It’s peach season here in Colorado and apparently it’s a pretty big deal. There are several festivals happening throughout the entire state in celebration. A mountain town, on the Western Slope, Palisade, CO is where some of the best peaches in the world are grown and that small town sits near Wine Country. Sounds like a great place to vacation – local wineries, festivals, tours, farm-to-table dinners (peach & wine inspired), farmers markets, B&B’s, and a quaint little downtown. (count me in!!)
After hearing about these peaches (everyone is talking about them!) I didn’t wait long to try them. I ate one the first chance I got! I was driving through a small suburb right outside of Denver the first time I spotted these peaches, they were being sold at a little fruit stand in the corner of the parking lot. I may or may not being living off of peaches right now – I take one with me every where I go. I eat them for breakfast and as a late-night snack. I’ve paired them with ice cream and peanut buttered crackers.
For a Sunday morning breakfast-in-bed, I decided to make a Peaches & Cream Yogurt Parfait. I prepared the peaches last night (as the recipe prompts you to do) and couldn’t wait to get up this morning to eat them. And now I’m off… to begin my day…
“Where are we??”
“What are we??”
….a chant that was articulated between a yoga teacher and 2000 yogi students (including myself and a lucky PLQ giveaway winner) several times this morning….
By 9:30 AM this morning, I felt accomplished. I had already practiced yoga at Red Rocks with 2000 other yogis and hiked the Trading Post Trail at Red Rocks. Oh, I’d also collected several free samples that Whole Foods was giving away for the Yoga On The Rocks event.
I learned today that Red Rocks is the ONLY naturally-occuring, acoustically perfect amphitheater is the world – no wonder it has attracted the attention of musicians for years and years and years. Musicians plan years of their lives around the opportunity to play at this spiritual, emotional venue.
Yoga, on the rocks, was nothing short of an emotional experience either. During practice this morning, the instructor insisted that the students open their eyes and really LOOK at the surroundings. Beautiful rock formations, blue skies, and a bright, sunny sky.
Practicing ancient, meditative body movements (yoga) in an ancient, naturally formed venue is an experience I will never ever forget. Upon entering the amphitheater this morning and during my yoga practice, I had an overwhelming feeling of emotion and energy.
There were 4 sessions of Yoga On The Rocks this year and I only got to attend 2. There is no doubt I will try my hardest to attend all 4 next summer.
Corepower Yoga is the host of Yoga On The Rocks and I’d like to extend gratitude to them for inviting me to YOTR, gifting me with a yoga mat and super sweet sunglasses, and allowing me to gift a reader with an unforgettable experience.
My Colorado Life keeps getting better and better….
About a month ago, at On The Farm, Off The Hook – a dinner event, we each received a small clay pot as a gift. We knew that there were seeds inside each pot but the type of seed was (and still is) a mystery.
It has been so much fun to watch these seeds sprout from the soil and show themselves to the world. Both of our little plants are completely different from each other – one with a single, thick stem and large leaves. the other is smaller, more fragile. We’ve almost looked at the two plants as though they are in competition with each other – which one will grow up and unveil it’s identity first?
These plants have sat in the windowsill, catching the afternoon sun and a daily watering for as long as we’ve had them… until this week. I planted them in the garden in hopes that they will have the opportunity to grow bigger and faster than they could in the small clay pot.
The plants look puny in comparison to the others in the garden, and I’m fearful they’ll be taken over by the elements. My fingers are crossed for their survival… those plants hold a special place in my heart.
This is my beautiful BFF, Laura. Maybe you can’t tell from the photo but she exudes confidence and holds a strong presence (no matter where she goes). She is beautiful, funny, and FUN.
Recently, Laura dropped 30 lbs of unnecessary weight from her body in a 6 month period of time. Her tactic was not complicated, and was done almost without notice – until she walked in to a room 30 pounds lighter. Laura decided on a simple lifestyle change that was not complicated but rendered the results she was looking for. Blind-sided, people who don’t see Laura on a regular basis took an immediate notice to her new “look” – they had no idea she was even putting in the effort.
I wanted to share Laura’s story here at PLQ because of how attainable this accomplishment is for any and everyone. When I read through Laura’s story below, it seems as though the hardest part of losing 30 pounds is mentally preparing for it – allowing your mind and mouth to say no when your cravings and surroundings are saying yes. And then, stay focused. Laura didn’t exercise from sun up to sun down in order to lose the weight – sure, she does exercise, but she didn’t have to do it excessively. She simply changed her mind set, maintained focus on the goal, and learned to say NO.
What was it that made you decide to lose weight and how much weight did you lose?
I think it was a combination of things. What I remember most is my reflection in the mirror looked way different in pictures than I thought it did in real life – I thought I looked fine in the mirror Looking at a picture of myself was often times painful – I looked a lot more fluffy in photos than I was comfortable with. (I hate using the word fat, because it’s sounds so harsh.) Jeans and clothes were difficult to find. When I decided it was time to make a change, I did a complete 180 overnight. It wasn’t easy but it was necessary for me to keep motivated and I lost 30 pounds in 6 months and I’m keeping it off.
What were you main vices – sugar, bread, fast food??
There was no ONE thing, I LOVE food so I consistently overate AND I travel for work, so it was easy to fall into bad habits. Bread baskets, wine, appetizers, and desserts were some of my guilty indulgences.
Being over-served is a standard in restaurants these days so now I only eat half of what is on my plate and I move on. I realized that I have to say no to many things (that sounds so good!) and custom-order my food based on my specific dietary needs.
Had you tried to lose weight before? If so, what happened?
I’ve lost and gained weight almost my entire life.
“Diet” really is a buzz word, I would follow a “diet,” drop a bunch of weight and then return to my bad habits. Shortly after ending my “diet” I would gain weight back. This time is different, I’ve chosen a complete lifestyle change vs. a fad diet. It’s not always easy, but I’ve found a way to incorporate my new habits in to my daily life.
I will note that when I cut out dairy alone – my whole body felt rejuvenated and less bloated in 3 days. That was a major ah-ha!
What were the best and most successful techniques you used for losing weight?
I cut out all dairy, including milk, butter, yogurt and cheese. (I will note that when I cut out dairy alone – my whole body felt rejuvenated and less bloated in 3 days. That was a major ah-ha!) I also cut out processed foods. I said good-bye to breads, crackers, wraps, chips, and pasta.
I learned portion control. I measure my food at home and I make sure you stop eating when I am full!
I drink 1-2 liters of water a day to stay hydrated, and it makes my stomach feel full.
When I eat out, I ask for no cheese on my salads and I get my dressings on the side. If I order a sandwich, I’ll ask for no bun or bread.
Sometimes, life happens and I’ll slip up but then I move on and focus on the next meal.
What are some of your favorite foods to eat?
I eat a lot of beans, eggs, oatmeal, nuts, avocados, peaches, bananas, berries, vegan proteins (like veggie burgers from Trader Joes – sans the bun), and smoothies made with almond milk. I like to eat salads as a meal. I enjoy things like hummus & veggies as a snack. And if I am craving sweets, I’d go for something like these Dark Chocolate Avocado Truffles.
Tell us about your “cheat day”
When I first started losing weight, I let myself eat whatever I wanted and however much I wanted on Saturdays, my cheat day! This is a way of rewarding myself and curing any cravings I’m having. Ice cream, fried food and pizza are some of my favorite items I liked to treat myself to on Saturdays.
The more weight I lost, and the more strict I became with my habits, the lesser amount of crap I wanted to eat on cheat days. My cheat days have become almost non-existent because I don’t crave as much crap anymore. I always feel sick for a couple days after a cheat day because my body is now in tune to what healthy food does for it. In knowing that, I’ll only eat 1-2 slices of pizza IF I’m eating pizza versus my old ways, I would eat a half a pie in one sitting.
Even though Laura is my BFF and we’ve shared many meals together, I learned a lot about her and her “secrets” during this interview. Talk of improvement and accomplishment never gets old to me – especially when it’s with my pretty, pretty friends.
If you’re curious to see what Laura looked like BEFORE she lost 30, check out the photo below.
it’s what’s for breakfast.
or a little treat, after a workout.
I did not pre-meditate this smoothie, it kind of “just happened” …and I have a feeling it will “just happen” again…
Let me tell you more: Every time I have a banana that’s gotten too brown and soft for eating, I peel it, chop it up, and put it in the freezer. After a long, hot, sweaty run a few mornings ago, I was in need of something cold and nutritious. I remembered those bananas in my freezer and I must have had peanut butter on the mind. The chocolate idea came naturally to me PLUS I keep chocolate protein powders on hand (for situations like this, I always have cacao nibs, and I had recently purchased chocolate almond milk to drink as a “treat” – you know, satisfy my sweet tooth.
Sporty, SPORT tea Saturday: my alarm clock went off at 4:15 am because my super special guy friend was up early for a triathlon. After I saw him off, I had planned on doing Yoga On The Rocks at Red Rocks BUT at about 4:30 AM, I realized that I hadn’t purchased my ticket yet. When I logged in to purchase a ticket, I found out that tickets were sold out (2000 tickets – SOLD OUT – that’s nuts!). Operation YOTR: abort. I was pretty bummed, but I realized an opportunity to take a quick (early morning) nap and then RUN. I am not a runner, and I don’t even enjoy running…. but for some reason I have decided that I’m going to train for a few 5k’s. I know I need to introduce some type of cardio back in to my workout routine, I realize that Hot Yoga shouldn’t be the only form of exercise I am practicing. What I like about running is that I can do it outdoors (this IS Colorado), it doesn’t cost me any money, AND it doesn’t require a trip to a gym. Plus, 5K’s are kind of fun (especially when there is beer involved – I’ll see you soon Oktoberfest).
Way back, Mothers Day weekend when my mom was in Colorado visiting, we had dinner at a restaurant called Linger. With our meal, they served us some of the most delicious iced tea we’d ever had. Naturally, we asked about it and found out they use SPORT Tea, which is made locally in Colorado. I’d never heard of it until then. Immediately the next day, we set out to find some of this SPORT Tea and had success at Whole Foods. It sat on a lower shelf in the tea aisle, could have easily been overlooked.
I’m on my 5th or 6th batch of the SPORT Tea and I’ve learned that there are so many things to love about it besides the flavor:
SPORT Tea is cold brew tea, which I’ve never experienced before. All I have to do is fill a pitcher with cold water, add a tea bag, and then allow it to sit in the refrigerator overnight. There is none of that boiling-water-then-wait-for-it-too-cool stuff to worry about.
SPORT Tea is tasty enough without adding a sweetener. I do like to add mint and lime prior to the cold brew process which greatly enhances the flavor. I like to add the mint during the brew process and then I squeeze fresh lime in just before drinking it.
SPORT Tea contains Electrolytes and Ginseng – two ingredients that are essential for a sporty gal like myself – SPORT Tea gives me energy and helps to minimize cramping during a workout. It also contains Ginger (enhances blood flow and circulation), Vitamin C (crucial for optimal health), and Brazillian Maté (suppresses appetite).
SPORT Tea contains nothing artificial and is 100% natural which makes it a perfect alternative to sugary, caffeinated, carbonated athletic drinks (think gatorade or vitamin water).
Oh, and it’s local (Colorado) – I totally dig that.
So anyway, thanks for allowing me to share one of my loves.
SPORT Tea is available for purchase outside of Colorado HERE.
(oh, and just so you know – Sport Tea did not pay me or ask me to write this post – I did it alll on my own)
Happy Sporty Saturday, friends!
I’d only heard of it once prior to finding a little starter plant at the Farmers Market. A few years ago, I had kohlrabi in a salad at Trocadero in Milwaukee, WI (cool restaurant, btw!). The salad consisted of apple, kohlrabi, salted caramel pecans, and a black sherry vinaigrette. Yum, right? So when I came across that kohlrabi starter plant, of course I wanted to plant it – it reminded me of that awesome salad….
So I planted the kohlrabi, and I think I allowed it to get way too big. I had no idea what it would like like as it grew. Turns out, I don’t know much about kohlrabi period. I had no idea that it would form a big bulb (as you see in the photo above) – and I guess I didn’t pay much attention to what it looked like when I had it in that salad a few years ago – it was tossed with the other ingredients and I never took the time to identify it. (maybe I was starving and scarfed that salad down the moment it landed on the table??!)
Because I allowed the kohlrabi bulb to get too big, it split and ants started building a nest inside the split. It was quite the sight to see, actually. Those ants worked hard to build that nest and when I pulled the kohlrabi up out of the ground, I completely destroyed everything they worked for. Anyways, it was mine first.
From what I understand, kohlrabi is similar to that of a turnip or a cabbage, or even a combination of the two. It can be eaten raw and/or cooked. Although the leaves can be eaten, the “stem” or bulb is what is most commonly prepared. The taste and texture of kohlrabi is similar to that of a broccoli stem (however, crisp and juicy) and has a mild flavor.
So I’ve got this kohlrabi bulb hanging around my kitchen and I’m still not 100% sure what I’m going to do with it. I found a few yummy-looking recipes but I’m not yet sure which one I’ll try because I’m still not even sure exactly what the kohlrabi will taste like.
Earlier this week, I finally walked in to my apartment after being gone from home for 13 days. One of the things I missed most about “home” was my garden. Jerome here, he did a good job overseeing the fruits and veggies and herbs and pretty flowers, as always and I think he scared away all of the bugs that were eating my kale plants. Anyway, I knew the garden was in good hands but still, I was anxious to get back and put my own hands in it.
I came home to a completely different garden that I left. Many of the plants tripled in size, if not more than that! We went from having 5-6 tomatoes on the vines to 100′s. I was super pleased.
2 cutie little cucumbers popped up while I was gone as well! We’ve got 4 cucumber plants in the ground so I have a feeling we’ll be swimming in cucumbers within the nest few weeks.
I’m nervous about this white eggplant. I’ve only grown eggplants once before and it was not a success. I had no idea how big the fruit was supposed to get so I accidentally let them get over-grown. I’m not sure how big this white eggplant should get…. so I’m not really sure when to pick it.
Maybe the coolest thing I’ve seen – pinot noir bell peppers! They’re so pretty. Honestly, I thought of them to be eggplants when they first starting showing a fruit because of the color. Whoops, they’re definitely bell peppers!
We’ll have an abundance of peppers this year – this one plant alone has over 50 baby peppers on it.
There may be nothing cuter than baby strawberries. Oh, and they’re tasty little babies.
Onions and beets make me anxious because they grow underground – it’s hard to tell when it’s time to pull them up.
Pretty Blossoms that will soon be fruits.
I’ve never grown kohlrabi and I’m not even sure I’ve ever seen kohlrabi, growing it was an experiment. You can see here, we allowed it to get too big and it split. Ants are building a nest inside of the plant. argh.
Miraculously, our kale doesn’t have bugs eating it any longer! I don’t know how it happened but I’ll give credit to Jerome. And then I’ll pat myself on the back.
Chard leaves are just about as gorgeous as they come.
We have soooo many tomatoes, like sooo many. We harvested the first two little red tomatoes and ate them like little pieces of candy.
Our flower bed was slightly over-grown with weeds when I got back, but it didn’t take much to clean it up. Everything looks happy – especially the buzzing bees. (BONUS if you can spot the bee in these photos!)
I am the proud new owner of a book, Smitten With Squash – a book that has taught me a lot about squash, which is something I never paid much attention to (outside of Spaghetti & Butternut Squash) because I didn’t think I liked it much. Thanks to this book that has given me some new ideas, I’m thinking I’ll become “smitten with squash”…. (haha, did you like that one??)
While in Minneapolis last week, I got to meet Amanda Paa, the author of the book and she autographed a few copies for me and some very special friends of mine. After sharing an amazing dinner downtown Minneapolis, Amanda & I knew we’d become besties. The chick is adorable and likes to eat damn good food - my kind of girl!!
The first thing I did when I got my book was to bookmark all of the recipes I wanted to try first…. which was funny because as soon as I made it home from a 13 day, multi-city trip, I tried a recipe that I hadn’t even bookmarked. I don’t remember why it stood out to me – it just did.
This Punchy Pesto Pasta Salad (that you see below) is the recipe I made on my first night home, and back in my kitchen. I used gluten-free noodles because I knew Amanda would be proud (she’s a gluten-free chick) and I knew that I would LOVE with this pasta salad when I licked the spoon after mixing the pesto & red wine vinegar together.
I invited a special guy friend of mine over to eat some of the pasta salad and he said “he’d meet the salad at the altar” – clearly, he liked it.
I did altar the recipe slightly – I used white Northern Beans instead of the Kidney Beans that the recipe calls for simply because I forgot to grab Kidney Beans and the store and I happened to have Northern Beans on hand. Also, I didn’t add the additional Parmesan Cheese that the recipe called for – again, I don’t keep it on hand so I didn’t have it available. I didn’t feel bad about the alterations because Amanda encourages the customization of each recipe. I liked that I could change it up slightly and still produce a tasty meal.
So, Amanda’s got a few blogger friends featuring her recipes on their blogs and everything looks so damn good! It is so cool to see what was once a recipe written in black ink, brought to life in colorful photos! Actually, the photos these bloggers have taken of these squash recipes are so damn good looking that I’m almost intimidated to post my photos. I’m just not as good at taking food photos as the other bloggers are. Regardless of what my photos look like, I made a damn good dish.
8 ounces cavatappi or penne pasta (gluten free if desired)
1 (7 ounce) jar good-quality pesto (or make your own)
¼ cup red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 (15 ounce) can kidney OR northern beans, rinsed and drained
3 cups arugula
1 small zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
¼ cup red onion, thinly sliced
Cook pasta according to package directions, be sure to add a pinch of sea salt to the water.
Drain and rinse well under cold water.
In a large bowl, stir together pesto, vinegar, and salt. Then add beans, arugula, zucchini, red onion, and cooked pasta. Fold to combine.
Transfer to a serving bowl, serve at room temperature.
Will keep in refrigerator for 2 days.
The recipe you see here reflects the slight changes I made in order to fit my needs and desires. I would prefer to use vegan pesto but I wasn’t able to find an so I used a traditional pesto that contains cheese (which is one more reason I didn’t add any extra parmesan – not even the vegan kind). If you can find vegan pesto, you can certainly use it in this recipe. I’m going to do my research to find out where I can purchase vegan pesto (and if you already know - hook a girl up!!) I have never made my own pesto but I’d like to – especially using ingredients from my garden.
I’m pretty stoked to try more of Amanda’s recipes including the Vanilla Bean Butternut Apple Crisp (which was the very first recipe I bookmarked), White Beans + Butternut Squash with Crispy Chard (the chard will come out of my garden), Orange Butter-Glazed Brussels Sprouts and Butternut Squash (I told you I love Butternut), AND the Chocolate Coconut Zucchini Bread (drool).
These are just a FEW of the recipes I’ve bookmarked (obviously) …oh, and you know what I really love about this book? Many of the recipes are veg-friendly. Win!
I shared the photos taken at the cabin I visited during my trip to Crosslake, MN, but I didn’t include the photos we took while out on the boat and on the lake. I decided to throw them in because we had such a good time taking them.
On Saturday night, we went out to the local bar that EVERYONE up North goes to – literally, EVERYONE. It’s called Moonlite Bay. I hated it because the music was awful – and I was exhausted. But anyway. A random guy approached me and asked if I had been SUP’ing that day. I said something like “Duh, of course I was SUP’ing”. Everyone around us looked confused, they had no idea what SUP’ing was – SUP = Stand Up Paddleboard. I only knew that because it’s a “thing” in Colorado. So here you have it, so many photos of Laura & I on the SUPs.
Falling off the SUP happens every now and then, mostly when a boat cruises through creating waves on the lake. Even with good balance, it’s hard to stay up on the SUP in a wavy situation. Laura put the pooch on the Sup with her and then fell off. The poor little guy had to swim to shore, so scared. Luckily he was wearing a lifejacket (which he HAS to wear now because he has a habit of jumping off the back of moving boats – crazy boy!) I stood there with my camera taking photos and laughing at the poor little guy.
Again, so many beautiful sunset photos were taken – the sky changes every few seconds during sunset so every single photo is completely unique…. and so good.