Cookie Dough Coconut Butter

DSC_0030Oh my, these are amazing! Beware you might just be tempted to eat more than one. I LOVE cookie dough and for me these came out pretty darn close to the taste of a sugar cookie dough, but they are definitely a healthier option instead of eating a couple scoops of cookie dough.

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Cookie Dough Coconut Butter

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw macadamia nuts
  • 1 cup coconut butter (you can either buy or make coconut butter, make sure if you are buying it you buy the coconut butter, not oil. See below for a recipe.)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoon pure vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Instructions:

  1. In a food processor, mix the macadamia nuts for a couple minutes until it becomes smooth and buttery.
  2. Then add in the remaining ingredients and process until smooth.
  3. Scoop the mixture into a bowl and place in the fridge for about 5-10 minutes. You do not want the dough to completely harden or you will not be able to roll into balls. If it does harden too much, you can place it in a bowl of warm water to soften the dough.
  4. Scoop out the dough and roll into small mounts. Each mound should be about 1 tablespoon.
  5. Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.
  6. ENJOY!!!

Coconut Butter

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups of unsweetened natural coconut shreds

Instructions:

  1. Place the coconut shreds into a food process.
  2. Blend for 5-10 minutes while scrapping the side of the bowl.
  3. Remove butter from food processor and store in  an airtight container.

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Almond Butter Rice Bars

DSC_0025I love finding or coming up with recipes that I can use as a healthy snacks for my family or something I can grab as a quick pre and post workout snack if needed . These almond butter rice bars work great as both.

Instead of grabbing for the granola bars which are usually packed full of  unhealthy processed junk, try making some of these as a healthier option. They don’t store as well out of the fridge for long periods of time. So, if possible try to keep them in the fridge until you are ready to eat one.

Keep in mind that when I mentioned that the bars would be a great post workout snack, that doesn’t mean that anytime you exercise you need to eat something like this right away. The purpose of a post workout meal is to replenish the energy store that you might have used up with carbs and to aid with muscle recover after you have broken down your muscles with resistance training. So, if you are just casually exercising with no effort, you really don’t need to fuel yourself right away, unless you haven’t eaten and are hungry. DSC_0027

Almond Butter Rice Bars

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of natural almond butter
  • 4 tablespoons pure maple syrup or pure honey
  • 2 cups of cooked brown rice
  • 1/4 cup of raw almonds – chopped

Instructions:

  1. Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. Spread onto a 8×8 inch baking dish.
  3. Store in the fridge for 1 hour.
  4. Cut into 2×2 or 3×3 inch squares.
  5. ENJOY!DSC_0017

Quinoa Spinach Meatballs

DSC_0024These turned out so good that my family literally ate all of them in a matter of minutes. These would also work great if you freeze them and use them later for a quick snack or meal. Tops these over a salad, mix with squash pasta, stir fry them with a vegetable dish or eat them alone.DSC_0017

Quinoa Spinach Meatballs

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds of ground lean beef or turkey (If possible, try to get your meat from a good source – organic or grass-fed farm raised.)
  • 1 cup of cooked quinoa
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cup of spinach leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon of red chili flakes
  • 2 tablespoon of  hot sauce or Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of Italian Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt and pepper
  • 2 egg, beaten

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray a cookie sheet or cover with parchment paper.
  3. Add all of the ingredients into a large bowl and mix together.
  4. Form into meatballs, rolling in between your hands and then lay out on your baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until golden brown. Rotate them half way through the baking time
  6. ENJOY!!!DSC_0026

Medicine Ball Ab Attack #2

OK everyone, here is round two of your ab attack workout using the medicine ball. This one is going to require a little more coordination and core stability to perform the moves. Have fun, you should definitely feel this one when you’re done with the workout.

  • Warm-up 5-10 minutes.
  • 60 seconds each exercise.
  • No rest in-between.
  • 1-2 minute rest after completing the full set.
  • Repeat circuit 2-4 times.

* I would suggest using a 4- 8 pound medicine ball. If you are new to exercising please make sure you warm-up, watch your form and start with only 30 seconds each exercise.

Figure 8’s:

Sit on the floor with your knees bent, holding a medicine ball in front of you. Lean back slightly and lift your feet off the floor. Bring your left knee toward your chest while straightening your right leg. Pass the medicine ball under your left leg, then bend your right knee toward your chest while straightening your left leg. Pass the medicine ball under your right leg. Repeat for 60 seconds. * If you have difficulty balancing on your glutes, touch the foot of the straight leg to the floor during the passes until you can develop that core strength and balance.

figure8Plank Mountain Climbers:

Start in a Plank position with your hands balancing on the ball. Bring your right knee towards the ball, then back to the starting position. Quickly bring you left knee towards the ball, then back to starting position. Repeat for 60 seconds in a quick motion. * Try to keep you body in plank position the entire time without rocking from side to side as you switch your legs. mountainclimbersHigh Knee Crunch:

Stand with feet hip width apart, arms are above your head holding the ball with both hands. Using your core muscle quickly bring your knee towards your chest and ball towards your lifted knee. The ball should come down and a controlled fast motion. Tighten your abs as your knee comes towards your chest. *Make sure you are not using you leg muscle, but are focusing on your abs when you lift and crunch. 
highkneePlank Triangle Pass:

Start in a plank position, bring your right arm to the side of your body while balancing on the ball. With your hand still on the ball bring your arm up and across in a triangle shape to the left side. Take your right hand off the ball and bring it back to your right side. Do the same motion with your left hand. Repeat both side for 60 seconds. *You will be moving the ball in a triangle shape motion from one side to the other. Make sure you keep you body stable while you move the ball. 2planktriTucks:

Start with the ball above your head and feet a few inches off the ground. Lift you knees up and towards your chest while bringing the ball above your knees. Extend you arms and feet back out again. Repeat for 60 seconds. *Repeat this in a slow and controlled motion. When your arms and legs are stretch out make sure you core is tighten which should help you protect your low back. tucks

Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce

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OK folks, here is the second cauliflower recipe for this week, and it’s a good one! I loved this sauce because I was able to use it for many different dishes. One night we used it as a sauce over zucchini pasta, then I made a chicken and vegetable dish with it and for lunch I used it as a thick soup with veggies. This recipe will make about 5 cups of sauce, which should last you a couple of meals, so if you don’t want to eat it within the week you can freeze this sauce and it will still hold it’s constancy when it is defrosted. DSC_0030

Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce

INGREDIENTS
  • 8 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons butter (I use Kerrygold butter)
  • 5-6 cups cauliflower florets
  • 6-7 cups vegetable, chicken broth or water
  • 1 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon pepper (more to taste)
  • ½ cup milk,  (Milk of your choice – cow, almond or coconut)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil (optional, if you want the added olive oil taste to the sauce)
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Sauté the minced garlic with the butter over low heat. Cook for several minutes or until the garlic is soft, but not browned. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Bring the water or broth to a boil in a large pot. Add the cauliflower and cook and cover for 10-12 minutes or until cauliflower is tender. Do not drain the water or both.
  3. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cauliflower pieces to the blender.
  4. Add 1 cup of broth or cooking liquid, the garlic/butter, salt, pepper, and milk.
  5. Blend or puree for several minutes until the sauce is very smooth, adding more broth or milk depending on how thick you want the sauce. You may have to do this in batches depending on the size of your blender.
  6. Serve hot and ENJOY!DSC_0040 DSC_0003

Creamy Curried Cauliflower Soup

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My post yesterday was all about the nutritional properties of cauliflower. I also mentioned that I would post 3 or more delicious cauliflower recipe this week. So, here is recipe #1, it’s creamy and OHHH so yummy! It was really cold outside the day I made this soup which seemed to make it taste even better, soup always taste better on cold days, right? I ate the soup for leftover the next day and I found that it tasted even better the following day. This recipe does not take much of your time or effort to make, so give it a try this week.

Creamy Curried Cauliflower Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup raw pumpkin or sunflower seeds
  • 3 1/2 cups unsweetened plain almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2  tablespoons of chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 4 teaspoons mild curry powder, more to taste
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 5 -6 cups cauliflower florets (about 1 pound. You can use more cauliflower if you want the soup to have a thicker consistency)

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. In a medium bowl, toss sunflower kernels with 1 teaspoon almond milk and 1 teaspoon of curry.
  3. Spread out on a small parchment-paper-lined baking sheet and bake, tossing once or twice, until toasted. About 6 to 8 minutes; set aside.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  5. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes.
  6. Add cauliflower, almond milk and the rest of the spices. Cover and simmer until cauliflower is very tender, about 30-40 minutes.
  7. Working in batches, carefully purée in a blender until smooth.
  8. Transfer to bowls, top with seeds and serve.
  9. ENJOY!!!DSC_0010

 

Why Should You Eat Cauliflower?

CauliflowerI love eating and cooking with this delicious and nutritious white beauty! Cauliflower has a subtle low-key flavor which might be boring by itself, but when added to other spices or paired with a dip, it seems to light up with flavor. I love using it as a substitute for many different dishes like pizza crust, hamburger buns, mashed potatoes, sauces and soups. I seriously think the possibilities are endless when in comes to using cauliflower.

So, why should you eat this stuff?

  • Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable – such as kale, broccoli and cabbage. These vegetables are great for cancer prevention because they provide powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients.
  • Cauliflower is a great detoxifier.
  • Cauliflowers is an anti-inflammatory. The anti-inflammatory properties come from the Omega-3 fatty acids and high levels of vitamin K.
  • Cauliflower is a wonderful source of vitamin C. 1 cup of steamed cauliflower provides about 90% of the recommended daily amount.
  • Cauliflower is an excellent source of folate & fiber. It has 9 grams of fiber for every 100 calories!
  • Cauliflower is a good source of choline, a B vitamin known for its role in brain development.

What kind of cauliflower should I cook with?

  • White cauliflower is the most common color you will find and it works great with all the recipes. You will also find a variety of different colors, each color will have a subtle flavor difference. Try using the different colors to make your dish even more colorful. With the different colors you will also find that each of them have a slightly different nutrient content due to its color.
  • Try these other colors – Purple, Orange and Green.
  • Purple – Cooks a little faster than white and has a slightly milder flavor. It’s color comes from anthocyacins, which is the same cancer fighting phytonutrients found in beets, blueberries and raisins. It is also higher in Vitamin A than white cauliflower. When you eat or drink phytonutrients, they may help prevent disease and keep your body working properly.
  • Orange – Taste a little sweeter, milder and creamier than white cauliflower. Orange cauliflower has 25% more beta-carotene than white.  The human body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A (retinol) – beta-carotene is a precursor of vitamin A. We need vitamin A for healthy skin and mucus membranes, our immune system, and good eye health and vision.
  • Green – A cross between cauliflower and broccoli. When it is cooked it taste more like broccoli.

Cauliflower Nutrition Facts

1 Medium Head (5-6 inches in diameter)​

Calories 146

Total Fat 1.6 g

Sodium 176 mg

Potassium 1,758 mg

Total Carbohydrate 29 g

Dietary fiber 12 g

Sugar 11 g

Protein 11 g

For the next week I will post 3 or more NEW cauliflower recipes for you to try! If you’ve never tried cooking with cauliflower before, it’s time for you to get out of your comfort zone and experiment with some of these recipes. If you just want to incorporate cauliflower into your diet without trying to make anything fancy, try eating it raw with humus, lightly steam it, roast it in the oven or lightly sauté it in olive oil or butter.DSC_0029 DSC_0022

Cauliflower Hamburger Buns

Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

Roasted Vegetables

12 Ways To Start Your Day Off Happy & Successful

DSC00230I believe in order to make your day a positive and successful one, you need to first begin each morning setting your day up for happiness and success.  If you wake up stressed, grumpy and dreading the day, you will most likely spend the rest of your day in that same state of mind. Happiness or being positive does not come naturally and easy for everyone, so it’s important that you are conscious about doing things that bring positiveness into your life. Our THOUGHTS create our EMOTIONS! Since you have the power to control your thoughts and emotions (even though it may not seem like it at times), you also have the power to start you day off on a positive note each and every day.

My challenge for you is to pick 2-3 of these to practice for the next couple of weeks. Start making the ones you chose a habit in your morning routine and see how your day might change. I believe it will definitely change for the better if you are open to starting your day out with positive habits that will set you up for success. 

1. Practice Gratitude Every Morning.

Whether you spend each morning writing down 3-5 things you’re grateful for or you talk to the one you love about what your grateful for, it makes a huge difference to spend that time focusing on things that make you happy and fulfilled in life. It can be anything as simple as a beautiful sunset, the sound of your children laughing, a good cup of coffee or a friend who helped you out. Many of us get caught up in the cycle of negative thinking, and forget to remember how good we may actually have it.

2. Get Up & Move.

There is something about starting your day off moving your body whether your outside running or practicing yoga in the comfort of you home. Moving or exercising can be anything you love doing that gets your body moving and heart pumping. Exercise releases endorphins, which is a feel good hormone, who doesn’t want some of those!!! Willpower is also the strongest in the morning, so the likelihood of you getting out later in the day can be slim due to that fact that life can get in the way, and sometimes the last things you want to do after work is exercise. So, schedule in your excise time and get it done in the morning. DSC00050

3. Stay Off Social Media.

I found myself getting in the habit each morning of looking on social media right when I woke up, silly right! I’m not saying that you should not look at social media, but it shouldn’t be the first thing your thoughts go to each morning. If you need to read something, read a good book or article instead.

4. Spend Some Time Mediating.

Once you get into meditation routine you may feel your life becoming more peaceful, feel more in-tune with your body and surroundings, have a greater sense of being and have the ability to focus on what you need and want in life. I am in no way a seasoned meditator, but I have found that on the morning I do try to meditate it seems to help my day run smoother and I feel more at peace. meditation

5. Read An Inspiring Book Or Article.

Reading something inspiring and motivating in the morning is bound to get you revved up and ready to tackle the day, there are also many podcast that are great to listen too also. It’s important to constantly  strive to keep learning and being inspired each and every day. Stretch and grow your mind each morning. Find something that inspires you and spend some time reading it or listening to it.

6. Enjoy Your Surrounds & Breath In The Fresh Air.

I realize that we all live in different surrounding. Anything from bustling cities, beautiful suburbs and quite countryside. Wherever you live, try to find the beauty in it and ENJOY it! Get outside for a moment and breathe slowly and appreciate the beautiful earth you live in. If you live in a city that does not have fresh air, just pretend it is fresh air you’re breathing in. 🙂

7. Spend Time Making A Healthy Breakfast.

In order for your mind and body to work properly you need to fuel yourself with the right food. You body can not run on garbage for long, so don’t rush out the door with a donut in your hand, but take a few minutes and actually make yourself a nutritious breakfast. Your body will thank you. DSC_0002

8. Wake Up In A Clean Room.

When your surroundings are cluttered, your mind feels cluttered. Clean up your room and you will notice the energy in your room feeling more peaceful and calm. If if struggle with messiness, try taking simple steps, like hanging your towel up right after you shower or never leaving for work unless you bed is made. I am a mom of 4 kids and messiness can be common at my home, but I find that I am happier when my house is clean and organized.

9. Forget About The Mistakes Of Yesterday.

We all sometimes dwell on the past and all of our shortcoming. We think about what we DID NOT do yesterday, instead of focusing on what we WILL DO today. We may of had complete failures yesterday, but today is a new day for success and adventures.

10. Write Down Some Micro Goals.

I am a big believe in goals. There is something about writing them down and accomplishing them throughout the day. It’s important to make them simple. These are micro goals, nothing that can’t be accomplished during the day, but something that challenges you and makes you a better person. Some of the most successful people start their day with a list of what they need to do. Benjamin Franklin started his day off with a list of what he wanted to accomplished throughout the day. If you look below you can see his  list. I love that the questions he asked himself each morning  “What good shall I do this Day?” and in the evening he asked “What good have I done today?” Make sure some of the goals you put down are ones that will help you and others around you. benfranklin

11. Ask Yourself “How Can I Make This Day Amazing?”

It’s a simple question, but it’s so powerful. By simply asking yourself “How can I make today amazing?” you make yourself realize that you are in control of how your day goes and how you feel about it. Then, do the things to make it amazing! Sounds kind of silly right, but who cares! The more you focus on yourself and constantly making your life better the more it will actually become the amazing life you strive for.

12. Begin Each Day With A Smile.

Simple, if you wake up frowning and grumpy that frown will most likely stay the rest of the day. Even if you don’t feel like smiling, look at yourself in the mirror and force a smile out and eventually a real one just might appear, and stay too. smiley_face

30 Day Squat Challenge

It’s about to be a new year, a new month and it is time to create that new booty of yours! Are your ready to get your back side in shape, if so try this 30 Day Squat Challenge. I will be doing this challenge along with you and will (ok maybe might) post my before and after picture for all of you…EEEKKK! It will be a good motivation for me, as the holiday season has just passed, and I may have eaten WAY to many holiday cookies. No worries though, I’m not down because they we delicious and it’s one time a year. 🙂

Look below for the monthly chart, pictures, squat descriptions and the plan. You can also click on the chart link at the bottom of the page, it is in a PDF format that you can print out and put somewhere you can see each day. 

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narrowbackkickbasic sideliftsumoNarrow Squat:

  • Stand with your feet touching. Hold your hands comfortably in front of your chest to help you stay balanced and bend your knees, lowering your hips deeply, bringing your thighs parallel with the floor if you can. Be sure to keep weight back in your heels.
  • Then rise back up, straightening the legs completely, squeezing the glutes at the top of the movement to get the most out of the exercise.
  • This counts as one rep.

Narrow Squat With Back Kick:

  • Stand with your feet touching. Hold your hands comfortably in front of your chest or on your hips, and bend your knees, lowering your hips deeply so your thighs are parallel with the floor. Be sure to keep weight back in your heels.
  • Then rise back up, straightening the legs completely, and lift the left leg behind you for a back kick. Lower the foot back to the floor in a narrow squat position.
  • Do another squat, then straighten the leg, do a back kick with the right leg, and step the right foot back to meet the left.
  • This counts as one rep.

Basic Squat:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width distance apart, feet parallel. Hold your hands out in front of you for balance. Bend your knees, lowering your hips deeply, bringing your thighs parallel with the floor if you can, keeping weight back in your heels.
  • Then rise back up, straightening the legs completely, squeezing the glutes at the top of the movement to get the most out of the exercise.
  • This counts as one rep.

Basic Squat with Side Leg Lift:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width distance apart, feet parallel. Hold your hands out in front of you for balance. Bend your knees, lowering your hips deeply so your thighs are parallel with the floor, keeping weight back in your heels.
  • Then rise back up, straightening the legs completely, and lifting the left leg out to the side, squeezing the outer glute.
  • As you step the foot back into shoulder-width distance position, squat down again. Then stand up and do a side leg lift on the right side. Lower the leg back to the starting position.
  • This counts as one rep.

Sumo Squat:

  • Stand with your feet wide, toes pointing out. Hold your hands comfortably in front of your chest to help you stay balanced and bend your knees, lowering your hips deeply so your thighs are parallel with the floor. Make sure to keep weight back in your heels
  • Then rise back up, straightening the legs completely, squeezing the glutes at the top of the movement to get the most out of the exercise.
  • This counts as one rep.

The Plan:

Throughout the 30 days you will gradually progress from starting out at 8 reps each exercise repeated 1X to day 30 completing a total of 200 squats! These moves are not complicated, but will help tone your legs and booty. You will have rest days, so make sure you use them. The most important thing is to listen to your body and watch your form, ONLY do what you feel capable of. It’s also important to remember in order to make a difference in your body you can’t just focus on exercise. If you eat a healthy whole foods diet, get a good nights sleep, incorporate some kind of cardio or weights 2-4 days a week, complete this squat challenge, and you will then see a difference in your body, and especially you back side.

HAVE FUN!

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Upper Body Dumbbell Circuit

This is a great workout you can do in 30-45 minutes that will target most of the major muscles in your upper body. Please make sure you warm-up and use an appropriate weight for your fitness level.

  • Warm-up 5-10 minutes
  • 12-15 reps – the muscle you are using should be fatigued by the 12-15 rep, so go heavier!
  • 30-40 second rest between each exercise, if needed
  • 2-3 minute rest after each full set (all 7 exercises)
  • Repeat the set 2-3 times
  • Cool down

uprightrowslatraisestricepkickplankrow1BIcepcurlsquat latextensions

Upright Rows – Stand with your feet hip width apart. Hold your dumbbells in front of you with your palms facing towards you.  Slowly lift your elbows up until they become parallel with your shoulder. Slowly bring the dumbbells back down to the starting position.

Single Arm Lateral Raises – Stand with your feet hip width apart. Hold your dumbbells in front of you with your palms facing towards you. Slowly lift your right arm straight out in front of you, keeping your palms down and dumbbell steady. Dumbbell should come up high enough that it is parallel with your shoulders. Slowly lower your right arm back to the starting position and repeat the same motion on your left side.

Tricep Kickbacks– Stand in a slit dance position with you back slightly bent forward. Right leg back and left leg forward and slightly bent. Put your left arm on your bend knee. Holding your right arm at 90 degrees in-line with the side of your body. Slowly straighten your right arm out until it become fully extended to the side of you. Bring your right arm back to the 90 degree angle and repeat the same motion on the left side.

Plank Rows–  Get into a plank position holding on to your dumbbell which should be flat against the ground. In a rowing motion bring your right arm up (still holding the dumbbell) until it parallel with the side of your body. Slowly bring your right arm back down to the starting position. Repeat the same motion on the left side. When lifting the dumbbell make sure your elbows comes straight up and not out to the side. Remember to keep your plank position the entire time!

Standing Bicep Curl – Stand with your feet hip width apart. Hold your dumbbells in front of you with your palms facing away from you. Slowly Curl the dumbbells up keeping you elbows close to your body. Curl the dumbbells back down to the starting position.

Squat to Shoulder Press–  Stand with your feet hip width apart. Hold your dumbbells to the side of you with your palms facing towards you. Slowly lower down into a squat, then back up again. Once you are standing curl your dumbbells up, then to a shoulder press. You palms should be facing away from you when you are at the top of your press. Bring your arms back down and repeat the squat to shoulder press motion again.

Lateral Extensions– Stand with you feet hip width apart. Hold your dumbbells to the side of you at 90 degrees. Your palms should be facing up and your elbows should be touching the side of you body. Slowly extend your dumbbells directly out to the side of you. Try to get your arms fully extended.  Slowly bring your elbow back in to the side of your body and repeat.