27 Years

Isn’t it funny how your birthday really just sneaks up on you as you get older? When you’re young, it’s a whole big to-do.. your parents bring Dunkin Donuts munchkins into school, you get a big party with lots of cake, and you get a whole day about you. Well, I decided to take the day off of work today, Nathan’s coming home early to take me to lunch, and Saturday [after work] is all birthday fun! It’s the little things that make me realize how lucky I am.

This birthday is definitely a bit different for me; it’s my first in California so it’s going to be full of all new experiences. Last year, I was lucky enough to be surrounded by a ton of family and I loved it.

Grandpa

This year already kicked off with a great startI skyped with my mom who sang happy birthday to me at 12 am EST. The time difference is still weird sometimes but she is always there to remind me that I was born in Eastern Standard Time ;) And I’ll be back in Baltimore for more celebrations in just a few days.. I can’t believe it’s here already and I’m so looking forward to it.

My 26th year brought quite a bit of change with the big move across the country. It’s really taught me a lot about my life, myself, my marriage, and so much more than I could have imagined. As someone who isn’t a big fan of change, giving up my career to explore what I think I want to do with my life next has been really scary. And while it’s been difficult, I couldn’t have asked for a more supportive husband to encourage me and cheer me on throughout the process. In the last year, I’ve learned even more that Nathan truly is my best friend; we couldn’t have done this move without each others’ support and I’d say that’s a hell of a lesson to learn.

Stinson Beach Brittany Nathan

I may not be with my family and friends this time around, but I think I’ve got a pretty great group of people to celebrate with out here.

Tone It Up TIU Mission Dolores Park Clueless

Not to mention how special it’s going to be when I get to see the fam again.

Orioles Dad

Orioles Mom

Jilly Bean Smiles

Matt Jilly Melissa

Things seem to really be falling into place and 26 was a hell of a year. I can’t wait to see what 27 will bring!

No questions today, just thoughts :)

What I Ate Wednesday #99: Happy Food

Quick note to all nut butter addicts: there’s another recall due to the potential Salmonella contamination of the glass and plastic jars. Check out the list of all of the nut butters being recalled.

Good news! I woke up yesterday and my ankle was less swollen and felt pretty darn good! I even made it to the gym for a light workout before spending hours on my feet at work again. Which lead to Nathan’s reaction of “eeeeeshhh that does not look good” when he got home. [Mom, stop yelling at me.] So we’re back to raising and icing. BUT! I’m off of work on Thursday [because psh! Who wants to work on their birthday?!] so that’ll really give me some good rest time in.

In the meantime, my taste buds were pretty darn pleased yesterday. Even though I do have an oatmeal obsession. Though I guess that’s a pretty healthy obsession, yes? Good.

[Breakfast]
Protein Oatmeal Macadamia Coconut Cashew Almond Butter Coffee
Toppings these days include: macadamia butter with cashews, coconut cashew peanut butter, and protein almond butter. Word to the wise: regular almond butter is better. Every time I try something new with a nut butter, I remember I’m really a purist and much prefer the roasted nut with a little salt. Maybe one day I’ll remember.

[Lunch]
Smokey Peruvian Chicken Sugar Snap Peas Brussels Sprouts Carrots Avocado Heirloom Tomato Balsamic
I must really love Nathan to have given him the rest of the lettuce! I ended up having a lettuce-less salad with all of the rest of the veggies in the fridge and a smokey Peruvian chicken thigh. It was pretty awesome and, of course, the brussels were the star of the show.

[Afternoon Snack]
Kiss My Broccoli Peanut Butter Mug Cake
Yea.. recylced picture from yesterday’s post, but I was too excited to dig into my peanut butter mug cake to snap a picture. Whoops!

[Dinner]
Char Siu Vietnamese Pork Bowl Crushed Peanuts Red Wine
Nathan’s been begging me to make my Vietnamese pork bowl again for a while. I did it a little differently this time though, by using a jarred char siu sauce to marinate the pork instead of the regular marinade. It was darn tasty but it was agreed that the regular marinade is the way to go. I also took some very serious advice from Laura and Lindsay on how to help my ankle get better and poured myself a glass of wine ;)

Evening Snack
Plum
Plums have been so crazy good lately. Actually, fruit in general has been pretty spectacular but we just picked up some awesome plums from the farmers market on Saturday and we’ve really been enjoying them!

Food for Thought

What’s the best meal/recipe you make?

Link Love #49

Yesterday started out with a bang.. or really a little snap, crackle, pop. I was doing high knees in only the second set of my workout and my ankle rolled. The side of my foot was practically perpendicular to my leg and I was definitely seeing stars. I took it easy and ended up being able to finish my workout. Very carefully.
Swollen Ankle

Looks good, right? Ugh. You bet I got my feet up and ankle iced when I got home from work though.
Kiss My Broccoli Peanut Butter Mug Cake
A little peanut butter mug cake action didn’t hurt either. Heather’s recipe is legit my favorite. You should definitely give it a try! <– A nice little segue into some more favorites from the week..

Health

25 Things I Do To Love My Body And How You Can Too Corinne Dobbas

25 Things I Do To Love My Body (And How You Can Too) – Corinne Dobbas

25 Things I Do to Love My Body (And How You Can Too) – Corinne Dobbas
10 reasons your weight is not shiftingDiet Duchess via Food & Nonsense
What We Eat to Maximize Recovery and Fight Oxidative Stress – Cotter Crunch
Your Body: Are You Accepting Or Settling For Your Reflection? – Lifting Revolution
5 Simple Diet Changes – The Lean Green Bean

Fitness

Basic Strength Training Workout Fit2Flex

Basic Strength Training Workout – Fit2Flex

Basic Strength Training Workout – Fit2Flex
5 Calorie Torching Crossfit Workouts to TryCarrots ‘N’ Cake via Health
Fitness Pilates Circuit Burner Workout – Housewife Glamour
6 Ways People Make Running Harder Than It Has To Be – Shut Up + Run
The Simplest & Most Challenging Arm/Ab Workout – The Almond Eater

Food

Triple Layer Fat Bomb Nut Butter Cups Peachy Palate

Triple Layer Fat Bomb Nut Butter Cups – Peachy Palate

Triple layer fat bomb nut butter cups! – Peachy Palate
Honey Pecan Sweet Potato Muffins – Nicole Culver
Poached Egg + Crispy Proscuitto Avocado Toast – According to Elle
Roasted Garlic Eggplant Lasagna Boats with Spicy Italian Chicken Sausage – Half Baked Harvest
Grilled Romaine with Caramelized Onion Noodles, Blue Cheese and Greek Yogurt Balsamic Dressing – Inspiralized

Food For Thought

What’s one of your favorite posts from the past week?

Liquid Diet

Hi friends! Hope you had a great weekend. We certainly did over here.. it started out a little like this:

Eureka Red Wine Sierra Nevada Porter

Eureka Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA Rye Whiskey

We hit up a new-to-us restaurant for happy hour called Eureka! I planned on sticking with the 1 glass of wine but when I saw they had a Bear Republic Racer 5 with a shot of rye, I couldn’t pass it up. And I’m so glad I didn’t.. what a great combo! After dinner, we made our way over to another bar where a little more beer, a shared slice of pizza, and gelato happened. So much for sticking with 1 glass of wine, huh? ;) It had been quite some time since Nathan and I went bar hopping and it was a really fun night.

That night that subsequently resulted in a nice, quiet Saturday morning.

Protein Egg Oatmeal Almond Macadamia Cashew Butter

Got myself all snuggled up on the couch before hitting up the farmers’ market, wandering Berkeley, and having a relaxing Saturday that ended in our favorite Indian food.

Viks Chaat Tandoori Chicken

And if we didn’t get enough on Friday, we had a nice Sunday Funday. We made our way into the city and grabbed brunch at Pork Store Cafe.

Pork Store Cafe

Pork Store Cafe Eggs Benedict Grilled Tomato Avocado

The mimosa was a surprise.. Nathan decided to order them and I put up no fight at all. Besides, it paired perfectly with the fabulous benedict with avocado and grilled tomato. Yesssss! We took to some more relaxing, this time in Dolores Park.

Dolores Park

Never forgetting our sunglasses again! Haha. The day started a bit gray, as usual these days, but turned out to be perfect weather. It was so nice to just sit in a park and enjoy the day and people watch. It was a really great weekend and I’m sorry to see it end. But it just means we’re that much closer to heading home again! :)

Weekly Meal Plan

Sunday – Grilled balsamic chicken thighs, roasted brussels sprouts, & balsamic basil heirloom tomato salad
MondaySmokey Peruvian chicken with roasted carrots
TuesdayChar siu pork bowl
WednesdayGreek chicken souvlaki with side salad
Thursday – My birthday! Going out!
Friday – Leftovers
Saturday – Big birthday dinner at NOPA!

Food for Thought

What fun things did you do over the weekend?

Foodie Friday: Crispy, Crunchy Baked Chicken Tenders

It all started with a love for this quinoa crusted chicken strips recipe. I’ve said it before but Nathan is a huge fried chicken fan so anyway that I can find a healthier way to get him his fix [sort of..] is good in his book. I made these chicken strips once before and he loved them so he was more than happy to see them on the menu again this week. Well, all is well and good assuming you don’t forget to buy the right ingredients.. like quinoa.

I could have sworn I had a ton of quinoa in the pantry! I practically tore the place apart only to find that I used up the last of it. Ahhh yes, now I remember! Crap.

Well luckily for me, we did have a few ingredients I could use to substitute and make an equally crispity, crunchity [peanut-buttery? ;)] chicken tender. I whipped up the same BBQ honey mustard sauce, adjusted the breading ingredients, and went to town!

Crispy, Crunchy Baked Chicken Tenders

Adapted from Quinoa Crusted Chicken Strips
Serves 4

Crispy Crunchy Baked Chicken Tenders  Barr & Table

Ingredients
BBQ Honey Mustard
– 1/3 cup dijon mustard
– 1/4 cup honey
– 3 tbsp your favorite bbq sauce
– 1/2 lime; juiced

Chicken Tenders
– 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast; sliced into tenders
– 1/2 cup low fat buttermilk
– 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
– 1/2 cup steel cut oats
– 1/2 cup almond meal [can sub more panko or another flour]
– 1 tsp salt
– 1 tsp black pepper
– 1 tsp garlic powder

Directions
Preheat oven to 450°F. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil and a cooling rack, sprayed with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients for the BBQ honey mustard.

In another medium bowl, combine the buttermilk and 1/4 cup BBQ honey mustard. In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Add the chicken to the buttermilk mix, shake off excess liquid, and dredge in the panko mixture. Lay the pieces flat on the cooling rack and lightly spray the chicken.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, flip the chicken tenders, and spray the other side. Bake for another 8-10 minutes, then broil for 2-4 minutes. Remove from the oven and drizzle with more BBQ honey mustard and devour!

Nutritional Information
For 1/4 recipe of chicken without extra sauce

200 Calories / 6g Fat / 13g Carbs / 1g Fiber / 0g Sugar / 18g Protein

This will definitely be a recipe I’ll be creating again in the future. Love when the substitutions work out! And if you’re ever looking to shake it up in the kitchen, I couldn’t recommend Half Baked Harvest more. Tieghan’s recipes are amazing and never fail to impress!

Sprint 2 the Table

Food for Thought

What’s your go-to blog for recipes?
Any fun plans for the weekend?

What I Ate Wednesday #98: It’s In the Bowl!

I’m afraid to say this “out loud” but I feel like I’ve gotten into a good swing with foods that are consistently keeping me satisfied and satiated. It seems every time I say I’ve figured it out, my mind plays tricks on me and I suddenly seem to be changing it up. Change is good though. One of the best and most important things I’ve learned as of late, though still working on it daily, is how to listen to my body and its cravings. Some days I very clearly need more food than others, but these main meals and snacks have really worked for me lately.

[Pre-Workout]
Coconut Vanilla Latte Healthy Bites Cotter Crunch
I like to pretend the coffee beans in these bites are giving me extra energy at the gym ;) Really though, they’re just freaking delicious!

[Breakfast]
Egg Whites Oatmeal Coconut Cashew Peanut Butter Macadamia Coffee Cinnamon
Egg white oats are still going strong! Clearly running low on nut butters though [what a disaster!].. I only have coconut cashew peanut butter and macadamia cashew butter right now. I just bought a ton of almonds and am trying to figure out what to make next!

[Lunch]
Kale Spinach Avocado Panko Chicken Tomato Carrots Cucumber Corn Honey Mustard BBQ
Packed up my usual “throw it all into a bowl” salad for lunch at work and topped it with Monday night’s leftover panko oat chicken. It was a delicious shake-n-bake kinda recipe that I’ll be sharing soon. It’s Nathan-approved and he’s a picky chicken eater ;)

[Afternoon Snack]
Unpictured creamy peanut butter ThinkThin bar.. sometimes you’re just too hungry for pictures!

[Dinner]
Sloppy Joe Bowl Avocado Gouda Corn Salad
This sloppy joe bowl ended up being a hit on Instagram! I love when people ask for a recipe that’s just basically the contents of my fridge ha! I did actually plan this out, but it would work with whatever veggies you have. Mind included carrots, bell pepper, onion, zucchini, and mushrooms. I also added lots of garlic, 1 lb ground turkey, and a combo of apricot bbq sauce and Trader Joe’s all natural bbq sauce.

Underneath all of that goodness is was grilled corn salad with more bell pepper, tomato, and jalapeno. Topped it off with avocado and spicy gouda cheese and I was good to go! This isn’t exactly what you think of for a summer dinner but let’s be real here, the bay area isn’t exactly known for its hot summers.

[Evening Snack]
Dark Chocolate Berry Protein Bites
Love ending my nights with a nice crispy, crunchy apple and a super chocolatey bite!

Food for Thought

What’s your favorite snack? Healthy or otherwise ;)

Link Love #48

Wow, where did Monday go?! Yesterday completely flew by but I’m thinking I’ll take some more of those days right about now. With each passing day, I’m getting more and more excited to head back home! There are also lots of exciting things going on over here that I’m hoping to share with you soon. Let’s just say fingers crossed! In the meantime, my birthday is coming up pretty quickly and of course dinner reservations have already been made [at NOPA] and I’m getting super psyched!

I have no smooth transition into links this week, so I’m just going to say enjoy! ;)

Health

Why We Eat Resistant Starches for Gut Health Cotter Crunch

Why We Eat Resistant Starches for Gut Health – Cotter Crunch

Why We Eat Resistant Starches for Gut Health – Cotter Crunch
The 5 stages of change (guest post)Erica House via Carla Birnberg
Diet Review: The Clay Diet – Food & Nonsense
Hacking Your Cravings: How To Use Taste & Bulk to Your AdvantageErika Nall via JillFit
Is your workout causing you to gain weight? – Run to the Finish

Fitness

20 Minute Leg Burner Almond Eater

20 Minute Leg Burner – The Almond Eater

20 Minute Leg Burner – The Almond Eater
A Do-Anywhere, Full-Body Resistance Band Workout – Greatist
What Heart Rate Tells You About Your Workout: Is Your Heart Going To Explode? – Lifting Revolution
Resistance Band Loop Leg Workout – Fitnessista
Booty Blaster Workout Finisher – Trainer Paige

Food

Easiest Bourbon Peach Dump with Buttered Popcorn Half Baked Harvest

Easiest Bourbon Peach Dump with Buttered Popcorn – Half Baked Harvest

Easiest Bourbon Peach Dump with Buttered Popcorn – Half Baked Harvest
Chocolate Vanilla Swirl Cashew Butter – Fit Foodie Finds
Pan Seared Mahi Mahi over Sticky Coconut “Rice” with Mango Salsa – PaleOMG
Savory Bacon Granola – Honestly Yum
Caramelized Peach, Mascarpone and Dark Chocolate Grilled Cheese – How Sweet It Is

Food for Thought

What was one of your favorite posts from the past week?

Another Low-Key Weekend

With my crazy work schedule as of late and Nathan coming home from Vegas and promptly getting sick, a low-key weekend was just what we needed. Plus, in 2 weeks we’re heading back home for some more family time and a wedding that we’re both a part of so we need to save up all of our energy for that!

Grifone Sangiovese

Friday night wine.

Sauls Jewish Deli Kippers Poached Eggs

Saturday brunch. First time trying kippers!

Roasted Chicken Panko Cherry Tomatoes Red Wine Parmesan Basil

Fabulous Saturday dinner – garlic herb roasted chicken, basil panko roasted cherry tomatoes, shaved parm, balsamic bbq, and red wine.

Coconut Vanilla Latte Healthy Bites Cotter Crunch

A new favorite healthy bites recipe – Coconut Vanilla Latte!

Habit Burger Cheeseburger French Fries Onion Rings

Nathan’s California burger tour continues to Habit Burger, voted the best fast food burger.

Habit Burger Sesame Almond Chicken Salad

Habit Burger ranks #1 for me over In N Out or Five Guys. It helps that they actually have a few things on the menu for me to choose from!

Like I said, low-key but much-appreciated! Now we’re ready to take on this week’s craziness.

Weekly Meal Plan

Sunday – Leftovers
MondayQuinoa Crusted Chicken Strips with BBQ Honey Mustard, roasted potato wedges, & garlic broccolini
Tuesday – Sloppy Joes with corn, avocado, and quinoa salad
Wednesday – Leftovers
ThursdayKung pao chicken stir fry with green beans
Friday – Out!
Saturday – Leftovers

Food for Thought

Did you have any fun plans over the weekend?

Foodie Friday: Sesame Carrot Noodles with Beef, Broccoli, & Asparagus

Do you ever look quickly at a recipe and think it says one thing and when you go back and take another look, realize it’s actually something else? And then sometimes what you originally think turns out to be an even better idea.

Ok, let me break it down for you. When I was meal planning last week, I chose this sesame carrot noodles with grilled asparagus recipe. Any kind of Asian-style recipe is always a go in this house, so a sesame sauce on carrot noodles sounded like an awesome idea, right? I lie. It was actually soba noodles with a sesame carrot sauce. Still sounds awesome [and honestly, something that Nathan would go for over carrot noodles] but I was totally stuck on the carrot noodle idea. My version of this recipe was born.

Sesame Carrot Noodles with Beef, Broccoli, & Asparagus

Adapted from Clean Wellness
Serves 4

Sesame Carrot Noodles with Asparagus Broccoli and Beef

Ingredients

Carrot Dressing
– 1 cup carrots; chopped
– 1 tbsp fresh ginger; chopped
– 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
– 2 tbsp soy sauce [can sub tamari, liquid aminos, or coconut aminos to make gluten-free]
– 2 tbsp tahini
– 1 tbsp maple syrup
– 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
– 1/4 tsp chili flakes

Noodle Bowl
– 1 lbs asparagus
– 1 bunch broccoli
– 2-3 medium carrots; spiralized
– 2 oz. black bean noodles [can sub soba noodles]
– 1 lb london broil; sliced thinly
– 2 tbsp soy sauce
– 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
– 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
– 2 green onions; chopped
– Toasted sesame seeds [Optional for serving]

Directions
Combine all dressing ingredients in a high-powered blender or food processor. Blend until smooth and set aside.

Cook your noodles according to the directions, drain, and set aside.

While your noodles are cooking, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Toss the sliced beef with the soy sauce and sesame oil, then add to the hot pan. Quickly sear on each side, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add 1/2 tbsp EVOO to the pan and toss the carrot noodles in. Cook them until soft, about 5-7 minutes, and add the broccoli. Saute for 2-3 minutes before adding the asparagus. Cook for another 2-3 minutes and add the black bean noodles into the pan.

Toss about 2/3 of the carrot dressing into the pan and mix the noodles together with the veggies. Once everything comes together, add in the beef and most of the rest of the dressing, saving about 1 tbsp per serving to drizzle on top. When the beef is warmed through, divide between 4 bowls, sprinkle with green onion and sesame seeds, and serve!

Nutritional Information
Per 1/4 recipe

390 Calories / 15g Fat / 22g Carbs / 6g Fiber / 10g Sugar / 34g Protein

The best part of this recipe is that it is equally as delicious without the added beef and because we’re using black bean pasta, it has a whopping 17g protein before adding any extra protein on top! I’m kind of in love with the black bean pasta; it really doesn’t have any distinct flavor so it’s perfect for adding any kind of delicious sauces. And it turns out it’s husband-approved too ;)

Sprint 2 the Table

Food for Thought

Have you ever tried black bean pasta before?
Would you swap the beef for another protein?

What I Ate Wednesday #97: 100 Meals

About that Barry’s Bootcamp class last night.. if you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed that I missed the class. And it was totally Beyonce’s fault! I left my place around 5:15 for a 6:30 class, drove into the city, looked for parking, and at 7 p.m. decided to head back home. Damnit, Beyonce! You ruined my burn! I’m definitely going to have to try to go back another time, preferably when there’s no concert or Giants’ game.

Anywho, maybe 100 meals is an exaggeration, but working a 5 a.m. shift always ends up with at least 3 breakfasts. I, of course, want to sleep as late as possible so my real breakfast was prepped Sunday night and I decided to pack a couple snacks too to hold me over until my “lunch” break.. at 9:30 a.m. haha.

[Breakfast #1]
A Detour Cranberry Flax SMART Bar with a little macadamia cashew butter. I have to say, I’m not a fan of this bar. I was hoping that warming it up in the microwave for a few seconds and putting some nut butter on top would help it out, but it really just ended up being.. well, weird. People rave about the Apple Cinnamon and Blueberry so I have high hopes that those are truly delicious.

[Breakfast #2]
PBJ Greek Yogurt Parfait Blueberry Blue Diamond Almonds
Recycling a picture but this was essentially what I ate. Just swap the bloobs for figs.

[Breakfast #3]
Sweet Breakfast Scramble Earth Balance Coconut Peanut Butter

Here we go. This was the real deal! A sweet scramble with egg whites, spaghetti squash, banana, cinnamon, and coconut peanut butter. That hit the spot!

[Lunch]
Spaghetti Squash Southwestern Black Bean Salad Nutritional Yeast Trader Joes Jalapeno Chicken Sausage Avocado

I was seriously craving a hot lunch so I whipped up some spaghetti squash [best idea to roast one on Sunday!], a little southwestern black bean salad, Trader Joe’s jalapeno chicken sausage, buffalo sauce, and nutritional yeast. And it was so good!

[Afternoon Snack]
Peanut Butter Mug Cake

The peanut butter mug cake made a reappearance! Always a delicious option.

[Dinner]
California Salmon Veggie Avocado Cauliflower Rice Bowl Half Baked Harvest

I knew Nathan was going to want something nice and light for dinner after 4 days in Vegas so I was happy to make the California chicken, veggies, avocado, and cauli rice bowl. Chicken for him, salmon for me. The avocado was like a fake-out guac and it was really good.. so easy too! Another Half Baked Harvest win!

[Evening Snack]
I ended the night with the usual apple and a dark chocolate berry protein bite. Those bites are super chocolate and definitely hit the spot for my chocolate cravings.

Food for Thought

Have you ever been to Barry’s Bootcamp?
What’s your favorite breakfast?