ashley avenue

a journey to healthy balance

This is How We Do it…Super Bowl Par-tay! February 6, 2011

Filed under: almond milk,black beans,dessert,dinner,frozen yogurt — ansauls @ 9:18 pm

Hey y’all. So, you know I love y’all when I’m blogging during a football game. What a halftime show! I love some football.

I know, Denver isn’t playing, but I still have to wear my jersey and represent Tebow!

After brunch, Mom and I ran errands to get ready for our party. We stopped for lunch/mid-afternoon snack at Marmalade Skies for some fro yo. I rolled with Vanilla yogurt with kiwi, raspberries, and dark chocolate chips. As I was deciding about what to get, I sampled (of course!) blueberry that was advertised as nonfat, all natural, …, BUT as I read the ingredient list, it included high fructose corn syrup and things like red number 6. How in the world can they advertise it as all-natural with high fructose corn syrup and dyes? I’m a little upset and glad that the ingredient list was included. The vanilla had 12 more calories per serving but a lot less ingredients and things I could actually identify.

All Natural Lowfat Vanilla

Serving Size 4oz. cup

Calories 80 Fat 1.5g
Protein .75g Cholesterol 0mg
Sugar 11g Sodium 30mg
Carbohydrates 17g

 

Ingredients: pure crystalline fructose, extra grade sweet whey, malt dextrin, non-dairy creamer, natural gums, yogurt solids, natural flavors, whey protein concentrate
*All-Natural, no chemicals or preservatives
*Gluten Free
*Active Yogurt Cultures
*Kosher

Like our shadows in the background? 😉

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So, as usual, dinner didn’t go as I had planned, which may be a good thing. I ended up skipping the Green (Bay) Juice “Cocktail” and just went with the food. We didn’t use my tahini dip afterwards, but I’ll use it on salad later this week. It’s good to have some stuff ready for the week. I ate some “uncomfortable” foods in moderate amounts, and, honestly, I feel fine right now.

Let me show y’all how we throw down ’round here…

1. The veggie display that I made. I love this cutting board that doubles as a display for dips as well. Our dips are 1) my Mom’s mexican cream cheese dip, some plain hummus (yay!), and my Mom’s guacamole.

2.  Chicken kelaguan that one of our best friends always makes. It’s a traditional dish from Guam that is soooo good! It’s got chicken, coconut, and tons of veggies chopped really small.

3. Family and friends…

4. Wings and chicken tenders with biscuits…

…that Daddy looooooves

5.  Nachos and beer-battered hot dogs…

…mine are the ones with blue corn chips and “cheeze” that I made out of heated almond milk and nutritional yeast.

6. Dessert spread (minus my Black (and Gold) Steel-my-Heart brownies)…key lime pie, 10-layer chocolate cake, chocolate cookie cake, monster mash and black M&Ms.

7. TV

My first plate…veggies with my guacamole and hummus, chicken kelaguen, and my nachos (blue corn chips, “cheeze” sauce, ground beef and black bean mix, olives, rotel, greek yogurt).

My second plate ;)…more of the same.

And dessert at halftime…a small piece of key lime pie, a black bean brownie, and the football out of the cookie (yes, I’m that girl that just cut the football out) 😉 plus some bedtime tea and a little almond milk to drink.

Watchin’ the rest of the game…

Gotta love football.

What was your favorite game food today? Or did you not watch it at all? How do you party?

Back to the game…

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Cleaning Up Dinner January 30, 2011

Is this really a football game? The Pro Bowl is craaaazy…42-7 at the half?!

After trying to nap for a while to no avail, I just rolled and prayed for rest. My brain’s just too busy, I guess. Enough about that 🙂 I got a pre-dinner snack around 4 p.m. I just skipped right over lunch after our mid-morning brunch.

So, I was laying there and trying to decide what to make, and I went with a new version of a classic PB&J. I read in Real Simple that one way to eat healthier is to have new associations with food so that you don’t fall back into old traps (i.e. a corn dog reminding you of a carnival). So, the new PB&J

  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • peanut flour banana sauce
  • a sprinkle of oats
  • 1 tsp of Cranberry Apple Butter

Yummy mix of sweet and tangy! I really wanted some raw oats.

So, as promised, my fam made fajitas for din din as we watched the Pro Bowl NFC Slaughter. I made my own guac…

  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • a little lemon zest
  • sprinkle of sea salt

and some “cheeze sauce” that I poured over my brown rice and black beans

“Cheeze Sauce”

  • 1/8 cup almond milk
  • nutritional yeast

Heat in microwave for 1 minute. I found recipes online that had vegan margarine and flour or cornstarch in it if you wanted to thicken it up. It was just enough for me as is…just a hint of flava!

Then I topped the 1/2 cup brown rice and probably about 1/2 can of rinsed black beans with TONS of veggies that I sautéed with a little EVOO on the stove (1/4 red onion, 1/4 orange pepper, 1/4 yellow pepper), my guac, and sprinkles of chipotle powder and cumin. YUMMY veggies fajitas. I did try 1 shrimp and a teeny piece of my Mom’s chicken so that I could tell her I tried it, but I didn’t want too much protein with all those black beans.

This is an appetizer plate, just FYI.

And dessert!!! Get this…

  1. Start with chocolate sauce: dark chocolate cocoa powder and light agave mixed to this consistency.

2. Top with banana freeze (a little almond milk and 1/2 frozen banana blended).

3. More toppings: 3 sliced strawberries, blueberries, a Ball of Energy, and a square of 100% unsweetened chocolate.

Yummy!!! I love how you can “clean up” food to still get the taste of dessert without overindulging.

Back to the slaughter…half time’s over!

 

Foods That Heal January 15, 2011

What’s up, buttercups?! (That’s what I say to my Doodle every morning, and I’m affectionately passing it on to y’all.)
I’m so sorry for not posting yesterday, but that just means that y’all are in for a doosey tonight! Here goes…got your coffee on tea?

First of all, recent eats…

Breakfast for the past two days: a yogurt bowl with greek yogurt, crumbled Rise & Shine muffin, smashed banana (New discovery: I LOVVVVVE this in yogurt.), Trader Joe’s cranberry apple butter, 1Tbsp Naturally More, blackberries, blueberries (that were going bad. You know that taste they have? ugh!), and 5 raw almonds for crunch.

And a Grande Starbucks 1/2 caff because our power was out, so we went to Starbucks for coffee.

For lunch, I wasn’t very hungry, and I knew we were going out for dinner, so I had some black beans, carrots, celery, and some Greek-style hummus…plus some more coffee. Our power finally came back on, so we made a pot.

My family went to watch the UNC Women’s Basketball team play NCSU…Carolina VICTORY!!! For dinner, a UNC tradition of Carolina Brewery. I LOVE their Copperline Amber Ale, so I started with that goodness.

“This brilliant red ale, brewed with caramel and pale malts is a best seller at the Carolina Brewery. Using traditional brewing methods, the ale yeast provides a touch of fruit and works in tandem with the malt to make for a very drinkable ale. Kent Golding hops lend just enough bitterness and aroma to round out the flavor.” It’s won GOLD MEDAL-WORLD BEER CHAMPIONSHIPS.

copperline amber ale

On to the food, hehe…I had a veggie burger with sweet potato chips. The veggie burger was the BEST I’ve ever had. You can literally see the black beans and corn, and you can taste the tomato in it! YUMMERS! And their sweet potato chips come with the tiniest amount of brown sugar for garnish/flavor. I even put a little ketchup on a few chips (SPLURGE!), but didn’t touch that mayo…gross! It was a perfect meal!

That concluded with dessert at the game. Another Carolina Tradition SMITTY’S Ice Cream!!! I licked on rolled with Carolina Blue Chip (like mint chocolate chip) in a waffle cone with FREE Carolina sprinkles. It was just OK, but it’s a tradition!

Like I said, breakfast was the same today as yesterday because it’s SO fast when you’re in a hurry. It saved me so much time over oatmeal.

I did 1 hour of RPM, a 20-minute core class, and BodyPump for my workout today. I got to see my beautiful friend Lindsay! We always miss each other during the week because I workout and teach in the  morning, and she goes at night! It’s weird…I wasn’t hungry at all, but I made myself eat lunch after a staff meeting at the gym. I went to Nil’s Bakery Cafe in Varina and got a greek salad. They are so yummy. It’s one of the only places that I don’t ask for dressing on the side because they use a perfect amount of balsamic that isn’t too sweet or too tart.

Afterwards, I went to a Healing Foods Workshop at One Heart Yoga by the beautiful Mira. She as kind enough to give me a scholarship to come! It was one of the most memorable experiences I’ve had in a long time. Mira has so much knowledge about raw foods, which I am getting more interested in. The more I learn about food, the more I want to learn. Mira is a Christian, and the way she incorporates mind/body/soul makes sense to me. Our bodies function best when we are in balance in all these areas, I think. However, I also believe you have to do what works best for you (“intuitive nutrition”), but I want to learn more about raw foods and incorporate them more into my diet/go mostly raw. She talked for 2 hours, which FLEW by, and gave us a sample of “Herbal Energy Balls” and Hemp milk. I’m hooked!!!

Have y’all ever done a cleanse? I’m thinking about it. My body feels like it has so much acid, and after looking over past posts (especially with last night’s dinner), I understand why…too much coffee and alcohol, more meat than I’m used to, and I never juice or eat enough enzymes for my body to function properly. I’d really like to figure out what to eat for me to get my body back to regularity. I feel so fortunate to cross paths with Mira and hope to pick her brain a lot more and get some personal help. I know that cleaning and cleansing will cause withdrawal symptoms as I experienced those over the Summer as I went “clean.” I had no idea that it was normal, and I wish someone had told me, so I’m passing it along to any of you who go “clean” or raw. It’ll be OK and is absolutely worth it!

Like Mira said, “Recovery is available at nearly any point! Your life can change!” You have to do what works for you. I’m praying for grace from my family as I try to cleanse on another level. They aren’t interested right now, but I want to love and educate and pray that my withdrawal will be full of joy and grace. Plus, it’s an expensive change for my budget, but it’s worth it to me. Any advice?

When I got home, I was super pumped to start my new phase on the food journey, so I made my own Balls of Energy. Thanks for the recipe, Mira!

Balls of Energy

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of Sunflower Seed Butter (leave enough in the jar for OIAJ hehe)
  • 1/2 cup Light Agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup coconut
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon Sexy Spice
  • 1/2 Twister Power Powder (hemp, cacao, maca)

Directions:

  • Mix wet ingredients in a bowl.

  • Add in dry ingredients, and stir together with a wooden spoon.
  • Form “batter” into balls.

  • Roll them in a topping if you want to. I used cacao nibs, but chopped nuts, maca, coconut, hemp seeds, etc. would be great too! You can even add other powders or chopped fresh herbs. Whatever makes you into a ball of energy!

  • FEAST! -> FOODGASM!!!

For dinner, I had a salad beast (organic greens, a few cherry tomatoes, goat cheese, black beans, celery, carrots), bread with oil, 1/2 sweet potato with cinnamon  sexy spice and steamed green beans with Garlic Gold nuggets…plus some more green beans.

And dessert…a ball of energy (finally found a use for my sunflower seed butter that I like!), a Red Delish apple (Mom bought the fruit this week and didn’t get organic, but I’m grateful for the groceries!), AND some greek yogurt with berries! I’m hungry tonight!

NO COFFEE…I tried hot tea…decaf orange pekoe. What are your favorites? I’m a tea virgin!

 

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 😉

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.

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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
  • REPEAT

                

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 😉 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 😉 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.

 

The Joys of Comfort Food December 27, 2010

With all the laying around yesterday, I wasn’t really hungry last night around dinner time (grrr!), so I rummaged around in the pantry and found the ingredients for some soup (high volume, low calorie):

  • organic veggie broth
  • can of green beans, rinsed
  • can of corn, rinsed
  • can of black beans, rinsed
  • frozen okra
  • leftover lima beans with parsley from Christmas dinner

P.s. – I learned that there’s so much icky stuff in canned soup and canned veggies, so it took me a while or reading cans to find these veggies that were “clean.”

Yummy! I had a broiled turkey burger sprinkled with mozzarella-style Daiya and a spoonful of traditional hummus.

and some Finca Roja Malbec

Dessert consisted of peppermint mocha coffee, a Fuji apple, and a square of 100% chocolate. It has a yummy bitter taste.

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I wanted some of my Peanut Flour-Banana sauce at breakfast this morning, so I made some to top my oatmeal with. Warm oats was the perfect breakfast with the chill of the snow still around.

also topped with EBTKS muffin and blueberries. And some half-caf coffee 😉

Yummers!!!!

My workout today was two-part: this morning I did BodyPump and 45 minutes of cycling, and I taught Zumba tonight.

We went to get my Mema today to bring her to our house for the week. On the way home, Cracker Barrel was calling our name, so I rolled with breakfast #2 (breakfast all day!)…what is it with comfort food this time of year?

Morning Sampler: 2 turkey sausage patties (I was wanting meat…weird!), 2 sunnyhappyside-up eggs hehe, cranberry orange muffin (amazing but huge! I only could eat half, so I brought the other half home), a pineapple and vanilla yogurt parfait with almond granola. It’s a little bit of everything!

and some decaf to drink, which was really good!

As soon as we got home, I changed and got ready for Zumba. Amber came tonight, wearing her new Zumba top I got her for Christmas.

We’re rocking the gear! And Mema came! She was so cute!

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Also, I just found out that if you’d like to support my medical missions trip to South Africa, you can do it online. You’ll need to simply create a profile to access the online giving. I have been promised that this doesn’t spam or send out messages! We’re really pushing to get the majority of our donations online this year if possible. Thank-you for your continued friendship and support!