Happy Monday, I hope that everyone had a great weekend!
I was lucky enough to get out of the city for a few days and drove three hours North of San Francisco to stay on the coast in a place called Sea Ranch. A long, long drive with a couple of stops, lots of snacking, and some killer views.
It was the first time that I’ve pulled my boxes of bathing suits and sumer clothes out of the closet this year. Other than vacations, I rarely wear beach gear so I really only keep a limited supply on hand and if specific events come up I tend to head to Union Square… For me warm weather means patterned maxi dresses, sandals, sundresses, and sarongs.
The drive up Highway 1 was curvy and nausea-inducing, but the highlight – aside from the views – was a quick stop at the Candy & Kites shop. Barrels upon barrels of delicious salt water taffy flavors, tons of old-school candy that you haven’t seen in years, and all the kites you could possibly imagine.
Once we arrived at the gorgeous house the fun really began – great wine, lovely company, quality hot tub time, walks along the bluff, games of corn hole, climbing down to the tide pools, tons of food, sitting on the deck getting sunburned…
But what weekend would be complete without a trip into the tiny local hamlet for a taste of the real Sonoma coast?
One of only a couple restaurants nearby is Bones Roadhouse – a fun and eclectic bar & restaurant with views of crashing waves and an interior that’s guaranteed to keep you entertained for as long as you hang out.
Fried oysters and chicken fried steak for the boys, strawberries for me, and Bloody Mary’s all-around!
But as far as I’m concerned, it’s not a vacation until you’ve had a Mai Tai. Family tradition.
The trip home was foggy so the views weren’t as spectacular, but we did stop at Whole Foods for road trip snacks. Salad bar, rice chips, and mini vegan chocolate chip cookies.
It was definitely a weekend to remeber, and one I hope to be able to repeat again in the future. Have to say a quick thank you Danny & Kelsey for sharing their family house – the weekend couldn’t have been more enjoyable!
No matter how healthy our daily food choices are, there will always be things that we can’t bring ourselves to say “no” to. For many people I know the treats they can’t deny themselves revolve around sugar, they crave chocolate, candy or sweets. For me its salty all the way, if you put potato chips or French fries in front of me you better watch your fingers!
One of the biggest issues with giving in to your cravings is the landslide effect. After one piece or one handful you think “why not have a little more?” and before you know it you’ve consumed 5 servings. From there it’s incredibly easy to just write the day off and indulge all of your cravings.
We’ve all done this. Some of us more than others (read: me).
When I read magazine articles or surf online on the topics of eating and snacking, experts always tout the moderation method. Buying 100 calorie snack packs or having “just one” piece of dark chocolate etc. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been satisfied by small processed snacks masquerading as healthy food and I’ve certainly never consumed just one piece of anything.
I want my snacks to be satisfying and filling, and I want them to provide my body with real nutrients. My solution? Fake it! I’ve come up with alternatives to my favorite crave-worthy snacks. Some are portable and easy to keep at the office or in your bag/car, while others I save for weekends or when I have a full kitchen at my mercy.
Tote-able salty/savory snacks: Mixed nuts, trail mix, Raw Revolution bars (Spirulina & cashew), veggies or crackers w/ mini Sabra hummus tubs
Quick, but cooked salty/savory snacks
- Mini Pizzas: Buy pre-made polenta logs (or make your own if you’re feeling like a rock star), slice into thin pieces, bake for 10 minutes at 350 on each side, add some cheese and a tomato slice or salsa & broil for 3 minutes. Voila! Delicious mini pizzas with a fraction of the fat and calories of a slice of pizza. And depending on the brand of polenta that you use these can easily be made vegan and gluten-free, just use soy cheese or daiya.
- Wraps: Tortilla + spread + toppings. Easy peasy. (These are a great alternative to sandwiches and can be easily made gluten-free with the use of brown rice tortillas.) First start with your favorite tortilla, good options to try are whole wheat, spinach or sprouted brands, or lettuce, collard greens or kale. Second, add a spread of some sort, I prefer hummus or “cheese” sauce, but you could easily use marinara, curry, creamy salad dressing, nut cheese etc. Finally, add whatever toppings you’re in the mood for. I like a little crunch so raw veggies are my go-to, but you could add cheese, roasted or sautéed veggies, quinoa, rice… The list goes on! If you’re interested in trying a delicious raw wrap, here’s an excellent recipe from Gena at Choosing Raw – Zucchini Wraps.
- Quesadilla: Tortilla + toppings. Couldn’t be easier! Pile on anything that sounds yummy, from the traditional to the inventive: cheese, rice, beans, meat or sliced seitan/tofu, crumbled tempeh, sautéed veggies, cubed roasted veggies… So many choices, so few tortillas!
Tote-able sweet snacks: Homemade trail mix with carob/chocolate chips or granola, dried fruit, Larabars (coconut!), apples w/ nut butter
Quick, but “cooked” sweet snacks:
- Chia Seed Pudding: The consistency is similar to tapioca, but this pudding will really stay with you. For hours. Great for a mid-morning snack or a pre-workout pick-me-up. Mix 3/4 cup of raw chia seeds with 2 cups of liquid (almond milk, coconut water, water…) and allow to sit for roughly 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The natural flavor of chia seeds isn’t potent so you can add any flavors you’re craving. My favorite recipes are: (1) Mix in nut butter (I’m loving sunflower seed butter right now) and cinnamon to taste and top with a sliced banana. So. Good. (2) Add Stevia or agave nectar and lemon juice to taste. This is tangy and refreshing, and quite similar to the way the Tarahumara consumed their chia seeds.
- Smoothies: See Smoothie Love for some ideas of smoothies you can make.
- Soft Serve: A lot of vegan/raw recipes for soft serve and pudding treats rely on avocados for their creamy texture. Unfortunately I’m not a fan of avocados, so when I’m looking to up the creaminess of a dessert, I reach for bananas. 2 frozen bananas + blender. Done. This is seriously quick and seriously delicious, you can even top with chocolate sauce! However, if you’d like to try an avocado-based pudding, please take a look at this recipe to give you a starting point.
So tell me, what is the snack that you just cannot say no to? Take my lead and try to make a healthy, whole food version to satisfy those cravings and let me know what you come up with!