Monday, October 31, 2011

Clean Reese's Almond Butter Cups

You know you're getting old when on Monday morning your body still doesn't feel right from drinking two days before. B got tickets for the ASU football game on Saturday and it just so happened that my parents had tickets to that game as well, so we all met up and tailgated together. My mom made the spinach/red pepper burgers and we found Ezekiel hot dog buns for the brats.

3 little b's! My mom, me and my sister.
Since we were all together and having a great time I decided to break my 4 month streak of not drinking... ugh. I remember why I stopped now! I wasn't even really hungover, just tired and can still tell my body is not very happy with me. The gym Sunday morning was definitely a struggle, but we made it through a great bi/abs workout. Oh, and speaking of workouts I squatted my heaviest this weekend! I was so excited :) 125 pounds for 8 reps... may not sound like a lot, but I only weigh 105, so it was a lot to me!

How could I have forgotten... Happy Halloween! :) Do you guys struggle with all the tempting candy that's laying around everywhere? I'm not a huge candy person, but I do have one weakness- Reese's. They are just so dang good. So, I decided to make a clean version!

In a bowl, mix one scoop chocolate protein powder, 1 packet Truvia, 1 tbsp of unsweetened cocoa, and a small amount of almond milk (I would say about 4 TBSP). You want it to be a thick consistency like the photo above.

Put half of this mixture into a muffin holder (is that what those are called? No clue.) and stick it in the freezer for about 30 minutes. Once it is hard spread a generous amount of almond butter (or all natural peanut butter works too) across the top of the chocolate.

Next, pour the other half of the chocolate mixture on top of the almond butter and put it back in the freezer for 30-45 minutes or until hard.

And that's about it... homemade protein packed faux Reese's :) Definitely took care of my sweet tooth! Hope everyone has a fun and safe Halloween!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Jamie Eason's Monster Meatloaf

I know my mom is going to cringe when she reads this, but I LOVE meatloaf! I had never even seen meatloaf before until I started making Jamie's Turkey Meatloaf Muffins a few months ago. My mom isn't a big meat eater and the thought of meatloaf grosses her out-- and it grossed me out too... until recently! I fell in love with the turkey meatloaf muffins and now have made this monster meatloaf recipe every week since Jamie posted it on her facebook page. The ingredients sound a little weird, and trust me I was very skeptical at first- but it turns out awesome and is low carb which is great for those in the carb cycling phase of the LiveFit trainer. 

Before I get into the recipe I wanted to share what I have been using as a soy sauce alternative. Bragg's has a great line of healthy all natural products that I definitely recommended checking out. The liquid aminos are awesome because it tastes just like soy sauce but has only a fraction of the sodium. I use this in any recipe that calls for soy sauce and have had great results. Okay now on to the recipe. [Warning: meatloaf does not photograph very well, but don't judge a book by it's cover people!]


1/2 onion chopped
1 bell pepper (I use green) chopped
1 tsp pepper (I use more like 2)
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tsp minced garlic
3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup Bragg's liquid aminos
2 tsp no salt added tomato paste
2 packages of extra lean ground chicken or turkey (I'm guessing beef would work too)
1 cup quick cooking oats (I left these out this week for the carb cycle)
1/3 cup (about) reduced sugar ketchup 

It's really simple to make once you have all the ingredients chopped and ready to go. Just throw it all into a large mixing bowl (except the ketchup) and mix well with your hands. (Jamie recommended cooking the onion and bell pepper and spices before hand, then adding them in once they have cooled, but I like the veggies a little crunchier so I skip this step.) Then place your mixture into a prepared 9 x 13 pyrex dish and evenly spread your ketchup over the top of the mixture. Depending on your oven, bake for 1 to 1.5 hours at 350 degrees. 

That's it! I hope you try it despite it's name and appearance... I mean it is meatloaf, what do you expect!? :) 

Speaking of appearance, I am having a constant debate in my head about the end of the LiveFit Trainer. I have absolutely loved it so far and my concern is that over these last 3 weeks I'm going to lose too much of my hard earned muscle. The end of the program focuses on carb cycling, plyos, HIIT, and circuit training and after a week and a half I can already tell I'm losing muscle (fat too!). This was expected, but I just don't like it. I think I may stop phase 3 after this week and jump back into phase 2 to continue building muscle. My reasoning: although I really want to lean out and see my abs finally 'pop' I really don't have a reason for it. At the end of the trainer I'm going to go back to the muscle building phase anyway, so what is the point of leaning out? I think phase 3 will be perfect once summer rolls back around, but I really want to spend winter trying to increase lean muscle and strength. So, that's what I'm leaning towards (for now) we'll see what happens over the next couple of days.... 

Any of you doing the trainer? What do you think about phase 3?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Quick Little Lesson on Carbs

Don't know about you guys, but I could not be more excited that we are halfway through the week! The weeks keep getting longer and longer for some reason and the weekends are feeling shorter... hmm.. I must be getting old. 

Anyway, I was talking with B a couple days ago about nutrition and he mentioned that someone at work saw him eating brown rice and was surprised. The person said that he should be cutting out all carbs. Uhm. No. This is a terrible, horrible idea so I wanted to give a quick carb lesson just in case anyone else thinks this same way. 

First and foremost, your brain needs carbohydrates to function. Nerve cells cannot function without energy, and the cells get this energy from carbs. (Yes, I know they can get energy from Ketones too, but I'm not going in to that!) This obviously applies to everyone. When you're talking about carbs in relation to people that are weight lifting, muscle building, leaning out etc. many tend to think that carbs are bad, and that is not true at all. Are white rice, pasta, and bread going to get you lean? No. But if you are trying to build healthy, lean muscle you really want to incorporate lean protein and healthy carbs into your diet. While protein is obviously necessary, your body also needs carbs to provide the energy that is required to build that muscle. It's pretty simple. If your body doesn't have enough energy (from the food you feed it), there's no way it's going to waste what it does have on building muscle.

With that said, I typically follow a lower carb plan (lower, not low carb in any way) and found that has worked best for me. I eat a majority of my carbs around my workout because that is when they are needed most. Pre-workout for the energy to lift heavy and build muscle, and post-workout to help get the protein to muscle as quickly as possible so the recovery and building process can begin. After that, I usually incorporate grain based carbs (brown rice, quinoa, oats) or veggies that are higher on the Glycemic Index (Yams, spaghetti squash) in one more meal, then stick to carbs from veggies the rest of the day. 

You have to find the right balance for your own body, but while doing so keep in mind it is going to be much harder and take much more time to build muscle if you cut them out completely. They are not a bad thing when eaten properly; at the right time, the right type, and the right amount.

*I know there are a ton of people out there that don't think this is true and claim that a low carb/no carb diet works fine for building muscle... so I wanted to add a disclaimer that these are just my opinions and what I have found to be true. *

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Spinach and Red Pepper Burger

With football season in full swing it feels like there is a BBQ to go to every time the weekend rolls around. {Do not get me started on how horrible of a season the Cardinals are having. I have officially lost faith .. but on a positive note ASU is doing great! GO DEVILS!} Last weekend my parents grilled for the football games and my mom made this great burger that I tried at home later in the week, and it turned out so yummy I just had to share :) I think she mentioned this is a spin on a burger that Yardhouse has-- it's easy to make and really spices up any type of burger.

Start by chopping up your spinach and red bell pepper. I used one package of lean ground chicken (1lb) but you can use lean ground turkey, beef, or bison. For one package two Roma tomatoes and a handful of spinach was the perfect amount. 

I then put the chopped veggies in a large bowl and added the chicken, then mixed it all up with my hands. (Yuck, I know but it works!) Then, just form your patties and season with onion powder, garlic powder, and pepper. 

Next, just throw them on the grill, and you're done! I did mine protein style with red onion, tomato, and of course reduced sugar ketchup. 

These are really quick and easy to make at home, or they are a great option to take with you to a BBQ. Also, for all the LiveFit people, these are really filling and a great option for those dreaded low carb days!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Apple Cinnamon Protein Recipe

I wanted to start off by thanking the Get In Shape Girl for featuring me on her blog! I wrote an article about how to make time for the gym in your busy life which you can check out here. Also, not sure if you noticed but I bought a domain name and updated the title of my blog just a little. From now on you can find me at so now you can bookmark it :) 

Today begins week 10 in Jamie Eason's LiveFit trainer which means it's time to carb cycle! Naturally, since I knew this was coming I loaded up on the carbs yesterday. I made pumpkin protein pancakes for breakfast and added a few blueberries to mine.

I also made this amazing apple/cinnamon/cottage cheese post-workout snack that Jamie Eason shared with us, and let's just say that girl knows how to create recipes! 

First, I have to start off by saying I'm typically not the biggest apple fan, but have you guys tried Honeycrisp apples? Holy. They are huge and delicious. They tend to be a little pricey, but definitely worth it.

To make the post-workout snack all you need is 1/2 an apple (or whole apple if you're a guy) cinnamon, vanilla protein powder, and 1/2 cup fat free cottage cheese. Start by dicing the apples up and adding as much cinnamon as you like. I obviously have a slight obsession. 

Then pop the apples in the microwave for about a minute. {At this point your kitchen will smell like you are making apple pie... yumm.} Then just add in a scoop of protein powder and your cottage cheese and mix well. 

{At this point you will think you're eating apple pie... even more yumm!}

This is absolutely perfect after a workout because you are getting in your simple carbs from the fruit and protein from the cottage cheese and protein powder... great alternative if you're getting sick of your boring old shake :)

Any ideas on what to name this? I've got nothin'.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Tomato and Green Bean Medley

I have a confession to make. 

I don't really like brussel sprouts. 

I know I said I liked them when I tried them for the first time last week, and I did, last week. But now that it's this week eh, not so much. I steamed them instead of baking and maybe that's what I didn't like, but needless to say, they aren't on the grocery list for tomorrow. Phew! So glad I got that off my chest. 

Now, here is a recipe for veggies that I do like and I promise I will like it next week too! 

French cut beans are a new(er) favorite in our house and tomatoes are pretty much an obsession of mine, so I combined them both into a medley of veggie amazingness. (Yes, spell check I know amazingness is not a word.) 

All you need is a couple tomatoes, green beans, garlic, olive oil, and pepper. Throw the garlic in a pan along with olive oil (I used about 1/2 tbsp) and simmer until the garlic starts to brown. Add in the green beans and stir until they are almost cooked, then add in tomato. I cooked it until the tomato began to blister a little- then just added a little pepper and that was it! 

This is perfect as a side dish to any meal and it left us with plenty of leftovers for today... well it left me with plenty, I didn't share. :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A little treat: Casein Pudding

I don't know about you guys, but I spend lots of my free time reading blogs, websites, and facebook pages related to clean eating and fitness. I love seeing other people's ideas and putting my spin on things to make it my own. I've seen protein pudding recipes a few times in the past, and decided earlier this week to give it a try. I'm prefacing this with encouraging you to try to chose whole foods over protein powders when you can. Protein powders are pre-digested so your body doesn't have to work very hard to break it down, thus losing the thermic effect (and calorie burn) you get from whole foods. With that said, I use protein powder post workout and before bed. {Rebel, I know!}I do this for a couple reasons- first, it's easy! I eat 6-7 meals a day and besides those two, I make everything from scratch in my own kitchen... I think I deserve a break from cooking a couple times a day :) Second, quite frankly I love the way it tastes... my shakes are like treats during the day.

So, back to my casein pudding. I really like ON's chocolate peanut butter casein, and when I make my shake I usually put as little water as I can get away with and still be able to drink it because this way it doesn't dilute the flavor. It finally clicked that I should really be making pudding instead because it requires even less water and I would get to eat it in a bowl with a spoon! So much more exciting than out of a shaker...right?

All you need to make this tasty treat is 1 heaping scoop of casein protein, cinnamon, and pasteurized egg whites (the carton kind). Pour your powder in a bowl along with however much cinnamon you like, [I LOVE cinnamon] then slowly start mixing in the egg whites. You will want to do a little at a time and then mix really well before adding more-- I don't have an exact measurement because it really just depends on the consistency you would like your pudding. You can also do this with almond milk, greek yogurt, or even plain old water. This is my new favorite thing and I seriously get excited when it's bed time because I get to eat it :) {ahh! such a nerd, I know, I know.}

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A little of everything: New recipes!

I love love love when I think of something I used to eat all the time but haven't eaten recently.... because then when you eat it again it's like YES! this is what has been missing from my life. [Okay, so maybe that's a little dramatic... but it is pretty exciting] This happened to me the other day with spinach. I use to eat it all the time- everyday in my egg whites, spinach salad, spinach with dinner... then I just stopped for some reason. Well, it was on sale at the grocery store last week so I picked up a bag and made it with salmon for dinner Monday night. So great to have it back in my life :)

To make it I just throw it in a pan with garlic, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, and 1 tsp of olive oil. 

Last night I went on a big of a cooking rampage-- I made 3 dinners all in under an hour. {Pats herself on the back} Since I have class Wednesday nights I have to make sure we have enough food to get us through Thursday's lunch, so I typically bulk cook on Tuesday night. While B was off folding laundry- side note: I think I sorta kinda broke the washing machine last night.... big trouble.- I was in the kitchen making this ginormous mess. 

It was totally worth it though, because now I don't have to worry about cooking until... tomorrow night. 

Here's what came out of my cooking madness: Baked chicken marinaded in balsamic vinaigrette and Dijon mustard, steamed brussel sprouts, steamed french cut beans, no bean turkey chili (substituted beans with zucchini and mushrooms and added an extra can of tomato sauce) and Jamie Eason's Monster Meatloaf. I realized this morning my fridge was on overload so I decided to throw together a breakfast that would allow me to clean it out a bit... and I came up with a masterpiece. 

Southwest Scramble is it's official name :) I just took egg whites and put them in a pan with Spanish rice, (already prepared) red onion, and black beans. Cooked this until the egg whites were done then added tomato, avocado, pepper-jack almond cheese, and Tapatio- I would have added jalapenos but I didn't have any. I love when I throw stuff together and it comes out great!

Question: What the best meal you've come up with by just throwing random foods together? I would love to know!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Catching up

Do you ever have one of those weekends where you are non-stop and when Sunday night comes you realize you didn't get in any quality couch time? Well, that was my weekend. We were go-go-go from Friday after work until last night, and since I didn't have time to blog over the weekend I have some catching up to do! I was very impressed with this picture I took while we were enjoying date night at a yummy sushi restaurant (did I mention we had sushi twice this weekend? Ooopsie. Yum.) It made me think just for a moment that we were somewhere tropical and beautiful, but then I snapped out of it.

I also just had to share that for the first time in my life, I tried brussel sprouts, and liked them! I'm not sure why but my mom never made brussel sprouts when we were kids, but she didn't (I'm guessing she doesn't like them...) so I never had a reason to try them until now. 

You can make them just as you would any other veggie- steam, bake, raw, boil (don't recommend this though). I decided to coat them with a little olive oil, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder and I baked for about 20 minutes.

They were good enough to buy again at the grocery store to have with dinner this week, but I have to admit they're not my favorite veggie ever. B said he liked them, but I think he just liked the idea of not eating asparagus [my favorite and I may or may not slightly favor it for most meals]. This is kind of like how he decided he really likes french beans, but I think they are exactly the same as regular green beans, just cut thinner... basically I think he just likes anything new :)

After a nice Sunday spent with family watching football and a dinner out with good friends, Monday is here again.

And now it's back to the grind. 

Oh, I almost forgot- we started Phase 3 of Jamie Eason's LiveFit trainer today! Phase 3 is the leaning out phase so we are doing high rep ranges with lots of plyo and HIIT. I will have to admit, it's going to be a big commitment to make it through these 4 weeks without slacking, just because the workouts are so dang long and it's forcing us to go to the gym (and get up) earlier. {The alarm goes off at 4:30am. Crazies, I know!} I totally think it will be worth it though and I'm hoping by the end both B and I will be at a place that we would like to maintain and we can go back to doing regular workouts. If you haven't already checked out the trainer you should! Click here to learn more :)

Question: What veggie did you think you would never like, but then tried it and it wasn't so bad after all? 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A new love: overnight oats

I've noticed lately that there are a ton of clean food bloggers that have overnight oat recipes, and I decided I needed to try it. I know I always say this, but I loved them! (there are things I don't love, like... oysters! yuck.) It only takes a couple minutes to prepare, and then when you wake up in the morning they are ready to go! Side note: I decided on Monday that pumpkin pancakes are a weekend only breakfast because they just take too much time to make when you're trying to get to the gym by 5:45am
-B was not happy about this-

Here's what they looked like when they went into the fridge. I used 1/3 cup oats for me (right) and 1 cup for B (left). I also added about 2tbsp of pumpkin, 1tbsp of cinnamon, a few shakes of pumpkin pie spice, splash of almond milk, 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, and then I watered them down a bit. The point of overnight oats is for the oats to soak up the moisture of the other ingredients, so I made them a little watery. After you create your concoction, make sure you cover the bowl, then just stick it in the fridge and hit the sack!

This is what they looked like in the morning- a good portion of the liquid was gone and the oats were nice and fluffy. If you're a toppings kind of person (I'm not) then you can add them on before eating. I liked it cold straight out of the fridge, but you could pop it in the microwave if you're a warm oats lover. So glad I tried them! 

Moving on, I just had to share this picture I snapped of buddy our fish [I really want a dog, like really bad... but I've been convinced we aren't home enough to take care of a puppy, thus the fish]. One might wonder why there is a piece of ice in the tank? Oh, don't worry... B thought buddy looked hot so he put that in there to cool him off... haha what a dummie.

Question: What is your favorite oatmeal recipe? Share with me! I love new ideas :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A little review: Nourish Restaurant

On Saturday afternoon I decided I wasn't in the mood to cook dinner so I googled "Healthy restaurants in Scottsdale, AZ" Yes, that's where I live don't stalk me please :) One of the websites google came back with was for Nourish which happens to be very close to our house, so we gave it a try. It was ridiculous. It's pretty much the restaurant of my dreams. 

There menu offers so much in respect to allergy-free food, and a huge plus for me is there is nothing with gluten prepared in their kitchen.

It took us forever to decide what to eat, then when the waiter came back to take our order I asked his favorites which of course made us re-think our choices. We were so "those" people, but it was a tough decision because everything sounded so good! We settled on splitting the grass-fed beef burger with sweet potato fries and the ahi tuna salad. B also got a beer (OH did I forget to mention they serve alcohol!) that was locally brewed and I toyed with the thought if getting a glass of wine since that too is gluten free, but I passed.

Seriously might have been the best burger I've ever had. 
Ahi Tuna Salad 
and then there was none.

We enjoyed all of this outside on their patio in the beautiful AZ weather.

I didn't take a photo, but their sweet potato fries were great, in fact they tasted just like sweet potato fries you would get anywhere- but they weren't fried!! They are made using an air fryer-- the food comes out just as if it was deep fried in oil, but the air fryer just uses hot air. (Okay, fine, you can buy me one!) If you live in the Phoenix area I highly recommend you try it! Yay for healthy, allergy conscious restaurants :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Dinner and dessert

Last night I made turkey fajitas for dinner, since it was a big hit when I threw it together last week. I added shredded pepper-jack almond cheese, avocado, and tapatio and it was awesome. 

By the way, if you haven't tried almond cheese you should definitely look in to it! It's a great cheese alternative for those of us that are lactose intolerant and it is much healthier too :) I get mine at Sunflower Market, but you can probably find it at any health food store. 

I also tried a new recipe from the DAMY blog. If you haven't checked out this website/blog yet, you definitely should! Amy has some great recipes! Last night I made her chocolate protein "cake" but I made it like I do the protein bars. They are lower in carbs than Jamie Eason's typical bars, so they will be great for phase three of the trainer which starts next week! Side note: I can't wait for phase 3 and HIIT to start... I need to get rid of this 'bulking' bulk I've acquired. (I'm super happy with the amount of muscle that I've gained though!) 

Here's the recipe

1 cup pumpkin 
1/2 cup egg whites
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup oat flour (can be subbed for almond flour for lower carb count)
2 tbsp cinnamon
1/4 c xylitol 

Combine wet ingredients in mixing bowl, then combine dry, then whisk both together
Pour mixture in a prepared pyrex dish and bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean 

They came out really good, very similar to Jamie's bars-- although something may be a little 'off' because the photo on the DAMY website looks like a completely different consistency than how mine turned out. Either way, they still taste yummy :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Perfect Pumpkin Protein Pancakes

I did it!! I created the perfect pumpkin protein pancake recipe! I was so excited this morning when I took a bite and the pancake was moist and wonderful inside, and it was even more exciting when B said he wanted them for breakfast every day this week :) So, here it is!

1 cup oat flour
2 scoops vanilla protein powder
1 tbsp truvia
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp all spice
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie seasoning
2 egg whites
1/4 cup raw pumpkin (heaping) {Not mix, just pumpkin}
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 tbsp greek yogurt

    Heat prepared pan on low while you make the batter
    Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl and whisk together
    Turn the heat up on your stove to about a 5 out of 10 and pour in desired amount of batter
    Pancake is ready to flip when you start to see bubbles (see photo below)
    Cook on other side for about 1 minute or until cooked through

    I topped B's with some greek yogurt and cinnamon, and I ate mine plain. Give them a try and let me know what you think!

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