ashley avenue

a journey to healthy balance

Grocery Shopping and New Ingredients February 1, 2011

I’m back! It’s been a blasty reading those blogs and catching up on your lives.

Today’s breakfast: red chai tea and…

I-Wanna-Try-a-Blueberry-Muffin-Larabar Oats

Here are the ingredients in the new Larabar that I’m aching to try. I still can’t find one. ūüė¶

sooooo….here are the oats I cam up with

  • usual banana/chia seed/greek yogurt mix
  • 1 chopped date
  • handful of blueberries
  • lemon zest from an organic lemon (NEW ingredient for the day!)
  • maple extract (because the vanilla we had in the panty had corn syrup in it)
  • toppings: honey drizzled over peanut flour banana sauce, almonds (since I didn’t have cashews)

It was the closest I could come to the Larabar, and it was gooooooooooooooood!!! The lemon zest really added the perfect hint of flavor. I use it in baking a lot, but haven’t used it in oats yet.

***If anyone has connections at Larabar, please let me know ;)***

Also, I got this info today from my friend Lindsay…”Tragedy! Trader Joe’s has discontinued their peanut flour!! Ugh!! I went on Saturday to buy some and they were sold out. I just called to see if they had any in and they said it has been discontinued :(” I guess we’ll all be ordering PB2.

Workout today: taught Zumba and took BodyCombat.

Lunch when I got home from gym¬†and running errands (including grocery shopping as I was low on produce), I made some kale chips. They are AMAZING!!!! I just drizzled some EVOO on a bunch of kale de-stemmed on a baking sheet, sprinkled with some sea salt, and put in oven¬†for 15 minutes in the oven at 375*…just until the ends brown and get crunchy.

It makes enough for at least 2 meals. I had some kale chips with a Caitlin lunch of a sweet potato topped with organic baked beans (thanks, Caitlin!), a little edamame, and a few carrots topped with tahini. (This is a dinner-sized plate.)

And lunch dessert…red chai tea and an orange.

After some studying, I had a phone date with the owner of Angus Barn to talk about her experience in Africa as I am going to South Africa on a¬†Christian medical missions trip¬†in May. She’s absolutely amazing and someone that I look up to so much. She told me, “I admire anyone who is giving of their time and efforts to a third world country as you are doing! I can completely relate to your passion.” One of friends went to the restaurant over the weekend and got to tour the wine cellar and their son got to make an ice cream sundae in the kitchen. Angus Barn is class act. Period. I can’t wait to go back.

Quick snack and my favorite smoothie I’ve made to date…my favorite color to date. It’s always fun to press “blend” and see what color comes out of the ingredients I put in the blender.

Purple Chocolate Berry Bomb

  • 1/2 cup plain keifer
  • 1/2 cup blackberries
  • 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • a few blueberries and goji¬†berries (hey, I used every kind of berry¬†I had hehe)
  • 1/2 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • a little ice

It was sooooooooooo good!

I’m a wedding planner¬†on the side, so I had a meeting with a bride and her fiance the mother of the bride today to go over some details.¬† When I got home, I was hungry for exactly this…

…the rest of my Amy’s pizza (Roasted Vegetable with no cheese) and a salad BEAST (mixed greens, a few carrots, grape tomatoes, 3 slices of organic¬†cucumber, edamame, 3 sliced mushrooms, tabouli, and original tahini¬†hummus). YUMMMMMMM! I couldn’t wait to inhale this ūüėČ

Dinner dessert (y’all know¬†my rule: Every meal gets dessert ūüėČ ): an organic Pink Lady (so crunchy and perfectly sweet) with a square of 100% unsweetened chocolate, and some Yogi Bedtime tea as I watch my Heels slaughter BC!!!! GO Heels!!!!

Getting to grocery shop is such a privilege, and it’s great to have all these new ingredients! It’s great to be back. Sweet dreams, y’all!




Breaking the Blog Fast January 31, 2011

Hey y’all! Guess what? Blog fast ends tonight! So, obviously I can’t re-read ALL of your lovely posts from the 10th, even though I wish that I could. Will you please leave a comment and let me know which posts are your favorite or that you really want me to read? I’m excited to get back to y’all…I’ve missed youuuuuuuuu!

It’s been a while since I’ve had oats, I can’t believe it! This morning, it was back to the basics…with red chai tea.

In the mix:

  • 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats (the Trader Joe’s ones are better than Quaker…better flavor and texture), water, almond milk, greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • sprinkle of sea salt and cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp pure maple extract
  • 1/2 smashed nanner
  • toppings: blueberries, a few raw soaked almonds, drizzle of honey (a yummy new addition), peanut flour banana sauce, sexy spice ūüėČ

Workout: 45-minute RPM, BodyPump, BodyFlow

Lunch: a slice of leftover Amy’s Roasted Vegetable Pizza with no cheese, salad BEAST (organic mixed greens, 2 pieces of celery, tabouli, hummus, 7 baby carrots, a leftover chicken tender from last night), …

…and a pear for dessert ūüėČ

After a lot of studying, a snack…a small organic fuji apple with 2 tbsp Naturally More, and a chocolate berry smoothie.

Berry Chocolate Smoothie

  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 scoop chocolate¬†protein powder
  • a few blueberries
  • 5 sliced strawberries
  • a little ice
  • cacao nibs to garnish

A little more studying, taught a Zumba class for my Club 59 ladies, a shower hehe, and then some dinna!

I am the luckiest girl in the world to have a Mom who buys mahi¬†mahi for dinner ūüėČ (I love you, Mom!)

…a hunk of mahi¬†mahi¬†cooked stovetop¬†with a little EVOO, a squirt of lemon juice, a little basil, and 1/2 cup plain brown rice, and some steamed brussels sprouts (I think they are officially my favorite veggie ūüėČ ) YUMMY!!!! This is the most “comfortable” meal I’ve had in a while, and it felt nice to just enjoy it without thinking about every little ingredient.

And dessert…orange and 2 squares of 100% cocoa chocolate.

Has anyone tried the new blueberry muffin Larabar? I can’t find them anywhere.¬†Also, I only have 2 Larabars left for snacks. Anybody seen them on sale anywhere? Leave me those comments! I can’t wait to get to readin’ tomorrow…


Calorie Counting January 26, 2011

What’s up, buttercups?! How’s your hump day been? Mine was fantastico…until I calorie counted.

Beginning with breakfast:

A Bowl of Goodness

  • 3/4 cup Nature’s Path Organic¬† Pumpkin Seed Raisin Cereal
  • 1/2 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • peanut flour banana sauce
  • cacao nibs
  • sliced strawberries
  • blueberries
  • goji berries
  • cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup almond milk

Mix all together and enjoy!

I went to do RPM and BodyFlow¬†at the gym then off to Starbucks to study with a Lemon Pie Larabar that paired lovely with some Earl Grey tea. I’m trying different teas to see what I like, and this one was good.


After studying for a few hours, I met my friend Melissa for a late lunch at Cafe Carolina. I got the Cafe Carolina Signature salad: “a unique blend of flavors available exclusively at Cafe Carolina! mixed greens with mandarin oranges, strawberries, dried cranberries, raisins, pineapple, pecans and gorgonzola cheese tossed with our poppy seed¬†dressing and croutons.” YUMMY! They only use a little dressing, and it’s served with a sweet potato biscuit ūüėČ I didn’t eat the croutons. I just pulled up the nutrition info on this beast and WHOA…almost a 1300 calorie lunch for the salad, dressing, and biscuit. OUCH!

I’ve been in a tea mood all day as it’s been so chilly and rainy outside, so I had some chamomile tea on the side.

After teaching an amazingly fun group of women at Zumba tonight, I was ready for some¬†dinner.¬†Tonight that meant¬†about 1/3 of Amy’s Roasted Vegetable Pizza with no cheese, a salad beast (herb greens, sliced cucs, 4 grape tomatoes, tabouli, hummus, a few carrots), a smoothie, and some mint water.

Smoothie for Today (inspired by my friend Mira’s)

  • 1 cup coconut water
  • a few sliced strawberries
  • blueberries
  • a few slices of kiwi
  • Twisted Power Powder from Whole Foods
  • 1/2 sliced nanner
  • cinnamon
  • goji berries


Here’s Mira’s just to inspire y’all: Banana, blueberries, mango, hemp seeds, maca, vitamineral¬†earth powder, cinnamon, gojis, almond mylk¬†and loooove. She’s the best!

And dessert: organic fuji apple with a little greek yogurt and apple pie spice heated, a 100% unsweetened chocolate square, and an energy ball.

It was just OK. I’m feeling like I ate a lot of calories today..hmmmmm. How do y’all handle calorie counting?

Also, I am blogging about my team’s trip to South Africa here: Check it out and subscribe for changes if you want to keep up with us. I’ll be blogging from South Africa on this site once we get there.

Off to watch Off the Map¬†with my Mom and then off to bed as I teach 6 a.m. BodyPump tomorrow. Sweet dreams, y’all!


4 Boos-Boos January 24, 2011

My loves! Good evening. I’m so sorry for the late post, but it’s been a manic Monday!

I guess Disney’s getting to me because the little girl in me is coming out. Let the childhood favorites keep on rollin’…

One of my favorites when I was little was a peanut butter and banana sandwich that my Mom always made me when we had soup. So, this morning I made Peanut Butter, Banana,¬†and Honey Oats!…a little more grown up than the sandwich.

In the mix:

  • 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats, water, almond milk, greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 smashed nanner
  • sprinkles of sea salt and apple pie spice
  • toppings:¬†1/4 cup of organic pumpkin seed – raisin cereal, drizzle of honey, blueberries and peanut flour sauce (basically this is what Mom would put between two pieces of white bread when I was little, except she made it with white sugar and mayo hehe)

I didn’t get to do my usual Monday workout, which stressed me out a little, but I had to get over it and re-prioritize as school work had to get done, and I had a doctor’s appointment. I had to get 4¬†vaccines for my trip (yes, that’s 4 needles!). Luckily, it’s better to use your arms after you get shots than to keep still, so I did BodyPump¬†this afternoon and taught Zumba tonight.¬†My arms aren’t nearly as sore as they were when I was still studying earlier! I was also suggested to start taking probiotics…do you take probiotics or have any stories associated with them?

Lunch: a mug of Amy’s Tuscan Bean and Rice soup, a pear, and a salad BEAST! My Mom was sweet to let me shop at Whole Foods today, so I got some tabouli¬†and herb mix (I LOVE THIS!!!) to make a salad with. Other toppings included carrots, celery, cucumbers, some green beans (steamed and in the frige over night…so good for a little texture on salad!), and Greek-style hummus.

I had some water with fresh mint to drink. I have been adding either cucumber or mint to my water lately to help hydrate my body better so that all the water I drink doesn’t just rush right through me.

Some more studying til snack time! An organic Fuji apple with NATURALLY MORE! (This is a particularly good jar. You can really taste the honey ūüėČ ) Garnished with a purple spoon hehe

…and some leftover green juice (about 6 oz.). It was actually pretty good even after being in the refrigerator for a couple days. Take a look in the deep dark cup of green juice sweetened with some light blue agave…

I taught a lot of “arm songs” tonight at Zumba selfishly to keep my arms moving. Sorry ladies! ūüėČ After Zumba and a shower, I present dinner: mixed steamed veggies and a piece of my Daddy’s famous pork…plus some more veggies.

Dessert! A BIG bowl of fruit (navel orange, a few strawberries, 4 slices of kiwi, some apple pie spice (I put it on a lot lately!), mixed soaked raw almonds and pistachios, a little greek yogurt sweetened with Truvia. Plus a garnish of a little less than 2 squares of 85% cocoa. Plus some bedtime tea to drink.

After a little more studying, I’m watching Castle with my parents. I appreciate getting to be here so much tonight!

Inspiration for today: You are beautiful…share it with the world! Making others happy makes you happy ūüėČ

Trip update: I met my $500 support goal yesterday! Praise the Lord! Thank-you SO much for all of your support and prayers.

Also, I’m wanting some TOMS for my trip. Do you have a pair? How does sizing run?


A Breakfast Challenge January 9, 2011

Good morning, y’all! As much as I was looking forward to that repeat bowl of oats this morning, I am sticking to my goal of stepping out of my comfort zone and trying new things. I was inspired by Ashley’s post entitled “melty¬†gooey chewy bananer oat goodness.” I like all those words! Plus, I had a little more time this morning than most days as I AM TAKING A REST DAY aka doing NOTHING pertaining to exercise, so it’s a good time to take a little extra time to cook.

Get ready for this, y’all!

I’m taking votes for a title for what to call this creation, besides a foodgasm, of course!

  • 3 Tbsp rolled oats
  • 1 Tbsp ground flax meal
  • 1 Tbsp almond milk¬†
  • 1/2 smashed banana
  • 1 tsp sexy spice aka¬†cinnamon
  • splash of maple extract
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • optional peanut flour sauce, cacao nibs and blueberries, for toppings

1. Mash banana until wet with a fork.

2. Mix in all other ingredients until holding together.¬†(It’s essentially a breakfast cookie that you’ll cook…interesting.¬†I LIKE it!)

3. Heat + grease a pan over medium heat.

4. Plop the scramble into the pan and shape into a patty, about 1/2‚ÄĚ thick.

5. Cook for about 3min until browned. (The “blob” is easier to mold once it cooks for a little bit.)

6. Toast bread or whatever you want to eat it on, like an english muffin. I just did 1 slice as I wanted mine to be open face ūüėČ

7. Flip + cook until the other side is browned.

8. Put a thin spread of organic mixed berry jam on the toast.

9. Top “cookie” on toast. Slather with peanut flour banana sauce or other nut butter and whatever other toppings you’re feeling. I used cacao nibs and blueberries. WOW! It lived up to all of Ashley’s descriptive words!

¬†And some STRONG half caff…

My cute little helpers…

Now my computer keys are sticky as I ate and typed to get this to y’all. hehe¬†Jets/Colts game was a nailbiter. Lots of football today! What are y’all up to?


To Rest or Not to Rest January 8, 2011

Hey y’all! What a day!¬†How was your Saturday?

I woke up this morning without an alarm at 6:30 after going to bed at 12:30 a.m. My intention was to sleep in today and then go to an hour RPM (a Les Mills cycling class) at 8 a.m. After doing my quiet time, I battled back and forth with going as I was exhausted from the Dance Party last night and 5 hours of sleep (not rest) the past 2 nights because of early classes.¬† My options were to take a day off or go to yoga at 10 a.m. I wasn’t starving as I usually am when I wake up and was running out of time as I was trying to decide what to do. I struggle with how many calories I’d burn today (this is SO vulnerable and scary to put out there…whew!) since I knew my family was going to Carraba’s for dinner.

In the end, I laid back down on the couch for a little less than an hour, then got up, made some yummy breakfast and went to 10 a.m. yoga. I want to encourage y’all and ask your advice on your mental battles. Do you ever have¬†mental conversations with yourself on body/nutrition/exercise issues?

¬†I’m trying to stick with my goal¬†listening to my body this year. I know it’s¬†important to take time for your body to repair and get rested for¬†your next workouts, but I have a difficult time with full days off and am praying for God to teach me how to prioritize¬†and take care of¬†the one and only temple I’ll ever have.¬†I’d love to hear anything y’all have to offer on this issue of rest days. What do your rest days look like…doing nothing, a little stretching, etc.?


My yummy breakfast was a bowl of oats with a muffin crumbled on top! Oh, how I have missed this goodness in my life. ANNND these muffins were even better than the last batch! You can really taste the apple pie spice since there’s not a lot of other competing flavors. Observe Exhibit A…

In the mix:

  • 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats, almond milk, water, Kiefer (NEW INGREDIENT of the day!!!)
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1 Tbsp peanut flour
  • 1/2 smashed banana
  • sprinkles of salt and sexy spice
  • toppings: crumbled Rise and Shine Muffin, blackberries, 1 Tbsp Trader Joe’s cranberry orange spread (another new AMAZING ingredient!), a little Naturally More (for digestive help!)

Today’s new ingredients as you can see were keifer¬†and the cranberry orange spread. I tried keifer¬†because when I use greek yogurt, I like to liquid stuff on top in the morning mix because of the little liquid consistency, so i¬†figured I’d just try keifer, and it turned out great! I was afraid that it would be too liquidy…nope! Perfect consistency! The peanut flour in the mix really balanced it out well. My other new ingredient was the cranberry orange spread from Trader Joe’s. I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!!!! It’s the perfect flavor combo at breakfast. I tried it since I like their pumpkin butter so much, and it did not disappoint.

Is it bad that I’m already excited about a repeat in this polka dot beauty tomorrow morning?!

Oh, follow-up from yoga. It was great! I loved Mira’s flow today. I was really challenged, and it felt great to stretch out my muscles from yesterday. It didn’t matter that I didn’t burn all those calories from RPM. I challenged myself in a different way, and I discovered that I love binding poses. We did a bound tree fold today that felt great! And we did a flower pose…so pretty!

I went to the store with Mom then came home for lunch. I cooked a massive bunch of kale on the stove top¬†with a little EVOO¬†and garlic and 1/4 cup of water. The bunch was taking up so much room in our frige¬†that I just decided to cook it. It’s amazing how much smaller it is cooked down hehe. Plus, I had enough for leftovers for later this week.

For lunch, I just put some on a plate as a bed for a Morning Star veggie burger (love these!) topped with roasted red pepper hummus…

…and a small organic cameo apple with peanut flour sauce and a Rise and Shine muffin. The muffins are SO good!

Plus some Starbucks Caramel coffee. Perfect lunch! This coffee is really good. I don’t use coffee cream, so having flavored coffee is a great treat!


Summit was incredible tonight, especially worship! Our sermon was on Isaiah 11:19-30, and we were challenged on how respond to how God is working and not becoming too complacent or enjoying glory that belongs to him. I was challenged to examine where I can more sacrifically live and give.

As I mentioned, we had dinner plans for Carraba’s…

I started with a glass of red wine (the Sangiovese-Merlot blend). Yummy!

An Italian side salad (thank-you, Carraba’s, for not drowning the salad with dressing!)

And Chicken Bryan (with no butter) and green beans.

I didn’t want dessert tonight (gasp! I know!). I guess I’m just looking forward to breakfast!

Saints lost ūüė¶ Watching the Jets and Colts play now…

Thanks for reading, y’all, seriously! I look forward to your comments on rest .


A Day for the Books January 5, 2011

Evening, y’all! I HAVE to catch y’all up on yesterday. Amber (my little sister and best friend) gave me a note for Christmas that promised a sister date that included Burlesque. I’ve been counting down the days until we got to hang out. We do “sister dates” pretty often and have come to realize that making plans is useless because we always change them, so we just go for it now!

I got up and had an amazing quiet time, then made some quick breakfast….

…my last 2 pieces of Cinnamon Raisin Ezekiel bread toasted covered in¬†topped with peanut flour banana sauce, 1/2 sliced banana and cacao nibs for a pretty garnish. I also rolled with a teeny bowl of mixed fruit with keifer since I was going to donate platelets and needed extra calcium.

And coffee, of course!

Then it was off to teach Zumba!

Snack after Zumba in the car…

Back at home, quick shower (are y’all liking the play-by-play? hehe), off to da hospital for platelet donation…

Well, I tried to give, but my CBC revealed a platelet count that was too low, so I couldn’t donate ūüė¶ Amber was able to, so I watched Madagascar with her while she gave, then we went for a late lunch at Johnny Carino’s (my first time!).

Lunch was a lesson in giving your body what it needs (a goal of mine this year, well, for my body ūüėČ ). I REALLY wanted spaghetti and meatballs, a craving¬†that was¬†maybe for the first time in my life. I usually don’t even like meatballs, but¬†I went for it (even with a little fresh grated parmesan cheese) after much contemplation over¬†healthier options on the menu. At least this was cheaper ūüėČ I did order it with whole wheat pasta, and all they had was penne.

Their meatballs are handmade and¬†full of peppers and spices…exactly what my body wanted!

I am so glad I went with this instead of going with a healthier option that would not have been as satisfying. The lunch also came with a salad, and I had caesar, another splurge that I usually don’t do, but their house salad didn’t sound very good…mostly cheese and croutons on lettuce, you know what I mean? Definitely NOT a salad beast.

It was really fresh and crunchy with actually just the right amount of dressing and a little parmesean¬†cheese. I also read recently somewhere that parmesean is good to eat in your 20s, though I don’t remember why exactly :/

The lunch also came with bread and oil. I let Amber handle that on her own…

because I was saving room for dessert…

Amber had a coupon for a free Like it, but they were out of Like it cups, so we got LOVE it size cups ūüėČ WOOHOO. She had dark chocolate with raspberries, and I had cinnamon¬† sexybun batter with chocolate chips and raspberries…again, giving my body what it wanted, and boy was it worth it! AMAZING! Maybe my best creation ever!

Happy girls! This is such a treat for us…

Demolished. Period.

Then we made a Trader Joe’s run because there’s not one by our house, and Amber the best sister ever gave me a gift card for Christmas. Y’all will see those goodies appearing in the near future ūüėČ I got a lot of new things that I’ve been wanting to try (and some stuff I hadn’t planned on getting) so that I can achieve my goal of something new/creative everyday with food.

Sadly, apparently, Burlesque is out of theatres now; however, Amber to the rescue found…

a small local theatre built in the 30s that has $2.50 movies that was still showing it! Isn’t it cool how stuff just works out sometimes (thanks, God!).

If these chairs could talk….

Not only did we see Burlesque, which was an AMAZINGLY beautiful dance/singing movie with a gorgeous and talented¬†cast! I definitely recommend seeing it if you haven’t already. It was a sight to behold on the big screen.¬†(I have a secret fantasy to do something like that once in my life. I love pretty costumes and singing and performing. As quiet as I am in real like, I LOVE to perform and be on stage. I danced all through school since age 3 and miss it.)

Inspiration for modeling and being silly…

“You can tell she’s a good dancer by the way she drinks a soda pop.” ~ Ramone from The Proposal. (There was a soda pop sign on the wall, and I couldn’t resist!¬†hehe)

Since we were already there, we stayed for Life as We Know It too. What a cute movie! It’s hilarious, and has a great cast! Check this one out too, but it’s a little chick-flickish!


Epic and fun day!

I love you, little sis!

Have you ever seen 2 movies in one day at the movie theatre? Do y’all do anything like this with your siblings?