Tag Archives: healthy-living

One Ingredient Ice Cream

18 Jan

As I was on Pinterest the other day browsing healthy food recipes, I keep coming across recipes for one ingredient ice cream. In my experience, this doesn’t exist. I am a big ice cream lover and even went so far as to ask my parents for an L.L. Bean Ice Cream ball for one of my birthdays so I could make my own ice cream. It was wonderful.

ll-bean-ice-cream-ball

Since trying to clean up my diet though, I’ve been avoiding ice cream like the plague. (Fun fact: I am a HUGE B & J Chunky Monkey fan) With the exception of one day at school when a friend needed some crying and ice cream time, I haven’t touched a pint in ages. I had people suggest trying frozen greek yogurt as a replacement but I’m not a fan of regular greek yogurt so I passed.

Enter one ingredient ice cream. Basically, after freezing bananas, you put them in a food processor or blender until the reach a smooth consistency. After that, you can add basically whatever flavors you want. According to a lot of other bloggers, you can add any other fruit such as blueberries or blackberries and their flavor covers up that of the bananas. Unfortunately, I didn’t exactly take the time to read the instructions so instead of freezing the bananas first, I blended them and then put them in the freezer. The ice cream was a bit hard to get out of the bowl but after a few 15 second rounds in the microwave, it scooped like regular ice cream.

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I added a bit of organic almond butter on top as well as a few salted almonds. Just as I was finishing putting everything together, my dad walked in and asked if he could have a bite of ice cream, not realizing that it wasn’t actually ice cream. He absolutely loved it! He said that he would grab a few bundles of bananas on his way home so I can show him how to make some too!

  • Would you ever try out this “ice cream”? What flavor would you make yours?
  • Have you found any other healthy substitutions for unhealthy cravings? Post them in the comments!

Running Gear Wish List

17 Jan

After reading Peanut Butter Finger’s post about her favorite workout gear, I started thinking about items that I would like to add to my arsenal of running gear. Don’t get my wrong…I love going out for a run without my iPhone and just listening to the sounds around me and concentrating on my breathing but having some new gear can definitely spice up a run. Here’s a list of some of the items I’ve been eyeing lately and may be adding to my closet before I gear up (fingers crossed) for my first half marathon this summer!

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Snow Day

16 Jan

Good morning everyone! I hope your Wednesday is going well! It was a snowy morning here in Massachusetts which made it hard to get out of bed but I wanted to get to the gym early….plus, I needed to work up the energy to clean off my car. Once that was done, I drove over to PF. Thankfully, even though the roads were bad, school was cancelled so town was quiet.

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Drink Up!

9 Jan

Happy Wednesday everyone! I hope you’re all having a great day!  Today started out with a quick breakfast of banana yogurt with oats before tackling a long to do list which I got halfway through before deciding it was time to take a gym break.

Workout

As was scheduled in my Slim and Sculpt program, I had an interval day which consisted of one minute of running followed by a minute of fast walking for a total of fifteen minutes. It was definitely a harder workout than I expected when I was first reviewing it. The speeds were definitely a bit higher than I usually run when I do a distance run and the walking portions were still at 4.5 mph which kept my heart rate up. Thankfully, one of my favorite running songs came on near the end of my run to get me through the last few intervals.

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I was certainly a hot mess once I got off the treadmill but I felt accomplished. I followed up my run with a quick ab workout and a BIG bottle of water in keeping with my resolution to drink more water. Speaking of which… Continue reading

Cousins Shopping Day

4 Jan

Let me start this post by saying if you haven’t been to a Disney Store, please do yourself a favor and go. The minute you walk into the store you can’t help but smile and your day just seems a bit better…or at least that’s how I felt yesterday after my first visit. After getting a few gift cards at our family Christmas party, my cousin and I set out to the mall to pick up some new things. Although we didn’t have much luck with the shopping, we mad a point to stop at the Disney Store before leaving. My heart INSTANTLY melted. I felt like a little kid again. I was instantly drawn to all the Monsters, Inc. stuff because it is one of my favorite movies. I mean, how cute is this coffee mug?

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Lunch

It was hard to stop myself from spending money. After wandering around for a bit and finding more things that I will be adding to my Christmas and birthday lists next year, we stopped by a Chinese food place for a late lunch. We were absolutely famished by the time we arrived and as always, the food hit the spot. We both decided to order the beef and broccoli which was delicious.

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We hit a few more stops before both heading home to take much needed naps.

Workout

My workout for the night was a bit frustrating if I do say so myself. Although I like the gym that I go to, it’s on the smaller side so with all of the people who joined for part of their New Year Resolutions, it’s a tight squeeze. Thankfully, my workout was rather short. It was also the start of my second week of the Slim and Sculpt Program (mentioned here). After a quick five minute warm up on the treadmill, I hit the weights doing squats, dead lifts,  bench presses and rows leaving me VERY sore, but feeling accomplished this morning! Hopefully this second week of the program will be even better than last week!

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Hope you all have a great morning! Look out for another post later on today!

Happy New Year/Holiday Recap

2 Jan

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a fantastic holiday and were able to spend time relaxing with family and friends. That’s the best part of this season after all. As for me, the month of December was INSANELY busy. I finished my last semester at LSU and I will now be transferring to start nursing at a school closer to home which is exciting. Finals went well and it’s been nice to be home relaxing. The last week was filled with holiday parties and New Years of course which was wonderful. I had a chance to catch up with people I hadn’t seen in ages and spend some much needed quality time with my parents and brother.

Our Christmas Tree

Our Christmas Tree

Even Oreo was in the Christmas spirit and filled in as Santa if only for a little while.

Santa Kitty

Santa Kitty

It’s definitely been a huge adjustment being home but in a good way…although I am already a little tired of the snow. Waking up this morning, I saw that the low for the day was 3º….yes. THREE DEGREES! I haven’t seen temperatures like that since I was in high school. I was hoping for a winter like last year where there was hardly any snow and it stayed in the forties but alas, it won’t be that kind of winter. We’ve already have two snow storms since I got home and my duck boots have had plenty of loving.

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Workouts

With my move back home, I also decided to make some changes to my workouts which maybe one of the more exciting changes for me. After trying out a few workout programs, I was having a hard time sticking to them because they rotated the same workouts throughout the week. Then, I came across Carrie’s WordPress. I was instantly hooked and decided that after Christmas I would try out one of her workout programs. After purchasing the program, she sends you the package with all the info and offers help and advice throughout the 12 weeks of the program. I am currently trying out the Slim and Sculpt Program.

Unlike most of the other programs I have tried, this one is done in phases so that every four weeks, your workout routine changes. Although I’ve only done the first week, it’s definitely been keeping my attention. I look forward to going to the gym to see what the workout for the day entails. I definitely don’t think this is the last FitChick program that I’ll be doing.

Stretching out after Day 3

Stretching out after Day 3

Today’s workout was an interval day so I completed PBFingers Quick ‘n’ Sweaty 20 Minute Interval workout which kicked my butt. I was definitely a sweaty mess when I hopped of the treadmill. After, I completed day four of the 60 Day 6-Pack Promise App and headed home to whip up some dinner!

Dinner

I was extra hungry when I got home from the gym. I have been craving sweet potatoes a lot lately so I tried my hand at making baked sweet potatoes which turned out well. I had my potato along with a few pan browned chicken tenders and brown rice which certainly hit the spot. Dinner was followed up by a few pieces of chocolate while I curled up with Oreo to read for a while.

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I hope you all have a wonderful night and a lovely rest of this short work week!

P.S. I updated the fashion page

(How do you guys like the new look??)

Race Wish List

27 Sep

Happy Thursday everyone! In the past few days as I’ve been trying to find some more fitness blogs that I enjoy reading, I’ve also found that in the coming year, there are a ton of races that have caught my eye and that I’m considering running. Even though I’ve been running since high school, I have never run any sort of race outside of track meets and would love to finally cross that off my bucket list so without further ado, here is my wish list!

1. Zooma Women’s Race Series in Austin – March 23, 2013

Not only is this a race that is largely focused on female runners but Zooma has turned the entire event into a fun girls weekend with shopping, yoga and wine tastings (along with many other things!). In addition to the Austin race, the group is hosting others along the east coast and even one in Michigan. The thing that caught my eye (aside from the fun of a girls weekend) was the fact that this race is in “Austin Hill Country” and if you ask me, I need to see that for myself. Being from the North, I’m use to running hills and seeing mountains but from what I’ve heard, Texas is pretty void of any elevation. Another perk of this race is that they have both a 5K and a half marathon depending on your skill level. I would hope that by the time this race comes around I’ll be ready for a half marathon but as of right now, I’ll be sticking with the 5K.

Click to be taken to the Zooma Website!

2. Tough Mudder Houston – October 2013

Who doesn’t love an enormous challenge? As if running a race isn’t hard enough, make it three to four times longer than a 5K and add military style obstacles that were designed by the British Special Ops. Did I spark your interest yet? The Tough Mudder isn’t just a challenging race though as many of the entrance fees are donated to the Wounded Warrior Project which helps to support wounded veterans…a worthy cause if you ask me and definitely worth the entrance fee! Plus, who can complain about crossing the finish line and having a beer handed to you, a band already playing and the party raging. Finally, the race series promotes helping one another which is amazing when you realize that running, for a lot of people (myself included), is often a solo activity. Definitely adding it to my list of races to complete in the future!

Tough Mudder Pledge

3. Color Run – Austin 2013

It’s only a 5K but at the end of the race, you look like you’ve been attacked with a box of crayons and chances are, you’ll have the biggest smile on your face. This fun run takes that name to a whole new level by covering runners in a different color of all natural chalk every time they finish another kilometer of the race. Don’t want to get covered in tons of color? The organizers have solved that problem and created zones where the color is more concentrated so you can pick and choose how colorful you are by the end of the race. Similar to the Tough Mudder, the finish line serves as the entrance to the after party where people can enjoy music, food and compare how much color they managed to pick up during their run. The website says there is only one rule: You have to wear mostly white and have fun!

Color Explosion!

and last but not least….

4. The Boston Marathon – April 15, 2013

Growing up in New England, the Boston Marathon is a huge deal. Race day is affectionately referred to as Marathon Monday and the entire state has the day off. Schools are closed and for the most part, everyone is in and around Boston lining the race course. I, unfortunately, have never had the chance to see the actual race in person but I have seen it plenty of times on TV and have seen a majority of the course which is far from easy. Miles seven through fourteen pass through Newton, MA and are strictly hills including the notorious Heartbreak Hill which I grew up hearing my mom talk about. There is nothing more exciting than watching the runners turn down Boylston Street for the final stretch and seeing that first person cross the finish line. It absolutely warms my heart and can some years even make me cry. I love seeing other people’s hard work and dedication pay off. I can only hope that there will be a day in the future when I will get to cross that famous finish line after running 26.2 miles from Hopkington, although this race maybe a long way off.

The finish line for the marathon on Boylston Street

Now that you’ve seen my race wish list, I want to hear about yours! What races in the next year (or more) are you looking forward to being a part of! Leave me a comment with your answers!

For more info on each race, click the picture underneath the description to be taken to the website!

 

P.S. I made a Twitter! Click Here!

Proceed With Caution

17 Sep

Sorry about how long it has taken me to get another post up but today was yet another interesting day in the life of Nicole McKenna. I woke up this morning to a dreary raining day that left me wanting to go back to sleep but alas, classes wait for no one and eventually I was up and ready to go. Before leaving the apartment, I snuck in a quick breakfast of two kiwis and a banana knowing that it would be a while before I had a chance to grab some lunch. The majority of the morning was uneventful….that is to say until I got to Oceanography which is my last class of the day.

Yummy breakfast!

After surviving my less exciting Astronomy, Calc II and Genetics classes already, I hoped that Oceanography would fly by as usually but before the class could even start, the screen which originally showed the PowerPoint for the day switched to an LSU alert informing us that there was a bomb threat on campus and that we needed to quickly, but calmly evacuate campus. We all sat there a little surprised for a moment, reread the message and at that point, most of our phones started buzzing with text alerts sent by the university. After sitting in close to an hour of traffic as 25,000+ people evacuated campus, I made it to my friend’s apartment and hung out for the afternoon with the intention of getting some studying done but rainy days, cancelled classes and a dog with enough energy to power the city of New York were enough distractions that not much was accomplished.

The pup with endless energy!

After seven hours of searching buildings, all of the residential buildings were cleared and we were allowed to head back to our dorms. They are still working on searching some of the academic buildings but to be honest, the process is moving pretty quickly. LSU has at least 459 buildings on campus (one of our dining halls is called the 459 because it is the 459th building on campus). With that being said, although most of us hoped that classes would be cancelled for tomorrow, we will probably be having them.

Text messages from LSU
CNN article
Traffic leaving campus

I had thought that the day couldn’t be more interesting than having a bomb threat at a school that I am attending but I was mistaken. Upon arriving at my apartment, I also received a text informing me that the UREC was going to be open for the rest of the night is people wanted to workout so I quickly threw on workout clothes. As I went to grab my running shoes, which I keep right next to my yoga mat, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the one and only bathroom cockroach hanging out on my yoga mat. This time, instead of freaking out, I yelled out to my roommate to call one of the guys upstairs to take care of it. Apparently, because we are on the first floor, we tend to get a lot more than some of the other floors and the guys upstairs are use to taking care of them. I can now say that, although the roach won the first round which took place in the bathroom, I have won the battle. Hopefully there won’t be anymore battle royales with the little critters.

Roach – 0
Nicole – 1

After the roach fiasco, I finally made it to the gym to bang out a run which consisted of 3:00/2:00 run/walk intervals for an hour followed by abs and arms. I felt good about the run and hopefully this week, I’ll get a chance to up my intervals on one of my outside lake runs. For the most part, those runs have been going well and I have even dropped some of my intervals below 9:00 minute pace which I was ecstatic with. I’m hoping there is only room for more improvement and I’d like to be able to run the entire lake by the end of October without stopping. (Fingers crossed!)

As I said last week when I posted, I have a bunch of tests this weekend, some of which have now been rescheduled so it may be a few days before I get a chance to post again but until then, I hope you all have a great week! Go out into the world and do amazing things!

P.S. I also updated the Fashion Page so be sure to check it out!

It’s About Winning the Small Battles

5 Sep

Good evening everyone! Sorry it took so long to get a post up today but my after class routine of coming home and getting stuff done around the apartment didn’t exactly go as planned because there was a student involvement fair on campus. Every year, near the beginning of the fall semester, LSU has a majority of the student organizations around campus come to what is called Free Speech Alley and talk to people who are interested in joining their group. As you can imagine, there are a ton of organizations on campus so actually finding the ones that you want to join without this fair would be pretty difficult. After my last class, I met up with a friend and we ventured around for a bit. I found the booths for some Pre-Med societies that I have been meaning to join since Freshman year which was cool and my friends found a few engineering groups to join.

Some of the tents from the fair

;

After an hour or so of walking around in the very hot weather, we ventured to the Union where we grabbed some Panda Express for lunch where I picked up a Panda Bowl with white rice and beef and broccoli. It was quite tasty and definitely hit the spot. The rest of the afternoon was far from excited and involved a lot of homework, studying and of course, hanging out with my friend’s dog who is a lush. She is a German Shepard/Corgi mix and is beyond adorable. Not to mention that she loves giving big, ole sloppy kisses pretty much anytime she feels its necessary. Once I finally had enough ambition to leave my friend’s apartment, I drove back to campus determined to set out on a run around the lakes that would beat my times from the other day.

Sunset over the lake

I was planning on adding the extra street in too which would make it even more difficult because it ups the distance a decent amount.I set my RunKeeper app to 2:00/1:30 run/walk intervals which was a full minute longer of running than my last interval run on Monday morning. I felt great for most of the run aside from the very end but I still managed to keep all of my running intervals under a 9:45 pace which was awesome. I am hoping that once I start running the entire route, I’ll be able to crank out some 9-9:30 miles so that when I go to run a half marathon, I can make a dent in the race and maybe maintain or coast a bit more for the last few miles depending on how the legs are feeling. Even though I was checking my paces after each of my intervals, I wasn’t really paying attention to my total time but at the end of my run I was VERY happy. I managed to run the entire 4.06 mile route in under 48 minutes even with my walking intervals. I honestly guess it was going to be close to the hour marker but was happily surprised.

Very excited!

I got back to my apartment and popped down in the living room to stretch a bit before my muscles cooled down to much and then whipped up a veggie burger and a granny smith apple with a glass of milk for dinner. It definitely hit the spot and now I can happily continue with my homework and other duties for the rest of the night feeling completely accomplished! I hope you all had a great Wednesday and are ready to take on Thursday tomorrow! Oh, and just incase you didn’t have the greatest day, check out this dog! How cute is this little guy?

Found this pic on our school newspaper site! Made me smile for sure!