Friday 5 |So Many #ShoutOuts it’s Scary + Running Giveaway!

Boo, it’s Halloween! I don’t do this very often, but I wanted to share with you some of the products and events I whole-heartedly stand behind. Actually, I have so many, that I’ll shout out another five next Friday. Don’t miss the giveaway at the bottom of the post for a Spartan entry, two tubes of Nuun, and a pair of Altra running socks.

1) Core Power:  For years, I’ve been a big fan of this product and remember way back when it was called Athlete’s Honey Milk.

Jennifer Fisher Core PowerNow these high protein shakes are big time popular, so I’m super honored to be one of their athletes . . . plus, you’ve probably noticed I do a lot of workouts and recipes for their social media.   I like to stash a bottle in my gym bag for the perfect amount of protein recovery after a long run or intense workout. The six yummy flavors are also the base ingredient for many of my crazy delicious smoothie recipes – like the Vampire Slayer Protein Smoothie I whipped up for Halloween.

Core Power Vampire Slayer Protein Smoothie

2) Zooma Women’s Race Series: This is my 4th year to be a Texas Ambassador for this female-focused running event that takes place in fun destination locations like Austin, Napa, Cape Code and others.

Jennifer Fisher at Zooma Texas 2014The Austin race is on Saturday March 28, 2015 at the Hill Country Hyatt Resort – a gorgeous, gorgeous place to run a race. The bluebonnets and other flowers are blooming this time of year and this welcomed distraction of Mother Nature has always made the hills seem less painful! The main race is a half marathon, but there is also a 10k and 5k and everyone is encouraged to one to run, laugh and celebrate. Oh, and did I mention the massages, wine and pretty necklace-style finisher’s medal to be enjoy afterward.  Register using code JENNIFER15 and get 10% off any distance in the Texas lineup.

3) Spartan: I’ve never actually done a Spartan race but it’s been my bucket list for a while.

Spartan - If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change youOne of the things that’s been holding me back is my own competitive nature – what if I don’t kill it, what if I don’t WIN (ha)? But, then I realized that’s totally the wrong attitude – if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you  — right?!  I’m going to be signing up the next time Spartan comes through Texas, meanwhile YOU can enter to win a free entry. Enter through the Rafflecopter app below, the winner will receive a registration code that will work for any open heat (non-confirmed start time) in any Spartan Race (check out the upcoming races) in the continental US.  You can also just go ahead and register now and get 10% off any race (Sprint, Super or Beast) in any US with the code: SPARTANBLOGGER

4) Nuun Hydration: This sugar-free electrolyte tablet that you plop into a bottle of water and it magically fizzes up, has saved my butt from dehydration many, many times.

Nuun Hood to Coast Team 2013I use Nuun on my long runs, marathons and even out when watching my kids play sports all day in the Texas sun (I put it in their water bottles too!)  They have a fairly new line, Nuun Energy, which combines the same optimal electrolyte blend with B vitamins and caffeine — yeah!  The products are awesome, but I also can’t say enough about the people who work at Nuun –as a lucky ambassador, Nuun has invited me twice to be one of their runners in the Hood to Coast Relay, and I got the royal treatment each time!

nuun bottles If you want to stock up on Nuun, use the code nuunbassadorfriend to get 20% off a one-time purchase (through the end of 2014).  Oh, what the heck, I’m going to throw two tubes of Nuun (my choice) into the giveaway below!

 

5) Altra Running –  I was first introduced to this line of “zero-drop” shoes several years ago when I was tweaking my running form with the Pose Method.

Altra TRE13 smallAs an ambassador for the brand, I’ve shared my testimonial on how these shoes have helped me as a mid-foot striker, improved my natural running form and saved my toenails from turning black and falling off! I’ve worn them in every distance from a 5k to 50 mile ultra. Currently, I’m wearing the Ones Squared, and loving the lightness with a touch of cushion!  They also make socks with a wider toe box and I’m giving away a pair of Women’s White No Show Sprint Socks

altra sock

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Sweaty with Chance of Meatball (& Wilted Greens) Stew + Tabata WOD

Wilted Greens, Beans & Beef Meatball Stew from TheFitFork.com

Yes, I realize that I’m opening every blog post this month with “it’s still hot in Austin.”  Even as a huge fan of warm weather, I’m starting to get sick of it too.  So, what do I do? I make soup and stew! Nothing like slurping up a piping hot bowl of my Wilted Greens, Beans & Meatball Stew after a run in near 90 degrees or a no air-conditioning CrossFit WOD.  I’m not being snarky, I’m being serious – I’m not going to let Mother Nature infringe on the length of my soup season. And, good news, the weathermen are predicting a cold front  . . . . we’ll be dipping down into the upper 70s for the high this weekend. HA!

Looking forward to Austin's upcoming "cold front" !!

Looking forward to Austin’s upcoming “cold front” !!

While my Chipotle Squash & Chickpea Soup is always yummy, the soup in my pot this week is a delicious, easy and super healthy Wilted Greens, Beans & Meatball Stew that I first created for Litehouse Foods.  The beauty of this recipe is that you can use whatever winter greens you have on hand like spinach, kale, collard greens, mustard greens or Swiss chard – use a mixture, that’s even better. It’s always sad to say my temporary goodbyes to vine-ripe tomatoes and zucchini as the sun fades out on summer, but the farmer’s market will be brimming with all of these vitamin-packed, nutritious winter greens. According to the USDA, dark leafy vegetables are plentiful in potassium, manganese and iron. Not to mention, they are all a good source for vitamins A, C, K and E as well as calcium, folic acid and fiber. So eat up!

Winter Greens, Beans & Beef Meatball Stew - TheFitFork.com

 

Wilted Greens, Beans & Beef Meatball Soup Recipe

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • ¼ cup chopped celery
  • ¼ cup chopped carrot
  • 8 ounces sliced button mushrooms
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • 1 15-oz can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Litehouse Food Instantly Fresh Garlic (or fresh chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon Litehouse Food Instantly Fresh Parsley(or fresh chopped)
  • 1 tablespoons Litehouse Food Instantly Fresh Chives (or fresh chopped)
  • 1 ½ teaspoon Litehouse Food Instantly Fresh Thyme (or fresh chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 Parmesan rind (dry end from wedge optional)
  • 8 cups of coarsely chopped mixed winter greens (spinach kale collards chard)
  • 24 pre-cooked “mini” or “party size” lean beef meatballs
  • Garnish: shaved Parmesan cheese if desired
  1. In 6-quart Dutch oven or stock pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, celery, carrot and mushroom and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, or until softened and lightly caramelized.
  2. Add broth and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add beans, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, chives, thyme, pepper, and parmesan rind. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Add one half of mixed winter greens to pot; stir for 2 to 3 minutes to allow leaves to “wilt” down thus providing room for remaining greens. Add remaining greens and continue to stir and cook down for approximately 2 minutes.
  4. Cover pot with lid and keep heat on low. Reheat meatballs according to manufacturer’s instructions in microwave or oven. When reheated, drain on paper towels, if needed, and add to stew. Use a spoon to remove any remnant of the parmesan rind.
  5. To serve, ladle among four bowls and top with shaved parmesan cheese if desired.
  6. Serves 4

Please visit the Living Litehouse blog for lots more yummy and convenient recipes that will work with your healthy lifestyle.

Jump, Slam & Squat Tabata Workout from TheFitFork.com

To help you work up a sweat, I’ve got a Tabata workout that will definitely make you earn that piece of cornbread with your soup. If you’re not familiar with the Tabata concept, it’s basically 20 seconds of high intensity exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest and then repeat, repeat, repeat for four minutes. Tabata workouts are meant to increase the capacity of both your aerobic and anaerobic systems – do a couple per week and you’ll be a machine! However (disclaimer), my Tabata workout kicks it up from 4 minutes to 15 minutes – I must really like to suffer.  If it’s too much for you, please stop and catch your breath with extra rest in between exercises.

So, would you rather drink a smoothie on a cold day or have soup on a hot day? What is your favorite soup?

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#WaveRider18, Hilly 10 Mile Race & Replacing Running Shoes

I received compensation and product from Mizuno as part of this campaign through Fitfluential.com. However, all opinions and editorial comments are my completely own. Wave Rider 18 Running Shoes - thefitfork.comWhat better way to kick up your training and tackle a hard race than in a new pair of running shoes?!  You really must treat your feet right and running in old, beat down and battered shoes  is just asking for an injury. Even if your kicks still look out-of-the-box new on the uppers, shoes you’ve been running for a while begin to lose their shock absorption, cushioning and stability features.  You could keep running in worn out shoes to save a buck, but eventually you’ll pay the price with an injury caused by too much stress on your bones and joints.

Whether you run 5ks, ultramarathons or just recreationally jog the block, experts say that you should replace your running shoes every 300 – 400 miles. When you flip your running shoes over, it is obvious when the tread starts to wear out – usually you can see another color of tread that has worn through on one side or the other. But, often shoes wear out in the midsole (where all the support and cushion lies) long before this — so don’t judge wear and tear by the tread alone. If you are experiencing leg fatigue and joint soreness and nothing else has changed in your training schedule, your running shoes may be the culprit.

The 300 – 400 mile replacement schedule is only a rough guide. If you are a heavier runner, you may need to replace shoes more often that a lighter runner. Your biomechanics and running form can play a role in how often you need to change the proverbial tires – for example, are you a heel striker or do you land mid foot? The surfaces you run on also come into play (e.g.: trail versus treadmill) as does the actual construction of the shoe – I once had a very, very light pair of shoes that were literally falling apart after 70 miles.   That was a bummer. Mizuno Wave Rider 18 collection I was recently sent a new pair of Mizuno WaveRider 18 running shoes as part of a campaign for Fitfluential.com. I was able to try them out for a few weeks before a 10 mile race and wear them to a popular 10 mile race (Run for the Water) in Austin.  A neutral shoe marketed as a “lightweight trainer” (7.8 ounces), the Wave Rider 18s helped keep my feet happy and ready to haul buns from start to finish of a  very hilly run. In all honesty, these shoes felt a little “more” than the ultra lightweight shoes I typically race in – I was worried I would feel clunky, but in reality my “ride” experience was quite the opposite. Just the little bit of extra cushioning prevented my feet from feeling beat up on the downhill with no discernable difference in responsiveness and foot-to-ground feedback. And, okay, I’m a girl – so I care about how my shoes look. The Wave Rider 18 is very stylish and I loved the black and silver (with flash of “Florida Keys” turquoise) color scheme – it also comes in white and fuchsia purple or blue and silver.  I may need to pick up a pair of each to round out my wardrobe.

Jennifer Fisher Run for the WAter

Mizuno Wave Runner 18 FTW!

Mizuno Wave Runner 18 FTW!

So, how did the race go – well, I’ve participated in Run for the Water all 8 years that it’s been around and I’ve done better and I’ve done worse. In the end, I hung on to win my age group and place 3rd in the Master’s division – this is a pretty competitive race and I walked away with a little bit of prize money and a new Solaris GPS watch! Whoot!  The best thing about this race though is it supports the Gazelle Foundation which helps to bring clean drinking water to Burundi. Have you ever worn Mizuno shoes and, if so, which ones?  Did you run a race too this weekend? Tell me about it!

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Boo-Yeah! Pumpkin Pecan Oat Pancake Recipe

Pumpkin Pancakes with Pecans, Caramel & Greek Yogurt - TheFitFork.comPumpkin, it’s what’s for breakfast this time of year! Maybe I’ve gone overboard with the gourd, but I don’t care. I’ve created a pumpkin recipe that you absolutely must make this weekend for a satisfying but not too sinful brunch – Pumpkin Pecan Oat Pancakes with Caramel Yogurt Topping.

skeleton shoes runningPumpkin is a super food, I know y’all have heard me ramble on and on about the health benefits. It’s filled with fiber and a great source of vitamins, especially A and E. That bright orange color flesh indicates an abundance of antioxidents ready to help boost your heath and also potentially prevent a laundry list of chronic diseases and conditions. I eat to stay a lean mean, running machine, but I definitely don’t want to be a SKELETON — so in preparation for my hilly 10 mile race on Sunday, I’m going to attack a stack. YUM!

I pumped up the nutrients in my pancakes to the next level by adding Love Grown Foods® Super Oats (Simply Pure) to the batter – lots of good stuff here including quinoa flakes, amaranth flakes and chia. You can use any type or brand of oats you like – I’m just saying these Super Oats rock! Also, instead of dousing my pumpkin pancakes in a ton of sugary syrup, I simply mixed together some protein-packed Greek yogurt with just a touch of caramel sauce mixed in for a tasty topping.

Bit of Pumpkin Pecan Oat Pancake theftfork.com

Pumpkin Pecan Oat Pancakes with Caramel Yogurt Topping Recipe

  • 1 ½  cups “complete” whole wheat or buttermilk pancake mix
  • ½ cup oats
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans plus extra for topping
  • 12 ounces plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup caramel dip

Instructions:

  1. Heat skillet over medium-low heat or electric griddle to 375 degrees
  2. In medium bowl, mix together pancake mix and oats. Stir in water, pumpkin puree and pecans with spatula  until big lumps disappear, don’t over mix (toughens pancakes).
  3. Pour approximately 1/3 cup batter for each pancake onto lightly greased skillet or griddle.
  4. Turn when pancakes bubble and bottoms are golden brown.
  5. In small bowl, mix together yogurt and caramel sauce.  Top on pancakes and sprinkle with extra pecans.
  6. Makes about 18 pancakes (serves 6).

 

Top Row: White Chocolate Pumpkin  Oat Bread and Pumpkin Granola - Bottom Row: Pumpkin Protein Donuts and Caramel Pumpkin Smoothies

Top Row: White Chocolate Pumpkin Oat Bread and Pumpkin Granola – Bottom Row: Pumpkin Protein Donuts and Caramel Pumpkin Smoothies

Looking for more ways to incorporate pumpkin into your morning meal. Everyone at my house clamors for these other pumpkin favorites — baked pumpkin protein donuts, pumpkin granola with golden raisins and almonds, pumpkin white chocolate quick bread and caramel pumpkin smoothies.

What are you making with pumpkin these days?

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Kale and Caramelized Onion Sweet Potatoes + Favorite Fall Recipes

Check out Recipes for a Fit & Flavorful Fall

by The Fit Fork at Foodie.com

If you take pleasure in eating the signature dishes of the season, fall is a particularly comforting time of year.  Just thinking about the bounty of upcoming Thanksgiving holiday and autumn harvest inspired recipes gives me that warm, fuzzy feeling of well-being of being at Grandma’s house with all the family gathered round.

Pumpkin aside, the most iconic ingredient of autumn may be the sweet potato. Even though this practically royal root is actually enjoyed year-round to the tune of 2.6 billion pounds in the US, it makes the most of its popularity in October, November and December.  Think about it — if you haven’t had sweet potatoes on your holiday dinner table, you may not be normal.

What is normal in my kitchen is to skip mucking up this orange tuber with marshmallows (why, WHY?!) and instead mash up and mix in other healthy ingredients – like the healthy greens, onions, coconut milk and wellness enhancing spices in my recipe for Kale and Caramelized Onion Sweet Potatoes below. If said it before, but I’ll say it again – I love using the sweet potato as a way to fuel my distance running, it’s the perfect choice for healthy carbohydrate loading. Not only does the sweet potato have a lower glycemic index than the traditional white potato (meaning it will be deployed as energy to your body at a more steady state), it is also packed with other nutrition that benefits athletes including vitamins A and C,  manganese, calcium, potassium, iron, vitamin B6 and fiber.

Bowl of Mashed Sweet Potatoes

This Kale and Caramelized Onion Sweet Potatoes dish is the one I made earlier in the week to complement my Cinnamon-Rubbed Braised Lamb with Cranberry Ginger Sauce.  This recipe is so yummy, it’s BAAAAA-d to the bone!  And, by the way — totally approved by all my Paleo diet friends.Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Greens and Onions

Kale and Caramelized Onion Sweet Potatoes Recipe

  • 2 lb (about 2 large) sweet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, finely sliced
  • ¼ cup white wine (or broth)
  • 4 cups shredded kale (or other winter greens)
  • 2/3 cup coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

 Instructions:

  1. Peel the sweet potato and cut into even sized 1 inch cubes. Place the sweet potatoes in a large pot filled with water. Boil uncovered for 15 minutes or until softened.
  2. Drain the sweet potatoes in colander and set aside.
  3. In bottom of same pot, add olive oil and bring to medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, for approximately 15 minutes or until turning golden brown and caramelizing. Add wine to pot to deglaze pan and then quickly add kale or other greens and continue to cook for an additional 2 minutes, or until wilted. Turn off heat.
  4. Add sweet potatoes, coconut milk, ginger, and cinnamon and mash everything together to desired consistency. If needed, add a splash more coconut milk. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serves 4.

What is your favorite sweet potato recipe? 

This post is sponsored by Foodie.com – however, all comments, opinions and recipes are my own.

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Easy Autumn Dinner! Braised Lamb with Cranberry Ginger Sauce

Fall weather is here! Fall flavors are here! Fall family togetherness is here! All I want to do through the end of the year is gather my family ‘round the dinner table for a hearty and healthy meal paired with productive, thought-provoking conversation with my three teens. After all, one is leaving the nest next year and the others aren’t far to follow.

Sometimes the dinner chatter is really deep – like the other night my middle son posed the question, “Do you believe that retaliation can ever be justified?”  I’m thinking, “oh no” what happened, who did what to whom? The good news is that these three brothers who usually get along so well, still do – the query was actually one asked in school. Apparently, my son was the only kid who vocalized that retaliation, in any form, is not okay. He said, “If everyone gave an eye for an eye, then the whole world would be I blind.”  So true!  Although he paraphrased this wisdom from Ghandi, but I still got that warm fuzzy feeling of good parenting — ahhh, I’m doing an awesome job.  Then, youngest son – “I will so smash your computer if you take that last dinner roll.”

This is what a boneless lamb shoulder looks like!

This is what a boneless lamb shoulder looks like!

So, let me just say, there was no retaliation against mom after serving a (gasp) new food to the kids – lamb.  My husband and I have both had lamb in the past, served as chops or roasts with the nasty mint jelly – it’s not something I’ve ever thought to make myself. But, American Lamb sent me a big ole boneless shoulder roast and some votes of confidence that I could create something really delicious with this often overlooked meat.

 

 

So, I came up with a fall-inspired recipe for Braised Lamb with Cranberry Ginger Glaze and I served it over some insanely mouth watering Caramalized Onion and Kale Sweet Potatoes – I will share this sweet potato recipe later this week (you do not want to miss it)!

Braised Lamb with Cranberry Ginger Sauce Caramalized Onion Kale Sweet Potatoes Jennifer Fisher

So, these are the things I learned from the lamb experiment. The lamb was delicious and braised up just like a beef chuck roast and shreds up really nicely to serve over sweet potatoes, rice, or even in a sandwich – my kids thought it was really great! I also realized you could easily make this recipe in a slow cooker rather than the Dutch oven – just set it on the low setting and slow cook for 8 – 10 hours.  Another thing I learned is that fresh cranberries lose their color when you cook them all day. That’s okay — I still needed to reduce the sauce down, just threw in some extra. Bam, there you go – meaty, sweet, tangy, total deliciousness.

braised lamb shoulder with cranberry ginger sauce title

Braised Lamb with Cranberry-Ginger Glaze Recipe

  • 1 3 – 4 lb. boneless American lamb shoulder roast
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, coarsely chopped
  • 12 oz bag fresh cranberries (divided)
  • 1 cup red wine
  • ½ cup cranberry juice
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons grated fresh ginger (divided)
  • ¼ cup honey
  1.  In 6 quart Dutch oven, heat olive oil to medium high.
  2. In small bowl, mix together pepper, salt, ginger, ginger, cinnamon, and thyme. Rub into lamb roast, coating evenly.
  3.  Add lamb should roast to heated pot and sear for approximately 3 – 4 minutes on each side until browning nicely.
  4. Lower heat and add chopped onions, cranberries, wine, cranberry juice, garlic and 2 tablespoons of fresh ginger. Top with lid and simmer on medium to medium low for approximately 3 hours or until fork tender and easy to shred.
  5. Remove roast from pot and discard unwanted fat.  Pour off approximately ½ of cooking juices and add remaining fresh cranberries, remaining 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger, and honey.
  6. Simmer this mixture for approximately 15 minutes until cranberries have popped and sauce reduced and thickening.
  7. Serves 8

The American Lamb Board provided me with product for this post, but all thoughts, comments, opinions and recipe are my own.

I curious – have YOU ever cooked lamb at home before?

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Penne For Your Thoughts? Shrimp & Snap Pea Pasta with Lemon Gremolata

shrimp snap pea pasta with lemon gremolata

Oh my goodness, I almost let National Pasta Day go uncelebrated and in my house full of noodle-lovers, that would be an unforgiveable offense.  I’ve grown my three sons into their teens on some form of pasta or another – they get that gene from their dad who lived exclusively on macaroni and cheese with tuna fish until age 29 (when we got engaged).

Carbs, carbs – yes, traditional pasta has carbohydrates. Even though I eat a higher protein diet, I do enjoy a little taste of carby comfort now and then – especially when it’s topped with a kaleidoscope of my favorite fresh produce.  I want to share with you my recipe for Shrimp & Sugar Snap Pasta with Lemon Gremolata — it may seem a little “out of season” considering the boom of butternut squash and pumpkin recipes this time of year but, trust me, it’s a welcomed ray of sunshine for your supper (and the leftovers pack nicely for lunch). Oh, and since Austin is still in its endless summer season (which I expect to last until the beginning of November), I will just continue to enjoy wearing flip flops, summery tops and just-picked-from-the-garden pasta dishes.

I adapted this pasta salad recipe from one I’ve taught in classes on behalf of the Texas Beef Council. Of course, that recipe used sliced sirloin (always a good choice) but I just knew it would be good tweaked with shrimp, chicken or just extra vegetables.  Feel free to make substitutions, this recipe is super accommodating. For example, if sugar snap peas aren’t in the market, substitute blanched green beans or lightly steamed baby carrots. Also, use the noodle you prefer – like gemelli, corkscrew, bow ties or penne! The light and vibrant Lemon Gremolata dressing will find its way into the nooks and crannies of the pasta and really pulls all the flavors together. Enjoy!

Shrimp & Snap Pea Pasta with Lemon Gremolata Recipe

  • 1 lb large shrimp, tails on but peeled and deveined
  • 2 cups fresh sugar snap peas
  • 4 cups cooked gemelli, corkscrew or pasta
  • 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in halves
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Freshly grated lemon peel
  • Chopped fresh parsley (optional)

For Gremolata Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon peel
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  1. Bring water to boil in large saucepan. Add peas; cook 2 to 3 minutes until crisp-tender. Drain; rinse under cold water. Combine peas, pasta and tomatoes in large bowl. Set aside.
  2. Whisk Gremolata Dressing ingredients in small bowl until well blended. Toss 2 tablespoons dressing with pasta mixture. Set aside.
  3. Add olive oil to medium skillet and bring to medium-high heat. Add shrimp and garlic to skillet and cook for 3 – 4 minutes, stirring constantly, until pink. Season with pepper.
  4. Remove shrimp from skillet and add to pasta mixture. Add remaining dressing to pasta mixture; toss to coat evenly. Garnish with additional lemon peel and parsley, if desired.
  5. Serves 4.
Tip -- Zest your lemons BEFORE juicing!

Tip — Zest your lemons BEFORE juicing!

 

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“So Nutty” Slow Cooker Snack Mix Recipe

Nut and Cereal party mix made in crock potRoad tripping it today, needed something yummy for the eldest teenage son and his grandfather to nibble on as we drive off to a college visit. Snack mix, Chex mix, party mix . . . .or, whatever you like to call it is always a big hit with the guys at my house. If seen entire bags of these crunchy munchies devoured for after school snacks, late night study breaks and during football games.

Making this perennial party mix at home is always better, in my opinion, because the ingredients can be controlled. For example, I believe butter is better for you than the vegetable oils in the name brand mix. And, I like to add a lot of nuts – the more the better, it adds that protein you need for longer-lasting energy. Butter, nuts, salt and such – remember, this isn’t a “diet” food, but you can enjoy it in moderation.

win me slow cookerImagine my surprise to find out that you can make snack mix in the slow cooker?! Initially I didn’t believe it would, but I whipped up my own recipe for “So Nutty” Slow Cooker Snack Mix and it worked, it totally worked!  This is a good time to remind you that I’m giving away a slow cooker —  check out the giveaway post and the recipe for Honey Balsamic Slow Cooker Chicken!

 

Okay, so a few comments on the snack mix recipe – the biggest “must tell” is that you can really swap out any ingredient for your favorite cereal, nut or other mix-in. It’s just important to get the ratios right for the butter mixture to be enough  – you’ll need about 8 cups of total volume made up of dry crunchy things and nuts. I used loads of nuts AND  Love Grown Food’s Power Os – that cereal is made partially out of a bean blend (navy, lentil and garbanzo), so you get even more protein! And, I also tossed in some Harvest Snaps Snapea Crisps!

Snack Party Mix made in Crock Pot

“So Nutty” Slow Cooker Snack Mix Recipe

  • 3 cups cereal (I used Love Grown Food’s Power Os)
  • 2 cups small crackers like oyster, Goldfish, Mini Ritz, or pretzels
  • 3 cups mixed nuts (the more types, the better!)
  • ½ cup butter (or oil of choice)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Cavender’s All-Purpose Greek Seasoning (or your favorite)
  1. Mix together cereal, crackers and mixed nuts in 4-qt or larger slow cooker.
  2. Melt butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in Worcestershire sauce and seasoning.
  3. Pour butter mixture over cereal; stir well to evenly coat.
  4. Cook uncovered on high setting for about 60 minutes, stirring frequently. Turn slow cooker to low setting and cook, stirring frequently, for an additional 30 – 45 minutes or until cereal is crisping. Remember to stir!
  5. Remove party mix from slow cooker and cool on baking sheet. Store in zip-top bag.
  6. Makes 16 one-half cup servings.

cooking light snack mixIf you are looking for more snack mix recipes, Cooking Light has a selection of both sweet and savory snack mixes that are big in taste, low in calories and high in fiber.

 

What is your favorite ingredient to put into a snack mix?

 

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