Carnitas & Street Corn Stuffed Zucchini with Ole Frijoles Pinto Bean Sauce

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Farmer Direct Co-op, however all opinions, content and enthusiasm are my own.

Spiralizing zucchini is trend that will never grow old, but every now and then I like to turn the tide and unleash deliciously stuffed zucchini boats for dinner. I’m not talking about the old-school stuffed squash my mama used to make with our backyard garden bumper crop, it might have been a bit mushy, bland, and hard to swallow (sorry mom). Instead, my recipe for Carnitas & Street Corn Stuffed Zucchini Boats with “Ole Frijoles” Pinto Bean Sauce is totally crave-worthy and turns supper-time with spicy south-of-the-border fiesta. Carnitas & Sreet Corn Stuff Zucchini With Bean Sauce

With pre-shredded pork roast and pinto beans cooked overnight, this family favorite recipe can be made in just 30 minutes – making it perfect for a busy weeknight meal. It can also be prepped the night before and popped in the oven 20 minutes before dinner. I’ve used pinto beans from Farmer Direct Co-op and, at the end of this post, you can grab the zucchini recipe and also enter to win a giveaway prize pack that includes an assortment of their top-selling organic, non-GMO and fair-trade products packaged in 1lb. bags.

Continue reading

Post Workout Snacking #OnAQuest + $25 Visa Giveaway

More than 90 percent of adults snack between meals and that’s a good thing, if done right! Most dieticians recommend eating a couple healthy snacks per day, given overall good food choices are being made. Selecting protein rich snacks can help improve satiety and promote weight loss or maintenance. But for athletes, protein-rich snacks also have an effect on workout recovery and future performance -protein is the fuel that supports muscle repair and growth and provides long-lasting energy throughout the day.20170314_103115-01_resized

Because of protein’s role in these areas, it’s the only macro this number avoiding girl counts. Time and time again you’ve heard me say I aim for 25 to 30 grams at every meal and also the same amount within 30 minutes of an intense workout or long run. However, for snacks after a light workout, in the middle of a regular day, or just because “I’m hungry,” I take the protein consumption down a bit at snack time – 12 to 14 grams per snack is perfect for me. My new favorite protein snack is the Quest Beyond Cereal Bars that I got at Vitamin Shoppe.  Read on to find out more about high-protein snacks and these yummy new bars from Quest. Continue reading

5 Tips to Improve Double Unders  + Giveaway Courtesey XShadyside Pittsburgh Gym

Jumping rope sounds like child’s play, but it’s a fierce workout that requires cardio-vascular endurance, coordination and razor focus. But, if turning the rope in a single rotation isn’t challenging enough, give your game new “ups” with double unders.5 Tips to Improve Double Unders - ideas to help your  jump rope skills take off for Crossfit and other workouts.

Read on to find tips that will help you up your Double Under game . . . and also enter my giveaway (sponsored by a Pittsburgh Gym I’ve partnered with) for a chance to win a $25 gift card to Dick’s Sporting Goods to get new gear (like maybe a fancy jump rope). Continue reading

Eat Clean and Win Dinner without Breaking Sweat + giveaway  

Cooking is my thaaaaang! I’ve been going hard in the kitchen since 4rd grade, teaching myself how to make everything from buttery cinnamon muffins to tater tot casserole. Flash forward four decades and I’m still in full meal-making beast mode nearly every day. Although, this time as it all goes down a little “healthier” thanks to my role as a clean-eating cooking coach, corporate recipe developer and personal chef (haha) to my family with three teenage boys. Jennifer of The Fit Fork at Snap Kitchen

But sometimes this hardworking mama needs a break and that’s where Snap Kitchen saves the day for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack time.  I can count on this convenient healthy meal shop to cure my hangries while keeping me on track with nutritious foods to fuel my running, workouts and active lifestyle. Read on to find out how you can make eating clean at every meal easy thanks to Snap Kitchen. Plus, I’m sharing some of my favorite tips for eating clean and having a giveaway for a $25 Visa Card so you can get your mouth on some of these meals yourself.

Continue reading

Five . . .err, Make that Fifteen for Friday!

I don’t usually do a “5 for Friday” shoutout, but this week has been full of so many interesting, fun, amazing things that I though I should. Then, I realized I had excessively more than 5 things to share – so, you’re getting “15 for Friday!”  I’m talking about everything from amazing eco-wellness products from Shiftcon, the lotions I put on my face, a really cool app-based, customized meal delivery service, my latest ambassadorships, the 3M Half Marathon, mystery excitement news, and more! You have to read on to find out all the deets!

Jennifer Fisher 3M Half Marathon Austin, Texas 2017

Continue reading

Favorite Healthy Blender Recipes that aren’t Smoothies + Giveaway

This post and giveaway are sponsored by Hamilton Beach. However, all content, comments, recipes and enthusiasm are my own.

My engine is revving and I’m whirling with excitement to be sharing some of my favorite blender recipes today (including a special nut butter recipe) – you’ll notice there are no smoothies (it’s just too cold for me)! I’m also hosting a giveaway for a new Hamilton Beach ® Professional 1800 Watt Peak Power Blender (ARV $249), whoohoo! This versatile workhorse for your kitchen easily emulsifies oils into dressings, frapees fruit into frozen drinks, purees potatoes into porridge, chops veggies for your moire poux, and makes meat  . . .uh, well, minced meat It also makes child’s play of pulverizing the heartiest seeds and nuts into butter.

Sriracha Six Seed & Nut Butter delicious on wraps, as a dip, made into a sauce or by the spoon!

Check out my recipe for Smoky Sriracha Six Seed & Nut Butter featured today on Hamilton Beach’s Every Day Good Thinking blog. And then, come back to enter the blender giveaway and drool and pin my other favorite blender recipes.

Continue reading

Get a Grip Workout + ‘Tis the Spartan Race Pass Season #Giveaway

Note: After you “get a grip” make sure you pop all the way down on this post to find out about 2017 Season Passes for Spartan Race (hurry, they are rumored to sell out soon) an also to enter my giveaway for a chance to win a free Spartan Race registration. 

If you’re not training grip, you’re likely sabotaging any chance getting through a Spartan Race burpee free. Reflect back to your last race and count up the number of obstacles that require a strong and lasting grip. These grip-intensive obstacles include the rig, the monkey bars, the bucket carry, the rope climb, the Tyrolean traverse, Tarzan swing, wall jumps, and, lemme see, nearly everything . . . including shaking hands on the podium!

Grip Training for Spartan

By adding grip-training exercises to your workout a few times per week, you can achieve lower-arm and grip gains which will increase your strength to handle more weight and more reps  — or, basically hold on longer! The muscle guys in the gym swear by grip training maximize strength and size, but don’t worry girls – I work out my grip often and don’t have Popeye-sized forearms, pretty sure you have to be genetically predisposed or questionable supplement enhanced for that to happen.

There are three types of grip including. support grip (hanging and holding), crush grip (clenching and squeezing) and pinch grip (pinching). Training these different grips oven overlaps one another, but here are some basic categories of grip-strength exercises:

Hanging – Try to hang from any surface with shoulders fully extended, in the “deadhang” position until failure. Grab onto a variety of surfaces (safety first) including traditional pull-up bars, fat bars, the ends of towels or functional straps (like GripSling … use code thefitfork20 to save 20%) ropes, tree limbs, rafters, vertical pipes — each provides a different challenge to the grip.

Dead hang for grip strength.

Lifting – Grip is always involved in lifting, unless you are doing legs on a machine. The fatter the bar used in your lifts, the more difficult it will be on your grip. That’s why those chubby monkey bars at Spartan Race are harder than the garden variety playground version. A wider diameter bar redistributes stress from the joints and onto the muscles as the weight is transferred to a larger area of the hand.  If your gym has a fat bar, try it. Or, purchase special grips to slide on (check out Fat Gripz), or simply wrap a strap or towel around the bar.

Carrying – Practice carrying objects of different sizes and poundage, your body will have to adjust accommodate the varying loads. Of course, the whole body is involved in toting stuff around, a strong grip can help you hold more and go further. Carries to practice include farmer carry with plates, dumbbells, kettlebells or any other luggable item with a handle. For greater grip gains, try threading a towel through the handle and carry grasping onto the ends of the towel. Also, practice carrying non-handled, heavy objects such as sandbags, pancakes, loaded buckets from the base.

Farmer Carry with a towel for grip training.

Pinching – Improve your pinch grip, and hopefully maintain contact with the Z Wall or Horizontal Climb obstacles, by mastering exercises that require maintaining contact with an item placed between thumb and fingers while leaving palm open. Classic pinch grip exercises include the one hand pinch plate, two hand pinch plate and pinch plate curls.

Pinch Plates exercise for grip strenth.

Example: Pinch Plates

Farmer Carry with a towel for grip training.

Example: Plate Curls

Crushing – Maximize your crush grip strength by squeezing grippers, tennis balls or beer cans. I also think the mobility balls from ACUmobility work pretty well for gripping — save 20% with code AcumobFitFork Look at that grimace below, I’m having my crush grip strength measured.

jennifer-fisher-thefitfork-com-death-grip-fittest-fitfluential

Get a Grip Workout will strengthen your lower arms for better obstacle crushing in Spartan and other obstacle course races.

So, ready to give grip training a try? Work in any of the methods I’ve described above, or try this “Get a Grip Workout” I like to do every week.  Use the appropriate poundage for your strength and frame, and progress slowly – these exercises are way harder than they sound, and honestly, the first few sessions you may think nearly impossible (or at least I did).  For those who’ve crushed the workout, I’ve added challenge modifications – have fun!

Spartan Season Pass 2017

Also, before I slip away for my Spartan training, I wanted to tell y’all to HURRY and get your Spartan Race 2017 Season Passes ASAP, they are very likely to sell out quick. Thankfully, there are three Season Pass options – Trifecta Pass, Open Pass and Elite Pass – so one should suit your level of crazy. I opted to get my husband and I each the Trifecta Season Pass – it’s good for three races in any division (elite, competitive and open) and comes with additional perks. It can be used for Beast, Super and Sprint – but the fine print actually says you do any three distances of your choosing, even if all the same.  The Open and Elite Passes are more expensive, but your get #ALLTHESPARTANALLTHETIME

So, head over and get your Spartan Race Season Pass today – it also makes a great holiday gift for the obstacle course fan in your life. Meanwhile, enter my giveaway for a code for FREE entry into a Spartan Race of your choice (U.S. Open Division only). But, don’t let entering stop you from getting the Season Pass – if you win, you can use it to encourage a significant other, one of your children or a buddy to try his or her first race!

Disclaimer: Giveaway and promotion of Season Pass sponsored by Spartan Race, however all opinions, comments and enthusiasm are my own.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cranberry Orange Bourbon Beef Stew w/ Sage Romano Grits + #StubbsInsider Giveaway

This post and giveaway was sponsored by Stubb’s Legendary Bar-B-Q , however all opinions, comments and enthusiasm are my own.

Cranberry Orange Bourbon Beef Stew on Sage Romano Grits

This holiday season, I’ve made a vow to make all my meals with love, happiness and smiles. Not just the big celebration dinners, but also the crazy night meals when we’ve been out all day running errands, visiting with family or volunteering with our favorite charity (Brown Santa).  Some times on these chaotic nights, I get grumbly about making supper, but shortcuts with Stubb’s Legendary Bar-B-Q products  keep me grinning even after sitting in shopping mall traffic or spending hours trying to figure out which bulb in a string of lights has burned out.

Cranberry Orange Bourbon Beef Stew on Sage Romano Grits in slow cooker

For this slow cooker recipe, I’ve used Stubb’s Smokehouse Bourbon Cookin’ Sauce. This convienient product (which is gluten free) works in both the skillet and slow cooker. It contains a flavorful sauce pouch made with bourbon, garlic and rosemary along with a spice packet that can be used to prep the meat. Browning Stew Meat

One little hint extra step I have for this quick and easy recipe is to brown the stew meat before putting in the crock pot. While this may seem unnecessary (and you can skip if absolutely pressed for time), it does create an amazing caramelization on the beef which helps to create a more complex flavor experience. Cranberry Orange Bourbon Beef Stew on Sage Romano Grits -  an easy slow cooker meat that will satisfy your guests this holiday season.

Don’t just think of Stubb’s ONLY as a way to fix traditional Texas BBQ. They have so many delicious Bar-B-Q sauces, marinades, rubs and Cookin’ Sauces that offer bold flavors to spur on your creativity in the kitchen this holiday season.

Of course, I love to create my own new holiday recipes as well as revisit family food traditions, but why recreate the wheel on every single side dish for Thanksgiving, Christmas and other winter family gatherings when Stubb’s has complied a delicious collection of recipes for the season?! stubbs-roasted-brussels-sprouts

Yes-sir-ee, the Stubb’s Roasted Brussels Sprouts will be a delicious compliment to my Slow Cooker Cranberry-Orange Beef Stew with Rosemary Garlic Grits. You need to try these, so amazing!   

stubbs-cranberry-orange-beef-packageTo help you get cooking with down-home but daring style, I’m hosting a giveaway for one reader to win a Stubb’s Prize Pack that includes a spatula, T-shirt, Stubb’s hat and coupons for free Stubb’s products (yeehaw)!  Just enter via the Rafflecopter app below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Cranberry Orange Bourbon Beef Stew on Sage Romano Grits
Cranberry Orange Bourbon Beef Stew w/ Sage Romano Grits
Print Recipe
Warm up with this tasty beef stew that is slightly spicy, sweet and tangy -- it makes a hearty meal topped on grits but you can also pair with pasta, potatoes, and whole grains.
Servings Prep Time
4 to 6 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
4 hours
Servings Prep Time
4 to 6 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
4 hours
Cranberry Orange Bourbon Beef Stew on Sage Romano Grits
Cranberry Orange Bourbon Beef Stew w/ Sage Romano Grits
Print Recipe
Warm up with this tasty beef stew that is slightly spicy, sweet and tangy -- it makes a hearty meal topped on grits but you can also pair with pasta, potatoes, and whole grains.
Servings Prep Time
4 to 6 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
4 hours
Servings Prep Time
4 to 6 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
4 hours
Instructions
for stew
  1. Sprinkle stew meat with spice packet from Stubb’s Slow Cooker Sauce (or simply season with salt and pepper for alternative preparation).
  2. Heat large, heavy-duty skillet to medium-high heat and brown stew meat in single layer. Don’t overcrowd, work in batches if necessary, draining cooking liquid between.
  3. Add browned stew meat to 6-quart slow cooker along with chopped onion, cranberry sauce, orange segments, orange zest, bourbon and Stubb’s Slow Cooker Sauce. Stir to combine.
  4. Top slow cooker with lid and simmer on high heat for 4 to 6 hours, or until beef tender. If desired, add 1 cup fresh cranberries to last 1 hour of simmering.
  5. *** If you can’t find Stubb’s Cookin’ Smokehouse Bourbon Flavor, the use this substitute. To season stew meat before browning, sprinkle with mixture of 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon ground pepper and ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes. For liquid, add 1 cup beef broth, 1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder, 1 teaspoon ground cumin and add an additional 1 ounce of bourbon whiskey.
for grits
  1. Add water to saucepan and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Slowly stir in grits, sage and salt and then reduce to medium-low for simmer.
  2. Simmer for about 7 minutes stirring frequently. When thickened, stir in cheese until incorporated. Remove from heat.
  3. To serve, place a mound of grits on a plate and use a slotted spoon to remove beef, onions and fruit from slow cooker. Top with optional garnishes of grated orange zest and chopped parsley.
Share this Recipe
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe