April 29, 2014

Gluten Free Black Bean Brownies

Hi everyone!

Black bean brownies?! I can't be serious... right??

Oh, but I am.

Chewy, fudgey, chocolaty brownies are hands down one of my favorite desserts. But I'm also trying really hard to tone and lean up for summer. So I don't want to ruin my clean eating days with a 300 calorie zero-nutrient brownie. Yikes!

But I have found a GREAT alternative to a regular brownie that, get this, is GOOD FOR YOU!

I know, I know, it has to taste terrible. It must not really be that good for you.

Well, my friend, those statements are wrong.

This brownie is indeed good for you!

In fact, one brownie has 7 grams of protein, 2 grams of fat, and is about 166 calories.

Would I lie to you? Never! So, go blend up a batch of these right now and you can thank me later. ;-)

Gluten Free Black Bean Brownies with Zero Refined Sugar
Makes 9 servings

1 (15.5 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
3 eggs (use a flax egg for vegan)
1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1 teaspoon instant coffee or 2-3 Tbsp very strong brewed coffee(optional)
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)*

Preheat oven to 350F. Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender. (If using chocolate chips, add these to the top of the brownies right before you place in the oven.) The batter will be more liquidy than traditional brownies. Pour into a greased 8 x 8 baking dish and bake for about 30 minutes, until middle is set and edges pull away from pan. Wait until completely cool to cut. I recommend letting these set overnight in the fridge because it really helps the flavors meld together and keeps the brownies from being as crumbly. But you know what, they're pretty darn good right out the oven too.

*If you use chocolate chips, the calorie content will increase slightly and depending on if you use regular or carob chocolate chips, there will be some refined sugar.



April 28, 2014

Non-Toxic, All Natural Orange & Vinegar Cleaning Solution

Hi everyone!

Do you ever feel dizzy, nauseous, or get a bad headache after cleaning your house? It can't be good to breathe in all those household cleaning chemicals, especially when you spray them and the mist swirls around in the air you breathe.

I am a big fan of vinegar. It's so versatile. You can pour in a few cups with warm water into your bath tub and let it soak overnight to make cleaning it the next day much easier. You can pour some in with your laundry to get rid of that sour odor common with towels or clothes left in the wash too long.

It's also a great option to replace toxic counter sprays. Don't like the smell of vinegar? No problem. Simply add orange peels into a sealed jar, pour vinegar to fill and let sit for 2 weeks. When ready, pour into a spray bottle with half vinegar, half water. Ta-da! A non-toxic, great smelling cleaning solution.

April 27, 2014

Sexy Summer Arms and Fat Melting HIIT

Hi everyone!

Summer is just around the corner, and it's already warm enough in some places to start wearing strappy tops and sundresses. I always like to feel confident wearing a sleeveless shirt or dress by having toned, flab-less arms. This is a really challenging routine, but it's very effective. If you're a beginner, just start out with light weights and work your way heavier.

This is me after the arms workout and right before the HIIT. I looked a lot sweatier 20 minutes later!

I finished up with a high intensity lower body fat burning 20 minute HIIT from Melissa Bender.

Always make sure to warm up before exercising.

Sexy Summer Arms Routine
Based on LeanitUP

1. Deadlifts -- 3 sets of 12
2. Closed-grip bench press -- 3 sets of 12
3. Incline Dumbbell Curls -- 2 sets of 12
4. Overhead Tricep Extension -- 2 sets of 10
5. French Press -- 2 sets of 10 (superset with the overhead tricep extension, meaning no rest between these two)
6. Barbell Biceps Curl -- 2 sets of 12

20 Minute Sweat to Sculpt HIIT
Visit here to check out the video for the moves

Use a timer to do 50 secs max reps, then 10 secs of rest.

1. Single Leg Frogger to Warrior III (right)
2. Single Leg Frogger to Warrior III (left)
3. High Knees
4. In/Out Squat Jump
5. Curtsy Lunge Kick (right)
6. Curtsy Lunge Kick (left)
7. High Knees
8. In/Out Squat Jump
9. Single Leg Hip Thrust (right)
10. Single Leg Hip Thrust (left)
11.High Knees
12. In/Out Squat Jump
13. Table Heel Press (right)
14. Table Heel Press (left)
15. High Knees
16. In/Out Squat Jump
17. Down Dog Heel Press (right)
18. Down Dog Heel Press (left)
19. High Knees
20. In/Out Squat Jump

And remember to drink some protein within 45 minutes of exercising.


April 25, 2014

Skinny Veggie Filled Sloppy Joe's


I've been sooo busy lately, it feels like yesterday was last week! School is jam packed this term, I'm trying to finish up my internship hours, and then you throw in family time for Easter and seeing friends... and I gotta get my workouts squeezed in! But I have still managed to fit in healthy, tasty meals.

I like to try to make things my boyfriend will like and not just politely endure. :-) So, I came up with an easy, very tasty Sloppy Joe recipe that is also packed full of veggies! So if you have any veggie-phobes in your family, this would be great for you.

It's versatile as well. I threw in red bell peppers and carrots because I had those on hand, but zucchini would be great too. I used ground turkey to keep it lean, yet protein packed. It also has no refined sugar (unless you use regular ketchup), but still has the sweet and tangy flavor of a traditional Sloppy Joe, so don't worry!

I loved this recipe so much I had it for dinner, then leftovers for lunch the next two days.

First, chop up 2-3 carrots, 1/2 a red bell pepper, 1/2 an onion, and a clove of garlic. You can finely mince everything if you are trying to disguise the veggies for those veggie-phobes. ;-) They won't even be able to tell in that case because the sauce conceals all.

Then you just brown the turkey meat with the onions, add your spices, sauce, and veggies, and voila! It's great warmed up too. I used Ezekiel bread instead of a bun as it's much better for you because it's made with sprouted grains, and also at 80 calories, 5 g of protein per slice, you can't go wrong.

See all those healthy veggies in there? I like mine chunky, but like I said, you can just mince yours finer to disguise them.



Skinny Veggie Filled Sloppy Joe's

1 package lean ground turkey
1 Tbsp spicy steak seasoning (any type of seasoning you like will work, mine was spicy and added a nice kick)
2-3 carrots, chopped or minced
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 clove minced garlic
1 1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire (worst-a-chur? This pronunciation gets me every time.)
1 can tomato sauce (I used Trader Joe's organic; do NOT use spaghetti sauce, just plain ole pureed tomato sauce)
2 Tbsp unsweeted Ketchup (you can also use organic, which might be sweetened, but at least not with high fructose corn syrup)
3 tsp coconut sugar (you'll definitely need to add this to get the sweet taste, otherwise it's a little vinegary from the Worcestershire)

Chop or mince your veggies and set aside. Begin browning the turkey with the onions. Saute chopped carrots (unless minced) for 5-10 minutes in a bit of olive oil so they soften. Once meat is browned, add the veggies, spice, and sauce ingredients and cook for 5 minutes on medium heat. Taste test and add coconut sugar according to your sweetness preference. Let simmer for about 5 more minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve on a healthy bread option, or without bread for a carb free dinner.

April 21, 2014

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

Hi everyone!

As I previewed last week, I made a second recipe with the delicious strawberries I bought at a local fruit stand.

This is a very easy, but extremely delicious salad. My mom found this recipe years ago and we've always loved it. You actually make the dressing from scratch and something about it brings out the strawberry taste. Sooo good!

You can see all the layers of ingredients in the mason jar. This salad is so pretty, isn't it? I've always heard, "The more colorful your plate of food, the healthier it is." Makes sense to me!

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

1 small bag of spinach
1 pint strawberries
1/2 cup sliced almonds
sliced avocado (optional)

Poppy Seed Dressing:
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons white or balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Make the dressing first. Add all ingredients into a mason jar or other container that seals. Shake up and let sit in fridge for at least 2 hours, but overnight is best. Shake before each use. Slice strawberries and toss with spinach, almonds, and any other toppings you may wish to add. Drizzle on dressing.



April 16, 2014

Ab Workout Cardio Shred

Hi everyone!

Yesterday, I needed to get some ab work in. A great supplement to ab conditioning is cardio. This is when I will suggest some distance cardio. This routine took me about 10 minutes for the ab conditioning which I paired with jumping rope for a 50/30 HIIT set. I repeated this twice, for a total of 20 minutes. Then I did the Stairmaster for 5 minutes on a challenging interval level. I finished off my gym session with 10 minutes on the elliptical on the hill climb setting with heavy-ish resistance.

10 Minute Jump Rope Ab Shred
50 secs max reps of abs/30 secs jump roping
Repeat 1-3X

Bicycle crunches
Jump Rope

Jump Rope

Side Plank Right
Jump Rope

Side Plank Left
Jump Rope

Ab Pulse Ups
Jump Rope

Reverse Crunches
Jump Rope

Mason Twists
Jump Rope

15 minutes of moderate intensity cardio of your choice: running, elliptical, stairmaster, rowing machine... etc.

April 15, 2014

Skinny Strawberry Oat Bars

Hi everyone!

It must be nearing strawberry season because we picked up the most juicy and amazing organic strawberries from a little fruit stand here in SD. I felt like I was taking a bite of summer with each strawberry.

I made two delicious recipes with them--the first are these healthified strawberry oat bars. They are protein packed, gluten free, with no refined sugar! I've eaten them for breakfast the past two days and I'm seriously full for hours from just one little square. They taste kind of like a gourmet Nutri-Grain bar.

Just boil 2 cups of finely minced strawberries with maple syrup, a tablespoon of coconut sugar, and throw in cornstarch at the end to thicken it. The crust is a mix of quick oats, peanut butter (or nut butter of choice), more maple syrup, cinnamon, apple sauce, and sliced almonds. Throw it all in the oven for 25-30 minutes on 325F and let cool before slicing. Great for breakfast or dessert.

Skinny Strawberry Oat Bars
Adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction

2 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 Tablespoons warm water
2 cups finely diced strawberries
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 Tablespoon coconut sugar

2 and 1/4 cup quick oats (not whole rolled oats)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup peanut butter (or almond butter or sunflower seed butter)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup apple sauce
1 large egg, beaten (leave out or sub a flax egg for vegan)
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 325F and line an 8 x 8 pan with foil so that some hangs over the edge. This will help remove the bars from the pan.

Make the strawberry filling first. Mix the cornstarch with the warm water until it all of the cornstarch has dissolved and there are no more clumps. It should resemble milk. Set aside. Combine the strawberries, maple syrup, and sugar together in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and stir well. Remove from heat and stir in the pre-mixed cornstarch. Whisk until all clumps are gone and set aside to thicken and cool.

Make the oat crust/topping: In a large bowl, combine the quick oats, cinnamon, peanut butter, maple syrup, apple sauce, and beaten egg. Mix until all of the oats are moistened and the mixture is thoroughly combined. Reserve 3/4 cup of the oat mixture. Press the remaining oat mixture into prepared baking pan. Make sure it is firmly pressed down and even. Spread the cooled strawberry filling on top. To the reserved 3/4 cup oat mixture, add the sliced almonds. Crumble this over the strawberry filling and, using the back of a spatula, press the topping down firmly into the strawberry filling.

Bake for 25-30 minutes. The topping will be lightly browned. Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares.

This will make about 9 medium sized bars or 12 small bars. Can be stored room temperature in a sealed container for up to 5 days. Can also be frozen and thawed.

Enjoy! Look out for my second strawberry recipe soon! Hint: It's not baked. :-)

Follow me on Instagram: @bikinibakerblog


April 14, 2014

Jumping Rope and Squat Workout

Hi everyone!

I thought I would start sharing some workouts I do since that's another area I wanted to focus on with my blog. If I only cooked this food and didn't work out... well, there would be a problem. ;-) I recently started incorporating jumping rope into my workout routines because a) I really don't like running and b) it's much better than running and has a wealth of benefits.

Check it out:

-When you jump rope, you are working your legs, calves, thighs, hamstrings, shoulders, arms, buttocks, and abdominal muscles. Practically every major muscle group is engaged when you’re jumping rope, and it also does a great job of working the most important muscle in your body–your heart.

-Strengthens your bones and muscle fibers. As you age, you lose muscle elasticity and bone density. Jump roping helps restore both of these crucial elements.

-Jumping rope is convenient! You can do it pretty much anywhere, indoors, outdoors, the gym, your backyard. No excuses for not working out now! :-)

-According to studies conducted by Harvard Medical School, jumping rope has been shown to be one of the most effective calorie-burning cardiovascular activities an average person can do.

-Jumping rope improves muscle tone in your arms and legs. Since these muscles are so heavily engaged in the activity of jumping rope, after a while they develop greater shape and definition. Say bye-bye to the jiggle.

-Last, but not least, it's fun! Seriously, I feel like a kid again when I'm jumping rope... "Cinderella dressed in yella, Went downstairs to kiss a fella..."
Melissa Bender is one of my favorite resources for free workouts. She has over 400 videos you can watch for FREE! She doesn't belong to a gym, so these are all workouts you can complete at home. You can complete these exercises with or without weights.

Here are two of her workouts I completed yesterday. I was definitely sweaty afterwards!

I did the Jump and Squat workout first.

Then I did two rounds of this lower body workout.

See all of the muscles highlighted when you perform a squat? It's a great exercise for multiple muscle groups. Plus, it'll help you get a booty. :-)


April 13, 2014

Gluten Free Protein Flax Pancakes

Good morning!

I had some amazing buckwheat pancakes on a recent mini vacation to Palm Springs. They were soooo good. So today, I found myself craving pancakes again. I decided on gluten free, high protein, high fiber pancakes.

These are single serving, so if you want to share, you might want to double the recipe. It will make 3 medium sized pancakes as recorded below.

Gluten Free Protein Flax Pancakes

1/3 cup oats, ground into flour
2 Tbsp ground flax seed
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 egg white
1/3 cup low fat or fat free Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp almond milk (milk of choice)

Heat a skillet sprayed with non stick spray or butter on medium low. Grind rolled or old fashioned oats into flour using a blender or food processor. Mix in the ground flax seed, baking soda, and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, whip the egg white until frothy. Then add the yogurt and milk and mix. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry.

Pour 3 medium sized pancakes onto the skillet. Heat for a couple minutes on each side, careful not to overcook. Some pans get hotter than others, so be careful, these are pretty thin pancakes.

Top with nut butter, jam, or pure maple syrup.

Nutrition (excluding topping): 323 calories, 17 grams protein, 13 grams fiber.



April 9, 2014

Funfetti Cake Protein Shake

Hi everyone!

Sometimes you just need a big ole' piece of cake, right? Well, maybe you don't "need" it, but you sure as heck want a piece, huh? I feel you... I have a ginormous sweet tooth.

But to counteract that craving, I can substitute a big ole' piece of cake with this delicious tasting Funfetti Cake Protein Shake. You get over 20 grams of protein and a great cake flavor for only about 185 calories. A Funfetti Cupcake with Icing has 0 grams of protein and 240 calories. I'll take the shake, how about you?

Funfetti Cake Protein Shake

1 cup almond milk (or sub other milk)
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 frozen banana

Blend all ingredients together. Add ice if you want.

Enjoy a dessert you can feel good about!


April 8, 2014

Veggie & Egg Whites Breakfast Tacos

Hi everyone!

I am enjoying a "heat wave" in San Diego right now. By "heat wave" I mean it's 80 degrees at the beach. That's really the perfect temperature in my opinion. Not too hot and you can wear shorts and sandals without getting chilly from the breeze.

Today I made veggie and egg white breakfast tacos. They were filling and delicious. I whipped them up in about 5 minutes.

I like to use these awesome raw corn tortillas by Tortilla Land. You just heat them up on the stove and they are seriously the most amazing "home made" tortillas. Only 60 calories a piece!

Veggie & Egg White Breakfast Tacos

2 corn tortillas (if you want to be gluten free/consume less calories)
4 egg whites
2-3 whole mushrooms, sliced
1 roma tomato
small handful of spinach
1 tsp olive oil
chipotle crema as an optional sauce or whatever you choose (omit for dairy free)

Heat the oil on the stove in a skillet and add tomatoes and mushrooms. Cook until tender, then add egg whites and spinach. Scramble until done.

Heat your tortillas if necessary. Add scramble to each tortilla and top with avocado, cheese, salsa, feta cheese, whatever you choose.



April 5, 2014

"Un-Fried" Chicken Strips and Garlic Cauliflower Mash

Hi everyone!

I was watching Trisha Yearwood earlier this week and she had a show that featured healthy twists on traditional Southern food. Like the Southern girl that I am, I love chicken tenders and mashed potatoes just as well as the next Southerner. And my boyfriend can attest to the pretty amazing cheesy mashed potatoes and mac and cheese I make him on his birthday. However, it's no surprise how terrible Southern food is on the waistline.

So, I decided to give these healthy twists a whirl!

These look almost exactly like mashed potatoes, don't they?

Un-Fried Chicken Tenders

2 lbs chicken breasts or tenders
1 1/2 cups whole wheat panko breadcrumbs
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour

Preheat oven to 350F. Cover a baking sheet with foil.

Prepare 3 plates or bowls in an assembly line. The first one will have the 1/2 cup flour with the salt and pepper. The second will have the 2 eggs, beaten. The third will have the panko breadcrumbs and spices.

If you're using chicken breasts, pound to 1/2" thickness and cut into strips. Dredge chicken tenders in the flour, fully coating and shaking off excess. Dredge into egg mixture then into panko mixture, making sure to coat chicken completely in panko. Lay on baking sheet.

Bake chicken for about 20 minutes, 10 minutes per side. Be sure to watch cooking time depending on how thick or thin your tenders are.

Garlic Cauliflower Mash

1 medium head of cauliflower, chopped
Kosher salt
1/4 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons Parmesan
1 tablespoon Greek yogurt
1/2 clove garlic, smashed and chopped (be careful with how much garlic you add if you aren't a garlic lover)
Freshly ground black pepper

Bring pot of water to a boil and add chopped cauliflower and pinch of salt. Boil for 10 minutes. Drain and dry with with paper towels. While still hot, add to food processor along with the rest of the ingredients. Serve immediately.

I hope you all enjoy this dish! I found that I didn't really miss the fried taste and the cauliflower mash was deliciously creamy.


April 3, 2014

Banana Bread Oatmeal

Hi everyone!

One of my favorite things to eat is oatmeal. I love alllll kinds! You've probably already seen my Strawberry Banana Baked Oatmeal recipe, which is phenomenal, but if you're just looking for a single serving recipe, this one is pretty good.

There are only about 300-350 calories depending on if you use nuts or sweeteners. And it takes less than 10 minutes to make.

Banana Bread Oatmeal

1 cup almond milk (or milk of choice)
1/2 cup old fashioned or rolled oats
1 banana, mashed
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp maple syrup or molasses (optional: the banana adds a good amount of sweetness so you can omit extra sweeteners if you want)
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of salt

Boil 1 cup of milk on the stove, then add in oatmeal and reduce to medium heat. Add in mashed banana after a couple minutes. Stir to keep oats from sticking to the bottom of the pan. When mixture is thickening, add in the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine. It only takes about 5 minutes until the oats are cooked. You can add in walnuts like a traditional banana bread, raisins, shredded coconut, etc. Feel free to be creative! Mine is topped with walnuts and flax seeds in the photo.



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