I’m feeling very excited to fly home and see my family tomorrow! I know that while I’m on my trip I’ll be indulging a lot and not exercising as much (especially with frigid temperatures in Jersey and my crazy pup not being with me to nudge me to take her on walks!). That’s perfectly fine and I’m looking forward to the vacation, but knowing this, I have been mindful in making some of my meals extra healthy and produce-packed lately.
For one thing, I’ve been eating a lot of veggies to help build up my immune system a bit and protect myself from getting sick while I’m traveling and around so many people during the holidays. For another thing, eating really healthy meals helps balance out the sweets that have inevitably been present in my life more so than usual. Yesterday I made cupcakes and cookies that I gave out to a couple of friends as little holiday treats, and I taste tested so much I felt overloaded with sugar. Ick.
From time to time, people I know will bring up my blog and say things like, “All of your recipes look great, but I think they’re too complicated for me.” While the word “complicated” when referring to cooking is very subjective, and I feel like most of my recipes are not all that difficult or time consuming, I do understand that some people don’t enjoy preparing a meal or care to be savvy in the kitchen, and simply want to be able to eat something they can feel good about that took 15 minutes or less to make.
Guess what? Healthy eating does not have to be time consuming. Sure, it may take more work than, say, pulling through a drive-thru, but it doesn’t need to be a huge, intricate task to make a nutritious dinner. In fact, a lot of my dinners are thrown together really easily. I have a rotation of meals that are on my go-to list when I’m lacking creativity and feel my belly grumbling with hunger, which is how I feel half the time after I workout in the evening. One meal heavily in rotation in my household these days is this salad….
I thought of making the black bean burger and ranch dressing from scratch when I shared this with you guys, but then I thought, let’s just keep it simple. Since I’ve been using a frozen black bean burger and store-bought dressing, I’m keeping it real and sharing exactly how I’ve been throwing this salad together with you today. If you’re looking for a healthy, delicious dinner that can be ready fast – 10 minutes tops – this is a meal idea for you.
Place the watermelon chunks in a large salad bowl. Add the feta, red onion and mint leaves.
In a small bowl, whisk olive oil, red wine vinegar, and lemon juice together. Drizzle over top watermelon. Sprinkle sea salt to taste. Gently toss to evenly combine.
On a funny note, I did not see one single firework on the 4th of July. After our friends left, my hubby and I formulated a plan to take our motorcycle to see some fireworks, laid down to watch some DVRed World Cup action, and proceeded to both pass out and sleep through fireworks time. Whoopsies, I suppose we needed some extra zZzzz time. I blame it on the sangria!
Instead we sat in our backyard and finally made our first fire:
It was definitely a fun-filled 4th of July weekend!
Questions: What strange but good food combos do you like? Have you ever napped through something fun you planned on doing?
“Being a family means you are a part of something very wonderful. It means you will love and be loved for the rest of your life.”
The 10 days that I’ve spent in Jersey have been extremely tough for my family and me. My grandma passed away last Friday. To be honest, at the moment I don’t feel like writing about my heart aching. I’d rather talk about cute babies, my wonderful family, and a yummy kale salad, so that is what I’m sharing with you today.
On a positive note, going through this has reminded me what an amazing family I have. I am so grateful and lucky to have my wonderful family and to be close with them. Given the reason I flew to the east coast, I spent a lot of time at the hospital and hanging out with family members, and the quality time I got to spend with them was nice.
And seriously, how cute are my nephews?!
I got to meet the youngest munchkin this trip, and my oldest nephew (a 2/12 year old) and I had a lot of time to bond and hang out. He has the cutest personality ever, and seeing the babies has been a lot of fun.
Enjoying the sunset with my nephew Brayden the day after my grandma passed
Given the circumstances, there have been lots of get togethers with loved ones — which means lots of good food with good company. I got to do a nice amount of cooking and baking, and it made me feel better because a.) being in the kitchen soothes me, and b.) feeding loved ones was my grandma’s favorite thing to do.
The day after she passed away, my siblings and their significant others and kids, my aunts, uncles, and grandpa all came over my parents’ house to celebrate her life by hanging out eating and drinking together. She loved us all being together and I think it’s what she would have wanted us to do. At nighttime, we all sat by my parents’ fire pit in the backyard and toasted to her with champagne.
One of the things I whipped up for the occasion was kale salad with strawberries, goat cheese and almonds. I was determined to make a few people like kale who told me they weren’t so sure about it, so I made sure to do some extra massaging of the kale with the dressing to ensure it was nice and tender. It turned out to be a big hit, and I definitely think I’ll be making it again very soon.
Hope you all had a great weekend. Mine was exactly what I wanted it to be: productive yet also relaxing. Since I’m flying to the East coast this upcoming weekend for the holidays (!!!), I wanted to get some Christmas shopping done and clean my house – check, check. Since it has been SO chilly in the Bay Area and I’m a baby in the cold weather, I didn’t have any outdoor workouts besides long walks with Harley, but I did do at-home workouts both yesterday and today. I probably look like such a nut awesome jumping around my living room doing burpees and pushups while watching football… hey, whatever works up a sweat right?! A lot of good food made its way into my belly this weekend, including:
A post-workout bowl of goodness: chopped apple & banana sprinkled with cinnamon, honey Greek yogurt, a Quest apple pie bar, Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereal and almond butter
A ginormous taco salad from a Mexican restaurant in Campbell called El Guapo’s. It was packed with lettuce, black beans, corn, cheese, pico de gallo, topped with guacamole and sour cream, and came with a tomatillo vinaigrette. The crispy flour tortilla it came in was so yummy!
Being that we were in walking distance of my favorite cupcake place in the area, Frost Cupcake Factory, I couldn’t resist getting a few to split with my hubby for dessert: one was chocolate mint, one was pumpkin spice. Drooool. I joked on Instagram that I died and went to cupcake heaven!
I tried a recipe for butternut squash, potato & white bean soup from Jazzy Vegetarian. It looks kind of plain but was really tasty and filling! More on the recipe to come later in the week when I do a review of the cookbook.
And onto the recipe I’m sharing with you today…
I cooked with farro for the first time and came up with the above dish: sweet potato & farro salad.
The first time I’ve ever eaten farro was a few months ago in a ridiculously overpriced airport restaurant. I had low expectations for the Mediterranean farro salad I ordered, but was pleasantly surprised that it was actually pretty good.
For those of you unfamiliar with farro, it’s an ancient wheat from Italy. When I spotted pre-cooked farro at Trader Joe’s recently, I nabbed a bag to play around with at home.
Though I usually prefer my sweet potatoes sweet (love em with cinnamon & brown sugar!), I had this idea to create a savory farro recipe with roasted sweet potatoes. First, I peeled and chopped the sweet potatoes, tossed them with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roasted them on a baking sheet.
Next, I cooked and drained the farro, then placed it in a large bowl. I added avocado, feta, and red onion, then added the cooked sweet potatoes. I whisked together a dressing of olive oil, honey & red wine vinegar, then drizzling it on top and tossing to combine.
A few weeks ago, I stopped at the Vitamin Shoppe to pick up a few goodies (and buy my first box of Quest bars!), and they had a store party going on. I walked out with a bag of samples to try, which I was obviously excited about. It’s the little things in life people!
One of the samples in the bag were hemp seeds, which I’ve heard a lot about but have never tried (at home at least). Today I used my sample and whipped up one awesome salad for lunch.
I adapted this recipe from Vegetarian Times, switching around some ingredients and amounts, and making a single serving portion since it was just little ole me. You can view their original recipe here.
To make the clusters, I toasted the hemp seeds with walnut pieces, honey and cinnamon. So easy to make, and such a tasty addition to a salad that I’m definitely going to be making again soon!
At the last minute, I decided that the salad could use some cheese in it. Goat cheese was a great add-in, but you can easily leave it out and have a vegan salad.
Mixed Green Salad with Blueberries, Goat Cheese & Honey Walnut Hemp Seed Clusters
Author: Foodie Loves Fitness
3 cups mixed baby salad greens
½ cup fresh blueberries
½ TBSP honey
1 oz creamy goat cheese
1½ TBSP raw shelled hemp seeds
2 TBSP walnut pieces
¼ TSP ground cinnamon
½ TBSP safflower oil
Juice from ½ small lemon
A pinch of salt
Line a plate with parchment paper. Mix hemp seeds with cinnamon and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
Heat a small pan over medium heat. Add the walnuts, and toast for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the hemp seed mixture, and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Mix in the honey, and stir constantly until it's completely mixed in with walnuts & seeds and the entire mixture is lightly browned.
Transfer to the parchment-lined plated. Lightly press into the plate, and allow to cool.
Whisk safflower oil and lemon juice together, then toss with lettuce. Put into a bowl, and add in blueberries and the goat cheese in chunks. Sprinkle additional salt on top, if desired.
Once walnut/hemp mixture has cooled a bit, break into clusters and add to the salad. Enjoy!
Fact: I love stretching, and typically do so on a daily basis.
When I don’t stretch for a couple of days, my body starts to feel achy and stiff. This doesn’t happen often, but while my girlfriends were in town this past weekend, I didn’t do any real exercise besides walking around San Fran and taking Harley for long walks – and I did very little stretching. So this morning when I woke up, I was looking forward to getting a nice stretch in post-walk with my pup. My foam roller felt glorious!
My workout at the gym this evening was my first sweat session of the week, and it was a good one. I got the okay to take off my foot cast a couple of days ago – WOOHOO! My foot has been feeling better, so I think the bone is healing and there’s less inflammation going on. I’ve definitely made some progress and I don’t want to digress, so I’m being careful to not put too much stress on it for the time being. So much easier said than done!
I also feel like I didn’t get enough sleep the past several days, and last night I was exhausted. Call me an old lady, but a lot of alcohol and not enough sleep doesn’t work well for me anymore (though it is so worth the tradeoff of having an amazing time with my girlfriends!). I woke up feeling more refreshed, and had a day full of nutritious eats. I didn’t eat all that bad the past several days with my friends in town, but I did eat whatever I felt like, so I woke up vowing to eat clean and lean the next couple of weeks until I go on vacation.
For my What I Ate Wednesday post today, I’m linking up to Peas & Crayons blog party for the first time! Apparently I’ve been living under a rock and just discovered this awesome blog linkup. So here we go:
You may remember that I recently proclaimed my love for PB 2 powdered peanut butter. Well, my new love is chocolate powdered PB from Just Great Stuff:
For breakfast, I topped some blueberries and banana with a serving of the chocolate PB, along with some cashew pieces.
For lunch, I whipped up a salad with lentils, arugula & figs, topped with a dressing of a touch of fresh lemon juice + balsamic + olive oil.
A couple of hours later, I snacked on a pluot and protein bar:
After the gym I came home starving, so I decided to do something quick and yummy – taco night! I used Lightlife’s veggie protein crumbles as my “meat”….
Some of my toppings included:
I heated up the crumbles on the stove with some taco seasoning, toasted the taco shells, chopped tomato and avocado, and then laid everything out on the table. It took me between 5-10 minutes to prep dinner, so I was feeding my hungry belly in no time.
Tacos are the messiest meal ever!
A little while later I was feeling a bit hungry, so I broke out my food processor to make a frozen fruit bowl.
In the mix:
1 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 frozen banana
1/2 cup unsweetened chocolate almond milk
1 packet of stevia sweetener
1 TBSP cocoa powder
And that’s all she wrote for my eats today. Off to relax for a bit with my little family!
Happy first day of summer! Summery things I did today include:
Going hiking with Harley…
…and thoroughly enjoying this dinner on my patio this evening…
Lightly fried zucchini + beefsteak tomato + cheddar + horseradish mustard = one bangin’ grilled cheese. I was craving grilled cheese all day, and this guy totally hit the spot. I refrained from eating a second one… though I easily could have!
And now onto more yummy eats…
Recently I had a blogger date with Gina, the chick behind Health, Love and Chocolate. We met for lunch, and while we were both enjoying kale caesar salads, I started talking about how I’m a pretty new kale eater. I told her I feel confident that I can whip up a yummy kale salad now, but that I like the kale super tender and never seem to get it quite that way by letting the veggies marinade in the dressing. My lovely new kale guru friend said that the best way to tenderize the kale is to massage it with the dressing for a good 5 minutes. Hmmm, why have I never tried that before? I wondered, and yesterday I put her tip to the test.
The word Goddess refers to femininity, charm and supernatural powers. Isn’t the bursting purple color from this flowering kale gorgeous, and does kale not offer a slew of health benefits (read: supernatural powers) to those who consume it?
General rule of thumb: any food this naturally vibrant is bursting with goodness (besides the exception of poisonous berries or some other shenanigans). Any who, the word “Goddess” seemed fitting to me, and so a Goddess kale salad it shall be referred to as.
After chopping a couple cups of kale up, I drizzled a dressing of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and fresh lemon juice on top, sprinkled sea salt on top, and massaged it for a bit.
Massaging the kale totally worked and left the veggie perfectly to my liking. Anyone who is turned off by kale because of its toughness, try massaging it – it really does the trick!
I added a few cups of green leaf lettuce, chickpeas, toasted slivered almonds, creamy goat cheese, and dates, to make one DELICIOUS combination. The goat cheese added a tang to the salad, the dates provided some sweetness, the almonds gave it a crunch, and the chickpeas… well, I throw chickpeas in nearly everything because they’re my favorite. I munched on this salad for about an entire hour while I worked, and will definitely be making it again very soon!
Hi there! My weekend has been filled with fun and gorgeous weather. Yesterday I researched some hiking spots in the area and we ventured out to explore one of them. Though we wound up not getting to the trail we had originally been aiming for, we still found a pretty area to get some exercise in.
I think I’m almost getting used to having cows roaming around near me. We saw a couple of pretty deer frolicking in a field, and on our way back saw a man riding a BULL. I had no idea that riding a bull on the side of the road is a thing that people do nowadays. In response to this comment, Adam said, ”Well at least one guy does…” Yes I suppose!
Today we had our first real beach day since moving to the Bay Area. We went to Santa Cruz, and there was not a cloud in the sky. When we got home from our afternoon of sunbathing (and my applying and reapplying of lotion yet still getting burnt!), both Adam and I were hungry for dinner. I quickly threw together a yummy salad using some strawberries that were about to be overripe, while Adam cooked some chicken to throw in with his:
I hardly ever use prepared salad dressings anymore because I find it so easy to just combine a few ingredients to make a healthy, tasty more homemade one myself. Recently I’ve been doing an olive oil + lemon juice + balsamic glaze dressing, but for tonight’s dinner, I wanted to try juicing some strawberries to pair my fruity salad with a bit of a fruity dressing. The result was a simple 3-ingredient salad topper that went perfectly with my salad combo.
Today I want to share a couple of things that I’m loving this week:
#1 – My new Oakley sunglasses
I stopped by the mall yesterday to do my last Christmas return and wound up getting a new pair of sunglasses. I have super sensitive eyes and have always relied on high-quality sunglasses to help protect my peepers when I’m outside. This is my first pair of Oakleys. I like them because they’re sporty but also good for everyday wear, and they’re also polarized, which I think is really neat. I tried them out today during a lunchtime walk around my neighborhood trail with Harley. She wanted no part in taking photos with me…
…though I certainly tried:
#2 – My gym: Last night I did a group class at my neighborhood’s gym for the first time in quite awhile. I didn’t know if the class, called Body Shock, would be my style, but I wound up working up a really good sweat and having a nice workout. It reminded me that nighttime classes are an option whenever my days get too hectic to include a workout. It’s great to have a gym in my complex that I can easily walk to. I’ve certainly taken advantage of it in the years that I’ve lived here!
#3 – My food processor: Around the beginning of December, my food processor totally conked out on me. Knowing that it was an expensive kitchen appliance that I use often, I brought it to a store to see if they could fix it for me. The appliance doctor (as I like to call him) had my food processor for about a month, but I’m happy to report that it’s back in action. I promptly made hummus, which I’ve been enjoying all week long. Today I had some for lunch with cheese, crackers, a kiwi and pistachios:
Speaking of chickpeas…
#4 – Today I’m loving this salad:
I found packaged steamed artichoke hearts at Trader Joe’s recently and nabbed em. Since I’ve really been diggin’ chickpeas lately, I decided to pair the two foods together for a simple, healthy meal.