#BeAlive Webinar Series

Local company, Alive Juices, is launching a new webinar series, #BeAlive. The series will feature local nutritionists, doctors and fitness alivejuiceexperts all based in the DC/Baltimore region. Alive Juices hopes the series provides insightful and useful information for individuals looking to improve their physical and mental health.

Join Alive Juices for the first in the series, “Eat well, Be Well”, hosted by Certified Holistic Health Coach, Natalie Taggart. Natalie will discuss how to listen to your body’s natural signals to decode cravings, increase metabolism, and lose weight effortlessly.

The series starts tonight, November 25, 2014, at 7:30pm. Register here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8935482871874874625

 

About Natalie

holistic health coach

Natalie specializes in helping busy women who are sick of dieting to quit restricting major food groups or counting  calories, grams, or points of anything. She wants people to listen to their body’s wisdom so they can discover  authentic joy and confidence in bodies they love!

Two years ago Natalie was working at a stressful job she hated and was struggling with panic attacks and burn-  out. She knew she needed to start putting her health first and began cleaning up her diet and taking better care of  herself.

These simple steps toward health dramatically improved Natalie’s life! She was so moved by her experience that  she left her job to pursue a career in health coaching.

Natalie received her training as a Health Coach from the prestigious Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She learned from world-renowned experts like Dr. Weil and Dr. Deepak Chopra. She also has a B.A. from the George Washington University and a M.A. from Johns Hopkins University.

 

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on the night {you} were born

It’s amazing how a children’s book can touch you so profoundly.  I’d never heard of or read On The Night You Were Born before Mr. President was born, but the first time I read it, with my baby snuggled in my arms, I cried. I cried because I’d never felt love the way I loved Mr. President. It was combination of love, overwhelming love, and blessings.  I’ve never been more thankful for anything in my life.

Mr. President was born on a Saturday night.  So every Saturday night (plus many, many other times throughout the week), we read On The Night You Were Born before bedtime. We read it without fail.

With his first birthday fast approaching (I mean, fastest year of my life!), I scoured my mind and Pinterest for creative First Birthday Themes.  Then it hit me, we’d celebrate “on the night Mr. President was born”.

I spent weeks designing, creating, and painting for his FIRST birthday party.  And in the end, it was all worth it.  I couldn’t be more happy with how it all turned out.

Happy Birthday, little guy.  I love you more than you will ever know.

PS – If you’ve never read On the Night You were Born, please buy a copy immediately. It will change your life and the way you love. Buy here

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I love you to the moon & back!

I love you to the moon & back!

{the deets}
decorations: made by ME
cake/cupcakes: Becky Bakes (local Arlington mom/baker)
shirt: Best Birthday Ever
custom designed shirt: Swany Shank 

How did you celebrate your child’s FIRST birthday?

 

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meatballs with zucchini noodles & peach basil salsa

A few months ago I received a (random) copy of Paleo By Season: A Chef’s Approach to Paleo Cooking in the mail, with no note or return address.  I was a little confused since I’m not Paleo, and didn’t order the cookbook, but once I started looking at the pictures, and colors, and food, I couldn’t resist.  Paleo or not.

The first recipe that caught my eye was Meatballs with Zucchini Noodles & Peach Basil Salsa.  I love basil and I don’t make zucchini noodles often enough, so I decided to give this one a try.  I made a few modifications to the published recipe (I don’t love lamb) but modification or not, I know this is one delicious dish.  The flavors seriously dance on your tongue and the presentation is beautiful!

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Note: I’ll publish the recipe the way I made it, with published recipe in parentheses

Ingredients

{meatballs}
2 pounds ground chicken (1 pound ground pork, 1 pound ground lamb)
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp fresh ground pepper (1/2 tbsp fresh ground pepper)
2 cloves fresh garlic (1 tsp garlic powder)
3 tbsp EVOO (2 tbsp EVOO, 1 tbsp ghee)
3 large zucchini
1 small shallot, minced
1/2 cup chicken stock

{salsa}
2 ripe peaches, diced
2 tbsp fresh basil, chiffonaded
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp/each: salt, fresh ground pepper, fresh garlic, olive oil

Directions
Preheat oven to 375.  In a large bowl, mix together the {meatball} ingredients (minus zucchini/shallots/chicken stock).  Form the mixture into 2-ounce balls, and evenly space on a sheet pan.  Roast for 15 – 20 minutes, or until cooked.

While the meatballs roast, make the zucchini noodles.  If you have a julienne peeler, use it.  Otherwise, take a long thin slice off of each zucchini and roll it on a flat surface.  Cut lengthwise into 1/8″ thick, then stack the slices and repeat.

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In a large saute pan, heat EVOO over medium heat.  Add shallots, let cook for 3-4 minutes, and add zucchini noodles + salt.  Saute 3-4 minutes and add the chicken stock.  Reduce heat for about 2 minutes, remove from heat and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients for {salsa} and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

To serve, plate the zucchini noodles and top with meatballs, then ladle on the salsa.

Enjoy!

 

Note: recipe was adapted from Paleo By Season: A Chef’s Approach to Paleo Cooking cookbook.  You can order your copy on Amazon.  I was not compensated in any way for this post.

 

{race report} rock n roll los angeles

I’ve been looking forward to Rock N Roll Los Angeles since April.  First, I love California – the sun, the beach, the perfect temperature year-round.  Second, its Halloween weekend and everyone (well, almost everyone) wears costumes when running.  I mean, how fun is that?! (keep reading for some of my favorite costumes)

Rock n Roll LA was my last race with Transamerica for 2014.  I wanted to run my best race yet, and raise as much money as I could for ASPCA.  I went into the weekend feeling pretty good; I made sure to see my chiropractor for an adjustment and Graston before leaving, and even though I wasn’t running as much as I should’ve been, I felt surprising calm about the race.

Race Weekend/Expo
BJ wasn’t able to make the trip to LA, but I was fortunate enough that my mom could.  Mom, LJ, and I headed to LA on Thursday; I figured that would give us enough time to get settled and adjusted to the time change.  LJ is an amazing traveler (I started him young and he’s already been on 7 roundtrip flights).  The only “complaint” I got was from a passenger sitting behind us, “He’s very cute and friendly, but he doesn’t like to nap”. Ha!  We were very fortunate to have a row to ourselves, and LJ loved having his own seat.  I hope he doesn’t get use to that.

Once we arrived, I had expo commitments on Friday and Saturday.  RnRLA expo seemed a little more laid-back than other expos I’ve worked.  Maybe it’s the California vibe?!  This was also a smaller race than RnR Philly, so it didn’t seem as crowded.  With less runners registered, I really had a chance to engage with the runners that stopped by the Transamerica booth.  It was a lot of fun to talk with runners and explain the concept of the Tomorrow Chaser program!  I had a chance to see Pavement Runner (PR ran both the 5k & Half-Marathon), along with Point One Miles.  And one of the highlights of my weekend was seeing According to Kelly and meeting her adorable family!  Kelly and I were on the same Nuun team for the inaugural Nuun Hood to Coast, and we’ve kept in touch.  It’s been really fun getting to know (and see!) runners that I’ve connected with over social media, especially since we don’t live in the same cities – but happen to run the same races.

After expo commitments were finished, mom, LJ, and I explored LA and Santa Monica.  We walked down Hollywood Blvd and saw “the stars”, we rode the Carousel at The Pier, put our toes in the Pacific Ocean, danced to street music, and ate really well.  We had so much fun!

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Race Day
While I didn’t run in full costume, I decided to run with leopard ears and a tail.  It was the perfect complement to ASPCA (and actually really fun to do something I don’t normally do!).  I also had the privilege of seeing and running with Dominick, the random runner I met at RnR San Francisco but ended up running with the whole race and connecting with post-race (that’s the beauty of social media).  He lives in Pasadena and was planning to run anyway, so we decided to connect and run together.

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It was a great morning for racing, maybe a little hot but without (as much) humidity, the temperature was bearable.  When I arrived, I went on-stage for a pre-race interview, then spent the remainder of the time stretching and mentally preparing for the race. I was ready to run (and pass a lot of runners!).  The 5K and Half-Marathon started at the same time, so the start was congested and a little confusing (was I passing a half-marathon runner or a 5k runner??).  I passed Pavement Runner and Point One Miles early on (thanks for $2, guys!) and saw According to Kelly (and her family) on the turn-around for the 5k.  We ran through the Los Angeles Olympic Coliseum, through the Arts District, and around Mile 10 we had a great view of the city.  There were some great costumes on course and they kept things entertaining: Pillsbury Doughboy, Where’s Waldo, Grim Reaper, Melanie from The Birds, Elvis, Barbie, and Cops.  I felt pretty good through Mile 7 but then things started to hurt, mainly my lower back.  Dominick was really encouraging and I’m so thankful he was there.  He pushed me to run faster & stronger through some pretty low moments.  Thanks, Dominick!  We hit the tunnel at Mile 12 and it was downhill (literally) from there.  We cruised the last mile (high 5’s/low 6’s) and I crossed the finish line with a huge smile on my face.  I was thankful to be done, but so excited to have raised money for a good cause!

I was originally told that 13,000 runners had registered for the race, so my goal was $8,000 raised/8,000 runners passed, however only 7,818 runners finished RnR LA so my goal was WAY off (it’s kinda hard to pass more runners than that which finished).

Check Presentation
The best part of the Tomorrow Chaser Program is being able to connect with the charity partner and present the check to them.  For Rock n Roll LA I was raising funds for ASPCA – an organization that works to rescue animals from abuse, pass humane laws and share resources with shelters nationwide.  I was able to meet the ASPCA team, and they were incredibly thankful for what I was doing.  When Tina realized that I had raised (and passed) $5,454, I thought she might cry.  It was such a wonderful moment!  For ASPCA, that check is able to help a lot of animals.  And for that, I’m thankful.

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Final Thoughts
7,818 runners started and finished Rock n Roll LA.  I passed 5,454 runners, raising $5454 for ASPCA!  I was so excited!  I’m so proud to be a part of the Transamerica team, creating better tomorrows for people.

I am so thankful for this year and opportunity with Transamerica.  It’s been an amazing ride, and it was a great way to return to the running/racing world, post-baby.  A huge thanks to my sponsor, Transamerica and for my family/friends for supporting me!

Overall Place: 871/7818
Runners Passed: 5454/7818

 

have you ever run in costume?

 

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#likeagirl

I can’t watch this video without getting tears in my eyes. For many reasons, this video is powerful. empowering. sobering. uplifting. As a new mom, I hope I can teach LJ (and future children) that girls can do anything, and being a girl it isn’t a “bad” thing.

Imagine how the world can change when the rules are rewritten. When “like a girl” doesn’t have limits, when it isn’t an insult.

I’m proud to run #LikeAGirl

What do you do #likeagirl?

transamerica & rock n roll los angeles

I’m in Los Angeles and the weather couldn’t be more perfect! The sun is shining, there’s a nice breeze, and I’m wearing shorts in October.  I’m in LA to run Rock n Roll LA and my mom and LJ are with me. Life is pretty good!

Similar to RnR San Francisco and Philadelphia, I’ll start from the last corral (and I’m the very last person to start!) and for every person I pass, Transamerica will donate $1 to ASPCA, an organization that works to rescue animals from abuse, pass humane laws and share resources with shelters nationwide. I’m so proud to support an organization that values animals and their lives.

Join me at the Health & Fitness Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center on October 24-25. You’ll have a chance learn more about Transamerica, meet me and the Transamerica team, and ask questions related to running and training. Be sure to stop by if you have questions about training, running, nutrition, and more. My favorite part? Guess how many runners I’m going to pass and you’ll have a chance to win prizes (at the Transamerica booth)!

Transamerica, Rock n Roll, and {will run for margaritas} will follow my progress, check us out for more info:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Transamerica
Twitter: @Transamerica
Pinterest: http://tr.pinterest.com/transamerica/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/willrunformargaritas
Twitter: @run4margaritas
Instagram: http://web.stagram.com/n/run4margaritas
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/run4margaritas/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RnRMarathonSeries
Twitter: @runrocknroll
Instagtram: http://instagram.com/runrocknroll
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/runrocknroll/

Army Ten Miler {race report}

Army Ten Miler weekend is always one of my favorites.  It’s been a mother/daughter tradition (+ husband, and now sisters) since 2007 when I moved to DC!  At the time my parents were living in Florida, and my mom would come up every year to hang out and run the race.  It’s our thing and that’s why it’s so special to me.

This year we qualified for PRIORITY REGISTRATION, which is a pretty big deal if you ask me.  Priority registration is given to all U.S. service members and runners who have participated in 7 or more ATM races.  And with race capacity increasing every year, it’s more & more important to have this option.  Registration was a breeze; definitely a plus when considering running/registering for a race.

I had to sit out the 2013 race because LJ was just one week old.  However, the 2014 race fell on his FIRST birthday, and I thought it would be the perfect way to celebrate him (and me).  A lot happens in one year!

I didn’t train quite like I wanted to, and ATM was sandwiched between 2 half-marathons, so I decided to use the race as a training run.  Training runs take the pressure off, especially since I’m so competitive.  My sister was running with me, so I knew she’d keep me on track/pace for the race we planned to run.

Race day was a little chilly, and we probably waited a little too long to check our gear.  If I had been racing, I wouldn’t have made this mistake… but again, low pressure race, low pressure expectations.  We did a couple jumping jacks, checked our gear, and made our way to the porta-potties with what we thought was enough time before the race start.  Wrong!  With 35,000 runners (a new increase for the 30th Anniversary), there weren’t nearly enough porta-potties.  And when I say not enough, I mean it was the longest porta-potty line I’ve ever waited in at a race (and I’ve run A LOT of races in my life).  I was in the first corral, but my sister was in the second, so we planned to start with the Green Corral.  Nice try.  It was another 20 minutes (after the green corral started) before we made it to the starting line, weaving in and out of other corrals to make our way to the start.

While a 20 minute penalty doesn’t seem like a huge deal, especially for a training run, the course was already completely congested.  At Mile 1, we were walking up the hill by Arlington National Cemetery (yes, walking) because the course was too crowded.  And quite frankly, it didn’t get any better.  The course and roads are only so wide – an extra 5,000 runners makes a huge difference.

Even though I was frustrated (even for a training run), I kept reminding myself that it was a beautiful day for a run.  And it was.  The weather was perfect.  And on top of that, I am thankful that I’m able to run.  The most inspiring thing about Army Ten Miler is watching the Wounded Warriors run the race.  It can’t be easy – but you never seem them complaining.  Instead, they persevere though the pain.  It’s really quite humbling.

I didn’t have the training run I was hoping for, and honestly it was my least favorite Army Ten Miler, but it was fun to keep the tradition going and run ten miles to celebrate my LJ.  I’ll be back next year, and will make sure I allow enough time to hit the porta-potties and the race start.

{final thoughts}
I’ve never said anything bad about the Army Ten Miler!  In fact, it’s my favorite race I’ve ever run (which is why I keep coming back).  But the 2014 race was my least favorite.  The course was entirely too crowded.  I work in the running industry, so I’m intimately familiar with races/registration.  I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again:

“When you start adding numbers (in this case, runners) in order to make more money, you take away from the runner experience.  Experience is everything!  If you want people to keep coming back, and promoting the race, you have to make sure that runners have a positive experience at your event.  The second that changes, the race loses appeal.” – melody parry jones 

And for the sake of Army Ten Miler, I really hope that doesn’t happen.  Please consider lowering the race registration numbers for 2015.  Additionally, I did not like the new course.  There’s something really fun about running down Independence Ave with runners and spectators as far as the eye can see; the course change, and running through Pentagon City, just didn’t feel right.

I’ll end on a positive note – THANK YOU to all of the volunteers and soldiers that make this race possible!  Your enthusiasm and support does not go unnoticed.  Thank you again!

 

{stats}
Time: 1:26:26
Place: 6468/26307
Division: 351/2415
Gender: 1532/12387

 

Did you run Army Ten Miler?  How did you do?  Share your race report in the comments section!

{race report} rock n roll philadelphia

I can’t believe how quickly September came & went (or the whole summer for that matter).  I had grand plans of half-marathon training – speed work, long runs, and tempos – but between LJ, work, and life I just didn’t get around to training like I wanted.  I crammed a couple of long-ish runs leading up to Rock n Roll Philadelphia and crossed my fingers it would all work out.  Thankfully, it did.

Race Weekend
We arrived in Philly on Thursday via Acela.  It was LJ’s first train ride and he loved it; lots of looking out the window, laughing, and trying to move all over the place – I’m so thankful we have a happy, easy traveler.  BJ, LJ, and I woke up Friday morning and took a nice run through the city.  I had to work the expo in the afternoon, so it was nice to spend some time with my boys.  After breakfast, I headed to the expo – my favorite part about race weekend!  I started with a Q&A with John Bingham; we had a great time catching up, talking about the Tomorrow Chaser Program, and understanding what it means to be a mother runner.  After Q&A, I headed to the Transamerica booth to hang out and talk with runners.  People had a chance to guess how many runners I would pass, and it was fun to hear their guesses.  There was a huge range, from 62 runners/dollars to 20,000 runners/dollars (when only 19,000 signed up, ha).  After the expo we headed to dinner at Alma de Cuba, a Stephan Starr restaurant.  This post isn’t meant to be a restaurant review – but if you’re ever in Philly, you must go.  It was amazing!  We took a family walk on Saturday morning before I headed to the expo again for Q&A, lots of chatting with (nervous) runners, and seeing (and meeting) some friends (Pavement Runner and meet Chris Heuisler, the RunWestin Concierge).  It was fun to connect with so many different people.

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Race Dayrnr3
After a not-so-great night of sleep, I was very thankful for an 8am start time.  I was able to wake-up on my own (or with the help of my human alarm, LJ), take a shower, nurse LJ, eat some breakfast, and hang out before walking to the start, about 1 mile from our hotel.  It was a nice morning, albeit a little humid (as in 97% humidity at 6:45am).  My only commitment was an on-stage interview before the race – but then I had time to relax in VIP before starting the race (last!).  I guessed it would be 30 minutes before I started, approximately 1 corral every 60-90 seconds.  I was way off.  It was 50 minutes before I started the race – a lot of time to try to make up.  The first 4 miles of the race lead runners past signature Philly landmarks including S. Penn Square and City Hall – and I tried to enjoy the sights as much as I could (although, it’s a little difficult when weaving in-and-out of runners); the remainder of the race is a sort of out-and-back loop along the Schuylkill River.  The scenery was really pretty and the course was shaded, which helped with the high humidity.  I was holding an 8 minute pace for most of the race, and while it felt laborsome at times, it was a comfortable pace.  The hardest part of the race – and trying to run 8 minute miles – is the amount of weaving I have to do; it’s definitely a mental challenge.  Around mile 8, I remember thinking that I was ready for the turnaround point and ready to start counting down the miles.  Thankfully, around the same time, I passed a runner and she yelled “Hey, are you the runner that started last and is passing all of these people to raise money for charity?!”  With a big smile on my face, I turned around and said “Yes! That’s me – thanks for your dollar!”  She then proceeded to tell all of the runners around her what the goal of the Tomorrow Chaser Program is.  It was awesome!  Not too long after, the end was in sight.  I could see the crowds and I knew I was getting close to Eakins Oval, there’s always such great energy toward the end of the race!  With 1 mile to go, I picked up the pace and really sprinted up the last hill (thanks for that, ha).  It felt great to be done!

Check Presentation
The best part of the Tomorrow Chaser Program is being able to connect with the charity partner and present the check to them.  For Rock N Roll Philadelphia I was raising funds for IM ABLE Foundation – an organization that builds and supports active lifestyles for individuals with disabilities.  I was able to meet the founder, Chris Kaag, a disabled US Marine and present the check to him.  When he realized that I had raised (and passed) $7,889, I thought he might cry.  It was such a wonderful moment!  To IM ABLE Foundation, that check is able to help a handful of people with disabilities.  And for that, I’m thankful.

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Final Thoughts
15,608 runners started and finished Rock n Roll Philadelphia.  I passed 7,889 runners, raising $7889 for IM ABLE Foundation!  I was so excited!  I’m so proud to be a part of the Transamerica team, creating better tomorrows for people.

I feel really thankful that some of my family could be there to see me finish the race and present the check.  A huge THANK YOU to BJ, LJ, my sister, and her bf, and a great friend from college for supporting my racing endeavors.

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Who’s running LA?  I’ll see you in a couple of weeks…

 

For more miles, motherhood, and margaritas, follow me:
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transamerica & rock n roll philadelphia

Can you believe its already September?! It seems like it was just April and I was running RnR San Francisco! This weekend I’m teaming with with Transamerica and Competitor Group to run Rock n Roll Philadelphia.

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Similar to RnR San Fran, I’ll start from the last corral and for every person I pass, Transamerica will donate $1 to IM ABLE, a foundation that was created to build and support active lifestyles for individuals with disabilities.  The mission of the IM ABLE Foundation is to remove obstacles that prevent people affected by disabilities from being physically active by providing grants, resources, fitness opportunities and motivation. IM ABLE changes attitudes about the potential of disabled individuals by redefining what is possible.

I’m so proud to support an organization that empowers people!

Join me at the Health & Fitness Expo at the Pennsylvania Convention Center on September 19-20.  You’ll have a chance learn more about Transamerica, meet me and the Transamerica team, and ask questions related to running and training.  I’m leading a Q&A session on Friday, September 19, at 1pm and Saturday, September 20 at 11am; be sure to attend if you have questions about training, running, nutrition, and more.

My favorite part?  Guess how many runners I’m going to pass and you’ll have a chance to win prizes (at the Transamerica booth)!

Transamerica, Rock n Roll, and {will run for margaritas} will follow my progress, check us out for more info:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Transamerica
Twitter: @Transamerica
Pinterest: http://tr.pinterest.com/transamerica/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RnRMarathonSeries
Twitter: @runrocknroll
Instagtram: runrocknroll
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/runrocknroll/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/willrunformargaritas
Twitter: @run4margaritas
Instagram: http://web.stagram.com/n/run4margaritas
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/run4margaritas/

acai warrior bowl

Inspired by an acai bowl from a local establishment, I set out to re-create a healthier, organic version.  My acai warrior bowl will become a breakfast (or actually, anytime of day) favorite.  It’s so tasty and delicious – but most important, quick to make.  And because I use my VitaMix, there’s only one thing to clean (my kinda snack, especially with an on-the-move baby).

You can play with different flavors, different fruits, different granolas.  Now matter how many times or ways I make it, this acai warrior bowl is delicious!

warrior bowl

Ingredients
1 package Acai (I use Sambazon from Whole Foods)
1 c organic strawberries – 1/2 c for blender, 1/2 for topping
1 banana – 1/2 banana for the blender, 1/2 for topping
1/2 c water
1/2 c ice
splash of OJ
topping: 1 cup granola – I like my homemade granola, or Michelle’s granola

optional: chia seed, flax seed, kale

Directions: Combine all ingredients in the order listed above.  Blend on high until smooth.  Pour mixture into bowl, top with reserve strawberries, banana, granola.  Garnish with fresh mint.

Enjoy!