One-in-a-Melon Holiday Gift Guide for Watermelon Lovers

Even though summer season has long gone, the watermelon lover on your holiday list is sure to love any of these gifts inspired by the planet’s favorite jumbo-sized fruit – and, I’m not talking jackfruit.

Holiday Gift Guide for the Watermelon Lover

I’ve got 20 things on my list, there’s a little something for everyone here, from a designer coin bag to a ‘lil ukulele for plucking. While Santa would sure like to deliver real watermelons to all the good boys and girls, it’s bound to break his back — so do him a favor and “live on the wedge” with one of these fun novelty gifts.

Gift Guide for the Watermelon Lover

 

Watermelon KedsWatermelon Keds – These fun classic canvas tennies show how watermelon satisfies the “sole”! $20

 


Watermelon UkeleleWatermelon Ukulele – Pluck out your favorite, fruity tunes on this fun musical instrument.  $22

Watermelon Seed BookThe Watermelon Seed – This picture book by Greg Pizzoli is a must-read for watermelon lovers of all ages. Find out how the crocodile overcomes his fear of swallowing seeds! $12

watermelon growing kitSprout ‘n Go Greenhouse Baby Watermelon Kit – Perfect for the future farmer or budding botanist, this kit has everything needed (except patience and sunshine) to grow a Sugar Baby mini watermelon in less than three months! $9

crochet watermelon braCrochet Watermelon Bra – Bet your knitting granny never made a top quite like this bikini halter top that would be so amazing to show off at a summer music festival!  $6

Watermelon Gumballs by Double Bubble – fill up the gumball machine with these adorable pieces of round gum – the 3lb bag should last all year ‘round. $17

Salted Watermelon Energy GUSalted Watermelon GUs – Optimize performance in an endurance event with these salty watermelon energy gels — yassss, I just ordered some! $29 / for 24

Watermelon KnifeWatermelon Knife by Kuhn Rikon – Not is the blade painted up pretty, it makes an easy task of a tedious job. $20

 

 

Kate Spade Watermelon Coin PurseWatermelon Coin Purse by Kate Spade – Save your nickels and dime to get this awesome leather coin purse by one of America’s favorite bag designers. $48


Watermelon Knee SocksWatermelon Socks by Socksmith – I get a zillion compliments every time I step out in these fun knee-highs. $11

 

 

Watermelon Fitness Headband“Watermelon Crawl” by Sweaty Headbands – This hair accessory holds hair back off face and stays in place for running, CrossFit, yoga or pretty much any fitness activity.

Watermelon PJs – by Carters This four-piece, toddler-sized pajama set is a sweet choice for the little watermelon lovers in your life. $22

 

 

Pandora Crystal Silver Watermelon CharmWatermelon Charm by Pandora – enjoy a little slice of summer all year long with this sterling silver charm with sparkly crystals. $63

Watermelon Tervis Water BottleWatermelon Insulated Bottle by Tervis – Cold drinks stay cold, hot drinks stay hot in this sportym 24-ounce reusable water bottle. $20

 

 

 

watermelon-bike-hoodieWatermelon Bike Hoodie from Design by Humans – Artists from around the world submit artwork that you can then have made into everything from tanks to hoodies and more. There are so many watermelon designs (I’ve purchased quite a few) and this is bike one is next!

Watermelon UmbrellaWatermelon Umbrella – Stand out from the crowd with this whimsical watermelon umbrella, sure to brighten up any gloomy day. $15

 

 

WAtermelon OrnamentWatermelon Christmas Ornament – Deck the halls with this beautiful glass-blown holiday ornament. $7

Watermelon Scented PensWatermelon Scented SNIFTY Pens – the familiar fruity scent takes your mind off whatever boring task is at hand!

 

 

reload-watermelonReload Watermelon helps your muscles refuel, recover and rebuild after a hard run or intense workout with just whatcha need including branch chain amino acids. $22

 

 

 

FYI, this post contains affiliate links.

Do you eat watermelon in the winter? Do you have traditional fruit of the season (like my mom always put an orange in my stocking). What is the most fun or funniest gift you are giving this year? Lemme know — xoxo, Jennifer

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10 Holiday Gift Ideas For Fit Foodies

Okay, this may seem like a random collection of Christmas and holiday gifts, but trust me the fitness-minded foodie on your list is sure to love one or all. I mean, is there anything else to life more than working out, running, eating, sleeping, and repeating?! Seriously, though! 10 Holiday Gift Ideas for the Fit Foodie

Spartan Race Gear – Head to the Spartan  Race Shop for some great holiday deals. Since my husband recently completed his first Trifecta, I nabbed him some Trifecta Tribe gear for Christmas – not only did I get the daily deal sale they had going on, but also got free shipping with the code FREESHIP – YAY!

spartan-gift-guide

Spartan Fit Book – An new book by Spartan Race founder, Joe De Sena, is a must-read for the obstacle course racer in your life. This essential training book includes a 30 fitness and diet plan to get you in shape for a Spartan Sprint or just a healthier, more fit life. No gym needed! Order HERE

spartan-fit-book

The Original Worm Looking for another holiday gift that will worm it’s way into the heart of the recipient? How about The Original Worm?! This “ahhhhhh” body roller is like a little foam roller, therapy ball hybrid.worm-rolling-700The four neoprene encased balls target and attack stiffness, pain and stress in all those over used muscles and joints. It’s also super portable, unlike a big foam roller, so you can stick in gym bag or even carry on bag for travel – I actually keep one in the care. Save 25% on your web order with discount code FITFORK25 at TheOriginalWorm.com

the-original-worm

 

ECLIPSE ROLLER from ACUmobility will soon become your new best friend.  This bad boy features all the benefits of the traditional foam roller but also has trigger point release mechanisms that target multiple muscle groups at the same time. Hey, since I really don’t like to slow down to stretch, roll and work on my mobility, I’m all about efficiency! Hit up their holiday sales and save 20% more on your order at Acumobility.com with my discount code ACUMOBFITFORK

eclipse-roller

ZayzeThis company makes the cutest compression shorts and leggings – not only are there a zillion different cute styles, but they are super flattering.

naked-compression-leggings-zayzeThis new pair of naked “muscle” leggings is crazy, and sure to turn heads at your next workout. The wide waistband is slimming and gives support running and lifting weights and I swear (my opinion only haha) that my but looks better wearing Zayze! Lots of holiday sales going on right now, use my discount code THEFITFORK at Zayze.com for an additional 10% off.

 

 

Must Have Box from POPSUGAR  – The November box couldn’t have been more perfectly timed for a whirlwind of entertaining this holiday season – not only did I put on Thanksgiving for my family this year (we usually travel), but I also hosted a 50th anniversary party for my wonderful parents. Seriously, everything in the Must Have Box was used this weekend from the lovely table runner, festive star party picks and wire basket (I used these to hold my “Still Nuts for Each Other” party favors) to the treats for me personally, like the eyeshadow kit (yes, I wore eye shadow) and the gorgeous Kendra Scott bracelet.

november-must-have-box

must-have-box-pop-sugar-closedIf you are looking for a Christmas, holiday or hostess give that keeps on giving all year long, you need to check out the #MustHaveBox – it’s a specially curated assortment of fabulous full-sized, “elevated” brand products touching on categories like home décor, fashion, beauty, jewelry, gourmet edibles, wellness and more. Every month, when my subscription Must Have Box arrives, it’s like finding a treasure trove of gifts that 1) either I always wanted but didn’t want to splurge on OR 2) never knew I needed until it showed up and I fell in love. Seriously, how does the Must Have Box from POPSUGAR always know what I’m going to like?! Use the special coupon code SHOP5 to get $5 off your FIRST Must Have Box.

GripSling Raw Training Straps –  These functional workout strap that promotes creativity through simplicity are really cool– you don’t need a ton of workout equipment to get the job done. Check out these videos of workout demonstrations on their site and then nse code thefitfork20 to save 20% on your order at GripSling.com.

gripsling-video

Spiralizer Attachment for Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer  – I received one for Chrismas last year, and simply put, it was life changing. Peel, core and slice fruit, veggies and other produce to make easy salads, zoodles, veggie noodles, healthy desserts and more – since it attaches to the stand mixer, all you do is flip the “on” button – super easy clean up too! I actually leave this spiral attachment on my machine nearly all the time, because I use it so much more than the actual mixer.

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The Original Airfryer from Phillips  Fry healthy food with 75% less fat. I was very skeptical to believe that it uses only 1 tablespoon to make delicious, crispy, crunch foods — but it works, it’s amazing, I’m declaring this counter top appliance a mini-miracle.  There are three sizes available to suit your family-size needs, price range $100 – $300.  But. So. Worth. It. phillips-airfryerCitrus Knife / Zester by Kuhn Rikon – The pair up of pairing knife and zester make this tool for tackling lemons, limes, oranges, tangerines and other citrus fruit practically child’s play. citrus-knife-zester

The blade and zester fold into the cute sleeve for safe storage – perfect for the fit foodie who makes a lot of salads, dressings, baked goods, fish and other recipes featuring citrus (which is sooo in season right now, btw)

Isopure Coffee Protein with Colombian Coffee – Perfect way for your coffee-loving protein fiend to perk up a workout. With 50g pure whey protein and a kick of real coffee, this is the perfect way to start the day when you’re in a rush.  isopure-coffeeThe huge 3lb tub means that your giftee will be thinking of you and thanking you profusely for several months to come! If you order from Vitamin Shoppe, get 20% off this (and anything else sitewide) with code CM2016CM

Take 20% Off Site wide with promo code CM2016CM at VitaminShoppe.com! Offer only valid through 11/28!

 

And, here are a couple bonus gift ideas I couldn’t resist! CrossFit Dice? Now this is a game I want to play – haha! And, the Yog2Go container, I use mine almost every day – it’s the BEST!

What’s at the top of your holiday wish list?! What do YOU wish for? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

Please note, I received products in exchange for my consideration and review of some products in the post, however all opinions, comments and enthusiasm are my own. Post also contains affiliate advertising links. 

Happy Glow Yoga Flow & Cinnamon Apple Scent for Holiday Calm #GladeHolidayJoy

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GladeHolidayJoy #CollectiveBias 

Happy Glow Yoga Flow to help lessen stress and promote calm this holiday season.On the morning after Halloween, my neighbor started putting out her winter holiday decorations. Later that afternoon, I noticed my grocery and big box store were doing the same. I also bumped into a friend who was already getting a head start on Black Friday shopping. Being a little competitive in nature, these harbingers of the holiday season triggered a wave of stress that I knew a brisk jog around the block couldn’t completely cure.

With so many other life obligations piled high on my plate right now, I knew I wasn’t ready to deck the halls, fatten the goose, and jump on the sleigh to start celebrating just yet. In fact, because of this chaos in my life, I needed to find a new routine to slow down and relieve stress before all the winter festivities start ramping up.

Yoga has always made me feel calmer during times of heavy turmoil or just minor everyday stress. That’s because yoga forces me to connect my body and mind in a way that I never do normally day-to-day, hour-to-hour, minute-to-minute (that is, unless I’m yoga-ing)! I also notice how certain scents can trigger an emotional and, often, physical response in me. For example, the smell of lemon makes me feel really alert and focused while lavender can put me to sleep.

I recently found out that cinnamon, a scent I already love, has a prolific list of perks. According to the Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (1995) the scent of cinnamon has numerous benefits including the ability to ease depression and stress . .. and relieve constipation and indigestion (come on, you know this can be a problem when stressed out)! Plus, I personally have so many wonderful childhood memories centered on cinnamon – like those hard candies my dad used to sneak to me in church and cinnamon apple pie, my all-time favorite dessert. There is no way to NOT be comforted in a hug of cinnamon.Glade Happy Glow - candle and plug in

glad-in-heb-jenThat’s why I was so excited to see the Glade® Limited Edition Holiday Scents  on my last visit to HEB, my local market. There are a lot of different home fragrance options from Glade®, but I picked up the Glade® PlugIns® Scented Oil Warmer and Glade® 3.4 oz. Small Jar Candle in the Happy Glow Apple Cinnamon Scent. The Glade® Limited Edition Holiday Scents aren’t found on the regular home fragrances aisle, instead they will be on end caps (like at my HEB store) or in special wood rack displays.

The candle is absolutely fantastic! Not only has the apple cinnamon scent been calming me down, it’s lasted a long time and blends beautifully into my home décor thanks to the stylish glass container. However, I NEVER keep candles burning when I leave the house or go to sleep. The Glade® PlugIns®  Scented Oil Warmer allows me to enjoy my home fragrances 24/7 safely with no open flame, the dispenser just plugs into the wall outlet to warm the oil.

glade-plug-in

Putting Glade® PlugIns®  Scented Oil Warmer in my Yoga Space to enjoy the Happy Glow™ scent without worry.

So, in addition to smelling the Happy Glow™ scent to feel more joy and less “oh boy” this holiday season, I also have been doing a 10 minute yoga flow with poses that are calming. You need to try these easy yoga poses, surely you have 10 minutes for a surprising burst of joy!

Happy Glow Yoga Flow to lessen stress and promote calm this holiday season!

Here is my Happy Glow Yoga Flow breakdown (practice each pose for about 2 minutes):

Lotus (or just criss-cross legs): Relax in this seated position while you settle your busy mind and let negative thoughts start to melt away.

Puppy Pose: Relieve back tension that is associated with stress and cast away worries that are weighing you down with this playful, stretching position.

Bridge: Elevate hips and engage glutes as you breath slowly in this pose that opens the chest and heart and promotes circulation.

Forward Fold: Relax and bend forward at the hips, reaching down downward the ground as far as possible while moving nose into knees. Slowly rise, rolling up the back, and repeat several times.

Crow or Corpse: Practice crow pose or variations for a couple minutes unless you find it too hard or stressful. I like a challenge at the end of of my yoga sessions, even if I am trying to relax. But, if still stressed, lay on back looking upward with arms and legs slightly splayed in corpse pose – try not to fall asleep!

Are you ready to Feel Joy, Feel Glade™? Work my YOGA FLOW into your day and check out Glade®  and how their Limited Edition Holiday Scents can help you take control of the mental and physical chaos during this stressful time of year! For more information and more surprising burst of joy, connect with Glade® on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

What is your favorite holiday scent? What is your favorite yoga pose? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

Brunch on This | Tipsy Topsy Turvy Cranberry Ginger Cake

Tispy Topsy Turvy Cranberry Ginger Cake delicious for breakfast, brunch or dessert!Merry Christmas, y’all! Actually, I’m getting my post up late . . . so the day is almost over, but I hope lots of hugs were had, laughs were shared and memories were made!  With our oldest home from college, it’s been wonderful to have everyone together again . . .  and get back the full-immersion effects of being the only female of five people under the roof.

christmas jennifer and boys 2015

Today, I made big Christmas morning brunch for my kiddos, husband, mom and dad and family visiting from out of town.  A few of the dishes are traditional non-negotiables, like the Overnight French Toast, Barn Raiser Beef & Egg Bake, and Cinnamon Monkey Bread.  But, I always like to come up with a new holiday brunch recipe – and this one for Tipsy-Topsy-Turvy Cranberry Ginger Cake was a hit! There is still plenty of holiday time left to make this delicious dish which can also double as a dessert (throw a scoop of ice cream on top). Don’t worry, the alcohol content in the liquor burns off, so it’s just fine to feed to the children.

Cranberry Upside Down Cake

Oh, so did I mention that after brunch and presents and clean-up, we went stand-up paddle boarding?! Only in Austin!

Jennifer Fisher of thefitfork.com stand up paddle board

So, what was your most memorable happening today? Or, have you ever made an upside down cake — with what fruit? Please share in the comments, XOXO — Jennifer

Cranberry Upside Down Cake
Tipsy Topsy Turvy Cranberry Ginger Cake
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Cranberry Upside Down Cake
Tipsy Topsy Turvy Cranberry Ginger Cake
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. In small saucepan, melt butter and whisk in liquor and brown sugar. Stir in ginger and lemon zest and continue to cook for 2 minutes until combined and beginning to bubble.
  3. Spray pan with cooking spray and pour brown sugar mixture into bottom of pan. Add cranberries to top of brown sugar mixture; set aside.
  4. In medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
  5. In another bowl, whisk together oil, milk, eggs and vanilla. Pour wet contents into bowl of dry contests and beat for 2 minutes with mixer or by hand, until well combined but not over mixed.
  6. Pour batter over cranberries.
  7. Bake for approximately 50 minutes in center rack of oven or until toothpick pulls clean.
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Holiday How To – Easy Beef Tenderloin Roast with Root Veggies

Holiday Roast Tips - TheFitFork.com‘Tis the season for eating well and enjoying the experience with family and friends. Serving a perfectly prepared beef roast is always a showstopper at holiday celebrations and dinner parties. It can be our little secret, but roasting beef actually requires very little time and effort! I learned everything I need to know from my dad (who does a tenderloin roast every Christmas) and my friends at the Texas Beef Council.

With my easy-to-follow tips that follow, you can transform a large hunk of beef into a delicious roast ready to be carved into succulent slices — there probably won’t be a leftover morsel in sight, so consider making two roasts! Also, if you’d like to test out your skills and don’t have a recipe, try the mouth-watering recipe for Garlic and Rosemary Rubbed Tenderloin Roast with Roasted Root Vegetables featured at the bottom of this post.

BTW, if you are on the Beef Team and are still in possession of your holiday Chateau Loin (which is center cut sirloin), it will easily substitute without modifications in this roast recipe.  

Tips for the Perfect Roast Beef:

1) Choose the right cut. We’re demonstrating roasting tips with a beef tenderloin roast, but the same process will work with other cuts including ribeye and tri tip roasts and more economical cuts like sirloin and round roasts. The way to ensure perfect outcomes when preparing beef is to pair a cut with the appropriate cooking method – and also your budget. The Interactive Butcher Counter  helps take the uncertainty out of selecting the right cut of beef to roast – check it out!

garlic rosemary rubbed tenderloin - pick cut and ingredients - jennifer fisher

2) You can’t flub a rub. Dry rubs are an easy way to add flavor to a roast and can be as simple as salt and pepper or as complex and spicy as you want to get – chili powder, herbs, brown sugar and even ground coffee beans are all ingredients I’ve seen used in rubs.  Really, the only must-do for a rub is to apply it generously – rub in the mixture thickly on the top, bottom and every side (including the ends) and your reward will be a crusty, caramelized exterior that adds flavor and helps to hold in juices. A variant of dry rubs is to massage olive oil, spices and even fresh aromatic herbs into the beef – that’s what we’re doing with the recipe below.

Seasoning beef tenderloin with salt and olive oil.

3) Use the proper roasting gear. Actually, very little gear is required for roasting beef in the oven. When it comes to cookware, choose a metal pan with an approximate 2 to 3-inch rim. Metal conducts heat better than other materials and yields a more evenly browned roast. You won’t need a lid, as oven roasting is a dry heat cooking method.  Also, use a roasting rack to elevate the meat above the pan so that the heat can circulate underneath. If you don’t have a roasting rack or fancy silicon roasting laurel, simply substitute heavy-duty aluminum foil that has been scrunched up and twisted into a figure-8 shape.  A reliable meat thermometer is also needed to ensure you cook your roast to perfect doneness – those inexpensive instant-read thermometers found at most grocery stores will do the job fine.

Tale your beef roast out at 135F degrees and let rest for 10 minutes for medium-rare doneness

4) Learn how to tell when your roast is done. If you’re not following a recipe, get familiar with the suggested cooking times and oven temperatures for your selected cut of beef.  I like to reference this useful chart on Beef Roast Table Times. Abiding by this chart will ensure you rule the roast every time; however, remember that temperatures vary from oven to oven making cooking times approximate. You’ll know when your roast is “done” for your taste preferences when the thermometer is stuck into the center, thickest part of the roast (but not near a bone) and reads 10 degrees LESS than the time indicated for medium-rare, medium, or well-done. When you take a roast out of the oven early like this, the temperature will continue to rise and cook the roast for a few more minutes out of the oven.For example, a medium-rare roast is finished at 145 F degrees, but should be removed at 135 F degrees. See the chart below for more details.

Temperature guidelines for beef roasts.

5) Give it a rest. As tempting as it is to cut into a roast or steak right as it comes off the heat, you must let it rest on the countertop for at least 10 minutes as just mentioned. This allows the juices time to redistribute between the relaxing muscle fibers and ultimately create a more tender and enjoyable eating experience. If you’re not sure if the roast has rested long enough, it should be ready to carve when the temperature drops to 120 F degrees or below.

 

 

Garlic & Rosemary Rubbed Tenderloin and Roasted Root Vegetables - TheFitFork.com

 

Are you a roast-cooking newbie — or do you have well seasoned skills? Do you like the food pun?  Feel free to share a “funny,” too!  A steak pun is a rare medium well done — heehee, another pun!  XOXO, Jennifer 

Garlic & Rosemary Rubbed Tenderloin and Roasted Root Vegetables - TheFitFork.com
Garlic and Rosemary Tenderloin Roast with Roasted Root Vegetables Recipe
Print Recipe
• 2 to 3 lbs. assorted root vegetables (like sweet potatoes, fingerling potatoes, onions, beets, parsnips) • 1 large sweet yellow onion • 2 tablespoons olive oil • 1 teaspoons coarse sea salt • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper • 1 tablespoon fresh or dried parsley
Servings Prep Time
6 to 8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 to 8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Garlic & Rosemary Rubbed Tenderloin and Roasted Root Vegetables - TheFitFork.com
Garlic and Rosemary Tenderloin Roast with Roasted Root Vegetables Recipe
Print Recipe
• 2 to 3 lbs. assorted root vegetables (like sweet potatoes, fingerling potatoes, onions, beets, parsnips) • 1 large sweet yellow onion • 2 tablespoons olive oil • 1 teaspoons coarse sea salt • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper • 1 tablespoon fresh or dried parsley
Servings Prep Time
6 to 8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 to 8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Ingredients
for roast beef
for roast vegetables
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Massage beef with olive oil and then rub rosemary springs enthusiastically onto entire surface to release aromatic oils. Next, rub garlic paste over tenderloin and then rub in salt and pepper to entire surface. Place rosemary spring on top of roast.
  2. Place roast on rack in shallow roasting pan. Do not add water or cover.
  3. Cut vegetables into 1 to 2-inch chunks and place on rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Chop up remaining rosemary and toss with vegetables along with salt, pepper, and parsley. Spread out vegetables into a single layer. Roast vegetables for approximately 45 minutes in 425F degree oven, stirring and rearranging halfway through cooking.
  4. Roast tenderloin in 425°F oven for approximately 40 – 45 minutes for medium rare (pull out at 135F degrees and will rise to 145F degrees) or 45 to 55 minutes for medium doneness (pull out at 145F degrees and will rise to 160F degrees). Tent with foil. Let stand 10 - 20 minutes until temperature has dropped to 120 F degrees or below. Slice roast across the grain and serve with roasted vegetables.
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5 Easiest Ever Almond Ideas for Holiday Party

Blue Diamond Almonds on treeTime to get serious about last minute holiday preparations; it’s the final countdown to Christmas! I still have some shopping and wrapping to do, cookie baking with the kids, and prepping for my contributions to the huge family feast on Christmas Eve — oh and the brunch I’m hosting on Christmas Day.

Enjoy family movie night with Pop Secret popcorn and this genius container hack for serving up the snack!In between all this, we’re squeezing in a Star Wars movie marathon of past prequels and sequels – even though we’ve seen these classic flicks numerous times, it’ll be good to be fresh for the new Star Wars – The Force Awakens.

So, we’ll need snacks – lots and lots of snacks, and preferably healthy things to nosh and nibble on that won’t make a mess in my media room! Almonds are one of my go-to choices for healthy appetizers and snacks – they punch a nice little pack of protein and are great source of other nutrients, especially iron, vitamins A and C, and dietary fiber. Another great thing about almonds (Blue Diamond Almonds are my favorite) is just how easy they are to incorporate into entertaining.  Today, I’m sharing five fun and easy ways to crunch and much on almonds this holiday season – and into the New Year, too!

  1. Simply eat almonds straight out of the can (or fancy serving bowl). I’ve never seen a soul walk past delicious almonds and not stop to pick up a few! A one-ounce serving (about 23 almonds) pairs perfectly win a light cocktail or glass of sparkling water.Almonds for Holiday Entertaining
  2. This idea is for the kids (of any age) – Almond Lover Gingerbread Men! To keep it easy, use store-bought cookies and simply melt a chocolate chip on one hand (or pipe a dot of frosting) and press down gently with an olive. Use a piping bag filled with frosting to decorate with a little edible bow!Almonds for Holiday EntertainingEasy Almond Lover Gingerbread Men
  3. This is one of my favorite snacks with almonds — Almond Chocolate Apricot Bites! Just layer up the three ingredients (melt the chocolate chip if you want to be fancy so that all the ingredients stick together) and, viola, a yummy 20-calorie treat in mere minutes.20 Calorie Apricot Almond Chocolate Bites
  4. Chocolate Almond Popcorn – could this be easier?! Air pop some kernels and then, while still warm, top with your favorite flavor of Blue Diamond Almonds and chocolate chips. Toss together so the chocolate slightly melts – it’s like being at the movie theater and dumping candy into your big tub, but healthier!Popcorn with Chocolate Chips and Almonds makes a healthy salty-sweet snack!
  5. Almond Lover Cookies are a favorite with my boys and only take a few minutes to whip up a batch and 12 minutes to bake – if short on time, double up a batch the week before and keep in the freezer!jennifer fisher- thefitfork- almond lover cookies

What are your stress-free ways to enjoy almonds, aside from straight out of the can?! Oh, and have you seen the new Star Wars movie yet — just a thumbs up or down, no spoilers! Let me know in the comments below — XOXO, Jennifer 

This post was sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds. However, all comments, ideas and enthusiasm are my own. 

Life of Party! 5-min Blue Cheese and Orange Gingersnap Appetizer

Blue Cheese & Orange Gingersnap BitesInvited to a holiday party, you dutifully ask “can I bring anything,” fully assuming the host will not want you to risk ruining her celebratory spread of nibbles and noshes. But this time (gasp) you to “it would be so lovely for you to bring an appetizer or dessert . . . if it isn’t too much trouble.” 

sweet treat personalityYou’re thinking –

“It really IS too much trouble, why’d I have to open my big mouth.”

 

 

 

As I see it, you have several options to this potluck-ish predicament. First, you could skip the party and save yourself the trouble. Second, you could show up empty-handed and blame it on the dog or dropping your dish on the way to the car. Third, you could attempt a fancy recipe seen in a gourmet cookbook and spend precious free-time hours in the kitchen with no guarantees of the results. Fourth, you could grab anything left on the store shelf like a bag of chips and onion dip and end up looking like an uninspired slacker. Or, fifth, and the obvious winning choice – make this proven to be insanely delicious app in a snap  — Gingersnap Blue Cheese & Orange Bites.

Gingersnap Blue Cheese Orange Bites

So many things to love about Gingersnap Blue Cheese & Orange Bites – the taste is insane with “pows” of sweet, spicy, pungent, salty and zesty citrus tastes with every bite. You also get pretty much every texture in the textbook too – crunchy, smooth, juicy and chewy. But, drum roll, one of the most amazing things about this appetizer recipe with a complex flavor profile yet simple presentation is that it can be made in 5 minutes or less. You don’t need a culinary school certificate to make this easy and elegant appetizer recipe — in fact, you don’t even need to know how to cook!

I originally made this hors d’oeuvre recipe for Litehouse Food as a way to feature their deliciously rich and creamy Artisan Reserve Center Cut Blue Cheese.

cooking light appetizer gallerLooking for more quick, easy and healthy nibbles for your party? Check out Cooking Light’s gallery of Top Rated Party Appetizers!

What is your favorite 5 minute appetizer? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

 

 

Gingersnap Blue Cheese Orange Bites
Blue Cheese and Orange Gingersnap Bites
Print Recipe
Razzle dazzle holiday guests with this 5 minute appetizer that mixes and mingles orange segments, blue cheese, honey and crunchy ginger cookies into a festive flavor experience worth celebrating any time of the year.
Servings Prep Time
36 appetizers 5 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Servings Prep Time
36 appetizers 5 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Gingersnap Blue Cheese Orange Bites
Blue Cheese and Orange Gingersnap Bites
Print Recipe
Razzle dazzle holiday guests with this 5 minute appetizer that mixes and mingles orange segments, blue cheese, honey and crunchy ginger cookies into a festive flavor experience worth celebrating any time of the year.
Servings Prep Time
36 appetizers 5 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Servings Prep Time
36 appetizers 5 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: appetizers
Instructions
  1. Lay gingersnaps out on serving platter. Top each with an orange slice and chunk of blue cheese. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with mint.
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Winter Workouts – 40 Fitness Hacks for the Holidays

40 Fitness Hacks for the HolidaysRaise your hand if you love the holiday season as much as me!  Now, raise the other hand and jump up and then down to the ground in a burpee – yay, now we’re exercising! Between parties, shopping, baking and volunteering, I sometimes find my self fa-la-la-ing too much and forgetting about my normally-scheduled sweat sessions. Well, I never really “forget” to run or workout, rather I just just can’t figure out how to fit a fitness session into the whirlwind of winter celebrations. Even sneaking in a quick run can be unpredictable when the weather won’t cooperate, traveling is on the agenda, or you’re hosting overnight holiday company.

But, I’ve found that just doing ANYTHING is SOMETHING – fit in a holiday fitness hack wherever you can!  As a firm believer that “all the little things” add up, I’ve made a list (and checked it twice) of exercises you can sneak in when life gets busy. Don’t worry about getting side-glances doing some of the crazy-sounding moves in public — soon you’ll be get getting ALL the attention with your super fit New Year’s body. By the way, I originally came up with these 40 Holiday Fitness Hacks for Core Power High Protein Shakes — an excellent way to power up with 20 – 26g of protein and keep your belly from shaking like jelly!

At home:

  • Wrapping Paper Roll High Knee: Lay out a series wrapping paper rolls on the ground about 2 feet apart. Quickly move laterally, pulling knees up to waist while moving between rolls with each step.
  • Rake Yard: Work up a sweat rounding up all those fallen fall leaves – offer to do the neighbor’s yard, too!
  • Shovel Snow: No leaves left, but have snow? Clear a path for company with this heart-pumping chore!
  • Front Box Carry: Take that heavy box of holiday decorations and hold it at your chest. Walk down the longest hall in your house and back.
  • Ladder Side Plank Dips: After putting up holiday lights, use lower rungs of ladder for a challenging side plank. Rest feet on a rung that is even with your hips and dip down and back up to a side plank.
  • Kitchen Squat Jumps: Take a break from slicing and dicing with a few sets of squat jumps. Put your knife down, lower into a squat and jump upward explosively; repeat.
  • Bar Stool Pistols: Stand side-by-side to bar stool and lower down into a pistol using bar stool for balance; repeat on opposite leg.
  • Yoga Tree Pose: Stop and admire your holiday tree with a classic yoga pose that will challenge and improve your balance. Stand with feet together; bend one leg up at the knee, resting foot anywhere between knee and crotch. Extend arms upward or to sides for balance. Hold until failure and repeat on opposite side.
  • Ab Rolling Pin Roll Outs: While on knees, use rolling pin to extend forward while keeping core engaged; roll back up and repeat. This is proof abs ARE made in the kitchen!
  • Commercial Break Cardio: When watching holiday classics with the kids, get everyone moving with jumping jacks, burpees, mountain climbers or other heart-pumping exercises until the show comes back on. No fast-forwarding with the DVR!

 

In a hotel:

  • Ice Bucket Goblet Squats: Fill ice bucket up to give more weight and hold at chest while dropping down into squats; repeat.
  • Towel Hop: Lay out a series of hand towels 5 or 6 feet apart in a line and use them as your target for standing long jumps.
  • Bed Decline Push-ups: Put feet up on bed and lower down into push-ups; repeat.’
  • Wall Sit: Find an uncluttered wall and slide back down wall until thighs parallel with ground and knees bent at 90 degree angle. Hold as long as you can.
  • Burpees: Knock out as many traditional burpees as you can before hotel room guests below start complaining.
  • Water Bottle Tricep Extension: Grab that one-liter water bottle by the mini bar and get after one-arm tricep extensions. Hold bottle overhead and bending backward at the elbow. A liter only weighs about 2.25 lbs. so ramp up your reps.
  • Bed Bridge: In a room with two beds, see how long you can hold a plank with feet on one bed, arms on the other.
  • Hallway Handstands: Practice handstands in the small hallway inside the hotel room. Kick up to a handstand and balance against the door, or place a folded towel on the ground for headstand modification.
  • Luggage Sumo High Pull: Grab a duffel or small carry-on at the handle with both hands and pull to chin moving elbows upward; lower and repeat.
  • Polar Bear Swim: Head to the hotel pool and knock out a few laps! If not heated, you’ll be motivated to swim fast!

At the mall:

  • Mall Walk: Not just for seniors, you can rack up extra daily steps by taking a couple bonus laps around the stores.
  • Stair Climb: Always choose the stairs over the escalator or elevator – it’s less crowded too!
  • Fitting Room Stretch: Loosen up before sliding into those new skinny jeans with toe touches, windmills and arms-behind-back stretching.
  • Food Court Booty Squeezes: No one will be the wiser if you are flexing and relaxing your glutes repeatedly with this isometric exercise.
  • Park in the Boonies: Leave your car in the furthest away spot from the mall entrance.
  • Shopping Sherpa: Volunteer to carry the entire family’s load of purchases. Distribute weight in bags evenly between both arms for a farmer’s carry type workout.
  • Bench Hops: Find and empty, backless bench and grab sides firmly with both hands. Starting with feet together on one side, jump legs and torso to clear bench and land on the opposing side, with hands staying in place; repeat to other side.
  • Santa Line Lunges: While waiting in the long line to see St. Nick, take every step forward with a lunge. Repeat as the line permits.
  • Ice Skate: Most malls put up rinks during the holiday season, take advantage of the fun and burn around 362 calories per hour.
  • Grand Total Jumping Jacks: When back in the parking lot, tally up your receipts and bust out the same number of jumping jacks. For example, $250 spent means 250 jumping jacks – you’ll warm up as a bonus!

At the market:

  • Top Shelf Calf Raises: Extend up onto your tip-toes for 10 to 20 reps as if reaching to grab a can from the top shelf.  
  • Lower Shelf Squats: Rather than bending over to get an item squat and hold for 15 seconds; repeat.
  • Cart Rows: Hold handle bar of shopping cart with both arms extended and legs shoulder. Pull cart toward you and then push away, without letting go of handle. Fill cart with big bags of dog food for an extra challenge!
  • Milk Jug Side Bends: With legs shoulder-width apart, hold milk jug by handle, hanging arm downward at side. Bend torso at side; return upright and repeat on opposing side.
  • Freezer Aisle Agility: Park cart at one end and run high knees to last freezer door. Stop, do a tuck jump, get anything you need from the freezer and side skip back to cart.
  • Shopper Wood Choppers: Grab heavier items for your holiday recipes (like 5lb. bag of sugar) and set on ground near feet. Pick up with both hands and rotate upward with arms overhead; repeat 10 to 20 times before putting in your cart.
  • Line-Wait Leg Circles: While waiting in line to check out, lift one leg about 8-inches off ground. Keep leg straight, point toe and rotate around in small, imaginary circles.
  • Chest Opener Stretch: Also good while waiting in line, stand with back straight and shoulders pulled back. Reach behind and clasp both hands together while bringing hands up towards head as far as possible. Hold for 15 seconds.
  • Bag It Bicep Curls: Bag your groceries and then hold by handles and knock out a few bicep curls on each side.
  • Homeward-Bound Quad Pulses: While driving home in car, pulse your quads alternating left and right for the duration of each stop light.

Jingle Bell 5k AUstin 2015

I woke up early this weekend to run in the Jingle Bell Dash 5k with a friend. Done by 9 am and still out and about, I was able to tackle last minute holiday shopping!

How are you sneaking in fitness this holiday season? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer