May Foodie Pen Pal Reveal Day

The Lean Green Bean
This was my first time participating in Lindsay’s @LeanGreenBean’s Foodie Pen Pal.  This month I was paired to receive my FPP box from Audrey who blogs over at Exposed: On My Way To A Better Me.
I was so excited when I got home from the Blend Retreat to find my FPP box waiting for me at the door.  My son was generous enough not to open it and dig in while I was away (super son that he is).

Anyway, my flight was delayed on Sunday night so after traveling all day I was really tired, but not too tired to open my box to see all the fun stuf inside. Audrey wrote a fun note listing the contents of my box along with some fun ways to try them out.

May Foodie Pen Pal Box

May Foodie Pen Pal Box

Everything in the box was a new to me item.  I have been dying to try Popchips and she sent me the Salsa Tortilla Flavor.  They were much tastier than I had imagined them to be so they will be a definite add on in the snack item department that I buy from now on.

Popchips

Popchips

Also in the box was Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti Granola.  I added this to one of my Strawberry Chobani cups for a quick morning on the go breakfast.  The chocolate complimented the strawberry very well.  It was almost like dessert for breakfast.

Biscotti

Biscotti

Freeze Dried Strawberry Slices were next out of the box.  I’m not very familiar on how to use freeze dried fruit.  They were airy and light and not too sweet which is perfect for me because I’m not big on extremely sweet stuff.  I added a handful to my overnight oats.  They soaked up the almond milk goodness and was a very good addition to my oatmeal.  I still have most of the bag left, and I’m going to try them in cupcakes soon.

Freeze Dried Strawberries

Freeze Dried Strawberries

Still a few more things in my box like Smart Fries and some delicious All-Natural Fruit Strips from Stretch Island Fruit Co.  I took half of the fruit strips to work and my son ate the other half.  They were very good and I like the fact that it was just fruit juice, not added sugar or HFCS.  And the fries were light and airy and crunchy.  I was expecting them to be a little more salty, but they were more like the veggie straws.  I would definitely buy them again as well.

Fruit Strips

Fruit Strips

And my favorite of the box was a bottle of Parmesan Garlic Vinegrette from Giada DeLaurentis!!!!!  Being Italian I LOVE Giada!  She cooks exactly the way I cook, so anything that has Giada’s name on it I trust to be good.  I used it for an impromptu get together with my neighbor one afternoon when she came for chai.  I tossed together a quick salad and we used the dressing to top it off.  The flavor was not too heavy and had just enough garlic for my liking. I finished the bottle up at our Memorial Day Gathering over another tossed salad.  If you can find it ~ try it!  It was delicious.

Giada's Dressing

Giada’s Dressing

So A Big Thank You Audrey!  I loved everything 🙂

My foodie pen pal was Monique who blogs over at Food Snob 2.0.  Head over to her blog to check out the goodies I sent to her as well as her amazing eats!

Here’s the scoop if your new too and want to join in on the fun:

-On the 5th of the month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treatsThe spending limit is $15The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you can choose to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
– Foodie Penpals is open to US, Canadian residents & UK residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. So, I’m going to keep two separate lists and match US w/ US and Canada w/ Canada!

***If you’re in the UK, please contact Carol Anne from This Is Rock Salt at rocksalt@thisisrocksalt.com to get involved!

 

What I Ate Wednesday #4 ~ Pizza Recipe

It’s that time again for another What I Ate Wednesday.

It’s hard to believe that it is actually my third WIAW post. I actually look forward to posting on this day because I can share with you the random fabulous meals that I eat throughout the week that don’t exactly fit into any of my other posts. I love it!

If you are not familiar with WIAW ~ Jenn over at Peas and Crayons hosts a link up every Wednesday of food posts dedicated to a day worth of meals. I don’t normally just post a day’s worth of meals, because frankly, sometimes they are just boring. And who wants to know that I had a green apple as a snack mid-afternoon. What I usually do is gather some of my favorite dishes that I had throughout the week and highlight them here on WIAW. When your done reading mine WIAW post head over to Peas & Crayons for more food awesomeness! I pull a recipe or new idea every week from the link up party. It’s a great way to mix up your food routine.

So let’s get to it.

Overnight Oats

Overnight Oats

I am still digging through my swag haul from the Blend Retreat and decided to recreate one of the breakfast items we had at our Chobani sponsored breakfast. I used my MuseliFusion swag of An-OX oats to make an overnight oatmeal breakfast bowl. These oats are chock full of antioxidants and vitamins. It is packed with Goji berries, blueberries, organic cocoa nibs, walnuts, and all-organic grains.

Ingredients: Organic Whole Grain Rolled Oats, Goji Berries, Blueberries (blueberries, apple juice, sunflower oil), Organic Whole Grain Rolled Rye, Walnuts, Organic Cocoa Nibs

I added 1/2 cup of oats and 3/4 cup of almond milk and let it sit overnight in the fridge. I’ve never had oats this way before, but it was super easy to make and was very good. If you are looking for easy breakfast as a grab-n-go item. This would be a good choice.

West Chester Growers Market

West Chester Growers Market

This weekend we took a trip to a local growers market and I was in heaven. Fresh from the farm local produce that not only was organic but picked just a few hours before it hit my table. Seasonal produce to pick from was fresh lettuces, arugula, spinach, swiss chard, scallions, ets.

Swiss Chard

Swiss Chard

So for a mid-afternoon brunch meal I cooked up some of the fresh beautiful rainbow colored swiss chard and topped it with coconut oil and a soft cooked egg.

Eggs Over Swiss Chard

Eggs Over Swiss Chard

On the side I had a slice of Three Seed Whole Wheat Organic bread that I also purchased from the growers market made by Blue Sky Bread Co. and topped it with organic raw honey.  Check them out online, they have some great stuff.

Big Sky Bread Co

Big Sky Bread Co

Some of my snack items have also been coming from my never-ending supply of Blend swag. Some of the stuff I’ve had before, but some are new to me and will be regular additions to what I like stock in my kitchen. I loved both products that we were given from ProBar. We were given Organic Energy Bolt Chews which are organic energy chews that are full of electrolytes, complex carbs, and B vitamins, not to mention it’s gluten-free! I also enjoyed the ProBar Fuel in Cran-Raspberry. Chewy. Sweet. Organic. Perfect!

ProBar Snacks

ProBar Snacks

I also love making homemade pizza and have had a hankering for it lately, so this holiday weekend with little in the fridge pushed me to prep a pizza.

I love that I can get the crust super crispy and thin and add whatever I want to it without sacrificing on ingredients and taste. I rely on my trusty bread machine to do all the manual labor and I really have never tried kneading the dough by hand, but think it would be therapeutic in some way if that is what your into. For me, he bread machine works great.

So on this day I whipped up a half /half flour crust with all-purpose and whole wheat flours and topped it off with some mozzarella cheese, softened sun-dried tomatoes, fresh sliced tomatoes and arugula that I bought that morning from the growers market. Drizzled it with a little EVOO and a pinch of sea salt and Wa-La! Fresh garden style pizza.

Sun Dried Tomato & Arugula Pizza

Sun Dried Tomato & Arugula Pizza

The key to crispy golden pizza crust is definitely the temperature of your oven. I cranked mine up to 500 degrees but some ovens can get even hotter, if you have one that goes above 500 I recommend getting your oven as hot as you can. Just be warned that some pans may not hold up to those temps, so I recommend using a pizza stone (and several oven mitts)!

So what have you been cooking up this past week?

Memorial Day Recap|Recipe|P90X

Memorial Day was freezing in my neck of the woods, not your typical holiday weekend that is suppose to be the unoffical start of summer.  It was more like a cold day at the beginning of March and not the second to the last weekend of May.  However, the sun was shining most of the weekend and I made the most of it as best I could. 

Took a ride on the BF’s Harley to a nearby park

BF & I Newlin Grist Mill, Pa

BF & I
Newlin Grist Mill, Pa

Had dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Firebirds Wood Fired Grill.

Kebobs w/Grilled Veggies & Smashed Potatoes

Kebobs w/Grilled Veggies & Smashed Potatoes

Made a trip to the local Whole Foods market for my first Kombucha drink.

Cranberry Kombucha

Cranberry Kombucha

The rest of the weekend I did a ton of self-reflection about my trip to Blend Retreat in Utah.  The women that I met are fearless, uplifting, driven and frankly they just motivated the heck out of me.  Most were at least half my age if not 10-15 years younger; but they still had a profound impact on me and in what direction I want to set my future goals.

I have this unequivocal feeling that I just can’t seem to shake.  I can be better; I can have more satisfaction in life; I can be happier. 

I have been working on doing things more for myself.  I have always been a pleaser.  The one that takes care of others first, putting my self second or even last, if you will.  But the past few years have been different.  I’m doing things that make me happy now too.   I’m starting to stand up for what I want, finding things that I enjoy doing and make me happy.  It feels good.  It makes ME  feel good. 

Anyway, after returning from Blend, I am back on track with my fitness routine and goals.  I have been sidetracked for sometime since completing my first round of P90X, and I miss the feeling of strength, the look of defined muscles and the tightness of a hard working body.  So this weekend I started Round 2 of Round 2 of P90X. 

P90X Results Day 90 Round 1

P90X Results Day 90
Round 1

I need to get my X body back ~ no, I WILL get my X body back!  I will also try to get more fitness related posts about my P90X journey on this blog.  Not only to remain accountable but to show you (my readers) that at any age or fitness level P90X is an achievable goal. 

So I officially started yesterday with day 1 ~ Chest/Back.  Working my upper body is one of my new favorite things.  My legs have always been strong but I’ve never had any upper body strength.  So I love getting a good burn from the upper body P90X workouts. 

I took it easy with yesterdays Chest/Back DVD made it through but didn’t do a ton of push-ups.  Paced myself with 10-15 of each move except for Dive Bombers and Decline Push-ups.  I skip those completely.  Even at my best at the end of Round 1 I was only able to do like 3 dive bombers and only 1 decline.  But I will be patient and it will come back in time. 

Dive Bomber Push-ups & Yoga to stretch out

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I also paced my pullups.  Only doing about 8-10 reps of each style.  Still nurturing my shoulder injury and the wide front pullups were the most uncomfortable.  But still managed to get in 6-8 reps each round.  I am also starting out this round with my 8lb weights.  So my set will include 8-10-12 lb to start, but I’m hoping to increase fairly soon to 10-12-15lbs. 

The rest of the weeks schedule looks like this ~ I will be following the Classic Schedule and adding Ab Ripper X during the second week.

  • Tuesday (today) Plyometrics
  • Wednesday Shoulders/Arms
  • Thursday Yoga X
  • Friday Legs/Back
  • Saturday Kenpo
  • Sunday (rest day)

So finally moving on to the recipe that sparked a ton of envy on my Instagram page  this weekend. 

Maple Cinnamon Blueberry Breakfast Quinoa

Maple Cinnamon Blueberry Breakfast Quinoa

Maple Cinnamon Blueberry Breakfast Quinoa

  • 1/2 cup of cooked Quinoa
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 -3/4 cup of almond milk ( I used unsweetened vanilla)
  • 1/4 cup of blueberries
  • splash of maple syrup
  • top with almonds and chia seeds

Place the quinoa, cinnamon, almond milk and blueberries in a microwave safe dish and heat through until hot.  1-2 minutes.  Add the maple syrup and stir until combined.  Top with almonds and chia seeds.

What did you do fun this holiday weekend?

Silk Cocktail Recipes from Blend Retreat

These drinks were so pretty and very tasty too from our cocktail sponsor Silk ~ looking for some new cocktails for your holiday weekend?

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Thanks to Silk for providing us the recipes.

Follow them on Twitter @LoveMySilk #silkology

Ginger Refresher

  • 2 1/2 oz Silk Pure Almond Unsweetened Original Almondmilk
  • 1/2 oz ginger liquer
  • 1/2 oz rum
  • 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp agave nectar
  • Angastura bitters
  • Fresh Mint for garnish

Place all ingredients except the angostura bitters and mint in a cocktail shaker. Add 1 cup of ice and shake well. Strain over crushed ice. Srpinkle with bitters and garnish with mint.

Strawberry Mint Slush

  • 1 cup Silk Pure Almond Unsweetened Original Almondmilk
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup ice
  • 2 mint leaves
  • 1-2 Tbsp agave
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • 1 oz tequila

Blend all ingrediants until smooth.

*Add 2 TBSP protein powder and 1 TBSP ground flax if desired (breakfast smoothie option minus the tequila)

Silk Pajamas

  • 1 oz vanilla vodka
  • 1 oz coffee liqeur
  • 1/4 cup Silk Pure Almond Unsweetened Original Almondmilk
  • 1-2 drops of agave, if desired

Pour vodka and coffee liqueur over ice. Top with Silk and add agave.

 

Blend Retreat: The Workouts

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Blend Retreat 2013
Picture Courtesy of Lindsay/Travis

One of the major factors leading me to join in on the Blend Retreat this year was the two awesome workouts that were sponsored by GPP Fitness. Neil Anderson, owner of GPP Fitness ran bootcamp sessions early AM on both Saturday and Sunday morning.

I was super excited to be doing these workouts because I have been wanting to make a move to this type of workout for sometime now. The workout on Saturday morning was the “Deck of Cards” workout. You might have recently seen this workout on the Biggest Loser if you keep up with Jillian and Bob and their workouts.

Deck of Cards WOD

Deck of Cards WOD

But to break it down, basically it is four moves assigned to the four suites of a deck of cards.

For example:

  • Heart Suite = Pushups
  • Clubs = Situps
  • Diamonds = Squats
  • Spades = Burpees (The mother of all moves)

In addition to these four moves there the two joker cards which he had us do a 2 minute run around the complex.

We warmed up by starting 400m sprints across the banquet hall, if I remember correctly we did approx 20 turns. He divided us up into groups of 6/7 and had us sprint across the room stopping (or putting the brakes on) at certain points in the room. You were not allowed to cross the line and you had to run at full power. At one point, Candace layed on the ground in front of the traveling stampede of girls to make sure we would stop at the right point! She is such a trooper! Brave too!

400M Warm Up Photo via Lindsay

400M Warm Up
Photo via Lindsay

So Neil would draw a card, what ever number/suite he drew correlates to what exercise move you did and how many reps must be reached.

As he yelled out “PUSHUPS ~ 6” everyone dropped to the ground and gave him six push ups, next “SITUPS ~ 2” he would yell, stay on the ground and everyone would flip over and do the appropriate number of situps, this went round and round as each card was pulled from the pile and he layed them neatly according to the suite on the ground in front of him!

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Photos c/o Lindsay

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I was keeping up with most of the 20 somethings except for the Burpees. Burpees suck ~ Burpees suck even when you don’t have an injured rotator cuff, but they suck more when you do. I was not able to do most of the burpees because of the pushing back motion into a push up position! Ouchie! So I just skipped most of them and opted for push ups instead 🙂

Then we ran! It was drizzling out, so by the time we had to run, it was somewhat refreshing ( sort of ~ it was still running and I’m not very fond of running, but I managed to get through the first round before my asthma starting kicking in) I wasn’t able to do the second joker round of running, but what the hell. I’ve been in the best shape of my life last year and the timing of this trip was somewhat sort of like my typical bad luck! Injured shoulder, acute onset asthma ~ but next year, I’m brining it and I better not be injured or sick! (I’m just putting that out there now ~ so the powers at be ~ know it, remember it! ~ I’m not kidding)!!!!!!!!

It was a great workout, simple and definitely something you can all do at home! Nothing fancy but it got the job done! I was still feeling it on the following Tuesday in my upper chest from all the push ups I did! But I love the burn.

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Sunday morning he held another bootcamp workout and did things a little differently. I didn’t attend this workout because I didn’t want to incapacitate myself ~ I know my limits 🙂 But the girls said it was just as good as Saturday mornings workout. He even had them doing cartwheels LOL! GPP Fitness posts their workouts on their website after 6pm CST every day. If you are interested in challenging yourself to a GPP workout ~ head over there and check them out!

There was also a hike on Saturday afternoon that lasted about an hour and four-five minutes. It was so muddy from all the rain we had earlier in the day and the day before that the mud was almost 4″ deep. Our shoes were sinking in the mud so much it was pouring over the tops of my shoes. The mud was so deep that it was creating a sucking cup effect where it felt like your shoes were going to be pulled off! Some of the girls immediately turned around and headed back down.

I tried to continue up the steep maintenance road, but the altitude got the best of me. With the asthma I was dealing with and the altitude at approximate 7000ft I wasn’t getting enough air and it was extremely difficult to for me to breathe. I really tried hard to keep up with everyone, but they kept pulling away and at some point I just stopped. I felt defeated and sad that I wasn’t going to experience hiking in the mountains of Utah. I was very sad as I turned around and headed back down to the resort.

It wasn’t that I wasn’t capable strength wise or keep up endurance wise but it was a feeling that is hard to describe when you take a breath in and you don’t get any air. I really feel for those who suffer with asthma on a daily basis. I can imagine how scary it is to take a deep breath in and get nothing. It is a feeling I do not want to experience again.

At any rate, I headed back down the mountain, ditched my muddy shoes in the trash can outside the front door and headed up to my room to clean up.

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They decided to hold a Zumba class for anyone not wanting to participate in the hike, so after showering all the mudd off my legs, I decided to go check it out. The girls were having so much fun shakin it left and then shaking it right!

Here is the group shot of the Zumba class! Sassy girls they are for sure 🙂

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All in all I did feel good about keeping up with the younger crowd on Saturday. There was once a time when I couldn’t do one push up let alone 100+ pushups. You don’t need fancy equipment, or a fancy gym to get in a good workout. I think that is what GPP Fitness is all about. It hard core, but simple basic moves that work all the right places in the minimum amount of time. You don’t need to spend hours at the gym to see results. Just do a GPP Fitness workout and in less than an hour you’ll be sure you got a good workout.

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WIAW and Blend Retreat Part 2 ~ Food & Friends

So since it is WIAW I am going to combine my Recap #2 from Blend with What I Ate Wednesday and let you see all the yummy stuff I ate at my weekend Blend Retreat in Utah.

 

After we checked in to the hotel and took a bit of a breather, we headed back down to the White Pine Rotunda where they had a Green Mountain Coffee Bar and Justin’s Nut Butter spread set out for all to enjoy! This is the first time I have been able to try Justin’s Nut Butter and I fell in love with all the flavors ~ they were all so good.

I think my favorite was the honey!

We also found some Justin’s Nut Butter PB Cups in our swag bag, and it was the first time I’ve tried them too~ just sinful. So, So, Good! 🙂

Justin's Nut Butter

Justin’s Nut Butter

After some more introductions and a another jaunt through the sponsor room, we headed back to our room to clean up and head down to bar area where Silk was sponsoring our cocktail hour.

Silk and Lauren did a wonderful job creating unique cocktails using the Silk Soy Milk.

They offered three choices of cocktails called Silk Pajamas, Ginger Refresher or Strawberry Mint Slush.

Silk Pajamas

Silk Pajamas

The coffee flavored Silk Pajamas won it for me, but the ginger was a close second.

Appetizers consisted of spring rolls and black bean cakes with a variety of veggie crudités.

Blend Cocktail Hour Apps

Blend Cocktail Hour Apps

We chatted some more and Leslie & I got to meet Arlene & Becca.

Leslie, Becca & Arlene

Leslie, Becca & Arlene

These ladies were awesome. After we had our drinks in hand we then headed over to the Escala Ball room where they were ready with the dinner service.

But not before we finally got a chance to hear from our beautiful and inspiring hosts, Lindsay, Janetha and Katie!

They are always smiling and so energetic.

Photo Credit Lindsay/Travis

Photo Credit Lindsay/Travis

These three ladies & their families worked so hard for months to put this retreat together and they did such a wonderful job. All the way down to the finer details. So a BIG shout out to all three ~ THANK YOU SO MUCH for a wonderful life changing experience.

Dinner was exceptional.

I had roasted chicken, salad, saute purple & white finglerling potatoes & roasted vegetables w/garlic sauce, bulgur salad and carrot ginger soup.

Dinner @ Blend Retreat

Dinner @ Blend Retreat

For dessert it was a fruit tartlet.

Fruit Tartlet

Fruit Tartlet

Breakfast on Saturday was sponsored by Muesli Fusion and The Laughing Cow.

They did an awesome job setting everything up. Laughing Cow provided bagels with five cheese spread flavors. Lite, Garden Vegetable, Cinnamon Cream, Strawberry Plain.

Chobani & Muesli Fusion

Chobani & Muesli Fusion

There was tons of fruit, juices and coffee to pick from as well as several different types of oats provided by Museli Fusion. I ended up having half of an everything bagel topped with a mix of Laughing Cow Garden Veggie and Lite cream cheese, pineapple and melon slices with a cup of Museli Fusion Pure An-Ox Oats topped with Silk Soy Milk.

The breakfast was super filling and provided the energy I needed to recoup from the boot camp workout earlier in the morning.

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Sunday’s breakfast was sponsored by Chobani.

The girls did a fabulous job with breakfast! 

Chobani Girls :)~

Chobani Girls :)~

The menu consisted of a walk up omelet station where the Hyatt’s Executive Chef prepared personalized omelets. The choices were endless.

Omlette Bar

Omlette Bar

My omlette consisted of eggs with dices zucchini, spinach, mushroom and smoked gouda cheese topped off with a yogurt cream made with, of course, Chobani 0% Plain.  I also got to enjoy for the first time a Chobani Almond Coco Loco Flip!  The coconut yogurt is amazing!

Chobani Breakfast

Chobani Breakfast

Chobani also set up a smoothie bar with two types of smoothies, Peanut Butter and Blood Orange as well as Perfect Pancakes made with Chobani. On top of those they had Chobani Oatmeal already prepared in jam sized mason jars (who can beat that~ these girls are awesome and know how to satisfy a foodie’s breakfast needs).

Chobani Flips

Chobani Flips

There were so many yogurt flavors that I had not tried yet, the choice was so hard ~ but I opted for the Flip and took a couple of Bites for the road. 

Chobani Bites

Chobani Bites

You can find the recipes for all of the menu items prepared @Blend Retreat with Chobani products and Mueslie Fusion products on their websites to recreate our experience at home. I know I will be doing that soon.

Lunches both days we were on our own, so on Saturday I headed back to Whole Foods. I had a small spicy tuna roll made with brown rice and a water (no picture because I was starving and it didn’t last long).

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Just enough to keep me tied over until dinner with the gals.

One last treat made with love by Momma-B!  She is one fantastic lady.  After a long Saturday of bootcamps, hikes, zumba and walking in Park City, she decided to whip up some of Momma-B’s famous Utah Scones.  She served them with honey butter and homemade jam!  O~M~G!  So good. 

Since Utah is known for their honey I was super stoked to be able to try them with her homemade scones!  I love being able to try local favorites!

Momma-B's Famous Utah Scones

Momma-B’s Famous Utah Scones

The meals were one of the major parts of this retreat for me. It is where I became friends with so many people. Bonding over a meal means so much to me and at Blend Retreat the food was so good and so healthy making new Blend friends just made it all the more special.

I just wanted to also say thank you to all of the Blend Retreat sponsors, without you Blend wouldn’t have been so successful and fun.  It was so great to have to opportunity to try so many products from so many great companys like Blue Diamond, GPPFitness, ProBar, Bob’s Red Mill, Blueprint, Core Power, Onnit, Attune Foods, SoyJoy, NatureMade, Zevia, Green Mountain Coffee, Simply Choices, Fitmixer, LaraBar, Heathly Bites, Vega, Plant Fusion and The Good Bean.

Blend Retreat Weekend Part 1 ~ Check In

My weekend in Park City, UT spent at the Blend Retreat at the Hyatt Escala Lodge Resort was the absolute best time I have had in a long while. While my nerves and anxiety were at their peak on Friday morning, by mid-afternoon I was having the best time.

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I met my first blogging friends in person at the Salt Lake City Airport to carpool to Park City and while I had just met these fabulous ladies it felt like we had been old friends almost immediately. Ashley, Lori and Michelle were very supportive and encouraging ensuring that I would have the best time of my life.

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They were spot on right! Friday went so fast, but so slow at the same time. Because of the two-hour time difference and the fact that I had been up since 4 am to catch an early flight out west, it seemed like the day lasted forever. After we picked up the car and headed out of the city, the twins had mentioned that their were people meeting up at The Whole Foods Market in Park City. We unanimously agreed that we were all starving from the flight and pulled right in. We met up with Bonnie and Christa who had flown in from Canada. Both of these ladies were so sweet and so inspiring.

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After lunch and tons of chatting and catching up we headed to the Hyatt Escala Lodge to check in to our rooms and register for the event. The valet had helped unload our cars and we made our way to the Rotunda where we were met by Janetha, her sister and Momma-B (Janetha’s Mom). Smiles, hugs and welcomes filled the room. We received our name tags, and after big hugs from Momma-B our super full sponsor swag bags (more on this later).

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As people filled the room, screams of excitement billowed from floor to ceiling as people realized long over due friendships were beginning to be formed. The blogging world kindles friendships over social media, but it rare that you get to meet these people face-to-face. Blend makes these relationships REAL. So people were so excited to be finally meeting the people they interact with on their blogs. I was starting to get overwhelmed by all the strange people not knowing if I could put myself out there and start introducing myself without them feeling like “who are you?” But little by little I was being introduced to one person and then another and then another. Everyone hugged, shook hands, smiled and were so friendly. Again it was like you had these age old friends. It was comforting and I found myself starting to relax.

At that point we headed to our rooms to unpack, check out the sleeping arrangements, meet all my roommates and take a much-needed DEEP BREATH!

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I met Leslie, Ashley, Sara, De & Kate. I couldn’t have asked for better roommates. They were all sweet girls that were super easy to talk to as well.

We were all so impressed with the size of our suite we were running up and down like crazy people ~ “look at this” ~ “OMG” ~ “this place is bigger and better than our real houses”. We were all so impressed with both the size and beauty of our rooms. It was definitely going to be a good weekend!

Blend Retreat Prep & Martha’s Golden Rules for Aging

Wow! I can’t believe it’s already time to pack for the Blend Retreat in Park City, Utah. Where did the time go? Last day at work, time to roll up the digs and pack them up in my suitcase.  No time to change my mind about what to wear, or what to pack, or anything else for that matter.  Its Blend time!  In literally 24 hours from now I will be on my flight headed to Park City Utah!

How freakin’ exciting is this!  Talk about an adventure.  I decided in September of last year, that I will no longer be sitting around waiting for things to happen.  That if I wanted to travel and do fun stuff that I needed to MAKE it happen.  And I am proud that I’ve been able to make that happen.

Ive been trying to read up on all the new blogs I have found because of Blend, making travel arrangements for shuttles and cars to and from the airport, making lists of things I do not want to forget to pack……it’s becoming a small whirlwind. And it’ll be over before I know it, so I need to remind myself to enjoy the ride.

One thing I have learned about taking a trip is that you MUST enjoy the planning process. If you do not absorb and enjoy the excitement of prepping, planning, packing and traveling, your absolutely sure to miss out on 75% of the whole experience.

This trip for me is going to be a learning expedition. The gals that are attending range from blog readers, new bloggers {like me} and seasoned veterans a like; there will be  fitness pros, marathon runners, cross fit  enthusiast and foodies to boot. I want to absorb every bit of blog knowledge that each and everyone brings to this retreat; experience and ideas, newly kindled friendships, new motivation on how to stay fit at 40 all while doing it with people who are just as passionate about healthy eating and physical fitness as I am.

This will be a trip of many firsts!

  • First time traveling alone
  • First time visiting Utah
  • First time hiking in the mountains with a group
  • First time attending a blogging conference
  • First time putting myself out there and networking

The following list couldn’t have been more appropriate both in timing and mental clarity.

10 Golden Rules of Successful Aging found in the May 2013 edition of Martha Stewart Living Magazine

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1. Eat Well

2. Maintain a healthy weight

3. Stay physically active

4. Get quality sleep

5. Wear sunscreen

6. Find a good doctor

7. Find your passion

8. Connect with others

9. Stop complaining ~ change what you can, and accept what you cannot

10. Stay curious

Being a list-o-holic ~ I LOVE THIS LIST!!!!! The last few items on this list are driving my will and passion to attend the Blend Retreat! It was a huge step out of my comfort zone but I’m not getting any younger. I want to experience new things, meet new people and see new places!

What better way than to start with the Blend Retreat!

What I Ate Wednesday & Blend Retreat

It has been a pretty hectic two weeks, I’m struggling with an accute case of allergy induced asthma which has been wreaking havoc on my plans!

Geez ~ who’da thought that breathing could impact so much in your life (haha!).

This is the second week I’m participating in What I Ate Wednesday.

It’s a link up party held over Peas & Crayons and I love the concept.  Food Rut? No problem….Don’t know how to get the kids to eat their veggies?  NO PROBLEM!  Head on over there for a ton ~ and I mean a TON~ of great food inspiration ideas.  Everything from breakfast smoothie add-ins to healthy dessert make-overs to just plain ole pizza!  I loved looking through all the blogs last week .

Anyway if you are looking for inspiration to change up your meals here is what I’ve been noshing on ……

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Breakfast is usually coffee with either 3 hard boiled egg whites and a yogurt or 1/2 cup cottage cheese and fruit.

Today is was the later with a half of apple. It could have used a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg 🙂

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Around lunchtime here at the office we have stepped it up a notch……we are starting to out do ourselves over here and are getting a little spoiled, in fact!

STEAK FAJITAS with a side of chips n salsa & guacamole!!!!!

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Afternoon snack was a few

Peanut Butter Energy Balls (3) ~ for that quick & healthy 3pm pick me up

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Dinner was Pork Tenderloin with Grilled Pineapple Wedges and Steamed New Potatoes w/ Rosemary & Mint:  Recipe coming soon!

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And then there is BLEND!

Blend Retreat is only two days away.

I'm Attending Blend

I am so excited but very nervous at the same time.  Flying alone to a city that I know no one is a little daunting.  However, everyone has been so nice so far so I do not expect any less once I arrive.  I’m hoping to learn a lot, meet great people, have an intense and super fun hike, take tons of pictures all while making great memories!  I am putting my self out there with no expectations of what’s to come, but crossing my fingers that I have a wonderful time in Utah!  Can’t wait to meet my roommates and my driving buddies!  I know the weekend will go so fast, and before I know it I’ll be on the flight back, but in the mean time, I’m like a little kid in a candy store, just waiting to get to the good stuff!

 

Dark Chocolate, Pistachios and Quinoa

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Dark chocolate, pistachios and quinoa what an awesome combination. When I came across the recipe from Wendy over at Cooking Quinoa, I couldn’t help myself but to make this tasty little treat. I convinced myself that because it was dark chocolate and quinoa with the healthy nut pistachio how bad could it actually be~ right?

Well it didn’t matter anyway, because as fast as I made the little chocolate bark squares the faster they disappeared!

They were salty, crunchy, sweet with a hint of heat at the end. Just delicious.

Recipe from: Cooking Quinoa

Salted Quinoa Chocolate Bark with Pistachios

  • 8 ounces good quality chocolate, melted
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup toasted quinoa
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, shelled and chopped
  • Sea salt

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1. Line an 8 inch pan with parchment or wax paper. Mix melted chocolate with the cayenne pepper and pour onto the prepared pan. Spread with a spatial. Top with quinoa, pistachios and sea salt.

2. Chill for 30 minutes or until set. Remove from pan and break into pieces.

3. Store in an airtight container. (She says for up to two weeks ~ but it didn’t last in my house 20 minutes)

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Looking for more great Quinoa recipes ~ she’ll hook you up!

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