Not Gutless. Need Gutbliss!

Happy New Year to all of my readers!  Last year was year one of my blog.  While I didn’t get as many blogs written as I would have liked, I loved doing it.  2015 was a crazy year for me, and there were a lot of things I went thru that really made me evaluate who I was and what I am doing on a daily basis.  I didn’t get any closer to my health goals; I got further away.  I didn’t grow a huge Beachbody business; I quit.  What I did do is get help for myself, and for my family.

Over the summer, I made the very hard decision to see a doctor and get help for what my brain was putting me thru; I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder.  Admitting this to the world is not easy, and it has taken me months to be able to accept it myself.  Nothing about this disease is fun, but I have learned to think about things differently, see the world differently, be less judgemental, and know when enough is enough for me.

Now that I’ve gotten my brain under control (most days), it’s time to get focused back on the other health goals.  This year my goal is to not give up on myself.  Last year, I became a badass, a blogger, a Beachbody coach, and went thru hell mentally, BUT I came out on the other side.  This year I’m pushing it further.  I WILL get to where I see myself, I WILL be comfortable with who I am (inside and out), and I WILL continue to raise my little girl to embrace who she is (a very strong little girl who is going to be something absolutely amazing and bring so much joy to so many people).

Step one to my health goals?  Figure out what in the HELL is wrong with my digestive system… And D’s, too!  Time to begin a “detox” of sorts… No, not for calories, but to eliminate what the author of Gutbliss, Dr. Robynne Chutkan, calls SAD GAS (Soy, Artificial Sweeteners, Dairy, Gluten, Alcohol, and [added] Sugars).  I’m actually going to be consuming significantly more calories everyday with this more plant based diet (lean proteins only a few times a week), so I will likely be challenged to accept that eating more helps you weigh less.  After reading Gutbliss in one sitting, I have a suspicion that I have either a gluten intolerance or even Celiac.  Perhaps it’s nothing, but I will find out one way or another with this!

Eliminating things from our diets is not a foreign concept here with Mini Me’s allergies, but still requires prep work for two people.  IMG_0858.JPGDr. Chutkan asks those doing the 10 day plan to have green juice and her Magic smoothie every day, as well as a probiotic, and ground psyllium husk.  I spent a large portion of my New Year’s day planning out the meals and snacks for D and I,
and a large portion of the second day of the year in the produce section with Mini Me and in the kitchen getting some of the things prepped here.  This included the very basic task of making space in the fridge for the abundance amount of produce, to making things for the week. I made Homemade Energy Bars and Fruit, Seed, and Nut Trail Mix.

Homemade snacks may take just a few minutes longer than buying them already made, but I find comfort in knowing EXACTLY what is in my food.

 

Homemade Energy Bars

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1 1/3 cups pitted dates
  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup dried fruit for topping, optional (I used coconut)

Directions:

  • Put all ingredients in food processor and process until it seems to be sticking together slightly in bowl of processor, about 5 minutes.
  • Pour mixture on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and spread out.  While still separated sprinkle optional dried fruit on top.
  • Using your hands, compress the mixture until it is a solid ‘blob’ on the sheet.
  • Put in fridge or freezer for about 30 minutes so it has a chance to solidify further.
  • Pull out, and slice into 6-8 even pieces.

That’s it.  Seems like there are a lot of steps, but this really is one of the easiest recipes ever… Not to mention TASTY!

Makes 6-8 servings.  113 cal – 6.2g fat/13.7g carb/2.8g protein

 

Homemade Trail Mix

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Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces cashews
  • 8 ounces almonds
  • 4 1/2 ounces sunflower seeds
  • 4 1/2 ounces pumpkin seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups dried fruit (I went with a mix)
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut flakes

Directions:

  • Mix in a large bowl.  Put in serving size containers or serve as-is!

Serving size – 1/3 cup, contains 20 servings.  280 cal – 20.8g fat/16.6 g carb/9.4g protein

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Death by Chocolate

This past weekend we celebrated D’s and his mom’s birthday.  Celebrations started on Friday and ended on Sunday, visiting with all sides of the family.  I think he had a nice time.  I asked him what he wanted to do and we did it.  When I asked him what he wanted to do on his actual birthday, he told me he wanted me to make Italian Beef (simple) and maybe a dessert or something that Mini Me could also have.  After all, we don’t need a crazy 3 year old to be going on a jealous rage that she can’t eat cake when we are enjoying it.  So, Thursday night came, and Mini Me and I started making a cake.  She absolutely LOVES to help me in the kitchen.  Loves to help measure things, mix things, and just be with me.  I am flattered by it.  And because I was making a Vegan/Allergy Friendly cake, she got to taste every ingredient along the way.  I may have, too.

She's a great helper!

We first made the cake.  While it was baking, we moved onto the mousse, and then the ganache.  Once the cake was cooled completely, I spread the mousse between the two layers of cake, and added a thick layer to just the top of the cake. I let that set overnight in the fridge (in this awesome Wilton Cake Caddy) while the ganache also set.  Before the birthday boy got home from work, I spread the ganache evenly on the top of the cake and the sides with a large icing spatula (like this one), and put it back in the fridge until it was time to serve.  Please remember, if you do make this cake, that it needs to be refrigerated for the mousse and the ganache.  Don’t worry, it won’t dry the cake out, I PROMISE!

Let me tell you… This cake is ABSOLUTELY amazing, and you would have NO idea that it was vegan.  None.  I wanted to eat the whole thing.  I likely had too much of it over the weekend… Just sayin’.  I might as well own up to my indulgence.  It was totally worth it, though!

Kate’s Triple Chocolate Cake

100% Vegan!

Vegan Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour (all-purpose)
  • 6 Tbsp. cocoa (unsweetened)
  • 1 cup Truvia Baking Blend (or 2 Cups Sugar)
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. white vinegar
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 cups water

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Prepare cake pans (I used these 8″ round aluminum cake pans from Wilton, and the Wilton Bake Even Strips which help the cake be more consistently level as it bakes)
  3. Mix all dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl
  4. Make “wells” for vinegar, vanilla, and coconut oil and pour each into a “well” (one should be big enough to hold coconut oil)
  5. Pour water over the top
  6. Mix with hand mixer until smooth
  7. Divide batter evenly into prepare cake pans
  8. Bake on center rack for 32-38 minutes, testing with a toothpick to be sure cake is done
  9. Remove and let cool on cooling racks for 5 minutes before removing cakes from pans to cool completely

Dark Chocolate Avocado Mousse

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe Haas avocados
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 6 Tbsp. cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • 3 Tbsp. almond or cashew milk (I used chocolate cashew milk)

Directions:

  1. Put all ingredients into a blender (I used my single serving Ninja cup) or food processor and blend until smooth.

(Seriously, its that easy!)

Vegan Salted Milk Chocolate Ganache

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag dairy free chocolate chips (I like Enjoy Life or Chocolate Dream)
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 2 tsp sea salt

Directions:

  1. With a double boiler or a sauce pot with water topped with a glass mixing bowl, melt and combine all ingredients together until smooth.  I whisked along the way with a small whisk to be sure that it was completely smooth.
  2. Let set for at least 3 hours in the fridge before using as an icing.

(This also makes a great dip for fruit while warm!)

Enjoy this super fudgey cake!  It is my favorite cake I’ve actually ever had – saying a lot considering where I work!

Signs Signs, Everywhere a Sign

I spent a good portion of this weekend strategizing my next moves in terms of my lifestyle change, and what steps would help me get to my goal size (notice, I am not saying weight).  After chatting with a friend (Yass, blogger at www.yass4fitness.com) about my current issues with progress and workouts, he brought up the idea of online personal training.  He had just signed up for a program, had done programs previously, and thought it might be something that would work well for me.  This idea appealed to me almost immediately because I truly believe that I am at that point in my journey that I need personalized assistance with my workouts and my nutrition.  Since I am no longer a member of a gym, I wasn’t sure how to go about doing that.  Also, having very heavy time constraints, I was hesitant about finding a free-standing personal trainer.  I do know quite a few amazing ones in the area (shout outs to Kelly, Carla, and the rest of the staff at Reality Fitness in Naperville, IL), but am not able to carve out the time to see them.

It is funny how life sends you signs, though.  While I was hemming and hawing over the idea of an online personal trainer, one miraculously started following me on Instagram.  Not sure where he came from or why he started following me, but I did take it as a sign.  Enter, Matt James Fitness.  I took a look at some of his transformations, his story, and what he offered.  I was sold almost immediately.  I decided to sign up for his 12 Week Transformation package.  It offered everything I was looking for – nutritional guidance, workout assistance using the equipment I have, and also incorporated My Fitness Pal.  I signed up, filled out the health and wellness questionnaire associated, and am now anxiously awaiting what he sees as working for me.

I am looking forward to working with him, and can’t wait to see what he has in store for me!

Make-do Allergy-Free Banana Bread

Woke up this morning to a bright sunny day.  What a great day!  I’ll get some errands done and enjoy some sunshine.  Then I really woke up.  The temperature is dangerously cold here in Chicago, yet again.  High of 10 degrees, although we will be lucky if it hits that.  I decided that we are not going anywhere!  Last week I declared it to be a make-do week, only picking up essentials that we were out of.  That make-do week is going to continue thru this week.  I do need to spend a few dollars and pick up some essentials (sea salt, pan spray, flour, one kind of protein/meat, and of course spinach) to be able to make it thru the week.  We have been clearing out the fridge and freezer, though.  It has allowed me to be more creative!  For instance, this morning I mixed some leftover couscous into a few eggs and made a yummy omelette with chopped chicken and cheese.  Healthy carbs, and lots of protein!  Just wish I had more spinach to add in there, as well…

Because it is make-do week, and I have half a freezer full of bananas (they get brown, I toss them in the freezer for baking or smoothies) I decided to make Mini Me some banana bread.  I adapted this recipe from SimplyRecipes.com.  When I say adapted, I had to sub most of the ingredients because of allergies, nutrition, or I didn’t have what they called for.  I guess you could say, it is highly adapted.

Allergy-Free Banana Bread

Vegan Banana Bread

Ingredients

Ingredients

3 very ripe bananas, peeled
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
¼ cup truvia baking blend
1 gelatin egg (see directions here)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
½ cup wheat flour
½ cup cup oat flour

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°, and either line a medium loaf pan with parchment or spray with baking spray.

In a mixing bowl, mash the ripe bananas with a fork until smooth. Stir the applesauce into the mashed bananas.

Mix in the baking soda and salt. Stir in the Truvia, gelatin egg, and vanilla extract. Mix in the oat and all purpose flours.

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Pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes (check at 50 minutes) at 350°, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

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Remove from oven and cool completely on a rack. Remove the banana bread from the pan. Slice and serve. (A bread knife helps to make slices that aren’t crumbly.)

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If you want to double the recipe like I did, you can bake in a fluted tube pan for an 1hr 10 min

Not only does this recipe come out very tasty, it is also reasonably healthy!!  Very low sugar, lots of fruits.  One loaf makes 10-11 servings, one fluted shaped cake makes 20-22 servings.

Nutritional information (22 servings):  89 cal/0g fat/19g carbs/3g protein

Hearts Full of Protein

I woke up this morning with a new sense of determination.  Went searching for my P90X DVD set.  Allas, P90X grew legs and walked away.  Gosh darnit!!  Up pops my P90X3 DVD set, almost like it was trying to save the day!  Okie Dokie then, its a sign… I’m going to do P90X3 for the next 90 days!  Add in a few runs here and there when the winter weather allows and hill runs come spring, along with staying on track nutritionally and I expect to see good things by the time I need to board a flight to Vegas in 89 days!

Because I’m focusing on eating super clean, and know that I like my treats, I decided to do a little creating of my own… Enter Cookie Dough Protein Hearts.

This recipe was adapted from this recipe from Fit Foodie Finds.  The recipe looked delicious as it is, but I didn’t have chocolate protein powder, just vanilla.  Looks like my decision was made for me!

Hearts Full of Protein

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  • 1 cup vanilla protein powder (I used EAS Vanilla Whey Protein)
  • 2 1/4 cup oat flour (I just ground up steel cut oats in my food processor)
  • 2 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup nut or seed butter (I used Sunbutter)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Directions

Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  The batter will be quite thick.  If it is too dry, add a tiny bit more milk.  Once combined, scoop and roll into balls, or add into a silicone mold like this one from Wilton.  Cover and put in freezer until frozen, pop out, and put into freezer safe bag.

Recipe makes approximately 24 servings of 2 tablespoon portions.

Approximate nutritional information: 122 cal/9 carb/4 fat/11 protein

Hope you all enjoy!

Do You Want to Build a Snowman?

Come on let’s go and play…  Don’t judge… I’m a mom of a three year old.  I know that movie word by word, gesture for gesture, note for note.  Sigh.  weather reportIt is pretty fitting for the weekend we are having here in Chicago.  It started snowing last night (rain into snow), and we woke up to about 6 inches of snow on the ground at 6:30 this morning.  As of this moment (1pm) we have about a foot of snow, and its still coming down.  Winds are expected to pick up later today and blizzard conditions will be beginning.  Guess we aren’t going anywhere for the Super Bowl.

I had planned on getting up and getting some lifting done down in my ladycave (roar – home gym), but decided to make my workout more fun.  My workout today consisted of shoveling the long sidewalk in the front of the house, along with about half the driveway, and the piles the plows left on the end of the driveway (of course they came around RIGHT as I was finishing the driveway so I had to do it twice…).  Doesn’t sound like a lot, but 10″ heavy snow… Woo – workout!!!  Wore my HRM to track my burn (more so because I was curious than concerned)… 521 calories burned in 74 minutes.  I’ll take it for round 1.  I got some playtime in there, too.  Meanwhile, D and Mini Me built the biggest snowman on the block, and with the donation from a sweet little girl down the block, we were able to give him a face and a tophat.  So sweet.

Who wouldn't sunbathe in this weather?  Note:  Chair is resting on top of the snow...

Biggest snowman on the block!!       Yeah!!!  Snow!!!

As disappointed as I am that we won’t be going anywhere tonight for the Super Bowl (gotta keep the family safe), it won’t stop me from preparing a snack or two for the big game!  During my brief stint with the Whole30, I was able to refocus some of my unhealthy eating habits, and make conscious decisions to snack smarter when I feel I “need” or just want a nibble of a snack.  I have been eying baked coconut chips for a few years now, and decided to order  a giant bag of coconut flakes from Amazon (found here), and planned on making good use of them.  I am a total sucker for the sweet and salty flavor combinations, so wanted to really nail that down.  And I did!  Total winner, and a super filling snack!

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Sweet and Salty Cinnamon Coconut Chips

Ingredients

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  • 3 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1.5T coconut oil, melted
  • 2.5T honey
  • 2.5t cinnamon
  • 2.5t sea salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Put coconut flakes in medium sized bowl. IMG_8064
  3. Whisk together melted coconut oil and honey; pour over coconut flakes.IMG_8063
  4. Pour cinnamon and sea salt over flakes and stir to combine all ingredients.          IMG_8061
  5. Pour flakes on a (preferably parchment lined) cookie sheet.  I love my gigantic cookie sheet – it’s sized for the shelf of my oven (found here).  IMG_8060
  6. Put flakes in the oven and STAY CLOSE!  Flakes will be done in about 6 minutes, and will continue to crisp when they are out of the oven.  I made the mistake of putting them in a little too long (don’t worry, I altered the timing here for you)… Whoops.

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Once cooled, enjoy!!!

The end… And…SUSHI!

Yesterday I made the tough decision to end my adventure into the world of my second Whole30. I had decided at the beginning of this year that my healthy lifestyle was going to be something I enjoyed and not despised. While I agree with the principles of the Whole30, I do not want to deprive myself of some of my favorite foods because they don’t fit into a bucket created by someone. It did give me a chance to be able to refocus my nutrition on healthy and natural sources of foods, remind me that most of my foods at meals should be vegetables, and that I need to be mindful of the other “crap” that I consume. However, I need to be able to enjoy things like sushi and the occasional beverage. So, back to my norm – eat what I enjoy, in moderation, and find new ways to serve healthy foods to my family.

Now, back to sushi…  Mmm… Sushi.  We ordered takeout from our favorite sushi place last night for dinner, Aodake.  Fantastic place, three locations in the Chicagoland area now. Woo!  The two below are my favorites.

Baked scallop, crab, shrimp and cream sauce
Baked scallop, crab, shrimp and cream sauce
Spicy salmon, avocado, cucumber in soy paper, with assortment of fresh fish, tobiko on top (12pc)
Spicy salmon, avocado, cucumber in soy paper, with assortment of fresh fish, tobiko on top (12pc)

The dynamite roll is AMAZING!!!  And the perfect rainbow is, well, perfect!  Anyone I have introduced to these two rolls love them, and I have not been able to find anything like them at any other sushi place.  Now, if they could somehow come up with a frequent diners card my life would be complete!

I start working out again tomorrow.  After hurting my knee last Sunday during goblet squats, I gave it a rest week.  I can’t wait! I feel like I’ve gotten soft this week even though I have been eating very well.

Hope everyone has a great Saturday!

Who got me a stripper??

It has been a busy week and a half for me!  Just about two weeks ago I got to help one of my best friends celebrate her 30th birthday with an amazing party at a local bar.  I donated a hotel room to the cause, which was the site of a little girl bonding time while we were getting ready and an after party.  Of course, it wouldn’t be a party that I was at (or hosting) unless there was a random pop-in by the police.  IMG_7651No… We weren’t that awful!  I am in my 30s… I am somewhat respectful (shush).  The people a few rooms down weren’t all that respectful, though, and filled the hall with some very rank weed smoke.  Blech!  The cops heard our music, stopped by, and of course I made friends with them.  Sometimes, making a police officer laugh (in this case five police officers laugh) is enough for me.  Brings me back to my birthday when my cousin, Sarah, and I moved into together when I was right out of college.  We were pre-gamming prior to going out to the bar when there was a pounding on the apartment door.  Me, being me, got up to answer the door and on the way to the door says loudly… “Which one of you guys got me a cop stripper???”  I open the door, and who else would be standing there but  a police man.  I don’t know whose face was more red… Mine or his.  Turns out he was looking for the previous resident.  Good laughs all around for that one.

The Monday after my friend’s birthday I started the Whole30 again.  I did this downloadonce before a few years back to help get my body rid of toxins and launched into a year of paleo eating.  I have pretty much eaten clean since, taking learning’s of my paleo stint into my cooking, but felt the need to get my system clean of hormones and toxins.  I’m now a week and a half into it and feel pretty good.  Not going to lie… The first few days were hell… My body wanted SUGAR!!!!  I stayed strong and maintained composure (sorry to my coworkers if I was snappy last week).

Last night I wanted to do something different for dinner.  I was doing just meats or eggs and veggies for dinners and lunches since I was low on time, but last night I felt inspired.  I had a leftover cooked acorn squash from the previous night that I wanted to use for D and I, and I wanted to stuff it.  One of my favorite acorn squash recipes is a turkey stuffed acorn squash with rice and butter and cheese… Well, three of those things are not allowed on the Whole30, so I got to brainstorming, and this is what I came up with.

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Creamy Cauliflower and Zucchini Rice

Ingredients

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  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 3 medium zucchini
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 2T bacon fat
  • 1 cup coconut milk (canned, light or full fat)
  • 1T nutritional yeast
  • 1t sea salt
  • 1t black pepper
  • 1t herbes de provence

Directions

  1. Prepare food processor with the shredding blade attached.

2.  Slice cauliflower so that it fits in your food processor funnel, and go to town. Mini Me enjoyed helping me with this.  She was the official button-presser.

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3.  Once all of your cauliflower is “riced”, pour into a bowl and set aside. Cut the ends off the zucchini, and shred away!  Pour into a bowl and set aside.

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4.  Repeat shredding process one last time with the onion and garlic cloves.

5.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 2T of bacon fat until melted.

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6.  Pour in onion and garlic combination and sauté for a few minutes (until fragrant).

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7.  Add coconut milk, cauliflower, zucchini, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and herbes de provence. Stir to combine, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 12-15 minutes stirring occasionally.

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This cauliflower rice can be used alone as a side, topped with a meat, over easy eggs (yummy breakfast this morning), or as a stuffing for various other vegetables.  Hope you enjoy as much as we all did!!

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Makes around 6 large servings.

Cal – 145, Fat – 9g, Carb – 15g, Protein – 5g

No, Mommy… You can’t go run. I want pancakes.

Sunday morning.  The first morning in a week that the temperatures have been over 20 degrees.  This means… RUNNING!!!  I’ve been waiting for this morning for a week.  The arctic temps here in Chi town have been insane.  Time for them to move on and make someone else miserable (sorry if you are that someone else).

Going to bed last night, I triple checked to be sure I had my alarm set so that I could wake up and get a run in around 7am.  I wasn’t planning a long run, just a quick 30 minutes out getting some fresh air, shoes to the pavement, enjoying the “me” time.  Alarm went off, I got up, slowly started getting myself to wake up enough for my brain to tell my feet to move one in front of the other, and suddenly I hear…”MOOOOOMMMMMMMYYYYYYY!!!!!  MOMMMMMMMYYYYYYYYYYY!!!” coming from the room next to mine.  Mini Me was awake.  I suppose I can’t really complain when she sleeps 12 hours, but darn it… I wanted to be out the door when she woke up.  I go in, give her wake-up snuggles, and asks if she wants to hang out with me while I finish getting dressed for my run.  She looks at me all innocent and says, “No, Mommy.  You can’t go run.  I want pancakes.”  I explained to her that she can get up, have some milk and a banana while I was running and when I got back I would make her pancakes.  Told her I would be gone for 45 minutes, max.  She seemed ok with this rationale.

I finished getting dressed, getting my new ear buds in (thanks to my bro-in-law) and my runner’s pepper spray (thanks to D and mom-in-law… we have coyotes around here), and get to moving.  Finished my run at a pretty good pace, and entered the kitchen, knowing that Mini Me was probably getting hangry at this time.  If you don’t already know this, a hangry three year old is no good.  I am pretty sure that is how wars start.

Enter… Pancakes.  Now, as a quick reminder, Mini Me is allergic to eggs, milk, peanuts, fish, and shellfish.  Baking is constantly difficult, and breakfast foods are one of the most difficult things to work around.  But a few years back, I was lucky enough to stumble across a Banana Oatmeal Pancake recipe from the Colourful Palate.  These have been a lifesaver for me!  I did alter the recipe slightly from theirs, making them less gummy and a bit more toddler approved.

Chocolate Chip Banana Oatmeal Pancakes

Chocolate Chip Banana Oatmeal Pancakes

Ingredients:

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  • 1.5 cups quick cooking oats
  • 0.5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 0.5 tsp sea salt
  • 1.5 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • Mini Chocolate Chips (mine are allergy free)
  • Canola Oil Spray or Coconut Oil (for pan prep)

Directions

  1. IMG_7342Blend all ingredients until combined, except bananas and chocolate chips.
  2. Add bananas and blend until smooth.
  3. Pour batter onto a hot skillet or griddle prepared with spray or coconut oil (I use my electric skillet because I can fit more), and sprinkle chocolate chips onto the pancakes as desired.  Wait until bubbles form in the center of the pancakes and flip to finish.

Recipe will make around 12-15 medium sized pancakes.

IMG_7341        Chocolate Chip Banana Oatmeal Pancakes

After all was said and done, Mini got her pancakes.

BONUS – these refrigerate and reheat really well for quick grab and go breakfasts during the week!

Pepperoni…what??

It’s Friday, it’s Friday, it’s Friday!! Now imagine me doing a little dance while singing that (off tune, most likely). It has been a week of ups and downs. A week of refocusing on nutrition and exercise. A week of nose-to-the grind working in the office. But… It’s FRIDAY!!

Friday’s used to mean ordering takeout sushi with D, and waiting until Mini Me went to bed so we could eat our sushi in peace and watch a movie. There was generally overindulging in food (yum sushi) and sometimes alcohol. Over the past few weeks I realized that things I was doing in the past have not been helping me reach my weight loss goals. I’ve been diligent on hitting my macros this week, inspired by my friend, Austin, and have reaped the reward… A 4.2lb weight loss this morning! Wooo!

As a mini celebration and a treat to myself, I wanted to have a munchie while watching a movie tonight. My macros didn’t allow for my second favorite food today, either… Popcorn. So I set off in search of something flavorful and crunchy (yes I had veggies today) to munch on while relaxing.

Enter… Pepperoni Chips! These little want to be chips are packed with protein and have little to no carbs. They do have a bit of sodium, so remember to keep drinking your water!!

Pepperoni Chips

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Ingredients:

Pepperoni

Directions:

1. Slice pepperoni thinly, or buy precut slices.

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2. Layer a paper towel or two on a plate to absorb any grease. Lay slices of pepperoni on the paper towel covered plate and cover with another paper towel to help minimize any splatters.

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3. Microwave a large plate of slices for 3-4 minutes, or until the centers don’t feel rubbery. Blot extra grease from the top by lightly pressing on the top paper towel.

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Note: my pepperoni didn’t completely crisp up until about 5 minutes after removed from the microwave.

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Now, sit…enjoy…and let’s start our movie!