rewind a bit and look back at my workouts of November and December ’16. I capped off my year with many awesome sweat sessions!

Harley photobombing my headstand, as per usual!

I kept up with doing an at-home yoga practice most mornings, though I feel like I stuck more to the basics and didn’t challenge myself with new/deepening asanas all that much.

Well okay, this pose is a pretty tough one! 

Class-wise, November was fun because I got to experience spin classes at a new studio in downtown San Diego called Pure Indoor Cycling.

The folks at the studio kindly gave me a complimentary membership to try out their classes, and you guys, I had so much fun taking spin classes there! Pure offers the club-esque type of cycling classes that are becoming so popular in many cities — complete with loud, energizing music and lighting effects.

I love breaking up the day with a lunchtime ride, and I burned mega calories at Pure classes. I have my bike trainer at home that I use all the time, but I definitely pushed myself more in the classes. I left every Pure class feeling awesome, with lots of endorphins flowing!

One thing that I dig about Pure Studio? The classes are a bit more reasonably priced than you’d find at comparable cycling studios. And San Diego locals, the first class at Pure is free! I’d definitely recommend checking it out.

The only bummer for me? I wish I lived closed to the Pure studio!

Next up with my studio class workouts throughout November & December was going to more yoga sculpt classes at Fortis & YOGALUX in Carlsbad. I’ve become such a fan of yoga sculpt classes!

Continue reading

Clementine & Carrot Morning Sunshine Juice

It’s interesting how sometimes we fall in and out of habits.

For a few years, I was using my juicer all the time. Making a morning green juice became something that I did several days a week. After all, I do love getting in a hefty dose of fruits & veggies first thing in the day to power me through the morning!

But somewhere along the line last year, I stopped using my juicer at home. I was still drinking green juice, I was just buying it out instead of preparing it myself.

I blame having to clean the juicer on my juice making laziness. I mean, let’s be honest, that thing is kind of a pain to clean!

Even so, I’ve decided to bring my at-home juicing habit back in 2017. I got back into my Jack LaLanne Power Juicer groove – which I swiped from my parents’ garage after it sat there unused for years and shipped it all the way across the country for me to use, starting my juice making craze – with today’s juice recipe: the Morning Sunshine Juice.

Continue reading

Focus on Gratitude with a 2017 Positivity Jar

Here at Foodie Loves Fitness, I practice & preach the concept of moderation when it comes to most things. But, if there’s one thing that I think you can’t have enough of, it’s gratitude (well… and love).

Longtime readers probably have heard me talk about the concept of practicing gratitude daily. I believe that doing so brings lots of positivity into your life, and as with the law of attraction goes, it also attracts new good things. I’ve noticed that a lot of people tend to harp on the negative, and instead, I invite you to focus more on the positive this year.

If you’re wondering about techniques to be more consciously grateful, you’re in luck, because today I’m sharing one new way to bring more gratitude into your everyday life.

It’s called a positivity jar, and the idea is that every time something good happens, you write it down on a little piece of paper, and throw it in the jar. By the end of the year, you hopefully will have a jar full of little reminders of why life is good that you can look back on!

Continue reading

Celebrating Football Fandom with DICK’S Sporting Goods

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of DICK’S Sporting Goods. All opinions are 100% mine.

As a lover of fitness and active living, sports are definitely a passion of mine.

When it comes to my own workout routine, sports play a big part. Boxing is one of my all-time favorite ways to break a sweat, hitting the tennis courts for a friendly competition with my husband is always fun, and as an adventure lover, the feeling of racing down a trail on my mountain bike is an adrenaline rush like no other.

Watching professional sports is big in my household. I love absorbing myself in big events like the Olympics, Grand Slam tennis tournaments, and Vegas fights that thrill the the boxing world. Even soccer games have even grown on me due to my husband’s constant watching.

But when it comes to my favorite sport, there’s one that exceeds all the rest by a long shot: football.

My father has been a football coach my entire life, and I think that the love for the sport has been engrained in me. I grew up going to football games and constantly watching them on TV. My dad’s high school team has been ranked in the top 10 in the country many times over the years, and I remember the excitement at getting to go on the field at the Meadowlands (now MetLife Stadium) after some of his big games. I even have gotten to meet some NFL players!

Football and I have a long history! If you look close enough, you can see me as a 7-year old cheerleading mascot for my dad’s 1994 championship football team.

In fact, my parents were in Tampa this week for the College Football National Championship rooting on Alabama, as one of my dad’s high school players is now a great athlete on the team. Talk about an upset game for Alabama, losing to Clemson!

Another bummer game of the week for me? The NFL team I’ve been a longtime fan of, the New York Giants, losing in the playoffs to the Packers. Ah well, you lose some, you win some. 

Sporting my Eli Manning jersey last weekend

One way that I love to show my Giants pride is by wearing NFL jerseys. When I wore one last Sunday before the game for a beach walk with my dog, at least a dozen fellow fans stopped me to say things like, “Go Giants!” and, “I hope they get a W today!”

That’s the cool things about being a fan of a team. It connects people and brings them together, even when you’re living 2,500 miles away from where the Giants are based.

Even my dog gets in on showing off her football pride with her (only half eaten) Giants bandana!

Years ago, it was tough to find women’s NFL jerseys, but I’m happy that nowadays, they are not hard to come by. Most of the NFL gear that I own is from DICK’S Sporting Goods. As the the country’s largest sporting goods retailer, DICK’S core company belief is that sports make people better, and I agree wholeheartedly.

To engage with NFL fans and showcase favorite jerseys across the country, DICK’S created the Jersey Report. An NFL popularity contest of sorts, the report is based on online and in-store sales data. Each week the DICK’S team digs into the data and aggregates the top-sellers to show off in the Jersey Report.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading