Work It Out Wednesday!

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Hi! Remember me?! I almost forgot my blog web address it’s been so long. GodDAMN I hate that my life is too busy to bring you the best Booyah recipes/life updates/posts of the healthy persuasion. I promise I’ll be back in full force soon – pinkie swear!

My Truths for the day:

1. I haven’t cooked a single Booyah dish in over two weeks. I’ve been subsisting on Purple Booyah Smoothies and Boca burgers/Ezekiel bread sandwiches for dinner.

2. I’ve re-prioritized my workout as a “must-do” for the day and my stress level plummeted. Hello, endorphins.

3. I reserved the wrong size dress from Rent the Runway (too small!) and I am internally crying/hyperventilating until I get it tomorrow and try it on. Pray to the Fashion Gods that I don’t look like a stuffed sausage.

4. I’ve decided that wearing different variations of v-neck t -shirt/jeans/TOMS flats every single day for work is totally acceptable (no one REALLY cares what’s under that lab coat, but I generally like to keep it fashionable around these parts – both fashion AND booyah will return after May 16).

5. If not for a) overnight oats; b) funny Snapchat messages; and c) the fact that I painted my nails glittery lavender so that I can admire them on my keyboard and feel happy and giddy about this nail color right now, I would not be able to cope with life today.

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Let’s get right down to it.

On a whim, I signed up for SELF.com’s Summer Challenge. I’m mildly obsessed with Kayla Itsines and I follow her on Instagram. If you don’t know who that is (Mom, I’m looking at you), she’s an Aussie personal trainer that has come up with her own 12 week training plan that is seriously BLOWING UP right now. I like that she always has positive things to say, and is a cheerleader for the women who follow her program. She seems like someone I would want to be friends with in real life. But you know – this is the internet, so instead I just follow her and creep on her on social media. ANYWHO, minus the B&B creep factor, she apparently hooked up with SELF and came up with an exclusive 28-day workout plan for them, that is FREE when you sign up for it at self.com (and includes GIFs of her doing the exercises to show you how, and you get a witty email every day). Alright so – it really is just the same 4 circuits for all 28 days, but you can mix and match them at your discretion. Since it was my turn to come up with the Gal Workout this week, I totally cheated and based my WIOW on Kayla’s circuits: abs, arms and booty. I liked that the exercises included in her circuit were different from the usual suspects (sit-ups, plank, push-up, blah, blah blah). And dude – it was HARD. When I was writing the circuits down, I had a moment where I was like, “Is this going to be too easy?”. Nope, nope – it was definitely challenging enough for us fairly-in-shape broads.

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For tunes: Listen to the Pitbull Pandora station – you won’t be disappointed. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Work It Out Wednesday: Mostly Stolen from SELF’s Summer Challenge

Round One: Abs

  • Snap Jump (x 20) – basically a modified Burpee without the jump/push-up part, kick your legs back into a plank, bring forward and repeat.
  • Sit up with Twist (x 20) – keep your legs out straight, feet flexed, heels together and twist to one side with your arm out straight
  • Jackknife (x 20) – like a V-Up, but keep your torso on the ground (hands over head, lift your legs and touch your shins)
  • X Mountain Climbers (X 40) –ย  Mntn Climbers but twist so opposite knee touches opposite elbow

Round Two: Arms

  • Drop Push-Up (x 15) – similar to Snap jump, but add a push-up at the bottom
  • Squat and Shoulder Press (x 15) – use a medicine ball or barbell
  • Suicide Plank (x 24) – continuously move from forearms to hands in a plank position
  • Lie Down Push Up (x 15) – Lie down all the way and push back up

Round Three: Booty

  • Squats with weight (x 24)
  • Sumo Squat Jump (x 15)
  • Run 1 set of stairs (3 flights)
  • Tuck Jump (x 15)

Because of my lovely gym buddy R, we modified the Booty circuit so that it was good to go with her recovering hammie (good gym buddies stick together through thick and thin, injuries, meltdowns, boy drama and grumpy mornings), so that is where this workout deviates from the SELF Summer Challenge – otherwise this shiz is straight up the same! I hope that you guys do this workout and have a bright red face for several hours afterwards like I did. It was a tough workout for sure! ๐Ÿ˜›

I hope that you guys are having happy days/loving life/enjoying Spring – I miss you! ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy Hump Day! And have a good one.

With warmth,

L

Mediterranean Quinoa Power UP Salad

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You guys all know how much I love a delicious quinoa salad (Exhibits A, B, C and D right here) – but this one just might be the all-time winner. Since it was 73ยฐF / 23ยฐC (!!!) in Boston yesterday, I figured I’d whip up this warm weather favorite – bright, refreshing and super flavorful – perfect for the first GORGEOUS day of the year! It combines a lot of my favorite summer flavors into one filling-without-being-heavy dish, perfect for your dinner dance party while listening to George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass album with the windows open, bringing to a summer BBQ (and simultaneously becoming the most popular person there because this dish is the fan fave) or just because you want something SUPER tasty.ย High in protein, fiber and veggies, it’s filling enough for a full meal. And it’s just really, really good – it’s that simple. Don’t be discouraged by the long list of ingredients – once the farmer’s market’s opens up and local produce arrives on the scene, you will probably already have a lot of these ingredients on hand. It’s a great way to use up extra fresh herbs, and you can tailor the ingredients to what you have available (make it easy on yourself, yo!). And, of course, it’s vegetarian and gluten free to please the masses (it’s easily vegan, as well – just substitute this awesome Mock Feta Cheese recipe I found for the feta). Here we go!! *~*~*Insert Summer Vibes*~*~*

Mediterranean Quinoa Power UP Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of dry quinoa
  • 2 cups of veggie broth
  • 2 handfuls of spinach, roughly chopped (~2 cups)
  • 1 16-oz can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup of grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • 1 handful of kalamata olives, halved
  • 1 cup of crumbled feta cheese*
  • 1 handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 handful of fresh basil, chopped
  • Several shakes of dried oregano (or substitute 2 – 3 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano)
  • 1/4 cup of hemp seeds, heaping
  • 5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

*Ok, truth time – I added about 1/3 of a pound of feta, which is closer to 1 1/2 cups. ๐Ÿ™‚

Directions

Step One: Start your quinoa. Bring the veggie broth to a boil in a medium saucepan, stir in the quinoa. Allow the quinoa to simmer, covered, on low for about 20 minutes, or until all the broth is absorbed.
Step Two: While the quinoa is simmering away, prep your veggies. Combine the beans, tomatoes, pepper, onion, olives, cheese, herbs and spinach into a very large bowl (it’s really a lot of stuff – use the biggest one you’ve got!).
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This dish is brought to you by…. This amazing/gigantic popcorn bowl I bought at Target when I was a freshman in college. ๐Ÿ˜€

Step Three: Once the quinoa is finished, you can set it aside and let it cool completely. Or if you’re Impatient Annie like I am, let it cool for about 5 minutes and then dump the quinoa into the bowl with the veggies.
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The steaming hot quinoa actually makes the feta kinda like melt-y and extra delicious. YUM.

Step Four: Whip up the dressing. Whisk together the vinegar and mustard, then slowly add the olive oil to form an emulsion. Pour over salad, sprinkle the hemp seeds on top and toss well to mix.
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As you can see (we are about to get Chemistry Nerdy up in here), there is a distinct meniscus between the oil and vinegar layer – this is NOT an emulsion. If you want your dish to be as bomb diggity as it possibly can, take the extra time to really emulsify this dressing. Otherwise, you can be lazy like me and just kind of dump the ingredients together, swoosh it once or twice and then dump it in. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Add those hemp seeds and give it a good stir.

Step Five: Taste, season with salt and pepper and enjoy! ๐Ÿ˜€

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SERIOUSLY – SO FRIGGIN GOOD! You guys are going to love this. It’s just really tasty. Okay, and I have some packed for my lunch today, and I totally broke into my lunch pack before 10 am to sneak a few bites. Shhhh, don’t tell. ๐Ÿ˜‰ This salad will be responsible for powering my long run after work tonight – it’s full of all the good stuff. Nomssss. ๐Ÿ˜€

I hope that you guys enjoy this recipe as much as I did – it’s deeeeeeeeelicious. YUM.

Happy Tuesday, all!! ๐Ÿ˜€

With warmth,

L

Leek, Mushroom and Lemon Risotto

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Leek, Mushroom and Lemon Risotto. I served mine with roasted asparagus – NOMS.

This is LITERALLY one of my all-time favorite spring dishes! It is packed full of delicious springtime flavors, and is just the right amount of warming for cooler spring evenings. I’ve adapted this recipe from one of my favorite vegetarian cookbooks – but I have completely veganized it! My vegan version retains all the creaminess you commonly associate with risotto, without any dairy, eggs or gluten – wooohooo! Major crowd pleaser right here, folks. It is seriously soooo delicious, and includes one of my favorite veggie combinations – leeks and mushroom (mmmmm). It’s the perfect dish to whip up for a dinner party with your homies – it seems impressive, packs a flavorful punch but when you get down to brass tacks it’s just a really damn delicious one pot meal. YUM. Let all the spring sunshine in, here we go!

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Everything you need for Leek, Mushroom and Lemon Risotto – veggie broth, lemons, yellow onion, leeks, Arborio rice, Earth Balance, nutritional yeast, parsley, chives, your favorite kind of mushrooms.

Leek, Mushroom and Lemon Risotto

Ingredients

  • 2 leeks
  • 12 oz sliced baby portabella mushrooms
  • 8 oz sliced shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4-6 Tbsp vegan margarine, like Earth Balance
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 3/4 cup Arborio rice
  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast*
  • ~1/2 cup mixed chopped fresh chives and flat leaf parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Lemon wedges and sprigs of flat-leaf parsley to serve

*To un-veganize this recipe, just replace with 2/3 cup of Parmesan cheese.

Directions

Step One: Prep your veggies (check out my Leek Cleaning Tip here). Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, add the garlic and saute for 1 minute, until it softens. Add your mushrooms and leeks and cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes, or until they are softened and brown. Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl.
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The mushrooms, leeks and garlic cooking up in my saucepan. I chose pre-sliced mushrooms out of pure time-saving laziness – I highly recommend you do the same ๐Ÿ˜‰ You can choose any mushrooms you like – I chose baby bellas and shiitake because they are my faves. Cremini mushrooms would be bomb here, too!

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Here are the cooked mushrooms and leeks after they’ve been transferred to a large bowl while you use the same pan to cook your rice. YUM. Try not to eat all of them while you’re waiting for your risotto to achieve perfection! ๐Ÿ™‚

ย Step Two: Add 2 Tbsp of Earth Balance to the pan and cook the onion over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until it is golden and soft.
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Sometimes I wish that Bubbles and Booyah was scratch and sniff because the smell of onions cooking is just bomb – mmmmm!

Step Three: Stir in the rice and toast for one minute, stirring frequently (don’t let that rice burn!). Add 1 cup of veggie broth and cook gently while stirring, until all the liquid is absorbed.
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You definitely don’t want to burn the rice. Toasting the rice helps to develop a nice toasty, nutty flavor. If you prefer your risotto to be super creamy but without nutty flavor, skip this step (I mean – if I were you, I wouldn’t – but it’s up to you!) ๐Ÿ™‚

Step Four: Continue to add ~1 cup of broth at a time, stirring constantly, and allowing each cup to be absorbed before adding more. This will take about 20 – 25 minutes, and the risotto will turn thick and creamy, and the rice should be tender but not gluey or sticky.
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This is what the rice + the first cup of stock looks like. Sorry, I got distracted half way through and forgot to take any more pics – you can check out my Vegan Paella post to see more risotto-in-action shots.

Step Five: Once the risotto is done, add the leeks and mushrooms, remaining Earth Balance, grated lemon zest and juice, nutritional yeast and half the herbs. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
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I prepped all my herbs, butter, lemon juice and lemon zest before starting the risotto (it really does keep you occupied for 30 minutes while you’re cooking it, so in order to avoid burning my rice, I prep everything before hand so I can just dump it in). This should give you a feel for the amount of fresh herbs, butter and lemon-y stuff I threw in there. Do not be afraid of the Earth Balance! If you’re stingy, it won’t taste as good (usually I try to keep the amount of oil/veg butter I add to my dishes in check, but this is one of the few dishes that is a free-for-all, and I’d throw the entire stick in there if I could).

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Here is what the risotto looks like once everything is added. I actually forgot to reserve half the herbs to sprinkle on top of the finished product, and I just threw them all in – whoops! It doesn’t really matter, but if you’re making this to impress others, it really adds a nice little flair to the presentation. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Step Six: Serve with lemon wedges and the remaining herbs sprinkled on top. Enjoy!! ๐Ÿ˜€
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The finished product! Voila!

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Dude, I know I say this frequently – but this dish is sooooooooooo bomb. I get really excited to eat my lunch when I pack leftovers of this dish. It has a great balance of flavor, and I really love how the lemon offsets the earthiness of the leeks and mushrooms, and then you throw in the creaminess of the risotto and vegan cheeze – and DAMN that is good. I’ve had it both vegan and un-vegan, and it is seriously so delicious both ways. I was kind of nervous making it without Parmesan cheese (so I bought some at the store as a back up in case I had cold feet), but I tried a small “test batch” with the nutritional yeast and it was JUST as creamy and delicious – YUM! I hope that you guys enjoy this dish as much as I do – it is seriously so freakin’ good.

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This recipe was adapted from this book (see pg. 284). Thanks to my sister J for giving this to me for Christmas many moons ago, it’s one of my absolute FAVE cookbooks ever (as you can tell from all the post-its). ๐Ÿ™‚

I hope that you all have a great Thursday today!! It is rainy and cold here today in Boston, but I think we will finally see some warmer temps tomorrow and this weekend! Hooray!! ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ Enjoy your day, everyone.

With warmth,

L

L’s Spring Running Essentials

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I thought my feet were lookin’ cuter than my face last night after running 7 miles ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜›

Last night after work I had an amazing, mega decompressing sunset run. It was fantastic. And while I was running free around town, breathing all the spring in deeply, I thought of how joyful spring running is. The snow is gone, the temperatures are finally heating up, and you really appreciate the freedom of being outside (it’s still sunny after work!) after being cooped up all winter long. It’s my favorite time of year for running. Thus, I thought I’d throw together a short list of all my spring running essentials. Here we go!

1. A Legit Spring Jacket

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This breathable, lightweight hooded jacket is designed to maximize airflow while keeping you dry during foul weather runs (after the winter we had in Boston, there is no way a downpour will keep me inside). To amp up this waterproof shell’s airflow, designers installed a cinch cord around the hips that allows the jacket to suck air into two big, closeable wind gills up front, then force it up and out big, fixed openings on the back. It’s the closest anyone has ever come to solving the chronic breathability dilemma for waterproof running shells – because nothing is grosser that running in your own sweat that is condensed on the inside of your running jacket (ewwwww). Since you can zip those front airflow pockets closed, it’s also a good wind blocker on cold morning runs. And you can use it for all kinds of things: road running, trail running, hiking, camping, adventuring, shopping on Newbury Street in a rainstorm.

AND, (happy surprise) it’s on sale!!! You can find it 50% off at REI, The North Face Stormy Trail Jacket, right here. Boom.

2. Really Nice Running Socks

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My mom got me a pair of these running socks, and they are perfect for warmer weather spring runs. My feet get too hot and sweaty in the thicker wool socks I usually reserve for cold winter runs, and these ones are thin, but wick sweat like a boss. I love them! They also have extra compression around the arch to help support your feet. And, they come in wicked cute spring colors. So dope. Everyone needs a pair.

Also, until you really start racking up the miles, you don’t realize how much of a difference nice running socks make in your long runs. I use my everyday athletic socks (you know – the ones I bought from Target! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) for my early morning workouts (like bootcamp and spin), and save my few pairs of nice running socks for my longer weekend and evening runs – it has made a difference in the amount of blisters my poor feet get. So necessary!!

Feetures Running Socks

3. SHORTS!!

luluIf you’ve read B&B ever, you will know my love for Lululemon by now. I am obsessed with their Speed Shorts (they’ve made my Friday Faves before). I can’t resist the cute spring-y colors that they are coming out with, and even if it’s freezing outside, I will wear shorts and compression sleeves just because I can, dammit. Finally! My legs can see the sun!! ๐Ÿ˜€

Lululemon Speed Shorts in Blue Tropics

4. A Rad Playlist

I cannot run on the road without music. Like cannot. Mainly because this is what I am doing in my head as I’m running:

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I’ve previously posted a few of my long run playlists, you can check them out here.

A few of my new fave songs (besides the best song ever, Uptown Funk):

  • Rocksteady – The Bloody Beetroots
  • Cool (feat. Roy English) – Alesso
  • Intoxicated – Martin Solveig & GTA
  • Pay No Mind (feat. Passion Pit) – Madeon
  • Don’t Look Down (feat. Usher) – Martin Garrix

Wooooo! Who’s ready for a running dance party?!

5. Solid Running Fuel

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I first wrote about these at the very beginning of Bubbles and Booyah’s existence. I still purchase these, and they are still awesome. If I know I’m going for an after work run, I’ll stash one in my lunch and eat it about an hour or so before my feet will be hitting the pavement. They help me power through my evening runs when I’m tired from my day and starving for dinner without ruining my appetite for whatever super excellent creation I’m whipping up that evening. And HELLO, they come in a flavor called Peanut Butter Booyah. HOW can you even resist that?! ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

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I hope you all have happy spring runs!! Woohooo!! Spring is here! โค โค โค

With warmth,

L

Creamy Avocado Sauce & Zoodles

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Good morning all! I hope you all had a wonderful Easter/Passover/weekend. In the spirit of spring FINALLY arriving, I whipped up this delicious vegan dish before my week-long hiatus (I traveled to DC for my race, then Maryland for work but I’m baaaack!). Operation Fridge Clean Out was in full effect and I had three zucchinis, an avocado and a lemon that still needed to be consumed (in addition to a mango, a couple kiwis, bananas – let’s just say that I had a very large fruit salad for dessert that night). This dish was inspired by the OG/Goddess of all Vegan Blogs Oh She Glows 15 Minute Creamy Avocado Pasta. I added my own B & B spin by incorporating a few additional ingredients and tossing it with hot zoodles – it was AMAZING. Let me just say, if you do not have a Veggetti – YOU NEED ONE PRONTO. I was a little intimidated at first, and made my veggie noodles by hand up until this point, but the Veggetti is the easiest thing EVER – you literally shove a zucchini in there and twist – voila! Zoodles. BAM. You need one. They aren’t even expensive ($10.99 on Amazon right now). If you aren’t convinced, you will be after reading this super easy/mega delicious recipe (literally takes less than 15 minutes from start to finish). You definitely need this in your recipe arsenal – it’s gluten free, vegan AND paleo to boot! YUM. The avocado sauce was out of this WORLD delicious, it tasted creamy and decadent, with the additions of lemon and garlic to balance the richness of the sauce. And since you toss the sauce with zoodles (clocking in at about 60 calories per serving), this dish is refreshing and skinny jean approved, but still filling and SUPER flavorful. So. Damn. Good. Without further ado:

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Everything you need for Creamy Avocado Zoodles: zucchini, garlic, olive oil, lemon, avocado and parsley.

Creamy Avocado Sauce & Zoodles

Ingredients:

  • 3 zucchinis
  • 1 medium avocado, pitted
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced (plus more to taste or thin the sauce consistency if desired)
  • 1/2 lemon, zested
  • 1 handful of parsley, stems removed
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (~1 Tbsp, if I had to guess)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Step One: Prep! Start a pot of water to boil. Pit your avocado. Wash your parsley and pat dry. Tear off a handful of leaves and remove the stems (doesn’t need to be perfect – do the best you can).
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I thought it was important to note that I was wearing my Zubaz pants while making this delicious creation. Even in the off-season, I still support my team. Go Bills!

Step Two: Make the sauce. In a food processor, blend together the avocado, lemon juice, lemon zest, parsley, garlic, oil and salt and pepper until a creamy consistency is achieved. Taste and adjust any seasonings if necessary. Set aside.
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Avocado sauce before blending…

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…and after blending.

Step Three: Prepare your zoodles! I utilized my super handy Veggetti for this (woo woo!). I left mine whole so they were easier to remove from the boiling water, but you can chop your bunch in half, so they are a little easier to manage.
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Watch out…she’s got a Veggetti and she’s not afraid to use it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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So. freakin. EASY!

Step Four: Once your water is boiling, blanch your zoodles for 1 – 2 minutes (seriously – don’t leave that pot, or you will end up with mush and it ain’t pretty). Oh sidenote: you can also cook your zoodles in the microwave but I was really weirded out by that so I just blanched mine. Do what you want. ๐Ÿ˜€
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Warning: Do not leave zoodles unattended.

Step Five: Toss! Drain your zoodles well and toss them with the creamy avocado sauce. Serve with a wedge of lemon and enjoy!! ๐Ÿ˜€

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This was seriously so delicious. You will not regret trying the recipe. A few things to note: you can add/substitute basil for parsley a la Angela from OSG, but I didn’t have any so I just used what I had. Also, it’s pretty garlic-y, so if that’s not your scene, start off with one clove of garlic first and taste, then add the second one if necessary. You could add some sprinkles of red pepper flakes if you want to spice this up a few notches. Also, just like Angela’s original recipe did, you can use actual pasta instead of zoodles if you prefer, I just really liked the creaminess of the sauce with the freshness of the zoodles. This is going to be the perfect quick summer dish, I can’t wait to hear what you guys think!

Happy Monday, all. I hope you have a great week. ๐Ÿ˜€

With warmth,

L

Friday Faves, wooo weeeeeee!

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Happy Friday!!!! It’s the final countdown to my first ever trail half marathon race and I am SUPER PUMPED. Ok I’m a little nervous too. I just feel like Iโ€™m excited, and I feel relaxed, and Iโ€™m READY to PARTYYYY…(ok enough with the Bridesmaids quotes, but minus the drugs, that’s how I feel! *Game Face On*). Here is what I’m feeling this week:

1. Evoke Foods Muesli

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I have the most gigantic crush on Evoke Muesli EVER. It is made in my hometown Rochester, NY (Yay WNY! Go Bills!) and it combines all of the delicious, nutrient rich things I normally add to my morning oats (other whole grains, dried fruit, nuts and seeds), in a multitude of varieties and exciting combinations. I’ve been eating overnight oats/muesli virtually every day for breakfast ever since I started seriously training for races/paying attention to my physical fitness and what I put inside my body to fuel it, and I’ve never looked back. When I stumbled across this brand (shout out to gym buddy R who introduced me), and saw that a) they are made from delicious, real ingredients (none of that fake sh*t, and most varieties are completely organic, too!); b) the nut/fruit/seed combinations in each of the varieties are intriguing and thoughtful, and c) they are from the ROC, I mean dude – it was a no brainer (I immediately tossed one of each kind into my shopping cart). Furthermore, they are comparable in price to other muesli brands but taste way better. My favorite thing about Evoke is that the president and founder, Ian Szalinski, first sold bags of his homemade muesli at the Rochester Public Market in February 2011 – he cares about his product, and it clearly shows. My second favorite thing about Evoke is the variety – they have five different types, so I literally buy two or three different kinds at once and rotate them everyday in order to switch up my breakfast. And, not gonna lie – I packed some in my suitcase for this week just so I don’t have to go without. ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜€ OBSESSED.

2. Purple Ball Mason Jars

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I am loving these vintage-y purple Ball mason jars so hard right now, and I cannot wait to buy like 20 cases of them and use them for literally everything (including my overnight muesli!). Jarden Home Brands, the manufacturer of Ball Jars, is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the “Improved” mason jar, with the release of these vintage-inspired purple jars with embossed logos on the front and back. If you’re not a purple-obsessed freak like I am (and literally everything you can purchase, where there is a choice in color, is purple), they also come in blue and green (Jarden released blue jars in 2013 and spring green jars in 2014).

3. Clif Shot Energy Gel in Mocha

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In honor of my upcoming race, I had to include my favorite energy gels on this list. I get excited to eat one of these bad boys halfway through my half marathons because they really make a difference in my performance. Not only do I get the mental aspect of, “Yay! I’m halfway! Time for a gel!” but (obv) they give me a little boost of energy that I need at that point (duh, that’s kind of what they are for). I swear by these ones, because the Mocha flavor is not gross but delicious, and you won’t leave the plastic tops ripped off your gel littered on the trail because they have a little “Litter Leash” that keeps them boxed up and under control. Just make sure you eat it all, or you might decorate your race day outfit in brown stains (leading me to want to make an “It’s Gu not Poo” race day shirt for myself). ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜›

4. Serena Williams

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This is what I’d be doing if I were on the cover of Vogue.

Serena is such a BAMF. Not only is she on the April cover of Vogue (which I will be reading cover to cover this evening on my flight to DC) but she made my day because she made a semi-homemade version of Beyonce’s 7/11 video. She wins at life, hands down. You can watch her pop it on a tennis court, spin around in the hallway and do cartwheels and a handstand like it’s no big deal. AND FLEX. Yaaaaaas Serena!

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No big deal.

Check out the video here.

5. This Makeup Pouch

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…simply because it’s just what you need to see first thing in the morning before you’ve had coffee and put makeup on. There’s also one with the words “hi haters” that just cracks me up. Love them all! They are by the brand Dogeared, and you can get them on Shopbop or Polyvore. ๐Ÿ™‚

6. Kate Spade Hello Sunshine iPhone 6 Case

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I want dis. The back is mirrored (multi-use!) and it’s just freaking cute, dude. Wanttttttt. I just upgraded from the Zubaz phone (my super glam blue and red rhinestone encrusted iPhone 5) to a brand spankin’ new iPhone 6 and I’m ready for a refresh! Loving it. Plus, that gold color goes with my hair. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I hope that you all have a stellar weekend! You know what I’ll be doing – resting up tomorrow and then kicking some serious trail ass in my second ever half marathon!! STOKED! Guys, if possible, do me a favor and send me some good vibes on Sunday at 9 am EST from your corner of the world. ๐Ÿ™‚ I will be nervous and freaking out until I start running, and I’ll need all the positive vibes I can get. What are you guys up to this weekend?? Tell me all about it in the comments.

With warmth,

L

xoxoxox

L’s Spring Break Packing Must Haves

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Whether you’re off to spring break (in reality or in spirit) or planning a warm getaway, these travel essentials must make it into your suitcase. Get ready to get your tan on! ๐Ÿ˜‰

1. Panana Hat

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This hat is pretty much my favorite thing ever. I wear it all summer long to shade my face from the sun, whether I’m laying on the beach or not. It’s cute, chic and goes with pretty much anything – and adds a little flair to your basics. You can also completely smush it in your suitcase and use damp water and a hair dryer set on low to reform the shape. If it’s good enough for Paul Newman and Ernest Hemingway, it’s good enough for me. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Panama Hat, J.Crew, $58

2. Tote Bag

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If anyone tries to tell you that anything other than L.L. Bean’s Boat and Tote bag is the best bag ever, they are clearly wrong. You can stop searching – this is seriously the best tote bag ever. It’s durable, strong, watertight and simply a classic (and you can monogram that sh*t). You can even use it to bail water out of your sinking canoe – I speak from personal experience. It’s made in Maine, and was originally made from builder’s canvas and used in the 1940’s to haul ice – it’s been tested to hold up to 500 lbs (so you can bring ALL the snacks to the beach with you). And, it’s incredibly reasonably priced. Win all around.

Large Open-top Boat and Tote, L.L. Bean, $34.95

3. Adorbs Bikini

swimI hate to dip in the same honey pot twice, but I love me some J. Crew. I’ve been buying their swimwear for years (you can get some great sales, too! Watch out for those 30% off coupons via email). This bikini (full disclosure: I have one in purple) is cute, flattering, retains its color/shape no matter what, and comes in more sizes and styles than you could possibly ever want (most of swim tops come in bra sizes, so you will get a near perfect fit for your girls every time). I love their solid colored suits because they are so easy to mix and match, and you can adjust the style based on how daring you’re feeling, since their bottoms come in a wide variety of cuts with varying degrees of bum coverage. This top has a great detail of boning at the sides and comes with a removable halter strap, so you can keep flashing to a minimum when you dive in the water to cool off.

Twist-bandeau Underwire Bikini Top, and Sport Hipster Bikini Bottom in Neon Pink, J. Crew, $50 and $40, respectively

4. Sunscreen

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Hi, have we met? I’m a beach ghost. If I laid down next to computer paper I would blend in. Thus, sunscreen is a MUST. It’s really a must for everyone, no matter what your skin tone (I’m shaking my finger at all of you non-sunscreen wearers). I will NOT leave the house/hotel room/shady spot until I am covered head-to-toe in SPF 70. No sunburns here folks! This sunscreen is a great one for your beach bag because, since it’s a spray, it’s so easy to apply (Warning: Not for use in windy areas! You’ll get blotchy coverage!). Or, if you’re me, apply/reapply a bagillion times out of sunburn paranoia. I’ve been using it since it came out, and I’ve always been happy with it.

Neutrogena Ultra Sheerยฎ Body Mist Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 70, $10.99

5. Bb Surf Spray

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Pretty much the best Spring Break hair product ever invented, Bumble and bumble surf spray gives your hair the perfect, glossy magazine-worthy beach waves, turning your post-pool party hair from yikes to yes in a few spritzes (so you can go from laying on the beach to happy hour without spending forever getting ready). Even my crazy curls get a beach-y, piece-y, matte texture that looks phenomenal with a newly acquired sun-kissed glow and brand new freckles. The. Best. And it works for all hair types, even my sister’s pin straight hair, if she would let me try it on her. ๐Ÿ˜›

Bumble and bumble surf spray, $27

6. Cute Dress

splendid dressI always like to bring a “cute enough for dinner but casual enough to throw on over my swimsuit” cotton (read: breathable) dress, because you never know where your next spring break adventure will take you. It’s perfect for packing in your tote bag and throwing over your suit to go out after the beach, and it can be dressed up with accessories to still look super cute and stylin’ over cocktails and a nice dinner. Versatility with vacation clothing is a big deal to me, and I do my best to make sure what I bring can be worn for multiple occasions. Simple, chic and versatile is where it’s at.

Splendid 2 x 1 Racerback Dress, Shopbop, $57

7. Wedges

wedgesSpeaking of dressing up/dressing down, it always serves you well to throw a pair of cute wedges into your suitcase. They can work with more of your casual pieces to dress them up a touch, and they (obvvv) make your legs look smokin’ hot. Work it, girl. I always like to wear wedges because they are super comfortable (and I want to be taller than 5’4), and they perfectly straddle the line between casual/chic that works especially well for spring break. These ones have a little metallic jazz that I could get into in order to amp my style game up a notch. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Steve Madden Montaukk Wedges, Zappos.com, $79.95

8. Fun jewelery

gorjanaI adore Gorjana jewelery because it’s delicate, layer-able and always on-point (in a never-too-much kinda way). This lariat necklace would look equally cute over a maxi dress to style it up a little bit, and you can leave it on over your swimsuit if you want to rock it on the beach like a fashion blogger. Layer it with other necklaces over a flowy top (spoiler alert: one is coming up on this list next) and you have got yourself one hell of a cute outfit. I always find bringing accessories on vacation/Spring Break really does wonders to make your outfits looks intentional and chic instead of throw together from a suitcase. Win.

Gorjana Mika Lariat Necklace, Shopbop, $75

9. Flowy Top

20150326092903If you’ve read B & B before, you would know my undying love for anything and everything Free People (that’s my jam right there). I always love a little hippie vibe thrown into the style mix, and this cute flowy top is super adorbs and super versatile (yessss!). You can wear this tunic over your swimsuit straight to beach if you’re willing to flash a little cheek in the case of a gusty wind (hey, it happens) and you can also dress this up/down appropriately for dinner, wandering/seeing the sights or hittin’ the flea market. The gauzy cotton keeps you cool and comfortable, and looking hella cute.

Take Me to the Beach Woven Tunic, Free People, $78

10. Jean Shorts

hudsonLet’s be honest: Spring Break is nothing without jean shorts. I know my denim, and Hudson jean back pockets are like a Brazilian Butt Lift for your booty. They make your butt look super cute, and the rolled up hem gives your stems a nice leg lengthening situation so you fit right in with Cindy, Naomi, Christy and Claudia (we know my 5’4 self is into it). These ones are especially soft and have the perfect amount of stretch (enough so you can wear them all day but not so stretchy they get baggy and loose by cocktail hour) so you can even take them for a day-long hike in the jungle/shopping at the flea market and be perfectly comfortable.

Hudson Hampton Cuffed Short in Hackney, $128

11. Sunnies

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Sunglasses! A vaca must if there ever was one! You’ll def need a chic pair to go from the beach to sight-seeing to hiking to lounging to happy hour and all over again. If I had an exorbitant amount of money to drop on a pair of shades, it would be this pair. I love the cat-eye look, and I’m obsessed with MK&A’s Elizabeth and James brand. So chic, so flawless – perfection. Want!

Elizabeth and James Fairfax Sunglasses, $185

I hope this list of must-haves helps you to pack for your next Spring Break Adventure! Enjoy it. And wooohoo, it’s almost Friday! ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ What are your Spring Break Must Haves?? Tell me all about it in the comments! ๐Ÿ˜‰

With warmth,

L

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