take it in stride

decisions, decisions.  this year has already started out with way more than i ever thought i could handle.  the major issue being my career!  I've been in the IT industry since i graduated 8 (WOW :shock:) years ago.  i'm an IT contractor, but let's just say i'm on an extended holiday vacation right now lol.  which means...... i get to spend more time in my sanctuary (my kitchen!!!!!) creating new recipes galore, playing, teaching, & showing my little big boy new things, sprucing up my wifely duties big time, and finally, putting maximum effort towards the multiple personal projects God has dropped on my heart. finding balance is hard as crap sometimes! however, i find so much comfort in the fact that He not only tells us what He wants us to do, but He makes a way for it to be done.

standing still

 HELLO!  He won't leave you hanging and clueless....  but if you don't move, He can't work.   remember, 'ALL things work together for the good of those that love Him!'

fitness inspiration

you've only got ONE.  He has given me this precious time, and i'm going to ENJOY and cherish this blessing.

now let's talk about food.

i finally got that red velvet pancake recipe up, and i made my little guy a mini stack of them yesterday for breakfast.


i can't even begin to tell you how gratifying it is to see him stuff his face with VEGGIES!  cause he still hates them.  anything green goes on the floor.  good thing beets are UBER good for us!  they are low-calorie, no fat, high in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and help fight various types of cancer.  i'll certainly be making some type of spinach cakes next lol.  i'm gonna get them into his diet however i can.


this photo was pre-walden farms syrup...they look so dry!! but i promise you they are moist and fluffy on the inside. Chiso doesn't appreciate my fanciness yet as he slid the whipped cream right off the top and pushed the chocolate chips around before making a pile of them in the corner of his high chair table.

Q: how do you roast your beets?

A: in a pan:)


that's it! i avoided them for the LONGEST time at the store..i mean they just look so dirty and hard to prepare.  i cut the tops off (someone told me you can save them, cook them, and eat them, but i had already tossed them in the trash) put them in a pan, and shoved them in a 450 degree oven.  in about 45 min, they were soft to the touch, and the peeling came right on off.  beets have officially been conquered!

this morning i made us some cinnamon oatmeal pancrepes.  why crepes? cause i added too much almond milk!  you can compensate by adding more dry ingredients, but i kept it as is and went for it.  i have FUN in my kitchen.  sometimes it's a great success, sometimes it sucks.  flip a coin!


since they are thinner than pancakes, my recipe made a ton.  i ate some flat, and i rolled some too. no pics of those yet though, lmbo.  i'd love to stuff them with something the next time, and i will. so sit tight.  i topped the flat ones with sugar-free cool whip, strawberry slices, and cinnamon.

so, salmon went on sale at HEB this past week and i didn't say a word.  ironically, i got so many PM's from friends letting me know about it  though LOL!!! thank you guys so much!! i'll say something next time, i promise!


red bell peppers were also on sale, so i snagged some of them too.  i made a huuuuge filet of salmon when i was prepping at the beginning of the week, and here are just a few of my meals.


honey mustard smokehouse salmon with steamed okra and red bell peppers.

the salmon was cooked at 450 degrees for 12 minutes.  i squirted it with some Bragg's liquid aminos, then seasoned it with Mc Cormick Smokehouse maple seasoning.


since i have beets at home, i wanted to make one of my fave Cheesecake Factory Salads: the beet, goat cheese, and candied pecan spring mix salad.  what a combo!  i was looking for regular old goat cheese when i came across this gem!  it's so sweet, creamy, and SOUR. the best part!  i don't really do candied nuts, so i figured the sweetness will come from the cheese, and i can keep the nuts roasted and unsalted.  i'll be making that tonight, can't wait!


last night i was browsing Instagram (fitfoodiele) and got inspiration for my final dish of the evening.  i took some scrambled egg whites with spinach, garlic powder & onion powder, incorporated some shredded salmon into it, then stuffed all that into my bell peps.  i topped them with the honey goat cheese and baked them in a 405 degree oven until the peps were tender but still crisp, and the cheese was lightly browned.


i didn't think the cheese could get any creamier or tangier...oh but it DID.  steamed okra and corn on the side!

hitting the gym today for my 2nd leg day this week and ready to get my squat ON.

a quick announcement.....

for my Houston readers, i am excited to announce that i will be instructing at 24 Hour Fitness again!!  the Katy Bella Terra Super Sport location is launching a free weekend of Les Mills, Cycle, Zumba, and recently added, Total Body Conditioning classes!  i'm ALWAYS raving about this class and how much it has improved my cardiovascular & muscular strength and endurance.  now, you can come experience it for yo self, with ME!!!!  check out the schedule and join us!

*Total Conditioning @ 11am with Leah on  Sunday, January 13th*


ffl's red velvet pancakes

hi. this'll be quick. 20130107_131050

yesterday's awesome breakfast contains 1 serving of fruit,


and 1 serving of veggies!


double whammy :)

ffl's red velvet pancakes

the stuff:

  • 1/3 cup oatmeal
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • dash of sea salt
  • 1 egg white (or 2 if you want them fluffier/thicker/cake-like)
  • 1/2 cup pureed, cooked beets
  • half a banana (natural sweetness!)
  • 5-7 drops chocolate stevia
  • 1/2 - 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

do this:

  1. throw your oats into your blender and ground them into a fine powder.
  2. toss in the other dry ingredients:  baking powder, cocoa powder, cinnamon, salt.
  3. dump all that into a bowl and set it aside.
  4. add your roasted, previously cooked beets into the blender along with the banana, egg white(s), vanilla, and chocolate stevia.
  5. scoop all that out and add it to your dry mix. incorporate!
  6. finally, add the almond milk to your desired consistency.
  7. cook up in your no-stick cooking spray coated for skillet 3-4 minutes on each side. make sure it's done in the center! take a peek first.

stats for the entire stack:

Screen Shot 2013-01-08 at 9.18.27 AM

what's that topping you ask? you DID ask.  i heard you.  it's 2 tbsp of no fat cream cheese + 1 packet of granulated stevia. any nuts will do, but that walnut, red velvet, cream cheese combo is a serious triple threat!


 as always, adjust those nutritional stats accordingly when dealing with toppings.  a drizzle of Walden Farms pancake syrup  made these cakes and my breakfast complete.  eat'em up, then go lift heavy things at the gym today.



triple f

family, food, and fun.

 that sums up the holidays for me.  my annual company Christmas party went down last weekend at my boss's home.


he and his wife ALWAYS throw down, always. i didn't even get a pic of the buffet table:( but just know that i made 4 trips to it.  these snacks and desserts were on the kitchen island.


homemade chocolate and vanilla cake balls :shock:  so rich and decadent.


posin' by the tree with Sonny.


my lovely homie & co-worker, Monica, makes THE best vegan pumpkin pie i have ever tasted and i'll love her forever for sharing the recipe!  you should make it for Christmas- i know i am.  thank you, Monicaaaaa

Monica's Vegan Pumpkin Pie

the stuff:

  • 10 oz silken tofu
  • 1 can pure pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup maple sugar*
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla

do this:

MIX! then pour into your pie pan and cook for 45-50 min on 350 deg. keep an eye on it as cooking times and temps vary per oven. you can even go crustless with this- it's up to you.  and no, nobody will EVER know there's tofu in there long as you zip your lips :shock:

for 1/8 slice:


gotta love those stats!  i added a layer of cool whip and crumbled a few sheets of graham cracker on top after the pie was done. did NOT miss the crust one bit.  i'll take pics when i make it again for Christmas.

*tip per Monica: you can switch our your sweeteners and do granulated stevia, honey, agave nectar, etc...you choose your favorite one.  just convert your amounts and adjust your nutritional stats accordingly.


this man clearly took advantage of his off-season diet :lol: 20121207_210847

fast forward.  who had a Chiso-less date night recently? we diiiiiiid!  i had seen this mexican restaurant countless times and finally paid Diego's Cantina a visit.  why does my hand look SO BIG?


they seated us by this big bay window and even though it was night time, the view of the lake behind us was excellent.  just across the water was the hospital where Chiso was born.  we just can't escape him. LOL.


as if we hadn't already eaten like 3 baskets of chips and salsa, Sonny ordered nachos for our appetizer :roll:

nachos mayas: crisp corn tortillas topped with refried black beans, creamy lump crabmeat, mozzarella, jalapeños, served with guacamole, sour cream and pico de gallo. mucho points for presentation!  yummy? YES.


Sonny got the lamb chops:  grilled marinated lamb rib chops with queso oaxaca topped with tomato and chili guajillo sauce served with nopales, onions and grilled corn.


and i got the mahi mahi.  when the waitress came over to check on us, she gave my plate a puzzled look and said 'wow, it looks so different without the sauce!'  i'm guessing it's normally submerged in it *shrugs*.  anyway, the sauce tasted like lime garlic butter and was fantastic.  however, i want to be in control of how much goes on my plate, please and thank you!  per the menu: grilled mahi filet marinated in garlic and butter on a bed of grilled vegetables and sautéed spinach, served with a pineapple papaya avocado pico-de-gallo with wine butter sauce drizzled on top.


mine came with a side, so i got the sweet potato mash.  they added raisins to  it which was new to me.  a good new. 20121207_221922 then we ended the night at our fro-yo spot....it's only right. 20121207_222011

my usual sugar-free vanilla and chocolate fro yo with sprinkles, chocolate chips, and whipped cream.


what, more sweets? yep! our last date of the weekend was @ Brios for  my cousin Kandice's birthday dinner. Sprinkles cupcakes were in the building. yesssssssssssssssss.


cupcakes make me dance too :lol: HAPPY BIRTHDAY my love! 20121208_223035

red. velvet.


family foto of the evening with my boys.

gumbo and bbq tilapia recipes are headed your way!  nite.


dirty & flirty 30

my husband is an event planner by nature.  im so thankful that he ultimately just wants to make me happy, but i really think he enjoys doing this stuff.  i don't, but i'll do it for him. <3

good friday, april 6th

Sonny surprised me with a lunch time visit- he brought along our little one and together with my coworkers they walked in with *drumroll* sprinkles cupcakes!  well let's start this thang off right then!

 i had not been eating processed sugar for the last two weeks and i was SO READY TO INDULGE, yall aren't hearing me. 

my coworker/sweet friend Monica whipped out another bag which contained a vegan red velvet cupcake just for me! i gave the other red velvets to my team to devour.

 had i not known it was vegan, well, i wouldn't know the difference! it was just as moist and delicious.  i have to 'trick' Sonny like that sometimes...if don't say anything at all, he doesn't even notice he's eating healthier.  anyway, i'm loving vegan desserts right now and i plan to make my own in the near future.

s/n- who eats a cupcake like this??  Sonny turns his upside down first cause icing is equivalent to mac n cheese or oatmeal to him. it's that texture thing again.

however it's still a waste of good sugar, SMH.  moving on!

the big day...saturday, april 7th

the dirty (am):

i was excited to hear the word 'fitness' cause that's what i do every saturday morning- go burn some calories. however, before the fitness part,  we drove to a great brunch at Barnaby's Cafe (nope, didn't know we were going here either but soooo glad we did.)


my eyes were immediately drawn to 'green eggs' on the menu.  egg whites, spinach, and fontina cheese. im so predictable, i know.  i switched out my wheat toast for a pancake.  the eggs came with smoked apple sausage, potatoes, and a side of fruit.

 great choice, highly recommended, YES, we will be back.

on to the fun-  rock climbing and basketball at my gym!  i'm aaaaaall about activity- i love this kinda stuff.  i actually joked about a rock climbing party weeks ago via a facebook post and i see he rolled with it.  it really was a desire of my heart, deep down!

once at the gym, i thought it would be just us two and rocks.   little did i know that Sonny had invited some of my friends along who were there waiting just around the corner.  they all walked back to where we were to find me sprawled on the floor looking quite foolish and doing what?  making 'snow angels' in the recycled tires.  i made that waaaaaay too easy for everybody, especially Sonny.

everyone climbed up solo at least once, then we did some relay races.  after that, it was onto the bball courts for some more guys vs girls 'drills'.

after all that hard fun, we dined on some true party food- pizza and cake!

the cake was made to mimic my fav shoes- my nike free run 2s!! very nice touch:) thanks, Din! 

and what's a gym party without some lululemon!? i'm slowly building my lulu wardrobe. it's gonna take a while though, lol.

my friends were sore the next day but they were SUCH good sports and i love them to pieces for doing something different and celebrating with me.

one last shot with my balloons before heading out.

the flirty (pm):

Sonny then took me to get my wig split, finally! my bun needed a lot of love.  afterwards, he told me to get ready to break out the dress that i spent three long weeks looking for.

extreme makeover!  i know i live in gym clothes but i do like to get fancy every now and then when the occasion calls for it!

After being blindfolded in the car (i did my best to figure it out though 'ok, he turned left here, drove for 2 miles, turned left, etc.' but yeah i eventually lost it.  we ended up here though:

my family and a few close friends were waiting in the veranda for us!  i have become an emotional MONSTER ever since i got preggo because crying over something sappy is something i just didn't do.  i guess my hormones are still out of wack cause i shed a few tears of joy upon seeing my family :)  after some hugs, hor devoures, and pictures, our waiter led us to Masraff's wine cellar where we enjoyed an amazing private dinner.

Sonny got the soup, so i got the salad.

Sonny got the pork chop, so i got the swordfish.

i wanted to taste everything!!!! every bite of either entrée was fantastic.

the chilled beet salad on top and the veggies were fresh and crisp, and the polenta was filled will cheesy, savory, yuminess.  one fork full of each element was simply DIVINE.

yep, that good. no shame.

 CHOCOLATE CAKE. then, more dessert! why not!?

you already know which dessert Sonny picked...the chocolate.  once you pierced it with your utensil, chocolate ganache oozed out of the cake.

a halved pear was used to hold the sweet, creamy creme brulee custard- first time i've ever eaten it that way.  they were both delicious, and i definitely appreciate the portion sizes. (especially after that, pizza, shoe cake, and slice of chocolate cake, lol)

the only bad thing about this day is that it had to end :(

i have relived my birthday, every day, for the past two weeks and counting.  i thank God for blessing me to see my 30th.  a gigantic THANK YOU, yet again, to my dear husband, as well as my family and friends for sharing this special day with me.  thank YOU for reading!