Tag: food

Vegan Pepita Pesto

Vegan Pepita Pesto

I’m quite frankly OBSESSED with pesto. I will literally eat it on everything. Ok, maybe not everything but I will say it is most certainly an accessory on my buddha bowls, my breakfast toasts, or my pesto pasta dinner dishes. I love pesto because it instantly brings your meal from 0 to 10 in my opinion. It has the powerful flavors of garlic and basil. It’s a bit salty, slightly cheesy, and definitely zesty! I always say you can EASILY take a dull salad and add a flavorful sauce or dressing to take it up a notch and actually create a dish you’re looking forward to eating!

Try this quick & easy VEGAN pesto sauce / Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fresh basil (tightly packed) / 1 cup fresh spinach (tightly packed)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted pepita (pumpkin) seeds
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 TBSP water
  • 1 TBSP freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 TBSP nutritional yeast (vegan replacement for a cheesy flavor – PS this acts as a antibacterial immune-booster!)
  • 3-4 minced garlic cloves (I like my pesto EXTRA garlicky)
  • a few parsley leaves (optional – I had fresh ones on hand!)
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

Add a huge dollop of pesto on your buddha bowl or salad!
Here’s why pesto is SO simple. All you need is a somewhat decent food processor! (If you don’t own a food processor – It’s 100% a worthwhile purchase – so many possibilities with one)! Add all above ingredients into food processor and blend until smooth. You may need to blend for 30 seconds – 1 min and then take a spoon and push ingredients down along the side to ensure it’s all captured & well blended! You can store the pesto in the fridge – It’ll typically keep up for up to 5 days or you can store it in the freezer and pull out for future use.

PS – this pesto is a bit thick. If you’re looking to use it as a dressing, you can add more water or lemon juice into the mix and whisk until it’s reached the desired consistency.

Turmeric Cauliflower Rice, Veggie, & Squash Buddha Bowl

Turmeric Cauliflower Rice, Veggie, & Squash Buddha Bowl

A few weeks ago, I posted a blog all about Turmeric. If that post didn’t convince you enough to introduce turmeric daily into your diet, check out this one from Positive Health Wellness. Some of the main benefits they talk about include the ease of inflammation, cancer preventative, improved brain function, lower the blood sugar, reduced joint paint…and oh, the list could just go on! An interesting thing I learned from their blog was that you should try to incorporate black pepper when you’re consuming turmeric to help with the absorption & increase the potential benefits!

Anyway, the reason why I bring up my fave new spice again is because of this weeks buddha bowl! Typically I’ll add quinoa as my base, however this week, I opted for cauliflower rice as a fun alternative! I’ll be honest, I took the lazy way out and bought the bag of already “riced” cauliflower, but HEY, anything I can do to cut down the time of my Sunday meal prep, right?!

Ingredients for the bowl (yields enough servings for 5 days):
• 3-4 cups of brussel sprouts
• 2 large Broccoli florets
• 1 Bag of Cauliflower Rice (most grocery stores stock brands like Green Giant OR if you’re feeling ambitious you can make your own by following a recipe from the Minimalist Baker)
• 1 clove of minced garlic
• 3-4 cups of butternut squash (Whole Foods typically sells these pre-cut as well in small, cube-sized pieces)
• Coconut oil
• Lemon juice
• For the Rice – 1 TBSP of turmeric, 1/2 TBSP of curry powder, shake of black pepper & salt
• Additional spices include: cinnamon, paprika, rosemary, nutritional yeast
• 5 eggs (to prep & make hard boiled eggs for the week)
• For additional “buddha bowl” toppings …scroll to the bottom of the page for some of favorite brands/toppings!

screen-shot-2016-11-19-at-8-55-30-am

For the bowl –

• Start by setting the oven to 415 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, begin slicing your Brussel sprouts in half. On a baking sheet coated lightly in coconut oil, add your Brussel sprouts and layer another 1-2 TBSP of coconut oil, mixing in a pinch of salt, black pepper, and rosemary. You’ll want to follow the same steps for your broccoli – however, I choose to coat it in salt, black pepper, and nutritional yeast for a “vegan cheesy” alternative. Once those are lathered evenly throughout, place both baking sheets in the oven and cook for about 15 minutes, checking on them/mixing them around every 5-10 minutes. I personally like my brussel sprouts charred and slightly burnt, so I tend to keep them in for 20 minutes (just make sure to keep an eye on them as they’ll cook fast in the high heat)!

• Next, either dice your butternut squash into bite size pieces or if you’ve bought the pre-cut, you’ll want to cover a baking sheet lightly in coconut oil. Layer your squash evenly on the baking sheet. Add another 1-2 TBSP of coconut oil, a pinch of salt, cinnamon, and paprika. Using your hands, spread the oil & seasoning throughout the squash. These may need slightly longer than the brussels & broccoli – I tend to let them cook for about ~ 20-25 minutes.

• While the Brussel sprouts, broccoli, and squash are cooking, take out a large, stick-free, sauté pan, add your minced garlic with about 1-2 TBSP of coconut oil. Let that cook on low heat for about 1 minute. Next, add your bag of cauliflower rice to the pan. Add in your turmeric, curry powder, black pepper, & salt. Let cook for about 5-10 minutes. If you find it sticking, rather than adding more oil, I’ll usually add some lemon juice which adds a nice flavor as well! The cauliflower rice really only needs like 10 minutes to fully cook.

• While everything else is cooking – get a small pot, fill it with enough water to cover the eggs by 1 inch. Then add your 5 eggs into the pot, slowly bring it to a boil. Once it’s boiling, take the pot off of the heat, let it sit for 10-12 minutes. Then rinse it under cold water for a few minutes. Finally, using a spoon, you can crack the shell and peel off. The hard boiled eggs are fine being stored in the fridge for the week.

screen-shot-2016-11-19-at-8-56-10-am

• Now for the fun part – bringing your bowl together! I personally like to top my bowls off with 1 hard boiled egg, a heaping spoon of sauerkraut (GUT HEALTH Y’ALL), 1/2 an avocado (because I LOVE my healthy fats), a sprinkle of crispy chickpeas (because I love a little bit of crunch & they’re a great added protein source), and lastly, feel free to drizzle some lemon tahini dressing to top it off!

Here are a few of the products I use for the above ^ toppings:

Biena Foods Crispy Chickpeas
• SauerKraut – either WildBrine (they’re cauliflower & curry flavor is to DIE for) or FarmHouse Culture KRAUT (huge fan of they’re garlic & dill flavor)
• Annie’s Homegrown has an awesome “Lite” Goddess Dressing that tastes SO GOOD on top of these bowls

Hope you enjoy these bowls as much as I do! 🙂

Roasted Fall Veggie-Bowl w/ Pesto Tempeh Feauturing: OhSheGlows Green Goddess Dressing

Roasted Fall Veggie-Bowl w/ Pesto Tempeh Feauturing: OhSheGlows Green Goddess Dressing

Hi everyone! For today’s post, I thought it was only appropriate to share my tasty, veggie-filled, buddah-bowl inspired lunch from this week. I’m not one to brag about my lunches, because let’s be honest, they’re usually not THAT exciting. But this one HIT the spot and was actually a lunch I looked forward to chowing down on, even after eating it all 5 days (and that says something)! So if you’re looking for a meal prep option that you can prepare in under an hour and that will last you all week, you’ve found the right recipe! Plus it’s entirely vegan, loaded with yummy seasonal veggies and a whole lot of nutrients to keep you fueled each day!

screen-shot-2016-09-23-at-7-08-40-am

See below for the ingredients you’ll need…

Ingredients for the bowl (yields enough servings for 5 days):
• 1 (small) sack of purple potatoes
• 2 sweet potatoes
• About a pound of Brussel sprouts
• 3 cloves of minced garlic
• 2 heads of kale (I bought curly kale & dinosaur kale)
• Coconut oil
• 2 TBSP of lemon juice
• ½ yellow onion
• 2 packages of Lightlife Tempeh
• Hope Hummus (Kale Pesto)

And for an absolute favorite recipe of mine from the the amazing Oh She Glows…(seriously check her site out for some delicious vegan recipes & inspiration)! Check out the ingredients needed and simple directions for the vegan green goddess dressing on her site: Oh She Glow’s Green Goddess Dressing . If you don’t have the ingredients to prep this dressing, a great & tasty alternative can be a lemon tahini dressing – another favorite of mine 🙂

screen-shot-2016-09-23-at-7-08-57-am

For the bowl –

• Start by setting the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, dice the sweet potatoes & purple potatoes into bite size pieces. Cover a baking sheet lightly in coconut oil. Layer your potatoes evenly on the baking sheet. Add another 1-2 TBSP of coconut oil, a pinch of salt, black pepper, cayenne, and cinnamon. Using your hands, spread the oil & seasoning throughout the potatoes.

• Set aside and begin slicing your Brussel sprouts in half. Similar to the potatoes, you’ll want to get another baking sheet and layer it in coconut oil. Add your Brussel sprouts and layer another 1-2 TBSP of coconut oil, mixing in a pinch of salt, black pepper, turmeric, and nutritional yeast. Once those are lathered evenly throughout, place both baking sheets in the oven and cook for about 15 minutes, mixing them around every 5-10 minutes. I personally like mine charred and slightly burnt, so I tend to keep them in for 20 minutes (just make sure to keep an eye on them as they’ll cook fast in the high heat)!

• While the Brussel sprouts & potatoes are cooking, take out a large, stick-free, sauté pan, add your garlic and onion with about 1-2 TBSP of coconut oil. Let that cook on low heat for about 3 minutes. While that’s heating up, strip out the hard stem of each kale leaf. Chop them slightly smaller, so they’re easier to eat. Once the pan is warm, begin adding your kale in small increments. The kale will wilt quickly, but if you add it all in at once, you may have trouble cooking it & coating it evenly in the oil. Add your seasonings of choice – I chose to add a pinch of salt, black pepper, dried dill weed, and a small amount of cayenne. Add lemon juice slowly as you’re cooking the kale to help it wilt more quickly so that you can add the remainder of your kale. Once the majority of your kale is shrunk in size, you should only cook for a few extra minutes in order to retain most of the nutrients and avoid overcooking!

• Once your sautéed garlic kale is complete, put that to the side. Use that same pan, add ½ TBSP of coconut oil, add your chopped tempeh and sautee until it reaches a nice golden crisp on the edges. At that point, lower your heat, add about 2 TBSP of the pesto hummus and mix in well before setting aside.

• The last step is to prep your Oh She Glows Green Goddess dressing. Make your way to the following link: Oh She Glow’s Green Goddess Dressing.

screen-shot-2016-09-23-at-7-09-11-am

As mentioned, you should have enough prepped for 5 large bowls for the week. Heat up in a microwave-safe dish for about 2:30-3 minutes. Feel free to top your bowl with additional toppings such as my favorite – Biena Foods Crispy, lightly salted, crunch chickpeas! Or sprinkle your bowl with hemp seeds & some nutritional yeast – get creative and enjoy!

Make your own Grain Bowl

Make your own Grain Bowl

As we were exploring the streets of Boston a few weekends ago, passing numerous fast-casual health restaurants, we noticed one common theme on the menu – grain bowls. Of course, there’s always been hype around grain bowls in the past, but now more than ever, it seems as though every restaurant is jumping on that bandwagon. So what’s the craze over grain bowls anyway?
IMG_8389
– They’re versatile and customizable! Who doesn’t enjoy building your own bowl?!
– They keep you full. You have a balanced mix of healthy carbs, fats, and proteins which help to curb your appetite throughout the day.
– INCREDIBLY tasty source for all your necessary veggies and nutrients.

If you’re sold on the concept, why not start by trying this weeks spin on my grain bowl? I was inspired by the local and in-season veggies I stumbled upon at the farmers market. I bought a few items based on what looked the tastiest then built on the “grain bowl” from there! This is the best way to switch it up each week, while staying inspired by what’s fresh and local!

Ingredients:

  • 2 bulks of Bok-Choy
  • 1 bulk of Tuscan Kale
  • 1 cup Quinoa
  • 2 TBSP of Lemon Tahini (365 Whole Foods brand is great)
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 2 zucchinis
  • Coconut Oil
  • Z’atar spice, pinch of salt & black pepper

Ingredients for the Baked Falafel:

  • 2 cans of organic, no-salt added garbanzo beans (well rinsed and drained)
  • 4 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 squeezed lemon
  • 1 bunch of fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp of z’atar spice
  • 1 -2 tsp of ground cumin
  • 1-2 tsp of dried dill
  • Pinch of salt and black pepper
  • 2 TBSP of Lemon Tahini
  • 2 TBSP of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup of chickpea flour

IMG_8372

Directions:

Start by preheating your oven to ~ 415 degrees. Next, coat 2 baking sheets in coconut oil. Add your chopped bell peppers, zucchini, and cauliflower to the baking sheets. Coat them in a little bit of EVOO or coconut oil and top with some z’atar spice, salt & black pepper. Place in oven and let cook for ~ 15-20 minutes. Keep an eye on these as they’ll cook fast. I prefer mine slightly charred, but they should be good after 15 minutes in the oven!

Once you get your veggies in the oven, bring a pot of water (2 cups of water) w/ 1 cup of quinoa to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, you can let that simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes or until water is fully absorbed. Once the quinoa is ready, stir in your lemon tahini for flavoring.

After you’ve setup you quinoa, you can then move onto preparing your falafel. You’ll add your garbanzo beans, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, tahini, bunch of parsley, salt, black pepper, cumin, dill, and z’atar spice. Blend this well until it reaches a smooth, yet chunky consistency. Transfer this to a bowl and layer in your chickpea flour. This should reach a doughy texture – feel free to add more flour if needed. Once your roasted veggies are done, reset your oven to 375 degrees. Next, you’ll spray a baking sheet with olive oil and form small balls or patties. Bake the patties in the oven ~ 15-20 minutes. In the last 5 minutes, turn the oven to broil and let them reach a golden brown (make sure to keep an eye on these – they cook FAST)!

Lastly, while your falafel patties are cooking, saute your minced garlic, olive oil, kale, and bok-choy until well done (5-10 minutes needed).

IMG_8375

Now that you have all your ingredients, layer in a large bowl your quinoa, sauteed greens, roasted veggies, and 3-4 falafel patties. This portion should be served warm. If you plan on eating the next day or save this for the week, heat up in microwave for about 2 minutes in a pyrex glass bowl. Then top with optional toppings such as avocado, shredded carrots, different variations of hummus (I chose to go with beet & kale pesto), and finally add in some crunch with Mary’s Gone Crackers (black pepper is my fave flavor)!

Enjoy!!

The Tastes of Greece

The Tastes of Greece

Hi everyone!

Hopefully you’re all beginning to enjoy the summer and the beautiful weather! Now that I’ve had some time to get back into the swing of things after vacationing in Greece, I figured it’d be a good time to share many of the delicious eats from the islands. The Mediterranean flare certainly inspired me and I hope that it will do the same for you!

IMG_6872
This was dinner from our first night in Athens. Grilled salmon with citrus tzatziki and sautéed zucchini “noodles”.
IMG_6884
Couldn’t have asked for a better view while chowing down on breakfast! Enjoying the BEST plain greek yogurt I’ve tasted, topped with fresh fruit, pistachios, walnuts, & currants.
IMG_7007
This was our first lunch on the boat on the island of Kea, with the one and only, Chef Mihran. Chowed down on a delicious traditional greek salad (tomatoes, cucumbers, oils, herbs, cucumbers, homemade croutons, and a WHOLE lot of feta); warm pita, hummus, eggplant dip, and the family enjoyed kabobs.
IMG_7008
Pretty sure I had at least 1 Greek Salad a day. The tomatoes are SO fresh there! They just melt in your mouth…
IMG_7084
We used to eat salads like this all the time while studying abroad in Spain – I’ve noticed this is a very European way to do salads >> mixed greens, tuna, hard boiled eggs, tomatoes, olives, & mayo.
IMG_7114
Arrived to the next island of Syros and believe it or not, this was LUNCH! Linguini topped with homemade tomato sauce, fresh herbs, and tastefully meaty prawns.
IMG_7145
This was typically what our breakfast assortment looked like each morning (talk about trying to stay fit on vacation when you have options like this offered at every meal)!! The usual assortments included full-fat greek yogurt, mixed nuts & dried fruit, cheese plates, toast & jam, eggs or french toast, fresh fruit, and of course, A LOT of coffee.
IMG_7192
Made it to Mykonos and while the rest of the family was served meat-filled moussaka, Chef Mihran made me my own vegetarian take on the greek classic! This was stuffed eggplant with sautéed mushrooms, homemade tomato sauce, crumbled feta, and fresh basil. Definitely going to try and mimic this sometime soon in my kitchen!
IMG_7246
This was just a “small” part of lunch …homemade fresh tabouli, a plate of cheese, warmed pita, and bruschetta (not pictured here).
IMG_7248
So this was probably the highlight of the trip, go figure, FETA wins the food game. This was baked feta in phyllo dough topped with honey and black sesame seeds – HOLY WOW THIS WAS MOUTHWATERING.
IMG_7317
Had to expect there would be a full fish (or TWO) served one night! Nothing like enjoying fresh fish with a side of a mustardy lemon sauce, and a beet & walnut salad.
IMG_7319
This dessert was certainly a cloud pleaser. Not exactly a traditional Greek dessert, but you can’t go wrong with homemade cheesecake…
IMG_7333
Made it to the island of Paros and lunch is featuring freshly grilled octopus on top of fava beans with caramelized onions. I noticed a number of Greek restaurants prepared a dish similar to this. Although I’m not a HUGE octopus fan, Greece is known for their octopus and I will tell you first hand, my family certainly had their share of octopus there. Take it from them – it apparently ROCKS.
IMG_7376
This was a special little dessert from one of the first nights on the boat >> poached pear topped with warm dark chocolate sauce. The poached pair was on POINT.
IMG_7447
Next stop – the island of Ios! I loved how the chef made HUGE salads everyday for lunch – I think he started to catch on that I’m obsessed with vegetables…and feta…and food in general. I especially loved how each day, he’d mix up that salad just a bit, which certainly kept things exciting 🙂 This meal also included homemade mini olive croissants and veggie muffins, plus our favorite – eggplant dip and more pita bread because you can never enjoy enough carbs, right?!
IMG_7461
This was a “espresso fredo” which is exactly what it sounds like – double shot of espresso over ice. I don’t know how I would have survived the trip without this thang.
IMG_7512
This meal was one of the first meals in Santorini at the hotel. The cooked prawns and mini sautéed veggies were perfect to enjoy poolside!
IMG_7576
Breakfast at the hotel always consisted with an assortment of breads and pastries, plenty of coffee, and a veggie egg-white omelette.
IMG_7600
Not exactly “healthy” but hey, it’s vacation, right?! Plenty of wine, cheese, and bread to go around here…!
IMG_7635
This was for sure one of my favorite meals from the trip. This Santorini dish was grilled salmon with a champagne and basil sauce, served with cannelloni of asparagus and parmesan cheese.
IMG_7648
This was from our very last night in Greece at the Sofitel Hotel, right by the airport. Not bad for our last dish!! Here you have fresh sole with quinoa, fennel, asparagus and some sauces/aioli’s on the side.

Hope you all enjoyed drooling over these tasty meals from the Greek Islands, because I certainly did! Can’t wait to take these creations and get inspired in the kitchen! What are your favorite mediterranean meals? Share in the comments below!

Spring Cleaning 101 – Going Organic with Beauty & Cleaning Products

Spring Cleaning 101 – Going Organic with Beauty & Cleaning Products

For today’s post – I’d like to talk about the benefits of swapping out your CVS brand makeup with organic and natural ingredients. A few weeks back, I was listening to a podcast where the woman had recovered from a variety of different illnesses and diseases by following a holistic nutritionist and her guidance on eating clean and shaking up her daily routine. This woman had struggled for years with various illnesses and it wasn’t until she met with this nutritionist where she realized that what she was putting in AND on her body could be affecting her health. So, slowly but surely, she began eating clean, whole foods that helped to nourish her body inside and out. One by one, she started replacing her cleaning products and makeup with organic, 100% natural options. And as one would assume, after just a few months, her illnesses dwindled down and she finally began to feel energized again. It was like a weight was lifted off of her just by simply adjusting the way she was treating her body. No prescription drugs needed – just 100% natural remedies.

IMG_6771

The more I thought about this woman’s experience, the more I realized this was such an easy switch that could help me in the long run. If you think back to 100’s of years ago, our population was SO much more in touch with nature. We weren’t surrounding ourselves with technology. We weren’t consuming all of these chemicals that are hidden in cleaning products like detergent, or in makeup like foundation powder. We were living in a world that hadn’t yet been tainted by all of these material goods.

Check out this article I found from the global healing center on the 6 reasons to go organic!

Some key highlights I found from skimming through this article are the following:

  1. Conventional beauty products contain petroleum-based ingredients such as aluminum. Aluminum is found through mining which has had a very negative affect on the environment, especially in places like the Amazon rainforest. Did you know that the deodorant you’re using likely contains aluminum? Did you also know that there have been clear links to breast cancer & alzheimer’s disease??

Pro Tip: Go 100% organic with your deodorant! There are so many options these days – Toms is a perfect example!

  1. Conventional makeup can leave your skin feeling damaged due to it’s intense chemicals used in these products. Whether it’s a CVS brand or MAC – if it’s not 100% organic, there’s a VERY good chance it contains chemicals that can be poisonous to the endocrine system. “Parabens and phthalates are two common examples of substances found in these makeup products” – both of which have been linked to cancer and type II diabetes.

  2. Did you know that not only applying these cosmetic products on your body can be harmful but also breathing in the aromas like perfume or lotions can be extremely toxic. The chemicals found in these have been linked to cancer, nervous system disorders, allergies, and birth defects.

Pro Tip: Choose products that are 100% natural like essential oils (i.e. lavender and roseship oil are great examples).

  1. As I touched on above, products that can be applied to your body like face washes, face lotions, body lotions, and body scrubs all too, can have harmful, long-term effects.

Pro Tip: As this article points out, “if you can’t eat it, don’t wear it.” So what are some good examples of body treatments that are both natural and energizing for your skin? Opt for body lotions such as cocoa butter which contains fatty acids that can help to keep your skin youthful and soft or a lotion derived from hemp oil. Other good products contain ingredients such as white tea, grapes, apricots, and pomegranate seeds.

  1. With summer quickly approaching, we all know the importance of protecting your skin (something I quite honestly need to get better with)! UV protection can be found in natural organic and mineral-derived ingredients such as Titanium oxide or Zinc oxide.

Pro Tip: I just recently picked up the brand “Yes To” Carrots Daily Facial Moisturizer with SPF 15. There are SO many options, so make sure to choose one that works well for you!

After reading through these 6 facts, it’s quite frankly an obvious choice to swap out your conventional makeup items, your cleansing, and cleaning products and go organic! If it means possibly lowering my risk of disease and cancer, decreasing the amount of harmful, toxic chemicals getting into my body, and leaving me feeling and looking more youthful and energized – I’M IN!

IMG_6770

My advice? Don’t feel like you need to go crazy right off the bat. Stores like Target and Wegmans carry PLENTY of natural products for a pretty good deal! Keep an eye out for sales, etc. – you’ll find them, I promise!

Here’s what I’ve started to swap out: Shampoo, Conditioner, Deodorant, Lip Liner, Lip Stick, Lip Gloss, Foundation Powder, Blush, Body Lotion, Face Wipes, Nail Polish Remover, Soap Bars. So yes, it is a work in progress and I have a lot to do! But hey, it’s a start and I’m already feeling better about the positive lifestyle changes I’m making!

Checking in with Intuitive Eating

Checking in with Intuitive Eating

A few weeks back, I posted a write-up on “Diets, Fads, and the Health & Wellness Industry” – where I discussed my opinion on how it’s changed over the past few years, including all of the positives, the negatives, and everything in between. Now anyone who knows me well and follows my instagram daily, knows that I would be an absolute hypocrite to say that health and wellness is a fad. I 120% LOVE eating healthy. I love my vegetables. I love my morning smoothies. What has changed is my mindset towards the health & wellness industry. I’ve begun thinking and eating intuitively. I’ve let go of cutting carbs. I’ve let go of my high-fat, high-protein meal plan. I’ve let go of having a strict menu throughout the day. So what does all of this mean?

Screen Shot 2016-05-20 at 3.56.34 PM

It’s means that I start each day enjoying what I crave and love in order to nourish my body and treat it like a temple. Some days it means slurping down my delicious green smoothie packed with high fats like avocado and hemp seeds, high protein through a plant-based powder, and some nutritious greens. Yet some mornings, like today for example, it means finishing my AM spin class with a filling and deceivingly delicious, yet nutritious acai bowl from Juice Press topped with all the tasty goodies like granola and gogi berries!

Screen Shot 2016-05-20 at 3.53.11 PM

So yes, I continue to eat healthy, but I do it in a way that doesn’t make me feel like I’m restricting myself or missing out on things I enjoy. It truly feels like a lifestyle and not a diet. I find that I no longer need to coach myself out of an unhealthy decision, it just happens naturally. I no longer crave the “crap” or have urges to binge on snacks when I get home.

Screen Shot 2016-05-20 at 3.53.21 PM

In order to successfully eat intuitively, I have switched up my lunch and snack game lately. I tend to start most mornings off, as I said, with a filling green smoothie. I then make sure to pack plenty of snacks for the day. These usually include: Carrots, Mary’s Gone Crackers, Hummus, Quest Bar, Apple, and a heaping handful of mixed nuts. Some days I eat all of them and some days I don’t. Again, I snack based on how I’m feeling. Am I hungry at 4pm because I’m anxious to get out of work or am I ACTUALLY hungry? Am I stressed and therefore want to snack on anything and everything? These are the questions I’ve begun to ask myself before I go for that second handful of nuts. And for lunch, I’ve switched out my salads for a HUGE bowl of sauteed veggies like brussel sprouts & cauliflower, with a source of protein such as shrimp or tuna, and of course, some extra fats in there like avocado. This lunch is SO delicious and keeps my extremely full throughout the day.

Screen Shot 2016-05-20 at 3.54.01 PM

I’ve found that by packing yummy, yet filling snacks for the day along with an awesome lunch, I’m less likely to be starving when I get home between 6 and 7 PM. I no longer come home ravenous. I feel much more at ease and it’s allowed me to really get a sense for what I’m craving for dinner. Some nights it may be as simple as eggs or sushi. Yet some nights I may be craving something more heavy. Again – it’s all about thinking intuitively here! Honestly, my cravings probably change about 5 times throughout my drive home so I really end up winging it most nights!

Of course the best thing about eating intuitively is NOT feeling guilty if I’m craving something sweet. So I make sure to keep a dark chocolate bar in my freezer to dip in almond butter for nights I’m craving something extra 🙂 I buy the Lilly’s brand of dark chocolate (naturally sweetened with stevia, no added sugar) and then I buy the fresh made almond butter from the bulk section. This combo is so easy, yet so tasty and satisfying.

Screen Shot 2016-05-20 at 3.58.51 PM

So there you have it friends, my check in on eating intuitively! So far, SO good! I really am loving this new mindset and I’m finally enjoying and nourishing every second of the food I eat. I still consider myself a HUGE foodie and this just allows me to explore guilt free! Comment below if you’ve begun eating intuitively! I’d love to hear the positives and the challenges with it.

Food Shopping 101

Food Shopping 101

Happy Sunday all!

I figured this post was fitting for Sunday since this is my go-to day for running errands and meal prepping! It’s been a while since I’ve shared my food shopping list and number one finds. I try to keep my grocery list simple, unprocessed, clean, but of course, have to add a few snacks in there to keep my sweet tooth satisfied.

Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 8.20.38 AM

1.) Produce – As I called out in my last post, I don’t necessarily go to the grocery store with an idea of what vegetables & fruits I’m going to buy. I go for what looks good and fresh, what’s in season, and then work off those finds. However, my favorites tend to be the following:

  • Big box of Spinach or Kale (great for smoothies, salads, or to be sautéed)
  • Brussel Sprouts (love these sautéed or roasted)
  • Broccoli or Cauliflower
  • Zucchini (great for zoodles!)
  • Carrots (always need on hand for hummus snackin’!)
  • Asparagus (so easy to prepare, just snap them and throw them in the pan! Also great for anti-bloating)
  • Avocados (usually you can find the 5 for $5 deal which is ideal since I’m usually eating 1 a day!)
  • Apples (always have these on hand for snacking throughout the week)
  • Blueberries or Strawberries (have to buy one or the other for yogurt parfaits or acai bowls)
  • Bananas (I tend to buy some that are nearing brown and freeze them for my smoothie bowls!)

Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 8.24.54 AM

2.) Protein: As many of you know, I do not eat meat. However, seafood & eggs are LIFE.

  • Bag of Frozen Shrimp (perfect for stir-frys – see previous post for recipe!)
  • Large Brown, Cage Free Eggs (egg muffins, scrambled eggs, hard boiled eggs — oh so many options!)
  • Veggie Burgers (I usually always have a box on hand. I love trying new brands each week, so I never stick to just one kind)

3.) Dried Goods: The bulk section of the grocery store is EVERYTHING and should always be your starting point.

  • Roasted, Unsalted Almonds
  • Antioxidant nut mix w/ cashews
  • Quinoa
  • Almond Butter
  • Lilly’s Dark Chocolate (Naturally sweetened by stevia only! Absolutely love the coconut flavor and dipping this in almond butter)
  • Low Sodium, Original Ezekiel Toast (avocado or almond butter/banana toast is always a good idea…)
  • Mary’s Gone Crackers (delish for snacking & personally love the cracked black pepper flavor)

Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 8.20.54 AM

4.) Others:

  • Coconut Oil (I buy both the spray & out of the jar)
  • Lemon Tahini dressing
  • Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  • Quest Bars (I will still always swear by these – best natural protein bar, less than 1 gram of sugar, and hella tasty!)
  • Siggi’s Full Fat Plain Yogurt (for snackin’ or a healthy yogurt parfait for dessert!)
  • Low Sodium Teriyaki Sauce
  • Hail Merry Chocolate Chip Coconut Macaron bites (made with coconut oil!)

Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 8.21.56 AM

Enjoy and happy food shopping!!

Healthy Stir Fry in 20!

Healthy Stir Fry in 20!

Lately I’ve been obsessing over this simple, yet healthy stir fry combo that can be prepped and ready to eat in just 20 minutes! Whether it’s for lunch or dinner – this meal is sure to make your taste buds jump for joy. Not going to lie, when it comes to cooking these days, three things come to mind 1) Taste 2) Health and 3) Convenience. As part of my Sunday Meal Prep, I always make sure to prep a ton of fresh veggies. I never go to the supermarket with any particular plan. I tend to just browse the produce aisles and pick the veggies that look the most fresh to me. Having a ton of veggies chopped and prepped for the week make my stir fry combo SO easy and it’s great to switch it up weekly.
Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 6.05.27 PM
What you’ll need:

  • Your choice of fresh veggies. My go-to? Brussel sprouts, asparagus, broccoli, mushrooms, yellow & red bell peppers, yellow onion
    ** Did you know that eating vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts are EXTRA good for your nutrition? They’re known as cruciferous vegetables and are considered to be suppressing to your thyroid and can help prevent cancer. However it’s very important to eat these vegetables cooked – so back sure to sauté or roast them in some form!
  • 1 to 2 cloves of minced garlic.
    ** Make sure to let the garlic sit for at least 10 minutes once you’ve minced them to get the most nutritious benefits from it!
  • 1 TBSP of coconut oil
  • 1/4 bag of “Explore Asian – Gluten Free” Edamame & Mung Bean Pasta
  • 1 TBSP Less Sodium Teriyaki Sauce
  • 6-10 pieces of shrimp (I tend to buy cooked shrimp, tail on)
    Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 6.07.23 PM
    Directions:

  • You’ll want to make sure to defrost your shrimp first and foremost. Start by boiling a pot of water for your “pasta”. Follow directions on the back of the bag accordingly.

  • Meanwhile, take out a large non-stick sauté pan and your TBSP of coconut oil. Add your minced garlic and warm the pan on low heat. Make sure to spread the coconut oil evenly. Then add the rest of your vegetables to cook and turn up the heat to about med-high. Add in your seasonings all to taste (Himalayan salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and a dash of paprika).
  • Now that you’ve started up your veggies. Take out a smaller non-stick pan, add a 1/2 TBSP of coconut oil. Then add your shrimp with some fresh minced garlic and a few shakes of paprika for spice. You’ll only need to cook these for about 5 minutes on low/med heat.
  • Make sure to stir occasionally, keeping an eye on your veggies. If they begin stick, turn down your heat and add a little more coconut oil or some lemon juice. Let those cook for about 8-10 minutes. I tend to like my veggies extra crunchy and I try not to overcook them to the point where they lose their bright greens. In the last minute of cooking your veggies, add your teriyaki sauce and stir well.
  • Serve yourself the pasta, topped with a heaping serving of veggies & lastly your spicy shrimp.
    Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 6.07.38 PM
    Enjoy!!
Diets, Fads, and the Health & Wellness Industry

Diets, Fads, and the Health & Wellness Industry

Hi everyone!

I know I’ve been on hiatus for a while…apologies for that! To be honest, I just haven’t been too inspired to write, among work and everything else going on in my life – coming home and blogging just hasn’t been on my mind. That was up until today…

Over the past few months, I’ve been listening to a lot more podcasts to make my hour-long commute less miserable. My boyfriend recently got me into Joe Rogan – which is great since some of his are 3 hours long and kill 2.5 hour drives! I’ve especially been drawn to Joe Rogan because he tends to interview people that have very interesting & unique passions. Plus I love how Joe is so open-minded and probably the least-judgmental person; which likely attributes to why his podcasts are so interesting. The ones I’ve been especially drawn to are folks who are or in some way touch the health and fitness industry. In addition to Joe Rogan, I’ve explored listening to other top health & wellness podcasts, one being the “Wellness Wonderland Radio”, hosted by Katie Dalebout. The most recent podcast I listened to however was what really caught my attention.

Katie was interviewing a plus-size model and owner of “Topless Yoga”, Emily Nolan, and a big topic of discussion was around “diets, fads, and the health & wellness industry”. When I look back at various “fads” I tried; including “If it Fits your Macros”, Veganism, Ketogenic, Pescetarianism – I tricked myself into believing that none of what I was doing was a true diet. I honestly believed that I was just being open-minded and exploring and learning about different foods and my body. I still believe some of that is true. But, in the end, what was I doing? I was restricting myself from certain food groups that quite honestly, I was dying to have back in my life. So here I was the whole time, believing that I would or could never get caught up in a “diet” – but in the end, it all came down to restricting myself from one of life’s greatest pleasures, FOOOOOD!
food guilt
Later in the podcast, they went onto to talk about the positives and negatives of the health & wellness industry being in the lime light recently. As many of you likely know, the wellness industry has taken off in the past few years and myself included, has jumped on that bandwagon through Instagram and blogging. This extremely positive idea of sharing and inspiring others on social media accounts may have turned into a place where people now begin to shame themselves and compare the foods and their lifestyle to what their Instagram superstars are doing and eating. I can tell you right now that I’m probably guilty of that as well! Things start running through your mind – “oh she only had a green juice for breakfast and a bar before her SECOND workout of the day…”. Meanwhile, here I am chowing down on my dessert of full-fat vanilla yogurt with a heaping handful of granola and almond butter. It’s crazy to think that what I’m doing is absolutely fine AND healthy, yet I still find myself feeling guilty. What it comes down to is that a lot of times, social media accounts may be promoting this crazy illusion of what health and fitness should look like.

I will say that what I post on Instagram does not capture every meal I eat. I don’t necessarily do it to hide what I’m eating, it quite honestly comes down to – is this meal pretty? Is the lighting any good? Or my favorite… I’m FAR too hangry to take an extra minute to snap a picture of my meal. Whatever it may be, I want to make a promise to both my myself and anyone who follows me to truly begin thinking intuitively and sharing that with you. When I say “thinking intuitively”, I don’t just mean with food, but with my body. Like food, I tend to be strict with my workouts. I’m up at 5am every morning, even when I know my body is dying to tell me no. This mindset probably developed back when I started racing for track & field – and quite honestly, I don’t know if I’ll ever truly lose that crazy, competitive edge. Thinking intuitively is a spiritual mindset and I really want to explore that and share that journey with you all!
intuitive eating
Anyway, wanted to take the time to share this with you and if you’re interested – definitely be sure to check out Katie’s podcast. She’s so passionate about what she does and she’s extremely relatable, having gone through similar struggles herself. Check out her website as well: http://katiedalebout.com/

Enjoy!

Ooey Gooey Breakfast Bars

Ooey Gooey Breakfast Bars

For this week’s breakfast on-the-go, I was inspired by a variety of breakfast bar recipes I’ve seen on Pinterest and Instagram lately! I used a combination of various recipes found online to create these delicious bars!

Start by setting your oven to 350 degrees. Then take out a large baking sheet and coat it in coconut oil.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Very Ripe Bananas
  • 1 TBSP of Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 2 cups of oats
  • 2 drops of coconut stevia

Mix all of the above ingredients in a bowl together VERY well.
FullSizeRender (4)
– 1/2 – 1 Cup of mixed nuts (I prefer almonds, cashews, goji berries, raisins, walnuts, mulberries >> make a bulk batch of your own from whole foods or wegmans!)
– 1/2 cup blueberries
– 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
– Pumpkin Pie Spice
– 1-2 TBSP of chia seeds or flax seeds
– Cinnamon

Fold these mixed nuts and berries in gently as to not smooch or damage your delicious berries!
IMG_3287
Next, lay your mixture evenly across the baking sheet – this should be about 1/2 an inch in thickness (so be careful as to not make it too thin or too thick!). Finally, lightly coat your layer of oats in cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. Toss this in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the edges are slightly beginning to crisp to a nice light brown! This can be served warm or cold and can be stored in a tightly closed container in the fridge for up to a week!
IMG_3324
I chose to pair these breakfast bars with egg-veggie muffins to keep it a well balanced meal of protein, carbs, and fats!

Enjoy this for an awesome breakfast, snack, or dessert!

Lunch: Easy Salads for a Busy Bee

Lunch: Easy Salads for a Busy Bee

So although I’ve been TOTALLY slacking on keeping up with my blog posts…I hope you’ve at least been keeping up with me through my instagram! That being said, you may notice that I go through minor obsessions and may periodically see the same thing posted for like 2 weeks straight… You must wonder – “does she get sick of the same lunch everyday??” Answer is NOPE! Once I find something I LOVE it takes a lot for me to get sick of it. What is it about this salad combo I love? To be honest, it’s made up of very simple ingredients, it’s easy to throw together, and not to mention it’s …healthy!
Screen Shot 2015-07-25 at 8.44.40 AM
Ingredients:

-1/2 cup cooked brown rice (I typically make a large batch of brown rice on Sunday to suffice for the whole week)
-Spinach or mixed greens
-1/4 cup of cherry tomatoes
-1/2 Avocado (because I don’t EVER go a day without some AVO in my life)
-1/2 Cooked Sweet Potato
-1/2 can of Tuna (I buy the tuna can in water, no salt added)
Screen Shot 2015-07-25 at 8.44.25 AM
Then here’s the trick…I top it with the following seasonings/oils for flavor:

-Garlic Powder
-Cayenne Red Pepper (don’t go to crazy with this one!)
-Black Pepper
-A little of Olive Oil and some Balsamic Vinegar

Make sure to toss your salad with the oils RIGHT before you eat …you don’t want a soggy salad!
Screen Shot 2015-07-25 at 8.44.53 AM

A Peek at my Grocery List

A Peek at my Grocery List

Curious as to what my typical grocery list looks like? Here’s what a usual shopping trip for me on a Sunday afternoon would normally look like:

FullSizeRender (3)
– Fage Plain Greek Yogurt
– Fresh Blueberries
– Fresh Strawberries
– A large bag of spinach or kale
– Tuna (in water) cans
– A large bag of apples
– Carrots
– Hummus
– Bananas
– Beets
– Rainbow Salad Combo
– Fresh peppers or cherry tomatoes (my fresh veggies will vary a bit depending on what my salad looks like for the week)
– Avocados
– Lemons
– Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
– Sweet Potatoes
– Boom Chicka Pop Popcorn

*Not featured on this…but DEFINITELY staples.

Frozen Items:

  • Acai Berries
  • Frozen Fruit (mango & berry combo)
  • Frozen Stir Fry Veggie Combo
  • Frozen Shrimp
  • Frozen fish for the week (Salmon, Halibut, Tilapia)
  • Ezekiel Bread (original)
  • Arctic Zero
  • Yasso Frozen Yogurt Bars

Dry Foods:

  • Quest Bars
  • Oats
  • Large bag of Almonds
  • Large bag of Goji Berries
  • Chocolate or Vanilla Protein Powder
  • Coconut Oil
  • Cinnamon Puffins Cereal
  • Chia Seeds / Flax Seeds
  • Brown Rice or Quinoa
  • Quinoa Pasta
  • Honey
  • Almond Butter
Mango Salsa (with a kick)

Mango Salsa (with a kick)

Ever in that mood where you KNOW you want something for dinner, but LITERALLY have no clue what it is? Well, earlier yesterday, my boyfriend and I were strolling around the Whole Foods produce section, trying to get inspired by something…ANYTHING. Mexican? No.. Spring Rolls? No.. Fish? No… Pasta? No…

You get the point. Clearly both of us were as indecisive as it gets. Luckily, after circling the obstacle course of what the Whole Foods produce section is, we stumbled across the mangoes. Ahh mangoes. This beautifully delicious fruit can at times, be disappointing if served too soon before ripening. However, when served right, one can’t help but dig into it, juicy bite after juicy bite, instantly teleporting you to the clear blue waters of the Bahamas. Point is, the second my eyes caught that mango, I knew what had to happen. Mango salsa. The perfect summertime meal. Without any hesitation, I knew what had to happen next. A Fresno pepper, jalapeño pepper, red onion, lime juice, fresh cilantro, and more. With a sweet & spicy salsa like this, a blander, white fish would do the job. Freshly caught tilapia was next on the list. Lastly, some perfect asparagus spars for our side dish to top of this summer-inspired meal.
Screen Shot 2015-05-16 at 9.41.59 PM
Serves 2 people.

Ingredients for the Salsa:

  • 2 Soft Ataulfo Mangoes diced (these are the golden yellow ones)
  • 1/2 finely diced red onion
  • 1 small Fresno Pepper finely diced
  • 1/2 small jalapeño Pepper
  • A small handful of fresh cilantro (about 1/4 cup and then chop the cilantro into small bites)
  • 2 tsp of Honey
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 TBSP of Lime Juice
    IMG_1900
    Additional Ingredients:

  • 2 Tilapia Fillets

  • Mrs. Dash Caribbean Seasoning (enough to fully cover the fish)
  • Curry Powder (A few shakes on each fillet will do)
  • Paprika (to taste…)
  • Coconut Oil or Olive Oil

  • A batch of Asparagus

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (1-2 TBSP)
  • 1-2 finely diced garlic cloves
  • Salt & black pepper to taste

We’ll start by prepping your salsa first (the further ahead of dinner you can do this, the more juicier and flavorful your salsa will be later). Take all ingredients (chop or dice according to above ingredient directions) and mix together in a small bowl. Set this aside in the fridge.

Next, set your over to 380 degrees. Place your tilapia on a lightly sprayed baking pan (I use Coconut Oil spray)…I also like to spray the fish lightly with the oil as well. Then shake each bit of seasoning onto the fish, should be fairly covered. Once the fish is in the oven, it should only take about 12-15 minutes. Make sure to check periodically, fish should be flaky when ready to be taken out.

For your asparagus, simply sauté the spars in a non-stick pan with the olive oil, garlic cloves, salt & pepper. This process should take about 15-20 minutes. I find it helpful to cover the pan to help the asparagus soften quicker.
Screen Shot 2015-05-16 at 9.25.22 PM
When you’re ready to serve, top your fish with sliced avocado, then top it with the mango salsa and a side of asparagus. Enjoy!! And Happy ALMOST Summer! 🙂

What’s in my Lunch Box?

What’s in my Lunch Box?

Hey guys! Apologies for the lack of posts in the past week…works been pretty busy…so unfortunately, when I get home, all I want to do is be lazy : ) Anyway, wanted to update you all in what has been in my lunch box over the past week or two.

Summer Couscous Salad:

Ingredients (Serving: Enough for 5 days of lunch):

1 cup Tri-Colored Pearl Couscous (follow instructions for cooking on package)
1 cup diced cherry tomatoes
1-2 cucumbers diced
1/3 Cup Finely diced Scallions
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Black Pepper to taste
Optional: Baby Kale and Baby Spinach

IMG_0601
Directions:

Cook your couscous according to package directions. Once cooked and drained, put aside to let cool. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix together your dressing and vegetables. Once your couscous is somewhat cooled, add that into the large bowl. Set aside in the fridge. When you’re ready for lunch, top your couscous on a bed of mixed greens (I prefer baby kale and spinach with mine).

Breakfast Options:

Mint-Chocolate Chip Green Protein Smoothie:
IMG_0609
Ingredients:

1 frozen banana
1 scoop chocolate protein powder
1 tsp of peppermint extract
2 heaping handfuls of fresh spinach and kale
1-2 drops of vanilla stevia
Cinnamon to taste
3-4 Ice Cubes
APPROX 1 Cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk (slowly add this into your blender in order to get the right consistency…)

Blend and Enjoy!

Snacks from the Week:

Smores (I’m still obsessed…sorry…) Quest Bars
Buddha Bowl Himalayan Popcorn (Coconut Oil, Himalayan Salt, and plain old popcorn…such a great healthy popcorn brand)!
Carrots and Hummus (LOVE LOVE the cilantro jalapeno hummus from wegmans)
Apples, mixed berries
Greek Yogurt (Fage Plain 0%)
Mixed Nuts and Dried Fruit

tumblr_nc9dk53PVV1qagvzvo1_500


%d bloggers like this:
%d bloggers like this:
%d bloggers like this:
%d bloggers like this:
%d bloggers like this:
%d bloggers like this:
%d bloggers like this:
%d bloggers like this:
%d bloggers like this:
%d bloggers like this:
%d bloggers like this:
%d bloggers like this:
%d bloggers like this:
%d bloggers like this:
%d bloggers like this: