Author: afoodiewithabootie

29 | NYC native & current resident, raised in a small FL beach town. Lover of food, espresso, all things chocolate, 80 degree weather and a good cardio sweat sesh. Seeking balance and happiness through self-care and a lifestyle focused on wellness (both mental and physical) and moderation.

Things to Do in Boulder/Denver

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We needed our nature fix and Boulder, Colorado was the perfect solution. It was an easy flight from NY –> Denver (w/a quick 45 min drive), has great restaurants, tons of hiking and nearly perfect weather. On the way back, we spent one day in Denver, and need to go back. The restaurants we wanted to try were closed on Labor Day, but Denver seems to have nothing short of tons of great bars, a great food scene as well and lots of young people. 

Our Boulder Adventure:

We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn, which was pretty centrally located and a quick trip anywhere we needed to go. It was about a 5-10 min drive to the main part of Pearl Street, which is one of the main drags known for shopping and restaurants.

We arrived on a busy Friday morning in Boulder, right after the students had moved in for their first weekend of school. We needed food and decided to have breakfast at The Buff Restaurant – a Boulder breakfast staple. You’ll see 20 people waiting outside (including students), but it’s a very smoothly run operation and the line moves quickly! We only had to wait about 15 mins. The almond milk latte and breakfast tacos were fantastic (and the service too)!

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We quickly digested our meal and drove about 15 mins to Mount Sanitas Trailhead and started with an easy hike along the Sunshine Canyon Trail (A). Check out the link above for the trail map. It was perfect for an easy hike after a day of traveling and a great warm-up for the days to come. Would say it would be “easy” on the scale of difficulty. I used my new Garmin Vivo Active 3 watch, which I have synced to the app Strava, to track our distance and elevation. In total our hike was about 4 miles in distance and 784 ft in elevation. We snacked on some empanadas from Rincon Argentino before going back to shower and chill for a bit. This was a fun fast-casual Argentine spot. Still don’t compare to my mom’s homemade empanadas, but they were good. Watch out for the spicy beef – it IS very spicy.

That night we were craving sushi, so went to Japango on Pearl St and indulged. The fish was super fresh and the libations menu was on point.

Saturday morning we woke up early and drove out to Nederland, CO (about 45 mins from Boulder). It’s a cute, and quirky little mountain town, where you can find locals chatting over a cup of coffee at the New Moon Bakery & Cafe. They’ve got locally roasted coffee, amazing espresso (with dairy free milk options) and tons of homemade baked goods (including gluten-free options). They even had egg sandwiches or egg wraps, on a homemade egg-battered wheat/plain wrap.

I’m all about finding the best coffee culture while traveling. This was definitely a hit. It was so much of a hit, that it delayed us getting started early enough on the hike and by the time we started the drive up to the Red Deer Lake Trailhead, all the parking spots before the road deteriorated into a dirt/rocky road were taken. In our little sedan, we kept driving, determined to find a spot, until panic set in and we had to do a 9 pt turn and turn back on the one-way/edge of a mountain road. It was worth the adrenaline rush, but we didn’t end up doing the hike. Worth waking up early, getting there by 7 am and THEN getting coffee/breakfast AFTER the hike.

Instead we took the opportunity to drive back into Boulder and hike Chautauqua Park. We parked along the street using the ParkMobile App (super easy to download on the spot) and followed the Flatiron Trail. This was not easy and would say it ranks on the more “moderate” level. I might even say it was “moderate –> hard” but it was a busy trail by the late morning, with kids even climbing, so maybe it is really just moderate. For context, we hiked 3.2 miles in distance, and 1,355 feat in elevation. This hike took just under 2 hours.

We built up quite the appetite and lunched at the Med Boulder for some yummy Mediterranean food. We over-ordered, but it was worth it. My favs, were the greek salad, whipped feta/herb dip with pita, and bacon wrapped dates.

That night we had a reservation at the place I was most excited about: Blackbelly Market. It’s a farm-to-table restaurant in the up and coming East Boulder neighborhood, with a cute outdoor seating area. The mission at Blackbelly is that food will always start with seasonal, local Colorado- grown ingredients, and pasture raised, sustainable animals. Blackbelly works closely with all their local ranchers on research and development and they also have an artisanal butcher shop on site where they can fully process, as well as cure and sell their own meats. It was the perfect place to celebrate the last year of my 20s. The menu even had Happy Birthday written on it. Talk about thinking of the little details. 29 is going to be better than ever…I can feel it.

The broccoli with anchovy sauce was my favorite dish. It was so flavorful and was a great complement to the rest of the meal. We also started with the beef tartare and coppa (which was like a prosciutto). For my meal, I enjoyed the halibut with a yummy tomato stew underneath and Drew had the lamb. My cucumber and gin cocktail was so light & refreshing and made for a perfect drink.

On Sunday morning, we found a new coffee spot on Pearl called Boxcar Coffee. It easily became our go to spot for the rest of our time in Boulder. It was truly ANOTHER GEM.

We then hiked again (obviously), and went back to Mount Sanitas and did the Anemone trail, which was slightly harder than our first hike Friday, but still very moderate. Had great views overlooking boulder saw some deer along the way. I would say having a pair of hiking boots would’ve helped on this trip. Some of the more moderate hikes are a bit sandy/rocky making it easy to slip.

We brunched at Snooze AM, which was good, but was a bit of a wait by the time we got there. Sadly it truly was the 35 min they quoted us. The side pancake made for a fun little treat. I ordered the egg white scramble, with spinach, red pepper and avocado. Drew went with the regular egg scramble. Will say the hasbrowns were yum! I’d probably look for a more local spot next time, but even here, there seemed to be a lot of locals stopping by to add their names to the list.

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That afternoon, we lounged by the pool and soaked in the Vitamin D. With fall approaching in NY, we just felt like it was the right use of time ;). Before we know it it’ll be winter 😦 (insert crying emoji).

Drew found a sister restaurant of Blackbelly for dinner called Santo, which took us to North Boulder, another neighborhood with more of a young-family vibe. It was a fun spin on Mexican and had another solid libations menu. We enjoyed the fun flavored margs on the rocks, crispy pork belly sopes as an app, and the bison tongue tacos (i know what you’re thinking – gross…but were truly delish) and steak for our main course.

We sadly got one last easy Mount Sanitas hike AND one last meal in Monday morning, before we drove off to Denver.  Our last meal was the famous Boulder Dushanbe Tea House, which was a gift from Tajikistan to celebrate sister city ties with the city of Boulder. They built the building over seas and then took it apart to ship it overseas and have it reassembled in Boulder. The noodles were to die for, along with my Golden Milk Latte (so basic, but SO good).

Our Denver Adventure:

We stayed at the Four Seasons in downtown Denver. Loved that they had a pool and great gym onsite if we wanted.

As soon as we arrived, we dropped our stuff off and went exploring. We started with a long walk to the RI-NO Art District (River North). The Central Market was worth the walk. They had everything from ice cream, coffee, acai bowls, smoothies, pizza, seafood and candy. Along the way there was a grafitti art contest going on called Crush Walls, where local artists are given a canvas on the sides of buildings. It seems like such a creative city, where they embrace local artists.

Another food hall, slightly further and on the other side of the train tracks is the Avanti Food Hall, but it is much smaller and had a few more asian-inspired spots, as well as ice cream.

Dinner Spots we wanted to try, but were closed:

  • Root Down Denver (farm-to-table)
  • Linger (Root Down’s sister restaurant)
  • Buffalo Exchange (tacos)
  • Tavernetta (Italian)
  • Urban Farmer
  • Mercantile
  • Stoic and Genuine

All in all, it was a fantastic trip spent hiking and eating yummy (and mostly healthy) food. Can’t wait to go back and explore some of the mountain towns! Check out Colorado highlights folder on my instagram.

No-Bake Oat Balls

If you have a sweet tooth after every meal and need something quick and healthy to satiate, these are for you! They’re great as a post-workout snack and a freezer staple in our house as of late. You can also use this recipe as a great foundation and add/remove ingredients to taste, making it easy to make a different oat ball each week. These have fiber and a little boost of sugar without leading to a crash. I allow myself 2 max {but I’ll be honest it’s hard to not go back for third ;)}

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Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup Gluten-free rolled oats (I prefer Trader Joes, but Bob’s Red Mill makes good ones too)
  • 1/2 cup Almond Butter (add more if you’re having trouble molding them into balls)
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (can substitute with dark chocolate if you prefer or add in some cacao nibs, but for me they’re too bitter)
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/3 cup of maple syrup
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp of cinnamon

Other ingredients I’ve added when experimenting, just keep in mind to cut back on some of the other dry ingredients or up the nut butter and syrup, which act as the glue to keep them all together:

  • 1/4 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds
  • sprinkle of chia seeds
  • substitute honey in place of the maple syrup
  • other nut butters: peanut/cashew butter

Directions:

  • Measure and mix all together in a bowl
  • Make into bite size balls
  • Freeze & store frozen

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Working Out in NYC

New York has every temptation when comes to food. There’s something on every corner. So it better have everything when it comes to burning all of it off…and it does! I’ve gotten a few questions on which ones are my favorite. So today I’m writing about what a typical week might look like, if I’m really hitting it hard.

 

My New Obsession: BOXING! I’ve tried a couple in the city and thus far, Rumble is my absolute favorite. For those of you that have done Barry’s Bootcamp or Shadow Box, it is a healthy mix of both (without the treadmill). Calling all boxers! I’m all about the full body workouts. This fits the bill. It’s a healthy mix of some circuit exercises and punching it out on the bag. For me, this was a perfect stress reliever and endorphin generator. The stress of the week builds up and hitting the bag feels therapeutic in a way. Perfect way to spend an early Saturday morning and say – “Bye Felicia” to the previous week and embrace the weekend/week ahead. My favorite instructors are @erikaannhammond and @noahdneiman.

Pilates on a Reformer – SLT (Strengthen, Lengthen and Tone): It’s all about that core and little moves that’ll have you feeling the pain! I feel like this class is a great complement to the heavy cardio workouts. Believe me, I still sweat (I sweat a lot ;)), but it’s a different type of sweat. After the planks, side planks and pulsing lunges, my obliques and thighs are on FIRE.

Soul Cycle: An oldie but a goodie! I probably generate more positive energy and inner peace spinning it out here than anywhere else. There are a lot of spin studios out there, but SC is unique in my opinion. Spinning to the beat of some fab music puts a smile on anyone’s face. Even if you’re not a fan of stationary cycling, I recommend giving it a go. They usually dedicate 1 song to an arm workout to give the legs a breather. Don’t let those 2-3 lb weights trick you. You’ll be burning at the end of the song – trust me! You can usually find one of these in any major city, so also perfect if you want to get a complete sweat sesh in while on a business trip or vacation. I’ve been to the San Francisco, NYC (Chelsea, 19th, Union Square, TriBeCa and Financial District Studios), and Chicago studios. If 45 minutes is not enough, look out for the “Survivor” classes and you’ll get an extra 15 min for a total of 60 mins of pure heaven. They’ve got the shoes, showers, and water…so all you have to do is show up and rock out.

Barry’s Bootcamp: Ok Barry, you’ve done good and yes, you’re a legend. Love the fact that each day covers a different part of the body and the weekends are for full body workouts. My favorite days are full body days and of course the Butt & Legs day. Boy do I hate those booty bands, but boy do I need them. I try to start on the ‘Tread‘ (treadmill) and you go back and forth from a run workout (mix of distance and interval training) and the ‘floor‘ (where you lift weights at your preferred level). You’ll see me here on a Tuesday or Saturday/Sunday. Fav instructors are: @nivzinder (if you want a circuit workout that’ll blow your mind), @ashleywilking (run the distance and tone), @keonihudoba (for a flare of Hawaii and no bullshit), @alyciaatbarrys (booty bands).

Classes on my list to try…As soon as I try them, I’ll make sure to post an update.

Y7 Yoga: Sometimes I’m looking for restorative yoga geared towards finding my inner balance and zen. Other times i just want to sweat it out, stretch it out, and tone it up without having to focus too much. Listening to hip hop in the dark while doing yoga, sounds like the perfect way to tackle that.

Mile High Run Club: Have always loved running, but unless i’m MapMyRun-ing and tracking my pace, my run can sometimes turn into a jog. Taking a class where you push yourself the distance and incorporate the incline, just seems to make me a stronger individual runner. Been told if you like Barry’s, then you’ll like this.

Tone House: Deemed the hardest workout in the city. Rumor has it the room is full of D1 Athletes (which I’m not), but willing to try anything that helps me push my limits and presents a challenge. Let me know if anyone is up for trying it together.

This page will evolve over time because I’m always trying something new. My fitness journey is exploratory and I’m always looking for what makes me feel the best and puts a smile on my face. I have to show up at work, but this post is all about the places that I choose to show up at, because I want to be there. These are also great to bring sig others to or out of town visitors (always check for first timer deals). I’ve met some of the most interesting and inspirational people along the way. No reason to skip your favorite activity of the day! Let me know if you try any of these and would love to know all the details (how you felt, your instructor, what the music was like, what time of day it was…). Get out there!

Whole30 Brekkie Crumble

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This recipe is simple, healthy and absolutely delicious. I used to eat oatmeal every morning and after starting Whole30 I was looking for something that had a similar taste and satiated those same carby cravings, but that was healthy and protein packed to kick off the day. This is a perfect compromise and you don’t have the sugar crash after eating it.

This was my solution and it’s what I call the Brekkie Crumble: Vic’s Style.

Prep & Cook Time: 15 min and great for on the go or prepping the night before.

Ingredients:

Mix the below…

  1. 1 egg and 2 egg whites (I use the liquid kind for the whites)
  2. 1/2 ripe banana (save the other 1/2 for a topping)
  3. Whisk
  4. 1/8 cup coconut cream (optional)
  5. 1/8 cup of unsweetened almond milk (you may have to add more later if too thick)
  6. Add in 1 heaping tbsp of hemp seeds
  7. 1 heaping tbsp of flaxseed
  8. Add cinnamon (to taste) – can also use pumpkin spice seasoning if it’s the season and add in some pumpkin 😉
  9. 3 tbsp of coconut flour (i used trader joes) – just read the ingredients and make sure there are no added sugars
  10. Stir! It should be a consistency of pancake batter. and add more milk if too thick.
  11. Heat Ghee (clarified butter) on a non-stick pan
  12. Pour batter into pan – don’t worry about having to flip it. You’ll flip it in pieces and just make sure it is cooked through (similar to scrambled egg)
  13. Top with almond butter drizzle, 1/2 banana, and any other fruit

If not on Whole30, you can think about adding vanilla extract to your batter and topping with a light drizzle of maple syrup or jelly/jam of choice. I prefer the Whole30 option 😉

 

Day 14 of Whole30

30 Day Reset | 2 Weeks in…this is my catalyst for officially starting my blog. What better time than now, when I’m challenging myself and pushing the reset button on a potentially new and innovative lifestyle. I’ve spent nearly a year posting to Instagram and sharing the occasional photo, but I truly want to open myself up, be true to who I am and explore a more creative side to life.

I have always complained about my stomach hurting or bothering me. Even as a kid I would spend 15 min after dinner laying on the floor stretching my stomach out. Looking back, a visit to the dr. probably wouldn’t have hurt, but that was back in the day (before gluten allergies, lactose allergies or simply food sensitivities were so common place). I’m using this 30 days to eliminate the inflammatory foods and explore cleaner and smarter ways to curb my cravings. Carbs, sugar and I have always had an intimate relationship, but it’s definitely one of those emotional relationships. The Whole30 program puts it so eloquently…we develop emotional and physical relationships with food and it’s important to keep those relationships in check. My motto has always been, “everything in moderation”, but I’m the first to admit that I haven’t quite kept tabs on the “moderation” and it can quickly get out of control (especially living in NYC with temptations on every corner). This 30 days is for me to challenge myself and explore what foods and habits make me feel the best and allow me to be my best self. I plan to own up to my weaknesses and share the creative recipes that get me through.

As the month progresses, I’ll share my favorite products, brands and recipes and hopefully inspire you to try Whole30 yourself. ❤

Up first is a breakfast recipe. My weakness and go to for breakfast was always some sweet or carby…oatmeal with tons of added toppings or a greek yogurt-protein powder smoothie. Although maybe healthier than eating a bagel and cream cheese, I underestimated the benefit of starting off the day with some true wholesome protein with a bit more balance. Who knew – you could have breakfast with chicken sausage (only Whole30 compliant of course) and potatoes.

Sausage Hashbrown Bake – with a few of my alterations listed below

Original recipe from the real food dietitians, linked above – thank you!
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 lb. ground sausage (I’ve enjoyed Trader Joe’s sweet italian chicken sausage linked above)
  • 1-2 tsp. ghee otherwise known as clarified butter (sold @ Trader Joe’s / should be easy to find)
  • Replaced the hash browns with 2 medium size russet potatoes – boiled until soft enough to peel and mash to put on the bottom of the casserole (original recipe had too much potato for me, but if you’re serving a large group / want it to be more plentiful check original)
  • 2 bell peppers (red and green preferred), diced (~3/4-1 cup)
  • 1 cup of fresh spinach, chopped up
  • ½ medium red onion, diced – i used ½ a sweet white onion instead
  • I replaced eggs from recipe with 6 whole eggs and 4 egg whites – protein…protein…protein
  • ⅔ cup non-dairy unsweetened milk (I used almond milk – Whole30-friendly option sinclude Unsweetened Califia, New Barn and Silk)
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 or large casserole dish of similar size (such as the Lodge Stoneware shown in the photos; square ones will work too from Le Creuset).
  2. On medium high heat, brown ground sausage in a large skillet. Once no longer pink, drain and remove from the skillet and place on a plate with a paper towel. Set aside.
  3. Next add the ghee to the skillet on medium high heat. Add the hash browns and cook until lightly brown. Once hash browns are cooked, spread out on the bottom of the baking dish.
  4. In that same skillet, add additional ghee if needed as well as the peppers and onions and sauté until tender and cooked through.
  5. Top the potatoes with the sausage and peppers and onions.
  6. Whisk together eggs, non-dairy milk, salt and pepper and pour over all contents.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes or until center is cooked through.
 Serve in squares; optional top with avocado.
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