Maple & Sriracha Roasted Cashews

Yesterday I completed the last long run of my half marathon training! I love the timing of this half because it allows me to get all of my training done and enjoy Thanksgiving, and then have the race be over just in time for the hustle and bustle of Christmas season.

12 miles

Yesterdays’s run was hard. Really hard. I once thought that long runs get easier the longer you’ve been running. Nope. I had to fight for every mile today. I took a few breaks and somehow made it through 12 miles. I am so glad I am done with long training runs. Just two weeks until I add another half marathon to my belt!

Enough about running! Let’s get to this amazing recipe I have for y’all today. Lately, I’ve been searching for a salty snack in the afternoons and not finding anything that is both healthy and appealing in my pantry. When I feel like putting in the effort, I’ve been making my own popcorn. But, more often than not, I don’t have the patience to wait for the kernels to pop and I end up grabbing handfuls of goldfish.

I finally turned my oven on and created a healthy homemade snack that I love: Maple & Sriracha Roasted Cashews.

Maple & Sriracha Roasted Cashews

Just the right amount of sweetness, spiciness, and saltiness!

In general, I’m not a huge fan of nuts. While I’ve found that I really enjoy flavored cashews, they tend to be the most expensive nut at the store. There are some flavored cashews that are quite good, but they can become a pricey addiction. It’s much cheaper to buy a tub of cashews at Costco and make your own!

These roasted cashews are incredibly easy to make and come together in less than 20 minutes. The only tricky part is that the flavoring will stick to your pan if you don’t use a silpat mat or parchment paper.

Maple & Sriracha Roasted Cashews

Maple & Sriracha Roasted Cashews

Ingredients:
• 2 cups raw, unsalted cashews
• ¼ cup maple syrup (honey will work too)
• 1 tbsp. sriracha
• 1 tbsp. olive oil
• ½ tsp grated ginger
• 2 tbsp. sesame seeds

Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 350.
2) In a large bowl, mix together the maple syrup, sriracha, olive oil and ginger.
3) Add the cashews and stir to coat.
4) Pour the cashews onto a baking sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper.
5) Spread them in an even layer and sprinkle the sesame seeds on top.
6) Bake for about 15 minutes, until golden.
7) Let cool for at least 10 minutes and enjoy!

Posted in Asian, Fitness, Gluten-free, Half-Marathon Training, Recipes, Running, Snacks, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Favorite Running Gear

The end of my half marathon training is finally near! On Tuesday I made it into the double digits and ran 10.5 miles!

10.5 miles

It was a very humbling run, to say the least. The only thing that pushed me through it was knowing that I only had one more long run left after this one. I stopped and sat down a couple of times and took more walking breaks than I usually would, but I finished. I have to keep reminding myself that bad training is not necessarily indicative of a bad race. The idea of running 12 miles next weekend makes me cringe, but it will be worth it!

I realized while running yesterday that, though I’ve been running for a few years now, I’ve never written a post dedicated to my favorite running gear. I’ve tried out my fair share of gear, so I figure it’s time to let everyone in on my essentials!

Tops:

My tried and true running (and barre, yoga, basically everything) tank is the Lululemon Cool Racerback.

half marathon

Expensive? Yes. But these are truly my favorite tanks and work for everything. These tanks never ride up, and are nice and long. They also wick sweat away and have all those great technical running gear qualities. They come in tons of fun colors and go on sale often (I almost never buy them full price!).

My other favorite tank is the Athleta Chi Tank.

Vineyard Stomp 5K

The fabric of this tank is to die for. It is the softest, most comfortable fabric out there. The fabric is much lighter than the Lululemon Cool Racerback, so it is my go-to summer running tank top. I prefer to wear it with shorts, though I’m not sure I can explain why. I think if Athleta made a thicker and longer version, it might replace the Cool Racerback in my book.

I also love long sleeved pullovers from Athleta. I have the Fast Track Half Zip (which I got on sale for $30 I think), and another half zip that they don’t make any more.

Athleta Fast Track Half Zip

I have been going to Athleta more and more lately (over Lululemon) because they have the same great quality and the BEST return policy EVER. You can seriously return things that you’ve worn. I finally tested this out about a month ago and exchanged a pair of yoga pants that I had been wearing for months for a brand new pair in a smaller size. I couldn’t believe it! I love knowing that if I spend the money on a nice piece of workout gear and it doesn’t work for me when I take it for a spin, I can return it, no questions asked. I can’t tell you how many times I wear something new on a run, only to realize that it rides up or rubs in the wrong place. Athleta ROCKS!

My other favorite cooler weather tops are the GapFit Motion Long Sleeve Tees (they go on sale often too and are very similar to the Lululemon Run Swiftly Tees, but cheaper), and the Lululemon Define Jacket. Sadly, they no longer make the Define jacket, but the Forme Jacket is similar. My favorite feature of the jacket is the “cuffins” – AKA built in mittens for those runs when your hands warm up after the first mile or two.

Bottoms

My favorite shorts used to be Nike Tempos, but now I prefer Athleta’s Pulse Short (pictured with the orange Chi Tank above). They are cuter, very lightweight, have a nice sized zippered pocket, and the fabric helps tank tops not ride up. I wear these when the temperature is above 65-70.

In cooler weather, I love Athleta’s Relay Capri.

Athleta Relay Capri

These are a great length, are made out of a nice soft material, have ventilation in the knees, and have a great zippered pocket (that even fits my phone!). They also don’t ride up or sag. My only complaint with them is that they can be a little warm if the temperature is over 65, but I usually want to wear shorts then anyways.

I also like the Nike Filament capri, and wear the CW-X Stabilyx Tights for recovery after long runs.

I haven’t found a pair of long running tights that I love yet, but hopefully I will this winter, as they say it will be a cold one!

Shoes

I tried to test out different running shoes last year, but I learned that, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

asics gt2000

Asics GT-2000s work for me.

Accessories

Bras: As far as sports bras go, my go-to’s are the Moving Comfort Juno Bra and the Lululemon Energy Bra. Of the two, I prefer running in the Moving Comfort, but it’s very high cut and shows a little too much under a Cool Racerback.

Socks: You wouldn’t think socks make much of a difference, but they do! Many socks make my toes go numb while running. My tried and true running socks are the Brooks Essential Low Tab Running Socks. Recently, I tried Thorlos 84N socks out for the first time. They have very thick padding on the heel and sole of your foot, but somehow the thickness of the sock did not make my toes go numb. I wore them on my 10.5 mile run and was very comfortable!

Other must have accessories:
Garmin Forerunner 10 running watch
Armpocket Arm Band (fits my phone + anything else!)
Handana (for wiping sweat away on hot runs)
Nathan QuickDraw Plus water bottle
BIC Band headband
• FUEL! My new favorite long run fuel is Honey Stingers. They are tasty, super soft and easy to chew while running, and made of natural ingredients.
Compression Socks for recovery (I only wear them after long runs to help prevent sore muscles)

There you have it! All of my favorite running gear. While all you need is a pair of running shoes to run, the right running gear can make running more comfortable and more fun!

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Three Minute Microwave Banana Oatmeal

Happy Halloween! It’s going to be a bit chilly for trick-or-treaters tonight. Since this is our first Halloween in our new house, I’m not sure how many kids to expect, but hopefully we get a few!

Until this morning’s blast of coldness, the weather has been pretty perfect here lately – crisp mornings and beautiful cool afternoons. The trees are getting closer to peaking and I’ve been going on as many hikes and runs as possible!

Pilot Mountain NC

Pilot Mountain

9 mile run

Fall in NC

Salem Lake

Fall in NC

I’m not quite ready to say goodbye to these beautiful fall colors!

As the chilly mornings are becoming routine, I wanted to share my staple fall and winter breakfast with y’all: Three Minute Microwave Banana Oatmeal.

3 minute microwave banana oatmeal

It’s not the prettiest breakfast, but it’s healthy and delicious! I first read about microwaving old-fashioned oats to make amazing oatmeal over on Fannetastic Food. The concept is extremely simple. All you do is mash up a very ripe banana, add equal parts old-fashioned oats and milk of your choice, and microwave for three minutes, stirring half-way through. Then you add whatever you want to customize your oats. My favorite combination is adding a couple tablespoons of pumpkin butter and yogurt, a teaspoon of chia seeds, and a few dashes of cinnamon. Other great toppings and mix-ins are nut butters, fruit, raisins, honey, nuts, seeds, or even nutella or cocoa powder if you’re in a chocolate mood. The possibilities are endless! And these oats are truly so easy and quick to make – there’s no excuse not to have a healthy breakfast!

Three Minute Microwave Banana Oatmeal
Serves 1.

Ingredients:
• 1 ripe banana (the riper, the better!)
• ½ cup old-fashioned oats
• ½ cup of milk of your choice (I use unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
• Toppings & mix-ins of your choice! (mine is 2 tbsp. pumpkin butter, 2 tbsp. plain Greek yogurt, 1 tsp chia seeds, a couple dashes of cinnamon)

Directions:
1) Slice your banana into small pieces. Place in a microwave safe bowl and mash it as much as you can.
2) Add the old-fashioned oats on top of the banana.
3) Add the milk on top of the oats.
4) Microwave for three minutes, stirring halfway through.
5) Stir in the toppings & mix-ins of your choice and enjoy!

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Rosemary Roasted Chicken with Apple and Fall Vegetables (Plus Lots of Fall Hiking!)

Happy Monday! We had a great fall & fun-filled weekend in North Carolina. First we drove to Asheville to enjoy the foliage, hiking and great food. I crossed “driving the Blue Ridge Parkway in the fall” off my bucket list – and, yes, it was as pretty as people say!
IMG_5844

Blue Ridge Parkway

We hiked to gorgeous waterfalls at Dupont State Forest.

IMG_5869

IMG_5896

IMG_1579

High Falls Dupont State Forest

We also had delicious food (tacos from White Duck Taco below!), and my first ever flight of Kombucha at The Buchi Bar. Highly recommended!

White Duck Tacos Asheville
Buchi Bar Asheville

When we returned to Winston, we took off on another hike at Hanging Rock State Park.

Hanging Rock Summit

Then we successfully smoked our first brisket using our new Orion Cooker (thanks Lisa!).

Orion Cooker

And we ended the weekend with a trip to a local corn maze!

Corn Maze NC

The weather was crisp and perfect. We had a quintessential fall weekend!

And now let me introduce you to my favorite new fall recipe: Rosemary Roasted Chicken with Apple and Fall Vegetables.

Rosemary Roasted Chicken with Apple and Fall Vegetables

When I first saw this recipe on another food blog, I really wanted to try it out, but it looked a little complicated to make. I found that, besides all of the chopping, it came together fairly easily. The sweet apples and salty bacon balance out the rich flavor in the chicken, squash and sweet potato. And the smell while this is cooking… amazing! I’ve made this recipe twice in the last couple of weeks and it will definitely be a part of our regular rotation!

Rosemary Roasted Chicken with Apple and Fall Vegetables

Rosemary Roasted Chicken with Apple and Fall Vegetables
Serves 3-4

Ingredients:
• 5 bone-in chicken thighs, skin on (about 1.5 lbs)
• salt to taste
• pepper to taste
• 3 Tablespoons butter, divided
• 1 onion, chopped
• 3 cloves garlic, chopped
• ½ lb white mushrooms, sliced
• 3 slices of turkey bacon, cut into ¼ inch pieces
• 2 large sprigs of rosemary, plus more for garnish
• ½ cup red wine
• splash of chicken broth (optional, I just thought mine needed more liquid)
• 1 sweet potato, cut into 1-inch pieces
• 2.5 cups butternut squash, peeled cut into 1-inch pieces
• 3 small apples, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces

Directions:
1) Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper and set aside.
2) Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat.
3) Add the bacon, onions, mushrooms, garlic and rosemary sprigs to the pot and cook until onions are translucent.
4) Remove the bacon and vegetables from the pan and set aside.
5) Increase the heat to medium high and add two Tablespoons of butter to the pot. Brown the chicken on both sides.
6) Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
7) Pour off excess fat and deglaze the pan with the red wine.
8) Lower the heat to medium low and return the bacon, mushroom and onion mixture to the pot. Mix in the potatoes, squash, and apples. You can add a splash of chicken broth at this point, if necessary.
9) Place the chicken on top of the vegetables and cover. Cook on medium low for about 45 minutes until the chicken and vegetables are cooked through.
10) Remove the lid and brown the chicken directly under the broiler for a couple of minutes before serving.
11) Enjoy!

Posted in Chicken, Fitness, Gluten-free, Hikes, North Carolina, Travel | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Half-Marathon Training Update

I hope your weekend is off to a good start! As another week of running and Pure Barre comes to an end, I figured it was time for an update on my half-marathon training.

So far, I’ve stuck with my half-marathon training plan of running three days a week, in addition to 2-3 days of Pure Barre. I’ve been doing Pure Barre for almost 2 months now, and I’m still loving it. As my schedule is very flexible right now, I’ve been lucky enough to be able to plan my long runs according to when the best weather is each week. Running in 55 degrees is so much better than running in 75 degrees and high humidity!

This week, in addition to two 30 minute runs, I ran 8 miles along Salem Lake – which is now one of my favorite trails in Winston. The trail is about 7 miles long and loops the entire lake. Though there are definitely some small hills, it felt a lot less hilly than running through Wake’s campus and the Reynolda/Graylyn trails. And you get a pretty lake view for 95% of the trail (the other 5% is just a nice forest view).

Salem Lake

I will definitely be returning to Salem Lake, as I’m sure it will get prettier and prettier as the leaves change more.

Salem Lake

My 8 mile run was okay, but not great. I had an 11:30 pace according to my Garmin, though MapMyRun claims it was a 10:45 pace and that I went 8.6 miles! I kept a 3:1 run/walk ratio for most of the run. At mile 6, my legs were starting to get sore and I got a little lost – the trail forked and I went the wrong way, of course! Overall, other than a little bit of runner’s knee pain afterwards, my long runs have been going fairly well.

Last weekend I also completed another Vineyard Stomp 5K at Olde Mill Vineyards. It was a really hard race again, and I was very slow, but there’s just nothing quite like running through the vineyards!

Vineyard Stomp 5K

I have one more Vineyard Stomp 5K at the end of October, and I’m hoping to sign up for another 5K or 10K before my half in December. It’s hard to believe I only have three long runs left in my training! Half #3 will be here before I know it!

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake Bars

As the weather is getting cooler, I find myself baking more and more. Though I’m not a very big dessert person, my husband has a huge sweet tooth and hasn’t minded the dessert overload in our house. As my pantry is always stocked with pumpkin lately, I was on the lookout for a recipe that used pumpkin to add a healthy twist to a conventional dessert. I found winner in this recipe from Two Peas & Their Pod!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake Bars

These pumpkin cake bars remind me of chocolate chip brownie bars, but a little more “cakey” and with the just the right amount of pumpkin spice flavor. One of the best parts about them is that they stay moist and keep very well. As there are only two of us, it’s difficult to eat a whole batch of dessert before it’s past it’s prime, but we’ve been enjoying these bars for over a week and they are still just as delicious as they were fresh out of the oven!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake Bars

The cake bars are delicious without the chocolate chips too, as Teddy will attest to! He literally goes crazy when he sees Luke or I go near the container. I’d love to try them without chocolate chips, adding on a cream cheese frosting. Mmm!

I made a couple modifications to the original recipe, using melted butter (because I always forget to leave it out at room temperature at first!) and adding a dash of cinnamon. The recipe is pretty foolproof and tastes amazing, so get baking!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake Bars
Yields Approx. 24 Bars

Ingredients:
• 2 cups all-purpose flour

• 1 tablespoon pumpkin-pie spice

• A dash of cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon baking soda

• 3/4 teaspoon salt

• 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted

• 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

• 1 large egg

• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

• 1 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)

• 1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:
1) Preheat your oven to 350 and grease a 9×13 baking dish/pan.
2) Whisk together the flour, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.
3) In a separate bowl or mixer, mix together the butter and sugar. Add in the egg and vanilla, followed by the pumpkin. Mix well.
4) Add in the dry ingredients (reduce speed to low if using mixer) and mix until combined. Then fold in the chocolate chips.
5) Pour the batter into the greased baking dish.
6) Bake at 350 for about 35 minutes, until the edges start pulling away from the sides of the baking dish.
7) Let cool, cut into squares, and enjoy!

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Pumpkin Sauce Pizza with Caramelized Onions, Bacon & Sage

Good morning! Fall has officially arrived here in Winston-Salem and I am enjoying every second of it. Crisp walks with Teddy, a 65 degree house full of fresh air, and amazing running weather! If you want to appreciate fall in a whole new way, become a runner. There’s just nothing like fall running after a long hot summer.

The other staple of fall is, of course, pumpkin. I realize that the last recipe I posted was pumpkin based, and the next one may be too… ’tis the season! If you’re not a fall loving pumpkin fanatic, you could skip out on this pumpkin sauce pizza, but you would miss out on an amazing medley of flavors.

Fall Pumpkin Pizza

The star of the pizza is the amazing pumpkin cream sauce. It’s a simple stovetop blend of butter, garlic, milk, pumpkin, goat cheese, and pumpkin pie spice. It’s basically a fancy white pizza sauce, and it’s delicious. Leftover sauce can be used on pasta – just add a little more milk. This sauce along with a few mushroom and shallots over homemade gnocchi is fabulous (even if the picture isn’t!).

Gnocchi with Pumpkin Sauce

The caramelized onions, bacon, sage, and mozzarella complement the slight sweetness to the pumpkin sauce perfectly, resulting in a mouthwatering pizza. And because you’re making this pizza from scratch and adding pumpkin to the sauce, it’s fairly healthy compared to most pizzas. So go ahead and indulge!

Fall Pumpkin Pizza

Pumpkin Sauce Pizza with Caramelized Onions, Bacon & Sage

Ingredients:
• 2 onions, sliced + 2 tbsp. of olive oil
• Pizza dough
• 1 tbsp. butter
• 3 cloves of garlic, minced
• ½ cup milk
• ¾ cup pumpkin
• 3 oz goat cheese
• a couple dashes of pumpkin pie spice
• 2-3 slices of bacon (or turkey bacon)
• a few sage leaves & a tbsp. of olive oil
• 1 ball of mozzarella, sliced
• salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1) Caramelize the onions over medium heat until golden and browned, about 30 minutes. Set aside.
2) Cook bacon as directed and chop up into small pieces. Set aside.
3) Fry sage leaves in a tablespoon of olive oil or butter over medium heat for about a minute. Set aside.
4) Preheat your oven to 475.
5) In a saucepan, melt 1 tbsp. butter over medium low heat and add the garlic. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring to prevent the garlic from burning.
6) Reduce the heat to low and add the milk, pumpkin, goat cheese, and pumpkin pie spice. Stir over low heat for a couple minutes, until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.
7) Assemble the pizza. Form a crust from the ball of pizza dough and place on a cast iron pizza pan (or whatever pan you have available). Spoon the sauce over the crust (you will likely have leftover sauce, which you can save and use on pasta!). Add the caramelized onions, followed by the bacon pieces and mozzarella.
8) Bake at 475 for about 12 minutes, until the crust is golden (this may vary depending on the dough you use).
9) Remove from oven, top with the fried sage leaves, and let cool for a couple minutes.
10) Slice and enjoy!

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Pumpkin Butter Granola Bars

Though fall doesn’t officially begin until Tuesday, pumpkin is everywhere. I am not ashamed to admit I love all things pumpkin spiced, and these pumpkin butter granola bars are no exception.

Pumpkin Butter Granola Bars

I love that these granola bars are full of healthy ingredients, and are sweet enough without being too sweet. The layer of pumpkin butter in the middle of the bars makes them hit that perfect sweet spot. The pumpkin butter layer almost reminds me a little of fig newton, with a pumpkin spice twist! The nuts pack the bars with healthy fats and protein, resulting in a satisfying snack that will keep your hunger at bay.

Pumpkin Butter Granola Bars

Like all granola bars (and granola), this recipe is easy to whip together so that you always have these healthy snacks on hand.

Pumpkin Butter Granola Bars
Yields about 10 bars

Ingredients:
• 2 cups old-fashioned oats
• ¼ cup flour (GF flour will work too)
• ¼ cup wheat germ
• ¼ cup almonds (or any other nut)
• ¼ cup cashews (or any other nut)
• ¼ cup pepitas
• 1 tsp salt
• 4 tbsp. honey
• 2 tbsp. pumpkin butter + 6 tbsp. pumpkin butter (recipe here)
• 1 egg, beaten

Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 325 and grease an 8×8 baking pan.
2) Chop up the nuts in a food processor.
3) Mix the oats, flour, wheat germ, almonds, cashews, pepitas, and salt in a large bowl.
4) Beat an egg and mix together the egg, honey, and 2 tbsp. of pumpkin butter.
5) Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until combined.
6) Put about 2/3 of the mixture in a greased 8×8 baking pan and press down. Spread the remaining 6 tbsp. of pumpkin butter on top of the mixture, then place the remaining 1/3 of the mixture in an even layer on top.
7) Bake at 325 for about 25 minutes.
8) Let cool, slice into bars or squares, and enjoy!

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Pure Barre Winston-Salem

Today started off with my latest fitness obsession: Pure Barre.

Pure Barre Winston Salem

I’ve been attending Pure Barre classes on average three times a week for the past month, and so far I love it! I took a few barre classes back in Houston, but never at a Pure Barre studio. I had been wanting to give Pure Barre a try for a while, so when we moved to Winston and I found out that there was a studio within five minutes of our house, I jumped right in and bought the new client package of unlimited classes for your first month for $99.

Expensive? Yes. Worth it? Yes.

Pure Barre is a 55 minute low impact group exercise class that uses small isometric movements to tone the entire body, focusing on what many women consider “problem areas” (arms, thighs, seat, abs). The classes all follow the same format, though the specific movements vary from class to class. Each class also uses the same equipment – a small pilates ball, a band, a mat, and weights ranging from 2-5 pounds. Every class starts with the same warm up and ends with the same cool down. In between, there is a section targeting the arms, the thighs, the seat, and the abs, with short stretching sessions in between each section. You work each muscle group to the point of fatigue, then stretch to create long lean muscle. The thigh section is always the hardest for me – I never imagined my muscles could burn and shake that much! Sometimes I have to stop and break for a few seconds because I can’t handle any more. The class is relatively easy to just jump in and follow if you’re a beginner (you’ll probably be confused a few times, but eventually you’ll get the hang of it). One piece of “must know” knowledge before you take your first class is that when they say small movements, they mean really small. Most movements that you make during class will be one inch, which can be difficult to grasp at first.

Reasons Why I love Pure Barre:
1) Pure Barre classes are low impact, making them more relaxing than a lot of group exercise classes. You will feel the burn and your muscles will shake, but you’ll rarely be out of breath. For me, Pure Barre classes are the perfect complement to my high impact running.
2) Pure Barre focuses on toning muscle areas that I tend to neglect, such as the core and gluteal muscles. If you’ve never taken a Pure Barre class, I can guarantee your abs and “seat” will hurt after your first class (or the next day).
3) I’m Type A. I love how the classes and instructors follow a strict format for each class so that you know what to expect, yet there is enough variation in the specific movements from class to class that you don’t get bored.
4) I don’t get drenched in sweat. While I always feel the need to eventually shower, I don’t need to wash my hair and can easily go run errands after without feeling disgusting.
5) Class flies by. Because you are concentrating so hard on making the tiny movements, the class goes by really quickly. It also allows you to “block out” the rest of the day and concentrate in the moment.
6) Results! Pure Barre claims that people see results in 10 classes, and they have many people backing up that claim, including myself. Visibly, Pure Barre has impacted my abs the most, but I know from the soreness I feel everywhere else that I will eventually see results all over.

I believe that combined with a healthy diet, and ideally some kind of cardio (running, biking, even walking), Pure Barre is a fast and effective way to tone your body. While I also recommend weight training at the gym, Pure Barre is a great supplement to that, or a good way to tone muscle if you are too intimidated by working with machines and free weights at the gym. I’m planning to continue taking Pure Barre classes twice a week throughout my half-marathon training this fall, in addition to one weekly weight training session at the gym.

I hope you give Pure Barre a try if there is a studio near you, I think you’ll glad you did!

And if you’re looking for more tips for Pure Barre beginners, check out Brittany’s post – lots of great advice, especially how crucial it is to wear leggings or capris (not shorts) and invest in a pair of “grippy socks”!

Posted in Fitness, Half-Marathon Training | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Elote (Mexican Street Corn)

Today I’m going to share a recipe that will change the way you eat corn. This is the most delicious way to serve corn.

Elote corn

Elote is a popular street food served all over Mexico, and in many places in the Southwest U.S. (Texas!). Despite living in Texas for nearly my entire life, I had never had Elote until Luke insisted on making it after having great success making it while visiting his brother in Vermont.

Elote is extremely easy to make. It consists of grilled corn, a sauce mixture that typically consists of mayonnaise, sour cream, Cotija chese (very similar to feta cheese), chile powder, garlic, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime on top. In true Caroline fashion, I changed the recipe up a bit to make it not only healthier, but also simpler. How? By replacing the mayonnaise and sour cream with greek yogurt.

Elote corn

We’ve made Elote many times this summer, and don’t plan to stop any time soon, despite the daylight hours dwindling. We served it at a big family get together and it was a huge hit. I can almost guarantee you will love it. I am not a corn fan at all – partially because I simply don’t love the flavor, and partially because I can’t bite corn off the cob due to problems with my front teeth. But I love Elote! Well actually, I technically love Esquites, which is Mexican Street Corn served off the cob.

Esquites

On or off the cob, this corn is delicious! You will not regret trying this recipe, and will probably never make corn the same again.

Elote (Mexican Street Corn)
Serves four.

Ingredients:
• 4 ears of shucked corn
• ½ cup greek yogurt
• ½ cup Cotija cheese (or Feta)
• ½ tsp chili powder
• 1 clove of garlic, minced
• 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
• 1 lime, cut into wedges for serving

Directions:

1) Cook the corn. You can either do this on the grill or using the broiler in your oven. On the grill: turn the grill to a high heat. Lightly grease the corn with olive oil or butter and cook the corn for 10-20 minutes, turning every few minutes as needed, so that the corn is slightly charred, but not burned. The corn is ready when all sides are slightly charred. In the oven: preheat the broiler on high. Lightly grease the corn with olive oil or butter. Position the top shelf of the oven so that the corn is 2-4 inches from the top of the oven. Cook the corn for 15-20 minutes, turning frequently, until all sides of the corn darken (you may not be able to get the same char as you would using a grill).

2) In a small bowl, mix together the greek yogurt, cheese, chili powder, garlic and cilantro.

3) Spread 2-3 tablespoons of the sauce on the grilled corn, top with additional cheese, chili powder and cilantro, and serve. (You can also cut the corn kernels off the cob and mix the kernels with the sauce in a large bowl, making Esquites).

4) Enjoy!

Note – If you cannot find Cotija cheese, feta is a good substitute. Do not use queso fresco, as it is not as salty and does not result in a similar flavor.

*PS – The sauce for the corn is tasty on other foods as well. Whenever we make Elote, the sauce often finds its way onto whatever protein we are serving too. Feel free to experiment using it in other recipes!

Posted in Gluten-free, Mexican, Recipes, Sides | Tagged , | Leave a comment