littleSpoon {Charlotte, NC} Hip Hop Brunch

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Where can you go for great brunch eats and 90′s/00′s hip hop? Try littleSpoon {Charlotte, NC} for a delicious hip hop brunch.

Little Spoon {Charlotte, NC} Hip Hop Brunch

I can’t say I’ve been anywhere else in town where you can get this experience, potentially making this my new favorite, local brunch spot. Well-crafted food + locally sourced ingredients + some of my favorite tunes = a winning combination.

Hubby actually suggested checking out this restaurant a couple weekends ago, and I happily agreed. littleSpoon is located off of Selwyn Avenue where FABO used to be, in the same shopping center as Mellow Mushroom. The space is a little on the smaller side, but it’s well decorated and comfortable. I’m not sure if they take reservations, but it may be worth making them, if possible.

I’d had a lot of coffee that morning, so I decided to try something different to drink. Fresh-made lemonade hit the spot. It was a little bubbly and lightly sweet, just how I like my lemonade.

Little Spoon {Charlotte, NC} Hip Hop Brunch

We considered starting with the doughnuts, but when we heard there was a blueberry, homemade “pop tart” special, we were sold. The starter was great – so much better than a boxed pop-tart. littleSpoon’s version was made with fresh blueberries and a hint of citrus in a golden pie crust.

Little Spoon {Charlotte, NC} Hip Hop Brunch

We decided to share a couple main dishes. Hubby ordered the homemade “hot pocket” with egg whites, turkey sausage, and jalapeño. I tried a bite and really enjoyed it, though it was a little spicy for me. I’m a weeny when it comes to spicy food, though. The flavors were great together, and I enjoyed the dough, which reminded me a little bit of pizza/calzone dough.

Little Spoon {Charlotte, NC} Hip Hop Brunch

But, the hash stole the show for me. Not only was it beautiful, but it was the perfect combination of ingredients. I believe it contained purple potatoes, bell peppers, onions, sausage, micro greens, and a sunny-side up egg on top. I love these types of dishes – the ones where you try to gather a little bit of every tasty component in a single bite to enjoy the flavors together.

The weather was warm when we visited littleSpoon so we sat outside. We took in the sunny day whilst enjoying our brunch eats and songs by Dr. Dre, 50 Cent, and Tupac. It’s not every day you can enjoy this combination, but hubby and I are already looking forward heading back to littleSpoon for another tasty hip hop brunch soon.

FitBloggin 2014 – My Day 2 Recap

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On Friday, I was still feeling the nerves from my “adventures” the day before, but I was also really excited to dive into the first full day of the conference. Here’s FitBloggin 2014 – My Day 2 Recap…

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

The breakfast buffet had all my favorites – oatmeal (with a nice selection of toppings), eggs, fresh fruit, and bacon. Yum!

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

Thanks to sponsors like Ninja Kitchen, there were lots of healthy and tasty snacks around for most of the day. The Ninja Kitchen was my favorite because they kept putting out new flavors of delicious smoothies throughout the weekend. Smoothies are always a good idea, and I enjoyed some of their unique flavor combinations, like the yellow one that had turmeric in it.

***

For my first session of the conference, I went to Valerie’s small group discussion on How to Organize Community Wellness Programs. Valerie talked about her experience planning events, including what worked for her and didn’t. She led the conversation in a really open and friendly way, encouraging open dialog in the room while also shared some of her personal tips. As the session went on, others in the room shared their experiences, too, making for a great conversation. There were so many people in the room who had organized events like a 5k (or longer) race or charity fundraiser. It was inspiring to hear everyone’s stories about the good they were doing for their respective communities. It made me wonder if there’s more I could do for mine.

Click here to read the Live Blog from Valerie’s presentation.

After this session, I went quickly to the front desk of the Hyatt to see if my wallet had arrived to put an end to my worries still stemming from the day before. Hubby said the package would be there by noon according to USPS, so I was hoping it had arrived early since it was a bit before 11am. I was so worried that the darn thing got lost in the mail or something. Luckily, they found the package just fine. I was just so relieved that the madness of the missing wallet was over. Now, it was time to engage in the conference and prepare (calm my nerves and finish my slides) for my upcoming presentation on Saturday. Eep!

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

Since I keep toying with the idea of making videos, I went to Dre’s presentation on mobile video.

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

Dre was like a magician and kept pulling out new tools and supplies throughout his presentation. It was really cool to see how much you could do with mobile video if you had the right tools for the job. Dre talked about getting a tripod, using a bluetooth remote to start and stop the camera, using a microphone, and even passed on suggestions for affordable lighting options. He talked about which tools to use and the best ways to use them. And he even helped troubleshoot for some of the session attendees. Dre put an Amazon list of his equipment recommendations on his blog. The session did leave me wanting to create some videos for guys, but I’m still on the fence.

I actually have recorded a couple videos (dance fitness choreography, shoe reviews, etc.) to share with you guys, but I’ve been way too nervous to actually upload them to The Chic Life’s YouTube account. I don’t really like the way I look or sound on video. And once the video camera (or iPhone camera) is on and recording, it’s like I forget how to talk or act. I’m basically like this. But, maybe one day I’ll work past all that. I mean, if I look at my old food photos from years ago, they’re awful. Maybe that’s just the way things go and you just need to start somewhere and learn and improve over time?

Click here to read the Live Blog from Dre’s presentation on mobile video.

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

The lunch spread was wonderful. The buffet started with quinoa and pasta salads. There was also fresh fruit…

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

…and a ton of salad toppings.

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

And we also got to build our own sandwiches. And there were Mrs Vickie’s chips at the end with my favorite flavor – salt and vinegar.

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

The whole group ate together in one of the larger rooms where we saw a presentation from Disney with a special guest…

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

Mickey! As you can tell from all the cameras going up, we were pretty excited. We learned about Disney’s training camps for kids and about some of their Run Disney events.

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

I think most of us know about the princess races, but did you know they have a Run Disney Star Wars Weekend event now? That’s right. It could be enough to convince my husband to start running. Maybe. Just maybe. (Too bad it’s sold out already!)

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

In the afternoon, I went to ESPN blogger Stephania’s session on How to Build a Respected Blog. Her presentation validated a lot of what I’ve been thinking about lately. I used to love to blog about health, nutrition, and wellness, but I’ve dialed back in recent years. My fear was that I wasn’t qualified to talk about these subjects. Stephania pointed out that you can share your personal story and cite resources for information outside of your knowledge/expertise. This is something I’ve been doing to a small extent with some of my recipe posts (like this almond butter smoothie recipe), but I’m hoping to apply it to some more healthy living posts going forward. Stephania also suggested interviewing people who are experts in a given area, which is another wonderful idea.

You can read more about Stephania’s session on the Live Blog about it by clicking here.

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

{Photo courtesy of Katrina Elle}

After the sessions, I met up with Katy and also got to meet Katrina and Brendon for some afternoon practice and fun randomness, including dancing, headstands, and handstands. As you can see from the photo, we had a good time. These are some fun peeps! I wish they all lived closer! #headsdownforwhat

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

When I went back up to my room to change, I heard a loud horn coming from outside. A giant ship was passing under the bridge and coming down the river. It probably doesn’t look like much from the photo, but the ship seemed gigantic, like it took over the whole river.

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

Later, I headed downstairs for the Friday night festivities. Katy was rocking her new Live Chic tank.

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

And another ship passed behind us while we were at…

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

Ignite Fitness. If you don’t know what Ignite is, you can watch this video to learn more. It’s basically a short presentation where you get a limited amount of time to cover each slide. There were informative presentations, but I liked the deep, personal stories the most. Alan’s in particular stood out to me because it was so inspiring.

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

And what night wouldn’t be complete without a dance flash mob. Oh yea!

***

Next up – FitBloggin 2014 – My Day 3 Recap.

In case you missed it – here’s FitBloggin 2014 – My Day 1 Recap.

Thanks for stopping by!

Healthy Granola Recipe: Maple Cinnamon Date Almond

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Here’s a new Healthy Granola Recipe: Maple Cinnamon Date Almond (Oil-Free and Only 6 Ingredients). Since I started making granola without oil, I haven’t felt strongly compelled to start adding the oil back in. Why bother when it’s not needed, right? This recipe gives you the flavor and crunch of a great granola using fruit instead. This recipe makes for a wonderful breakfast or snack you can keep in your pantry or office desk.

I made a batch of this healthy granola recipe on a Sunday thinking I may have it for a day or two of the coming week. But, this stuff was so good, I found myself craving it. I had it for both breakfasts and snacks. It was good straight up, but I especially liked it over yogurt. It didn’t take long at all before I made my way through the whole batch. I’m not even sure it lasted a whole week.

Healthy Granola Recipe: Maple Cinnamon Date Almond (Oil-Free and Only 6 Ingredients) #recipe #granola #healthy

This healthy granola recipe is made with maple syrup, cinnamon, dates, and almonds. Did I mention it’s not only oil-free but uses just 6 ingredients? It’s tasty, easy, and won’t be a pain to shop for at the grocery store.

Healthy Granola Recipe: Maple Cinnamon Date Almond (Oil-Free and Only 6 Ingredients)

Though it’s not the fastest in bake time, spending some time upfront will save you lots of time later in the week when you can enjoy this no-cook breakfast. The portability was a big saver for me, too. I took about half of it with me to the office and kept in my desk drawer. On the days I didn’t eat before work, I knew I could easily bring a yogurt with me and crack open that jar of yummy granola waiting for me.

Healthy Granola Recipe: Maple Cinnamon Date Almond (Oil-Free and Only 6 Ingredients)

Healthy Granola Recipe: Maple Cinnamon Date Almond (Oil-Free and Only 6 Ingredients)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Sometimes you just want a simple granola recipe that doesn’t use a ton of ingredients. Here’s an easy recipe that tastes delicious and has less sugar than most granolas and no oil!
*Vegetarian, Vegan*
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 cups rolled old fashioned oats (quick cooking oats can be used, too)
  • 1 cup sliced almonds (or nut of choice)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ cup (or one individual) applesauce
  • ¼ cup maple syrup, plus additional sweetener (honey or maple syrup), if needed
  • 1 cup dried dates, chopped
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper (or use aluminum foil and brushed lightly with oil).
  2. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients oats, almonds, cinnamon, and salt and stir to mix well.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine wet ingredients apple sauce, maple syrup, and additional sweetener (if using), and stir with a whisk to mix well.
  4. Add wet mixture to dry mixture and stir until wet mixture is evenly distributed.
  5. Pour granola mixture onto prepared baking sheet and spread to an even layer.
  6. Bake, stirring every 15 minutes for 45-60 minutes, or until granola is browned to preference. Remove from oven and stir in dried fruit.
  7. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Serve with yogurt or milk.
  8. Store in an airtight container.
Notes
Multiply the recipe to serve more. This made enough granola for me to eat for most breakfasts and some snacks for a work week.

This is a great one to keep at work!

 

I really enjoyed this Healthy Granola Recipe: Maple Cinnamon Date Almond over Greek yogurt and this So Delicious vanilla coconut milk yogurt.

Here are some more healthy granola recipes to try:

Hope you enjoy this Healthy Granola Recipe: Maple Cinnamon Date Almond. Happy baking! Thanks for stopping by!

Reynold’s Mansion – Asheville, NC

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Tucked away just north of Asheville, NC, sitting on a large green hill, is the Reynold’s Mansion, and there’s a reason it’s currently ranked #1 on TripAdvisor.com. The mansion is more than a bed and breakfast. This B&B has a warm & welcoming feel, serves up a delicious breakfast, and has a rich history that even includes a tie with one of the most famous jewels of all time. Billy, the innkeeper, runs a tight ship, and his dedication to excellence shines through in Reynold’s Mansion.

Reynold's Mansion - Asheville, NC

There are eight rooms in the main house, plus pet-friendly rooms behind in the Carriage House and Cottage.

Reynold's Mansion - Asheville, NC

The large, wrap-around porch was one of my favorite features. I enjoyed many quiet moments here over coffee or wine.

Reynold's Mansion - Asheville, NC

The grounds were beautiful and well-manicured, begging you to wander around and enjoy the many views around the house.

Reynold's Mansion - Asheville, NC

And the courtyard linked the many rooms of the B&B with a brick walkway, gurgling fountain, and flowers galore.

Reynold's Mansion - Asheville, NC

Reynold's Mansion - Asheville, NC

This is one of my favorite photos (above). I took this from the garden that sits behind the house.

Reynold's Mansion - Asheville, NC

Reynold's Mansion - Asheville, NC

Reynold's Mansion - Asheville, NC

There are also peacocks…

Reynold's Mansion - Asheville, NC

…and chickens behind the B&B. Billy said they try to use eggs from their own chickens in the breakfasts. How about that for local eggs?

Reynold's Mansion - Asheville, NC

Reynold's Mansion - Asheville, NC

And as for that breakfast, here’s one from the weekend. We started with a large bowl of fresh fruit and hot coffee. The coffee was delicious and spiced with a little something. I think it was cinnamon. I meant to ask but forgot.

Reynold's Mansion - Asheville, NC

And for the main course, at this breakfast we enjoyed scrambled eggs, sausage, grits, more fresh fruit, and fluffy blueberry pancakes. The pancakes were light and lofty like clouds, and the whole meal was so enjoyable. I did my best to finish my plate, but there was just too much food. I had a good time trying, though. Billy entertained us with stories about the inn, including some ghost stories. He also showed us some photos of the house from when he purchased it since it had fallen into disrepair prior to him purchasing it. The photos showed a house covered in ivy, and Billy pointed out where there was potentially a ghost captured in the photo!

Don’t worry, I didn’t see any ghosts on my stay. But, hey, there’s always next time!

Oh, and as for that tie in to the famous jewel, you’ll just have to stop by the B&B to hear about its tie with the Hope Diamond. Or, you can read more about it here.

Thank you, Billy, for the wonderful weekend! I hope we can stay longer on our next visit!

***

For more info on the Reynold’s Mansion – Asheville, NC, check out their web site or call. Tell them Diana the food blogger sent you!

Easy Brussels Sprouts and Cheddar Cheese Quiche Recipe

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Quiche. It’s what for breakfast, lunch, or even dinner. It’s like the gift that keeps on giving for busy people like us. Make it once and enjoy the leftovers for whichever type of meal you prefer later. Not to mention the combinations are endless. I recently whipped up a delicious quiche that I’m sharing here for a Brussels Sprouts and Cheddar Cheese Quiche recipe. The brussels sprouts added a nice, sweet taste to the overall flavor. Yum!

Though it’s one of few things I think re-heats okay in the microwave, I think the best way to re-heat quiche is in the oven. I like to cut a slice up and bake it until it’s heated through for that fresh-baked taste.

The next step is to figure out what you want to serve the quiche with. I like my quiche with toast and coffee for breakfast and with a salad for dinner. All the sides are simple, making this overall meal experience tasty and easy.

Easy Brussels Sprouts and Cheddar Cheese Quiche Recipe

Easy Brussels Sprouts and Cheddar Cheese Quiche Recipe

 

Brussels sprouts are easy to shred (check out my recipe for easy sautéed brussels sprouts), but if you’re extra short on time, try the pre-saved ones available at Trader Joe’s. You’ll get enough to eat as a side vegetable for a different meal and the leftovers will already be cool to save you even more time.

Easy Brussels Sprouts and Cheddar Cheese Quiche Recipe

Easy Brussels Sprouts and Cheddar Cheese Quiche Recipe

Easy Brussels Sprouts and Cheddar Cheese Quiche Recipe

I recently found these frozen pie crusts at my local health food store. They come in a variety of flavors, including spelt and gluten-free. My favorite is the Organic Whole Wheat 9″ Pie Shell by Wholly Wholesome.

Easy Brussels Sprouts and Cheddar Cheese Quiche Recipe

Hello, delicious Brussels Sprouts and Cheddar Cheese Quiche Recipe!

Easy Brussels Sprouts and Cheddar Cheese Quiche Recipe

Easy Brussels Sprouts and Cheddar Cheese Quiche Recipe

Easy Brussels Sprouts and Cheddar Cheese Quiche Recipe

Easy Brussels Sprouts and Cheddar Cheese Quiche Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Easy Brussels Sprouts and Cheddar Cheese Quiche Recipe is super simple to make. Enjoy it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. This is a great use for eggs that are about to expire or if you need to do meal prep for the week and need easy eats. Serve with toast, a salad, and/or fresh fruit to complete the meal.
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • ½ tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon oil (I used olive oil)
  • 1 cup shaved brussels sprouts
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 frozen pie crust (see photos for the clean eats version I found at my local health food store)
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Heat a large pan over medium heat. When it’s ready, add the butter, oil, and brussels sprouts and cook, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes, until the brussels sprouts have softened nicely. Set aside to cool. Wait until the brussels sprouts have cooled before proceeding so they don’t cook the eggs when you add them in the next steps.
  3. In a large bowl, combine eggs and milk and whisk till evenly combined.
  4. Stir in brussels sprouts, cheddar cheese, garlic salt, and black pepper.
  5. Pour egg mixture into frozen pie crust and bake for 45-55 minutes, until the center is set.
Notes
NOTE: This recipe would be a great use for leftover cooked brussels sprouts (click here for a recipe for sautéed brussels sprouts). Simply skip the brussels sprouts cooking step and if yours aren’t already shaved, chop them pretty small.



NOTE: Keep a frozen crust in the freezer for convenience.



Cooking tip: If when you check the quiche to see if it’s done the center is sunken, then you need to cook longer. The center should be puffed up a bit.

What’s your favorite quiche ingredient combo?

Amped Up Almond Butter Smoothie Recipe

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You’ve already seen my recipe for a simple, 3-ingredient almond butter smoothie. This time, I’m bringing you an Amped Up Almond Butter Smoothie Recipe! I just made a couple simple additions to my basic recipe to make the smoothie extra healthy.

Amped Up Almond Butter Smoothie

My simple almond butter smoothie has three ingredients:

  1. banana
  2. milk
  3. almond butter

Amped Up Almond Butter Smoothie

I added a couple health-boosting ingredients to the basic recipe to turn it into an Amped Up Almond Butter Smoothie.

Dates

Dates add a little extra sweetness to the flavor of this smoothie, but they’re good for you, too! According to The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, a “single date has calcium and magnesium in an almost perfect 1:1 ratio (15 mg to 14 mg), 1 1/2 g of fiber, and more than 160 mg of heart-healthy potassium. There’s even a smidgen of vitamin A, plus trace amounts of a half dozen of other vitamins and minerals.”

Ground Flaxseed

An article about flaxseeds on whfoods.com says, “The seeds of most plants are rich in nutrients and can provide us with health benefits. Yet flaxseeds are also nutritionally unique and offer us health benefits not found across the board within the seeds food group. The nutritional uniqueness of flaxseeds features three nutrient aspects.” You can read about those three aspects (omega 3 fatty acid content, lignans, and mucilage (gum) content by clicking here.

Cinnamon

According to Dr. Oz, “As we age, many of us may experience muscle and joint pain due to arthritis. Cinnamon contains anti-inflammatory compounds that can help relieve that pain. Furthermore, cinnamon’s antibiotic properties help prevent urinary tract infections, tooth decay and gum disease, and have been shown to kill the harmful bacteria, E.coli.”

Healthy and delicious!

Amped Up Almond Butter Smoothie

Amped Up Almond Butter Smoothie Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This Amped Up Almond Butter Smoothie takes a classic recipe up a notch with a couple simple, healthful additions. Read more about why these ingredients are healthy above in the blog post.
Author:
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 1 cup milk of choice (I used unsweetened rice milk)
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 1 date, pitted
  • dash of cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Place milk, banana, almond butter, flaxseed, and date in the blender.
  2. Cover and blend until ingredients are processed and smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Taste test and if desired, blend in sweetener of choice to taste.
  3. Pour into a glass and add a dash of cinnamon on top. Enjoy!
Notes
This single serving recipe multiplies easily to server more

 

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What are your favorite ingredients to amp up smoothies?

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