I love my life!

Today was one of those days. So many moments happened that made me look back and say “I love my life.” I took a hard yoga class and worked my booty off in a totally different way than usual. I pushed through my soreness from the past two workouts and proved to myself that I could still challenge myself and not be a big baby!

Then I went to “work”

“It’s supposed to be fun, that’s why it’s called a play!”

I am so lucky to love what I do. I love theatre. I love teaching. I love directing. I love choreographing. I love the inspiration that comes from working with children and I love the incredible students I have the honor of teaching every single day. Let me tell you, if you don’t have days that you look at your “work” and feel pure joy, you have the wrong job. Don’t get me wrong–there are bad days, and days I can’t believe I was ever crazy enough to choose a career with so little stability, but it is all worth it 10 fold for days like today when I hold auditions and end up with twice as many talented kiddos as the last time! I really love my students. They make me so hopeful for the future!

Thhheennn I came home to Fajita Wednesday! My favorite. Wednesday nights I almost always teach until 8 (although once I start rehearsals every night will be a late dinner night) and Steve almost always has fajitas sizzling in the skillet by the time I get home. He makes the BEST fajitas. They’re pretty much famous. Today, not only did I come home to delicious Mexican smells making their way through our home, but I came home to a clean and organized office! Steve managed to do about a bazillion tasks (including the dishes!) after work and the gym and STILL managed to cook me dinner! I am a lucky gal.

THEN I got good quality snuggling time with Winston and Clementine! Winston laid next to me, while Clem laid on my lap resting her little head on Winnie. So freaking cute. A picture wouldn’t even do them justice.

I’m off to take the hubby out for some fro yo (he deserves it!) and spend the rest of my night making him feel special!

Somebody call the waaaahhhhmbulence!

My legs are screaming! And I am a big fat baby. Steve has no sympathy–some loving husband he is! :O) He said “You subjected yourself to it.” Ugghhh BOYS!

Yesterday I took bodyworks–my second time back after a way too long hiatus. Usually after bodyworks I am way to sore to do much of anything the next day other than walk uphill on a treadmill pretending I’m actually exercising and giving myself consolation points for going to the gym, but todaayyyyy, I got my lazy bum to spin class courtesy of my fav Dobson and Warner Starbucks barista turned friend turned group aerobics buddy Kara who did not let me off the hook this morning when I whined about being sore! Thanks Kara!

Today’s class was super motivating. The teacher was amazing and kept everything really fast paced so I had hardly any time to think about how angry my legs were! Actually at the time, most of it felt really good and like it was loosening me up after yesterday’s hour of squatting and lunging in bodyworks. I find that I love my workouts the most and am the most motivated when I go to classes regularly. Everyone is different, but having an instructor to push me and being around others brings out my competitive side and I almost always bring my A game.

I left today not only wanting to participate in a 62 mile ride for Diabetes in March, but also with the hint of wanting to train for a triathalon. I’m not making any commitments yet, but I have been wanting to do some sort of race or event for a long time and since my body is not much of a fan of running, it’s always been this idea that’s been put on the back burner or the “Oh that would be nice, but will never happen” category. But I think it’s definitely something I need to do for me. I need to show myself how far I’ve come and what I can accomplish when I put my mind to it.

Tomorrow I have cardio and yoga on the agenda and then spin again on Thursday! I love planning and getting excited for my work outs and I love that I am finally feeling pumped about the gym again!

Thursday in spin the teacher said “I know your legs are getting tired, I feel ya, but when mine are at the point when I want to give up I just think to myself ‘I wanna look good naked!'”

I loved that. When the idea of accomplishment and thoughts of the after work out endorphins just aren’t cutting it (like oh say at gear 20), there’s always that. Who doesn’t want to look better naked?

5, 4, 3, 2, 1!





Ok so I admit when I was like 16 I was hooked on those silly forwards where you would answer all the questions about yourself. Seriously, I filled out like every single one. So when I saw this on a few other blogs this morning, I couldn’t resist a chance to talk about myself. Yes, I am a little self involved and sometimes I am that person that loves to go on and on about themselves–it’s an inherent trait that I try to fight *most* of the time, but really isn’t a blog just that–a big open space to talk about yourself? That must be why I have one. I blame it on the theatre career. Feel free to re-post or leave comments with your answers :O)

5 words that describe you:

1) Silly

2) Sensitive

3) Goal oriented

4) Emotional…maybe this should be #1 haha

5) Child-like

4 favorite foods:

Ummm, can the answer be everything? :O)

1) Nut butters–All of them! Peanut, Sunflower, Almond–I could eat them by the jar!

2) Fro yo–need I say more?

3) Cilantro. It makes everything more delicious!

4) Cookies! Obviously I have a sweet tooth.

3 things I’m most proud of:



1) My senior showcase

2) Following my dreams (in case you didn’t know this theatre biz is HARD!)

3) I feel like I am a good friend. It’s a hard thing to put in writing because then I think of all of those times that I’m a less than perfect friend, but I didn’t say I was perfect–but I am good at friendship and I think the amazing people that have stayed in my life (a special few for 10+ years!) proves that this is one thing I am good at, and I think that is something to be proud of!

2 favorite workouts:

1) Dance!!! Obviously.

2) Spin, but on a day I’d just taken body works, I might say that :O)

1 thing to expect from my blog:

Ummm…RECIPES! Of course :O)

Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes

Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes

During our trip to San Diego, all the boys ordered more delicious food than me 90% of the time. Isn’t that the way it goes when you hang out with boys with super metabolisms? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the way I eat. I wouldn’t choose to eat in a way I hated…well at least not at this point in my life, and the way heavy calorie dense food make me feel super icky definitely triumphs the taste factor. Delicious and at least moderately healthy is always the best game plan. And I chowed down on amazing sushi, a mexi potatoey breakfast, Mexican food, a delicious veggie-egg white-goat cheese-potato hash, and whole lot of Pinkberry (or as Nacho calls it, Pigeon Berry–I don’t even know how that got started but now I can’t call it anything else), so I was in no way deprived on this trip, but after tasting Jason’s blueberry cornmeal pancakes, I was a little jealous.

Saturday before Steve and I went grocery shopping, I suggested we decide on a breakfast plan for the next day so we could get everything we needed. He asked for pancakes–duhhh–he almost always chooses pancakes. It must be a result of the dark ages in which none of us even sampled a carb for months at a time–so awful–NEVER DO A CARB DIET!!! Anyway, we are still dealing with our carb cravings haha.

Obviously, I decided we had to recreate these babies

Mine may not be as pretty (if you haven’t noticed, presentation is not my forte!), but I would venture to say I liked them better than the original and they kept me full for hours!

Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes:

yield 2 servings

*1/2 cup reduced fat buttermilk

*1/4 cup water

*1 egg white

*1/2 tbs honey

*1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour

*1/4 cup cornmeal

*1/2 tbs sugar substitute (or f you don’t want to go fake, skip it and double the honey)

*1 tbs milled flax seed

*1/2 tbs chia seeds

*1/2 tsp baking powder

*1/4 tsp baking soda

*Pinch salt

*Blueberries–lots of ‘em! As many as you can fit! I just dumped them in to my desired amount, but probably used almost a cup!

Suggested toppings:

*Syrup (I use sugar-free, but a pure maple syrup would probably actually be more healthy)

*Nut butter

*Yogurt

*Fried egg

*Granola

*Fruit

**NOTE**You could also mix some protein powder and/or oats into the batter!

Mix wet ingredients in a small bowl and dry ingredients (excluding blueberries) in a medium bowl. Gently fold wet ingredients into dry until just combined (over mixing=tough pancakes! Don’t be afraid of small lumps!). Gently fold in blueberries. Cook over medium low heat in a greased pan until bubbles start to form on top, flip and cook for an other minute or so until finished.

I just cooked each of us our own huge pancake



And for once, didn’t completely mess it up in the flipping process!

Steve topped his with an over medium egg+a white and sf maple syrup

I topped mine with sunflower butter, sugar free maple syrup, non fat vanilla greek yogurt and a sprinkling of low fat granola on the very top. It was amazing to say the least, but no surprise I was full for so long–it was a lot of food!

It was the perfect start to our Sunday and went much better than my two failed attempts at making goat cheese. Ugghh, I hate it when I try to make something and it doesn’t work out–it makes me GRUMPY! But at least I had a super successful dinner on Friday and this delicious breakfast to keep my spirits up! Oh, and my cute life long boyfriend :O)

Healthy vs. Skinny

Healthy vs. Skinny

I have a confession. The truth is I am not at my goal weight. Still actually a whopping 25 lbs away to be honest. Sometimes I have to fight embarrassment when trying to write a blog about healthy recipes and healthy living in general. It gets so easy for me to invalidate my progress with the fact that I’m not skinny, and I’m not currently losing weight–I’m just kind of sitting in the plateau and allowing that to be okay.

It’s funny every time I whine at the doctor’s office about how I eat healthy and I work out and I count my calories (well back when I did–RELIGIOUSLY), they always say to me “Well, you’re perfectly healthy. Maybe this is just where your body wants to be.” And I look at them in utter shock each time thinking “Did you see the scale when you just weighed me?!?! You must be mistaken.” Every time. I’m not sure what exactly I’m expecting them to say, really.

I feel like there is so much stigma in our society about healthy meaning skinny and vice versa. It’s funny because I know plenty o’ skinny minis that are far from healthy. It also goes back to the fact that health is so much more than 1 dimensional. Mind, body and spirit. Multi-dimensional. Of course non of us are perfect and making perfectly healthy choices in every area 100% of the time–we’re human, but I feel like being healthy means actively striving to make the best choices every day to be the best that we can be in mind, body and spirit.

Which leads me to an other thought I’ve been having. I chose the name “Skinnified” for my blog when I wanted it to be all about the food and the recipes. And honestly, I never thought it would be something I’d want to put much time into, but the more I write, the more I discover that what I actually want it to be about is me–more specifically how my journey can help others discover their own journey. I feel like I have a lot to share and others have a lot to teach me. I want to be a resource for others who want to make a change.

I remember when I first started changing my eating habits, I felt clueless and helpless. I had no idea how to eat healthily or how to work out. It’s sad that I was 23 years old with absolutely no knowledge. I don’t think she even realizes it, but my friend Mandie was one of the most influential people in helping me to achieve my goals and make better choices. She answered all of my questions without ever once making me feel stupid or inferior for not knowing. She was a resource filled with information and I trusted her to be able to ask the simplest of questions like “Why do some people not eat red meat? What’s the difference?”

Anyway, back on the topic of blog names–now that it’s about me and my focus is far from being skinny–should I change the blog name? Any suggestions?

And just for fun and to remind myself that my 70 lbs lost is nothing to feel embarrassed about,

Then:

Now:


Lavosh Pizzas

Lavosh Pizzas

If you’ve ever eaten the glazed chicken lavosh pizza @ Pita Jungle, then you can understand my excitement when I found not just regular lavosh, but WHOLE WHEAT lavosh bread at Trader Joe’s. Seriously the PERFECT pizza crust!

Last weekend when we were in San Diego, my mom, Hank and Charlie graciously offered to babysit out children.



So Friday night I invited them over for dinner to say thank you. As soon as I saw the lavosh bread @ TJ’s, I was inspired to make my own flat bread pizza creations. I decided to try to recreate the Glazed Chicken Lavosh, and create my own BBQ Chicken.

Steve recently splurged on a fancy new camera and has become obsessed with taking pictures. When he began photographing me in action, I was less than amused.

But I quickly warmed up to the idea when I realized how much more fun the recipe/life blog would become with actual quality pictures and not the lame-o cell phone ones I’ve been trying to pass as good enough!

Now that I am measuring less and improvising more, it is making recipe writing a lot more challenging, but I will do my best to use more actual terms and less terms like “a crap load” :O)

BBQ Chicken Lavosh Pizza:

*1 whole wheat lavosh bread

*1/4 cup BBQ sauce

*1/4 red onion, sliced and caramelized (To caramelize, I just cook on low heat with a little olive oil and balsalmic vinegar for what seems like forever until the onions are super sweet and softened)

*Kernels from 1 ear corn, roasted (I brushed it with BBQ sauce before roasting YUM!)

*2 tbs cilantro, chopped

*1/2 cooked chicken breast, cubed (I marinated in BBQ sauce for 1 hour, then browned on the stove in a cast iron and transferred to the oven @ 350 for about 20 min)

*Freshly shredded part skim mozzarella

*Freshly shredded goat cheddar (I found it @ TJ’s…in fact I got all my ingredients there!)

Crisp bread in the oven @ 400 degrees for 4 min. Spread a thin layer of BBQ sauce. Evenly spread chicken, corn, onions and cilantro. Top with desired amount of cheese (I used a 2:1 ratio of mozzarella and cheddar). Place back in the oven for an additional 5 minutes or until the cheese is fully melted. Slice and serve!

Glazed Chicken Lavosh Pizza:

*1 whole wheat

*1/4 red onion, sliced and carmelized

*1/2 cooked chicken breast, cubed (I marinated in honey mustard for 1 hour, then browned on the stove in a cast iron and transferred to the oven @ 350 for about 20 min)

*Freshly shredded part skim mozzarella

*Crumbled reduced fat feta cheese

*Sriracha sauce for topping (optional)

This one is super easy–place chicken and onion on the lavosh bread, top with cheese (I used an equal ratio of these cheeses). Cook in the oven @ 400 for approx 8 minutes or until the cheese is fully melted.

**NOTE** If I were to do this again, I would have given it a sauce. I don’t think they do at Pita Jungle, but it would have made it better I think. I would have mixed some olive oil with some honey mustard and brushed it on the bread–however, if you do this, you will want to crisp up the bread first like in the BBQ recipe!

BBQ Salad:

*Leaves from 1 heart romaine

*Kernels from 2 ears corn, roasted (the same way as the pizza corn)

*1 red bell pepper, chopped

*2 tbs cilantro, chopped

*1 hard boiled egg + 2 hard boiled whites

*1 can reduced sodium black beans, drained and rinsed

*1/4 cup low fat feta, crumbled

*1/4 cup goat cheddar

*I would add some roma tomato, but my step dad is not a fan

Mix everything together in a big bowl and top with

BBQ Ranch Dressing:

*2:1:1 ratio fat free ranch, BBQ sauce, and fat free sour cream

*1 tbs cilantro, chopped

Whisk together!

Steve’s plate (which looked pretty much exactly like mine)



The wrath of what Steve calls “Hurricane Ariana” in the kitchen

Yes, I do manage to use all of my luxurious counter space almost any time I cook absolutely anything. That’s what it’s there for!

Enjoy everyone! Happy Sunday :O)

Do you like figs?

Do you like figs?

I wasn’t so sure. A big part of me didn’t think I did because the word fig doesn’t sound very appetizing, but I’ve heard people talk about how sweet and delicious they are so I decided I was at least open to trying them. I just got the most amazing new cookbook from Williams Sonoma (thanks to wedding gift cards! whoot!) called Eat Well, and I had book marked a bunch of pages (of course), so when I was trying to decide what to make when Jason came over for dinner on Wednesday, Steve suggested we each open the book to a bookmarked page and pick whichever recipe sounded better. I opened to pork tenderloin with fig, he opened to some pumpkin quinoa dish. I won.

This is definitely one of my favorite and probably most impressive meals I’ve made, but it was actually super easy! Once we decided, I of course had to figure a salad to go with it, so here’s what we ended up with!

Salad:

*Arugula

*Toasted walnuts

*Dried mission fig, chopped

*Unsweetened dried cherries

*A generous helping of goat cheese on top

Dressing:

*1.5:1 Red wine vinegar and olive oil

*1-2 sprigs rosemary, stems discarded, finely chopped

*Drizzle honey dijon

*Drizzle plain ole honey

*Garlic pepper

Pork tenderloin with fig:

*12 dried mission figs, stemmed and halves

*1.5 cups dry red wine

*1.25 lb pork tenderloin

*Salt and pepper to taste

*Olive oil

*3 sprigs fresh thyme or rosemary

*1 tbs fig jam (I couldn’t find it so I used fig butter)

*1 tsp lemon zest

Preheat oven to 400. Place figs and wine in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 min. Remove from heat and let stand for 15 min. Drain figs and reserve wine.

Pat pork dry, trim away fat, season with salt and pepper.

Season a cast iron skillet with olive oil and place over medium heat. Add pork and brown on all 4 sides (approx 5 min total). Arrange figs and herbs around pork and bake for 18-25 min when the meat reaches 155 degrees F (I cooked mine for 21 minutes and it came out PERFECT. Also, I cut the tenderloin in half to fit comfortable in the skillet).

Transfer tenderloin and figs to a platter, cover with tin foil and let rest for 10 min. Add wine, jam, and lemon zest to cast iron and bring to a boil over medium-high heat stirring often for 4-5 min. Remove and discard herbs.

Slice pork diagonally approx 1/2 inch thick. Arrange figs around pork and spoon sauce on top.

My plate:

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal

Ummm, maybe the best breakfast EVER. I’ve been looking forward to today’s breakfast ever since I had left over pumpkin from my 25 calorie pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. I love pumpkin. I love chocolate. I love oatmeal. In fact I am pretty much obsessed with oats in any form right now–in oatmeal, in cookies, in smoothies, in yogurt–you name it. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to discover their amazingness.

Heaven in a bowl AKA Pumpkin chocolate chip oatmeal:

*1/4 cup oats

*1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

*1 tsp milled flax seed

*1/2 tsp chia seeds

*1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder

*cinnamon to taste

*pinch salt

*1/3 cup canned pumpkin

*drizzle sf maple syrup

*optional: spoonful non fat vanilla yogurt

*grain sweetened chocolate chips for topping

Combine all ingredients except chocolate chips in a small pot on the stove, cook until desired consistency, put it in your bowl and top with chocolate chips! They melt just enough so that you have a delicious chocolate swirl running through your oatmeal. Man I should have taken a picture after I mixed it all up. So delicious.


The 25 calorie cookie

The 25 calorie cookie

I know what you’re thinking. That can’t be good. I’ll tell you, they are tiny, and I would consider a serving size two cookies which technically comes out to 47 calories according to calorie count, but how amazing does it sound to say I created a 25 calorie cookie? Nevermind the fact that I actually just melded a few different recipes together with my own added twist :O) The truth is, these cookies are not just low calorie, but actually nutritious and I can’t wait to add some protein powder to the mix and turn them into breakfast muffins and pancakes.

The idea? Mix a can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling!) with a box of spice cake. Mix, bake, done. I’ll be honest, this version does not change the calorie count much, but whatever, my version is more fun and more fiberful!

  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup milled flax seed
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup splenda brown sugar blend
  • 1/2 cup sugar free maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 12oz can pumpkin
  • 1 1/2ish cups grain sweetened chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Mix dry ingredients, add wet ingredients. Drop on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes!


“Spring” cleaning

"Spring" cleaning

What can I say? We’re a couple months late. Okay, I have a confession–in case you didn’t already know, I am a messy person. A messy messy person by nature, and I have to fight every instinct inside my being in order to stay at all clean and organized. It’s weird because in most other senses I am a total type A perfectionist. I really wish it transferred into this part of my life! Well, about 9 hours later, all my clothes are clean, our bedroom is sparkly, my car is completely void of all marathon scripts, teaching supplies and starbucks cups, and most excitingly, THE PANTRY IS CLEAN!!!! AND ORGANIZED!!!!!

We have this ridiculously enormous pantry that had started to feel so tiny as we shoved more and more crap in there, but nooooowwww, there are empty shelves! There are nice little areas for all categories of things! My numerous baking supplies are in order, and I even found extra containers to store some of my weirdo health nut food that you can only buy in the bulk section and looks really sloppy in those whole foods bags (chia seeds, nutritional yeast, and I transferred my milled flax seed also!).

Are you ready for thiiiisssss????

So first we have cleaning crap, pasta, nuts, tons of sf pudding (love) and two of my favorite foods on earth: oats and cereal.



Next, enough canned food to get us through the apacolypse, and my ridiculous baking stash. Note to self: You do not EVER need to buy the following things again–canola oil, corn syrup (gross–why do I have so much?), tomato paste, cocoa powder, and cupcake liners. Apparently, we have enough to last a lifetime. Oy!



Lastly, and second to my entire shelf dedicated to baking, probably my favorite: A cute little nook for all my cookbooks (including my favorite–“Ari’s Recipe Book of Awesome by Heather McQuarrie)! We are hopefully going to get a bookshelf for them soon, but for now, this will do!

The most interesting part of the organizing? Discovery the brown sugar incident of 2011. I’m not sure when or how it happened, but somehow almost everything in our pantry seemed to have a light dusting of brown sugar–even the things shelves above where I keep the brown sugar. Weird. Many clorox wipes later, I think we are finally brown sugar less.

Today was supposed to be goat cheese day, but Steve and I were just too worn out from working on the house all day. I couldn’t even get it together to cook dinner. Instead, I had chipotle for the 3rd day in a row. Haha. I just can’t get over cilantro lime brown rice!

Alright, I think I’m gonna go open up one of my last delicious blueberry beers and enjoy my clean house!

PS: Coming soon–I just realized I don’t think I ever posted the recipe for my skinny mini corn dogs! They are super cute and when I made them, they were downed in seconds–recipe to come!

I feel like we all get stuck in ruts sometimes where we just feel like everyone in the world hates us. No? Just me? Okay, well sometimes I get stuck in a rut and I feel everyone in the world hates me. I’ll admit it. Today without thinking about it, I reached out to a friend that I have been meaning to reach out to for a long time–nothing big, just posted on his facebook and told him I loved him (Kyle, if you read this, your kind words to me are basically to thank for my big turn around in mood–even months later they still make my heart happy!) and I realized how much better I felt after just getting over myself and telling a friend they are important.

It’s funny, often times when I start to get that feeling like nobody likes me and everyone wishes I weren’t around, when I put myself out there and do something to make someone else hopefully not feel that way, I feel a lot lot lot better. I understand that the crappy feelings are mostly fabricated thoughts from my head and not how anyone feels, but the more time you spend inside your head, the easier it is to get trapped in there.

Thank goodness for amazing things like spin class to get me out of my head! There are a handful of things that almost always take me out of my head and allow me to see a clear picture (in other words–feel better). They are an amazing work out, doing nice things for other people, and baking–but only when I give the baked goods away so I guess that falls under the second one. One thing that I have always hated about our society, myself included, is that is so much more socially acceptable to judge others (I would be a big fat liar if I said I didn’t do this) than to compliment. I mean there are so many positive things that I really do think of others–strangers, friends, family, acquaintances–that I never say because I feel embarrassed. My goal is to GTFOI and just be a better person. I know it sounds vague, but it is exactly what I need to do right now to feel good about me. Is it weird that I feel better complimenting others than receiving compliments? Man I SUCK at that part. Oh well, one step at a time.

Anyway, I tried the chia seeds in my oatmeal today. Not so sure what I think. I didn’t notice too big of a difference while eating, but I felt like they left kind of a strange after taste. Nothing I’m not willing to put up with for the nutritional benefits, but I was just kind of hoping they would taste amazing. Oh well, I do actually think they made a difference as far as the lasting power of my breakfast. Oats + almond milk + water + yogurt + blueberries + peanut butter + protein powder + chia = still full over an hour after a super intense spin class! Works for me!

Word on the street is, the Chipotle by my house now has cilantro lime BROWN RICE!!!! I know where I’ll be for lunch time…!

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