ashley nicole avenue

a journey to healthy balance

Valentine’s Day for One…and a GIVEAWAY! February 15, 2011

Happy Valentine’s Day, my loves! I don’t know why the post I typed up last night didn’t post, but I’ll fill in as best I can 😦

This morning started with One Night Stand Breakfast Cookie Dough Cereal (because this process actually started last night hehe)

1. Make a breakfast cookie the night before…

  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 1/4 scoop SunWarrior (this is all I had left…usually, I roll with 1/2 scoop)
  • 1 tbsp Naturally More
  • 4 slices of frozen nanner…so good morning after 😉
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • toppings: blueberries and goji berries

Sit it in the refrigerator overnight.

2. WAKE UP SOOOOO EXCITED that breakfast is already made from your one-night stand ;)!

3. Top with 4 soaked raw almonds for crunch and blackberries and 1/2 cup almond milk.

Workout today: BodyPump, RPM, taught Zumba

I got called to my temp office job, so I threw together a quick lunch of the rest of my tahini garlic dressing, carrots, cucumbers, celery, and herb mixed greens. It’s nice to have the “dressing” in the bottom so that all the salad gets mixed in. It was a quick and dirty lunch but yummy!

Quickie lunch: brussel sprouts and 2 mini black bean burgers.

I was so full from this lunch!

I wasn’t really hungry for a snack, and I had a tummy ache, but since it was going to be 8 hours in between lunch and din din, I decided to eat an organic pink lady and a Love is Not a Green Monster…

  • 2 cups organic spinach
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon flax
  • 1 banana
  • a few blueberries and strawberries
  • ice

Put in the blender, and let it fly!

After Zumba, I was huuuuunnnnngry! I rolled with leftovers from last night’s meal (see below..again, sorry it didn’t post for some reason 😦 ) and a small Ashley Nicole Avenue salad beast (herb mix, cucs, carrots, celery, edamame, hummus, and balsamic). Since I use these ingredients all the time, I’m officially naming this the beast of this blog 😉

So, last night’s dinner that disappeared into blog world…a romantic meal for 1 (with leftovers hehe)

1. Start with a small skillet of EVOO and garlic.

2. Add artichoke hearts, organic tomato slices, mushrooms, and some mixed spices and herbs. Cook on medium high heat and simmer down to low. Simmer to desired consistency.

3.  Add organic tomato sauce to veggies. Simmer a little longer 😉

4. Pour the simmered mixture over spinach noodlios. Mix well and let it sit to soak up all the flava!

5. Top with Garlic Gold Nuggets and FEAST!

Back to tonight…the highlight of the day was definitely tonight’s dessert. Since it is Valentine’s Day, I decided that some chocolate was in order 😉 hehe

a little almond milk, a black bean brownie, and a bowl of cacao nibs, mixed berries over MOUSSE!!!!! Chocolate mousse is one of my favorite indulgences, so I rolled with a clean version…

I used this recipe, and you should run, not walk (don’t throw your laptop) to your food processor and make some for you and your sweetie (or just you hehe), or you can have both servings. I just made 1/3 of the recipe for me.

Now I’m sipping some Bedtime tea, watching the Bachelor, and eating a 100% unsweetened chocolate square…still not full? hmmm…

What did you do to celebrate Valentine’s Day? Any romantic plans? Shouldn’t every day be Valentine’s Day?

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Our first GIVEAWAY!!! Fast, Fit, & Fab Cookbook

One of the clubs I teach at has a fabulous trainer in Florida who’s written an amazing cookbook. She told me she heard from several clients over the years that they didn’t have time to eat healthy, so she worked on developing a lot of healthier recipe options with minimal effort and minimal prep time! 🙂 It is a FANTASTIC cookbook with lots of “clean” options. It’s broken down into categories (breakfast, snack, lunch, dinner, desserts and smoothies). YOU have the chance to win a copy.

  • Just leave me a comment with a reader’s request.
  • Link back to this giveaway on your blog and let me know.
  • Both.

You can enter as many times as you’d like between now and Thursday night. I’ll pick a winner Friday morning!

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Fridays Are For Cleaning Out the Refrigerator February 12, 2011

Hey y’all! I’m glad that y’all are liking the reader’s requests…keep ’em comin’! So, on Fridays I try to clean out the frige from all the leftovers from the week to come up with fun combos….so that I can make more over the weekend hehe

Enter: morning oats! These were REALLY good. I wish the bowl could’ve multiplied 😉

  • usual pumpkin-banana-chia seed oats
  • toppings: blueberries, Trader Joe’s cranberry apple butter, Naturally More

With some Yogi Get Regular Tea…it’s working 😉

Workout today: a 90-minute yoga/meditation class. How do you feel on ‘light’ workout days? I always feel the need to go “balls to the wall” with working out, so I feel weak when I just take in yoga on a day as my workout, but I did enjoy the stretching, and I’m hoping it’ll get me revved up to get a hardcore workout in tomorrow. I did try to push myself in the poses and got my heels to touch down in Down Dog for the first time. We did a restorative savasana (did I spell that right?) on a pillow with our back up like a ramp. I’ve never done savasana this way before. Meditation is a challenge for me as well as I have a hard time just being. I try to use that time to listen to God. I talk to Him a lot but rarely feel like I just sit and listen without my brain going in a million different directions. Yoga has become an integral part of my workout, and it’s challenging to my body (and mind) in a different way.

Lunch: everything that was in my refrigerator that was a vegetable ;)…a bed of kale chips (re-heated in the toaster oven for 3 minutes), celery, carrots, mushrooms, cucumbers, fresh salsa, edamame. I needed something quick, so I just dumped it all in a bowl. It had beautiful color and texture and crunch. I topped it with 1 tbsp of the tahini garlic dressing I made. Yummers!!! Salad beast for the day. DONE! Plus, the refrigerator is cleaned out 😉

I tried to be so good today because Amber and I have a traditional birthday dessert that we split that I knew was coming tonight.

Dinner: Champp’s. I went online to check out their nutritional info before I got to the restaurant so that I knew exactly how many calories I was getting into. Based on what I saw there, I ordered a side greek salad ( no dressing) and a side of roasted dinner vegetables. It was a  good mix for dinner.

I knew this was coming…

Mile High Ice Cream Pie: Rich French vanilla, mocha-almond fudge and classic chocolate ice creams, layered on a chocolate cookie crust and topped with whipped cream, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce and toffee pieces.

Oh yeah, Amber and I can do it all by ourselves…

Y’all pray that I’m not paying for this later.

Do you check nutritional information online before going out to eat?

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Reader’s Request: Wedding Planning

Yes, I am a wedding planner on the side. My business is … A Little Black Dress Event by Ashley Nicole Sauls. I thought all the way through college that I was going to be a wedding planner as a career and started this business my Junior year.

Event planning for me began when I saw The Wedding Planner and thought “I could do that.” I mean, Matthew McConaughey wasn’t too bad to look at 😉

[Source]

I joined the International Special Events Society the summer before beginning college and started networking with local event professionals. This landed me an internship as an event coordinator at the NC Museum of History where I learned so much and was able to really build my resume as they allowed me to run a lot of events on my own. Most of my events were wedding receptions, but I also was able to do proms, legislative events, receptions, birthday parties…and even able to do some writing and public relations for the museum.

I also worked with A Southern Soiree as an intern, which taught me a lot about the business side of things and how to own my own event planning company. Both experiences taught me so much, in different ways.

I had a couple other internships doing various other event planning for UNC General Alumni Association, bridal shows, wine experiences/showcases.

From there, I was able to start my own company as well as help out my girlfriends who were getting engaged and married.

What a ride! It’s a ton of fun! I can’t think of a better college internship…

Dancin’ at a reception. Yes, wedding planners can have fun too…after the cake is cut

When I got to the end of Senior year and approached graduation, I realized that this was something that I was good at (I hope that doesn’t sound selfish) and enjoyed but not something that I wanted to make a career out of. I still enjoy doing it on the side, and there is nothing like leaving a wedding reception after a long day and see the difference you were able to make in the lives of a couple, even if they have NO idea all the fires your had to put out (that’s what you prefer actually).

One of my favorite couples

I just felt called to make a difference in a different way in this world. Long story short, that’s how I ended up deciding to apply to physician assistant school. I learned that you can’t make every passion a career. I still like doing event planning on the side and in life in general…it’s a part of who I am, but I am so excited to be on the journey to becoming a PA if that’s what the Lord has for me.

 

GASP! Oats Without Nut Butter February 11, 2011

I woke up after 4 hours of sleep (thanks to the caffeinated coffee I had at dinner) to snow flurries, so I knew warm oats were in store…

It’s Snowing Outside (Blueberry Pumpkin Breakfast) Parfait

Layer 1: 0% fat greek yogurt sprinkled with apple pie spice on top

Layer 2: Blueberries

Layer 3: Maple Pumpkin Oats

  • 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats, almond milk, water, organic pumpkin
  • 1/2 smashed banana (this really helped make it sweeter than last time)
  • splash of pure maple extract
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • sprinkles of sea salt and apple pie spice

Repeat until glass is overflowing full. It was delicious!

Plus some Yogi Get Regular Tea to keep my bones warm on this chilly morning 😉

After studying, I got called into work (I’m doing a quick temp job where I have to be on call for 5 weeks.), so I had to throw together lunch quick. For starters, I made a sandwich out of 2 toasted slices of Ezekiel cinnamon raisin bread that I with peanut flour sauce in the middle. I made the sauce without any real PB in it, and it was lacking, but I was trying to forgo the extra fat.

I hardly ever do sandwiches, but this was tasty!

I had about 2 tbsp of hummus left in a container, so I made a quick salad beast on the go ;). I poured a little balsamic on the hummus and topped the mixture with celery, edamame, sliced cucumber, carrots. It was quick, but don’t knock it! 😉

And even a girl on the run needs her dessert…some seedless white grapes and my last Ball of Energy sexified!

Snack time: an Apple Pie Larabar

I could believe how hungry I still was even without working out this morning, but I was hungry as usual. My workout today was a 30-ish minute Zumba practice sesh and then I taught a Zumba class.

 

I couldn’t wait to make dinner tonight! My thing-to-try today was savory oats. I’ve seen Angela make them before, then Clare, so I decided it was time to try oats without nut butter for a change. GASP!

“Cheezy Oats”

In my mix:

  • 1/3 cup old-fashioned oats 
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup soy milk
  • 1 tsp EVOO 
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • dashes of cracked pepper and garlic salt

Toppings:

  • brussel sprouts 
  • edamame
  • fresh salsa

To make: I put the oats, water, soy milk, olive oil, nutritional yeast, and spices into a pot and brought it to a boil and let it get frothy. Looks like this…

You may have to play with the heat (I started with medium-high and worked down to low) and stir frequently as the oats thickened up. It took about 10 minutes.

When it got to a desired consistency, I poured the oats over a bed of kale chips.

Then I topped the mix with brussel sprouts, fresh salsa, and steamed edamame.

YUMMY!!!! I LOVE savory oats, and I feel like I FINALLY got the cheesy taste I’ve been looking for from my nutritional yeast.

 What a great grain bowl!!!

And to drink replenish from Zumba, a Emerald Green Juice. What a pretty color! It made me want to put on my Dorothy shoes and click my heels, but I’m already home 😉

In the blender:

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Place the grapes, spinach, ice, and coconut water in a blender.
  2. Blend until smooth and frothy.

Lots of frothy things tonight. I am checking off those Real Simple smoothies 😉

And dessert, of course, was a black bean browine topped with I Can’t Believe It’s Not Cookie Dough, a sliced strawberry and blueberries. I can’t get enough of this combo! I mean, protein for dessert, are you kidding me?! I had a little almond milk too.

There’s lots of giveaways going around now, so I figured why not have one for Ashley Nicole Avenue. I am now working on details from OUR FIRST GIVEAWAY!!!! Get excited!!! I’ll share ASAP!

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Reader’s Request: How I Feel About Carbs, Fat, and Calories

So, for those of your who have been around for a while, you know that sometimes I struggle with thinking about portions of food and wondering if I’m getting enough (I’m trying to get an appointment with an RD) based on the way I exercise and what I need to properly fuel my body. I really just learned how to eat at age 23. Yes, I know what carbs, fats, and proteins are, but the milligrams and percentages don’t mean a lot to me. I just need a meal plan that tells me what to choose from. Lately, I’ve been struggling with wondering if I’m eating too much, even if it’s “healthy.” Am I getting too much of a good thing. Do you know how to tell when you’re full? Or 75% full to stop eating? How do you fuel for your activity level?

Maintenance weight thoughts are a lot different from weight loss thoughts. I definitely bought on to the “Light and Fit” diet of low-fat and no carb way of eating when I first started losing weight. It’s amazing how the media has us fulled. It wasn’t until I started eating REAL food, full fat nut butters, and raw carbs that the plateau in my weight loss was overcome. I was a Public Relations major in college and took a lot of advertising classes, so I know how it works and what’s on the front of th package should be discarded. Flip the package over and really read the ingredients.

To wrap up, I am all for eating real food, having good fat and adequate carbs to fuel your body and help with digestion. Calories for me are a struggle as I get so caught up in numbers. It’s still a work in progress, but that’s my 2 cents for now.