ashley avenue

a journey to healthy balance

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.


Detox Retox January 16, 2011

Evening, y’all! What in the world is up with football underdogs? WHOA!

Well, I held the hunger (and juicing) at bay until lunch time and was able to sneak some studying in. Then, this happened….

I pretty much through all the veggies I could find in the blender.

Serves 2

  • 1/2 tomato
  • a few carrots, chopped
  • a yellow pepper cap
  • a couple florets of broccoli
  • a handful of spinach
  • organic lemon with rind
  • cup of filtered water

It’s like magic! Just press blend (and dream of a VitaMix), and ta dahhhh

It’s like Mira said at yesterday’s workshop: there’s no way that I could eat this many veggies, but juicing makes it easier to get it in.

I had a glass of green juice, a fuji apple with a Ball of Energy (dessert), and a “stuffed pepper” for lunch.

For the pepper, I just capped a yellow pepper (used the cap for juice), baked it at 350* for about 12 minutes…just enough to cook it a little and heat it up so that the edges are a little brown. Then, I stuffed it with quinoa, broccoli, and Craisin pilaf inspired by Real Simple.¬†(Yay for saving time and a dish by cooking it all in 1 pot.)

To save time, I steamed the broccoli in with the quinoa while it was cooking. For 2 servings, I did 1/2 cup quinoa with 1 cup of water, 3 broccoli florets in the pot, then added about 1/3 cup of Craisins¬†at the end to plump up in the water. Garnish with scallions and¬†soaked almonds.¬†The quinoa smelled so nutty while it cooked…yummy! The pilaf was a great balance of flavor and texture as the Craisins added just a hint of sweetness to the crunchy broccoli and pepper….and, look at the color!

It felt nice to take a little extra time on cooking lunch instead of throwing stuff together really quick, plus, now I have LEFTOVERS! hehe ūüėČ

To continue with the detoxing, it was off to Hot 90 for me at Open Door Yoga. I was a sweaty mess…

After detoxing, why not re-tox? ūüėČ hehe¬†We went to Rockford, and they just happen to have $5 wine night. I know it isn’t eating raw or detoxing my body to have wine, but it seemed like the right decision to make to catch up with one of my best friends. Let me introduce y’all to Merlot…

¬†I met one of my best friends at yoga then we went to dinner and FINALLY exchanged Christmas gifts…hey sometimes you have to¬† stretch it out, you know? (p.s. – i LOVE you, KT!)

I was going to order just a salad, but decided that I could have that anytime at home and to try something new…blackened tilapia with Asian spices in a cilantro-jalepeno¬†tortilla filled with coconut slaw (YUM!) with a side of ratatouille¬†(new food for the day) and a side of Thai chili sauce.¬† Usually, I would not order a wrap, but this sounded amazing, and I didn’t get a lot of protein at lunch, and Rockford had “buy¬†1 get 1 half off” on their large plates tonight. The ratatouille¬†was amazing…eggplant, stewed tomatoes, squash. When I asked our waiter what was in it, he said, “Well it’s peasant’s dish.” If so, I’ll be a peasant. SOOOO YUMMY! Maybe I’ll watch the movie now ūüėČ It was definitely worth the indulgence…even the sauce was good.

Random, but this plate at the restaurant are the same plates that my family grew up eating on when I was little. Each dish is served on a different plate, so I felt really lucky and nostalgic to get to eat on this one again.

My friend, Katie, got a turkey burger with Monterey jack and cous cous. She said it was delish as well!

Katie and I both were craving tea, so as we parted, I headed straight for the store. I bought a Bedtime Tea and a Chai. Y’all, I have NEVER liked hot tea, but my palate craves it now. It’s so funny! I didn’t even want coffee…weird! So dessert happened at home…

  • a Ball of Energy (the smallest one I made hehe)
  • a square of 85% cocoa that was yummers (Mom was sweet enough to buy it for me)
  • a frozen nanner¬†blended with some almond milk in the blender topped with raspberries and blackberries (Is it OK to have 2 nanners in 1 day? I usually try to keep it at 1.)

And that’s a wrap…

Sweet dreams, bloggies!


More Than I Can Ask or Imagine January 13, 2011

What’s up, buttercups? After a SUPER FUN Zumba class tonight full of hard work and laughing (gotta love a party good workout), I¬†made a random dinner of turkey chili, a glass of Duplin¬†Christmas vino, a plate of steamed broccoli with nutritional yeast (new ingredient for the day…I’m trying to up the B12), and a NM&J (Naturally More and jam) Rise & Shine muffin. I had to get in my daily dose of Naturally More. ūüėČ

So yummy and full of flavas!

And dessert…an orange and my last square of 100% cacao. I’m not a huge fan on those chocolate oranges that you crack open, but this was a great mix! Plus, I had some Starbucks caramel coffee ūüėČ

Maybe it’s the early morning Pump, but I have been draggin’ today, and I am NOT a napper. I feel guilty and like I could be doing so much more productive things.

I also wanted to just take a moment and say THANK-YOU so much for reading my little blog. It means more than y’all know. I began this as a writing “project” to keep me accountable, and I love writing. I can’t believe that you actually read it and support me and live life with me. Y’all are truly amazing and such an encouragement. This community has been beyond what I can imagine, so thank-you!

Ephesians 3:20-21 has been coming up daily in my life for the past 2 weeks. It says, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

Not only y’all, but there have been so many situations, conversations, experiences that have truly been more than all I could ask imagine!!! I have news that I’ll explain when I can ;), the support I’ve received for my South Africa trip has already been a rollercoaster ride of blessing, friendships, and all the answered prayer that I forgot that I even asked for. For example, my Mom joined a Bible study and has been going to church with me. My parents have an amazing group of Christian friends whom I love. I also fell in love in 2010. I fell in love with Christ. He answers prayers in ways above what I can’t ask or imagine…

Do you have an experience that has been above what you asked or imagined?


Southern Style, Y’all! January 11, 2011

Howdy! How are y’all?!

My workout today: only Zumba (45 minutes) and a 20 minute ab workout.

Lunch today was a mug of Mom’s (best batch ever!)¬†turkey chili with a dollop of Angus Barn cheddar cheese (wow, that was amazing!) with some Brussels sprouts, a Fuji apple with peanut flour sauce dip. It was so colorful, yummy, and healthy.

I’ve been having savory snacks lately. Usually, I’ll have something sweet like greek yogurt and fruit or an apple and PB, but lately it’s been hummus and cheese with veggies (carrots and celery today with roasted red pepper hummus). I feel like the hummus is multiplying! I can NOT get rid of it.¬†This particular kind¬†isn’t that great, but I don’t want to open a new container until I finish this one, you¬†know?

Today, I studied about metabolic acids, ketone bodies, ion concentration, acids and bases…it sounds so nerdy, but, again, our bodies are SO COOL!

Daddy and I are home alone this week because Mom’s out of town¬†on business. We’ve been watching hunting shows in Africa together in the afternoons. They are SO cool! I can’t wait to go!!! (not to hunt hehe)

I’ve been planning dinner in my head since my Trader Joe’s shopping extravaganza last week. I wanted some southern cookin’, clean style…sort of!

Some ingredients…

That turned into…

1/2 package Chicken-less Pulled Chicken (like pulled pork), 1/2 a sah-weet¬†potato with organic baked beans, a huge bunch of kale (like collard greens) that I felt like needed to be finished off. I almost made some sweet tea, but saved the calories for this instead…

a glass of Christmas wine from Duplin County.

And for dessert…

Vegan Chocolate Mug Cake adapted from Gina

Serves: 1


-2 T flour of choice (I used peanut, but whole wheat or gluten-free would be great too)

-1 T protein powder (I used Chocolate)

-1 T special dark chocolate powder (or 1/2 T of cooked cacao powder)

-1/4 t baking soda

-pinch of sea salt

-1 flax egg (1 T milled flax seed mixed with 3 T water)

-2 T almond milk (or any other milk of choice)

-1 square crumbled 100% cacao

-1/2 T unsweetened applesauce (optional, for moisture)

-1/2 t vanilla extract

-cinnamon and Truvia, to taste

-greek yogurt for a la mode style  (optional)


1. Spray the inside of a microwave-safe coffee mug with nonstick spray

2. Add the dry ingredients (flour, protein, cacao, baking soda and salt), and stir well to combine

3. Add the wet ingredients and mix with a spoon¬†until mixture resembles a thin cake batter ‚Äďmake sure there are no flour chunks in there.

4. Taste the mixture and add Truvia and cinnamon to your tastebuds. Stir in chocolate chips or even nuts if you want to.

5. Microwave¬†on high for 2 1/2 ‚Äď 3 minutes, until the cake is cooked on top and around the edges. (I did 2 and 1/2 minutes and had a chocolate lava explosion in the microwave hehe)

6. Using a spoon, loosen the edges (or scrape it off the microwave ūüėČ )¬†and plop onto a plate. Garnish with fruit,¬†chocolate syrup, cacao nibs, sexy spice, or nut butter…even make it “a la¬† yogurt”¬†if you‚Äôd like.

7. Feast!


Quick Eats January 9, 2011

Filed under: dinner,Malbec,vino — ansauls @ 10:54 pm

I was in Charleston all day for a meeting for my South Africa trip (more to come!).

Lunch was on-the-go, in the car, at a rest area…(I photographed it before I left the house).

A Rise & Shine muffin, a pear, and a bowl of my Daddy’s homemade guac, celery, black beans, and carrots.

Plus a snack…you’ll never guess what I had ūüėČ just kiddin’!

When I got home at 9 p.m., I was hungry, so I made an Amy’s pizza.

and made a salad to go on the side: organic spinach, celery, carrots, cucumber, roasted red pepper hummus.

I ate this plus 1 more piece of pizza. It was so great! The crust was perrrrrfect! Sorry for the not-so-exciting “plate.” I didn’t feel like doing dishes ūüôā However, I did sacrifice to wash a wine glass hehe

Dessert: 1/2 caff, juicy Fuji apple with Naturally More, and a piece of 100% cacao.

Perrrrrfect! Time for beauty sleep. I hope that y’all had a wonderful day. What a weekend of football upsets! Gotta love sports!


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 .


The End of the Pie January 6, 2011

Mom took me to¬† her favorite greek restaurant today…2 mediterranean lunches in a row. I could move to Greece ūüėČ Today I rolled with a greek salad with a chicken kabob, hummus, and baba¬†ganoush. It was delish! The salad was a BEAST with pepperoni, feta, tomato, olives…with a little oil. Y’all it’s so fresh, with yummy fat. Flava explosion! I had an organic Cameo apple¬†for dessert.

I got a lot done today and am FINALLY caught up on blog world. You ladies are amazing! I have a list a mile long to try. Whew!

Mom treated us to frozen yogurt a little taste of heaven when we left the office at Crema across the street. Here’s the menu board…

Mom got vanilla yogurt with chocolate chip cookie dough and walnuts. I had vanilla yogurt with peaches, strawberries and raspberries. They mix everything in a blender, and mine came out pink and looked like a flower!

I have been so hungry today! 30 minutes later I ate a lifesaver… hehe

It was so yummy, but I wonder if I am getting too many calories! I look at the calories and try to portion-size control, but I try not to calories count exactly anymore and have no idea how many calories I net everyday.

I taught Zumba tonight to my Club 59 ladies, then came back for dinner…

I love some healthy leftovers…kale, butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, celery with Angus Barn cheddar, and carrots with roasted red pepper hummus. Plus some Angus Barn¬†homemade crackers with a little more cheddar.¬†And a mug of turkey chili…

And a glass of Malbec. I always crave wine after Zumba.

Dessert…half caf and my last piece of Angus Barn chocolate chess pie. Tears. Only tears. But it was so yummy! Maybe I can afford a visit by Christmas of this year ūüėČ

Watching Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice now…no football this evening. I’m so glad that the shows are back, but I do love those Christmas movies! What are y’all doing tonight?