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Pumpkin Spice Energy Bites

16 Sep

Hello, friends! Happy Sunday ๐Ÿ™‚

It was a very fall-like weekend in STL, complete with cooler temps and fall activities. We enjoyed a cozy bonfire with my family. It was fun to break in to my fall wardrobe for the first time!

I was inspired to break in to my pumpkin puree for the first time too! I posted the recipe for these energy bites and mentioned I was planning on playing around with the recipe. Here is my latest creation, a perfect seasonal snack.

Pumpkin Spice Energy Bites

makes 15-20 balls

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ (or ground flaxseed)
  • 1/2 cup protein powder (I used vanilla Sunwarrior. If you don’t want to use protein powder, substitute extra wheat germ or shredded coconut)
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped or crushed
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup nut butter (I used almond butter)
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • about 1/3 cup honeyย 

How To:

  • ย Combine first 8 ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  • Add nut butter and pumpkin puree and mix with a fork until mixture is crumbly and the nut butter and pumpkin are evenly distributed.ย 
  • Drizzle in honey and mix until evenly distributed.ย 
  • Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
  • Wet hands and form mixture into balls. Store energy bites in the refrigerator.

Mix until crumbly.

Add honey.

These little guys are great for pre- or post-workout fuel and midday snacks. I always stash a couple of them in my bag for the day. They are portable and delicious!ย 

As promised, here is a peek into my favorite room in the house- the kitchen, of course! What sort of dietitian would I be if I didn’t unpack and organize the kitchen first?ย 

Bulk food heaven ๐Ÿ™‚

The bottom shelf is full of things we use on a daily basis- coffee, oats, brown rice. The second shelf is all dried beans and the top shelf is grains.

Hope you all had a fantastic weekend. See you soon, friends! Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ™‚

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The Little Things

28 Jan

Sometimes I get in my own way. It’s something I’m really working on, and the blogging thing is no exception. Lately I’ve struggled with the direction and focus of the blog. I tend to put too much pressure on it, over-think it, and… don’t write. This happens in other arenas of life too. We tie ourselves down and hold ourselves back with so many “shoulds” and self-imposed rules and pressure and end up holding ourselves back from the things we want. Since I am finding myself desperately missing blogging, I’ve decided to stop getting in my own way and just write.

When I open my eyes and think about it, I encounter about a million different bloggable scenerios on a daily basis- we all do. In fact, it’s usually the little things rather than the big things that are the most applicable.

Like the delicious vegan banana pancakes I made last Saturday

Or how a postural alignment assessment told an interesting story about my aches, pains, and past injuries.

Or how to slice citrus so it forms friendly little segments.

Or the eclectic army I assembled to go to war with a looming cold.

Or my thoughts on attending a Michael Pollan speaking event last week. (this is more of a big thing)

Or how making time for Saturday morning coffee with a friend reminds me how important it is to invest in relationships the same way we invest in strangers, homework, and careers.

Many life moments that seem so irrelevant are actually incredibly relevant and telling.

It really is all about the little things.

Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ™‚

How I Outsmarted the No Sugar Challenge

1 Jul

Hey there, I hope everyone is having a great week! The holiday weekend is almost here!

As promised, a little recap of Wednesday’s dinner out. We didn’t end up at our usual Wednesday night spot, so look forward to that review in the future. We did end up at one of our all-time favorites in STL- Local Harvest. As usual, it was incredible. I got so excited about our meal, that I forgot to photograph before I started demolishing. Oops.

I had the Nicoise Salad.


“Greens, house-smoked Missouri trout, house pickled green beans, hard-boiled Missouri cage-free eggs, red onion, caper berries, potatoes, kalamata olives, balsamic vinaigrette.”

It was exactly what I was craving! Hit. the. spot. I skipped out on the hard-boiled eggs.

JWD had the veggie burger with quinoa salad and Billy Goat chips on the side.

“Veggie & pinto burger, served on brioche with our famous hummus, red onion, pickles, and roasted garlic aioli”

If you find yourself in STL, Local Harvest is a must.

I mentioned in my last post that JWD and I challenged each other to refrain from eating our favorite food group sugar this week.

We usually treat ourselves to a daily dose of dessert- a little dark chocolate, frozen yogurt, or a cookie are the typical choices.

I was sooo cocky a few days ago. I said”Pshhh, a week without sugar? Piece. Of. Cake.” Since then, I’ve gone to bed every night with visions of sugar plums chocolate chips dancing in my head. I suddenly remembered the forgotten sleeve of Girl Scout Thin Mints in the back of the freezer. Knowing that I can’t have it makes me want it so much more!

Last night my cravings overcame me and I just had to satisfy it. So I made…

Banana Soft Serve.

You didn’t actually think I was going to give in, did you!? Oh no. There is always a loophole, my friends.

1. Freeze.

(3 ripe bananas, sliced)

2. Whirl.

(Blend frozen bananas in a food processor or blender until it resembles soft serve ice cream)

3. Accessorize.

(Adorn your creation with whatever your heart desires. Extracts, berries, coconut. I chose a dash of cinnamon and a spoonful of unsweetened cocoa powder)

Sugar craving satisfied with natural, whole foods.

Enjoy the holiday and I’ll see you on the other side!

Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy, Healthy Sunday Mornings

29 May

Sunday morning iced coffee.

Sunday morning walks.

Sunday morning blooms.

Sunday morning gardening.

Sunday morning breakfast.

{video post coming soon}

Sunday morning baths.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend.


Tune in tomorrow after your holiday BBQ for a video post!!

Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

 

Running on Sunshine Has Moved!

12 Apr

Hi friends!

I am excited to announce that Running on Sunshine has moved to a new (and much easier to remember) domain name: runonsunshine.com

Go to the new site and bookmark it or subscribe to receive email updates!

Also, Running on Sunshine now has a Facebook page! Search “Running on Sunshine” on Facebook and “Like” the page to get more pictures and tips!

See you over at runonsunshine.com!

Ready, Set,…

9 Apr

Whew it’s been a crazy busy weekend and it isn’t even race day yet!

I spent a big part of the day prepping for tomorrow. No matter how hard I try, I always find myself rushing around at the last minute before a race.

My littlest biggest fan ๐Ÿ™‚

Race day essentials:

  • The outfit. I’m still undecided on the top. It’ll have to be a game time decision.
  • Energy gels. Clif gels for me and Honey Stingers for JWD.
  • iPod loaded with the playlist I spent waay too much time making today.
  • Hat to keep the crazy hot sun out of my eyes (it’s supposed to be 86*! Nowhere near training weather).
  • Shoes that must be replaced the moment after I cross the finish line.
  • Garmin watch to track our pace.
  • And most importantly, overnight oats for pre-race fuel!

Good luck to everyone running tomorrow!

I’m off to bed!

Video Post Debut: Overnight Oats How-To

26 Mar

Happy weekend! In three days, St. Louis has gone from this:

To this:

I am very excited (+a little nervous, +a little bashful) to post my first Running on Sunshine video post. Hopefully it will be the first of many. I am a shy person and prefer to express myself via text, but I think video posts are a great way for you all to get to know me a little better and keep things interesting around here! A big thank you to JWD for being such a wonderful, patient cameraman ๐Ÿ™‚

So, enjoy the video, try not to make fun of me, and scroll down afterwards so we can chat about a few additional tips!

Overnight oats are such a great option for those of us that need to bolt out of the house in the a.m. They’re also a great summer breakfast alternative to traditional hot oatmeal. You can eat it straight outta the fridge, you can take it to-go, or you can microwave it for 30 sec-1 min to take the chill off. I’m a little short on overnight oats (after all, I am usually in a hurry when I’m eating them), but I’ll collect a few and post them for you soon.

Mix-In Ideas:

  • Frozen fruit
  • Fresh fruit
  • Bananas
  • Granola
  • Your favorite cereal
  • Jam/Jelly
  • Pumpkin puree
  • Nut butter
  • Honey
  • Maple syrup
  • Nuts
  • Ground flaxseed
  • Chia seeds
  • Coconut flakes
  • Cocoa powder

The possibilities are endless! Enjoy!

Along the lines of “tips and tricks to stay healthy with busy schedule”, I wanted to talk a little bit about meal planning. Although overnight oats are easy to grab in the morning, they do require you to plan ahead the night before. I cannot stress enough howย crucial planning ahead is for healthy eating. Yes, it takes some work at first. But soon enough packing your lunch/making overnight oats/packing healthy snacks the night before will become part of your normal routine. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself stranded and starving with the dreaded vending machine as your only option.

A Few “Plan Ahead” Tips:

  • Build up a snack stash. Whether it’s in your desk drawer, car, or bookbag, collect a stash of snacks so you always have something healthy within arms reach. My bookbag is full of tea bags, Luna Bars, Larabars, mini trail mix packets, an apple or two, and a packet of instant oatmeal. With my stash at my fingertips, I never have to rely on unhealthy choices or, more importantly, I never have to go hungry.
  • Invest 20 minutes today to secure a healthy tomorrow. Every night, I take 20 minutes, usually right before bed, to think about what tomorrow will bring. For me every day is different, so I have to ask myself a few questions. Do I have a hectic morning tomorrow? How long will I be away from home? How many snacks will I need? Do I need to pack a lunch? What is my workout schedule for tomorrow and will it impact my hunger level/eating schedule? This has become part of my routine. Then, I get to work restocking my snack stash, making overnight oats, and packing a lunch. In 20 minutes or less you can secure a healthy day of eating for yourself. Make your health a priority!
  • Plan your weekly dinners. This is something JWD and I recently started doing and it saves so much time and money. It also ensures we will have a healthy dinner every night instead of being tempted by our neighborhood brewery for delicious (but heavy) pub food when we find ourselves in a pinch.

Here is how we plan our weekly meals:

  • First, we looked at our typical weekly schedules and gave each day a “meal type” label. Mondays are very busy for us, so we labeled Monday as “Leftovers From The Weekend/On Your Own”. Tuesdays and Thursdays are a little more easy-going and we have more time to cook, so we labeled them “Recipe Nights”. Wednesday is slower in the morning, but hectic in the evening, so Wednesday is “Crockpot/Make-Ahead Night”. We like to leave the weekends flexible and plan those week-by-week.

Monday: Leftovers/On Your Own

Tuesday: Recipe Night

Wednesday: Crockpot/Make-Ahead Night

Thursday: Recipe Night

Friday/Saturday/Sunday: Flexible (out to dinner or more involved recipes)

  • We’ve tried several methods of planning- a wall calendar, a chalkboard, and an old-fashioned piece of notebook paper- but we found that Google Calendar works best for us. We have a joint calendar that each of us can access and edit. This is where we post our recipe schedule for the upcoming week.ย I am constantly bookmarking recipes on websites and in cookbooks, so when I find something I want to try I add it to next week’s calendar. We always rotate in staple recipes too.
  • We usually grocery shop once per week sometime Friday-Sunday, so we finalize our meal plan on Friday morning. I make a grocery list of the recipe ingredients for the week + breakfast, lunch, and snack staples.

[click image to enlarge]

The little extra time we spend planning each week really pays off for us. It saves us multiple trips to the store when we don’t have things we need, it keeps us from throwing “off the list” impulse items into our cart, it saves us the stress of standing in the kitchen for an hour arguing discussing what we should cook, and it guarantees a nutritious dinner every night.

This Week’s Meal Plan:

Saturday: Chicken Tortilla Soup + Easy Guacamole and tortilla chips

Sunday: Spicy Soba Noodles w/ Veggies and Tofu based on this recipe

Monday: probably leftover soup or soba noodles for me, organic macaroni&cheese for JWD ๐Ÿ™‚

Tuesday: Homemade Black Bean Burgers from The Eat Clean Diet by Tosca Reno + salad

Wednesday: Slow-Cooker Spinach and Ricotta Lasagna w/ tempeh added to the sauce + salad

Thursday: Chicken Piccata from the Flat Belly Diet cookbookย w/ garlic mashed potatoes and broccoli

Friday: to be determined

Planning ahead is definitely a key part of healthy living. Invest in your health and set aside a little “plan ahead” time every day!

Please let me know if you find our meal plans helpful/inspirational. I’ll gladly post it every week.

Whew, this was a long one. I’m off to make overnight french toast in preparation for a product review coming at you soon!

Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ™‚

Time To Unwind

13 Mar

I am a little over 48 hours in to my spring break, and I am already loving every minute of it! Definitely running on sunshine this weekend! The past few weeks have been quite hectic (hence the negligence of my beloved blog). It was such a relief to wake up with a clear mind and the day at my fingertips to do with what I please!

True to form, I’ve already made a list of goals for my week off (and have already accomplished many of them). You didn’t think I was just going to sit around and relax, did you?! As a matter of fact, being busy and productive is relaxing to me. Sitting on the couch watching TV? Not so much. So, here’s a glance at my “To Do” list for the week:

  • CLEAN! the cocoon (that’s what I call our little apartment). This one has been checked off already. Saturday was Kayli + Mrs. Meyer’s vs. the dust bunnies. The dust bunnies lost.

  • WRITE! This includes some much needed therapeutic blogging and a few side projects I’m working on. This also includes a non-writing project. Keep your eyes peeled for the first Running on Sunshine video post ๐Ÿ™‚
  • COOK! When I am well-rested and not being pulled in a million directions, my creative energy is always running on high. I am so excited to get in the kitchen and play this week.
  • ORGANIZE! I am a sucker for organization tools and tips. I could browse realsimple’s home & organizing tab all day.
  • YOGA! I kicked off my spring break with the most amazing yoga practice on Friday. Sadly, I’ve been neglecting my yoga practice since school started up again. Even though it’s been so long since I’ve had an official (as in not in my living room) date with my yoga mat, I felt right at home. I’m not sure if it was because I had so much built up stress to melt away or if I was just really jiving with the yoga instructor (first time I had a class with her), but it literally brought me back to life. I felt 100 times better walking out of the studio than I did walking in. {Yoga post in the works}

 

 

With number one finished, I’m ready to tackle the rest of my list. I’ve already gotten a good start on cooking. Some recent things to come out of my kitchen:

Homemade granola. I used this recipe. I’ve made this many, many times. We can’t get enough of it! This time I was out of cinnamon, so I subbed ginger and it turned out to be amazing!

My favorite way to eat granola is atop nonfat plain greek yogurt.

*******************************************************************************

I also made chili adapted from the recipe for Coco-Coconut Chili in Dreena Burton’sย Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan cookbook. I used the recipe as a guide and made a lot of substitution. Here’s what I threw in my pot…

Ingredients:

  • 1 T coconut oil (or olive oil)
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • about 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, diced
  • 1-2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 sweet potato, cubed
  • 1/2 block tempeh, crumbled
  • 1 T chili powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • ~ 1/4 t allspice
  • 1 heaping T cocoa powder
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 1.5 cups black-eyed peas
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • ~1/2 cup corn kernels (I used frozen)
  • the juice of 1 lime

How To:

  • Heat large soup pot over medium with oil.
  • Add onion, celery, peppers, garlic, sweet potato, tempeh, and spices to the hot oil and saute until the onion and celery soften.
  • Stir in cocoa powder
  • Add tomatoes, coconut milk, peas, shredded coconut, and corn to the pot. I added about a 1/2 can of water at this point to make it more soupy. Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minute or until the sweet potato cubes are tender.
  • Squeeze the juice of 1 lime into the soup and serve.

I topped mine with crumbled blue corn chips and red chili pepper flakes. It was incredible. Can’t wait to enjoy the leftovers tomorrow. I hardly ever follow recipes exactly. I’m always improvising and substituting. That’s what makes cooking fun! Try it ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m off to foam roll my very sore legs. I will see you all later in the week hopefully with a video post (!!) and Workout of the Week.

Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ™‚

Hello world!

9 Mar

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

Homemade Nut Butter

5 Mar

JWD and I are fed up.

We are fed up with all of the plastic containers, and packages, and bottles, and jars. Our recycling bin is constantly overflowing with packaging. Hummus containers, peanut butter tubs, salsa jars, and the list goes on.

Enough is enough.

One step at a time, we are going to reduce our packaging consumption.

Starting with a favorite…

nut butter.

Mmmm…

Homemade Peanut Butter

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups organic roasted peanuts
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1tsp. honey

How To:

  • Pour peanuts into a food processor
  • Blend. This will take about 5 minutes (maybe a little more) to get it smooth. Intermittently stop and scrape down the sides of the food processor bowl.
  • Add the salt and honey and blend again until incorporated.
  • Fill a jar (preferably reused) with your delicious homemade peanut butter.

 

 

Before…

Whirrrrrr.

 

After…

 

creamy goodness + salt + honey

 

 

oh.

my.

word.

 

I thought this peanut butter was the bees knees– the best thing to ever hit my lips.

Until…

Until I made this.

 

Homemade Dark Chocolate Almond Butter

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups organic roasted almonds
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (I used vegan chocolate chips. This amount can be adjusted depending on just how chocolaty you want it to be.)
  • 1 tsp. coconut butter (I think other types of oil/butter would also work)
  • a pinch of salt

How To:

  • Pour almonds into a food processor and blend until smooth. This takes a long time (about 10-15 minutes), but it is worth the wait I promise you this.
  • Don’t forget to intermittently stop the processor and scrape down the sides of the bowl. You will have to do this many times (about 5-8), but it is worth the effort I promise you this.
  • Meanwhile place the chocolate chips, coconut butter, and salt in a dish and microwave until melted (about 30 sec-1 min).
  • When the almonds turn into a smooth paste, add the melted chocolate to the bowl and blend until incorporated.
  • If you can resist eating it all directly out of the food processor bowl, fill a jar (preferably reused) with your homemade dark chocolate almond butter.

Blend the almonds.

Don’t be alarmed, at first it will sound like a fight broke out inside the food processor.

 

Not quite…

 

*Tip* Sip tea while you wait. Patience is a virtue.

 

Little kitties are not fond of the noise that accompanies nut butter making. The neighbors probably aren’t either.

 

Now we’re talkin’! Just a few minutes longer…

 

Once it’s smooth, add le chocolat

 

Blend. *Swoon*

 

 

I will never buy nut butter again.

*I have doubled both of these recipes and they turn out beautifully

 

Note to self: Must make blogging a top priority in my busy schedule.

Sorry for the long hiatus, friends. I’ve missed you dearly.

Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ™‚

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