Chicago had it’s first snow fall Saturday-officially pushing our glorious fall weather onto a slippery patch of ice and out the door. As the nights become darker earlier, we find ourselves seeking toasty dishes to fulfill our need for warmth … Continue reading
Now that Race-tober has come to a close, we’ve had a chance to reflect on all the “firsts” we’ve experienced this month: Monica ran her first 10K, Run 10 Feed 10, Kate took her sister to her first 5k, a very rainy yet triumphant Monster Dash and one of our most memorable races, our first trail run with the The North Face Endurance Challenge at Kettle Moraine State Park. The North Face went above and beyond in sponsoring us, not only giving us sweet race gear before the race, but also surprising us with a backpack full of running essentials once we made our way to our hotel.
For anyone who has been running 5Ks for a while or would love to just get out in nature more, we think a trail run could hit both those spots.
Here are some things we learned from our experience:
These shoes were made for trailin’
Invest in a pair of trail shoes. Your feet will thank you for your generosity. When we first received our North Face Ultra MT trail shoes, we noticed how stiff they were as compared to our norm runners. A wise friend explained that trail running shoes and more hearty with more tread so you have better grip and can withstand stepping on wily rocks and sticks that may try to block your path. These shoes are also waterproof to withstand wet and muddy trails.
Climbing every mountain
The environment of trails can vary from run to run. You may find well groomed trails, wild overgrown ones, or paved trails in your travels. You may find you require more stamina and time to trail run than what you’re used to so don’t feel discouraged if you are slower paced than your average pavement jaunt.
Dress to impress–the wilderness
The weather the day of our trail run was not exactly what you would expect for early October but Midwest weather is like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates, ya never know what you’re gonna get. Chilly and brisk was the name of the running game for our race day. Keeping in mind that we were going through the woods, we wore layers. For rain, try a light or medium weight rain jacket, like The North Face Women’s Venture Jacket. Trust us, don’t wear your poncho to run unless you want to sweat like a wild hog as you swish through the wilderness.
And some advice from the trail running pros!
Ready, set, go!
Still trail shy?
The North Face offers their free Mountain Athletics training sessions every Tuesday and Thursday in Boston, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. to help you prep for your next ski jump, rock climb, run or crazy jazz hand competition…whatever your goal may be.
It’s scary how fast October is leaving us. Don’t get left behind from all the fall festivities and grab the ghost by the sheet to get all the Halloween treats and tricks in. Saturday October 24th 2-5 pm/6-8 pm The … Continue reading
Plans for Saturday looking a little scary? Treat yourself and others instead by getting fit while giving to charity. We have the pleasure of being run ambassadors for the Run10Feed10 10k this Saturday at Diversey Habor and YOU, Chicago friends, … Continue reading
We’ve known about our namesake almost twinsie, Organicgirl greens, for over a year now. Their organic pre-rinsed greens mixes have taken center stage in our fridge for months. Their spinach has starred in our green smoothies, their arugula pizzazzed our pizzas. And yet, we were surprised to find out they had ventured into 2 new product markets, green juices and salad dressings. Could they get any greener!?
As big Organicgirl fans, we got to sample both the dressings and juices at the recent Fit Foodie Run and (BONUS) were treated by Organicgirl to our very own bottles for further taste inspection.
We’ve been wondering, we have all these BPA free recycled clam shells of Organicgirl spring mix, what do we dress it with!? Lemon Agave, White Cheddar, Fresh Tomato Italian or Kale Parmesan.
Can we put a squeeze of each on single leaves? Each dressing has it’s only unique flavor profile that fits particularly well with the various greens that Organicgirl offers.
The Zesty Tomato Italian mingles with pepper greens, feta, artichokes, olives and roasted garlic. For a fast and easy lunch, take a Toufyan multigrain pocket filled with greens, organic yellow cherry tomatoes, Morningstar Farms grilled chicken and dressing.
Continue fall trends with White Cheddar dressing drizzled over a spinach, green apple, dried cranberry salad with walnuts or hold on to summer with Lemon Agave dressing, watermelon, pinches of cayenne, jalapeno and that baby spring mix we mentioned. Another quick lunch creation to add with raw organic greens include cucumbers, veg grilled chicken and shaved Parmesan.
Also, check out this super cool blog, Nutrition Happens, for even more recipe ideas. Let’s get drizzical, drizzlical (Olivia Newton John reference!) with these new drizzly dressins’.
Next, the super secret just released Organicgirl “Get Real” Juices
Fair Warning: If you are the type who loves your juice super fruity fruit loop flavored, these may seem a little..umm..veggie heavy (aka healthy tasting). However, fear not. Organicgirl tells you these organic cold pressed vegan juices are “More Greens, Less Fruit” so you can’t act like you didn’t know. They are way lower in calories (think 45-60 for a full bottle) and way way lower in sugar so you won’t feel like you are crashing after drinking them. Additional goodness: They have 2-3 servings of veggies in each bottle so it’s an easy way to down a head o’ lettuce or two to start your day or supplement your lunch. 4 veg-rrific options await you: The light and lemony “Brighten Up”, The minty cucumber “Be Cool”, The King of All Greens and ruler of the iron throne (hehehehe) Kale Rules and….
Our vote for best Organicgirl juice: “Fuel Your Ride” with 84% Greens and Veg, pumped up with kale, carrot, spinach, cucumber, beet and parsley. We suspect the beet and carrot create a magical spell to make the kale less bitter. Don’t be green with envy (HA!) other juices.
You can find Organicgirl products at Mariano’s (unless it’s Sunday when everyone snags all the baby spinach and makes us sad. Don’t go on Sundays, people) as well as other food retailers in your salad-hood.
Good things come in small packages! That’s what Kate always says about her height and what Monica says about GoMacro’s Macrobars. Pocket sized (more like IPhone sized for your back pocket) Macrobars pack a healthy snack punch and cater to an array of dietary needs and taste preferences.
Sweet back story: Co-founder, Amelia Kirchoff, grew up on a cozy London farm where her parents used the minimal produce they grew to sustain themselves. In 2003, after being diagnosed with breast cancer and enduring a lumpectomy and brachytherapy, Amelia turned down additional treatments and turned up for a macrobiotic diet and lifestyle. Amelia’s adult daughter, GoMacro co-founder and CEO, Jola Sonkin, supported and joined her in her lifestyle change.
Macrobiotic nutrition focuses on increasing your intake of whole grains, produce and beans while limiting or excluding meat, dairy, eggs and processed foods. Controlled amounts of fish and healthy dessert are acceptable so Amelia ventured into the world of scrumptious vegan goodies with farm fresh fruits and grains from their Midwest family farm.
GoMacro meditates on basic tenets to guide its products: Sustainability, Giving Back, Macrobiotics, Wholesomeness and (Hip Hip…no hippos or any other animal for that matter!) Vegan
Macrobars go for the green-gold with plant based proteins, gluten/additive/GMO freedom, organic origins, compostable containers and a reduced carbon footprint.
Our must have Macrobars:
Our taste buds meandered around the tropical tastes of the Balanced Goodness Macrobar, with coconut and crunchy granola. We are suckers for coconut! The Sunny Uplift with tart cherries and sweet berries tempted our tummies with it’s ripe chewy fruit bits and the Morning Harvest Macrobar with apple and walnut reminded us of a warm baked apple on a crisp autumn day.
Macrobars have a tiny ingredient list and there is no foreign” hydra-processed-glutamate PBA” (we made that up) Frankenstein like ingredients. Expect brown rice syrup or coconut sugar, nut or seed (!) butters, cacao and more fruit than an orchard squeezed into a colorful pouch. Kate went on a stint of what she calls the mornin’ Macrobar mania. Basically, it means you roll out of bed as late as possible, pack a Macrobar, fresh pressed veggie juice and an apple in your bag for a breakfast that lasts til’ lunch. Trusted by athletes (like the LA Clippers) and fit dabblers (like us) alike, Macrobars offer balanced energy as well without the crash.
Macro-your way to Whole Foods or online to treat yo’self with a full sized Macrobar or a Macrobar mini for those max hunger moments.
Aww hello Fall. We love you and your pumpkin spice lattes. Before you get plumpkin, however, a change of seasons is a fabulous time to adopt new healthy habits and shed old ones. A juice cleanse may help you transition and reset your cravings. We were invited to try BluePrint cleanse for free to eval the benefits of a fall juice cleanse. This ain’t our first cleanse rodeo so we can tell you a thing or two about how this cleanse compares. Let us remind you that neither one of us is a medical professional (we just play them on tv…jkjk) so these are our personal opinions and we can’t guarantee anything similar…except you may become a unicorn. Here are our JAQs (Juicily Asked Questions):
Why do a Juice Cleanse:
Ummm…most co-workers look at you with curiosity and/or incredulity when you show up to the break room with your lunch bag o’ juice. Proponents of juicing contend that it provides a waterslide of vitamins to your body and flushes out toxins. We aren’t really sure but juicing is a good way to quickly get your 5 servings of produce a day, pulverize unhealthy habits and squeeze out a clean eating regimen.
What to do before:
Not the best idea to do that 2 am White Castle before you start a cleanse. Ease into it and keep it light. BluePrint recommends you avoid animal proteins, dairy and processed foods before AND after a cleanse, so don’t jump into a pudding cup after you finish. Basically become a rabbit, a healthy rabbit who loves avocado, olive oil and crunchy greens.
Where did BluePrint come from anyways?
Sneezing and coughing can lead to a thriving business! In early 2000, Zoe Sakoutis, a certified nutritional consultant, caught a monster cold and looked for solutions from a raw foodie friend. The answer? A strict 7 day cleanse. The answer worked but Zoe wanted a way to replicate without all the daily juice machine cleaning. Zoe paired up with her friend, Erica Huss, and thus BluePrint came to fruition. Their cold-pressed juices are a blend of USDA-certified-organic fruits and vegetables. Ingredients are sourced from local farms (including BluePrint’s own acreage).
What was BluePrint Cleanse like?
User friendly for sure! Juices are numbered for ease of drinkage. Like Brian McKnight says “Start at 1” and then move your way through the day to 6 in the evening. You drink a bottle about every 2 hours. Juices come in recycled plastic BPA free bottles and we also received a cute juice carrying lunch bag to tote our way around the day. You need access to a fridge or ice packs in your bag to make sure your juices stay frosty.
Our renovation cleanse was recommended for the beginning juicer and featured 5 different juice combos to shun juice-logged feelings: 1) Green Juice 2) P.A.M.-Pineapple, Apple, Mint 3) Green Juice 4) Spicy Lemonade 5) C.A.B.-Apple, Carrot, Beet 6) Cashew Milk
“Best of Bottle” Juices?
Kate: Ok, so me and beet juice…not always friends. Usually, it’s my most hated juice in the cleanse repertoire. BluePrint’s C.A.B. juice has more ginger and lemon overtones and the beet doesn’t beat up your taste buds.
Monica: I love the idea of alternating juice with heavy fruits and vegetables to light lemon with a kick of either cayenne or ginger juice so I don’t get bored. The night ends perfectly with delicious rich Madagascar vanilla cashew milk….yumm.
Any side effects?
The distinct drooling effect over your co-workers garlicky noodles at lunch.
Missing the little things…like chewing.
What were the benefits?
Kate: I noticed I could taste everything more intensely (in a good way). After the cleanse, veggies and fruits tasted more rich and vibrant. I lost 2 pounds (probably water weight but heyooo, makes you wanna keep up the health and wellness juice jive). I got a ton of vitamins directly deposited into my body bank account.
Monica: I was giddy and perky on 2nd and 3rd day, so much so that my coworkers thought it was due to a new guy in my life (though true haha but I’ve experienced the exact same thing during my first juice cleanse). I didn’t need any caffeine to get through the day even post cleanse. No more bloating and slimmer waist!
Now it’s your turn!
You can WIN a 3 DAY CLEANSE from BluePrint! Click here to enter and start commenting. You can still be “winning!” without winning with Gilt City BluePrint Cleanse Dealio. Extra bonus news: BluePrint cleanse is debuting limited time fall dranks so ditch the Pumpkin Spice and try a six pack of 1 of 4 new juices for FREE when you buy a three day cleanse and enter the code “HARVEST“.
Don’t forget to enter our Rafflecopter giveaway!
Whaaa…we found a place that embodies our blog namesake. River North is hiding a gem of a restaurant, Farmhouse Chicago, right underneath our CTA riding noses, literally. Farmhouse partners with local Midwestern farms in Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin to provide us city slickers with farmtastic vittles. We were treated to a VIP 5 course tasting event recently to check out new menu creations and learn about Farmhouse’s holistic approach to restaurateur-ing. The first thing we noticed about Farmhouse was the rustic and cozy decor. Co-owners, Ferdia Doherty and TJ Callahan, explained that even the furnishings promote local moods with reclaimed art touches from retired Chicago bars and restaurants and salvaged furniture from the south side.
Chef, Eric Mansavage, detailed each course’s farm connection and ingredient alchemy as we nibbled our way through the Midwest.
Note* No Monicas were hurt during this dinner. Her vegetarian ideals remained intact as Kate took one for team meat! Rest assured, Farmhouse has plenty of farmiliar vegetarian options on their everyday menu.
Course 1: Ellis Farms Green Grapes and Ham Market Amuse
First, don’t act like you know what an amuse is…unless you’re a foodie. Just in case, an amuse is bite-sized hors d’œuvre. We were amused by this fancy PBJ with on a crostini. Tasting notes: Crunchy, yummy, grapey, give us moree than bite sized, please!
Course 2: Green Acres Farm Chilled Melon Soup, Summer Bread Salad, Spiced Yogurt, Crispy Njuda, Mint
This is like a food dictionary lesson! Njuda is a spicy spreadable pork sausage, like pig pate, hahaha. Although we weren’t big fans of the chilled cantaloupe soup (maybe too sweet?), the summer bread salad with crisp radish and tart yogurt tickled the tongue.
Course 3: Grilled Rushing Waters Rainbow Trout, Black Garlic Roasted Tomatillos, Black Bean Relish, Swan Creek Bacon Lardon
So, normally, seafood fans we are not (as Yoda would say) but hey, the force was strong with this fish. The skin was on but, shocker, it was actually smoky and delicious with a flavor reminiscent of bacon. The fish was not “fishy” but freshy. It was mild with a melty texture. The black bean relish on its own would have been a crowd pleaser as well.
Course 4: BBQ Short Ribs, Butter Poached Indiana Shrimp, Hazzard Free Farms Pimento Cheese Popcorn Grits, Sweet Corn
Chef, Eric Mansavage, described this cornucopia (aha!) as Farmhouse’s version of surf and turf. Full disclosure, not a shrimp fan, but the short ribs were tender and surrounded by a delicate moat of popcorn grits. It’s like going to the movies and bringing a rib in your popcorn box.
If you know the Peaches and Cream song sing along….peaches and creaaam. Juicy Michigan peaches, peach marmalade that was almost like carmamel-ade, and sweet cream ice cream nestled between 2 pillowy cookies. Ob-vs we love dessert. Even Monica could chow down on this soon to be farmous goodie.
Farmhouse owners are expanding their acres with the new Farmbar in Lincoln Park, set to open in October. They can also subsidize your love of cider as they own Brown Dog Farm and its filled to the bushel with apple, pear, peach and cherry trees. Can we get a Yum Yum? We love their down to (the) earth mentality and will definitely root our way back to try their veggie options.
Are you a Farmhouse Fan? Tell us your favorite dish!
Did you ever wish you could block out the noise of the world around you? Accessorize your yoga with sound proof headphones and merge the beauty of the city with the quiet of nature. Join Gilt City, AMped and Sound Off on Saturday September 19th for bending, balancing, brunching and rooftoping it up on the gorgeous Vertigo Sky Lounge. Bring your mat (the event is BYOM) and your hunger while you leave your stress at home!
Your ticket gets you ALL these goodies!
- Admission for one to AMped x Sound Off Summer Series Open Air Rooftop Yoga Experience led by Zen Yoga Garage on Vertigo’s Rooftop on September 19, 2015 (9:30 or 12:30 time slots)
- Coconut water by Vita Coco (mmm we are hoping for the coffee kind)
- Healthy bars from KIND (yum coconut almond!)
- Australian yoghurt from Noosa Yoghurt
- Bottled water by Essentia (Alkaline water to promote a healthy PH)
- Dried super fruit by Sant
- Organic juices from Organic Girl
- Coffee from Passion House Coffee
- Organic, chia-based drinks by MammaChia
- Chair massages by Body Works
- Complimentary mimosa courtesy of Vertigo Sky Lounge
- Noise-isolating headphones bring the DJ and teacher directly to you sans cab honks and construction clamor.
Ticket sales end in 3 days so don’t wait. Get rid of your case of the Mondays by dreaming about this relaxing Saturday!