Wellness Connection

Alicia Marie


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Chia Boom Boom Smoothie

It is already almost halfway through October—can you believe it!? Walking through my office last week I overheard people lamenting the grey Seattle haze. Come Friday the question “How are you doing” prompted more “Happy it’s Friday!!” responses. Not an uncommon response at the end of the week, but nevertheless, Fridays seem more welcome when the weather starts to turn blue.

Before you reach for that second cup of coffee, try a green smoothie. If it turns out a second cup of coffee is still needed afterwards, you can find peace in knowing you hydrated yourself and sloshed down antioxidants, tackled eating vegetables even if you didn’t feel like eating them and boosted your mood in the meantime. The mood and energy boosting properties in this Chia Boom Boom smoothie come from not only the chia seeds, but also the maca powder.

Historically both chia seeds and maca powder have been used by Native Americans for both nutritional and medicinal purposes. Maca powder encourages positive functioning of the endocrine system. In my post about hypothyroidism I talked about how your endocrine system is composed of all of our glands that secrete hormones and control sexual function, fertility, brain and nervous system physiology, digestion and energy.

Chia seeds are energizing and keep you feeling full longer. Those tiny seeds expand in liquid and adopt a jelly-like tapioca appearance.

Intimidated by the price and unfamiliar sounding ingredients? One tablespoon of chia seeds is three grams of protein and only 60 calories. They are sold for a reasonable price at Trader Joes but can also be purchased in bulk at Whole Foods.

Chia Boom Boom Smoothie Alicia Marie Health Blog

Chia Boom Boom Smoothie

1 C. Soy Protein
2 Tsp. Ginger

2 Tsp. Maca Powder

2 Tbs. Chia Seeds
½ C. Marionberries (or berries of choice)
½ Banana

1/2 C. Kale or Spinach
3 Ice Cubes
½ C. Almond Milk
Dust of Cacao Powder on top

The sprinkle of cacao powder on top really compliments the ginger in this smoothie. It gives the smoothie a punch from the first sip. Cacao powder is also a high source of antioxidants.

If you’re willing to indulge on any special ingredient in this smoothie, I would first purchase the chia seeds. You can add them to oatmeal, smoothies, pancakes–anything. Next, I would go with the cacao powder as it is a bittersweet chocolate also easy to add to everyday recipes. The maca powder although nourishing does have a slightly strange, bitter taste so I might save that one for last.

Quick update on my hip. In my last post I talked about my relentless efforts to find out what was wrong and finally settled on getting an MRI. I found out that I have tendonitis. I think resting will be the first step for healing this one. I’m doing Blogilates and Tony Horton videos. (Best surprise ever was that they made two videos together! Kicked my a**.) Occasionally I walk, but my hip has been so sensitive I hesitate to do much cardio. Fingers crossed that by mid-November I can start jogging or at least going on long walks regularly.

I would love to hear how you are doing! Fill me on in on your health journey. They are all so unique and inspiring. It can be so much fun to put our heads together to work through our different fitness and nutrition challenges.

Peace, Love and Happy Smoothie Drinking,

Alicia Marie Health Blog


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Beginners Luck & Birthday Cupcakes

I adapted a recipe for chocolate cinnamon cupcakes with spiced buttercream frosting and candied walnuts. My taste testers agreed the fluffy chocolatey yumness was a success. You know you have found yourself a treasure when the entire bowl and spoon are worth licking. Admittedly I am quite proud of myself for the way they turned out. This is partly because it almost feels like a joke trying to replicate the gorgeous recipes from one of my favorite bloggers, Angela Liddon from Oh She Glows. My stomach can personally vouch for her talent in writing recipes. All of her foodie pictures completely seduce me. She is my go-to girl for finding recipes for special occasions.  Or any occasion actually. I count “I’m hungry” as a pretty good “occasion” to get things rolling in the kitchen…

This particular occasion was my boyfriend’s birthday! 24 baby! I asked him to describe his favorite dessert and he told me he liked treats that are fluffy or with chocolate. So of course I gave him both.

The changes I made to this recipe included added mini chocolate chips to the batter, cardamom to the candied walnuts and cardamom and quite a bit of additional sugar to the frosting (it tasted a little to creamy for my palette and not quite sweet enough without the added sugar), and substituted  coconut butter for the canola oil. I also changed the order for making the  different parts of the cupcake so that by the time the cupcakes are cooled off you can immediately start frosting them and topping them with walnuts.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups + 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder (I used unsweetened Ghirardelli)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used mini)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 & 1/8th cup sugar
  • 2.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg (Grate fresh nutmeg if you have never done so! Amazing!)
  • 1 & 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/8th cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup coconut butter
  • Spiced Buttercream Frosting
  • Candied Walnuts (see below)

Cupcake Directions: Preheat oven to 350F. Line a cupcake pan.  Mix dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg) in a large bowl. In a medium bowl mix wet ingredients (water, vinegar, coconut butter, and vanilla). Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir with a spoon. Fill each cupcake tin about 1/2-2/3 full ( I filled them halfway and wish I had done them 2/3 full.) Bake for about 20 minutes and as Angela recommends: until the cupcake springs back slowly when pressed. She also advises you to be careful as it is easy to overbake these.

While baking, prepare your candied walnuts.

Angela’s Easy Candied Walnuts

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp cardamom
  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted

Candied Walnuts Directions: Preheat oven to 275F. Spread 1 cup of walnuts onto a baking sheet and toast for 8 minutes being careful not to burn. Remove walnuts from oven and baking sheet. Place walnuts in a large bowl and set aside. Turn the heat to medium and add remaining ingredients to the pot. Stir ingredients and bring to a boil. When boiling, reduce heat to a simmer stirring frequently to ensure that the sauce does not stick or burn.  Continue stirring the mixture for about 5 minutes. Mixture will become airy and thicken. Remove pot from stove top and IMMEDIATELY pour mixture into a bowl. Begin stirring immediately. The mixture will start to harden instantly.  When all walnuts are coated with mixture, place walnuts back on baking sheet. Break apart walnuts to individual pieces so that they are no longer clumped together. Set aside candied walnuts.

How to make Candied Walnuts

Begin making frosting!

Spiced Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance , softened
  • 2 ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp cardamom
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tbsp almond milk

Frosting Directions: Stir earth balance vigorously or whip with mixer. Add powdered sugar, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, cardamom and almond milk.  Stir or whip with mixer a second time.

Frost your cupcakes, top them with your candied walnuts, give them to your favorite person and eat them yourself 🙂

Cinnamon Chocolate Cupcakes with Spiced Buttercream Frosting

Happy Fall!!

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Easy Fall Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Scones

My first instinct was to create something yummy with pumpkin since it is fall and I am a fanatic about that flavor right along with everyone else. Instead, I thought I would move outside of my comfort zone. This is where cinnamon raisin scones came in to play. I was walking through the baking isle at Whole foods when it occurred to me that it would be super easy to take a pre-made mix and transform it into something entirely different. Bob’s Red Mill makes a variety of gluten free mixes. I noticed the cinnamon raisin bread mix, and so the experiment began!

They turned out wonderful if I do say so myself. The pictures are of the regular vegan, gluten free scones. I also made a plant based version that replaced the added sugar and earth balance butter with a couple medium sized bananas. The plant based scones still taste good, just different. It is an adjustment, just like going gluten free. And I will warn you that they also look different than regular scones. Don’t let that deter you if you are trying to be healthy. You could also substitute apple sauce instead of bananas. They may have a more uniform appearance that way.

 

Vegan Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Scones

3 Cups Bob’s Cinnamon Raisin Bread Mix

1 Tbs. Baking Powder

2 Tbs. Potato Flour

1/3 Cup Maple Syrup

8 Tbs. Earth Balance Butter

1 Tbs. Chia seeds + 4 tbs. water

3 Tbs. Almond milk

Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Scones

1. Mix the dry ingredients cinnamon raisin mix and baking powder in a large bowl.

2. Cut in the earth balance butter with a pastry knife or two regular knives.

3. Mix the chia seeds and water together for a minute before mixing with almond milk.

4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir.

5. Sprinkle potato flour onto a surface such as a glass pan for kneading the dough.

6. Knead the dough 8 times.

7. Form a circle with the dough.

8. Divide the circle into 8 scones. *

9. Place the scones on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

10. Bake for 8-10 minutes at 425 degrees.

If you want a thicker scone you can make the circle of dough smaller.

Plant Based (Also Vegan Gluten Free) Cinnamon Raisin Scones

3 ¾ Cups bob’s cinnamon raisin bread mix

1 Tbs. Baking Powder

2 Medium Size Bananas

½ Tsp. Stevia

¼ Tsp. Cinnamon

2 Tbs. Potato Flour

1 Tbs. Chia Seeds + 4 Tbs. Water

3 Tbs. Almond Milk

Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Scones

Enjoy!! 🙂

xoxo,

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Eating Yummy on your “I’m Broke” Budget Part. 1.

Now that I am back from vacation and it is Fall the most inspiring season for baking and cooking, I plan on making some more yummy creations.

However, I am keeping it simple until my budget is less depleted from spoiling myself. Steamed veggies and rice are a favorite of mine. If I am ever having tummy troubles, hoping to get back on track and eat more healthy, or do a mild detox for a week or so, this is something I love to cook.

I grab whatever veggies I want to steam from Whole Foods. This time I grabbed a container of pre-cut veggies for about $7.00. The organic brown microwaveable rice was on sale for $3.69. That will last me three servings totaling about $3.50 per meal.And after all that is said and done I will have tons of rice left over for future cooking creations. This is IDEAL for your college budget or your I’m out of college, still broke and can’t get a job budget.

It is the easiest thing you’ll ever do. Fill a pot with water about an inch and a half high. Place your steamer inside the pot. The water should not come up over the steamer at all or your veggies will get soggy. Cover the pot with a lid for a few minutes and cook on medium high for 7-10 minutes. They are finished when the broccoli is bright green! You can test the veggie with a fork. It should be tender but it should not crumble into mush in your mouth. (That would be gross.) Add a tiny smidgen of earth balance butter and soy sauce if you like! I did 🙂

Rice & Steamed Veggies with Avocado

Yummy! You can do the same thing with quinoa. See below.

Healthy Quinoa & Steamed Veggies. Fitness eating on a budget!

XOXO

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Tips and Tricks to Healthy Travel

  1.    Happycow.net will give you a quick list of veg-friendly, vegetarian, and vegan restaurants at any given location. I want to give a big squeeze to the genius who invented that site. (There is also an app for $2.99)
  2.   Scope out menus online first.
  3.   Don’t be afraid to ask if there is dairy (or any animal products). You might find yourself pleasantly surprised. I sure did! Ono Gelato in Maui has several vegan flavors. When I started inquiring to the woman scooping gelato “This might be a weird question…but is there dairy in all of your gelato flavors?” She said “No there isn’t, not a weird question at all by the way” and went on to show me nine different options I had to choose from! And yes, one of those was chocolate! I went with the tasty creamy pina colada with real fruit chunks while Shane got a combination of Maui gold pineapple and lilikoi.Alicia Marie's Tips & Tricks to Healthy Traveling
  4.   Ditch your rental car. Travel on foot. The first four days of our trip, we did not have a rental car and walked everywhere. It was equivalent to going on a good run for some cardio which was great because my injury prevented me from jogging on all but one day.
  5.  Blogilates. Pilates is my favorite form of injury prevention and healing. It is also my favorite way to build a six pack fast. I remember training for cross country in college. I was running 5-6 miles consistently each day. I went to one pilates class for an hour and could not move or work out for the next three days. It will kick your butt and tone you up. You can count on Cassie Ho to keep you motivated and challenged on any given day. She was my go-to youtube college dorm and apartment workout. She just came out with an app that I used religiously in Maui. It is awesome because you can choose which part of your body you want to target.
  6. Scope out nearby health markets. They are multiplying like rabbits. Who would have guessed? There was an amazing health market a short three minutes from my condo. They made these delicious “Aloha Bars” that are actually almost identical to my A-Game Energy Bars. In this cute hippy town Paia, there was a gigantic one of a kind health market. An entire room consisted of bulk items as did a separate room for natural supplements and medicine. There was a hot bar and quite the selection of premade meals. The big downer was that the people who worked there were rude and seemed to dislike tourists.  I fit quite the tourist portrait with my hefty camera. I had one man practically ignore me when I asked where the restroom was located. Had they known I was a little health nut hoping to contribute to their profits with my love of unique vegan products, I should think they might have been a bit more amiable. Oh well 😦

Alicia Marie's Tips & Tricks to Healthy Traveling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Redefine Indulging and Do It Often. I consume fruit in two ways, as dessert and as breakfast. And sometimes dessert occurs more than once a day. I am a fruit fanatic. Ditch the ice cream, get some vegan gelato, a soy based protein smoothie, vegan froyo if you can find it. If you are traveling somewhere warm, let fruit be your biggest friend for your natural sugar fix.

Alicia Marie's Tips & Tricks to Healthy Traveling

8. Read Ingredients. I was fortunate enough to find a ginormous vegan oatmeal walnut cookie that was decently healthy! Organic cane sugar was the fifth ingredient followed by apple sauce. Typically recipes are ordered in the proportion of that ingredient. Therefore if organic cane sugar had been the first ingredient, I may not have selected this as my breakfast cookie two or three mornings in a row. But it was the fifth ingredient, alas I had a delicious breakfast cookie more than once.

Alicia Marie's Tips & Tricks to Healthy TravelingAlicia Marie's Tips & Tricks to Healthy Traveling

9. Careful with Airplane Food. Check out the ingredients on this snack. Is the color yellow edible to you? Personally, I would opt for avoiding airplane meals altogether. You can usually find a veggie dish at one of the airplane restaurants, oatmeal, salad, or fruit cups at Starbucks. And never fear because there is always a Starbucks.

Alicia's Marie's Healthy Travel Tips

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10. Relax. How many of us tell ourselves we are going to be bikini body ready in x amount of time. Congratulations if that works for you, but I am going to bet that for most people it does not. Our lives are crazy, overbooked, overwhelming in all respects. Hence the need for vacation. This is your time to indulge and relax. Find some love and self-acceptance to truly enjoy this gift to yourself. Struggling to do that? Hop in a yoga class. Make a habit of going for a morning walk to start your day off right and let go. Make any healthy habit to start your day off right and let go. Have a cup of tea. Watch a concert of your favorite band. Watch an inspiring Ted Talk. You are not going to get fat in ten days. You are not going to get completely out of shape in ten days. You can still feel good about your body and indulge in copious amounts of tasty treats at the same time.

These are tips that worked for me. I am sure there are many more ideas that would suit your lifestyle and eating habits wonderfully as well and I would love to hear them! 

xoxo,

Alicia Marie's Wellness Blog


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Aloha Maui Virgins!

Aloha Mauiiii Virginsss!-We were welcomed with enthusiasm by our round, happy Hawaiian shuttle driver. Driving was questionable and included talking, texting, showing pictures and giving history of the landscape often simultaneously. Pictures were of shark attacks and sunrises; the tour of a whale sculpture apparently resembling his wife. An interesting guy to say the least! If you prioritize money over safety “Trans Van” is your best option over a taxi from the airport and is $30 vs $50.

Upon arriving at our condo, I unpacked quickly so that Shane and I could fill our tummies and enjoy the beach across the street! What a view…not bad for youngins on a budget.

Travel on a Budget

Travel on a Budget

At one of Shane’s close friend’s recommendations we headed to Maui Tacos. It was maybe three minutes walking from our condo. No time was wasted making the decision. And we had no desire to find energy analyzing restaurant options regardless, thus it was a perfect destination for our first meal. We took it to go and enjoyed it by the ocean.

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$6 for a jumbo sized burrito or a hearty taco salad. A mouthful of Shane’s food is always sacrificed to his better half and thus I can attest to the AMAZING enchilada sauce on his burrito! So many flavors and spices. They whip it up in under five and hand you a creation that will blow your mind. My taco salad had yummy seasoned potatoes and the black beans had some sort of brilliant chipotle flavor. We kept agreeing they should bring their goods to the mainland!

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Following our dinner we walked down the beach and further downtown towards the bars in Kihei and indulged in Froyo from Tutti Frutti. I had the soy vegan cherry flavor topped with granola and fruit. Shane had some concoction of a fruit smoothie.

Immediately I found success with a plant based diet in paradise. I had been warned that there was fish, fruit, fish and nothing but fish! Nonsense! Over the span of my trip I indulged in plant based sushi, gelato, coconut based coffees, Mexican, Indian, Thai, Italian, and more.

Even on the airport there are options if you are willing to work with them. I sought out Starbucks for peppermint tea and a warm, filling cup of oatmeal with raisins and nuts to hold me over through the plane ride. Shane had a veggie noodle salad from a sushi stand.

We were off to a good start. Little did I know there was a local health market in our neighborhood and my soon to be daily smoothie/coffee stand as well! Food, freedom, boyfriend, beach. Awww yeah 🙂

How do you stay healthy while leaving PLENTY of room to indulge while traveling? Lots of personal tips coming up in the next post-would love to hear yours too!

Plant Based Travel Tips


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Falling in love with soup

It is difficult not to love fall. Even as I prepare to leave for my trip in paradise tomorrow, I can’t help but wonder if I will be missing the very best part of the season. The temperature during the day is still warm in the northwest-high 70’s, while the mornings are starting to become nippy. I can visualize one of my favorite running trails with the heavy fog setting in across the valley and that golden autumn sun shining overhead. There is nothing quite like an autumn sun.

Some of my best fall memories are from high school football games. I loved being in the stands with my best friends surrounded by a strong, fierce and fun loving community of highly spirited classmates. Overlooking the football field was a neat crescent row of tall cedar trees casting sharp black silhouettes against the flawlessly clear blue sky. Breathing that beauty in with good company and a big win at the end of the night was like nothing else I have experienced.

After a pretty illustration, I can sadly almost always fit my stomach into the equation in one way or another. This brings me to soup.

Simple and sweet. Or in this case, spicy!

Soup is a your diet’s saving grace when you get the evening munchies. While comforting, it is also nutritious, low calorie, easily digestible, and soothing for those chilly fall days.

Spicy Roasted Tomato Red Pepper Soup

For Roasting

3 roma tomatos

2 tomatoes

1 red pepper

½ tsp himilayan salt

1/4tsp. cayenne pepper

¼ tsp. chili flakes

For Sauteing 

Zulu African Mix 1/8 tsp

2 garlic cloves

1/2 cup basil (or omit and add 1 cup of fresh basil to food processor)

½ yellow onion

1 large carrot

Food Processor

1 ½ cup hemp milk

¼ cup tomato basil sauce

2 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tsp. paprkia

Side: Gluten Free Rosemary Walnut Bread & Tea!

Spicy Roasted Tomato & Red Pepper Soup

Directions:

Slice up the tomatos and red pepper. Lay on a baking sheet. Drizzle about a tablespoon and a half of olive oil over the tomatos and red pepper. Sprinkle with Himalayan salt, chili flakes, and cayenne pepper. Bake at 350 for about fifteen minutes.

While your red veggies are roasting, cut up your carrot and half an onion. Cut up your 2 cloves of garlic into small pieces, but do not mince unless desired. Heat up a frying pan and add three tablespoons of water. Begin sauteing the carrot, onion, basil and garlic. Sprinkle with zulu african spice mix. Saute for about twenty minutes.

Add hemp milk, tomato sauce, brown sugar and paprika to food processor. When finished roasting and sauteeing, add ingredients to hemp milk and tomato sauce in the food processor. Mix until smooth.

Empty ingredients into a pot and simmer for about fifteen minutes.

*To substitute the zulu african spice mix, trying adding liquid smoke.

Enjoy!!! 🙂

Complements of yours truly and my main man, Shane.