Holiday Recap

December 26, 2012

Back from hiatus, and boy oh boy was it a nice vaca. The hubby and I spent the last 4 days at my brother and his wife’s house celebrating Christmas with Mexican food, 1500 piece puzzles, and lots of time with their 2 dogs. My pet love tank is full, but it will probably only last about a month before I start begging the hubby for a dog again.

For now, I’m still traveling, but the hubby has gone home.

I’ve got too much stored up to blog about, but for now I’m just going to share a simple holiday meal idea. First and foremost, since it’s the holidays, here’s a simple idea for a savory dinner reminiscent of big Sunday family dinners growing up.

*I adapted this recipe from Skinny Bitch Brown Gravy, omitting the oil and adding nutritional yeast to reduce calories and add protein, while also giving it a much richer flavor.

Roasted Veggies & Gravy

2 c. fresh stemmed green beans
6 beets, halved
6 brussels, halved
2 tsp. coconut oil
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/4 c. nutritional yeast
2 c. veggie broth
4 tbsp. Bragg’s liquid aminos
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1 bag Trader Joes’ frozen brown rice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap beets in aluminum foil with a little dab of coconut oil on each one and a sprinkle of salt over all of them. Make sure they are completely wrapped to create a steam pouch. Place in oven and roast for about 30 minutes or until beets are soft. Place green beans and brussels on roasting pan and roast for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, sift together flour, nutritional yeast, and pepper. Heat vegetable broth in medium saucepan. When hot, begin mixing in dry ingredients, whisking as you go. Continue whisking until gravy reaches desired consistency. Remove from heat and add Bragg’s. Stir thoroughly and serve atop brown rice and roasted veggies.

Remember: whole foods vegan eating is not always just about saving the animals or the environment. It’s not always about eating healthier food or choosing cheaper options. It’s about simplicity. It’s about enjoying the simple flavors that nature offers. Don’t overthink your holiday meals! Just enjoy the beautiful simplicity that the earth offers.

What have I been doing to stay in shape while traveling

I wrote down what workout I was going to do before I left. That helped keep me organized and not feeling lost without my gym nearby. It is also keeping me on track and helping me not slack off just because I’m away from home.

I created 2 separate workouts that I do in a 4 day succession, taking a rest day on day 5.

Workout 1

Warm up: walk 2 minutes, jog 3-5 minutes OR 25 jumping jacks, 20 overhead lunges, 4 point hops for 1 minute

Dynamic stretching

[Sprint 20 seconds, keep clipping 10 seconds, jog 30 seconds] x 5

Recovery for 2 minutes

Repeat 5 times.

Circuit 3-5x:

Full sit-ups                           20-25 reps

Air squats                            20 reps

Push-ups                              30 seconds

Mountain climbers           50 reps

Workout 2

Warm up: walk 2 minutes, jog 3-5 minutes OR 25 jumping jacks, 20 overhead lunges, 4 point hops for 1 minute

Dynamic stretching

Circuit 3-5x:

Skaters lunges                    30-40 reps

Burpee lateral hops          6-8 reps

Dips                                       10-15 reps

Curling lunges                    20-30 reps

Spidermans                         30 reps

Remember that the holidays can be a great time to take some extra rest days. If you need them, plan them. If you don’t plan them and then end up ditching your workout at the last minute, you’re going to feel much worse. If you go in with a realistic plan, you can stick to your goals. 

MY GOAL: to come back from Christmas vacation feeling in better shape than when I left. 


Avocado Athlete

Boston Hot Spots

December 21, 2012

This week I got the chance to coast around to a few new places in town. I was not at all expecting this to be a blogging opportunity, but man oh man, did I find some cool stuff for cool kids. Read on, health junkies.


This is a great little grocery that opened up about 3 months ago in Back Bay. They stock a pretty good amount of fresh produce, meats and cheeses, and gourmet packaged foods, many of which I had never seen before. I got a chance to chat with the owner a little bit, and he is hopeful that they will soon be expanding to a larger refrigerated section. Personally, I loved the cozy feel it had. As long as the refrigerated section has room for those pre-made containers of vegan soup, I’m a happy camper :)

Lots of unique packaged items like roasted nuts, veggie chips, coconut date rolls, and fresh granola made in nearby Vermont. They even carried kombucha made right here in Massachusetts! (not pictured).
RAW PEPITAS! These are tough to find anywhere. Perfect Fuel bars and pumpkin spice caramels?! Sounds amazing – goods you can’t find just anywhere.
Feels like shopping in a farmers’ market :)

Check out some of the sweet stuff I found!

Top and bottom shelf: organic quinoa, wild rice, couscous, green lentils, split peas, and small packages of grains. Middle shelf: assortment of French spices. For a store this size, I was happily surprised at the amount of cool international foods.  
A super fancy brand of muesli I’d never seen before – it looked so delicious and was packed with whole food ingredients, but at $8.99/box, I just couldn’t swing it.
Check out these Rosemary Raisin Pecan, Salty Date & Almond, and Cranberry & Hazelnut crackers – so unique!

It was so hard to decide what to buy. I found out about this place through a Groupon for $25, so I planned to stick to that $25…that didn’t quite happen. I just couldn’t contain myself!

The most interesting things from my grocery haul:

Veggie chips (actual WHOLE veggies – even green beans!), dark chocolate covered cranberries, rosemary raisin pecan Raincoast Crisps (I picked the one that sounded most unique to me), sizzling black bean chili mix, coconut date rolls, and sun dried tomatoes. 

I definitely recommend stopping into this place. Some things were pricey, but not everything. The shopping experience is to die for if you like scoping out new products, and the owner, Steve, was just about as cool a character as you’ll ever meet.

Snap Top Market
303 Columbus Avenue
Boston, MA 02118

*See the website for how to follow Snap Top on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.


This place was new to me – I’m not sure how long it’s been there – and was definitely one of the coolest restaurants I’ve ever been to. Yes, I’m going to call it a restaurant, or at least a cafe, because you could definitely go there for a meal. In addition to all the fresh juices you could ever want with an infinite number of add-in options, they also carry tons of healthy, local, organic snacks and a great assortment of fruit, salad, and yogurt. Maybe even a few sandwiches. This is the perfect place for lunch and, coincidentally, right around the corner from Snap Top. Check ’em out!

The entrance is a little hard to find, but for good reason: a little farmers’ market right outside selling fresh fruits and veggies!

I was prompted to pop in here during my 3-day juice cleanse, so I was sort of forced to get the beet ginger lemon juice to stick with my cleanse plan. Had I been more free, I probably would have tried something a little tastier sounding. Nonetheless, the beet juice was pretty good. The texture was clean and the juices are served at room temperature (not my favorite for the taste, but great for your health!). You can ask for ice if you want.

Check out this menu:

12 oz. for $4.95, 16 oz. for $5.95, or 24 oz. for $7.95. They even have smoothie bowls! Kasey @ Powercakes would just love this :) Then of course there are the traditional “straight up” juices, but they even offered pear, watermelon, and pineapple juice! Those are MUST-TRYs. They also offered shots, including wheatgrass (Crazy Sexy Diet!), and an infinite number of combined flavor fruit juices. 

Check out the amazing snack selection (almost all products I had never seen before):

They also had lime & chili roasted chick peas, breakfast bars, trail mixes, and HUGE fresh muffins available.

My juice:

Sporting my new workout top from PV Body with the thumbholes!

145 Dartmouth Street
Boston, MA 02116

Thank goodness for capitalism and the ever expanding market of health foods with increased demand.

Avocado Athlete