Monday, February 28, 2011

Have Your Produce And Eat It Too!

I'm not big on Monday's. I think a lot of people feel the same way. It's not that I absolutely hate them, but I just don't love them. However, there is one thing about Monday's that I really do enjoy...re-stocking my produce and having my fresh food all ready for the week.
There is nothing I love more than knowing I have a ton of fresh produce all ready to be devoured for the week...except maybe eating frozen yogurt...or knowing I'm going to Disneyland...OK, so it's on the list of things that I really love.

A trip to Costco and Sunflower Market did the trick today, and I came home with these goods...
Many of which items appeared on my favorites list yesterday. I only speak the truth people. 

I am a huge HUGE believer of making an effort to have fresh produce you will eat on hand at ALL times. With that being said, I also think it's important to have your frozen/canned backups on hand for when you run out of the fresh goodness before you can make it to the store again. I know many people have a hard time with produce, and I understand that for SURE. I used to be the same way. I would buy lots of great fresh things with extremely high hopes of eating like a rabbit for the next couple weeks, and then I always ended up throwing most things away. I felt like I was wasting my money...until I learned...

Here's the thing with produce...

1. Buy what you will eat. 
- If you love apples and sweet potatoes. Buy apples and sweet potatoes. If you hate spinach, don't buy it just because you know it is good for you. Not very many people can talk themselves into eating something they think is disgusting. ESPECIALLY when it's going to take some preparation, which most produce does. Also, don't buy more than you can handle quantity-wise. It will just go bad.

2. Buy what keeps. 
- Apples, oranges, baby carrots, potatoes, and squash...are all some examples of things that keep a little longer than say...lettuce, bananas, or berries. If you aren't going to be able to eat things regularly, don't buy things that don't last very long.


3. Buy as fresh as possible. 
- When you are purchasing your produce, pick the freshest fruits and veggies possible. If you can buy local, DO IT. You will be getting produce that is fresh which means it won't go bad as quickly, and it tastes better! 

4. Plan ahead/make a list.
- Instead of buying ridiculous quantities of foods that don't go together and will be wasted, make a menu plan for the week. Buy what you need so you won't be wasting money on food that won't get eaten. Knowing what you will be eating makes you more efficient and will keep you from throwing food out.

5. Remember what you buy. 
- So often produce gets put into the produce drawer, never to be heard from again. Until it starts to stink up the fridge of course. Make a list of what you have purchased and put it on your fridge as a reminder of what foods you have available to eat. 


6. Prepare what you can ASAP.
- If you buy a melon, come home and cut it and put it in a tupperware. You will be so much more likely to eat it later when you are on the go and you need something to eat quick. If you have to prep it later you may not want to take the time to do so. If you can cook up your veggies and portion them out for the week do it. Do whatever prep work you can right when you get home, so you take out the prep time later in the week.

7. Eat what you buy.
- This sounds ridiculous, but it is the most important tip. Yes, eating out tonight may sound easier, and more tasty even...but you have purchased food for dinner and you should eat that first. Hmmm...a pb&j sounds so much faster than the grilled veggie salad you had planned on, but just take the time. It is worth it. You have to make a effort to use the produce you buy, or else you will find every excuse not to.


What are your produce eating tips? Do you have a hard time eating all of the fresh goods that you buy? I used to, but now it seems I run out of all my fresh stuff far too quickly. Do you have favorite ways of eating fruits and vegetables that taste good and get those much needed servings in for the day? I am big on salads, wraps, and smorgasbord soups. You want to know what else I'm big on? The March Mix giveaway that goes up tomorrow. This may just be my favorite batch of songs yet...it's reaaal good. Get excited.

p.s. good job to nicole and sheanna for nailing the movie quote. My Best Friends Wedding is right. :)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

February's Favorite Finds

Let's face it, I love to eat. I am definitely one who has favorites that I just can't do with out. I find delicious things and want to eat them at every meal!!

Here are my favorites as of this month...

1. Santa Barbara Mango Salsa (I get this at Costco)

I could drink this. I put it on salads, in wraps, over eggs, over veggie patties, with chicken...it's basically good on EVERYTHING. It's about 20 calories for two TBS and worth every single bite.
2. La Tortilla Factory Low Carb Whole Wheat Tortillas. 

These are amazing. Just look at the stats...80 calories, 8 grams of protein, 12 GRAMS OF FIBER!!! 12! I fill them with turkey, chicken, tuna, eggs, veggie patties, all sorts of veggies, or any thing else you can think of. I even cut them into strips and broil them to eat as tortilla chips. I know some of you have said you haven't been able to find them. They do have them on Amazon, but the shipping costs twice as much as the tortillas. Kinda worth it...I get mine at Costco. One pack of 20 is like 5 bucks.

3. Swiss Miss diet hot chocolate. 

I have been loving this stuff all winter. At 25 calories a serving you can't go wrong. They come individually packaged, so you don't have to worry about measuring correctly. 

4. Starkist Chunk Light Tuna in Water individually packaged. 

I can't even believe this made the list...I've changed. I LOVE these single serving packages because it takes out the guess work if you are trying to focus on acquiring a certain amount of calories or grams of protein. One packet has 80 calories and 18 grams of protein. Not too shabby. I mix mine with some fat free miracle whip and put it in a La Tortilla Factory wrap with some spinach.
 5. Extra Dessert Delights Gum. 

I know, I've raved about these before...but it's because they are so good. I think my favorite is the mint chocolate chip. It tastes like ice cream in my mouth. SO good.
 6. Skippy Natural Peanut Butter.

Yum. That is all that needs to be said here. This stuff is T-A-S-T-Y. I love it on toast, in a pb and banana wrap, in my oatmeal, in cookies, or just straight from the finger spoon. It has less sugar that most PB and you don't get that icky oil separation that I hate.
7. Ginormous Costco Bag of pre-cut broccoli florets. 

I go through this in a week. Not kidding. It is amazing how easy it is to eat broccoli when it's already prepped for you. I steam these florets with baby carrots using my easy steam method, and then put them in salads, soups, with chicken, on rice...etc. I LOVE BROCCOLI. Thank you Costco.
8. Fat Free Sugar Free Chocolate Jell-o Pudding mix. 

"You're not Jell-o. You're never gonna be Jell-o."
I LOVE this stuff. I use it in the morning to make my chocolate peanut butter oatmeal. It is so tasty. I love the actual pudding that it makes too. It makes for a great snack, but for now it's all about flavoring the oatmeal.

All of those favorites just made my mouth water...
What are your favorite go to foods? On top of these things I'm obsessed with old fashioned rolled oats, whatever fresh produce I can get my hands on, protein shakes, and grilled chicken. Do you know where that Jell-o quote comes from? Anyone? Anyone? Bueler...?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Banana Crumb Muffins...The Remix

I love looking at food blogs/recipes/cookbooks etc. While looking at allrecipes.com today I decided I want to see what their top rated/reviewed recipe was. I thought it might be a main dish, but it was these delicious looking Banana Crumb Muffins. The recipe looked verrrry yummy. My eye quickly went to the nutrition facts, and I saw that each muffin contained 263 calories and 8 grams of fat. I knew I could do better than that...and I did.

MY Health-i-fied Banana Crumb Muffins

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 bananas, mashed
1/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 egg whites
1/2 cup fat free vanilla yogurt
1 vanilla pudding mix (fat free sugar free)

Streusel Topping: 
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon wheat flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Directions:  
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  
In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugars, egg whites, and yogurt. Once mixed add pudding mix. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into muffin tins sprayed with non-stick spray or lined with liners.
 In another small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, and cinnamon. Sprinkle topping over muffins. 
Bake for 16-18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean. 

They turned out SO GOOD. If I do say so myself. 
The Stats...
The smell of baking banana bread-ish foods always makes the kitchen smell so good. Today I was reminded of the days growing up that I would come walking into the kitchen from a long day at school, or a busy night of dance practice and my mom had something tasty cooking in the kitchen. 

My mom is an excellent cook, and she always let me bake along side her growing up. Her patience and willingness to teach me instilled in me the love that I have for cooking today. Despite our conflicting busy schedules, my mom always made an effort to have home cooked dinners around the table for my family, and I am so appreciative of that. 


Dinner time to so many today has been nixed for convenience. Home cooked meals have been replaced by a trip through the drive through, and the dinner table by laps and car seats in the car. With these replacements we've lost nutrients, proper portions, and most importantly quality family time. Of course there are times that life is just busy, and all feeding the family in any form possible is work enough, but imagine the difference we'd see in the health of Americans today if more people would take the time to cook a healthy meal at home instead of devouring deep fried potatoes and sugary sodas at every meal. 

I now realize the time and effort it takes to prepare healthy meals, as well as the importance of doing so. Good health comes to those who make it a priority in their lives. 


Did you come from a family that ate together? Were your meals healthy? I didn't realize until now home much my parents health habits have been instilled in me. Do you take the time to cook healthy meals for you or your family? It really is a lot of effort, but it is something that is so worth taking the time for.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Kick In The Attitude Pants...Attitude Really Is Everything.

Truth:
My alarm went off this morning at 5:00 AM and I got out of bed on the wrong side.
It felt early.
I was tired.
I CLEARLY wasn't remembering why I do what I do.

I was actually quite annoyed with myself for feeling this way. Luckily, as I got ready threw on some makeup and my workout clothes, I had a bit of an awakening. I knew If I kept up the bad attitude I woke up with, my day was going to be long and painful. I decided I was going to HAVE to point out the good to myself and work to make it a positive day...like it or not.  

Breakfast: Chocolate PB Oatmeal. I look forward to this warm delicious breakfast.
Positives: Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day.
This healthy oatmeal combo is my fave right now.
Today I had time to make it and eat it on my way to work.
I am so lucky to have warm clothes, a car with heat, breakfast to eat, and a job.

Truth:
I was tired when I got to work.
Because I am a trainer, my job doesn't really allow for me to be in a bad mood. I know I need to be on top of my positive game. My clients come to get a good work out, to be supported, and to be motivated.

I took a second to remind myself why I do what I do.
Positives: I LOVE helping people. I LOVE that I get to help people change and do things that they never believed they could do. I get to talk about health and exercise (and The Bachelor...family life...great eats...the news...funny happenings...hard days...and everything else) all day long. My clients are some of my best friends. I made it a point to make sure each of them knew that I appreciated them, supported them, and loved them.

Truth:
I had a client cancel which gave me a second to sit down.
I knew I needed to work out, but sitting down for a second reminded me that I was so tired.

Time for that attitude adjustment again.
I decided to just do what I could, and utilize this time I'd been given to get a good workout in.
Positives: I ended up getting a solid 60 min interval workout in.
I felt energized when I was done.
I was reminded of how lucky I am to have a healthy body that can do amazing things. 
I got to watch The Today Show. (I have this weird love for The Today Show, and I get really excited when I get to watch it.)
I got to take an hour nap this afternoon when I would have been working out. It felt AMAZING.

Another Positive: I had an awesome lunch today...
Pesto
Baby Spinach
Thinly Shaved Smoked Turkey
A Drizzle of Fat Free Ranch
&
Steamed broccoli and carrots over baby spinach
I ate my steamed veggies topped with some mango salsa.
6 servings of vegetables and about 30 grams of protein. Filling and TASTY.
I felt good about it. 

I've decided that some days we feel on top of the world, without even trying. Other days we have to really make an effort to be positive and make the best of what we have in our lives. I really am so blessed to have all that I do. 
So, when working out is the last thing you feel like doing... Remind yourself of how good you will feel after. Remind yourself how lucky you are to have an amazing body that is so capable. Remind yourself of all of the benefits you'll receive from working out. You will almost ALWAYS feel better. 

When the healthy meal option looks less than appetizing... Remind yourself how great it will make you feel. Remember what eating healthy does for you. Remember how gross you can feel when you don't eat nutritiously. 

And don't forget that sometimes you just don't have it in you, and that is OK too. We don't have to be perfect all the time. Simply, doing your best for you...for THAT day...for THAT workout...is something to be proud of. Something to be REALLY proud of in fact. 
Look at the positives in your life. 

and if you need something to make you smile...watch this...
If that doesn't make you smile...I don't know what will. :)

How do you stay positive? Do you have any mantra's or mental reminders that get you in a better place? Do you know the double dream hands dance? I think I've got it down. My favorite parts being the "freestyle" and the final look at the end...this video sincerely makes me laugh my head off. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Black Bean Brownies

Sounds sketchy huh? As I mentioned yesterday, I really wanted to try out using beans as a substitute for fat in a recipe, so I searched online for different concoctions and this is what I came up with...

It should be noted that having never done this before I didn't really have a base to go from as far as what was going to taste great, and I ended up combing several different recipes.
Black Bean Brownies
Recipe Makes 15 Brownies


Ingredients
15 ounces black beans, cooked, drained, and rinsed
2 bananas
1/3 cup honey (or agave)
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp raw sugar
1 tbsp brown sugar
¼ cup instant oats
1/8 cup chocolate chips (I did a combo of chocolate chips and butterscotch chips)
*These are almost vegan and with a few alterations could be made to be that way.


Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 
Rinse your cooked/canned black beans.
 Combine beans and honey in food processor or blender.
 Puree black beans and honey together until they make a paste.The honey helps add a little moisture while you're pureeing them.
 Combine the rest of your ingredients into a bowl and add the pureed bean mix. If you are using old fashioned rolled oats you may want to run them through the food processor as well to refine them.
 Mix ingredients together well and spread the ingredients in a pan coated with cooking spray.
I decided after I spread them out to top them with a few butterscotch and chocolate chips for good measure.
Bake at 350 for 30 mins or until a toothpick comes out clean.
 Allow to cool before cutting and serving.
 Nutrition facts:
Pretty amazing as far as fiber and protein content! Thank you black beans.

Here are my thoughts...
Upon tasting the batter I felt like it wasn't sweet enough so I added 1 Tbsp of both, brown sugar and raw sugar. It was so weird for me to taste the batter because I'm not used to trying the sweets that I bake. I kinda liked it...Who wants the beater? I DO!!
I feel like next time I would use xylitol or stevia to sweeten it up a little and leave out the sugars.
I really liked the fudgey texture. 
I love how moist the beans make them, and you really can't even tell they are in there. (I even had my friends guess the ingredients...they couldn't.)
I tried a piece of one right when they came out of the oven and I wasn't loving them. I felt like they lacked sweetness, and were kinda bland. However, I tried another piece tonight after they had been sitting for a few hours, and I liked them about 100 times better. I think allowing them to sit gave the cinnamon a chance to come through, flavor-wise.
I love how much fiber and protein they have in them. 
I want to try them out on my niece and nephews tomorrow to see if they fly as kid friendly. I know my palate is a little different than most because I don't eat a lot of sugar, but I liked them. I do feel like they could still use some tweaking, and I kept thinking about how much I'd like them slathered in PB or crumbled in my chocolate PB oatmeal. (I am going to turn into a giant peanut if I am not careful.)

I'm excited to try some other recipes I found using white beans, so I'll keep you posted on the progress.

Do you taste while you cook? I used to L-O-V-E making cookies because half of it would end up in my belly before they even were baked. Sometimes I think I like the cookie dough better than the actual baked cookies. Since decreasing my sugar habit that was one of the hardest routines I had to break. This is definitely one of those **watch for hidden calories creeping into your diet** areas. Don't you worry...I still will test out my low-fat zuchinni cookies and my honey banana oatmeal cookies. I just don't eat the whole bowl of dough. On a total unrelated note...but equally important...Do you Tweet? Are you a twitter-er? If you are we should be tweeting friends. I know some of us have already found each other and I LOVE it! You can follow me by clicking the link at the top left of this web page, or leave me your twitter name and I'll find you!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

You've BEAN good to me.

Well, it's been settled. With your support, (and willingness to participate in night games, dance parties, and endless bowls of frozen yogurt), I will be a shoe in for president in 2012. Luckily, many of you volunteered to fill my cabinet positions, so it's pretty clear that this country will be run by geniuses. I'll call Beiber and get him lined up for our election celebration party.

I just got done stuffing my face with a ginormous salad while watching, The Biggest Loser. I would have/should have taken a photo of it in all of it's glory...I'm pretty sure there was a solid 5 servings of veggies and one serving of fruit. However, I was ravenously hungry and let's be honest, sometimes most of the time hunger comes first.

I learned the COOLEST healthy trick today from one of my clients. I wanted to come home and cook up a storm just to try it, but there was no time today...hopefully tomorrow.

Let me just say first and foremost, that I LOVE BEANS. I may struggle with protein, but I could eat beans all day. White beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, soy beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, sports beans...you get it. They are just SO dang good for you. They are a great source of protein and fiber, and they are a high quality food. They are also easy to keep on hand, and throw into almost any recipe to up the nutritional value and keep you full!

I've done a lot of things with beans in my day...dips, sides, sauces, salads, soups...etc. But today I learned a new use! Pureed beans can be substituted into recipes in place of fat, (Butter, oil, shortening) Amazing, huh?
White beans work best due to their lack of color and their mute flavor. However, if you are using a recipe that is darker in nature such as brownies or chocolate cake, black beans could work just as well.

1. First cook your beans, or simple rinse your pre-cooked canned beans.
2. Next you put them in the food processor or blender and puree them.
3. Substitute the pureed beans straight across (cup for cup) into whichever recipe you're using.
4. Lastly, enjoy your BOMB creation that now has an increased amount of fiber and protein and a decreased amount of fat.

I am planning on whipping up something delicious and bean-i-fied tomorrow! I'll share it as soon as I do. :)


Do you like beans? I most certainly do. I think they are tasty in just about everything. What is your favorite way to eat them? Any great recipes you want to share? I'm always down for new recipes. Have you ever used this method of swapping out the butter for beans? I have heard of people making black bean brownies, but I wasn't aware this was what they were doing. I can't wait to try it!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

If I were a president I would...

1. Work out daily in the White House Gym. I don't know if they even have one, but they've got to right?
2. Have a chef who prepared me BOMB meals with all of the perfect amount of calories and macro-nutrients at all the perfect times.
3. Take the White House helicopter to a warm beach somewhere and soak up some needed Vitamin D.
4. Go shopping with my personal stylist. If you are president you have to look awesome...duh.
5. Throw a huge dance party with the Black Eyed Peas, Gwen Stefani, Ke$ha, Usher, Beiber, Lil' Wayne, Justin Timberlake, Taio Cruz, and Pink...And STEPHANIE of course. ;) 
6. Enjoy fat free frozen yogurt whenever I wanted from the FroYo machine I had installed in the kitchen.
7. Play a game of sardines in the White House where everyone is dressed in black, lights are out, and the winner gets ten million dollars. 
8. Oh yeah...and make sure that everyone was happy with health care, equality issues, education, job security, and world peace.

What do you think? Will I be up for election in 2012? You'd vote for me, right? ;)
Until then I'll just keep up the good work training my clients and baking up a storm.

Step It Up Presidents! 
(My Presidents Day Work Out)

Because presidents are required to really step it up when they are elected into office, I give you my presidents day step up work out.
Exercise #1: Step ups with an upright row. Do six step ups on the right leg holding dumbbells. At the top of your step up do an upright row. Follow with six step ups with out the row. Repeat this same sequence on the left side.


alternate with:
Exercise #2: Plank Hold (put a 10 or 25 lb plate on your back if the regular hold is too easy.) Hold this for as long as you can. Start with 30 seconds, build up from there!

alternate with:
Exercise #2: Squats with a press. Hold two dumbbells, a plate, med-ball, or a bar at shoulder level. Squat down keeping your form correct, (hips back, knees in-line with ankles, keeping that upper body up.) As you return to standing squeeze your glutes and keep your abs tight pressing your dumbbells towards the ceiling. Make sure you aren't leaning back. Slowly lower them down, and return back to a squat starting again. Do 12-15.
*repeat this two or three times through.

Exercise #4: Step ups with a bicep curl. Follow the same pattern as you did with the step ups and a row, but do a curl instead of a row. Repeat on both sides.

alternate with:
Exercise #5: Row In a Lunge. Do 12 of these on each side.
*repeat this two or three times through.

Finish with...
Exercise #6: Step Up Push Ups. mmmm...I love these. Try for 10 on each side. Go for more if you're feeling it.

alternate with:
Exercise #7: Elevated Push ups. Your arms should be toasted at this point.

You can add weight or increase the height of the step to any of these exercises to increase the difficulty. Don't be afraid to step up that work out. Your legs will thank you. :) Step ups work your glutes, quads, hamstrings, your calves, and your core. BOMB. Add an arm exercise in there and you've got a full body workout.


What would YOU do if you were president? I just might have to do some of my presidential wishes anyways...like the frozen yogurt machine in my kitchen? How do you feel about step ups? If you aren't a fan try to mix them up with other exercises to make them a little more exciting. I love them because they work! Nothing like a good leg burn.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sinfully Sore Sunday.

I absolutely LOVE to bake. I love that feeling of creating something tasty that other people can enjoy. To me it is so fun to try new recipes and attempt different ideas. For the most part I cook very healthy, but I do enjoy baking treats and giving them away. Although I don't eat the sugary sweets I bake, I do fully believe in moderation. I think that there is room in your diet for all foods, and when you are focusing on eating good things most of the time you have room for some treats every now and again!
My friend needed some cookies for a church lesson, so I jumped at the chance to try out a recipe I'd seen on Picky Palate for brownie stuffed chocolate chip cookies. Sounds divine right?
First make up your favorite box brownie mix. You can make them from scratch if you'd like, but a delish box brownie mix will do the trick just fine, and is a heck of a lot quicker.
While the brownies are baking mix up the cookie dough. 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Ingredients: 
2 sticks softened butter
1 Cup granulated sugar
3/4 Cup packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla
3 1/2 Cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 Cups semi sweet chocolate chips

  
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Prepare brownie according to package directions. Let cool completely. Cut your brownies into squares. You can make them whatever size you like depending on how many cookies you want to make. I made mine about one inch squares. In a stand or electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla, continue to beat until well combined. Place flour, salt and baking soda into a bowl; mix to combine then add slowly to wet ingredients along with the chocolate chips. Place a scoopful of cookie dough on top of a brownie square and another scoop on the bottom.  Gently press and enclose brownie with dough adding pinches more dough to cover sides if needed.  Place filled cookies onto a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet.
Bake for 14-16 minutes or until edges are golden brown.  Remove and let cool for 15 minutes before removing from baking sheet.
 
They smelled divine, and everyone seemed to love them! How could you not? A Combo of brownies and chocolate chip cookies?? As I was baking these I was thinking how yummy it would be to serve them warm with a scoop of ice cream. 
MONEY.
 We also made some mock Pizza Factory Bread sticks. The Pizza Factory is the restaurant I talk about all the time that has my all time favorite salad bar. We were looking for a good bread stick recipe, and I remembered a recipe I'd seen on Jody's blog Great Blog Food Made Better. (Little did every know we were using a health-i-fied recipe...muah hahahaha.)
We made two variations, cinnamon sugar and garlic. I sprayed mine with spray butter and sprinkled a little pizza seasoning on it. They turned out really good! Thanks for the recipe Jody! 

I don't get very sore anymore, so I love waking up to sore muscles. I know that sounds crazy, but I like feeling like I did something, like something is changing! After yesterdays two plus hours of lifting and doing intervals I was feeling it today. 
One of the sequences I did yesterday is this KILLER LEG COMBO. After doing ONE set you will have done 165 lunges and squats. Do it twice through, or three times and you'll be looking like Jessica Simpson in the Dukes of Hazard. Not to mention you'll be using your core the whole time, and feeling it in your shoulders and upper back from holding your weight in front of you.
Again. 
MONEY. 

What is your favorite baked good? I am a fan of warm cookies, brownies, and cinnamon rolls...or pretty much anything with cinnamon! HOWEVER, I would rather have some fat free frozen yogurt than baked goods any day. Do you like to bake for other people? I love it. I would rather make something and give it all away than eat it. I know. Weird. 
Thanks for letting me indulge a little. We'll be back to healthy and low-fat tomorrow ;)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Today I love...

1. Saturdays, first and foremost.
I woke up at 5:30 AM to workout before I went and taught boot camp and trained for the day. I ate my oatmeal and then remembered that my Saturday schedule was wide open and I could work out after boot camp, so I got back into my still warm bed...which I quickly decided is one of the BEST feelings in the world. Sleep does a body good.

2. Resistance Training & Friends. I know some of you are cardio fanatics, but I LOVE resistance training the most. After I taught Boot Camp I went to the gym by my house to burn a few more calories. I saw all of my favorite people there!! Benita and Janae I love you both.
Side note: I have to say THANKS again to Janae for the greatest lunch ever yesterday. We had massive salads and we sat and talked about how crazy we are for a couple of hours. I'm certain we could have stayed there all day.
 (Dear Janae...don't be mad I totally stole this pic from you blog. Also, don't be mad that I kinda look like I just woke up in the photo. Love you...Megs)
I also got to go with my amazing sister and her kids to enjoy some warm veggie soup at Jason's Deli last night for dinner. She is the greatest and I could hang out with her and her little munchkins ALL. DAY. LONG.
Seeing friends put me in the best mood and made me re-invigorated to burn some calories. I initially was going to go do some cardio, but I ended up doing some circuit work and lifting for another hour with Benita, and it was so much fun. We came home and played Dance Central with the Kinect and then went back to Pizza Factory for Salads AGAIN. Are you embarrassed for me? Don't be. It happens all the time. Am I a creature of habit? Yes. I told you...I really like salad bars.  It's so much more fun burning calories and eating healthy food when you are doing it with people you love.

3. My bed. Sometimes getting in bed with some sugar free hot chocolate and my computer makes me really really happy.
Oh and how blessed are long weekends? My work will be closed on Monday, so I get a three day weekend. I hope yours will be too...I feel good about that. Let's be honest, rest can be much needed and much appreciated.

3. Good Health. Today I watched the show, "Heavy," for the first time. Wow.
The people on the show were saying things like...

"I just want to be able to bend over and tie my shoes."
"I would like six jr. bacon cheese burgers, and 4 orders of chicken strips." (for one person)
"I feel like I have lost 40 years of my life..."

It is amazing how unhealthy America REALLY is. Sad, and also a great reminder to me that I want to active and healthy ALWAYS.

4. Peanut butter. Oh wait...that was a couple days ago...nope, that is actually EVERY DAY. :) I still have some of those healthy peanut butter cookies left over and I'm not mad about it.  I told you peanut butter is like the glue that holds this world together. But let's be honest, I just love food in general. 

5. Blogs. I am loving reading your inspirational posts, healthy delicious recipes, and awesome encouraging words of motivation. Please keep them coming. We can learn so much from each other.

What are you loving this weekend? I feel like my list is pretty descriptive of my day, and I feel reaaally good about it! I'll finish out the evening with a good meal and some fun plans with friends. Do you ever get back in your bed in the morning? I always have to be up and out the door so early I don't get the chance, so I definitely took it when I had it.  What are some of your favorite blogs to read? There are so many out there that I'm SURE I'm missing some of them! Fill me in peeps, and have an AWESOMELY relaxing weekend.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I'm convinced...Peanut Butter really is the essence of life.

It seems like I eat a little peanut butter every day. I am in love with it. You can imagine my excitement when Brittany from Sunland Inc. sent me three kinds of Sunland Natural Peanut Butter to try. H-E-A-V-E-N. The three varieties she sent were...
...Almond & Peanut mixed nut butter, banana peanut butter, and valencia peanut butter. You better believe that upon arrival I cracked them open to dip in my finger and make sure they were tasty. The good news is they are not just tasty; they are divine. My favorite is the banana peanut butter. I made it a point to put it with my chocolate peanut butter oatmeal the morning after I got it, which was a great move. It was really REALLY good!
They also have other crazy flavors like dark chocolate, caramel peanut butter, and cherry vanilla peanut butter. Imagine the possibilities...I wanted to make a healthy recipe sample for my boot campers tonight, and I wanted to use my new peanut butter, so I came up with a delicious peanut butter cookie recipe. I used the plain peanut butter, and it was extremely tasty. It was a great mix of smooth PB with a few crunchy peanuts here and there. The cookies turned out REALLY good, and are only 50 calories each. BOOM! Such a great little snack to have on hand, and totally low fat.

Low-fat Peanut Butter Cookies
Ingredients:
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup sugar free maple syrup (you can use honey or splenda as well)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 ripe banana mashed
2 egg whites
1/2 cup natural peanut butter (I used the Sunland Natural Valencia Peanut Butter and it worked great)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup oatmeal
Directions: Combine all ingredients together
Bake at 325 for 8-‐10 minutes.
Recipe makes 36 cookies.
The nutrition facts for these cookies are:

Not bad, huh? Thanks again to Brittany for the finger-licking-good peanut butter! These peanut butters are all natural and made from Valencia peanuts. I would totally recommend them...especially the banana PB!!

What is your favorite way to eat Peanut Butter?? I LOVE PB & banana/apple, PB& honey sandwiches, PB & jelly, any form of peanut butter confection, ohhhh and PB and chocolate combos? Unreal. I used to be afraid of peanut butter until I realized how healthy it is for you. Do you have any amazingly delicious Peanut Butter Recipes for me??

P.S. I know some of you were having a hard time watching the Step Up Push Up Video from yesterday's exercise of the week. It should be fixed now if it wasn't working for you!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Exercise of the Week: Step Up Pushups...this just got real.

Sitting in the dentist chair for three hours is a real calorie burner. That is how I've spent my afternoon. I got a nice little surprise when I went for my routine cleaning, and the hygienist said..."now we're going to take care of that crown today too, right?" I went in to instant internal panic...you see the my dentist, (who is awesome), told me like a year or so ago that I was eventually going to need a crown on one of my teeth, but I didn't realize he pulled the sneak attack and went ahead and scheduled it for me. YIKES. I'm pretty sure I got a really good core workout in while I was there though. I keep my my whole body tight out of fear. For whatever reason my mouth doesn't take too well to the numbing shots they give me for dental work. It never has. They always have to give me another shot later on because I am still feeling the drilling and such. Fun huh? Well 4 shots later...yes, it took FOUR, my mouth is now probably numb enough to last me until I have to go back to get the actual crown put on. (Today was just the temporary.) After sitting feeling like my mouth was in an automotive shop and my lips were like unto a pregnant womans belly, I am done. And no, I am not dramatic at all. 

ANYWAYS...I am IN LOVE with these step up push ups as of late. They work your chest, your legs, and your core. They are challenging, and fun too! I planned on posting them as my exercise of the week, but to try and describe them in words would probably be super confusing...so...you got your wish. A video.

  video
Don't worry...the second the sun comes out in Provo I've got my shorts on. I don't care if my legs look like they've been marinating in bleach. I am going to get the warm weather here as fast as I can, and I feel like dressing as if it was here is a good way to do that. 

These step up to push ups are hard on their own, but if you're looking to get crazy try doing them holding 10 to 15 pound dumbbells. Step up holding the dumbbells, step back set them on the ground and push up on top of them. Try to do 3 sets of 10-15 on each leg. I did them this morning as part of my workout and they were killer! 

Do you hate the dentist as much as I do?? I should rephrase that? GOING to the dentist...like I said my dentist rocks...it's just what he does that I'm not a fan of. Was the video helpful?? I hope so :) Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Our Sunday Dinner Table

Aren't Sunday dinners the best? At my house they are. When I am home with the fam of course. Sometimes these days I feel really good about whipping up a bowl of cereal or a protein shake and calling it perfect. My mom would have no such thing, in fact, she calls and asks what I have for dinner every Sunday and always feels bad when it isn't something awesome.

This past Sunday at home didn't disappoint. This healthy chicken dish is one of our favorites. The menu consisted of

Grilled Honey Dijon Chicken
Directions:
Mix together equal portions of fat free mayo and dijon mustard
( I am not a mayo person...just trust me on this.)
We used about 1/3 cup of each.
Add about 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
Add a couple TBS of fresh rosemary.
Mix ingredients together in a bowl and place in a ziplock bag
Trim and tenderize 4-6 chicken breasts.
Add chicken breasts to bag and put in the fridge for a few hours.
Remove and throw on the grill.


Oven Roasted Veggies
Cover a baking sheet with tinfoil and spray with cooking spray. Add whatever veggies you will be roasting. We usually have broccoli, cauliflower, parsnips, turnips, carrots, red onions, asparagus, green bell peppers, red bell peppers, yellow bell peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, and sweet potatoes.
Drizzle the veggies with olive oil
Sprinkle with garlic salt
sprinkle with about 3 TBS of brown sugar.
Roast in the oven on 400 until done. This is probably one of my favorite ways to eat veggies!

Fresh Fruit and Yogurt Dip
Cut up whatever fresh fruit you desire
Use one of THESE fruit dip recipes.

This is probably one of my favorite meals. It is healthy, filling, and really really tasty! Although I miss the beautiful AZ sunshine already it feels good to be back in the routine of things again. I have missed my clients, and I thoroughly enjoyed my morning sweat session! I'm making some White Bean Chicken Chili for dinner right now, and I realized I am the BIGGEST meat wuss. (read: chicken wuss...I only eat chicken.) I full on screamed, dropped the chicken, and ran away from it when I saw a vein. I swear the vein was three miles long. AWFUL! I seriously hate dealing with meat!!

Do you enjoy Sunday dinners? If so, what is your favorite Sunday dinner meal? I love Sunday dinners. It has always been the time that my family sits around the table and talks forever, even after the food is gone. Are you a freak about meat like I am?? It's gross. Bottom line.

Monday, February 14, 2011

L.O.V.E

You warm my heart. I just got home and read your sweet comments. Thank you :) You guys are so encouraging and positive and I hope you had an incredible Valentines Day! I can't wait to get back into the swing of things tomorrow! xoxoxo

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Learning. Still Learning.

Ugh. I do this thing. This thing I hate...and I am going to tell you about it because as I have mentioned before, this blog is focused on how to incorporate a healthy lifestyle into everyday life. I think that part of being healthy is figuring how to get over our "downs," so we can continue to have more "ups."

I started writing because I wanted to share with the people I love, and the fabulous people I've met along the way the ways I have found to make living health, possible. I want to share with you all of the fantastic tips I come across, the greatest healthy recipes, awesome workouts, and at the same time I want you to learn from my mistakes, hoping that maybe you can save yourself some grief.

So...remember the competition at work? Well, I thought that it ended last Monday. I had it in my head that I was going to be P-E-R-F-E-C-T until then. For the most part, I was. I did a pretty dang good job of sticking to my regimen if I do say so myself. I weighed in on this past Monday feeling really REALLY positive. I felt accomplished, and although I knew another coworker was also, SMOKIN' it,  I was really proud of myself for what I'd been able to do.
I stepped on the scale to find that my total weight lost over our 6 week competition was a little over ten pounds. That is HUGE for me. Generally speaking I've found that my metabolism doesn't really agree with me. I workout a ton, and I eat really healthy, and I usually stay pretty much the same. So, as you can imagine, I was very happy to see some results. I thought I'd probably finish in 2nd or 3rd, and I was ok with that. (Remember, the peeps I work with are hard core athletes.)Although winning the money would have been AWESOME. Ten pounds is my own victory. It also showed me that although I still had some goals I wanted to accomplish body composition-wise, I felt empowered, like I could do it.

Well, I found out a little later in the day that I was wrong. The competition went for one more week. This may not seem like a huge deal. However, I knew I was going to be leaving to come to Arizona on Thursday.  I was going to be out of my element, and out of my routine, and I planned on giving myself the weekend to just enjoy my family and NOT stress about that for once in six weeks, not record my every calorie, and not worry about eating out. 

I am very lucky. My family is really healthy. Coming home doesn't mean cupboards full of crappy food, stressing about when I could possibly get a workout in, and battling unhealthy habits. My mom is an awesomely healthy cook, I always work out most days when I'm home, and my families topics of conversation revolves a lot around good health as weird as that may be. Coming home shouldn't have sent me panicking about this new added week of competition.

But...I am who I am.

I have had it in the back of my mind the whole time. I promised myself I wasn't going to record my calories, I would allow myself a few indulgences, and just remember how hard I've worked these past few weeks.
From an outsiders perspective: One would say not bad. Although I didn't get to work out on Thursday when I traveled. I got in an awesome workout on both Friday and Saturday. My family ate at Pita Jungle (pita), Paradise Bakery (salad), and Sweet Tomatoes (salad). All healthy choices. We've had some fat free frozen yogurt, I've eaten 2 peanut butter protein balls, and in honor of my Valentines Free Day I had some Valentines Candy...but probably less than most people eat in normal amounts of candy and treats in a day. I think a lot of people would consider this a great success. I however (as far as my diet/workout regimen goes) feel like I've totally failed this weekend.

From My perspective: I missed Thursday's workout. I didn't record my calories. I feel like my diet has been awful because it hasn't been as perfect as this past few weeks, but like I mentioned before it's me being extremely hard on myself. I have mentioned before that I am an all or nothing person, so I feel like because I haven't been perfect I have failed completely. I think this last weigh in for our competition is part of the reason I feel this way. Instead of going home and getting back into my routine and feeling glad to be back at it. I fear that I'll go back to weigh in and feel like I've failed because I didn't lose again. The reality of it is I have eaten healthy foods. I have exercised, and I am being extra hard on myself.

I know this is an unhealthy mindset, and that is why I wanted to write about it. Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we play into the the feelings of self defeat that loom in the back of our minds instead of recognizing the positives that we should be happy about. I make it a point to always ask my clients what POSITIVE strides they have made in the past week, and build on them instead of always focusing on what they didn't do. Yet, I can't seem to do the same for myself. That seems wrong. I think there is a happy medium here. We need to recognize when we can improve, but also recognize when we need to be proud of ourselves.

I am striving to find that place where I can allow myself to let go a little bit and not be so hard on myself, because I hate when I do this. I have OF COURSE loved being home. We've had so so so much fun, but I don't want these negative feelings I have in the back of my head to stop me from fully enjoying my family ever again. My new goal for myself for this year is to figure out how to allow myself a little wiggle room without feeling so bad about it. I want to do this so I can help others do the same.

Like I said. I am who I am, and I'm learning. Still learning.

So, am I completely crazy? (Rhetorical question.) Do you ever feel self defeat? If so, how do you rise above it? Are you as hard on yourself as I am?? Sheesh...I hope not!

Happy B-day to JANAE!! One of my favorite people in this world.  I love you to pieces girlie, and i can't wait for our Pizza Factory date!! xoxoxo

Saturday, February 12, 2011

82 degrees please.

I promise I'm not trying to gloat. I just absolutely can't believe how beautiful it is here. I am smiling ear to ear because it's just so astoundingly beautiful.

I went for an 8 mile run this morning, and the weather was incredible. I am so used to gray skies and layers of clothing that I had to get out there. These gives me hope that spring may actually come to Utah. Maybe?
I enjoyed a protein shake for lunch when I got back from my run. 
- 1 cup of ice
- 3/4 cup skim milk
- 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder (I like Biochem)
- 1/2 cup blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries
- 1/2 small banana
- 1 big dash of cinnamon (this is the money maker)
Blend it all up. So very good. It rings in at about 250 calories and 25 grams of protein. 

One of my favorite things to do when I come home, one of the 50, is to bake in my mom's kitchen. She has awesome appliances, every ingredient you need, and all the good utensils. AND we cook well together. She always lets me help her, and is up for my healthy substitutions. It's awesome. My mom had tried a recipe earlier in the week for these yummy protein balls which she liked, but thought could use some tweaking. We decided to make some adjustments, and try them again. They turned out REALLY delicious, and I think they are a great treat for your kiddies.

No Bake Peanut Butter Protein Balls
Ingredients: 
2 cups of oatmeal
2 cups of brown puffed rice cereal (these are brown rice, rice krispies)
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1 cup protein powder
15 oz natural peanut butter
1/2 cup honey or agave
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions: First grind the oatmeal in a blender or food processor so it turns into an oatmeal flour, but leave a little bit of texture.
In a microwave save bowl combine the PB and the honey and nuke it for 20 seconds. Add the rest of the ingredients to the PB/Honey mixture and stir until well combined. It should look a lil' something like this...

Form small balls out of the mixture and voila. You are done. 
Place balls in a covered container that can be refrigerated. They don't have to be refrigerated, but they will keep better/longer that way. This recipe makes 56 balls.

The Stats: (for one ball) 96 calories, 5 grams of fat (1 of those saturated), 8.5 grams of carbs, 2 grams of fiber, 3.7 grams of sugar and 4 grams of protein.

My mom and I finished our day with some shopping, and MAN it makes me tired sometimes. It was a good tired though. I love the feeling that you've been moving and walking around all day. I am a big fan of accidental exercise like that. What is your best form of accidental exercise? I am sure lots of you chase kids all day, and THAT has got to be a workout in and of itself. Do you like cooking with your mom or anybody else? or are you a "too many cooks in the kitchen" type person.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Sunshine On My Shoulders Makes Me Happy.

It was 70 degrees today here in AZ; A beautiful and warm 70 degrees. It amazes me how my body really does crave the sunshine and warmth. I think there is a lot to be said for the Vitamin D that comes through sunlight having a positive effect on our bodies.

What does Vitamin D Do?
- helps metabolize calcium and phosphorus which help with healthy bone maintenance
- it can help build and strengthen your immune system so you fight off disease and infection
- studies have shown exposure to Vitamin D can be linked to maintaining a healthy weight
- it can reduce the effects of asthma
- it can enhance your mood (I FULLY believe this)

Those with a deficiency of Vitamin D can suffer from weakening of the bones leading to rickets, osteoporosis, and osteomalacia. It has also been shown that those who have low levels of Vitamin D can also be more likely to suffer from heart disease, cancer, and other forms of disease and infection.
Although many foods are fortified with Vitamin D these days I think there is nothing like some good old fashioned sunshine to get your daily dosage in. Studies show that even just ten minutes in the sun can give you the benefits Vitamin D has to offer.

Today I was able to enjoy all my favorite forms of therapy.

Sleep Therapy: I got 8 hours of sleep last night? What? I don't even know when the last time that happened. It felt DIVINE. Better than divine. 

Sunlight Therapy: We were in and out all day. I could have stayed out. 

Exercise Therapy: I love when I get to go to the gym with my mom and my sister. We got in a good sweat fest this morning. I got in 60 minutes of intervals on the stairs and 20 more on the treadmill. It felt SO good after yesterday's exercise-less day.

Pedicure Therapy: No description needed.
Food Therapy: Nichole, my mom and I went to one of my FAVORITE restaurants here in AZ, Pita Jungle.  It is a SUPER healthy place that I swear I could eat at every day. Probably a good thing it's not in UT, or I might spend alllll my monies there. Oh...and they have the nutrition facts online. You know that makes my ears perk right up.

 We had...


 Yum, Right? If you're ever in AZ, and I hope you are. Make it a point to go there. We sat and talked for like two hours. I loved every second of it. We can call that talking therapy. :)
Frozen Yogurt Therapy: We went to our favorite local FroYo place, Swirl It, and my taste buds were delighted. I had a sampler of cake batter, coconut, and pistachio. Fat free goodness.
Tonight we're going to get in some Movie Therapy, and we have plans for some Retail Therapy. I feel really good about it.


What is your favorite form of therapy? I think my list is pretty long...