How I’m shaking up my summer in Seattle

How I'm shaking up my summer in Seattle Next month I am celebrating my 10th anniversary of living in Seattle. How crazy is that?

There are a few things I’ve learned in my ten years about my beloved city.

1. The rumors are true. It rains. A lot. But you know what makes up for all that rain?

2. The summers here are gorgeous. This is the time of year that makes me want to spend every day outside exploring this beautiful city.

3. There really is a Starbucks on every corner in Seattle. Which is awesome for me because I actually like Starbucks.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you probably know that I used to drink coffee, gave it up for six and a half years, and then recently began drinking it again last fall. With the heat this time of year, I’ve been staying away from coffee and turning again to my old-favorite: iced tea!

Since I’m such an avid tea drinker, I was really excited when Starbucks started partnering with Teavana® and released their Starbucks Teavana® Shaken Iced Teas. Starbucks Teavana® Iced Teas are premium loose leave teas shaken by hand 10 times to mix and unlock the unique flavors. They come in three flavors:

• Starbucks Teavana® Shaken Iced Blackberry Mojito Tea Lemonade
• Starbucks Teavana® Shaken Iced Peach Green Tea Lemonade
• Starbucks Teavana® Shaken Iced Black Tea Lemonade

I personally love their iced green tea (I get it unsweetened to avoid sugar) and have been enjoying it as a refreshing pick-me-up in these hot afternoons.

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Starbucks through their partnership with POPSUGAR. While I was compensated by POPSUGAR to write a post about Starbucks, all opinions are my own.

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Pineapple Baked Chicken

Pineapple Baked Chicken

Have you ever wondered who purchases those herbal neck wraps, blue eye masks, or foot massagers at Bed, Bath and Beyond?  Tonight I was reorganizing my bathroom cabinet and that is when I realized it: It’s me. I’m single-handedly the one keeping those personal care companies in business.

I will happily get rid of extra candles and picture frames.

I don’t need a ton of clothes or different pairs of shoes.

But, ain’t nobody taking away my neck wrap, neck pillow, acupressure mat, hot water bottle, skin conditioning gloves, or sleep mask. Seriously. My bathroom cabinet looks like a cross between products that were purchased out of SkyMall magazine or some crazy TV infomercial. And truthfully, that’s probably where some of them came from.

Now that we got that out of the way and I have publicly shared how strange I am, it’s time to talk about normal things. How about we start with dinner?

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Naturally Amazing Dressings and Dips for Summer

Naturally Amazing Dressings and Dips for Summer

 

Are you getting enough veggies in your diet? Sorry to have to play Fiber Patrol, but somebody’s got to… right?

One of the things I love and appreciate most about summer is the variety of seasonal vegetables. The farmers market is always overflowing this time of year with a variety of produce and with the heat, I personally love to enjoy my veggies raw.

Today I’m excited to be partnering with French’s Yellow Mustard to bring you four #NaturallyAmazing delicious dressings and dips which are perfect for seasonal picnics and grill-outs!

French’s yellow mustard starts with farm-grown, whole mustard seeds and select herbs and spices (including turmeric). French’s is 100% natural, gluten-free and kosher and it has 0 calories. Unlike some mustards, there’s nothing artificial: no preservatives, fillers or thickeners. French’s is naturally amazing and is the preferred mustard for your favorite summer foods. From flavorful marinades to tangy salad dressings, French’s yellow mustard brings wholesome goodness and fresh taste to your table. Awesome.

Now let’s make some dressings and dips for summer!

This post was brought to you by the makers of French’s Yellow Mustard. I received compensation to write this post through the French’s Naturally Amazing Program, but all opinions expressed here are my own.

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The way you live today…

The way you live today... is the way you live your life.

The way you live today… is the way you live your life. 

One of my favorite podcasts is Tara Brach’s meditation podcasts (you can find them on iTunes). She recently did a talk about Freedom and Happiness in Daily Life and one of the things she repeated says it that the way you live today… is the way you live your life. 

This really hit home for me. Let’s just say I’m your typical overachiever… you know, type-A, super hard working, and have a really hard time slowing down. As much as I try to avoid it, I spend most of my time working, rushing through life, and making myself promises that someday, someday, when there is no more work to be done, then I’ll be able to slow down and enjoy life. But, when this is how you approach things, someday never comes. 

So instead, I’m trying something different and am making every day reflective of the way I want to live my life.

Laying in bed for a few extra minutes just to enjoy the feeling of peace and quiet before the day starts… 

Slowing down for meals…

Taking the time to read a book and pet a cat…

Taking a deep breath and practicing gratitude as I walk down a sunny street…

These are all small pleasures, but they add up  during the course of a day. And for me, they’re more reflective of the life I want to live.

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The Inspired by Zucchini Cookbook

The Inspired By Zucchini Cookbook

I have to start this post with a heartfelt thank you.

There is nothing I love more than creating delicious, healthy food and sharing it with you. For the past four and a half years since I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve loved each of our conversations and the many recipes (and imaginary dinners) that we’ve shared together.

Today my second eCookbook, The Inspired by Zucchini Cookbook, hits the virtual shelves and I am so excited to share this with you!

I created this cookbook because as I’ve changed my diet over the past couple of years and began removing grains/gluten and continuing to stay away from dairy, I noticed there weren’t many cookbooks with zucchini recipes suitable for my diet. So, I set out on a mission to create a cookbook for folks just like you and me – who desire to eat good food, treat our bodies right, respect any food allergies/dietary needs and want to know what to do with an abundance of zucchini.

Here’s the answer:

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Are you ready?

The Inspired by Zucchini Cookbook

This is the week, my friends!

My new cookbook, The Inspired By Zucchini Cookbook, is coming out this Thursday. That’s in less than three days! I’ve been hard at work on this second cookbook the past several months and I can’t wait to share it with you!

The Inspired by Zucchini Cookbook features 40+ creative grain-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free zucchini recipes. I’m so excited about this book and I know you’re gonna love it!

Oh, and my book editor says hi. He’s very excited that his long hours in front of the computer will soon be over… 

The Inspired by Zucchini Cookbook

And if you want to be one of the first to know new details about the book (as well as get a special discount) be sure to sign up for my free newsletter!

Broccoli Spigarello with Garlic and Pine Nuts

Broccoli Spigarello with Garlic and Pine Nuts

I have a pretty good idea of what you must be thinking at this point… what the heck is spigarello?  Don’t worry, I found myself thinking the same thing at last week’s farmers market.

One of my favorite parts of living in Seattle is the amazing diversity of produce we have here. Over the years I’ve challenged myself to “cook outside my comfort zone” by trying a new vegetable when I find something that I’m unfamiliar with at the market and then experimenting with the best ways to prepare it. This week’s challenge was spigarello.

Broccoli spigarello is native to southern Italy and is completely different from broccoli, broccolini, or broccoli rabe (in fact, they’re not even in the same family). I love broccoli so I have no problem with its sometimes bitter taste, but spigarello is an entirely different story. The best way I can describe the taste is the sweetness of broccoli combined with the leaves of kale.

Let’s just say I instantly fell in love. And when you combine it with a little bit of garlic, toasted pine nuts, salt and pepper? Well that’s just my version of heaven.

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The 3 Minute Rule For Better Health

The 3 Minute Rule For Your Health

Let me start this by saying:

1. Don’t be intimidated by that kettlebell.

2. No, this is definitely NOT a sponsored post for Nike (I just really like my cute new shoes).

Alright, before I tell you how to use The 3 Minute Rule I have to tell you the backstory for how I developed it. This started because I really hate doing dishes. No, really. 

The truth is I will do anything in my power to avoid doing dishes. I suppose this wouldn’t really be a problem except for the fact that I write a food blog and all and really need a working kitchen with clean dishes. Hmm.

Since I don’t have a dishwasher I’m constantly forced to do dishes by hand. And every time I would walk by my sink and see the dishes piled up I’d cringe. I then would add another dish to the pile, feel guilty, whine to myself, and walk away again. I finally told myself it was time to change my bad habit and this was how I created The 3 Minute Rule:

The 3 Minute Rule says that you only have to do an activity for 3 minutes. Then if you want to stop, you get to stop. But, if after 3 minutes the activity feels tolerable, you can choose keep going. 

It sounds really simple and it is, but for some reason, this absolutely changed my relationship to doing the dishes. Instead of avoiding it, whining, and coming back to an even bigger pile, I started committing to 3 minutes a day. And you know what? After three minutes, I’m usually halfway through the sink full of dishes and am willing to just finish it and get it done. How awesome is that?

I’ve been using a similar technique in my workouts for years where I tell myself that I only have to commit to 20 minutes and then if I’m miserable I can stop. Most often I find myself happily making it to the 45 minute – 1 hour mark, but some days, I really do stop my workout at 20 minutes and I’m really happy with it because I’m just proud that I showed up and committed to that time in the first place.

Some of my favorite posts on this blog involve sharing simple ways that we can be healthier, encourage others in our lives to be healthier, and support each other in our own health goals. I wanted to share this idea of The 3 Minute Rule with you because there are so many ways to apply it to better health, whether it helps you to keep your home cleaner and more organized, get more physical activity into your day, or eat a little better.

How will you apply The 3 Minute Rule to your life to create better health? Leave a comment and share below!