New Kicks 2016 - juggling with julia A mind-cleansing, heart-pumping, soul-soothing daily walk.

Do you indulge in a daily walk? If so, you already reap the benefits of this healthy habit. If not, however, you have every reason to start. The benefits of walking are endless!

The act of walking itself lowers your blood pressure, improves your mood, burns calories, and strengthens your bones and muscles. Furthermore, when you make it a daily habit, the cumulative effect of walking can help fight off dementia, heart disease, and diabetes. All great, right?

So, why isn’t everybody doing it?

Because it can get a little boring.

Believe me, I know. I’ve logged thousands of miles on these old feet. It gets tiresome walking in circles. And who wants to look at the same scenery every time they go out?

So, here’s 6 ways to add fun and purpose to your daily walk. Try one! Maybe you’ll notice that your walk feels less like an effort, and more like the healthy escape it is meant to be.

#1 Make a dog’s day
6 ways to add fun and purpose to your daily walk - juggling with julia

This is Jazzy. You’ve met her before. She loves eating dirty tissues, sniffing strangers in an utterly impolite manner, and smiling. Smiling is her favorite. It’s so easy to make her day – all I have to do is ask her, “Where’s your leash?” and she leaps excitedly into the air, kind of like a cross between a mountain goat and a dolphin. My daily walk is that much better when this goof is with me.

#2 Explore the beauty of local areas.
6 ways to add fun and purpose to your daily walk - juggling with julia

It’s a whole other world when you’re walking your town, instead of mindlessly driving through it. This serene view, for instance, is just a few hundred feet from a constantly-traveled, double-yellow lined street in my town. Yet, it is nothing but beauty and peace. Other great walking options include nearby state parks, low-traffic neighborhoods, or even downtown areas if you prefer architecture over arborvitae.

#3 Practice your photography.
6 ways to add fun and purpose to your daily walk - juggling with julia

Photography, for a blogger, is as important as the writing. Pictures make the words come alive. Thankfully, with food, I don’t need to worry about my subject moving around on the plate or refusing to look at the camera. Wildlife is tougher! I got lucky being there at the right time with this shot. Or, I may have ‘accidentally’ scuffed my toe to get him moving. {evil, yet somewhat ashamed, grin}. Your smartphone camera is likely better than any point-and-shoot you owned 10 years ago, so start snapping!

#4 Pump up the fitness factor
6 ways to add fun and purpose to your daily walk - juggling with julia

Spice up your walking route with a few fitness stops along the way. Push-ups on a quiet strip of grass, calf raises on a curb, or gentle stretching on a park bench are all easy ways to incorporate fitness into your daily walk. Maybe you’re thinking “In public? No way!” This is Nancy and Molly. They are stretching on a park bench. They don’t care who is watching. Be like Nancy and Molly 🙂

#5 Make your walk your destination
6 ways to add fun and purpose to your daily walk - juggling with julia

Give your daily walk purpose by heading towards your local coffee place or the library or post office. Don’t live anywhere near where you want to go? Just drive to that general area, park some distance away, then start walking. You’ll be double-dipping from the awesome box by getting your fitness and errands done at the same time. BOOM.

#6 Entertain yourself
Daily Walk - Juggling with Julia

It’s no secret that I love to play Pokemon Go while I walk. Ridiculously good fun and a little addicting. But there are plenty of ways to entertain yourself if pocket monsters aren’t your thing. Call your best friend for a catch-up. Play music (dance-walking is totally OK). Get into that podcast that all your friends have been talking about (Serial, Season One, anyone?). Listen to an audiobook. Or, ditch the electronics altogether and try identifying birds calls, meditating, or composing haiku in your head. Whatever you like 🙂

 

 

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Pumpkin Monster Bars - Juggling with JuliaCrispy leaves underfoot, cool sunny days, and soccer, soccer, soccer? That can only mean one thing – autumn is in full swing, and Halloween isn’t far away! Pumpkin Monster Bars embrace everything I love about this time of year, like cozy evenings, my favorite sweatshirt, baking, and all things pumpkin. Make these delicious morsels soon! Your lunchbox, snack time, and even breakfast just got a little sweeter.

While traditional monster bars can be packed with butter and sugar, these little lovelies were given a nutrition makeover. Thanks to the oats and pumpkin, they’re LOADED with fiber, vitamin A, thiamin…all those great things the Surgeon General goes on and on about.

What else? I’ve limited the butter to just 1/4 cup. “But how can that be?” you ask. It’s the pumpkin, which works overtime in providing so much moisture that these babies don’t seem lower fat at all.  Pumpkin seeds add pop! not to mention a bajillion important nutrients, like protein, vitamin E, magnesium, B vitamins, and manganese!

Does someone you know have celiac disease or otherwise needs to avoid gluten? This recipe is easily made celiac-friendly simply by using gluten-free oats.

Don’t think for one second I’ve forgotten the fun factor. There’s just enough white and semisweet chocolate chips here to deliciously confuse you. What is this sweet morsel?  A snack? Dessert? Breakfast?

All of the above, my friends 🙂

Pumpkin Monster Bars - Juggling with JuliaPumpkin Monster Bars - Juggling with JuliaMy teenage monsters enjoyed these Pumpkin Monster Bars as an on-the-go for their packed lunches. I, however, enjoyed them in the early morning, alongside my cold-brewed iced coffee. Slightly warmed, with a dab of butter and a drizzle of maple syrup? I. Can’t. Even.

*Note, if you have pumpkin pie spice on hand, you can use 2 teaspoons as a substitute for all the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, clove, and allspice.

Pumpkin Monster Bars - Juggling with Julia

Pumpkin Monster Bars
Makes 16 servings
Inspired by Nutrition Eats

Prep time:  15 minutes     Cook time: 25-30 minutes

2½ cups old-fashioned oats (gluten-free oats if necessary)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon each ground nutmeg, cloves, and allspice
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 large eggs
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup dark molasses
1/4 cup, packed, brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup white chocolate chips
1/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and spray an 8×8 pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

In medium mixing bowl, add the oats and spices and give a quick stir just to incorporate the spices. Add the pumpkin, eggs, butter, molasses, brown sugar, and vanilla, and stir well until completely combined. Stir in the pumpkin seeds and the white and semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes. The bars are done when a tooth pick inserted 1″ from the edge comes out mostly clean. Allow the bars to cool in the pan for 15 minutes prior to cutting.

Storage: wrap individual bars in plastic wrap, for a quick grab-n-go snack or breakfast bar all week long.

 

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Why I Pokemon Go for Walks

October 12, 2016 Healthy Lifestyle
Why I Pokemon Go For Walks - Juggling with Julia

Maybe it’s because I never truly grew up, or perhaps I just require daily escapes from reality, but I LOVE playing Pokemon Go while out on my daily walks. I hear you tsk-tsk-ing. I see you shaking your head 🙂 And I get it. I am an otherwise respectable 49-year-old. How could I publicly admit […]

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Summer Bruschetta and Kitchen Memories

September 22, 2016 Appetizers & Snacks
Summer Bruschetta - Juggling with Julia

I love the Recipe Redux! Every month this fab group of foodies celebrates both tasty and nutritious food, and this month, we’re getting all nostalgic with our first memories of being in the kitchen. We’ll get to the mouth-watering Summer Bruschetta shortly, but first, let’s hop in the time machine and go way, way back, […]

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Our Favorite Beef Stew

September 7, 2016 Beef
our favorite beef stew - juggling with julia

Ooh-wee! That was one fantastic summer. Early morning walks, endless sunshine, cool clouds, and tons of fun. Hours and hours by the pool were interrupted only by the need to appear at my paying gig and the occasional slapdash of housework. Oh, and the college visits. Cue the meaningful orchestra music. There is not one […]

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Beach Preachin’ on Midcoast Maine

July 5, 2016 Life
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Sand, salt, sea, sun. These are the simplest ingredients for family harmony I know. Our annual mid-coast Maine beach vacation has once again delivered miles of smiles and fantastic memories, all in the style of good old-fashioned fun. We picked strawberries (10 quarts!) for jelly and pie-making, skipped rocks, gazed at stars, and hunted for hermit […]

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Barbecued Chicken Flatbread Bites

May 22, 2016 Appetizers & Snacks
Barbecued Chicken Flatbread Bites - Juggling With Julia

Hello, friends! It’s Recipe Redux time! This month the theme is small bites, also know as appetizers, hors d’oeuvres, or tapas. Portion control in an adorably miniature package? A dietitian’s dream 🙂 Since, at Juggling with Julia, we love anything in or on a flour tortilla, I’m sharing with you these savory Barbecued Chicken Flatbread Bites.These […]

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Juggling with Julia’s 5th Blogiversary!

April 26, 2016 Appetizers & Snacks
5th blogiversary Juggling with Julia

April 26th, 2016. The 5th blogiversary for my little hobby 🙂 That doesn’t seem possible. I’m having a hard time comprehending that it’s been five whole years. In my mind, that sounds like a lot of work. A lot of time. For sure, it has been. I’ve poured immeasurable amounts of time, thought, and creative […]

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Real Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

March 31, 2016 Dessert
Real Strawberry Buttercream Frosting - Juggling With Julia

Hello, my dear ones! As we approach the final day of National Nutrition Month, I encourage you, as always, to enjoy your food. Enjoy every bite, every morsel, every crumb, and every calorie…fruits that sweeten your day, vegetables that fill you up, energizing grains, and power-packed proteins. And when it’s time to indulge? GO BIG. […]

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Savor the Flavor, Everybody!

March 9, 2016 Healthy Lifestyle
Savor the Flavor - Juggling With Julia

National Nutrition Month is upon us once again, and dietitians everywhere would like you to ‘savor the flavor.’ And on National Registered Dietitian Day (today!), I always take the opportunity to remind everyone that a) I am a dietitian and I love bacon, and that b) above all, food is meant to be enjoyed. I’ve said it […]

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