ashley nicole avenue

a journey to healthy balance

If the Shoe Fits… February 22, 2011

Filed under: Dessert,My Life,SIAB,Zumba — ansauls @ 2:19 am

Hey y’all! What’s up, buttercups?! Sorry for being MIA. It’s been a NUTZO couple of days. Grab some coffee/tea/PB ūüėČ and settle in…here’s a recap.

1. I had some fun with fat hehe….the baby plate was carrots and cucumbers with hummus;¬†a bed of celery topped with chicken kelaguen, fresh salsa, and fresh avocado, and 1/2 apple.

The apple was lonely without some fat, so a dollop of this goodness somehow appeared on top…

[Source]

2. I tried avocado in a smoothie. It was a new ingredient for me that I LOOOOOOVED! WOW! It gives amazing texture.

Avocado Smoothie

In the confetti bowl:

  • 1/2 avocado
  • a few slices of frozen nanner
  • Twisted Power Powder (maca, cacao, hemp)
  • 1/2 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • toppings: blueberries, blackberries, cacao nibs

It. rocked. my. face!!!!

3. Then I had some fun with my newly-legal sistaaaa….it was a beautiful day, so we sat outside at On the Border. I had a Lime Skinny; she had a Swirls with strawberry. Her 1st margarita, which is my favorite, so I was a proud sister! She liked it!!

Lunch was a Citrus Chipotle Chicken Salad with no dressing. I did dip the lettuce in some salsa.

 Citrus Chipotle Chicken Salad[Source]

And I took her to my favorite fro yo place…Marmalade Skies!! I broke out of my vanilla-with-kiwi-and-raspberry-shell to have some vanilla, PEANUT BUTTER (YES!), and a little cappuccino yogurt topped with sprinkles and dark chocolate chips. I love the crunch of dark chocolate in yogurt. It was yummers!

A little later in the evening, I taught a ZUMBA¬†PARTY at One Heart Yoga. Mira, the owner, and her husband Erik let me host a donation event for my Christian medical missions trip to South Africa. The Lord completely BLEW me away with the generosity of my participants! We packed the house out!!! Thank-you again to everyone that came out. We’re going to do another 90-minute donation class full of sweating and smiling in March ;). ¬†Here’ s me teaching ūüėČ

Saturday¬† night we had our community friends over for my sister’s 21st birthday (hey, we get a week of celebration around here!). Isn’t she precious?

My best friend Leslie was in town, so she came by to dance with me ūüėČ hehe What a treat!

Sunday was a quick trip to Charleston (what a beautiful day on Ashley Avenue hehe) to meet with the team for my trip. We’re trying to get a shoe drop in South Africa while we’re there. There will be TONS of barefooted children running around playing soccer that we want to give TOMS to. We’re going to take flip flops for them, but they need shoes so badly. If y’all have TOMS connections, please e-mail me.

Can you guess which ones are mine? hehe

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By having to take this weekend off from blogging, I’ve realized how busy my life has become and that I can’t give 110% to Ashley Nicole Avenue. That being said, I started this blog to share new and fun ideas to get on a journey to healthy balance. I don’t feel like I’ve offered really fun recipes and can’t afford to do fun product reviews (y’all are so great to have so many cool¬†gadgets and ingredients)¬†and want to give it so much more. I guess I’m more of a semi-homemade kind of girl. I still LOVE reading all of your fun ideas and recipes. I am also the girl who tends to operate better with a full plate, but I want to give this blog so much more than I have time to. So, this is going to be my final post. This hasn’t been an easy decision to make. Y’all have been so wonderful for reading my crazy/silly life and for commenting. Thank-you for joining me on this journey. It means more than you know! We’ve been through high heels, tennis shoes, and TOMS ;), but this time the shoe that fits is taking at least a blog break. I love each of you for taking your time to read.

Love and health,

ashley nicole

 

Calling YOU Out February 17, 2011

What’s up, buttercups? It’s been a day! Let me just tell y’all about it…

First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY LINDSAY!!! Thanks for your friendship…it’s been a blast!

Now onto today’s eats…check out the morning-after Blueberry Muffin ‚ÄúLarabars¬ģ‚ÄĚ. Looks good to me! They were a little “wet” still, so I’d definitely recommend rolling with dried blueberries, but I could not find any that weren’t sweetened in our little grocery stores in town. (Note to self: buy at Whole Foods next time, or make some myself!) I liked the texture though. Perfect for crumbling ūüėČ hehe (insert sneaky smirk here)

I crumbled 1/6 of the “Larabar (R)” container on top of pumpkin oats with some real blueberries…

Check out this mug shot ūüėČ + Naturally More dollop.

Then I topped that with some Trader Joe’s Superfruit Spread. It was one of those days when I kept going back in the refrigerator for toppings.

Workout today: BodyPump, RPM, BodyFlow. I got “called out” today for overdoing it, but I truly felt great and had a great mix of cardio, weights, and flexibility training. When you’re a fitness instructor as a job, it’s important to keep up with your own fitness to be a good example for your participants. I would have left if I felt tired or sluggish…promise! I told the man who stopped me that he needed to check out my blog to see that yes, I do eat. It just really stuck with me today.

I came home to make this beast of a lunch in my baby plate ;)…Ashley Nicole Avenue salad beast and 1/2 sweet potato “Clare” style ūüėČ (I tried it FINALLY, Clare!)–with black beans, fresh salsa, and some ripe avocado. It was different for a change, but my tastebuds like baked beans on top better.

Dessert lunch: 1) Celestial Lemon Zinger hot tea (if you can’t say something nice, don’t! I miss¬†my Yogi tea), 2) a square of 85% cacao chocolate…not as good as 100%, but it did the trick, and 3) the BEST smoothie! It tasted like ice cream + I added 3 slices of frozen banana…

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Place ¬Ĺ cup water and the almonds in a blender.
  2. Cover and refrigerate until the cashews have softened, at least 6 hours (and up to overnight).
  3. Add the ice, banana, and maple syrup.
  4. Blend until smooth and frothy.

After 3 hours of studying about metabolism of glucose and insulin, my tummy said: “Snack time, please!” So, went with 1) organic pink lady, a Ball of Energy (with Maranatha raw almond butter, Twister Power Powder from Whole Foods, unsweetened coconut, honey, rolled in some more coconut), and some Green Juice…

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Place the grapes, spinach, ice, and coconut water in a blender.
  2. Let it fly!

 

I went to chat with my friend Mira who inspired tonight’s dessert ;), practiced for Zumba and getting ready for my Zumba party at One Heart Yoga!!! If you’re in town, please come by for some or all of it. Here’s the deets…

“ZUMBA¬†PARTY!!!: Friday, February 18th from 6:30-8:00 pm. Zumba instructor Ashley Sauls¬†will lead us in over an hour of hip rolling, salsa dancing, clapping, laughing fun all while building our core strength and giving us a great cardio workout. In lieu of the regular class fee we will collecting donations for Ashley’s medical missions trip to Africa. She will join a team of 30 medical professionals, students, and pastors. Their group is¬†partnering with a local ministry called Emoyeni, which takes care of orphans whose parents died of AIDS.¬†For more info check out: (www.emoyeni.org) Hope to see you there!”

Dinner was a grain bowl!!! Oh, how I have missed these. I just wanted something really clean!

In the bowl:

  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • black beans
  • ¬†edamame
  • green beans
  • steamed mixed veggies (carrots, cauliflower, broccoli)
  • seasonings: nutritional yeast and Garlic Gold Nuggets

Soooooo yummy and super quick!

Dinner dessert: Mira-inspired Single Lady Spicy Hot Chocolate

  • 2 tbsp + a little more 100% cacao powder
  • 1/8 tsp Truvia
  • sprinkle of sea salt
  • ¬†a little lot of cayenne pepper ( you pick your spicy!)

I have never tried one of these before. It was different. Definitely not sweet, but the cayenne complimented the cocoa well. Hmmm…I may need to play with this one some more (or go to Mexico and get a Mexican hot chocolate ūüėČ )

Plus, some grapes, a black bean brownie topped with some cookie dough hummus ūüėČ

I’m fully satisfied! Definitely not stuffed but content.

Have you ever been “called out” at the gym? How do you handle it? I can’t wait to hear what you have to say.

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Reader’s Request: If you could look back at yourself at 16 years of age, what would you say to yourself/What advice would your give yourself?

( I have to indulge the birthday girl today!)

Well, for starters, I’d say…

  • Lose your dreams!¬†Open yourself up to what God has for you. It’s so much better than what you had planned for yourself.
  • GET HEALTHY! and enjoy eating REAL food…go get some raw nut butter NOW!
  • Start saving for a VitaMix¬†; ) hehe
  • Get out of your comfort zone at least once a day!
  • Get off the couch and go outside, take a walk, dance barefoot in the grass, life is too short. (I used to come home from school, eat way too many snacks and watch TV until dinner while doing homework.)
  • Outer beauty is not everything, but a healthy balance is important.
  • Love who you are¬†and embrace it.¬†Don’t roll with the “popular” thing your friends are doing or who they want you to be.

I’m sure there’s a lot more, but that’s what came to mind first. Thanks for the request, Linds!

 

Dark and Bold…Just the Way I Like it! February 16, 2011

What’s up, buttercups?!¬†How’s your day been? Mine’s been pretty good. My brain hurts from Biochem…any tutors out there? All these pathways and enzymes are a lot to handle. You gotta be BOLD! hehe

Having breakfast ready (or almost ready) in the morning has really helped my time management! Try it…you might like it ūüėČ Today’s SIAB for breakfast was very refreshing! I did a Pretty-in-Pink Smoothie (strawberries, keifer, banana, ice) topped with blackberries, blueberries, 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats, and 1 tbsp raw almond butter. ahhhhhhhh!

Then it was off to the gym to teach Zumba and do some abs ūüėČ Gotta look good for that swimsuit in 2 weeks and 4 days, but who’s counting?

After a quick wardrobe change ;), it was off to the temp job. Pre-made lunch of leftovers from Sunday night¬†plus some extra spinach just ‘cuz I needed some more green with those spinach noodles ūüėČ on a makeshift placemat¬†(aka lunchbag).

I re-heated it all together (why are leftovers SO good?!), so the spinach was wilted with the pasta. Yummers!

And, even though it was a quickie lunch, it’s important to set the table for yourself and enjoy your meal. You made it! You earned it!

And every meal deserves dessert…an organic pear and a black bean brownie dessert sandwich with dessert hummus in the center. WOW!!! I left it in the frige all morning…seriously, it was like cookie dough (oh, how I’ve missed cookie dough. If I’d only known it was possible in healthy way ūüėČ )

Snack was an unphotographed Cashew Cookie Larabar. Since I missed my Hot Yoga class today because of work, I did an afternoon workout of 1 power hour of Power Yoga to stretch out really good. Zumba has me tight these days.

After a loooooooooooooong day of daydreaming about recipes¬†studying, I took some time to cook tonight since Tuesdays are my night¬†off from teaching Zumba. Out came the blender and food processor (a VitaMix¬†would make life so much easier…maybe one day my fairy godmother will deliver one hehe).

1. Emergency Smoothie. I always try to keep one made for “emergencies”/ my-stomach-is-growling-and-I-need-something-healthy-now! (Impatient a little? hmmm!). Plus, it’s a great way to use random ingredients¬†that I need to finish up.¬†I’ll tell you more about it when it’s consumed ūüėČ

2. Since-They-Won’t-Bring-Blueberry-Muffin-‚ÄúLarabars¬ģ‚ÄĚ-To-Me, I’ll-Make-Them-Myself

Ingredients

Servings: 6 bars

  • 1 cup(about 20) pitted dates
  • 1 cup almonds (mine had been soaked overnight)
  • 2 tablespoons shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup dried blueberries (all I had was fresh ones, so I used 1 cup)
  • 1/2 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (or sexy spice or apple pie spice)

Directions: Put all this goodness in the food processor (or VitaMix¬†or BlendTec–Lindsay!, if you’re so lucky!) and let it fly. Mine are now in the refrigerator setting up. I’m thinking they may HAVE to appear at tomorrow’s breakfast. I licked the spatula as I was scraping the mix out…WHOA!!! Hey, half the fun of “letting it fly” is licking the utensils! (I’m in a sassy mood tonight..watch out!)

3. Thank-You, Lord for Making Brownie Batter (yes, I said it! Brownie Batter) hehe

  • 4¬†tbsp soft coconut oil
  • 2¬†tbsp (or more!) dark cocoa powder
  • scant 1/16 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp sexy spice
  • 1/2 a frozen banana heated in the microwave for 20 seconds to soften
  • optional: Feel free to sweeten, if needed (not needed for this chica!)

Blend everything (or mash with a fork).

I cut the recipe in half because it was for my dessert tonight, and I knew having extra around would be dangerous!

Then, I finally tackled tofu in the oven. Usually, I’m so hungry by the time it’s dinner time that taking the time to sit tofu on a paper towel THEN bake it THEN broil it is simply too much torture, but I had time tonight.

4. Goodness Gracious Great Balls of Energy

I made them this time with raw almond butter, unsweetened coconut, and honey and rolled them in coconut and cacao nibs.

Why-Have-I-Always-Been-So-Afraid-of-Tofu?

  • Press extra firm tofu with cookbooks or something heavy between paper towels for 30 minutes.
  • Bake at 400*F for 35 minutes.
  • Broil for 5 minutes.
  • Season with WHATEVER‚ĶBBQ sauce, oil and spices, etc. (I used mixed herbs and balsamic tonight.)

 But, I started with a small salad beast (herb mix, edamame, carrots, celery, cucumbers hummus, balsamic).

Now enters the tofu, 1/2 sweet potato sexified, some steamed green beans (about 1 cup) with Garlic Gold nuggets. Yummy!

Daddy brewed coffee tonight, and it smelled SO good that I had to have some while I watched my Heels play Wake Forest. It’s been a while since I had coffee all day long ;), so it really was dark and bold (and 1/2 caff)…just the way (uh huh uh huh) I like it! It’s nice to have it as a treat now and not all day long like I was before.

And finally…BROWNIE BATTER!!!! It was soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo good!!! topped with strawberries and blackberries. (Thanks, Katie!)

Valentine’s Day got me thinking about a couple of things I wanted to toss out to y’all to see what you think…

1. Sweet Stuff

Since I am out of agave, I did some reading today on sweeteners so I could have a substitute for my Balls of Energy. I came across this article and am interested in knowing what you think…what’s your favorite sweetie? why?

2. Shopping as a Single Lady (or Man)

How do cut the cost of grocery shopping while shopping for 1? I mean, so many places suggest shopping in bulk, but it’s not worth it to let food go bad if you can’t finish it all…how do you shop for 1?

Keep those reader’s requests coming for the giveaway!

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Reader’s Request: My Essential Foods

My typical grocery list looks a little something like this…

  • raw nuts (I switch up which kind. I’m always up for something new)
  • raw nut butter (clearly a staple. I usually don’t splurge on fun flavors (unless I get a sample packet) because I can’t afford it, but ILOVE reading y’all’s combos.)
  • a grain (quinoa, brown rice, etc.)
  • blueberries/strawberries/blackberries
  • organic apples/oranges/pears (whatever’s on sale)
  • Larabars (I always stock up when they’re on sale!)
  • organic spinach and some type of mixed greens
  • organic baby carrots
  • almond milk
  • 0% fat greek yogurt
  • keifer
  • plain hummus
  • organic canned beans (black, garbanzo, baked ūüėČ )
  • avocado
  • sweet potato
  • steamed veggies (green beans, brussel sprouts, broccoli, etc.)
  • edamame
  • 100% unsweetened chocolate
  • new ingredient that I’ve never tried before so I can make some new recipes and get creative so my palate doesn’t get bored¬† ūüôā

Hope this helps! Sweet dreams, loves!

 

Not Your Typical Black and Blue February 10, 2011

Thank-y’all SO much for your patience! Grab your coffee/tea/whatever and get ready for this fun-packed post.

Breakfast yesterday was polka dots-and-stripes-style SIAB and hot tea ūüėČ

It’s 5:00 Somewhere Pina¬†Colada¬†SIAB

Ingredients

  • 1/4¬†cup raw soaked pistashios¬†
  • 1¬†cup¬†ice
  • 1/2¬†frozen banana
  • 1¬†tablespoon¬†light agave
  • a little purified water and coconut water

Directions

  1. Place ingredients in a blender.
  2. Blend until smooth and frothy.
  3. Add some rum hehe
  4. Toppings: Nature’s Path Pumpkin Seed and Raisin cereal, blueberries, sexy spice.

Making breakfast at night has been wonderful this week as it saves me so much time in the mornings so I don’t feel like I have to rush as much to get ready for the gym.¬†I’ve realized a lot of my “stress” is self-imposed and therefore can be dealt with and conquered!

Workout: taught Zumba, took BodyCombat and a hot detox yoga class.

My friend Lindsay and I finally met up for a potluck lunch. It’s SO nice to have a good friend who “gets” the healthy food lifestyle and can inspire me and cook with me to try new things. What a blast to have someone who’s excited about PB2¬†and Sunwarrior¬†and black beans ūüėČ Hold on to your laptop! Lindsay is the best host, along with her PRECIOUS son Carter. What a cutie, and he’s learning the best eating habits at such a young age. What a lucky boy to have a Mom who is doing her best to teach him how to eat. I love my friends who are¬† moms. They’ve taught me so much!

For starters, a sample of Carter’s “Mom Knows How to Sneak Those Veggies In” smoothie (kiwi, banana, spinach, carrot, keifer). It was the perfect quick fuel after the gym while we made lunch.

Homemade Mexican Black Bean Burgers! (vegan)

(makes 2 patties)

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 C black beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 1/2 C fresh spinach
  • 1/4 C whole wheat flour
  • 2 Tbsp. oats
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 small garlic clove

 Optional toppings: sliced tomato, avocado, fresh spinach, ketchup, mustard

Instructions:

Toss it all into a food processor and whirl away!

 Once it’s mixed, form into two patties. Toss them onto a skillet coated with cooking oil/spray (we used coconut oil) and cook on medium high for about 5 minutes, flipping at least once until they have a bit of a crust on them. Serve atop salad or on a whole wheat bun with toppings!

We doubled the recipe so Lindsay would have leftovers, and we put our burgers over a salad BEAST with these ingredients…plus some homemade hummus and balsamic vinaigrette

Ta dahhhhhhhhhhh…salad beast for the day. Check!

Next course: Dessert: Black Bean and Blueberry Fantasy

1. Start with Black Bean Brownies

Servings: 9

Description:

Dense, fudge-y and ultra-healthy, these brownies are a great alternative to traditional brownies! It’s amazing how they taste like chocolate and fudge and not beans! Chef’s Notes: Rolled oats run through the food processor may substituted for the instant oats. Use optional sugar if your bananas are still green and not very ripe.

 Ingredients:

  • 15 ounces black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 whole bananas
  • ‚Öď cup agave nectar
  • ¬ľ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¬ľ cup raw sugar (optional)
  • ¬ľ cup instant oats

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease an 8×8″ pan and set aside. Combine all ingredients, except oats, in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth, scrapping sides as needed. Stir in the oats and pour batter into the pan. Bake approximately 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool before slicing. Chef’s Note: if you find these brownies are too soft or too fudge-y, add another 1/4 cup oats or flour

2. Top with Peanut Dreams Dessert Hummus

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips

Directions

  • Drain, measure, wash, and peel your chickpeas. (Peeling them isn‚Äôt absolutely necessary but it makes for the creamiest hummus and really is worth the effort.)
  • In a food processor, add the first 4 ingredients and process until the hummus is smooth and emulsified.

3. Place another black bean brownie to make a sandwich.

4. Top with a Peanut Buttercup Sauce of PB2 (my first experience with PB2…LOVED it!) and chocolate almond milk, blueberries, and sexy spice.

WOW! So, it’s not a blackened piece of meat with bleu cheese, it’s SOOOOOOO much better!!!! Seriously, after you finish this post, go make it! It was so filling. In fact, I beat myself up a little all day for the extra calories, but it was soooooooo good!

I definitely skipped snack with all that black bean protein, but I did have a vanilla rooibos from Starbucks while I studied.

For dinner, again, it was a thought struggle as we had Bible study right around dinner time. So, I ate a few snacks while we had an amazing study in Jonah…

We didn’t get home until 10-ish, but I thought it was better to go ahead and eat then skip a “real” dinner. It wasn’t the best choice probably for a late-night meal, but I really wanted my leftover nachos from the SuperBowl with the rest of my fresh guac and a little fresh salsa¬†(this is an appetizer plate).

Then, my stomach was so happy to get dinner that I found out how hungry I really was, and I wanted dessert. I went with a small bowl of blueberries and sliced strawberries, 1/2 a banana heated for 10 seconds in the microwave, a little greek yogurt, and a Ball of Energy to garnish ūüėČ

What a fun day for food!!! Lindsay’s house was like going to Whole Foods. She has all the foods I’m saving up to buy…SunWarrior, PB2, homemade hummus, nut butters, all of which I love! Thank-you Lindsay (and Carter) for being such wonderful lunch dates!