Roasted Brussels Sprouts w/Dates from www.eatsrealfood.com

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Dates

Tired of roasting the same old Brussels sprouts? My Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Dates will surprise your taste buds in the most exciting way.

Brussels sprouts are in its peak season (September-mid February) and I will happily take advantage of these crunchy veggies all throughout. Members of the cabbage family, these cruciferous vegetables boast incredible nutritional value. They are packed with phytonutrients, which may help protect against certain cancers. They are also good sources of vitamin C, A, fiber and potassium, just to name a few.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts w/Dates from www.eatsrealfood.comWhen buying, choose Brussels sprouts that are smaller in size – they’re sweeter and more tender. Always peel away the top loose layer of leaves before cooking.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts w/Dates from www.eatsrealfood.comI know what you’re thinking, the addition of dates may seem a little unusual. Trust me, you will know what I’m talking about when you give these a try! It’s all about the sweet and salty that makes for a killer combination. The crunchy, salted Brussels sprouts match perfectly with soft, sweet dates.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts w/Dates from www.eatsrealfood.comThese Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Dates puts a fun spin on the classic roasted stuff (which I will forever love). And you can’t deny that the extra crispy loner leaves on the baking sheet are the BEST part. Basically like Brussels sprout chips. So gooooood.

Brussels2Happy Brussels Sprout roasting!

Gourmetzia {My Day in LA}

This past weekend was foodie filled and indulgent, I didn’t mind one bit! I checked out Gourmetzia, a food and beverage tasting event held at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The expo was filled with local gourmet and artisan trending foods and beverages. And who can forget about the free mini body massage and complimentary eyebrow consultation!

I explored the expo with fellow food blogger and friend, Tanaya. We started off strong, diving head first into some killer toffee {hello s’mores and lavender flavor} and delicious, bold-flavored honey from Urban Delights.

Urban Delights HoneyWe got our dose of protein and healthy fats from Super Butter, a premium seed butter made with roasted sunflower, sesame and flax seeds. A finger-licking combo that I could definitely eat on a daily basis – you guys know I love my sunflower seed butter!

Super Seed ButterOf course, we couldn’t resist trying cookie spread. You know, one of those horribly addicting cookie butters that you quickly develop a love-hate relationship with.

Cookie SpreadWe tasted a plethora of some of the best olive oils and balsamic vinegar I have ever tasted. I’m always a fan of the original because it’s so pure and classic, but some of the unusual combinations/flavors were brilliant: Meyer lemon, vanilla fig, blood orange, Georgia peach and many more.

Gourmet BlendsWe ran into a fellow local foodie selling her scrumptious jam and spreads.

Just Jan's JamI loved these Santa Barbara Bars (SB Bars) as a new-to-me nutrition bar. As an RD, I am always skeptic and disturbed by the abundance of health bars that are out there, claiming to be “healthy” but in fact, are not that nutritious at all. Well, I can honestly say that I really enjoyed SB Bars and they tasted great.

SB BarsI think both Tanaya and myself can agree that one of our very favorites were The Tea Room’s tea-infused chocolates. A flavor explosion in your mouth as if you were drinking a cup of tea…but better, because it is chocolate after all.

The Tea RoomOur afternoon turned out to be an all day foodie event that continued on after Gourmetzia. We grabbed a light dinner at Kazu Nori for the best hand rolls I’ve had thus far. I highly recommend it for good and quick eats if you’re in downtown LA.

Kazu NoriThe night was topped off with a first visit to Salt & Straw, a newly opened ice cream parlor on Larchmont. Originally from Portland, S&S is a locally sourced and fresh ice cream shop that creates some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had! Because their seasonal menu changes every month, I had to try the California Peaches with Lemon Crumble, added with one of their original flavors of Almond Brittle with Salted Ganache.

Salt & StrawSalt & StrawHope you all are having a great week!

The Fitness Games App Review

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by The Fitness Games through my partnership with Fit Approach as a Sweat Pink Ambassador. I was not compensated monetarily, but was provided the Platinum Version of the application for review. As always, all opinions are my own.

I had the chance to check out The Fitness Games app for iOS/Android over the past couple of weeks, thanks to Fit Approach. I love trying new ways to include fitness into my routine since it is so important to me on a daily basis. As a Sweat Pink Ambassador, I encourage others to stay active as well and find something they enjoy doing.

The Fitness Games The Fitness Games (TFG) app combines tracking workouts with social media. Deemed as the social media of fitness, it allows you to connect with other fitness enthusiasts around the world while tracking your workouts. You can save workouts that you have performed in actual time on the app and submit it for your records. Even your weights, reps, sets, time and cardiovascular activity can be tracked.

The Fitness GamesAfter logging in, it is split up into four sections: strength, cardiovascular, full body and cross training. Each section is then split up into several different pre-existing workouts, or you can create your own (you can also submit your own workouts for others to do as well). After each workout you are awarded points that will put you into a level of fitness.

The Fitness GamesWhat makes The Fitness Games fun is that you can challenge your workout partners at any time and duel it out! At first, I thought how impossible it would be to challenge one another as we have no clue what each others’ schedules are and different time zones. But rest assured, you complete the challenge on your own time, whether your workout partner completed the challenge 4 hours before you. Once you accept and finish your challenge, your score will be compared to your partner’s – who finished first/overall time and the weight of reps if applicable. You can then share who won/lost on your profile feed for others to view. Talk about competition!

The Fitness GamesThe app encourages you to post gym selfies and other inspirational pictures and videos. You can comment and like on others’ posts for motivation and vice versa. Apologies for the blurry photo below!

Workout on www.eatsrealfood.comWhat I love about TFG is that it forced me to get back into strength training. I always do the usual small amount of it when at the gym, but it brought me back to lifting weights and doing machines I haven’t touched in a few years! Strength training is so important to build lean muscle. By now, I’m sure we all know that lean muscle mass burns more fat and calories and can help prevent injuries.

Leg Machine on www.eatsrealfood.comOne of the features that I don’t like is that your activity/timer pauses if you close out of the app while completing a workout (TFG is in the process of implementing a feature that allows the app to continue running in the background). I also wish you could submit workouts after you have completed them to include in your tracker, say if you forgot to run the app while working out. I haven’t been the most consistent with running the app every time I’m working out and wish I could enter those missed days in.

Overall, The Fitness Games is a great motivational tool to increase your fitness level while having fun in the process. It also makes you accountable for skipping workouts or receiving challenges. Thanks again to Fit Approach and The Fitness Games for this fun review!

Chia Seed Fig Jam

Surviving the Heat + Chia Seed Fig Jam

You guys…LA is scorching hot right now! Or should I say, for the past couple of weeks, we’ve been hit with a giant heat wave and it’s still not over. I am currently writing this post with a big ice pack by my side. This is one of the very rare occasions where I will voluntarily take a cold shower. Although, showers seem pointless because you start sweating bullets again the second you step out. Don’t you hate that??

This heat makes me think how I ever managed to survive summers living in the dirty south. And living in beloved New Orleans with 100% humidity, when the second you step foot outside makes you feel like you’ve just rolled around in a swamp. Oh I remember, it’s called A/C! I will not give in to buying another fan as my current one is just blowing the hot air around.

California FigsBut after all of this complaining about a little heat wave, I know it could always be much worse. I am thankful for cold showers, iced tea (so I don’t have to heat up water on the stove), ice packs and shade (to at least keep the intense sun out of the way).

Chia Seed Fig Jam from www.eatsrealfood.comOn a much happier note, I have ventured into the world of chia seed jam!! No-cook chia seed jam to be correct. Thanks to my fellow food blogger friend, Dorothy {Shockingly Delicious} for introducing me to the wonderful world of no-cook jams. I am SO thrilled to be sharing this recipe with you guys! I still can’t get over how easy AND tasty this is. The best part? You can manage to whip this up in (literally) 2 minutes flat, without standing in front of boiling hot cans on the stove…in 90+ degree weather…with no A/C :)

Chia Seed Fig Jam from www.eatsrealfood.comThis Chia Seed Fig Jam is ever so slightly adapted from Dorothy’s Raw Vegan Fig-Vanilla Jam. I used local honey for my sweetener of choice and vanilla extract as that’s what I had on hand. I used Health Warrior white chia seeds – use them everyday in my overnight oats! I knew I would be making this recipe with my frozen stash of California figs, thanks to the California Fig Commission who sponsored our Figology Fest.

Chia Seed Fig Jam from www.eatsrealfood.comFig is my favorite flavor of jam, but if figs aren’t so much your thing, check out Dorothy’s other no-cook chia seed jam flavors: Raw Raspberry-Vanilla Chia Jam, Raw Strawberry-Vanilla Chia Jam and Raw Blueberry-Blackberry Chia Jam. I am most definitely giving all of these a try!