Friday, February 14, 2014

Healthy Cheesecake & Chocolate Strawberries

Happy Valentines Day, lovelies! While I do have my boo, I was single for many, many years. Because of this, I've always viewed valentines day as a day to celebrate everyone special in my life - parents, siblings, friends, family, and even pets! If you're looking for a way other than cards and flowers to say 'I love you!', these Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries may be the perfect way to do it! Plus, they're perfect if you just feel like treating yo'self, Hallmark holidays aside!


Ingredients: 

Fresh Strawberries
Sugar-free chocolate chips (or chocolate chips OR wilton melting chocolate!)
Fat Free Plain Greek Yogurt
Sugar-free cheesecake pudding mix
Optional : Sprinkles

Directions: 
 
Step 1 : Make cheesecake filling, see recipe/instructions here!
Step 2 : Melt chocolate in double boiler/microwave. Either works, although if you're using the microwave keep a close eye on it and stir often because it's quite easy for it to burn! 
Step 3 : Remove stem from strawberries and scoop out enough strawberry flesh to create a cavity to stuff the cheesecake filling. 
Step 4 : Dip strawberries into chocolate, and lay on wax paper to dry. May place in fridge/freezer to help the chocolate harden faster. It might be cute to put some sprinkles on them too before the chocolate hardens! Because... sprinkles!
Step 5 : Once the chocolate has hardened, use a piping bag (or you can put cheesecake filling into a plastic baggy and use scissors to cut off a corner), and pipe filling into chocolate-covered strawberries. 

If desired, use a toothpick to decorate strawberries with more chocolate.

Store in airtight container in fridge until just before serving. Enjoy! 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

On a QUEST for Delicious Protein Bars!

Recently, I've been asked what kind of protein bars I recommend that have both a great taste and nutritional profile. Now, I advocate eating whole foods as often as possible, but I do have a sweet tooth and I also find myself needing to grab something quick as I race out the door on occasion. Or... often. Ok. I'm usually racing out the door a lot in an effort to curb my perpetual lateness ;) but I digress... I like to keep a few bars in my car/purse/desk at work for just such emergencies! Plus, they are GREAT if you're having a craving for something sweet, so helpful when trying to stay motivated and that mammoth sweet tooth rears it's ugly head! 

If you would've asked me a year ago which bars I'd recommend, I probably would have said Pure Protein. They are high in protein, relatively low in calories vs. other bars out there, and they don't taste horrible. Except the Strawberry Shortcake. I'm not sure what it is that I don't care for, but I couldn't finish the bar and so now I avoid that flavor! The s'mores on the other hand are not bad. But honestly, if you ask most people, the best taste you can ask for realistically in a protein bar is 'not horrible'. SAD! However, my whole outlook on protein bars changed forever the moment I bit into my first QUEST bar - these, I would recommend/endorse/sing and dance upon receiving. YUM!

The ULTIMATE in delicious protein bar goodness if you ask me, are QUEST bars. They have so many delicious flavors, I've been working my way through them one at a time. Or... ok, a box at a time when I have the money. QUEST recently released a Cookies and Cream flavor that is. to. die. for. I was so excited for something that might give me an inkling of Oreo flavor that I drove to my nearest GNC the day they were released. When I get a new quest flavor, I typically eat half of it 'raw', and then stick the other half under the broiler on low for 1-2 mins to eat (it gets all melt-y and delicious...) I ate it so fast I barely had any left to try broiler-style! The 'white chocolate' flavored pieces... the crunchy protein cookie crumbles! Amazing, and certainly not expected for a protein bar! My other favorite flavor is the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, but the Cookies and Cream are fresh on my mind! If you want to try out several flavors at once, I highly recommend getting the Variety Pack - 12 different flavors in one box!  I buy all of my quest bars through Amazon! Click here to head on over to Amazon if you'd like to order!  

The thing I like about these are that they are super high in protein (22-24g typically) AND fiber, really low in sugar and net carbs, have a great calorie value, AND they're gluten-free! Did I mention they don't taste like your typical cardboard protein bar? Also, I've seen people get super creative with recipes for these bad-boys, and I've been thinking of some ideas lately on how to incorporate that into the blog if you are interested. 

Do you eat protein bars - if so, what kind? Have you tried Quest? Would you be interested in a Quest recipe challenge? I'd love to hear your feedback! 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Perfect Protein Waffles

I FINALLY got this recipe just right, and approved by my official taste-tester so I couldn't wait to post! Those of you that know me, know that my love for carbs is unparalleled... and in my quest to combat cravings, I've taken on a challenge to cut back on the amount of starchy carbs I consume. Luckily for you, dear readers, I've had to get creative with recipes and am excited to share them with you! (Truth moment - I just read that last sentence back to myself and immediately pictured the Family Guy episode with the wacky inflatable flailing arm man... am I alone in that? Nerd status.)


SO WARM AND YUMMY AND FLUFFY AND FILLING!
I call these my Perfect Protein Waffles - they are protein-packed, contain great healthy fiber and fats, and NO STARCHY CARBS! Taaada! I constantly see recipes for protein pancakes and waffles that contain oats or oat flour, wheat flour, etc. Those are great if they suit your needs, and I'll undoubtedly post my own tried-and-true version at some point, but this one is for those of you that are looking to cut back on those carbs! These waffles are super fluffy and full of flavor. My favorite protein for these is the Cellucor in 'Cinnamon Swirl'. I haven't attempted with other protein powders, so I can't vouch for success with those, but if you do please report back. I'd love to hear how they turn out!

For my waffles, I use the Waring Pro Waffle Iron and I LOVE it! Clean up is a breeze, and you can adjust the heat settings to suit your needs.

Ingredients:

3/4 scoop protein powder
1/8 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp coconut flour
2 Tbsp cottage cheese (I use fat free!)
2-3 Tbsp unsweetened Almond Milk (adjust as needed for desired consistency)
1 Large Egg
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
NOTE: If you'd like, feel free to add spices : Cinnamon, nutmeg, baking blend, whatever your little heart desires!

Tools:

Waffle Iron 
Blender/Ninja/Magic Bullet   


Directions

Combine all ingredients into blender - I used my ninja small blender, but a regular blender, magic bullet, or similar will work just fine! Blend until smooth.

Pour batter onto sprayed waffle iron, and try to stop your mouth from watering while you wait for waffle-y goodness to finish cookin'!

Serve with buttah and syrup, chocolate sauce, peanut butter, whatevs! As I, of course, like to keep sugars and calories in toppings to a minimum, use 'I Can't Believe it's Not Butter' spray, and Walden Farms pancake syrup - every girls calorie-free dream! No joke, it has no calories! Although I honestly think they're delicious even without toppings :)

ENJOY! 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Rainbow Chicken Salad

Hello lovelies! 

Now that our work deadline has -sort of- passed, I have time to come back to you! While we didn't get any much time off to enjoy the holidays, I have gotten over the holiday junk-fest and am sticking to my clean eating and weekly preps!

Although it's gloomy here, I am ready to brighten your day with this DELICIOUS and nutritious recipe for Rainbow Chicken Salad! I love all of the colors of this dish - it makes my meals so much brighter. Now, as I wrote in my post about weekly food prep, I tend to make most, if not all, of my meals on weekends. This recipe is no exception, although I would plan it for the meals you have earlier in the week because I don't like to mess around with chicken sitting in the fridge for too long  - plus, I eat it SO fast!

If you're going to make this, just know that you'll need about 8 hours for the chicken to cook in the crockpot before you can finish making it and be able to sit down and dig in! Now, I buy the pre-cut veggies at the grocery store, but feel free to buy the veggies whole if you'd like to shred them yourself. I just find that it saves time!

Ingredients: 
1 bag of Shredded Red Cabbage, raw
1 bag of Broccoli Slaw (raw and plain - I find mine next to the shredded cabbage)
Lemon Juice and Mayonnaise to taste
Optional: 1 Avocado 

For the Chicken: 
1-2 lbs Chicken Breasts
1 can of Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
Any seasonings desired - garlic, Mrs. Dash, etc.

Tools: 
Crockpot 
2 Mixing Bowls
Spatula
 
Directions:
Place raw, thawed chicken breasts into crockpot. Cover with chicken broth, add in any desired seasonings and set on low for about 7-8 hours. Once the chicken is ready, it should fall apart when you're removing it from the liquid - this is what makes it easy to 'shred'. You can discard the broth, it generally has a lot of fat that has cooked out of the chicken.

Place the drained cooked chicken in a bowl, and pull apart, as seen in my recipe for Easy Crockpot BBQ Pulled Chicken. In a separate larger bowl, combine the chicken, broccoli slaw, and shredded red cabbage. For each estimated serving (I end up with about 4-5 servings), add a tablespoon of mayonnaise, and 1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice. The full-fat version of mayo has less additives than the lower fat, so I stick with that. The lemon juice keeps everything fresh, adds a great acidity to the dish, and helps the mayo and/or avocado go further. If you're going to add avocado, mash it first and then mix it in as you would with the mayonnaise, but cut the amount of mayo you're adding to 1/3, or you can nix it altogether. I've made it both ways, and it's delicious. Remember here, you only want just enough to lightly coat the salad - when you're finished there shouldn't be any 'soupy' mixture in the bottom of the bowl! 

Serve, and enjoy! Will keep covered in the fridge for 3-4 days. It may last longer, but it's usually gone by then in my house!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Loving this Minute - 2013 Holiday Gift Edition!

If you're in a bind thinking about what to get someone in your life, especially if that person is into health and/or fitness, I have compiled a list of things that I think would be great gifts. Obviously you probably don't want to get your wifey ONLY a blender - even if it IS the amazing ninja - for Christmas (I'm looking at you, Dad!) but some of these work great as stocking stuffers as well. Believe me, I've definitely waited until the last minute a time or two so hopefully this will help if you're looking for someone else, or even if you're in a conundrum about what to ask for!

I've put together a little list of things that I've found are helpful, things that are fun for workouts, and just plain cute stuff! Some of these are geared more towards women, but a lot of these items can work for men too. 

What are you gifting this year? What kinds of things have you asked for? Anything you think should be added to this list? I'd love to hear from you! 

 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Protein Pancakes: gluten & carb free!

Due to the wonders of the internets, I have come across an AMAZING product that I can't praise enough! I have tried probably every protein pancake recipe under the sun, and while I've perfected one using fruit/starchy carbs and/or oats, I hadn't quite found one I've loved WITHOUT those carbs. Keep in mind - I'm not talking fibrous carbs from veggies/etc. Now, in preparation for the 21 Day Challenge (mentioned in my GRIT post from a few days ago), I've begun phasing out starchy carbs a few days a week. This is partially to get myself mentally prepped, partially because I eat way too many starchy carbs anyway, and partially because I'd like to find alternatives and delicious things to eat while not feeling deprived. Deprivation = the devil for healthy lifestyle! Remember... it's a LIFESTYLE - not a quick fix! For the 21 day challenge, even sweetener of any kind isn't allowed, so I'll have to enjoy these puppies now, because the MuscleEgg does contain sucralose. I will begin experimenting with regular egg-whites this weekend and report back! 


The magical product referenced above is none other than MuscleEgg! Side Note: They're having a sale now through Dec 15 so head there quick and check it out! I will attempt to create these using spices and regular egg-whites because I'm sure not everyone has MuscleEgg lying around - although after trying these, you may! Now, without further ado - I give you *drumroll please* Silver Dollar Protein Pancake DELICIOUSNESS! 
 
1 cup MuscleEgg (I used pumpkin spice!)
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1-2 Tbsp Coconut flour (you can omit but I can't vouch for results)
NonStick Spray - Pam, EVOO Mister, etc

Mix all 3, yes, just THREE ingredients, pour into sprayed pan, and when batter bubbles, flip over until golden brown, then devour! 

Some Notes: I find that mixing in a blender, ninja, or magic bullet gives them added fluffiness. Also, I love love love my new silver dollar pancake pan, which you can check out here! The reason this pan is great - and this is coming from someone who understands that kitchen storage real-estate is at a premium - is because the batter is a lot more runny than the traditional pancake batter. This pan keeps them to a manageable size. Plus ... who doesn't love a silver dollar pancake? The giant stack makes me feel like I'm eating a TON of pancakes!!!

What are you eating for breakfast? Have any flavor combos you'd want to see? 

NOMNOMNOM


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Rise and GRIT it!

Good morning lovelies! SO! I did it. I signed up for the Les Mills GRIT series at my gym, and the first session, Grit:Cardio was this morning! For those of you that aren't familiar, Les Mills is a series of group-oriented fitness and training programs. There are many programs, all geared towards different interests but with the same foundation of creating a healthier 'you'. I have become pretty familiar with most of the programs because I'm lucky to belong to a gym that has motivated and fun instructors willing to get new certifications, but I do tend to have my favorites! If you're interested in learning more about the Les Mills programs, you can read more about it here. One of the great things about Grit is that it's ONLY 30 minutes long, so you get a lot of bang for your buck in regards to calories burned vs. time spent.

I wore my Polar HRM today, which I plan on doing for each session. I love tracking my workouts and calories/fat burn; it's almost a game sometimes to see if I can 'beat' my previous numbers doing a similar workout. If you're on instagram, be sure to follow me at @hautemissfit - you can click here to follow!

Nice little calorie burn this morning!
I've been keeping up with my weight lifting, and doing a little less cardio the past few months. I will say, I've seen some slight changes in my body composition but I'm still not where I want to be. Since I'm an engaged lady now, the wedding countdown is on! I won't share the details of my dress (I said 'yes' to the dress a few weeks ago!!) BUT we are planning on going somewhere hot to relax on gorgeous beaches for our honeymoon, so I know I want to be in bikini shape!

Now, for the next 8 weeks I will be doing the Grit Series, twice a week. The schedule alternates between Plyo and Cardio (they switch back and forth each week), and Strength once every week. I will still keep up with my weight lifting sessions twice a week and plan on getting into a spin class and hopefully BodyAttack (another Les Mills program! clearly I'm a fan!). I will miss doing my early-bird BodyPump classes BUT it's important to mix up your routine so that your body doesn't adapt to a certain exercise - quickest way to stop getting results and pushing yourself! Plus, doesn't it get boring to hop on the same treadmill, attend the same classes, and fall into what I call a workout-rut!? No thank you! 

This morning during the first cardio session, we recorded the number of exercises we were able to perform for each track, and we will do this for the first Plyo and Strength sessions as well. In 8 weeks, we will do this again and (hopefully) see how far we've come! I get measurements tomorrow and I'm excited to see what happens. I will say, it was a definite booty-kicking! It's great exercising in a group like this though because we all motivate each other just by looking around, and the instructors are great at forcing us to push through the pain to achieve those goals - the GOOD pain, not the injury pain! It's important to know the difference!

I will keep updating on the class as we move through; January 1 we begin a 21-day nutrition challenge that is pretty intense based on what I've heard, so look forward to that! My meal preps may take a little more planning for those 3 weeks. 

Have any of you taken Grit or a Les Mills class? I'd love to hear your thoughts! Leave a comment below and let me know if you loved or hated it!