Strawberry Vanilla Nut Protein Bread, French Toast, & Dieting Mistakes

Hi everyone! I have been really bad at blogging… considering I haven’t posted in almost a month, I think? I have been pretty busy and to be honest, I haven’t been real gung-ho on the workout scene so I haven’t been real motivated to talk about anything fitness related!  After going to the lake on Labor Day, I have had an awful cough that has made it hard for me to barely breathe when trying to run or lift, which has been extremely annoying! I had exercised-induced Bronchitis two years ago and it lasted for almost two months, so I was pretty sure I had it once again. I’ve been taking it a little easier the past month and subbing my usual runs in for long walks a few times a week and not being so intense with my lifting. Thankfully, I got smart on Friday and finally went to the doctor  and got an inhaler and a Z-pac and I’m on the mend!

BEAUTIFUL sunset tonight at the most beautiful place.. Wal-Mart! haha

Here is a recipe I came up with two weeks ago and I’m OBSESSED with!

the bread in this picture doesn’t contain strawberries because I ran out 😦 but it’s the exact recipe minus the berries!

Strawberry Vanilla Nut Protein Bread

Ingredients:

-1/4 cup whole wheat flour

-2 scoops vanilla protein powder [mine is 100 calories per scoop, 20 g of protein]

-5 packets Truvia or Stevia

-1 tsp chia seeds

-1/2 tsp baking soda

-2 tbsp chopped and slivered almonds

-1/2 cup egg whites

-1/4 cup rolled oats

-1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

-1 tsp vanilla extract

-1 cup frozen strawberries

Directions: Heat oven to 325 degrees and spray a baking pan with non-stick spray. In a large bowl, mix all of the try ingredients [except strawberries]. Then in a blender [I use my Magic Bullet] put the rolled oats in and pulse until it becomes a flour consistency. Add the oat flour to the dry ingredients. Blend egg whites, applesauce, vanilla extract together and pour into the dry ingredients and mix well. In a bowl, microwave the strawberries to thaw out for about 1 minute. Mix strawberries into the batter. Top the batter with almonds and cook for about 30 minutes or until a knife comes out clean. I like mine to be a little mushy 🙂 so I don’t bake them quite as long!

Each bar (cut into 16 squares) has only 45 calories and lots of protein! Enjoy!

ANNNND an encore/bonus recipe! This is NOT healthy in any way, shape or form lol but I do enjoy cooking stuff like this for Jimmey since he can eat whatever his little heart desires. I was pretty proud of the agave butter concoction and thought I should share this!

Strawberry French Toast with Cream Cheese Agave Butter Sauce & Almonds

Ingredients:

-4 pieces of thick bread [I just used whatever bread he had, don’t know what it was]

-1 tbsp coconut oil

-4 whole eggs

-3 tbsp of milk

-2 tsp sugar

-1 tsp vanilla extract

-1 cup frozen strawberries

-3 tbsp cream cheese

-1 tbsp butter

-1 tbsp agave nectar

-2 tbsp slivered almonds

-Cinnamon

Directions: Blend together the eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla extract. Dip the bread in the egg mixture and cook in a skillet coated with the coconut oil. Flip the bread when sides start to turn golden/crispy. Put on a plate after both sides are cooked. In a small bowl, put the cream cheese, butter, and agave nectar and microwave for about 15 seconds or until soft. Spread over the toast. Microwave the strawberries in a bowl and put over french toast and top with slivered almond!! Sprinkle with cinnamon as well.

I tried a bite and this stuff is to die for! Make this for your honey if you want them to feel extra special 🙂

So I wanted to talk about things I see people do everyday. Many people are trying to eat healthy and have good intentions but aren’t aware that what they’re eating isn’t actually so great for their bodies.So many food companies package their products and market them to make them seem healthy to the consumer, when they’re really hardly nutritious at all. Here are some common mistakes:

1] Just because the package claims it’s “organic” does NOT mean it’s healthy or a smart choice if you’re trying to lose weight. Organic cookies are STILL cookies. Organic frozen meals are still not the best option because of all the sodium that is used to preserve the food. The most important thing to do when shopping for groceries is to READ THE LABEL. so important!

2.] Packaged foods, like Special-K bars, the 100-calorie packs, etc are not good meal replacements. The reason Kellogg’s advertises that anyone eating 5 of their products a day [or whatever they claim] will lose weight is because when you’re eating only those few things, you aren’t getting adequate amounts of protein and fat your body needs. Your calorie intake will be fairly low, so yes you’re going to lose weight eventually, but your ingesting mainly carbs. Make sure you are getting a large proportion of your calories from whatever foods you choose to eat.

3.] PRoducts that claim they’re “fat-free” or “sugar-free” usually means those ingredients have been replaced with chemicals and other additives that are even worse for your health. I’ll admit I use sugar-free syrup but only sparingly. Usually products that have are “sugar-free” are replaced with tons of sodium.

4.] Just because something has fruit as an ingredient does not make it a good food choice or meal replacement. A lot of people buy those Naked smoothies and drink them as meals, but they are complete sugar. Yes, the sugar is coming from the fruit inside, but there is no protein. You’re going to feel hungry soon after drinking because of the lack of protein. Smoothies from Jamba Juice are usually completely packed with sugar and fat dairy products. Do your research if you are concerned with the nutrition stats on your favorite smoothie from a chain or cafe. Their websites or store menus will usually let you know what you’re in for.

Those are just a few things I think people aren’t aware of.. hopefully it was helpful in some way!

Have a wonderful week everyone! Happy October!!

The Beauty of Balance [ & Sweet Potato Fries! ]

Hi everyone! I haven’t blogged in oh about a good month now! I sat down at my laptop and literally forgot how to sign into WordPress. Big brain fart.

I have been incredibly busy… school started on August 20th and we have been out of town every weekend for the past month… lake house in Texas at Lake Kiowa, Minnesota for a wedding & to see Jimmey’s family, and Tulsa/Lake house Labor Day weekend! LOTS of driving, especially the whole 14 hours to Minnesota. I had never been to Minnesota before… it was beyond gorgeous. The weather was perfect, everything was so green, and there were lakes everywhere you looked. The past few weeks have been a blast..here are a few pics from our trips!

about to go out on the boat with Jesse & Emily!

we look so dumb but i just love this… after dominating the whole pitcher of beergaritas! i miss you!!

Jimmey and Jesse decided to jump off a 40 ft bridge into the lake those little daredevils

fun dinner with Joel & Verna in Minnesota!

Okay so, with all the traveling, I had to spend ALOT of time preparing food to take with me on the road. I looked like a crazy lady in Minnesota carrying a huge cooler and two grocery bags of food with me, but I’m glad I was prepared. Even going to the lake, I brought lots of healthy eats because I never want to assume wherever I’m going will have food I can eat. Better to be safe than sorry!

Some things I brought with me on the trips:

-Spicy Orange Crock Pot Chicken (duh!)

-Lemon basil crockpot chicken

-Lemon blueberry protein bars

-Peanut Butter cup protein bars

-sweet potato fries (Recipe to follow!)

-bananas

-grapes

-Greek yogurt

-cottage cheese

-kamut puffs

-Truvia & stevia

-dijon mustard

-Reduced sugar ketchup

-Romaine lettuce

-Steamed broccoli

-Avocado

-Unsweetened cocoa powder

I did let myself have some fun, though.

I found Jose Cuervo Lite Margarita Mix at Wal-mart when we were at the lake… NO calories!! You just add the tequila and in our case, a few beers to make the “Beer-ita.” Definitely loving that stuff.

Okay so now I want to talk about something a little more personal… and something I think is really important in life, and that is BALANCE.

When I first started working out, eating healthy, that whole thing, I let it take over my life. I didn’t mind it, I loved spending two hours a day at the gym and coming up with new & exciting (at least to me!) healthy recipes. But I let my social life fly out the window and spent Friday nights at the Y instead of hanging out with friends and acting like a normal college student. Everything revolved around getting my workouts in. Luckily those days are long gone… I have found a better balance and have come to the realization that my happiness should not depend on how my body looks. I was extremely thin at some points because of exercising excessively and not having an adequate diet… I didn’t eat a carb for like an entire year! (Exaggeration: I ate whole bags of grapes for a meal. Those were my sole source of carbohydrates. I was OBSESSED with red grapes). I was young and uninformed and trying to look my best and get a six pack the best way I knew how. I remember the first bite of bread I had after I had gone without eating any grains for probably a year… It was a piece of toasted whole wheat bread with mustard and deli chicken. I remember eating it driving to work and thinking “Oh my gosh, I’m in heaven.”

I didn’t deprive myself; I didn’t crave sweets or anything that would potentially cause me to gain weight. I just ate alot of the healthy things I enjoyed, but I wasn’t eating enough. I lost my period for 4 years and just got it back this past Fall of 2011. Four years is an EXTREMELY long time to go without it and is severely damaging to a woman’s body. Obviously this wasn’t normal. At the lowest, I was around 88 pounds and looked awful. The gynecologist told me I would need to weigh around 106 pounds to be able to have a period again. I remember hearing that number a few years ago when she told me, and it sounded astronomical to me… I could never imagine carrying an extra 15 pounds on my small frame when I was just at around 90 pounds at that point.

I weighed around 95 pounds most of my sophomore year of college. I still had the body I was happy with and most importantly, my six pack showed. I was so proud of it (and still am) because I am not genetically blessed with a naturally flat stomach. I had to eat clean consistently and work my butt off to get those abs. However, I was still spending TONS of time at the gym and not enough time focusing on other things in life that truly matter.

Then, in May of 2011, Jimmey and I started dating. This meant spending less time at the gym than usual, which I was totally fine with. I would take Riding the motorcycle with him any day over being at the gym. After a few months I became more relaxed with my once extreme eating habits: Only allowing myself dessert or even a cheat meal twice a year, on my birthday (December 19th) and Christmas. I would now allow myself to eat steak and not feel awful about it and even had a beer or two. These were improvements and steps into living a semi-normal life! 🙂 haha. But seriously, I started being easier on myself and it felt very freeing.

I knew I was slowly putting on a few pounds because my abs started to fade away. And at the magical point of 106 pounds, I finally started my period again after four years. And somehow, I didn’t feel like a huge whale. 106 pounds used to seem so big to me. Most people think that is such a low number, but then again I am only 5’1, so it’s normal for someone of my height to weigh that much. I had put on muscle and started eating much needed healthy fats. And side note: I was able to move out of the little girl’s bras and into the women’s section again! Praise God. I was wearing a 30 or 32 bra. No cup size. Just a number. Yeah, depressing.

Now I am around 105 pounds and content with my body [for the most part.] I have found it’s alot harder and perhaps a bit unrealistic to have the abs I used to have and loved so much. But I can live with that. I wasn’t internally healthy when I looked my leanest and fittest. Now I am a little curvier and not a straight-up-and down little boy.

Thankfully I have found a balance with exercise and diet, something that used to be so controlling of me. It has led me to see just how unique everyone’s journey to health is. You have to find what works for you and what doesn’t.

This summer I was doing probably 2 HIIT cardio sessions a week and running 3-5 miles three additional times a week and lifting weights 5 days of the week as well. That takes up a heck of a lot of time!  However, since school has started and I’m going to be busier, I decided to tone it down on the workouts. I decided I’m not going to be as intense as I was this summer . My routine is now 2 HIIT cardio sessions a week and two days doing any sort of cardio I feel like (2 or 3 mile jog at the lake, taking the dogs on a walk in the morning, riding a bike, etc) and a split of Biceps/Tris/Shoulders, Lower body, Chest/Back, and Abs. I am being more relaxed and somehow I have found with the decrease in cardio my abs are actually tighter, my stomach flatter, and I am happier with the way I look! Knock on wood because I hope it stays this way! I have also only been eating when I am hungry. I used to eat every 3 hours but am being more intuitive now and letting my body tell me when I need food instead of letting the clock decide.

So there’s my novel… sorry if I bored you to death! I just think it’s really important to take a step back and look at where you’re spending all your time and ask yourself if you’re doing it for the right reasons. People can easily let themselves be controlled by an ideal body they want to achieve, how far they want to run, etc. The mind is a powerful thing. Everyone needs balance in their life!

Now on to the fun stuff….

Baked Sweet Potato Fries!

Up until recently I had never made sweet potato fries or even tried them. After buying the frozen kind for our healthy lunch program for kids through work, I discovered how freaking addicting they are and decided to make my own!

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

*Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a baking pan with non-stick spray. Wash and pierce sweet potatoes with a fork and microwave until soft enough to cut into french fry shapes. Place fries on the pan and then:

-Drizzle with 1 tbsp Olive Oil

-Drizzle with 1 tbsp Coconut Oil

-Season with Sea Salt

*Cook for about 20 minutes, stir up the fries on the pan, and cook another 10-15 minutes.

I eat mine cold and also dip them in my pb2 mixed w/ sugar free maple syrup!!!  Talk about addicting.

On a sad note, Stihl cut her paw REALLY deep and also the padding of her little foot… She’s been depressed and moping around the house because she can’t be her active awesome self and play with her ball. If everyone could say a prayer for Stihl to get better and be happy again, it would be much appreciated 🙂

what’s the point of life if you can’t play frisbee???

Thanks for reading!! Have a lovely night! 🙂

Workout Music, Things I’m Loving, Salad Recipe, etc!

I’m sitting out on the back patio with my two side-kicks Stihly and Rogue as I type this and it is SO FREAKING NICE!!! My car said 94 degrees at around 4 PM… it’s now 6:30 and feels like heaven. Even though I am being eaten alive by mosquitos, I don’t even care!

Me & Stihl… when she hated me. she had to take this picture against her will.

 I planned on taking full advantage of this weather but accidently slept in a littttle late this morning and didn’t go into work until 1:30ish… but got alot of laundry done with the help of some coffee, which always feels nice! SO, I am going to go on a little jog here in a little bit even though I already did my HIIT cardio today!

This weekend’s workouts were a little on the lighter/lazy side.. Saturday included a 3 mile walk with Stihl in the morning, then 20 minutes of pushing it on the elliptical and legs later on. Sunday was a 2 mile run and abs, so nothing crazy. Me and this girl had some skinny margs Saturday night @ a Mexican restaurant on the lake that has an outdoor bar! I swear I’m still physically paying for them, even though I only had 2. It was alot of fun and worth it, though!

Anywho, so on to the things you’re probably reading this for 😉

On the Music Scene:

I used to HAVE to have music on when I worked out… whether it be during cardio or while lifting weights. But, after Jimmey and I started running together last year, I quit listening to my iPod and discovered I am just fine without it, which is a nice feeling! However, during HIIT sessions on the treadmill, I definitely need something to perk me up… which is why i am SO happy to announce I found the best station on Pandora:

LATIN WORKOUT RADIO!!!

I have a weird/strange love with Mariachi/Latino music… like you know, the kind they play at Mexican restaurants?! And that salsa dancers get down to?? It just makes me so happy and I think about sunshine, stucco houses, palm trees, everything that makes me happy! Obviously yes, this is probably not normal. What kind of person gets their jollies thinking about STUCCO houses? Well my dream home (in my head) is made out of stucco, so that’s why 🙂 But I promise the music on this station is so up-beat it for sure pumps you up big time! Also, alot of people (myself included) listen to some hip-hop during their workouts. I used to listen to WAY more than I do now… now I only have probably 3 hip-hop songs on my iPod and want to slap myself for loving Lil Wayne, etc back in high school. Such an embarrassment. But the good thing about some of this Latin Workout Radio music is you can’t understand the words! Therefore, even if they’re singing about what most American rap singers “sing” about… slapping women, selling dope, etc, you won’t even realize it! You’ll just enjoy the beat and it’ll carry you along your way on your run 🙂

For those of you who aren’t so much in love with Latin music, here are my other go-to songs if I need a little kick while I’m running:

My personal favorites would have to be:

1) Lean into the Fall- Mona

2.) Lying from You- Linkin Park [this song makes me feel like I can run forever! lol]

3.) Sex Type Thing- Stone Temple Pilots

4.) Vindicated- Dashboard Confessional [hasn’t been added to the list yet!]

5.) Little Things- Bush

Oh and 6) Burning Bright- Shinedown [also not added yet!]

Here are some foodie products i am OBSESSED with right now!! 

 

* Zevia Soda– I’ve gotten it in Cream Soda, Root Berry, Black Cherry, & Grapefruit Citrus- love every one of them!! They are zero calories and sweetened with stevia (all natural sweetener!) These satisfy me whenever I have a sweet tooth!

*Tabouli– love this stuff mixed with chicken , cucumber, chopped tomatoes, & 0% Plain Greek Yogurt

*PB2... my obsession. Surprisingly, I still have half the jar left after a week! My favorite way to eat it is still dipping frozen bananas in the pb2 and eating it that way!

*Bolthouse Farms Olive Oil Vinaigrette in Tropical Mango… i am in LOVE with this dressing!! It’s all natural and the best part: only 30 calories for 2 tablespoons! Most dressings are loaded with fat and calories, but not this one. And the mango taste is incredible.

I don’t usually go to Whole Foods because I know I can’t be paying an arm & a leg for produce/baking products, but I went in today to buy some Nutritional Yeast, which I’ve seen alot of other food bloggers talk about, and I got it! I also needed some soy milk for my Blonde Coffee… and then, I found THIS:

AHI TUNA BURGERS!!! Sara at Nourish & Flourish has been talking about tuna for like, the last three weeks, and every time I read about it on her blog-which is one of my absolute favorites- might I add- I get the biggest cravings ever!! It is tied with chicken for my favorite protein source… One of these burgers only as 110 calories and 17 grams of protein! I got the Mediterranean style burgers, but they also had Teriyaki Style as well! I have already grilled 2 of them up for late-ish dinner surprise for Jimbo when he comes home from mountain bike riding on the trails! I had a little nibble and they are bomb.com!

A Book I’m Loving:

the salad had to be in the picture, too!

Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed.

I bought this at Sun Dog Books in Seaside while we were on vacation. Honestly, it’s hard for me to get into books. I don’t like books that everyone & their grandma seem to be reading…and it’s hard for me to get into fiction books. I usually prefer non-fiction or self-improvement books… and this one is neither. It’s a collection of letters written to an advice columnist who goes by “Dear Sugar.” The stories/letters range from topics of cheating spouses & how to forgive, abusive family members, worry over ever finding love again, etc. And yes, that may sound depressing, but they’re really not exactly… The way “Sugar” answers her readers is so empathetic and brilliant… I am loving this book. I’ve cried like 3 times so far!

Now on to another new obsession: THIS SALAD/Wonderful mess of healthiness! 

Are those colors not beautiful!?

Let’s call this…

Spicy Orange Chicken with Mandarin Oranges & Veggies

[as you can tell, I use the crock pot recipe I posted here… it tastes amazing with this salad/mix, but you could use regular grilled chicken or even smoked salmon- that would taste amazing!]

In the big ole bowl:

– Spicy orange soy chicken breast

-steamed broccoli

-arichokes

-spinach

-avocado [probably 2 tbsp of it]

-Reduced-sugar Heinz ketchup squeezed all over

– 6 little mandarin oranges

-Bolthouse Farms Tropical Mango dressing

This is heaven in your mouth!! I didn’t have any Tabouli on hand this day, but I added it yesterday to this meal and it’s fantastico!!

Well that sure was a long post!

Only one week til school starts back up… so enjoy the last week of summer!

🙂

Peanut Butter Banana Protein Bars & New Ab Circuit Workout!

Hey there! Hope you’re having a great Sunday! I am SO happy with the weather today! It is so relieving to walk outside and not want to die/puke after standing in the sun for more than 20 seconds. My car said it was only 94 degrees and it really feels like Fall weather compared to what we’ve been having!

Here is how Stihly and Rogue entertained themselves all weekend:

Watching a mysterious and rarely seen frog swim in the pool. They are intrigued and tormented by it and it’s hilarious.

Last night Jimmey and I decided to go try Hu-Hot, a Mongolian style grill restaurant in Quail Springs Mall. We ate at Genghis Grill like two weeks ago and really liked it  so we were going to see which place we liked best and we both agreed Genghis > Hu-Hot…by a long shot. It was pretty dirty when we walked in to Hu-Hot and the food just wasn’t as good as Genghis. It wasn’t bad, just not as filling or as tasty. The protein options looked a little fishy (no pun intended) but I liked the fact there was mango and bamboo shoots! I think the main thing that turned us off was the dirtiness. Not an awful place, just probably won’t go back.

Yesterday I was in baking mode and was in the kitchen quite a bit more than usual (Which is usually ALOT).

– I made my usual weekly Spicy Orange Soy Crockpot Chicken… I haven’t NOT made this stuff since April. The day i’m on my last bit of chicken, I make sure to start up another crockpot full! Here is a picture of everything I used:

Yes, the crockpot is a little dirty on the outside. all my fault. 🙂

 

I also made these Peanut Butter Banana Protein Bars!! 

Decided to get all fanciful with the sugar-free hershey’s syrup decorating 🙂

Peanut Butter Banana Protein Bars with Cinnamon Vanilla Cream Frosting

Ingredients:

[DRY ingredients]

-2 scoops ProtiZyme Peanut Butter Cup Protein Powder (vanilla protein powder will work IF you have PB2 [peanut flour]

-1 tbsp oat bran

-1 tbsp whole wheat flour

-3 packets Stevia

-1/2 tsp baking powder

[WET ingredients]

-6 tbsp unsweetened applesauce

-1 tbsp unsweet. almond milk

-1/4 cup eggwhites

-1 tsp chia gel [soaked chia seeds]

-1/2 frozen banana, melted

-1/2 tsp vanilla extract

-2 tbsp rolled oats

**If using vanilla protein powder and PB2, use 6 tbsp of pb2**

*Directions: Blend all of the wet ingredients together (this includes the 2 tbsp of rolled oats]. Mix them up with the dry ingredients and bake in a dish in the oven at 325 for about 30 minutes or so.

For the Cinnamon Vanilla Frosting:

-3 tbsp fat free cottage cheese

-1/2 or 1 packet Stevia

-Shake of cinnamon

-Vanilla extract

-splash of unsweet. almond milk for thinning it out

*Blend all of the above and spread over the protein bars!*

These bars made the whole house smell like banana bread my mom used to make…oh how I wish I could still eat that stuff.

AB CIRCUIT!

So I came up with this ab circuit last week on Tuesday and my abs were sore on Wednesday & Thursday which is the BEST feeling having sore abs!!! So I am pretty certain you should try this out. Side note: Jimmey is blessed with the ability to eat WHATEVER his heart desires and still have a chiseled stomach, but when he’s feeling like he needs to work on his abs- which is perhaps only 3 times a year-  he uses an ab roller which we have @ the house and he claims his abs are “tighter” feeling the next day. The ab roller usually hurts my lower back like crazy so I stayed away from it but decided to give it another try… and I can honestly say my abs felt tighter after doing only 10-15 reps!! And my stomach is my biggest problem area and i’m in NO way genetically blessed like him. So everyone remember: the ab wheel is your buddy! 🙂

Enough of that, here is the ab circuit I came up with:

This is a circuit, so you’ll do each move for the required # of reps and move straight on to the next one. After you have completed everything on the list, rest if you need to and then repeat it 2 more times. There are obviously extra sets of hanging leg raises and side planks, so those will be done additionally. The side planks with a plate on your side really work your obliques and you’ll feel firmer and tighter after doing this move!

One last thing: Has anyone ever tried this before?

GURU energy drinks… I get them @ Sunflower Market. They don’t sell them in any convenient or grocery stores, at least not that I have ever noticed. It only has 10 calories in the can and tastes like coca cola! Also, all the ingredients are natural. It really gives me energy!  I love these as much as my pink sugarfree Rockstars!

Anywho, hope everyone has a wonderful evening!! 🙂 Thanks for reading!

Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail!

I wanted to share one of the most important rules for staying fit and healthy and one of the golden rules for following a clean, healthy lifestyle:

BE PREPARED!

Throughout the day, no matter where you go, if you are trying your best to follow a healthy diet filled with lean proteins, fruits, & vegetables, you’ll quickly discover by all of your surroundings that your options are very limited. I can’t tell you how many times I have craved something, whether it be grilled chicken, salmon, cottage cheese (yeah, I might be one of the few who actually craves that stuff!), blueberries, hummus, steamed broccoli… but my only option is to run to wherever the closest Wal-Mart if I want these things, but who really wants to take the extra time and the extra headache of going in there?!

Instead, taking one afternoon a week to prepare your meals and dishes for the next several days will save you lots of headache, lots of time, & risking the chance of having to just grab the first thing you see that will thwart all your efforts in being healthy because you’re so famished! 

Here’s what to do:

Choose an afternoon where you have some free time, usually a Saturday or Sunday afternoon are perfect. Go to the grocery store and stock up on lean proteins, veggies, fruits, low-fat dairy products, etc. Then cook enough of each so that you’ll have enough food for several grab and go meals throughout the week. These meals can be breakfast as you’re leaving the house for work, snacks to eat before you work out, or ingredients for a healthy family dinner.

Grocery List of Healthy Items for the Week:

*Proteins*: 

-chicken breasts

-tilapia

-lean ground turkey meat (97%-99% fat free)

-egg whites in cartons

-eggs

-0% Plain Greek Yogurt

-Fat Free Cottage Cheese

-salmon

-canned tuna (low sodium)

-AHI TUNA (ahh…my favorite. if only i had a million dollars so I could eat this every day!)

-lean steak

-lean ground beef

-Whey protein powder

* Veggies *

-Broccoli

-Cauliflour

-Spinach

-Cilantro

-Carrots

-Onions

-Garlic

-Shallots

-Sweet potatoes/Yams

-Bell Peppers

-Tomatoes

-Cucumbers (loving these right now)

-Avocados (my favorite!)

-Sweet butter lettuce (or whatever lettuce type you prefer!)

-Pumpkin

*Fruits*

-Blueberries

-Bananas

-Strawberries

-Blackberries

-Oranges

-Nectarines

-Peaches

-Grapes

*Grains*

(I don’t eat alot of grains- prob about 1-2 servings per day @ the most)

-Rolled Oats (NOT the instant kind!)

-Tabouli

-Quinoa

-Rice cakes

-Brown Rice

*Condiments & Other Things, Etc*

-Stevia

-Almond & Vanilla Extracts

-Unsweetened Applesauce

-Unsweetened Almond Milk

-Sugar free Syrup (I need to break away from this stuff, tho!)

-Salsa

-Dijon mustard

-Stubbs Chicken Marinade

-Xantham gum (you can find this in cheap little packets in the Gluten-Free aisle of Wal-Mart)

-Low-sodium soy sauce

-Garlic Vinegar

-Red wine Vinegar

-Apple Cider Vinegar

-Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

-PB2 or Just Good Stuff powdered peanut butter (I can’t keep regular peanut butter in the house or bad things happen!)

-Chia seeds

-Ground flax seed

-Slivered almonds

Whoo…that’s a long list! I plan on taking some pictures of my grocery carts when I go shopping just to give a better idea of what all I get!

THE PLAN

Okay, so whatever day you pick to go buy all your food and cook it all up:

1) First cut up whichever veggies you will be using for the week and cook them, whether it be steaming on the stovetop, baking in the oven, or grilling. Store them all in tupperware so they’re easy to grab out of the fridge and throw with whatever else you’re going to eat. Examples of what I do: Sautee onions, peppers, & mushrooms on a skillet in non-stick spray or a little bit of extra virgin olive oil… cut up tomatoes, cucumbers, steam broccoli and cauliflour, also roast broccoli & cauliflour in the oven, bake sweet potatoes in the oven.

2.) You can also chop up whatever fruits you plan on using as well! A good idea is to freeze several different fruits, like bananas (they are best to freeze when they are getting all brown and mushy!), blueberries, strawberries, peaches, etc for smoothies.

3.) Go ahead and bake, grill, broil, whatever two different kinds of protein. For example: chicken breasts and lean ground turkey. I buy the long sleeves of chicken breasts from Wal-Mart or Sam’s… each are about $1.97 per lb and close to $10 a sleeve. I will go through 2 sleeves a week! I grill a few pieces and put the others in the crockpot as my spicy orange soy chicken and have that throughout the week. For the lean ground turkey meat, you can cook it on the skillet with different seasonings! Or, mix it with egg whites and a bunch of chopped veggies and bake in an oven dish= Meatloaf! Cut into four servings, and each serving will have roughly 120 calories + the calories from whatever else you add in!

4.) For snacks, try baking some protein bars, like the Carrot Cake Protein Bars or, one of my favorites, Jamie Eason’s Lemon Protein bars. Having these made will make it easy to grab and keep if you get hungry later in the day.

Jamie Eason’s lemon protein bars… I added blueberries! these are fantastic

 

Sorry this post is a little lacking on the colorfulness and pictures! Hopefully it helps give you an idea of how to stay on top of your diet! Even with the best intentions, things can come up that throw us off… But being prepared and having healthy food ready to eat in the fridge will definitely make your life LOTS easier! 🙂

Today I think we are being lazy and maybe fixing up the pool! Then date night! I’m about to go do some grocery shopping and food prepping myself ! 🙂

my coffee mug & his 🙂

[ I am in love with the Blonde coffee from Starbucks and finally got smart and bought a bag to just make here @ home! Has anyone else tried this stuff?! ]

Have a wonderful HOT weekend!!!

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