Tuesday, June 30, 2015

11 Healthy Summer Peach Recipes.

It's peach season! Peaches are at their peak in July and August, so I asked my fellow FitFluential bloggers to share their favorite {healthier} peach recipes with me. From an individual peach mug cake to peach mustard sauce and peach ice cream, every meal and snack is covered in this summer recipe roundup.

Check out these great fitness and healthy lifestyle blogs by clicking on the peach recipe links below, or the blog link to redirect to each site.


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Energy Bites.

I have a perfect snack for the weekend that tastes just like a cookie but is packed with healthy ingredients - Peanut Butter Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Energy Bites!

I used a few of my favorite ingredients for this snack, including unsweetened peanut butter and Baker Miller steel cut oats {check out a recap of my first visit here}. Baker Miller's oats are sourced in the Midwest. Baker Miller is a stone-mill bakery and restaurant in the Lincoln Square neighborhood that grinds their own flour and oats. Check out their online flour shop for more details {not sponsored, I just love these oats!}.

K and I are packing these energy bites on an upcoming road trip for snacks, and leaving a few in the freezer for later. These healthy bites also include raisins, raw almonds, and dates. I used regular California dates for this recipe, instead of Medjool dates. California dates are much smaller so you need less than if you use Medjool.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Energy Bites
Makes 16 energy bites.

24 dates {pitted}
2/3 cup raw almonds
1/4 cup steel cut oats
4 teaspoons peanut butter
3/4 cup raisins

How to~
*Add all ingredients to a food processor. Process the mixture a few times. Stop the processor and use a spatula to re-combine the mix if needed.
*Keep processing until the ingredients are evenly combined {I like to use the "pulse" function}.
*Remove from the food processor and use a medium cookie scoop and your hands to form the mix into balls.
*Refrigerate covered for ~2 hours or overnight to harden.
*Keep refrigerated in a covered container - the bites should last cooled for one week, and longer if frozen.

Check out a few more of my recipes for healthy snacks: PB&J Energy Bites; Meyer Lemon Snack Bars; Healthy Pumpkin Spice Bites; and Chocolate Strawberry Coconut Energy Bites.

Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Caprese Chicken Zoodle Bowls.

This healthy dinner recipe is like summer in a bowl - fresh zucchini noodles topped with sweet mini tomatoes, basil from the garden, mozzarella pearls, and chicken hot off the grill. Caprese Chicken Zoodle Bowls is my new favorite dish!
This post contains affiliate links.

My mother-in-law gifted my sister-in-law and I each a spiralizer a few months ago and I'm still amazed at how fast a simple vegetable can turn into a noodle-like consistency. The only thing I have "spiralized" so far is zucchini, but I'm planning to noodle as many vegetables as possible this summer. You can find a similar spiralizer here.

I made an effort to spend most of the day outdoors on Sunday since it was the summer solstice, and came up with this recipe as a way to enjoy the first official day of summer. It was a warm, sunny and humid day in Chicago with a high around 80 and no thunderstorms {a day without rain is a rare occurrence lately}. I ended up with over 25,000 steps for the day according to my Health app, including several walks and a sweaty run. One of those walks was to the Logan Square Farmers Market, to pick up sunburst tomatoes for this recipe.

We ended the afternoon by walking to the grocery store for the rest of our dinner ingredients, and spiralized the zucchini as soon as we got home. It works best to cook "zoodles" one serving at a time {one zucchini per person}. I sauteed each zucchini for 4-5 minutes with 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Toss the zucchini occasionally while they cook.

K was in charge of the grill for this dinner. He prefers to marinade chicken for at least two hours before grilling. Any mild marinade will work for this recipe - we used Hawaiian dressing (1/2 cup) and marinaded it for 2 hours in a container {refrigerated}.

I hope you enjoy this summer in a bowl!

Caprese Chicken Zoodle Bowls
Serves 4.

1.25 pounds boneless, skinless chicken tenders
1/2 cup Hawaiian dressing {for marinade}
1 cup mozzarella pearls
1 cup cherry tomatoes {sliced}
1 cup sunburst tomatoes {sliced}
4 zucchini
8 basil leaves
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning {divided}
Salt & pepper, to taste
Balsamic vinaigrette

How to~
*Spiralize four zucchini. Saute each zucchini separately on medium heat with 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, one lemon squeeze, 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning, and salt/pepper to taste. Stir occasionally while cooking, for 4-5 minutes.
*Slice tomatoes and chiffonade 8 basil leaves.
*Grill chicken tenders on medium heat for ~4-5 minutes on each side.
*Slice the chicken and top zoodles with tomatoes, mozzarella pearls, and basil. Dress with balsamic vinaigrette.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Runner Advice: A Collection of Summer Running Tips.

Can you believe the summer solstice is almost here? Tomorrow is the longest day of the year, and I hope to enjoy it with a run and plenty of time outdoors. As we move into official summer days, it's important to think about how to run in warmer weather. Back in April, I posted my first Runner Advice post: How do you fuel before a race? Now is the perfect time to ask for more advice. The links below came from fellow running and/or fitness bloggers, who have great tips on how to stay safe {and enjoy!} running in the coming months.

Click on the linked articles and blogs below to read these fantastic tips.

Tips for Running in Warm Weather ~ Patty blogs at Reach Your Peak Ignite Your Passion

How to Stay Cool During Summer Runs ~ Lauren blogs at Breathe Deeply and Smile

Trick of the (summer) trade ~ Amanda blogs at Miss Zippy

6 simple tips on how to make time for running while kids are out of school ~ Lisa blogs at Run Wiki

8 Summer Running Tips ~ Debbie blogs at Coach Debbie Runs

My Dad's Two Cents: Running in Hot Weather ~ Sharon blogs at Mommy Runs It

Here are a few more links to check out for even more summer running advice:

What to wear when running in the summer ~ Eric blogs at Dirty Old Sneakers 

My biggest two pieces of advice for summer running: 1) stay hydrated and 2) run early in the day before it gets too hot! Julie blogs at Girl on the Move
    8 tips for keeping your family hydrated this summer ~ Lisa blogs at Run Wiki

    A Reluctant Southern Girl's Tips for Hot Weather Running ~  Erika blogs at MCM Mama Runs

    Summer Running Essentials ~ Melanie blogs at See Mommy Race

    How to Fuel for a Run, part 1 ~ Nicole blogs at Fitful Focus 

    Beginner's Guide Part 3: Running in the Heat ~ Carmy, a Toronto-based running blogger

    Do you have any tips for running in the summer?

      Monday, June 15, 2015

      Crunchy Brussels Sprouts and Apple Slaw.

      This Crunchy Brussels Sprouts and Apple Slaw combines shredded brussels sprouts, carrots, and cabbage with a healthier version of poppy seed dressing. This side dish is perfect for any barbecue.

      Hello! How was your weekend? Mine was busy and full of love, as we celebrated the wedding of close friends. This was my first time attending a wedding in the city limits, and it was great fun. Wedding guests rode buses from the church to the reception, stopping at Sportsman's Club on the way for a quick drink. I teared up at least three times during the wedding ceremony and reception speeches, so it was obviously a very sweet day.

      I also ran the PAWS Run for their Lives 8k on Sunday morning before heading back to the bride and groom's home for a post-wedding brunch. The PAWS race was soggy. It was pouring rain in the hours before the race, and sprinkled until about 1 mile into the run. I have never run a race in the rain before, and this was an epic way to break that streak! By the end of the race the partly sunny, humid day was back with a vengeance. I'm counting my lucky stars that I didn't fall in a puddle during the race, and I'm glad I made it out there to support the great cause that is PAWS Chicago. The team of runners I was part of {Dogs and Cats Living Together} ended up in first place among fundraisers this year! Check out my 2014 race recap here for more information about this wonderful annual race.

      Back to the recipe for tonight! I have an epic slaw to share that is a great side addition to barbecue season. This particular slaw uses one of my favorite Trader Joe's ingredients - shredded brussels sprouts. I have to admit I discovered brussels sprouts only a few years ago, and I can't get enough. Roasting the sprouts until they develop crispy, crunchy edges is my preferred way to prepare, but this slaw is a close second.

      Combine shredded brussels sprouts with shredded carrots, coleslaw mix, chopped apples and golden raisins. You can also shred your own brussels sprouts quickly in a food processor if you don't have access to the Trader Joe's version. Either way, this slaw will have a fantastic crunch!

      Crunchy Brussels Sprout and Apple Slaw
      Feeds a crowd.

      3 apples
      1 bag shredded carrots
      1 bag shredded coleslaw mix
      1 bag shredded Brussels sprouts
      3/4 cup golden raisins {I used jumbo raisins}

      6 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
      8 Tablespoons 2% Greek yogurt
      2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
      Juice of 1 lemon
      1 teaspoon salt
      1 teaspoon black pepper
      1 Tablespoon poppy seeds

      *Chop apples into 1/2 inches pieces. Stir in shredded carrots, coleslaw mix, and shredded Brussels sprouts. Add golden raisins.
      *Whisk together dressing ingredients and pour over slaw. Stir until evenly combined.
      *Chill the slaw for at least one hour before serving. The slaw will keep if it is chilled for a few days.

      Monday, June 8, 2015

      Horner Park Hill Workout + Farmers Market.

      Good morning and happy Monday! I have a new running workout to share today, incorporating hills. Anyone who is familiar with Chicago knows it is flat as a pancake. There is nary a hill in sight and you can get in a great, flat running workout anywhere in the city. However, there are in fact a few hills to be found if you look hard enough. The best hill that I know of is located in Horner Park on the northwest side of the city.

      Horner Park is in the Irving Park neighborhood, a few blocks south of Albany Park/Ravenswood Manor. The main corner of the park is the intersection of Montrose and California Avenues, which is also where the fieldhouse can be found. You can easily get to Horner Park on the brown line (CTA L train), by getting off at the Francisco stop and running south. That's where my run started on Saturday morning - just outside of the Francisco brown line stop.

      Horner Park is huge, totaling almost 55 acres. The park was built in the late 1940's, after the Chicago Park District acquired it from a former industrial site. This was part of a city-wide plan to create more recreational opportunities. Today the park includes tennis and basketball courts, baseball fields, a fieldhouse, playground, and a running/walking path. The park is named after a former Illinois governor, Henry Horner {source}. Running the large loop around Horner Park equals one mile.

      Here is the workout:
      *Start at Francisco Avenue and Manor Avenue, just outside of the Francisco brown line station.
      *Run south on Manor Avenue {it's a diagonal street} until you get to California Avenue.
      *Run south on California Avenue. The Horner Park fieldhouse is located on the corner of Montrose Ave. and California Ave. The run from the brown line station is just under 0.4 miles.
      *There are two loops inside Horner Park - one large loop and one smaller loop around the hill. As a warmup, run the large loop around the park. This will add 1 mile to your run.
      *After finishing the large loop, start your hill repeats. Sprint up the hill and walk {or jog} down. After each hill sprint, run the small loop around the hill {apx. 0.3 miles per loop}. Repeat five times.
      *As a cool down, run the large loop around the park. This workout totals just over 4 miles.

      Horner Park also has a wonderful farmers market, which started this past weekend on Saturday morning. The Horner Park Farmers Market made its debut in 2014, and expanded by several booths this year. The market will offer greens + vegetables of all kinds, flowers, eggs, coffee, sweets, and hot sandwiches. Buying flowers and fresh eggs was the perfect way for K and I to end our run.

      The Horner Park Farmers Market continues every Saturday morning through October, from 9am to 1pm. For more information, visit the Horner Park Advisory Council website and follow the Horner Park Farmers Market on Twitter. Check it out if you're in the area!

      Thursday, June 4, 2015

      Strawberry Rhubarb Chia Sauce.

      This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for supporting Chicago Jogger!

      This healthy five-ingredient recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb Chia Sauce is perfect for summer with no added sugar.

      I am loving strawberries right now. I haven't found the local, wild version at local farmers markets yet, but the regular grocery store berries are SO sweet and tasty in the mean time! I have been thinking about this recipe since last weekend, when I picked up a few stalks of rhubarb at the Logan Square Farmers Market. There are lots of recipes out there for strawberry rhubarb jam, and many contain loads of added sugar. This recipe is a thick sauce instead of a jam, with no sugar added. I promise you don't need it!

      All you you have to do is chop up a large stalk of rhubarb and a few cups of strawberries. Saute both in coconut oil on the stove until the rhubarb softens, and the strawberries release even more sweet flavor. Add vanilla extract, blend everything up a few times and you're good to go. I added a few teaspoons of chia seeds to thicken it up a bit. Find more ideas on how to use chia seeds in this post.

      This recipe filled my jelly jar up to the top. I only made one, but you can certainly increase this recipe to your liking. I have so many ideas on how to use this sauce! Swirl it into a morning bowl of oats, use it as a topping for ice cream, eat it with a spoon? The possibilities are endless. This sauce should keep for approximately one week, chilled.

      Strawberry Rhubarb Chia Sauce
      Makes 4 ounces.

      1 large stalk rhubarb {chopped}
      15 medium/large strawberries {or 3/4 a carton}
      1 teaspoon coconut oil
      1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
      2 teaspoons chia seeds

      How to~
      *Heat coconut oil in a saute pan on medium. Cook chopped rhubarb on medium for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
      *While the rhubarb is cooking, chop the strawberries.
      *Add chopped strawberries and vanilla extract. Cook on medium for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
      *Remove from heat and let it rest for ~5 minutes.
      *Add to a blender and mix for ~10 seconds. Add chia seeds and stir.
      *Chill in the refrigerator overnight.


      Monday, June 1, 2015

      Greek Yogurt Banana Bars with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

      Good morning, and happy first of June! I have a new dessert recipe to share today - Greek Yogurt Banana Bars with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting. I made this for a neighborhood party this weekend using very ripe bananas and a few healthier ingredients. These bars contain Greek yogurt and whole wheat flour, and a banana chip topping for extra crunch.

      This post contains affiliate links.

      Even though there are a few healthy ingredients in this dessert, I still used cream cheese frosting, with pure maple syrup. The bars were for a party after all! Good thing I ran this weekend, because the leftover bars are gone. Worth every bite.

      K and I have a "day of the week" banana guideline. It's a way to rate bananas based on how ripe they are throughout the week. If you start with green bananas on Sunday, by Saturday they might look like the above {perfect for banana bars}! My preferred "banana day" is Wednesday. A Wednesday banana is perfectly yellow, without any green left and no brown spots. I usually eat a banana in my morning smoothie so it doesn't matter that much... but it's a fun way to discuss bananas. We're food nerds, obviously.

      Anyways. I made these Greek Yogurt Banana Bars in a baking half sheet similar to this. You can also use a jelly roll baking sheet, for slightly thicker bars.

      Since these are banana bars instead of banana bread, they require a much shorter baking time - only 25 minutes. Instead of nuts, I topped these bars with chopped banana chips, processed in my blender a few times. Using banana chips added a nice crunch to each bar, and lots of extra banana flavor.

      Greek Yogurt Banana Bars with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
      Feeds a crowd.

      Bar ingredients~
      1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose white flour
      1/2 cup whole wheat flour
      1/2 cup white sugar
      1/2 cup light brown sugar
      1 and 1/8 cups 2% Greek yogurt
      1/4 cup butter {softened}
      3 ripe bananas {mashed}
      1 teaspoon baking soda
      1 teaspoon salt
      2 teaspoons vanilla extract

      Frosting ingredients~
      1 package reduced fat cream cheese {softened}
      2 cups powdered sugar
      2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
      2 Tablespoons butter {softened}
      1 teaspoon vanilla extract

      1/2 cup banana chips {chopped}

      How to~
      *Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
      *Mix sugar, yogurt, butter, and bananas in a mixer on low-medium speed, until combined.
      *In a separate bowl, mix flour, salt, and baking soda. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the mixer, mixing only until combined. Add vanilla extract.
      *Bake for ~25 minutes until the bars are light brown, and a toothpick comes out clean.
      *Let the bars cool before frosting.
      *To make the frosting, whisk softened butter and cream cheese with powdered sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Remember to refrigerate since the bars contain cream cheese!
      *To make the topping, process banana chips in a blender or food processor for ~5 seconds.

      {Recipe adapted from Sour Cream Banana Bars. Frosting recipe adapted from Martha Stewart's Maple Cream Cheese Frosting.}

      Affiliate link: