balance, fitness, movement, tips, workouts

Get Movin’

So many of us have jobs that require us to sit all day, whether it’s at our desk, in the car to commute, or for myself, sitting in class. While I have an active job that keeps me on my feet, moving and lifting weights and I make getting a workout in daily a priority, I am still stuck in class for upwards of 6 hours on some days. For me, the answer to this problem when I’m in class is to use a standing desk, to at least get me off my feet even if I can’t be moving.

We have continuously started to see how unhealthy sitting all day is, and in some studies, even an hour of moderate intensity activity is not enough to counter the negative effects of sitting all day.

What does that all mean? Are we just doomed? NO way! Here are some ways you can stay more active throughout the day and avoid sitting.

1. Walk the dog 
       Not only will your pet be healthier and happier, but you will get some extra steps in and burn a few extra calories. If you don’t have a dog, you can always volunteer to walk your friends pet.
2. Park farther away 
       If you are out running errands, that can add up to a lot of time in the car, sitting. If you are able to park farther away, or between two errands and walk between them, you can get plenty of extra steps in the process.
3. Consider a fitness tracker 
       There are a variety of fitness trackers out there that can be a great tool to help you really get a better idea of how active you are throughout the day. Most are customizable, allow you to connect with friends and even challenge each other to see who can get the most steps in a day or week.
4. Take the stairs 
      When you can, try to take the stairs instead of escalators or elevators. You will not only get some extra stairs but get a better workout by taking the hike.
5. Get off the bus 
       Try catching the bus at a bus stop just a bit farther away or getting off one step early on your way home. This small adjustment can add a few hundred steps more to your daily total and probably won’t take you that much longer to get home.
6. Break it up 
       Instead of trying to get all your steps at once, try going for a short walk in the morning, around lunch time and after work. Better yet, set a reminder each hour, or get a tracker that reminds you to move every hour, If you get 500 steps every hour you’re at work thats an extra 4,000 steps in your day!
7. Dance it out       
       When all else fails, put on some fun music and dance it out! You can close the blinds and no one has to see you but you’ll feel happier and get some extra steps in at the end of the day!  I love putting on music when I’m cooking and more often than not, the beat will get to me and I end up doing some bouncing around in the kitchen before dinner.

Happy Moving out there folks! Let me know what you do to stay active throughout the day! 

 

balance, breakfast, brunch

Staying on track and in balance

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For many people, staying on track and achieving their goals means never, ever slipping up. That idea may work for some, but for me, I find that striving for balance in all areas of my life, including my nutrition is the best for me. And that includes eating at restaurants, and even enjoying a delicious brunch like the one above.
I had a lovely brunch with my beautiful sister-in-law this past weekend where we caught up on our lives, drank dark coffee and bright tea, shared an incredible cauliflower appetizer (jumpin’ on this brunch appetizer bandwagon- this should be a more common thing!) and allowed ourselves to slow down for a bit in the midst of our crazy  busy lives.
Sharing a meal has long been a social experience, and many studies show that when we enjoy our meals with others, we show decreased signs of stress and often better digestion. We have to eat, so we might as well do it together right?
I believe that leading a healthy, vibrant and full life will often include eating at restaurants, and sometimes you can control this and sometimes you can’t. What you are always in control of however, is what appears on the plate in front of you and how you feel about it. It doesn’t do you or your body any good to feel guilty or like you’re ‘cheating’ by having something off your usual plan.
Swap the potatoes for fruit, add some veggies, put the dressing on the side, or… don’t!
Enjoy the company, enjoy yourself, slow down and really taste your food, experience the moment and the meal for what it is. Know that you are nourishing your body with not only good food, but good conversation and happiness and that it’s ok. Tomorrow you’ll have that fresh smoothie or that kale salad and everything will, as always, remain in balance.

 

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!

Uncategorized

I’m a lazy student

So, being in school is hard. Like, really hard. Especially when you’ve been out for a long time like I have. That means that sometimes when I get home from school I am just too tired to think about cooking or coming up with something creative. Being in a nutrition program however, makes me even more conscious about wanting to eat nutritious, delicious and whole foods based meals. That’s where these tacos came in.

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I wanted to make something easy that didn’t really require a lot of cooking time – ta-da! Tempeh tacos! Literally, the only thing you will be cooking in this recipe is the tempeh. I let it marinate for a long while in some spicy hot sauce and then just sautéed it on the stove and threw it on a corn tortilla with some fixins.

You can feel good about eating these tacos because they deliver a great punch of vegan protein, fiber and vitamins and flavor! Hope you enjoy them as much as we did.


Lazy Spicy Tempeh Tacos with Cashew Cream Sauce

Prep time : 1.5 hours  | Cook time : 10 minutes

Ingredients

Organic Tempeh – One package

1/4 cup spicy hot sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup black beans

1/2 cup corn

5 corn tortillas

1 avocado

1/2 cup raw cashews

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

2 limes

1/4 – 1/2 cup water

Cilantro

Salt & Pepper

Pico de Gallo

Instructions

  1. Start by marinating your tempeh. I removed mine from the package and broke it up into crumbles, put it in a plastic bag and then dumped in the hot sauce. Massage the tempeh in the bag to make sure it’s all coated and stick it in the fridge for an hour or two.IMG_0108 (1)
  2. Next, get your cashews soaking, I used boiling water to speed this process up a bit. Cover the cashews and set aside to soak while the tempeh is marinating.
  3. When the cashews have soaked and are ready to go, drain off the soaking water. Combine cashews in blender with vinegar, lime juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/4 cup water. Blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add more water if necessary.
  4. Heat skillet on stove with remaining tablespoon of oil and add tempeh. Cook until slightly browned. IMG_0116
  5. You can warm the tortillas in the toaster if you like, and then assemble! Layer the tempeh, black beans, corn and avocado on top. Add pico de gallo if you like and fresh cilantro. Drizzle some of your delicious cashew cream on top to balance out the heat and enjoy!
chocolate, dessert, easy, vegan

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles (vegan)

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Now that I have your attention, I have to start off by apologizing. I’ve been very bad and it’s been many moons since I last posted. That is mainly because of some exciting updates that have happened in the past year.

  • I got engaged! Woooh! If you’ve ever planned a wedding, you know, this is a full time job.
  • I quit my job! Hooray~ no more boring day job!
  • I went back to school full time! I am now a full fledged student at Bastyr University,  working on my degree in Nutrition and Exercise Science.

The reality is, I consider myself incredibly lucky to have the freedom to quit my day job, and pursue my dream to move into a world of eventual self employment and helping others through nutrition and movement plans to be healthier, happier individuals.

Even the healthiest person likes to indulge from time to time and I don’t know about you but cookie dough is just about my favorite thing in the world. I’m not even really a big cookie fan, most of the time I just make cookies to eat the dough and give away the cookies. So vegan cookie dough is the best case scenario because it’s completely safe to eat raw and why not just cut out the baked cookie in this equation and skip to what I really like eating. I mean, just look at this gorgeous cookie dough, don’t you just want to dive in?

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I’m a few weeks behind on a Valentine’s Day post, but I made these beauties a few weeks ago when I felt like treating myself to something special. Valentine’s day does not have to just be about romantic love, love for your friends, pets, family  members and most importantly, yourself should also be recognized on this special day (not to mention every other day).

These cookie dough truffles were just the thing to hit the spot this year when I wanted something delicious, easy and somewhat indulgent while still containing healthier ingredients. I used vegan butter and organic coconut sugar and non-dairy chocolate chips so they are also cruelty free – winning! The coconut sugar really lends a more deep caramel flavor to these that make them stand out so I recommend not subbing the sugar.

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I hope the next time you feel like you want to take a little extra effort show yourself a bit of self love, you’ll consider these lovely bites, not just on Valentine’s Day but any day.

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles (vegan)

Easy to make truffles for yourself, your special someone, or any party to impress your friends. These truffles look super fancy, taste incredible and are completely vegan! 

Servings : 20           Time : 1 hour

Ingredients

1 stick vegan butter (room temperature)

3/4 cup organic coconut sugar

1 ½ teaspoon vanilla

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

2 tablespoons non-dairy milk (I used rice)

½ cup mini chocolate chips (non dairy)

1 teaspoon coconut oil

1 package dark chocolate chips (non dairy)

Red and white sprinkles

Instructions

Truffle Filling

  1. Cream together sugar and vegan butter until fully combined and no lumps remain.
  2. Add vanilla, salt and non dairy milk and stir to combine.

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3. Gradually add flour until completely mixed in.

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4. Stir in mini chocolate chips (I used about a 1/2 cup but more is always ok in my book)

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5. Using a spoon, create rounded spoonfuls and place onto baking sheet. Put into fridge for 30-45 minutes to firm up.

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Truffle Assembly 

About 5 minute before your truffles are completely chilled, combine your dark chocolate chips and coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl.

Heat on high in increments of 30 seconds, stirring frequently to get a smooth, completely melted shiny mixture.

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Throw those chilled cookie dough balls in to their delicious chocolate bath and roll them around and make sure they are completely coated. Set them back in their pan and let dry for a few seconds before topping off with some sprinkles of your choosing. I did red and white for valentine’s day but these would be great for any occasion with no sprinkles or any color.

*One note on the sprinkles, you want to wait a few seconds so they don’t get completely absorbed into the chocolate but not too long or they won’t stick. If you see the chocolate getting hard, you’ve waited too long.

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Once they are all coated in chocolate and sprinkles, stick them back in the fridge for a few minutes so the chocolate can firm up. When they’re ready, take these little balls of heaven out and enjoy! You will want to store these in the fridge but they can be left out for a while if you are taking them to a party or serving them to guests. But if you’re like me, and you save them all for yourself, that won’t be necessary 🙂

 

Hope you guys enjoy these as much as I did and thanks so much for sticking with me through my very long hiatus. I promise to be more diligent and bring you lots of inspiring yummy posts in the future!

Cheers!