Once we were out of the First Trimester, time moved a little quicker. It’s true what they say about the second trimester, it really was much easier overall. I slept better and my energy was back to pre-pregnancy levels.

Physically it felt like a lot was going on but looking back on this picture of week 14 there’s really nothing to show.

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Around week 16 I started to get a little bump, although my friend Tricia swore I was pushing it out, I really wasn’t! Running continued to be my exercise of choice. I only ran about 3 miles at a time and my pace hovered around the 9:20-9:50 depending on the day. I gave up on speed completely but I’m proud of myself for getting out there so regularly.

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I went to see my mom in California around week 14. Because I was at sea level I was able to run 5.5 miles. That’s the only time besides 2 weeks into my pregnancy (when I didn’t even know I was) that I’ve been able to run over 4 miles.

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Cravings:

For the most part I continued eating pretty normally. I did have a few cravings. One day I really wanted onion rings but after about three I was over it. I have been more into cereal than I have been in years as I mentioned last week. And, apple pie! I really, really needed an apple pie somewhere around week 22. I hate to admit it but the best one we found to satisfy my craving was the frozen Marie Callendar’s brand. I can honestly say, the last time I had one of those was my sophomore year of college.

Breakfast has been and continues to be super important for me. I ate a lot of yogurt with fruit in the waning days of summer.

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And I am utterly obsessed with my oat bars.

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I’ve also had a lot of soup. Whenever I’d go into the office, I would always stop by Alfalfa’s for a bowl of soup.

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In week 17 I told my boss I was pregnant. My position is contract so I don’t know if it will be there when I’m ready to head back to work after baby but I will continue to work for them through the last few weeks of my pregnancy barring any unforeseen circumstances.

Week 18. Excuse the sleepy eyes and bed head. Our little bump is growing.

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The day before we left for our babymoon we had our anatomy ultrasound. All looked good, god look at that little nose! We also found out we were having a little girl! I was so convinced it was a boy. I think I was more shocked then Michael.

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While we were in Europe I felt the baby kick for the first time. What a trip. Michael thought I was making it up but a few days later while lying in our hotel room in Rome he put his hand on my belly and felt her for the first time.

Week 19 in Venice.

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Week 21. Past the halfway point and definitely starting to show.

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Around week 24 I started to get some SI joint pain on my right side. I’ve always had a funky SI joint and can usually pop it back into place but it’s definitely more out of whack than it’s ever been.

Around this time I also started going back to yoga more. Running was becoming increasingly more difficult (mostly due to the constant urge to pee) and with the colder weather I was craving the indoors.

I went to New York in week’s 23, 25 and 26 of my pregnancy for work. I finally broke down and bought some maternity clothes on my first trip. I didn’t buy much but if you’re interested in specifics let me know and I can do a post on it.

We missed our picture in week 24 but I took this around that time. There’s no denying the belly now.

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Week 25 was Halloween. Happy Halloween from the Chases and poor Eli feeling left out in the background. IMG 8065 768x1024 The Second Trimester IMG 8067 1024x1024 The Second Trimester

Week 26

I was a traveling machine toward the end of this trimester. My last trip to NYC occurred this week. It’s also when I started to experience some pelvic pain. The best way to describe the pain is like having been on a bike all day and then having soreness in your sit bones. It seems to be worse on the left side and when I shift positions. More annoying then anything but I asked my MD about it and she said it was normal.

Running slower than ever now but I will continue as long as I feel okay. My MD also said it was great to keep it up if I could as it’s very beneficial to keep the strength up in my muscles and it’s healthy for the placenta and baby.

Week 27

The weekend of week 27 was filled with so much love. I flew straight from NYC to SF for my baby shower. My best friends put it on at my mom’s house. Thank you Julie and Josie for the lovely shower.

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My oldest friend Melissa, 10 weeks ahead of me.IMG 8108 The Second Trimester

My mom.

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Some family friends that I grew up with.

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Baby B was crazy spoiled and we had to check a big bag on the way home filled with little girl clothes, baby blankets and supplies. She is so loved already. Thank you to all those that came out for the shower.

We also had our 28 week appointment at the end of week 27. All looks good. Baby is measured great, heartbeat was strong and we heard for the third time now that we have a very active baby. No shocker to me as I feel her swim around all day long. Takes after her mom.

And with that, another 13 weeks done. Heading into the home stretch but still a ways to go.

Enjoy and Exhale!

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Pregnancy has changed a great many things for me. For one, I look in the mirror and don’t recognize the person staring back at me. Even though it’s mostly contained to my torso region, you get used to seeing yourself in a certain way and then when you don’t, well, it’s a little shocking. The other change that I can’t fully explain is my habit of late to not particularly want to eat a real dinner. I think part of this is the fact that my stomach is much smaller than it used to be and we eat on the later side.

A big dinner + a small stomach + the late hour is not my idea of a comfortable few hours before bed. So, even though Michael protests I sometimes revert to eating cereal for dinner. I like to think the baby just wants the extra calcium and folic acid that cereal provides.

But I’m not delusional, I know it’s not an ideal dinner so I tend to supplement it with the king of all king smoothies. The perfect pregnancy smoothie.

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At least this makes me feel better about bowl after bowl of cereal.

This smoothie is packed with chia seeds for fiber and protein, flax seeds for omega 3s, almond milk for calcium, spinach for iron, banana for potassium and pineapple and grapefruit for vitamin C and flavor.IMG 8129 768x1024 The Perfect Pregnancy Smoothie

The grapefruit adds a brightness and freshness to the smoothie that I love. I don’t recommend skipping it, otherwise it just becomes another green smoothie. A note on the grapefruit, I’ve made this smoothie twice. The first time I just used the juice of one grapefruit. The second time I put a peeled grapefruit half directly into the smoothie. I recommend the juice only, unless you want to peel the translucent skin off the flesh then add. My blender did not break down the pieces and it was a bit bitter the second time around.

The Pregnancy Smoothie
Author: 
Recipe type: Smoothie
Cuisine: Breakfast, Snack
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 smoothie
 
A fresh, vibrant and tangy smoothie packed with healthy flax and chia.
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • Juice of one grapefruit or a half of a grapefruit completely peeled (translucent inner and outer skin)
  • ¼ cup frozen pineapple
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until well combine.
  2. If you use an immersion blender, I suggest putting the seeds and spinach at the bottom and the fruit on top to avoid splatter.

Enjoy and Exhale!

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Fall has come to Colorado. For the past few weeks we’ve been blessed with 75 degree sunny days but the leaves are falling like crazy. We have two big oak trees outside our house and it’s a losing battle to even attempt to clean them up. So we don’t :).

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A chill has seeped into the air, especially in the morning. I went to a yoga class downtown on Sunday morning and snapped this picture of the gray skies and bare trees. I don’t think I’m ready for it but colder weather means we’re getting closer and closer to the arrival of Baby B, which simultaneously excites and terrifies me. We have so much prep to do.

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Anyway, today’s recipe sits perfectly on the fence between fall and summer. It incorporates my favorite fall flavor, sweet potatoes, but also the last of the summer veggies from our garden, including all our tomatoes and zucchini. As an aside, our chard is doing so well. It’s shiny, tall and hardy still.

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We first made these sweet potato enchiladas for Linda and Jim a few weeks back and I say we because Michael helped me in the kitchen. It was so nice to work together on this meal that we vowed to spend more time cooking together.

I made this same dish a couple weekends later, but with slight adjustments to the original recipe, including making my own enchilada sauce. It’s a different enchilada recipe than the one I shared a few months back and it’s much better! I’ll try posting that new recipe soon.

One note: Linda taught us a trick about the corn tortillas. Place them in a little bit of warm oil, just barely coating each side, prior to rolling your enchiladas. This will keep the tortillas from cracking as you roll them. I full heartedly recommend you do this.

Sorry the pictures of these aren’t better. It was dark when we ate the first round and by the time we ate the leftovers it wasn’t worth snapping a photo.

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These will have to do.

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Sweet Potato Enchiladas
Author: 
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 servings
 
Super simple but flavorful vegetarian enchiladas.
Ingredients
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ sweet potato, peeled and chopped into small pieces
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • ½ cup frozen corn
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • ½ tablespoon cumin
  • Dash of cayenne
  • ½ teaspoon garlic or onion powder
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, for the tortillas
  • 1 can of enchilada sauce (green or red sauce will work here)
  • 2 cups of shredded cheese of choice
  • Optional toppings: sour cream, green onions, cilantro
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Peel your sweet potato. Place it in the microwave for 2 minutes, just so that it starts to soften a tad.
  3. Dice half your sweet potato into bite sized pieces.
  4. Chop your zucchini and onion.
  5. Heat oil over medium high heat then saute sweet potato, onion and zucchini with salt for 5 minutes.
  6. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, cayenne and onion powder. Saute for an additional minute.
  7. Turn off burner and set mixture aside.
  8. In a small skillet heat 1 tablespoon of oil over low to medium heat.
  9. Place each tortilla in the oil for 10 second on either side. Just long enough for the tortilla to warm and absorb a little bit of oil.
  10. If you run out of oil toward the end of your tortillas, add a bit more.
  11. Place tortillas on a plate with a paper towel on it to soak up the extra oil.
  12. Grease a large glass casserole dish with a small amount of oil or spray.
  13. Begin with one tortilla, spoon about ¼ cup of filling onto the tortilla, fold in either side then turn the tortilla once away from your to cover the filling.
  14. Place in the casserole dish seam side down. I do all my wrapping within the casserole dish itself to make it either.
  15. Repeat with all 12 tortillas, lining them tightly together.
  16. Once all tortillas are filled, pour over enchilada sauce.
  17. Cover with cheese and place foil over the dish.
  18. Place in oven for 25 minutes.
  19. Remove foil and cook for 5 more minutes until golden brown on top.
  20. Let cool slightly then top with sour cream, green onion and cilantro before serving.

Off to New York tomorrow for my second to last work trip before I’m grounded for the third trimester. Have a great Monday.

Enjoy and Exhale!

 

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I thought I might do a couple of posts on how pregnancy has treated me. For those of you interested in recipes that I’ve so badly neglected over the past few months, there are a bunch of those in the works as well that I hope to post in the next few weeks. But for now, this post has been written since right after my first trimester ended in mid-August. Pregnancy has a way of making the brain foggy and I knew if I didn’t write it up then and there, I’d start forgetting the details. So, here is a recap of the first trimester. The second trimester has been much easier so I doubt I’ll do this detailed of a recap but I’ve found these types of posts really interesting from other bloggers and thought I’d share my experience.

I know every woman says this but the first 3 months are hard! I feel rather fortunate to have somehow avoided the whole throwing up business and I only felt really, really bad for about 5 weeks but overall I’m really happy to be out of the first three months. It felt like a big milestone to hit 14 weeks.

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[Baby B, 13 weeks]

Here’s how things shaped up in those first weeks.

Week 4: It doesn’t feel real. I told my sister the day after we found out. I waited to tell my mom until Father’s Day. Father’s Day is always really hard for us, so I thought we’d make it a bit more special. I cried, she cried. Bunch of saps we are. Michael and I decided we’d wait to tell anyone else until after the first trimester was over and we knew everything looked good.

No real symptoms to report besides having really sore boobs and I ate a lot of quinoa salads.IMG 0107 775x1024 The First Trimester

Week 5: This week was very much like the last. No real symptoms except we did go to Trader Joe’s and I walked too close to a woman in the freezer section and had to walk away because of her perfume. My sense of smells is definitely heightened.

I have also completely stopped drinking tea. I used to drink 3 cups of tea a day. Now the idea of anything warm makes me shutter.

Week 6: I was silently praising myself for continuing to eat so healthy at the beginning of the week, by the end of the week I wanted to throw away everything in the fridge. Each morning I’d wake up nauseous and ravenous at the same time. I needed to eat within minutes of getting up. Cravings included ants on a log and tomato soup. I had two bowls of tomato soup one afternoon and still can’t even think about it now. It gives me the chills to even see the second box of soup still in the pantry.

Desserts are also completely off the table. Nothing sweet please.

Week 7: Full blown nausea. Craving orange juice, bagels and frozen lasagna. So much so that I stopped to get a bagel after I taught one Tuesday morning, not usually something I would eat at 11am on a weekday. Vegetables are completely out of the question.

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Week 8: The nausea continues. Oatmeal and grapefruit juice are my best friends. I have oatmeal every morning about 10 minutes after getting up. I think it’s the only way I’m surviving right now. It seems to settle my stomach. We’ve made several trips to the grocery store over the last few weeks. I just walk around aimlessly looking for something that sounds tolerable. I usually end up in the fruit section. Thank god this is all happening during summer. Watermelon, nectarines, grapes, oranges and strawberries are helping make up for my vegetable avoidance. Veggies are still on the “absolutely not list”, except for the occasional bag of baby carrots, preferably ice cold.

We went to Michael’s cousins wedding this weekend. It was hard to hide not drinking but I managed well enough for no one to notice. I also ate a few asparagus spears at the reception. I would never have believed you if you said I’d be struggling to get greens into my diet. Carbs are my best friend, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and cereal, basically anything that’s not cooked. Michael thinks I’ve reverted back to being 5 years old. My steamer doesn’t know what’s happening and most of the veggie I bought 3 weeks ago have gone bad and been tossed. I also can’t bring myself to open the fridge due to the smell. Nothing is rotting but everything smells awful!

We also had our first pre-natal appointment this week. We got our first glimpse at Baby B (our go-to nickname). All looked good. We heard the heartbeat for the first time. It’s pretty amazing that in only 8 short weeks there’s a second heart beating in my body.

Week 9: I cried on the couch to Michael because I’ve felt so blah. Nothing sounds good. I don’t want to eat, read, blog, write, forget about cooking, it’s all rather disheartening. I know it will pass but I’m not very patient. I had a craving for a sandwich late in the week. Followed by my first vegetable dinner in 4 weeks. Steamed sweet potatoes and carrots with peanut sauce. By the end of the week I start to feel more like myself.

Week 10: We started taking belly pics, not that there is much at this point. I missed a few weeks here and there but it’s fun to see the changes.

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I’m back on the veggie wagon. It started with a few snap peas and carrots followed by some more asparagus. The nausea has subsided for the most part. I’m going to bed at 9pm every night though, my energy has been super low.

Week 11: We had our friends in town. Luckily the kiddies distracted everyone from noticing my general malaise and lack of wine drinking.

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Week 12: Can we tell people already?! These three months have felt like they’ve dragged. Our doctor was on vacation this week so our 12 week appointment became a 13 week appointment. Couldn’t come fast enough. Eating is pretty much back on track, no real food aversions or cravings. I’m also back to eating sweets, not sure if that’s a good thing or not but anything minty: Junior Mints, Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream, I want it.

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Week 13: Feeling well. Our appointment was great. Baby B is growing nicely. Heartbeat is strong and we even saw a little jump when they first started the ultrasound. I called my brother after the appointment to tell him he was going to be an uncle. His only question was whether I was craving bacon, no! At the end of the week we went down to Colorado Springs to tell our news to Michael’s parents, brothers, sister-in-laws and I called my grandma and aunts as well. We shared the news with this picture of Eli looking at the ultrasound pics.

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It was so wonderful to share the news. I’m so excited for our baby to come into this warm, loving family. It doesn’t even know how loved it already is.

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On the exercise front, no matter how awful I felt over the course of the last few months, I have been very consistent about working out. I alternate between running (much slower and shorter now), biking (I got a new road bike in July) and yoga (just regular vinyasa, nothing hot). I try to work out three days on and then take a day or two off. If I feel really blah I’ll walk instead of run but I think exercise is key, at least for me. It also helps that this guy doesn’t understand the word no.

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I’m trying to listen to my body more and more and ease up if I get tired. There are definitely some days when I feel great and others where getting through 3 miles feels like a half marathon.

And that’s a wrap on the first trimester.

Enjoy and Exhale!

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I don’t think I’ve ever had a real Waldorf salad. When I think Waldorf I think of Gossip Girl and Blaire and her eating Waldorf salads in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in NYC. Which is where she would eat them of course. Which then reminds me of the movie Serendipity, which makes me want frozen hot chocolate. Now you know how my brain works, scary isn’t it?

I’ve had very few pregnancy cravings thus far but one of them has been apples. I can’t get enough. This weekend Michael had to make his first cravings grocery run for what else, 5 Fuji apples. It was all I could think of. So really, this recipe came about from my undying current love for all things apples. See, I was going to make my regular chickpea salad for lunch today (which I swear is a recipe on the blog but apparently not!) but then I spotted an apple. I thought adding apples to chickpea salad would be delicious, sort of like a Waldorf salad with chickpeas and this creation was born.

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It’s a departure from the curry and turmeric I usually put in the tofu or chickpea salads. A little lighter, a little fresher and full of texture. I didn’t have any celery or walnuts to make this a classic Waldorf but I added some sliced almonds which worked really well. I would definitely recommend celery and will use it next time for sure. In addition, I added green onion and dill, neither of which seem to make the cut in traditional Waldorf salads but I was really pleased with the results.IMG 7987 768x1024 Waldorf Salad with Chickpeas

I ate it over a bed of romaine with some chips on the side and it kept me full all afternoon. If you’re looking for a fast, easy and filling lunch, I can’t recommend this Waldorf Salad with chickpeas enough.IMG 7983 768x1024 Waldorf Salad with Chickpeas

 

Waldorf Salad with Chickpeas (vegan, gluten-free)
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 apple, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons green onion, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons almonds, sliced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons vegan mayo
  • ½ teaspoon garlic, minced
  • Juice of ½ a lime
  • ½ tablespoon dried dill
  • 2 cups romaine lettuce
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients except lettuce in a food processor.
  2. Pulse until chickpeas are broken down and crumbly. Don't over process or you'll end up with hummus.
  3. Taste and add extra salt, lime juice or vinegar as needed.
  4. Place mixture over a bed of lettuce.

Enjoy and Exhale!

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Oh hello.

Remember me?

I didn’t mean to go MIA from blogging for so long but one thing lead to another and suddenly two months went by and, well, here we are. Let me back up. Firstly, the end of August was just a busy time and cooking took a back seat. Then September rolled around and I upgraded WordPress with disastrous results. I suddenly couldn’t post a single picture to my blog. After a bunch of troubleshooting with my hosting site I thought everything was back on track but then I lost all my subscribers. Both problems finally seem to be fixed. I’m not very techy with all the backend blogging stuff. It tends to overwhelming me and I can only take it on in bite sized pieces but I’m happy to report I fixed it!

After all my technical issues were solved, it was time for a vacation! At the end of September Michael and I took a two week vacation to Europe. Oh it was fabulous. Two weeks of being totally disconnected. It was so nice to just wander with my lovely husband without any responsibilities. Our trip took us to Paris, Venice, Cinque Terre, Rome and Barcelona. Below are some highlight photos of our trip.

First stop Paris. Michael had never been so we did a lot of sightseeing of the big attractions.

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Of all the cities that we went to I found vegetarian eating in Paris to be the hardest. One of the days we stopped at a grocery store and ate a picnic on our balcony which was lovely.

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We took a short flight from Paris to Venice. We only spent 1.5 days in Venice but walked all over the little streets, getting supremely lost. We left the day before George Clooney’s wedding festivities began.

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My favorite stop on our trip was Cinque Terre. We stayed in Riggamore in a beautiful room overlooking the sea. On one of our days there we decided to hike the path through all five towns. It was a long 9 hour hike but every few hours we arrived at one of the towns to refuel. At the end you reach Monterosso which is the most built up of the towns with a beach and larger shopping area. We then took the train back to our starting town.

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Next we took the train to Rome. We spent three days taking in the Coliseum, the Vatican, the Sistine Chapel and everything else in between.

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Loved the contrast of the Broncos sticker against the ruins.
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Our last stop was Barcelona, where we hit up the huge Boqueria market with it’s amazing fresh fruits and juices.

Oh, did I mention it was our babymoon? No? Well, more on that soon. icon smile Im back!

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Enjoy and Exhale!

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My body has picked up a very bad habit. I go to bed and fall right to sleep, then around 3am I wake up and can’t get back to bed. During my usual hour of being awake I think about WalkJogRun articles and recipes. If I go down the work rabbit hole I’ll never fall back asleep so I try my best to avoid thinking about my to-do list. Instead I dream up recipes for gluten free chocolate zucchini muffins and butter beans with rosemary mustard sauce and build balancing sequences for my classes. It’s a very productive hour, if I can remember it in the morning.

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Luckily, this morning I woke up remembering everything. It helped that when I opened the fridge, this thing was staring back at me.

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It’s one of two massive zucchinis that we picked over the weekend from our garden. I used one of them for southwestern stuffed peppers and zucchinis last night, which were delicious.

But that left another one to use so before 8:30 this morning I was grating away. To make these…
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These muffins can best be described as hearty. I ate two for breakfast and they held me over well until lunch around 1:30.

They’re made with oat flour which gives them an almost whole grain texture and taste. The only sweetness is from a little bit of sugar, which also makes them taste a little bread like, which I really liked. I added ground ginger and cinnamon, which complimented the chocolate well and although the zucchini is a little masked, you still see that touch of green which reminds you that these muffins have a little bit of healthy goodness in them.

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Gluten Free Chocolate Zucchini Muffins (gluten-free, vegan)

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon flax seed meal with 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup oat flour (gluten-free if necessary)
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup coconut yogurt, I used vanilla flavored but you can sub plain
  • 1 cup grated zucchini, water squeezed out
  • 1 tablespoon almond milk or 1 extra tablespoon of yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons vegan chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Add water to flax seed meal and let sit for 5 minutes to gel.
  3. In the meantime, mix oat flour through cocoa powder, combine well.
  4. Next add vanilla, yogurt, zucchini, almond milk and chocolate chips. Stir batter well.
  5. One note on the zucchini, once you've grated it, make sure to squeeze out the excess water. It doesn't need to be completely dry but you don't need all that juice in your dough.
  6. Grease muffin tin.
  7. Fill muffin tins 3/4 of the way up with batter. I didn't use liners and the muffins didn't stick.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes.
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 Gluten Free Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

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Let’s talk about pickles, more specifically, quick pickling. Michael loves pickles. I like them but his love affairs trumps my liking them so whenever I get a pickle spear on the side of my meal, I always give it to him. I like to think of this as the epitome of true love.

Last weekend I spotted some pickling cucumbers at our Sunday farmers market and decided to try my hand at making homemade pickles. Let me back up, I know nothing about pickling. I’ve read a few articles about how easy it is and that quick pickling is a nice way to ease into the pickling process. That’s the extent of my knowledge.

Luckily, it could not have been simpler. If you own a mason jar and can dump ingredients into it then you can be a quick pickling pro just like me.

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A few notes before the recipe:

1.) You must refrigerate immediately after quick pickling. This is not the same as canning where you can place your jars in a cupboard for months.
2.) The flavors will intensify the longer they sit. This is a really good thing but if you include jalapeño like I did, be aware that the pickles will get spicier the longer they steep. If you want milder pickles, simply pull out the jalapeño after a few days.
3.) Make sure to add a little water to your brine to balance out all the vinegar.
4.) This recipe would be wonderful with other types of vegetables like carrots or cauliflower, get creative.

IMG 7593 1024x835 Quick Pickling

Quick Pickling (vegan, gluten-free)

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 24 hours

Total Time: 24 hours, 5 minutes

Yield: 1 jar of pickles

Ingredients

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/16 teaspoon pepper, more if desired
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 jalapeño, sliced in half, remove seeds if you'd like a milder pickle
  • 6 small picking cucumbers, quartered or whole depending on preference
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water

Instructions

  1. Place salt through mustard seed in a clean 1-pint glass mason jar with a wide lid.
  2. Next add jalapeño and cucumbers to the jar, packing tightly.
  3. Lastly add vinegar and water until jar is completely full. I eyeballed the liquid so the liquid measurements could be a little off. Just make sure you fill 3/4 of the jar with vinegar and 1/4 with water, all the way to the top.
  4. Screw on top tightly and place in the fridge for at least 24 hours before opening.
  5. Each time I opened the fridge I would shake up the jar to redistribute the bits that had fallen to the bottle but this is optional.
  6. The pickles have been in the fridge for over a week and are still crisp and delicious but definitely spicier than when we first ate them. Feel free to take the jalapeño out after a few days if you prefer a milder pickle.
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 Quick Pickling

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It is all about moderation in my book. When it comes to working out, cocktails, TV, food, you name it. Life is just too plain boring if you’re constantly doing the same thing over and over again. Sometime you need to get out of your routine and have some cookie dough! I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for cookie dough. I’m actually not even that big of a fan of cookies but give me a bowl of chilled dough and I’m a happy camper. Add a bad chick flick like Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead, Troop Beverley Hills or Center Stage and I’ll say, “where are my sister and best girl friends?” because really no one should eat cookie dough alone, not even six ingredient cookie dough that takes about 2 minutes to make.

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A couple of days ago I had a craving for something sweet. I didn’t want ice cream or chocolate and then I remember this post I’d seen on Chocolate Covered Katie a few days prior and thought, why not? If you’re not familiar with Katie’s blog, it’s great! She focuses on healthy, natural desserts. Most everything she makes also has a gluten-free alternative if it’s not already gluten-free.

I halved the recipe when I made this knowing full well I’d be eating it alone, I know, the horror. Michael doesn’t like cookie dough!! And honestly, sharing with a boy feels wrong anyway. I used my homemade peanut butter which has very little salt in it so I added a bit of salt to the original recipe. I also added about a 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. Call me crazy but I love the taste of it in cookie dough and I really notice when it’s missing.

IMG 7607 1024x592 Six Ingredient Cookie Dough

I loved this recipe. Seriously, you should make it. They were a little peanut butter-y, which was fine by me, but if you’re wanting a more chocolate chip cookie dough I’d suggest using almond or cashew butter. Katie also suggests sunflower seed butter which although I love on its own, I’m not a huge fan of in baked goods so I leave that to you. I also think next time I might add some chopped peanuts.

If you’re craving a vegan, gluten-free cookie dough, try this version. It’s divine.

Six Ingredient Cookie Dough

Prep Time: 2 minutes

Total Time: 2 minutes

Yield: ~3/4 cup cookie dough

Ingredients

  • 1/4 gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter, I prefer natural peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cashew meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • handful of chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Mix well.
  3. Chill if you prefer colder cookie dough, otherwise, dig in!
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 Six Ingredient Cookie Dough

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While our friends were here last weekend we stopped at the Highland Square farmers market for breakfast. I’m not a huge food truck fan but everyone else was eating so I thought, “why not?” They have tons of food trucks there, one of which, Wong Way Veg, is strictly vegetarian. They had a lot of good choices but I decided to sample one of their marinated carrot dogs after a recommendation from the food truck lady. I was not disappointed. I’ve always found veggie dogs to be a little blah and have been known to just eat the bun with the toppings so this was the perfect alternative. It’s light and flavorful and totally natural.

IMG 7618 768x1024 Marinated Carrot Dogs

Once home I knew I needed to recreate the recipe. Luckily, the recipe was on the Door to Door organics website. I made some adjustments to the marinade. And because the week got crazy and one thing led to another, my carrot dogs marinated for 3 days. I don’t think it made much difference beyond the dogs being a little bit more steeped in the marinade but 12 hours would work just as well.

Marinated Carrot Dogs (vegan, gluten-free)

Prep Time: 12 hours, 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 12 hours, 15 minutes

Yield: 4 carrot dogs

Serving Size: 1 carrot

Ingredients

  • 4 large carrots, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons Bragg's liquid aminos
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions

  1. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Once boiling place trimmed carrots in water and boil for 6-8 minutes or until you can pierce with a knife.
  2. While carrots are cooking, mix all marinade ingredients in a large tupperware or ziplock bag.
  3. Drain carrots and let cool slightly.
  4. Place carrots in marinade and stick in the fridge for 12-24 hours.
  5. Heat grill, place carrots directly on the grill for a minute, flipping once, grill on the other side for a minute.
  6. Place in a hot dog bun or lettuce wrap and top with your favorite hot dog toppings. I used ketchup, mustard and sweet relish.
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 Marinated Carrot Dogs

You can eat these marinated carrot dogs on a hot dog bun, gluten-free bun or even in as a lettuce wrap with a piece of Bibb lettuce. The topping possibilities are endless. The Wong Way Veg dog had cabbage on top but you can also go more traditional with mustard and relish and of course, ketchup.

I really loved these! And the marinated was totally safe to use as a salad dressing afterward. I made a zucchini noodle type thing with the marinade and it tasted just like a healthy version of top ramen. Michael took one bite and said, “yeah, I’ll be requesting that a lot.”

IMG 7612 1024x1024 Marinated Carrot Dogs

IMG 7613 768x1024 Marinated Carrot Dogs

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