ashley avenue

a journey to healthy balance

Go BIG, Go Local, Go Home December 31, 2010

Hey y’all! Happy New Year’s Eve! So sorry for the late post. Here’s a quick recap of my life since our last visit…

After I came in from teaching Zumba (what an amazing class!), this was happening via Chef Dad…fajitas! I’m so proud of him…yummers!

My plate (which I had twice): a bed of peppers and onions with a little chicken and shrimp, 1 piece of steak, black beans, homemade guac, freshly sliced tomato, melted cheddar-style Daiya

And dessert….a Fuji apple and a slice of amazing-melt-in-your-mouth Angus Barn’s chocolate chess pie.

Plus some almond milk in my “A is for…” almond cup ūüėČ

Hmmm…which slice is different?

We ate while we watched the UNC bowl game. GO HEELS! What a game…double overtime! And I have to give a shout to and Stanford fans out there…what a game against UCONN. Way to go ladies! Even though I completely respect the UCONN program, the 90-game winning streak had to be broken.


I woke up at 4 a.m. to be at the gym by 5 a.m., did the cross trainer for 40 minutes, taught BodyPump, then came home for breakfast. In celebration of my Heels, I made a true breakfast of champions. It seriously is my favorite breakfast I’ve made in a long time. I could not decide between pancakes (really just maple syrup), oatmeal, or a parfait, so I just had all 3!

Blueberry Pancake Oatmeal Parfait

How to layer:

  • sexy greek yogurt (greek yogurt with cinnamon)
  • maple syrup oats (1/4 cup oats, almond milk, water, 1 tsp chia seeds, a sprinkle of cinnamon and a pinch¬†sea salt, 1/4 tsp maple flavoring)
  • Peanut Flour Banana sauce
  • blueberries
  • sliced banana
  • pumpkin banana granola


It’s a lot of flavor in small doses, which is my favorite way to roll! Great texture that way too!

Mom and I went for facials ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh today ūüėČ What a way to end 2010! Guess where we went for lunch? Nils Bakery! I can’t get enough! Do you have one of those places that you could literally go to everyday and order something different because the menu is just that good? or the same thing because it’s just your fave? hehe

Today I tried something new (proud?)…Greek salad, and I was NOT disappointed. Like I said, the couple is from Turkey and knows how to do it up right!

The salad came with drizzled balsamic (so thankful it wasn’t drowning the salad!),¬†fresh feta, olives, cucumbers, tomatoes, fresh lettuce, and a grape leave (dolma) garnish. The balsamic was especially yummy! I left the bread alone today.

We walked around Varina to check out the little shops, and guess where we ended up?! Cupcake Bite!!!!

I’ve been anxiously awaiting their opening. I found out from Gina (the owner) today that they use all natural and organic products. I love them even more now!

Isn’t she the cutest?! She is going to “audition” for Cupcake Wars! I hope that she makes it! Mom got a cookies and cream cupcake, I got a banana cupcake pop (how could I resist…it’s so cute!), we got Daddy 2 coconut pops, and Amber a flavor of the week (mint!).

Mom opening the cute little pink box…

We took our cupcakes to the local Starbucks to enjoy over coffee. What a pretty day to sit outside. I had a grande Pike Place.

Once you pop…

The fun don’t stop…

WOW! Gina, I loved the real mashed¬†banana in with the cake mix dipped in chocolate. Banana and chocolate are one of my favorite combos. Add some peanut butter to this, and you could call it the “Ashley Avenue” hehe The pop is the perfect size! Or maybe I should have gotten 2 ūüėČ Oh, and Mom thought her cookies and cream was amazing…real Oreos crushed¬†in the icing.

After some errands getting ready for tonight soiree, a snack to hold me over…

Off to try to come up with something fabulous to wear tonight. Happy New Year, y’all! Be safe, don’t drive if you shouldn’t, take care of your friends and family, MAKE SOME MEMORIES & HAVE FUN! Bring in 2011 right. Let me know how you do it.


Christmas Magic Continues!!! December 29, 2010

What a day!

I did it…no working out, and I didn’t feel guilty about it, but I am ready for the gym tomorrow! Thank-you for your prayers and support!

Once upon a time (this morning), there was breakfast…

in today’s mix:

  • 1/4 cup of old-fashioned oats, water, almond milk,¬†0% fat¬†greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • sprinkles of pumpkin pie spice and a little extra cinnamon
  • toppings: Peanut Flour Banana sauce, 2 little cranberry orange muffins, ¬†blueberries

and Christmas blend Starbucks coffee (a Christmas present from my sister! Thank-you, Ams!)

I was nervous about maybe not feeling hungry today as I planned not to work out, but I was hungry for lunch (YAY!). We met my Daddy’s side of the family (great uncles) for lunch at McCall’s, a country cookin’ buffet.

My plate: a piece of BBQ chicken (I just ate the white meat and picked off the skin and wiped off the sauce), 2 bites of “salad” (it was kind of pathetic, but it’s not what they’re known for), 1 hushpuppy, a little lima beans, field peas, green peas, pulled pork, cole slaw, cooked cabbage, a bite of turkey (it was really dry, so I gave it to Mom). I’m learning that it’s OK not to eat everything you get on your plate. It’s wasted in your body if you don’t want it.

The veggies were so yummy!

And what’s our rule around Ashley Avenue? Say it with me! “Every meal deserves dessert!” hehe¬†I rolled with a sampler platter (hey, what else are buffets good for besides being indecisive?!) of a fruit/marshmallow/green “salad,” HOMEMADE banana pudding (the good stuff!), a couple bites of warm chocolate pudding (the “crust” in the bowl was really sugary and grainy, so I left it alone), and vanilla soft serve. Plus decaf. WOOHOO!

It was a great visit with family, full of laughs and fun stories and reminiscing. This time of year is so wonderful because of that, and I hope that each of you get to be around the love that I was surrounded by today. Here’s a tour around the table…

I definitely take these wonderful people for granted!

OK, are you sitting down?! When I got home, I had a gift from Angus Barn!

with a sweet note…

There was squealing, red crinkle wrap flying everywhere, and jumping up and down…of course not by¬†me! ūüôā

My favorite crackers!

More smiling/squealing/paper rattaling/crinkle throwing opening

My very own crock with the best cheese ever!

AND…their signature chocolate¬†chess pie!!!!!!! Yes, I did share with my family!

For those of you who are new to the blog, read this recap of the AMAZING/DELICIOUS/DELECTABLE meal. I e-mailed them to tell them thank-you for a true dining experience, and Ms. Van Eure was kind and generous enough to allow me to have a piece of my experience at home.

I had made myself a turkey burger with hummus over spinach, 2 tomato slices and carrots before I opened the box…look at the cool garnish. It looks like a pretty flower, but it’s just the bottom of a celery stalk…who new? How fun!

However, this dinner was handed down to my sister because all I wanted was celery, Angus Barn cheese and crackers…yummy!!!

While we were re-creating our experience as best we could, we corked the bottle of Riesling that Amber got Mom for Christmas.

Fun story: This is my Mommy’s FAVORITE wine in the entire world. We can only find it at Angus Barn, so she ALWAYS gets a glass..or two ;). SO, Amber wanted to get Mom a bottle for Christmas from Angus Barn after we found out we could at our Christmas dinner. She isn’t 21 yet, so we had to get our uncle to meet her out there to buy it so Mom could have it as a Christmas surprise. She was shocked Christmas morning.

My first sip as I couldn’t bear to take a drop from Mom at the restaurant as it’s such a treat…

It was the most incredible Riesling that I’ve ever had…WOW!

And, of course, Mom was a happy girl!


And my at-home experience was completed with a slice of chocolate chess pie ūüėČ a little warmed with some Christmas blend. I felt like I needed the Angus Barn coffee in the cute red mug in my hand, but my red¬†tumbler had to do…and my “a is for…” cup with almond milk cup.

Perfect! Ms. Van, thank-you from the bottom of my heart! I’m saving up to come back for a special occasion. If y’all are ever in NC and want an amazing dining experience (so much more than a meal), go visit my friends at Angus Barn, and tell ’em Ashley sent you…and call me to join you! One of my 2011 goals is to attend or host an event at The Pavilions and Wine Cellar.


Break the routine!

Hey y’all! SO sorry for the late post. It was one of those days that after-Christmas errands were run, maybe a little shopping ;), a 3-hour Bible study, and dinner at 11 p.m. ūüėČ It’s difficult for me to break the routine usually, but I’m just rolling with it tonight.

I woke up early this morning to do an hour¬†of Pilates. I’ve missed the as part of my workout the past week or so as all I’ve had time for is cardio and weights.

I came down to make some breakfast…

I finally used my last EBTKS¬†muffin yesterday (they store well in the frige), but, luckily, I only ate 1/2 of my cranberry orange muffin at Cracker Barrel yesterday, so I could use the other 1/2 this morning. It was a great morning muffin…love the orange and cranberry flavors.¬† I also topped the whipped banana chia seed oatmeal with cacao nibs and some Peanut Flour Banana sauce:

  • 1/2 banana
  • pinch of sea salt
  • almond milk for desired consistency
  • 1 tsp Truvia
  • Trader Joe‚Äôs Peanut Flour
  • Naturally More
  • sprinkle of cinnamon

and the essential staple…

Mom and I ran errands returned some stuff and bought some more. We were famished by 2 p.m., so we stopped at our favorite lunch place lately, Sweet Tomatoes. I had a salad beast with all kinds of goodness and the muffin top to a Fruit Medley muffin…plus a little more salad. What is it about the muffin tops that are just so perfect?

I was saving up¬†for¬†the dessert that’s included with the cost of the meal, so you have to indulge…fro yo!!! Mom had vanilla with nuts and caramel, we split a chocolate muffin, and I had a mix of dark chocolate and vanilla plain…plus a little more vanilla.

It’s SO good and creamy. I don’t know how they do it. It tastes like custard.

Mema, Mom, Amber, and I all went to Bible study tonight. It was so challenging and encouraging. We’re still working through Jonah (this is week 2 of 6), and we discussed tonight that the “Interrupted Life” is the “Challenged Life.” It’s a good thing to live a challenging life; it means God is working in you, calling you outside your comfort zone so that You can bring Him glory while giving you the blessing. I took so many notes and really was challenged myself to be obedient to His will, knowing that He’ll equip me based on how I’m called.

Ms. Tammi, who is the sweetest hostess had yummy snacks and water and coffee. She’s always so kind to consider “eating clean” for me. It really means so much for someone to go out of their way to accomodate unnecessarily. She’s amazing!

Bible study snacks of 1/2 caf, grapes, celery, carrots, 7 pistachios (my first try), and cucumber slices.

This was just intended to be an appetizer for dinner when I got home. We got into some great discussion and prayer tonight, so dinner did not happen until around 10:30 p.m., which is super late for me, but I rolled with it. I had a glass of Finca¬†Roja¬†Malbec,…

¬†…a sweet potato with ground cinnamon, some collard greens, and a little oven roasted rotisserie chicken.

A little different than late night dinners in college.

And since no meal is complete without dessert (even a late night meal), I made some “cereal,” the perfect late night snack, in my opinion.

In the cereal mix:

  • raw almonds
  • pistachios (I bought some today to try…I like ’em!)
  • 1/2 square 100% chocolate
  • cacao nibs
  • goji berries
  • dried cherries (also a new purchase…love ’em!)
  • organic pumpkin raisin granola

No cereal is complete without…sexy almond milk (with cinnamon!).

Yummy to my tummy! Now it’s time for beauty sleep…fun family day ahead tomorrow! And I’m going to try to take a workout day off!

Sweet dreams, bloggies!

Check this out:

  • Cupcakes for the beau¬†(or¬†belle…hey, I’m all in!)¬†in your life, Butch Bakery! I desperately want to fly to New York so that I can try these. Hey, beer runs and tailgates are for girls too! I hope that they start shipping down south! David, give me a shout if you do, and thanks for following your dreams!!!
  • Curly Girl Design…my newest love! I bought myself an ornament today. I get 1 new ornament every year to commemorate my year, and this seemed to fit. Leigh, you. are. amazing! I want¬† need all of your goodies (especially plates hehe)¬†in my life. What great inspiration! Thanks for sharing your creativity!