Protein Pumpkin Oat Crumb Bars

I finally succumbed to the pumpkin mania and created a pumpkin recipe. Plus, it’s Halloween so I thought it would be fitting to post something pumpkin today. It is surprising that it took this long because pumpkin roll is one of my favorite recipes. Since pumpkin roll isn’t exactly a healthy breakfast, I set out to create something in it’s substitute. I settled for a protein oat bar.

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While pumpkin is the star of the show, I also threw in some white chocolate chips, walnuts, and cranberries for good measure. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this recipe because I have never made a breakfast bar before.  The results were quite delicious and moist, yet crumbly and dense thanks to the protein powder inside.

IMG_6394-pOn a side note, good food bloggers don’t have shadows in their pictures, but the Bear says it adds interest, which makes me happy since I was too impatient to wait for the sun to go down. :)

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Protein Pumpkin Oat Crumb Bars
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 16
 

Ingredients
  • 2 cup oats
  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • ¼ cup vanilla protein powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
  • ¼ cup pumkin puree
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • ¾ cup walnuts
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease two bread pans.
  2. In a medium bowl combine all dry ingredients.
  3. In a large bowl combine all wet ingredients.
  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until well combine.
  5. Add the walnuts and cranberries to the mixture.
  6. Evenly pour the batter into both of the bread pans.
  7. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.
  8. Cool for 5 minutes before cutting into bars.

 

Back to the recipe – I brought in a few bars for my coworker to try and he loved them! He didn’t even taste the protein powder which is a good sign since that stuff isn’t very tasty.

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If I do say so myself, I really loved this recipe because it almost tasted like pumpkin roll. I ate it for breakfast for a week straight!  It was even better when I microwaved the bars for 30 seconds!

What is your breakfast of choice? 

Happy Halloween my friends! 

Smokey Butternut Squash Slow Cooker Soup

As you know I wasn’t feeling well last week, and when you are sick, there is nothing more comforting than the sight of a warm bowl of soup. The last thing I wanted to do what spend hours making a soup, so I knew a slow cooker recipe would do the trick.

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I am trying to get through all the butternut squash (BNS) in my vegetable bowl because my CSA box has one every week. Every BNS soup recipe that I found on the internet was creamy, and I was in the mood for a chunky soup so I put on my creative hat.

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And by creative hat, I mean I threw everything into the slow cooker that I could find in the crisper and pantry!  That included BNS, carrots, onion, bell pepper, black beans, and the secret . ingredient – KETCHUP!

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Smokey Butternut Squash Slow Cooker Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 6
 

Ingredients
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 2 large carrots, cubed
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, cubed
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 box veggie broth
  • 1 (or 4) serrano peppers, minced
  • 1½ tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun spice
  • ½ tablespoon cumin
  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • ¼ tablespoon pepper
  • ¼ cup ketchup

Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a slower cooker and cook on high for 5 hours.

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Nothing better than sauteed polenta!

The soup turned out surprisingly good. It reminded me of a vegetable soup that my mother-in-law used to make all the time in the winter, which doubleplus surprisingly, my husband loves! Remember, the Bear is a meat and potatoes type of guy so getting him to eat vegetables, even in soup form, is a big accomplishment! Anyways, the Bear said he liked the soup but that I made it too spicy. Next time I won’t be using four red serrano peppers!

What’s your favorite type of soup? Creamy or chunky? 

 

It’s a Halloween Party!

I am throwing my first Halloween party this year! Eeeee! I am super excited because as you know Halloween is my favorite holiday. Normally I plan things months in advance, but I didn’t actually start planning this party until this Saturday and the party is Thursday! Luckily Pinterest came to the rescue. There are so many amazingly creative people!  I found recipes, decor, and drink ideas from a few fantastic bloggers too!

Basically this post will be a bunch of stuff that I wasn’t smart creative enough to think up but thought was too cool not to share.  Below are my favorite recipes for the party on Thursday:

(Via Secrets of a Momaholic)

Guacamole dressed up as vomit for Halloween

(Via Pinterest)

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(Via Eat Yourself Skinny)

I also started decorating this weekend! Here is what I have accomplished so far…

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 Bats may have attacked my place! I was Bat Girl for my half marathon after all! In all seriousness, my hands are dead tired from cutting out all those bats, but it was worth the whole $4 I spent on card stock!

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 Bloody brains and hearts: 100% lean, no preservatives, high protein, fat free! It says it right on the package!

Lastly, I need help deciding how to do my makeup on Halloween. Should I do the right or left version?

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 Can you guess who I am going to be?!

Happy Halloween!!!

Target Practice Friday #16

borrowed stole the idea for the Target Practice Friday series from the ladies over at Fit.Fun.Femme.  I do things a little differently, but ultimately it’s where I share my progress on my short term goals, a.k.a targets.

Target practice is coming to you late today. I have been putting off writing it because this week wasn’t very health conscious. I have been sick for the last few days, so getting better has been a priority. At least I had a lot of extra time to catch up on reading blog posts. I had 400 post to read on Thursday morning!

Improve Pace - No speed training this week.

Handstand - Again, nothing. But I did get in these booty workouts this week.

Both of these look deceivingly easy, but boy, was I sore the next day!  I am really starting to enjoy all these YouTube workouts.  It’s really a great resource when one let’s their gym membership lapse. :-) It’s okay… I am trying to save a little money because it turns out my work has a pretty decent gym!

Half Marathon – Last week I was supposed to do a long run, but only got in a measly 3 miles. I think my body is angry at me for eating a bunch of crap the last few weeks so it’s punishing me by getting sick and running slow. I really need to treat my body better… it’s a temple after all! :-) Anyways, I also got in a very slow 4 miles earlier this week.

Eating Clean - My eats were really good this week. I should have a soup recipe to share with you next week.

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Just some brains with my breakfast. :-)

This morning I whipped up a Pumpkin Spice Frozen Latte courtesy of Lee over at Fit Foodie Finds. I love how she used frozen banana as a sweetener, and since this is probably the only thing I will eat this morning, I also appreciate how filling it is! Okay, now it’s time to rest.

Have a falltastic weekend! (insert dork face here)

FALLing in love with a Pomegranate, Pear, & Kale Salad

This week has been filled with a lot of random posts. While those posts were surprisingly popular, I am bringing it back home with a healthy salad recipe.  Now I know what you are thinking, “Isn’t this girl sick of salads?!” Yes, if you have been reading my Target Practice Friday posts, you know that I have been in a salad rut lately. But after a few weeks of soup, canned tuna, and pizza (insert guilty face here!), I have slowly been re-introducing salad into my meals.

IMG_6360-pInspiration struck this weekend when I picked up my CSA box which was filled with fall fruit and veggies likes pomegranates, pears, and kale.  I had the perfect mixing for a beautiful fall salad… just what I needed to get me out of this salad rut!

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4.7 from 3 reviews

Pomegranate, Pear & Kale Salad
Prep time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 1-2
 

Ingredients
  • 1 bunch of kale, de-stemmed and chopped
  • 1 pomegrante, seeded
  • 1 pear, sliced
  • ¼ cup walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons pepitas
  • 1½ tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinaigrette
  • 1 teaspoon organic honey

Instructions
  1. In a small bowl mixed olive oil, balsamic vinaigrette, and honey until well combined.
  2. Massage the kale with the honey balsamic dressing, then set in the fridge for 30 minutes to soften the kale leaves. This makes it easier to digest!
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl of water, remove the pomegranate seeds from it’s membrane.
  4. After 30 minutes, remove the kale leaves from the fridge. Top with pomegranate seeds, sliced pear, walnuts, and pepitas.

IMG_6370-pGrowing up in a small farm town, it seemed like everyone and their mother had a grove of some kind in their neighborhood.  We were lucky enough to have a few groves like lemons and pomegranates in our neighborhood. All the kids of in our hood (that sounds so gangsta!) would pick the pomegranates from our neighbor’s grove and crack them open on their white picket fence!  Our parents may or may not have been called after a “bloody” fence started to develop. :-)

IMG_6345-pLater in my life, I learned a few tricks to open the juicy pomegranates without creating a bloody mess! Pun intended!

IMG_6335-pI am not sure where I learned this trick (I want to say Food Network) but it’s by far the best! Simply cut the pomegranate in half and place it in a large bowl of water. Working in the water, separate the seeds from the outer membrane.  The seeds with sink to the bottom of the bowl, while the membrane will float to the top of the water making it easy to skim off the top. Then drain the seeds from the water. So simple!

What is your favorite fall salad?  Have you ever used the water bowl trick with pomegranates? Did you grow up in a small town?  What type of trouble did you get into as a kid? 

Calling all Fashionistas! Stitch Fix Addition

I need help from all you lovely fashionistas out there. Yesterday I received my first Stitch Fix in the mail.  I had heard about Stitch Fix from several different blogs and loved the idea. Basically Stitch Fix is a styling service. You tell them what your size, style, and cost preferences are, and they will hand select and deliver 5 items to your doorstep.  This service is great for those living in rural areas.

Needless to say, I love fashion! I always have and always will. When the Bear and I got married, he put me on a clothing budget. I later turned my 10×10 basement into a closet when the Bear and I bought our first house, but to my defense, closets are much smaller in houses built in the 1920s! I will admit it though! I am definitely a shopaholic, so I thought I would give Stitch Fix a try.

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After setting up a personal profile by answering a few questions on my style and size, Stitch Fix sent my first box this week.  It arrived yesterday!

Here is what was in the box:

I love the design of this blouse, but it was a little tight around the hips. These hips definitely don’t lie! At $58 I think this one is getting shipped back.

imageWhile I love me some black pants, (I already own eight) this pair just doesn’t fit my body. I won’t even show you my backside! Is reverse camel toe a thing?! TMI?

wpid-20131021_171331.jpgThis necklace is cute and classic. The price tag says $38. What do you think? Should I keep it?

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I really like this black top! The studs add a rocker flare which I love. Plus, it’s fitted around my waist and loose around my hips. I can see myself wearing it to the next concert. Keeper at $58?

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I find the next top really cute! The colors and style are right up my alley, but the fit is boxy. Maybe it would be cute with a belt?  Should I keep it for $58?

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 With each item of clothing, Stitch Fix also sent a styling card.  Perfect for when you are in a styling rut!

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I have three days to ship back everything that I don’t want to keep to Stitch Fix. I am contemplating on keeping the black studded top, colorful chevron stripe blouse, and/or the necklace. Should I keep all three and ask for Bear forgiveness? :-)

Why Halloween is the BEST Holiday!

Did I mention that I love Halloween!? In case you haven’t figured it out by now, I thought I would write a post explaining why Halloween rocks my world as the best holiday! If you came here to read a blog post about fitness or are looking for a healthy recipe, turn around now.  This post will have none of that!

7 Reasons to LOVE Halloween

Costumes: Who doesn’t want to dress up as something awesome for a day!?  I loved getting into character as a kid and this continued into my adulthood!

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I think my mom was trying to tell me something with the angel costume because I was anything but an angel as a kid!

Trick or Treating: Whoever invented this holiday was a genius! Both collecting candy from neighbors or pulling a prank on them are equally satisfying. When I was old enough to understand trick or treating, I actually went trick or treating in broad daylight on Nov 1 because I loved it so much.  Halfway through the neighborhood, someone finally called my mom to let her know what I was up to! At least I almost succeeded!

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Gosh! My brother and I were so freakin’ cute! What happened?! :-)

Candy: To say I love candy is an understatement. Let me repeat, I went trick or treating twice one year! But in all seriousness, when else can you binge on candy and not feel guilty about it? Never! That’s why Halloween rocks! 

Did anyone else sort their candy? I was Type A even as a wee-little kid!

Cheesy Scary Movies:  I can’t explain why I love cheesy scary movies, but they are awesome. Each October, I watch a different scary movie on the weekends leading up to Halloween.  If I don’t have party plans on Halloween, I binge watch several scary movies while passing out (on) candy. :-) Now that’s what I call a perfect evening!

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 Nothing better than Hocus Pocus after a half marathon!

No Gift or Family Gathering Obligation: Rightfully so, Halloween is a favorite of my friend Jeremy too.  He makes a very good point that Halloween is the only holiday where gifts and family gatherings are not expected.  While I love to gather with the family on Christmas and exchange gifts, it’s nice to have a holiday without those requirements.

Pumpkins: Need I say more?! October is the month of jack-o-laterns, pumpkin spiced lattes, and pumpkin roll.

I stole this picture from my sister-in-law because her jack-o-lanterns are incredible!

Haunted Houses: I can’t explain this one. I just loooooove to be scared.  I love the thrill that comes with haunted houses or haunted hayrides. Is that weird? :-)
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  Now it’s your turn! Why do you like Halloween?!

Target Practice Friday #15

borrowed stole the idea for the Target Practice Friday series from the ladies over at Fit.Fun.Femme.  I do things a little differently, but ultimately it’s where I share my progress on my short term goals, a.k.a targets.

I hope you all are getting ready to enjoy the weekend! I have an event-fulled weekend ahead of myself… everything from Knotts Scary Farm (Gosh! I love Halloween!) to a baby shower.  While I am looking forward to the busy weekend ahead, it leaves little time for workouts. That leads to my this weekends Target Practice…

Improve Pace - I didn’t focus on speed this week because I was recovering from my half on Saturday, but I did read Megan’s 7 Tips to Improve your Running Speed. One thing I learned from the post is that I really need to be patient with myself because improving pace won’t happen over night.

Handstand - There was a lot of handstand training this week. With the help of my personal trainer, I took practicing handstands away from the wall.  I was almost able to hold myself up all by myself.  I got in about 5 seconds!

Half Marathon – I completed my first half marathon on Saturday!!! It was awesome and you can read about it here. I have my Las Vegas Rock n Roll Half in four weeks!  My plan is to run 10 miles this weekend, 12 miles the next two weekends, and a easy 8 miles the weekend before the race.

Eating Clean - Gradually I have been re-introducing salads back into my diet. I made a fajita salad the other day and it was delish!
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Other than a few salads, my eats have been pretty bad this week. There were cookies, pizza, and pasta… next week will be better!

Enjoy your weekend! 

Roasted Eggplant & Zucchini Lasagna

Hello Lovelies! I have another recipe for you today. I have been holding onto this recipe for quite a while.  I actually made this lasagna in the dead of summer and it was almost 100 degrees outside.  When you have a craving, you have a craving! My stomach does not care what the weather is like outside.  Case in point – I once had Thanksgiving dinner in June! (FYI, my mom is pretty awesome! Thanks for June Thanksgiving, Ma!) Since we are officially in fall, I finally felt like it was time to share this recipe.IMG_1112-psI love pasta in all shapes and forms – anything from spaghetti, ravioli, and most definitely lasagna.  My family calls me the little Italian because for every birthday, my meal of choice is either pizza or some sort of pasta. Granted, the versions I eat are more American than Italian, they are delicious none the less!

IMG_1100-psWhile my taste buds may say yes to lasagna, my waistline and booty say a big fat NO to lasagna.  In an effort to make things a little healthier I decided to make vegetarian lasagna, so I roasted some eggplant and zucchini! Doubleplus YUM!!!

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Roasted Eggplant & Zucchini Lasagna
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 8
 

Ingredients
  • 8 cooked whole wheat or brown rice lasagna noodles
  • 16 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 eggplant, sliced lengthwise
  • 2 small zucchinis, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley or 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 15 ounces fat free ricotta cheese
  • ¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Toss the sliced eggplant and zucchini in the grapeseed oil and salt & pepper. Lay flat on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 30 minutes.
  3. Cook lasagna noodles according to package.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix ricotta cheese with the garlic, oregano, and parsley.
  5. In a greased 9×9 baking dish start by covering the bottom with a little tomato sauce.
  6. Place two lasagna noodles over the sauce and cover with a layer of ricotta cheese.
  7. Top the ricotta cheese mixture with a layer of roasted eggplant and tomato sauce.
  8. Add another layer of lasagna noodles and ricotta but then add a layer of roasted zucchini.
  9. Alternate between eggplant and zucchini for two more layers ending with the noodles and sauce.
  10. On the final layer, top with the shredded mozzarella cheese.
  11. Place a lid or foil over the lasagna and bake for 45 minutes.

 

IMG_1106-psI also used fat free ricotta cheese.  I will admit that it’s not as good as the full fat stuff, but you can hardly notice with all the herbs and tomato sauce!

Questions:

Do you ever crave fall/winter food in the summer? What is your favorite comfort food? 

Weekend Adventures Part II: Pink Concert

Did I mention that I went to a Pink concert last Saturday?! Well I did and it pretty much rocked my world! Lately I have been on a concert binge streak and my longest friend, you remember Ashleigh from my rock climbing post, came up to LA to join me in a Pink adventure.

20131012_222730-smEven though I ran my first half marathon the morning of the concert, there was no way in hell that I would miss Pink because I was a little tired. Instead, I took a long nap during the day so that I would be well rested for the concert.imageAshleigh and I arrived at the concert right as the opening band, The Kin, started to play.  Neither of us had heard of The Kin before that night, but boy were we fans
after the concert.  The only souvenir that I bought was their CD.

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While we loved The Kin, we came to see Pink.  I have always been a fan of Pink but I absolutely LOVE her now! No concert will ever be as good as her performance on Saturday!

Her performance was a combination of a Cirque du Soleil show and a pop concert. I don’t know how she was able to sing while being suspended in the air and tumbling all over the place, but she did! Her acrobatics were impressive but she brought the house down with her acoustic songs. I love how everyone used the flashlight on their cell phones as if they were lighters.

The show started at 8 p.m. but didn’t end until well after 11 p.m. Pink played song after song after song, old and new alike! For the grand finale Pink sang “So What” suspended in the air. It was amazing!

My video skills don’t do her performance justice!

After the concert we went hunting for the members of The Kin, who said they would be doing autographs outside the Staples Center. We weren’t lucky in finding them, but we did get an awesome picture in front of the Staples Center!

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Saturday was incredible with the half marathon, yummy food, and concert! I never wanted it to end!

Have you ever seen Pink live? What is your favorite type of concert? Rock, Pop, Alternative, or Country?