Peanut Butter Watermelon Smoothie

So yesterday I got a little crazy. We took Chance to happy hour at Sniff (Dogs play for free humans hang at the bar) and before we headed down I made a quick protein shake so I wouldn’t eat all their delicious snacks starve. I’d tossed some watermelon in the freezer earlier in the week and decided to play around with that and ended up mixing in peanut butter and almond milk. I was a little scared about the combo, I mean the potential for grossness was big. But turns out, it was delicious! I made Chris try it (he didn’t know what was in it) and he was like, “hmmm watermelon and peanut butter. Weird but it works.”

And I loved it so much yesterday that I had it again for breakfast while Chris opted for plain peanut butter. You seriously can’t go wrong either way.

Peanut Butter Watermelon Protein Smoothie
Serves 1. Blend everything up. Enjoy.

  • 1 cup frozen seedless watermelon
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter (I used Justin’s Honey PB)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • Handful of roasted, unsalted peanuts (leftover from the time I made peanut butter)

Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie
Serves 1. Blend everything up. Enjoy

  • Approx 8 ice cubes
  • Handful of roasted, unsalted peanuts
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder

I rounded out breakfast with 2 eggs + Frank’s Hot Sauce and coffee (black with a splash of almond milk).

I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing for a workout today. I had a great weight session at the gym yesterday involving a bosu ball, step-ups, squats, tricep dips, single leg raises and tricep extensions and now I’m sore. Thinking some spin-bike cardio or maybe a little Jillian. I haven’t seen her crazy, smiling face in a while…

What are you doing for your workout today?

And in other news. We hosted dinner club at our house on Thursday and I never got around to uploading the pics so let’s take a little trip backwards…

We did taco bar with ground turkey breast, soft/hard shells, lettuce, avocados, tomatoes, cheese, sour cream and beans. Friends brought rice, chips/salsa and the most amazing guacamole I have ever had. But because things were so delicious you only get to see my plate (and yes I put ketchup on my tacos…weird but I’ve done it my whole life).

Does anyone else do this? Or do you have weird food combos you love?

But my favorite part of dinner club was baby John. He’s grown so much since last month’s dinner club. I love his chubby little cheeks.

How cute is he asleep in his momma’s arms?

And I loved that Chance was so good with him. He’s never been around babies and he was super gentle and just wanted to lick him all over.

Alright and now we’re back to the present…Later this afternoon we’re checking out the Organic Brew Fest which is always a good time as long as the rain holds. The forecast calls for a 60% chance of showers so we’ll see.

Do you guys have any fun plans for the weekend?

Fitspiration Friday

I found this on Pinterest and want to apologize to whoever created it because as much as I linked around I couldn’t find the original source. I’d also like to tell that person “nice work” because I love the message.  If something is important to you, you will find a way to make it happen.

Whether it’s losing those last few pounds, traveling to a far away destination, buying a house, finding a new job or just going to the gym in the morning…if it’s important, and if you really put your mind to it, you can make it happen.  Does it mean you might have to make sacrifices?  Give up desserts? Spend less money?  Work your butt off?  And that at times, things could suck and you could be totally frustrated?  You bet.

If losing weight/becoming a millionaire/traveling the world was easy we’d all be doing it.  And for the most part, coming up with an excuse for something you don’t really want to do it always easier than just sucking it up and doing it.

I truly believe it’s mind over matter so if you really want something, go for it.  Put your mind to it, work hard, make sacrifices and get after it.

2 dinner ideas + a must do treadmill workout

I have so many things to tell you right now and I don’t know where to start. So much has been going on in the past few days. Ok, well, not really. Pretty much the same actually. Work, workouts, dinner… but those normal, ordinary things have be pretty good. Starting with this dinner.

The recipe is pinned to my pinterest board and comes courtesy of Courtney at Sweet Tooth Sweet Life. Basically you make Annie’s shells & white cheddar and add sausage, spinach and tomatoes except we didn’t have tomatoes we had red peppers so that’s what we did.

Which I loved! But Chris did not. Seriously. This dinner was one of my faves as of late. It was so good and so easy. I think I could eat this every week but Chris was just not a fan and that’s a major bummer. I tried asking him how I could change it to make it better and more or less it came down to the fact that he didn’t like the sausage (which was my fave part). So that won’t work. This might just have to be a dinner I make when I’m having single ladies night.

What about you? Are there any meals that you love that your husband/sig other doesn’t? How do you get around it? 2 dinners? Meal modifications?

But lets move on to dinner number 2. Chris was downtown at a work dinner so I was on my own and came up with what I may call my most random dinner ever, or maybe fridge dump dinner? The directions are pretty simple…find random things in your fridge that are going to go bad if you don’t eat them and mix them together.

Quinoa, sausage and green veggies

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 Italian chicken sausage
  • handful green beans
  • 1/4 cup peas
  • red pepper flakes
  • garlic
  • goat cheese

Combine everything but the quinoa and goat cheese on the stove over medium heat. Once cooked, add to quinoa. Top with goat cheese. Eat. Enjoy. Yum.

And now for the workout…

Today I did my normal 12:15 pilates reformer class and followed it up with some cardio courtesy of Julie at Peanut Butter Fingers. Julie is always posting crazy treadmill workouts but today’s was particularly nutty/awesome. At one point I was running at a 15 incline. 15 incline! I’m pretty sure people were starting at me at the gym thinking “whoa, crazy girl.” But it was great. And I got super sweaty and now my legs are crazy sore.

Here’s the workout:

Source

And here’s what I looked like after it:

Let me know if you try it. I dare you to :)

And what did I do to celebrate this great day of working out and eating well? I went to Journey’s of course. And had some delicious Deschutes Twilight. Can’t beat it on a sunny day.

And that’s mostly what I’ve got. Tomorrow is dinner club. We’re doing taco bar and I can’t wait. I’m also going to try and get up early and ride the spin bike.

We shall see…

Top 5 benefits of Pilates (including killer abs!)

If you were here yesterday then you know I had Mandee from You Say It Best telling the story of her pilates journey.  And you’d also know that I cut her off right when things were getting good.  Right when she started talking about the benefits of pilates.  So without futher delay, here is pilates instructor Mandee with the rest of her story.

Need to get caught up?  Read part 1 – Pilates Demystified.

————————————

My Top 5 Benefits of Pilates

1.)   Killer Abs. This is true because Pilates works the deep ab muscles—not just the superficial (top layer) muscles that you often work doing crunches. Pilates exercises strengthen the transverse abdominis—the ab muscle that wraps around your middle and has no action associated with it. What I mean by that is that obviously for crunches you are working your rectus abdominis, the ab muscle that goes up and down. And for rotation exercises you can target your obliques. But there really aren’t a ton of exercises that target the transverse except Pilates, and I think that is the key to killer abs. Plus, pretty much ALL of the Pilates exercises use the abs, even if you are doing a leg series your abs are stabilizing and the tranverse and pelvic floor are working, which is toning your abs.

2.)   Cross training benefits. Having a strong core can make life easier in so many ways—you will probably find your other workouts benefit from Pilates. For example, if you are a runner you may notice your posture is easier to control once you master the art of scooping your core and engaging your pelvic floor. The pelvic position you practice in Pilates is similar to the way you’ll want to hold your posture while running. When you run, think about scooping your abs in the same way you did in class. You will automatically stand up taller and have better form. You will notice your core strength benefits you in your other forms of exercise as well, not just running.

3.)   Toned arms and legs without ever lifting a weight again. Yup, I just said that. The reformer provides resistance enough to tone your body from head to toe. You will become strong and lean. Your triceps will be defined, your butt will look better and your legs will be toned. Goodbye reps of arm curls and squats with the dead bar. You will see the same if not even better results by using the reformer 2-3 times a week! The same type of results can be attained from a Mat class, but it helps to incorporate props like the resistance band, the ball and the fitness circle. Yes, your own body weight can tone your muscles, but I am a firm believer that the reformer is what transformed my body.

4.)   Realignment and good posture. Pilates is important for the health of your spine. The exercises work together to create fluidity and realignment of your spine. It isolates the vertebrae one at a time to massage them and puts your body in positions to lengthen and create good posture. I often hear that it is hard for people to stretch before and after a workout. Pilates stretches your muscles as you work-out. After I do Pilates, I feel centered, lengthened, refreshed and balanced.

5.)   Injury recovery. If you have back pain, are recovering from an injury or have other types of physical ‘issues’, I recommend Pilates. Working with an Instructor trained in rehab is hugely beneficial. I have seen clients come in with a large amount of pain from a car accident they had been in or simply from living a sedentary lifestyle for years and years. Pilates sets them free from the pain. I have worked with clients that have Muscular Dystrophy, fibromyalgia, have recently given birth and many clients that have been in car accidents or are hypermobile. In all of them, it is so heartwarming to see that they are healed and feel better by Pilates. When my clients leave their session with a huge smile, a sigh of relief and tell me they feel so much better, I am reminded of the power of Pilates.

If you have more questions, feel free to email Mandee at pilateswithmandee@gmail.com. She offers private Mat Pilates in your home or hers, and group classes in SW Portland on a beautiful rooftop terrace with 360 views of Portland.

Pilates Demystified

Pilates on the reformer is my absolute favorite type of exercise to do and as long as you combine it with cardio you don’t have to do much else to stay long, lean and toned. Seriously.  I’m not pulling your leg.  It’s an amazing workout, especially for your core.  You want good abs, do pilates.

I’ve been going to classes pretty religiously at least twice a week for the past couple of years and I met Mandee during a noon session about 2 years ago.  You always chat it up with people in class and we hit it off, talking about pilates obviously but also that we were both runners, doing Hood To Coast, blogged…you know.  Important stuff.  And just recently, Mandee did something that totally inspired me – she  became a certified pilates instructor!  I’m so proud of her :)  I mean, talk about chasing your dreams.  And because I do my best to be motivating on this little blog, I wanted to bring in someone who motivates me and so I asked her to come share her story.  Read what she has to say below and then follow along with her on her site, You Say It Best. You can also find her on Twitter.

And with that, take it away Mandee…

————————————————–

I’d like to tell you about an exercise that changed my life and my body. Right after college I started working for a large sports company, where everyone seems to be fitter than fit. There are several sports facilities on campus and it seemed like everyone was always working out—and not just working out, but hard-core working out. Since I had just come out of THE most unhealthy year of my life—think binge drinking, late night snacking, 4th meal and way too many ‘study snacks’ I felt like I did not fit in. I still remember one of my first time’s in the gym here. A co-worker invited me to go to spin class with her on lunch hour. I had still been working out despite my lifestyle, so I was able to keep up in spin. But afterward, we showered and started getting ready together, I remember looking in the mirror while getting dressed and noticing how lumpy and pudgy I had gotten! Something needed to change—all of these women in the dressing room looked amazing and I did not fit in. What was their secret? If it was the intense work-outs, count me out. I cannot do a Jillian style workout 7 days a week, and those are the main types of classes that are offered in this gym. It took me a while to find what worked, when a few months later I discovered reformer Pilates and it quickly changed my life and my body!

What is Pilates? Pilates is a series of exercises created by Joseph Pilates. The exercises were created with the intention to strengthen the human body and mind. They have an emphasis on a strong core, so many of the exercises will be abdominal related. The most popular type is Mat Pilates with a close second of Reformer Pilates. Whit asked me to clear up some of the questions people have (what exactly is a Pilates reformer?) so here goes.

Pilates began as a Mat routine but many of the initial clients Joseph had were sickly and in the hospital, so he began to make apparatuses to assist in the exercises out of things like mattress springs. Hence, the reformer is born.

The reformer uses springs to give resistance to the exercises. Many of them are the same as the Mat routine, but there are many more exercises you can do on the reformer that are unique due to the opportunity to add resistance and further stretch your body. For me, the reformer was the key to getting toned. I NEVER lift weights, but do Reformer Pilates twice a week. My triceps are defined and I have plenty of muscles in my legs, not to mention my core strength is pretty great. There is a huge variety of exercises you can do on the reformer and the straps and springs help lengthen and stretch as you exercise. There are also several other types of equipment such as the Chair, Barrels and Cadillac, but I won’t overwhelm you with those just yet.

Concentration is super important with Pilates. This is not one of those exercises where you can zone out and go through the motions—you must pay attention to the muscles that are working and make sure you are engaging the correct muscles, as well as always engaging your pelvic floor muscle. (read—the muscle you contract if you were to stop peeing mid flow). This muscles works together with the transverse abdominis to give you the abs you are looking for!

The combination of pretty intense cardio (running for me, spin or intervals for others) Pilates and a healthy diet is what I think is the winning combo to a fit lifestyle and body. I don’t believe you can ONLY do Pilates and have the results you want—you need to add some cardio in there as well. After 3 years of doing Pilates on the Mat & Reformer, and one year spent intensely studying to become a certified Instructor, here are my top 5 Benefits…

To be continued tomorrow :)

And it was just getting good right?  Trust me, you’ll want to come back to hear more of what Mandee has to say.  The girl knows her stuff and has the body to prove it.

If you have more questions, feel free to email Mandee at pilateswithmandee@gmail.com. She offers private Mat Pilates in your home or hers, and group classes in SW Portland on a beautiful rooftop terrace with 360 views of Portland!

Making homemade peanut butter

So recently I’ve become obsessed with Bee-Nut butter.  I picked some up last Saturday and the jar is almost gone and that made me sad.  I was going to pick some up yesterday but it’s almost $7 a jar and I got to thinking…the only ingredients are peanuts, honey and sea salt…it couldn’t possibly be that hard to make my own right?  I’ve made almond butter before and it’s super easy.  You just dump almonds and a little olive oil in a food processor and let it go.  So I figured peanut butter (the nuts only cost me $3) would be more or less the same.  And it was.  And it was equally delicious.

Honey Coconut Peanut Butter
Makes 16oz.

  • 2 cups roasted un-salted peanuts
  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Sea salt to taste

Place peanuts and oil in a food processor.  Process for about 2 minutes and then scrape down the sides, add in honey and then process for few more minutes.  The peanuts will get crumbly looking and you’ll start thinking that you’ll never end up with peanut butter but all the sudden it starts turning into a big blob and then BAM. It gets creamy.  That’s when you know you’re in business.  At that point I started adding in salt until I liked the taste.  After eating a couple spoonfuls, I transferred the peanut butter into a mason jar and stored in the fridge.  Can’t wait to have it on my apples today.

Note – Make sure to use a larger/stronger food processor.  Don’t use a mini or it could overheat and break.  I think mine is a 7 cup? 

Has anyone else made their own nut butters?  Any good recipes to share?

And since I had my food processor out, I decided to make hummus using this recipe.  I packed it up in one of our glass containers (we have zero plastic storage containers in our house by the way.  BPA freaks me out) and will be having it plus carrots this week for my afternoon snack.

And since I was in prep-mode, I cut up a huge seedless watermelon so that any sweet cravings I get this week can be satisfied with fruit and not candy. Some went into a bowl in the fridge and some was packed up for work food.

And finally, because I just hadn’t messed up enough pans, spoons and bowls, I made us some spicy penne rosa with shrimp (minus the spinach) for dinner. I added a little more greek yogurt than normal and it was so much creamier.  Not sure if it was because it was the first meal I’d eaten that didn’t require being grilled on the campfire or what, but it was extra amazing.

All that work in the kitchen seriously wore me out but I’m so glad I did it.  All my snacks for the week are prepped so now when I get up in the morning it’s an easy grab an go.

What about you guys?  Are you Sunday food preppers?  Any other favorite easy snack ideas to share? 

Rain is a good thing

That was what I woke up to Saturday morning. In case you can’t figure it out, that’s rain. Pouring down onto our tent. And that’s the same type of rain that greeted us upon our arrival at the campsite and the type of weather we had to deal with when setting up our tent. Not going to lie…there were some early moments when we all looked at each other and seriously considered packing up and heading into Bend to “camp” on a friend’s couch. But we waited it out and thank goodness we did because eventually the rain let up and it ended up being a great weekend.

We camped at Lake Billy Chinook which is in Central Oregon near Madras which is about 2 hours from Portland and 45 minutes from Bend. While we go to Bend all the time (one of our favorite places), we’d never been to this spot. We were able to get out on the pontoon boat Saturday and check out the lake which, minus a little rain at the beginning of the boat ride, was awesome. The rest of the weekend was spent hanging at the campsite around a campfire with great friends. Life just doesn’t get much better :)

When we got home this afternoon I meal-planned out our week and ran to the store for groceries before somehow getting a crazy burst of energy and experimenting in the kitchen (which I’ll tell you about later). After that I made this dinner. So good. And now I’m off to bed. Camping can really wear a girl out :)

Who else out there loves (or hates) camping? I think sometimes I forget that we’re a little spoiled here with so many places to camp in the Northwest. It’s seriously one of my favorite summertime activities.

I love this man

 

Country Music + online workout ideas

I’m currently camping right now.  Probably soaking wet and huddling under a canopy but I’m with great people so I’m sure I’ll come back with great stories.  In the meantime, wanted to pass along a couple of things – workout ideas to try, and country music.  You could easily say these are some of my favorite things :)  I mean if I could get a butt-kicking workout in and then go to a country concert I’d be set.  There is just something about a great country song that can change your life (in case you didn’t know, my whole love story with Chris is more or less built around country music – first concert, proposal idea, 1st dance, wedding tables…).

Workouts from around the web:

Current country music faves:

There are some great country songs out right now that get me super excited every time they come on the radio.  Here are just a few of my current faves.  FYI not all of these are the real music videos.  I think a few still aren’t out yet?  Or I suck at You tube.

Pontoon – Little Big Town. I have been really excited about this song since we rented a pontoon boat for our camping trip. I’ll let you know how that goes. You know, with the rain forecast and all.

Cruise – Florida Georgia Line.  Um, I seriously want to be somewhere on a back road with the sun streaming through my sunroof and warm air blowing through the windows.

Somethin’ bout a truck – Kip Moore.  Somethin’ bout a girl in a red sundress, with an ice-cold beer, pressed against her lips…I would like to be that girl.  Just saying.

Hey Pretty Girl – Kip Moore.  This was our friend’s 1st dance at their wedding and I fell in love with this song.  If we ever have a daughter I want to put these lyrics up on her wall.  This might actually be going into my top songs of all time list.

El Cerrito Place – Kenny Chesney. Not so much a song about summer but such a good song from his new album.

Wanted – Hunter Hayes. Tears actually welled up in my eyes the 1st time I heard this song.  You can just feel the emotion.

Hope you’re having a good Saturday.  Do you have any country songs or workout ideas to share?

The jam plan

Do you remember the Friend’s episode where Monica breaks up with Richard and in order to feel better she makes tons and tons of jam?  I think eventually she gives up the jam plan and then decides to just have babies or something along those lines…I miss Friends.  Such a great show.

Anyway, back to the point of my story.  Jam.  I love jam.  And lately I’ve been seeing tons of recipes for chia seed jam and it’s been intriguing me. First, a little review of what chia seeds are…they look like this:

And sometimes come in a package that looks like this.  I typically buy Bob’s Red Mill brand but I couldn’t find them this time.

The benefits of chia seeds are awesome.  They have omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, antioxidants, iron and protein.  I’ve put them in my overnight oats, on peanut butter toast for a little crunch, and in my smoothies (beware they do get in your teeth).  And now I’ve made jam with them. See, once you soak the seeds in liquid they expand and turn sort of jelly like and I’m assuming that quality is what led people to start making jam with them.

I’d seen a couple different recipes floating around but I decided to try out this one from Brittany at Eating Bird Food (mostly because her pics looked amazing). The original recipe is here but I had a few more strawberries than she did so I modified it just a little.

Strawberry Chia Jam (courtesy of Eating Bird Food)

  • 1.5 cup fresh strawberries
  • 1.5 Tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • Agave nectar to taste (you could also use stevia or honey)

Directions:  Mash up the strawberries (I tried using a fork but that took too long so eventually I just tossed them into the blender).  Add chia seeds, water and agave. Cover and store in the fridge for at least an hour.

I poured the jam from the bowl into a mason jar before storing in the fridge.  I mean, jam just belongs in a mason jar.  I really had no choice.

And then later I broke it out for a taste test.  I topped a plain rice cake with Justin’s Honey PB and then added the jam.  Verdict?  Winner!  Honestly it tasted like regular strawberry jam and I felt really good knowing there was nothing funky or artificial in it.

In fact, the jam was so good even Chance wanted some.

Well actually he probably wanted the PB but I’m sure he would have enjoyed the jam.

And in other non-jam news, I’m working from home today and even though I wanted to just sit around and watch the Today Show, I hopped on the spin bike for some sweaty cardio.  I rode for 30 minutes at a moderate resistance (while watching the final segment of the Weight of the Nation documentary) and then 15 minutes of intervals – 1 minute recovery, 30 seconds out of the saddle with hard resistance.

And then I ate this for breakfast…blueberry protein smoothie, an egg pouf with hot sauce (2 eggs microwaved for 1:30) and some coffee with almond milk.  Breakfast of champions I tell you.

And I’m out.  Off to get some work done before we go camping.  Normally I would be super excited except that in typical Pacific Northwest fashion, the weather forecast is calling for nonstop showers which ironically doesn’t phase me all that much since the last 3 times we’ve camped it’s been in the rain. Luckily I’ve got some rain pants.

Do you guys have any fun plans for the weekend?  What are your thoughts on rain camping?  Would you still go or bag it?

Oh and I also wanted to pass this along.  The Fitnessista, my all-time favorite blogger was picked as one of the top 10 online fitness influencers.  How freaking cool is that?  She’s the one who inspired me to start blogging and start experimenting more with foods.  Love her.  And of course my fave lady ever, Jillian, took home the #1 spot – freaking rockstar.

What do you guys think about this list?  Are you influenced by anyone on there?

 

 

 

 

Morning cardio and gym bag fails

Currently my hair resembles a lion’s mane and there’s a strong possibility that I will end up flashing my co-workers before the day ends because my skirt is hanging on my hips by the tiniest of threads.

How have I gotten myself into such a predicament you ask? Morning cardio.

I spent 30 minutes on the elliptical on incline level 1. The minutes broke down like this:

  • 0 – 10: resistance 7
  • 10 – 20: resistance 8
  • 20- 30 at resistance 9

Then I ran a slow 2.5 miles on the treadmill.  And followed that up with some leg extensions.  I did light weight (20 – 30 lbs) and high reps (25).  My hamstrings are so freaking tight from Tuesday’s workout that I thought leg extensions might balance things out and make my quads sore.  I mean, if my legs are going to be sore, let everything be sore?  And then I painfully rolled out with the foam roller and followed up with 10 minutes of ice which felt amazing.

And now back to the skirt/flashing/lion’s mane situation…

See I packed my gym bag last night.  I knew it was going to be in the 80’s so in went a tank, flip flops and a skirt.  Sounds good right?  Except that I hadn’t worn the skirt since last summer and didn’t try it on beforehand to realize it’s too big.  Having my clothes be too big is always a good thing.  I’d love it if all the clothes in my closet no longer fit me.  As long as I was learning this info in my own room in my own closet where I had the option of putting something else on.  But when you’re getting ready at the gym your only option is the outfit you brought or sweaty gym shorts. So I put on my too big skirt and made the best of it.  And then I spent the next 10 minutes in a mad rush to finish getting ready so that I could make it back to my desk for a 9 AM meeting.

Which is where the lion’s mane comes in.  I have naturally curly hair which I prefer to wear straight but on rainy days or days with limited getting ready time I do it curly.  It also grows fast and I can only wear it curly for so long before it gets too big and turns into what Chris fondly refers to as “the lion’s mane.”  Well, my friends, we are totally in lion’s mane territory.  And the worst kind of lion’s mane is the one where I don’t have enough time to fully let it dry/diffuse and have to leave it wet.  Which was today. Can’t wait to get home to pull this crazy mop back into a headband.

How do you guys handle morning workouts if you have to get ready at the gym?  Do you try on outfits before? Wear your outfit to the gym and then change?  Ever have any major fails?  I’m convinced one day I’m going to forget something likes shoes or pants…hahah.