June 29, 2015

Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blender Muffins

Good morning, Bakers!

Do you love to bake, but loathe the clean up? Look no further than this page! Easy, tasty, gluten free, >100 calorie blender muffins! Using ingredients you probably already have on hand, you can whip up a deliciously healthy treat in minutes and only dirty one bowl.

Peanut butter, banana, honey, and chocolate chips are the star ingredients here. That's right, no flour or sugar to be seen. These little guys are fun, poppable, and easily packed for an on-the-run morning or an afternoon snack. Protein packed and full of clean ingredients, here's a snack you can feel good about.

Easy, Peasy Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blender Muffins
Makes 17-19 mini muffins

1/2 cup peanut butter (I used Skippy Natural, and I recommend that or a regular peanut butter, but not a runny one or the muffins will not set up properly)
1 medium banana (7-8")
3 Tbsp honey (may use agave or maple syrup)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (optional, can substitute nuts, etc)

1. Preheat oven to 400F and liberally spray two mini muffin tins with cooking spray.
2. Add first 6 ingredients to your blender and blend on high until smooth.
3. Fold in chocolate chips with a spoon or spatula.
4. Using a cookie scoop or pouring from the blender, fill each muffin tin about 3/4 full. Add water to any empty spots so muffins do not burn.
5. Bake for 8-10 minutes, watching closely. Done when a toothpick comes out mostly clean and edges just start to brown. (Be careful as these muffins are little and all ovens cook differently. Can also make regular muffins, just lengthen the time)
6. Store in an airtight container for a few days or freeze.



June 23, 2015

Zucchini "Noodle" Spaghetti and Turkey Bolognese Sauce

Good morning!

So, I kept seeing "spiralized" veggies all over the internet the past few months. What in the world does that mean, I wondered. Well, I decided to investigate when I was spending too much money shopping at Target and stumbled across a veggie spiralizer for $15. Can't go too wrong, right?

Right!! Spriralizing is a great concept. You've likely already seen my cauliflower crust pizza which essentially allows you to make a pizza with no carbs. Spiralizing is the same idea... zucchini "noodles" in place of pasta.

You can pick up this handy dandy Vegetti spiralizer from Target or Amazon. There are other brands out there as well. Even better, you can spiralize all kinds of veggies. Sweet potatoes, squash, regular potatoes... think potato pancakes! Once you spiralize, simply steam or saute the veggies for a few minutes (or you can eat them raw if you make a salad or some other dish).

I wanted a super veggilicious filled spaghetti, so I added 1/2 an onion to my lean ground turkey during the browning stage. Then I added mushrooms right before I added a 16 oz jar of marinara. I simmered the sauce for a little while until the mushrooms were soft.

And voila! Top your zucchini noodles with the sauce and call it a day. You can also warm up the noodles and sauce for leftovers.

As you can see, the noodles create a bit of water, so make sure to let them drain on a paper towel before consuming (which I did not do). You can also sub turkey with ground beef or go meatless. Or, if you really wanna kick it up a notch, make your own marinara.

Zucchini "Noodle" Spaghetti and Turkey Bolognese Sauce
Makes 3-4 servings


2 medium zucchinis
1 package lean ground turkey breast
1/2 package of sliced mushrooms
1/2 onion, minced
16 oz jar marinara of choice
salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese optional


1. Brown turkey on medium high with onion until almost cooked through, then add mushrooms and finish cooking.
2. Combine marinara with turkey and let simmer until mushrooms are softened. Add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Spiralize zucchinis according to Vegetti instructions and steam according to chart included in package while sauce is simmering.
4. When zucchini is softened, let drain on a cheese cloth or paper towels.
5. Place zucchini noodles on a plate and top with sauce.

June 16, 2015

Workout Tips & Tricks to Keep Yourself Motivated and Energized

Good morning!

It's been quite awhile since I've posted anything regarding exercising or fitness, so I thought I'd share some tips and tricks that help me get through my workouts.

1. I don't consider the gym my enemy. I consider it my church. It's literally a sacred time for me where I become very attuned to my body. It can do AMAZING things and so can yours. What better way to appreciate yourself and the way nature made you than by working out your God-given body? You just have to start viewing your workouts as a reward and get "in the zone" as I like to call it. When I hit the gym, I'm usually very focused during that time. It de-stresses me, it re-energizes me, and I ALWAYS feel better about myself (and life) after a good workout. Once you change your thoughts on the gym (or working out in general), and you start to see improvements (for example, lifting record weights, having more stamina during a workout class, adding one more sprint/mile, etc), you'll see what I mean. But I think this is first and foremost if you want to be motivated. Motivation comes from within, and no one can do it for you.

2. Stay accountable. After a long work week, do you sometimes forget which days you went to the gym and kind of guess how many days you actually went? Yeah, I used to do that. Guess what? I was going a lot less than I "estimated." So, I started keeping track on a calendar, putting dots on the days I worked out, whether it was HIIT, cardio, weight training, yoga, hiking... anything active counts! Since then, I've gone from 3-4 days/week to 5-6 days/week. That extra day or two has definitely helped to shred a few extra pounds of fat. And I'm better conditioned, therefore I go to the gym more, therefore I have more energy, therefore I'm happier... see where I'm going with this? Make your gym routine a habit.

3. Get a partner or friend who helps keep you accountable and motivated. My boyfriend and I made a deal when we first started dating that we would never become one of those couples who just lets it all go. Just because we are comfortable with each other doesn't mean we should stop trying when it comes to eating healthy, working out, putting effort into being fit, and trying to look damn good for each other (and if you have kids, don't you want to be healthy and active right alongside them?). We each keep dots on our joint calendar in different colors (he's orange, I'm pink) and we motivate each other to workout. We also try to eat healthy most of the time. Instead of going out to eat a big, heavy meal a few times a week, we cook at home most of the time. It saves calories and so much money. Typically we can't workout together, but we do a daily "Did you go to the gym today?" This doesn't mean we don't understand when the other person is busy, has a crazy day at work and has to stay late, friends come into town... But keeping each other motivated and accountable helps tremendously!! Don't you want to feel as amazing and look as sexy as you can for as long as you can? I know I do! You have the rest of your life to grow old, why start now?

4. Eat right. This is ESSENTIAL. No matter how many hours you put into working out, if your diet is bad, you will not change your body. You may become a little stronger, but working out does not burn enough calories to make up for fatfast food, that 350 calorie donut, a bag of chips, and a ton of other crap in the American diet. Not only does this food literally poison your body, but it all goes straight to your fat stores. None of the processed, fast food garbage out there is useful for powering you through your day or a workout. If you want real results, change your eating habits. I cannot stress this enough. Trust me, I love sweets as much as a kid on Halloween. But when I start overindulging, my body shows it. It's a machine. What you put in shows... you have to decide if you want to put in positive options or options that negate all your hard work. There will always be donuts, cookies, and pizza. Do you need those things every day, every other day, 3 times a week? Try to limit yourself to one cheat meal a week. You'll enjoy it all the more when it comes around.

5. We all know this one... stop making excuses. It's a no brainer, I know. But what I've realized over the past few years is that life is busy. Things happen. Social events seem to pop up around every corner where you go out to eat, get drinks, eat cupcakes for your co-workers birthday, etc. How do you manage to stay fit with all of life's events? Two things: Plan your workouts, learn to say "no." Honestly, I plan my workouts the day ahead, sometimes days ahead. I figure out if I want to do a group exercise class and which one I want to go to, if I just want to workout on my own, or if I want to do a home workout. Planning ahead leaves a lot less room for an excuse. If your friend wants to meet up after work, can your push it to 6:30pm and get in a quick workout? Weekends are not a time of slacking off at the gym. Wake up and get energized and refreshed with an exhilarating workout. Then you can have your cheat meal at brunch or dinner. During all those social occasions, do you HAVE to drink 3 beers and eat burgers and fries? No one's forcing you. Try to limit yourself unless it's your cheat day. Go to happy hour and get a water. Who cares? If anything, you might motivate the other people around you once they see your results.

Bottom line: You can't indulge in every single social event and celebration or you will not change your body. It might suck sometimes, but if you want to feel better and look better, you have to change your lifestyle. Don't diet. Make your diet your lifestyle. I promise you will start to love it once you keep at it. There's nothing more important in your life than your health and happiness.

June 15, 2015

Blueberry Banana Chia Oats


It has been a whirlwind of a month for me! I have been applying and interviewing for school counseling jobs since April. I just graduated from my grad program May 30th, but I wanted to get a jump start on the job search so that I can relax the rest of summer knowing I have a job for the next school year. After four different interviews at four different schools, I am ECSTATIC to announce that I will officially be a high school counselor this August!! It has been such a long journey, but I won't bore you with all the details. ;-)

All of that is why I haven't been able to post as much as I'd like. I'll also be travelling a bit before the school year and will probably be a bit loony and stressed once I start my job... but hang tight, I'm still here.

In the meantime, I know how you all love my protein oats recipes (here and here), so here's another! Only this time, I added a special ingredient... chia seeds. Chia seeds can be added to so many recipes and they are great for you. High in protein, fiber, and omegas, they are a powerful little seed. The cool thing with chia seeds is that they form a gelatinous-like coating when wet. For example, my skinny chia seed pudding gets its thick texture from the chia seeds. No eggs or cream needed.

Egg whites and chia seeds give this hearty oatmeal the perfect custardy texture while adding protein and fiber to keep you feeling full until lunch. Add any fruit of your choice for a healthy super-breakfast.

Blueberry Banana Chia Oats
Serves one


½ cup old fashioned oats
½ cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice)
½ cup water
½ ripe banana, sliced
¼ cup liquid egg whites or 2 egg whites from whole eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp chia seeds
pinch of sea salt
blueberries and additional banana for topping

1. In a small saucepan, bring almond milk, water, salt and banana to a boil.
2. Once boiling, add oats and turn down heat. Simmer for 5-6 minutes until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
3. Turn off heat and stir in egg whites whisking constantly and immediately. Doing this will ensure a fluffy consistency rather than scrambled egg pieces. About 1 minute.
4. Remove from heat and stir in cinnamon, vanilla, and chia seeds.
5. Pour oatmeal into a bowl and add blueberries, bananas, or desired toppings.


June 2, 2015

Little Lemonies (Lemon Brownies with Lemon Glaze)


I apologize for being a little sparse with posts lately. I just graduated from my School Counseling grad program and am beyond stoked! I have been lining up interviews for the next school year and prepping for them is super time consuming. But even getting an interview as a brand new graduate is definitely a plus, so hopefully one of them turns into a job soon! The next chapter of my life is beginning. Time to be an adult, eek! But I am so excited. I finally feel in my groove in almost every aspect of life. So I had myself a little grad party this weekend. :-)

I absolutely adore lemon desserts! What better way to celebrate than with your favorite flavor? I had my eye on this recipe for awhile and decided this would be the perfect occasion to make these little lemonies (aka lemon brownies with a lemon glaze). They did not disappoint. They taste like the cake/crust part of a lemon bar. Mm mmm...!

Cutting them into little squares and putting them in mini muffin wrappers make them look so cute and Spring-y. They would be perfect for a baby or bridal shower. Or birthday. Or for yourself. :-)

Here's to YOU achieving all of your wildest dreams!

Little Lemonies
Makes an 8x8 pan

Lemon Batter:
1 cup (5 ounces/142 grams) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (5.5 ounces/155 grams) sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon lemon zest (from 1 large lemon)*
1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Lemon Glaze:
3/4 cup (2.75 ounces/75 grams) powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice*
1/2-1 teaspoon lemon zest*
*I used 3 large lemons and that was enough for the recipe. I also wanted my glaze a little more tart so I added more juice and zest, but you can taste test it as you go and decide how you like it. If you want a LOT of glaze, you can double the recipe.

1.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8X8-inch aluminum baking pan with parchment so that it hangs over two of the edges (to lift out the bars later - alternately, you can just grease the pan really well and slice them in the pan) and lightly coat the pan and parchment with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and lemon zest.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the butter, eggs and egg yolk, lemon juice and vanilla.
4. Stir the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and mix until combined.
5. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.
6. Bake for 18-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs (the top of the bars should spring back lightly when gently pressed). Don't over bake or they might be dry. Remove before they start to brown.
7. For the glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest until smooth and combined.
8. After the bars have cooled completely in the pan, drizzle the glaze over the top (since the glaze layer is thin, it helps to pour it all across the bars instead of in one puddle before spreading) and use an icing spatula or regular spatula to spread evenly over the bars.
9. Place the bars in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours to let the glaze set before lifting them from the pan (using the parchment overhang) and cutting into small squares. These taste best chilled, in my opinion, but can be served at room temperature also.
10. Store in an airtight container for 2-3 days.

Original recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe
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