Thursday, August 30

Paddle Boarding is a GREAT Workout + {Healthy Banana Nut Muffins}

I've been trying to get this post up for two weeks now! I participated in my first paddle board race on the Aug. 18 and IT WAS SO FUN! The race had a 6 mile elite race, as well as a 3 mile recreational race. I opted for the 3 mile since I've only paddle boarded a handful of times. I didn't train for the race at all since I decided I was doing it 3 days before the race. Ha! Gotta love being spontaneous!I finished the race in 1 hour and 2 minutes. That's my benchmark now... If I do another race I will have to beat that time.

Seriously though, the weather couldn't have been more perfect that day. Florida has been a very rainy state lately, at least where I live in the panhandle. After weeks of rain nearly every day, it seemed there wasn't a cloud in the sky that Saturday morning. {Blessing}

Just the beginning of my first lap

Post Race... AMPED!
Since I'm training for a half marathon I went for a run each of the following 3 days. On Monday and Tuesday, my back was soooo sore from paddling that I had to ice it (couldn't find my heating pad). It definitely made my runs anything but comfortable, that's for sure. Paddle boarding uses so many muscles in your body, so it's an awesome workout. If you don't have a board, research local places that may rent them and get on the water! Wanna learn more about paddle boarding techniques? Check out SUP Magazine's (Stand Up Paddle Boarding) How to SUP: 4 Steps to Standing Up.
REI also has a great video with Laird Hamilton (pro surfer) about basic paddling techniques. Super helpful!

And now for Healthy Banana Nut Muffins recipe!

Healthy Banana Nut Muffins

Healthy and delicious! These muffins will keep for a few days at room temperature and up to a week in the refrigerator. Pair your muffin with a glass of milk or almond milk and a piece of fruit for a complete breakfast.

TOMORROW IS FRIDAY! As you can tell, I'm very excited. It's been a chaotic week it seems, so I'm ready for this three-day weekend ahead. Anyone have any fun plans for the holiday weekend?

Be Strong. Be Healthy. Be Balanced. 

- Lauren 

Wednesday, August 29

Homemade Healthy Breakfast Bars

As some of you know, I live in the panhandle of Florida. Since Hurricane Isaac decided to swing this direction, originally pointing right for the panhandle, I was busy this weekend preparing. Preparations included completely emptying the yard of any potential projectiles, making an evacuation plan (just in case), bathing the dogs (stinky dogs on a road trip... NOT fun), mowing the weeds in my yard (Yes, they're weeds because my landlord neglected to get the sprinklers fixed for 3 months... in Florida heat) and braving Walmart for water.

I was praying Isaac would just kick up a little more wind yesterday or today so I could have a hurricane party and work from home, but I couldn't be so lucky. I am, however, very thankful that Isaac did not impact our area more. Of course, my heart is heavy for all of those in areas badly affected by Isaac's wrath.

On to a happier subject... FOOD!

Do you ever look in your pantry or fridge and get the urge to see what delicious meal or snack you can come up with? I had one of those moments last night. It started like this...

I had just had a conversation with a friend of mine and she was talking about making her own breakfast bars. I have always wanted to make my own healthy breakfast bars because I hate all the unnecessary crap they put in most of them. The ones that are good for you are pricy, and I only keep them around for last minute breakfasts or snacks. Well I researched a bit and didn't find a recipe that I really liked. Plus, I really wanted to use up some of my almost empty bags from the pantry. I got really brave and made my own recipe. :)

They look more like cookies, but much healthier. :)

Healthy Breakfast Bars ---{a.k.a. Pantry Breakfast Bars :)}
makes 24

3 cups oats
1 1/2 cups natural peanut butter or almond butter (no sugar added)
3/4 dark brown agave
3/4 unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup chopped almonds
1 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup dried plums
4 tablespoons ground flax seed
2 tablespoons unflavored fiber powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift together all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and set aside. In a saucepan, stir together peanut or almond butter with the agave over medium heat until melted. Remove from heat and pour into mixing bowl to combine with dry ingredients. Stir or knead until all the oats are moistened and nice and sticky. :)

Shape a heaping tablespoon of mixture into a cookie shape (they won't rise or flatten in the over) and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Another option is to spread the mixture evenly in a 9x13 cake pan. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Let cool completely before storing or cutting. Enjoy!

**Bars will keep for roughly one week in the fridge or at room temperature and up to one month in the freezer. Tip: Wrap the extras individually in plastic wrap. Take one out before bed and place at room temperature. Your breakfast will be ready to go by morning.

Nutrition info:
Calories: 311    Fat: 18g    Carbs: 31g   Sugars: 13g    Protein: 8g    Fiber: 5.5g

Keep in mind that although the fat content and calorie content is high, the fat is all coming from good sources. That's not to say you still shouldn't be mindful of how much fat you're putting in your body. This is my first time calculating nutrition information so I'm super excited to be able to offer this important info with my recipe. Of course, it's an estimate depending on how big your bars or cookies are. These bars are great for breakfast (and snacks) and they definitely kept me full today. Pair one bar or cookie with a glass of milk or almond milk. Yum!

The wonderful thing about this recipe is that you could literally add anything and subtract anything from the recipe. They're called Pantry Breakfast Bars for a reason. ;) The important thing is the ratio between your wet ingredients and your dry. Too much dry and they won't stick together. Test yourself! Use up some of those almost empty bags in your pantry and make your own version by substituting your ingredients. I'd love to hear how it goes, so please make a comment on this blog or on my Facebook page! Pictures always welcome. :)

I hope everyone has a great Friday-eve. I can't wait for the weekend... ALREADY!

Be Strong. Be Healthy. Be Balanced.

- Lauren

Monday, August 20

Birthday Recap + Cold-EEZE featured me & my blog!

The past two months have been a complete whirlwind so here's a little recap! I don't know where the time has gone, but that's kind of good because my husband is deployed, so the faster the time goes by the better. I started a new job in July that has been awesome and definitely keeps me busy. I'm so excited to gain more knowledge to be able to take with me wherever life may lead.

My birthday was July 11 and it was fabulous! My family and friends really stepped up to make it special, since my hubby couldn't be here for it. Thanks to my sister, brother-in-law, niece and my best friend, Alaina (and her hubby), I'm now registered for my first 1/2 marathon in October. Yippee!! It's a trail half, so it's definitely going to take a little extra training. Official 1/2 training has begun. I've decided to use Hal Higdon's Intermediate plan because I wanted the option to be able to strength train, as well as run. My sister is doing the half with me, so it's been nice having a running partner at least a couple days a week. Here are a few of the awesome birthday goodies I got from my family and friends. They spoiled me for sure!

Brownies that say We <3 Lauren. SO SWEET!
Headband from Athleta
Coffee Cozy :)
Adorable gold clutch!
Wine. Obviously an essential by the look on my face. ;)
My family sure knows I love bright colors!
Essentials for long runs. Oh, and that sticker WILL be on my truck come end of October. :)

My special birthday wine glass! I love it!
The beautiful ladies that helped make my b-day special!
By besties, Katie and Alaina
Thank you everyone! I had a great birthday. (P.S. I need a good picture collage website. Anyone use any they like?)

Cold-EEZE Feature

Cold-EEZE featured me as their fan spotlight last month and they included info about my blog too. Way to throw a girl a bone Cold-EEZE! :) I'm very excited they chose me and it's a great blog feature. Thanks, Cold-EEZE!

Yesterday I made my deliciously healthy Banana Nut Muffins, but I forgot the recipe at home today to include in this blog. Dang it! Recipe coming soon for sure!

{PLUS} I raced in a paddle board race on Saturday and I AM HOOKED. Pictures coming soon!

Be Strong. Be Healthy. Be Balanced.


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