Muffins are naked cupcakes.

And sometimes that’s not a bad thing!

While I love me some cupcakes, I am growing quite fond of the healthy muffins I have been making lately using only my blender. Yeah, you heard right. I’m making muffins by throwing stuff inside this guy. How easy is that?

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If you know me, you know I am forever trying to make things I like healthier. It’s not always for the health benefit (though they are great), but mostly because my body reacts in a strange way to some ingredients typically found in the foods I love. I have a gluten intolerance as well as issues with lactose, and if I eat things that fall into those categories I tend to blow up like I’m 9 months pregnant immediately after eating….not to mention I feel awful.

Muffins, you fall into this category.

So how about some flourless muffins without oil or anything weird?

YEAH!!!!

This recipe is one I have come to love, not only because of how easy it is, but because it also helps me with that crazy sweet tooth I am always battling. Remember these Hostess bad boys? This recipe reminds me of them…only healthier, and you won’t feel as guilty when you eat three packs worth. We all know we could demolish the whole box in one sitting, so let’s not even pretend.

                                    Katie’s Double Chocolate Blender Mini Muffins

Ingredients:

-1 medium ripe banana
-1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
-1 large egg
-1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
-3 tablespoons honey or agave
-1 tablespoon vanilla extract
-1/4 teaspoon baking soda
-1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

How to make:

Spray mini muffin pans and preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add all ingredients except chocolate chips into blender, blending until smooth (this usually takes about a minute or so). Once blended, stir in chocolate chips (using spoon, DON’T use the blender for this step). I prefer Enjoy Life Mini Chocolate Chips…they are dairy free, soy free, and also nut free!
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After the chocolate chips are mixed, spoon into mini muffin pan. I’ve found the best tool for this is the small cookie scoop from Pampered Chef; it helps them come out perfectly rounded after baking.

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After spooning mixture into tins, sprinkle some mini chocolate chips on top, then bake for 8-10 minutes. The final product is a mini muffin that looks like absolute perfection!

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When I make these I typically make a double or triple batch. Each batch makes about 20 mini muffins, and I count 4 as a serving if you are a 21 day fixer. If you prefer to make them in a regular size muffin tin, you can!

You know what’s awesome about these? NO ONE EVER KNOWS they are healthy! Trust me on this…….they pack the right amount of chocolate to satisfy a craving and make you feel like you are indulging in something that is a total cheat.

I hope you love them!

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Treat Yoself.

If there is one topic I could argue about until I go blue in the face, it is how important a life of balance is. Surprisingly, this is a topic that I get a lot of crap for….and I know I’m not the only one.

Let’s play Captain Obvious for a second…….

-Yes, I am in the health/wellness industry. Not only am I a consultant, but I’m also a fitness instructor and entrepreneur providing support to hundreds and hundreds of individuals.

-Yes, I have had a massive health transformation of my own. I’ve lost (and kept off) over 60 pounds by incorporating at home workouts, eating a healthier diet, and eliminating alcohol.

So that should mean I only drink water and eat kale, right?

No. Noooooo. Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

The one thing that gets really frustrating in this industry is that some people look at you like you have three eyes if you eat ANYTHING other than kale on kale on kale with a side of kale. Let’s be real people! That’s not happening!

I truly believe that it isn’t healthy to eliminate food groups…and if you do some research you’ll see that most people end up gaining back the weight they lost temporarily once they reintroduce whatever food it was they eliminated. There are better ways to lose weight and get healthy, friends, but we can chat more about that at a later date.

Back to the balance thing….

Since the beginning of my journey I have made it clear that I will never be someone who eats healthy 100% of the time….I love doughnuts and pizza and tacos too much! Instead I focus on the 80/20 rule…..I eat healthy 80% of the time and indulge the other 20%.  I bust my ass hard enough that I don’t feel bad about myself when I do eat those things, and I focus on portions. Regardless of what I am doing I always focus on the portion amount; it’s a great way to still eat those foods without feeling awful after. Thank you, Fix, for teaching me about the importance of this. Some foods I have perfected healthier alternatives to, like my beloved Nice Cream, but some things are best in their original form. Chocolate Pretzel doughnut, I’m talking to you.

Awhile back I got a little heated on social media when everyone was all hopped up on the Unicorn Frapp from Starbucks. Did I go get one? You bet your sweet ass I did. ANYTHING that has Unicorn  in the title is something that is a must for me….I am obsessed with Unicorns! I was all about trying it to see the hype, and I was prepared for some comments about a health coach choosing to try it, but what I wasn’t prepared for was the insane amount of unicorn haters!

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I’ll be honest….I actually liked seeing this pretty little drink pop up in my newsfeed all day when it was launched. What a breath of fresh air! Instead of seeing so many of you posting gruesome images related to crimes or animal abuse or racially charged statuses or political garbage….I was seeing something that people were associating with happiness. That’s a win in my book.

At 59g of sugar for a Grande, I can tell you it obviously isn’t the healthiest choice. I was prepared for some shade thrown at me since I’m a health coach indulging in a sugary drink; what I wasn’t prepared for was the fat shaming and straight up rudeness I saw people demonstrating……OVER A FRAPPUCINO!!!!!!!!!

Guess who was at the center of all the ridicule? Fellow fitness lovers. No, I’m not just talking about my fellow coaches, though some of them got hit pretty hard, but friends of mine in the running community, friends who are vegetarian, friends who own yoga studios, etc. It was like all of these people who spend time working out and taking care of their bodies were not allowed to try this Starbucks specialty drink.

Here’s where I get super irritated with that kind of behavior: the people who were doing the dissing and posting ignorant comments are the same people who go through fast food restaurants every.single.day…..people who go out and drink in excess every single weekend….people who eat 3x the recommended serving amount….and the people drinking soda after soda after soda. You want to talk to me about sugar? C’mon, hypocrites.


Friends, if you want to drink a silly colorful drink, drink it. Don’t do it every day all day, but every once in awhile, treat yoself.

There’s a new fad drink in town, and I am hoping people don’t treat those who indulge in it the same as #unicorngate….and you better believe I gave it a whirl as soon as i saw it was advertised.

I am a huge cereal fan…..I rarely eat it anymore because it is one of those things where I cannot exercise portion control. To me, a whole box is a serving size (I know I’m not alone with that). Lucky Charms is up there as one of my favorites right behind Apple Jacks and Fruity Pebbles, so when Burger King launched their Lucky Charms shake, I decided to take one for the team and try it out.

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When it came to the Unicorn Frapp, I wasn’t into it……I’m just not a huge berry fan and I didn’t like the sour sprinkles. When it came to the Lucky Charms shake, I was super disappointed. I wanted to like it so much….especially since I have had a sore throat for a few days. Katie logic: milkshakes help sore throats.

Thinking about trying it? Here’s what you can expect:

Lots of milk full of soggy Lucky charms bits (and I’m not talking about the tasty marshmallows), some weird marshmallow syrup on top, and a guaranteed stomach ache. I was prepared for it not to look like the pictures, but I wasn’t prepared for how nasty I would feel after I was done. It was GROSS.

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I’ve always been upfront with my desire to live a balanced life and my love of food, and that’s not going to change anytime soon.  It’s OKAY to be in the health and fitness industry and like things that aren’t the healthiest. It’s OKAY to talk about them.

And it’s OKAY to try a drink when it comes out to see if it lives up to the hype.

To my brothers and sisters who believe in living a life of balance, cheers!

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Wonder Woman: Is it worth the hype?

I feel a little weird actually writing that out. Is it worth the hype??? In my world, eerrrryyyytthhhiinngggg Wonder Woman is worth it. I mean…I am freaking obsessed!

If you are a new subscriber to the blog, you may not understand my obsession with WW, but let me just make it known: it is a fierce one. I channel my inner Wonder Woman all the time….in photo shoots, in challenge groups, for strength…..I just love her….and I’ve been waiting for the release of the Wonder Woman movie for what seems like forever!

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Because of a busy Thursday night, I couldn’t hit the midnight showing like I would’ve preferred, so I hit the theater for the Noon showing on opening day. Naturally I rocked one of my many WW shirts to the theater….one that had a cape attached. I had to make it known to everyone that I am WW Obsessed!

When it comes to things I love, I always get so excited when a movie is coming out that incorporates them. However……all too often I am let down, whether that be a build up I create in my own mind or just a really bad job by those making the movie. Beauty and the Beast is a recent example….it didn’t live up to the expectation in my mind, leaving me disappointed. I hoped this wouldn’t be the case with Wonder Woman.

Let’s talk about the actress who plays Wonder Woman for a second, Gal Gadot. Hello, Im obsessed. Often I don’t agree with casting choices for movies that have to do with a superhero, but this one….this one was perfect. I think Gal is a complete knockout, and not only did she fit the look of Wonder Woman, but she did a great job with the role.

And then there is Wonder Woman’s leading guy, Steve, played by Chris Pine. As soon as I realized Chris was in this movie, I groaned with disgust. I’ve NEVER been a Chris Pine fan (sorry, dude) even though I have tried. As a huge Trekkie, I was disappointed in his role in the Star Trek movies and for some reason he has always annoyed me when I’ve seen him in interviews. Plus, I don’t find him attractive whatsoever, so I didn’t think he was a solid male love interest choice for this movie.

Buuuuuuut……..I didn’t hate him in this movie, which is shocking. I could’ve lived without him wearing weird turtleneck sweaters, but I actually thought he did a good job with his role, and he even made me cry once (I won’t say when because I don’t want to spoil anything).

I wasn’t sure coming into the movie what the story line would be like other than Wonder Woman trying to save the world. While that was the basis, the rest of the storyline was interesting and had me engaged. I’m not going to tell you much about it…you need to see it for yourself!

A couple of additional points I have to mention:

SPECIAL EFFECTS: I was a huge fan of the special effects in this movie….I felt they were done so well and gave this movie such a modern feel.

HAIR: Whomever did the hair for this movie needs to win some serious awards, not just for Gal’s hairstyles (shoutout to those under braids and braided mohawks), but ALL the women in this movie.

ROBIN WRIGHT: Who knew that Robin Wright was so badass??? I’ve always been a fan…from Forrest Gump  to House of Cards…I just love her. Her role in WW completely caught me off guard and I loovvveeddd it!

My honest opinion: Wonder Woman not only met my expectations, but it exceeded them. Not a lot of cussing, barely any nudity (I wouldn’t even say what we saw of Chris Pine was bad), and no gore, which means this morning can be seen by a variety of age groups.

Go see it!!!!!

And tell them the real Wonder Woman sent ya 😉

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May: Sparkle or Dull?

I love the variety of products in the beauty market today….so many options for everyone! Lately there have been so many beauty trends popping up….some intrigue me while others make me say to myself “WTF.”

One WTF product….this charcoal mask thing….which meant I just HAD to investigate!

PRODUCT #1: Beautycounter Balancing Facial Mask

I’m not a stranger to activated charcoal….those of you who follow me on social media know I love using activated charcoal capsules to help whiten my teeth, so when the charcoal mask started popping up everywhere I decided to do a little research.

For my readers who are unfamiliar with activated charcoal, it is created when charcoal and oxygen is combined. I know what you are thinking…..”I grill with that stuff!” Yes, you do, but activated charcoal is a little different than that used to blacken a hot dog. How does it help your skin? It draws out the impurities in your skin, such as dirt, oil, and other substances that clog pores. In addition to helping you obtain flawless skin, it helps fight acne.

Right when the charcoal mask trend started, I ran across a funny youtube video shared by a friend on Facebook. After watching it (it was funny, but definitely eye opening..I shared it below), I did a little research on these peel off masks because I was horrified and not interested in trying something that was ripping off layers of my skin….I knew those weren’t right for me. I wanted something safer and gentler on my skin.

It was like the makeup gods knew because a friend of mine from high school, Bri, reached out to me around the same time asking if I had ever tried any products from Beautycounter. I didn’t know much about the company, but after doing a little research I was definitely anxious to try some out. Beautycounter is a certified B corporation (one of only 900 in the world) which means that they are focused on using their business for the good of the environment. They avoid the banned chemicals and ingredients that are found in many beauty products, making their products safer for you, your health, and your body. I was thankful Bri also shared with me the “Never” list….a list of ingredients to avoid in products…it was definitely eye opening.

After reading the horror stories of the peel off masks, I was a little timid to try the charcoal mask from Beautycounter, but I quickly realized this mask was the consistency of the masks I am used to…and one that required me to use a warm wet washcloth to remove. No peeling off layers of my skin here! After 10 minutes I removed the mask and was very pleased. My skin felt soft and refreshed, and I had zero redness or drying, like some masks. I love love love it and think it is a must have.

FINAL VERDICT: SPARKLE!!!!!

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PRODUCT #2: Real Her Lip Kit

We know I love me some lipstick…it’s such an intense love! No one knows this better than my mom, who, unlike me, isn’t as crazy when it comes to lip colors. Recently she gave me the Deep Red lip kit from Real Her, a brand I was completely unfamiliar with but excited to try. When I saw the lipstick said “I am tough” I felt like I was connecting with my soulmate brand.

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I love a bold red lip!

Much like Beautycounter, Real Her is all about doing good. From their website: “RealHer was founded on the idea that, with each application, it can help to inspire the wearer: to be herself, to love herself, to be powerful, to rule the world. It doesn’t ask us to be perfect, to be a mother, to be a CEO, to be the perfect beautiful doll, but rather invites us to continue being ourselves, and that which defines us as an individual—and it’s liberating.” You know I’m all about women feeling powerful in their own bodies and strong, so the mission of this company was totally something I was into. Real Her also donates 20% of all gross profits to the American Association of University Women (AAUW).

The lip kit, which can also be purchased in Nude or Pink, includes a lip liner, matte lipstick, and a plumping lip gloss. I’ve never be a huge fan of plumping glosses….maybe it is because I naturally have fatter lips and don’t feel like they work the best for me. I tried both with the liner on separate occasions and absolutely loved the liner and lipstick combo. The plumping gloss, like many others, was ok, but not something I would probably use unless I had no other lipstick option. I didn’t feel like my lips were plumper, but I am most likely the wrong person to let you know about that feature. The color and quality of the products were great….they stayed on for a long time without reapplication, and the color was FIERCE.

FINAL VERDICT: SPARKLE! Even with the plumping gloss I still would buy this product…it’s a great value, long lasting, and beautiful!

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I always love a month with lots of sparkle! Here’s hoping June produces some exciting products, too!

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Fill your cup.

Let me let you in on a little secret……my life lately has been HECTIC. That happens when you are an entrepreneur and active in organizations outside of your business….things just tend to compound and before you know it you don’t have time to do the things you love.

About a month ago I sat down and really put some thought into where my focus and energy was directed. It was long overdue. I kept thinking to myself….I need to slow things down….and because of this, I knew I had to step away from something I had been a part of for the past few years and truly loved with all my heart.

The Summit Athletic Running Club.

I joined SARC several years back when I moved to the Akron area with the hope of finding some new friends to run with and the skinny on local running trails. I loved the club immediately and after some time joined the Board of Directors as Membership Director. It was a role I was very proud to have….and a role that led me to many great friendship and runs with incredible athletes.

However, serving on the Board the last year was rough on me. Once my father passed away I had a difficult time making myself go running, and it was challenging to talk about running in a positive light. It took awhile, but I finally got right in the mind with running….but when I started to think about what needed to go in my life, my up and down relationship with running was at the top of the list.

So…..I submitted my resignation to SARC as a Board member and also as the Race Director for my beloved Shamrock 5k and 15k race. I knew it was the right thing to do.

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Interested in a great run club? Join SARC!

I got to thinking that I know many others who load their plate and try to be superwoman. You may be one of those ladies. There’s no shame in trying to do it all….but what’s the sense in doing it all if you are sacrificing things you love….or doing all those things half assed?

Here are some ways to prioritize if your plate is loaded up higher than one at a Golden Corral buffet…..

1. Make lists. People who know me know that I love lists, but this really does help. Make a list of the things you spend the bulk of your time doing. Also make a list of the top priorities in your life, numbering them from most important to least.

2. Delegate when able. We all think we can do everything, right? However, some of the items on our plate can be delegated to those in our family, our coworkers, etc. Don’t be afraid to give up control….it will help you…trust me!

3. Have a tribe! I talk about my tribe a lot….those on my team and the incredible coaches I work with every day within the community. By having a tribe and sharing challenges I face, I am allowing others to potentially help or offer solutions.

4. Always have ME time. This could include reading a book, taking a bath, going for the run…..but make sure you have some time to enjoy something you love. Ever hear the saying, “you can’t pour from an empty cup?” You have to take care of yourself, too.

5. Know the difference between importance and urgency. Assign deadlines to complete tasks based on their overall importance. Some tasks on your plate may not be needing as much focus as others, which can help lessen your task load.

It’s never easy to start this process, but if you feel overwhelmed like I did, it is important. Am I sad to leave the Board of Directors for SARC? Absolutely. However, I know I can still remain involved by volunteering when I’m able and running with the club as a member. Sometimes you just have to acknowledge that it’s okay to be involved in a lesser capacity.

Listen to Dolly Parton…..never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.

Thanks for the memories, SARC!

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With Boston marathon great Dick Beardsley

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Doughnuts for everyone…Vegans, too!

Doughuts need to be a food group…I will never stop lobbying for that to happen. They are just one of the greatest things in the world!

If you follow this blog, you know I recently finished up a 21 day detox called The Ultimate Reset. It was challenging in many ways, but I was determined to complete it and decide if I wanted to pursue a lifestyle that leaned more toward vegan/vegetarian. There are many aspects of being vegan/vegetarian that have interested me over the past year; however, I’m a hardcore carnivore so I wasn’t sure if I would be able to make the change.

I’m still debating….although I am leaning more toward just cutting out SOME of the animal products and making my diet more 80% plant based and 20% animal product. Time will tell.

Shortly after I started the Reset, I connected with the owners of The Vegan Doughnut Company,  a local company that was just starting out on a quest to share their vegan doughnuts with the Cleveland area. As a huge supporter of local businesses AND doughnuts, I just HAD to check this company out and share with all of you, so I accepted their invitation to attend a doughnut tasting a few days later. I didn’t care that it fell in the middle of my reset….the doughnut tasting was happening, and I was pumped about it.

Since The Vegan Doughnut Company is a newer company, they do not have their own brick and mortar building yet……so the tasting was held at Kitchen 216 in downtown Cleveland, and awesome space perfect for the event. There were two tasting times, one at 10am and one at 11am….and knowing how I’m not a huge morning person, I naturally opted for the 11am timeframe. I wasn’t sure how many doughnuts I would be able to try since I had been on my restricted meal plan…fortunately my friends Julie and Erica attended the same session. I knew between the three of us no doughnut would go untouched!

Before I share a little about the doughnuts, let me give you a little scoop on this company as told to me by owners Kyra and Kharisma!

-When and why did you start the Vegan Doughnut Company?
The Vegan Doughnut Company started back in November of 2016 but was publicly announced just a month ago. We absolutely love doughnuts but couldn’t find vegan doughnuts. Plus we always wanted to own a business together that involved what we loved, which is veganism.

-What did you do before you started making doughnuts?
Kyra: Sophomore Mechanical Engineering Student at CSU and Intern at Dominion East Ohio.
Kharisma: Laboratory Supply Coordinator for University Hospitals.
We currently still have our jobs.

-Where can individuals buy your doughnuts?
Right now, we do orders minimum of 1/2 Dozen and The Cute Little Cake Shop on select Saturday’s

-Do you do special orders?
Yes we do special orders. Anything can be done with a doughnut. Anything from letters to unicorns.

-What is your favorite doughnut?
Kyra: Vanilla icing with Sprinkles
Kharisma: Glazed chocolate cake

-Do you partner with any local businesses for ingredients?
Not currently but we would love to in the future.

-Did you complete any formal training/where did you learn to bake?
Honestly, we both learned the bulk of our cooking in high school home economics. Also, watching our parents when we were younger. That’s where we feel in love with cooking…..we had to learn to make our favorite food in vegan versions.

-What made you want to bake doughnuts instead of other vegan items?
Everyone makes cupcakes and cookies. We like to be different.

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The talented owners of The Vegan Doughnut Company

The doughnut tasting was pretty neat…..and I can honestly say I didn’t know what to expect since I had never been to one before. We arrived at Kitchen 216 and were given score cards to rate the flavors. Since The Vegan Doughnut Company is a newer business, they were eager to learn what kind of doughnuts we the people liked, so we got to try one doughnut hole in each flavor. Give me all the doughnuts! Angels were singing to me….it was that glorious.

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Oh, hello you attractive little babes. 

The flavors ranged from Vanilla Sprinkled to Chocolate Cherry to Chocolate Glazed to Hibiscus to Oreo…..I almost didn’t want to eat them because they were so cute in my little tray. However, we all know me so you know I did.

My favorite? It’s a tie between the Maple Bacon, the Hibiscus, and the Oreo. The only one I didn’t like was the Lavendar doughnut, and that’s because I associate lavender with my baths……it is the scent of one of my favorite Lush bath bombs! They were all so tasty and had a great consistency….sometimes with vegan baked goods they taste a little off, but not these doughnuts.

Want to score yourself some of these delicious vegan treats? The Vegan Doughnut Company will be at The Cleveland Flea May 13th (more dates to come depending on how well they do…it’s their first Flea!) You can also catch them at the Cleveland Bazaar May 20th, July 1st, Sept. 16th, and Oct. 7th.

Don’t forget about Social Media!!!! Like this local business on Facebook by clicking HERE!  This way you won’t miss anything regarding upcoming pop up shops or news regarding their business!

Kyra and Kharisma, thanks for having me at your doughnut tasting! And please know I am ALWAYS available to sample doughnuts!

Is there a job out there as a professional doughnut taste tester???? Because this girl right here would really do well with that…..just saying’.

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Let’s Tacobout it.

Awhile back I shared with you how I clean a jackfruit, and as you probably noticed….there is a TON of meat when you do so! I froze the majority of the jackfruit meat for later use, which is something I encourage those of you who eat jackfruit to do so you don’t waste it.

This week’s meal plan will include jackfruit tacos. I figured that since Cinco de Mayo was approaching and I need to amp up my taco raining for my Friday night Cinco de Mayo downtown Barrio date with the gals, I’d kill two birds with one stone and make some amazing tacos using the frozen jackfruit meat. Here’s a look at my meal plan for the week!

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Want to try the jackfruit tacos? Take a look at how easy they are to make!

                                           Katie’s Crockpot Jackfruit Tacos
Ingredients:
-Jackfruit Meat (I use about 3 lbs of it)
-1 Tablespoon Pepper
-5 oz Worcestershire Sauce
-6 oz Liquid Smoke
-1/2 onion, chopped
-1/2 cup olive oil
-1/2 cup celery
-18 oz katchup
-1 cup water
-1/4 cup lemon juice
-1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
-1 Tablespoon dry mustard
-1/4 cup brown sugar
-Dash of Cayenne Pepper

Place all ingredients in a crockpot and cook on high for about 6 hours. Once done cooking, use a fork or the paddle attachment on your KitchenAid mixer to shred the jackfruit meat.

 

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Jackfruit Taco Prep!

You can use corn or flour tortillas for the taco shells and top with whatever you like. I take a coleslaw mix and use that as a topping…it’s really tasty! You can also make your own by mixing 1/4 cup shredded carrots with 1/2 cup shredded green cabbage and 1/2 cup shredded purple cabbage. Mix with 1/4 cup olive oil mayo. I prefer to omit the mayo if you wonder where it is in mine!

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Look at these little beauties!


Ready for a successful week in the gym and in the kitchen! I hope you are as well!

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RBF…I rock them.

I’m not just talking about the Resting Bitch Face I have mastered….I’m talking about my Resting Beach Face, too!

And I rocked that during the last week in Punta Cana!

My trip to Punta Cana was one I desperately needed….and my excitement over the past few weeks was off the charts! I couldn’t wait to get to The Hard Rock and meet up with all of my people!!!!

In case you aren’t connected to me on Instagram (@sparklefitnessbabe) or on my main Facebook page (Sparkle Fitness Babe), I earned an all expenses paid trip to Punta Cana for rocking the heck out of my business last year. These trips are something we coaches absolutely love….Beachbody spoils us like crazy and really goes all out to make sure we are treated like royalty. Last year they chartered The Oasis of the Seas for 3000+ of us, and this year they took over The Hard Rock!

My trip to PC started very early Saturday morning…..3am to be exact, after only a few hours of sleep.  We all know I am very much a night owl, so forcing myself to go to bed super early and wake up at the time I normally go to bed….that was a challenge. Everyone kept telling me to sleep on the plane, but contrary to belief, I really hate naps. With contacts, I always wake up with such a headache and red eyes….it’s easier to just avoid that.

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After a quick layover in Newark (one where I had to spend $7 on a damn pen because I lost mine), I was off to Punta Cana, arriving a little after 1pm. I knew traveling to another country, especially by myself, would be interesting, and I was right. The Punta Cana airport was a little different…lots of flash mobs were going on, and it was hot as hell. I was happy to find my friend Nicole and her husband Stephen as I waited for my bags because I was nervous to find my pre-arranged transportation by myself. We found out that my success partner and roomie, Nichole, and her coach Corey were coming into a completely different terminal, meaning I wouldn’t meet up with them until we got to the hotel. One thing that was for certain…I wish some of the Spanish I had learned over 5 years of classes had stuck with me.

We took our shuttle to the hotel and met up with Nichole and Corey right away….however, we were about to have a fun little afternoon figuring out where we were staying. Since we flew in a day earlier than the trip was scheduled to start, we thought we would be able to stay with Nicole and Stephen until our room was ready Sunday morning. Wrong. Since it was an all inclusive, we couldn’t get past the main lobby, which was a little bit of an issue. The hotel also had told us they were at maximum occupancy and we couldn’t book for the night; this led us to booking a room on Orbitz, as rooms were available.

Oh, if only it was that easy. The reservation with Orbitz was incredibly misleading, and the $400 reservation was only good for ME. After some back and forth, we finally got a room, and it ended up being only a mere $1000 (insert eye roll). I was worried our whole trip would be one cluster after another.

Fortunately our evening was great. We hit up one of the many restaurants on the resort…Mexican because tacooossssss……and I even got to take some photos with a monkey!

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This little babe is 15 years old!

The next morning we were supposed to have a beach photo shoot, which I was really pumped about. However, one of the girls backed out at the last minute, which was extremely disappointing, as we ended up canceling the shoot. I told myself that I would not let the selfishness of others ruin the rest of my trip and made it my choice from that moment on to spend time with amazing people who I genuinely was happy to be around. After all, photo shoots can always be rescheduled.

Lucky for us, the rest of the trip was incredible. I mean, look at this view! I love the beach, but I really loved this one because I was able to hide out under the tiki huts (I don’t like getting tan even though I love the sun) as my friends were able to bask in the sun.

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This trip allowed me to hang with some of my faves, like Autumn Calabrese (creator of 21 Day Fix), Danielle Natoni (Live instructors and Max 30 lovers, you recognize her), and Tania Baron, aka The Machine, who I relied on for my first 5 weeks of T25. I also was able to celebrate my local friend from the 330 and Beachbody’s newest super trainer, Chris Downing, as he debuted his Shift Shop workout. The workout was killer….make sure I have you on my Shift Shop VIP list so I can keep you updated on all the details!

Each day there were workouts with the trainers, a Shakeology bar, and the opportunity for fun excursions. My crew and I spent time at the spa (honestly, the best spa experience I’ve ever been to) and decided to skip the excursions since we didn’t want to have to go off the resort and spend time waiting around when we could be relaxing at the beach/pool. We all wanted to relax and spend time with each other, and as much as I wanted to swim with some dolphins, I was totally okay with hanging with my crew.

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Guys, the community that Beachbody has brought into my life….I can’t even put into words how thankful I am for them. These ladies challenge me, support me, laugh with me, and believe in me, and I can only hope I do the same for them. There are so many misconceptions out there about women…like how all we do is tear each other down and compete with each other. I’m thankful that our community of coaches truly has the mentality that there is enough success for everyone out there. Girl compete. Women empower.

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My Success Partner Nichole and I before Opening Ceremonies

The Hard Rock was an amazing resort…I recommend it to anyone going to Punta Cana. So many pools….so many restaurants…and the people there were all so friendly. I took complete advantage of all of the food options and also enjoyed a doughnut a day (so many delicious doughnuts there for me to try). I did gain 5 pounds over the course of the trip, but I’m okay with that. Vacations are about fun splurges, right?

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I love you, doughnut!

Next year Beachbody is sending us to Riviera Maya….I’m already looking forward to it! I’d love for you to be with me on the trip! If you want to learn more about coaching, shoot me a message at Katie@sparklefitnessbabe.com. I love what I do, and I want to share opportunities like this with everyone.

Here’s a look at the rest of my trip!

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March: Sparkle or Dull

Oh hey, friends! Halfway through April and I haven’t shared my March beauty finds! Sometimes I slack….I’m sorry about that!

I’ve been trying really hard to try out the products that a lot of people have been talking about….but lately there have been so many of them! I’ve seriously considered upping the number of products I review each month, but I haven’t decided for sure yet.

Here are the two products I chose for the month of March!

Product 1Silisponge

EVERYONE and their mother has been trying out this silicone makeup blender, which helped skyrocket it to the top of my “must try” list. A silicone sponge thing? Could it really evenly distribute my foundation??? I was skeptical.

If you have been reading my blog for awhile, back in 2015 I shared my favorite finds of the year, which included the Bare Mineral Perfecting Face brush. That brush is what I have religiously used to apply my foundation ever since its discovery. I knew it would be tough to beat!

Initial thoughts on this applicator: Man, it is much different than I thought it would be! I thought the applicator would be a thinner more flexible item….this was thick and not very bendy. Look at this thing!

I tried it using my normal foundation, good ol Kat Von D, which blends really well and is a full coverage foundation. Did I like how the sponge worked? NO! I can’t even tell you how disappointed I was in this product. When you are trying to apply foundation evenly, a brush is great….you can get into every nook and cranny. With this thing…..not even close. I applied my foundation and then realized there were parts of my face (like around my nose) that were not covered, causing me to grab my brush to complete my face.

FINAL VERDICT: DULL! I know this product seems appealing (price wise they run between $4-$10), but save that money and invest in a quality brush. Trust me, it is worth it.

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Product #2: Photobalm Powder Foundation

I follow a lot of makeup pros on Youtube….there are so many great tutorials out there. One of my favorites, Christen Dominique, shared her love for Photobalm’s powder foundation, which she used as a setting powder. Since I love a matte finish, I opted to give this a try and give my trusty old Banana powder a break. I also was hoping to fall in love with the powder so it could accompany me on my upcoming trip to Punta Cana.

Right away I loved the look of this product…the packaging had a cute little pinup like girl on it, so you know I was into it! Since Photobalm is technically a foundation, I decided to try this as a foundation by itself and also as a setting powder like my gal Christen did in on her youtube channel.

Thoughts on it as a foundation: MINIMAL coverage. I felt like I just had a layer or loose powder on my face, and that wasn’t the look I wanted. However, if you like a very minimalist look, you may enjoy it.

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Thoughts on a setting powder: Surprisingly, it was very disappointing. It was a nice product…but there are lots of nice products out there. The coverage was so so on top of my foundation, and it wasn’t as matte as the product reviews claimed it would be. Is there a huge difference between this $26 product and a $4 Cover Girl compact? Nope. At least not to me!

FINAL VERDICT: DULL

Two dulls….that’s something that doesn’t happen regularly. I guess you can’t win them all in the makeup department.

Speaking of my Punta Cana trip, I have a group on facebook created where I will be sharing lots of live video, photos, and fun with a few of my best gals! The group begins on Saturday, so if you want to see what’s happening, just click HERE!

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sparkleon

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Top Secret Mission: Success!

Earlier last week I was made privy to a super big secret….a secret that, other than our team at corporate, only one other person knew about. I was told to not tell anyone…not even the other Market Council members, and I have to be honest….it was so hard!!!

I hate secrets….and I’ve always been a terrible liar. How was I going to avoid my friends and team and the other coaches in the area and not spill the beans?!?!?!

Somehow I did it.

The secret? At our quarterly event, one where corporate announces new products and fun things, a brand new program would be announced, and the super trainer for that program was going to be the special guest at OUR event.

Guys, this was HUUGGEEE!!!!

With over 500,000 coaches out there and thousands and thousands of Super Saturdays across the country, the Cleveland/Akron area was going to be able to provide an event NO OTHER event could duplicate…….our coaches would get to meet this brand new trainer after the new programs were released and would be able to have an exclusive meet and greet!

Want to see the minute I announced what was going on and the crowd went bananas? Here it is:

So who is this new super trainer????

Chris Downing!!!!! His new program, Shift Shop, will launch at our Coach Summit in July! I cannot waittttttttttttttt! July, get here soon!

And the best part? He is from the Canton, Ohio area, so he is local to me! I always love being able to support local talent! Chris has been in the fitness arena for years, training and running his own successful gym. Getting to meet him and hear a little bit of his story….incredible! Everyone was blown away by his passion and positivity, and I know this guy is going to have a tremendous future! Our market council is definitely looking forward to partnering up with him for future events.

These events mean so much to me….it allows me to connect with other people who share the same fire and passion as I do…it allows us to learn from some of the best in the business and grow…they are such a huge part of our business. I’m thankful every day for the community I found when I became a coach. It has changed my life, and it continues to change it for the better one day and one event at a time.

Here’s a look at some of the fun at Super Saturday!

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We are already planning out our next big event…..I hope you will join me for it! You never know what surprises will be in store!

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