Red White and Blue Protein Pancakes

Happy 4th of July!  I’m sitting on our patio writing this post and can’t believe I’m not sweating my you-know-what off.  70 degrees, sunny, and less than the usual 99% humidity we usually have here around this time of year.  I’ll take it!

This morning I decided to get a little creative in the kitchen and whipped up a batch of protein pancakes.  I of course had to go with a red, white, and blue theme because…why not?  At first bite, Matt thought these were “legit” (his words) pancakes, meaning unhealthy. Much to his surprise, they are actually paleo.  I love it when I trick him like that. 😉

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Strawberry Coconut Protein Pancakes

(serves 2, makes 5-6 pancakes)

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup pureed strawberries
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup crushed walnuts (optional)
  • 1 tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut
  • toppings of your choice!

Directions

Whisk together wet ingredients then add dry ingredients and mix well.  Pour batter onto heated griddle/pan using 1/4c measuring cup.  Flip when batter starts to bubble and firm up.  Add toppings of your choice! Today I used blueberries, honey, coconut and almond butter….and a little syrup.  Hey, it’s a holiday.

 

I hope everyone has a fun and safe holiday!

Organic Matcha Green Tea

Over time, I’ve become quite the coffee lover (or dare I say, addict?) but there is a part of me that wants to be a tea addict, mainly for the health benefits…and because it doesn’t stain your teeth. 🙂 So, when I was given the opportunity to review Kiss Me Organics’ Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder, I was excited to give it a try.

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Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder is 100% organic, tested for purity, and contains more than 137 times the antioxidants in regular brewed tea. Yes, 137x!  This Matcha powder is only available on Amazon and comes with a recipe guide that they give all first time customers.  You wouldn’t believe all of the recipes they came up with that can use the Matcha Green Tea Powder…everything from smoothies to salmon. No joke.

I decided to try a smoothie first (recipe below).  I have to admit, my first attempt tasted a little too strong for me and it was hard to get past the green tea taste.  I decreased the amount of powder in the next one and that helped a lot!  I paired it with eggs for some protein for breakfast and it was really refreshing!

The next recipe I decided to try was a green tea latte (recipe below). You know how I love my lattes. 🙂 Some of the recipes I’ve found call for boiled water and frothed milk but I took the easy (ahem, lazy) way out and just heated up the liquids in the microwave.  It was still delicious!  It gave me the energy I needed, without the crazy-caffeine feeling. Don’t get be wrong, I’m not saying I’m giving up my coffee, but it’s nice to know there is a good alternative out there!

Some of the other benefits include:

  • Increased Metabolism
  • Increased Focus
  • Improved Skin Health
  • and hellloooo Antioxidants!

You can read more about the benefits of Matcha here.

I love that it comes in powder form, so you can literally add it to almost any recipe for the antioxidant benefits.  The free recipe guide was a great added bonus because it has a ton of recipes I would never think of that include this Matcha Green Tea Powder.  Also, each serving size is only about 1/2-1 tsp (depending on the recipe) so this bag will last me a while!

A big thanks to Kiss Me Organics for the opportunity to try their product!  Now head on over to Amazon to get your own matcha powder! 🙂

Matcha Green Tea Smoothie

DSC02036Ingredients (makes 2 servings)

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 green apple
  • 1 heaping handful spinach
  • 1/2-1 tsp Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder
  • 1 cup coconut milk

Directions

Blend and enjoy!

Matcha Green Tea Coconut Latte

DSC02153Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1/2-1 tsp Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder
  • 3/4 cup hot coconut milk
  • honey or sweetener (optional)

Directions

Heat water on the stove or in the microwave.  Whisk green tea powder with water then add milk and heat again, add sweetener.

Homemade LaraBars

I hope you all had a great Memorial Day weekend!  I know I for one really enjoyed an extra day of R&R. 🙂

When I did the Whole30 I was introduced to LaraBars.  Although “bars” are really supposed to be used sparingly during the Whole30, they were great to have on hand when I was in a bind because they are made of all natural and whole ingredients; no preservatives or ingredients that are impossible to pronnounce.

Since trying more of a paleo-esque lifestyle and especially after the Whole30, I’ve really learned to appreciate “whole” foods and how they affect my body in a positive way.  That means I look at foods that I used to consider staples a bit differently; one of which is protein bars.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with a protein bar and/or whey protein, I have just learned that my body doesn’t react the same way to those ingredients as it did before.

I used to avoid snacks like LaraBars like the plague. So you’re saying there isn’t any protein in this? Thanks, but no thanks.  Now, I appreciate food with the least amount of ingredients as possible and since my meals consist of a little more “umph” of the right things (namely more good fats), I don’t have to default to processed protein-packed items like I used to.  That being said, I am on the search for a protein powder with little ingredients because I miss my protein shakes! 🙂

Since LaraBars can get a little expensive I decided to search for a homemade recipe I could easily make at home.  I mean, how hard can it be if all of the ingredients are natural, whole foods that essentially you can find at any grocery store, right? Right!

I found the best base recipe here and have already made many different combinations, depending on what ingredients I have on hand.

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To make 12 bars, here’s the basic breakdown I follow:

  • 2 cups nuts
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1 cup other dried fruit (I always look for unsweetened and unsulfured.  Trader Joe’s has a few good options.)
  • 1 tsp spice

One of my (and Matt’s) favorites was my take on LaraBar’s Cherry Pie flavor.

Ingredients:

(makes 12 bars)

  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup dates
  • 1 cup cherries
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened coconut (optional)

Directions:

Combine everything in a food processor and pulse until combined and all ingredients are finely chopped. Then, either press dough evenly in small cake pan and cut into bars or form into balls then refrigerate.

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Enjoy the short week!

WIAW #14: Whole30 – Been There, Done That!

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Well, that’s a wrap!  Yesterday marked day 30 of the Whole30 challenge.  That’s 30 days without sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, and dairy…and we survived.

Sounds like borderline torture, right?

Wrong.

No, really.  I actually kind of liked it (after the initial shock wore off).  I swear I’m not crazy.

Seriously, once we got past about the 10 day mark, things really started lookin’ up.  Sure, it was hard when people around me were eating pizza and cookies and ordering out…all I wanted to do was dive right in and treat myself like I normally would, but since there was an end in sight, that helped me stay strong and committed to the challenge.

Here are a couple of the meals we ate during the last week, to keep things interesting.  There are plenty more where this came from but I’m trying not to make this the longest post in the history of blogging, so stay tuned. 😉

Sausage, Sweet Potato, Egg and Kale Bake

DSC02005Ingredients:

  • 4 sausage links or breakfast sausage (Whole30 approved, or not if you aren’t doing the challenge)
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 2 large handfuls of kale, or more
  • 8-12 eggs, depending on how much you like

Directions:

Cook the sausage on the stovetop while you roast the sweet potatoes in the oven for about 20min (until tender) at 450 degrees.  You can also saute the potatoes, I just prefer the texture of them roasted.  Place kale into baking dish, pour the sausage, potatoes and eggs over the top and bake in the oven on 350 degrees for about 20-30 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked through and the kale is wilted.

Easy Taco Salad

DSC02014Ingredients

What you see above!  The taco seasoning doesn’t include any sugar and is basically a mixture of several spices.

Directions

Chop pepper and onion and saute in olive oil, or you can cook it right along with the meat.  Add salt/pepper and taco seasoning and you’re done!  Add a little red wine vinegar, olive oil and avocado/guacamole and it’s a super easy, healthy and delicious taco salad!

DSC02016So, why do this you ask?

First of all, I want to emphasize that my intention for this challenge was not to lose weight.  Although I eat healthy 80-90% of the time, I was interested to see how my body would react when I removed processed foods, sugar, etc. all together, without any treats or cheat days.

The result?

We feel great!  We don’t feel lethargic or bloated after meals and we have more energy overall.  Until this challenge, I don’t think we really realized how certain foods affect our bodies.  After week two, I even noticed my post-meal sweets craving had all but disappeared, which I never thought would happen.  I’m interested to see how I think sweets taste after 30 days without them.  Honestly, a cheat meal doesn’t even sound that appetizing to me right now.  Who am I??

I only lost 3 pounds, which was a good thing.  I dropped that much in the first week of the challenge and to be honest, if I dropped any more I was going to think about quitting the challenge all together.  Instead, I tried increasing the size of my meals and that helped me stay even for the rest of the 30 days.  Matt, on the other hand, lost 12 pounds!  He looks and feels great, so I’m proud of him for sticking to the plan with me.  I’m sure some of the weight will come back on once we start introducing certain foods back into our diet, but this challenge was a good jump start to an even healthier lifestyle that we can hopefully maintain.

Now what?

Matt and I both agree that we really like the way our bodies feel with minimal sugar and processed foods, so our plan is to continue to eat this way….most of the time.  It will be nice to have the pressure of the challenge behind us, so if we are running late or just don’t have time to prepare, we can grab a protein bar, smoothie, or order out.   During the week, I’ll cook meals like I have been for the past 30 days and I’m sure we will treat ourselves every once in a while on the weekends.   And dangit, give me my dark chocolate! 🙂

Thinking about trying the Whole30?

Stop thinking about it and just GO FOR IT!  The whole idea of giving up so much for 30 days can seem really intimidating, but not if you do your homework.  If I can give one piece of advice, it’s prepare, prepare, PREPARE.  That is the absolute key to successfully completing this challenge and doing so with your sanity intact. 🙂  I constantly searched for new (and easy!) recipes that would keep things interesting and that I could prepare on Sundays for the entire week.

In the end, I’m SO glad we did it.  #1 it’s a great sense of accomplishment when it’s over and #2 I think it has opened up our eyes to an even better lifestyle (NOT a diet) that now we know we can can have.

Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s a glass of wine calling my name….

As always, thanks to Jenn for hosting the WIAW link-up!

Healthy Valentine’s Day Treats

I’m not sure if you would really call these recipes Valentine’s Day themed, per se, but they involve strawberries, strawberries are pink and VDay is all about pink….so Valentine’s treats it is. 😉

The first is a Chocolate Covered Strawberry Protein Smoothie.  Who doesn’t love chocolate covered strawberries?! And if I can blend them up and drink them out of a straw for breakfast, I’m all for that situation.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2 c frozen strawberries
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (you can eliminate this if you use chocolate protein powder)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • handful of spinach

Directions:

Blend and enjoy!

DSC01969The next treat is a new one for me.  Davida over at The Healthy Maven is hosting a linkup for health-ified Valentine’s Day baked goods. As soon as I heard the idea, I knew I had to participate.  #1 I L.O.V.E. baked goods in all shapes and sizes. #2 I also love taking those baked goods and making them in a way that doesn’t make me feel like I need to eat it while simultaneously running on the treadmill.  I stumbled across a recipe for strawberry/chocolate paleo bread from You Fresh Naturals on Instagram and knew I had to try it. I made a couple of adjustments of my own to create Strawberry Chocolate Pecan Paleo Bread!

Strawberry Paleo BreadYes, I’m aware it looks like a dog treat. The picture really doesn’t do it justice, plus I’m not good at taking fancy food blogger pics like Davida. 🙂  It was delicious and even Matt was impressed!  Wife-win. I haven’t made paleo bread before, but I’ll definitely be trying this concept again!

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 c coconut flour
  • 3 tbsp canned coconut milk
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • pinch baking soda
  • 1/4 c chopped pecans
  • 1/4 c chopped strawberries
  • 1/4 c chocolate chips (for true paleo, use a brand like Enjoy Life)

Directions:

Place all ingredients except strawberries, pecans and chocolate chips in food processor.  Blend until combined.  Fold in remaining ingredients and pour into greased bread pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

 

Sending virtual hugs to everyone on this Valentine’s Day!  Have a great weekend!

Guest Post: Smoothie Recipe from Jessie Loves 2 Run

I thought it would be fun to change it up a bit and feature another one of my fellow bloggers. Today, Jessie from Jessie Loves to Run was nice enough to write a little somethin-somethin for ya! I stumbled across her blog a few months ago and it’s one of my favorites. First of all, she’s so adorable you just want to put her in your pocket 😉 but more than that, she is incredibly thoughtful and funny, and I love the positive message she sends with her blog. I always look forward to her recipes- especially her smoothies- so I thought it would be great if she could share one with you all!  If you haven’t stopped by her blog yet, please do!!!
So, without further ado, take it away Jessie!
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Hello Sit-ups & Sequin readers! I’m Jessie & I blog over at Jessie Loves To Run
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Words cannot express how excited I was when Christa asked if I’d write a guest post for her. I only started following Christa’s blog a few months back, but its quickly become one of my favorites. Christa’s not only beautiful, but her sweetness & honesty shines through on a daily basis. I can only wish her the greatest success in life.
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Even though I’m sure many of you are dealing with freezing temperatures this time of the year, I see no reason why cold beverages can’t be consumed. If you happen to be a faithful reader of mine for even a month, you’ve probably figured out by now that I’m a huge smoothie fan. Negative degrees – no problem, grab a blanket & turn up the heat.
A couple months back I purchased a Keurig & have quickly become obsessed. For someone who used to never drink coffee, I’m finding myself having 2 glasses of iced coffee with peppermint extract daily. #sorryimnotsorry.
Up until this past week, it’s never dawned upon me to swap out the milk/water in smoothies with chilled coffee. Sure I’ve seen recipes involving instant coffee packets, but never with actual brewed coffee. I figured this would be the perfect time to share a smoothie I’ve been loving.
Breakfast in Bed Smoothie
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Ingredients:
  • 1 scoop CLICK Vanilla Latte Protein Powder or Vanilla Protein Powder
  • 1 cup brewed & chilled Medium Roast Coffee – I use Wolfpuck Breakfast in Bed kcup
  • Silvered almonds & Unsweetened coconut flakes for topping
  • Xanthan gum
  • 6-8 ice cubes
Preparation:
  • Add protein powder, coffee, xanthan gum, and ice cubes to blender
  • Blend until smooth
  • Put in freezer for 30-60 minutes
  • Add silvered almonds & unsweetened coconut flakes
  • Enjoy!
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 This smoothie is the perfect beverage to get you moving first thing in the morning. Feel free to include some spinach for added nutrients – I promise you won’t taste the greens one bit.
  • Have you ever used brewed coffee in your smoothies?
  • Any other ways you’ve used coffee? I just tried brewed coffee in my oats this week – delicious!