Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Protein Shake

I had some pumpkin puree left over from some previous pumpkin baking I had done, so I thought I'd use it up by making a yummy pumpkin spice protein shake. No need to continue saying it but I love anything pumpkin. I seriously have to get in my fix before the season has changed. Eat as much pumpkin until fall comes again next year, anyone else like this? I must say this was delicious, it was a real treat and I could see myself making one again for a nightly snack rather than just for a post-work refuel.

Pumpkin Spice Protein Shake
1 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I love my Sunwarrior protein powder)
1/2 tsp. pumpkin spice
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Blend!! and enjoy!

Give this a try! I know you will love it!

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Paleo Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

One of my fall staples is pumpkin, pumpkin everything! I've been pretty naughty this fall as the pumpkin obsession has spread to the majority of restaurants and fast food places. Some of my guilty pleasures are Starbucks pumpkin spice latte, Culver's salted caramel concrete mixer & Einstein Bagels pumpkin bagel with pumpkin cream cheese, oh and don't forget their pumpkin bagel clusters and frozen pumpkin pie drink. No judgments please. My pumpkin obsession may have lead me to some very bad food choices, but sometimes the devil on my shoulder wins the battle and I indulge myself. So when I found this yummy pumpkin chocolate chip cookie recipe I was immediately drawn it. To my surprise it was paleo and a much better alternative to some of my past pumpkin choices. 

I found the recipe at Purely Twins, which is an amazing blog by two (twin obviously) sisters. They post the most delicious recipes + workouts. Definitely a great blog to check out!! I didn't change the recipe at all, except for my own mistake. Please note above the vanilla extract I did not use. At times I can be the most frantic baker, so as I'm cleaning up while they are in the oven I notice "oh hey, I forgot to put in the vanilla extra - dang-it!" They still tasted great, but if your following their recipe they don't mention it again in the directions, so if your like me it could be easily missed. I made mine pretty big and if (ok, not if but when) I make these again I will flatten them out more. They were delicious!! But be careful though, it's hard to just eat a few ;)
Let me know what your favorite pumpkin recipes are! I'm dying to try more before fall is over!!

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Gotta Try It Tuesday: Kiwano

Ever go to the grocery store and see a new fruit or vegetable and say "What is that?" "I wonder how that tastes?" "What do I do with it?". I do all the time. I love trying new foods and when I see something I have never tried before I'm completely drawn to buying it. That's why I want to bring to you Gotta Try It Tuesday. I'll give you my honest first impressions and simple recipes.
That brings us to my first Gotta Try the Kiwano or Horned Melon. Honestly, I've seen this beautiful fruit a few times now and could not resist the urge to give it a try. The first one I bought I had no idea what to do with it, but that bright orange color and small little spikes were too irresistible. So there I was at home with no idea how to cut it, eat it or even what earthly taste this little spiked melon may have. So let's start off with how to choose one. From my little research and multiple taste testing, the darker orange the riper it is. It will be soft in nature, this is normal. You will see why once you cut it open. Speaking of, how in the world should you cut it? The best way I found was to cut it longitudinally. The inside will be quite the little shocker. It's dark green!! The meat inside is basically the encasing of the seeds, which are quite edible. I would then scoop out the edges much like a grapefruit. Once you get started you will see the various pockets the seeds are held in. After working around the edges the middle pocket is the hardest. I just squeezed out the rest of the meat like I'd squeeze a lemon. It fairly easy and once you get going, you get the feel for it. Now the big question, TASTE! I read that it has a cucumber, banana taste. I guess I can see that, but I would describe it more of a sweeter kiwi fruit taste. I would only compare it to a not yet ripe banana if I were to compare it to a banana at all. I really enjoyed the taste, but had no idea what to do with it, so I basically just added it to my green smoothie for the day. After much thought I came up with two possible uses for the Kiwano melon. To read about the many health benefits of the Kiwano plant click here.  

- 1 Kiwano melon
- 1 Lime
- 6 tbsp. Apple cider vinegar
- 3 tsp. Honey
- Salt & pepper 

- Remove meat from kiwano melon. 
- Add ACV, honey and juice from lemon. If honey is raw, it will need to be in liquid form.
- Place in food processor or individual blender. 
- Add salt & pepper for taste!
Served over greens, mango, tomato, red onion & avocado + hemp seeds on top

- 1 Kiwano melon
- 1 Orange bell pepper
- 1 small Tomato
- 1 small Onion
- 1/2 Mango
- 1 Lime
- 1/4 tsp. Chili powder
- 1/4 tsp. Cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp. Garlic powder

- Cut Kiwano horizontally and scoop out center. Save outsides for later use.
- Place all ingredients in a food processor until desired texture is reached.
- For decoration serve salsa in left over, hollowed-out melon shells. 
Serve with raw corn chips*
I believe the kiwano melon is something "You Gotta Try" at least once. Let me know if you have ever tried it and how you eat it!

*recipe for raw corn chips coming soon!

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Friday, November 8, 2013

My Current Workout Schedule

Ready for my first Friday Fitness post?! I was on my way to the gym this morning and decided I should really share what I do here. I currently work out at Planet Fitness, which has easily become my favorite gym. I say this like I'm some gym guru or reviewer, by the way I'm totally NOT!

Really I've only ever worked out at a few places. When I was in high school my mom dragged me with her to Curve's. I was excited to see this "female only gym". However, I was completely disappointed as it was the most boring, light-weight circuit I have ever done with a bunch of women who were probably my grandma's age, while listening to songs like "Let's get physical" and "Girls just wanna have fun". I'm not trying to bash anyone if this is where you go, but this particular Curves was just not my style. I believe any activity is better than nothing, but when my mom complained she was not seeing any progress, I could only wonder why. After that I convinced my mom to change gyms. For over 5 years she worked out a nearby Anytime Fitness and during my summer breaks I would get a summer membership and workout with her. I have always loved working out and felt I've had at least basic knowledge, but when I look back at my workout routine then... Oh Lawdy! My workout routine then consisted of a half hour warm up, doing some machines, and half hour cool-down and stretching. I spent Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays doing arm workouts and Tuesdays and Thursdays doing legs, since I thought my half hour warm-up on the bike/elliptical/treadmill also worked my legs. Now, when I say I did an arm or leg workout, this really consisted of me awkwardly walking around finding all the machines that worked arm muscles or leg muscles and used them. The end. Again any activity is better than no activity, but my method was a little off. So when I graduated from college that was it, time to buy my own gym membership. Honestly, I didn't really like our Anytime Fitness. They are great facilities, but the one I worked out at was tiny. I mean no girl wants to be doing the leg abduction machine while facing some guy as he's grunting to finish his last reps on the machine across from you. Hello awkward-ness. 
Image taken from google
So when a Planet Fitness opened up near my house I was all on board. I know they have a bad rep from some hardcore fitness people, but I find I'm able to get what I want from there. My first few months working out were the same; warm up, random machines, cool-down/stretch, go home. After doing P90X I found I liked his routine and took inspiration from there. Below is posted my normal workout schedule.
My workout now is more tailored and I'm seeing better results. I do a 15 minute warm-up, usually on the elliptical and weights/machines for about 30 minutes and a 15 minute cool-down and stretch. You don't have to spend forever at the gym to see results you just have to work hard for the time you're there! I also start my workouts using dumbbells, then the cable machine, and finally the other machines. Total reverse of how I use to do it. Let me know what your workout schedule is like!

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Sunday, November 3, 2013

Saturday Afternoon Adventure

"I'm king of the world"
Spending the day with my best friend, yes he may be a little hairy but no judgments please, is my favorite. My little mutt, he's a mix of border collie and golden retriever, has more personality than Honey Boo-Boo after eating all her Halloween candy. After he had stolen the third pair of socks from my room I decided that was it, we need to get out of this house! Our normal walks usually consist of walking around the neighborhood or a small field close to home, so I thought this little rascal needed a changed. I packed him in the car and drove to a dog park just out of town. This was his first time at a new park and he was in a craze. I was excited to do some hiking and see all the changing leaves, he was excited to be at a no-lease dog park where he could meet a ton of new friends. We had a blast, we even went around the path twice because he was still a maniac at the end. 
I wasn't completely convinced I had worn him out, but after I started getting weird looks from people as I passed them a few times, usually the last time they were on their way home and we were going around again, I decided he had to be tired. We were then off to run a few errands. I made a quick stop at TJMaxx and bought a few new workout pants. I'm so picky, but I'm starting to get to the point were half of my wardrobe is workout clothes. Is this normal? Fit girl problems right?! My next stop was Whole Foods. I love that store, but it's on the other side of town so I only get there every so often. I really didn't need much, but I still walked out the door spending more than I had planned. Story of my life! 
The items I picked up were ZICO Pure Premium Coconut Water, which is my favorite coconut water. I use this everyday for my green smoothies. I wanted more, but this was the last one! Brad's Raw Chips were sitting on an end cap and I just couldn't resist. I had never tried them before so I thought why not? I bought the kale flavor and tried some once I got home. Let's just say YUM! Plus they are organic, raw, gluten free, non GMO, and vegan so I call that a score for me! I got two supplements; Chlorella and Spirulina powder as I was just about running out of the ones I had at home. I use these in my smoothies for extra vitamins and protein. After reading Easy, Sexy, Raw by Carol Alt, I have been curious on the taste of Kefir. Although, I eat mainly a Paleo diet I was willing to break my dairy is "no-no" to give this a shot. I bought the brand from Redwood Hill Farm, as they use goat milk. Goat milk is suppose to be easier on the digestive system than cow's so I thought this was a better alternative. Since eliminating dairy, when I do have a cheat meal I feel it way more than I did before, so I tend to avoid dairy anyhow now. I must say this is an acquired taste. I had it with my Saturday supper. It has the consistency of drinkable yogurt, which could be a turn off I suppose. It has a creamy taste and I enjoyed the after taste almost better. I had no tummy troubles after drinking it either. It may be a new staple in my diet, we will see. I impulsively bought some sushi because I almost never get to have it since no one in my family enjoys it, but I could eat it all the time!! The last thing I bought was some Aura Cacia Jojoba Oil, which was actually the main reason I had went to Whole Foods for. I have been changing up my facial routine and decided to add in jojoba oil. I'm not sure if this a great brand, but there weren't many choices. Anyone else use jojoba oil? What brand do you use? I also bought a salad for supper which isn't shown. I wish I would have taken a picture of it now, because it was absolutely delicious. Everyone go to your local Whole Foods and get the seasonal salad with dried cranberries, onions, walnuts and butternut squash, because it is like heaven in your mouth. I finished the night cuddling with my baby dog and catching up on my favorite shows on Demand. Hope everyone had a great weekend!! Let me know what your favorite items from Whole Foods are!!

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