Recipe: No-Bake Mocha Energy Bars

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I think we can all agree that snacks are pretty awesome.

That quick energy boost is a must, whether you’re deep in race training, pushing through the mid-afternoon slump of a work/school day or chasing after a toddler with a battery that just keeps going and going…and going.

But, alas, very few snacks lie at the intersection of “treat yo’self” and “treat your body well,” which is why I’m really excited to share this recipe for my No-Bake Mocha Energy Bars.

You guys: If fudge and a brownie had a baby, it’d taste just like this – but the best part is that they’re made with just a handful of whole-food ingredients.

Not only did they pass the husband-taste-test with flying colors, but they’re also loaded with protein, fiber, natural sugar and all kinds of vitamins and nutrients. So get your snack on!

No-Bake Mocha Energy Bars

Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 c almonds
  • 1 c walnuts
  • 2 c Bard Valley Natural Delights Medjool dates
  • Near-boiling water (to soak dates)
  • 1/4 c warm water
  • 3/4 c cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp instant coffee
  • 1/4 c brown rice syrup (or honey)
  • 1/4 c almond butter
  • 1 1/2 c rolled oats
  • 1/2 c sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 c pumpkin seeds

Directions: 

  1. Pre-soak dates in hot water for 10-15 minutes, then drain.
  2. Process almonds & walnuts in food processor until they’ve reached a mealy consistency. Place into a medium bowl & set aside.
  3. Process soaked dates and warm water in food processor, adding in cocoa, vanilla and coffee until well blended.
  4. Continue processing date mixture, adding in brown rice syrup, almond butter and the nut meal from step 2.
  5. Transfer ooey-gooey goodness into a medium bowl, and add in oats and seeds. Stir to combine.
  6. Press into a 9×9 pan lined with parchment paper, and freeze for 30 minutes to harden.
  7. Lift bars from pan and chop into smaller pieces. Store in an airtight container in the freezer to keep from getting too sticky at room temp.
  8. When ready to eat, enjoy straight from the freezer!

Let me know if you try these; I’d love to hear your thoughts!

How I Run: Portland Women’s Run Club’s Kara Shierly

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In honor of our inaugural Portland Women’s Run Club season, I’ll be introducing our new team members via this interview series throughout the next few months. Get to know these impressive ladies, and come join us for FREE workouts Monday nights from 6:30-7:30 pm in Portland!

Last, but certainly not least, meet Kara Shierly. Kara’s another one of our fabulous new run captains for the 2017 season, and we’re thrilled to have her at the helm of the team.

After completing her first marathon earlier this year – at the happiest place on Earth, no less – she’s admits she’s hooked. So be sure to hit her up for tips, whether you’re looking for tips on training as a newbie or balancing high mileage with a busy career.

We love Kara not just because she rewards us with booze at workouts (Cinco de Juno margaritas, anyone?), but also because she’s into a whole lot of cool stuff – from rock climbing and knitting (not at the same time, of course) to gardening, boating and HGTV-inspired DIY projects.

It’s people like Kara with adventurous spirits and can-do attitudes that get me fired up to get out there and try something new…and I hope you’ll be equally inspired!

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1. What’s your favorite route? Anything next to water. Here in Portland it is the loop next to the river over the bridges.

2. What shoes do you wear? Asics have been my go-to for a while.

3. What other gear can’t you live without? A good pair of head phones. It is the worst when my ear bud falls out every five seconds!

4. What’s your best time-saver or “runhack?” I don’t have one. I hate being rushed; it’s my relaxing time.

5. What running-related thing are you better at than anyone else? I love mapping routes. I will look at dozens of combinations of roads to come up with one loop. And then I need at least one for every distance.

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6. What do you listen to while running? Mostly upbeat music. On really long runs I will listen to ted talks to give me something new to thing about.

7. What are you currently training for? I am looking to do a half in the fall, but right now there is nothing scheduled for me.

8. What are your recovery & sleep routines like? After a really long run is the only time I let myself have chocolate milk. I look forward to it the entire time!

9. What’s the best running advice you’ve ever received? “This is your run.” We run for us, and that is what matters.

10. What’s your favorite running-related memory? I don’t have a specific one, but I love the races and the training with my friends. It always leads to more fun with friends.

11. Fill in the blank: I’d love to go on a run with __________. My sister-in-law. She lives on the East coast, but running together is what we bonded over when we first met. I miss that.

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Thanks, Kara! We’re psyched to have you as part of our team leadership this year and look forward to more seasons of making memories together.

Friends, if you’re interested in being featured here (all levels & abilities welcome), please drop me a line at info(at)kineticfix(dot)com.

Recipe: Blueberry Pie Protein Smoothie

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When we moved into our house in the ‘burbs almost a year ago, one of the biggest draws was having a backyard — a little breathing room after years of city living.

While we miss the convenience, good restaurants, nearby friends and other perks of city living, our backyard has been a constant source of pleasure, relaxation and…unexpected surprises.

Like when I realized about a month ago that the large cluster of bushes in one corner happened to be blueberry bushes, just bursting with purple berries.

Needless to say, we’re up to our eyeballs in berries — whether freshly-picked and eaten or baked into pies, folded into pancakes and blended into smoothies, such as the one below.

This one’s been a recent favorite in rotation and is perfect as a quick mid-morning snack with protein, antioxidants and nutrients (plus enough staying power) to help you in that final push to lunch!

Blueberry Pie Protein Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 scoop of your favorite vanilla protein powder
  • 1 Tbsp Bard Valley Natural Delights Medjool date paste (directions here)
  • 1/4 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 tsp wheat germ
  • 1 Tbsp cashew butter
  • Graham crackers (optional)
  • Lemon zest (optional)

Directions:

  1. Measure ingredients into blender (or large cup for an immersion blender)
  2. Blend on high until smoothie is your preferred consistency
  3. Top with graham crackers and and pinch of lemon zest…enjoy!

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I’m taking suggestions for more blueberry recipes, if you’ve got a favorite to share! 

How I Run: Portland Women’s Run Club’s Angie Farnand

My Family

In honor of our inaugural Portland Women’s Run Club season, I’ll be introducing our new team members via this interview series throughout the next few months. Get to know these impressive ladies, and come join us for FREE workouts Monday nights from 6:30-7:30 pm in Portland!

Next up is Angie Farnand, one of our new run captains this year. She rocked workouts last year as a community member, so we were thrilled to welcome her as a leader for the 2017 season.

But PWRC captain is only one of this woman’s many titles! Angie is an example of #momgoals; she holds down a full-time job and is a busy wife and mom to two kiddos (although you’d never know it trying to keep up with her at the track…actually maybe keeping up with them is her secret to staying so fit?).

What I love about Angie is not only how she sets an active example for her little ones (she recently crushed the Portland Marathon), but that her positive attitude is infectious, whether she’s recruiting friends to join us for workouts, making the team look legit in our official gear or wearing a smile as we run in the rain (fun fact: one of her favorite things).

So, without further ado, let’s get to know Angie a bit better…

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1. What’s your favorite route? I love to step out my front door and get my run started! I live in Tualatin and feel grateful for the nice trails and neighborhoods available to me. I frequent the trail along the Tualatin River most often. Most of my runs take place at work so you are likely to find me on Nike’s Hollister Trail or the Tualatin Hills Nature Center trails.

2. What shoes do you wear? Today I wear Nike Fitsole Lite Run 3’s. I am not a “brand loyal” runner; I like to switch it up!

3. What other gear can’t you live without? I always wear my hip pouch…it’s great for my phone, key, chap stick, etc.!

4. What’s your best time-saver or “runhack?” Plan ahead; I always pack my gym bag at night!

5. What running-related thing are you better at than anyone else? I would say that I am very committed to my training schedule….sometimes to a fault 🙂

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6. What do you listen to while running? Pandora; I like the variety!

7. What are you currently training for? Nothing on the books…yet…

8. What are your recovery & sleep routines like? LOTS of rest and TONS of water; can’t get enough of either! Stretching is a big one for me, as well.

9. What’s the best workout/walking/running advice you’ve ever received? “Running is just putting one foot in front of the other”….quite simple, but how true.

10. What’s your favorite walking/workout/running-related memory? Crossing the finish line of the Portland Marathon! Super cool opportunity!

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11. Fill in the blank: I’d love to go on a walk/run with _______. Any of my running buddies! This is when I get to catch up with my friends!

Thanks, Angie! We’re excited to have you on the team, and can’t wait to be along for the ride as you set (and conquer!) more of those running goals. 

Friends, if you’re interested in being featured here (all levels & abilities welcome), please drop me a line at info(at)kineticfix(dot)com.

StitchFix Shipment No. 14 Review

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After keeping two tops from spring’s StitchFix no. 13 (read about it here), I put some thought into requests for summer items this time around.

It makes sense that the more specific direction you can provide stylists, the better your fix. So instead of winging it and putting in a general request for my usual “trend-driven twists on classic items,” I asked for skinny jeans and tops (not polyester!) for my new start-up gig.

New to StitchFix? Read all about how it works here

Now let’s take a peek at what showed up in this month’s box…

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First up was the Skies are Blue Maple Two Pocket Top ($58). Whether it’s worn with jeans or shorts, there’s no denying that shirt is both comfortable and versatile.

The gauze-y fabric makes this top perfect for summer, plus there’s a small split back detail for a special modern twist on a timeless piece.

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Next was the Street Level Juno Small Folded Clutch ($38). Normally I fall into the “bigger is better” camp when it comes to purses (especially now that I’m mom-ing so hard), but this one gets bonus points for being hands-free.

Add in a removable gold chain strap and the fact that it can be dressed up or down, and this purse delivers on the bang-for-your-buck factor, too.

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Third was the Just Black Adorra Skinny Jean ($88). I had specifically requested these because I wanted to update my current denim options.

I’ve got plenty of boot-cut and boyfriend jeans, but was hoping my stylist could send a version that would work with breezy tops in summer and transition to tall boots in fall.

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After that was the Tart Kaylie French Terry Blazer ($128). My stylist sent this because she wanted to add a fun pop of color to my wardrobe.

She also said likes the “lightweight but luxe” material, which in momspeak means easy wear and easy care on days when I have a work meeting and need to up my professional game.

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And last but not least was the 41Hawthorn Kassidy Faux Wrap Dress ($58). While I love the silhouette of wrap dresses, I often have trouble with gapping at the neckline.

But this one’s a faux wrap, which makes it “effortlessly stylish” (according to my stylist), plus who doesn’t love a preppy polka dot?!

So what did I end up keeping?

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Everything.

Although I was wavering on the price of the blazer, I saved almost $100 with the 25 percent discount when you buy all five items. I know I’ll get a lot of use out of these basics; in fact, I’m planning on wearing the dress to an upcoming event and the blazer will be making an appearance at an upcoming meeting with potential investors.

My next fix is scheduled for fall. Until then, I’ll be working on compiling another list to help steer my stylist in the right direction (again)!

Want to try StitchFix? Use my referral link to fill out your style profile and get started.

Disclosure: This is *not* a sponsored post; I pay for StitchFix on my own, and since I love the service, it’s fun to share my experience. If you sign up using my referral link, I’ll get a credit…so thanks in advance for fueling the next fix! 

How I Walk: Portland Women’s Run Club’s Margaret Hill

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In honor of our inaugural Portland Women’s Run Club season, I’ll be introducing our new team members via this interview series throughout the next few months. Get to know these impressive ladies, and come join us for FREE workouts Monday nights from 6:30-7:30 pm in Portland!

Next up is Margaret Hill, one of our most active former community members — literally; I dare you to keep up with this woman! — who is now leading the charge as a walk captain for our 2017 team.

Not only does Margaret put us all to shame when it comes to consistency with workouts (seriously; she’s been known to show up in full business attire – including pearls! – in order to make it to practice), but she also raises the bar when it comes to supporting others and giving back to the community.

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On any given day, you can find Margaret volunteering with a number of local organizations, participating in regular half marathons, cheering on athletes at races, getting out on the town for fundraising events or immersing herself in the Portland music scene.

She truly embodies the motto of our fellow workout group, November Project PDX (of which she’s also a member), and not only “just shows up” but also brings her A game every time!

1. What’s your favorite route? Anywhere with trees and water.

2. What shoes do you wear? Currently, Brooks Ghost 9

3. What other gear can’t you live without? My phone and RoadID bracelet.

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4. What’s your best time-saver or “walkhack?” For early mornings, I sleep in what I intend to wear; for post-work, I try to incorporate what I intend to wear with my work attire. It leads to some creative wardrobe choices.

5. What walking-related thing are you better at than anyone else? I have mad cowbell skills.

6. What do you listen to while walking? My brain and what’s going on in the world around me.

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7. What are you currently training for? Portland to Coast Relay

8. What are your recovery & sleep routines like? I love post-race massages and stretching, and tend to take a nap after races.

9. What’s the best workout advice you’ve ever received? Just show up!

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10. What’s your favorite walking-related memory? Tough to choose, but I’m going with van adventures during Portland to Coast 2015 with Team Eye Rock.

11. Fill in the blank: I’d love to go on a walk/run with __________. My friend Melanie with whom I did my first half marathon.

12. Anything else you want to add? I love doing good and free outdoor group fitness.

Thanks, Margaret! You show us all every single day what it means to really lead by example, and we’re so thankful to have you as part of the team. 

Friends, if you’re interested in being featured here (all levels & abilities welcome), please drop me a line at info(at)kineticfix(dot)com.

Recipe: Orange Dreamsicle Protein Smoothie

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Maybe it’s just my Midwestern roots, but the taste of an Orange Julius always brings back fond memories of trips to the mall with my mom.

The only problem? Now that I’m grown up and we’re all better informed about eating healthy, the drink’s nutrition information (or lack there of?) is a tad disturbing.

Yes, I’m talking about you, 0 grams of dietary fiber and 54 grams of sugar in a SMALL serving. 

So in a recent Oregon heat wave I set about recreating this classic treat. Step one was removing any kind of artificial ingredients. Step two was giving it a boost in the nutritional value department.

Typically I sweeten my smoothies with bananas, but this one was just begging for dates. Why? Not only do dates have 50 percent more potassium by weight than bananas, but they don’t overwhelm the flavor if you’re working with a recipe like this.

And to amp up the fiber, I added ground flax seed and wheat germ. Don’t worry; you won’t even notice ’em, but your body will thank you for the extra omega-3’s, lignans (which reduce the risk of breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men), vitamin E, magnesium, zinc, thiamin, folate and phosphorus.

One taste, and you’ll be transported back to childhood!

Orange Dreamsicle Protein Smoothie

Ingredients: 

  • 1 c orange juice
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 1/2 c plain, unsweetened yogurt
  • 1/4 c Bard Valley Natural Delights Medjool date paste (directions here)
  • 1 scoop of your favorite vanilla protein powder
  • 2 Tbsp flax seed meal
  • 2 Tbsp wheat germ
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 15 ice cubes
  • Sprinkle of granola

Directions: 

  1. Toss all ingredients into a high-speed blender or food processor & blend.
  2. Pour into two glasses, garnish with a sprinkle of granola & serve immediately.
  3. Enjoy!