Flotation Therapy + Weekend Recap

Happy Monday!

This past week has been an absolute whirlwind – between running 17+ miles for my half marathon training, I picked up another yoga class to teach on Sunday, booked my flights for March (Florida & NYC!!!), had a long-overdue christmas party at my apt with my family, tried flotation therapy, and became a wine & cheese expert. Don’t worry, I got some sleep in there!

First off – Family came over to celebrate a late Christmas since my Sister and her husband were in town. Insert: pizza, lots of wine, more wine, presents, drunk baking and opening presents! It’s always fun when my mom and all of my siblings get together – we are all goofballs.

siblings

Saturday I ran 5 miles with my MIT¬†group – and met a few new friends in the 9:15 pace group. I am seriously loving training so far! Slowing down my pace while training has made running so.much.more.enjoyable. I don’t mind running the miles, and the speedwork on Wednesday’s is so much fun! Big shout out to Nikki for inspiring me to join ūüôā

DCIM100GOPROG0080474.

Early Afternoon run in the rain!

(Side note ‚Äď if you would like¬†to support¬†my run by donating to St Jude, you can find my fund page here. Every cent helps, and your support is¬†so much appreciated!!)

After my run, I went home and showered before heading to Whole Foods with my cousin. She had some amazing blueberry wine, and we decided to build a cheese board and make an afternoon out of it!

Cheese and wine

After chatting with the Whole Foods cheese dept, we bought a bunch of different cheeses and curated an amazing cheese board to go with the wine РI was in a food coma for basically the rest of the night!

Cheese Plate

Yes, that is all amazing cheese-that slice in the middle that looks like cake? Yep -baked lemon ricotta cheese that is literally life changing.

After going to bed at 9:30 Saturday (I am such a grandma on the weekends these days!), I taught my first back-to-back yoga class Sunday morning Рand can you believe it, my 8 am class was still BOOKED (over 40 people!), while the added 9:30 class only had about 20 people. (Personally, I would have slept in for an extra 1.5 hours ;))

I loved teaching both classes – the energy is so different based on the size – bigger is more fun, more laughs, and much, much less space. A smaller class is a little less loud, but I can give more one-on-one attention, which I love! Teaching yoga has been such a (wonderful) surprise for me – I never in a million years thought I would teach again (I taught gymnastics in college, but that’s very, very different!). It’s taught me to face a lot of fears, and while I still get nervous teaching my classes, it has helped me grow, be more creative, and get out of my comfort zone ūüôā

After my second class, I rushed over to try Flotation Therapy – which is basically floating in a salt-water filled tank in complete darkness & silence for an hour. I know what you are thinking… WHY?! For a few reasons – It’s a form of meditation, for one. It’s great for relaxation & reducing stress, and increases¬†healing time for any type of injury (seriously wish I knew about this post-ACL surgery!)… I also bought a groupon, which means it was half the cost of a normal session. You can read more about the benefits here.

Float Therapy2

Hallway to the Float rooms

Float Therapy 1

Post-Float area with hair dryers, lotion, etc.

You need to arrive 30 minutes before the appointment to sign a waiver, watch a short video, then are given a tour of the treatment area.

Float Spa

After showering, you put in ear plugs and enter the tank.¬†It’s a really weird feeling, because you are literally floating on water without being held up by anything (in 10 inches of water). BTW – that pod is actually HUGE in person – There was room for 2-3 of me!

Float Therapy 2

After my 1-hour session, I felt a little off-kilter once I stepped out of the pod to shower – kind of like stepping off of an elevator, but it lasted for 5-10 minutes. After that, I felt fine and relaxed. Followed up with 15 minutes of oxygen therapy & tea, I felt like I could nap for hours!

It’s actually pretty pricey – $80/session – or $300 for 3-6 months, or something like that. I kind of wish groupon offered a package deal of 3-6 sessions, as you are supposed to notice the difference after 3+ floats. I am going to see how I feel in the next few days, and MAYBE go again (If I win the lottery and have a ton of extra money to spend on floating in salt water ;)).

So that’s been my past week – this week, I need to begin packing for my weekend in San ¬†Francisco! Packing for 2 days of nothing but yoga workshops at the Yoga Journal Event, plus 3+ days to explore the city.

So what’s everyone else been up to? What’s your favorite cheese/wine pairing? And have you ever tried flotation therapy?

Arctic Zero Ice Cream Giveaway!

After¬†a long day at work this past Tuesday, I came home to a big box sitting on my doorstep. Normally I just order a ton of stuff on amazon for myself, so I was super excited to see something that I didn’t order! Arctic Zero was nice enough to send me a box full of ice cream to try out – low calorie, full of chocolate, GMO free, gluten free… um, YES please!¬†The box came wrapped up in a beautiful bow with a note – I felt like such a princess! Surprise gifts, ice cream, bows, chocolate… men, take note ūüėČ

arctic

After opening the package, I found instruction on how to eat the ice cream (wait, there are instructions? don’t you just eat the entire pint as soon as you take it out of the freezer??), as well as 5 different flavors to try: Salted Caramel, Butter Pecan, Key Lime Pie, Chocolate Chip, and Mint Chip.

arctic ice cream

Normally I would dig in right away, but in order to eat with the best consistency, you need to wait and let it thaw. Ok, that wasn’t happening… Option 2: microwave for 30 seconds. Ok, I can do that.

arctic zero

I decided to try the flavors in the order that I thought would taste the best:

Salted Caramel
Chocolate Chip
Mint Chip
Key Lime Pie
Butter Pecan

After thawing my first pint, I dug right in – and burnt my tongue. On ice cream. Is that even possible?? I must have left the pint in the microwave a bit too long, and the ice cream got a little TOO warm. After it happened, I spent the next¬†2 minutes laughing at myself, because seriously – only this would happen to me. I guess this is what happens when¬†you live by yourself, are impatient, and love ice cream… it’s like being a child. Even though you are an adult. BTW – who even let me have the title of “Adult?” ANYWAYS. On to the ice cream review, because I know that’s why you are reading this post!

Salted Caramel: creamy, delicious, and exactly what I expected. Not too sweet, and would have been perfect topped with chocolate. Since this is low in calories, I think a little extra chocolate wouldn’t hurt ūüôā

salted caramel

Chocolate Chip:¬†Unfortunately, I thought this flavor was a bit bland. The chocolate chips were a nice addition, but the ice cream iteself didn’t have much of a flavor. I only took 2 bites from this.

choc chippy

Cool Mint Chip: Growing up, my grandma would always have mint chocolate chip ice cream in her freezer. So of course, I had high expectations. This flavor was not as sweet, but minty, creamy, and had the perfect amount of chocolate chips in it.

Key Lime Pie: Ok. So, this is not a flavor I would EVER voluntarily choose. Not that I don’t like key lime pie, I just prefer to eat chocolate and peanut butter ice creams. With that being said, this was actually my favorite flavor. The chunks of graham cracker crust, not too sweet, and a hint of tartness from the lime = perfection.

key lime pie

Buttery Pecan: This was my third favorite flavor! Tasted exactly like butter pecan ice cream Рand the amount of chopped pecans was perfect!

butter pecanWith delicious¬†treats food, my general rule is always eat first, ask questions later. Ok, probably not the best rule to have if you are trying to eat healthy… but with Arctic Zero, you don’t¬†have to worry. The ice cream is made out of hormone-free whey protein (& lactose free!) + monk fruit, is gluten free, high in protein, low fat, GMO free and low glycemic. Basically, just eat as much as you can after a workout without making yourself sick. The entire pint is only 150-300 calories, so why not? Ice cream for dinner! Again, I don’t know who told me I could adult – I am a child running wild with a credit card, too much freedom and a huge sweet tooth ūüôā

After reading all of this, who is hungry for ice cream? Lucky for you, Arctic Zero has VIP Vouchers for 1 free pint OR box of chocolate dipped bars for 5 lucky winners! The VIP vouchers are valid at any retail store that carries Arctic Zero products. There are a few ways to enter (the more you do, the more entries you get!):

  1. Follow me on Instagram
  2. Follow me on my blog
  3. Leave a comment at the bottom of this post telling me what you think your favorite flavor will be
  4. Repost giveway on instagram and tag @ArcticZero & @FitblondeYogi

Enter the giveaway here 

5 winners will be randomly chosen one week from today! If you simply cannot wait and need to go out and buy some right now, you can enter in your zipcode here to find a store near you that carries Arctic Zero (I normally buy mine from Kroger or Whole Foods).

Thanks for reading, and good luck in the giveaway!

11/24 – The contest has ended – congrats to the 5 winners below! Arctic Zero will send an email requesting an address to send you your free ice cream voucher!

  • Annamarie V
  • Kathy E
  • Jordan D
  • Evie B
  • Elle P

**The product provided for the review was free of charge from the company. The product offered for the giveaway is free of charge, no purchase necessary. My opinions are my own and were not influenced by any form of compensation. 

Crockpot BBQ Short Ribs

So my sister & her husband run this amazing farm out in Pennsylvania, and I always buy her meat (basically the happiest cows on earth). The last time I placed an order, I decided to be adventurous and buy some ribs. Problem is, I have never cooked ribs… and I don’t have a grill, which is probably the best way to make them. However, I am all about research, creating new recipes, and making them as easy as possible to put together. Also, you can’t ever go wrong with grassfed meat & bbq sauce ūüôā Recipe is below!

FinalRibs

Crockpot BBQ Short Ribs

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 lbs short ribs
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 bottle of BBQ sauce
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke

Instructions:

Onions Prep

Combine all spices + liquid smoke with 1/4 cup of brown sugar & cover/rub into ribs. Let sit overnight, if possible. Cut up onion & place at bottom of crockpot. Place ribs on top, then cover ribs with BBQ sauce. Cook on low for 4-6 hours.

CrockpotRibs BBQRibs

Combine 1/4 cup of brown sugar with 1/4 cup of bbq sauce & rub over ribs. Place ribs on a foil sheet & broil in oven until caramelized. Serve with a side & Enjoy!

Finalbbqribs

Sweet & Creamy Root Vegetable Soup (Paleo!)

Hello!

Ever since I got back from Europe, I have been wanting to re-create a recipe for a soup that I had while in Chamonix, France: Beet Soup. It sounds gross, but it wasn’t ALL beets – it was potatoes, and shallots, and red wine vinegar… and it was sweet and salty and just amazing. So, I decided to make the recipe tonight – anddddd it didn’t exactly turn out the way that I wanted it to… BUT. It was still amazing! My beet soup recipe ended up turning more into a root veggie soup – with only a hint of beets. Also, the color should have been straight up the color of beets, but it turned out orange. I will definitely be tweaking this and trying again another time (less potatoes, more beets). So for the time being – enjoy my not-as-planned soup below for a perfect fall meal!

Final

Sweet & Creamy Root Vegetable Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 Potato, chopped into cubes
  • 1 Sweet Potato (chopped into cubes)
  • 2 carrot stalks (chopped)
  • 4 cooked beets (I cheated and bought pre-cooked ones from Trader Joes)
  • 1 shallot
  • butter (or ghee)
  • 1 can coconut milk (full or light)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 baby leaf
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 cups broth (I used vegetable, you could use chicken)
  • garlic powder to taste
  • sugar to taste (optional – I used coconut sugar, you could also use dates)

Directions:

Cook shallots & garlic in butter until they start to brown (I cooked in a large cast-iron skillet). Add in broth, potatoes & carrots. Place a lid on top of skillet & let cook until vegetables/potatoes are soft. Remove the bay leaf. Transfer entire mixture into a blender/processor, adding the rest of the ingredients. *I recommend adding the spices at the very end, a little at the time, to find the perfect blend

Beets Shallots

Mix for a few seconds at a time – or fully mix – depending on how you want your soup, creamy or with a few veggie chunks.

Paleo Soup

Serve with a side (I was roasting chopped brussel sprouts and carrots while making this, so just topped my soup with them!) or some bread. Enjoy!

2 Carrot Paleo Soup carrot paleo bath

Paleo Protein Bar Review & Giveaway: Exo

To prep for my upcoming trip to Europe, I’ve been stashing up on snacks and protein bars to bring with me. For the days that I will be walking around a lot, working out, unable to find food right away, I need snacks¬†on hand to tide me over. Insert: Exo Protein Bars! For those of you who are a little more adventurous, these bars are made out of cricket protein powder. Yep, you read that right. Crickets.

Now before you stop reading and swear on your dead body that you would NEVER eat a bug, let me drop a little knowledge on you about the greatness of these bars:

  • the percentage of protein used in these bars is almost 2-6 times more than any other protein source
  • crickets are a complete protein source
  • crickets produce 100x less greenhouse gases than cows
  • raising crickets is dramatically less harmful than raising traditional livestock – see the info chart below!

exo info

So are you sold on trying them¬†yet? If not, below is my own personal review – and let me tell you, I was a bit freaked out at first to eat bugs ūüėČ

Exo sent me 4 bars to try:
Peanut Butter & Jelly
Blueberry
Apple cinnamon
Cocao nut

Exo protein bars

I originally thought blueberry would be my favorite – however, the Peanut Butter & Jelly and the Cocoa nut ended up being my favorite! The blueberry & Apple cinnamon bars tasted a little earthy – I liked that the other 2 bars had a more prominent flavor. When I first tried these bars, I was definitely thinking a few things: OMG. I am eating crickets. Are these going to be crunchy? OMG this is gross.

After taking a few bites, I realized that it wasn’t so bad. The crickets are washed,¬†dried¬†to remove the moisture, then¬†milled into fine flour. The result is slightly nutty-tasting flour that is high in protein and micronutrients (source). I think the only issue with these bars is the mental hurdle – the fact that you are eating bugs. If someone handed me this bar without telling me it was made with crickets, I would have thought it was just a tasty protein bar. And – if you need any more convincing – a few of my girlfriends tried these bars with me, and they gave a thumbs up!

So – after reading my reviews, I know you all are just itching to try these bars… especially you adventurous, paleo,¬†backpacking, planet-saving people of the earth! Exo has 1 box of PB&J bars¬†to give away to one lucky winner. All you have to do is 1) 1) Follow my blog and 2)¬†tell me why you want to try these bars!¬†Enter at the link below, and leave¬†your response in the comments below. Rafflecop will randomly choose a winner by the end of Monday, 9/7 @ 11:59 pm ET. I can’t wait to read everyone’s response!

**This contest is now closed… The winner¬†is Linda R! Congrats!

Click here to be entered into the EXO Protein Bar Giveaway!

**The product provided for the review was free of charge from the company. The product offered for the giveaway is free of charge, no purchase necessary. My opinions are my own and were not influenced by any form of compensation. 

Hickory-Smoked Mocha Sea Salt Burgers with Kale & Chard Salad

Do you ever go into a a grocery store (or any store) and end up filling your cart with shit you didn’t go in for? Well, that happened to me today. I ended up filling my cart at Giant Eagle, then headed for the checkout lane before I realized I had nothing in my cart that I had walked in the store to buy. You see, I walked in and saw the fresh produce section, and a recipe began to materialize into my brain. So, naturally I started running around, talking to myself (it’s an embarrassing habit I’m trying to break – but really, I can’t be the only one who does this??) and figuring out what ingredients would work best for this amazing new recipe I was¬†going to create.¬†And guess what – it was. I ended up making the best meal of my life. Not trying to toot my horn or anything, but I made the world’s best salad & burger (burger recipe inspired/adapted by popular paleo) to go with it. I kept finding random ingredients at the store to add to this recipe, so really, you can thank my ADHD for kicking in to create this awesomeness!

Oh – and this meal is completely Paleo/whole30 approved – minus the bun (I used UDI’s gluten free buns, if you are into that kinda stuff) & cheese, both of which are very optional. So… eat this with a very clear conscience. You are welcome.

Paleo Burger 2

Hickory Smoked Sea Salt Mocha Burgers (makes 4-6 burgers)
recipe adapted from Popular Paleo

Ingredients:

  • 1-1.5 lbs ground beef
  • 1/2 tsp hickory liquid smoke (popular paleo uses ancho cile powder)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup cold brew coffee (i used trader joes, but you could just use leftover coffee)
  • 1 tbsp oil (I used olive)
  • 1 tsp cocoa/cacao powder
  • Bacon
  • Avocado
  • Optional: Mayo (I used kensington Mayo)
  • Optional: hamburger buns or lettuce
  • Optional: Gouda Cheese

Directions:
Combine liquid smoke with salt, garlic, 2 tbsp olive oil & ground beef (**Olive oil is optional – I add this to make the burgers extra soft¬†so they don’t get chewy when cooked.. it’s like biting into butter, trust me on this). Form into patties – I had about 1.11 lbs of ground beef and made 5 patties. Pour cold coffee brew over patties – let them soak for 10-30 minutes on one side, then flip and let soak for 10-30 minutes on the other side (I was preparing my salad and ended up letting the meat marinate in the coffee for about an hour).

That time I walked into the Grocery store for baby wipes & potatoes and came out with 100$ + more groceries....

That time I walked into the Grocery store for baby wipes & potatoes and came out with 100$ + more groceries….

                         mix insGround beef

Marinating Patties!

Marinating Patties!

While the meat is marinating, combine the cacao powder and olive oil & mix until there are no more clumps. Dump in the cold brew that was marinating your burgers and mix all together. Place your burgers in a skillet (or pan, or grill, however you want to cook them), pouring the marinade over top. Cook the burgers to your liking (I like medium rare!) and remove from pan when finished. Cook Bacon in left over coffee/cacao sauce. Place burger on bun or bed of lettuce. Top with gouda cheese, bacon & mayo. Enjoy!

Cacao Marinade

Cacao Marinade

Marinating Beef

Patties cooking in the marinade

Optional: Kensington Mayo

Optional: Kensington Mayo

Paleo burger with avocado

Paleo Burger

Fresh Kale & Chard Salad

kale and chard salad

Ingredients for salad:

  • 1 bunch of rainbow chard
  • 1/2 bunch kale
  • 1/2 rutabaga, peeled
  • 1 beet
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 avocado
  • optional: grated¬†cheese (I used manchego)

Ingredients for dressing:

  • juice of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1/4 grapefruit
  • 1/2 tsp garlic
  • 3 tbsp oil (i used olive)
  • 2 tbsp balsamic (or white balsamic) vinegar
  • 2 tbsp white wine (optional)
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Chop all salad ingredients up and place into a bowl. Mix all dressing ingredients together, and toss with salad. Serve topped with shaved cheese (optional).

Rutabaga    Beets

salad mix ins Salad

Grapefruit  salad finish

Plate all ingredients and enjoy! Please note that the potatoes were a bit of an afterthought – i just roasted in a skillet with butter until cooked and topped with salt. Totally optional!

Paleo Burger

Paleo mocha sea salt burger

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