RECIPE: KETO CHEDDAR BISCUITS

There are some weeks that I want meal prep to be completed as quickly as possible and there are other weeks that I could create, cook and photograph all day long.  For some reason, Mother's Day Weekend was just that - A time for me to get into the kitchen and flex what little culinary muscles that I have.  

Our Mother's Day Menu for dinner #2 included twice baked cauliflower mash, smoked pulled pork, and a chocolate silk pie for dessert. Of course, we were missing rolls as part of the meal.  Rather than blow through our carbs and be gluten'd, I decided to make homemade dinner rolls.  

As I was planning the recipe for dinner rolls I began to reflect on one of my favorite childhood memories.  Having lunch at Red Lobster became our thing, we'd go to celebrate an accomplishment at school, birthdays, or just because we wanted to spend time together.  She'd encourage me to order whatever I'd like and that would always be the same thing: Crab Legs.  I'd spend what felt like a lifetime cracking crab legs and nibble on cheddar garlic biscuits.  

My love for food comes from my grandmother who always encouraged me to try everything no matter where we were in the world.  She not only taught me to have a love for food but for new cultures and traveling.  

In honor of this incredible women and missing her so much, I decided to make a batch of Keto Cheddar Garlic Biscuits and from the crumbs, I've nibbled on... this recipe gives the restaurant version a run for its money.

Keto Cheddar Garlic Biscuits

Makes 6

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup of shredded cheddar
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons of almond flour
  • 4 tablespoons of room temp butter (melted)
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon of parsley or chives 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Grease muffin pan 

Directions: 

Mix all dry ingredients until well blended, add melted butter and continue to mix until smooth.  In a second bowl whisk together all 4 eggs and pour into mixture and continue to mix well.  Pour batter into greased muffin pan about 1/2 the depth of the muffin pan.  Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown. 

Modifications: 

  • Add bacon 
  • Remove garlic/parsley/chives  from recipe and incorporate diced jalapenos for a spicy alternative 
  • Use a mini muffin pan for a dozen mini rolls 

 

 

RECIPE: KETO KEY LIME CHEESECAKE

Truth be told, this recipe came together on a whim.  We had planned an impromptu Mother's Day dinner at my parents and following suit, we put together this plan at the last minute.  With any clean eating, paleo, keto or vegan lifestyle you know it's often difficult to find a product on the shelves at the grocery store that will suit.   Which means, you are spending more time in the kitchen making meals and desserts from scratch.  I walked in the door from the grocery store with heavy cream, cream cheese, a lime, and eggs less than 2 hours before dinner and the pressure was on. 

Thankfully, this No-Bake Keto Key Lime Cheesecake wasn't overly labor intensive and hit a homerun! 

Pie Crust Ingredients: 

  • 1 1/2 cup of almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 cup of granulated erythritol 
  • 2 packets of sweet leaf (stevia)
  • 3 tablespoons of melted butter
  • 1 egg 
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease pie pan with butter or coconut oil 

Mix all of the dry pie crust ingredients well and then add egg and melted butter to the dry ingredients into a dough ball.  Transfer pie dough into greased pie pan and press into the dish with your fingers.  Once you have the pie crust pressed into the dish use a fork to pierce the dough to keep dough from bubbling.  Bake for 10 - 15 minutes until golden brown.  To keep pie crust from burning - place foil over the edges of the pie crust at 8 - 10 minutes of baking and place back into oven with foil covering the edges for the remaining time. 

No-Bake Keto Key Lime Cheesecake Filling Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces of cream cheese at room temp
  • 1/3 cup of sour cream 
  • 1/4 cup of heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons of melted butter
  • 3 tablespoons of key lime juice
  • 1/3 cup of erythoritol 
  • 1 packet of sweet leaf (stevia) 

Combine all ingredients above in mixing bowl and mix well until filling becomes smooth. Depending on the type of erythritol you use, you might notice lumps in the filling.  We used a coarse blend of erythritol which did, in fact, leave our filling a bit on the lumpy or bumpy side. 

Taste the filling as you go as you may choose to add more key lime juice to the filling depending on how flavorful you'd like the cheesecake to be.  If you have fresh limes you can zest one lime to use as garnish on the top of the cheesecake and/or mix some of the zest into the filling.  You could also add unsweetened coconut flakes into the filling or top of cheesecake. 

Once the pie crust has been removed from the oven and cooled, pour filling into crust and place into the refrigerator to firm and cool.  The longer the better and the more the flavors will enhance. Serves 8 - 10 depending on how large of a slice you cut. 

Additional options: 

You could make individual No-Bake Cheesecakes using gluten free nilla wafers as the crust in a muffin tin, make a cheesecake in a springform pan, use the key lime filling in a keto danish, or simply use the filling as a treat on it's own without the crust to keep your carbs low. 

Original Recipe Inspiration found on ruled.me 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Post 5k Recap

Yesterday, I ran my first 5k, a bucket list item that I never thought possible especially since I spent most of my adult life overweight. This morning as I reflect on yesterday, I started to think about what it feltlike to begin my health and wellness transformation. When I started my initial wellness transformation running a 5k wasn't even on my radar. But now, I can completely compare running a 5k to starting a lifestyle overhaul.

When you sign up for the race (aka decide to get healthy) and then find yourself amp'd and ready to go.  You might even have friends or family who join you in the this transformation.  Allow me to add a bit of caution: Don't enroll in a health or wellness program "just" because you feel baited or cornered by someone else and on the flip side don't pull any unwilling participants along with you.  It will drag you down like cinderblocks if you aren't careful. You have to be IN THIS FOR YOU AND NO ONE ELSE!

At first you are surrounded at the starting line with others who on the same or similar journey, you are one in a sea of many and then the gun fires and your off. At some point you'll be within the pack and in the next second you may start to feel alone as the pack thins while some speed ahead and others begin to trail behind.

During a left hand turn in yesterdays race, I saw the biggest hill of my life and started to ask myself "What in the hell did I get myself into?" A question I've asked myself more than once in this journey. It was in the this moment that I connected all of the dots in my life.

None of us are immune to highs and lows. But we all have the option of QUITTING or GOING ALL IN!

We are going to face moments of highs - that are filled with pounds lost, non-scale victories, running races and completing challenges.

But with every high there will be a low leading into a valley when you become sick,  miss workouts, life gets in the way, or we lose interest in our workouts or preferred style of eating.

The rebuild is the hill - The hill with a steep grade that makes you question your drive, your motivation, your will- it's in those moments of the run or transformation that we need to grit our teeth and dig our heels in.

There will be twists and turns when we fail to be clear in goals and vision. This will be water stations along the way - allowing for a momentary pause to regroup and recenter ourselves.  As we see the finish line our push becomes harder and we tap into our reserve, and give it all we've f-ing got. (plot twist: in a wellness journey there will NEVER be a finish line)

And once we cross the line - we'll realize none of what we've gone through is as bad as we thought it would be. It's in that moment that we realize we want to do it again!

I wasn't the fastest in this race nor was I the slowest - I didn't race the person instead I ran my race at my pace that was in exact proportion of the training and effort I had put in leading up to yesterday.

Don't be discouraged as you go through journey or become wrapped up by "success" of the person next to you. Remember to run your race at your pace. I too, have gotten discouraged by watching fellow youtubers, social media influencers, friends and family members in their success feeling that I didn't measure up, yet yesterday reminded me that each of us are in our own race and we can't let anyone else dictate our pace.

For the record: My goal was to finish the race in under 45 minutes. My fitbit tracked me at just over 43 minutes and today I looked at the official results and I came in at 42 minutes and 2 seconds. Sometimes you even surprise yourself

At first you are surrounded at the starting line with others who on the same or similar journey, you are one in a sea of many and then the gun fires and your off. At some point you'll be within the pack and in the next second you may start to feel alone as the pack thins while some speed ahead and others begin to trail behind.

During a left hand turn in yesterdays race, I saw the biggest hill of my life and started to ask myself "What in the hell did I get myself into?" A question I've asked myself more than once in this journey. It was in the this moment that I connected all of the dots in my life.

None of us are immune to highs and lows. But we all have the option of QUITTING or GOING ALL IN!

We are going to face moments of highs - that are filled with pounds lost, non-scale victories, running races and completing challenges.

But with every high there will be a low leading into a valley when you become sick,  miss workouts, life gets in the way, or we lose interest in our workouts or preferred style of eating.

The rebuild is the hill - The hill with a steep grade that makes you question your drive, your motivation, your will- it's in those moments of the run or transformation that we need to grit our teeth and dig our heels in.

There will be twists and turns when we fail to be clear in goals and vision. This will be water stations along the way - allowing for a momentary pause to regroup and recenter ourselves.  As we see the finish line our push becomes harder and we tap into our reserve, and give it all we've f-ing got. (plot twist: in a wellness journey there will NEVER be a finish line)

And once we cross the line - we'll realize none of what we've gone through is as bad as we thought it would be. It's in that moment that we realize we want to do it again!

I wasn't the fastest in this race nor was I the slowest - I didn't race the person instead I ran my race at my pace that was in exact proportion of the training and effort I had put in leading up to yesterday.

Don't be discouraged as you go through journey or become wrapped up by "success" of the person next to you. Remember to run your race at your pace. I too, have gotten discouraged by watching fellow youtubers, social media influencers, friends and family members in their success feeling that I didn't measure up, yet yesterday reminded me that each of us are in our own race and we can't let anyone else dictate our pace.

For the record: My goal was to finish the race in under 45 minutes. My fitbit tracked me at just over 43 minutes and today I looked at the official results and I came in at 42 minutes and 2 seconds. Sometimes you even surprise yourself

MEAL PREP KIT IN A BOX

My fingers are struggling to keep up with my mind as I share today's blog post.  This post has been a dream of mine for over three years and to see this idea finally take shape is very exciting.

When I first became a health coach, I knew that I wanted to create and launch products that would not only be useful,  but also help my clients create a solid foundation to grow from.  As a recovering product and paper junkie, I knew that whatever I created had to simple to use, sustainable, and beautifully designed.  In late February, I was able to finalize a few of the missing details and now I am excited to announce the official launch of my: 

MEAL PREP KIT IN A BOX 

 

We spend a large part of our day thinking about what to eat for breakfast, pack for lunch, and make for dinner is something that happens daily.  It's on repeat in the back of our minds constantly, and for most, it's a point of contention when trying to determine everyone likes/dislikes, what's on sale, the ease of a new recipe, questioning if you have time to make said recipe and the list goes on.  

WHAT IF MEAL PREP DIDN'T HAVE TO BE AS COMPLICATED?  

 

Five years ago, when we transitioned our lifestyle from processed foods, delivery, and take out we were lost on how to make healthy choices that didn't break the bank or have us spending hours in the kitchen every night.  It took several attempts of trial and error to find a method that was quick, easy, and sustainable.  Thankfully, once we began Sunday Meal Prep Sessions, we haven't looked back AND our waistline and bank account thanked us.  

Now, we are sharing our system with you and let me tell you... it isn't rocket science.  In fact, it is pretty basic, but most allow overwhelm to set in instead of giving weekly meal prep a try.  

So, who are we:  We are a couple who struggled with our weight throughout our entire marriage.  At one point our combined weight would tip the scales at over 500 pounds.  Our meals would rival any holiday spread from massive side dishes to several homemade desserts a week.  It was no surprise that the pounds would pack on.  It wasn't until I [Amanda], had a meltdown on the floor of our walk-in closet that the reality of our lifestyle slapped us in the face.  Yet, we would yo-yo diet and attempt to "start Monday" several times a month, but failed to ever start.  Thankfully, with Patrick's support I reached out for help and transitioned our diet to a clean eating style.  Limited processed foods were included on this plan and the weight fell off.  From there we transitioned to a paleo based lifestyle and have stuck closely to this way of eating ever since. 

Together, we've learned to eat in a way that fuels our bodies, but also provides so much flavor and fun into our meals.  We refuse to eat boring food or endless of amounts of chicken and broccoli.  We have truly created a lifestyle that is sustainable and hope to help you do the same!   

What's included:

The Meal Prep Kit in a Box includes: 

  • a quick guide to help you get started
  • a basic shopping list that is filled with whole foods and easy to source ingredients
  • a quick guide of weekly meal ideas to inspire you
  • 10 meal prep containers
  • a meal/fitness journal for tracking your progress. 
  • and access to our facebook community

Our mission is to help you lose weight, choose the right foods to fuel your body for optimal success, cut out excessive trips to the grocery store or fast food joints, and flex your culinary skills. While still living life, enjoying meal time with your family, and eliminating the struggle of what to eat! 

 

 

Fatheads and Guacamole - Prepping for Cinco de Mayo

Have you ever been at work or in class all day dreaming about dinner?  That's me on a regular basis, but yesterday my foodie day dreams were on another level.  It was mid-day when I remembered we had a several ready-to-eat avocados at home and the day dream of chips and guacamole started dancing in my head.

Being KETO eliminates all chips from the picture.  I've made a few Bread/Stromboli recipes in the past, but decided to give fathead crackers a try. 

 

 

I used this recipe as inspiration with a few modifications as listed below:

  • About 1 1/2  cups of almond flour (started with 3/4cup as per the recipe) 
  • 1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese 
  • 1 ounce of cream cheese
  • About 1/4 cup of egg whites (this should have been one egg, but we ran out)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees 

In a microwave safe dish: Combine almond flour, sharp cheddar cheese and cream cheese in the bowl - mix well and then warm for about 1 minute.  Remove from microwave and mix well - return bowl to microwave and heat again for 1 minute.  Then add 1 egg and mix well before rolling out the dough.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and then place dough onto parchment paper and top with a second piece of parchment before rolling out the dough.  Roll dough and then cut into small square bite size pieces before baking. 

Once dough is cut into small squares and pop into the oven for 5 minutes.  Remove from oven and flip dough over and bake for another 5 minutes. 

As for the guacamole: 
We used three ripe and ready to eat avocados - a pinch or two of dried red pepper flake, a dash of sea salt and a bit of lime juice. 

SPA WATER

Natural Refreshing Weight Loss Water!

You can flush away toxicity and add vital nutrients and minerals to your water with the following combinations.

Remember, flushing the toxins stored in our fat cells allows us to shed unwanted pounds!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 gallon water

  • 1 grapefruit, sliced (can substitute with one lemon)

  • 1 tangerine, sliced (can substitute with an orange)

  • 1 large cucumber, sliced

  • 10-20 peppermint leaves

  • Ice - as much as you like

 

Directions:

Rinse grapefruit, tangerine, cucumber and peppermint leaves. Slice the cucumber, grapefruit, and tangerine. Combine all the ingredients in a half gallon pitcher. Allow the ingredients to sit as long as possible for maximum benefits.

Let’s keep it simple, because you can make any combination for detox and weight loss. Simply fill a large pitcher or other water safe container with fresh water. Add:

- Fresh fruits (cut the fruit into paper-thin slices or small chunks)

- Mint for extra natural flavoring

- Stevia or pure raw honey (optional) to add sweetness

Refrigerate your Detox Water for 4-6 hours, and serve over ice. You’ll feel like you’re at a spa!

Let's talk beauty foods (5 items to stock your pantry with!)

ALL FRESH FRUITS AND VEGETABLES CONTAIN MAGICAL POWERS WHEN IT COMES TO SHINY HAIR, CLEAR SKIN, AND STRONG NAILS. HOWEVER, THE ONES I’VE CHOSEN BELOW ARE PERHAPS NOT AS WELL KNOWN FOR THEIR POWERFUL BEAUTY BENEFITS. TRY AND INCLUDE THESE FOODS INTO YOUR DIET IF YOU WANT TO LOOK YOUR BEST WITHOUT THE NEED FOR BOTOX OR OTHER UNNATURAL REMEDIES.

 

  1. Red Peppers. All red and orange colored foods contain beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant. Red peppers are particularly beautifying due to the minerals A, C, and K. Vitamins A and C can help prevent cell damage that leads to premature aging, and they can also reduce inflammation, which can cause a puffy-looking face. Pepper also has Vitamin K, which is an excellent property for protecting our cells from damage.

  2. Spinach. All leafy greens are actually very powerful in terms of being a beauty food because of the chlorophyll they contain. There are also loads of other phytochemicals and fiber in spinach that help build blood that is super clean and which will show through in your skin.

  3. Turmeric. This yellow-colored, Indian spice has a load of powerful antioxidant qualities. Turmeric assists in protecting our cells from free radical damage and also contributes towards cleaning up metabolic waste in our systems. It is also great as a liver flusher to get rid of any poisons and chemicals which are stored there.

  4. Pumpkin Seeds. Wow, these really are powerful. What don’t pumpkin seeds have in them?! The humble pumpkin seed contains high levels of zinc, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins B, C, and E. Pumpkin seeds are also a great source of amino acids and omega-3 fatty acids, all essential for healthy cell maintenance. Make a handful of pumpkin seeds a regular part of your diet, and you will definitely notice a change in your appearance.

  5. Parsley. Next time your plate is garnished with parsley, don’t push it aside. This is a pretty powerful herb when it comes to anti-aging, as well as purifying and cleansing the body. It contains vitamins A and C as well as anti-oxidizing flavonoids that protect our cells from free radical damage. Parsley also helps to purify the blood, kill bacteria, aid digestion, and cleanse toxins from the liver.


 

The best thing is that all these foods are easy to incorporate into your diet. Add turmeric to warm almond milk with a spoon full of coconut oil, and cinnamon or combine the other foods with some other fixings to make a great, beautifying salad. Who said that beauty was hard to keep?

Logging Workouts

I shared my daily food journal with you last week and wanted to give you a little look into my workout journal.  This journal isn't as structured as my food journal but equally as important.  

Prior to becoming a trainer, I didn't log my workouts and walked into the gym more often than not without a plan and therefore found myself always working legs.  It was my comfort zone and what I could remember easily - I wasn't always right on the weight, but close. 

Now that I am back in action and really focused to my training - I wanted to log my workouts, track weights, and make notes/adjustments along the way. 

Using a grid-style moleskin style notebook I am logging each workout to include:                      sets /reps/modifications. While I am sure there is an app available to do all of the logging, this is quicker and gets the job done. 

planner_fitnessjournal.jpg

I can't wait to flip back through these pages at the end of the four weeks to see my progress.  Not shown is the workout schedule and a place for my starting weight, current body fat and starting weight. 

 

 

 

Getting it all done

A frequently asked question is "How do I get it all done?"  and the answer is... "I don't!"  I have become hyper-selective of what I say "YES" to and if I do say "YES" to a new client, event, family gathering or meeting I am fully aware of what I might have to say "NO" to something else.

When we [Patrick and I] become serious about our health we decided that Sunday will be our non-negotiable day.  Meaning, we sleep in - make a coffee run - stroll the grocery store - and return to meal prep for the week ahead.  We've turned down a lot of invites over the past three years and while it seems a little crazy this is our hard line in the sand. 

We both tend to function better with structure rather than without a plan.  Patrick uses an electronic calendar that connects to his phone, I on the other hand really struggle with electronic planning and use a paper day planner.  

My planner of choice is the Happy Planner from Mambi which can be sourced online or at your local Michael's store.  I am in no way affiliated with Happy Planner or Mambi instead, I am a lover of the product!

The photo below is a sample of my week ahead: 

If you've searched Happy Planner on Pinterest you will find no shortage of beautifully crafted Happy Planners, but that's not me.  I am all about function over a lot of stickers, embellishments, and other things to prettify a planner. 

Each Sunday during meal prep when we have a break in the action I sit down and work on my planner.  The first thing I do is label each of the boxes:

IMPORTANT / TO DO: This box is a combination of personal and professional to-do's, reminders, or tasks that must be completed on that specific day. 

BUSINESS: Within this box - new projects, tasks, photo shoots, calls or events are listed

THE UNIVERSE: I took a manifestation workshop a few years ago and one of the biggest lessons was asking the universe for what it is you want and to be specific.  I recently started to incorporate this box into my weekly calendar - so it's to be determined how effective it is 

You'll notice that Monday / Tuesday are heavily planned because those are the two days currently reserved for my business. The rest of the week is dedicated to my hours at my other gig. Some of my business work does cross into the salon days, but mainly I keep those days open because it's never a guarantee that I'll have time to work on those projects.  

Carving out time for Meal Prep and Fitness: Meal Prep as mentioned above is always Sunday and workouts are typically Monday - Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.  Leaving Thursday and Sunday for active rest days. I will from time to time add "workout" to my to-do list, but similar to that of meal prep I've made daily workouts a part of my daily routine and don't need to schedule the sessions. 

Using a planner that is more like a to-do list helps me knock down the list quickly and effectively. If you are struggling to remember events, appointments or tasks I highly recommend that you start working with a planner to help with your mental sanity.   

If you are struggling to make meal prep and self care a priority - you need to schedule these items into your day and into your planner.  Make it a rule that you can't say YES to anything else until you are taken care of first! 

12 Week Commitment to my health and wellness

I've made a 12-Week Commitment with myself.  It's the same commitment that I made 6 years ago when I started this journey.  My commitment is simple... DO WHAT I SAID I WAS GOING TO DO!  

What that looks like: 

  • 5 workouts per week 
  • 3 - 4 workouts to include 1/2 marathon training 
  • Continuing the KETO lifestyle 
  • Daily food and exercise tracking 
  • Daily personal development

What works best for me: 

  • Daily scheduled morning workouts that are non-negotiable
  • Daily food and exercise tracking
  • Bulk/Batch weekly meal prep 

How I track my workouts and meals:

I have a fairly consistent diet and my meals don't vary too much. With that said, I have a general idea of the calories I am taking in, yet still feel it's important to track what I am eating.  

Rather than use an app like My Fitness Pal - I use a pen and paper planner. It works for me and it's always with me. 

The planner I use is on that I developed and really love because it's easy and uncomplicated. 

SIDE NOTE: From time to time I will be checking in with My Fitness Pal online to gauge my macros, but for now, creating a habit and reconnecting to the process is more important to me than becoming glued to every macro. 

 

 

 

 

 

Weight Loss Anniversary

Each spring (around Good Friday/Easter) I celebrate my Weight Loss Anniversary.  It's been 6 years since I mustered up enough courage to seek help to overcome my struggle with food.  The process hasn't always been glamorous and to this day, I still struggle, but each day it a little easier. 

Thinking back to the day I walked into the gym, carrying so much shame and guilt for allowing my life to spiral out of control the way it did.  Yet, walking out from meeting my coach was a completely different feeling. For the first time in a very long time I felt like I had support, accountability, and a plan.   

What made this attempt at getting my ass in gear and kicking the excess weight to the curb is that I stopped making excuses and put in the work. Sitting on the couch reading self help books, practicing manifestation or visualization didn't replace actually doing the work. 

I'll be the first to admit that I am a bit pissed off at myself for letting this past year and a half slip away with little to no results to show for it.  The lack of results is in direct proportion to the lack of effort on my part. I let my client training hours at the gym consume me and working in a gym is like anywhere else, when you clock out you want to get the hell out of dodge.  

Over the next two days, I'll be wrapping up my final training sessions with my clients and then re-committing to promise that I made 6 years ago and striving for goals that I know are within me.  I could look at all of these moments of falling off the wagon as failures, but those tumbles have led me to where I am now - fully ready to re-ignite my first born business (photography) expand into creative services for other coaches, trainers and wellness gurus while reconnecting with my love of fitness for me. 

 

 

 

 

 

NEW RECIPE: CUBAN SANDWICH INSPIRED PIZZA (week in review)

Our first weeks transitioning to a Keto Lifestyle is becoming easier and easier. Much of this attributes to our mindset and desire to do the prep work on Sunday's.  If we waited until the night before or day of to prep I don't think we'd be experiencing our current level of success. 

The menu from last week was awesome and posted here: Going Keto (our grocery haul).  The biggest hits were the stromboli recipes, pizza, faux oatmeal and sausage and egg breakfast pies.

For this upcoming week we cut down the elaborate recipes and stuck with the basics to make prep faster - we really needed a bit of downtime and movie watching on Sunday afternoon. We did treat ourselves with a cheesesteak stromboli (homemade of course) and a 1/2 pint of halo top which I am sure knocked us out of Ketosis, but that was our reward for a week well done!

Both of us had great workouts, Patrick finished up a training program he had been following for three months and I finally committed to 6 training sessions in a week which is something I hadn't done since I transitioned jobs in October.  Which leads me into sharing the news that I will be leaving my personal training job on April 4th.  The decision to do so wasn't done lightly, but I feel that by taking this leap I'll be able to dedicate more time to bringing my creative vision to life (photography + design) and also train more.   It's bittersweet, but I know that I haven't been able to give all of my attention to the clients I train in two days a week and this will give them the consistency and support that they deserve.

Okay, enough about the behind the scenes and let's talk about the Cuban Sandwich Inspired Pizza.

I'm a sucker for a Cuban Sandwich - in fact, it might be one of my favorite sandwich to order.  When we transitioned to Paleo almost four years ago - we'd make a mock sandwich using a grain free bun and a slice of swiss to curb our cravings, but it rare we could ever order a gluten free Cuban when dining out.  Pork chops aren't my favorite and rather than be un-interested in our meals I came up with creation instead.

 

A CUBAN SANDWICH INSPIRED PIZZA

 You'll need the following for toppings:

  • Roasted pork
  • Ham
  • Swiss
  • Pickles
  • Mustard

You'll need the following for the crust:

Ruled.me Pizza Crust Recipe

Our modifications to crust recipe: we omitted the thyme and sea salt from the crust.  The option to remove the sea salt was based on the salt content from the pork and ham - we aren't huge salt eaters and tend to be highly sensitive to overly salted foods.  We omitted thyme because we didn't have any for starters and two didn't feel the crusted needed it

 

What's on your menu for the upcoming week?

 

 

 

RECOMMITTED TO MY WHY

Before our wedding 2006, looks more like a baby shower! 

Before our wedding 2006, looks more like a baby shower! 

I've been thinking a lot about why I fell off the health train as hard as I did and what I need to do in order to find balance once again. 

We all have a WHY.  It's what drives us in our career, relationships, hobbies and health. When your WHY is greater than your excuses it's often hard to give up your WHY, but it's not foolproof.  

My WHY for "attempting" to become healthier began years ago when my grandmother was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes, sadly I didn't take my health or obesity as serious as I should have.  

An actual health scare should have put me on the right path, but it didn't. Instead,  I had finally grown tired of being the fat girl in the back row or sick of attempting to diffuse my weight gain with an oversized handbag.  

Sometime in 2008!  No self love, no self care 

Sometime in 2008!  No self love, no self care 

The first 60 pounds shed with relative ease, it's been the last 15 - 20 that have caused me to yo-yo, binge eat, and throw in the towel more than a handful of times.  To become recommitted to my WHY, I had to change the dialogue with myself.  I am no longer interested in losing weight or inches to step out of the back row, instead I want to be in the best shape of my life to simply be in the best shape of my life, but also shed the excuses I've been carting around. 

 

Here's to a brand new chapter, a brand new set of goals, and a brand new WHY and feeling incredibly confident with bangs and red lipstick! 

 

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Going Keto (our grocery haul)

After a year of climbing on the wagon and tumbling off the back of the wagon with diet and exercise, I'm finally ready to recommit to my goals. Two weeks ago we, (Patrick and I), recommitted to our diet and started a Keto (low carb, high fat) lifestyle.  For us, this style of eating isn't much different from our preferred paleo lifestyle - a few tweaks we had to make were eliminating all potatoes, bananas, and apples which had become staples in our diet. 

Instead of looking at eliminating those things as a negative, we've happily embraced the change and are have more fun with our meals.  

Here's a look at our cart for the week: 

A few key things to understand about our grocery cart and our beliefs when it comes to organic and/or grass-fed veggies and protein.   We believe that you should do the best you can with what you can afford and have access too.  If organic and/or grass-fed items are on sale then we will typically lean in that direction.  However, it's more important to us that eliminate processed boxed foods first and foremost. 

Our menu includes:

Nacho Cheese Chicken Casserole

Cinnamon Roll Oatmeal

Turkey Burgers topped Chili Lime Spices

Mocha Cheesecake Bars

Cheeseburger Boli

Sausage and Cheese Breakfast Pie

Flatbread Pizza Crust - modifications to this recipe 1 cup Parm 1 cup Mozz. and Italian Seasoning

 A few recipes in progress off my phone- hopefully, we'll have leftovers so I can create proper photographs. 

a bit of honesty

Things haven't been right for months and I wasn't sure why until I took some time to become brutally honest with myself.

This health and fitness industry is a strange animal - one that shouldn't have shocked me or made me feel the way I had been feeling but it did.  

About a year ago, I began to struggle with comparison.  My comparison ranged from self image to allowing my mind to be cluttered by to many ideas, thoughts, courses, youtube videos and keeping up with the "jones".  

I'd come home from personal training every afternoon with the goal of writing a new blog post or connecting with a new coaching client only to feel paralyzed by what everyone else was doing.  When comparing myself, I neglected to honor how far I'd come in my own personal weight loss journey and allowed where I didn't measure up to consume me.

After spending countless afternoons in a dark bedroom under the covers, I knew something had to change.  I ran through all of the things I wasn't doing and should be pushing myself to do more of, but the more I tried the harder it was for my fingers to key and the words to flow. 

In mid-February, I ended up getting sick and found myself on the couch for two days.  While I was resting I kept feeling that a decision needed to be made about the future of my coaching business.  I could no longer continue to have these downcast feelings or pain tugging at my heart. 

On day 2 of being under the weather, I looked at my incredibly supportive husband and said, "my heart can't continue to break anymore over this... should I walk away?"

His response "If you aren't happy then walk away.... it's okay".

If you know me at all, walking away... isn't something that I do lightly.  In fact, I resisted for two or three more days until I came to the decision that as much the health and wellness industry brings me joy, for the time being, I need to reconnect with the journey personally and not professionally.  

So what does this mean?  Well... I'm not exactly sure except I plan to use this blog as a personal platform to share my journey and what it looks like as I navigate returning to my roots as a photographer and creative. 

I'd love for you to leave comments, share your story, and ask questions.  For the time being, I won't be accepting coaching clients as I don't feel I would be the best coach for them as I navigate this change of direction.  To those of you who have supported this journey from day one or have gotten on board along the way, thank you, thank you, thank you. 

RECIPE: BREAKFAST PIZZA

Who doesn't love pizza for breakfast?  

Going back to my college days, I loved finding leftover pizza in the refrigerator the next morning. Of course, back then I wasn't focused on carbs or calories.  I simply wanted something to eat that didn't require much effort or cost money.  

Nowadays, I'm a bit more concerned with carb intake, but still want to eat pizza for breakfast. This breakfast pizza hit a home run in our house and has become a staple! 

For a single serving breakfast pizza you'll need: 

  • 1 Flatout Bread Pizza Crust - found near the deli section of your grocery store
  • 2 eggs scrambled
  • Breakfast meat of choice: bacon, sausage, chorizo
  • Shredded Cheese of choice

To Assemble: 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place Flatout Bread Pizza Crust on parchment paper and place into oven for about 4 minutes.  Remove crust from oven and set aside.  Scramble eggs and cook breakfast meat of choice.  Place scrambled eggs and breakfast meat on top of pizza crust and top with cheese.  Place crust back into oven for about 2 minutes.  Be careful as the thin crust may burn or become extra crispy if left in too long. 

Cut into thirds and enjoy! 

 

 

RECIPE: SWEET CORN & CHORIZO CHOWDER

After 3 years of Paleo, I've finally hit my breaking point over sweet corn this summer.  Maybe it's because I drive by a local farm stand every day on my way to the gym that taunts me with a sign for sweet corn.  I caved to my cravings and created this flavorful chowder with chorizo, summer vegetables, and fresh cilantro. [Scroll for recipe]

YOU'LL NEED:

  •  2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 2 yellow squash and zucchini
  • 1 cup of sliced carrots
  • 6 ears of corn cut from the cob
  • 3/4 pound of ground chorizo
  • 1/2 of a medium cauliflower
  • 16 ounces of chicken or vegetable stock (reserve 1/2 a cup)
  • 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (omit if red pepper flakes make dish too spicy)
  • 1 teaspoon of chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • dash or two of garlic
  • crockpot
  • fresh cilantro
  • salt/pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Combine diced vegetables (except cauliflower) into crockpot with stock. Steam cauliflower and set aside.  Brown ground chorizo in a pan over and then add to crockpot.

To thicken the chowder- blend/puree cauliflower in a high powered blender or food processor.  To thin cauliflower puree add in the reserved chicken stock.  Once cauliflower is well blended and no chunks or lumps appear add crockpot.

Cook for 4 - 5 hours in crockpot and serve with fresh cilantro and ENJOY!

 

 

 

RECIPE: AVOCADO EGGS BENNY

Nothing screams bunch to me more than Eggs Benedict.  When Patrick and I were first married, I would make hollandaise sauce from scratch and since we transitioned to clean eating, hollandaise hasn't been a part of our lifestyle.   

Last Sunday, we had a leisurely morning perfect for Eggs Benedict with a twist of course.  Since adding grains back into our diet, English Muffins have become a staple in our household which means avocado toast has been a regular go-to breakfast item.  Why not put all of our favorites together to create Avocado Eggs Benny with a Twist. 

You'll need: 

  • English Muffins or Toast of Choice - toasted of course
  • 1 Avocado or 100 calorie pack of Guacamole (we used the 100 calorie pack) 
  • 2 Eggs cooked over easy 
  • Garnish with red pepper flakes if you want your eggs a little spicy 

Directions: 

Prepare English Muffins or Toast to your preferred toasty-ness and top with guacamole or mashed avocado, prepare two over easy eggs - top English Muffins with eggs and sprinkle red pepper flakes on top and cut with a knife!  The yoke replaces the hollandaise sauce and is a nice complement to the avocado or guacamole. 

 

 

 

RECIPE: ZUCCHINI BREAD

If you haven't heard of overnights you might be living under an internet rock.  Overnight oats are a super easy and customizable grab and go breakfast option.  All of you need is a canister of quick oats, almond milk, and about 3 minutes to get the party started. 

Once you've created your base (oats + milk) feel free to get creative. Popular add-in's are cinnamon, vanilla extract, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, nuts, chia or flax seeds, and protein powder.  

Rather than add fresh fruit, I decided to use a beautiful zucchini a member from the gym had shared with me from her garden.  Turning overnight oats into a quick, easy, and incredibly delicious zucchini bread recipe. 

 

 

 

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For a single serving you'll need:

  • About a 1/4 of a large zucchini - peeled, chopped, matchstick'd, or diced
  • 1/2 cup of quick oats
  • 1/2 cup of almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon of flax seeds (whole or ground) 
  • Optional raisins, almonds, walnuts, or pecans
  • Optional chocolate chips 

Word to the wise, make a double batch at the very least - I enjoyed this recipe combination a lot and plan to make another batch or two this week

Recipe: Apple Bacon Slaw - A refreshing twist on an old classic

Looking for a twist on coleslaw for your next family picnic?  Give this crowd please a try, APPLE BACON SLAW. A refreshing alternative! 

You'll need:

  • 1 medium cabbage shredded 
  • 4 apples of choice cut into matchsticks (we used pink lady apples)
  • 2 spring onions chopped
  • 4 strips of turkey bacon chopped
  • 3 - 4 big spoonfuls of coleslaw dressing 

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix in coleslaw dressing.  A bit of advance go lighter on the dressing as too much dressing will overpower the flavors.  

No access to a food processor and short on time? 

Look for pre-shredded cabbage, opt for onions and bacon off the salad bar, and use pre-made coleslaw dressing - our personal favorite is T. Marzetti 

Refrigerate before serving. 

Our batch of Apple Bacon slaw served about 10 - 12 people and we had leftovers (thankfully!)