ashley avenue

a journey to healthy balance

A Perfect Day February 7, 2011

Hey y’all! How’s your day been? Mine’s been right at perfect. I felt rejuvenated and alive and happy all day. Yesterday’s rest and step out of the comfort zone paid off!

Breakfast: a Sexy Bowl

  • 1/2 Haas avocado
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • organic pink lady apple
  • 2 chopped dates
  • cinnamon

Workout today: RPM (45-minute format), BodyPump, BodyFlow, taught Zumba

Then it was lunch time!!!

Look at the plate I found in the cabinet!!! Mom told me tonight that it was my baby plate, but I love the size of it for portion control, and the dividers help me keep my food from touching (I am weird about that). Do y’all care if your food touches on your plate?

Our refrigerator is full from last night’s leftovers, so I’m trying to clean it out. I made some kale chips, heated up my leftover butternut squash, a scoop of chicken kelaguen, and some hummus and the tahini dressing I made over carrots/cucumbers/celery. I really like the dressing!

Lunch dessert: check out this tea that my sweet friend Lindsay brought me to try! It’s almost like hot chocolate!

plus some grapes, 1/2 apple, 1/2 orange, and a black bean brownie. I like the brownies better cold for sure!

For snack today, I had the Green (Bay) Juice that I was going to sip on at last night’s party. I guess today I can call it Super Bowl Champion Juice ūüėČ

LOOK WHAT I GOT IN THE MAIL, an early valentine’s gift from one of my best friends!!! Thank you soooooooooo¬†much, Steph! You are the best!!! I can’t wait to have this for snack soon. I’m saving it! (P.s. I LOVE your stationery, Steph, and your address label!)

 

After teaching Zumba, the “baby plate” came back for din din…my salad beast of the day with balsamic tofu and mushrooms/carrots/celery/cucumbers/spinach and a tbsp of tahini¬†garlic dressing. Plus some mixed berries (black ones, blue ones, and straw ones) hehe.

Dinner dessert: get this…start with pumpkin maple oats (1/4 cup, water, almond milk, and organic pumpkin; 1 tsp chia seeds; a little sea salt and maple extract), then crumble up a black bean brownie on top…

…then top with 1/2 chopped nanner and 1 tbsp Naturally More.

Put in your UNC mug so you can eat it while the women’s b-ball team beats DUKE!!! YAY FEAST!!!

Hey, a girl’s gotta have her oats! It was a wonderful dessert. Now I’m sippin’ on some bedtime Yogi tea. The inspiration on it tonight is “Truth is everlasting.”

I know it seems like nothing super, over-the-top fantastic happened today maybe, but it was a perfect day for me.

Getting excited for one of my best friends in the whole world who has a very special birthday tomorrow… ūüėČ

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I have officially run out of space again for pictures on the blog, and I don’t want to delete old pictures because it removes them permanently…what do I do? I can’t afford to splurge on a space upgrade…new URL? Have any of y’all run into this problem?

 

Today’s the Day I Tackle Tofu February 5, 2011

What’s up, lovelies? How’s your Saturday been?

Mine began with a bowl of Rainy Day Oats ūüėČ as it was raining when I woke up, which made getting out of bed not so easy, but I couldn’t wait to get to the gym for RPM Plus. So, I made this beauty…

Rainy Day Oats

  • 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats, water, almond milk, organic PUMPKIN (brought it back…I’ve missed it!)
  • sprinkles of cinnamon and sea salt
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • toppings: chopped date, blackberries, 1/4 cup Nature’s Path pumpkin seed raisin cereal for crunch, ¬†1 tsp Trader Joe’s Cranberry Apple butter, peanut flour “butter” spread (made from 2 tbsp peanut flour, sea salt, almond milk to desired consistency…PLEASE bring it back, Trader Joe’s!)

plus some red leaf chai tea

PHENOMENAL! Man, I have missed pumpkin!!! Got me all pumped for RPM.

Workout today: RPM Plus (60-minute format), 20 minute core class by a pilates instructor, and BodyPump (that I taught)

For lunch today, I knew exactly what I wanted and dreamed about it my whole workout…an “Asian Bowl.” So, I ran by the grocery store on my way home to get the ingredients. It was a cheap lunch.

Step 1: cook tofu (yes, today’s the day I learn to cook this feared ingredient of mine). After lots of recipe searching, I ended up just cooking 1/4 block of extra firm tofu in a small skillet with soy sauce for 5 minutes, turning a few times. I read a lot about pressing it for 30 minutes and cooking for another 35-ish minutes, but my growling tummy was not having that. The 5-minute fix was much better. I LOVED IT!!!

I still have 3/4 of a block left to cook¬† get creative with…suggestions? What should I do with it?

2. Make sauce of 2 tsp of low sodium soy sauce, 1 tbsp Maranatha (one of my favorite brands of all things nut butter) Almond Butter, and water to desired consistency and to thin out.

3. Steam the mixed Asian veggies (140 calories total) and brown rice (1/2 cup) together to save a pot.

4. Top with tofu.

5. Pour on sauce.

FEAST!!!!! Oh. my. foodgasms!!! It’s so wonderful to give your tummy EXACTLY what it’s asking for. Aren’t we lucky to have access to so many ingredients? This was a filling lunch!

Mom and I ran some errands before church as I am trying to find a few key pieces for vacation after cleaning out my closet.

Snack time: can you guess? hehe

I haven’t had this flavor in ages…what a yummy treat! Still no sign of blueberry muffin around here ūüė¶

Church service tonight was amazing. All about the redemptive quality of a relationship with Christ even though we have to deal with the consequences of our sin. We’re in a series on the life of King David and how he pointed to our ultimate King, Jesus Christ, in so many ways, but could not fulfill all that Jesus was to be for us.

Dinner with my family tonight at Tony’s Oyster Bar.

Appetizer: steamed oysters on the 1/2 shell with a little cole slaw. I ate more oysters than just these ūüėČ They were big and juicy and a little sweet…perfect!

Salad: Garden…dry (no dressing). Our waiter made a face at me when I ordered it dry. Perrrty¬†goood ūüėČ

Entr√©e: grilled mahi¬†mahi with pineapple mango salsa and mixed saut√©ed veggies. This is my favorite mix of steamed veggies at a restaurant. The meal overall was just OK. I’ve had better. The veggies were soggy and maybe had a hint of butter (I’m praying that they didn’t use any on them). The fish was cooked, but just kind of ‘blah’; I’ve had better here before.

Dessert when I got home: peanut flour banana sauce with an organic pink lady apple (it had a weird taste). I used a whole nanner¬†in the sauce this time, so it honestly could’ve¬†used more peanut butter and/or peanut flour, but I just went with it. Plus some sleepytime tea. I missed it last night, and I don’t think I slept as well. Maybe it’s all in my head, but I think it helps

Now, I’m munching on a pear (I just looked them up, and they have about 100-120 calories in them. I had no idea!) because I was still not full. I’ve been hungry all day.

Tomorrow’s a BIG day…SUPER BOWL!!!!, and it’s rest day for me (I hope), so I have Disney research to do, blog reading to catch up on, and pancakes to make for breakfast ;). I’ll also do a reader’s request tomorrow.

Tell me ANYTHING…I am officially opening the floor for whatever you want to share with me. I just love reading your comments.

 

Holding Out for Blueberry Muffin February 4, 2011

 

Hey y’all! Happy Friday! How’s your day been? I’m a sleepy girl tonight ūüėČ

Breakfast this morning was back to oats…and a red mug of tea for Wear Red day ūüėČ

Today’s mix was the usual banana chia seed mix topped with 1 tbsp Naturally More (I actually measured it today, and I was surprised to find out that a tbsp is more than I thought…YAY!), some Trader Joe’s Cranberry Apple Butter, 1 chopped date, 1/2 smashed banana, and blackberries.

I did some cleaning, practiced for Zumba, then off to meet my sister for lunch at Chipotle. Normally we roll at Qdoba but because of parking in Chapel Hill, we tried Chipotle today, and I was impressed!

All this for $5.95…lettuce, black beans, a little chicken (still undecided here), fajita veggies, 3 kinds of fresh salsa (pico¬†de gallo, medium, and sweet corn), a little guac. All their veggies are organic and chicken in antibiotic-free. The freshness of the ingredients was evident. It was a small bowl but packed a lot of punch!

And Yo Po for dessert…my 2 favorite flavas: Tahitian Vanilla and Peanut Butter (imagine that). This was one of the best yogurt mixes I’ve had there, but my little cake cone was stale, so Amber ate that for me ūüėČ

Why did we get fro¬†yo…It’s so chilly here?! Fro Yo is good in any weather! I actually think I like if better when it’s cold outside…weird, I know! I went to Starbucks to study and got a Vanilla Roobios to keep me company.

Then it was off to a beautiful 90-minute Hot Kunga¬†Vinyasa Detox at One Heart Yoga (the actual class was candlelight only)…

Mira kicked our booties with some challenging arm balances and flows. WOW! I was exhausted by my last chaturanga!

As a hungry girl in the kitchen when I got home, I just wanted everything “clean and raw”¬†that I could find…

a Pretty-in-Pink smoothie (1/2 cup keifer, ice, 5 strawberries, 1/2 frozen nanner); bowl of edamame, celery, 7 baby carrots, green beans, 5 grape tomatoes, original tahini hummus; and dessert…

…organic pink lady, grapes, 1 square of 100% unsweetened chocolate…topped with sexy spice ūüėČ

Still a little hungry, but it’s 10:00 p.m., so I’m waiting til breakfast ūüėČ

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So, here’s a response from Trader Joe’s regarding peanut flour…

“We have discontinued the Peanut Flour in our¬†stores due to slow sales. Because our stores have such limited space, if¬†an item does not meet a minimum sales volume, we will discontinue it in¬†order to bring in something we think will sell better. I will pass your¬† comments on to our buyers for consideration. From time to time, if there¬†is enough outcry to bring back a discontinued item and we are able to do¬†so, we will give it another run.¬†
 
Thanks for shopping with us,
Nikki
Customer Relations”

Let ’em know if you want it back: wcr001@traderjoes.com.

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Good news: I found a good deal on Larabars today at Whole Foods

Bad news: still no Blueberry Muffin in stores around here. ūüė¶ Maybe soon…

That’s all for today. What do y’all have planned for the weekend? Super Bowl? ūüėČ

 

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!

Love,

me

 

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…

 

Childhood Favorites January 22, 2011

Good evening, my loves!

Yes, I did go with the usual last night at Bass Lake Draft House…grilled salmon with double veggies.

I skipped restaurant dessert, but when we got home, I wanted something before bed to keep my metabolism up, so I had an apple sprinkled with cinnamon, some warm almond milk (a childhood favorite), and a Ball of Energy sandwich (aka 85% cocoa chocolate square + Ball of Energy + another square). The chocolate melts when you dunk it in warm milk, but I wouldn’t know that from experience ūüėČ

I don’t know if it’s knowing that I am going to Disney World or what, but I have been craving childhood favorites lately…with a twist!

First up, when I was little, my favorite lunch was peanut butter and jelly. Maybe it was because I could help make it, it was my Mom’s favorite, or because¬†it was like dessert at lunch time. So, this morning, I made PB&J Oats!…although not with JIF¬†and Smuckers like when I was little.

“PB&J With A Twist” Oats in a Jar

There’s a little something in my heart that jumps when there’s about 1-2 tbsp of nut butter left in a jar because it means that OIAJ is not far. ūüėČ

In today’s mix:

  • 1/4 cup oats, water, almond milk, greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 smashed banana
  • sprinkles of sea salt and cinnamon
  • splash of maple extract
  • toppings: 2 tbsp Naturally More in the bottom of the jar, 1 tbsp Trader Joe’s Cranberry Apple Butter (my “jelly”), cacao nibs

How do y’all feel about extracts? Are the awful for you or OK? Should I just use regular maple syrup to flavor my oats?

We had LAUNCH for all our Les Mills programs today at O2 Fitness, which means brand spankin’ new choreography to new music that all the instructors have been practicing for a couple of months. I got to launch BodyPump¬†76 and take the new BodyCombat¬†and BodyFlow. Combat was my favorite release ever, and Flow had some great tracks as well.

[Source]

The music rocks because it’s so sassy!

I was a hungry girl when I got home, and because it was later than normal for me to eat lunch, my family was hungry too! YAY! And I present to you…lunch: cucumber water, a mug of soup (I ended up eating about half of it), a salad beast with the rest of my leftovers (edamame, mixed veggies, celery, cucs, carrots, a little bit of hummus, goat cheese, grape tomatoes), a pear, and a piece of Ezekiel toast with some Trader Joe’s Superfruit spread.

Amber and I went to church tonight for an incredibly entertaining yet challenging¬†sermon on self-destruction through sexual sin. Then, it was home for Mom’s Birthday Bash at our building. I felt freedom to make my own food to take, so I made some steamed Brussels sprouts, a micro-sweet potato (I know microwave is not the best cooking method, but I needed some quick food to take out), and a piece of my Daddy’s pork tenderloin about the size of the deck of cards, and boy, was it tender. I also took some greek yogurt topped with 1/2 banana, 3 strawberries, and some blueberries out there for dessert and passed on cake as it tastes great going down, but the sugar rush I have to pay for later isn’t worth it.¬†I was nervous about bringing my own food to a party, but it went over flawlessly as no one questioned me. I figured I’d spare you the image since it’s pretty basic.

Are there any foods that you are “uncomfortable” eating?

 

The Beast and the Beauty January 18, 2011

Hey y’all! I’m watching my Heels beat ClemPson¬†hehe right now. If I could not have gone to UNC, I would’ve applied to Clemson…seems to be a great school.

Anywho…thanks for all your comments this week. I’ve enjoyed catching up with y’all and hearing your thoughts. It means so much to me!

Breakfast today was OIAJ! There’s a little smirk on my face every time I get to the bottom of a jar when there’s about 1-2 Tbsp of nut butter left, because I know there’s oats in a jar on the way. Today a finished the jar of Sunflower Seed butter, the majority of which was used for my Balls of Energy. In their honor, I made

Jar of Energy Oats ūüėČ

In the jar:

  • 1 Tbsp-ish of Sunflower Seed Butter
  • 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats, water, almond milk, greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 smashed banana
  • sprinkles of sea salt and cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp Twister Power powder
  • 1 tsp maple extract
  • toppings: Ball of Energy crumbled, 1/2 sliced banana, and a few raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries

I scraped out every last bit of that sunflower seed butter ūüėČ YUMMY! I am already excited about breakfast tomorrow as I type this hehe

I had 8 oz. of leftover green juice from yesterday for my snack after I taught this morning.

When my tumbly¬†started rumbling for lunch, I really just wanted veggies. I keep craving them this week. So, I tried to clean out my leftovers in the frige but ended up adding some more…

I had 1/2 a sweet potato with black beans and sexy spice (I’ve never put cinnamon on black beans before, but don’t knock it til you try it…it wasn’t bad hehe), a little bit of goat cheese, an organic Braeburn apple with sexy spice, a pile of veggies (Brussels sprouts/broccoli/carrots/cauliflower/edamame). Veggie fix: check!

And a little dessert: peanut flour sauce (it looks like a Ying-Yang sign that we used to draw in middle school) and a cup of chai tea. (It’s amazing to me how my palette has changed to not crave coffee in merely a few days.)

Workout today: taught Zumba and went to Hot Yoga at One Heart Yoga to detox this afternoon.

Dinner was a usual favorite…Sweet Tomatoes! I got to catch up with my old boss and friend Brooke who is due in 5 weeks, and I haven’t seen her in months! It’s so fun having friends who are pregnant as I get to learn so much from them.

I had the beasts of all salad beasts for starters. I piled on tons of veggies and beans that looked fresh and crunchy and yummy. I tried wheatberries for the first time…LOVE the texture. It’s nice when you can try something new at a restaurant as it’s already prepared and if you don’t like it, you haven’t lost grocery money on an item. Also, Whole Foods bulk bin is good for trying a little of this, a little of that.

Then some bean and barley soup in veggie broth. All veggies! So yummy! On the side, 2 small pieces of cantaloupe¬†with cottage cheese and a few bites of a whole wheat sugar-free banana muffin top. The muffin top wasn’t that great, so I decided not the waste the calories.

Because I had a beautiful dessert on the brain…

I had this x2 (oops!). I was still not quite full after the first pathetic excuse for a bowl hehe.

As a whole, it was full of guilty, negative, judgmental¬†thoughts as I have to give myself grace that I can’t be everywhere for everyone. If I could have one super power, it would definitely be being able to be in more¬†than 1 place at once.¬†Do¬†you ever feel like that?

That’s all for today. Good night, bloggies. Sweet dreams!

Something to read and ponder…

“Rethinking Thin” Book review