Whether traveling far or near, one thing thing that messes with us “fitness” types most is the disruption that being away from home can cause with normal workout, eating and sleep patterns. If you are heading on a fun-packed Spring Break trip, travelling to a destination race, going overseas for an epic adventure or just making it through yet another business trip, these Five Tips for Fit Spring Travel can keep you feeling happy and healthy despite the craziest itinerary.
When I first started dating my husband, I remember an older family friend saying we go together like “peas and carrots.” I wondered what that even meant! But I remembered that classic frozen veggie mix I used to be served as a kid, and it was always peas and carrots –both a little naturally sweet and packed with wholesome goodness, but each very different at the same time – green v,. orange, round vs. square diced, firm vs. soft textured. These similarities and differences pair up like no other – they are the perfect complement to one another, just like the hubs and me.
So, in honor of peas and carrots and recently celebrating my 25th wedding anniversary, I’m sharing a harmonious, must-have recipe for your next brunch — Colorful Carrots and Peas Tart. This garden gorgeous recipe is ideal for your spring celebrations including Easter, Mother’s Day, bridal showers, graduations and more.
I’ve used tri-colored baby carrots to kick up the color even more and pre-made puff pastry dough for quick convenience. I’ve kept the creamy layer of my Colorful Carrots and Peas Tart lighter by using reduced-fat dairy products and Opadipity by Litehouse™, a Greek yogurt-based savory dip with fewer calories and less fat than conventional products.
Also, in keeping with the Peas & Carrots theme, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite recipes that feature peas and/or carrots for a collection on Mode.com.
Check out Pea & Carrot Recipes for Spring
What is on your menu for Easter weekend? Or, what is your favorite spring vegetable? Please share in the comments below — XOXO, Jennifer
This post is sponsored by Mode.com and Litehouse Foods. All opinions are my own.
Today I’m sharing my healthier (but just as heavenly) version of a Gooey Butter Cake – I’m calling it Gluten-free & Gooey Butter(less) Cake. Before I dive into the recipe (uh . . . figuratively and literally), let me tell you how this sweet treat came to life . . . ‘cause I usually don’t make a lot of cakes.
So, last week I celebrated my 25th wedding anniversary with the super decadent Banana Foster Butter Cake at Eddie V’s Seafood Restaurant– it’s loaded with fat and sugar (as the name more than hints) and was topped with caramel, whipped cream and butter pecan ice cream. It didn’t take long to remember just how delicious this style of ooey, gooey, butter batter sticky cake actually is – in the past I had made Paula Deen’s version – she’s the Queen of Butter, y’all!
Not that I have anything against butter or cream cheese or even a bit of actual sugar in moderation – but, there is absolutely no moderation in these traditional recipes — a modest sized piece with no toppings is pushing 600 calories! That’s fine every 25 years (haha), but not every weekend. I surfed the internet looking for a healthier butter cake, a preferably one that was gluten-free and lower in sugar so all my family and friends could partake in the cake partaaaay! I found a reasonably good-sounding Bobby Flay riff (however, not gluten-free) and a few other “meh” makeover recipes as well. Naturally, in the end, I did my own thing based on the concepts and am more than pleased with the results.
And, according to calculations, my version has 188 calories per serving and 8 grams of fat while the, ahem, Southern Lady version has 545 calories and 28 grams of fat for the same size serving! Both nutrition counts are calculated without toppings or a la mode!
Today my gluten-free cake is shown with strawberries to keep it lighter, but I’ve also done bananas and caramel sauce.
I’m also a big fan of this gluten-free Banana Foster Upside-Down Cake from Cooking Light! Check it out!
What would you put on top of your Gooey Butter Cake? What is your go-to dessert for celebrations? How many years have you been married, if you’d like to share! XOXO — Jennifer
With temperatures topping out over 90 degrees yesterday and bluebonnets popping up everywhere, it’s safe to say spring has definitely sprung in Austin. And, just in time for SXSW , paddle boarding on Lady Bird Lake and running the trails over Spring Break. This time last year I was making my Watermelon Brisket Tacos in the SXSW Taco Takedown, that was definitely a #KeepAustinWeird day. This year I am nursing some battle wounds from Spartan Houston and the Crossfit Games 16.4 Open WOD. However, nothing serious enough from keeping me out of the kitchen.
Today, I’m sharing a protein snack that is fitting for the warm-weather season – Raspberry Lemonade Protein Bites. The sweet-tart zing of this no-bake recipe will remind you of sipping on a refreshing glass of raspberry lemonade on the porch.
Make these ahead of time and keep in the fridge or freezer so you always have a healthy snack at hand – and, if you love the flavor combo of raspberries and lemons and have a five minutes to make breakfast, you’ll love my Raspberry Lemonade Protein Mug Muffin recipe.
Here are some important words of wisdom I have for you- haha:
By the way, I’ve added maca powder to this protein bite recipe for an extra nutrition boost. Maca, a root vegetable indigenous to Peru, has been beloved for thousands of years for its ability to improve stamina, endurance and hormonal balance. Maca root and maca powder includes vital nutrients including healthy fatty acids, dietary fiber, proteins, carbohydrates and minerals. If you want to omit, just replace with an equal amount of gluten-free baking mix.
It’s hard to believe that the vibrant fushia red color dusted on these protein bits is all natural and not some weird artificial dye mixed into sugar. Instead, the clever ingredient is simply raspberry powder I made by pulverizing freeze-dried raspberries in a zip-top bag with a rolling pin! This raspberry dust would also be fun and festive mixed into yogurt, sprinkled on your Easter desserts or even rimmed on a cocktail or healthy beverage.
Raspberry Lemonade Protein Bites Recipe
- 2/3 cup vanilla protein powder (2 scoops)
- 1/3 cup almond meal
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons maca powder
- 4 teaspoons coconut oil, melted
- 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed Meyer lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons zest from Meyer lemon
- 1/3 cup freeze-dried raspberries
- Add protein powder, almond meal, maca powder and salt to bowl and stir until combined. Mix in coconut oil, lemon juice and mix until everything incorporated. Mixture should be a bit crumbly but holds together when squeezed. If too dry, add a few more drops of lemon juice. If too wet, add a dry ingredient like a gluten-free baking blend, more almond meal or more protein powder a half-tablespoon at a time.
- Using about 1 tablespoon of dough, form into 12 balls rolling between the palms of your hands.
- Place freeze-dried raspberries in small zip-top bag and use rolling pin or side of coffee mug to pulverize. Add a lemon ball, one at a time, into the sealed bag and shake to coat with raspberry dust.
- May be kept covered in air-tight container in refrigerator for a week or freezer for several months. Makes 12.
What are you doing over Spring Break? What events are you training for? Are you a lemon lover? I’d love to know, please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer
Each time I enjoy my recipe for Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho, I want to kick off my sandals and run through the green lawn shouting “whoohoo!” That’s because this light and lovely chilled soup captures the essence of spring, and I live for the spring . . . and summer. Warmer weather calls for cooler food and this chilled soup is a twist on gazpacho, a classic Spanish recipe. For my version, I’ve added carrots, ginger and a coconut water base to help with hydration. Perfect for a light lunch, Easter brunch or way to start your pool-side dinner – save a few cucumber slices for your eyes so you can feel like a pampered spa guest.
When I serve this Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho to my family, I smile and say “some bunny loves you!” That’s because I know how much wholesome, healthy nutrition in packed into each spoonful of this chilled soup– loads of lycopene, vitamin K, potassium and dietary fiber to mention a few benefits. Plus, you get all the healing benefits of ginger – it helps tame digestive issues, reduces inflammation, boosts the immune system. Plus, I personally adore the zingy taste – you can add more or less fresh ginger depending on your preference.
To optimize taste and health benefits, please use fresh ginger and not ground ginger, bottled minced ginger or ginger paste. A little knobby length of ginger will stay fresh in your produce bin for a couple months and if you have the right grater, it’s easy and mess-free to get what you need. Not trying to sound infomercial-y, but this Dual Gage Grater is a must-have for ginger, garlic, turmeric, citrus zest, hard cheeses and such it’s only $3! The two sides each have a different grate size and the “V” shape catches all the teeny-tiny shavings so they don’t fall all over the counter or plate – you simply tip over into the bowl and scrape off. Plus, after you rinse off and dry, it slides back into itself for easy storage.
This recipe works for many diet types including Paleo, vegan, vegetarian, raw, sugar-free, gluten-free and more. Also, if you’re a meal-prepper, this soup that doesn’t’ need to be reheated makes a nice alternative to the standard make-ahead fare for grab-and-go healthy lunches and quick dinners. Keep refrigerated in tightly sealed mason jars or plastic containers for up to five days and transfer to a lunch box with ice-pack. Enjoy. Linking up with The Fit Foodie Mama and Running on Happy – please check out!
Are you a gazpacho fan? Do you prefer warm weather or hot? Did you run a race this weekend or have a competition? Please share in the comments below — XOXO, Jennifer
Springtime is one of the most enjoyable times of the year to exercise outside. After months of being trapped indoors, feeling the warm sunshine on my skin and enjoying Mother Nature’s endless and colorful beauty (especially wildflowers on the trail) makes me want to never want to come home from my run. That is, until the sneezing and sniffling starts. But, this year, I’m having a #SneezeFreeSpring thanks to the advice and help of MinuteClinic at CVS Pharmacy. More than 35 million people suffer from seasonal allergies and often confuse the symptoms with those of a common cold – you can find out more about seasonal allergies, their causes and treatments here.
6 Allergy-Busting Tips for Spring Outdoor Exercise
Avoid Mid-Day Exercise: You may have to reschedule your “runch” (running lunch break) to morning or evening until spring allergy season passes. Experts say that most pollen in urban areas hits peak levels around noon, or shortly thereafter. Also, be warned, pollen is going to be peskiest on warm, dry and breezy days.
Wear Protective Gear: Sporting a billed cap, wrap-around sunglasses and even a bandana over your nose and mouth (if you dare), can hinder the assault of some pollen. Opt for a full cap rather than a visor as this will help keep pollen out of your hair.
Wash Off Afterward: Although you’ve already been exposed to allergens exercising, it’s always a good idea to wash away the allergen offenders on your skin before they agitate you further (and infiltrate your carpet and furnishings). Also, don’t forget to wash hair and skip the use of hair styling products which only further attract floating particles in the air. So, hop in the shower ASAP after exercise, or if that’s not possible, at least rise off arms and legs down with a garden hose until you get home.
Change Into Clean Stuff: Don’t hang out in your sweaty exercise clothes, the moisture traps allergens like a magnet. Change into clean clothes and toss your used ones into the wash – definitely don’t recycle them for a second wear! Same goes for your bed sheets, change them at least once a week to lessen allergy symptoms.
Experiment with Natural Remedies: Some say local honey has been linked to a reduction in seasonal allergies. It can’t hurt to try, especially considering the carbohydrates in honey will provide you with some extra energy to fuel your workout. You also might look into Quercinten, an antioxidant found in many foods like red onions, capers, cranberries and more – you can kick up the concentration and histamine-blocking benefit by taking a supplement. Check with your doctor.
Consider Allergy Medications: Even with every precaution, allergy symptoms may persist. Don’t let allergens win and keep you stuck indoors. Visit with an allergist or your medical professional about over-the-counter and prescription medications that can keep you kicking asphalt outdoors all year long. You can even drop in at your convenience to talk to one of the nurse practitioners or physicians assistants at MinuteClinic who can recommend the right over-the-counter medications and write prescriptions when medically appropriate.
MinuteClinic, a no-appointment-needed, walk-in service at CVS Pharmacy, offers quality medical care on your schedule – plus most major insurances are accepted.
This post is sponsored by MinuteClinic
This post is sponsored by ConAgra RO*TEL.
It’s spring and my family has a lot of things to celebrate in the next couple months. Two of the landmark events we’ll be hosting shindigs for are my Dad’s 70th birthday and my oldest son graduating from high school! And, of course, there’s Cinco de Mayo sandwiched right between and we like to do that up big in Texas.
I’m pretty low-key when it comes to entertaining, it’s a safe bet that I’ll be serving up burgers, brisket or tacos in my backyard. I have three super-hungry, carnivorous teen boys, for goodness sake! These casual meals always please crowds, are easy to scale up for a super-sized party, and can be mostly pre-prepped so I’m not stuck in the kitchen cooking while all the guests are having a good time. Nothing pairs better with any of these dishes than a creamy bowl of avocado goodness — hurray for guacamole!
I found this delicious recipe for RO*TEL’s Rockin’ Guac that will turn up the volume on your taste buds! The blend of tomatoes and green chilies in RO*TEL add a zesty (but not too spicy) twang to the dip that is to die for. It’s so simple to make you can delegate the job to your kids — you may want to chop the onion first, but they’ll love smashing the avocado. Serve this guacamole as a condiment or topping for the entrée or, better yet, as an appetizer – set out a big basket of tortilla chips and a bowl of RO*TEL’s Rockin’ Guac for a pleasing prelude to dinner.
Try mini bowls of RO*TEL’s Rockin’ Guac so guests can walk around and mingle – this way people won’t have to elbow their way in for a chip dunk or (eek) double dip into the community bowl! For easy clean up, you can even use those little plastic condiment cups. In addition to tortilla chips, I like to set out crunchy, fresh vegetables to dip into guacamole. I can’t help it, I’m a vegetable nerd.
Now, you can’t have guacamole without some sort of cool refreshing drink. I’ll serve up my watermelon ginger limeade or virgin mojito mint tea for the kids and the over 21-year-old grown-ups get Bud Light Lime-A-Ritas all the way around! I love these refreshing adult beverages, they totally remind me of a margarita yet aren’t quite as potent, which is a good thing for lightweight little me. Bud Light Lime-A-Ritas come conveniently in a can, meaning no breakable barware outside when things start to get wild– just throw these citrusy sippers into a tub full of ice as they await their ultimate fate. I’m ready to pop the top on one right now and get the party started!
Zest up your fiesta with RO*TEL’s Rockin Guac and Bud Light’s Lime-A-Rita.
Bud Light Lime-A-Rita® is a registered trademark of Anheuser-Busch.
ConAgra Foods, Inc. All Rights Reserved
I never paid much attention to Meyer lemons until recently – I mean a lemon is a lemon is a lemon, right?! Well, come to find out, not all lemons are created equally. The Meyer lemon is a soft-skinned citrus fruit that looks a lot like a 10-cent lemon, but actually tastes like sweet million bucks. That’s because the Meyer lemon is actually a lemon crossed with an orange, taking some of the acidic bite. Even though Meyer lemons are more fragrant and sweeter, they’re still a bit tart and better balanced in a recipe.
Use the perfect pucker of Meyer lemons in cocktails, with chicken piccata, in salad dressing, to make a sweeter lemon curd, or alongside fish and seafood – or even better, use them to make my delicious Candied Meyer Lemon Honey Cake with Blackberries (it’s also Gluten-Free). I was inspired by a lemon cake recipe I saw in the Food Network Magazine, but of course I tinkered with it to make it my own! I made this cake to take to Easter dinner at my Aunt’s house — it’s just bursting with spring flavor and a beautiful sight to behold.She’s going to love it.
By the way, if you don’t have time for cake-making, you can get a quick fix with my Blackberry Lemon Smoothie.
Notes about the recipe:
- If you are unable to get your eggs to the glossy peak stage, don’t worry the cake will still taste just as delicious (it just won’t be quite as fluffy – it’s a denser cake anyway).
- Do not skip the steps of simmering and draining the lemon slices three times. It seems redundant, but you are boiling off the bitterness from the pith and acid from the lemon flesh. The result is lemon peel that is delightfully tender, edible and yummy.
- Feel free to swap out raspberries for the blackberries in the syrup and garnish.