Saturday, June 30, 2012

Power Cookies

Today’s recipe is a cookie, but it packs a powerful nutritional punch and is gluten free and dairy free. Speaking of punches the husband and I were knocked out with a nasty cold this weekend while our two year-old has been running circles around us. Oh parenthood. Perhaps these cookies will provide healing and rejuvenation; probably not, but they are a great treat.

Power Cookies

1 cup of certified gluten free oats ground up in food processor
2 cups of blanched almond flour
1 TBS baking powder
¼ cup honey
¼ cup coconut oil melted
1 cup of cooked, peeled, mashed, and cooled sweet potato
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp of pumpkin pie spice
½-1cup of sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. I used my Exopat Matfer to bake my cookies on. Place coconut oil, honey, potato, vanilla extract, and pumpkin pie spice into Blendtec, food processor, or blender then process till smooth. Tip: measure out your oil first and then the honey in the same measuring cup because the honey will slide out easily due to the oil. In a separate mixing bowl combine, ground oats, almond flour, and baking powder. Mix to combine. Add the sweet potato mixture to the flour mixture and stir to combine.  Place sesame seeds into a cereal bowl. Scoop dough with a cookie scoop or tablespoon and then form the dough into 1 inch balls with palms of your hands. Next roll ball to coat in sesame seeds and place on baking sheet. Repeat till cookie sheet is filled then bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Today’s Workout Blip:

I skipped my HIIT and cardio session yesterday and today’s full-body and circuit with cardio due to this wicked cold. Sometimes your body has got to rest! I’m hoping to get back to the gym tomorrow and definitely by Monday.

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Have a wonderful RESTFUL weekend. Until next time stay strong and carry on!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Mango BBQ Sauce and Elliptical Incline workout

Fourth of July is right around the corner. Can you believe it?! Uh the smell of barbeque is floating through your mind now. Luckily today I’m bringing you a new BBQ sauce recipe you can try out this year. Yes, you can make your own home-made BBQ sauce and this recipe is gluten free and incorporates mango! Stay with me here. This time of year the mango trees in S. Florida are loaded with fruit and mango give this sauce a unique natural sweetness. This sauce is sweet, a bit spicy (my friends will gasp because I have an aversion to spicy stuff), and a little lip smacking kick. We had this sauce with chicken on gluten free hamburger buns (recipe from Celiac Vegan) with green beans as a side for dinner tonight. This sauce could be used for more than just chicken. Think BBQ ribs, BBQ pizza, pulled pork tender loin; go crazy and let me know what you eat this sauce with! Tip: this sauce can be made ahead of time and I do recommend that; who wants to be a slave to the kitchen on 7-4-12? This sauce should last several months in the fridge or you can cool it then pack in zip lock freezer bags and freeze for up to a year.

Gluten Free Mango Barbecue Sauce  

Mango sauce in a Weck Canning Jar
1 TBS of Olive oil
1 medium onion chopped
½ tsp garlic powder
1 mango
17.6 oz tomato sauce (I use Pomi)
1 cup of water
¼ cup light amber agave
¼ cup molasses
¼ cup organic apple cider vinegar
2 TBS fresh lemon juice
1 tsp of sea salt & ground pepper
Sauté onion, garlic, and mango in oil until soft in a sauce pot. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil then simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely. Send that sauce for a whirl in your blender , food processor, or my personal favorite Blendtec mixer until smooth and saucy! 
To add a bit of humor to today's post everytime I think of Mangos I recollect this little skit from SNL of JLO and Mango.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Banana Blueberry Griddle Cakes & New Calorie Count App

“Make me pancakes mama, pweese?” Oh how could I say no to such a request?! I am 1.5 weeks into my Get in Shape Girl (GISG) Bikini Plan and didn’t want to blow it with syrup drenched cakes so I came up with this tasty, clean, gluten free, sugar free, and even yes dairy free pancake batter recipe that even my two year old says “this is tasty mama!”

Banana Blueberry Griddle Cakes

4 egg whites
½ cup almond milk
1 TBS vanilla extract
1 tsp of LIQUID stevia
2 TBS extra virgin coconut oil melted
2 cups of gluten free rolled oats ( I use Bob’s Red Mill)
2 tsp of baking powder
1 tsp of cinnamon powder
Dash of nutmeg
1 medium banana peeled
1 cup of blue berries (defrost if frozen)

Place all ingredients (wet first) except blue berries into blender (I used  my Blendtec blender and pressed the “batter” option.)  Blend it twice. You could make this batter in a food processor or other blender just make sure it is smooth before you pour it onto the griddle. 

Preheat your griddle to 300 degrees and grease with oil. I use an electric griddle and for my spray I use expeller pressed safflower oil dispensed from an oil spritzer bottle that I purchased at bed bath and beyond. It is a cleaner option than using non-stick spray ( no butane) and also no soy. 
Pour batter onto griddle ( don’t you just love the sizzle sound?) and top with berries. Flip when bubbly and edges or done.

I topped my cakes today with natural crunchy peanut butter and some blueberry juice left from defrosting my berries. Bella my two year old enjoyed hers with maple syrupJ
Blueberry Bella

Today’s Workout Blip

 I weighed myself this morning and I’m down 5lbs;yikes! I went to an hour long spin class today in place of my HIIT sprints on the treadmill + additional 30 minute cardio at max 70% heart rate.  I’ve been following the workout plan (mostly) and eating clean. I also have been writing a food log everyday. When I cook I tend to pop a bit of this and that in my mouth. I have to sample you know. And those little morsels add up! I find when I’m intentional with my food log I only consume what I needJ With being on the go I needed a user friendly calorie app. Enter Calorie Count. You can find in the App store or  here.  You can add food via scanning bar codes, voice record logs, manually add food nutritional content, or search the database. It rocks!
Until next time stay strong and carry on!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

How to eat an Elephant and roast a Spaghetti Squash

Aw, the old saying how to eat an elephant; one bite at a time. But I’m not talking about eating elephants.  I digress.  When I switched over to a gluten free diet last July it was bittersweet. I knew that giving up those foods that I love was necessary, but I mourned the loss of my beloved bran muffins.
So I faced this new challenge as I do the others in my day to day existence by taking it one meal at a time.  Giving up whole wheat pasta was down right depressing. Good bye carb goodness!  I had seen a lot of recipes for spaghetti squash as a replacement for pasta. I had a run in with spaghetti squash one Christmas vacation whilst home visiting the parents. The site of it cold shredded flesh in the fridge triggered my gag reflex. Flash ford two years later adopting a gluten free diet made me willing to try all kinds of new “strange” foods.  I decided to give this squash a shot as the carb to fiber ratio of most gluten free pastas is well; dissatisfying.

How to Roast Spaghetti Squash

                                        Wash your squash and make sure the sticker label is removed

Slice it in half long ways & Scoop out seeds and discard
                                   Place squash cut side down on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

       Bake at 350 for  25-45 minutes until tender depending on the squash size. Shred meat of  squash with fork into a bowl. I like to sauté my shredded squash with olive oil,garlic, and fresh basil then serve with sauce.

Today’s Workout Blip

I’m on day 2 week  2  of the Get in Shape Girl Bikini Plan. I almost ditched my incline workout on the treadmill today after my legs and abs circuit ( holy sweat fest batman!) The circuits were intense and I have just finished working 9 days straight at the pharmacy; I was super tired! I persevered and did the whole darn thing. I’m still feeling really good, though my plantar fasciitis is raising its ugly head so tomorrow I will be doing a spin class rather than HIIT + 30 minutes of cardio on the treadmill. Until we see each other’s beautiful faces again. Stay strong and carry on!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Meal Planning?

I’ve always been fly by the seat of my pants kinda girl at least with meal planning. I do batch cook, but not the” I dedicate one day a week to prep all the week’s meals.”  I batch cook by making a huge pot of rice and bake a whole 13x9 pan of chicken if that’s what we are having. I make enough for the meal I’m preparing plus enough for the lunch the next day. However, it occurred to me the other day as I scrambled to pack my cooler for work that maybe my meals become unbalanced because I don’t plan them. I was struggling to find something green to pack. All our bags of frozen veggies were starchy. I prefer fresh, but I will fall back on bird’s eye steam fresh bag of broccoli or green beans if I’m in a scramble or low on fresh produce. I remembered I had some spring greens so I stuffed some in a container to complete my left over Bouillabaisse and rice meal. Maybe just maybe meal planning and prepping would make my mornings easier and less stressful.  I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions. So I’m going to try it. And see. I’ll keep you posted. Until then stay strong and carry on.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Anniversary Chili and week 1 recap of new workout plan

Today is my 5 year wedding anniversaryJ Today’s recipe is one of my husband’s favorites and it is a good time-crunch crockpot recipe. I promise I do cook, but alas I’m putting in some over time at the pharmacy tonight so crockpot anniversary chili it is!
When we were still friends in undergrad my husband, Rich, invited me over for some of his special “chili.” I made a batch of corn bread and headed over to his college apartment.  Rich’s chili consisted of fried cut up hot dogs, a couple cans of Hormel chili, and the Lord knows what else. I smiled and said “This looks great,” and forced myself a couple of spoonfuls. I only ate half the bowl and told the poor guy I was stuffed.  Come on you wouldn’t be honest either?! I only admitted how awful this concoction was after we were married and we still laugh about it. Today’s recipe is a far cry from my beau’s and its gluten free and clean. Enjoy!

Anniversary Chili

2 tsp cumin
½ tsp sea salt
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dried mustard
1 tsp  dried coriander powder
1TBS cacao powder
1TBS turbinado sugar
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
½ onion chopped
2 garlic cloves minced
1.25 lbs lean ground turkey
1TBS olive oil
2 cups of cooked beans ( black/red/kidney/ chick peas- I sometimes use a variety together)
26 ounce Pomi strained tomatoes or 24 oz Flora strained tomatoes (BPA free/Gluten Free)
1.       Heat oil in skillet. Add turkey, garlic, and onion.  Sauté until turkey is cooked through. Then place in crock-pot.
2.       Add all remaining ingredients into crock pot and give it a good stir. Be careful not to spillJ
3.       Cook on low setting 8 hours.
4.       We top ours with a dollop of low fat greek yogurt with a sprinkling of cumin and chopped avocado.

Workout Blip Update

As of today following my Bikini plan designed by the get in shape girl I am down 3lbs! I have more energy, am sleeping like a baby, and have kicked that bloated water logged feeling. 
This week I was forced to try new dynamic stretching and warming up along with cool down stretching. I always rush through my workouts and loved how I was forced to slow down and enjoy the whole work out process from start to finish. I’ve upped my cardio training.  To be honest I hate gym cardio machines with a passion. I much prefer spin classes or running in the beautiful Florida sunshine. I did stick to my cardio program 80%; I skipped a 30 minute max 70%Hr session and my step mill workout ( I have a huge fear of those machines and my knee flared up within a minute of being on the darn thing.)
All in all this week took planning and prepping and the help of a loving spouse, but I made it through despite having to close the pharmacy 4 nights this week and working some overtime.  Keep strong and carry on! I included my picture (gotta love gym locker room shots) from this morning. Please ignore the not so great hair.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Bouillabaisse and The Get in Shape Girl

Here I am sitting at my kitchen counter at 5 am. I was awoken at 3:50 with stabbing hunger pains and the sniffles. I started following a very tight clean eating plan two days ago while also starting a new workout routine by the Get in Shape Girl.  After 30 minutes of trying to sleep and checking Facebook I knew it was time to get up and eat.  
As I plopped some baked oatmeal into a bowl with some almond milk and ate it I still couldn’t shake my hunger. Next I added ¾ cup egg whites + 1 whole egg and salsa broiled. As I was waiting for my French press coffee I started thinking.
I’ve been floundering with my workout routine since September 2011. I had been training for a half marathon for the previous 5 months and threw in the towel. The timing wasn’t right. I got into workouts at that time. Which I love especially with my crazy work schedule it so nice to do a really intense workout at home in little time.
But, alas, I’ve gained weight and my skinny jeans are a wee bit tighter since September. I stepped down my training and didn’t reign in my portion sizes. A little too much red wine here and an extra treat there. I was over doing it and I knew it!
I think, no I know my body needs more than I am feeding it than the past 2 days. Today I go back to Cooler 2 meal plan from The Eat Clean Diet Recharged. This plan helped me shed a whopping amount of pregnancy weight in less than a year along with weight training and exercise.
Now about my new workout routine. It was designed by Kyra from The Get in Shape Girl. It is a complete 2 steps up from what I’ve been doing. I purchased her Bikini Workout Virtual training package, get it here. Right now its priced at $27 and is an intense 12 week training plan. I’ve been following it the past 2 days and enjoy it. The workouts are an hour to 1 &1/2 hours long and combine circuit training and High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). I’m willing to put in the time and sweat equity to get my butt back in gear. I will follow this plan and I will complete it! 
Now onto today’s recipe. I’m working putting in a long day at the pharmacy today so I will be making Crock-pot Bouillabaisse. This original recipe is adapted from The Eat Clean Magazine Easy Make-Ahead Bouillabaisse.

Crock-pot Bouillabaisse *Gluten Free
2 shallots minced
½ cup of fennel bulb cored and chopped
2 TBS Olive oil
1 large sweet potato peeled chopped
2 sweet bell  peppers chopped 
( red/yellow/ or orange)
1 bay leaf
½ tsp ground black pepper
¼ tsp saffron threads crushed
 5  cups gluten free low sodium chicken broth
 One   24 to 26 oz jar or BPA free/gluten free can chopped tomatoes
2 ½ lbs mixed seafood raw ( non oily white fish/shrimp/mussels/other shellfish) 
*I buy mine in a frozen package in the freezer section at my local Publix grocer
2 TBS fresh lemon juice
Sea salt to taste
Sauté shallots and fennel  in olive oil. Then toss into crockpot with remaining ingredients and crock on low setting till potatoes are tender.  My cooks all day at least 6-8 hours. Remove bay leaf before eating. This can be served by itself or on top of brown rice or quinoa. Enjoy!
*Tip: I save and freeze remaining sauce left over and incorporate into the next batch. I always find there is always lot of  sauce with little seafood and veggies left to make a left over lunch.

2 s