Petra, Jordan

Kyle’s parents came to visit us for spring break. After a few days in Kuwait, we all flew to Jordan for a week-long adventure. Kyle planned a jam-packed, amazing itinerary and didn’t waste one second of our time together. We definitely made the most of the long flight my in-laws had to endure to get all the way to the Middle East!

In preparation for our trip, Kyle decided to purchase the Jordan Pass. The pass includes the cost of the visa into Jordan plus admission to all of the Government run sites (although not everything is run by the Government – I believe we visited two private sites not covered by the pass) that you’ll want to visit. For our trip – with our expertly arranged itinerary – the pass was well worth it! We all started out with paper passes, but some got lost along the way – downloading the pass on our phones worked just as well.

We left Kuwait very early on a Friday morning and rented a car from the airport in Amman. As it turned out, the rental car ended up adding quite a bit of entertainment to our trip, as it was usually at least a 3 person job to squish everything + everyone into it.

After a two and a half hour car ride, we arrived at our hotel around 11 AM for our first stop, Petra. We were advised to go very early in the morning – as soon as it opened – to avoid crowds. So, our plan was to see as much of Petra as could that afternoon and then return the next morning.

I had no idea how expansive Petra is. I’m not entirely sure what it was I expected beyond the iconic Treasury, but what I got was SO much more.

petra, jordan, treasury, middle east, travel
The path to the Treasury.

The walk down to the Treasury is stunning. I’ve never seen anything like it before. Of course, once we arrived at the Treasury, it too was beyond amazing. It definitely earns it’s place on the Seven Wonders of the World List.

From the Treasury though, Petra only continues to be even more impressive. The path leads through many landmarks of the ancient civilization, including churches, temples, tombs, amphitheaters, and finally, to the Monastery.

The path to the Monastery was quite a hike – be sure to have water with you, especially in the heat of the day. It is a truly stunning structure though and a must-see, as is the entirety of Petra. No photos or description can come close to matching the experience of walking through this amazing city.

petra, jordan, middle east, travel
View of the Monastery from above.

After hiking all the way up to the Monastery and back down, as well as all over the rest of Petra (not to mention that super early flight the very same morning!), we were pretty exhausted. And by pretty exhausted, I mean almost dead.

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Chocolate Walnut Protein Cookies

I’m finally back after a short break! This week, I’m bringing you some seriously delicious and super healthy chocolate walnut protein cookies. I found these completely randomly via Instagram’s search feed – I guess Instagram knows me better than I thought!

Before I get to the cookies though, I want to tell you about a guest blog post that I wrote for Caitlin Pickett’s Blog. It’s all about the benefits of following a plant-based diet. Caitlin offers virtual yoga classes, which are perfect for anyone without a studio near them, people traveling often, and stay-at-home moms! If you’re looking for a home lesson for yourself or a small group of your friends, you should definitely check her out.

Ok, back to the cookies.

I’ve had a nice chat with the creator of these cookies, who is a Canadian dietitian, and she promises additional varieties of these delicious little things soon. You can find this recipe and her awesome recipe video here. Also, if you’re in Ontario and interested in working with a dietitian, you should check out her services right here.

I doubled the recipe, of course, and I’m definitely glad I did. Why wouldn’t you want more than 12 cookies?! These cookies are actually pretty big, in my opinion. I started out making them smaller and realized I had way too much dough left. One of the happiest surprises ever! I still ended up with 30 cookies instead of 24 so some could still have been bigger. Also, I may or may not have eaten so much of the dough that wasn’t hungry when it was time for dinner.

cookies, dessert, healthy, nutrition, protein, plant based, vegan
I promise my photos do not do these cookies justice!

I used red lentils because that’s what I had in the pantry but I’m sure the other kinds will work just as well. I also used one 6 oz dark chocolate bar and chopped it into pieces. It was the perfect amount for a doubled recipe.

When you add the hot lentils into the dough all of the chocolate melts so every piece of the dough is delicious. The sweetness of these cookies are more subtle but absolutely perfect.

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Quinoa Breakfast Granola

Last week I was trying to find something for breakfast on Pinterest, and cereal and granola recipes were really catching my eye. But when I checked the recipes I was so disappointed with the amount of sugar or the lack of protein in all of them. I still absolutely love the very high protein granola I’ve made twice now, but I was still looking for less sugar. Finally, I decided to make up my very own recipe for quinoa granola.

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Full of keep-you-feeling-full goodness!

That’s right, this is my very first original recipe! I drew inspiration from the pumpkin granola I mentioned above and another quinoa granola recipe, but this is an entirely new creation. And it’s delicious, if I do say so myself.

I seriously debated adding the magic-vegan-protein that I used in the pumpkin granola but in the end decided to stick with just quinoa this time. (If you’re curious about the magic-vegan-protein-definitelynotproteinpowder-ingredient, you should definitely check that genius out here.)

I have been eating this all week and now I only have one day left and I am soooo sad. This is going to have to be repeated soon. I love granola and cereal but if you don’t make it yourself it’s an easy way to get a ridiculous amount of sugar and processed ingredients + no protein into your body real fast. And no protein = no energy = never full and always needing more food. And don’t get me started on the amount of sugar and processed foods in a normal diet.

This is definitely 150% better than store-bought granola. And let me assure you that it will keep you completely full well until lunch time. In fact, I’ve had to be reminded that it’s lunch time more than once over the past week because I wasn’t dying of hunger! It doesn’t get better than that.

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Goa, India

After a great weekend in Mumbai, we headed to Anjuna Beach in North Goa, India for the rest of Kyle’s spring break. North Goa has a reputation for being a bit of a party haven, but that certainly was not the case when we were there.

We arrived after dark and took an hour-long taxi ride to our cottage. That part was a little scary at times! Luckily, we made it there alive. Kyle decided to pay extra for the air conditioning and thank goodness for that, because it did get pretty hot! The cottage was fine but the shower left a bit to be desired. The water was definitely always cold . . . if you were lucky enough to get any water at all! No wi-fi in the rooms but it was available at the restaurant.

From the cottages you could walk through a bar area to a dining area with a beautiful sea view. The food was great, we had breakfast there a couple of times and the owner was very nice. The beach is lined with the similar restaurant/bar terraces with sea views and accompanying cottages on the other side.

goa, india, anjuna beach, travel
Tantra Beach Huts – so glad we did NOT stay here! You know you’re old when all you can picture is falling to your death while trying to go to the bathroom!

We arrived on a Sunday at almost 9PM and checked into our room. Then we headed next door to Cafe Lilliput to grab a beer. Just a few minutes after they brought it to us the server made his rounds for last call. We were quite confused, since we were expecting to be the “old” people calling it a night at midnight.

We asked several questions. First, was last call at 10 because it was Sunday? Nope, 10 PM all week. Ok, well, is last call at 10 only here and other places are still open? Nope, no alcohol is be served after 10PM in all of Anjuna. Then we asked why, and the only answer we got was that the police go around checking each place.

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5 Ways to Stay Healthy When Eating Out

Being healthy while you’re at home is much easier than when you’re relying on others to prepare your food for you. But, there are many occasions when eating out is necessary. Trying to stay (or become) healthy is no excuse to miss out on social opportunities. This week, instead of sharing a recipe, I wanted to provide some tips for how to stay healthy when eating out.

True celebrations are not what I’m talking about here. Your birthday, anniversary, and maybe a special holiday or two can be true free-for-alls. But, if we treat every trip to a restaurant as a celebration, we’re likely not going to be able to stay on the healthy wagon for long.

So, how can we balance an evening out with healthy choices?

First of all, remember that everything is OK in moderation. Then, try out these tips!

1. Only Drink Water.

You know you’re going to be consuming more calories and sodium than you would be if you were eating at home. Why not save yourself the extra calories of soda or juice? Even diet soda can make you feel more hungry than you actually are because your body is searching for the calories that it can taste but isn’t getting (ie any artificial sweeteners). This can lead you to consuming more food than you intended.

If you’re going out to a Happy Hour and don’t want to be the only person without a drink (because no one wants that!), choose a lower calorie option and stick to one serving. A glass of wine, a beer, or a gin/vodka with diet tonic and lemon/lime juice are your lowest calorie options.

Whether you do stick to just one drink or you have more than one, make sure you’re still drinking plenty of water! That will help you stay hydrated and combat the extra salt that you’ll be eating.

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