Sunshine & Namaste


The spring dress is making a long due appearance

Spring weather has decided to make a (hopefully long term) appearance here in Denver. Classes become more difficult to sit through, fraternity brothers bring out the inflatable pools and lose their shirts, summer dresses are disclosed from the backs of closets, and afternoons consist of kicking around a soccer ball or simply taking a stroll around campus.

Weather like this makes me want to spend more time outside frolicing about and less time inside, slaving away over a hot stovetop. I knew that I wanted pasta for dinner tonight as I would be taking on a rather intense gym session later on (need to get my carbohydrate on) but as we all know, pasta isn’t always the quickest dish to whip up. So what was I to do???

Enter Namaste Food’s Taco Pasta

The whole meal literally took like 10 minutes, tops.

ImageThe pasta was so simple to make: it’s one of those dishes that would be harder to mess up than make perfectly. All it involves is boiling the shell pasta (which goes quick since it is thin and small pasta), then mixing the cooked pasta in a bit of heated oil, spices (included in the pasta bag), and whatever else you’d like to add. I chose to add black beans since I have about 5 million cans of the stuff in my food shelves, along with a side of some Wholly Guacamole I had on hand. To balance out the spice a bit, I whipped up a lil’ fruit salad using some strawberries, blueberries, and an apple I jacked from the dining hall downstairs. What can I say, college brings out my inner rebel.

It all turned out to make quite a tasty dinner! The pasta is spicy enough for flavor, but is mild enough for those more weary of intense spice. I was in and out of the kitchen in less that 15 minutes total, allowing me to get back out there in the sun as soon as I could! I’m proud to say that I’ve developed slight but existent tan lines on my feet in the shape of Toms shoes. Yay for awkward feet discoloration- a true sign of the turn of the season!

Try out Namaste Food’s Taco Pasta for yourself- you won’t regret it!

Fitness, Tips & Tricks

Troublesome Pinterest “Thinspiration”

I should start off by saying that I love Pinterest just as much as the next fashion/decor/fitness/food fan. I can’t tell you how much time I spend scrolling through pages upon pages of beautiful things that usually just point out my own mediocrity/inadequacy but that I still love nonetheless.

But I’ve got this beef with Pinterest. You see, amongst all the pictures of tasty looking treats, beautifully decorated bedrooms, and well dressed fashionistas you will find photos that provide “thinspiration” to those seeking to lose weight and get skinny (“thinspiration” being a term combining “thin” and “inspiration”). While I will admit to having pinned many fitness/health related images on my personal Pinterest, I refuse to ever pin anything that tells people to starve themselves to become skinny. But all too many impressionable pinners (usually teen/young adult women) are pinning downright unhealthy images that link to blogs with even worse “health” advice.

Probably the worst “pin” I have come along was the description in this one:

The “advice” goes on with other “tips” like “wear a rubber band around your wrist and snap it when you want to eat”, “smell coffee to suppress your appetite”, and “take a picture of yourself wearing a bathing suit and look at it before you eat”. There’s pretty much nothing about eating often and healthfully, exercising moderately, or feeling good about your progress (all the things that will actually help a person get fit). 

I won’t go as far as saying pins like this will give someone an eating disorder-there is no proof of that, and I don’t see one image as having the power to do that. However, when large amounts of images like these are being thrown into Pinterest users’ faces, you almost can’t help to look down at that chocolate ice cream you’re eating and feel slightly down on yourself.

I’m not saying that I’m about to petition against this sort of thing- it’s the internet and in holding true to the freedom of speech, people should be able to post what they want. The problem here is that people actually believe a lot of what is put on the internet- it’s simply a matter of being educated in regards to who we can trust with health advice and going to sites like Pinterest with the mindset that the friend who pins onto her “Thinspiration” board just might not know what is best for living healthy and fit.

Next time you’re on Pinterest, pin images that are inspiration for having good health while spreading positive messages like these:

And maybe just for fun, throw one of these babies at ’em! A little dessert never hurt anybody. 

Pin responsibly! =]

Fitness, Recipe

Easy Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce

I had one of my productive days today… out of bed by 8:30, at the hairdresser for a bang trim by 10 [see cheesy-smile-new-haircut-pic below], gathering overpriced and overdelicious food at Whole Foods by 11, and home by noon for an indulgent lunch of Justin’s Nut Butter Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups and a honeycrisp apple. Feeling a little bit Bloaty McBloaterson after this odd (but tasty!) lunch, I opted for a 2 mile run on the clunky treadmill that lives in my parents’ room along with a 30 minute cardio video I scouted out on YouTube-unlike many free cardio “workouts” you find these days, this one actually made me break a sweat! It’s actually directed towards college students living in the limited confines of a dorm room, so I recommend this to all ya’ll college kids reading this. With my post-workout revitalization, I decided to take charge and cook dinner for the fam. Figured my mom (the elementary school music teacher who is up and moving 6+ hours straight every day) might appreciate the help!

With my recent acceptance into a Fall 2012 study abroad program in Rome (!!!), I found myself inspired by the “Eating” section of Rick Steve’s Italy travel guide book (B.T.W I trust no one else when it comes to travel guides). I decided to make some spaghetti with homemade tomato basil sauce with some roasted garlic cauliflower and asparagus on the side. Delizioso e molto facile!

Simple Tomato Basil Sauce

1 can crushed (can be diced) tomatos, preferably good quality.

2 teaspoons olive oil

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

Palmful of chopped fresh basil (eyeball it)

Dollop of ricotta cheese (enough to turn the sauce slightly pink)

Dash of salt & pepper to taste

Pour the canned tomatoes in a medium pot with the garlic, olive oil, salt & pepper. Bring it to a simmer then let it sit over low heat for about 20 minutes (a good time to prepare the side dishes). After about 20 minutes, add in the basil.When you’re ready to serve dinner, put your fully cooked gluten free pasta of choice in a big bowl and pour the sauce over it. Before mixing, add in that dollop of ricotta THEN mix. Serve it up on a plate (duh) and for maximum yumminess, grate some Parmeggiano Reggiano over it! TIP: don’t buy a huge chunk of this stuff if you don’t eat it often. Instead of buying the $8 wedge set out in the produce section, go to the cheese section of your market where the cheese specialist (?) will cut you a fresh slice as small as you need that will only cost you like, $2. 

Buon Appetito!


Enjoy Life; Seed & Fruit Mix

I’m a major sucker for anything with great graphic design- you show me a well dressed food vessel and I will purchase it without even questioning what is inside. Enjoy Life’s new packaging for their delectable “not nuts!” Seed and Fruit Mixes is right up my alley when it comes to design…and taste!  These fruit and seed mixes are the perfect trail mix alternative for those who cannot eat nuts- I might mention though that I quite prefer these mixes over ordinary trail mix even though I CAN eat nuts. Both mixes (Beach Bash and Mountain Mambo) are nice and light with all-natural sweetness and a satisfying texture.

The “Beach Bash” mix has raw sunflower kernels, roasted pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, pineapple, and apricots. I love the extra sweetness brought in with the pineapple (my favorite fruit)-it’s like candy!

The “Mountain Mambo mix has sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, raisins, dried apple and cranberries, and chocolate chips. If you are a big fan of trail mix, this one leans towards a savory trail mix, replacing nuts with seeds. I’m that person who picks the best things (M&Ms) out of trail mix, and this mix is no exception- I go straight for those (dairy free!) chocolate chips! Of course, that’s not to say that the rest of the mix is fabulous; I could eat the whole bag in a single sitting!

These mixes are so easy and convenient to have as a healthy and filling study snack for finals, and will also come in handy during all those fun things you’ll be doing over Spring Break! The bags are light and the mixes are sure to be a hit with all your friends- allergen free or not! I will for sure be picking up a few bags for myself to have when I go back to the grind of classes next quarter!

Grab yourself a couple of bags of Enjoy Life’ Fruit & Seed Mixes and try both flavors for yourself


Because I’d Want to Win the Hunger Games

…and other reasons why I run.

On Monday I ran 6.4 miles in 60 minutes. Not a big deal to some but a big deal to me. You see, I wouldn’t have been physically capable of running even two miles a year and a half ago. That’s just one of those [not] fun things about having Celiac Disease- your muscles and endurance just don’t develop as long as you are still eating gluten. I played soccer from when I was about 8 to around freshman year of high school so I moved on from that phase of life before I could discover how I could play post-gluten free but I’ll tell you something- I would be about 500 times better at soccer now that I can actually run. No matter how “in shape” I’d be, my malnourished body just couldn’t be physically pushed, making me.. ehm, not the best soccer player. But hey! Look at me now. Look at me now. I’m gettin’ paperrr. Well maybe not paper, more like “gettin’ fit”. And holy cannoli, does that feel good.

Running is literally the most exhilarating thing I’ve ever done. So much so that sometimes I even get teary eyed while running because it’s such a blessing for me to finally feel strong. If you haven’t joined in on the running bandwagon yet, maybe I can convince you to hop on.

Why Do I Run? 

Because I become Oscar the Grouch when I don’t 

Because I’d want to win the Hunger Games.

Because I like pretend-racing that boy on the treadmill next to me… and winning. 

Because I like having an excuse to go splurge on cute workout gear

Because It’s prime time to create pretend conversations with people in my head. Come on, you know you all do it too. Oh, only me? Never mind… 

Because It’s a break from homework, cleaning, and otherwise dumb things that have to happen in life. 

Because I’m convinced that guys who run are the best kind

Because I know that someday soon, I will have “hottie” abs and the slight muffin living above my belt will disappear.

Because I will survive the zombie apocalypse 

Because protein shakes actually taste like milkshakes and I feel weird drinking them without working out

Because It’s cooler than not running. 


NFCA: Gluten Free College Series

This past week I had the great honor of being one of several guest bloggers for the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness’ new Gluten Free College series! I absolutely loved having this awesome opportunity to partner up with NFCA, as it is one of the first resources I used myself when I was first diagnosed. My fabulous fellow bloggers include the fantastic:

Saara Aziz of The Gluten Free Student Cookbook

Candice Clifford of Embrace G-Free

Meredith Graham of Gluten-Free College Girl

Shelby Kaho of One Hurdle at a Time

MC of Gluten Free Froggie

Jessica Pauley of Jessi’s Gluten Free World


Janelle Pugh of Gluten Free for a Healthy Me

and shout out to the awesome Wendy Kaho from Celiacs in the House for recommending me as a guest blogger!

I absolutely loved being a part of this. Not only could I potentially be helping other college celiacs in need of information, but I have been able to connect with my fellow college gluten free bloggers- it’s always an awesome thing to connect so well with people who you have never actually met in person! Ah, the beauty of technology.

Check out my post!

Daily Life

Study Break

It’s that time of the quarter, once again… finals. Duhn duhn duhnnnnnnnn. That time where I find myself forfeiting hours of Pinterest and Facebook to study in cozy corners of coffee shops from sun up to sun down. Lucky for me (being possibly the worst test taker west of the Mississippi), the majority of my final work is essay writing. I finished my anthropology paper (about the social networks of blogging) last weekend, which I am thanking myself for now, and my Italian culture paper is a work in progress– I’d forgotten how much more difficult paper writing is when you really haven’t quite wrapped your head around what you’re trying to say. I’m a little all over the place with that one, but I have a feeling that it’ll work out, eventually. I have two final exams: Hydrology and Communications in Popular Culture. The pop culture one’s gonna be easy-peasy, I think. With the amount of television that I watch and magazines I read, I’m pretty much a pro at any pop-culture. The hydrology one, on the other hand…well, we’ll see. Positive thoughts!

Gluten Free Scone from Wash Perk!
Any questions about Italian film history? Shoot ’em my way.