Creamy Coconut Shrimp

creamyshrimp1

For lunches this week I tried out a recipe from The Healthy Foodie. I just discovered her blog, and I was overwhelmed with amazing recipes I wanted to try! My first attempt was Creamy Coconut Shrimp over Zucchini Pasta. The secret to this creamy sauce is cauliflower, and o-m-g, it was delicious! It may not look like much in my photos, but head over to her blog to check out more. I doubled the recipe to make enough to last me the week, and then I used a spiral-er to make my zucchini noodles fresh each morning. I bought mine at Bed, Bath and Beyond, but you can find them online. I love making zucchini pasta because it adds so much volume to my meal without adding many calories or carbs, pictured here is 1 medium zucchini – so much pasta! This lunch was quite filling. Now as I drool over this blog I am trying to decide what to make next – nom nom nom!!

creamyshrimp2

Advertisements

Shake & Bake Baby!

shakenbake1
I tried out my first recipe from my new cook book Beyond Bacon. I have literally never cooked a pork chop, because my only memory of them are the super dried out tasteless chops that my mom cooked only a handful of times through out my life (sorry to put you on blast Momma!) My friend Kelsi (who got me this book) guaranteed me that they had the potential to be great – so I attempted Shake & Bake Pork Chops! I’ve never really had REAL shake and bake, so I can’t do the best comparisson, but I enjoyed this low-carb breaded chop all the same.
If you’re not first, you’re last!
I picked up just one pork chop at the market, ahem, dinner alone for this girl… This odd little plate is what I like to call “use up everything in the fridge before it goes bad.” Putting my sliced chop on a bed of garlic broccoli with sauteed mushrooms gave it sort of an asian looking flair. Not the typical home-style breaded chicken comfort food I think this recipe is made for. Good dinner nonetheless. It is so rare that I get to eat anything breaded, this felt like a treat, even though it was completely healthy. Love when that happens!
shakenbake2

Birthday Weekend Treats

birthdaycake+me

My parents had me over for a birthday dinner this weekend. We had chinese/thai food for dinner, and then my mom made me this lovely chocolate cake! It was so dense and moist almost like a brownie, the picture on the right is definitely my second piece – YUM! Although this cake was gluten free, it was not sugar free. My lovely mother did sub in some coconut oil instead of butter for me though.

Other birthday treats included chocolate covered strawberries and bananas from Edible Arrangements sent to me at my office from Kelsi! I ate some post workout with chocolate peanut butter protein greek yogurt. The right was a sad attempt at birthday cake pancakes… While I was working hard trying to create some coconut milk “fluff”, I slightly burnt my pancakes – boo! Still edible though, sprinkles fix everything. As you can see, my fluff has zero FLUFF to it. I will try again though, and I will master you fluff!

Werk It!

On my actual birthday (August 1st), you bet I hiIt the gym for leg day! When I was half way through my workout, 3 sets into my box jumps (4 sets of 8) a guy approached me… He said, “I see that you are doing the same box jumps as my friends over here but you have better efficiency and form. How would you feel about having a competition?” Of course I said yes! Nothing like a little healthy competition to kick your butt in the gym. I went head-to-head against a guy on their ‘team’ to perform as many max height box jumps in 3 minutes. After 1 wipe out each, I came out the champion with 50 jumps completed, beating his 43. Woo hoo! I loved it, I had no idea I would be able to do 50 consecutively! It was a great little push at the gym, and got my heart rate way up there. I powered through the rest of my leg workout, and went home a champion – happy birthday to me! (By the way, this was the best pick up attempt I’ve seen at the gym thus far. No creepy comments or mirror stares, just some motivation and positive encouragement.) birthdaytreats

 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookie Dough Balls

cookiedough1

I had a extended long weekend for the Canadian Civic Holiday. Happy birthday to me! This meant lots of treats & feasts! Finally had to cut off the ‘celebrations’ today, my body is missing my controlled health food. My birthday treat of choice are these Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookie Dough Balls! They have no refined sugar (sprinkles don’t count okay!), and are no bake.

cookiedough2

Ingredients:

  • 1 can Chickpeas (drained & rinsed)
  • 10 Pitted Dates
  • 4 T Natural Peanut Butter
  • 1/4 t Salt
  • 1/4 t Baking Soda
  • 1 t Vanilla Extract
  • 3 T Oats
  • 1 T Honey (Maple Syrup or Stevia could work too)
  • 1 c Dark Chocolate Chips
  • 1 T Coconut Oil
  • Sprinkles (Optional)

Instructions:

  1. Place dates in a container half covered with water. Microwave for 30 seconds, mash dates, and microwave for another 30 seconds.
  2. In a food processor combine chickpeas, date paste, peanut butter, salt, baking soda, vanilla & oats. Blend on high until smooth.
  3. Add sweetener of choice to taste. You may find it sweet enough with just the dates! I used 1 tablespoon honey.
  4. Plop drops on a baking sheet, this made about 20 for me. The dough will be sticky so stick them in the freezer to harden up a little bit.
  5. Place a bowl in a sauce pan with boiling water. Melt 1 cup dark chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon Coconut Oil.
  6. When cookie dough plops are chilled you will be able to roll them into smooth balls (see photo below).
  7. Using a spoon, dunk them in the melted chocolate, and place on parchment paper or muffin liners.
  8. Top with sprinkles (other options include: cacao powder, coconut flakes, chopped nuts, cinnamon, etc.) before the chocolate is hardened.
  9. Store in the fridge. These things are the best chilled! Be sure to save some straight up cookie dough to eat with a spoon.

cookiedoughbeforeandaftercookiedoughballsandchocolate cookiedough4

These cookie dough balls were attempt #2. My first attempt was more of a ‘Reese Cup’ version. I brought them for my coworkers on Thursday, and although they were a little messy, they were still delicious! I used too much almond milk in my chocolate coating, so they never harden properly. I got teased for baking my own birthday treats, but I enjoy it & wanted to make sure they were healthy :P. Below are my messy cups, I had to taste test one to ensure quality of course! I put them in these super cute silicone baking cups I found at the dollar store, what a steal!

cupcakes3

I had left over ‘Cookie Dough’ and left it in the fridge over night. It was even better the next day! I added dark chocolate chips & it was heavenly just eaten with a spoon.

cookiedough cupcakes2

August Goals

August 1st – HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME! Today marks a new month, which means fresh start. Let’s make some goals! These are my goals for the month. Hoping that sharing them on here will help me to stick with it!

  1. Buy my produce organic from the farmer’s market
  2. Yoga at least once a week
  3. Run at least once a week (working towards 4 km – my colour run is coming up quickly!)
  4. No snacking (eat off of plates only – no out of container!)
  5. Drink 1 gallon/4 L of water a day
  6. 14 hour fast minimum (IF*)

*IF (Intermittent Fasting) is something that I have been following for a while now. I am no expert, but for more information check our Lean Gains. 

For tips on setting and achieving your own goals check out my post here!

On my birthday note, check out what my lovely best friend Kelsi got me:

books

Two great new books (along with other things – just spoiled!! :D) to expand my knowledge, love it! The top book is Superfoods by David Wolfe. I am so intrigued by the power of food and the effect it can have on our body. This book outlines “The Food and Medicine of the Future” through a detailed collection of the top 10 Superfoods as well as some honorable mentions. Check out more about the author here.

The second book is Beyond Bacon by Stacy Toth & Matthew McCarry, “Paleo Recipes That Respect the Whole Pig.” This book is the reason I am in search of pork lard this week at the farmers market! Not only does this book provide over 100 Paleo recipes but it also talks about fat content and our health, how to order meat and find a farmer, and how to use/cook all of the animal. I am really excited to try some of these recipes (& so is my family!) The author’s of this book started as a blog, Paleo Parents, and have another book called Eat Like a Dinosaur.

I now have Friday and Monday off for the Canadian Civic long weekend, what a nice birthday present! Lots of time to celebrate, relax & try new recipes.

What are your goals for the month?

 

Tips for Setting & Achieving Goals

Red pencil and questionnaire

Goals are a great motivator by giving us something to work towards. They also provide satisfaction and accomplishment through achievement of said goals. They help to keep us focused and on track. Broad goals aren’t as effective as more specific ones. For example, if your goal is to ‘be healthy’ that is very hard to track or define ‘healthy’. Here are some of my tips on setting and achieving your goals (focusing on health/fitness):

Achievable/Specific: It is important to create specific goals that can be measured. Create a timeline to achieve these goals. You may have to do a little research here. You want to challenge yourself, but still be realistic. If you can’t run 5 km, don’t try to run a marathon in a months time. Start with a 5 km goal, and slowly work your way up, week by week, month by month. If by your deadline you do not reach your goals, don’t change the goal, simply modify the method – do not give up! Some examples of achievable/specific goals include: lose an inch off of my waist, complete a chin up, run 5 km without stopping, go to the gym 4 days every week for a month, or bring my lunch to work everyday this week.

Aesthetic VS Functional: It is a good idea to have both of these goals. Aesthetic goals are beneficial because the results are visible for you and others to notice. Examples of aesthetic goals include: drop one pant size, see calf definition, grow biceps 1 inch, or improve proportion and symmetry. Progress photos are a great way to track aestetic progress. Changes happen slowly in the body, and sometimes it takes comparing current to old photos to really appreciate how far you have come. Our eyes can trick us, but a side by side comparison helps us notice developments and areas for improvement. So be vain, take those selfies! Although you may not like them now, you will appreciate them as reference in the future. Functional goals are also important so that you are constantly pushing yourself in your workouts. Some examples of functional goals include: curl 20 lbs, do 10 squat jumps without breaks, touch your toes effortlessly, or use the Stairmaster for 20 minutes. It is a wonderful thing to feel the strength of your own body, and to be able to do something you weren’t able to just weeks before. It is one thing to look good, but to feel great is truly amazing. You will be amazed at how many aspects of your life this effects. Having energy to do whatever you want, whenever you want. Improve your golf game or do housework more efficiently.

Short VS Long Term: Long term goals help us determine where we are going, while short term goals determine how we are going to get there. Long term goals tend to be more broad, but can also be specific. A broad goal would be to lead a healthy lifestyle by example for your children, a more specific goal would be to run that half marathon. Short term goals help us to reach our long term goals. Once a goal is acheived you know you still have something else to work towards, and can create new goals or modify old ones. This ensures that we won’t plateau in our workouts and will continually evolve and grow.

Non-Physical Goals: Some goals will not be tangible, but they are still important and can be very satisfying to reach! Some examples include: completing all of your workouts in a week, pushing yourself past your quiting point, enjoying a tough workout, or going a month without ‘binging’.

Achieving Goals

Mind/Muscle Association: Don’t just breeze through your workout mindlessly. Think about the specific muscles you are working, and imagine how they are moving, contracting and releasing to do the movement. This can have an outstanding result.

Write it down: Put it in writing, make a contract with yourself, include dates. I’m a list person, and I absolutely love crossing things off. Create one and track how your goals evolve and your

Share: Tell someone, this helps you to be held accountable. Look at me, I just told the internet! Now I feel even more motivation to follow through with my goals this month.

Remember, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Take some time for yourself, and create goals. When you start crossing things off your list, you will be happy you did.

What are some of your goals? Do you have any tips for setting and achieving goals?

Steak & Beet Kale Salad

steakkalesalad

Every time I go to the farmer’s market I leave saying, “I should have come here with a plan,” the next time roles around – no plan, uhg! So what we have here are the items that looked good at the market thrown together to look somewhat presentable: Steak & Beet Kale Salad. I have 3 Farmer’s Markets close by to choose from, but the St. Jacob’s one is my favourite. I am going to try and to buy the majority of my produce from markets only. Not only do the products look so much better, but they are sustainable farmed and local. This past weeks purchases included: kale, potatoes, beets, peas, strawberries, broccoli and garlic. Next week’s purchases must include pork lard! I will explain soon why…

I am lucky enough to have a butcher for a dad, he has a family owned and operated custom meat shop. All of my meat comes from local farms and is of the highest quality – I am spoiled this way. I must buy my poultry & seafood elsewhere however.

Ingredients:

  • Steak (I had a strip loin, it wasn’t the most tender cut though)
  • Spices (No salt added)
  • Baby Potatoes
  • EVOO
  • Garlic Minced
  • Kale
  • Peas (Fresh if possible)
  • Beets (Fresh)

Salad Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1/4 c EVOO
  • 1/4 c Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/4 c Lemon Juice
  • S + P

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 & bring a large pot of water to boil on the stove.
  2. Cut the ends of fresh beets and wash. Place in boiling water until fork goes through easily. (To speed this process up cut the beets into smaller chunks)
  3. Cut baby potatoes (I used red ones) in half. Toss in some EVOO and minced garlic. Place on a baking sheet and pop in the oven.
  4. Cover steak in steak spice of your choosing (check the ingredients!) & preheat BBQ or I used a George Foreman Grill.
  5. Tear kale into bite sized pieces and place in a large bowl.
  6. To create the salad dressing combine ingredients to your liking. My measurements are guesstimates and this made a ton of dressing! For the salad you only really need a tablespoon or two. Store extra in the fridge.
  7. Start with one tablespoon of dressing on top of the kale and massage the dressing in with your hands. (Literally giving these leaves a full body massage – I was jealous.) This helps to use less dressing because each leaf will be coated, and massaging helps to remove some of the bitterness that is often associated with kale. Add more dressing as needed – be careful not to over do it on the dressing!
  8. Heat fresh peas.
  9. When beets are cooked, drain and rinse with cold water. Let cool so you can handle them easily.
  10. Start grilling your steak! Be sure not to overcook it like I did, oopsies.
  11. Peel the skin off the beets, it should come off quite easily (if you have full red beets, not striped like mine, be sure to wear gloves for this or you will be living with pink hands for the next few days.) Cut into bite sized pieces.
  12. Layer salad – kale, peas, beets. Top with your perfectly cooked steak.
  13. Serve with a side of garlic-y baby potatoes.

These instructions make this seem more complicated than it is. Just cook everything and put it in a salad! It’s a salad, so doesn’t really matter if everything is heated correctly. This ended up being a massive salad, and I couldn’t actually finish it. So unlike me! I ate the second half of it cold the next day. Still delish.

Peas Please!

Although these are not my favourite, I picked these up at the farmers market because they looked so damn good, and already shelled! Check these babies out ↓↓↓

freshpeas

MACROS: 509 Calories — 21.7 g Fat — 38.6 g Carbs — 43.4 g Protein

PWO PB&J Protein Yogurt

PWOpb&jyogurt

After my power leg workout last night, I was craving peanut butter and jam. As I was finishing up my cardi-yo I was day dreaming of what delicious treat was waiting to be created at home. I came up with this: PWO PB&J Protein Yogurt. As mentioned earlier, I prefer to eat my protein rather than drink it, nom nom nom! This hit the spot for sure. I ate this along side my first attempt at overnight oats. They were basic, but I like the idea and will keep experimenting with them – recipes to come!

Ingredients:

  • 1 c Plain Greek Yogurt 0%
  • 1 scoop About Time Whey (Peanut Butter Flavor) **
  • 2 T Peanut Flour (No sugar added)
  • 1 T Natural Chunky Peanut Butter
  • Stevia
  • 2 T Sugar Free Jam

Instructions:

  1. Combine peanut-y products with the greek yogurt. It may get quite thick, if so add some almond milk.
  2. Add stevia to taste.
  3. Mix in some jam for some beautiful swirls.
  4. Feed those muscles!

** About Time Whey is my protein powder of choice – find out why here.

MACROS: 365 Calories — 10 g Fat — 19.6 g Carbs — 52.7 Protein

About Time Whey Protein

2lb-whey-protein-grouped

This is my protein of choice because it is the only completely clean option I have found, plus it tastes great! I have tried the peanut butter & birthday cake flavors so far. I liked both, but I am a sucker for anything peanut butter so I’d have to go with that one as my favourite. It is great mixed with almond milk for a protein shake, or used in baking. Here is an exert from their website:

100% ALL Natural Whey Protein Isolate Sweetened with Stevia
Most other protein supplements offer misleading labels and health claims, but About Time’s high quality whey protein isolate keeps it simple and 100% all natural. The label says it all—we only use five ingredients or less. And you can pronounce every last one of them.
Available in 8 awesome flavors, including: Banana, Birthday Cake, Chocolate, Cinnamon Swirl, Mocha Mint, Strawberry, Vanilla and Unflavored.
Find out more at http://tryabouttime.com/

Lunchin’ for the Week – Broccoli Quinoa Pasta with Egg White Cups

broccolipastacollage

I had a tough time deciding what to have for lunch this week because it is MY BIRTHDAY WEEK – and I want everything to be fantastic! I may change it up for my actual bday (August 1st – this Thursday :D), but for now here is what is on the menu: Broccoli Quinoa Pasta with Egg White Cups. So simple, but delicious. On Sunday night I prepped the pasta for the week (Monday to Thursday, since Friday is a vacation for me.) I make the egg cups every morning, I don’t know for sure, but I think they may become slimy if left too long – no thank you!

GARLIC SCAPE PESTO

I received these herb cubes as a gift from my friend Heather, such a great cook! She grew the herbs herself, and froze them in an ice cube tray – a great way to preserve fresh herbs. Just combine the following ingredients in a blender or food processor and transfer to an ice cube tray. Freeze and store in ziploc bags. These do make great little gifts!

  • Garlic Scape (curled flower from the top of a garlic plant)
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Olive Oil
  • Lemon Juice
  • Ground Black Pepper

BROCCOLI QUINOA PASTA

I like quinoa pasta for its texture and stellar nutritional value, but any gluten free pasta will do. Quinoa is a good source of amino acids, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and phytonutrients. Quinoa is a complete protein and contains all nine essential amino acids the body requires to build muscles. Quinoa is also a good source folate and phytochemicals – (www.livestrong.com). 

Ingredients:

  • 1 package Quinoa Pasta
  • 1 head Broccoli
  • EVOO
  • Herb cube

Instructions:

  1. Cook pasta as directed.
  2. Cut broccoli into long spears and steam slightly.
  3. Combine pasta & broccoli in a wok, drizzle with EVOO & toss in a herb cube or two.
  4. Let cool & divide into individual containers for the week.

eggwhitecups

EGG WHITE CUPS

These are ridiculously simple to make. I think they would be great for kids as well. I kept it really simple this week with mushrooms and tomatoes, but next time I will try a different combo. The possibilities are endless; balsamic onion, chicken & goat cheese OR green pepper, ham & cheddar OR try lining the cup with a piece of bacon or lunch meat.

Ingredients:

  • Liquid Egg Whites
  • Mushrooms
  • Cherry Tomatoes

Instructions:

  1. Spray a muffin tin & preheat oven to 350.
  2. I put 1 cherry tomato cut in half and a couple of mushrooms in each muffin cup. (TIP – don’t add too many ‘topping’ or the egg cup won’t hold together)
  3. Fill with egg whites and pop in the oven.
  4. Wait until center is cooked. Let cool and move to containers.

For lunch this week, I brought a 2 cup container with the Broccoli Quinoa Pasta and 6 Egg White Cups. A well rounded, satisfying lunch. We have a staff lunch on Thursday where they are bringing in pulled pork, beans and coleslaw. I prefer to bring my own lunch to these events. If I’m going to have a ‘cheat’ meal, I am going to make damn sure it is worth it – and staff lunches are often not. I will receive a few jests about my healthy lunch, but nothing I can’t handle. I’ve got goals people! Happy Tuesday!

eggwhitecups-container

MACROS: 399 Calories — 8.6 g Fat — 53.7 g Carbs — 24.5 g Protein