My Top 5 Hot Breakfast Ideas

I absolutely love starting my day on a healthy note, which is why my mornings always include a nutritious breakfast. There’s a reason why our morning eats are called the most important meal of the day: Breakfast breaks the fast that your body has been enduring overnight, gives you energy, and gets your metabolism revved early in the day.

In honor of February being National Hot Breakfast Month, today I’m sharing 5 of my favorite hot morning meals with you guys. Let’s get to it!

protein blueberry pancakes

1.) Protein pancakes. A week never goes by without me making pancakes of some sort! Here’s one of my go-to protein pancake batter recipes:

Combine the following in a blender just until combined, then form into a couple of pancakes on a griddle over medium-low heat. Cook until lightly browned on each side, and pair with your favorite toppers…. such as sliced strawberries, blueberries cooked in the batter, some dark chocolate chips thrown in, banana slices + peanut butter topper… the possibilities are endless!  

  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ½ banana
  • ½ cup almond milk or milk of choice
  • 2 TBSP whole wheat flour or other flour of choice
  • ½ scoop vanilla protein powder
  • ¼ TSP cinnamon
  • Dash of salt & sweetener (I use either stevia or honey)
  • ¼ TSP baking powder

avo toast with apple

2.) Avocado toast. I’m kind of obsessed with avocado, and love incorporating it into this simple breakfast: Mash some avocado on a slice of freshly toasted wheat bread, and add a squeeze of fresh lemon & a sprinkle of sea salt. I often pair it with a sliced, cinnamon sprinkled apple.

Vans waffles with baked apple

3.) Van’s apple cinnamon waffles. I first started eating Van’s waffles when I had a brief stint with trying out a gluten free diet, and ever since then a box of them can often be found in my freezer. My favorite variety is their apple cinnamon waffles, and my go-to ways to eat them are a.) with baked apple chunks and honey, or b.) with banana slices, nut butter & honey:

Vans waffles with banana & nut butter

Van’s waffles are such an easy breakfast to throw together when I’m in a rush. Yum!

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Chocolate Pretzel Almond Butter Granola Bites

Happy Friday!

Let’s kick off the weekend with something sweet, shall we? chocolate pretzel granola bites-5

With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, I’ve been finding myself with dessert on the brain. I just can’t help it!

Also, my hubby and I are celebrating our friend’s 30th birthday tonight, and I can’t let a friend’s birthday pass without baking them some sort of sweet treat…  #foodieproblems

Nektar chocolate covered pretzels

Recently Nektar Naturals sent me some of their new dark chocolate covered pretzels dusted with honey crystals to play around with, and I came up with this fun granola snack:

chocolate pretzel granola bites

Does anyone else love mini-sized foods? I find them to be so cute and fun, so instead of making regular granola bars, I cut them into little squares for granola bites. Made with oats & hemp hearts and sweetened with honey, dark chocolate chips, and a couple dark chocolate covered pretzels, these babies are great to grab on-the-go, throw a few on top of a yogurt bowl, eat as a healthy sweet treat, or to enjoy with your morning tea or coffee.chocolate pretzel granola bites-1 Continue reading

Mediterranean Feta & Lemon Hummus Dip

Hi friends! So, this weekend’s the big game in California… and while I have no strong feelings towards one team or the other, I always love a good Super Bowl!

The actual game, the half-time show, the obscenely expensive commercial spots… I love it all. And we obviously can’t forget about football food! I’ve been drooling at my computer screen all week checking out my fellow blogger friends’ recipes for game day, and today I’m sharing a new yummy one of my own.
Mediterranean Feta Dip

While I’m a sports fan in general, football is definitely my favorite sport. I grew up with my dad coaching football (still does!), so I think I was kind of bred into loving the sport. I was a competitive cheerleader from ages 7-17 who cheered at many football games, both of my brothers played football growing up (one of which coaches football now), and these days I’m just as big of a fan of the NFL as my husband is – though he’s an Eagles fan and I’m a Giants fan.

This fan rivalry was a minor point of contention when we met, and we still tease each other when our respective teams blow a game (It happened pretty often this season! Ugh.). I played in two Fantasy Football leagues this year, and it’s so much fun!

Mediterranean feta hummus dip-1

I don’t typically enjoy going to parties or bars for the Super Bowl because I actually like to watch the game and hear what’s going on. Most years my hubby and I just relax at home and watch it.

But, this in no way means that I scrimp on game day food! Hell no. I like any reason to have fun in the kitchen in general, so naturally I get all excited and make a bunch of fun Super Bowl food for just the two of us.

Mediterranean Feta Hummus Dip-3 copy

This dip idea was born after I made a few batches of the lemon hummus recipe that I shared last week. Actually, the title of this post could have been The Week That I Made 5 Batches of Hummus, because that’s precisely what happened.

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Healthy Valentine’s Day Dessert Recipes from Super Sister Fitness

One of the best parts about being involved in the healthy living world is getting to meet other health pros and bloggers that share my love for leading a balanced, active lifestyle full of yummy, healthy food. It’s always so inspirational and fun chatting with people that share my passions!

Recently I got to meet Liz, who runs Super Sister Fitness with her sister Sara. The two trainer sisters share tons of easy healthy recipes, free workouts and women’s challenges on their blog, and I’ve teamed up with them to share a fun post with you today.

Super Sisters Liz & Sara

Super Sisters Sara & Liz

Like me,  Liz & Sara teach women that eating healthy doesn’t have to mean restricting or depriving yourself of chocolate. As Sports Nutrition Specialists, they rely on the mentality of “all things in moderation,” but these sisters believe it’s best to choose more natural foods and learn how to make them taste great, as opposed to just buying store-bought candy that’s full of sugar and fake ingredients.

To kick off the month of February, today Liz & Sara are sharing their top 2 healthy dessert recipes for Valentine’s Day: Healthy Chocolate Truffles and Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake Pops. If you’ve got a sweet tooth that seems to get in the way of your goals, these recipes are for YOU.

Try making them for VDay and no one will even be able to tell they’re actually healthy!

First up we’ve got their recipe for healthy chocolate truffles:

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New 1:1 Health Coaching Offering!

My active, healthy lifestyle is such a big part of my life. As a health coach, I love getting the opportunity to share some of my knowledge and passion about health, and to help support my clients in reaching their healthy living goals.

start living healthy

I believe there’s no greater feeling than feeling healthy & happy from the inside out! That feeling transcends into every other part of life. Making an active lifestyle a priority, feeling like you have the power in your diet, and coping with stress in healthy ways are some of the things that I work on with my clients.

Nicole Crane Health - Logo

Normally, I offer a 6-month health coaching program, where the client and I “meet” (via in person, Skype or phone) every other week to hold an hourlong session. In between those meetings, we often communicate via email, where I send motivational notes, informational handouts about things we’ve discussed, and answer any questions that pop up. My program is tailored to the individual, so I customize it depending on their needs and challenges.

To Be Healthy - quote

While 6 months is thought to be an ideal amount of time to make healthy changes a habit and create a new lifestyle that can stick, I understand that committing to 6 months is a lot for some people. That’s why I’m offering a brand new option that allows you to become a health coaching client without diving right into a whole program: a 6 session package!

6 Session Offer

Just what does this offering include?

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How I Recover from Challenging Workouts

Hey friends!

How have your workouts been in 2016 so far? I’m proud to say that I’ve been kicking some serious butt lately! After taking a few weeks off of exercise being sick at the start of the year (I can’t remember the last time I took even a week off of workouts before that!), I was so happy to get back into it. Working out truly just makes me feel awesome, balanced, happy and accomplished.

(There’s a reason this blog is called Foodie Loves Fitness people!) 

When I Move-quote

I’m in the midst of week 2 of a 6-week challenge with my HIIT gym, where I’ve committed to workout there at least 4x a week for the duration of the challenge. So far it’s going great, but boy, do those HIIT sessions fatigue my muscles. Since it’s the end of January when a lot of people are a good couple of weeks into their New Year’s resolutions to consistently exercise, I thought that today was the perfect time to talk about something very important: workout recovery. Here are some things that I constantly do post-workout to recoup!

Fit Mill workout collage

HYDRATION. Drinking enough water and replenishing those electrolytes is a must post-workout. I like keeping electrolyte packets around for when my workout has been particularly rough, and I’m experimenting with my new infuser pitcher:

water infuser pitcher

The last couple of days I’ve been drinking water infused with strawberries, cucumber, mint from my garden, and orange from my tree… and I’m liking it for a fun flavor twist!

FUEL. This one’s obvious, but after you beat your body up working out, it’s essential to refuel. I try to get at least 20 grams of protein in within an hour of finishing my workout, along with some healthy carbs and fat.

blueberry banana protein pancakes

blueberry banana protein pancakes

My post-workout meal depends on the time of day that I’ve exercised. Sometimes I have a dinner like black beans, brown rice, shredded cheddar cheese & avocado; will eat a breakfast like the above pictured protein pancakes; or I’ll have a protein fruit smoothie. It all depends, but it’s always some kind of healthy, nourishing food!

STRETCH IT OUT. I make it a habit to stretch every day, and it always feels particularly nice to stretch a couple of hours after a workout – especially if I didn’t get a lot of stretching in at the end of my actual workout, like when I go hiking or mountain biking. This is especially true if it’s the same day as my workout and I can already feel some delayed onset muscle soreness setting in. When that happens I know that I’ll be seriously feeling it the next day!

Side Planking

side plank stretching yesterday morning

WORK OUT THOSE KNOTS. I love to get out those muscle kinks with recovery tools! I keep my foam roller in my living room so that I remember to roll out anytime I go to watch television. In addition to the foam roller, recently I began using recovery tools from RAD Roller. The folks at RAD were nice enough to send me their muscle flushing kit, which includes the RAD Rod and RAD Helix products.

RAD Roller products

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Copycat Lemon Twist Hummus

Last fall, my friend Danielle came into town for the weekend and we had a girls’ wine tasting day in Temecula. We had a picnic at one of the wineries, and I had brought apples, cheese, pretzels, almonds, pumpkin bread, and a new flavor of hummus from Sabra called Lemon Twist:

winery-picnic

We pretty much housed the entire container of delicious hummus into our wine-filled bellies, and I made a mental note to try to recreate lemon twist hummus at home.

Last week, my favorite HIIT studio, The Fit Mill, hosted a membership event where we worked out, then enjoyed snacks & wine afterwards. I recently began partnering with The Fit Mill with my health coaching biz, and for the occasion I whipped up a few of my recipes. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to create a copycat lemon twist hummus. lemon hummus-5But first, I had to figure out the secret to super creamy hummus. I’ve posted a few hummus recipes on the blog before, and while I obviously love them, have always found that homemade hummus doesn’t have as creamy of a texture as store-bought or restaurant style hummus. Why is that?! I scoured the Internet to found out.

Besides using a ton of tahini, it turns out that one of the tricks to creamy hummus lies not within adding anything in, but taking something out: the chickpeas skins!
chickpeas & skins

It seems laborious, but removing the skins off a can of garbanzo beans takes about 10 minutes. You gently squeeze the bean and the skin just pops off. And ooh la la, it is worth the effort! My hummus experiments resulted in super smooth, creamy, lemon twist hummus. Trust me, I will be doing this with every batch of hummus I make from now on! You simply must try it.

Lemon Twist Hummus Continue reading

The Diet Trick That’s Guaranteed to Make You Healthier

Nutrition is such an interesting subject. There are so many dietary theories out there with millions of loyal followers, yet often they conflict with each other.

Dietary Theory books

(Image via the Institute for Integrative Nutrition)

In all honesty, some of them make me cringe a bit. I’m talking to you, Paleo followers that claim they’re “eating like a cave man” yet they buy conventionally raised meat that was likely transported from halfway across the country from animals that had been pumped full of hormones and antibiotics, and fed a diet unnatural to them.

But I digress. Nutrition can definitely be confusing for people, even for someone whose studied nutrition and is really into food like myself. While dietary theories can drastically differ in ideology, there’s one thing that I believe all decent diets have in common: lots of veggies & fruits.

veggies

My #1 diet trick is something that I consciously implemented into my daily eats years ago: Eat veggies and/or fruits at every.single.meal. 

It might sound hard to eat at least one veggie or fruit every time you eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner, but with a bit of planning, I promise you that it’s not. Here are some examples of how I do it:

zoodles

If I’m quickly throwing together some ravioli or pasta for dinner, I make sure that there’s a green alongside it, like zoodles or string beans. Sometimes it’s a fresh veggie, other times it’s something canned or frozen… whatever works in the moment!

Chocolate cashew banana protein smoothie

Chocolate cashew banana protein smoothie

I’m a smoothie monster. I make one almost every day. What does every single smoothie I make have in it? Either banana or some sort of berries.

Ponte pasta primavera

If I’m out to dinner, I tend to order an entree with a lot of veggies. If my entree happens to not have a lot of veggies, I get a salad as an appetizer. That salad not only nourishes my body, but it cuts the edge off of my hunger, so I’ll eat less of my entree (Leftovers are awesome!).  

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#Gratefulin2016 {Weekend Recap}

If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” – Martin Luther King, Jr. 


Hi friends!

I’m coming at ya a day later than my usual Monday post due to my being (mostly) off of work for yesterday’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday.

After I wrote my post on 10 techniques to develop a positive attitude a few weeks ago, I started thinking about how I could share more positivity on social media this year. I like to post positive quotes and thoughts here and there, but I decided that in 2016, I will consciously spread positivity online each and every week using one of the techniques I mentioned: Take a few moments to count your blessings daily. 

Gratitude-Deepak Chopra

(source)

And just how am I planning on doing that? Introducing #Gratefulin2016! 

It’s a social media movement of sorts that I’m starting to focus on what I’m thankful for. Every Monday (and whenever else the mood strikes me) on my Twitter and Instagram, I’ll share something that I’m feeling grateful for…and I’d love for you all to participate too!

It’s a way for us to share what’s going well in our lives, instead of harping what we’re dissatisfied with. A grateful heart is thankful for things big and small, so some weeks I’ll be sharing something BIG in my life, like my health, and some weeks I’ll be sharing something of less importance, like…. chocolate! And in the spirit of being grateful in 2016, today I’m sharing some things I felt grateful for last weekend:

La Jolla day date-2

My man. I got to spend the long weekend with my hubby – who I am so thankful to get to spend my life with. I was feeling especially grateful that we got to spend three days together since he was out in the field for the Marine Corps last week.

Harley-Jan 16

My pup. My goofball dingo often makes me laugh with her crazy antics, and I’m so thankful that I rescued her 5 years ago when she was an adorable little puppy looking for her forever home. She’s a total nut that entertains my hubby & me every day!

Elfin Forest hike-Jan 16

Hiking trails. On Saturday, my little family headed to Elfin Forest for a hike together. Breathing in the crisp air and pretty views as my heart pumped, I looked around and felt grateful to live near hiking trails like these.

trunk of fire wood

Cozy fires. On the ride back from said hike, we stumbled upon a resident selling firewood, so we loaded my car up with as much firewood as my Hybrid trunk would allow. I just love cozy fires in my living room on chilly winter nights.

fruit & cashew butter bowl

Fruit. You knew that food would be somewhere on this list, right?! I enjoyed the above pictured fruit bowl for breakfast over the weekend. I’m thankful to have the access and means to real, healthy food to nourish my body every day. I also was feeling thankful for my orange tree….

Orange tree-Jan 16…which clearly loved the recent rain! It’s crazy how much fruit has appeared in the past week or so. I picked some fruit over the weekend to eat and share with friends.

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San Diego Spotlight on Swami’s Cafe

Hi friends, and Happy Friday!

Today is another installment of my new San Diego Spotlight series, in which I share details about local restaurants, dessert spots, and wineries that I love. So far I’ve talked about Crepes & Corks Restaurant & Wine Bar and Elizabethan Desserts (Note: They were undergoing temporary closures the last time I stopped in there – insert sad teary face). Today’s feature is a quintessential Southern California eatery called Swami’s Cafe.

Swami's Cafe logo

Swami’s Cafe is a wonderful hippy dippy sort of place that has 9 locations around San Diego County. My favorite one that I’ve been to (I haven’t hit all of them just yet!) is their Highway 101 Encinitas spot, which is situated in a great location right next to the beach. This is most likely their first location, as Swami’s is also an internationally known surfing spot in Encinitas. The word ‘swami’ is used when talking about a yogi/religious guru, and right across the street from the restaurant is the Self-Realization Fellowship ashram, which was founded by Swami Paramahansa Yogananda. See, lots of ‘swami’ action in Encinitas!

Photo cred: Swami's website

Photo cred: Swami’s website

Open 7 AM to sunset, Swami’s Cafe serves healthy smoothies, sandwiches, wraps, pancakes, omelettes, waffles, soups, salads, fresh juices and wheat grass shots and juices. While they have a ton of plant-based options, the cafe also serves meat and fish items.

Photo cred: Swami's website

Photo cred: Swami’s website

My favorite thing to order from Swami’s is their acai bowl. It’s a massive smoothie bowl topped with more fruit, homemade granola, local bee pollen and coconut. Yum!

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