Saturday, November 22, 2014

Christmas Almond Roll {Favorite Family Recipes Virtual Swap}

This year I am joining the 2nd Favorite Family Recipe Virtual Recipe Swap co-hosted by one of my Fitbloggin' roommates from this past year, Susan of The Foodette.  I love holiday recipes and especially love trying recipes that are holiday traditions for other people.  

I received a lovely holiday family favorite from Susan at Love from the Kitchen.  She said they have this Almond Roll Christmas morning, but it's made with a sweet roll dough so I think it could also be great as a dessert. Her mom and her both customize it different ways-she tops with almonds and her mom tops with red and green candied maraschino cherries. I decided to top with some festive silver and green sprinkles! 

Christmas Almond Roll

  • 1 cup warm milk (110 degrees F)
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup margarine, melted
  • 4 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 can Solo almond filling
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds 

* Any sweet roll dough can be used - or substitute a frozen sweet dough!* Solo almond filling is what makes this dish special. I couldn't find it, so I used this recipe as a substitute, based on Susan's recommendation. 

1. Place ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select dough cycle; press Start. 
(If using a pre-made sweet dough like I did, skip to Step 3! )

2. After the dough has doubled in size turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. 

3. Roll dough into a 16x21-inch rectangle. Spread dough with 1/3 cup butter and then spread the almond filling onto the dough (depending on how much filling you like, use more or less of the can of filling). 

4. Roll up dough and pinch the edge to close.  Place the dough on a lightly greased baking sheet, seam side down and curl into a semi-circle.  Carefully make shallow cuts across the top of the roll, approximately every 2 - 3 inches.

5. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes.   Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly beat the egg and sugar in a small bowl.  Brush with beaten egg mixture and sprinkle with sliced almonds.

6. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 25 minutes. 

Recipe by Susan Zentmyer

I don't have a bread maker so it was even easier for me to use some frozen sweet dough and get this recipe prepped. It would be great to bring to parties or for a big family holiday brunch-it looks decorative and tastes great! The sweet dough plus the filling wasn't as super-sweet as I expected and was really delicious!

Be sure to check out all 12 recipes  from 12 different bloggers linked up from the 2nd Favorite Family Recipe Virtual Recipe Swap on Susan's blog, The Foodette or Doree's blog, Top Notch Mom

Friday, November 21, 2014

Five Friday Favorites featuring my New Fave Nut Butter

I'm back with my Friday Favorites because it's so fun to share things I'm loving lately.  I am so glad it's Friday. This week has been rough for me but thankfully it's gone by semi-quickly.  I'm looking forward to a nice weekend and only a 3-day work week next week followed by Thanksgiving-a.k.a. all the yummy food

Five Friday Favorites

1. Favorite Foodie Find: Trader Joe's Peanut Butter with Flax and Chia seeds


My boyfriend and both agree that this peanut butter I recently found at Trader Joe's rocks. It is crunchy and gets even more texture from the flax & chia seeds. I think the chia seeds help soak up some of the natural oils so even though it's natural and not loaded with crap, I don't have to stir it every time I open the jar. Definitely my new favorite stand-by peanut butter. 

2. Favorite Fitness Accessory: Athleta gym bag

I won this adorable bag from a giveaway on Margo's blog Brooklyn Fit Chick. It's a duffel bag from Athleta (sorry I don't see it on their site anymore!) with such a beautiful floral print. It's the perfect size for me to take a few things and an extra change of clothes to the gym. The only thing it doesn't have is a few pockets, but otherwise I love it. 

3. Favorite Item to Lust after: Excursion Quilted Vest in  Buffalo Check 
photo from J. Crew

I've seen this vest  on multiple blog and Instagram posts and am in love. It screams winter and the holidays to me. I'm lusting after it because there's no way I can afford a $138 vest from J. Crew.  I'm on the look out for look-alikes and may have to snag this red vest on sale at Old Navy for only $25. 

4. Favorite Thanksgiving Appropriate Recipe: Garlic Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes photo from How Sweet Eats


Since my mom already has Thanksgiving taken care of I'm going to make these garlic goat cheese roasted mashed potatoes for dinner next week just because they sound awesome. Mashed potatoes are already great but adding one of my favorite ingredients-goat cheese, probably takes them to a whole other level. I'll report back! 

5. Favorite Holiday Apparel: Christmas cookies baseball tee 
photo from Activate Apparel


I clearly need this shirt from Activate Apparel in my life.  It speaks the truth! I'm ready to welcome the Christmas spirit into my life now that it's almost Thanksgiving and completely acceptable time-wise.  I also can't wait to bake and eat some Christmas cookies. 

Follow me on Pinterest here to always see things I'm loving! 

Linking my favorites up with Heather,Katie, and Clare

Do you have a new Thanksgiving recipe you are trying out next week? What's your favorite brand of peanut butter?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

How to Get Help with Thanksgiving from Whole Foods Markets

In case you were oblivious like I was, Thanksgiving is NEXT week. Yikes!  Fortunately, my mother is an excellent cook and is still hosting a small Thanksgiving at my parents' house this holiday. I always offer to help out but she's a pro and by the time I arrive she has everything planned out and in progress ahead of time.  

Cooking all that food and hosting is definitely a big job though. I always tell my boyfriend that one year if we don't have anywhere to go we are just going out to eat and let
 someone else do the cooking and dreaded cleaning.  Now I'm also putting down a dinner from Whole Foods as an option for that scenario.  

A friend from Whole Foods Harbor East in Baltimore invited me to come check out their Thanksgiving Edition of Tasty Tuesday.   From 5-7 PM they had had tastings set up around the store in every department showcasing their Thanksgiving offerings. I also wanted to mention that when I walked in I saw all the beautiful flowers and arrangements that would make the perfect last-minute host or hostess gift!


Whole Foods offers a large selection of appetizers like cocktail shrimp, antipasto platters, caviar, and my favorite-cheese platters! I got to taste some caviar samples and a delicious oyster, which are great if you're feeling fancy. 


 I also sampled all the cheeses on the Italian Classics Cheese Platter (large RP $29.99, serves 8-10).

Next I had some stuffing and cranberries, the quintessential Thanksgiving sides (32 oz sides RP $11.99-13.99, serves 4). 

awkward Whole Foods selfie with my stuffing sample
Then I had the star of the show- turkey with mashed potatoes and gravy. It was SO yummy. I almost went back for seconds! An oven-ready turkey is $59.99 for a small (serves 6 or more)  which is on the pricier side of turkeys, but it comes ready to cook rubbed with herb butter on a bed of fresh veggies in a disposable roasting pan, ready to uncover and pop in the oven! The price is right if you want that freshly cooked turkey without all of the work. You also have to remember that  all of Whole Foods turkeys have no antibiotics or animal by-products in the feed and are 5 step animal welfare rated.  


I had a sample or three of their delicious pumpkin roll (RP $19.99). I love me some cream cheese frosting, for sure.  I was glad to see Whole Foods offers gluten-free pies, pie shells, and stuffing mixes if you or someone in your family requires that!

How-Whole-Foods-Helps-With-Thanksgiving-Pumpkin Roll

I loved that you could buy plenty of different packages including just the sides,a vegan dinner for two,and dinners for 4 with different meats and sides. A Turkey Dinner for 2 (plus a few)  for a fully cooked boneless turkey breast and sides was only $49.99. That's cheaper than a couple going out to eat on the holiday.  

While Whole Foods is known to some jokingly as Whole Paycheck, I was glad to see that they had many affordable options for people to get some wholesome Thanksgiving food pre-cooked or ready to go.  

It could even be helpful in picking up a few things in addition to making a few so you are not cooking a whole huge dinner yourself. Or you could just pick up something for a Friendsgiving if you aren't too inclined to whip up something in your kitchen. 
Check out your local Whole Foods or go online to order for the holiday and pick-up early next week!

Disclaimer: I was offered a giftcard for taking the time to stop by the event but was not offered compensation for  or obligated to write this post for Whole Foods.  As always all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

2014 Holiday Challenges-Elf 4 Health,Holiday Sweat,& #RWRunStreak

I'm still in shock that it is almost Thanksgiving and that the holiday season is right around the corner. I almost pulled out some Christmas decorations this weekend but thought it might have been too early. Looking at the calendar this morning, I think I was wrong!

With the holidays come lots of parties, travelling, and plenty of distractions. That's what makes it the perfect time to get some support & accountability to keep your healthy habits from falling to the wayside.  I've got 3 awesome holiday challenges to tell you about that you should join me in!

The first challenge is the Elf 4 Health 2014, a really fun, free challenge run by Lindsay of the Lean Green Bean and Elle of  According to Elle.  I've participated in this challenge the past two years and love that it includes daily tasks and challenges in the categories of not only fitness and food but you and others.  You are assigned an elf buddy every 2 weeks that you are supposed to email twice a week with inspiration, recipes, and tips to form a great little support system and get the chance to meet someone new. 

There are two rounds and the diverse daily tasks will challenge you to get organized, pay it forward, or just try a new workout. Check out all the daily challenges below:

There are also daily challenge winners, elf winners for each round, and an overall winner with prizes sponsored by companies like Love Grown Foods, Swanson Health Products, Sweaty Betty, and more!

Sign ups end THIS FRIDAY 11/21 at 11:59 EST so hurry up and get registered here


This free challenge starts Monday November 24 and ends Sunday December 21. 

The second challenge is one I'm doing for the first time this year-the Holiday Sweat Challenge hosted by Amanda of Run to the Finish and Sweat Guru.   This 6-week challenge hopes to help you get a jump start on feeling great and staying on track with your health and fitness goals.  


With the challenge you get three emails a week with recipes, tips, motivation and workouts, and all the content is created for this year's challenge by registered dietitians,running coaches, personal trainers, and physical therapists.  You can check in daily on the Facebook support group and take part in a little friendly competition for people at your same fitness level for the chance to win prizes from companies like Vega and Lorna Jane.

  Don't worry, you can easily earn points just by being active and eating your veggies! 

This challenge starts Monday November 24 and ends Monday January 5.  It only costs $16 for the whole challenge. 

Click here to register for the Holiday Sweat Challenge 2014 before the challenge starts on November 24 and let them know that Lauren S. from Breathe Deeply and Smile sent you! 

(Disclosure: There's a referral contest so I'd love to get mentioned if you register.)

If you are already excited to get started, the Holiday Sweat challenge is hosting a Holiday Sweat Instagram challenge this week before the full challenge starts with prizes from Zico and Once Again Nut Butters.  

Follow me on Instagram here to see how I take part in the challenge!

Details about the Instagram challenge here.

The third challenge I haven't completely made up my mind about yet is the Runner's World Run Streak Winter 2014 (#RWRunStreak). I participated in the Run Streak this past summer and while I didn't recap it on the blog, it did push me to get moving, even if just for 10 minutes a day! There were definitely many late night 1 milers done on the treadmill to keep the streak alive. 

This free challenge sounds simple, run at least one mile per day, every day starting on Thanksgiving (Thursday, November 27) and ending on New Year's Day (Thursday, January 1)

Pushing yourself to run for 36 consecutive days isn't for everyone, but even just running a slow & easy mile a day for 36 days may be the boost you need this holiday season. Use the hashtag #RWRunStreak to check in on social media and get support on the Run Streak Facebook page here
Let me know if you decide to join me in these challenges. For me the best part is talking to other people and supporting each other. Sometimes it's nice to just to have a new friend to ask a question or talk to when the stress levels get high during the holidays!

(This post was linked up in this weekly Fit-Dish.)

Have you ever particpated in a healthy holiday challenge before? How do you stay on track with your health & fitness goals during the holidays? 

Friday, November 14, 2014

A Skoop of Supergreens {and my Aloha Smoothie recipe}

I'm always trying to get more greens & superfoods into my diet, especially after returning from my post-marathon vacation and as the holidays approach. I love green juices, but sadly don't have the money to buy them everyday nor the patience to deal with working and cleaning a juicer. 

That's why I was excited when Skoop contacted me about trying their A Game superfood formula.  I also loved their company's mission about providing real whole foods nutrition and how they give back to the community by providing one fresh serving of fruits and veggies to a student in school for every serving of Skoop sold through Mission Nutrition

I was surprised when an really nice package of Skoop goodies arrived at my door!


What's Skoop?
According to their website, Skoop is a line of powdered, whole-food sourced super nutrition. Their products are all plant based and made with 100% whole foods including fruits, veggies without any GMOs. They include over 5000 phytonutrients to help fight stress & inflammation while boosting metabolism and immune support. Talk about packing a punch. 

The Ingredients
I'm always reading about superfoods and supplements I should be taking but honestly it gets exhausting. I can't take 40 things that are good for me each morning, it just won't happen as I'm running out the door.  I love that A Game has 10 servings of fruits and vegetables, probiotics, fiber, antioxidants, greens, and herbs all in 1 scoop of powder! 

Check out the list of ingredients below: 

The Taste
Skoop recommends mixing 1 scoop of A Game with 8 oz. of your favorite beverage.

On my first try, I mixed 1 scoop with a cup of vanilla almondmilk. I've also begun adding just a few drops of liquid stevia to the almondmilk, since I'm such a sweet tooth! 


It definitely tastes like greens, which if you're not used to drinking green juices may be off putting. However it has a hint of sweetness which I really liked. It doesn't taste like a straight wheatgress shot or anything, don't worry! It mixed in the blender bottle really well with milk and wasn't too gritty, which I find can sometimes happen with plant-based powders. 

I've been enjoying it blended with a frozen banana, almond milk and ice in the mornings or as my favorite new afternoon snack- my Aloha Smoothie. With a couple of particularly cold days lately, I've been loving a little tropical snack to make me forget for a second that it's almost winter. Adding a serving of Skoop packs my tasty smoothie with superfoods!


Aloha Smoothie 
(Serves 1-2) (Time: 5 minutes)

2 cups of baby spinach (or your preferred green)
1 scoop of Skoop A Game
1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
1 medium ripe banana, peeled
1/2 cup almond milk (whatever milk you drink is fine!)
1 cup coconut water
1 tsp vanilla extract 
1 tsp liquid stevia (or your preferred sweetener i.e. honey, sugar)
handful of ice cubes

1. Add all ingredients to a high-powered blender (I used my NutriNinja!) and blend until smooth & creamy. Feel free to adjust based on taste and what you have on hand. It would be great boosted with a scoop of protein powder or chia seeds!
2. Serve immediately & enjoy!


The Skoop Family
Skoop also sent me samples of their other products to try. The B Strong protein powder packs 16g of plant-based protein along with vitamins, minerals, prebiotic fibers, and Omega-3,6,&9 fatty acids all in 1 serving for only 160 calories. It's made with brown rice and pea proteins and tasted great!

 The B Lovely beauty blend powder helps support healthy hair, skin and nails with a blend of seeds, fruits, veggies, Japanese Fleece Flower, resveratrol, ALA, and anthocyanins. These are all good things all packed into 1 little serving for only 20 calories. 

I definitely recommend you check out Skoop if you are looking for some great plant-based products. Having a scoop of A Game gives me a boost of all-natural energy and ensures that I am getting all the phytonutrients and superfoods I need to power through my day and workouts. 

Skoop offered a coupon code for my readers if you want to try out their products for yourself. Just use the code BREATHE10 for 10% off any order on their website

Do you used plant based protein and supplements? What's your favorite way to boost a smoothie? 

Disclosure I was given a package of Skoop A Game to review on my blog. I received no other compensation for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own, as always. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

When You Don't Know What to Do Post-Marathon

Well it's been a month since the big marathon, and time has flown by. After taking a couple weeks off from activity, I've been trying to get into the swing of things-it's hard.  Last year I discussed how to avoid post-race blues and below are some post-marathon tips I've put together this season. I've mostly been good at the post-marathon transition. 

Post-Marathon Tips

When You Don't Know What to Do: Post-Marathon Tips

I'm trying to figure out my race schedule for the winter and spring. I'm definitely including a couple of fun races like the annual Celtic Solstice Race in there before the New Year.  As far as fitness I've been relaxing, going on easy runs, and getting back to trying fun classes like Floyo and spin again.  

After following those tips, here's some things I'm wrestling with in my post-marathon transition: 

1. I'm 99% sure I'll be back to run the Chicago Marathon again. I have a place to stay, the race was fabulous, and if I'm giving it another shot-I KNOW I can get my Boston qualifying time there. 

2. Should I run a spring marathon? Even though this hasn't happened yet (queue penciling in a long run this weekend), I'd like to continue to get some long runs in and stay in  running shape. Should I attempt a full spring marathon? Is it worth it if it's super slow and not a chance to get my qualifying time? Do I want to start training hard again? If I do a spring one, I'm maybe looking at the Yuengling Shamrock marathon. I was so EXCITED and amped up after Chicago and wanted to run a marathon again soon. Now that my marathon buzz has worn off I'm not sure what I really want to do, especially with the holidays quickly approaching. 

3. Winter is coming. Truth.  That also is weighing on my spring marathon decision because running in the crazy cold and snow is no bueno for me.  Times like these, I wish I lived somewhere with an endless summer.  

4. Should I temporarily put my Crossfit membership on hold? Before the summer I was consistently going 2-3 times a week. I just kept it through marathon training to keep my same membership price and barely went, especially combined with all my summer travel. I'm tight on money so I don't really have dollars to waste. 

I love going in and getting a booty-kicking workout in an hour but making the class times can be tough for me, especially since I'm not within walking distance of the box. I highly recommend Crossfit Federal Hill but might have to put my membership on hold until the New Year at the very least.  

5. What are my goals for 2015? I really just need to figure out what I want to do in the spring. A fun racing season? A goal PR? 

6. Is there a way I can get involved in the fitness/health industry? I don't think I want to be a class instructor but some part of me plays with the idea. I'd love to find something more than the blog that lets me share my love of balanced health & fitness. 

How do you transition after a completing a big race or goal? What is your plan for the winter months? 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Turkey Pumpkin Chili

A couple weeks ago I cooked this chili up for dinner after work, and it turned out amazing! I had read a couple recipes that used pumpkin as chili base, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much thicker my chili came out. The pumpkin flavor isn't prominent, so don't worry this won't taste like a pumpkin pie. It's the perfect fall dinner plus was on the table in less than an hour!

I make this on the stovetop, but you could also set this up in your crockpot before you leave for work, cooking on low for 6 hours.   


Turkey Pumpkin Chili 

Serves 4-6


1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 pound of lean ground turkey
 1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz)
1 can pumpkin puree (15 oz.)
1/2 cup of water
2 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tbsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 can black beans (15 oz.), rinsed and drained
ground salt and pepper, to taste
shredded or crumbled cheese for topping (optional)


Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat and cook onion, bell pepper, and garlic until browned. Add turkey and cook until browned.
Add tomatoes, pumpkin, water, chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, until at a boil.  Lower heat until simmering then add beans. 


Cover and cook for 25 minutes. 

Serve with a few spoonfuls of your favorite cheese or other favorite topping.  I used crumbled goat cheese because it's my favorite! 


Let me know if you try this out! What's your favorite chili topping? Do you have a favorite chili recipe? 

(This post was linked up at the Tasty Tuesday linkup and WIAW #198)

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

FloYo at Beachfit Baltimore

This past summer I tried FloYo which is a combination of SUP (stand up paddleboarding) and yoga/pilates for the first time in Annapolis with Jessie Benson, the founder and all-around awesome Baltimore fit lady, so I was excited to try a preview of her FloYoFit class at Beachfit Baltimore last week.  

I have taken a couple of Surfset , spinning, PiYo classes and at Beachfit this past spring before I started marathon training and love the friendly new Harbor East boutique gym with it's small class sizes and motivating instructors.
FloYo is a full body workout that incorporates yoga poses and a vinyasa flow which included warrior poses, sun salutations, and core work.  


Since the weather is quickly getting colder in Maryland, Jessie decided to bring FloYo inside by using the surfset boards , which are small, portable surfboards on top of a bosu ball-like base. It definitely is a core workout no matter what you are doing because you need to try to keep the board stable plus keep yourself from shaking all over the place.  I definitely was feeling the burn in my abs for most of the class!

Me on the left, getting my Downward dog on. (Source)
Just like when I took a FloYo class outside, I was really shaky for the first few flows, but got the hang out it more towards the end. I also noticed I'm a lot more unstable when I'm trying to lift my legs for poses like dancer when I'm balancing on my left leg rather than my right.  

Nevertheless, FloYo was less intimidating when the prospect of falling into water is eliminated!  Taking this class definitely reminded me I that I need to spend more time on my core and stretching.  

As I'm always telling myself, I need to get into a regular yoga practice, le sigh. 

Afterwards we enjoyed some healthy snacks and took home adorable goodie bags.  



If you want to try it out, Beachfit Baltimore is hosting a FloYo launch party THIS Friday 5-7 PM. Jessie will be teaching FloYo on Fridays at 10:30 AM and a spinning/FloYo combo class on Tuedays at 7 PM (both 50 minute classes) at Beachfit Baltimore so check it out. 

Me mid-warrior pose that actually looks more like I'm trying to surf/an idiot. Whoops. 

It's definitely a great way to change up your workout routine as the cold weather moves in! 
Thank you so much to Beachfit Baltimore and Jessie Benson for the great event!

Friday, October 31, 2014

5 Friday Favorites: My Favorite Things About Halloween {via gifs!}

I didn't think I would post today, but I'm in the Halloween spirit so I'm linking up with the Friday Five hosted by Courtney, Cynthia, and Mar.  I got in a chilly 10K run this AM and even spotted a few dogs already in costume-SO cute. 

I'm really excited to dress up as Wonder Woman, my spirit animal tonight and to have a few pumpkin beers, some candy, and have fun!


1.  Dressing up, obviously. I really like getting into dressing up and looking ridiculous in public because it's fun. People get silly and creative and most of it is all in good fun. Minus all the weird, super sexy costumes. I still really can't get over the Sexy Olaf costume

My favorite costumes which I coordinated with my boyfriend from the past few years include Curious George and the Man in the Yellow Hat & The Walking Dead's Rick Grimes and a zombie nurse. 

2. A close second is the candy.  It's literally a holiday where you walk around and get free candy. Amazing. Even if in my mid-twenties and eat a bunch of the candy I bought for trick or treaters before Halloween, I still am snagging a couple Reese's Cups and popping a few more in the freezer for later on Halloween. 


3. Especially candy corn. Even though it's kinda weird and pure sugar, it's addictive. 

Check out the history of candy corn here-I found it very interesting! 

4. Pumpkin everything. I'm not trying to give a basic girl answer and be like OMG PSLs and pumpkin everything (see all basic Fall girl activities here, haha).

 I've been pretty chill about it lately mostly because it's gotten a bit overboard. I just like carving pumpkins, pumpkin spice coffee (check out my recipe here), and It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

5. Hocus Pocus. A Halloween classic. 

What is your favorite part about Halloween? Are you dressing up this year? Do you have a favorite scary movie?

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