Women with Ambition!

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    Prints at JESSE LC
    “Choose a job you love and you will never work a day in your life” – Confucious
    I gotta tell ya, I feel so lucky to have such a great group of entrepreneurial girlfriends! They have not only found their passion but have developed their passion and dream into their career. 
    We often get together, like we did today, to bounce ideas off each other and most importantly, laugh and have a good time! 
    Today was an ordinary get-together, but for some reason it felt extra special and worth sharing…
    Babes Brainstorming over Brunch:
    Local 123 in Berkeley

    Jamie (health coach), Melanie (bridal stylist), Krista (photographer) and Sarah (weight loss coach)
    So wonderful having such ambitious, smart, fun, loving, driven women in my life!
    4 hours of masterminding madness 
    Wonderful menu and relaxed ambiance.  If I were to have a cafe it’d look something like
    Yes, I ordered 2 meals, at 11:30 and 2:30 🙂
    Because we’re women with a vision and we’re gonna make it happen!
    Homemade Granola over Yogurt (followed 2 poached eggs over a bed of mixed greens!)
    Fresh Air

    Provence Party

    Anyone who knows me, knows that I love an excuse to host a party.  So when my married friends and I started a monthly dinner group, you can imagine how excited I was when it was my turn to host!

    I want to share this dinner party as an example of how simple it can be to host a fabulous supper in style and stilettos ah!
    The key is to plan ahead and decide on a menu that can be prepped days before and requires little hands on time during your party… for example a cheese, fruit and nut platter for an appetizer and slow cooked meat for your main…

    I decided on a Provence theme because, well, I’m obsessed with the south of France! The food, wine, culture, language, men, style, architecture, cobble stones, surf, music, all of it!

    Provence Party Menu
    Cheese Plate

    Tomato Tarts

    Artichoke Tarts

    Slow Cooked Lemon Chicken in Garlic and Thyme
    over Saffron Rice

    Rosated Broccoli and Garlic with Basil, Parmesan and Pine Nuts

    Ratatouille with Homemade Pesto 

    Lavender Madeleines with Honey Creme Fraiche

     Set the mood

    • Offer your quests a glass of wine when they come in.  Simple say, “I just opened a bottle of wine, can I pour you a glass?”
    • French music on Pandora
    • Savorying Provence, cookbook on my coffee table
    • Olive tree to add a little nature
    • Little bowls of olives and rosemary marcona almonds


    Journey for a Better World!

    Nike touches down in SF on their Journey for a Better World… and guess who was asked to provide the vegan snacks?! That’s right, Sugar & Spice!

    Athlete Jason Lester has embarked on a running and biking journey from COAST to COAST for a whopping 4,800 miles in 102 days! That’s 32 marathons and 3,800 miles biked!

    On Tuesday I received an email from Nike.  As you can imagine, I was not that excited, as I assumed the email had probably been sent to hundreds of other vegan/vegetarian SF caterers…
    I responded with “Thanks for contacting me.  I’m interested” not expecting a reply… 
    I got a response within minutes saying “Great, Claudine.  When can I call you to discuss details”
    Now I’m excited, “Tomorrow between 9-12 I can chat. Thanks.”

    Believe it or not, Jason is a vegan!  To the matcho meat eating men out there 🙂 Jason proves that you DO NOT have to eat animals to reach your full athletic potential! (for a list of vegetarian proteins click here)

    So, I’m a little hesitant to share the recipes because they turned out so darn good I’m thinking I should package/sell them…
    But, as my contribution to making this world a better place, through sport and food, I believe everyone should have a healthy energy bar recipe on hand 🙂

    I made two bars for the Nike event and each only have 4-5 ingredients!
    This is a take on a Peanut Butter and Jelly sando
     Take on an Oatmeal Raisin cookie
    Peanut Butter n Jelly Energy Bar Recipe
    The picture does not do these justice… These are pure heaven, I’m telling you!  Imagine all the greatness that comes with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, then add crispy, crunchy, deliciousness to it, and what you’re left with are these amazing energy bars!
    You could make these healthier by substituting almond butter for peanut butter or adding chia seeds (dang, I should have done that!)
    These are also a full protein because when you combine a grain (quinoa and rice) with a legume (peanuts) you get a complete protein (all 9 essential amino asids)
    2 Cups Peanut Butter
    1 1/2 Cups Brown Rice Syrup
    1 t vanilla extract
    6 cups Quinoa Crisps
    2 Cups Brown Rice Cereal Crisps

    2 Cups Jelly (flava of choice!)
    about 2 cups chopped Peanuts
    Warm the first 2 ingredients in a sauce pan.
    Add the vanilla
    In a large bowl add the quiona and rice crisps
    Pour the warm PB and Rice Syrup mixture over the dry contents and mix well.
    Get ready to get diiiirty 🙂
    Now that you have mixed the gooeyness with the crispyness, line a sheet pan with parchment paper 
    Firmly pree the mixture down into the pan.
    I used the back of a spatula
    Spread the Jelly over evenly 
    Sprinkle with Chopped nuts
    Press down well again to be sure the nuts adhire to the jelly
    Let rest in the fridge over night
    (I was praying that they settled and firmed up- and they did!)
    Cut into square… I had to make a couple hundred so I cut them into bit size pieces… 
    Oatmeal Raisin Energy Bar Recipe:
    These taste JUST like an oatmeal raisin cookie… my favorite by the way if you ever want to make me cookies 🙂 … only they’re healthier because I don’t use eggs, suga’ or flour – making these vegan, gluten free and diabetes friendly because there wont be a spike in your blood sugar… whoop whoop loooooove using fruit as a sweetener!
    2 Cups Golden Raisins
    2 Cups Walnuts
    2 Cups Raisins
    4 Cups Oats
    4 Cups of Oats (yes 8 total)
    1/2 cup Brown Rice Syrup
    2 t vanilla extract
    Spices to taste like cinnamon, cloves, allspice 

    In the Cuisinart combine the first 2 ingredients until well combined
    Add the red raisins and 4 cups of oats and set aside
    Meanwhile, warm the Syrup in a sauce pan and add the vanilla extract
    In a large bowl combine it all and get ready to get dirty, get in there and MIX everything really well with your hands!
    Line a sheet try with parchment paper
    Press your mixture down into the pan very well and firmly 
    Let harden in the fridge over night


    Hi There! I thought I’d share a couple pics from a brunch I catered last weekend.  
    Beautiful photographs by Shea McGuier

    Maple Pecan Granola and Straus Yogurt in Jars

    Green Bean Bundles and Herb Aioli
    Eggs Baked in a Bread Bowl

     Maple Bacon

     Fork and Spoon Wrapped in a napkin and placed in a jar for water- adorable!

    Maple Pecan Granola {Hemp Heart & Chia Seeds}


    A few years ago discovered quinoa crispy cereal.   Woah I know…exciting right?! It’s like rice crispy, only made from quiona.  1 ingredient: organic quinoa!  I love using it in homemade power bars and granola. Mix in chia seeds and hemp hearts for extra nutrients, vitamins, minerals and protein.

    I added a little extra salt to bring out the maple
    Salty + Sweet = Party in my mouth!

    1 1/2 cups old fashion rolled oats
    1/2 cup quinoa crisps
    1 cup pecan pieces
    1/4 cup nut oil
    1/4 cup maple syrup
    1/4 t fresh ground salt (you can use less.  I just like the salty/sweet combo!)

    Hemp heart and chia seeds to taste…

    preheat 300
    Line a sheet tray with parchment paper
    combine, oats, pecans and salt
    whisk oil and maple
    pour over dry ingredients and mix well
    spread oats evenly on baking tray
    Bake 1 – 1.5 hours, stirring every 15 minutes

    Mix in the seeds during the last 10 minutes.

    Granola should be light brown and getting crispy
    it will get crispier and hard as it cools…

    I can’t have granola in my house…it’s like crack to me 🙂 so I make it and give it to friends in cute little jars.  Makes a good little gift with local yogurt and maple.

    Serve with yogurt and sprinkled granola!.
    Or I also like to simmer almond milk and pour over granola

    2 Women with A Mission…

    …to teach YOU how to Live a Fun, Healthy, Whole, Sexy LIFE!
    And here’s the kicker… you’re going to loose weight (with out even trying)!
    A little about Sarah and Jamie: They are smart, confident chicas who have followed their passions for living a whole healthy life and are here to share their knowledge (and fun approach) with you!
    Not to mention, they radiate positive energy and fun vibes!  You can see why I want to hang out with them any chance I get 🙂 who wouldn’t right!? 
    See what they are up to…
    Sarah launched an interactive program, Live More, Weigh Less

    Jamie is hosting a free call on May 9th:

    Happy Day 7… To A New You!

    We did it!
    I hope you are feeling a little healthier and fabulous this Sunday… I know I am.
    To sum up the week:

     When you are feeling happy, healthy and fabulous you will thrive in every area of your life! 
    You will be a better mom, lover, friend, and your business/career will thrive when you feel great! 
    The most beautiful woman in the room is the happiest woman in the room
    It is about being content in the moment and appreciating life.  Not taking yourself too seriously.  Surrounding yourself with the people who make you shine, and the people who see you as a star.  Enjoy the sun daily.  Make love and fall in love.
    Your body is a temple

    Take care of yourself.  Treat your body well and with kindness.  Eat healthy foods, mainly from the earth.  Sleep at least 7 hours a night.  Wear SPF daily, even in the winter.  Relax, breath and practice your A to ZEN list.  Exercise and move your body every day.
    When you take care of your appearance you 
    feel beautiful and fabulous
    When you exercise and eat well you will feel great about yourself.  Not to mention doing the girl things helps with felling beautiful too.  I get my nails done for myself, but because I smile when I look down and see my hands sparkling.  Spend time and $$$ on making yourself feel and look fabulous.  I think it is so funny when people say, “Italian women and French women are so beautiful.”  That’s because they take care of themselves… in a classy, subtle, chic way.
    Here’s how, and I did it all this week too:  Put yourself together daily (that means no lulu lemon unless you’re at the gym).  Get your hair professionally done, I’m obsessed with Stephanie at Festoon.  Get your eyebrows done, I love Julie at Lashfully.  Wear your scent, Miss Dior is my current favorite.  Get your nails done, Shelllac is amazing.

    Today’s recipes:
    Breakfast: Vanessa gave me dates and there’s not much better that a warm baked date.
    Lunch: The Miso is too over powering for the salmon. I usually use cod here.  Miso is a great flora-enhancing food.
    Dinner: I’m going out to dinner… I gotta put this week’s beautified-ness to use 🙂
    So I’ll share a recipe that I recently made for clients and they “absolutely loved“.
    And it just so happens to incorporate salmon, detoxifying cabbage,  cancer fighting spices, and lots of citrus (promotes production of bile, which carries toxins out of the body)

    Moroccan Oatmeal Baked Dates

    Combine oats, almond milk and spices like cinnamon, allspice, cloves and nutmeg.  Bring to a simmer.
    Stuff dates.  Fill oven proof dish with a little more almond milk.  Cover and bake for 25 minutes at 350.
    4 stuffed dates = about 250 cals

    Miso Crusted Salmon (cod tastes better) and Bok Choy over Quinoa
    Bake in one dish… SO simple

    Oil pan.  Cover with a cooked grain.  Combine 1 T miso paste with 2 t brown sugar.  Top the salmon with the paste combo. Add bok choy to the dish.  Top with a little Mirin (if you have it, asian cooking vinegar) or olive oil.  Bake at 400 for 15 minutes.

    Salmon Citrus Tacos with Tomato and Orange Salsa
    Southwest Butternut Squash 


    Happy Day 6… To A New You!

    What a beautiful day is SF!
    I hope everyone else got to enjoy the sunshine!

    After a wonderful afternoon spent in the park with a few of my best friends (since middle school!) I realized I don’t do this nearly enough.
    It is so easy to get caught up in our crazy hectic lives and forget to stop, relax, take a “time out” and breeeeeath.

    Today’s Tip:
    How to find your zen… everyday

    And don’t forget to SCROLL DOWN to TODAY’S RECIPES!

    A to ZEN
    A avoid negative sources, people and places
    B believe in yourself and take a deep breath
    C candles and bubble baths
    D dress up and don’t give up
    E eat your veggies and your cake too
    F family and friends are treasures
    G green food and green practices
    H hug more
    I inspire
    J judge success by your goals accomplished
    K keep your head up and carry on
    L laugh and have fun
    M meditate and make love often, preferably not at the same time 🙂
    N never lie, cheat or steal
    O open your arms to opportunity
    P practice acts of peace
    Q quality not quantity
    R rest often and sleep regularly
    S schedule “relax” time
    T take your lunch outside, enjoy fresh air and sun
    U understand yourself in order to understand others better
    V vitamins
    W walk more
    X exercise
    Y you are wonderful and unique, no one can replace you
    Z zzz get lots of sleep

    Oatmeal Horchata with Chia Seeds

    Another great example of something you can make ahead and just add the almond milk before enjoying.
    I just made this up, don’t be technical with the quantities, do what tastes good to you.  You can’t go wrong here. Combine almond milk, vanilla and and almond extract to taste.  Combine 1/4 cup oats, 2 T chia seeds and cinnamon.  Mix wet and dry together. Give it a few minutes to thicken.  I make a batch of this on Sunday (1/2 cup oats, 1/2 cup chia) and keep it in the fridge for breakfast pudding all week!

    We picked up snacks at a neighborhood store
    Veggies and Hummus.  Fruit, manchego and wine
    Vanessa made a great spinach salad with chickpeas, tomatoes and kalamatas

    Thai Green Curry and Shrimp
    5 minutes to a beautiful dinner
    Cook shrimp and curry paste for a couple minutes then add almond milk
    Bring to a simmer.  Add cabbage, carrots, bok choy and spinach.  Simmer covered for 2 minutes.

    Taking my own advice:
    After the park I caught the last couple hours of sun on my roof with Women, Work and the Art of Savoir Faire
    Writing this with candles and wine
    What tomorrow will look like!
    She kept crawling in for our lunch!


    Alex is beautiful on the outside and inside!

    Happy Day 5… To A New You!

    Remember how I said I ended up going out to dinner at 9:30pm with the Italians i met at MeetUp…? Well, I didn’t mention that EACH one of them ordered their OWN pizza!
    Anyway, it struck me that every single person sitting at the table was fit and definitely not over weight.
    How is this possible?
    And that’s today’s healthy living tip…
    How to eat like an Italian and not get fat!
    It’s simple really and here’s how:

    I thought “portion control” was the most important key to staying healthy.  But there is something more important than the number of calories you are putting into your body and that is the type of calories you are putting into your body…

    Have you ever known anyone to get fat from cooking their own meals made from grains, lean meats, fish, fruits, veggies, nuts, whole dairy and extra virgin olive oil!? NO!
    But people do get fat from eating poptarts, soda, canned soups, frozen dinners, venti caramel frappaccinos and delivery pizza!

    My Italian friend, Vince, I met at meetup explained to me the true secret:

    Italians eat WHOLE!
    This is a foreign concept to most Americans but the way of life for most everyone else in the world.
    You wont find a pantry in Italy full of sugary cereals, white wonder bread and diet coke.
    1) Try to avoid packaged foods with more that 5 ingredients on the label
    2) If there is an ingredient on the label that you wouldn’t cook with or have in your pantry (maltodextrin, dextrose, hydrogenated oils, MSG, lactic acid: just a few of the many ingredients in Cheetos) don’t eat it.
    3) Avoid fat free and low fat options..eat whole fat dairy and cheeses.

    And as Gabliele points out, “Italians like their food simple.  For example, we eat a lot of pasta, but rarely with those dense creamy sauces so common here (Fettucini Alfredo? And who the hell is Alfredo by the way?”

    Michael Pollan just published a book called, Food Rules.  It is basically all the shit Italians already know, and live by… don’t eat processed, chemical filled, packaged foods.  SIMPLE!

    You have to understand Portion Control too (here)  I can’t stress this enough! Yes, Italians eat a ton- but it is clean healthy food… not processed s*** like Big Macs and DiGiorno

    More Italian lifestyle and eating tips:

    They believe this:
    Definitely NOT this:
    Move your Body
    good for your heart and the earth

    Enjoy more of this:
    Sit and Enjoy…
    And less of this:
    Grab and Go…

    Today’s menu is Italian inspiried as well.
    Breakfast is always small and light.  Which I too believe in.
    Lunch is the heaviest meal of the day: carbs and protein
    Dinner is often late, therefore lighter.

    Banana Bread Bars
    I made these up! There’s only 5 ingredients
    Pesto Pasta with Shrimp and Spinach
    I made this in ONE POT! So Simple.
    White Bean, Barley and Kale Soup


    Banana Bread Bars
    Perfect example of breakfast you can make on Sunday and enjoy all week!
    3 bananas, 6 cups oats, 1 cup honey, 1 cup chopped walnuts, 2 eggs
    Combine and add spices like cinnamon
    Line a sheet tray with parchment paper
    Spread out
    Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.
    Cool completely before cutting
    Makes a ton!

    Pesto Pasta with Shrimp and Spinach

    This was so simple to make…You just keep adding the ingredients to the same pot of cooking pasta.
    So my gluten free pasta took 5 minutes to cook
    Boiling shrimp takes 2 minutes
    Wilting Spinach take 30 seconds.
    Now DO THE MATH…

    Add the pasta to boiling salted water
    After 3 minutes add the shrimp
    When you have about 30 seconds of cooking time left, add the spinach
    Meanwhile, in the pot add the oil and pesto (I used the kale pesto) heat and add the pasta and shrimp back to the pot.
    Serve with toasted pin nuts and fresh grated parmesan cheese


    Happy Day 4… To A New You!

    Today was a whorl wind and it’s only getting windier… I just got home from my client’s house at 9pm having to write this post (scratch that) wanting to write this post and my camera is acting up… Anyway, today was a perfect example of the inspiration for todays topic…

    How to have healthy food in your fridge all the time, that you only have to prep on Sunday, or whatever day works for you.  Making it super easy for you to just grab and reheat a healthy breakfast, lunch or dinner.
    So, I had 3 hours between coming home from teaching classes at the gym and going to Marin to cook for clients in their home, to create, cook and photograph the 3 meals.

    Not to mention I’m on 4 hours of sleep!  That Italian meetup happy hour I went to last night was a blast!  After 3 hours and 3 glasses of wine my Italian was flowin like a native and I ended up at an Italian restaurant in North Beach with 8 bello Italian men 🙂 So far I’m  LOVIN meetup!

    Crustless Quiche

    Here’s an example of something you can make on Sunday and they will keep 4 days in the fridge.
    The Combination possibilities are endless.  My mom taught me how to make these crustless quiches, and she would make them in muffin tins.
    Broccoli and eggs go really well together.  I did spinach and tomatoes because that’s what’s on hand.
    So, chop up your veggies and place them in the dishes.  Beat eggs and pour it over veggies.  Bake and you now have crustless quiches all week long.
    It takes 5 minutes to assemble and 15 minutes to bake at 350.

    Roast Acorn Squash Stuffed with Qunioa and Beans and Sprinkled with Toasted Walnuts

    I love stuffing vegetables.  Acorn squash, eggplant and portobellos are my favorite.
    They freeze really well and reheat really wonderfully.
    I chose the acorn squash because they are amazing just by themselves.
    Rice and chickpeas make a great combo, along with the pesto kale (that you’ve already made) and chopped nuts on top.
    It is just as easy to make 1 acorn squash as it is to make 4 halves.  So why not just make 4. Why not make 12 crustless quiches.  It’s just as easy and it saves you time during the week.
    They pack great and reheat really well at work.  Super filling and satisfying too.

    Black Bean, Sweet Potato and Spinach Patties

    These are A-mazing, I’m going to tute my own horn for a second here.  I made up the recipe and they are freakin fabulous.  So moist inside ad they have that crunch on the outside because I put them in gluten free bread crumbs before pan frying them and baking them.
    So, really easy… black bean, steamed spinach and sweet potatoes and you already have your whole grain in the fridge. Cumin, grama masala and a little cayanne for a kick and some fresh squeezed lime.  Add 2 eggs, mix it all together and voila!
    And now you have 8 patties.
    Place on the slaw that you already have ready to go in the fridge.  Mix with a little lime juice too.
    Cabbage does not get enough good credit.  It actually provides tons of Vitamin K and C, B6, folate and magnesium….just to name a few.  You can read up here.
    Top with Tahini Sauce.  Typically Tahini sauce is made with lemon and water, but we’re using limes because we squeezed in the limes in the patties and slaw.  Plus sesame seeds.
    So again, we are pairing the sweet potato in the burger with the sesame tahini because that’s the vitamin A and zinc combination that is really powerful for your body.

    So there you have it.  Todays 3 meals that can be made on Sunday.  I know we’re al busy and we don’t want to be cooking for 3 hours every day, so just cook for 3 hours on Sunday.  And you know what, hey, you might have the same lunch all week, but that’s fine 🙂 that’s how you stay healthy.  And then you switch it up the next week.

    Happy Day 3… To A New You!

    Detox, fish, oats 5 Comments
    Yeah!Today’s will be fast…I have that Italian Meetup! happy hour at Bubble Lounge in an hour!

    Again, today’s tip was inspired by the turn of events in my day.
    Like many of you, I pack my day with meetings, appointments, lunches with friends, gym classes, laundry (mine’s in the mat down the street now!) work emails, etc. and often don’t have time to pack a healthy lunch or plan a healthy meal for when I get home.
    Tip #1
    Healthy Eating is Easy and Cheap!

    Today’s menu is super simple and fast!
    Breakfast was thrown in a jar in 1 minute and taken out the door.
    Lunch was picked up at Walgreens, if you can believe it or not.
    Dinner was salmon, grain and veggies all baked in the same dish.
    Granola in a Jar
    Time: 60 seconds  Cost:  > $1
    I recommend making homemade granola because store bought can be packed with fat and sugar 🙁
    This batch I made with cinnamon and raisins and flax seed so it tastes like oatmeal raisin cookies.
    The combination possibilities are endless!
    (here’s a recipe)
    I love this link to great oatmeal combinations! (here)
    Time: 5 minutes   Cost: > $5
    4 hours after breakfast I’m leaving my appointment, famished, in the middle of the financial district.
    I hopped into a Walgreens and picked up:
    Chobani 2% Plain Yogurt: Calcium and Protein Packed
    Banana: Healthy Sugars and Carbs for instant energy
    I was 2 blocks from my mom’s office…I surprised her with a visit and chomped away on my delicious lunch while we caught up for a bit.
    Afternoon with mom:
    Time: 30 minutes  Cost: Priceless!
    Lara Bar
    3 ingredients- I LOVE it
    On my hike back up to Russian Hill I stopped at my favorite corner grocery store,  Le Beau for ingredients for dinner.
    Salmon and Veggies over Grains and cooked in White Wine
    The Kale Pesto on the salmon and the grains I made on Sunday, making this all the more simple to throw together in minutes.
    Time: Assembly 5 minutes, Bake 20.  Cost: $6
    This is my favorite way to cook dinner when I don’t feel like spending much hands on time.
    You can also get creative with the ingredients.  If you have asparagus, use that.  Halibut, why not?  Fresh herbs and lemons zest, bring it!
    You can also adjust the portions very easily!
    Oil the pan.  Add you already made grain.
    Place salmon fillets and veggies over your grain
    Spread kale Pesto on salmon
    Drizzle veggies and the grain around the salmon with white wine
    cover tightly with foil
    Bake at 375 for 20 minutes!
    Ok off to meet some Italianiiii! Wish me Luck!

    Happy Day 2… To A New You!

    Detox, seafood 0 Comments

    Welcome to day 2!
    How do you feel?  I already know of some friends who have cut out refined sugar or alcohol or tried yoga for the first time today… Great Job you guys!
    Well, my “no refined sugar” for a week goal didn’t go as planned…
    I reached for a bowl of complimentary chocolates at a store this afternoon with out even realizing it!
    Ooooops! But it’s ok, shit happens like we learned yesterday.  Tomorrow I will try harder.
    Have you come up with a goal yet?  Don’t forget to write it down!

    Todays menu is so pure and cleansing…you will love it!
    And today’s healthy living tip is even better!

    Tip #1
    Live in the Present and be Happy with Today!
    I feel like this advice could not come at a more perfect moment.  During the New Year I always become a bit, well, day dreamy.  And I’m sure you do too.  The New Year is a time for reflection.  It’s a time when we often find ourselves thinking about our past and wishing for the perfect future.  I know we’re all guilty of it.
    Well, how about we LIVE TODAY!
    Be happy knowing that someone loves you, Today!  Love your body, Today!  Be grateful that you have a job, Today!  Know that 50% of the world’s population did not have access to a computer, Today {I just made that up…but it sounds good 🙂 }!  And know that you were given an opportunity to be great, Today!
    I loose sight of living in the moment too! Every so often I dream about my past when I lived in Milan, Italy.  And, to no surprise, it’s usually around a time like the New Year when I begin to day dream.  I so badly wish to go back and live my Italian life again.  Soaking up the Italian culture, speaking a beautiful language, riding my bike down the cobble stone streets, meeting my amazing Milanese friends for lunch on a weekday where pasta and wine are enjoyed for hours, grocery shopping at the (CHEAP) street markets daily and serving cocktails at a bar which is smack in the middle of Corso Como (the fashion street… where models and professional soccer players were my bar’s cliental).
    Clearly I am not living in Milan anymore (at least, for Today I am not).
    On a stroll through Crissy Fields Sunday I explained my dilemma to Sarah and she simple said to me, “why don’t you bring your Italian life to SF”
    Brilliant! Why hadn’t I thought of that!?
    So that’s what I did today.  I know what it is about Italy makes me happy and I brought that here today.

    You can do the same.  If you know that sweating and working out makes you happy… lace up your sneakers.  If you know that eating crap makes you feel like crap… give your Christmas cookies to the hungry man on the corner.  If you know that your current job is not where you’d like to see yourself in 2013, apply for many other jobs.  

    The Power of choice and happiness is in your hands, everyday!

    How I brought Italian life to me today:
    I got dressed super fashionable (yes, just to go to a kid’s park and hang with a 2 year old).  You do not see Italian women wearing workout clothes… lulu lemon is for the gym, that’s it!
    I Enjoyed a long lunch, outdoors, with sparkling water.
    Afternoon bike ride on my adorable beach cruise (with a basket) that just looking at bring me back to Europe!
    Enjoyed an afternoon glass of wine at Lashfully where I got beautified (because Italian women definitely put time into their appearance)
    I joined an Italian group on Meetup! and am meeting for Happy Hour tomorrow!
    And lastly, I am feeling so happy today, in this very moment , even though I’m not in Italy 🙂
    What can you do to appreciate today!?

    Here are a few of my favorite inspirational TED talks: 

    Do What You Love (no excuses!) (here): Why Are We Happy (here): 7 Rules For making More Happiness (here)

    Now For the Menu:


    Quinoa and Black Rice (you’ve already have it made in the fridge) avocado. 

    I cooked the egg with a little sesame oil and sprinkled black sesame seeds on top (SO great for digestion!)


    I met Kate and Milo at the Park and packed a picnic in this adorable carrier I picked up in Chang Mai, Thailand

    Miso Cabbage salad
    Mix cabbage and carrots with rice wine vinegar, miso paste and coconut sugar (1 T of each)

    Ginger Lime Shrimp
    Always keep frozen Shrimp on hand (defrost in running cool water)
    Toss with Olive oil, lime zest and grated ginger
    Broil for 2 minutes on each side

    Soy-Honey Glazed Sweet Potatoes
    Slice Sweet potatoes and roast at 400 for 10 minutes on each side
    Mix equal pasts soy sauce and honey, drizzle over

    Slice Grapefruit and Kiwi

    Sprinkle with raw coconut


    Sweet Potato and Kale with Tahini Honey Sauce 

    bake sweet potato.  Steam kale and mix with a bit of your grain.

    Mix 1 T tahini with 1 t honey and 1 t water

    I have been trying to refrain from boring you with the nutritional benefits of each meal… but this you should know:

    Sweet Potatoes are packed with vitamin A.  But your body needs zinc in order to distribute the A through out your body.  Sesame seeds (tahini) are packed with zinc.  Therefore, this makes a perfect A + zinc combo 🙂

    At the park with Kate and Milo

    Milo and Me

    Proof that happiness can be as simple as an empty box


    Eat Your Way Clean!

    Ok, backing up to the basics…
    I have been getting some feedback in regards to the menu I posted on, Day 1 To a New You.
    My apologies for not helping you properly stock your fridge/pantry for the week…

    It is so simple to eat clean  All you have to do is stock your kitchen with these 20 ingredients…most I’m sure you already have on hand.  Everything I listed below I chose for a specific reason.  Every ingredient serves an important roll in cleansing your body and supporting your digestive system.


    Think EARTH!
    If it came from the earth, you are free to indulge!

    The Fruits and Veggies that we will be seeing a lot this week:
    Cabbage and Carrots (buy already shredded to save you time)
    Sweet Potatoes and yams
    Apples, Bananas, Pears, Mangos, berries, Citrus fruits (really any fruit)
    Squash (already peeled and chopped saves you a workout- it’s a toughie to peel)
    Dark Leafy Greens (spinach, kale, bok choy)
    Asparagus and Broccoli

    Whole Plain Yogurt
    Shrimp and Fish (specifically salmon)
    Miso Paste

    Black Rice
    Coconut (in extra virgin oil form too for cooking)
    Black Sesame Seeds
    Sesame Oil
    Dry Roasted Nuts
    Fresh Herbs


    Make a Quinoa and Black Rice Combo
    (cook separately, combine, can keep in the fridge all week! You’ll be having this all week)
    Cut lemons, fruit and veggies to help save you time and keep you inclined to eat them.
    Buy Pre Shredded carrots and cabbage.  We will be eating a lot of these this week because the are so powerful in aiding with digestions.
    Make Green Power Sauce:  This will be used on salmon, in salads, as a marinade and on soup… it delivers healthy fats from nuts, tons of vitamins and minerals, not to mention great flavor.
    Green Power Sauce: Blend a kale, walnuts, miso and a little oil until smooth!

    Steamed green beans, yes please.  Green bean casserole, sure, once a year on Thanksgiving.


    Happy Day 1… To A New YOU!

    Hello There!
    So… today did not start off exactly the way I expected.  But that’s ok, bumps in the road are part of life.
    Today’s bump was the inspiration behind my first healthy living tip…

    Tip #1
    Shit happens, don’t beat yourself up, move on.

    My alarm was set to go off at 6am to teach classes at the gym.
    Well, somehow my alarm never went off.  I still don’t know why.
    Anyway, I woke by the sun shinning into my room at 8am feeling complete anxious and terrible for all people who got out of bed this morning and made there way to the gym.
    So, shit happens.  It doesn’t mean I do not feel TERRIBLE for all my friends I stood up at the gym, it just means that I can’t let this mistake ruin my day.
    I wrote everyone at the gym an apology letter. I have grown so close with a lot of my clients and felt terrible knowing that I ruined some of their mornings.
    At 9 I went for a 5 mile run in Crissy Fields to clear my mind.
    On the way home I stopped at Cole Hardware (my favorite place) to buy a backup alarm clock!
    And Then I reminded myself:

    Tip #2:
    Make a realistic goal for the week.
    Mine is to not have any refined sugar.  I don’t keep treats and packaged foods in my home, so that should be easy around here.  The goal will be to say “no thank you” when I’m out and the dessert menu comes 🙂
    Some goal ideas for you:
    Get your heart rate up for 30 minutes a day
    Only drink filtered water and tea (ok, fine, ONE cup of coffee)
    Eat at the table with all media and distractions turned off.
    Everyday do something caring for your body: bubble bath, deep breathing exercises, an after dinner stroll, give and receive hand massages.
    Try something new everyday like yoga or Thai food
    Write it down and…

    Menu Day One:

    Avocado, 1/2 cup black rice and quinoa, lemon juice.
    2 glasses of water
    1 can of wild Alaskan salmon (yes, canned 🙂 I’m in my 20’s, on a budget, living in an expensive city)
    Mixed with 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, cabbage, carrots, 1/2 cup black rice and quinoa, seaweed and rice wine vinegar.  YUM
    I steamed and pureed butternut squash into a soup (easy peasy)
    Kale Pesto: In a blender combine kale, walnuts, miso paste, and olive oil, lemon.
    Homemade croutons with gluten free bread
    Tips on how to make healthy eating choices:
    Think whole!  Look at the ingredients, if there are ingredients that you can not pronounce you probably shouldn’t be putting it into your body, right?
    Bring your own lunch to work.
    This week have a batch of whole grains in the fridge that you cn throw into dishes.
    Try cooking 1/2 cup black rice in one pot and 1 cup quinoa in another pot.  Combine the 2 like I did above.  It keeps up to a week in the fridge.
    Check out my list of pantry essentials.


    A New Year… A New You!

    Happy New Year Everyone!
    I am feeling so good about 20-12… great things are going to happen…
    I have a feeling!

    For the next 7 days join me on the path to a new healthy you!
    Every day I will be sharing recipes and tips on how to make healthy living enjoyable, fun and easy.

    We ALL get busy during the Holidays and as a result maybe not eat as well or skip our 6am workout because we’re just too dang tired and exhausted!

    Well, today is a new day, a new year actually, and it’s never too late to start fresh.
    December is over, that pie was eaten and those runs were skipped, but January is here and looking fresher than ever!
    We all have our own special ways in which we find balance and reenergize ourselves.  For the next week focus on filling your life with what works best for you, whether it’s through hiking, yoga, massages, manicures, reading, bubble baths or spending time with the people you love (media off), do something that makes you FEEL WONDERFUL EVERYDAY!
    I recently discovered acupuncture and have fallen completely in love with the practice and how wonderful it makes me feel.  Some days I go into my appointment so anxious and stressed, not able to breath at all, and leave feeling refreshed like a new born baby!
    I have been seeing Daniel, an amazing acupuncturist, twice a week during the holidays in an attempt to get my body’s YIN back in full flow.
    Daniel gave me a large list of warming foods, from the book Healing with Whole Foods, to help my poor little off balanced body get back on track… I’m so excited to get cooking and share the recipes!  (Crazy Sexy Diet is also on my list of must reads this January)

    As a result from my stressful catering months, my body is officially not YIN-ing properly 🙂

    My skin is blotchy, my cheekbones have gone missing behind cheesecake cheeks, I’m breaking out like I’m 16 again, my energy is lower than nasdaq and I’m three month pregnant, I mean bloated!
    It’s amazing how what’s going on inside directly reflects the outside. 
    When you’re stressed, not rested and not eating well it shows! 

    Ok, enough talking… Let’s get healthy!
    Stay Tuned…
    Pics from elembee