Healthy Cookie Dough Balls

Do you want to eat cookie dough without the sugar? Here's a protein packed alternative made with chickpeas! I recently threw out my brown sugar and switched to coconut sugar (available at Trader Joes) so I was excited to find a recipe for me to finally open up the bag! lol 

1 can chickpeas
3 TB honey
1 TB coconut sugar
1/8 ts baking soda
4 TB raw almond butter 
2 ts vanilla
pinch of Himalayan salt
1½ cups of Hershey's sugar free chocolate chips (crushed)

  1. Mix chickpeas, honey, sugar, baking soda, almond butter, vanilla, and a pinch of salt in a blender and process until smooth. 
  2. Chop ½ cup of the chocolate chips into smaller pieces. Then stir into mixture. 
  3. Form into 1-inch balls and place on a parchment-paper lined baking sheet. Freeze until solid. 
  4. In microwave melt remaining chocolate chips with a little coconut oil. 
  5. Dip the balls into the chocolate until covered, then place back on parchment-paper lined baking sheet. Freeze until chocolate has hardened.
Nutritional Analysis
12 servings
126 calories, 18g carbs, 3g protein, 6g fat, 3g fiber, 6g sugar

Recipe Credit: MindBodyGreen

A Crunchy Snack!

I'm not a big hummus eater, but after I was introduced to falafel on a trip to the middle east I've been hooked on falafel! While everyone else eats pizza at 3am after a night out, I go to the falafel shop in town. This crunchy snack made with traditional Middle Eastern spices really does taste like falafel. It's a tad spicy so that stops me from eating the whole bag in one sitting which is good since these are so addicting! lol

There's a few companies that make baked chickpea snacks and I honestly didn't like the others but Saffron Road's Falafel I love! By the way did you know that chickpeas are technically a legume?

The awesome thing about Saffron Road is that their products are organic and don't contain any GMO ingredients plus these chickpeas contain 6 grams of protein per serving!

Cauliflower rice

If you love fried rice and want a generous portion but still low in calories, then Cauliflower Fried Rice is for you! I kept seeing people talk about cauliflower rice and cauliflower pizza crust so I decided to jump on the bandwagon. A few years ago I tried mashed cauliflower which tasted exactly the same as mashed potatoes! So I figured this was forth a try. Because you don't actually cook the cauliflower the hard texture of raw cauliflower is similar to rice.

I made two servings of cauliflower rice with half a head of a medium sized cauliflower and got a much larger volume of food than what one serving of rice would have been. Just check out my plate, this is a ton of food!

I have to admit it does take a bit of prep. I rinsed off the cauliflower, removed the core and let it dry completely. Then I cut it into chunks and put it into my blender and pulsed until the cauliflower was small and has the texture of rice. This took many many batches to do. lol

You can make your fried rice whatever veggies you normally like in your fried rice. Ever since I was a kid I always asked for fried rice without egg. So I used marinated baked tofu as my protein. Be sure to watch how many peas you put in because peas surprisingly are high in carbs and calories. Here I used garlic, onion, broccoli, carrots and peas. The sauce was a mix of tamari, ginger soy sauce and sesame oil.

Once your veggies are cooked combine them and the cauliflower in a covered pan with soy sauce for 5 minutes mixing occasionally until the cauliflower is slightly crispy.

Nutritional Analysis:
One serving of cauliflower rice is 36 calories, 8g carbs, 4g fiber
One serving of Trader Joe's Jasmine rice (1/4 cup dry) is 160 calories, 35g carbs, 0g fiber

Here's another cauliflower recipe I made.

What's for lunch today?

Haven't done one of these posts in awhile. Lunch today was just me throwing together whatever I had in my fridge - wild rice (impulse purchase that's been sitting in my cabinet forever), carrots, broccolini, tempeh, and baby bella mushrooms that I seasoned with toasted sesame seed oil and liquid aminos. I measured exactly one serving of the rice before I cooked it. My meal was 360 calories, 20 grams of protein and 11 grams of fiber. I was stuffed after lunch! You don't feel that way after a frozen meal of the same calorie breakdown nor will it have so much protein (in a vegetarian meal).

In the spirit of St. Patrick's Day my afternoon snack was a pot of green - honeydew, grapes, and kiwi.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I'm snowed in today but still my nails are festive! Do you know the difference between cloves and shamrocks? Shamrocks only have 3 leaves while cloves have 4 which is what I have on my nails. If you realized that you don't have enough green clothes in your wardrobe,  check out my St. Patrick's Day fashion guide.  If you're thinking about getting McDonald's Shamrock Shake, here's a recipe for a  healthier version of it.

Per tradition, I have my themed dish towels out.

1 Year Anniversary!

I'm celebrating one year of having this blog!!! Unlike my other 4 blogs I actually stuck with this one, posting almost daily for a year (259 posts to date). I've joined a fantastic community of local blogging ladies. It's been a year that I've enjoyed sharing with you the things I love and that inspire me, nutrition info, recipes, fashionable clothes, and my DIY. So a huge thank you to all of you to all those who just take the time to read the things I share on the internet. For a blogger the best gift is the sweet comments that you post to my blog. Your comments make me smile every day and I really appreciate it!

If you want to see my top posts check out my recap posts. But I'd say the best part of last year was all the Personal Development I did. I also want to recommend the site Happy Rambles as a great way to maintain a daily gratitude journal for yourself, it's a fantastic way to attract more positive things into your life.

Do you have a zillion bookmarked blogs but it's so long you don't bother to go through the hassle of scrolling through them because you can't remember what most of them are for anyways? The easiest way to keep up with your favorite blogs is to use Bloglovin.  It's like pinterest but for blogs! You'll get a daily email with a summary of all the new posts from the blogs that you follow so you never miss anything! Bloglovin makes reading blogs fun and easy! It's takes 30 seconds to sign up, it's easy, no ads, there's no catch. There's even a free App for iphones. So be sure to subscribe to my blog so you never miss a post!

I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend! I had a little blog anniversary celebration dinner with my friends, went out dancing, took another painting class, and am now heading out to brunch.
Purple Lake

Spinach Fettuccine with Edamame Pesto

One of my co-worker is a vegetarian so I always like peaking at her lunches to get ideas for things I can make. One day she had spinach linguine which I can't remember the last time I had so I went to my local grocery store and only found one box of spinach pasta, a fettuccine. Then I looked for interesting recipes to pair it with and found a non-traditional pesto that is light on oil but super high in protein!

For the edamame pesto:
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup basil leaves
¼cup fresh cilantro
14 oz package shelled edamame, thawed
½ cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (this is used for cheese flavor)
For the pasta:
10 oz spinach linguine or other pasta
1 teaspoon olive oil
½ lb baby bella mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme (use less if desired)
 ¼ teaspoon salt
Place garlic and basil in a blender (I found this recipe too large for my food processor)  and pulse a few times to get it chopped up. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until relatively smooth. Add a little more vegetable broth if it seems too stiff. Set aside until ready to use.
Boil the fettuccine.
Saute mushrooms, garlic, thyme and salt. Cover pot and cook 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
When the mushrooms have cooked down, add pasta to the pan, along with the pesto. The pesto will be relatively thick, but if it’s too thick add a few tablespoons of water. 

Nutritional Analysis 
4 servings
359 cal, 22g protein, 11g fiber, 5g fat 

Recipe Credit: PostPunkKitchen

Window Shopping

Every now and then I'll find a nice clothing piece from Old Navy. Right now I'm eyeing their Oxford Shirtdress which you can either dress up or dress down with their cute boat shoes which have an anchor printed on it. I bought my first pair of boat shoes last year, a navy glitter pair by Sperry Top Sider. It caused quite the stir at Thanksgiving when someone remarked that they used to be in style 20 years ago and was surprised the brand was branching out to such unique styles. Luckily if you don't want to pay their prices you can get them at Old Navy for just $25! But check out the nautical earrings from Sperry Top Sider, super cute!

Right out of college I was a huge Kate Spade fan, she always has fun colors, so I had to include a bag from her current collection here. Bevin is my favorite green nail polish from Zoya! I have the bee necklace from one of my favorite stores, it was so unique I just had to have it!

If you watched the Oscars then you remember Ellen delivering pizza to the audience then asking for tip money. Well Oscar Winner Lupita Nyong (12 Years a Slave) only had a lipgloss (matched her blue dress) in her purse to give . Well what do you know, that Clarins lipgloss flew off all the shelves and is sold out everywhere!

Current Obsession: Caldrea Hand Balm

I tend to get a lot of lotions as gifts and when I had to re-organize my medicine cabinet at the same time I went through all my collected products under my sink and purged a ton. One thing I came across was a now discontinued hand balm by Caldrea (the orange tube pictured on the top shelf of my medicine cabinet). OMG the lotion smelled amazed and was so luxuriously moisturizing! When I finished the tube I just had to buy more! Come to find out Caldrea is made by the same company as my favorite green cleaner Mrs. Meyers.

Their philosophy was to create green cleaning products without harsh chemicals and medicinal smells but still hard working. They use essential oils for the fragrances and plant-derived surfactants from renewable resources. Additionally all of their products are biodegradable and not tested on animals. Mrs. Meyer's is the more affordable brand for grocery stores and Target while Caldrea is marketed more like upscale cosmetics packaged in beautifully designed containers.

Right now I'm using Mrs. Meyers hand soap in Geranium, the scent it out of this world! And I bought two hand balms, one for home and one for the office in Ginger Pomelo and the Sea Salt Neroli. In the wintertime my hands tend to get dry but Caldrea hand balms not only smell lovely but are so moisturizing!

Almond Butter Fudge

Craving chocolate fudge, well here's a healthier alternative. I found this super easy, 3- ingredient, no bake recipe that will be addicting!

Makes 12 rectangles


1 cup raw creamy almond butter (I used Trader Joe's with sea salt at room temperature)
¼ cup coconut oil
1½ TB honey

  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl until smooth and creamy.
  2. Line a container with plastic wrap and transfer mixture into it. Smooth with a spatula and freeze until solid, about an hour.
  3. Remove the fudge by lifting the plastic wrap out of the container and cut into individual servings.
  4. Return the fudge pieces into a sealed container and store in freezer until ready to eat.

Recipe Credit: detoxinista

Steal This Outfit Idea: The Pale Pink Blazer

I'm not a fuchsia kind of gal, I love my pinks pale and beigey as I've talked about in this post and that post. So when I saw the perfect shade light pink jacket at the LOFT I just had to get it! Well first I stalked the store for a few weeks waiting for it to go on sale. And they had a lot of teaser sales, literally twice I walked in there and saw a sale sign right next to the jacket but was told only the other color jackets were only on sale or the merchandise next to it was on sale. The underside of the sleeves are a pretty polka dot print which they even have a matching shirt but I instead went for this feminine crochet shirt which in retrospect will probably be hard to keep clean. lol I think it's going to be a pretty popular item this spring as I saw lace shirts at the Limited as well.

If you're looking for a new spring fragrance check out Roses de Chloe. I'm always attracted to rose scented products, and this one is a very soft floral fragrance with a touch of bergamont, perfect for daytime wear.

For my pink nails I mixed Zoya Zanna with Sephora by OPI Mauve-ie Star in the Making.

Spirit of Lent

Lent is upon us and being half Polish I wanted to share with you our tradition to start Lent. We eat donuts called Paczki  because traditionally they were baked to  use up all the sugar, eggs and fruit in the house, because their consumption was forbidden during Lent. Now the tradition of eating Paczki coincides with Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras. As you know Catholics are supposed to give up one thing during Lent and to abstain from consuming  meat, just fish. I've noticed amongst my friends alcohol is usually the thing chosen to give up during Lent. Whether you celebrate Lent or not, dedicating some time to a good purpose or service is always beneficial physically, mentally as well as spiritually.
Here's a great website listing something to give up during lent. Suggestions include:

  • Envy – I am blessed. My value is not found in my possessions, but in my relationship with my Heavenly Father.
  • Impatience – God’s timing is the perfect timing.
  • Sense of entitlement – The world does not owe me anything. God does not owe me anything. I live in humility and grace.
  • Bitterness and Resentment – The only person I am hurting by holding on to these is myself.
  • Blame – I am not going to pass the buck. I will take responsibility for my actions.
  • Gossip and Negativity – I will put the best construction on everything when it comes to other people. I will also minimize my contact with people who are negative and toxic bringing other people down.
  • Comparison – I have my own unique contribution to make and there is no one else like me.
  • Feelings of unworthiness – You are fearfully and wonderfully made by your creator. (see Psalm 139)
  • Doubt – Believe God has a plan for you that is beyond anything you could imagine. The future is brighter than you could ever realize.
  • Self-pity – God comforts us in our sorrow so that we can comfort others with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
  • Excuses – A wise man once said, if you need an excuse, any excuse will do.
  • Lack of counsel – Wise decisions are rarely made in a vacuum.
  • Pride – Blessed are the humble.
  • Worry – God is in control and worrying will not help.

Yesterday on facebook I saw someone asking what should she give up for Lent since her diet was already clean and one of her friends said that giving up something for Lent was the old way and the new thing is to do generous things during Lent. I came across 40acts which is the triple award-winning challenge from Christian charity Stewardship that invites you to do Lent generously.  The way it works is every day you are emailed a daily challenge of a way to give back to other people. Join here.

Here's your Shakeology lineup

I'm on the monthly auto-delivery system for Shakeology and I rotate flavors every month so I always have something new to drink. Every day I look at my recipe list and say to myself which Shakeology flavor should I go with this morning? Investing in nutritious foods and exercise is the best investment you can make! Not all protein shakes are alike, in terms of quality if you buy something cheap you get what you pay for. Check out the ingredient list on Shakeology, it contains both flaxseed and chia seeds amongst 70 other ingredients!

I'm loving the new strawberry flavor! With all the other flavors I always drank with almond or coconut milk, but the strawberry flavor I find ends up being a strawberry milkshake so I want to try something different with it. I have a killer sweet tooth, so drinking such a nutrient dense shake really helps me curb that urge. These recipes taste like candy/jelly beans/kool aid that you just can't believe it's so healthy. The cucumber one comes out really frothy! These recipes only work with Shakeology. 

Strawberry - Kiwi
1 cup club soda
1 kiwi
Coconut water ice cubes

Agua Fresca
3/4 cup club soda
½ medium cucumber, peeled
1 TB lime juice
Coconut water ice cubes

3/4 cup water
¼ cup 100% pomegranate juice
Coconut water ice cubes

Cucumbers are 95% water and helps to rehydrate the body while elminating toxins. It's full of minerals and antioxidants and aids digestion. 

I talked about the benefits of pomegranates in this post.

St. Patrick's Day Fashion

It's March and here's your St. Patty's Day dress guide! If you don't care about March Madness (me!) then hopefully this is a fun month for you because of St. Patrick's Day! I'm on the social committee at work and am in charge of planning an event for this holiday so I thought I would show you some green clothing items you can wear to work. I wanted to have a "Best St. Patrick's Day t-shirt contest" at work but that was vetoed so instead I'm just asking everyone to wear green. Now I don't have much green in my closet but I love olive green, in fact I painted my kitchen that color.  I'm holding a guess the number of green jelly beans contest and ordered pear and watermelon jelly beans.

Orange is the New Black

Orange is the New Black is an original netflix series based on the memoir Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison a true story written by Piper Kerman which tells of her experiences in a minimum security woman's prison. Piper is a yuppie from NYC who lives with her fiancé (Jason Biggs) and trying to get an artisanal soap business off the ground. However, she used to be a lesbian and dated an international drug smuggler for whom she transferred cash suitcases for. That catches up with Piper and she ends up with a 15 month sentence in a federal prison where coincidentally her drug-smuggling ex, is also doing time.

While in prison Piper practices yoga which apparently is offered in some prisons as research has found that prisoners who took yoga "experienced less stress and reported more positive moods." The show also show relationships between guards and inmates which reminded me of last's year scandal in a Baltimore jail where one male inmate impregnated four guards!

When Piper first arrives at the prison the warden tells her she doesn't have to worry about getting into fights because the women get back at each other through gossip. What's really interesting about this show is that there's about 15 regular characters and in every episode we get a small glimpse into their lives before they came to prison and what put them there. For the most part these women are non-violent criminals, and did one bad thing just because of a poor choice of associates or just plain bad luck.

The inmates self-segregate by race with an additional category for the "golden girls".  I did a little research on race in prison and found this info:
So what's driving the huge increase in the white female incarceration rate? The Sentencing Project finds that about half the increase is accounted for by an increase in women in prison for property crimes, such as theft, burglary, robbery, etc. About a quarter is attributed to an increase in women in prison for violent crimes, and another quarter to an increase in women in prison for drug crimes. Meanwhile, almost all of the decline in the black female incarceration rate is accounted for by a huge decline in women in prison for drug crimes:
Here's an interesting article on women who have been "rotting" in prison for decades because they were convicted solely on an informant's testimony. In drug cases, a person can get a reduced sentence if they rat someone else out. Many of these women claim to be completely innocent.

I don't want to give too much away about this show but if you liked the TV series Prison Break, you'll love this show! Julia Hough liked the show so much her group of friends dressed up as the cast for Halloween. Season 2 of Orange is the New Black is released June 6!

The Oscars

I'm really into movies, had my netflix account for I don't know 10 years? I get two movies a week (8 a month) for $12 a month, pretty sweet deal! Cheaper than going to the movies! Now a days movies go to dvd so fast I can get something in about 3-4 months time! Watching the Oscars is something I look forward to because I love the red carpet before the show and seeing everyone in gorgeous gowns. The nominations tell me what are the top movies of the year so I can catch up and watch whatever I haven't seen that is clearly worth seeing. Plus Oscar winning movies come back to the theaters after the show if you didn't know. This year a few academy favorites that I've seen are American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, and Philomena. I even suffered through watching Despicable Me 2 so I could see one of the most talked about animated movies this year. lol If you haven't seen some of these here's a quick recap:

American Hustle is about a con man and his partner in the 1970s who are forced to work for the FBI. This is worth seeing just for the costumes and hair alone! Bradley Cooper wears little rollers in his hair! lol Did you know he went to Georgetown University and dated Zoe Saldana (not at the same time lol)?

Captain Phillips starring Tom Hanks is based on the real life rescue of a merchant mariner who was taken hostage from Somali pirates.

Dallas Buyers Club is based on the story of an electrician and rodeo cowboy, who in 1985 was diagnosed with AIDS and given 30 days to live. He discovered that the experimental new drug the hospital was using to treat patients was in fact poisonous. So he travels around the world to find drugs not approved by the FDA and brings them back to his motel room in Dallas where he makes money selling them to HIV patients for a monthly fee of $400. What's really notable about the film is that Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto who played a transsexual (pictured right) both lost about 40 lbs each for the role.

Philomena is a British comedy starring Judi Dench based on the true story of an Irish woman's 50 year search for her adopted son in America. It was a real tear jerker!

For an interesting opt ed on how Oscar voting supposedly works read this!