balance, breakfast, dessert, easy, gluten free, health, pumpkin, quick, recipe, smoothie, vegan

Fall in love with Pumpkin

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Ok, so I know I don’t have to sell anyone on how awesome pumpkin is, it’s easily the most popular fall flavor, we find it in lattes, muffins, patches, skincare and basic hashtags all over instagram. Aside from being trendy, pumpkin is actually super good for you.

Pumpkin is packed with fiber which helps you feel fuller longer so adding this tasty member of the squash family to your oatmeal, smoothies or even soup is a great healthy choice. They are also packed with vitamin C to help you fight that fall cold and full of beta carotene and antioxidants to help lower blood pressure and even improve eyesight. we often think of bananas when we think of potassium, but pumpkin also boasts this nutrient helping you recover from those tough fall runs in the rain.

Give this delicious smoothie a try the next time you want a pumpkin drink, it’s vegan, gluten free and full of fiber and vitamins. For an extra boost add your favorite plant based protein powder.

Perfect Pumpkin Smoothie

½ cup pumpkin puree

½ banana

⅓ cup oats

½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

2 ice cubes

1 cup nondairy milk

 

If you just can’t get enough pumpkin, you may want to try a pumpkin body scrub. Penelope and the Beauty Bar in the Fairmont Hotel in downtown Seattle has a full body polish or foot scrub and massage to take your pumpkin pampering to the next level. Pumpkin is great for the skin because of all of it’s fruit enzymes and alpha hydroxy acids which are often found in high end skin products. The vitamin C and A help sooth skin and boost collagen production to help prevent the signs of aging.

I checked out their food scrub and I have to say, even though my tootsies are tucked warmly away inside my boots this season, they are so incredibly smooth and soft. I walked away from my scrub feeling so relaxed and refreshed, my technician did an amazing job and my feet smelled amazing afterwards.

The benefits don’t stop there, you can make pumpkin lotion, lip balm and even face masks.

If you are interested in a DIY version, give this one a try from One Green Planet

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup organic canned pumpkin (or homemade pumpkin puree)

  • Mix sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon together. Mix with pumpkin. Put on skin, scrub in circular motion, and rinse. All smooth and clean!

 

Hope you have fun this fall and find a new way to enjoy our favorite fall flavor – let me know your favorite unique ways to use pumpkin! #squashgoals

balance, breakfast, brunch, dinner, easy, health, quick, recipe, tips

How to Meal Prep Like a Boss

Summer has finally arrived in Seattle, which means we are busier than ever, and staying on track and eating healthy can be difficult. I get it – you’ve got parks to visits, kayaks to float in and microbrews to drink in the sun. That’s where a little planning and prepping one day a week can make a big difference in your life. If you are busy, want to lose weight, eat healthier or just like to get all your cooking done at once, this is the way to go.

It can seem daunting at first to plan that far ahead (I know it was for me) but hopefully these tips will help make it easier and get you going towards successful meal prepping.

Start Simple
This isn’t really the time to start eating crazy foods you aren’t used to, at least for the first few weeks. Think about putting together foods you already like and know how to prepare, this will save you time to begin with.

Master Breakfast
If you already eat oatmeal, try doing overnight oats. I love oats because they are high in fiber, and can be super nutritious for a filling and healthy breakfast. If you’re more of an egg person, you can prep the veggies for a scramble or omelette ahead of time and throw them in the pan in the morning with some already beaten eggs and whip up a breakfast in just a few minutes. Better yet, bake egg muffins all at once and have breakfast all week.

Shop Smart
Don’t head to the store without a plan, you run the risk of roaming the aisles and buying foods that don’t really go together. Plan out what you’re going to have for the week and make a list to take to the store, you’ll save time, money and sanity.

Be Snack Savvy
Pre-packaged minimally processed bars like Kind and RX make great snacks that take absolutely no work. If you’re looking for more whole food options, buying things in bulk like string cheese and hard boiling a bunch of eggs ahead of time are great to grab on the go.

Get Freezin’
Making large batches of food ahead of time and freezing them is a great way to save time. You can throw tomorrow’s dinner in the fridge to thaw before you head to work and come home to a dinner that will require a few minutes in the microwave. Or, if you’re into smoothies, try making homemade smoothie kits of frozen fruit and veggies and then after a workout or whenever, throw it in a blender with your milk or water of choice and you’re good to go.

Choose Grains Wisely
Pick grains you can use for multiple meals and cook a big batch on Sunday. Quinoa is great for breakfast in place of oatmeal, or you can throw it into salads for extra protein, or serve your fish or chicken for dinner on top of it.

Spread Your Food Out
On a sheet pan that is. Roasting veggies and protein in big batches in the oven is a super easy way to prepare a lot of food at once. You can throw these in salads, or use them for low maintenance dinner ideas.

Slow It Down
If you have a slow cooker- bust that thing out! You can make all sorts of food in your slow cooker, and it doesn’t just have to be soup. You can make quiches, oatmeal bakes, lasagna, enchiladas, roasts, the sky’s the limit. Set it to go before you leave work, come home to a delicious meal you can reheat all week.

What are you waiting for? Get out there and prep yourself for a week of healthy eating and spend less time in the kitchen. If you are looking for or in the need of some awesome meal prep ideas then make sure to check out my pinterest board.

balance, breakfast, easy, fitness, health, quick, recipe, running, snacks

Hidden Veggies

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Smooth Moves

Got someone who just doesn’t get enough veggies? Or just want to add more veggies to your diet without effort or even really tasting them? I’ve got the perfect solution for you- smoothies!

Smoothies are my favorite go-to for a quick breakfast or after a workout when I don’t have time to throw something else together. When putting together a smoothie, it’s important to consider all of the elements that make up a balanced meal, including healthy fat, protein and fiber. Without all of these, you are at risk of spiking your blood sugar quickly which can sabotage weight loss and cause you to be hungry again soon and reach for something else.

The rules I like to follow when I make a smoothie are a 1:2 ratio of fruit and veggies, for every fruit serving, I include 2 servings of vegetables, and include fat and protein.

Pick 1 fruit, 2 vegetables, 1 liquid, 1 fat, 1 protein, 2-3 ice cubes = your complete smoothie.

Here are some of my favorites :

Fruit :

  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, or mixed berries
  • 1/2 orange
  • 1 packaged unsweetened acai puree

Veggies :

  • 1-2 cups spinach
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 cup kale
  • 1-2 beets
  • 1/4-1/2 sweet potato

Liquid :

  • 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk or regular milk
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut water
  • 1 cup cold water

Fat :

  • 1-2 tbsp nut butter
  • 1-2 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1-2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup raw nuts
  • 1/4 avocado

Protein

  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain greek yogurt
  • 1 scoop plant based protein powder
  • 3 tbsp powdered peanut butter

 

Be mindful of portion sizes and remember, if weight loss is your goal or even maintenance, a smoothie is a great option, but not in addition to all of your regular foods, otherwise you’ll have a caloric excess. If you are trying to gain weight, increase protein and fat content and consume in addition to your regular diet.

Happy blending, you’re only limited by your creativity, I promise you won’t even know the veggies are in there and can get 1/2 of your servings of both fruit and veggies in one smoothie!

Let me know what you’ve tried!

 

balance, chocolate, easy, fitness, health, movement, tips, travel

Staying on track during travel

It’s inevitable, whether it’s during the holidays or just for a special occasion, we all find ourselves making our way through the long security line and shuffling to the gate to dash off to some exciting destination. As fun as travel can be, sometimes the options at the airport are not always the healthiest when you’re trying to stay on track.

I have done a lot more traveling in the last few years, and coincidentally, my health has become an even greater priority as well, so how do you make healthy choices when you’re on the go? Here are some ways I manage to make sure I feel great and don’t have to sacrifice healthy choices during travel.

 

  1. Plan ahead! Since I always keep healthy food in the house, it’s not a big leap for me to grab smart choices when I’m leaving the house. If I have a lot of time I will bake some protein muffins ahead of time or make some nut and seed bars. If I am short on time, I make sure to grab a couple pieces of fruit that travel well like apples and bananas, and make my own trail mix. The possibilities here are endless, you can throw together any combination of nuts, seeds, dried fruit and even some dark chocolate chips if you need a it of sweetness. Some great store bought bars I love are KIND bars and RX bars, both have no artificial ingredients and are high in protein and healthy fat without added sugar. Having healthier options in your bag will make it so much easier to walk right past that cinnamon in the food court or avoid unhealthy snacks on the plane.
  2. Hydrate! So often we mistake thirst for hunger, and this can happen even more when we’re traveling and scattered. I always pack a large water bottle in my carry-on luggage and fill it half full on the way to the airport. I finish the water before we get to the airport so I start my trip hydrated and then fill up the water bottle as soon as we get through security. You can carry this onto the plane and this way you’re in control of your hydration, not waiting for the flight attendants to bring you a tiny cup of water : ) Avoid drinking alcohol on the flight which will only contribute to dehydration which leaves your skin feeling icky and can cause you to overeat. Feel free to grab a free bevvie on the plane, just stay away from juices and soda, stick to sparkling water, coffee or tea.
  3. Move, move and move some more. Sitting on long flights can leave you feeling sore and sleepy and can zap your daily move goals. I always get to the airport early enough that I can get through security and do a few laps through the terminal before getting on the plane. Since I know I will be sitting for a few hours, I like to get any movement I can in before boarding. Also, when my flight isn’t super early, if I know I’m going to be sitting during a long fight, I set my alarm, drag my booty out of bed and squeeze in a quick run before a flight. Knowing I got my workout in before travel makes me feel more balanced, less stressed and happy knowing I didn’t have to compromise my fitness goals on a travel day. If you’re on an especially long flight, try to get up eat least once an hour to stretch your legs and move a little bit.
  4. Know your stuff – if you absolutely can’t bring your own snacks and have to eat airport food, do your research. Don’t get lazy or call it vacation calories, be smart about your choices. Read the menu, look for things that are at least half vegetables, and skip the added bread or chips that come on the side. Don’t be afraid to ask for things modified, restaurants are often very willing to be accommodating if you check. Make sure to watch portion sizes as well, often the size that you get is more than one serving, so try wrapping up half right away for later and eating half right away. This can also be super helpful after a long flight when you land and feel ravenous and keep you from grabbing something else unhealthy before you get to your destination.

 

Happy travels – DM me with the ways you stay on track while traveling!

balance, brunch, easy, gluten free, quick, recipe, snacks, vegan, vegetarian

Tropical Oat Bars

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Sometimes, you want to eat seasonally, like enjoying ice cream in the summer to beat the heat, or cozy up with a hot bowl of soup in the winter to warm up. And sometimes, it just gets so damn cold that you decide to protest the weather and fantasize about a dreamy tropical getaway and have to make some snacks that help you do just that.

I don’t really do new year’s resolutions, but I almost always go refined sugar free in January as a body refresh and reset. I do pretty well at resisting the baked goods during the holidays but even I occasionally find myself indulging in more than my fair share of homemade cinnamon rolls, pumpkin pie and holiday cookies. I am a firm believer in enjoying your food always and embracing the treats of the season are a part of enjoying time with family and remembering traditions. That doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate a break from it all come January.

Going refined sugar free works really well for me, I work well with boundaries and telling myself that I am not having something is often easier than I will eat less of something.

I love snacking on whole foods when I’m running between school, work or just heading to a workout, but many bars you find in stores are loaded with extra sugar or just weird ingredients. That, and I can make my own bars in about 15 minutes for a lot less.

Here are some tropical banana, oat, toasted coconut and almond bars that are naturally sweetened, full of healthy fat and fiber to help get you through these long, dark winter days. You could always add some dried pineapple or mango for an extra tropical feel, just make sure your dried fruit doesn’t have any added sugar.


 

Tropical Oat Bars

Prep Time : 10 minutes | Total Time : 15 minutes

Ingredients

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup honey

1 1/2 cups oats (I used Trader Joe’s Gluten Free)

1 cup roasted and unsalted almonds

1/2 pepitas

1 cup banana chips

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

Instructions :

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  • In a small saucepan, combine coconut oil, maple syrup and honey over heat on low until simmering.
  • Spread oats and coconut flakes on a baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes (watch to make sure they don’t burn)
  • When oats and coconut flakes are done, mix in a  bowl with almonds, pepitas and banana chips and cover with oil and syrup mixture.

 

 

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  • Mix to combine and pour into 9X9 baking pan.
  • Place in refrigerator until solid, slice and enjoy. Store in refrigerator.

 

 

breakfast, easy, gluten free, quick, snacks, vegan

Maple Pumpkin Granola (GF, Vegan)

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I have been ready for fall for a while. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the sunshine and warm weather as much as the next person, but not all the time. There is something so comforting about the changing leaves, a slight chill in the area and the coziness of drinking a cup of tea and baking on a Sunday afternoon when it’s grey out. I also think that pumpkin is an underrated squash that only really gets hype around Halloween and Thanksgiving and love using it in all my cooking, including both savory things and sweet.

I’ve been craving some hearty granola, but most of the stuff you buy in the store has a lot of sugar and is highly processed. I wanted some granola that had all of the flavors of fall I love so much, but without the refined sugar. My criteria also included something with healthy fat and lots of plant protein.

Enter my maple pumpkin granola. It’s sweetened with a little maple syrup and some apple juice, pecans and pumpkin seeds for crunch, raw pumpkin for some yummy pumpkin flavor, flax meal for heart healthy omega 3’s and coconut flakes for something a little different.

I am so happy with how this granola turned out, my kitchen smelled amazing  and I could hardly wait to sample this when it came out of the oven. Not only is it delicious but it far exceeded my nutritional criteria and contains vitamins A and C, healthy fat, lots of protein, fiber and iron. I hope you will love this just as much as me, this was so easy to throw together in a few minutes and enjoy all week as breakfast or just a tasty snack.


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Maple Pumpkin Granola

Prep Time : 10 minutes | Bake time : 45 minutes

Ingredients :

2 cups raw oats

2/3 cup raw pecans

2/3 cup toasted pumpkin seeds (can also use raw)

1/3 cup unsweetened raw coconut flakes

1/3 cup flax meal

1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup apple juice unsweetened

2 tablespoon coconut oil

1/2 cup raw pumpkin

Instructions :

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix.

Combine apple juice, maple syrup and pumpkin in medium size bowl. Microwave coconut oil to melt and add to remaining wet ingredients.

Pour wet mixture over dry ingredients and mix thoroughly to coat.

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Spread on a large cookie sheet to cover. Bake for 20 minutes and stir. Bake for additional 20-25 minutes until golden brown and remove from oven and allow to sit and cool.

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Enjoy with almond milk or over yogurt or just by the handful which I ended up doing because it was too delicious to not snack on!

easy, gluten free, quick, snacks, vegan

Easy Energy?!

What? It’s that simple? Well, sort of. Choosing to put good fuel into your body will keep you going and help you tackle those meetings, your workout, and anything else that comes your way. A little planning will help you continue to stay on track no matter how busy, and these bites are just the thing for that! Whether I’m running to school, work or just a workout when I want something slightly sweet but also nutritionally balanced, I reach for these. They take minutes to pull together and are the perfect balance of protein, heart healthy omegas and fiber to help you feel full between meals and feel satiated! Enjoy!

Date Almond Bites 

Prep Time : 1 hour | Cook time : 10 minutes

Ingredients :

1 cup oats

10 dates

1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut flakes

2 tablespoons chia seeds

1/2 cup raw almonds

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions :

1. Combine oats, cinnamon, chia seeds and coconut flakes in your food processor. Pulse until oats have broken down and you get a meal that looks like this.

2. Add dates and almonds to your food processor and continue to pulse until mixture begins to come together.

3. Your mixture will begin to ball up in your food processor, when this happens, pause and scrape down the sides and continue to pulse until it resembles this.

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4. When you get the mixture, dump out your food processor and roll into 1 inch size balls and store in the fridge. When you need a quick snack grab a few and take them with you. Hope you enjoy!