Simple Pico de Gallo Recipe

The hardest thing about making pico de gallo is chopping the vegetables. After you get over that hump, it is smooth sailing.

This simple pico de gallo recipe was taste-tested during my Om, Nom event over the weekend. First participants got sweaty in a vinyasa-inspired yoga bootcamp class, then everyone tasted my newest go-to breakfast: savory oatmeal.

On top of that lovely savory oatmeal was this vibrant pico de gallo. The recipe below nearly filled up two mason jars — which was perfect for the event. Though, if you are like me, you could probably eat an entire jar yourself.

Make it in your kitchen and tag #SHSHkitchen when you do!

Simple Pico de Gallo

  • Servings: 8-10, 2 Tbsp each
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut small

1/2 red onion, diced

1/2 red pepper, diced

1/2 yellow or orange pepper

2-3 Tbsp of fresh cilantro, chopped

2-3 scallion stalks, chopped

1 lime

1/2 tsp sea salt

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Directions

  1. The worst part is first: Chopping the tomatoes. After rinsing the cherry tomatoes, chop each one into 6ths or 8ths depending on size. Use your best knife and exercise patience.
  2. After the tomatoes are chopped, move onto the onion and peppers. Chop them just as small as the tomatoes.
  3. Add all veggies to a mixing bowl. Then, add the chopped scallions and cilantro. Combine well.
  4. Juice the entire lime over the bowl,  add the sea salt and give your pico de gallo a toss.
  5. Cover and set in the fridge until serving time. Store it in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.

 

Savory oats: A healthy breakfast option

Breakfast, I love you. Oatmeal, you are amazing.

What’s great about oatmeal is that it doesn’t always need to be sweet and topped with fruit. This take on oatmeal packs all the benefits of the hearty whole grain, plus protein from… drumroll… lentils!

Lentils are a staple in vegetarian diets. They can be seasoned to take on a variety of flavors… and you’ve probably seen them in curry dishes, veggie stews and on hearty salads.

Yesterday we made this savory oatmeal dish at Om, Nom — my yoga and food series at Boston Public Market. We started with 60-minutes of yoga bootcamp followed by a tasting and quick explanation of how to put together a healthy savory oatmeal bowl.

Here is the nutritional breakdown of this dish:

Calories Fat Carbs Fiber Protein Sugar
Green lentils, 1 cup 680 2 115 59 50 3.9
GF Oats, 1 cup 300 5 54 8 12 2
Sweet potato, 1 cup cubed 114 0 27 4 2.1 6
Avocado, 1 322 29 17 13 4 1
Total 1416 36 213 84 68.1 12.9
Per serving (4) 354 9 53.25 21 17.025 3.225

Now, get to cooking.

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  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Healthy Savory Oatmeal

Ingredients

1 cup green lentils

1 cup gluten free oats

1 cup cubed sweet potato, cooked

1 avocado

1/2 cup salsa of choice

Optional toppings: eggs, mixed greens, tofu scramble

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Directions

  1. Start by cooking the lentils and oats at the same time. Follow the cooking  instructions on the lentil packaging, but also add the oats and 1 extra cup of water. You can also do the cooking in a rice cooker.
  2. After the lentils are cooked, top your oats with your favorite ingredients — greens, 2 Tbsp salsa, 1/4 avocado and maybe an egg.

How about the pico de gallo?! Recipe coming this week.

Rosemary Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Remember those Roasted Curry Carrots from last week? Well, while roasting those I also used some Japanese sweet potatoes I had laying around.

I love Japanese sweet potatoes because they are the perfect blend of sweet and starch. The average serving of Japanese sweet potato is 5 inches — or about 130 grams. This serving  size contains just under 120 calories, none of which come from fat. For my paleo and low-carb friends out there, sweet potatoes are a great carbohydrates to have in your diet.

To add, these potatoes are a great source of vitamin A (~200% of the recommended daily value). Prep these Rosemary Roasted Sweet Potatoes in a big batch to serve with meals throughout the week. They are delicious and filling.

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Rosemary Roasted Sweet Potatoes

(serves 2-3)

Ingredients

2 medium-large Japanese sweet potatoes

2 Tbsp olive oil

Spices

1 tsp rosemary

1/2 tsp basil

1/4 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, mix all of the spices together. Set aside.
  3. Rinse the sweet potato and chop into bite-sized pieces. Leave the skin on ( — it’s got the nutrients).
  4. Place the sweet potato on the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Next, pour the spices on and use your hands to mix.
  5. Roast for 35-45 minutes or until they start to crisp and turn brown.

When you make these Rosemary Roasted Sweet Potatoes, take a photo and tag a #SHSHkitchen! Happy, healthy eating. <3

Roasted Curry Carrots

While working from home one Friday, I didn’t have time to get too creative during lunch since I had phone calls scheduled and deadlines to hit. I needed something quick and easy — oh, and preferably something that I could eat for lunch the next day too.

The solution: Roasted veggies. Lucky for me, two things I often buy in excess on grocery shopping trips are carrots and sweet potatoes.

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First up were these roasted “curry” carrots. I put curry in quotes because I made my own curry spice blend. Most curry powder recipes include coriander, cumin, chili peppers and turmeric. Other spices often included are garlic, ginger and cayenne. For my powder, the star is the turmeric.

Bake these curried carrots during your weekly food prep or as a side dish at dinner. They taste great warm — and pretty good cold too.

Roasted Curry Carrots

(serves 4-6)

Ingredients

10-15 large [rainbow] carrots, washed

2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted

Spices

1 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp red chili flakes

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, mix all of the spices  together. Set aside.
  3. Slice the carrots into sticks  and arrange them on the baking sheet.
  4. Pour the melted coconut oil over the carrots. Next, sprinkle the spice blend and start to get those hands dirty. Toss the carrots in the oil and spices until well-coated. Arrange them on the pan without overlap.
  5. Roast for 30-40 minutes or until the edges start to brown and crisp.

Enjoy fresh and hot — or store in the fridge for a few days.

6 healthy work snacks

Forget breakfast? Busy day at work? Did lunch get pushed back a couple of hours? It happens to all of us. Prep for success by adding a few healthy work snacks to your shopping list this week.

Buy snacks in bulk to keep at your desk — or portion snacks out on Sunday to bring in on Monday. Below are treats I keep at my desk to stay fueled, focused and attentive all day long.

1. Apples

When I go to the store for groceries, I buy a big bag of organic apples. I leave a few at home and take 5 to work on Monday. An apple is usually what I have as my mid-morning snack with a handful of nuts or tablespoon of nut butter. Apples have carbs to wake you up, and fiber to keep you full.

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2. Unsalted, raw nuts

IMO, Trader Joe’s is the best place to buy nuts in bulk unless you have a Costco or similar wholesale store nearby. Go for raw, unsalted. They make for the best healthy work snack — hello fiber and protein.

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3. Nut butter

Nut butter is great to keep at your desk for emergencies. If you aren’t afraid of someone stealing it out of the communal work fridge, buy a natural nut butter. Tr to resist the urge to spoon mouthfuls out of the jar and reserve it for your apples, to stir into yogurt or to add to oatmeal in the morning.

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4. Condiments/Spices

Two things I always keep at my desk are cinnamon and stevia. I’ve got a sweet tooth and I know it. The cinnamon is a nice touch to black coffee, my oatmeal or on plain yogurt. The stevia is for coffee and tea.

5. Dried fruit

Mix #2 and the dried fruit… Voila! Trail mix.  Something a friend of mine does is buy nuts and dried fruit in bulk. She tosses a mixture in a mason jar to bring to work for the week. The bill looks big up front, but saves you money in the long run. Promise.

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6. Instant oatmeal

I love oatmeal. I love green tea oatmeal, baked oatmeal, overnight oatmeal… and all of the oatmeal (here are five great ideas). Having packets of plain oatmeal in your desk drawer will keep you from stopping for a sugary muffin, running to the vending machine or skipping breakfast all together on those mornings you wake up late (or forget breakfast).

4-Ingredient Protein Pancakes

Pancakes are amazing — there’s no argument there (I hope). One of the best things about pancakes is that they can be vegan, gluten-free and dairy free and still taste delicious. These four-ingredient protein pancakes are the bee’s knees.

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I’ve seen several protein pancake recipes on Instagram and the blogs I follow, but I thought I’d share my personal go-to. As always, you can add your personal touches, i.e. cinnamon, fruit, cacao nibs, honey, maple syrup, nut butter, etc. Opting for a breakfast that is a great mix of protein, healthy fats and whole grains keeps you full throughout the morning and prevents that crash you experience after a sugary meal.

Try this recipe and tell me how you customize it!

Protein Pancake

(Serves 1)

Ingredients

1 banana

1 egg (vegans sub one flaxseed egg)

1/4 cup quick cook oats

1 scoop protein powder (I use Whole Foods’ whey protein, use vegan if needed)

1 tsp coconut oil

Pancake batter

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, mash your banana. In the same bowl, scramble your egg (or add flaxseed egg) and combine it with the mashed banana.
  2. Add oats, protein powder and any extras (i.e. cinnamon, stevia or vanilla) to your bowl. Mix well to make sure protein powder is fully incorporated.
  3. Let the batter sit for 5 minutes so that the oats absorb some of the liquid. In the meantime, heat 1 tsp of coconut oil in a small skillet over medium heat. If using a non-stick skillet, feel free to skip the oil.
  4. Pour batter into heated skillet. Flip once the pancake starts to bubble.

Serve drizzled with maple syrup or honey. Another great addition is a scoop of nut butter, fruit or cacao nibs. Enjoy!

Baked oatmeal muffins: A simple, on-the-go breakfast

I’m telling you… oats make the best breakfast. When I’m not eating overnight oats, I’m eating warm oatmeal. When I’m not eating traditional warm oatmeal, I cook my oats and then top them with eggs over-easy, avocado and salsa.

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In this case, my oatmeal is baked in a muffin tin. I was a little nervous about this one because I didn’t think it would fill me up. But, two muffins held me off until lunch time. The ingredients are essentially identical to what I put in my overnight oats (+eggs) — so DUH, it filled me up.

This recipe makes three servings. Double the ingredients if you are cooking for two people or if you want 6 days worth of muffins. These baked oatmeal muffins are good to store in the fridge for 1 week (longer in the freezer). In this recipe, I didn’t use a sweetener. Add 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey if you need it.

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Baked oatmeal muffins

(serves 3)

Ingredients

2 Tbsp nut butter

2 bananas

3 eggs

1/2 cup almond milk

2 Tbsp ground flaxseed

1.5 cup oats

1 tsp cinnamon

Optional: sweetener like honey, stevia or maple syrup; chocolate chips; blueberries; cacao nibs

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  In a mixing bowl, mash the banana and nut butter together (using a fork works). I like to leave a few chunks of banana.
  2. To the mashed banana, add the eggs and milk. Combine well .
  3. Stir in the oats, flaxseed and cinnamon (plus any optional ingredients), and then let the batter rest for 5 minutes. Resting the batter lets the flaxseed absorb some of the liquid.
  4. Pour batter into 6 muffin molds (12 if you only have a cupcake tin). Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.

Store in the fridge and eat two for breakfast. Serve warm or cold!

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What is your favorite on-the-go breakfast?

 

 

Roasted Red Pepper Spread

This holiday season was nice and mellow — even though I was running here, there and everywhere. Christmas Eve is always a big, big party with my mom’s family. This year we gathered at my aunt’s beautiful house. Here is most of the crowd:

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That night we stayed at my mom’s house, then went over to dad’s where I was in charge of Christmas lunch. On the menu was a spinach and mushroom egg bake featuring Iggy’s bread, breakfast pork chops that soaked in a brine overnight, garlic-y green peans and sweet, sweet potatoes. Appetizers were banana chocolate chip mini muffins and yogurt with fruit and homemade granola.

Foolish me never took pictures of anything. I was too focused on cooking and enjoying time with family. We did snag this pic of our Christmas stroll on the beach. There were so many people out walking on Nantasket Beach!

Mike, Molly, Ryo, Me, Mary and Dad!

Mike, Molly, Ryo, Me, Mary and Dad!

I did however take a picture of the roasted red pepper spread I brought to my aunt’s house. It’s a simple recipe with minimal ingredients. You’ll find the recipe below.

For Christmas dinner, we spent time with Ryo’s family. We at out at Gyu-Kaku and then went up to North Conway, NH, in the morning. We shopped a lot and walked up to Cathedral Ledge. Check out the view!

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I hope everyone had an amazing holiday season. Cheers to 2016!

Roasted Red Pepper Spread

Ingredients

5 red bell peppers

5 garlic cloves

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

5-8 basil leaves

sea salt

olive oil

Directions

  1. Slice the peppers in half and remove the seeds. Coat them in olive oil and place them on a baking sheet with outsides facing up. Add the garlic to the sheet as well. Place in the oven and set to a high broil.
  2. When the skin starts to blacken and bubble, remove from the oven and let cool.IMG_1864
  3. Once cool, peel off the skin. Place the peppers and garlic in the food processor and chop. Add 1 Tbsp of olive oil, 1-2 tsp of sea salt, basil and the parmesan cheese. Blend until smooth. Serve chilled or warmed with bread or — my fav — burrata.

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Quick fixes in extended side angle pose

In many schools of yoga, there is a heavy focus on alignment — specifically, helping students achieve proper, safe alignment. Like I always say, there is no perfect way to look in a pose, but it is important to know where your body should be headed.

Use this graphic (photo by Mary Polleys, scribbling by me), to tweak your side angle pose and move to a more energizing, extended side angle.

Benefits

Extended side angle pose, or utthita parsvakonasana (utthita = extended parsva = side + kona = angle + asana = pose), stretches the legs, hips, spine and side body. It also strengthens the legs, knees, and ankles. The twisting action in the pose stimulates the abdominal muscles and internal organs which is so, so good for you.

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Getting there

Start in warrior two with your right foot at the front of your mat. Turn your right toes forward, and then turn your left toes to the left edge of your mat (heel kicked back slightly). Bend into your right knee so that it comes over your right ankle, and extend your right arm front, left arm back.

From warrior two, move into extended side angle pose. Reach your right arm forward and place it on the mat (or a block) inside your right ankle. Reach your left arm forward towards the front of your mat — bicep by your ear, palm facing down. If you have a healthy neck, turn your gaze up.

Now, check your pose. Are you pressing firmly into your feet? Are your leg muscles engaged? Are your twisting your heart open? Is your left shoulder open or collapsing down?

Your cues

In addition to these cues, think about lengthening your spine. Avoid back-bending. Also, open your left hip by drawing it back in line with your right (similar to triangle pose).

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Remember, it’s not what the pose looks like… it’s how the pose feels.

What I’m Loving Lately: Foods in November 2015

I’m eating out more lately — which isn’t necessarily bad. For a while I was spending more money on groceries and skipping dinner outings during the week so I could keep my diet as clean as possible. I like having control over what I put in my body — and the easiest way to do that is by cooking at home. I try to reserve dinner/drink escapades for the weekends… but sometimes you just really need a girls’ night.

When going through my iPhone camera roll the other night, I  started salivating. There are a few food pics I’ve been holding hostage, and others that I posted without explanation. Now you too can drool over — then go find/make — these delicious foods thanks to this roundup.

Here is where I’ve eaten out lately:

Whole Heart Provisions, Allston

Nothing like a hot yoga class followed by delicious [vegan] eats. This orange miso dressing was sweet and hit the spot. Elena’s meal was more savory — next time I’ll go that route. Also pictured is Whole Heart Provisions’ seared avocado and shishito peppers.

Hojoko, Fenway

Finally got some uni! The food was great, but the small plates we small. I would have loved a big serving of Hokoko’s okonomiyaki  (like 5x bigger). Also, it was pricier than I would’ve liked. Maybe I feel this way because I’ve been to Japan and eaten these things for much less $$$.  Next time, I’d go just to drink pitchers of Sapporo with friends.

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Uni for dinner. 👌🏻

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Ganko Ittetsu Ramen, Brookline

Now, this is dangerous. I’ve already been to Ganko Ittetsu a couple of times since it’s right down the street. The ramen is delicious, authentic and filling. It might be a weekly routine this winter.

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Sundays are hard.

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Bee’s Knees, Allston

I’ve popped in here a couple of times now, but never made it for breakfast. This egg sandwich on a whole wheat English muffin is … oh my… so good! Some of you might be familiar with the Bee’s Knees store in the Seaport. Both locations sell a plethora of local specialty foods.

Nourish Your Soul, Southie

Nothing better than an early morning class with Eliza/Kick It By Eliza followed by Nourish Your Soul. All I have to say is… Get your asses to EBF by GF3. Then, go up to the juice bar and get a coffee with cashew milk. That’s it.

Here’s what I’ve made at home:

Oatmeal with berries

Duh.

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A {berry} Friday breakfast.

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Veggie burger, Boston Magazine

I’m so happy to report that I perfected my veggie burger! I’ve made a batch almost every other week to bring for lunch or heat up for a quick dinner. Check out the recipe on Boston Magazine’s website.

Chicken thighs

On two separate occasions, I’ve made chicken thighs for my gal pal friends. They are all converted. The meat is a little darker than the breast making the thighs more juicy — and tastier (IMO). I like to pan-sear mine in bulk or roast with veggies like this dish. Also pictured here are green beans and Japanese sweet potatoes — try them!

Fudgy mocha pudding cake, Oh She Glows

I made this twice over the weekend for two different dinner parties. It’s easy, gluten-free and vegan. It was a huge hit at my gal pals dinner! (Thanks for hosting, Ana!) Find this recipe and more in The Oh She Glows Cookbook.

Eggs with roasted red pepper spread

This spread is so simple! I roasted (broiled) two peppers with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. When the skin charred and started to bubble, I took them out and peeled the skin off. Then, everything went in the food processor with 1 tsp of balsamic vinegar and 1 tsp of olive oil. The first time around we served it on bread, and then I used the leftovers for eggs.

Soba noodle salad with tahini dressing

I’ll share this one in detail soon. For now, gawk at the picture.


What Boston spots are you loving lately?  Do share!

 

What I’m Loving Lately: Meals and weekending in VT

Sometimes, you just need to escape to the mountains with your gal pals where there is no cell service, no TV, lots of wine and peak foliage. A couple of weekends ago, I did just that.

The plan for the weekend was to leave Boston around 6 p.m. on Friday to arrive at the cabin in Stockbridge by 8:30 p.m. Priorities upon arrival went as followed: Get the cheese board prepped, open wine and start on dinner. Saturday we penciled in a visit to the Long Trail Brewery followed by a stroll through Woodstock, VT. Then Sunday we planned for breakfast at Sugar & Spice and a fall foliage hike before heading back to Boston.

This was my second time venturing up north with these lovely ladies, the last time being over the summer. The trip was a lot different this time around. Instead of river tubing, we were bundling up in front of the fire watching snow flurries out the window!

Now, let’s talk about all the eats.

The girls suggested I prep a very Stay Healthy, Stay Happy dinner for Friday night — a challenge I graciously accepted. I planned a light and simple meal to allow for lots of cheese, wine and dessert consumption. Recipes below!

Autumn Pear Salad(serves 5-8)

Ingredients

1 bag of mixed greens

1 Asian pear, chopped into small cubes

1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds

1/2 red onion, sliced thin

Dressing: 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp olive oil, 1 tsp honey, pinch of salt

Directions

Toss all the salad ingredients in a salad bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the dressing until the honey is well-combined. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss again.

Serve immediately. Note: Day-old leftovers were OK!

Autumn Pear Salad (1)(serves 8-10)

Ingredients

1.5 cup dried quinoa (cooked 4 1/2 cups)

1 small acorn squash

4-6 cups of chopped kale, de-stemmed

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Heat the oven to 375°F. Slice the acorn squash in half, de-seed and place flesh down in a baking pan. Add 1/2 inch of water to the baking pan. Roast the squash for 30-45 minutes, or until it is soft (poke with a fork).

While the squash is cooking, start the quinoa. In large pot, add dried quinoa and 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Stir occasionally until all of the water is absorbed and the quinoa is light and fluffy. Right before the quinoa is done (still a smidge more liquid to absorb), add the kale so that it can wilt. You can also steam the kale separately.

When the squash is done and slightly cooled, peel the skin off and chop into bite-sized cubes. In a serving bowl, add squash, quinoa, oil, vinegar, cranberries, salt and pepper. Toss and serve warm.

Autumn Pear Salad (3)Ingredients

10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 shallot, sliced thin

2 Tbsp fresh grated ginger

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 apple (your choice), slice thin

Directions

In a plastic bag or airtight container, marinade chicken with maple syrup, shallot, ginger and garlic for a couple of hours before cooking.

Heat the oven to 425°F. In a baking dish, add the apples. Arrange chicken with what would be the “skin side” facing up with no overlap. Drizzle the remaining marinade on top.

Bake for 20 minutes. Then, turn the oven to broil to crisp the tops of the chick for about 5-7 minutes. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

Moving on…

Saturday we rolled out of bed slowly and spent some time on the couch watching You Got Mail before heading out for activities.

breakfast

Saturday breakfast was simple. We bought yogurt, fresh fruit and I brought my simple maple, coconut granola. There were also some pumpkin muffins I made for a recent Boston Magazine post. (Taste the granola at my upcoming Om, Nom event at Boston Public Market. Boston Honey Company will be there to sample some delicious honey.)

After fueling, we were off to Long Trail and Woodstock!

Saturday day night we partied hard with more cheese, wine, leftover and apple cider margaritas. Oh my goodness we they delish.

Sunday we awoke to snow flurries. After cleaning up the house, we headed to breakfast at Sugar & Spice. The snow flurries (and hangovers) had us second-guessing the hike… but I’m glad we went up. It was gorgeous (even though it was freezing).


Where do you love to vacation with your friends? Do you have a go-to spot?

The Standing Desk: 6 Reasons To Invest

By Alex Lowder

Working in an office at a desk may seem like the antithesis of healthy living, but it does not have to be black and white. You can try a standing desk! There are some desks that are strictly for standing, like this one. However, there are also types that you can retrofit to an existing, conventional desk. These tend to fall into two categories. The first is one that turns your regular office desk into a standing-only desk, as shown here. The second is one that turns your regular office desk into a multifunctional workspace with an adjustable height feature. For the last month, I have been test driving the latter of the two and am really pleased, thus far.

Here are some of my findings:

1. You feel taller

This might sound silly, but for someone who is 5’2” I will take all of the height I can get. When I sit all day, I feel as though I get a droopy shoulders and a hunched back. This does not go a long way for one’s confidence — or one’s spine. The standing desk allows me to stand (and sit) up straighter, without pulling my body up, down, forward or back to conform to the desk when I type, read, etc. What’s better is when people come into my office, I look ready to engage!

2. You dance more

This is very important. When working in an office, you need to have all the fun that you can! If you are already standing, it is more likely that whatever tunes you are listening to will prompt spontaneous dance parties — even if they are by yourself. In all seriousness, I tend to have a little more fun with some of my more monotonous tasks if I have a little bit of a bounce going on.

3. Your pants don’t wrinkle

If you work in a traditional office environment where you are expected to wear your grown-up clothes, that probably includes articles that require ironing. You know what ruins that beautiful ironing you did on those dress slacks? Sitting all day. Even standing half of my work day has reduced those end of the day creases on the front of my pants.

4. You don’t have cold feet

OK, this might not be a widespread problem. I am genetically predisposed to poor circulation in my hands and feet (thanks, Dad). This means that even in a perfectly mild temperature room, wearing socks and shoes, my feet are still cold. Adding more than three and a half hours standing to my work day has dramatically improved circulation now that I am not cutting it off by sitting all day.

5. You don’t get food babies

After lunch, I feel full and maybe a little bloated, depending on what I ate. When I stand after eating my lunch, my body feels longer and leaner (see: you feel taller) and I do not feel that food sitting in my stomach. I would have to do a bit more research to find if standing promotes digestion (yoga does!), but, anecdotally, I definitely feel better after eating if I standing for a little while after.

6. You make new friends

While working in an office setting, it can be easy for everyone to stay in their offices or cubicles and not speak out loud to another living soul until 5:00 p.m. If you are standing, you might be more likely to travel in and out of your work station and talk to people you might not speak to otherwise.

The great thing about these desks is that a lot of employers will provide them for you, as a reasonable request for modifying work conditions, similar to ordering a special chair. If not, there are lot of affordable options that you would then own and be free to bring to wherever you work. While you wait for your standing desk to come in, try some of these office stretches to improve mobility. They get blood flowing a relieve built up tension.

The standing desk is not the panacea of living a healthy lifestyle. Rather, it is another tool in your arsenal to ensure you are doing everything you can, especially in the most unhealthy parts of your life, to keep yourself in tip-top shape. As long as you do not fall into these bad habits, the standing desk can be both beneficial and enjoyable. More benefits (and actual research) can be found at www.juststand.org.

Healthy Patatas Bravas Recipe

Barcelona Wine Bar in Brookline is one of my favorite restaurants in the area. Not only is it close to home, but the food is great, the staff is awesome, tapas are reasonably priced and the sangria is always on point. They recently opened a second Massachusetts location in the South End. If you haven’t check them out, put it on your bucket list.

One dish we always get is the patatas bravas: fried potatoes with spicy tomato sauce. This dish also has a mayo drizzled on top. Since I can’t — or shouldn’t — eat out at Barcelona Wine Bar every day, I thought I’d try to replicate this delish dish on my own. The spicy tomato sauce isn’t quite right, but this version is simple, tasty and not all that bad for you.

At the base, the potatoes are baked instead of fried. The tomato sauce seasoned with smoked paprika and cayenne pepper. Finally, instead of mayo I stirred up a special Greek yogurt aioli. My test subjects? My favorite gal pals and Grandma Carol.

patatas

The dish was a hit! Next time, I’ll crisp the potatoes more and blend the sauce smoother. Recipe below!

Healthy Patatas Bravas Recipe

Ingredients

For the roasted potatoes:

2 pounds of small yellow/golden potatoes, or medley bag

2 Tbsp olive oil

Pinch of salt

For the spicy tomato sauce:

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 small yellow onion (or 1/2 large), diced

1 can unsalted diced tomatoes

1 Tbsp smoked paprika

2 tsp garlic powder

½ tsp cayenne pepper

½ tsp salt

1 tsp honey (or sugar)

Greek yogurt aioli:

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Optional garnishes:

Fresh parsley

Directions

  1. For the potatoes: Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Chop potatoes into bite-sized pieces (skin on) and then toss with oil and salt. Add the chopped potatoes to a baking sheet and roast for 40-50 minutes (or until desired crispness), flipping them halfway through.
  2. For the sauce: While the potatoes bake, prepare the spicy tomato sauce. Heat the olive oil in a sauce pot, add the onion and cook until fragrant. Add all the remaining ingredients to the pan and increase the heat to bring sauce to a simmer for 10 minutes. Taste to see if you need more spice. Optional: Let cool slightly and add to a food processor if you want a smoother consistency. 
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  3. For the Greek yogurt aioli: Stir all ingredients together. (Phew! That one was easy.)
  4. Put it all together: Once the potatoes have reached a desired crispness, add them to a large serving bowl or dish. Pour the tomato sauce over the potatoes, drizzle the aioli and then garnish with fresh chopped parsley.

Serve immediately and enjoy!

Raw Cacao Chia Pudding: A healthy vegan dessert

You know the feeling: It has been a couple of hours since dinner and your tummy is grumbling, but bedtime is fast-approaching. Or, maybe, your tummy isn’t grumbling… but you’re craving something sweet. Welcome to my nightly ritual.

I do my best to avoid indulging late at night, but sometimes you just need a little something. Cue this healthy vegan dessert. My Raw Cacao Chia Pudding has only four ingredients and satisfies my sweet tooth and hunger.

The best part? It’s good for you. One serving of my chia pudding has about 180 calories.

Chia seeds Raw cacao powder
120 calories 30 calories
8 grams fiber (32% of DV) 2 grams fiber (8% of DV)
60% DV of manganese (great for bone production, skin health, blood sugar control and more) 41 mg magnesium (10% of DV)
Other benefits: Protein, Omega-3 fatty acids and various micronutrients. Other benefits: Packed with antioxidants and rumored to help cardiovascular function.

Learn to make raw cacao chia pudding in this video — recipe below!

Raw Cacao Chia Pudding

Serves 2

Ingredients

1/4 cup chia seeds

2 Tbsp raw cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup unsweetened almond or other non-dairy milk

1 Tbsp of raw honey or other natural sweetener

Directions

  1. Add chia seeds and raw cacao powder to a sealable jar or tupperware container and stir or shake to combine.
  2. Add the almond milk and sweetener. and then stir to make sure the solid ingredients don’t clump at the bottom. Seal the container and shake well.
  3. Store in refrigerator for at least 3 hours to allow the chia seeds to absorb the liquid. You make need to shake your chia seed pudding a couple of times during those hours if the ingredients start to clump at the bottom.
  4. Enjoy topped with coconut, raw cacao nibs or a pinch of granola.

Stay healthy, stay happy!

#SHSHeats: Healthy meal planning – Dinner, lunch and breakfast ideas

One of the most frequently asked questions of fitness instructors and personal trainers is, “What do you eat?” For me, it is all about quick, simple, nutrient-dense meals — and it’s not always glamorous. During the work week, I opt for overnight oatmeal in the morning, salads at lunch and then something more creative at dinner.

Follow me through a week of Stay Healthy, Stay Happy eats below, and then head over to Instagram/Twitter to see even more under the #SHSHeats hashtag.

Monday: office, teach 2 virtual classes

On Monday, I like to take part in #MeatlessMonday. I’m mostly vegetarian and choose to be that way for a couple of reasons: 1. To save a little $$$, 2. Sustainability reasons/I’m picky and care about where my meat comes, and 3. I feel better when I’m not weighed down by meat. Now, don’t misinterpret that. I love a fish, chicken thighs and some good steak tips here and there. I most-frequently eat meat when I’m eating out or sharing dinner with others.

Tuesday: work from home, walk around the reservoir, gal pals dinner

On Tuesdays, I usually teach outdoor Zumba in Post Office Square. As of late, it seems thunderstorms love to roll in around 4 p.m. Tuesday evenings. When the rain comes, I try to get to a yoga class, go for a run or spend some solo time at the gym. A little extra me time is always nice.

Wednesday: office, lift weights, teach zumba

Zumba doesn’t start until 6:30 p.m., which gives me a little time to run errands after work or do a workout of my own. If I’m feelin’ it, I try to lift weights on Wednesdays.

  • Breakfast: Overnight oats in an almost empty sunbutter jar (the best!) 

  • Snack:Raisins + almonds + walnuts (1/2 cup total) 

  • Lunch: Salad (leftover arugula salad from gal pal dinner with 1 grilled chicken thigh and 1/2 cup quinoa)
  • Pre-workout snack: 1/4 cup chia seed pudding with 2 Tbsp homemade gluten-free granola
  • Dinner: Creative take on shakshuka (ground turkey, egg, tomato, greens, spices) 

  • Dessert: Last four bites of my FoMu ice cream I’ve been saving for a special occasion (the night before teaching a 6:30am Kick It By Eliza™ class seemed appropriate)

Thursday: teach Kick It By Eliza™, office, teach Zumba

This day was one for the record books — out the door before 6 p.m., back in around 10 p.m. To get through a day like this it is ALL ABOUT THE MEAL PREP. If I didn’t prepare everything the night before, I would have easily derailed and fueled up improperly. Give your body what it needs to get through a long, taxing day. And then, treat it with a Life Alive smoothie at the end.

Friday: work from home, teach Bags+Dance

TGIF! On Friday, I sleep until I need to log on for work (usually around 8 a.m.). I move slow in the morning, cook a wholesome breakfast and tie up loose ends from the work week. What’s tough about Fridays is that the fridge starts to look sparse. See below.

If you’re still with me, thanks for following along! It’s not always glam and Instagram-worthy, but it’s always tasty.

Stay healthy, stay happy!