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Black Bean Stuffed Peppers.

November 20, 2014 by Carolina

Black Bean Stuffed Peppers

Want to know what’s the easiest dinner to make? Stuffed anything! It’s no secret Katie & I love stuffed peppers, we’ve shared how to make Mexican & Cauliflower stuffed peppers already — today we’re adding another recipe to your stuffed peppers arsenal. Readers,  meet the Black Bean Stuffed Pepper, your new favorite & easiest dinner to make. when I say these are easy I mean super simple guys, it’s almost a set it & forget it recipe. I made these for my girlfriends this week, had them over for dinner & a Hunger Games movie marathon (we’re ready for Friday’s premiere!). The girls loved these, had seconds, & even asked me for the recipe to make these for Thanksgiving. Yes, they’re that good. Plus, they’re gluten free, vegan & healthy, you really can’t go wrong. Here’s how you can make these delicious peppers for your next meal!

Ingredients (makes 4 servings)

4 bell peppers

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small white onion, chopped

2 cups brown rice, cooked

1 can black beans, drained & rinsed

1 can diced tomatoes

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1 teaspoon paprika

Salt & pepper, to taste

Your favorite salsa

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. While the oven gets hot, bring water to a boil in a large pot. Cut off pepper tops, hollow out each pepper & once the water is boiling cook the peppers in hot water for 5 minutes. Drain & place peppers on a baking dish. Chop pepper tops to include them in the stuffing & set aside.

In a skillet, heat olive oil & cook onions until translucent (about 3 – 4 minutes). Remove onions from heat & place in a large bowl. Add the chopped pepper tops, rice, black beans, diced tomatoes (with liquid), chili, cumin, garlic, paprika powders, salt & pepper to taste & mix until fully combined. Spoon black bean rice mixture into each pepper & bake them for 30 minutes until peppers are cooked.

Serve with a side of salsa & enjoy. Buen provecho!

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Goat Cheese Polenta.

October 23, 2014 by Carolina

goat cheese polenta

Friends, meet quick cooking polenta, this bad boy will change your life! If you’re looking for an awesome starch option that can easily replace rice or pasta polenta (corn meal) is it. The corn meal is gluten free & super easy to make. You’ll have a delicious, hearty base in just minutes, & if that wasn’t good enough I’ve upped the ante by adding goat cheese to this recipe. Yes, creamy, decadent goat cheese. Are you drooling right now? Because just thinking about goat cheese makes me hungry, I love it! I also love this Goat Cheese Polenta recipe, which I typically enjoy topped with a chickpea marinata sauce, veggie ragu or eggplant ragu. A delicious, hearty, satisfying meal you can have on the table in no time at all. Let’s get started!

Ingredients (makes 4 servings)

4 cups vegetable stock

2 cups water

1 3/4 cups quick cooking polenta

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

Salt & pepper to taste

In a saucepan, bring the vegetable stock & water to a boil with a pinch of salt. Once liquids have reached a boil begin pouring in the polenta, constantly stirring. Reduce heat to low & continue to stir until the polenta thickens, about 4 – 6 minutes. Turn off the heat, add the butter, goat cheese, salt & pepper to taste & you’re done!

Spoon the Goat Cheese Polenta into a bowl, top with your favorite sauce & sprinkle some goat cheese on top for extra creaminess. Buen provecho! 

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Creamy Cilantro Dressing.

October 21, 2014 by Carolina

creamy cilantro dressing

Is there anything better than cilantro? I think not! No matter what I’m eating I always feel like cilantro can make it taste better, I blame my Colombian roots. As I mentioned previously, I’ve been reading Gwyneth Paltrow’s It’s All Good book & have been having a lot of fun experimenting with some of her recipes. One of the recipes that caught my eye was her creamy parsley dressing recipe. As a vegetarian I eat a a lot of salads; I have a salad practically every day. I try my best to stay away from pre-made dressings & enjoy making my own, not only do they taste better but I like controlling the ingredients in them & knowing they’re as clean as they can get (store-bought dressings have a ton of sugar in them). I decided to modify Gwyneth’s recipe (you know, her & I are on a first name basis now, ha!) & use cilantro, my favorite herb instead. The result was an amazing dressing I’ve been putting on everything — & I mean everything. Salads, eggs, pasta, rice…I just love it. And I think you will to!

Ingredients (makes about a cup of dressing)

1 cup fresh cilantro

1/4 cup mayonnaise (or vegenaise if you want to make it vegan)

1/4 cup good quality olive oil

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

3 tablespoons agave nectar

1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Place all the ingredients in a food processor or blender & mix until all ingredients are incorporated. I like my dressing to still have some of the cilantro leaf chunks so I pulse it for just a minute or so. If you like it creamier let it go for 2 – 3 minutes until totally smooth. Pour this bad boy over your favorite salads & enjoy. Who said salads have to be boring? Buen provecho!

creamy cilantro dressing 2

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Fourth Time’s The Charm?

October 8, 2014 by Carolina


It’s no secret I’ve taken a long hiatus from running. The last half marathon I ran was the Iron Girl, that over two years ago — can you believe that?! After running the NYC Marathon & having a knee injury running just hasn’t been the same for me. Every once in a while I go out & run but I haven’t ran regularly like I used to a few years ago…that is, until this past month. I don’t know about you, but I’m the type of person who requires a goal to constantly stay motivated. For running that goal comes in the form of a race, a date to shoot for & a schedule to follow. A friend of mine & I have been talking about getting back into running & doing another half marathon (it would be my fourth) & after going back & forth I decided why the heck not? It’s about time I get back out there!

And so I began to train, realizing very quickly that running is not like riding a bike: it takes a while for you to learn it again. The breathing, the rhythm, the “zone” you get into once you’ve ran for a while, those things don’t just come right back. They take a lot of time, a lot of dedication & a lot of work. After my first run I became super discouraged because I was slow, I barely go through it & hated almost every minute of it. But after the second week I caught myself thinking it wasn’t so bad & actually enjoying portions of the run. And that’s saying a lot considering I live in humid Florida where we still have temps in the high 80s! Here’s the schedule I’ve been following/will continue to follow, focusing on the number of miles & not the speed I run them in. The date is the start of each week:

  • 9/15: 3 / 3 / 4
  • 9/22: 3 / 3 / 4
  • 9/29: 4 / 4 / 5 *I did not actually run this week, more on that below*
  • 10/6: 4 / 4 / 5
  • 10/13: 4 / 4 / 6
  • 10/20: 4 / 4 / 6
  • 10/27: 4 / 5 / 8
  • 11/3: 4 / 5 / 8
  • 11/10: 4 / 5 / 10
  • 11/17: 4 / 5 / 12
  • 11/24: 3 / 4 / 7
  • 12/1: 2 / 2 / OUC Half

So you know that second week of running that felt pretty good? The Sunday when I did the four mile run ended with severe back pains. After doing a lot of Googling & asking around I think I pinched my sciatic nerve, which is oh so unpleasant! All I could do was take it easy, ice it & do some stretching when I could bare it. My back put me out of commission all week, afraid to make it worst by running. This Monday I woke up with full range of motion again so I’m going to try out running & see how I feel, going really slow & building back up to my regular pace. I’m also going to get fitted for running shoes again, I think that may be part of the reason why my back was hurting but I don’t know for sure. It’s been a while since I bought running shoes & since I plan on running a Half Marathon in December I know it’ll be a good investment.

Runners, have you experienced back pain like the one I describe above? Would love to hear your remedies, I don’t want to give up on training for this race!

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Avocado Toasts.

October 6, 2014 by Carolina

Avocado Toasts

Have you ever become obsessed with eating the same thing for days on end? I’m not typically someone who likes to repeat meals but these Avocado Toasts are different, I could eat them all day every day. I got the recipe for these from Gwyneth Paltrow’s Its All Good cookbook & let me tell you, they’re so good! Since I’ve been eating these non-stop I figured I’d shared the goodness with you guys, because lets face it, avocado makes everything better. Plus, these toasts are super easy to make, vegan, gluten free & the perfect treat to enjoy with a cup of coffee to kick off you morning. Let me introduce you to my new obsession!

Ingredients (makes 1 serving)

2 Gluten free slices of bread (I used brown rice bread)

1 teaspoon soy-free vegenaise 

1/2 hass avocado, sliced

Juice of half a lemon

Himalayan salt & fresh cracked pepper, to taste

Toast the two slices of bread then spread the soy-free vegenaise (or mayonnaise if you don’t mind them not being vegan). Place the avocado slices on top of the toasts, squeeze half a lemon over the avocado slices & season with freshly cracked Himalayan salt & pepper. It’s that simple!

Please make these, then let me know how much you love them because I have no doubt you will. Buen provecho!


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Devil’s Food Bakery & Cookery: Denver, CO.

October 1, 2014 by Carolina

Devil's Food Bakery and Cookery

First things first: Happy World Vegetarian Day to all our fellow veggie lovers! Hug your neighborhood vegetarian today & enjoy delicious vegetables in their honor.

Sometimes the best things happen accidentally. My friend & I explored the Washington Park area in Denver a couple of weeks ago & decided we wanted to go to brunch. His original idea was to go to a corner restaurant, however, when we arrived we realized it wasn’t open. So we took a stroll down the street & discovered Devil’s Food Bakery & Cookery – what a wonderful discovery it was! On quaint Gaylord Street, Devil’s Food is the perfect place to grab delicious coffee & pastry. If you’re looking for a sit down meal no worries, they have a full, delicious menu. I went for brunch & was excited to try the many vegetarian options they offer. After drooling a little while reading the menu I settled on the Quinoa Cakes: Lemon ricotta, zucchini & thyme quinoa cakes on arugula with a poached egg, romesco sauce & pecorino romano on top.

Devil's Food Bakery

It was as delicious as it looks! The egg was cooked perfectly, the quinoa cakes were crunch on the outside, soft on the inside & the arugula brought everything together beautifully. My taste buds were ecstatic! We liked our meal so much we went back a second time before I flew back home, it was that good! The second time there I had Belgium Waffles with fresh fruit. The batter was light, the fruit was really sweet & fresh, a really nice treat on a Sunday morning. One of my favorite things about Devil’s Food Bakery & Cookery (besides my meals) is their commitment to staying local & supporting businesses nearby. After your meal walk down a couple of blocks to Washington Park & enjoy it, it’s gorgeous & worth the trip.

Next time you’re in Denver support the local economy & pay a visit to Devil’s Food Bakery & Cookery!

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Attitude Adjustments & Postures.

September 25, 2014 by Carolina


You may have noticed I haven’t been blogging regularly lately. I know what you’re thinking, you miss me right? Truth is I miss you too! If you’re not thinking you miss me & just “where has Carolina been?” the answer is I’ve been getting smacked around a few times by the beautifully tragic thing that we call life. I say it’s beautifully tragic because despite hardships life always has beautiful under currents. And despite how hard life may seem, it’s important to stop every once in a while & look around, take the beauty of the world in, & smile. Because this too shall pass & everything works out the way it should in the long run. Am I right?!

I won’t go into details about my personal life but I will say this: life has gotten in the way of my physical yoga practice lately. After completing my fourth yoga challenge (picture above) I had the best of intentions to keep the momentum going & continue to go to my yoga studio several times a week. Unfortunately my time & emotional being have been all over the place but that’s slowly starting to change. Slowly but surely I’ve started to come out of my funk, seeing past the dark clouds hanging around & noticing that life is just too short to be sad or angry. I needed an attitude adjustment & life gave it to me!

I am now ready to get back into the swing of things: do a lot of yoga, go running, cook often & be with my loved ones. I picked a half marathon to train for at the end of the year & though running is hard for me right now I’m staying consistent. I’m going back to my studio this weekend & can’t wait to get on the mat! I’m even thinking of signing up for teacher training & getting certified in January. All of these things make me smile & let me know that everything will be okay.

I tell you all this because there’s a chance one or some of you may be going through a funk like me. I’m here to tell you to breathe through it & know you’ll eventually be back to yourself. I don’t know what curve balls your life may bring but I do know this: we live in a beautiful world full of love, all we have to do is look for it & there it’ll be, clear as daylight for us to see. So pick yourself up, do things that make you happy & try to smile. You can & will get through this!

In yoga we often say the words “Om Shanti” (that’s what the shirt I’m’ wearing above says), it means peace for all human kind, all living & non-living things, everything in the universe. I leave you with those beautiful words, a positive attitude & a hunger to do yoga again. Come along with me!

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Rocher Nutella Cupcakes.

September 10, 2014 by Carolina


My sister recently had a birthday & I took the opportunity to bake the best cupcake I’ve ever made: Rocher Nutella! Ferrero Rocher has always been one of my favorite chocolates to enjoy & this cupcake recipe elevates their taste even more — seriously incredible cupcakes. From the very first bite my family was ooh-ing & aah-ing, licking their lips, you name it, everyone loved this recipe! Are you ready to please the cupcake lover in your life? Here we go!

Ingredients (makes 24 cupcakes)

Gluten Free Cupcake Recipe (my go-to gluten free option but you can always go the pre-made vanilla cake route)

24 Ferrero Rocher chocolates

1 cup unsalted butter

2 cups powder sugar

3/4 cup Nutella

3-4 tablespoons heavy cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Chopped nuts for decorating (almonds or hazelnuts)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Follow cupcake recipe to create the batter. Spoon one tablespoon or so of the cupcake mixture into baking cups then add one Ferrero Rocher chocolate per cupcake & cover with the remaining batter. Bake for 20 – 22 minutes, remove from heat & cool.
In a bowl, beat unsalted butter until fluffy with a stand alone or hand mixer. Add the powder (confectioner) sugar & continue mixing. Add the Nutella, vanilla extract & mix until fully integrated. Begin adding one tablespoon of heavy cream at a time, mix completely before adding the other, & continue mixing until you reach a butter cream frosting consistency.
Pipe nutella icing on the cupcakes (if you don’t have a pipping bag, place icing in a zip-lock bag & cut the end off to pipe) & place a Ferrero Rocher chocolate on top. Sprinkle nuts around the top for decoration & enjoy. Buen provecho!
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PiYo Strength.

September 9, 2014 by Carolina


We noticed several of you searching for PiYo Strength & finding our blog lately, we’re glad you have! Since PiYo is a program I recently checked out I figured I’d share my experiences with you. Come on another fitness adventure with me!

First things first, what is PiYo? Simply put, it’s a strength series class combining your favorite pilates & yoga postures (sun salutations, etc) with exercises like push-ups (among many more), all done to the latest music. For those of you who think yoga is a little too mellow, PiYo may be just the workout for you. It’s full of the poses you know but with a twist that really crank up fat-burning, toning & flexibility. This workout packs a punch while keeping you humming & singing to fun songs & cooling you down with really great stretches.

I’ve practiced PiYo a couple of times before & a few weeks ago was lucky enough to take a class with the always awesome Katy Widrick. Now that at home DVDs are available the workout is really taking off, not just as a great option for at home workouts, but across studios & gyms nationwide. I’ve noticed some of our local gyms starting to add PiYo to the schedule which tells me there’s probably a PiYo class in the city you live in & you should definitely check it out.  Make sure to bring a mat, a towel (you’ll be sweating. A lot!) & a bottle of water, no need to bring sneakers since you do the class barefoot. You should also be ready to try new things, a lot of the moves in PiYo are really unique, challenge & honestly a ton of fun.

Have you checked out a PiYo Strength class yet? If so, what were your thoughts? Would love to hear them!

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Taste of the Nation Orlando 2014.

August 18, 2014 by Carolina


What’s better than great food? Great food for an even better cause! I have been fortunate to attend Taste of the Nation Orlando for several years now & am always blown away by the event, not only due to the great food & drinks but also because of the amazing contributions it makes to Central Florida. Funding solutions for hunger relief in the area for the last 25 years, Taste of the Nation Orlando has raised almost $3 million for the Coalition for the Homeless & the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida — amazing! This year’s event was bigger & better than ever.


My guest & I had an incredible time sampling offerings from the best local chefs & spirits. Because I have such a sweet tooth I began with desserts: cheesecakes, local fruit & pastries as far as the eye could see. We couldn’t help ourselves & paired desserts with delicious wine. A wine aficionado, tasting different wine offerings is always one of my favorite things to partake at Taste of the Nation. This year my favorite wine was Barefoot‘s Sparkling Pinot Grigio, it’s the perfect drink to have on a hot summer day. Make sure to grab a bottle next time you’re at the market, give it a taste & tell me I’m not right. Heaven.


As a vegetarian, I’m always nervous I won’t have many options at events but at Taste of the Nation that’s never a problem — there are plenty of delicious plant based options! And even if a dish is listed with meat in it, most chefs are happy to accommodate vegetarians by excluding the meat. The JW Marriott station had shrimp with grits & as soon as I informed the chef I was a vegetarian he had his team prepare a non-shrimp version for me that was to die for. I’ve never been a grits fan but after that dish I’m a convert. Bring on the creamy, buttery, southern grits!


In addition to all the delicious food & drinks I had the incredible opportunity to meet Food Network’s Melissa D’Arabian. I’m happy to report she’s as nice as she looks on TV, super approachable, friendly & engaging. I would expect nothing less from a fellow Alpha Chi Omega (shout out to my sorority!); we couldn’t help ourselves & took a picture representing AXO.


In all, Taste of the Nation Orlando 2014 was a delight. If you have never attended make sure to put this event on your calendar for next year. It’s a must do in Central Florida!


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