Wild Berry Power Smoothie

Started the morning with this energizing and super easy to make smoothie ūüôā

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1 cup non-fat plain yogurt

1/2 cup frozen berries

1/2 cup greens (I used kale in this one, but spinach is great too)

1 Tbsp chia seeds

1 Tbsp agave nectar

A few ice cubes

*Blend until Smooth

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Get at those Greens

One of my goals in the new year is to incorporate more greens into my diet.  Green vegetables provide us with a variety of minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium, as well as four vitamins, K, C, E and B.  These nutrients strengthen our bones and could help prevent diabetes.  They also make our skin and hair look healthier. Bonus!

I’ve never been a huge salad-as-my-main-meal fan, so I’ve been finding different methods of adding in extra green to my already well-liked meals. ¬†Last night, I tried kale for the first time. ¬†While I was a little hesitant about how it would taste (I had heard it’s on the more bitter end of the green spectrum), I have also read a lot of benefits about the cabbage cousin; like how it’s considered the¬†“nutritional powerhouse”¬†of leafy greens. ¬†So I figured I should see what all the hype is about.

First, I washed and chopped the kale into smaller pieces first.

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I then heated some olive oil, garlic and pignoli (pine nuts) in a pan (with some chicken sausage off to the side to heat up)

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Tossed in the kale once the nuts were slightly browned and seasoned with salt, crushed red pepper and lemon juice.

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Mix it all together with some wheat pasta and chicken sausage, and I’d say it was a pretty delicious first-timer success!

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Intervals and Inclines

I’ve been trying to switch it up at the gym lately. ¬†The standard run/elliptical routine is getting a little stale. ¬†Pinterest is my cheat sheet to avoid boredom at the gym, and I’ve found a lot of great workouts through it. ¬†Last night I tried this one by Peanut Butter Fingers. ¬†It combined interval walking on some serious inclines and sprinting, great for fat burning. ¬†25 minutes with an added 10 minute warm up and 5 minute cool down, and I felt like I kicked some pretty good butt. ¬†I added in this 20 minute core/strength training session just to be good.

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Pure Obsession

Went to my first Pure Barre class last night…wow. ¬†Amazing. ¬†I can see myself getting easily addicted to these classes. ¬†It’s basically a different type of Pilates that incorporates a ballet barre into the routine. ¬†I’ve heard about this new workout fad for a few months now, and so was excited when I got the chance to try out one of the classes in the newly opened studio in Greenwich. ¬†The experience was beyond more than I had hoped for. ¬†The atmosphere was inviting, the music was motivating and the workouts were hard core. ¬†I left feeling super energized and excited to come back! ¬†Studios are cropping up all over the US, I hope you get a chance to try it out for yourself!¬†

Pure Barre

No Better Time for the New Year

With every new year comes the desire to set new goals, to reinvent oneself, or maybe just to eat more vegetables at dinner. ¬†No matter what your resolutions are this year, it is no doubt a good time to reflect on 2012 and see if we can’t do things a little bit differently.

The end of 2012 was, for lack of a better word, chaotic. ¬†For those affected by the tragedy that unfolded in Newtown, the holidays were no longer what we had remembered in years and even lifetimes past and we will be forever changed by what happened. ¬†But with this devastation came a rebirth of compassion and support from all over the world. ¬†Incredibly amazing acts of kindness have surrounded the community and have stirred up a feeling of altruism in hundreds of thousands of people. ¬†I’ve seen it first hand.

So let’s keep the movement going and make 2013 the Year of Kindness. ¬†It doesn’t have to be a big gesture, it may just be calling your grandmother more often to say Hi or being there for a friend who just needs someone to listen. ¬†Whatever it is, make it count and see if you can’t make a lifestyle change out of it. ¬†You might find that it makes you happier in the long run too.

And if you need some inspiration, check out some of these ideas from the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation

Pumpkin Goodness

I love just about everything pumpkin…pumpkin lattes, pumpkin seeds, and most importantly, pumpkin muffins. ¬†It’s a good thing Panera has theirs all year round, or I would go through some serious withdrawal. ¬†One of my many favorite things about Fall is that it gives me an excuse to try out some of these seasonal recipes. ¬†And what better way to start the season with some Pumpkin Chia Seed Muffins.

I know, I know, that doesn’t exactly sound appealing, does it? ¬†I guess we will have to rename these wonderful masterpieces, but nevertheless, yes they have chia seeds in them, and yes they are delicious. ¬†Now for a little health food lesson:

What are Chia Seeds?  Chia is a type of edible seed that comes from the Mexican Salvia Hispanica mint plant.  They hold a high amount of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential to the human diet because we cannot produce them ourselves.  Similar to flax seeds, but more abundant in the nutrients they provide, chia seeds are also easier to use.  They absorb in liquid, and thus can be used in many different kinds of foods; pudding, oatmeal, smoothies and baked goods!

The recipe I found via Oprah.com is very easy and takes about 30 minutes in total.  I nixed the walnuts and used agave nectar instead of maple syrup.  Although I think next time, I need to add something a little sweet into the mix, since they tend to need some butter on top for flavor; mini chocolate chips should do the trick!

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They taste better than they look, I promise.  Happy Fall!

My First Overnight Oats Success!

I’ve said it before, and anyone who knows me can agree, the first thought that comes into my head when I wake up in the morning is “Breakfast?” ¬†Typically, I eat the same thing every morning during the week; two whole wheat eggo waffles with peanut butter. ¬†Occasionally I will venture out and put some bananas on top, but time is usually of the essence in the morning, so I have to settle for quick and easy. ¬†However, this morning (or should I say last night), I finally succeeded in whipping up a batch of Overnight Oats that proved enjoyable and tasty. ¬† If you don’t know what Overnight Oats are yet, here are a few gurus who know their stuff.

Kath Eats Real Food

My recipe was inspired by this SkinyTaste one:
1/4 c Rolled Oats
1/2 c Vanilla Almond Milk
1/2 Tbsp Chia Seeds
Dash of Cinnamon
1 tsp of Agave Nectar
1/2 Cup Blueberries
1/2 Banana
Combine all ingredients except banana in a bowl and refrigerate overnight. ¬†Slice banana and stir into oats before you’re ready to eat!
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Who says oatmeal can’t be fun?

Motivation Madness

Well, I finally did it. ¬†I finally got myself out of bed this morning to go running (with a little motivation from ¬†TheCoriCycle‘s latest post)!

This was a big deal for me. ¬†I am not an early bird; I hit snooze about 5 times before I finally drag myself out of bed. ¬†I’ve always wanted to be one of those ambitious people who get up at the crack of dawn and get their workouts in. ¬†So, this morning, I decided I would just hit that not-so-evil button once, and tell my lazy butt to get out of my oh-so-comfy bed. ¬†Threw on some running shorts, laced up my new running sneakers as quickly as possible before I could reconsider, and I was out the door.

It was so nice to be able to run in cooler weather after the humid summer we’ve been having, which has unfortunately been hindering my ability to run outside after work as often as I would have liked. ¬†My run also gave me more energy than I usually have in the morning, and will hopefully last for a good chunk of the day. ¬†As just about every fitness article states, energy=productivity, whether it’s at work, at home or at the gym getting in another workout. ¬†It’s just good all around.

Here’s a question for all you runners out there: Do you run with pumped up jams blasting in your ears, or do you prefer the quiet sound of your own breathing to keep you going? ¬†I’ve realized that my preference changes depending on my mood. ¬†For a long time I ran without music because I liked peace that went along with it. ¬†I felt calm and relaxed after my run, feeling more in-tune with nature and my own body. ¬†It also helped control my breathing and my pace, which was essential when I started running again. ¬†But recently, I’ve been bringing my nano along and listening to throwbacks from my early college days (ok, they’re 3 years old, tops). ¬†It makes my run go by faster and varies my pace, since I tend to run to the beat of the song. ¬†I can’t say I prefer one way or the other, so I’d like to see what others do and why.

In the meantime, anyone got any good workout playlists they want to share? ¬†Here’s what I listened to this morning:

“California Waiting”¬†–¬†Kings of Leon

“The Show Goes On” –¬†Lupe Fiasco

“Livin’ the Dream” –¬†Super Mash Bros

“Live your Life” –¬†T.I.

“Memories” –¬†David Guetta

“Good Life” –¬†Kanye West

“Someday” –¬†Flipsyde

On to strength training!

Back to Reality

How in the world has the summer flown by so fast? ¬†It has now been my second summer out of college, and time just seems to keep speeding up! ¬†I’m not exactly sure how August passed me by, but it sure was filled with great summer events, hence my lack of a post in a while. ¬†But I’m back on track and ready for a busy fall at work, and even more ready for my new health routine I’m forcing myself to get on. ¬†Stay tuned for more details! ¬†But first, let’s recap all of the excitement I had over the past few weeks. ¬†First stop, The Color Run NYC!

6 am – glorious.

My Running buddy!
8000 Color Runners…ohhh yea
So close to the start
Waiting for the Color Party after the race.
The Aftermath
I’ve never looked so good
Post-run fuel.  Courtesy of TorTor
This will definitely have to become an annual event.  Next year, Boston?
Moving on. ¬†As many of you may know, my love for country music has grown since my cousin, Austin, got me into in before he moved back down south to Texas. ¬†And luckily, Greg has grown up with the same love. ¬†As a result, I have gone from seeing 0 country concerts to about 8 in the past 2 summers; most recently to see Eric Church at Mohegan Sun. ¬†Although it wasn’t our typical ¬†outdoor lawn venue, it was actually one of the better shows that I’ve seen so far.
Awesome.  Just awesome.
On to my end of summer vaca in Rhode Island with the best of the best. ¬†Renting a beach house for a week brought me back to senior year and good times. ¬†It was great to be able to relax on the beach for a week and spend time with those I miss the most. ¬†Two trips to Newport weren’t so bad, either. ¬†Jealous?
So that was my August in a nutshell.  Next up, my plan to get geared up for Fall!

Bucket List

Everyone’s got one, whether it’s stored up in your mind or down on paper. ¬†It’s not just a way of planning a vacation or taking a class, it’s a way of creating a life that you hope to have in the future. ¬†I’ve had my list building since I no longer had consistent fun plans every day (aka graduation). ¬†I needed to focus my adjustment to the real world on day dreaming and researching new things I could plan and look forward to. ¬†I’ve found that once you graduate college, you begin to think about the type of person you want to be, and the activities you enjoy have a way of shaping that person in the long run; whether its through your hobbies, your relationships or your career. ¬†So here are some of my thoughts and aspirations for enjoying life to the fullest.

1. Do the Color Run in NYC (running it August 25th!)

2. Go Rock Climbing

3. Go to Country Fest in Nashville

4. Road Trip to the West Coast; especially to visit San Francisco and Seattle

5. Become a Yoga Instructor

So there you have it. ¬†A look into what I foresee in my future. ¬†If you don’t have a bucket list yet, it’s time to start one. ¬†And if you do, it’s time to fess up. ¬†What are the top things on your bucket list that you know you have to do in your one fabulous lifetime?