His + Her Chia Seed Pudding

Hi everyone!  I just wanted to pop-in and share two super easy, delicious summertime recipes.  Both recipes can be enjoyed as breakfast, a satisfying snack or just add some dark chocolate chips or coconut flakes for a healthy dessert!

chia seed pudding

‘His’ Blueberry Banana Chia Seed Pudding 

Ingredients

1/2 cup (or 1 small container) vanilla or blueberry greek yogurt 

1/2 cup 1% milk

2 tablespoons chia seeds

about 1 tablespoon maple syrup

Toppings: 1 sliced banana + organic blueberries

and… 

chia seed pudding

‘Her’ Strawberry Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding

Ingredients

1/2 cup (or 1 small container) vanilla or strawberry greek yogurt 

1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

2 tablespoons chia seeds

about 1 tablespoon honey

tiny bit of vanilla extract

Toppings: low-fat granola + organic strawberries

Directions for both puddings

1. – Combine ingredients in a small container or mason jar, stir well, cover + refrigerate for 4+ hours (I leave it in the fridge overnight).

2. – Add toppings to the mix + enjoy!

**By the way, you can play around with these recipes and substitute any type of yogurt, milk, sweetener + toppings…        I can’t wait to make it with fresh peaches + home-made granola!

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Enjoy your evening + the weekend!  Hopefully I’ll be spending mine in the hospital meeting my ‘lil girl! :)

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Almond Butter Granola + WIAW #30

 Good morning!

Soooo the countdown is on…  9 days to go!!  I’m hoping our little girl decides to arrive on the earlier side since 38+ weeks pregnant feels like a long enough time to me.   I know everyone says to enjoy my last few days of peace and quiet (which I am) but I still really just want to meet her. :)  Thankfully I have my weekly doctor’s appointment this morning so we’ll see what they say!

And in the meantime, let’s talk about food…

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Here’s this weeks ‘What I Ate Wednesday Last Saturday‘:

Breakfast 

Peach greek yogurt + sliced banana topped with a fresh batch of super easy/healthy home-made Almond Butter Granola.  I really need to start making granola on a regular basis!  It takes just minutes to prepare and it’s so much healthier than the store-bought granola.  I also had a cup of 1/2 decaf, 1/2 hazelnut coffee with coconut milk.

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Almond Butter Granola 

Ingredients

3 cups old-fashioned oats

1/3 cup creamy almond butter

1/3 cup honey

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons chia seeds

a few pinches of sea salt

Optional toppings: craisins, coconut flakes, almond slivers, chopped walnuts, etc.

Directions

1. – Preheat oven to 300 degrees and lightly spray baking sheet with non-stick spray.

2. – Add almond butter and honey to a small bowl and microwave until creamy (about 30 seconds).

3. – In a large bowl, combine oats, cinnamon, chia seeds, vanilla extract, sea salt and almond butter/honey mixture.  Stir until everything is evenly coated.

4. – Spread mixture on the baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes.

5. – Remove from oven and let cool completely.  Add the optional toppings to the mix and enjoy!  (I added craisins and coconut flakes to this batch of granola)

See…  super easy, right? :)

Lunch

A sandwich with home-made chicken salad (btw I never buy prepared chicken salad since it’s basically loaded with fatty mayo), cucumber slices (for the ‘crunch’ factor) and a slice of cheese.  I also had fruit salad and water.

Afternoon Snack 

Too many triscuits to count….

Dinner + Dessert 

 Mike was away so I just picked up a salad with grilled salmon at a nearby cafe.  The salad was pretty simple and included spinach, craisins, goat cheese + cucumbers with a light raspberry dressing on top.  And the salmon had an herb seasoning on it.  Yummm!

Since I can’t end the day without something chocolate-y, I had a tasty peanut butter chocolate chunk cookie (I forgot to take a pic’ but it looked similar to this cookie…)

and a chocolate frozen greek yogurt bar.

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Do you make granola?  What do you include with yours?

What’s on the menu for today?

On a separate note, does anyone know how to get rid of shin splints?!  PLEASE SHARE :)

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As always, thanks Jenn for hosting this weekly WIAW party!

Piña Colada Smoothie!

Happy Friday, everyone!  

And Happy {belated} National Piña Colada Day!  Apparently I made my Piña Colada Smoothie a day early (on Wednesday) and missed out on National Piña Colada day yesterday!?  Someday I’ll get on top of these fun, national holidays. 

pina colada smoothie

Here’s a delicious smoothie recipe that’s packed with nutrients, full of protein and is super refreshing!

Piña Colada Smoothie

Ingredients

1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup vanilla greek yogurt (or plain)
1 frozen banana
1 cup fresh pineapple 
1 tablespoon chia seeds
Shredded coconut (for ganish)

Directions

Add ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth.  Garnish with shredded coconut and enjoy!  You can also add a pineapple wedge and little umbrella to make it even more festive. :)

Blueberry Paleo Pancakes (WIAW #26)

 Goooood morning!  

You guys ready for another WIAW post?  And ready for an awesome, 4-ingredient paleo pancake recipe?

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Here’s a look into ‘What I Ate Wednesday Last Sunday’:

Breakfast (6:45 am)

blueberry paleo pancakes

Blueberry Paleo Pancakes! 

I’ve been making these pancakes for years since they take only minutes to prepare and they’re perfect for a guilt-free Sunday breakfast.  Plus, they contain only 4 ingredients – and that’s including the blueberries! 

Ingredients:

1 ripe banana
1 egg (cage-free)
1 scoop almond butter
1/2 cup organic blueberries

Directions:

1) Mash a banana in a medium bowl, add an egg and almond butter and stir until well combined.*  Pour the blueberries into the mix. 

2) Spray a frying pan with non-stick spray. Spoon the batter onto the pan and cook over medium heat.  Flip when bubbles appear in the middle of the pancakes.  

3) Serve with honey, maple syrup or almond butter and enjoy!  (I topped my pancakes with organic honey & fresh strawberries).

*I’m sure you’ll want to add flour or something to thicken the batter but trust me, you don’t need it. ;)

Morning Snack (10ish am)

larabar

Mike and I attended a birthing class in the morning so I packed a water bottle and a Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Larabar to hold me over.

Lunch (12:30 pm)

lunch

We had about 45 minutes between the birthing class and the hospital tour so we stopped at a little cafe for lunch.  I went with an all-natural chicken breast, lettuce, tomato & cheddar cheese on whole-wheat bread panini.  I also had a little bag of chips and pickle with the meal.

Afternoon Snack (5ish pm)

banana

A banana before my work-out (btw I’ve definitely ‘popped’… )

Dinner (7 pm)

yogurt bowl

 I was still hot from working-out and craving something cold for dinner so I went with my beloved yogurt bowl.  In the mix: vanilla greek yogurt, chia seeds, strawberries, GoLean cereal & a big scoop of peanut butter (<– for the extra protein = stay full longer = happy, pregnant Julie :))

Thanks Jenn for hosting the WIAW  link-up!

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Do you love yogurt bowls/parfaits?  What do you add to yours?

What’s on the menu for today?

 

The Best Pineapple Green Juice!

Happy Marathon Monday!

Did you guys watch the Boston marathon today?  And see all of the crazy fast top finishers?!  I’m always in awe of people who can run 26.2 miles and always left with the same feeling: I NEED to run a marathon!!  I can’t even imagine how awesome it must feel when you cross that finish line after months and months of training?  Hopefully if my legs stay healthy I’ll try training for another marathon….  Until then I’ll stick with my beloved half-marathons. :)

Speaking of running, I finally had 2 days in a row of running without stomach cramps!  I really thought I was done running until August when baby Doyle is born but now I’m thinking maybe I have a few more weeks left in me.  

Today’s run included a nice, slow 3 mile loop around the lake and ended with push-ups and tricep dips on a park bench.

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Let’s talk green juice.  I LOVE it and always feel so healthy after I drink a glass or bottle.  The only problem with green juice is that I’ve been lazy and buying it instead of making my own.  So this afternoon I stopped at the grocery store, picked up a bunch of fresh produce and got to work in the kitchen.  My expectations weren’t too high considering I’ve never used my juicer before but surprisingly the end result was an AMAZING green juice!  This could be the best green juice I’ve ever had – not even exaggerating.  I think it was the fact that I added pineapple (which makes everything a hundred times better) and also didn’t use too much ginger (I’m sooo not a fan of ginger and would skip it completely if it weren’t for all the health benefits). So here is…. 

The Best Pineapple Green Juice

Ingredients
(1 serving size)

2 handfuls of spinach
1 – 1 1/2 cups pineapple 
1 green apple
2 stalks of celery
1/2 large cucumber
a small piece of ginger 

Directions

Run everything through your juicer, add a few ice cubes and enjoy!

(Prepping for 2 green juices…. )

Ahhhhh so refreshing and delicious!!!  I may be addicted…  :-)

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How often do you drink green juice?

What’s your ‘go-to’ recipe?

Five Things Friday

Haaaaaappppy Friday!  

I figured I’d do a post with the five things that have been happening in my life lately.  They’re in no particular order and some are probably more exciting than others (#5 is a good one!).  Alright, here we go…

1) I finally made the switch from a plastic water bottle to a glass water bottle.

glass water bottle

I ended up getting the Life Factory water bottle and so far I LOVE it.  Not only is a glass water bottle way better for you and the environment but everything just tastes so much better in a glass water bottle.  Want more reasons to switch to glass?  You should check out this blogger’s great post. :)

2) Coconut water is back in my life!  A smoothie tastes so tropical and summer-y when it’s made with coconut water compared to milk as the base.  My smoothie yesterday included spinach, frozen mango, strawberries, protein powder and coconut water.

3) Whole Food’s Coffee is back in my life as well.  I usually stick with home-made coffee (to save $$$) but some days when I need a little treat (and break from cubicle life), I head over to the awesome coffee shop at WF’s.  Yesterday I went with a decaf, almond milk latte.

whole foods coffee

4) Fitbit or Jawbone??  I’m excited to finally purchase a real pedometer but can’t decide which one to get.  The Fitbit offers one with a display screen showing your steps but it also looks so BIG on your wrist.  As for the Jawbone, it doesn’t have a display screen but it’s smaller and cuter.  They both track your steps and your sleep so I guess I can’t go wrong with either of ’em? 

fitbit vs. jawboneFitbit (left) vs. Jawbone (right)

If you want more information comparing the two, you should check out this article from the Huffington Post.

5) And last but definitely not least, I have a PEANUT BUTTER GRANOLA recipe for you guys  I made a very similar Peanut Butter Granola a while ago but I wanted to switch it up and make a sugar-less granola.  So I got to work in the kitchen and in no time at all I had a super healthy, delicious and highly addictive granola (<– don’t say I didn’t warn ya ;))

Healthy Peanut Butter Granola

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 – 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup all natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • a couple pinches of sea salt
  • 1 packet or scoop of vanilla protein powder (optional)

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Microwave the peanut butter for 20-25 seconds to soften it.  Then combine all the ingredients together in a large bowl until mixed.

3. Spread evenly on the baking sheet and bake for 18-20 minutes, stirring it halfway through.

4. Allow it to cool completely before storing in an airtight container in the fridge.

peanut butter granola

Ohhhh, I can’t wait to eat this deliciousness with my greek yogurt this morning!

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Do you have a pedometer?  If so, which type?

Any fun weekend plans? :)

Strawberry Chia Seed Jam

How am I 31 years old and just realized I can make my own jam instead of buying the sugary crap at the store?!  Sometimes I don’t know what goes on in my head.  I mean, I pack a PB & J sandwich a few times a week for work and every time I question why I’m eating such a sugary sandwich.  It’s basically a dessert when you add up all the sugar.  

So last night I whipped up my first batch of strawberry jam and not only was it super delicious but it was also insanely easy to prepare and healthy too!  Annnnd on top of all that goodness, chia seeds are da bomb.  Don’t believe me?  Check out this site for the ‘Top 10 Health Benefits of Chia Seeds’.

Strawberry Chia Seed Jam

Ingredients
(3-4 servings)

2 cups frozen or fresh strawberries
2 tablespoons chia seeds 
2 tablespoons water
A small amount of honey, sugar, stevia or any other sweetener

Directions

 1. If using frozen strawberries, let them thaw out or microwave them until defrosted.  I  measured out the frozen strawberries and let them thaw in a small bowl for about 2 hours.

2. Lightly crush the strawberries with a fork and/or masher.  Add the water, chia seeds and raw honey (and/or any other sweetener) and mix it all together.  Note: if you want the jam to have a thicker texture, don’t over mash the strawberries.

 3. Cover and place in the fridge for a few hours (this allows the chia seeds to expand and thicken) and enjoy.

You can store the jam in an airtight container in the fridge for about a week or so.

I can’t wait to spread the jam on toasted sourdough bread, add it to my plain greek yogurt and even mix a spoonful in with my morning oatmeal. There’s just so many options with home-made jam!  And I didn’t even get into all the types of fruit you can make into jams: blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, cranberries, mixed berries, apricots, peaches…  the possibilities are endless. :)

It Finally Happened! And Pumpkin Pie Granola

After 6 years of running 5K road races, I finally finished in under 23 minutes tonight!  I actually did it in 22:30. :)

I feel like my best races happen on the days when I have zero energy and don’t wanna move at all.  Does that happen to anyone else?  Maybe my brain is too tired and it keeps me from over thinking about my pace?

Anyways, I knew I could either plop on the couch all night and kick myself in the butt for not racing or I could suck it up and run.  So I quickly ate a bag of sports beans (which I’ll be eating before every race!)

and drove down the street for the 6:45ish pm start time.

There was about 50-60 runners there tonight and we took off right as the sun was setting.  

I pushed it as hard as I could and just kept thinking about how the sooner I finish, the sooner I’ll be back in my warm car and on my way home to a warm shower and wine.  Wine is always a great motivator. :)   And it worked; my splits were 7:18, 7:21, and 7:11 with an average pace of 7:15.  Even though I wanted to puke when I finished, it was well worth it.

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Now it’s time for a delicious, healthy pumpkin recipe.  I, like everyone else, looooove pumpkin season aka ‘Fall’.  I’m all about pumpkin spice coffee, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin oatmeal, pumpkin beer, etc. so this evening when I was about to prepare a batch of almond butter granola I decided why not just make pumpkin granola?

Healthy Pumpkin Pie Granola

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseeds
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • couple dashes of cinnamon
  • dash of sea salt
  • 1 cup craisins
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup raw honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

1) Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

2) Combine the oats, flaxseeds, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, sea salt, craisins, and chopped walnuts in a large bowl.

3) Add the pumpkin puree, honey, and vanilla and stir well, until all oats are completely covered (I used my hands).

4) Spread oats on a greased baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, stir, and bake for another 10 minutes or until slightly brown.

5) Set the baking sheet on a rack and let it cool completely.  Store in the fridge. 

**You could also switch up the ingredients and add slice almonds, pecans, raisins, coconut flakes, chocolate chips, etc.

Though this granola tastes delicious on its own, I’ll probably add it to my greek yogurt or a bowl of almond milk with fresh fruit.  

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Any one else trying to PR at a race?

Are you lovin’ pumpkin season or you over it?

Book Club and Mini Chicken Pot Pies!

Happy Friday!!!

So I’ve been in Book Club for 3 months and so far I’m 0/3 with finishing the books.  Also, during those 3 months I joined a library and have lost 1 book on a plane and kept another one out way past the due date.   I’m so not cut out for adult life.

But on a good note, I am cut out for {Boooozy} Book Club!

Here are some pic’s from last night:

It was my turn to host so I poured myself a glass of sauvignon blanc and got to work in the kitchen.

First up, Mini Chicken Pot Pies!  I discovered this amazing recipe the other night and couldn’t wait to try it out.   Seriously guys, you have to make them!  With only 4 ingredients, they were so easy to make and were such a hit last night.  I mean who doesn’t love a mini chicken pot pie? :)

Oh, so good.

Pumpkin beer with the works {I went a lil overboard with the cinnamon, sugar rim}

The rest of the menu included fresh pineapple and watermelon slices, veggie’s and dip, mozzarella and tomatoes with a pesto dip, sweet potato chips, an assortment of cookies and brownies from the bakery {not pictured}…..

And a delicious chocolate wedding cake {for me!  5 weeks until the BIG DAY!!}.

Now it’s time for Grey’s Anatomy and some relaxation.  I’m going to attempt a 15 mile run in the morning so I’ll probably be in bed by 9pm….    Enjoy your evening!

Saturday

6:40 am: Yesterday started bright n’ early when my alarm went off my long run.  I quickly changed, grabbed my running stuff (bottle of water/gatorade, energy gu, granola bar, nano, Garmin, sunblock, and some napkins (to wipe the sweat off after my run – gross, I know)) and headed towards Southie to run around Castle Island and along the water towards UMass Boston.

I was struggling to get into my groove and wasn’t sure if I’d make it all 9 miles so I started off at a conservative pace and finally picked it up around mile 7.  My overall pace was 8:43/mile with splits of 8:40, 8:51, 8:55, 8:54, 8:57, 8:58, 8:48, 8:32, and 7:57.  I was dying during that last mile but just kept thinking that the sooner I finish, the sooner I’ll be back in my AC’d car chugging my ice cold water.

10:00 am: After my run, I stretched, iced my poor knees, showered, had breakfast (a bowl of greek yogurt, sliced banana and granola) and got to business making an iced coffee.  Seriously, this coffee is good stuff!  Not quite as good as a Starbuck’s latte but it definitely beats a Dunkin’s coffee.

Directions: Prepare your coffee as usual (I used New England Hazelnut coffee and did a 1:1 ratio of coffee to water).  Pour some coffee into ice cube trays, freeze them and store the rest of the coffee in the fridge overnight (<– this is a very important step; you need chilled coffee).  In the morning, add the coffee-flavored iced cubes to a glass, pour chilled coffee on top, add almond milk (or any milk, cream, sugar, whatever else), stir, add a straw and drink up!

(Side note:  I prepared the coffee and ice cubes last night so my coffee was good to go this morning.)

12 pm: Did a bunch of errands and then quickly prepared lunch (2 pieces of whole wheat toast w/ almond butter and an apple). 

2:30ish pm: Headed to Newburyport for my friend Kates’ Going Away Party (she’s moving to Boulder today…  ahhhh!)  We started at a fun lil’ Mexican restaurant downtown and then made our way over to Michael’s Harborside.

Michael’s has an awesome deck overlooking the harbor so we hung-out on the deck all afternoon/night.  Such a fun place!

Kate and I (before the sad good-bye see ya soon):

11ish pm: Exhausted and ready for bed.

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What’d you do yesterday? 

Anything fun planned for today?

-I’m doing nothing today :)