Trips Around Stars.

I celebrated another successful trip around the big star with an extended weekend in Napa.  It was an amazing trip filled with hot air ballooning, wineries, good food, and friends & family.  Just about the best way to celebrate, ever.


Hot air ballooning in Napa is rad!


The BEST iced coffee! And in that bag was an amazing almond croissant.  Birthday weekend, y’all.

I was incredibly luck to go to the Morlet winery and attend a private (there were 5 of us) tasting conducted by Luc Morlet himself.  The tasting lasted 2 hours and we easily could have stayed another hour.

I learned an enormous amount from Mr. Morlet, not only about wines (as the wine critic, Robert Parker stated, “Run, don’t walk” to purchase his wine), but also about life.  He is brilliant, passionate, and his philosophy about wines I extrapolate here towards life:

You must let nature shape your path.

I always take some time on the day of my birth to reflect on where I’ve been and where I’d like to go.  And what I realized this time around is how much easier it is when I let nature shape my path.  When I take the time to pause a moment and listen to the universe, or my intuition, or my gut, or whatever else you want to call it, I make better choices.  (Yes, I am a little bit of a hippie and proud of it!)

But when I come up with some lack-goal (see my previous post about this if you just went, huh??) that a magazine or some other artificial source of inspiration told me I should want, things tend to go sideways.  And feel really shitty.  Why?

Because it’s not my path.  It’s someone else’s. 

Honestly, it’s hard sometimes for me to do this.  To make choices that others view as weird, or crazy, or that they just don’t understand.  I want approval just as much as anyone! But in my acquired wisdom, I now know that approval is fleeting and shallow.  It doesn’t last much more than a minute, really, and then you’re back with yourself, like you will always be, feeling icky because you just experienced a moment of approval for something you don’t really want. Let YOUR nature shape YOUR path.

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m not wasting any more trips around stars on someone else’s path.  That’s just insane.


No filter.  Seriously.


The tasting here was a game-changer.  I HIGHLY recommend it!


This week’s recipe is from the blogger fANNEtastic food. I make these egg muffins at least twice a month for clients.  They hold up really well.  Make them in advance and then grab and go on your way to work!

Scrambled Egg Muffins

  • 9 eggs
  • 1/2 cup chopped spinach
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup spelt flour or whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • Optional: 1/4 cup chopped cooked bacon or turkey bacon or smoked salmon
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.  Lightly oil a muffin pan.
  2. Add the spinach, cheese, tomato, basil, and bacon (if using) to a mixing bowl.
  3. Whisk the eggs in a separate bowl.  Add milk and flour and combine until the lumps disappear.  Add salt and pepper.
  4. Pour the eggs over the other ingredients, mix.
  5. Using your 1/3 measuring cup, pour the liquid directly into the pan.
  6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, checking to make sure they are done.

Nicole’s Notes:

  • One trick I use when cooking with more than 5 or 6 eggs is using my blender to mix them as I do not have the forearm strength to whisk 9 eggs!  I then add the milk, flour, salt, and pepper directly to the blender.  Voila!

Questions? Thoughts? I’d love to hear from you!  Head over to my website and leave a comment.

Eat well.

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We SERIOUSLY are all the same!

We go through our days wrapped up in our life. Our trials and tribulations that we believe are uniquely ours: work, kids, traffic, husband, wife, friends, eating, when am I going to exercise?, my life is so crazy, I just don’t have time! But recently, through an exercise done with the running teams I coach, what became blindingly obvious was this:

Even though we are unique and wonderfully weird and crazy in our own way, we all worry and stress about the same shit.

 So this was the workout:

  1. Write down a grudge or a bad habit or something that you always worry or stress about that you will COMMIT to letting go of for two months. Next run a mile as fast as you can. The pain you feel running that mile is a symbol of that negative pattern leaving your body.
  2. Now you write down something positive you are committed to manifesting in your life. It can be anything and it does not have to be connected to what you chose to let go of. Then you run a mile at a nice easy pace and come up with action steps you will take in order to manifest your intention.

First of all, I take no credit for coming up with this workout. so when I say it’s brilliant, I am not merely bragging. It was a powerful experience for a lot of my runners. And when I read what they wanted to give up or let go of, guess what? They were all the same. Out of roughly 130 runners, they broke down into 3 categories:

  1. Body image. Too skinny, too heavy, not fast, not strong, whatever. We all have it and we all seem to be worrying about it.
  2. Finances. Regardless of how much or little someone makes, they still stress about money.
  3. Relationships. They want one, they don’t want one, their kids are making them crazy, their friendships aren’t satisfying, they feel disconnected from their coworkers – you get the idea.

While we worry and stress and COMPARE (see my last blog about the comparing if you didn’t already read it) ourselves to others, they are busy doing it, too. NO ONE escapes it, so why don’t we all just stop? Stop because what has the worrying and stressing ever done for you anyways? Did it make it better? Did it resolve it?

I know the answer! NOPE.

Worry 2

This is not to belittle the challenges that life just loves to throw at us, but holding on to grudges and bad habits and negative self-talk are NOT productive and, ultimately, destructive. Focus on what you can change RIGHT NOW IN THIS VERY MOMENT and let everything else go. All that other stuff does is rob you of your happiness and joy. And you should all know by now how I feel about joy. It’s my drug, my reason for being. Get on that joy train, people! Or, as one of my most favorite people to quote, states:

life is short

You know something you can do right now in this very moment? Make this quiche. It is so, so easy and absolutely delicious. And the variations are endless.

Spinach and Feta Quiche with a Quinoa Crust

Taken from Cooking Light.

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa, chilled
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 (5-ounce) bag baby spinach
  • ½ cup low-fat milk
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 5 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  1. For the crust, preheat the oven to 375F.
  2. Combine quinoa, pepper, and egg in a bowl, stirring well. Press mixture into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes; cool.
  3. For the filling, heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add oil and onion; sauté 3 minutes. Add spinach; sauté 3 minutes. Remove from heat; cool.
  4. Combine milk and next 5 ingredients in a boil; stir with a whisk. Arrange spinach mixture in crust; pour egg mixture over spinach. Sprinkle with feta. Bake at 375 for 35 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes; cut into 4 wedges.

Questions?  Thoughts? I’d love to hear from you!

Eat well.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”

I was hesitant to write this post. It’s not the sort of topic I usually write about, but that quote by Theodore Roosevelt got to me and I just couldn’t shake it.

He was right. Comparison is TOTALLY the thief of joy.

Often with clients I discuss how destructive it is to compare yourself to others. And we all do it. We look at someone in the gym, in the grocery store, at work, or in a magazine, and the comparisons begin:

She’s SO skinny. (I’m not)

Her hair is so shiny and long. (mine isn’t)

Wow, she is really strong and fast. (I’m slow and weak)

He has a really great car. (my car sucks)

He is super successful. (I’m not)

What’s the common thread? All comparisons begin with lack. Something you don’t have, that you think that other person has, that you know you need in order to be happy.

Joy stolen.

But, and please, please get this: YOU MADE IT UP. It’s not “true”. It’s your story. And guess who is the only person that notices the lack?

You.

This is a form of negative self-talk that we all do and it must stop. It is disempowering. It achieves the opposite of what you want. It stops you before you even start: “I can’t workout at the gym, those people are all in great shape and I’m not!” Really?? That doesn’t even make sense when you look at it written down, but I can’t tell you how many times someone has said that to me.

Or, “Nicole, I’m not as disciplined as you when it comes to food.” Um, I did not come out of the womb eating kale and quinoa. I had a HUGE sugar addiction that I battled for most of my 20’s. Oreos, Ding Dongs and Sour Patch Kids were my jam! Seriously. Ask my mom.

We are all wholly, beautifully, perfectly, fucked up human beings. ALL of us. And that is just as it should be. So stop comparing. Stop taking your joy away. Experience joy.  Every day.

Three-pink-daisies

You know what brings me joy?  When I prepare a recipe that turns out crazy good.  This is one one that I would have NEVER guessed would taste as good as it did.  Even my son liked it and asked for seconds!

Savory Cauliflower Cake

Taken from Eating Well.

  • 1 medium head of cauliflower (about 2 pounds), trimmed and broken into small florets
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • ¾ teaspoon caraway seed, ground or crushed
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon salt, divided
  • ¾ cup garbanzo bean flour
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour blend
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 jarred roasted red pepper, rinsed and chopped (about ½ cup)
  • ¾ cups crumbled feta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, divided
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper
  2. Bring about 1 inch of water to a boil in a large pot fitted with a steamer basket. Add cauliflower and steam until tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until tender and golden, about 8 minutes. Add caraway seed, coriander, crushed red pepper and ½ teaspoon salt; cook, stirring , until fragrant, about 1 minute. Gently stir in the steamed cauliflower, doing your best not to break up the florets, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes to combine flavors.
  4. Whisk garbanzo bean flour, all-purpose flour (or gluten-free blend), baking powder and the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt in a bowl. Whisk eggs in a large bowl until mixed. Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the eggs and whisk to combine and eliminate most of the lumps. Stir in roasted red pepper, feta and 2 tablespoons dill. Add the cauliflower mixture and gently stir to combine. Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared pan.
  5. Bake until the top is golden and the cake is set, 35 to 45 minutes. Let cool to warm; remove the pan sides and the parchment. Serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with the remaining 1 tablespoon dill.

*Nicole’s Notes:

  • If you don’t have a springform, or if your pan un-springs as you are putting it into the oven (yes, that happened), feel free to use any old baking pan. Just spray liberally with oil as it is a little sticky. The presentation is definitely prettier with the springform pan, though.
  • Garbanzo bean flour can be found at Whole Foods.

Thoughts?  Questions?  Leave me a comment below!

Eat well.