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!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Sandwich Bros. The opinions and text are all mine.
Life is to short. I want to wake up and seize the day immediately, but I also want to eat a good breakfast. This could explain why I’m often fashionably late. My morning meal is often the reason I am running a bit behind, I’m a stickler on eating a protein-rich, balanced breakfast and often the preparation takes more time than anticipated.
I’d say about half the month, my meal prep game is strong – I’ve got meats pre-portioned in the freezer and waiting to be tossed into egg scrambles or I’ve made master mixes of my protein mug cakes. But there are admittedly weeks when the frenetic pace of managing work, training and crazy-busy family schedule has me falling off pace. But, thank goodness to one of my new favorite finds for the freezer – Sandwich Bros. Flatbread Pocket Sandwiches in their breakfast flavors.
Packaged individually, family members can grab a Pocket out of the freezer and make a protein-rich breakfast in less than 2 minutes with absolutely no stress or thinking. I don’t think too well before a couple cups of coffee! Another plus, they are “ Really…Really Tasty!”
I love the Egg White & Turkey Sausage variety, this flatbread pocket is filled with a fluffy egg white cheddar omelet and lean Jones® sausage patty. If counting calories, you’ll be happy to learn this breakfast item has only has 150 calories per serving and 4 weight watchers points. The only macro I track is protein, with a goal of 25 – 30 grams per meal. Getting enough protein in the morning helps you start the day right, providing longer-lasting energy, promotes satiety, aids in muscle management, and can prevent unhealthy snacking later in the day.
This yummy Egg White & Turkey Sausage has 11 grams of protein, that’s really good considering only 150 calories! I’ll typically pair this low-cal breakfast entree with a small sugar-free Greek yogurt topped with fruit for another 18 grams of protein. I’m totally winning breakfast, and I only opened a few wrappers!
When I’m feeling fancy, I pull open my produce drawer to see what veggies I have to stuff in my flatbread pocket to add even more nutrition. Today I found spinach and tomatoes! Mushrooms, peppers, zucchini, and onions make yummy stuffers too. Add the veggies to the pocket before or after microwaving, depending on the texture you prefer! It’s so easy!
There are other Sandwich Bros. Flatbread Pocket Sandwiches for breakfast including Egg & Cheese, Sausage & Cheese, and Turkey Sausage and Cheese. They also make other flatbread sandwiches that work for a quick lunch, dinner or snak. Get a COUPON and try them yourself – you can find them at Walgreens, Walmart and Sam’s Club along with other locations. Start the day off right and get that #SandwichBrosSmile
In addition to the COUPON, here’s a deal you don’t want to miss! I’m hosting a giveaway and one lucky entrant will win an entire year’s supply of Sandwich Bros. Flatbread Pocket Sandwiches – 52 free product coupons (to use on 4-ct or 6-ct boxes)! Whoohooo, if you win, breakfast problems will be solved for a good long while! Enter via the Rafflecopter app below:
Did you see my post in late August about my partnership as a Role Model in the upcoming If Girls Ran the World (IGRTW) virtual running event? I case not, I wanted to share more info and provide a gentle nudge to join me in this important female-focused cause that runs the entire month of October 2016.
It’s going to be starting in just a few weeks, don’t miss out! Here are some questions you may have:
What is IGRTW? IGRTW is a non-profit that supports girls and women around the world by providing tools, skills and opportunities they need to rightfully pursue a safe, happy, healthy and abundant life. The virtual running event is happening the entire month of October with a special day dedicated on October 11th. Participants around the country join virtual teams and will be each logging miles, supporting each other and the cause, and raising funds for charities that support women and girls.
What charity does IGRTW benefit? Well, as a Role Model and team captain, I was allowed to choose the charity that was the closest to my heart. I chose the The Hunger Project, a strategic non-profit dedicated to the sustainable end of world hunger. Their vision is a world where every woman, man and child leads a healthy, fulfilling life of self-reliance and dignity and they rely on native women as the major change agents within communities receiving aid.
Is The Hunger Project the only charity? No, there are many others – Girls in Tech, Susan G. Komen and Every Mother Counts are examples of others. Check out the others here.
What’s in it for participants? First, you get to help empower women at the grassroots level and have the opportunity to donate or raise funds yourself to maximize the impact (but this is optional). Second, you will be motivated to exercise every day from Oct 1 to Oct 31 to help keep the movement going. Third, there is registration swag, the opportunity to win cool fitness-related prizes and more.
Do I have to actually run? Of course not, but if you can great! You can also ride a bike, row, walk or do something else to log miles – and YOU set the mile goal so that it remains totally attainable, whether 1 mile or 1000 miles. We want this to be a win-win for everyone! If you aren’t physically able to exercise, your support (financially, cheerleader-wise or any other way you see fit) is completely welcomed!
I hate to beg, but I’d be honored and humbled to have you join my team. Please register for the If Girls Ran the World virtual running event and join my team. I hate to hit you up, but nce you read through mission of If Girls Ran The World and The Hunger Project, I’m pretty sure you’ll want to chip to the cause a bit. It doesn’t have to be a lot – even $5 or $10 would help me get to my goal of raising $500. But, please note, you don’t have to donate to join my team – just join for the running support if you like!
Is there a discount code? Yes, use code BFF at REGISTRATION to save 50% — which makes the event only $12.50.
How do I join your specific team? After you register, go to Team Jennifer – TheFitFork.Com and join, that’s it! Drop me an email if you have questions or troubles at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you so much for reading all the way through and for your consideration of this important cause! If you have troubles signing up or joining my team, please send me a message at email@example.com Love ya! XOXO – Jennifer
I must say, I slayed yesterday’s tempo run and I think it was the dragon fruit smoothie I made for my afternoon snack. Just like the perfect run, where speed comes without too much suffering, can be elusive . . . so is the dragon fruit. You don’t see this beautiful tropical fruit very often, mainstream markets don’t usually carry them – so if you ever do see one, snatch it up! The Dragon Fruit, also known as a Pitaya, Strawberry Pear or Mood Flower, is the unusually striking fruit of a cactus – don’t worry, there are no thorns or stickers on it! There are different varieties – pink or yellow exterior and white or magenta interiors speckled with tiny edible seeds. Despite their showy appearance, the taste is quite mild, similar to a kiwi – I have found the yellow variety to be the sweetest.
Health Benefits of Dragon Fruit: First of all, like most fruits, dragon fruit is hydrating and provides healthy complex carbohydrates to fuel to body and brain. Dragon fruit is also surprisingly high in phytonutrients. Rich with beneficial antioxidants, this pretty (and pretty powerful fruit) a serving contains 10% Daily Value of vitamin C, polyunsaturated (good) fatty acids, a bit of protein, carotene, and several B vitamins that are essential for the optimal metabolism of carbohydrates.
I recently came into a huge windfall of dragon fruit from Frieda’s Produce, so I ate all I could simple by slicing open and digging out the flesh with a spoon! I’ve also sliced the fruit and put on my salads, in my yogurt and used in salsas. They keep for about a week in the fridge (wrap in plastic wrap to extend the life) and can also be cut up or pureed to freeze. Later this week, before I go into freezer storage mode, I’ll be making Dragon Fruit Chia Jam. Stay tuned for that!
Today, I’m sharing that smoothie I hinted at, the one that made me run fast – haha! My recipe for a Dragon Fruit Coconut Smoothie Bowl is a nourishing sweet treat that is a quick fix for breakfast, a pre or post workout snack or healthy dessert. It was almost too pretty to eat. Almost. If you can’t find the fruit fresh, I’ve noticed that many upscale grocery stores sell it in the frozen fruit section.
Dragon Fruit Coconut Smoothie Bowl
- 1 cup dragon fruit flesh (fresh or frozen)
- 12 ounces almondmilk/coconutmilk (the carton kind from refrigerated section like Blue Diamond)
- 1 scoop vanilla protien powder (or substitute 1/2 banana)
- 2 tablespoons shredded unsweetened coconut
- 1 tablespoon cacao nibs (I like the ones from NOW Foods)
- Additional dragon fruit for garnish
To prepare, add dragon fruit, unsweetened coconut milk, and protein powder to blender. Process until smooth. Pulse in enough ice until desired consistency achieved. Pour into bowl (or tall glass) and top with shredded coconut, cacao nibs and additional dragon fruit if desired. Serves 1
Have you ever tried a Dragon Fruit? What is your favorite smoothie ingredient? Had a good, end-of-summer run lately? Please share in the comments – XOXO, Jennifer
This post is sponsored by Mountain States, however all comments, opinions and enthusiasm are my own.
I had a wonderful weekend with my family cooking up new memories – well, grilling them up, to be exact! Sitting down together to a simple yet super flavorful lamb dinner was the perfect exclamation point to the end of our summer together (as school started back up Monday and our oldest left the nest again for 2nd year in college). Until recently, my three teen boys didn’t have many memories centered on lamb, but I sure had some recollections – and they mostly involved around stuffy Sunday dinners of yore at a relative’s home wearing uncomfortable clothes, shoes that pinched and being forced to “politely” clean my plate of mushy vegetables and an old-school prepared lamb roast.
After hearing various friends, from Paleo diet devotees and flavor-centric foodies, rave about the virtues of this red meat that’s been enjoyed across various cultures for century upon century, I penciled lamb onto my “things to grill sometime” list – oh, you how I like to grill everything! When Mountain States (producers of Shepherd’s Pride and Cedar Springs lamb, raised right here in the U.S.) sent some delicious looking lamb loin chops my way, they were bumped to the top of the to-do list – it was time to give ‘em my modern, fit foodie spin. If the speed at which my guys devoured dinner is any indication, you are going to LOVE my recipe for Grilled Lemony Lamb Loin Chops with Spinach Gremolata Sauce. #GoForTheBOLD
The loin chops couldn’t have been any easier to prepare with a simple marinade, less than 10 minutes on the grill, and an easy no-cook sauce. When meal-making is a no-brainer, there is more precious time to spend with family and friends – mine will be seeing this lamb recipe again soon at my backyard Labor Day cookout.
If the weather turns too cool this fall season to barbeque al fresco, these lamb chops easily translate to an indoor grill or stove top grill pan. And, the bright lift of lemon will remind you of a beautiful, never-ending summer! You can see them here served with grilled Shishito Peppers (that recipe posted tomorrow).
While these lamb chops are delicious served unadorned, I prefer to drizzle them with a gremolata sauce prepared with olive oil, lemons and spinach (another twist on tradition). I get so excited when this tangy, flavorful gremolata runs off my chops and into my grilled veggies, potatoes or pasta– it’s a versatile sauce to dress nearly every main dish, side dish, pasta and salad.
Protein-lovers, let me tell you a little more why lamb should make it onto your menu weekly rotation. First of all, a 3.5 ounce serving contains approximately 25g protein, the optimal amount for your body to process at any one “eating experience.” How many times have you heard me stand on my soapbox and tell y’all to eat 25g to 30g of protein at every meal – you need this amount for sustained energy, muscle management, healthy aging and more! Mountain States lambs roam pastures, grazing on grass, herbs and alfalfa, making it a great source of omega 3s (especial alpha-linolenic acid) and is also rich in iron, zinc, selenium, vitamin B-12 and niacin. If you want to try cuts other than lamb loin, every choice (which the exception of ground) is classified as “Lean” or “Extra Lean” by the USDA. Get more lamb nutrition information here.
Because I love feeling connected directly to the ranchers, I will keep getting my lamb from Mountain States. Mountain States (sold as the brands “Shepherd’s Pride” or “Cedar Springs American”) is a co-op owned by more than 150 hardworking families across the US who have been ranching for generations. These Shepherd’s Pride ranchers are committed to producing a clean, complete protein given no hormones or antibiotics, raised just the way nature intended. Additionally, it is the only lamb that carries the third-party Where Food Comes From ® source-verified label. This means, with a scan of the label, I know exactly where my food comes from, where it was raised, and who handled it. Now THAT is some detailed data that will satisfy even the cleanest of clean eaters! Wondering where to buy lamb from Mountain States? When I used their Store Locator, I discovered (yay) my neighborhood H.E.B. grocery store carries it – or, you can ask your butcher!
Check out this sweepstakes and enter for a chance to win US lamb and a patriotic dinner wear set perfect for your Labor Day party! #GoForTheBOLD
When is the last time you’ve tried lamb? Do you grill year-round? Any exciting Labor Day plans? Please share in the comments below! XOXO, Jennifer
Life is an adventure and many days, I’m so worn out from my adventuring that I just don’t want to make a meal – especially, if my husband and boys are gone doing their own thing, and it’s just me! But, a nourishing meal is a must to keep me fueled up for the next epic event – be that training for an obstacle race, stand up paddle boarding all day, or hurdling over parking lot puddles on my way into the store!
Today, I’m sharing a single-serve lunch or dinner solution that is, I must say, quite genius! It’s a “Just Add Hot Water” Spicy Shrimp Spinach Soup that is perfect for an almost instant fix when you’ve got the hangries. The idea is to fill up a glass jar about halfway with fresh ingredients (like marinara, veggies, brown rice and cooked shrimp), stick in the fridge until ready to eat, and then add boiling hot water and shake, shake, shake before slurping up! When you have to work at your desk through lunch, this almost instant soup recipe is 100x better than peanut butter crackers out of the vending machine and can be made just as fast by nabbing hot water from the break room.
But, it’s not only for eating outside the home. If you fancy yourself a meal prepper, multiply this single-serve soup recipe and feed the family all week! Keep loaded in the fridge and your kids can make their own on those busy nights when no one is (unfortunately) sitting down for dinner at the same time.
I can always count on Mezzetta® Marinara to help me whip up a quick and easy meal, whether it simple zoodles with sauce or an egg poached in marinara (yum)! I’m all about the #MarinaraSauce . . . every jar of Mezzetta® Marinara is packed with the world’s best tomatoes hailing from the rich soils of Italy’s San Marzano region. Mezzetta® believes in using the fewest, freshest and finest ingredients in their marina sauces (which also contain no added sugar, unlike many other brands).There are six delicious flavors of Mezzetta® Marinara including the Calabrian Chili & Garlic (used in my recipe), Italian Plum Tomato, Whole Garlic & Sweet Basil, Caramelized Onion & Butter, Truffle, Porcini & Cream, and Parmigiano Reggiano
Use it on pizza or spread it on a panni!
You know what would be a great break from all this business of life? A fabulous Italian adventure!!! I have always dreamed of this trip, it is on my bucket list! Mezzetta® is giving away an 11-Day Italian Vacation to Italy, you need to ENTER NOW! One winner (and one guest) will attend culinary experiences (including cooking class and farm tour) in the San Marzano region of Italy and explore other cities of Italy. The Grand Prize trip consists of the round trip coach air transportation between the major commercial airport nearest winner’s residence and Rome, Italy, the culinary experience and tour of Italy. CLICK HERE TO ENTER
What adventure is at the top of your bucket list? What are your everyday adventures? Have a creative use for marinara sauce? Please share in the comments – XOXO, Jennifer
You may be thinking, “Ummmm, excuse me . . . but what the heck on God’s green Earth are SQUACHOS”? This quick and easy appetizer is a healthy swap for traditional nachos made with tortilla chips which are typically fried, overly salted and plentiful in carbs (if you’re counting). Made on slices of summer’s finest squash, my Steak & Quinoa Squachos are, in two simple words, “life changing!”
The farmer’s markets (and personal gardens of you green-thumbers) are exploding with green zucchini and yellow summer squash this time of year — and this fun and fit finger food is a tasty way to take advantage of a bumper crop and squeeze a few extra veggies into the day.
Recipes similar to this use panko bread crumbs to create that familiar nacho crunch — but that defeats to purpose of my low-carb, higher protein mission. So, instead, I tossed together almond meal and cooked quinoa with a bit of cheese to create a tasty texture on top of each squash disc.
I used two of my go-to non-GMO, gluten-free and certified organic pantry staples from NowFoods.com — Tri-Colored Quinoa and Raw Almond Flour. This tri-color quinoa a blend of white, red and black seeds and is a great source of protein and iron — I typically serve it as a side dish or salad, but freeze leftovers for speedy recipes like this! Raw Almond Flour (or Almond Meal, as some people call it) is simply finely ground almonds and it makes a great low-carb swap for flour in many recipes. If you can’t find these products in your market, I’ve dropped the Amazon links below.
Now, if you’ve been following along on the blog or social media, you know I’ve been sharing my (numerous time) journey on the Protein Challenge and encouraging others to join. This free 30-day challenge sponsored by BeefLovingTexans.com (who I also originally developed the Squacho recipe for) shows you how to tweak your daily protein intake for optimal heath — to be very succinct, you should be getting about 25 – 30 grams of protein at each of your three meals — and also protein rich snacks throughout the day and possibly at bedtime, depending on your activity level. You can register for the Protein Challenge and get tips, support and recipes HERE.
What are your other plans – a race, a vacation, just catching up on the to-do list? Let’s chat in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer
When it comes to feeding my family, I’m all about honesty and transparency. I never was that mom who tried to disguise cauliflower, peas or broccoli as something else – Instead, I just told the kids what they were getting, left it to them for sniffing, prodding and (hopefully) eating! If a certain food seemed to be less loved, I’d just strike up a dinner conversation about its particular powers, still telling the truth, but playing to the action hero infatuation of little boys.
This journey of growing three little boys into strapping young men (almost 14, 17, and 19 years old) has been fueled by an enormous amount of food, I’ve found favor with a handful of companies who really listen to their consumers to create and deliver the food products that we really want – not just what’s easiest of most cost-effective to sell to us. While my boys may have been too young to care about exactly how and where their food was source, I sure did!
That’s why The Dannon Company, Inc. has been a brand I’ve trusted for years. We are definitely a family of dairy and yogurt lovers! I am happy to report the Dannon Pledge to transition some of their top-selling brands toward production with nonGMO ingredients along with removing additives and preservatives. In addition to this customer-driven change, the company is also creating nonGMO feed for cows in their diary supply chain, the first national company to so. As consumers, we’ll easily and clearly be able to determine which Dannon products are nonGMO by the label – this “transparent” labeling change will be complete by the end of 2017.
Dannon has built relationships with every farm they source milk from, providing us additional transparency in the nonGMO process. You see, Dannon knows what’s going with their dairy farmers from start to finish in the process, they care about the farmers and they care about us! Additionally, knowing who and where the milk comes from has helped Dannon implement and optimize animal welfare practices via the Validus Certification system. At this time, Dannon estimates that more than 90% of their direct milk supply comes from farms that are Validus certified.
I am a huge Greek yogurt fan and love the Okios Greek Yogurt — I get the unflavored plain variety so I can stir the sweeteners and toppings of my choosing. Hello beautiful things of Mother Nature, check out the Dragon Fruit, Mango, Blueberry “Flower” on top of Oikos. These are some other favorite flavor combos (not all pictured):
- Bananas & Walnuts with Honey
- Strawberries & Almonds with Vanilla Stevia
- Peaches & Pecans with Maple Syrup
- Raspberries, Chocolate Chips, Chocolate Power Os from Love Grown Foods
- Blackberries & Hemp Seeds with Lemon Stevia
- Madarin Oranges & Pistachios with Sugar-free Chocolate Sauce
- Apples, Granola & Peanut Butter
- Almond Butter & Chocolate Chips
So, are you familiar with The Dannon Company, Inc.? They make something for everyone, learn more about the top-selling brands and the Dannon Pledge at:
Sooooo, what is your stance on genetically modified foods? What are your favorite yogurt flavors or toppings? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer
This post contains content sponsored by The Dannon Company, Inc. The opinions expressed in my post are my own. For more information on Dannon’s move toward sustainable agriculture, naturality and transparency,and nonGmo ingredients visit www.dannonpledge.com and www.dannon.com/ingredients .