Roasted Kabocha 

Hello! Happy Saturday! We are laying low this weekend, since Kev is recovering from a cold. It’s nice to just relax and not have plans.

I’ve decided to take the AFAA test so I can become certified to teach fitness classes, which is fun and exciting. This low key weekend is allowing me lots of time to study. I’m a student again and I love it!

Another activity I like to partake in on relaxing weekends (and any weekend for that matter) is cooking. Duh!

So, again, I have a squash recipe for you. I really love squash. I love that it’s sweet, filling, low in calories and full of nutrients. You just can’t beat it.

If you haven’t tried kabocha squash yet (it looks intimidating), you should seriously pick one up next time you’re at the grocery store. It’s super affordable, and really easy to work with. Okay not really easy (it requires some muscles to cut the thing open), but easy enough.

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Kabocha Squash is:

  • Kind of like a pumpkin and butternut combo
  • Only 40 calories per cup (plus a few extra from roasting in coconut oil)
  • FULL of beta carotene- an antioxidant powerhouse that’s full of vitamins

I literally eat this stuff straight up roasted. Like chips. Sometimes I dip the little slices in almond butter. Sometimes in my favorite tahini sauce. But most of the time just plain. You can roast them in cute little moon shaped slices or bite size pieces- just keep an eye on the roasting time so they don’t burn.

I’ve also seen it added to soups, like in this recipe. I definitely want to try it in soup at some point, but right now I’m happily munching on them plain.

This is what you need to do. Heat your oven to 400. Wash the squash and dry it. Then, get a knife (a very sharp and sturdy one). Cut off the stem now or later- whatever floats your boat. Just get it out of there.

Cut the squash in half and use a spoon to scrape out the seeds and stringy stuff. Then, slice the halves into moon shapes. This doesn’t need to be done perfectly, but you want the slices (or pieces) to be as uniform-ish as possible so they cook evenly.


Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Melt 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and brush each piece lightly. Flip the squash. Brush this side lightly. Sprinkle with salt and cinnamon. Or omit the cinnamon and use garlic powder. I prefer it with cinnamon, though. It compliments the natural sweetness of the squash and it’s kine of like a treat.

Roast for 15 minutes. Flip, and then roast another 15 minutes.

Yummy! Enjoy!

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Butternut Squash Soup

It is currently 70 and sunny in Kansas City, so Kevin and I are desperately trying to find a Saturday happy hour with a patio. They’re not as easy to come by here in KC as they are in California. Anyways, this post will be short and sweet and then I’m getting back to my Yelp app.

I wanted to share this super easy soup with you all, because it was:

  1. super easy
  2. super yummy
  3. great for lunch with a side salad
  4. makes for a great snack, too 

 

What you need:

  1. 1 butternut squash
  2. 1 carton vegetable broth (or chicken)
  3. 1/2 an onion, chopped
  4. 1/2 an apple, chopped
  5. 1 Tb. maple syrup
  6. 1/4 t. nutmeg
  7. 1/4 t. cinnamon
  8. 1 garlic glove, chopped
  9. pinch of salt and pepper
  10. olive oil

What you need to do:

  1. Cut the squash lengthwise and scrape the seeds out. Rub some olive oil over it, and sprinkle salt and pepper over it. Then, put it upside down on a foil lined baking sheet. I roasted mine for 40 minutes at 425. Keep at eye on it. You want it ROASTED but not burnt.
  2. While that cooled, I sautéed the onion with some garlic and then randomly decided to toss in the half fuji apple I had in the fridge. Sautee until it’s all fragrant and soft (5-10 minutes or so).
  3.  Once the butternut squash was cool enough to handle, I scraped all of it out and put it into my Vitamix. I added a full carton of vegetable broth and the sautéed onion/apple mix. Keep an eye on the Maximum fill line. This was pretty close.
  4. Blend it all up! I threw a T. of butter in at the end and blended it in. It needed a bit of creaminess. Totally optional though. I also topped mine with pepitas because I love them.
  5. EAT! Feel good about yourself!

 

 

GF Waffles

Hi all! Happy Sunday. I love Sundays. It’s the perfect day to get organized and ready for the week, all while having a little R&R. This morning I went for my first “Sunday Runday” in a while. It was awesome! The sun is shining, so the river was just beautiful.

I want to get back into running. Back in California I had a little running crew (miss you girls!) so it was easy to stay on top of a schedule. It’s been an adjustment for me running in KC due to weather, buying a house, life, etc.

My goal is to run 2x a week with a third run on Sunday. This is my schedule for the week:

M- active rest

T/Th/S- bootcamp (HIIT/weights/cardio)

W/F- 20 min run

Sunday- Run 3 miles (I’ll increase this to 4 in a couple of weeks)

In other news, Kevin built us the coolest coffee table! I’m so impressed! It’s so nice to finally have a table in the living room. We have been using TV trays for the last year. Which, don’t get me wrong- they’re convenient. They’re just not that cute.

Next, he’ll be working on our dining room table. YAY!

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We still have so many little projects around the house. It definitely keeps us busy! Today we’ll do some more organizing, hang up some pictures and then meal prep. I’m going to make some sweet potato tots, salads, veggie wraps, banana bread and granola.

Speaking of food, I have a recipe for you! And it’s not vegan. But I’m not going say I’m “vegan” anymore because it creates turmoil for people when I choose to eat something that’s not vegan. So instead, I now say that I eat “MOSTLY plant based”.

PLUS, I’m a foodie. I didn’t like being stuck in this box of only “vegan” foods when I enjoy so much variety! My goal is to FEEL BETTER, so if I can tolerate some eggs or cheese, I’m going to eat it. Like this morning, I ate eggs. Last night, I ate cheese with my wine. Sue me.

This morning I made waffles and topped them with a fried egg. This is the third time I’ve made them and they’re always super yummy. They’re also SUPER easy to whip up and Kevin even approves. Hope you enjoy!

Whisk 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 2 teaspoons maple syrup, 1/4 cup applesauce, and 1 teaspoon of melted coconut oil or olive oil. Then mix in a dash of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 cup Tapioca flour, and 1/2 cup almond flour. Pour into your waffle maker and wait patiently.

img_1705{I forgot to take a picture before I ate my first bite!}

3 Super Bowl Staples

Good morning! Are you excited for tomorrow!? I am. Even though I’m not a fan of either teams, I’m excited! I’ve always loved the Super Bowl. Whether you’re a fan of football or not, it’s always fun to get together with friends, root for one of the teams (hello, Tom Brady) and snack on some yummy food.

Which brings me to my next question. Are you trying to splurge this Sunday? Or save some calories and eat lightly? I actually kind of plan on doing both, which will be a delicate balance.

Today, I wanted to share some recipes that have been on my radar. Half of them would definitely be considered a SPLURGE, and the other half lean more toward a lightened up version.

If you’re going to a gathering tomorrow, but don’t have time to scour the internet for recipes, here are some that I have either tried before, or KNOW will be delicious. You’re welcome 🙂

Nachos:

Vegan Cauliflower Nachos with Walnut Taco “Meat”

best-cauliflower-nachos

{Recipe and photo by: Detoxinista}

Pulled Pork Nachos

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{Recipe and photo by: My Sequined Life}

Buffalo Wings:

Baked Sticky Buffalo Hot Wings

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{Recipe and photo by: Carlsbad Cravings}

Baked Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

*You can easily sub the flour for GF brown rice flour of chickpea flour*

baked-buffalo-cauliflower-bites-39x600

{Recipe and photo by: Life Tastes Good}

Chili Dog:

Best Ever Chili Dog

best-ever-chili-dog-recipe-9-of-11

 {Recipe and photo by: The Cookie Rookie}

Vegan Carrot Dogs

carrot-dogs

{Recipe and photo by: Inspiralized}

 

Guest Post-Health & Fitness Q&A

It is with great honor that I bring to you…my first guest post!!! AHHHHH- I’m so excited right now because I LOVE my guest.

I would like to introduce you all to Courtney from Burpees and Bubbly.

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I’ve been reading various blogs for over 10 years now (is that nerdy- for some reason I think it is…).  Health blogs. Fitness blogs. Home blogs. Anyways, one feature I love is guest posts. 

I’d find myself wondering, wait are the blogger and guest friends? Do they work together? Do they like, hangout and stuff? (Is that nerdy again??)

Well, let me tell you. I wish I could hangout with my guest ALL THE TIME. She’s awesome. I first met her though my sister-in-law, Amy (hey, girl, hey). We were in Nashville for Amy’s bachelorette party, and we pretty much got long seamlessly right away (am I right or am I right, Court?).

She and her sweet little family (hubby and fur child) live in Austin, Texas. She’s a personal trainer and just all around awesome chick. She knows her stuff when it comes to health and fitness. But enough of me bragging about Courtney. Let’s get to the good stuff.

First, introduce yourself and tell us a little about what you do.
Hi! My name is Courtney and I am a Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor in Austin, TX. I also work for a company called F.R.E.S.H. ATX where we find different health and wellness events happening around Austin. We feature those events in a local newspaper and on our website for all of Austin to see!

You’re a trainer and your body is on fire! What’s your favorite workout these days?
WOA- Thanks! I love everything and anything that is high intensity training. This is where I feel my strongest by getting my heart rate up and getting super sweaty. I love the feeling after a good HIIT workout, I feel so accomplished and my workouts are never more than an hour!

Any tips on preparing for the summer months?
I think the most important thing to do to “prepare” for summer is to find something you love doing! That way, you will most likely stick with it. I think finding a balance with nutrition is also very important. Once you are comfortable with the nutritional balance and a fitness routine, you won’t be looking for a “quick fix” 2 weeks before you are on your summer vacation. Quick fixes are stressful, unhealthy, don’t work in the long run, and are NO FUN!

What are your go to meals and or/snacks?
Unfortunately, for my husband, I am pretty basic when it comes to the kitchen! My meals are usually a lean protein, a complex carb, and a green! We did just get a BBQ and I love grilled veggies and salmon. It’s my favorite thing to make.

I am a snacking queen- which is dangerous! The biggest tip I have for fellow snackers is to not buy anything that is bad for you know you will dive head first into. I am a big texture craver, so I know I like crunchy. I’ll buy crunchy veggies and eat that with some greek yogurt dip or hummus. Or I’ll dress up some rice cakes with smashed avocado and sriracha or with peanut butter and banana. Depends on my mood!

What advice can you give for creating a goal and sticking to it?
I think the most important part of goal setting is to set a smart attainable goal. For example, if your goals are to have a body like Gigi Hadid, that’s great. But what is your body type? Are you an ectomorph body type (long and lean, hard to put on weight)? Are you 5’10”, do you have a personal trainer multiple times a day, and a chef to cook you healthy food and knock cookies out of your hand? If that’s the case, then you GO GIRL! Be Gigi! But in reality, every body is different. So you have to find what works for you.

I also think how we word goals is the key to sticking with them. I think goals like “I want to lose 45 pounds, or I want to be a size 2” should be worded differently. I like to goal set like this: “I want to get into a healthier BMI category. To get there, I need to lose 11 pounds.” Then, you get into your healthy BMI category, and you go from there. The size thing goes back to your body type. I think it’s important to set goals about getting stronger, running longer, holding a plank for a certain time- that is how you really know your body is changing. Numbers are silly. There are so many body types and sizes, you can have 5 women look completely different and each weigh 130 pounds.

I know you travel a lot are are super social! How do you keep your health and fitness goals on track while you travel and enjoy life?
Traveling and my social life are two things that are very important to me! I never want to turn down a friend’s birthday dinner because they are going out for pizza and beer, and I never want to order a side salad or skip the gelato when I’m in Italy, ya know!

It’s not the best feeling when you feel guilty for enjoying food. When I am traveling or I know I am going out with friends, I make sure I get a solid workout in. No, you can’t out-exercise a bad diet, however, it’d be better to get some movement in rather than not moving at all. This can prevent any extra weight gain and will give you peace of mind. I usually incorporate a run or a HIIT workout if I had something fun planned for the evening.

The going out with friends and traveling are all done in moderation, of course! If you are eating out every night, drinking booze every night, and working out like crazy, you will be stuck in a vicious cycle of weight gain and frustration. You’ll get so frustrated you’re not losing weight, you’ll most likely stop working out all together. What’s the point, right? It’s all about balance! You find the balance that works for you, and you slay it.

What is your favorite beauty routine at the moment?
I love a good face mask!

Lightning Round!

Hobby?
Dog walking
Pancakes or waffles?
Pancakes
Favorite show?
Shark Tank
Favorite song?
Any kind of rap with a good beat.
Mimosa or Bloody Mary?
Champagne with a splash of OJ 😉
Coffee with cream? Or black?
Black
Can’t live without beauty product?
Tinted moisturizer
Favorite pizza toppings?
Pepperoni Jalepeno with sriracha on top!

SEE!? Isn’t she great 🙂 Check out her blog for more on health and fitness!

Chiefs 

Well, our football season has come to an end folks. It’s been an incredibly fun experience going to the games regularly. We’ve taken friends and family, met new friends, and perfected the art of tailgating (okay, not perfected,but practiced).

When we first told people that we were moving to KC we got a lot of interesting reactions. Some thought we were moving to KC strictly FOR the Chiefs, which is not at all the case. The Chiefs are the reason we first visited KC, but then KC spoke for itself, and we knew we could call this place home (for many reasons).

I grew up with football and have always loved watching it, going to games, getting together with friends and family, eating food while cheering on our teams…it’s a culture that I love to be a part of. Although Kevin’s love for football definitely runs deeper than mine, I’m more than happy to spend the season attending football games (rain or shine) with him, and everyone we spend them with. It’s an incredible experience!

So, with the end of our season behind us, here are some photos from the year.

It’s been fun, Arrowhead. See ya next year!

 

Recipes, anyone?

Okay, so an ice storm is brewing here in KC. It’s as if the world is coming to an end. People are stocking up on bottle water, canned food, and “bread and milk”. It sounds serious. We’re going to stay tucked in for the next 24+ hours, but tomorrow we’re facing the weather for the Chiefs game!

Regarding the vegan operation…we’ve been doing pretty well. We’re sticking with the theory that doing the vegan thing as much as we can is a step in the right direction. We eat mostly vegan, and then if we’re craving pizza- we get pizza (a lot lately actually- yikes). We just ask for light cheese and load it with veggies (or jalapeños and pineapple). If we’re craving BBQ, we have BBQ.

It’s nice because we essentially tackle the craving and move on with our vegan selves. Sometimes it feels like we’re “cheating”, but to me cheating has negative connotation and I don’t think pizza is negative. Pizza is good. Really good.

I’ve been eating oatmeal for breakfast (with some sort of combination of chia seeds, almond butter, unsweetened bakers chocolate and/or coconut), snacking on roasted veggies or applesauce (whole apples hurt my tummy- so lame), and then lunch is usually a salad or a rice bowl (both packed with veggies).

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{Overnight oats with chia, almond butter and unsweetened chocolate}

I’ve been trying not to say “NO SWEETS” because then I want ALL THE TREATS. So, If I want a sweet, I have it. Then, I move on. Shoot- now that I think of it, I might need to lay low on the sugar here pretty soon…sigh. Wait, was that a contradiction? This is what I go though, guys. So indecisive!

 

It’s been really fun playing  with vegan recipes for dinner! Last weekend Kevin was out of town and I was not prepared to be alone in our new house. My friend Carly came over and we made Pad Thai Zoodles, drank wine, painted our nails (I’m not kidding) and exchanged vegan recipes. It was the epitome of a girls night. Love.

She told me about an avocado sun dried tomato pesto she tried and I knew I had to make it! I’m SO glad I did, because I’ve been using the leftovers on everything. I originally ate it on zoodles, but then I had it on a grilled veggie sandwich dipped in tomato soup (so good). Today I plan on throwing it on my veggie burger. If you eat eggs, I think it’d be SO good mixed into scrambled eggs. It’s so versatile.

Anyhow, on to my favorite part…SHARING! Here are a few links to recipes I’ve been loving lately on this vegan operation of ours :

Pad Thai Zoodles {A Saucy Kitcken}

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Avocado Sundried Tomato Pesto {Crazy Vegan Kitchen}

pesto

Vegan Parmesan Cheese {Minimalist Baker}

vegan-parm

And because no meal is complete without dessert…

THE BEST Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies {Oh She Glows}

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Recipes I want to try in the near future:

Breakfast Potatoes

Warm Potato Salad

Mac N Cheese

Soba Noodles

Falafel

Zucchini Muffins

Home Sweet Home

Happy New Year! I seriously love this holiday because it’s the perfect reason to set new goals for yourself. Although I don’t have a “resolution” this year, I am excited to focus more closely on my health. Instead of limiting things that are “bad” (for example: no sugar, no alcohol, no fun), I’m going to focus on adding more of the good stuff (for example: more veggies, more friends, more laughter).

Also, this year we bought our first home! We are so excited to set up shop and start building memories here. Boy, has it been a process, though.

Here’s the CliffsNotes version of how it went down. Kevin text me a link saying he liked the house. I also liked it. We wanted to take a look even though we didn’t really want to break our lease early ($$$$$$$). We met our realtor at the house that night, came back once more, and decided to make an offer. The next day, they accepted. We popped champagne. The place was ours on the 16th of December. We planned to slap on some paint and move in by Christmas. Perfect!

But this sweet little house needed much more love than we planned on. We loved the layout of the house, the fireplace, the basement and yard, but we knew it needed some paint and a few other upgrades. What we didn’t know was the walls would need 2 coats of paint, the cabinets and trim would need 2 coats (sometimes 3) of paint, that literally every baseboard and window/door trim needed caulk, and that the carpet would need to be replaced IMMEDIATELY instead of down the road.

We are so incredibly thankful that our friend has a paint sprayer and lots of painting experience. We for sure wouldn’t have been able to do all this without him. Fast forward two weeks and we’re all moved into the house! It’s been a whirlwind! But it’s so much better already and it’s ours 🙂

We still have so much to do, but it’s a work in progress. It’s hard for me because I don’t like to start a job and not finish it. I’m slowly coming to terms with the fact that we’ll have to work on this place a little a time. In the meantime, we can look at gray walls with white trim and pretty white cabinets instead of oak, orange, red, and more oak. Yes, please.

Here are some before and after pictures:

{The kitchen}

{Entry}

{Dining room}


{Fireplace}


I’ll definitely post more as we make our way through our to do list(s), but wanted to share some of the work we’ve done! At this time, we’re taking a little break from painting, unpacking, and decorating. We’re enjoying a little R&R on this Sunday afternoon. I’m off to take Chief for a snowy walk. Have a great week!

 

Operation Vegan-ish

Hello there! Anyone else still stuffed from Thanksgiving? Holy cow (more on cows shortly). We had a LOVELY Thanksgiving with my family in Colorado Springs and were able to make it back to KC in time to rest and relax before school started again. My mom was here, too! So nice! Ugh, I hate goodbyes 😦

Now that Kevin and I are getting back into the groove of things, we’re actually trying something new right now. NO DAIRY and NO MEAT. Whoa. So, I actually did the whole vegan thing in my early 20’s after watching a documentary, and it was great, but I just started craving meat again…so, I started eating meat again. Also, at the time I was eating quite a bit of tofu and other soy products. My stomach was not on board. Yuck. The goal this time is to load up on allllllll the veggies (okay, not the ones I know I can’t tolerate).

Kevin had his students watch Food Choices and ended up pretty motivated to change by it. Then, he showed me. It’s the same type of documentary that sparked my journey last time. Animal cruelty makes me cry. Seriously so sad. They also talk a lot about how you don’t actually need as much protein as everyone says, and that meat is just NOT fueling our bodies the way we think it is.

Needless to say, I was moved by this documentary. I don’t like labeling diets, and restricting food groups. However, I really do believe my body would benefit from less meat and dairy and more veggies. Here’s the deal- I don’t know. I mean, obviously. I’m a 4th grade teacher, not a food scientist or nutritionist. Maybe food scientists and nutritionist don’t even know.

What I DO know is:

1. Veggies and fruit ARE good for you.

2. Kevin is definitely lactose intolerant and dairy definitely doesn’t make me feel great.

3. Whenever I eat a burger, it’s lettuce wrapped or over lettuce, and then my stomach hurts.

4. Most of the time, I’m grossed out by meat. But I love carnitas. And BBQ.

I have tried low FODMAPS, the Elimination Diet, Paleo, eating everything without restriction, etc. etc. ALL in search of a sustainable diet that makes me feel good. There is no consistency in what makes me feel great, or awful, so we’re going to give this a try.

With that being said, we’re going to be flexible. If we want it, we will not deny KC BBQ at a tailgate, or chocolate during a movie night, but we want to make most of our diet veggies, fruit, nuts/seeds and grains that I can tolerate (oats and rice).

So, in light of our new veggie and overall health goals, I wanted to share with you some fun vegetarian recipes and DOPE workouts that will make you sweat in no time.

Here are some recipes I want to try, or have already tried, this week:

Red Thai Curry: I subbed sweet potato noodles for zoodles, green beans for snow peas, and I eliminated cauliflower and broccoli (I love them but they KILL me). I threw in some leftover roasted sweet potato and spinach at the end of the cooking process. SO GOOD!

Vegan Alfredo: Going to pour this over zoodles tomorrow night and give Kevin some gluten free macaroni with it. Yum!

Veggie Pho: I love Kimberly Snyder! And I love Pho! So, this is on my to do list.

And now some workouts I’m digging this week:

TIU Kettle Booty: This one burns so, so, good. I did it today and added an ab circuit afterwards. I can feel it already.

TIU Insane Cardio: I’ll be doing this one tomorrow morning since it’s FREEZING and I’m too much of a wimp to run outside.

HIIT: I took a couple of screen shots of this workout and took it to the gym. I made a couple of tweaks to this thought. First, I jumped rope instead of jumping jacks. Second, I actually did this two times through with as little rest as possible between moves. It’s called HIIT for a reason!

Protein Bites

Hey, hey! I’m about to head into the kitchen to make some stuffing for Friendsgiving tonight (using this recipe). So excited! I love trying new recipes. It’s actually going to be the first time I’ve ever made stuffing (I think). It can’t be that hard, though, right? I’ll let you know how it goes.

I absolutely LOVE Thanksgiving! A couple weeks ago Kevin forced me to answer what my favorite holiday was between Christmas and Thanksgiving and I only had like, 3 seconds to answer. I blurted out Thanksgiving, which surprised ME even. Because I LOVE Christmas. I just love food so much, and I love family, and I love football. It all comes together on Thanksgiving and what can be better than that?

Okay, enough with Thanksgiving. Onto protein balls. Which I’ve actually renamed protein bites, because…well it’s just more flattering. My humble opinion.

These are yummy! I personally like them with almond butter, but I think Kevin prefers peanut butter. You can use cashew butter even! Yum! A lot of the energy bites you see have dates in them and I can’t tolerate dates. They hurt my stomach if I have more than one.

The consistency will change depending on how runny your nut butter is. Adjust the oats and/or nut butter by a tablespoon at a time until the consistency works for you. Have fun with it and taste test along the way.

I like these as a mid-afternoon treat, post workout, or just when I’m on the go and need something healthy and quick.

Chocolate Chip Protein Bites

3/4 cup slivered almonds

1/2 cup almond butter

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup ground flaxseed

1 scoop protein powder (I used Sunwarrior vanilla)

1/3 cup honey

1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

2-3 T. shredded coconut (more for dusting at the end)

Directions: Throw everything except for the chocolate chips into the food processor. Pulse until it all comes together into a big ball. Then toss in the chips and pulse a few times until incorporated.

Refrigerate for a couple hours. Use a tablespoon (or two) to roll the dough into perfectly sized bites. Roll in extra shredded coconut. Place on plate. Repeat. Then, refrigerate for up to a week.

I like to put them into a ziplock and freeze them. They last about 2-3 months that way, and taste great frozen! I eat them straight out of the freezer. Or, I pop them into our lunches and they’re perfectly defrosted at lunch time.

Enjoy!