Tasty Tuesday

Tasty Tuesday: Colorful Carrot Ginger Dressing

Up until the past few days, we’ve had a ridiculous amount of rain here in Virginia.  On the bright side (and I mean that very literally), now that the sun is out the world is extra vivid.  Yellow and pink flowers, emerald green grass, bright purple berries…In honor of the recent change in weather, I created a beautiful (and delicious!) orange dressing to top a rainbow of a salad.  The secret to its monarch butterfly hue?  Carrots!  Not only do the carrots give this dressing a unique color, they also create a light yet satisfyingly savory condiment.  Of course, bright colors can be pretty to look at, but did you know the more richly colored the food the greater the antioxidant levels?  Yes, this dressing is both attractive and loaded.  Swipe right (just kidding, scroll down), to meet your new bae…..


-1 cup carrots, roughly chopped

-1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

-3 tablespoons hemp seeds

-1 tablespoon umi plum vinegar (sounds fancy but you can find it in most grocery stores or online)

-1 rounded teaspoon light miso

-1 teaspoon dijon mustard

-1 teaspoon fresh ginger, chopped

-1 teaspoon date sugar (or other sweetener of choice)

-1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons water (add more for a thinner consistency)

To make:

-Blend all ingredients in high speed blender until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides as needed.

For more plant based ideas head over to the Joyful Gym Rat page on Facebook

Almost too pretty to eat, but since looks don’t last forever down it went…..
Mindfulness Monday

Mindfulness Monday: Teachings and Tomato Plants

The past few weeks have brought some new challenges.  I was looking forward to a relaxing weekend of basking in the familiar and comfortable.  For a few reasons, and none so interesting or dramatic as to be worth sharing here, this did not happen.  I was a little put out about this until a few tomato plants in our garden set me straight.

You see, our tomato plants weren’t flowering.  Upon further research we realized that they were too content.  Too much nitrogen in the soil had squelched their desire to blossom.  They would have been happy continuing on the way they were forever.  Never producing their delicious fruit, just hanging out in garden box number two.  So we took away the nitrogen, trimmed back some of the lush foliage, and basically made their lives a bit more taxing to inspire their development.  As I trimmed, I wondered if the challenges I’ve been facing would inspire my own…..

A stretch of a metaphor?  Maybe, but it was too perfect and too plant-centric not to document on this plant based blog.  So, next time your life throws a curve ball, remember it might be encouraging you to blossom and produce something delicious beautiful.

For more ideas head over to the Joyful Gym Rat page on Facebook!

Sorry guys, but it’s for your own good.  I promise we will treat you to some more nitrogen real soon…..



Fitness Friday

Fitness Friday: Confidence and Calistenics

Sometimes, a woman just needs to hear she is worthy.  And that worth is intrinsic, having nothing to do with what she looks like or does for a living or sacrifices for her family.  In this world of impossible physical and personal standards that we live in, it often takes inhuman strength to hold onto our collective self respect and treat our bodies right.

At times it feels like a barrage of bullets coming from all sides.  Messages of how we should be coming from magazines,  movie stars, and men’s mouthes.

Articles with headlines like “Lose That Baby Weight Fast”, “25 Ways to Look Younger Now”, and “How to Get a Bikini Body in 4 Weeks” take up far too much bandwidth.

So this weekend, I invite you to buck the godawful trend and ponder the following:

-Don’t Take Anything Personally:  Your life seen through another’s lens will never be clear.  Only you have the whole picture.  Consequently, their comments can never really hold that much weight because they hold very little truth.  Only you can truly know what is best for your own body.  Take advice from others with a grain of salt but remember to keep your own vision clear.

-Exercise as the Ultimate Act of Self Respect: Caring for our bodies is a sacred act.  Exercising to create bodies that allow us to feel better and experience life more fully will always be more satisfying than exercising to fit a societal ideal.

-Building Confidence is Like Building a Muscle:  Years of internal programming can be hard to undo.  If you find yourself falling down the rabbit hole of body shame, simply keep pulling yourself out.  As with strength training, the more you practice the more efficient you will become.

For more fitness ideas head over to the Joyful Gym Rat page on Facebook!

The most confident bitch I know…and totally shameless….


Tasty Tuesday

Tasty Tuesday: Plant Based Made Easy

In a perfect world, I would prepare a gourmet plant based meal three times a day.  The whole family would give me all the time and space I needed to do so.  They would also give me mad accolades and eat every single bite.  There would be no limit to my ingredient budget, and J would call my favorite grocery store by its rightful name instead of Whole Paycheck.  Here in the real world, schedules can be tight, toddlers (and husbands!) can be picky, and pennies need to be pinched whenever possible.  Thankfully plant based meals give you a lot of bang for your buck, especially when you think in terms of nutrients per dollar.  Here are a few of my favorite plant based hacks:

Frozen Fruits and Veggies: Wholesale stores have gotten hip to whole foods.  Hit up the frozen section for fruits and veggies (often organic!) to create smoothies, soups, or whatever else your little heart desires. Fun fact: frozen veggies often retain more nutrients than fresh since they are frozen soon after picking.

Canned Beans: Budget-wise, dried beans are the better option.  However, nothing beats the convenience and nutrition of popping open a can of beans.  I always keep some on hand for last minute salads, hummus, or black bean brownies when the mood strikes.  Look for BPA free cans and organic, if you can swing it.

Sweet Potatoes: Delicious and comforting, nothing satisfies like a sweet potato.  You can find many varieties, and even organic, at a price that will suit your budget.  And don’t forget they are the number one food amongst folks living in the blue zones…

Prepped Greens: Prepping greens yourself is usually the cheaper option, but for the time-crunched pre-washed and prepped greens are a saving grace.  Many wholesale stores carry large bags of organic greens perfect for smoothies, salads, and the like.

Raw Cashews: This may seem like an odd addition, but cashews are just so dang versatile!  From savory cream sauces and dressings to yummy nut butters and frostings, these little tree nuts can take a meal from ho hum to heavenly in no time flat.

For more plant based ideas head over to the Joyful Gym Rat page on Facebook

Can drinking out of a plant mug trick your body into thinking it’s getting more antioxidants than it actually is?  I’ll let you know when my case study is finished…….