Saturday, June 20, 2015

Think Outside the Protein Shake: 3 Tasty Protein Powder Recipes

I am a big fan of protein powder. It is a quick, convenient and delicious way to get my protein requirements for the day. It is perfect for a post workout refuel or an on-the-go breakfast. There are endless combinations of shake ingredients, but there is so much more that you can do with protein powder! I decided to try out some of my favorite out-of-the-box protein powder recipes. Let's think outside the protein shake!

You will notice a common theme. These are all ridiculously easy recipes that only use a few common ingredients. There is nothing more annoying than finding a pretty food picture on Pinterest and then realizing the recipe is too complicated or made with a bunch of ingredients that I never heard of. I already had most of this in the kitchen.

Think Outside the Protein Shake: 3 Tasty Protein Powder Recipes
This post is sponsored by UnicoNutrition to promote Apollo Pure Protein. All opinions are my own.

Protein Pancakes
I've been reading about these pancakes for years and I was excited to finally give them a try. One night last week Hubby was away for dinner and since he is usually the dinner chef, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to whip up a batch of chocolate protein pancakes. They were so easy to make and freakin' delicious, I am kicking myself for not making these sooner. They were perfect for a protein packed (very filling!) dinner. I love breakfast for dinner!

1/3 cup old fashioned whole grain oats (uncooked)
1/3 cup of low fat cottage cheese
3 egg whites
1 scoop of Apollo Pure chocolate protein powder

Mix all the ingredients together in a food processor to make a pancake batter.
Pour half the batter in a greased frying pan and cook on both sides until browned. Repeat with the remaining batter. Top with berries and/or real maple syrup.

Makes 2 pancakes.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bars
Oh my yum! These are just amazing. But sometimes I wonder if my taste buds are a little off. I think that because I don't eat a lot of sweets, things like fruit and yogurt taste very sweet and delicious to me. So when I tell people that I love the taste of plain Greek yogurt or cottage cheese (tastes better than ice-cream, I unabashedly declare!) I often get strange looks. So when I fell in love with these bars I just had to bring them to work to make sure they tasted as good to everyone else. I am pleased to tell you that they were a huge hit with the work-folk.
"It comes with my stamp of approval and that's the equivalent of making it into Oprah's book club." - Ellen at work.

This is the easiest recipe ever.

2 cups of all natural peanut butter
1 cup honey
2 cups of Apollo Pure chocolate protein powder
2 cups of old fashion whole grain oats (uncooked)

In a mixing bowl combine the honey and peanut butter and microwave for one minute to soften. Stir until blended, then mix in the protein powder and oats until coated. Press in a 9x9 pan and place in refrigerator. Cut into squares and serve chilled. I told you it was easy!

Chocolate Protein Parfait:

Packed with protein these are perfect for breakfast or even a snack.

1 cup of plain Greek yogurt
1 scoop of Apollo Pure chocolate protein powder
berries (I used blueberries, strawberries, rasberries)
all natural granola

Mix the Greek yogurt and protein powder together in a bowl. Scoop 1/4 of the yogurt mix on the bottom of a parfait cup. Top with granola, top with berries, repeat layers and top with granola.

Makes 2 parfaits.

Protein is an important part of an active lifestyle. While I try to get most of my protein from whole foods, lean meats and fish, I love protein powder to help fill in the nutritional gap when cooked protein is not convenient. 

Protein powder is not a magic powder, no matter what the marketing messages try to tell you. It does not magically make you lose weight or grow muscles. Protein powder doesn't work unless you do. 

This is one of the reasons that I immediately fell in love with the Apollo Pure Protein. I appreciate a company that gives it to us straight. It says so right here on the Apollo Pure Protein label.

I seek out protein powders with no added sugars, no added sodium, no fillers, no artificial colors and no questionable preservatives. Apollo is a perfect fit for my needs. Apollo Pure Protein combines 3 ultra-premium protein sources: grass-fed whey, micellar casein and egg albumen. Plus it tastes fantastic which is the most important factor because if it had everything else but tasted like chalk then I wouldn't use it anyway!

Apollo Pure Protein in the foreground and the ShredShed in the background
I was thrilled with outcome of these three recipes. Everything was just so delicious, healthy and easy. Have you tried any non-traditional protein powder recipes? If you would like to try these recipes I'd love it if you would pin them on Pinterest for later!

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Friday, June 19, 2015

Furry Friday Feature! Running with Reds!

Hi, friends! Happy Friday! I am excited to bring you another edition of Furry Friday Feature. In case you are just joining us, furry feature is a fun monthly post when I feature a furry four-legged runner and their favorite human. Because who doesn't like looking at pictures of cute pooches?

This month I am excited to introduce you to Michelle from Running with Reds and her favorite four-leg running partner Stella.

From Running with Reds: "Join me as I journey through life as a mommy to a little red headed boy and four red australian shepherds and wife to an awesome hubby who can't say no. My addictions include distance running and training dogs (specifically in dog agility) and my job is in science so expect a dose of a little bit of all of these things. Running with reds is how I keep my sanity."

Hi, Michelle. Tell us a little bit about your favorite running partner.
I have three (Harley, Deuce and Stella) but my favorite is Stella. She is a three year old Australian Shepherd. We have been running together for about two years now and she trained me for my first half and the four subsequent halfs that happened after I got addicted, as well as my first 25 K trail run. She is a very high drive aussie so she is the perfect partner for running. She was bred to work so she can literally pace run all day.

Furry Feature: Michelle and Stella

Where is your favorite place to run with your pooch?
All around my great little town called Wamego Kansas. We have a mix of in town and out of town rural areas we run as well as a nice limestone paved trail in Manhattan Kansas.

Have you ever raced with your dog? 
I have raced several times with my dog. We do an annual trail run that benefits one of the local shelters and even got 2nd in our age division! We did another trail run that benefits another local shelter and got 2nd again. I will be completing another half marathon that also allows dogs and will be training for our first full marathon. I love races that allow dogs. I know sometimes it is pain and a liability but I wish more races would allow them. Our partners train with us so why can't they race with us?

Tell us about a running moment that made you proud.
Finishing my first 25 K trail race. That was tough and she trained with me the whole way. I can't wait to complete our first half marathon together as she completed her first virtual half this year but a real race will be so much more fun!

What important running (or life) lesson can we learn from our dogs?
Stella loves to run. She doesn't worry about anything other than just the sheer joy of running. I have been on the injured reserve and I have missed the joy of running and what a gift it is!

Any parting thoughts that you would like to share with the Running with Ollie Blog readers?
It's funny, I have a dog that is a sprinter (Deuce) and a dog that is a pacer (Stella). It's so funny to see their personalities come through when we run. Deuce does dog agility, which is the obstacle course for time, so it makes sense that he likes to go out as hard as he can. He has learned to pace but it has been a long process. I love running with my dogs, it keeps them in shape and provides a bonding time for us all.

Thanks to Michelle and Stella from Running with Reds!

Have you missed any furry features? You can get caught up on past Furry Features here.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Sweat in Style: Tennis Skirt, Anyone?

Welcome to the first edition of a new series called Sweat in Style! I love fashion. I have worked in the fashion industry for most of my professional career, so I was excited about the prospect of a blog series that combines my love for fashion with my love for fitness.

I am always looking for creative ways to sneak my workout clothes into my corporate work attire, like wearing my running tights under a dress or wearing a sweater over a workout tank. I love the concept of Ath-leisure, workout clothes intended to wear as everyday clothes, but we just do that anyways, right?

Some might wonder why I spend a lot of money on something that ultimately gets sweaty and stinky? I love the way I feel in workout clothes. I feel more alive with a ponytail, no makeup and dripping with sweat than I do all dolled in lipstick & high heels. There is something about working out, and the cute clothes that go with it, that makes me feel really connected to who I am. When I am sweating, that is a real me. Sure, I love pretty clothes, hair products and lipstick, it just always feels a little like I am playing dress up, with the real raw sweaty me hiding somewhere underneath. Wearing cute workout clothes is how I like to dress up. Plus there is no better boost of motivation to hit the streets or the gym than to break in a new outfit or pair of shoes!

Let's kick off the new series with one of my favorites outfits. You may recall this outfit from the Pittsburgh Half Marathon. Hubby and I ran it together, it was his first half marathon (and probably his last). Crossing the finish line while holding his hand was one the highlights of my year!

The Tank: Burnout Tank by Shine Athletica

Full disclosure: The tank is by Shine Athletica (which is owned by my friend) and I help them with their social media and their ambassador program. In exchange for my social media services, they produce my blog tank. When you buy this tank I make a few bucks, but no one is getting rich from doggy shirts. It is just a fun way to help offset some of my blog expenses.

I love these burnout tanks from Shine Athletica. In addition to the "My Running Partner has Four Legs" tank that they produce for my blog, they offer a variety of inspirational messages on these burnout tanks in seven vibrant colors! Purchase here.

The Running Skirt: BCG Layered Skirt from Academy

OK technically this is a tennis skirt from Academy Sports & Outdoors' private label brand, BCG. When I saw it hanging there in the store, I rationalized my purchase of a tennis skirt by figuring an activewear skirt that is appropriate for tennis would surely work for running. It has built in shorts, is made from polyester/spandex and has wicking technology to pull moisture away from your body. Sounds just like a running skirt to me. It held up great for 13.1 miles in the Pittsburgh half marathon, and now I am motivated to pick up tennis again, just to make good use of the tennis ball pockets inside. Purchase here.

Thanks for hanging out with me for my first post in the new series, Sweat in Style! A big thanks to Stephanie Drenka Photography for the photoshoot.

Do you love workout clothes like I do? What are some of your favorite brands? Stayed tuned for more fashion fitness fun.

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Keep Running,


Does your running partner have four legs

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Saturday, June 13, 2015

Why I Quit Coffee

It's day three of no caffeine. My debilitating headache has downgraded to a low dull pain. I feel slightly less tired, cranky and scattered than yesterday (but hubby may not agree with that statement). I haven't killed anyone yet. I think it only gets better from here.

I posted the above on my Facebook wall the other day. When I told people that I was cutting out caffeine, I got two questions:

1. Are you pregnant/planning to get pregnant? 

No. God No. 

2. Why the (expletive removed) would you want to do that?

I am was a pretty heavy coffee drinker. I drink it black, but I can easily drink a whole pot myself. It wasn't always that way. I know the benefits of a caffeine-free life, but over the years I slowly slid back to a full-time coffee drinker. The occasional coffee turned into one a day, then two a day, then a whole pot. I realized I wasn't getting the benefits of caffeine any more and just needed it to maintain a normal level of energy in the morning. I'm not sure how I got here, but the absence of caffeine makes one big difference in my day.

Giving up caffeine makes it easier for me to wake up early in the morning to work out. I know what you are thinking, bear with me. 

I am a great sleeper. I mean, expert-level sleeper. I can sleep anywhere at any time. I go to bed at night and to my insomniac husband's dismay, I'm asleep within five minutes of my head hitting the pillow. If I wake up during the night, I fall back asleep almost instantly. I easily get a full eight or nine hours of sleep every night but I still wake up every morning feeling exhausted with a strong tendency to hit the snooze button. It has been a real struggle to get up for those morning workouts that I claim to love so much. But how can I love them if I can barely pull myself out of bed to do them any more?

But Why?

I figured out (or someone smarter than me told me) that the exhausted, hit by a bus feeling in the morning, was nothing more than caffeine withdraw. Once I had my caffeine, I felt normal again, but most of the time the bad feelings were so strong my decision making skills were dulled. I couldn't see that far into the morning. I felt so tired, I didn't feel like I could get up, even to make that pot of coffee first. So I just went back to bed.

Sure, I could keep drinking my coffee and just switch to evening workouts, but I really love working out in the morning. I love the time to myself in the morning, I love how it sets the tone for the day and I rarely ever miss a 5:30am workout because of scheduling conflicts. I want to workout in the morning and I want to wake up feeling well enough to do it.

Quitting caffeine breaks the cycle and frees me from needing it to function normally. When I drank caffeine everyday, it caused my body to build up a tolerance to it. The same amount of coffee (you know, a whole pot) only caused me to feel normal rather than give me the energy boosting feeling it once did.

I know from experience, that once I break the cycle, that I can wake up after a full night's sleep and feel awake, alert and ready to start my day...and workout. So for now, I have switched to decaf. I'll let you know how it goes once this headache goes away.

I'm crazy, right? Tell me in the comments. 

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Does your running partner have four legs

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Saturday, June 6, 2015

5 Fun Flavorful Reasons to Run the Fort Worth Flavor Run (+ Giveaway & Discount Code!)

I ran a color run a few years ago and it was a lot of fun, but I made one colossal mistake. I ran it alone. D'uh! Who runs a fun run alone? I missed the whole point. This isn't the kind of run where you train for six months to beat your personal best (it is not even timed). This is the kind of run where you round up your closest running buddies, non-running buddies and wackiest friends for a morning of fun and flavor! You can run it or walk it, either way you come out on the other side looking like you got in a wrestling match with Rainbow Bright.

So won't you help me redeem myself? I am doing it right this year. I am rounding up friends and readers (same thing, right?) and building a team (team name: Running with Ollie Blog) to run the Fort Worth Flavor Run 5K on June 27th. I have a discount code for anyone who registers for the Fort Worth race (whether you join my team or not) and a chance for two people to win a free entry in my giveaway! WooHoo!

Save 30% on the Fort Worth Flavor Run with you use the promo code OLLIE30

The Fort Worth Flavor Run provided me with two free entries for myself and two entries to give away in exchange for helping them promote this event. All opinions are my own.

Five Fun Flavorful Reasons to Run the Fort Worth Flavor Run

1. It's an excuse to act like a kid
Because let's face it, sometimes life and all its responsibilities can get kind of boring. Just because you are grown up doesn't mean you have to stop having fun. Besides, it is one of those rare events where it is socially acceptable for a grown woman (or man!) to wear a tutu or costume.

2. It's all inclusive
No matter what your current fitness level or ability you can have fun at a Flavor Run. It is an untimed fun run and you can choose to run, walk, skip, cartwheel, dance or prance along the 3.1 mile course.

3. Because you're not a fun-hater
Its nearly impossible not to smile and laugh when you are covered in color. Who doesn't want to laugh? Round up your friends and don't be a fun-hater! Sign up with me today!

4. The photo ops
Just imagine how awesome your pictures will look plastered all over your Facebook page. Show those random 300 people how much fun you can be!

5. Because you like discounts (and free stuff)
Save 30% on 5k Flavor Runner tickets by using the promo code: OLLIE30
Go to:
- Select “Participate as an individual” or “Join a Team” (team tickets are $5 less!) - Team Name: Running with Ollie Blog.
- Enter promo code OLLIE30 above “Order Now” and click apply
- Enter the # of tickets you’d like to purchase and click “Register"

Event Info - The Flavor Run Ft Worth
Date: June 27th @ 9 am
Location: LaGrave Field (301 NE 6th St, Fort Worth, TX 76164)

Facebook page:
2015 Flavor Run Ft Worth Event page:

Are you convinced? Good. See you there! (Ollie will have to sit this one out, but don't have to!)
Enter to win in the Rafflecopter widget below! There is only one required question to enter to win, but plenty of ways to earn extra entries! Two winners will be announced on June 15th!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Contest runs June 6th - 14th 2015
Winners will be announced on June 15th
No purchase necessary.
2 Winners will be randomly selected via Rafflecopter
Entries on Rafflecopter will be verified. Entries not completed will be disqualified.
Open to US residents 18 years of age or older.
Giveaway is for the Fort Worth event on June 27th only.

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Does your running partner have four legs

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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

5 ways to celebrate National Running Day

Good morning, friends! I thought I would stop by to wish you all a happy national running day! I love these made up holidays. I think tomorrow is National Hug Your Cat Day, so there's that.

If you were looking for an excuse to go for a run today...then look no further, there is a whole day dedicated to providing you with some motivation.

There are a couple of fun ways you can celebrate the holiday:

customize your own I run...graphic!

1. D'uh. Go for a run. 

2. Join a running event. There are events all over the country celebrating national running day. Chances are there is one in your area.

3. Run for charity. Download the Charity Miles app and run for charity! Charity Miles makes a donation to your selected charity for every mile you log. You're gonna run anyway, you might as well do it for a good cause!

4. Register for a race. I can't think of a better day to sign up for your next race, especially when there are discounts involved! Today only, in celebration of national running day, sign up for a Rock 'n Roll marathon series race and save $20.

5. Download your own running day graphic to customize and share why you run! Share on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with #nationalrunningday to connect with other runners who are celebrating.

Ollie and I? We run fur fun.

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Does your running partner have four legs

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