I don’t usually do a “5 for Friday” shoutout, but this week has been full of so many interesting, fun, amazing things that I though I should. Then, I realized I had excessively more than 5 things to share – so, you’re getting “15 for Friday!” I’m talking about everything from amazing eco-wellness products from Shiftcon, the lotions I put on my face, a really cool app-based, customized meal delivery service, my latest ambassadorships, the 3M Half Marathon, mystery excitement news, and more! You have to read on to find out all the deets!
The advice to not snack before bed is much more fiction than fact! The real story on noshing at night has a happy ending for those of us who are always hungry. Turns out it’s perfectly okay, if not a “good thing,” to eat a little something before bed, especially if you are trying to build or maintain muscle. However, before you start feeding your midnight munchies, there are exceptions and caveats – aren’t there always?!
Just when I think I’ve tasted every type of fruit and vegetable there is to eat (ever been to Produce Convention), I realize that a tasty treat has slipped past my radar – the Cherimoya. Mark Twain once likened the cherimoya “deliciousness itself!” – how did I ever miss the memo on this quite large and armored lizard-skinned looking fruit!
Once set aside solely for ancient Incan royalty, this “King of Fruit” is still a prized possession – they are delicious and hard to find . . . and usually fairly big-bucks if you do. But, so worth the investment as you will gobble up this healthy treat in a single sitting, especially if you have a friend sitting nearby with a spoon. The flesh inside is amazingly fragrant, soft, sweet and scoopable – there some seeds inside, but they aren’t too hard to flick away. When selecting afruit, pick a cherimoya that is still green but showing minor signs of turning brown soon. Like an avocado, the fruit is ripened with the flesh yields to a gentle touch. So, if your fruit is still green and hard, let it ripen on the counter for up to three days – or stick in a paper bag to speed the process along. Check out my friends at Frieda’s for other great Cherimoya Recipes and Tips.
So, my top 3 ways to chow a cherimoya are:
1) Sprinkle with Spices: Sliced in half and sprinkled with cinnamon, dash of nutmeg and a bit of honey drizzle – I swear it tastes just like apple pie. My kids think it tastes more like a pineapple and banana that got married and laid a big prehistoric egg. Either way, it’s a taste bud winner – haha!
2) Mixed into Oatmeal: I put chunks or puree of cherimoya in my morning oatmeal. This is a great way for me to boost up the vitamin C, potassium, and in my fiber in my daily diet. If I find the fruit on sale or can’t eat what I’ve purchased before going too ripe, I simply puree the fruit in the blender with a tiny splash of lemon juice and freeze in heavy-duty zip-top bags (above picture). This will keep in the back of your freezer for 6 months! You can also sub in for 1/2 the oil in baked goods as you would applesauce, pumpkin or another fruit puree.
3) Blended into Smoothie: Blending cherimoya with orange juice is traditional but my recipe for Cherimoya Apple Cider Smoothie is super yummy. I use one of the delicious, cold-pressed, 100% juice apple ciders from Litehouse Foods — so fresh you need to look for it in the produce department!
Directions: Add 2 tablespoons oats to bottom of blender, pulse for a few seconds to grind up. Add ½ cup cherimoya puree (preferably frozen) or fresh chunks, 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, ½ cup apple cider, ½ teaspoon cinnamon and 1 tablespoon honey (or sugar-free alternative) to blender and blend for 1 minute, adding a few ice cubes to achieve desired consistency. Serves 1.
Also, I want to share with you my favorite little luxury each month – it’s the PopSugar #MustHaveBox from POPSUGAR. The Must Have Box is a specially-curated monthly subscription that is filled with full-sized products across fashion, beauty, home décor, upscale edibles and more. I absolutely have adored everything that’s come in my monthly box – often they are splurges that I would never buy myself (but am oh-so happy to have) or fabulously off-beat, quirky things that I never knew I needed until I have in my hot little hands – and then I’m hooked!
The October box included a book, Power Your Happy, by POPSUGAR founder Lisa Sugar, a gorgeous umbrella from Henri Bendel (along with a shopping discount card), Dark Drinking Chocolate (by My Cup of Cocoa) and a Rise & Shine Diner Mug (by Morning Culture). The Lalicious Bubble Bath, Revlon Eye Pen and Makeup Eraser Mini really spoke to my girly side, that’s a nice treat when a mom of three boys! Check out some of the past Must Have Boxes and sign up for a subscription that suits you – save $5 on your first box with code SHOP5. Whoohoo!
What is your MUST HAVE this month? Tip me off on your new, most favorite, most awesome find! Oh, and have you ever tried a Cherimoya?! Please share in the comments – XOXO, Jennnifer
Maple Pecan Pumpkin Popcorn: So much goodness here, this is a delicious and easy-to-make fall snack. Forget about Cracker Jacks, make your own healthier autumn-inspired version with real maple syrup, a bit of butter and real pumpkin along withthe right spices. Also, did you know you can make your own “clean” popcorn right in the microwave with nothing more than a brown paper lunch sack – that’s how I’ve been doing it for years! Also, do NOT use maple FLAVORED syrup for this recipes, that would be a nasty, corn-syrupy shame. I love the 100% Organic Maple Syrup from NOW Real Food – it’s a light and delicate-tasting amber syrup that makes me think of a crisp, cool breeze and rustle of leaves with every taste! Recipe for the Healthier Maple Pecan Pumpkin Popcorn at the bottom of the post!
Also wanted to shout out some other this I’m loving this fall season. First, yay for the POPSUGAR, they sent me the September Must Have Box and, it’s definitely a must have! This awesome lifestyle subscription box always knows how to win me over with products that I’ll obviously love (like the GFB Dark Chocolate Coconut Bites) to unexpected surprises (like the Jack & Lucy Black Felt Hat) that I never knew I needed, but now wonder how I ever lived without! And this specially curated box of goodies even makes the practical contents (like the MANI E.R. purse manicure repair kit) super hip and cool.
If you are looking for a unique gift that gives for a month or e even all year, consider giving your bestie a subscription to the POPSUGAR Must Have Box. Use code SHOP5 (which never expires) at checkout to save $5 off your FIRST Must Have Box!
Second, I’m loving Tommie Copper Compression, again . . . as usual! But this time I’m focused on their compression “sleeves” made for nearly every part and parcel of our limbs! Sometimes I ask a little too much of my bod and not even a rest day can resolve my minor aches and pains. However, I really dislike being sidelined from training – – that’s why you’ll typically see me in some sort of compression gear. If you’ve ever seen my Instagram feed, you’ll see that I’m a huge fan of compression socks. But I also wear compression sleeves for ankle, knee, wrists, elbow and quads when needed for both during exercise support and post-workout recovery. Personally, I really like the Tommie Copper brand – the targeted compression sleeves are low-profile, unobtrusive and make my muscles, tendons and joints feel good (or at least lessen the feeling that I’ve been run over by a truck)!
Tweet “Maple Pecan Pumpkin Popcorn + Fall Faves @nowfoods @tommiecopper @PopsugarMH #ad”]
Of all the fall foods, what is your favorite? Or at least, favorite fall flavor? Ever try compression gear for anywhere other than your legs or rear? Please share in the comments, XOXO — JEnnifer
1) MilestonePod Running Wearable
I’m fairly low tech when it comes to running, oh how I do love a good pair of shoes and cute outfit, but sometimes all that data at my fingertips pushes me over the edge. In the past, I was a die-hard stat tracker, but today (although I do check in with my running benchmarks now and then), I don’t always record every lap, loop and interval of every run (but when I do, a good GPS watch can’t be beat). Recently, MilestonePod sent me their brand new wearable that provides easy access to “just enough for me” activity data to keep me in touch with my general performance (like overall distance, pace and calories burned that I can check at the end of my run but not every insufferable second), along with insights on my personal running style and how to improve it. What I REALLY love is how MilestonePod also tracks an assortment of additional metrics such cadence, foot strike and stride length. For example, I’m always trying to keep my cadence between 180 and 200 and this easy to wear gadget keeps the count for me – it also breaks out the percentage of time I strike with heel, forefoot or toes – it makes your shoes smart! Very interesting and useful feedback! Very reasonably priced (under $30) with a free user app that is downloaded for both Android and iPhone, there is no reason for a runner to give MilestonePod a go! #GoBeyondPace
2) POPSUGAR Must Have Box
One for me. .. and one for me! Don’t worry, it’s, just Lime Kombucha with Raspberries ? Enjoying the last Sunday with all my kids home for the summer with healthy mocktails and just some of the many fun goodies found in my POPSUGAR Must Have Box this month @POPSUGARMH ? you can get $5 off your first #MustHaveBox box with code SHOP5 at http://bit.lt/2ao52ns #ad . . . .#summer #sundayfunday #weekend #fit #fitfam #fitlife #fitfoodie #healthyliving #wellness #mocktail #cocktailnapkins #joeschips #nomnom #snacks #partytime we’d be #alfresco but it’s raining in #atx ?
I love LOVE getting these POPSUGAR Must Have boxes in the mail every month – it’s like having twelve birthdays a year! There are usually around six to eight “gifts” that sum up the season perfectly
(sometimes more)– the July subscription box included sunscreen for your hair, darling emoji fabric cocktail napkins, a lightweight scarf, a cute pineapple pin, an inflatable drink holder that looks like a swan (how cute is this for the pool?), yummy old-school style potato chips, brow highlighter (ooh, middle-aged me needs the lift) and a gift card for $20 towards customizable jewelry from an online boutique!
You need to try out a subscription to POPSUGAR Must Have Box yourself, I’ve never been disappointed! Get $5 off your first #MustHaveBox box (no expiration date) with code SHOP5 at http://bit.lt/2ao52ns
I also just mailed in my Sleep Balance Profile and Home Collection Kit from EverlyWell to identify hormone-related sleep imbalances. Yeah, I am not a champion sleeper and am at my breaking point. I need to know what is going on with my body and EverlyWell makes it simple and convenient to #KnowYourNumbers and I hope the results well help me work with my pharmacist and/or doctor to find the right seep relief I need. They have all sorts of home tests including Food Sensitivities, Cholesterol & Lipids, Heavy Metals, and more. I’ll be posting a full review and the findings from my Sleep & Stress Test in a week or two – but, in the meantime, if you want to save 10% use the code EVERLY10 at checkout.
Please note: EverlyWell offers laboratory testing for wellness monitoring, the tests are not meant to diagnose or treat disease, or to take the place of a physician’s consultation. Testing is not available in NY, MD, RI, or NJ due to regulatory restrictions. EverlyWell does not provide medical advice and always suggests sharing your results with your primary care physician.
Disclaimer: I was provided products and/or compensation to review these products and give my honest feedback – all comments, feedback and enthusiasm are my own!
I don’t eat rice very often, it can be pretty boring (IMO) and really doesn’t fit into my lower-carb protein plan. However, I’m not a NO carb kind of girl – no way, no how. Sometimes I need that precious energy source to propel me through an endurance event, boost my brainpower or just keep me from going bonkers.
Brown rice, which is a great source of fiber, is a smart and easy-to-make option when it comes to eating healthy, whole grain carbs. Research has shown that brown rice can reduce diabetes risk, help manage weight, lower cholesterol and reduce the likelihood of getting certain cancers (read more about all this at The Whole Grains Council.)
So, to avoid the blah-fest that is plain rice, I decided to up to the flavors with a health take on fried rice – you’re going to go crazy for my Coconut Macadamia Nut Fried Rice! Made with lots of coconut items including coconut water, coconut oil and unsweetened coconut – there is a that wonderful hint of tropical paradise with every bite. The macadamia nuts back up the beach eats vibe – and the whole thing is just loaded with healthy fats and extra protein from the eggs to help you fill filled up for longer. (get recipe at bottom of post — but below are some great NOW Foods products I used and love)
Also, I have to tell you about the best thing to show up at my door this week (aside from my Fed Ex man who loves to yap about Spartan Race just as much as me):
A box of gifts for me and it’s not even my birthday (yet) or Christmas! POPSUGAR sent me this Must Have box to try and it totally made my day, my week, my June! This monthly subscription box is aptly named “must-have” – all the most fabulous, fun things a fit and fashionable girl could want are specially curated and packed into one awesomely exciting box to open. You never know what each month’s #MustHaveBox will behold – but the surprises never fail to win me over on pure whimsy and major whoohoo!
The June Pop Sugar Must Have Box included:
- Neutral Diamonds printed Sarong by HAT ATTACK – I’m packing this easy, breezy cover-up in my weekend bag for my next trip to the beach. It’s perfect for a swim suit cover up, but gorgeous enough to wear as a wrap at the dinner hour.
- “Cheers” Gold Bottle Opener by SISTERS OF LOS ANGELES – A chic and unique upscale beer drinker would never think to use a tacky, cheap promo bottle opener. This sleek , golden opener takes the top off iced cold beverage in chic summer style.
- Ridley’s Games Room “Who Am I Quiz?” by WILD AND WOLF – Oh, you know game night at my family reunion is going to get rocking with this celebrity-inspired guessing game! How fun!
- Born on the 4th Nail Laquer by NCLA – So, I know what my toes are wearing on Independence Day! This glittery, glam polish!
- Are You Ready Compact Mirror by KNOCK KNOCK – This cheeky compact will help me be ready for that next selfie situation.
- Underarm Deoderat Wipes by PACIFICA – Lightly perfumed and oh-so convenient, this is my favorite item in the box . .. errr, uhhh, cause I stink after working out and running errands all day.
- Sriracha Snacks by PRESSELS – Less fat and salt than many other snack foods and that spicy kick of Sriracha to boot – a winner!
So, what is your new favorite workout, fashion or food find for this summer? What is your favorite nut? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer
“The chickpea is neither a chick nor a pea. Discuss.” Remember when Mike Myers chatted about this the “Coffee Talk” comedy sketch on Saturday Night Live?
The chickpea, also known as a garbanzo bean, is actually a legume that has been around for more than 7,500 years. A popular choice for man Mediterranean and Indian dishes, the little chickpea is packed with big nutrition – an excellent source of protein, dietary fiber, and vitamin B6 for vegetarians. Vitamin b6 helps to stabilize blood sugar, metabolize foods and make antibodies to ward off disease.
I came up with this lovely dish for Litehouse Foods and just knew I had to share it here – it’s perfect for a lunch or light dinner. The cool and crisp salad is dressed with flavors favored along parts of Greece and Italy and packed into a tomato serving as an edible bowl. Did you know the healthy, long-living people of the Mediterranean region eat, on average, nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day? This chickpea salad will get you well on your way to meeting this daily goal.
- 1 ½ cups packed kale or baby kale leaves
- 1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- ½ red onion cut in chunks
- 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1 Tbsp minced garlic
- 1 medium cucumber chopped coarsely
- 1 (15-oz) can rinsed and drained chickpeas
- 2 large tomatoes (like Beefsteak variety)
- ½ cup Litehouse Food’s OPA Feta Dill Greek Yogurt Dressing (plus additional for garnish)
- 2 grape tomatoes cut in half
- 2 ounces baby spring lettuce mix
- In work bowl of food processor, add kale, cilantro, onion chunks, lime juice and garlic. Pulse for approximately 1 minute or until ingredients are finely chopped like pesto. Set aside.
- In medium bowl, add chopped cucumber, rinsed chick peas and mixture from food processor. Add ½ cup dressing and mix everything together until thoroughly coated.
- Cut large tomatoes in half crosswise and scoop out seeds and pulp with spoon (reserve for another purpose, if desired). Fill tomato cups with chickpea mixture and top with a dollop of dressing and grape tomato half. Serve on top of baby spring lettuce mix. Serves 4.
I have another yummy mention – POPSUGAR Must Have Snacks by Nature Box. I received a box full of these nutritious nom-noms in the mail and have been enjoying mixing up my normal afternoon snacking. Being stuck inside working on the computer (and nursing my sprained ribs) is much more tolerable with five bags of healthy snacks like Blueberry Almond Bliss and Lemon Pucker Pistachios.
Check it out for yourself. For a limited time, the POPSUGAR Must Have Snacks by NatureBox will be 50% off!
Disclosure: POPSUGAR and NatureBox provided me with a complimentary POPSUGAR Must Have Snacks by NatureBox box. The opinions I have shared about the box are my own, and POPSUGAR and NatureBox did not tell me what to say or how to say it.