This past week has been an absolute whirlwind – between running 17+ miles for my half marathon training, I picked up another yoga class to teach on Sunday, booked my flights for March (Florida & NYC!!!), had a long-overdue christmas party at my apt with my family, tried flotation therapy, and became a wine & cheese expert. Don’t worry, I got some sleep in there!
First off – Family came over to celebrate a late Christmas since my Sister and her husband were in town. Insert: pizza, lots of wine, more wine, presents, drunk baking and opening presents! It’s always fun when my mom and all of my siblings get together – we are all goofballs.
Saturday I ran 5 miles with my MIT group – and met a few new friends in the 9:15 pace group. I am seriously loving training so far! Slowing down my pace while training has made running so.much.more.enjoyable. I don’t mind running the miles, and the speedwork on Wednesday’s is so much fun! Big shout out to Nikki for inspiring me to join 🙂
Early Afternoon run in the rain!
(Side note – if you would like to support my run by donating to St Jude, you can find my fund page here. Every cent helps, and your support is so much appreciated!!)
After my run, I went home and showered before heading to Whole Foods with my cousin. She had some amazing blueberry wine, and we decided to build a cheese board and make an afternoon out of it!
After chatting with the Whole Foods cheese dept, we bought a bunch of different cheeses and curated an amazing cheese board to go with the wine – I was in a food coma for basically the rest of the night!
Yes, that is all amazing cheese-that slice in the middle that looks like cake? Yep -baked lemon ricotta cheese that is literally life changing.
After going to bed at 9:30 Saturday (I am such a grandma on the weekends these days!), I taught my first back-to-back yoga class Sunday morning – and can you believe it, my 8 am class was still BOOKED (over 40 people!), while the added 9:30 class only had about 20 people. (Personally, I would have slept in for an extra 1.5 hours ;))
I loved teaching both classes – the energy is so different based on the size – bigger is more fun, more laughs, and much, much less space. A smaller class is a little less loud, but I can give more one-on-one attention, which I love! Teaching yoga has been such a (wonderful) surprise for me – I never in a million years thought I would teach again (I taught gymnastics in college, but that’s very, very different!). It’s taught me to face a lot of fears, and while I still get nervous teaching my classes, it has helped me grow, be more creative, and get out of my comfort zone 🙂
After my second class, I rushed over to try Flotation Therapy – which is basically floating in a salt-water filled tank in complete darkness & silence for an hour. I know what you are thinking… WHY?! For a few reasons – It’s a form of meditation, for one. It’s great for relaxation & reducing stress, and increases healing time for any type of injury (seriously wish I knew about this post-ACL surgery!)… I also bought a groupon, which means it was half the cost of a normal session. You can read more about the benefits here.
Hallway to the Float rooms
Post-Float area with hair dryers, lotion, etc.
You need to arrive 30 minutes before the appointment to sign a waiver, watch a short video, then are given a tour of the treatment area.
After showering, you put in ear plugs and enter the tank. It’s a really weird feeling, because you are literally floating on water without being held up by anything (in 10 inches of water). BTW – that pod is actually HUGE in person – There was room for 2-3 of me!
After my 1-hour session, I felt a little off-kilter once I stepped out of the pod to shower – kind of like stepping off of an elevator, but it lasted for 5-10 minutes. After that, I felt fine and relaxed. Followed up with 15 minutes of oxygen therapy & tea, I felt like I could nap for hours!
It’s actually pretty pricey – $80/session – or $300 for 3-6 months, or something like that. I kind of wish groupon offered a package deal of 3-6 sessions, as you are supposed to notice the difference after 3+ floats. I am going to see how I feel in the next few days, and MAYBE go again (If I win the lottery and have a ton of extra money to spend on floating in salt water ;)).
So that’s been my past week – this week, I need to begin packing for my weekend in San Francisco! Packing for 2 days of nothing but yoga workshops at the Yoga Journal Event, plus 3+ days to explore the city.
So what’s everyone else been up to? What’s your favorite cheese/wine pairing? And have you ever tried flotation therapy?
Ever since I got back from Europe, I have been wanting to re-create a recipe for a soup that I had while in Chamonix, France: Beet Soup. It sounds gross, but it wasn’t ALL beets – it was potatoes, and shallots, and red wine vinegar… and it was sweet and salty and just amazing. So, I decided to make the recipe tonight – anddddd it didn’t exactly turn out the way that I wanted it to… BUT. It was still amazing! My beet soup recipe ended up turning more into a root veggie soup – with only a hint of beets. Also, the color should have been straight up the color of beets, but it turned out orange. I will definitely be tweaking this and trying again another time (less potatoes, more beets). So for the time being – enjoy my not-as-planned soup below for a perfect fall meal!
Sweet & Creamy Root Vegetable Soup
- 1 Potato, chopped into cubes
- 1 Sweet Potato (chopped into cubes)
- 2 carrot stalks (chopped)
- 4 cooked beets (I cheated and bought pre-cooked ones from Trader Joes)
- 1 shallot
- butter (or ghee)
- 1 can coconut milk (full or light)
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 baby leaf
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 3 cups broth (I used vegetable, you could use chicken)
- garlic powder to taste
- sugar to taste (optional – I used coconut sugar, you could also use dates)
Cook shallots & garlic in butter until they start to brown (I cooked in a large cast-iron skillet). Add in broth, potatoes & carrots. Place a lid on top of skillet & let cook until vegetables/potatoes are soft. Remove the bay leaf. Transfer entire mixture into a blender/processor, adding the rest of the ingredients. *I recommend adding the spices at the very end, a little at the time, to find the perfect blend
Mix for a few seconds at a time – or fully mix – depending on how you want your soup, creamy or with a few veggie chunks.
Serve with a side (I was roasting chopped brussel sprouts and carrots while making this, so just topped my soup with them!) or some bread. Enjoy!
Do you ever go into a a grocery store (or any store) and end up filling your cart with shit you didn’t go in for? Well, that happened to me today. I ended up filling my cart at Giant Eagle, then headed for the checkout lane before I realized I had nothing in my cart that I had walked in the store to buy. You see, I walked in and saw the fresh produce section, and a recipe began to materialize into my brain. So, naturally I started running around, talking to myself (it’s an embarrassing habit I’m trying to break – but really, I can’t be the only one who does this??) and figuring out what ingredients would work best for this amazing new recipe I was going to create. And guess what – it was. I ended up making the best meal of my life. Not trying to toot my horn or anything, but I made the world’s best salad & burger (burger recipe inspired/adapted by popular paleo) to go with it. I kept finding random ingredients at the store to add to this recipe, so really, you can thank my ADHD for kicking in to create this awesomeness!
Oh – and this meal is completely Paleo/whole30 approved – minus the bun (I used UDI’s gluten free buns, if you are into that kinda stuff) & cheese, both of which are very optional. So… eat this with a very clear conscience. You are welcome.
Hickory Smoked Sea Salt Mocha Burgers (makes 4-6 burgers)
recipe adapted from Popular Paleo
- 1-1.5 lbs ground beef
- 1/2 tsp hickory liquid smoke (popular paleo uses ancho cile powder)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp chopped garlic
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3/4 cup cold brew coffee (i used trader joes, but you could just use leftover coffee)
- 1 tbsp oil (I used olive)
- 1 tsp cocoa/cacao powder
- Optional: Mayo (I used kensington Mayo)
- Optional: hamburger buns or lettuce
- Optional: Gouda Cheese
Combine liquid smoke with salt, garlic, 2 tbsp olive oil & ground beef (**Olive oil is optional – I add this to make the burgers extra soft so they don’t get chewy when cooked.. it’s like biting into butter, trust me on this). Form into patties – I had about 1.11 lbs of ground beef and made 5 patties. Pour cold coffee brew over patties – let them soak for 10-30 minutes on one side, then flip and let soak for 10-30 minutes on the other side (I was preparing my salad and ended up letting the meat marinate in the coffee for about an hour).
That time I walked into the Grocery store for baby wipes & potatoes and came out with 100$ + more groceries….
While the meat is marinating, combine the cacao powder and olive oil & mix until there are no more clumps. Dump in the cold brew that was marinating your burgers and mix all together. Place your burgers in a skillet (or pan, or grill, however you want to cook them), pouring the marinade over top. Cook the burgers to your liking (I like medium rare!) and remove from pan when finished. Cook Bacon in left over coffee/cacao sauce. Place burger on bun or bed of lettuce. Top with gouda cheese, bacon & mayo. Enjoy!
Patties cooking in the marinade
Optional: Kensington Mayo
Fresh Kale & Chard Salad
Ingredients for salad:
- 1 bunch of rainbow chard
- 1/2 bunch kale
- 1/2 rutabaga, peeled
- 1 beet
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1 avocado
- optional: grated cheese (I used manchego)
Ingredients for dressing:
- juice of 1 lemon
- juice of 1/4 grapefruit
- 1/2 tsp garlic
- 3 tbsp oil (i used olive)
- 2 tbsp balsamic (or white balsamic) vinegar
- 2 tbsp white wine (optional)
- salt & pepper to taste
- Chop all salad ingredients up and place into a bowl. Mix all dressing ingredients together, and toss with salad. Serve topped with shaved cheese (optional).
Plate all ingredients and enjoy! Please note that the potatoes were a bit of an afterthought – i just roasted in a skillet with butter until cooked and topped with salt. Totally optional!
Some nights, I like to get creative with my food – and last night was one of those nights! I also had a lot of fresh food in my fridge that needed to be eaten, including veggies & chicken! When I was in Belize, all of the food prepared was very fresh, picked straight from the backyard! I missed that coming back to the states – buying local produce definitely makes a difference in taste! Normally I’ll just bake some chicken in foil with vegetables, but everything ends up soggy or overcooked. So, I put my cast iron skillets to work, and the meal ended up being AMAZING. Very light, fresh and perfect for the end of the summer. Recipes are below!
Lemon-Mint Baked Chicken with Quinoa & Sauteed Garlic Broccoli (Serves 4)
Ingredients for Chicken
- 2 lbs chicken breast
- 1/2 lemon
- 1 small bunch of mint sprigs
- Salt & pepper
- 1/4 cup Olive oil (I used an herb-infused oil from Flying Olive)
- 1/4 cup White balsamic Vinegar (I used the lemongrass mint from Flying Olive) – add a little lemongrass to the pan if you do not have this
- 1/4 cup Champagne or white wine
- Fresh garlic (a few bulbs finely chopped)
- Cast iron skillet
Heat oven to 350 F. Pour about ½ cup champagne or white wine into a cast iron skillet. Add olive oil,, vinegar, garlic, and mint and sauté for a few minutes. Add the chicken, cooking for a few minutes on each side. Sprinkle salt & pepper on both sides of chicken. Place in oven and finish cooking for 15-20 minutes. The last few minutes of cooking, take about half a lemon and sprinkle over top of chicken.
Ingredients for Sautéed Broccoli:
- 2-3 large heads of broccoli
- Salt & pepper
- 1/4 cup Olive oil (I used basil from Flying Oil)
- 1/4 cup White Vinegar (I used Sicilian lemon from Flying Oil)
Add oil & garlic to cast iron skillet and sauté for a few minutes. Add in vinegar and cut up broccoli. Place a lid over the pan, stirring the broccoli around every few minutes. Cook for about 10-15 minutes on low-medium heat until cooked to your liking. Top with salt & pepper to taste
Ingredients for Quinoa:
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 TBSP Olive oil
- 2 tsp Basil
- Fresh lemon juice
- Garlic, chopped
- Salt & Pepper
Cook according to directions on box. Once the quinoa is cooked, add in olive oil, basil, juice of ½ lemon, and chopped up garlic. Add in salt & pepper to taste – Stir and let sit for a few minutes for the flavors to settle.
Serve all together & come hungry – I had enough left over to feed myself lunch the entire week!
Fresh Salad with a Garlic-Lemon-Basil Dressing (Serves up to 10 people)
Ingredients for Salad:
- ½ head of cabbage
- 1 head of bibb lettuce
- 1 bunch of radishes
- 1 large florida avocado
- Optional: onions, cucumbers, etc
- juice of 1/2 Lemon
- 1/3 cup Olive oil
- 1 tsp Basil
- Garlic (1 TBSP chopped up garlic)
- 1/4 cup White Vinegar (I used Sicilian lemon from Flying Oil)
Cut up all cabbage & lettuce & place into a bowl. Wash & let drain. Transfer to a fresh bowl and top with cut up radishes, avocado (I cubed mine), and optional veggies. For the dressing: combine all ingredients and let sit for a little bit so the flavors come together. Either toss salad with dressing, or serve on the side. Enjoy!
More experimenting in the kitchen! I ordered banana flour on amazon, but unfortunately, I couldn’t wait to make this bread before it came in. So stay tuned for some fun recipes in the near future!
One of my favorite things to eat is banana bread. Normally topped with peanut butter, with a side of chocolate milk, but that’s only when I get a little too crazy on the weekends 😉 This is moist, delicious, and super easy to make. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
Just take a look at the close up of this deliciousness!
Paleo Banana Coffee Bread
Banana Bread Ingredients:
- 3-4 brown bananas, mashed
- 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/3 cup + 2 TBSP coconut flour
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup nut butter (i used almond – I bet peanut butter would be amazing!)
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg (optional)
- 1/4-1/3 cup honey (or any other type of sugar)
- mini chocolate chips (optional – i used enjoy life)
- 3 tbsp almond flour
- 1/3 cup ghee (or butter) (put in fridge so its cold!
- 1/4 cup of honey (or any other type of sweetener)
- 1/4 cup coffee
- 1/3 cup crushed walnuts
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all dry ingredients together (spices, flour) for the banana bread & set aside. Mix wet ingredients for banana bread together, then add in the dry ingredients. Pour into a greased bread pan (or line with parchment paper). Mix the topping ingredients together (cut the dry ingredients in with the butter/ghee), then sprinkle on top of bread. [Also optional – sprinkle mini chocolate chips on top of bread before placing in oven] Bake for 60-70 minutes, or until cooked all the way through. Serve warm, topped with nut butter & chocolate chips with a side of chocolate milk. Enjoy!
If you are looking for a more “healthy” rice crispy treat, look no more. These treats have dried fruit in them… which, by my definition, makes them healthy 🙂 You can add any type of fruit – I made 1 batch and split into 2 – with dried strawberries & blueberries. These are perfect for spring… or just to make for a special treat!
Rice Crispy Treats with Dried Fruit Dipped in White Chocolate
6-8 Cups Rice Crispy Cereal
1/3 cup of chopped up dried strawberries (I used steves paleogoods & chopped up into tiny pieces)
1/3 cup of dried blueberries (i used steves paleogoods)
1 tsp vanilla extract
3-4 TBSP butter
1 bag of mini marshmallows (or tall jar of marshmallow fluff)
1/2 tsp salt
white chocolate chips
Melt butter in a large pot on low heat – about 3-4. When the butter is melted down into liquid, add in the marshmallows/marshmallow flluff. Stir until all marshmallows are melted down and add in vanilla & salt. Once all is mixed together, add in the cereal, about 2 cups at a time. Keep adding the cereal until you have a nice consistency – if it’s too runny, add a little extra cereal until the marshmallows have covered the rice crispies evenly.
Remove the mixture from the pot & split into 2 bowls. Add in the dried strawberries in one bowl and mix well. Add in the dried blueberries in the second bowl and mix well. Press each mixture into a separate 8×8 greased (i used butter to grease) glass pan. I wet my hands with water so that the mixture didn’t stick to my hands when molding the treats into the pan. Place in fridge for 30-60 minutes, or until the rice crispy treats have hardened up. Once ready, take out of fridge and cut into desired pieces – I cut into rectangles. Place on parchment paper.
For the white chocolate: put white chocolate chips in a double broiler until melted down. Dip rice crispy treats and cover with desired amount of chocolate. Place on parchment paper – top with sprinkles, if you are feeling adventurous ;).Let set until chocolate has hardened (or put in fridge to harden faster). Enjoy!
Check out my other rice crispy recipes below:
Peanut-Butter & Banana Rice Crispy Treats Dipped in Chocolate
Salted Caramel Butterscotch Rice Crispy Treats