Grilled Cantaloupe with Ancho Date Sauce #FireUpYourStay

isclaimer: This post is sponsored by TownPlace Suites by Marriott. However, all opinions, experiences, content/recipes and enthusiasm are my own.

If you’ve ever had to stay in a hotel for an extended period of time, whether for vacation, business, or even “between houses,” you will likely agree that both your wallet and waistline take a hit eating every meal out. TownPlace by Marriott is your home away from home and even has Weber Grills on site.

Thank goodness for TownePlace Suites by Marriott, my favorite “home away from home” that keeps me in a happy place with all of my life’s necessary comforts — free-flowing Wi-Fi, spacious living areas, a full kitchen for recipe creating, and even high-end Weber grills in the patio area. Honestly, I was so fired up after finding out that TownPlace had partnered with Weber Grills, I created a special fresh and fit recipe to celebrate – Grilled Cantaloupe with Ancho Date SauceContinue reading

Healthy Options to Fuel Fitness at Pollo Tropical

This post sponsored by Pollo Tropical, but all opinions & enthusiasm are my own.

You’ve heard me say it a zillion times . . . I’M HUUUUUNGRY . . . I need tasty, nourishing food and I need it FAST! Well, this weekend I discovered Pollo Tropical, a quick island-inspired dining spot that filled the void in my tank without draining my pocketbook or making me wait so long as to faint from hunger. And, HURRAY, it is right across the street from the running trail at Lady Bird Lake and several downtown gyms– how I’ve never seen it before, I don’t know (I guess I was running to fast, haha).Lite Citrus Grilled Chicken Salad - Pollo Tropical thefitfork

While I wasn’t in need of a post-run meal the day I stopped in, I was sticking to my overall clean-eating plan as I’m in the middle of 5 weeks of competition for the Crossfit Games Open and two back-to-back Warrior Dash and Spartan Races Now is no time to eat junk . . . . food is fuel! 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

Keep Austin Weird Beef, Veggie and Watermelon Stir-fry

Beef Veggie and Watermelon Stir FryI have been waiting all summer to share this recipe – Beef, Veggie & Watermelon Stir-Fry!  –It’s steak “meats” watermelon (and loads of fresh veggies) atop of a plate of slightly chewy, insanely satisfying udon noodles. Earlier this year, the Texas Beef Council asked me to come up with my personal take on a Texas food tradition. “Focus on pasta,” they said, and “make it your own.”

Most of us know by now what happens when I’ve been let off the proverbial leash like that – I can go a little wild. But, my creativity isn’t random; it makes sense – to me, anyway!  My jam is merging together seemingly unlikely ingredients to make a beautiful recipe that not only comes together easily but also optimizes nourishment to support an active lifestyle.

watermelon carrots beans peppersYou might be wondering how my Beef, Veggie & Watermelon Stir-Fry a Texas “thang” – there’s no BBQ sauce in sight!  The Texas spirit is found in the local lean beef and farmer’s market produce sourced from these here Central Texas parts. It also has that far-out, Far East fusion flavor going on that’s so popular with some of the food trucks found down in the hip and happening parts of Austin that do their best to Keep Austin Weird. Heck, I do my best to Keep Austin Weird!

jen vw bus

I’m especially excited how this fit and fresh dish pairs up BEEF with WATERMELON as these are two of my all-time favorite foods ever in the history of all time, period.

Beef Veggie and Watermelon Stir Fry

This 30 minute dinner recipe features Top Sirloin, a super-lean cut of beef that has only about 5g fat and 150 calories per 3-ounce serving (along with about 26g protein)! Eating a protein portion approximately this size (25 – 30g), three to five times a day, gives me the power to feel fuller longer, stay active longer, and maintain a leaner muscle-to-fat body ratio. Of course, my meals aren’t always beef (variety is the spice of life, ya know), but lean beef is an AWESOME, nutrient-dense (think ZIP: Zinc, Iron, Protein) go-to choice that works beautifully in my life several times per week (or more).

profile facebook beef protein challengeIf you want to join the free Protein Challenge to learn more about how tweaking the protein intake in our life can help you feel and look better, sign up here.

 

 

 

 

 

What about the watermelon? Well, first off – it just screams summer in Central Texas.  I can’t think of a picnic, river tubing trip or day at the lake spent without sharing a huge watermelon with family and friends. If you’ve not ever tried watermelon warm and spiced up a bit, get ready to live on the wedge! The sweet heat flavor is fantastic and the high water content of this juicy fruit (92% water) helps keep you hydrated on most blazing hot days. Plus, watermelon is low in calories and a great source of electrolytes and antioxidants that help support my lifestyle as an athlete. Oh, and you’re going to LOVE the sprouted watermelon seeds sprinkled on the to — despite what your mama may have said, you CAN eat watermelon seeds (they’re very nutritious)!

Summer Squat Challenge -- Do 100 squats per day from this mix an match list!Learn much more about Watermelon for Fitness (uhh and don’t miss my Watermelon Workout Videos) at Watermelon.org. Here’s a little Watermelon Squat Workout I dare ya to try!

Note on the noodles: You don’t necessarily have to use the Udon noodles, I like to incorporate them when I need a little more carb energy in my life for long runs and endurance events. A great gluten-free option would be Soba noodles (made of buckwheat which is gluten free) or rice noodles . . . or just rice. I’m also going to make this dish in the future and try it totally grain-free by using spiralized zucchini or summer squash!

What have you been stir-frying lately? Favorite Fruit? Favorite type of Squat? Noodles, rice or nothing?  Please share in the comments  – XOXO, Jennifer 

This post was sponsored by The Texas Beef Council and the Beef Check Off, however all opinions, comments, enthusiasm and weirdness are my own. 

 

Beef Veggie and Watermelon Stir Fry
Beef, Veggie and Watermelon Stir-fry
Print Recipe
This fit and fresh dish features top sirloin, my favorite cut of lean beef, paired with farmer’s market-fresh produce, flavors of the Far East, and some funky South Congress food truck fusion. Keep Austin weird!
Servings
4 servings
Servings
4 servings
Beef Veggie and Watermelon Stir Fry
Beef, Veggie and Watermelon Stir-fry
Print Recipe
This fit and fresh dish features top sirloin, my favorite cut of lean beef, paired with farmer’s market-fresh produce, flavors of the Far East, and some funky South Congress food truck fusion. Keep Austin weird!
Servings
4 servings
Servings
4 servings
Instructions
  1. Toss together beef with garlic, water, soy sauce and sesame oil. Let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, stir together hot water with cornstarch until dissolved. Stir in watermelon juice, lime juice, 2 tablespoons soy sauce and 1 to 2 tablespoons Sambal Oelek according to personal preference for spicy heat.
  3. Drain and discard marinade from beef. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet over high heat. Add one-half of beef to skillet and brown for 45 seconds without stirring. With tongs, quickly turn beef and cook additional 30 seconds or until barely browned. Take care not to overcook. Transfer to a warm plate immediately. Repeat browning with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and beef.
  4. Add final 1 tablespoon oil in same skillet and bring to medium-high heat. Add green beans and peppers and stir-fry for 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add matchstick carrots and ginger and stir-fry an additional 1 minute. Add cooked beef and watermelon juice-chili sauce mixture and stir-fry another 1 minute, or until slightly thickened. Remove from skillet from heat and stir in watermelon.
  5. Garnish with chopped green onions and sprouted watermelon seeds. Serve immediately with prepared udon noodles.
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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

 

Blue Cheese Stuffed Strawberries & Fit Foodie 5k

Blue Cheese & Walnut Stuffed Strawberries make a delicious appetizer or sweet-savory dessert!Happy Mother’s Day to all the mamas out there! If you’re looking to surprise your mom with a gourmet treat my Blue Cheese & Walnut Stuffed Strawberries are a bold choice! I always see chocolate-dipped berries at the store, but this sweet-savory fruit option makes the perfect prelude to dinner, especially when paired with a glass of wine or sparkling water.

Blue Cheese & Walnut Stuffed Strawberries make a delicious appetizer or sweet-savory dessert!

This fruit and cheese recipe is also a spectacular appetizer to bring to either a fancy cocktail party or casual backyard get-together. It can just be our little secret that this healthy recipe only takes 15 minutes or less to prepare, and no cooking! And, I’m partial to Artisan Reserve Blue Cheese Crumbles from Litehouse Foods, look for it in the gourmet cheese section of your market.  Recipe at the bottom of the post!

The Fit Foode 5k and Race Weekend in Austin, TXAnd, speaking of healthy, yummy food, I want to announce that the Fit Foodie Race Weekend will be in Austin June 24 – 26, 2016. You DO NOT want to miss the epic event for the health-minded epicurean! I have been an ambassador for the race all three years it’s come to Austin, and it is absolutely my favorite 5k! Hosted by Cooking Light and Health Magazine, this is a food and fitness lover’s weekend dream come true – running, workouts and really good food!  There are pre-race parties and post-race parties and yoga, workouts, cooking demos and an over-the-top expo area – as they say, calories burned, calories earned!  The Fit Foodie Race Weekend really is amazing! Plus, this year, marathon superstars Bill Rodgers and Ryan Hall will be making appearance – I’m bringing my selfie stick! Early registration is only $35 for the 5k and entrance into the John Hancock Vitality Village.  Plus, use my discount code FITFORK for an additional 10% off! Register HERE!

Do you have a favorite fruit appetizer? Have you ever run the Fit Foodie 5k (in addition to Austin, the race is also in San Diego, Fairfax and Tampa)? Or, tell me one of your top fun 5ks! Please share in the comments below – xoxo, Jennifer 

 

 

 

Blue Cheese & Walnut Stuffed Strawberries make a delicious appetizer or sweet-savory dessert!
Blue Cheese & Walnut Stuffed Strawberries
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
24 appetizers 15 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 appetizers 15 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Blue Cheese & Walnut Stuffed Strawberries make a delicious appetizer or sweet-savory dessert!
Blue Cheese & Walnut Stuffed Strawberries
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
24 appetizers 15 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 appetizers 15 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: appetizers
Instructions
  1. Slice strawberries in half lengthwise, leaving some of the green top on each half.
  2. With the back of a spoon, scoop out a very small amount of the inner flesh if the berry doesn’t naturally have a significant hollowed center.
  3. In small bowl, mix together cream cheese, blue cheese and walnuts with a small spatula until well combined.
  4. Place about a 1 teaspoon dollop of cheese mixture in the center of each berry half, slightly pressing down to “set” in place.
  5. Drizzle strawberries with honey and sprinkle on a bit more blue cheese, if desired.
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Ignite MY Fight! Running Shoes, WOD and CrossFit Games Open

Jumping in Bluebonnets Puma IgnitesWhy am I jumping the in bluebonnets? Well, for a couple reasons – it’s finally spring and the sun is OUT, the 5-week CrossFit Games Open is OVER (mini recap below) and I have a snappy new pair of running shoes to keep my feet happy and hopping.

Puma Ignite Running Shoes in Austin Spring Flowers Trail Run

Puma Ignite Running ShoesFirst, let me tell you about the shoes – love them! They are called Puma Ignite, a super responsive running shoe that features cushioning to disperse impact while providing energy return to help make me faster. Usain Bolt wears them, so enough said!  The uppers are not only attractive and available in a range of color combos, but these shores are made with lightweight materials to provide a super comfort with a light ride – the average weight is 8 ounces.  As a neutral and efficient runner, I often run in really light shoes for speed work and shorter tempo runs – but definitely enjoy the little extra oomph of these Puma Ignites for everyday runs through the neighborhood and logging lots of miles on the road. I’ve also worn these shoes to the gym and Crossfit and have found them to provide enough cushioning combined with flexibility for explosive box jumps, burpees and jumping rope.

Speaking of CrossFit, here’s my quick rundown on the 2015 Crossfit Games Open that just ended a week ago.  First of all, I swallowed my pride and I decided to compete in the new scaled division this year and am so glad I did. Last year, in a couple of the RX’d WODs, I just plain ran into a wall where I physically could not perform the task – mainly, I’m talking about the heavier Olympic lifting. For example, last year I remember on the deadlift ladder, I knocked off the sets of 95lb, 135lb and even 155lb deadlifts, but then had to just stand there and watch the clock tick away helplessly because there was no way I could deadlift 185 lbs once, let alone the 20 times I needed to get back to the box jumps.

2015 CrossFit Games Leaderboard - Jennifer Fisher

Jennifer Fisher 2015 CrossFit Games OpenSo, my point here is that in the scaled division I was actually able to get after it in the workouts for a maximum personal effort  – that made it much more fun (if one can call quivering quads, raw palms and sore-for-days shoulders “fun”)!  It was still HARD! The exiting part is that at the end of the five weeks, I actually placed 12th in the South Central states region in my age group and even won 1st in the 15.3 WOD!  My worst workout by far (and really hurt me in the rankings) was the 15.1B where after completing a full workout, you immediately had to get the bar overhead with a max load. I never expected how trashed my arms would be and I really failed on this one –  I also rarely try to PR any of my lifts (usually just keeping everything low with lots of reps).  Next year I know what I need to focus on!

Are you ready to IGNITE your next workout?  I’ve put together this Don’t Stop (Ignite Your Fight) Workout that will test your stamina and strength, both mental and physical. Don’t stop, don’t give up half way through — you’ll be on fire, but in a good way!  Also, check out the Puma Ignite running shoes if you are looking for a great pair that will take you from a morning run to an afternoon at the gym.  Don't Stop Workout - Ignite your fight in this CrossFit style workout from TheFitFork.com

 

Do you wear the same shoes for running and working out — or do you buy activity-specific footwear? Please share in the comments!

This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of PUMA.

Maple Ginger Chocolate Bread Recipe & #R3Summit Recap

Maple Ginger Chocolate Bread - TheFitFork.com Whew, things have slowed down enough that I can share with you the great experience I had at Prevention’s R3 Summit. Happy to say that I “R3’d” the day away – relaxing, refreshing and reinventing! Jennifer & Mom at Prevention R3 SummitSome of the highlights for me were getting to spend some quality time with my mom – even though she lives in Austin, most of the time we’re together it’s with all my kids in tow. We enjoyed ourselves at the reception Friday night (I actually drank an entire glass of wine, so it we’re talking wild times) and caught the screening of Resistance, a documentary about antibiotic resistance being perpetuated the medical and agricultural industries.

R3 Summit Cartwheel

HA! Cartwheeling at the R3 Summit LAST year!

Saturday we spent the entire day listening to panels on topics like eating clean, loving your age, and more – Andie MacDowell was the featured speaker and she seemed just as lovely on the inside as out. Prior to the event, I was able to “ask” her a question about getting older and it was published in an article on Prevention.com . In that interview and in-person, she mentioned that she likes to do handstands and cartwheels – a lady after my own heart.  I would like to challenge her in a handstand-off! Henna Tattoo R3 Summit AustinBetween speakers, Mom and I got our chakra cleared, had our stress reduced with Reiki healing and took part in a few fun workouts. Again, this year, one of my favorite appointments was with the henna artist who painted me up with a beautiful tattoo – I was sad to see if fade away a couple weeks later.

TheFitFork Wild Planet Cook Off R3 SummitOf course there was food – healthy, healing, good-for-you food. Quinoa salad, yogurt and fruit, almonds, green teas and – fish! One of the companies on site was Wild Planet Foods – they sell sustainably caught seafood (think canned tuna, sardines, anchovies – but YUMMY!) while supporting the conservation of wild marine ecosystems.  They were sponsoring a Food Network-style “Chopped” competition using their canned tuna — oh, you know I was SO up for this. Ten of us battled it off to come up with a tuna recipe using a provided array of ingredients – in 10 MINUTES from start to finish.  In my mind, I hatched my recipe, execution and plating strategy before we even started (that’s the competitor in me) – my finished product was Tuna & Quinoa Salad with Creamy Lemon Gremolata Dressing . . . . served in scooped out lemons. I must say, it was lovely. When I have time to sit down and recollect my thoughts, I’ll be sure to share the recipe!

So, SAVE THE DATE – I don’t know exactly when, but I imagine the 3rd annual R3 Summit will be in October 2015 in Austin (editors told me they love, LOVE the health and fitness scene here).  Meanwhile, start reading Prevention Magazine – not just the website but a good old-fashioned paper version that is mailed straight to your house! I have conveniently provided you a link to subscribe here and at the bottom of this post. This month’s issue was packed with good stuff – including a bunch of healthy chocolate recipes including this Maple Ginger Chocolate Bread (they called it cake, but I’m not going there) which I recreated with some minor tweaks for you!

Maple Ginger Chocolate Bread = TheFitFork.com Maple Ginger Chocolate Bread Recipe

  • 1 ½ cup flour
  • 1 cup maple sugar (or regular sugar)
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¾ cup milk (or milk substitute)
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips
  • ½ cup crystalized ginger, chopped
  1. Heat oven to 350 F degrees. Lightly coat three mini loaf pans with baking spray. Actually, I think lining the pans with parchment paper worked better.
  2. In medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and ginger.
  3. In another bowl or large glass measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, olive oil and vanilla extract.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix together with spatula until just combined. Gently stir in chocolate chips and ginger pieces.
  5. Bake on center rack for approximately 35 – 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center pulls out clean.
  6. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan.

Prevention provided me free admission and products to attend this event. However, all opinions and commentary are strictly my own.