The only good thing about Fall…

… is Pumpkin! Sure the leaves changing colour are gorgeous too, apples are in abundance, and Halloween is always fun- but fall makes me sad because it reminds me the cold of winter is right around the corner. My first winter in NYC is going to be a rude awakening. Thank god for butternut squash soup and pumpkin to get me through!

In case you were worried, I have jumped back on the blog bandwagon. Thank goodness because I’ve been cooking great stuff and completing some kick-ass workouts and I want to share!

Paleo Pumpkin Muffins

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Pumpkin in a muffin = genius!

Ingredients: ( makes 12 large muffins)
4 eggs
1 can organic pumpkin
1.5  cups almond flour
1 cup coconut flour mix
1/2 cup coconut oil
3/4 tbsp baking soda
1/3 cup almonds or walnut pieces for texture ( optional)
1/3 cup coconut flakes
Generous helping of pumpkin pie spice ( around 1/2 – 1 tbsp)
Sprinkle of cinnamon
1 small banana ( optional but recommended)

Directions:
Add flour & whisked eggs to large bowl, mixing well. Then add coco oil, pumpkin & rest of ingredients. Since coconut flour is high in fiber it absorbs the wet ingredients very quickly. I add a little bit of water to the mixture bit by bit until the mixture is moist and on the runny side. This is crucial to the process or the muffins will turn out dry!

Grease a large muffin pan with coconut oil or olive oil spray, and scoop mixture to tins, and drizzle agave nectar over the top of each muffin. Bake for 25-27 minutes at 375 degrees , or  until your fork comes out clean.

If you prefer your muffins on the sweet time, I would add a tsp of agave to the mixture ahead of time.

Mini egg quiches

These are a staple in my fridge when i have a busy week ahead. I usually cook these on Sunday nights and bring them to work for an easy no-mess portable breakfast. They keep great in a ziploc baggies and are perfect post- workout fuel. Not only do they taste great but they’re packed with protein and lots of nutrients! I can’t get enough of these and can be made in a million ways.

So cute, so portable, so delicious!

Ingredients:
8 eggs
1 medium zucchini
1 large bell pepper
2 handfuls organic spinach
2 sausages ( I use Applegate organics fire- roasted red pepper chicken sausage for a flavor punch)
Dash of salt , black pepper & paprika
Cayenne pepper if desired

Directions:
Cook sausages in a pan until lightly brown on both sides. Set aside to cool down.
In the meantime whisk 8 eggs in a large bowl. In a food processor or blender, Finely chop the zucchini, bell pepper & spinach ( but not grind- you don’t want the veggies to turn to mush), then add to the bowl one by one and mix well. Once the sausages are cool, put them in the food processor too and finely chop. Add to bowl, along with spices.

Scoop egg mixture into a large greased muffin pan. Try not to fill each hole to the top – you want a least a few cm space for the eggs to rise.  Depending how chopped your veggies & sausages are, you might need 2 muffin pans. Bake for 25 muffins at 375 degrees.

Portable & delicious

Other combos to try :

  • cilantro, applegate organic spinach chicken sausage, spinach,  &  jarred fire-roasted red peppers
  • dill, smoked salmon, spinach & bell peppers
  • bacon ( cook before baking), basil, minced garlic, spinach & zucchini

Bacon- Wrapped dates ( taken from everydaypaleo.com)
While I love dried fruit and crave a little sweetness once in a while, i have a savory/ salty tooth. This date & bacon combo  satisfied my craving for both! 

Sweet & Savory!

Ingredients :

10 Pitted Deglet Dates
1/2 sweet sausage cut in quarters( I use Applegate Farms  organic Chicken apple sausage)
5 pieces of Nitrate-free Bacon cut in half

Cut a slit length-wise down the date. Stuff the piece of sausage inside. Lie cut piece of bacon down and place stuffed date around 2 cm away from one end. Roll bacon around date until completely wrapped like a pigs in a planket. Then place wrapped date on a greased glass baking dish or a cookie sheet covered in foil, with the “seam” of the bacon facing downwards. This will make sure it doesn’t unravel while cooking.

Bake in oven for 20 minutes at 375. Be careful not to burn the dates as the skin dries very quickly!

——
Now that you’re done stuffing your face with delicious Paleo treats, here’s some fun workouts. They all take less than 30 minutes, require little to no equipment and get your heart rate up! I did these last week when I couldn’t make it to the gym at a decent hour:

Thrifty Fifty: 

  • Run 800m
  • 50 box jumps
  • 50 Pushups
  • 50 situps ( full extension)
  • 50 Back extensions/ Supermans
  • 50 Dips
  • 50  Rows with Rotation   OR 50 pullups
  • 50 split lunge jumps
  • Run 800m

10 minutes in Heaven:  

Warmup : 30 burpees with either a Bosu or a weighted plate. Lift bosu/weight above head with arms locked, don’t worry about jumping.

Rows. For an extra challenge, elevate your feet on a box or bench.

Workout Pt 1 : Set a Timer for 10 minutes and do as many reps of possible of:


  • Rest 3 min.
Workout Pt 2 : 
  • 100 hollow rocks
  • 50 toe touches,
  •  50 supermans, 
  • 50 russian twist ( with 20+lbs) 
Hollow Rocks are my favorite core exercise. What’s yours? 
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Lord of the Dance

While having a conversation with a new friend about our weekend plans, she wanted to know if I liked to dance.

I don’t even know where to begin with that answer.  Since a picture is worth a 1000 words I thought I’d let them do the talking.

Most people tend to dislike what they’re not good at. So it only seems “natural” that I would stay away from dancing as to not make a fool out of myself.

Nope, not me. I don't dance. Sorry.

So for sure I would never attempt something like the fist pump

Or throw my hands up to Miley Cyrus songs.

Party in the USA?

I definitely have never challenged anyone to a dance- off

See? He looks terrified.

And I definitely have never tried to draw attention to my moves 

Who me in the spotlight?

I definitely don’t try other types of dance.

Who swing dances these days anyway?

.. or Two- step

The only person I could find to dance with me anyway is this guy. 


I guess sometimes I have fun

Smiling is my favorite

If living alone has taught me ANYTHING ( besides how to get really crafty at reaching things on the top shelf) is that I love to dance.  I have a dance party for one every morning in my bath robe while getting ready for work. I dance at night while I’m cooking. I dance while brushing my teeth and I probably dance in my sleep, which would explain why I wake up and the sheets are tangled on the floor.

The thing with dancing is that I’m convinced EVERYONE likes to dance. The people who say they don’t are scared. Scared of looking foolish, of embarassing themselves, not knowing “how”. That, or they just don’t like to have fun.  But seriously- does anyone really know how to dance? I sure don’t! All you gotta do is MOVE. And anyway you can, along with music ( and not always to the beat). To tell you the truth: when I’m busting a move on the dance floor I don’t watch other people. I don’t care what they look like or what they’re doing, or how they’re dancing. I notice when people are smiling and having fun and to me those are the BEST dancers. Dancing is about letting loose and not caring what other people think. And that is the FUN part.

So I challenge you to bust out your hairbrush microphone, put on your fave song and dance in your underwear. I swear it will be the best 3 minutes of your day.  Just in case you need some inspiration, this song hasn’t failed me the last few weeks :

Dance party for 1 coming right up! 

It’s gettin hot in hurr

.. so take off all your clothes! ( no seriously I wish it was appropriate to wear a bikini to work) . The Northeast is gettin a little  heat wave this week…. Let’s just hope my office doesn’t go out of power again tomorrow so the AC actually works!

Steamy!

There is literally a layer of gray smog in the air in NYC today and between the garbage and the sweaty pedestrians : the city just SMELLS.

I needed some relief, but for dinner  I only had one goal  : to get as FAR AWAY FROM THE OVEN & STOVE as possible. I have some awesome veggies I was itching to cook ( like some kale chips!) but I could not fathom turning on any heating appliance in my studio apartment. So I went up to my rooftop and grilled… the only area where I can cook and the smoke and heat could dissipate .

The result : The best burgers ever!

Ingredients : 
1 lb grassfed ground beef 

1 handful basil leaves, diced

1/2 bell pepper diced

2 eggs

1/2 cup almond meal

2-4 giant butter lettuce leaves

Directions 

In a bowl, whisk together the 2 eggs. Pat the almond meal flat down on a small plate. With your hands, take a handful of the groundbeef about the size of your first. Stuff the basil and bell pepper pieces in to the beef with your fingers, a loot like making a meat ball!  Then dip the beef clump into the egg, flip to cover both sides, then plop onto the plate of almond meal, and flip it so the meal covers both sides. Crush the meat some more so that everything is mixed in a little and pat the meat down into a patty form and set on a plate. Repeat for 2-3 patties, depending on how big your burgers are.

I then grilled these babies about 2 -3 min each side.

Now for the condiments ( cause let’s face it – that’s the best part!)

1 ) Abraham’s Roasted Red Pepper Hummos. Seriously SO good and Canola oil free & onion free – which is surprisingly so hard to find.

Hands down the best hummos I've ever tasted!

2 ) Dijon “Country mustard” for a little kick

3 ) Hot sauce of choice  : my fave is “Texas Champagne” which is pure cayenne pepper & vinegar

Once you spread all the condiments on delicious burger patty, wrap in 1 or 2 butter lettuce leaves and enjoy!

Seriously amazing. I have never put hummos on a burger before and now I am questioning how I ever lived.

I ate this alongside some delicious finds from my beloved CSA . Getting fresh fruit, veggies  & eggs straight from an organic farmer isn’t just better for the environment, it tastes better too! The freshness is unbelievable.

These beautiful fuzzy peaches came off the tree YESTERDAY:

In season - fresh this week!

These cucumbers were just picked still with dirt all over them C

Cukes with tons of seeds are the JAM

This morning when the alarm went off telling me it’s time for my workout,  I just wasn’t feelin it. The amount of tricks I played on myself was unreal, but eventually I made it to the gym.  Whenever I haven’t pre planned a workout my fallbacks are always core workouts ( my fave) and pushups.

So here we go :
10 min warmup run @ 6.7 mph

10 min run where every minute i increased the speed by 0.2 mph

Then 3 rounds : 

20 pushups

20 russian twists with 25 lb weight

20 single – leg deadlifts  ( 10 each leg)  – focus on balance

1 minute plank alternating leg

1 minute side plank ( each side)

After that, I was so sweaty that I was sticking to the ground as I foam rolled. Gross, i know. All in all, I was in and out in 40 minutes, which is the only amount of time I could spend at the gym before being seriously late for work.

Question : What do you eat for dinner when the weather is hot? I need some no-cooking dinner ideas ( besides a salad!) 

Celebrate Life

I am so spoiled. Today is my birthday. While I am turning 23 and am pretty excited to be enjoying another year of my life, and let’s face it birthdays are always fun, I am most excited about the people in my life. My best friends, and even my mom and a few other friends are ALL flying in this weekend. Some for work, some for pleasure, but all are here to help me celebrate my 23rd year of life. People at work are asking me what I want for my bday, what they can bring me, and to tell you the truth I have everything I want. I am surrounded by the people I love, and they all love me enough that they took the time and effort to travel 100s of miles to get to NYC to be with me on my big day. I couldn’t be happier. I am so fortunate to feel so loved.

Love these people!

Every day she brings sunshine to my life!

But today is also special for many other reasons. One year ago today marks one year since Jill Costello lost her battle. Jill was a dear friend who passed away from lung cancer last June 24, 2010. Jill was one of those people where it didn’t matter if you saw her yesterday or 4 months ago she would greet you with one of those smiles that made you feel as though she was genuinely joyed to see you. She radiated happiness, positive energy, and love. She was committed to her friends, her boyfriend, her crew team, her sorority, her family, and her faith. Precisely, she just LOVED life. It hit everyone that ever met her pretty hard when she was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer at age 22. She was a hard working member of the nationally racked, Division 1 Cal Women’s Crew Team. She had never smoked, was an active young college athlete, and was deeply rooted in her faith and social life. She was involved with so many different groups, teams, friends, PEOPLE, that everyone was in shock. How can someone so young and so amazing get diagnosed with something so awful, so fatal? I didn’t understand it then, but now everything about the severity of lung cancer is clear as glass.

– 25% of all women diagnosed with lung cancer NEVER smoked

– 60% of all new lung cancer cases are patients who don’t smoke

– the survival rate of lung cancer is merely at 15%, and it hasn’t changed since the 1970s – mostly due to lack of funding, and stigmas attached to the disease. But diseases like breast cancer’s survival rate have risen quickly to an astonishing 80% over the last few decades

We all wanted a miracle to cure Jill, but we overlooked that SHE herself was our miracle.

While she endured endless ( i’m talking 14+ ) rounds of chemo, radiation and a slew of other tiring treatments, the tumors had already spread throughout her tiny little body faster than anyone could help her. She put up a damn good fight but a year and a few weeks after her diagnosis, she passed away. Her last year touched me more than I ever thought it would. She lived her life to the fullest, she did everything she dreamed of, she finished school and graduated, she coxed the varsity boat to a gold medal at the crew Pac 10 championships and to a 2nd place finish at NCAAs. She did everything, all the while enduring endless health obstacles and undergoing treatments that depilated other patients. But while she may not have had control over her illness, she had a control over what could be done about LUNG CANCER. She worked hard with the Bonnie J Adarrio Lung Cancer Foundation to find a cure. Her goal, that she wrote endlessly in her journal was to BEAT LUNG CANCER. It was never to beat hers, though she did believe in affirmations, but it was to beat the disease as a whole. To prevent others from the thing she so bravely fought. Jill- always selfless. She planned things, scribbling details down in her notebook, about how these lung cancer fundraising events and drafted lofty goals. Little did she know that after her passing, the mere effect she had on everyone’s life inspired one giant committed cause. The attendance numbers at the runs/ jogs she planned were far past her goals. The money raised as well. The awareness, the presence of the foundation, all fueled by people who loved her the most and became as dedicated to the cause as she was. Out of love.

She was a beautiful person. I could talk about her forever ; but this piece, aired by ESPN at the beginning of June, pretty much says it all. Please watch this video :

Jill\’s documentary on ESPN : \” Wave and Wake\”

Her last year, she kept a journal to chronicle her treatments, her feelings, and more to share some inspiration. I read that journal still to this day whenever I think I’m having a hard time, sad, even when I’m happy. It really helps me to put life in perspective. So today, while it is my birthday and I celebrate being 23, I am reminded to really celebrate LIFE because it is precious, short lived, and really wonderful. It is easy to get caught up in the little things that prevent us from fully enjoying every day. And when I do, I know I turn to some of these words, and I am reminded to live in the present. To enjoy every moment that passes. For jill, because she did. For me, because it enriches my life. Because I CAN. For those I love , because their happiness is my happiness.

” Love-Do it all the time without restrictions. Don’t hold back your love; constantly remind the people you love that you do. Talk about things you love…Don’t waste your time criticizing or complaining; there’s no time for that ”

“Decide what is true for you, what brings you joy, what allows you to live passionately, and then believe wholeheartedly in those things.”

– Jillian Costello

So, I challenge you all to CELEBRATE LIFE today in any way you know how. Who are you going to inspire today?


Brunch for one

I had a little too much fun this weekend. So much fun, that the only way I would survive when I woke up this morning was putting on as many clothes as possible and getting on the treadmill. After 20 minutes I had successfully sweated my hangover away. I know it sounds dreadful, but I always make sure to workout the morning after a night out. It is soooo worth it because otherwise I am unable to function.

Usually when I wake up hungover I  crave two things : greasy salty potatoes and eggs. Sticking with my cravings I “healthified” it a little and ending up making baked sweet potato eggs – pretty much the most delicious brunch I’ve ever made. And yes, it was just for me ( no shame here) , and I originally made enough to save as breakfast for the week but it was actually so delicious I went back for seconds  thirds.

Look at those runny yolks!

Look at those runny yolks! ( please disregard the hole in the middle right one. I got a little over-eager with my fork )

I originally got the recipe from Every Day Paleo  but, as usual, I tweaked it a little. The original recipe has bacon, but I decided to keep my bacon for lunch.

Ingredients : ( serves 3-4) 

1 muffin pan ( you can use ramekins too)

8 eggs

2 tablespoons coconut oil

2 small/medium sweet potatoes, grated ( I just chopped mine in the food processor)

1 garlic clove, finely minced

2 cups baby spinach leaves

1 cup arugula

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Directions : 

Preheat your oven to 350. Get out your muffin pan and grease lightly ( I use a light dusting of coconut oil spray).  Heat the coconut oil in a pan and add the grated sweet potato. Saute the potato for about 2-4 minutes.  Add the minced garlic and cook for another 2 min.  Add the spinach and  arugula and cook until it is wilted.  Add the paprika, cayenne, sea salt and pepper to the vegetables, mix well, and divide the mixture evenly into the bottoms of your muffin pan holes.   Carefully crack one egg on top of the veggie mixture into each hole.  Cook the eggs for about 17 minutes, or until the eggs whites are set but the egg is still a little bit “jiggly” and the yolks are not fully cooked. I like mine super runny, so I took them out of the oven when the whites were still a tad liquidy because they kept cooking even when out of the oven. Let them settle for 2-3 minutes( I couldn’t  wait, hence the fork holes).   Scoop the eggs carefully out of the muffin holes and serve.

I LOVE gooey yolks. And something about baked sweet potatoes makes them taste sweet but savory at the same time!

Most of mine stayed together and were really easy to store in tupperware for the week. Warning: these are so good it is hard to stop eating them!

Pardon the iphone pics.
I will be thinking about these babies sitting in my fridge during my morning run tomorrow!

But the best part is that these could be made a million ways. Next time I think I will add chopped zucchini along with the spinach for more veggies and add crumbled goat cheese on top. I bet you could even used well-wilted kale or chard as well. Sooo many options!

Let me know if you try these – they are the bomb.com.

How are you spending your Sunday?

Happy Tuesday!

Well Summer is officially here in NYC- Woohoo!

Love the East VIllage in full bloom!

Before I moved here, all I could picture in my mind was concrete. But with this nice weather rolling in, I’m noticing a decent amount of foliage in my neighbourhood. ( and my allergies sure notice it too!)

This morning I went on a short 30 min run alongside the East River highway and it was glorious. I haven’t been on an easy run where I just let myself look around and enjoy the moment in a while. It’s so refreshing.

I’ll leave you all with a hilarious video that I can’t stop watching. Thom Yorke, from radiohead, does this dance in their “lotus flower” video but this parody of Single ladies it too good to share.  Sadly, I may start seeing Brooklyn hipsters recreating these dance moves thinking its cool, thought it is wildly entertaining!

Radiohead\’s Thom Yorke- Single ladies parody

Holy Guacomole!

You know you’ve had a good workout when you give yourself 8 excuses while showering  standing under hot water, not to wash your hair solely because your arms are too sore. My arms are like Jelly right now. This morning I decided to forego the morning run for a purely blissful extra hour of sleep. After work I was exhausted and the idea of going on a run seemed to tire me even more. Somehow, a crossfit WOD gets me energized all over again so I decided to tackle Tuesday’s WOD. If there are two things that get me excited it’s pullups and burpees – my 2 fave exercises that exist.

Tuesda’s Crossfit WOD

For time:

50 Pull-ups
10 Burpees
40 Pull-ups
20 Burpees
30 Pull-ups
30 Burpees
20 Pull-ups
40 Burpees
10 Pull-ups
50 Burpees

I did an absolute killer arm workout yesterday so I wasn’t sure how the pullups would pan out. Halfway through the first set, my arms were shot. I put in a valiant effort to continue on the assisted machine, but my arms were so trashed it wasn’t happening.

I swapped the Pullups for prison squats and it was still a fantastic workout.  In my exhausted state lying on the gym floor catching my breath, I did the math: 150 burpees= 150 pushups. Not too shabby!

When I got back into my apartment it was way later than I expected. To refuel I had to be quick and I am seriously lacking groceries because i went out of town. Luckily, I had just the thing to satisfy me :

And as luck would have it, Sarah over at Everyday Paleo posted a recipe for this wonderful creation’s dressing . I modified it a bit :

1.5 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1/2 tsp raspberry vinegar

1 finely minced garlic clove

¼ teaspoon sea salt

Black pepper

Stir it all up in a bowl and pour into the pitted Avocado hole! I loved having the garlic just floating around in there.

Now I hope that the whole delayed-onset-soreness doesn’t come back to bite me tomorrow morning because I have big plans!

Question: 
What’s your favourite way to eat an avocado?