Slowing Down {Not By Choice}

Life has been busy, hence my lack of recent blog posts.  I have been committing to my yoga practice, trying to enjoy some outside bike rides and fires, working hard on a few different projects, and enjoying time with my new roommates.

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I have been drinking wine, teaching kids yoga, attending donut club, playing on the 606, reading like crazy, drinking a ton of espresso, and this past weekend we did a family trip up to Green Lake, Wisconsin.

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What I haven’t been doing much off…cooking, baking, and blogging.  I’ve been lucky enough to have some help in the kitchen and of course my BBQ master.  Plus, with new roommates, there are more of us to help out with all of the meal planning.  Last weekend was so super busy, I never even made it to the grocery store!  So that being said, it was very clear when about 2 weeks ago I was playing tennis with my dad, went to shag down a run away ball, and fell in a hole, rolling my left ankle to the sounds of cracking and popping that perhaps the universe was encouraging me to slow down.

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I iced and taped my ankle and focused on rest throughout the weekend.  I took a night off from yoga teacher training and an easy bike ride throughout town (see picture above).  At a time when my yoga practice was escalating and getting more intense, I too a step back.  It wasn’t easy but I listened to my body.  Luckily, the 5k I was supposed to run the next weekend got cancelled and by this weekend, I was feeling 85% better with only mild amounts of pain with lateral movements and Warrior II.  Last Friday, I even went out for a pain free run and Saturday morning did a fun yoga session on the dock with my mom in Wisconsin.

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However, Saturday took a sad turn when my right big toe got sliced by a sliding doggie gate.  It didn’t look good for my nail but didn’t look bad enough for a trip to the rural Wisconsin ER.  We bandaged up my toe and the weekend proceeded on with boat rides, food, crazy doggies, sunsets, and wine!

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It was a wonderful weekend get away and we all appreciated the sunshine and stories.

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Yesterday, I decided to have my toe checked out by the podiatrist.  All the funny walking had my left ankle acting up again and I wasn’t sure what to do with the wound.  The good news…no signs of infection.  The bad news…my big toe nail was coming off.  Somehow I made it through 2 marathons with all 10 toe nails and here after a casual weekend in Wisconsin, I was losing my first one.

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I was instructed to rest and so rest I did.  I spent last night off my feet, but didn’t sleep so well last night.  I took today off of work, figuring my right toe and now sore left ankle weren’t ready for the ball pit at work.  After a mid morning nap and a bandage change, my toe was feeling much better.  So much so that I got a bit antsy.  Since yoga, running, and biking were on the ‘No’ list, I took advantage of a yoga glo meditation.  And then whipped up 2 new raw recipes for snacks for the week.

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Which means after a quiet few months, I actually have some recipes to share.  The first one, I modified a bit using a little almond milk instead of extra honey to help the dough come together.  Both recipes below are as written without my modifications.

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These protein bites are super delicious and won’t last long in your house!  I was so successful that I decided to try one more with dates and peanut butter since we had both in the house.

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For this recipe, I added a little extra chia and because I didn’t have peanuts, I used a mix of nuts from a trail mix.

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I had to try a tiny bite before putting the bars into the fridge…

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And they are also super delish!  After all of the activity, I was ready to retreat back to my chair with a little more rest and some ice.

Because clearly, someone, somewhere is telling me to rest and slow down.  My plan for the week is to let pain be my guide and build up my activity level slowly as able each day.  I know that I will be back in my gym shoes and on my mat soon enough.  And within the next year, I’ll even have a brand new toe nail!

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Until then, I’ll be hanging with my new nurse!

How do you know when you need to slow down?

Have you ever lost a toe nail?

 

No Bake Cinnamon Vanilla Protein Bites

From Cotter Crunch

Ingredients

  • 1 heaping TBSP ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup (around 65-75grams) Vanilla Protein Powder
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup honey ·
  • ½ cup almond meal or peanut flour (you can also just finely grind raw almonds) ·
  • ¼ cup nut butter (creamy no stir works best)
  • ¾ cup of gluten free quick oats or gluten free cereal of choice
  • Vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Grind up your oats or cereal in a food processor and transfer into a mixing bowl. This is optional. You can keep them whole as well and adjust the addition of honey.
  2. Add your almond meal, protein powder, cinnamon, and nut butter. Stir ingredients all together.  Add in your honey and vanilla then mix again well with hands.
  3. Roll into 1-1.5 inch balls and place on cookie tray or plastic ware with parchment paper underneath.
  4. Dust with additional cinnamon and vanilla protein if desired.
  5. Keep in fridge or freezer for up to 6 weeks (if they last that long).

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chia Bars

From My Sequined Life

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pitted, whole dates
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup peanuts
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp chia seeds (or 2x as much)

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients to food processor and process until the ingredients break down and become a mostly cohesive mixture. You will still have little pieces of peanuts remaining, and the consistency of the mixture should hold together when you press it together.
  2. Line a rimmed dish with parchment paper and press mixture into it, leaving your desired thickness.
  3. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes before slicing. Store bars in the refrigerator.

Energy Snack Bites {x 2}

It’s going to be a crazy week, I think!

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We are recovering from sinus infections AND post wedding fun!  Sunday was nice and calm…perhaps the calm before the storm.  This is my last week at my job, so I anticipate some emotion.  Plus, I am prepping for my new job and had to go into the city for an all day class on Monday (my usual day off).  Ugh!  So I dragged myself to the grocery store on Sunday, which was a mess because I wore my Px sunglasses and forgot my regular glasses and then spent my time alternating between being the girl indoors with sunglasses and not being able to see so good.  And then I got charged for 122 lemons : )  All ended well and I came home with some options for food this week although I am way more unorganized than usual.

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Oh I’m sorry Cooper…am I boring you?!  I guess he’s tired too…LOL!

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In between napping and folding laundry, I whipped up a few batches of energy balls on Sunday.  I went totally lazy and busted out the food processor even though that’s not how the recipes were written.

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Interestingly, this recipe used almond milk to pull everything together.  I’ve never used that before in a raw no bake recipe, but I liked it so much that I did it again with recipe number 2!

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The texture of these bites was spot on (if I do say so myself) and even the BOY was raving about their flavor.

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This recipe didn’t make as many as I thought we would both need to survive the week, so I found another recipe, similar but different, cleaned out my food processor and stated adding in the healthy stuff.

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It worked out well that I had the perfect Dutch chocolate powder to use from The Spice House!

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Like the recipe before, I blended with my food processor (instead of my hands) and because everything looked a bit dry, I even added in some almond milk.

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Another tasty treat complete and we were all set for the week.  Even if we don’t have meals planned out, we won’t starve!

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Mmm! Love having homemade snacks to eat!  I’m sure I will be living on these all summer long!

 

What is your favorite snack bite recipe?

 

Protein Peanut Butter Energy Bites

From The Healthy Maven (but modified a bit)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup vanilla whey protein powder (about 2 scoops)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 T chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup smooth natural peanut butter
  • 3 T natural honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-4 T liquid (almond milk)

Directions

  1. Add oats, protein powder, cinnamon and chia seeds to food processor and pulse to combine.
  2. Add in peanut butter, honey and vanilla extract. Combine again in processor.  Mixture should be slightly sticky but still crumbly.
  3. Slowly add in liquid 1 tablespoon at a time (I did this while processing).  Combine until it comes together in a sticky ball that holds together. If mixture is too dry, add in more liquid but not so much that it won’t hold shape.
  4. Roll into balls using hands.
  5. Place in a container to set in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Store in fridge until ready to eat.

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Bites

From Chef Savvy

Ingredients

  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • ½ cup ground flax seeds
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon chocolate protein powder (I only had vanilla so that’s what I used)
  • 2 tablespoons water (or almond milk)

Directions

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in food processor. Mix to combine. If mixture looks too try add a bit more water (or almond milk).
  2. Place in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes so they are easier to roll.
  3. Roll into 8 bites and store in the fridge for up to a week.

No French Fry Bars

The bad news is when you play all weekend, there is a lot of work to do on Monday.  And I don’t mean work, work because it is still the weekend (for me), but house work!  I would have loved to have spent Monday on my couch, cuddled with Cooper, and catching up on Scandal.  Instead, I woke up and immediately started creating laundry piles. 

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Saturday morning, the BOY and I woke up to snow.  Not a lot of it, but more than anyone wants to see in April!

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The BOY and I went to the gym for our training sessions and then quickly packed up before driving downtown.  My sister in law has been wanting to try Soul Cycle and I was more than  happy to accompany here to the Old Rihanna vs. New Rihanna class.

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We had a lot of fun working up a sweat.  Then the guys met us for lunch and beer at Corridor.  The weather was odd, alternating between hail and sunshine, but we managed to walk around and shop before making our way back to their house.  We had a little bit of down time before getting ready for our family friend’s wedding.  My mom, SIL, and I drank bubbles while we got our hair done at the dry bar, and then everyone got all dressed up for the wedding.

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We danced the night away and had a great time together!  Sunday was another fun family day, but this time the weather was gorgeous!

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We walked all over the city, racking up close to 7 miles.  Along the way, we discovered an amazing little bakery and fueled up with cupcakes (and a not pictured cookie sandwich that was consumed during the walk)!

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The BOY and I didn’t get home until late Sunday night, and we stopped and picked up Thai for dinner on our way home.  I was feeling exhilarated with the excitement of the weekend and crashed for a good 10 hours Sunday night.  Which brings me back to this morning.  After getting a few loads of laundry going, I grabbed leftovers for breakfast and debated if I wanted to go to the 9:30am yoga class.  A run would have been ideal, but after yesterday’s 60 degree weather, this morning was chilly.

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So off to yoga I went!  And then came back home to get myself organized for the day while sipping on a Peanut Butter and Banana Protein Smoothie.  I made my grocery list and our meal plan. 

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With the cold weather, chili was top on my list…Mmm!

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So I had the opportunity to bump into an old coworker of the BOY’s last week.  She mentioned that she saw him eating one of the protein balls I had made.  When she asked him what was with the healthy fare, he said that I made them so that he doesn’t eat French Fries (LOL!).  I actually make them so that we have healthy snack options throughout the day, but the French Fry comment had me cracking up.

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On that note, I made another batch of bars this week and we can just call them ‘No French Fry’ bars!

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These are actually a Luna bar knock off and absolutely delicious!

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You’ll have to make a batch and let me know if they keep you away from the drive through : )

 

What is your favorite mid afternoon snack?

 

Meal Planning 4/04/16

Monday: Chili

Tuesday: Sesame Honey Chicken

Wednesday: Burgers and Veggies

Thursday: TBD

 

(Homemade) Peanut Butter

Chocolate Chip Luna Bars

From Lauren’s Latest

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup dry roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 24 oz. pitted dates
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • pinch sea salt

Directions

  1. Place peanuts into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to chop into fine pieces without turning into a paste. Add in dates, chocolate chips and salt. Continue pulsing until one large mass comes together in the bowl. Line a 9×9 baking dish with parchment paper or plastic wrap and press date mixture evenly into the dish. Dip your fingers into water to prevent sticking. Place into freezer or fridge for 30 minutes.
  2. Remove completely from pan using excess plastic wrap as help and cut into 10 even pieces. Wrap each bar individually in plastic wrap and store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Brackets and Bars

It has been a bit of an odd week!  The time change, full moon, and impending spring break have had the kids (my patients) in a mood!  In our house, Cooper has been falling asleep in my arms each night, and the BOY has been super busy at work.

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Basketball has returned (my bracket has my cortisol levels rising!) and so have the energy bites.  Except this week, we are leaving the world of bites and bringing on the bars!

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A healthier option than the amazing Peanut Butter Cookie Brownies, I made earlier this week, both the BOY and I have been chowing down on these bars!  Ok, we have been devouring the brownies too : )

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With the ingredients as written, my bars didn’t come together into a dough.  Luckily, I am no rookie when it comes to these things, and so I knew that I could add honey, agave, or maple syrup.  I went the syrup route and my bars pulled together quickly.

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I tell you this in case you have the same problem when you make them, and I highly recommend that you do!

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I love the mixture of coconut and almond butter, and they will power you through even the craziest of days…don’t ask me how I know this!  Thankfully, I got out of work early on Wednesday and instead of going home to clean my house and do responsible adult stuff, I went to a hot yoga class.

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It was a new-to-me instructor, and the class was absolutely incredible!  None of my bracket teams are winning by enough tonight for me to sleep sound, but I might as well give it a try since I have an early morning of work tomorrow.  Looking for more ‘raw’ recipes, check out my very busy Pinterest board!

Do you have a favorite raw recipe?

Who are you cheering for in the NCAA tournament?

Almond Coconut Energy Bars

From My Sequined Life

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of whole pitted dates (approx. 12 dates)
  • 1/4 cup creamy almond butter 
  • 1/4 cup roasted almonds
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 3 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • Maple Syrup (if needed)

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend for one to two minutes, or until everything is evenly combined and just about smooth. You may still have little crunchy pieces of almonds remaining.   If a dough does not form, then add in maple syrup (or another sticky ingredient like honey) and continue to process.
  2. Line a 9" x 5" loaf pan (or a small dish) with parchment paper or cooking spray and press bar mixture evenly into about half of the pan. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes so the mixture sets. Once chilled, cut into bars and store in the fridge

Welcome Spring!!!

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I finally got around to making these protein balls last week, but never got around to sharing the awesome recipe. 

Note: You will want to make a double batch of this recipe because it is awesome but the servings are NOT plentiful enough!

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Saturday morning, I was up again early and at the gym.  I had another kick butt workout, making it my 5th of the week (way to go on that March goal!).  Then it was a quick change and off to my last yoga class of the session.  The kids were really energetic and fun and dove right into all of the partner work and poses.

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I stayed a little after to fill in our life size bracket hanging on the wall in the gym.  From there, it was back home where the BOY scooped me up for lunch and shopping.  Believe me when I say that I was MORE surprised when the BOY wanted to go to the mall for updated work clothes than I was last weekend when he wanted to clean : )

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We had a successful trip to Nordstrom and arrived back home minutes after the Indiana/Kentucky game started.  We watched on the edge of our seats as Indiana pulled away to make it to the Sweet Sixteen.  Saturday night, we had dinner with my bestie, her hubs, and two amazing kids!  I dove right into the play dough while the BOY initiated a pre-bed time sword fight.

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Sunday morning was a unique treat!  We set no alarm and I didn’t have anything on my schedule until 2:30pm!!  I woke up around 8:30am feeling refreshed.  I ate a bite of breakfast (with my espresso) and drove off in the sunshine to the yoga studio for a hot flow class. 

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On the way, I realized I forgot my water bottle.  Luckily, there is a Walgreens in the parking lot of the studio, so I was able to quickly grab a Smartwater.  When I arrived, the room was PACKED!  I was able to find a small piece of real estate in the front row (not my favorite).  It occurred to me as I transitioned to my mat that this was a PERFECT example of finding peace in the present moment.  The front row is tough because it is up against the wall. I find it harder to balance that close to the wall, and I am more self conscious about my movement with other bodies close by.

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But the benefit of being that close to the wall is easily transitioning from standing splits to handstand with the support and confidence boost of the wall, which is exactly what I did a few times this morning.  Slowly working off the wall as I practiced my strength and balance on two hands.  Our teacher continued to remind us to embrace the awakening of spring as we moved through tough transitions in the hot room.  The morning class was a sweaty one and no one (including me) moved quickly out of savasana, like we usually do, taking the time to cool down before arising from our mats and refilling our water bottles.

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I changed out of my wet clothes for a lunch time trip to Whole Foods.  The BOY requested a sandwich and I ended up with a Whole Foods Hodge Podge (basically what happens at the whole foods salad bar when you are starving after hot yoga!).  I had big plans to glue my side view mirror on, but realized that it was going to take an hour, which I didn’t have.  Instead, I drove my car into the city, carefully merging at all times, to hang out with a friend/old coworker of mine.  We walked throughout the city, making a special stop at the Family Matters house, which she just discovered was in her neighborhood (and I just learned was in Chicago).

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We had coffee and walked some more, swinging by Athleta to scope our the scale items.  On our walk, we caught up on life while appreciating the sunshine on this first day of spring!  I left the city a little before 6pm with plans to swing by the grocery store to pick up my dinner (which I forgot that morning at WF) since the BOY had dinner plans with a friend.  I was also hoping to be home before dark since along with a busted mirror, I also seem to have a head light out on my car.  Ugh!  I will definitely be doing some car maintenance tomorrow!

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I made salmon and brussel sprouts for dinner with a glass of crisp white wine, while watching tonight’s March Madness games.  I was feeling torn between cheering on the Big Ten (out of support for the conference) and Xavier, out of support for my ailing bracket and loved all the close games and over times!

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And that’s a wrap for my weekend (and start to spring), which means that I really should tell you more about these protein balls.  The original recipe calls for cranberries, so feel free to go that route.  I actually had cherries in the house, so decided to use those along with a scoop of protein powder for some added flavor and muscle building goodness.

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Like I mentioned way back at the start of this post, these energy balls are fantastic and well worth doubling the recipe.  They make the perfect afternoon pick me up and even the BOY has enjoyed taking these energy balls as a snack to the office.

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How did you start spring?

Any famous TV landmarks in your town?

 

Cherry Vanilla Protein Bites

Adapted From Recipe Runner (makes 9 large energy balls***)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup chopped medjool dates, about 6-7 dates
  • 2 tbsp vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt (optional)

***I would recommend doubling if you have the room in your food processor!

Directions

  1. In a high speed blender or food processor add the cashews and almonds and pulse until they are finely ground, careful not to turn them into nut butter.
  2. Add in the remaining ingredients and blend or pulse until everything starts to come together.
  3. Scrape down the sides several times and add up to 2 tablespoons of water.
  4. Form into balls, rolling between your hands.
  5. Store the energy bites in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.

Coconut Cashew Cookie Dough Bites

This weekend was a bit of a whirlwind…

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It had some highs…beautiful weather, good workouts, and dinner and beers with friends.

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But the low was that I’m not sure that I got nearly enough sleep!  Ain’t that always the truth?!

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Saturday morning, I taught two fun kids yoga classes with an amazing group of kids.  Afterwards, my yoga volunteer and I had coffee and quiches at All Chocolate Kitchen.  I am borderline obsessed with the place and love any excuse to go!  Saturday night, we met friends for dinner and beers at a local brewery.  We had wonderful food and conversation!

Sunday was a beautiful day and I enjoyed a speedy 5 mile run along the path.  My first mile was 7:46, which shocked me and I somehow averaged out my miles to around 8:15.  I was exhausted when I was done, but thrilled to be running outdoors.  We had a nice Sunday afternoon hanging out with the BOY’s family.

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Monday was another sunny day!  Woo hoo!  I headed off to a 9:30am yoga class, which was truly incredible.  Love starting my week on my mat!  The rest of my day was pretty typical with the addition of a dentist appointment (no cavities!).

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When I got home, I put away groceries and started on this week’s food prep.  Dinner went into the crockpot, I chopped veggies, and then whipped up another batch of Power Balls.  This week’s flavor was inspired by the delicious Coconut Cashew Butter I bought last week.

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I decided to add in a bit of protein powder as well.

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I think that I could probably add in some more nutrition powerhouses next time, but didn’t want to mess with the recipe the first time I made it.

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The texture of these balls turned out perfect and I love the flavor!  I know they will be exactly what the BOY and I need to fuel us throughout the week.  I tried to do some paperwork tonight, but my computer wouldn’t connect to the internet (bummer!), so instead, the BOY, Cooper, and I are watching Big Hero 6 (also important for my work…ha ha!)

What were your weekend highs and lows?

What’s your favorite snack bar/ball recipe? Share the Link!

 

Meal Planning 3/07/16

Monday: Steak and Fish

Tuesday: Slow Cooker Indian Butter Chicken with Cauliflower

Wednesday: Potato Bar with Chicken and Veggies

Thursday: TBD

 

Coconut Cashew Cookie Dough Bites

From Grain Crazy

Ingredients

1 cup cashews

1 cup unsweetened coconut shredded

1 cup old fashioned oatmeal

1/4 C honey

1 tsp vanilla

2 tbsp vanilla protein powder (optional)

1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (optional and totally tasty!)

Directions

1. In a blender or food processor blend cashews and coconut until combined and broken down.
2. Set aside 1/2 cup of the mixture and then pour in everything else in to the blender except the chips. Blend until all combined.
3. Fold in the chips. Roll into small bite size balls.
4. Roll the balls into the 1/2 cup mixture you set aside. Place on a plate or into a covered container. Let them harden in the fridge and enjoy.
5. Store leftovers in the fridge.

Energy Bites for Energy

Saturday morning, the BOY and I started our day with a workout.  I was feeling back in my groove, but he faded a bit.  The most likely cause…nutrition!

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Although the BOY has made a lot of changes to his diet, he still isn’t a good breakfast eater and needs some more protein.  After our workout, my trainer gave us some dinner and snack ideas, including these awesome Energy Balls from Wildtree.  I happened to have all the ingredients in our house except walnuts, which we picked up at Target.  Also at Target…

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Tell me…have you tried them yet?  I resisted the urge to buy them and came home to make a green protein shake and begin mixing up our snack balls.

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I was a little nervous that the ‘dough’ was dry (most likely because I used natural almond butter), so I added a bit more honey.  I also added in chia seeds because I had about 2 tbsp in a bag that I needed to kill.

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Saturday was a sunny and gorgeous day!  Perfect to crack open the windows and enjoy some energy balls and a latte : )

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And then stash the rest in the fridge where the BOY and I have been snacking on them all week.

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I spent the afternoon teaching the most wonderful group of swimmers at a yoga workshop!  It was so nice to open the door and spend 90 minutes doing yoga in the fresh air again!

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What is your favorite snack or energy food?

Energy Bites

Adapted form Wildtree

Ingredients

3/4 cup walnuts

1/2 cup flaxseed, ground

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

4 tablespoons shredded coconut

1/2 cup almond butter

2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats

1 tablespoon Coconut Oil

1/3 cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup mini dark chocolate morsels

1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

In a food processor, grind walnuts to medium/fine grind. Add flaxseed (and chia if you want) and process for 30 seconds. Add cinnamon, coconut, almond butter, oats, coconut oil, honey, and vanilla extract. Process for 20 seconds. Place mixture into a covered storage container and refrigerate for 30 minutes. When ready to roll, remove refrigerated mix and add mini dark chocolate morsels and salt; mix gently to incorporate all ingredients. Hand roll into 1-inch balls and store in air tight container.