The Never-ending Winter, A tropical dessert and a Tisano Tea review

I think this may be the longest winter of my life!  It got cold earlier this year than any year I can remember.  It snowed before Thanksgiving and the morning of our turkey trot I had to wear two pairs of socks.  December felt like February and as a result, when February rolled around, I was already over this exceedingly horrible winter.  There was hope though…  March was coming and though it was going to come in like a lion, it would go out like a lamb.  Only it didn’t.  Here we are at the end of March and it’s SNOWING….  AGAIN!!! 

All this cold has me pining away for our vacation club in Punta Cana and wishing we had headed there this March like we did last spring.  When I was offered the opportunity to review Tisano Teas, I jumped at the chance.  I’d first tried Cacao Tea on our trip last year when we toured the chocolate factory and I brought home 4 packages, hoping to enjoy the tea whenever I started missing our trip.  My stash was gone in less than 2 months… OOPS!!!!  The tea was served with banana fritters that tasted like crispy bites of heaven at breakfast.  The second I brewed the first cup of my Vanilla Cacao tea, I knew I needed to figure out how to capture the tastes of the fritters, sans gluten and the extra zillion calories that I couldn’t afford! 

tisano Tea

First, the tea.  I received a full size canister of Mint Cacao Tea and a sample size of the Vanilla Cacao tea.  I really enjoy both flavors and have discovered that they both taste excellent on their own but I prefer them a little sweeter,  I added one pack of stevia and found it to be the perfect amount.  I also found that steaming coconut milk and adding the tea made it taste like a lighter version of hot chocolate.  That version made for a perfect dessert drink on a cold night! 

mint cacao tea

vanilla cacao tea

Tisano isn’t just great for your taste buds.  I really appreciate the commitment that this company has to their cooperative farmers harvesting the organic cacao.  In order to ensure their process stays at the highest of qualities, they are paying over market price for the harvests and returning 5% of the profits back to these farming communities.  I’m really impressed by their sense of community and commitment to excellence.  They have also offered a discount code for any readers who want to enjoy this chocolaty treat for themselves.  If you head over to their website, use the code Tisanolicious15% and save 15 % off your order. 

Once you’ve gone ahead and ordered. gather together the ingredients for my  Banana Coconut Fritters and brace yourself for the feel of the warm sun and total relaxation to take over.  If the tastes don’t transport you, you’re doing it wrong!

 

Banana Coconut Fritters

banana fritters

2 Ripe Bananas (the riper they are. the sweeter your fritters will be), sliced

2 Eggs (beaten lightly)

1/4 c coconut milk (or almond milk)

1/4 cup of coconut sugar (if you can’t find it, or don’t like it, use honey)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 c. Gluten Free All Purpose  (if you don’t have gluten issues, go ahead and use regular all purpose flour if you like)

1/4 c. almond meal

1/4 c. coconut flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp sea salt

Coconut Oil melted, for frying

 

In your mixer, combine the sliced bananas eggs, coconut sugar and vanilla and mix until smooth.

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In a large zip lock, combine all of the dry ingredients and shake until they are mixed together.  Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and fold together until they are evenly combined but not smooth.

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In a heavy skillet, melt and heat coconut oil and then lower heat.  It’s important not to overheat the oil so as not to burn the fritters but not to allow the oil to become too cool, which will cause them to be greasy. 

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Place small dollops into the hot oil and allow them to cook for about 1 1/2 minutes on each side.  If they look to need another minute, flip again and cook for an additional 30 seconds on each side. 

Remove from pan with a slotted spoon or spatula and place on a plate covered in paper towels to absorb the extra oil. 

You can top with maple syrup, honey, fruit jams, Greek yogurt or cottage cheese.  It won’t matter… they will taste delicious, even if you eat them over the plate while they are cooling…  not that I would know from experience!

 

Is there a special treat from a vacation spot that can instantly take you back?

Posted in fiteats, gluten free, imfitpossible, recipe | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments
A Sweet Celebration, and A Sweet Treat to go with it!

Today was our 14th wedding anniversary!  It was a wonderful day and we celebrated by spending the entire day together.  My husband is practically a saint.  We had breakfast, went to the mall where he patiently waited while I exchanged some shorts at Athleta (aren’t they fabulous for allowing me to return them after I worked out in them and found the waist to big), and then furniture shopped until we found the perfect couch for our game room.  I was in heaven and I’m perfectly sure he was praying to be sent there as soon as possible!  He didn’t even complain when I stretched the budget and his patience.  I’m a very lucky girl! 

When we got home, I quickly changed and headed to Crossfit.  Admittedly, I wanted to bag the workout but Rob pushed me to go and I was super thankful I did.  I’m positive I will be whining all day about how sore I am but it is so great to be back that I only complain so I can have a reason to talk about it!  We headed to dinner at a new restaurant in town and they were amazing!!  They were super accommodating to my Gluten free requests. Even cooler,  the menu even notated the options that they could modify to gluten free!!  Usually I feel slightly freak-ish asking billions of questions but once I let them know of my intolerance, the entire wait staff made sure to ask questions in the kitchen before they came to the table.  It was a truly amazing experience and we will be back!!

Sadly, there were no Gluten Free dessert options.  That was okay because I had already promised Danger that I would make him a batch of the Paleo brownies we had been working to perfect for the past few weeks.  Last Sunday we had a family party at our Crossfit gym and we worked on the recipe until it was exactly how we wanted it.  It was so good, I decided I had to share it with all of you!!!  Here it is:

Paleo Brownies

Ingredients:

10 oz of coconut dark chocolate bar ( you can use plain or another flavor but this is my favorite)

1/2 c. of coconut oil

1/4 c. local raw honey

3 eggs, beaten

3/4 c. coconut sugar (if you can’t find it, you can use organic raw sugar)

1 1/2 T. Hazelnut flour

3/4 c. almond flour

1 c. unsweetened cocoa powder

1/3 tsp baking soda

pinch of salt

 

Process:

Beat the three eggs together and let sit while you prepare the chocolate and preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

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In a double boiler ( or in a heat safe bowl over boiling water) melt together the coconut oil until smooth.  set aside for 5 minutes and allow to get cool but not cold.  Scrape into an blender and then add each of the ingredients one at a time, adding the beaten eggs first. 

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Blend all ingredients, taking time to scrape down the sides a couple of times to make sure they are all mixed in.  The batter will become very thick. 

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Line an 8 x8 baking pan (I prefer using glass) with parchment paper and then pour the batter on top of the paper.  Bang gently on the counter until it is evenly spread in your baking pan. 

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Place in the center of the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick or fork removes clean.  Allow 25 minutes to cool before cutting into even squares. 

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These are soooo rich and delicious and I could hardly contain myself from eating all the batter on my own!!!    Instead I was patient and waited until they were finished!  We enjoyed them with a banana ‘nice’ cream on the side for a perfect sweet end to our wonderful day!!

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Have you tried any new restaurants lately?  How do you handle dietary restrictions when you eat out?

Posted in paleo, recipe | 11 Comments
It’s been more than a month… oops!

I’ve been wrapped up in a whole bunch of life over the past 4 weeks and I can’t lie…  I dropped a couple of balls I was attempting to juggle.  Usually I operate better under pressure and do well tackling 10 things at once.  I didn’t do so well the last few weeks.  I LET life overwhelm me, forgot to use the coping skills of running and weightlifting to de-stress and over all, made excuses.  It was not my finest hour. 

 

Here’s what I DID do well: 

I’ve been prepping my meals and packing my lunches every night before I go to bed.

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I’ve been practicing portion control with my 21 day fix containers and following the eating plan to go along with it.  It’s made it easy for me not to binge and stay within my calorie goals!

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I’ve been tracking every bite with myfitnesspal in addition to the 21 day fix so that I am aware of what I eat. 

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I’ve been going to bed earlier in order to get more sleep.

 

 

Here is where I was struggling:

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I’ve been skipping a bunch of workouts

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I’ve chosen to make excuses rather than push through a tough workout

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I’ve slept later and not made the time to get things done.  I’ve filled down time with TV watching when I could have been working out, blogging, or being productive in general!

 

Here’s what I’ve been doing over the last 7 days to correct the bad habits I’ve allowed to develop:

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I’ve started setting 3 alarms to wake up.  The first couple of days, I struggled but got out of bed.  The last three, I didn’t need the second or third alarm!  PROGRESS!!!

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I’ve made plans with friends to meet at Crossfit so that I need to be there. 

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I scheduled my workouts in my planner so that I knew what I was going to do each day.

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When I make an excuse in my head, I force myself to say it out loud.  If it feels valid when I say it out loud (it hasn’t yet) , then I am willing to consider it. 

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It’s only been a week but my energy levels are up, my attitude is better and I’m handling my stress in a far more constructive manner.  The best part is I’m already seeing results!  Now I just need to maintain my better behaviors and get back to where I want to be.  For right now, I’m just thankful for the forward motion.

 

Have you ever let excuses take over?  What was the most effective change you made to get back on track?

Posted in Crossfit, FAILURE, fitfluential, follow through, frustration, goals, obstacles, struggles | 7 Comments
#HEATITUP Challenge

I know I’ve been MIA… more on that tomorrow!  Right now I am super excited to tell you about a new Instagram challenge I am cohosting with some of my favorite people on the interwebs! 

Like most of you, I am excited to celebrate the start of Spring!  Warmer weather, more outdoor time and the end of hibernation.  With all the cold we experienced this winter, I don’t think I know a single person who isn’t ready to bust out and get more active!!  In an effort to commit to heating up our training and enjoying the spring, Join me and some of my favorite friends in our April photo challenge:   #HEATITUP

final #HeatItUp

Here’s how you can participate:

1.    Every day, take a picture to that day’s topic.

2.  Post that picture on instagram and twitter and make sure to hashtag  #HEATITUP

3.  Check out the other posts and interact, make new friends!

It’s really that easy!!! 

Make sure you are following all of my friends co-hosting this fun challenge too:

Abby from BackAtSquareZero

Debi from Girls Run the 901

Dani from Weight Off My Shoulders

Cecilia from Mommies Run

Mindy from RoadRunnerGirl

and

Holly from Running and baking, Oh My!

Make sure to share the image on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook so you can get all your friends involved too!!!

Posted in #HEATITUP, instagram, photo challenge, Spring | 4 Comments
Where did my week go? How is it Wednesday already??

It’s halfway through my vacation and I have successfully done absolutely nothing! Well… Maybe not nothing…

I DID make myself get off the couch to work out the past 2 days but other than that, I really don’t have much to brag about! Today, Danger and I are planning on sneaking off to the slopes if we managed to get our to do lists and packing done. Keep your fingers crossed!!

We are also heading out for a run as a family. It’s been a while since all three of headed out together and it usually ends up at a mishmash pace of ups and downs. Too fast for me, too slow for Rob and Danger usually manages to argue with one of us for at least half the run! How could anyone want to miss out on that?? Plus I bought a new pair of shoes… So I have another good reason to get outside!

Since this is the first week of the 21DayFix I am doing, I have been getting used to how to use my portion control containers and making sure I know what I’m going to eat, 2 meals ahead. I’m really loving the Chocolate shakeology and the idea that it taste like a chocolate cake shake from Portillo’s. I’m planning on recapping my first week for you all once I’ve completed it! I will say that it is super convenient having videos to go to when it’s cold and I’m not overly motivated to leave the house!

In the morning we are off to NYC to play tourist and visit with my patents. I’m looking forward to some family time! I Can’t wait to drag the boys around the city seeing the sights like it’s my first time even though it’s my billionth!

Do you have President’s week off? Are you trying anything new?

DID YOU ENTER THE TOMMIE COPPER GIVEAWAY THAT ENDS TONIGHT???. You can enter here if you haven’t!

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Posted in back on track, DangerBriggs, family, family running, fitfamily, fitfluential, giveaway, happiness, healthy choices, healthy habits, healthy living, mother/son, relax, Vacation | 3 Comments
Better Late than Never #RnRNoLaTweetup #TommieCopper #giveaway

 

 

It’s been two weeks since I got home from New Orleans and I have been dragging my feet on writing the recap!  Partly because I have been running around in circles trying to get everything done and partly because I am reluctant to let go of the weekend.  The whole weekend felt like the perfect combination of summer camp and spring break!

Friday night was low key and we headed to dinner and chatted the night away!  Getting to hang out with Mindy, Abby, and Holly after forming our friendship via twitter almost 2 years ago was so amazing.  It felt more like a reunion of old friends than meeting people for the first time. 

 

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Saturday, we headed to the expo after breakfast to pick up our bibs.  I had already decided that there was no way I was running the full but didn’t take the time to change my bib because somewhere in my crazy head I was still holding out for a miracle.  Once we got our bib, we checked out a bunch of the booths at the expo and I bought a few headbands from Sweaty Bands and even won a new one from Sparkly Soul just because I mentioned Dani!  

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The most exciting part of our morning was Mindy and  I interviewing Dani and Abby on stage and then hosting the Tweet Up afterwards.  Tommie Copper was kind enough to provide compression socks for me to give out to some of our attendees!  They have also been kind enough to offer one of my readers a pair of the hot pink compression capris that you may have seen all my race weekend buddies sporting! 

tommie copper capri

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

We spent the rest of the afternoon touring and eating before heading back to the hotel for a bit of rest before dinner where we met up with Cecilia and Debi at the Louisiana Pizza Kitchen.  Abby and I were overwhelmed by all of our Gluten Free choices and decided to split a few different things so we enjoy more food portion control better! 

 

Stay tuned for the rest of my recap!!!  I promise it won’t take me another 2 weeks to post about it!!

 

Do you enjoy race expos or do you grab your bib and go?  What are your favorite vendors to go and visit?

Posted in #giveaway, #rocknrolltweetup #rnrnola #tommiecopper | 63 Comments
WIAW #RnrNOLA

Since arriving back home in Rochester, I have been trying not to moverunning in circles, chasing my own tail very slowly. This whole half assed dedicated race training did nothing for my recovery time at all!

On top of my sore everything legs, I managed to bring home a crummy head and chest cold too… Keeping all of that in mind, me, my runny nose and achy legs were right back to work on Tuesday. Of course I spent the evening glued to the TV couch watching The Biggest Loser and my friend Matt Hooper, who competed for the at home prize. He didn’t go home with $100,000 but he did win his second chance, just like he promised he would. There were a lot of tears in our house tonight!

Anywhoooo… I am so excited to recap the Rock n’ Roll NOLA Half Marathon this week but it won’t be today. Though Upstate NY is about to be buried in snow again, life and work go on! That said, I thought I would do a WIA lost about this past weekend.

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This disaster dessert happened at the airport along with several fermented fruit servings. I had a ridiculously long layover and i drowned it in chocolate syrup!

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I started Saturday off with a big breakfast since we were headed to the Expo, and hosting the Tweet Up & Meet Up.

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We headed to the Clover Grill on the recommendation of a local. I ordered my burger without the bun and enjoyed every single bite.

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Pre-race fueling was at Louisiana Pizza Kitchen where Abby and I split appetizers of shrimp and alligator sausage and shared chicken and shrimp with gluten free pasta for dinner!

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Gatorade, dehydration and general tummy issues made me hesitant to eat lunch but once I was feeling better indulged in our traditional Ginger Beer and Grapefruit libations!

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After having very little to eat post race left me famished when dinner arrived. I had oysters an the half shell for an appetizer and Hickory Grilled Redfish for dinner.

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It’s obvious that I hated it!!

We opted to skip dessert and spent the night enjoying many many drinks on Bourbon Street!

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All of this enjoyment left breakfast Monday morning rather un-appealing!

So there you have it… What I ate (and drank) while in NOLA!

I promise the recap is coming soon!!!

Posted in #RNRNOLA, rock n roll NOLA, WIAW | 15 Comments
Follow Friday, #imfitpossible #takeover and traveling!

As I type, I am on the plane headed to NOLA for the Rock n’ Roll Marathon and Half. In case you missed it, Mindy and I will be interviewing Abby and Dani at the expo and then helping to host the #RnRTweetUp afterwards!

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Be sure to stop by the TweetUp for a change to win some pretty fabulous giveaways from Tommie Copper! I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to share my love of their compression products with a few lucky attendees :)

I’m also super excited about the I’m FitPossible Instagram #Takeover that Holly so I know I will be hash tagging like a mad girl this weekend!!! Be sure to follow along!

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The best part about this weekend is that I get to meet some of my favorite bloggers. To follow along with what we are calling the #hotmessexpress, make sure you are following all of these ladies on twitter:

Abby
Dani
Mindy
Holly
Cecilia
Debi

I am sooo excited to arrive. I land in Tampa soon for the world’s longest layover. The good news is that I am having a fantastic hair day and I’m in the absolute best mood. I’m going to try to get in some extra steps while I’m stuck there instead of just sitting around playing on the internets! I’m sure half my time will end up searching for food I can actually eat!

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Tell me if we should expect to see you in New Orleans! Have your ever been? What are the must sees that we can squeeze in on our touristy day?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 2 Comments
#RnRTweetUp

Have you heard the news???  Abby and Dani are hosting a Tweet Up at  the  Rock n’ Roll New Orleans Marathon & 1/2 Expo this Saturday morning!  I’m so excited for an entire weekend with some of my favorite bloggers but I am even more excited to be interviewing both Abby and Dani with Mindy before the meet up about how social media affects the modern runner.  I would absolutely LOVE for you all to stop by and check out the Q & A and then join us for the Tweet Up afterwards!  For those of you who do join us, I may just have a few surprises up my sleeve!

 

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For up to date news on the Meet & Tweet make sure you are following  all of us on twitter:

Abby:  @BackatSquare0

Dani:  @IrishEyes1982

Mindy:  @MindyBobe

And me, @MomonEmpty

 

Have you ever attended a social Media Meet Up???  What are your plans this coming weekend?

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments
Must Have Fitness Gear for The New Year

 

 

***Disclosure:  As an ambassador for Fitfluential and through their relationship with Koss, I have been provided compensation and product for this post.  As always, all opinions are entirely my own.

2014

We are three weeks in to the new year and I know that many of you, like me, have set goals for yourself that involve working hard and trying new things.  One of my favorite parts of setting out towards a new goals are the shiny new accessories I get to buy to help me along the way.  Here are a few of my favorite things I am starting my year off with:

 

Tommie Copper Compression Capri Pants:

tommie copper capri   Available in both pink and black, These capris are designed to relieve pain and muscle stiffness and aid in recovery.  With the new Polished Copper fabric, these capris don’t just feel good during  a work out or relaxing afterwards, but are cute enough for everyday wear (for those of us who attempt to go through their real life not actually getting dressed).    These retail for $79.50 and are currently on sale when you buy more than one pair!  Check out Tommie Copper on social media on Facebook, Twitter  and  Pinterest.

 

 

 

Core Power Protein Drink:

5 Olympic Bottles      The Official Protein Drink of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, Core Power is the real-milk based sports recovery drink and contains natural whey and casein proteins found in milk – never removed from their original liquid state. The brand features simple ingredients and great taste, without a chalky texture. You can also check out the website for recipes!  You can also check them out on Facebook, Twitter Pinterest and Instagram.

 

 

Koss Fit Series FitClips and FitBuds:

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At only $29.99, The female designers at Koss really knocked it out of the park with these earbuds.  They don’t pop out of your ears, they have three different size cushions for a more custom fit, and they are sweat resistant so you don’t have to worry about your music shorting out half way thru your long runs.  They are available in a ton of fun and vibrant colors too!!  You can pick these up at Wal-Mart, Best Buy or Sears and can follow Koss on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram

 

 

 

Jawbone Up

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The Up Wristband plugs into your phone and to help you learn more about how you move, sleep and eat in order to help you get closer to your fitness goals every day!  It syncs with your My Fitness Pal account to track intake an activity and even vibrates when you have been stagnant for too long.  It also works as an alarm clock and counts your daily steps and activity time too.  At only $129.99, it is available at Verizon, AT&T and many other retailers.  The jawbone UP helps you learn more about your habits so you can stay on track easier.

 

There you have it folks!  These are some the fun stuff I’m using to help stay on track to reach my GOALS for 2014!!! 

WHAT NEW TOOLS ARE YOU USING TO HELP YOU STAY FOCUSED ON THE GOALS YOU SET FOR YOURSELF THIS YEAR????

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments