Almost Time for “If Girls Ran The World” Virtual Run – Join Team TheFitFork!

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.

If Girls Ran the Word virtual running event October 1 - 31, 2016.

It’s going to be starting in just a few weeks, don’t miss out! Here are some questions you may have:

if girls ran the world jenniferl

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 jennifer@thefitfork.comb

if girls ran the world runner 2

 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 jennifer@thefitfork.com  Love ya! XOXO – Jennifer

Hunger Slaying Dragon Fruit Coconut Smoothie Bowl

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! jennifer dragon fruitThe 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.

Dragon Fruit Varieties

dannon dragon fruit yogurt1I 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!

Dragon Fruit Coconut Smoothie Bowl is brimming with beautiful yumminess -- the perfect breakfast, workout snack or healthy dessert! Of course, you can also pour this smoothie in a tall glass! for on-the-go enjoyment.

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

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)
  • Ice
  • 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

 

Lemony Lamb Loin Chops with Gremolata #GoForTheBOLD

This post is sponsored by Mountain States, however all comments, opinions and enthusiasm are my own. Lemony Lamb Loin Chops with Gremolata -- a tangy sauce and grilled lemon slices will lift this lamb dish to the top of your favorites. Grills in less than 10 minutes and an excellent source of lean protein.

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.

Grilling lamb for our last summer weekend together!

Grilling lamb for our last summer weekend together!

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

Grilled Lemony Lamb Loin Chops are a quick and healthy meal solution, only 8 minutes to grill and packed with lean protein and other important nutrients.

Lemony Lamb Loin Chops

After marinating for 1 hour, lamb loin chops are ready for the grill!

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.

Wow, my lamb chops and lemons grilled up in 7 to 8 minutes!

Wow, my lamb chops and lemons grilled up in 7 to 8 minutes!

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).  Lemony Lamb Loin Chops with Shishito peppers

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. Mountain States Lamb Loin Chops - a lean, grass-fed protein choice

Shepherd's Pride Lamb - Raised without antibiotics or hormonesBecause 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!

For additional details on cooking and food safety information regarding lamb, please visit MountainStatesRosen.com.Go For the Bold US Lamb Giveaway

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

Lemony Lamb Loin Chops with Gremolata -- a tangy sauce and grilled lemon slices will lift this lamb dish to the top of your favorites. Grills in less than 10 minutes and an excellent source of lean protein.
Lemony Lamb Loin Chops with Gremolata
Print Recipe
1 tablespoon minced garlic 1 cup packed baby spinach leaves ½ teaspoon white pepper ½ teaspoon salt
Servings Prep Time
4 Servings 40 minutes
Cook Time
8 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 Servings 40 minutes
Cook Time
8 minutes
Lemony Lamb Loin Chops with Gremolata -- a tangy sauce and grilled lemon slices will lift this lamb dish to the top of your favorites. Grills in less than 10 minutes and an excellent source of lean protein.
Lemony Lamb Loin Chops with Gremolata
Print Recipe
1 tablespoon minced garlic 1 cup packed baby spinach leaves ½ teaspoon white pepper ½ teaspoon salt
Servings Prep Time
4 Servings 40 minutes
Cook Time
8 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 Servings 40 minutes
Cook Time
8 minutes
Instructions
  1. Add lamb chops, oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper to heavy-duty plastic zip-top bag. Move the chops around in the bag until well-coated with marinade. Marinate for 1 hour to overnight in the refrigerator, no longer than 12 hours.
  2. After marinating, remove chops from marinade and discard remaining liquid. Season to preference with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat gas or charcoal grill to approximately 400F degrees. Grill chops with the lid up, flipping once, for 3 to 4 minutes per side or until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees (medium-rare).
  4. While lamb is grilling, also grill lemons for several minutes per side, or until beginning to lightly char. Transfer chops and lemon slice to platter and rest for at least three minutes before serving or slicing.
  5. While lamb is resting, place all ingredients for gremolata in food processor or blender and pulse until partially smooth but with small spinach pieces.
  6. Serve chops with a grilled lemon sauce and drizzle of gremolata.
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“Almost Instant” Spicy Shrimp Spinach Soup, Just Add Hot Water

thefitfork jennifer fisher paddle boardLife 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!

Spicy Shrimp and Spinach Soup with Marzetta Marinara

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. picy Shrimp Spinach Soup - just add hot water!  The perfect meal for lunch at your desk on nights when kids have to make their own!

Mezzetta Spicy Shrimp Spinach Soup

Just pour in 1 1/2 cups of water heated in microwave, coffee pot or hot water spigot!

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. Spicy Shrimp Spinach Soup

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

Mezzetta Pizza SauceMezzetta® also makes a pizza sauce that is out of this world!

Use it on pizza or spread it on a panni!

 

Mezzetta Win 11 day trip to Italy

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

Spicy Shrimp Spinach Soup
"Almost Instant" Spicy Shrimp Spinach Soup, Just Add Hot Water
Print Recipe
Add boiling hot water to a jar full of fresh ingredients, shake, pull out a spoon and . .. viola, you've got a quick and healthy meal solution for lunch or dinner! Yay for portable instant soup!
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 10 minutes
Cook Time
1 minute
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 10 minutes
Cook Time
1 minute
Spicy Shrimp Spinach Soup
"Almost Instant" Spicy Shrimp Spinach Soup, Just Add Hot Water
Print Recipe
Add boiling hot water to a jar full of fresh ingredients, shake, pull out a spoon and . .. viola, you've got a quick and healthy meal solution for lunch or dinner! Yay for portable instant soup!
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 10 minutes
Cook Time
1 minute
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 10 minutes
Cook Time
1 minute
Ingredients
Servings: serving
Instructions
  1. Layer all ingredients in quart-sized jar with sealing lid. Keep chilled for up to four days until ready to eat. When ready to serve, add 1 ½ cups boiling water (from microwave, tea kettle or coffee pot) and pour into jar. Add lid and shake well to combine, open and enjoy! Serves !
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Steak and Quinoa Squachos – NachOMG!

Steak and Quinoa Squachos are a healthy take on nachos and gluten-free, low-carb appetizer optionlYou 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!”

Steak & Quinoa Squachos - gluten-free and low carb appetizer!

Zucchini and Summer SquashThe 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.

Steak and Quinoa Squachos -- a low carb, gluten free appetizer!

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.
 

More Protein, More PowerNow, 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.

Join the 30 day Protein Challenge

Steak & Quinoa SquachosSo, are you making these Squachos this weekend, or what?!

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 

 

 

Steak and Quinoa Squachos are a healthy take on nachos and gluten-free, low-carb appetizer optionl
Steak & Quinoa Squachos
Print Recipe
You'll exclaim "squash-OMG" when you taste these unique beef nachos that swap tortilla chips for discs of zucchini -- almond meal and quinoa create a crunch texture while keeping the appetizer gluten-free and low carb.
Servings
8 as appetizer
Servings
8 as appetizer
Steak and Quinoa Squachos are a healthy take on nachos and gluten-free, low-carb appetizer optionl
Steak & Quinoa Squachos
Print Recipe
You'll exclaim "squash-OMG" when you taste these unique beef nachos that swap tortilla chips for discs of zucchini -- almond meal and quinoa create a crunch texture while keeping the appetizer gluten-free and low carb.
Servings
8 as appetizer
Servings
8 as appetizer
Ingredients
Servings: as appetizer
Instructions
  1. Preheat broiler on high. 2. Line two rimmed baking sheets with foil, coat with baking spray.
  2. lice squash into ¼” slices. Place squash, with edges touching each other, onto baking sheets.
  3. In bowl, toss together almond meal with dry fajita seasoning. Stir in cheese, cooked quinoa and almond meal until combined.
  4. Use a tablespoon to pile a big dollop of this cheese mixture on top of each squash slice. If leftover topping in bowl at end of dolloping, sprinkle evenly across tops.
  5. Cut leftover steak or fajita meat into bite-sized pieces. Place a piece of two of beef on top of each Squacho.
  6. Place oven rack on second to top position. Broil Squachos for 2 to 4 minutes, or until cheese mixture bubbling and turning golden brown on edges Watch carefully to prevent burning.
  7. Remove from oven and sprinkle with drained Pico de Gallo. Serve with other desired accompaniments such as guacamole, sour cream or salsa.
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Healthy Toppings for Yogurt + #KnowYourYogurt Inside-Out

Dannon #KnowYourYogurt

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.

jen  boys birthday 1

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.

Dannon Oikos Yogurt #KnowYourYogurt

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):

Healthy Yogurt Toppings to add extra yum to your breakfast, snack or healthy dessert.

  • 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:

dannon logo

 

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 .

Get Active Outdoors in Austin #FromHereForHere

 

This post was sponsored by Ozarka Water, however all opinions, recipes, and enthusiasm are my own.Hi How are You Mural from AustinI love living in Austin, Texas and, with the exception of a few boomerang moves, I have called this little place (well, now a BIG place) home my entire life – not many folks can say the same! Sure, the live music scene and hipster vibe has made this town trendy and it’s also the place to be for high tech, politics, and a good food truck fix.   However, the opportunities for being active are what I appreciate most about being right here in the ATX. The weather is wonderfully warm and the sun seems to never stop shining on the abundance of parks, lakes and local events where I stay active. And, there are so many local businesses that make products #FromHereForHere (like Ozarka Water) that keep me hydrated and fueled up for my healthy fitness journey.

Sometimes I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.  My neighborhood has over 20 miles of hike and bike trails to run and explore . . . 

#FromHereForHEre Trail Run in Austin

My house is sublimely sandwiched between two bodies of water. Three miles one way is Lake Travis, the largest reservoir of the Colorado River and home to swimming, boating, scuba diving, and even legal nude bathing in the Hippie Hollow park area (we all want to #KeepAustinWeird). Another three miles down the road the other way is the return of the Colorado River at Mansfield Damn before it turns into downtown’s Lake Austin (more recently renamed Ladybird Lake).

I like to paddle board toward downtown for miles or until my arms tire out . . .

Paddle Boarding Lake Austin

#FromHereFor Here Jet Ski in Austin

 

Some days I get my motor started by taking the jet ski out . . . 

 

 

 

 

 

Or, sometimes I just relax and sit in a chair while my son enjoys after-dinner fishing while our dog standing on guard . . . 

davis fishing with lucy

And, if the water sports in Austin weren’t enough, there is every type of endurance sporting event imaginable – my favorites are probably the Spartan Race in nearby Burnett at Reveille Ranch and the Fit Foodie Race.

Of course, being so active in Austin requires the proper hydration and snacks! And that’s where I can count on Texas to treat me right again! There are so many beverages and foods #FromHereForHere that make it heaven for the adventurous, healthy foodie like myself.

Ozarka Water  by Lake Austin

jennifer ozarkaWith the heat and amount of physical activity I do in the summer, I always concerned about getting enough water. At the top of my cooler you’ll find Ozarka ® Brand Natural Spring Water, sourced from three nearby springs, this water has a uniquely Texan fresh taste! It’s so easy to stay hydrated with this clean-tasting, crisp water that’s available in convenient single-serve bottles and for Ozarka® water delivery at home.

Gotta have that Ozarka ® Brand Natural Spring Water! I try to drink an ounce per pound of my body weight, even more if I’ve run far or worked out hard!

All these outdoor workouts in in Austin makes a girl hungry So, I came up with a super easy nut recipe using a few local ingredients #FromHereForHere . It’s perfect to pack up in a snack baggie for on-the-go munching at the lake or post run!  My Habanero BBQ Almonds use Yellowbird Sauce (a peppery condiment that puts the whoowhee hot yum on EVERYTHING, Sweet & Spicy Mustard Seeds from Taste Elevated that add in interesting mustard sweet-heat flavor and BBQ Sauce from Snow’s BBQ Sauce (named best in the state by Texas Monthly staff).

Habanero BBQ Almonds

To make, heat skillet to medium- high over stovetop. add 1 cup raw, unsalted almonds. Toast, stirring constantly for 4 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup BBQ sauce, 2 teaspoons habanero sauce, 1 tablespoon moist, jarred mustard seeds (with sauce) and 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt. Cook over medium-low for an additional 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Makes 1 cup.

JElly Queens Spice Kings Grill OzarkaI also found some new local ingredients for my grilling creations — I can’t wait to try them! The Black Garlic Rosemary BBQ Sauce from Jelly Queens  is an umami bomb of flavor! I first learned about black garlic about a year ago as an ingredient, but have never seen it used in a prepared artisan product – this stuff will send your taste buds out of bounds!  They also make a fab-looking Steak Rub that will be so on fleek crusting up my flat iron!

Chips Queso Bean Salad OzarkaWhen I’m packing a picnic lunch for the lake, my recipe for Mom’s Best Black Bean, Avocado & Corn Salad is ALWAYS a winner – in fact, the California Avocado Association even named it the winner in the July 4th All-American Recipe Contest in 2014! But add some local love to this salad, I take along Queso con Salsa Escabeche from CookWell & Company  (built around a blend of blue and cheddar cheeses!) and Paqui’s  Tortilla Chips (“better for you” tortilla chips named after the Aztec word for “to be happy”). The family and I are snacking happy until the sun sets!

What do you love most about your hometown? Do you have any must-try local food products? Do you drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water per day? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

 

Sweat Drenching Days & #SummerHydration Drinks

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and The Coca-Cola Company. All opinions are mine alone. #SummerHydration #CollectiveBias

thefitfork.com trail runCentral Texas summers are brutal and I know it’s just as hot (if not more so) in other parts of the country —  so I’m not complaining. But, keeping me and my family hydrated sometimes seems like a full-time job, given the active, on-the-go lifestyle we lead.  From traipsing off to an all-day lacrosse tournament then logging a long run on the trails to killing a CrossFit workout in a gym without air-conditioning followed by “playtime” at the pool, it’s easy to see why I’m constantly running the risk for dehydration.

cvs hydraton drinks on grillHeck, it’s easy to go into sweat overload just running errands to get ready for our annual backyard BBQ this weekend. I am so thankful for all the CVS stores on my route that are open and ready to top off my tank with a cool, refreshing drink – and with so many hydration options, it’s easy to find something that suits my lifestyle (and I always bring home something for the kids)! Discover the hydration option you might like best by answering a few questions in my 20-second #SummerHydration Helper.

In a normal 24-hour period (not even hot, sweaty, fitness-filled days), the average person loses 8 cups of water – and, again, this doesn’t even include exercise or sitting out in the sun.  If this water isn’t replaced, the heart has to work harder and other organ functions begin to deteriorate as well. Symptoms of being dehydrated include headaches, dizziness, drowsiness, muscle cramping, nausea and vomiting.  Dry mouth, chills and flushed skin are other clues.  I also tend to get quite cranky leading up to dehydration and, oddly enough, the skin on my inner forearm gets wrinkly.

I have two quick little self-checks for dehydration. First, I check the color of my tinkle – if it’s dark or even moderately yellow, I know I need to drink more fluid – if it’s pale or clear, I’m good! Also, I pinch the skin on the back of my hand and pull it upwards. Once released, the skin should snap back rapidly – if not, I know I may be dehydrated. Quick — I pull off the road and run into CVS to cool off and top off my “tank” with a hydration beverage!

I like ALL THE BEVERAGES for #SummerHydration

I like ALL THE BEVERAGES for #SummerHydration

Some experts say drink 8 to 10 8-ounce glasses of water per day, others say drink an ounce per pound of body weight – that’s probably a good goal in the summer months.

These are just benchmarks, you may need more or less liquid – however, the main point is to listen to your body and look for any clue that you may be dehydrating.  Better yet, be proactive and stay hydrated in the first place.

cvs hydration bucket of drinksCVS Health and The Coca-Cola Company have teamed to help us all attain our quest for wellness with an important campaign called “Life Quenching.”  Check out “Life Quenching” to learn more about the dangers of dehydration and the benefits of hydration.

Lots of hydration options at CVS from The Coca Cola Company.

Lots of hydration options at CVS from The Coca Cola Company.

And remember, with a CVS on nearly every city street corner (it seems!), it’s easy to make a quick stop to grab the hydration option that best fits your needs and personality.Just head in the front door and make a beeline past the cash registers to the big refrigerated section along the wall bearing a huge sign “BEVERAGES” overhead — you can’t miss it!

Find your hydration option at CVS in the refrigerated beverage section!

Find your hydration option at CVS in the refrigerated beverage section!

Remember, sometimes waiting until you get home to rehydrate is too long! Be proactive, beat the heat, stay hydrated! Also, don’t miss the great deal right now going on at CVS – Spend $5 on these products, get $2 in ExtraBucks rewards in-store with your CVS ExtraCare Rewards Card.  It’s a fantastic hydration deal, I totally loaded up at my last stop!

So, what do you do to stay hydrated? What is your #SummerHydration beverage of choice? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer