AvocadOoooohemmmmgeee, you heard me right! It’s amazing simple and insanely appetizing to throw avocados on the grates. Grilling this creamy, savory fruit gives it delicious bits of flame-kissed char and smoky swag that you just won’t find eating it in the typical fashion. Read on to get all the directions to this game-changing avocado hack and find out why they take days (instead of minutes) to turn brown using this method. Continue reading
Giveaway at Bottom of Post!
I have three teenage boys . . . and they have all played soccer. I have seen a LOT of soccer and treated plenty of turf burns. Actually, I hate to say this, but I’m the most turf-burn prone and actually I have had some really bad ones just running at high speed. I’ve learned how to suck up the pain and treat them quickly – if kept clean and moist with an antibiotic cream and sterile bandage (changed frequently), the turf burns actually clear up amazingly fast!
One thing I have learned over the years (after going in for a kid’s health checkup with horrific road burn on my shoulder, arm and side) is that it’s NOT good to use hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide can actually damage the tissue further and prevent healing – plus, it hurts like hell to pour it on there, am I right?!
Check out my handy, printable reference on treating turf burn if you or your child to happen to get the big red raspberry of pain. Also, check out his Storelli blog post on Turf Burn Facts and Prevention
One way to prevent turf burn is to not get it at all. That sounds like a no-brainer, but when you’ve got the killer instinct and are completely focused on blocking a shot, kicking a goal or hauling down field to keep position, how rough and abrasive the turf can be isn’t really on the radar. Most players would easily take some nasty burn for the team . . or personal glory!
I’ve discovered BodyShield from Storelli. This Brooklyn, NY based company is one of the soccer industry’s most cutting-edge and exciting new brands. They use proprietary technologies (inspired by extreme sports gear) to create low-profile, high-performance protective gear that helps absorb impact, minimize and prevent abrasions, cuts and nasty bruises. When you have less fear of the game, you can be fearless! If found this to be especially true of one of my kids who isn’t as must as a risk-taker as the rest of the family.
My 14 year old has been wearing BodyShield from Storelli for the last two seasons – he can be really fussy about what he wears and how it feels. He’s worn the protective undershirt and head wrap and filed sliders or on the way!
The report back from my sporty mini-me is that it’s easy to gear up in BodyShield, there’s no “weird rubbing” or “too tight” feeling, and it doesn’t reduce mobility at all – in fact, he says that he usually forgets he’s even wearing the protective gear. And (so important to a middle schooler) it looks cool!
The Field Player Sliders use 3mm thick foam technology to protect during tackles and slides without impeding movement. No more fear of abrasions or sudden impacts and no more turf burns on the side and hips (the most common place)!
Check out professional soccer player Oscar Chelsea sporting the BodyShield Sliders and Sleeveless Undershirt. Stare if you must.
That’s why I ordered a pair of Women’s BodyShield Sliders designed specifically for female needs) and they finally arrived (see below0 If you use promo code, you can receive 15% off any of everything at Storelli.com – you’re going to want it all!
Also, don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a $50 Visa Gift Card that you can use for your own Storelli gear, other soccer equipment or whatever you like – just hopefully not on bandages to treat turf burn!
Raise your hand if you can’t resist corn on the cob ! Not only is this vegetable fun to eat, it’s usually super cheap in the summer season – I just bought a dozen plump, juicy organic ones at Whole Foods for $3 total! Making corn on the cob on the grill is super easy; it’s a must-have at our house for backyard barbecues and casual entertaining. You know it’s on my menu for all the big summer celebrations including Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and our big family reunion! There are three main ways to cook a whole ear of corn on the grill, and I’m going to run you through them. But, first, you’ll want to find the freshest corn possible for the yummiest result. Corn sugars undergo enzymatic reactions after ears are picked, slowly converting into less tasty, mealy starches. So, the fresher the corn, the sweeter – all the more reason to make friends with your local farmers.
Method 1 – Cook Corn in Husk
Grilling an ear of corn in the husk is so simple and mess-free – the end part of the cob serves as a handle as your peel back the husk dig into the steamed kernels. Notice how I said “steamed” – that’s because this method actually uses water from all the parts of the corn to steam it into tenderness – the grill just serves as the heat source. If the corn is fresh, it won’t need a pre-soak in water. However, if the husk looks a bit dried out, soak the entire ear of corn in water for about 10 minutes before grilling.
How to: Simply place corn directly on the coals or grates of your grill or campfire (heated to about 400F degrees) and cook for approximately 10 to 15 minutes until tender (peel back husk if needed). The outside will be blackened, but inside it’s pure perfection. Peel back the husks; remove the silks and butter and season to your preferences. If you want to get fancy, you peel back husks without taking completely off, remove silks, butter and season and then pull back up the husks before grilling. But, I think this makes it too complicated (and the butter tends to drip out!)
Method 2 – Foil-wrapped
Grilling your corn wrapped in foil is a handy-dandy way to prepare it if you don’t want family and friends to be dealing with charred, messy husks. Again, you are actually steaming it with this method. Plus, you can easily oil, butter or season your corn before cooking and the toppings won’t drip out . . . and you don’t have to deal with mess and logistics of setting out these perishable condiments if you have a large crowd.
How to: Shuck corn toss away silks and husk. Wrap the corn in heavy duty aluminum foil, with or without flavorings like butter, herbs, salt, pepper, grated cheeses, etc. Grill right on top of hot coals, or on a grill grate set, turning a few times, about 10 – 15 minutes
Method – Naked
This is my favorite way to prepare corn on the grill because I like the nutty, smoked flavor that a bit of charring on the kernels brings. However, this method is not “steaming” like the other ways to grill corn, so the final result is not quite as juicy and, it can’t be cooked directly on coals. But, I feel like this is how we do it down here in Texas and it tastes so good — yeehaw!
How to: Pull back husks and remove completely or braid and tie off for a decorative effect. Pull away most of the silks – the remaining will burn away on the grill! Cook corn over a medium-hot grill (about 400F degrees) for about 10 to 15 minutes, rotating frequently to prevent burning and encourage all-over light charring. In the last few minutes you can brush with a flavored olive oil and sprinkle with herbs or do that while still warm before serving.
I love serving my grilled corn with slightly spicy-sweet Ancho Vinaigrette – you can get my recipe here:
I’ve also been known to grill waaaaaaay to much corn and I’ll shear off the kernels and use in recipes like my Cali-Corn-ia Shrimp Pizza!
Also, check out Cooking Light’s collection of in-season ideas for Cooking with Corn.
So, how do you usually make your grilled corn – foil, husked or naked? Also, do you use those little stab-in handle thingies or just eat right out of hand? Got any corny jokes? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer
Getting more avocados in your life is a good thing! Avocados are an excellent source of fiber and protein and pack an array of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants – they are a super star in the world of super foods and are so beneficial in the diet of a runner, stand-up paddle boarder, CrossFitter, mountain climber, yogi, gymnast, obstacle course racer or other active person. Oh, hey, I just described myself!
This nutrient-dense fruit regularly stars as guacamole at my house, but also makes a rich and creamy addition to salads, soups, and even baked goods. Plus, have you ever had avocado in a smoothie? It’s soooooo good! I’m totally loving the new Veggie Avocado Pineapple Smoothie from Smoothie King, more about that in a second – let me tell you about these Avocado Hacks that will make dealing with the sometimes fragile, fussy and fake-out ripe avocado.
1) Avocado Dicing for Dummies – Simply cut in half crosswise, remove seed and, key point, leave the skin on! Use a paring knife to make cuts across and down, without piecing the peel. If fairly firm, the avocado will “pop” out of the skin when pushed, or if riper, use a spoon to coax the dices out. This is sooooo much less messy than peeling and then cutting.
2) Use Avocados Instead of Butter: Swap out avocados for butter in your baking at a 1:1 ratio, you’ll save lots of calories and get all of the nutritional benefits of avocado. Of course, you can also spread on your toast too – apparently that’s a thang!
3) How to Freeze Guacamole – It’s a rare day that leftover guacamole is left at the bottom of the bowl, but it can happen. More likely, there’s a big sale on avocados and something need to be done with them before over ripening – make a huge batch of guacamole and freeze it! Yes, you can do that – just smash it up with a little lemon juice and freeze in a zip-top plastic bag. When ready to use, just thaw in the fridge! And, the same concept goes for avocado slices – find out How to Freeze Avocados!
4) Prevent Avocado from Oxidizing Overnight – Coating with lemon juice is a popular method, but what if you don’t want that tart-puckery taste to linger around? Simply pour a layer of milk on top of your avocado slices or guacamole and then chill (literally and figuratively)! When ready to get your guac on, simply drain of the milk and stir or mash. Or, you can also set an avocado half cut-side down on a big slice of onion and keep airtight in plastic wrap! These methods will keep your avocado looking pretty good for a day, maybe a little longer.
5) How to Ripen an Avocado in 10 Minutes: Turn a rock hard avocado into creamy, edible goodness by slicing and tossing with lemon juice and baking at 300 F degrees for 10 minutes or until just softening.
6) How to Ripen an Avocado Overnight: If you don’t need to eat your avocado ASAP, then stick it in a brown paper bag with a banana or apple and leave on the countertop. Overnight, the fruit’s ethylene gases will soften your avocado to perfection.
Okay, back to the avocado in smoothies? Have you ever tried it? It sounds weird, but blended beverages are blessed with a super creamy taste. In fact, nearly everything from the produce section is good in a smoothie – when I don’t have time to make my own, I swing by Smoothie King for one of their Veggie Blends – these veggie-packed smoothies are deliciously blended to help fuel my health and wellness goals and I love the fact they are so transparent with their nutrition details, so I can pick and choose which one is going to work the best to optimize my “fuel” needs for the day.
I’m not on a calorie-restricted diet. In fact, as an athlete, I’m often looking for ways to get filled up without scarfing down junk foods. The new Veggie Avocado Pineapple Smoothie has more calories and fat content than the other Veggie Blends (Carrot Kale Dream, Berry Carrot Dream, Apple Kiwi Kale) – but offers a long-lasting, satiating boost of nutrition is what I need to power me through an intense workout without making me feel bloated and filled up with a heavy meal. A 20-oz drink has 6 grams of fiber to fill me up and is naturally hydrating, providing me the electrolytes I need for a sweat session.
In fact, all the Veggie Blends at Smoothie King are hydrating and healthful – some even have a “Make it Skinny” option. You can check out the nutrition info on all the green smoothies and other menu choices either on the Smoothie King web site or in the store.
I’m hosting a $25 Visa Gift Card giveaway so one of you readers can load up on veggie smoothies or whatever your heart desires at Smoothie King or anywhere!
Ditch the delivery guy and make a delicious meal just about as fast as you can say “winner, winner, pizza dinner” 10 times. Today, I’m sharing a pizza crust recipe that whips up in warp speed – just grab two simple ingredients and give yourself two minutes to create homemade dough that is ready to roll out and pile up with all those favorite toppings.
I originally made this 2-ingredient, 2-topping Pizza Crust Recipe for Litehouse Foods using, their Homestyle Ranch. For Ranch Dressing devotees, the concept was capturing that signature buttermilk and herb flavor and baking it right into the crust – so no dipping, dunking or drizzling required! I must say, that crust was delicious! I’ve also swapped out the Ranch dressing with whole-fat Greek yogurt for a tangy, tasty twist that offers up a bit more protein – a consideration if you are making a veggie pizza.
While you only need 2 minutes to make the pizza crust, you’ll need another 12 minutes for it to bake in the oven, loaded with sauce, cheese, fresh veggies, meats and other toppings your crave. Still, you’re eating homemade pizza in less than 15 minutes and that is definitely faster than delivery!
You’ll also want to try my DIY Garlic Pizza Sauce, another 2 minute recipe (made in the blender) that will take your pie to a whole ‘nutha level.
Love to run, but growing weary of the city clatter and chaos on your route or, worse yet, being stuck inside going nowhere on a treadmill? Well, let me remind you of an “all natural” alternative to these running woes – trail running! Trail running has become a popular diversion from the everyday road run, is a great way to add new challenges that kick up your road running game, and is a legit sport in its own right. Because the terrain on trails is more rugged than pavement (think gravel, rocks, mud, sand, tree roots), secondary muscles are called into duty to help achieve balance and maximize agility. Due to this extra action, trail running can burn up to 10 percent more calories than running on the street, according Health Magazine. Before you the trail, check out my Six Trail Running Tips to prevent any unfortunate fails!
- Focus on the run, not your pace. No trail is the same; the ups, downs and obstacles vary tremendously. That’s why you can’t measure success on a trail run in hours, minutes and seconds. By leaving your ego at home and forgetting about PRs, you can concentrate on your running form and biomechanical feedback, the inherent joy of running and the sheer beauty of the great outdoors.
- Keep your feet functional. You’ll probably want to wear shoes that have a bit more stability and cushioning to protect your feet and ankles in rough patches. Also, slightly wider soles with substantial tread will help on muddy, wet and other slippery terrain. Also make sure that you have a little extra room in the toe box so that you don’t end up with bruised or blackened nails from extended downhills. Thin, quick-drying socks help prevent blisters if you sweat profusely or have to run through water. I am loving the Altra Running Superior 2.0 right now — they get a good grip on gnarly, rugged terrain, yet feel light and agile enough to fly fast through any obstacles in my way.
- Gear up or go home. You don’t need to bring EVERYTHING with you on a trail run, but sometimes additional gear is nice to have (if not life-saving) during an off-road run. For example a cell phone for emergency calls, a GPS watch to track locations and, of course, your own ration of water and snacks. Other useful items to have are sunglasses to protect your eyes from not the sun and also inadvertent run-ins with tree branches, bug spray and knee-high socks to keep away chiggers and other pests, and a headlamp and/or knuckle lights if you are running through dusk into the night.
- Put Safety Fist. It’s always best to run with a buddy, but at a minimum let a loved one know your route and estimated return time. It’s a worst-case scenario, but research any native wildlife dangers (snakes, bobcats, bears, etc.) that may be lurking and educate yourself on the best way to handle an emergency situation. You’ll want to hear all of the cues that Mother Nature is communicated, so don’t wear headphones. And, again, bring that GPS watch and phone in case you wander off course.
- Maintain a mind-body connection. Trail running requires the use of multiple senses – sight, sound, feel and so on. While it’s easy to let your mind wander during a road run you’ve been on a hundred times, you need to remain focused on the task at hand in trail running to avoid dangerous situations. In rough terrain, the first instinct is to keep eyes focused downward at the feet – but this doesn’t provide timely feedback about what lies ahead! So, instead, keep your gaze straight ahead, analyze upcoming obstacles, and adjust your form accordingly. Also, always keep a mental notes of mile markers or other visual landmarks passed (a trail of crumbs, so to speak), so that you can find your way back on an out-and-back course.
- Don’t Forget to Fuel Up: You’ll likely want to bring your own water, sports drink and snacks give the more spartan running conditions — I’ve yet to see an emergency convenience store pop up like a desert oasis in the middle of a long trail run! There are so many options in hydration gear, it really just depends on the length of your race and personal preference for carrying (eg. hand-held vs. vest, belt or backpack . Also, stash some on-the-go snacks to provide on-going energy –eat before you deplete! Store-bought gus, gels and chews are fine, but I also like to make my own trail run fuel so I can tailor exactly to my needs. These are a few of my favorite trail run recipes:
What is your must have piece of gear or snack for a trail run? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer
To date, I’ve only have 3 obstacle course races under my belt, but I’m trying to nab a coin for the Spartan World Championship . . .maybe that’s a lofty goal, but I think it’s in my reach, especially if I can optimize my performance with a fast run. However, the races I’ve done, like 2015 Spartan Beast Dallas and 2015 Spartan Spring Houston have been so flooded and muddy that I’ve had the wind knocked out of my running wheelhouse. Oh, yeah – but that spear throw is also standing in the way. I am 0 for 3 on the Spartan Spear Throw obstacle, that’s no surprise considering in I am 1 for 40 in the accuracy baseball pitch at an annual 12-event fitness competition I do (although, I do hold the female course record in the mile – whoot, whoot).
So, I gotta practice. Practice, practice, practice, so I nail the obstacle and don’t have to take the burpee penalty. With my crazy, busy life, I don’t have time to go to any sort of obstacle course training gym – so I’m bringing some of the obstacle to my plain vanilla, suburban back yard.
If I can make a Spartan Race Spear in less than 10 minutes, you can too. Girl power! Here’s the supply list – it’s amazingly short and available at home improvement stores for less than $10 :
- 1 60” replacement ash rake handle with ferrule (metal cuff on end) – $8.50
- 1 12-inch galvanized spike or nail – $0.70
- Duct tape or masking tape – pennies
- Glue, optional
- Decorative Duct Tape, optional
You will also want to get a few bales of hay from a feed supply store, out here it’s about $12 per bale. I’ve seen it quite a bit cheaper on Craigslist, if you’re willing to drive out to the boonies for your haul.
So, how do you make a Spartan Spear? Easy-peasy! Follow these steps:
- Use hack saw to remove head off nail. You have to put some elbow grease into this, let’s see what you’ve got!
- Wrap a few rotations of duct tape or masking tape around bottom of nail where head was sawed off. This thickens it up so that it will fit snugly into the ferrule.
- If you choose, pour a bit of glue into ferrule and stick in nail head to secure. Let dry. However, I prefer to just wrap tape so that I can remove the nail tip if I want to transport my spear in the car (would hate to get impaled if I slammed on the breaks).
- Wrap decorative duct or grip tape around center of handle to indicate where to hold (or to just look fancy), if desired.
And, just how do you do this? Sheez, I don’t know . . .that’s why I’m practicing. I do have some tips though from my limited experience:
- Quickly scan for a spear without a bent tip, and no blood or vomit on the handle.
- Make sure tether is hanging on opposite side of fence from you to prevent tangling up around your legs.
- Step into the spear launch and throw hard with a slight upward trajectory.
- Show good sportsmanship when completing your 30 burpees and congratulate the successful competitors at this obstacle who are kicking up mud in your face. Okay, hopefully not this!
The Spartan Race Obstacle Guide says you have “One attempt to throw the spear and have it stick into the spearman (wood or hay). The spear can’t be touching the ground.” This means it can’t stick in the hay and then fall out or brush by the hay and land on the ground. Failure to perform on your single try is 30 burpees – yay!
I also want to give you the heads up on Spartan Race founder Joe DeSena’s new book, Spartan Fit. Basically, it’s everything you need to know to prepare for a Spartan Sprint or just get in the best shape of your life in 31 days, without a gym or weights. You also learn how to build your fitness from one race to the next and will be motivated by stories of inspiring Spartans. There’s also diet plan in the book, I’m really interested to see what Joe’s philosophy is on eating since that’s kinda my thang. This is essential reading for the Spartan athlete, newbies or veterans! Pre-order now, it ships August 30, 2016.
If you want to run a Spartan Race – from Sprint, Super, Beast or some of the ultra endurance events like the Hurricane Heat, Hurricane Heat 12 hour, Ultra Beast, and the new Summer Agoge use the code SPARTANBLOGGER at checkout for 10% off your registration.
Also, come back next week — I’m giving away a free race registration. AROO!
So, how’s YOUR aim? Good at throwing stuff like spears, footballs, baseballs . . . or maybe just throwing fits of frustration when you miss, like me?! Have you ever run an obstacle course race? If so, what was the biggest challenge for YOU? Please share in the comments – XOXO, Jennifer
Even though my family eats (mostly) a healthy diet, I’ve been encouraging my teenagers to break their monotonous meal preferences and try new dishes with exciting flavors. As they move through high school and college there are so many diverse and cultural eating experiences that will be missed (along with a wider array of nutrients) if they are dead set on having turkey meatballs, plain brown rice and an undressed salad for dinner (an all-too-common menu). That’s why I was excited to hear how Birds Eye Veggies is on a mission to redefine the way we all eat our vegetables with their Birds Eye® Flavor Full line of bold and exciting veggies that can be enjoyed as a side dish or the main course! Keep reading down to the end of the post for the Gift Card Giveaway.
This got me to thinking. Can picky eating-children change, or do they just grow up into adults who are ultra finicky about their food? There are valid reasons why a young child may avoid certain foods at all costs — did someone say “temper tantrum”?! Factors that contribute to a picky eater include all the legitimate sensory things you’d connect with food aversions like texture, temperature, taste and flavor. Picky eating is also encouraged by parental response as well as peer pressure when kids get a little older. Allergies, too, can play a welcomed defensive role in picky eating, a way your body tells you to say away from a certain harmful food – but I won’t get into that here.
I believe that with the right opportunities and encouragement, most kids can join the adult world of eating as they move into their ‘tween, teens and early twenties. One reason is that as we age, taste buds dwindle away from an average of 10,000 working taste buds in small kids to only 5,000 in adults – simply put, things start tasting less intense and we naturally seek out more flavor. To support this, a 2005 study published in the Pediatrics journal reports that most children do not like bitter tastes (often found in vegetables), while adults do not find offense.
Another interesting study conducted in 2012 at the University of Copenhagen reported that when children move into their teens, they have a decreased interest in sugary tastes and a higher sophistication to distinguish between tastes – however, they are often more resistant to trying new foods than toddlers! This is why, we as parents, need to set a good example by eating a balanced diet filled with a variety of colorful, nutrient-dense whole foods.
Here are some tips to encourage the teenagers in your family to become veggie lovers and also try out other exciting new flavors. Of course, if your teen is not eating because of control issues, an eating disorder, real or perceived allergies or other concerning reasons, please see a medical professional as soon as possible.
- Get teens cooking: Not only does teaching your older children how to prepare meals create self-sufficiency; it also creates a more adventurous attitude about eating as they master various skills.
- Host international night: Once a month, prepare a meal that features cuisine from a different culture – for example, Indian, Korean, Thai, or Italian (no pizza!). To keep everyone happy, every family member gets to select one recipe to be included on the menu, but has to eat at least three bites of every other dish. Have them invite a friend over who may just announce “ooh, I love curry” – and suddenly your son or daughter will too!
- Focus on vegetable variety: As teens lose their taste for sugar (allegedly it’s a real thing!), support their savory side with more and more vegetables. Look past buttered green beans and toward more exotic or bold tastes, like Buffalo Cauliflower! Filling up your plate with a rainbow of vegetables is the easiest and tastiest way to optimize health, in my opinion.
- Educate and relate: Share online resources for healthy and clean eating with your children. Older kids are smart enough to understand that eating vegetables and a variety of foods is best, but are sneaky when it comes to actually eating what you serve – just think of all the Brussels sprouts “dropped” on the floor or yogurt and berry parfaits swapped for pink cupcakes at lunch. I always share the story of how I traded my celery, peanut butter and raisin “ants on a log” for Ding Dongs at lunch and quickly lost my get-up-and-go for gymnastics practice in the afternoon.
- Role model without pushing: No one likes a pea pusher, and even worse so if it’s your own mother or father. With most teens, realize that the more you “strongly suggest” you eat your vegetables or try new dishes, the more likely they are to rebel by absolutely doing the opposite. They are teens, they will come around – just keep the message honest yet low-key, the most important thing you can do is be a role model for clean eating.
As I hinted, I’ve been using Birds Eye Vegetables in my covert parental plan to encourage my teens to embrace new foods. The line of Birds Eye® Flavor Full vegetables transforms plain veggies with bold and on-trend flavors – it makes eating healthy side dishes so much fun. Plus, I love the convenience of the Steamfresh packaging – you just heat up in the microwave right in the bag. When my kids are making dinner, having one less dish to clean up is a major selling point! The unexpected but utterly delicious flavors include Buffalo Cauliflower, Ranch Broccoli, Sour Cream & Onion Potatoes, Teriyaki Broccoli, Barbecue Sweet Corn, Sweet Chili Carrots, Wasabi Peas and Fiesta Lime Corn. Check here for a product locator.
Head over and get a $1.00 off coupon that is good for 30 days once downloaded (but must be used by 12/31/2015).
Follow the Rafflecopter app directions to enter now through Dec 9th.