Saturday, December 28, 2013

Lovin' Louisville

Brett and I are currently in Louisville, Kentucky for work and so far it has been such a blast! I didn't really know what to expect, but Louisville (pronounced luullvvlll by us) is a great city with tons to eat and do. The first night we arrived we ate at a restaurant called Ramsi's Cafe On the World and it was incredible. I wasn't sure how many vegan options they would have, but there were tons! 

I ordered the Seitan Parmesan Panini with house made seitan in roasted garlic bread crumbs, marinara and vegan mozzarella on cuban bread. And it came with a side of roasted potatoes. Except for what I gave to others to try, I ate every single bite. Italian isn't something I get to eat very often so I jumped at the opportunity. 

The whole menu was full of different types of ethnic foods from all around the world. There were fish tacos, curries, burgers, burritos and fajitas and so much more. It's the perfect restaurant for a girl who travels often and loves ethnic food...and is vegan. If you ever go to Louisville you should definitely try this place out!

In addition to the work we're doing for a conference, we've been able to find some free time to workout at our hotel's gym (I just found out about the Nike Training Club app!) and explore the city through running! There is a pedestrian bridge that used to hold four railroad tracks that Brett, our friend Garret and I ran to yesterday. It was beautiful outside and there was a long, winding ramp that took you up to the bridge that crossed the Ohio River. They even had Christmas music playing which made me so happy. We did a little over four miles and are hoping to go on one or two more runs before we leave.

Here's a good view of the bridge. There were a lot more people on it than I thought there would be!

We still have three more days here so I hope to share some more good eats and runs. Happy almost New Year!

Eat Consciously,

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Peanut Butter Baked Oatmeal

Merry Christmas!!

To be honest, it's kind of weird saying that because today doesn't feel much like Christmas to me. It's my first time not being with a bunch of family members on Christmas day and it's my first time being in Florida during Christmas too. The warmer weather and lack of family throws me off and it feels like just another day. There are some wonderful bonuses of being in Florida during December...trail runs!

Brett and I after a four mile trail run at Little Big Econ

Even though today doesn't feel like Christmas, I don't feel one bit deprived of the holiday festivities. Brett and I just got back last night from Destin, Florida where we celebrated Christmas early with Brett's family. Even though it wasn't as warm and sunny as we had hoped, it was still such a great weekend spending quality time with his parents, sister and brother-in-law and our niece and two nephews.

We exchanged gifts the day after we all got there and had a blast watching the kids excitedly open their new toys. The rest of our time was spent playing with the kids, swimming in the indoor pool, walking along the boardwalk, going on a boat ride, playing games, shopping and eating delicious food. There were some good laughs and conversation all throughout.

It was sad to say goodbye, but we are so thankful for the number of times we've been able to see our families amidst all the traveling we do.

Speaking of traveling, Brett and I leave again tomorrow for a work trip. I'm so glad Brett and I love to travel!

Now onto the oats. One of the gifts I got in my stocking was peanut flour! I've heard a lot about it and always wanted to try it, but never got around to buying it. While I usually like to stay as close to food in it's natural state as possible, this stuff is pretty amazing. I mixed some up with water everyday and used it as a topping for my morning oats.

Today I thought I'd try it in a baked oatmeal. Usually peanut butter flavored oat meals require a decent amount of peanut butter to get a rich, peanut taste. But by using the peanut flour, I was able to make a delicious breakfast rich in flavor without being rich in calories. You can still make this oatmeal with real peanut butter if you don't have peanut flour.

Peanut Butter Baked Oatmeal
(Makes 1 Serving)


· 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
· 1/4 cup peanut flour (or two tablespoons peanut butter)
· 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
· 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
· Pinch of salt
· 1 tablespoon flaxseed
· 1/3 cup almond milk
· 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
· 2 teaspoons maple syrup or liquid sweetener of choice


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a single serving ramekin with cooking spray.
2. In a bowl, mix together the oats, peanut flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flax seed and part of the almond milk. Let this sit for a few minutes.
4. Add in the rest of the almond milk, the vanilla and sweetener to the flax egg and whisk until combined. (if you are using peanut butter instead of peanut flour mix the butter into the wet ingredients.)
5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
6. Pour into your prepared ramekin.
7. Bake for 15 minutes or until cooked through.

I experimented with some new recipes this afternoon (cashew cheese and salt rubbed baked potatoes, which Brett and I ate for dinner), but didn't document any other eats since we were in and out all day enjoying the Florida weather. I did get some Arbonne protein shake mixes in the mail from a college friend of mine though and had the chocolate flavored one with lunch! I haven't used protein powder since I went vegan and this stuff was amazing. I'll post my reviews on it soon as well as the cheese and potato recipes.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Linking up with Jenn at Peasandcrayons.

Peas and Crayons
Eat Consciously,

Sunday, December 22, 2013

New Additions

I won't be sharing any new recipes today (mainly because I'm on vacation with my family!), but I did want to share some things that I'm incorporating into my week more often. These things aren't anything new or mind-blowing, but simply things I recently rediscovered: green smoothies, Teavana tea, endurance fuel, weight lifting and candles. 

First of all, let's talk about green smoothies. It still amazes me how I can drink vegetables without tasting them. In most of my green smoothies I just use half a frozen banana and unsweetened almond milk and I stuff in a bunch of spinach and kale and I still can't taste the greens. Since the smoothie tastes sweet to me, why not drink my veggies more often? If you haven't had a green smoothie before, don't let the color or the fact that your drinking veggies scare you. If you make it right, your smoothie will still be sweet. For a good basic green smoothie try out this simple Green Kale Smoothie. From there you can start experimenting more by adding in different types of greens and other yellow fruits, such as mango, pineapple, etc.

Secondly, tea. I love coffee and love the social interactions that coffee provides, but about a year ago I stopped being able to tolerate a lot of caffeine. It makes my heart race and it keeps me from falling asleep at night. Not cool. I still occasionally drink coffee, but since I can't have it everyday I've had to rediscover tea. 

I grew up drinking tea...well, milk and sugar and a little tea. I became so used to having milk and sugar in my tea it was hard when I got older to drink it black. I don't think many teas are very good plain, but Teavana tea (while more expensive than simple tea bags) is amazing. It never leaves a weird aftertaste in your mouth like some tea can and there are so many flavors to choose from. It's an awesome way to start you day, especially if you love the though of having a warm drink first thing in the morning. 

Endurance fuel is next. While I honestly wish I didn't have to start using these things (it's a pride thing), I really think they will help me perform better on my long distance runs. I remember when I did my first triathlon (an Olympic distance) my friend had given me some electrolyte powder to put into one of my water bottles. During the bike I could really feel my legs beginning to tire, but as I began refueling with the electrolyte water my energy really increased.

In the same way, on longer runs I always start to tapper around mile 9 or so. This makes sense. I'm burning a lot of energy without consuming any energy. Our bodies need fuel to perform, so whether it's these hammer gel packets (which I tried out for the first time on my 10-mile run the other day), some Gatorade, or actually eating a small snack on endurance runs, I think I'll see a lot of improvement in my energy levels and speed.

Weight lifting is maybe the thing I'm most excited about out of these five topics. I tend to gravitate towards cardio workouts, but recently I've started to realized just how important aerobic exercise is as well. Improved bone density, better balance and higher metabolism are just a few of the benefits of weight lifting. I'm hoping that by lifting more weights my muscles will become stronger and that will help me speed up my running pace and have more strength to endure long runs. 

The last thing is a bit random, especially for a blog focused on healthy living, but candles have started to become a regular occurrence in my life. Just like food can be warming and comforting, so can a fragrant, flickering candle. Seriously though, candles really relax me and help me to sit and rest longer than I usually would. It's as if when I lite a candle I am committing to sitting and resting for a while instead of running around the house being productive. Rest is needed and candles help make that possible for me.

That's all folks! Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

I'm writing this as I rest on the couch after a 10-mile run. I was able to get off work early and took advantage of the beautiful, Florida winter afternoon. It was hotter than I though it would be, but there was a nice breeze and barely a cloud in the sky. Overall it was a good run. I always feel like I'm putzin' (as in 10-minute miles) but my average pace was 8:45. I'll take it for a long run. I've never been a fast runner, but I'm hoping to add in some fartleks to my weekly schedule. We'll see if I experience any improvement!

Tomorrow Brett and I leave for Destin, Florida to celebrate Christmas with his family. We are both so excited to be on Christmas break and to spend some quality time with everyone. It's the first time I will be away from my family over Christmas, so that's new, but I'm looking forward to our road trip to Destin and a (hopefully) sunny, Florida Christmas. 

Since we aren't going up North for Christmas I've had to put in extra work to get in the Christmas spirit. We got a "Charlie Brown" Christmas tree, some new stockings and I let our wrapped presents take over the top of one of our book cases. It's my little Christmas corner that I often find myself gravitating to whenever I'm home. I always have our Frosty Yankee Candle lit when I'm home too and the flickering light makes me feel like I'm by a fireplace all bundled up....when in reality I'm sitting in my shorts on the couch. Even Brett, who says he's not very "Christmasy" was kind enough to watch Home Alone with me last night. Such a classic.

Along with all the Christmas decorations, wintertime always makes me want to bake even more than I already do. I wanted to bring some baked goods for the family to enjoy while in Destin so I knew I couldn't try out any new, super healthy recipes. While I may love bland, crunchy, super-duper-healthy things,  not everyone else does. So I decided to play it safe and "veganize" a cookie recipe that I've made before. This recipe is actual from my friend Jill who recently moved to Colorado. It was fun to reminisce on good times with her while making these! And it was a lot easier to substitute the dairy products than I thought. I just used earth balance instead of butter and a flax egg instead of a real egg. As always, Brett the taste-tester approved. Hopefully the family will too!

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies
(Makes 24 Cookies)


· 1/2 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
· 1/2 cup flour
· 1 teaspoon cinnamon
· 1/2 teaspoon salt
· 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
· 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
· 1/2 cup earth balance
· 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
· 1/2 cup natural cane sugar
· 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed + 3 tablespoons water (flax egg)
· 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
· 3/4 cup semi-sweet Ghirardelli chocolate chips

*To make the flax egg, whisk the ground flaxseed and water together and let sit for 5 minutes


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the dry ingredients, from oats to baking soda.
3. In a large bowl, beat the butter, peanut butter and both sugars together with a hand mixer or standing mixer.
4. Beat in the flax egg and vanilla.
5. Slowly beat in the dry ingredients on low speed until everything is incorporated.
6. Stir in the chocolate chips.
7. Drop 2 tablespoon sized balls of dough onto the baking sheets.
8. Bake for 12-15 minutes.


Merry Christmas!

Eat Consciously,

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Curry Quinoa

Welp. It's currently 3:30 in the morning and I'm awake. I thought for sure I'd sleep like a baby after a long day at work, my four-mile run and a hearty Curry Quinoa Wrap for dinner. Unfortunately that wasn't the case and waking up in the middle of the night isn't unusual. Ever since getting married I've had a hard time sleeping. I used to be able to conk out as soon as my head hit the pillow and sleep straight through the night. If I sleep through the night now, I seriously squeal "I did it!" when I wake up. I like to believe it will get better, and it has, but I still get these random "wide-awake-at-2-AM-and-I'm-hungry-and-need-a-snack" nights. And since one of my least favorite things is trying to sleep, I've decided to just get up when I feel wide awake and not fight it. Usually after an hour or so, and some food, I'm able to fall back asleep.

I hope it gets better soon, because being awake in the middle of the night can really throw off my schedule. Not to mention I'm exhausted at 9 PM and fighting to stay awake. Good news is I don't have to go into work today and I'm also planning on going to my first ever Yoga class at the gym. I'm excited for some good stretching. Maybe the "Zen" atmosphere will help me sleep through the night tonight.

Enough about my unfortunate sleeping cycle. Let's talk about this easy curried quinoa.

Brett and I are heading out of town for Christmas on Friday, so as is the usual, we're trying to finish off the random food in our fridge. I'm also trying to be better at using all the pantry items I buy, instead of just letting things pile up. This quinoa was perfect for both those goals. Whole wheat wraps, hummus and tahini are a few of the things still left in our fridge so I looked up wrap ideas and came across this curried quinoa wrap recipe from Healthy. Happy. Life. I didn't have all of the ingredients (and obviously didn't want to buy more stuff right before we leave) so I tweaked a few things and simplified it and it turned out great. It's made me excited to experiment more with quinoa and spices.

Curry Quinoa
(Makes 8 Servings)


· 3 cups water
· 1/2 cup vegetable broth
· 2 1/3 cup quinoa, unrinsed
· 1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
· 2 teaspoons sea salt
· 1 1/2 cup frozen peas
· 1/2 cup golden raisins


1. Place the water, broth, quinoa, curry powder and salt in a large sauce pan. Stir and bring to a boil.
2. Once boiling, cover the pot and turn the heat down to a simmer.
3. Let the quinoa simmer for 11 minutes.
4. After 11 minutes, turn the heat off and let the quinoa sit for another 10-12 minutes. Don’t take off the lid!
5. Once it’s ready, fluff the quinoa with a fork and stir  in the peas and golden raisins.

I highly recommend putting this quinoa in a large, wheat tortilla with hummus, green onions and a drizzle of tahini. Wrap it up and enjoy a filling, flavorful meal!

 Eat Consciously,

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Simple Sugar Cookies (Dairy and Egg Free)

Before we get to talking about sugar cookies, I gotta say that this has been a great weekend. Friday night Brett and I went to his office Christmas party decked out in our ugliest Christmas sweaters and ready to fight for the best white elephant gifts. I brought Spicy Buffalo Cauliflower Bites from Skinnytaste and they were a big hit!

Saturday morning we got coffee with some friends before heading to the beach for the afternoon. It was my friend Kelley's birthday and she just had a baby, so it was a fun day of celebrating with friends. We finished the night eating so much delicious, Mexican food that we all left in pain...but happy.

Today Brett and I got up early and went to Starbucks to study, read and work on random projects. Then we went for a "hike" at a park near our house. It was cloudy and cool today, perfect for being outside. We looked out for some alligators by the river banks, but didn't see any. Thank goodness. 

And Brett took a nap.

But now...onto the sugar cookies.

I love sugar cookies. That is, sugar cookies smeared with icing and covered with sprinkles. I used to pride myself on how easy it was for me to tolerate large amounts of sugar. I could eat a piece of Costco sheet cake (you know the kind...white cake, creamy middle layer with about an inch of icing on all sides) like it was nothing. Most of my friends could only handle a few bites, but man, I loved that stuff. Soft, store bought sugar cookies have always been some of my favorites too. They're basically like a piece of Costco sheet cake in cookie form. Delicious.

Since I've stopped eating dairy my sweets intake has increased dramatically. Most desserts have egg, milk or butter in them which don't sit well usually, so I just pass them up. This has also caused my sweet tolerance to decrease a ton as well, which I'm fine with, but I still love a piece of cake or a warm cookie every once in a while. With all these Christmas parties happening, I've been seeing a good amount of decorated sugar cookies so I quickly decided that I needed to make some dairy and egg free ones for myself to enjoy...oh right, and give to others.

This recipe is so easy and only requires 7 ingredients. The cookies stayed plump and uniform after baking and tasted great. No one will know their vegan. I'll be making these a holiday staple for sure!

Simple Sugar Cookies
(Makes 20 cookies)


· 1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
· 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
· 1/4 teaspoon salt
· 1/2 cup earth balance spread, softened to room temperature
· 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons natural cane sugar
· 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
· 2 tablespoons almond milk

Easy Icing
· 1 cup powdered sugar
· 1 tablespoon + 2-3 teaspoons almond milk


1. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, cream the earth balance butter and sugar together with a hand mixer.
3. Add in the vanilla extract and milk and mix a little more.
4. As you continue to mix, slowly add in the dry ingredients. Mix until everything is combined and a dough forms.
5. Take the dough and form it into a disk and wrap it in wax paper. Let it chill in the fridge for about an hour.
6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
7. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough with a rolling pin until it is about 1/4 inch thick.
8. Use cookie cutters to cut out desired shapes and place the cut outs on the baking sheets.
9. Re-roll the remaining “scrap” dough and continue to cut out cookies until all the dough is used.
10. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes and the underneath is golden brown.
11. Let cool completely before icing and decorating.
12. To make the icing, put the powdered sugar in a bowl and add a tablespoon of milk and stir. Continue adding a teaspoon of milk at a time, stirring in between, until a thick frosting forms. Be careful not to add too much milk! A little goes a long way.

Roll out the refrigerated dough until it is 1/4 inch thick.

Use cookie cutters to cut out fun shapes.

Place the cut out shapes on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until starting to brown on the edges.


Let cool completely before frosting!


Eat Consciously,