*Fuel Friday: 30% off your order of Nuun!*

L O V E is in the air! With St. Valentine’s Day this weekend, show the ones you love that you care – about their hydration that is – and hook them up with some new and improved Nuun!

I was so stoked to hear about the upgrades that Nuun made to their already stellar hydration products. The new formulas for both the Active and Energy lines are now certified gluten-free and vegan and are entirely plant-based. You can learn more about the new and improved ingredients HERE.

Being that I’m gluten-free and eat primarily plant-based, this is such great news! I know the team at Nuun has been working for a few years on creating these new formula’s to help enhance athletic performance by way of proper hydration. I love that Nuun is a conscious company that not only cares about their customers by making products with high-quality ingredients but is taking care of the planet too!

Now is the perfect time to try the newly formulated Nuun Active and Nuun Energy because you, my friends and family (hi, Mom!), can save 30% off your order at www.nuun.com/shop. This offer is only good through February 16th. Use the promo code below. xo

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*Fuel Friday ~ Baked Apple Oatmeal*

For the second week in a row, I’ve been plagued by some sort of illness or ailment. Last week it was a pinched nerve in my shoulder (which is still giving me some grief). This week, food poisoning.

I’ve mentioned a few times that I was really excited to hear ultrarunner Krissy Moehl speak on behalf of her new book, Running Your First Ultra, this past Wednesday. Mr. Wasn’t Just the Wine Talking and I made an afternoon/evening of it and ran some errands in the city before the event, including a stop at a well-known Mexican restaurant for a little happy hour treat.

The fish taco was a bad choice.

Not long after Krissy began her presentation, I began feeling ill. It progressively got worse and I turned to my husband and whispered that I wasn’t feeling well (hot, sweaty, faint, nauseous) and had to leave, asap. I needed some air! So we quietly got up and left before she finished. Without getting my darn book signed!

The ride home, the rest of the night, and all day yesterday were pretty unpleasant, to say the least. And, it’s my third bout of food poisoning in 7 months! WTH? (My Mister didn’t have a taco, fortunately.)

So you’re probably wondering why I’m writing about food poisoning on a Fuel Friday post, right?

Well, because I feel a ton better today but I’m still feeling really depleted and low on energy. I’m carefully bringing solids back into my diet because I need to get some nutrients into my body. I whipped up a delicious late breakfast this morning that I thought I’d share.

Baked Apple Oatmeal

Ingredients:

1 serving (1/2 cup oats) oatmeal, cooked

1/2 an apple

1 egg

1/4 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tbsp. maple syrup

Cinnamon to taste

Cooking spray

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook the oatmeal and set aside. Chop the apple into small, uniform-sized pieces. In a mixing bowl, combine all the other ingredients then stir in the cooked oatmeal and apple. Transfer the mixture into a baking dish coated with cooking spray, top with a little additional cinnamon (optional), and cover with a lid or foil. Bake for 40-45 minutes.

I added another little drizzle of maple syrup and a dollop of almond butter to mine. Such a treat!

Baked Apple Oatmeal

Baked Apple Oatmeal

Have a happy (Fuel) Friday!!

*Fuel Friday ~ National Cookie Day*

Did you know that today, December 4, is National Cookie Day?

In my world, it pretty much ranks right up there with National Wine Day, National Margarita Day, and National Peanut Butter Day! Oh, and I can’t forget National Chocolate Day!

But back to National Cookie Day. Like we need an excuse, right? This time of year we can’t avoid seasonal favorites whether it be at the office, holiday gatherings, or leftovers after Santa has had his fill.

I do love a good cookie but I also prefer to indulge in the cleanest variations I can find. I’d like to at least think that there is some nutritional value in whatever I’m popping into my mouth. More often than not, I look for recipes that include oats, almond, or almond flour (meal), dried fruit, and natural sweeteners. Good fats… coconut oil, eggs, and peanut or nut butters that add some extra punch are nice too.

I have a couple of go-to recipes but this one is a favorite. I’ve shared it on Fuel Friday before but it pretty closely meets all of my criteria in a cookie, minus the brown sugar. Though I’m sure that if I played with it a little, I could find an alternative sweetener that would work. (It is the holidays after all so a little indulgence never hurt anyone… in moderation!)

National Cookie Day Almond Oat cookies

Almond Oat cookies

Almond Oat Cookies

I’ve also “pinned” a couple of recipes that have caught my eye…

Bourbon Maple (Bacon) and Pecan Cookies (minus the bacon for the vegetarians, such as moi.)

Fourless Double Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

Vanilla Chai Energy Cookies

Happy *Fuel* Friday and National Cookie Day!

 

*Fuel Friday ~ you had me at chocolate*

Valentines Day is tomorrow and you know what that means… I can eat all the C H O C O L A T E!!!!

Nah, not really. But I will indulge a bit. ; )

I’m actually headed out to celebrate a girlfriends birthday this evening and we are focusing on healthy fare. I decided to bring, and I’m keeping with the Valentines theme, chocolate covered strawberries. But not just any chocolate covered strawberries. These strawberries are dressed with my Guilt-Free Chocolate Sauce!

I whisked the ingredients together in a double-broiler (same ratios just multiplied several times), this time adding a little vanilla extract too. Once it was melted and well combined, I set it aside to cool a little until it had a thicker consistency. After all of the berries had been dipped in the chocolate sauce, I refrigerated them to help the sauce cool and set.

Whala! A healthy, nutrient-dense treat perfect to share with your love. Goes well with wine too! xo

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*Fuel Friday ~ Black Bean Chia Brownies*

I know, I know. Where the heck has Fuel Friday been?! Here’s to hoping that I can return to a more regular Fuel Friday posting schedule because my Boston fueling strategy is high priority!

(But I refuse to give up chocolate.)

Several years ago there was a popular Weight Watchers recipe floating around for black bean brownies. From what I remember, you basically bought a boxed brownie mix and a can of black beans, which you pureed, and added to the mix before baking. They were decent. But when I came across this kicked up, and nutrient dense, version a few months ago, I couldn’t wait to give them a go.

I found the recipe in a free healthy living publication that is distributed at one of my local markets. The recipe is from Joyous Health: Eat and Live Well Without Dieting by Joy McCarthy. She has a super cute website and blog which you can check out HERE.

I’m terrible at following recipes and most often use them as a guide of sort but make adaptations to suit my own tastes and to utilize whatever ingredients I have on hand. I didn’t have to tweak this one too much but I am perplexed by the recommendation for using coconut sugar… why have I not heard of coconut sugar? I thought I was pretty well versed in all things crunchy/hippie. ; )

These brownies are good! The recipe states that it yields 24 brownies so they end up being teeny-tiny brownie bites. I’m not sure what the “serving size” is because it wasn’t listed (I’m assuming one brownie) but a serving is 107 calories with 3 grams of protein, 13 grams of carbs, and 6 grams of fat if you were to follow the original recipe.

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Nutrient dense and delicious!

 

The recipe below is my version but I’ve noted the original ingredients or quantity too.

Ingredients

1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed

3 eggs

1/2 cup maple syrup (the recipe called for coconut sugar)

1/3 cup coconut oil, melted

1/4 cup raw cacao powder (you could use regular cocoa powder)

2 Tbsp. chia seeds

1 tsp. vanilla extract (the recipe called for 2 tsp. but I felt that was a little too much)

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

1/4 cup cacao nibs (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 and prepare a 8×8 baking dish by greasing it or using cooking spray.

Combine all ingredients except the chocolate chips and cacao nibs in a blender or food processor and mix until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips and transfer to the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the cacao nibs on the top and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Let cool completely before cutting and devouring.

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Get. In. My. Belly.

Enjoy and have a great Friday!

*Fuel Friday ~ Banana raisin nut muffins*

These might very well be the best muffin I’ve ever made. They were inspired by two, nearly decaying bananas on my counter yesterday afternoon, and the need for a portable snack to take to a cross-country meet this morning. (No one else ever has over-ripe bananas sitting around, do they??? I’m sure it’s just me.)

Recent muffin recipes I’ve created have resulted in a really great tasting muffin but after cooling, or sitting overnight, became a little dry. I think in part it is because I like to use almond meal as a substitute for other flours. Not entirely, but mixed in with a combination of other flours for some sustenance and a boost in nutrition. These however, as I discovered this morning riding a bus with 15 middle schoolers, did not dry out after cooling. They were perfect. I call that muffin success!

Ingredients:

1 cup of raw (dry) oats

1/2 all-purpose flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free flour)

3/4 cup almond meal/flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 tbsp. maple syrup

2 ripe bananas, mashed

2 eggs

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (I measured before I chopped)

1/4 cup raisins

**Plus a little reserved brown sugar, chopped walnuts, and cinnamon for sprinkling on top

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and prepare a muffin tin by either coating it with cooking spray or lining each “cup” with a cupcake paper.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients: oats, all-purpose flour, almond meal, baking powder and soda, salt, and cinnamon.

Using a separate bowl, mash the bananas. Mix in the eggs, followed by the brown sugar. Combine so that the sugar begins to dissolve a little and then pour in the oil.

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Ready to add the wet to the dry.

Once the “wet” ingredients have been added to the “dry” stir to incorporate everything and there are no traces of anything “dry”. Next, fold in the walnuts and raisins. Be sure to reserve about a tablespoon of the chopped walnuts to sprinkle on top.

Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tin and then add a pinch of brown sugar, the remaining walnuts, and a dash of cinnamon to the top of each muffin.

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Adding a little extra pizzazz!

Pop the muffins into the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes. Check to make sure they are done by inserting a toothpick into the center of a muffin. It will come out clean if the muffins have completed baking.

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Autumn muffin making makes me happy!

This recipe makes a dozen yummy muffins. Perfect with a cup of coffee or tea, while being entertained by 15 middle school runners!

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Moist, nutty, slightly sweet. Perfect.

*Fuel Friday ~ Chocolate zucchini muffins*

If you aren’t up to your eyeballs in zucchini, I’ll assume you live A) in Antarctica, B) under a rock, or C) in some other desolate region of the world where either it doesn’t grow or you live more than 200 miles from any other form of human civilization.

Joking.

But if you aren’t growing it yourself, I’d confidently bet that you have at least been given, or offered, some zucchini from a friend, neighbor, or over zealous new gardener that had no idea how much zucchini a single plant will produce in a season.

I love zucchini and it kills me in the winter and spring months when I have to buy it from the store because this time of year I eat it nearly every day. It is such a versatile fruit. Yep, if you didn’t know that, zucchini is technically a fruit but I still consider it a vegetable as do most in the culinary world.

There are so many fantastic ways to prepare it, and perhaps I’ll share a few of my favorites in the coming weeks, but as I discovered a few years ago, zucchini and chocolate pair together wonderfully!

First, let me give you a couple of tips on selecting, and preparing a zucchini to use, specifically for baking purposes. Smaller zucchini, like the size you find in the store, are better suited for eating raw (zoodles!) or in stir-fry’s and such. Home-grown zucchini often is left to grow a little larger than ideal so you’ll often get really large ones and they are great for baking with.

When they are larger, the skin tends to be a little tougher and they will be seedy. The skin is edible, and I did leave some on when I grated it, but I tried to use more of the fleshy insides. I don’t own a food processor so I grated it by hand. I cut off the ends and then cut it in half both lengthwise and across. I then scooped out the seedy part with a spoon. This recipe calls for roughly two cups of grated zucchini which was 3/4 of the one I had on hand. It will vary depending on the size you use.

CHOCOLATE, CHOCOLATE-CHIP ZUCCHINI MUFFINS

Ingredients:

2 cups zucchini, grated

1 cup flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour)

1 cup oats

1/2 cup almond meal/flour

1/4 cup cocoa or cacao powder

1 tbsp. baking powder

1/2 tbsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

3 eggs

1/4 cup coconut oil

1 tbsp. honey

1/4 cup agave

1/2 cup milk (I use almond milk)

2 tsp. vanilla

1/2 cup chocolate chips (I use dark chocolate chips)

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and coat a muffin tin with cooking spray. Prepare the zucchini following my tips above and set it aside.

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The grated zucchini will be added last.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients, except the chocolate chips, and mix together. In a separate bowl, gently whisk the eggs together and then add the remaining “wet ingredients.

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Dry ingredients: flours, oats, cacao powder, etc.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and thoroughly mix together until well combined. Fold in the zucchini and chocolate chips last. Transfer the batter to the muffin tin, filling each space nearly full.

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Ready for the oven.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of one of the muffins. If it comes out clean, they have finished baking and can be removed to cool. If not, let them cook for another couple of minutes, keeping a close eye on them.  Let them rest for about 5 minutes and then transfer them to finish cooling on a rack. This recipe will produce a dozen muffins.

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The final product.

These muffins are slightly dense and while they are fairly moist right from the oven, they may dry out a little. I would suggest warming them up before serving. As a straight-up muffin, I added a little drizzle of coconut oil to mine before eating it. (Butter or nut butter would be an option too.) But then I did this:

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Oh yes.

Remember my Guilt-free Chocolate Sauce recipe a while back? You’re welcome!