Entering the World of Egg Yolks

Hi, guys!

Winter is definitely not over in Massachusetts. Check out all of the snow we got! And rumor has it that MORE is on its way next week. So much for an early Spring this year!

So, Murphy is a huge baby when it comes to snow and often refuses to go potty when it’s too cold or “inconvenient” for him. [eye roll emoji] And, for this reason, we shovel a “pug path” for him, so he can go the bathroom under our porch where it’s free from snow. Obviously, we need to shovel for him when the snow is deep like it is now, but we’ll do it for him even when there’s not much snow at all. (We usually take Murphy for walks around our neighborhood, but the salt on the road bothers his feet too much and Mal won’t let him wear those paw mitten things.)

Basically, Murphy lives a really nice pug life.

Quinn’s school was open today, so Mal and I dropped him off and then headed to the gym for an impromptu “day date.” Mal’s school was closed, so we figured we should take advantage of the adult time together.

The workout at CrossFit was actually really tough. The combination of rowing + heavy movements was killer. My legs and arms burned and my lungs were on fire, but I got through it! It took me just under 11 minutes to finish.

After class, Mal and I both took a quick shower at the gym and then headed to Little Carmen’s for breakfast. One of my DTFN clients told me about it, and I was dying to give it a try – and, my goodness, it did not disappoint! We’ll definitely be back. The food was awesome!

I ordered the Santa Monica Benedict, which was served with two poached eggs, avocado, tomato, and bacon with shredded hash browns on the side. HOLY YUM!

Pretty much the entire menu at Little Carmen’s includes some sort of eggs (and I typically avoid them), so I opted for a yolk-heavy option and did my best to eat around the whites as much as possible.

Typically, if people have sensitivities to eggs, it’s the whites that they have an issue with. The yolks are the most important part (aka super nutritious!!), so I’ve started to add them back into my diet here and there. So far, so good, but this morning will be a good test to see how I do with consuming more than one at a time. I’ll be sure to report back!

Question of the Day

What do you typically order for breakfast when you go out to a restaurant?

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Tips for Maintaining Positivity with a Chronic Illness

Hi guys!

Today, I want to share with you a few thoughts that have been weighing on my mind lately. Fair warning – this will be a bit more of a heavier post than usual.

As many of you know, I live with a not-so-fun chronic illness, Ulcerative Colitis. You can read more about my journey with UC here. Most of the time, I feel healthy, strong, and happy, and I will never take that for granted. But, from time-to-time, after a particularly bad flare, disheartening doctor’s appointment or just trucking into Boston every 9 weeks for an Entyvio infusion, thoughts creep into my head.

“Why me?”

“I hate being a “sick” person.”

“Other people don’t have to deal with this.”

“I’m different than everyone else.”

Once they get rolling, these thoughts will follow me everywhere: during a pug walk on a bright sunny morning, at Whole Foods picking up groceries for the week, at a fun happy hour with friends, laughs and all. I sometimes feel like I’m wearing a mask; on the outside, I look like I’m doing great, but internally, I’m struggling. Some of you might also suffer from a chronic illness, and you know these thoughts all too well. Even if you don’t, we all go through periods of feeling different and wishing that we had it as easy as someone else, so I think this post will resonate with many of you.

My doctor once told me “Your normal is not normal and truer words haven’t been said! Living with UC can sometimes feel like living on a roller coaster – there are high highs and the very lowest of lows. That unpredictability makes me feel “not normal.” But just because my normal isn’t the same as the next person’s doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t strive to find joy, even in the most difficult of times. And neither should you!

Below are three mantras that I find sticking to when the going gets a little tougher than usual:

Remember where you were and where you are NOW

Throughout my UC journey, I’ve gone through several flares and remissions – que the “roller coaster” feeling. The good days are great, and the bad days can be, well, pretty bad. I always take a moment to remind myself about the first time I experienced a flare – when I had no idea what the heck was going on with my body, and just wanted answers. Now, several years later, I know I have come so far with treatment, and generally understand my body so much better. By no means do I enjoy having a chronic illness, but I have to ask myself – if I didn’t suffer from UC, would I know my body as well as I do now? Would I be making the same effort that I do now to treat it as best as I can? In its own way, chronic illness has given me valuable insights into my body, and it’s prompted me to make positive lifestyle changes to feel my best. It’s given me the opportunity to share what works and what doesn’t with all of you, and that part I would never take back.

Don’t give up and don’t beat yourself up

When I was really “sick,” it was so frustrating and overwhelming and that feeling made me want to stay in bed all day and just forget any plans I had to work out, meal plan, or hang out with loved ones. (I guess this is where having a 3 year old helps  – he gives me no choice but to squash those ugly thoughts and get going!) Even now, when I don’t feel well, I try to remember that it’s just that – a feeling, and feelings aren’t always reality. The best cure for a crappy mood is a really good sweat, and I know if I get up and moving, I won’t regret it!

That being said, if I am truly experiencing a physical side effect that makes exercise feel unpleasant, I will definitely not work out and take a rest day, whether planned or not. We should never feel forced to work out if it doesn’t feel right or causes pain (life is hard enough!). We are all doing the best that we can, and sometimes my “best” looks like curling up on the couch with a mug of tea and a good book. Tomorrow, it might look like a 5:15 AM CrossFit class where I crush the WOD or, hey, I skip that same class for an extra hour of sleep. It’s important to listen to our bodies, especially when dealing with a chronic illness.

And, lastly,

Count your blessings

Sounds cliche, but hear me out. We don’t know what a pure privilege it is to be able to wake up every morning, spend time with the people we love, and find joy in movement until we can’t anymore. I have a wonderful support system of family and friends that hold me accountable and give me a gentle nudge when I’m getting in my own way by feeling sorry for myself. Without my “tribe,” fighting a chronic illness would be significantly harder. If you have a similar support system, don’t hesitate to lean on them. Reach out to your family and friends and tell them how you feel. Sometimes just the simple act of talking and getting all those overwhelming thoughts off my chest makes me feel 100 times better, and gives me the boost I need to accomplish what I need to that day. 

If you are battling a chronic illness, whether newly diagnosed or a veteran trooper, just know that you don’t have to go it alone. It’s ok to reach out and say “I need help” just like its ok to say “I need a break” if you’re not feeling well. And when you’re ready, pick yourself back up again and keep trucking along.

The good times will always outweigh the bad, so squeeze the heck out of them. UC is just one blip on the wonderful journey that is my life; it doesn’t own me nor does it define me. When I start feeling like I am “different” and not “normal,” I just remember – everyone is going through something. I am not alone. And neither are you.

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Chicken Bacon Ranch Collard Wraps

GAH!!! Look what’s happening in Massachusetts right now: MORE SNOW… and a whole heck of a lot of it! The circled area below is where we live and, hello, we could get more than 2 feet of snow! WHERE is spring!?! Stay safe, everyone!

The pretty snow scene below was taken at 7:00 AM before the storm really started. Rumor has it that it’ll go well into the night! Oy.

Quinn and I were awake bright and early, so we made Dada his favorite pancakes.

I made a gluten-free version, which turned out amazingly! I’ve actually been trying to perfect it for awhile now, and I think I finally did it! 🙂

Ingredients:

Directions: Mix all ingredients together until smooth. Pour batter onto a pre-heated, lightly oiled griddle. Cook on medium-low heat and flip ounce. Serve immediately with your favorite toppings.

After breakfast, the rest of the morning was spent lounging around the house and playing with Hydro Super Sand, which dries instantly once it’s removed from water. It’s really neat. Quinn loved it!

For lunch, I whipped up some Chicken Bacon Wrap Collard Wraps. I mixed together some shredded chicken with ranch dressing, bacon, and chopped tomatoes and then wrapped it all in a big collard leaf.

Delicious!

It’s nap time now, so I’m catching up with work.

Question of the Day

What’s the weather like where you are? 

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Everything But the Bagel Salmon Collard Wraps

Hi, guys! Happy Monday!

Today is totally getting away from me. It’s been a busy – yet productive – day, so no complaints, but, whoa, the day has really flown by.

My morning started bright and early with some work followed (almost immediately) by a glass of iced coffee with chocolate peanut milk and a rice cake with peanut butter and banana slices on top.

Quinn slept until almost 6:45 AM (!!), so I (mostly) had my act together by the time he woke up. I planned to run at the gym, so I was already dressed and ready to go.

Once Qman and I had a chance to cuddle on the couch and let him wake up a little, I got him ready to go to school. We had all sorts of things to bring with us to the car, so asked Quinn if he could help me. His response: “I can’t. I have too much in my hands.”

Please note what he had in his hands…

This kid kills me. So funny! Almost 4 is definitely my favorite age!

After dropping Quinn off at school, I ran 4 miles on the treadmill, which is the farthest I’ve run in quite awhile. Surprisingly, I felt REALLY good. My hip is still a bit wonky, but it’s so much better. And the run was such a nice reminder of how much I love (and missed) running. My goal is to SLOWLY build up to 6 miles for a 10K that I’m running later this spring… and so far, so good!

At the gym, I also made a couple of videos for a booty challenge we’re having this week. If you’re not part of the CNC Community Group yet, be sure to request to join!

After that, I headed to Rosa Farms for a “Tree Chugger,” which is my newest post-gym obsession.

After that, I ran a couple of errands (Target and Trader Joe’s) and then headed home for lunch, which I brainstormed on the drive. (Anyone else do that?) Listen to this delicious combination: Smoked salmon with chopped cucumbers, whipped cream cheese, and Everything But The Bagel Seasoning all wrapped in a big collard leaf.

Omgggg, so good! And it took me like 3 minutes to make.

After lunch, it was right to work for me. Even though I worked in the early-morning hours, I felt really behind!

My stomach just started to grumble, so I made a rice cake with almond butter, collagen, and a little caramel sauce spread mixed together and spread on top. Mmm!

Once I hit publish on this blog post, I’m going to walk Murphy, head BACK to Target to return a faulty product that I purchased, and then pick up Qman from school. What a whirlwind day!

Questions of the Day

Do you like salmon?

What’s your favorite way to eat a rice cake?

Is it spring yet? 

P.S. How adorable is this cozy wrap sweatshirt from Athleta? It popped up in my Facebook feed last night, and it’s only $27.99. I might need it in my life! 😉

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Salted Caramel Overnight Oats

Salted Caramel Overnight Oats drizzled with a sweet homemade caramel sauce easily made in just minutes the night before giving you a deliciously decadent breakfast as soon as you wake up!

Salted Caramel Overnight Oats drizzled with a sweet homemade caramel sauce easily made in just minutes the night before giving you a deliciously decadent breakfast as soon as you wake up!

Ever just crave dessert for breakfast??  Well then this recipe is definitely for YOU.  It doesn’t get much better than that sweet nutty flavor you get from all things salted caramel so why not let that be the first thing you enjoy when you wake up!  The reason I love making overnight oats so much is that they take less than 5 minutes to make the night before and you can just wake up, add your favorite toppings and indulge!  Perfect for busy people on the go who don’t have a lot of time in the mornings to spend cooking, or I mean just lazy people too…no judgment at all 😉

This recipe also has a delicious banana flavor too which not only makes these oats creamier, but I’m pretty sure I will now forever drizzle caramel sauce over my bananas from this point forward.  It just tastes THAT good!

Salted Caramel Overnight Oats drizzled with a sweet homemade caramel sauce easily made in just minutes the night before giving you a deliciously decadent breakfast as soon as you wake up!

OH and can we talk about this rich and creamy caramel sauce?!  I literally just wanted to eat the whole thing with my spoon.  Zero shame.  This sauce is super simple to make and only takes about 3 ingredients, which is a much healthier alternative to store-bought caramel sauce.  It’s also easily made the night before as well OR you could make this right before eating your overnight oats if you prefer drizzling the warm sauce over top while it’s fresh off the stove.  The key to making this sauce is cooking it low and slow for about 40 minutes until it becomes thick and creamy so keep that in mind when deciding the best time to make this 🙂

This caramel sauce is vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free and can also be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks so use this sauce however you’d like!  I usually only drizzle about a tablespoon over top of my oats, obviously not the entire recipe you see below, so finding creative ways to use the leftover sauce is really fun.  Your kids (and YOU) can enjoy dipping apple slices in it, topping your favorite ice cream or even drizzling over pancakes!

Salted Caramel Overnight Oats drizzled with a sweet homemade caramel sauce easily made in just minutes the night before giving you a deliciously decadent breakfast as soon as you wake up!

Salted caramel might just be one of my favorite indulgences so when I saw that Silk carried a caramel flavored almond creamer, I just knew I had to snag some!  It was such a delicious addition to these overnight oats without packing on the sugar and calories AND it even made the oats a bit creamier.  ALL of Silk’s Almond Creamers are vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free with zero cholesterol or saturated fat and are also verified by the Non-GMO Project so you can feel good about the product you are purchasing.

Not a fan of caramel?  Silk also offers vanilla and hazelnut flavors as well as their NEW Sweet & Creamy Almond Creamer that has a great nutty flavor and added sweetness!

Salted Caramel Overnight Oats drizzled with a sweet homemade caramel sauce easily made in just minutes the night before giving you a deliciously decadent breakfast as soon as you wake up!

The great thing about making overnight oats is that there is absolutely NO COOKING involved at all.  You just mix all your ingredients together the night before and wake up to a delicious breakfast!  Just remember anything you add to these oats will become absorbed overnight so if you like a good crunch you’ll want to wait and mix those in right before eating.  There are endless amounts of toppings that you could add to these oats, but for this particular recipe I sprinkled some chopped cashews, cacao nibs, some sliced bananas, and of course a drizzle of delicious caramel sauce!

Obviously this is not a breakfast I would suggest eating every day because it is definitely more dessert-based, but it IS delicious and just too good not to share with you all!

These overnight oats with homemade caramel sauce are dairy-free, refined-sugar free and vegan and made with all clean, wholesome ingredients.  A delicious breakfast (or dessert!) made in just minutes the night before that you can easily grab and go the next day!  Hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as I did!

Salted Caramel Overnight Oats
 
Serves: 1 Serving

Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup rolled oats
  • ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 Tbsp caramel flavored almond creamer
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • ½ banana mashed
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • Toppings: cacao nibs, chopped cashews, banana slices & caramel sauce
For the caramel sauce:
  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk
  • ⅓ cup coconut sugar
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract (optional)

Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients (except for toppings) mixing well, cover tightly with a lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  2. To make the caramel sauce, combine coconut milk, coconut sugar and sea salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once it starts to boil, reduce the heat and let the sauce simmer for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. (You may want to stir the sauce more frequently in the last 5 minutes to avoid the bottom from burning)
  3. Remove caramel sauce from heat and mix in the vanilla extract. Sauce will thicken as it cools.
  4. Spoon a tablespoon or two over top of the oats and store the leftover caramel sauce in a sealed airtight container in the fridge.
  5. Top the overnight oats with cacao nibs, chopped nuts and banana slices if desired. Enjoy!

Nutritional Information
Serving Size: 1 bowl + 1 Tbsp caramel sauce • Calories: 274 • Fat: 8.4 g • Saturated Fat: 0.7 g • Carbs: 43.6 g • Fiber: 7.7 g • Protein: 5.9 g • Sugars: 9.5 g • WW Freestyle Points: 9

Salted Caramel Overnight Oats drizzled with a sweet homemade caramel sauce easily made in just minutes the night before giving you a deliciously decadent breakfast as soon as you wake up!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.

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3/4: Fitness & Eats from the Week

Hi, guys! Happy Monday to you! I hope you had a nice weekend! 🙂

Another week of fitness & eats is in the books! Last week was actually kind of a weird week on the workout front. I was active just about every day, but quite a few of my workouts were pretty low-key and not too challenging, which I actually appreciate nowadays. I used to get annoyed if the workout was too “easy” or I wouldn’t consider it a “real” workout if I didn’t kill myself. Boy, have I come a long way from that thinking! Any day that I’m able to move and break a sweat is a good day and definitely “counts” as a workout!

Oh, how life changes. Live and learn! Anyway, here’s a recap of last week’s workouts as well as some of my favorite meals. I hope they give you some fun ideas for your own!

Fitness

Sunday: Off

Monday: CrossFit <— recap of our “gym day”

Tuesday: 2-mile run on treadmill

Wednesday: CrossFit

I was up and at ’em for this workout at 4:45 AM. It definitely looked like a fun one, and I didn’t want to miss it. I really liked it, but I totallllllly have a love-hate relationship with the assault bike! 😉

Thursday: CrossFit

This workout was short, but challenging. I finished just under 15 minutes. If you like rowing, be sure to give this one a try!

Friday: CrossFit

I can’t do ring muscle-ups and don’t do bar muscle-ups well, so I opted for a hybrid Rx + scaled workout for Open workout 18.3. I used the weights for the Rx workout, but then sub-ed in pull-ups for the muscle-ups. I finished 1+74.

Saturday: CrossFit

Fun partner workout with my friend Marisa. It took us about 27 minutes to finish.

Eats

I’m alllllll about the smoked salmon lately, so I’m still dreaming about this open-face sandwich made with grilled bread, housemade ricotta, fresh dill, and fried capers!

Lots of veggies in this lunch! Cauliflower pizza with roasted veggies (Brussels sprouts, carrots, fennel) + arugula, Parmesan, sunflower seeds, and balsamic vinegar. There wasn’t an ounce of meat in this meal, but it still clocked in at 25g of protein. Veggie (and dairy) power!

Packed meals for a day at the office! Top right clockwise:

  • Shepherd’s Pie made mashed sweet potatoes mixed with mashed cauliflower, ground turkey, peas, and corn (snack)
  • Sautéed kale with roasted butternut squash and chicken sausage (breakfast)
  • Roasted Brussels sprouts, fennel, and carrots with haddock and Everything But The Bagel Seasoning (lunch)

I loved this Greens & Grains Bowl that I tried at Del Frisco’s Grille (new location in Westwood). Listen to this all-star cast of delicious and nutritious ingredients: quinoa, charred broccoli, baby spinach, edamame, beets, avocado, dried cranberries, roasted almonds, poached cage-free eggs, and sweet basil dressing. Yummmm!

Tahini Protein Balls are my newest obsession! Recipe on CNC soon! 🙂

Loving Elmhurst unsweetened almond milk. It’s made with just two ingredients: water + almonds.

I was starving after CrossFit the other day and whipped up this quickie meal that ended up turning out so much more delicious than expected. Listen to this combo: Canned tuna mixed with relish, spicy mustard, and fermented orange ginger carrots. It was so good!

Question of the Day

What’s on your “fitness & eats” agenda for this week? Any fun workouts or recipes to share? 

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