Due Forni Date Night

I finally got Colby to take a break from studying for a date night! We had dinner at Due Forni and saw The Conjuring at the theater. It was a Groupon kind of night- $10 for $20 at the restaurant and $6 Fandango movie tickets. I love good deals! Both the movie and the restaurant were great. Go check them out!

Due Forni features two types of brick oven pizzas. The Neapolitan style is chewy, baked at 900 degrees for 90 seconds. The Roman is thin and crunchy, baked at 500 degrees for 3 minutes.

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The cocktails sounded really tasty. I wanted something citrusy, refreshing, not too sweet. Our waiter recommended the Sicilian sunrise, made with blood orange foam and a shot of limoncello.

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Last night was perfect for dinner on the patio. It’s rare to get such mild weather here in July! I think it was only 90 degrees out with a light breeze. The overcast 6pm lighting was perfect for pictures. My eye candy:

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And me!

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We split a creamy Caesar salad:

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Then Colby had to finish this drink that I’m holding. I should have picked white wine instead- this pretty cocktail was too sugary for me.

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The highlight of dinner was sharing the Due Forni Neapolitan pizza. The crust was nice and chewy with a bit of charred flavor from the oven. The sausage, roasted peppers, basil, and bufola mozzarella were great toppings!

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I love pizza! It’s definitely my favorite food even though eating it makes my stomach puff up to six-months-pregnant-size for a few hours afterward. That’s why I wore a loose fitting shirt and looked forward to relaxing in the movie theater after dinner! Maybe I’ll get over the $4.75 up charge and try the gluten free crust next time.

The movie wasn’t exactly relaxing. The Conjuring was terrifying! I was clenching Colby’s arm the entire time because the suspense never died down! Great movie. I’m glad we trusted the ratings on Rotten Tomatoes and checked it out. 90% positive reviews can’t be wrong!

Now that the Nevada Bar Exam is less than 2 weeks away, Colby and I will probably have our next date after it’s over. This also means our beach vacation is coming up! Follow me the next two weeks to see how I get ready to feel confident in a bikini.

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The preparation will consist of Crossfit for strength and conditioning, trampoline fitness for extra cardio, and 5-6 small, clean meals per day. Details soon :)

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Goat cheese, figs, balsamic reduction, and wine

It’s 8pm and 112 degrees out.. Tonight is NOT a night for a heavy meal!

Instead, I picked up some black figs, baby heirloom tomatoes, balsamic glaze, goat cheese, spinach, and wine at Trader Joe’s.

What combinations of light summer meals can you come up with using these ingredients? I had several ideas:

-baguette with goat cheese, honey, fig, and balsamic glaze

-spinach, tomato, fig, and goat cheese salad with flax oil and balsamic drizzle

-baguette with goat cheese, salami, and fig

Any other ideas? Hot Vegas nights definitely call for easy, fresh meal ideas!

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Here’s the salad idea:

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It’s so hot here that even the coconut oil at Trader Joe’s was liquid!!

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For dessert, I have some incredibly sweet strawberries from the farmer’s market! These must have been grown in California. There’s no way berries this good came from hot desert soil!

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10 foods to keep in your kitchen

On any given day, you’re bound to find these 10 foods in my kitchen! Here’s the list and why I like to keep each item on hand:

1. Almonds

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23 of these nuts, 1 oz, contain 3.3 g of fiber and 6 g of protein. What’s more, they’re a filling snack that is now thought to contain only 120 calories per ounce- not 160 like we’ve always been told! Our bodies are unable to absorb them completely as they pass through our digestive system, so some granules pass through undigested. Almonds are a great portable snack! I like to enjoy them as almond butter and almond flour as well.

2. Green apples

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Tangy and lightly sweet, this fruit is a staple for making green juices with spinach and kale. Green apples are rich in LDL cholesterol lowering soluble fiber and they keep for a long time compared to some other fruits.

3. Lemon juice

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Can’t live without it! I use lemon juice to flavor my water everyday. It helps me to drink much more water than I otherwise would. Another potential benefit is that it creates an alkaline ash in the body to counteract naturally acid forming foods. I’m not sure that really matters much, but it makes me feel even better about drinking it!

4. Sriracha

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I put this stuff on everything! It’s spicy and gives savory foods the best flavor. I use this for flavor, not nutrition, but spicy foods are thought to boost calorie burn slightly.

5. Egg Whites

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This lean protein source is ready to eat in minutes. It provides easily absorbed, incredibly bioavailable protein and all the essential amino acids.

6. Quinoa

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This superfood is also a complete protein source containing all nine essential amino acids! It cooks in 15 minutes, is gluten free, and contains nearly double the fiber of most other grains. Try it as mac & cheese and your mind will be blown!

7. Salmon

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I like to keep canned salmon on hand because it’s convenient for last minute meals, like salmon cakes and salads. Salmon is a great source of protein, Omega 3 fatty acids, and calcium. Canned salmon is also very low in mercury, making it a safer choice than swordfish, ahi tuna, and Chilean sea bass.

8. Spinach

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I get bored of using the same vegetables all the time, so I usually switch up which ones I use based on what’s in season or what I feel like cooking. Spinach is the exception. I never get tired of this nutrient packed veggie! It’s full of iron, vitamin K, potassium, and B vitamins among other nutrients. It doesn’t change the taste of foods you put it in, so it doesn’t hurt to toss a handful into every smoothie, soup, and stir-fry! At 10 calories per cup, you can really bulk up your foods with it- guilt free!

9. Onions and Garlic

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These two allium vegetables provide the depth of flavor I like in all my cooking. I use them in Italian, Asian, and Hispanic inspired dishes. They are flavonoid rich to prevent heart disease, naturally anti microbial to fight infections, and packed with cancer fighting compounds.

10. Plain Greek Yogurt

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Greek yogurt has twice as much protein as regular yogurt and the plain variety is so versatile! I like to use it in smoothies, desserts, and in savory dishes as a replacement for sour cream.

Ok, so I actually have 10 more foods for this list… Stay tuned! What foods do you keep on hand at all times?

What to do when you’ve cheated on your diet

I blew the sugar detox BIG TIME today. It was the perfect storm of bad circumstances. I didn’t eat much breakfast this morning because I forgot about a doctor’s appointment. The appointment was one of those really unpleasant ones. Then I got stressed out about a scheduling mishap with a cooking demo I’m doing this Wesnesday. Finally, I spotted my kryptonite at work: shortbread cookies from Scotland. Tired, hungry, and PMS-y, I had one… And another… And when I was counting the wrappers in my trash can after this disaster, I counted 19. Eeek!!

I’m sure this has happened before to even the most motivated dieters and detoxers. Here’s how you can recover quickly and be back on track in no time:

1. Forgive yourself. Be kind! Don’t beat yourself up about this. Even a BIG slip up (like mine) doesn’t have to derail you for good! You’re human- you can’t be perfect all the time.

2. Think about how you feel physically. Are you bloated? Jittery? Distended? Sleepy? Nauseous? Take note of how you feel and use it as a reminder that the temporary pleasure of eating the junk food you’re craving comes with some unpleasant side effects.

3. Drink tons of water. Think about how the water is going to help clean you out! The more water you drink, the better. Give yourself credit for doing this. Try some mental praise like, “good, drinking water shows that I am capable of making good decisions!”

4. Reflect on what caused you to make the bad food decision you made. Was it a circumstance? A tempting food you shouldn’t keep around? Were you thinking too much about something that’s not part of your food plan? Identify the trigger and come up with a game plan for similar situations in the future. For example, if browsing the Pinterest dessert boards makes you crave unhealthy treats, make the decision to stop looking at “food porn!” If you know Cheetos are too much of a temptation, don’t keep them in your house.

5. Don’t skip your next meal! You may be tempted to, but skipping dinner tonight or breakfast tomorrow can cause you to slip up again and send you on a roller coaster of out of control hunger. At the very least, have a green juice for some refreshing nutrition you can feel good about!

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6. Do something to concretely determine that you are back on track now. Don’t wait till tomorrow! One bad choice won’t take you very far off the path to better health. In fact, the ONLY healthy choice you have to make is your very next one! Take it one step at a time.
Sometimes it’s nice to paint your nails as a symbolic way of drawing a clear line to remind yourself that now you’re going to be back on track with making good decisions.

7. Have some fun to cheer up! Dance, listen to your favorite song, go window shopping, or take a fun fitness class. That’s what I decided to do tonight! After my stomach settled, I drove to Elevé for a workout I hadn’t tried before.

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Elevé offers different types of trampoline fitness classes, including HIIT training, flexibility, dance, and core. Tonight’s class was a combination of plyometrics and strength training with free weights. What a pretty studio!

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The instructor, Alejandro, had a great teaching style and lots of energy! I loved his music, creative exercises, and the the burn I felt afterward. He was kind enough to let me take the class barefoot… I had left my sneakers at work.

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I’ll be sure to tell you about the other classes at the studio as I try them, but so far I can definitely recommend checking Elevé out for a free class!

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Can’t wait to bounce around on one of these next time!

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So the moral of the story is that you don’t have to hate yourself for messing up your healthy eating plan. It won’t matter in the long run! Just stay positive by following the tips I mentioned. If you have any ideas to add, I’d love to hear them!

Honey Salt: Another Detox Friendly Restaurant Option

I had a blast hanging out with my sister yesterday at the spa! We took advantage of an awesome locals discount at the M Resort. Vegas locals: you can get all day access to the fitness center, pool, and spa facilities with the purchase of a manicure (<$27). Can't beat that!

I was starving after the spa!! Hard day, I know ;) My husband, sister, and I decided to check out Honey Salt for dinner. It's a cute little farm to table bistro in Summerlin. My sister and I had been there for their out-of-this-world bread pudding and brown bag apple pie a few months ago, but this time we were excited to try the dinner fare.

I was really excited to see seared sea scallops with truffle oil sauce, charred cauliflower, and cauliflower purée on the menu! I didn't have to sub out anything. Great dish!

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Colby had the burger, which is one of the highest rated burgers in Vegas! It’s beautiful and comes with its own little bottle of ketchup :)

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My sister had the special- a braised, bone-in pork chop with polenta and sautéed mushrooms. We all loved the food!

I’m excited to go back to try the heirloom tomato caprese salad with figs and shaved chocolate. It sounds heavenly!

Colby and I enjoyed some great hiking at Mt Charleston today after a hearty breakfast at Bagel Cafe:

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I should probably fill you in on a few thoughts I’ve had about the 21 Day Sugar Detox. Today is day 14.

I’ve been doing “ok” on the detox, but I have not been 100% strict. The guidelines are so legalistic. I’m at the point now where the rules are getting on my nerves and I just want to eat good, balanced meals all week and have treats on the weekends! Ultimately, my goal in doing this detox is to get to a cleaner diet overall. I think I’ve achieved that so far. I worry that if I keep on depriving myself of certain foods, it may lead to a massive binge food “retox” after I’m done “detox”ing. Have you ever had that experience? I feel like it happens often to people who severely restrict their food choices. I’ve fallen for that in the past with the Atkins diet and other restrictive eating patterns. Inevitably, I end up putting on lots of weight after coming off a strict eating plan. I’ve seen others have the same experience.

I don’t want to hate myself for having something delicious like this:

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Or this:

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Instead, I’ll shoot for eating clean and Paleo-ish for most meals, but then treat myself when I start to miss certain foods. Honestly, that probably won’t happen often since there are so many awesome healthy foods out there! I’ll keep on sharing recipes to convince you it’s true ;) Lots of times the healthier choice is also the tastier choice.

Dining Out on a Sugar Detox

Dinner and drinks on a sugar detox makes for a tricky date, but it’s doable. I love Yard House! They have the BEST menu and refreshing pear cider. Although I didn’t get my favorite things, like French fries and brownie sundae, the server was great about customizing my entree.

I got a turkey burger in a lettuce wrap with a side of steamed broccoli instead of fries. Pretty tasty, but I scarfed it down way too fast.

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I was still SO hungry after the burger and Colby was eating his fries and sliders SO slowly… I finally caved and had one of his sliders and a few fries. Whoops!

The craziest thing about it is that I immediately felt incredibly bloated after eating that small amount of bread and potatoes. I won’t be slipping up again during the 21 day detox. Let’s just call last night a little midway celebration!

This morning I met with a friend at Starbucks and was happy to be back on track and detoxing. My whole body feels much better when I’m avoiding grains and sugar!

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The next time I go out to eat, I’ll have to remember how much better it feels to have the right foods! I think the biggest pitfall is fixating on the “forbidden” food rather than focusing on how delicious the healthy option will be.

Here’s this morning’s challenge- my sister’s eggs Benedict on FRESHLY BAKED cheese bread…. Uggghhhh!

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I’ll be having it on paleo bread instead. It will be DELICIOUS either way!

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Scramble with zucchini and sausage

Good morning, mountain paradise! This place is unbelievable.

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Can you imagine a more stunning view with breakfast?

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Everyone was cooking up a storm this morning.

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They made a huge batch of eggs and bacon.

I’d like to share a recipe for this delicious sugar detox mountain breakfast with you:

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1. Sauté sliced zucchini and chicken sausage in a bit of olive oil. Set aside once golden.

2. In the same pan, scramble eggs to absorb the flavor from the sausage and veggies.

3. Serve with paleo toast and sharp cheddar cheese.

How to travel on a sugar detox

During this mystery trip, several people are assigned to cook each meal. I feel a little embarrassed bringing some of my own food and snacks for the sugar detox, but I think it will help my performance in the training tomorrow. I don’t want to waste 5 good days of sugar detox, either! Here’s what I brought:

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Green apples, chicken sausage, veggies, string cheese, pumpkin seeds, almonds, eggs, more veggies, And paleo bread for breakfast sandwiches.

This evening was my first major craving challenge… Pizza!!! SO MUCH PIZZA. And that happens to be my favorite food.

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Guess what, though? I stayed strong and had some chicken and asparagus instead. It was hard to pass up the pizza, but I’ll be happy about it tomorrow.

I’m also really glad that my bunk mate, Carrie, brought her vitamix along! I’ll definitely be having a green smoothie with breakfast before our grueling workout.

So far I hear rumors that we will be doing an 8 hour long workout and eating some MRE’s along the way. Good thing I packed snacks.

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21 Day Sugar Detox

A few of my coworkers and I have decided to take a 21 day sugar detox challenge to crush intense cravings and start eating more cleanly.

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The manual is huge, but the whole thing is really pretty simple. I can eat lots of vegetables, animal and plant proteins (but nothing too processed), and full fat dairy (to prevent blood sugar spikes from low fat dairy). There are no sugars or sweeteners allowed, with the exception of one green apple or one green tipped banana per day. No fruit!?

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Believe me, I’m questioning this food list like crazy. For example, why can I have apples and bananas when other fruits, like raspberries, cranberries, and papaya are lower in sugar?? And why can I have almonds but not cashews or peanuts? I think if it was just me doing this challenge alone, I would tweak it a bit. For the sake of fairness to my coworkers, I’ll just stick to the list. It’s only 21 days after all!

I’ll be posting recipes and food prep tips- feel free to jump in with us on this challenge! I’m starting my morning with some unsweetened coffee and organic whole milk. Yuck! Hopefully my taste buds will adapt.

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