[Recipe] Game Day Snacks: Sweet & Salt Snack Mixes

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I might not love football but I do love snacking and I can appreciate the food aspect of football. I mean who doesn’t love a reason to gather with friends and enjoy sometime together all while eating delicious food? I know I’m game. 

The thing about any gathering whether it be game day or simply a gathering of friends is not to stress about making everything perfect. Focus on making a few really great things, buying a few really great things and just having fun. I have learned the hard way when it comes to stressing over parties. 

2015_12_07_bluediamond-1A simple food addition to any gathering is some really great nuts. They are fun and easy to snack on, you don’t have to do any work and they taste great. Now if you’re looking to do something a little more impressive than try out one of these snack mixes. We have your traditional savory blend and then a fun sweet, salt and a bit spicy blend. 

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Sweet & Spicy Wasabi Snack Mix

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup corn flakes
  • 3 cups wheat Chex
  • 1 cup pretzels
  • 1-6oz container of Blue Diamond Wasabi & Soy Almonds
  • 2 tablespoons buttery spread 
  • 1/2 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

Preheat oven to 250F. In a large bowl combine the corn flakes, chex, pretzels and almonds. Melt the buttery spread and then add the vegan Worcestershire sauce, seasoned salt and maple syrup. Toss the buttery spread mixture with the cereal and nuts to coat evenly. Spread out on to a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to full cool before enjoying or storing in airtight containers.

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Smokehouse Snack Mix

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups wheat Chex
  • 2 cups pretzels
  • 1-6oz container of Blue Diamond Smokehouse Almonds
  • 3 tablespoons buttery spread 
  • 1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Preheat oven to 250F. In a large bowl combine the corn flakes, chex, pretzels and almonds. Melt the buttery spread and then add the vegan Worcestershire sauce, seasoned salt and spices. Toss the buttery spread mixture with the cereal and nuts to coat evenly. Spread out on to a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to full cool before enjoying or storing in airtight containers.

I have to say my favorite of the two is the smokehouse because I’m just simple like that but my hubby is all over the wasabi mix. I think in that mix the cornflakes really makes it. With any of these mixes you can really sub in any of your favorite items such as bagel chips, other styles of pretzels, other cereals, crackers or even popcorn. The only thing that I think is essential is the buttery spread mix and the nuts. 

What do you like to serve up on game day or at a gathering with friends? I like to do snack mixes like these and then hummus and fresh veggies, olives and one or two cooked snacks such as vegan buffalo wings, artichoke and spinach dip or flatbreads. 

This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds. Ditch the chips and grab some Game Changing Flavors this football season! Enter for a chance to win the Ultimate Football Party Prize Pack, get great savings and ideas for delicious snack hacks at GameChangingFlavors.com

Postpartum Running

I haven’t always been a runner and I actually didn’t even really start running until about 7 months before getting pregnant with my daughter who is now almost 3.5 years old. I had always been interested in running and went through phases where I would try it out for a few weeks but I had never really committed to running until April 2011. I honestly think it was all of those years of gym class fit tests and never once being able to run the 12 minute mile that deterred me from running.

race

Anyways, I started running in 2011 and then I got pregnant with Edith and at that time  I was actually training for my first half marathon but with the onset of first trimester sickness, running took a backseat while I tried to make it through those first few weeks. Finally around 18 weeks pregnant I was starting to feel better but by this point running was the last thing on my to do list, especially since it was the dead of winter in Vermont. So, I turned to other workouts to keep me active during my pregnancy.

Right before Edith was born I was feeling great and was convinced that because I had stayed active that I would end up having an easy time postpartum and that I would be one of those women who started back to running at 6 weeks postpartum. Well after Edith was born the first 6 weeks came and went and I was no where near healed and I was feeling crushed.

Around 12 weeks postpartum I started to feel healed and ready to run. I got back to running a bit but with the snow and the ice it wasn’t as easy as I had hoped. To top it all off my husband took a job offer across the country and we had three weeks to find a place to live, pack up our house and move to Oregon…oh and did I mention we had a 5 month old and it was Christmas time? So again running took a backseat, especially when we found ourselves staying with my parents for a few weeks in rural Vermont where the snow was 3 feet high. Anyways that was right around the time that I decided to commit myself to a new race. This helped me have a goal, a training plan and a reason to run.

hippie chick 2013

Once we moved to Oregon I started training for my first postpartum race, a quarter marathon (6.55 miles). Thankfully Oregon winters are super mild so running was easy. It was also a fantastic way to explore a new city and connect with other women (more on that below). I ran my first race at 9 months postpartum and ran up until once again I found myself pregnant with baby number 2 and the worst morning sickness ever. I ran for the first few weeks of my pregnancy but the morning sickness was so terrible that I spent most of my first trimester days in bed with Edith reading books and I just never started running back up during my pregnancy.

Lands End - BOB - Family RUn

When Alder was born my expectations were low when it came to the time frame of getting back to running. However this time things were a little bit easier and around 8 weeks I slowly started to run, but nothing super consistent. At 5 months postpartum, I am once again back to running and I am training for the same race that I ran after having Edith. I don’t know what it is but a race really helps to keep me motivated and ready to run.

Update….I started writing this almost a year ago so let me fill in the blanks and then I’ll explain where I am at now.

Shortly after I started writing this blog post in March 2015 I found myself having a lot of knee pain. I ended up going to physical therapy for most of April and May. By the end of May I was feeling stronger and actually got back to running. While I didn’t end up doing the race I had planned on I was hoping to do a 10k in September but I found myself with yet another injury. 

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In June I ran into Edith’s Learning Tower and broke my toe. I was in incredible pain for about two weeks and it took a total of around eight weeks before I could walk without pain. So again I took a break from running and I didn’t end up running my 10k. 

Now it’s December 2015 and I have gone for a total of 2 runs. It’s not because I don’t love running but rather I am just not making time for it these days. With the sun rise and set so much earlier if I want to run I have to force myself to take the double BOB out during the day with both kids. Right now that idea just sound terrible so I have been focusing on other forms of fitness. 

I am spending a lot of time outside with my kids going on nature walks, family hikes and at home I am fitting in 10-15 minute workouts when I can and I am getting back to doing my PT exercises to build up the strength I have lost. I also just purchased a new yoga class pass so back to yoga I go. 

So what about running? It will be there when I am ready to pick it back up. I love running and I’ll return to it soon but right now I am focusing on other forms of exercise and trying to help my body get stronger so that when I do return to running I can do it with less of a chance of injury. 

Holiday Gift Guide 2015 | PDX Edition

2015 PDX Gift Guide

When it comes to holiday shopping we are pretty minimalist with our gift giving. We like to focus on gifting things that are of high quality, locally purchased and fit one of our categories: wear, want, read, create plus stockings (you can read more about that here). We have recently started doing a bit of holiday shopping and here are a few things that I have picked up from various shops around Portland. A few items for us an a few gifts to give to family and friends.2015 Portland Gift Guide

1. Fermenting Weight ($10) from Portland Homestead Supply.  If you are around Neil or I long enough we are bound to bring up Portland Homestead Supply. It is one our favorite shops in Portland and is filled with all sorts of things for DIYing at home from making soaps, lip balm, and candles to fermenting and preserving. Plus if you have little ones there are a few cute goats and chickens out back that you can visit; a weekly occurrence for our family. As for this item Neil actually purchased it for himself. This fermenting weight is perfect for anyone who is looking to get into fermenting. Pair it with a nice wide mouth jar, a lid and air lock and you have the perfect gift. 

2. Molly Muriel Lip Balm ($4), find at the Molly Muriel store front in Milwaukie, OR or at various shops around Portland. This lip balm is fantastic and it is made locally here in Portland. It would make the perfect stocking stuffer for anyone on your list. Molly Muriel also has a variety of other skincare products and some pretty amazing smelling candles. 

3. Folding Ruler ($10) found at Schoolhouse ElectricSo I’ll be honest this is the most exiting item you can find at Schoolhouse Electric but I still love it and think it makes a really great gift. Schoolhouse Electric is a beautiful shop and is filled with something for everyone. You won’t have a hard time finding something there. Personally I wish I just lived there. 

4. Portland Bridge Magnets ($10) from April BlackWe came across April Black at the Portland Night Market and just fell in love with her art work. We ended up picking up two sets of magnets and some cards to gift this Christmas. I’m wishing we had picked up a few things for ourselves as well but alas we didn’t so I’ll have to make an order sometime soon to get a few of her beautiful prints. 

5. I love Books Pin ($3-5) found at TildeI can’t remember who this pin is by but it was one of the things I picked up on a recent Tilde trip. Tilde is another one of my favorite shops in Portland. It is filled with beautiful locally made jewelry, beautiful candles, skincare, greeting cards, bags including Matt & Nat for my fellow vegans and so much more. We love to pick up gifts here. 

6. Soy Wax Candle ($15) from Wooly Beast Designs. I have known about Wooly Beast Designs for awhile because the owner was in a family meetup group I had a few years ago but it wasn’t until the Portland Night Market that I actually smelled any of her candles. Neil and I fell in love with The Bearded Man sent and we have been burning it for the last week. I am disappointed that I didn’t get in a Black Friday order to get a few more candles but I am still planning to pick up a few for friends and for myself. 

7. Seely Mint Patties ($8) found at Whole Foods. The Seely mint farm is located along the Columbia River on the way to Astoria. The Seely’s us mint oil they distill from their 450-acre mint farm to make these delicious patties. The patties are also gluten free and vegan so they would be perfect for most anyone on your holiday list.  I think they would make a perfect stocking stuffer.

As you can see there of great shops and products here in Portland. What are some of your favorite local Portland shops and/or products? Any local products that I should add to my gift giving list?

Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored in anyway. I purchased all of the items with my own money with the exception of the box of Seely mints that was sent to me to sample. 

Two Healthy Recipes For Your Thanksgiving Leftovers

Two Healthy Recipes For Your Thanksgiving Leftovers | Running With Tongs
I don’t know about you but when it comes to Thanksgiving I’m all about the mashed potatoes and gravy, Field Roast, rolls and the pie, oh the pie! While I go ahead and make a batch of roasted veggies or a salad and I have the best intentions to eat them I often find they end up in food storage containers in my fridge.

Two Healthy Recipes For Your Thanksgiving Leftovers | Running With Tongs

This year that might happen again but I will be prepared for the day after Thanksgiving with these delicious and healthy recipes. These recipes are honestly perfect for any time not just post Thanksgiving and the salad would actually make a great holiday side dish.

Now I used leftover roasted cauliflower and butternut squash but sweet potato, brussels sprouts, parsnips, rutabaga, basically any roasted veggie would be a perfect substitution.

Two Healthy Recipes For Your Thanksgiving Leftovers | Running With Tongs

Roasted Veggies and Dried Cherry Salad

This is a super simple salad that features roasted squash and cauliflower. Feel free to sub your favorite roasted veggies such as parsnips, brussels sprouts and/or sweet potato.

You’ll Need:

Roasted Butternut Squash (delicata would be great as well)
Roasted Cauliflower
Dried Cherries
Hemp seeds, crushed hazelnuts or almond flakes
organicgirl PEPPERGREENS
Olive Oil & Balsamic Vinegar or Lemon

This is a super easy salad to assemble especially with leftover roasted veggies. Simply toss your roasted veggies, dried cherries and hemp seeds together and drizzle with olive oil and vinegar or lemon; alternatively one of the organicgirl Salad Love dressings would be a great addition.  

Two Healthy Recipes For Your Thanksgiving Leftovers | Running With Tongs

Roasted Butternut Squash, Cream Cheese & organicgirl PEPPERGREENS Tartine

Give me most anything on toast and I am a happy girl. This is a super easy breakfast, lunch or snack and can easily use up your leftover roasted squash from Thanksgiving. Feeling a bit more ambitious? You can stick the roasted squash and cream cheese in a food processor to make a creamy spread and then top with your greens, a drizzle of lemon or lemon agave dressing and a pinch of chili flakes. 

You’ll Need:

A Slice of Your Favorite Bread, toasted
Roasted Butternut Squash
organicgirl PEPPERGREENS or sweetpea
Cream Cheese of your choice – I went with a non-dairy spread
Chili Flakes
Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice or organicgirl Salad Love lemon agave
Two Healthy Recipes For Your Thanksgiving Leftovers | Running With TongsSimply spread the cream cheese on your toast, top it with as much or as little roasted squash as you’d like and then add a handful of greens, a sprinkle of chili flakes and drizzle of lemon or dressing. Easy and so delicious. 

Two Healthy Recipes For Your Thanksgiving Leftovers | Running With Tongs

What are your favorite ways to use up your Thanksgiving leftovers? 

Disclosure: This post was created in collaboration with organicgirl. I am thrilled to be working on a three part series with organicgirl because frankly I have been obsessed with organicgirl for years.

PDX Sites & Eats | Brunch at Harvest at The Bindery

We have wanted to go to Harvest at The Bindery since it opened at the beginning of this year.  But,  with our lack of date nights,  we just hadn’t been able to make it there for a date night dinner. I am not sure how long they have been doing brunch but we stumbled upon it by chance on Saturday. We were out and about Saturday late morning and decided that we should go out for brunch. After perusing Yelp, we saw that Harvest at The Bindery had brunch and Neil and I both squealed a little. Finally we were going to have our chance to give it a try without having to worry about getting a sitter. 

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We checked out the brunch menu and instantly wanted to order almost everything on the menu. If I could have justified the cost and had three or four stomachs I just might have. But, nevertheless, we only ordered a few things and they were all delicious. 

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We started off with the biscuit and jam. The biscuit, while a bit dense, was really tasty and the jam was housemade and delicious. Neil and I snagged a few bites but the kids devoured most of it.

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Neil and I also shared one of their spicy dilly bloody marys and it was easily the best bloody mary I have had in Portland. We followed this one up with the spicy smoky one to share as well and while it was good the dilly was so flavorful and refreshing and the pickled veggies were amazing.

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For one of our mains we shared the hazelnut french toast and it was incredible. There is something about french toast that is made with baguette that I just love. The chocolate hazelnut spread tasted better than nutella and that coconut cream on top was amazing.
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On the flip side we also chose one of the savory options, the benedict. For me the true test with a benedict is how good the hollandaise sauce is and in this case it did not disappoint. I was sold just based on that. The kale and the housemade seitan were fantastic. The only thing I didn’t love about the benedict was the butternut squash. I felt like it didn’t add a lot of flavor to the dish and roasted mushrooms or a slice of tomato would have been a better addition. 2015_11_14_HarvestatTheBindery-benny

I didn’t get a photo but we also had one of the herbs hasbrown casserole but compared to everything else it fell flat. It was mushy and bit bland. I wish it had been crispy on the outside but it was essentially a mashed potato patty.

Overall we loved Harvest at The Bindery. I would recommend ordering the french toast, the benny and a spicy bloody mary with the dilly mix. 

Now we just need to get a sitter so we can go on a dinner date there! 

Have you been to Harvest at the Bindery? What did you think? What is your favorite thing to order out for breakfast/brunch?

Health & Fitness Check-In | 11.16.15

Screen Shot 2015-11-17 at 7.46.54 AMWe are half way through the month, so I thought I would take a few minutes to update you on how things are going in the health and fitness department. I am a complete mixed bag of emotions on both fronts but I will start by saying things are moving in the right direction regardless of how I am feeling in the moment. 

Back at the beginning of the month I brought back the incentive program and I’m feeling a bit mixed about how I am doing this month. Just as I started the program, I got hit with a stomach bug and immediately following that a cold that has left me coughing, tired and extremely congested. That being said, my workouts have not been how I had originally planned. Neil is also taking on this incentive workout challenge and he is doing amazing with getting out for runs and going to yoga class and weight training classes and I am having a hard time not comparing our activity levels. 

The workouts I have been getting in are a lot of walks with the littles. I don’t think I mentioned this before but in conjunction with my own incentive workout I have also taken on the Hike It Baby November 30 miles challenge which is basically to get out for 30 miles in the month with your littles. So some walks I will throw them in the double BOB and off we go and other days we do a littles led walk/hike which means at a snails pace. So far we (the littles and I) have just over 16.5 miles and 722 minutes this month. 

The reality is I am feeling better and more active now but how active have I really been? I mean we get out everyday rain or shine, sick or well, but with being sick for the past 10 days I haven’t been active at the level that I had intended for this challenge. That being said I am reevaluating this months challenge. 

This month I was to do (at least) 30 minutes of activity for 21 out of 30 days this month. So far I have been active 11 out of 21 days with 14 more days to go. I see myself achieving this goal or even surpassing it but not in the way I had intended. That being said I won’t be taking the monetary incentive this month but I am not going to penalize myself either. 

Now you can see why I feel a mix of emotions around this situation. I feel like on paper I have been accomplishing my goals but my body and mind doesn’t agree. I am also considering that even though I haven’t been going out for a run or a class like Neil with how sick I have been this week that unlike the previous month I at least forced myself to get out of the house with the kids in spite of feeling like crap. 

So what do you think? Should I consider this challenge a wash and penalize myself? How do you deal with feeling like you haven’t accomplished your goals?