06.07.2017

Wellness Wednesday || Refreshing Summer Cocktail + Tips For Imbibing Without The Bulge

About a month after I graduated college, my pants started to fit a little looser. I told myself that it was likely because I was incorporating more strength training into my routine… you know, gaining lean muscle. Ha. Now that I’m being honest with myself, it’s because I wasn’t at “Wednesday You Call Its,” The Pennant for pretty much anything on Thursdays… and I’m drawing a blank on Friday nights. Those cranberry vodkas, Micheloba Ultras (they’re only Ultra when you have one or two…), and jug wine evenings (not by myself….) didn’t help those jeans fit any looser…..

It’s been eleven years since my lifestyle looked even remotely similar to that (thank GOD), but, don’t get me wrong, I love a good cocktail now and again on the weekends. Now, I enjoy sipping my drink slowly, and savoring the conversation while doing so. That being said, I’ve come to perfect the way I take many of my cocktails, preferring them to be lower on the sugar scale and high in taste. I also prefer them to be a little on the lighter side (I really don’t need cocktails to be the reason for my pants fitting any tighter these days….)…..

All that being said, I’ve come up with a few tricks for imbibing without the bulge, and created a cocktail around these tips as well…. it’s pretty much my new favorite…. perfect after a day spent at the pool!

1. Clear Liquor: Pretty simple, stick with clear liquors, they have a lower calorie count. There are plenty to choose from, and you most definitely won’t be short changed in this arena…. vodka, tequila, gin…. just to name a few.

2. Low Cal Mixers: I hesitate to put “low cal” in there, because that isn’t a green light to use that artificial sweetener stuff. No, no…. My two favorite mixers are Zevia sodas + La Croix sparkling waters. Both are free from artificial sweeteners, but zero calories. Both of these were stocked at my sister’s Bachelorette party.

3. Use Fruit: One of the best ways to add a ton of flavor, without processed sugar and calories, is by using real fruit juice. As in, I stuck my grapefruit in a lemon juicer and collected the juice myself. It’s also amazing what these natural flavors will do!….muddling berries is also a great option.

4. On The Rocks Please: On the rocks is always a nice, light, and refreshing option…. and by on the rocks I mean my favorite blanco tequila with the juice of three limes and salt around the rim. Crisp, clean, refreshing, and light.

5. Water: Always good to have on hand, and always good to sip in between beverages. At least that’s my rule…..

Lighter Paloma 

1.5 oz tequila blanco
1/2 oz of agave nectar
2 oz fresh grapefruit juice
La Croix Lemon Sparkling Water or Zevia Lemon Lime Soda
Salt

Combine the first three ingredients in a cocktail shaker… and, well, shake. Using the leftover grapefruit, rub it around the rim of your cocktail glass and then dip the rim in sea salt. Fill the glass with ice, pour in cocktail mixture, then top off with your preferred sparkling beverage (La Croix or Zevia). Garnish with something pretty…. just for fun! Sip and enjoy!
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(Post Details || Cover-up | Hat | Bathing Suit | Gold Rimmed Glass | Cocktail Shaker)

05.24.2017

Wellness Wednesday || Protein Waffles + Some Favorite Workout Gear

Ever since I can remember, waffles have been a staple in my home. Growing up they were a weekend treat, topped with ice cream… always a brunch favorite… and I even requested my dad make them for my bridesmaids and me as we got ready on my wedding day. Obviously, I wanted this to be a tradition for Harper too. Yet, I found myself wanting this savory treat more than just on the weekends… so, I set out to make an everyday version that would be nutritious and keep me (and my family) full throughout the morning.

In my recent quest to intake more protein, I decided to incorporate it into my childhood favorite. I opted for the vanilla coconut flavor from Vital Proteins (you can read all about collagen peptides in this post, along with a few other recipes) as I’ve been loving the taste it adds to pancakes and my morning oatmeal. I then added in some flaxseed…. as I’ve become interested in their health benefits…. among them: improved digestion, balanced hormones, healthier hair and skin, reducing sugar cravings (me, me, me), and antioxidants… to name a few. With those two ingredients, I figured it was bound to be a winning creation…..

I threw in a few other ingredients, turned on the waffle maker, tossed on a few toppings, and gave them a taste. It was better than I expected. Yet, just to be certain it wasn’t my own bias, Harper concurred (she ate them before her blueberries + raspberries… which she never does….) and TJ pretty much begged for seconds. I guess they were a hit. I also made an extra batch for these photos, and was able to store them in the refrigerator and re-heat them in the morning for a quick breakfast… and they were just as good.

Vanilla Protein Waffles:
(makes 4 small waffles)

1/2 banana (mashed)
1 scoop vital proteins vanilla coconut collagen peptides powder
1 egg
1/8 cup oat flour
1 tbsp flaxseed meal
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
cinnamon
1 tsp almond milk if batter is too thick
Nutritional Facts (approximately): 267 calories | 32g protein | 12.5g fat | 7g sugar (all from banana) 

Directions:

Mash banana in a bowl, then combine with the egg. Next, mix in the remaining ingredients (except almond milk) until well combined. If batter is too thick add in a tsp of almond milk. Then pour into your heated waffle maker. I topped mine with drizzled peanut butter, honey, and some raspberries (which were not accounted for in the nutritional facts above). You can top with whatever you’d like!

And since I’ve been loving my workouts as of late, I’ve been investing in some great workout gear. Some of my recent favorites are below…..

(tank | leggings)

(tee (sized up one, small) | leggings)

(leggings | tank | carrier)

(sweatshirt | sneakers)

(legging/crop duo | wrap)

(leggings | vest | tote)

(crop (wearing size 2, could have worn a 4) | sports bra)

05.10.2017

Wellness Wednesday || Protein Smoothie, Benefits Of Protein

Over the past several weeks, I’ve chatted a lot about my experience with Tone It Up… and when we were in Cabo, I actually started to notice some decent definition in my arms (!!). While I credit this to my incorporation of strength training in my workout regime, I also believe it has everything to do with my increased intake of protein as well. After I complete my morning workouts, I try to consume a decent amount of protein for breakfast….

You see, for me, when I eat a breakfast that is protein dense, I find that I stay full longer, and have more energy throughout the morning (and let me tell you, chasing after little miss requires all the energy I have…. she’s non-stop…). Yet, I also like to moderate my intake of meat….. and by that, I mean not having it with every meal of the day. So, I started researching ways that I could get my protein intake without the need to eat meat all day (that tends to bother my digestive system…. TMI???). I came across the benefits of incorporating plant based proteins in my morning smoothies…. or even mixed in with an açai bowl or oatmeal. I was sold, and decided to start using OLLY Super Foods Smoothie powder. Each smoothie made with the powder, gives me a full serving of super veggies + fruit, a rainbow of nutrient-rich super foods, along with phytonutrients which are plant compounds with antioxidant activity to help protect the body from free radicals. All the blends (there are several different options….) are plant protein based and provide 5 grams of fiber. With a busy schedule, tossing it in a smoothie is the easiest way to ensure everyone in the family is getting the nutrients they need (and little miss loves hers too….).

While I’ve been incorporating it in various ways, the most recent concoction I created when we returned from Cabo is this Beet Smoothie…. it was thick, delicious, and nutritious. I also started giving Harper a chocolate peanut-butter banana smoothie (using OLLY Kid’s Smoothie) when we’re on the go in the afternoons. It’s been replacing the typical snack of her favorite crackers. She loves it, and I know she’s getting a snack that will give her energy and fuel until dinner.  It’s a win-win for the both of us…..

Annnnd, if you’re still not sold on the benefits of incorporating protein into your daily diet, I thought I’d share a few of the reasons I do:

1. Protein is an important macronutrient that is required for proper cell functioning. Proper cell functioning is always good….
2. Since protein isn’t stored in the body, it has to be consumed daily in order to replenish the body’s supply. When the body has a sufficient amount of protein, cells and tissues can build and repair (which is why it’s so important to consume after a workout).  It’s recommended that women consume between 15-23 grams of protein, post-workout, to achieve all the benefits (which is what I’ve been trying to do recently….).
3. Protein metabolizes in the body slower than carbohydrates and fat, which makes it an effective way to control appetite. Having protein in the morning is an excellent way to help with appetite control throughout the rest of the day.
4. Plant protein is a good alternative to “animal” proteins because it is considered “clean:” free of hormones and antibiotics.

Now, onto the recipes….

Beet Smoothie: 

10 oz coconut water
2 scoops OLLY Superfoods Smoothie
1 cup of frozen riced cauliflower
1 cooked beet
1 cup of frozen mixed berries
dash of cinnamon
1 cup of ice

Toss in blender. If this is for breakfast, I like tossing on a little bit of granola.

Little Miss’ Smoothie: 

10 oz coconut water
2 scoops OLLY Kid’s Smoothie
1/2 frozen banana
1 cup frozen riced cauliflower
1 tbsp almond butter
handful of spinach

Toss in blender.

What are some of your tips for adding more protein to your diet? Have you tried OLLY Smoothies before?

Thank you to OLLY  for sponsoring this post and allowing me to create delicious and healthy recipes. As always, all opinions expressed are my own. 

05.03.2017

Wellness Wednesday || 5 Days Worth Of Eats

To say I’ve been indulging would likely be an understatement at this point. Multiple times a day we’ve ordered chips and guac, several margaritas… a few Corona Lights here and there… oh, and a decadent Italian dinner last night to cap off the trip. Yep… pants are fitting a little tighter as we speak. Yet, it’s ok. It’s life. It’s fun. I always know that when I come back, I load up on lots of water, hit the gym, and move to a clean diet… filled with veggies, fruits, proteins, and good for me carbs (oh, and my body is craving a kombucha….). So, as we prepare to head home today, here’s five days worth of what I ate last week… which will be similar to what I’ll be returning to on Thursday…..

And, because a little extra motivation is always needed… in the form of a few new workout pieces…. I snagged this oversized logo tee and leggings combo to get me through a Saturday morning spin class…. I’ve also been keeping up with the Tone It Up daily workouts while we’ve been here and have been doing them in these blush shorts + knot front tank combo… perfect for warm weather!
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Monday: 

Breakfast: 1 piece of toast, topped with 1/4 smashed avocado, 1 oz of lox, sliced tomatoes, red pepper flakes, + sprouts
Snack: Hard boiled egg + Kombucha 
Lunch: Super Spinach Salad (from Trader Joe’s, not with their dressing though) topped with 4 oz grilled chicken breast (from night before), and a homemade olive oil + lemon dressing.
Snack: RX Blueberry Bar
Dinner: Shrimp Stir fry 

Tuesday: 

Breakfast: 1 egg + 1/4 cup egg whites, 1/2 avocado, 2 pieces nitrate free + organic bacon (featured above)
Snack: 1 Energy Ball + Kombucha
Lunch: Super Salad
Snack: Beauty Smoothie 
Dinner: 5 oz baked salmon (lemon juice, sea salt + dill), broiled asparagus (with a little olive oil + himalayan sea salt), 3/4 cup brown rice

Wednesday: 

Breakfast: 3/4 cup rolled oats + 1/2 cup blueberries
Snack: Hard boiled egg + Kombucha
Lunch: Open Faced Tuna Sandwich: 1 slice of bread, 1/2 smashed avocado, 1 can tuna (used salt, pepper, and lemon juice and a little of the smashed avocado to mix it) topped with diced tomatoes + sprouts
Snack: 1 Energy Ball + bowl of berries
Dinner: Mexican Bowl: Mexican rice (used riced cauliflower, 3/4 jar of red salsa, onions, and garlic… sautéed with 1 diced bell pepper and spinach) with 1 cup baked sweet potatoes, 1/2-3/4 cup ground turkey topped with salsa verde. You can also try this acorn squash Mexican bowl (very similar) (featured above). 

Thursday:

Breakfast: 3 protein pancakes topped with 1 tsp almond butter and 1/4 banana sliced.
Snack: hard boiled egg + Kombucha
Lunch: Same as Monday
Snack: RX Bar chocolate flavor
Dinner: Left overs from Wednesday 

Friday:

Breakfast: Veggie Scramble: 2 eggs + 1/4 cup egg whites mixed with mushrooms, zucchini, bell peppers, spinach, and tomatoes, with 1/2 cup sweet potatoes (left over from Wednesday dinner), topped with 1/4 smashed avocado + some salsa verde
Snack: bowl of berries + Kombucha
Lunch: Ate out- two shrimp tacos with side of brown rice
Snack: 100 calorie perfect bar
Dinner: Ate out…. bowl of lentil soup and split the steak kabobs with TJ (came with a side of cucumber + tomatoes).
** 2 glasses of rosé

04.26.2017

Wellness Wednesday || On The Go, No Bake Trail Mix Energy Balls

Every time I visit my favorite health spots (i.e. Pressed Juicery, Juice Served Here, Cafe Gratitude), I always leave with little extras…. a bottle of kombucha (that I already have at home…), a juice shot (as in, drink it like a shot….), and energy bites. By the time I end up leaving, I’ve likely spent double the amount I was planning (I’m sure these places are designed for people like me…. intrigued by all the things they didn’t know they needed….). Recently though, I’ve been trying to be better, and have started to dissect those little energy bite morsels I pick up each and every time… and at five dollars a bite (okay, maybe two bites….) I decided it was time I tried my own hand at them…..

So I set out on a mission this past week to do some experimenting. I was looking to make some energy bites that I could prepare ahead of time, store in a tuber ware, and pull out when we’re on the go, but needing a little snack. Something nutritious we would all love. After a little bit of taste testing, research, and trial + error, I came up with these trail mix flavored energy bites. They’re made with all natural ingredients, gluten free, no bake ready, and loaded with good stuff. Toss them in your morning parfait, on top of your oatmeal for an extra treat, solo before or after a workout… they’re tasty, filling, and easy. They come in around the 100 calorie mark (if you’re curious… but I don’t know the other nutritional values) and I usually have one as a morning snack while I sip my kombucha.

No Bake Trail Mix Energy Balls:

1 cup oats (I use the Trader Joe’s Rolled Oats)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup roasted pumpkin seeds (I found mine at Trader Joe’s)
1 tbsp chia seeds
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp (you can add an extra 2 tbsp if you want it creamier) almond butter (or any nut butter)
1 tbsp cacao nibs (purchased at Sprouts)
2 tbsp coconut oil (in liquid form)
1 tbsp honey

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir together. Allow the mixture to chill for about an hour. Once chilled, use a small ice cream scooper to form the mixture into small balls. I was sure to pack the scoop before emptying it out onto the plate. Once all the balls are formed (I got about 15 out of my mixture), either enjoy immediately, or place in a tuber ware and store in the refrigerator. Hope you enjoy!

Just an FYI, the longer you leave them out, the crumblier they become… so I don’t recommend leaving them out for too long.
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(Post Details || Leggings | Tank (my FAV basic… own in white too) | Bralette | Harper’s Onesie | Harper’s Shoes | Napkin | Plate)

03.29.2017

Wellness Wednesday || Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Pancakes + A Core Torcher Workout

Cravings hit me all the time. Not the insatiable “I-must-have-now” kind… more like the, “I saw a picture of that on Instagram (or Pinterest) and now it sounds amazing.” Which is exactly what happened before our family run Saturday morning. Someone posted an image of decadent pancakes, and it was pretty much all I could think of the entire time (#Motivation). When we got back, I looked through the ingredients we had, and decide to wing it with simple ingredients, but adding protein to build and repair the muscles (right after a workout muscles begin the repair process). I’m never sure how something is going to taste when I just toss things together, so I put everything past my two taste testers: TJ + Harper. Both wildly approved (and TJ added some bacon and eggs to his….). We had several leftover so I saved them in the hopes that they would be good the next day…. and they were. I heated one up in the microwave for Harper and she devoured it. I’d call it a tasty, healthy, nutritious, success……

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Pancakes:
1 medium ripe banana
1 cups of gluten free oats (I prefer Trader Joe’s)
1 cup nut milk (I used cashew milk)
1 egg
1 scoop of chocolate vital collagen protein powder
2 tbsp nut butter (I used this kind)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
dash of salt
dash of cinnamon
(makes 8-9, easily doubled)

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Heat a skillet over medium heat (be sure to spray with a non-stick spray) and then pour a 1/4 cup of the pancake mixture onto the skillet. Cooking times vary, so just watch and flip halfway through. We topped ours with honey + sliced bananas… but you can use blueberries, strawberries… anything you want really!

**Scroll down for the Core Workout Video

Again, last weekend, we did a few different workouts. A family run on Saturday morning, and an outdoor HIIT workout on Sunday. Both were great ways to get outside and switch things up a bit… and increase the intensity. I did this 2 1/2 minute core sequence following my 6 mile run, and it was a great way to end the workout. I really try to incorporate as much core as possible into my daily workouts and recently have been trying to incorporate weights. For this workout, you’ll need a set of dumbbells (I used 5 lbs and ankle weights… although, you don’t have to use the ankle weights). You can see the last core workout I shared here.

(Leggings | Tank)… and a few other favorite workout pieces below…..

With pool and beach days right around the corner, this momma has been kicking it into high gear. And, as always, a little extra motivation comes with a few new workout pieces. I’ve always been a fan of the Spiritual Gangster line and love this sports bra. Zella always has great items too, and at great prices. I think these performance white perforated shorts are great for longer runs and I love this twist front top (I personally own) for weight lifting and post-workout activities. This open back tie top is a great option too for a yoga or spin class. Lululemon has had some great basics too…. like this crop top (love it with high waisted leggings) and this crew neck sweatshirt is great for early morning workout temperatures.

03.22.2017

Wellness Wednesday || Healthy “Fried Rice”

Every morning when I wake up, I have the day planned out in my head…. and none of the craziness that the day brings is included in those rose colored delusions. My fantasy goes something like this. I wake up and get my workout in (that happens. thankfully)… and then I get so much done in the hour before Harper wakes, that we spend 2 uninterrupted hours together, before she goes down for a nap, without me feeling like I have to multitask (this never happens). Once she goes down for her morning nap, I figure I have an hour and a half to regroup…. instead, I get caught up responding to an e-mail or editing some photos… that I lose track of time…. you get the drift, I don’t need to go into any further details….

It’s odd. Before I became a mom, life was pretty smooth sailing. With only myself (and of course TJ and our fur baby) to worry about, I was focused, stayed on track, and the days generally went as planned. “LOL” my former self says to my current self.

All that to say, the early evenings, right before dinner, are no exception… and likely one of the crazier times in our household. Given that, I like to have a pretty solid plan, and easy dinner, for the family. A meal that’s full of nutritional value, while still packing taste and satisfaction (I aim to please over here….)…. and not taking over 30 minutes from start to finish…..

This cauliflower quinoa dish is just that sort of meal. It’s gluten free, dairy free, full of veggies, and a good source of protein (with the quinoa being a complete protein itself). It’s even a great leftover as well. I know some of you are like “yuck…. cauliflower,” but I promise you that it’s tasty (it passed the test of 5 people who aren’t cauliflower lovers!)…. especially with a little soy sauce + quinoa (which gives it some added texture). You can buy all the ingredients at Trader Joe’s (a one stop shop…) and can eat as is, or toss on some chicken, shrimp, salmon, or flank steak (it’s a fairly versatile dish….). If that hasn’t sold you, I don’t know what will…. so I’ll just stop talking, and get to the recipe….

Cauliflower Quinoa Fried Rice:
(serves 2, double if serving more)
1 package of riced cauliflower from Trader Joe’s
1 package of frozen quinoa from Trader Joe’s (if you make on your own it’s 1 cup cooked)
1 cup shaved carrots
1 1/2 cup mushrooms
2/3 cup frozen peas (microwave before putting into dish)
3/4-1 cup tamari sauce (gluten free soy sauce), this will also depend on your own tastebuds
diced green onions
1 clove of garlic, or 1 frozen cube of garlic (I buy my minced garlic frozen in a tray)
1 cup of diced onions (Trader Joe’s has them pre-diced for us lazy peeps)
protein of choice
1 tbsp sesame oil

Directions: In a large pan, heat the oil and add the garlic and onions. Next, add the cauliflower rice, mushrooms, and shredded carrots. Pour in the tamari sauce, stir to combine all ingredients, and then reduce to medium heat, place the lid on the pan, and allow the cauliflower to simmer for approximately 20 minutes, stirring a few times. Be sure to watch the cauliflower here, as you don’t want it to get too soggy, yet you need it to cook. Use your own judgement, and do a few taste tests. While the cauliflower is cooking, microwave the peas (about 1 minute), quinoa, and cook your protein. When the cauliflower is finished, add the peas, quinoa, and a little more tamari sauce (if you’d like) and stir to mix. Lastly, top with green onions and your protein of choice.

Enjoy!
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(Outfit Details || Top (wearing XS) | Jeans | Bowl (old))

03.01.2017

5 Days Of Healthy Eating || Favorite New Food Products

I have to admit that I often times love going to the grocery store (not all the time…. but more often than not….). I love pursuing the isles in search of new products to try, or for some inspiration in the kitchen. It’s so easy to get caught in a rut of eating the same thing, day after day, that I’ve found by simply mixing in a few new products here and there you can really create some variety. So today, I’m sharing with you some new favorite healthy food products I have found, as well as a full 5 days of what I ate last week……oh, and a few favorite pieces of workout wear that are currently on sale (at the very end of the post)……

Recent Favorite Products:

Hilary’s Eat WellWhile the brand is not new to me, what is new are a few of the veggie items I’ve been incorporating lately. Both Harper and I love the veggie burgers, veggie bites, and the veggie breakfast sausages…. they’re hearty, delicious, and void of ingredients that you can’t pronounce. They’re non-GMO, gluten free, and organic which makes them a pretty great option.

Barely Bread: I was recently introduced to this grain free option and fell in love. I’ve tried other paleo style breads and they literally fall apart the moment you pull them out of the bag (and with the heafty price tag, it’s a tad frustrating). Not this line. While not as firm as grain bread, it definitely keeps its shape…. the bagels are pretty delicious too. I’ve incorporated them in my breakfasts and lunches!

Health-Ade Kombucha: My new favorite flavor is the pomegranate. Period.

Perfect Bar: I’ve chatted about these before, but my new flavor of the day is the “Nuts + Fruit” variety. I’m also a huge fan of the 100 calorie size for a little mid morning snack.
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5 Days Of Healthy Eating

Monday:

Breakfast: 3/4 cup Trader Joe’s Rolled Oats, 1/2 sliced banana, dash of cinnamon
Snack: hard boiled egg + Healthade pomegranate kombucha
Lunch: Organic Cauliflower Soup (in Trader Joe’s pre-prepared section) + 3 Hilary’s Mediterranean Bites
Snack: RX Bar (Blueberry)
Dinner: Mexican Sweet Potato Hash: organic, grass fed ground beef sautéed with 3 bell peppers, 2 cups of spinach, 1 cup cheery tomatoes, 2 cups mushrooms, 2 cups brussels sprouts. 2 medium sweet potatoes diced, seasoned with cooking spray, salt, pepper, and garlic powder and roasted at 450 for 20 minutes (on convection setting). Served with guacamole + salsa. (see below photo)

Tuesday:

Breakfast: Left over veggies + sweet potatoes with two spicy veggie patties, topped with salsa
Snack: 100 calorie perfect bar + Healthade Pink Lady Apple Kombucha
Lunch: Open-faced Tuna Sandwich: 1 slice barely bread, 1 can of tuna, 1 tsp Annie’s organic honey mustard, 1 cup of spinach, sprouts, 1/ avocado smashed. Assemble sandwich in whatever order you prefer…. side of carrots. (see below photo)
Snack: Lara Bar Cashew Cookie
Dinner: Healthy Carnitas: 4 lbs organic, no antibiotics/hormones pork butt (cut off fat) in crock pot. Placed pork in crock pot along with 1 jar of Trader Joe’s Salsa Verde, minced garlic, and 1 tbsp of liquid smoke. Placed on low for 8 hours. Shredded when done, and let it marinate in the juices for about 20 minutes. Served with mexican cauliflower rice (used a package of riced cauliflower from Trader Joe’s) and sautéed bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, spinach, and zucchini. Topped with guacamole.

Wednesday:

Breakfast: Peanut Butter Banana Toast: 1 slice barely bread, 2 tbsp Justin’s Peanut Butter, 1/4 sliced banana, honey drizzled on top
Snack: Hard Boiled Egg + Healthade Original Flavor Kombucha
Lunch: Hilary’s Veggie Burger topped with 1/2 smashed avocado, diced tomatoes, spinach, and sprouts.
Snack: Beauty Smoothie 
Dinner: Shrimp Stir Fry: Sauté the shrimp in garlic, olive oil, and red bell pepper flakes. Then in a separate pan use some sesame oil and garlic to sauté your cauliflower rice. Turn heat to low and allow cauliflower rice to cook with the lid on for about 8 minutes. Add cooked broccoli, baby corn, spinach,  cooked peas, and 1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice…. then drizzle some soy sauce over it (I’m generous with this….).  When it’s all warm and flavors to your liking you’re done. You can use the frozen brown rice from Trader Joe’s and then just heat it up in the microwave… as well as their broccoli…. it makes the dish even easier. They also have excellent uncooked shrimp (not fishy at all!). (see below)

Thursday:

Breakfast: Hilary’s Veggie Patties (2), 2 poached eggs, sliced avocado, sliced tomatoes
Snack: Banana + Healthade Pomegranate Kombucha
Lunch: Spinach Salad: 1/2 cup Quinoa, 3 cups spinach mixed with 1 cup romaine, Hilary’s veggie burger bites, 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds, sprouts, diced cucumber, diced tomatoes, lemon agave dressing (1 tbsp).
Snack: Beet Chips
Dinner: Grilled Salmon with roasted sweet potatoes and broiled asparagus. So simple, and a weeknight go-to.

Friday:

Breakfast: Oatmeal (same as Monday)
Snack: Bowl of berries + Healthade Kombucha
Lunch: Ate Out, ordered an avocado veggie sandwich
Snack: RX Peanut Butter Bar
Dinner:  Ordered Mexican Food Take-Out: Mesa Rice Bowl, side of guacamole, hold the beans (they bother my stomach….).
2 glasses of wine

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I also wanted to share that a few of my favorite workout pieces are on sale with the ShopBop GOBIG17 event (buy more, save more). These high waisted leggings are literally one of my favorites and I feel as if they look good on everyone! This open back tank would go perfectly with the leggings, as well as this sports bra and this open front cardigan (that I own…. it’s so soft!!).

02.15.2017

Wellness Wednesday: The Three Must Haves In My Breakfasts + A Nutrient Packed Strawberry Breakfast Smoothie

We’ve all heard it, time and time again…. “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” And, if you think about it, it’s pretty true. I mean, I eat dinner around 6:00pm (senior citizens over here…..)…. and don’t have breakfast until 6:30am…. so, I’m literally breaking the fast with my first meal of the day…..

Growing up, I couldn’t leave the house until I’d had something to eat in the morning. In college, breakfasts were often pushed back until 9:30am (#LateNights #YOLO). In grad school, I lived on cereal. When little miss arrived, I relied heavily on my favorite oatmeal bake (pop in the oven, and voila). Needless to say, I’ve learned a thing or two over the years about what will keep me nourished, satisfied, and provide me with the energy needed to get through the morning…..

First, I need carbs. Have to have them. So, I opt for items like my favorite rolled oats from Trader Joe’s, sweet potatoes, or a piece of toast. I also find a good source in the fruits I incorporate… I tend to prefer a sweet breakfast over a savory option, which is why I like fruit in the morning. I typically top my oats with fresh fruits for the perfect combo….

Second, a healthy dose of fats. They help me feel full longer. My preferred morning fats (sounds kinda funny, huh??)? Avocado or some kind of nut butter. They’re pretty much my #obsession. On toast, in my oatmeal (well, nut butter that is… haven’t been adventurous enough to toss in avocado…), on the side with my egg dish….

And lastly, some kind of protein. When I was in grad school I would have a bowl of cereal and wonder why I was hungry an hour later (or, better yet, why I needed a second bowl…..). Eggs, bacon (nitrate, hormone, antibiotic, organic kind), and protein powders are my favorite options….

Annnnd, a few mornings ago, I decided to get a little creative with those three must haves…. and that’s how this amazingly thick, delicious, and nutritious breakfast was born. You can drink the whole thing if you’d like… split it between two people (which is what little miss and I did)…. or make it into a breakfast bowl and top with more fruit and granola…. the options are limitless. Do what your tastebuds desire. Either way, you’re sure to be left with a cup (or bowl…) of goodness in front of you…….

Oh, and there are two hidden, nutrient dense, ingredients in this baby…. beets (in the oh-so-delicious Pressed Juicery Strawberry Almond Milk) and frozen cauliflower (trust me when I say you can’t even taste it….but it adds some amazing texture)…..

Strawberry Breakfast Smoothie

Ingredients:
1 cup of sliced strawberries
1 medium, frozen, banana
1/2 cup oats (I use the gluten free oats from Trader Joe’s)
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp chocolate protein collagen peptides
1 cup frozen riced cauliflower
1 cup Strawberry Almond Milk from Pressed Juicery
1 scoop of nut butter (I used this one)
1 1/2 cup ice cubes
sprinkle of cinnamon

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a blender (I used a vitamix) and blend until well combined. If it is not as thick as you would like, add a few more ice cubes until it reaches desired thickness (this is what I had to do).

Thank you to Pressed Juicery for sponsoring this post and allowing me to create delicious recipes for you. All opinions expressed are my own.

02.08.2017

Wellness Wednesday: Donuts. Yes, You Read That Right.

Donuts were a post-church tradition every Sunday growing up…. that big pink box, filled with a dozen morsels of yumminess. My favorites? Maple bars, sugar donuts, and chocolate sprinkles. I still can’t drive past a donut shop and not think about Sunday mornings with my family….

In all honesty though, the last time I had a donut was when I was pregnant…. I was craving it, but knew that it wouldn’t sustain me throughout the morning…. I mean, dough, sugar, flour, and butter, would you expect anything less? After inhaling the thing, I was hungry within an hour (and picked up an acai bowl….)….. Hypothesis confirmed, and I haven’t really had one since….

So, for this Valentine’s Day I decided to try my hand at a nutritious donut. Yeah, I know, sounds like an oxymoron, right? Healthy… donut….. not buying it? I promise you, it’s possible. These donuts are gluten free, dairy free, and refined sugar free (in case you’re wondering, the following are refined sugars: sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose dextrose, lactose, high fructose corn syrup, molasses, honey, evaporated cane juice, fruit juice concentrates, cane crystals and corn sweetener)… but not taste free (trust me on that one….). You see, I recently saw this quote on instagram:

“Sugar feeds cancer and creates diabesity. The average American consumes about 152 pounds of sugar a year and about 146 pounds of flour.”

Holy smokes. Insert wide eyed emoji here. Yet, what I take from that quote is that everything in moderation… a full blown donut once in a blue moon isn’t going to hurt me. It might leave me hangry an hour later, but not going to do any long lasting damage….

Buuuut, what if you want something donut like more than once in a blue moon? Well, then, I’ve got you covered. I used simple swaps to make this a more nutritious option. Instead of butter I used an avocado (incredibly rich and creamy….), instead of regular flour I substituted almond flour, and I replaced regular old cane sugar with coconut palm sugar (a much lower glycemic index). I tossed in Pressed Juicery’s new strawberry almond milk (which has beets (!!), strawberries, and coconut water in it…), as well as some collagen peptides…. and there you have it. And while I don’t like to associate the word “guilt” with “food”…. it’s an indulgent treat that you’ll also get nutrients from too (that’s better, right??).

Make these morsels for your loved ones this Valentine’s Day… or just make them for whenever the heck you feel like it. Some initial reactions from my taste testers included:

“Oh my gosh. What the heck is this??” immediately followed by “We’re going to have to make these to have on hand daily.” ~ sister

Reaching and shoving mass quantities into the mouth ~ Harper

Need I say more??

Oh, also, if you’re looking to send a healthy Valentine’s Gram to some friends, Pressed is sending out juice grams to you and your besties. Just check out this link. Harper and I already sent some out!
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Strawberry Walnut Donuts:

1 cup walnuts (which will become 1/2 cup walnut powder)
1 1/4 cup almond flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup Pressed Juicery strawberry almond milk
1/4 cup mashed avocado
1 cup coconut palm sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup vital proteins collagen peptides (optional)

Frosting Ingredients: 

1/2 cup cacao powder
1  mashed avocado
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon Pressed Strawberry Almond Milk
1 tsp coconut palm sugar

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350° (I also used the convection setting). Spray a donut pan with non-stick spray (I used this one).
2. In the bowl of a food processor add the walnuts and 1/4 cup of the almond flour and pulse until finely ground into a powder. Pour into a large mixing bowl.
3. Add the remaining flour, cinnamon, baking powder, collagen peptides, and salt to the walnut mixture. Stir to combine.
4. Add the avocado and sugar to the food processor and pulse until fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the eggs, vanilla, and process until combined.
5. Then, add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients (which should still be in the food processor) and pulse until combined. While the machine is running, pour in the strawberry almond milk (I used a funnel) and continue to process until the batter comes together.
6. Use a spoon to fill the donut pan. I recommend filling them almost to the top (I did it only halfway with the first batch and they were the skinniest donuts I’d ever seen….#NotRecommended). Bake for about 20-25 minutes (they will begin to separate from the pan and firm up when they are almost done). Once removed, I immediately turned over the donut tray and patted them out onto a cooling rack (be sure the pan is greased enough or they will stick #TrustMe #FirstBatchFail).
7. While they are cooling, make the chocolate frosting. To do this, combine all the ingredients in a food processor and puree. It should be a creamy texture. Also, be sure all the avocado is mashed as well.
8. Frost the donuts and top with chopped strawberries.
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{Post Details || Sweatshirt Tee | Harper’s Tee | Harper’s Pants}

Thank you to Pressed Juicery for sponsoring this post and allowing me the opportunity to create delicious recipes for you!