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keep your healthy habits on vacation

…or over a long weekend away!

When on vacation with a group it is sometimes hard to always eat what you want.  Not everyone has the same tastes, you don’t want to spend a lot, etc.

In order to keep from stressing too much about that, I just make sure to bring my own snacks and healthy additions to meals and desserts.  It is much easier to bring food along when you are going on a road trip, but it is definitely still possible to throw some simple things into your suitcase on a plane.

Before the weekend, I made a trip to Trader Joe’s to pick up some simple and healthy snacks.

I picked up bananas, almond milk, and a few packets of protein powder to make quick, simple, satisfying and healthy smoothies.  These can be made for a quick meal or for a mid-day snack.

I packed my small Magic Bullet, too!  I just got this blender, but I plan to take it with me regularly on trips now, including on a plane.  It does not take up a lot of room and you could pack protein powders in the cup itself to save room.

Yogurt, bananas and granola can always be eaten for a meal or snack.

Hummus, avocados and crackers (and I will be sure to pick up some veggies when we get down there) for me to bring out to snack on when the bags of chips and other snacks come out.  Hummus and avocados can also be added to salad or veggies to make a meal!

Another simple and easy thing to bring is pre-cooked rice and beans!  Trader Joe’s has a great variety, my favorite being the Black Beluga Lentils and the Brown Rice.  These pre-cooked packets can be heated on the stove or microwave in a couple of minutes and make the perfect addition to any meal.

Other snack items include dried fruit, trail mix, granola bars and peanut butter packets that you can pack and bring anywhere with you.

I also made sure to make some healthier homemade muffins and cookies.

Carrot Banana Muffins (see recipe here)

Blueberry Muffins (see recipe here)

Super Charge Me Cookies (see recipe here)

By bringing my own snacks, I can piece together simple meals if need be.  I feel better about myself and my body feels better when I continue to eat as I normally do.  I want to feel good while on vacation, so a little planning beforehand is well worth the effort.  Plus, once you get into this routine, it takes no extra time to prepare at all!

Yes, this may seem like a lot, and it is because we are taking our car, which means a cooler is available.  If you are flying somewhere, pack some granola bars, dried fruit and protein powder packs in your suitcase for snacks and hit up a grocery store for fruits and veggies once you arrive at your destination.

I also always pack my resistance bands and exercise clothes.

The bands are easy to use for 10-20 minutes each morning for a quick workout along with pushups and situps.  While walking and/or running is a perfect way to explore a new area and a great way to squeeze in some exercise!

Working out and eating well while traveling can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be!  All you need is a little prep and your vacation can be all that you want it to be. 🙂

Happy traveling!

cabbage pizza

I woke up this morning earlier than I had wanted.  You see, I had this plan to sleep in.  Well, I don’t do sleeping in, so when the sun was up, so was I!

Once I was up, I knew I had to start the morning off on the right foot, so I made Brant and I a treat for breakfast – Pancakes!  Not just any pancakes, though.  These were souped up Banana Almond Oatmeal Pancakes.  And, they were yummy.

I followed the recipe exactly from Fitsugar (see recipe here).  Her recipe makes 12 smaller pancakes, but I like my pancakes thick and filling, so I made the pancakes twice as thick.

I am not a big pancake or waffle eater because I always find that they keep me full for about 10 minutes…there is not much substance or protein in a plain pancake, so it makes sense.  However, two of these pancakes with toppings kept me pretty full for the majority of the morning.  It must have been the oatmeal.

They were fluffy, but dense, so if you like light and fluffy pancakes, these definitely aren’t for you.  I topped my pancakes with a little greek yogurt, banana, chopped almonds and maple sugar.

Next time I would add more banana and cinnamon to the batter!

For lunch, I wanted to do something with the cabbage from our CSA, so I searched for a recipe.  I found the perfect recipe for Japanese Pizza on 101cookbooks.com (see recipe here).  I love pizza and this seemed like a really easy and healthy alternative.

I made sure to wash and dry my cabbage thoroughly, since it came straight from the farm.

The recipe called for shredded cabbage, but I was too impatient to chop it all, so I threw it in my food processor.  It was more grated than shredded, but it worked!

I doubled the recipe to make individual pizza’s for Brant and I, which was a perfect amount (I only ate 1/2 of one).  Once the ingredients are all mixed together, you cook the pizza in a pan on the stove.

Flipping the pizza was easier than I thought.  After cooking the pizza for 4-5 minutes on one side, it was time to flip.  I slid the pizza out onto a plate, put another plate on top and flipped!  Then, slide back into the pan to continue to cook.

Once done, I garnished with almonds and cut it up on the cutting board.

Then, served with a few dipping sauces…guacamole hummus and tomato paste.

It was really, really good!  The pizza itself did not have too much flavor, but it is so basic that you could add anything that your heart desires.  The dippers provided more than enough flavor for me, but I like plain things. 🙂

For a lunch dessert, I broke open some chocolate bars that I bought yesterday.  Endangered Species chocolate started selling some new organic dark chocolate, so I picked up one in each flavor.

How good do they sound?!  Of course, I tried a little of each.

It was tough to pick a favorite, but I really liked the Dark Chocolate with Goji Berry, Pecans and Maca!

Have a great Saturday!


Happy Memorial Day!

I woke up feeling super groggy and with a pounding headache yesterday.  UGH!  I think it was going to bed so much later than normal…and eating dinner so much later.  Nothing a little juice can’t fix!

I swear – fresh squeezed juice helps every time.  It is loaded with antioxidants and helps to give you that boost that you sometimes need in the morning (without drinking coffee!).

In my juice:

  • 2 huge carrots
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 1 apple
  • 1-inch piece of ginger
  • 1 tsp spirulina stirred in at the end

I chugged my juice and it helped so much.  I felt alive after drinking it!

What is spirulina?

Spirulina is a blue-green algae.  It is 70% complete protein, containing all of the essential amino acids that our bodies need in a perfect balance.  It also contains a high concentration of nutrients and is easily absorbed into the bloodstream, which makes it a great mix-in for smoothies or juices!

After my juice, we sat down to breakfast on the porch!  That is one of my favorite things about spring and summer.  I love eating on the porch!  While everyone else munched on pancakes and bacon that Brant whipped up, I made up a big bowl of Greek yogurt, chia seeds, museli, banana, granola, cacao nibs and a drizzle of honey.

On the side, I had some juicy watermelon.

The perfect summer day breakfast if you ask me (tied with a smoothie, of course!). 🙂

We spent the day walking around downtown and stopped for lunch at B. Good where I got a big Hatchback salad with spinach, arugula, almonds, dried apples, dried cherries and balsamic vinaigrette on the side.  I snagged a few of Brant’s ‘baked’ fries as well.

Then, hit up Emack & Bolio’s for some black raspberry ice cream.

Nothing is better than walking around the city on a warm day with ice cream!

Once home, I headed out for a quick run before dinner.  I needed a pick me up since I was feeling super tired.  I ran for 30 minutes…it just felt great to get out there, even though Castle Island was packed with people.

Post-run snack:

Coconut water and a slice of multigrain with almond butter and apples to hold me over until another late dinner of Mexican!!

We hit up Border Cafe in Harvard Square to show our guests the area.  The place was packed!  I ordered a Sangria which I sipped throughout the meal.

For dinner, I chose the Vegetarian Fajitas with no rice and extra black beans.  Check out my spread!

I made up a plate with one cup of the black beans, all of the veggies and the salsa and guacamole.  I skipped the cheese and white tortillas.  I always forget how much I love mexican until I have it again!

After dinner, we hit up an outdoor bar in Harvard Square – Tory Row.

It was a cute place with the doors and windows opening to a patio.  Lots of hightop tables and very minimal decorations.

I ordered the Lillet Spritzer which was a white dessert wine with seltzer water and a squeeze of lemon.  It was very refreshing on a warm night!

Another long day!  Good thing it’s a Monday holiday today.

itching to run

I woke up this morning feeling pretty good, so I figured it was the right day to give running a try.  I wasn’t expecting much due to my week off, but I just wanted to get out there.  Me and the road…and everyone else out their running too!

It was wonderful!  My legs were itching to move, which made this a pretty great run for me.  I covered 5.6 miles in 51 minutes, which definitely isn’t too shabby.  I would have loved to do some light weights, pushups, planks, etc afterward, but my left arm is still sore when I move it a lot and the last thing I want to do is injure it more!  Baby steps. 🙂

Before my run, I just had some tea and a granola bar.  We are meeting some friends for brunch, so I never really know how to eat before brunch!  I am always hungry, but don’t want to ruin my appetite.  I figured due to the run, I needed to fuel properly.

After my run, I made up a smaller version of a protein shake that included 1 frozen banana, 1 scant cup frozen cherries, 1/4 cup hemp protein powder, 1 cup frozen spinach, 1 cup coconut water.

I love protein smoothies after a good workout.  They give your body the protein that it craves and needs and gets into your system quickly and efficiently, allowing your body to feed off of the protein, instead of the lean muscle that your workout helped to create.  The protein also helps to repair and restore your muscles from your workout.

Finally, it was time for brunch!

We headed over to Flour Bakery in the South End.  They have the best motto:

Yes, please!

Flour offers a variety of specialty sandwiches, pastries and coffee/tea for breakfast and lunch.  It’s a great spot to hang out and catch up with friends for a low-key meal.  We love it there!

I went with some iced tea and a raspberry/rhubarb bran muffin – yum!  It had a brown sugar top.

We are off to a wedding this afternoon/tonight.  In order to be prepared, I packed a small suitcase bag full of snacks because I never know what I am going to find to eat at events like this!  My thoughts are that it’s better to be prepared than starving. 🙂

Enjoy the gorgeous day!

13 Bean Chili

After work I went for a lovely 40 minute run.  No watch, no headphones (well, I never run with headphones…), no nothing.  Just me…running.  It feels so great to run just to run.  I look forward to enjoying my surroundings and not worrying about my time.  It feels great!

Dinner tonight was a mish-mosh of things.  I had some leftover cooked quinoa from my Southwestern Quinoa Salad to which I added some lemon juice, salt, pepper, thyme, cooked lentils, raisins, chopped walnuts and goat cheese.

Served alongside some Parmesan baked asparagus – sprinkled with a little olive oil, salt, pepper and parm cheese before baking at 375°F for 15 minutes.

And some hummus with crackers for fun. 🙂

Then, I made up some 13 Bean Chili that I picked up at the store from Bob’s Red Mill.  It will be perfect for the week and to freeze.

The chili mix is basically just a mix of 13 different types of beans which you can cook and use however you wish.  It contains a mix of navy beans, black beans, red beans, pinto beans, baby lima beans, large lima beans, garbanzo beans, red lentils, great northern beans, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, yellow split peas, green split peas, and lentils.  No spices are added so that you can add whatever you want.

I decided to make this into a chili, as the back of the mix recommends.  But, of course, I added a few more ingredients to spruce it up!

I forgot to soak the beans overnight, so instead I boiled the beans for 5 minutes, then let them sit in that water for 1 hour.  By that time, the beans had absorbed some of the water.

I dumped out the water, rinsed the beans, and put them in the crock pot covered with water on low heat for 2 hours.

Once the beans were tender, I added the following:

  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 8 oz cans tomato sauce, no salt added
  • 1 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 2 15 oz cans diced tomatoes with pepper
  • 3 cups chopped kale
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • pinch salt and pepper to taste

I chopped everything up and mixed it all together.

Then, set the crock pot to low heat and cooked for 1 hour until hot and bubbly.

Edited to add: I ended up simmering the chili on low heat overnight to make the beans more tender, and I definitely recommend doing that!  The chili thickened up a bit as well.

This made a ton of chili!  I have been making a bigger batch of 1 thing per week for the past few weeks to eat throughout the week, such as Millet Patties, Lentil Burgers and Southwestern Quinoa.  I don’t eat it for every meal, but it really helps to not have to cook something for every single meal during the week.  It is nice to have a lunch to grab and go, and to be able to have a healthy dinner within minutes.  I am planning on eating this chili all week, and also freezing a few containers for lunches or dinners in a pinch. (It ended up making 9 single servings!!)

Normally, I would do this over the weekend when I have a little bit more time, but this weekend just got away from me!  I love this bean mix, and the chili came out really good!

freeport, maine

It has been a fun weekend so far in Maine!  We got in late Friday night and our excellent hosts made us some pizza!  It was delicious, but I forgot to snap a photo. 😦

Yesterday morning, we headed up to Freeport, Maine to do some exploring.  Our first stop was When Pigs Fly Bread Company!

I was in heaven.  There bread is delicious and has minimal, healthy ingredients.  Check out all of the bread!

There is also a sampling station set up, so that you can try the bread before you make your purchase – so cool!

All of the bread looked phenomenal, but I ended up buying the Cherry, Peach Hog Heaven.  It was full of granola, peaches and cherries.  And, had great ingredients!

Love all of the stuff in this bread!

Our next stop was L.L. Bean (aka The Bean).  I had to take a photo by the huge boot!

We walked around the store (it is huge!) and found ourselves at Coffee By Design.

Coffee By Design is a Portland, ME based coffee company who roast their own beans and make exciting and different blends.  They offer different brews each day.

I am not a huge coffee lover, but I heard that this coffee is great!  I stuck with a Rooibos Chai Tea!

While we sipped our coffee (and tea), we sat and chatted amidst some old catalog covers!

And, came home to Rebecca’s fabulous Tomato Basil Mozzarella Sammies for lunch!

It was delicious!  YUM!

We spent our evening at a gorgeous wedding – pictures to come!  Off to enjoy the poring rain day!

time to organize

My eats were not very exciting today!  I guess this usually happens towards the end of the week when the veggies are running low, and when work is completely crazy.  Anyways, I’ll whiz through my eats for the day and get to the more exciting stuff.

I started the day with a Banana Nut Vitatop with a smear of chocolate peanut butter.

But, that did not cut it.  So, I whipped up a smoothie.

I started with the base of Kristen’s Cherry Chocolate Bomb Smoothie, but changed it up a bit since I didn’t have all of the ingredients.  Here is what I came up with:

  • 1.25 cups water
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 3 tbsp hemp protein
  • 2 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

This was not the best smoothie I have every had.  I only drank about 1/2 because I just wasn’t feeling it.  This was my first time using chia seeds in a smoothie.  It was great!  It made the smoothie extra thick, so I will definitely be using them again.

Oh well, on to lunch.

I made a salad to bring to work.  I started with baby romaine lettuce and added lots of goodies: 1 dried pluot, 3 dried figs, 1/4 cup frozen pomegranates (thawed), sliced almonds and pear infused vinegar.

This was an awesome mix!  I had some plantain chips on the side.

Surprisingly, great combo!

Later on, I snacked on a dried peach and a Pomegranate Chobani!

Dinner was all about using up some stuff in our fridge before the weekend.  Brant had salad and eggs, while I had a salad with an open faced sandwich!

I kept my salad simple with cucumbers, dried cranberries and sliced almonds.  The sandwich was a toasted sandwich thin with a spread of spinach & artichoke hummus and topped with a roasted red pepper and eggplant “bacon”!

After dinner, I got to organizing our kitchen cabinets.  They have been driving me crazy for awhile, so tonight was the night it needed to be done.

Brant snapped a photo of me in action.  You can kind of tell the disastrous state of the open cabinets!

We had stacks of nut butter and bulk items all over the place!  Many of them were in glass jars already, but I got the mason jar idea from Ryan.  I had some in the basement and purchased another case.  I love this idea.  You can see the contents of each item and how much you have.  Plus, I love shopping in the bulk foods aisle!

All 3 cabinets are organized now.  I moved food to the bottoms so that we can actually reach it without standing on the step-stool!

Cereals, crackers, bulk food items (grains, nuts, unsweetened dried fruit).

Spices, snacks and nut butters!

Baking supplies, glass tupperware, water bottles and random stuff.

I love it!  Now, let’s just hope I remember where everything is tomorrow morning. 🙂