10 Things I Want My Daughter to Know About Working Out

This is one of the most inspiring, true from the heart posts I have read in a long time. Hitting every note in my heart perfectly on key, it is everything I feel about health and exercise put into perfect words. Worth a read! Or two…okay maybe I read it 3 times. Or more. 😉


Mid-way through a recent group exercise class, the teacher lost me.  She didn’t lose me because of some complicated step sequence or insanely long set of burpees; I mentally checked out because of a few words she kept saying over and over.  “Come on!  Get that body ready for your winter beach vacation!  Think about how you want to look at those holiday parties!  PICTURE HOW YOU’LL LOOK IN THAT DRESS!

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Peanut Butter Banh Mi

If you haven’t tried a Bánh Mì sandwich yet, you are seriously missing out. Alas, worry not, for I am about to remedy that tragedy. If you haven’t even heard of Bánh Mì, well, I can fix that too. Let’s get our culture on for a split second.

The sandwich originated in Vietnam during French colonial rule and is characterized by it’s French-Vietnamese fusion ingredients, which include some source of protein (pork, chicken, tofu, etc. ), a mayonnaise spread, pickled daikon and carrots, cucumber slices, and fresh cilantro (coriander). Traditionally, the term “bánh mì” actually refers to the bread that is used for the sandwich, which happens to be a thin French baguette. However, as it gained popularity, the sandwich as a whole became generally recognized as “bánh mì.”

My first Bánh Mì experience was mind-blowing. I was enjoying live music at the local Saturday Market in the town square with my wonderful boyfriend. So I guess you can say that all the positive factors for the perfect first experience were all there. The sandwich really made an impression on us, and before we knew it we were experimenting with the ingredients and making versions of our own! My Peanut Butter Banh Mi was a result of this on-going love-affair, and my love for it only grows stronger with every bite!


Peanut Butter Banh Mi


  • Whole Grain Tortilla or a Whole Grain Baguette
  • Shredded or Cubed Chicken mixed with Asian Peanut Butter Paste
  • Fresh Spinach
  • ½ of a Small Red Bell Pepper
  • 1 Carrot
  • 1/2 of a Cucumber
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Cilantro (Coriander)
  • 1 clove Garlic, chopped or minced
  • Juice of Half of a Lemon
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • ⅛  tsp Cracked Black Pepper
  • Greek Yogurt (I use Fage 0%)


Chop the cilantro and cut the carrot, cucumber, and red bell pepper into matchsticks and place in a bowl. Add the garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and mix.

Spread each tortilla or slice of baguette with a little greek yogurt (about 1 Tbsp). Layer with fresh spinach, peanut butter chicken, and mixed vegetables. Dig in!

I love using peanut butter chicken in this recipe, but it also tastes amazing with seasoned pork or shrimp. It is so versatile! Get inspired and let me know in how you like your Bánh Mì in the comments below!


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Asian Peanut Butter Paste (for chicken)

I am always looking for new ways to get my daily dose of peanut butter. If I could bathe in a pool of peanut butter, I would. Does that make me obsessed?

know I am not the only one that feels this affectionately toward peanut butter. There is even a whole month dedicated to the love of peanut butter, and it just so happens to be November! In light of this, I thought it was only suiting for me to finally post this recipe after months of putting it off. (sorry everyone!)

My best friend first introduced me to this sauce when he would make “peanut butter chicken wings,” and from then on it held a special, peanut buttery place in my heart.

It was always a cause for celebration when it was peanut butter wing night at his apartment! And the nostalgia is now setting in…okay, moving on.

I like to use this sauce to coat cubed or shredded chicken that I can then use for various salads, wraps, and sandwiches. I especially love it for my take on the traditional Vietnamese “Banh Mi” sandwich, which I appropriately call “Peanut Butter Banh Mi”


This recipe is for the purpose of mixing it with chicken. Now that I think about it, it is kind of like you are making Asian Peanut Butter Chicken Salad. YUM!

Asian Peanut Butter Paste


  • ¼ Cup All Natural Peanut Butter
  • 1 tsp Soy Sauce
  • ½ tsp Fish Sauce* (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp Milk of choice (I use unsweetened original almond milk)
  • 1 Tbsp Lime Juice (I half-squeezed half of a lime)
  • 1-2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes (personal preference–some like it hot! ;))
  • ¼ tsp Ground Coriander
  • ¼ tsp Salt (add ¼ tsp more if you omitted the fish sauce)


Combine all ingredients in a bowl mix with a spatula, making sure it is smooth.

It should create a paste. When you mix it with shredded or cubed chicken, it tastes super creamy!


This stuff never lasts long in our house!

Baked Cinnamon Apple Stuffed with “Pumpkin Pie” Oatmeal

I recently opened up a can of organic pumpkin, and I swear it makes that “Fall feeling” all that more real! With the first pop of the can opener, the wind wisps colorful leaves around the kitchen and the smell of cloves fills the air. But seriously, I haven’t been able to keep my spatulas and measuring cups out of that can! I am talkin’ PUMPKIN EVERYTHING. Yeah, it could be worse. 😉


What is better than some Fall flavors and a big ole cup o’ joe on a crisp morning? Nothing. Except for maybe two big ole cups of coffee. But my addiction to the black elixir is neither here nor there. We’re talking pumpkin here!

There are no two things that I love more in this world than a mug of black coffee and pumpkin season.

Except for maybe oatmeal. And my grandmother’s baked cinnamon apples. The good stuff.

Alas, given all the facts, it got real “Fall” all up in my kitchen this morning with a baked cinnamon apple stuffed with “pumpkin pie” oatmeal. More commonly known as heaven.

This recipe is for a single serving, but the measurements are such that it is super simple to double, triple, or quadruple if necessary.


Baked Cinnamon Apple Stuffed with “Pumpkin Pie” Oatmeal

Serving Size: 1 Apple

Serves: 1

Calories per Serving: 210

Macros: Carbs: 38g

Fat: 8g

Protein: 3g

**Serving Size, calories, and macros are approximate, not exact!


  • 1 crisp, sweet Apple
  • ¼ Cup Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
  • 4 Tbsp Unsweetened Almond Milk (*you can use regular milk, but I find that almond milk tastes better in these kinds of recipes.)
  • 2 Tbsp Pumpkin Purée
  • 1 tsp melted Coconut Oil
  • ½ tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • ½ tsp Cinnamon, divided.
  • Stevia, to taste.


Preheat the oven to 425.

Core the apple, preferably with a melon baller, but a sharp knife will work too.


Coat the inside of the apple with the coconut oil and sprinkle with ¼ tsp cinnamon.

Mix the oats, almond milk, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spices, and stevia in a separate bowl. Spoon into the cored apple, compacting a little. It is okay if a little oatmeal spills over the top. In fact, it is encouraged.


Place the stuffed apple in a small baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining ¼ tsp cinnamon. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the apple is softened to your liking.

My mornings have officially been transformed. My only regret was not making some homemade almond butter to spoon on top! 😉
My Tips:

  • This would be especially good topped with some vanilla greek yogurt (greek yogurt mixed with vanilla extract and stevia). Or, for the more indulgent soul, a good ole scoop of old-fashioned vanilla ice-cream! You deserve it.
  • Cooking times may vary for a variety of factors. After 20 minutes or so, I would check on it every 5-10 minutes until it reaches your desired softness.
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Homemade Roasted Almond Butter

Peanut butter, hazelnut butter, almond butter, you name it. I’m an extreme fan of them all, and I will lick the jar of every last one of them. But, oh, the woe that lies in the bottom of the jar.

Deep in the depths of  the nut butter jar, there lies an emptiness that we all anticipate with dread: that moment when you can’t possibly scrape anymore.

Nut butter addicts, rejoice! You can replenish your jars with almost no effort at all. All you need is a bag of nuts, a food processor, and a smidgeon of patience. Okay, maybe sometimes you need a lot of patience, but I promise that it is so worth it. 

Making your own nut butters is an easy way to cut down on the preservatives, artificial colors and flavors, and extra sugars that are lurking in your food. Not to mention it just tastes so incredibly fresh! Double win.

The following is a recipe for roasted almond butter, but this process can be replicated with almost any kind of nut.


Roasted Almond Butter

Serving Size: 1 Tbsp

Servings: approximately 32

Calories per Serving: 40

Macros: Carbs: 2g

Fat: 4g

Protein: 2g

**Serving size, calories, and macros are approximate, not exact!


  • 1 16 oz. bag of Raw Unsalted Almonds
  • that’s it!


Preheat the oven to 350. Spread the almonds in a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes

Transfer the freshly roasted almonds to your food processor equipped with the “S” blade and set on the “LOW” grind setting.

First, they will grind down into a fine almond powder. This is the almond meal that you pay an arm and a leg for at the grocery store! Keep going to get butter.


Keep grinding, making sure to scrape down the sides every few minutes to remove the build-up on the walls. It will get clumpier…


As the almonds begin to gradually release their oils, it will clump even more…


Then, you will get to a point where you think to yourself, “Is that it? Did I make almond butter?”…


KEEP GOING! You are almost there! Wait for it, that moment when *POOF!* it turns into almond butter!


As if by magic, you will have a smooth, creamy almond butter! If you would like, you can add a tsp of sea salt and blend it in. You can also add flavors like pure vanilla extract, cinnamon, pure maple syrup, or honey! Whatever your heart desires. Store in an airtight container, like a mason jar, and it will keep for up to 2 weeks. As if it will last that long…especially if you use it to make my Chocolate Almond Butter Banana Bites!


My Tips:

  • The time it takes for it to turn into almond butter can vary drasticallyIn other words, patience is a virtue in this process! 
  • I found that roasting the almonds beforehand decreased this time significantly. I once made a Raw Almond Butter, and it took me over an hour! One time it just never turned into butter no matter how long I processed it. When I finally tried roasting the almonds, it took me roughly half an hour. Keep in mind that I have terrible luck with nut butters, so take that with a  grain of salt. Most everyone makes them in 15 to 20 minutes, but alas! I am cursed.
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