Fall for Holiday Smoothies at Red Mango

This post is sponsored by Red Mango, however the opinions about my experience are totally my own.

When I searched directions to Red Mango, a yogurt and smoothie franchise I’d been hearing great things about, the “popular times” chart next to the Google map indicated that a surprising amount of people are there around 6pm. Yay, I knew smoothies and/or frozen yogurt before (or in lieu of) dinner was a legit thing!  Red Mango austin

Hey, I’m always starving post workout, so I don’t care who knows I’m that girl who likes to be first in line to get her food. The way I see it is that I earned my smoothie with sweat equity and, in fact, if I don’t refuel with some healthy carbs and protein pronto, I’m going to lose my hard-earned investment. Finding out Red Mango was offering fall-flavored smoothies for the holiday season was the pumpkin-spiced cherry on top of the day – read on to find out: Continue reading

3 Ways to Chow a Cherimoya + My #MustHaveBox

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!

Discover easy, tasty ways to eat a Cherimoya (also known as a Custard Apple)

Cherimoya

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:

Cherimoya sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg1)  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!

Pureed Frozen Cherimoya - Smoothie and Meal Pret2) 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.

Apple Cider Cherimoya Smoothie is loaded with fall flavor, fiber, vitamin C and more!

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.

Must Have Box from POPSUGAR

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 Fit Fork - POPSUGAR Must Have Box

Must Have Box from POPSUGARThe 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 

 

Hunger Slaying Dragon Fruit Coconut Smoothie Bowl

I must say, I slayed yesterday’s tempo run and I think it was the dragon fruit smoothie I made for my afternoon snack.  Just like the perfect run, where speed comes without too much suffering, can be elusive . . . so is the dragon fruit.  You don’t see this beautiful tropical fruit very often, mainstream markets don’t usually carry them – so if you ever do see one, snatch it up! jennifer dragon fruitThe Dragon Fruit, also known as a Pitaya, Strawberry Pear or Mood Flower, is the unusually striking fruit of a cactus – don’t worry, there are no thorns or stickers on it!  There are different varieties – pink or yellow exterior and white or magenta interiors speckled with tiny edible seeds. Despite their showy appearance, the taste is quite mild, similar to a kiwi – I have found the yellow variety to be the sweetest.

Health Benefits of Dragon Fruit: First of all, like most fruits, dragon fruit is hydrating and provides healthy complex carbohydrates to fuel to body and brain. Dragon fruit is also surprisingly high in phytonutrients. Rich with beneficial antioxidants, this pretty (and pretty powerful fruit) a serving contains 10% Daily Value of vitamin C, polyunsaturated (good) fatty acids, a bit of protein, carotene, and several B vitamins that are essential for the optimal metabolism of carbohydrates.

Dragon Fruit Varieties

dannon dragon fruit yogurt1I recently came into a huge windfall of dragon fruit from Frieda’s Produce, so I ate all I could simple by slicing open and digging out the flesh with a spoon! I’ve also sliced the fruit and put on my salads, in my yogurt and used in salsas.  They keep for about a week in the fridge (wrap in plastic wrap to extend the life) and can also be cut up or pureed to freeze. Later this week, before I go into freezer storage mode,  I’ll be  making Dragon Fruit Chia Jam. Stay tuned for that!

Dragon Fruit Coconut Smoothie Bowl is brimming with beautiful yumminess -- the perfect breakfast, workout snack or healthy dessert! Of course, you can also pour this smoothie in a tall glass! for on-the-go enjoyment.

Today, I’m sharing that smoothie I hinted at, the one that made me run fast – haha!  My recipe for a Dragon Fruit Coconut Smoothie Bowl is a nourishing sweet treat that is a quick fix for breakfast, a pre or post workout snack or healthy dessert. It was almost too pretty to eat. Almost.  If you can’t find the fruit fresh, I’ve noticed that many upscale grocery stores sell it in the frozen fruit section.

Dragon Fruit Coconut Smoothie Bowl

Dragon Fruit Coconut Smoothie Bowl

  • 1 cup dragon fruit flesh (fresh or frozen)
  • 12 ounces almondmilk/coconutmilk (the carton kind from refrigerated section like Blue Diamond)
  • 1 scoop vanilla protien powder (or substitute 1/2 banana)
  • Ice
  • 2 tablespoons shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 tablespoon cacao nibs (I like the ones from NOW Foods)
  • Additional dragon fruit for garnish

To prepare, add dragon fruit, unsweetened coconut milk, and protein powder to blender. Process until smooth. Pulse in enough ice until desired consistency achieved. Pour into bowl (or tall glass)  and top with shredded coconut, cacao nibs and additional dragon fruit if desired. Serves 1

Have you ever tried a Dragon Fruit? What is your favorite smoothie ingredient? Had a good, end-of-summer run lately? Please share in the comments – XOXO, Jennifer

 

Cherry Vanilla Root Beer Float Smoothie

This Cherry Vanilla Root Beer Float only has 250 calories and serves up 22 grams of protein and 87% of your daily requirement for calcium!Sweet news,it’s National Root Beer Float Day! Celebrate without ruining your workout gains with my nutritious and delicious Cherry Vanilla Root Beer Float SmoothieGet the recipe HERE

Cherry Vanilla Root Beer Float looks indulgent, but it's really super healthy!  Enjoy for breakfast, a workout snack or sensible dessert!

 

2013_07 rootbeer float fudgeIf you’re looking for something a little more over-the-top and decadent, lemme just share my recipe for Root Beer Float Fudge that was once featured in Simple & Delicious Magazine! Get recipe HERE

 

 

 

 

Are you a root beer fan? What is your favorite beverage of summer? Whatcha doing this weekend? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

Wild Blueberry Coconut Pie Smoothie

Wild Blueberry Coconut Ginger Smoothie Wild Blueberries . . . I’m, well, just wild about them. I stir them in my oatmeal, toss in my salads, and blend up in smoothies – like this recipe for Wild Blueberry Coconut Pie Smoothie I’m sharing today. This smoothie is super yummy, and yes it tastes like a coconut cream pie and blueberry cheesecake collided! In one tall glass, you get natural energy and antioxidants from Wild Blueberries, hydration-balancing electrolytes from coconut water and satiating, muscle-making protein from low-fat cottage cheese.  I love to make this vibrant Wild Blueberry smoothie for a quick breakfast, as post-workout or long run refueling or as a healthier dessert option after dinner or before bed. Wild Blueberry Coconut Ginger Smoothie taste like a coconut cream pie and blueberry cheesecake collided, but it's actually a smart choice for breakfast, a workout snack or healthy dessert.

So, back to the berries. Did you know Wild Blueberries aren’t the same thing as regular cultivated blueberries? I was already stalking the frozen aisle to buy these special berries for their intense sweet-tart taste long before I came to learn of all the healthy attributes. For example, Wild Blueberries have double the antioxidant capacity of regular blueberries and recent research is suggesting that they may play an important role in gut and brain health and also lower the incidence of diabetes and certain cancers. Talk about small but mighty! Handful of Wild Blueberries

Wild Blueberries are primarily grown in Main and Eastern Canada and date back more than 10,000 years!  About 99% of the crops today are individually quick frozen to lock-in nutrition and taste – it also means you can cater to blueberry cravings anytime of the year just by grabbing a bag out of the freezer.  There are many “brands” of Wild Blueberries, and I don’t prefer one over the other — just look for the word “Wild” on the package to ensure you’re getting the most potent and powerful blueberries around!

So, have you ever eaten WILD blueberries? What is your favorite ingredient to put in a smoothie — surprise me, I’m always looking for creative new things to try. Share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the Wild Blueberry Association of North America and I am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Wild Blueberry Coconut Ginger Smoothie taste like a coconut cream pie and blueberry cheesecake collided, but it's actually a smart choice for breakfast, a workout snack or healthy dessert.
Wild Blueberry Coconut Pie Smoothie
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 5 minutes
Wild Blueberry Coconut Ginger Smoothie taste like a coconut cream pie and blueberry cheesecake collided, but it's actually a smart choice for breakfast, a workout snack or healthy dessert.
Wild Blueberry Coconut Pie Smoothie
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 5 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: serving
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to blender and process until smooth. Pour into tall glass, garnish with additional blueberries and coconut flakes. Enjoy immediately.
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More Fun, More Flavor – Mixing Up Health and Fitness Goals #changeameal

My only New Year Resolution for 2016 is to work towards my nutrition and fitness goals by doing more of what’s good for me and less of what’s not. How’s that for vague?!  I took a quick stop to Smoothie King this morning to grab a smoothie and swipe in some notes on my phone to flesh it out plans, that’s as formal as I’ll get.

Jennifer Fisher paddle board december 2015In terms of fitness, I’m focusing on activities that are fun for me like obstacle courses, yoga and stand up paddle boarding on the lake, and saying “no” to workouts that feel like punishment or fear/guilt driven.Yes, I am still training to be competitive as a master runner (not hanging my Altras up anytime soon), but have found that looking less at my watch (or not even wearing it) and listening more to my body is what works for me and has kept me injury free.Smoothie King has 20 meal replacement blended beverages to help fuel your health and fitness goals.

In terms of nutrition, I’m also doing more of what’s good for me and less of what’s not. I’m sticking with the higher protein diet that has kept me lean and at my racing weight for years. Even though I eat pretty clean, I’m all about being creative and adding tons of flavor with herbs, spices, produce and whatever I can find — no plain ole chicken breasts here. And I’m going to make a serious effort to kick my diet soda habit, pretty much my only vice. I think we can all agree that flavorful smoothies are such a better choice, filled with vitamins, minerals, fiber and quality protein and carbs to fuel the day.

healthy living inspiration - thefitfork.com

I’m a big fan of Smoothie King, to help me meet these health and fitness goals (plus, it’s super yummy). Like me, this smoothie shop look at food as fuel to power a person through the day – and my day is filled with workouts, running and all sorts of kid craziness.  I’ve always been a fan of smoothies, especially those packed with protein. With my higher protein diet, I aim for 20g to 30g of protein, about four times per day.

On busy days, grabbing a healthy blended beverage at Smoothie King is a quick and convenient way to work toward achieving my protein goal and helps me to refuel taxed muscles right after a workout while keeping the “hangries” away until the next meal or healthy snacking opportunity.

Smoothie King Lean 1 Chocolate

I don’t drink smoothies to lose weight*, rather to fuel my fitness goals.  However, Smoothie King makes a wide array of blended beverages that can be used as for meal replacement – abundance of protein and fiber keeps you feeling full longer. Most 20-ounce serving, come in under 400 calories and a minimum of 10 grams of protein and 35 grams of quality carbs (a few specific smoothies vary off these benchmarks).

Smoothie King #ChangeAMeal

Today at Smoothie King I was almost overwhelmed with the huge assortment of meal replacement smoothies included in their healthy #ChangeAMeal promotion. Twenty smoothies are in this creamy, delicious line-up including Gladiator® Chocolate, Gladiator® Strawberry, Gladiator® Vanilla, The Activator® Chocolate, The Activator® Vanilla, Lean1® Chocolate, Lean1® Strawberry, Lean1® Vanilla, Lean1® Tropical, Vegan Dark Chocolate Banana, Vegan Mango Kale, Greek Yogurt Pineapple Mango, Greek Yogurt Strawberry Blueberry, Greek Yogurt Peach Papaya, The Shredder™ Chocolate, The Shredder™ Strawberry, The Shredder™ Vanilla, High Protein Almond Mocha, High Protein Banana and High Protein Chocolate. Here are some of the 20 choices:
smoothie king smoothies

Guess which healthy protein smoothie I picked?  The Lean1® Chocolate made with protein, banana and almonds with no added sugar – the 20-ounce  rich and creamy smoothie had 310 calories with 19g protein. Seriously, it could have been an ice cream shop milkshake, it was that decadent tasting!

Change a Meal Challenge Smoothie King #ChangeAMealENTER TO WIN!  Share your 2016 health and fitness goals, showing how you creatively #changeameal with Smoothie King. The more smoothie selfies or social comments you post with this hashtag (between December 28 – March 31, 2016), the more chances you have to win awesome prizes like Smoothies For A Year, a gift card to Southwest Airlines, a YMCA membership and more

Get started on your own tasty health and fitness journey with a $2.99 smoothie coupon by joining the e-kingdom.  Plus, download the free loyalty app and earn loyalty rewards every time you #changeameal.

*Please Note: *Weight loss is dependent on each individual’s needs and is based on a low-calorie diet combined with an exercise program. Consult your physician before beginning any diet program.*

What are your health and fitness goals? How are you fueling them? What is your favorite flavor smoothie?  Please share in the comments below, XOXO — Jennifer 

Pomegranate Beet Smoothie and Hill Country Half Marathon Win

Pomegranat - thefitfork.comFirst, let’s fruit chat, because food always comes first — even before winning races! Anyway, it’s that time of year – pomegranates are on parade at the grocery store now through early winter!  This big red fruit is a precious member of my produce bin, those little arils inside look like ruby-red jewels and razzle dazzle with sparkling flavor. In addition to big flavor, pomegranates are a superfood offering an abundant supply of antioxidants, potassium and vitamin C – and are also a good source of dietary fiber.

Pomegranate at Fresh Summit and TheFitForkThis past weekend at Fresh Summit (Produce Marketing Association) I got to see all the pomegranates in every imaginable way – from whole fruit and pre-packaged arils for convenience to a variety of juices and sweet snacks. The pomegranates I see in my market are about the size of a softball, but some of the beauties being shown off at this produce convention were almost the size of bowling balls.

Pomegranates are picked and delivered ripe, so pomegranates can be purchased and enjoyed right away.  A tip to take home the best in the bushel is to look for a pomegranate that feels heavier than it looks – a good indicator that the inside is loaded with juicy flesh. You can keep whole pomegranates on the counter for a week or so and in the product bin of your fridge for up to three months! However, once the arils are removed, it’s best to enjoy them within three days. In addition to the smoothie recipe I’m sharing below, pomegranate arils are also excellent sprinkled on salads, yogurt and mixed into sauces.

Pomegranate Beet Smoothie Pomegranates are juicy good news for everyone, and maybe even more so for individuals with an active lifestyle.   Some research suggests the polyphenols in the juice of pomegranates can help offset delayed-onset muscle fatigue in trained athletes. Beets (also in the featured smoothie recipe) are high in nitrates which can help reduce the oxygen cost of exercise and enhance efficiency. This is why I’ve always loved a beet juice smoothie — check out my Sweet Beet Smoothie.  Plus, with the quality protein found whatever protein powder you use (or the Core Power I like), perfect for pre-workout fueling and post-exercise recovery, this Pomegranate, Blueberry, Beet Protein Smoothie is a winner in every way!

Edit: I recently came across Beet Juice Powder — I love it! It’s more economical than buying pre-made juice and waaaaaaay less messing than juice beets at home.  

Pomegranate Beet Smoothie Pomegranate, Blueberry, Beet Protein Smoothie: In a blender, add 12 ounces vanilla almond milk, one scoop protein powder (or sub one bottle of Core Power Vanilla for milk and protein powder), ½ cup pomegranate juice, ¼ cup pomegranate arils, ½ frozen blueberries, and ½ cup shredded fresh beet. Blend until smooth, adding ice as needed to achieve desired consistency. 

Jennifer Fisher winner 2015 Hill Country Half MarathonI also want to give you the quick recap on the Hill Country Trivium on October 18, 2015 – there was a 10k, a half marathon and full marathon. I ran the half marathon and the recap — It. Was. Hilly. I am no stranger to hills, we have plenty in my neighborhood and I’ve been an ambassador for the hilly Zooma Women’s Race Series in the Texas “Hill Country.”  This race I would say was comparable in hills to Zooma, but with an extra bad boy that started at mile 4 and pretty much lasted through mile 5 – or so it seems. It was rough, it was tough, but I got up – I wish I would have looked back over my shoulder to see the challenge of the climb (which reduced me to walking more than once). I used the mantra from the Unbroken story more than once — “If you can take it, you can make it”!

Jennifer Fisher Hill Country Half Marathon Course REcord in AltraSo, I endured the hills and the suffering and the story ended well – I WON the half marathon as the first female finisher and also the FIRST finisher male or female. Yup, I chicked the guys – knowing I was probably going to pull it off was all that kept my lactic-acid, jello’d out legs going in the final two miles — that and my awesome The Ones from Altra Running (light for speed yet just enough cushion in the roomy toe box to keep feet happy coming down the steep hills).   Also a fun touch at the race – everyone got a slice of pie at the finish!

Check out my friend Jill Conner’s blog for great fitness and life inspiration —
like Tips for a Productive To-Do List! I so need that!

 

Do you like running in hills? What’s the hilliest race you’d finished? Pomegranates — do you buy the whole fruit or the pre-packaged arils? Please share in the comments, XOXO – Jennifer

EnlightenMINT Mint Protein Smoothie #BeFitForLife

EnlightenMINT Protein SmoothieOne of the perks of finding a really good vanilla protein powered like Bowflex French Vanilla Fitness Shake is that it can be the body-making base for so many healthy recipes – everything from whips, ice creams, baked goods (like my protein donuts) and more! Of course a smoothie is a smart way to use protein powder and my EnlightenMINT Mint Protein Smoothie will leave you with a whole new understanding of light, bright smoothiliciousness while enjoying a full feeling that won’t fatten you up (just 200 calories following the recipe).

EnlightenMINT Protein Shake with Bowflex Fitness Shake

In addition to the Bowflex French Vanilla Fitness Shake mix, this EnlightenMINT Mint Protein Smoothie features bits of frozen banana, pineapple, kale and fresh mint leaves.  It’s so good, you’ll want do double the recipe to share with a friend.

Here’s how you make it:  Add 10 ounces of water to blender jar along with one scoop French Vanilla Fitness Shake powder, 3 oz. frozen banana (about 1/2), 2 oz. frozen pineapple, one kale leaf torn in shreds and 6 mint leaves. Process until smooth, adding ice to desired consistency. Serves 1.

Eating enough protein not only helps slim you down and fill you out in all the right places! That’s right, you can build a better bod by making sure you’re getting 25 – 30 grams of protein and EVERY meal and supplementing with protein-rich snacks throughout the day and at bedtime if you are an athlete or lead a very active lifestyle. Eating enough protein helps create a feeling of satisfaction after meals and keeps sugar crashes away. Research shows that adequate protein at meals starting in the morning can lead to weight loss and management. And, most of us runners, CrossFitters, weight-lifters and other fitness aficionados know that protein after an intense workout is a MUST to support the body’s ongoing growth, repair, and maintenance of its skeletal muscle groups. And, for those of us over 40 years old, it helps fight off Father Time at a time when muscle mass is allegedly supposed to be diminishing.

Fit Girl Abs

So, I’ll let you know one of my stay lean secrets. I’ve been drinking Bowflex French Vanilla Fitness Shake all summer and into the fall – it truly is one of the best-tasting protein powders I’ve ever had straight from the shaker bottle. Just put a scoop in with ice and water and give a good shake. It’s has a creamy and rich taste without the addition of anything but water, but you can add one of the Boosters designed for specific purposes:

The fitness shake on its own (not the smoothie recipe) has only 125 calories per serving and 15 grams of the highest quality proteins. In addition you get 5g prebiotic fiber, only 5g sugar and 16 potent antioxidants including acai, goji, pomegranate, mangosteen, spinach, kale and more.  It is also lactose free, soy free, low sodium and low fat, whahoo!  So nutrient dense, the Bowflex French Vanilla Fitness Shake makes a great meal replacement once a day to drop a few pounds quickly and safely (check out the success stories). For those of you who need more food to fuel your warrior day or want to build muscle, I suggest adding the Peanut Butter Protein booster (+10g) for sustained energy and some extra quality calories.

Bowflex Body Fitness Shake Protein Powder and Boosters

 

Bowflex Fitness Shake and BoostersTry it for yourself! Use the discount code BOWFLEXSHAKE to get 20% off products along with free shipping and handling. Plus, the company has a satisfaction-guaranteed policy. Check it out!

So, do you have a favorite smoothie recipe? Do you like mint? Have you met your abs?  Please share in the comments below — XOXO, Jennifer

 

This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Bowflex Body.