Summer Tomato and Nectarine Bruschetta

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Sometimes the perfect summer dish doesn’t need flaming hot grills or long roasting times. Here is a new favorite appetizer perfect for a summer evening. I love visiting my local farmers’ markets and finding the freshest ingredients of the season, and here I top crispy baguette slices with juicy tomatoes and chunks of sweet nectarine. Drizzle some olive oil and vinegar, tear a few basil leaves (fresh from the garden!) , and you’re good to go. Without bread, this is a great standalone salad!

Ingredients

  • 2-3 tomatoes seeded and chopped

  • 1 nectarine chopped

  • 1 large garlic clove chopped finely

  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves chopped

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • chopped chives to garnish

  • baguette cut into 1/2 inch pieces, toasted

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients (chopped tomatoes, nectarine, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, basil, salt and pepper) in a medium sized bowl.

  2. Slice baguette and toast in the oven. Arrange bread on a plate, and top with tomato mixture.

  3. Sprinkle chives on top, and it’s ready to serve!

  4. Eat right away, so the bread doesn’t get too soggy.

    Enjoy!

Patio/Garden Must Have Items

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With Midsummer two weeks ago, I think we can say we’re fully in the summer spirit with warmer, sunnier days in New York City! If you’ve been keeping up with my garden tours on social media, (click here) you know that I’ve been working on my urban garden and preparing it for longer days!

Whether it’s planting new flower containers and herbs or simply enjoying birds chirping, I love spending downtime in my garden. It’s my little zen oasis in the bustling city, and I treasure these small moments. Right now, my favorite plants are lilies and elephant ear plants. What’s growing in yours?

If you’re looking for new ways to spice up your outdoor space, I have a few things for you! Whether you’re already a seasoned gardener/patio lounging expert, or you’re looking for some new ideas, check out my tips below. I’m sure you’ll be able to recognize some items on the next garden tour!


These non-slip tools are essential for the modern-day gardener.

I’m obsessed with this standing planter and wall planters. No need to crouch down to get to your plants!

These solar-powered, weatherproof lights are the best when hosting evening barbecues. They add just the right amount of light and create the perfect ambiance.


After a long day of classes, relaxing on my patio (without pesky mosquitos) can’t get any better :)

My full list of gardening essentials is right here (click here). Check them out, and let me know what you think!

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*These are products I either have in my home or daydream about. Some of these products are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I get a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Thank you for supporting Live Learn Lovewell.

How to Make the Most Out of Your New Fitness Plan/Program

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Are you starting a new fitness routine, program, plan, or habit? How can you make sure you stay committed and see results? Check out my tips below to get the most out of your new fitness plan/program!

 

1.     What are you putting into your body? If you want to see and feel change, you have to change not only what activities you’re doing but also what kind of food you’re putting into your body. I’m not here to give you a meal plan, or a new diet, but if I’m starting a new routine, I want to see results. So I usually have to make some changes to my diet. Personally I like to  cut out bread and pasta, and start eating more complex carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, vegetables and fruits. I completely stay away from processed foods, and I limit the amount of dairy I consume. If you’re interested in changing up your diet and getting a strict meal plan you can speak to a nutritionist. If you want to make some small but effective changes, try cooking most of your meals, and eating whole foods and vegetables (baked salmon, roasted broccoli, and sweet potatoes for example. Or a healthy bowl!)

2.     Create a routine. Check your schedule and put in time to do the work. If its rolling out of bed and doing a 10 min core workout in your pajamas right when you wake up at 7am, then do that! And plan for that. Set up your mat next to your bed before bed, and set your alarm. If you commit to the same time each day you’re more likely to do it!

3.     Find your community and lean on them. We need people to help us stay committed and to talk about what we’re going through. Find your community who has similar goals as you, and chat with them often. How are you feeling after a week of this new program? What are some helpful tips that you’ve learned, that you can share with your friend? What have they learned and can share with you? You’re not suppose to do this life alone, so use your team and your people!

4.     Document your progress. Whether that are photos/selfies before, during and after the program, or keeping a journal to document what you’re doing and how you’re feeling. You can keep a journal to write down your meals and activity and then also pay attention to how you’re feeling. Were you low energy? Did you eat enough that day? Were you feeling amazing? Then write it down and document it! Social media is a great way to hold yourself accountable, and keep documentation of your new program.

5.     Celebrate your successes. Did you finish the first week of your program? Or did you finish the entire program? Now it’s time to celebrate! Don’t be shy. We need to acknowledge our accomplishments and include the people who supported you along the way. Also, CONGRATS! And keep going!

Vegetable Coconut Green Curry

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Here is a favorite dish I like to order when I go out to eat Thai food. So when I finally figured out how to make it at home, I was psyched! Check out this recipe below, you can change up the vegetables you throw in, and can also add a protein like tofu or chicken as an option. Hope you enjoy it!

Ingredients

2 cups broccoli florets (1 small crown) 

1 small white onion diced  

2 cups sugar snap peas

1 chopped medium carrot

1 small can of bamboo shoots drained

1 cup of cubed Taro root (optional, and hard to find!) 

1 tablespoon coconut oil

2-3 cloves of minced garlic

1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger

One 13.5-ounce can coconut milk 

1 to 2 tablespoons green curry paste 

2-3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (1 1/2 limes) 

1 large avocado, sliced to place on top

1 cup diced chicken breast from a rotisserie chicken (optional)

Directions

  1. Heat coconut oil in a large saucepan (or wok) on medium heat. Add broccoli, onions, and carrots first. Sauté for 2-3 minutes.

  2. Add in garlic and ginger, and sauté for another 3 minutes stirring frequently.

  3. Add in coconut milk, taro, and bamboo shoots and bring to low heat to simmer. Add in green curry paste and stir in well. Cover for 7-10 minutes

  4. Add diced chicken and cook for another 2-5 minutes or until vegetables are cooked through, (broccoli is still bright green and does not turn brown.)

  5. Serve over basmati brown rice, and sliced avocado on top.

    Enjoy!

What I Eat in a Day

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One of the most popular questions I get asked is: What do you eat all day? I took sometime to document an entire day from start to finish. Here we go!

Monday: I wake up at 6:30am. I drink a glass of room temperature water, get ready for my day and head out of my apartment in Brooklyn around 7am. I teach a cycling class at 8am, so I have to be at the studio by 7:30am. I don’t eat anything before that class. I don’t like to eat too closely to teaching because I’m generally not that hungry early in the morning, and i’ll get an upset stomach during class if I have a full stomach. At the studio I make myself a hot green tea with a splash of almond milk in it and drink before class begins.

9am After class I order a smoothie from the cafe at the studio. Usually with banana, strawberries, pea protein powder, almond milk, and coconut oil. I also have a cold brew coffee on ice with a little half and half in it.

10:30am I teach two 20 min rides back to back. After these three classes on Monday morning, I’m feeling accomplished and hungry!

11:30am I eat an early lunch! I go to a restaurant down the street and order brown rice with steamed vegetables and tofu with a vegetable patty and avocado on top. All with some tahini sauce and this amazing Korean bbq hot sauce.

By 2pm I’m back home in Brooklyn. I decide to make one of my favorite recipes in the crockpot for dinner. Butternut Squash Coconut Chili. (Click here for recipe!) It’s an incredibly easy dish to put together, especially if you buy the butternut squash cut already. Everything goes into the crockpot and then in 4 hours the meal will be ready!

Around 4pm I’m hungry for a snack. I put together a plate of gouda cheese, cut up gala apple, hummus, rice crackers, and some raw almonds. This is my “cocktail hour” snack. My mom use to make a small cheese and fruit plate around this time when I was growing up, so its kind of engrained in me. It makes me feel like home.

7:30pm dinner is served! Butternut squash coconut chili goes on top of some cooked quinoa, topped with chopped avocado and some coconut flakes. I eat dinner with a large glass of water. This dinner is so comforting, and incredibly aromatic! My entire apartment smells delicious, and this slow cooked meal is easy to digest and leaves me feeling full and happy.

9pm I have some pieces of dark chocolate, make some hot rooibos tea with steamed almond milk, and start winding down to get ready for bed. I’m in bed by 10:30pm, and usually asleep by 11pm.

Vegetable Broth From Kitchen Scraps

Here’s a great way to take your vegetable scraps and turn them into a delicious broth! I like to keep a jar of chicken or vegetable broth in the refrigerator at all times. It’s great to cook with, especially when sautéing vegetables, or making rice, or to just drink hot in a mug. I’ve been making this recipe lately and absolutely loving it! So simple to take leftover vegetable scraps from cooking, keep them in the freezer in a freezer bag and then twice a month make a big batch of broth using the scraps. Especially in the shoulder seasons when people tend to come down with colds, I love heating up some broth and just drinking it warm out of a mug to strengthen my immune system. Try this at home, its a great way to make the most out of your groceries!

Another trick if you are a meat eater and want to make chicken broth — About once a month I like to buy a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store for dinner. I save the bones from the chicken, and add them in to make a hearty chicken and vegetable broth.

Types of scraps I keep in the freezer bag: onion skins and ends, carrot peels and ends, celery, kale stems, mushroom stems, shallot peels and ends. and broccoli stems.

ingredients:

2 cloves of smashed garlic

fresh herbs like rosemary, parsley, thyme

2 bay leaves

5-10 whole pepper corns

one onion cut in half

2 whole carrots

2 stalks of celery

8 cups of water

3 cups of frozen vegetable scraps

bones from one whole chicken (optional)

add salt to taste

Directions

  1. Put all ingredients in a large pot.

  2. You can use a pressure cooker and cook for 30 min, or with a regular pot simmer on low heat with a lid for 2 hours.

  3. strain out all the vegetables (and optional chicken bones) and using a funnel store broth in mason jars. Tighten lid and refrigerate. Good for about 1 week.

Enjoy!

Taiwan -- A Hidden Gem

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My mother was born in Hualien, Taiwan and then raised in Taipei until she was 19 when she moved to the US. My brother and I have always wanted to visit Taiwan, and were finally able to take the trip as a family this past New Year!

I have heard the rumors of the amazing food, and the tropical/sub tropical climate. My mom has told me many times about the tall volcanic mountains, turquoise blue water, the fresh fruits like mangos and guava, and also the amazing food… did I mention the food? Well, it totally lived up to the hype. I was actually quite blown away by how magical this place was, and even how diverse it was in landscapes and climate. The island is divided by the Tropic of Cancer, and so the northern half is sub tropical, and the southern half is beautifully tropical, with wild monkeys and banana trees growing in abundance.

We started out in Taipei. We rented a perfect Airbnb apartment in the Da’an district which is known for being a bit more high end, and also having the best restaurants. My mother, my brother Alan, his wife Jenn, and their little baby son Luca, and I all met in Taipei to start our trip. We went to the night markets to try all kinds of street food, and lots of affordable shopping. We ate at the famous Din Tai Fung, which definitely lived up to its reputation — mouth watering soup dumplings and delicious cold side dishes. We wandered through a giant flower market, and visited some temples. We even climbed Elephant mountain at sunset to see the view of the city, and the majestic 101 building. Almost every morning we’d walk our way to the nearest dou jiang restaurant. (Dou jiang is a savory soy milk soup commonly eaten for breakfast). It rained almost every day in Taipei, but that definitely didn’t stop us from exploring and seeing the city. We connected with some of my mom’s family for meals, and even had a wonderful New Year’s Eve celebration at a family friend’s apartment in the city where we watched the extravagant firework show coming from the 101 building.

After Taipei we took a train to Hualien, to visit the city where my mother was born. We spent just a couple days there. Hualien is on the coast, and just a couple hours south of Taipei. When we arrived we could already tell the weather was getting warmer. Hualien is known for their pineapple cakes, which we ate just a few of. :) In Hualien we rented a car and started our drive south to Dulan.

Dulan… Wow. This is a small coastal town, with many great surf breaks. There are just a couple surf shops that you can rent boards from, and a handful of restaurants (that were all delicious). This felt like a quiet paradise that no one knew about. There were hardly any surfers on the waves, and my brother, Jenn, and I had multiple surf sessions just us, paddling around in this beautiful 75 degree crystal clear water. The giant green volcanic mountains as the backdrop covered in palm trees was incredible. I honestly felt so lucky, and grateful that I was able to see and feel this untouched natural landscape.

We wanted to stay longer than we did, but we were off to our next destination of Kenting. Kenting is the most southern point of Taiwan. It’s on a little peninsula and surrounded by a National Park. It was beautiful with great beaches and crystal clear water. It’s a bit more built out with more restaurants and shopping than Dulan, and seemed more touristy. We rented another very affordable airbnb near the night market, which we frequented every night for dinner. We spent one of our days at the white sand beach — Baishawan. It was the perfect beach day. They sell fresh coconuts and fruit right by the beach. There were many tourists visiting the beach as well, however we were some of the only people in our bathing suits! All the tourists would come by in full long sleeve pants and shirts, and even jackets. Keep in mind it was around 75 degrees F. (!!)

After Kenting we headed back up towards Taipei. We had planned to make a few more stops on the way there, but realized we had been on the move so much it might be nice to spend our last 3 nights in one place, and in Taipei. We found another great Airbnb that was super convenient to restaurants and shops. There was even a dou jiang place right on the corner. :)

I could write another 5 pages about our trip to Taiwan, but I’m trying to keep it short. I’ll leave you with some photos from our trip. This post and these photos really don’t do Taiwan justice, so I’ll just say this — you should probably go. Every time I travel to another country I always feel like, this might be my ONLY trip to this place. I have so many destinations that are on my list of places to go that it feels like every trip will be the only one. I can confidently say that I will be back to Taiwan, maybe not this year, but definitely soon.

Chinese Tea Eggs

Chinese tea eggs were a staple in my home growing up. My mom would make them fairly regularly and keep them in the refrigerator for a quick snack. It wasn’t until I spent time in China and Taiwan did I realize how popular they were EVERYWHERE. My family recently took a trip to Taiwan over the New Year, and every 7-11 and convenient store had tea eggs just sitting there in a slow cooker, available for sale. We’d grab some tea eggs as a snack before our days adventure. They became a staple of our travels around Taiwan. So when I came home I knew I had to bring this recipe back! I love adding these eggs to my lunch or dinner as a side in one of my Healthy Bowls or even having one for breakfast along with my favorite smoothies. Check out this recipe below and try it for yourself!


Ingredients:

  • 6-8 eggs

  • 2 bags black tea (Lipton tea works great!)

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 star-anise

  • 1/2 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorn (optional)

  • 4 teaspoons soy sauce


Directions:

  1. Place the eggs (at room temperature) in a pot of cold water (enough to cover them). Bring water to a boil then reduce the heat. Leave to simmer for 5-10 mins. (You will be boiling them again, so they don’t have to be fully cooked here yet).

  2. Drain the eggs. Cool them in water. Gently crack the egg shells all around using the back of a spoon.

  3. Put the eggs back into a clean pot. Add all the other ingredients and water enough to cover the eggs. Bring water to a boil then turn down the heat and let it simmer for 10 mins.

  4. Transfer everything (eggs and liquid) into a glass container. Leave to steep for at least 12 hours. You may keep in the fridge for up to 4 days.

  5. Peel the eggs and eat cold or warm. Below are what they will look like after you peel. Enjoy!



Golden Milk Turmeric Latte Recipe

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Turmeric lattes are definitely popping up on menus everywhere, so I decide to try and make one at home! This latte is perfect to drink at night when you’re all cozy at home on the couch. Reminds me of a delicious chai latte, and it doesn’t have caffeine.

Golden Milk is a common drink in India that has been around for thousands of years. Turmeric is popular for many reasons but especially for its known anti-inflammatory properties. I remember a few years ago my mother started drinking golden milk every day to aid in her arthritis. She swore she noticed a difference in her joints, especially her hands. I’m always trying to eat more anti-inflammatory foods, because I know we are constantly consuming INflammatory foods, like sugar and dairy for example. Anti-inflammatory foods are great for gut health and your immune system. Remember food is medicine, and yes food can effect your health, your mood, your energy, and your entire day! Check out this recipe below to try it yourself!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of non dairy milk, ex. almond milk

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 1 inch chunk of fresh peeled ginger

  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder

  • 1 Tablespoon honey

  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil

  • 5 whole black peppercorns

  • ground cinnamon on top for serving

Directions: Whisk all ingredients together in a small pot on medium heat until boiling. Simmer on low heat uncovered for 5-10 min.