Friday, November 27, 2015

3 Tips for Winter Running + Under Armour eCard Giveaway

Happy Thanksgiving week friends! I spent a few holiday days with my family here in Chicago cooking my first turkey dinner at home. I'm headed to Iowa today to visit more family and hang out with my little nephews for the weekend, so I'll be traveling instead of shopping Black Friday this year. If you're in the same boat, I have a great giveaway to share for a $280 Under Armour eCard that will get you in the holiday shopping spirit! Enter via Rafflecopter at the end of this post. This giveaway is open until December 17. {Note: This giveaway has ended}

I wish I was eligible to win this giveaway myself, because it's a great time of year to stock up on winter training gear. Winter can be a challenging time for runners, myself included. Fall is my favorite season for outdoor training, so when the days turn chillier and dark afternoons become the norm, I need extra motivation to keep running until spring. I have 3 Tips for Winter Running to share tonight that will help you prepare to run during the busy holiday season and the winter months to come.

This post contains affiliate links.


Winter Tip 1 - Be Prepared

I have some favorite gear that keeps me running outdoors as long as possible. Having warm winter gear that isn’t too bulky is essential.

Stay warm with:
A running scarf. A good running scarf is lightweight, but it still covers your neck all the way around.
    Touch gloves. These gloves are extremely functional, allowing you to adjust your music as needed without exposing your hands to the cold.
      Wool socks. Wool is a great way to stay warm. These running socks will keep your feet cozy but are sleek enough for your foot to fit into your shoe.
        A headband. A good headband gives your ears full coverage without overheating your head on those long runs.
          Running tights. This may be the most important piece of winter gear! Warm running tights will keep your legs from freezing on chilly days.
            A thin down vest. A vest is a great piece of winter gear because of its flexibility. It will keep your core warm no matter the temperature.

              Winter Tip 2 - Learn to Love the Treadmill

              I’m an outdoor runner through and through, but on dark evenings and snowy or ice-covered days, you will find me indoors on a treadmill. It’s not my preferred way to get miles in, but I have easy treadmill access at my workplace gym and I keep things interesting by creating new treadmill workouts every week.

              My current favorite treadmill workout:
              • Warm-up by walking for two minutes at 3.1 miles per hour.
              • Run at a comfortable (slower) speed and increase by 0.1 mph every half mile.
              • Take a one-minute walking break every 2 miles if you need it.
              I usually start this treadmill run at 5.7 mph and aim to finish after reaching 4 miles. If you get bored easily, change the speed every quarter mile instead of at the half-mile mark. Switching the speed of the treadmill at various intervals makes the miles fly by. I also entertain myself by listening to happy tunes and interesting podcasts {I'm currently into Undisclosed}. Check out a few more of my favorite treadmill workouts here.

              Winter Tip 3 - Participate in Holiday Races

              The most exciting way to keep running this winter is by participating in a running challenge or local holiday race. Logging workouts and staying accountable is the best motivator for me during chilly months. Last year I was a team captain for the Nike+ Chiberia Challenge in Chicago. Five teams of 15 runners each competed to run 70 miles {per person!} over 13 days. My team didn't win, but we completed the challenge and I finished the miles one day early! This year, I’m registered for two holiday races - the Santa Hustle 5k on December 5 and Rudolph Ramble 8k on December 13. Winter or holiday-themed races are a great way to keep yourself motivated. It’s much easier to run outside in 20-degree weather and snow on the ground with hundreds of running friends and a clear finish line.

              Onto the Black Friday Giveaway - I teamed up with a group of my favorite fitness bloggers to offer this amazing holiday giveaway. Entries are open until December 17. One winner will receive a $280 Under Armour eCard! Winning this eCard would be a wonderful way to buy a gift for a fitness-loving friend or family member, or a treat for yourself. Enter via the Rafflecopter link below.



              a Rafflecopter giveaway

              Terms & Conditions: This giveaway opens on 11/27/15 and ends on 12/17/15. It is open to the residents of the United States only. There will be 1 winner of $280 eCard. Winners must be 18 years or older to win. Winners must complete all entries to be entered to win. The Frugal Exerciser will choose a winner no later than 12/18/15 via Rafflecopter. The entries will be verified and the winner will be contacted via email. The winner has 48 hours to respond and claim prize. If the winner doesn't claim prize within 48 hours their prize will be forfeit and a new winner will be chosen. By entering this giveaway you are abiding by all laws and regulations in your country.

              {A version of the 3 Tips for Winter Running post was originally published on the NBC Chicago Stride blog in December 2014. Chicago Jogger was a regular contributor to NBC Stride until the blog ended publication in spring 2015.}

              Sunday, November 22, 2015

              Chai Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats + Weekly Workouts

              How was your weekend? We had the biggest pre-Thanksgiving snow in the Chicago area in over 100 years - 11 inches according to the official recording at O'Hare Airport. In the city we had less than half of that in accumulation, but it was still way too much for me. I made the most of it by cooking up a batch of Chai Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats overnight on Friday, so we could enjoy a warm breakfast while watching the snow.


              This Chai Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats recipe would also be perfect for a healthy family breakfast before Thanksgiving this week. It only takes a few minutes to mix the ingredients, and I love that it cooks overnight and is ready to go when you wake up. Keep this in your recipe file for winter mornings that look like this:


              Pass the spoon!


              I used a new chai spice blend that I picked up a few weeks ago from Savory Spice Shop in the Lincoln Square neighborhood. This chai spice includes cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, black pepper, star anise, allspice, and bay leaves.


              You can also make your own if you don't have chai spice in your cupboard - the DIY Chai Spice Mix recipe from Fit Foodie Finds sounds delicious!


              Chai Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats
              Yields: 6 servings

              Ingredients~
              1 cup steel cut oats
              2 cups water
              2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
              2 teaspoons chai spice seasoning
              1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
              1 cinnamon stick
              1/4 cup pure maple syrup

              How to~
              *Cook on LOW in a slow cooker / crock pot for 6-8 hours.
              *Keep leftovers refrigerated. Reheat each oatmeal serving for one minute with 1/4 cup almond or regular milk. and stir well.


              Today also marks the end of week three of the November Fitness Challenge. Earlier this month, I posted about the Nike Get Out Here Contest and my November Fitness Challenge. Nike is challenging athletes to "Get Out Here" this winter as the season changes and we are tempted to hibernate indoors. I'm also challenging myself to "Get Out Here" with five workouts per week in November, outdoors as much possible.


              I didn't get outside as much as I would have liked, but I'm hoping to fit in several runs outdoors runs in the final challenge week. Here are my week 3 workouts:

              Wednesday, 11/18: Ran 3.1 miles
              Thursday, 11/19: 45 minute Cardio Barre class; ran 2 miles
              Saturday, 11/21: 20 Minute Home Bodyweight Workout
              Sunday, 11/22: 1 hour Pilates class; 3 mile walk

              Did you workout this weekend? What's the weather like in your neck of the woods?



              Affiliate link:

              Friday, November 20, 2015

              24 Hours in Door County

              In October, K and I visited Door County in Wisconsin for a long weekend. I have posted about Door County a few times on this blog. Over the summer, we spent a week up north with family and ran the Door County Hairpin 5k Race. This fall we ran the Run Wild Quarter Marathon in Sturgeon Bay. We got married in Door County a few years ago and it remains our favorite place to relax and enjoy the outdoors. Door County is located on a peninsula in northeastern Wisconsin, surrounded by Green Bay and Lake Michigan. We spend most of our time in "Nordoor" - the northern half of Door County. We try to visit at least a few weekends every year, since K's parents have a vacation home in the area. I have a huge list of my favorite places - today I'm sharing my top choices for 24 hours in Door County.


              8:30 am - Breakfast at Base Camp Coffee Shop

              The best coffee on the peninsula can be found at Base Camp Coffee Shop. I always get an almond milk latte, either hot or iced.


              You can find an amazing selection of French-inspired breakfast treats {and lunch} at this delicious cafe. My favorite thing to order is the house-made hazelnut granola yogurt parfait, but I'm partial to quiche if the weather is cool. During the winter, you can rent shoe-shoes and cross-country skis from Base Camp. Base Camp is open daily at 7:30 am.


              Base Camp Coffee Shop is located at 10904 Highway 42, Sister Bay, WI.

              10:00 am - Hiking at Newport State Park

              After lingering over your coffee and breakfast, head further north to Newport State Park for a morning hike. Newport State Park is over 2,300 acres in size, located near the tip of the Door County Peninsula. It's also Wisconsin's only designated wilderness park. My favorite trail for a hike is the Rowley's Bay loop trail, totaling 4 miles.


              Other outdoor activities at this park include off-road biking, camping, swimming, and snow-shoeing. Don't miss the beautiful lake views during and after hiking! Find more information on trails here.


              Newport State Park is located at 475 County Highway NP, Ellison Bay, WI. Note: A vehicle admission sticker is required.

              12:30 pm - Lunch at Door County Creamery

              Door County Creamery is a dairy farm and creamery, with a cafe featuring amazing sandwiches and treats to take home. I always pick up a few bars of goat's milk soap and flavored goat cheese {wild ramp is my favorite}.


              Owners Jesse and Rachael started making cheese in 2010, and opened their cafe and shop in summer 2013 {read more history here}. The Creamery also has a dinner + wine menu, and the best goat's milk gelato {my favorite flavor is lemon cookie - crazy good}. Stop here for lunch after your hike! If the weather is nice, you can dine outdoors and pet one of the goats on your way out.


              Door County Creamery is located at 10655 North Highway 42, Sister Bay, WI.

              2:00 pm - Shopping

              Take a walk after lunch to check out a few shopping spots in Sister Bay. On Deck Clothing Company is down the block from Door County Creamery, selling women's and men's clothing as well as Door County-themed gear. I picked up a few sweaters on our trip.


              Walk down the street Ecology Sports, located above the Base Camp Coffee Shop. Don't miss stopping at Sister Bay Marina on your way to check out the beautiful water views. Ecology Sports has a wonderful selection of outdoor and active wear. I purchased a new coat and scarf, and new running gear for cold weather - SmartWool socks and a head warmer.


              On Deck is located at 10635 N. Bay Shore Drive, Sister Bay, WI. Ecology Sports is located at 19094 Highway 42, Sister Bay, WI.

              3:30 pm - Visit Seaquist Orchards Farm Market

              After walking around Sister Bay to shop, get back in the car and drive to Seaquist Orchards, 2 miles north of Sister Bay. Seaquist is my favorite cherry orchard and they have amazing cherry products. You can't miss the cherry pie and dried cherries. I always pick up several containers of cherry pie filling to bring home {I actually have big plans for a dessert recipe for Friendsgiving this weekend - coming soon}.


              Seaquist Orchard products are locally grown and processed - they also have an apple orchard, and the best apple cider. The orchard has just under 1,000 acres of tart cherries, a few acres of sweet cherries, as well and apples and pears. You can also shop for products online.


              Seaquist Orchards Farm Market is located at 11482 Highway 42, Sister Bay, WI.

              5:00 pm - Cider Tasting and Island Orchard Cider

              You might be ready for a nap at this point, but stay with me! You can't miss a free cider tasting at the Island Orchard Cider Tasting Room in Ellison Bay.


              Island Orchard Cider is a gluten free, hard cider with a tasting room and bottles of cider for sale. Island Orchard started with an apple farm located on Washington Island {off the northern tip of Door County}. They create a French Normandy-style cider, which is dry and not overly sweet {my favorite}. According to Island Orchard Cider, French hard ciders are known for their champagne-like qualities. You can also find Island Orchard Cider for sale at a variety of stores throughout Wisconsin - search for a store here.


              Island Orchard Cider is located at 12040 Garrett Bay Road, Ellison Bay, WI.

              7:30 pm - Dinner at Wickman House

              Finish your day with dinner at Wickman House in Ellison Bay. The farm-to-table restaurant is located inside a beautiful 3 story house, on over 4 acres of land. The house was built by Andrew Wickman for his family in 1872, and was re-imagined as a gorgeous restaurant in 2012. Wickman House serves dinner Thursday - Saturday nights, and brunch on Sundays. Check out the dinner menu here. {Hint: My favorite dish is Rushing Waters Trout!} Wickman House is popular, so I recommend making a reservation online in advance.


              Wickman House is located at 11976 Mink River Road, Ellison Bay, WI.

              Overnight

              There are many wonderful places to stay in Door County - we stay with K's family, but since we got married in the area there are several hotels I can recommend. Gordon Lodge in Baileys Harbor; Pheasant Park Resort in Sister Bay; Birchwood Lodge in Sister Bay; and Scandinavian Lodge in Sister Bay.

              On your way out of town, don't miss a stop at Koepsel's Farm Market for pure maple syrup, fresh ground almond butter, and a huge selection of jams, salsa and cheese. We picked up all of the above, as well as caramel apples for the road and a bottle of New Glarus Cherry Ale to share with friends. Koepsel's also features a really neat antique store, connected to the farm market.


              Koepsel's Farm Market is located at 9669 WI-57, Baileys Harbor, WI.

              Have you visited Door County? What's your favorite relaxing vacation spot?


              Sunday, November 15, 2015

              Weekend Update + Weekly Workouts

              Hello! How was your weekend? We had beautiful weather again {I'll take 65 degrees in November every weekend!} and spent several active hours outdoors. A few weekend highlights -

              Saturday morning: Biking to Evanston for brunch with my friend M + meeting her baby for the first time.


              Saturday afternoon: Visiting Eataly downtown with K's parents to shop and try the truffle pop-up restaurant - Il Tartufo.


              Sunday morning: Finishing a morning run and a long walk after brunch with my friend E at Southport Grocery and Cafe. Hint: Get the breakfast sandwich, served on an English muffin with mashed potatoes as a side. Delicious!


              On the workout front, today marks the end of week two of the November Fitness Challenge. At the beginning of the month, I posted about the Nike Get Out Here Contest and my November Fitness Challenge. Nike is challenging athletes to "Get Out Here" this winter as the weather cools down and we are tempted to hibernate indoors instead of stay active outside. I'm also challenging myself to "Get Out Here" with five workouts per week in November, outdoors as much as I can.


              I'm happy to report that I met my goal this week. My week 2 workouts included:

              Wednesday, 11/11: Ran 3.5 miles
              Thursday, 11/12: 45 minute Cardio Barre class; ran 1 mile
              Friday, 11/13: Ran 4 miles
              Saturday, 11/14: Biked 12 miles
              Sunday, 11/15: Ran 5 miles

              How was your weekend? Did you spend any time outdoors?

              Wednesday, November 11, 2015

              Chipotle Corn Souffle

              This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #VivaLaMorena #CollectiveBias

              It's hard to believe how close the holiday season is - we are a only a few short weeks away from Thanksgiving, meaning it's time to finalize your holiday menu. I love sharing holiday traditions with my family, especially when it involves food. In the Midwest, corn dishes are never forgotten for the holidays, especially Thanksgiving! My family always serves corn casserole, and my husband's family never misses adding corn souffle to the table. Today I'm sharing a new version of this traditional holiday dish with an extra kick of flavor - Chipotle Corn Souffle.


              Chipotle Corn Souffle might sound intimidating, but I promise it's not. This dish only includes a few ingredients and requires no special kitchen equipment. Simply whisk and stir your ingredients together by hand, add it to your favorite dish, and bake. I plan to use La Morena Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce to spice up my Corn Souffle dish and impress my family for the holidays this year. La Morena Chipotle Peppers have a delicious, smoky flavor with just the right amount of spice.


              In the Chicago area, you can find La Morena Chipotle Peppers at Tony's Finer Foods in the first aisle. Tony's Finer Foods offers a full selection of grocery items, and authentic Mexican products like La Morena. Adding Chipotle Peppers and Adobo Sauce to this holiday corn souffle will bring a new flavor to my family this year - I can't wait to share this dish!


              First, add 1/2 cup olive oil and six eggs to a large bowl. Whisk the eggs and olive oil until the mixture is combined.


              In a separate bowl, stir together your dry ingredients - 2/3 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup fine corn meal, 1 Tablespoon baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and black pepper. Add the dry ingredients to the egg/oil mixture and stir until combined. Next, add 1 can of creamed corn and 3 and 1/2 cups frozen sweet corn. Stir until combined.


              Chop two La Morena Chipotle Peppers and half a yellow onion. Heat one Tablespoon olive oil in a saute pan. Add chopped onions and saute for 3 minutes. Add chopped chipotle peppers and saute for an additional 2 minutes.


              As the last step, stir sauteed onions and La Morena Chipotle Peppers to the corn mixture, with 4 teaspoons Adobo Sauce from the can of Chipotle Peppers. Bake in in your favorite casserole dish for one hour, at 350 degrees.


              I made one version of this dish with cheese, and one without. I actually preferred the version without cheese, but you can add 3/4 cup of shredded sharp cheddar and the souffle will be just as delicious. The Chipotle Corn Souffle is done when a toothpick comes out clean. If your souffle needs more time in the oven, leave it baking for an extra 5 or 10 minutes.


              I hope you enjoy this new holiday recipe!

              Chipotle Corn Souffle
              Yields: 6 servings

              Ingredients~
              6 eggs
              1/2 cup olive oil + 1 Tablespoon
              1/2 yellow onion
              3 and 1/2 cups frozen sweet corn
              1 can creamed corn
              2/3 cup all-purpose flour
              1/2 cup fine corn meal
              1 Tablespoon baking powder
              2 La Morena Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
              4 teaspoons Adobo Sauce
              1/2 teaspoon black pepper
              1/2 teaspoon salt

              Optional: 3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

              How to~
              *Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
              *Add 6 eggs and extra virgin olive oil to a bowl. Whisk until the eggs and oil are combined.
              *Mix your dry ingredients - flour, corn meal, baking powder, salt, and pepper. Add to the egg/oil mixture and stir until combined. Add the creamed corn and frozen sweet corn. Stir until combined.
              *Chop two Chipotle Peppers and half a yellow onion. Heat one Tablespoon olive oil in a saute pan. Add chopped onions and saute for 3 minutes. Add chopped chipotle peppers and saute for an additional 2 minutes.
              *Stir sauteed onions and Chipotle Peppers into the corn mixture, with 4 teaspoons Adobo Sauce from the can of Chipotle Peppers.
              *Bake for 1 hour, until a toothpick comes out clean.

              Check out more delicious Mexican flavors at La Morena's website.

              Do you have any plans to spice up your family's holiday dishes this year?


              Monday, November 9, 2015

              Chicago Hot Chocolate Race + Weekly Workouts

              Good morning! I meant to post this update yesterday, but the day got away from me and I needed to finish up a few hours of work before the start of a new week. This weekend went by too quickly - we ordered a new oven + microwave {so excited}, I tried a few new recipes, we spent time with friends, and I finished the Hot Chocolate 5k race on Sunday morning.


              In 2014, I posted a 15k Training Plan before the Hot Chocolate race in November {15k race recap here}. I ran the 5k this year, again with my friend S and her dad. The weather was much warmer than the 2014 race, which we appreciated. It was great fun! The race began in Grant Park and we ran on Lower Wacker drive for the first mile. The 15k and 5k runners ran together for the first ~2.6 miles or so, and the 15k kept running south while the 5k runners turned back to Grant Park to finish. It was a gorgeous day - not a cloud in the sky.


              The Chicago Hot Chocolate race is absolutely huge - over 20,000 people finished the 5k. Despite all of those runners, the race this year was very well organized. Runners were placed in one of two corrals, in different letters of the alphabet. Each letter corral started in three minute intervals. The streets were still packed while running, but the three minute intervals helped spread people out.


              Race Results
              Time: 31:06
              Pace: 10:01/mile
              Overall place: 4,232 out of 23,051
              Age group place: 308 out of 2,448

              I also met up with my cousin and her nursing friends, and my friend from college after the race. We finished the morning with brunch at Howells and Hood. All in all, a good day!


              Lastly, my workouts for the past week. On Thursday I posted about the Nike Get Out Here Contest and a November Fitness Challenge. Nike is challenging athletes to "Get Out Here" this winter as the weather cools down and we are tempted to hibernate indoors instead of move our bodies outside as we do the rest of the year. I'm also challenging myself to "Get Out Here" with five workouts per week in November, outdoors as much as I can.


              Over the past week, I didn't finish five workouts as I had hoped. Work was crazy busy and it was hard to squeeze in the time. I hope to make up for it this week, with four runs and one cardio class. 

              My workout recap since November 1:
              Sunday, 11/1: Ran 5 miles
              Tuesday, 11/3: 1 hour Nike workout, with strength + outdoor track
              Thursday, 11/5: 45 minute cardio barre class; ran 2 miles
              Sunday, 11/8: Hot Chocolate 5k race

              How are your workouts going in November?


              Thursday, November 5, 2015

              Nike Get Out Here Contest + November Fitness Challenge

              Nike is challenging athletes to "Get Out Here" this winter as the weather cools down and we are tempted to hibernate indoors instead of move our bodies outside as we do the rest of the year. I had the chance to participate in a group workout class with Nike earlier this week, to check out the new winter gear and hear more about the Get Out Here Challenge.


              The class began on the upper floors of Nike's Michigan Avenue flagship store {645 N. Michigan Avenue}. We started with a warm-up indoors, working with kettlebells and medicine balls. The group ran a few blocks to a small park with views of Lake Michigan, and finished with a track workout. It was an unusually warm morning for early November, and we made the most of our workout time outdoors.


              I'm excited that Nike gave me complimentary gear from their new winter line for when the weather does cool down here in Chicago. This is happening sooner rather than later, because I see a few chilly nights in the forecast this weekend. For extra motivation to Get Out Here this season, you can sign up for free outdoor workouts hosted by Nike Chicago twice a week - on Tuesday and Thursdays at various locations around the city. Registration for classes opens at 2:00 pm on Sundays at Nike.com/Chicago - classes are first come, first serve. For more details, follow @nikechicago on Twitter.


              Nike is also hosting a national contest for an exciting Get Out Here Challenge event, which will take place in Chicago in December. There will be 48 people selected who have shared the most cold weather-defying stories around how they are embracing winter through outdoor training. Winners will earn a trip to the Get Out Here Challenge in Chicago, with the main event during the week of December 8. Upon selection, people will also be featured on Nike.com.

              Contest Details: Nike is looking for the best stories of everyday athletes training outdoors in the elements. To enter the contest, create and submit your own outdoor training photos and videos on Twitter,  Facebook and Instagram using the hashtags #GetOutHere and #Contest. Photos and videos can be submitted between October 29 and November 25. Athletes must be 21 or older to be considered for the challenge.

              As final motivation to get out and move before the holiday season gets in full swing later this month, I'm challenging myself and YOU to "Get Out Here" by finishing five workouts per week in November, with as much outdoor time as possible.


              I'll post an update every Sunday night with a workout recap from the week prior. I would love to hear about your weekly workouts!

              How do you plan to "Get Out There" during the winter season?

              {Disclosure: I did not receive financial compensation in exchange for writing this post; all opinions are my own. I received complimentary workout gear from Nike from their new winter line, as I mentioned above. Thanks for reading about this fun winter challenge!}


              Monday, November 2, 2015

              Chocolate Pumpkin Energy Bites

              Chocolate Pumpkin Energy Bites are a healthy, clean eating snack recipe rolled in raw pumpkin seeds for extra crunch.

              This post contains affiliate links.


              Can you believe it's November?! The fall season is flying by and I'm not quite ready for the holidays. I still have too many pumpkin recipes left to try before switching to other festive flavors. I finished October with a low key evening hanging out with a few friends at home, passing out candy to the neighborhood and celebrating Halloween... as a cat.


              The weather on Halloween was terrible, chilly and raining for most of the day. Sunday was absolutely gorgeous - 65 and sunny. K and I took advantage of it and ran 5 miles to start the day. We finished a 3 mile walk in the afternoon to run a few errands. I also made a new version of energy bites for the week, inspired by last year's recipe for Healthy Pumpkin Spice Bites. I finally used my new Cuisinart food processor that I ordered on Amazon a few weeks ago. It's a good thing these bites are "no bake", because my oven decided to break this weekend! I think we'll be eating a lot of snacks and homemade soups until we pick out a new one. Thank goodness the range still works.


              My previous food processor was a combo blender / processor that was too small for most recipes and had to be coaxed to blend properly. For energy bites, I had to split each recipe in half because it only held a few cups. I am loving this version, because it has a powerful motor and holds 12 cups! My new food processor also comes with a 4 cup insert and several attachment blades. If you're looking for a kitchen upgrade, I highly recommend it.


              See how easily the bites come together? :)


              This recipe combines unsweetened cocoa powder {I used Ghirardelli}, pumpkin puree, spices, dates, raw almonds, and raw cashews. I rolled the bites in raw pumpkin seeds for extra crunch and flavor. Raw pumpkin seeds are healthy as they are full of protein, iron, and fiber {source}.


              Get your pumpkin on in November with this new version of energy bites. Have a great week!

              Chocolate Pumpkin Energy Bites
              Yields: 14 energy bites

              Prep time: 5 minutes
              "Cook time": 5 minutes
              Total time: 10 minutes

              Ingredients~
              20 pitted dates*
              1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
              2/3 cup raw almonds
              1/3 cup raw cashews
              1/3 cup pumpkin puree
              1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
              1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
              1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

              Optional: 2 Tablespoons raw pumpkin seeds.

              *Note: I used California dates; if you use Medjool dates, you will need to use approximately half.

              How to~
              *Add all ingredients to a food processor. Pulse for approximately 1 minute, or until combined.
              *Form into balls with a medium cookie scoop. Energy bites will last refrigerated for 1-2 weeks, or longer frozen.