What I Ate: All the Carbs

Sunday was kind of a funny day for a lot of reasons, as things didn’t quite go as planned. My meals were also a bit out of whack compared to a normal day but since What I Ate Wednesday is all about showing you the real deal, I’m going to go ahead and pull back the curtain! Here’s what a day full of yummy carbs looks like!

Alex and I had the brilliant idea to go hiking. We live in Richmond and we’re only about an hour away from some pretty sweet mountains so this isn’t a shocking idea. It was a little crazy that we picked Sunday since it was cold and rainy but it had been raining for literally an entire week at this point and I was starting to just not even care. I just wanted to be outside! So we decided to start out with a breakfast of potatoes.

breakfast potatoes

I’m usually a smoothie-or-yogurt-for-breakfast kind of girl but we had some potatoes that needed to be used and Alex makes killer breakfast potatoes. Clearly, I wasn’t turning these down. I totally meant to have some yogurt with them but I was pretty full by the time I ate my share, so that was our complete breakfast. (I also thought about this post from Kaila, defending the potato. I’m with her!) And just to be clear, we shared that plate. I didn’t eat the whole mountain myself. ;)

So we bundle up and headed out to hike. After about an hour of driving we get to the part where Google Maps has no idea what’s going on and we’re going off directions that I found on a college kid’s blog post from 2012. Seems fine. The trouble starts when we’re supposed to go down a road that’s closed. We try another route and after a few miles of driving, we hit another road closed sign. We try a few more routes and finally realize… this hike isn’t happening.

At this point we know that we need to just cut our losses and settle for Blue Mountain Brewery. (I mean, the lazy part of me is like YAY! but the FitBit loving part of me is pretty disappointed.) Don’t worry though, the disappointment faded when this arrived at our table:

  blue mountain brewery pizza

This was the veggie pizza from Blue Mountain Brewery. It was loaded with red onions, mushrooms, cilantro, squash, goat cheese, & mozzarella on a whole wheat crust. It was wonderful. We also split a giant pretzel which I forgot to take a picture of. Oops. Carbs on carbs on carbs.  I also enjoyed a glass of Barefoot kombucha before we headed to Devil’s Backbone where I had a glass of wine. It was lovely.

By the time we got home, it was almost 8:00 and I wasn’t starving but I knew I wanted to eat something before it got too late. Luckily, I had leftovers from Friday night: Jenn’s amazing tomato soup!

tomato soup

At least I was getting in some veggies! Of course, after dinner I returned back to the carbs and had a few of these chocolate chip cookies. These things are addicting! I don’t buy them too often because they don’t last long around me, but it was a nice little treat!


Was this the healthiest day of eats ever? No. Was it delicious? Yes. Did I enjoy it? Yes. Not every day is full of veggies (although that pizza really was loaded to the top!) but it’s all about balance! Eat the salad, enjoy the cookie. Yes?

What’s the best thing you’ve eaten recently?

5 Vegetarian & Gluten Free Soup Recipes for Under $10

You guys. I love soup. I’d say I probably eat soup 4 times a week and now that the weather is cooling down, that number will just keep going up. Soups are great because they tend to be easy, cheap, and healthy. Three things I adore. So if you’re a soup-lover like me then I think you’ll enjoy some of my favorite soup recipes.

All of these recipes are vegetarian, gluten free, and can be made for less than $10!

Parmesan Tomato Soup This Parmesan tomato soup is super easy and goes perfectly with a grilled cheese!

Vegan Chickpea Tortilla Soup from I Heart Vegetables

This vegan chickpea tortilla soup is loaded with delicious veggies and fresh corn! Bonus: you can make it as spicy as you like!

Potato soup This potato soup should be renamed “the easiest soup in the world” because it’s so simple. But don’t let the simplicity of it fool you… this is some truly filling & comforting soup.

vegetarian-split-pea-soup Finally, a split pea soup recipe without ham. Also, this one is verrrry budget friendly. You could make enough for a crowd!

garlic lentil soup The first time I made this garlic lentil soup was in June. And I ate it for days because it was delicious. Skip out on the croutons if you want to keep it gluten free!

 Thinking of making these for later? Pin it so you don’t forget it!

5 Vegetarian and Gluten Free Soups for under $10 each!

 What’s your favorite kind of soup?

Chocolate Avocado Smoothie (Vegan)

You guys, I don’t know what happened.

cocoa avocado smoothie

I swear, I was trying to make breakfast. But after I flipped the switch on my Vitamix, this breakfast drink took a sharp turn to Dessertsville. Oops.

Luckily, it just tastes like dessert, but it’s still healthy enough for breakfast! And I’ve always been a fan of healthy desserts for breakfast. (Uh, have you tried these gluten free protein donuts yet?) Anyways, here’s the recipe!

chocolate chip breakfast smoothie

Chocolate Avocado Smoothie
Prep time
Total time
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 1
  • 1 small banana, ripe
  • ½ avocado
  • 1 handful of ice (about 6 large cubes)
  • ⅓ cup almond milk
  • 3 heaping tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp agave or maple syrup (optional, depending on how sweet you like it.)
  • Mini chocolate chips, granola, or coconut shreds for topping (optional)
  1. Peel the banana and the avocado and toss them in the blender.
  2. Add ice, almond milk, and cocoa powder and blend until smooth.
  3. Give it a taste and decide if you want a little sweetener in there or not. It’ll depend on how sweet you like it and also how large your banana was.
  4. Add other toppings if you like!

drippy avocado smoothie

This recipe is perfect for when you have half an avocado that is turning a bit brown. Even if it’s not beautiful, it’ll still taste amazing! And isn’t it so sad letting any avocado pieces go to wasted?! Don’t let that happen to you.

chocolate chip breakfast smoothie

So let’s raise a chocolatey glass to the weekend! It has been one crazy-busy week and I am so glad that Friday has arrived! Virginia is bracing itself for a stormy weekend so if you’re enjoying sunny skies where you are, can you send over some sunshine? I’m forgetting what the sun looks like. Seriously. This weekend I plan on wrapping up in a blanket and reading a good book. Or maybe playing in the kitchen. Basically anything that will keep me warm and dry during the storms!

Do you like sweet or savory breakfasts?

What I Ate: Saturday

I mentioned on Monday that we had a little kayaking adventure over the weekend. I would have given you more details but since water sports and photography play well together (at least, not in this case) I don’t have anything to show you. Seriously, not being able to take any pictures was kind of a bummer, especially because the scenery was quite pretty. The weather was supposed to rain all weekend but somehow we lucked out and it really didn’t rain on us much. The sun even poked its head out a few times! So on a day full of kayaking adventure… here’s what I ate! (Thanks for hosting the What I Ate Wednesday party, Arman!)

banana smoothie

I wanted a breakfast that would really keep me full so I went with a smoothie. This was 1 banana, 3 tbsp peanut flour (PB2), 1/2 cup almond milk, a handful of ice, and some almond butter on the side. I’ve been loving smoothies lately!

We spent literally the whole morning kayaking. We started with some basic technique stuff (which was good, since I was totally new to kayaking) and then we paddled down the James River until about 1:00. By the time we got home I was exhausted and starving. After a hot shower that felt amazing, I ran over to Lemon and picked up some Indian food.

aloo gobi from Lemon in Richmond Alex, being the perfect husband that he is, had me order 2 things that I wanted, and he’d eat whichever, so I also got to try the channa masala. (Plus he let me have all the leftovers for future lunches. Hes’a keeper.) We ate such a late lunch and I was SO hungry that I didn’t really do any snacking in the afternoon. That’s rare for me, but my belly was full of Indian food.

Once dinner time rolled around, I kept things simple with these black bean and corn quesadillas.

quick and easy quesadilla with black beans and corn

I posted the recipe for these on Monday because they came out so well! I honestly didn’t expect anything great when I first started putting the quesadillas together but the feta + cheddar combo was pretty delicious. We had these with some guacamole for maximum deliciousness. Anything is better with guac.

halo top chocolate ice cream

I ended up having a few bites of Halo Top to satisfy my sweet tooth later in the evening, but we went to bed fairly early so snacking was pretty minimal! It was an exhausting day but the kayaking was so much fun. We’re lucky to live in a city that has a huge river running right through it!

What’s your favorite type of take-out food?

Quick & Easy: Black Bean and Corn Quesadilla

Can I have a weekend to recover from my weekend? Alex signed us up for a 2 day kayak clinic which meant we spent 5 hours on Saturday and 4 hours on Sunday learning the ins and outs of kayaking on the river. It was really fun but definitely exhausting! Saturday evening was pretty low key around the Thomson household since we were exhausted from all the paddling and it was kind of rainy and gross out which meant we didn’t really want to go anywhere.

Dinner at home? Yes please.

black bean and corn quesadilla

I was trying to figure out what to make, knowing I wanted to use up a ripe avocado. If you’re a regular avocado consumer then you know that having an avocado that is soft but not rotten is basically a precious miracle. I couldn’t let it go to waste. But I was feeling like I wanted something more than our typical quinoa + black beans + avocado bowl. We actually had tortillas on-hand, which is kind of rare for us, so I decided to make quesadillas. Honestly, I have no idea why we don’t make quesadillas more often! They’re so easy!

black bean quesadilla w guacamole

5.0 from 1 reviews

Quick & Easy: Black Bean and Corn Quesadilla
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves 2
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 2
  • 2 large whole wheat flour tortillas
  • ½ cup frozen corn
  • ¾ cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 tbsp crumbled feta
  • ½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced (or ¼ tsp garlic powder)
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup guacamole OR 1 avocado, sliced
  • Salsa (optional)
  1. Preheat a large skillet and spray with non-stick spray (I use grapeseed oil.)
  2. To thaw the frozen corn, place in a glass bowl with 2 tbsp of water and microwave for 45 seconds. Drain and place in a mixing bowl.
  3. Combine the black beans, feta, cheese, garlic, and spices with the corn.
  4. Place one of the tortillas in the preheated pan and top with the bean and corn mixture.
  5. Cover with the other tortilla and cook on med-low heat until the cheese is melted and the tortilla begins to brown.
  6. If it’s too hard to flip, slide it off the pan onto a plate. Top with another plate and then flip it over. Scoot it back onto the pan. (That’s honestly what I did!)
  7. Once it’s done, serve with guacamole and/or salsa

Need an easy guacamole recipe? Try this 5 ingredient guacamole. I made a quarter-sized batch of this for our quesadillas!


Then sit back, relax, and enjoy your quesadilla.

Whip up a quick vegetarian dinner with this black bean and corn quesadilla! I see a lot more quesadillas (and possibly kayaking) in our future.

P.S. If gluten isn’t your thing, Udis & Food For Life make some pretty good gluten free tortillas. You could definitely swap one of those in for this recipe!

Are you a quesadilla fan?

Chocolate Chip Pecan Bars

It doesn’t happen often.

But sometimes, I throw kale caution to the wind and make a full-on-no-substitutions-no-hidden-veggies dessert.

These delicious chocolate chip pecan cookie bars are SO easy to make but they taste amazing!

I didn’t even add in chia seeds. I know. Who am I?

Truthfully, it was partly because I was making these for friends and partly because I was craving a good old fashioned chocolate chip cookie. I didn’t have the right ingredients to make a traditional chocolate chip cookie recipe so I played around with a few things and the end result was a chewy, sweet, nutty cookie bar.

yummy chocolate chip pecan bars

They came out quite good. So good that I made them twice in the same week. Oops. But sometimes you just need a real dessert. Am I right?

Chocolate Chip Pecan Bars
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
These ooey gooey pecan bars are a cross between pecan pie and a chocolate chip cookie!
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 12
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cups oats
  • ½ cup flour (I think a gluten free blend would be fine)
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup chopped pecans
  • ½ cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Spray an 8×8 baking pan with non-stick spray.
  3. Using a stand mixer (or hand mixer, whatever you have) beat together to brown sugar and butter until combined.
  4. Beat in the vanilla, maple syrup, and egg, until combined.
  5. Add in the oats, flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir by hand.
  6. Once it’s well mixed, stir in the pecans and chocolate chips.
  7. Press into the pan and bake for 15-20 minutes, until it begins to brown.

I’d recommend having a place to take these though because my goodness they’re tempting. I’ve got some singing their little siren song from my counter right now… 

Easy chocolate chip pecan bars

But sometimes you just need something sweet, right? You might want to just go ahead and pin these for later. Just to be safe.

soft and chewy chocolate chip pecan bars

Honestly, I usually try to lighten my desserts a little, so it was fun to make the “real” thing. Mmm. Chocolate.

Do you try to “lighten” your desserts or go for the real thing?

What I Ate: Weekend Recap

Saturday was one of those days where we didn’t really plan anything and we were just waiting to see where the day would take us. We woke up early, made some coffee, and ate a quick breakfast before heading out to walk around the river.

vegetarian breakfast with protein

Belle Isle

It was so foggy and we didn’t see very many people along the way. It was so beautiful!

hiking in richmond

Once we finished our walk around, we stopped by the South of the James farmers market to grab some produce before heading home.

donuts at the farmers market

Obviously we had to get a Mrs. Yoder’s donut. If you live in Richmond, then you should know about these donuts. They have magical powers. We dropped our stuff off but didn’t stay inside for long because it was so nice outside! We decided to take a walk into Carytown.

bygones carytown

We did a little window shopping and browsed around Bygones for awhile. We eventually headed home and I made chili while Alex mowed the lawn. (It’s finally starting to feel like soup/chili weather!)

vegetarian chili This was tomatoes, black beans, kidney beans, corn, and lots of garlic, cumin, & cilantro!

We spent the afternoon just relaxing. Alex watched the Wisconsin game and I caught up on some blog reading. It was nice to just sit for awhile, since we’d gotten in over 10K steps before noon!

Once we got hungry for dinner, we walked back to Carytown to grab a bite. We somehow managed to score a table on the patio at The Daily Kitchen & Bar which is tough on a Saturday night! I had the kale salad (and a few handfuls of Alex’s french fries) and I ate every bite of this giant bowl.


I love The Daily because they have so many vegetarian options. (The menu also notes gluten free options, and even paleo items.) This kale salad was so good. Our plan was to play some putt-putt after dinner but we realized that the course was about to close as we were finishing up our dinner so we settled for Sweet Frog instead. Frozen yogurt is always a good idea.

sweet frog

Not a bad way to end our Saturday! I think I needed it after all the activity. According to my FitBit, we took over 24K steps!

What’s the last thing you ate?

I’m linking up to What I Ate Wednesday!

Natural Products Expo Recap [Video]

Last week I had the chance to go to the 2015 Natural Products Expo and it was amazing.

Natural Products Expo East 2015

This expo brings together hundred and hundreds of natural product companies which include everything from household cleaners to make up. Obviously, I focused on the food vendors. ;)

There were a few obvious “natural food” trends that I saw at the show:

  •    Coconut. It seemed like everything was made with coconut oil or coconut sugar. Paleo was definitely an underlying theme, which meant coconut was everywhere. It made for some very creamy chocolates!
  •    Jerky. Consistent with the paleo-ness, there were a lot of jerky brands there. I didn’t try any of them (although there are some vegan fake jerkies out there) but there were quite a few types. I bet we’ll see more and more jerky brands emerge, at least until the paleo trend slows down.
  •    Allergen-free. Nut free, dairy free, gluten free, soy free, it seems like the lack of certain ingredients was the most popular. Brands like Enjoy Life are basically built on the allergen-free idea but other smaller brands were touting it as well.

Here’s a little video recap highlighting some of my favorite products from the show:

And here are a few others that I tried (but don’t have samples to show you!) which are worth finding:

Owl's Brew Mixers

The Owl’s Brew- this tea is specifically created to be a cocktail mixer, which is genius. It’s like a low sugar alternative to a standard cocktail. I had this “White and Vine” mixed with gin and it was fantastic. Here are a bunch of their cocktail recipes. Lower sugar cocktails? Count me in.

Bees Wraps All Nautral Wraps

Bees Wrap- These all natural wraps are made of cotton and bees wax and they’re a reusable alternative to plastic wraps. It seems like a pretty cool concept. They gave me a few to try so I’ll be testing them out this week!

neat natural nut meat alternatiive

Neat Foods- I’d been wanting to try this nut-meat from for awhile so I was glad I got to taste it. They had the Mexican mix at the display and it was awesome in tacos. It’s made from pecans, garbanzo beans, and corn meal! (Yes, a meat alternative that is soy free & gluten free!) I’ve already ordered some from Relay Foods so I can make it at home!

It was such a fun event and I’m glad I got to meet so many of the vendors behind some of my favorite products!

Love grown foods

I even got to meet Maddy from Love Grown Foods! It was so fun getting to chat with her in person! They’re such an awesome company and I love their granola & cereals so much!

Bobs red mill

Look! It’s Bob, as in, Bob’s Red Mill!

Enjoy Life Foods

How cute are these little muffin cup samples?

You’ll probably see more products popping up on my blog in the coming weeks because there are just so many to share! I had such a great time at the expo and I’m excited for more great products to hit the shelves!

Have you tried any new products lately?

Tzatziki and Chickpea Flatbread

As we were driving home from church on Sunday, I was trying to think of what to make for dinner. I knew I had some naan in the freezer and I happened to have all of the ingredients to make tzatziki so I wanted to do something with that. For a little extra protein, I decided to add some chickpeas and lately I’ve been loving my chickpeas roasted… so one thing led to another and we ended up with this super easy & delicious flatbread!

If you want to make things super simple you could use store bought tzatziki but I promise this recipe is so easy that you could make your own!

flatbread with tzaziki and chickpeas

Tzatziki and Chickpea Flatbread
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dinner
Serves: 2
  • 2 pieces of naan (I used the garlic naan from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 can of chickpeas, rinsed & drained
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cucumber
  • ½ cup plain 0% Greek yogurt
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped dill
  • Dash of salt
  • Optional: Cherry tomatoes, red onion, fresh herbs.
  1. Preheat the oven to 400
  2. Toss the chickpeas with the cumin, garlic powder, and salt.
  3. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray and spread out the chickpeas into an even layer.
  4. Pop them in the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes.
  5. They’ll start to brown and shrink a bit. Don’t take them out too early, because you really want them to get crispy!
  6. Once they’re almost done, pop in the naan to heat it up. Even if it’s frozen, it’ll probably only need a few minutes in the oven.
  7. While all of that’s cooking, you can make your tzaziki!
  8. Peel the cucumber and slice length wise.
  9. Scoop out all the seeds.
  10. Grate the cucumber using a large box grater.
  11. Squeeze the moisture out of the grated cucumber and add it a small bowl.
  12. Combine with the Greek yogurt.
  13. Using a garlic press, crush the garlic clove and add to the yogurt mix.
  14. Add in olive oil, lemon juice, dill, and salt. Stir to combine.
  15. To assemble the flatbreads, just top the naan with the tzaziki and then top with chickpeas. You can also add in a little diced onion, tomato, and/or more fresh herbs!
  16. Serve immediately!


chickpea flatbread

I really loved the creamy tzatziki with the crunchy chickpeas. And naan… well that speaks for itself. Even if you don’t like Indian food, you like naan. It’s just so soft and delicious. It made the perfect flatbread base!

chickpea flatbread

Got a little leftover flatbread? You can always use it to make this easy white pizza

white pizza

 Just saying. Naan is pretty darn versatile.

I’ve been spending the past couple of days traveling to DC and Baltimore, most recently for the Natural Products Expo. I have so much to tell you! I’m pretty sure I sampled over 100 products yesterday. I’ll be recapping my favorites on Monday! In the mean time, I hope you all have a great weekend!

What’s your favorite kind of flatbread?

What I Ate: Fruits & Veggies

We spent the past weekend at the Heritage Harvest Festival which meant that our weekend was filled with lots of food and drinks. Once Sunday rolled around, I was ready to get back into some fruits and veggies. We rolled out of bed, I started a pot of coffee and skimmed through the paper until my appetite woke up. After a little coffee, (“little” coffee = 3 cups)  I made a big bowl of banana protein ice cream.

banana protein smoothie recipe

This was a handful of ice, a splash of almond milk, a frozen banana, a scoop of peanut flour, and a dash of stevia- blended up to creamy perfection and topped with Trader Joe’s peanut butter. I love how drippy their peanut butter is. This bowl seriously tastes like ice cream! I also had a few bites of potatoes, since Alex fried up some leftover red potatoes. They were salty and delicious but I forgot to snap a photo of those!

After a bit of cleaning, I headed to Gym Quest for gymnastics. I hadn’t been to their new building so I was excited to check it out! The new gym is gorgeous. Gymnastics is always a fun way to switch up my workout! The adult class is Sundays at noon so if you’re local and you want to join, let me know! I hit Whole Foods on my way home and grabbed a few things. (Well, a few things turned into a basket of things because obviously but I mostly stuck to my list.) I was starving by this point so I had some pretzels in the car.

high protein pretzels

Have you tried these high protein pretzels from Newman’s Own? They’re made with pea flour so they have more protein than regular pretzels, but they taste exactly the same. I love these!

zucchini noodles

Once I got home, I grabbed the lone zucchini from the crisper drawer and spiralized it. I’ve started to perfect my zucchini noodle technique so I feel like these just keep getting better and better. I topped mine with Rao’s tomato basil sauce which is seriously the best sauce in all the land. I could just eat it with a spoon.

Alex and I headed to church and once we got back I started brainstorming dinner ideas. I ended up basically putting all of my favorite ingredients into one dish and it turned out to be pretty delicious. I’ll share this flatbread recipe with you soon!

chickpea flatbread

As you can see, I haven’t completely killed my dill plant yet, so I was glad to have some fresh dill for this! I think I’m going to get a cilantro plant next. Then maybe basil? I’m trying to get myself in the habit of taking care of this dill plant first. One thing at a time. I’ve killed a lot of plants this year. Oops.

Alex and I took a long walk after dinner because it was beautiful out and once we got home I had these grapes for dessert.


I feel like people either love or hate frozen grapes. I’m obviously in the love camp. I swear they taste sweeter in the freezer or something. I think I could eat these all day.

Frozen grapes: delicious or gross?

I’m linking up to What I Ate Wednesday!