Nutritious Camp Meals (& a Trip to Pacific City, OR!)

Cape Kiwanda, OR | scottileona.com

Hello!  How is summer treating you so far?  I hope well!  It has been unusually hot here in Portland and it seems that everyone is melting.  I love the heat but it leaves me feeling super lethargic and lazy so by the time I get home from work, I don’t feel like turning on the stove and cooking.  I see many salads in my future 🙂

Last weekend, Nick and I went camping in Pacific City, OR.  We camped at a Tillamook County campground called Whalen Island.  It was a cute little, family friendly campground surrounded by an estuary that remains fairly shallow even at higher tide.  The campground is located near great places to go crabbing and fishing, bird watch, hike, and kayak.  We went out there to explore Cape Kiwanda and escape the heat of the city for a few days.

Camping at Whalen Island, OR | scottileona.com

On Saturday, we spent the day at Cape Kiwanda and all I can say is, wow.  That place is seriously beautiful.  I loved all the nooks and crannies where the ocean rushed through the rocks and made dramatic splashes that literally made us cheer.  The rock formations were intricate and gorgeously colored with various shades of tans, browns and reds.  We hiked all over the rocks and enjoyed some snacks while watching boats drive around Haystack Rock.  Reymie also really enjoyed her time running up and down the large sand dunes 🙂

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Cape Kiwanda, OR | scottileona.com

Cape Kiwanda, OR | scottileona.com

Cape Kiwanda, OR | scottileona.com

I wanted to keep this trip as low budget and healthy as possible, so I prepped and packed our meals for the weekend.  Because we were in a regular campground (not one we hiked in to), we had our car nearby the entire time and were able to pack an ice chest.  We also have a great picnic basket with all the necessary dishes, a tablecloth, and a great side pocket for wine that makes it really easy to have fabulous outdoor meals.  Here is what we made and links to some of the recipes:

Saturday breakfast:

Flourless Almond Butter Banana Muffins | scottileona.com

Saturday lunch:

  • Tuna salad on rosemary bread (from Trader Joe’s) with avocado and spinach

Saturday dinner (my fave!):

Vegan Cream of Celery Soup | scottileona.com

Snacks:

  • Pita crackers, cheese, oranges, strawberries, blueberries, dark chocolate, almonds and cashews, and of course, wine 🙂

To keep things simple at the campsite, I chopped the strawberries and cucumbers for the salad and prepped the dressing in a separate container at home.  The tuna salad, muffins, hard boiled eggs and the soup was also made beforehand.  With a little prep work at home, it is totally possible to get outside, explore, and still eat well and save some moo-la.

We drove home Sunday morning and opted for a drive-through coffee stand breakfast.  We were hoping to find a cute diner in one of the small coastal towns, but we quickly realized just how spoiled Portland has made us in our expectations for fantastic brunch options on a Sunday morning!

I hope you are gearing up for a safe and healthy 4th of July ❤

Gluten Free Crepes and a weekend in Belfair, Washington

Trail's End Lake, WA - scottileona.com

Well hello there!  This year is literally flying by and I cannot believe it is already June!  I meant to post about my lovely weekend with my gal pals after it happened way back in April, but before I knew it two months went by!  Despite this being a bit late, I am still excited to share it with you all 🙂

In mid-April, I spent a weekend in a beautiful lake house overlooking Trail’s End Lake in Belfair, Washington.  The weekend was this year’s Social Worker Spring Break, an annual event I have been celebrating for the past 5 years with 6 gorgeous ladies I met in graduate school.  We started taking trips together during our actual Spring Break while we were in school, but even after graduation we have continued to take a break from “grown up life” in Spring.  We are all social workers, so it is vitally important that we take time to get out town, drink wine, eat chocolate, laugh until we cry and complain/rejoice about our jobs, partners, dogs, etc.  Even if we didn’t have jobs that drained us emotionally and physically, I believe everyone should have friendships that fill us up and strengthen us to keep fighting the good fight.

Dinner with the ladies - scottileona.com

We found the lake house on VRBO.com.  It was a huge home with a large deck that featured panoramic views of the lake and a hot tub.  There were stairs leading down to a dock on the lake, which was perfect for afternoon lounging, reading, and champagne sipping.  The lake was quiet and the neighbors felt well spread out, making this great for a more private getaway.  So relaxing.

Trail's End Lake, WA - scottileona.com

Trail's End Lake, WA - scottileona.com

We each sign up for a meal or snacks and spoil each other rotten.  This year I made gluten free crepes with both sweet and savory filling options.  I love crepes because the filling and topping options are endless!  You can get creative with your flavor combinations, or eat them simply with some fruit and yogurt and either way they are delicious.

The filling options I brought along were:

Savory:

  • Smoked Salmon
  • Goat Cheese
  • Arugula
  • Sliced almonds

Sweet:

  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Banana
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Almond Butter
  • Powdered Sugar

Gluten Free Crepes - scottileona.com

Recipe

Makes 2-3 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour (I used Namaste gluten free Perfect Flour Blend)
  • 2+ cups almond milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp agave
  • Pinch of salt
  • Dash of cinnamon

Method:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix together 2 cups of almond milk, the eggs, vanilla extract and agave.
  2. Add the flour and salt and stir.
  3. Add a little almond milk at a time until the batter is thinner than pancake batter.
  4. Heat a skillet over medium-high and add a little coconut oil.  Pour about 1/4 cup of the batter onto the skillet and swirl the skillet until it is covered with a thin layer of the batter.
  5. Cook the crepe until the bottom is lightly browned (about 2 minutes).  Carefully flip over and cook until the other side is lightly browned.  Continue until all of the batter is gone.
  6. Fill with whatever your heart desires and fold in half.  Add more toppings and enjoy 🙂

**Full disclosure**: I used the recipe above and doubled it for our group of 6 and I had a really hard time getting it to thin out enough.  I had many trial crepes that ended up in the trashcan before I got the batter thinned out to acceptable, but I still didn’t think it was quite thin enough (although I got rave reviews from my very sweet friends).  I am not sure if it is the gluten free flour or not having enough almond milk, but I have not had time to play around with the recipe since.  I am still new to gluten free flours and need some practice!  However, when I made it following the instructions I listed here, they turned out great.  Play around with it and let me know if you find any secrets to making a larger batch 🙂

Welcome to summer!

Xoxo – Scotti Leona

Trail's End Lake, WA - scottileona.com

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Smoothie

The last couple of weeks have been interesting.  Housing hunting in Portland continues to be slightly unpleasant and more competitive than I generally like.  We have seen a little less than 30 homes at this point and have just put in our third offer.  We shall see how it goes!  This has been an interesting process because I spend my working hours with folks who are experiencing homelessness and battling this fiercely competitive housing market in a very different way.  They are fighting just to find any place to live, while I am looking for a home from the comfort of my safe apartment that I can afford.  Despite how frustrating buying a house has been, I finish each day feeling grateful to be in this position.  We are incredibly lucky and I won’t forget that. 🙂

The stress of all of this has sent my sugar cravings through the freaking roof!!  Does anyone else experience this?  You are going through something stressful and you are suddenly the Cookie Monster devouring every sweet in sight!  I’ve been trying to reach for natural sweets, such as dates, but at work I have been slightly less successful.  We get weekly donations of pastries from Starbucks and cupcakes from Saint Cupcake so I am always surrounded by surgary, buttery, bready foods.  It’s intense!

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It’s a new week, however, and I am ready to tame the sugar beast!  I am starting this week with a new resolve and hope to access other coping mechanisms for stress.  In addition to my morning work outs, I will try going for a little walk at times where I feel like I need that chocolate cookie staring at me (i.e. when I am feeling particularly stressed).  Other tactics I have found are helpful for me when I am overwhelmed include cleaning (I know, I’m weird) and taking a minute to breathe and drink some water.  I also made some tasty date and nut bites (using this recipe) and can rely on the deliciousness of chocolate Shakeology too!

I made this smoothie for the first time a couple of weeks ago and it really was like drinking a chocolate covered strawberry.  However, instead of a couple strawberries dipped in chocolate, it was a big ol’ glass of cold, creamy, super foods that tasted like ice cream!   Perfect for post-work out or to cool off on a warm afternoon (if you are lucky enough to be in sunny Sping/Summer weather already!).  This has definitely been added to my regular smoothie flavor rotation 🙂

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Smoothie | scottileona.com

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Smoothie

Serves 2

Strawberry Layer

Add to your blender the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 4-5 large organic frozen strawberries
  • 1 scoop Strawberry Shakeology
  • Large handful+ of ice

Blend and pour between two glasses.  Place the glasses in the freezer while you make the chocolate layer.

Chocolate Layer

In your blender, combine:

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 scoop Chocolate Shakeology (I used the vegan one)
  • 2 tsp almond butter
  • Ice

Pour on top of the strawberry layers and enjoy!

Happy Monday!

Traveling Healthy

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Traveling is one of my favorite activities.  I love exploring new places or revisiting places I have loved in the past.  I love being surrounded by unfamiliar sights, sounds and smells.  I also love trying new food and taking a peek into the daily lives of other people experiencing a different culture, locale, environment than the one I currently inhabit.  However, there is a part of the healthy, fit-minded me that feels slightly uncomfortable with the thought of leaving my routine of knowing exactly what, how much, and when I am eating and when I will squeeze in my workout.  This feeling stems from the fact that I have spent so much time and energy focused on getting in to the best shape of my life and there is a small fear that all of that hard work could disappear over the course of my vacation.

First, I want to clarify that I believe we should let go of rigid thinking while traveling (and in life in general, but that’s another post! 🙂 ).  It’s ok to taste and try everything or have days of complete rest where you don’t leave your beach side hammock (the dream, right?).  It’s also ok to completely forget about your fitness goals while on vacation.  The definition of vacation is a period of suspension of work, study, or other activity, usually used for rest, recreation, or travel; recess or holiday, which definitely includes turning off that 5am alarm clock that wakes you for your daily workout.  Where vacation mode becomes a concern for me is when I return home.  If I have completely gone buck wild on a trip, I find it a little difficult to get my mind back in the game when I get home.  It’s so easy to continue vacation mode – eating out often, sleeping in instead of working out – if I haven’t kept my goals in mind while I was away.  Your health and fitness shouldn’t consume you or your ability to explore the world, but here are 5 simple tips to help you stay on track while you are away from home.

Tips for healthy traveling:

1. Pack food for the road

The transportation to your destination is one of the best ways to start a trip off right.  If you are on a road trip, pack as many healthy snacks and meals as possible.  Nuts, homemade granola bars or bites, and fruit (dried and fresh) make excellent munchies for the road.  You also have the option of packing salads or sandwiches for meals along the way.  This not only saves on calories, but you will save major cash if you aren’t eating fast food or snacking at gas stations.  I’d rather use that money for a couple of better dining experiences, admission to a national or state park, or some other adventure I come across 🙂

The same applies for flying, but you may be limited in baggage space.  Still, make some room for a few snacks for the flight.  The snacks available on planes are often full of sodium, artificial flavorings, and other nasty chemicals and they aren’t even filling.  You can also pack a whole meal if you want.  There aren’t security restrictions on the food you bring, it just cannot be over the limit for liquids (so no water, juice, etc).  Last week, I took a short flight to Santa Barbara and packed an apple with cashew butter and Shakeology.  To get through security, I put the Shakeology powder in a shaker cup and filled the cup with water once I got to the terminal.  Easy peasy!

Snacks and book - perfect carry on items.

Snacks and a book – perfect carry on items.

2.  Adapt your accommodations to your routine

Once you arrive at your destination, seek out ways to adapt your accommodations to your routine.  If you are staying in an Airbnb, hotel, hostel, or family home that has space in the fridge to store food, go grocery shopping for snacks and meal items.  This is also another money saver.  When Nick and I traveled to Japan in 2013, we moved around to many hostels and didn’t really have access to a kitchen most of the time.  However, on the nights that we did we purchased breakfast items and made food before heading out for the day.  You can also do this for lunch and pack a meal for when you are on the go.

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To get your sweat on, you can pack work out DVDs that don’t require equipment.  DVDs take up very little room in your bag and you can pop them in to your laptop or a nearby TV to get your workout in.  I love to pack PiYo on trips because it is low impact so I don’t have to worry about jumping on unfamiliar floors (oh hello, neighbors!) and it doesn’t require much space.  Last week, I did PiYo on my grandmother’s porch.  Running is also an exercise that doesn’t require much equipment aside from your clothing and you get the extra sight seeing in too!

3. Choose according to your goals at restaurants

Grabbed Backyard Bowls for lunch with my cousin last week!

Grabbed Backyard Bowls for lunch with my cousin last week!

When eating out, be conscious of what you are ordering.  Like I said before, you don’t have to continuously be thinking about how each meal will affect your muscle definition.  On the other hand, it is totally possible to eat healthy at restaurants.  It is up to you and your goals for your fitness/health and your vacation.

4. Skip the rental car and get active

Skip the rental car and walk as much as possible.  I love walking and taking public transportation everywhere when traveling because it is an awesome way to take in the sights and live like a local.  The added bonus is the extra exercise you get!  You can end up walking several miles each day while taking in the sights of your destination.  You can also seek out adventurous ways to explore the area: If you are somewhere tropical rent a kayak or stand up paddle board.  If you are near mountains go hiking or rent snow sport gear.  You get the idea – just get out there and be active and you won’t need to worry one bit about your missed work outs!

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5. Relax and enjoy yourself!

This is the most important step.  You spend the majority of your time on the grind: working out, eating clean, working and paying bills, taking care of family, maintaining your home….the list goes on and on.  You are now on vacation!  I think the mental health benefits of taking time to actually relax outweigh the benefits of you continuing an intense exercise regimen.  Unless you are in the middle of training for a race, you should be able to skip a day or two…or seven…and it won’t be the end of the world.  Stick to your goals the best you can and you’ll feel refreshed and ready to hop back on that horse when you get home.  🙂

Happy travels!

Scotti Leona

About Me 2.0 – or – Why am I still blogging?

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When I started this blog, I was a full time graduate student and was working full time while trying to find balance.  I found that focusing on my fitness and health was the best way to take care of myself during stressful times.  It caused me to create set aside time for self care, whether that was an hour workout or hiking on my (very limited) days off.  I also began learning a ton about nutrition and eating well, which was partly inspired by the heath conscious, farm-to-table values of the city I had just moved to.  Taking the time to focus on my physical health had an incredible effect on my mental health.  When I moved to Portland, I was overweight, anxious and depressed – and I was furthering my education in a field that could perpetuate those problems if I wasn’t consciously looking for ways to combat them.  By the time I finished graduate school in February 2014, I was no longer experiencing depression or anxiety, I was 35 pounds lighter, and I was training for my first marathon!

As I began to change my habits, people started noticing and asked what I was doing.  I started sharing my meals on Instagram and Facebook and told people about new ingredients I was trying.  I would post about when I would squeeze in a workout during an extremely long day.  With the desire to talk more about what I was learning and cooking, I started this blog.  I wanted to show that even though I was swamped with school work and trying to make ends meet financially, I was still able to change my eating and focus on my physical health.  I also wanted to promote a healthy lifestyle as a way to improve mental health.

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So, now I am done with school.  I work that regular 9-5 and don’t have tons of school work to do when I get home each day.  I have thought about whether the original intent of this blog is still relevant with my new way of life and whether I am still a busy girl getting fit.  After some thought, I have ultimately decided that yes, it is still relevant.  My work is stressful, my days still feel hectic and are often longer than 8 hours.  I am still really busy outside of work too, maintaining my relationship with my partner, family and friends, and finding time to take care of myself.  I am still striving to improve my health and become to best version of me in all areas.  I am still not rolling in the dough so I need health and wellness to fit within a budget.  I am nowhere near perfect.  I eat cupcakes when they are delivered to my work.  I drink lots of wine when hanging out with my girlfriends and some Fridays, Nick and I are just too exhausted to do anything for dinner except order a pizza.  I want fitness, health and wellness to fit into a realistic, “everyday person’s” lifestyle.  And I want to talk about how that can be possible.

In 2015, I am re-committing to this blog and I hope to learn as much as I can about the art of blogging to bring you better posts about recipes and wellness tips.  To start off, I am completing the Blogging 101 training hosted by WordPress (I am already behind on assignments – typical for my learning style!  I’ll always be a procrastinator!).  This year, you will find more posts with:

  • Recipes
  • Tips and tricks on preparing healthy meals for yourself and your family
  • Ways to fit fitness into your everyday life
  • Suggestions on how to create overall balance in your life so you always feel fulfilled
  • Plus some recaps of our adventures in the Pacific Northwest and beyond 🙂

Perfectly imperfect.scottileona.com

I look forward to meeting more people who are interested in similar topics, so please reach out!  My email is scottileona@gmail.com 🙂