Recipe: No-Sugar-Added Pumpkin Spice Cookies

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Fall is just around the corner, and I couldn’t be more excited. Bring on crisp weather, colorful leaves, scary movies and all things pumpkin!

In celebration of the impending change of seasons, I bring to you this healthier take on a fall favorite: no-sugar-added cookies that are soft, chewy and not cloyingly sweet.

They sit squarely at the intersection of cookie-muffin-scone; the perfect accompaniment to your morning coffee, that upcoming tailgate, a random afternoon snack or simply tucked into a lunchbox with love.

Because it’s not fall without a little pumpkin in your life…right?

No-Sugar-Added Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Ingredients: 

  • 1 c butter, softened to room temp
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 c Bard Valley Natural Delights Medjool date paste (directions here)
  • 15 oz can pureed pumpkin
  • 2 1/2 c flour
  • 1/4 c ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 c wheat germ
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1 c chopped walnuts

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, mix all dry ingredients (flour, flaxseed, wheat germ, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices) until combined. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, cream butter with mixer and slowly add in other wet ingredients (eggs, vanilla, date paste and pumpkin). Mix until well blended.
  4. Slowly (1/2 to 1 cup at a time) add dry mixture to wet mixture, mixing until all of the dry mixture has been incorporated.
  5. Add walnuts into batter, and mix well.
  6. Drop by large tablespoonfuls onto parchment paper on baking sheets, and press gently with back of spoon to flatten slightly.
  7. Bake for 12 minutes, or until edges are slightly golden brown.
  8. Cool on a wire rack. Enjoy immediately, and freeze leftovers to keep them fresh until needed.
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Portland Fit Fix: Getting Back in the Saddle at Starcycle

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If I could give my fellow moms out there one piece of solicited advice, it’d be this:

Forget about the shoulds, and celebrate the dids.

Case in point: I’m ashamed to admit that it’s been more than two years since my last Starcycle class; in fact, the last time I was in the studio, I was newly pregnant with Wyatt.

Since then, my once uber-disciplined (hello, Type A) fitness regimen has been a lot more…well, fluid.

First it was sleep deprivation. Then it was a move out to the ‘burbs. And the icing on the cake has been a hip stress fracture sustained after training for and racing a half marathon this past spring.

Needless to say, running and I are currently on a break. Not permanently, but indefinitely while I figure things out.

So when Starcycle reached out about a special ride to commemorate their latest news, I jumped at the chance to pedal along with some inspiring local ladyboss mamas.

The ride itself was very similar to what I remember in the previous class – a high-energy, heart-pounding workout in a candlelit room where you can clear your head – but what’s evolved is my awareness and appreciation of the studio’s commitment to work(out)/life balance (read: childcare!).

Trust me: Being able to take a few minutes for yourself while knowing your little one is in good hands is practically priceless. Starcycle not only offers solid 45-minute sweat sessions, but the studio makes working out easy and realistic for riders, especially moms.

And now there’s a good chance you’ll get to experience it yourself since the brand’s new leadership hires will support franchise operations and studio expansion as part of the Starcycle’s national growth.

Sure there’s a time and a place for metrics, mantras and mechanics…but when you’re in need of a much-needed mental (and mama) break – to break a sweat – Starcycle is just the ticket.

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!