Kombucha Tea Reviews…

I love kombucha tea so much I wish I could drink it everyday!  I typically buy it by the bottle at a nearby health food store.  It is pretty expensive, so I have it as a treat about once a week.  I also hear that it is easy to make at home and a whole lot cheaper.  I need to start doing that soon!  So, what is kombucha tea?  It is a fermented tea that is full of beneficial yeasts and bacteria.  It’s got antioxidants, enzymes, probiotics, and beneficial acids.  If you’re a tea lover, it taste nothing like that.  It has a totally different taste to it and to me is sort of like soda, only healthier.  It’s got the tang.  It’s got the fizz.  And I personally think it’s umm-hmm-gooood!

What is in the kombucha tea?  The basic ingredients include:  the kombucha “mother” called SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast), a portion of a kombucha starter, tea, and sugar source.  I’m not going to take the time to explain the steps today.  Perhaps at another time when I actually make my own.  However, if you are curious, check it out here KOMBUCHA-HOW-TO.

What I wanted to dive into today is my take on the different kombucha tea brands that I experimented with while I was in Austin, TX.  Since I was sort of on a “vacation” I allowed myself to have a bottle a day.  What I found interesting is the taste is different among the brands.  I’ve had some that I did not like at all.  Actually, there was one so bad, I requested the store to allow me to make an exchange for my personal favorite.  Thank goodness I was able to!  Anyhow, while in Austin, I’ve tried three different brands:  Buddha’s Brew, Kosmic, and holykombucha.

For the purpose of this review, a rating of 1-10 will be given.  A #1 means my top favorite and a #10 means my least favorite.  (Note – there wasn’t one that I did not like…I liked them all, just in a different degree)

Buddha’s Brew

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From left to right:  Hop’d, Cranberry, Tart Cherry Melon, & Pineapple Super Greens

Made in Austin, TX

Basic ingredients:  pure organic kombucha (brewed in a base of purified water, kombucha culture, fair trade organic tea & fair trade evaporated organic cane juice – used for fermentation)

1) Hop’d:  Basic ingredients plus the flavors of cascade, citra, and palisades.  I’ll be quite honest.  I had no idea what hop’d was until I checked it out online (that was after I purchased this).  Apparently it’s typically used as a flavoring and stability agent in beer which imparts a bitter and tangy taste to it.  I have also discovered that hop’d is also used in other beverages and herbal medicine.  To my surprise, I was quite impressed with the taste.  I thought it was slightly sweet & fruity.  Overall, it was an adventurous choice that is out of my preference range.  Rating – #5

2) Cranberry:  Basic ingredients plus 9% organic juices of cranberries and grapes.  I’ve always loved the taste of cranberries, so this was a must.  I liked the fruity flavor.  It’s simple, tart, and sweet.  Overall, it’s a taste I expected and I’d drink this whenever I’m not feeling well since cranberry juice is my personal choice when I am sick.  Rating – #4

3) Tart Cherry Melon:  Basic ingredients plus 9% organic juices of honeydew and tart cherries.  I absolutely love honeydew melons and cherries!  I don’t know what else to say about this other than that my taste buds were dancing!  This is a flavor I would definitely drink on a regular basis.  Rating – #1

4) Pineapple Super Greens:  Basic ingredients plus 7% juices of pineapple, apple, & peaches, and green powders (spirulina, chlorella, barley grass, spinach, and broccoli).  I really liked the combination of the fruit flavors in this drink.  Also, the green food powders did not have an overpowering effect as I thought it would (not that it would bother me, it was just an assumption).  Synergy GT Kombucha has always been my top brand, however, I’d choose this flavor over Synergy’s multi-green.  Rating – #2

Kosmic

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From left to right:  Clockwork Orange, Groovy Green, & Black Magic

Made in Austin, TX

1) Clockwork Orange:   Organic kombucha (purified water, organic tea and organic cane sugar), orange juice concentrate, and organic vanilla rice milk.    This was VERY unique for me.  It tasted more milky and I’ve never seen kombucha tea with dairy free milk in it.  Rating – #6

2) Groovy Green:   Organic kombucha (purified water, organic tea and organic cane sugar), kiwi juice, pineapple juice, coconut essence, wheatgrass powder, agave.  I’m a big fan of coconut flavor stuff, so I was looking forward to tasting this.  The other ingredients seemed interesting as well.  I liked the combination of the kiwi and pineapple flavor.  The coconut essence was subtle and just right.  Rating – #6

3) Black Magic:   Organic kombucha (purified water, organic tea and organic cane sugar), purified water, agave, organic blackberries & raspberries, organic ginger juice, and spirulina.  I liked it but did not find anything special about it.  It’s not one of my top picks and I don’t think I’d buy this flavor again because the flavors did not pop out for me.  Rating – #10

holykombucha

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1) Berry Passion:  95% holykombucha organic raw kombucha culture (brewed with purified water, kombucha culture, organic tea, organic evaporated cane juice), passionfruit puree, blueberry puree, and blackberry puree.  Made in Carrollton, TX.  I loved the fruity flavor of it and the combination, but it just didn’t seem to have that kombucha kick to it.  There was less fizz and tang that I was looking for.  Depending on my mood, I’d buy it again at a rare occurrence.  Rating – #8

Overall, of the three flavors, my top choice is the Buddha’s Brew.  I’ll have to try some more of the other flavors when I get back into Austin again.  I will keep on encouraging myself to try out the different brands and different flavors to compare and contrast.  However, to this day, I am still addicted to the Synergy GT Kombucha brand!  Maybe I’m biased because that was my first every kombucha I tried and ever since then I have not found anything close to it, until now.

Well, there you go!  That was my take on the different kombucha teas.  I’d encourage you to try it if you have not done so yet.  Don’t be surprised by the taste.  It is different.  But good in a different kind of way.  And for some, it may be an acquired taste.

So, now you tell me…Do you drink kombucha tea?  Which brand and flavor of kombucha tea do you like?

The Life of a Caddy…

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I hope you all have had a fantastic week thus far!  It’s been quite interesting and busy for me.  During the golf season (spring through fall) I work at Congressional Country Club as a caddy to earn some extra money.  I haven’t been able to work as much since the spring season began due to the fact that I’ve been busy with studies, preparation for the move, and being out of town.  This past week I’ve put in more work hours.  It’s been quite interesting.  Life in the caddy shack is CRAZY!  It’s loud.  It’s obnoxious.  And it’s full of guys.  Yes, I am the only female caddy!  Being in the caddy shack with stinky, loud, obnoxious guys just want makes me want to shoot at them sometimes.  Don’t take me wrong, not all guys are like that.  I’m not a guy and I just don’t understand guys..  But I guess guys can say the same when they’re in a room full of ladies!

There are times when I stand up and say HEY!

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The reactions on the guys faces when I come face to face with them to control the situation is priceless!

They know when not to mess with me!

Aside from the caddy shack…when I’m out on the golf course, most of the times I enjoy the work very much.  Sometimes I carry putters for the foursome playing.  Sometimes I carry a bag.  Sometimes I carry two bags at a time.  And there are times when I carry two bags and take care of the other two putters in a foursome (this is called 2 up 2 down)!  I do that and rake bunkers, read putts, wash clubs, wash balls, take care of the flag pin, and give out yardages.  These are simple examples.  People stare at me.  People wonder.  People ask.  People are impressed.  I’ve had members come up to me and tell me they’ve never seen a female caddy at the club; and some of these members have been affiliated with the club for 30+ years!  I’m a lot stronger than most people think.  And I’m pretty dang good at it 🙂

Often times I caddy for members and their guests.  However, there are days like today when I get a special opportunity to caddy for a celebrity.  Today has been quite pleasant.  I had an opportunity to caddy for Taylor Funk.  Taylor’s dad, Fred Funk, is PGA Tour Player.  Taylor will play golf at the University of Texas.  A young kid like him really amazes me.  He teed off from the back tees (where the professional golfers play) and he hits the ball quite far!  He reminds me a lot of my golfing days.  It’s funny how I see guys like him and am quite amazed, but when I was at that age, I had the same reaction from other people.  There was another younger kid in the group who was good as well.  This kid is still in high school but already accepted a golf scholarship.  Right now I’m rooting for Taylor as he plays in the US Open sectional qualifier this coming Monday at Woodmont Country Club.  So, root him on!  I know I will.

I’ve caddied for…  Professional golfers (not directly but in the same group).  Coaches.  Former and current athletes.  Business owners & developers.  CEOs.  Sportswriters.  And almost for the former president of the US – Bill Clinton (Dang…only if he wasn’t sick that day and had to cancel)!  And more…

Congressional Country Club has a tournament every year called AT&T National, hosted by Tiger Woods.  A few days before the tournament, there is an event that happens called Pro-Am.  Pro-Am is a mix of professional and amateur golfers competing for an event.  From my experience, it’s mostly sponsor related and an enjoyable time for amateurs to play with professional golfers.  The last two years that I’ve caddied for the Pro-Am, I had the opportunity to be paired up with Jim Furyk (interestingly, his professional caddy is actually a member at Congressional Country Club), Adam Scott, Rickie Fowler, and Aaron Baddeley.  I plan on caddying for this year’s Pro-Am and am wondering which professionals I’ll be grouped up with!

The thing that I really enjoy the most about caddying at Congressional Country Club is the view.  Oh, yeah…of course, I enjoy being outdoors and doing what I like to do on the golf course.  But the sight of the view on the 11th tee and especially walking down on the 18th hole.

Congressional

Somehow my entry today wounded up being about golf and caddying.  I was planning on writing a review of the different kombucha teas I’ve experimented with while in Austin, TX.  Apparently, I never got there.  It’s nice to write something different though!  Next time, kombucha tea!  I hope…

Well, I’m back on the golf course bright and early tomorrow!  So…

HAVE AN AMAZING AND BLESSED WEEKEND!

Am I willing?

I’m finally back into my normal routine again.  It has been an incredibly hectic time in the past 10 days.  I’ve been out of town for 7 days.  Traveling is always a pain in the butt, especially airports.  I’m not too fond of the metro and the airplane ride since it gives me motion sickness more often than not.  It’s hard for me to sit still, so all the waiting in lines, boarding, and sitting in the plane is not too much fun.  On top of that, my body gets out of sync due to various reasons.  I absolutely enjoyed every moment I had in Austin and a day in Houston.  The host I stayed with were incredibly welcoming, warm, and generous.  I am definitely looking forward to my move in July!  New life.  New chapter.  New adventure!

I think DC is a great place to visit, but to live here?  …that is just another story…  It is crazy.  People seem rude.  People drive crazy.  It’s noisy even for a deaf person like me.  Sirens blast every 5 minutes or so and a lot of times I think the cops just want to get through.  People choose to do whatever they want.  Today as I was taking a walk, a guy drove past me, immediately stopped which caused the brakes to squeal, then drove in reverse, turn at a corner, and continue to drive in reverse up a hill of a one way street.  Apparently he thought it’s ok to do that as long as he is driving backwards in a “forward” position.  Really?  When I arrived back in town, I could just feel the tension rising up within me.  What I’ve learned in the past 3 years is that I’m not a city girl.

In my last few posts, I’ve talked a lot about physical food.  Though I have a topic or two in mind to talk about at another time.  Let me take a break on that for now and share some spiritual food.  I read my devotion every morning as a part of my spiritual life and one of the things that stuck out the most while I was in Austin was this:

Isaiah 57:16, “I will not accuse them forever, nor will I always be angry, for then they will faint away because of me – the very people I have created.

Sometimes life seems to be in chaos and you just wonder if God is listening to your prayers.  The past 6 months or so for me has been rocky.  I’ve faced with a lot of unknowns, roadblocks, and disorganization.  I’m the kind of person that likes to plan accordingly and I’m very organized.  There has been times when I just wonder what the Lord is cooking up.  I have learned that regardless of my circumstance, I must always trust in Him.  It isn’t always easy, but that is what God has been challenging me.  Let go of my own control.  Let go of my own plans.  Let go of my own direction.

The Lord does not abandon us.  Just because things seem out of order does not mean that God has stopped working.  He has always been on our side and will always continue to be on our side.  Sometimes we just have to accept His truth and that may require a different direction than we expect.  I’ve always been determined not to get too comfortable with life.  I believe that God requires us to live out of our own comfort zone.  That is one main reason why I have been so willing to go wherever God leads me…even in DC!

To experience God more and more, we must expect to make adjustments.  The Lord works on our character..fine tuning it where it needs.  We will always be challenged.  I think that the biggest thing to ask ourselves is, “Am I willing?”  Am I willing to follow His lead?  Am I willing to work on areas in my life that needs adjustments?  Am I willing to seek Him?  Am I willing to let go of my own pride?  Am I willing to forgive?  Am I willing to trust completely in Him?  Am I willing to make sacrifices?  Am I willing to rest in Him?  Am I willing to live out of my comfort zone?  Am I willing…?

I have been faced with some things that I realized that I just needed to let God have control.  This isn’t a recent thing.  It has been a life-long challenge.  Little by little the Lord challenges me further.  That’s the beauty of having a personal relationship with the Lord.  We are driven to draw closer and closer to Him.  At least, it’s been that way for me.

“Lord, sometimes it seems You aren’t on my side.

But I want to be in perfect sync with You.

Draw me into Your purposes completely.” 

Mother’s Cafe & Garden

Happy Sunday!  I hope you’re having an amazing weekend so far!  Yesterday was quite busy for me.  Well, more of a lot of driving because it’s about a 3 hour drive from Austin to Houston, so I spent about 6 total hours of driving.  I went to Houston for the NASM personal trainer workshop.  A lot of the stuff felt like a review to me, however, I was able to benefit the additional tips for the final certification exam.  It was also nice to see my online teacher in person.  I’m glad I attended the workshop and that I also got to see a little bit of Houston.  Houston is definitely different compared to Austin.  After the workshop ended, I went to Souplantation & Sweet Tomatoes to eat a late lunch.  If you have never heard of that restaurant, it’s a salad buffet with the freshest ingredients.  I think it’s awesome!  If there is one in your area, go and check it out!  When I got back to Austin, I spent all evening chatting with the guest I am staying with.  We talked for hours!

It’s been such a busy week so far and I decided to really take it easy today and enjoy a quiet time by myself today.  No alarms went off this morning.  Went for a nice short run.  Had a nice breakfast.  Took care a few things that needed to be done today.  I usually take Sunday completely off from everything and just take it easy, but my schedule this week has been hectic so I had to put some things off to this morning.  As soon as I got that out of the way, I went out for a little bit.

I may be a dork when it comes to natural foods and stuff like that, but I LOVE finding different places that sell natural foods.  I like finding anything new or different about them.  One of the things I do when I visit different cities is check out Whole Foods Market because I like to compare and contrast the differences.  Today I didn’t go to Whole Foods Market, but I did find some local natural food stores and co-ops.

After some browsing, I decided it was time to eat again.  So, I went to Mother’s Cafe & Garden.  The place felt very warm and inviting.  The atmosphere was calm and pleasant.  The waitress was very nice.  Although it’s not 100% vegan, it is very vegan-friendly.  There were so many options to choose from and a lot of them can be adjusted to vegan.

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Ever since arriving to Austin, I was determined to do things that is not my normal routine.  That includes trying different foods and drinks.  I had no idea what I was craving for.  In fact, I even thought about just going to Whole Foods Market and get something simple from the salad bar, but I told myself NO!  I’m glad I listened to my instinct.  First, I was served with some free chips and salsa.  Sure, why not!

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It took me a while to decide what I wanted to eat, but after like 10 minutes or so I finally decided. I thank the waitress for her patience because she came by my table three times before I said I was ready!  I thought this sounded interesting so this is what I had.

SPICY TEMPEH ENCHILADAS

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This dish was served with a side of brown rice and black beans.

I’ve got to say that it was very good!  I think what caught my attention with this choice is the spicy cashew chipotle sauce.  I was more in the mood for tempeh than tofu.  I wanted something spicy.  And the sauce sounded intriguing.  I just had to taste it.  It is definitely NOT a traditional mexican sauce.  It was thicker and creamier.  Great choice!

The waitress asked if I wanted dessert.  I kindly declined because I had better plans for later in the day.  You’ll see…

After lunch, I decided to check out the Baylor Street Art Wall.  It was interesting.  People brought spray paint to do any graffiti art they wanted.  Art after art after art is overlapped.  I didn’t do anything, but just observe and climb up the walls so I can see the overlooking city.  I wasn’t there for long, but it was relaxing and cool to watch some of the people with their art talents.

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This place is sponsored by the HOPE Campaign and is one of the largest outdoor art galleries.

Finally, the moment I’ve been waiting for all week!  Prior to coming to Austin, I was looking for a vegan ice cream spot to try out.  I figured because Austin is very vegan-friendly, they must have some vegan ice cream places around.  Yup, indeed!

SWEET RITUAL

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This place was unique in a way that the space is shared with another business.  Sweet Ritual and JuiceLand.  After having a few samples, I decided what I wanted.  When it comes to ice cream, I can eat A LOT!  And I’ve had to come to master the art of self-control – AHEM, I THINK…  I hope you’ll agree with me that when it comes to pricing, I’d like to get more out of my money 🙂  1 scoop was $3.50, 2 scoops was $4.50, and 3 scoops was $5.50.  Yeah, that’s right…I got three scoops!  Better yet, three scoops of different kinds.  To my credit, the scoops weren’t that big.  Honestly.  Overall, I’d say that the cost was a little high.  Even for one scoop, $3.50 is high.

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Starting from the top-right, going clockwise:  toasted coconut, hokey pokey (apparently this is some kind of European inspired ice cream made of sweet caramel), and peanut butter cup.

Simply one word:  YUM-O!

Well, it’s back to the grind tomorrow.  Got a few more appointments and people to meet in the next two days.  Busy, busy, busy! Have a great evening and I’ll catch up again soon!

THANKS FOR READING!

Beets Living Foods Cafe

It has been another fantastic day here in Austin.  The weather has been surprisingly pleasant, which is unusual at this time of the year from what I hear.  It’s been in the 80s and sunny.  The morning is cooler and that makes my runs just perfect!  I’m starting to run a little more now ever since my foot injury.  It’s been tough telling myself to take it easy because I noticed that when I started running after I allowed my foot to heal, I still experienced some stiffness or strains.  This week is the first time my foot actually felt good.  My runs haven’t been long, but I’m gradually getting there.  That’s all I really should be doing.  Patience.  Time.  And eventually I’ll be racking up more miles!  Speaking of working out, I’ve started to add in more core, balance, and plyometric trainings.  I am SO amazed how much impact it has on my body.  I believe the balance trainings have really helped my foot get stronger because I’ve improved my balance agility, especially in my lower leg.  I’m really loving the NASM studies I’m doing and I’m learning a lot about a systematic approach to training.  I’m becoming a true believer!  I look forward to helping many more people achieve their fitness goals!

Oh my goodness!  I cannot get enough of the delicious foods I’m eating so far in Austin.  It has been pretty awesome.  I just hope I don’t gain 5 pounds this week with all the foods I’m wanting to try!  LOL!  After visiting a few more apartments this morning, I decided on a place and filled out an application.  I’m just awaiting on approval after submitting some documents of proof.  *crossing my fingers*  The rent cost is a little higher than I wanted, but a lot of other apartments I’ve visited have been similar.  But this apartment I am interested in has FAR BETTER amenities to offer compared to other places with the best price.  More bang for my buck!  Ultimately, it’s all in the Lord’s hands.  If it works out, great!  If not, then I’ll keep looking.

Anyhow, today I went to Beets Living Foods Cafe for lunch.  It’s the first time in my life I’ve eaten at an all raw food restaurant. I’ve been wanting to do that for a while, but most places are ridiculously expensive.  This was a nice cute cafe and much more affordable than most I’ve seen.

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As I was reading the menu, I felt quite overwhelmed because everything looked so good and I wanted to try everything!  Of course, I’ll have plenty of more opportunities to eat other selections on the menu as soon as I move here.  I decided to ask the server for recommendations and this is what I ended up ordering…

RAW REUBEN SANDWICH

Raw Reuben plate

Raw Reuben Sandwich served with a side of beets salad and veggie chips.

Raw Reuben Sandwich

Raw Reuben Sandwich – Sunflower flatbread layered with 1000 island dressing, kraut, marinated portabella mushrooms, caramelized onions, and swiss cashew cheeze.

Beets Salad

Beets Side Salad – beets, orange juice, lemon juice, parsley, chives, & mint.

Veggie Chips

Dehydrated sweet potatoes and regular potatoes and seasonings.

I was very impressed with this meal.  It was light.  It was delicious.  I felt excited eating my first raw meal at a restaurant.  I savored every bite.  I even cut a small piece of the sandwich and took it apart to taste each of the separate ingredients.  I was just fascinated how it tasted.  For the rest of my sandwich, I ate it normally.  It was just so YUMMY!

Okay, I wasn’t planning on ordering dessert because I was invited to go out for dinner with the couple I’m staying with during my stay, so I wanted to make sure I had room for dinner (I had lunch a little late).  BUT…when I saw the desserts behind the glass display…I couldn’t resist.  Wait until you hear about this…I just had to try it!

BLUEBERRY LAVENDER CHEESECAKE

Blueberry Lavender Cheesecake

Cheesecake filling – cashews, blueberries, brazil nut milk, coconut water, agave, lemon juice, lavender, & coconut oil; crust – walnut, raisin, coconut palm sugar, & cinnamon.

AND…

VANILLA MACAROONS

Vanilla Macaroons

Coconut flakes, almond pulp, agave, maple syrup, coconut oil, salt, & vanilla.

WHAT?!?!?!  Oh, heck yeah!  The cheesecake was a normal size slice, but the macaroon was bite size.  Honest!  The macaroons was just eaten in two bites (dont be deceived by the image).  That’s why I got it.  Small enough not to feel guilty to order two desserts…LOL.  Who’s with me on this one?  The cheesecake was just delicious.  It was quite unique.  I’ve made different kinds of raw vegan cheesecakes before, but not this one.  I’m glad I tried it.  The macaroon was just simple and tasty.  I’ve always loved macaroons, so I just had to try this.  Again, YUMMY!

Alright, that’s all for today!  I’ve got a long day ahead of me tomorrow.  I’m waking up EARLY…like 5am, so I can drive to Houston for the personal training workshop.  I’m looking forward to it!  I’m almost completed with my studies and will take the final exam soon (within the next month).  I hear that it’s pretty tough, so pray for me to do well.  Thanks!

I hope you are enjoying all the information I’ve been sharing the last few days.  I know I’ve been focusing a lot on food in the past few posts.  Soon, when I get back to my normal routine, I’ll be keeping my posts more balanced.  Have an amazing weekend!

Catch up with you soon!  Take care 🙂

Counter Culture Restaurant

Traveling by plane is tiring and I always get a headache.  Part of the reason is lack of water consumption (less than my normal intake).  I didn’t want to go to the bathroom on the plane.  I never do.  UNLESS I have to!  On top of that, often times I’m hungry.  I could have brought some snacks along with me, but I didn’t due to various reason.  After I landed yesterday and got my rental car, I bumped into an employee who realized I was deaf and started signing to me.  Of course, we chatted for some time.  She was a nice lady and started learning sign language a few years ago and has been eager to continue to learn.  She’s been going to the Texas School for the Deaf sign language classes.  Cool.  “What a nice welcome to Austin,” I thought.

At this point, I was famished.  So, I was thinking where I wanted to eat.  I remembered my list.  I made a list of places I wanted to go and to eat prior to arriving to Austin.  Counter Culture Restaurant was one of them.  It was close and on the way to my destination, so why not?

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Side view

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Front view

“Okay,” I thought.  This is interesting.  The restaurant was located in a “not-so-busy” area.  It’s older looking, yet cozy.  It had an indoor eating area as well as an outdoor patio area.  “This will be fun,” I thought.  As soon as I sat down and reading the menu, I had a difficult time deciding what to order.  I wanted to try it all!  After reading through the menu carefully and relying on my cravings, this is what I ended up having.

Like I said, I was really hungry, so I decided to go all the way and treat myself a full meal.  I began with the appetizer…

RAW BRUSCHETTA

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House-made flax crackers topped with cashew cheeze, pesto & local tomatoes.

The raw bruschetta was really yummy!  It was so good I was tempted to order another batch.  I probably would have if I realized that appetizers were half off during happy hours (I didn’t realize that until after I got the check).  This is definitely something I want to learn to make.  It’s simple.  And I have an idea of how to make it.  So YUMMY!  And now onto my main meal…

BEET MUSHROOM & WALNUT BURGER with PAC MAN SALAD

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Beet, mushroom, & walnut patty topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo, mustard, ketchup, & cashew cheeze with a whole wheat bun; and a side salad of kale, carrot, chia seeds, & creamy dressing.

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Up close:  What the burger looked like after cutting it in half.

I didn’t see this option on the menu via the internet, but it was on the menu in the restaurant.  There were so many additional options.  Like I said, I didn’t know what to pick!  I chose this one because it’s something I have never had before and I decided to be adventurous!  Double YUMMY!

You’d think I’d be full by now.  Actually, I was quite satisfied, but with my sweet tooth, I couldn’t resist trying the dessert.  When I saw that there were “finger-food” options, I was delighted!  Here comes the dessert…

 RAW CHOCOLATE COVERED DONUT HOLES & RAW BROWNIE BITES

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Chocolate Covered Donut Holes (right):  Almonds, dried pineapple, shredded coconut, & dates covered with chocolate,

Brownie Bites (left):  Almond flour, walnuts, raisins, & date paste.

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This is what the inside of the donut hole looks like.

I couldn’t just pick one.  And since it’s bite-sized, I picked two!  What a great decision!  There were other desserts on the menu and specials of the day.  Since these were bite-sized and I wanted just more than one…it was perfect.  Triple YUMMY!

Appetizer, main meal, and dessert!  My tummy was happy!  Counter Culture Restaurant is definitely the spot to go.  If you’re ever in Austin, TX, go check it out!  You won’t be disappointed.  And here’s pretty good proof…

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Voted as best vegan/vegetarian of Austin

Nothing special really happened today other than a long day of apartment hunting.  However, it was nice to end the day with friends for dinner.  I’m pooped now and ready for bed!  I’ll do my absolute best to share more of my discoveries this week.  Have a blessed evening!

Outrageous!

Okay, so I’m sitting near the gate at Orlando International Airport waiting to board in about 30 minutes, munching on snacks.  I got hungry!  Snacks and other foods aren’t typically healthy on the plane, from my perspective.  So, upon landing, I was hoping to find some good snacks.

I’m surprised in two extreme ways:

1) Positive extreme:  Airports (maybe not all – but this one, yes) seem to improve the selection of foods in terms of unhealthy and healthy.  I didn’t want something heavy, so I went on a scavenger hunt for healthy snacks.  To my surprise, I found some good vegan selections and even raw snacks!  Here’s what I enjoyed:

Pure Organic Bar

Pure Organic – dark chocolate berry bar.

I’ve had this bar in the past, however, I’ve never seen it in this flavor.  It was really good!

Bai5 Molokai Coconut

Bai5 – molokai coconut

Yes, one of my favorite drinks.

2) Negative extreme:  Airports are ridiculous when it comes to prices.  Every time I travel through airports, I’ve gain greater appreciation for places like Whole Foods Market because it makes them seem cheap.  Airports are outrageous.  It’s insanity!

THE TOTAL COST OF MY SNACK WAS…  $7.01

Absolutely insane!

Well, that’s all for today’s short post.  I’m on my way to Austin, TX for several reasons.  I plan to make some stops at several places and hope to share with you my experiences and findings!  Looks like I have about 10 minutes before I board the plane, so I gotta go…

Have a blessed day!

My first experience with wheatgrass…

Yo everybody!  I hope you’re having an amazing week so far!  Last week was an incredibly busy week for me.  I had so many errands to do, studies to focus on, and then I attended to the Global Deaf Women ‘Power of Me!’ conference over the weekend!  The conference was awesome!  It was a time for me to learn about starting a successful business and what better way to be a part of awesome deaf ladies?!?  I have dreams of being a business owner in giving fitness (personal training) and food (cooking services and online resources/vlogs) consultations.  It was a weekend of information overload, network developing, and friendship building.  I am so excited to see what the Lord has in store for me!

I didn’t get a chance to post a blog last week, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about what I wanted to share with you all!  You’ll see why in this post.  I wanted to be sure to post it tonight before the rest of this week gets increasingly busy.

Wheatgrass.  Have you ever heard of it?  Or even tried it?  I’ve tried it before at juice and smoothie places.  The taste is definitely an acquired taste.  And it does help to eat something that is citrus (such as an orange).  I’ve read some stuff about wheatgrass over the internet in the past couple of years and have been wanting to try growing my own.  I never got around to it.  Until now…

I’ve mentioned in my past post that I’m trying to clean up my pantry with creative recipes so I don’t have to pack anything or waste any food when it comes a time for me to move out.  Eeeeek!  Only a month and a half to go!  So much to do, so little time!  Anyways, I had some wheat berries that I haven’t used in a while.  Wheatgrass came to my mind!  Why not do an experiment?  Before I start showing you my experiment, what is wheat berry and wheat grass?  Wikipedia states as the following:

Wheat berry – is the entire wheat kernel (except for the hull), composed of the bran, germ, and endosperm.

Dry wheat berry

Here is what a dry wheat berry looks like.

Wheat grass – is a food prepared from the cotyledons of the common wheat plant.  The benefits include chlorophyll, amino acids, mineral, vitamins, and enzymes.

Now, onto the steps…

Step 1:  Take the wheat berries, rinse, and soak in water for about 12 hours.

Soak 12hrs

Step 2:  Rinse the soaked wheat berries and spread out in a pan.

Rinsed

Step 3:  Allow the wheat berries to sprout in the next 1-2 days (it took me 1 1/2 days).

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Rinsed & sprouted after 12 hours – tiny tail sprouts emerging.

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Rinsed & sprouted after 24 hours – you can start to see the tail sprouts.

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Rinsed & sprouted after 36 hours – now you can really see more of the tail sprouts.

Step 4:  Rinsed the sprouted wheat berries & plant on top of soil.

Day1

Day 1 – The initial day of planting.

Day3

Day 3 – You can see the grass coming up!

Day5

Day 5 – I was gone for a conference and imagine my surprise when I arrived home!!!  A lot more has grown.

Day7

Day 7 – I couldn’t wait any longer, so this is my final product.  The smell is so fresh!

Step 5:  Snip the grass, wash, and use a good quality juicer to extract the juice.

Juice1

Juice2

Two different angles to see it from.  I didn’t have a shot glass, so this little bowl will do!

What can I say about this?  Well, the taste is, ummm, very green and it’s definitely an acquired taste.  Maybe it has something to do with the wheat berry itself.  I think, normally, a hard wheat berry is preferred for growing wheat grass, but I only had soft wheat berry.  After I had my shot, I had to suck a little bit of the left over lemon I had, which I used for my homemade tahini dressing.  I “mowed” down about a half of the final product (day 7 picture above) to make this small about of juice (approximately 2 ounces).

Would I drink more wheat grass juices in the future?  Yes, of course!  I believe my taste buds will get used to it.  And I know my body will be happy!  This brings me memories of when I tried cacao nibs for the first time.  It was so bitter.  But now I absolutely love cacao nibs and can eat it straight from the spoon!

If you haven’t learned about this in the past, I hope today was interesting for you!  I’m trying to think of creative ways to use the wheat grass juice.  Maybe in a smoothie.  Maybe as a mix with other fresh juices.  Or just continue to drink it straight up!  If you have any experiences or suggestions, feel free to comment below!  I would love to hear what you have to share.  Well, have a great week!  Until next time, take care 🙂

While I Am Waiting…

While I am waiting, God is at work.

It seems to me that I’ve been doing a lot of waiting in the past year, and even more so in the past 6 months.  And I hate waiting…  I’m the kind of person that plans things accordingly.  I like to know what’s ahead of me.  Ask anyone that knows me.  I’m meticulous.  I’m organized.  I’m a planner. Sometimes the waiting “kills” me.  But I am learning.  I believe that as I go through this season of my life in waiting, God is teaching me to trust in Him even more.

I believe things happen for a reason.  I’ve said that before.  And I keep saying it to reinforce myself that everything works out according to the Lord’s plan regardless of what it looks like in front us (Romans 8:28).  Bad things do happen.  Great things do happen.  We struggle at times.  We can be victorious at times.  Life is like that.  It’s a journey.  And I choose to trust in God in that journey.  But, there are some things in my life that I’ve been praying about but have not been answered.

For example, I’ve been praying for a husband.  Where is that amazing man of God whom wants to pursue me for the rest of our lives?  I’m 32 years old and I often wondered why I’m not married yet.  There have been times when I thought I met that special someone, but only was left brokenhearted.  However, I do like this quote, “A woman’s heart should be so hidden in Christ, that a man should have to seek Him to find her.” – Maya Angelou.  Somewhere out there a man is seeking God to find me.  While I am waiting, God is at work.  

Recently I’ve come face-to-face with my fears.  I’ve been putting off my dreams for a while because I doubted myself, my abilities, and the hardship I may face.  As soon as I made the decision to boldly face my fears head on and take a huge leap of faith in my career goals, I’ve smashed into some walls really hard.  The culinary school I applied to denied me due to discrimination reasons.  And because of that, everything else in my life seems to be out of order because that forced me to make another important decision.  To move or not to move.  I have decided to take that leap of faith to move and start a new life and continue to pursue my dreams.  I’m working alongside a lawyer fighting for my rights.  I refuse to give up.  I’m standing up for myself.  There is nobody in this world who can tell me I can’t do this or that.  I’m searching for jobs.  I’m studying to become NASM certified.  I’m looking for a place to live (in a new state).  I’m moving forward in faith.  While I am waiting, God is at work.

Psalm 40:1-3,I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.  He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.  Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.

God is so good, all the time.  And all the time, God is good.  And I have to say…  While I’ve been waiting on God, I’ve been in the kitchen!  So, I need to start building up my recipe collection!  Here’s a really simple and healthy recipe for you to try.

Healthy Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies

Cookies

INGREDIENTS:

3 large bananas, mashed

2 tbsp ground flax seeds

1 scoop Sun Warrior, Warrior Blend vanilla protein powder

1 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

DIRECTIONS:

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2) In a medium bowl, mash the bananas until smooth.

3) Add in the ground flax seeds, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Mix well.

4) Add in the protein powder, oats, and coconut flakes until well combined.

5) Scoop the batter into a 1-inch size balls on a parchment lined baking dish.  Pat down to make it more cookie-like.

6) Bake for about 15 minutes, flip, and bake for another 10-15 minutes (or until desired dryness).

7) Allow the cookies to cool completely before storing them in ziploc containers in the fridge.  It also freezes well!

It really is guilt free.  No added sugars.  All natural.  It can even be a quick energy snack before or after a workout!  It makes about 20 small cookies, or you can make them into bigger bars (but beware cooking times may be a little bit altered).  I think this is one of my most favorite snacks and I make it quite often.  

Well, that’s all folks!  I hope you had an amazing weekend!  And remember, when you feel like nothing is happening in your life, just say this to yourself:

While I am waiting, God is at work.

New Website Update!

Hey there!  I’m so excited to share some news.  For the past year and a half I’ve been brainstorming and working on creating a website that incorporates food, fitness, and faith.  After lots of thinking, modifying, and changes I think I’ve found the best solution for the time being.

Originally, I was going to create a new website using a different site, but I had a difficult time trying to link together my current blog, my recipe blog, and the website.  I didn’t want too many separate sites coming together as one.  It just seemed too complicated and I wanted to keep things simple.  It probably should not have been hard, but sometimes I tend to over-complicate or over-think things.  In addition, it was a process of learning as I was trying to figure out what works and what would not.

The past couple of weeks my brain has been operating non-stop.  Literally!  I have had a few nights I just couldn’t sleep because ideas were coming up and trying to figure how things could work.  I have been thinking, brainstorming, and praying a lot in the past couple of weeks regarding this site.  I’ve come to the realization that the title of my blog from the time I created it around 2008 from another site (I transferred to this site later in 2010) is, in fact, perfect and that I could simply expand it.

Running the Race:  The Life Story + Wholesome Quest = Food, Fitness, and Faith

I almost felt like it was what God knew from the beginning, but only time would unfold to something greater.  I’m not the only one that has a story.  From the beginning, I’ve shared a lot of insights, personal stories, and my spiritual faith.  As I have been on this journey, I’ve shown great passion for food and fitness.  My spiritual life has been a journey (the original purpose of the blog), but ALSO the food and fitness aspect of my life has been a journey as well!  I’ve noticed that I’ve added more posts in a wider variety.  So, it made perfect sense to combine it wholly.

Running the Race:  The Life Story ⇒ My life has been, is, and will always be a journey.  Your life is a journey as well.  I invite you to run your race, share your story, and continue to grow in this journey!  Where did you come from?  How did you get to this point?  What are your passions and dreams?

Wholesome Quest ⇒ Every person is different.  We like different things in life whether it’s food, exercise, hobbies, etc…  I invite you to find what works for you.  Embrace the path that is healthy for you.  What areas in your life do you want to change?  How will you go about in achieving that?

Feel free to take the time to browse through the updated site.  Keep in mind that I am still in the process of adding some things (such as social network links, recipes, etc…), so bear with me!  Enjoy, subscribe/follow my website, and share with others!

In closing, I’d like to share another favorite drink of mine.  I’ve mentioned in the past that I’m addicted to GT’s Kombucha.  My top flavors are Trilogy and Passionberry Bliss.  There are a few others I like, but I tend to buy these two very often.  I hope to start making my own komubcha tea soon.  I will.  But right now, one of my other favorite drink is Bai.  My top three favorites are Molokai Coconut, Sumatra Dragonfruit, and Ipanema Pomegranate.

Here’s the pic:

Bai5

Remember, you are awesome!  The best is yet to come.  Not just for me, but for you as well!

HAVE A BLESSED WEEKEND!