Foodie Pen Pal: May

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Happy May 31st, everyone! I’m SO happy that it’s almost June (as I’m sure every school teacher is) because that means one thing: summer break!

If you haven’t entered the KIND Giveaway yet, you still have time! And I have to say- I have absolutely loved reading all of your comments about the acts of kindness in your life- I wish everyone could win!

Getting down to business here: May Foodie Pen Pals. This was the second month that I participated, and once again, it was a great experience!

Here’s what I sent to my Foodie Pen Pal, Dawn:

She told me that she likes condiments and spice, so I went with that and included a few of my other favorite things. Included was a packet of Justin’s Almond butter, Greens Superfood (Orange Creamsicle flavor), fitmixer amino (!), SeaSnax, chia seeds, my favorite mustard, organic hot bbq sauce that I haven’t tried- but looked good, a Go Raw banana bread bar and some natural soap. I wanted to spread the freekeh love and include that too, but my co-op didn’t have any!

And here’s what I got from my Pen Pal, Danielle:

Woo hoo! She included a nice handwritten note with a great quote at the bottom:

And the goods:

Dark chocolate, 2 packets of oatmeal (which I’ve been eying at Whole Foods every time I go!), Dark chocolate with orange (yum!!), homemade cookies, Dried cherries from TJs, Clif bars, a single-serve packet of Barney Butter and some gummy beard made with organic cane sugar

Greg has actually been snacking away on these in his office ever since I got them. :)

Thanks, Danielle- you did an AWESOME job of putting together a collection of foods that I enjoy!

And thanks again to Lindsay, who works tirelessly to put this whole program together- we love and appreciate you, Lindsay!!

And now it’s time for some details about Foodie Penpals.  In case you’re a new reader, here’s a reminder of what the program is all about:
-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
-Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa.
If you’re interested in participating for May, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.
You must submit your information by June 4th as pairings will be emailed on June 5th!

*If you’re from somewhere besides the US, Canada or Europe and want to participate, send me an email and I’ll see if we get enough interest this month!

Have you tried any of the items that I sent out or received?

A Random Act Of KINDness [Giveaway!]

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One great thing about having Monday off is that it’s already the middle of the week. Before you know it, it will be Friday again! I’m already dreaming about the weekend…

But for now, I want to talk a little about an awesome company called KIND. I’ve been a fan of KIND bars for a few years now. I discovered them when I cut gluten out of my diet a few years ago (to see if I had an allergy, and have since added it back). I think the very first kind I ever tried was Fruit + Nut Delight, and I loved it right away. I loved how simple the ingredients were, and that it just tasted so darn good.

So when the girls behind the Blend retreat conducted the raffle and announced a “one month supply of KIND products” as a prize, I had my fingers crossed. And as luck would have it- I won!

When I got back home, I emailed an employee from KIND to redeem my prize. I was so excited to get my shipment and started reading up on their website a bit to learn about the company.

Here’s what I found:

KIND is a brand of all natural whole nut and fruit bars made from ingredients you can see and pronounce and it’s also a movement that gives new purpose to snacking.

At KIND we do things a bit differently.

KIND was founded on the principle of holistic kindness, and we pride ourselves on creating new paths that avoid false compromises. Instead of “Or” we say “And”. We choose healthy and tasty, convenient and wholesome, economically sustainable and socially impactful.

I’m definitely a big fan of their philosophy and not having to compromise taste for a healthy snack!

When my shipment arrived from KIND last week, I was blown away!

I received 11 different flavors of KIND bars and 6 flavors of healthy grains!

The two types of bars are Fruit + Nut and KIND PLUS bars (which contain extra protein or antioxidants).

Here’s a close-up view of the yummy ingredients that make up the Pomegranate Blueberry Pistachio PLUS bar:

This bar was so good.

I even just love what it says on the box! Everything is so easy to read and straight forward- really great for anyone that has special dietary needs or food allergies.

I haven’t tried all of the flavors yet, but I think I’d say that Almond & Apricot is my favorite. Maybe.

While I was quite familiar with KIND’s snack bars, I had never tried their other great line of products before- the Healthy Grains. I didn’t know what to expect when I heard that I would be getting some “healthy grains,” but was happy to see that it was granola.

Check out the flavors:

The Healthy Grains come in big clusters, and are also full of nothing but real, quality ingredients. I could dive right into the bowl Dark Chocolate Cranberry clusters…

Having this much delicious granola in my pantry is dangerous. :)

Since the folks at KIND were so “kind” to send me much more than a “1 month supply” of KIND bars and Healthy Grains, I want to share the love with some of you! I will randomly pick two winners to send a package of assorted KIND bars and Healthy Grains to.

So here’s what I want to know: What’s something “kind” that you have done for someone (or even yourself!) recently? Or what is something “kind” that someone has recently done for you?

I can’t wait to hear your answers!

I will choose two winners on Sunday, June 3rd at 8 pm EST.

*Open to U.S. Residents only

GOOD LUCK!!

 

Memorial Day + Granola Winner

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Three day weekends are the best… but it’s so hard to go back to work!

However, this particular Tuesday morning started off with a BANG! I was so excited to teach spin class, since we have brand new bikes, that I could hardly sleep! I will definitely be feeling that later today…

I started off the morning with the Tabata II workout from Fitmixer bootcamp, which kicked my BUTT. Push-ups right from the start!

After a workout like that, teaching 50 minutes of spinning seems pretty darn easy! Okay, well not easy, but it sure was FUN! Having the bikes with the computers makes all the difference in the world. It was so nice to be able to say an exact gear and RPM to be at- and everyone was fascinated by the numbers (and seeing how many miles they rode total!). I rode just under 21 in 50 minutes (which includes warm-up and cool down) and everyone else should have been right around the same. I’m really excited about how the new bikes will change the way I teach and how hard everyone works- there was definitely a little extra sweat going on in the cycle room this morning.

Let me get back to Monday. I started out the day with the first Tababta workout, since I had to teach Bodypump that morning and thought it would pair well.

I should have considered how much that workout killed my quads though- I was definitely struggling through the squat track when I was teaching Bodypump!

After a morning of sweaty workouts, I rushed back home to shower and prep some food for our company that was coming over. I had invited my dad, stepmom (Sherry) and siblings (Noah and Keating) over for lunch, because I hadn’t seen them in forever! It also happened to be the day after my baby brother’s 16th birthday- which is crazy to me! I was 16 when he was born (and it seems like yesterday!). My cousin Gillian and her fiancee Joey also came over- she had bought one of the used spin bikes from the gym, and I had it stored in my garage for her.

After I got presentable, I had Greg take a photo of me for my Fitmixer Bootcamp profile. When I was looking for a photo to send, I realized that I have almost zero photos of me where I’m not in hiking or workout clothes. There is a woman under there somewhere!

See that scar on my right arm? It’s from leaning against a hot iron when I was trying to flatten out a shirt to iron. That is very typical “me.”

Gil and Joey arrived first- and it was so great to see them!

I hadn’t seen Gil since we baked bread right after Christmas, but she reads my blog and knows what’s going on in my life. :)

Dad and Sherry arrived a few minutes later

along with Noah and Keating

a rare moment of sibling affection :)

And of course there was me and Greg (he just loves posing for photos!):

We didn’t waste any time, and got right the the food!

Check out this bread that Gillian made- it was to die for!

It had whey in it (hooray for high protein!), which she had leftover from making cheese (this girl is amazing), along with sunflower, flax (I think?) and chia seeds and was made with spelt flour. It was so dense and delicious and I think I ended up having three slices (one of which was smothered in sunflower butter and agave nectar later on that day).

Greg grilled up some grass-fed beef burgers and a few (nitrate-free) hot dogs

My dad and Sherry brought some dips and chips and a few other sides (including watermelon!). I boiled some corn and marinated some grilled up veggies in balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh basil.

I piled up my plate with all kinds of good stuff!

A plate full of colorful food makes me very happy!

We had a great afternoon of eating and chatting- but it was way too hot to be outside! I ate my lunch out there, but quickly came inside after because I felt like I was melting!

Greg found a new love: siracha + watermelon

Our friend Wayne posted a photo of this combination on Facebook and Greg was anxious test it out. It’s actually good!

Seriously- try it!

I had registered for this beverage dispenser for our wedding, and got it as a bridal shower gift. I figured it would come in handy one day, and I finally broke it out!

I filled it up with water and sliced lemon. Greg and I decided that we want to have this around ALL the time. It was great to just keep getting fresh, cold, lemony water from the spout!

For dessert, my stepmom brought “stuffed strawberries” that she had seen on Pinterest:

They were hollowed out and filled with a cheesecake filling and dipped in chocolate. I could have probably eaten about 20, but I just had one (since my belly was already full of so much other good food!).

By the time everyone left later in the afternoon, I was hungry again. I mindlessly snacked a bit too much, and definitely didn’t track my food. I don’t think I totally blew it- but I definitely did not follow my fitmixer Bootcamp diet plan. So TODAY I really am back at it- and more motivated than ever!

**

One more thing I want to share: I stumbled upon Lindsay’s blog the other day, upon the recommendation of Annette (who told me that she works out in her school classroom too!). While I was reading through her posts, I stumbled upon Meg’s blog- and discovered THIS. You have to check it out! She talks about how to make “casein fudge” on her video and explains the benefits of casein vs. whey protein. I have to admit- I didn’t know much about the difference between the two, but now I’m very intrigued!

Since Greg had the exact same casein protein that she used, I wasted no time in making my own version:

Looks like fudge, doesn’t it?

I’ll be honest- I’m not crazy about the flavor or this protein, but it’s got potential. I ordered some vanilla casein online and am excited about all of the flavor combinations I will be able to make (starting with lemon blueberry!). I’m excited to eat this every night before bed!

**

Oh yeah- I almost forgot…. I need to announce the winner of the Nature’s Indulgence granola giveaway!

Drumroll, please….

The winner is CORRIE ANNE! Email me your mailing address using the contact page, and I’ll send you some love!

Please stay tuned tomorrow, I have another fantastic giveaway coming up!

Have a great (short) week!

Mid-Weekend Check In

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I love that the fact that it’s Sunday- and I’m still only halfway through the weekend! I think that the world would be a better place if we had every Monday off.

So far the weekend has been busy- it’s funny how that can happen when you have zero plans!

Fridays are like a broken record (but in a good way!):

I taught cycle express (only 30 minutes instead of 45- though I usually go about 38!) followed by Bodypump, and had a very fun and vocal group of women in my second class! I have to tell you as an instructor- it really helps when people aren’t afraid to make a little noise (like an OW! or Woo-hoo!) to make it known that you are feeling your workout. It drives the energy level up, and it just makes it more fun! I love it.

Since it was Friday night, pizza was for dinner. Once again, I used the P28 bagels as a crust- and they work like a charm! It’s such an easy and tasty way to get a ton of added protein into pizza night.

Why yes, I would like some pizza with my veggies.

Greg and I spent the rest of the evening exhausted and enjoying some much-needed couch and DVR time. Friday nights are kind of perfect that way.

**

Saturday is designated “rest” day and boy was it needed! After the combination of Fitmixer Bootcamp workouts this week and teaching a ton of classes, my body needed some recovery big time. We got up early and took the dogs for a nice long walk, taking advantage of the few hours in the morning before it got too hot out.

I made an awesome smoothie using Fitmixer vanilla protein powder, peanut flour, 1/2 a frozen banana, flax milk, ice, a handful of spinach and guar + xantham gum. It was topped off with some granola and sliced banana and a sprinkle of sea salt (which just makes this smoothie!) and eaten in a bowl with a spoon (which I always do- because it takes longer to eat!).

We spent the rest of the day running errands- starting at the Farmers Market. I got all of this for under $20!

Spinach, kale, strawberries, sugar-snap peas, broccoli and eggs

We also stopped by one of the health clubs that I teach at to pick up a spin bike! My cousin Gillian (who loves in Morgantown, WV) really wanted one, so I went and got it for her to hold on to in the meantime.

We got brand new Keiser bikes in our cycle studio, and I am so excited about them!

See me and Greg in the mirror? :)

The club canceled all cycle classes over the weekend so that the new bikes could be set up – and I get to be the first instructor to break them in on Tuesday morning! This is really going to change the way I teach, since the new bikes have a computer that reads RPM, heart rate (if you wear a strap), gear (tension level), and overall mileage!

I’ve always had to just tell the people in my classes to find a gear range of 1-10 and go from there- but now they can actually have that number right in front of them (and these go from 1-24!). Having the RPM will help so much, too. This will all really challenge people to work harder and break out of their comfort zones!

We headed down south to hit up Trader Joes for some groceries + TJs essentials. Here’s a look inside of my shopping cart:

and this :)

And then of course, we also drove over to Whole Foods to get a few more things. I found this crazy Siamese twin looking sweet potato

…and we had lunch while we were there.

My weekends are a little too predictable, aren’t they?

After being gone all day, it was nice to come home and play with the pups for a bit. I tackled the pantry, which desperately needed to be cleaned out and organized!

Before:

After!

Notice all of the KIND bars?? :)

His and her protein/amino supply:

My Fitmixer protein powders are too big for the top shelf, so they’re at the bottom!

I also made Janetha’s blueberry lemon protein scones! I’m horrible at baking, so I cut the recipe in half. The only substitutions I made to her recipe were that I used Sun Warrior Vanilla Warrior Blend protein powder and only 1 T of Earth Balance + 1 T pumpkin puree.

I was a little nervous as they went into the oven…

But they turned out perfectly! And they taste really good.

Greg has recorded the movie Yes Man a few weeks ago because neither of us had ever seen it. So that’s how we capped off our wild Saturday night. And I fought to stay awake until 10 pm. :)

It’s been a great weekend so far- but I definitely got off track with “mindful eating” on Saturday. Nothing too bad- just way too much snacking. But that’s okay, today’s a new day, and I’m back at it.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Don’t forget to enter my Nature’s Indulgence granola giveaway- I’ll be choosing a winner at 8pm EST tonight!

 

7 Randoms For Friday

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TGIF!! I’m SO glad that Friday is finally here, and ready to kick off this holiday weekend in style!

Well, maybe not in style… unless you consider wearing my Blend t-shirt and leggings and flip flops “in style.”

Best outfit ever.

I’m not going out of town this weekend- and couldn’t be happier about that. In fact, I don’t even have a whole lot planned, except for having some family over for lunch on Monday. I love being able to do anything or nothing for a few days.

:)

I’ve got a bunch of random things on my mind, so follow along as I go all A.D.D. with this post…

Random #1: I’ve been on a crazy muffin making spree this week- as in microwave protein muffins. Don’t be confused- I still don’t really do any baking that involves an actual oven. I go through phases where I make a different flavor every day- which is super easy to do. I have these for breakfast along with yogurt and fruit and they keep me full for hours.

Yesterday’s combo was definitely a winner:

I combined 1 T of each of the following: Sunwarrior Vanilla Warrior Blend powder, coconut flour and oat bran with 3 T of each: pumpkin puree, egg whites and flax milk, some pumpkin pie seasoning, chia seeds, baking powder and stevia. All mixed together and zapped in the microwave for 2 minutes, and finished off in the toaster oven for that awesome crunch. I just re-heat it when I get to work in the morning.

I topped this one with “homemade applesauce,” which is just 1/2 of an apple chopped up and heated and mashed, sprinkled with cinnamon; peanut flour mixed with chia seeds and flax milk and some plain Fage 2%. I feel like I’m cheating on Chobani, but man- I love 2 % plain Fage SO MUCH.

*

Random #2: Speaking of Chobani,  I used the last little bit from a 16 oz. container last night to make my lunch for today. And the empty container is perfect for storage!

In the mix: 3 oz chopped up roasted turkey breast, about 2 oz Chobani, 1 tsp Veganaise, 1 tsp dijon mustard, chopped up red onion, celery and tomato, fresh basil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. I brought a container of chopped up mixed greens to dump this over, along with some avocado to smash onto a few crackers and top with the turkey salad. The work day is a little easier to get through when you know that a good lunch awaits.

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Random #3: I got my laptop worked on recently. I have a Macbook Pro that I bought in 2006, and it was great for a few years. But, for the last two years or so, it’s been running SUPER slow- to the point that I barely want to use it. Opening a file in Photoshop takes at least two minutes, and forget having more than two applications open at once! I thought that it may need more RAM, but dropped it off to get checked out last Saturday. I picked it up on Monday and it had a new hard drive and double the memory. And it’s running beautifully now! I know that I will have to suck it up and get a new one in the next few years, but I’m not in a position to be shelling out $2k for a laptop now. I was told that my laptop is considered vintage and they don’t even make parts for it anymore. Apple advances technology way too fast!

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Random #4: I paid off my credit card!! I now have zero debt! (And I can mark another thing off my 32 while 32 list!)

Well, that’s not true- I have no credit card debt. I still have student loans, a mortgage (you don’t need to see that balance- it’s scary!) and a car payment. But, at least I’ve finally paid off that stupid amount of debt that I’ve had hanging around since I finished grad school seven years ago! My mama raised me right, and taught me never to carry debt or buy things that I can’t afford. However, my last semester of grad school was full-time student teaching and classes for four hours each night. I worked at a gym for $8/hr on the weekends, but that wasn’t enough to pay bills and my rent. So, my credit card was my lifeline for four months- and I racked up thousands of dollars. I don’t even want to say how much I racked up. I’m sure I ended up paying at least double what I owed, thanks to a high interest rate. Luckily, I had transferred my balance to a 0% interest card two years ago, which is why I was able to finally pay it off. Slowly but surely I chipped away at that sucker. When I saw that there was $500 left at the beginning of this month, I just bit the bullet and got rid of it. IT FEELS GOOD.

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Random #5: Are there any words or phrases that you just hate? Like, just hearing/reading them makes you cringe? I’ve got one: dippy egg. I don’t know why- i just HATE that phrase. And I happened to see or hear it about 10 times this week. (And I’m sorry if you are a person that uses this phrase- but ICK.)

Runny egg, soft-boiled egg, egg over easy- those are all okay. But dippy egg? It just drive me nuts. I *shudder* at the fact that the combination of those two words will not be on my blog for eternity.

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Random #6: I can’t say it enough- almost 2 weeks in and I LOVE fitmixer bootcamp. Sure, it’s been challenging. But, it’s freaking awesome and I’m so excited to see where it takes me over the next 11 weeks. I get so exicted to see what the new workout is each day and am so hopeful and optimistic about where this process is going to take me. I’m also very grateful that blogging (and meeting some awesome fellow bloggers) is what led me to this opportunity!

I doubled up yesterday’s workout with the one from Tuesday and actually did them in my classroom after the school day was over.

Why not take advantage of a linoleum floor and big screen monitor? And I already keep a yoga mat in my room…

It took 50 minutes to do both workouts, and this was me at the end:

Nope, someone didn’t dump a bucket of water over my head- that’s pure sweaty bliss, baby!

You know you had a good workout when your legs glisten.

The fitness part of this program is locked down. I found myself grabbing a few bites of things mindlessly (what I call pantry munching) the last couple of days, and need to nip that in the bud right away. Other than that, the nutrition plan is also working well (I guess I’ll find out more on Monday morning when I weigh in.) But- I’m feeling good, and I like that. :)

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Random #7: Lance has a thing for stealing shoes- especially flip flops.

How could you not love that face?

He doesn’t destroy them- but more cuddles with them. He does this every single night. I even started a hasgtag on Instagram- #sillylance. Check it out!

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Be sure to enter my giveaway because it’s awesome. I hope you win.

Have an amazing, relaxing and adventuresome holiday weekend!

What’s a phrase/word that drives you nuts? And don’t say “moist.” Everyone says that.

Are you going out of town this weekend?

 


The Granola We All Fell In Love With… [Giveaway!]

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Just when you thought it was safe… here comes another post referencing the Blend retreat!

Okay, this post isn’t really about Blend, but it IS about an amazingly awesome product that I found while at the retreat.

If you ask any of the attendees from the Blend retreat about the lemon blueberry granola, they’ll probably have to wipe a little bit of drool off their chins. This is one item that I’ve seen all over Instagram, blogs, Facebook- you name it. After all, it was the inspiration for these babies, which I’m a little obsessed with.

Meet Nature’s Indulgence Granola:

I can’t remember exactly when I dug into the little sample pack I received- but I know that it was instant love when I took that first bite. It was unlike any other granola I’d ever had! And if you look at the ingredients, you’ll see why:

INGREDIENTS: Oats, Millet, Sugar, Agave Nectar, canola oil, lemon juice, blueberries,citric acid, and salt

That’s it! I’ve never been a huge millet fan, but I love it in this granola! I really think that having that grain in the recipe makes this product truly unique. After hoarding my little sample pack of the lemon blueberry granola for a few days (how did I make it last that long??) I did a little investigating on Nature’s Indulgence’s website to figure out how I could quickly get more!

Here is their story:

Good, Small, Simple
Taste the difference a hand-crafted granola can make in your day. Our granolas are made in small batches, using fresh and natural ingredients. The result is a granola like no other. One bite and you’ll understand the difference as each ingredient combines to deliver the perfect bite of crunch and flavor.Our mission is to bring the best to your table! From the farms of our neighbors, to the hands of our chefs, we ensure nothing but the best through every step of the process. Every ingredient is specially selected for its flavor, quality, and harmony with the other ingredients.

Nature’s Indulgence is a family-owned business based in Ogden, Utah.

I like that. :)

I was pleased to find out that they carry five different flavors, and each of them sounds even more enticing that the next! I then contacted the company stating how awesome the granola was and that it was a huge hit at Blend. I may have also mentioned a little bit about how much I loved the Lemon Blueberry flavor. They got back to me immediately and sent me a nice little package in the mail, including the full-size box of the Lemon Blueberry granola, shown in the photo above. Score!

As an added bonus, I also got a few sample packs of each of the different flavors:

The five flavors: Mango Tango, Cranberry Almond, Nut Berry Maple, Lemon Blueberry and Vanilla Nut

I wasted no time and made Greg join me in taste-testing each of the flavors. And we both agreed- as amazing as Lemon Blueberry is, Nut Berry Maple is the best. Just look at it!

That’s all kinds of goodness right there.

I’m practicing incredible self-control right now by not devouring all of the granola at once.

Because I love this granola so much, I want to share it with all of you! If you order it from their online store, use the code OAS10 to get 10% off of your order! This code is good for three different uses per person- so you can re-stock as needed! They also have gluten-free varieties of several of the flavors.

And, because I’m feeling so generous, ONE lucky reader will receive a shipment of all 5 sample packs from yours truly! Just leave me a comment below telling me which flavor you’re most excited to try. A winner will be chosen randomly on Sunday, May 27th at 8pm EST.

I’m telling you- this is a contest you want to win. :)

GOOD LUCK!

*Contest open to U.S. residents only

 

Sweet Potato Porn, Monkey Muffins [+ Supporting My Fellow HLBs]

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First things first- BREAKFAST!!

I’ve eaten some pretty tasty things for breakfast over the last few days, including this AWESOME breakfast, inspired by Katie!

This is a sweet potato with “porn toppings.” And by porn toppings, I mean 1/2 of a chopped up apple (that I heated up and mashed to make it like chunky applesauce) + cinnamon, some 2% plain Chobani, peanut flour mixed with Sunwarrior Vanilla protein powder + chia seeds + flax milk AND some cereal/granola dumped on top. (My toppings were a little different than Katie’s.)

This was a pretty delicious way to start my morning- but I have to be honest: I was hungry again two hours later. I don’t know if it was that it wasn’t “filling” enough or that I burned up so many calories in the morning with my boot camp workout and teaching spin class.

I’m hoping today’s breakfast sticks a little bit longer!

Yet, another take on a microwave protein muffin. They’re so simple to make and so filling- and there’s at least a hundred different variations that I have in my mind.  I thought this one up while I was on the massage table yesterday afternoon:

Monkey Muffin (w/pb hot fudge sauce)

1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder (I used SunWarrior Blend)

1. 5 T peanut flour

1 T coconut flour

1 T pumpkin puree

3 T egg whites

1/4 of a banana, chopped

2-3 T unsweetened almond or flax milk

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp vanilla extract

1 packet stevia

pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients together in a small bowl or coffee mug. The batter should be somewhat thick. Microwave for 3 minutes, or until center is cooked all the way through. I like to finish mine off in the toaster oven to make the edges crispy.

For the pb hot fudge sauce: combine  1 T of unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 T peanut flour, a packet of stevia, 1 tsp chia seeds, a pinch of salt and a enough almond milk (about 2-3 T) until the consistency is thin- it will seem a little more watery than you would like. Let it sit for about an hour in the fridge and it will thicken and increase in volume. Microwave for 20 seconds or eat cold- it tastes great either way!

I also mixed 2 T plain chobani, some vanilla stevia and chopped up banana to spread into the middle of the muffin.

**

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting the lovely Sarah of The Smart Kitchen at the Blend retreat. I didn’t know this- but Sarah is quite the nut butter chef. News of her amazing cookie dough nut butter spread quickly throughout the land of Blend, and I wanted in on the action! Naturally, I emailed Sarah and requested to purchase a few of her amazing nut butters. She gave me a choice of Cookie Dough, Apple Pie, Chai Tea, Cinnamon Coconut, and Honey Roasted flavors. I wanted all of them, but given the current state of nut butters in my house, I showed restraint and just ordered three.

A few days later, these cute little jars arrived in my mailbox:

Cookie Dough Nutty Butter, Chai Nut (Tea) Butter and Apple Pie Nutty Butter

I immediately tasted all three- and all three were delicious! And they really do taste just like they sound- the flavors really come through. The apple pie has a hint of nutmeg and the flavor of the chai is familiar and wonderful… but the cookie dough nutty butter just trumps them all.

I mean, look at this:

Does that look like cookie dough or what? I’ll be hoarding this one for a while. :)

I’m not exactly sure of the current status of availability of Sarah’s nut butters to the general public, but check out her blog for any news!

A day or two before my nut butter arrived I was graced with another wonderful package in my mailbox- from Mrs. Cotter herself! In case you’re not aware (and I know that many of you are!) Lindsay and her husband have an awesome business called Healthy Bites.

From Lindsay’s description:

Healthy Bites is a company dedicated to providing healthy gluten free snack and fuel options for all people. Our mission is to offer the most minimally processed bites proving to people that eating healthy can taste really good while still being really good for you.

When I contacted Lindsay about ordering some Healthy Bites, she also gave me a list of flavors to choose from. And again, they all sounded good. So, I just told her to put together a variety box and surprise me. What I ended up getting was four different flavors!

A few were already gone by the time I thought to photograph them- but look how cute the rest are!

I thought these would be great for a quick bite before a workout. So far I’ve tried the Whey Good and Pineapple Rum. I think I’d give a slight edge to the Whey Good. Plus, I just really like the name- it’s cute. :)

What I noticed from both Lindsay and Sarah’s creations is that you could really taste the love they put into it. I know that sounds cheesy- but it’s true. It just makes a difference- makes things taste that much better. Plus, I just love that both of them are pursuing their passion of cooking and sharing healthy treats and will happily support them in any way I can.

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

What did you have for breakfast today?

 

fixtmixer bootcamp: The Workouts

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Happy Tuesday y’all!

My morning started bright and early with the wonderful sound of my alarm blaring at 4:30…ish telling me to get my butt out of the bed and to the gym.

My spin class doesn’t start until 5:30, but I like to get there a little bit early to do my own workout, which is usually some form of strength training.

Got there at 4:59 today… a few minutes later than I would have liked, but I was dragging…

This morning I did the fitmixer bootcamp workout that I had missed last week (from last Tuesday), which focused on Isometric movements. As you can see, I was wide awake and ready to ROLL!

This workout focused on slow movements coupled with a few faster repetitions and worked the biceps, triceps, abs and back, and took about 20 minutes.

Then I went in here and taught a 50-minute sweaty spin session (and took pleasure in showing no mercy for participants in the class!).

We’re getting new bikes at the end of the month! Yipee!!!

My butt was thoroughly kicked- all before 6:30 in the morning. Most sane people are still asleep at that hour, right? :)

**

Let’s talk a little about the fitmixer bootcamp workouts.

It doesn’t take a genius to know that I am absolutely loving this process. It’s tough, challenging (mentally and physically), but it’s also just what I need.

I’ll be honest- the workouts were something that I was very skeptical about before I signed up for this program. Not because I was afraid of the exercises or didn’t think I could/would do them- but more that I didn’t want to overdo it and add another hour or so of exercise onto my workout schedule, which is already pretty full! One week into the program, I’m happy to say that I’ve easily been able to perform and adapt the workouts to fit my needs. And I have had my butt kicked by every single one! Even though I joined the boot camp two days late, I was still able to get all but one of the workouts in during the first week.

On days that I teach Spinning and Bodypump back to back (Wed and Fri), I just do that and not the fitmixer workouts. On Sunday and Tuesday mornings, I’ll do the workout before I teach. As for the other three days: Monday and Thursday will be devoted to fitmixer workouts (possibly doubling up with the ones I miss on Wed and Fri) and Saturday is REST. Saturday is also my one day for sleeping in, and I look forward to it every single week!

This is how it all works:

Every morning, boot camp participants log in to the “Boot Camp Hub” and can access the workout of the day. The workout itself is broken down in list form and also has a PDF that can be downloaded to print out.

A video is also posted that shows the fit mixer ladies performing each exercise and explaining how to maintain proper form (which is super helpful!).

(This is the workout I missed last week, but did today!)

Most workouts don’t involve any equipment and can be performed anywhere- which is a huge bonus. And the best thing? None take more than 30 minutes to complete! I’m a big fan of working at a higher level on intensity for a shorter amount of time. It kind of eliminates that whole excuse that I hear people say all the time of  “I don’t have time to work out.”

There’s also a comments section on each of the daily workouts where participants can compare notes!

I love reading the comments and seeing what everyone else thinks of the workouts!

You can access any of the previous workouts on the side bar in the Boot Camp Hub, which is really convenient. That way, if you want to repeat one of the workouts or if you missed one, you can easily find them in one place. I’m a big fan of things being organized and easy to find!

One thing I really appreciate about the workouts (from what I’ve seen so far) is that they are all so different. Many of the exercises from last week had me drenched with sweat within five minutes, and wanting to collapse to the floor by the time I was done (which is a good thing, of course). Yesterday’s workout (which is listed on the print out above) actually didn’t leave me too sweaty- but that doesn’t mean it was easy. It focused on the hamstrings, back and core more than anything else and had the option of repeating it several times (or until your legs were ready to fall off). I went through it three times, and was still smiling at the end (and just a little bit sweaty)!

My muscles were happy- but very tired!

One thing that I’ve been slacking on a bit is devoting the proper amount of time to stretching after my workouts. When I’m teaching classes, it’s incorporated into the workout. When I’m working out on my own, it’s up to me to make sure it’s done, and that doesn’t always happen. I think I’m going to make a suggestion to Robin to put together a 5-10 minute guided stretching video for us to watch after workouts. I’d probably be a lot more likely to do it that way (and a foam rolling video would be even better…).

Speaking of which, I definitely ran out of the gym without stretching this morning. Good thing I have a deep tissue massage lined up for this afternoon- I’m going to need it!

Have a great day!

Did you exercise today- and what did you do? How much time do you typically devote to your workouts?

Fast Re-cap [ + High Fiber/Protein Cocoa Orange Muffins]

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** Some of you have commented that you’ve been having issues viewing my blog, and that the sidebar and content run together. Thank you for bringing this to my attention- I am trying to fix it asap. :)

I’ve been known to be a little long-winded on my weekend re-caps, but am going to try to make this one as short as possible. I also have about 20 photos to share, so “short” is a relative term. But, it was a great weekend with lots of fun, lots of food and lots of movement.

Friday: I taught my regular “Friday Happy Hour” block of classes (Spinning and Bodypump) at the gym, and my wonderful friend Beth came along! To help motivate her to get through almost 2 hours of classes, I brought along an extra bottle of fitmixer Amino to share.

Both classes were awesome and I left feeling that same high that I get whenever I teach at the gym! Greg was working on dinner when I got home, which was our typical Friday night meal of pizza. Since my fitmixer bootcamp diet emphasizes the amount of protein that I should be getting for each meal, I decided to use one of my P28 bagels as a crust- since it has 28 grams of protein!

It worked beautifully- and tasted great!

I followed it up with an awesome dessert (under 100 calories!)- a chocolate-orange protein muffin with sea salt and an Adora calcium disk (which adds 30 calories) melted in the middle.

I’m addicted to these and have been having them as my last snack of the day all week.

Here’s the recipe:

Chocolate Orange High Fiber + Protein Muffin

2 T unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Now Foods brand)

1 T coconut flour

1 T pumpkin puree

2 T egg whites

2-3 T unsweetened almond or flax milk

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp orange extract OR about 6 drops NuNaturals Orange Stevia OR orange zest

1 packet stevia

pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients together in a small bowl or coffee mug. The batter should be somewhat thick. Microwave for 3 minutes, or until center is cooked all the way through. I like to finish mine off in the toaster oven to make the edges crispy. Optional- sprinkle sea salt on top.

Nutritional content: 88 calories, 3.5 grams fat, 10.5 grams carbs, 8.5 grams fiber, 8 grams protein

**
Saturday is my newly designated rest day, so Greg and I got up in the morning and took the boys for a long walk.

We spent the rest of the day running errands- including dropping off my precious Macbook pro to get a new hard drive and more memory. (Eek!) My computer is 6 years old, and is considered “vintage” in the Mac world. Good grief. Considering the ridiculous amount that I paid for it, I’d really like to wait a few more years to upgrade to a new one. Hopefully getting this work done will extend the life of it a little longer!

We stopped into the Trail House (which is as close to we get to REI in Frederick) and I did my best Lindsay Cotter impression.

And had Chipotle for lunch.

And later, an apple with peanut flour protein dip, inspired by Laura.

We played with the pups

Look at this handsome face!!

I’m talking about Jackson, but Greg’s pretty handsome too. ;)

We made grilled steak and shrimp salads for dinner

And spent the rest of the night watching a few episodes of Real World Season 3 on Hulu Plus… only 1 episode left!

**
Sunday morning started bright and early with me heading off to the gym and Greg hitting the mountain bike trails. I did the “full house” fitmixer bootcamp workout before teaching spin, and it was intense!

The bootcamp workout took about 20 minutes and just required a deck of cards- nothing else (and the photo of my sweaty-mess self was after only 20 minutes!). Each suit is a different exercise and you perform a specific exercise as many times as the number on the card reads. So for example, if I drew a 10 of hearts, I had to do 10 burpees. (Jacks, Queens, Kings and Aces = 11 and Jokers were sprints). Correction- Aces = 11, Face cards = 10. Oops- guess I did a few extra!

Man it was butt-kicking and I hated loved it!

Just so you know, when I went searching for a deck of cards in my house on Saturday, this is what I found.

I don’t know where the Little Mermaid deck came from, the but naked men cards were a gag gift that my friend Katie and I got in Vegas almost 10 years ago! I decided that the Little Mermaid cards were probably a little more appropriate.

After teaching spin class, I came home and put the Vitamix to work.

I love that sight. If you own a Vitamix, you know what I’m talking about.

A few minutes later:

Sun Warrior Vanilla Warrior Blend, blueberries, banana, peanut flour with chia seeds and some cereal sprinkled on top. SO good.

Greg and I had offered to help our friends Ashley and Neal move into their new apartment, so we headed to Rockville to meet up with them later in the morning. I joked that we should start a moving service because we did it in record time! And there was a lot of stuff! It definitely helps that Ashley is stronger than most men I know. :)

I know that these two were VERY happy when it was all done!

And Ashley and I agreed that moving is pretty much the best overall body workout ever! I love her. :)

(Why yes I do live in my Blend t-shirt…)

I was REALLY glad that I didn’t do Bodypump that morning- definitely didn’t need it!

After leaving their apartment, Greg and I hit up REI for the Anniversary sale, but left a short time later due to it being insanely crowded. We were super hungry by this point, and as predicted, hit up Whole Foods for the salad bar.

I picked up a few grocery items, including this:

I hadn’t seen this flavor of Arctic Zero before and couldn’t help digging in on the way home! The coffee flavor is good, but chocolate is still my favorite (which is odd, because I don’t really like chocolate ice cream). I love that I could eat an entire serving of it, and it was only 37 calories. If this stuff wasn’t so expensive, I’d probably eat a container every day (and not feel the least but guilty)! And yes- the entire container has only 150 calories and tons of protein. One SERVING (a 1/4 of a container) of most types of ice cream have more than that!

By the time I got home, it was already late in the afternoon, so I got to cracking on my weekly prep stuff. I also managed to pull off a fantastic dinner in a very short amount of time:

Baked sole with squash and tomatoes, burnt baked kale and a Japanese sweet potato. It doesn’t look pretty, but it sure tasted great!

What a great weekend- another one that came to a close way too quickly.

**

Today marks three weeks left of school (Yes!!) and the second week of fitmixer bootcamp. I am feeling awesome about how week one went and have a lot of motivation to go forward. Plus, my Monday morning weigh-in states that I am down 1.2 lbs (even though my first weigh-in was last Wednesday). I’ll take it!

How was your weekend?

 

 

Bootcamp Day 1 [+ The Bootcamp Diet]

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I survived! Day 1 of fitmixer bootcamp is under my belt… just 11 1/2 more weeks to go!

I’m feeling GREAT but am a little bit tired. Fitmixer has set up a weekly conference call for all of the participants to call into on Thursday nights at 10:00. (Since they’re based out of Salt Lake City, it’s only 8 PM there!) I generally am fast-asleep by that time, since I get up so gosh darn early, but really wanted to participate this time. And I’m glad I did! It was really great- and very cool to her from the girls and some of the participants! Luckily, school is over in a few weeks, so I’ll be able to stay up later after that and participate every week.

Rewind a bit…

I started the day with a good attitude and a smile. Sorta.

(I don’t have a full-length mirror, so I stand on my tub!)

Let’s talk about the fitmixer boot camp nutrition plan, shall we?

Here’s the personalized plan that Candice sent to me:

I’ll be honest- when I first saw this, I got a little freaked out. I thought that eating between 1300-1400 calories would be a big challenge. I eat anywhere between 1,500- 2,000 calories per day on average now… but obviously this isn’t working for me. It’s funny (well, not really- it actually kind of sucks) but when I was tracking in My Fitness Pal before, my calorie suggestion was 1,500 per day. And I would “earn” calories back based on exercise. I generally ate around 1600-1700 on most days, and due to the calories I burned through exercise each day (anywhere from 500-1200, depending on how many classes I was teaching that day!), I would get a little message from My Fitness Pal at the end of the day stating that “if every day were like today I’d love x amount of lbs. in 5 weeks!” And that amount was anywhere from 5-15 lbs. less than what I weighed. Well, obviously that wasn’t true for me- which is why I’m at where I’m at.

Let’s face it- pretty much any other person in the world could eat 2,000 calories a day and work out like I do and drop weight like crazy. But for me, eating that much makes me slowly gain. It’s time that I ACCEPT that, stop feeling sorry for myself and do something about it.

Hence, bootcamp. I’m going to try to just trust the experts this time.

As you can see from the plan, you are required to eat six times a day. This keeps your metabolism revved up, because it takes 3 hours for your body to digest food. After three hours, your metabolism slows way down to hold on to whatever it stored. When you eat again- it speeds back up! (I learned this on the conference call last night!) I should aim hit the goals for the percentage of carbs, fat and protein each day (and for each meal). That’s something I really haven’t paid much attention to before. It will definitely be hard to stay under 29 grams of fat each day too- since I’m such a nut and avocado freak! I emailed Candice about this (and a billion other questions- God bless her for dealing with Type A people like me!!) and she said it was okay to tweak it a bit- as long as my fats are “healthy fats” and I get enough carbs.

I also asked about the calorie count- making sure it was not too low. Candice assured me that she took in every consideration when calculating the numbers for me- and is well aware of my exercise/dieting history. She also told me to listen to my body and if I am feeling extremely hungry, tired and low energy all the time, to add a few more calories (but not go above 1500). I will definitely focus on being in tune with my body and hunger signals, but will try my darndest to stick within the range that she gave me. I know that my issues with food are much more mental than physical anyway, so my body really shouldn’t feel “starved.”

For my first day “on the diet” I actually didn’t really plan it out much. I had already prepped a lot of my meals for the week a few days ago, so I decided to stick with what I’ve been eating for breakfast and lunch and see how it stacked up to the plan. I’ll have much more time to plan things out and grocery shop this weekend, so meals next week will be a bit different.

So how did my first day go? Check it out.

(Lemon-Blueberry Protein Muffin, plain Chobani, sliced banana, peanut flour)

Celery sticks + 2 T homemade hummus

Mixed greens with avocado, 2 hard-boiled eggs, fuji apple

Workout: I couldn’t do the prescribed workout on Wednesday because I was already teaching Spinning and Bodypump, so I added the one from Wednesday on to Thursday’s. Each workout is no more than 30 minutes long, so it’s definitely manageable to do both! I printed them off, grabbed my Amino and iPad and let Robin kick my butt.

YUM.

Wednesday’s workout was crazy! It’s pretty insane that a 20-minute workout can kick my butt so much more than an hour or two of cardio! And Thursday’s workout was no joke either- it was a real booty burner- literally! (I’ll talk a little more about the workouts soon!) Both workouts together took less than an hour to do and I was beat! But I still had a smile on my face. :)

After my workout, I refueled with snack #2:

1 scoop Sun Warrior Vanilla protein powder, 1/3 c frozen peaches, ice, guar + xanthan gum and water, 2 T granola

About two hours later, we had dinner:

This was a repeat from last week (because it was SO DARN GOOD): Taco salad with roasted veggies, 3 oz lean grass-fed beef, avocado salsa, chobani and a few crumbled up Beanitos.

I could eat this every single night for dinner (and it’s SO filling!)

The plan requires that we also have a snack after dinner. Okay… if I must!

This is a cocoa/pb microwave muffin (made with 2 T cocoa powder, 1/2 T coconut flour, 2 T egg whites, 1 T pumpkin puree, 1 packet stevia and peanut flour + water swirled in). When I grabbed it out of the microwave, I noticed that it looked odd- I forgot the baking powder (which makes it get really big and fluffy). But, it ended up being really dense and fudgey- and really good! I don’t know the exact stats, but based on the ingredients I used, it’s around 60 calories.

I stopped eating for the day around 7:45 pm, because I hate to go to bed with a full stomach- it totally messes with my sleep. I didn’t take a picture of every single calorie I took in- there were also a few glasses of flax milk, an Adora calcium disk and maybe one other thing… I don’t remember. All in all, I did pretty good and stayed right under that 1400 calorie range.

Not too bad. I need to increase my carbs a bit though (oh darn!). My Fitness Pal automatically adds in the extra calories that you “earn” from exercise, but those are not factored in on this plan (they create a deficit instead).

How I ate yesterday is pretty similar to how I eat on a daily basis- the difference is, I probably also eat an extra 500+ calories from mindless snacking, which I was SUPER aware of yesterday. And most of that occurs in the evening, leaving me feeling icky by the time I go to bed and full and bloated in the morning.

And you know what? At the end of day one, I felt awesome. I didn’t feel hungry or deprived- I felt like I had some small sort of victory. Now the key is to keep it going. I’ve got a pretty long journey ahead of me, and I’ve got so much support going on, it’s crazy (and wonderful). I can’t wait to see where the next 11 1/2 weeks lead!

I’ll be getting my Fitmixer protein delivery at the beginning of next week, so I can start using that as a protein source for some of snacks and meals after that. I’m also going to do some very careful shopping over the weekend based on my nutritional needs- and I’m excited about that. Let’s just keep this excitement and motivation going…

PS- Thanks so much for your kind comments and support on yesterday’s post. It means the world to me!

**

If you are trying to lose weight, Would you rather eat all pre-made foods or continue to cook your own food? I would prefer to cook my own, hands down. But, it is nice to a have a few quick and “convenient” things on hand when you’re super busy or in a hurry.