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!

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!

WIAW #13: Whole30 – Week 2

Hey hey!

Well, we are knee deep in the Whole30, 16 days down, 14 to go!  No turning back now.  Week 2 was much more tolerable than Week 1. No breakdowns and only minor panic attacks.  I kid, I kid. 😉

Both Matt and I are feeling good, we have more energy and aren’t really having too many cravings, except for the ever-present chocolate for me.  Not sure that will ever go away…and I’m ok with it, because a life without chocolate is a life without living.  Let’s be honest.

I switched it up a lot this week and made sure to have different meal options – something other than just chicken, veggies, salmon and eggs.

On the menu:

Breakfasts and snacks have pretty much stayed the same: almond butter, apples, berries, dried fruit, nuts, veggies, guacamole, etc. LaraBars have been a saving grace at times too, although they are supposed to be used as more of an emergency food, according to the “rules”.  I like to have them as a pre-workout option.  I usually break off part of it before heading to the gym in the morning.  It’s a much better option than a hard-boiled egg and/or almonds at 5am. For me, that’s less than appetizing. 🙂

Sweet Potato Chili  (SO delicious, you won’t even miss the beans!) I paired it with kale salad…which isn’t as good without the Stevia, I have to admit.

DSC02012Baked Cod (dipped in egg, covered in almond flour and baked at 400 for about 20min.), paired with avocado and veggies.

DSC02013Paleo Beef and Broccoli with cauliflower rice

DSC01998Beef & Broccoli

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb flank steak
  • 2 heads broccoli
  • 1 small onion, chopped*
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped*
  • 3 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground red pepper
  • 1/2-1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • salt/pepper

*I used garlic, onion and shallots already chopped from Trader Joe’s

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Directions:

Cut broccoli into florets and steam, set aside.  Heat the olive oil and saute the garlic/onion for about 1 minute, add the steak and saute until almost cooked through.  Add remaining ingredients and stir until combined then mix in the broccoli florets.

Cauliflower Rice

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1/2-1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Directions:

Cut the cauliflower into florets and pulse in a food processor until it looks like grains of rice.  If you don’t have a food processor, you can probably use a blender or cheese grater.  Saute the onion in the olive oil, add the cauliflower and saute until soft.  Add the spices of your choice.

As always, check out Jenn’s blog for more WIAW posts!
 

More recipes coming your way soon, including a new breakfast casserole!

Have a great day!

WIAW #11: Butternut Squash Chili

Time for another round of What I Ate Wednesday! I’ll apologize in advance for the lack of photos this time around…it’s all the same, right?

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Breakfast

Scrambled eggs with more roasted breakfast “potatoes”. This time, the mix included sweet potatoes and turnips….I never thought I would like turnips, but they are quite tasty!

I also grabbed a sugar-free caramel almond milk latte (that’s quite the mouthful, isn’t it?) on the way to work. I stayed pretty full until lunch, but also grabbed a small handful of trail mix mid-morning.

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Lunch

I went to lunch with some co-workers and my boss at Crazy Bowls and Wraps, where I ordered a chicken fajita bowl, sans rice…along with a few tortilla chips.  It was really good but a little heavy on the beans and cheese, which I wasn’t expecting. No pics this time. Didn’t want to freak my co-workers out. 🙂

Dinner

Dinner was the highlight of my day. I found this recipe for Paleo Butternut Squash Chili and had to give it a try, especially since we are dealing with yet another snow day around here….is it spring yet?!

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Paired with a kale salad, it was a delicious meal…oh, and a piece (ok, two) of THIS deliciousness. Ohmygoodnessgracious this stuff is no joke. Sorry for the blurred pic. I blame the chocolate.

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I only made a couple of small changes to the recipe, but here’s how I made the chili!

DSC01961Ingredients:

  • 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 lb steak, cubed
  • 3 cups butternut squash, cubed
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 15oz cans fire roasted tomatoes with green chiles, diced
  • 1 6oz can tomato paste
  • 1 15oz can beef broth
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp Texas chili powder (recipe calls for Chipotle but I couldn’t find it)
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • salt- the recipe doesn’t call for it but I added some to my bowl (I’m a salt lover and my husband, not so much ;))

Directions:

Chop all vegetables. Brown meat in a skillet for about 5 minutes, add vegetables and cook for another 5 minutes, or until veggies are cooked about halfway.  If your roasted red peppers aren’t already diced, add them to a food processor or blender and pulse until diced (do not drain). Add the remainder of ingredients and meat/veggie mixture into a pot and simmer for 1 hour, or until the squash is tender.

Again, I do not always post every single thing I eat throughout the day, just the noteworthy meals.  I don’t want to bore you too much to death… 😉

 

Make it a great day!

 

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.
<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
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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!

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!

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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.

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Snack

Apple and peanut butter, duh!

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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!