healthy recipes

Doing Battle with Summer Heat

I am not made for the heat. I know this.

I don't glow; I wilt. I don't tan; I burn. I don't enjoy lazy afternoons while the sun bestows its radiant heat upon me; I park myself in front of a fan and wait for the sun to set.

You get the picture. 

Everything healthy just seems harder when it's hot out--cooking, exercising, sleeping--so, I'm always on the look out for ways to make it easier to stick to the things I know are good for me.

Here are a few I thought might help you too. 

 
Sleep.jpg
 

Sleep

If you aren't blessed with air conditioning, here are a few of my favorite ways to sleep despite the heat. 

Pick the right fabric for bedding and pajamas. Cotton and silk are good choices and stay relatively cool.

Ice packs. Some people swear by icing your neck and wrists, which I'm sure works. I tend to just go to sleep with an ice pack (wrapped in a towel) laying across my chest or under my back. (When I say ice packs, I'm talking about those reusable gel ones not ice cubes in a bag.) 

Take a cool shower before bed. I have done this when I've been desperate to cool off. And it does work.

Run a fan in your room and lie still in its path. Tossing and turning won't help you stay cool. If you can lie still on your bed, in the path of a fan, with your little ice pack on, you have a shot at getting comfortable enough to fall asleep.

 
Food.jpg
 

Food

The last thing I want to do when it's already hot in my house is turn on the oven to cook. So, here are a few of my favorite recipes and hacks for sticking to my healthy eating habits.

Smoothies are your friend. I eat smoothies for dinner on days when I just can't face cooking. And if I load them up with veggies (fresh spinach is a good one), some healthy proteins and fats (peanut butter, avocado, protein powder, even canned white beans), fruit and milk, I've got a fairly nutritious meal for myself. No oven or stove required. I might have a little toast or something too, just for some variety of texture.

Buy things you would normally have to cook, already made. You can get rotisserie chickens at the grocery store. Toss that on top of a salad and you've got a meal. I'm sure the deli at your grocery store has other protein options too. Is it the most cost-effective way to eat? Probably not long-term. But it's a decent short-term solution on especially hot summer days. I don't eat meat, so I tend to throw beans or crunchy edamame on salads for protein. I'm not big on the faux meats, but there are versions of those in some grocery stores that would be good salad toppers or fillings for wraps.

BBQ. Cook outside. If you can stand to be out there, hovering over a grill, you can cook without heating up the house. And if you want something besides the typical burger/chicken/hot dog fare, check out these pizzas you can grill using ingredients from Trader Joe's!

Avocado toast. This is one of my favorite things. I toast some sourdough bread in the toaster. Slather it with some mashed avocado and then...Well, the toppings vary. But I will usually get some protein on it. The pre-roasted crispy chickpeas and edamame you can get at the grocery stare are two options that don't require any cooking. If you're a meat-eater, leftover chicken might be a good choice.  I'll toss some herbs and spices on there--salt, red pepper flakes, maybe some Everything But the Bagel seasoning from Trader Joe's, or some fresh basil. One of my favorite combos is avocado, fresh tomato slices, salt, pepper, fresh basil and some reduced balsamic vinegar. Maybe a little tempeh bacon on top if I've got some. So good.

Pasta salads. If you can stand to have the stove on long enough to cook some pasta, or if you can plan ahead and cook some on a cooler day, this summer pasta salad is delicious and really easy. One I love that requires no cooking at all, is this White Bean Caprese Salad. And this Black Bean, Corn and Avocado version is really good with some healthy tortilla chips or wrapped in a tortilla (which you can warm in the microwave).

 
Exercise.jpg
 

Exercise

Oh the misery that is doing something you know will make you hotter when it's already blazingly hot in outside and/or inside your house/apartment. Yes, I'm talking about exercise. So, how do we stick to our commitment to move our bodies when we're already fighting hard to stay cool? Here are a few ways I switch things up with my workouts when summer hits. 

I change the kind of exercise I do. I add things like swimming into my workout rotation. There are aquatic fitness classes, but just swimming laps is a great workout. I'll do things like gentle yoga too that are a little less taxing and a bit more relaxing.

Location, location, location. My house now has air conditioning, but when it didn't, I would join gyms that were air conditioned, just for the summer. I'd go for my walks near the water where it was sometimes a few degrees cooler, or in parks where there were trails with tons of shade.

Timing is important. In the summer I have to exercise in the morning before it gets too hot. Afternoon or evening workouts when I've just spent the day fighting the heat are impossible for me. So morning it is. Fans running. Windows open to let in some cool air. 

Wardrobe is key. I'm normally not one for wearing shorts and tank tops when I work out in public places, but I'm also not a huge fan of heat stroke. So, I bare my arms and legs in the summer, even though I don't want to. It maximizes the opportunities for evaporative cooling, and that's worth the tiny little bit of self-consciousness I feel. 

Feel free to share your favorite ways to stick to your healthy activities when it's blazing hot outside in the comments below. Take care, friends and stay cool!

We Can't Stop Making This Snack

I was thinking the other day about what the ratio is of Pinterest recipes I try to Pinterest recipes I like. And it's probably pretty low. So, when I find a winner I want to shout it from the rooftops. Which is kind of what this blog is--a virtual rooftop :-) These are crackers that Nikki makes a lot, and has brought in to share with me a couple of times. They are really good and they satisfy that need for something salty and crunchy in a way that's pretty darn healthy. The recipe is a slightly modified version of one from Nutritious.com.

 
Image Courtesy of Nutritious.com

Image Courtesy of Nutritious.com

 

Seed Crackers

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup Chia Seeds
  • 1/4 cup Oatmeal
  • 1/4 cup Almond Flour
  • 1/2 cup Pumpkin Seeds
  • 2 tablespoons Flaxseeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 cup Water
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300-degrees.

Combine all ingredients and let them soak for at least 30-minutes.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Spoon the mixture onto the parchment paper, then cover with a second sheet of parchment paper. Smooth the mixture thin, using a rolling pin.

Bake for 1-hour or until golden and crisp.

 

 

Where Have We Been?

Hello friends! It seems like it's been a long time since I was last on this space, sharing our go-to stores for cute workout wear. How have you been? I hope June is treating you well. This post is going to be kind of a mish-mash of things. Part studio update, part life update, part cool things we think you should know about. So, here goes...

Sneakers.jpg

Come walk with us! We're starting a weekly walking group and our first walk will be this Tuesday, June 26th at 9:15am at Wright Park, at the corner of 6th Ave and South G Street in Tacoma. If you're in the area, come join us! And bring your health and fitness-related questions. A personal trainer (or two) will be leading the walk and it's a great opportunity to get your burning exercise questions answered. It's completely FREE and You can find details on our Facebook page here

We're jumping in to YouTube! Nikki and I are a good working team in that very often the things I'm not good at, she is. And the tasks that she hates doing, I actually enjoy. But one way in which we are the same is that we both struggle with being on camera. Unfortunately, exercise kind of requires a visual. It's much more difficult to write out how to do a plank than it is to show someone how to do a plank, for example. So, we're ordering vlogging equipment and will be wading into the wild world of YouTube very soon. Wish us luck on that!

Summer.jpg

Speaking of YouTube, I saw this video recently and loved it. There are so many great things about summer, aren't there? But it also brings with it renewed opportunities to be critical about our bodies and to compare ourselves to the curated images we see on social media. But let's not. Let's be kind to ourselves. Let's dress the way we want. Let's show ourselves the same grace we show others. Let's take full advantage of everything we love about this season. Let's be creative with solutions to the things that make us uncomfortable in summer, physically or emotionally. That's what this video is all about.

Badminton.jpg

Badminton is making a comeback at the studio. Nikki is always trying to think of ways to make workouts a little bit less like work and more like play, and badminton is just one of the new things we've got going on. I remember playing this game for hours in the backyard with my brother. It was so much fun! And I'm telling you, people play this game in the studio and they look like kids again. It's so much fun to watch. I'm tempted to buy a new set for myself...

Dry lips? You might need a lip sleeping mask, like this one from Laneige. It might sound ridiculous to buy a mask for your lips, but I struggle all year round with my lips drying out at night. It's especially bad when the weather is cold and dry outside. But it's also a problem when it's hot outside and I've got the air conditioning going inside, drying out the air. This stuff smells like bubble gum and a little goes a long way. So even though it's kind of pricey, it will last you a while. 

Makeup.jpg

Any of you as clueless as I am about applying eye makeup? No one ever really showed me how to do it, so I mostly just avoided it most of my life. But, I discovered Kate at The Small Things blog earlier this year and have been devouring her tutorials on everything makeup and hair. One of my faves is this one on the basics of applying eyeliner. But they're all great! She's got loads of videos on YouTube as well, so check her out for all the things you wish you'd had a big sister to teach you about being beautiful.

Game-changing sauces. I've been throwing this delicious sweet chili and garlic sauce on almost everything lately. I started with edamame, as the recipe suggests. But, really, it's good on vegetables, rice, you name it.  It would probably be good on meat too, if I ate meat. As simple as the recipe is, I've made it even simpler. I literally only use garlic and the sweet chili sauce. And I buy the already minced garlic, so it's just a matter of sautéing that for a minute, adding in a couple of tablespoons of the chili sauce and heating it up for a minute. Done.

As always, thanks for reading the blog even when we go AWOL for a month. Always feel free to post in the Comments below if there are topics you'd like us to tackle, exercise or otherwise. Take care and we'll see you again here soon!

Recipes You Must Try!

Hi all! We've been cooking up a storm lately and have some new recipes to recommend. These are easy and delicious and healthy. Nope, those things aren't mutually exclusive, we swear :-) What follows is proof. 

These Berry Streusel Bars from Happy Go Lucky blog. As an aside, the berry topping on these would be really good on the Chocolate Fudge Avocado Cake we posted in our April Favorites post...

Egg Muffins from Two Peas and Their Pod. These are like omelets in a muffin tin. You can use any fillings you like. Nikki didn't use the exact ingredients in this recipe, but followed the cooking instructions. You can do the same.

Salsa Fresca Chicken from Easy Family Recipes. Nikki suggests salting your chicken the night before. It prevents it from drying out. 

Greek Yogurt Blueberry Pancakes from Ambitious Kitchen. A quick note on these: check the labels on your Greek yogurt. Some are really low in protein and high in sugar. You want the reverse. We like the Fred Meyer brand, but I'm sure there are others that are good too.

Cauliflower Fried Rice from The Recipe Critic. You can save yourself some time on this one if you purchase already riced cauliflower. Trader Joe's sells it, so do many other stores. 

Seed Crackers from Quite Good Food. A really good substitute for chips when you need something salty and crunchy.

Strawberry Chia Seed Jam from the Gluten-Free Vegan Pantry. Super easy. No pectin or gelatin required. 

Coconut Rice with Pineapple and Cashews from Carlsbad Cravings. This one I made often a while back and then kind of rediscovered it recently. It's delicious. 

Chocolate Strawberry Oatmeal from Bakerita. 

Let us know if you try any of them and if you do, what you thought!

Amazing (and Healthy!) Recipes You Need to Try

I LOVE food. And I get really excited about my meals. That goes for my healthy meals too, because I won't live in a world where I have to choose between something that tastes good and something that's good for me. I just won't. I try tons of recipes every month, and I'd say if three out of ten are good then it's a win. Here are some of my favorites from the past month.

Lemon-Asparagus Risotto from My Darling Vegan. I left out the peas because, fun fact, I find them revolting. I always have. To me, cooked peas are bitter and I can't understand how anyone can eat them. But if you love them, then toss them in like the recipe suggests. Because I don't eat meat or dairy as a general rule, I throw some roasted garbanzo beans in with the risotto to make it more of a complete meal. Here's my go-to recipe for that from the Oh She Glows blog.

Sweet and Spicy Cauliflower from The Fitchen. Vegetables are hard for me. I really have to either sneak them into my food in a way that I essentially can't taste them, or I have to find ways to cook them with enough flavor that I find them palatable. These are really, really good. 

Easy Lentil Bolognese Sauce from Pasta-Based. Great on pasta or spaghetti squash. Have you guys tried spaghetti squash yet? So good.

Avocado Bruschetta with Balsamic Reduction. This one's from Damn Delicious blog. You pour reduced balsamic vinegar on anything and I'll probably eat it. This is so good and full of things that are good for you. And all on toasted sourdough bread. Yum.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries and Balsamic Reduction from Platings and Pairings. Again with the reduction, I know. But it really is magic. 

Chickpea and Chocolate Clusters from Nest & Glow. If you need a chocolate fix, there are way worse ways to get it than these. They are a combination of semi-sweet chocolate chips and roasted chickpeas. That's it. So, you get fiber and protein that you don't normally get from a chocolate bar with these things. Really nice snack or dessert when you just need something sweet. 

Frozen Snickers Bars and Bites from Feeding Your Beauty. Yep, I said "Snickers" in a post about healthy recipes. These are a little more work than the chocolate clusters above, but so worth it. 

Chipotle Lentil Soup from Platings and Pairings. This one wins because you just dump everything in a slow cooker and forget about it. I love recipes like that. Sometimes I do corn bread with this, and it's a nice combo. 

Okay, that's the best of the recipes for March! If you've got any you love, feel free to share the links below.

Stuff You Might Have Missed

 Good morning, friends! Here are some things I found on the internet this month that I thought were worth sharing.       

This article from The Cut. I had never heard the term "cringe-attack" before I read this, but I instantly knew what it meant. Let's have a little self-indifference, shall we?

This 3-ingredient, healthy, Peanut Butter Dip, from Listed & Loved. I have dipped fruit in it, but you could also just cut out the middleman and eat it with a spoon. That's easier. 

Am I the only person in the world who had never heard of The Mandela Effect until a couple of weeks ago? Apparently this is a thing.  

Get outside, everyone. Green exercise is here.

Target will sell you a candle that smells like cotton candy. So...yeah, that's happening at my house. 

The human body is an amazing thing. This we know. Here's what happens to it while you exercise. This I didn't know.

Moroccan Oil is saving my hair this winter. The tiniest bit raked through the ends of my hair after I dry it and straighten it, makes it so soft. 

How to Heal the Roof of Your Mouth After You've Burned It. Been there. Done that.

Want to find a workout you love, but don't know how? Try using this checklist to help you figure it out.