The 2nd Annual Benner Fit Challenge Is Finally Here! www.BennerFit.com
I have an affinity for Mexican food. It can get heavy or as Chrissy Teigen (John Legend's beautiful and hysterical wife) says, " bloaty mcbloatstown." But man oh man is it good. I like to keep it simple and quick in the kitchen. I am not the girl that likes to patiently stir the risotto but I do appreciate a good home cooked meal so I get creative. I was craving homemade tacos because this hilarious photo kept frequenting my Facebook newsfeed last week.
Guess what? YOU can have both!
Here's what you need
1) Touch of olive oil, salt, pepper, and turmeric
2) Two handfuls of kale and mushrooms
3) 1/2 can of organic black beans
4) Corn tortillas
5) Beet hummus from Trader Joe's or slice some beets up
Cooking time (I so desperately just wanted to write HAMMER TIME)
1) In a pan combine olive oil, salt, pepper, turmeric, kale, mushrooms, and black beans. Sautéed on medium until done. I found it was between 5-7 minutes
2) Heat corn tortillas and spread beet hummus all over one side of them.
3) Place kale combination on top of the beet hummus or corn tortilla and voila it's time to EAT!
They left me feeling like this...
Can you tell I'm in love with DC?! I believe I left off on Monday evening...
Ian and I went out with some of our coworkers for dinner at a restaurant called Founding Farmer's (love the name-www.wearefoundingfarmers.com). It's made up of 42,000 farmers that provide organic foods for the restaurant. How can one not support a business so fabulous? But ladies and gents the food...oh...my...word...AMAZING. The flavors they created in such healthy dishes were mind blowing! I could have kept eating if my stomach allowed it. I got a white bean cutlet stew and Ian got a vegetarian "meatloaf."
After a full and happy dinner we slept in the next morning ready to take on the day. Ian had to leave for work but I ventured into the Georgetown neighborhood and fell in love with it. The uneven cobblestone streets, the quaint Cafe's, and a great yoga class filled my freezing body (20 degrees outside) full of joy!
I popped into Lululemon in Gerogetown to ask them what fitness or yoga studios are around the area and they provided me with a great suggestion a yoga studio called Down Dog Yoga (www.downdogyoga.com). It was a hot and full vinyasa flow class that warmed me up and pumped up my heart rate. The instructors name was, Meg, and she did a fabulous job leading the class through a beautiful flow.
That night Ian and I dined at a local and delicious Indian Restaurant called Mehak (www.mehak.com). To all you vegetarian and vegans out there Indian food is a great option for good, filling, and healthy dishes. We had a romantic dinner and I wanted to cherish my last night in DC so we went out for a walk through the freezing cold yet gorgeous streets of DC...
My last morning in DC could not have been anymore perfect. It all began with a jog from downtown, to the national mall, to the capital, to the Washington monument, to the White House, and back. 5 miles later I could have kept going because I was just in awe of all the history I was stepping on and seeing.
Ian and I worked up a serious appetite so we decided to stop and grab some breakfast before I had to leave for Baltimore. There is a breakfast spot called Protein Bar (www.theproteinbar.com) that is only in Chicago and DC that a college friend of mine suggested. Boy was it delicious! Quinoa breakfast bowls with agave syrup, almonds, and fresh berries...a green tea smoothie with almond milk, egg whites, and fresh green tea...incredible! We ended my DC trip with a bang!
I'm in Baltimore now, working, and pretending I'm still in our nations capital. I couldn't have asked for a better 2 1/2 days! So thankful for our country and for each day of health I have here!
I hope this inspires you to travel and to know that wherever you go, you are able to find healthy foods, fitness studios or the outdoors, and amazing sites. Maybe instead of cabbing it somewhere in metropolitan cities, walk it or jog it so you get to experience the energy, the people, and actually touch the sites.
"BEEP BEEP BEEP," went the alarm! Up and at em at 4:30 am in Los Angeles Sunday morning to take off to DC to visit my boyfriend and to sight-see around one of the most incredible places in our country. As our plane began to land in DC there was a heavy cloud cover and then all of a sudden the Washington Monument was breaking through the sky to my left. I felt a jolt of emotion, because here I am landing in a city where all of our presidents have stepped foot. It's overwhelming even as I write this... I'm going to switch gears for a second here. In California, there is an 8th grade trip to Washington, DC that all students are able to take over Spring Break. When I was in 8th grade, my daddy was very sick with cancer, so instead of taking the trip, I spent time with my family. To be here fourteen years later - for the first time - is deeply emotional for me and I feel like I can appreciate it all the more at this point in my life. As I walked up to the White House tears dropped down my face... I was just overcome with emotion. How amazing to be in front of a home where all of our presents have lived (except George Washington, but he had the place built!) To walk around the National Mall or to stand in front of the Washington Monument, I am walking in history. As my mama said, "you can see it, touch it, believe it...it is not a fable!" It is all real and I am honored to be here...
Yesterday I slept in and slowly woke up to start my day. I looked up various yoga studios around the downtown DC area and found a place called Sculpt DC which is a spin/yoga studio. I popped into a 12:15 pm yoga sculpt class. The studio was super chic and urban. You walk in upstairs and the studios are located downstairs. There are gorgeous bathrooms, showers, and even a lounge area for all the fitness goers to freshen up or relax. I like a booty kicking workout, this particular class was a bit more relaxing but certainly a nice way to start my day.
Following my yoga class I popped into Le Pain Quotidien for a fresh lentil salad with a cup of vegan black bean soup, yum!
I decided to head to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History which is on Pennsylvania Ave and part of the national mall. Most museums here are free, which is a big plus! I could have spent hours in here but having limited time to get all of my sight seeing in, I tried to get as much in as I could before I walked over to the Washington Monument. They had an award winning animal photography section and below were a couple of my favorites.
The Washington Monument shines high above all the downtown DC buildings. It's not a city that is built tall like New York or Chicago, but it's architecture doesn't need height to make it beautiful. Here I am in the FREEZING windy weather in front of the Monument.
What I love most about being here, is that this city is so easy to navigate. You walk everywhere because you can and in the midst of all the national landmarks you get a 3 to 5 mile walk in! Total health bonus! No wonder DC is one of the fittest cities in the US.
This is just day one here and I have a day and a half to go! I can't wait to see what I can fit in, in just a few short hours...
Love you America!
Portland hmmm bizarre? Indeed! But I suppose that's what makes Portland well...Portland. I must say I did eat my way through the city and I'm here to share a story or two with you. So in my Friday Faves last week I talked about a restaurant called Andina (www.andinarestaurant.com) which to me just means perfection. It's Peruvian cuisine and the flavors in every bite make me melt, and to top it off they have both a gluten free and vegetarian menus. My boyfriend and I dined with our friends and laughed over silly stories for over two hours! I admit I am a sucker for a great dining experience and I could have probably stayed at that table for two more hours if I didn't have to go to work in the morning.
These are my friends Sara and Kris. They are hilarious and such a joy to be around!
The following morning I got up to work off my dinner at a local yoga studio called Yoga Pearl (www.yogapearl.com). It was 8:00 am Saturday morning and as I was walking waiting for the sun to come up...oops..wait...I forgot I'm in Portland...so as I was saying, as I was walking...in the cold dreary rain to get to class I turned the corner and like a star in the sky Yoga Pearl appeared. It was still a bit dark outside and they has precious white lights hanging in front of their studio that shined bright. I walked in to see a huge space. To my left was an Eco friendly yoga boutique and to my right was a raw cafe. I couldn't believe I was still in Portland, it was a magical space in the midst of a rugged and very eclectic city.
That evening we had the pleasure of dining with some friends of ours who just recently moved to Oregon at a place called Saucebox (www.saucebox.com). Conversation was entertaining and the food was magnificent. It's a fusion of pan-asain and pacific island cuisine and has many vegetarian options, woohoo! Picture this tofu, kale, white bean miso soup, sweet potato spring rolls, a red curry plate, and brussel sprouts cooked to perfection. We ate it all. There was not a bite to spare. I can't forget to mention my lavender margarita...unbelievable!
Obviously we had to get dessert...
So we went to Oprah's favorite ice cream shop! Salt and Straw! Scrumdidlyumtious! The flavor combinations are out there BUT at 10:30 pm in freezing weather there is a line out the door if that tells you anything!
Oh Portlandia, I am so thankful for your food. You may be one of the most bizarre cities I have ever been to but I am grateful for the experience and my full belly which is still full a week later...time to go workout!
My sister Kristin was and has always been the cook in the family. She's pro. Like doesn't recoil when there is more than five ingredients pro. She makes her own bread, people...this makes her legit. So really the fact that I do any blogging about food creation is, I'm pretty sure, super weird to my family. I was the eater not the creator. I burned the Pillsbury cinnamon rolls every time. Every. time. That is fact. I couldn't cook a premade presliced cookie dough without somehow, something going terribly wrong. It took me years to perfect not scorching the popcorn in the microwave. (I hate to brag but I never burn popcorn now. Ever. Not since they invented the popcorn button...)
If I did not live 3,000 miles away from my sister I would probably be blogging from her place weekly, just letting her cook the amazingness that she makes while I mindlessly snap photos. But instead, I carry on - only imagining the disgrace in her eye from food frenzy chaos I create.
Since Kristin is so hip to the know with the world of food - she turned me on to food blogs and such gems as the Joy the Baker podcast ... which brings me to my point.
This Christmas we were back together again in Florida and she thought of the brilliant idea to make a meal for the family. And I wanted in (likely to her chagrin). Since there are so many fabulous creations on the Joy the Baker/Shutterbean blogs we decided to have a mini feast with a few of their recipes. (We also threw in one part PF Changs by making lettuce wraps which might be featured on here soon as well.)
My favorite course was the recipe that follows. Since my folks had never experienced kale and I had never had the chance to try farro she was determined to make us the crunchy kale and coconut bowl on the Joy the Baker blog inspired by Shutterbean and Heidi Swanson's Supernatural Every Day cookbook (So needless to say this recipe has gotten around. And with reason!)
Holy. Moly. Three days later I was back in LA on a mad hunt for farro because this deliciousness blew my mind. We didn't stray from the recipe at all so mad props on this amazing blend of flavors and textures. So here she is...in all of her kale glory.
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sriracha
A little less than 1/3 cup olive oil
5 cups dino kale (ribless and torn into tiny bites) or a half a pound of bagged kale (making sure they are fairly stemless and pre-cut)
1 cup unsweetened large flake coconut
1 cup uncooked farro
Pre heat your oven to 350 degrees.
In a small bowl mix the sesame oil, siracha and soy sauce together. As you whisk these up, slowly drizzle that olive oil on in and make sure everything is emulsified.
Grab a medium pot and begin to boil several cups of water. Add your farro once boiling. Lower the heat and let the grain simmer for 17-20 minutes. If you were like me and perhaps never have had farro it will soften like rice but have a much chewier texture. So once it is softened drain this with a colander.
But while the farro simmers begin...
The Almighty Kale:
On a baking sheet covered in parchment paper spread the kale and coconut evenly. (You are basically making kale chips so keep the layer of kale thin so it can crisp.) pour half of the sauce you created over the kale and coconut and toss it all up to coat. Bake 12-18 minutes or until your blend has become crispy and brown.
Once the kale combo and farro are done cooking, divide both into bowls and top it off with the remaining dressing. Then get to eating!
(Sidebar: Does anyone have a blog called Emulsified? Someone needs to get on that. Stat.)
Enjoy Benner Fitters. It's a great way to start off your new year right. Happy 2013!
Greetings from Knoxville Tennessee! Good mornin', afternoon, and evenin' folks! I've been in Knoxville for three days and I'm already picking up a Southern twang, ha!
Before I started spending a lot of time in Tennessee, I always assumed the South was full of butter, fried foods, a lack of fitness studios and so on...
Sorry Southerners, I made a bad assumption! Although the butter and fried foods are here, there is another side to the darling city of Knoxville, TN...
Let me tell you about my fabulous day today. It's only 2:45 PM in Knoxville on this beautiful Wednesday afternoon and I slept in, spent time with my dog Jojo and my boyfriend's parents dogs: Henry (the alien), Tucker (the baby), and Ben (the sweet old man). Starting any day surrounded by loving dogs gets an A + in my book.
My boyfriend likes me to rest on vacation - and so do I - but I must say, I still have to get my workouts in! He gave in and took me to "The Glowing Body" in downtown Knoxville. It's a lovely yoga studio and to only pay 5 dollars (yes I said it, 5 dollars!) for a class is incredible! You definitely don't find that in LA!
It was a very relaxing yoga class, which we all need from time to time, and I love this sweet little studio. All the instructors I've had walk around and correct your alignment and are so encouraging throughout the entire class .
After any class I take, even the relaxing ones, I usually have a hungry tummy, so right away Ian took me down the street to the Three Rivers Co-Op Market. It's a local, independent deli and grocery which I must say I adore! A lot of the food sold there is vegetarian or vegan, and locally and regionally grown. I'm a big fan! Ian and I got a kale salad, a rustic veggie soup with sweet potatoes, quinoa and polenta cakes, and a bottle of kombucha! A big meal full of YUM!
I feel nourished, fueled, and refreshed!
I'm back at the house now, outside playing with the dogs. This day is a little slice of perfection! Moral of the story is that it doesn't matter where you go, you can always find ways to take care of yourself. I encourage you all to take the time to do so when you are on the road, whether for the Holidays or in the New Year.
I'll report back tomorrow evening with great recipes for making a healthy, Southern, Holiday meal!