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Friday, September 19, 2014

{Friday Favorites} 9/19

Good morning! I hope your Friday is off to a wonderful start. Mine sure is without any Friday classes! Even though I was in Boston through Monday evening and missed my Monday classes, this week still felt incredibly long. I have been working hard to catch up in my classes with all that I have missed that by the time I close my books for the night, I am zonked until my alarm goes off. I am looking forward to a laid back weekend to still catch up with classes and relax. After a busy, busy weekend last weekend, this is a much welcomed weekend of rest. And the Spartans are playing tomorrow! We have had two weeks without a home game and it feels good to finally have one back tomorrow.

Since it is Friday and that is always a reason to celebrate (especially after a long week), let's move right along into this week's {Friday Favorites}! Apparently I am moving straight into fall with the theme of this week's favorites, but with the cooler temps these past few days, it sure seems like fall has already arrived!

>Linking up with Heather, Katie, Clare, & Jennifer!
I was trying my hardest to hold off on buying fall related stuff until October (besides Pumpkin Butter, of course), but when I went grocery shopping this week and saw candy corn and candy pumpkins I just could not resist. Especially because they were on sale too! I picked up a bag of each to use as decoration in my kitchen but they have also been a delicious treat these past few days too. We'll see how long they last!
As soon as I saw this recipe for Dairy-free Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer I knew I had to pin it to make this fall. I used coffee creamer when I first started drinking coffee, but stopped shortly thereafter and replaced it with almond milk. But finding a recipe for coffee creamer that is actually good for you makes me so excited to try it out. And it looks super easy to make so that is a definite plus for me!
Since apparently this is a very fall themed Friday Favorites (wait, it's not even fall yet!), I have to share this article I found on Her Campus yesterday. Autumn: Expectations vs. Reality brings out all of the truth in our expectations for fall and the sad reality. It is so funny! And honestly true.

With the cooler temperatures we have been having here in Michigan this week I have been loving my cozy mornings. I try to get up with enough time before class to sit and enjoy my breakfast without being rushed and it really starts off my day on a positive note. With a warm bowl of Brynn's Rolled Oats with 5 Second Warm Jam and a cup of coffee by my side, I am ready to take on the day ahead. It really helps me warm up after my cooler morning runs.

You didn't think I wouldn't put something Boston related in my {Friday Favorites} the week after I went to Boston, did ya? Of course not! I couldn't resist not sharing one of my favorite parts of Boston. Cannolis from Mike's Pastry Shop are absolutely delicious and I always have the hardest time deciding which one to buy. With so many options it is always a difficult choice. I settled on the chocolate dipped this past weekend and was extremely satisfied with my choice. Chocolate overload... and so worth it.

That's all for now! I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

What are your plans for this weekend?
Are you already in the fall mood?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

3 Breakfasts for the Busy College Girl

A lot of my readers are college students looking to eat healthy and stay active during their college years. I do my best to set an example for maintaining a healthy college lifestyle for you and if you are a regular reader of Lean, Clean, & Brie, you know that breakfast is a huge component of healthy living. Read any book about healthy eating/ living and you are bound to see the two words: eat breakfast. Everyone recommends it and they do so for a reason! Starting your day off with breakfast wakes up your body and gives you the energy to take on the day ahead.

I hear the excuses from everyone, though, about not having the time to make breakfast, but I am here to rule that one out! Take the five minutes it may take to make breakfast and do it. Your body will thank you in the long run. It is pretty incredible the recipes you can make in just a few minutes, like the ones below. I always start my day with a nutrient packed breakfast and it is always something I wake up and look forward to. Even though I am busy with the daily schedule of a college junior, I still make the time for breakfast, even if it is a quick one!

Here are my three breakfast ideas for busy girls on the go:
>>Whole Wheat Toast with Almond Butter, Banana Slices, & Chia Seeds
This breakfast packs a serious nutritional punch. A healthy dose of carbs, a serving of fruit, fiber, protein, and healthy fats are all included in this breakfast. Simply pop two pieces of whole wheat bread (sprouted grain bread is great too!) into the toaster, top with almond butter, slice a banana and top it, and sprinkle on chia seeds. Simple as that, but you will be satisfied for hours!
>>Smoothie & Larabar
For those mornings when you need to eat a breakfast on-the-go, this one is for you. Blend your favorite smoothie up and grab a larabar and you are set. I love whipping up a green smoothie to take with me on busy mornings. My favorite includes fresh spinach, almond milk, frozen mango, and a frozen banana. Easy to make and tasty! If you are looking to add more protein into your breakfast, add a scoop of your favorite protein powder into your smoothie and blend away.
>>Egg Scramble
Save the egg white vs. egg debate for another day and choose whatever you have to make an egg scramble. Scramble two eggs (or egg whites) and before they are done cooking, add in spinach and a piece of lunch meat for added nutrients and protein. Top with your favorite seasonings (pepper, sea salt, garlic, basil, oregano) and dive in. Enjoy with a side of one piece of whole wheat toast topped with pumpkin butter for the ultimate breakfast.

Make your body happy and start your day with breakfast. Sitting through that psychology lecture with a satisfied stomach will make it a much better experience. Be that girl who eats breakfast, even on a busy schedule. I dare you.

What is your go-to breakfast with a busy schedule?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Long Weekend in Boston

I am getting settled back in at school after a whirlwind of a weekend in Boston. This trip out to Boston was a very special one that was months in the planning and turned out to be a wonderful time. I headed to Boston with my family to see my brother's entrance into the Greek Orthodox seminary and it was truly a special ceremony. Being able to be there with my family for my brother was wonderful and I could not be more thankful that we were all able to go out there and be together as a family during a special time in my brother's life. Not only were we able to attend my brother's ceremony, but we were also able to explore my absolute favorite city, Boston!

I have been to Boston quite a few times over the past few years and every time I go I fall more in love with the city. There is something so special about Boston, whether it be the history or the people, that make me feel like I am at home. Every time I go I feel more and more like I am visiting home and that it is where I am meant to be. I never know what my future may hold and where I may end up living, but to live in Boston, even just for a while, would be a dream come true.

Back to the long weekend! I headed home Thursday evening and once I got home I visited with my parents then we all headed straight to bed excited for the weekend ahead. I woke up on Friday and worked out, ran an errand, did a load of laundry, and packed my bags. Within a few hours, we were off to the airport to meet up with the rest of my family that was coming with us and to catch our flight. We had a direct flight to Boston and the flight went by very smoothly. Once we arrived, we picked up our rental cars, met up with my brother and were off to start our adventures in Boston. We decided to head to the hotel to drop off our stuff and get settled before heading downtown.

We were all ready for dinner by the time we made it downtown so we made our way to Fenway Park to eat. My brother and I had eaten at Cask 'n Flagon last time I was in Boston, and I had loved it so much that I recommended we eat there. My recommendation pulled through and we enjoyed a wonderful dinner at the restaurant. I had been craving fish and chips ever since we booked our flights to Boston, so I knew exactly what I was getting. My dinner was amazing! We all left stuffed and satisfied and walked around Fenway before making our way back to our hotel.

Saturday we awoke bright and early for a Duck Tour of the city. We had a quick breakfast at the hotel, which served Starbucks(!!), before heading out for our tour. I had previously been on this Duck Tour when I was in Boston a few years ago, but I still picked up new pieces of information and had a wonderful time taking in all of the views of the city. We then headed to my brother's college to give my family members who had not ever been there a tour before heading back to the hotel to get ready for the ceremony. Once we got back to the hotel and quickly changed, we made our way over for pizza at Regina's Pizza. We all heard great things about the pizza there, so we had to try it out. We ordered salad to start off with, then a Mediterannean pizza that was incredible. I usually order pizza without the cheese, but this was just too good! We all left the restaurant with our tummies full and made our way back to my brother's college for the ceremony. The ceremony took place in the church at the school, which is very small, so we ended up having to stand the whole time. It was a beautiful service and seeing my brother receive his cross to enter the ceremony was touching. I may have had to poke my head through the crowd to see him, but I did it!

Following the ceremony, we headed back to the Fenway area for dessert at Sweet Carolines. My mom and I split a skillet cookie topped with ice cream and chocolate sauce. I know- so not lean and clean, but it was oh, so delicious! I loved every single bite. We dropped my brother back off at school and headed back to the hotel. Tired, we all fell right asleep.

Sunday morning I woke up and worked out in the hotel gym before starting off the day. It felt great to get in a good sweat sesh before embarking on another day in the city. I attended church (standing again) then we all met up in the North End for a special dinner at Panza to celebrate my brother. The North End in Boston is one of my favorite places to visit. I love the feel of walking down the street passing by all of the Italian restaurants and seeing all of the people walking around in the sunshine. We enjoyed a wonderful meal, which was to be expected in the North End! I indulged and ordered the Lobster Ravoili because I knew that if I was going to order it anywhere, it had to be in the Boston's North End for it to be the best. It was delicious! We made our way down the street to Mike's Pastry shop because you can't visit Boston and NOT get a cannoli from Mikes! We all ordered our own cannolis and went over to the common park area to enjoy our treat in the beautiful weather. Cannolis, sunshine, and Boston, what more could I need?!

We then headed back to the hotel to change out of church clothes then went to the Prudential Center to see the sunset from the top of the building and enjoy drinks (non-alcoholic for me, don't worry!). I had never previously been to the top of the Prudential Center and it sure was a treat to see that view of Boston, especially with the sun setting. Absolutely stunning. We headed back to the hotel, tired from the day and crashed early.
Monday we woke up and took advantage of the last few hours we had until we had to catch our flights and went over to see the USS Constitution and take a ferry ride for an incredible view of the city. Being on the ferry and seeing the whole city there made me realize how much I did not want to leave, but I knew it was time for us to head to the airport. We made our way over to the airport, dropped off the rental cars, and made it past security. We stopped for a quick bite to eat before boarding the plane. The flight back was a very bumpy ride and had my stomach in knots the whole rest of the evening. Luckily we made it back safely and on schedule! My parents brought me back to school and with that, my long weekend in Boston was over. I quickly became overwhelmed with my to-do list, but remembering how wonderful my weekend was made it all worth it. I may be stressed this week trying to catch up, but to be in Boston with my family and to celebrate an incredible accomplishment for my brother was simply amazing. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

Have you ever visited Boston?
What was your favorite part of the city?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Heart Jumping HIIT Workout

Good morning! I am back in East Lansing after a wonderful weekend in Boston with my family. I have a recap coming at you, hopefully tomorrow, but until then I have a full day of classes and meetings, so I wanted to share a quick HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout that you can complete today! The last few workouts I have posted on the blog have been HIIT workouts, which have become my latest obsession. I have been incorporating Tone It Up's HIIT the Beach into my workout routine weekly, but when I don't have time for that full routine but still want something quick and sweaty, I do this workout.

I guarantee you by the end of this workout your heart will be jumping and you will feel GREAT. My favorite part about HIIT is when I am done (ha!) and feel the after effects ALL DAY LONG. My heart rate is happy and I can feel the work I have done to my full body. If there is one thing I have learned in my fitness journey, it is how important HIIT is to a workout routine. Yeah going out for a 3 mile run is awesome, but completing a HIIT workout just as often as a run is guaranteed to burn fat and leave you feeling toned. If I haven't convince you yet, check out this Shape article about the benefits of high intensity interval traning and try out this workout.
30 seconds of jumping jacks, 30 seconds of various other moves. You will get your heart rate up, burn fat, and increase your metabolism. Without any extra equipment. That's what I like best about it! It is a great routine for traveling, dorm rooms, or days you don't feel like lifting any weights.

Let me know if you give it a try! 

Are you a fan of HIIT?
How often do you incorporate it into your workout routine?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Weekly Workout Recap

Good morning from Boston! I am having a wonderful time with my family in my favorite city and have already created so many memories. I can't wait to share my trip with you, but it will be a little bit before I can get my pictures all together in a post. You can always check out my trip on my Instagram page to see what I am up to! Before I head out on another busy day, I wanted to share my workout recap from this past week and check in.

Week one of Tone It Up's Frisky Fall challenge is complete and I am completely loving it. Between the new cardio routine and the excitement for the new edition to the Nutrition Plan, I am in love with this challenge. Katrina and Karena have, as always, put so much work into this challenge and I am so thankful for all that they do for us TIU girls! I am extremely happy with my progress just one week into the challenge, so I am looking forward to the next seven weeks.

Anyways, here's what my workouts looked like this week!
Still getting used to the school routine and fitting in my bootycalls before class, but I am fitting it all in and feeling great!!
Weekly Workout Recap
Monday (9/8) AM- HIIT the Beach 2 (Beach Babe DVD), Back to School workout x3
Tuesday (9/9) AM- Frisky Fall Insane Cardio- 3.4 miles, Sunkissed Abs
Wednesday (9/10) AM- 3.1 mile run, Bikini Arms (Beach Babe DVD)
Thursday (9/11) AM- 3.1 mile run, Love Your Legs x3, Inner & Outer Thighs routine
Friday (9/12) AM- Beach Barre (Beach Babe DVD)
Saturday (9/13) Off
Sunday (9/14) AM- Fat Burning Treadmill Routine- 2.6 miles

As soon as I hit publish I will be off and enjoying my last full day in the city. I am heading to Church, then heading to the North End for a late lunch/ early dinner and cannolis, of course! I leave tomorrow afternoon and will be right back at school and back to the books. I have been enjoying my weekend away from the school work, but I will have a huge to-do list once I get back to look forward to. The joys of being a college student :).

Friday, September 12, 2014

{Friday Favorites} 9/12

Hello, hello! Happy Friday! I am blogging to you from home which I arrived to last night and will be leaving in just a few hours. I am heading to Boston this weekend with my parents, aunts, and cousins to visit my brothers. We are heading out today and will be there until Monday afternoon. With a full weekend planned, I am pumped and can't wait to head out to the airport very soon. I will definitely being doing a full recap next week, but until then, let's start the weekend with another round of Friday Favorites!

Linking up my favorites with Heather & Jennie! Thanks for hosting ladies!
I went to a local health food store, Foods for Living in East Lansing, last weekend and they were having a tent sale with lots of samples and discounts on foods. My roommate and I went and tried out so many different foods and had a lot of fun. I picked up this sample of Bakery on Main granola because I had head of fellow bloggers really liking the granola. I topped it on my almond milk yogurt on Tuesday and it was delicious! I loved the little nuts that gave it a nice crunch.

I found this idea on Pinterest last night and I think it is the cutest idea. A Caramel Apple Bar sounds like a fun party idea and would taste delicious. I can't decide whether I would like peanut caramel or cheesecake better. Both sound absolutely tasty. Fall celebration party anyone?
I've been watching Welcome to Sweden throughout this summer and since I have been back at school and I think it is so funny. I guess I could have guessed that since Amy Pohler's brother is the star, but the whole cast is funny and I am hoping it comes back for another season. I love shows that are light and funny to have on while I am blogging or surfing the web. 
So I haven't tried this Quinoa, Black Bean, and Chickpea Salad from the Yooper Girl yet, but I am pretty sure it will be a new lunch for me. Quinoa, black beans, and chickpeas are three of my favorite foods (and extremely nutritious) and I can't believe I never thought of adding all three together to form the perfect salad. I can't wait to try this recipe out! I am sure you will see it in an upcoming What I Ate Wednesday post!
I have come to realize I have a slight addiction to garlic powder. I never really cooked with it much when I was cooking at home, but I picked it up when I was stocking up on spices at Trader Joe's and have been using it at least twice daily. I have found so many meals to add it to that I just can't stop using it! My breath may not like it too much, but I love it on top of scrambled eggs, grilled chicken, vegetables, pasta, air popped popcorn, and more that I just can't think of right now. If you have not yet topped your popcorn with garlic powder, please make that a weekend to-do!!

I am off to workout and finish packing (typical me!) and catch my flight to BOSTON. I cannot wait to be in my favorite city with my whole family. We have never all been there at the same time, so I am pretty excited to explore the city together.

Talk to you from Boston!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

PB+J Overnight Oats

Why I haven't created peanut butter and jelly overnight oats yet is beyond me, but one thing that is for sure, it is definitely my favorite overnight oat recipe I have made to date. I feel like I am back in elementary school eating my peanut butter and jelly sandwich made by my mom that morning with a special note handwritten from her on the side. Weren't those notes the best? Always made my day.
I guess I stepped up my "jelly" game by substituting red raspberry preserves instead of raspberry jelly because I have always loved the preserves over jelly. Doesn't it sound a little more sophisticated too? Oh, okay, that's just me... Feel free to replace with jelly if that's what you prefer :)

3/4 cup Old Fashion/ Traditional Oats
1/2 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
1/2 tbsp. Peanut Butter
1 tsp. Chia Seeds
2 tsp. Red Raspberry Preserves

Combine all ingredients into an air tight container (mason jars or empty nut butter jars work perfect) with a lid, stir, and place in the fridge overnight.
When ready, add a dash of almond milk, stir, and enjoy.

That's it. Simple as that. Isn't that how the classic combo is supposed to be?

Favorite way to enjoy peanut butter & jelly?

Ready for more overnight oats?
Try these!
Chocolate Candy Cane Overnight Oats
Chocolate Protein Overnight Oats
Cinnamon Cookie Overnight Oats