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True Bites + A Giveaway!

21 Sep

JWD and I are professional snackers.

At any given moment, we have at least one snack each in our possessions. We have snacks stashed in every bag, glove compartment, suitcase, desk drawer, and even a few jacket pockets. Our elite-level snacking habits recently resulted in what is now referred to as “The Epic Ant Invasion Of 2014”.

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The reason for our snack obsession is simple: neither of us enjoys being hungry. We also don’t enjoy being caught somewhere, snackless and faced only with the dismal offerings of a vending machine. Or worse… a “hangry” and snackless person is too easily persuaded by the alluring smell of cinnamon buns and pretzels at the mall or even by yesterday’s stale donuts in the office kitchen (you know you’ve been there).

Snacking between meals isn’t right for everyone, but it is something to consider if you feel ravenous on a 3-squares-a-day plan (me, me!). When hunger kicks in, sensibility flies out the window. We’d all like to forget that time we dove head-first into that basket of bread or tortilla chips before we even ordered dinner (guilty as charged).

Snacks keep hunger at bay (and sensibility in check) and they can provide an extra boost of nutrition… when done right.

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Snacking has a dark side. Between-meal snacks are singlehandedly blamed for the sharp increase in American calorie consumption since the 1970’s. So where does snacking take a wrong turn? In 2 places: 1) when you eat “snack foods” rather than “whole foods”, and 2) when you simply add snacks in without subtracting from your main meals. So skip the chips, cookies, and candy bars. Snack on whole foods like fruit, veg, nuts, edamame, and hummus. Adjust the portions of your meals and snacks so you feel ready to eat (but not ravenous) when you begin and satisfied (but not stuffed) when you end.

At our house, we dig whole food, easy, and portable snacks.  Here’s our current favorite:

True Bites

Why “True”? Because customizing a snack that is true to you and your taste buds is what it’s all about!

Ingredients:

  •  1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup nut butter (I used sunflower butter)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup Sunwarrior Protein Powder (optional; simply increase the amount of another dry ingredient if you omit)
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup (honey works well too)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • Customize: use your favorite nut butter, add shredded coconut, chocolate chips, nuts, dried fruit… whatever makes you happy!

How-To:

  • Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir until well-incorporated. If the mixture is too wet or too dry, simply add more of the wet or dry ingredients until you have a not-to-sticky mixture that will hold together.
  • Wet hands, and roll about 1 tbsp. of the mixture into a bite-sized ball. Repeat.
  • Pop in the freezer for 10-15 min. to firm up. Store in a covered container in the fridge.

 

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When batches of bites don’t happen on Sundays, we reach for another favorite: LARABAR. This is one of the only bars I will buy because the ingredients are whole and simple. My favorite flavor, Cashew Cookie, has just TWO ingredients! Simple snacking at its best.

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It’s GIVEAWAY time! As a LARABAR Ambassador, my kind friends at LARABAR sent me samples to share with you!

What you get if you win: 20 LARABARs of 5 different flavors, including a few of my favorites: Cashew Cookie and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip; and a super cool LARABAR sticker so that everyone knows you too are an elite-level snacker.

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Here’s how you enter to win:

  1. Sign up for our True Food Co. mailing list (first newsletter is out today!).
  2. Share a link to this post on at least one of your social media sites (Twitter, Facebook, etc.)

I will randomly choose the lucky snacker in two weeks, go!

Thanks for reading 🙂

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Go Nuts! A Handful of Nuts a Day May Help You Live Longer

21 Nov

Good news this week for nut fans! A new study found a strong link between regular nut consumption and lower risk of death. Over three decades participants who ate a 1-ounce serving of nuts every day had a 20% lower all-cause mortality risk compared to those who did not nosh on this healthy snack. In addition to decreased death rates, nut eaters were 25% less likely to die from heart disease, 10% less likely to die from cancer, and 20% less likely to die from diabetes or lung disease.

We have long known that nuts are chock-full of healthy unsaturated fats, fiber and protein. In fact, in 2003 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended eating 1.5 ounces of nuts per day for their heart-protective benefits. Nuts have also been linked to weight control.

My favorite part of this new finding is that the health benefits apply to ALL nuts. Study participants consumed an array of nuts including cashews, almonds, walnuts, and more. So no matter what your nut of choice is, you can reap the benefits. Many clients will ask “Which is healthier, walnuts or pecans?”, or my least favorite “Is it true that almonds are lower in carbs than other nuts?” No need to split hairs- the most important thing is to choose nuts you enjoy so you will actually eat them! Also, it’s best to avoid nuts and nut mixes drenched in sugar and/or sodium.

Serving size is a little different for each variety, but one serving is roughly  ¼ cup. Nuts are definitely nutrient dense, but they are also calorie-dense, meaning it is easy to over-do it. Try pre-portioning them into snack bags for perfect portable snacks.

Here’s some inspiration to put this nutty news into action now…

In Larabar form (digging this seasonal flavor right now- HIGHLY recommend!)

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Walnuts on my cereal

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Pistachios paired with a piece of fruit

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Homemade candied almonds  (add a dash of cayenne for an unexpected kick!)

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A variety mixed into fiber-rich trail mix

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Pecans in my salad

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Cashews in my stirfry

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Caution when interpreting this good news- it is not realistic to think you can simply add a serving of nuts to a couch potato fast-food lifestyle and expect to add years to your life. Researchers did their best to control for various lifestyle factors, but it is not likely that nuts single-handedly improved peoples’ health. It is possible that nut eaters have healthier overall habits than non-nut eaters.

The bottom line: regular nut consumption should be incorporated into a healthy, balanced diet active lifestyle. Not sure how to make that happen? That’s what a registered dietitian nutritionist is for 🙂

What are you waiting for, go nuts! Thanks for reading 🙂

Recently…

13 Jul

Yay, it’s finally the weekend! I love that cozy place between last week’s craziness and preparation for next week. Saturdays are where the magic happens!

After a glorious 8 hour slumber, we headed out for breakfast and the farmer’s market.

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fruit/yogurt/granola parfait, scrambled egg, Companion 5-Grain toast, and coffee.

Today’s haul included eggs, beets, peaches, blackberries, green beans, sweet corn, broccoli, heirloom tomatoes, and summer squash.

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We also made a quick stop at the mall (before it got crazy busy) and made it home by 11a.m. Love Saturday mornings like that!

Let’s reverse– some highlights from last week…

Overnight oats with the sunrise. Blueberry/peach is my new favorite combo! I’m also loving Wallaby greek yogurt. This batch of oats is topped with toasted crushed walnuts.

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Christmas in July! French press for one with Nutcracker Sweet inbru that I found in the depths of the cabinet.

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Gracie wishing I’d made French press for two…

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Food For Life Ezekiel Flax toast, scrambled eggs, and peaches +blueberries…

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My new favorite snack: frozen banana slices with a schmear of coconut almond butter.

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Popcorn + almonds

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A few epic salads were devoured last week….

This one is a mix of greens, roasted corn/green beans/onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, croutons, and tofu. Baked salt & vinegar chips on the side.

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And this one is greens, a crumbled veggie burger, brown rice, cucs, tomatoes, and dolups of hummus and greek yogurt. The salt & vin chips made another appearance!

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The best dinner of the week was this Mexican bowl, hands down!

Brown rice, smashed pinto beans, sautéed summer squash and onions seasoned with chili powder/cayenne/paprika, tomatoes, greek yogurt, cilantro, and a heap of nooch! So. Good.

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Also had some fun with the spiralizer. More on that later!

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Also last week….

Mornin’ garden gazin’ (check out that bedhead, hehe)

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And a midweek Dave Matthews Band concert! Out past 8pm on a Wednesday night? Who are we??

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Enjoy the rest of your weekend! I’ve got some good stuff in the drafts folder! Thanks for reading 🙂

Post-Holiday Happenings + “No Gym Required” Workout

8 Jul

I hope you all enjoyed a long holiday weekend! Ours was great- family time, friend time, pool time, patio time (and a million bug bites to show for it!). I always feel a little foggy coming off of an extended vacation/holiday and look forward to getting back to my routine 🙂

To lift myself out of my fog on Sunday, I did this cardio workout. You guys have requested more “no gym required” workouts, so here you go! This is a great workout to do at a track/bleachers or anywhere with a flight of stairs.

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After getting hot and sweaty I showered and headed straight to the kitchen- my favorite place to be on a Sunday afternoon. We got an amazing farmer’s market haul on Saturday, so I was extra excited to do some cooking. I made a green juice with grapefruit that totally hit the spot. Then I got to work on Kath’s baked oatmeal for the week, and white bean veggie burgers, kale chips, and sweet corn for dinner.

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After dinner activities included some work (yuck!), couch time, and popcorn (yum!).

I kicked off the post-holiday Monday with a baked oatmeal square topped with peanut butter and headed to the gym for work. After work I made a spontaneous grocery trip primarily to get anti-itch cream for my bug bites. They kept me awake last night!

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The rest of the day…

Lunch

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Veggie burger crumbled over greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and topped with balsamic dressing and goat cheese. A mix of Popchips and rice crackers with hummus on the side.

Pre-yoga snack

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Greek yogurt, almond butter, the juiciest peach ever (SO happy peaches are in season!!!), and apple slices. Not very pretty, but yummy!

Yoga was really hard tonight. At one point I even considered leaving, but I toughed it out and my stress levels (and my hips) are happy I did.

Dinner roasted in the oven while I showered.

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Tofu with a sriracha/cayenne/chili powder/paprika rub, beets, and beet greens sautéed with olive oil/garlic/apple cider vinegar all topped with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast.

Now it’s time for reading and sleeping! Thanks for reading 🙂

Getting in the Groove + a Cardio Workout

19 Jun

Hey there! Wow, two posts within less than a month- I’m on a roll 😉 This week I finally feel like I have a rhythm going in my new work/life schedule. I used to despise transitions, but I’ve had so many in the past few years that I’m learning to roll with them (and even enjoy them a little). Anyway…

I spent most of Tuesday in meetings and at my desk, so when I found an opportunity away for a workout in the afternoon I gladly took it. St. Louis gets pretty sticky in the summer, so late afternoon workouts will only be bearable for a little bit longer. I was in the mood to get my heart rate up after so much sitting, so I adapted this workout from my blog idol, Peanut Butter Runner.

Cardio Workout

1.5 mile run

*10 burpees

Run stairs – 2 laps

*20 squat jumps

Run stairs – 2 laps

*30 box jumps

Run stairs – 2 laps

*40 mountain climbers

Run stairs – 2 laps

*50 jump rope singles

1.5 mile run

After my workout, I downed a smoothie and headed back to the gym (shower not required = best perk of working at a gym) 🙂 Dinner was easy and amazing:

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Smashed pinto beans that I seasoned with cayenne, paprika, and chili powder combined with sautéed onions, peppers, yellow squash, corn, and tomatoes. I topped it with avocado lime dressing, greek yogurt, and nutritional yeast. I ate mine on a bed of salad greens, JWD ate his in a tortilla.

Today had an unexpectedly calm start when my early client cancelled, so I took advantage and had a quick breakfast before heading to the gym for a strength workout before my next appointment.

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Egg + egg white open-faced on an english muffin, a pile of juicy melon, and coffee. (and unpictured green juice).

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I spent the rest of the day working at my desk with a lunch break featuring dinner leftovers and a snack break.

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Hemp-a-licious (seriously, that’s what it’s called) brown rice cake topped with coconut almond butter and nature’s candy farmer’s market berries. This almond butter is my obsession right now. So. Good.

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I was feeling fancy for dinner, so we made salmon and a crazy concoction of millet, roasted beets, roasted cauliflower, and sautéed beet greens.

Now it’s time for reading and early bedtime! We have fun plans tomorrow night, so I need my rest tonight!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Buffalo Wings Veggie Style

25 Mar

Happy Monday! This is what spring time in STL looks like:

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Brrrr! Looks like soups, hot tea, and steel cut oats will be on the menu for a bit longer. Here’s another recipe with a spicy kick to keep you warm…

You already know that plants make up the majority of my meals. People ask “Don’t you miss eating meat? Isn’t it hard to not eat it?”. I think this is funny because it turns my style of eating into a punishing diet- the complete opposite of what it actually is 🙂 I choose to eat what I eat because it makes me feel great, it fuels my workouts, and it’s yummy! If meat sounds good, I eat it (like turkey on Thanksgiving).

However there is one meat meal that I don’t necessarily miss, but I miss the idea of- buffalo wings. I am a hot sauce junky! I love the combo of the fiery sauce, crunchy celery, and cool dressing for dipping. When I saw several Buffalo Cauliflower Wing recipes circulating Pinterest, I knew I had to try them and… OH. EM. GEE. This recipe is amazing. To push it completely over the top, I whipped up cool and creamy yogurt dipping sauce. Yum!

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Buffalo Cauliflower Wings

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower

Batter:

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional; sub an additional 1/4 cup flour if you don’t use it)
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 cup plain unsweetened soymilk (or any milk)

Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup hot sauce (I used Trader Joe’s Jalapeño Pepper Hot Sauce)
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp vinegar (red wine or apple cider)
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp Earth Balance (or butter), melted
  • Red pepper flakes for extra heat

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 450*F.
  • Cut cauliflower into bite-size pieces.
  • Whisk all batter ingredients together in a medium bowl.
  • Add cauliflower to batter and toss until evenly coated.
  • Place cauliflower on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet or on a wire rack stacked on top of a cookie sheet (I used a wire rack to allow the excess batter to drip off the cauliflower pieces).
  • Bake for 20 minutes.
  • While the cauliflower is baking, combine the sauce ingredients in a medium bowl.
  • Carefully transfer baked cauliflower into the sauce bowl and gently toss until evenly coated.
  • Return cauliflower to wire rack/cookie sheet and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until cauliflower is crispy.

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Lean & Clean Yogurt Dipping Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup plain nonfat greek yogurt
  • 1 T vinegar (red wine or apple cider)
  • 1 T nutritional yeast (optional)
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon + zest
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup soft cheese crumbles (goat cheese, blue cheese) (optional)

Instructions:

  • Combine all ingredients and blend with a food processor, blender, or immersion blender.

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Thanks for reading 🙂

Heart-beet Smoothie

16 Feb

Hello there and happy weekend!

Whether or not you spent Thursday with someone else’s heart in mind, the first heart you should be caring for is your own!

Heart disease is serious business. It’s the leading cause of death in Americans. The good news is that most heart conditions (even if you have a family history) are preventable and food and fitness are your most effective arsenal.

One of my favorite heart-smart foods: beets! …Wait! Don’t close your browser yet. I know what you’re thinking: “This chick is a crazy freak of nature vegetable worshipper! If she thinks she’s going to convince me to eat beets, she’s out of her flippin’ mind!” Most people who tell me they despise beets are only acquainted with the gelatinous canned version of beets. They were forced to eat them as a child and still have nightmares of their mother dumping the cylindrical jelly glob out of the can and slicing it into circles of disgustingness (this is a real description from one of my clients 🙂 ).

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{Boulder, CO farmers market}

Beets are rich in nitrates which lower blood pressure and in turn protect your heart. Newer research boasts the benefit of beets for exercise. Nitrates reduce the amount of oxygen that is required during exercise which improves exercise performance.

When I think of beets, I imagine the vibrant red root vegetable roasted up with olive oil and spices or peeled, steamed and blended into a smoothie. Yep, you read that right- a smoothie!

Heart-beet Smoothie

adapted from Cooking Light

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup sliced cooked beets

  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries

  • ¼ cup plain non- or low-fat yogurt

  • ¼ cup orange juice

  • 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed

  • 1 tsp honey (optional)

Directions:

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend for 1 minute or until a smooth consistency is achieved. Pour into a glass and enjoy!

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Still not a fan of beets? No worries, nitrates are found in many other veggies including leafy greens like kale and spinach, lettuce, parsley, and celery.

Now, go do something for YOUR heart today: take a walk, eat a beet, have a salad.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Homemade Chocolately Millet Granola

8 Feb

This granola has been a big hit at our house lately! It’s easy to whip up a batch on the weekend and enjoy as a quick weekday snack paired with yogurt or sprinkled on top your morning oats!

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Chocolately Millet Granola

adapted from Oh She Glows Lightened Up Summer Granola

Ingredients:

Dry

  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup uncooked millet
  • 2 T ground flaxseed
  • 2 T chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Wet

  • 1/4 cup brown rice syrup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 T unsweetened applesauce
  • 3 T peanut butter or almond butter
  • 1 t vanilla extract

How-to:

  • Preheat oven to 325*F
  • Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Combine wet ingredients in a saucepan and heat on low, stirring constantly, allowing the mixture to come to a simmer. 
  • Pour wet mixture over dry mixture and stir… and stir, and stir, and stir until thoroughly combined. 
  • Spread granola evenly onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through. 
  • Allow granola to cool and then break apart into clusters. 

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Thanks for reading 🙂

Healthy Snack: Crispy Roasted Edamame

3 Dec

Monday is certainly NOT my favorite day of the week. When my alarm goes off and I realize that the weekend is over and a full week stands in front of me, the sadness/grumpiness sets in. This is an ongoing goal of mine- to start the week on a positive note and schedule my weeks so they are a little more bearable. I have a bad habit of cramming as much as I possibly can into 5 days and then completely crashing on the weekends. This way of life does not serve me well! Recently, someone gave me the analogy of the safety instructions that are given on an airplane. They tell you to put your mask on first before helping the person next to you. Why do they tell you to do this? Because you are are much more capable of taking care of others when you take care of yourself first. This really resonated with me and is something I need to work on! Anyone else suffer from “caretaker syndrome”?

Lately my Sundays have focused on pressing the reset button, self-care, and getting myself in the zone for the week ahead. I started yesterday with a very challenging hot yoga practice. We spent the first 10 minutes of the practice doing back-to-back core exercises. My abs were screaming in pain for the remaining hour of the practice! Savasana with wide open windows completely made up for the torture. Still can’t believe the windows were open on Dec. 2nd!

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I followed up yoga with oatmeal chocolate chip pancakes. I was ravenous so pictures did not happen 🙂

The rest of the day was spent situating our Christmas tree,

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Veggies for our tree!

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getting work done, and spending some time in the kitchen concocting snackage for the week!

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Roasted Edamame

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag frozen shelled edamame
  • olive oil
  • salt + pepper to taste

How-To:

  • Preheat oven to 400F.
  • Thaw shelled edamame and spread on towel to dry.
  • Toss shelled edamame with olive oil and seasonings and spread on a baking sheet, lightly greased or covered with parchment paper.
  • Roast for about 40 minutes, tossing halfway through.
  • I like mine extra crispy, so I turned off the oven at 40 minutes, but left the edamame in the warm oven for an additional 20 minutes to continue to dry out.

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The perfect high-protein snack to keep you on track and energized this week.

Take care of yourself this week! Thanks for reading 🙂

Weekend Workouts and Pinterest Recipe Inspiration

28 Oct

Hello friends! Hope you had a great weekend. Today I slept in until 9am (!!) This is rare for me. I has yoga plans, so I shoveled a frozen waffle in my mouth and hurried out the door. A different teacher was subbing the class, it was hard but fun-  a lot of abs and a lot of crow practice. The soreness is already setting in. I’m afraid I won’t be able to get out of bed in the morning. The rest of the day was a typical Sunday of cleaning, homework, and prepping for the week. Oh yeah, and this happened…

I found these cookies on Pinterest and they’ve been on my “To Cook” list for a while now. The ingredients are simple (and bizzarre): peanut butter, honey, baking powder, vanilla extract, chocolate chips, and.. chickpeas! They are surprisingly delicious!

Let’s back up a bit and check out some recent workouts and eats…

The temps have certainly dropped here which made for a few chilly runs last week/this weekend. I am slowly trying to get back into running. I took a long hiatus due to a string of injuries and bad races, but I finally have the racing itch again!

On Thursday JWD and I squeezed in 4 miles before the rain hit. We averaged an 8:45 pace. Considering I am very untrained in the running department right now, I was happy with that 🙂

I planned on Saturday being a rest day, but I woke up in the mood to move so I bundled up and knocked out 6 miles at an easy pace. I was STARVING when I got home, so I showered and promptly inhaled an egg on toast and this leftover soup that I found on Pinterest. (highly recommend!)

Lower temps trigger the return of oatmeal cravings, so oatmeal has been my breakfast of choice lately. 

In this bowl: rolled oats, almond milk, bananas, stevia, cinnamon, and walnuts.

Snackage:

Plain greek yogurt topped with homemade pumpkin-flax granola, apples slices, and cranberry apple butter.

Love this Trader Joe’s butter!

Larabars are always in the snack mix 🙂

Chocolate covered espresso beans for afternoon pick-me-ups.

Bubbles!

Lemon sparkling water.

Now it’s time to put my sore body to bed. Thanks for reading 🙂

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