Changing for the better, one bite and (deep) breath at a time.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Freebie Friday - Amazon Gift Card

This Friday is a very special one - I'm heading on a mini vacation to Tucson to celebrate 10 years together with my hubby!  We met in college, so what better place to visit than where the "magic" started, right?  (If you know my husband, you will laugh when you picture him as the 19-year-old kid I fell for, wearing a Dodger hat, Hawaiian shirt, and gym shorts.  Don't forget the sunglasses with a built-in radio.)

I'm sharing the love by personally offering this week's Freebie Friday giveaway: a $10 gift card to!  Simply leave a comment below, telling me your favorite thing(s) to buy on Amazon, and you're eligible to win.  It's easy to do, and you just might be $10 richer!  You can enter once until midnight Pacific Time.  The winner will be drawn by Monday morning.

I love Amazon because I find great prices on health products I love, like Concentrace water remineralization drops, DermOrganic Daily Hydrating Conditioner (thanks Aly), awesome e-books for my Kindle, such as Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life, and my favorite probiotics, HMF Forte.  In fact, Amazon is amazing for supplement shopping - their prices are unparalleled.

Happy Friday!


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Grain-free Chocolate Chip Scones

As my regular readers and good friends know well, I'm a baker.  I learned to bake well before I touched a skillet or held a paring knife.  I love creating beautiful, sweet treats that fill my house with wonderful smells.  I can easily pull together traditional cookies, cakes, pastries, muffins, and breads, but I enjoy the extra challenge of making them healthier.  If I can get my husband, friends, and coworkers to enjoy more wholesome options and crave them as much as the "regular" version, I consider the recipe a success.

Greg and I really like scones.  They're delicious dipped in almond milk, coffee, or even a frothy cappuccino.  Most traditional scones are made with white flour and sugar, which can be inflammatory to the digestive tract and can raise blood sugar and insulin levels when eaten regularly, leading to increased disease risk over time.  These scones, adapted  from The Healthy Cooking Coach, are made with almond flour, which is basically almonds that have been ground to a fine consistency.  They also contain honey, a sweetener I prefer over refined sugar because it is a good source of minerals and antioxidants and has antimicrobial properties.  I loved this recipe because I already had all of the ingredients in my pantry!


2 1/2 cups blanched almond flour (mine is from Trader Joe's)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup melted extra virgin coconut oil
1/4 cup honey
2 large organic eggs
1 cup coarsely chopped dark chocolate (I happened to have unsweetened baking chocolate and added some stevia to make up for the bitterness of the unsweetened chocolate)


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper

In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, salt, and baking soda. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together the grapeseed oil, agave nectar, and eggs.

Coconut oil

Stir the wet ingredients into the almond flour mixture until thoroughly combined, then fold in the chocolate. 


Drop the batter, in scant 1/4 cups 2 inches apart, onto the prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 12 to 17 minutes, until golden brown or a toothpick inserted into the center of a scone comes out clean. Let the scones cool for 30 minutes on the baking sheets, then serve. 


Check out who was helping me bake:
Miss Molly Malone was over for a play date



Friday, April 20, 2012

Freebie Friday - Karve Studio

I am so excited for this week's Freebie Friday because it is sponsored by a business very near and dear to my heart - Karve Studio!  Karve has been a part of my life for 3 years now, and in January I started training to become a teacher.  I am almost done with my training and am so thrilled to be able to share my love for this method!

Here is a description of Karve, straight from their website: "An evolved exercise method stemming from Callanetics and the Lotte Berk Method, the Karve exercise technique creates a lean, firm, sculpted body by reshaping and elongating the major muscles. Karve is the fastest, most effective and SAFEST way to change your body from the inside out. In one hour, this technique will create a high lifted seat, lean, shapely thighs, beautiful shoulders and triceps, and a trim waist. Originally created by a dancer in the 1950's, this method involves no jumping, jarring or damaging movements while efficiently burning fat and increasing stamina.

Karve fuses highly focused and controlled movements through ballet barre work, core strengthening, yoga, Pilates and orthopedic stretching techniques. Using high repetition, small range of motion, accuracy, and focus, each muscle group is worked thoroughly and completely, then stretched to create long lean lines. The entire body is challenged throughout the class, which quickly improves posture and body alignment, and creates a body equal in strength, beauty, balance, and youthful vitality."

Photos are courtesy of Karve Studio.

I take at least 4-5 Karve classes per week, and I am always challenged and sore afterwards.  That's the great thing about Karve - it's a safe, low impact workout for beginners and those with injuries, yet it can be really challenging for people of all levels, even those who have been taking the method for years.  The more I take it and learn the method, the more difficult it becomes because I know how to work my muscles deeper every time.  Plus, it's high energy, fun, and never boring!  Unlike some other barre classes, Karve changes every time.  The order of exercises is pretty standard each class, but the positions and variations always change so that your muscles never get used to the method.  It has really helped with my overall strength and flexibility, plus once weak knees are strong and stable again! 

The best thing about Karve, in my opinion, is that it's enjoyable.  The music is current and motivating, and the teachers really love what they do.  Karve is a time to enjoy our bodies, whatever the size or shape, move our muscles, and really challenge ourselves while clearing our heads and devoting an hour to our own well-being.
Karve has locations in Mesa and Old Town Scottsdale (Scottsdale Southbridge), as well as in Lindon, Utah.  A Gilbert, Arizona location is opening soon, and the North Scottsdale location will be opening this summer.  I will be mainly teaching the North Scottsdale location - it will be located off of Princess Drive and Pima, just off the 101.

The Scottsdale Southbridge studio will be moving mid-May from its 2nd floor location within The Mix on Stetson Drive to a 1st floor spot within the same building.  The future new owners Alyssa and Debbie are planning some awesome surprises and fun offers to celebrate the big move downstairs.  To keep in touch with Karve happenings, make sure to like them on Facebook!  North Scottsdale, Scottsdale Southbridge, Mesa, Gilbert, and Lindon, Utah all have their own Facebook pages.

Today's Freebie Friday is brought to you by Alyssa and Debbie and is a WHOLE WEEK of FREE Karve at the Southbrige studio in Old Town Scottsdale!  To enter to win, leave a comment below, telling me your favorite type of exercise or movement.  You can enter one time until midnight Pacific time today (April 20, 2012).  The winner will be drawn and announced Saturday morning.

Karve your body!


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Lentil Hummus

As you guys know from this post, I'm a big fan of quality hummus. Sometimes it's hard to get real hummus (made with olive oil and tahini) from your typical grocery store, so it's often best to make it yourself. I came across this recipe from Whole Living and was really excited because I had all of the ingredients at home! Of course, as always I adapted it slightly, using cumin and more garlic instead of the parsley.

I liked to buy precooked lentils from Trader Joe's in the refrigerated section. The only ingredients are lentils and spices, and they can make a really convenient and hearty meal when heated with sauteed onions and mushrooms atop a bed of spinach. Lentils are a wonderful source of fiber and protein, and they have a great texture that lends a wonderful base to homemade hummus!

All you have to do is combine all of these ingredients in a food processor or blender. This recipe calls for cashew butter, which you can buy at Whole Foods or other health foods stores. You can also make it yourself by blending cashews in a food processor until smooth, then adding the other ingredients. This recipe made a nice, thick hummus paired well with carrot sticks, cucumber slices, tomato wedges, and rice chips. I also used it as a side for my salad. This recipe is a great source of healthy fats, protein, fiber, folate, and iron.


1 cup brown or green lentils (again, I used TJ's precooked - the whole package)
1/4 cup cashew butter
Juice of 2 large lemons
1/2 tsp. finely grated garlic (I used about 2 tsp. of garlic powder)
1 T. Cholula or other hot sauce
Sea salt
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. cumin


Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender.

Combine until smooth.

Below is my cheeseball attempt to do some food styling with rice chips. A little Stonehenge-esque, no?

Enjoy with cut up veggies, whole grain pita, or even smeared on a sandwich!



Friday, April 13, 2012

Freebie Friday - Innocent Indulgence

Let's just cut to the chase: we all like dessert. Some of us eat it daily (or after each meal), while others only savor it on special occasions. Regardless of your sweet-eatin' style, you will love Innocent Indulgence. Owner Alisha Chasey, MS, RD, CNS (a fellow registered dietitian) has created some pretty magical stuff, and - get this - it's all good for you! Gluten-, dairy-, soy-, egg- and refined sugar-FREE, all Innocent Indulgence treats are packed with vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids. They're also raw and vegan friendly and are wonderful for people with food sensitivities, or for those who just like yummy sweets without the less yummy additives.

I love making my own healthy desserts, but sometimes it's so nice to take the work out of it and have someone else do it for me! That's where Innocent Indulgence comes in. They are available for pick-up in the Phoenix area, but they ship these wholesome goodies all over the country in ice-packed containers. They are also now available (at new lower prices) at Whole Foods in Tempe and have come to WF in Tucson starting April 4th! For those of you who live in Scottsdale, Innocent Indulgence is also available at Nourish Restaurant.

I personally adore the Cocoa Nib Squares (tastes like raw cookie dough) and the Peanut Butter Squares (mmmm...peanut butter...), but they have so many awesome cheesecakes, cookies and bars to savor and enjoy.

Check out these Cocoa Nib Squares:

Here are the Peanut Butter Squares that my sister, who's allergic to nuts (but not peanuts) highly enjoys:

For today's Freebie Friday: leave a comment below, telling me about your favorite dessert! No judging here; all foods fit, remember? The winner will receive a free mini cheesecake from Innocent Indulgence, compliments of owner Alisha!



Thursday, April 5, 2012

Freebie Friday - Zing Bars

Photo courtesy of Cooking Light

This Freebie Friday is brought to the lovely Nutrition Transitions readers by Zing Bars. Zing has offered a free BOX of Chocolate Peanut Butter bars! ***To enter to win, simply leave a comment below, telling me your favorite snack!*** (Don't be afraid to comment...if you win, I will simply mail you the goods and you get to enjoy some delicious, FREE Zing Bars!) Zing Bars were created by registered dietitians who were looking for a healthy alternative for themselves, their clients and they're families. They are gluten-free and made with whole ingredients. Here's some more info straight from their website:

"Zing Bars are 100% natural with absolutely no artificial additives, sweeteners or flavors. We developed them for the health and well-being of our patients and from the kinds of ingredients we’d like our own kids to eat.

Each bar has a nut butter base—peanut, almond or cashew—with added protein, fiber, agave nectar and either fruit or organic free-trade dark chocolate. We chose the ingredients to provide the same complete nutrition that we recommend for all meals:

  • Heart healthy fats
  • High fiber
  • High quality lean protein
  • Low glycemic carbs"
Zing has both vegan and non-vegan (whey protein) options and comes in six flavors:
- Chocolate Coconut (vegan)*

- Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip (vegan)
- Cashew Cranberry Orange (vegan)
- Chocolate Peanut Butter (whey protein)*
- Oatmeal Chocolate Chip (whey protein)*
- Almond Blueberry (whey protein)

* Personal favorite flavors

If you want to compare Zing Bars to other brands, check out this site. You can buy Zing Bars online or at Whole Foods and other health food stores.



Sunday, April 1, 2012

Flourless Banana Bread

My husband loves banana bread, so when I came across this flourless banana bread recipe from one of my favorite sites - Spoonful of Sugar Free - I was excited to try it. At the same time, I was a bit skeptical: how can fruit, nuts, chia seeds and eggs make bread? I ended up becoming a believer after making this recipe and make it 2-3 times per month for my banana bread lovin' hubby. It's a low glycemic, whole food option that makes a complete meal - protein, fat, and "something from the ground" (the banana!).

I have made a few changes to the recipe. First off - and this is most important - it needs to be cooked longer than an hour. This bread can be too moist if it doesn't cook long enough. I also leave it out to sit overnight to "dry" out a bit. It sounds counter intuitive, but the second and third day are the best for this bread. Secondly, I stir in cocoa nibs for extra crunch and nutrients.

This recipe uses chia gel to draw the ingredients together. To make the gel, the recipe instructs you to combine 1 tablespoons of chia seeds with 9 tablespoons of water and wait for them to puff up (~20 minutes). You only need to use 3 tablespoons of this gel for the bread, but the recipe to make the gel makes more than 3 tablespoons, so you can either use it in a smoothie or just make less (try 2 tsp. chia seeds with 6 tablespoons water).


3 ripe bananans
1/2 cup almond butter (can sub other nut butters too)
3 eggs
3 tablespoons ground flaxseeds
3 tablespoons chia gel (see above)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Optional: 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Optional: 1/4 cup cocoa nibs
Optional: stevia to taste


Chia seeds (pre-water):

Chia gel (after 20 minutes of soaking):

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mash bananas and mix all ingredients in a bowl.

Whole flaxseeds (ground are better, but my grinder wasn't working!):

Mmmm...cocoa nibs...

Pour the batter into a lightly greased bread pan or muffin tin. (I grease it with coconut oil.)

Bake for 60-75 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Again, cooking it a bit longer (until the sides darken) prevents it from being too wet. The picture below shows a not-quite-done loaf, which is how I made it the first time. I keep it in another 10 minutes when I make it now.

Looks like bread with flour, eh?

The bread will rise in the oven but will sink when taken out. Let the bread cool for 15 minutes in the pan, which is necessary for the bread to set since it doesn't contain flour. Turn the pan over on a cutting board, slice, and enjoy! This is delicious slathered with a bit of peanut or almond butter, or maybe some pasture butter. You can also top it with smashed raspberries or sliced strawberries for a nutrient punch.