June 26, 2015

Not Another Overnight Oats Post!

by jmichael614

My new friend, Kara Kerr (at Kara Kerr Fitness Facebook Page) posted an almond joy oats post a week or two ago and I had to try it.  Honestly, the whole overnight oats craze has kind of passed me by because I can’t stand the weird consistency of cold smooshy oats.  But mostly, I’m just addicted to my awful, disgusting for me, can’t let go of, Cuban Toast.

I’m trying to mature, change my fitness habits and eat a little better.  I’m sure you have that thing, that one thing that you can’t give up no matter how hard you try.  Mine is Cuban Toast and Cafe con Leche (don’t even try to talk me out of my coffee).  So, instead of giving it up, I’m replacing it here and there with something a little healthier.  I don’t overeat it so if I make a decision to eat at home, before I get to work, I am able to eat right and stick to the plan.  If I run out of the house in the morning, crazy, without a plan, I eat crap.

What I loved:  The chocolate chips and coconut.

What I hated: The smooshy oatmeal and unsweetened taste

Calories: 310- 1/2 cup oatmeal, 1 cup coconut milk unsweetened, 17 large semi-sweet chips, 1 tbsp sweetened coconut

Next time I have some overnight oats I’ll try a tablespoon of honey, some almond slices and raspberries but my adjustment for this mornings cup would have been to add in a little baked or sauteed banana.  It just needs something a little sweeter because the chocolate chips run out too quick.  I’ll definitely get smaller chips next time too because the jumbo chips run out too fast and I’m left with nothing in the last few bites.  I need to trick my mind into thinking it’s indulgent or I won’t stick to it.

What OO recipes have you tried and loved (or hated?).  I’m going to keep striving for a better one but it’s a start!

June 23, 2015

  Black Bean Burger & Sweet Potato Fries at Smashburger

by jmichael614

Some days you see your friends struggling and unhappy and you just want to fix it for them but it’s impossible because it’s not your life, not your choices, not your battle.

Those are the days only a burger and fries will do.  That’s when Smashburger comes in- their black bean burger and sweet potato fries provide a healthier alternative to the trash offered at most fast-food restaurants.  Not that this is the most healthy and perfect meal, but it beats the greasy hamburger and white potato fries.  Plus, if you’re already feeling defeated, why add guilt to the equation?

There aren’t many fast food places that offer good meat-alternatives.  However, the Huffington Post just announced yesterday that Amy’s, the wonderful frozen food gurus that bring us veggie samosa wraps and cheese enchiladas, will be opening a fast-food joint in, where else, California.

In the meantime, we’ll enjoy the Black Bean Smashburger and stuff down the Burger King Veggie Burger till we have another option.

June 15, 2015

Farmer’s Table, Boca

by jmichael614

To end my girl’s weekend a little early, we headed over to Farmer’s Table in Boca for lunch with the birthday girl.  I can’t explain how amazing this place is so I’ll show you with an overwhelming number of pictures:

I actually found this place online a few months back and have been itching to check it out.  What a great place for Vegans and Vegetarians ALIKE.  Your omnivore friends will also be happy with their cage free and grass fed options (I won’t mention the actual animals here).

Farmer’s Table sources from local farms, they don’t cook in butter and their staff is incredibly friendly.  Just be warned ahead of time if you come in a big group BRING CASH!!!  They only let you split the check 4 ways per table so some people will be left paying more if you’re not careful.

The birthday girl ordered some hummus for the table and it was a very tasty garlicky option for hors devours.  My other friend, who is a vegetarian, decided she wanted breakfast so she opted for the pancakes:

Sadly, I was still a little full from breakfast and couldn’t eat much of my out-of-this-world, vegetarian, Reuben but my husband made sure to polish it off when I brought the other half home.  When I asked the waiter what he recommended, he mentioned the vegetarian/vegan lasagna (to make it vegetarian, just add the mozzarella for $2 extra).  It’s made up of layers and layers of vegetables and he said it was divine.  I was feeling like I needed something a little less veggie-intensive so I opted for the Vegetarian Reuben.  I am so happy I did because I’ve never had a Reuben sandwich and it will forever stay in my brain as the best Reuben I’ve ever had. Full of sauerkraut and mushrooms on whole grain bread it was just the right amount of saucy and meaty (the mushrooms were the perfect combo for the sauerkraut).

Our table was this huge rustic wooden number that would have fit 16 people comfortably.  I am so in love with this place, I can’t say enough good things. What a perfect weekend, don’t you just love that quality time you can spend with your friends?

And…. the birthday girl (who, by the way, writes a honest and touching “mom” blog called “Just Another Day With Kids” http://www.justanotherdaywithkids.com/)

To visit them or learn more, go to: http://www.farmerstableboca.com/

June 15, 2015

Cafe Bleu, Delray Beach

by jmichael614

Girls Weekend 019

Saturday morning, after a blissful 10 hours of sleep on our “girls weekend”, we stepped out for breakfast.  Just a short walk from Sundy House are some great breakfast places including: Cafe Bleu.

This is a breakfast spot you’d expect to be in a place like Aspen, it’s warm and inviting with a hip feel to it.  I can imagine coming in here after a long day on the slopes. We ordered our fare, their sandwiches are customizable so I had the egg with spinach on a croissant with Gruyere cheese.  The taste was divine, the Gruyere was a perfect combo and I now have to buy some to make at home because Feta just doesn’t do it for me anymore.  This place has ruined it for me.  The croissant was just a tiny bit more crispy than I would have liked but I can see how many people would enjoy a few burnt edges.

It was also one of the best latte’s I’ve had in a long time.  Mild and frothy with a pretty little design on top.  I don’t know about you but I love a great presentation and this place did it for me.

To visit Cafe Bleu: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cafe-Bleu-Delray-Beach/1491648234417041

June 15, 2015

Park Tavern, Delray

by jmichael614

This weekend was one of those weekends that you want to just sit in, soak it up and enjoy the moment.  Friday night and much of Saturday, I spent with a couple of great friends, just being a girl.  Not a mom, not a wife, not an employee.  Just being a girl.  I think we all need those moments that remind us of the no-obligation side of life, the one that we have stuffed down so that we can meet our day-to-day goals of surviving and thriving.

Sundy House, a beautiful Inn in the heart of Delray Beach, was the setting for most of the weekend.  We came in on Friday night and had dinner in the hopping restaurant row.  I honestly can’t believe that there were so many 30-somethings there, I’m so used to the youth on South Beach that kind of intimidates me.  However, don’t let that fool you, these 30 & 40-somethings are fit and dress their bodies accordingly.  If you’re single and over 30, I think you want to check out Delray.

Dinner at Park Tavern was about a 30 minute wait but worth it.  The veggie burger was crispy and so big I could barely fit it in my mouth.  We had corn raviolis and hot pretzels with Red Dragon Fondue (OMG good).  The service was a little slow at first because the place was so packed but our waitress was super adorable and accommodating so it made for a great night.  And of course, no girls night is complete without one shot to celebrate!

Park Tavern has a very big bar scene as well so if you’re not into having dinner, stop by to have a drink if you can find a space!  http://parktaverndelray.com/

June 4, 2015

Last Day of School! SUMMER!!!

by jmichael614

Just wanted to share these adorable baskets that I made up last night for my little cookie’s teachers.  He has a ton of teachers so giving a gift card is out of the question.  I was desperately looking through pinterest for ideas and found this one:

http://www.lemonademakinmama.com/2012/06/teacher-appreciation-gift-idea.html

Is that not the cutest thing in the world?  I didn’t have everything available so I did the Starbucks drinks, bagels and cream cheese, a beautiful little note with a heart on it and the flowers.

I was able to find almost everything at Target and spent a little less than $50 on it all (the best part of these baskets is that you can change it up and make it your own according to your budget).  I bought 8 of everything and it worked out perfectly.  I could have added some little pieces to make it extra special but my husband would have killed me for going over budget.

Just wanted to share!! I love being creative.  Tell us about your teacher appreciation gifts or the best home-made gift you’ve ever received!! We want to know.

Baskets @ Target $2/each in the summer/outdoor isles (8)
Starbucks lattes @ Target $5.49/4pack (2)
Flowers @Grocery Store $4 a bundle (2)
Bagels @Grocery Store $3.50 (2/basket) (16)
Cream Cheese singles @Grocery store $3.50 (8)
Note cards @Target $3.50 (10)
Basket Liners @Target $1 in $1 bins (15)
Brown Bags @Grocery Store $1.50 (100)

Happy Summer!

June 2, 2015

Nemo’s Cafe – Pikes Peak, Colorado

by jmichael614
Nemo’s Cafe on Pikes Peak Avenue in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is a great rustic “coffee shop” find!
They offer organic coffee and a small selection of gluten free vegan foods and a vegetarian burrito, among other regular items.  I chose a Yerba mate latte with almond milk and a gluten free vegan lemon, poppy seed and ginger “power bar”. The latte was one of the best I have ever had and the “power bar” was moist with a delightful crunch to it. The lemon, poppy seed and ginger was a perfect blend of flavors designed to delight the taste buds. A stunning view of Pikes Peak rounds out this culinary experience. I think you will not be disappointed should you decide to drop by.
For more info, go to the http://www.nemoscoffee.com/

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Mama Veg
May 28, 2015

Chia Pod’s and How “Unhealthy” They Are (NOT)

by jmichael614

I recently received this letter in my son’s lunch pack after picking him up from school.  I was flabbergasted to think that a Chia Pod would be deemed unhealthy and considered a chocolate treat.   Mind you, last week, I sent in a sugary 24 mg (sugar) coconut yogurt with chocolate and received no response.
Yogurt is fine but apparently chia with cacao is not?  I don’t know if this is the new Michelle Obama plan that everyone has been complaining about but something obviously needs to be done about educating our schools and teachers on superfoods and healthy alternatives, etc.  12 mg. of sugar is actually less than most yogurts and Chia provides things like Calcium, antioxidants, etc.
You can be sure that I sent a note right back to the teacher with an explanation that my son cannot have milk yogurt anymore as he’s allergic, and that they would need to make concessions for the yogurt alternatives that I send.  He’s an extremely picky eater and refuses to drink almond milk or veggies so getting his calcium and vitamin D is a challenge.

I am sure it was just an oversight on their part but it definitely opened my eyes on the mis-education of the american populace.  If our children are being taught that goldfish crackers or high sugar yogurts are a better snack  than chia pods (made with 5 whole ingredients: Almond Milk, Chia seeds, water, coconut sugar and cacao), we have a lot of work to do at home.

Do you have children in the school system too?  Have you received a note about something they brought being unhealthy?  Let us know!

May 19, 2015

Summer Ice Cream Options

by jmichael614

Believe it or not the Halo Ice cream has less calories in one pint than this Coolhaus Ice Cream Sandwich.  Actually, half of the Coolhaus Ice Cream sandwich had the same calories in the entire pint of Halo Top.

If you’re looking to enjoy something really sweet and decadent, go for the Coolhaus, if you want something that tastes like a Wendy’s frosty in ice cream form, go for the Halo Top.

Coolhaus- This melt in your mouth sandwich had a “made at home” feel. The cookie wasn’t factory perfect but it was delicious- it’s fun for a summer day when you’ve been out at the beach or the pool (or the lake) all day and you need some ooey gooey sustenance.   Just remember to share it with a friend (or when you’ve decided to do a cheat day) because this gigantic sandwich tops out at about 500 calories.

Halo Top- Let’s get real here, there is nothing like slamming down a pint of Ben & Jerry’s while watching a great movie on a Saturday night but there is usually regret following that last scrape at the bottom of the cardboard bowl.  Halo Top clears all that guilt by creating this wonderfully filling (I only at like 2/3 and I couldn’t eat another bite) fiber and protein-rich ice cream at only 240 calories.  It’s also 24 grams of protein in one pint (holla at you IIFYM people!) which is ridiculous.
You might think the ingredients are crazy and totally out there but almost every single ingredient is whole and something you can pronounce.  I was honestly surprised because I would have eaten this thing even if I couldn’t pronounce the ingredients.  There are other flavors but I chose chocolate because I felt that would be the one I could enjoy the best.

Coolhaus: https://eatcoolhaus.com/

Halo Top: http://www.halotop.com/

May 12, 2015

Southern Swank Salads, Davie, FL

by jmichael614

I have driven by this restaurant a few times on my way to visit friends up north and thought it looked like such a cute place to visit- it reminds me of the former “Jezebel” restaurant in NYC.

I finally got the chance to visit when a friend of mine and I decided that would be our “halfway” point one night during a much-needed mom’s night out.  We were seated in the bar area because let’s be real, a mom’s night out calls for a few drinks!  Unfortunately, our waiter was either very overwhelmed or not happy about being a waiter and a bartender because he was not the most helpful server.  They also said there was absolutely no modifying the side dishes (no have-it-your-way here) and even asking the kitchen manager came back with a resounding “no”.

To be fair, the bartender had been there only a week but you would think that would make him a little more willing to be accommodating.  Instead he laughed at our requests and we were even bombarded all night with dishes that were not ours.  Needless to say, it was a bit disorganized and we were not impressed with the service.

Because of the poor service, we decided to just order one salad and split it. Lucky for us, the Watermelon salad was HUGE and amazingly delicious!  Honestly, I was full after eating half a salad.  These salads are big enough for two people and they do not disappoint (unlike their service).  The lighting was very dim so I had a hard time getting a good picture but this dish was a masterpiece- a huge slice of watermelon underneath and then a spring mix on top with balsamic glaze, nuts and cheese and one or two more things that I’m forgetting.

So, bottom line- go here for the food, not the service.  Expect the worst and maybe you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Also, please note that as this place is called “Southern Swank”, it’s not super veggie-friendly but the salads are worth making the trip.  Let us know if you’ve been and what you thought!

http://swanksouthern.com/menu/

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