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Friday, October 24, 2014

{Friday Favorites} 10/24

Happy Fridayyyy!! I am so excited for this weekend to get underway and even more excited that it will start for me once I get done with work in just a few hours. This weekend is the big Michigan vs. Michigan State game and is taking place at MSU again this year. It is always a fun time when everyone gathers to tailgate and cheer on their favorite team, even if I don't understand football at all. I have to work during the game, but I am happy I have time to tailgate before and still have a full night ahead of me when I get off of work in the afternoon. Since I have a busy weekend upon me, let's get right to this week's favorites with another round up of {Friday Favorites}!

Linking up with HeatherKatieClare, & Jennifer, thanks for hosting ladies!

I just have to start off with these delicious cookies I had last weekend. Whenever my family goes camping, my mom always picks up some type of biscotti cookies to enjoy with coffee in the morning. Since it is not something we do on a daily basis, it is always something I look forward to when we go camping. When I saw these cookies in the camper, I was so excited to try them out. How could you go wrong with a pumpkin biscotti cookie? Well, the verdict is out and they are DELISH! They have the perfect amount of pumpkin flavor along with cinnamon too, which is one of my favorite spices. I definitely enjoyed a couple of these with my coffee last weekend. And now I am wishing I lived near a Trader Joe's here at school so I could buy some more ;).

Fall in Michigan is absolutely beautiful and I have been taking advantage of all the trees every chance I am outside. Taking a hike on Sunday while I was camping with my family was the perfect way to take in all the beauty of fall in Michigan. And the Michigan State campus is absolutely beautiful in the fall. Every time I walk across the Red Cedar River I think about how lucky I am to go to such a beautiful school.
I will be making this healthy Pumpkin Spice Frozen Latte this week. I have a can of pumpkin puree that is waiting to be used and I actually have all of the other ingredients on hand! That is a rarity in a college apartment kitchen. No matter how cold it gets, I always love a cold drink and this is perfection. I am trying to fit in all the pumpkin I can in the next month or so while it is still socially acceptable (hence pumpkin biscottis). Thank you Lee for fueling the pumpkin addiction this season!

Not only do I love jamming out to "Shake It Off," but seeing my favorite mascot (SPARTY) dancing to it totally made my day. I may or may not be biased, but Sparty is definitely the best dancer out there ;). I am so excited for game day tomorrow that watching this video gets me so pumped for our game against UofM. Even if I still know nothing about the game of football.
I have seen this article on The 50 States of Superfoods from The Huffington Post show up a few times in my Facebook newsfeed this week and I think it is awesome. As soon as I opened it up I scrolled all the way down to Michigan to see what our "state superfood" was and completely agree with it being asparagus. After being on the west side of the state for the asparagus festival this year, I can definitely say that Michigan is known for its asparagus! I think cherries could have been a contender too. Cherry season in Michigan is the besssst! But apparently Montana beat us out on that one.

As you can tell, I am pretty excited about this weekend so I am going to push publish and get ready for work before officially calling it the weekend. I worked my butt off last night to get my homework done and am ready to fully enjoy this weekend. GO GREEN!

Oh, and make me happy this weekend and enter my Puritan's Pride giveaway :). You can win protein powder, almond butter, superior greens powder, and carob powder --yes, all for you! Good luck!

Any football games on your schedule this weekend?
Favorite pumpkin recipe?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie + Puritan's Pride Giveaway

This post is sponsored by Puritan’s Pride; opinions expressed are my own. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. 

Smoothies are a great way to pack in nutrients into one delicious drink; but sometimes you can get into a recipe rut. It happens to me when my beloved smoothie recipes just don't sound all that appetizing that day. So over the next three months I have partnered with Puritan's Pride to incorporate different protein powders and more superfoods-based products that can tuck in more nutrients more efficiently. Each month, I will share my superfood-packed smoothie with you and I hope you will share your best smoothie recipes too!

This month's theme is PUMPKIN! I know, you are probably surprised on that one, right?! Well, I have a delicious pumpkin pie smoothie to share with you that you are going to LOVE. The whole time I was drinking this the first time I made it, I kept thinking how much it tasted like I blended a piece of pumpkin pie in my blender. But, this smoothie recipe is so much better than the beloved piece of pumpkin pie. Why? Because the recipe includes pumpkin puree, protein powder, banana, and more. I think you are going to love this recipe! Let me know in the comments below if you give it a whirl!

Now I know that you are dying to try out this smoothie and why not pick up some of your favorite supplements from Puritan's Pride to get your smoothie creativity going? Puritan's Pride is offering all Lean, Clean, & Brie readers with a 10% off discount and free shipping. Head on over to their site to check out all of the awesome products to add into your smoothies.
I was given the opportunity to try out some new protein powders during this challenge and used a scoop of the Puritan's Pride Soy Protein  Isolate Powder in the natural flavor. This protein powder supplies important nutrients which the body requires daily for optimum health. It provides amino acids in a versatile powder which is low in fat, free of carbohydrates, and dairy-free. It blends well into the smoothie, which is always a must for protein powders for me!
And now it is your chance to win a few products from straight from Puritan's Pride for yourself! You have the chance to win four products pictured above all for you to try out. Included is one tub of Soy Protein Isolate Powder, Superior Greens Powder, Carob Powder, and Barney Butter Bare Almond Butter. Enter via the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win! 
Giveaway ends October 31st at midnight, good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Puritan’s Pride® (http://www.puritan.com) began over 40 years ago, with the mission of making the finest quality nutritional supplements available at the best value to their customers. Today, the company remains true to its original commitment and serves millions of loyal customers. Puritan’s Pride manufactures thousands of vitamins, minerals, herbs and other nutritional supplements in their state-of-the art facilities located throughout the U.S. As part of the company’s commitment to quality, Puritan’s Pride only uses ingredients from suppliers worldwide that meet their Quality Assurance Standards, as well as Good Manufacturing Practices food quality standards.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

{WIAW} Mindful Eats

First off, I want to thank all of you for your kind words in yesterday's post. I was definitely a little nervous to push publish, but your all of your thoughts made me smile and I am so thankful to have your support in pushing through. You all are seriously the best!

Now onto another round of {What I Ate Wednesday}! I can't believe today is already Wednesday, but I am completely okay with that! I have a fun weekend planned ahead so I am itching to get closer to the weekend. Since today is Wednesday and there is a certain What I Ate Wednesday party I love to join on an almost weekly basis, I have a full day of recorded eats from yesterday. I love sharing my daily eats with you all on Wednesdays (even if it takes extra time to snap a picture of everything I eat throughout the day) and I love reading through what everyone else is eating too. I guess I am just nosy like that. But, I always get good such good meal and snack ideas from everyone else's posts! So without further ado... here is yesterday's eats!

Since I published my "Recommitting" post in which I shared how I am getting back on track after a few weeks of struggling, I made it a point to eat more mindfully throughout the day. I try to follow an intuitive approach to eating- eat when I am hungry, don't eat when I am not. Listening to my body throughout the day is something I need to work more on, but the more I do it, the more I realize what my body is telling me it needs throughout the day.
With that said, I started the day off with a bootycall workout. After a bad case of the Mondays yesterday (that's a story for another day...) I was so, so ready to kick butt in my workout. I ran over to my apartment's fitness room and completed the Tone It Up Insane Cardio routine. You guys, this routine never gets any easier and always kicks my butt in the best way possible. I am always lying on the ground by the end wondering how I just made it through. Since that just was not enough yesterday, I followed it up with a round of the Frisky Fall Arms and Abs routine with Karena. You bet I am feeling it today!

After getting ready for the day, I headed into the kitchen to prep my meals for the day. I knew I would be gone until the late afternoon so I made sure to pack a filling lunch and an afternoon snack to hold me over throughout the day. As soon my lunch bag was packed, I made my breakfast which was a big bowl of oatmeal topped with almond milk, frozen strawberries, frozen blueberries, chia seeds, and peanut butter. I can't help it, but I am obsessed with this breakfast. It is so simple and so easy to make that I keep making it every day. No complaints though, it is a great breakfast to fill me up for the rest of the morning! I also enjoyed half of a banana on the side.
On my walk to class I enjoyed a homemade iced coffee, which is another simple recipe to whip up. I refrigerate a cup of coffee the night before then mix it with almond milk and a packet of stevia and top it with ice cubes. It is such a sweet treat and it made my walk to class much more bearable!
Once I finished my first class of the day and made the walk over to the library I got some studying done before my stomach started to tell me it was ready to eat lunch. I grabbed out of my lunch bag a salad topped with carrots and a hard boiled egg with a raspberry vinaigrette dressing and a dairy free banana muffin my mom made me this past weekend. So, so yummy! (Aren't moms the best?!)
Before my last class of the day my body was ready to dig into my afternoon snack. It has been ages since I last had celery with peanut butter and it completely hit the spot. Usually I go for celery and hummus, but I don't have any hummus right now, but you bet I have peanut butter! Now if only I had packed some raisins to go on top ;)
Once I got back from classes for the day and made a pit stop at the bank, I "made" dinner. I actually just reheated Monday's dinner since I made a big batch of turkey tacos for the week to make for quicker dinners. On Monday I cooked lean ground turkey and added low sodium taco seasoning to the meat. Once it was cooked, I topped it on one whole wheat tortilla and topped it all off with salsa and lettuce. I also had vegetables and beans on the side. Taco dinners was one of my favorite dinners growing up so last night's dinner definitely made me feel so good. And I still have leftovers to enjoy!
And, of course, I have to finish off dinner with a piece of Trader Joe's dark chocolate. It's just tradition ;)
I had an exam review session and a meeting yesterday evening so once I got back, my stomach was ready for something nourishing to eat. I snacked on a fuji apple while getting to work on my studying for the night.

And that wraps up yesterday's eats! Eating more mindfully has helped me realize when I am actually hungry and when I am just trying to eat because I am bored. It takes practice, but is something I am continuing to work on.

How do you eat mindfully?
Favorite thing you ate yesterday... and go!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


I'll be honest with you. I've been struggling to keep on track this past month or so and I can feel it. It may not seem so evident on the blog since I don't share every single meal with you, but I have definitely been slacking, and no, I am not happy about it. Making the transition to living in an apartment and grocery shopping has been an adjustment that I thought was going to be a lot easier. Don't get me wrong, I still load up on spinach, carrots, and the like when I go grocery shopping, but I haven't been meal planning like I did this summer and the snack monster sure has attacked over these past weeks. I've been writing off the extra snacks as hunger from doing a longer run or a more intense workout, but am I really hungry, or are my snacks just something to do while studying? I keep allowing myself to buy snack foods when I know that is a weakness and I know I will overindulge.

Over the past week I have been thinking about how I can improve my lifestyle in order to feel better on the inside and the outside. As I have mentioned many times before, I don't maintain a healthy lifestyle in order to lose weight, I just love how I feel when I eat healthy and move my body regularly. So when over the past few weeks, I have been feeling less than how I normally do, I knew it was time to recommit. Here's what I have come up with to recommit to maintaining my healthy lifestyle...

-Meal planning
I meal planned and prepped each week this past summer, but since I have gotten back to school I have slacked. I stopped writing down my meals and that's where I pinpointed when I started eating differently than what I am used to. Writing down my meals and planning them ahead of time keeps me on track and more aware of what I am eating and just how much I am eating. It always has so it is time for me to get back on it.

-Dairy really does affect me
I have been much too lenient with my dairy-free diet and it is time to get back on board with it. I used to do so well with saving dairy only for special occasions, and it seems like since I have moved back to school every weekend has a special occasion. I feel 10x better when I stick to a dairy-free diet and just because someone offers me a cookie doesn't mean I have to eat it, I can politely say no thank you.

-Long(er) runs don't equal junk food
For the most part, my Sunday mornings before church have consisted of a longer than usual run for me and although I run a longer distance than usual and it makes sense that I would be more hungry than usual, it doesn't mean I need to reward myself with junk food. I need to do a better job of eating a big breakfast following my longer run rather than waiting until the hunger monster is unleashed and I am at church social hour with desserts upon desserts. Rewarding myself with a big bowl of oatmeal satisfies me and prevents me from overeating later... not a piece of toast and a hope that there will be something semi-healthy and dairy-free at social hour.

-Dinner time needs to be earlier
In the effort to curb my evening snack monster I have been holding off on dinner until later in the evening. But, I end up holding off on dinner, waiting until I am really, really hungry, eating dinner, then I just keep on eating since I was so hungry from holding off so long. I need to listen better to  my hunger cues, eat dinner earlier, and still allow myself a small evening snack.

-Cooking doesn't mean snacking
This has been something I have never struggled with before since all growing up my mom cooked dinner and when I lived in the dorms I ate in the cafeteria, but now that I cook my own meals I have been snacking while cooking my meals. I'll have a bag of pretzels open while cooking dinner and I am not even that hungry for it! It has just become an unnecessary habit that I have gotten into. I need to keep the snack shelf closed while cooking and focus on what I am cooking. I love cooking so I should be paying attention to the enjoyment I get out of cooking rather than mindlessly snacking my way through my meal cooking.

This post was more of a ramble, but it has been something I need to get off of my chest for a while now. I am recommitting to making my lifestyle the healthiest I can be and to make it a lifestyle of balance. Life is all about balance and enjoying the little treats along the way is no big deal as long as it doesn't become a daily habit. The candy dish sitting out in my habit was becoming a nightly habit for me, but now I am committing myself to keep walking past it. I have a kitchen full of fresh foods that will leave me much more satisfied in the end anyway. I know that I will struggle here and there, but that is what makes me stronger in the end. Being able to push past temptation has always been a struggle for me, but I am committing to make it no longer one.

No questions today, feel free to share your thoughts.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Weekly Workout Recap

Hey friends! How was your weekend? Things were pretty quiet from in blog world as I was disconnected from the internet throughout this weekend. I'll have to admit- it felt great! I spent this weekend camping with my family to enjoy a fall weekend and it was wonderful. I'll share a few pictures after my workout recap from the week since the fall colors were absolutely gorgeous! This morning my dad, brother, and I went for a quick hike around the campground and it was wonderful to be able to see the trees changing colors. I did not get much homework done this weekend, so this post is going to be a quick one so I can get to studying! I have a busy week ahead followed by a packed weekend so I definitely need to keep on top of my game this week.

Here's a recap of last week's workouts:
Weekly Workout Recap
Monday (10/13) Off
Tuesday (10/14) AM- 3.1 mile run, Love Your Body Arms + Abs routine
Wednesday (10/15) AM- Fat Burning Treadmill Routine (3.1 miles), Malibooty routine x2
Thursday (10/16) AM- 3.3 mile run, Bikini Abs routine, TIU Foam Rolling routine
Saturday (10/18) PM- 2.4 mile run
Sunday (10/19) AM- 1.0 mile hike

And, as promised, here are some pictures from this weekend. It was a chilly and windy weekend but we still managed to enjoy ourselves with hikes, bonfires, and lots of delicious food! I only managed to take a few pictures so here we go!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Tomorrow is the final day to enter my Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker giveaway... are all your entries in yet?!

Friday, October 17, 2014

{Friday Favorites} 10/17

Good morning and happy Friday! As I went to type the title of this post, I was shocked when I realized that today is already the 17th of October. This month has been flying by! My weeks have been filled with school, work, and meetings, while my weekends have been filled with fall activities, so I can't complain too much! After a busy couple of weeks, I am looking forward to this weekend ahead. I don't have to work and I will be heading on a camping trip with my family in just a few hours. I was planning on going home this weekend since it is my only free weekend until Thanksgiving break, but my parents had already planned this camping trip and wanted me to come along. Of course I couldn't say no! I am so excited to spend a weekend with my family and see the beauty of fall in the campground. My brother moved back to Michigan from Boston this week and I am so excited to see him too. I have a feeling this weekend is going to be a blast! After a stressful couple of weeks (and more ahead of me), this weekend away is much needed.

Before I get too excited about this weekend's trip, let's celebrate Friday with a round up of some of my favorite things from this week. I am linking up with HeatherKatieClare, & Jennifer  so head on over to their blogs to join in on the fun!

And don't forget that my Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker giveaway ends on Monday! I have loved all of your entries so far and am so ready to try out your recipes in my slow cooker!
I mentioned this one on Wednesday's post, but it was definitely a highlight of this week... the Frisky Fall edition of the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan. There are so many delicious recipes that have me so excited to get cooking. I have been getting repetitive and boring with my meals these past few weeks so I am looking forward to trying out a bunch of new recipes from the plan. So many fall inspired dishes for foods that I have been wanting to cook with, but just haven't found the right recipes to, like butternut squash and pumpkin. If you aren't a member of the TIU Nutrition Plan, I highly recommend becoming one-- this update has blown me away with the simple list of ingredients (some editions have been overwhelming) and the slow cooker meals look easy to whip up for quick meals too!
I received this Body Armour drink as a freebie at an event at the beginning of this school year and completely forgot about it until this weekend. Since I went out for a longer than usual run I thought drinking half the bottle (half bottle= one serving) following my run would be good since it has coconut water in it. I hate coconut water plain, but I absolutely loved this! The orange mango flavor was so tasty and perfect after a long run. On Monday I added it in a smoothie and it tasted great inside of the smoothie as well. It is filled with coconut water, electrolytes, vitamins, and natural flavors and sweeteners. I'll definitely be on the lookout for more of these. I want to try out the strawberry banana flavor next!
Wednesday was a long day for me and once I was finally headed back to my apartment after being gone all day I decided against cooking and went for Qdoba. I rarely eat out and since I don't eat meat on Wednesdays it can be difficult to come up with meatless options to make quickly since it was already getting to be 8pm. Qdoba was right on my way back to my apartment so I went for a naked burrito bowl and guess what- FREE GUACAMOLE!! Qdoba has a new campaign where they are not charging extra money for toppings like guac and fajita veggies. The guac lover in me was so excited and so happy with my decision for dinner on Wednesday. I crave guacamole on the regular, but never buy it since it would be dangerous to have a jar of guac in my apartment... haha!
I officially pulled out my boots this week for fall and am so happy to have done so. I absolutely love the feeling of wearing boots in the fall and do so almost daily once I pull them out for the season. I;m also loving the fold over boot style right now, like these boots from target. Wondering if I could pull them off?
Since it is fall and I am craving all things fall I thought I would end this week's Friday Favorites with a new recipe from Cassey Ho from Blogilates I cannot wait to try out. A pumpkin pie mug cake that you can make in the microwave! The recipe sounds so delicious and is made super quickly for a late night snack that won't leave you feeling too full. I am so trying this out soon!

TIU girls: What recipes from the new edition are you excited to try?
Is it boot season for you yet?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

{WIAW} Frisky Fall Edition

Ah, another Wednesday, another round of {What I Ate Wednesday}! After a stressful week last week, I am back with a full post of eats for you. Sorry about the quickie post last week. I still wanted to share my eats with you, but had so much studying to get to. So happy that all is over with...for now!

Anyway, let's get to sharing yesterday's eats... and a new edition of the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan! You know how excited I get over those by now I am sure :)
After an exhausting Monday, I woke up Tuesday feeling so good and ready to start the day. I checked the weather before going out for my run and saw that it was already 60 degrees out... and it was only 7am! I decided to take advantage of what was probably one of the last days of warm weather and go out for a run in a tshirt. It felt so good after spending the last few weeks running in a sweatshirt. Once I got back, finished my workout with a round of Love Your Body Arms & Abs, and got ready for the day, I dug right into breakfast. I made a bowl of oats with strawberries, blueberries, chia seeds. peanut butter, and cinnamon. It was absolutely delicious! Also with a side of coffee and a banana.
Once I finished up with my first class of the day I headed over to the library to get some studying done and eat my lunch. I packed a salad ahead of time to have at the library which consisted of iceberg lettuce, spinach, turkey, quinoa, and carrots. I topped it with a balasmic vinagarette dressing and it was ready to go!
A few hours later I snacked on a peanut butter raspberry luna bar to hold me over through my next class. I am obsessed with these bars! They are soft bars, unlike luna bars, and taste absolutely delicious. I need to microwave one of these one day and see how they taste warm... I bet they would taste great!
Once I got back to my apartment after being gone at class all day, I knew I needed something to hold me through until dinner so I went for my favorite fall snack... graham crackers topped with pumpkin butter and raw cacao nibs! So yummy and perfect this time of year.
Before heading out to my church group evening meeting I whipped up a quick dinner of scrambled eggs with spinach, turkey, mixed vegetables topped with basil, oregano, garlic salt, and salsa. All sauteed in a fry pan on the stove! It is the easiest dinner to make and it tastes so good. This was my first time topping it with a spoonful of salsa, and it definitely won't be the last. Definitely a good choice!
While I was cooking dinner I received an email from Tone It Up that the Frisky Fall edition of the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan was just released and available for download. I immediately downloaded it and went through all of the recipes while I ate dinner. There are so many delicious recipes in the plan and I love that many of the recipes use simple ingredients and the ingredient list isn't as overwhelming as some editions are. Almond butter pumpkin dip, pumpkin spice granola, black bean and quinoa chili, and pumpkin parfait are just a few of my favorites so far. I am so excited that they added a slow cooker portion to the plan! There are so slow cooker recipes I just can't wait to try out now.
And of course, the usual evening study snack of air popped popcorn. I am really beginning to enjoy popcorn that is slightly burnt... is that weird? It makes my apartment smell like burnt popcorn all night so I try to open the windows after I pull it out of the microwave, but I am really loving the taste of it lately.

That's it for me for now! With a busy day ahead, it is time for me to get going. Let me know your favorite fall dishes below so I can get some recipe inspiration to get cooking! I want to cook up all the favorites this season since I have access to a kitchen this fall.

And don't forget to enter my Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker giveaway! I have been loving all your favorite slow cooker meals and have so many new ideas now :)