29
Aug 14

August Foodie Pen Pal

This will probably be my last Foodie Penpal post. I love the idea of sharing favorite snacks with fellow foodies from around the country. However, I realize I am way too hard to please. And no one understands what “paleo” is apparently.

I told Anne that I follow a not-so-strick paleo diet. Mostly for health reasons. But also because I truly don’t like foods like soy, dairy, and anything overly processed.

But the very first thing I pulled out of my box was dry roasted edamame.

I realize that providing paleo snacks is hard because a lot of them are fresh and cannot be shoved into a box and sent across the country. Of course anything in a bag is most likely overly processed.

Props to Anne though because she did find some very minimally processed snacks that could survive several days in a box on a plane in the summer months.

fppaug14The cool thing about the Foodie Penpal program is that you get to try things you would not normally purchase for yourself. Not one of the four items Anne sent me are things I would ever buy. But I tried 3/4 of them (the edamame was donated to someone)…and now I know that I will never buy these items.

The flavor of the pizza flax snax was not for me. Neither was the flavor of the raw garlic rosemary almonds and pistachios. But I tried them. I never finished the bags because I just couldn’t handle the intense flavors.

The Artisana raw cashew butter intrigued me. I’m an almond butter girl and would probably never even think to purchase cashew butter. But I’m glad I had the chance to try it. It’s not bad, just different. I ate it with a sliced gala apple.

cashewbutterI’m sticking with almond butter. And actually I’ve cut way back on my nut butter consumption recently. So I will probably never eat cashew butter again.

Anyway, the Foodie Penpal program is something one should do if they are adventurous and don’t have a lot of food restrictions. I guess, while it’s a great program, it’s just not for me. I gave it three tries and, while my second box was spot on, it got lost in the mail and arrived 2 months late (smashed and covered in leaking honey).

If you are interested in becoming a Foodie Penpal, head over to Lindsay’s blog and check out the details of the program.

heartsteph


27
Aug 14

What I Ate on my Coastal California Vacation

I’m back from vacation just in time to share with you some things I ate while driving up the California coast.

It’s “What I Ate Wednesday” so be sure to check out Jenn’s blog for more eats from around the interweb.

WIAWbuttonWe left last Tuesday morning and headed up the coast. Our first stop was in Cambria for lunch at this cute little cafe called Indigo Moon. I had the Cobb salad with chicken.

imcobbsaladFor dinner, I indulged at Hog’s Breath Inn in Carmel-by-the-Sea. This place was recommended to us by a Clint Eastwood fan. Clint used to own this place. It didn’t disappoint. I recommend it too if you’re ever in Carmel. I had the filet mignon because why not? I was on vacation and Ray was paying. By the way, filet mignon is my new favorite food. Soooo good!

hbcWe ended up staying at a nice hotel in Carmel called Carmel Mission Inn. It doesn’t look like much from the street, but it’s not a bad place to stay when you’re booking travel plans last minute. They provided us with free breakfast at the continental buffet for booking over the phone as opposed to booking on a site like Travelocity or something.

For breakfast, I had the egg dishes, a piece of bacon, a breakfast sausage, home fries, and some fresh fruit.

hotelbfastThose were my swanky meals. Now let’s get into what I ate when camping.

We camped at Pismo Beach on Thursday night. I wasn’t too thrilled with the idea of camping but Ray promised it would be a good time. And it was! I would do it again in a heartbeat. But only for one night. I don’t think I could handle 2+ nights in a row.

Camping food is well….you know. If you’ve ever been camping, then you know it’s nothing fancy. I guess it could be. But we kept it simple due to lack of time and supplies.

Snacks were an epic bar and dried mandarins from Trader Joe’s.

campingsnacksDinner was an Applegate Farms beef hotdog wrapped in a corn tortilla with a side of potato salad. This is Ray’s plate. He put the potato salad inside his tortilla. I ate mine on the side but forgot to take a picture.

campfoodAnd then what camping trip wouldn’t be complete without s’mores. I traded graham crackers and chocolate for Trader Joe’s gluten free chocolate chip cookies.

gimmesmoreWhat are your favorite things to eat when you go camping?

heartsteph


14
Aug 14

Four Years

 

strayHappy four years to us! This picture was taken last August when we went on a camping trip in the eastern Sierras. Can’t wait for our coastal California adventure next week. We’re going up to Big Sur, Carmel, and Monterey. I’ll definitely share more about it when I get back from vacation.

heartsteph


13
Aug 14

What I Ate Then vs. What I Eat Now

I can’t believe it’s been nearly 10 years since I started my (first) senior year of college. I was thinking back to all the foods I used to consume back then when I worked 2 jobs and went to school full-time.

Life was crazy.

Well, it still is. But now I make time for proper nutrition.

I thought it would be fun to take a look back at the foods I ate then vs. what types of foods I’m eating now for What I Ate Wednesday.

WIAWbuttonBreakfast

Then: Low fat honey graham crackers with Betty Crocker funfetti frosting or a pack of instant oatmeal.

Now: My usual routine is to blend up something quick in my Vitamix. On this morning it happened to be a combo of vanilla SunWarrior blend protein, 1 Tbsp. raw cacao powder, 1 tsp. chia seeds, 1/2 a frozen banana, 1 Tbsp. almond butter, and 2 cubes of ice. Sometimes I’ll throw spinach into my smoothies. Or I’ll switch up the fruit for variety.

breakfastsmoothieIf I’m not in a hurry, I’ll make a veggie omelet with some sort of fruit on the side. Or gluten free oatmeal, if that’s what I’m in the mood for.

Mid-Morning Snack

Then: I always needed something with salt and flavor so I usually opted for a bag of chips. I remember buying Sun Chips because I thought that was a healthy option. Still better than potato chips, but not something I’d eat now.

Now: I really like veggies and dip. I actually hardly ever eat carrots. I usually have bell pepper slices or celery sticks for dipping. But on this particular day, it was carrots with a single-serving size of spicy Wholly Guacamole.

snackattackPlantain chips are fun to dip in guacamole too, but I’ve been trying to cut back on those because I can eat the whole bag when I shouldn’t.

Lunch

Then: Lunch was almost always some sort of fast food. There was a Subway on campus that I frequented because I thought it was healthy. I also ate at Panda Express and Carl’s Jr. a lot. Sometimes I would just drink a 24 oz. Jamba smoothie and call that lunch. I don’t know how I never gained a ton of weight.

Now: I rarely ever buy lunch. I am one of those “bring your own lunch to work” people. I think it amazes my coworkers that I can stick with it every single day. I’ll usually bring a homemade salad with some type of lean protein, and maybe a piece of fruit on the side.

But on this particular day, I wasn’t working so I grilled up a Trader Joe’s frozen turkey burger and covered it with some weird mustard blobs. Plus romaine and bell peppers with Tessamae’s dressing. This is the best dressing ever, by the way. I used to make homemade dressing, but found this to be tastier and more convenient.

lunchtimeIf, for some reason, I do end up going out to lunch, I usually try to stick to Chipotle, Panera, or the Whole Foods salad bar.

Afternoon Snack

Then: I wasn’t too bad with afternoon snacks back in college. I think I ate a lot of oranges and apples. That was when I was trying to be good and wasn’t in so much of a hurry. Sometimes I would get cravings for sweets between lunch and dinner. I used to eat a lot of Luna bars. I had to keep one in my backpack or purse to prevent a hanger attack.

Now: I’m currently loving dried mango as a sweet-tooth tamer for my mid-afternoon snack.

mangoOther snack choices include protein in almond milk (when I’ve worked out), apple slices with almond butter, or roasted seaweed.

Dinner

Then: Dinner back then might have been some type of frozen lean cuisine, frozen pizza, or fast food. I remember going out to eat a lot with my boyfriend at the time (we really liked TGI Fridays, Pat & Oscar’s, and Rubio’s). I sometimes made sandwiches or stir fry for myself, but that was only when I had enough energy and felt like cleaning up the kitchen after I was done.

Now: I cook most nights. I have a lot of frozen meats and veggies in my freezer that I can throw together to make a quick meal. On this particular night though, Ray and I went out to get Thai food at our favorite Thai restaurant because I didn’t feel like cleaning the kitchen.

yumthaiI got garlic vegetables with chicken. I ate every single last bite. Well, maybe Ray helped me eat some of it after he devoured his yellow curry (and licked his plate clean).

As you can see, the way I eat now is so much better than how I ate back when I was in college.

Has your way of eating changed from what it once was? Are you choosing healthier options now?

heartsteph

 


08
Aug 14

Fun at Paint Nite

The other night I took my friend Michelle out for her 30th birthday. I found a really good deal for Paint Nite on Groupon.

If you guys aren’t using Groupon, you really should. There are so many great deals on that site. The one for Paint Nite was too good to pass up. It was basically 2 for the price of 1. And I thought who better to take with me than Michelle. She’s an artiste.

adorbsI’m not an artist. But little known fact about me…I taught at an independent kids art studio in the summer of 2006. That’s how I discovered my love for teaching. I was then asked to stay on the staff and be the lead art teacher until the school went out of business in 2008.

Anywho, my art skills don’t go above the 5th grade level (much like my math skills). That’s okay because there was an instructor present at Paint Nite who walked us all through each step.

Step one. Paint the sky.

skyStep two. Paint the green-ish background.

backgroundStep 3. Add some tall grass.

grassStep 4. Add the fireflies.

firefliesStep 5. Add some darker, shorter grass, and some white dots to look like smaller fireflies.

finalThis is how our masterpieces turned out.

10491114_550544551717306_571444618440755374_nNow mine is hanging on the wall in my bedroom.

eggsingrassRay calls my masterpiece “Eggs and Grass”. Now every time I look at it, I see eggs instead of fireflies.

That’s okay. I like my masterpiece and had fun creating it. Definitely check out Paint Nite if it’s available in your area.

Happy 30th, Michelle!

shellerz30

heartsteph

 


07
Aug 14

My Morning Detox Drink

Good morning! I like to start the day off with a detox drink. It energizes me (no need for coffee) and revs up my metabolism.

detoxdrinkTo make the drink, just combine

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1-2 dashes of cayenne pepper

8-12 oz. water

I like to add 1/2 a tsp of L-Glutamine powder if I’m recovering from a tough work out. Optionally, you can add a splash of pure maple syrup if you’d like it to be sweeter. Or a dash or two of cinnamon to make it more palatable to you.

Try it. Let me know what you think.

heartsteph

 


06
Aug 14

Things I Ate [7/31/14-8/6/14]

Let’s kick off Wednesday with some humor, shall we?

a04434156de1d4d12553f0028dac4a93Now, as promised, I am documenting some of my eats from this week by linking up to Jenn’s blog for What I Ate Wednesday.

WIAWbuttonRay made me breakfast the other morning.

bfastHe fried up some eggs (I like them well done. None of that drippy, gooey, yolk porn for me) and cooked me a chicken apple breakfast sausage from Aidells. I also ate this kiwi on the side.

kiwiDid you know that Sunday was National Watermelon Day? I should have celebrated with a nice, juicy slice of watermelon but I didn’t. I had these instead.

gummiesLunch was a colorful plate full of chicken tenders marinated in Janetha’s mustard marinade, plus yellow and orange bell pepper strips and cauliflower florets with 2 tbsp. guacamole for dipping. I like to keep it simple.

lunchI went to Whole Foods the other day looking for my favorite treat.

barnanaI couldn’t find the original flavor so I bought the coconut ones instead.

Ray and I collaborated on dinner.

dinner2He really likes seafood so I bought Trader Joe’s white fish Vera Cruz and had him cook it up. Have you tried it? It’s okay. I don’t think I’ll buy it again. We paired it with sauteed broccoli slaw, plus roasted cauliflower and sweet potato bites on the side.

Most of my daily meals are similar to this. My snacks however, are usually much healthier. I rarely ever eat gummy treats, but I found them on sale at Whole Foods and couldn’t resist. They reminded me of being a kid and eating those apple rings. Plus it would be silly to pass up watermelon candy that’s on sale on National Watermelon Day. Just saying…

What treat did you eat recently that you normally don’t eat?

heartsteph


04
Aug 14

Music On A Monday

Happy Monday! Hope it’s a good one. I said I was going to post all of my food and fitness info daily. That’s silly. I don’t have time to do that everyday. But I do plan to highlight some good weekly eats every Wednesday and link up to What I Ate Wednesday each week.

However, today is Monday and not Wednesday. How about some music for your listening pleasure?

I am completely in love with this acoustic version of “Hold On” by The Gospel Whiskey Runners. The original studio version isn’t bad either.

I miss music. I hardly ever listen to anything besides the radio lately. Mostly because that’s all I can access in my car. I need to dedicate more time to good music because we all know 99% of the crap on the radio is not stuff I enjoy listening to.

Suggest some good music for me to check out.

 

heartsteph

 


01
Aug 14

This is Not a Flashback Friday Post

I’ve been inspired to blog more. But for myself mostly. I have been working out and eating better lately, and I have been encouraged to track my results. I even found this cute diet and exercise diary on the clearance table at Barnes and Noble a few months ago, only to have it sit on my desk unused.

dietdiary

And you know what? It will probably remain unused. It’s not hard to fill out. You just put your food on the left side of the page and your workout on the right side. Simple. However, I think I’d rather track it on this blog. Because that way others can hold me accountable. I don’t care if anyone reads my blog or not. I never have. Because hardly anyone does. So this will just be for me and whoever happens to stumble upon it.

In other news, this is not a Flashback Friday post. I was thinking a lot lately about how fun my early 20s were. I wasn’t a “bad” kid. I just partied kind of more than the average person. Humor me. I went to SDSU. That was the norm there.

I had a MySpace profile (because who didn’t?) before Facebook came around. But then one day in the Summer of 2008, after being “stalked” by this weird guy who would not stop messaging me, I decided to just delete my profile without saving any of the content on it. That included a huge bunch of incriminating pictures. But that was okay because they were saved to my computer hard drive. Then my computer crashed a few weeks later. My hard drive completely failed. My hard drive that had never once been backed up because I thought it was invincible. Macs don’t die, I thought. Not so. Lesson learned. I had to send my computer away to Tennessee for a few weeks for the good people at Apple to repair it. This repair included installing a completely brand new hard drive. I lost everything. Pictures, epic college essays, and whatever else was never saved.

I’ve been seeing friends and other bloggers post pictures from their earlier days when they were “bad” and drunk and partied too hard. I can only go as far back as Fall 2008.

oktoberfest2008

Maybe it’s for the best that there is no evidence of me sneaking into a No Knife show at the Open Air Theater, or being an obnoxious band groupie (so sorry, Thrice), or road-tripping to San Francisco just because. That’s okay. I don’t need to post flashback photos for you to know who I am and where I came from.

I am content with where I’m at right now and I try to live in the moment rather than in the past. So it’s just me moving forward from here. No flashbacks on Fridays for you guys.

heartsteph

 

 


09
Jul 14

Get Your Gluten Away From Me!!

ryanisasweetheart

What a sweetheart. I wish everyone was like this. But for those of you who just don’t understand, see the next image.

celiacawareness

Now does it make more sense? If I say “I can’t eat that”, don’t tell me that just one bite won’t hurt. It does. Keep your gluten away from me.