by Ellie Betzen | from scratch, mostly in ,

Okay so let's bring out the ginormous elephant in the room whose tail is comically sticking out through an imaginary window in Looney Tunes style. Sorry about that--I just have a really crazy imagination! We all (most of us) know this blog goes by the name Fit for the Soul and its main motto has always been that "true health starts from the inside out".  This means that whatever we put in our bodies such as healthy and wholesome food should, in fact, return the favor of making us healthier individuals overall.  In addition, I genuinely believe that the greatest factor of true health starts from within our souls.  In other words, feeding mind and spirit equals happy mind and spirit.  Well, if you've noticed in the last few weeks I've been posting more recipes than workouts.  And the truth is that they haven't been the most vegan, gluten free, or health junkie friendly whatsoever.  Not in the least bit, my friends...not in the least bit. 

I've come to the conclusion that although I love to film videos and and share excruciating workouts with you, I don't think I will be doing it all that often for a while.  Not once or twice a week like I used to.  Sure, I will be more than happy to post about those whenever inspiration hits (or if you really want to see my routines then I'll happily share!), but it definitely will be more sporadic as opposed to posts of food, recipes, and life in general.  For now at least. We'll see how things transpire over the course of the next few months since I tend to crave change pretty often.  It's just that I've been bitten by the shutterbug and if I could somehow realistically go off on a photo expedition for days and days, I probably would.  So how do I remedy that darn shutterbug for the time being?  By photographing people and recipes. :)  I will say, however, that I love to share exercises and it will be hard to not stick to that routine.  But if I want to focus on one thing that truly brings satisfaction between the two, it would be food and pretty things, haha.

Now, to explain the lack of 100% clean recipes as of late...well, let me just say that the wiser I grow in this healthy living journey the more apparent it becomes that true health (for me) means to embrace every single aspect of life.  Of course I still eat 80% healthy like usual, but I've learned to be completely okay with indulging in what is seemingly the "worst plague" known to a fitness enthusiast, aka dessert, butter cream, bread that contains white flour (the horror!), and so forth.  So even though I will post about healthy food and recipes since that's what I live off anyway, I want to let myself be free and share even the not-so-clean-recipes.  Embracing love, godly inspiration, and mouth watering recipes, is my goal right now.  I guess you could say that encompasses the idea of passion and balance?  All that to say that things may look a bit different but the essence of Fit for the Soul is still there.  I'm here.  You're here!  And that's all that matters.

Disclaimer:  A few too many photos in this post but like I said, let's be free and snap away to our heart's content! 

Lately {Musings Food and Fitness}

selah taking few steps at 14 months

I feel extremely blessed to have this munchkin in my life.  I always feared that I wouldn't know what "unconditional love" means when it came to loving my own child, but I've been proven wrong time and again because she's precious just the way she is.  Selah is now taking 3-5 steps depending on whether she's on wooden or carpeted floors.  She's not early and she's not late, but the important lesson I'm learning is that no matter what my love doesn't change.  Now, if she throws tantrums for days then my patience can run a bit low...haha. 

brown butter peach scones

Sometimes recipes turn out completely different from how I initially imagined.  Yes, these scones were decently good but I'm afraid our friendship would be severed if I shared them on here.

lavender in a vase

I'm seriously not trying to zen myself out here, but inspiration truly is everywhere!  Something about greenery and pretty herbs that get me going in the kitchen.

breakfast buffet at Playa del Rey bed and breakfast

Day dreaming of this breakfast buffet from Playa del Rey B&B!  That was the last date that we went on thanks to my in-laws, but thank goodness I have pictures to live through it again.  On a related note, they are coming this Monday and we couldn't be more excited to spend some time together.  Since summer is coming to a close I probably should take them to the beach?

al pastor tacos with homemade guacamole

Let me tell you.  Pre-marinated spicy al pastor meat is amazing.  Sure, it may contain some ingredients I probably don't want to know about, but until I learn how to make it myself this will have to do.   At least there's homemade guacamole on the side?

one legged standing splits--yoga

A huge accomplishment right here!  Standing splits were my enemy because I always felt like I would fall forward.  Errr well, I have.  It definitely is a move that gets me out of my comfort zone as it pushes me to keep practicing even though I don't see instant improvement.

morning toast and devotional

The mentality of spending time with God no matter what it takes may seem fanatical to many people.  The funny thing is that God is fanatical!  About loving us, that is.  I notice such a change in attitude when I start off this way, because it's like a reset button that takes me from my carnally inclined self to seeing through His eternal eyes.  

Have a wonderful weekend!

If you have a blog or website, in what ways have you grown or changed the content?

What are some things that are inspiring you lately?  Or passionate about?

My Recommended Recipes+Inspiring Links

by Ellie Betzen | from scratch, mostly in ,

Today I want to briefly share the recipes that I personally recommend from the blog.  People sometimes ask me which recipe they can make for so and so occasion.  Of course, I confidently--errr more like nervously?  Pinpoint at this recipe, that recipe, and oh!  That one too!  If I were to be honest, though, I don't think all of Fit for the Soul's recipes are on point. I started this blog when I was quite young in my ways, and my taste buds have definitely developed and refined themselves over the years.  So it's safe to say that I wouldn't necessarily recommend a few of them, but the other ones?  Well, I've got you covered. 

These GF hazelnut cookiewiches with mocha cream cheese filling are sure to wow a crowd. They've been tested by kids and you know what they say--kids are really honest!  Way too honest sometimes.

Another dessert sandwich that is surprisingly vegan and gluten free.  Snickerdoodle and lemon ice cream sandwiches.

If you want to impress that person you're newly dating with your culinary skills, with a look-at-me-i'm-so-culturally-adventurous factor, you might just want to try making hot stone pot (dohlsot) bibimbap.  Can't go wrong with that one because it is extremely versatile.

If your newly acquired boy(girl)friend starts to wonder why you keep on making Asian dishes like this soba with creamy tangerine honey dressing, you can just blame it on me.  Don't worry, I've learned to grow quite a bit of a thick skin. (Or so I'd like to think)

Keeping traditional buttery desserts healthy, vegan, and gf isn't always easy.  Maybe you'll like the healthy profile of this satisfying berry cobbler!

Your AC just broke down, so you swore that if you have to lay your hands on the oven one more time, you'll go crazy.  No problem.  These no-bake almond butter jelly squares will come in handy the next time the AC techy flakes on you.  Plus, one of the steps includes the fridge so you'll stay extra cool, yay!

Let's get crazy with the flavor combos!  How about some mint pineapple cake with mascarpone frosting?  Sounds strange yet tastes so good.  So good that I didn't eat more than 1/3 of it all by myself.

You can also be all kawaii and oh-so-sweet to your kiddos (or significant other) by packing them bento style food, like these carrot shrimp jeon bites with homemade eel sauce.  Mmmm!

Craving a little taste of France, but don't have energy to bake a whole pie, nor take in the extra buttery, albeit delicious calories?  Look no further with this gluten free green onion and spinach quiche for one.

I hope you enjoy if you give them a try. :)

Inspiring Links

I'm sorry this post is full of links, you guys.  But I really want to share the amazingness that these bloggers are, so I hope you don't mind too much.

Lady and Pups' recipes and photography are simply fantastic.  I also think their About page is pretty cool because it's so unique!

Beth Kirby's courage to open up to the world about her bipolar is admirable.  I am blessed to know that she pursues her passions despite the struggles she faces every single day. 

I think I may be a tad obsessed with Japanese anything because I'm loving this foodie guide to Tokyo, written by the wonderful Sarah!

And the Japanese food obsession continues...with Nami's delicious recipes and most importantly, her sweet and kind personality.

Must try these fun moves from Lindsay--especially the plyo press push to ninja tuck.  My abdominal and trapezius muscles are crying already.

Great reminders to stay balanced while pursuing a fit lifestyle.

Try this awesome cardiovascular yoga routine that targets obliques and inner thighs...and then tell me you're not feeling the burn in those exact areas.  You won't regret it!  Or maybe you will?

Have a beautiful day, and I will be unplugging tonight and most of tomorrow for personal reasons.  But do keep in touch because I will be back soon!

What are some inspiring links you've found recently?

Summer Blast Circuit

by Ellie Betzen | from scratch, mostly in

Hey guys!  How's your week starting off? 

We have an EXTREMELY busy day ahead of us and will be in Orange County pretty much all day, but hopefully Selah will go with the flow and help us out a bit? :)  I also have this AMAZING workout that I've been performing once/twice a week when I can actually make it out to the park, and in my opinion it is fantastic for fat burning, muscle firming, and core strengthening--particularly if you have only 30 minutes to exercise and cool down.  I guess I could even call it the "Mommy with Stroller Circuit" if I really wanted to, hah!  But in all seriousness, this kind of routine is the best for when you're short on time and want to get fit FAST.


As always, make sure to give it your all with the little amount you have in order to get a full cardiovascular and strength training session!  And in case you aren't familiar with tricep pushups, there's a link that might help you out.  I highly recommend that you do it with your knees off the floor if you can.  Enjoy and I hope you give this workout a go!

Have a blessed day and let's bless others along the way.

What are some of the best workouts you've done lately?  Please share the links if you have them!

Daily Eats and Weekly Workouts

by Ellie Betzen | from scratch, mostly in

Ever since having gotten back from Kansas, I have been indulging in my regular eats because, well--they keep me "regular".  I'm sorry for that TMI but it's true!  Haha.  Although I don't mind eating whatever other people serve me at the dinner table, I have a hard time savoring it for long because my stomach can be so picky and I end up having digestion and regularity problems in the end.  It's safe to say that I'm thankful for the luxury to eat whatever I want, and whenever I need it. :)

Eats as of Late


Like I mentioned a few weeks ago, I try to get in a dose of fruit every morning before consuming anything else.  This helps with regularity, it allows me to get full thanks to a good amount of fiber, and it refreshes me when I'm still Ms. groggity mcgrog when I wake up.  So far it's been awesome!


Cold protein oats for breakfast!  It's just rolled oats, milk, greek yogurt, a little bit of protein powder, banana, and mangoes.  All topped with a hefty dollop of peanut butter. 

My lunch is extremely simple these days, and I'm not sure if my appetite has changed due to shifting hormones since I am slowwwlllly weaning Selah, but simplicity is where it's at!  I normally opt for corn because I've been buying them in bulk, and the fact that they're constantly on sale definitely motivates me to keep eating it!  I have been pairing it up with cheese, turkey slices, avocado, and lots of sriracha.  Just thinking about this combo makes my mouth water, whoa...But there are some variations to my lunch this week, since life have been extremely busy with VBS going on at church.  I don't mind the change though, because this keeps me from falling into a strict routine.


As for dinner, we've been having leftovers courtesy of this amazing, new-to-me brand--Patak's Tikka Masala Curry.  You see, despite my BEST intentions to make Indian food from scrach, I just haven't had time or motivation to go out and buy fresh spices.  And so far, I think Patak's has done a great job in making the task easier for us non-Indian folk. 


The method I used was pretty much what was written on the back of the bottle.  I basically caramelized sliced onion and chicken thigh pieces in a tinge of oil, and then I simmered the sauce with those ingredients on very low heat for approximately 40 minutes.  In the middle of cooking I realized that it isn't 100% like restaurant food, and the spice level was far too low for us, so I added 1/2 cayenne pepper and 1 tsp garam masala.  Let me tell you guys...that modification alone made all the difference!  Please try this if you haven't cooked Indian before, or if you're simply scared to try the stuff because you'll be saving a ton of money!

As soon as the Chicken Tikka Masala finished cooking, I served it over brown rice since I didn't have basmati in the pantry.  The result?  Mmmmmm!  *almost licked the bowl down to the last bit*  That is all I have to say. ;)

Workout Schedule

My workouts always vary and it is a day-to-day choice.  Sometimes I may feel a bit tight in my hamstrings and need to stretch myself out.  And there are other days when I feel so sluggish that nothing will get me out of that slump unless I do some cardio.  It all depends on the day and I tend to go with the flow when it comes to working out.  I may not have a set schedule, but my weekly rotation looks roughly like this:

Monday- Power interval yoga for about 30 minutes

Tuesday- HIIT body weight routine like the armpit target circuit

Wednesday- HIIT body weight routine the jumprope meldown hiit

Thursday- Intense power interval yoga for about 20 minutes or Ballet Body barre work

Friday- Run about 2 miles+walking at the park with Selah

Saturday- Run (if I didn't on Friday) or Power interval yoga

Sunday- Rest day

As you can see, this is a give or take kind of schedule and many of the workouts may vary depending on how I feel.  I believe it is extremely important to listen to the cues our bodies provide for us everyday, because this prevents us from burnout and we don't end up feeling like we are chained to a specific routine.  I understand that it isn't always easy to break away from a perfect routine, but being chained to anything is far worse.  You know the saying.  Let fitness serve you, not the other way around.  Or at least, this is what works best for me.  Now I'm curious to know what works best for you!


So tell me...What is your fitness routine like every week?  And what's your philosophy on what works best for your mind+body?

What does your diet normally consist of?  Are there foods you just need to have everyday?