Paleo Pumpkin Protein Shake!

So, as I’m sure you have noticed…..I have been addicted to these smoothies & shakes!! It’s just so easy for me (who doesn’t normally eat breakfast) to whip one of these up to take for breakfast & then bring the extra for a little snack later =) Not only can these babies be full of healthy fats, vegetables, fiber (keep you full), but they are so easy to make, easy to takeeee & DELISH! YUM! So here is my latest creation, using pumpkin, I know thanksgiving is over… pumpkin is NOT & you’ll see why!!

PUMPKIN SHAE

Recipe:

1/2 cup pumpkin puree (NOT PUMPKIN PIE MIX)

1 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk (a little more if you want it thinner)

1/2 banana (or frozen banana if you thought ahead =))

4-5 dates (optional, just for a hint of sweetness)

1/2 tsp-1 tbsp (i like a lot) cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1-2 scoops protein of your choice (I only use one scoop)

(**feel free to add some nutmeg, or cloves for some extra spice!)

**Add ice if you didn’t have a frozen banana, or if you just want it colder! (I drink mine at room temp sometimes, i don’t mind it! =))

Pulse everything in your blender, add some extra almond milk if your shake is looking too thick. Pour into glass, sprinkle some extra cinnamon on top just for fun & drink up! Great for breakfast or post WOD…here’s why:

Pumpkin is not only an antioxidant (beta-carotene, plays a role in cancer prevention!) & an anti-inflammatory, but  FULL of Vitamin A, more than 200% of  your daily intake! Vitamin A can aid in your visibility & help prevent cataracts & sight deterioration.  Pumpkins are also rich in carotenoids (what gives them their color), which actually has anti-aging properties! Also, has shown to help aid in cardiovascular disease prevention. This awesome ingredient is full of fiber as well, keeping you fuller, longer  & helping us keep our fab figures! Last but not least, full of Vitamin C, which helps boost the immune system & contains more potassium than a banana!!! This helps refuel us and keep our muscles functioning well! I think it’s safe to say I’ll be enjoying pumpkin all year round =)

Ginger is great for our belly! Chew on some ginger or add some to your tea to help soothe upset stomachs or cramps & reduce flatulence..(I don’t have to explain that do i?!?!?!?) Ginger helps improve the absorption of nutrients in the body & helps get rid of throat & nose congestion! Definitely a SUPER SPICE!

Cinnamon is not only a tasty additive to baked goods, smoothies, teas, applesauce… is actually has shown to regulate blood sugar & reduce cholesterol (reduce risk of cardiovascular disease) Cinnamon has natural medicinal purpose by showing to be effective against some ulcer causing bacteria & other yucky bacteria. (YIKES!) Has been linked to arthritis relief & also cancer prevention! & finally, contains fiber, calcium, iron & maganese…granted we only use a TBSP or so per serving, but use it in everything & you’ll be good to go!!!

Happy Drinking!! =) ❤ Amy

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Chocolate Chia Avocado Banana Protein Shake

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I posted a picture of this yummy shake this morning & I wanted to share the recipe!!! This shake is full of fiber & healthy fats! Will definitely keep you full with plenty or protein & nutrients! So delicious as a post workout shake, breakfast, or a chocolatey treat!!

Chocolate Avocado Chia Banana Protein Shake:

1/2 avocado
1/2 banana
1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond or coconut milk (may need more if it’s too thick!)
1-2 tbsp coconut butter (a couple chunks will do!)
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp-1tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp-1 tbsp raw honey or a few dates
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1-2 scoops protein powder of your choice
*ice if you prefer it cold (or just freeze your bananas!)

* Put everything in food processor & pulse until smooth! Enjoy! Makes 1-2 servings!

Killer Salad Dressing!!

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Most of us have a salad for lunch or dinner daily. It’s yummy, easy & good for on the go… & of course HEALTHY! But…are you putting salad dressing on it? What kind? From a bottle, a mix..? If you are saying yes, then you might want to make a change! Not only are those bottles enemies packed with hidden sugars & salts, they are loaded with chemicals & additives that we can’t even pronounce!!!! I know they are probably creamy & tasty, but full of calories, sugars & chemicals! Those sugar-free, fat-free low cal dressings?? EVEN WORSE! Hello artificial sweeteners & flavors!!! Unfortunately, the list goes on & on & on…artificial coloring, soybean, corn & vegetable oils, poly-something…GROSS! If you are trying to get on the right track, nutrition & health wise, don’t let this bottle salad dressing sabotage your clean eating! Homemade salad dressing is so simple to make and 100 times as flavorful! Here are 2 of my favorite recipes (that take no time at all to make)!!

Balsamic Vinagrette:

1 cup EVOO

1/2 cup balsamic

1-2 TBSP dijon mustard

1 clove minced garlic

S&P to flavor (if you would like)

*Mix everything in a bottle & shake up! I store mine right on the counter! Enjoy!

Lemon Garlic Dressing:

1/2 cup olive oil

juice of one lemon

1/4 tsp. sea salt

8-10 cloves minced garlic

*any other seasonings that you want

Whisk up ingredients & store in a dressing container. On counter or in fridge (gets thick in fridge)

P.S. These dressings can double as marinades! 🙂

DIY Laundry Soap!

Ok, so if you know me, you know I love “stuff”… Clothes, food, housewares, lotions, makeup, hair products, household cleaners, WHATEVER! & then if it’s on sale… oh em gee. STOP! More importantly, if I can make it myself?!?! YES!!!!!! Ugh, i love these moments, I just feel brilliant!! So anyway, back on track. I have been trying to make a lot of the things I like & need to use as opposed to buying them in a store at full price. (YUCK!) I’ll expand on this more as I make more products. For now, laundry soap it is!!! Phew, I’m excited!

Ok here it goes.. So, I know in my house, 2 people, probably 4-5 loads a week. That’s a lot!!!!! I can’t imagine a house with like 5 people! UGH, I can’t even think about it. I was using Gain for a long time. My favorite!! The smell is amazing, clothes nice & clean. $20ish for 150oz….not too bad. They say it lasts 96 loads. (Maybe if you have a boyfriend who doesn’t pour it into the washer from the bottle!!!!!!!!!!!) I’d say it lasts 3 months or so, at our pour rate! I was just over buying laundry detergent so often at a high price! So after searching for different recipes I started mixing!! It is a powder form, costs me $29 to make, smells amazing, more importantly WORKS AMAZING & …..hold your breath….lasts over a year!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Doug is a mason, which means DIRTY CLOTHES, if this can clean his clothes then we have a discovery people!) I can’t even take it. Hands down, best laundry soap ever, not to mention easy to make. You guys will definitely need to give this a go! (Not to mention, makes such a cute gift, put in a little mason jar, with a ribbon! Ugh, to die for!)

I purchased all of my ingredients at Walmart, sometimes ZOTE bar soap I have to get at Home Depot!

LAUNRY SOAP 2

(I’ve gotten the Zote finer before, I think I rushed this batch^^ Still works the same..)

Laundry Soap:

1 large box of Borax (about 4 lbs)

1 Box of Baking Soda Super Washing Soda (about 3 lbs)

2 Bars of ZOTE laundry soap (Yes, a BAR) They make pink or white, i prefer pink, the scent is better & of course it’s pink =)

1 Big box (4lbs) of regular baking soda or 2 (2lb) boxes

1 tub of Oxyclean (whichever kind) (3lbs) (SAVE THE SCOOP)

A small (ish..here i go again with the ish!) plastic tub to store the detergent in.

**Optional: 1 or 2 bottle of fabric softener crystals. Purex makes some nice scents. I always add this because it smells so good!!

Grate your bar soap. I used my food processor, and it actually didn’t ruin it…and it was actually easy to clean! After you have that grated, the rest is smooth sailing! Dump everything in your bucket & mix up!! (Really mix well!) I saved the scoop from the Oxyclean to use as a scoop when I do the laundry! 2 TBSP should do the trick, maybe 3 if you’ve got extra grime!! =) I’m 90% sure that this is safe for an HE washer!

**These ingredients cost about $29, you can actually cut it back to just Borax, Baking Soda Super Soda & Zote Soap if you want to limit the ingredients and/or chemicals! I stick to this full recipe because it makes a lot & smells delish! I will do my best to be more green in other ways =) Enjoy!

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Smoothie Time!!

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Good morning!!! So, I know I am not alone in saying that I don’t always like to eat breakfast.(sometimes due to lack of time!) Now there are many discrepancies on whether you should or shouldn’t, but ill save that for another post! Me personally, I don’t like to eat breakfast, but then by 11 or so am I’m looking around for either something quick or something sweet!!!! Ugh, aka the devil! So instead of cooking up some eggs & bacon, I’ve been trying to make some smoothies! Not only are they easy and quick & perfect for taking on the road, they are packed with vitamins, nutrients & healthy fats!!! (Depending on the components you choose) Anyway, I’ve been trying to think of some concoctions that include more veggies than fruit so I’m not taking in toooooo much sugar! This morning my goal was spinach, (I’m doing beets next! Yum!!) here is the recipe, (I didn’t measure, but ill try to break it down for you ;-))

Spinach Banana Smoothie:

2-3 cups organic baby spinach (or kale)

About a cup (maybe a little more! play with consistency) of unsweetened almond milk (or coconut)

1/2 banana (if you slice & freeze your bananas ahead of time, using those keeps smoothie thick and cold, otherwise I don’t care about temp)

1 tbsp sunflower seed butter

1 tsp of raw honey ( optional, raw honey tends to be sweeter than its processed sister! )

1 tsp (ish) cinnamon (really gave it great flavor!)

* Now here is where you can play around: I chose to add some psyllium husks (fiber), but you can add protein powder, flax or chia seeds, or whatever you want for an extra kick! 🙂

Combine everything in the blender, pulse to liquefy & enjoy!!!!!!!!!

Time for a Challenge!!!

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Tis the season for a little nutrition challenge!!! Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays, vacations, Valentines day…. I am still feeling a little bit from each holiday!!!! I don’t know about you but I’m about due for a little extra discipline!! ( I think we all are!) So when a Paleo Challenge was announced through the gym, Shoreline Crossfit, I was like yep, sign me up! No time to even think about it or talk myself out of it, JUST DO IT!! Now, this is a “Paleo-ish” challenge, which means some things that are generally considered paleo in moderation are actually still allowed (for example, honey, dark chocolate, bacon…) I am happy about that, not meaning I am going to be bingeing on that, I will actually stay away from those extra fatty & sugary things for a bit. I say I am glad that these things are allowed, because sometimes when we go super strict for a challenge, we either end up failing, or doing awesome & then bingeing when it’s over! STUPID!! So, finding a happy, healthy paleo-ish balance is my kind of game! So here I am, Sunday evening, (challenge starts tomorrow) thinking about what sort of meal prep I will be doing for the week to ensure a successful journey! If you are signed up, are doing something similar, or just want some meal/snack ideas, then this should help! I wanted to compile a couple of meals & snacks that I will be making & packing for the week! Food prep is key in making sure you are eating right & eating enough! Don’t let your forgetfulness drive you to a drive-thru!!!! Hopefully you can get some ideas from the following yummies to keep you on track!!!!!! 🙂

I am dividing these things up into Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner, but I tend to eat dinner for breakfast & lunch for dinner, so eat up anything @ any time!!!

Breakfast Ideas:

Chia Seed Pudding or “Oatmeal”: Chia seeds have many positive health benefits, including lowering cholesterol, stabilizing blood sugar, aiding in digestion & boosting energy!! If you have texture troubles, you may have have to get used to this one, but I LOVE IT! My co-workers think I’m gross when I eat this tho lol! You can make this ahead of time in glass mason jars like I do & store in the fridge for on the go! 1/4 cup black or white chia seeds, 1 cup unsweetened coconut or almond milk, 1 tbsp honey (optional), 1tsp vanilla, pinch of cinnamon. Combine all ingredients, except seeds, to jar, then add seeds. Shake vigorously, break up with a fork if necessary. Let sit in fridge for a couple of hours or overnight. The seeds will expand leaving you with this awesome pudding like deliciousness! I add fruit or nuts to it & dig in!!! So yummy!

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“Cereal”: I just call this cereal, but it’s simply 1/2 apple, cut up, a few nuts, (walnuts my fav!), raisins (if you’re getting snazzy), unsweetened coconut, cinnamon, & unsweetened vanilla almond milk. Now if you are looking for a little sweet, add just a DRIZZLE of honey! Let me tell you…DELISH!

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Frittata (or minis!): This is a piece of cake. Simply because I use this opportunity to empty out the fridge!! I take 12-15 eggs, whisk up with some S&P, add every veggies I can get my hands on (you’ll probably want a little more egg than veggies tho), Mix up, pour into greased (EVOO or COCONUT OIL) 9×13 Pyrex dish. Bake at 425 ish for about 20ish (clearly i used “ish” a lot!!) minutes until set! This is great to make on Sunday & have for the week! Perfect hot or cold, as breakfast or snack! For minis, just divide into greased muffin tins! Excellent for on the go!

3 Ingredient Pancakes: Not as complex as some other pancake recipes I have come across, but this is great if you are craving something bready & don’t have all day to cook! 2 ripe bananas, 1 egg, 1 tbsp nut butter (almond is ok, or even sunflower seed, see past recipe;)). (Add a little cinnamon & vanilla if you have the extra sec!!) Mash up bananas, doesn’t matter if it’s lumpy, Mix all of the ingredients together. Heat up some coconut or olive oil in a pan (med heat is good). Pour mix into pan to form a few pancakes, cook until you see bubbles, flip & cook a little more! Enjoy! No butter or syrup necessary!

Here are some other snack ideas for on the go!!

  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Nuts (not too many if weight loss if the goal)
  • Home made trail mix (nuts, seeds, raisins, coconut, etc)
  • Fruit (not too much if weight loss is the goal)
  • Larabars (again, higher is sugar, natural sugar of course, but sugar = sugar!), you can buy these in the store, purchase them off of my menu or make your own!! SUPEREASY!
  • Applesauce (unsweetened & delicious!!, add cinnamon!)
  • Apple Frittata: Recipe listed a few posts back, worth making!! Especially for a sweet treat, it’s like pumpkin pie with no added sugars!
  • Turkey Roll-ups: I buy Applegate or Boars Head Low Sodium Sliced Turkey or Chicken breast, take a couple slices & roll up some tomato, lettuce, bacon & a smidge of organic mustard!! So amazing!

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I feel as tho I’ve typed enough for today, so you guys are on your own for dinner ideas!!!!! Pinterest & Google are awesome places to help out when in a dinner funk! & definitly look out on my facebook or future blog posts for some tasty dinner, snack, & sweet treat ideas!!!! Enjoy & eat up!!!

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Mmm French Fries!!

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No, not McDonalds…don’t get excited!!! 😉 Although I can’t stop myself from salivating slightly….I’m sorry, GROSS, i know!!!!!!!!!!!!! Well, in my nutrition journey, I have had to say goodbye to my darling friends…the french fries….[tear.. :*( ] Ok, ok i’ll stop. So anyway, just like I always like to do..I like to re invent my old naughty foods!! PALEO STYLE! Yayuh!! So I wanted to give you guys some ways to use different vegetables (no white potatoes or deep fryer) to create “fries.”

sweet pot

Sweet Potatoes: Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Slice potatoes into sticks, like “fries,” skin on. Toss them in a bowl with A LITTLE evoo (too much makes them soggy), then add: cumin, garlic powder, pepper, salt & chili powder **I put them in order of how much I used of each. (for ex, I use a lot of cumin & alittle chili powder) I’m not much of a measurer! =) Toss them together, lay them flat on a foil lined baking sheet (easy cleanup) and bake for about 20 mins, turning halfway through until brown & crispy! (i like them burned!)

rutabega

Rutabega: Love this tasty vegetable, excellent cubed, baked, mashed & FRENCH FRIED! Peel the waxy skin, cut into sticks & coat with some oil (olive or coconut) alittle salt & pepp (i put garlic as well, as I do everything!!) & you’re good to go! Put on a foil lined baking sheet & bake at 400 for about 25 mins, turning halfway through until brown, crispy & cooked all the way through!

carrots

Carrots: Peel carrots, cut into long skinny pieces, follow the rest of the rutabega instructions (temp & time). The spices can vary. You can use salt & pepp, or even cinnamon!!

zucchini

Zucchini: My most favvvvvvorite, most versatile, go-to vegetable! Love love love!! Love those much that I actually never tried to make them into fries!! OOPS! But I have seen many recipes! Here is a cheesy fried like version: http://loveandprimal.com/wp/nutrition/recipe-primal-zucchini-fries/ Let me know how they come out!!

parsnip

Parsnips: Definitly one of my favorite vegetables, super tasty! Peel parnips, cut into strips. Put them into a bowl with some EVOO & some salt & pepp, even rosemary! YUM! Bake in a 450 degree oven for about 25 mins, turning halfway through!!