Ladies Lunch + Mahi Mahi


You guys had some great questions for Don on Organic Gardening! I can’t wait to see his answers. Till then, if you have a question on organic gardening, leave a comment here (click for details).



I was really looking forward to more granola and Greek yogurt this morning so I made a quick breakfast of one of the Stonyfield Chocolate Oikos samples (*), along with some of my Vanilla Almond Galaxy Granola sample (*).

So easy, so fast, so good! And good for you!


I girl-ified my biker jacket with a pretty silk scarf. This picture is terrible, but you get the point.


I actually had enough time to take a lunch break today…shocking I know! I got a half tea / half lemonade drink (no alcohol people).



I also got blackened mahi mahi with jambalaya and green beans – from Mimosa Grill. Lunch was fabulous and it was so nice escaping the office for once. For those new to TCL, I RARELY take lunch breaks at work. Most lunches are enjoyed at my desk while I chomp away on a phone conference with my mute button on. Glamorous, right? ;)


Hubby was really trying to spoil me today. He swung by with a sweet treat – one of my faves -a mini cinnamon roll from Great Harvest. Man these things are addicting!


For a pre-workout snack, I enjoyed a Raw Organic Food Bar in Chocolate Coconut (won these on Twitter).


These bars were the first product request I had fulfilled at my OpenSky shop and I’m thrilled to be able to offer them to you. These bars are fabulous but a little hard to find, but now it’s easy since you can find them in my shop!

(PS Some of you have asked about Galaxy Granola – I’ve requested to add that to my shop, too, so I hope it works out! I’ll keep you posted – the process can be a little slow)

Then I had a fabulous hour of ZUMBA! So fun. I love my mid-week workouts. I get to just dance all the stress of the week away!


A post-workout shake – Aria.




Then, I came home to a REAL surprise. Hubby had dinner waiting for me!!!!! How sweet! First the cinnamon roll and then the dinner! I felt so lucky!


We started with salads – organic lettuce mix, orange bell pepper, and cucumber with Drew’s rosemary balsamic. Plus some $3 chuck to drink.



And for the main event – spaghetti!! I love spaghetti but haven’t had any in ages! I was really happy to see it tonight. Hubby even used whole wheat pasta!


On the side – SPELT toast, drizzled with EVOO, from Great Harvest! Hubby picked up a fresh loaf today when he got the cinnamon roll. I adore spelt-everything!


Do you ever just want a taste of something? I was really craving Galaxy Granola with vanilla almond milk after dinner, so I made a tee-niny bowl. I don’t think I’ll be using my Crate + Barrel spoon for oatmeal or soup any time soon, but I still think it’s the perfect ice cream spoon and I love it for my little tasting bowls. A regular sized spoon would have looked ridiculous! :lol:

Oh and about that Fitness challenge…I got sick and didn’t start it. :( Buuut, I think I will fore-go the monthly challenges and just start it up when I’m ready. Not sure I want to wait till May! lol

A year ago today I had a chicken burrito. Funny that I was craving one for lunch today since I rarely eat them for lunch. Also, I ordered my neon green zumba pants! Oh yea!

Do you ever eat really mini portions of food?

Fabulous Easter Dinner – Vegan/GF Style


So, where did we leave off earlier?

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Ah yes, I was working on a top secret dessert involving mixed berries!


Did you figure out my dessert? Add in a homemade tart shell…


You guessed it! FRUIT TART! Not just any fruit tart – a vegan AND gluten free fruit tart.


I found the recipe in Clean Food – it’s the Mixed Berry Tart.


I definitely sampled the cider while I was baking and it was gooooo! Very, very sweet but great! I’m looking forward to drinking more of this later in the week, though I rarely drink juices.

Anywho, on to tonight!


(couldn’t pick between the pictures, so I used both! hehe…don’t the girls look fabulous in their dresses?!)


Hubby and I were invited over to Emily and Casey’s house to have Easter dinner with them and Kath and Matt!! :) So, after the dessert was ready, we headed over to meet our friends.


Kath greeted me with a yummy Pom Mocktail.



There were fresh flowers all over!


We sipped mocktails…



…cooked food…




…and snacked on yummy food!



Kath and Matt brought over handmade honey whole wheat baguette slices, toasted in the oven, with a yummy cilantro/pistachio dip.

Here’s the photo I took.


And here’s what Kath and I look like taking our food photos! :lol: Thanks for the photo Emily!


The table – all set and waiting for food and friends.





Our centerpiece – an adorable bread bunny complete with Easter eggs! The bunny is really Great Harvest bread with Virginia rolls…mmm.

We had lots of yummy vegan and gluten-free eats on the menu for our fabulous Easter dinner.


Asparagus + Chard Risotto with fresh herbs.


Millet Salad with corn and tomato.


Split pea soup.

Plus the bunny bread!!

Our friends…


Casey + Emily


Matt + Kath

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Me + Hubby (thanks for the photo Kath!)


I got a little bit of everything – the split pea soup…


…the risotto, the millet salad, and even a bread bunny leg. :lol:

Dinner was fabulous – filling but light. :) Everything was so tasty!! I’m so thankful for such talented foodie friends!

Then, it was on to dessert!




My vegan + gluten-free fruit tart.

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Photographing dessert (thanks again for the photo Kath!)

I must say, I’ve never made this recipe before, so I was really worried I may just blow the whole thing! lol I was kind of upset that the topping bubbled up so much, but I was mostly worried that the crust may crumble apart or the topping may not taste good.


Thankfully, the tart stayed together nicely. Phew!

And for the taste test….




DEE-licious! Phew again!

The crust had an almost molasses taste to it from the teff flour. The berry topping was perfection – sweet but not too sweet. I loved it and would serve this to any one – vegan or GF or not. Total yummers!

After our most-awesome Easter dinner, hubby and I came home and took Bailey for a walk.



I also decided to sample another Nicobella vegan truffle. Full review to come, but this flavor was an excellent pairing of fruit and chocolate. Yum!

Big thanks to Emily, Casey, Kath, and Matt for a wonderful evening with friends! Special thanks to Emily and Casey for hosting! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! :)

Such a fun weekend, even though I was a bit under the weather. First hubby’s beer brewing party with Matt (click), then soaking up the sun at lunch, and now tonight! Feeling very blessed right now. :D

Happy Easter Everyone!

Reader question: Did you do anything special for Easter dinner? If not, if you could pick any color for an Easter egg, what would it be?

A Real Tofu-Kale-Soba-Noodle Dinner


My body has finally started signaling it’s ready to eat real food again. I’ve been craving tofu-soba-noodles since yesterday and finally made a batch tonight to enjoy.

But first…

I wanted to try one of my Nicobella Organic Vegan Truffle samples (*). I figured they don’t have dairy in them, so I should be able to eat one, right? :)


Eeny, meeny, miny…



I decided to try the walnut flaxseed crunch.


The vegan truffle was really good!

I plan to do a full review of the Nicobella vegan organic truffles soon (once I’ve sampled all the flavors), so I’ll save the details for then, but what was most noticeable about this truffle over traditional ones, to me, was that this one didn’t leave me feeling heavy or on a sugar high! Nice!


Ok, on to dinner!


I finally got to test out the Tofu press (*) Nasoya sent me a couple weeks ago.


The press was a cinch to use and was so much easier than stacking pots/pans and cans to weigh my tofu down. Thank you Nasoya!!


So like I was saying, I was really craving soba noodles with tofu and veggies. I guess your body just let’s you know when it’s ready for something, ya know? I must be ready for real food again. I’ve been eating pretty well today (especially compared to the last couple days).


Ingredients assembled/cleaned/prepped.


Again…using a too small pot for all the big, leafy greens I wanted to cook! :lol:




I did a play on one of my faves – my 3, 2, 1 Vegetarian Noodles (click for recipe), except I just used kale. I missed the other veggies but wasn’t up to going to the grocery store to get the others.

Hubby was out watching the basketball games, so my friend Megan came over for some girl-talk. ;)


We made sure to have some time for…CHOCOLATE! As in some vegan chocolate chip cookies, which I made earlier today.

Oh yea!!!!!!!




No Project Hydrate Updates for today. I haven’t really been keeping track since I first started feeling under the weather. I’m hoping to pick up again tomorrow, though.

Did you see the fun + eats from hubby’s beer brewing extravaganza? One of my favorite photos from the last couple weeks is in that post – it’s the hummus – the one taken from the side. Love!

Check out this post for some weight loss / diet / healthy eating tips gathered from one of the coolest TV shows I’ve seen lately.

Who’s excited about something they gave up for Lent that they’ll get to enjoy again tomorrow?!

Long Work Day = Short, Quick, + Easy (Ravioli) Dinner


Happy Tuesday to you!




I stayed up late (per the usual) and rushed about this morning getting ready for work. Breakfast = Spring Blend coffee and Power Toast. with chia seeds, hemp seeds, and sunflower seeds all over Barney Butter. Boy did that coffee taste good with the toast today!


I started work with Tulsi tea in Indian Breakfast with some sugar. Sometimes I’m good with one cup of coffee and sometimes I need a little more caffeine. I prefer my second cup come from tea.


My one co-worker and I have been trying to plan a lunch for a few months now, but we’re always busy or out of town. Today, we actually had some time not in meetings at the same time and decided to go for a late lunch. I had a snack around noon to tide me over – Kashi crackers in honey sesame and Laughing Cow cheese (from my work stash). I made my co-worker a serving, too. That workaholic never eats! So many people I work with skip lunch all the time. I may not have time to eat lunch away from my desk, but I NEED to eat something. It’s so much healthier for you, too.



For our lunch out, I had a breakfast wrap – egg white, provolone cheese, tomato.


I was actually really excited to finish lunch back in the office because I had my marinated kale with me ready to taste test.

It was a WINNER! I can’t wait to share my recipe. :) Update – the recipe has been posted! Click here to view my marinated kale recipe!

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I caught a craving for chocolate when I got stuck late at work. Around 6pm, I dug into my desk stash – dark chocolate and a PB Ghiradelli square. I find myself liking mainstream (Snickers, etc) candy and milk chocolate less and less. I really want to get some nice, quality dark chocolate to keep at my desk for my chocolate emergencies.

I ended up staying at work till 7 pm and left feeling totally drained of energy. :( Cooking (or doing anything that took any amount of effort) was sounding less and less attractive. Take-out was sounding better and better.


I got home and hubby suggested I de-stress with a quick walk with Bailey. Normally when I get home so late, I think about all the things I need to cram into the night in less time and try to not do “frivolous” things. Tonight, I decided a walk sounded like a good idea.

It was. The fresh air helped clear my mind a little.


On top of that – I had a PACKAGE waiting to be opened!!



Inside – neatly, carefully, and chicly wrapped Galaxy Granola!! I’ve been wanting to try this stuff forever!

This stuff is really cool because they bake their granola in applesauce instead of oil!


Galaxy Granola was kind enough to send me 3 granolas to sample * – yes, for free FTC. :)

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Flavors I get to try: Vanilla Almond, Cranberry Orange, Not Sweet Vanilla. They all sound so fabulous – I can’t wait to dig in! In fact, I’m kicking myself that we don’t have yogurt on hand because I reeeally want to try some Galaxy Granola out tomorrow morning! Gah! I just love opening new things. As soon as I get them I want to test them out. :mrgreen:


For dinner, I was so exhausted that I wanted to cook something that was both quick and easy.

I dug into one of my Foodbuzz samples, which I’ve been hoarding (but talked myself into finally using tonight) – the new Bertolli Arrabbiata sauce (f). I received these sauces for free as part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program.


The sauce has a pretty good ingredient list – all pronounceable words.


Nutrition info.


Other ingredients: onion, sun-dried tomato (leftover from that yummy veggie lasagna), baby spinach…


…local cheese raviolini (waiting for me in the freezer – plus some white wine to enjoy whilst cooking.


Love my Wusthof knife.


I think the smell of sauteed onions is intoxicating…yuuuuum!


Chewy sun-dried tomatoes.


Add sauce.


Add chopped baby spinach.


Niiice. This sauce couldn’t come together easier. I love it when you have something you can just toss this and that in and it comes together in snap. Who wants to think hard after an extra-long day of work.


Cook pasta.



Ravioli to sauce.


Stir. Done! Piece of cake!



Top with cheese and we’re ready to enjoy.





Dinner is served with bread and wine.



The sauce was lovely. I really appreciated the read-able ingredient list and the flavor was nice and slightly spicy with a sweet bite thanks to the sun-dried tomatoes I added. I really tasted the red pepper in the sauce, too, which was a nice change of pace from your average tomato-only-sauce. I would definitely purchase this sauce if I saw it in the grocery store. I think my add-ins upped the nutrition with extra veggies.

Quick + Easy Spinach, Sun-Dried Tomato, Arrabiatta Ravioli

This is a great meal for when you want to eat in but don’t have the energy to do a big meal This dinner whips up quickly and requires little to no measuring.


  • 1 package frozen ravioli (I used cheese)
  • 1 jar arrabiatta sauce (I used Bertolli’s new flavor)
  • 3 cups baby spinach, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (however much you want – I used about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil


  1. Heat a large pan over medium heat. Add EVOO. Add onion, saute 3-5 minutes. Add garlic, cook 60 seconds. Add sun-dried tomatoes, saute 60 seconds. Add sauce. Add spinach. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Meanwhile, boil water in a large pot. Once boiling, add salt. Add ravioli. Cook to lowest cook time (pasta will continue cooking in sauce later).
  3. Use a strainer to remove pasta directly from water and into the sauce. Add about 1/4 cup pasta water to the ravioli/sauce. Cook till ingredients combined, about 1-3 minutes.
  4. Serve with fresh-grated parmesan.


A couple bites of dark chocolate for dessert. :)

I must say, I was feeling pretty drained and lazy after work today…I mean I didn’t get home till about 7:30pm. But, tapping into my Eat in Month skills, I avoided the urge to order take-out and threw together a super simple but satisfying ravioli dinner. I mean, Rachael Ray is right….sometimes it is easier and faster to just cook at home than get take-out!

Project Hydrate Day #23

I did about average today for Project Hydrate.


  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups hot tea

I missed my first-thing-in-the-morning water, which usually helps me get another glass of water in.


I’m working on getting some really cool things in my OpenSky shop. Unfortunately, not everything I’m requesting is making it in, but we’ll get there. On the one hand, I feel like it’s taking forever to populate my OpenSky shop. On the other I know it’s because I’m all about quality over quantity & trying to be choosey about what I select to add. Only the best for you guys!! :)

I’m 3 fans away from 100 on my Facebook page. Who will be lucky #100?! ;)

One year ago today I was blogging about my fabulous stops at two more California wineries – Trentadue and Rosenblum. Can I go back there this weekend? Pleeeease?

Who’s ready for a Fitness challenge? Details April 1st. In the meantime, get your strength training gear ready – simple weights (these are really affordable at places like WalMart/Target) and strength bands.

Reader question: After a long day or work/school/whatever, do you prefer to eat out or stay in and cook?

Veggie Lasagna Encore + Cookie Fail


First off, Marie guessed my sister’s oatmeal design from yesterday – nice work!




I love my brunches dearly, but they totally throw off my eating. I rarely show photos of my snacks but that’s mainly because I rarely snack. I like to have 3 solid meals every day with snacks thrown in on occasion to make up for light meals or for work-out fuel.


Today, at around 4pm, I started getting the munchies, so I grabbed a couple handfuls of pretzels, a couple pickles, a handful of almonds, and a couple Hi-Chews. So random…I know!

Anywho, snacks or not, I still plan to enjoy many more brunches – they are simply too wonderful to miss. :) I’ll have to plan out better snacks next time. I just really wanted something salty, something tangy, and something sweet.

Sis and I did MASSIVE cleaning in the house. We:

  • scrubbed the guest bathroom floor
  • cleaned the toilets
  • wiped the bathroom countertops
  • scrubbed the tile shower – floors, walls, doors, cracks, crevices, you name it
  • hung a new shower curtain
  • cleaned the sinks
  • organized the living room
  • reviewed a couple “junk” boxes

I love being so productive.


Random Bailey shot.



He told us when it was dinner time for him.

Feeeeed me Seymore!


After all the cleaning, we worked up an appetite. (I put the lasagna back in the oven at 350 for about 45 minutes while we worked away – it’s so much better re-heated in the oven IMO than in the microwave).

I started with a local lettuce salad with sunflower seeds and rosemary balsamic dressing.



Sis requested olive oil with fresh cracked pepper for dipping our bread. I added balsamic vinegar b/c it’s a must in my dipping bowl.




The lasagna was still delicious Day #2. Especially topped with some fresh-grated parmesan and served with some rosemary bread (drizzled with EVOO, sprinkled with salt, re-heated in the oven at 200 degrees F – tastes fresh-baked! Mmm….


The local TV stations reported severe weather, so Sis decided to stay one more night. We decided to bake in our PJ’s.



The cookies looked promising.


But they totally spread out together to be a big cookie blog. The texture wasn’t quite right either. Gotta work on this one some more. Practice makes perfect, right?! You’ll never learn if you don’t make mistakes.


I mean, the cookie was still edible and tasted darn good, too! I just wasn’t 100% satisfied with the texture (or flavor).


I made bedtime tea for me and Sis. I’ve been letting her pick her mugs and bowls all weekend and tonight she chose a mug to match mine.


We had the tea just in time to catch a wild ride – a scary hail storm! Luckily, the storm was over quickly, but it was so LOUD!

Gave myself another mini facial tonight. My skin feels so soft! I hope this new routine works out and doesn’t irritate my skin. Time will tell and then I’ll be telling you. ;)

Do you ever look back at a weekend and wonder how you fit everything in that you did? This weekend was so much FUN! I love my lazy weekends, but jam-packed ones are pretty awesome, too. Now, if I could just squeeze in some much-needed yard work! :lol:

I’m actually looking forward to Monday and not just because of Starbucks Monday. Mondays are like a chance to start fresh and I’m planning to go into mine with a positive attitude. Here we gooooo!

Prep Day Sunday



I prepped a couple things for Prep Day Sunday. I started with some marinated kale. I’m still perfecting the recipe, but I think I’m almost there! A taste test tomorrow will tell me for sure.


I also cooked some hard-boiled, cage-free eggs. I’m hoping to work on that egg salad recipe I promised you guys! I want to make sure it’s a goodie before I pass it on. Nothing less than the best for you guys!

We actually have more veggie lasagna leftover still, so I may pack some of that up for tomorrow’s lunch. Either way, I won’t have time to prep food Monday night (busy-busy night!), so Sunday was the day!

Project Hydrate Day #21

I did a pretty crappy job with Project Hydrate this weekend.


  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup hot tea

I’m wondering if maybe I should I continue with Project Hydrate longer than I originally intended? Long enough to really get into the habit of drinking water, ya know?


BIG Announcement tomorrow! So glad I’m finally going to get to share one of my latest secret projects with you guys!

Remember to check out my Facebook page and get involved with the discussions. Any topics you want to start? Let me know. :) Oh, and that big announcement I just mentioned? Facebook friends will find out fiiiiirst! Be there or be square!

One year (minus 1 day) ago today, I was blogging about a life-changing meal – click here to check it out!

Would any readers be interested in emailing your picture to be featured here on The Chic Life? Let me know (click).

Questions, comments, suggestions? Let me know here or here.

Have a great week everyone!

M4L Guest Post: Kath Eats – The Best Vegetable Lasagna


Our Meatless 4 Lent (M4L) Guest Post series continues with another wonderful meatless-Friday meal idea from the most-awesome Kath of Kath Eats Real Food.

Take it away Kath! :)


Hey Veg Heads!

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I’m here to share a recipe for a fabulous whole wheat vegetarian lasagna. Full of flavor thanks to fresh veggies and chewy sun-dried tomatoes, this is the best lasagna I’ve ever had – meat and all included! Cottage cheese leaves the layers moist and vegetables stay crisp tender. Don’t leave out the sun-dried tomatoes – they are the key!! Serve with a green salad :)

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The Best Vegetable Lasagna


  • 3 cups pasta sauce (like Classico Spicy Tomato and Pesto)
  • 16 ounces 2% cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 9 whole wheat lasagna noodles
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese
  • Approximately 4 cups mixed vegetables (I used spinach, carrots, sundried tomatoes, and zucchini)

Preheat oven to 400*. Spray 11 X 8 glass casserole dish.

  1. Combine cottage and parmesan cheeses.
  2. Place 3 uncooked noodles in pan.
  3. Cover with 1 cup pasta sauce, 1/3 cheese mixture, 1/3 vegetables, and 1/3 mozzarella.
  4. Repeat 2 more times.
  5. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake one hour.

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Makes about 8 servings, ~350 kcal per serving.


NOTE: Photos courtesy

Yuuuuum! Looks tasty! Thank you so much Kath for sharing one of your recipes with us! I am definitely going to be trying this one out soon!

To find other fabulous meatless meal ideas, check out the other Meatless 4 Lent (M4L) Guest posts by clicking here or clicking on the “M4L Guest Post” tag (see right sidebar).

Is anyone else going meatless on Fridays? Maybe on another day of the week? How bout meatless for Lent like me? :)

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