Monday, October 25, 2010

The Ultimate Fall Dinner & A Tone It Up Treat

***Drum roll please***

I present to you the...


So how did this amazing dinner combination come about... let me give a HUGE thanks to my husband, Sam, who loves to cook (more than I do at least).  Well, it was the Friday of my first full week of work, and I wasn't able to work out very much that week because I getting used to the new schedule.  I came home, and I was craving a heat yoga class at Indigo Yoga (if you ever want to join me, just say the word!) .  I wanted Sam to go with me to try it for the first time, but he said he was going to be busy.  I was confused... it's Friday... what else are you doing?! I thought we were going to yoga and out to dinner??  Then I looked on the dining room table at this new fall centerpiece that definitely was not there when I left... then I saw grocery bags on the counter.  Looks like someone had a dinner planned!  Sam wanted us to have a night in to catch up on life because we barely see each other nowadays since he has night class.  So he planned the following menu:  

An Explosion of Fall Flavors

Spinach Salad with Homemade Spiced Pecans and an Oktoberfest Vinaigrette 

Butternut Squash & Black Bean Chili Soup in Pumpkin Bowls

Homemade Pumpkin Ice Cream

I convinced Sam to come to yoga with me (which was A-MAZING as always), and when we came back he immediately got into the kitchen and would not let me go in at all.  So I waited while the apartment gradually overflowed with the smell of a fall feast.

Dinner was served!  Ta-dah! 

And the dinner tasted even better than it smelled!  

The salad had the perfect combination of flavors with the spiced pecans that have a hint of cayenne pepper and the fall beer dressing.  I enjoyed leftover soup and salad for the next few days, and since then, we have made the salad again and tried the vinaigrette with a different fall beer... it's still delicious.

The soup in the pumpkin bowls was out of this world, especially since the inside of the pumpkin bowl is really soft so you can scrape off the pumpkin and mix it in with your soup like you would if you crumbed cornbread into your stew... or you can just save it for the end like you do a bread bowl


Oh my goodness... the ice cream was like a cold, ice cream version of a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte, and it was really good with some of the spiced pecans on top.  

Here is the centerpiece I was talking about earlier.  The lilies were there when I left, but the bowl of seasonal veggies was not there when left.  Check out those lilies bloom!  They make the apartment smell so clean and fresh.

So I know what you are wondering now... where can I get these recipes!?!?

Sweet & Spicy Pecans ~ MindBodyGreen

Oktoberfest Vinaigrette ~ Adapted from

  1. 1/2 cup fall flavored beer, such as Sam Adam's Oktoberfest (during Christmas time you can use a Winter Lager!)
  2. 2 shallots, finely chopped
  3. 2 tablespoons dried cherries or cranberries, coarsely chopped
  4. 1 tablespoon honey
  5.   2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or raspberry vinegar
  6. 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  7. 1/2 cup canola oil
  9. In a small saucepan, combine the beer with the shallots, dried cherries and honey and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to moderate and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beer has reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool to lukewarm. In a medium bowl, whisk the vinegar with the mustard. Whisk in the beer reduction, then gradually whisk in the canola oil. Season the cherry beer vinaigrette with salt and pepper.

Butternut Squash & Black Bean Soup in Pumpkin BowlsOh She Glows 

Homemade Pumpkin Ice Cream ~ Vegan Ice Cream Paradise 

Okay, now for my second topic, and most exciting topic!!

Tone It Up's BIGGEST Promotion Yet!
(Promotion through this Friday Only!)

Words just can't describe how awesome this promotion is so I won't bother with them... instead you just have to watch their Video!  Check it out here on Tone It Up TV

If you want to read my review of the Tone It Up Diet Plan (it's more of a lifestyle than a diet plan!), then go here!  If you know that you want to purchase the plan right now... then go here to buy the plan!

They also mentioned the TONE IT UP COMMUNITY!  It's the greatest thing! It's like a Tone It Up Facebook!  You can create your profile, add pics, video, a blog, and so much more.  You don't have to be on the plan to join the community... it's for anyone interested in staying fit, healthy, and happy!  Join today, create your profile, and friend request me!  You can find me under my Twitter name, HealthandHappi.

So here's to keeping it healthy as the weather cools off and you enjoy the fall flavors and to keeping it fit with Tone It Up!  I have other exciting things to share with you in my next post... like my new favorite organic sunless tanning lotion and a chickpea "tuna" salad similar to the chickpea "chicken" salad in my previous post.  So get excited and stay tuned!

With Love, Health, and Happiness,

Question of the Day:  What are some of your favorite fall recipes?? What keeps you motivated? Things like joining the Tone It Up Community and being able to talk to people in similar situations or with the similar goals? 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Chickpeas & Changes

Hello Friends! 

Wheww... It's been quite a couple of weeks for me.  I FINALLY finished the CPA exam process, celebrated that, started my career as an auditor, got the 72 hour stomach flu (on my first day of work- horrible timing), and I spent this past weekend recovering.  So needless to say, my life has kind of turned upside down as I adjust to the working world after being in school for the past 18 years of my life (I'm starting that 18 year count at kindergarten).  And the other half of my family.... Well, Sam is crazy busy with his second year of law school, and Major has a new dog walker to let him out during the day.... So talk about Changes!

I also have a newfound chickpea recipe to share with you that I absolutely love because it's so delicious and easy.

Soooo considering all of that, I just had to title this post... "Chickpeas & Changes."

So now that I am a part of the corporate world working in an office and being surrounded by free donuts on Fridays (I have a huge sweet tooth by the way) and team lunches, I know it's going to be much more difficult to keep it healthy. So here some of my thoughts on how I'm going to keep it healthy...

1.  Work out in the mornings.  That means I'm at the gym around 5am.  If you do it in the morning, then you don't even give yourself a chance to make up an excuse not to do it after work.  Plus, you are more awake and more productive during the day, AND you make better food choices.

2.  Continue having my Vega Sport Performance Protein and Boku Superfood smoothie for breakfast.  I like the Vega Vanilla Protein with almond milk, frozen blueberries and goji berries, half a banana, and a handful of ice. I love the Vega Protein Powder because  it has 5,000 mg of BCAA's (branch chain amino acids) and glutamine which support muscle cell repair, exercise performance, reduces soreness, and more.  It also has digestive enzymes which aid in digestion. And I talked about why I loved the Boku Superfood in this post.

The smoothie is green because of the superfood and it 
didn't have blueberries, otherwise it's a more purple color.  Go frogs! 

3.  Make and take healthy snacks to work.  This way you are not tempted by the unhealthy snacks lingering around the office. I will probably take fruit and snacks from my list of Traveling Snacks, and I hope to make some healthy snacks like the granola that I've talked about and maybe some healthy cookies too!

4.  Take my lunch and NOT eat out every day.  I love eating out because it gives you a chance to get out of the office and get to know your co-workers a little better, BUT it can do a number on your health and bank account.  But you can still make your lunch and find a place outside or go to a Barnes & Noble that  has a Starbucks and pick up a magazine and enjoy your lunch that you made.  I like being in control of what goes into my meals and the only way you can do this is if you make your own lunch.  I usually put my snacks and lunch together the night before so if I'm running late in the morning, I still have a healthy lunch.   And this is where my new favorite chickpea recipe comes in!!

Chickpea "Chicken" Salad

1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas)

2 celery stocks
2 scallions (green onions)
2 Tbsp Veganaise (or Mayo)
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard 
Salt and Pepper
1/2 tsp - 1 tsp white vinegar (optional)
Dash Paprika (optional, but it's yummy)

Directions: Roughly chop the celery and scallions.  Put everything in a food processor or blender and process until it becomes the consistency of chicken salad.

You can put the chickpea salad on a sandwich (with Ezekiel bread) or in a wrap (I like spelt tortillas) with avocado, tomato, and lettuce, or enjoy on top of a bed of greens with salad dressing (I prefer Amy's Honey Mustard Lite Dressing.)  By the way, spelt is better for those who have a gluten intolerance.  I don't have one, but sometimes I just want something a little lighter than whole wheat.  This is a great lunch idea! If you decide to take the salad, just put the dressing in another smaller tupperware and add it on right before you enjoy so the salad greens don't get soggy.

5.  Force myself to take time to unwind.  I'm not the best at slowing down.  If I have things to do, I want to get them done right then.  My body does not like stress and if I get too stressed or if I overwork myself without giving myself time to relax, my health takes a hit.  Which is why I think I got the stomach flu.  I had been stressed all summer about the CPA and I finally finished that, and then a few days later, I started the new job. All of that added up and just hit my body... in a bad way... at a bad time.  So I learned the hard way that sometimes you just have to STOP.  Your "to-do" list will still be there when you get back.  My "me time" is usually during my workout, but I also need to give myself more relaxing "me time."

Speaking of unwinding, I took this peaceful picture while I was in my car the other day.  
Not the safest thing in the world, but, I will say, my car was stopped while I took the pic.  
Makes me happy.

These are just a few thoughts that I have for keeping it healthy in the corporate world, but I'm sure I will have many more to come.  And as I find things that work for me, I will be sure to let you know.

On another note, I'm sad to say that my post frequency is going to take a hit, which makes me so sad!!  I'm probably looking at once every week and a half or two weeks.  I'm working at a computer all day so it's tough to come home and look at a computer.  My eyes just crave a break.  BUT I want you to know that I still am thinking about you, and I still want to share all my healthy and happy tips with you.  When I think of things that I want to blog about, I write them down.  I keep a list.  And I'm still going to share everything that I write on this list with you...just less frequently.  SO to sum it up, you will still get all of the info that I want to share, it will just come over a longer period of time.  Yes, this makes me sad because if I could blog to you every day, I would. :)

Well, that is it for me.  I hope everyone is enjoying this amazing fall weather.  Perfect weather for getting outside and getting active! I plan on making this recipe for pumpkin cookies that I recently found.  If they are a success, I will definitely share the recipe with you.  Until next time... Have a great week!

With Love, Health, and Happiness,

Question of the Day: How do you stay healthy in the working world?