Carrot Cake Protein Bars & Ab Circuit

Hi there! I just got home from Santa Rosa Beach on Saturday night! It was beautiful there and our condo had a balcony I ate all my meals on that you could see the ocean from!

Baby Leesh (left) and me (right) you can hardly tell us apart these days, besides the fact she’s the tallest now!

Wish I had that every day… now my view is of a very large stuffed Doberman from the State Fair and two other lazy bum dogs. That I do love a lot 🙂

Stihl showing her affection for Rogue (not really)

I am so happy to be home though believe it or not. There’s no place like home! Plus visiting other states just makes me appreciate Oklahoma more than ever. I would never want to live anywhere else and do NOT understand why so many people complain about living here and “can’t wait to get out.” Anyway, sorry for the rant!

Now it’s time to talk about FOOD!

I’ve been saying I’d share my Carrot Cake Protein Bar recipe for a while and now I’m finally getting around to it. These are SO yummy, low calorie, have protein, hardly any carbs or fat, and are so easy to make! I eat them plain for a snack or crumble them up into protein smoothies!

CARROT CAKE PROTEIN BARS

Ingredients:

-2 tbsp whole wheat flour

-2 tbsp rolled oats (throw into blender)

-5 packets Stevia

-3 scoops Butter Toffee Cream protein powder [ i think this stuff is what makes these bars so amazing! ]

-1 tsp baking powder

-1 tsp cinnamon

-1/4 tsp nutmeg

– 1/3 cup baby carrots, steamed/cooked already

-1 tsp vanilla extract

-1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

-1/2 cup egg whites

-2 tbsp almond milk

-2 tsp chia seeds (already soaked- so “chia gel”

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a small bowl, combine whole wheat flour, stevia, protein powder, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In a blender, put in the rolled oats, baby carrots, vanilla extract, applesauce, egg whites, almond milk, and chia seeds. Blend it up and pour into the bowl with dry ingredients, mix together, and pour into a baking pan sprayed with non-stick spray. Put in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes!

*Top with some sugar-free maple syrup- that makes it extra good! *

AB CIRCUIT

Before I left for vacation, I found an ab circuit that I did two or three times (on different days) and I wanted to share it! It’s awesome and I actually found it on Pinterest. Normally I don’t think many of the workouts that are “pinned” on Pinterest seem effective, but I tried this one and my abs were burning by the time it was over! It’s called “300 Abs” because you end up doing 300 reps by the end of it!

I also did 2 more sets of side planks (15 each side) for each set as well as 3 sets of 12 hanging leg raises with my arms in the hanging sleeves.

Moving on to other news…

I am almost out of my Butter Toffee Cream protein powder so I stopped by Discount Nutrition today after I worked out to get some more.. .and they were out of it! 😦 SO I decided to be brave and try another flavor new to me…

Peanut Butter Cookie!!!

 

I have an unhealthy obsession with the kind of peanut butter in a jar that tastes like heaven. Especially with frozen bananas… I CAN. NOT. STOP. MYSELF. I just dip them in the jar and go to town. I probably have 2 or 3 tablespoons, and after doing this for not even a week, I can honestly tell I put on weight in my stomach. Seriously annoying, but this is just a side effect of being small and having an addictive personality. 🙂 I haven’t gotten to try this stuff out yet, but I probably will within the next few hours!

Hope everyone has a good night!!

Shoulder Workout, Cardio, Chicken Marinade & Recipe! + Weekend Plans!!

Hey everyone! Hope you’re having a super great Sunday! This week & weekend flew by and I’m so excited for the next few days and everything that’s going on!!

So by the title of this post, obviously there is a whole lot I want to share so I’ll get to it!

Shoulder Workout

Shoulders are probably my favorite body part to work out. I actually never did any shoulder specific exercises with weight lifting (besides maybe shoulder presses) until I started dating Jimmey and he told me he had a “shoulder day” in his work out routine. I thought to myself, “Why would anyone need a whole day dedicated to shoulders?” BUT, however, I soon discovered that even with all of the tricep and bicep exercises I was doing, my arms weren’t shaped like I wanted them to be. So I started incorporating different shoulder exercises into my lifting days and I’ve seen such huge improvements & I love it!!  A few days ago I went to the gym for a quick shoulder workout I found in the July issue of Oxygen magazine and here’s how it goes [I modified it a little, by the way!]

Delts Workout

Start with a tri-set:

Do 12 reps of each exercise in order, rest for 30 seconds, then repeat again.

[ Use a weight that isn’t easy- this means NO 5 lb dumbbells! – but is difficult on the last rep ]

1.) Dumbell overhead shoulder press

2.) Front raises

3.) Dumbbell bent over lateral raises

*Then do a superset! Keep doing 12 reps of each exercise and do them back-to-back. Repeat 3 times*

1.) Dumbbell upright rows

2.) Posterior delt rope pull backs to forehead on cable machine (here is a

*At the very end, do three dumbbell lateral raise drop sets.*

* This means start with a weight that is heavy for you, do as many reps as you can, then immediately grab a pair of lighter dumbbells, do as many as possible once again, then drop the weight one last time and go until you can’t lift your arms another time!

CARDIO

I have a love/dislike relationship with cardio. I LOVE the way it makes me feel. If I go more than 24 hours without going for a jog, I feel just blah. However,  I don’t like how much time I have to invest doing it in order to look the way I want. That’s why I love doing HIIT cardio sessions. With HIIT, you push yourself to the limit [ in this case, doing sprints or climbing stairs on the stairstepper ] for a short time period, followed by a “rest” period which is usually longer, then you repeat the cycle. It is recommended you only do these intense cardio sessions for 15-25 minutes and only 2 or 3 times per week. The benefits of HIIT are your metabolism is revved  up for several hours after your workout AND you cover more distance than if you did a steady-state cardio run!

Last week I came up with this new HIIT workout that I did on the stair stepper and on the treadmill. I covered 4 miles in either 20 or 25 minutes [ I cant remember which! ]  I have been doing this type of cardio for over two years and I have to admit this particular workout is a killer… I was huffing and puffing and maybe even slightly disoriented by the time it was over! Here’s how it goes:

[PS: Before I did this on the treadmill, I “warmed up” on the stair stepper- doing 110 steps per minute for 1 minute, then doing 135-140 steps for 35 seconds, then bringing it back down to 110 steps for a minute, and repeated this cycle until I was at 9 minutes. ]

 Make sure to stretch after you’re done!! 

CHICKEN TIME! 

The other day I came up [ sort of-with help from a marinade in a bottle ] with the BEST marinade for chicken breasts! –

What you need:

– 1/4 cup Stubb’s Chicken Marinade [ they sell this at Wal-Mart ]

-3 tbsp apple cider vinegar

-2 tbsp lemon juice

-2 tbsp lime juice

-1/4 cup Minute Maid “Just 15 calories” in Peach

*Put 4 or 5 chicken breasts in a zip-lock bag, pour all of the ingredients over the chicken, and let it sit in the fridge over night and grill them up the next morning!*  

Now.. for the REALLY good stuff…

SPICY ORANGE SOY SLOW COOKER CHICKEN w/ MUSHROOMS & RED PEPPER

I have tried several times to make this dish appear appetizing, but it doesn’t picture very well, but i PROMISE you it’s delicious.

Okay guys. This is my favorite recipe ever. I literally make this every 5 days or so because it doesn’t last me very long. Luckily Jimmey has gotten sick of it because I’ve made it so many times, so I have it allll to myself. 🙂 Oh & it’s super easy so there are no excuses to not go throw all of this together right now!!

Ingredients: 

– 5 or 6 chicken breasts

-1 small box/carton of mushrooms

-1 red bell pepper, sliced in thin strips

-3 cloves garlic, minced

-1/2 cup sugar-free Orange Marmalade

-1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce

-1/2 cup garlic flavored rice vinegar

-2 tbsp red pepper flakes

* DIRECTIONS : Set your crock pot on HIGH. Put the chicken, mushrooms, red bell pepper, and garlic into the crock pot. In a small bowl, add the marmalade, soy sauce, rice vinegar, & red pepper flakes & microwave for 1 minute. Stir it together and pour over the chicken in the crock pot. Add water OR Trop 50 Low Calorie orange juice if you have any on hand to cover the chicken and all of the veggies. I always let mine cook for a LOOONG time… About 12 hours! I put the crock pot on and then go to bed, wake up about 8 hours later, take the lid off so the juices soak into the chicken, and remove it a few hours later.

This chicken goes great over some quinoa or in a salad with tons of veggies, which is usually how I eat it! 95% of the salads I make have this kind of chicken in them! OR just by itself with some broccoli on the side is delicious, too!

Me and my mom & little sisters are in Destin, Florida for the week! It’s beautiful here but I think I will be getting homesick before the week is over! Hope everyone has a great week! Thanks for reading! 🙂

A Whole Day of Healthy Eats! [Pictures Included!]

So I originally typed out a whole post about weekend workouts, but somehow it disappeared into cyber space, so I decided to change things up and talk about something I love probably more than I should: FOOD!

Who doesn’t love food?! I would have to say my favorite food group would be meat… I crave meat like crazy. Sometimes I’ll wake up at 3 AM craving grilled chicken. That’s probably strange, huh? The more active you are during the day, the more protein you need in your diet.

I follow a high protein, fairly low carb, and moderate fat diet. I used to not include any fats in my diet whatsoever. I was scared to death of them and that putting them in my mouth would instantly make me fat. I just recently got over that fear within the last year and am in LOVE with hummus, avocado, flax seed, chia seeds- just to name a few. All of these are great sources of healthy fats that are vital to our health.

I eat about 4 or 5 times a day, every 3-4 hours. Each of my meals consists of 200-300 calories. I always make sure each time I eat that my main source of calories is coming from protein, whether it be chicken breast, ground turkey, salmon, tuna, whey protein, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese or tilapia. Then I usually always have a heaping amount of green veggies along with my meal as well! I revolve my diet around protein because I lift weights at least 5 days a week and want to maintain and build muscle, and that’s what protein is good for! It also keeps you fuller for longer!

Let’s go through what a normal day of clean eating looks like!

 Looks pretty delicious, right? Breakfast is definitely my favorite meal of the day! Usually I crave something sweet right when I wake up, so I usually always include fruit in whatever I decide to make!

1.) The first picture is Strawberry Protein Pancakes. I forgot how much I love strawberries!

2.) The second picture is a Butter Toffee Cream protein smoothie with raspberries, blueberries, 1/2 a white flesh nectarine [heavenly!], frozen banana [melted and mixed in], spinach [you can’t taste it in the smoothie, I promise!], chia seeds, and topped with a crumbled-up homemade carrot cake protein bar!

3.) Next up is Protein Pancakes with melted blueberries & bananas! Here’s the recipe!

Protein Pancakes with Drizzly Blueberries & Bananas

-1 cup egg whites

-2 tbsp unsweetened/natural applesauce [ makes them moist! ]

-1/4 of a scoop whey protein powder [ I use ISO 100 in Butter Toffee Cream ]

-1 tbsp rolled oats

-2 packets stevia

-1/2 tsps each almond extract & vanilla extract

-1/2 tsp chia gel [ soak chia seeds in water overnight=chia gel! ]

-pinch of xanthan gum [ to make them thicker ]

-1/4 cup blueberries

-1/4 of a frozen banana, cut into itty bitty chunks

Directions: Add all of the ingredients in a blender EXCEPT for the blueberries & bananas. Blend together and cook on a skillet on medium heat. Flip when the edges are golden/crispy. Put the blueberries and bananas in a bowl and microwave for 45 seconds. Pour the fruit on top of the pancakes after they’re done and top with sugar-free maple syrup!

who said eating healthy had to be boring???

Breakfast usually doesn’t hold me over for very long. For lunch, I usually stuff myself silly with this salad:

I eat this salad literally every.single.day and never get tired of it! I’ll post the recipe for the chicken I use in it later- that’s what makes it so freaking delicious. Let’s call this:

Spicy Orange Chicken Salad with Greens & Veggies

In the mix:

[ ps- you will need a VERY big bowl for this!! ]

– Sweet Butter lettuce

-Spinach

-Mixed greens

-Broccoli

-Baby carrots

-Sauteed mushrooms

-sauteed onions

-Spicy Orange Soy Chicken Breast

Mixed in this dressing:

-Mashed avacado [ probably 1 tbsp or so ]

-2 tbsp 0% Plain Greek Yogurt

-Dijon

-Red pepper flakes

-splash of almond milk

* Stir all of that dressing together, pour over the salad and toss it all together!! *

Honestly, after I eat these things, I can barely move for about 20 minutes, so watch your portions. 🙂

I also found this dressing at Akin’s Health Food store:

Sooo yummy… natural & 45 calories for 2 tbsp spoons, so alot less than most dressing! I use about 1 tbsp of this on my salads! This brand makes a Sesame Seed dressing that goes perfectly with the salad as well! 

During the middle of the afternoon, I’ll have a snack that consists of mostly protein… usually a homemade protein bar or Greek Yogurt!

Yes, that’s a Winnie-the-Pooh spoon. I’m weird and only like to use small silverware. If all the spoons are dirty and there are no small ones to eat with, I’ll use a teaspoon instead 🙂 When I brought this spoon over to Jimmey’s house, however, he decided I wasn’t a child anymore and hid the spoon from me. I was able to find it TWICE in different places, so obviously he isn’t so sneaky 🙂  Unfortunately, this picture was the last of the spoon. I think it finally found it’s way into the trash. R.I.P. Pooh Spoon.

I know this picture isn’t too appetizing or pretty, BUT, this is what I eat every single night before bed and sometimes as a snack in the afternoon. You will become addicted if you try this, I promise!

Chocolate Mousse 

-1 tub 0% Plain Greek Yogurt

-1/4 cup ([or less] of Fat Free Cottage Cheese

-1 tbsp unsweetened Cocoa Powder

-1 packet stevia

-1/2 tsp vanilla extract

-Xanthan gum for making it real thick!!

*Stir it all up! Add some sugar free maple syrup or sugar free chocolate syrup for some more sweetness!

THEN- it’s dinner time!! I always have some sort of lean protein and a ton of veggies. Here’s last night’s dinner:

Quinoa Turkey Burger Salad

-1 [4 oz 97% fat free] grilled turkey burger

-3 tbsp quinoa

-Sauteed Onions

-Sauteed Mushrooms

-Cilantro

-Broccoli

-Carrots

-Sweet Butter Lettuce

-Drizzled with reduced-sugar Heinz Ketchup, Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegar, and a little plain Greek yogurt!

Also added in 1/4 cup cooked egg whites because the turkey burger didn’t look like enough protein for me!

So there are a few of the healthy and delicious, not to mention filling and energizing foods I eat everyday! 

I’ll be posting a crock pot chicken recipe later this week and some work outs I’ve been doing that are quick and fun to do!

Time to go do some grocery shopping & spend time with Jimmey Dean & watch some Tosh.O!

This is us at Daniel & Brandy’s wedding… Congrats you guys!!

We are so happy for you and hope you are having a wonderful time in New York City!

Thank you so much for reading!!

🙂

First Blog Post!

Hi everyone! Thank you for stopping by to check out my blog! I am so excited to have finally gotten it up and running. I’ve been wanting to start a healthy living blog for a few years now but have been procrastinating like nobody’s business. It’s not as cutesy and easy on the eyes just yet, but after I get more comfortable with this blog and the layout and all of the features that are offered, hopefully I can spruce it up a little more! I am pretty computer-challenged, so it may take a little while, but something is better than nothing 🙂

I have a huge passion for living a healthy life & having fun doing it at the same time. I want to help others realize how important it is to take care of themselves and their bodies. At 17, I quit eating the things I was raised on: chicken fingers, fries, MAYONNAISE  (yes I loved the regular kind to death, not just the Miracle Whip), creamy soups, white bread, chocolate chip cookies, etc- and started eating whole & healthy foods. I also began to read Oxygen magazine and learned about the importance of lifting weights and started to do cardio. Ever since then, exercising intensely and eating clean & healthy have been a huge focus of my life, and I love it! I am majoring in Community/Public Health and want to help low-income families learn how to be healthy and happy. Hopefully through this blog I will be able to reach people who are struggling with making the change to better themselves. If you have any questions about dieting, exercise, or anthing, please let me know!

I am not a certified personal trainer or registered dietician, but I have years of personal experience and have worked as a “fitness instructor” at gyms for 3 years in their fitness centers/workout rooms. I have also done hours upon hours of reading up on all topics of health (because there is new information to keep updated on practically everyday!) so I definitely keep on top of new research being done.

And Yes, the name is pretty cheesy, but sunshine is one of my favorite things in the world… I get sad if I go a day without seeing it. And smoothies are what you’ll be seeing alot of on the blog. I am OBSESSED with creating yummy protein smoothies and will be posting all of the recipes I have come up with! I guarantee they’re all delicious! I would eat them non-stop allll day long if I could!

Here are a few things I plan to talk about on my blog:

– Workouts I have been doing

-Foods I’m loving

-New Recipes!

– Clean eating & diet advice

-Fitness and exercise advice

-Grocery lists

-And other ramblings about life!

Again, thank you for visiting Sunshine & Smoothies!! I hope you’ll come by again soon! 🙂

 

-Brie