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?

 

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

 

Too Sexy for My… February 3, 2011

…sexy spice! What’s up, loves? It’s been a fun day for food around here!

Breakfast: I’m a Real Simple kind of girl, and this month they had a special section on smoothies. My goal is to make all 10 by the end of the month. Today’s breakfast…a take on their Banana-Cashew Smoothie.

In my mix:

  • 1/4¬†cup raw¬†soaked pistachios
  • 1¬†cup¬†ice
  • 1/2 frozen¬†banana
  • 1¬†tablespoon¬†light agave syrup

Directions

  1. Place ¬Ĺ cup water and the cashews in a blender.
  2. Cover and refrigerate until the cashews have softened, at least 6 hours (and up to overnight). (I keep soaked nuts and frozen bananas on hand for just this occasion ūüėČ )
  3. Add the ice, banana, and agave syrup.
  4. Blend until smooth and frothy
  5. Top with raw old-fashioned oats, 1/2 sliced nanner, and peanut flour “butter.”

It wasn’t super filling and needed some sexy spice ūüėČ Next time, I’ll add sexy spice.

After a lot of studying and practicing for Zumba, my rumbly¬†tumbly was ready for some lunch! And it was a BEAST of a lunch…

… organic mixed greens, steamed Brussels sprouts, sliced baby carrots, butternut squash (cold, I know it’s weird, but I like the texture in my salad), edamame, original tahini hummus, and 3 pieces of celery. WOW!!!!

Lunch dessert: a Ball of Energy over a cup or so of grapes that I topped with sexy spice! I’ve never put sexy spice on grapes before, but I didn’t hate it!

I have been so hungry all day! Snack time brought yet another Real Simple smoothie…the Kale-Apple Smoothie¬†and the other half of the apple I used with some almond butter.

I’ve been wanting to try this combo for a while, and it didn’t disappoint! Aren’t the colors of these smoothies so fun?! It’s like magic when you press ‘Blend.’

My Take on This One:

Directions

  1. Place the kale, celery, banana, apple juice, ice, and lemon juice in a blender.
  2. Blend until smooth and frothy.

I like this one!!!!!

I taught Zumba tonight to my biggest class yet! It was such a blast to feed off the crowd. Then it was cleaning out the fridge for dinner ūüėČ

…2 chicken tenders that had been grilled with spices, the rest of my kale chips, some butternut squash (warmed), brussels sprouts and cauliflower that had been steamed and topped with nutritional yeast. I feel like I’ve been eating a lot of oil lately over all these veggies and such…I hope it’s not too much fat!

And dessert!!!! Some bedtime tea and Inside Out PB Cake that I was inspired by from Carrie

Inside Out PB Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup Trader Joe’s peanut flour
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • dash sea salt
  • Stevia to taste
  • 1/4 cup almond milk

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients and bake at 390*F for 15 minutes

ONLY 185 calories and 24g PROTEIN! (without toppings!)

Top with anything you like!! I topped mine with fudgie paste and blackberries!

Fudgie Paste (also from Carrie)

  • ¬†1.5 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp agave
  • splash vanilla extract
  • water to desired consistency

And of course, I topped it all with sexy spice ūüėČ WOW!!!!! The inside was still gooey!

It’s good to be back. Off to watch some surgery on Grey’s! Reader’s Request on the way!

I¬†read Romans 14:13-23 this morning. Am I am stumbling block for my family as far as food goes?¬†I try to educate them in love, but I fear I come across as judgmental and condescending. I don’t want to be a stumbling block for them, for y’all, or for me¬†with all my crazy thoughts lately. I’ve become a lot more vulnerable on this blog than I ever imagined. Do you experience this? I’d love to hear what you think.

Romans 14:13-23 (NIV)

 13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. 14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. 15 If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.

 19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall. 22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.[a]

Today’s inspiration: (from my tea bag): “Experience your own body, your own mind, and your own soul.” This was great for me as I still haven’t decided how I feel about eating meat, and I had chicken tonight.

Do y’all have a favorite spice you like to use? Anything inspiring today? Thanks for reading today’s long post ūüėČ You made it across the finish line!

 

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…

 

The Power of Suggestion January 29, 2011

Filed under: breakfast,Happy Bowl,lunch,RPM,salad beast,veggies,working out — ansauls @ 2:27 pm
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Happy Saturday, my loves! What are y’all up to today? Anything surprising and super fun? The weather is soooo¬†much prettier here. Literally, it was 28* when I woke up this morning and is supposed to get to 58*. WHAT?!

So, dinner last night ended up being a local steakhouse because my Daddy saw a special Travel Channel episode on steak yesterday ūüėČ Oh, the power of suggestion ūüėČ

The meal began with a “40-compartment salad bar” that they have. I love a good salad; it’s the perfect start to any meal. I piled it high (you should have seen the pathetic excuse for a bowl they had). I guess I should’ve¬†aimed smaller, but I wanted so many toppings on that lettuce ;)…blueberries, cottage cheese, 1 slice of tomato, 2 broccoli¬†florets, banana peppers, mixed fruit (which came out of its own juice and something I don’t do usually, but I really wanted some fruit on this beast), 1 slice of beet, a little crumbled egg, red onions, a few olives.

Then on to the main event (yes, I did it)…a 6 oz. filet and a plain baked sweet potato.

I was so full that I didn’t even want dessert (Have I been getting too many calories this week? I’m wondering!), but I did get some decaf coffee. You can’t resist when…

So, even though it’s been over a week since I have had any coffee…the power of suggestion…

I like how the bold taste of coffee compliments red meat. It was either that or red wine ūüėȬ†However, I have had this coffee before, and this wasn’t as¬†tasty as I remember.¬†I had a few of these little cups. My family ordered Hot Fudge Sundae Cheesecake for dessert, but I didn’t try any. They liked it a lot.

This morning began with the rest of my “Pretty-in-Pink (Lindsay) Smoothie” topped with a few cacao nibs for garnish…

…and a Sexy Bowl: sliced avocado, 2 chopped dates, organic fuji apple, 1 tbsp¬†tahini¬†(my first time everrrr!), and sexy spice.

At first, I wasn’t sure about the tahini, but it really grew on me. What do y’all use it in? I like this new ingredient!

Y’all be honest with me…does this seem like too big of a breakfast? I concerned about overeating this week since I haven’t been as hungry. :/

Workout today: RPM Plus (the 60-minute format), a quick core class, and BodyPump. AND I got to see my friend Lindsay! We usually miss each other during the week because of our schedules, so it was fun to pedal beside her this morning. (Enjoy Angus Barn for me, Linds! Go ahead, your deserve it!)

I didn’t know what I wanted for lunch, and I was surprised that I wasn’t hungry, but I ended up eating a random mix…

1/2 navel orange, 5 baby carrots, a few steamed broccoli florets that I had leftover, about 1/4 of a can of rinsed black beans for protein, 3 pieces of celery, 1 tbsp original tahini hummus, and 2 tbsp tabouli.

***I’m going to try to start measuring more stuff so that I can give y’all exact amounts and so I can start being more sure of not using too much of anything.***

Dessert: 1/2 frozen banana blended with a splash of almond milk topped with a mix of dark chocolate cocoa and a teeny squirt of light agave. I love the combo of banana and chocolate (and nute butter, but I layed off hehe)

Off to church…

DVRing¬†my Heels vs. the Pack to watch when I get back. I think we’re doing fish for dinner, and it’s snack time! Yippeeeee!

Love,

me

 

Is going for it OK? January 27, 2011

What’s up, buttercups? I taught my 6 a.m. Pump class then headed to Starbucks for Awake tea and a breakfast “happy bowl” that I made last night at home. I liked the tea ūüėČ

In the Happy Bowl

  • organic fuji apple
  • 1/4 avocado
  • a few soaked almonds and pistaschios
  • 2 chopped dates
  • cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp original tahini hummus

Yummy! Then studying for a while. Is it bad if they recognize you at the local Starbucks now?

I am in extreme like of the new BodyCombat, so I went back to the gym to take that, then home for lunch: a beast of a salad with carrots, celery, grape tomatoes, tabouli, hummus,¬†and herb greens,…

…a bowl of 1/2 orange and kiwi slices

and a smooooooooooooothie!

Green Drink

Makes 2

  • 1 cup coconut water
  • sliced banana
  • mixed fruit (strawberries, sliced peaches, mango) from a frozen mixed fruit bag that I defrosted
  • handful of spinach
  • 3 sprigs of mint
  • 1/2 organic lemon with rind (I’m not sure I’d add that again, but I wanted to use what was in the refrigerator)
  • toppings: 1 tbsp Naturally More, cacao nibs

It made enough for tomorrow’s breakfast: smoothie in a bowl!!! I forgot how nice it was to make breakfast at night since I haven’t had overnight oats in a while. I may have to bring those back for y’all! So selfless hehe ūüėČ

After more studying, I made a quick snack since I knew that I was teaching Zumba. I wasn’t super hungry, but I feel like I teach better when I have a little fuel for the fire. Not sure if that was a good decision, but I had greek yogurt for protein with some mixed fruit and a few soaked mixed nuts.

¬†After a Zumba class, I wasn’t super hungry for dinner, but my mood was telling me that I needed food (you know what I mean?). Y’all can pray for me. Satan is after me with negative questioning of food as to over analyzing everything I’m eating again.

My parents were making spaghetti, so I tried to simulate their meal so that we could all eat together….

spinach noodles from Whole Foods with organic pasta sauce, a few steamed broccoli and cauliflower, black beans for protein, nutritional yeast, and spices all over a bed of spinach. I made a side salad just like the one at lunch and had an end piece of bread with some EVOO.

While battling in my head over the bread, I just decided to do it and have a glass of Charles Shaw Merlot. I’m feeling the acid now, but I just went for it.

I wasn’t even sure that I should have dessert, but, again, I went for it! I rolled with a Ball of Energy, a square of 100% cacao, and a random mix of chia seeds/warmed almond milk/special dark cocoa powder that I wanted to turn into “pudding” after I sat it in the frige, but no luck ūüė¶ Blah! Oh well….

What is going on with me?!

Sorry, y’all! I’m praying against this spiritual warfare amidst the blessings God’s showing me. Tell me the happiest thing that happened to you this week.