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Cookie Dough Lara Balls and More Rain….

Well it’s raining again… at least the rain is a warm rain, but not quite enough to get me jazzed enough to go dance in it…

Thankfully I’ve got my sweet rain boots to keep me fashionable and dry in this rain!

I’m also starting to think I need more rain gear workout clothes or something as we head more into fall and winter!  hmmm…..

Anywayzzzz… onto the good stuff!!

So, I am totally obsessed with Lara Bars, but they can be a bit pricey when you are trying to keep on a tight budget.  Thankfully, they are super easy to replicate, not to mention more wallet friendly!!

These lil guys are perfect for right before or after a workout, to take on the go as a quick snack to keep you satiated until lunch or dinner… you name it!

Cookie Dough Lara Balls

1 Cup Raw Cashews

12 Medjool Dates

1/4 cup Carob Chips

Pinch of Himalayan Sea Salt

– Process cashews until they are ground up into small pieces, but not a powder

– Add in the dates and sea salt, and process until almost incorporated

– Add in the carob chips and process until it starts to look clumpy

– Use a spoon and scoop out enough to fit in palm of your hand and form into a ball.  You can wet your hands to keep from sticking too much to your hands

Enjoy! and keep dry!

Question of the day:  What do you do when you can’t workout outdoors??

Zucchini Pasta with Pumpkin “Marinara”

I have a confession… I’m in love… and it’s name is Spiralizer!!

I recently purchased a spiralizer, which was totally the best investment ever (besides maybe my juicer).  Basically you can take any vegetable, usually zucchini’s, and make them into a pasta like form!   It’s a fantastic way to incorporate more veggies into your diet, and if you are a major pasta lover like I am, but are trying to steer away from heavy carbs in the evening, then this is totally the perfect solution.

Best.thing.ever.

I’ve been using this thing like crazy, and experimenting with all kinds of sauces and so far this one is my best one yet!  Seriously in love with this sauce, I LOVE fall and pumpkin!!  I love that you can make Pumpkin both sweet AND savory, it kind of just morphes into whatever you want it to be.  Couple that with the fact that it’s also packed with nutrients (as most of my recipes are) and BAM! Total nutrition party in your mouth!!  (Check out my other post on Pumpkin for the nutritional benefits!)

 And here is the recipe:

Zucchini Pasta with Pumpkin “Marinara”

1 Zucchini – spiralized

Pumpkin “Marinara”:

Half a can of unsweetened organic pumpkin

2 medium garlic cloves

1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar

1/4 tsp Cinnamon

A little less then 1/4 cup of Nutritional Yeast

1 inch piece of fresh ginger

Himalayan Sea Salt and Pepper to taste

– Pour in Apple cider vinegar into the blender first

– Add remaining ingredients, blend away until all ingredients are incorporated into a smooth yummy sauce!

– Makes about 2-4 servings, depending on how much pasta you are using and how much sauce you prefer!

I added some lightly sauteed tofu with some basil, but you could add some beans, nuts, steamed veggies… the options are endless!

This can definitely be heated since it’s more of a cold dish.  Because, lets face it, when you think of fall, you think of warm dishes.

Ah-MAH-zing Vegetable Chili

Since I got back from my roaring weekend of sunny warm Los Angeles and San Francisco, it’s been doing nothing but rain!! The temperatures have also dropped to a more fall like feel.  Which I love, just minus the rain.  I don’t have all that much room in my little cottage so I can only really do my workouts out on my deck, so I’m not so much a fan of the rain!   I hear up here that during the winter months it does nothing but rain, so I’m going to have to come up with some creative workouts that I can manage to do in a tiny box like area.  Any suggestions??

In any case, this colder weather has struck up a strong desire for curling up in front of the fire with some hot cocoa and a blanket…. but since I don’t have a fire place I opted for a warming soup instead!  This soup was thrown together and ended up tasting Ah-MAH-zing!!  (my newest favorite word courtesy of my newest favorite show Happy Endings, anyone else watch it?? So hilarious!!)  I love to make soups because you can really put anything into it, load it up with veggies, beans, and even grains and it tends to last for about a week of lunches or dinners, for one person that is.

The other best thing about this soup is that it is packed with all kinds of vitamins and protein, so it keeps you quite full for  long time while also giving you some vitamin C and carotenoids to give you a nice glow 🙂  Really this should be called Power Glow Chili!

 Ah-MAH-zing Vegetable Chili

2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 can diced italian herbed tomatoes

2 Tbsp Tomato paste

2 Large carrots (chopped)

2 Large Garlic cloves

Half of a large white onion (chopped)

1 Yellow bell pepper (chopped)

1 Red bell pepper (chopped)

2 Cups water

2 cans Chili Bean Mix (although I used 1 can chili bean mix and about 1 cup of chick peas)

1-2 dashes cayanne pepper (the heat!!)

3 Tbsp dried Basil

Himalayan Sea Salt and Pepper to taste

– Pour olive oil into large pot, wait till it heats up a bit

– Add garlic and onion and saute until onions become translucent

– Add chopped carrots, and saute for about 5 minutes

– Add spices and tomato paste, stir around a bit, maybe 1-2 minutes more

– Add bell peppers, saute about one minute

– Add in tomatoes, and water and bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for about 30 minutes (continue stirring every 10 minutes or so)

– Add in beans and continue to simmer for about 15-20 more minutes (keep your eye on the carrots, they are going to be your marker for when the soup is done.  You want the carrots to become slightly soft, but not too soft)

Enjoy with some yummy rice crackers or a whole wheat baguette!

I’ve been enjoying this soup for lunch this week and it totally fills you up and warms you up too!  Delicioso!

What do you turn to when the weather turns cold??

Mexican Chocolate “Rice” Pudding

Over the past 5 weeks I have been slowly getting settled into my new town and getting to know the culture.  Where I am living now is very heavily Mexican dominant.  To elaborate on that a bit more, I am here because I am in the HealthCorps (a branch of AmeriCorps) working in an elementary school teaching a few nutrition classes for kids who specifically are in danger of becoming obese.  I am also teaching a nutrition class to the women/moms of the community.  So far its been great! The kids are eager to learn and the women/moms are all really receptive to the information I’m providing.

Onto the food!  I have never been one to normally crave Mexican food, but lately I definitely have been, not a huge surprise given my surroundings.  I even had tacos (healthified version mind you) for lunch for two weeks straight!

So last night I wanted something sweet for after dinner, but healthy of course, so I whipped up a Chia seed pudding, but it turned out kind of like a Mexican rice pudding!!

What makes this pudding Mexican, is the cinnamon!  Their chocolate and puddings for that matter generally have a warm spice in them, whether its a hot chili spice or cinnamon, it always has a kick to it.

Cinnamon has so many amazing qualities to it, a few main ones would be;

– It helps to control your blood sugar, which in turn also helps boost your brain function!

– Its an anti-microbial, which means it inhibits the growth of bacteria like fungi or yeast.

– A natural Anti-Inflammatory

And with that here is the recipe!

Mexican Chocolate “Rice” Pudding

Makes 4 small servings, (80 Calories each!!) or 2 large servings

1 Cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk

2 Tbsp Carob Powder

1 tsp Cinnamon

1-2 Packets Stevia (I use the Truvia brand)

3 Scoops Chia Seeds (or 3 Tbsp?)

Splash Vanilla Extract

– Pour Almond milk into a bowl

– Add Carob and Cinnamon and whisk until well blended

– Add Chia seeds and Stevia, mix well, then mix in the vanilla extract

– Chill overnight, or for about 30 minutes until the chia seeds plump up and the consistency is like pudding!!

Please forgive the tupperware, I'm minimalist living these days, so I work with what I got!


Ingredients, simple!

Happy Friday everyone!!

Spirit Junkie

This past Saturday, September 24th, I drove down to San Francisco to attend a lecture and book signing by the amazing and glorious Gabrielle Bernstein!!   She just came out with her new book Spirit Junkie.  I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I was to be able to meet her!

I discovered her by discovering her book Add More ~ing To Your Life a couple years ago, and totally fell in love with her and her whole philosophy on life.  She implements lots of meditations and small steps towards forgiving yourself and loving yourself to get passed all the s#!t that’s blocking you from doing what you love.  It was so great to hear her speak in person, and I was definitely a bit star struck, which always seems to happen when I meet someone I admire.  So much so that I totally froze when I got up to the table and all I could say was “I think you are amazing, and thank you so much!” then sheepishly walked away… totally forgetting to ask if I could take a picture with her! DOH!

I got so inspired hearing her speak, it totally made me want to re-evaluate myself and my priorities with everything that’s going on, as well as my attitude towards them.  Since moving to Northern California and into an extremely rural teeny tiny town, where I am living for the next ten months, I have found it to be a bit more of a challenge then I had anticipated.  I knew it would be hard adjusting to a much much slower pace of life, but I didn’t think it would be quite as difficult as I am finding it to be.  Coming from a busy, political, fast paced city such as Washington DC I have found myself getting bored really easily and frustrated with how slow things were evolving at work.  Things have picked up a lot though in the past week so I’m much happier with that, I work much better when really busy!  But overall, hearing Gabrielle speak, and hearing her confidence in who she was and how far she had come from the old her, which part of me related a great deal to, I decided to get my own spirit junkie on, and deal with a few of my own demons that were beginning to bubble up again.

I am so excited to dive into this new book!!  I’m sure I will be posting more about it as I get further into the book, spouting her words of wisdom.

I encourage you to check out her website which I attached a link to up above over here name.   She “Vlogs” which means she blogs via video, which is really awesome if you want a dose of inspiration for your day but don’t feel like reading!  Here is the link again:  Gabrielle Bernstein’s Webpage

Vegan Road Trippin

Nervous, excited and car packed to the top, off I go to the sunny west coast!!

As I mentioned before I am now living in Northern California, having just moved here from the East Coast.  I drove across country by myself and enjoyed (almost) every minute of it.  Lol there were quite a few long stretches of drive that were extremely boring, with no sights to see.

However, as promised back in February when I announced my decision to move to California, I planned as much of my trip as I could to stop at some vegan places!!  It wasn’t quite as many as I had hoped but I didn’t have as much time as I wanted and I had to also be a bit frugal.

First awesome vegan stop was Chicago.  

I stopped at Karyns Fresh Corner  which was amazing!  It’s an all raw vegan cafe/restaurant.  It was so tiny but filled with amazing food.  A bit pricey, but I had planned accordingly, so I loaded up on raw food and packed it into my cooler to last me for the next 2 days.

Next up was nothing quite as special, but I stopped at Whole Foods in Nebraska to reload on snacks until I got to Boulder, CO.

In Boulder, CO I met up with a friend who I had not seen since High School!  We went to a pizza place called Boulder Organic Pizza which was some amazingly fresh tasting!  They didn’t have vegan cheese but for those of you who are vegan well know, pizza doesn’t even need cheese to taste amazing if you have the right toppings.


Next up was Reno, NV of all places!  I stopped at Freeman’s Natural Hot Dogs, which is both vegan and non vegan.  It was a quick dinner though since I had a ways to go still.  But it totally hit the spot!  It was such a cute little place, totally unsuspecting, but delicious.  I loaded that baby up with all kinds of awesomeness, vegan cheese, onions, vegan aioli sauce…. drool….

And unfortunately that was it!! I wish I could have stopped at more places but time and money did not play in my favor on this trip.  Plus I had planned accordingly and had a whole bag full of Justin’s Almond Butter packets to go with my apples in my cooler, as well as Lara Bars and ProBars meal replacement bars for those long stretches where I knew there wouldn’t be anything but truck stops.


That’s one thing that I love about being vegan and health conscious, it has taught me to pre-plan my meals and think about the fact that there would indeed be nothing but truck stops for a majority of the way unless I went out of my way to find the vegan spots.  And most of them were not necessarily right along the exit stops.

Next road trip across the country, as I’m sure I will be doing it again next year at some point to move the rest of my stuff out here, I will definitely take more time, and perhaps take the southern route like I had originally wanted.  🙂

  I’d love to know how you all pre-plan your meals!  Do share!

Finding You

**We’re gonna get a lil personal today, just a warning!**

I’m alive!! I know its been quite some time since I last wrote.  But quite a lot has happened since I last posted.  I am now living in Northern California!  I made my trip across the country which was amazing, I highly recommend that you do a self exploration trip like that at some point in your life.  Although I wish I had a bit more time so that I could have explored a bit more.  I had exactly a week to do my trip so that I could get to my orientation (with AmeriCorps) on time.

2011 has been a year which I have dedicated to taking a deeper look into my soul to find who I truly am, what I want out of life, and what makes me truly happy.  I have had quite some trial and error which is to be expected, and I have had some revelations.  All in all I am still in my process of figuring out who and what I’m all about.  And to be quite honest, I don’t think we ever really stop that exploration.   We are constantly evolving.

What I have figured out so far:

1) When I truly want something, and I get that thing stuck in my brain, I go for it with all my might until I get it!  A great example would be (as I shared in a post earlier this year) back in January of this year (2011) I decided that I wanted to move to California.  Here it is now September, and I am living here!  No its not the exact location I had wanted, but I am a hell of a lot closer then I was before!!

2) I need to have a job where I am not stuck at a desk and computer all day.  I am NOT happy at all doing that.  I need to be outdoors, doing hands on things, helping people achieve their fitness goals and being healthy!

3) I am happiest when I am working out daily, eating clean and busy busy!!  I do not do very well when I have nothing to do.

4) I love sleep.  Seriously, my body apparently needs like 8-10 hours of sleep or else I don’t function well.

5) I love being in the kitchen, creating healthy recipes!  But it’s hard for me to re-create them because I never measure anything.  I would love to learn how to create baking recipes though, that is something that requires science and chemistry! ugghh….

6) I come alive when I can take dance classes on a regular basis.  Before I left for the west coast I had found a hip hop class that I fell in love with, I was able to just let loose!! I will definitely be back taking it (I hope!) when I go home for Christmas.  Lets hope they are open!

7) I am way more outgoing then I realized.  When I finally stepped away from the area where I grew up, which had become a suffocating bubble, I totally blossomed so to speak.  I had a gut feeling that would happen too. When I arrived in town, where I am living now, I totally got myself out and about in the community and instantly made friends.  I remember this was a big part of my personality when I was younger.  I guess when we need to we can conjure up all kinds of things!

8.) I am quite innovative.  I have a ton of awesome ideas just waiting to burst out!  I just need to figure out how to put them into action.  Money would be the biggest hindrance right now.

9) I am my own person.  This may sound weird or odd, but it is one thing (out of a few particular ones) that I have had the hardest time with this year in figuring myself out.  As most of us do when growing up, we like to put ourselves into a category or try and fit the mold.  For me I always looked up to certain people who seemed to have it all “figured out”.  I, however, have not once done things the way they are “supposed” to be done.  Maybe it’s because of this that I have this strange desire to have a 9-5 type job, in a manner of speaking, but thats just not how I roll.  It never will be.  I like doing things my way, I like changing my look up to keep things interesting, I like cheesy disney shows and I like adventure, I love dancing like a total idiot in my room blasting pop songs or Baba O’Riley, I love running & yoga, I am a vegan, I love fashion and athletic clothing, I enjoy me time as long as I’m around people, I’m not perfect, I believe in fate.  I won’t change for anyone.  That’s just who I am, take it or leave it.

There is a lot more to figure out I’m sure, and I’m loving this whole “re-discovering myself” adventure I’m on.  It’s fun and refreshing!  And much needed after having spent almost a decade working on finishing up my degree and feeling stuck in a rut.

Here is to new beginnings!