Yoga, Rice and Everything Nice at Throwback Brewery

When you hear the word “brewery” your mind does not automatically conjure up images of bending yogis or brown rice. That’s why Throwback Brewery is in a league all its own. Situated in an 1860’s farmhouse, Throwback features an eclectic menu using local ingredients, creates unique craft brews and hosts really cool community events. Basically it’s awesome and if you haven’t been yet, you gotta go…ttttoday junior.

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Yesterday I stopped in with some friends for their $5 yoga, which they offer on Sundays at 11am in the loft of their barn, right above the brewery. Me and about 40 other people piled into the open space to breathe, get centered and count down the minutes until we were enjoying a cold one. Check out their event calendar so you can attend the next one! (P.S. they also have live music, cribbage and book club)

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A typical brewery menu would offer pizza, burgers, fries, etc. which is so 2005. Throwback delights with hearty modern dishes and twists on classics, all using fresh, local ingredients. They even make their own bread using the spent grain from their brewing process. So cool! I enjoyed the Fried Rice Bowl which consisted of brown rice with roasted squash, edamame, bean sprouts, radishes and organic chicken in their spicy sesame sauce topped with a fried egg. Holy-yum. Loved every second of it. I also had a side of fried sweet potato wedges and a few bites of a maple donut.

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The maple donut brings me to the next awesome thing that happened at Throwback yesterday – their Maple Madness festival! Described by my friend Corinne as “the most New Hampshire thing I’ve done all year”, this event was apparently the hottest thing happening on the Seacoast yesterday as we watched hoards of people pile in to get a taste of some maple beer and hear the band. Clearly the cold, dreary weather will not keep us New Englanders away from some good maple syrup.

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Did I mention that Throwback was founded by two women? How awesome is that?! Nothing like a little girl power to create a place that not only feeds your belly, but also feeds your soul.

This photo makes me cold just looking at it…luckily I’m heading to the Bahamas this week to defrost! Further posts make be delayed, but you can follow my trip on Instagram 🙂

What did you do this weekend?

5 Tips For A Vacation-Ready Body

Happy first day of spring! With a foot of snow on the ground and temps hovering in the 30’s it does not feel like spring here one bit! But the calendar tells me it is, so I guess I’ll believe it. It’s all good though because next week the hubbs and I will be sailing into the warm Bahama sunshine 🙂 So I wanted to share some of my tips for shedding your winter-body and becoming the beautiful spring butterfly that has been hiding under all those sweaters for the past 5 months. I am by no means an expert on this, but these are just some of the tricks I find helpful and what I am doing right now! Warm weather here I come!!

5 tips for a vacation ready body

1. Say yes to sweat

This may seem obvious, but you’re gonna have to start working out – hard. Or if you are already working out, it’s time to amp up whatever you’re doing. Here’s some tips on how to do that.

  • Increase mileage/time – If you’re currently running 2 miles every other day, make it 3 miles.
  • Add an extra workout – Even by simply adding one extra exercise day to your week will make a big difference. Sunday evening is my favorite time to get in an extra workout because I usually have extra time. Think of what day you might have just an extra 20 minutes and do your workout, no matter what.
  • Add a walk into your daily routine – Moving throughout the day is just as important as the time you spend at the gym. Commit to a 10 minutes walk during your lunch break, even if it’s cold outside!
  • Stop making time an excuse. Try my 20-minute at-home workout for a quick and easy way to get your sweat on.

5 tips for a vacation ready body

2. Make sleep your best friend

My personal goal for every weekend is to sleep as much as possible. During the week I am go go go and barely have time to breathe, so the weekend is my time to re-charge. That means sleeping in late AND planning a nap in the afternoon. This rest time ensures that I have the brain capability to handle the coming week and it prevents nasty things from happening to my body, like an increase in the stress hormone cortisol, which increases appetite. No one wants an increased appetite when they’re trying to fit into their summer clothes…in March. So make sleep your b$tch.

3. Cut the sweets

This one gets me every time. For me, it’s hard to say no to chocolate. But if you’re 2 weeks away from bearing your pasty white body for all to see, you gotta give it up. Reducing your sugar intake will help you reduce unnecessary calorie intake, but it will also help you eat more nutritious and satisfying foods. If you usually reach for a cookie after lunch, reach for some nuts instead. Or if you really need a sweet fix, opt for a snack that still offers protein and fiber to help keep you satisfied – like fruit, a yogurt (low sugar preferred, like Oikos Triple Zero) or a Lara Bar (natural sugar from dates). Shoving a handful of M&M’s into your mouth may temporarily keep you satisfied, but 20 minutes later you will crash and need something real. Skip the extra calories and go straight for the real stuff.

5 tips for a vacation ready body

4. Say no to bread

Cutting bread from your diet helps reduce your carb intake, which helps you burn fat, but it also opens up your eating possibilities. Think of all the super nutritious foods you could be eating instead of bread; like sweet potatoes, quinoa, oats, brown rice, coconut flour, etc. Try eating roasted sweet potatoes with your morning eggs, subbing quinoa for pasta or using coconut flour in your baking. Have a serious hankering for some toast? Opt for whole wheat and keep your portions small.

5 tips for a vacation ready body

5. Get your bronze on

There’s nothing worse than showing up to a tropical beach and being the whitest person on the sand…or just blending into the sand completely. You gotta get a little pre-tan happening so that you have the confidence to strip down and frolick into the warm waves. I recommend getting a spray-tan or applying some self-tanner the day before you go. Sun Tan City always has coupons available and Fake Bake is super popular for the DIY sunless tan. No harmful UV rays needed!

5 tips for a vacation ready body

Now I’m not saying that I can stick to this every second of every day, but I’m certainly trying. I mean, nothing makes you want to run that extra mile like knowing you need to fit your winter bum into your summer bikini in t-minus 10 days.

Chocolate Chip Chickpea Cookies

If you are freaked out by the title of this recipe, you are not alone. The thought of having chickpeas or any kind of beans in my cookies was repulsive to me, until I tried these babies.

chocolate chip chickpea cookies

These Chocolate Chip Chickpea Cookies are gluten free, grain-less, chock-full of protein, fiber, antioxidants AND they are so tasty, you won’t miss your Mrs. Fields for a second.

Now the main ingredient of these cookies is in fact chickpeas, but I promise you, they are completely unnoticeable. Chickpeas are actually almost tasteless and are super good for you, so why not just try it out? That’s what I did and I was pleasantly surprised.

chocolate chip chickpea cookies

The next ingredient is walnut butter, but you can use any nut butter of your choice. I sometimes get sick of everything being peanut butter tasting, so I used this Crazy Go Nuts Oatmeal Cookie Walnut Butter and it really helped give the cookies that classic cookie taste.

Instead of sugar this recipe uses maple syrup, which has more nutritional benefits than regular sugar and is less refined. It provides manganese, zinc and can even help your immune system. The flour is replaced by coconut flour, which you only need a small amount of because it is so incredibly absorbent.

Chocolate Chip Chickpea Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1/3 cup walnut butter (or peanut or almond butter)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a food processor combine all ingredients except chocolate chips. Blend until smooth. Pour mixture into medium bowl and add chocolate chips. Spoon cookies onto a greased baking sheet and bake for 18 minutes. Yields about 18 cookies.

chocolate chip chickpea cookies

These cookies are best enjoyed with a tall glass of milk and your favorite rom-com. Dunking is recommended. Or bring them to work for a post-lunch chocolate fix that won’t leave you feeling yucky 🙂

Whatever you do with them, just let people taste them before telling them what’s in it. Because in the case of chickpeas in baked goods, tasting is believing.

Zucchini Crust Pizza

Do you know what America’s favorite comfort food is? That’s right, it’s pizza! Anyone else on the same page? I’m not ashamed to say that I regularly daydream about biting into a warm, cheesy slice of pepperoni pizza. They said you should follow your dreams, but if I followed every one of those dreams I would be 800 pounds.

The solution: zucchini crust pizza!

zucchini crust pizza

This recipe is great because it’s low carb and gives you all your veggie needs for the day and then some. Also, let’s be real for a second, everything is better smothered in cheese, especially your veggies.

zucchini crust pizza

I’m using a mozzarella and cheddar cheese blend, but feel free to mix and match your cheeses as you please. I’m also using uncured pepperoni for this recipe. If you’re going to indulge in processed meats, do so responsibly. Friends don’t let friends eat nitrates.

My favorite brand is Hormel Natural Choice Uncured Pepperoni Slices because they don’t have any nasty cancer-causing chemicals and they are super delicious.

Zucchini Crust Pizza

Ingredients:

  • 2 large zucchini, grated
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce
  • 1 cup grated cheese
  • Pepperoni slices

Directions: In a medium bowl combine grated zucchini with salt and set aside for about 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Thoroughly coat a nonstick baking pan with nonstick spray and drizzle with olive oil. After the 15 minutes, drain as much liquid as you can from the zucchini. Mix zucchini with parmesan cheese, flour, egg, pepper and oregano. Pour the zucchini batter in the center of the baking page and spread over the surface. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the crust and top with marinara sauce, cheese and pepperoni slices. Bake for another 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Slice and serve warm.

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I don’t know about you guys, but Friday could not have come any sooner. Now I’m off to a weekend full of sleep, relaxation, dog walks and movies. There will probably be some good eats in there as well of course.

What are you up to this weekend?

Microwave Baked Apples

Happy Tuesday! Wow, I have been SO busy lately. Work is crazy, dance is ramping up for a big show in March and I have some exciting news to share. I will now be guest blogging for Stay, Work, Play! SWP is an organization focused on promoting how awesome it is to stay, work and play in our great state of New Hampshire. I will be representing the Seacoast region and you can find my articles on their blog every 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month! Check out my first article, 7 Ways to Embrace Winter on the Seacoast, right now!

microwave baked apples

So since I am so busy this week, I wanted to share with you guys a recipe that is literally the easiest and quickest thing ever. You actually just use the microwave and there are only 4 ingredients involved and one bowl. I kinda wish all recipes were like that! To make this recipe even healthier you could swap the real butter for Earth Balance spread and swap the brown sugar with Truvia. I’m a sucker for real butter, just ask my mom (I ate sticks of butter as a kid) so I like to keep it real.

microwave baked apples

Microwave Baked Apples

Ingredients:

  • 1 large apple
  • 1 tsp cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp butter

Directions: Peel and slice apples and place in small microwave safe bowl. Mix in cinnamon, brown sugar and butter and microwave for 2 minutes. Mix again and top with your favorite frozen yogurt or ice cream.

microwave baked apples

This Microwave Baked Apples recipe is great when you need something sweet, hearty and satisfying on a cold winter evening. I like to top it with some vanilla frozen yogurt and enjoy with a good book or some Netflix binging. Speaking of being too busy, I have been meaning to crack this book, Someday Someday Maybe by Lauren Graham for about 3 months now, which I think is hilarious given the title.

Question: What are you reading/watching right now?

 

6 Healthy Food Swaps for Quick Meals

Eating healthy when you’re on-the-go can be quite challenging. And I am the queen of on-the-go, so I know the struggle is real.

Little tid-bit of info about my life – I work full time in marketing during the day and 2-3 nights a week I teach dance and rehearse at a local studio. That means a lot of my dinners are packed to-go or just need to be super quick.

healthy food swaps for quick meals

Over the years I’ve found some products that are easy AND healthy. The worst feeling is walking into a dance class with an overfull belly of McDonalds because you didn’t have time to make something healthy.

Below is a list of my top 6 Healthy Food Swaps for Quick Meals

1. Instead of 45- minute white rice…

Microwave brown rice/grain packet

One of my biggest pet peeves is how freakin’ long it takes to cook rice. Luckily, I found Seeds of Change rice packets. These guys are a life saver. And I love that they are incorporating other grains like quinoa and red rice.

seeds of change rice

2. Instead of chicken nuggets…

Frozen sausage

As you found out in my last post, I love frozen sausage. They’re just so easy to pluck out of the freezer, microwave and BAM, you’ve got your protein in less than 3 minutes. Combine Roasted Garlic Al Fresco chicken sausage with some brown rice and vegetables and you’ve got a whole meal in less than 10 minutes. Just make sure the sausage you pick is nitrate free. Processed meats are OK in moderation, just make sure they are all natural or organic. I also love these Kayem artisan sausages!

kayem artisan sausage

3. Instead of Easy Mac…

Whole grain mac & cheese box

You’re tired, you’re hungry, you’re about to reach for the cereal…but wait! You have a box of mac & cheese! AND it’s whole grain?? WHaaaat? Combine one of these whole grain mac and cheese boxes with some frozen vegetables and you’re as good as gold. This Hodgson Mill Ultragrain Mac & Cheese is made with quinoa! So cool.

hodson mill mac and cheese

4. Instead of canned vegetables…

Frozen vegetables

Quick, easy and there when you need them. With the same nutrition as the fresh version, you can’t go wrong. I especially like some of the Trader Joe’s frozen vegetables that have some tasty sauces or spices on them.

trader joe's vegetable melange

5. Instead of Lean Cuisine…

Smart Made frozen meals

I do not recommend frozen meals on the reg. However, if you’re in a pinch, these Smart Made meals are actually not horrible for you and are truly tasty. My expectations were pretty low since frozen meals like this usually make me gag and then die of sodium poisoning. But, to my surprise it was pretty darn good. The idea is that they have swapped in healthier ingredients like brownie rice, whole grain pasta, turkey instead of beef, etc. I’ve had the Turkey Sausage & Roasted Veg Lasagna and the Roasted Turkey & Vegeteables meals, both of which made me feel great after and I could just reach into the freezer and grab it on my way out the door. Perfection.

smart made meals

6. Instead of Ramen…

Hearty soups

This is definitely my last-ditch effort at a meal. But when all I can do is grab a can from the cabinet, I want to make sure that it contains something at least semi-healthy. Lately I’ve been loving these Campbell’s Well Yes soups. They are made with relatively healthy ingredients are surprisingly tasty. Sweet Potato Corn Chowder is my fave. But my all-time favorite soup/meal is from my man Wolfgang Puck. His soups are amazing and made with hearty organic ingredients. The butternut squash is my wintertime weakness.

campbell's well yes sweet potato corn chowder soup

What do you eat when you’re on the go?

Dark Chocolate Yogurt Brownies

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Happy Valentine’s Day! On this day of celebrating love, I want to talk about something that I love very, very much. This special something can always make me smile, cheers me up when I’m down and is oh-so sweet! It’s rich, intense and always satisfying. You’ve probably guessed it by now, it’s CHOCOLATE.

double dark chocolate brownies

Chocolate is kind of a bad boy. It’s like that guy in high school that broke all the rules, but was secretly super smart, but didn’t want to tell anyone because it would ruin his coolness.

What I’m saying is that chocolate is secretly good for you (in moderation). It’s often exiled from any diet because of its high sugar and fat content, but dark  chocolate can actually provide many health benefits because of it’s high antioxidant content.

double dark chocolate brownies

Studies have shown that eating a small amount of dark chocolate every day can actually help reduce stress, blood pressure, risk of stroke and help with weight loss! Plus we all know it’s a great aphrodisiac…

Check out this Women’s Health article for even more benefits of eating chocolate.

double dark chocolate brownies

Right in time for Valentine’s Day I have the perfect chocolate recipe for you to share (or not) with your special someone.

These Dark Chocolate Yogurt Brownies are oozing with chocolate flavor. I lightened up the recipe a bit by using yogurt instead of oil and oat flour instead of white flour. I used Bob’s Red Mill whole grain oat flour. You could food process your own oats, but I like that Bob has already done it for me 🙂

The omega-3 and antioxidant content is high because of the walnuts and dark chocolate. I like to use Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder and chocolate chips, but you could use whatever you like best. So in one brownie recipe you’ve got fiber (oat flour), calcium (yogurt), omega-3’s and antioxidants. Man, you’ve already scored 😉

Dark Chocolate Yogurt Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup oat flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine yogurt, sugar, vanilla and eggs. In a medium bowl mix together flour, baking powder, cocoa and salt. Combine dry ingredients with wet and mix until fully blended. Add in chocolate chips and walnuts. Pour into greased baking dish and bake for 35-40 minutes. Let cool completely and then enjoy.

double dark chocolate brownies

These brownies are definitely on the dessert menu for my Valentine’s Day celebrations. And hey, if you’re flying solo this Valentine’s Day I fully support diving into these with a pint of vanilla froyo by your side. That WILL be a good time. No bad boys needed. Enjoy!