Category Archives: Food

Running, Cooking Class & Sunshine: What do they all have in common?

The weekend!!! That’s what they all have in common!

I have decided (after much experimentation and personal experience) that good sunny weather causes procrastination, especially in late summer/early fall. 
Seriously, this is for real, at least here in the PNW that is the case. Considering that summer is close to an end, when it is 85 and sunny, you DO NOT stay inside. You just don’t! Especially because when summer goes away here in Washington, it leaves for a long time, and we don’t see any sign of it again until April.

So while this weekend was not as low key as I imagined it being, it was a TON of fun. I am not complaining about the sunshine one bit! I need to keep this tan going as long as I possibly can 😉

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pic courtesy of Hillary’s Instagram

The weekend started out with a wonderful brunch with my friend (and fellow blogger) Hillary. We have been friends for decades. Literally since we were 2 years old. I am so thankful to have her in my life and that we are still friends! We decided after having lunch together last month that we would meet up once a month for lunch or brunch and talk friendship and blogs! So, this time we went to a cute little cafe called St. Dames. They have lots of vegan and gluten free options, and are usually only open for dinner but do brunch on Saturdays. It was delish!
Photo Sep 06I had a vegan scramble with GF bread and potatoes. This was my first time having a legit tofu scramble, where it is tofu instead of eggs. It was really good and full of veggies (as you can see). I really enjoyed the bread and took advantage of it to carbo-load a little for the race I had on Sunday. 
Hillary and I had a lot of fun trying this new place, and of course spending time together. Check out her blog HERE

That afternoon I shamelessly sat out in the sun in my bikini and sunbathed. It was glorious. I also did a little bit of swimming. Like I said earlier, you have to enjoy it while you can here in Seattle!

LATER that night, I thought we were going to a get together….but instead my husband took me to a cooking class!!!

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our amazingly huge work station

 I was so caught off guard, I didn’t take as many pics as I normally would have. AND my hands were covered in stuff most of the time so no camera or phone! It also wasn’t a selfie friendly zone haha 🙁

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shrimp & chorizo skewers we made

The class we went to was at Sur La Table and it was all about the Latin Favorites. Latin food is my FAVORITE kind of food, so I was pumped! My husband doesn’t even like to cook, so the fact he was taking me to this was mind-blowing! I was so excited! 

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pork medallions with orange-habanero mojo we were making (YUM!)

The menu for the night was shrimp & chorizo skewers, pork medallions with orange-habanero mojo, grilled corn with chimmichurri sauce and coconut flan(!). Everything was SO good. I think if I had to pick, my favorite were the skewers.  The pork was a close second, they showed us how to make our own spice rub and then sear the meat, it tasted like it was breaded, but it wasn’t! So delicious. 

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pork, mojo sauce and corn with chimmichurri

I did not expect to actually get to eat a big serving of the food, I was expecting little bites. Nope, we got to actually eat – that was cool.  I got so many little take aways and cooking tips. 

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coconut flan
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coconut flan after removing from ramekin – so pretty!

The coconut flan was so good. I didn’t want to try it because of the “sugar-LESS September” challenge I am doing, but I decided to count it as one of my treats… so I tried it. The coconut milk and flavor was soooo yummy. I have a coconut obsession right now too, so it just totally hit the spot.

This class confirmed for me (again) that cooking at home is a million times better than eating out. Of course it is more work and requires more effort, but the more you do it, the better you get. The food tastes so much better! You can control the ingredients, the portion sizes, the way it is cooked, etc. This food was MUCH tastier than food I have ordered at most restaurants & totally worth the effort.  Do you like to cook at home? I do, even though sometimes it is a pain in the booty, I always feel better when I do.

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On Sunday, I ran the Women of Wonder 10K with my sister and mom. I wore one of my favorite Lorna Jane “mantra” shirts – “get up, dress up, show up and never give up”! I started running because running was hard for me, and while it is easier now, there are still times it is very hard. I ran this 10K for fun, but also to help prepare for my upcoming half marathon. My sister and I don’t run at the same pace, so while we were running “together” we weren’t together. There were moments I really wanted to quit, but I thought to myself, “I can’t quit on my sis.”

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#selfie: my sexy sis & I in our pink lipstick and finisher shirts!

 My sister is such a warrior, and she really doesn’t give herself enough credit. She just recovered from a back injury & a cold and while she really wanted to sit the race out, she ran it. She also has asthma and while it makes it harder for her to do cardio activity, she doesn’t let it stop her. She finished the race yesterday and was like “omg I can’t breath”, almost started crying, quickly took her inhaler and was better. Being starved for air is so unpleasant and scary! Yet she doesn’t let that fear keep her from being active or reaching her goals. My mom, who has Multiple Sclerosis (MS) walked the 5K yesterday. Talk about inspiration!  

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I was really happy with my time, I finished in under an hour. I also got my *first* finishers medal! I have run in races before but none that handed out a medal. I felt like I was gonna puke when I crossed the finish line, the medal was a great reward for the pain and suffering 😛

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It was a fun race, empowering to run with a bunch of other women, beautiful weather, and so much fun to be able to do it with my sis and my mom. It was a very busy weekend, but like I said, it was a lot of fun. The next race I have coming up is my half marathon in October, and then who knows. I want to do the Hot Chocolate 15K next year in March. What races are you guys participating in? 

XOXO
Stay Sweet!

Sarah

 

Living the #fitlife

Living the #fitlife is…

  • lots of fun
  • very rewarding
  • challenging (at times)
  • counter-cultural (at times)
  • TIME CONSUMING

Fitness really has changed my life &  I am so thankful for where it has taken me. While choosing to live with a fit and healthy lifestyle can be challenging, it is so, so, so worth it. That being said, yesterday I was reminded of how TIME consuming living this lifestyle can be and the sacrifices that are sometimes required.
I want to address that today because not many people tell you that when you first start. While it is important to be conscious of, its not something that should keep us from living the healthy/fit lifestyle.

Late Sunday night, we got back from our last trip to California for the summer. It was a lot of fun and I learned a ton, but I was happy to be home.

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the cats were clearly happy to see us… 😛

Because I had pretty much been on back to back trips (with a few days to recover in between), I SERIOUSLY needed a trip to the grocery store. When I was home for 3 days last week, I depleted almost all the food I had, and of course didn’t want to stock up a bunch when I knew I was going to be leaving again.
I should have taken a pic of our fridge on Monday because it was really a sad sight. I didn’t even have enough to work with to try to have my own Food Network episode of “Chopped” in my kitchen…

Monday was JAM PACKED – I was back to work and had to hit the ground running. I had a meeting scheduled for the whole day, customer follow ups, and also needed to fit in a workout. I was going to try to go to the grocery store, but I got done with work around 7pm, decided to go home and exercise. I would grocery shop on Tuesday because I wasn’t going to have enough time to prep any of the food till Tuesday anyway. I did a very shortened version of my workout because I remembered there was a deadline that I needed to meet – ahhh!

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Part of Monday’s eats

This is part of what I ate on Monday. The Starbucks is a blended americano that I put my own protein powder into. A Quest bar, a blueberry protein muffin and not pictured here, a protein shake with fruit and unsweetened coconut milk (from the carton, not from the can). I also grabbed a salad from a place by my house for dinner.

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my Tuesday morning/afternoon eats

Tuesday was also an incredibly busy day spent catching up from being gone. I made a quick egg white waffle, and thew in 1/4 cup of oats, 1/4 cup of frozen blueberries, a pinch of baking powder and a pinch of cinnamon. I also grabbed another Quest bar and some protein powder to mix into my blended americano from Starbucks. This was less than ideal as I was seriously missing my veggies/greens!
I was going to be busy until the early afternoon, and as soon as I finished up everything I went straight to the grocery store. I hit up Trader Joe’s for a few specific things, and then did the rest at a regular grocery store.

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my grocery haul!!! and lots of green!

 

I love eating foods that are not processed, which requires more work and prep on my part (and is so worth it), and is also impossible without taking a trip to the grocery store.

Once I got home, I unloaded and put everything away, and then I immediately changed my clothes and went out for a run. I wanted to start prepping food, work on some pending items for my blog, and iron out the details of my Instagram giveaway, but I knew that if I started doing that, I would get caught up in it and put off my workout till it was too late to run outside (not a treadmill fan) or put it off completely and not do it at all. I  could not afford to skip my run because the half marathon is coming up quick!

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ready to run!

It was the perfect weather for a run – when it was over I was so happy that I went out and got it done. Even though I wanted to use the time for other things, after a workout I always feel so much better and I am more productive!

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After my run, I came home, MADE DINNER (YAY!), and worked on some loose ends that needed to be completed. I did go to bed later than I wanted, but at least I got everything done.

At least I thought I got everything done… I actually forgot about one of the things I was supposed to complete for my day job, and this morning I woke up to an irritated email from my boss asking where it was. “whoops!!!” I quickly forgave myself, got it done and moved on.  Somehow it didn’t make it onto my daily to-do list 😐

What I want to make clear is that living a #fitlife is not always easy, but it is totally worth it. Normally I do finish everything that needs to be done, but that is not without sacrifice a lot of times. I don’t watch much TV, I spend a lot of time in the kitchen making food, I wake up earlier so I can fit in my workout, I come home from work to more work…but that’s because I am committed to this lifestyle. The way that I feel when I eat right and exercise is SO great that it makes all the time and sacrifices worth it. I have made it such a habit now that when I don’t do it I notice the difference and miss it. You can get to this point too!

TIPS:
1) consider meal prepping 1-2 meals for the week ahead of time (like on Sunday or Monday is when I normally do it) – it will take you a few hours but it’s worth the time investment because it really saves you time in the long run
2) find a workout you love and will stick to – there are plenty of 30 minute options available now that get you a great sweat in 30 mins. You can even head out for a 30 min walk, jog or run and get in some quick cardio. Don’t have 30 mins? Do it in bouts – 10 mins here, 10 mins here and another 10 somewhere else
3) Schedule your day the night before – I am all for spontaneity but when you have a lot to do and you know you will be a little pressed for time, schedule it out and that way you have a plan to attack all you need to finish/fit in

There are always going to be time constraints and challenges/commitments that come up that put a damper of your plans. It is important to fulfill our responsibilities, but also put our health and happiness (and that of our families) first.
You must lay out your priorities so that your decisions become easier and you live a more fulfilling life (something I learned in an awesome seminar by Chalene Johnson – she also teaches you how to make a to-do list, I guess I need to re-watch that section 😛 )

It has been a busy, busy week so far, and while it would have been easy to sit back, eat out every meal and not go grocery shopping or take time to food prep, and put off my workouts until I caught up on work, I wouldn’t have felt like my normal self. Living the #fitlife isn’t always this hectic, but sometimes it is. I want to encourage anyone else who feels like they don’t have TIME to workout, or don’t have time to meal prep, that you can find a way. Make it a priority, and it will happen!
Make a commitment to yourself (or your accountability partner) that you are going to try one of my 3 tips this week and see how it makes things easier for you. Remember, what is worth working for is usually not easy (but it’s so worth it)! We can do this!

What is your biggest challenge when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle?

XOXO
Stay Sweet!

Sarah

 

 

Travel Much? – 3 Tips to Help You Stay on Track on the Road

These last 2 weeks of August have been full of traveling! I love to travel, I like exploring new places, meeting new people and seeing the world. Lately the travel has been more work related, so there hasn’t really been an element of relaxation to it, but it’s still VERY fun!!

Travel has it’s share of challenges, one of which is food/eating. It can be difficult to make good choices or find food to eat when you are restricted to restaurants and eating out. Some struggle with this more than others, and I wanted to share with you my travel tips and tricks that help me stay on track!

1) I always make sure to bring workout clothes and get exercise in while I am traveling. I am to the point now where if I don’t exercise at least a little bit, I get cranky and don’t feel like myself. Even if you are not to that point yet, exercising while on the road will help you feel better and more energized during the trip. Try it out – I know you will see a difference!

2) Pack some food/snacks to bring with you!
I have a few staples that I like to bring with me while I am traveling and most of them are easy recipes that I make at home. One of my favorites is the one that I will share with you today: Blueberry Protein Muffins!

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finished product!

This recipe was adapted from The Betty Rocker ☺️

I made the vegan version of these muffins because I didn’t have any eggs. You can sub eggs for the chia seeds and coconut milk if you wish.  For this trip since my husband is with me, I doubled the recipe.

INGREDIENTS — *yield is 6 muffins, 2 muffins per serving*
1.5 T Chia seeds
3/4 cup Coconut Milk (unsweetened from carton, not can)
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 scoop protein powder (I used vanilla, plain also works well)
1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
1 Tsp Cardamom
1/2 Tsp baking powder
1/3 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line muffin tin with 6 muffin liners
2. Measure out 3/4 cup coconut milk and add in 1.5 T chia seeds. Let chia seed soak 10-15 mins to absorb the liquid.
3. Mix lemon juice, coconut flour, chia/milk mixture, protein powder, maple syrup and baking powder until no clumps remain. Gently fold in blueberries.
3. Batter is very thick! Spoon evenly into 6 muffin tins – they are very full! (muffins don’t rise much)
4. Bake for 25-30 mins (depending on your oven) until the tops are browned and toothpick inserted into the middle of the muffin comes out clean.
5. Portion out and enjoy!  — you can refrigerate if you want to. If you are going to be consuming within a few days, no need to refrigerate.

Here are the pics from me making the recipe!

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Muffin liners ready to go!DSC01072

Chia seeds mixed in with coconut milk (be sure to stir!
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Lemon juice squeezed (I removed seeds before proceeding)

DSC01079What chia mixture should look like after soaking

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Coconut flour I used (Costco find!DSC01083All ingredients ready to be mixed together (minus the maple syrup)

DSC01085Here is what the dough looks like
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Ready to fold in blueberries!DSC01087

Here is half of the muffins ready to go into the ovenDSC01088

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After being baked and ready to eat!! (could have let them brown more, but I was kinda rushing – haha)

MY FINAL TIP 
3) Hit up a grocery store RIGHT when you arrive. If you have a rental car then it is easy – google the nearest grocery store on your phone and head there. Otherwise if you are taking a taxi or another form of ground transport, then I usually will go straight to the hotel and then figure out what my options are there. Sometimes there is one in walking distance, a shuttle can take you, or you can take a taxi direct from the hotel.

Stay tuned for my post tomorrow about my trip to the grocery store that I took today once we arrived here in Santa Clara! I will show you what my favorite things to buy are and some super fun grocery finds!

XOXO
Stay sweet!

Sarah

 

Weekend Thoughts – Buy Local!

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Here in the PNW (Pacific Northwest), summer is known for the farmer’s markets that pop-up in almost every city. Obviously the most famous is the Pike Place Market that exploded into much more than a farmer’s market. It’s a huge tourist attraction but also home to some of the best artisan food in the Seattle area.  Summer is the best time here in the PNW to hit up the farmer’s markets because this time of year is when we have the MOST locally available produce!! If you look at this CHART  you can see the veggies that are available by season in the PNW, and this CHART will show you the fruit available by season in the PNW.
Looking at those, you can see why I go CRAZY in the produce section in the summer time!

I digress… you don’t have to go to a massive farmer’s market to find great, locally produced food. The smaller farmer’s markets have great products and items, and meeting the people who produce food locally and make a living off growing healthy, organic produce for us to eat is the best part!! (and what inspired me to write this post)

You may think, why does it matter where my food comes from? Well, let me give you a few reasons…

What are the advantages to buying locally produced food??  

1) stay connected to the seasons
This is a pretty obvious one, but if you are eating locally produced food, that means that you will be eating what is available and in season in your area. For example, here in the PNW, in the winter time you won’t find any locally produced stone fruit (i.e: peaches, nectarines etc)
2) support independent farmers and food artisans 
3) put a face behind the product
This is always fun, but my most favorite to date was a lady I met who was selling her farm fresh, pastured eggs. I thought it said “pasteurized” not pastured and I was so confused. So we had a great convo and I got to learn all about her chickens and they way they are raised etc. And let me tell you, those were some of the BEST eggs I’ve ever eaten!
4) discover unique and heirloom varieties
This has to be one of my favorites. When seeking out local produce, I have found some of the most unique food varieties that are delicious! Had I stuck to the regular grocery store, I probably would have never tried them.
5) get the freshest produce available!
hello, who doesn’t want the freshest produce? it tastes so much better and the shorter the time between farm and your table, the less likely it is that nutrients will be lost. Food imported from far away is older and it has traveled on trucks and/or planes & also sat in warehouses before we ever even see it
6) build local communities
by supporting food that comes from our local community, we invest in our future & ensure that there will be a next generation of farmers.
7) cost effective
purchasing locally produced food can save you some $$$. If the food isn’t traveling very far, then we aren’t paying for all this shipping and transport. Sometimes it is a little more expensive to buy organic or locally grown, but when you think about the value you are getting for the quality of the food you are purchasing, it is usually worth it. All the locally produced food that we have purchased tastes so much better that it’s worth buying.

So you may think — “I wanna try out this locally produced food but I don’t have a farmer’s market in my area,” or “the farmer’s market in my area has horrible hours,” or “it’s not convenient for me to go out of my way to try the local food”… well I have good news for you!!

many grocery stores and health food stores are now telling you where the produce is coming from. I know that Kroger stores is letting you know what produce is local, and I have also seen that Whole Foods is putting up signs to indicate which products are locally produced. ALSO – for ultimate convenience, you can try a DELIVERY SERVICE! Yes, you read that right. A delivery service! This is so cool! Seriously! There are companies that will DELIVER – ORGANIC & LOCAL PRODUCE to your front door! So, so, so convenient!
There are several companies that do this in the PNW, and I have only tried one – FULL CIRCLE. Full Circle delivers to Washington, Idaho, Alaska and California. The produce is always good & you can customize your box every week. This is a super fun, easy & convenient way to try new kinds of produce and ensure you are eating healthy each week!

If you are interested in trying Full Circle, follow these steps and get 40% off your first order!!!!!!!!!!
1. Go to www.FullCircle.com and click the ‘Join Now’ button
2. Enter promo code  REFERFC2013 and my name (Sarah Martinez) in the ‘Referred by’ in step 2

**this is NOT an affiliate code – it is a code that Full Circle gives their members to share with their friends so that they can enjoy 40% off their first order** Since you are all my friends I wanted to share it with you! if you would rather go directly to the Full Circle website (click here) and order without using the code, that is totally okay, but you won’t get the 40% off 🙂

Let me know if you try it and what you think!!