Peanut Butter Butterscotch Blondies

Today, lets talk about the balance between treating yourself & eating clean…

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Had to.

 

I recently began Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide Program to kick my workout routine up a notch. I could write one whooole blog post on the program (and I plan to recap if ONCE I finish it!) but basically it’s a 12-week fitness program to target fat loss & reaaally give you those sexy defined ab/arm/leg muscles. More info here.

I’ve attempted it before and it completely kicked my butt. I made it 8 whole weeks before I decided it was too intense while doing a speed development program.

Well, I decided to give BBG a second try because I was struck with some serious motivation after seeing the progress a few girlfriends of mine were making. I really loved the changes I saw in only two months—my arms especially. I’m excited to see where three gets me!

I’m on week two now and restarting Kayla’s program got me thinking of how intimidating the diet aspect of getting fit can be. As much as you want to see progress, twelve weeks is a REALLY long time to stay on a strict diet and temptations are everywhere!

Getting in shape is 80% in your diet and 20% in your workouts. You’ve heard the saying ‘abs are made in the kitchen’..? It’s SO true.

My biggest pitfall is probably how often I treat myself. Dessert is just the best and I can’t help myself!😉 A little here and a little there won’t hurt. But a lot of a little here and little there adds up. I think I’ve pin-pointed my little dilemma…

So obviously I’m always looking for healthier alternatives to my favorite desserts. Today I’m sharing one of my FAVORITE treats that seriously satisfies my sweet tooth.

If you didn’t guess by my blog name, blondies are my ISHHH. Specifically, these Peanut Butter Butterscotch Blondies.

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I don’t know what it is about these two flavors… I love them. And together they’re insanely delicious. If you haven’t tried them together, you’re missing out! They’re the perfect salty & sweet combo.

These PB BS (ha) Blondies remind me of something your grandmother would bake but without the butter, brown sugar and NO FLOUR. A.k.a healthified. Say whaaa?

They’re packed with protein and healthy fats, and the ingredients are far cleaner than your regular store-bought blondies. But they taste SO indulgent you wouldn’t know the base ingredient..

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They’re made from chickpeas. Yep. And I promise they do not taste like chickpeas AT ALL. They are soft, peanut-buttery amazingness.  In fact, I challenge whoever is reading this to bake them and give them to their family/friends/coworkers/whoever without even mentioning the main ingredient. I GUARANTEE they will rave about them.

All of the flavor; none of the guilt. I promiseeee. You ready?

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INGREDIENTS:

  • Coconut Oil (to grease glass dish)
  • 8′ x 8’ glass baking dish
  • 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (or honey)
  • 1/4 cup flax seed
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup butterscotch chips

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease glass dish with coconut oil. Place all ingredients (except butterscotch chips) in a high-powered blender or food processor. Blend until the everything turns to batter. If the batter sticks, scrape the sides and blend until smooth. Fold in butterscotch chips & mix until evenly distributed. Pour batter into greased dish. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean. The edges should be slightly browned.

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Who knew a can of chickpeas would give Betty Crocker a run for her money?

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XO,
Julia

Recipe Adapted from Ambitious Kitchen

RNRDC Recap: When Things Don’t Go As Planned

This weekend I ran my third half marathon. It was probably the most challenging run I’ve done to this date for many reasons.

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In my [naive] mind, I’d planned a generic, cookie-cutter race recap about everything from getting to metro super early to finishing the race and feeling the amazing rush that comes with reaching a goal you’ve been striving for.

I’m sitting here laughing at myself now.

Things did not go according to plan on Saturday and I’ve been in a little bit of a funk because of it. So, this has been somewhat therapeutic to write about. (This has a happy ending. Promise!)

I had extremely high hopes for myself after training all winter. I finished my first two half marathons literally within seconds of each other. In September, I finished the Parks Half Marathon in 2:01:34 and in October, the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in 2:01:39. I am so proud of those times, especially considering I was a mere 5 seconds away from my PR on a much harder course. I was filled to the brim with confidence.

Immediately following my second success, I signed up for the Rock ‘n’ Roll DC Half Marathon on March 14th with the intentions to give it my all & finish under 2 hours.

I trained through the holidays: running 2-3x/week, including my long weekend runs. Come January, I began a rather intense speed development program through MCRRC and saw even more progress.

All this to say I thought without a doubt that sub-2 hours was easily obtainable at Rock ‘n’ Roll. It wasn’t a question of whether I would set a personal record, but rather how many minutes I’d crush it by.

One Week Out:

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#ready

 

In the days up to the race, tapering was a whole new experience. Instead of feeling excited, I felt more anxious. I was irritable and sleep was hard. It was an odd feeling since I’d never felt much of the “taper blues” before but this time around they came in full force.

Furthermore, the forecast was not looking promising which only led to more unenthusiastic thoughts. I tried to stay positive but running in the rain just did not sound fun.

RACE DAY:

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Come Saturday, so did the rain. Luckily my running buddy brought ponchos that we wore up until the last minute. I don’t mind running in the rain so long as I don’t have to wait around in it. All in all, I was ready to make good out of an unideal situation.

I paced with my friend Greg and we started out strong. The plan was to start out slow and pick up the pace gradually. Miles 1-5 we ran between 8:40 and 9:17. Right on track!

Then there was a hill at mile 6 that I completely underestimated which set me in a downward mental spiral.

My legs began to feel very heavy and I didn’t have much energy. I kept staring at my pace thinking, “why does this feel so hard? I’ve done this and faster so many times.” A police officer actually stopped us around mile 7 to let a cop car pass through an intersection. It was only for about 15 seconds, but it really threw off whatever “groove” I was attempting to get into and it infuriated me!

By the time mile 8 rolled around, I’d really started to lose steam. I [stupidly] did the math and realized that I wouldn’t hit my goal. At mile 10, I’d let so many negative thoughts cross my mind that I hit a wall and just felt so defeated.

I wondered why I’d even set such a goal. I felt inferior with people passing me left and right. Why did I enjoy running again? At one point I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath. So… I REALLY needed to calm the hell down.

I somehow managed to finish the race and it was the most relieved I have ever felt crossing a finish line. My legs were spent but my mind was worse. I finished 2:04:04

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D E A D

Looking at that time, I think what a respectable time it is. Amazing, actually. I only was three measly minutes past my PR. But when you go into a race thinking you’re going to beat your best time by around 4-5 minutes, it’s devastating.

So what was it? I think a combination of everything truly made me feel off. So many little things added up and I got too in my head. We’ve all heard that running is 90% mental; but it’s another thing to experience the negative effects firsthand.

I realize now that I put way too much pressure on myself when I should have just been enjoying myself (as much as someone running in the pouring rain can enjoy themselves.) Staring at my Garmin and doing the math over and over was so limiting. I almost feel that if I ran without my watch I would have done better. Or at least felt better while I was running.

Race Review:

My completely subjective grade for the race itself would be a C-.

via Rock 'n' Roll

Course Map via Rock ‘n’ Roll

Course: This part I liked. The hills were challenging but there were plenty of subsequent down hills and straightaways. There were a few potholes that I wish weren’t there BUT I just pretended it was an obstacle course.

Crowds: I definitely felt cramped. There were just too many people. I wish they’d put a cap on the amount of people who could enter the race. It kind of takes away the fun of running when you’re packed like sardines. But at the same time, it was great to have other runners cheering you on!

Transportation: The lines on the metro were kiiind of out of control. I wish I would have taken a picture! Here’s a fun story: There were so many people crammed in line at the metro gates that the people riding up the MOVING escalators didn’t have space to get on the platform. People were literally falling on top of each other at the top and had to run backwards, against the flow of traffic. There were a few seconds of sheer terror where I thought I was about to see some really gory stuff go down…

Bands: Um. SERIOUSLY lacking in this department. There were two bands and an a Capella group. I’m guessing they had a lot of rain cancellations, but, there are such things as tents. What’s a rock ‘n’ roll marathon without the music? Don’t they have inclement weather plans?

Bag Check: Total. And COMPLETE. Nightmare!! This is my biggest complaint.

It took about an hour waiting in the cold, pouring rain to get my bag. Mind you, there were only TWO TRUCKS out of like fifteen who had an issue. Apparently too many people with last names beginning with ‘S’ checked bags and the trucks got overcrowded. Lucky me! The genius idea was to reorganize all of the bags by moving them into different trucks. This confused not only the runners picking up their bags, but the people handing them out also had NO IDEA where anything was! There was a solid 15-20 minutes where not a single bag was given to anyone. For a race of this size, age & popularity, you’d think they’d have organization worked out effortlessly. But you’d be wrong.

It’s cold. We’re soaked. Some might be hypothermic. We’ve all just ran 13-freaking-miles and all we want is our dry clothes and freaking lara bars. (Can you tell how mad I still am about it?) #salty.

BUT ANYWAYS… Moving on.

Post-Race:

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Yep. Still wearing this.

 

In the grand scheme of things, I’m so happy I did this race. It was oh-so humbling and a necessary blow to my ego, I think. I learned a lot about how important it is to keep calm and I’ll definitely use that in my next race. Sometimes you need a little reality check in a big way. Not every run is going to be wonderful. In fact, a lot of the time when you run you’ll probably curse it. This race was an exemplification of that.

It’s in the moments when you do have a great run that you remember why you started in the first place. I’m happy to report that I did a recovery run (sans Garmin) in the BEAUTIFUL weather yesterday and was reminded of that.

XO,
Julia

Running Must-Haves

In honor of Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon & Full- Marathon coming TOMORROW, I thought I’d divulge several of my running accessories & rituals I’ve become BFF with over my months of training. In no particular order, this list includes everything from gear to healthy habits! Some are a little out of the box so I encourage you to be open-minded😉

The RIGHT shoes

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Well, who didn’t see this one coming? I know it seems like a given but what a lot of people don’t know is that you should really be fitted for the proper shoes. Don’t expect to just purchase a pair of tennis shoes and be good to go for a 3 mile run. To ensure you’re wearing the right pair, take a trip to your local running store where someone trained can take a look at how you walk or even place you on a treadmill to see how you run. This way they can see your stride and determine which type of shoe is best for you.

GU Gels

the BEST flavor!

BEST flavor!

If you’re running for an extended period of time, I highly, HIGHLY suggest these. Simply put, GU gels are 100-calorie packs of energy. That’s what I call them, at least. Made with maltodextrin, water, fructose among other ingredients, they are life savers come half marathon time. When you’re running and exerting your maximum effort for that length of time, you’re bound to lose steam after a while. With a lot of trial and error, I’ve come up with a good gu-gel schedule that really works for me. I (usually) take them at mile 5, mile 8 and mile 11.

Hydration Belt

I have mine in pink because duh.

Mine is pink because duh.

Not everyone is a fan, but I adore my funny-looking, water-holding fanny pack! I recently purchased the Fitletic Hydration Belt and find it so much more comfortable than my previous. The reason being because it sits lower on your hips and STAYS THERE thanks to silicone grippers! A lot of belts ride up causing stomach discomfort; slip down causing bouncing or the Velcro goes bad over time causing the belt to fall off mid-run.. Safe right? Noot. The straps are adjustable, so you don’t need to go out and buy a new belt if you’re wearing a lot of layers or if you lose a few lbs!😉 WIN!

No-Show Undies

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OKAY, let’s get real here, ladies. It’s not sanitary to wear thongs while running, or working out for that matter. So what’s a girl to do when she’s sporting spandex on her run? I introduce these Under Armour Stretch Cheekies. These are amazing if you’re not a fan of the grannie-pantie line! I’ve found them 3 for $30 on numerous occasions.. Love em!

Pedicure
The ugly truth: your feet will never be the same after you start running. You’ll build calluses, blisters, and might even lose a toe nail or two. Luckily I’ve avoided the latter, so far. Every couple of months, I like to give my feet some love and get a pedicure. It’s a little ‘thank you’ for them withstanding months upon months of training.

Face Wipes & Spot Treatment

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Another unfortunate side effect many runners face is acne. (Pun intended.) While some people are blessed to avoid this, I have not. Unfortunately, since picking up running my skin has never been worse. Running for long distances inevitably means I’m constantly sweating & clogging up pores. The best way to combat this, I’ve found, is to immediately wipe my face, neck, back & chest with a face-wipe. And of course, shower! I’m driving to where I run, I’ll bring a clean shirt to wear afterwards so I’m not sitting in the same one I just worked out in. It might not solve the problem, but definitely makes a big difference!

Proper Gear
Repeat after me: SWEAT WICKING fabric. SO important! Basically what they do is move the sweat from your body to the outer layer of the fabric. In the summer, it’ll evaporate more quickly and in cold temps, it prevents you from getting cold as quickly after you’ve finished running! Other notable necessities: socks with cushion, mittens for the cold (mittens are warmer than gloves!) and ladies, get fitted for a sports bra!

GPS Watch

Garmin Forerunner 10

Garmin Forerunner 10

While I love my care-free runs without watching my pace, a gps watch is so great to maximize your training. It’s beneficial to be able to pace yourself, track weekly mileage, gauge your progress, etc.  As a bonus, I love being able to look back at old PR’s, compare them to my newer ones and see how far I’ve come! DC Rainmaker has an amazing product review of many watches that aided me in my purchase.

Epsom Salt & Ibuprofen

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Post-run combo of champions. Just kidding. But really, I’m not a huge fan of ice baths..  Personally, it seems weird to plunge into a freezing, uncomfortable bath that makes me even more stiff. But to each his own! After I’ve done a really intense run, I’ll take a soak in a hot Epsom salt bath for a half hour. Training is a balance between recovery and adaptation, so I try my best to only use OTC meds if necessary.. But sometimes it is! In that case, ibuprofen works best for me. It’s pretty amazing to see the difference it makes in my recovery.  Pair this with a foam roller & lots of hydration and you’re golden!!

Protection from the Elements:
So this is kind of a blanket list of so many items.. but SPF, a hat, sunglasses, a water-proof jacket, mittens and chapstick are my must-haves.

Other notable mentions:
– ID & cash. You never know when you might find yourself in a situation where you need $$
– Pepper spray.  Again, you never know!
– Reflective gear & head lamps! It’s so important to be aware of your surroundings while keeping in mind that your surroundings may not be aware of you. Wear bright colors, grab a reflective jacket and buy that goofy-looking head lamp because it may just save your life.
– Lastly, A BOMB @$$ PLAYLIST! I love Spotify!

And here is some funny running and taper-humor that has gotten me through the week! : ) Good luck to everyone who is running Rock ‘n’ Roll tomorrow!

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QUESTION: What’s your one MUST-have for running?

XO,
Julia

Weekend Recap: 50 Shades of Brunchin’ it

Good morning & Happy MONDAY! This weather has me in such a great mood that I don’t even mind that it’s Monday. Spring is just around the corner and I am stoked. I just said stoked.

Anyways, this weekend was incredible and I’m a little sad it’s over already. But that just means I am one day closer to the ROCK ‘N’ ROLL HALF this weekend!!!

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Fun Fact: I almost went into meltdown mode yesterday when I realized I never got a confirmation email for the race. I dug through MONTH’S worth of credit card transactions because I couldn’t remember when I purchased them or IF I purchased them for that matter. (I would definitely not put that past myself) But I finally found the charge, thank goodness so I am IN! It was a close one, though.

Friday:

My friends and I finally decided to check out the new iPic theatre in Rockville that everyone has been raving about for weeks! It’s pretty awesome and definitely worth $22. The large reclining seats were WAY more comfortable than your standard theatre seats, you get a pillow, blanket and a full food & drink menu to order at your pleasure. And unlimited popcorn. Oh yes.

We saw 50 Shades of Grey because we apparently were the only females in the world who hadn’t seen it yet. I haven’t read any of the books so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect considering you can’t really show all the subject matter without it being, well, a porno. But I liked it! Jamie Dornan is ridiculously attractive. I won’t give any spoilers but I will say I did not appreciate the cliff hanger. Rude.

hi.

hi.

Saturday:

After a fun night out, I did not wake up to my 6 a.m. alarm set for to meet my group run. OOPS.. It happens.

I met with my friends Amanda, Sophia & Ben for a mid-afternoon brunch in D.C. to celebrate Sophia’s birthday. We brunched at Agora, a cute little Mediterranean restaurant near Dupont Circle. It was a blast and the food was incredible!! We opted for their Bottomless Brunch where you can order anything off their brunch menu and of course, never-ending mimosas!

blondiesandburpees_asjblondiesandburpees_brunch1We ate hummus, baba ghanouj, htipiti, dolmades, cilbur, omelettes, eggs with sujuk, arugula salad, beet & orange salad, grilled cheese & tomato soup. I rarely have Greek or Mediterranean food (aside from hummus) so I wanted to try everything. And I did. I ate my weight, pretty much. #noragrats

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Afterwards, we walked around D.C. for a bit, making a pit-stop at a tattoo parlor before I had to leave. (Don’t worry mom—no tattoos for me.) (Yet.)

Saturday evening I went to a cocktail reception for my boss’ wife at Black Rock Gallery in Germantown. Her work, “Vanishing” features several long exposure photographs of rural landscapes across North America. The scenes represent landscapes that are vanishing daily; silos and weathered barns being replaced by large industrial buildings. Each photo was truly amazing! She is an extremely talented photographer and it made me wish I stuck with photography more after high school.

Sunday:

Another run day! I was feeling extra groggy thanks to springing forward but I still managed to get out of bed and meet a running body for a 10-miler. Gotta love taper week!

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Pre-run ritual!

We ran the Capital Crescent trail again since it seems to be the only trail that is well-kept after snow storms. We completely lucked out because the weather was GORGEOUS and we got to watch the sunrise while we chatted the hours away. Unfortunately, my GPS watch never caught my location (it seems to be doing that a lot lately. Hellooo birthday present!) so we ran at our own pace and ended up doing closer to 11/12 miles.

Afterwards, I raced home to shower up and head over to Arlington. I met up with a large group of Tone It Up girls at South Block Juice Co. in Clarendon. If you haven’t gone—go! They make some incredible juices (duh) and even MORE incredible acai bowls. Good thing it’s a little bit further from me because I could eat one every day!

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Our friend Jennifer works at South Block Juice and arranged the meet up. They handed out swag bags filled with sunglasses, a coupon, gift card & a reusable South Block glass bottle. Kombucha refills for only $4–HOLLA! On top of everything, we also received 10% off our entire purchase. YUM! Thanks so much to Jen & Amir at South Block for hookin’ us #tiusisters up!!! See you next week😉

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The rest of my Sunday was spent celebrating my brothers birthday at Heavy Seas Alehouse in Rosslyn and then STUDYING ALL NIGHT! I have my first nutrition exam tonight. This is my first exam in about two years. HA!

Looking forward to an amazing, busy week! Hope you all have a wonderful Monday : )

XO,
Julia

Friday Fun #3

Hii everyone! Time for my weekly fun post where I share the things that have made me smile in the past few days.🙂

DAYLIGHT SAVINGS

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I’m with ya, girl.

It’s finally time to Spring Forward this Sunday @ 2am. Or should I say 3 a.m.? Basically we’re all time traveling this weekend. Losing an hour is sure to throw me off but I am SO ready for it to be light out when I come home from work. It’s crazy how such a little thing makes a huge difference in my mood!

SNOWDAYS!!!

I know most people are sick of them at this point but yesterday was my first official snow day of 2015! WOOO! I’ve come in to work late a handful of times and left early once or twice because of snow but I missed all the crazy weather & snow cancellations while I was on my road trip. Therefore, I was very much happy to see this:

blondiesandburpees_snowdayIt felt great to sleep in ever so slightly. Even better, I could finally relax with coffee and the news during the time I would have been commuting! I resisted the urge to binge watch Netflix all day and was actually really productive between work and getting a few personal things done, even managing a long workout. Can I work from home every day?

WINTER CARDIO WORKOUT

This relates to the above snow day mention.. Did you know shoveling your driveway burns a decent amount of calories? I always knew it was a good arm workout but I never put together how being out of breath due to shoveling 6+ inches of snow off a large driveway would be cardio, as well. Here, my friends, is proof! (I’m laughing at myself because my only motivator to shovel the driveway was to get some exercise. Not to, you know, be able to make it to work today or anything…)

blondiesandburpees_snowday2 Fun Fact: Between my extra long workout yesterday and shoveling the driveway multiple times I burned close to 1,000 calories yesterday… which definitely explains why I can’t seem to stop eating today.

#MEATLESSMONDAY

blondiesandburpees_mmIn an attempt to incorporate new foods into my diet, I’ve decided to give Meatless Monday’s a go for the foreseeable future! Specifically, I’d like to get more plant based proteins into my diet. I’m excited to see beans, legumes, tofu, veggies, nuts and more start making the rounds into my meals. Plus, this means I’ll have to branch out of the norm and try new recipes! Oh She Glow’s Cookbook has been calling my name.

Rock Recovery Panel Discussion

If you read my post from earlier this week, you’ll know I had the chance to discuss Disordered Eating 101 with Rock Recovery, a local non-profit dedicated to providing accessible and affordable recovery programs for those suffering from eating disorders. Another goal of theirs is to educate the public through community outreach programs.

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On April 30, Rock Recovery is hosting “Building Bridges: Living an Integrated Life” at 5:30 p.m. at The Willard in Washington, D.C. The panel discussion will examine ways to achieve balance within both our personal and professional lives.

If you ever feel completely overwhelmed with all of the responsibilities and pressures between work, home, school, maintaining an active & healthy lifestyle then I highly recommend you be a part of the conversation. I know I experience some anxiety at times when thinking of all of the items on my [never ending] ‘to-do’ list, so I’m excited to learn stress-relieving tips. Life is all about balance & moderation, after all!

More information on the event, panelists and tickets to the event can be found here.

THIS!

blondiesandburpees_quoteThis is one of my favorite quotes lately. Waking up really early to work out is hard. It’s so easy to hit the snooze button and fall back into your warm, cozy bed—ESPECIALLY since it’s so damn cold out. This puts a positive spin on things. It gives me the motivation and actually makes me excited to begin the day before the crack of dawn. I need this in a frame! Or a mug!

Question: What’s making you happy today?

Hope you all have an awesome weekend.

XO,
Julia

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MEAN GREEN PUMPKIN MACHINES

Good morning! I am absolutely spent but in the best of moods after another killer workout at Zengo Cycle! I’m loving my 12-hours of “cardio-torture”, as I’ve dubbed it, involving my Tuesday evening speed development workout followed by Wednesday morning spin! My legs are getting stronger every day and I’m noticing my endurance is improving. (The arm circuit song during spin is also doing wonders for my shoulders!) #win

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day around the corner, I wanted to share a yummy & festive muffin recipe I’ve been having for breakfast this week. You wouldn’t guess it by their color, but they’re packed with spinach. I’m calling them my Mean Green Pumpkin Machine’s. Long title but whatevs. They are so soft & so D E L I C I O U S !

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Since drastically changing my diet in the last year, I’m constantly looking for creative ways to incorporate greens into my meals. And since you can’t eat salads for every meal, I’ve been letting my imagination wander in the kitchen. These babies are my latest success.

I guess you could eat a salad for every meal, but I prefer a liiittle variety in my food and does this not look amazing!?:

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PB is ALWAYS recommended!

I mentioned this a few weeks back, but muffins are my fave for breakfast because they require absolutely no effort. Just groggily stumble downstairs, pop them in the microwave for 30 seconds, *maybe* pair them with some Greek yogurt and/or fruit and you’re ready to go. If you’re in a serious relationship with the snooze button (like I am lately) they are a godsend!

blondiesandburpees_greenmuffin3INGREDIENTS
1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup egg whites
1/3 cup plain greek yogurt
1 cup spinach
3 pitted dates (soaked for 5 minutes)
1 cup old fashioned oats
¾ oat flour
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp baking soda
2 scoops protein powder (optional)
½ tsp sea salt (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray muffin tin or line with cupcake liners.

blondiesandburpees_greenmuffin4 In a blender or food processor, blend first 6 (wet) ingredients until well incorporated. If the mixture becomes too sticky, scrape down sides & repeat until the spinach is fully liquefied.

blondiesandburpees_greenmuffin2Add remainder of (dry) ingredients in a large bowl.

blondiesandburpees_greenmuffin5Slowly fold wet mixture into dry mixture until everything is well combined. Feel free to add raisins, craisins, nuts, etc. to the batter here!

blondiesandburpees_greenmuffin6Pour mixture into muffin tins. Bake for 18-20 minutes. It’s fine if a toothpick doesn’t come out perfectly clean—since you’re working with oatmeal, the muffins will be a little more soft & velvety than baking with other flours.

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I’m five. I know.

If you’re weird about greens in anything, I PROMISE you cannot taste them what so ever. I imagine this is a perfect recipe trick if you have a picky eater on your hands😉

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Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!!

XO,
Julia

Weekend Recap: Rock Recovery’s Bloggers Brunch

After the craziness of traveling it was great to get back into my normal weekend routine, even if not much rest was had. There was meal prep, a looong run and a VERY exciting brunch. Ok and I watched a ton of House of Cards.. Sue me!

FYI, I’m going to do this recap a little backwards since the main point of today’s post is to discuss the amazing blogger’s brunch I attended on Saturday. (!!) FYI2, it’s a long one;)

SUNDAY:

RUN DAY! Ahh. I’d planned on going for a run by myself on Saturday afternoon, however, the trail I selected wasn’t quite groomed of all of the snow. I was pretty bummed but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise because I was able to run on Sunday with some of my pace group friends who also missed Saturday’s run! YAY.

Anyways, we met bright and early on the Capital Crescent Trail. We ran from the Barnes & Noble in Bethesda to Georgetown and back for a total of 14 miles. There was a little snow and freezing rain along the way that was suuuper fun! But we were determined and ran on.

14 miles now marks the longest distance I’ve ever run consecutively! How crazy is that? Being the running nerd I am, I now follow a lot of Ultra runners & BQ’ers who eat 14 miles for breakfast, but actually doing it on my own was incredible. It was extremely tough, the last few miles especially, but somehow my legs kept going despite them screaming at me.

It got me SO excited for Rock’n’Roll in less than two weeks!!

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I’m still riding that high complaining about my legs today.

Thankfully I was able to spend the rest of the day relaxing & watching more House of Cards.. Not that I could do anything even if I wanted to!

SATURDAY: Rock Recovery’s Blogger Brunch

I had the pleasure of joining a Blogger’s Brunch on Saturday morning at a lovely little restaurant called Lavagna in Eastern Market. The event was hosted by Angelica Talan, founder of Clarendon Moms, a popular DC-area blog that discusses everything from fashion & style to fitness & mommy living. Angelica truly does it all and based on the giant success of the brunch she is a networking extraordinaire!

The purpose of brunch was to network with fellow bloggers & professionals in the health & fitness industries while discussing ways to make a more positive impact on body image issues. Falling on the last day of National Eating Disorder Week, the discussion was an eye-opening presentation on Media literacy and disordered eating 101 presented by Rock Recovery.

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The second purpose of brunch was to eat. Nom

Rock Recovery is a DC-based non-profit dedicated to providing affordable recovery and education programs to individuals suffering from disordered eating. The organization provides mentors, therapies, etc. to patients and has a number of community outreach programs. Their goal is to help people overcome eating disorders without disrupting their daily lives.

Heather Baker, founder of Prosperity Eating Disorders and Wellness Center so graciously sponsored the brunch. Heather joined in on the conversation and spoke about her advanced out-patient treatment center. As a private practioner, Heather sought to create a place where persons suffering from eating disorders had every possible therapy and counseling they could possibly need in one central location.

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Founder & CEO of Rock Recovery, Carylynn Larson along with Christie Dondero and Ashley Kula led the discussion. Over a course of two hours, all attendees introduced themselves, discussed eating disorders, their common misconceptions and how the media heavily promotes a thin [unrealistic] ideal.

I learned so much in such a short time. For one, I discovered that there is a distinct difference between disordered eating and an eating disorder. The two relate, but disordered eating is characterized as “a variety of abnormal eating behaviors” while an eating disorder is a clinically recognized medical condition. So someone may be displaying signs of disordered eating, say bingeing or compulsively eating, without being diagnosed with an eating disorder.

One of the more eye-opening topics discussed was how young people can develop these behaviors. Did you know that 42% of 1st-3rd grade girls want to be more thin? And that 80% of 10 year-olds fear becoming fat? Are those not some of the most heart breaking statistics you’ve ever heard? I don’t even remember being AWARE of body image at that age. Seriously? It really calls into question where children are learning this self-doubt. Is it the media? Or even picked up from their parents?

Another crazy statistic: 35% of “occasional dieters” progress into pathological dieters (i.e. they are habitually “on a diet”) and 25% of these people advance to having full blown eating disorders. Diets are clearly a very slippery slope. I know firsthand how stressful the word “diet” in itself can be. It’s a very restrictive and ominous word. We all agreed that those seeking to lose weight should take a more positive outlook and think about weight loss as a lifestyle change.

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ED Statistics

We also examined ways to break the stereotype of who exactly ails from eating disorders. It’s not a ‘rich white girl’ disease. Disordered eating and full-blown eating disorders plague people of every shape, size, race, ethnicity, gender, you name it. It stems from both biological and environmental factors. This quote was mentioned during the talk & it was so powerful: “Genetics load the gun; Lifestyle pulls the trigger.”

The culprit for 30 million Americans suffering from disordered eating is, in part, the media we are subjected to on a daily basis. It’s certainly not breaking news that the media is a huge stressor in disordered eating and body dissatisfaction. Television, movies and magazines consistently promote the thin ideal; an ideal that is naturally obtainable for less than 5% of women.

  1. Freaking. Percent?!

So…. you’re telling me that if 1000 women were shown a photo of how they “should look”, 950 of them would not fit that mold? There is something wrong when the majority of women viewing an ad of a model in a magazine cannot physically obtain the body type of said model. Shouldn’t we be seeing ads of people that actually look like us? The answer: no. How, then, would brands be able to sell if they didn’t push an ideal that made people strive for perfection? Simple: they wouldn’t.

Put blankly, industries thrive off making you feel like shit. (Sidenote: I feel the need to say not all advertising is bad and a lot of the time I think the ‘thin ideal’ message is sent unintentionally. Though it is the subject of some controversy, I *looove* Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty.)

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What is the solution? That I don’t have an answer for. Several things could be a step in the right direction. I feel like, as women, we need to stop basing our entire worth on how attractive we are. We should be beautiful for characteristics other than our looks.

Personally, I’ve learned to accept the fact that I may never have the body of models in advertisements or actresses in movies; I arm myself with the knowledge that even the most beautiful celebrities are RIDICULOUSLY photo-shopped and airbrushed. (Freakin’ Beyonce is photoshopped… I mean.. Come on.) I also have learned to love my body for what it is; it breathes for me, it digests my peanut butter toast & banana and then carries me 14 miles. Most importantly it’s the only one I’ve got—so I better get used to it, huh?

Overall, I feel very fortunate to have been a part of such a great discussion. As someone who has struggled with disordered eating at one point in time, it gave me hope to see that there is help out there. There is a change happening and I can only describe it as conversation.

I loved being able to HAVE the conversation.

Eating disorders are very private problems and are difficult to talk about. Truthfully, the topic seems like a conversational taboo. I can’t stress how important it is to address these issues head on, seek help when you need it and start the conversation about recovery. The fact that there are places like Rock Recovery and Prosperity give hope that there are alternative resources to expensive in-patient care.

Thank you again to Angelica, Rock Recovery & Prosperity for organizing such a thought-provoking event!

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Be sure to check the hashtags #NEDWeek and #ihadnoidea for some seriously incredible stories. If anyone is interested to know more about either of these programs:
http://www.prosperityedwell.com/
http://rockrecoveryed.org/

I hope everyone has a fabulous Monday and if you take anything away from reading my post today, let it be this: please seek help if you need it. There is ALWAYS someone willing to listen & help.

XO,
Julia