Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Bites

Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal BitesThe following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC.

Hey guys! It’s been forever since I’ve posted a recipe. For the last few months, I’ve been in a bit of a cooking rut. I moved, and while I was still settling into the new kitchen, I fell into a lazy pattern of just walking to Whole Foods to make a salad for dinner or tossing together some quinoa, roasting some veggies, topping with an egg and calling it a day (my go-to easy dinner meal). I missed having yummy snacks and leftovers around the house though, so I’m back at it. Let’s blame the hiatus for the overwhelming number of pictures I included in this post…

Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Bites Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Bites

I was excited to work with FitFluential on developing a recipe using Canadian maple syrup because it’s my favorite way to add sweetness to a recipe without using sugar. 100% pure maple syrup is natural and unprocessed, meaning it has the health benefits of vitamin and mineral content in addition to its amazingly sweet taste. In particular, it’s a great source of manganese and zinc (these minerals aid in muscle recovery—hello, post-workout snack!) and contains 54 different antioxidant compounds. A little fun fact I learned in this project with Pure Canada Maple (Canada produces 80% of the world’s maple syrup) is that the darker the grade of syrup, the higher the antioxidant activity is.

Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Bites Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal BitesToday, I’m using my Canadian maple syrup in these yummy cinnamon raisin oatmeal bites. They’re the perfect snack to fuel your workout or to munch on throughout the day. They’re packed with finger-licking gooey deliciousness and taste somewhere between an oatmeal raisin cookie and a bowl of oatmeal with your favorite toppings.

Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Bites

Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Bites

Yield: 18-25 bites (depending on how big you roll the balls)

Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Bites

Ingredients

  • 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats (I used gluten-free)
  • 3 tbsp Canadian maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 small banana, mashed (about ¼ cup)
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ c raisins
  • 1/8 – ¼ cup shredded almonds, depending on how crunchy you want your bites (if you only have whole almond, just crush them up before mixing in)

Instructions

  1. Put the Canadian maple syrup and almond butter in a small pan and heat over low heat, mixing until warm and fully combined.
  2. Pour over the oats and cinnamon in a big bowl and mix thoroughly. Add in the mashed banana and continue to mix.
  3. Stir in the raisins and almond bits.
  4. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Cooling the mixture will make it easier to form into balls (they’re supposed to be a little sticky).
  5. Use a small spoon (I used a teaspoon) to scoop the mixture and roll into small bite-sized balls.

Notes

Store covered in the refrigerator. I divided my batch up into small Ziploc bags before storing the fridge so that I could easily grab them as an on-the-go snack.

http://pumpsandiron.com/2014/10/28/cinnamon-raisin-oatmeal-bites/

Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Bites Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Bites

For this project, I was also sent a sample of maple water, which I was really excited to try as I’ve seen it popping up in grocery stores lately. It’s the clear water that flows through sugar maple trees, and not at all thick or overwhelmingly sweet like syrup is. It’s actually really refreshing! I’ve been loving using it in smoothies (you can even pour it into ice cube trays and freeze it before tossing into your blender if you want to add some texture to a smoothie). It has half the calories of coconut water and tastes a trillion times better, but I ABHORE coconut water (it tastes like throw-up, you can’t tell me otherwise), so I guess I miiiight be a little biased. :)

Maple WaterHave you ever tried maple water? What’d you think?

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Why Ginger Is a Juicing Superfood

Health Benefits of Ginger (plus tips for juicing it)If you’re into juicing or even have just sipped on the occasional green beverage, you’ve probably noticed that ginger is a common ingredient. It’s one of those foods (like kale, lemon juice and blueberries, to name a few) that you frequently see paired with the word “superfood” or included in top ten lists of miraculous foods you just must be eating right this second. But why?

A lot of people go along with health trends without really knowing why they’re doing so (see: THIS hilarious clip from Jimmy Kimmel Live of gluten-free people not knowing what gluten is)—and I’m guilty of it myself! (Guilty of blindly going along with trends, that is—I know what gluten is haha.) I was talking my friend’s ear off about juice the other day and was asked why I frequently put ginger in mine. I replied that ginger is a natural digestion aid and nausea-soother, but was a little embarrassed that I didn’t really know much beyond that. Don’t you hate that?? You’re talking all passionately about something and then get swiftly reduced from Expert to Queen Bullshitter—the worst. But happens to the best of us, right?…maybe?…humor me? :)

Anyway, to add to my limited knowledge of its ability to cure nausea and stomach aches, I did a little research and thought I’d share some fun facts about ginger. It really is a wonderful addition to juice (and regular meals, of course) and packed with health benefits.

Some Health Benefits of Ginger

  • It’s a remedy for nausea, upset stomachs and cramps. Stomach aches, period cramps, nausea, motion sickness, morning sickness, flu symptoms—if it involves your gut feeling lousy, ginger has you covered. It does this by neutralizing stomach acid and absorbing gastrointestinal toxins and hormones.
  • It’s a digestion rockstar. Ginger increases the secretion of digestive enzymes in the stomach, improving the absorption of nutrients.
  • It’s an anti-inflammatory. Ginger inhibits two enzymes that are associated with chronic inflammation (COX and LOX). This applies to all sorts of inflammation—arthritis all the way to inflammation of the colon, which can be a precursor to colon cancer.
  • It can help lower blood pressure. The gingerol in fresh ginger cause a widening of the blood vessel walls. This can help improve circulation and lower blood pressure. I had read before that rubbing ginger on my fingers when I’m having a Raynaud’s episode can help get the blood flowing again to those restricted blood vessels—now I know why!
  • It can help with muscle pain. There was a study showing that taking ginger daily helped reduce exercise-induced muscle pain. In addition to ingestion, you can apply it topically, rubbing it into sore muscles or even arthritic joints (if you have ginger in essential oil form, this would be a great use!).
  • It’s great if you have a head cold or congestion. The gingerol in ginger is similar to capsaisin in chili peppers and spicy foods in that it has that hot, ok-now-I’m-awake effect when crossed with your respiratory airways. It will break up congestion and open up those sinuses. Ginger is also a good immune system booster, activating T cells (those are the white blood cells responsible for killing off cells carrying viruses) and containing antimicrobial compounds that will help ward off the growth of bad bacteria.

Tips for Juicing Ginger

A little goes a long way when it comes to juicing ginger. It doesn’t yield a lot of juice (you probably won’t even see any drip out the juicer if you run it through on its own), but you’ll definitely taste it. I don’t use more than ½-1” of ginger root in a single juice.

I’ve read that you should remove the skin from the chunk of ginger you’re going to put through your juicer, and if it’s non-organic, I would agree with that. Being the lazy person that I am, however, I usually just cut off a small chunk from the root, quickly scrub it under some running water, and then pop it in the juicer, outer skin and all.

Ginger is a great addition to just about any green juice combination you can think up, and also wonderful with carrots (carrots + an orange + ginger = delicious!). Here are a few juice recipes I’ve posted in the past using ginger to get your started:

Do you add ginger to your juices?

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Resources: Kimberly Snyder‘s website and books are always favorite resources when it comes to understanding what certain foods can do to benefit your body. I also found this site helpful. Reboot with Joe is another go-to of mine for juicing info!

Disclosure: The link to ginger essential oil is an affiliate link. I LOVE Mountain Rose Herbs and used them for all my essential oils long before I joined their affiliate program.

Ritual Wellness Juice Cleanse (Review)

Ritual Wellness 3-Day Juice Cleanse (Review)I know—another juice cleanse. I’m spoiled. When I get the chance to review juice cleanses for the blog, it’s like being eight years old and opening up an American Girl Doll on Christmas morning (Samantha or Felicity, to be exact—I would not be that excited about Molly). As you all have I’m sure noticed by now, I love juicing. If I had the budget (or patience to make my own at home), I would absolutely do a three-day juice cleanse every month because I’ve never finished one without feeling amazing. This Ritual Wellness cleanse was no exception!

Ritual Wellness 3-Day Juice Cleanse: The Deets

Ritual Wellness 3-Day Juice Cleanse (Review)I did the Seasonal Reset 3-Day Cleanse, which consists of six juices per day: three green juices, a seasonal watermelon berry juice, a spicy lemonade, and a “dessert” nut-based juice to end the day feeling full and satisfied. They’re 100% organic and cold-pressed. In addition to the six juices in the Reset, I opted to add in Shred, two extra juices each day to be consumed before and after workouts. I’ll go into details on that a little later. With Shred each day, the 3-day cleanse would be $270 ($216 without). Ritual Wellness is California-based, but ships nationwide.

I loved all the juices! The “dessert” juice was thicker than ones I’ve tried in the past so you really end the day feeling satisfied. The first day, I was almost too full after drinking it (but couldn’t stop, it’s too flippin’ tasty). Here’s what you drink each day (not including Shred):

  • GREEN LEMON | Kale, romaine, spinach, celery, cucumber, green apple, lemon
  • WATERMELON BERRY | Watermelon, coconut, apple, strawberry, lime
  • GREEN GINGER | Kale, romaine, spinach, celery, cucumber, green apple, ginger
  • SPICY LEMONADE | Lemon, cayenne, raw agave
  • SWEET GREENS | Kale, romaine, spinach, celery, cucumber, green apple
  • CASHEW CRUNCH | Cashew, filtered water, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, raw agave

What Makes This Cleanse Different: Shred

Ritual Wellness 3-Day Juice Cleanse (Review)As I mentioned before, with Ritual Wellness, you have the option to add their Shred component to any cleanse. Shred is two extra juices, one to drink pre-workout and one post. I always workout during cleanses without an issue, but I was a little nervous this time around because I now teach spin, which requires a ton of energy for me. Taking spin classes is fine while juicing because you can just kinda sit in the back and pretend to turn up the resistance on your wheel if you’re tired (you know what I’m talking about, slackers!), but teaching is a whole other story. I felt a lot better about doing a cleanse knowing I’d have those extra juices each day.

PRE SHRED | The pre-workout Red Energy juice is beet, carrot, pear, apple and celery. If you like root veggies and beets, you’ll love it.

POST SHRED | The post-workout Almond Mylk juice is similar to the “dessert” juice in that it’s nut-based. Almonds, cinnamon, vanilla and raw agave—it’s heavenly. At 370 calories, it’s the most caloric of the juices, and really gives you that post-workout protein fuel you need.

My Experience

Ritual Wellness 3-Day Juice Cleanse (Review)I actually didn’t end up drinking all 8 juices on any of the three days. Without the Shred juices, the cleanse comes out to 900 calories a day which is, of course, less than what’d I consume if normally eating. With Shred, it’s 1,470 calories a day, which is probably right around what I’d normally eat, depending on the day*. It actually worked out great because I had some leftover juices and was able to turn my 3-day cleanse into a 3 ½ day cleanse! You might be thinking why would you want to torture yourself like that, but honestly, when you finish a cleanse, all you want is more juice! It sounds crazy, but you’ve reset your eating habits and your body craves more of the good stuff.

*Just to clarify since I’ve gotten a few comments/questions about that calorie intake: I just mean that a 1,500(ish)-calorie day is not abnormal for me if eating regularly, unlike a 900-calorie day, which would never happen outside of a juice cleanse. Some days, especially super active days, I definitely eat more than that (2,000 cal range if I had to estimate–I never count). 

DAY 1 | The first day, I just drank the 6 core juices (no Shred). I never feel a lack of energy on day one, so even though I took a class at Btone, I knew I’d be fine without the pre and post-workout juices. 

DAY 2 | On the second day, my boyfriend and I did a lunch break Barry’s Bootcamp class. I had just drank juice 3 (Green Ginger), so I didn’t feel the need to have the Pre-Shred, but I brought the Post-Shred with me in my cooler bag and was pumped to drink it after the workout—I needed it.

DAY 3 | The last day was what I was nervous about: teaching spin on day 3 of a liquid diet. Eeek. I drank the Pre Shred half an hour before class as well as about 1/3 of the Post Shred just to be safe, and class went great! I did feel a little lightheaded afterwards, but I just drank the rest of my Post Shred, sat on the couch for a bit, and then was fine. Because I had added the Shred juices into the day, I ended up not drinking one of the green juices.

POST-CLEANSE | Because I had a green juice, two beet juices and a nut milk leftover, I extended the cleanse into the next day, drinking the juices and then in the afternoon adding in some fruit and a couple salads. It was the perfect ease back into normal eating!

As has been my experience with cleanses in the past, afterwards my skin was clearer (tons of nutrients + tons of water = radiant skin) and I had no cravings for junky and sugary foods—not even cake pops from Starbucks, to which I am literally addicted. In general, drinking enough water is something I really need to be better about, and the cleanse definitely got me on track with that (you drink water between each of your juices).

A big thanks to Ritual Wellness for three days of organic goodness—and a break from cooking and washing dishes! :)

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