Currently: January 2015

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It’s my first Currently post of the new year! The winter is certainly flying by (and I am definitely not complaining about that!). I was looking back at last month’s post and remembering how COLD it was. It’s definitely been a different story this week- Monday and Tuesday were in the 70s! I’ve been enjoying this taste of spring and trying to get outside as much as I can (because I’m sure it’s going to be followed by another cold spell soon enough!).

I’ve been talking about going to the Wild Animal Sanctuary since last summer, but had yet to actually make the trip there. Greg and I (along with our back-door neighbors) took advantage of the great weather on Sunday and finally made it over there! If you live in Colorado (or are visiting), I highly recommend visit the Wild Animal Sanctuary. You can read about their story here (and then you’ll be planning your trip!). There were lions, tigers and bears (oh my!) but the wolves were my absolute favorite. They were so much fun to watch- and it was so cool when they started howling.

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I’ll definitely be going back in the spring. Most of the bears (they have 150 total!) were hibernating, and apparently they are all out and about after winter. :)

Moving on…

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Fruity Vanilla Swiss Oats

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Almost three years ago, on my 32nd birthday, Greg surprised me with the gift of a weekend trip to another city to see the Red Sox play. He gave me the option of choosing Boston, Chicago or Cleveland. It was a no-brainer to me- I chose Chicago! I had never been to that city and it was at the top of my “must visit” list. We had a great time and experienced as much of the city as we could in the few days that we were there.

Generally when we travel, Greg and I like to get restaurant recommendations from locals or spend a good deal of time scouring Yelp  beforehand. We don’t really plan for breakfast or lunch (and if we end up at a chain, so be it!), but try to make dinners special. Our hotel happened to be next to a Corner Bakery cafe (which were all over the city!). Since it was a cheap, fast way to get breakfast we ended up there every morning. Even though we had them in Maryland (where I was living then), I had never been to Corner Bakery prior to our Chicago trip. I know that it sounds really silly, but out of all of the delicious food that we ate while in Chicago, the thing that I remember the most are the Swiss Oats from Corner Bakery.

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Swiss Oats are similar to the “overnight oats” that I was used to making- but something about this particular version tasted SO much better! I loved the combination of apples, dried berries and banana, along with the creaminess of the yogurt. I immediately started doing some research on the web to figure out just what went into these perfect Swiss Oats. Luckily, it wasn’t that hard to figure out.

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Returning to Skiing [After ACL Surgery]

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Hello!

Before I get onto the topic of skiing- I just wanted to put a reminder out there that tickets for this year’s Blend Retreat are currently on sale! We currently have quite a few tickets left, but that might not last for long. We are very limited in our overall capacity this year due to a smaller amount of lodging available (unlike the last two years). So, if you’re thinking of coming- go get your ticket now!

I am really excited about this year’s retreat because we have some fantastic sponsors lined up- and many of them are based in Colorado! We only have a few announced on the website so far (we are waiting for several contracts to come back), but you can take a peek at who has signed on so far here.

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If you have wanted to visit Colorado or are just looking for a great girls’ weekend, Blend is a great opportunity for that! The tickets and lodging are extremely reasonable in price and you get a lot in return. And if you have any questions- feel free to ask me!

Moving on to skiing… This is going to be long and ramble-y at times, but I need to put these thoughts into writing. My hope is that I can look back on this in a few months and laugh. :)

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Bodypump 92 Review

Hey friends! How’s 2015 going for you so far? It started out well for me… until I got the plague. Okay, that’s a bit dramatic. I caught some awful bug that’s been going around that had me out of commission for a week (and I’m still not totally 100% back to normal yet- maybe about 95%!). The last time I was sick was three years ago- and let me tell you- I’m NOT a very good patient. Like most other people, I have a hard time resting up and taking it easy for more than a day.

I started feeling icky on a Saturday and it just got worse from there. By the following Tuesday, I was starting to feel better so I went into the office, went to the gym and was basically on my feet all day. Big mistake- that made things much worse. The whole point of this “sick” story is that I had to miss the launch of Bodypump 92 last Thursday- which bummed me out big time. But, I followed doctor’s orders and took a week off from the gym, focused on getting rest, drink my body weight in water and started feeling human again by the weekend. And- I finally got to go back to teaching my classes this week- including Bodypump 92 (for the first time) today!

I’ve been teaching Bodypump since the release of 79- and I think that the choreography for this release was probably the easiest to learn. That being said, it’s probably one of the toughest to execute! There’s a few tracks that I love, love, love and others that I… love less. I’ll go into more detail below. :)

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Blend 2015 Details

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Hey friends! I’m just popping in here quickly to share some details about an event that I’m really excited about- Blend 2015! For the last several months Lindsay, Janetha and I have been busy planning and awesome weekend of fun, food, fitness and friendship to take place this May in Boulder, CO. We’ve been talking with loads of potential sponsors, signing contracts and making sure that this year’s retreat will be the best yet.

I am THRILLED to announce our official sponsor for this year:

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Currently: December 2014

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Happy New Year’s Eve! I don’t know about you guys, but I am really looking forward to starting a new year and making 2015 much better than 2014. I’m also really looking forward to warmer weather- it was -16˚ when I left to teach Spinning this morning. That’s right – NEGATIVE SIXTEEN. It’s been super cold here for days and we’ve gotten quite a bit of snow. Luckily the sun came out today and we were finally able to see the mountains. :)

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That view still takes my breath away!

Christmas came and went (and was pretty low-key). I would have really liked for Greg and I to have been in Maryland with my family but tickets were insanely expensive. Next year we’ll have to get our acts together earlier before the lower fares are sold out. ;) We spent some time with friends and neighbors before and after Christmas and took the dogs on a hike on Christmas morning.

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Sweet Holiday Treats (From Healthy to Indulgent)

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Every single year around this time, I get bit by the baking bug. I know that I’m not alone in this. Judging by my Facebook and Instagram feeds, the majority of my friends have been bit as well. It’s easy to get carried away and over-indulge in all things loaded with butter and sugar (especially when everyone is bringing cookies into the office). To avoid getting a month-long sugar hangover, just remember that it’s all about balance. Enjoy a few Christmas cookies without guilt (and be sure to follow my simple tips for a healthier holiday season).

I wanted to share three of the recipes that I’ve made for this year’s holiday season that range from healthy to semi healthy to super indulgent. The quick bread is perfect for breakfast on Christmas morning (or any morning!). The spicy ginger flavors from the Bhakti Chai concentrate blend perfectly with the bits of sweet pear. I like it best toasted and slathered with butter.

The skillet cookie-cake is a fun twist on your standard Christmas cookies. (You could make this recipe into regular cookies if you desire.) Peppermint and chocolate is one of my favorite flavor combinations, and unite beautifully in this recipe. It’s best served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Both the cookie-cake and quick bread are made with all-purpose baking mix (I used FlapJacked Protein Pancake Mix to boost the protein content).

I’ll be straight-forward here: the drunken vanilla cupcakes are not healthy or good for you in any way, but they are delicious and sure to be a hit at holiday parties. They’re called “drunken” cupcakes, because the recipe contains over a cup of rum. If you haven’t baked with rum before, you’re missing out! It’s an awesome addition to baked goods and creates an incredible flavor. This recipe is super easy to make – the cupcakes only contain six ingredients!

The recipes:

Healthy: Spiced (Bhakti) Chai & Pear Quick Bread

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Get the recipe here

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Cran-Banana [Perfect] Oatmeal Bread

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For at least a decade of my life, I was obsessed with oatmeal. I started eating it for breakfast every morning in my early twenties, and the love affair grew stronger as the years went on. I blame my mom for this. I moved back home for the first year after graduating college and noticed that my mom would eat oatmeal every morning (it was probably something that Dr. Oz suggested ;)). She’d cook up slow multi-grain oats and stir in dried fruits, nuts and brown sugar to add texture and flavor. I adopted her breakfast habits and was immediately hooked.

It might sound really silly, but oatmeal had a very significant meaning in my life when I was teaching. I’d make up a batch for breakfast the night before, pack it up, and re-heat and eat it when I got to work. I got to work at least a half hour before the school day started so that I could just slowly ease into the morning and enjoy my “oatmeal time.” It was by far my favorite part of the work day (needless to say, I didn’t really love my job… at all).

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Happy Thanksgiving

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Hey friends!

Just wanted to stop by to say a quick “Happy Thanksgiving!” I hope that you enjoy some restful time with your family and friends (even if there may be some chaos to get the actual meal going!). We’re hosting Thanksgiving at our house this year, which I am super excited for. Some wonderful friends are coming over to share the holiday with us, since all of our family is on the east coast.

Check out my post on Sierra Trading Post’s blog about simple ways to enjoy a healthy holiday:

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Enjoy- and have a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving!

[Mini] Pecan-Crust Sweet Potato Pies

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Whenever I’m asked to choose my favorite holiday, I’ll quickly say “Thanksgiving.” There are so many things that I love about Thanksgiving- the food (of course), the traditions, spending time with loved ones and the excitement of the Christmas season right around the corner. Sadly, I wasn’t been able to spend the holiday with my family last year and won’t be able to again next week but I’m lucky enough to have some great friends to share the day with.

Greg and I are hosting Thanksgiving at our home this year- and we’re pretty excited about it! It will be our first holiday in our new house and it will be nice to experience and share some of our favorite traditions here with our friends. We’re doing it pot-luck style and everyone is bringing a few different dishes. As I was sitting here thinking of what to prepare (besides a gigantic turkey!), I pondered upon a few different dessert ideas. To me, Thanksgiving just isn’t Thanksgiving unless you end the meal with pie (or, preferably, a few different types of pie!). I wanted to make something that’s somewhat traditional – and give it a bit of a facelift. My mind immediately went to two different types of pie: sweet potato and pecan. Then I thought- why don’t I combine the two?

For me, my least favorite part of a pie is the crust: it’s all about the filling. I wanted to create a recipe where the crust was every bit as delicious as the filling- a pie that had delicious, harmonious flavor in every bite. I think I achieved it with this recipe. ;)

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