Coconut Quinoa Chia Pudding

29 06 2015

quinoa chia pudding

Do you remember when people first started talking about Quinoa? No one could pronounce it. KWEE-NOA? CHI-NO? KEEN-WAH? There in it’s protein-packed glory this seed (yes, it’s actually a seed, not a grain) sat on the shelf and I looked at it, wondering what the heck I’d make with it. Since then, I’ve realized its versatility: pancakes, casseroles, salads, and the ever so simple side.

plantainpancakes

Then the chia seed trend came along and everyone went gaga over the health benefits of a little seed was formerly only known for making your clay pot grow “hair”. Food bloggers started putting them in smoothies and then making “pudding.” The current trend now seems to be jelly.

I still haven’t mastered the art of the chia seed pudding. Mine is always too runny; not the beautiful fluffy, creamy pudding that I see posted everywhere. I think it’s because I’m too stingy with those darn seeds. They’re expensive! Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and buy all the Chia heads and hoard the seeds. I wonder if that would be cheaper…

chia head

Anyhow, the other day I made some quinoa for a salad and of course I made too much- which isn’t a bad thing- it’s actually something I always intentionally do when making quinoa. I would advise you to do the same! Once the quinoa is cooked, you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days and use it for other deliciousness. And obviously, it saves you the time to cook (which is only 15 minutes) and the cooling, if you aren’t planning to serve it hot.

So I opened my fridge to make myself an evening snack and saw this prepared quinoa and an opened can of light coconut milk. (The coconut milk had been an attempt at making coconut whipped cream but duh, you can’t use the light kind, you need the full fat. #Fail) Immediately my brain went to tomorrow’s breakfast. Let’s do a take on overnight oats/chia pudding using quinoa and coconut milk!

coconut chia pudding 2

I could hardly wait for breakfast the next morning; and man, I was not disappointed! And bonus- this breakfast kept me full for hours. No mid-morning snack was necessary!

So, next time you make some quinoa, save some for this yummy breakfast treat!

Coconut Quinoa Chia Pudding

coconut quinoa chia pudding

Ingredients:

1.5 cups prepared quinoa, cooled
~1/2 can of light coconut milk (from a can)
2 TBS chia seeds
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup blueberries (more if you like)
Optional toppings:

honey
shredded coconut
crushed almonds

How to:

Put the quinoa in a bowl, jar, or other container with a lid (I used a small pyrex bowl)- the container should not be “just” big enough. You need some space!

Add the coconut milk to the quinoa to just cover it completely. Then add just a tiny bit more.

Add the vanilla, chia seeds, and blueberries and stir it all together.

Refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, top with shredded coconut, almonds, and honey. (Of the three, you’ll likely want the honey for some sweetness!)

coconut chia pudding





Neutrogena Cool Dry Sport (Review)

23 06 2015

Summer’s officially started and that means many of you will likely be spending hours upon hours outdoors in some way, shape or form. Whether it’s at the beach, by the lake, at your kid’s ball game, or in your neighbor’s backyard, summer = get outside!

IMG_2685

Last summer, I spent every weekend on my bike for hours upon hours. This summer, I haven’t been doing quite as much of that, but I still get outside when I can and brave the stifling Florida humidity. Every time I head out though, I make sure to put on sunscreen. No. Matter. What. Years as a lifeguard on the beach patrol got me in that habit, and it is an incredibly important one to have!

IMG_5621(that’s Courtney, but it was the only picture I could had of someone applying sunscreen!)

When the kind folks at Neutrogena reached out to me and asked if I’d be willing to try out some of their new CoolDry Sport sunscreen, I happily obliged. I’ve been a loyal Neutrogena sunscreen fan since I started doing triathlons. The Neutrogena Sport Face oil-free lotion has been my go to, along with the Sport spray. Yes, I am that girl that carries two sunscreens: one for the face and one for the rest of the body. #highmaintenance.

The new CoolDry line has MICROMESH™ technology, which allows sweat to pass through the sunscreen without compromising the full strength SPF protection. It eliminates that “sticky” feeling you have when you sweat through your sunscreen. Basically, it breathes better than other formulations of sunscreen. It’s highly durable, lasting through those sweaty workouts, which are pretty much a given during the Florida summer.

Neutrogena CoolDry

I was able to try out the CoolDry Sport SPF 70 lotion on my Smoky Mountain hike a few weeks ago. The lotion was thick and a little more difficult to spread than I was used to, so I felt like I was using more to cover all the areas I needed. Once on though, the lotion felt pretty good. Throughout the afternoon as we hiked, I was sweating a ton, but not once did I get burned.

IMG_9775I also tried out the SPF 30 CoolDry spray on a few bike rides. First, I’m a big fan of spray sunscreens. When you’re trying to apply sunscreen to your back when you’re home alone, it certainly makes life easier. I most recently used the sunscreen for a 1.5 hour ride in mid-morning, so it was definitely getting hot by the time my ride ended. I was sweating a lot, but the sunscreen did it’s job. I didn’t have any burn, and my body was able to perspire as it should to keep me cool. I’d say thats a win, win!

CoolDryLine

(Source)

So, as you head out there for whatever summer activity you have planned, don’t forget your sunscreen! And, if you’re looking for a sunscreen that you won’t sweat off in the first 5 minutes of your workout, grab a bottle of Neutrogena CoolDry. It will work as hard as you do during that workout!

IMG_8614

I don’t sweat, I sparkle!

Full disclosure: I was provided with two bottles of sunscreen. All opinions are my own!





Life Lessons

18 06 2015

On Monday afternoon, I posted a link to this article, which proceeded to ignite my Facebook wall in a debate about the American work week and whether or not it’s realistic to follow your dreams and do what you love, when doing what you love is something “non-traditional” or “blue collar.”

lifeguarding

My last “non-traditional” job- somedays, particularly this time of year, I really miss it.

I didn’t mean to ruffle any feathers, and the response was totally unexpected. The piece was a feel-good article that resonated with me because of recent conversations with my wonderful boyfriend Bill. Who, by the way HAS followed his dreams, is doing what he loves, and is not confined by the bounds of a 40-hour work week. Oh, and did I mention that his work has taken him to 70 countries and all 50 states (some many times) before he’s 40?

sword swallow

(it helps when you have a really unique skill)

Now, neither of us are making the big bucks, but we make enough. Heck, we could probably survive on less. We’re making changes in our lives so that we can have more/do more, without actually making more money. It’s pretty simple actually. Make some cut backs where you can. Do I really need that $4 latte? No, my french press and frother do just fine. Oh, and that $3 bottle of Kombucha? No sir, let’s make our own! (Experiment in progress, will let you know how it turns out). Leave a room? Turn off the lights. And making dinner at home is MUCH more cost effective than eating out! Sure, it takes some time, but if you plan ahead, it isn’t so bad! And, if you don’t sit in front of the boob tube, you might actually find out you enjoy cooking!

making pizza

I get it, kids complicate things and so do loans, among other things. But I guess what it comes down to for me, is that article reminded me of some life lessons that I’ve recently started to take to heart, which I feel compelled to share.

The first is that we don’t need as much stuff as we think we do. I’ve recently downsized my closet and donated a bunch of other stuff, that at this point, I couldn’t even tell you what it was, because you know what? I don’t miss it. And, if there was something I actually needed, I could go across the street the the thrift shop where I could likely find the thing I was looking for at a quarter the price. (The horror! Buying something used?!! ;-) )

donated clothes

Life isn’t about stuff. I’m sure you read that article that says happy people spend money one experiences not things. I totally agree. The money we spent on our recent trip to the Smokies was way better than a shiny piece of jewelry or a new jacket. And better yet? It probably definitely cost less! People are always worried about maintaining the lifestyle they have, which often includes far too many material possessions than one can keep track of. And for what? So you can have the nicer car than your neighbor? That will really make a difference when you’re on your death bed.

smoky mountains

The second lesson is that life is short. We only have so much time on this earth, and we live in a pretty amazing place. I don’t want to leave this world without going on some incredible adventures, seeing some amazing places, and above all doing what makes me happy. Sure, I’m lucky that I have a darn good job that I like, with benefits and all that jazz. I can take vacations and slowly chip away at my bucket list.

But, I want to do more, see more. (I’ve totally got my eye on an Around the World trip after meeting Jennifer a few months ago in Chicago.) And just to clarify- it’s not all about being on permanent vacation- there is work to be done everywhere, things that are worthwhile and meaningful.

I don’t have the answer, and at this point, I’m just rambling.

What I do know is that time is a resource we can’t get back, so we must spend it wisely.








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