Stay Happy & Hydrated!

Happy Wednesday friends! It is officially summer over here in the dusty, dry desert(at least it feels like it). Thankfully Arizona is easing us into summer this year. Instead of blasting us with mid 100’s all day, we at least still have some cool mornings and cooler evenings to keep us sane!

Never the less a few weeks ago I started feeling dry. What do I mean by “dry”? To start, I was super tired… all the time. No matter how much sleep I got I was waking up groggy and going to bed earlier and earlier. My lips felt chapped and my head felt foggy. I was so unmotivated to do anything after work because all I wanted to do was hit the couch and relax. On top of this, I would get random occurrences of nausea and my muscles felt achey and tight. I knew immediately that I wasn’t hydrating myself well because this also happened to me shortly after moving to Arizona.

Summer months in the desert are HARD! It is almost harder with having a little relief in the mornings and late evenings because it makes me more inclined to spend time outdoors when I can. The dry air sucks every little bit of moisture out of my skin, hair, and makes it extra difficult to hydrate before and after a run. Because of these reasons, I have to really push myself to hydrate more often throughout the day. I always prided myself on drinking a lot of water, but even with my good habits I still feel I need to push myself a little harder!

Here are a few of my tips on how to stay well hydrated. These tips don’t just apply to me… staying hydrated is beneficial in general to pretty much everyone! Hope you enjoy, and happy hydration!

  1. Carry a large water bottle — ditch the plastic minis! The bigger the bottle, the better for me. I like physically seeing that I am making progress on my water goals. It gives me a way to measure how well I’m doing throughout the day or if I need to step up my game. I prefer water bottles or flasks that are 24 oz or more!
  2. Switch it up! I have shared before how much I enjoy bubbly, flavored waters such as La Croix. When I open up a La Croix, I can down it within 15 minutes because the bubble and hint of flavor is so enjoyable and refreshing to me on a hot day. Drinks such as La Croix are also typically caffeine and sugar free. Caffeine tends to be dehydrating (it makes you pee a lot!), and because I’m such a coffee addict I try to stay away from all other caffeinated beverages as much as possible!
  3. Take advantage of summer fruit! Some fruit such as watermelon or honey dew actually have a fairly high water content. Snacking on these fruits can actually provide a source of hydration all on its own. Of course… you still need to drink fluid, but this is a great way to snack and hydrate at the same time without even thinking about it!
  4. Choose water during your commute. On average, my drive to work is anywhere from 30-40 minutes. During this time, I always grab a water bottle or a carbonated water to sip on the drive. I use to drink coffee on my commute but found that I usually wanted coffee anyways once I arrived at work. Swapping the car ride coffee for water was easy knowing I would have a cup as soon as I settled in at my destination. It is almost like a game… I have to finish this bottle or can before I pull into the parking garage!
  5. Utilize different flavors as needed. I use to flavor my water a lot more with fresh fruit such as strawberries or lemon. I occasionally would slice up a cucumber and add a few pieces to my water in the morning if I wanted a flavor that was less sweet or tangy. I don’t do this as often now, but it is definitely a way to please your palate and give yourself a little variety!

Easy Curry Chicken Salad

Happy Sunday everyone! I don’t know if it is the sudden heat wave or me coming off a busy month of April, but I have had zero motivation to get on here and write. I know I posted a few weeks ago that I would be sharing this recipe, and I’m sorry it has taken me so long! I am sleepy, lazy, and a total couch potato today!

I am currently sitting in my living room, sweating my butt off because my golden retriever LOVES laying on the hot turf and it is 100 degrees outside! Of course I’m that over-bearing dog mom that is panicking inside that he’s going to pass out in the heat… or worse, burn those cute little paws!! So, I’m sitting here with the door cracked open so I can hear him move around and occasionally hop in his mini pool. Barking means he is A-OK! I know some of you are laughing right now…. God bless my husband because I am going to be one high-strung mama bear when that time comes!

Is anyone else getting excessive heat already? Today is BRUTAL! I am so not ready for the 100s yet, but I guess mother nature has a different plan this year. For those of you who haven’t been to Arizona, I suggest you don’t plan a trip out any time soon!

This Easy Curry Chicken Salad was a nice change for lunch last week and lasted quite a long time in the refrigerator! I had one last little serving yesterday before we left for some Cinco de Mayo fun in the afternoon. It is super easy, and the flavors only get better as the week goes on! Plain Siggi’s yogurt gives the chicken salad a tangy flavor and provides an additional protein source that help keep you full long after your meal. I chose to add cashews to this recipe because it is one of my favorite nuts to snack on and has a creamy texture that complimented the other ingredients well. Feel free to try other nuts such as pistachios or slivered almonds in replacement of the cashews! I hope you enjoy this simple and easy summer recipe!

Easy Curry Chicken Salad

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients

  • 2 large chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped cashewes
  • 1, 5.3oz container of plain Siggi’s yogurt (can sub other plain Greek yogurt brands)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp honey
  • handful fresh cilantro
  • pinch salt
  • curry powder
  • black pepper
  • onion powder
  • garlic powder

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Bake chicken breasts for 25-30 minutes with salt and pepper to taste. Let sit for 10-15 minutes to cool before dicing into bite size pieces. Put aside in refrigerator to continue cooling.

In a large bowl, combined diced red bell pepper, cashews, and golden raisins. Once chicken has cooled for another 10-15 minutes in the refrigerator, add it to the pepper, cashew, and raisin mix. Add 1 container of plain Siggi’s yogurt (or comparable product), 1 1/2 Tbsp of honey, and seasonings. Season to taste (add as little or as much curry powder as desired).

Once well combined, fold in a handful of fresh cilantro. Cover with plastic wrap or transfer mixture into a large container with a lid. Put back into the refrigerator to cool for at least 1-2 hours before serving. The longer the mixture sits, the more the flavors will meld together. Serve in an airy pita or on top of crisp salad greens. Keeps for up to 1 week in the refrigerator!


Double Chocolate Zucchini Banana Bread

OK guys.. this recipe is seriously A-M-A-Z-ING. I was holding my breath as I cut into the first piece thinking, “this is going to either be really good or really terrible.” I have a bad history poor results when baking with cocoa powder, especially when I am coming up with a recipe from scratch.

I was so pleasantly surprised at how rich, moist, and chocolatey this bread came out! It is super light and airy with an a little bit of banana undertone in each bite. Having trouble getting your kids (or in my case…. my husband) to eat vegetables? This is definitely a recipe to try! A little hidden zucchini never hurt anyone!

I had a few taste testers before I decided if this was post-worthy or not, and I got nothing but positive feedback! Most of the ingredients you should have around in your cabinet. I haven’t tried making it with any substitutions (for example brown sugar instead of coconut sugar), so I’m not going to promise that the taste or texture will be equivalent if you choose to switch things up. If you like chocolatey… be ready for a pleasantly easy surprise! Let me know what you think!

Double Chocolate Zucchini Banana Bread

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients

  • 2 medium sized brown bananas (the gooier the better!)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup pressed, shredded zucchini
  • pinch cinnamon
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips + some extra for the top

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Shred your zucchini (I used a regular grater, but you can use a food processor or whatever tool you have at home). Press in-between a few paper towels to get rid of some of the extra water. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mash 2 bananas until fairly smooth. Add 1 egg, coconut sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and oil. Mix until sugar is well incorporated and cocoa powder is dissolved. Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and zucchini. Mix together until zucchini is evenly distributed in the batter. Lastly add chocolate chips.

Grease a loaf pan with oil or spray of choice. Evenly distribute the batter and put a few extra chocolate chips on top. Bake for about 30 minutes. Put a toothpick in the center at about 25 minutes to see if it is done (you don’t want to over cook!). Likely, the full 30 minutes will be needed!

Let the bread sit and cool for at least 10-15 minutes before cutting to serve. Cover with tip foil or plastic wrap to keep for up to 5 days. Enjoy!


Cocoa Banana Protein Balls

Happy Monday everyone!!! What a weekend we just had. We had a BUNCH (and I mean a bunch!) of family members come in to town for a surprise party for my father-in-law! Our weekend was filled with so much fun, food, sun, and of course a ton of new memories that I’m so thrilled we got to make! I was so excited to see cousins, aunts, uncles, and of course have a few of them stay in our new home.

To help with preparation and getting the house ready the week before, I made these yummy little balls for on-the-go snacking and to help keep my energy high each afternoon. I love small, easy snacks that I can pop in my mouth after work to help give me a little energy boost before exercising or working on things around the house. These were so easy and delicious, I definitely can’t wait to make them again!

A fun thing about this recipe is it is vegan and gluten free, so if you follow a special diet or have any type of dietary restriction, this may be a good recipe for you to try! You can also add different ingredients to tailor the flavor to your liking. Different additions, such as coconut flakes, can change up an otherwise simple and easy ingredient list.

I hope your week goes by fast and these little tasty bites give you a little extra energy to tackle your to-do list!! Have a great week y’all!

Cocoa Banana Protein Balls

  • Servings: 12-15 balls
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 banana
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup raw, unsalted cashews
  • 2/3 cup raw, unsalted almonds
  • 1 large Tbsp unsalted PB
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp vegan vanilla protein powder
  • pinch salt
  • pinch cinnamon

Directions

In a food processor, grind cashews, almonds, cocoa powder, peanut butter, banana, cinnamon, salt, and protein powder. Stop to scape the sides once or twice. The ingredients may start to form a paste-like consistency. If a large “doughy” ball starts to form, that is ok. Continue to pulse or grind until you get a consistency you like (I tend to go for a fairy smooth texture with a few chunks here or there).

Use your hands and a small spoon to form small, gum-ball size balls. Put on a plate and cover with foil or in an air-tight container. Let refrigerate and harden for at least 15-20 minutes before trying! Store in refrigerator for up to 1 week (can freeze for longer use). Enjoy!


Chickpea Cashew “Chicken” Salad

Happy Wednesday everyone! This past weekend was filled with fabulous weather, a little baseball, and some much needed spring cleaning. I was wanting to make something a little different for this weeks lunch prep. Last week I was really craving chicken salad, but cooking chicken in between cleaning on a Sunday morning just didn’t seem appealing. I decided to make a mock “chicken salad” using chickpeas with a few other simple, fresh ingredients.

I was so happy with how this quick and easy recipe turned out! I have made similar recipes in the past, and I’m always so please with how similar they really take to normal chicken salad! If you follow a vegetarian diet, this is a great alternative choice for you!

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After cooling overnight in the refrigerator, the texture was perfect. The crunchiness of the celery went perfect with the creamy greek yogurt, and cashews add a little extra fat to help you feel full and satisfied after eating this “salad”. Cranberries provide a little something sweet with each bite!

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Eat this yummy light little salad with crackers, rolled in crisp romaine leaves, or in a light and airy pita. Give this a try and as always, let me know what you think!

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1, 15oz can chickpeas, unsalted, rinsed
  • 1 container plain Siggi’s yogurt (or any plain, high protein yogurt)
  • 1/3 cup chopped cashews
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 3 celery stalks (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup red onion
  • pinch of paprika
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • pinch black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp dried cranberries

Directions

In a large bowl, partially mash chickpeas. Texture more resembles chicken salad if some pieces remain whole/chunky. If your cashews are not already chopped, roughly chop them and add to the chickpeas.

Add celery and onion. Lightly toss ingredients together with paprika, black pepper, and salt. Stir in yogurt, dijon mustard, and cranberries until all ingredients are evenly distributed.

Allow mixture to sit covered in the refrigerator for at least 6-8 hours before serving and serving. Serve with crackers, inside a light and airy pita, or wrapped in crisp romaine leaves!