I remember the days when it was cool to like a certain band, and not cool if you still liked the Backstreet Boys (until you were old enough to listen to them “ironically.”) Now, I really don’t give a crap what people think of my music taste. I literally listen and appreciate all music, except for the few bands that I inexplicably dislike (Kings of Leon, U2, and that damn Happy song). When I hear something on the radio that makes me smile and car-dance, that’s all I care about. And when that song has lyrics enforcing positive body image? Even better. I’ve had these three on repeat for the past few days, so now I’m sharing them with you.
1. All About that Bass – Meghan Trainor
Ever since discovering this new hit on Gretchen’s blog, I’ve been obsessed. The style, the beat, the lyrics…all of it! It makes me feel like it’s okay that I’m not a size 0.
2. Shake It Off – Taylor Swift
This one blew up overnight. By the time this post is up, you’re probably just as obsessed as I am over it. I saw some negative comments online about it before I heard it, and the next day I heard it on the radio but didn’t know it was TaySwift. I was hooked. Then when the song ended and they announced it was her, I was shocked…and then confused as to why people didn’t like it! I don’t care if it’s not “cool” to like her. I think she’s the bees knees, so there.
3. Try – Colbie Caillat
When I first watched this video and heard the song, I cried. She’s so right. You don’t have to try. I hope there are more songs like this in our future, especially for young girls struggling with body image. It’s so important that this message reaches them before it’s too late.
Tell me what song makes you feel good in the comment section below!
I like to get my workouts done early in the morning right after I wake up. I don’t like skipping breakfast, but I don’t want to eat a big meal right before I exercise. That’s where these little snacking balls come into play. They’re easy to just grab and go, and one or two is enough to give me a little energy for my workout. I’ve had this recipe in my brain for a few months now, so when the August Recipe Redux theme was announced as Bars and Bites, I took it as a sign that it needed to be blogged.
The key ingredient is maca powder, a Peruvian superfood that has many benefits, including its energizing capabilities. It’s also really beneficial in balancing hormones and aiding fertility…so uh…be careful. In this recipe, I’m utilizing the energy aspect of the maca powder!! Almonds are also known for being an energy superfood, too, so I threw those in there as well.
I think the best part about these is how easy they are to make, and how easy they make my mornings! Just five ingredients, blended together, and made into balls. Boom. You could also press them into a baking dish and then cut them into bars if you don’t want to spend the time rolling the balls. But we all know balls are more fun…
Sweet Almond Preworkout Bites
The perfect quick, energizing snack before a gym session.
I leave for Israel in one week. I’m excited, anxious, nervous, panicky, and excited. With the events of the past few months, I wasn’t sure I’d still be going. However, we have been assured by the organization that we will stay out of harm’s way. I always get super anxious before a big trip not because of flying, but because I will be in situations beyond my control. I’m so used to living in my 9 to 5 world and my little bubble in the ‘burbs, so it will be really good for me to break out of that for 10 days.
It’s been tough keeping up with blogging this summer, only because I wanted to enjoy the summer and not spend it inside on the computer more than I have to. And I’m sure you guys don’t want to hear my ramblings about my workouts and how I ate too many Dorrito’s up at camp last weekend. So I’ll stick to the highlight reel…a few updates from the past few months!
1. Our House // Best purchase we’ve ever made. The kitchen has served as my “studio” for creative food experiments, which is why you’re seeing mostly recipe posts on here. I’ve bought a few pieces of furniture that I LOVE, especially this giant table from Wayfair that has been perfect for big parties on our porch. There are still many items we need, like a dining room table, but the porch was our top priority since we’ve spent so much time there this summer.
2. Our Dog // This WOULD be the best purchase we’ve ever made, but without the house, we couldn’t have the dog. So, second best purchase. We love Norah so much, and I can’t believe how fast she’s growing! She loves hanging out with me in the garden while I pick green beans. Sometimes I toss her one and she carries it around and chews on it. So. Cute.
3. Our Garden // DK has done a fantastic job with our first garden. I have done nothing, except harvest and eat the results of his hard work. And it tastes delicious. We have: green beans, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, summer squash, rhubarb, celery, sweet potatoes, romaine lettuce, sweet mint, basil, chives, honeydew melon, and radishes.
4. Air Plants // Unlike my fiance, I do not have a green thumb, so I bought a bunch of air plants to decorate at home and at work. I’m. Obsessed. Buy them here.
5. The Canoe Trip // I was looking forward to this trip all summer, since last year’s was such a blast. We drove up on Thursday night, so we could get up early on Friday and go hiking. There are two mountains we hike up at camp. One is Percy Peak, and the other is Sugarloaf (in NH). We hadn’t done Sugarloaf in a few years, so we decided to go for it this weekend. Holy crap, I forgot how steep that mountain is. I was dying. Like, had to stop every five minutes dying. But we made it to the top, and crushed some sandwiches and celebratory beers.
We set out for our annual canoe trip on Saturday morning, ready to rock with a puppy life vest for Norah, which came in handy since she jumped in the river as soon as we pushed off. DK grabbed her by the handle on the life vest and she didn’t try it again. It was pretty cold this year, so she was shivering and crying for most of the trip. Mental note to do this in June or July next year!
6. Wedding Stuff // I’m procrastinating on planning until after Israel. Two of my best friends are getting married right before me, so I’m kind of just comparing notes with them for now. We have our venue, but next up is the search for a photographer & DJ. Any suggestions for Northern Mass or Southern NH?
So there you have it. This is my life lately. What’s new with you?
This recipe was an accident. A beautiful, wonderful accident. I was about to make my healthy cookies one day, and decided to try and make a chocolate version. One thing led to another, and I was adding new ingredients, changing ratios, which resulted in pancake cookies. Whoops. They still tasted amazing, but would have been better in cake form. Thus, my new favorite recipe ever was born.
This recipe makes four individual servings, so it will impress your guests but you won’t have leftovers to pick at devour the following days. The best part is that it’s 100% healthier than any boxed mix or store-bought cake. To lighten it up, I used coconut oil (healthy fats!) instead of vegetable oil, nut butter instead of regular butter, and oats in place of white flour.
Despite the healthy ingredient swaps, this cake is amazingly flavorful and moist. I tested it out on my fiance, and he approved! To make it even more fun, I’ve topped it with vanilla icing. Or, if your feeling adventurous, try adding fresh berries and whipped cream!
Some people are just naturals in the kitchen.Wrong. You can’t be born with a skill that must be acquired. These “natural” chef’s are that way because they have taken the time to learn. When I was younger, cooking seemed like a daunting chore to me. I didn’t want to help my mom in the kitchen because it was new to me and took away from my AIM time. (omg, remember that?) I only learned to cook because I realized the effects of takeout on my wallet and waistline once I was living on my own. Even then, it was still a task because I would shy away from recipes with more than four ingredients. Thanks to perseverance, I now enjoy cooking, and you can too.
1. Set the mood
I absolutely must have music blasting as loud as possible when I’m cooking up a storm. It helps tune out distracting thoughts and set a rhythm for things like chopping veggies and stirring soup. I recommend songs you like to sing along to, as family members usually enjoy this entertainment.
2. Don’t limit yourself
Don’t overlook a recipe just because you’ve never heard of an ingredient. Google it, learn about it, and see if it’s something you’d like. Some recipes will require you to buy new ingredients that may seem outrageous to you. I have a hard time buying new spices because it’s a lot of money for one meal, but you know what? I eventually end up using it for another recipe, and I’m glad I’d already have it on hand.
3. Find a good recipe
This is the only way to learn! Instead of aimlessly searching for recipes on Pinterest, search for something specific. Try typing in one or two ingredients you’d like to use, like chicken and tomatoes. If the recipe is from a popular website (like allrecipes.com), check the ratings and comments to see what others have said. Sometimes people have good suggestions to adapt the original recipe.
4. Show off your work
Maybe you’re one of those people who doesn’t understand why others post pictures of their food online all the time. It’s because you don’t know what it’s like to create a masterpiece! Trust me, once you cook your first meal, you’ll want to show the world. #nofilter
5. Keep at it
You know what they say…practice makes perfect. After trying tons of recipes, I gained enough basic knowledge to start creating my own recipes. And to think…it all started with the act of boiling water to cook some pasta!
I often write my blog posts assuming my general audience is made up of other bloggers and people like me who are looking for a few new recipes or tips to live a healthier life. But maybe you’re new to this scene and you’ve never heard of quinoa and you avoid vegetables at all costs. Maybe you’d like to lose some weight and get healthier, but this is all so overwhelming and scary and there’s so much to learn. I’ve put together these 5 simple tips that you should know before starting this journey, based on my own experience.
1. Baby steps
Before you go all cold turkey on junk food and start working out like crazy 7 days a week, take a step back. You don’t have to do it that way, because you will eventually burn out. Start slow, like cutting out soda instead of committing to eat salads at every meal. Find a way to exercise so you feel happy afterwards, instead of feeling like it’s a chore. Eventually you can keep adding on more healthy habits to replace the unhealthy ones, but doing it all in one week is guaranteed to put you back where you started.
2. Don’t Diet
Think again before starting a weird fad diet that bans all white foods. Don’t even bother cutting carbs. And please DON’T go gluten free unless your doctor has told you to do so. Instead of restricting specific foods, try some new, healthy foods. Start cooking. Try recipes that incorporate lots of veggies and plenty of protein. If you don’t like one, mark that one as a failure and try another. Practice makes perfect! Keep your favorites in a binder so you can always find them when it’s time to cook.
3. Don’t fall victim to marketing ploys
If it’s being advertised, you don’t need it. All those As Seen on TV products are endorsed by models who probably had never seen the product before they filmed the commercial. If you’re walking along the aisles of the grocery store and a box of granola bars catches your eye because it’s “Low-fat!” or “With Fiber!”, don’t buy it. Anything that has to label itself with a health claim is actually a surefire way to let you know it’s NOT healthy.
Like I said in #1, don’t go crazy at first and commit to an intense workout program. Just ease yourself into it. If you’re really inactive, start with walking around the neighborhood. Chances are there’s some sort of activity you secretly have always wanted to try. Don’t let yourself get in the way! Try that yoga class. Get a gym membership. Yes, you’ll be uncomfortable the first few times you go. Just remember that everyone else has been in that same place at one point too.
5. Don’t give up
This one is important. It’s awesome that you’re invested in this and trying to make a change, so just keep on truckin! If you slip up, it’s okay. Don’t let that ruin all your hard work. Just pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and eat a banana.
I bought a huge box of the most beautiful organic blueberries last week at Trader Joe’s. I think I got a little too excited over them, more than your average person should be over a box of berries. I’ve been enjoying them as a snack, on yogurt, and of course…in my pancakes. Blueberry pancakes are my favorite thing to eat for breakfast, hands down. My mom would make them for the family on Sunday mornings, silver dollar size, sometimes Mickey Mouse style. We were also an Aunt Jemima family, but I am happy to say I have fully converted to pure maple syrup (the real stuff) since DK’s family started making it in New Hampshire. I’ve also come up with my own healthier version of blueberry pancakes, and it tastes much better than Bisquik! (sorry, Mom!)
You can make these for anyone and they would never think they could be categorized as “healthy.” I call them power pancakes for a reason: they give you powers. Well, maybe not x-ray vision or the gift of flight, but they will fill you up and give you plenty of energy for the day! The recipe is similar to my protein pancakes, but these don’t require that extra protein powder. They still have protein thanks to the greek yogurt and egg whites, but I’ve also added some flaxseed to aid your digestion, and of course the blueberries for your daily dose of antioxidants.
Blueberry Power Pancakes
Healthy, filling pancakes made with greek yogurt and other healthy ingredients.
Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add wet ingredients and stir, then add blueberries.
Grease pan and pour desired amount of batter onto pan.
Cook for about 4 minutes, or until edges have set.
Flip pancake and cook other side for 4 minutes.
Serve immediately with warm maple syrup!
This recipe will make two medium sized pancakes, or three small ones. I wouldn't try to make one large one because it would be to hard to flip!
*I make my own oat flour simply by grinding Bob's Red Mill Old Fashioned Rolled Oats in a blender! Easy peasy.
**For gluten free pancakes, be sure to use gluten free oats.
By The Pomegranate Bandit
The Pomegranate Bandit http://pomegranatebandit.com/
This recipe is perfect for a big breakfast for two if you are also serving eggs and bacon on the side. It should yield two medium pancakes that are very filling, but the recipe can also be eaten by itself for one person. After I shot these photos, I served the plate to DK, and he ate them right up and was satisfied. I eat these for breakfast multiple times a week, and sometimes I even add some sliced bananas to the mix. It’s SUPER filling! I can always last until at least 1 PM on days I have these for breakfast (around 7:30!) Try them! I promise, you won’t regret it.
I’m not running as much as I used to, since I mainly stick to lifting and short bursts of cardio and HIIT training. I enjoy long, leisurely runs (well, long for me), but lately it’s been so hot and humid out I am just not interested. I finally got the motivation I needed when I received a pair of PRO Compression socks last week. Compression socks circulate blood flow and help speed up recovery time, which is so important for me because I always use the excuse “I’m too sore” to work out again the next day!
I planned to try them out last Sunday, but we had celebrated my birthday a few days early on Saturday and I had had my fair share of food and drink, so Sunday was a lazy day. It also rained, but when the skies cleared at 3 pm, I had a random burst of energy (probably all that sugar from the leftover dessert I was eating) and I decided to run. I’m still not sure if this was a good decision since the mere 2 miles I did was miserable, but I guess it’s better than nothing.
I put the socks on before I ran and was surprised at how difficult it was to pull them on! I expected them to be tight, but I definitely struggled. They almost came up past my knees, but I’m pretty sure they’re not supposed to fit like that so I scrunched them back down a bit. Once they were on, they felt reeeealllly nice. Someone really needs to start making control top nylons out of this stuff.
During the run, I could definitely notice a difference in how my calves felt. Even though I hadn’t been running outdoors in a long time, my legs felt pretty good. I ran on the pavement and then crossed onto the trail leading back to our house, so I could try them on both hard and soft ground. It was getting kind of hot and humid, and even though I had shorts on, the socks were starting to feel too constricting because of the heat. I stopped running after two miles when I was close to home and then walked the rest of the way so I could cool down.
When I got home, I immediately chugged water and just face-planted onto the cold tile in the kitchen. Had it not been so damn hot, I would have enjoyed a longer run and I would have kept the socks on longer, but I was overheating and desperately wanted a cold shower. Getting the socks off was another adventure in itself. I’m one of those anal, type A girls who takes off her socks without turning them inside out….but I had to scrap that rule and just peel these things off inside out.
I wish I did a bit more research about how to use these before I went running with them, because apparently you can just wear them around the house any time for the benefits. Most people wear them after the run for recovery, which is what I’ll be doing in the future. Or I’ll wear them to the nice cool, air conditioned gym!
I could tell the socks did their job because I wasn’t sore at all the day after my run, which is saying a lot considering it was my first outdoor run in months! The only downside to these is the price, of course. I have a hard time justifying paying so much for a pair of socks, even though they do have superpowers. But…good news! You can use the code PINK on your order to receive 40% off your pro compression purchase. You’re welcome.
Disclaimer: I received a pair of socks in exchange for an honest review on behalf of Pro Compression and Fit Approach. All opinions are my own.
This is actually an older recipe of mine that used to be called “truly guilt free cookies” because of their healthy ingredients, but I don’t think the word “guilt” should ever be associated with food. You should never feel guilty about eating anything (unless you like stole it from a child). I’ve also re-photographed the cookies for your viewing pleasure, and put the recipe into a printable format. This is a favorite of mine, so I want to be sure it gets noticed. Enjoy!
You’ve probably seen other “healthy cookie” recipes floating around the internet. They always suck me in but then I’m let down when I see “1 cup sugar” in the ingredients. This recipe tastes just as good but without the refined sugar. The mashed bananas give the dough it’s sweetness, but the raisins are the star of the show. Add the chocolate chips and you’ve hit the trifecta! (Although they won’t be entirely sugar free, but a few chocolate chips is nothing compared to the additional sugar in other cookies!) These are gluten free and dairy free, so just about anyone can enjoy them! They are sweet, moist, and chewy, and you can’t even tell they’re made without sugar or flour.
chewy healthy cookies (sugar free!)
A satisfying cookie naturally sweetened with bananas instead of refined sugars.
1 ½ large, very ripe bananas (freeze the extra half for smoothies!)
¼ cup natural peanut butter or almond butter
⅛ cup coconut oil (melted)
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
⅛ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. cinnamon
⅛ tsp. salt
optional: 1/4 cup raisins and/or chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Mash the bananas with the nut butter, oil and vanilla.
Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl and then stir into the banana mixture.
Drop twelve spoonfuls of dough onto a greased or Silpat lined baking sheet.
Bake for 12-14 minutes and transfer to a cooling rack.
Be sure to use dairy free chocolate chips if you want these to be dairy free.
Also, be sure to use gluten free oats for gluten free cookies.
By The Pomegranate Bandit
The Pomegranate Bandit http://pomegranatebandit.com/
Sometimes I use almond extract instead of vanilla to create a different flavor. You can also try white chocolate chips with dried cranberries for something festive, or any other add-ins you may think of!
*The Siplat liner is KEY for cookies. Go to Home Goods and purchase one, you won’t regret it!
Typically when grilling chicken, I simply slap on some olive oil and sprinkle with fresh ground salt and pepper. Good to go. Yes, it’s super easy and convenient, but after eating it multiple times a week, it’s time to shake it up. Marinades are a great way to add flavor to your food. The only problem is remembering to do it in advance, because the longer it marinades, the better it tastes. I used to be really good about meal planning and would make a menu each Sunday outlining our dinners for the following week. Lately, I just buy plenty of meat and veggies and then wing it based on what’s in the fridge. I’m trying to get back on track with the planning, so I decided to attempt a marinade that was appropriate for this month’s Recipe Redux theme: cooking with spirits or alcohol.
Typically, I prefer red wine with dinner, but in the summer there’s nothing like a cold beer. I love to sip on any citrus flavored brew, such as Blue Moon, UFO White, or Curious Traveler. I’ve even been known to knock back a few (or twelve) Bud Light Limes when we’re up north at camp. And what else goes with beer besides pizza? Duh, chicken. (I think goes: anda little bit of chicken fried, cold beer on a Friday night).