Creamy Avocado Pasta

One of my co-workers made this delicious dish for dinner last night and was nice enough to share her leftovers with me during lunch today.

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I have 3 words to say about this….Oh.My.Gawd!

It was so creamy and incredible! It tasted like a healthier version of fettuccini alfredo. I had a small garden salad to go with it for some added fiber.

I found a similar recipe for this dish on MotherThyme’s blog that I cannot wait to make at home (thanks Organic Virgo!!). Except I think I will add some grilled shrimp or chicken, cilantro and maybe some brocolli.

Here is a quick and easy recipe below:

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces rotini pasta, cooked al dente
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 cup fat free half and half
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Slice the avocado in half, remove the core and spoon out the meat and place in a food processor or blender with half and half, cilantro, Parmesan cheese, lime juice and garlic clove. Blend on high until creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Toss with warm pasta and serve warm or chilled.
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Chai Tea – An excellent way to start your day

Good Morning folks! Happy Wednesday!

I hope everyone is having a great week so far.

I’ve got a very busy day ahead of me but before things get too crazy…I just wanted to take a moment to enjoy this nice soothing warm cup of Chai tea by Twinings.

Ahhhh….
chai
I love Chai with milk and peanut butter toast. I think it’s a lovely way to start your day and it doesn’t give you the nervous jitters like coffee tends to do.  

For those of you who are wondering what Chai is, it is a traditional Indian spiced tea that is made up of: cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and other various spices. It can be served warm or cold and goes well with milk or sweet cream and a little honey or agave for sweetener. I would definitely recommend giving it a try.

 Now it’s time to get back to work. I hope everyone has a terrific day!!

Two Baby Showers in One Day

On Saturday, January 19th,  I had the pleasure of attending not one but TWO baby showers for two very special friends. One was for my best and oldest friend Kristy and the other was for two very close friends of mine and Oscar’s – Kiki and Chris.

Not only were they both being held on the same day but they were in very close distance to each other and only five minutes from where we were staying. One was earlier in the day and the other one was later in the afternoon so I could attend both. I was so happy. It couldn’t have worked out better.

Wild West Baby Shower
Kristy’s baby shower was held in Woodstock at her cousin, Amber’s house who also hosted the shower along with another friend.  They laid out a fabulous brunch spread with homemade French Toast Casserole, spinach quiche and sausage biscuits along with Mimosas and blue punch. And I absolutely ADORED the Wild West Cowboy decor which is also the theme that Kristy chose for her nursery.

This photo below was taken from Kristy’s friend Sara’s blog called Mommy Decorates 🙂

Wild West Nursery

Kristy moved to Woodstock 10 years ago and started her career as a massage therapist,  bought a house, got married and is about to have her second child. Her first-born Maya, is two years old and is an absolute doll!  I was so impressed with how Maya was there to help her Mom open up all her gifts and put away the wrapping paper and the trash. She was an excellent little helper.

Baby Mason Shower

Kristy and I met in the 4th grade when our classes were right next to each other. We used to talk and pass notes to each other and to our so-called “4th grade boyfriends” through this little space in between the book shelves that divided up our classrooms. We became fast friends and have been very close ever since. I was so thrilled to attend her baby shower, meet her Atlanta friends and see her family.

“Alice in Wonderland” Baby Shower
After Kristy’s baby shower in the morning, we went over to Kiki & Chris Steinmann’s co-ed baby shower which was held in the late afternoon at the Cauble Beach House in Lake Acworth. It’s a beautiful  place that overlooks Lake Allatoona.  The theme for their shower was “Alice in Wonderland” since they are having a girl. I loved all of the decorations and the quotes that were displayed around the tables from the popular Disney movie. We chatted with our friends, ate delicious food, watched them open gifts and played games. Oscar won the “Guess the Belly Size” game and got a Starbucks gift card. We also tried to help them pick out a name!!

Kiki Chris baby shower

The Vortex – Peanut Butter, Bacon and Fried Banana Burger

Last weekend Oscar and I  flew to Atlanta and stayed with our friends Todd and Tanya who live in Woodstock. While we were there we also went to a couple of baby showers, visited with other friends who also live in the same area, stuffed our faces with good food and watched the Niners beat the Falcons in the NFC Championship game!! Woop woop!!

The weather was brisk and cold so I got to wear my scarves, coat and boots and drink hot chocolate. It was the perfect weekend for festive activities, fantastic food and just being with good company.

Friday Night – The Vortex:
Our first night in Atlanta was spent meeting up with friends at the  The Vortex in Little Five Points for some late night beer and burgers.

Vortex Collage

And guess what I had??!! I ordered the Fat Elvis Burger which came with peanut butter, bacon and fried banana. (Hey, you only live once right?) Let me tell you it was a “Hunka Hunka Oh my god!!” I washed it down with a beer called The Cobbler which is a combo of Banana Bread Beer and Apple Cider Beer by Angry Orchard – a most excellent combination.

elvis burger vortexMy boyfriend, Oscar had the Cowboy Burger (below) which c0mes with fried jamon (ham), pepper jack cheese, a fried egg and spicy honey bbq sauce. I took a bite and thought it was extremely tasty. Some of the other burgers I thought deserve an honorable mention are: the Triple Bypass, Spanish Fly and the Holy Guacamole Burger.

cowboy burger

If you’ve never been to The Vortex, I would highly recommend it.  It’s a great spot with a cool atmosphere and the burgers are unique, juicy and delicious! Just a warning though – they don’t give a $%^& about large groups. We showed up at 9:30 with a group of 14 and they didn’t seat us till 11pm!! But it was well worth the wait 🙂

Healthy Homemade Waffles

wafflesPersonally, I think every Sunday should start off with homemade waffles or pancakes. My Dad used to make waffles for my brother and I on Sundays and I really miss that so I thought I would try and bring back that tradition to my house.

I’ve been dying to make some ever since I got my brand new Cuisine Art waffle maker for Christmas and decided that this Sunday would be the day! So I got up early, looked up some recipes online and got to work.

I found a basic recipe at All Recipes and made a few healthy substitutions. The waffles were delicious and I look forward to trying out different recipes in the future.

Healthy Homemade Waffles Recipe:
(yields 6 servings)

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup of  all-purpose flour
  • 1 and  1/4 cups OJ
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar or stevia
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions: 

  1. Preheat waffle iron.
  2. Beat eggs in large bowl with hand beater until fluffy. Beat in flour, milk, vegetable oil, sugar, baking powder, salt and vanilla, just until smooth.
  3. Spray preheated waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray. Pour mix onto hot waffle iron. Cook until golden brown. Serve hot.

I made a couple extra and put them in the freezer for later in the week.

Now I’m off for a bike ride with my honey. Happy Sunday 🙂

 

Health Benefits & Uses for Coconut

Some people don’t care for coconuts but I love ’em. I like to sprinkle coconut flakes on my oatmeal or in my ice cream, in my water or tea and even in my breakfast smoothies. Not only do they taste good but it is also known as a miracle food with multiple functions and health benefits as they are rich in protein, boost your energy and have strong antioxidants.

Coconuts and coconut oil can also be used to:

• Lower cholesterol
• Improve digestion
• Ward off wrinkles
• Stabilize glucose levels
• Fight off viruses
• Build cells
• Regulate hormones
• Increase thyroid production
• Lose weight
• Increase metabolism
• Fight infections
• Stave off memory loss
• Kill bacteria

Read more: http://undergroundhealthreporter.com/coconut-health-benefits#ixzz2HUfz1ZVF

I like to make my own homemade body scrubs using coconut oil and brown sugar.  You make it at home by heating 1 and 1/4 cups of coconut oil in a glass jar or container in boiling water. Then you combine it with 6-8 TBSP of brown sugar and a little vanilla oil and you have your scrub. It leaves your skin feeling super-soft and it smells amazing!

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I also used coconut in this morning’s breakfast which was a strawberry, banana, coconut smoothie with oatmeal and greek yogurt. It was thick, creamy, coconutty and delicious and the added fiber of the oatmeal kept me filled up and satisfied until lunch.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c. vanilla almond milk (or any other kind of milk)
  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt
  • 1/4 c. rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp of flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup of coconut flakes or 1 tbsp of coconut extract
  • 5 sliced strawberries
  • 1 medium banana
  • honey or agave nectar to taste (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Combine milk, yogurt, oats, flax seeds, strawberries, banana and coconut flakes or extract in a blender and process until smooth and well-combined. You can make it the night before and take it with you in the morning.
  2. Be careful with the coconut flakes if you are trying to lose weight, although they are good for you, they are very high in fat and should be consumed in well-balanced proportions.

Strawberry Banana and Oatmeal Breakfast Smoothie

MMMmmm…I just can’t get enough breakfast smoothies! They’re easy to make and you can take them with you on the go. This morning’s breakfast was a strawberry, banana and oatmeal smoothie which was chock full of protein, fiber, potassium and lots of other nutrients.

sob smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c. vanilla almond milk (or any other kind of milk)
  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt
  • 1/4 c. rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp of flax seeds
  • 1 tbsp of peanut butter
  • 5 sliced strawberries
  • 1 medium banana
  • honey or agave nectar to taste (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Combine milk, yogurt, oats, flax seeds, strawberries, banana and peanut butter in a blender and process until smooth and well-combined. Add additional agave nectar or honey to taste. Voila!!

Notes:

Making the smoothie ahead of time and refrigerating it overnight softens the oats and gives the shake a smoother texture. Not to mention it saves you lots of time in the morning which I am always a big fan of!!

Enjoy!!!