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HALLOWEEN OUTDOOR DECORATIONS

Posted on October 31, 2016
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Category : Lifestyle

Since several neighborhoods in Pasadena go all-out for Halloween, I wanted to share pictures of some super creative and festive houses with all of you. It’s a highlight every year to see these decorations go up because they are so well done. Sometimes the decor looks a little too real! When we moved here in 2014, I remember going on a run right after work in early-October and getting spooked by a life-size skeleton wearing a cape hanging from a branch right above me. Now, I look forward to my first skeleton (or zombie) encounter of the season and still get a little scared! Tomorrow night, these houses will be lit up and the streets filled with excited trick-or-treaters. Michael and I will join the fun and are planning to cook our traditional stuffed dinner in a pumpkin, which is a holiday stew that is baked inside a real pumpkin. We love making this recipe every year! As for my costume, I haven’t decided yet – eek! I’ll either be a pumpkin or a flapper. Both costumes are ready-to-go. Michael will be a soccer player! Thank you for reading, wishing you a safe and fun Halloween!

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Healthy Fall Breakfast Ideas

HEALTHY FALL BREAKFAST IDEAS

Posted on September 25, 2016
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Category : Recipes

Starting the day with a light, yet delicious breakfast always makes me feel energized, collected, and vibrant. About a decade ago, I considered breakfast to be the least important meal of the day, but in hindsight, not getting enough nutrition in the morning made me less productive and ravenous by lunchtime. On days where my appetite does not “wake-up” as early as I do, I still make sure to prepare breakfast so that it’s ready by the time I actually get hungry. Trust me, by 10 o’clock, I always want something to nibble on and am thankful I planned in advance. The following three breakfast recipes are too good to not share and range from savory to sweet. The best part is they will power you up all morning and are made from all-natural ingredients. They are super flavorful too; just thinking about them makes me wish it was time for breakfast. Let’s get started making Avocado Toast, Pumpkin Spice Overnight Oats, and a Breakfast Banana Split.

AVACADO TOAST

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Avocado toast truly stole my heart in August and I haven’t looked back. I traveled to NYC for a business trip and was introduced to the best avocado toast when I was staying at this charming hotel. It was pretty divine. By the time I got home, I whipped up the recipe and whala, the version from my very own kitchen exceeded my expectations. I’m excited to share it with you!

Ingredients

1 egg
2 tsp coconut oil
1 slice of gluten-free bread
½ avocado
1/8 tsp chia seeds
1/4 cup cherry tomato slices
Sprig of cilantro
Optional: 1/8 tsp Pink Himalayan sea salt

Instructions

Pop a slice of bread in the toaster.

Head over to the stove and heat two teaspoons of coconut oil over med-high heat until hot. Break the egg and slip it into the oil on your pan. Reduce heat to low and cover the pan with a lid. When the whites begin to set and yoke thickens, flip the egg to cook on the other side. Remove from heat after a few minutes.

Cut the avocado in half and scoop out the contents into a small bowl. Mash up using a fork and add chia seeds as well as sea salt to the mix.

Spread avocado mixture on your toast, covering the entire area and add the fried egg. Add a dollop of extra guacamole, a sprig of cilantro, and a few tomato slices to the top. Enjoy eating with your hands or a fork – your pick!

 

PUMPKIN SPICE OVERNIGHT OATS

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Fall is the very best time of year and I revel in everything about it. I love the changing leaves, cooler temperatures, and seasonal scents with warm cinnamon notes. Plain overnight oats have been a go-to breakfast option for me for a couple of years now, but there’s nothing like jazzing it up with a little pumpkin spice! It’s incredible.

Ingredients

½ cup plain dairy-free yogurt
½ cup rolled gluten-free oats
2/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 tablespoon chia seeds
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons maple syrup
½ cup plain pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions

Pour all ingredients in the wide-mouth mason jar and stir. Cover with lid and refrigerate for four hours or overnight.

 

BREAKFAST BANANA SPLIT

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Michael and I love riding our bikes to Downtown South Pasadena and stopping in at the classic Fair Oaks Pharmacy and Soda Fountain because they make the most decadent desserts. Their banana splits, in particular, look absolutely amazing. Since traditional banana splits have a lot of sugar and dairy, I decided to make a really tasty breakfast-version made of natural ingredients that we would love eating at home. This recipe is a favorite in our house because it’s fun to make and eat.

Ingredients

1 large banana
¼ cup plain dairy-free yogurt
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoons cocoa nibs
¼ cup fresh raspberries
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon maple syrup

Instructions

Peel banana and slice in half lengthwise. Arrange slices on plate so that it looks like a butterfly (personal preference!), top with yogurt.

Sprinkle chia seeds and cocoa nibs on top of yogurt.

In a small bowl, whisk together peanut butter, water, and maple syrup.

Drizzle this sauce over the split. Finish with fresh raspberries and serve.

Please enjoy making these recipes and you can download the recipe cards featured here! I would love to hear if you tried making any of these dishes. If you do, leave a comment below. Use  #modernvida if you post on social media so I can celebrate your beautiful breakfast with you too.

XO

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FOUR FABULOUS SMOOTHIE BOWLS

Posted on September 11, 2016
0
Category : Recipes

A smoothie bowl makes for an amazingly delicious and nutrient rich breakfast, lunch, or post-workout snack any day of the week. They are so tasty and always pop with gorgeous natural colors. The consistency is thick like soft-serve ice cream and is even denser than a traditional smoothie, which makes them perfect for eating from a bowl with a spoon. Decorating the top with a variety of vibrant, delicious toppings (that all have amazing health benefits) is the best part. Even if you think you don’t have a creative side, I promise it will come out when you are tossing on a myriad of pretty toppings.  Since there are so many different variations of smoothie bowls, I wanted to share my top four favorite bowls that that give me a boost of energy, quickly satisfy my cravings, and are frequently made in my kitchen. Let’s get started creating the Mango Tango, Coconut Latte, Carrot Cake, and Pink Dragon Bowls!


MANGO TANGO BOWL

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This bowl somehow teleports you to the tropics with its super sweet mango flavor and creamy thickness (special thanks to the cooked cauliflower). The color is ultra lavish as a result of adding turmeric, which is also a strong antioxidant that has powerful anti-inflammatory effects.

Ingredients

6 tbsp unsweetened coconut milk (Trader Joe’s)

1-pitted date (Food to Live)

½ cup chilled cooked cauliflower

1 ½ cups frozen mango chunks (Earthbound Farm)

¼ tsp ground turmeric

2 tbsp coconut oil (La Tourangelle)

Toppings

1 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut (Bob’s Red Mill)

1/4 cup blueberries (Earthbound Farm)

1/4 cup raspberries (Earthbound Farms)

1 tbsp chia seeds (Navitas Naturals)

1 tbsp pecans (Jansal Valley)

Instructions

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor, and puree until smooth. Pour the mixture into a bowl and decorate with toppings.

 

COCONUT LATTE BOWL

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It’s totally ok to say, “I love you a latte” to this bowl. Seriously, it’s so satisfying and has the consistency of a milkshake. If you are trying to limit your caffeine intake but want an amazing replacement that has a bold and rich coffee flavor use the grain substitute recommended below.The ingredients practically have a party together and make for a well-deserved treat.

Ingredients

¼ cup unsweetened coconut milk (Trader Joe’s)

2-pitted dates (Food to Live)

4 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder (Swanson Organics)

2 tbsp raw peanut butter (MaraNatha)

1-½ tsp instant coffee granules or caffeine-free coffee substitute (Inka Instant Grain Beverage)

6 oz firm tofu (House Foods)

½ tsp pure vanilla extract (Simply Organic)

½ cup ice

Toppings

1-banana sliced

1 tbsp toasted chopped unsalted hazelnuts (Food to Live)

¾ tsp chia seeds (Navitas Naturals)

Dash of ground cinnamon and nutmeg

Instructions

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor, and puree until smooth. Pour the mixture into a bowl and decorate with toppings.

 

CARROT CAKE BOWL

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Carrot cake in any shape or form is delicious, but honestly this carrot cake smoothie bowl is even better. I love it because it’s super hydrating and packed with flavors you would expect from an indulgent cake without the guilt.

Ingredients

¼ cup unsweetened coconut milk (Trader Joe’s)

1-frozen banana

1/3 cup frozen pineapple chunks (Earthbound Farms)

½ cup cooked, cooled oatmeal (Bob’s Red Mill)

¾ tsp ground cinnamon

1 cup steamed, cooled carrots

Toppings

1 tbsp cashews (Thrive Market)

1 tbsp pecans (Jansal Valley)

1 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut (Bob’s Red Mill)

1 tbsp plain whole milk yogurt or sheep’s yogurt (Bellwether Farms)

1-pitted date (Food to Live)

Instructions

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor, and puree until smooth. Pour the mixture into a bowl and decorate with toppings.

 

PINK DRAGON BOWL

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This smoothie bowl is all about empowerment. It’s naturally bold, beautiful, and a superstar in health benefits. The pink pitaya (aka dragon fruit) has a surprising number of phytonutrients and since they are rich in antioxidants, they contain Vitamin C and several B vitamins. Sprinkling on bee pollen is double the fun since it’s sweet and is considered to be one of nature’s most nourishing foods. This bowl is striking and a definite beauty food that will make you radiate too.

Ingredients

¼ cup unsweetened coconut milk (Trader Joe’s)

1-frozen banana

½ cup frozen blueberries (Earthbound Farm)

1-3.5 oz frozen pitaya packet (Pitaya Plus Smoothie Packs)

Toppings

¼ cup all natural granola (Mamachia)

1 tbsp oats (Bob’s Red Mill)

Several blueberries

½ tsp bee pollen (Y.S. Organic Bee Farm)

Instructions

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor, and puree until smooth. Pour the mixture into a bowl and decorate with toppings.

Happy blending and enjoy making your very own smoothie bowl art. If you want to download the recipe cards for the smoothies featured in this post please click here! Let know in the comments what some of your favorite smoothie bowls are, and if you snap a picture of your bowl use #modernvida on social media. I would love to see all your beautiful creations. XO!

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VACAY PART 2: SEDONA

Posted on August 06, 2016
2
Category : Lifestyle, Outfits

OUTFIT DETAILS – Dress: Zara – sold out (similar: Asos) l Sandals: Zara – sold out (similar: Tory Burch) l Sunglasses: Madewell l Belt: J.Crew

When we arrived to Sedona, there was a sweet, warm breeze and the brightest twinkling stars. Even in the darkness, it was absolutely gorgeous.

The next morning we were picked up at 4 am to go on a hot air balloon ride over the red rock canyons. This experience was one of my big birthday presents and even though I’m not typically a super early riser, I jumped out of bed at 3:30 am that morning, I was so excited. Once the balloon was ready for lift off, we hopped in our corner of the basket and started floating up. It was a surreal and very peaceful experience as we glided over buttes and mesas for over an hour. The tour ended on a sweet note with fruit and mimosas. Before indulging, our group said, “The Balloonists Prayer” together. “May the winds welcome you with softness. May the sun bless you with its warm hands. May you fly so high and so well that God joins you in laughter and sets you gently back into the loving arms of Mother Earth.” It was a beautiful experience.

We spent the rest of the day riding ATVs in 120-degree weather and found our way to hiking Devil’s Bridge, which had amazing views all around. While it was undeniably sweltering, it was surprisingly bearable. That night we walked around the stunning L’Auberge de Sedona Resort and Spa and ate at ChocolaTree Organic Oasis for dinner. Michael and I both loved their food. It was undeniably the very best vegetarian restaurant either of us had ever been to. To top if off, they had an incredible chocolate selection, which we picked from and got some pretty heavenly chocolates to go.

The next day we headed home, listening to podcasts about vortexes, as well as, UFO sightings in Sedona, and laughing about all the memories we made on this trip.

XO

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