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?

June Favorites

by Ellie Betzen | from scratch, mostly in

So what do you know?  June came and went as swiftly as ever, which perhaps isn't too bad of a thing.  At least for me.  Sure, I may be having some of those "special event blues" because beliieeeeeve me!  This was a crazy and eventful month for us--packed with a blessed and fun-filled VBS at church, flying to Kansas with Selah for the first time, weaning her off the breast just this past week (I'll talk about this on a separate post), I missing something else?  Oh yeah!  Let's not forget Selah's Doljanchi and all the preps that went into it. I think it's safe to say that my body has had enough action for the time being. :) 

July, I'm excited to see what you have in store for us.  But for now, let's welcome July with some of my June favorites, shall we?  I really hope you find my features and recommendations somewhat helpful!

Food Love

1st Birthday Cake from Cake House

cake from Cake House Buena Park

So you know that gigantic cake we ordered for the party, which by the way, was meant to feed 100+ guests?  Well, perhaps 'gigantic' is an understatement because there were at least 10 of us who took a plateful of leftover cake home.  Granted, there were less than 90 people who showed up to the party, but I ended up with at least 14 slices and now there are probably 4 left in the freezer.  Poor me, right?  I told you that I'm the greatest cake fan EVER, and thankfully I've learned to cut back this week and took care of this situation.  Sort of.

Running Elsewhere

Although I can't say that running in humidity is very fun, since the last time I did that I got quite humbled, it was a pretty cool experience to explore a city other than the ones in OC and LA.  More than anything, I loved running in such crisp and clean air, where all I saw was long stretches of greenery ahead!  You don't get that here like you do in the Midwest. 

You all know how much I love fitness.  I mean, the way it makes me feel in the aftermath is almost equivalent to taking happy pills!  Whatever that means, haha.  :) 

I mentioned on my weekly workout schedule that yoga is one of my highlights these days.  In fact, it has been for the past 3-4 months and I am extremely surprised by how much my body craves it!  I tend to go through phases with workouts every year--and although I love barre work with Leah, and still do perform most of the routines I've featured on the blog, I feel like I've found my niche within yoga stretches as well.  It is also motivating when I twist myself in every which way possible, only to realize that I'm now able to do such and such pose like the eight angle (Astavakrasana).  I still have a long way to go, but it's a start!  I also try to be mindful of mentioning how I veer away from its spiritual thinking and philosophy, simply because I don't believe it is in alignment with the Word of God. I believe God's Love, along with His Word, are all we need to have a life changing transformation within our hearts.

Fashion+Beauty Love

Pacifica Vegan Lip Tint


I rarely find beauty products that I love right away, and sometimes it takes me a while to actually start liking them.  I think it's partly because I'm not into beauty and makeup like I am with fitness, as an example. 

While I was running errands at Target, I stumbled upon the Pacifica beauty product section and was immediately drawn to their cutely packaged products, hah!  Since natural lip color is one of the few beauty related things I love, I knew I wanted to try Pacifica's Blood Orange lip tint.  It is so beautiful when it goes on the lips!   Pacifica's lip tint contains avocado and coconut oil as the moisturizing ingredient, and not only is it super hydrating, but the color is that of a naturally blushed set of lips.  It isn't too light or too bright--just perfect for those who prefer the more natural look.  Let me warn you, doesn't feel very smooth and velvety when you're putting it on, but the final result is definitely a winner.  I am looking forward to try more Pacifica products in the future, and fingers crossed that they are just as good as this one!


They say there are two kinds of women.  The bag collector and the shoe fanatic.  Well, although I may not be a fanatic, per se, I have a true penchant for shoes.  Make that Korean shoes (especially).  You know, the kind that they ship over from Korea and sell in little Korean fashion boutiques? 

My mother in law wanted to spoil me, and spoil me she did, by gifting me money to go out and buy something for myself.  So I found this pair in a shoe store located in Arirang, which is in the city of Garden Grove.  It was originally priced over $70 but I got it on sale for $40, woot!  #longlivesales  I love how versatile these are.  They go beautifully with A-line skirts, shorts, and jeans--my kind of shoe.  The best part is that they are extremely comfortable, and whenever I slip into them I feel like I'm wearing house slippers.

Time spent with my favorite humans!

Vacation Bible Summer School (VBS) at church, especially when looking after babies.  Babies are probably my favorite. ;)


Really unexpected gifts like this Trader Joe's gift card, from my dearest friend, Kat!

What are some of your June favorites?

Which beauty products caught your attention immediately?

Bags or Shoes???


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?

May Favorites

by Ellie Betzen | from scratch, mostly in

As you can already tell (unless you are new here), my blogging schedule has been a tiny bit off since last week, but sometimes spontaneity is good so I'll be sharing my May Favorites today!  As always, please excuse the fuzzy phone picture quality. :)

Food Love

Soba with Creamy Tangerine Honey Dressing


This accidental dish was a serious hit in our household!  Like, seriously.  Even Greg, who isn't a fan of fresh/salad type dishes loved it.  The dressing is perfectly sweet and great to include in your pursuit of healthy eating. Don't you just love "accidents" that result in success? ;)

Mango Banana Smoothie


Alright, you guys.  I confess that I slipped out of my smoothie+juice habit not long after my 21 day Eat Beautifully Challenge because I was constantly craving thick and solid snacks.  I did make smoothies sporadically when the craving hit, but last week I started to make them for Selah and myself more regularly.  This refreshing combo is quite thick so if you are a fan of thick smoothies, then this might be your thing! 

Into the blender:  About 1 whole mango, 1 frozen banana, milk of choice enough to loosen it up.  Add toppings and it serves 1 adult and 1 baby!

"Simple" Waffles

These waffles.  Inspired by the one and only Lindsay Cotter!  She Instagrammed this combination the other day, and ever since it stuck with me till this morning.  So I decided to top waffles with some butter, halfway boiled eggs, and a light drizzle of pure maple syrup.  It was mind-blowingly amazing!  At least to me, anyway.

Fitness Love

How to Relax and Loosen Up your Trapezius Muscles


My trapezius muscles tend to grow extremely quickly, and since they have been really tight for the past few weeks I decided to do something about it.  I followed this tutorial and have been using a belt for my traps throughout the day.  It feels really relaxing and yes, I may look like a dork when I do this, but I am hoping my tight muscles will reap some benefit from this habit.

Sprinting in Front of my House

Who knew that interval sprinting right in front of my house and jump roping would be so challenging?!  I thought that in order to run I had to go to the park, but since I haven't had much time for that I discovered sprinting in short bursts is just as effective for cardio, if not more than running for an extended period of time.

Fun Moments

My Loves


Need I say more?!  Look at that grin! 

Kids Say {Do} the Darndest Things

I don't talk very often about the fact that our family is in the Ministry, or at least I haven't for a very long time!  But I have to share about the one time our church kids thought we were the Obama family.  For part of the lesson they were asked to draw a family that was famous or everyone knew, and then the rest of the class had to guess which family it was.  Well, two of them drew us, but the rest of the class thought Greg was president Obama.  Gosh, what would this world be without the humor of children, eh?  #thatonetimewewerefamous

Have a great rest of the day and take care!

Past Monthly Favorites

What are some of your May favorites?

What are some of the funniest things you've heard or seen kids do?

Any food inspirations as of late?

Ultimate Ab & Fat Burner with "Valslides" or Socks {Vlog}

by Ellie Betzen | from scratch, mostly in

Have you ever heard of Valslides?  I am sure you have if you hung around the internet long enough.  Ever since seeing Valslides pop up left and right, I have been tempted to make the purchase...but then I thought to myself, "Heyyyy I think I could do those ab exercises without the actual equipment.  How about, socks?!  Yes yes yes, pure genius you are, Ellie." 

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