Monday, February 16, 2015

battle of the brownies

One of my favorite baked goods is the brownie! I love them gooey and kind of raw in the middle. And definitely not the corners. I want all middle pieces. MMMMMMM. And they have to be straight from the box. But then I can also eat tons of batter...and half the pan. But okay, let's get back to the point.

For my lovely friend Rebecca's birthday, I wanted to make some vegan brownies so she could indulge (long story, she's cut out dairy because her cutie pie baby girl was having reflux while nursing). So I scour Pintrest and come up with a recipe that sounds like it could be good. And holy crap - they were!The recipe had no milk or eggs - just oil, flour, cocoa and sugar! The batter was even pretty good. It was no Betty Crocker - but I still licked that spoon.

The cooked brownies were also good! I ate one warm, and it had that gooey and yummy consistency. And Rebecca gobbled them down and agreed - very soft and delish! Hooray for vegan brownies.

So this weekend I was sad I had no brownies (or box mix), but I did have a can of black beans, so I decided to check out what my friend Pintrest had to say about black bean brownies. I figure, if they stink, I won't eat them and save the calories! Well, well, well. Pintrest did me well! Again!!





I used the Skinnytaste recipe - it was easy and yummy! In this case, the batter wasn't good. It tasted bean-ish and like a strong coffee aftertaste. I didn't have a good feeling about it. I baked them for about 25 minutes and the pick came out clean. I let them cool completely (as instructed) and then cut myself a brownie.



SUCCESS!!! These brownies were also soft and chewy, but in a different way than the vegan ones. The vegan ones felt soft in an oily way (to me at least) - while these ones felt soft in a different way. I loved the chocolate chips in them too. It made them extra chocolately. They had that gooeyness too. I was sad I couldn't eat them warm, but they were worth the wait!!

For me - the black bean brownies win! Great flavor and a brownie like consistency.  It doesn't mean I won't ever want boxed brownies, but if I can make these babies and get SO much fiber in a sweet treat, why wouldn't I?

What are you favorite Pintrest recipes for healthified foods?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

fitbit accessories

When I got the Flex, the first thing I thought was - YAY! I can get all the cute Tory Burch accessories. But then I read some of the reviews and didn't buy any of them. So I'm rocking this ugly rubber bracelet everyday and feeling very sad about my life. #firstworldproblems

Then I got my butt on Etsy and found the wonderfulness that is this Fitbit cover! She makes them out of spandex material and they are cute and fun! She makes them without or without the little window in TONS of colors and prints. It is the perfect accessory for your Fitbit without breaking the bank. She makes them for all of the Fitbit types and they are custom made. It does take about a week for them to be shipped out - but WOAH. Worth the wait. I'm in love!

In the meantime, I also found another site that is making cool covers, Design.UX. They are in Canada but ship anywhere (and for free - my fave!). They don't have as many choices and they don't have little screen openings, but I'm also loving the ones I received from them. I find you don't really need the screen - since the lights show through. They sell them in packs of three - so it's a really great deal. And you can gift some to your Fitbit friends if you don't love all the colors.

Now that I have all these great covers - I'm loving my Fitbit Flex again. It doesn't look so dorky AND I can accessorize it. But I'm still hoping that other big designers make some accessories like Tory Burch has done.

How do you accessorize your Fitbit and make it your own?

Monday, February 9, 2015

ch ch chia! (seeds that is)

I'm a picky eater, but I'm also a creature of habit. I eat the same 'ol stuff for breakfast and lunch most days. For breakfast at least, it's partially due to the fact that I'm time crunched and it's easy to have a routine and prep done the night before. My current breakfasts have included hard boiled egg whites (that I make on Sunday nights) and a multigrain English Muffin with a bit of Smart Balance spread. It's filling and easy (I take the muffin on the road).

BUT - I'm getting sick of the same thing and am starting to think about how my food choices will change with my upcoming commuting changes (more about that later).



Enter: Pintrest. I was apprehensive to join, but I am enjoying it for things like recipes and cleaning tips. I also bought some chia seeds that I haven't known what to do with. But Pintrest has introduced me to the world of chia puddings. Except one thing, I don't like the weird consistency. So I treated myself to this baby - Magic Bullet Mini! It comes with a mug that is the perfect size to make a single serving smoothie. The other little cup it comes with is also perfect for shredding small servings of veggies or puffed up chia seeds!

I am a chocoholic - so I knew that for me, a chocolate-y peanut buttery shake would make for a good first try. I had two canisters of Slim Fast powder, so I knew that would be a good way to get some chocolate sweetness with protein in. I added PB2 (powdered peanut butter) for additional peanut butter and flavor without the fat. I cut up bananas and froze them for more potassium and creaminess without watering it down.

Here's how I did it.

I took a tablespoon of chia seeds and let them soak in 1/2 cup of almond milk, along with a tablespoon of PB2 and a scoop of Slim Fast. I mixed it up and let it sit overnight. First thing in the morning, I blended that mix up. It becomes the consistency of pudding (and would probably make a fabulous little dessert as is!).

Then I added another 1/2 cup of almond milk and the cut up, frozen banana and blended again. And voila! You get this amazing, milk shake consistency yumminess! I thought it had the perfect amount of sweetness and creaminess. Plus, the prep the night before makes it just as easy to blend up in the morning.

You can easily drink it out of the cute little blender cup from Magic Bullet Mini or you can transfer it to any to-go cup that you like! I love that I can drink this while I'm getting ready or even bring it in the car or while I walk. New breakfast success!!

What do you like to have for breakfast? Any smoothie ideas? When the weather gets warmer - I want to try one with Vanilla powder and peaches!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

getting my 10k on

because i may actually win? lol
It's official! I've signed up for my first race of 2015. A 10k that overlooks the most fabulous city in the world (New York, duh). I know that for me, having a goal helps me stay on track. I'm using the Couch to 10K app again and I love it. One thing I don't love is winter. So, much to my own disappointment, I'm back at the gym. For now at least. I'm starting on the treadmill until it gets nice enough to run outside regularly.

I'm a little worried that my upcoming vacation will mess with my training plan! But at the same time, I'm trying to be realistic about running while on beautiful Caribbean beach. How do you stay on track with your fitness goals when traveling?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

pampered princesses

I don't know about you, but I could get a massage or a facial (or hell a mani or pedi) every day and be happy with life. There's something to be said about having relaxation that just makes me less crazed. I'm always looking for great places and great deals. Because my skin isn't the best, facials are actually therapeutic for my routine. And since I've been more active, I guess I can say the same about massages!
the lounge at bliss spa. brownies. mmm.

I seriously don't mind polishing my own hands and feet, but sometimes it's just nice to have someone else do it. That being said, I'm also a life long nail biter. I know, it's gross. I've stopped a few times for upwards of six months but then I get off track with keeping them painted and I start biting again, blaming it on stress.

But since I'm back on track with focusing on me and my own wellness, I'm also not biting. I've been trying to create more non-food rewards for keeping on track and losing weight and reaching fitness milestones, so a mani or pedi is the perfect reward. I'm focused on getting my nails a little longer so I can treat myself to a gel manicure. And then I get bored and wind up adding my own "art".

What are some of your favorite non-food rewards? I'm also trying to spend all of my dollars on rewards, since let's be real - I like the good stuff :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

running in the artic tundra

christmas day in new jersey


If you're experiencing freezing cold weather in the single digits - I FEEL YOUR PAIN! I absolutely despise the cold. I try to never wear a coat unless I have to. If I could wear flip flops every day, I most certainly would. I don't particularly love having tons of heat on in my apartment but it has been so frigid that I have to! My slippers are certainly getting worn these days!





Since I've only just been getting back into the running groove, this cold weather is making it super hard to stay consistent! I'm still on my break from the gym, so I can't just go to the gym (plus I hate the treadmill in general). I'm not sure how I can get and stay on track in the winter months. I've been hitting Soul Cycle hard, which is great for rest and cross training days, but I'm just feeling disappointed in my run progress. I can handle being out there in the 30's, but not when it is only seven degrees! And freezing rain?! I just can't!

How do you stay warm for winter runs? How can I stay consistent without getting frostbite?!

Monday, January 19, 2015

vacation countdown

There is nothing better than a warm weather vaycay during the cold and dreary months. It's also fabulous when you book it a little more than a month before - so the countdown is already so close! But with that shorter countdown comes less time to get beach bod ready.

I've been focused on exercising more and being in a running schedule since Christmas, but knowing that a bathing suit need to be on my bod in a month is a good push! I ordered a few new summery cover ups and sandals to keep me motivated and on track.

I can't wait to get my toes in the sand (and a drink in my hand!). What are your best strategies for staying focused and on track with a short term goal?