Friday, January 30, 2015

Need Clean Eating Meal Inspiration? Let A Whole Foods Market Gift Card Help Your Journey!

February is right around the corner and there's a great chance you're looking for inspiration at this phase of your clean eating journey. There's also a decent chance, if you are anything like me, that you just realized the month of January is almost behind us and you thought you'd be making a stronger effort this year. Have no fear, put your calendar aside, and set your clean eating intentions!

No matter where you find yourself looking for inspiration, to keep going or to start your journey, you've come to the right place. I've done a few whole foods cleanses over the years, think of it as focusing on foods that would rot if left out on a counter top for a week (minus the dairy, we know dairy would spoil). If it comes in a box or a plastic wrapper, it's off my shopping list. If it appears like it did when a farmer picked it off his land, then your focus is stellar! If you have to read the label and can't decipher the ingredients, take a break from that item. Baby steps, get inspired, and build momentum from there.

Once you take your mind off of foods that you can't have and focus on the foods you can have, this rainbow filled nutrient rich food world opens up to you.


Breakfast salad? 
One of my favorite ways to enjoy greens, berries, 
almonds, avocado (healthy fats), and coconut! 

A gorgeous non-traditional tuna salad. 
The heck with a bun and mayo, a side of chips.
Load your bowl up with a bed of greens, a dash of oil, vinegar, and spices,
cucumbers, pickles (we love Bubbies), olives. So delightful and
no longing for how you've always eaten tuna. Fresh and healthy! 

We love ground turkey or chicken meat loaf in muffin tins. 
First the serving size is perfect for the girls and it cuts cooking
time in half. Meat loaf in less than 30 minutes? Say yes to muffin tins!
Today I tried the meatloaf with a cabbage leaf lining the tin and
to my surprise I loved it. I added fresh parsley, baby spinach, carrots,
bell peppers, an egg, and spices to liven up this classic dish! 

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I have a $25 Whole Foods Market Gift Card to giveaway!
To Enter:

1. A comment equals one entry, comment as much as you wish, I will transfer over Facebook comments. Please leave a valid email address if you comment as anonymous.

2. Contest will close on Sunday February 8, 2015 at 10pm MST. 

3. 1 winner will be chosen from comments by Random. Org and notified via email.

4. Address must be provided within 24 hours or a new winner will be selected, the gift card will be shipped directly by the supplier of the giveaway.  

5. Open to US residents only. 

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Disclaimer, I was compensated by Whole Foods Market as a WFM Ambassador for this post and giveaway! Content is purely at my discretion. 
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WINNER: #8, Anna! I will be in touch!



Wednesday, January 28, 2015

LYFE Kitchen Boulder, Where Healthy Meets Fast Casual on Pearl Street!

We walked into LYFE Kitchen on Pearl Street on a chilly evening and our eyes were instantly drawn to the fresh herb tower. Within moments we were cozied up on a bench in the entryway and each reading through a menu that suited us, one gluten free, two everything, and one vegetarian/vegan. My 11 year old who is currently gluten and dairy free, not to mention refraining from pork and beef, was so excited to see an entire menu suited to her tastes! Mom, look at this and doesn't that sound awesome?!

LYFE Kitchen offers casual counter ordering through out the entire day and also table service for dinner, if you so choose. I was happy to see the counter service, especially on a school night where I am less linger more, EAT! LYFE Kitchen provides a truly well rounded menu, with something for everyone. I personally loved their flavor profiles (chimichurri vinaigrette, chipotle aioli), their stance on serving the best ingredients, and all of their meals are 600 calories or less. I had to order Art (Smith's) Unfried Chicken, pictured below. It delivered. Everyone left completely satisfied, with those meals that satiates your belly and your heart!



We also sampled the grilled artichokes, chunky guac n' chips (with house baked chips), J had the grassed burger, Sj had the chicken and avocado sandwich (GF bun), and G had the unfried chicken strips kids meal. We had that lull when our food was served, we were all too busy eating to carry on a conversation (always a great sign). Our meal was complimented with LYFE Waters (hibiscus beet, cucumber mint, orange ginger chia) which had such lovely flavor profiles and a few of them even featured chia seeds, which is a superfood that is also great for stomach health! Speaking of chia, we saved room for some vegan Budino made with chia seeds, the special flavor was chai based and I absolutely loved it. LYFE may have made a chia convert out of me, we never buy it to experiment with at home, but I'm going to seek out some recipes.

I had the pleasure to sit down with Grace, the general manager of the Pearl Street LYFE Kitchen and she gave us the background of LYFE. With the story of LYFE, we also learned some small anecdotes about Grace, her passion for food just radiated from her. I have to admit, seeing a manager greet customers, run food, bus tables, talk about life on a farm, and always wear a smile, is a special person. LYFE and our community in Boulder are fortunate to have her. LYFE (Love Your Food Everyday) was started by the former Global President and former Chief of Corporate Communications of none other than McD's, who really were driven to change the food system. Their fresh casual concept started in Palo Alto, California and has made it's way across the country. The two Colorado locations are franchise owned. The interior design was a hit with my girls, we loved the colors, the reclaimed wood on the walls and some tables. We really felt at home in LYFE Kitchen and I see it as our go to for a quick meal on an evening where an activity has us out later than we'd like and starving downtown. All too often I find us crabby from a long day and want to make good choices about how we are nourishing our bodies, LYFE Kitchen makes that easy.

LYFE Kitchen is a great addition to Pearl Street and Boulder. I look forward to making my way through the menu, next up breakfast. there's a breakfast burrito and chipotle potato hash with my name on it.

LYFE Kitchen
Price point: $4-$14, average dish $8-$10 range
MENU
1600 Pearl St
Boulder, 80302

Hours:
Sunday - Thursday 8am-9pm
Friday - Saturday 8am-10pm

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Disclaimer: I was invited to bring my family into LYFE Kitchen, our meal was provided for us, under no obligation to post. All words, photos, and excitement about LYFE Kitchen are my own. ;) 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Facebook, Ties that Unbind Us

Facebook provides a false sense of connection, in my humble opinion. Facebook has allowed us to accept that we are indeed staying in touch with others, when really is a thumbs up an affirmation of your connection to that human being? The majority of Facebook users have come to believe they are keeping a pulse on what's happening with those in their social circle, whether it be family, friends, acquaintances, work mates, or your favorite person from Zumba class. I mean come on, you saw photos of me on vacation, at my child's school event, girls pedicures, date night, view from the top of a mountain, hitting the ski slopes, outside my favorite restaurant in NYC, or the Pinterest inspired craft I completed with my girls. Our connection must run deep, having all that select insight into my life. The majority have come to believe this is how we communicate now, but it's not. Not for me anyway.

Facebook is not connection, it's anti-connection.

Over the past few years we've accepted passive communication as a tool to keep in touch with the people that have come into your life. It's dull, for the most part it's one dimensional, it's lacking life. I don't need to present you with a Huffington Post article for you to recognize that the majority of what you are viewing is a highly edited version of what people want you to believe about them. You are viewing their life through a happy lens. Not to mention, you are only seeing a slim percentage of updates from your entire network, thanks to Facebook algorithms, which may be the most annoying part of my entire debate. Facebook is no longer real time, it's a version of real time, the version Facebook believes you should see. Thanks, but no thanks Facebook.

Which brings me to my love for observing people in public, it's part of my intuitive nature and part nosy ol' me, oh and is steeped in my Cultural Anthropology degree. Everyone has witnessed the Facebook obsessed public displays. Sitting at a dinner with 6 friends, but zoned in on your iPhone checking to see what's happening in your Facebook feed? The people at the table with you don't really matter, don't deserve your time and attention? But look Geri from high school who I haven't spoken with in twenty years is at the beach with her kids! Then there's the depressing family of four at Easter Brunch, both parents on Facebook, two small boys, sharing an iPad playing a game. Son asks Mom a question, after the third time she hears him, replies with in a minute. Gutted. I could go on and on and on. About a year ago, I started taking photos of people in groups engaged with their devices instead of the people around them, indeed I do I have a photo of that family from brunch. I haven't quite decided what to do with the photos, they are depressing.

Can we just stop and think if this what we want, what we are embracing, what we have turned into? Do we love watered down versions of people instead the fully dimensional whole beings that we interact with day in and day out. It's not what I want. I need people in my life to call me out on my shit because they know my shit, I let them in on it, and they know the lows as much as they know the finer moments. For me the only way to deepen our connection is to be wholly who we are, not an algorithmic version on top of a happy wonderful life filter. Lets get real together.

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Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Gift of Time and Labor

Winter break has turned into this gift of time for us, I'm off of work, and so is Josh. It's 17 days long, two full weeks off of school, and a bonus Monday off for a teacher work day. While yes, the holiday hoopla is in full swing for a large part of the break, we've really honed in on how to enjoy the downtime. Joy has come from ice skating with my family and our good friends on a lake in the mountains, joy has come from sledding the local hill, skiing a few days, preparing meals together, learning how to play our new board game, and lots of hanging out. Joy also came in deciding not to travel.

Which leads me to some unconventional joy (slash awakening) I experienced. My 8 year old desperately needed her room cleaned and organized, one of the those full top to bottom cleanings, complete with next size clothing pulled out from bins in the storage closet. The kind of cleaning you often whisper under your breath, if I only had the time. Well, for once I did have the time. Oh goodness, the things I did unearth, like her used tissue collection behind her chapter books on her book shelf. And the cobwebs, it was like it's very own ecosystem hiding behind her curtains in the very reaches of the window that we clearly never take a moment to notice.

Then deep feelings start creeping in, the very real feelings of avoidance. My daughter is 8, and while I do expect her to keep her dirty laundry in her hamper, I certainly don't expect her to keep the dust at bay in the far reaches of shelves, or underneath her heavy trundle bed cleaned and vacuumed. I just carried on with the task at hand, working through the feelings that would bubble up for me, reminding myself that I am not avoiding anymore, I am dealing head on.

The energy to deal carried right through to Sj's room. My oldest, my oddly type-A child that keeps her room looking wonderful complete with a daily made bed… UNTIL you open a dresser drawer, or my goodness get down on your hands and knees and start reaching for what is under her dresser, under her bed, and find the stuff that is in my nightmares. Oh that girl. For her, her bedroom overhaul, came with lessons, and visualizing how a pajama drawer actually means a place to store, pajamas. We hung posters, framed her favorite art work, vacuumed and dusted, and washed her windows. When you walk by her room you can almost hear that high pitched bling, a delightful sound to me that means the storage matches the appearance.

Once I got over beating myself up for everything I have been avoiding, I basked in what the other side feels like. I let the momentum flow. This break has turned into a defining moment for me, taking back nooks and crannies, what's happening behind a closet door, under the sofa, in the quaint basket filled shelving system, under the refrigerator, heck IN THE REFRIGERATOR. Deep cleaning, deep breaths, and an organizational overhaul that never felt so good. I want to remember the glorious feeling that comes with being on the other side of the labor, my cup of coffee this morning seems to taste better as I sit back and appreciate my newly zushed bookshelf, free of sunscreen, bills, nail clippers, advertisements, school photos, random LEGO pieces, and everything else that seems to land there.

A new year, a new commitment to maintain the momentum, to not slip back into comfort, to not allow myself to avoid what's right in front of me. I did a lot of letting go through the physical process of cleaning, letting go of what I haven't been, and visualizing what I want to be. I can do this, I want this, I can create it.

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Thursday, January 1, 2015

2015 * CREATE

cre·ate |krēˈāt|
verb
  • bring (something) into existence.
  • cause (something) to happen as a result of one's actions.

Create. In 2015 I'm setting my intentions on creating. Once again I've chosen a simple word that is full of endless possibilities (2014*Nurture). Eleven and eight years ago respectively, I made the most beautiful creations of my lifetime, and I happily spend my time arms wholly wrapped around them, tending and nurturing their needs. As my girls grow and develop the need for their own space, I experience small glimpses of time that I can use to tap back into my creative side, a side that often drives my daily life, without the attention it deserves. My creative side is often soft and whispering to me, but  I want to give it a voice. 

In 2015, I will make time and space to create.  In the most practical sense, that ultimately means creating balance and time to do things that fulfill Me. Yes, Me. I want to embrace the bubbling over of my desire to create with my hands, an open heart, and a wisdom that has arrived in the most profound and yet wonderful ways. Create what? I'd love to start with a journal of writing, a full sketchbook, I want the white canvases that sit dusty in a storage closet to come to life with vibrance. The loudest and most reoccurring whisper I hear is to pick up my paint brushes again. I vow to listen. More practically, I want to create routine that will lead to harmony in my home-family life. I thrive when creating organization, when everything falls into it's place, and maintaining that through routine is the piece that is lacking for me. I will reclaim it. Harmony will naturally give way to more time to create. It's the creative circle that will surround me, harmony through routine, golden nuggets of time leading to expressive outlets, and around we go again. 

Here are some ways I've set my intentions on create. 

Create

  • everyday routine
  • time and space for self expression
  • openness to nurture relationships in my life
  • expressive momentum
  • confidence to achieve
  • the ability to hear my heart's whispers
  • a new connection to the artist inside
  • a lens to see myself that is gentle and assuring 
  • space to experience my full being

Twitter, My Happy Place


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