Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Try It: Live Real Farms Energy Drinks

I love the convenience of pre-made energy/recovery drinks for getting post-workout nutrition. So I was super excited when Live Real Farms contacted me to see if I might be interested in trying their new energy drinks. After checking out their website - the company is 100 percent farmer owned and part of Dairy Farmers of America! - and reading a bit more about the product, I couldn't wait to try the drinks. 

Live Real Farms Energy Drinks are made with real dairy and are sweetened with real fruit juice. The energy boost in each drink is from a combination of fruit juice, green tea extract and vitamin B12 and also contains vitamins A, C and D. The drinks are lactose free, gluten free and fat free and have just 180 calories per serving. 

The drinks come in three flavors: Peach Mango, Berry Berry and Strawberry Banana. My favorite of the three is Peach Mango but all of the flavors were delicious! The drinks remind me of a tasty yogurt smoothie with a great consistency and no chalky after taste. 

Although marketed as energy drinks, I ended up drinking them as post-workout snacks. With 33g of carbohydrate and 12g of protein, they are a great way to replenish energy stores. Plus, you just can't beat the convenience of tossing one in your gym bag in the morning and then having a delicious snack ready to drink at the end of the workout. These drinks get a two thumbs up from me! 

If you live in Wisconsin or Minnesota or are in the Phoenix area, you can find Live Real Farms Energy Drinks in the refrigerated juice section at several local grocery stores. Otherwise, I recommend contacting Live Real Farms to see if the energy drinks are coming to a store near you anytime soon!

My questions for you:
  • What do you typically drink/eat post-workout?
  • Do you use energy/recovery drinks in your training? If so, what ones have you tried and what do you like/dislike about them?

- ST

*I received Live Real Farms Energy Drinks to review. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Live Real Farm's energy comes from simple things, including Vitamin B12, fruit juice and green tea extract and is a good source of Vitamin A, C and D. It’s lactose free, gluten free and fat free, packed with 12 grams of dairy protein, with only 180 calories per 11oz serving. - See more at:
Live Real Farm's energy comes from simple things, including Vitamin B12, fruit juice and green tea extract and is a good source of Vitamin A, C and D. It’s lactose free, gluten free and fat free, packed with 12 grams of dairy protein, with only 180 calories per 11oz serving. - See more at:
Live Real Farm's energy comes from simple things, including Vitamin B12, fruit juice and green tea extract and is a good source of Vitamin A, C and D. It’s lactose free, gluten free and fat free, packed with 12 grams of dairy protein, with only 180 calories per 11oz serving. - See more at:

Monday, October 26, 2015

Maple Salmon

Who loves a delicious dinner that's simple to prepare and easy on the waistline? This girl!

As part of the local YMCA's Fall Into Fitness Challenge, I recently tried another new recipe, Maple Salmon. A few weeks ago, I tried a challenge recipe for Honey Dijon Chicken and it was really good! So I had high hopes this recipe would be just as satisfying. 

It ended up being the perfect thing to eat after a tough workout. Protein rich, super tasty and filling. I paired it with a Fruit & Nut Kale Salad but it would be good with any type of salad. 

Maple Salmon
Serves 4

1 lb raw salmon, cut into four portions
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper

Place salmon, skin side down, in a baking dish lined with aluminum foil. In a small bowl, combine the maple syrup, soy sauce, garlic, garlic salt and black pepper. Pour mixture on top of the salmon and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. After marinating for 30 minutes, bake the salmon for 12-15 minutes - or until the salmon is pink and can be flaked with a fork.

Optional: I decided to make an extra half batch of the maple mixture and brushed it on top of the salmon after it was done baking. Make sure you keep the extra maple mixture separate from your salmon marinade to avoid contamination.

Tell me: What's your favorite easy-to-prepare dinner?

- ST

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Pumpkin Run 5k Race Recap

As the saying goes, practice makes perfect. Although I'm far from perfect, I do think I'm making a bit of progress on smart 5k race pacing. Instead of going all-out from the gun, I'm finally feeling comfortable sitting back a bit during the first mile and then picking up the pace during the last 2/3 of the race. 

Earlier last week, Coach Matt gave me a workout to simulate how pacing might work during an ideal race.The workout went really well so I was feeling good about how Sunday's Pumpkin Run 5k might play out. Although I knew it wasn't a goal race, I still wanted to run well to test my training from these past few weeks and also to gain a little confidence before my first fall goal race, the Milwaukee Running Festival 5k.

This is where I admit mistakes were made - two before the race even started. First of all, I forgot my Garmin. I really wanted my mile splits for this race but told myself it would be a good test of running by effort. However, I think seeing numbers on the watch might have motivated me to run a bit faster. Second, I overdressed. It was a cooler morning (38ish degrees) and for some reason I thought it was necessary to wear a long sleeve top with another long sleeve top layered on top. AND it was the race shirt I layered on top (last-minute decision), to make it an even bigger faux pas. Haha! Needless to say, I overheated about halfway through the race. I should have stuck with a singlet and armwarmers.

But at least a mistake was not made by running too fast at the start of the race. I lined up a few rows back to avoid sprinting out and actually did a good job of keeping the pace controlled during the first mile. It was hard letting people pass me but I tried to stay positive and told myself I would be able to catch them later in the race. 

Thanks for the pic, Jeff!

A little past the halfway point, I started pacing off the woman in front of me. I tried surging past a few times but she would just re-catch me then cut in front. So I decided I would draft off her for the last part of the race instead of wasting energy with the cat and mouse game. In hindsight, I'm not sure this was the best decision. It seemed smart at the time, but I kind of wonder if I should have just laid down a faster/longer surge to see what would have happened. Because the thing is, when you pace off someone else, you are running their pace ... and maybe not pushing it as much as you should. In a way, it was lazy racing on my part!

After finishing the race, I ran/walked back on the course to find Mom and run her in. She ran a really good race and ended up finishing 3rd in her age group! 

So a great race for Mom but a so-so race for me. But at least this was only the dress rehearsal and I know what I need to change before the Milwaukee Running Festival 5k. I'll start with remembering my Garmin and not overdressing ;)

My questions for you:
  • What do you race in when the temps are in the 30s?
  • Do you ever wear the race shirt at the actual race?
  • Do you ever pace or draft off people in front of you? Or do you always run your own race?

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

- ST

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Honey Dijon Chicken + Cherry Almond Couscous

Throughout October and during part of November, I'm participating in a fitness challenge through the local YMCA. It's called Fall Into Fitness and through the challenge, people can earn points for doing various fitness activities. For example, running, taking a group exercise class or participating in a community fitness event. 

Another way participants can earn points is by making one of the recipes of the week, which is how I discovered this delightfully simple chicken dish. 

I modified the recipe a bit from the original version. I decided to bake the chicken since I wasn't in the mood to deal with a messy grill pan. I also reduced the mayo and added parsley and garlic powder for a bit of extra flavor!

You can serve the chicken with any type of grain or potato. I just decided on couscous because it's quick to prepare. 

Honey Dijon Chicken
Serves 4

1 lb chicken breast tenderloins
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup honey
1 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp dried parsley 
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a small bowl, mix together the mustard, honey, mayo, parsley and garlic powder. Place chicken in an oven-safe dish and cover with the sauce. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink.

Cherry Almond Couscous
Serves 4

1 cup dry whole wheat couscous
2 cups chicken broth
1 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup dried cherries
4 Tbsp sliced almonds

In a medium saucepan, bring chicken broth to a boil. Stir in couscous, parsley and garlic powder, then cover. Let sit for 5-7 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed. Fluff couscous with a fork, then stir in cherries and almonds.

When plating, I recommend topping each serving of couscous with a bit of the honey dijon sauce from the chicken. Delish!

Tell me: What's cooking in your kitchen?

- ST