DIY Watermelon Beet & Chia Energy Blocks for Marathon

This post is sponsored by The National Watermelon Board. However, all opinions, ideas and enthusiasm are completely my own.

Almost six years ago, I started experimenting with making my own edible race fuel. There weren’t as many options on the market back then, and I also liked the control I had over ingredients and flavor when making energy gels, jellies and chews from scratch – not to mention saving a ton of money. Watermelon Beet Chia Energy Blocks

Today I’m sharing my recipe for Watermelon Beet & Chia Energy Blocks that are surprisingly easy to make and take advantage of the inherent health and performance benefits of the featured ingredients. Read on to get the recipe, nutrition info and details on how you can use these chews in your next marathon, triathlon, obstacle race or other endurance event.  Continue reading

Apple Freekah Salad with Ancho Honey Vinaigrette

This post is sponsored by Now Foods. However, all content, opinions and enthusiasm are my own.

It’s easy to excited about September and the promise of all things autumn – the crisper weather, the golden cast the sun makes, the rah-rah of sports teams, and, of course, comforting food in all the fall flavors . . . especially apple!   Apple Freekah Salad with Ancho Honey Vinaigrette

My Apple Freekah Salad with Ancho Honey Vinaigrette makes a hearty yet still healthy choice for lunch or dinner, packed with filling whole grains, pumpkin seeds, golden raisins and spinach. It’s also a great choice for football tailgating, as it can be served warm or cold. Read on to get the full recipe and learn more about the benefits of apples, freekeh and pumpkin seeds.

Continue reading

Watermelon, Tomato & Jicama Salad with Tajin Honey Dressing

Between my birthday on July 3rd, followed immediately by Independence Day and a family reunion at the lake beginning, July 6th, I’m happy to report that I’ll be enjoying more than a week of non-stop, fun-in-the-sun festivities. No complaints about the 100-degree weather from me, this is my absolute favorite time of the year! Watermelon Jicama Tomato Salad with Tajin Honey Dressing

On the agenda: morning runs, paddle-boarding, wake boarding, jet-skiing, fishing, helping with some landscape work and then lounging around on the dock. All this is sure to make a person thirsty and hungry. I’ll be at once hydrating and enjoying a wholesome snack thanks to watermelon and my latest recipe, Watermelon, Tomato and Jicama Salad with Tajin Honey Dressing. Read on to get the all the deets, the full recipe and how you can incorporate watermelon into your casual summer entertaining. Continue reading

Honey Garlic Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken – Meal Prep Winner!

Sure, you can slow cook chicken breasts with just two ingredients, chicken and water. It’s fine, it’s no-frills and it does yield a protein that is, ahem, serviceable to the body (but less so to the taste buds). However, my recipe for Honey Garlic Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken is soooo much more flavorful, with really not any significant additional effort.

Honey Garlic Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken

While ever-so-slightly sweet and gar-lip-licking good, the seasonings are still mild enough to make this easy Crock Pot chicken recipe versatile enough for a myriad of meal prep plans. Read on to get all the easy-peasy details. Continue reading

No-Cook Chocolate Protein “Baklava” Bites

Ahhhhh . .  Chocolate. Pistachios. Honey. A hint of cinnamon.  My Chocolate Protein “Baklava” Bites are a muscle-making take on this ancient honey and nut dessert hailing from Greece and Turkey (both countries lay claim to its origin).  Chocolate Protein Baklava Bites

You’ll notice there’s no thin layers of phyllo in this healthy sweet treat! No need to get distracted with difficulty of preparation (and gluten) this adds to the recipe. Instead, I’ve put together a 15 minute recipe that is packed full of great nutrition to fuel your active lifestyle and requires absolutely no cooking. Read on to get all the nutty details along with the full recipe! Continue reading

Sheet Pan Ginger-Honey Chicken w/ Sweet Potatoes, Apple, Fennel

ginger-honey-sheet-pan-chicken-close-upI’ve had 99 problems this week, but at least getting a quick healthy dinner on the table wasn’t one of them thanks to this Sheet Pan Ginger-Honey Chicken with Sweet Potatoes, Apple & Fennel. This dish is so simple to prepare, just a couple minutes of chopping, tossing on a cookie sheet and drizzling with a quick sauce to keep everything moist white it to roast for 30 minutes – and only one pan to clean up!

Ginger Honey Sheet Pan Chicken with Apples, Sweet Potato and Fennel a simple yet hearty sheet pan dinner with loads of seasonal vegetables and a touch of honey and ginger. Easy clean-up, great for weeknights!

honey-ginger-sheet-pan-chicken-pouring-on-dressingA bed of fresh, seasonal vegetables  make a “lift” for the chicken breasts, ensuring they cook up nice and evenly – plus, I butterflied each massive breast to make a more reasonable-sized portion and speed up cooking time.  I originally developed this recipe for Litehouse Foods using their Organic Ginger with Honey Dressing which marries all my ingredients with just a touch of sweetness and the brightness of ginger.  In case you can’t find this dressing in the refrigerated section of your produce department, I’ve adapted the recipe (and noted how to do the bottled dressing swap).

apple-sweet-potato-onion

Fennel is one of the ingredients in this dish, and one I should definitely use more often. The scent of fresh fennel is amazing. It smells like black licorice but the cooked bulb has a very mild taste, you can use it as you would an onion. The crunchy raw bulbs and feathery stems can be used in salads, dips, and such to add an herby, aromatic effect.

jennifer fisher thefitfork brainpower5kIn other news, I jumped into my first 5k since the spring and was thrilled to come in 2nd overall female despite the hills, humidity and feeling slightly off my game at the start (in training and sleep). Had the lead until halfway when a girl about half my age made her move and I just could never muster up a surge. But, anyway, it’s all good and gets my head and heart back into the game for the Fall season.

So, what non-cookie recipe have you made on a baking sheet? Have you ever tried fennel? Are you running this fall — 5ks, marathons, or around the neighborhood? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

 

Ginger Honey Sheet Pan Chicken with Apples, Sweet Potato and Fennel
30min Sheet Pan Ginger-Honey Chicken w/ Sweet Potatoes, Apple, Fennel
Print Recipe
A simple yet hearty sheet pan dinner with loads of seasonal vegetables and a touch of honey and ginger. Easy clean-up, great for weeknights!
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Ginger Honey Sheet Pan Chicken with Apples, Sweet Potato and Fennel
30min Sheet Pan Ginger-Honey Chicken w/ Sweet Potatoes, Apple, Fennel
Print Recipe
A simple yet hearty sheet pan dinner with loads of seasonal vegetables and a touch of honey and ginger. Easy clean-up, great for weeknights!
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F degrees.
  2. Cut bulb off fennel stalks and slice bulb, removing core and root. Set aside 2 tablespoons of snipped feathery leaves from stalks to use as garnish.
  3. Drizzle oil on large rimmed baking sheet and fill with cut sweet potato, apple, onion and fennel in single layer (some overlap okay). Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Add chicken on top of vegetable layer, sprinkle entire pan with five spice.
  5. In small bowl, whisk together "dressing" of olive oil, vinegar, honey and ginger. Drizzle approximately 1 ounce of dressing over top of each chicken piece (alternatively, use 1/2 cup of the store-bought dressing - Organic Ginger with Honey Dressing from Litehouse Foods.
  6. Place in oven on center rack and roast for a total of 30 minutes (up to 40 minutes depending on chicken thickness), drizzling the chicken with juices collected with a baster or large spoon approximately halfway through cooking time.
  7. Garnish with snipped fresh fennel.
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Good Morning! Plantain and Lentil Coffee Cake (gluten free)

Plantain Lentil Coffee Cake  Today I’m sharing a mouthwatering and marvelously moist (apologies haters of that word) cake that’s approved (by me) to eat along with your cuppa Joe at breakfast . . . or at lunch or dinner, for that matter. It’s a Plantain Lentil Coffee Cake! No, I’m not pulling your LEGume, but I did use legumes (that is, lentils from Farmer Direct Co-op) to keep my quick-to-fix cake tantalizing tender as well as boost up the nutrition.

Plantain and Lentil Coffee Cake is free of refined sugar and the lentils add extra protein and fiber!

This yummy, quick-to-fix cake is a healthy solution for those sweet breakfast or snack cravings. Free of high-gylcemic sugars and overly-refined flours and grains, this recipe relies on the wholesome goodness from plantains, lentils and a gluten-free baking mix. I used a one-to-one measure sugar replacement to keep the calories and carb count down – my go-to is Ellyndale Naturals™ Sugarless Sugar™ from NOW Foods. But, you can also swap in a different sweetener, like coconut sugar, if you prefer.

Farmer Direct Co-op Lentils

I use Farmer Direct Co-op as my source lentils, these little green gems are organic, non GMO and fair trade.  In the past, I had a hard time thinking of uses for lentils past soups or stews . . . or keeping a jar of cooked lentils in the fridge to sprinkle on my salads. But then I had a light bulb moment –why not use pureed lentils (or beans) in recipes for baked goods to add moistness with less oil – plus more fiber and protein!

slice plantain lentil cake toes

I knew my kids would be suspicious if I told them we were eating a cake made of plantains and lentils – so I didn’t say a word. When they gobbled it up and asked for more “banana bread,” I knew this recipe was a winner! While I have cooked it in a 10” pie dish, it also bakes up well in an 8” x 8” brownie pan or as 12 standard-sized muffins.

farmer direct logoWhen it comes to being organic, farmer-owned and fair-deal, Farmer Direct Co-op is 100-percent all of the above and more. Their mission is to promote their co-op farmer’s organic products while building and promoting a healthy environment and socially just food system. When you purchase from Farmer Direct Co-op, you’re buying more than a pea, a lentil or a bean . . you’re buying into part of an evolution of eating aimed at truly nourishing the mind, body and soul.

Head on over to Farmer Direct Co-op to learn more about their awesome company and products like 1lb. shelf bags of Pinto Beans, French Green Lentils, Split Green Peas, Regular Rolled Oats and Quick Rolled Oats. STOCK UP YOUR PANTRY!  They also have a nice collection of healthy recipes on their blog made with whole foods.

Have you ever used beans or lentils in a a baked recipe, how so?! Please share in the comments, XOXO — Jennifer 

This post is sponsored by Farmer Direct Co-Op, however all opinions, comments and enthusiasm are my own.

Plantain Lentil Coffee Cake
Plantain and Lentil Coffee Cake
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
9 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
35 minutes
Servings Prep Time
9 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
35 minutes
Plantain Lentil Coffee Cake
Plantain and Lentil Coffee Cake
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
9 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
35 minutes
Servings Prep Time
9 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
35 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Cook lentils in water according to package instructions, let cool to room temperature. Drain cooking liquid.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
  3. Add cooked lentils to food processor along with chopped plantain and almond milk. Process until reasonably smooth. Pulse in one egg oil and coconut oil until combined.
  4. Remove work bowl from processor and add sugar substitute, stirring in to combine. Add baking mix and mix until just combined, scraping down sides of bowl with spatula, as needed.
  5. Pour batter into baking 10-inch round or 8" x 8" square baking dish coated with coconut oil spray. Sprinkle top of batter with shredded coconut and sliced almonds (or tiger nuts).
  6. Bake at 350 F degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center pulls clean. Let cook and cut into nine slices served with a drizzle of honey over the top.
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Brazilian Beef and Plantain Breakfast Bowl

Brazilian Beef and Plantain Breakfast Bowl

One bite of my Brazilian Beef & Plantain Bowl (with egg, honey and toasted coconut) and you’ll happily say “Tchau” to a tower of pancakes, waffles or buttered toast in the morning!  Loaded with protein, quality complex carbohydrates, iron, potassium and other essential nutrients, this easy breakfast made with leftover steak will fuel you for a full morning of demanding activities! The flavor combination may sound weird, but trust me, it’s so delicious! Pra caramba!

Brazilian Beef & Plantain Breakfast Bowl is a healthy way to start the day, packed with 28g protein and quality complex carbs for energy.

The protein in the recipes is a combination of 3-oz. left over lean steak (like top sirloin, strip, tenderloin, flat iron, etc.) and a single, sunny-side up egg. Along with a little bit from the plantain, you’re getting about 28 grams of protein with this meal – the ideal amount to consume in a single sitting.

Each Day is a New Start! It’s the perfect morning meal for a Protein Challenge!  Each day is a new start, so beat yourself up if your diet wan’t exactly “on point” yesterday — you get a new chance to eat well today!

I always feel best when I’m eating 25g – 30g protein evenly spaced at each meal. Plus, it helps prevent snacking!

 

 

If you’re not familiar with plantains, you can typically find them in most grocery stores in the “exotic produce” area. This “vegetable-banana” is a less sweet and a little more starchy tasting than a regular banana – but so yummy when baked, microwaved or sautéed! They are a common ingredient in the cuisine of Mexico and Central / South America and in Brazil go by their Portuguese name of “banana-da-terra.”

Oh, and now for something crazy beef & bananas that isn’t actually food! It’s me planking until failure the other day before teaching a Grilling 101 class at the Texas Beef Council. 

pinners conference pic 1I’ll teaching a class on “Empowered Meal Prep – Protein for Fitness”  at the Pinner’s Conference in Dallas on Sept 9 & 10th. I’ll be sharing this Brazilian Beef & Plantain Breakfast Bowl along with a delicious Molasses & Pepper Flat Iron Steak recipe and Super Iron-Boosting Steak Spinach Salad. Sign up for my class, I’ll also have beef swag and lots of tasty samples!  Use the discount code FITFORK at online registration to save 10% on the very reasonable cost that allows you access to 100+ classes on food, fitness, crafts, home décor and more! Or, if you just want General Admission to shop and see the sights (no classes), you can get a free pass ($7 at door) using FREESHOPPING. RESISTER HERE

Have you ever used plantains in a recipe? Do you have a planking hashtag for me?  Are you watching the Summer Olympics? What has your favorite moment been so far? Please share in comments, XOXO – Jennifer

 

Brazilian Beef and Plantain Breakfast Bowl
Brazilian Beef and Plantain Breakfast Bowl
Print Recipe
Power up your day in savory-sweet South American style with this hearty, protein-rich steak breakfast bowl featuring plantains, coconut, honey and an egg!
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Brazilian Beef and Plantain Breakfast Bowl
Brazilian Beef and Plantain Breakfast Bowl
Print Recipe
Power up your day in savory-sweet South American style with this hearty, protein-rich steak breakfast bowl featuring plantains, coconut, honey and an egg!
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Add coconut oil to medium skillet and bring to medium-high heat. Sauté chopped plantains and yellow peppers for approximately 6 to 7 minutes, or until plantains turning golden brown and peppers softening.
  2. In the last 90 seconds or so of cooking, stir in steak chunks to gently reheat without overcooking. Slide the steak mixture into 4 cereal-sized bowl and set aside.
  3. Immediately poach or fry eggs to your preferred level of yolk “doneness.” Slide a cooked egg on top of each bowl of beef mixture and season with salt, pepper, sprinkle of coconut and a drizzle of honey!
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