Friday, January 29, 2016

Beet Hummus

Last week, I shared my easy garlic lemon hummus recipe. As promised, here is another super easy hummus recipe with a few shortcuts.

Like last week, I’m using canned chickpeas. And I also use pre-cooked beets. I love beets and often buy them fresh at the farmers’ market and roast them. However, they can be a bit messy as the red color tends to go everywhere (and doesn’t come out that easily in the wash…). I’m therefore reaching more and more often to golden (yellow) beets at the farmers’ market when they are available. But they don’t have the beautiful, intense red color of course. And when I’m in a rush, nothing beats already cooked beets!


Beet Hummus
  • 1 can organic chickpeas, very well rinsed
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 package cooked beets with liquid 
  • 2 - 4 T olive oil 
  • Salt 
  • Pepper
  • 1 - 4 T water (add 1 T first and then add more if the hummus is too thick)
  • Process the beets in a food processor. Once they are pureed, add the other ingredients and process until smooth, adding more water and/or oil as necessary.

I have gotten a few questions about the texture of my hummus. It is a bit more coarse than commercial hummus. One of the reasons is that I use a cheap, mini food processor to make my hummus; the Vitamix would produce a smoother product. Another reason is that I do not peel the chickpeas. If you want really smooth hummus, you can peel the outer skin off the chickpeas (it comes off easily, but it’s time consuming.) I actually enjoy the more rustic texture, so I never peel my chickpeas. 

Questions: Do you like beets? If so, what’s your favorite way to eat them? 

Be Well,

Friday, January 22, 2016

Lemony Garlicky Hummus

I love hummus. And since it’s so easy to make, I make a fresh batch at least once a week. It makes eating carrots, cucumbers, radishes, peppers, squash, and about any other veggie out there a delight.

In an ideal world, I would cook my own chickpeas. It’s really simple but, to be honest, I often use canned chickpeas (I do make sure to rinse the beans really well under running water).

Here is a super simple, yet flavorful hummus recipe.


Lemony Garlicky Hummus

  • 1 can organic chickpeas, very well rinsed
  • 1 - 2 garlic cloves (one clove delivers quite the punch, so start with one and see if you really want to make it more garlicky…) 
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 2 - 4 T olive oil 
  • Salt 
  • Pepper
  • 1 - 4 T water (add 1 T first and then add more if the hummus is too thick)
  • Process all ingredients in a food processor until smooth, adding more water and/or oil as necessary.

Questions: Do you like hummus? If so, do you make your own? What are your favorite flavors to add to hummus? Recently, I have been enjoying beets in my hummus. I’ll share a beet hummus recipe next week. Do you cook your own chickpeas? Sometimes… I really should do it more often...

Be well,

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Exploring San Francisco: Ghirardelli Square and Juice Shop

We live only about an hour south of The City - as locals refer to San Francisco - but, unfortunately we don’t make it up north as often as we should. There is so much to explore, and we have vowed to get to The City more often this year.

We started this past weekend and explored Ghirardelli Square and its surrounding areas a bit. Even though there was light rain, it was a fantastic outing.

Of course we had to take the obligatory photo in front of the Ghirardelli sign.

Ghirardelli Square

We also walked out onto the pier, from where we had great views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and The City.

IMG 0508
IMG 0522
IMG 0523
IMG 0524
IMG 0537

Then we got to taste some fresh, organic, raw juice from the Juice Shop, which opened a store front at Ghirardelli Square about a month ago. 

JuiceShopGhirardelliSquare02  JuiceShopGhirardelliSquare03

We met one of the Juice Shop's owners, Ben. He, his two brothers, and his sister-in-law own a total of six store fronts throughout San Francisco, where they sell raw, organic juices. Ben told us that they became interested in juicing when their older brother got sick and juice helped him greatly in his recovery. 

Ben said that their mission is not only to sell juice but also to educate the public about the health benefits of juicing. We really enjoyed speaking with Ben and learning about the benefits of different juices. All the juices we sampled (about seven or eight) were truly delicious, and 100% kid-approved (and the kid proclaimed that they are a lot tastier than the juices I make at home…). I know that we’ll stop by for a juice next time we are in The City.

After we explored Ghirardelli Square a bit more, we walked over toward Fort Mason and walked around the park; a great way to get plenty of steps.

IMG 0584
IMG 0603
IMG 0611
IMG 0613

It was a great day in The City. We can’t wait to go back!  

IMG 0635

Questions: Have you ever been to San Francisco? If so, what’s your favorite neighborhood? Do you regularly explore neighborhoods, cities and other sights near where you live? Do you enjoy freshly squeezed (green) juices? If so, what’s your favorite combo? 

Be Well,

Friday, January 8, 2016

Three Workouts for 2016

2015 was a difficult year for me, and, as a result, I didn’t exercise as much as usual. I continued to walk every day and did push-ups and a few other strength and core moves several times a week, but that was pretty much it. Here are the three workouts that I want to focus on in 2016:

1. Lots of Walks & Hikes

My main form of exercise are long, brisk walks and hikes, and I will continue to walk and hike every day in 2016. I got my Fitbit Flex for Christmas 2014 from the older kid. At first, I wasn’t sure I liked it as I’d been used to the Fitbit Zip (which I liked a lot, but I had trouble finding a good place to wear it; I got the pink one and it always showed when I wore it on pant pockets and it weirdly showed when I wore it on my bra (which is recommended). My main complaint about the Fitbit Zip was however that it uses batteries, and I didn't like having to replace batteries quite often.

I didn't like the black, plain wristband of the Fitbit Flex as it is too casual to wear to work or when I’m dressed up. I therefore ordered the Tory Burch bracelet for the Fitbit when it became available in silver. There was a bit of a learning curve: How do you open the darn thing? I actually had to google it! How do you keep the cover from rattling? You actually just have to give it an extra push to make sure it is truly all the way closed. Is there an easier way to get the Fitbit in and out of the bracelet? Not that I have found. That’s why I always wear the Tory Burch bracelet and only take it out once a week to charge it - this is not what’s recommended; the recommendation is to wear the Flex with its original wrist band for most accurate tracking, but the tracking in the Tory Burch bracelet is fine. I have been wearing it daily.

IMG 2004 
IMG 1967

IMG 1872

After figuring it out, I started loving the bracelet and have been getting many compliments on it. People are usually surprised to learn that the pretty bracelet houses a Fitbit. I just realized that there are some other new Tory Burch Fitbit bracelets that I really like.

Keeping track of my steps is a great motivator to walk more as I often head out for another 30-minute walk at the end of the day to increase my step total. I also want to push myself with some long, hilly hikes - we'll see how far and high I can go! :)

2. Consistent Weight Training

I’m also ready to add some more weight training back into my routine. Since we stopped our gym membership a few years ago, my weights routine has been a bit lackluster; it mainly consists of push-ups (I am proud that I have kept up with doing push-ups consistently and have been seeing steady improvement in the number and quality of my push-ups), tricep dips and some yoga moves that involve strength.

When I was contacted last fall to review the Sandbag Training Bible I was intrigued as it seemed like a perfect weight workout at home. The little book contains 100 functional exercises that can easily be done at home with a sandbag and a backpack (to put the sandbag in). I have actually been using a sandbag we have around the house to keep water out (I covered the sandbag in a plastic bag and put it into a pillow case). But a sandbag specifically designed for working out would be even better; there are several affordable workout sandbags on

I like building muscle and will definitely continue my weight workouts on a regular basis.

3. Barre-ish Workouts

I used to take barre classes consistently for four years, but last year that stopped, too. I’m ready to get back to barre (or similar) workouts. One obstacle has been getting to a barre studio as it takes several hours out of my day (because of drive time, getting to class early to get a “good” spot, etc.). I have a couple  barre DVDs that I use once in a while. I also purchased Tracy Anderson's Mat Workout for Beginners (and watch it on Amazon instant video). After doing barre workouts for so long, I really didn’t want to order the beginner workout, but I figured I better get clear instructions of what I’m supposed to do (I had read several reviews that highly recommended getting the beginners DVD first as Tracy doesn’t really explain the moves in detail in the other workouts; since I knew that it’s very important to use correct form, it was really a no brainer). Plus, after not doing any barre-type workouts for almost a year, I truly was a beginner again... I really like the workout and look forward to exploring more of her DVDs.

Questions: What are your exercise goals for the coming weeks and months? 

Be Well,

[Disclosures: 1. I was provided a free review copy of the Sandbag Training Bible ; as always, all opinions are my own. 2. Links in this post are affiliate links.]