Healthy Bones for Handstands, Marathons and More #BeActiv

TheFitFork BeActive Handstsand

Can you believe we are already a month into  2015?! If you’ve already set some goals for the New Year, take a few minutes to check in and see if you’re on track. No goals yet? No worries, it’s never too late to state your intentions for living a healthier, happier, more productive and ACTIVE life. Don’t know where to start? I’ll take the first step down the path by sharing some of my non-negotiable goals for living well —- Eat Clean, Drink Water, Move More, Stress Less and Sleep Better.

Healthy Living Inspiration

When I rattle off this list it amazes me how interwoven these intentions are – each one affecting the outcome of other. For example, I know when I’m having a lot of stress and don’t sleep well, I also don’t eat well. Or, when I’m not drinking enough water, my head doesn’t feel clear and my body doesn’t want to perform. I know I won’t attain perfection every day. . . make that ANY day – but I having this list in my head will keep me from taking too many rabbit trails and falling off a cliff.

Viactiv Calcium Chews an Gummies - TheFitFork.com

One tool in helping me reach my goals to #BeActiv is to supplement my clean-eating diet in any areas were there may be a deficit. Even though I eat dairy products and do plenty of weight-bearing exercise, getting enough calcium is a biggie with me — especially since I’m getting older, have had a stress fracture in the past, and my own mother has been diagnosed with osteopenia. While it’s important to get vitamins and minerals from real food sources, sometimes an extra boost is required. That’s why I take Viactiv Calcium Chews and Gummies– to ensure that I’m getting the recommended amount of daily calcium for bone health based on my age. I was so surprised to find out that 70% of adult women aren’t getting enough calcium – and teen girls are even worse off with 85% in a deficit.

Viactiv knows that being active means different things for different people, and my journey isn’t yours. For example, I want to “Move More” and #BeActive – for me, that means learning some new yoga poses, stepping it up in CrossFit and having fun running. You may be interested in gardening, taking hikes or entering a triathlon.

Keep your bones strong for what YOU want to do! Viactiv has a several products to help you meet your daily calcium intake. Viactiv Calcium Soft Chews have been my favorite for a while, these individually-wrapped calcium supplements provide 100% of the daily calcium requirement for most women and also include vitamins V & D. Available in milk chocolate, caramel and sugar-free milk chocolate flavors, these chewy tabs are a tasty way supplement your healthy diet and bone strengthening exercises.

Viactiv Gummies are another great option for calcium supplementation – these gluten-free, dairy-free gummies come in assorted fruit flavors. Two gummies offer 100% of the daily value of calcium along with vitamin D, which helps the body better absorb calcium.

Enter the #BeActive with Viactiv sweepstakes at http://bit.ly/1E4Lytt through 2/26/2015 for achance to win retailer gift cards, wearable fitness technology and Viactiv products.

You can find Viactiv in stores like CVS, Rite Aid, Target, Walgreens and Walmart. For more information about Viactiv and to learn more about keeping bones strong, visit http://www.Viactiv.com  #BeActiv

This is a product-provided, sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Viactiv . The opinions and text are all mine.

Keep Calm and Eat Brownies #SpecialKBrownies

Chocolate is awesome in so many ways! It tastes divine; it smells heavenly and is actually quite good for the mind and body (in moderation, of course). Scientists and nutritionist have spent years researching the positive health benefits of chocolate (tough job) and I’m happy to report that I’ve collected my fair share of anecdotal evidence! Chocolate is a winner!

Sitting around eating chocolate all day probably wouldn’t be a good thing though – I like to reserve chocolate-eating for a treat. I will admit that I do start my day off with a few dark chocolate chips alongside my hot chai or coffee – this ritual that gets me in a good mood to tackle even the craziest days. The kids always request my Best-Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies, but brownies are actually my favorite feel-good, chocolaty comfort foods – but it can be quite dangerous to have a whole, homemade pan sitting out! Oh, the temptation to eat the whole pan of my Mom’s decadent recipe that features entire big toffee-chocolate candy bars baked into the middle.

I was excited when Kellogg’s recently sent me a couple boxes of Special K Brownies to try out – Divine Fudge and Heavenly Caramel. What I noticed right away when sampling these brownies is that they taste like REAL brownies, not like some weird diet food “brownie.” That’s because Special K Brownies are REAL brownies made with real ingredients like cocoa, chocolate or caramel chips and topped with a drizzle of chocolate fudge. The other thing I appreciate about the Special K Brownies is that these convenient brownies are pre-portioned to be just an 80-calorie treat. The brownies aren’t huge, but just the right size to enjoy the indulgence and not end up feeling deprived later in the day (and eating that whole pan of Mom’s candy bar brownies I just mentioned). Sure, I COULD open up all the brownie packages in the box and eat them at one sitting, but I probably wouldn’t since they are wrapped as single servings – a great visual cue on portion-size awareness.

I stashed a few of these brownies in my gym bag for a reward after my 10 mile run and CrossFitWOD – washed down with a carton of milk, it was a totally on target recovery snack. Also, since February is sneaking up, I started experimenting with ways to incorporate Special K Brownies into a Valentine’s Day celebration. It so easy to use a cookie cutter to make a simple heart shaped – serve as a little chocolaty pick-me-up or sandwich two brownie hearts with frozen yogurt in the middle.

Visit www.specialk.com for more information on the new Special K Brownies in Divine Fudge and Heavenly Caramel, available now at grocery and mass retail stores nationwide.

What is your favorite chocolate treat?

This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Special K Brownies.

Improve Vision for Confident Night Driving (and Running) + #Giveaway

jen waiting for trick or treatersTwo rare things I look forward to in one weekend — a bowl full of candy (I shared) and sleeping in an extra hour thanks to the arrival of daylight savings time. However, it takes about a week to convince my body that it’s not going to bed too early or my stomach that I don’t really need another Snickers bar! Eventually, I adapt as we humans do – however, one pesky and potentially dangerous issue will still bother me all through the winter . . . and that is trouble with night driving.

With daylight continuing to shrink until the winter solstice paired with the clock being backed up an hour, I find myself doing more and more night driving – even just picking up the kiddos up from their sports and music practices is now done in the dark. To be honest, I don’t like driving at night. In low light, it’s hard to judge how far away objects really are (if I see them at all) and the glare from oncoming headlights can be blinding (or at a minimum, confusing) – these vision issues can (and have) affected my reaction time and I hate that feeling of driving “on edge,” white-knuckling the steering wheel. Thank goodness, I’ve never had a driving accident at night – however, statistics show that traffic death rates are three times greater at night than during daylight. Scary!

Night Driving & Vision Infographic

vizual EDGE 300dpi RGB shadowI recently discovered EyePromise, a line of natural eye health supplements featuring the nutrients zeaxanthin and lutein. These two ingredients are carotenoids that make up the macular pigment—the area of the eye responsible for protecting vision. While small amounts of zeaxanthin and lutein are found naturally in foods like leafy greens, corn, eggs and red, orange and yellow peppers, most of us would never eat enough to see improvements in eye health – that’s where the convenience of a scientifically proven product like EyePromise vizual EDGE™ comes in. I have to tell you, before finding out about EyePromise, I never even stopped to consider taking a pill to help improve my night vision. But, the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. I take a mutli-vitamin to fill in any gaps in my dailiy nutrition and I take supplements to help my sports performance and recovery, so why have I not been doing something proactive for my eyesight?

Jennifer Fisher Hood To Coast Relay - @EyePromise VizualEdge for night runningDriving and accidentally harming another person isn’t the only concern I have with my vision and being on the road at night. For good reason, I’m also worried about hurting myself (again) while running at night. What an awful fall I took almost exactly this time last year when I was out running at 9pm by myself, I split my chin open (requiring stitches) and gave myself a concussion – I was really lucky I didn’t break my jaw with the angle and force of the fall.  Even though there were street lamps on and lots of bright stars overhead, I just didn’t see the unevenness between a pair of sidewalk pavers.

eye promise logo

On behalf of EyePromise, I am hosting a giveaway for Night Driving Confidence Kits – 3 of my readers will win one! Each kit, designed to make you feel more comfortable on the road and night, includes a car emergency tool/flashlight, headlight towel, EyePromise sport bag, coupon for EyePromise vizual EDGE and more! Simply enter through the Rafflecopter app below:

This post and giveaway is sponsored by EyePromise. While I have received compensation and products in exchange for my time, the review, opinions and editorial comments are completely my own.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Off the Hook Flavor! Coho Salmon with Cranberry Jalapeno Compote

This post is sponsored by Sizzlefish, I received products to review. However, all opinions, editorial comments and recipes are my own.

Cooler of Frozen Sizzlefish

Sizzlefish recently sent me an impressive assortment of fish and seafood to incorporate into my November menus — sable fish, salmon, trout, scallops and more. Honestly, I couldn’t decide which fish to fry first (speaking metaphorically, of course), so I pulled the Coho salmon out of the pre-portioned, individually-packaged pile. That’s one thing I appreciated right off the bat, the fact that each serving is single-serve (less waste) and measured out to be exactly 4 ounces (no guesswork). As a connoisseur of all proteins, I know that a 4 ounce serving of beef, chicken or fish protein gives me around 25 grams of protein which is the optimal amount for my body to take on at any one feeding.

For quite some time now, I have made a conscious effort to increase the amount of protein I’m eating and pair that with as much fresh seasonal produces as I care for. However, I haven’t eliminated all grain and starchy carbs from my diet, because after experimenting around with Paleo and such, I really feel like I need some quality carb fuel to keep me where I want to be as an athlete. That being said, the powers of protein have done great things for me including speeding up my recovery time, leaning me out and boosting my brain power (okay, jury still out on that one)! Everyone knows I love beef, that’s no secret – but when it comes to getting enough quality Omega-3 fats, even a Texas rancher would say – go eat some fish! My husband and I eat at least two servings of Omega-3 rich fish per week and you should too! I think you’ll love this fall-seasoned recipe I created this weekend – Coho Salmon with Cranberry and Jalapeno Compote.

Coho Salmon with Cranberry Jalapeno Compote - TheFitFork.com

Sizzlefish Coho Salmon with Cranberry Jalapeno Compote - thefitfork.com

Coho Salmon with Cranberry and Jalapeno Compote Recipe (serves 2)

  • ½ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • ¾ cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon minced jalapeno pepper (omit if you don’t like spicy)
  • 2 tablespoons Jalapeno jelly
  • 2 4-ounce portions of Coho Salmon (might I suggest Sizzlefish?)
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon pepita (pumpkin) seeds, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F degrees.
  2. On stovetop, add orange juice, cranberries, jalapenos, and jalapeno jelly to small saucepan. Bring to boil, reduce heat and let simmer, stirring frequently, for approximately 5 -7 minutes until cranberries have popped and cooked down.
  3. Meanwhile, place thawed salmon, skin side down, on rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with lime juice. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. To serve, scoop a generous serving of the cranberry compote atop salmon. Sprinkle with pepita seeds, if desired.

Note – skin may be removed from salmon after cooking, but at least try to eat the darker flesh next to the skin because where A LOT of the good-for-you fats are found.

Try Sizzlefish for yourself — use discount code TRISIZ for $10 off order!

What is your favorite type of fish?

Friday 5 |So Many #ShoutOuts it’s Scary + Running Giveaway!

Boo, it’s Halloween! I don’t do this very often, but I wanted to share with you some of the products and events I whole-heartedly stand behind. Actually, I have so many, that I’ll shout out another five next Friday. Don’t miss the giveaway at the bottom of the post for a Spartan entry, two tubes of Nuun, and a pair of Altra running socks.

1) Core Power:  For years, I’ve been a big fan of this product and remember way back when it was called Athlete’s Honey Milk.

Jennifer Fisher Core PowerNow these high protein shakes are big time popular, so I’m super honored to be one of their athletes . . . plus, you’ve probably noticed I do a lot of workouts and recipes for their social media.   I like to stash a bottle in my gym bag for the perfect amount of protein recovery after a long run or intense workout. The six yummy flavors are also the base ingredient for many of my crazy delicious smoothie recipes – like the Vampire Slayer Protein Smoothie I whipped up for Halloween.

Vampire Slayer Protein Smoothie  Recipe

Vampire Slayer Smoothie

Core Power Vampire Slayer Protein Smoothie

  •   1 (11-ounce) Strawberry-banana Core Power
  • 1 cup frozen berry blend
  • 1/2 cup cranberry juice
  • Ice, as needed

Place all ingredients in blend and blend until smooth. Serves 1.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2) Zooma Women’s Race Series: This is my 4th year to be a Texas Ambassador for this female-focused running event that takes place in fun destination locations like Austin, Napa, Cape Cod and others.

Jennifer Fisher at Zooma Texas 2014The Austin race is on Saturday March 28, 2015 at the Hill Country Hyatt Resort – a gorgeous, gorgeous place to run a race. The bluebonnets and other flowers are blooming this time of year and this welcomed distraction of Mother Nature has always made the hills seem less painful! The main race is a half marathon, but there is also a 10k and 5k and everyone is encouraged to run, laugh and celebrate. Oh, and did I mention the massages, wine and pretty necklace-style finisher’s medal to be enjoy afterward.  Register using code JENNIFER15 and get 10% off any distance in the Texas lineup.

3) Spartan: I’ve never actually done a Spartan race but it’s been on my bucket list for a while.

Spartan - If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change youOne of the things that’s been holding me back is my own competitive nature – what if I don’t kill it, what if I don’t WIN (ha)? But, then I realized that’s totally the wrong attitude – if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you  — right?!  I’m going to be signing up the next time Spartan comes through Texas, meanwhile YOU can enter to win a free entry. Enter through the Rafflecopter app below, the winner will receive a registration code that will work for any open heat (non-confirmed start time) in any Spartan Race (check out the upcoming races) in the continental US.  You can also just go ahead and register now and get 10% off any race (Sprint, Super or Beast) in any US with the code: SPARTANBLOGGER

4) Nuun Hydration: This sugar-free electrolyte tablet that you plop into a bottle of water and it magically fizzes up, has saved my butt from dehydration many, many times.

Nuun Hood to Coast Team 2013I use Nuun on my long runs, marathons and even out when watching my kids play sports all day in the Texas sun (I put it in their water bottles too!)  They have a fairly new line, Nuun Energy, which combines the same optimal electrolyte blend with B vitamins and caffeine — yeah!  The products are awesome, but I also can’t say enough about the people who work at Nuun –as a lucky ambassador, Nuun has invited me twice to be one of their runners in the Hood to Coast Relay, and I got the royal treatment each time!

nuun bottles If you want to stock up on Nuun, use the code nuunbassadorfriend to get 20% off a one-time purchase (through the end of 2014).  Oh, what the heck, I’m going to throw two tubes of Nuun (my choice) into the giveaway below!

 

5) Altra Running –  I was first introduced to this line of “zero-drop” shoes several years ago when I was tweaking my running form with the Pose Method.

Altra TRE13 smallAs an ambassador for the brand, I’ve shared my testimonial on how these shoes have helped me as a mid-foot striker, improved my natural running form and saved my toenails from turning black and falling off! I’ve worn them in every distance from a 5k to 50 mile ultra. Currently, I’m wearing the Ones Squared, and loving the lightness with a touch of cushion!  They also make socks with a wider toe box and I’m giving away a pair of Women’s White No Show Sprint Socks

altra sock

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#MyAdventure with Artichokes & the Art of Yoga

Okay, random enough for you – artichokes and yoga?!  Well, actually the pair makes perfect sense to me since discovering new ways to cook favorite foods and pushing myself into challenging and sometimes even uncomfortable situations (literally) are two of the ways I satisfy my adventure-seeking soul.

travel dress lightweight wool

I was very excited, yet a bit skeptical, when Icebreaker.com invited me to try out their New Zealand Merino wool fitness, outdoor and travel clothing for my next adventure. My first thought was wool in August – now that will definitely be a memorable experience! However, this company makes clothing in all weights that perform beautifully in the extremes of weather – cold and hot!  The clothing I ordered didn’t itch like traditional wool, didn’t leave me feeling sticky and clammy like synthetics and was never soggy or stinky like cotton can be.

The Villa Plume Dress (above) is my new favorite dress – which is a huge testament to its awesomeness because I love LOVE dresses and have a closet full to compete! What I appreciate about this 200-lightweight wool dress is that it feels as comfy as wearing my favorite nightgown around town, but is super stylish and dressy enough for business meetings or just heading to the market to shop for – ARTICHOKES! Plus, for summer trips – I just tossed it in my luggage and it came out totally wrinkle-free!

lightweight wool underwear for travel

So, on a trip to Mount Vernon this summer, I packed along some other Icebreaker gear – the Siren Hipkini Underwear. Sorry, you’re not going to get to see me modeling these panties (ha) but trust me – the underwear are under there! While I was traipsing through George Washington’s lower gardens looking at the bounty of fruit and vegetable crops (including one of his favorite — the artichoke!), I thought I was going to melt – it was pushing 100 degrees and the Potomac River humidity was only adding to the sweatfest. Thank goodness for my lightweight wool undies – they wicked moisture right away and were quick to dry. Too bad Martha and her ladies in waiting didn’t have these itty-bitty green bloomers!

merion wool running socks icebreakersI also was able to try out the Women’s Multi-Sport Ultra-Light Micro Socks as I ran around the Mall in Washington, DC – lightweight for summer sports, non-chaffing toe seams and cute colors! I’ll be stocking up on more of these for my upcoming race season!

 

artichoke plant mt vernon

At artichoke growing in the garden at Mt. Vernon.

 

When I got home from #MyAdventure, I really had a hankering for those artichokes I saw growing in George’s garden. I’ve always purchased artichokes already prepared and marinated from my local gourmet store — Central Market has some delish ones on the deli bar.  I’ve seen recipes for grilling artichokes and steaming artichokes the way my mom did back when I was a kid (I remember my parents dipping artichoke leaves into garlic butter as a special appetizer), but I was always a bit intimidated by these big thorny thistles.

Then, I had a light bulb moment – why not make them in a slow cooker? The low, slow cooking method would surely yield a tender treat – and I was right! Plus, I loved the convenience of just popping them in the slow cooker and then leaving to run errands for a few hours rather than standing around in the kitchen waiting for them to steam for 45-ish minutes. Also, instead of a decadent butter dip – I added a drizzle of Caesar dressing and a few Parmesan cheese sprinkles to keep things healthy. It’s a recipe I created for Litehouse Foods; check it out for the rest of the story and more mouthwatering photos!

caesar slow cooker artichokes

Caesar Slow Cooker Artichokes Recipe

  • 3 medium artichokes
  • 3 lemons (divided)
  • 1 ½ cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup white wine or cooking wine
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2/3 cup shaved or grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup garlic croutons crushed into crumbs
  • 4 – 6 ounces Caesar salad dressing (I used Organic Caesar from Litehouse)
  1. Prepare artichokes by first washing under water and shaking dry. Next, cut off stems and remove small lower leaves with paring knife. With larger knife, cut ½” off the top of artichokes to remove the prickly spines. Use kitchen shears to snip off remaining spines on lower leaves. Cut one lemon in half and rub on exposed areas of artichoke to prevent oxidization.
  2. Pour broth, wine, garlic and bay leaf into bottom of 4 quart slow cooker. Place artichokes, bottom side down into slow cooker. Cut second lemon into slices and place a slice on top of each artichoke. Add remaining slices of that lemon to the broth mixture.  Put lid on slow cooker and cook on high for approximately 3 hours, or until softened and leaves pull off easily.
  3. Transfer artichokes from liquid to serving platter. While still hot, gently squeeze to pull apart leaves and stuff with bits of Parmesan cheese and crouton crumbs. Sprinkle remaining cheese and crumbs on tops of artichokes. Drizzle artichokes with Caesar Dressing and serve with third lemon that has been cut up into wedges.

The rest of #MyAdventure focuses on the “art of yoga” or in my case — it’s often “the agony of yoga.” I used to be a very flexible person but that bendiness got left behind a long time ago. However, I’ve been trying to build a few minutes into each day to practice some yoga moves to reclaim my flexibility – I hope the focus on a greater range of mobility will keep me from getting injured in my running and workouts as I get older.  The fitness wear from Icebreaker was perfect for my little yoga session — check out the cool and comfortable Dart Shorts and Sprite Racerback Tank from Icebreaker. These items were ultra-light weight (150 gauge wool) and super soft — almost like wearing nothing!

icebreaker merino wool shorts and tank for yoga

If you haven’t tried working out in wool, you definitely should! Head over to Icebreaker, they are having a great end-of-the-season sale and have free shipping on orders over $99 and have a “love it or send it back” policy with free return shipping. I will definitely be trying out their cold weather gear come ski season – I am always the one that is too cold and I’m not going to let that happen this winter!

Icebreaker provided me with product in return for my review, but did not tell me what to say or how to say it – all opinions are my own!

Have you ever worked out in lightweight wool?

Do you have a favorite artichoke recipe, please share!

Flexibility Foremost – Reebok CrossFit #Nano4 Review & WOD

reebok nano 5.0  overhead shoe text

 

The following post is sponsored on behalf of Fitfluential LLC on behalf of Reebok. 

There are plenty of perks that make the latest evolution of the Reebok CrossFit training shoe, the Nano 4.0, a winner. First, the nearly indestructible yet lightweight upper holds up to intense workouts filled with jumping, lifting, running and even rope climbing (special RopePro protection). In terms of sole performance, the shoe provides enough stability for Olympic lifting without sacrificing the flexibility and light cushioning that keep feet springy and safe during high-impact moves like jumping and running.  Available in a kaleidoscope of colors, the Nano 4.0s not only look cool but they also keep your feet cool with improved breathability on the uppers.  Feet that sweat less mean fewer blisters and less overall foot stench in the CrossFit box – thank you very MUCH! Even though the Nano 4.0 might seem kind of pricy at an ARV of $119, it’s like getting at least two pairs in one – a pair for running and high-impact activities and a pair for stability on deadlifts, overheat squats, kettlebell swings and such!

collage of crossfit box pictures

Whoohoo, look at all the things I can do in my Reebok Nano 4.0!

However, what really impressed me about the Reebok Nano 4.0 was the overall flexibility it brings to a cross-training shoe. By flexibility, I don’t mean “versatility” — but I should add that as a benefit too, since I did everything in them from box jumping, sprinting, agility course running, rope climbing, gymnastics, weight lifting and even some post WOD yoga!  As far as flexibility, Reebok reports that they re-engineered DuraCage from the Nano 3.0 for greater benefits in the fore foot and toe area. While I don’t have any experience with the shoe’s predecessor, I can tell you that the Nano 4.0 is the most comfortable and flexible cross-training shoe I’ve ever worn without a doubt.

I could share my woes of really black toe nails thanks (make that no thanks) to wearing rigid shoes during a burpee-filled WOD – but I’ll spare you those nasty details. But, I do want to share that as a CrossFit athlete who likes to compete in running (and vice-versa), flexibility in a shoe is a really big deal for me.  It was about five years ago when I worked with Master Pose Method and CrossFit Endurance Coach, Valerie Hunt, to change my running form from heel striker to the much more forgiving mid-foot striker and I have nary an injury to report, knock on wood! Obviously, it’s not merely luck; this type of running is just better for my body biomechanically and, with the addition of CrossFit and proper recovery, has kept me a competitive runner well into my 40s. While, it’s not the shoe that makes the athlete, I won’t argue the proper shoe can certainly help in the process.

While, I probably wouldn’t make the Nano 4.0 my go-to shoes for everyday running or . . . er, like the crazy 50 miler I did on a whim last year , I totally could wear them for casual running – they are really quite light and have that low-profile heel (4mm) I like which aids in proprioception with every foot strike. Whoa, I know – big word. But what I’m talking about when I say “proprioception” or the “proprioceptors in your feet” is the overall body awareness transmitted through the neuromuscular system with each foot strike that can help improve stride and speed. The same idea applies to other taxing physical activities you may be doing in CrossFit as well– just imagine how much quicker you could do box jumps in light, responsive shoes rather than in a pair of clunky cowboys boots! While no one actually wears cowboy boots to the gym, some of those rigid, thick-soled gym or running shoes sure feel like ‘em.

jennifer thefitfork crossfit workout

My final thoughts on the Nano 4.0? They are all-around performers for all around performers – just the shoe to wear for a WOD filled with my favorite things like running, lifting and throwing your body weight around (just like one I made for you above)! And, YES, that’s four MILES of running. ENJOY!*

*Or, if you’re not up to that much running, you can do 4k which is about 2.5 miles!

 So, do you wear a separate shoe for running and going to the gym?

What is your favorite WOD or exercise in CrossFit?

 

 

Strawberry Margarita Baby Bundt Cakes (Lightened) & Mixer Giveaway!

Baking cakes with thefitfork.com

I have a lot of love for kitchen gear . . . it ranks right up there with my passion for fitness gear. On birthdays, Mother’s Day, Christmas and special occasions, I will be over-the-moon giddy with excitement if you gift me with the latest in running shoe technology or a shiny, new kitchen gadget that I “absolutely must have” and will probably only use once. But the great thing about being a food and fitness blogger is that I can rationalize all these frivolities in the name of workout research and recipe development – it’s a tough job, but someone has to suffer losing toenails because she wore the wrong compression socks during an endurance event or got “too cold” in the winter because she insisted on making smoothie after smoothie in search of perfection.

A couple pieces of kitchen gear I never grow tired of are my mixers. Hamilton Beach recently sent me two of their mixer models to try out – the 6 Speed Stand Mixer (Model 3326) and the SoftScrape™ 6 Speed Hand Mixer with Case (62637) (and another pair of these mixers are available in my giveaway at the bottom of this post).  Whoohoo, I was so excited because I have had some pretty traumatic mixer distress over the last year. First, my cheapie hand mixer received as a wedding gift bit the dust in the middle of party preparations. To be fair, I had used this mixer quite a lot in the 20+ years of its life. Although, it was very convenient to have a hand mixer available for quick baking projects, I never replaced it since I had the highly-coveted Kitchenaid stand mixer begging to be put into use. But, let me tell you what happened next –  the horror!  One day, I was mixing the ingredients for a (I can’t believe I’m admitting this) Paula Deen-esque Truffle Pie, I turned my back on the machine while the machine did its thing. Then all of a sudden, a “clank” followed by a hideous, grinding noise and then total silence fell over the room.   Apparently, the Kitchenaid logo metal piece-a-part (where the big attachments screw in) had become loose and the continued vibrations from the beating shook the entire thing loose. The big screw thing, fell into the bowl, got jammed between the beaters and broke a mechanism in the engine. I was so upset, I cried.

win a stand mixer

You could win this Hamilton Beach Stand Mixer to help you with your healthy baking!

I’m over it, especially now that I have these two new mixers! The big stand mixer is awesome and does pretty much everything the brand-that-shall-not-be-mentioned does, from what I can tell. It features that same single paddle of the “other guys” that spins while rotating around the entire perimeter of the 3.5 quart stainless steel bowl. There are three attachments for a variety of recipe needs (the paddle, the whisk and the dough hook). There are also six speeds as well as a special, slower folding setting. I could go on and on, but you can read more for yourself about this reasonably priced ($129) yet powerful Hamilton Beach Stand Mixer.

Win a mixer

You’ll love how this hand mixer stands upright when not in use.

I also got to test a really cool hand mixer, the SoftScrape™ 6 Speed Hand Mixer.  Love, love, love this easy-to-use mixer that retails for just $39. It has 6 speeds, so it can tackle a range of different tasks.  It comes with regular beaters, a whisk attachment and also (drumroll) these really genius “SoftScrape” beaters that are coated in silicone (like a flexible spatula) to promote thorough mixing while keeping bowls and nonstick pots from getting scratched up. Another super practical feature of this hand mixer is that it comes with a storage case that attaches to the bottom and accommodates all the attachments and power cord.  It also props up really nice on the counter when between tasks too, without toppling over and leaving a sticky mess.

Hamilton Beach Stand Mixer and SoftScrape Mixer details.

Hamilton Beach Stand Mixer and SoftScrape Mixer details.

If you’d like a chance to win one of these fantastic Hamilton Beach mixers, head down to the bottom of this post and complete the instructions in the Rafflecopter app. Meanwhile, let me tempt you with the recipe I made while I tested my new kitchen gear out – “Lightened-Up” Strawberry Margarita Baby Bundt Cakes. I used a sugar substitute baking blend and no-fat milk to take some of the guilt out of this fun dessert – oh and the strawberry sauce isn’t much more than pureed berries and lime juice with a little splash of tequila!

Mini Strawberry Margarita Cakes Lite

“Lightened-Up” Strawberry Margarita Baby Bundt Cakes Recipe

  • 1/2 -cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar substitute baking blend with 1:2 replacement ratio*
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 1/3  cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup skim milk
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • ½ cup chopped fresh strawberries

* if using regular sugar, double the amount to 1 1/3 cups

For the Sauce:

  •  1 1/2 cups chopped fresh strawberries
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon tequila
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly flour 6-count mini-Bundt pan. In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar substitute until fluffy.
  2. Beat in the lime juice, lime zest, and eggs until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl stir together the cake flour and baking powder. Add alternately with the milk to the egg mixture. Beating just until combined after each addition.
  4. Sprinkle scant amount of coarse sea salt into to bottom of each mini Bundt pan, distributing the 1 teaspoon equally across Bundts. Next divide approximately ½ cup chopped strawberries equally among the bottoms of each cake (about 2 teaspoons each). Add the batter to prepared pan and bake for approximately 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  5. Remove from oven and let the cakes sit in the pan for 5 minutes. Run a knife between the cakes and the pan, if needed, and remove to a baking rack to cool completely.
  6. Meanwhile, make sauce by blending remaining 1 ½ cups chopped strawberries with 3 tablespoons lime juice, 1 tablespoon honey and 1 tablespoon tequila in blender until pureed. Transfer mixture to small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and let simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Serve sauce over cakes and garnish with fresh strawberry, if desired.

skinny strawberry lime cake

Disclosure: Hamilton Beach has provided me with product to review and giveaway. However, all opinions, recipes and commentary are my own.

 

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