Fall Flavor: No Rules or Recipes, Just Ingredients

After some recent Instagram posts, I have had some requests for recipes. I must admit…I don’t use any. I create as I go and hope for the best. In the fall, I want lots of flavor and I crave many different cozy and comfy foods all at once. Keeping a stocked fridge, pantry, and spice cabinet helps me whip up yummy meals on the fly. Here are a few of my staples for fall that keep dinners rolling and me full. I am sharing some of my favorite fall dishes, with no recipes but I will include the ingredients. Any of these dishes can use ingredient swaps to make them more family friendly for your dining crew.

Pumpkin Pasta 

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pumpkin pasta

Nothing scary here, these guys are a super food. Instead of your normal tomato sauce, try swapping pure pumpkin into your next pasta dish. It doesn’t need a lot with it. Some garlic, salt, pepper, and maybe a little butter will be just enough. Mix with cooked pasta and you have a whole new meal full of fall flavor.

Dijon Chicken

Instead of a marinade that takes time to make, try slathering  dijon mustard to both sides of a chicken breast before baking or tossing in the skillet. Works well on Salmon too. Only 5 calories per tsp!

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Stuffed Avocado

I love to get these from a cafe down the street from my house. But I had an idea to make them at home the other night. Scoop out the avocado. Mix the scooped out avocado with cooked lentils, and some tomato sauce or tomato puree’. Refill the avocado cup, top with a little bit of cheese and place under the broiler until gooey and golden.

Chicken Sausage Skillet

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This dish is credited to my foodie friend Jen who made these delicious sausages for me a few months ago. They were so good, I have been buying them at Trader Joe’s ever since and whipping up my own version. This sweet and savory skillet is fool proof. Anything goes. Onions, potatoes, garlic, chicken sausage, and a bag of frozen Brussels Sprouts won out this week. Each link is 120 calories!

Check out Instagram @thefitpetite for what we are eating and cooking. Let us know if you make any of these recipes this fall. #nomnomnom

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Fall Favorites: From the Track to the Table

It is the start of fall. Which means the start of school, the start of football, and the start of a new 12 week training program for me. With the start of a new year (school year) upon us, I can’t help but make a fall favorites list. There are so many things happening in my little world. I think it is important to surround yourself with things and people that make you feel happy and inspired this season. This fall is packed with races and the first one kicks off this weekend on a girls trip to Annapolis Maryland. A 10k will seem effortless with cooler conditions predicted on the 10 day forecast. It is a good thing too, because the run will come on Saturday morning, one day after a night out with the ladies!!! #cheers #galsnight #runforfun This leads me to my first fall favorite this season.

1. Spend Time In Happy Circles~Find friends and family that share your passion, vision, or hobby. Enjoy long runs with your running buddies, a good fall cocktail with a gal pal, or a dinner out to experience the new fall flavors.

2. Fall Flavor~Notice the new colors and smells in your supermarket produce section or farmer’s market. CSA’s and shopping carts are beginning to get filled with apples, pumpkins, and potatoes. Experiment with some new recipes and jazz up an ordinary weekend breakfast with more color.

3. Colors in the Couture~Fall fashion may be my favorite of all the seasons. It is the season of denim, layers, scarves, and no rules! The soft dressing trend is in full effect from the track to the table. Hit up TJ Maxx, Target, and the Made Too Much section of lululemon for some steals and splurges to spice up your wardrobe.

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4. Get Spicy~Add cinnamon to everything! With so many good benefits such as cancer prevention, helps to soothe pain from arthritis, serves as an anti-bacterial, and even PMS, you can toss it in everything from smoothies, to coffee, and even yogurt.

5. Race~With temps cooling down, this is the perfect time to pick up a new habit or to kick up your training without the thought of the blistering summer heat sucking the life out of you. Register for a fall race in your local area and commit to an 8 or 12 week training program. You can accomplish #1 and #5 on my list by training with your friends in an organized training group.

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Related Links:

J&A Harbor Lights Training Team

Fall Race Calendar

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Fitness Fashion Friday: Headbands of Hope

I love to wear my workout clothes and I am so thankful I am able to rock yoga pants and tank tops for my daily work attire. I am all about this laid back, soft dressing trend.  Being in comfy clothes does leave me searching for fun gym appropriate accessories to jazz up my look. On any given day you can find me rocking a headband during a long run. I have an entire basket full of them. Sequins, glitter, tribal, and even motivational quoted bands fill my collection.

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Recently I came across a company that not only makes the cutest headbands I have ever seen, but donates them to a wonderful cause. Headbands of Hope, founded by Jess Ekstrom provides headbands to childhood cancer patients. Jess came up with the business idea after a 2011 internship opportunity that granted wishes for children. This is when her mission and her passion became a reality. She realized how much young girls loved wearing headbands after loosing their hair during chemotherapy. During her junior year of college, she founded Headbands of Hope and began changing the lives of young girls fighting cancer across the country. Headbands of Hope was launched in April 2012 and since then they have donated over 20,000 headbands. On their website you can learn more about the humble owner who reminds her customers she doesn’t have a business degree, but she does have an idea with a passion behind it. For that we are proud to stand behind her and support Headbands of Hope.

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For every headband purchased, one is donated to a girl with cancer and $1 is donated to fund research for a childhood cancer organization of your choice.

Have fun browsing and shopping the website and find your own headband style.

SWEAT HOPE 5k~ Presented by Headbands of Hope

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September 27, 2014 @ 9:00 am

WakeMed Soccer Park, Cary NC

If you can’t make it to Cary, don’t worry you can register and run from wherever you are. A race packet complete with a headband will be shipped directly to you. Of course a headband will be donated to a cancer patient as well.

Want to win a Headband of Hope for yourself? Be sure to share this blog post on your Facebook wall. Leave us a comment on our Facebook wall letting us know you have shared it. Be sure to like Headbands of Hope on Facebook.

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Cleavage and Calories, Both in Moderation

Think of eating just like you may think about fashion. It’s a kind of negotiation right? For example, you wouldn’t show off your legs with a high cut skirt AND show off your cleavage with a low cut top at the same time right? OVERKILL!!!
You should have the same mentality when it comes to eating.  Don’t pile up multiple poor food choices in one sitting.

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Instead of a burger and fries, try swapping out the burger and bun for a salad w protein. If you need to splurge, order a side of fries for the table to share. By making these easy swaps, you lighten up the calorie load. You probably only want to eat a few of them anyway. Remember to always drink plenty of water with every meal and throughout the day. Small changes like this in your eating habits can lead to bigger results.

My Real Life Example:

Earlier this month I was at an outdoor concert where I met up with family. Due to a time crunch, we opted to eat dinner at the concert venue. I was a little concerned about finding something I could…or rather something I should eat.  Replaying the 5 mile sand run I had completed earlier that day, I chalked the experience up to a splurge day. As I began to look around, I was pleasantly surprised to see several of our cities top rated food trucks serving up fresh made options at the show. Knowing that I needed protein,  I headed for the Malbons BBQ truck. Lettuce wraps were on the menu, woohoo. Pulled chicken in a lettuce wrap won out over the sandwich. I don’t regularly enjoy BBQ as part of my every day diet, but when faced with an eating challenge, the lettuce wrap won out over pizza, a fried fish sandwich, and some other greasy options available at the concert venue.  I did splurge on a basket of home made loaded potato chips (OMG~DELISH) to share for the table. This is a realistic example of all things in moderation.  Portion control is more sustainable than deprivation. Cutting things out completely will leave you wanting those forbidden foods more.

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Next time you are faced with limited eating options, get creative and consider making a swap.

~Sandwiches can always be eaten off of the bun

~Order grilled proteins instead of fried

~Drink lots of water all throughout the day, not just at meals

~Ask for substitutions that fit your dietary needs

Take the guess work out of it. Many local restaurants offer a lighter fare menu or Jim White Approved menu items.  See the full list of restaurant partners HERE

Look for this logo when dining

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Check out this event from our friends at JWF

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For a full list of local health/fitness events check our CALENDAR

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I Love Running, But I Hate Math: Rule #2 Keep Running Fun

Rules for Running

1. Decide what the goal is. Once you know why, who, and what you are running for you can relax and enjoy it!!!

2. The most important rule, HAVE FUN! If it isn’t fun…STOP doing it or switch it up!

RACE PACE~GOAL PACE~INTERVALS~REPEATS…ahhhhh

I have never been good at math and I certainly don’t want to do it while I’m running. Counting seconds, measuring splits, subtracting time from the week before and calculations can easily become part of your weekly running routine. All this number talk is making my head spin! No wonder people are afraid to step into this sport! All my life I thought it was as simple as lacing up my sneakers and getting my body to move.

GUESS WHAT…IT IS!!!

  I train hard for 2-3 races per year. Pushing myself to my fitness limits is something I truly enjoy doing, but it isn’t for everyone. I often wonder, “What am I physically capable of?” When I break through my own personal limits, there is nothing better. During those training cycles, there is usually a plan stuck to the front of my refrigerator and my calendar is consumed with meet ups, workouts, and nutrition information.

This summer, I have not been training…but I am still running. I have been leaving the watch at home and I worry less with my time. I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about hitting that 800M right at pace. Running is always fun for me and it is the one thing I have done the longest in my life.  When I am not focused on an intense training schedule, I run with more leisure. Long conversations about love, life, and careers through the trails and down the boardwalk with friends is something I truly treasure.

It keeps my love for running growing and I can appreciate the few times each year I buckle down and take care of business.

“I’d settle for a slow down” ~Dierks Bentley

Over 20+ years of running and the goal has rarely been about the time on the clock for me, but more about doing something I truly enjoy. It’s the memories of running with my dad and now memories shared with friends. I still get tickled when I finish near the top of the pack and take home an age group award metal, but this is just a by product of doing something that I love. More than the metals, I am amazed and fascinated with myself and marveled by what my body is actually capable of.

A trail run for 13 miles~A run through the sand and mud pits~An ocean swim sandwiched between two speedy runs at the beach

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Seriously!!!  I can comfortably travel double digits without the use of a motorized vehicle and enjoy it?!?! Who cares how long that took, that’s a goal right there.

Lately I have taken on a couple new fitness clients. Both very different in thier fitness journey, but both wanting to move more using their own two legs. One is attempting his first half marathon after being off the fitness wagon.

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Zack Miller, King of Hatch becomes King of the Norfolk streets as he trains for his first 1/2 marathon ! #StartZack

Another is looking to build more cardio strength, gain a little more quickness, and run a 5k comfortably.

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Krista White of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios demonstrates what it is like to be #reallytrulyfit

To them I say BRAVO! They don’t need a coach. They learned to run when they were babies. What they need is someone to encourage them, someone to hold them accountable, and someone to push them to limits they may have never considered possible. The focus here and for many should be on moving and their choice to push themselves all while keeping rule #2 at the forefront. Take the pressure of time off the table and make a new goal to get out and get moving regularly. Get out and have fun!

***Be sure to share this post with a running buddy and remind them about rule #2***

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