What I Ate Wednesday #4

Well folks, it’s Day 6 of my second round of Whole30! (Technically it is about my fourth attempt at Whole30, I’ve successfully completed one, but once again, I’m going for a successful round two— it’s wedding season, you guys…)

More importantly than that, today was the last day of school! 😀
:::insert cheers and tears:::funny-school-signs Thankfully, this sign is not from our school, but the giggles are wonderful.

The last day, I knew, would consist of extra goodies and treats. I took extra precaution to fill my lunch box with delicious, healthy things to ward off the temptations sure to be lurking.

Breakfast: Running late to work, I quickly threw three eggs in boiling water to prep my Hard-boiled Eggs while I ran around my house trying to get ready. My Green Smoothie was also prepared, but devoured before it was photo time. Oops!eggsThe students got out of school early today, so the teachers were celebrating with an Italian Feast after school. During my break I opted to snack a little bit and wait to bring my Whole30 Italian Lunch to the feast.

Snack: Simple and delicious. An Apple Pie Larabar and 1/2 cup of Strawberries did the trick! Along with copious amounts of water.Larabar & StrawberriesAs I planned, the Italian Feast was overwhelmingly delicious looking AND smelling. And so NOT Whole30! I’m talking bread, cheese, and more bread… and cheese. With this in mind, I intentionally planned my lunch to be “Italian-themed”.

Lunch: Incredible. Say hello to Fresh Zoodles with homemade Roasted Red Pepper Sauce and Ground Buffalo Italian Meatballs. Can’t forget the Fresh Basil! Presentation, people.Zoodles with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce & Ground Buffalo MeatballsDinner, on the other hand, was an absolute mess. For starters, there was a piece of fish I was itching to cook, but apparently I waited too long since buying it. I also wanted to make some plantain chips. And you can see how that turned out…Burnt Plantain ChipsDinner: Chipotle saves the day!! Carnitas Salad with TomatoesHot Salsa, and Guacamole! Thank you, thank you, Chipotle!Chipotle Salad Chipotle Salad2And so, we end another scrumptious Whole30 day! Please say a little prayer for me as my roommate sings, “I love feta cheese! It’s delicious! And it’s yummy!” for the rest of the evening. Okay Sarah, I get it, cheese is delicious and not Whole30 approved! 😉

Happy Wednesday, everyone! 🙂

Mojito-Style Watermelon

Why eat plain watermelon, when you can have it mojito-style? Juicy pink watermelon with a bright citrus splash, bits of cool mint, and a sprinkle of sea salt. Mmm mmm good. It may be Autumn, but Summer is still shining through this delectable, cool treat!

Mojito-Style Watermelon

Mojito-Style Watermelon (makes 3 cups)
Ingredients:
– 3 cups Watermelon, cubed
– 1/2 tbsp Fresh Mint, chopped
– pinch of Sea Salt
– Zest & Juice of 1/2 lime

Directions:
1. Cube watermelon into 1-inch chunks.
2. Place in bowl, meanwhile, chop mint and place in bowl with watermelon.
3. Zest lime over the bowl and squeeze in juice.
4. Sprinkle with sea salt; toss together gently.
5. Refrigerate, preferably overnight, the longer the better to allow flavors to marinate.

Mojito-Style Watermelon BowlAnd this is not just for a refreshing side or sweet dessert! Although, sitting with a nice bowl of watermelon while watching the sunset on the porch is quite nice. These flavors are also a perfect match for a fresh juice or a cool smoothie! Even this morning, I added a bit of coconut milk and BAM! Smoothie-licious! 😉


So… moral of the story here:
Get yourself to the grocery store and make this recipe ASAP.
It’s Mojito-Watermelon Time!

East End Market

Call me Captain Jack because I just found treasure.
That line was disgustingly cheesy, I know, but you need to understand how incredible this place is.East End Market

Rejoice! Calling all foodies, yoga moms, and business men on lunch! Plus, everyone in between. East End Market, located in Audubon Park District in Orlando, Florida, is absolutely a hidden gem.

The Market showcases some of Central Florida’s top food entrepreneurs, tradespeople, artists, and chefs. The two-story structure is home to a dozen merchants, a large event space, a demonstration kitchen, an incubator kitchen, offices, retail shops, a full-time, award-winning caterer and a world-class restaurant.

East End Market is not only a hub for local food and culture, but also a community space fostering creativity and collaboration.

Inside the MarketThe entire property was stunning. There seems to be something for everyone: coffee, sushi, smoothies + juices, a bookstore, craft beers, local farm produce, bakery items, floral + plant gifts, and MORE. Seriously, something for everyone!

Of course, I had a few of my own favorites that I would LOVE to share with you all.

Skyebird

SkyebirdSkyebird 2This place was my favorite (with a close runner up). Skyebird captured my attention immediately– the colorful display of produce and teas, the mouth-watering menu, and the fresh atmosphere. I simply had to give it a try. After checking out the menu, and getting a few recommendations, I went with the Skye’s Favorite Smoothie. Skyebird's FavoriteNot only do you get the opportunity to pull up a chair and watch the magic happen, but the beautiful part about the “magic” is that they actually are slicing and dicing the fruits and veggies in front of you! How many smoothie/juice places have you seen that just pull out a container of pre-sliced produce that makes you wonder how long it was sitting there? Now that is fresh. I would also love to add that the adorable glass jar it comes on is your to-go cup! If you bring it back for a refill, you get $0.50-off your drink!All Things DeliciousThe staff was amazingly friendly and happy to help with decision-making, which I often need help with. My smoothie tasted wonderful and from some of the “regulars” I talked to agreed that the menu items were always fresh and delicious. I highly recommend swinging by Skyebird when visiting the East End Market.

Lineage

LineageIf there is good coffee, it will be found. I am a coffee fanatic and as soon as I walked into the market, Lineage was the first place I stopped. Lineage serves all kinds of coffee in various styles: French press, cold brew, pour over, and Chemex. Fresh BrewTheir incredible roasted coffees take on an art form when being brewed. The aroma lures you in as your walk by and begs of you to stay. When you stick around you’ll meet wonderful staff and down amazing brew. Relax and enjoy the experience. ahhhhh. 🙂

 Porch Therapy

Outside PorchSucculentsWhen first arriving to the market, I was greeted by the loveliest of plants and flowers sprinkled throughout the patio area. I noted the signage that indicated Porch Therapy was responsible for the beautiful display and that customers were welcome to pick any plant of their choosing and bring it inside for checkout. The abundant array of plants and flowers were such a colorful greeting into the market and Porch Therapy’s interior was no different. I had a wonderful conversation with the owner, chatting about her business, along with the ins and outs of the market. This place makes my “Top 3 of East End” with ease.Indoor Porch Therapy


East End Market was an experience. I love when places capture all your senses and allow you to enjoy the present moment! This is a place where community gathers, feasts, and learns. Speaking of learning, East End also has fun events and cooking classes for the public, if you’re interested! I highly recommend you check out East End if you’re local. If not, whenever you happen by Orlando and are sick of the theme parks, a stroll over to East End Market will not disappoint!East End Outdoor 2

I hope you find a local gem of your own! And if you have a favorite in Orlando (or anywhere really) leave a comment!

Cheers! 🙂

Are You Up for the Challenge?!

challenge
noun: a call to take part in a contest or competition
verb: to invite someone to engage in a contest

Challenging yourself can be fun, taxing, and incredibly rewarding. It seems like there are a good amount of nutritional and physical challenges floating around, one of which I am participating in– shout out to Whole30— so I thought if any of you were interested in trying something new and improving your health at the same time, then why not a brief overview of some of the ones I’ve come across? challengeLet’s roll…

1) Whole30
“Change your life in 30 days” as they claim. Personally, I’m over here at Day 19 and I already feel incredibly different. The Whole30 is a thirty-day diet challenge. It looks very similar to a Paleo diet, though stricter. Some of the “rules” include…

– Only eat meats, seafood, tons of veggies, some fruit, nuts & seeds, along with quality fat sources.
– Avoid all gluten, grain, dairy, soy, legumes, and sugar; also avoid anything processed and artificial.
– No coffee or tea after 12pm.
– Do not try to recreate junk foods, baked goods or treats with “approved” ingredients (this will only continue to reinforce your habits)
– No cheating.

EatWhole30This challenge I halfway-completed once and saw incredible changes and benefits to my life, which is why I really am sticking to it this time for the entire thirty days. I also have spoken with others and their Whole30 journey and have heard similar experiences. Not only that, but after feeling so fantastic and energized, it has completely changed their diets permanently and they have continued with the Paleo-lifestyle. I’m predicting this outcome for myself as well. The amazing part is that at Day 19, I have an easier time passing up sweet treats and artificial goods because I no longer crave them. Now that is a win!

2) 21 Day Sugar Detox
“Bust sugar and carb cravings naturally” is the cry of creator Diane Sanfilippo. Not only is the book available for purchase, but also if you check out her website, there are entire packages you can buy that include the audio series, workout & yoga guides, cookbooks, and more! From my understanding, there are three levels during the detox:
– Level 1: a diet without refined foods, but not excluding all grain, dairy, or legume products.
– Level 2: adds the removal of grain and legume products.
– Level 3: super strict Paleo; removes all sugars, grains, legume and dairy products, but with additional modifications.21-Day-Sugar-Detox-Fruit-Allowed
Anyone out there give this 21-day challenge a shot yet?

3) 40 Days of Green
This one is pretty simple– drink a green smoothie (or juice) every day for 40 days. I first heard about it through Instagram when I noticed the #40daysofgreen hashtag spreading. I am a BIG fan of green smoothies. I love that you can jam-pack kale and spinach into a blender, add a piece of fruit, and you can’t even taste all those leafy greens, but you’re getting all the amazing nutrients! Kale CutiePlus, this particular site allows you to sign up for weekly emails that include recipes, videos, and community encouragement. Even if you don’t sign up for all the extras, if you’re having trouble getting vegetables in your breakfast routine (or even snack time) this is a phenomenal way to do so!


So what do you think? Have you tried any of these challenges? Or are there any other you have given a chance?Mental self-five

Iced Coffee Smoothie

For the indecisive, like myself, the Coffee Smoothie is both coffee and smoothie. Mind-blowing, I know. I wanted something cold and creamy, but also spiked with java. Eureka! Frothy coffee goodness.Coffee SmoothieCoffee Smoothie (serves 1)

Ingredients:
4oz chilled coffee
1 frozen banana (sliced)
1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
1/4 cup almond milk
1 tbsp creamy almond butter
2 tsp honey
4 ice cubes

Directions:
1. Place all ingredients in blender.
2. Blend together and drink it up.Coffee Smoothie Take 2


Are there any delicious coffee creations you’ve sampled recently?