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. 😉

20140704_104641

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!

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

finished-the-w30-fb-cover-660x244

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.

DSC01968

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!
—————————————–
Hello Sit-ups & Sequin readers! I’m Jessie & I blog over at Jessie Loves To Run
1.jpg
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.
<3 <3 <3
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
2.jpg
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!
3.jpg
 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!

WIAW #9: New Protein Bars & Easy Side Dish

I’m linking up with Jenn again for What I Ate Wednesday and posting my eats from yesterday!

wiaw fall into good habits button

My day consisted of mostly the same old same old but with a couple newbies that I had to pass along.

Breakfast

Sweet breakfast scramble.

DSC01487

Snack

Apple and peanut butter, duh!

IMAG0113

Lunch

You may have seen this on Instagram the other night, but I posted this to show how easy it can be to make a delicious side dish.  I melted coconut oil in a pan, then added a veggie mix from Trader Joe’s (already chopped!) and their 21 Seasoning Salute, which you have to try!  It was super easy and really tasty.  I paired it with roasted chicken and repeated that meal for lunch yesterday.  My mom gave me the idea to put a whole chicken in the crock-pot for 6hrs on low on Sunday, then we would have roasted chicken for almost the entire week.  It’s been really nice to not have to worry about cooking meat every night!

20131209181514686 (1)Snack:

A new recipe for Pumpkin-Coconut Protein Bars that I found here.  I think I may have found my new favorite recipe and bonus for them being grain-free!  Sorry, I neglected to take pictures but I think you get the idea. 🙂 I made a couple of small changes to the original recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pumpkin
  • 6 egg whites
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • 4 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1-2 tsp stevia
  • 1/4-1/2 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

Mix dry ingredients together.  Mix wet ingredients together then whisk into dry ingredients.  Pour into a greased baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

Dinner:

Nothing special to report….fish and veggies. Sorry, I was really bad at taking pictures yesterday!

Have a great day!

Pumpkin Protein Bars

Happy Monday!

Matt and I spent the weekend in Columbia, MO for Mizzou’s Homecoming.  I always love going back to visit our alma mater and this time was no exception!  We spent Friday night visiting some of our favorite restaurants and bars and then Saturday was game day.  It was a tough loss against South Carolina but the highlight for me was dancing with the alumni Golden Girls.  Every year, the alumni dancers have the opportunity to come back and perform during pre-game.  It is so much fun to catch up with our coach and old teammates and even those who were there before and after me.  It’s an unspeakable bond we all have.  GG’s 4 Life. 😉

DSC01390

When we got home there was a long list of things to do around the house, including a little meal prep for me.  I’ve started prepping most of our weekly meals on Sunday.  It makes the week go much more smoothly for me.  One of the snacks on today’s list was a new spin on my homemade protein bars.  You are going to be really surprised when I tell you the new ingredient….PUMPKIN!  Shocker.

Pumpkin Protein Bars

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 7 scoops vanilla whey protein powder**
  • 3 tbsp peanut butter
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1/2-1 tsp cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together and add water until you get a good consistency.  Spread evenly in a 9×11 pan and bake for 8-10 min at 350.  Baking times may vary, depending on your oven.

**Feel free to adjust the amount of protein powder you use.  I take the nutritional content of mine and divide it by 10, because that’s how many bars I usually cut.

 

I made a couple other new snacks during my meal prep today too, so I’ll be sure to share those recipes soon!

Have a great week!