Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wednesday Recipe

I've been behind in posting this week. This week will be an extremely stressful one for me. The end of every month is very busy in the food shelf and this month I happen to be having to do it alone. My coworker went for some travels this week so I'm just trying to stay alive and grin and bear through it. I may not be doing many posts, therefore. I did manage to squeak this one out though so as to not disappoint. :) Plus, I was very excited about this recipe! 

CLEAN SINGLE SERVE MONSTER COOKIE

Whether or not my mom made these when I was younger, (I swear I remember she did but I don't know if it's something I'm just making up in my head or she actually did), I still am in love with monster cookies. I absolutely love them! Of course, I had to make a clean version of it!

This is what I did:

1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
1/4 C Oatmeal
1/8 C Almond Meal
1-2 Tbsp Natural Peanut Butter
1 Egg White
Small Scoop Raisins
Small Scoop Dark Chocolate Chips
Small Scoop Slivered Almonds
Splash of Vanilla
Dash of Cinnamon

Place coconut oil in small bowl. If not melted/liquidy heat in microwave until it is. Add all other ingredients and mix thoroughly until cake batter-type consistency. It won't be runny but it's not as thick as cookie dough either. The thing that I LOVE about Monster Cookies is that they are different for everyone! You could add a lot of other things in here too that you would like; shredded coconut, dark chocolate M&Ms, whatever says monster cookie to you! Finally, I placed batter on parchment paper in shape of a cookie and baked in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-12 mins just until the edges were golden brown. Delicious! 

I hope you all enjoy this recipe and that you are surviving this week like me!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

There is no CAN'T in the gym!

I just wanted to post a quick little Saturday blog. I was at the gym yesterday and decided to take this little video snippet to show that there really is no CAN'T in the gym! Part of my DAMY Health workout this month has been chin ups. Now, I knew I couldn't do just a plain chin up. But it doesn't mean I CAN'T do a chin up somehow! I CAN and eventually I WILL do a plain chin up.

CAN'T is a mentality, it's not a reality. It's only a reality if you LET it be. I knew that I could work on my chin ups and get better at them.


I wanted to post this to show others how I improved my chin ups. When I started doing them, I could only do a few in a row. I would have to break and then continue to do more. Last night, I did 10 assisted chin ups in a row without a break! Unfortunately, this video doesn't show my 10 in a row because this was my second set and I had done 21s in between. I did 5 in a row in this video. When I initially started this month, I wouldn't have been able to do even 5 in a row on my second set. In a month's time though, I've gotten all the way up to 10!  Anything CAN be done but you need an "I CAN" mentality.

If you want to get better at chin ups and be able to say, "I can!" this is a good way to get there.

I put a bench under the pull up bar. Use a resistance band (there are varying resistances, use what you need). Put the handles through the ends of the pull up bar. I put a pad on the band otherwise it dug into my leg and hurt. Stand on the bench and put one knee into the band.

video

You may also use the wider resistance bands that are loops. For those, you don't have to use a pad. You would just pull it over the bar in the middle and stick one end of the loop through the other and tighten it so it's attached. This is shown HERE. They don't have those types of bands at my gym so I had to get creative.

With a CAN DO attitude, you really CAN DO anything!




Thursday, May 24, 2012

More Pedal, Less Car

An accidental snapshot that I liked!
I recently made it my priority to accomplish one of my 2011 goals that I didn't make last year. That is biking to and from work! Unfortunately, I cannot bike commute the whole way to my job and back. It's not the distance, I have biked much further before. The difficulty lies in that it IS far but also, there is no shower where I work and I work with clients all day so I cannot easily show up sweaty, stinky and gross and be working with clients all day. I needed to find a happy medium.


The Greenway - on a much more sunny day than today!
I decided I needed to commit to a partial bike commute. One of the things I most despise on my drive back home is when it's a beautiful day out and I see bikes passing me by left and right while I'm stuck in traffic! I want to be out in the sun! I had to join them! I wanted to REALLY commit myself to this. Thus - wind, rain or shine, I will be biking part of the way to work. I think I have even more than proven my commitment in that this morning, in the pouring rain, I made the nearly 5 mile trek down the Midtown Greenway with only 10 other people (I counted)! Even though I got drenched, I'm glad I've stuck with my commitment to myself. Plus, it wasn't so bad anyways! I actually found it to be quite refreshing! I also learned that I need to invest in some rain gear! Mainly just a jacket - I think pants would be uncomfortable. However, I found that the water type shoes that I bought over a year ago and thought I would never have a use for, actually came in handy! Yippee!

This is how you'll find me on the Greenway! Happy as can be!
What I have done for this plan is this: I drive my car down to the parking spot I chose by the freeway every Sunday evening. I bike back home. Throughout all of my work days, I bike to my car, lock up my bike, hop on the freeway to work. Drive back to my bike and bike the rest of the way home. It's a nearly 5 mile bike ride so I am saving about 10 miles per day. That doesn't seem like much but that's 40 miles a week (I work 4 days right now for my day job), 160 miles a month and if I did it all year round 1,920 miles a year! It really does add up! I've already noticed the gas saving this first week! I only had to fill up one time! Most of my gas is likely spent on the city streets anyways. Not only am I getting gas savings from the commute, but when I get home, I have no car as an option. Biking wherever I go is a must! This has really helped too! It has made it a bit more difficult strategically to get errands done that are farther out, but I have been working on planning accordingly and making do! No car during the week!  Most of all, I'm really enjoying being in the sun with the wind through my hair (or helmet)! It's fantastic and puts me in such a happy mood!

Since my near week and a half commitment, I'm crossing this off my goal list. 
I have finally joined the ranks of the bike commuters! :)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wednesday Recipe

I came up with a new, quick, easy-as-pie recipe for everyone. It don't know if I'd even call it a recipe, I'm sure it's even been done before! Either way, I'm still going to post this and we'll see if it serves anyone some purpose.

HORCHATA PROTEIN SMOOTHIE



I'm sure many of you don't know this about me, but I used to live in Mexico. I lived there for a year and have gone back for longer visits various times. I simply love Mexico. I fell in love with the language, culture and people. I even speak Spanish fluently! One dream of mine is to have a little home there in a town called Guanajuato. I love that town. It's small, quaint, hidden in a valley and colonial. The people there are always pleasant and you can get these wonderful fruit cups on the street with yogurt and some granola topping. YUM! I would go and eat those for breakfast every day when I was there! 

Another one of my favorite things was horchata. Horchata is a rice milk drink with cinnamon. It's served cold with ice, sometimes with strawberry slices floating on top. You can get it on the street there at pretty much any corner it seems. You can hardly compare to a good horchata. I even loved it so much, I would just drink it from random street vendors. My Mexican friends told me I was crazy, because I didn't know what water they were using. My love for horchata was just TOO much though! I was willing to risk it and look! I'm still here living today! :) Last night, I was still really hungry late at night. This wasn't just a craving, it was hunger. I knew the best choice I could make for myself was either a salad (I really wasn't feeling like more salad though) or protein. This is what I opted to make.

Here's what I did and I couldn't believe it made me reminisce about and capture a little taste of Mexico!

In blender place:

1 scoop vanilla protein powder
Approx 1/2 C Water
Approx 1 C Ice
A few dashes of cinnamon (to your liking) 

Mix it up in your Ninja Blender (if you have one like I do) and you have a protein smoothie that I swear tastes a lot like an horchata drink but with the added benefit of protein! I love it!

Hope you all had a great day! 
Remember, it's Wednesday! You are halfway to the end of the week!


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Clean eating in just 7 days...

I had gotten off of my clean eating for a while. The results were not good. I felt flabby, sloth-like, unable to do my workouts as efficiently and worst of all, I felt out of control. I was addicted to sugars again. I realized what I hated most wasn't that I was flabby but the feeling of not being in control of my own habits. Suddenly the foods had "the say" again. I found myself going back and forth to the sweets at work. There was the realization that when I was eating, I wasn't even enjoying the food rather it seemed like an involuntary action of excessive consumption of sweets. I had lost it. 

On the other hand, I knew that all it takes is a couple of days of dedication and I could be back on track, cleansed of the processed and refined foods that lead to my sugary demise. With this knowledge and the awareness of my love for a challenge, I decided that I would commit myself to a 7 day challenge of clean eating. This wasn't just going to be a "getting on track" challenge. I wanted to demonstrate for once what I have talked about a few times before. That you can visually see a DRASTIC change in your body with clean eating. Here are my results in 7 days!


Just to be sure it is clear. I did not do anything different during these 7 days other than eating clean. I had been doing the same workouts all along. The only change that I made was that I ate clean and eliminated the processed and refined foods. My water intake was the same, my workouts were the same, everything virtually the same. This difference in physique is ALL due to eating the right foods for your body!

Will everyone have the same results after 7 days of clean eating? No. I am well aware that as I have been dedicated to clean eating via the DAMY Health program for a year (and yes, I have had small time periods where I have fallen off track) that I am able to see a quick return of muscle tone. This is because I'm dedicated to working out 6 days a week and have the base of all of this weight training and clean eating behind me. However, I think this does demonstrate how a person who is dedicated to working out and is looking to lose those last 10 pounds or so can get great results from clean eating. You will see a great difference in your muscle definition - just in 7 days!!! Even though that's what THIS post demonstrates, don't forget that others with more weight to lose can see just as good of results as I did with the DAMY Health program. Want to see? Look at THIS POST.

I can only recommend that everyone give DAMY Health's program a try! It will change your life and your relationship with food. Yes, I am not perfect and sometimes my old habits take over. On the other hand, I am able to now recognize these and take back control quick. When I do, I love the results that I SEE and how I FEEL! Back on clean eating and in control! I feel great!


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wednesday Recipe!

Okay, I know this does not say Wear and Fare Wednesday. But you know what? I'm kind of tired of the outfit thing. ;) Yep, I get tired of some things too and I feel like I've nailed down the wardrobe thing. I feel like I've accomplished where I'd like to be for now and I think I'm going to weed it out. I'm still going to create cute outfits for myself on my own time and maybe every now and again I'll post some. Now though, I just want to post clean recipes I make or try. 

With this fresh new start, I made a really fun recipe for you guys tonight! I'm so excited to share it! I actually found this recipe on WholeFoodsMarket.com. However, I did not at ALL like the version that they presented. It was a mushroom and pea quinoa loaf? HUH?!?! I guess maybe some people might like it, but it's not for me. I decided to use the base of their recipe and make it my own! I know you all know that if there is one thing that I like, it's sweets! Of course I was going to make a sweet version of this! Here is what I came up with:

Cranberry Almond Quinoa Loaf


This loaf was delicious! Also, it was heavy! It may weigh a lot, but it's clean! I had small slices of it at breakfast for my carb servings. I also ended up giving some to friends. As a nice little treat, you can heat a slice up and put some butter on it! YUM!

Here is how it's done!

Preheat your oven to 350 F.

In a food processor blend:

1-15 oz can garbanzo beans
3/4 C rolled oats
1/2 C water

Blend until smooth and then transfer this mixture to a bowl.

Mix in:

2 C cooked quinoa
2 Tbsp cinnamon
1 Tsp cloves
1 Tsp nutmeg
1/4 C agave syrup
1/4 C (or more if desired) slivered almonds
1/4 C (or more if desired) no sugar added cranberries

Mix this all evenly. Transfer the dough into a bread pan greased with a healthy oil (I used olive oil spray). I put some more almonds and cranberries on top to make it pretty - you don't have to. If you do, make sure the cranberries are a bit more pushed in so they don't burn.

Bake in the oven for 1 to 1-1/4 hours. There you have it!

Enjoy and share with those that you love most!


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

People in my path...

Lately, it seems that I have had some new people crossing my path of life. In getting to know a bit more of these people, we began to talk about our lives. What we do, what inspires us, what we are in search of. These two people spoke to me with regards to their circumstances about not being in jobs they love and not pursuing their passions and goals, that they really want to achieve and chase after. I talked with them a bit about where they are at in their lives and what is stopping them from pursuing what they want. Of course, per what I expected, much of the obstacles in their lives were self-imposed. Their patterns of thinking alone were a blockade to achieving their own personal success.

Source: google.com via Alyssa on Pinterest

One of these people was talking to me about wanting to start a business. Yet indicated that he didn't have any funds to do so and therefore couldn't achieve it.  He said he had big dreams and no funds. I told him that we both knew that wasn't true and that you can do anything that you set your mind to. There are social funding sites, there are loans, there are plenty of other ways to fund a business! I would know, I had to fund my own as well and start out with nothing! It's not an easy path and every day will not be a bowl full of cherries, but if it's what you want, it can be achieved. That said, I did tell him that perhaps he's just not in the right place yet to do it. I understand that because it took me a while to be in the right, or maybe wrong, place to start my business.

Don't get trapped by your fears! Intensely chase your dreams!

All of this contact with these people really made me reflect on my own experiences with my business and goals. It made me think about how much I have grown over the last year and a half. I realize much more now than I did before, that had it not been for my poor employment experience, I may have never started my business. For the lack of that misery, I may have never hit rock bottom and wanted to chase after my dreams with wild abandon.





It also reminds me about how I've grown in confidence with my business. Of course, there are things that I'm still nervous about. That is only natural. But I think that I am much more confident with my business and approaching other business people about my business. I know that my business and my ideas have value. I am still a small fish in a big pond, but I know that one day soon, I'm gonna need an ocean! :)

Finally, I have had the realization that I have truly grown as a person. I've become wiser, stronger, more self-confident, less fearful, more hopeful, more faithful, and more HAPPY! I am more confident that I can handle the difficulties placed in front of me and I know I'll never be given more than I can handle. Things that used to be scary, aren't so scary anymore. They are mere speed bumps on my road to life and the speed bumps can be rough, but sometimes the best learning tools. 

Now tomorrow, I have a nice little treat for you all! A nice little recipe! Can't wait! :)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Top 3 Kitchen Tools for Clean Eaters...

As you may have already noticed, I didn't get you a Wednesday Wear and Fare post yesterday. I've had an overwhelmingly busy week with my business starting back up again so that means less time to post. I will still try to get them in though at LEAST once a week! I don't want you all to think that I've been slacking, because that's certainly not the case! I still have been working on some goals - ones on my goal board even! - that are works in process and I'm not quite ready to comment on them yet. When I am ready though, I'll be sure to let you all know! :)

Last night, I was cooking up a wonderful DAMY Health recipe. It's one of her more recent ones and you can find it on the site on the "Blog" section. It's the "Flourless Chocolate Chip Blondie Brownies". So good! I brought them in for a work meeting - and no one even knew that it was healthy for them! HA! So tricky!

While I was baking up a storm last night, it occured to me that while I do talk about recipes on here, I don't talk much about the process of making them! Sometimes, some of these recipes, though pretty easy, can be made more difficult without the right tools! I decided I would do a post on my Top 3 favorite kitchen tools for clean eating!

In no particulare order - here they are!

1. The R.N. Witmer Company Co, Inc. Natural Peanut Butter Mixer



Okay, so I bought two of these little tools for myself as a birthday present...for myself! I love to get myself birthday presents! Seriously, this was one of  THE BEST $9.95 investments I have EVER made! If you're a clean eater like me, then you eat a lot of nut butters; almond, cashew, pb, etc. I love them all! The one pain about the natural butters? The separation of the oils and butter! Have you ever stirred them up only to have the oil spill all over your counter?! I HATE that! Seriously, this little tool will solve all of your nut butter blues! It's so easy! You just pop off the original lid, put in the mixer with it's caps that go with it (there are a couple little parts you slide over the mixing rod) and away you go! I usually crank for maybe 30 secs and it's done! You can do it flat or sideways! I was skeptical though. I thought, "Now does it REALLY get all of that hard butter on the bottom?" It sure does! I've tested it! Seriously, the people at the Witmer Company are geniuses. Plus, they make mixers to fit all different size jars. So you can even by peanut butter in bulk sizes and still mix it! Awesome! To buy one of these babies - and I highly recommend it - check out the Witmer Company HERE


2. Parchment Paper


Yes, I know this doesn't sound like much of an appliance. Parchment paper will rescue you though! I love parchment paper for baking my snacks. I can make cookies on it, I can put breads on it, I can do kale chips on it...I use parchment paper - A LOT. I like this earth-friendly brand, "If You Care FSC Certified Parchment Baking Paper." It's coated with silicone as opposed to quilon, which contains a heavy metal. No heavy metal for me! Yea! Well, at least in my food. ;)

3. The Ninja Master Prep Pro Blender


I never ask for tangible items for my birthday. I usually feel like I have most things I need, so I try and do without. However, my smoothie blender was going bad so I asked for this for my birthday from my parents. I am SO happy I did! The Ninja is the BEST clean eating cooking tool ever! I make my smoothies in it, but not only that, I make DAMY Health Ice Cream, batters for snacks and even protein balls! I am doing a 3 month test period and just trying to use the Ninja to make all of my recipes and I think it may even REPLACE my food processor! I don't think many days pass where I don't used it. It's great because it came with 2 size pitchers that have measurements on them and the best thing about the ninja is that it has blades all the way up the stem so you don't have to wait for your food to get sucked down into the base to be blended! I love, love, love this thing and I'm happy I finally asked for something tangible for my birthday! Very soon, I may have more counter space with my food processor gone!


Those are my 3 favorite tools for clean eating! What are yours?

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Wear. And. Fare. Wednesday.

I'm a little late tonight on my Wednesday post, but here I am burning the midnight (or later) oil.
I've got a new little dish in the oven that I'm waiting on so I thought I would finally get to this post! 
Here you all are!

WEAR


This is not and outfit that is TOO fancy, but I really like it! I just got this type while I was in my hometown and had a little shopping adventure at the Goodwill with my sister! We found some great buys! I picked up this top while I was there and I love it! Nice and soft and just a nice dress/casual top! Plus, it was only about $3.99, I believe!


You can't see the detail too well in the other photo, but it is pleated on top. It's really cute up close!



 I also am finally showing off this new purse that I also recently purchased at a thrift store! My old one was really wearing out so it was time for an upgrade.Such a steal!


Shirt: Goodwill -  BRAND Banana Republic
Jeans - Old Navy
Purse - Buffalo Exchange - BRAND Maurices
Boots - ALDO

FARE


Ice cream for breakfast!

Yes, you read correctly! I made ice cream for breakfast and it was nutritious and yummy all at the same time and I am not ashamed of it! ;)

I put this recipe together one morning recently after a post that my friend, Mary, had made on her Facebook page. She had done a chocolate mousse version of this (it was just greek yogurt, cocoa powder and some sweetener mixed up - try it!). I tried that too one day and it was excellent! I like this little twist on the recipe. It was fun to try something new. 

What I did:

Mixed together in smoothie machine:

1/2 C Non-fat Greek Yogurt
1 teaspoon cocoa powder (unsweetened) 
A dab of Agave Syrup
A handful of ice cubes
2 frozen banana pieces from a diced and frozen banana (the pieces were about 1/4 - 1/2" thick)
A touch of Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk

Blend them all together and there you have it! I threw some raspberries on top and had some ice cream for breakfast! The breakfast of champions! Although if you want it for a treat, I'm sure you could have it at another time of the day!

Also, remember! If you don't enjoy MY ice cream, I promise that you will love, love, love DAMY Health's clean eating ice cream recipes! They have so many! Check them out!

Hope you all enjoy it as much as I did!