Travel Zombie

I got home from North Carolina last night around 10:30 which for those of you unfamiliar with time zones is equal to 1:30 Eastern time.  Which normally wouldn’t seem that bad except that I’d gotten up at 5:30 EST to go running with one of my new co-workers (having gone to bed at midnight the night before).  So really, when talking PST, I was up from 2:30 AM – 11:30 PM and ran 4.3 miles, listened to 5+ hours of presentations, spent 3+ hours in airports and about 7 hours on various airplanes.  And then I had to be to work today by 8.

No wonder I handed Chris the cheese grader when he asked for the slicer this morning (duh, doesn’t everyone want shredded cheese on their sandwich).

But yeah, exhaustion aside, North Carolina was awesome and my new teammates are great.  I am so happy I went.  I didn’t take my big camera but here’s what I managed to capture on the ‘ole iphone.

Trip highlights include a round of golf (in much colder weather than anticipated), an amazing mexican feast (with the best tiramisu I’d ever had) at a co-worker’s house, and the early morning run around the UNC campus.  It was an awesome experience.

And because my blog is supposed to be about healthy living – I should mention that I actually ran both days.  Tuesday was on the treadmill and Wednesday was the outside run.  I make sure every time I get to a hotel to check out their workout facilities and the Carolina Inn had a great little room with some nice treadmills, ellipticals, bikes and weights.  And I planned ahead and brought oatmeal and peanut flour mixes and just heated up water with the hotel room coffee pot so that I could still work-out, eat breakfast and make it to the lobby at the designated 7:30 am departure time.

Am I coherent?  All the sudden I feel like I’m tying random things and I really should stop.  I’m off to try to find some sort of dinner.  Nothing really sounds good so we’ll see what I come up with. Can’t believe tomorrow is only Friday.  I feel like it’s been ages since I was packing my bag up on Sunday.  Whew.  Time flies when you’re having fun?

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Pumpkin Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Muffins

Like I mentioned here I procrastinated yesterday and baked instead of being productive.  Well, good thing I did because these muffins were worth it.  You know what else was worth it?  Being home and able to take pictures in perfect light.

And now for the recipe.  I started with Tina’s Pumpkin Walnut Paleo muffins and then subtracted a few things (almond butter) and added in a few things (cream cheese).

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Cream-Cheese Muffins
Makes 12

Ingredients

  • 2 cups almond flour/meal
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter ( I used Justin’s Honey PB)
  • 1/2 cup honey + 1 tablespoon for filling
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 oz light cream cheese

Directions
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix pumpkin, almond flour, eggs, PB, 1/2 cup honey, baking powder, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and salt together.  Fill greased muffin tins halfway full with muffin mixture.  Set remaining mixture aside.  Mix cream cheese and remaining honey together.  Add a dollop of cream cheese mix to muffin tins.  Top off muffin tins with remaining batter. Bake for 32 – 35 minutes.

Questions?

Sunday Morning Blackberry Muffins

This morning I woke up and felt like baking. I love baking. Probably more than cooking but I don’t do it that much because I end up eating whatever I bake and typically that does not end up being a healthy activity. In college, my best friend/roommate and I were baking extraordinaires. You could probably even say obsessed. You name it, we baked it. But luckily we lived in an apartment complex full of hungry boys and after a big baking extravaganza we could be found going door to door dropping off delicious treats. But I digress…

Back to today.

Maybe it was because for the first time in a while I did not wake up to super bright sunshine streaming through my window, maybe because yesterday, with the first football game of the season it truly felt like fall, or maybe because I just plain hadn’t done it in a while…I whipped out my cookbooks and started browsing.

And ended up with this.

Yum.

Blackberry Muffins (with honey and greek yogurt)
Makes 12
Adapted from a Cooking Light recipe

Dry ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax meal
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Wet ingredients

  • 1/4 cup low-sugar orange juice
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons coconut butter (melted)
  • 1 6 oz carton plain non-fat greek yogurt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup frozen blackberries
  • Cooking spray
  • Cinnamon-Sugar (for sprinkling)

Pre-heat over to 400 Degrees. Mix dry ingredients first. Add in wet ingredients (minus blackberries). Fold in blackberries by hand. Spoon mixture into muffin tins sprayed with cooking spray (I used olive oil). Top each muffin with a light sprinkling of cinnamon sugar. Bake for 18 minutes. Remove from heat. Gently remove from muffin pan and let cool on wire rack.

And now I’m off to watch a little football and beg my fantasy team to pull it together and beat Chris’s team. Wish me luck.

The most amazing pancakes. Ever.

I have spent way too much time trying to figure out my photo download situation.  I think I’ve finally figured out that it’s just not possible to use my Canon software to download my photos.  It sounds like Canon will release an update in October to fix the problem.  But in the meantime, I think I’ve figured out a work-around.

Just look how pretty this picture is.

Don’t you wish you were here at my house eating breakfast?

Peanut Butter Banana Protein + Flax pancakes
Makes 10 pancakes

  • 1.5 cups Bisquick baking mix
  • 1/2 cup protein plus peanut flour
  • 1.5 cups non-fat milk
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax meal + 3 tablespoons warm water (replaces the egg)

I had intended to add flax into the mix anyway for the omega-3 benefits and then when I opened up the fridge and realized I was out of eggs I remembered that you flax meal makes a great egg substitute (FYI to those allergic to eggs).  You mix the flax and water together and let sit for 10 minutes before adding to your baking mixture.

Mix everything else up with a whisk, spray your pan with some olive oil and use a 1/4 measuring cup as your scooper.

I topped mine with a little white chocolate peanut butter and a drizzle of light butter syrup.  Random fact, I hate maple syrup and only like butter syrup.

And now I’m off to pull myself together and spend a little quality time with the treadmill before we head off to a wedding this afternoon.

Question for you – how do you pronounce syrup?  I say seer-up but I know there’s also the camp that goes with sir-up. 

Black, Blue & Delicious + I need a new book

It’s going to be a hot one today. We’re talking 97 degrees which rarely happens here. There’s even an extreme weather advisory. Yikes. Hope I don’t melt :) And I can already tell I’m going to need some serious sunscreen because by 7:30 we had our living room fan turned on (PS we have no AC…tonight’s gonna be fun). Chris was way better than me and got up and went for a run while I opted for some leisurely breakfast eating while listening/watching Great American’s Country. Ahhhhh Saturday’s.

And I know right now you’re just dying to know what I had for breakfast so I won’t keep you in suspense any longer.

Black & Blue Protein Smoothie

  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen blackberries
  • 1/4 cup protein plus peanut flour
  • 1/2 scoop Designer Whey French Vanilla protein powder
  • 1 cup (ish) spinach
  • 1 teaspoon psyllilum husk powder (fiber)
  • 1 teaspoon raw maca (energy/hormone balancing)
  • 1.5 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Nutritional stats:

Next I was going to tell you about last night’s delicious stir-fry dinner but Chris got back and asked me if I wanted to go for a walk with he and Chance. How could I say no to that? :) And then after our 20 minute (already steamy walk) I was already in my running clothes so I decided to pop out an easy 2 miler on the treadmill. Done and done!

And now we’re off to float the river. Can’t wait to see what kind of craziness we see out there.

But before I leave you I need some help. Tomorrow I’m planning on spending some leisurely time reading a book in the shade except that I have no book :( I polished off Night Circus (so good!) during last night’s spin-bike cardio session. I’m looking for a good “beachy” type read. You know, a little summertime easy reading. Maybe with a love story thrown in?

Any recommendations?

Note – apparently this post didn’t post this morning.  We’re now back from 7 hours on the river in 100 degree weather and I did not get burned anywhere!  That makes me really happy because I always seem to miss spots with my sunscreen.  Today I applied my SPF 30 about 30 times and while I was made fun of a few times I’m glad I did.  Gotta protect your skin :)

Sun River + the best smoothie ever

Hola! Happy Saturday morning to you :) Today is an extra good one for me since I’m hanging out in Sun River for the next few days. For those of you not familiar, Sun River is near Bend in Central Oregon and just so happens to be one of my favorite places ever. I just love the dry, sunny, dessert like climate. And everything smells deliciously of pine trees. Glorious.

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We’re here with my in-laws to celebrate my Father-in-law’s birthday on Tuesday and to just relax for the rest of the days. We got in last night (ps Chris and I both got up at 5am to make sure we got our workouts in. He ran, I rode the bike before we dropped Chance of for boarding…go us) walked down to the Village for dinner where I was good and ordered a chicken salad instead of a pulled pork sandwich and sweet potato fries and drank water while everyone else had beer. However I promptly ruined my good day of eating when we got home and discovered that a previous renter had left a big bowl of Reese’s PB cups in the cupboard. Whoops. Let’s not talk about how many I ate. Or the cookie I had after that or the glass of wine…(but in my defense I kept it to 1 only).

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But today’s a new day and a fresh start to eating. We brought our Magic Bullet so we could make smoothies and I whipped up a blueberry, banana, peanut butter concoction. Which was good but nothing like the one I made yesterday. It may have been my best smoothie EVER! You have to try it and tell me what you think.

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And now we’re off to check out a couple properties for sale (perfect world has us owning a vacation home here), followed by some pool time, bike rides and my honey dijon chicken and quinoa for dinner.

Hope you have a great day. Question for you – What’s your favorite place to vacation close to home?

Eat and Repeat

I had an 8:30 start time for my all-day training session.  And unlike some meetings where an 8:30 meeting means you can scoot in a few minutes late, this was a training session with a big group of people and I did not want to be the last person in the door so I flew through my morning workout and then threw my gross, sweaty hair up in a headband.  I put some makeup on so I at least thought I looked presentable….

Pre-gym I had this:

Blackberry Peanut Butter Protein Shake

  • 1 cup frozen blackberries
  • 1.5 cups almond milk
  • 1 scoop protein powder
  • 2 tablespoons PB2
  • 2 cups spinach

And my workout looked like this.  3 sets/12 reps and a challenging weight for everything.

My lunch looked like this – a cobb/greek salad situation with some sort of poppy-seed vinaigrette.  This is my all-time favorite catered work lunch which actually makes me nervous.  Some of the catering choices are gross (Chinese surprise being numero uno) so I’m worried about what I’ll end up with tomorrow and Thursday.

I walked Chance after work for a little more cardio and then repeated last night’s Chicken/veggie/peanut noodles with a few modifications.  I don’t think I called this out yesterday but I tossed the chicken with garlic and red pepper flakes before adding them in the wok and this time subbed in a chopped red pepper instead of broccoli.  I had half the sauce from last night but bulked it up with 2 tablespoons of PB2 and some water to thin things out.

Amazing.  I think it was better than last night, both Chris and I were dying for more!  This is definitely going into our rotation.  So good.  Can’t wait until we have it again :)

Do you guys have any meals that you feel are part of your standard dinner rotation?  Like ones you can always turn to if you’re out of ideas?  Share them and feel free to post links to any recipes. 

Happy Wednesday, here’s a little mid-week motivation to keep you going.

Source

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?

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?

 

 

 

 

Do not try this at home

This morning I woke up and wanted protein pancakes which I’ve made many, many times.  Except I make them with cottage cheese and we don’t have any cottage cheese.  So I proceeded to make up a random recipe.  Um yeah, don’t try these.  Unless you like a weird, mushy-filled, good-smelling pancake.

Don’t try at home protein pancakes:
Makes 4-5

  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 cup oats
  • 4 tablespoons almond milk
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon coconut flour (pretty sure this is the culprit for the grossness.  Every time I use coconut flour whatever I’m making is not good.  You think I would learn my lesson by now right?)
  • 2 tablespoons water

But they just smelled so good so I ate them anyway with peanut butter (courtesy of my foodie penpal),  and honey. Side note – Right now Luke Bryan is on TV singing “Drunk on you” and one of the lines is about a drip of honey.

PS if you want good protein pancake recipes, I’d head over to Peanut Butter Fingers and check out Julie’s recipes.  They look amazing.

I completed my breakfast with a mug of coffee + almond milk and a blueberry smoothie sans protein powder.  I feel good that I no longer have any fake food in there but I’ll warn you that these take some getting use to.  Little sour since it’s non-fat, plain greek yogurt.  I put some honey and cinnamon in there this morning and it was much better than earlier versions.

Blueberry Smoothie:
Makes 2 16 oz glasses

  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 2 cups spinach (today was a mix of spinach and kale)
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 cup organic non-fat milk
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seed
  • 1 & 1/2 cups non-fat, plain greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • dash of cinnamon

As it’s currently 10:40 I need to start pulling myself together.  I’m thinking a 3.5 mile run (although my knee is feeling a little iffy) or 45 min on the spin bike.  We have a wedding to go to at 2:30 so I don’t have a whole lot of time to be lazy today.

Last night we grabbed drinks (I only had 1 glass of wine – go me) with some friends who are in town for the wedding from the Netherlands.  It was great to catch up with them and I’m excited we get to spend more time with them tonight.

And before that we had dinner:

Strawberry salad

And chicken penne pasta (minus kale)

Yesterday’s workout was a good one – a pilates reformer class plus 15 min on the elliptical (alternating between leaves 7 and 10) and 15 min on the treadmill at an 8:30 pace…so a little over 1.5 miles.  I’m going to try and get back into more of a 3 day a week pilates routine.  I’d been pretty consistent before my physical therapist told me to quit and in the time I took off I definitely noticed a change in my body.  Pilates really helps to keep my muscles long and lean and since I wasn’t doing that, instead doing more weights, I felt like I was getting a little too bulky.  Especially my arms.  So for the next couple weeks I’m going to try a pure pilates reformer/cardio mix and see what happens.  I’ll keep you posted.

Wow, I feel like I’ve written a novel and I still have one more thing to get though.  I wanted to let you know about this challenge that Powercakes is doing.  For the month of June, she’s challenging you to focus on clean eating, with a new meal/food to try each day.  Yesterday was “eat a rainbow” which actually was harder than I thought.  Today is to eat something red so I’m thinking yogurt and berries will be in my future later.  Let me know if you guys are up for trying it.  I’ll post what I eat on here for ideas but I think it’s a pretty cool concept.

Eat a rainbow

And I’m out. Finally.  Hope you all have good weekends.