Enjoying this beautiful Sunday, here in Maryland, with weather of pure perfection: 65 degrees with a slight breeze. I just started a new job about a month ago and I’ve gotten a little bit off track, physically and spiritually. Today is all about getting back to ME! I’m getting back to all of the activities that feed my soul.

I started this morning off with a 1 hr run-walk mixed with some burpee action with my big sis. The best part about working out in the morning is that it makes you extra conscious about what you eat throughout the day. Today I found myself craving a chocolatey drink, which reminded me of a smoothie recipe in  Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Kitchen called “Aztec Spirit”. The name alone wins my heart:).  I decided to make an Aztec Spirit-inspired smoothie using the ingredients I had in my kitchen. This had to be one of my favorite smoothies yet so I have to share!

Vegan Chocolate-Banana Smoothie:

(serves 2-3)

  • 1 tall glass of almond milk
  • 1/2 glass of water with crushed ice
  • 1 banana
  • 3 tablespoons  (big ones) cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons of Agave syrup

Throw these bits of goodness into a high-speed blender (I love my blendtec) until smooth and you’re done! Hope you enjoy as much as I did.

Thanks for reading. Back to ME-time :).

12-fitness-trends-we-loved-2012-art

Check out this article on Fitness Trends of 2012. My favorite has to be High-Intensity Interval Training!

http://fitbie.msn.com/tips/12-fitness-trends-we-loved-2012/tip/11

I’m super excited to share this healthy + scrumptious recipe, as it was a total hit at my house the other night. Big shout out to Saj who inspired me to explore this dish after hearing about his mom’s Tabbouleh Salad! Also got some great ideas from Food Network’s Claire Robinson’s recipe and Healthyveganrecipes.net. I served my Mediterranean Quinoa Salad as the main dish and accompanied it with: sautéed asparagus & carrot sticks, a well-toasted half pita and a strawberry-basil drink.

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad (serves 4-5 people)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa + 2 & 1/2 cups water
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup basil, chopped
  • 3/4 English cucumber, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 large & crispy tomato, diced
  • 1 large red or white onion, diced
  • 1/2 red or green pepper, diced
  • 2 handfuls of pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 can of chickpeas (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Red chili powder to taste
  • Cumin seed powder to taste
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (Greek or homeade-Indian is best)

Directions:

In a saucepan, combine 2 & 1/2 cups of water + 1 cup of quinoa and let it soak for 15 minutes. Cook the quinoa at medium heat (no lid) until there is no more water showing (should be ready by the time you are done chopping everything).

In a small pan, toast pine nuts on slow heat until golden brown. Keep aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt, a pinch of salt and a pinch of cumin seed powder. Keep aside.

In a large salad bowl, add the zest and juice of 1 lemon. Chop all vegetables into tiny cubes (try to make them all one size) and add to salad bowl. If using canned chickpeas, simply rinse, drain and add to bowl. Chop parsley and basil (keep small amount aside for later) and add to bowl.

Add some of the olive oil into the cooked and slightly cooled quinoa. Mix well. Add quinoa into salad bowl. Toss everything together. Now add salt, pepper, cumin seed powder, red chilli powder and more olive oil into mixture. Toss together until perfectly flavorful. Drizzle yogurt mixture on top. When serving, sprinkle toasted pine nuts, parsley and basil on top.

Serve with well-toasted whole wheat pita and sauteed veggies for a full meal!

This Aveda must-have has a very light, clean and earthy scent with notes of lavender, bergamont, petitgrain and ylang ylang, amongst others. I find it to be calming and grounding. It’s a little less fragrant than I typically prefer but it’s perfect when practicing meditation or yoga, as the aroma doesn’t become a distraction. Because of the organic ingredients and the soy wax, it doesn’t give me any of those irritating sinus issues or headaches! It also blows out so cleanly, producing no smoke at all – magical :)!