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A Weekend For The Books

19 Jun

Hey there! I hope everyone enjoyed the weekend!

I started my weekend with a Friday afternoon community yoga session. {community yoga= donation-based class}. It was fabulous. I’m working on perfecting my crow.


Then JWD and I inhaled a Vegged Out pizza from PW Pizza. This place is a new fave. We had plans to meet friends for drinks, but we ended up relaxing at home and making it an early night. Just what I needed.

Saturday morning started off bright and early with a crazy 6 a.m. thunderstorm. I crawled out of bed to start the coffee pot, then snuggled with the kitties and listened to the rain. Thankfully the rain stopped just in time for the the farmer’s market!

The market was in full bloom! We sauntered around for a long time and hung out to watch the performer. She sounded like Ingrid Michaelson. It turned into such a peaceful morning, we didn’t want to leave!

The loot:

{eggs, fingerling potatoes, cucumbers, yellow squash, tomatoes, beets, green onion, radishes, broccoli, kale, and Companion bread}

Lunch was Local Harvest– an egg sandwich on a sunflower wheat bagel with a slice of tomato and Ah Zeefa lentil spread.

After our morning full of foodie fun, we braved the humid STL weather and went for a run. Then we spent the evening BBQing and playing games with friends. I brought my own veggie burger to grill and we tried a new beer from JWD’s favorite brewery- New Belgium Somersault. It was light and fruity, a perfect summer beer. It was great night 🙂

Today was a classic Sunday. It began with Kaldi’s Birds & Bees coffee served in one of my great grandma’s mugs.

I had this:

and this:

waiting for me. Two blank canvases and my great grandma’s paint box {I was missing her today}. I set to work.

I broke for a little Father’s Day brunch with my dad at a favorite spot of mine. I’ll give you the scoop later this week. The rest of the afternoon was spent painting, trip planning, strolling, and cleaning. Perfect Sunday.

The game plan for the week:


Monday: Parchment fish + fingerling potatoes + kale chips

Tuesday: Protein Power Goddess Bowls

Wednesday: out to dinner

Thursday: Lazy Day Peanut Noodle Salad

Friday: TBD dish with orzo. Any suggestions??


Monday: early morning bike + weights

Tuesday: run

Wednesday: weights

Thursday: run

Friday: weights + yoga

Time to put clean sheets on the bed and wind down with a little yoga!

Thanks for reading 🙂



24 May

Hello out there! Anyone there? Remember me?

I have been absent from Running on Sunshine for far too long. I felt like a piece of my soul was missing! The truth is, I’ve been stressed to the max. Nothing sucks away your creative motivation and energy quite like stress.

My own family as well as a very dear friend’s family have been going through some very difficult situations. The worry and stress that I feel from this compounded with wrapping up my undergraduate career really did a number on me. Maybe this is all TMI, but I felt it would be unauthentic to come onto Running on Sunshine and pretend that life is perfect. If there is one thing I strive to be for all of you, it is authentic. No, I am not running on sunshine 100% of the time and that is perfectly okay.

Stress impacts my eating habits, sleeping habits, exercise habits, and motivation levels. Sometimes I get so worked up that it makes me feel physically sick, making my appetite disappear. Sometimes I seek comfort in unhealthy foods. Sometimes I lose all desire to go for a run even though I know it will make me feel better. Sometimes I lie awake all night long, only to struggle to keep my eyes open all day long. These are all normal reactions to stress! When these things happen, we tend to beat ourselves up. “What is wrong with me? I haven’t exercised in a week!” “Ugh, why can’t I get motivated!” “I’ve already eaten terrible all week, so what’s the point of starting fresh tomorrow?” Sound familiar?

Instead of beating ourselves up, we should be taking extra care of ourselves. If I don’t have the energy for an intense workout, I take a relaxing walk with JWD or stretch/practice yoga instead. If I don’t have an appetite, I nourish myself with a smoothie. If I find myself turning to food for comfort, I recognize why I’m doing it and try to talk it out instead. If I don’t have the motivation to write a blog post, I give myself a little break. Stress wreaks emotional, mental, and physical havoc on your body. Be kind to yourself.

One thing that signals my stress level is my skin. My skin is very acne-prone. When my body is stressed, my skin doesn’t hide it! I graduated from college this past weekend (woohoo!!), and after the whirlwind settled I treated my skin to a little DIY facial. It worked wonders!

Stress-Less DIY Face Mask

  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg

Mix together all three ingredients until a chocolatey-colored paste forms. Spread onto skin and let sit for 30 minutes. Rinse off with warm water, scrubbing in small circles. The nutmeg crumbs act as a gentle exfoliant! Instead of drying with a towel, let your face air-dry.

Now that I’ve wrapped up a very busy chapter of my life, I have a couple months to take a breath before the next crazy chapter begins. I plan to use this breathing period to dive head first into Running on Sunshine. I love hearing all of your positive feedback and it motivates me to continue growing the blog into something even better! So please throw your suggestions my way! What do you want to read about? What do you want my next videos to be about? I’m all ears!

If you haven’t “Liked” the Running on Sunshine Facebook page, do it now! I am starting to post quick and easy health tidbits.

It feels so good to be back.

Thanks for reading 🙂





5 Apr

Since I told you all about my big spring break plans, I owe you a little re-cap of what actually went down.

I’ve been accused of being boring. Can you believe this nonsense?? I guess because I’m not exactly a stereotypical 20-something college student, then that makes me boring. Don’t get me wrong, I do occasionally engage in a little 20-something fun with my friends. But on most days I’m up by 6am and in bed by 10pm, I thoroughly enjoy my Friday night yoga/grocery store routine, and nothing makes me happier than a trip to the farmer’s market on a Saturday morning. Does this make me boring? Nah, it just makes me me.

To each her (or his) own.

So, some might say my spring break was pretty lame, but it’s all relative. In my opinion, it was fabulous.

My Wild and Crazy Spring Break

~I threw back some pretty potent cocktails. These are not for the faint of heart, people.

Exhibit A: a delicious GT Synergy Kombucha {mystic mango}.

Exhibit B: Beets+carrots+ginger+oranges. You’re welcome, circulatory system.

~I was in a wet t-shirt contest…. of sorts.

My friend Katie coaxed me in to trying Bikram Yoga for the first time. It is a 90 minute yoga class during which you perform a series of 26 postures twice in a room heated to 105*. I’ve never experienced anything quite like it, and I’m still evaluating whether I love it or not.

The positive: At the end, I felt so alive (my whole body was pulsing), completely detoxed and pure, and I could literally wring the sweat out of my soaking wet top.

The negative: It isn’t that athletically intense, but I felt like I had just raced a half-marathon. At many points throughout the 90 minutes, I felt like I was going to faint and had to sit down. Insanity.

~I got my dose of adrenaline by mastering something wild and crazy- arm balances.

I finally got back in touch with my inner yogi. I squeezed in five practices during my week off. It felt great!

~I scrubbed the cocoon until I could see my reflection in the surfaces.

I would never survive in a Panama City Beach hotel room. I must have order in my life or all hope is lost.

~ And, last but certainly not least, I indulged a little.

Oh man.

I hate to leave you hanging, but… recipe post for this ^^^ baby coming soon 🙂

Spring Break ’11 (the first spring break in my life that I haven’t gone on vacation) was a success. Now it’s time to knock out these last 6 weeks of undergrad…

Congrats to all my classmates who found out on Sunday where they will be interning next year!!

Happy Tuesday!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Time To Unwind

13 Mar

I am a little over 48 hours in to my spring break, and I am already loving every minute of it! Definitely running on sunshine this weekend! The past few weeks have been quite hectic (hence the negligence of my beloved blog). It was such a relief to wake up with a clear mind and the day at my fingertips to do with what I please!

True to form, I’ve already made a list of goals for my week off (and have already accomplished many of them). You didn’t think I was just going to sit around and relax, did you?! As a matter of fact, being busy and productive is relaxing to me. Sitting on the couch watching TV? Not so much. So, here’s a glance at my “To Do” list for the week:

  • CLEAN! the cocoon (that’s what I call our little apartment). This one has been checked off already. Saturday was Kayli + Mrs. Meyer’s vs. the dust bunnies. The dust bunnies lost.

  • WRITE! This includes some much needed therapeutic blogging and a few side projects I’m working on. This also includes a non-writing project. Keep your eyes peeled for the first Running on Sunshine video post 🙂
  • COOK! When I am well-rested and not being pulled in a million directions, my creative energy is always running on high. I am so excited to get in the kitchen and play this week.
  • ORGANIZE! I am a sucker for organization tools and tips. I could browse realsimple’s home & organizing tab all day.
  • YOGA! I kicked off my spring break with the most amazing yoga practice on Friday. Sadly, I’ve been neglecting my yoga practice since school started up again. Even though it’s been so long since I’ve had an official (as in not in my living room) date with my yoga mat, I felt right at home. I’m not sure if it was because I had so much built up stress to melt away or if I was just really jiving with the yoga instructor (first time I had a class with her), but it literally brought me back to life. I felt 100 times better walking out of the studio than I did walking in. {Yoga post in the works}



With number one finished, I’m ready to tackle the rest of my list. I’ve already gotten a good start on cooking. Some recent things to come out of my kitchen:

Homemade granola. I used this recipe. I’ve made this many, many times. We can’t get enough of it! This time I was out of cinnamon, so I subbed ginger and it turned out to be amazing!

My favorite way to eat granola is atop nonfat plain greek yogurt.


I also made chili adapted from the recipe for Coco-Coconut Chili in Dreena Burton’s Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan cookbook. I used the recipe as a guide and made a lot of substitution. Here’s what I threw in my pot…


  • 1 T coconut oil (or olive oil)
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • about 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, diced
  • 1-2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 sweet potato, cubed
  • 1/2 block tempeh, crumbled
  • 1 T chili powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • ~ 1/4 t allspice
  • 1 heaping T cocoa powder
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 1.5 cups black-eyed peas
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • ~1/2 cup corn kernels (I used frozen)
  • the juice of 1 lime

How To:

  • Heat large soup pot over medium with oil.
  • Add onion, celery, peppers, garlic, sweet potato, tempeh, and spices to the hot oil and saute until the onion and celery soften.
  • Stir in cocoa powder
  • Add tomatoes, coconut milk, peas, shredded coconut, and corn to the pot. I added about a 1/2 can of water at this point to make it more soupy. Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minute or until the sweet potato cubes are tender.
  • Squeeze the juice of 1 lime into the soup and serve.

I topped mine with crumbled blue corn chips and red chili pepper flakes. It was incredible. Can’t wait to enjoy the leftovers tomorrow. I hardly ever follow recipes exactly. I’m always improvising and substituting. That’s what makes cooking fun! Try it 🙂

I’m off to foam roll my very sore legs. I will see you all later in the week hopefully with a video post (!!) and Workout of the Week.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Sunny Skies

18 Jan

rain, rain go away.

It might be a dreary day outside my window, but it is a sunny day inside my home {and heart}.

Today was my last first day of school, at least for my undergraduate degree. I awoke with jitters in my tummy as I always do on first days. (you already know how I feel about change) But these jitters were… different. They stemmed from excitement instead of nerves.

For the first time in my life, I was ready for the first day. Ready to begin the end. Ready to bang out one more semester and start a new chapter in my life.

So, today, instead of allowing the gloom outside to creep inside, I am filled with sunshine. JWD also received a bit of exciting news today, so the forecast at our house is especially bright: clear, sunny skies without a cloud in sight.

Don’t forget your SPF.

Enchiladas with Easy Guacamole

*makes about 6 enchiladas

For the Enchiladas:

  • 1/2 pound boneless chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels (frozen, fresh, or canned)
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 14.5 oz can fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 6 tortilla shells (I use Ezekiel sprouted grain tortillas)
  • 1 can/package enchilada sauce (if you’re feeling ambitious, make your own)
  • cheese of your choice (I used habanero cheddar)

*Make it vegetarian by losing the chicken and beefing up on the beans

*Make it vegan by doing the above plus losing the cheese. Cheese-less enchiladas are just as incredible- trust me.

For the Guacamole:

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • a couple tbsp. salsa of your choice (more or less to your liking)
  • 1 lime
  • salt, pepper, and hot sauce to taste
  • fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
  • tortilla chips of your choice

How To:

  • Throw the raw chicken (frozen is fine), corn, beans, onion, garlic, and tomatoes into a crock-pot. Because I was able to supervise, I kept mine on high for 3 hours and then on low for 1 hour. If you throw it in before work, keep it on low all day. Feel free to add additional spices or veggies.

I like to keep it simple.

  • Meanwhile, prepare the guacamole.

  • Slice the avocados in half lengthwise. I like to scoop out the flesh with a spoon. I find it separates from the shell very easily. My sister likes to slice and dice the flesh while it’s in the shell and then scoop it out. Whatever your style, get the avocados from point A to point B.

Please don’t fear avocados.

They are good for your body {and your soul}


  • Next, mash the avocado flesh. Fork, spoon, knife– whatever gets the job done.

  • Now mix in the fresh-squeezed lime juice, salsa, hot sauce, cilantro (if using), salt and pepper until your taste-buds are happy.


  • Taste test.


  • Back to the enchiladas: Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Add the spinach to the crock-pot. While the spinach is wilting, prepare a casserole dish by spooning in enough enchilada sauce to coat the bottom.


I used this Frontera sauce for the first time and it was yummy. My apologies for the fuzzzzy picture.

  • With a utensil, gently shred the chicken in the crock-pot (it should just fall apart with a few pokes).

  • Scoop the filling into tortillas, roll them up, and place them gently in the casserole dish.
  • Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the top and sprinkle with cheese.

Snug as a bug in a rug.

  • Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the cheese starts to brown.
  • Serve with a dollop of guacamole.


After dinner, JWD suggested we get in a time machine so we could eat dinner again.

It was that good.

The sun may be hiding from the world today, but it is shining inside of us.

In life, you must carry your own weather.

Thanks for reading 🙂

First Post of 2011: Crafting and Detoxing

5 Jan

The feasts have been eaten, the presents opened, the tree trimmed and untrimmed. The parties have been given, the champaign drank, the hangovers suffered, the holiday season has come to an end.

Now what?

In my last post I suggested setting some goals for the new year- to give the year purpose and direction. To please the creative creature inside of me, I set my 2011 goals in the form of an inspiration board.

This board will hang in my closet and remind me of my goals everyday.

What are my goals, you ask? Here’s a few…

In 2011 I will… continue blogging, aim for one post per week and begin posting a workout of the week, and expand my readership.

In 2011 I will… set a half-marathon PR.

In 2011 I will… become a CPT (Certified Personal Trainer).

In 2011 I will… learn to better manage my stress and commit to a regular yoga practice.

In 2011 I will… make an effort to use my cookbooks and recipe collections (to get us out of our dinner rut).

The new year is also a popular time to give your body a clean slate. The sluggish, bloated, overfed feeling of the holidays becomes blatant, and the urge to detox, fast, and cleanse ensues.

A lot of controversy surrounds detoxing in the scientific world. Is it safe? Is it necessary?   Does it work?

Three Beliefs About Detoxing

It will help you lose weight.

The Truth: Most detox programs (fasting, juicing, etc.) are very low in calories, so weight loss is an obvious side-effect and most of the loss will be water. Because these diets are not sustainable, long-term ways of life, the weight loss probably won’t last. As soon as you return to your normal eating routine (or even just a healthy calorie level) you will likely regain some weight. The worst part about extreme fasting is that it will eventually slow your metabolism and make it harder for your body to burn calories! Detoxing/fasting is NOT a quick-fix way to lose weight.

Your body needs to be cleansed.

The Truth: If I have learned only one thing in my education, it is that the human body is an incredible contraption. It continues to operate even under the most abusive conditions (ahem, Western Diet). When treated correctly, our bodies will detoxify themselves without extreme fasting and cleanses. Our bodies don’t want to be filled with laboratory chemicals and additives. There are many innate detoxifying mechanisms working inside of us everyday. All you have to do is treat your body right (see guidelines below) and it will clean itself.

You have to go all out or it won’t work.

The Truth: Many detox programs are very extreme. The most popular example is the Master Cleanse. The only thing consumed in the Master Cleanse is a water, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, maple syrup concoction. These types of cleanses can be very dangerous and do not, in my opinion, embody a healthy, balanced lifestyle. The side effects of extreme cleanses make it very difficult to lead a normal life. Think unpredictable changes in bowel movements, stinky body odor and breath, breakouts on the skin, nausea, and severe lethargy due to the low nutrient/energy intake. I believe that a healthy, cleansing lifestyle should include exercise and most extreme detox programs advise against exercise because of low energy levels. There’s just something not quite right about that…

Detoxifying your body doesn’t have to consist of starvation. You shouldn’t have to tuck yourself away in your house for a week with a bottle of lemon juice to sleep and purge away all of your toxins. Try these easy tweaks to feel cleansed and healthy.

A Safer (and easier) Way to Detoxify Your Body

*remember that I am not a registered dietitian yet. These recommendations are based  solely on my personal experience and education thus far.

Eat Your Fruits and Veggies

The best way to heal your body from holiday abuse is with good old-fashioned fruits and vegetables. Your body wants and needs fruits and veggies! They will help to naturally detoxify, nourish, and repair your body. Boosting your intake will make you feel clean and energized in no time. My favorite way to boost my fruits and veggies? Spinach fruit smoothies and green juice (green juice post coming soon!)

Ditch the Chemicals

Cut out highly-processed foods– restaurant meals, fast-food, condiments, prepackaged foods, and sodas. These foods are full of artificial flavors and colors, preservatives, and other additives. Think of it as putting poisons into your body. Our bodies don’t recognize these laboratory chemicals and their presence wreaks havoc as our bodies try to figure out how to process/store them. The same goes for non-organic fruits and vegetables which are covered in pesticides and other chemicals. The best way to detoxify your body is to stop putting toxins into it. Simple.

Give Veganism a Chance

Or at least cut back for a day or two. Animal products are usually more processed and harder for our bodies to digest than plant foods. By decreasing your meat and dairy consumption and increasing your plant consumption you are giving your digestive system a rest. If you do continue to consume animal products, stick to low-fat versions in small portions.

Lose the Sugar High (And Sodium Too)

As discussed in this post, added sugars distress the body. And after weeks of pumpkin pies, candy canes, Christmas cookies, and cocktails, your body is probably begging you to lose the sugar high. Cut out the added sugars in your breakfast cereal, soda, ice cream, venti mocha caramel latte with whipped cream, etc. and you’ll be on the road to recovery. These same processed foods are also loaded with sodium. If you’re feeling bloated, cutting back on sodium intake will make you feel better.

Hydrate With H2O

Just like guideline #1, the best way to detoxify and cleanse the body is with good old-fashioned water. Water has probably taken a back seat to all the egg nog and hot toddies, so there’s no better time to start guzzling. Many holiday staples such as high-sugar foods, caffeine, and alcohol dehydrate the body. Water consumption will help rehydrate, fill you up, and flush out toxins. Shoot for at least 8 cups a day.

Following the above recommendations for a week, a few days, or even just 24 hours will help heal the holiday fun damage and make you feel lighter and healthier.

Happy 2011 and thanks for reading 🙂

Taking It Slow

23 Sep

I hate transitions. I’ve never been very good at them. I cried every year on the first day of school (until I started studying nutrition) because I didn’t want to leave summer vacation behind. I’ve always loved school, but making that transition in my daily routine was (is) tough. I hated leaving for summer camp just as much as I hated coming home from summer camp. I am a creature of habit and routine. I like the comfortable and familiar. But change is a necessary and constant part of life. Growth cannot occur without change and new beginnings only happen when you step out into the unknown. So how do I deal with change? I take it slow and steady of course. I find a way to embrace the future while still lingering a little in the past.

The perfect transition from summer to fall–

Whole Wheat Pasta and Spaghetti Squash

with Roasted Heirloom Tomatoes and Chickpeas


– 4 servings of whole wheat angel hair pasta prepared according to package directions

– 1/2 spaghetti squash

– about 1/2 cup store-bought or homemade pesto (**recipe below)

– 1 cup diced heirloom tomato

– 1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)

– broccoli florets

– extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar for drizzling

– salt and pepper

How To:

– Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

– Slice spaghetti squash in half longways and place one half face-down in a casserole dish. Fill casserole dish with a tiny bit of water to create steaming in the oven.

– Place squash in preheated oven for about 35 min. or until inside flesh is tender.

– Meanwhile, spread tomatoes and chickpeas on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (or greased). Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar. Set aside.

– When squash is tender, remove from the oven and let rest for 20 min.

– Pop the tomatoes and chickpeas into the 400 degree oven for 20 min. After 15 min, of cooking, toss broccoli florets with tomatoes and chickpeas and cook the remaining 5 min.

– Gently scrape the flesh of the squash with a fork. It will separate into pasta-like strands. Mix the strands with the whole wheat pasta. Add veggie/bean mixture and toss with pesto.

– Enjoy the delicious combination of summery garden tomatoes and fall spaghetti squash. Mmm… maybe I don’t mind transitions so much after all.

Homemade Pesto Blueprint

Pesto is a delicious, creamy sauce traditionally made from nuts, greens, cheese, olive oil, and garlic.

– 1/2 cup nuts (pine nuts, walnuts, or almonds)

– 3 cups greens (basil, spinach, arugula, romaine)

– 1/4 grated hard cheese (parmesan, romano, or nutritional yeast for a dairy-free pesto)

– 1-2 cloves of garlic

– 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

– 1/4 cup water

– salt and pepper to taste

How To:

– Pulse first four ingredients in a food processor until combined

– Continuing to pulse, slowly drizzle in olive oil and water until a saucy consistency is reached

– Add salt and pepper to taste

– Freeze any remaining pesto in ice cube trays

Not only does this meal represent a wonderful progression between seasons, it also represents one of my favorite ways to lighten up comfort foods– add more veggies! Adding veggies is an easy way to lighten up any meal, but it works especially well with pasta. A big bowl of pasta is like being wrapped in a warm, cozy blanket. But calories can add up quickly with pasta and it is a food that is notoriously  over-portioned (1 portion size is 1 cup cooked). By mixing in the pasta-like spaghetti squash, you instantly cut calories. Not to mention, the squash strands soak up the sauce beautifully and impart a subtle sweetness into the dish. I am working on a whole post dedicated to healthifying comfort foods.

Happy Harvest Moon!

Thanks for reading 🙂

My Grocery Cart Staples

31 Aug

Hello friends! Lots to talk about today. First a life update…

I’m on week two of my senior year and I love it. My classes are going to be very challenging, but I am so excited about how much I am going to learn this year. When I’m not working on school stuff, I’m working on our new loft. I am a freak about things being clean, organized, and aesthetically pleasing so I’ve been a bit obsessive about getting things in order. I am also obsessive about decorating as cheaply as possible– I have a few DIY projects I’ll share in a future post 🙂

Between school, home decor, and soccer (JWD plays college soccer), life has been crazy and time for cooking, grocery shopping and meal planning have been limited. I am not willing to sacrifice my healthy lifestyle no matter how busy I am, so to make my food life easier I stick with the staples.

15 staples you will always find in my grocery cart

1. Portable and Frozen Fruit

“Portable” fruits like apples, pears, and bananas are easy for me to throw in my bag when I’m running out the door. I also stock up on frozen fruit because it keeps longer than fresh fruit without sacrificing nutrients and it’s great for smoothies, oatmeal, or as an oral-fixation tool for late-night studying 🙂

2. Veggies– Carrots, Celery, and Broccoli

These are my staple veggies. I eat them with everything- peanut butter, hummus, stirfry, wraps, and pastas.

3. Spinach

JWD and I polish off a giant tub of spinach every week. We throw handfuls in our smoothies, omelets, salads, and on sandwiches.

4. Citrus

Citrus is the perfect way to add flavor to a dish with little effort. I squeeze it over fish, veggies, salads, and pasta. It instantly brightens up a dish and gives it a fresh, gourmet taste.

5. Peanut Butter

Enough said.

6. Hummus

Hummus is an easy, satisfying snack. When I come home from a long day and I’m starving while preparing dinner, veggies and hummus are my go-to munchies.

7. Eggs

On some days I know I won’t have time for a mid-morning snack (I’ll be spending some long mornings seeing patients in a hospital). On these days I always whip up a few egg whites or one whole egg for breakfast to pair with my oatmeal. The mix of carbohydrates and protein keeps me full and energized until lunch. I buy organic, free-range, and local whenever possible- sans salmonella.

8. Yogurt

Yogurt is a great high protein snack. Although the individual yogurts are more convenient for work/school, we buy in bulk because it’s cheaper and creates less waste. I prefer plain greek, JWD prefers plain regular gurt.

9. Canned Beans and Tomatoes

I know, I know, technically this is two staples, but I use them in similar ways. They are both great to dump in pasta, soups, or rice for dinner in a snap. Canned beans provide fiber and protein while canned fire-roasted tomatoes create instant flavor. I use the crushed tomatoes for a pasta sauce base or as pizza sauce (much cheaper than buying jars of pasta or pizza sauce!). If beans or tomatoes are on sale, I stock up. They last forever!

10. Vegetable Broth

I always have this in my kitchen for soups or easy crockpot meals that I throw together before I leave for the day.

11. Grains

We always have some kind of grain in the kitchen. Pasta, brown rice, quinoa, and amaranth are the usuals.

12. Oats

Oats are my breakfast of choice 99% of the time. I rotate between old-fashioned rolled oats, steel-cut oats, and oat bran. All three have different textures.

13. Tortillas

Whole grain tortillas are wonderful for a quick pizza crust, veggie and humus wraps, peanut butter and banana roll ups, and fish tacos. I keep mine in the freezer so they last longer.

14. Frozen Fish

We keep some type of fish in the freezer at all times. The fabulous thing about fish is you don’t have to defrost it if you’re short on time. I just season the frozen filets and pop them in the oven.

15. Bars

Of course we always have bars in the house. They can be a little expensive, but they are a must for our busy lives. I keep one or two in my backpack so I’m always prepared when my tummy rumbles.

Knowing my grocery store staples makes shopping a breeze when I’m busy. These basics can be mixed and matched to form tons of different meals and snacks. Some of you might think I’m a sick twisted person, but I actually love the grocery store. I’ve been known to spend the better part of the day visiting the farmer’s market and several grocery stores and loving every minute of it. But sometimes I am way too busy to spend more than 15 minutes in the store and that’s when I rely on my staples. I know I can pick up these 15 things and have plenty of mix-and-match meals for the hectic week ahead.

On another note, I have a little offer for you. I am taking a nutrition counseling class and we are doing a counseling session on healthy eating. My classmates and I are required to find one person who is wiling to participate in a 1 hour one-on-one counseling session. You will fill out some information prior to your visit- primarily info about your usual diet including a food diary that one of my classmates will analyze. Then you will come to Saint Louis University for your healthy eating counseling session. The dates and times are Wednesday, 9/29/2010 or Friday, 10/1/2010 from 12pm-1pm or from 1:15pm-2:15 pm. This is a great opportunity to have a nutrition-savvy person analyze your diet and provide you with healthy eating tips and tricks. It’s also a great opportunity to help me and my classmates sharpen our skills so we can save the world someday 🙂 Let me know if you are interested! Shoot me an email at

something to read: Marian Nestle, a highly respected dietitian, gives her views on the egg recall

Thanks for reading 🙂

Meal 3: Lunch

9 Jul

TGIF!!! Does anyone else remember watching the TGIF line-up on TV? Family Matters, Step By Step, Boy Meets World?  I don’t know about you, but I am SO happy it’s Friday 😀 Two Advanced Nutrition tests down, one to go. I was up super early this morning to study, so I’m ready for a very relaxing Friday night. Now let’s get to the next meal on the list.

I gotta be honest with you, I’m not a big fan of lunch. My morning java and workouts usually rev me up. And by lunchtime, I’m usually attacking something with full force- whether it’s text books, errands, or my messy apartment. You all should take pity on jwd, I am a crazy woman from 7 a.m. to noon. That is, until lunchtime. It falls right in the middle of the “productive” period of the day. Lunch is also a time when people are tempted to eat out. I don’t know about you, but I’m not a big fan of paying 10 bucks for a salad or sandwich everyday. That’s why I rely on something quick, cheap, and easy.

My Lunch Strategy: Leftovers

The fact that lunch sometimes interrupts our productivity is not an excuse to skip it. Your blood glucose and energy levels will drop in mid-afternoon and you’ll probably find yourself reaching for the candy bowl. Stop! Put down the mini Snickers! It’s so easy to make a little extra for dinner and then revamp it for lunch the next day. I always make extra grains (rice, quinoa, pasta), extra beans and lentils, extra veggie burgers, extra grilled chicken, and extra roasted veggies to have on-hand for quick lunches. The combos are endless! Just pick a grain, a protein, and a veggie and combine for a balanced meal. Pasta salad with garbanzo beans and veggies, grilled chicken salad, veggie burger on whole grain bread with a veggie side. Since I started my new  class, I’ve been packing my lunch and this leftovers-for-lunch technique works great. I divide it into tupperwares at night and shove it in my lunch box in the morning and bolt pedal out the door (I’ve been biking to class, 10 miles round trip). It’s quick, healthy, and cheap!

Leftover homemade black bean burger (recipe coming soon) topped with hummus, goat cheese, Cholula, and kale on 1/2 of a Food For Life Ezekiel bun. Paired with leftover Japanese sweet potato fries and a few grapes.

Leftover chopped fresh veggies topped with leftover garbanzo beans, goat cheese, homemade balsamic dressing, and homemade croutons. Paired with sliced kiwi.

***Tip: Have stale bread? Don’t throw it away! Cut it into squares, toss in a little olive oil and dried spices of your choice (I like a little salt, pepper, and basil), spread on a cookie sheet and bake in a 400 degree oven for about 5ish minutes, flipping halfway through. Voila, Homemade croutons!

Leftover homemade pizza with a side of hummus for dipping, grapes, and carrot sticks. The “lunch tray” is my Human Metabolism textbook. Unfortunately, it accompanied my lunch on this particular day 😦

***Tip: I never buy baby carrots. They are actually just regular carrots shaped into mini carrots. It’s much cheaper to buy regular carrots and slice them yourself. Bonus: they stay fresh in the fridge longer and taste sweeter.

Leftover roasted veggies mixed with chopped fresh spinach, goat cheese, and homemade balsamic dressing. Paired with celery + peanut butter and grapes.

This one is not composed of leftovers, but it is still quick, cheap, and easy! Two egg whites on 1/2 of a toasted Food For Life Ezekiel bun topped with sliced heirloom tomato, sliced cucumbers, and goat cheese. Paired with half an apple shmeared with peanut butter anddd… another favorite “sometimes” food: a few Billy Goat Chips. These chips are made locally in St. Louis and they are to die for! Thick, crunchy, and perfectly seasoned. They cost a little more than a bag of Ruffles, but that’s what I love about them. It forces me to really savor them. They are a splurge, a true treat. I get MUCH more enjoyment and satisfaction out of a small handful of these chips than I could get out of an entire bag of the “typical” potato chip. They have a very simple ingredient list and they are local!!

Speaking of local… if it’s okay with all of you, I’m going to briefly depart from the meal posts and give you a fun little post tomorrow!   Hint: tonight feels like Christmas Eve to me 🙂

Anyone have any great leftover lunches or “penny-pinching” meal tips??

Well, I’m off to enjoy a lovely, relaxing Friday night which may or may not include a trip to Chill 😉

Enjoy your Friday night and I’ll see you all tomorrow! Thanks for reading 🙂

Meal 2: Post-Workout Snack

7 Jul

Hello, blog world! I hope you all enjoyed your holiday weekend! Mine was pretty low-key, but I got to see a lot of people that I don’t get to see enough of (Hi, Sarah!). That made me a very happy girl. I am also a very happy girl because Biochemistry is FINALLY behind me and I’m making progress in Advanced Nutrition. I started another new class today. It’s 4 days a week pretty much all day for 4 weeks. Yikes! Fortunately, I think it will be bearable, but it is going to make my schedule a little wonky for a few weeks. On top of all of my school stuff, we are moving in 2 weeks! Ahh! I’m looking around my apartment as I write this wondering how the heck I’m going to study, blog, and pack and still have time for exercising and sleeping. July 31st might just be the happiest day of my life thus far, no joke. (more on that later). So let the craziness ensue and the countdown begin!

Enough about that, let’s talk about post-workout meals. My post-workout meal is very important to me, second only to breakfast. The quality and timing of this meal determines how much lean muscle your body builds and how you feel during your next workout.  The focus of your post-workout meal should be on growth and repair. The meal should contain protein, complex carbs, and a little bit of healthy fat. Not only is what you eat after a workout important, but when you eat it also matters. Think of the 30 minutes after your workout as your window of opportunity to refuel and repair muscles. Don’t let all of your hard work go to waste, fuel your body after workouts to build lean muscle and recover!

My Weekly Workout Schedule

Here’s a little background info about my typical workout schedule. I try to lift weights 3 times a week, run about 3 times a week, and do a few cross-training workouts a few times a week such as plyotmetrics, elliptical, stair climber, riding my bike, walking, and yoga. Do what you can. Sometimes life gets busy and I can only  manage 20 minutes or exercise, but 20 minutes is better than nothing! Find your favorite way to move your body and do it whenever you can!

Post-Workout Snack

As with breakfast, I’m pretty boring when it comes to post workout meals. I almost always have a smoothie.

Kayli’s Post-Workout Smoothie

(see below for ingredient details)

1 scoop of good-quality protein powder

2 heaping scoops of greek yogurt

handful of spinach

1/2 a banana

3/4 cup of frozen berries

squeeze of a 1/4 a lemon

a few splashes of H2O



This one has EXTRA spinach:

Ingredient Details

Protein Powders: Choosing a protein powder is a very personal thing. There are plant-based protein powders and animal-based protein powders. Plant based powders include soy, rice, hemp, and pea. Animal powders include whey and casein. I do not use proteins from animal sources because I like to keep my animal-product consumption to a minimum. I am also not a fan of isolates because they are highly processed. I prefer whole, plant protein powders such as Navita’s Hemp Powder and Sunwarrior rice protein powder.

Yogurt: Yogurt is a wonderful post-workout snack. It contains a healthy dose of protein and carbohydrates. I use fat-free plain greek yogurt. It has a rich, creamy texture, almost twice as much protein as regular yogurt, and less lactose (a plus for those of us who don’t eat very much dairy). Oikos, FAGE, and Voskos are popular greek yogurt brands I use!

Bananas: Bananas are great post-workout snack because your body quickly turns them into fuel. Bananas are also high in potassium, an electrolyte lost during exercise.

Sometimes I like to replace my smoothie with Protein Ice Cream! (this was very necessary today)

A few changes: I omitted the stevia, omitted the guar gum and replaced with more xanthan gum, added about 1/3 of a frozen banana.

What’s that chocolaty goodness on top, you ask? It is one of my all-time favorite “sometimes” foods: Dark Chocolate Dreams. Try it, you’ll fall in love. But be careful, it’s dangerous. I must strongly enforce the Nut Butter Rule with this stuff! Be sure to check out all of the insane Peanut Butter and Co. flavors! Love this company!

Other Post-Workout Snack Ideas:

– egg whites on one slice of whole grain bread

-lean chicken or turkey on whole grain bread

-scrambled eggs with peppers and onions in a whole grain tortilla

-tortilla roll-up: tortilla with nut butter, sliced banana, a drizzle of honey, and a dash of cinnamon

-plain fat-free greek yogurt with mixed berries

*pictures of some of the mentioned snack ideas will be featured in my general snack post!*

Water, Water, Water!

I already mentioned the wonderful benefits of water in this post, so drink up before, during, and after your workouts!

I carry one of these babies with me at all times.

See you soon for lunch! Thanks for reading 🙂

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