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.

gluten free chocolate zucchini muffins

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

gluten free chocolate zucchini muffins

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…
gluten free chocolate zucchini muffins

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.

gluten free chocolate zucchini muffins

gluten free chocolate zucchini muffins


Enjoy and Exhale!

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.

quick pickling

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.

quick pickling


Enjoy and Exhale!

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.

six ingredient cookie dough

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.

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.


Enjoy and Exhale!

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.

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.


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.”

marinated carrot dog marinade with zucchini noodles

marinated carrot dog marinade with zucchini noodles

Enjoy and Exhale!

This past weekend we had the pleasure of hosting friends. Both are friends we met in San Francisco years ago, who have subsequently moved to Sacramento and Casablanca. They were in town for the weekend and we had a blast showing them the city, eating lots of food and visiting on the couch. Good friends are the ones you don’t need to plan out every second of the day with!

Side note, as part of our eating adventures I had my first ever marinated carrot dog. It was delicious, even at 10 in the morning, which is when I ate it at the farmers market. More on that later in the week, first, a couple of photos of the weekend.

Saturday we explored downtown but not before a little coffee break. Here is sweet Sierra with Michael and Doug.
michael and doug

Milu with Lupe. Oh those curls!

Milu and Sierra playing with straws.

the girls

We had breakfast at the Delectable Egg which was, delectable.
milu at breakfast

And spent lots of time hanging out in our living room.


Selfie with Sierra.
me and sierra

Doug bought us girls Dollar Store t-shirts! Which we rocked proudly for about 20 minutes before the glitter made us all itchy.
book club girls

Eli loved having the babies around.
sierra and eli

It was such a fun weekend spending time with old friends and their new little families. It was sad to see everyone leave but there was lots of talk of more Colorado visits. Here’s hoping.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Last Wednesday I was reading blogs in bed before I started my day. I haven’t felt the urge to bake lately. Not that I ever really feel the urge to bake, but everyone once in a while a recipe comes along and I think, I have to make that right now! This was one of those recipes. It was for these one bowl carrot apple muffins from the Minimalist Baker. She had me at one bowl and suddenly this gluten-free, vegan carrot bread was born.
carrot bread

So I went downstairs and got started only to realize about half way through that I didn’t have all the ingredients. But, what I ended up creating tasted delicious enough to share. Please click on the link above if you want to original recipe but here are a few of the substitutions I made to prove that this recipe is adaptable as it is delicious.

I omitted the brown sugar completely because I didn’t have any.
I replaced the brown sugar with an additional tablespoon of maple syrup and added one full banana instead of the called for 1/3 cup to add sweetness.
I used applesauce because I had just enough leftover that needed using up.
I swapped the almond meal for cashew meal.
I didn’t have gluten-free flour (!) so I used 1/4 cup of gluten-free pancake mix and 3/4 of a cup of brown rice flour. I was worried about this substitution but the bread turned out great. It did crumble a little while the bread was warm but held together fine after it cooled.
I added a teaspoon of allspice.
I used almonds instead of walnuts.
Oh, and grease the pan before you make this. I didn’t add it to my directions but it’s an important step!

carrot bread

It may seem like a lot of substitutions but I assume the overall taste is pretty similar to the original recipe. I gobbled this up for breakfast and as snacks over the last couple of days. I recommend it with a little butter or apricot jam, if you have some.


Enjoy and Exhale!

Sorry for the radio silence. I was feeling a little uninspired over the last month and decided to take a blogging break instead of posting half-assed recipes. Plus, let’s be honest, summer fruit is SO good right now, that’s pretty much all I’m eating anyway. Every week we go to the store and I buy one catalope, one watermelon, a carton of strawberries, a carton of blueberries, a few nectarines and some apples. By the end of the week I’ve demolished everything! I can’t even blame Michael because he really doesn’t eat that much fruit, so it’s all me. When I can tear myself away from the fruit-fest, we’ve also been eating these delicious tostadas.


It all started on Saturday afternoon when we went to a little hole-in-the-wall Mexican place in Lohi. I got the tostada which was somewhat reminiscent of the tostadas my roommates and I used to get in college at this awesome restaurant in Chico called La Comida.

Let me digress for a moment to talk about La Comida which I still dream about to this day, even though I haven’t been there in 10 years. La Comida was a staple for us college kids. What seemed like a weekly occurrence, we’d all pile into someone’s car and drive over to the restaurant for lunch. It was one of those places where if you mentioned you were going, you had 5 other people tagging along just like that. Mainly because, for $5 you could get a tostada the size of your head, granted it was mostly lettuce, but it was the perfect lunch paired with their delicious salsa and chips.

Saturday’s tostada wasn’t quite up to La Comida standards and I knew I could do better, so Saturday evening we piled in the car (okay there were only two of us but it’s a small car!) and went to the store to get all the fixings.

Michael didn’t seem all that excited about the prospect of tostadas but went along with my excitement. Once home I got to work. I toasted the tostada shells with a little cheese. Made some creamy refried beans by adding a little almond milk because the beans have to be soft and creamy, and for good measure I added a second tostada shell so it also resembled a Taco Bell Mexican pizza. I used tons of shredded lettuce and piled on tomatoes, bell peppers, green onions, avocado and olives.


We devoured these tostadas and I mean devoured them. Michael professed it was the best meal I’d made in months. We loved them so much that we had the same thing for dinner on Sunday night and probably would have had them on Monday as well had we not run out of tostada shells.

If you’re looking for a seriously no fuss summer dinner, that’s also filling, try these tostadas! If you’re now craving a La Comida tostada as I’m sure some of you are, I’m sorry, but these might help with the craving.

bean tostadas


Enjoy and Exhale!

A roundup of what’s been happening lately around these parts.

I’m reading The Goldfinch and have been for the past month :) I’m about 3/4ths of the way through. I can’t say I’m loving it. I sort of want to shake the main character out of frustration. Anyone else read or reading it?

We saw a showing of Second City downtown last weekend. It was HILARIOUS! Michael had seen them perform in Chicago but they were new to me. Laughing that much in a 3 hour period makes me realize that I don’t laugh nearly enough on a daily basis.
second city

Has anyone else heard of Duolingo? I found out about it from a 2014 trends report I was reading for work. It’s a really fun way to get back into languages. I’m re-learning my high school French.

Guy has taken to sleeping in the window frame in the afternoon sun. This can’t be comfortable but he seems fairly content.
Ahhh, cherries! They’re back in season and amazing as ever.

I took a three day running break late last week and made my way back into the studio for two classes. Holy hell it felt good and my run on Saturday morning was amazing. The power of rest!

I’ve never cooked kohlrabi before but made some last week. Delicious alternative to sweet potatoes with bbq ranch and quinoa on the side.

kohlrabi fries

Really good mango smoothie with hemp seeds last week. I’m currently obsessed with all things mango.
mango smoothie

I’m also going crazy over the World Cup. My dad was a huge soccer fan and we grew up to his cheers and screams while watching whatever soccer match was on at the moment. I find myself screaming at the TV in just the same manner now. That US v. Portugal game nearly killed me. Heartbreaker.

Andy, Cathy, Michael and I made in to Linger finally. The service was awful but the food, once we got it, was delicious. This is the beet salad. I also had an unpictured tofu steamed bun that was some of the best food I’ve had lately.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Last we left our little garden at the beginning of May, things were just starting to take root, pun intended. We’ve had a lot of rain as I mentioned last week but also some sunshine. That combo has proven to be very fruitful (ah, on a pun roll). Here is my how does your garden grow update.

A couple of side by side comparisons for you.

By far our big grower is the cilantro, it’s sort of out of control. It grew so big, so fast that we had to stake it like a tomato plant. It seems to have stopped growing and is no longer creating cilantro as much as what I think is coriander seeds. I may harvest these but need to do some research.

Other big growers, the tomatoes. These are the second batch we planted, after the snow storm. They have very few tomatoes compared to our potted tomatoes below. But the growth is impressive.

potted tomatoes

potted tomatoes

Bad lighting for the rosemary but it’s growing steadily.

Yay for kale. We’ve been enjoying our homemade kale leaves for dinner over the last few weeks.

Garden bounty.
how does your garden grow update

The swiss chard is gorgeous with its colored stems. We’ve been eating this steamed for dinner as well.
swiss chard

The zucchini plant is growing but I haven’t seen any evidence of actual zucchini or blossoms yet.

The peppers and jalapeno plants have both started to flower.

We planted a second basil plant a few weeks ago after our first one all but died. It seems to be doing okay. We also had some random plants pop up in one of the pots the old tenants left. We moved the plant to the ground after a few weeks. The pretty orange and yellow flowers in the background are the mystery plant. So beautiful. Does anyone know what kind of flowers those are?
basil and flowers

Overall I’m really pleased with our little garden. Every evening after work Michael and I head outside to visit our “family”. It’s fun to see the progress and reap the rewards. I’m looking forward to fresh tomato salads with basil. We didn’t do anything special when we planted. We bought a bag of soil and followed the instructions on each plant. We’re not using any fertilizer or Miracle Grow, nothing really seems to need it.

If you live in Colorado hit me up in about 3 weeks, I’m pretty sure I’m going to have more tomatoes than I know what to do with. And if you know anything about coriander seeds, I’m all ears.

Enjoy and Exhale!

It’s summer and all I want to eat are quinoa salads. Hence why you’ve seen two quinoa salad posts in a row. I can’t get enough. I’ve had quinoa every night this week. I think it’s the ease of preparation and the fact that it’s light but still filling that’s got me. Although it doesn’t take much to convince me to eat quinoa. This is a down and dirty lunch: quinoa salad. I made it in 5 minutes between a conference call and reviewing a presentation.

down and dirty lunch: quinoa salad

It’s crazy flavorful and perfect in the warm weather. As an aside, this is not the summer I signed up for. It’s not nearly hot enough and every afternoon the sky clouds over, the thunder rolls and the rain falls. I like the rain as much as the next person and I love a good thunderstorm but not every afternoon. I want heat. I want sunshine. I think everyone claiming 300 days of sunshine a year in Colorado was full of it or was counting the few hours in the morning when the sun shines.

If we ever get another nice, sunny afternoon this would also be the perfect meal for a picnic. Minus the cheese it could stay out on a picnic table for hours and still taste heavenly.

down and dirty lunch: quinoa salad

Speaking of cheese, feel free to omit if you’d like. It does not make the dish. I just happen to eye a little block of swiss cheese in the fridge as I was pulling out the rest of the ingredients for this salad and thought it sounded good so I included it.

down and dirty lunch: quinoa salad

Also, I used a little Trader Joe’s bruschetta mix as the dressing plus a little salt and good balsamic. If you don’t have a pre-packaged mix in your fridge (like me 95% of the time) mix up some olive oil, balsamic, lemon and salt and you’re good to go. I also recommend using fresh basil if you have it. The second basil plant in our garden looks to be going the same way as our first so I’m trying to use up what I can. I don’t know why I can’t seem to keep basil alive, everything else is thriving. More on our garden’s progress soon.


Enjoy and Exhale!