Holiday Bagel Buffet

After Thanksgiving, the holidays really start to pick up. So instead of trying to fit in a dinner party, we decided to host a holiday brunch get together and gift exchange. We put together a spread including Bruegger’s Bagels Orange Cranberry bagel. This special flavor is the perfect juxtaposition of bright orange zest and tangy cranberries, and pairs well with sweeter toppings such as raspberries and Bruegger’s Bagels Honey Walnut cream cheese.

What you need —

  • Bruegger’s Bagels Orange Cranberry bagel
  • Bruegger’s Bagels Light Plain cream cheese spread
  • Bruegger’s Bagels Honey Walnut cream cheese spread
  • Raspberries (or any other berries)
  • Honey
  • Cinnamon
  • Mint

The Best Balls

If you ever get a bad blister, these band-aids will be your lifesaver.  They are padded and protect your raw blistered part.  Plus they kind of melt into your skin, sealing out any bacteria that might infect your healing wound.  They’re also waterproof which makes them ideal for showering and also means multi-day use.


So thanks to these, I’m finally hitting the road running again.  I’m planning for 6 warm miles (it says it’s 93 degrees right now.  But who knows, I am indoors!) and Body Pump after work.  Yesterday I was confined to the elliptical, but the 30 minutes seemed to fly by– I got hooked on a new show, Criminal Minds on A&E (I just love fictional investigative TV).  I’ll just be happy to get running again.

Now onto the balls.  I have the best new pre-run fuel which also doubles as a sweet treat! These are by far the best balls. ever.  I think I’ll call them Lara Balls because they’re reminiscent of the bars.  They’re also sweet, but not sickening sweet (plus they’re paleo, raw and vegan).  I was able to stomach one of these before a couple morning runs last week.  Don’t just trust me, try them for yourself!


Lara Balls
Inspired by {never} homemaker

½ cup medjool dates, pitted
½ cup unsulfured apricots
1 cup raw cashews
1/3 cup shredded coconut
½ cup almond butter
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2.5 Tbsp. pure maple syrup

  1. Soak medjool dates for 15 minutes.  Take out of water and remove the pits.
  2. Place dates, apricots, and cashews in the food processor.  Pulse to fine bits.
  3. Since my food processor isn’t large enough, I transferred these contents to my Kitchenaid mixer and then added the shredded coconut, almond butter, vanilla extract and maple syrup.
  4. Mix

Easy Faux-Ghetti

’ve been meaning to make this broccoli slaw “spaghetti” for awhile, and once I got around to looking at the directions, I realized it was a lot easier than I thought.  Like, easier than making spaghetti, easier.  No boiling water, no waiting around.  We’re talking 10-12 minutes max for a veggie-laden “spaghetti.”

Broccoli Slaw “Spaghetti”
Simplified from Hungry Girl
1/4 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
One 12oz bag of dry broccoli slaw
1 cup basil marinara sauce (no sugar-added)

  1. Bring a skillet with ¼ tsp olive oil to medium-high heat on the stove.
  2. Add slaw and 1/4 cup water. Stir occasionally and cook until water has evaporated. Cook until al dente (around 5-8 minutes).
  3. Add tomato sauce, stir and continue to cook until hot, about 3 – 4 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and flavor with seasonings to taste (salt, pepper, basil, etc.).  Makes two 2 cup servings.

Asparagus & Scallop Saute

This was a quick, easy, and flavorful recipe that I found and dogeared in my Fitness magazine.

Scallop-and-Asaparus Saute With Lemon and Thyme
Inspired by Ellie Krieger (Small Changes, Big Results)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1 bunch asparagus (about 1 lb.), trimmed and cut on the bias into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 scallops (I used U10 scallops but the recipe calls for bay scallops)
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 cups cooked wild rice (optional)
1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add thyme, lemon zest and asparagus and cook, stirring until asparagus softens slightly, about 1 minute.
2. In a separate pan, heat oil to medium-high heat. Add the scallops to the pan, cooking for about a few minutes on the first side until they are golden brown. Flip them over and let them cook for another few minutes.
3.  When the scallops are done, pour the asparagus mixture over.  Drizzle lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.  Serve with accumulated juices over brown rice if desired.…

Kelp Noodle Salad

About a month or so ago, when my dad was visiting, we went to Bier Garden Encinitas where I had a “Sprout Salad” with pea shoots, sunflower sprouts, kelp noodle, watermelon radish, and tangerine sesame dressing.  At the time, I had no idea what kelp noodles were, but when I got my salad, it appeared to have rice/vermicelli-like noodles.  It was a good salad, but it was one of those things where you pictured the dish differently than it arrived, so you didn’t quite remember what you ordered or what ingredients were used.

Fast forward to recently when I started to see kelp noodles pop up all over the internet (e.g. Grok Grub’s Asian Noodle Salad and Blogilates’ Peanut Miso Kelp Noodles).  I learned they were super low-cal and healthy, contrary to my belief they were just another type of asian noodle.

Last week I finally found some at Whole Foods!  And while I looking in the tofu/fermented/kelp noodle case, I also found mixed sea vegetables.  At a loss for what to make for dinner, on the back of the package was a recipe for a salad that I semi-mimicked (see below) with the addition of mixed greens and kelp noodles (since my whole mission was kelp noodles!).

Basically, this is a long rant about kelp noodles and how I developed this salad.  All you really need to know is that it’s easy, filling, bright and refreshing!

Kelp Noodle Salad
2 meyer lemons, juiced
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 package of kelp noodles, rinsed
1 bag of mixed greens
1 medium apple, diced
1 small avocado, sliced
1/2 cup mixed sea vegetables, rinsed

  1.  In a small bowl whisk together the lemon juice and olive oil.  Set aside.
  2. Prepare the kelp noodles (rinse) and cut to desired length.

On The Road, On-The-Go

Ok, so I went a little gung-ho crazy at Trader Joe’s yesterday, stocking up on some healthy/paleo snacks for my trip to New Orleans this upcoming weekend to week.  Of course I won’t be able to go and not have a beignet or two, but I just wanted to make sure  that I had some healthy alternatives to reach for either on the plane or during the conference.  And you know what they say, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail!  Below are some whole ingredient products that don’t need refrigeration and should withstand some heat and movement.

  1.  Apples and nut butter – I love a big, crisp and juicy apple. Pairing this with a variety of different nut butters prevents this snack from getting dull.
  2. LARABAR – With minimal ingredients (primarily composed of a date and nut mixture), these have been my go-to energy bars since starting the Whole30. This is a good alternative for something sweet with options like Apple Pie and Chocolate Coconut Chew!
  3.  Nuts – Just good ol’ dry roasted, unsalted macadamia and hazelnuts.  These have quickly become a new addiction.


  1.  Unsulfured and unsweetened dried fruit – Apple rings, pineapple rings, and dried cherries with no sulfur dioxide and no added sugar.  I love throwing these with some nuts for a homemade trail-mix of sorts.
  2.  Roasted Plantain Chips – I haven’t had these before, but the only ingredients were plantains, sunflower oil, salt – they sound pretty safe.

How do you eat healthy on the road and on-the-go?

Tips for Bending Wood Using Microwave Oven


One method for quickly adding heat and moisture to small pieces of wood is to use a microwave oven. As long as the wood and a means of keeping the wood moist can fit into the oven, this is an extremely efficient method for softening wood. Through experimentation, I have found there are several things to take into consideration when steaming wood in a microwave oven.


A microwave oven works by focusing tightly shaped radio waves on the water molecules within whatever is placed inside the oven. The molecules become slightly agitated and as a result, they give off heat. A dried piece of wood will heat up quickly when placed into the oven because it still contains enough water molecules to create heat. When the wood is removed, it is very hot, but it dries out very quickly because the water molecules have broken down and so they easily evaporate. This process actually makes a microwave oven a good tool for drying small pieces of wood for turning and other small projects – but only if the moisture content is lowered slowly enough to prevent cracking.

To make the microwave useful for bending, you need to add some moisture to the equation, just as you do when steaming wood. There only needs to be enough water present to surround the wood. Any extra water will just slow down the process. Wood can be wrapped in a soaking wet rag or placed in a shallow microwave-safe bowl with just enough water to cover the wood. There is no set time for heating wood in a microwave, so a little trial and error will be needed. Usually 5 to 10 minutes will do the trick. Keep a close eye on the progress, because if all of the water evaporates …

Carbo-loading & Plantains

It’s once again taper week!  Today I shake off my holiday weekend vices (aka big gulps and fro-yo).  I’m trying to keep my Nalgene filled with water and glued to my hand to stay hydrated (and avoid any Diet Dr. Pepper cravings).  My schedule for this week is/has been:

Sun –  6 mi
Mon – 2 mi
Tues – 3 mi
Wed – 4 mi
Thurs – AM yoga
Fri – AM yoga + 2 mi shake-out after work
Sat- AM yoga
Weekly mileage: 17
Sun – Race Day!

Today, let’s talk a little about carbo-loading.

2-3 days prior (so Thursday and Friday for me) you should up your carbohydrate intake to increase your storage of glycogen (glycogen is your body’s most easily accessible form of energy).   I never go all out carbo-loading with pasta dinners or bagel breakfasts, but I do enjoy eating more sweet potatoes and Japanese yams guilt-free.  Plantain chips are not recommended for a low-carb diet, howeverthese are perfect for pre-race “carbo-loading.”  I’ve got these prepped and ready to be my go-to snacks for the end of this week.  If you’re just looking for something to dip and scoop, these baked plantain chips (not fried) provide a healthy alternative to regular potato chips.

How to pick your plantains: unripened plantains are starchier, and ripened plantains have higher sugar content.  Green plantains = firmer, yellow = stickier.  I opted for unripened plantains to ensure that they were easier to cut.

Paleo Plantain Chips
From Fed and Fit

2 plantains
2 tsp. extra virgin coconut oil
Pink Himalayan sea salt, to taste

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Cut off the ends of the plantain, and make 3 shallow slits, just through the skin (this

Paleo Mayonesa

Growing up we were always a “Miracle Whip” family.  To be honest, I don’t even really know what Miracle Whip is.  All I know is that it was sweeter than real mayonnaise, and supposedly “better for you.”

Anyways, both Miracle Whip and mayonnaise contain the same basic ingredients of eggs, soybean oil, vinegar and water.  I am/was/still anti-all mayo-types, but I think Paleo mayonnaise might change my mind.

How do you make mayo paleo?  Remove the soybean oil and substitute it with some real fat.  Bacon fat.  In this case, bacon does make everything better!

Paleo Mayonnaise
Adapted from 21DSD
1 large egg yolk (pasteurized)
1 1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp. dijon mustard
1/2 cup bacon grease (from 1 packet of bacon)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt, to taste


  1.  In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolk, lemon juice, vinegar and mustard.
  2. Very slowly, using a 1/8 measuring cup, pour in the oil while consistently whisking.  Continue to add oil and whisk until the mixture has thickened (about 8 minutes).
  3.   Cover and chill for up to 4 days.

I plan to use this mayo in an upcoming paleo-rendition of a broccoli crunch salad.  Stay tuned!…

Eating for the Season: Tropi-Kale Smoothie

It’s time to get back on track and eating right.  Yesterday I went for a run after traveling 6+ hours.  I was worried I was going to be sluggish and that my running was going to be affected by my change of (poor) eating habits for the past few days.  However, I felt really good, and my legs just wanted to keep moving.  It was so refreshing to be back by the big blue ocean.  I did a 4 mile run, that included my first sub-7 minute mile at 6:44!

Ok, so now back to this week’s edition of eating for the season: another kale recipe.  This is the perfect drink to help detox your system and make you start feeling right again. I’ve gone through phases of making and liking green smoothies, and then not.  They usually start out nice and mild, but then I become a mad scientist in the kitchen.  They become increasingly more brown than green, and the flavor becomes less than appealing.  However, the other day I got a great green smoothie from the Whole Foods juice bar which jotted my memory.  “Hey, I can do this!”

Tropi-Kale Smoothie
This recipe is Whole30 and Paleo-approved
1 cup kale
½ frozen banana
9 frozen mango chunks
¼ cup frozen pineapple bits
12 oz. coconut water


  1. Place all ingredients in the blender.
  2. If you don’t have a Vitamix (like I don’t), I usually set the blender to “chop ice.”
  3. Once everything has been broken down a little bit, I alternate between the “puree” and “liquefy” speeds.  Tip: If it’s hard to get moving, just add a little bit more coconut water.
  4. When it’s all blended, you should have a nice and thick, tropical tasting, green smoothie.