Fresh Fig Blondies With Sweet Tahini Drizzle

I have seriously been on a fig kick lately and I’ve been incorporating this fruit in to so many different recipes! I typically buy dried figs, but I found fresh figs at Trader Joe’s and I’m hooked. They are sweet, but not too sweet! I’d say they remind me of dates in a way, which I also love. I’ve been wanting to bake something with figs so here they are–so sweet and delicious blondies! These bars are very addicting and if you aren’t figging crazy about the fruit, I think these bars might change your mind.

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Fresh Fig Blondies With Sweet Tahini Drizzle

Serves: 12 bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of white cannellini beans
  • 1/3 cup applesauce, unsweetened
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup fresh figs, pureed + more for topping
  • 3 Tbsp tahini
  • 1 Tbsp powdered sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper
  2. Drain and rinse the beans well and then add all ingredients excluding the figs to a high speed blender
  3. Blend on high until all ingredients are incorporated
  4. Pour mixture into pan and smooth evenly with a spatula
  5. Add 1/2 cup of fresh figs to the blender and blend until smooth
  6. Swirl with a knife the pureed fig mixture throughout the batter
  7. Top with sliced figs and granola
  8. Bake for 25-28 minutes
  9. Let bars cool and then refrigerate overnight
  10. Mix the tahini + powdered sugar. Add water to thin. Drizzle over top and then slice into 12 bars

Enjoy!

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Fall Trail Mix

The first week of September means time to make some fall inspired recipes. I’m definitely team snack and I have been wanting to make a new homemade trail mix recipe. Hello pumpkin trail mix! This recipe uses fresh pumpkin, fall spices, mixed nuts, raisins, coconut, and plantain chips. The perfect sweet and salty combination in every bite!

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Fall Trail Mix

Servings: Makes 3-4 cups (1/4 cup recommending serving size)

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • ¼ cup cashews
  • 14 cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar
  • 2 Tbsp pumpkin puree
  • ½ tsp each of cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, all spice, paprika, chili powder
  • ¾ cup dried raisins
  • ½ cup crushed plantain chips
  • ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 F.
  2. Combine the coconut oil, sugar, pumpkin and spices in a bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds and whisk to combine.
  3. Pour mixture over the nuts and toss to coat completely.
  4. Pour nut mixture in a single layer on a pan covered in parchment paper.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes and allow to cool completely.
  6. Add in raisins, crushed plantain chips, and coconut.
  7. Store in an airtight container.

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No bake cookie dough protein Bites

You don’t have to worry about getting sick from eating these no bake cookie dough bites! No eggs here, but still tastes like the real deal. I added protein powder to make these more of a snack, but you can easily leave out! You’ve been warned, these bites are addicting! You just can’t have one.

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No Bake Cookie Dough Protein Bites

Makes about 20 bites

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup protein powder (recommend using one with a flavor)
  • 1.5 cups oat flour (ground oats using a food processor)
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup almond milk

Directions:

  1. Combine all dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. In a microwave safe bowl combine all the wet ingredients and microwave for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
  4. Then add the almond milk and chocolate chips.
  5. Use your hands and roll into balls. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  6. Enjoy!

 

Favorite snack roundups to fuel your workouts!

The other day when I was running, I got asked the question “What should you eat before and after a workout?” More importantly, if you’re training for a race or exercising for over 60 minutes at moderate to high intensity, “what should you eat during a workout?”

I’ve rounded up some of my favorite snacks and eats when I’m literally on the move! Find out what works best for YOU! Try out some different snacks to see how your body responds, preferably not on race day!

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A couple things to keep in mind:

* Eat around 30 grams of carbohydrates 60 minutes before your workout.

*If you’re eating a meal, eat 3-4 hours before your workout. Avoid high fat, greasy and spicy foods.

*Post workout fuel– aim for 30 grams of carbohydrates and 15 grams of protein within 30 minutes of finishing your workout.

Pre-workout snack/meal ideas:

* 1 piece of toast with 1 Tbsp peanut butter and 1/2 banana

* 1/2 cup cottage cheese + fresh fruit

* Bagel with cream cheese

* Fresh fruit and cheese

*Hard boiled egg

* Energy bites

* ½-full protein bar (My favorites are RX Bars, Square Organics, Zing Bars, Luna Bars, Lara Bars)

* Greek yogurt with granola or fresh fruit

* Protein smoothie

* Generation UCAN

* Rice cakes with peanut butter

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On the go eats:

* Dates

* Gu Energy Gels

* Clif bloks, Clif shots

* Dried fruit

* Grapes

* Gummy Bears

* Jelly Beans or sports beans (Jelly Belly Extreme)

*Gu Stroopwafel (I have not tried this myself, but my running friends rave about this product!)

Post workout snack ideas:

*Chocolate milk

*Cheese sticks

*Egg and cheese sandwich

*Turkey and avocado wrap

*Cottage cheese and fresh fruit

*Fruit and protein smoothie

*Trail mix and fruit

*Peanut butter toast

*Avocado toast

*Deli meat

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Blueberry & vanilla + Mint chocolate energy bites

If you’re finding yourself on the go and looking for a portable snack–look no further! These energy bites are simple to make that require minimal ingredients and just a few minutes to make! You can easily switch up the flavors here and they give you the perfect burst of energy in every bite!

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Blueberry vanilla bites:

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 10 pitted dates
  • 1/4 cup freeze dried blueberries
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla protein powder
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds

Mint chocolate bites:

  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate almonds
  • 10 pitted dates
  • 1/4 cup mint chocolate chips
  • 2 Tbsp chocolate protein powder
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds

Directions:

  1. Soak the nuts and dates in warm water for 10 minutes.
  2. Add the nuts and dates to a food processor and pulse until combined.
  3. Add your mix-ins and pulse again until evenly distributed.
  4. Roll into balls and top with either shredded coconut, hemp seeds or as is!

“You Don’t Eat Meat??”

Getting asked the question “What do YOU eat” is a common question I get asked from my family, friends, and clients. So I thought, why not share a “day in the life” of what Steph aka Trail Mix for the Sole eats. As many of you know, I follow a vegetarian, plant-based diet and I enjoy telling my meat-loving friends how I meet my protein needs and feel full with my meals with no meat included! So let’s jump right in shall we?

Breakfast:

I’m a huge breakfast fan and typically prefer sweet over savory breakfast options. However, now that I’m upping my mileage for my upcoming marathon I’ve been throwing eggs into the rotation more often. During the week I’m all about prepping the night or a few days before for a quick and easy on the go breakfast to take to work. Right now, smoothies, overnight oats, yogurt and fruit bowls or chia pudding are my favorites. They keep me full until just about lunch time and I pack them with nutritional goodies! I commonly add flaxseed, chia seeds, and hemp seeds to my breakfast for their powerhouse health benefits.

—> Chia seeds: Excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, good source of iron, calcium, and fiber

—> Flax seeds: Another great source of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, lignans, and can help reduce cholesterol. Just remember to consume ground flaxseed in order for your body to reap all the health benefits!

—> Hemp seeds: Great plant-based protein source and rich in healthy fats!

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This Smoothie has been on repeat lately! Blueberry & banana smoothie ( 1 banana, 1/2 cup blueberries, 2 scoops vanilla protein powder, 1 Tbsp chia seeds, 1/2 cup almond milk, nut butter, 1/4 cup riced cauliflower, turmeric and cinnamon)

Yogurt bowl is another favorite of mine! I usually will use Siggi’s, or Trader Joe’s Greek Yogurt, top with a banana + berries, granola, nut butter, and coconut flakes

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Chia pudding I have been growing to love! I add 2 Tbsp chia seeds + 1/2 cup almond milk and mix together until combined. I then add 1-2 scoops protein powder, 1/2 tsp cacao powder and top with fresh fruit and almond butter!

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Trail Mix for the Sole takeaways: Incorporate healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, fruit, and protein to keep you full longer than 1 hour!

Supplements: I also will take supplements/vitamins in the morning, too! I will take a daily probiotic (awesome for good gut health and keeping everything regulated), vitamin D (good for our bones–especially for us gals!), and vitamin B12 (being a vegetarian, I don’t get a lot of B12 in my diet with the exception of nutritional yeast. B12 is important for healthy nerve and blood cells. It can also protect against megaloblastic anemia)

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Lunch:

I’m all about prepping something for the week so that I don’t have to worry about what to prep the night before—especially when my weeks are busy, busy! I’m all about making power-bowls, zoodle bowls, or bringing dinner left-overs. I tend to go a little bit higher on my carbohydrates because that is what helps me fuel my workouts and gives me the best results from an energy standpoint. I’ll tend to pair fresh fruit or cottage cheese with my lunches, too.

Last week, I enjoyed a power bowl made with tri-colored quinoa, grilled sweet potato, roasted broccoli and cauliflower, kale, buffalo seasoned tofu, and a homemade dressing!

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Snacks!

Boy can I tell I’m running more miles because I’m getting hangry more often and my body is needing more snacks during the day! I try to up my calories by 500-600 calories/day when my training is at it’s peak to prevent any injuries, help my body recover and keep up with my training schedule. I’ve been snacking a lot on my own energy bites, protein bars, or trail-mix. I’ve been loving RX bars, Square Organic Bars or Zing bars, too.  A piece of fresh fruit with cottage cheese, or hard boiled eggs are another favorite. When I’m picking my snacks I want something with around 15-20 grams of protein and more simple carbohydrates (easier for my body to break down before a workout).

Pictured below are my homemade blueberry & vanilla hemp seed protein bars! They are hitting the hunger spot.

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Dinner:

My dinners have been all over the place in terms of what I’ve been eating/craving. I typically will make zoodles, buddha bowls, pasta using lentil noodles or stir-fry! Last week, I doctored up some toast because I was too hungry and tired after my run to make much else! Dinner’s don’t have to be complicated or fancy all the time. My protein sources for dinner will be: crispy chickpeas, eggs, tempeh, tofu, soy chorizo, or cottage cheese!

Pictured below is pesto zoodles with vegetarian italian sausage, red peppers, mushrooms and balsamic drizzle. Not pictured is a piece of my homemade sourdough bread!

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Sweet Tooth:

I’ve been having dark chocolate and peanut butter fat bombs (recipe posted in dessert section!), creamy coconut bars from Outshine (so so good if you like coconut!), or a spoonful of nut butter with dark chocolate chips 🙂

As you can see, not all foods I eat are instagram pretty, but I wanted to give you a glimpse of what I eat and how I fuel my body. I do have a sweet tooth so as you can see I satisfy that craving when it strikes. Have questions/comments? Send my way!

-Steph

Festive Fourth of July Fruit and Granola Bites

The heat is officially here and turning on the oven does not sound like the best idea. Well not to worry, I’ve created a simple sweet treat that requires no baking! Plus, you can have these for breakfast, snack, or dessert! Packed with flavor and nutrition, these bites will be a crowd pleasure for sure!

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Festive Fourth of July Fruit and Granola Bites

Makes: 5 granola bites

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of pitted dates, about 10
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 2 Tbsp almond butter
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2-3 Tbsp almond milk

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.
  2. Place ingredients in a muffin tin and place in the freezer for 20-30 minutes
  3. Remove from freezer and spoon a generous helping of chocolate yogurt (I used Siggi’s brand), then sliced strawberries and blueberries
  4. Top with shredded coconut and granola if desired

Enjoy!

Avocado Matcha Ice Cream

I’m always down for an ice cream pick me up, but especially right now that summer is in full swing! Instead of picking up ice cream at the store, I thought I would make my own for once! I added avocado and matcha, which gives this ice cream a bright green color, creamy texture and the right amount of sweetness! You’ll be surprised with how easy and delicious this ice cream is!

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Avocado Matcha Ice Cream

Servings: 3-4, 1/2 cup portions

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 ripe avocados
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 Tbsp matcha powder
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk (from the can)
  • 1/2 cup nut milk
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened coconut
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender
  2. Blend until creamy and smooth
  3. Pour into a freezer safe dish and chill for at least 3 hours (overnight is preferred)
  4. When ready to eat set out for 20 minutes to thaw and then dig in!
  5. Top with sprinkles, unsweetened coconut, cacao nibs etc!

Eating & Exercising While Traveling

I don’t know why, but the summer months are always jam-packed for me! I’m usually training for a fall race, doing more activities outside after work, and just all around busier! Over the past month, I’ve been traveling most weekends for family events or traveling to visit college friends. This is all fun, don’t get me wrong! However, Sunday nights can be a struggle and that Monday is tough! I’ve been asked often how to eat and exercise while traveling or being on vacation. So I thought I would write a post about just that! Now I’m not saying you need to replicate your typically routine at home, but having some sort of game plan based on where you’ll be traveling will make a world of a difference. Let’s not forget that a vacation is so needed! We all need a break, so if that’s a break from exercising or enjoying some foods that you typically don’t have…do it!

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For those of us who will be traveling via airport here are snack ideas to bring with you:

  • Bring an empty water bottle. This will get passed security and you’ll be able to fill up on water for free! This will save you money and avoid the temptation of buying a soda, energy drink, or some other type of sugary beverage.
  • Bars—Bars travel great and can be a good snack option or part of a meal. Some of my favorites include: RX bars, Lara bars, Zing bars, Luna bars, KIND bars, or Square Organics.
  • Homemade energy bites
  • Trail mix: You can make your own mixture or buy your favorite store bought mix! Just remember, portion control with this snack. Nuts and seeds are packed with nutrition in a small amount.
  • Fresh fruit: I’ll usually bring a banana or apple with me and have this with a bar.
  • Popcorn: Easy to pack and you can easily add to your trail mix.
  • Individual packets of peanut butter, almond butter or cashew butter.
  • Bring your own mix-ins for oatmeal or yogurt bowls such as hemp seeds, flax seeds, or chia seeds.

If you don’t mind spending a few dollars on airport food, you can definitely find healthier options! I usually will pick up individualized Greek yogurt cups, oatmeal, cheese and fresh fruit, raw veggies and hummus, hard boiled eggs or a veggie wrap.

Now what about when you’re traveling in the car? The above options totally apply, but if you have a cooler, you can provide yourself and travel buddies with more options! Plus, when you stop at a Gas Station or Fast Food restaurant, you can find some options that won’t steer you off course.

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Some additional ideas:

  • Hummus + raw veggies
  • String cheese or cheese cubes
  • Grapes, berries, peaches (anything in season)
  • Whole grain sandwich with lean meat, veggies, cheese etc.
  • Opt for grilled protein vs crispy or fried
  • Try a salad with lean protein and light dressing
  • Grab fresh fruit or side salad over French fries
  • Opt for broth based soups vs creamy soups
  • Yogurt parfait
  • Beef or vegan jerky

Working On Your Fitness

Now let’s talk about exercising or doing some activity while you’re traveling. I always like to plan ahead and see where I’ll be staying during my time away. Some questions I ask myself are: will my hotel have a gym, can I walk/run outside safely, and are there studio classes nearby that I can try out a class for free? If all of those fail, I will have 1-2 “hotel room” workouts that I can do in my room! One of my favorite bloggers, Julie, from Peanut Butter Fingers has some fantastic workouts with no equipment required!

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My fitness routine is usually less intense than what it is at home. Why? Because I’m away and having a great time! I don’t want to spend hours in the gym when I could be visiting with friends and family that I don’t see often. It’s all about balance. If I get 30 minutes in for a run or a circuit workout, I call that a win! Doing some movement is better than not moving at all. Another tip I have is get other people to join you in your workout! I’m always happy when I have a buddy to sweat it out with. I think the big take home message here is planning ahead! For me, I know that if I want to do a workout this needs to be done first thing when I wake up or it won’t happen. Pick which days you’re able to get a workout in and try to stick to those days. Whatever exercise you can sneak in, I’m sure you’ll feel better, have more energy, and will help you stay within your fitness and nutrition goals while traveling!

I hope you enjoy the summer months of traveling, experiencing new cities, and practicing balance when it comes to your health and fitness.

Favorite Trader Joe’s Finds and Weekly Food Shopping List

For those of you who have been following along my food adventures, you’ve come to realize my favorite food store and happy place—Trader Joe’s! I will forever thank the genius behind this grocery chain because I will usually leave the store with a new food product to try out. Fun fact: Trader Joe’s was originally called Pronto Markets until 1967 and the rest is history! Why do I love Trader Joe’s so much?? First and foremost I appreciate how much they value their products and how they want to give you the best without paying an arm and a leg for it! Another great aspect of TJ’s is that if you try something new and are not 100% sold on it, you can bring it back! No questions asked. Lastly their, vegetarian products and wine selection is one of the best I’ve seen and it helps me stay within my food budget for the month.

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So let’s take a walk through the store and I’ve created a list of food products that you’ll find in my cart almost every trip!

  1. Chocolate covered espresso beans (if you love coffee + chocolate then you need these in your life)
  2. Tofu/Tempeh/Soy Chorizo (I’m telling you TJ’s soy chorizo is life changing and I’ve had meat eaters rave about this meat substitute!)
  3. 3-pack of zucchini (great for making zoodles or adding to my lunch/dinner)
  4. Cruciferous crunch mix (this bag packs a ton of nutrition—composed of kale, shredded brussels and purple cabbage. I add this to my power bowls for the week typically)
  5. Almond cheese and their cheese in general. You can never have too much cheese.
  6. Greek yogurt (Their vanilla bean yogurt to this day is my absolute favorite! Recently, I’ve been seeing some fun flavors like watermelon + cucumber, matcha, and grapefruit + citrus)
  7. Almond milk (Can’t beat this price of $2.99)
  8. Trail mix (Funny that I would like trail mix 😉 I particularly like their omega trex mix)
  9. Seasoning! I cannot find another place that sells spices as inexpensive as Trader Joe’s. I pick up Everything But The Bagel, Cinnamon, Turmeric, Pumpkin pie spice, 21 seasoning, onion mix, chili lime seasoning…to name a few)
  10. Nut Butters. I always grabbing a jar of their natural salty smooth peanut butter, cashew butter or almond butter. 
  11. Farro, quinoa, and pasta (You’ll find these in my lunches, dinners, etc)
  12. Wine! (My two favorite white wines are Honey Moon and Belles Vignes. I Thee Red is my go to red blend.
  13. Frozen section: I will always have a bag of riced cauliflower, tri-colored cauliflower, frozen mango, vegetarian meatballs, frozen veggie medley, and their cauliflower gnocchi.
  14. Plantain chips and crispy ranch flavored chickpeas. Great for snacking during the week!
  15. Non-food items: Plants, cards (only $0.99), body scrub, body butter, lotion, and soap!

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Trail Mix For The Sole Shopping Tips: How To Stay Within Budget

  1. Buy what is in season or buy frozen.
  2. Meal plan for the week! Take some time to decide what you want to make that week and create a list. This will help you stay on track and not put random items in your cart.
  3. Always add color to your cart. Pick up 2 different kind of fruits and 2 different kinds of vegetables that you can add to your meals. This will help prevent boredom and also encourage you to try some new produce.  
  4. Try some of the store brand products (likely cheaper than brand names and taste/work just as well).
  5. Assess your pantry (See what you already have at home and what you can make with it! 
  6. Try to limit prepared foods and make it yourself! You’ll be glad you did and so will your wallet.
  7. Coupons!! Take a peak and see what coupons are out there. Some weeks I don’t find anything, but other weeks I can use 5 coupons a trip. 
  8. Grains: Choose whole grain breads, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, oatmeal, high fiber cereals etc. These will keep well in your pantry, too.
  9. Dairy products: Try Greek yogurt (packs 2x the amount of protein than regular), cottage cheese, and low fat cheeses.
  10. Canned goods: chickpeas, black beans, low sodium canned vegetables, or low sodium soups for those busy nights.