ashley nicole avenue

a journey to healthy balance

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 “Larabars®”. 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 😉 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 😉 + 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 😉 (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 ½ 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 😉 )

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

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!

 

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!

 

What is “regular” anyway? February 10, 2011

What’s up, buttercups? How’s your day been? Mine’s been bueno!

Making breakfast ahead of time ROCKS! This morning’s SIAB included my first sample of chocolate SunWarrior, and I am in loooooooove!!!!

SIAB of Looooooooove

 

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup keifer
  • 3/4 cup mixed berries (black, blue, and straw hehe)
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1 tablespoon natural almond butter (only raw almonds ground in food processor)
  • 1 tablespoon light agave nectar

Directions

  1. Place the keifer, berries, banana, almond butter, and agave nectar in a blender.
  2. Blend until smooth and frothy.
  3. Top with cacao nibs and a few raw old-fashioned oats.

and a blueberry muffin. Not the baked kind, the RAW kind.

Yes, I couldn’t wait any longer. And, of course, this is my favorite Larabar to date, and it’s no where to be found ’round here. WOW! So yummy. Thanks again, Steph. I was hoping this wasn’t too much for breakfast! :/

Workout today: BodyPump, RPM, BodyFlow.

When my stomach started growling in BodyFlow, all I could think about was lunch. So much for concentrating on breathing hehe

However, some cooking got in the way when I got home and lunch was a little postponed.

For starters, black bean brownies for my sister and Mommy’s birthday dinner tonight. Then…

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Cookie Dough

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chickpeas (1 can)
  • 1/4 cup natural almond butter
  • 1/8 cup honey
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup crushed 85% cacao chocolate

Directions

  • Drain, measure, wash, and peel your chickpeas. (Peeling them isn’t absolutely necessary but it makes for the creamiest hummus and really is worth the effort.) For the sake of time, I didn’t peel my chickpeas, and it wasn’t as creamy as Lindsay’s, but it’s still amazing!!!
  • In a food processor, add the first 4 ingredients and process until the hummus is smooth and emulsified.

I licked a few blades and spatulas and spoons that held me over until I could make lunch 😉 Hey, I had to test it! I’m so excited to finally have a cookie dough replacement. I’ve missed it since I’ve started eating healthier. In college, it was a staple for my girlfriends to go on late night cookie dough tub runs.

My (chopped) salad beast of the day on the baby plate (tabouli, celery, carrots, edamame, cucumber slices, tahini garlic dip on top). This plate is really helping me with portion control 😉 In addition to the beast, I rolled with brussel sprouts with Garlic Gold nuggets and an organic apple with apple pie spice. Plus some red chai for dessert because I was about to go study, and it has ginger and cloves in it, which it claims helps with concentration and memory, and I’ll take all the help I can with Biochemistry.

Tonight we had Mom/Amber’s birthday dinner at my grandma’s. She always makes us a birthday meal. Mom like Baked Goulash with Pineapple Cake, and Amber likes Ranger Casserole with Fudge Brownies. I took my black bean brownies and dessert hummus and blueberries over to her house as another dessert option. However, I just sucked it up and ate her main courses. Yes, it was white rice and pasta with real cheese. Sometimes making Mama happy is just worth it! Our spread…

We began with a salad. I brought carrots, cucumbers, celery, and balsamic vinegar to dress it with.

My main course plate: (plus I had another serving of steamed veggies)

My Dessert: a recreation of a Black Bean Blueberry Fantasy with my I Can’t Believe It’s Not Cookie Dough, blueberries, and sexy spice. I also had some coffee since Mama made it, and I am feeling the caffeine now :/ It’s amazing how it never used to affect me.

My Mom and sister did try a black bean brownie. Now I’m watching UNC vs. Duke. I’m nervous!

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Reader’s Request: Digestion

Disclaimer: This could be TMI.

This is really vulnerable, but I have been asked lately about digestion, so I decided to share a little about my story. Since I started really cleaning up my eating, my regularity has gone a “irregular.” I was to the point where I had to go on Beano with every meal/snack because I “gassy” (sorry if this is TMI). My PA told me to try the refrigerated probiotics (I got mine at Whole Foods), which have helped so much; even the next day I felt better. My gas has gone away, except when I get hungry (do y’all experience this?), and regularity is getting better.

I also started drinking Yogi “Get Regular” tea. I really like the Yogi brand of tea (and the inspirational messages that are on the tabs). I’ve tried Bedtime, which has really helped me rest better at night, and Get Regular,which has aided in my digestion–both of which taste great. Other brands I’ve tried (i.e. Celestial) are not as tasty to me.

[Source]

I heard from a pediatrician that sometime babies aren’t regular because they use all of the nutrients they get in breast milk, so I’m not sure if I am using all the nutrients from my food and don’t have as much waste until my body builds it up and is ready to get rid of it.

I’ve also read that healthy fat helps, and I’ve definitely had more nut butter and EVOO lately on veggies (i.e. butternut squash and kale chips), so maybe that’s helped as well. I’m definitely NOT an RD, so discuss any digestion issues with someone who knows what they’re talking about. This is just my experience. What is “regular” anyway?

I’d like to hear your input.

Do you have any other reader’s requests?