A Lifestylye Blog

Making it to the gym with a toddler and working from home is already enough of a challenge as it is! Throw in colder weather, busy holiday schedules and the usual mental barriers and it's so easy to just throw in the towel and chill on the couch.

I had these lofty plans to highlight some of my favorite healthy Thanksgiving side dish recipes this week, but time and lack of good lighting just did not allow. We enjoyed some of them at a lovely Friendsgiving- which is a great opportunity to practice Thanksgiving dishes ahead of the big day. I had hoped to shoot photos of them perfectly placed in platters with floods of beautiful natural light and garnishes. But I ended up being in a mad dash once they were finished cooking (my yams took 3hrs+ !!) as we were rushing to make it to the dinner in time. Ahh- perhaps next year. Or for this year's Christmas dinner! If I can get some nice photos in of our dishes during dinner this week. My family prepares a lot of the same dishes for both Thanksgiving and Christmas :)

So, instead, this week I thought it would be great to highlight my current favorite workout circuit. As some of us have Thanksgiving Day off and maybe even the day after, making it to the gym may not be a top priority as we want to spend quality time with friends, family and other loved ones. This workout circuit can be done at home or a gym. All you need are some tennis shoes, resistance bands and a sturdy chair. Make sure to properly warm up! (I usually foam roll for 5 minutes and do leg kicks to the front and the side to loosen up my hips)

See below for more details!

These shots are how our mornings typically go- my first goal about four mornings per week is to move as quickly as I can to get Chaya and myself out of the house to get my workout in before my work appointments begin. I do this workout outlined below at least once per week and rotate the other days with heavy lifting or intervals on the spin bike or stair-master. I don't have the fanciest gear or outfits and my goal is all about putting in as much work and sweat as I can in the shortest amount of time.

My Current Favorite High-Intensity Interval Training Circuit:
  1. 20 burpees
  2. 200m sprint x2 (0.12 distance x2 on the treadmill) or half a lap x2 around the track depending on your fitness level. If at home, you can use the RunKeeper app and track your distance around the block of your neighborhood. I consider a good sprint to be 80% exertion. 100% means you are in pain putting everything you can into it, 50% would be a comfortable jog. Sometimes I will take advantage of the sled at the gym and push those 20m to change things up.
  3. 30 step ups on to a sturdy chair or stair (if at the gym I use boxes) alternating one leg at a time. (Make sure you are pushing off of your heel, keeping your back straight and activating your glutes as you bring your knee up to your chest. Reaching the alternating arm up to the sky can help you maintain good back posture during this movement). Try adding dumbbells, push-ups in-between each leg or a little hop at the top of the step to increase the difficulty. 
  4. Side squat steps using highest resistance band possible maintaining good form. This movement is done in a squat position while stepping to the side. 20 steps each side x5. To prevent injury: our backs should be straight and not leaning forward, knees slightly pointed outwards and emphasis placed on heels (we should still be able to see our toes; i.e. knees not leaning too far forward). I will usually carry a 25lb weight when doing these as well. 
Repeat this 5 times with minimal rest in-between each movement and only taking breaks for water as needed! This workout is high-intensity and usually takes me about 45-50 minutes. I am always drenched in sweat after this circuit. It is full body and builds strength while also enlisting aerobic cardio. Treat yourself to a good burn and it will feel so good once finished.

Have a wonderful, joy-filled and healthy Thanksgiving!

3 John 1:2
Dear Friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.

Happy Sunday! Our family is still battling some sickies with Chaya having a lingering cough and the hubby also down for the count sick at home. I decided I would also take it easy and whip up a nice Sunday brunch for us all. It has been a while since we've all been able to be home for breakfast together. Eggs are a usual go-to breakfast for us (great source of protein for optimal blood sugar regulation to kick off the day), but I was craving for something different from our usual scrambled eggs and toast. I recalled a recipe I learned a few years ago at a free cooking class I took when at UCLA- frittatas! And decided to whip some up together using some leftover veggies that needed to be cleaned out from our refrigerator before going bad. My husband gave his two thumbs up as we all gobbled up this tasty treat- even Chaya ate more than we ever could have expected! 

The wonderful thing about this dish is that it is so versatile and can accommodate any produce you happen to have laying around. 

What I love about a frittata is that it is the perfect combination between an omelette and a quiche. Frittatas provide a unique texture that give enough of a different twist on eggs for me to feel like I was eating something new again. And this is all because of a special secret ingredient. This ingredient provides a nice puffiness to the dish that gives the frittata its special texture and separates it from the other egg dishes you may eat. For whatever reason, many frittata recipes you may search and find will leave out this game-changing ingredient. See below for more pictures and the recipe + secret ingredients! 


Recipe (Serves 2-3):
6 eggs
2-3 cups of veggies of your choice (we used green onions, red onions and kale)
2 small golden yukon potatoes (these potatoes in particular added a fantastic creaminess and texture to the dish)
1/4 cup avocado oil
1 cup protein of choice (we used chicken sausage)
1/2 cup coconut milk (or cream if you prefer dairy)
1/4 cup organic/ non-gmo flour ***this is the secret ingredient!
3/4 teaspoon baking soda ***this is another secret ingredient!
3/4 teaspoon himalayan pink salt

Preparation: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Start with chopping and sautéing potatoes on stove to help soften and cook them to ease the baking process.

In a medium sized bowl mix eggs, flour and baking soda. Then add salt, veggies, coconut milk, cheese, oil and potatoes. Mix well. Place into baking dish of choice and bake for 25-30 minutes. 

Let cool, serve with a warm latte and Enjoy! 

Bon Appetit!

Today was a day where the sole purpose and goal of our afternoon was to get out and explore. I identify mostly with the introverted personality type and there are days like today where I am feeling overstimulated from people interactions but still needing an outlet and to get out of the house. My hubby was home sick and Chaya was going a bit stir crazy so I grabbed our waters, diaper bag, my camera and the stroller and hit the sidewalk. We walked miles and miles and it was just what we both needed.

She was so happy to be out of the stroller and strolling on her own two feet!

Our favorite park to visit unexpectedly had a special event going on with lots of fun blow-up gyms for the kiddos. 

Another pit stop at our favorite local grocery store- Sacramento Natural Foods Co-Op- for some dinner ingredients


We had this chili at a friend's house for dinner last night and it was so delicious I had her send me the link from Live Well Bake Often so I could recreate it. We had some leftover cornbread (homemade recipe) from the night before so it worked out perfectly. Since I've updated my chili and cornbread recipe being dairy-free, I now use a combination of almond milk and coconut milk in my cornbread. For the chili, my friend added a splash of red wine, lemon juice, sautéed carrots, one fresh chopped clove of garlic and it added an amazing touch to the final taste of the recipe.

This precious face was attached to my hip while trying to prepare dinner. This is her usual m.o. and although it was challenging with requests for breastmilk every what felt like 5 minutes, I wouldn't really have it any other way. The more she's in the kitchen with me, the more she gets to see, taste, sample and get comfortable with exploring. 

The day ended with some comforting home cooked crockpot chili and evening dancing with Chaya. We've got some oldies "Ring My Bell" and "Burn Baby Burn" playing in the background as we eat and play. I hope your day included some fun, rest, enjoyable movement and good eats too.

Today's post is a fun and light post of a few shots Zach (husband) took of me before our date night a few Fridays ago. It was a battle as we were quickly losing sunlight. But a fun challenge nonetheless enjoying some quality time and taking some time to get dressed, put some makeup on and enjoy each others' company. There are also so many quaint and old Victorian homes in our neighborhood that are so picturesque. Many of them have been converted to popular small bed and breakfasts or wedding venues.

We were hoping for some appetizers and wine and made our way to the heart of the Downtown area which neighbors Midtown (where we live). We circled the block around some of the popular spots and found the crowds to be so thick. I could feel our limited time together slipping away with most of it being spent on stressing over finding a parking spot. It's exciting to see our Downtown bustling and growing, but we decided we'd rather spend time eating and talking and connecting. So we turned around, left the area and headed back to our neighborhood and enjoyed some Thai food right around the corner. And it was SO worth the change in plans. I was way too hungry anyways and happy to have a solid meal vs appetizers, I realized  :D

Chaya hung out with her Nana for the time-being and was fast asleep when we went to pick her up later that evening. It was a smooth transition from the car to bed-- and that is what I call a successful date night!

Items worn:
Dress: H&M
Coat: Boohoo
Shoes: Nine West

Living in Midtown Sacramento has been such a fun adventure for our little family. It's an up and coming bustling subdivision neighboring Downtown with so much color and diversity and so much to do, eat, see and explore. We love living here and all of these bonuses are a huge reason why we are still stretching it out in our precious little one bedroom out here. 

Being surrounded by markets galore (10+!), of the many options here in Midtown/Downtown, one of our favorites is the Hmong Market on Sunday mornings. It gets us out of our comfort zones and provides some opportunity to try produce that challenge our cooking. Some items we purchase we don't even know the names of, but they allow for some fun in the kitchen and give us a chance to try something new. This market also has a lot of familiar seasonal produce as well so if we want to keep things simple, we can do that too. 

The prices at this Hmong market are budget-friendly and the fruits/ vegetables and herbs are always so fresh and full of flavor! My favorite seasonal fruit to get from here are the Asian pears (also known as apple pears). They are huge, full of flavor and have the perfect amount of sweetness, water content and crunch to them. 

Zach was the first out of the two of us to discover this gem. It can be a tight squeeze making a baby carrier the best method for visiting with a little one in tow. 

The market can get very crowded in the afternoon- we've found visiting first thing in the morning is best. And there is more selection to choose from before items run out.

One of our big motivators in making this a family trip is to continue to expose Chaya to different and new foods. I believe our interest and appetite for foods begins before our food hits the plate. Before we leave the store, really! Chaya is still not a big eater yet, so a strategy we employ is bringing her to the market to allow her to smell, touch, feel and taste some of the produce before bringing it home. Oftentimes, she will also choose an item to bring home and her desire to eat it is much more!

One of the many things I love about my husband is his heart for health and good nutrition. With me being a Registered Dietitian with high food standards at times, he is one of the few people I can trust to make a grocery run for me with no list or pre-discussed requests :)

We love and value the people of this market. Always so friendly, welcoming and a dear reminder of the beauty and all that is right in the world when people from different backgrounds all come together and share a piece of our worlds through food together. 

And we're all done! In total, we spent $18!! Such a bargain!! Zach treated us to his wonderful and delicious stir fry later that evening. If you'd like the recipe and to see a few of the items we ended up purchasing click here!

Part 2 of this story concludes with Zach's delicious stir fry using many ingredients we gathered from this market. Recipe and more of the story continues ---> Here!

Thank you for reading and joining along!

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