FOOD

Munchie Monday: Fiesta Cashew Dip Review

Hey there! This Munchie Monday I wanted to recommend one of my new favorite products that I cannot stop eating! It’s the Trader Joe’s Fiesta Cashew Dip and I am obsessed. It is made from all plant based ingredients with minimal added salt, sugar, and oil. This cheese is thick and creamy and so delicious. I have used it with burritos, tacos, Mexican rice, taco salad, etc. The first time I bought it I almost started eating by the spoonful. It is similar to the type of cashew cheese you can make at home but thicker. It costs around $4.50 at my local Trader Joe’s store but I’d say it is well worth it. Now anytime I make any type of Mexican related dishes I will be adding it to my ingredient list. Because it is so think I don’t think I would just use it as a regular chips and crackers dip. I prefer a runnier consistency for chip dips but mixing it into rice or a taco is perfect!

Let me know below if you have ever tried Trader Joe’s Fiesta Cashew dip and what you thought!

fitness

Fit Friday: OrangeTheory Wrap Up

Happy Friday! Today’s Fit Friday topic is wrapping up my month of OrangeTheory! After my two weeks of sickness I got right back at it and took 4 classes for the last two weeks. They were all really great classes and I thoroughly enjoyed them. There were two types of class setups that really pushed me and my dramatic self thought I might die or puke. The first was called RowGo where you row as hard as you possibly can for 4 minutes straight aiming for at least 800 meters. Once the 4 minutes are over we moved to the weight floor and proceeded to do the sets given. After that we went back to the rowers to row for 2 minutes straight were the goal was to reach at least half of what you got during the four minutes. After the 2 minutes we were back on the weight floor until the last set which was a 1 minute all out where you try to get at least 200 meters. This format made me feel exhausted and so sore. I think it is because you push yourself for each round and then only have a few minutes to recover on the weight floor before going back at it at basically an all out pace. The next type of class that pushed me the hardest was the Tornado Thursdays. Our format for these classes were actually similar to the RowGo where you went all out until 200 meters then did a floor exercise like jump squats and then repeat the cycle increasing the number of reps for the floor exercise each time. Despite feeling like I was going to puke for half the class in these instances I always felt like I left everything I had in the class and did not hold back.

Overall, I find Orange Theory to be a great workout out. I always left out of breath and was sore the next day. The coaches provide great enthusiasm, encouragement and feedback throughout the entire class. It is easy to follow because there are other people doing the same thing as you but there is always a heavy emphasis on focusing on yourself and not competing with those around you. I learned new exercises and techniques that I can apply in the gym or even doing an at home workout. I also noticed that I improved in some aspects after my 30 days. I can do more ab work then I used to such as bicycle crunches and longer planks. I also increased my all out pace from around 3.7 to 4.3 at a 15% incline. I think if you stick with OrangeTheory long enough you will definitely see more results. I had so much fun doing OrangeTheory and had such a good mindset while doing it I did not cancel my membership opting instead for 4 classes a month. I would highly recommended you try OrangeTheory at least once, especially if you enjoy high intensity workouts.

With my month of OrangeTheory over it is time to announce March’s workout! This month I wanted to try something that seemed near impossible at my level of strength, flexibility, and fitness so I choose to do Barre! Barre combines yoga, pilates, and ballet movements to increase strength and flexibility. It focuses on small movements and specific muscle groups to shape and tone your body. I was nervous to try this because it is a lot of ab work and I have zero abdominal strength. I cannot even complete a proper sit-up which is why I have never felt like I could complete a class like Barre. But here we are! So keep an eye out for an update on how my first few Barre classes go and my takeaways!

LIFE

Wellness Wednesdays!

Welcome to Wellness Wednesday! I want to start posting about health and wellness more so every so often I am going to share some tips and facts about wellness! This Wednesday I wanted to give an update on one aspect of my life. Over the last couple of years, I have had a growing interest in health and wellness. I showed an interest in becoming a dietician but this January I decided the next step in my journey was to enroll in the Institute of Integrative Nutrition! IIN is an online health coaching certification course that is a year long and based around a holistic approach to health. The graduates of IIN go on to do a plethora of things ranging from health coaching, investing a product, opening a restaurant, and more. I have not decided what I would like to do in the future but I have been toying with opening a wellness education center or restaurant where people can come have a healthy meal, get one-on-one health coaching, or provide education to the public about health and wellness. Whatever I choose I am looking forward to this journey.

“The thing that is scariest to you, is the thing that is most important.”

FOOD

Munchie Monday: Vegan Chopped

Hello and Happy Monday! This past week I set up the Vegan Chopped Challenge and had two of my friends each pull two random ingredients. The four ingredients they chose were mushrooms, peas, artichoke hearts, and peanut butter. The obvious choice was to make an Asian style rice dish with a peanut sauce but I thought that would be cheating since I have made that recipe several times before. I asked a few of my co-workers what they thought and they mostly recommended Asian style dishes as they would be the easiest. However, I took the next week to mull over what to do when I got curious about something. Many vegan cheese sauces use a base of cashew but people often swap out the cashews for other nuts. My question is could you make a vegan cheese sauce with a base of peanut butter? I decided to find out by creating a vegan cheesy vegetable rice dish.

The most complicated part of this “recipe” is making the cheese sauce and that is mostly blending things together. I purchased the ingredients for the recipe and another meal for the week which was very affordable. I believe I spent a total of $28 dollars for everything which means the rice dish would be even less than that. I purchased two russet potatoes, a bag of white onions, a bag of baby carrots, all natural smooth peanut butter, vegetable stock, brown rice, a can of artichoke hearts, frozen peas, and a carton of mushrooms. Below are the main ingredients I based the recipe off of.

I used the potatoes, carrots, onions, and peanut butter as the base of the sauce and simply played with the spices I put in. I used about half the potatoes, carrots, and onions with a fourth a cup of peanut butter. I added garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, nutritional yeast, liquid smoke, salt, and pepper. At first, the peanut butter was overpowering the rest of the ingredients so I added more nutritional yeast, salt, and a little white miso paste. Eventually, it started to taste more like a cheese sauce but with a much stronger nutty undertaste than usual. I added it to some partially cooked rice with the peas and chopped artichoke hearts and mushrooms. I baked it in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 25 minutes to finish cooking all of it and then topped it with the leftover cheese.

I ate it for the first time reheated in the microwave and it was good. I enjoyed it and think it would work in a pinch if you don’t have cashews but I still think I prefer cashews as they have less of an impact on the final taste. Most people either use potatoes and carrots as a base or soaked cashews, not both but I like to combine them to add protein and healthy fats to the recipe. I think the taste of the recipe was not a problem and would work again but I always forget that vegan cheese sauce does not reheat like normal cheese. It is more of a dry consistency especially if you reheat it. If there was a way to reheat it with more of a realistic cheese consistency I think I would love it. Below is a picture of a serving I took for lunch and reheated.

Let me know what you would have made with mushrooms, peas, artichoke hearts, and peanut butter!

fitness

Fit Friday Update

Happy Fit Friday! This month I chose to do OrangeTheory as my new workout challenge. I did three classes in my first week and it was great. I went to the 5 am classes and I enjoyed them a lot. I like the structure of the courses because we get our heart rate up throughout the class and we complete strength exercises as well. When we row or do the strength exercises the coach walks around correcting people’s forms and offers advice on how to make the exercise do more for you. I did go into the Orange Zone each of the three classes and I left sore. The employees at my Orange Theory studio are all very friendly and encouraging. Below are my stats from my first week of classes.

This is the breakdown of calories burned during my first week of classes.
This is a bar graph of how many minutes I spent in each zone. The goal is to spend 12 or more minutes in the orange or red zone to burn the most calories.

I started to experience health problems the next two weeks where I had bouts of nausea, headaches, body aches, extreme fatigue, and acid reflux throughout the day. I would get up for my 5 am class and feel as though I was going to get sick so I would have to cancel. I did not think my symptoms would last longer than a day to a few days so I never canceled all my classes until the morning of which resulted in cancelation fees. Each time you cancel a class with less than 8 hours notice you get charged $12 and there are no exceptions as far as I know. I would say that is the only downside to OrangeTheory so far. I was hoping that my health would get better each day and when it did not I had to cancel and get charged the $12. I understand why because some more popular class times end up having waitlists and if you do not cancel with enough notice they cannot move someone off the waitlist to join in. However, the three 5am classes I attended did not even have half the maximum people the class could hold. I think it would be better if the policy would be there is a cancelation fee if you cancel with under 8 hours notice and the class has either a waitlist or is full. This month I have paid almost as much as my membership in cancelation fees simply because my body is going through some changes. I already paid for a membership and so to have to pay all of these fees when I already paid to attend the classes got frustrating.

The employees were still very caring and called a few times to check in and see if there was a way to help get me to attend more classes and fewer cancellations going forward. I am going to attempt to switch to later evening classes as my symptoms are their worst in the morning. They are also still willing to drop my second month’s membership to 4 classes a month versus unlimited as the challenge is just one month. I believe I will be able to come close to the 12 class goal by increasing my classes to four a week and using my second-month membership in the first week of March. While there was a little bit of disappointment I still love the classes and am excited to try to finish out this month.

LIFE

February Faves!

Hello everyone! We have made it through another month of 2019! This post is a wrap of the month of February with a breakdown of my five favorite things from this month.

  1. Warm Tea: This month has been cold and stressful so I have been enjoying a warm cup of tea at the beginning of each day. It not only warms me up but provides a few minutes to simply relax and slowly start my day. For anyone who is interested, I use tea and aloe from Herbalife in a variety of their flavors.
  2. Sunrises: This month has been grey and gloomy where I live which is why this month I have been enjoying the rare sunny mornings. I love walking out of my apartment to see the sun and to enjoy the beautiful colors of the sunrise on my drive to work. It creates a few moments of peace and reminds me to appreciate the little things in life.
  3. Chats with Coworkers: This month I have been trying to make more of an effort to connect with my coworkers and have a positive mindset. I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know more about the people I work with and learn more about different life perspectives.
  4. Dinner with Friends: Living alone makes me appreciate social outings more than I ever have before. I never minded being alone before but now that I have no roommates to chat with at random I have grown fond of making friends and socializing a priority. My favorite way to do this so far has been to grab some good food and have a chat.
  5. Bondi Rescue: I have a weakness for strange and random shows I find on the internet. One of the shows I stumbled upon is called Bondi Rescue that follows the lifeguards of Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia. I had watched the show before this month but my interest picked back up again this month and for the last two weeks of February began rewatching episodes and even reading fanfiction about it.

Let me down below what some of your February favorites were!

LIFE

19 for 2019!

  1. Run a 5k
  2. Run a 10k
  3. Run a 10-minute mile
  4. Try 12 new workouts
  5. Save $5,000
  6. Volunteer at least once a month
  7. Read 24 books
  8. Finish the Harry Potter series
  9. Start a blog
  10. Learn American Sign Language
  11. Learn photo-editing
  12. Learn to sew
  13. Visit another state
  14. Complete a Fall Color Tour
  15. Watch a movie each week
  16. Reduce my plastic use/Switch to glassware
  17. Go Ice Skating
  18. Start a cookbook
  19. Get a tattoo

Strikethrough means successfully completed!

What are some of your goals for 2019? Comment them down below!

fitness

Fit Friday: Boxing Wrap-Up

Happy Friday! We made it through the week:) Since it is now February I have officially finished my month of boxing at Title Boxing and will be moving onto a new workout routine. Today I will be breaking down my experience with boxing and whether or not I would recommend you try it. At the end of this post, I will also announce February’s Fit Fridays Challenge so keep reading!

For Fit Fridays the goal of the challenge is to attend class three times a week for the entire month or a total of 12 classes. January started off great and I had no problems attending classes three times a week. I honestly loved the classes because it was a great workout plus every time I left I felt so accomplished to have made it through another class. I also felt like I was improving as I took more classes. Most classes I had the same instructor because I like to create a routine so I went at the same times each week. The instructor was pretty cool and I liked her style, however, she rarely corrected people (I promise I made a ton of mistakes to correct). I think it would have been nice to have slightly more feedback on things like form and technique. I did take one class with another instructor on a Saturday and his style was a complete 180. His class was very intense and there were many times I felt like dying. He focused more on technique for the first half of the class and gave feedback before moving into combinations. There was also one class where another instructor was floating around and engaged each of us one-on-one for a full 3 minute round. I worked on my jabs and crosses with him off to the side and after I felt so much more confident in myself. I would not say I am particularly stronger or in better shape after boxing but I had a lot of fun.

Overall, I truly enjoyed boxing at Title Boxing. I think it would be beneficial to have more one-on-one instruction to learn the basics and technique more thoroughly. They do offer private sessions with a trainer but I am unaware of how much those cost per session. Towards, the end of January I did get into a week-long funk where I had absolutely no motivation to do anything, especially get up at 5am to go box. That week was followed by a huge week-long snowstorm that made driving dangerous and businesses close. So January was a slight bust because I barely got half the amount of classes I originally set out for, however, I can see myself going back to Title Boxing again. I highly recommend giving it a try at least once in your life:)

With January wrapped up, it is time to announce February’s workout!! For the month of February, I will be complete 3 workouts a week at OrangeTheory Fitness! Check back next Friday for an update on my first week at OrangeTheory. Leave a comment below on what type of fitness class I should try next!

LIFE

January’s Fave Five

Happy February! We made it through January:) This post will be a wrap up of January with my top 5 favorite things from the month, so enjoy and let me know in the comments below what your favorite thing was in January!

  1. Sweaters: I live in Michigan where it can get cold and snowy so fuzzy sweaters are a must in my wardrobe this time of year. I honestly don’t think I wore anything other than sweaters.
  2. Boxing: I found myself feeling incredible after completing a boxing class in the mornings. It completely made my day and I always felt accomplished on the days I attended a boxing class. It also made me feel like a badass 😉
  3. Audiobooks: I love reading but sometimes I find it difficult to sit down and read a book. However, I wanted to change that this year which is why I made a goal to attempt to read a book a week. The only way I was able to get through 4 books in January is because three of them were audiobooks. My local library also offers a streaming service with free content which is excellent for my bank account.
  4. Fanfiction: I have always read fanfiction in my spare time, however, for some reason most of my free time in January was spent reading fanfiction. I read from a variety of pre-existing series such as Sons of Anarchy and Criminal Minds but also read some original content not based off anything. I definitely see this hobby continuing but I want to balance it with real books as well.
  5. Brunch Dates: While most of the time I love saving money and make my own food, for the month of January I met up with friends for brunch dates a few times. It was incredibly nice to spend a couple hours catching up over good food. I really hope that this trend continues throughout the year because I have some amazing friends but we don’t always get to hang out as often as I would like.
FOOD

Munchie Monday: Vegan Scrapple

The first Munchie Monday challenge was a recipe chosen from the Veganize It! Easy DIY Recipes for a Plant-Based Kitchen cookbook written by Robin Robertson. My friend and coworker, Nickole randomly chose Scrapple for the first recipe to recreate. It is a vegan version of a Pennsylvania-Dutch recipe. It was a fairly simple recipe that did not take more than an hour of active cooking. You really just boil some of the ingredients, blend a few others and then combine together to chill overnight in a loaf pan. Below is a picture of the groceries I bought for the recipe and I had a lot of leftover ingredients that I could use in the future.

After setting it in the loaf pan to chill in the fridge overnight I cut it into slices and fried it in a pan. It turned out very similar to a Thanksgiving-themed meatloaf made from tofu. The sage and thyme were the dominant flavors but they were not overpowering. The recipe recommended having it with ketchup or maple syrup so that is what I did. I liked both combinations and proceed to eat it with both for the rest of the week. The outside of the loaf was crispy due to me letting it chill without covering it. The middle was mushy, almost like it had not been cooked all the way. I almost wondered if I would be better to bake it in the oven.

The next night I had the Scrapple in a sandwich which was just as good and I think the extra day in the fridge firmed the slices up a little bit because it was less mushy. This recipe estimated it would yield 12 slices but mine had closer to 16 slices and lasted me a little over a week even with me eating two pieces a night. Overall, I liked the Scrapple and would potentially make it again with different spices simply because sage and thyme are not my favorite seasonings. I think it was tasty and affordable to make and would definitely recommend trying it if you enjoy Thanksgiving-esque meals.

Tune in later on in February for a Vegan Chopped Challenge! Comment below if you have had scrapple and what recipe I should try next!

Link to Veganize It Cookbook: https://www.amazon.com/Veganize-Easy-Recipes-Plant-Based-Kitchen/dp/0544815564

Link to Robin Robertson’s Website: