Fall Fitness Challenge update weeks 1 and 2

I want to update you on how the first two weeks of the fall fitness challenge I’m doing are going! Here’s some Fabulously Fit Friday for ya!  

Hey all!

So you know I’ve been doing the Frisky Fall challenge through Tone It Up, and I wanted to give you a little update on how the first two weeks went!

Well, the challenge definitely started out full speed. Because everyone has a set goal of accomplishing 100 miles by Halloween, I clocked in just shy of 20 miles for week one and I’m betting on a similar distance for week 2. When am I completing these miles? At the crack of dawn while watching the sunrise. No joke. That’s not all, of course! There are toning workouts to complete every day. And, I tried Cardio Barre for the first time…AHmazing! I love that the challenge incorporates personal challenges too, like trying new activities, meditating, cooking new recipes, and making new friends! 

sunrise running

I feel amazing. I haven’t felt this good in a long time. I’m exhausted but happy. I feel so accomplished and like I’m a completely new woman, and this is only week 2! 

I decided to take the plunge and follow their nutrition plan. I have my twisted logic, but it basically comes down to being fully committed to everything I do, and not wanting my own actions, or lack thereof, to be to blame in the end for subpar results. I’m not expecting to walk away from this in 8 weeks with a 6 pack, because that’s just not genetically possible for me, but I know that even if I don’t have a noticeable difference in 8 weeks, I did every single thing I could to get it.

Note though! There is no self-torture in ANY of this. I’m actually eating MORE than I’ve eaten in SO long. Crazy. I am seriously overloaded.

I have to give an amazingly special thank you shout out to some TASTY companies that sent me goodies to get me through the Frisky Fall challenge! {photos from my Instagram}

1. Vega! My favorite vegan protein company sent me a stash to keep me rolling out my green protein pancakes every morning if I so choose…which, I do…If you follow my alter-Instagram, you’ll see an overload of breakfasty goodness. My jam.

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photo 1 (10)

2. Quest! Quest Nutrition Bars are the only protein bar I eat. I seriously stand by them 100% and have been reviewing their products since before they were sold in stores! That’s a true abiding love. My late-night snack or my snack before dinner (aka M4) is almost always a Quest bar. Without them, I think that I would feel some sort of dessert-deprivation. In the challenge, you’re encouraged to indulge once or twice a week, but I definitely haven’t felt that “I’m going to die if I don’t have chocolate RIGHT NOW” feeling yet because of my lovely Quest Bars. Nuked till gooey then schmeared with nut butter and I’m done. Drop the mic.

photo 2 (10)

3. Sizzlefish! I am SO lucky that I have a huge supply of perfectly-portioned high quality fish in my freezer right now. Everything from salmon to scallops and trout…my possibilities for protein-packed meals are endless. I’m so excited. There’s only so much ground beef and shrimp I can make (because I’m still in an “I want to gag” zone with chicken breasts if I cook them myself…I’ll explain another time…) before I decide to go back on an all-yogurt diet (yes, I have). So, to have a huge variety of seriously delish fish in my freezer, there are no words. And I need it all because I am eating more protein every single day, and the thought of it overwhelms me, so thank sheesh its all there and available to me. 

sizzlefish

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset

 

Ok! Hope you’re still routing for me! Love y’all! 

 

Disclosure: this is NOT a sponsored post. I received products from Vega, Quest, and Sizzlefish as a fan of theirs and supporter of their company, and all opinions on this page and on my social media are my own. They chose to fuel me and I took them up on it, because friends are fabulous and I love that my friends come bearing food. 

Mini Pumpkin Pie Smores Tarts

Mini Pumpkin Pie Smores Tarts are the ultimate fusion of your favorite Fall treats…did I mention they’re no-bake…and gluten-free…and vegan?! Holy smokes! They’re pie-meets-cookies and you’ll totally fall in love with them!

Mini-Pumpkin-Pie-Smores-Tarts 3

So here we are, smack dab in the middle of September. I am wearing a yoga tank top and some running shorts (my usual uniform these days), my hair is frizzed out to Frankfurt because of the humidity, and I’m ordering my first Pumpkin Spice Latte. Well, to be honest, I made the drink order quite a bit more complicated than that, but that’s just my Starbucks style.

Anyhoodle. I’m forcing Fall. I bought sparkly pumpkins to go with my glass pumpkins from TJ Maxx  and a couple strands of fake Autumn leaves garland because I was feeling super cheesy. Décor, check.

And now, pumpkin pie. Oh, and s’mores. Because, duh, smores. I swear, people call them a Summer food, but don’t you start throwing up more fires in the Fall and needing sustenance in the form of charred mallow in the Fall? I think so. It’s a year-round food.

This is probably the most simple pumpkin pie I’ve pulled off because I didn’t have to bake it. And, totally vegan (until you top it with a marshmallow…but they make those in “vegan” too so you should totally hunt those down if that’s your game!), because I creamed up some cashews and a date for sweetness, then blended it with my day-glow orange veggie-from-a-can. Tah-dah!

I used the base from my no-bake S’mores Bars as the crust here too, because you shouldn’t fix what ain’t broke. {getting’ all Southern on ya because I mentioned bonfires earlier…} Except! I added some nutmeg and cinnamon, because in the Fall, we take pumpkin spice shots. Hiyah!

Mini-Pumpkin-Pie-Smores-Tarts 1

Mini-Pumpkin-Pie-Smores-Tarts 2

Mini-Pumpkin-Pie-Smores-Tarts 3

Mini-Pumpkin-Pie-Smores-Tarts 4

When it’s all done, not only did I quickly toast the mallow under the broiler, but then I drizzled it in whatever chocolate sauce I had in my fridge (but you can totally make your own or melt chocolate to do the same thing). So easy.

Mini-Pumpkin-Pie-Smores-Tarts 5

Annnnddd…here ya go!

Mini Pumpkin Pie Smores Tarts
Mini Pumpkin Pie Smores Tarts are the ultimate fusion of your favorite Fall treats...did I mention they're no-bake...and gluten-free...and vegan?! Holy smokes! They're pie-meets-cookies and you'll totally fall in love with them! (makes 6 mini tarts)
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Crust
  1. 2/3 cup raw cashews
  2. 1 tsp. vanilla
  3. 1 Tbs. coconut oil
  4. 1 tsp. water
  5. pinch of sea salt
  6. ½ cup oats
  7. dash of cinnamon and nutmeg
Pumpkin Pie Filling
  1. ¼ cup cashews, soaked at least 20 min
  2. 1 date (I would soak it with the cashews)
  3. 2/3 cup pumpkin (I used Libby’s pumpkin)
  4. ¼ tsp. allspice*
  5. ¼ tsp. cinnamon*
  6. 1/8 tsp. nutmeg*
  7. 3 standard sized marshmallows
  8. chocolate sauce, for drizzling
Crust
  1. In a food processor (I used a mini food prep for the entire recipe), combine all of the crust ingredients except for the oats and spices. Blend until it becomes a thick, almost past-like consistency (there can be a few grainy nutty pieces throughout, but you want it pretty thick and pasty). Add the oats and spices then blend for a few seconds, until the oats are broken down but not completely blended away.
  2. Scoop 1-2 Tbs. of filling into each of your mini tart pans (6). Use your fingers to press the filling up and around the pans, making sure it’s even, adding more filling as needed. Place in the fridge to set as you prepare the filling.
Filling
  1. Drain your cashews and date from the water. Place them in your food processor (which you have cleaned quickly after making the crust in it). Start blending, and blend until well broken down. Add the pumpkin and blend until completely smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed. Once it’s smooth, add the spices, and blend. Taste your filling, and if you like more spices, add them now. If your filling isn’t smooth enough for you (I blended for quite awhile), you can press it through a wire mesh strainer.
  2. Add 1.5 Tbs. of filling to each tart pan, smoothing the top and making sure each tart is full (nobody likes a skimpy little pie!).
  3. Cut each of your marshmallows in half. Add a half of marshmallow to each tart. Broil until golden brown (I placed all of the filled tarts on a large cookie sheet, then into the oven under the broiler). This happens quickly, so keep a close eye on them!
  4. Drizzle them with chocolate sauce!
  5. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. *taste and adjust to your liking after it’s all mixed together
  2. Keep prepared tarts in the fridge for up to a week (though I’d eat them after 2…but that’s just me) or in the freezer to eat whenever your pumpkin pie whim strikes you.
Treats With a Twist http://www.treatswithatwist.com/wp/

Simple Oat and Cherry Breakfast Cookies

Simple Oat and Cherry Breakfast Cookies are a quick grab-and-go treat that tastes like a hearty and comforting granola. They’re packed with oats, coconut, banana and dried cherries, making them almost sugar free (just a touch of maple), vegan and gluten free. Now, listen to my life revelations and have a cookie. 

Simple Oat and Cherry Breakfast Cookies (gluten free, vegan) (treatswithatwist.com)

I have had one of the most hectic schedules lately, that getting into a simple breakfast cookie recipe just makes me feel calm.

Cookie therapy.

I don’t want to bog you down with my stresses, but I’ve been working a TON (pulling overnight shifts in my nanny-land and such), planning a 30th birthday party for my husband just the week before our first anniversary, and staring at the blank walls in my new house, my head swimming with fear and ideas.

I’ve been reading some design books (been LOVING this one and this one) that make me feel like I can do anything. As soon as I conquer the fear of being imperfect, I’ll be able to do it. Until then…I’ve purchased some glass pumpkins from TJ Maxx and will call that decorating just in case anybody stops in to see my progress (please don’t!).

I’ve had some realizations lately. I have realized, and I know this may sound dumb, that I can truly do anything I want to do. Silly, right? But so NOT silly. Because I’ve always looked at those women who treat their bathrooms like a spa, pampering their skin with masks and lotions every evening and stopping to brush their hair, like they have everything together and that I’ll be there some day. As if I have other things to do?

But I don’t! Why can’t I be that woman? Why can’t I take longer in the shower? Why can’t I watch Barefoot Blonde videos for an hour then braid my hair in a cool new way? Why can’t I actually put on my makeup in the morning and feel hella good?

Why can’t I paint the walls in my house whatever color makes me happy? And hang up photos then change them the next week? And paint the furniture that I’ve had since I was a child and just don’t
l-o-v-e?

Well, there’s nothing that I can think of that should be stopping me. I know this isn’t groundbreaking news here, but I can be that person too.

Do you ever have those moments? The ones where things just start to click and you realize you’ve wasted so much time? I’m having those moments. And I know that I’m already happier, just a few days into them.

Terrible transition, but I’ve made you cookies too.

Simple Oat and Cherry Breakfast Cookies (gluten free, vegan) (treatswithatwist.com)

Simple Oat and Cherry Breakfast Cookies (gluten free, vegan) (treatswithatwist.com)

Simple Oat and Cherry Breakfast Cookies (gluten free, vegan) (treatswithatwist.com)

They’re simple, and healthy, and inspired by What Should I Eat For Breakfast Today, because I adore her blog and these cookies spoke to me when she made them.

So here are some for you. Because I love you. And because you truly can do anything (even if its just swapping the cherries for craisins…). 

Simple Oat and Cherry Breakfast Cookies
Simple Oat and Cherry Breakfast Cookies are a simple breakfast. They're gluten free and vegan with only a touch of maple syrup for sweetness. (makes 6 large cookies)
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Ingredients
  1. ¾ c oats
  2. ½ c shredded coconut
  3. 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  4. 1 large banana, mashed
  5. 2 Tbs. coconut oil
  6. 1 tsp. maple syrup
  7. 1-2 Tbs. dried cherries, cut up in smaller pieces
  8. 5 Brazil nuts, chopped
  9. sesame seeds, for sprinkling
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 deg F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment.
  2. In a bowl, mush together the banana, coconut oil, and maple syrup.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir together until completely mixed.
  4. Place a round biscuit cutter onto the parchment where you'd like the first cookie to go. Scoop 2 Tbs of cookie mixture into the cookie cutter then use the back of your spoon to spread and press it all in there, compacting the mixture, taking up the whole inside of the biscuit cutter. Carefully lift the cutter straight up, leaving a round-formed cookie on the parchment. Repeat with the rest of your dough until all of your cookies are formed. Mine made 6.
  5. Sprinkle the cookies with sesame seeds.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until nicely golden around the outside and middle.
  7. Let them cool on the parchment, then remove them.
  8. Eat and enjoy!
Notes
  1. Store leftover cookies in an airtight container. I keep mine in a Ziplock in the freezer then take a few on the go with me in the mornings.
Adapted from What Should I Eat For Breakfast Today
Adapted from What Should I Eat For Breakfast Today
Treats With a Twist http://www.treatswithatwist.com/wp/
Simple Oat and Cherry Breakfast Cookies (gluten free, vegan) (treatswithatwist.com)

 

What I’ve Been Reading

Ready for another edition of What I’ve Been Reading? I love updating you with the latest books I’ve read and love hearing what you’re reading too! 

Book Review (treatswithatwist.com)

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling):

So, I mentioned in my last book post that I had just started this one. It was a fun read! I realized that I hadn’t read a mystery in awhile (I love drowning in chick-lit) and it was fun to get reacquainted with the writing style of JK Rowling. I was a HUGE Harry fan and I could definitely tell that it was Rowling writing, despite her publishing under a pen name.

This book follows a down-and-out detective, who happens to be a burly ex-military man. He finds himself tangled in a murder mystery involving a celebrity, who had connections to his childhood. It’s a very interesting and fun mystery that will keep you guessing.

I usually can guess the end and killer in books like these, so it was fun that she threw in so many twists that left me unsure until the “reveal”. I’ll have to go grab the second installment in this series now!

 

#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso:

This book will pump…you up.

I’ll be honest, because I didn’t grow up having a My Space account or shopping for vintage clothing, I had never heard of Nasty Gal until I read this book. But that didn’t stop me from being 100% inspired! Sophia is the CEO and founder of this multi-million dollar company, and she came from the most unexpected background.

This was a very quick read. I got sucked into the quick wit of the author as she quickly details her stumbles through young adulthood, including stealing, dumpster diving, homelessness, and countless jobs. She’s so funny and relatable.

This book isn’t a “how to start your own business” book, but more of a “you can do whatever you dream or didn’t even know you dreamt” book. Just read it. You’ll want to start a business the next day.

Book Review (treatswithatwist.com)  

Save Me by Lisa Scottoline:

Sigh. This book. I don’t know if I loved it.

I read it very quickly, and it was a fun mystery. But I felt like it was SO slow and non-progressive through the first 2/3 of the book, but then it stumbled into a quick mystery to be solved.

The main character is a mom, finding herself being blamed for leaving a child behind while her child’s elementary school bursts into flames. She runs to save her own daughter, unknowingly leaving another child behind because she thought she saw the child get out of the school.

The mystery comes when she has a hunch that the explosion that started the fire wasn’t an accident.

It was sort of a cheesy mystery by the end (in my opinion), but I had to finish it to confirm my own hunches.
It’s definitely a light read and good for a few lazy afternoons. I have another book by this author (my mom gave me a few she found in my grandparents’ house) and I’ll read it, but it’s not the next on my list.

 

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver:

Ok, did you read Poisonwood Bible? Did you like it?

If you answered “yes” then this book is for you.

Barbara Kingsolver writes in a very methodical style. She writes about a piece of life, not about a particularly thrilling happening. Because this book shows a chunk of life in an “everyday” woman, it seems a bit slow and uneventful.

Honestly, it took me 3 weeks to read this book. Yes, weeks.

I don’t do well when nothing particularly thrilling is happening and when there’s no intense love interest. But that doesn’t mean the story isn’t good! It is!

The main character, Dellarobia, is living the life she feels stuck in. You know that she is made for greater things, but she’s married to her high school sweetheart despite no longer loving him, and raising two young children. They live on a very poor sheep farm. When their woods are taken over by Monarch butterflies, they have to make some decisions: to log their land and pocket money they desperately need, or work to save the Monarchs and help scientists research their flight pattern changes and trust in God.

The main character is extremely relatable. You feel for her the entire book. And she’s very cynical because of the life she leads. You’ll love her (at least I know I did) for her flaws.

 

Ok! That’s it!

It’s a bit of a shorter list because of how long Flight Behavior took me and because I moved this last month. Moving took up ALL of our time, and now I’m reading home design books. Such is life.

 

What are you reading right now??

 Note: this is NOT a sponsored post. Any links are just to show you the book, they’re not affiliate links. Cheers! 
On a separate but MORE important note: Happy 11-monthiversary to my dear husband. I love you and I love that you love me for all of my cheesiness. I can’t wait to eat some really old cake with you next month! 

Carrot Almond Muffins

Carrot Almond Muffins are the perfect bridge to Fall! They’re not overloaded with spices, so the naturally sweet carrot and almonds shine through. Gluten-free and dairy-free. These Carrot Almond Muffins are the perfect snack or breakfast! Oh, and I’d highly recommend doubling the crumble, because I think I skimped, and nobody likes a crumble skimper. 

Carrot-Almond-Muffins 3

This morning I officially started a Fall workout challenge. I utilized our new staircase (that I honestly thought I’d rarely ever see since it only leads to the “man cave” and I have zero desire to go surround myself in our college paraphernalia all that often) and ran up and down it while interspersing various exercises I haven’t done in months. What a jolting way to start the morning! Oh, not to mention an apple cider vinegar concoction I tried to drink and only choked down half of…

I took some super embarrassing “before” photos where I appear to be 6 months pregnant, when I am in fact negative months preggo, so we all know those will never see the light of day. 

Annnddd…then the day started…and my husband got a flat tire.

That’s just how the cookie crumbles. 

Anyways! I had an awesome weekend. My mom came to visit and check out our new digs. We got full, glowing approval, and I fed her muffins. The end. 

Carrot Almond Muffins (treatswithatwist.com)

Carrot Almond Muffins (treatswithatwist.com)  

[Note: my muffins in these pictures look different than the results you'll get, because these were my first batch and I changed up the recipe after that. My second batch looked like more traditional round-top muffins, and yours will too! Either way, they're killer delish!]

  Carrot Almond Muffins (treatswithatwist.com)

Carrot Almond Muffins (treatswithatwist.com)

Carrot Almond Muffins
Carrot Almond Muffins are the perfect bridge to Fall! They're not overloaded with spices, so the naturally sweet carrot and almonds shine through. Gluten-free and dairy-free. These Carrot Almond Muffins are the perfect snack or breakfast! Oh, and I'd highly recommend doubling the crumble, because I think I skimped, and nobody likes a crumble skimper. (makes 12 muffins)
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup sorghum flour
  2. ½ c tapioca starch (or potato or corn starch)
  3. 1 tsp. xanthan gum
  4. 2 tsp. baking powder
  5. ¼ tsp. salt
  6. ½ cup brown sugar
  7. ½ cup coconut sugar
  8. ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  9. ¼ tsp. ginger
  10. 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  11. ½ tsp. almond extract
  12. ½ cup butter, room temperature (I used Earth Balance coconut spread)
  13. 1 egg, beaten
  14. ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  15. 1 cup shredded carrots
  16. 1/3 cup chopped almonds
Crumble (I’d highly recommend doubling this)
  1. 3 Tbs. shredded carrot
  2. 3 Tbs. sorghum flour
  3. 2 Tbs. oats
  4. 2 Tbs. brown sugar
  5. 3 Tbs. sliced almonds (or chopped almonds)
  6. 2 Tbs. melted butter (or coconut spread)
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray your muffin tin with nonstick spray.
  2. In your mixer, start beating the butter until it is smooth. Add the sugars and beat until well combined.
  3. Next, slow down your mixer and add all of your dry ingredients. Mix for 2 minutes, or until well combined. Then, add your applesauce, egg and extracts and beat for 30 seconds to a minute, until the batter is well combined.
  4. Scoop the batter into your muffin tin.
  5. Put together your crumble. In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Spoon it over the top of your muffins, patting it down slightly into the muffin batter.
  6. Bake your muffins for 25-28 min, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Let them cool. Eat, enjoy!
Notes
  1. Muffins can be kept on the counter in an air-tight container for 3 days, or in the fridge for a week. Try them with a schmear of peanut butter!
Treats With a Twist http://www.treatswithatwist.com/wp/