Monday, February 28, 2011


 "You can do anything, but not everything."

After a crazy weekend out on the town drinking too many vodka waters, dancing with my lovely friends and neglecting my healthy eating habits at the wee hours of the morning I am happy to return to my daily routine. How the heck did I go out every weekend in college and survive? My weekend eats included some of the following:

Don't worry I did throw in some strawberries and a homemade taco salad to the mix on Sunday. I didn't have a huge appetite this weekend, but probably should have stayed away from the late night McDonald's run on Saturday after the bar. One day I am going to start a fast food chain that is healthy and open til 3 am on the weekend so this can be avoided.  Now I just need to find out where they sell pill versions of the stomach flu - just kiddddinnn'.

On another note! I won Oats and Spice's Nutridel Cookie giveaway! I am looking forward to getting these bad boys in the mail! I think the best part about winning this giveaway was the fact that none of these varieties are chocolate... that means more for me and less to give away to Chris ;-)

And the cherry on top of my Monday Sundae was walking out my door this morning to find a package sent to me from Erica at LĂ„RABAR to review. 4 delicious bars I am so excited to try and tell you guys about! Stay tuned for that post later this week!

After hitting up the grocery store and only picking up the essentials {yes, I made a list and stuck to it} I decided to make another version of homemade hummus. If I could eat garlic on everything and not scare away others by my breath I would. In fact, I do... and this is why I always have gum handy.

Roasted Garlic Hummus:
3-4 large garlic cloves
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 can chickpeas, drained
1 lemon or 1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons sesame tahini
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper {I used roasted red pepper oil}
1/4 cup fresh chives, minced
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts {optional}

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place garlic cloves on a small piece of foil, lightly drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil and cracked black pepper. Seal foil to form a pouch, and roast garlic in oven until soft for about 20-25 minutes. Add the chickpeas, roasted garlic and process until finely chopped. Add lemon juice, sesame tahini, water, salt, cayenne pepper/red pepper oil, and 1 tablespoon olive oil, and process until smooth. Stir in chives. You could top with roasted red pepper slices or toasted pine nuts.

garlic pre oven
i used my blender to whip up this delicousness
ta-da! the chives are hiding in there somewhere

For breakfast I made a protein smoothie. Can't wait to make some Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats {OOIAJ for all you foodies} tonight for the morning. I finally bought my first can of organic pumpkin puree. A little ironic if you knew my love for all things pumpkin. Hopefully this will save me from eating another slice of the pumpkin cheesecake we have in our fridge from Cheesecake Factory. If you come visit me, I'll give you the rest of the box!

Strawberry Banana Protein Smoothie:
3 strawberries sliced
1/2 banana sliced
1 scoop vanilla protein
1/4 cup Chobani greek yogurt
3/4 cup nonfat milk

I'm off to the gym to work off the weekend! Here are just a few of the amazing people I spent my weekend with!


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Orange Honey Balsamic

"At some point you have to make a decision. Boundaries don't keep other people out, they fence you in. Life is messy thats how we're made. So you can waste your life drawing lines, or you can live your life crossing them."

How often do you go out to a restaurant and love the dressing on your salad? This happens to me ALL the time! Now that spring will be here in 3 weeks I need to whip my butt into shape so I can wear sun dresses all day without a second thought. Since I bought walnuts for my tofu banana bread, I decided to make a spring salad with apples, walnut and chicken. For the dressing I made an orange honey balsamic dressing. Yum-O.

Can you tell which one is Chris's? I think boys need more protein in their lunches!
Fresh Apples, Walnuts, Spring Greens, Chicken and Homemade Dressing!

Orange Honey Balsamic Dressing:
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 teaspoons honey

Wisk all ingredients together until the honey dissolves. This recipe also called for 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard - which I didn't have in my fridge so I omitted. I tasted and loved without so ha! If you are packing your salad for lunch, pour the dressing in the bottom of the container before layering your ingredients. It prevents your salad from being soggy. Just toss together when you are ready to eat!

I packed one for Chris' lunch too. I should earn the loving girlfriend award of the year. Just sayin'. I had a slice of tofu banana bread this morning for breakfast and a slice as a snack. It is that good! Get my recipe here. I might have to make another batch next week because I still have 1/2 a pound of silken tofu to use! I never knew how cheap tofu was either! 2 bucks for a pound.

If you are vegan, or want to dip your toes into the water and try it out for a day/week/become a lifer I found a few good smart phone apps for you to check out when I was researching tofu/vegan recipes.

Vegan Recipe Finder
This app contains more than 13,000 recipes submitted by users, which means you can submit your favorite recipes for the app as well. Almost like a {mini-recipe-blog}. The app features a grocery list for each recipe, which makes shopping (especially last-minute shopping) a whole lot easier, and you can share recipes via e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter.

Have you ever looked at an ingredients list in a store and wondered if some item was in fact an animal product? I know during Vegan week that was the most common hardship for some of you! Well the Animal-Free app takes the guess work out of vegan grocery shopping. The app lists common and hidden animal ingredients, as well as vegan ingredients.

iLocate - Vegan Restaurants
This app is awesome for vegans who like to try new restaurants but don't want to have to spend a lot of time researching vegan options. You can search by zip code or city, and a map will show you all the vegan eateries nearby. It's also great if you travel a lot and want to be able to have a list of vegan restaurants in any city at your fingertips. Perfect for traveling.


At work today I learned that Chipotle is offering a BOGO {buy one, get one} for watching a video about America's Next Great Restaurant. If you plan on being lazy like me tonight, go here - watch - and print your coupon! Now I have no reason not to stay at the gym after spin class for an extra hour! I have a feeling me and a burrito bowl will become best friends tonight. I found a Chipotle nutrition calculator online, calculate your bowl's calories here. Mine was 640 which isn't too bad considering I had a salad for lunch and am spending an extra hour at the gym. {see how i am justifying my need for a burrito bowl}.

Interesting Chipotle Facts:
Chipotle is the largest restaurant buyer of avocados in the country.
Chipotle food is NUT and EGG free. The only dairy is in the cheese and sour cream.

Foods at Chipotle have no artificial colors or artificial flavorings.
30% of Chipotle beans are organic. They strive to make this number rise.
The cheese and the sour cream at Chipotle is free of the synthetic growth hormone rBGH.

Source: Chipotle's website


Don't forget to enter me and your favorite bloggers in Woman's Health Mag's Blogger Contest! You can enter as many times as you like! 

ps. TheNewHealthy is having a CSN stores gift card GIVEAWAY!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tofu Banana Bread

I was once afraid of people saying, "Who does she think she is?" Now I have the courage to stand and say, "This is who I am."

This morning I reunited with my long lost friend - oatmeal. I had an extra couple minutes so I decided to get fancy and make them on the stove instead of the microwave. Chris says he likes the taste better that way, I think I like the taste better in the microwave... but it did save me from having to clean up any explosions that would have indefinitely happened. I topped each with half a banana, sliced strawberries and galaxy granola. I found this at the grocery store about a month ago and it has 70% less fat than other granolas because they use fruit instead of oils. How perfect.

If you haven't heard, Woman's Health Magazine is holding a blog contest. I have nominated a few of my favorites, go ahead and enter me for a chance to be nominated! I'll love you forever and you can enter as many times as you like! I also added a few of my favorite blog reads as a tab, check them out! All those girls are amazing!

After waking up from a dreamless night, I decided to throw some baby powder on my roots, dress down and relax. It felt good and I love getting to work earlier than normal. It makes me feel productive. However, I do miss my Ojon Dry Shampoo. I am a firm believer every girl should carry this in her beach and/or gym bag. It works so well! Do you ever use dry shampoo? I know so many who are clueless to this! Hello to days without showers and not looking homeless!

Chobani announced today via twitter that it was national Banana Bread Day. What a perfect way to introduce you guys to tofu banana bread! It is vegan and oh so delicious. I first was introduced to this by Chris' mom. If you are afraid to try tofu, this is the way to do it!!

Tofu Banana Bread:
2 ripe bananas
1/2 pound tofu
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup whole wheat flower
1 cup unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup walnuts optional

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray. Line pan with foil, letting edges overhang, and spray foil with cooking spray. Blend or beat the tofu and bananas together in a food processor or mixer until smooth. Scrape down the sides. Add sugar and vanilla. Process until fully blended. In a medium bowl, mix together flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add flour mixture to the banana mixture and beat or pulse in a food processor just until smooth. By hand, fold in walnuts, if using. Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes until lightly browned, springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Remove from pan. Peel off the foil and let the cake fully cool on the wire rack. Enjoy! I got this recipe from and it tastes amazing. Serves 10 and is 160 calories per serving.

dry and wet ingredients
blended tofu and banana
all ingredients combined, this is one thick batter!
finished product, if you look closely you can see the piece i tore off the top!
So good! I can't wait for breakfast!

It's Wednesday, so I am sure you all can only assume what I was doing. Kickboxing class! I never get sick of it, and I hope you don't get sick of reading about it. I am obsessed with my instructor. I don't know who invented turbo time, but they are a genius! Pre-workout. Your Welcome, now take your butt to the gym! I hadn't worked out since Saturday and was feeling extra guilty about all the pasta and pumpkin cheesecake I ate last night!

Chance wanted his 15 minutes of fame!
I made some asian style lettuce wraps for dinner. It was my first time and I have to say I'm pretty impressed with the recipe I came up with!

Cara's Asian Lettuce Wraps and Rice:
2 chicken breasts
cooking spray
6 green onions (finely sliced)
10-15 baby carrots (finely sliced)
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/2 jalapeno (finely diced)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon garlic
juice of one lime
1 cup uncooked rice
lettuce or butter lettuce would have been good
salt and pepper to taste

Cook chicken breasts with cooking spray, salt and pepper. Slice and set aside. In the same pan (on low) add garlic, lime juice, sesame oil, fish sauce, soy sauce, 1/2 sliced green onions and jalapeno. Stir until warm. Add your chicken to the sauce and let it hang out until you are finished cooking your rice. Top lettuce wraps with rice, chicken, sauce and the sliced green onions and carrots. Done!

I think that was a successful night of cooking!

Do you have a favorite class at the gym? Would you rather cook your oatmeal in the microwave or on the stove? Have you ever tried tofu before? If so, what was the recipe?


Monday, February 21, 2011

Postive, Pizza, Protein

She said she usually cried at least once each day not because she was sad, but because the world was so beautiful and life was so short.

This Maryland weather is driving me nuts! It was 76 degrees on Friday and now they are calling for 5-8 inches of snow tonight. In my next life can I please be a weatherman? I promise I'll get it right 60% of the time.

Have you ever tried writing down positive affirmations? It's funny how something so small can manifest into something bigger. The "I can't run long distances" voice in your head can easily turn into "I am strong and I will conquer those 3 miles on the treadmill today". They don't only work in your personal life. I know many successful professionals who visualize positive in their lives to encourage positive changes. A few of my positive affirmations today are:

Challenges help me grow.
Challenges bring opportunities.
Today I choose love.
I can find balance in my busy life.
I am strong.
I accept myself for who I am. And I love me.
I am worthy. 
I am resilient.
I believe in success.
I am doing my best.
I am confident.
I am beautiful.
I can let go of the negative.
I can make healthy choices.
I can follow a healthy lifestyle.
I can create positive changes in my life.

I also thought I was having a good hair day today. Which, in my opinion, should be a little photo shoot! I am making a hair appointment this Saturday for a good trim and highlight. My hair never photographs the same - one day it looks light, the next dark!

It's funny to think 3 years ago my hair was up to my chin. Now I feel like Rapunzel. Although, if I were her I would have never let any man climb up my locks and risk breaking my ends. That girl had some guts! Speaking of hair, my loving boyfriend told me today I should cut and sell mine. Whatever happened to donating {which I wouldn't be able to do since I dye mine}. Boys and their silly ideas!

Tonight I made my first ever homemade pizza. It was simple and delicious and mega filling! I think the best thing about making your own pizza is you get to decide what toppings to put on it, how much cheese you want piled on and how thick you like your crust. I decided on tomatoes {rather than pizza sauce}, garlic powder, spinach, onions, mozzarella, chicken meatballs and for Chris - mushrooms. Sounds amazing right? It was. And there are leftovers so if anyone wants to make a drive out to see me, it is calling your name!

Homemade Whole Wheat Pizza Crust:
1 packet of yeast
1 cup warm water
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon honey

If you don't have wheat germ you can grind up flax seeds or even almonds. I used my magic bullet to grind the almonds.

Combine the ingredients together and knead into dough. Cover with a towel and let the dough sit for 30 minutes in a warm area. Next, use whole wheat flour to cover a rolling pin and parchment paper. Roll out to desired thickness. Transfer to a pan and drizzle olive oil and garlic powder on top. Heat oven to 375 and cook for 7 minutes while you prepare your toppings. Add toppings once complete and cook for 20-25 minutes, or until your cheese is nice and bubbly.

I found some delicious recipes for homemade protein bars I am going to check out this week! I also want to replicate Chris' moms tofu banana bread. Moist, tasty and vegan! Check, check and check!

Day 24: Something you’ve learned

The biggest thing I have learned relationship wise is not to resent. Resentment will kill a relationship. It is selfish and unhealthy to hold grudges and let harsh feelings bottle up inside of you. You can never move forward if you are constantly looking in the past. Thankfully I learned this pre-Chris.

In life, hard work always pays off. Believing in yourself is the right step towards success. I know I say this often, but God would never bring you to it if he thought you couldn't get through it.

I have also learned a lot about myself by blogging. I have learned to hold myself accountable in making healthy decisions. You can't expect change without changing your outlook and habits.

ps. Snack attack GIVEAWAY – enter for a chance to win a bunch of healthy snacks! Check it out

pps. A Healthy Passion: The Real Food Diet {who has awesome photos} is having a giveaway also! Check it out here:


Sunday, February 20, 2011


 "the moment you feel like giving up, just remember why you held on for so long."

Happy Sunday everyone! I hope everyone took advantage of the 77 degree weather in Maryland {or where ever you live}. I don't think I saw one angry tweet or post - the weather does that to people! Magiccc!

Friday my department decided to take the water taxi across the harbor to fells for lunch. Best idea ever! I reminded myself that I wasn't crazy for wearing flip flops with chipped paint on my toes, my feet were thanking me for re-introducing them to the sun after many months being jammed into tights and socks. It was gorgeous out! While everyone ordered sandwiches and fries I stuck to healthy. I ordered an Apple Winter Salad. It was delicious! It had green apple slices, pecans, blue cheese {i omitted} and a honey mint vinaigrette on top of spring greens. I need to replicate that dressing, it was soo good! This recipe should do the trick.

Honey Mint Vinaigrette:
1/2 cup good olive oil
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
2 heaped teaspoons mild honey
juice of half a lemon
1 clove garlic,crushed
quarter teaspoon salt
pepper, freshly ground
mint leaves freshly harvested (if available)

Combine all ingredients together and wisk.

My gorgeous friend Brittany and her adorable daughter came over Friday. We were in destination mall mode. I bought some new foundation - Urban Decay Surreal Skin Cream-to-Powder Foundation in Dream. I have used Stila for 3+ years now, and although I like that it is light on my face it never covered well. This foundation is quickly becoming my best friend. Paired with NARS pore refining face primer, I think I am in love. The face primer really does as it claims. My skin is already evening out and I have only used it for two days. Highly recommend both.

The Adorable Jayden
We also made oatmeal bars. I got the recipe from my cousin when she heard I was looking to make my own snack bars. These turned out great, but I recommend eating in the morning because they really do taste like your bowl of oatmeal.

Baked Oatmeal Snack Bars:
1.5 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped almonds
3/4 cup dried fruit (I used half dried cranberries, half dried blueberries)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp kosher salt
1.25 cups skim milk
1 egg or egg substitute
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients. Mix wet ingredients. Pour wet into dry. Stir to combine. Pour into a 9×9 baking dish either coated in cooking spray or lined with parchment.Bake for 40 minutes. Cut into 9 squares. Makes 9 servings. Each bar is appx. 165 calories, 3 grams fiber and 5 grams protein.

I am guilty of adding sugar free syrup to my bar. I wanted sweets since we had just ate dinner and who can resist syrup?! Wrap the rest in plastic wrap and freeze. Stick in the microwave for a warm treat or snack at lunch!

Saturday I woke up to breakfast in bed - I know, lucky girl. Followed by running errands and stopping at Panera Bread for lunch. I got the Fiji Apple and Chicken Salad and a cup of Black Bean soup {vegetarian and low fat}. I really am getting the hang of ordering healthy when we are out and I feel so much better when I leave {mentally and physically}. I need to add apple chips to my shopping list, loved them on a salad!

Then we were off! Chris took me snowboarding for the day as my Valentine's Day present. It was my second time and thankfully my skills improved slightly. My first time I came home with bruises all over my legs, tears in my eyes and a frustrated POV. No more, because honestly that wasn't enjoyable for either of us. This time I made it down the hill 4 times, shed no tears and luckily have only baby bruises! Did I mention I didn't rip my pants down the butt this time either? SCORE. I did fall a good bit the first time down and thought I broke my wrists about 6 times, but the day was a complete success in my mind and Chris was proud.

Don't worry, nobody wears makeup on the slopes!!

We pigged out afterward at Olive Garden - I felt like I had just done squats for 3 hours straight and deserved a little treat! Calamari, Spinach Artichoke Dip and salad from Olive Garden. I can't even look at the leftover pasta in my fridge that I didn't touch. I am having eating!

Day 22: What’s in your purse?
Everything. Lip gloss, camera, wallet, tissues, chap stick, 2 perfume bottles, lotion, nail strengthener brush from Sephora, cell phone, reading glasses and sun glasses. Thank god we aren't rockin' the teeny tiny purses we were in middle school. That was a pain having to pre-think of what you needed!

Day 23: Favorite Movie
I recently loved and learned a lot from Eat, Pray, Love. It was the recent favorite. I swear I already answered this question though....

Hope you have a great Sunday Funday! I picked up at the restaurant like a dummy when Chris had off work. Oh well, my hair will be thanking me this weekend :)


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Inspiration Board

 Promise yourself to give so much time to improving yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

Have you ever had one of those days at work where you wish you could lock all your co-workers in a closet and throw away the key? That was my day. {hello to all of you who read this! please continue to read, i really do love you!} It definitely gave me a lot of stress to work off at spin class tonight! Trying to look at the plus side.

Chris says I talk in my sleep at least once a night and it is usually about work. And to top it off I started grinding my teeth at night from the stress of my first job! Oh man, I think I need to meditate more often. Or maybe just need to take more candlelit baths. All suggestions are welcome.

Beginning of Work
End of Work

Okay, so my sad, squishy face is proof you should live your life happily - save the wrinkles for your grandma people! How about a happier face now? I am continuing my pre-workout pics.

I feel like every guy recently has been asking me when Chris and I are tying the knot. {not anytime soon}. We are completely happy just enjoying each other right now. I thought it would more so be the girls asking this question. Well boys, you fooled me! However, I did find the absolute cutest ideas of reception decorating. Maybe I should start an inspiration board for when we do find the right time in our life to settle down a bit.

You get the idea. While I am at it, I think I should start making a bikini inspiration board. It will help me stay on track for the upcoming warm weather! Today for lunch I had a SALAD!! Alright, maybe I am the only one who is excited for this but honestly I was stepping back into my old routine. I chopped some green peppers and carrots, added torn lettuce, black beans and half of a chicken breast seasoned with Old Bay {my one true love}. I tossed with a light vinaigrette.

I decided to list some great salad toppers to give you guys inspiration:
black bean and corn salsa
dried cranberries
green peppers
sunflower seeds

What's your favorite salad topper? I love dried cranberries and black bean/corn salsa. Tonight I am going to make some pea soup for lunch tomorrow and make tilapia for dinner. Keepin' it light. Have you ever tried greek yogurt with honey and strawberries? Heaven in my mouth!

lemon pepper tilapia and spinach organic orzo

Day 21: Favorite Picture of yourself ALL TIME Why?

 {just kiddin'}

I like this photo of me and Chris. I don't know if it is my favorite because honestly I delete all the photos I hate so they are all a favorite in their own way! This was probably 3 months into our relationship. I loved when he wore his studs... ahhhh :)

Here's to tomorrow's salad!