Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts

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For as dominant as my sweet tooth is, it’s also very particular. I love ice cream (and my favorite is vanilla bean!)- but don’t care too much for most types of cake. I am a total dark chocolate addict, but am not crazy about it in the form of cake or ice cream. Fruit pies, crisps and cobblers make me swoon, but danishes, pastries and doughnuts really do nothing for me. Actually- I take that back: doughnuts are awesome, but something that I rarely, if ever, eat. And here’s why: I can’t eat something like that for breakfast. It would sit in my stomach like a brick and give me a carb crash an hour later. In my opinions, doughnuts should be classified as a dessert.

Part of my full-time job as FlapJacked’s social media manager is coming up with a new recipe each week. The mix is so versatile that I’ve been able to create everything from quick breads to corn dogs to cheesecake to biscuits, amongst many other delicious (and mostly healthy) creations. And, most recently, I created doughnuts. Healthy doughnuts. Doughnuts that you can eat for breakfast that will keep you feeling satisfied and not weighed down. Doughnuts that you could eat three or four of without feeling an ounce of guilt. Yes, people- DOUGHNUTS.

When I was figuring out the ingredients for this recipe, I knew I needed a liquid that was rich, creamy and flavorful and would provide a little bit of healthy fat. It also needed to be something that was lower in calories and would keep the nutritional stats in a happy place (so heavy cream and oil were out!). The answer was simple: Silk Almondmilk Light.

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Currently: October 2014

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Whoa- two posts in a week… can you believe it?! Because I will be rambling enough down below, let’s just get right into it:

Currently: October

Current books: I recently finished Wild by Cheryl Strayed, and can confidently say that it’s my favorite book EVER. I haven’t started a new book yet, but want to read another Cheryl Strayed book or Into The Wild next (because I love the movie, and I bet the book is 10x better). I tend to like reading memoirs and non-fiction - I’m open to suggestions!

Current music: Speaking of Into the Wild, I literally listened to the soundtrack all day long while I worked yesterday. This song is my fave. :)


Current guilty pleasure: I pretty much always say Real Housewives of New Jersey, so I’m sticking with that. I can’t wait for the reunion show on Sunday!

Current nail color: Chipped.

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ACL Reconstruction Surgery: 5 Months [or 22 Weeks] Post-Op (!!)

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It’s October 20th- which means that it’s been exactly five months since I had ACL Reconstruction Surgery (and tomorrow will mark exactly 22 weeks). Honestly, that’s pretty hard for me to wrap my head around! I know that I say this in every post, but time has FLOWN! When I look back on that horrible day (of surgery) five months ago, I get chills. Man, it sucked… and I hope that none of you ever have to go through it! But- if you do- just have faith that time will pass quickly and you will get better.

While I still stand by the fact that I want a re-do of summer and am not at all ready for winter to come, the weather has (thankfully) been awesome here and perfect for playing outside (including lots of hiking with this guy!).

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One of the ski resorts out here has already opened and others will start following soon. I have still have very mixed feelings about skiing. On one hand, the thought of skiing again makes me terrified and furious. The other part of me wants to take what I learned from recovery and face my fears and be a badass on the slopes… within reason. I think that I will just wait until I’m ready, take it slow and play it safe all season. My surgeon advised me to wait until the end of December, always wear my knee brace, to stay away from crappy snow (ice) and to take it easy. It will be interesting to see what happens.

Now for the formal progress update:

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Bodypump 91 Review

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It has been a loooooong time since I wrote a Bodypump Review, and I vowed to get back into doing so with the latest Bodypump release. Even though my gym launched Bodypump 91 almost four weeks ago, I know that most other clubs are just now getting around to launching. (My group ex manager decided to do it on the first day of fall to get into the “Fall into Fitness” thing.)

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Believe it or not, this is the first launch I’ve done since Bodypump 84- which was over a year and a half ago! There’s not nearly as much opportunity for Bodypump instructors here in Boulder and I was just subbing classes for the first year that I lived there. I’ve taught every release since I moved- but just haven’t been there for the actual launch day. It wasn’t until last April that I finally got my own class- and then was out for two months for knee surgery right after. So, because of the timing, this past launch was the first that I’ve gotten to do since moving- and it felt GOOD to be back!

Because of the early launch at my gym, I had to learn the choreography for Bodypump 91 FAST. In fact, I learned the whole thing while I was in Maryland last month for work- most of it in my hotel room at 6:00 am each morning before having to put in a full day Expo East! It was stressful and exhausting- but totally worth it in the end.

If you’re not familiar with Bodypump, here’s a quick description of the class from the Les Mills website:

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Creamy Delicata + Apple Soup

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As much as I’ve tried to hang on to summer (and make it last forever) I’ve decided to finally let go. Fall is here- and that’s not a bad thing. Even though I’d forever state that summer is my favorite season, fall probably comes in a close second. Summer has only been gone for about two weeks and already it seems that the air has changed. Walking around outside I’ve noticed (especially after the sun goes down) that it smells like fall. Do you know what I mean?

There are certain things that I will always associate with this season: apples, pumpkin everything, Crock Pot cooking, football, changing leaves, beautiful sunsets… I’m sure I could go on. As it starts getting colder outside there is one thing that I crave all the time: soup! If I hear of a delicious-sounding soup on a restaurant menu or even see something boxed in the store, I have to get it. Each and every time I ask myself: why don’t I make this myself?

When I was thinking of a simple, fast soup recipe to make I immediately thought butternut squash + apple soup. When I went to the store to buy my ingredients I was immediately sidetracked by a beautiful pile of delicata squash. Although butternut squash is probably my favorite winter squash, I like delicata almost just as much. It’s slightly sweet, rich and buttery (and delightful!).

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Currently: September 2014

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TGIF! Man, September has been a whirlwind of a month! Greg was traveling during the first two weeks and the day after he got back I set off for Maryland for a week and a half. I had to fly to Baltimore for work (for Expo East) but went a few days early to visit family. It was really nice to spend some quiet time with my family and see a few friends (including my dear Ashley- the day before she gave birth to her beautiful daughter!).

It’s very strange to me that fall is already here and October is around the corner- but I’m going to try and embrace it! Because of surgery, I was kind of robbed of summer (at least the first half), but it definitely ended on a positive note. I’ve pretty much been able to get back into all of my favorite activities and am so thankful for that! There’s still a way to go until I’m “normal,” but I’m extremely pleased with my recovery.

I just got back from enjoying an incredible weekend in Steamboat Springs. It was my first time visiting there and I can’t wait to go back! Paige and Shane had planned on going for their anniversary, and since Greg and I were planning on going somewhere that weekend, we all decided to go. The four of us had dinner one night and went on an amazing, beautiful hike another morning. The aspens are changing color and everything is just beautiful.

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Greg and I brought our bikes and took a nice ride along the river before we left. It’s hard to think that the next time we visit Steamboat it will be covered in snow!

Alright. Without further ado, here’s what’s going on in my life lately:

Currently: September

Current books: Wild by Cheryl Strayed

I’ll admit it- I’m not much of a reader. My friend Natalie told me (raved about, actually) about this book a year ago and I put reading it on my to-do list. It wasn’t until I saw the trailer for it earlier this month that I actually took action.

The movie comes out later this year, and I was determined to read it first. I started reading it on the plane to Maryland was immediately sucked in. I tried reading before bed each night, but usually only got through a few pages before I dozed off. I read more on the plane back to Denver, and still have about 1/3 of the book to go. I think it’s pretty safe to say- this will end up being my favorite book of all time (and I can’t wait for the movie!). GO READ IT!!

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Tipsy Peach Smoothie

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Prior to living in Colorado, I didn’t realize that peaches were something that the state was known for. Like many people, I automatically associate peaches with Georgia (although Maryland has some delicious ones as well!). I’ve come to find out that the town of Palisade, Colorado has some of the most delicious, juicy peaches I’ve ever tasted!

The first crop of peach trees in Palisade were said to have been planted around 1882, and other fruit crops like apples, cherries and apricots were soon to follow. However, Palisade quickly became known for its peaches and they have since remained the pride of Colorado. There’s a huge peach festival each August in Palisade along with other towns around the state (including Lafeyette- where I live!).

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ACL Reconstruction: 15 Weeks Post-Op

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Happy (belated) Labor Day!

I am so not ready to see the summer end! On one hand, I’m glad that it went by quickly because I was not in the best of shape for most of it. But, I also feel totally ripped off! Now that I’m a lot more mobile, I want a re-do of summer! At least there’s still fall (which is the best for hiking, cycling, running and a lot of other outdoor activities!).

This Thursday will mark 5 months since I had my skiing accident. Time flies! Today is the 15 week anniversary of my ACL reconstruction surgery, and so much has changed over that period of time. In many ways, I’m pretty close to “normal” and can do just about anything that I could do before tearing my ACL. I’m also constantly reminded that I am still pretty far from normal and have a long way yet to go. I do everything a little bit slower, with less intensity. I’ve back been to teaching my group exercises classes for over a month now, but still can’t lift quite as heavy, crank as much tension on the flywheel or pedal as fast (I know that this will improve with time!).

Here’s the formal update on my progress…

Pain Level:

No pain (and very little swelling)! There is still quite a bit of tightness in my left knee, but it’s improved a great deal. I have just a tiny bit of pain and sensitivity in the area around my large incision, but nowhere near where it was even a few weeks ago. I can kneel down on the ground now, do a standing quad stretch and kind of get into child’s pose. All three of those were a very big deal and I celebrated each accomplishment! I often have numbness around my knee (mostly below the knee cap), which I’ve heard is very normal. It’s still very weird.

I’ve actually been having more pain in my right (non-operative) leg than my left, because I tend to bear more weight on it- especially when I’m running. All in all, the level of pain in pretty much non-existent and a million times better than it was during the first few weeks after surgery.

Here’s a photo of my knees today (directly after a run!):

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I wish my scars would start to fade a bit more (some people’s scars fade right away!), but it will take some time. My left quad muscle is definitely growing back and my calves are pretty much the same size now. My left leg is definitely still weaker than my right, but at least it’s starting to look similar in size.

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[Simple] Wellness “Life Hacks”

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Whether I’d like to admit it or not, I can’t help but ignore the fact that I’ve let some of my “healthy habits” slide in the last two years. Back in my former life as a high school teacher, it was so easy to be pretty structured and organized when it came to dieting- because my whole life was so structured and organized! When I ended my teaching career and found myself at home much more often, my bad habits of mindlessly snacking and eating too much kicked in and the pounds started to pile on. Two years later, I can’t ignore it. I’ve got at least 20 extra pounds that I’d like to get rid of and need to buckle down and FOCUS.

On paper, weight loss seems so easy! You eat less, move more and slowly but surely those pounds of unwanted fat come off. The truth is, it’s not easy at all! Improving your health, whether it means losing a few pounds, getting in better shape or simply wanting to feel better overall takes hard work, dedication and staying power.

I often find that I have the most motivation to make positive changes to my diet after returning home from vacation (which I just did this week!). Something about days full of eating out for every meal, drinking more than usual, staying up late and being off of my routine seems to make me crave a healthy lifestyle. To get back on track, I refer to a simple list of “wellness hacks.” The ideas on this list are nothing new or revolutionary, but sometimes we just need a reminder of how simple it can be to make positive, healthy changes.

1. Plan ahead (even if it’s just one day- or one meal!).

As hard as I’ve tried, I am just not the type of person who can plan out a week’s worth of meals in advance. I feel pressured and I almost always end up changing everything throughout the week. For me, planning out ONE day in advance is the most realistic. I like to eat about six times throughout the day and have a guideline for what I’m going to be eating throughout the day helps me stick to a healthier diet.

Sometimes I’ll write out a “daily diet plan” the night before, and sometimes it’s the same morning. Either way, it makes me far less likely to “boredom snack” while thinking about what to make for my next meal.

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Currently: August 2014

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Hello!

I’m heading out to Boston tomorrow and frantically trying to schedule everything for work while I’m gone, pack a suitcase and get my house in order before leaving. So I thought- why not sit down and write a blog post??

It’s kind of hard to believe that it’s the end of summer. My teacher friends in Maryland all went back to school this week (there was an overwhelming amount of sadness in my Facebook feed yesterday!)- and I’m super glad to not get the “August blues” any more. I don’t miss my former life as a teacher. Not one bit!

Work has been insane (in the best possible way) and I’ve had my share of 11+ hour days, working on Saturdays and eating, sleeping and breathing FlapJacked… but I love it! I definitely don’t mind working all the time when it’s something I LOVE. On top of that, I’ve been teaching Bodypump regularly again (hurrah!) and am starting teaching early morning indoor cycling at a Cycling/TRX studio in two weeks (the same one Paige works at!). Overall, things are good. :)

Currently: July

Current books: I mentioned last month that I was about to pick up Just Like The Movies. I have about six (short) chapters left, so I predict that I’ll finish it tonight. I adore this book (and will be posting a review soon!). If you’re into Young Adult Fiction, check this book out!

Current music: I listened to this song at least three times yesterday:

I’m a big fan of Eminem and this is probably my favorite song of his. I remember one of my Spinning instructors playing it all the time (long before I started teaching classes myself) and I would get SO pumped. It happened to come on my Pandora station while I was running (yes, running!) on the treadmill yesterday and made the run so much easier to get through. It’s most definitely my all-time favorite POWER song.
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