Monday, December 31, 2012

Bittersweet Chocolate Souffle (gluten Free)

The week between Christmas and New Years is so bittersweet. Reflecting on the triumphs and tragedies of 2012 all the while trying to nail down my hopes and thoughts for 2013. I still have yet to write a complete and clear goal list for 2013, but it is coming along. 

2012 was an exciting year for me. In June I let go of my reservations and fears of starting this blog and I jumped feet first into writing the Lean Gourmet Kitchen (LGK.) For six months I've been reading, writing, recording, photo snapping, editing, and chronically my food and fitness journey. I thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts and comments with me. Your words and questions are fuel to my fire. I love to be helpful and share my health journey with you. I pray that I have inspired and challenged you these past six months.

Here is to you dear one wishing you a happy, healthy, and extraordinary 2013!

Stay strong & carry on,


Today's recipe is a light treat that won't derail you on your healthy journey this year.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Nana's Potica (Gluten Free Nut Bread)

This year was the first Christmas without my Nana. She passed this last June after a 15 year battle with Alzheimer's Disease. It slowly took her away from us. Today's recipe is inspired by my Nana's traditional Christmas potica. Nana would bring a loaf of potica ,a nut bread, to my parent's home for Christmas Eve. Potica (poh-tee-sah), derived from the Slovenian word poviti, which means "to wrap in,"is a yeasted dough that is rolled very thin filled with sugar, cinnamon, and ground walnuts.  The dough is rolled up like a jelly roll and baked.  I would eat slices of this heavenly treat slathered with a pat of fresh butter every Christmas; oh heaven! 

Nana & my sister Meredith Christmas morning 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Workout Clothes then, now & PV Body

I don't believe I have ever fully expressed my obsession love for cute fashionable gym clothes. I used to go to the gym looking like this wearing a frumpy shirt and baggy shorts. 
I didn't workout as much then as I do now. This picture was from summer 2006 right before Rich & I were engaged and I started pharmacy school. Do not ask me what the thumbs up was for certainly not my taste in attire.

 This is what I rock my workouts in now; cute and sport workout clothes.
 My favorite brand is Lululemon, but I also have workout clothes from Target, TJ Maxx and various other places. I even created a Pinterest board for my love of gym attire. This picture is me showing off my first order from PV Body.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Morning & German Apple Pancake (gluten free)

I have been off the grid all week. It has been a whirl wind around here since our trip to Pennsylvania to visit my family over Thanksgiving through Christmas. I am impressed I blogged at all, kept up with my workouts, and didn't get sick (until now.) I decided to look through some shots of Christmas morning. Here are some of my favorites of my family opening gifts.

Isabella LOVED her finger paint set!

Roxy's favorite gift was her squeaky duck ( God help us!)
Rich was excited about our new Blue Ray . We have sadly been using a n old play station to watch DVDs the first 5 years of our marriage; no more!

My favorite gift was a tossup between my new pull-up bar with bands and my new Dooney and Bourke purse. I was so excited I forgot to ask Rich to take a picture out of the blue bag!
I have been searching for a new Christmas morning breakfast tradition. Growing up my mom would make fluffy Belgian waffles with whipped cream and raspberries for breakfast on Christmas morning. I have been searching for a gluten free cinnamon roll recipe to make for my family on Christmas morning, but have yet to find one that suits my fancy. I did find this great recipe for a gluten free German Apple pancake.

The directions were hard to follow ( the #2 step is missing from this post?!)
First I prepared the batter as directed because it has to sit for 30 minutes. Next,
I peeled, cored, and slice two apples. I sauteed them in my buttered cast iron skillet with 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, 2 TBS of coconut sugar and a dash of fresh grated nutmeg. After the apples were caramelized I spread them evenly over the pan and gently poured the batter over the apples. I baked the pancake in the oven at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. We enjoyed this with some maple syrup and organic bacon.

What is your favorite Christmas breakfast?

Stay strong and carry on,


Friday, December 21, 2012

Cookie Fail & Thumb Prints

I had full intentions of making these beautiful chocolate cookies that I pinned on Pinterest. Isabella and I had picked out cookie cutter shapes of a beautiful reindeer and Christmas treeVisions of sugar plums and beautiful pipped royal icing danced in my head; a short lived dream. It was an epic fail learning experience. 


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Spice Cake

I hate bananas. Passionately. The smell,the texture,the act of peeling it all initiate my gag reflex. I blame this on my great grandma sweetie pie. Her real name was Edith. Her nickname "Sweetie Pie" came about from her calling my Aunt Kim, "my sweetie pie." My Aunt started calling her Grandma Sweetie Pie. Sweetie Pie was my great maternal grandmother and would occasionally babysit me. I do not know if she had a potassium deficiency, but God she loved to feed me bananas. I have this clear memory from when I was three or four sitting on her knee watching her peel yet another banana for me to eat. I pushed the horrid fruit away and exclaimed, " I hate bananas." I haven't eaten one whole since. Oddly enough I enjoy banana bread and I will add half a banana in with my protein shake to make it thick, but you will never catch me peeling and eating one.

A few weeks ago I posted this picture on facebook of this elf on the shelf my daughter was gifted asking for name suggestions. My Aunt Debbie, the gifter, suggested Sweetie Pie. I was smitten. I am one for nostalgia and so my elf will be called Sweetie Pie.

Sweetie Pie the Elf
Now onto today's recipe.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sexy by 8

Today marks the the eight year wedding anniversary for our friend's the Clarks. Congratulations Matt & Megan!
Today was the day eight years ago, Rich, decided it was time to ask me out on our first date after 2 & 1/2 years of constant flirtation  friendship.
 For our first date Rich took me to this great little restaurant, Tides, on Palm Beach Island. We went back there a few times and this is a picture from our second visit during summer 2006.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Fig & Fauna Farm

My family and I are back from an incredible place. We spent the morning touring the Martin Family's  Fig & Fauna Farm located thirty minutes from our home in South Florida. The farm is located in a rural area  of Jupiter, Florida. I am a bit dismayed that I was not able to capture the visit with my Nikon, the camera I use to shoot all my recipes, as the battery has been a miss all week.
I did manage to take some photos with my iphone. Let me share them with you. This video is from the "about" page of Fig & Fauna blog. It truly gives you the experience of what it is like to be in this naturally beautiful place.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Aunt Kim's Shallot Dressing

Rich and I have begun to plan our vacations for this upcoming year. It got me thinking about our summer trip to Port Republic, Maryland for our fifth wedding anniversary last year. That trip happened before I started to blog. We stayed in my Aunt Kim and Uncle

Monday, December 3, 2012

Homemade Vanilla Extract & Clean Eating for 2013 Free Kindle Book

I  first heard of making your own vanilla extract when Rich and I were vacationing in in Port Republic, Maryland this past summer on the bay. We had a stopped to visit this local historic tourist attraction and the gift shop had a vanilla extract kit for sale. I thought the idea rather clever at the time and tucked the idea back in my mind for a rainy day.

I had to split the beans in half length wise to expose the seeds

See the tiny vanilla bean seeds on my finger?

A few weeks ago while shopping at my Meca Home Goods store I found the same extract kit for half the price! Yes it landed in my shopping cart.

If you don't want to go out and buy a kit you can always make your own extract at home.
I also scoured the web to find other ways to make homemade vanilla extract.
I found a recipe for alcohol-free vanilla extract from Simply Sugar & Gluten Free.

 This is another extract recipe is from The Traveler's Lunchbox that uses alcohol.

Clean Eating for 2013

I found this free kindle book by Daisy Williams, Clean Eating for 2013. I downloaded it and will be reading it between now and the new year. It is fairly short. Click on the icon below to get your free copy.


Stay strong and carry on,


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Greek Yogurt Pancakes & FAKE protein "treats"

When I started on my health journey many moons ago I tried all kinds of funky "healthy" recipes. Typically in weight training magazines or on websites you are bound to come across recipes that require an addition of protein powder to baked goods like cookies, biscotti, and pancakes. If you have ever tried this type of recipe you may agree with me it activated your gag reflex. Am I the only one? I once made these diet oatmeal raisin cookies from a popular diet cook book. It was the summer of my sophomore year of college and  my high school friend, Garrett, was over visiting. He dubbed these nasty little creations as "cookie chunks." They were huge chunky balls of cardboard; a poor excuse for a cookie.
These days I avoid recipes of this nature. It is just not natural. Though I try to eat and bake in a healthy manner I demand my food taste good not just pack a nutritional punch. Who wants to eat a cardboard textured cookie chunk anyways?

Today's recipe is a crepe like pancake. It contains a cup of low-fat Greek yogurt. A cup of this yogurt contains 24 grams of protein. Be for-warned these are not Grandma's fluffy flapjacks the texture is "different."

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Focus on Performance not Fat Loss: An Interview with Nia Shanks


I had the chance to listen to a live call with Kyra, The Get in Shape Girl,and Nia Shanks this week. Nia talked about her new workout ebook and answered some great fitness and training questions from Kyra's clients.

Traveling. Will Workout.

This will be my last post about our travels over Thanksgiving weekend, but one I am excited about sharing. You see I don't workout when I travel. I don't workout in the cold either!

I had my trainer, Kyra the Get In Shape Girl, send me some workouts I could do easily indoors at my parents home without equipment.

We were in Pennsylvania for a total of 6 days with 4 of them being full days. I worked out three times while we were up North; that is 3 of the 4 full days we weren't traveling.  That is an accomplishment for me!

Read on for the workouts I did while away on travel.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Honey I'm Home Shrimp Stir Fry

I kicked the Northern snow off my boots and dusted them in the South Florida sand Sunday afternoon. Is it ever good to be home. Rich, Isabella, & I had a lovely time visiting with family and friends in Pennsylvania over the Thanksgiving holiday. It was wonderful to reminisce old memories and make new ones. We had some snow flurries the last two days we were at my parent's home. It was not Bell's first snow experience, but her first snow memory was made. We visited my parent's and and had a beautiful snowfall when Isabella was just a tiny 7 week old baby.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Girl Unsatisfied: How I tackle Eating

                                                                                  ource:  on Pinterest

It was my weekend to work at the pharmacy. I came home from work tired; too tired to cook. The husband hadn't prepared dinner either. I didn't have the steam to make a traditional dinner. I gave into exhaustion and I made some protein pancakes and lean turkey bacon. I ate and finished my meal. I was totally unsatisfied. I rarely feel this way anymore. Usually after a meal I am full and content. I wasn't  hungry after dinner, but I had this empty annoying feeling in my gut.

Food and mealtime have always been a big part of my day. I love to cook and bake, but what I really love is to eat. I try to take time to enjoy eating what I have prepared, bought, or ordered. I do my best to focus on the meal and the company.

The one reason why I don't meal plan consistently is that I have a spontaneous appetite. If I get a craving or an  idea for a meal I have to make it.  On rare occasions like this particular evening where I  toss in the towel; I prepare something nourishing and eat just for the sake of feeding myself. I do my best to limit these experiences. These instances are rare and I have a few tricks I use to keep my mealtimes enjoyable and satisfying.

Here are my top tips for enjoying meals and feeling satisfied:

1. Understand  hunger signals and being satisfied cues.

2. Practice mindful eating

3. Eating food I enjoy

4. Eating consistently every 3-4 hours or about 5-6 small meals a day

I hope this gave you some food for thought.

Stay strong and carry on,


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Greetings from the Frigid North!

Outside my childhood home in Pennsylvania

Greetings from Pennsylvania! My family and I traveled to my family's home town for Thanksgiving this year.

Isabella was so good on the flight! We packed toys and snacks. Thankfully we had a direct flight which makes traveling with little ones much easier:)

It has been 10 years since I have celebrated this holiday with my side of the family. I am being diligent with eating gluten free and working out these past two days we have been here. Usually I think about working out while visiting my family. This year I planned ahead and prepared. I had my trainer, Kyra the Get In Shape Girl, send me workouts I could do without equipment and I also packed my running shoes. I wasn't planning on jogging outside since it is so cold where we are in the north. I am now a full pledged Florida girl and can't stand being cold!

Yesterday the weather was perfect. So I decided to go for a jog outside. I put on long jogging pants, a long sleeved shirt, my black zip up workout jacket, fleece jacket,mittens, and ear warmer. I was warm and toasty for my jog.

 My parent's golden doodle, Ellie, was my running buddy for my workout.

We jogged for 30 minutes and did some hill sprints too.  My favorite part about this jog was running through the leaves and hearing them crunch beneath my feet.

The air was cold and crisp and it felt as if my lungs would burst.
So many memories came flooding through my mind as I jogged around my childhood neighboorhood my heart full of gratitude that I am able to spend this week with my family.

During my run I remembered the dream I had three years ago about running at home in the fall.I blogged about it in my post for pumpkin pie cups. I said a silent prayer thanking the heavens for this opportunity to run where I love filling me with so much joy.
I finished my workout with walking incline lunges on my parent's steep drive way.

 I rounded out my workout with a core workout.
  1. Bicycle crunches -30 reps pause every 5th crunch
  2. v-ups 20 reps
  3. boat pose held for 30 seconds
  4. supermans- 10 pulses hold last one for 10 seconds
  5. penguins 20 reps each side
  6. side plank top arm threads 10 each side
  7. scissor kicks lying on stomach for 30 seconds
  8. crunch elbow to opposite knee 10 each side
  9. reverse crunches-15 reps
  10. flutter kicks lying on back for 30 seconds
  11. v-ups on a diagnol 10 reps each side
  12. crunches 20 reps
  13. Toe touches with legs straight in air for 30 seconds
Stay strong and carry on,


Happy Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Butternut Squash Bake

In the spirit of Thanksgiving I am posting some gluten free recipes that you can make for the holiday. Earlier this week I guest blogged a great cranberry relish recipe on Today's recipe is one I love. I say that a lot; recipes I love. My recipes are almost like children in a way. You create them, nurture them, then share them with the world hoping that they will make an impact. This dish featured for today's post is one I make  year round, but really love to serve at all my holiday meals. I have always been a fan of sweet potatoes and yams. I was hesitant to try butternut squash until I had roasted butternut squash soup. I loved the mixture of savory and sweet flavors of this squash. If you have never tried butternut squash I think you find it pleasantly surprising as I did.

Butternut Squash Bake

1 lbs of butternut squash 
1 egg + 3 egg whites
1/2 cup of apple sauce
1 tsp of dried thyme
1/2 cup of milk
3 TBS of blanched almond flour
2 TBS of melted coconut oil
1/2 tsp of cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp of sea salt
pinch of pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash squash and remove skin with a vegetable peeler. Then cut squash in half length wise and remove seeds. Place squash cut side down on parchment paper line baking sheet. Bake until squash is tender and can be easily pierced with a fork. Depending on the size of your squash this could take 30 to 45 minutes. Remove squash and cool.

Turn oven down to 350 degrees. Oil an 8x8 glass baking dish Cut squash into smaller cubes and place into large food processor with remaining ingredients. Process until smooth and combined.  Spread into dish and bake for 35-45 minutes until squash is browned and set. Garnish with additional thyme sprigs if desired. Serves 8-10.

Stay strong and carry on,


Monday, November 19, 2012

November rant & A quick 21 Minute Tabata Workout

 Ok. Time to fess up. Blogging lately has been little to none. Not to make excuses, but I am one busy gal!  Here are a few thoughts I've been having this past week:

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Orange Cinnamon Cranberry Relish

We are only four days away from Thanksgiving; 2012 where have you gone? I can't believe the holidays are here! I was overly delighted to be asked to guest post for Laura of today. Please join me over at Gluten-Free Laura for today's cranberry relish recipe.

Stay strong and carry on,


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Missed Opportunities & a slice of Chocolate Almond Cheesecake

I created this recipe in September. I was going to enter a contest called " I can't believe it's Clean" baking contest hosted by Clean Eating Magazine. I faltered  I just didn't get around to it. I made this for my husband and mother in law. They both enjoyed it. Even one of my husband's good friends came over and had a slice; he like it too. It just wasn't good enough for me. It didn't have show stopper appeal. I missed an opportunity. Countless times in my life I've had missed opportunities out of fear, laziness, or down right procrastination. This makes me sad. What things have I missed because I was a fearful and unwilling to let go and dive right in? Well we can't dwell on the past now can we? It is gone, but today is here. I now have begun to push myself to pursue opportunities that present themselves that align with my goals. So let us carpe diem and have a piece of gluten free chocolate almond cheesecake while we are at it.

Chocolate Almond Cheesecake

1& 3/4 cup of Greek yogurt cheese
3 TBS coconut sugar
1 TBS of arrow root powder
1/4 tsp of almond extract
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1 egg + 2 egg whites

1/2 cup of blanched almond flour
1/2 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut
1/8 tsp of sea salt
1 TBS of maple syrup
1 TBS of melted coconut oil

Chocolate topping
3.5 oz of 85% dark chocolate (cocoa)
1/4 cup of natural sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
First assemble the crust. Grease an 8 inch spring form pan. Mix crust ingredients in a medium bowl and press evenly to bottom of spring form pan. Place in freezer for fifteen minutes.

Next assemble the cheesecake filling. Cream the yogurt cheese, sugar, arrow root powder, and eggs until combined. Add extracts. Remove crust from freezer and pour cheesecake mixture over crust and spread evenly over crust. Bake for 30 minutes or until set. Remove from oven and cool.

To prepare chocolate topping melt dark chocolate in a double boiler or microwave in a glass dish stirring every 15 seconds until completely melted.

Pour chocolate over cooled cheesecake. I tilted the spring form pan around to get the chocolate to spread rather than using a spatula. Top with sliced almonds. Place in fridge until chocolate is set.
Stay strong and carry on,