Monday, April 24, 2017

Weekly wrap-up...

And maybe some dinner/lunch inspiration for you for this week...or at least that's always my hope when I post these😉

Weekly recap:

My answer to 'we need a lot of veggies, but I don't feel like having salad'😉

It wasn't a Christmas cookbook, but Eating in the Middle IS one I just LOVESOMUCH.  Probably because her eating philosophy has been one I've been following since I began this healthier lifestyle journey AND the foods are ones I really like to eat!  I'd say at this moment, it's the book I've probably cooked from the most!

Wednesday:  Surf Taco + Coney Waffles, Belmar, NJ
Mmmmmm....a trip down Belmar signified my friend's very 1st trip to Surf Taco and oh yum, was it DELICIOUS!  The highlight is everything tastes SOFRESH!  I had a regular ole beef (I know =boring...but it was what I wanted!) and a salmon taco...but my friend gave me a bite of the Coconut shrimp and mango salsa variation that she ordered and holy hell was THAT good!  Definitely kicking myself that I didn't order it...BUT a side order of shared nachos will make anything better😉

After tacos, we headed down to the Belmar boardwalk and a stop at the Instagram-famous Coney Waffles.  Coney Waffles brings to the Jersey Shore the NYC Black Tap Brewery photo worthy mega-stacked milkshake trend, which are so much fun!  But give me waffles, or give me....well...waffles😉  And if you're offering one filled with cannoli cream??  Well, done deal!
We attempted to enjoy said waffles on a bench overlooking the ocean.....butttttt, it's just not a 'night beach' moment just yet😉  Brrrrrr....


Friday:  Brooklyn pizza from Divine Pizza
You know you're livin lucky when you decide to order pizza for the night and there are not one, not two, but THREE places WITHIN WALKING DISTANCE to order pizza that you know will be excellent.  And oh gosh, I forgot how FABULOUS Divine's Brooklyn pizza is.  Chunky tomato, gooey cheese and a thin crust that almost tastes deep-fried (in a good way)...I was so excited to dig in that I didn't even THINK to take a photo before diving in.
And on the subject of ordering pizza- We had other dinner plans, but I could NOT shake my VERY SPECIFIC craving for Brooklyn pizza that night.  So we ordered EXACTLY what I wanted and I enjoyed it SO much with no guilt.  AND I told Scott that I swear pizza tastes better when you order it BECAUSE IT'S WHAT YOU WANT VS. a default 'there's nothing else to eat' moment.  I've been really honing in on how EMOTIONS of food makes things tastes different (example = eating food that you just bought and having it fresh 'in the moment' vs. the food you bought to stash in the freezer 'for later' that sometimes turns into 'let's just eat this to get it out of the freezer.'  One is excitement and one is BLAH.  These things are interesting to me...cause I'm weird.  I'll be the first to admit it😉)

Sooo, ummmmm, it was a good thing I had a fairly filling lunch on Saturday because I don't think I ate more than 1/2 a meatball (and a slice of cake!) at my friend's daughter's 50's themed 5th birthday.  NOT because there wasn't a TON of delicious food!, but because these party animals were up and attem....and I was either chasin the little one around hoping she didn't run outside😉, or jammin with the older one...😉

Sunday:  Buffalo Hummus Chicken + Broccoli
We had this a couple weeks ago & I couldn't wait to have it again.  This time with a side of that buttermilk ranch dip (see Tuesday) that was just soooo cool with the mildly spicy chicken.  Plus it's flavored with fresh diced DILL which I just HEARTSOMUCH.

Other yummy bites this week:   

So we've put the quinoa cups aside for a bit and now we're all about the BOWLS for lunches lately.  Last week we had:
  • zucchini, tomatoes and diced chicken roasted with PESTO
  • a handful of diced fresh mozzarella
  • about 1/4 cup of brown rice
  • a couple handfuls of torn spinach
Scott ate these cold, while I microwaved them for 2 minutes and they were SO GOOD!  The thing I liked the best was the first bite wasn't really anything exciting, but by the time I took the last bite it seemed to satisfy ANY & ALL cravings and it was just what I needed.  I'll be making these again soon. (Bonus= EASY!)

The week prior we made these Greek Bowls, which seemed a bit more labor intensive....or I just put off making these all day, so rushing to make these WHILE I was making dinner seemed a bit much😉


And in the Sunday Breakfast category:  we had THIS Sweet Orange Cinnamon Pull apart bread (OK...not that EXACT one😉  OF COURSE mine was NOT that photogenic😉)
sweet orange cinnamon pull apart bread I
2 things I will admit:  
  1. I totally cheated and used Trader Joe's pizza dough (beacuse yeast?  It just exhaustes my soul😉) and I just kneaded in some orange zest to 'catch up' with the recipe😉 and it was still SUPER delicious.
  2. I ate a decent sized 'serving' for breakfast...and then walked in the door after teaching a sweaty Vinyasa yoga class and proceeded to eat yet ANOTHER serving cause I was STARVING (ummm...did someone say sugar crash??)  WORTH IT.

Andddddd the exercise to wrap it all up:

Tuesday:  Taught Vinyasa yoga and gentle + TIU Full Body + 1 mile

Wednesday:  Taught gentle 

Thursday:  Taught Hatha + Dance & Weights
Dancing courtesy of a wild DANCE PARTY in our house😉  Once I realized how much of a sweat I had worked up, I threw in a set of weights and called it a workout😉

Friday:  Taught gentle + Walk/Jog

Saturday:  Taught Hatha & Vinyasa + Walk/Jog + MORE DANCING (see Saturday)

Sunday:  Taught Vinyasa (and then ate cinnamon bread.  Balance😉)

Have a great week!!

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Thy middle name is hope...

Welcome to Friday, folks....ahhhhh, sweet bliss❤  And thinking about how I was going to leave you some peace here today to kick off your weekend, I realized I would be remiss if I don't mention the latest (FREE) Deepak Chopra & Oprah mediation series that is happening now and it is just GLORIOUS.
Oprah & Deepak 21 Day Meditation Experience
I'm just wrapping up the first week and this one just speaks to MA SOUL.  If I'm nothing else in this life, I'm definitely HOPEFUL and I just FEEL every word of this wonderful series.  Give it a try, if that's your sort of thing😉

And now the rest of my little inspo for you...
I really like this quote, but I don't think this would truly take just one day. You'll have to fight for much longer, survive for much longer, persevere for much longer. And the truth is some of us won't get there. The world is too unforgiving for that. However, I do believe that even if we never reach a position where we can stop caring, friends and family will be the comfort you need.:

Favorite gratitude quote hold tight to gratitude especially during the times when you feel you have lost all hope...:

#yoga #inspiration:

"Ego says, “Once everything falls into place, I’ll find peace.” Spirit says, “Find your peace, and then everything will fall into place.”" - Marianne Williamson:

And this one just resonated SO DEEP, realizing how much we take all these little wonderful, joyful moments for granted....
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The more gratitude we have for these simple gifts, the more gifts we tend to receive.  
And the more gratitude and joy you radiate out to the world, the world pays you back with an abundance of those gifts.

Have a great weekend!

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A peek at my sanity...

...I kid.  Sort of.

I've talked a lot about ALLOWING and what a difference SMALL INDULGENCES can make to your overall sanity at trying to live a healthy lifestyle.  They can help you make healthy choices throughout your life 80% of the time, without having all that resentment from "I can't have this cause I'm on a diet" (gag) moments.  So here's a peek of what I allow myself to have ALMOST every day:  Chocolate!
I never used to be a chocolate person, so this is still sorta hilarious for me...but I'm making up for lost time, allowing myself little bites almost daily.  Always checking in whether I want it or not.  Yesterday, when I made this video, I actually wanted a couple pieces.  Today?  Not interested at all.  I'm saying that because I'm very tuned into whether I'm having out of habit or because I truly want it.

OK....enough chatter!  Here's the video of my awesome chocolate stash!

Do you guys have any recommendations??  Any favorite indulgences??  
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Monday, April 17, 2017

An Easter wrap-up...

Morning, everyone!  Hope you had a BEAUTIFUL weekend.  I have to say ours was pretty awesome from start to finish, starting with a totally impromptu first trip to the beach this season...
I couldn't even handle the bright blue skies without a trip to see that beautiful blue water for one more day.  There was still a cold chill in the air, but who even cares?  Not these kids, that's for sure...

Sandwiched in the middle of the weekend was some Easter fun at Nona's house, where 1st Easter treats were eaten...

...and traditional Pastia was made.  98% made by Katie, which was pretty awesome to say the least.

...and of course rounding out the weekend was hunting for eggs (at, ahem, before 7am👀  That even beat Christmas morning!)...

...treat sampling... going...

...and spending most of the rest of the day wrangling the kids in the yard since it was a warrrrrrrmmmm, high 80's Easter in NJ this year...
...and eating.  Oh gosh and EATING.  So much so that I barely want to talk about food this morning...buttttt we must press on.

Weekly recap:

Sheet Pan Sausage and Peppers with Parmesan-Garlic Cauliflower Rice is simple and packed with healthy vegetables. This gluten-free dinner recipe is absolutely delicious! |  
More 'real life' vs awesome Internet photographer pictures comin at ya😉  And don't let my sub par photo stop you!  This dish was absolutely PHENOMENAL.  Not to mention, SUPER HEALTHY, EASY AND PHENOMENAL.  What a great combo.  

Kale Chopped Salad with Maple-Almond Vinaigrette |  
Hahahahaha...I can't EVEN with that 'comparison photo', or LACK there of in the comparison department😉  But again, don't let that stop you from making this recipe.  We've made it a zillion times and it never fails to impress.

I didn't even get a photo of this meal given that, after wrangling 2 kids to see the Easter bunny and some playtime at the mall, we got home and made dinner and ate like starving zombies😉

Thursday:  Dinner at Chickie & Pete's
Another photo I completely forgot about, as I got swept up chatting with my fabulous cousin.  We, of course, split some of their famous fries and I spied a new menu item that I loveeeed:  Caesar salad with meatballs!  I loveeeeeeeeeeeeeeee meatballs (and pizza crust!) with this was RIGHT up my alley, and quite delicious!  We also split an order of ricotta donuts, because FUN.

Friday:  Nachos + Salad + 1/2 bacon cheeseburger at Frankie's Bar & Grill 
So not only was the blue water calling me to head East on Friday, but also the prospect of visiting one of our VERYFAVORITERESTAURANTS down Point Pleasant.  We found this place a few years ago when a beach picnic plan was foiled by a rainstorm and we got drawn to this place from the INSANE aroma of charcoal grill being shared throughout the town😉  I have a sweet affinity for 'set plans' that change to be even more memorable and this night will always be one of my favorite "beach memories."

And on top of that, the food and the atmosphere of this place is always just kinda shore perfect.  Sorta loud, sorta cozy and ALL sorts of delicious.  We didn't want to go TOO crazy, so we went about splitting their nachos and their salad (even this SIMPLE SALAD is just SOOOOGOOD!)

...and we also split a bacon cheeseburger.
Not NORMAL "Good Friday/Lent" fair...but I kinda resided this year to the fact that there are a lot worse things I can do in life than eat meat on a Friday during Lent.  But who knows?  Maybe next year I'll want to observe, but this year I felt like it was OK to realize it's not THEMOSTIMPORTANT thing I could do for the world during Lent.  
I don't know.  Maybe I'm just explaining my Catholic-guilt away😉


We also had to make our inaugural trip to Hoffman's of the season...

...where Katie got into the fact that she & I could get 2 different flavors of ice cream and we could swap and share😉  
Sharing to get to try more??  That's my girl!

Saturday:  MORE Sausage & peppers with cauliflower rice
YEP.  THAT'S how much we loveeeeeeeed this dish!  So nice, we had it TWICE.

Sunday:  EASTER
Which was not just ONE course of homemade ravioli, meatballs, salad & fresh bread...

(here's Katie & Lils making the ravioli since I didn't get a picture of them at the table!)

...but a SECOND course of ALL this deliciousness...
A fun combo of efforts of my Mom & Mother-in-Law's traditional Easter dishes.  VERYYYYYYYY delicious!
I also held off allllll day from eating any treats to save room for dessert, but had a few bites too many (of rice pudding, pound cake with strawberries & chocolate cream pie...yum) and felt STUFFED by the end of the night.  Not surprising since everything was just plain DELICIOUS.  But definitely ready to jump back into a SUPER healthy day today!  Weeeeeeeeeeeee.  Thankfully I had gotten my 'healthy lunch food prep' done on Saturday, so we're all set for a strong week ahead.

Andddddd the exercise to wrap it all up:

Tuesday:  Taught Vinyasa yoga + 2 mile Walk  with mixed weights

Wednesday:  Taught gentle (my hip hurt this day, so I took a rest)

Thursday:  Taught Hatha + 5K Walk
I did the walk when I came home from dinner.  I was tired when we were leavin the restaurant and as I was walking in the door, realized that I had enough energy to bang something out and this particular workout was calling my name.  Felt sooooooooo good that I got that done, even when I thought I was too tired!

Friday:  Dance + weights + planks

Saturday:  Taught Hatha + an insannnnnnne amount of running around😉

Had to laugh that on a rare Sunday that I had off from yoga, I STILL found myself doing it😉  This was just the one that was callin out to me.

LOTS of WORDS.  TOO many words from me, I'm sure.  So have a great week!!

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Friday, April 14, 2017

From my class to you...

Morning, all!  Hope you had a great week and are ready for the weekend ahead...and a holiday one, at that.  Weeeeeeeeeeeee!  I'm typing up this post and then heading to the bakery to pick up some Hot Cross Buns to kick off the holiday.  
But before I head out, I thought I'd leave some little inspiration here for the new week ahead....

Be A Pioneer Of The Future | Deepak Chopra Quotes | The Tao of Dana:




Choose what you feed your mind.:

And one that came to me while I was teaching class this week:
It's only after you've mastered THIS moment, that you can begin to master the next.

Have a great weekend!  Enjoy and breath in that peace😉

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Emotion vs. the Bigger Picture...

So I've been trying to compose a blog post for this "mental weight loss Wednesday" for several weeks.  Problem is, with these posts, I have to dig deep and write them early so I can let them 'marinate' and brew naturally before posting them.  Problem is, with busy schedules (just like ALL of us), I usually find myself not get set to type them out until Wednesday night at 11:59pm😊.  But I heard a great piece of advice last week and thought it could pertain to, um, delayed blog posting😉, as well as making healthy choices in both food & exercise...
Don't succumb to the emotion of the moment.
We've all been there right?  We've had a long day, running around doing a million things and that couch is calling your name.  Only "problem" is you just WANT to get that workout in, but don't FEEL like doing it.  Right now, your head is telling you you just want to collapse on that couch and binge on hours of "Real Housewives of NYC" TV.  Here's where this advice REALLY comes in handy:  Don't let the EMOTION of that moment, take you off your goals of the BIGGER PICTURE.  Now, don't get me wrong:  there are times when you TRULY know you just NEED to rest.  And that's OK.  But here's the key to knowing the difference:  if you know you're not going to feel guilty about skipping a workout, you needed rest.  But if you KNOW you're gonna feel bummed about passing up that workout- deep down you WANTED to workout, even if you didn't FEEL like doing it in the moment.  Try your best to sort through those emotions in that moment, take a few breaths to quiet the mind and see if you can hear that little voice inside that knows the difference between "just take a break, your body needs it" vs "you KNOW you're going to feel better if you just get up and do it."  Come from a place a peace, but recognizing which voice is telling you to relax:  your mind or that little voice inside who knowwws what you need in those moments.  Sometimes it's peace and sometimes it's just taking that one more step to get you off the couch and get that workout done & over before you know it.

Um, same goes with writing blog posts😉

AND same with food choices too, right??  Here's a good moment to check in with ourselves to note whether we're eating out of emotion or because we TRULY want what we're craving.  A good 'second thought' to keep in your mind:  Do I really want this (fill in the blank:  chocolate, ice cream sundae, entire bag of salty chips...mmmmm, chips) because I'm feeling stressed/anxious/etc at this moment?  And if so, IS this treat going to change any of those emotions after I polish off that last bite?  Or am I just going to feel worse...and then crave MORE stuff?  ALSO, am I eating (your treat of choice) out of HABIT?  Just because it's in front of me or it's what I normally do when I watch a show at the end of a day.  And again, there are times you NEED that chocolate...because if you don't have it, you're now 'denying yourself' and that's going to create resentments.  At those times:  have the darn chocolate, live your life and be happy.  But if you know it's not worth the calories and you're just having it because you're bored/stressed/it's in front of you/choose you're own reason, try your best to breath to get to the NEXT moment where you can move away from it with no second thoughts.  

Image result for calm picture

Try your best to think of the big picture of what you REALLY want, a healthier lifestyle or completing ANY task, and ask yourself which one you TRULY want more in THIS moment, separate from those emotions.  98% of the time it only takes a few extra moments, just a few extra calming breaths, to check in with ourselves and find an answer that is coming from a place of peace vs. the emotions OF the moment.  Always come from'll never lead you wrong😉


Just had to thow that in there.  It felt right😉

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Monday, April 10, 2017

Real life comparison...

Morning, all!  What a beauuuuuutiful weekend we had around here in NJ.  Even I, the lover of Fall & Winter, HAD to get myself out for a sunshine walk on Sunday afternoon.  It feels like it's taken a lonnnnggg string of cold and WINDY (GEEZE, NJ was WINDY this winter!) days to arrive here...but we made it!
I took this photo from my vantage point of sitting and meditating under this tree when my walk was winding down.

And no, I don't know who I am anymore I never thought that above statement would ever be uttered out of my mouth😊  I don't know what just happened😉

And in ALSO "never thought I'd say this news":  I completed my VERY FIRST WORKSHOP this weekend!  I still can't even believe THAT happened.  I worked hard on the presentation, but it was really the people in the room coming together to share their own journeys that made it incredibly special.  I can't wait to see what's next to come😊
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And thanks to my friend Michelle for sneaking in this photo of me mid-shop😉 here we are on Monday and I DID manage to document some of our meals this week.  ...which I thought would be HILARIOUS to see next to the 'styled' photos that bloggers (unlike myself) do INCREDIBLY well.  Despite having gone to FILM SCHOOL, I still can't wrap my head around the photography skills that produce those beautiful photos.  INSTEAD, what I'm REALLY good at, is a peek at REAL LIFE😉  So I thought it would be kinda funny to show you MY photos next to those beautiful Pinterest worthy ones😉  AND showing you how I balanced my week.

Monday:  Chinese Five Spice Ground Turkey Zucchini Noodles

Chinese Five Spice Ground Turkey Zucchini Noodles - this is a low carb version of a popular Chinese noodle dish. Delicious and very satisfying! ~  
LOVEEEEEEEDDD this recipe.  It took UNDER 15 minutes...and that's including spiralizing the noodles!  How can you argue with that??

Tuesday:  Roasted Broccoli & Cauliflower Baked Potatoes with Butternut Squash Cheese Sauce
stuffed potatoes with butternut cheese sauce I  
Let's not even get into discussing the differences of these 2 photos😉  What we CAN discuss is realizing that we had an ABSURD amount of butternut squash that I had stashed in the freezer during the Fall months last year.  To the tune of, like, FOUR bags😉  So I thought I'd put at least TWO of those bags to work this week.  One in this recipe above, which we LOVEDDDD.  And two...

Wednesday:  Gnocchi with Squash & Kale + salad of my old photos.  AND one of our favorite dishes that I forget too often.  I had another plan for dinner that involved quinoa and Brussels sprouts...but if Scott was going to eat an EXCESS of butternut squash for dinner, he was putting the veto on that plan and opted for this gnocchi dish instead.  I'm OK with this.  (plus:  lunch leftovers were JAMMIN!)

Thursday:  Crunchy Stuffed Buffalo Chicken + sweet potato + salad
Crunchy Stuffed Buffalo Chicken with Ranch Roasted Potatoes #glutenfree |
No "Donna photo" here, as I was just too excited to try this one out (but rest assured, mine looked NOTHING like that photo😉)  But that didn't even matter as this chicken was SOOOO delicious.  Definitely our best dinner of the week.

Friday:  Dinner at Caffe Aldo Lamberti
"Mood lighting" photo alert😉 I went out with a couple friends on Friday, who both also enjoy my love of sharing ALLLLL the food around😉  So we all got to dig into the appetizers of antipasti, calamari & Caesar salad and dinner of seafood risotto and some of the best gnocchi I've EVER had.  All accompanied by live trumpet Jazz, which was pretty sweet.

No photo as I was trying to slice up meatballs to cool before my 1 year old could yank them off my plate while they were still steaming hot😉  That child LOVES herself some meatballs!  (see also:  genes😉)

A recipe from the other cookbook I got this Christmas this year:  Skinnytaste:  Fast & Slow.  Only problem was I was ready for dinner before 5pm because the damn slow cooker just smelled SOOOOOOO good.  And the tacos with the bright & healthy cucumber/carrot slaw did NOT disappoint.

OTHER treats & eats this week

Which Scott has been requesting for at least 400 months and I finally got it done for him😉

Crisped corn tortillas + mashed avocado + crisped white beans
THIS was the start of this breakfast and it's evolved just slightly since.  I just throw the tortillas over an open flame on the stove grates to char.  The white beans go in a dry pan to heat and crisp.  And the mashed avocado is the delicious glue that holds it all together.  5 minutes to a SUPER filing & healthy breakfast you can LOVEEEEEE.

Flaxseed pancake
Here's another one I ate a bunch of times last week for either breakfast or lunch.  I used this recipe, sans the sweetener (it's not really needed since top it with peanut butter and a small drizzle of maple)

Mediterranean Quinoa Cups
You guys KNOW I've been loving ALL the Quinoa cups lately and this was my own take.  I combined 2 egg whites & 1 egg.  Sundried tomatoes, quinoa, shredded zucchini & onion, feta, chopped chickpeas and a dollop of hummus in a bowl.  Mixed it up, filled it in muffin cups and baked.  Those stayed together perfectly.  The WEIRD moment came when I added chopped kalamata olives to mine (Scott's not a fan) and they alllll crumbled apart when I took them out of the pan.  NO CLUE why the olives = destruction, buttttt it was still worth tossing it into a bowl and giving it a spin in the microwave for 1 minute.  Waste not/want not.  

Andddd all the exercise to pull it all together:

Monday:  Jillian Michaels:  30 day shred level 2
So I decided this week I was going to alternate walking/cardio days with 'muscle workouts' and I started here.  I SORTA hated life all through this 25 minute workout...BUT IT'S 25 MINUTES.  Sometime ya just gotta get it done😉

Tuesday:  Taught gentle & vinyasa yoga + 2 mile walk  Here & Here
I'm obsessed with that version of the "Walk Away the Pounds" series because it's the simple/quick one I can just do and get done.  I'll usually hold 4 or 8 pound weights on & off throughout the walk if I want a little extra 'burn.'

Wednesday:  Taught 3 gentle classes + Tone it Up Sancastle workout
So for some reason I had THIS sandcastle workout in my mind and despite my searching on Tone it up, I could NOT find it.  Sooooo....I found this girl's video where she does the workout and I just followed along...all while watching the new episode of Real Housewives of NY😉  (hashtag:  My Real Life😉)

Thursday:  Taught Hatha & gentle + same 2 mile walk as above

Friday:  Taught gentle + 20-25 minutes of dance & weights

Saturday:  Tone it up Bikini Body Workout

Sunday:  3 mile walk around the park

So that's about it for the day!  Hope you have a good Monday and I WILL be back on Wednesday to talk about a mental block we all get into on our healthy lifestyle journey.

Have a great day!

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