Californians and their avocados…

It’s been gloomy in California lately and I decided to spend the afternoon at home “pampering” myself the other day. I think it’s important to realize you don’t have to spend a whole bunch of money to feel better about yourself. No matter how great I feel with fresh highlights and a new outfit, it would be a pricey habit to rely on spending all of that money to brighten my day.

Sometimes just spending a hour or so on yourself is good enough! I was feeling like a hot mess – with un-brushed hair and chipped nail polish – when I decided to go for a run/walk. (Side note: I don’t like running so “letting” myself walk for half of my workbook is a nice compromise. It also keeps me from dreading my workout which means I’m more likely to do it!).

Right when I laced up my shoes, it started raining. I could have done another workout instead but I decided just to go for it. Oddly, running in the rain makes it more pleasant for me.

  • After my workout, I had one of my favorite protein packed snacks – snap peas dipped in hummus with hot sauce and a string cheese.
  • Then I took off that chipped nail polish! Typically I think doing our nails is a way of pampering but, because of all the chemicals in nail polish, I feel better when my nails are bare. Scrubbing off my O.P.I. and cutting/filing my nails makes me feel best.
  • Next I took a hot shower and SHAVED even though it’s raining here and I won’t be wearing shorts anytime soon. Nothing gets you feeling like you brought your A game like smooth legs.
  • After I showered, I slathered myself with avocado oil – how California of me, I know.
  • I got dressed and, for once, avoided yoga pants or leggings, opting for jeans. (Full disclaimer: this was more for Mike than me;)
  • Next I dyed my  eyebrows. Some people feel best when they’re having a good hair day, for others it’s all about their outfit, but for me? when my eyebrows are – excuse my pop culture reference – #onfleek I feel best.
  • While my eyebrow dye sat and dyed, I brushed my hair (it is all too often that my hair defaults in a messy bun on top of my head) and fish tail braided it to get it out of my face. Braiding my hair is one of my favorite things to do – it’s so simple and really gives you bang for your buck because after you take it out, you’re left  with pretty waves. Two hairstyles out of one? Sold.

 

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Hair braided. Eyebrows dyed. …Chillin’ with no makeup on

 

After I felt like a human again, I hit the kitchen to try out a new recipe. I originally saw this recipe on the YouTube channel What’s Up Moms (which I am obsessed with, even though I’m not a mom yet!). In it, sliced almonds and spinach were used but I only had baby kale and didn’t feel like adding another fat to the sauce.


Creamy Avocado Pasta

Prep time: 15 minutes – Cook time: 15 minutes – Serves: 2

Ingredients

  • 1.5 c of your favorite pasta (I used brown rice and quinoa)
  • 1 bag baby kale
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 c basil
  • 1/2 c cherry tomatoes

Directions 

  • Cook pasta according to package
  • While pasta is cooking, add kale, pealed avocado, olive oil, garlic and basil into blender and blend until smooth
  • Strain pasta but keep some of the water to thin out sauce (if need be)
  • Pour sauce (thinned out with pasta water, if needed) over hot pasta
  • Add sliced cherry tomatoes and mix together
  • Serve and enjoy!

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So green!
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So creamy!
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So good!

#VegOut

So simple (Mexican inspired) spaghetti squash

A few years ago our good friends Gary and April moved to Los Angeles. I still haven’t gotten used to not seeing them a few times a week and miss them terribly. One of my favorite things we used to do was bi-weekly Wednesday dinners. Every other Wednesday we alternated going to one couple’s house where the host cooked and the guest brought dessert. Dinners were casual and lovely. It was nice to have something to look forward to in the middle of the work week (plus, not having to cook every other Wednesday) and great to have a built in day to hang out and catch up.

If you have friends that live nearby, I definitely recommend starting this tradition with them!

Now (sadly!!) to see Gary and April we have to put in effort and planning but we have started a new tradition of visiting them in LA every year for 4th of July – which certainly doesn’t make up for all of the time we don’t see them but at least we have one weekend a year where we know the four of us will get together again.

During our first 4th of July visit, Gary woke up early and reserved us a perfect spot at their pool, complete with umbrellas and couches to lounge on in between dips. We spent the whole day outside, alternating between lazily laying around and splashing in the pool. We ate, drank, laughed, and played. It was perfect. But, after all of that time in the sun (and all of those beers!), we were beat and opted out of plans to go to a nearby street fair. Instead we stayed in and April made this AMAZING pasta dish that inspired my dinner tonight. In short, she added cooked bell peppers, garlic, onions, zucchini, asparagus and grilled chicken to pasta and tossed everything in olive oil and cilantro. So simple and so good! I love recipes that you can easily add and subtract to and from which is exactly what I did tonight.

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Spaghetti squash FTW
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#dinner

You’ll notice I used the left over black beans and corn from yesterday’s dinner and I’m sticking with my Herb of the Week, cilantro. Also, no cheese!!

I hope you try this dish and maybe even have it at your own bi-weekly dinner with friends 🙂


Mexican Inspired Spaghetti Squash

Prep time: 10 minutes – Cook time: 40 minutes – Serves: 2

Ingredients 

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1/2 c black beans
  • 1/2 c corn
  • 2 garlic cloves – minced
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 Tbs cilantro (garnish)
  • 2 Tbs green chilies (optional)

Directions

  • Cut spaghetti squash in half, scoop out seeds, bake hallow side down* for 35 minutes at 350 degrees
  • While squash is baking, sauté garlic in olive oil until translucent
  • Add black beans, corn, and green chilies – stir
  • Keep on low heat until squash is ready (you can also prep the spaghetti squash before and heat it back up in the sauce to save on time)
  •  When squash is tender to forks touch, “shred” it
  • Incorporate squash into beans and corn
  • Top with cilantro
  • Enjoy!

*I usually put a little bit of water in my baking dish to keep the squash from crisping up


#VegOut

♡ Ashley