Recipe Review: Gimme Some Oven’s No Bake Energy Bites

My brother’s fiancee Shelby shared this recipe with me when I visited them in Minnesota. I made them for the second time this week and thought it’d be a good recipe to review!

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No Bake Energy Bites

The original recipe can be found here on the blog Gimme Some Oven.  This is the first recipe of hers that I’ve tried and based on it, I’ll be browsing her blog for some more ideas!

I love these bites for a quick snack, an easy breakfast on-the-go or a sweet pop of dessert at the end of the day (or anytime really).  I keep them refrigerated and grab one when I want to.  They’re a little sweet but really filling from the fatty peanut butter and ground flax.  The recipe is super easy to customize too.  Add or take out any of the ingredients here you don’t like.

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Scores

  • Taste: 8 out of 10.  It’s sweetened with honey, which I’m not a huge fan of yet.  But I LOVE peanut butter and that’s a big flavor in it too.
  • Ease: 8 out of 10.  There’s no oven, and just one bowl.  But I have yet to find a way to cook with honey without getting it on everything.  It’s on my phone, on the refrigerator handle and on the oven still.

Kitchen Utensils

  • Large mixing bowl
  • A 1/2 c measuring cup
  • A 1/3 c measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • Mixing spoon
  • Container to store them in after rolling

Food Items

Measure and put them into the bowl in this order!

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  • 1 cup dry oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
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This is what the ground flax I used looks like.  Keep refrigerated after opening.

Once everything is in the bowl, use a mixing spoon to stir it all together.  I eventually gave up on the spoon and used my hands to mix, making it a little messier than it probably could have been.  But I wanted to be sure the distribution of ingredients was thorough!

Measuring, combining and mixing all of the ingredients took me just under 13 minutes.  This included some honey mishap clean up and dealing with my supervisor who could not shut her mouth about wanting to taste the peanut butter.

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Just a taste Miley.

The mixture goes into the refrigerator for 30 minutes.  Use this time to clean the dishes, throw in some laundry and tidy up elsewhere in the house.  Or drink some wine.  After 30 minutes, pull the bowl out of the fridge and roll the mixture into balls of your size preference.  This took me just under 6 minutes but I also made a double batch.

This recipe is in my rotation pretty frequently.  It’s easy to whip up a batch one night and have them all week to snack on.  Good luck making them last all week though, they’re pretty tasty 😉

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Ready to pop in your mouth!

Will you try these?  What other recipes would you like to see reviewed?

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Announcing State 17!

For a long time my dad’s dad has been inviting me to run my state race in his current hometown.  For one reason or another, I’d never been able to commit.  After about 3 mailings of newspaper clippings, registration info and more invites I am pleased to announce that state 17 will be:

ARIZONA!

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State 17!

Image from localfirstaz.com

The race is right around the corner: February 6!

Grandpa lives in Sedona and he has bragged on their local race to me since this dream was born.  In lieu of a Rock n’ Roll or other “chain” race in Phoenix, I opted for the scenic Sedona (Half) Marathon.  Just from browsing the website I can tell this will give my Revel Rockies race a run for the “most scenic race” crown.

Since I’m still focusing on 5k training I have no goals for this race except to finish, take beautiful pictures and enjoy the scenery.  I’d also like to enjoy our day trip to the Grand Canyon the day following the race, so it certainly will not be an all out effort day for me.

Where’s your next race?  Anything in Sedona or the Grand Canyon you recommend to do or eat?

Go Short, Go Long, Go Very Long

Publishing out of order for the sake of trying to get a new habit going!  Route 66 is coming, I promise!

As part of trying to get faster in general this year, I decided to focus on my most hated distance – the 5k.  I plan to check in on my progress every month by running one (either a local race or just the distance on my own) and tailoring my training to this particular distance.  I know I won’t be able to resist the pull of the half marathon but my training will not be geared towards a strong half marathon time.

I decided this almost immediately following the Route 66 race last November.  You’ll see why in a few days when that post pops up.  A large part too was that I needed shorter runs and training days to help me manage my time better, and to feel successful.

I started 5k training almost immediately after the half marathon.  Nothing like a disappointing performance to light a fire underneath your motivation, right?  So, it’s been about 7 or 8 weeks of focused training of one track, one tempo and one long run per week.  Plus some cross training and lots of yoga.  I’m very pleased with my first test of training!

Race Review

  • Price: Reasonable, purchased on sale during Thanksgiving weekend.
  • Course: Awesome.  West side of river trails.  If race grows too big, could be very crowded.
  • Organization: Not great.  We had that false start and awards seemed to take forever to get started in the cold.  Volunteers were awesome.
  • Post-Race: Awesome.  I wish I’d remembered to use my food and beverage tickets!
  • Would I run again? Yes.

I signed up for this race on either Black Friday or Cyber Monday.  Fleet Feet, the organizers, do a nice discount on one of those big sale days and I took full advantage signing up for this 5k and the Golden Driller half in April.  This particular race had four distances to choose from: 5k, 10k, 25k and 50k.  With my new goal in mind, I selected the 5k.

Packet pickup was a breeze.  I was in and out of the downtown location in less than 4 minutes.  I chose the earliest time on the Friday before the race to go.  It was a simple packet, as to be expected with such a small local race, and included our bib, shirt and four safety pins.

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Contents of the Packet

The morning of race day was pretty low key for me.  I got up, fed Miley, grabbed a banana and headed to Foolish Things for a cup of coffee before the race.  The later start time of 8:30 was awesome for these morning errands.

The start was at River West Festival Park, a recently renovated part of the trail system on the west side (obviously) of the river.  I showed up around 8:20, had no trouble parking and finished my coffee in the car.  The start line was just a quick warmup jog away.

Not much was around, a few tents and the vendors for after the run.  The start line was set up and we had a great view of downtown.  I’m imagine this park to be pretty stunning when all the wildlife isn’t in hibernation!  I’m way excited to get back on these trails in the spring.

I found my spot close to the front of the pack in the corral.  The entire 5k is run on the trail system on the west side.  We had a small glitch at the start where the race director did the countdown but we didn’t actually start when he said go.  This added some time to my app timer but wasn’t a huge upset since the chips didn’t activate yet. We got officially started about 5 minutes late and I got swept up in those front runners.

The 10k group was also running with us, but at our turn around at the pedestrian bridge on 21st street, they continued on.  This race was small and I could see the leaders almost the entire time.  I definitely had my sights set on April (I learned her name later), the lead female.  I felt my leg muscles starting to get the wave of fatigue before the half mile and knew I should back off.  So easy to get swept away in the energy.

The race flew by!  It’s been so long since I’ve run a 5k that it seemed really short!  It wasn’t very hilly and I enjoyed the out and back part of it.  Loved the energy of people running against me after the turn around and cheered as many on as I could in between breaths.

My pacing was decent throughout the race – I prefer negative splits but I feel like I gave it my all without tanking too early.  It’s always nice to feel strong through the entire distance, and also at the end like you might lose your banana and coffee.

I’ve never ever finished so well in a race.  It was a personal best but also, placed well in the field of runners.  Everyone at the finish was so polite and friendly and congratulatory. The first female came up and introduced herself to me, and we congratulated each other on great runs.  I was 90 seconds behind her.  I met a guy named Jim who hung around with me while we waited for age group awards.  He’s familiar with the local racing scene and told me April is one of the best in the state.  A couple other runners came up to talk too and it was nice meeting such friendly people – not sure if it was my breakout time or my flashy pants!

We stood around for what felt like forever waiting for these awards.  My fingers went numb and my brain was so cold I completely forgot about the free beverage and food tickets!  I missed out on some Old School Bagels, Marshalls Beer and a food truck.

I set my sights on 24 minutes today – that’s been the goal of training these past 7 weeks.  I’m surprised by my fast time today, but I’m also not.  I’ve been consistent with the training runs, eating well and consistent with strength training and yoga.  These are the results I should have.  Let’s see if success can fuel the flames as much as disappointment did in November!

 

2016 at a Glance

Normally I would have written this before the first half of the first month of 2016 was gone.  But I didn’t, and that’s part of my thing.  I’m definitely not a perfect blogger.  Or runner. Or eater.  Sometimes I get behind.  Sometimes I skip runs.  Sometimes I eat cookie dough in excess.  But then I always come back to what I know is “right”.

When I talk about being right, I mean right for me.  I love to write and blog and share my stories and make living healthy easy and fun for all of you.  So, to feed that love it would be right for me to write.  But sometimes life is just busy.  And other more important things take front and center.  Finances.  Relationships.  New Business Ventures.  Holidays.  As those things settle down and I reflect, I know I want to have a blog, just for the purpose of sitting down with the intention to tell stories.  It’s not wrong to take a break.  I’m not failing by skipping a run (or two or three).  And I won’t be damned to hell for eating a whole sheet of Tollhouse Cookie Dough.  But I know those things aren’t right for my bigger purpose in life.  So I have to leave them alone sometimes.  And I’m generally very happy to return to my norm.

So here I am, ready to tell you about how I want 2016 to go.

Racing the States

I am still very committed to running a half marathon in every state.  Last year I added New York, Colorado and Minnesota to my map.

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I’d like to get to three more and already have 2 booked in the early spring!

Speedwork

(Spoiler alert).  I never got my half marathon PR (many of you know that because you know me.  But those who just follow along here, that Route 66 story is coming soon).  I would like to continue to work on my speed starting with the 5k distance.  If a half PR comes my way because of it, I’ll certainly take it.  But I’m going to experiment with fast training for 5ks and race one a month to see my time hopefully go down and down.IMG_9474

The first 5k is tomorrow!  I’ll be running in the Go Short, Go Long, Go Very Long series.  Obviously choosing the Go Short 5k distance.  I’m excited to have some time and focus this year on more local Tulsa races since many are still new to me.

Yoga Training

I’m very excited to have invested in an RYT 200 hour yoga teacher training course this year in Tulsa.  We meet one weekend a month for 10 months with a goal of being a Registered Yoga Instructor by the end of it.  I am thrilled to be learning the history, anatomy, proper alignment and breathing techniques of all kinds of yoga for my personal use.  I’m even more excited that I can incorporate it into training packages for clients – another big gun in the arsenal.

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Studio Opening

I’m going to stay fairly hush about this because it deserves its own BIG post.  But 2016 is looking to be a very promising year for owning studio in downtown Tulsa.

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I can’t believe all the excitement and joy that 2016 promises to bring.  When I reflect on the past two years, I see a direct trail leading up to completely enjoying this year.  2014 was my transition out of Austin and really the start of me making some leap-of-faith-decisions that felt right to my heart and the life I wanted to create.  Moving to Tulsa made no sense but it felt so right.  Continuing to work three and four different part time jobs to make room for personal training and stay committed to my true calling of teaching isn’t always easy or comfortable but it’s worth it.  I’m feeling grateful for love and support and guidance from people near and far – let’s make this the best year yet!

 

 

Runner’s World Black Bean Soup

The first recipe in my new installment of recipe testing is a dish I found in an article of Runner’s World.  I’ve written about this soup before but it’s such a hit that I thought it should lead off my new critique series.  Because I’d rather give good critiques than disappointing ones.

This soup is one that I give major credit to for continuing to help me on my journey to appreciating beans.  It’s got great flavor and is wonderful comfort food following these cold miles in the evening.

Scores:

  • Taste: 8 out of 10
  • Ease: 9 out of 10
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Black Bean Soup

You can find the original recipe right here: Runner’s World One Pot Meals 

This is my critique and also spin on the recipe from that article.

Kitchen Utensils 

  • One measuring cup (1/2 c)
  • Measuring spoons
  • One cutting board
  • One knife
  • One grater
  • One can opener
  • One soup pot

Ingredients

  • Kerrygold butter (to coat the pot)
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 chopped chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (this is what will make it spicy, omit if you don’t like that!  Add more if you want clear sinuses)
  • 1 cup (about half a jar) of roasted red peppers, sliced
  • 2 cans of black beans (I used one plain can and one pre-seasoned can)
  • 2 cans of diced tomatoes (I used Rotel tomatoes with green chiles for more spice)
  • 1.5 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 orange for zest
  • Avocado for garnish

Time required

Active time starts when the ingredients are laid out on the counter.  It includes chopping, opening the cans, throwing things away and all activities before simmering the soup.  It’s probably a little longer than yours should take because my can opener broke before I had the last two cans of beans open and I had to get creative with a fork!

  • Active time: 17 minutes 14 seconds
  • Down time cooking: 20 minutes

 

Alright, let’s do this.

  1. Chop the onion.  Then place into the soup pot with melted Kerrygold butter in the bottom.

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    Simple enough.

  2. Cook onion over low, low heat while you chop the chipotle (one of these, more sauce = more heat) and roasted red peppers (one cup of these).  Keep an eye on it so you can stir if things get smoky.

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    This is what the can looks like for the chipotle peppers looks like.  I found it in the Mexican food aisle.

  3. Add the peppers to the onion mix and stir.  This is when you’ll start to get some great smells that foreshadow the fun your tastebuds will have later.IMG_9436
  4. Pour in the 1.5 cups of veggie broth.
  5. Add all cans of beans and tomatoes (try not to break your can opener).
  6. Add 1 tablespoon of cumin.
  7. Stir together and increase heat until the mix starts to simmer.

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    Turn that heat up and let the ingredients blend while you clean up!

  8. Let simmer for 20 minutes while you do the dishes and put leftover ingredients away.
  9. Garnish with orange zest.  I don’t measure this, maybe a teaspoon.  It really compliments the spice though, I wouldn’t leave this ingredient out.
  10. Top with avocado or guacamole and chow down!IMG_9457

I want to hear from you!  What kind of recipes do you want me to test out for you?  What things do you want to know about the recipes I post?  Price?  Clean up time? Leftovers?

 

Tulsa Run 15k

Last Halloween I ran a race that I will tell you about today!  Since moving to Tulsa in August of 2014, I’d heard rave reviews of a strange-to-me distance race – the Tulsa Run.  It’s a 15k or 9.3 mile run through downtown and close by neighborhoods of my current hometown.  It’s Tulsa’s longest running foot race and fits well into the training cycle for the more popular distances of half and full marathons in November.

I made sure this year (now, last year!) to fit it into the race schedule.  All fall I’d been focusing on a tough training regime to help me PR in the half marathon distance in late November.  The 15k distance would be an excellent indicator for how ready I was for the half distance just a few weeks later.

I don’t really get nervous for runs like these because it’s just a fun opportunity to have a bunch of people with me on my long run.  Normally I would have sported a costume but I was in this run to actually race it.  So, no tutus or capes that would add wind resistance BUT I did wear a bright orange top.

My game plan was to just run how I felt.  It wasn’t an intimidating distance since I was prepping for 4 additional miles.   I was a little concerned about the hills I’d been hearing about but I figured I was familiar enough with the streets of Tulsa to know where the big hills would be – Utica area and coming back into town from the river.

It’s been long enough that I don’t really remember the weather that morning.  I think it was chilly to start, especially as we transitioned out of a steamy summer.  But I also remember it was humid.  I use the Nike+ app to track my runs now – no more worrying with a watch (I do miss it, just not in the budget currently).

The run was amazing.  I ran strong and felt like I was moving at a decent pace.  I saw a few familiar faces from YMCA and boot camps around town and it was fun to say hello and cheer on some friends.  We started downtown, in a similar way to how the Route 66 race starts, so I tried to visualize that race too.

The first hill came leading up towards Cherry Street so I didn’t try to push the pace.  Just stay steady.  Especially that early in the run.  And then as each mile passed it was still – just stay steady.  Soon I was on the Peoria out and back and really loved watching the crowd pass as I looked for familiar faces.  Didn’t see many but lots of costumes kept the miles entertaining.  There was an entire troop of Star Wars characters, a Forrest Gump (of course) with a fish on a line! (another runner dressed as a fish).

I periodically checked my pace and was pleased to see that for not much apparent effort I was keeping a fast (for me) pace.  All those treadmill track days paying off!

The last part of the race on the West side of the river was tough.  Not sure if it was because it was the tail end of the race OR knowing that there was a big hilly effort to get back into town.  OR that some humidity had set in and by now it was after 10 am and fairly warm.  My Foolish Things family all came out to cheer me on as I ran by and that gave me a surprising burst of energy.  Enough to push hard to the finish line (also slightly up hill).  I finished strong and had my first ever puke at the finish line.  Thankfully not on anyone, and I’m not sure anyone actually saw me.  I feel like a real racer now ;).

Overall this race totally lived up to its hype.  I can’t wait to do it again and again as long as I live in Tulsa.  It is beautifully organized, a challenging course, well supported and the medal glows in the dark!  If you live in Tulsa, you should definitely add this to your calendar.  And if you don’t, you should consider a special trip, even though it’s not one of the “big” distances.

According to Nike+ app I ran 9.46 miles in 1:16:50 for an average of 8:07.  This set me up for a great half marathon effort in just a few weeks.  I only need to add 4 strong miles to the end of this and I think with the right weather I totally could.

A few weeks later I got a surprise package in the mail for an award.  I wasn’t fast enough to be in an age group for this race (although I hope for one in 2016) but I was fast enough in my weight category for a pretty little trophy.  I’m not sure how I feel about weight group prizes….not sure yet if I think it encourages or categorizes people in an unnecessary way.  What do you think?

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3rd place in my “Filly” weight group.