Introducing Baby Bean

Hi friends!

If you follow me on social media then you’ve probably already seen the news, but just in case you haven’t…

Baby Bean is here!

IMG 8471 Introducing Baby Bean

Meet Baby Chase! Born 2:42 AM on 10/29/14. He’s 9 pounds and 21.5 inches of pure perfection!

IMG 8490 Introducing Baby Bean

Look for a post next week with details from our first week as a family of three, lots of pics and a little about the 30 hours of labor that got him here!

IMG 8528 Introducing Baby Bean

For now, we’re soaking up as much time as possible with our new addition!

Enjoy!
Lindsay

Pumpkin Pie Peanut Butter Cups

Hi Friends!

Happy Halloween. Since today is the day for candy, it seemed only appropriate that I line up a guest post that would appeal to your sweet tooth. Lucky for you guys, my friend Lisa came through with a major win! Lisa blogs over at Healthy Nibbles & Bits and is another blogger I’ve gotten to know recently thanks to The Recipe Redux! She takes amazing photos and is constantly coming up with unique, healthy recipes to leave me wanting to immediately board a plane and go visit her so we can stuff our faces! Go check out her blog if you haven’t already!

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Hi everyone! I’m Lisa over at Healthy Nibbles & Bits, and I’m excited to share this recipe with you while Lindsay is spending some time with Baby Bean!

When fall comes around, there is one thing I covet: a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. You’ll never find one of those packages in my shopping cart under normal circumstances. But come Halloween time (and week of candy sales afterwards), I want nothing but those fun-sized shots of cheap milk chocolate and creamy peanut butter. I will dip my hands into whatever candy jar contains those tiny golden nuggets.

Pumpkin Pie Peanut Butter Cups Title 2 Pumpkin Pie Peanut Butter Cups

Reese’s has made pretty much every kind of peanut butter cup imaginable. There’s white chocolate, dark chocolate, crunchy cookie, marshmallow, inside out, peanut butter and banana crème, and caramel, just to name a few. Shockingly, there is one kind that they haven’t made yet: PUMPKIN PIE!

As both a chocolate and pumpkin enthusiast, my natural instinct is to swirl those two things together into a creamy delight. This pumpkin + peanut butter + chocolate combination is mind-blowing. It is the new black.

Pumpkin Pie Peanut Butter Cups 3 Pumpkin Pie Peanut Butter Cups

Until a few months ago, I didn’t realize how easy it is to make peanut butter cups from scratch. You’re going to want to store the peanut butter cups refrigerated, but I think they make these treats taste better. When eaten chilled, they’re like a nice ice cream bar–crunchy chocolate shell on the outside, rich and creamy on the inside. Except these peanut butter cups are healthier!

3.0 from 1 reviews

Pumpkin Pie Peanut Butter Cups
 
Author:
Serves: 10 cups

Ingredients
  • 4 Tablespoons pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie puree)
  • 4 Tablespoons peanut butter (creamy or chunky)
  • 1½ Tablespoons maple syrup (or any other liquid sweetener)
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • pinch of pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided (or milk chocolate chips)
  • you’ll also need 10 muffin liners (silicone or paper)

Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, mix all the ingredients except for the chocolate chips.
  2. Line up 5 muffin liners on the counter. I find silicone liners to be easier to use.
  3. Using a microwave-safe bowl, melt ½ cup of chocolate chips in the microwave. Set it to 45 seconds and then check the chocolate. You don’t need the chips to be melted, but you do want them to be glistening. Continue microwaving them at 20-second intervals until all the chips are shiny. Take them out of the microwave and stir until the chocolate is thick and creamy.
  4. Spoon just enough chocolate to cover the base of the muffin liners (a ½ tablespoon should be enough). Repeat for the other 4 cups.
  5. Scoop up just under a tablespoon of the pumpkin/peanut butter filling and shape it into a small disk. Place it over the chocolate in the muffin tins. Repeat for the other 4 cups.
  6. Spoon the remaining chocolate over the pumpkin/peanut butter fillings.
  7. Repeat steps 2 to 6. I broke up everything into 2 batches because the melted chocolate starts to harden pretty quickly. Prepare the cups in 2 batches to make sure that you’re working with soft chocolate.
  8. Freeze the cups for 30-40 minutes. Store them in the refrigerator.
  9. Enjoy!

Much love and many hugs to Lindsay and her family!

Pumpkin Pie Peanut Butter Cups 2 Pumpkin Pie Peanut Butter Cups

Are you drooling yet?! I must make these immediately! Huge thanks to Lisa for sharing this delicious treat today! Check out her blog and be sure to follow her on social media as well:

Facebook
Twitter
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Pinterest

Beginner\'s Guide To Mindfulness and Meditation

Hi Friends!

So far we’ve had some amazing recipe guest posts but I thought it’d be fun to change things up a bit and make sure we’re not only keeping our bellies happy, but our minds too! So, I recruited Emily – yep, you guessed it…another fellow RD!…to talk to you guys about mindfulness and meditation and how you can bring them into your life! Emily blogs over at Zen and Spice where she shares delicious recipes of her own, along with posts that cover other important aspects of nutrition and health. Go check it out!

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Hey everyone! My name is Emily, and I’m a Registered Dietitian from Dallas, Texas. I blog over at Zen & Spice, a health & wellness blog where I share my favorite recipes, workouts, meditation and mindfulness tips. I’m really excited that Lindsay has invited me here today – thank you so much for having me!

Today I wanted to talk a little bit about mindfulness and meditation. These two practices are so important to help you feel less anxious and more relaxed about life!

What exactly is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the state of taking things moment-by-moment. It’s an active, open awareness of the present. When you’re mindful, you are observing your thoughts, feelings, sensations and surrounding environment from afar, without judgment. Mindfulness focuses the brain on what is being sensed at each moment, instead of ruminating on the past or future. This lets you see every current moment and appreciate them. Living in the present and not obsessing over the future or past is very important. Appreciate who you are right now and find joy in your current state.

Tree Beginner\'s Guide To Mindfulness and Meditation

Starting a Daily Meditation

Starting a daily meditation practice can be very helpful in bringing us into the moment. Meditation is not a religion-specific practice. Anyone from any religious background who wants to learn how to center themselves and become more mindful can meditate!

There are three basic types of meditation. I like to use the sitting meditation the most (I tend to fall asleep if I lay down!).

  • Sitting meditation: Sit in a comfortable position with your back upright. Don’t slouch. Cross your legs, and let your hands fall into your lap. Inhale deeply and exhale. Close your eyes. There are many options here—the two most popular breath counting (count from 1-10, keep your mind clear), or breathing with a mantra (“Here, now”, or my favorite, “I am strong, I am healthy”).
  • Laying down meditation: Relax on your couch or in your bed in a comfortable position. Relax all of your muscles and release any tension you may have in your neck, back, arms or legs. Imagine your favorite spot in nature, and take deep breaths in and out. Try to keep your mind empty by imagining the sun, the wind, the green grass, etc.
  • Walking meditation:  You can either go for a walk outside, or you can just walk through your home. Take a breath at each step, one in and one out, and repeat a mantra such as “I am home”, or “Here, now”.

Little Buddha Beginner\'s Guide To Mindfulness and Meditation

Helpful tip: If you’re having trouble keeping your mind clear, imagine you’re leaning up against the wall of a train station. Trains are your thoughts. They’re coming into the station, slowing down, but then continue right through the other end. You are aware of the trains, you can feel them, but you don’t have to pay attention to them.

BeginnersGuidetoMeditation Beginner\'s Guide To Mindfulness and Meditation

Meditation can be such a good way to start your day, deal with stress, and live in the present moment. It’s a very simple practice. Don’t stress about learning how or becoming good at it—that’s the thing meditation is trying to teach you to avoid! Do this every day, and after a while you’ll have formed a great habit.

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Thanks to Emily for sharing these helpful tips to get started! Let’s chat:

Do you meditate? If not, did this convince you to start?!

Enjoy!
–Lindsay–

How To Workout With Kettlebells

Hi Friends!

Today my friend Taylor is here to chat fitness! If you haven’t checked out her blog Lifting Revolution, go do so immediately. I started following her a couple years ago and have been hooked ever since. I follow a lot of food blogs and Taylor is like a breath of fitness fresh air, sharing great workouts, motivational posts, podcasts and more! I met her in person at Blend Retreat a couple years ago and then we connected again this summer in Savannah at Fitbloggin!

So today we’re taking a break from food and talking fitness! Ever since I started Crossfit, I’ve kinda fallen in love with kettlebells. Since I know Taylor loves them too AND that she recently got certified to teach them, I asked her to share some of her knowledge so you guys can start to use them too!

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kettlebellsizes How To Workout With Kettlebells

Hello, hello! I can’t tell you how much of an honor it is to be visiting today. Lindsay’s blog was one of the first I found and I immediately was pulled in. The recipes, oh my word… how can anyone not come back regularly to see what she’s cookin’ up?

Then, a couple of years ago, we met face to face at a blog retreat and that’s the end of that. I went from considering her another blog I read to being a friend. Okay, enough corny chit-chat. Let’s get down to business. You see, I love kettlebells. Like really love them.

A few years ago my husband bought me my first kettlebell as a birthday gift. He thought it would be fun for us to learn together and perhaps a new element we could bring into our studio (we own a gym in Charleston, SC).

It became much more than that.

For both of us, kettlebells became a passion and we quickly realized that we wanted to learn everything we could. So that’s what we did. We flew to San Franisco to become kettlebell masters… we got certified. Since then, I’ve spent far too much time studying moves, designing workouts and teaching others how to use these things. And today, I’m going to cover a few of the basics with y’all. I know they can seem intimidating. But they aren’t. They really are for everyone… that is if you go about training the correct way.

What I want to do is go over a few basic training concepts, answer the most common questions I get and finish with a killer, I mean awesome, workout. Sound good? Sweet.

swing How To Workout With Kettlebells

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The Rules

Rule #1: If you’ve never picked up a kettlebell, don’t just watch a YouTube video and begin swinging it around. If you do a YouTube search for “kettlebell swing”, I promise you’ll find people doing them SO many different ways. And yes, there is a right way and a wrong way.

Find someone that knows the fundamentals and can help you master form. The biggest piece of advice I can offer is to find someone certified in kettlebells. Not just a personal trainer. I can’t tell you how many times I have closed my eyes and shuttered while watching trainers do really bad swings, snatches and everything else with a KB.

Rule #2: Sometimes lighter isn’t better. You might assume that when you first get started, a light kettlebell is best. Yes and no.

The lighter weight might help you grasp an understanding for how the kettlebell should move, but at the same time, using a weight that is too light can lead to short cuts and potential injuries. For example, my husband was demonstrating a clean with a weight that was too light for him and he used so much power that he dislocated his shoulder. <— Not cool.

(See below for the best weight for beginners.)

Rule #3: Forgo on the wrist guards when starting out. If you watch my kettlebell workouts or see a picture floating around, chances are you’ll notice wrist guards. No, they aren’t fancy sweat bands.

Wrist guards help keep the kettlebell from pressing into your wrists when doing moves like snatches and presses. Let me tell you, when you’ve got a heavy steal ball digging in, the bruises can get nasty. But for beginners, I don’t recommend them. This way you’re forced to learn the movements correctly. You’ll get tired of having the kettlebell plop onto your wrist so you’ll learn grip and proper rotation real fast.

Once you have the moves down to a T, then it’s a great idea to pick a pair of guards up. Unfortunately when doing presses, nothing helps avoid bruises like kettbleguards.

Rule #4: Have basic body weight moves mastered, along with mobility. If you can’t do a squat without a kettlebell, it’s time to start there. Master body weight moves to ensure proper range of motion and basic skills.

Kettlebells basically just take the basic moves and add to them. What exercises should you have?

  • Squats
  • Push-Ups (basic shoulder mobility)
  • Lunges
  • Deadlifts

If you can do those 4 moves, then you should be ready to get started.

Okay… now you have the 4 rules of kettlebells. Let’s answer just a few of the most common questions I receive!

highpull How To Workout With Kettlebells

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Common Kettlebell Questions From Beginners

What weight should I start out with?

I recommend 2 different kettlebells. Why? Because, especially when you’re starting out, you will likely use a heavier weight for swings, squats and other lower body moves than you will for upper body ones like presses.

Most women do wonderful starting off with an 18-lb (8 Kg) and 26-lb (12 Kg). As you get stronger, a 35-lb will likely be all you will need for amazing results.

How can I make my hands stronger?

Grip is key for kettlebell training. Of course it will get stronger with time but I do recommend using chalk to help keep the handle from getting slippery and love your calluses. You’ll get calluses, learn to love them. They make your hands strong and your grip better.

My back hurts, is that normal?

Yes, it’s normal to feel some back tightness when first mastering the swing. It’s a big range of motion move that targets your entire trunk, not just the abs. However, make sure it’s nothing more serious. Have someone watch your form to make sure the back is straight and hips are hinging properly. It also helps to use your phone to take slow-motion video!

What are the fundamental moves?

Like most fitness, the sky is the limit with what you can do with kettlebells! But, there are a few fundamental moves that need to be mastered in order to do ALL the moves.

Here are the key exercises listed in order of how I teach:

  • Dead lift (hip hinge)
  • Swings
  • Clean
  • Rack
  • Squat
  • Press
  • Snatch
  • Windmill
  • Get-up

Get those moves down and you can do anything.

windmill How To Workout With Kettlebells

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Wow, that’s a lot of information to soak up! I think we should stop here to avoid going overboard. To change things up, I will leave you with a great workout to try (if you’ve mastered the moves).

compliment workout1 How To Workout With Kettlebells

Be sure to connect with Taylor on social media as well via the links below:

Twitter
Facebook
Instagram

Let’s chat:

Do you use kettlebells? What’s your favorite exercise?

Enjoy!
–Lindsay–

Quick and Easy Weeknight Dinners

Hi Friends!

I have another RD friend to introduce you to today, although I bet many of you are already familiar with this amazing lady! Anne from fANNEtastic food and I & took different paths to become RDs, but we both were blogging while we were in school and during our internship which is how we connected initially. Beyond having an amazing blog, Anne has started up her own private practice in DC that is wildly successful (she has a waiting list!!) and is doing great things in the RD world. I asked her to stop by today and share some quick dinner ideas to help inspire you to eat healthy on those busy nights!

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Hi there Lean Green Bean readers! I’m Anne, a Washington DC area Registered Dietitian and a food and fitness blogger over at fANNEtastic food. Thank you to Lindsay for having me here today! In honor of Lindsay and her husband becoming new parents, I thought it would be helpful to share some tips for throwing together quick and easy (but still healthy) weeknight dinners. Something we all need, right?

The key to a satisfying dinner is to include a combination of protein (meat, fish, eggs, beans, etc.), healthy fat (nuts/seeds, oil, avocado), and carbs (aim for the least refined version – brown rice or another whole grain, minimally processed whole wheat/grain bread, whole grain or brown rice pasta, whole fruit, starchy veggies like potatoes or corn, etc.). The other key? Lots of volume from veggies to keep you full!

quinoa salad Quick and Easy Weeknight Dinners

Here is a simple 6 step plan to build a healthy dinner:

  1. Start with some sort of green. For warm meals, 1 huge handful fresh baby spinach – pop it in the microwave for 1 minute on high to wilt it. For cold meals, 1 huge handful of fresh salad greens – any kind. I’m loving arugula lately!
  2. Add a carbabout 1/2 cup per plate. If you’re in a time crunch, try 90 second plain brown rice, or quinoa which only takes about 10 minutes to cook. A piece of toast, a wrap, fruit, or a starchy veg like a potato will work here, too!
  3. Add some protein! My favorite easy protein is canned beans – about 1/2 cup. Other easy options are leftover meat, canned tuna, a fried egg or two, etc.
  4. Toss in veggiesAnything you have lying around – this will add volume and fiber that help to keep you full.
  5. Top with some healthy fat. Nuts, seeds, avocado, whatever you like! Cheese is cool, too – I love me some feta.
  6. Dress it! This could be a vinaigrette, or salsa, or pasta sauce, or pesto, or anything that fits with your theme of the meal.

**Editor’s note from Lindsay- Make this even easier by doing a little sunday food prep! Make a batch of quinoa or rice to use during the week and cook up some hard boiled eggs, grilled chicken, black beans, etc for protein! You can also prechop veggies like carrots, peppers and onions to save even more time!**

chicken Quick and Easy Weeknight Dinners

 

To get you started, here are two of my favorite combinations:

Mexican Mess

  • Base of microwave steamed spinach or fresh greens
  • ½ cup cooked brown rice or quinoa
  • ½ cup black beans and/or chicken
  • Chopped peppers and tomato
  • ¼ an avocado
  • 2 Tbsp. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup salsa, any kind

Quinoa Chickpea Salad

  • Base of fresh greens
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa
  • ½ cup chickpeas and/or canned tuna
  • Chopped veggies – peppers, carrots, cucumber, etc.
  • ¼ an avocado
  • 1 Tbsp. feta cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. Balsamic vinaigrette

Want an even easier version of the above quinoa chickpea dish? Try my vegan 4 Ingredient Quinoa Salad!

chickpea salad Quick and Easy Weeknight Dinners

 

Another of my favorite easy dinners is simply two fried eggs atop microwave-steamed spinach with a side of sweet potato or toast with nut butter. Try it – the runny yolk is delicious with the steamed spinach.

Want some other dinner ideas that are still quick? Here are a few of my favorite super quick and easy dinner recipes:

 

mexican lasagna 1 Quick and Easy Weeknight Dinners

I also share a bunch more in this post: Quick and Healthy Dinner Recipes, if you’re interested! And along those lines, here are a few more relevant previous posts of mine that you might find helpful:

Thank you again to Lindsay for having me here today! I hope you guys will swing by my blog or find me on Twitter , Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest to say hello. I share a mix of quick meal ideas, healthy recipes, fitness adventures, and more, and I’d love to “meet” you! icon smile Quick and Easy Weeknight Dinners

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Thanks to Anne for all of these great ideas! Let’s chat:

What are your favorite quick and easy weeknight dinner recipes?

Enjoy!
–Lindsay–