Sunday Morning Splurge: Apple Crisp Pancakes

It’s Friiiiiiiiiday! Can I get a “hell yeah”?!

OK, guys. All week, we’ve been good. We’ve eaten enough spinach salads to choke a horse. We’ve chugged coffee on our morning commute and shoved a quick, healthy snack in our mouths in between meetings. We’ve ran and practiced yoga and went to spinning class and done our HIIT workouts. We’ve worked HARD. And now, the weekend is almost here.

Weekend mornings are my favorite for a number of reasons. On Saturday mornings, I’ll get up, grab a quick, small breakfast and then go for a long run with one of my best friends. After that, we usually hit up a local coffee shop and enjoy a cup of coffee while catching up on the week’s events.

But Sunday morning. Ah, Sunday morning. You’re so easy (sorry, I had to). Sundays I (typically) sleep in a bit and then make us breakfast. I don’t do anything extravagant, but anything beyond my  weekday oatmeal-to-go feels indulgent. And if it includes bacon, my man is game.

One of my favorite breakfasts to make is pancakes. They’re easy, quick and there are about 100 different ways you can make them. Just a few things I like to add include pumpkin, dark chocolate chips, blueberries honey, cinnamon, protein powder (not all together) … the list is endless.

Drool-worthy. Source: lmld.org
Drool-worthy.
Source: lmld.org

Here is a yummy pancake recipe from my sister that tastes like dessert but won’t knock you off track with your diet. I like to top them with peanut butter for an extra kick of protein—who doesn’t love PB and apples?

Apple Crisp Pancakes

  • 1 ½ cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pancake Mix made according to directions (You can use any pancake mix. I didn’t use gluten free for any specific reason, but they turned out really good this way.)
  • ½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 small apple or ½ a medium apple, chopped in very small pieces
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • Brown sugar and pure maple syrup (for topping)

Make pancake mix according to directions. Fold in the rest of the ingredients, and add a tablespoon of extra milk at a time if the consistency is too thick. Spray non-stick pan with cooking spray and cook  about 3 minutes on each side or until they turn golden brown. Sprinkle with brown sugar and maple syrup and enjoy!

Leftovers: Stick a leftover pancake in the toaster for a quick healthy breakfast during the week!

Enjoy, and have a great weekend. You deserve it.

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I Can do Anything for 20 Minutes: My First HIIT Experience

“I can do anything for [insert timeframe here].”

This is one of the mantras I’ve said over and over again to myself during my all my races. It’s what got me through the last leg of my marathon (“I can do anything for another hour.”) and what I say in any less-than-ideal situations (ie. a long flight or a doctor’s appointment). And so is the theme for HIIT—high-intensity interval training.

HIIT is a growing fitness trend, and after trying my first HIIT workout last night, I can understand why.  I’m sure many of you have done it already, but I’m new to the scene. And I have to say, after completing this routine, I’m hooked. Side note: To get a full workout in, I’d pair this video with a 30-minute run or do these circuits twice through.

I’m the type of person that if I don’t leave a workout drenched in sweat and out of breath, I don’t feel like I made good use of my time. I blame it on being a runner. HIIT gets your heart pounding right away. You give it your absolute all for a certain period of time (usually 30 seconds or less) and then take a quick break before doing it all again. Because these high-intensity intervals are paired with quick breaks, it’s good for your ticker.

Here's a HIIT workout I plan to try later this week.  Source: popsugar.com
Here’s a HIIT workout I plan to try later this week.
Source: popsugar.com

Why else do I love it so much?

I can do it in my apartment. Guys, this weather is starting to wear on my gym motivation. And after a long day at work and an even longer commute home, the last thing I want to go is leave my home again to fight the cold and snow. Plus, there’s usually no equipment involved with HIIT—just your body weight. But that doesn’t mean it’s not VERY challenging (can you say tricep pushups with a kick-back?)!

It’s quick. In the summer when I want to go outside and run, I want to dedicate most of my time toward that, not lifting weights at the gym. So this workout is the perfect supplement to the cardio I love to do so I can still get strength training in my weekly routine. Which leads me to…

It builds muscle. One of my goals is to not necessarily lose a ton of weight, but to tighten up. But I’ve always struggled with building muscle, because frankly, it’s not as fun to me as some cardio (running, spinning, etc.). I want buns of steel, ya catch my drift? HIIT is the perfect combination of cardio and strength training.

So I’m off in search of other HIIT workouts to fill my schedule. Have you tried HIIT? If so, what workout is your favorite?

Right now, I’m in the process of building a “30 before 30” list with some of my friends. I’ll be sharing some of my to-do’s next week … stay tuned!

Zumba and 20 Questions

Last week, I tried my first Zumba class. I have to admit that in the past, I really had no desire to try one and often laughed at the thought of a bunch of women dancing around and saying they got a good workout in. But when my friend’s friend said she was going, and I was still experiencing Vegas jet lag, I decided to give it a go.

Source: Unknown
Source: Unknown

Phew. Zumba is NOT for the faint of heart. My utmost respect for everyone who is a dedicated Zumba-thoner. You guys rock! I left an hour later sweaty, sore and out of breath. My calves and arms burned for days! I recommend it for a fun workout that goes by in a flash. I took my first class at The Movement Factory, but there are plenty of places around CLE that offer it.

Now onto something … well, pointless.

Since it’s Wednesday and we’re halfway through the week (can you taste the Friday happy hour cocktails?!), I saw this quiz and thought it would be a fun exercise. Feel free to answer the questions on your own blog, with your friends or by yourself. Quizzes are fun—they remind me of when I was 15 and asked my girlfriends questions at my mom’s house on a Friday night. 🙂

  1. What is your favorite indulgence?
    Although I don’t have a huge sweet tooth, anyone who knows me will tell you my weakness is cookies. Any cookie. At any time. Nick bought me cookie dough Oreos and rice krispie Oreos as a surprise earlier this week, and it brought a little tear to my eye. God bless that man.
  2. What is your favorite cocktail?
    It’s simple, yet satisfying: a vodka soda with a lemon.
  3. The clothing item you can’t live without?
    Besides the obvious, I can’t live without scarves. They jazz up a boring outfit when I don’t have time to think about what I want to wear.
  4. Your favorite workout song?
    Right now, it’s Holy Grail. Love me some J.T. and Jay-Z.
  5. Favorite way to sweat?
    Well, my favorite way to workout is running. 🙂
  6. Your favorite color?
    Bright kelly green. It’s so energizing!
  7. Where did you grow up?
    A small suburb outside Cleveland.
  8.  What is your favorite TV show?
    I’m guilty of watching trashy TV, like Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and The Millionaire Matchmaker. Oh, and Toned Up!
  9. What was your first job?
    I was a sales associate at J.C. Penney. It taught me … how crazy people are.
  10. What was the name of your first pet?
    My first pet was a kitty, and his name was Mickey. He had black fur with a white bib and white paws. He was beautiful. I truly believe my childhood was that much better with the animals I grew up with. They were like my family members!
  11. What’s the one thing you refuse to share?
    My cookies. Mine.
  12. If you had to move to another country, where would you go?
    Switzerland. It was surprisingly, out of the countries I’ve visited in Europe, the cleanest and most naturally beautiful. I could see myself living in Lucerne and occasionally yodeling in the mountains.
  13. What is your favorite confidence booster?
    Red lipstick. Bam! It instantly gives you power.

    Source: Unknown
    Source: Unknown
  14. If you were a jungle animal, what would you be?
    A jaguar. MEOW!
  15. Waffles or pancakes?
    Although I don’t have a waffle maker, I’d pick waffles. Something about fluffy, slightly crunchy waffles with some butter and tons of syrup…
  16. Your best piece of dating advice?
    Ha! I’m certainly no expert, but in my 10+ years of experience, I’d say to be honest with yourself. You know what you want and how you feel deep down. Go with that.
  17. The one item you always have on you?
    Lip gloss.
  18. Favorite weekend indulgence?
    A glass (or two) of wine. Coffee at noon. Eating cereal in front of the TV. Sleeping in. Oh wait, was I only supposed to pick one?
  19. If you were a food, what would you be?
    A chocolate chip cookie. Really, it all comes back to cookies.
  20. Think of your life as a movie. What’s the title?
    Get it, Girl!

A final thought: If you get a chance, read this Women’s Health Magazine article on 15 Fitness Habits You Need to Establish in Your 20s. Lots of great advice (I need to follow the one about stretching!). Have a great rest of the week! ♡

Rock Climbing at Red Rock

Hey everyone! Hope you all had a fun, lovely Valentine’s weekend. ♡ Let’s start this week on the right foot, or rock, now shall we?

Red Rock Canyon
Red Rock Canyon

One of my favorite parts of my Las Vegas vacation was, well, leaving Las Vegas. One day, we six crazy girls rented a minivan and drove west in search of some fresh air and beautiful mountain ranges. Thanks to a knowledgeable friend, we easily found Red Rock Canyon and spent the afternoon hiking the beautiful paths.

Let me preface this with the fact that, although I sometimes want to be, I’m not really an outdoorsy girl. Sure, I love running outside, living by the lake and having an occasional cocktail on a patio, but that’s really the extent of it. You’ll never hear me beg someone to go camping or rock climbing or swimming in the lake. But I do love experiencing new places, and I do enjoy (light, easy) hiking, so after 24 hours in a smoky casino, I was game.

Red Rock was unlike anything you’d see in Cleveland. Being in the middle of the desert, we were surrounded by cactus, dirt, red clay and … donkeys. Yep, donkeys. The trail was a combination of hiking and rock climbing, so after an hour or so, I was pretty tired. But when we reached our stopping point (and I gained the courage to let go of the rock with my death grip and look around), I was speechless.

Maybe I'm hungry, but the rocks look like bacon
Maybe I’m hungry, but the rocks look like bacon

Anytime I visit somewhere new and see natural beauties, like the mountain ranges in Nevada, I’m reminded of how small I am, how much there is to see, and how lucky I am to be able to see it.

And, the next day, I was SORE. I think it was a combination of working some muscles I haven’t in a while and also clinging on for dear life. It’s always nice to workout outside in nature rather than in a sweaty, germy gym. It was there that I vowed to myself to take advantage of our beautiful city and hiking trails way more often than I do.

After an hour of taking it in, snapping some pictures and very carefully making our way back down (I learned how to crab crawl really well), we hopped back in the van and continued our debauchery-filled weekend.

The ladies take Vegas
The ladies take Vegas

I can’t wait for this weather to break so I can take another fresh-air-filled hike. Spring is so close, I can smell it (or are my nostrils just frozen?). Until then, I’ll be a slave to the gym and yoga studios. Stay strong, everyone!

What’s your favorite outdoor workout?

A Valentine’s Day Love Letter

Hi lovers! Happy Valentine’s Day!! ❤

Source: Unknown
Source: Unknown

Although January flew by (despite the cold weather), February seems to be going even quicker. My Vegas trip came and went, and now we’re already halfway through the month. I don’t have any super fancy plans this weekend, but we do have a date night Saturday, and I can’t wait. Valentine’s Day to me, regardless if I’m single or attached, is a chance to spend time with the people I love, send fun love letters, give little gifts and wear red lipstick. Hey, if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that the little things are the big things!

I mentioned in my last post that I’m in the middle of listening to the audiobook version of The Power, and although my verdict is out on some of Rhonda Byrne’s beliefs, the underlying message of the book hold so much truth—give love and you’ll get love in return.

Throughout the year we tend to forget. Forget to give love to one another. Forget to be nice. Forget to smile at strangers on the street. Forget to take care of ourselves. And if we’re not giving love and positive energy, we’re certainly not going to have it coming our way.

This Valentine’s Day, let’s do ourselves a favor, and be nice. To our family. To our friends. To our coworkers. To us. Whether we’re single or juggling a full-time job with three kids, take some time today to give love. Write someone you haven’t talked to in a while (I plan to!). Call your grandparents and say “I love you” (I plan to do this too). Give your puppy or kitty a treat and some extra cuddle time. Go for a nice long run or try out a new yoga class. Give yourself a manicure.

It’s been a couple weeks since I’ve blogged, but I promise to do more writing! I’ve been spinning, rock climbing, Zumba-ing and staying active, so I have some fun posts coming. Until then, Happy Valentine’s Day! I love YOU for reading this blog. 🙂