Monday, November 4, 2013

basil feta stuffed peppers with garlic tahini sauce

i am pretty proud of this recipe because instead of modifying this recipe, i created it from scratch. in the past, i have made stuffed peppers with a Mexican flair to it, because what goes better with peppers (and life) than Mexican food?

this recipe was inspired by my financial stress (remember this?) and forcing myself to put something together on what was in our kitchen versus finding a recipe and heading to the grocery store to put it together. thanks to Sam's Club, we had few ingredients, but in bulk....

basil feta stuffed peppers with garlic lemon tahini sauce:.

>> 4 peppers
>> 1 cup of quinoa (red or white), cooked
>> 1/2 cup mushrooms
>> 1/2 cup broccoli
>> 3 tomatoes (i used Roma, but obviously any kind would work), diced
>> 1 lb of ground beef
>> 1 cup feta cheese
>> basil (i used dried, but would prefer fresh)
>> 2 cloves of garlic, minced
>> salt and pepper
>> coconut oil (or olive oil)

preheat oven to 300. in a large pan, heat coconut oil and garlic. once the coconut oil is melted, sauté mushrooms, broccoli and tomatoes. in a separate pan, brown the ground beef. add the cooked quinoa and browned meat to the large pan of vegetables, remove from heat. stir until well mixed. add basil, salt and pepper (how much you prefer) and feta cheese. stir until well mixed. while everything is cooking, you will want to prepare the peppers - cut tops off (not too much, just enough to open it up) and 'gut' them. once the quinoa/meat mixture is cooked, stuff each pepper with the mixture and drizzle the top with olive oil to prevent the quinoa from drying out in the oven. place in a pan that allows the peppers to stand up (i used my infamous Pyrex cake pan). bake at 300 for about 30 minutes.

garlic lemon tahini sauce:.

>> 1 clove of garlic, minced
>> 2 tbsp lemon juice (1/2 lemon)
>> 1/3 cup tahini sauce
>> 1/3 cup water

mix well with a fork and put in the fridge to stiffen - should have a yogurt consistency. drizzle over the peppers once you pull them out of the oven. warning: you may want more than that, so you should probably keep extra on your plate.


this recipe made plenty - you could either use it to stuff 6+ peppers or save the leftovers for something else. i used the leftovers to mix in with spaghetti squash a few days later.

i promise the recipes that i post are easy - do not let the 'different' ingredients trick you!

give it a try and let me know what you you think!

always striving for more,
dee b.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

picture perfect:.

how do you define the perfect picture? what you see on TV or in magazines? Facebook? Instagram?  in a world that is getting smaller and smaller thanks to technology and social media, its easy to lose perspective on what is in front of us. through social media, its easy for people to portray their life in a rose-colored lens making the rest of us feel like we should be keeping up - i know i am not the only one who struggles with this.

cleaning is often my time to decompress, to think and reflect. today, while i was cleaning, i reflected on the purpose behind all the things that i do. this week i stressed myself over money (like i frequently do). i had to get a new battery for my car which wasn't part of my 'planned' budget. this planned budget is extremely strict - i plan my budget about 5 paychecks ahead of time (yes, i do already have christmas spending marked in my datebook). i plan my budget with maybe $30 in my checkings to play with the day before payday. when this relatively inexpensive necessity came up, i was stressed, extremely annoyed and almost disappointed in myself when i had to move some money from my savings into my checkings to get me until friday (payday). drew, who is mr. finance (thank god!), often reminds me of the different, positive financial things that i have. that a savings is a safety net for emergencies, like a new car battery, and i am lucky to have one versus relying on a credit card for emergencies.

without divulging too much on my financial situation and frankly, boring you, i'll share a couple quotes with you that help me keep perspective.

if we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.

to walk in a place of contentment, there are 2 things you have to do:.
1. focus on the good aspects of what you already have
2. stop thinking about what you don't have

why do i care if my house is clean? why do i care if i get my butt out of bed for 6 am yoga? why do i care if i have a savings and that it grows each month? to be honest, i'm not sure. i know that i have big plans to travel, buy a house and have financial security for myself and family. i know that my health is important to me and working out keeps me sane. i know that i enjoy cooking and take pride in providing healthy, yet tasty meals for drew and i. i know that i am much more relaxed in a clean house. i also know that i add a lot of stress in my life trying to create the 'perfect picture'.

with this, i challenge you (and myself) - create your OWN perfect picture - don't let anyone or anything else, especially Facebook or Instagram, define it for you because in reality, you can't filter life.

always striving for more,
dee b.

Friday, November 1, 2013

.:sugar hangover:.

are you, like MANY other people, feeling hungover from too much candy and sugar? even though it is Friday, i am getting a sluggish feeling from A LOT of people.

well, here are a couple (pumpkin) recipes that will help you continue your fall celebration, but also recover from that wicked sugar crash (or help you fit back into your jeans sooner).

pumpkin protein shake:.

again, this is a recipe that i have seen everywhere - Pinterest (duh!), Chris Freytag, Heidi Powell, etc. i decided to mesh together a few recipes to create something that i would like best and to include ingredients that i had around the house, per usual.

>> 1/4 - 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
>> 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
>> 1/2 scoop Garden of Life Raw Vanilla Chai protein powder - this was a sample packet from Vitamin Shoppe, pretty good!
>> 1/2 scoop Garden of Life Raw Vanilla protein powder (the chai one scared me, so i played it safe)
>> 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
>> 1 tbsp maple syrup
>> 1/2 cup coconut milk
>> 1/2 cup oats
>> 3 ice cubes (i am not a big fan of putting too much ice in my smoothies because 1. i don't like being cold and 2. i would rather have room for more substantial ingredients....)

photo 3.JPGblend!

i am slightly disappointed that i forgot to add almond butter, but peanut or almond butter would work well with this recipe! also, you could obviously substitute your favorite protein powder in for the Garden of Life that i used. i should probably do a post on protein powders and what to look for, but i have 2 different types of protein powder - one for after workouts that really targets repairing and recovering muscle tissue and the Garden of Life that i use in my morning smoothies which is easier to digset. i intended to make this smoothie after yoga sculpt class on wednesday night, but i was in 'hangry' mode. i had also preorded Chipotle, so i couldn't stop myself from tearing into my burrito bowl to make a pumpkin smoothie. let's be serious, i am human.

play around with this recipe and see what you like - there are endless substitutions!

pumpkin granola:.

before i dive into this recipe, i would like to mention that this granola does not explicitly taste like pumpkin, it has pepitas in it, but you will not get a lot of pumpkin flavor (unless you want to)

>> 3 cups rolled oats
>> 1/2 cup pepitas (unhulled pumpkin seeds - ok, bascially pumpkin seeds without the white shell that you dig out of your pumpkins)
>> 1/2 cup slivered almonds
>> 1 cup flaked coconut (or 1/2 cup shredded)
>> 1/2 cup olive oil
>> 1/3 cup maple syrup (agave nectar or honey would work well too!)
>> 2 tsp vanilla extract
>> 1 tsp cinnamon
>> 1/2 tsp nutmeg
>> 1/2 tsp salt
>> 1/2 cup roasted and salted sunflower seeds
>> 1/4 cup pecan pieces
>> 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
>> a couple shakes of pumpkin spice (depending on how much 'pumpkin' you want to taste)

preheat oven to 300 degrees. in one bowl, mix together the dry ingredients: oats, pepitas, coconut, cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin spice, salt, ground flaxseed, sunflower seeds, pecan pieces. in another bowl, mix together the wet ingredients: olive oil, maple syrup and vanilla. add wet to dry and mix well - you want to make sure it is evenly coated. ideally, you will want to spread it out on a cookie sheet, but some people (me) ruined their cookie sheet in the grill (don't ask) and found that a cake pan will work well too! *be sure to spray the pan* (speaking of spray, i recently discovered the coconut oil spray at Trader Joe's, awesome!) bake at 300 for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to ensure it bakes evenly. since i used a Pyrex cake pan, i had to let mine cook longer - i think because it wasn't 'spread out' and needed more time to fully bake. let cool and store! i store mine in mason jars, i feel better when they are sealed nice and tight! plus, i just have a thing with mason jars.
photo 1.JPG

i have tried MANY granola recipes and this is the first one i have found that actually made crispy granola, not soggy stuff that will mold in days. gross. i love mixing my granola in yogurt or eating plain by the spoonfuls.

i hope you enjoy these recipes and use them to help 'reset' over the weekend - speaking of resetting, don't forget to reset your clock this weekend, you do NOT want to be the dork who missed the extra hour of sleep!

always striving for more,
dee b.

recipe was modified from: which was featured on

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

.:the new Fall fad - spaghetti squash:.

am i the only one who feels like spaghetti squash is everywhere right now, especially Pinterest?

well, i have officially hopped on the spaghetti squash train! i have always loved squash, specifically acorn squash served with butter, brown sugar and 'mallows, but spaghetti squash has intimidated me (and i NEVER thought drew would eat it). until now.

as i learned last night (and have been seeing on Pinterest), spaghetti squash is extremely versatile - whether, you want a low-carb substitute for your favorite pasta dish, create a fall favorite stir-fry or indulge in a new dessert.

fun facts about spaghetti squash:.

>> low calorie: 42 calories per cup of cooked spaghetti sqaush (compare that to a heavy 221 calories per cup of cooked pasta)
>> low carb: 10 grams of carbs per cup vs. 42 grams of carbs in pasta
>> nutrient-dense: beta-carotene, fiber, vitamin C, K and B-6
>> high water content - read this as "i get full sooner and not just by eating fast'
>> naturally gluten free
for more information on the benefits of spaghetti squash, visit

believe it or not, but spaghetti squash is just as easy to make as pasta (and as cheap too!) - there is only one extra step. i watched a youtube video and Google'd several times how to cook a spaghetti squash, so let me paraphrase what i found....

oven:. you can bake your spaghetti squash until it is soft, but it can be more time consuming. cut your squash in half (lengthwise) and scoop out the seeds/pulp. place the cut side down in a casserole dish or cake pan - whatever is big enough to lay them down FLAT. fill the bottom of the pan with at least 1/2 inch of water and bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes. i'll be honest and say that i tried to do this, but i did not have a pan big enough to lay the halves flat and it did not work, so i resorted to the...

microwave:. again, cut the squash in half (lengthwise) and scoop out the seeds/pulp. in one half, fill the hollowed middle with 1/2 cup of water. place the other half on top - essentially putting the cut squash back together. place it in a dish that will support the squash while it turns in the microwave - i used a loaf pan. microwave at 5 minute increments until the outside is soft (use an oven mitt to test squish it). i had a large squash, but after having it in the oven for 30 mins, it still needed 10 minutes in the microwave to soften.

i used a 'spork'...i have no idea where it came from
shredding:. once your squash is soft and 'squishy'on the outside, pull out the stringy flesh with a fork - it will naturally come out like spaghetti (hence, SPAGHETTI squash). feel free to shred right down to the skin, it's all good!  since the squash is already cooked, you just need add it to your dish or top it off with sauce and you're done!

last night, i sauteed garlic, pine nuts, mushrooms, broccoli and tomatoes in coconut oil while the squash was cooking. i also browned lamb sausage with garlic and basil in a separate pan - mainly for drew because he can NOT have a meatless meal, but i also added it to mine, it had great flavor! once my squash was done cooking, i pulled it out with a fork and threw it in my big wok with the sauteed veggies. once mixed, i squeezed in 1 lemon, added a blob of butter and sprinkled in parmesan cheese to add more 'sauce'.

that's it - it was incredibly good (a new favorite), cheap and made 4 LARGE servings. to put it in context for you, we ate this after getting home from the gym (hangry mode) and we both have a tupperware FILLED for lunch.

i have another spaghetti squash sitting on my counter at home and while i LOVED this recipe, i am trying to decide something fun and different to do with it - maybe mac n' cheese? i plan to pick up a few more while they are in season!

please share any of your favorite spaghetti squash recipes - this rookie needs more ideas!

always striving for more,
dee b.

p.s. i apologize for not taking more pictures throughout the process - i was in a rush to eat, i was STARVING after the gym.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

pumpkin goodness and goals:.

'tis the season, right?! for pumpkins, that is!  i am a big fan of pumpkin, but i can't go too overboard since drew doesn't help me eat ANYTHING pumpkin - it's just not his thing, yea, weirdo, i know! i have been anxiously waiting to have some free time to try these pumpkin muffins - my plans were pushed back even further when i realized the canned pumpkin in my cupboard was expired. i found this recipe thanks to Daily Garnish - a great blog that i found for recipes a couple years ago. most of the recipes posted on her blog are easy and all of them are healthy.

per usual, i adapted this recipe to better fit me (and my cupboard), but they turned out great and i am kicking myself for not making a double batch!

pumpkin pecan muffins:.

>> 1.5 cups of whole wheat flour (or flour of your choice)
>> 1 teaspoon baking soda
>> 1/2 teaspoon salt
>> 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
>> 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
>> 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
>> 1/4 teaspoon allspice
>> 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
>> 1/4 cup brown sugar
>> 2 whole eggs
>> 1 cup canned pumpkin (or however you get your pumpkin)
>> 1/2 cup maple syrup
>> 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
>> 1 teaspoon vanilla
>> 1 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts)

preheat the oven to 350 degrees. start by mixing all of the dry ingredients from the flour to the sugar(do not add the chopped pecans, yet). in a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients from eggs to the vanilla. be sure that you are ready to mix in the melted coconut oil as soon as you take it out of the microwave - it hardens pretty quick! add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until well mixed (obvi). add the pecans or walnuts. plop the mixture into your favorite muffin pan (or in my case, the cheapest muffin pan in the world). be sure to spray or grease the pan to make your life easier. bake for around 25 minutes - this may vary depending on the size of your muffins and oven.

that's it! the original recipe calls for walnuts, but i prefer pecans (they were also 1/2 the price of walnuts at Trader Joe's). the original recipe also calls for crystallized ginger - maybe someone can enlighten me, but i CANNOT find crystallized ginger. i have looked at Target and Trader Joe's before i decided it wasn't necessary - i know not very diligent, but i am not a big fan of ginger anyway.

i am slightly bummed that i wasn't able to taste these when they were fresh out of the oven - forgive me, i was very full from an awesome dinner of grilled teryaki chicken and sauteed, garlic-infused asparagus and green beans which was followed up with leftover cheesecake from date night at the Cheesecake Factory (wow). i promise that i did try these before i decided to post about them JUST to make sure they were as good as they sound (you're welcome) and let me know tell you, they are pretty darn good! they are filling, but not heavy like regular muffins. i may have to make this into a loaf of bread next time....

i haven't done or set any goals lately because, well, i haven't just haven't felt compelled. with the transition of seasons, i am feeling a little more motivated!

1. take care of my body:. i am obviously passionate about wellness and taking care of my body, but i need to take extra special care. i have been having back issues off and on for the past 2 months
along with an insane case of plantar faciitis. i resorted to buying a PVC pipe to roll out my IT bands at home, along with constant hip flexor stretches and breaking up my plantar fascia. glamorous
and sexy, i know, but if it is going to keep me on my yoga mat and in the weight room on a regular basis than i will ask drew to rub my feet with a butter knife every night - he truly loves me! :)

also, about this time last year, i was recovering from either my 3rd bout of strep or the stomach flu - remember this post? drew has already fired up our economy size humidifier, but i still need to be REALLY conscious of getting enough sleep, eating right, drinking fluids, the works - here is hoping for a much healthier hibernation season!

2. get myself on new budget - drew is REALLY good at budgeting and moving money. i used to be when i was at my old job, but i have let that slip. we have a big trip to Playa del Carmen this winter
for my brother's destination wedding (SO exciting!). we have the flights taken care of, but we are staying at an (expensive) all-inclusive. also, drew and i are staying a couple extra nights to have a mini-vacation. that is a main reason for getting back on a budget, but there are many other reasons (like, i still have an insane amount of student loans). for instance, every pay day morning, i pay ALL of my bills that are due during that period, put some in my savings and most likely, treat myself to a bottle of wine or something special. on monday, 2 short days after pay day, i wonder where my paycheck went and instantly start planning how i am going to make it through the next 11 days on scraps - getting KINDA tired of it.  to help jump start this whole budgeting thing, i just bought "Pocket Your Dollars" on my iPad. seems counterproductive to BUY a book on budgeting, right? well, from now until October 27th, the e-book is on sale at Amazon for $3.49. $3.49!!! i couldn't resist - plus, the author is local, from Mpls, so even better! i will let you know how this goes.....

3.  i may just be adding this to the list so i can immediately cross it off. i have been wanting to clean out our front hallway which stored all of our camping stuff, our bikes and our accumulation of "Goodwill" things. my girlfriend from college comes over every Monday to watch Teen Mom - do not judge - we have done it since we met our freshman year of college and it makes us feel better about our lives. anyway, for about the past 3 weeks, i had to warn her before she came over 'still haven't gotten around to cleaning up our front hall, good luck climbing over everything on your way in - i suggest stretching before!". drew and i tagteamed the hallway this weekend - i did my part while he played FIFA and he continued while i went yoga - we are so good at compromising. all of our camping stuff is in storage and the Goodwill bags are in my trunk (i promise i drop them off......tomorrow). doesn't it feel so good to get rid of 'junk'?!?!

4. give my blog some love - i would like to figure out how to categorize my posts (mainly, my recipes), so they are easier to find (mainly, for myself). i also have been working with drew on another cool feature - i don't want to give too much away, but it will help you put your own workouts together! i have had several people ask me to put a workout plan together for them - i'll be honest, i have a hard time putting my own workout routine together, but i'll see what i can do! and, i truly love talking about fitness or nutrition so here i just another avenue for it....

ok, that is all for now - geez, i don't post for a month and suddenly i think you want to read 'all about me'?!

i guess i will get back to work and check my ego on the way.....

always striving for more,
dee b.

Monday, September 23, 2013


im·per·ma·nence (ˌ)im-ˈpərm-nən(t)s, -ˈpər-mə-\

not lasting or durable; not permanent

impermanence is an undeniable and inescapable fact of human existence.

whether you are reading the Webster dictionary or reading up on buddhism (i would like to state that i am NOT buddhist), impermanence is the nature of life. nothing in this world is fixed or permanent. everything is subject to change and alteration. life is comparable to a river, a progressive movement, a successive series of different moments joining together to give the impression of one continuous flow.

some days i go to yoga for a workout, some days i go for perspective. last night, i walked into the studio looking for a good sweat after being out of town, but instead got the latter. during the 75 minutes of class, the instructor continued to refer to impermanence and finding comfort in it. reflecting on my drive home, i realized that impermanence can bring comfort in hard times and gratitude in happy times. currently, impermanence fits in every aspect of my life:. relationships, work, health, financial status, even where i currently live.

i find comfort in knowing that my financial status will hopefully improve as time goes on - my loans will get smaller, my income will get bigger - i will become more established. i find comfort in knowing that drew and i will eventually move into a bigger place, share less space with others and take 'the' next step, celebrating with others will turn into celebrating us.  i find comfort in knowing that long days of working 2 jobs will come to an end. i find comfort in knowing that while i cannot run, i have found new passions.

i find gratitude in knowing that i am more established now than i was last year. i find gratitude that i am able to manage my responsibilities. i find gratitude in the home where we currently live, what this space has meant to us and the help that we have received to make it ours. i find gratitude that we live close to (almost) everything we love. i find gratitude in drew's companionship, creating our own timelines, and following our own rules. i find gratitude that i have the opportunity to impact 3 little boys' lives so their parents can have a break. i find gratitude that i can move and control my own body.

i find gratitude that i will be able to look back 5, 10 years from now and know what i have at this moment is special, unique and essentially, carefree. where i am right now is exactly where i am meant to be.

find comfort in impermanence, find gratitude in impermanence because this moment, whether it is difficult or joyful, it will come to an end - either hang in there or cherish it.

always striving for more,
dee b.

Friday, September 20, 2013

.:green smoothies:.

green smoothies are becoming a 'health staple', something that you hear about more and more. it's a great way to sneak extra veggies, especially greens, into your diet and let's be honest, with the cold weather upon us, it is always difficult to incorporate greens when the warm, comfort, carb-loaded, holiday foods are calling out to you. also, green smoothies can be intimidating and deceiving! my girlfriend recently texted me to say that she got a blender and is excited to try out new smoothies. when i mentioned green smoothie recipes, her response was, 'ugh, i think i need to work my way up to that'. i get it. the green color isn't all that appetizing and the thought of drinking spinach or kale would probably make some people gag.

well, i drink several green smoothies a week and i promise i have never gagged, so let me give you a few pointers on exploring with green smoothies!

choose a green base:. if you are just starting out, spinach is great! the taste is easily hidden and it blends really smooth. thanks to the Farmer's Market, i have had heaps of kale around the house, so i mainly use kale which can have a bitter taste if you aren't used to kale. another simple option is romaine lettuce which has a lot of water content and also can be easily concealed.

add protein:. while greens are great, most of them lack protein. i  add greek yogurt (plain or vanilla to avoid sugar overload). i typically add protein powder for an extra boost - Garden of Life Raw Protein in Vanilla - because of its 'chalkiness', i would never use this type of protein for after a workout, but throwing it into a smoothie is a great way to mask it.

add fruit:. while some of you won't believe me when i say this, but it does not take a lot of fruit to hide the 'green flavor' - i PROMISE! when adding fruit, please be mindful that you are also adding SUGAR, mostly natural sugar, but sugar nonetheless. i have added several different kinds of fruits and they all work great - fresh apples, peaches, bananas, frozen mango and fresh or frozen berries. i have also 'acquired' the taste of grapefruit (blah!) because it has a high water content and is a great metabolizer (friendly note: grapefruit actually tastes better when it is stored in the fridge, it helps with the bitterness). choose something that you like and play around with ratios and flavors. i started with the basic strawberry and banana, but my new favorite is blueberry and mango.

add boosters:. my go-to boosters are chia seeds and oats, but you can make almost anything work - avocado, peanut or almond butter, cucumber, flax seeds or maple syrup. again, you will be surprised by how well fruits and avocados and even almond butter and kale work together.

blending - i have gone through a few blenders in the past few years, but there are plenty of options that work extremely well. i started off with a Hamilton Beach single serve blender - you can find it at Target for around $15, it is great quality, but only comes with one blending cup. after almost 2 years, the cup (filled with my smoothie) fell out of my backpack as i was biking to work - i am fairly certain i teared up when i saw my breakfast shatter on busy Snelling Ave and i could nothing, but keep biking. after that tragedy, i bought a GNC blender set - this comes with an insane amount of cups, different sizes, shapes, tops and even a big pitcher. i splurged $30 for this one, i love it and still use it as my back up, but have most of it stored away since there are SO many attachments. drew recently decided that we needed a nice blender (he was thinking malts, not green smoothies), so one night after i worked and nannied, i came home to a Ninja blender (things can get dangerous when i am out of the house for 14 hours). i have to give it to him, this spendy blender is pretty sweet. it came with a large pitcher, as well as 2 single serve sizes and this is now my go-to. I believe Ninja blendors range from $100-$200 depending on the model and can be found at most retailers like Target, and Bed, Bath & Beyond.

i have a technique where i blend my greens, grapefruit, yogurt and chia seeds first - then with the rest of the space left, i fill it with the protein powder, boosters and fruit. it allows things to mix well without overworking the blender and it also forces me to use more greens than fruit.

sound like a lot of work? well, its not, but if your mornings are similar to mine, check this out: fill up your blender the night before, but don't blend it! if i want a green smoothie for the next morning, i fill it with my greens, yogurt and grapefruit (i would hate to spend my busy morning cutting and
peeling grapefruit), then i put it in the fridge over night, pop it on the blender and throw in the 'easy' stuff in the morning. you may have noticed that i haven't mentioned ice, but that's because i don't use it (most of the time). i feel like the single serve blenders are already limited on space, so i'd rather fill it with other stuff. however, if i am biking to work or heading to yoga and know i won't drink it right away, i will put a few ice cubes in after its blended - i think of it as a morning happy hour, kale on the rocks! i haven't had an issue with things separating too much that a simple shake won't fix. you can blend and throw it the fridge/freezer overnight and grab it in the morning, but i like to know the ingredients were freshly blended (nutrients not exposed to air) and i have a thing with patience, i don't want to wait for it to thaw to drink me high maintenance.

the ingredients that you use in a green smoothies can be extremely beneficial to your health and nutrition and will keep you glowing even as our arctic season approaches. green smoothies are also a great way to 'sneak' veggies into your significant other's or kids' diet - they MAY notice the color, but they certainly won't notice the taste.

green smoothie with my morning Americano :)

what do you put in your green smoothies? i am always looking for ways to change mine up!

always striving for more,
dee b.

Friday, September 6, 2013

.: supplements - are they worth remembering??? :.

i have held off writing this post simply because taking supplements on a regular basis has beendifficult for me - i mean, who doesn't struggle remembering to take them EVERYDAY? firstworld problems, i know! anyway, i have finally remembered to take my supplements for severaldays in a row for the past several weeks and i definitely see and feel a difference so i feel confident sharing with you which supplements i take and why!
i take 4 supplements on a regular basis - i feel like i should truly strive to get most of my nutrients from food versus supplementing for a lack of nutrition. also, it is very hard to know the appropriate time to take vitamins in order to maximize the uptake - i, for one, cannot afford expensive pee, so i would like to actually absorb what i am taking.

probiotic - i really should bold, highlight and italicize this because this has literally been a life-changing supplement for me. probiotics are getting their well-deserved time in the limelight lately, but mainly in the forms of yogurt, kefir, kombucha, etc. well, i have been a regular kefir and kombucha drinker as well as yogurt-eater, but nothing can compare to taking this as a supplement. i buy Garden of Life probiotics for Women, it is available for $40 in the Whole Foods refigerated vitamin section - there has never been a time where Whole Foods hasn't offered a $5 off coupon right on the front of the bottle. this is the most expensive supplement that i take and i would donate plasma to afford this bottle of 90 capsules and yes, it must remain refigerated. i decided to start taking this after my 'get balanced' workshop this spring because even after eating completely clean for 15 days, my digestion did not improve. at all. the ladies behind Prescribe Nutrition suggested a probiotic and i haven't looked back since. not only are probiotics good for the obvious, digestion - indigestion, heart burn, bloating, but also for your immune system. did you know that 80% of your immune system is actually located in your gut?! 80%!!!!! even with germs while working, nannying, gym, yoga, kickboxing, etc., i literally have yet to get sick since starting (knock on wood!). healthy gut, healthy you! once i started talking to people about how awesome this probiotic is, i learned that a lot of ladies have turned to probiotics to help with their digestion - they feel the same way as i do! while alot of ladies i know take the popular-known 'Align', feel free to do research on what probiotic you need. aim for something that has 10 billion cfu on packaging and try to take it right away in the morning! the serving suggestion on my bottle is 3 capsules morning and night, but i almost always just take 2 capsules with a glass of water in the morning and that seems to be enough. depending on how i feel, i may take 3 in the morning.

fish oil - many people take fish oil because it is cheap and has always been a highlighted supplement.
fish oil does cover a lot of ailments and help your body run like a well oiled machine, but let me give you a few reasons behind all that. in the typical American diet, we do not get enough Omega 3's from fish, cod liver oil, etc. - our diet just isn't based around fish/seafood! Omega 3's is an essential fatty acid that is great for many things such as fighting free radicals and decreasing inflammation. fish oil helps offset all of the damaging Omega 6's that we eat on a daily basis (typical ratio of Omega 6's to Omega 3's is about 16:1....recommended is MAYBE 3:1, yikes). we can partially thank the uptick in diseases such as cardivascula, cancer, and inflammatory and autoimmune diseases to this out-of-control ratio. fish oil also aids in digestive and adrenal health, as well! while you can get  Omega 3's naturally from (responsibly raised) tuna, salmon, cod liver oil, fish, etc. i have been trying to 'acquire' the taste of salmon and tuna, but to no prevail, i resort to my daily fish oil. i buy a large bottle of the Whole Foods brand fish oil which is from Cold Water Fish. i take 1 fish oil per day, but am considering on upping this to 2 per day.

glutamine - i wouldn't be surprised if this supplement makes it way into the spotlight soon as i continue to hear more and more about it. glutamine was suggested to me by a personal trainer - i was having issues recovering from my workouts. the more i dug deeper, the more i realized that glutamine is a great supplement for people who regularly workout - drew even said that he doesn't buy protein powder unless it has glutamine in it (well, duh!). glutamine is also know to help with sugar cravings, an added bonus for me! i will take 1 glutamine per day, but don't hesitate to take an extra one on days that i really get my butt kicked (kickboxing class). drew will also take a couple after a hard soccer game or lifting session to help make getting out of bed the next day easier. again, i buy the Whole Foods brands.

biotin - this is known as a 'beauty' supplement. i didn't really believe in taking this, but it is pretty inexpensive and a couple of girlfriends swore by it and now i do too! i mainly starting taking biotin to help my nails. as a recovering nail-biter, i needed something to make and keep my nails strong and less prone to break or split. not only have my nails benefited, but also my hair! my hair has gone from the awkward, 'i'm trying to grow it out' shoulder length to well below my shoulders and beyond in the last 4 weeks! i actually got it trimmed the other day becaues i felt like i had a couple inches to spare. it's kind of funny because after a few weeks of taking it, i got several compliments about how great and healthy my hair looked (and i swear i wasn't soliciting for compliments!). a few people have asked me if i noticed an improvement in my skin - i have been blessed with great skin, so i can't attest to less breakouts or oil, but i have noticed my face being more hydrated and less in need for face lotion (i am sure the upcoming MN winter will give it a true test). i started out with taking 2 biotin per day, but switched to 1, i didn't need my hair growing that quickly.


when i start to tell people about the supplements that i take, they instantly dive into how they can never remember to take them and they end up being a waste of money. here are a few tips that i have found work for me!

>> set an alarm - use it as a reminder, an appointment to take your vitamins. set as many as you need!

>> take them the same time everyday, have it become apart of your daily routine. it didn't take long for me to remember to take the probiotics everyday - as soon as i felt the benefits, i didn't need a reminder! i take the rest of my supplements right after lunch. i fell into a routine of flossing, drinking a mug of green tea and taking my supplements right after lunch. i feel out of tune if i miss it....

>> get a cute vitamin holder! who wants to carry around big bottles of vitamins or even little baggies of vitamins looking like a distributor? the last time we were at the Vitamin Shoppe, we got a freebie vitamin case. it's kind of stupid how easy this case makes it! it allows 6 days to fit in a case as big as a credit card - i like that it keeps the days separate since the biotin and glutamine look similar. i am able to keep the vitamin case on my desk all week without looking like a drug addict and it is in my face all day reminding me not to forget. at the end of the week, i can easily throw it in my purse for the weekend and restock for the next week!


what supplements are you religious about taking and why? how do you remember to take them everyday?

always striving for more,
dee b.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

.:cheap memories:.

based on my recent Instagram posts, many of you know that drew and i took up camping this summer! we decided that it was a great way to take advantage of the MN weather, be active, see different places and make memories all under our budget. as i have mentioned many times before, we definitely take pride in keeping ourselves on a tight budget, but we also need (and deserve) to spend time together away from it all.

my family used to go camping when we were young, so i knew what i was in for, but was still unsure how comfortable i was being out in the wilderness as an adult. drew, who is mr. research and Google, started looking into things that we were going to need (and things that he thought we needed). we also spent a couple evenings walking aimlessly around REI talking to the experts. one trip to REI and we discovered how awesome their co-op membership was. for those of you don't know, it is a $20 LIFETIME membership fee and it offers coupons, special member shopping opportunities, a percent refund for every $ you spend and access to their incredible outlet store!

while we were very anxious to get started buying stuff with our new membership, we spent a few days browsing the online outlet store as it is updated every day with new stuff. the research paid off! we ended up finding a fabulous tent originally priced over $500 for $180 all because it was a 2010 model and someone had returned it because 'it was too hard to assemble'. meet Agnes.


yes, that is a 'garage' the extends beyond our tent and also acts a rainfly - how great is that?! after we bought the essential component to camping, we were able to get everything else and still stay under budget. we splurged on a North Face down sleeping bag - it is a 'couple' sleeping (precious, i know), but it has been awesome at keeping us plenty warm and honestly, worth every penny. drew also found it necessary to spend a little extra on a nice cooler. we (mostly him) decided on a Coolman cooler that latches and seals completely shut making it racoon and bear proof. this has been worth every penny as well - having full ice cubes still leftover after 3 days in heat and humidity, pretty awesome. after that, everything else kind of fell into place - my parents gave us their old air mattress and Coleman lamp. we bought a battery operated pump (worth the extra $5 to avoid having to connect it to the car everytime).

other 'essentials':.
>> grill grate - if you stay at State Parks, the fire rings come with a grill, but i guess we needed it nonetheless
>> batteries - bring an extra set for everything!
>> s'more sticks - no explanation needed
>> flashlights - we bring more than necessary because i am an adult who is afraid of the dark
>> bug spray - get the Deep woods stuff
>> bear mase - your insurance card out in the serious woods
>> pillows - thank goodness we have stored old pillows! i also bring an old fitted sheet to put on the air mattress, call me high maintenance
>> firewood/lighter - most of the State Parks sell it out of their office otherwise, you need to buy it from 'approved' sellers. my advice is to check the park's rule and regulations about wood before - you may also want to bring lighter fluid in case the wood gets damp
>> Scrabble on the go - i could have killed drew when we made room for this on our latest camping trip, but i will admit it was a pretty awesome stow-away game. plus, after hours in the woods together, you tend to run out of stuff to talk about...
>> utensils - we brought plastic to avoid have to store and clean them every time
>> towels - paper towels and regular towels
>> hand sanitizer
>> moisture wipes - if you can't shower or fully wash your hands for days, these will become your best friend!
>> garbage bags - bring both big garbage bags that tie and old Target bags, they can be use a garbage bags or protect stuff from getting wet

hmmm....i think that is pretty much it or at least all that i can think of. i didn't forget about food and water which can get kind of tricky depending on your camping plans. for simple overnight camping trips, we stopped at a local sub shop and pick up 2 sandwiches - they are massive and have definitely lasedt us long enough. we also bring snacks like beef jerky, granola bars and fresh fruit (mainly apples or oranges). on our most recent, more serious trip we had to get a little more strategic. for breakfast, we brought bagels and cream cheese. for dinner, i made a crockpot of beef stew (thank you to our CSAs for delivering all the necessary ingredients, it couldn't have been more perfect timing!). the beef stew was full of vegetables, beef chunks and water which was great to help us rehydrate and fill up on protein and nurients. it ended up being very simple to bring in a sealed container and heat up over the fire - can you tell that i am proud of this one? while we were out hiking between breakfast and dinner, we filled our backpacks with beef jerky, apples, oranges and Clif bars. we obviously end each night with s'mores :)

water - planning for water can be crucial for camping since you are being active and it is most likely hot and even more crucial if the site you are at doesn't have running water. while we haven't needed to buy a filtering system yet, we are careful about planning water. we always freeze 3 Nalgene water bottles to put in the cooler for multipurposes, ice when they are frozen and drinking water when they thaw. again, during the simple trips, we just bring several big bottles of water to put in the cooler. during our recent trip, we bought 4 gallons of water and kept them in the car. when we were running low, we just walked back to the car to fill up and keep moving - we actually came home with 1 gallon of water, but it is obviously way better to have more than less!

i hope you find my rookie tips somewhat helpful. it can take a lot of time and planning to get everything and plan trips, but we have had so much fun taking on this new hobby! it has been great to take a long weekend away from the Corporate world and unplug with drew. while camping is FAR from romantic, it is quality, undistracted time that we get to spend together. plus, MN is a beautiful state to live in and even more beautiful when you get out there and see it. we are excited to keep improving and expanding our camping memories, hopefully to other states!

stay tuned for my reviews on our camping trips at local State Parks!

always striving for more,
dee b.

Friday, August 30, 2013

.:overnight oats:.

after a long and much needed hiatus, i have decided that it was time to give my blog some love. while it was a nice break, i truly enjoy blogging and have missed it! i thought no one would really notice my absence, but since taking a break, i have had many people asking and wishing that i would update. thank you to those who appreciate my blog, i appreciate you!

how is it already the end of AUGUST?!?! summers in MN are short and much appreciated, but the emphasis on short creates almost a scrambling effect to fit in as much as possible before we hibernate for 6+ months. like past summers, drew and i have been BUSY - busy with family, friends, birthdays, soccer (him playing and me watching), weddings, house work, work and our new hobby, camping! more on all of that later, i wanted to write a (quick) post on a new healthy, staple for me that is incredibly easy for on the go!

mornings to me can mean a 6 am yoga class, biking to work or simply cherishing every minute of sleep that i can before facing the day. either way, i find myself running around the house trying to put myself and food together. while i am OK with going to work with wet hair or no makeup (although i try to avoid it), i refuse to compromise my food, especially breakfast! overnight oats have made my mornings easier, WAY easier. while this concept isn't new for many, it is to me, so i wanted to share the recipe for those who haven't seen the light!

overnight oats:
>> 2/3 cup coconut milk (or milk of your choice: almond, regular, etc)
>> 1/2 cup oats (i use Trader Joe's gluten free rolled oats)
>> 1/2 cup greek yogurt (i use a regular Chobani either vanilla or plain)
>> toppings: berries, cinnamon, pure maple syrup, raw honey

1. the night before, mix together all of the ingredients in a travel-friendly container - i use a short mason jar, very hipster (i'm told). if i know that i will have 5 minutes to spare in the morning, i may hold off on the toppings.
2. refrigerate the mixture overnight - they will be ready in 3 hours, but taste best overnight
3. throw it in your purse, work bag, gym bag and off you go!
why overnight oats are so awesome -
>> they are versatile for your taste and you can even change it up so you don't get tired of the flavor
>> full of protein (hello greek yogurt - you can even hide some protein powder in there)
>> travel easy
>> oats are great for metabolism
>> it's filling! i LOVE breakfast and i love having a breakfast that keeps me full until lunch
>> you can make a few servings at once and have breakfast ready for several mornings!

i promise to give updates more frequently now that i think things are slowing down....

always striving for more,
dee b.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

.:DIY salad dressing:.

looking for an inexpensive way and quick way to make your own salad dressing? i sure am and i think i may have found it! let me just start by saying that ever since i took my Nutrition course last Fall, i have been on the search for the PERFECT salad dressing (but i wasn't willing to pay over $10 for it). almost all salad dressings contain some form of sugar, regardless of the fancy way they say it. they also contain vegetable oil, canola oil or any other type of hydrogenated oil that you do NOT want to put in your body! think of it this way - how much processing do you think corn had to go through to make it an oil? gross. also, hydrogenated oils causes inflammation in your body - i know inflammation occurs in more parts of your body than your joints, but when i think inflammation, i think of my knees and since they are almost ALWAYS swollen anyway, i don't need any more, thanks, but no thanks!

so, since i eat a salad almost every day for lunch, here is my solution to cheap and easy dressings.

first one: olive oil and balsamic vinegar - that's it! how easy is that? ok, this may not be an earth shattering discovery, but i will admit, i found myself looking for that fancy restaurant dressing taste in a bottle when i could easily just put the 2 together on my own! if you have read my blog before this, it won't come as a surprise to you, but i don't measure out the ratio - most of the time i do either 1/2 and 1/2 or a little more balsamic vinegar since it has more flavor than olive oil, but that's my preference.

here is one that is a little more fancy and it has become my new favorite "everyday dressing":

everyday dressing:.
>> 1/3 cup olive oil - extra virgin or whatever you prefer
>> 2 tbs apple cider vinegar (you can use red wine vinegar, but apple cider vinegar is SUPER good for digestion!)
>> 2 tbs honey - i used raw honey
>> 1/2 tbs Dijon mustard
>> 1/2 tbs tamari sauce (tamari sauce is basically the vegan version of soy sauce, so soy sauce can EASILY be used as a substitute)
>> 1 tbs sesame seeds - feel free to be liberal with these babies
>> 1 clove of garlic, minced - you can grate it if you want to be fancy
>> 1 small white onion, minced - i used a bulb of a green onion that i had from our CSA drop-off, i didn't know what else to do with it and we don't regularly keep onions around the house
>> dash of salt and pepper

whisk together and it can be kept in the fridge up to 1 week. if you are a fan of poppy seeds, they would go great in the recipe as well - again, we don't regularly keep poppy seeds around the house (maybe i will throw in chia seeds next time!). this recipe is great and literally takes 5 minutes to throw together - let's be serious, i eyeballed just about everything because we watched one too many episodes of The Office and i was anxious for some shut-eye.

why this dressing is so awesome:.

1:. it doesn't have that 'tart' taste that balsalmic vinegar has and some days, that seems to just hurt to my mouth (probably weird, i know, go ahead and judge me). it is very basic tasting and it won't overpower the vegetables in your salad - i had radish, avocado, cucumber, tomato, sunflower seeds, arugula and kale in my salad today and it complimented everything really well!

2:. olive oil - i wish people knew how awesome olive oil is and how to properly use it. olive oil is a GREAT source of healthy fat, but it should NOT be used in high heats. when you use olive oil in high heat, it denatures the chemistry of the olive oil making it comparable to a vegetable oil (think: inflammation, yikes!). using olive oil as a salad dressing is a good way to get sneak that fat into your diet. it also is great for helping your body absorb and digest all those awesome vegetables.

3:. sesame seeds - i never really know how or where to sneak these powerful seeds in to my diet, but voila! among other awesome things, sesame seeds are full of zinc which is great for memory (and i need all the help i can get with my memory).

4:. apple cider vinegar - if you haven't heard about the benefits of ACV yet, i am sure you will soon. ACV is great supporter of digestion. many nutritionists recommend taking a shot of ACV before every meal to help support the digestion process.

5:. the best thing about this recipe is that once you have all of the ingredients, you can make several batches of it before running out!

try it out and let me know what you think!

always striving for more,
dee b.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

.:green(ish) thumb:.

i finally got my garden put together last night! i felt like it has been a long time coming, but i have been waiting to make sure the weather was going to cooperate.

even though we joined a veggie CSA, i have (slowly) fallen in love with gardening. last year, i had a small, easy garden filled with zucchini, tomatoes and peppers. it was pretty awesome to be able to cook with the zucchini that i actually grew or fill my salad with tomatoes i had just picked. remembering that feeling, i had been half-heartedly trying to plan what to harvest this year. here's the deal, i want it to be easy, but i also want it be worthwhile and fill it with things that we eat on a regular basis.

alas, here is the set up that i created last night:.

as i mentioned before, my planning was half-hearted - with the weather we have been having in MN, i feel like everything related to being outside is half-hearted.....
anyway, i drug drew to Menards to help me create on a plan on a whim. the only thing i knew was that i wanted to plant mostly starter plants since it was late in the season. i ended up doing 12 pepper plants, 6 brussel sprouts, 2 strawberries and planted some seeds for spinach and cucumbers. yes, i do realize they are planted close together, but i was trying to maxmize the space that i had. i also think this image appears smaller in this picture than in real life. fingers crossed they don't suffocate each other.
i wanted to do a quick how-to plant a garden - dummy edition. me, being the dummy gardener and learning things as i go, researching them worked last year and i sure hope it will work this year.
1. preparing the soil - you can get really scientific with this, but i don't have time for that and my brain is still burnt out from college physics. so, with a hand rake (yes, hand, i did not want to spend money on a full sized one), i 'tilled' the soil. it was pretty packed down from the LOOONG winter and has a lot of weeds and remnants from last year's garden, so i turned over the soil and tried to get as many stick and leaves out of the way as possible. there were SEVERAL worms and centipedes which are good for the soil, bad for my anxiety - i tried to avoid them. also, i have been battling with this wildfire-like ivy that likes to wrap around my vegetables and suffocates them, so i tried my hardest to dig up the roots which were deep and stronger than i thought a plant could be - i would have skipped my pull-ups at the gym had i known the battle i was in for. anyway, once the soil was turned over and loosened up, i added a layer of "seed starting" soil - i used this last year just to give the natural soil an extra boost and it seemed to work well (i also had 1/2 bag left over from last year, another reason why it was perfect). i also tried to level out the soil as much as possible - it would be a nightmare to plant an entire side of your garden and realize 3/4 of your soil is piled up on the other half.
2. planning - again, who really plans? i looked to see how much space and sun each plant needed (these are printed on the little plastic sticks that label the plant). lucky for me, all of them needed full sun - sarcasm, my front spot is about the only 'full' sun place. oh well, it should do. i laid out the starter plants before i dug holes to make sure i gave them as much space as my little city-garden allowed.
3. planting - make holes big enough to COVER the roots of the starter plants and fill in around it. it is a good idea to 'firm' up the soil around the plant, by pressing the soil down. seeds are slightly different - on the package it will say how deep they need to be, typically around 1/2 - 1 inch. i just dig a little trench that depth, spread out the seeds and cover them.
4. WATER!!! one thing that i noticed last year was that my plants were almost always thirsty especially if it is really sunny or hot. try to water every other day or every day...although with the predicted forecast around here i probably won't need to water until August...
5. weeding - weeding is also important to make sure your plants get enough room and nutrients. i try to pick weeds a couple times a week. be careful of weeds that wrap around your plants, they will suffocate them! take the time to unravel the weed from your precious plant. also, try to pull out the weed's entire root, it will prevent the weed from coming back right away.
and you have a garden! easy peasy - i am probably making avid gardeners cringe, but i will be honest, i don't have the time or desire to spend weeks planning and researching gardening. sorry, not sorry.
last night, i also took my gardening indoors. i have always wanted a plant inside for decoration and oxygen benefits, but we have 2 furry toddlers to worry about, so i bought a big turquoise antique clay pot that (hopefully) they can't tip over and a plant that seemed durable enough to handle a few nibbles. again, i bought it based off its looks and researched it later. this here, friends, is a coleus plant widely known for its colorful leaves and a low maintenance plant which can thrive in the most basic environment.
here is my indoor creation (note: the furry toddler hanging out on the couch already eyeing it):.
i am excited for this to grow in height and volume with hopes that it will fill a particular corner of our house....
this post may be boring to many of you if you are not into gardening, but if you want to give it a shot, it's a cheap hobby to take on. last night i bought the big turquoise pot, 2 - 6 packs of peppers, 1 - 6 pack of brussel sprouts, bag of cucumber seeds, bag of spinach seeds, 2 strawberry plants, another pot for garlic (more on that later), a bag of potting mix and a new pair of gardening gloves for $38.  i didn't even have a coupon - that's less than what i spend per week on vegetables! and seriously, it is pretty darn cool to see these things grow over time.
i am hoping that i will have a lush garden to show you in a few weeks....
always striving for more,
dee b. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

.: i am :.

i am...

these three letters, two words are extremely powerful. what follows these two words can either be empowering or destructive.

how many times a day do you end 'i am' with something destructive? how about empowering?

last night on my way home from work, i stopped at target to get a few things. as i was walking around target, i instantly felt exhausted. the workout that i had carefully constructed for the evening seemed insurmountable. how could that be when i was just so antsy and energetic at my desk? through the exhaustion, i got annoyed with myself. here is how my mind works - i had an open evening with NO plans, if i didn't make it to the gym, then it would be a waste of an evening, right? well, what if i went home, rested for awhile and then went to a late night class? but that would most likely ruin my plans of getting up for a 6 am class (i am having friends over after work and don't have time to workout). heaven forbid that i don't work out tonight, accidentally oversleep tomorrow morning and NOT WORKOUT for 2 whole days. then come saturday, i have the Heart Walk all morning for work which will definitely end in appetizers and drinks which may eliminate any type of motivation to work out on saturday. I CANNOT TAKE 3 DAYS OFF. why didn't i get more sleep this week so i had more energy to workout tonight?!?!

i am lazy. i am unorganized. i am unmotivated. i need to do better.

this is literally how my brain works. on my way home from target, i texted drew to see how his day went and to let him know how TIRED i was and that i needed him to keep me motivated to make it to the gym. his response, less than minute later "whatever you want. i just wanna live life...with you"

simple as that. he clearly did not put himself through the entire thinking process that i had - i spent the rest of the drive home wondering why i put myself through this? when i got home instead of running around the house and cleaning (which i typically do until drew gets home from work), i sat down. yes, SAT DOWN and decided to flip through the archives of my blog. i don't know what i was hoping to find by reading about the past, but i was hoping for some perspective - something that would stop my brain from rationalizing not going to the gym or only working 8 hours at the office when i had an open night and could have worked longer. perspective is exactly what i got.

here is a copy and paste of my goals from my VERY first blog post:.

•**run the boston marathon-which means i must qualify, which means i must run another marathon, which means my knees have to cooperate for training (at the rightful age of 22, i have expensive knees that still suck, more on that later....i suppose)
 •get up tomorrow morning at 6:15 and go for a run.
 •start practicing yoga at least 3 times/week
 •figure out what the heck i want to do with my life (career-wise), more on that later as well....i suppose.
 •clean my room
 •be a good momma and tame my kitten somehow.....
 •become a certified yoga instructor

going through that list, i have almost accomplished all of those goals. running, let alone running the Boston marathon isn't in my cards anymore. in ways, i am pained by that fact, but in other ways, i feel grateful. grateful to have given up running to allow my body and knees to heal. grateful that i can remain extremely active and that i only had to give up running. yoga has become 'my thing', i practice at least 2 times a week. clean my room - drew and i do a pretty good job with keeping our place organized and clean (with 2 cats, it is absolutely necessary to vacuum several times a week). speaking of the cats, i believe i have done a good job 'taming my kitten' who is now 2 years old and a big brother. yes, i know he is just a cat, but i am really glad that he has Helen now - they are complete besties and take care of each other (see recent Instagram picture on the right). become a certified yoga instructor - wow, looking back when i wrote this post, i always thought that was going to be something further down the road. today, i have been a certified yoga instructor for over a year. volunteer - this one isn't as impressive, but i am volunteering tomorrow at the American Heart Association Heart Walk and i plan to continue volunteering at several events hosted through St. Jude.

i realized that i missed one, but i purposely left it for the end:. figure out what the heck i want to do with my life (career-wise). reading this just about brought me tears. the couple posts that followed overviewed my new job as a temp on the phones at UCare and how i was extremely motivated to work hard and earn full-time status. speechless. in a year and a half, i got hired on full-time, was promoted to a quality advocate and made a life-changing career move into my dream job. could i seriously be any luckier?

i was instantly humbled. here i was, beating myself up about not working out that night (especially after eating Blue Door chicken strips and an Izzy's ice cream cone 2 days before), when really i have so much to be thankful for.

i will never be the type to 'settle' for anything, so i realize that i may never give myself the opportunity to relish in my accomplishments, but i can help myself along the way with three letters, two words...

i am hard working. i am healthy. i am motivated. i am safe. i am fed. i am strong. i am talented. i am supported. i am happy. i am blessed.

don't be destructive, empower yourself.

always striving for more,
dee b.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

now what?

many people have asked me if i will continue any of the 'habits' that i have learned through .:get balanced:. my answer to that is, ABSOLUTELY! i would be stupid not!

my first day off .:get balanced:. happened to be the day that drew took the GMAT, so we decided to go out toThe Blue Door Pub followed by ice cream at Izzy's icream - it was unbelievably good!

there were a few reasons why i decided to DIVE back into 'conventional' eating:.

1. i could not take any more hives - even though i drastically cut down on my coconut intake, i was still suffering from hives. couldn't do it any more.

2. i kind of wanted to test how it would feel to go from one end of the spectrum to the complete opposite. before .:get balanced:. i typically ate healthy - which meant i ate mainly veggies and lean protein, but i also treated myself plenty to lots of sugar whether it was desserts, fried food or carbs (bad carbs).

3. my cravings had gone away for the first week and a half of .:GB:. but they were back in full-swing. i really struggled the last few days between the hives and feeling sluggish and unmotivated to complete the full 15 days. i felt like i 'deserved' the splurge.

4. i wanted to celebrate with drew - not only had i been completely disciplined for 15 days, but he had been incredibly discplined studying for the GMAT - he did well and i wanted to treat him to a dinner where he wasn't forced to eat something vegan or gluten-free. we both deserved it.

maybe these rationales sound like excuses, but i really don't care.

throughout the 15 days, a lot of people to me 'i could NEVER give up bread' or 'i could NEVER give up my daily cookie'. well, people, i thought that too. i used to think - 'no matter what
i do, i never lose or gain weight' (yay and nay), 'i workout plenty and am fine with the way i look, so these workshops weren't made for people like me'. WRONG - there are so many physiological
responses to what you eat! it doesn't matter if you can eat whatever you want and stay stick thin or if you look at a cookie and gain 5 lbs. food goes way beyond the physical realm!

going foward for ME:.

i kicked my sugar cravings, so i fully intend to not let myself indulge back into sugars, so i can keep it that way! i am going to be more mindful of gluten and cut it out where i can. i don't believe i need to go completely gluten-free at this point in my life, but i do see and understand the benefits of monitoring it. i am definitely going to continue making a lot of the recipes that were shared and try to expand my recipe repertoire. lastly, supplements. the .:GB:. ladies suggested several supplements to help with digestive health, blood sugar regulation and adrenal health which i plan to try a few out. i actually already bought a probiotic from Whole Foods and am excited to see what benefits it can provide.

for you:.

most people don't do these type of nutrition workshops because they either think they know enough about food and nutrition or they are afraid to figure out truly how bad their diet is. there's always more to learn and knowledge is power! whether you are looking for a complete lifestyle change, want some new recipe ideas or are just curious to learn more about a hollistic approach towards health - check out Prescribe Nutrition either on Facebook or click here for their blog. i could not say enough good things about these ladies - they are sweet, extremely supportive and they meet you where you are in your journey! they make everything accessible and understandable regardless if you are a youthful and running marathons, a health nut or have 4 kids needing to lose 60 lbs. do yourself a favor and check them out - you truly have nothing to lose.

i am off to drink some newfound (and tasty) aloe vera juice - happy almost weekend!

always striving for more,
dee b.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

buffalo chicken quinoa:.

i'll be honest and let you all know that i saw this recipe on Pinterest - who doesn't get inspiration from Pinterest?

i seriously LOVE anything related to buffalo chicken, so i was excited when i came across this recipe. i changed up a few things to not only make it easier for me (we were trying to watch The Office at the same time......priorities) and i wanted to make sure that i used up some produce that was on the edge of going bad!

so, here is what Pinterest and i came up with.

>> 1 cup quinoa
>> 1 chicken breast
>> broccoli
>> shredded cabbage
>> shredded carrots (i just cut up carrots really thin - who buys shredded carrots?)
>> kale (i have to throw kale in everything....drew hates it)
>> 1/2 cup hot sauce - i used Frank's hot wing sauce because i put that sh!t on everything
>> 1/2 cup olive oil
>> blue cheese crumbles - i skipped this since i was on my last day of .;get balanced:. and also because i hate blue cheese.

cook the quinoa as you normally would (if you need help check this out). cook the chicken in a separate pan with a little bit of olive oil and in another pan or wok, start to cook all of your vegetables - you want them tender, yet still pretty firm because the sauce is going to make them even softer. while everything is cooking, whisk together the hot sauce, olive oil and a dash of salt. when the chicken is almost done cooking, cut it up into bite-size pieces, put it back in the pan with 1/4 of the hot sauce mixture - this will allow the chicken to soak up some of the hot sauce. once the chicken is completely done, the veggies are tender and the quinoa is cooked, combine all of it in either a big wok or bowl and add the rest of the hot sauce. stir until evenly mixed. top with blue cheese crumbles, if you're into that.

as with most of the recipes that i post, please feel free to mix things up - add different veggies, use more or less sauce, add more chicken, use beef or tofu, add ranch seasoning or dressing - literally whatever you think would be good with buffalo sauce (almost anything) would go well with this recipe.

let me know how you've decided to make it your own and as always, enjoy!

always striving for more,
dee b.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

.: almost there:.

ok, so i have 1 1/2 days left until i am finished with .:get balanced:. intended to blog a little bit more about my journey as i went, but i was spending a lot more time in the kitchen trying out new recipes than on the computer. sorry, not sorry.

after 12 1/2 days, i thought i would reflect on the pros, cons, successes and challenges throughout this workshop. my concluding post regarding .:get balanced:. will include LOTS of pictures and a couple of my favorite recipes that i will incorporate into my recipe routine going forward.

let's start with the cons, so i can finish this post on a positive note.


cravings: my cravings have exponentially decreased at this point, but there are still some cravings. like alcohol, i am not big drinker, but i do enjoy a beer while we are out for dinner or a glass of wine at the end of a long day. chocolate - this was a killer at the beginning, but i had the mindset that cheating wasn't an option, so i got over it pretty quickly. coffee was another tough thing for me to give up, not because i NEEDED the caffeine (which i definitely did, as well) but because i simply love the taste. drew and i really enjoy spending time together while drinking coffee whether it's out on a walk, catching up after a long day, reading or sitting around our living room just talking. drinking water or green tea has been just fine (and cheaper).

ease:. eating healthy can be easy and difficult at the same time. it is easy if you prepare and have an appropriate mindset, but difficult if you make excuses. talking specifically about eating while following get balanced, all my go-to snacks were pretty much off limits. for instance, pre-workout and post-workout routines had to be changed. it became easy as i got used to it, but eating an apple with almond butter, does not feel the same after a workout as a protein shake. also, drew and i went on a LONG bike ride (44 miles long) yesterday to soak up the long-forgotten MN sun and i stressed about what i was going to pack in the small bento bag attached to my bike. i ended up bringing a Larabar and a packet of almond butter and things were OK. like i said, eating healthy is only difficult if you make excuses.

hives:. yes, i have had a case of the hives. not horrible, so don't get the picture of me walking around like a leper. at the beginning of the week, i noticed my skin especially on my forearms and legs were itchy and when i scratched, large mosquito-looking bites would appear and itch EVEN more - lotion wouldn't even touch the itchiness. after 3 days, i immediately started to rule out possible topical issues (such as new detergent, lotion, etc), well i buy everything in bulk, so that was easy to rule out. i emailed my get balanced gurus and they asked me to look at what i was eating a lot more of such as nuts or coconut. i was eating exponentially more coconut than before, from flour to butter to milk and flakes. this was something that has been really frustrating the past couple days because i had made several batch recipes with coconut in it and couldn't let it go to waste. while this was extremely irritating, i didn't call it quits - i decided to become amazed at how what you eat can truly influence your body.


feeling:. i feel really, really good at this point! i can tell that my body knows exactly what to do with the food that i am giving it. i have endless amounts of 'natural energy' from the time that i wake up until bed time without coffee. yes, without coffee - if anyone knows drew or i, we rely on coffee whether it is straight espresso or French press and the need for coffee and caffeine was gone, literally overnight. there were even some nights when i couldn't get myself to wind down and needed to resort to Melatonin. while i didn't do this to lose weight, a few people have asked me whether i have lost any weight. no, i literally have not lost a pound which is OK  - i feel better, i feel more fit. i went shopping with my friend last weekend and it was one of those days where everything fit. i even bought 3 pairs of shorts - i HATE my legs (specifically the 3 scars on each knee) so the last time i bought shorts was a couple years ago when i was training for the Twin Cities marathon (do i dare say that these were all a size down?)

portion control:. this could be considered both a pro and a con, but i haven't been mindful of portion control since i started .:get balanced:. everything i eat is basically made from scratch, so there isn't a nutrition label to use as a guide for calories, protein, sugar, etc. i have learned to trust my body with the food that i am giving it - stop eating when i am full and wait to eat until i'm hungry. i feel like my portions are a lot bigger than before, but i am also eating more veggies and fruit, so i suppose that may take a little more to fill me up.
favorites:. i have relied on a few favorite foods - some new, some old.

>> cooked oatmeal or quinoa with raw honey or maple syrup, flaxseed and cinnamon. you can do so many different things with this, it's scary - add dried cranberries, bananas, bake it will apple chunks. you can eat it for breakfast or as a pre or post workout snack.
>> gluten free banana bread - stay tuned for this recipe from the .:get balanced:. gals. this was even hit with drew.
>> quinoa granola - again something that you can really mix up to fit whatever you would like. this should bake similar to regular granola, so if you have a favorite granola recipe, switch up the oats with quinoa for added protein.
>> SPICES! this isn't a recipe, but i have really loved playing around with spices such as basil, rosemary, thyme, red pepper flakes and curry. i literally had to buy all of the spices because we didn't have ANY aside from salt and pepper. you can get some really awesome, low-cal flavoring through spices!

will i continue this lifestyle after the 15 days are over??? no.

i have learned an INCREDIBLE amount through this workshop, not only about food and the science behind it, but my relationship with food and even about me, in general! it has exposed how often i truly 'treat' myself to dessert and how often we go out to eat to make things easier. with that being said, i feel like i had well-rounded diet before. i love dairy, but enjoyed it in moderation, same with bread.  i eat plenty of fruits and veggies and 'clean' meats. however, i will be more mindful of my gluten intake and i will know where to start when (not if) i have that crash and burn effect again.

i miss Chobani yogurt. i miss chips and salsa. i miss our waffle sundays. i miss my protein powder after workouts. i miss having an Izzy's ice cream cone after a 45 mile bike ride.

one. more. day.

always striving for more,
dee b.

Friday, April 19, 2013


i am 1/3 way through .:get balanced:.,  ONE THIRD.....not that i am counting...

there have been a few challenges along the way - for instance, i can't mindlessly eat - i ate a handful of pistachios before i panicked and checked the ingredients (thank God, they are gluten-free). drew and i met some friends in Uptown the other night for drinks - he ordered a burger and french fries, i got a water and i had to mindfully NOT pick at his french fries. it wasn't that hard, but it was something that i had to be mindful of. also, CRAVINGS - sugar cravings, carb cravings, the things i would do for a frozen pizza or a beer right now. i am sure my .:get balanced:. senseis are cringing at this, but i have yet to cheat! i have learned a lot of new coping skills with these cravings and they have worked! i have dreams about cheating and then wake up in a cold sweat (kidding.....kinda).

seriously, things are going really well and i am thoroughly enjoying all of the new recipes and trying new stuff! AND, i have honestly broke my addiction to coffee. i literally RELIED on a French Press or an Americano every morning - high octane stuff and if i didn't, then i was left in a fog with an insane headache.

i posted a picture of our dinner last night on Facebook and Instagram and a few people asked for the recipe, so here we go!

.:grain bowls:.
the idea of grain bowls was in the guidelines of .:get balanced:. so this is where my colorful wok started!

1:. pick a grain - you can use brown rice, but this is a great opportunity to get creative. finally try quinoa, lentils or millet. any of these will work really well as a base.

2:. vegetables - don't overanalyze this part - what do you have in your pantry or fridge that needs to get used up. get out of the box and throw vegetables in that you typically wouldn't put together

3:. want to up the protein? use quinoa or lentils as a base or add some chickpeas and beans. if you are a meat eater, throw in some meat or poultry.

throw it all together! do yourself a favor and buy a massive wok for things like this! i bought mine at IKEA for $30 and it has a lid - i seriously use it 5x a week, well worth it!

worried about it being bland? play around with spices! they are SO many types of herbs and spices out there, you just might be surprised by what you end up liking!

i have mentioned before that steamed veggies, quinoa/rice are staple side dishes for drew and i, but thanks to .:get balanced:. i switched a few things up and ended up with an even more robust and healthy side dish that we both like!

here is my example of a grain bowl from last night:.

FIRST - if i am making any type of stir fry, steaming veggies, etc., i ALWAYS heat up my wok with a few TBS of coconut oil and freshly minced garlic (typically a couple cloves). it seriously smells so good! it also creates a nice, flavorful "environment" for whatever your a cooking!

base:. organic Basmatic brown rice and lentils - these were leftover from big batches that i made earlier in the week, but both are super easy to cook. the grain base needs to be cooked before you throw it in the wok. refer to this post - it mainly focuses on cooking quinoa, but i hav realized that brown rice, quinoa and lentils basically cook the same way!

vegetables:. purple cabbage, brussels sprouts (both whole and shredded), carrots, green pepper, sweet potato, kale and black beans (i know it's not vegetable). some of these were cut fresh, some were leftovers from the grain bowl that i brought for lunch. did i mention that you can just about throw anything into a wok and it works???

i have become obsessed with cajun seasoning and i HATE spicy stuff, but it a nice change-up from the regular sea salt and pepper
sauce:. tahini sauce - i have also become obsessed with this as well thanks to .:get balanced:.

recipe for tahini sauce courtesy of .:get balanced:.>> 2 Tbs tahini
>> 1 Tbs lemon juice
>> 1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
>> 1-2 tsp raw honey (depending on sweetness)
>> 3 Tbs water
Hefty pinch of sea salt and pepper
>> 1 clove of garlice, minced
>> 1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
>> 1 Tbs finely chopped chives (i skipped these, not a fan of chives)

whisk together tahini, lemon juice, vingar, honey and water. mix in garlic, salt, pepper and drizzle in the olive oil while whisking. add more water if you would like it to be thinner. mix in the chives last. store in the fridge in a jar.

i instantly doubled this recipe because i had a feeling that i would really like it! i have used it mainly in my grain bowls, but it could be use with almost anything - on top of burgers, steaks, porkchops, in sandwiches or wraps!

back to the grain bowl/stir-fry - again, don't overanalyze it! get creative - you can almost put anything in there and it will work:. flax seeds, peas, broccoli, zucchini, cauliflower, jicama, the possibilities are literally


always striving for more,
dee b.

p.s. there is still time to join us for .:get balanced:. seriously, with this MN weather, who doesn't need a little help with their energy?! anyone around the WORLD can join by either visiting this website:. or emailing