Saturday snack #1: Banana Bites and a running update

Hello there friends! Sorry for the hiatus…again. I promise I was not hibernating. Although, the weather here has made me want to lately. 🙁 I’ve just neglected blogging after a busy month of graduate school, work, observation hours (for my graduate program), working out, and occasionally socializing. 😛

Running update

Anyway, I was somehow convinced to run a 5k race this morning with my boyfriend outside, which is not my idea of hibernating! Luckily, today was the warmest day of the week at a whooping 20 degrees and I only needed two pairs of gloves to run outside. You would think after 8 years of high school and college cross country and track I’d be a pro at cold weather running, but that is not the case! I still dread it and sometimes don’t know how to properly dress for my runs…

Fortunately, I survived the race, had a bit of fun in the process, and only my face, hands, and feet lost feeling from the cold. 😛 I ran the race unofficially in 20 or 21 pain free minutes, which is great considering I haven’t run more than 10 miles per week or done any speed work since December because of my darn IT band…unfortunately my IT band hurts post race :(. On a happier note, my boyfriend who has been training more than me won! We thought he missed first place by a second or two because he was out kicked, but we were wrong. The race was chip timed and since he started further back he won. 🙂 This race has me excited for running again and yearning for my faster glory days in college. Maybe with some actual training I can prove to myself that my faster days are ahead of me, not behind me. Finger’s crossed that my IT band heals soon… I definitely need some time off and more strengthening and stretching because that race aggregated it. 🙁 Hopefully a week or two does the trick so I can increase my mileage and train for races again.

Banana Bites

Now, I have a short recipe to share with all of you.  Looking for a snack that is sweet, healthy, tasty, easy, and quick to make?! Look no further! Banana bites are your answer. You most likely have the ingredients on hand at your house. They are full of healthy fats, protein, and just the right amount of sweetness. They will keep for a few days in the freezer.

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Yield: variable depending on how many bananas used (I made 8 bites)

Ingredients

1-2 bananas

1 tablespoon natural peanut butter

1-2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt

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1.  Mix the peanut butter and Greek yogurt together on a plate

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2. Chop the banana(s) into slices

3. Spread the Greek yogurt/peanut butter mixture onto half of the banana slices

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4. Form sandwiches by using other half of the banana slices as the top slices

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5. Put the banana bites into the freezer in a covered container and let freeze for approximately 2 hours.

6. Enjoy! Keep any leftovers in the freezer. They should keep for a few days.

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Have a wonderful night friends and I hope you enjoy this simple, healthy snack! 🙂

Question of the day: Have you been running lately? If so inside or outside?  Any fun races?

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I’m BACK :), World Vegetarian Day, and sweet potato bites

Whoa, can you believe it’s already October 1st?!  I cannot believe how fast September was. I blinked and it was over! Well, now I want to apologize first hand by saying I am sorry for epically failing on updating this blog. My last post was over three weeks ago and I said I’d try to post at least once a week. Whoops… Work, school, and life got in the way. Plus I am almost done with my first round of nutrition exams- after this upcoming Friday I will be officially done with round one. Thankfully, my job reduced my hours since 20-30 hours per week was way too much for this full time nutrition student! Now  that I have less hours at work I am now in more of a routine for studying, running/working out, commuting to class, and I know what is expected out of me in my classes. Even though I was a cross country athlete in undergrad and had a part time job, I still had to relearn this last month just how important time management is!  Regardless, I promise I am now going to try to update more often. I have thought of so many potential ideas for topics on this blog in the last month- I just haven’t posted them!

Well, I thought what better day to resume more regular updates on my blog than on world vegetarian day!  I hope you all celebrate today by eating a plant based dinner even if you aren’t vegetarian or vegan. 🙂 I plan to make homemade minestrone soup (I’ll share the recipe in a future post)! Not only is Oct. 1st world vegetarian day, but to me it also means fall time.  Nothing screams fall to me like apples, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, soup, crunchy leaves, crisp autumn runs, cozy sweaters, and hot beverages.

In honor of fall and world vegetarian day, I wanted to share a sweet potato recipe with all of you. It is basically just a healthier and bite sized version of sweet potato fries. Sweet potatoes, which are nutrient superstars, have more potassium than bananas, a healthy does of fiber, and a good source of vitamins A and C.  The following recipe is easy, makes a perfect snack or side dish, and is made with heart healthy olive oil.

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Sweet Potato Bites

ingredients:

2-3 sweet potatoes

1  Tablespoon olive oil

dash of salt

dash of pepper

instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Lightly grease a baking sheet with cooking spray or use a non stick baking sheet and do not grease it.

3. Chop the sweet potatoes into bite sized pieces. Do not worry about the shape of the pieces.

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4. Put the sweet potatoes in a medium mixing bowl and add the olive oil. Mix the potatoes and oil with your hands. Then, add the salt and pepper to the oil and potato mixture.

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6. Place the potatoes on the baking sheet and bake for 25-35 minutes or more turning the potatoes often and checking regularly to see if they are done. You may want to cook them longer than 35 minutes for crisper bites.

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I hope all of you enjoy this recipe and have great nights!

What is your favorite thing about fall? I personally love apple and pumpkin picking. 🙂

Tasty Tuesday #4: easy, peasy black bean salsa

Wow, it’s been way too long since I’ve posted a black bean recipe! Since black beans are one of my favorite foods and what inspired the name of this blog, I figured it was time for another black bean recipe. This black bean salsa is super easy to make, relatively healthy, and only takes about 5 minutes from start to finish. It would probably taste even better if you made your own salsa from scratch, but then it would take a little longer to make. This recipe is courtesy of my boyfriend and his sister. It will definitely be a part of our snack rotation here from now on. It tastes wonderful with tortilla or pita chips. 🙂

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easy, peasy black bean salsa

ingredients:

1 can of organic black beans

2/3 cup of salsa (we used On The Border Medium Salsa)

steps:

1. Drain and rinse a can of black beans.

2. Put the uncooked and rinsed black beans and 2/3 cup of salsa in a food processor.

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3.  Puree the black beans and salsa until relatively smooth.

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3. Store the salsa in an airtight container in the refrigerator.


While this salsa is delicious, I’d still have to say homemade black bean burgers are my favorite way to eat black beans. I posted a recipe for black bean burgers previously if any of you are curious . I’m thinking of making black bean brownies in the near future and featuring them on this blog, but we will see! I am always searching for new recipes using black beans so stay tuned. 😛 Have a great night everyone!

Have any of you ever had black bean salsa before? Also, do any of you have any recipes for homemade salsa you’d be willing to share with me? If so comment here or email me at blackbeanqueen@gmail.com.

Vegan banana nut energy bars & Monday running motivation

Good morning everyone! Today I wanted to share a recipe for my favorite homemade energy bars, but first here’s a little Monday running motivation for all of you (myself included) who still need to get a run in today. 😉

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Now after that wonderful picture, back to the recipe. I make a batch of the vegan banana nut energy bars nearly once a week for my boyfriend and I. I’m not going to lie there’s rarely even a crumb left by the end of the week. I woke up and made a quick batch this morning because I wanted to make sure they were ready in time for my boyfriend to bring to his class later today as a snack. They are relatively cheap to make, tasty, vegan, full of pronounceable ingredients, filling, and semi-healthy (as long as you only eat one or two at a time 😉 ). I adapted the recipe from the banana oat energy bars in The Runner’s World Cookbook on page 47. Here’s a link to the original if you do not own that cookbook. Without further ado, here’s the recipe!

Vegan banana nut energy bars

yield: 16 bars

ingredients:

2 ripe bananas

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.5 cups of oats

3/4 cup all purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

3/4 cup raisins

1/2 cup cashews (or any nut/seed)

1/4 cup sunflower seeds (or any nut/seed)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8×8 inch glass baking dish.

2. Mash the banana in a mixing bowl. Then add the oil, sugar, and vanilla extract. Mix together.

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3. In another larger mixing bowl combine the oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon.

4. Add the raisins, cashews, and sunflower seeds to the flour mixture.

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5. Add the banana/sugar/oil mixture to the flour/nut mixture and mix until combined.

6. Pour the mixture into the greased glass baking dish and spread until even.

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7. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top starts to brown. Allow them to cool completely before cutting into bars.

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I hope all of you enjoy this recipe and have a great day today! As soon as I publish this post I’m going to do my IT band exercises and go for a short run, fingers crossed that my IT band stays pain free!

What are your favorite energy bars, homemade or store bought?

Tasty Tuesday #1- my favorite snacks

Good evening! I don’t know about you, but I just finished watching the USA vs. Belgium World Cup game. It was a slow moving game until it went into extra time where both teams were 0-0 initially.  Belgium scored twice during the extra time and USA scored once at minute 106. Belgium will advance to the quarter finals against Argentina. What a heartbreaker for the USA, but I am still proud of my country and they fought hard. I am happy I was able to watch the game live! I have a summer class once a week on Tuesdays and for the last few weeks I’ve had to commute from home to class for a total commute time of nearly 4 hours. I got out of class early today and my commute took less time than normal so I was able to catch the game! This is my last week of a long commute though, thankfully! I move to my apartment this weekend and I will be much closer to my class there.  🙂

My favorite snacks

I am a big fan of snacks. In fact, I LOVE to snack! I’m more of a grazer than a three meals a day kind of girl. I’d rather eat smaller meals/snacks more often during the day. The amount of meals/snacks I eat in a day really just depends on what workouts I am doing and how my body feels. For tasty Tuesday I thought it would be fitting to discuss something food related so, I thought I would share five of my favorite snacks right now.  I try to eat healthy most of the time and my snacks reflect this. I do think that moderation is key and a little dessert or processed food every once in a while shouldn’t hurt or jeopardize your health though. 😉

1. Smoothies. I absolutely love smoothies! I  typically make mine with fresh or frozen fruit, vanilla or plain Greek yogurt, and almond milk. I also like to freeze my smoothies and eat them with a spoon, kind of like ice cream. I’ve been eating frozen smoothies a lot lately. 🙂  I am going to eat this cherry smoothie later, once it is frozen:

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2. Hummus with pretzels and/or carrots. I also love hummus and I’ve been eating Sabra original and Tribe sweet red pepper or original lately. Both brands are delicious, but I really need to learn how to make my own hummus because it is probably a lot cheaper.

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3.Greek yogurt with a tablespoon of dark chocolate chips. When I’m craving something sweet this is my go to snack. It tastes especially good if you put the Greek yogurt and dark chocolate chips in the freezer for a bit. My favorites are Oikos vanilla or plain Greek yogurt and Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips.

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4. Homemade energy bars. My current favorite homemade energy bar is the banana oat energy bar from the Runner’s world cookbook.  I also really like homemade energy bars with peanut butter such as the ones I made and posted here on this blog last Saturday.

5. Popcorn. Most microwave and bagged popcorn are high in fat and full of unrecognizable ingredients which is unfortunate because popcorn is delicious and can be healthy. Thankfully, if you pop your own in an air popper you can turn it into a healthy snack. I typically eat air popped popcorn plain or with a little salt or cinnamon sugar. As far as microwave popcorn goes, Orville Redenbacher’s Simply Salted is the most “natural” I could find in terms of unrecognizable ingredients. I believe it just has popcorn, oil, and salt and I eat it sometimes instead of air popped. I also enjoy  an occasional bag of microwave kettle corn.

What are your favorite snacks right now? Also, any suggestions on toppings for air popped popcorn?