Posts Tagged ‘gluten-free’

Paleo Recharge – Week 1 Update

Hiya. Soooooooooooooo week one of my Whole30?photo

(Pssst- those were baked sweet potatoes, not fried, and were not made with any icky oils.)

I ate some great food…. And now, it’s kinda, sorta, completely over.

Um. Yeah.

I hesitate to tell you all this, lest I look like a butthead, but honesty is the best policy in my book. ūüôā In a nutshell, I ended up getting sick Friday (some weird bug that’s been going around) and was crazy nauseous through Saturday, and as a result, finally caved and ate some gluten free bread.

Is anyone rolling their eyes? WHOA, GLUTEN FREE BREAD – getting wild up in here.

I have to tell you, I was sitting there, head in my lap, debating if the world would end if I had to eat a piece of toast to try and settle my stomach Saturday afternoon, and realized that was absolutely ridiculous – personal health is more important than any voluntary diet challenge you put yourself on. I mean, duh? SO, eating the gluten free bread did not make the world stop spinning and I doubt most people who read this blog will really care, but it does pretty much kill the entire Whole30 thang….. all bread is off limits per official¬†Whole30 rules (even if gluten free, because it’s still made with rice.. or at least the one I ate was), and oh did I mention I put peanut butter on that bread? Double rule breaker, but when you feel like puking, the last thing you want is meat on top of meat, or even eggs, and you don’t care about some arbitrary rules other human beings created… sorry I’m not sorry. And it did make me feel better! ¬†Hallelujah.

Breaking the rules means I would/should have to restart my Whole30 altogether, to complete¬†it with¬†the full integrity of its design, aka change my life and my eating habits completely, to¬†set myself up onto a clean path for a new Paleo life…. and frankly, I’m not interested in that.

Let’s back up for a sec. I really decided to even do this Whole30 at all because I wanted a kick in the butt to eat more protein and veggies, and become less reliant on toast and Luna bars as a snack as of late… not to actually switch over to lifelong Paleo eating. You guys already know that. So not doing a Whole30 after one week in is not a huge deal, other than it makes me feel like a jerk to say I’m going¬†to do something and then get derailed. BUT¬†I’m not throwing away the intention behind that Whole30 challenge! That’s the important part.

For the rest of this¬†month, I’m sticking with the main principles that tend to guide Paleo lifestyles:

  • No sugar
  • No dairy
  • Limit/eliminate processed foods (i.e., keep things as natural as possible – including no artificial sweeteners or soy products)
  • Limited alcohol (which I already try to be mindful of¬†anyways)
  • Focus on protein and vegetables/fruit

……..Plus¬†my own modification (a reflection of what’s already occurred): gluten free grains. I think that’s totes (and yes, I really just wrote out “totes”)¬†fine, considering my goals here. This means rice, quinoa, gluten free oats…… And that doesn’t mean I will be doing cartwheels with¬†gluten free desserts or processed gluten free snacks. ¬†ūüôā I’m not trying to cut corners in order to¬†eat junk that’s still junk, regardless of white flour being involved or not, and I honestly never had an “addiction” to sugar in the first place, which is what a lot of Whole30 official language seems to be focused on breaking.,,, I am keeping a big focus on eating natural, whole foods, which is still at the heart of the Paleo movement.

This will work for me, and makes me feel less like a stinker for breaking my solidarity¬†with all you Whole30-ers/Paleo diehards out there this weekend…. especially after freakin’ Instagramming my Whole30 day-in-the-life for The Eighty Twenty on Friday. I couldn’t have predicted I’d get sidelined by a virus, and I’m not at all regretful for¬†breaking it in order to, ya know, not puke on my boyfriend. So, there’s that.

All that being said, I made a big crockpot full of my fav Paleo chili yesterday, and I bought approximately 1 million eggs + veggies at Trader Joe’s on Sunday, so I’m totally ready to rock this week and keep my eyes on the {good health} prize.

OH! And on a completely unrelated note, I’ve started (as of Sunday) taking a biotin supplement at the recommendation of my hairstylist. I’m trying to urge my hair to grow – it’s been such a stinker the past few months since I chopped off those 10 inches, and taking entirely too long to grow out. We’ll see what happens!



Anyone else trying to eat healthier this month? Or have you tried Biotin or anything else to grow your hair?? Do tell.


Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Risotto

Thank you all for your sweet words about Monday’s post on my race! You’re the best.

A race recap is coming SOON as I can pull myself together from the pancake/run-drunk + s’mores birthday cake high I’m currently riding, but in the meantime…..¬†image

A recipe! A couple of weeks ago, I was at the farmers market with a friend when we started talking about our mutual love for sweet potatoes.

I’m sure I’ve told you guys before, but I have a sweet potato just about every day, in some form or another. Anyways, my friend mentioned she’d just made a risotto-esque recipe starring those orange beauts!

Um, HELLO. ¬†I immediately asked her to share the recipe with me. ¬†I love risotto, AND sweet potatoes… plus I was using last week (when I made this) to carb-load before my half.

Yes- I carb loaded for a full week. Don’t judge me.image

I couldn’t wait to make this baby!

The recipe my friend had made used barley, but I’m more of a brown rice fan. I decided to experiment after doing a little research to make sure that it was actually possible to cook rice in a crock pot. Turns out you can! Easy peasy.

Apparently someone took pity on those of us without access to a rice cooker. ūüėČ

Not exactly the traditional, Italian recipe for¬†risotto¬†like I’ve made in the past, but filling and tasty…. which sort of makes me think of fall, even though I’m pretty sure fall never touches San Diego. Plus, plenty of leftovers for lunch the rest of the week!

Ya’ll know I love a no-hassle work-day lunches.


Seriously, yum! And gluten-free to boot, if you’re into that sorta thing.


Slow Cooker Sweet Potato and Brown Rice Risotto

*inspired by this recipe


  • cooking spray
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 12¬†ounces sweet potatoes (about 2 medium), peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 1/4¬†cups uncooked brown rice
  • 1¬†tsp dried thyme
  • 7 ounces frozen roasted peppers mixture (i.e. half of a standard size bag)
  • salt and¬†black pepper, to taste (most likely 1/2-1 tsp each, depending on preference)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp¬†grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
1. Coat basin of slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray (could also use 1 tsp of olive oil). Saute onion with garlic powder in a small pan until almost translucent.
2. Add sweet potatoes to slow cooker seasoning with salt and pepper to taste, followed by rice, frozen peppers, thyme, salt, and pepper. Add onion and then evenly pour in 3 cups of broth. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.
3. In last 15 minutes, add 1 cup of chicken broth and stir. Recover and finish cooking. Serve warm topped with Parmesan cheese.
Serves 4-6

Baked ziti

Oh hello!

Every year for my birthday growing up, my meals were pretty much planned out.

Pancakes for breakfast, and baked ziti for dinner.

A past tray I made.. half-eaten already, standard.

Totally natural.

My mom would make this homemade Italian comfort food of mozzarella, Ricotta, and sauce blanketed over soft ziti pasta for me every year like clockwork. 

It’s one of my very favorite meals, hands down.

This is serious.

And now baked ziti forever reminds me of birthdays and family and love on a fork.

Today happens to be Penpal’s birthday, and since he’s busy overseas doing the darn thing, I decided to make my own baked ziti last night in his honor!

It was already his birthday in Afghanistan by the time I ate it, so obviously this was 100% for him and had nothing to do with the fact that I had a huge craving for mozzarella drenched in tomato sauce, or that I was ready to test out my lactose intolerance v. gluten intolerance (i.e. whether my lactose thang has actually been a gluten problem all this time).

Cross my heart.

(In case you’re wondering… yep, still slightly lactose intolerant. Excellent.)

This is yet another stupid simple recipe for you all! And it never disappoints… Unless you buy brown rice pasta because you’re trying to stick to being gluten-free for a few more days, in which case you’ll probably call me yelling about how something tasted “off” and sort of blah when compared to how you might imagine the platters prepared by Italian grandmas to taste.

And of course my mom did not get a call from me last night asking why this didn’t actually taste like when she makes it for me… or like any of the past times I’ve made this recipe for myself in the past. I mean, what do you guys take me for?

I actually used fusilli (the curly screw shaped pasta), although traditionally this is made with ziti.

I know, you never would have guessed that on your own.

Any tube-shaped pasta works best. Oh, and as for the mozz? I’m all for fitting in your skinny jeans, but take my word for it and do not try to use fat free… It will not melt.

Besides, wouldn’t you rather being in stretchy spandex when forking bowl-fulls of this stuff in your face on a chilly fall evening?

That’s what I thought.

PS. Happy Birthday Penpal! ūüėÄ

Baked Ziti


  • 1 pound pasta (ziti is traditional, but can also easily sub in penne or rigatoni- tube shape works best)
  • tomato sauce (bologne works best because it’s thicker, but marinara is fine!)
  • 15 ounce container Ricotta
  • small package mozzarella (I use part-skim)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta and sauce (separately, as you normally would). Slice mozzarella  (not paper thin but not very thick!), about half of the small package.

2. Pour still warm pasta in a baking pan. Add ricotta by the spoonful, followed by chunks of mozzarella. Add sauce on top and mix well so that the whole pan of pasta is pink with sauce (including all the cheese).

3. Add more sauce to cover entire tray on top, as well as a final layer of mozzarella across the top layer of pasta.

4. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until completely hot and cheese has melted and crisped up. 


*Note: the brown rice pasta I used on this particular instance caused the baked ziti to be much drier than normal, which is why I do not recommend it being used regularly in this recipe.

What’s your favorite birthday meal?!

Monday things: Taste of DC

Happy Columbus Day!

Yesterday was a special little Sunday here.

After my morning workout, I spent all day working as a volunteer at Taste of D.C. with my darling friend Justine.

And by work, I mean pouring wine tastings for an Italian winemaker, Palm Bay, as well as one Chilean wine (a cab that was amazing), and later beer on behalf of the distributor who handles Blue Moon¬†Brewing Company and Leinenkugel Brewing Company’s Honey Weiss.

Hi Justine. I promise not to forcefeed you mini cups of beer in the near future.

We were excellent.

Even though I look approximately 15 years old. I’m not entirely sure how anyone believed me when I said all of the drinks I was pouring (read: overflowing) were the best they would surely ever drink in their lives.

I’m now an expert.

I even learned a few things!

Two thumbs up.

Like that you should probably not reply to someone sober who asks you what this beer you’re pouring them tastes like by saying, “It has honey in it. And it tastes like beer.”

And that pouring wine and beer all day is hard work, albeit a raging good time for an overly friendly person like myself.

Especially after a few personal tastings.

Stop judging.

My fav wine of the day- a cab from Chile.. pronounced "Cheeeeee-lay."

It was encouraged.

Luckily Justine was with me, or else I probably would have sold my soul to become employed full-time by one of the local wineries doing tastings there in the alcohol area.

You know, when I finished eating my weight in sample size versions of paella, chicken skewers, and dark chocolate that is.

We were “paid” for volunteering (because I really need more of a reward to be hanging out at this awesome event for free all day, obviously) with 10 food tickets. I hung onto those ¬†suckers like they were all the Golden Ticket.

It was serious.

I had a system, because clearly I could not take any chances wasting my sampling on unworthy bites. This involved circling the area (like 6 blocks of Pennsylvania Avenue) at a brisk pace, mentally taking notes on what foods were available that I couldn’t easily recreate in my own kitchen and/or weren’t from restaurants I regularly frequent on my own.

Thank God Justine kept up a good pace, or else I probably would’ve lost her in this process.

Eventually I settled on a few items (not all of which went photographed because I was a hungry beast). 

Such as BBQ Pulled Pork!

(I didn’t eat the bread though, since I was still on my gluten-free kick yesterday… you know, besides all of the beer I drank. Fail.)

And amazing sliced steak from Medium Rare, a fantastic steakhouse in D.C. that I’ve never been to before.

Their special sauce was so-so.

It was SO good, even cold!

Note to Penpal: We must eat here when you’re back!

I also bartered in order to get the most bang for my buck.. er, tickets.

This was not as good as La Tasca usually delivers, but it was the end of the night..

Four precious tickets for a saucer of vegetarian Paella (aka rice) from La Tasca? I think not.

I got it for two. Because I’m friendly.

It was a beautiful night, though, so I decided to walk home. 

D.C. is not as large as you think, trust me. 

I took an easy route right past the  Dept. Treasury and the White House.

Twas a lovely Sunday, and a good weekend. And now I should probably get out of my sweatpants and do something productive… like make lunch. ūüėČ

How was your weekend?! Have you ever been to any of the “Taste of” city events?

ps. As promised- hi Jeannie! 

*Disclaimer: I was not asked or compensated to write this post about Taste of D.C.

Bikram yoga & runner road rage

Happy Wednesday!

Today = gorgeous outside.

It’s a crisp but sunny fall day, sorta reminscent of autumn in the southwest (the homeland). I have zero problems with this. It means I get to wear my cozy Northface fleece and skirt, and not freeze my hiny off.

I wonder if my next workplace will be okay with my fleece+business skirt pairing…

I like to think my charm distracts people from my general disdain for office attire. ūüėČ

Bikram Yoga

Last night, Beth and I met up for some hot yoga-ing again. I personally love/am borderline obsessed with Bikram, but I think I may have almost killed Beth.

My happy walk to yoga. I heart the D.C. skies.

I’ve been doing Bikram since the summer of 2008, and have been a diehard¬†fan ever since.

Before trying out the local studio in my neighborhood back home in Vegas, I had never tried any type of yoga before. I always assumed it would be too boring and slow-moving for me, and not enough of a sweat session for a cardio junkie like myself.¬† I popped into a Bikram class that summer just to try it out, because¬†the studio¬†was near my parents’ gym and I figured I would give it a shot since it had just opened up, and proclaimed itself to be a “different”¬† than the om-and-chant kind of yoga.

After one super sweaty sesh, I was sold.¬† ūüėÄ

Fact: I heart sweat!

I once read another blogger’s comment¬†that you have to find the right type of yoga for you, and that makes all the difference.


The instructors at that studio were really amazing at introducing this yoga to newbies, and I feel helped develop my attachment to this practice with their thorough explaining of each of the moves and all of the details about Bikram yoga (like why it’s so freakin’ hot!).

As a result, in every city I’ve lived in since, (NYC and D.C.), I’ve sought out studios. I will always love my Las Vegas studio best, but I’m a big, big fan of Bikram Yoga Dupont here in D.C.!

They give out free pineapple and orange slices after most classes.

Free food = automatic superiority.

Hence why I tricked poor Beth – who isn’t the greatest fan of heated practices to begin with – into trying it out.

Still be my friend, Beth? Please?

Friends who sweat together, stay together. Right?

I hadn’t been to Bikram in for-ev-er.

Like, since spring.

Post class I looked like a sweaty sewer rat in spandex, but I was ready to hug the world. Pretty standard.

I was also craving an ice cold bowl of…. cereal.

Boring but delicious.

Peanut butter-flavored (and GF) Panda Puffs and some blueberries.

Like Puffins, but better! Mostly because you can fit more in your mouth at one time.

I’m very glad it’s making a reappearance in my life though.. I may buy a one month’s pass to make good on my “more yoga” goal this month.

Running Etiquette

When Beth and I were walking home from yoga, we somehow found ourselves witnessing the most awkward exchange! We were walking down the sidewalk side by side, and another woman was walking on the left of us, closer to the street and just an inch or two in front of us. Ahead of us and barreling toward us¬†was¬† a female runner, who Beth and I didn’t even notice because we were in conversation. The runner starts literally screaming at the woman next to us, who was directly opposite her on the sidewalk, shouting for her to be more observant and to get out of her way.

Not kidding- screaming at this poor woman, without even breaking her stride.

The runner actually almost tripped on a tree root on the sidewalk at this moment, after having turned her head to look at the other lady… and then shouted some awesome cuss words before going along on her merry way.

I was literally stunned by this girl’s behavior. As a runner myself, I usually yield to walkers and bikers when on the sidewalk, especially if it’s apparent that they don’t even notice me coming up around them. And I’d personally never even think of yelling at some random passerby, unless they, I don’t know, stuck their foot out to trip me or something.


Please note also that the recipeint fo the screams, as Beth and I realized later, was a tourist. Bet she can’t wait to get back to D.C.

By the way, yogis don’t scream on sidewalks. ūüėČ

Fellow runners- what would your reaction have been in this situation??

Going-away shindig at CPK

Anyways, since my last day at my current office is Friday, my office took me out to a farewell lunch at California Pizza Kitchen, one of my favorite casual restaurants!

Back in college, my friends and I used to go all the time for the delicious salads and BBQ Chicken pizza because it was right by campus.

I’ve always enjoyed their wall decor – decorated pizza boxes!

Makes me wonder what kind of person takes their pizza box home and busts out the paint set and markers once their leftovers are gone.

Back in college, their was a frat house that had all of these boxes colored in and hanging on their walls.

Frat=kegs=artistic creativity?

I ordered my fav salad on the menu, the Roasted Vegetable salad with grilled chicken.

This guy never disappoints!

The roasted veggies (eggplant, roasted peppers, artichoke hearts, corn, and sundried tomatoes) are warmed and toasty,¬†and laid over some romaine lettuce. It’s also supposed to feature avocado, but I opted for none. Despite having been raised on the west coast, I’m actually only a fan of avocados when mashed into some guacamole and perched atop a tortilla chip. ūüėČ

It was such a fun lunch, and I am not looking forward to saying goodbye to my coworkers on Friday. They’ve been like a D.C. family to me since I started working here. Plus I sorta hate goodbyes… I’m lousy at them.

Ask Penpal. At the end of all our visits, I would usually cling to his leg like an unruly two year old.

Mature. Very mature.


Time to take care of a few items on the ol’ to-do list… Catch you all tomorrow!

Are you good at goodbyes? And have you ever tried Bikram? If you think I’m insane for loving it, that’s cool too!

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