This was my second “Friendly Food” and I have to say that I really think I am on to something here. Catching up with great friends, learning new cooking skills and recipes and getting to feast on tasty food is as close to a perfect night as it gets in my book.
This particular night had me at my friend Ariane and Darren’s house. I have known Ariane for over ten years, we became fast friends at work and even had the opportunity to travel to Spain together. I have known Darren for approximately the same amount of time, having met him through mutual friends. I remember going to a birthday party for these mutual friends and seeing Ariane walk through the door, color me confused! It turns out two spectacular people in my life found each other and were soon to be married, become parents to Sienna & Blake and have me over to cook dinner with them!
After some cuddle time with Baby Blake and a scene which had Darren giving Sienna a mint in the other room without us knowing and then us chasing after her to get the “little blue pill” that she had just popped in her mouth we decided to get down to some serious cooking business.
Ariane had laid out all the ingredients in little dishes which again had me mentally pretending I was on my own cooking show. We started by making homemade tzatziki sauce out of greek yogurt, lemon, garlic, cucumbers and dill. We tested the mixture before deciding that it could use a little more garlic which I remedied with four more cloves, perhaps a tiny bit of overkill. I was next instructed to put on gloves to dice the jalapeno pepper and mix the ingredients into the lamb. I have NEVER liked the feeling of raw meat on my hands or the burning of my eyes after rubbing them after playing with peppers, these gloves are brilliant! We rounded out the meal with sweet potato fries and a everything but the kitchen sink salad.
I left with a full stomach and a happy heart and some new tricks up my cooking sleeves.
Big thanks to Ariane and Darren!!
What is Friendly Food?
“Friendly Food” is a blog feature; combining social hour with hands on learning that culminates into a well crafted meal, an expanding recipe collection and ever growing knife skills. I am inviting myself over for dinner at friend’s houses (or at least heavily hinting until they invite me), asking them to pull out their favorite healthy recipe and playing the role of sous chef.
I had the opportunity to meet yet another blogger while I was staying near Chicago. Casey Divane who is a native to the area has been blogging at Project Girl Get Fit since the Spring of 2012. Her blog is full of inspirational quotes and stories in her quest to get fit. Always interested to turn the tables and ask others what people are always asking me, I inquired why she decided to start a blog. She told me that she had started working out and was enjoying how she was feeling about her self, she enjoyed writing and decided to bring the two together.
Casey chatted with me about her networking through being a Fit Approach Sweat Pink ambassador as well as a Tough Chik Ambassador and where she is connected to a large community of healthy bloggers. She has grown her Facebook to an impressive 3,810 followers! It is on my list of things to do, along with catching up on my blogging!
A huge thanks to Casey for taking time out of her busy schedule to meet with me and show me the ropes of healthy living blogging!
Objects in this picture may appear more red than they are in reality.
I had such a great experience meeting other food and fitness bloggers I decided to continue to try and find them along the way. Enter Kat Pummill of The Fit Girl’s Kitchen, a blog that combines her passion for health, fitness and healthy cooking. Kat lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and in addition to a full time marketing job is a blogger as well as in the final steps of completing her certification as a Nutritional Health Coach.
I sat down with Kat at the charming Collectivo Coffee which is located across from the beach at Lake Michigan (seriously, who knew a lake could have such an amazing beach?) We sipped our coffee and chatted about her entry into blogging. Originally she was Instagraming images of the healthy food she was cooking for herself and her husband and people started requesting the recipes, she started the blog to share her meals with others. A quick perusal on her site and you will understand why her food was so appealing; Apple Almond Quinoa Salad, Watermelon Goat Cheese Towers and Greek Marinated Grilled Lamb Chops are among some of her shared recipes.
We chatted about my personal journey and the struggles that go along with it, such as finding healthy food to eat on the road. When I asked her what she would do if she were in my position she said that she would source out stopping points for healthy food items prior to getting in the car. When I asked what would be in her cooler she offered up un-salted nuts, apples slices w/ lemon juice (to keep the brown away), cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes and her favorite energy bar, Larabars.
She also sent me on the road with some of her personal healthy living tips:
Eat more leafy greens – Don’t skip breakfast and ensure it contains both fiber and protein – Pick foods that have 5 ingredients or less on the label – Buy local as often as possible – Pay attention to hormones in your meat – Pay attention to your cravings – Don’t deprive yourself, everything in moderation.
I am so thankful that I had the time with Kat to learn from her healthy habits as well as to add another great person to my growing list of friends. Check out her site and perfect those recipes as I may find myself in your kitchen at some point along this journey.
Follow The Fit Girl’s Kitchen on Facebook!
There are hundreds of things that cross my screen daily, whether I am reading the news online, checking out Instagram or perusing Facebook, it can be overwhelming and often times underwhelming. I had at some point “Liked” the Facebook page for Revolutionary Act, a site that is focused on providing people with the tools to live a healthy life, one being their “101 Ways to Be Healthy”. Within the first few tips I knew this was something I could get behind, “Defy Convention” and “Repossess Your Health” spoke to me and my current journey. One morning as I was poking through Facebook a link caught my eye from Revolutionary Act, it was about the weight loss journey of Courtney Opdahl, an editor for Experience Life Magazine which is the magazine behind Revolutionary Act.
As I read Courtney’s very personal article “A New Path” I was impressed and inspired by her ability to so honestly share her story. This honesty is something I aspire to, every blog post I write I am trying to be as open as possible, even when it is hard, even when its just a video of me sweaty and panting on a mountain.
As luck would have it Experience Life and Courtney were both located in the Minneapolis area and when I reached out to her she agreed to meet me for dinner. We met at a restaurant called Ingredients Cafe and spent the next few hours chatting about life, healthy living, Experience Life Magazine and whatever else it is two fun and funny ladies chat about over a healthy meal and a tall, crisp glass of…ice water. When it was time to leave, we shared a hug, snapped a quick picture and Courtney sent me on the road with several great magazines, a Revolutionary Act poster (which is safely rolled up in my car as I don’t have any walls at the moment) and inspiration to continue on this challenging journey as forthcoming and honestly as possible.
I hope you will take a few moments and read Courtney’s story as well as peruse both the Experience Life Magazine and Revolutionary Act’s Facebook and Websites.
Experience Life Magazine Facebook / ExperienceLife.com
Revolutionary Act Facebook / Revolutionaryact.com
Sometimes you meet someone and it seems as if you have known them for years, conversation is fun and easy and you feel as if you have an instant friend, enter Jenn Walters co-founder of Fit Bottomed Girls. I have followed Fit Bottomed Girls for awhile and out of pure luck I checked the bios on their website to see if my path may cross with either of the founders. I was in luck, Jenn was from Kansas City, MO which was smack dab in the middle of my path. I reached out to her to see if she would be open to meeting me and she responded immediately with an invitation to join her for a yoga class and lunch. It brings me so much joy to have so many people respond to my journey in such a warm and positive manner.
We met for a 10:00am Yoga Flow class that was being held in the basement of the Unity Temple located in the Plaza in Kansas City. I had purchased my own yoga mat for working out in hotels etc and was excited to roll it out for its inaugural yoga session. When it came to yoga I was essentially as new as my mat having only tried it once in my life. I have noticed that since working out regularly I have become more flexible so I had high hopes for this class. It seems that everything I do is a lesson in humility, the picture I had in my mind had me doing graceful yoga movements while reality had my sweaty wet palms sliding all over my mat. Looking around I seemed to be the only person who was struggling in this manner, I didn’t know if it was my precious Pacific Northwest reaction to the heat or if I all of a sudden started crying from the center of my hands. The instructor placed a heavy wool blanket in front of me to help me from my slip and slide however it did little to help.
I survived the rest of the class without drawing too much more attention to my sweaty challenges and vowed NEVER to attempt hot yoga. I am currently in R&D to create a velcro yoga mat and gloves combo.
Jenn and I dropped our mats in our cars and walked to lunch at Jack Stack Barbeque where she introduced me to true Kansas City BBQ with a burnt ends lunch. The food was great but the conversation was even better. I was able to chat with Jenn about the path she took to becoming a fitness blogger and the success and growth of Fit Bottomed Girls. In addition to blogging about all things fitness on Fit Bottomed Girls they also have two sister sites Fit Bottomed Mamas, catering to women juggling the stresses of parenthood and Fit Bottomed Eats, the tag line says it all “Being a foodie with a fit booty”.
I left Jenn not only feeling as if I had made a new friend but also feeling inspired. It is so wonderful to see the successes of women who are working hard to create an online business and community which is benefitting so many people.
Take a look at their sites: Fit Bottomed Girls Fit Bottomed Mamas Fit Bottomed Eats
Co-Founders of Fit Bottomed Girls
Jennifer Walters & Erin Whitehead