(Simple) Kale & Sausage Soup


During the colder months, my husband and I have one particular dinner obsession: soup. Soups are among my favorite comfort foods and can be as healthy or decadent as you want them to be. I make a lot of veggie and fiber-filled soups that are really filling and full of flavor, but not overly heavy or calorie-laden.

Once I figured out how simple (and delicious) it is to whip up a big pot of homemade soup (as opposed to the sodium-filled canned variety), I couldn’t stop. (I will admit that we store get Pho for take-out every now and then, because I can never make it taste as delicious as our local Vietnamese restaurant!) I make a lot of soups that are basically a combination of whatever is left in the fridge, which surprisingly almost always turn out well. There’s one “go-to” soup that I end up cooking about once a week, because it’s SO good and easy to make. I actually never measured out the ingredients until I sat down to write this recipe, but you can feel free to alter to your tastes.

There are three ingredients that really make this soup special: kale, chicken sausage and yukon gold potatoes.


Actually, the real star of this soup is the spicy Italian chicken sausage. Be sure to buy pre-cooked chicken sausage, because it will reduce your overall cooking time. Since the sausage is so highly seasoned, you don’t need to add many more spices to the soup to achieve delicious, bold flavor. The soup itself (from start to finish) takes less than an hour to make! Sometimes I serve it with a side of bread, but honestly, the soup is filling enough on it’s own. Feel free to add in additional ingredients (like white beans, lentils, leftover chicken or turkey, carrots or mushrooms) to bulk it up even more.

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Spicy Pumpkin Chili


Hey friends! Every so often I write a recipe for Sierra Trading Post. I love this recipe, so I thought I’d share!

We’re deep into the heart of fall, and for the last few months you’ve probably seen pumpkin everything. Pumpkin lattes, pumpkin beer, pumpkin cereal… you can pretty much find a pumpkin version of anything that you eat or drink. I’ve been making pumpkin bread, truffles, pancakes and any other recipe I can dream since the start of fall (when I deem it officially acceptable to start the pumpkin craze) and have loved every minute of it. But, by November, the thought of one more pumpkin-themed food usually just makes me roll my eyes, except for one recipe in particular: Pumpkin Chili.


It’s so delicious- just trust me on this one.

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Three Cookie Recipes for Hikers


I don’t know about you, but I take extra care in planning out my energy resources for long hikes. I never just carelessly throw an energy bar in my backpack (unless it’s a short hike and I really don’t think I’ll need a snack anyway). I’m usually up the night before a long hike carefully planning out my meals and snacks. I’ve learned that no meal ever tastes as good as one that is enjoyed at the summit of a mountain trail (and my meal of choice is usually a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a can of IPA). ;)

Long or strenuous hikes burn a sufficient amount of calories, and it’s extremely hard to keep your energy level and motivation up when your stomach is growling. Some of my favorite convenient sources of energy for long hikes include KIND bars, trail mix and Justin’s Almond Butter squeeze packs (which I usually pair with an apple). All of those options are great, but I’ve got a snack idea that’s even better: cookies! Seriously, who doesn’t love cookies?

I started creating “hiker’s cookies” to bring along on the trails to break up the monotony of my standard pre-packaged snack staples. The best thing about making hiking cookies is that they can contain any flavor combination you can dream up! Three of my favorite hiker’s cookie recipes are Cherry Almond, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip and Banana Bread cookies.


Each recipe contains plenty of healthy fats, protein and carbohydrates. The balance of these macronutrients will not only keep you feeling satisfied, but will also keep your energy levels up. These cookies can be stored in a plastic bag or sealed container for up to three days, and for up to a month in the freezer after that. (The Banana Bread cookies are best preserved when stored in the refrigerator, but will be just fine in your backpack all day.)

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FlapJacked Mighty Muffins [Giveaway!]


Hey friends!

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably me seen a few posts about FlapJacked’s newest product: Mighty Muffins. I was really excited about the unveiling of these awesome protein muffins last month, because they’ve been in development for quite some time! We created a bunch of different flavors, did countless taste tests and eventually settled on two delicious, addictive varieties: Cinnamon Apple and Double Chocolate.


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#JoyDelivered with Door to Door Organics [Giveaway!]

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I have a love/hate relationship with going grocery shopping. I love finding new products, and looking through aisles of gorgeous, fresh food. But, I hate spending time and money doing it. I’m not the type of person that can just do one big trip once a week – I function much better by making several small trips throughout the week. And, because of my job, I sometimes find myself at a grocery store multiple days in a row (or going to several different stores in one day to find what I need). There are a bunch of great conventional and organic grocery stores and markets around where I live, and several are within biking/walking distance. Needless to say, I haven’t been walking or biking to the store lately (being on crutches and all….).

Since my car accident this summer, pretty much everything in my daily routine has changed. I’ve been on crutches for the last five weeks, which makes it pretty challenging to do anything, and nearly impossible to walk and hold something at the same time. (When I get better, I will never take that ability for granted again!). As you can imagine, grocery shopping has been a challenge. I used one of those mobile carts the first time I went to the store post-broken pelvis, but it was hard to reach anything and get around aisles and displays. Greg has done most of the shopping- but he does not have a love/hate relationship with it (it’s just hate). Also, I’m kind of a control freak, and just prefer to do the shopping myself. Since it’s been such a challenge to go to the store by myself, I’m grateful for the interwebs for providing me with online grocery shopping that I can do right from my desk. My favorite online grocer is Door to Door Organics. Door to Door Organics provides fresh, organic produce and groceries to be delivered right to your door!

I first heard about this service from my friend Tiffany, who raved about the weekly vegetable boxes that showed up at her doorstep. I signed up for the service too and enjoyed fresh produce delivered right to my house each week. I loved the service, but ended up putting it on hold due to having to travel a lot last fall. I recently started the service back up again, and the timing was perfect! A few weeks ago I got my first delivery (since re-starting the subscription):


This is what was inside of the boxes:

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Currently: June 2015


Well hey there, middle of June! (Or is it technically the end of June?) I’ve spent the entire month with a broken pelvis, so I’m pretty darn excited that it’s flying by as fast as it is. Both of my parents had planned trips (months ago) out to see me this month, which has been both good and bad. It’s been GREAT to have some helping hands around the house (since I’m very limited as to what I can do, due to being on crutches). But, I’ve felt really bad since I’m not able to go do all of the fun stuff that we had planned. I guess they’ll just have to come back!

My mom was here in the beginning of the month, but it wasn’t her first visit and she’s already experienced a lot of the “touristy” stuff here. But, this was my dad and stepmom’s first visit to Colorado ever, so I’ve made sure that we’ve still gotten out (as much as I can handle). (They’re also renting a car to go do some activities that I can’t do right now.) We took them to Rocky Mountain National Park one day and spent another in Summit County. The weather has been gorgeous (and hot!), thank goodness!


We even went to the annual BBQ Festival in Frisco, where they hold my favorite event: the piglet race!


Currently: June

Current books: Nothing, really. Even though I’ve had plenty of time to sit on my butt, I haven’t had much desire to read (I need to fix that!).

Current music: My current favorite song:

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Blend Retreat 2015

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Thanks for all of your kind words and well wishes in regards to my car accident. This past week has pretty much been a nightmare, but I’m taking it day by day and hanging in there. I’d rather talk about happier things around here, so I’m  finally going to write about the 2015 Blend Retreat. (Warning- it’s a long one!!)

This year’s Blend Retreat happened over three weeks ago, so I guess it’s about time I wrote a little something about it! I had every intention of writing a detailed re-cap of the weekend’s events within a few days of it being over, but there’s that whole catching up with the full-time job thing. Speaking of full-time job – have you tried our newest flavor (Carrot Spice)? It’s SO good- probably my favorite flavor of the bunch! And, Blend attendees were among the first to get to try it! But I’ll get to that later.

The Blend Retreat was held at Chautauqua Park in Boulder Colorado from May 15-17th and was sponsored by the amazing folks at Quest Nutrition. I was really excited about the retreat being back at Chautauqua (where it began in 2012) because it’s such an incredible place (and only a 20 minute drive away from me!). We secured the location in May 2014, so this year’s retreat was a long time in the making. Lindsay and Janetha are the other two organizers of the event, but neither live in Colorado. Since I live close to the event location, one of my main tasks was to meet with the lodging and catering staff members and figure out the logistics of having 100 people on site for the weekend. There was a lot of driving back and forth, millions hundreds of phone calls/emails back and forth, and it was pretty exciting to see it all come together. I’ve never planned an event this big before, and I was definitely involved in a lot of different tasks than I was in 2014 (when it was in Park City, and I was pretty useless after surgery!).

Here’s one thing that I’ve learned about being on the Blend planning team for the last two years: it’s pretty much like having a second full-time job. Well, that’s not completely true. Up until the month or two before, it’s like having another part-time job. But, in the weeks leading up to the event, it definitely takes up all of your free time (and it’s a labor of love!). I keep questioning myself as to if I’m going to still be involved for the next year, and the pros seem to always outweigh the cons. In the end, we have successfully created an awesome, memorable weekend for 100 people to enjoy (and I’m pretty proud of that!).

Anyway, I could spend hours writing about all of the details that went into planning the Blend Retreat (and maybe I will- in a future post), but let’s get on with the good stuff, shall we? As I said above, my two partners-in-crime live outside of Colorado. Lindsay drove in with her family (from North Carolina!) the weekend before Blend to rent a place in Boulder for a few weeks. Janetha, Marshall and their adorable son Fox drove in on Wednesday and stayed with Greg and me. On Thursday, the three of us met up to wrap up all of the last-minute details before the big weekend. We stopped by Bhakti Chai to pick up (the best ever) yoga mats for everyone attending and were invited to take a tour of Justin’s headquarters. I’ve met Justin several times at various natural foods events and he is sincerely one of the nicest people I’ve ever spoken to. He’s such a great success story in the natural foods industry, and it’s always great to talk to him and get advice!

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Don’t Justin and Lindsay look like they could be brother and sister?

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Simple Berry Breakfast Parfait


I’m a big fan of breakfast. I’m also a big fan of lunch, dinner, snacks, happy hour, mid-morning coffee breaks…. basically I love to eat. Besides loving to eat, I also love all types of food. I’m lucky enough to not have any food allergies (knock on wood!) and am the complete opposite of a picky eater. In fact, I can count on one hand the foods that I don’t like (which include Blue and Gorgonzola cheeses and shiitake mushrooms). There are other foods that I prefer not to eat, but there are very few that I genuinely dislike the taste of.

I eat dairy. I eat soy. I eat gluten. I eat fruits and vegetables. I eat sugar. I eat meat. I eat dairy and meat alternatives. I eat grains. I eat it all. (And I’m still alive!)

One of the foods that’s a staple in my diet in yogurt. I alternate between Greek yogurt, skyr, almond milk yogurt, plain (dairy) yogurt.. heck, even frozen yogurt! Until recently, there was one particular type of yogurt that was not in my rotation: soy. I have nothing against soy. As long as it’s certified non-GMO (of which Silk products are!), I’m a fan . But, the majority of soy yogurts that I’ve tried taste like crap.

I had completely written off soy yogurt as an option in my yogurt rotation until I tasted Silk Dairy-Free Yogurt Alternative at the Silk Blogger immersion almost two years ago. It was literally love at first taste- and since then, it’s become a staple in my refrigerator.


Silk Dairy-Free Yogurt Alternative doesn’t have that icky chemical taste that I’ve found other soy yogurts to have. It tastes delightful! And, there are delicious chunks of fruit swirled into the yogurt- it’s basically perfect.

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Currently: May 2015


Whoa- I’ve been majorly slacking at posting. I’m ashamed that I couldn’t even manage to get a Currently post up in the last few months! When everything else is occupying my time, blogging definitely goes by the wayside. I appreciate that the five of you that are still reading… are still reading. :)

We’ve got a bunch of exciting stuff going on at work (I’ll share soon, I promise!) that’s been making my usual 40-50 hour work week more like 60. And, add planning Blend on top of that (along with Janetha and Lindsay)- it’s pretty much like two full-time jobs. Let me make this clear though: I’m not complaining! I love my job and planning Blend… but I need a nap. :)

Currently: May

Current books: I have a bad habit of starting books and then bailing halfway through to start another one. I did that with The Andy Cohen Diaries in favor of Gone Girl, and was then distracted by a few other books. The last (full) book I read was this one, which I totally loved and could relate to on almost every level. But, now I’m back to Andy Cohen and am determined to finish it! I have Torch waiting for me next.

Current music: Pandora station: Mumford & Sons (always)

Current guilty pleasure: I don’t know if it’s really a guilty pleasure, but I get an awful lot of entertainment from the How-Old.Net site. I think I’ve tried about 10 different photos, and it usually ages me anywhere from 40 – 72 (I’m 35, btw). These two photos were the youngest. I guess a stupid bright red lipstick selfie reverses the aging process?


Current nail color: I really should change this to (toe)nail color, since my finger nails are almost always naked. I got a much needed pedicure on Saturday and am now sporting clean, short gold toes.

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Working from Home [+ Late Morning Soy Lattes]


Working from a home office definitely has its pros and cons. The most obvious “pro” is that you get to be home- no commuting, no office drama and you can work in your pajamas all day long if you want. I’ve been working from home for a little over a year now and am definitely a fan. But, there are also some drawbacks. I miss the socialization and relationships that I had with co-workers in some of my former jobs. And, it’s also nice to have structure. Even though having a set schedule can be a pain sometimes, it’s also nice to have a routine. All in all, I like the balance that I have now: I generally work from home three days a week and go into the office the other two (and I always work a bit on either Saturday or Sunday- from home).

I know that it’s common for people to gain weight after they get an “office” job due to eating out, going to happy hours after work or any other calorie-inducing habits. It was actually the opposite for me. After I quit my teaching job and was home all of the time I quickly packed on the pounds. For me, having constant access to my fridge and pantry (stocked with delicious food!) was not always the best thing. I had a few snacks that I kept in my classroom during my teaching years, but in general I could only eat what I packed for breakfast and lunch (I never got desperate enough to buy cafeteria food!).

With my current schedule, I teach early morning (6:00 am) Spinning and Bodypump classes two days a week, which are followed by breakfast, a shower and a full day of work. On the other days I generally wake up around 6:30 a.m., work for a bit, exercise, eat breakfast and work for the rest of the day. I take a few breaks throughout the day to walk the dogs and to eat lunch. And, I always have my first (and usually only) cup of coffee in the late morning. Lately that cup of coffee has consisted of the following:


Silk Unsweetened Organic Soymilk, coffee and a milk frother.

Fortunately I am able to function in the morning without drinking a cup of coffee first (I actually can’t drink coffee before exercising). And, this “latte” is much more filling than a cup of coffee, so it’s almost like a late morning snack (one cup of Silk Soymilk has 7 – 8 grams of protein!).

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