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This #Skindependence campaign is sponsored by Well at Walgreens, but as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Dri-Fit isn’t only for running tops and workout pants. Just like you don’t want your workout wear to get soaked with sweat or cause chafing, Well at Walgreens pads utilize the same type of technology – the Dri-Fit™ system – to wick away moisture and eliminate friction. This line at Walgreens now has a variety of pads to empower you to regain your #Skindependence.

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During my last period, I took the 7-Day challenge and tried out the Well at Walgreens feminine care products to really put them to the test. My plethora of pads included the Well at Walgreens Ultra Thin Pads featuring the Dri-Fit™ system, Well at Walgreens Long Super Ultra Thin Pads featuring the Dri-Fit™ system, Well at Walgreens Overnight Ultra Thin Pads featuring the Dri-Fit™ system and Well at Walgreens Regular Pantiliners featuring the Dri-Fit™ system.

One of my biggest fears about trying out these pads was just that…wearing a pad. I have no Mean Girls confession to make of a heavy flow and a wide-set vagina. It’s just, it’s been a while since I’ve worn a “sanitary napkin.” I’d even go as far to say AGES.

The last time I can recall wearing a pad ended up being one of the most traumatic experiences of my teenage life. I was at the stage where I had embarrassingly already started my period before all of my friends. At this point in time, my mom didn’t allow me to wear tampons so I was strictly a pad girl. It was a summer afternoon and everyone went swimming. I had my underwear secretly set up with a fresh pad for when I returned so I didn’t have to awkwardly go to the bathroom with a pad in hand. Well this completely backfired when I walked into a room of a completely shredded fresh pad on the floor. My friend’s dog (as dogs do) sniffed out the vagina of my underwear and ate out my feminine hygienic product.

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Shortly after that I’m pretty sure I made the plea to my mom to switch to tampons. Since making this transition, I’ve never turned back. And I’ve continued to maintain this perception that pads are bulky and inhibiting…like your “area” can’t breath. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the Well at Walgreens products, especially the Dri-Fit™ system. It left me feeling fresh and not like I was sitting in a diaper. And this time around I’ve learned my lesson to not pre-set my panties with a pad 😉

Normally my comfort zone is a popular branded plastic applicator tampon, whose name kind of rhymes with “Spandex Twirl”…it’s a product I trust and gravitate towards during that time of the month. However, after trying out these pads, I have a couple of more options to add to my repertoire. I’d say the pantiliners were light and easy for back-up/extra protection on those almost nonexistent days. And the overnight pads were great for night because I didn’t even have to think about the ominous TSS/wearing a tampon to bed. Now I feel comfortable switching it up and grabbing Well at Walgreens feminine care products featuring the Dri-Fit™ systems – especially now that I know, and have experienced, their high quality and affordable price.

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PLUS, shopping for that T.O.M. at Walgreens means T.O.M. treats 😛

Click here for a coupon to get $1.50 off your next purchase of Well at Walgreens fem. care products featuring the Dri-Fit™ system.(http://bricks.coupons.com/Bstart.asp?o=128264&c=FQ&p=duOnkj8t). Good for any ONE (1) Well at Walgreens Brand Ultra Thin or Maxi Pads with Dri-Fit™ (excludes 20ct. liners).

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Want to try them for yourself? Enter the #Skindependence Sweepstakes for a chance to win each item I’ve featured above as well as some other fun goodies to help you feel comfortable during your T.O.M. >> Well at Walgreens #Skindependence

Bonus! Join in on the conversation via Twitter on July 7th for another chance to win the featured Well at Walgreens Feminine Care products featuring Dri-Fit™ system, a Walgreens gift card and other prizes! Stay tuned for full details.

 

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Or a month in review…since I last updated, I ate Cardiff Crack at a Padres game with my mom and brother, went on an epic camping trip, had a lazy Memorial Day weekend including running (but not the Mountains 2 Beach Marathon I was supposed to run…), brunching, bowling, watching movies (like 180 degrees South and Damnation), and drinking beeeers.  I moved out of my apartment, and have been homeless for the past 2 weeks (except not because my pseudo-family graciously took me in), read #GirlBoss (better late than never?), visited the new Tasting Room Del Mar, went to Kelli’s happy bridal shower, drank rose with London at various restaurants, ate mashed potato pizza at Urbn (numerous times), and saw The Nice Guys, twice.

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Weekly Workout Recap (5/15-5/21):
Sun – Rest
Mon – 6.5 mi
Tues – Rest
Wed – Rest
Thurs – 4 mi
Fri – Rest
Sat – 14 mile Skyline Trail
Total Weekly Mileage: 10.5 mi
2016 miles: 435 mi

Weekly Workout Recap (5/22-5/29):
Sun – 10 mile San Jacinto Peak Trail to Tramway
Mon – Rest
Tues – Rest
Wed – 7.25 mi
Thurs – 4.5 mi
Fri – Rest
Sat – 5 mi
Sun – Rest
Total Weekly Mileage: 16.75 mi
2016 miles: 451.75 mi

Weekly Workout Recap (5/30-6/5):
Mon – 4.5 mi
Tues – 6 mi
Wed – Rest
Thurs – 3.5 mi
Fri – Rest
Sat – 8 mi
Sun – 6.75 mi
Total Weekly Mileage: 28.75 mi
2016 miles: 480.5 mi

Weekly Workout Recap (6/6-6/12):
Mon – 7 mi
Tues – 6 mi
Wed – Rest
Thurs – Rest
Fri – 5 mi
Sat – Rest
Sun – 6.25 mi
Total Weekly Mileage: 24.25 mi
2016 miles: 504.75 mi

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Continuing the Cactus-to-Clouds story…

The next morning Kev and I were up around 8am.  Rationing our scarcity of water, we made a super strong cup of espresso and an oatmeal with trail mix breakfast that tasted just like an oatmeal cookie.

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Around 9:40am we were back on the trail, equipped with only a day-pack, to summit Mt. San Jacinto.  With half-a-mile out of Tamarack Valley to Round Valley, and then another 3.3 miles to the peak, this was the easiest part of our hike (after all we had endured the day before!).  By noon we made it to the top, to blue skies and absolutely no wind.  It was picture perfect.  We spent some time at the top, snacking on ciabatta, Babybel cheese and hard salami before we headed back.

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At this point our water was getting pretty sparse.  We quickly packed up camp and made our way back to Long Valley, knowing that water awaited us at the Ranger Station.  We were also not 100% sure when or how late the Palm Springs Aerial Tram ran.  

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By the time we made it back to Long Valley, our Camelbak bladders were completely dry.  We rejoiced by filling up our Nalgenes and chugging water.  Then we walked the steep ramp up to the tram.  Lucky for us, it’s scheduled to leave every 10 minutes (a one-way ticket for hikers costs $12).  Note: there is no reception at the bottom of the tram in Palm Springs so you have to call an Uber while on the tram. Unfortunately, this didn’t work for me, and we ended up calling a cab (that took forever to arrive), so one of the parking lot shuttle drivers took us to the last lot before the security gate where we were able to grab a couple bars of reception and call an Uber.

After not too long we were back at the parking lot across the street from the Palm Springs Art Museum, feeling completely worn…like we had been gone for multiple days, and not just one.

Our celebratory meal was a Double Double from In-N-Out and a fat soda. YES! Once back in SD it wasn’t too long before we climbed into bed and quickly passed out.

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SOOOO…tips for backpacking Cactus-to-Clouds:

  1. Don’t wear cotton t-shirts, tech-tee’s only.
  2. Secure a camping permit and have it in hand before you hike to the top with a  30 lb pack.  It takes 10 days to process and with the summer months it could take longer.  Plan ahead!
  3. Don’t backpack cactus-to-clouds, only take a daypack and make it a day hike. There’s a reason it’s rated the fifth hardest day hike in the US.  Trust me when I say we packed as minimally as possible.  The only excessive thing I brought was banangrams, and for Kev, a pair of jeans.  Even with this, it was TOUGH.
  4. Don’t trust everything you read on the internet
  5. Bring a first aid kit (bandaids at a minimum) and vaseline.

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This is one topic you won’t readily find on the internet…backpacking the Cactus-to-Clouds Trail. Mainly because I don’t think anyone is willingly insane to put themselves through what we did. But Kevin and I talked and talked about doing this and got it so far stuck in our heads that taking any other route (e.g. Idyllwild) seemed like a cop-out.

Cactus-to-Clouds is a trail that starts in the desert of Palm Springs (470 ft) — “Cactus” and ends up at Mt. San Jacinto (10,834 ft) — “Clouds.”  It’s ranked America’s fifth hardest dayhike on Backpacker.com, stating “the trek to San Jacinto’s 10,804-foot, boulder-strewn crown is only 800 vertical feet shorter than the climb from Everest basecamp to summit-and comparable to doing more than a thousand flights of stairs.” Now, let’s just add a 30lb pack to that…

Originally, our plan was to backpack up Cactus to Clouds, set-up camp, summit Mt San Jacinto, sleep, and hike back down the next day, completing the Cactus to Clouds to Cactus. But you’ll see how that all pans out…

On Friday night we arrived in Palm Springs around 8:30. We grabbed dinner at La Bonita…which honestly, Mexican food before a long hike probably isn’t the best thing.

We parked on the top of the parking garage located across the street from the Palm Springs Art Museum and slept in the bed of his truck with a camper overnight. Shortly after falling asleep, it was time to wake up…4:10am. We decided to bypass breakfast since we were still pretty full from dinner just a couple hours earlier. We packed up, moved the truck down to the lower level and started the hike at 4:50. Note: the trailhead is located in the north end of the north Palm Springs Art Museum parking lot.

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Within the first quarter mile I was already breaking a sweat. I was warm and already questioning my fitness level and abilities. Next time (ok, if there ever is a next time for this trail), I would start off in shorts. Because it was dark when we started, I associated this being cold. I ended up changing into shorts a couple hours later when my leggings were completely drenched with sweat. Next time I would also not wear a cotton shirt because it was wet and then cold and obviously did not absorb or wick away sweat.

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Since we opted out for breakfast, we munched on Yellow Deli Energizing Green Bars. These were perfect because they are so dense and filling with good and healthy ingredients.

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At 9:20 we reached Rescue Box 2 (one of two boxes on the trail stocked with some supplies and whatever leftovers people leave) and took our first break, 7 miles and 4 hours into the hike. We split a PB&J on ciabatta bread and hopped back on the trail.

At this point we were loosely following a timeline we found online:

• Start at the museum’s trailhead
• Picnic tables (20′)
• Rescue Box 1 (1h20′)
• First plateau (1h45′)
• Flat trail coasting the valley from south to north (2h 50′)
• Rescue Box 2 (3h45’) — around here things go awry.
• First pine tree (4h35′)
• First view of the tramway (4h50′)
• Plateau of the tramway (5h15′)
• Ranger station (5h30′)
• San Jacinto Peak (7h45’)

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We were pretty much hitting everything on schedule, despite the fact we were both packing exorbitant amounts of weight. So we basically expected to reach the top of Long Valley around 5 hours 15 minutes (or ~9 miles based on the rock we saw 1 mile into the hike).

I mean, we didn’t really experience any detours except for once or twice because of my inability to identify trails. First I led us (and another couple) up a path that continued to climb before we realized it was way too steep to be the trail. And then I ran the two of us into a grove of Manzanita trees before I realized when I could barely slip by and that no other human being could have walked through that way.

So based on the timeline we thought we were getting close. Fortunately (because it ended up being at least another 90 more minutes) but my hunger insisted took another break (thankfully) and split another PB&J sandwich.

The last section was more than either of us expected. It was steep, with soft dirt and very few rocks or traction. And it literally went on FOREVER. FINALLY. FINALLY. FINALLY. We reached Grubb’s Notch (the beginning of Long Valley) at 12:15pm.

At this point, we both agreed…we would take the tram back down the next day. Knowing how I already approach downhill’s (very cautiously) coupled with a pack that threw our center of balance way off and made us extremely top-heavy. Even as we depleted our water supplies, due to the elevation, our backpacks seemed to get heavier, not lighter.

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We were SO excited to be on flat land. So excited that we didn’t even mind accidentally touring on the Discovery Trail as we searched for the Ranger Station. As we approached the Ranger Station we noticed a sign stating: “ALL CAMPING FULL.” Although I didn’t physically have a camping permit in hand, I did have a copy of the permit application I mailed in 11 days prior and a copy of the money order. The ranger on-site made a call to the station in Idyllwild to check and see if my permit was there. As we waited to hear the verdict, we were able to fill up our Camelbaks and Nalgenes with water from a spigot on the back porch (which added another 6lbs back to our packs). Unfortunately, there was no record of my application…and since all campsites were full, we were essentially being turned away. We went to talk to another ranger about alternative camping options outside of San Jacinto (and off the mountain). However, with a spot left at Tamarack Valley, WE LUCKED OUT! Lugging these packs around wasn’t all for nothing.

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It was now 1:20, so very hungry and very tired, we drudgingly started the 2-mile trek to our campsite. But at least we had a campsite! We snagged the first site we came across and immediately sat down for “lunch.” Trail mix, ciabatta bread, Babybel cheese and hard salami. We set up camp, and immediately climbed in our sleeping bags for a 3-hour nap. I easily could have slept for the rest of the night, but woke up just enough to have a “housewarming party,” (aka make dinner in our tent). And sure enough, shortly thereafter, we were back to sleep.

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From house-sitting to half marathons, weekend trips to Mexico, and endless birthday festivities for our favorite little Kendie, to packing for a move to come, overnight Venice trips, Seis de Mayo parties, Padres games, grilled pizzas, lagoon runs, boozy nights, farmers markets, boat celebrations and seeing friends we’ve missed, these past couple of weeks have been nothing short from busy. But the one thing I haven’t done is blog. So for everything mentioned above, please accept this picture journal, and a numeric recap of miles run.

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Weekly Workout Recap (4/24-4/30):
Sun – 13.1 mi La Jolla Half Marathon
Mon – Rest
Tues – 6 mi
Wed – 5 mi
Thurs – 8 mi
Fri – Rest
Sat – Rest
Total Weekly Mileage: 32.1 mi
2016 miles: 390 mi

Weekly Workout Recap (5/1-5/7):
Sun – Rest
Mon – Rest
Tues – 6.25 mi
Wed – 6.25 mi
Thurs – Rest
Fri – Rest
Sat – Rest
Total Weekly Mileage: 12.5 mi
2016 miles: 402.5 mi

Weekly Workout Recap (5/8-5/14):
Sun – Rest
Mon – 7.5 mi
Tues – 6.5 mi
Wed – 5 mi
Thurs – 7.5 mi
Fri – Rest
Sat – 6 mi
Total Weekly Mileage: 32.5 mi
2016 miles: 435 mi

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This past weekend I went to the Leucadia Farmers’ Market and actually did some of my weekly grocery shopping there (rather than only buying a poke bowl for breakfast/lunch to eat on the spot).  My body was craving fresh greens and produce so I stocked up on Morning Star Ranch (aka “Yellow Deli”) green juice, energizing green bar, butter leaf and summer crisp lettuce, strawberries and fresh pesto.  I also stopped by Whole Foods to pick up a few extra ingredients to create a lunch: crimini mushrooms, kumato tomatoes, yellow squash, and avocado.

Overnight Oat Parfaits are still going strong this week.  I’m completely satiated afterwards and I like that the overnight oats, for me, take the place of granola.

Here’s this week’s menu:
BreakfastOvernight Oat Parfait
Lunch – Pesto Salad Bowl
Snack – Watermelon
Snack 2 – Green Juice + 1 tsp. Spirulina
Dinner – TBD

And the only new recipe for the week…

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Pesto Salad Bowl
INGREDIENTS:
3/4 farro, cooked
1 cup summer crisp lettuce
1/4 yellow squash, sliced
1/2 cup crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 small kumato, diced
1/2 avocado, cubed
1 pinch walnuts
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 Tbsp. pesto, drizzled
Salt & pepper, to taste
Protein (I used 1/2 baked lemon herb chicken breast)
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Assemble the bowl with the ingredients listed above.

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This week I helped out and attended the Polaroid Run hosted by Run North County, Oceanside Multisport Group and Endurance House in Oceanside.  A brief run on the boardwalk in Oceanside followed by a few (ok one) quick sprint (haven’t seriously run fast in FOREVER… and it hurt).  I also ended up winning a pair of Hoka’s from the raffle too!  Afterwards I met up with my brother to make dinner which ended up being super simple and delicious (baked salmon and blistered tomatoes — sharing this recipe soon!).

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I’ve been trying to make a more conscientious effort to cook more meals vs. going out to eat (a constant struggle).  So London, Kendall and I made a salmon dinner with grilled romaine and baked Brussels sprouts.

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The Pink Full Moon fell this week and I ended up going on a full moon hike (with a picnic at the top) at Elfin Forest.  While it was called a pink moon (and I previously saw pictures of a full moon with a tint of pink), this is just the name for the April moon because wild ground phlox begins to bloom and symbolizes spring.  The past 2 years the moon had a tint of pink during the Pink Full Moon because the blood moon (lunar eclipse) just so happened to occur at the same time.

Weekly Workout Recap (4/17-4/23):
Sun – Rest
Mon – 7.25 mi
Tues – 3.25 mi
Wed – 6 mi
Thurs – 6 mi
Fri – 6 mi Elfin Forest Equine Incline Trail Hike
Sat – Rest
Total Weekly Mileage: 22.5 mi
2016 miles: 357.9 mi

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Highlights from this week (April 3 – April 9) included:

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Going to Culture for our friend Noelle’s Boho Beach Babe Pop-Up Shop.

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Constantly encountering snakes on the trails.

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Sunday coffee dates, which lead to beautiful days at the Farmers’ Market and a hot beach day (when it was actually forecasted to rain).

Weekly Workout Recap (4/3-4/9):
Sun – Rest
Mon – 5.5 mi
Tues – 5.5 mi
Wed – 5.5 mi
Thurs – 6 mi
Fri – Rest
Sat – 9 m
Total Weekly Mileage: 31.5 mi
2016 miles: 315.4 mi

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The next week (April 10 through April 16) proved itself special during the weekend.  London came home early from Coachella and joined me in my house-sitting duties.  We developed a new addiction to rose, started our first week of meal prepping, and spontaneously ended up at a James Bay concert in VIP.

Weekly Workout Recap (4/10-4/16):
Sun – Rest
Mon – 8 mi
Tues – 6 mi
Wed – Rest
Thurs – 6 mi
Fri – 6 mi Los Penasquitos Canyon Waterfall Hike
Sat – Rest
Total Weekly Mileage: 20 mi
2016 miles: 335.4 mi

Stay tuned for the rest of the weekly recaps I’ve neglected from the past month…

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The La Jolla Half Marathon. Back in 2010 this was my first half marathon ever. I thought it was kind of a one-and-done type of thing. Not even this race specifically, just half marathons in general. Fast forward to Sunday afternoon — 6 years, 4 La Jolla’s and 20 half marathons later…here we are.

The race started at 7:30am at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. I thought I was being smart coming from the north and exiting on Lomas Santa Fe to Stevens Ave. However, instead of being able to cross over Via de la Valle to the Del Mar Fairgrounds parking lot, cars were forced to turn left and head east. I ended up flipping a U and parking in the surrounding neighborhood. I ate a little more of my oatmeal, lubed up with body glide, fastened by bib and walked over to the start. I had to go to the bathroom so I easily slid into the Del Mar Surfside Race Place hall where I waited in a short line of 4 people. I exited the bathroom and had a brisk jog to the start. I popped into wave 2 and waited 2-3 minutes before the race officially began.

It was already hot and I knew by the time I hit the first aid station I’d be taking water. I didn’t bring a water pack but I probably should’ve. I mean, I carried my fanny pack last week on a 6 mile trail run in the lagoon (and even though I felt like an absolute kook it was completely necessary). I didn’t have a playlist prepared so I ended up just listening to my NYC Marathon playlist (and I forgot, it’s actually a good one!). I didn’t pay much attention to my pace, I knew I just needed to listen to my body since I haven’t run over 10 miles since my last ultra in the beginning of February…

This course I pretty much know like the back of my hand (but probably even better than that). From working in Del Mar for the past 4 years, to attending UCSD the 4 years prior, these are all streets and routes I’m very familiar with. The race traces the coast from Del Mar, through Torrey Pines State Park Natural Reserve, past UCSD, down La Jolla Shores, and into La Jolla Cove.

The hardest thing for me was the heat. I should’ve worn a hat to 1. catch some of my sweat that started mixing with my sunscreen and dripping into my eyes and 2. for some sun protection because my face felt burnt and completely dried out by the end.

One of the best parts was coming from Stratford Court before 4th Street in Del Mar. I encountered Dallas from Run North County Monday Night Runs. I trekked the short but steep hill up 4th Street and saw Bartley (from Run North County too), then Susan and Marc from Seaside Striders. Just seeing everyone gave me a little pep in my step. After this brief incline we were rewarded with a downhill before we came to Torrey Pines and I started to feel a literal runner’s high. But to the point where my body felt no connection to my brain and I might actually pass out.

So for the first time while running this race, I walked (most) of Torrey Pines. While everyone else continued to run around me, I kind of had to tell myself “who cares what everyone else is doing.” Because I knew if I tried to run the whole hill mountain, I would have died. I channeled my “ultra” mentality and power walked most of the hill, with quick and smooth bursts of running, in which I actually passed people who continued to run while I took my walking breaks.

After exiting Torrey Pines State Park, the course transitions into the rolling hills on Torrey Pines Rd. Usually this road can seem arduous and long, but I don’t even remember where my head was. Maybe texting people (lol)… because I found myself pulling off to the side to semi-walk and text. Someone ran up next to me and gave me words of encouragement to continue, and I just thought YOU DON’T KNOW ME. Let me text my friends!!! (Just kidding…kinda 😛 )

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Right after I grabbed water at the top of La Jolla Shores (around mile 10) I heard someone yell my name and it was Evan (who’s opening up the really cool Tasting Room Del Mar next month). We ended up running together until the last-ish hill(s) that goes Spindrift to Princess and finally Torrey Pines (and then I pulled ahead…muaha). I thought I was going to walk at least part of this section, but I knew the end was just so close. And once I hit Prospect it would be all downhill.  Luckily my watch/GPS was hitting close to the mile markers so I knew it would be pretty spot on (and not something like .5 longer than 13.1).  Overall it was a hot and challenging day, but I think all in all I’ve become a stronger runner, and learned that when I don’t care too much, good things can still happen (even a course PR…4th times the charm!).

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Mile splits recorded by my Garmin (1:45:32):
1 – 7:27
2 – 7:41
3 – 7:56
4 – 8:17
5 – 7:24
6 – 10:13
7 – 8:33
8 – 8:14
9 – 7:49
10 – 7:56
11 – 6:56
12 – 7:44
13 – 8:05
Last .21 – 1:12

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Thanks to RACEPLACE for the opportunity to run this race!

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From our meal prep last week, London and I both felt and recognized we needed to tweak the system and add more protein. We both felt like we should be incredibly skinny based on our hunger levels. So, to feel satiated we have added more protein to breakfast and some grains to lunch.  We both felt uninspired for dinner and it’s always hard to plan ahead for what will happen during the week.  So we have left dinner to be determined (but if at home, probably something along the lines of a veggie saute topped with a fried egg).

This week’s menu:
Breakfast – Overnight Oat Parfait
Lunch – Pea and little gem salad with farro
Snack 2 – Fig Bars
Dinner – TBD

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Overnight Oat Parfait
INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 Tbsp. chia seeds
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1/2 cup strawberries, chopped
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Combine almond milk, oats and chia seeds in a mason jar.
  2. Cover and shake.
  3. After 12 hours (or once the overnight oats have set), layer with yogurt.
  4. Top with strawberries and serve.

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Pea and little gem salad with farro (+ some)
Inspired by Bon Appetit
INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup farro
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 cups little gem lettuce
1 cup sugar snap peas, trimmed
1 kumato tomato, diced
1/2 avocado, cubed
2 pinches of walnuts
1 pinch microgreens

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cook farro according to directions (I use the 10 minute farro from Trader Joe’s).
  2. Whisk oil and lemon juice in a small bowl to combine; season dressing with salt and pepper.
  3. In a separate bowl or container, add farro, lettuce, peas, tomatoes and avocado. Toss with dressing.
  4. Top with walnuts and microgreens.
  5. Serve with your choice of protein.

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