Fit 'N' Well Mommy

Being a mommy doesn't always mean sacrifice

Friday Favorites + Paleo Chocolate Chip Protein Cookies! November 30, 2012

TGIF!  I’m SO glad it is Friday; it has been quite a week with being sick, still trying to get some good  training time in for next week’s competition, as well projects completed for the holidays! Though we have a busy day tomorrow, it will be nice to have some quality family time on Sunday. We are planning to get our Christmas tree this weekend, so Sunday’s agenda is decorating it and baking cookies! Also, I’m excited to start the Advent calendar and “Elf on the Shelf” with Keenan tomorrow!

Today has been a nice lazy day at home. My husband let me sleep in this morning to get some additional rest and boy, did it help! I definitely feel a lot better today. Even though I don’t like using nasal sprays, I gave in and used one last night and it worked wonders! I could breathe and finally get some sleep. I’m hoping with another good night’s rest, I will feel even better tomorrow.

Since it was raining this morning, I thought it was a perfect time to bake cookies, experimenting with almond flour and coconut oil. Keenan was eager to be my “baking assistant,” so he could taste everything, especially the chocolate chips! We had a fun time baking while listening to Christmas music. It was cute, he sat on his step stool and watched the cookies bake (I had the oven light on), the entire 8 minutes! Once the cookies were ready to eat, he was super excited to have one, and another and a half of another one! I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised at how good the cookies turned out. They are perfectly moist and flavorful. My husband actually said that they were probably some of the best cookies he has ever eaten…WOW!

These are so good, it is hard to stop eating them!

These are so good, it is hard to stop eating them!

Paleo Chocolate Chip Protein Cookies: (makes 2 dozen cookies)

Ingredients:

– 2 1/2 cups almond flour

– 1/2 tsp baking soda

– 1 heaping scoop vanilla protein powder

– 1/2 tsp salt

– 2 tbsp flaxseed

– 1/4 cup Xylitol

– 1/2 cup coconut oil

– 2 eggs

– 1 tsp vanilla

– 1/4 cup raw honey

– 1/2 – 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips (depending on how chocolatey you want your cookies to be)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray nonstick spray on two cookie sheets

2. Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

3. Mix wet ingredients together in a small bowl and gently mix into dry ingredients.

4. Add chocolate chips and combine.

5. Form dough into small balls, place onto prepared cookie sheets and press them down.

6. Bake for 7-10 minutes, until lightly browned (but don’t over bake). Let cool and enjoy!

*Notes: These cookies don’t rise and spread out as regular chocolate chip cookies, so make sure to press them down, otherwise the cookies will stay in the shape of a ball.

So excited to finally eat a cookie!

So excited to finally eat a cookie!

Now, onto “Friday Favorites!” I love Fridays, because it is a great time to reflect back on the week and think about my favorite moments and things that I ate. I’ve been doing pretty well with living more in the present and cherishing each and every moment, instead of thinking about what I have to do next, but it is still a challenge. Friday Favorites is a nice reminder to slow down and appreciate the little things in my life!

Favorite Moments:

  • Keenan enjoying the wonderful taste of homemade whipped cream!

    Having a taste straight from the container (thanks to my husband)!

    Having a taste straight from the container (thanks to my husband)!

  • Cuddling with Keenan and his critters!

    Snuggling with his blanket and critters!

    Snuggling with his blanket and critters!

  • Baking cookies!

    My little "baking assistant!"

    My little “baking assistant!”

  • Enjoying some cuddle time with my husband while watching one of our favorite shows, “Parenthood.”

Favorite Eats:

  • Spaghetti Squash Tomato Bake with turkey (Mexican style with black beans, spices, salsa and cheddar cheese)

    I made this last night and it was the best batch ever! Everyone liked the Mexican version better!

    I made this last night for dinner and it was the best batch ever. Everyone liked the Mexican version better!

  • Paleo Chocolate Chip Protein Cookies

    Fresh out of the oven!

    Fresh out of the oven!

It’s time to work on some more Christmas projects and visit with my brother (he came in last night for a quick visit, since he has some work in the area). No CrossFit again for me today. I’m thinking rest is the best thing until I’m feeling 100%. I’m hoping to fit in a workout tomorrow or Sunday. Have a great afternoon!

Question: What were some of your favorite moments and eats from this week? Any fun holiday plans for the weekend?

REMINDER: There is still time to enter a chance to win a cute workout headband from Simple-Trends! Giveaway ends Monday, Dec. 3rd at 8 p.m. PST!! Click here to enter.

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Happy Halloween and What I Ate Wednesday! October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween! Since it is Wednesday, it is time to link up with Jenn for What I Ate Wednesday!

Spooky Snacks and Healthy Halloween Treats

Instead of just focusing on today’s eats, I thought I would do a roundup of what I ate the past few days, especially, since I haven’t talked much about them.

On Sunday night, I made spaghetti squash tomato bake with turkey, using cheddar cheese, instead of mozzarella (I forgot to include mozzarella on my grocery list for the week). I actually liked the cheddar cheese better, because it was much more flavorful!

Before it was baked.

Just out of the oven!

We have also enjoyed our “usual breakfast” (having it on Monday and this morning).

The usual, but always good!

For lunches the past couple of days, I have been eating my new favorite dish: microwave egg whites in a mug on top of a bed of spinach with tomatoes, avocado and salsa. Keenan has been enjoying “cheesy egg” and turkey and cheese sandwiches.

So good and so satisfying!

Since we had so much leftover spaghetti squash, we have eaten it the past couple of nights for dinner (finally finishing it last night). I just love making big casseroles that last a few days. It makes dinners SO easy!

On the menu for tonight is Chinese long beans with Italian Sausage and mushrooms added. It should be good! I figure a nice veggie loaded one-pot meal will be perfect for tonight, since we will probably snack on some popcorn while watching a movie, while passing out candy.

Speaking of popcorn, I can’t forget to mention that Keenan and I have been snacking on some wonderful salted caramel popcorn from Angie’s Popcorn, that we received a couple of days ago (look for a review and giveaway coming soon!).

SO incredibly good!

Since we are going trick-or-treating tonight, I still have a lot to do, including going to CrossFit to do today’s WOD (I went to the box this morning to do some skill work of strict presses, push presses, handstand pushups and double unders), so I’m going to keep today’s post short. Also, my mom is here, to go trick-or-treating with us and spend the night (which Keenan is SO excited about!), so I better get going!

Questions: What are your plans for tonight? What have you been eating the past few days?

FINAL REMINDER: The Artisana giveaway ends tonight at 8 p.m. PST!! To enter, click here.

 

TGIF and At Home Date Night! October 6, 2012

Happy Friday! It has been another long week, so I’m ready for the weekend! Though, it is going to be another busy weekend, it will be nice to have some family time. Tonight, we are having our “at home date night” after Keenan goes to bed and finally catching-up on all of our TV shows that we missed this week. On the menu for tonight is spaghetti squash tomato bake with chicken (since I didn’t have any ground turkey) paired with a nice bottle of Chianti. I’m also thinking of making a microwave cookie for dessert that I saw on Kristen’s blog! It looked pretty tasty!

Oh, before I go into more about our day, I thought I would give a recap of last night’s dinner experiment/creation. It was a hit! It is definitely something I’ll be making again! The chicken was super moist and the black beans combined with the onion, bell peppers and salsa made a “pseudo chili!” Although, it turned out more like soup, it was still delicious and Keenan REALLY loved it! He sucked down his plate in minutes! I just love crock pot meals, because you can truly toss everything in, let it cook and forget about it (even frozen chicken!)! I’ll definitely be doing more crock pot meals, especially as the weather gets colder. Here is my recipe:

Mexican Chicken in the Crock Pot…so good!

Mexican Chicken in the Crock Pot: (serves 3)

Ingredients:

-3 frozen chicken thighs

– 1 can of black beans

– 1 red bell pepper (diced)

– 1 green bell pepper (diced)

– 1 onion (diced)

– 1 cup of salsa

– 1 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream

– 1 tsp cumin

– 1 tsp pepper

– 1 tsp garlic no-salt seasonin

– 1 tsp oregano

– pinch of salt

Directions:

1. Place frozen chicken on the bottom of the crock pot. Meanwhile, mix black beans, bell peppers, onion, salsa and spices in a small bowl.

2. Place bean mixture on top of chicken. Cook on high for 4-5 hours.

3. Once the cooking is complete, put your crock pot on warm and place the yogurt or sour cream on top. Let sit for 20-30 minutes before serving.

Notes: If your salsa is too watery (like the salsa that I used), drain before mixing it with your bean mixture, to prevent your meal from turning into a soup. Top your dish with slices of avocado and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro and your meal is complete!

After Keenan went to bed last night, my husband and I enjoyed a glass of  Samuel Adam’s Imperial White while we watched “Up All Night,” before heading to bed. It was the first time I had the Imperial White and it was good. I definitely recommend it!

I was surprised at how good this was!

Speaking of going to bed, my husband and I got to bed early last night, by 10:30! It felt good to go to bed early. I’m hoping to do the same tonight…sticking to my goal one day at a time!

This morning when I got Keenan up, he immediately asked me to go in his crib to read books and go “sleepy sleep.” He thinks it is SO fun to have my husband and I in his crib…it is too cute! So, we read a few stories in his crib before getting changed and heading downstairs for breakfast. Since I went to the morning CrossFit class, we ate a simple breakfast of whole wheat toast topped with peanut butter and banana slices. Of course, I also enjoyed a latte! As you can see, Keenan was thrilled to have peanut butter for breakfast this morning!

Enjoying his peanut butter!

My yummy breakfast this morning!

Speaking of CrossFit, we did a great partner WOD of: 100 sumo deadlifts, 50 sumo high pulls with a 50 lb kettlebell, 100 ring dips and 50 push presses (95 lb). The time cap was 25 minutes and my partner and I were able to finish in 20 minutes (using a band for our ring dips). It wasn’t too bad, but my left shoulder has been bothering me since Wednesday, so after today’s workout, it is definitely sore! Lots of ice and stretching for me!

After CrossFit, I took Keenan to get a haircut, since his hair was getting long and shaggy. The moment I told him we were going to get his haircut, he started crying and saying, “no haircut Keenan!” He was completely scared to even walk into the haircut place (even though he got his hair cut there before). So, after talking with him and offering a small treat of chocolate milk and a sticker book if he was a big boy and didn’t cry while getting his haircut, he was fine. He even smiled while getting his haircut and gave the lady a high-five! I know, I shouldn’t offer bribes, but sometimes it is the only thing that works!

Look who got a haircut!

After Keenan’s haircut, we stopped at the store and Keenan was SUPER excited to pick out his chocolate milk! Unfortunately, they didn’t have sticker books, so I’ll have to get that another time. When we got home, I made lunch: a turkey and cheese sandwich with avocado for Keenan and microwaved egg whites topped with tomato, avocado and salsa, with a side of baby carrots for me. After Keenan finished his lunch, he enjoyed his glass of chocolate milk! He was SO excited to drink it!

Since I went to CrossFit this morning, Keenan and I headed to the park to play a bit after he woke up from his nap. I definitely prefer going to the park in the morning because it was completely crowded with older kids this afternoon!

Well, I’m off for a little bit of “piano time” with Keenan before his dinner and then it’s date night! I can’t wait for our spaghetti squash tomato bake and some wine! Doesn’t it look good and it is not even baked yet?

This should be good!

Question: What is on your menu tonight? Any fun plans for the weekend? We are heading to our local farmer’s market tomorrow morning and then to a birthday party in the afternoon, followed by a charity event in my hometown. I’m hoping to have some time to relax on Sunday and maybe do some pruning/weeding in our backyard.

 

Health Lessons Learned Lately: “We eat our way, the way that works for us” September 14, 2012

Loving his sweet potatoes!

Today, I am linking up with Healthy Living Blogs, as the theme for the month of September is “Health Lessons Learned Lately.”

Fact: With the food we eat serving as fuel for our bodies, it’s important that we properly fuel ourselves for our daily activities. Fact: Everyone is different.

I’ve noticed that some people feel the need to drastically change their diets and dive into a whole new way of eating, when they want to make positive changes in their overall health. Yes, if you’re only eating fried chicken wings and drinking milkshakes during every meal of every day, not too many people will deny that drastic changes in your diet will benefit you mentally and physically. A balanced diet comprised of fresh, whole foods doesn’t seem like it should really be altered, though. Most Americans simply eat too much, so changing how much you eat might make more of a difference than what you eat, if you’re already trying to eat a healthy diet.

Some ways of eating advocate very drastic changes, and others dictate specific food groups to be avoided. It seems that the Paleo way of eating (or diet) is a hot topic these days, or has been for a while, now. In the CrossFit box that I work out in, there are a lot of people eating Paleo. Many people have experienced significant changes, such as losing weight, gaining more lean muscle and improving their performance. But the question that I ask is: Could someone experience the same results by just eating “clean,” i.e. by eating fresh fruits, vegetables, whole foods (little to no processed food), lean meats, nuts, whole grains, dairy, healthy fats and practicing mindful eating? Though I am not a medical professional or Registered Dietician, my knee-jerk answer is, “Yes!”

By cutting out whole food groups, of course it will be easier for someone to lose weight, but is it necessarily healthy or sustainable for a lifetime? How do you make sure your body is getting all of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients that it needs if you are cutting out food groups? In addition, once your body consumes the foods that it hasn’t had in a long time, what happens? You might find your weight slowly creeping up or your body can no longer handle/digest the food as it did before.

I am a firm believer and advocate of adopting healthy eating habits that will last lifetime. When I was working as a Health Educator in physician’s offices, many patients would ask me to provide them with a list of foods that they could no longer eat and/or a specific meal plan. In addition to it being out of my scope of practice–since I am not a Registered Dietician–I would never provide anyone with a list of what they can’t eat or a set meal plan, because it is not practical in real life. In life, we are faced with eating out, dinner parties, holidays, meetings with catered food, cooking for a family, etc, so how can you eat Paleo or any other diet 100% of the time?

As I have met more and more people following “set diets,” and achieving results, I have learned that I need to do what is best for me, my body and my family. I have achieved my own results with practicing mindful eating and listening to the needs of my body (eating when I am hungry and stopping when I am full) and witnessed even greater results in my husband: My husband lost 23 pounds since he started CrossFit in January of this year, while he also ate healthier, practiced mindful eating and cut back on his portions (he used to go for “fourths”… no joke). For myself, I have put on more lean muscle and have more muscle definition, while maintaining my weight pretty consistently over the past two years. We eat “clean” by rarely eating any processed foods, except for Kashi cereal and a few pita or tortilla chips every once in a while (like special occasions when we have company over, or are on vacation). We still indulge in dessert every now and then (usually allowing ourselves one splurge a week) and drink alcohol (wine and beer). It is something that works for us, makes our bodies feel good and–most importantly–we are able to sustain it. When we travel and splurge WAY too much, such as the cupcakes last weekend, we cut back as soon as we get home by eating salads or lean protein, veggies and fruit for the first few days (until our bodies get back on track). It is a give-and-take and I like to say we eat healthy 90% of the time and allow ourselves to eat “not so healthy,” i.e. ice cream, cupcakes, gelato, french fries, milkshakes 10% of the time.

In the end, my most important lesson learned is listening to the needs of my body, not someone else, as they don’t lead my life. I eat to maintain my health, while still fueling my body for intense workouts. If someone is mainly sedentary, their daily nutritional needs are much different than someone who is working out every day–let alone an athlete! Find what works for you and your family. If you can sustain a “set diet,” then more power to you! Maybe your entire family is eating Paleo, so at family functions, you don’t have to worry about what you can and cannot make or eat. For me, it just doesn’t work. Don’t get me wrong, I love to bake with almond flour these days (more often than whole wheat flour), because of the nutrition that it packs, or even sweet potatoes. At times, we do eat meals that consist of just lean protein and veggies, but we don’t limit ourselves to only eating a certain way. We eat our way, the way that works for us.

Speaking of eating, here is the recipe for the spaghetti squash tomato bake with added turkey, that I promised:

Spaghetti Squash Tomato Bake with Ground Turkey: (Adapted from Roni at Green Lite Bites)

Ingredients:

– 1 medium spaghetti squash (cooked) *I cut mine in half, scoop out the seeds, fill the inside with a 1/2 cup water and put the top half back on and microwave (covered) for 10 minutes.

– 2 large tomatoes sliced

– 2 cups mozzarella cheese (shredded)

– 2 lbs. ground turkey

– 1 onion (diced)

– 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

– 1 clove garlic (minced)

– 2 Tbs olive oil

– Italian seasoning

-garlic (no-salt) seasoning *I use one from Costco

– salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 11 x 9 casserole dish with non-stick spray.

2. Caramelize onion and garlic in large pan and add turkey. Cook until turkey is browned.

3. Spread about one cup of spaghetti squash in the bottom of the casserole dish (using a fork to scoop out the flesh).

4. Add a layer of turkey on top of the squash (enough to cover it, but not too much, saving enough for a second layer).

5. Add six tomato slices over the turkey. Sprinkle with basil and spices.

6. Sprinkle half of the cheese on top of the tomato slices.

7. Repeat the layers: squash, turkey, tomato slices, basil, spices and cheese.

8. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes (until the cheese is browned and bubbly on top).

Sorry, I forgot to take a picture before we cut into it!

*Notes: You might need to add one more layer, if you have a large spaghetti squash, thus increasing the amount of the other ingredients. The turkey makes this casserole pretty thick, which was good! I love the added turkey this time, because it added a ton more flavor and protein, making this a one-pot meal!

Enjoying his pancake with pumpkin butter!

Well, today was “cleaning day” at our household, so after eating breakfast (something different this time…toasted pancakes with a spoonful of Fage 0% Greek yogurt for me and pumpkin butter for Keenan, in addition to slices of strawberries and a banana with a latte!) and prepping tonight’s dinner: turkey meatloaf in a crock pot with roasted sweet potatoes (I set my oven for a delay start) and sauteed kale with a red bell pepper (I washed and chopped everything, so it was ready to cook when we got home from the gym), Keenan and I cleaned house. Today, he wasn’t into helping me as he usually is, but he definitely wanted to vacuum and mop! We finished everything in time for CrossFit!

My breakfast…it is becoming one of my new favorites!

“Helping” me prep dinner!

Well, it’s late and I’m exhausted after a busy day and a hard workout tonight: 5 rounds of 15 hanging power snatches (women weight: 75 lbs), 30 air squats and an alley carry of 35 pounds (weight for the women) with a 30 minute time cap. I tore my hand while doing chest-to-bar pullups on Tuesday, so I had some issues with my grip today, thus slowing me down. I was halfway done on the last alley carry (my 5th round) when the timer hit 30 minutes, ugh! Have a good night!

Oh, don’t forget to leave a comment on yesterday’s post , if you would like to be entered in the Sweaty Bands Giveway! The contest ends at noon PST tomorrow!

 

 
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