Pumpkin Pie Protein Bowl + WIAW

When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

Not until I started competing did I realize how true this saying is.

My food prep is saving me this week, once again.  Starting a new job where I’m in the office every day (I used to work from home a lot) has forced me to be more structured and has tested me mentally.

Planning workouts and meals has become SO important.  Otherwise I’d never get out the door.  Preparation and constantly reminding myself of my goals and why I do this crazy thing is a necessity.

you are intense

I feel more like I’m going it alone during this competition prep.  I’m adjusting my workouts to meet my needs/limitations post surgery, and I have more fat to cut than I did in the past.

It’s new and it’s scary.  It’s also going to be awesome when I prove to myself that I can get out of my own way to reach a goal.


This is WIAW is a little glimpse into how I use my prep to stay in line, despite a new routine and later workouts.  It’ not easy.  But it’s not impossible.  I think.


Read on for my San Francisco treats, and then check out Jenn’s blog. for some more “normal” days of food.



You may have seen me post on Instagram that I’m changing up my morning cocktail.  I decided to try out new aminos in my draaaank.  Why?  I still love the taste of the old one, but their customer service is so bad (read: non-existent) I can no longer use the product. Their ingredient list wasn’t the *most* clean anyway.

This new one came highly recommended by my local nutrition store.  It is pretty good.  Doesn’t mix quite as well, but I like the mild taste and it still provides good energy!

morning aminos cocktail

I went on a bulgur kick a while ago with this Blueberry-Green Tea Bulgur… then forgot about it.  It made a comeback in this week’s food prep!

I mixed this delicious raspberry blend up to grab as a ran out the door to an early morning meeting.  It tasted like raspberry cream.

Raspberry Overnight Bulgur

Raspberry Overnight Bulgur

  • 1/4 C bulgur (raw)
  • 1/2 C Greek yogurt
  • Water or almond milk, to mix (I think this was about 1/2 C… you can always add more in the AM)
  • 1/4 C raspberries
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 6-7 drops orange liquid stevia (or other sweetener)

Mix everything together in a small bowl or jar and store in the fridge overnight.

Remove from fridge in the morning, add liquid if necessary, and enjoy!

Mid-Morning Snack:

This was Turbot with a random (salt-free!) Indian spice blend I found at the Asian market and a side of my tabbouleh with hummus.

I had just finished re-heating my fish in the break-room when two ladies walked in. One commented: “It smells like dead fish in here.” #sorryimnotsorry

turbot and tabbouleh

You may find it weird to eat fish before noon and/or at work.  I find it #strangebutgood. 


Turkey on a bed of spinach with my new lentil hummus, Ezekial bread, and raw zucchini sticks.  This was going to be a sandwich before I realized I had more stuffing than bread.  Typical…

turkey salad and hummus

Mid-Afternoon Snack:

This is like a treat meal to me.  If tuna is the chicken of the sea and swordfish is the steak of the sea… sea bass must be like the pork belly of the sea.  Without the fat (or the pig).  It’s absolutely decadent!

The salad with it was broccoli slaw and radish mixed with a quick sauce: nutritional yeast, apple cider vinegar, cumin, turmeric, and smoked paprika.  And I ate it off of a Zoo Pals plate. 😉

sea bass and broccoli slaw


Dinner has become snack-like on my new work/workout schedule.  I now have to workout right after work, so dinner actually is at 9pm and looks like dessert most days.

This is my chocolate-beet smoothie (it’s become a serious addiction), extra spinach blended in.  I left out the coffee since it was late, and topped it with pre-roasted kabocha and granola.

Chocolate-Beet Protein Smoothie


A dessert-like dinner doesn’t stop me from doing it again!  Since declaring this pumpkin pie protein bowl The Most Amazing Bowl of Deliciousness Ever, I’ve had it 3 nights in a row.  After the first night I began freezing it for an hour or so.

Pumpkin Pie Protein Bowl

Pumpkin Pie Protein Bowl

  • 1/2 C Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 C pumpkin purée
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 1/4 tsp butter extract (vanilla or almond would be good too)
  • Optional topping: cocoa sauce (cocoa powder, stevia, and almond milk), peanut butter, pumpkin seeds… etc.

 Place ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth.

Freeze for ~1 hour for a frozen custard, or enjoy right away for a more batter-like snack.


It’s oddly motivating to be really sore post-workout today.  I guess it’s like feeling the reward of hard work?!  #strangebutgood

Do you have any tips for staying focused and getting out of your own way?  Help.  Me.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve brought to work to eat?


  1. says

    I’m down for anything pumpkin pie flavored. I’m going to be orange any day at this rate.
    I’ve experimenting probably far too much and it isn’t even Fall yet…oopsy.
    I always think that being challenged mentally is much harder than being challenged physically, the way new routines and changes can mess with our minds is so nuts to me sometimes. It sounds like you’re doing great though, and you are totally going to be so proud of yourself for your next competition! I just know it.

    • Laura says

      I’m still hoping to achieve the glow! I’m still white. Boo.

      You are so right about the mental – and that’s the part I always tend to underestimate/sweep under the rug.

  2. says

    Firstly, I love how your posts go up at such an Australian friendly time- i.e. my lunch break. It seems what your doing now is working well for you! Having worked from home, I can understand the luxury of being less organised and going with the flow, but definitely keeping the food prep varied and consistently made is definitely key. Also, putting aside scraps from your protein prep to throw at those ladies. My most random lunch I brought? Maybe not so random but these days when I head into uni, I’ve been bringing pancakes 😉

    • Laura says

      LOL! They go up 45 mins before I go to bed. 😉

      I saw your pancakes on IG! You’ve inspired me to make a batch for next week’s prep.

  3. says

    I hope you wrote to your old aminos company to let them know why they lost you as a customer. I think it is important, whether in an email, on twitter or even a phone call, to tell companies how they let us down. If enough people do this, we might see a change, as companies (the ones that don’t get it already) see the importance of taking care of their customers if they want to stay in business.

  4. says

    I definitely need to try that chocolate beet smoothie! And you can absolutely reach your goals–just remember to take baby steps and not beat yourself up.

  5. says

    Okay so that comment you got from that co-worker about it smelling like dead fish reminds me of this WHORE in college, actually there were 3… Hanging with their pimp. Any who. I bought one of those toaster ovens and hid it under my bed in college… And would cook under my bed (they were NOT ALLOWED – fire hazard, yeah EFF YOU college)… Any ways, I was cooking scallops in my AMAZING TOASTER OVEN when all of a sudden this WHORE and her skanks and pimp walk in my room and go… “OMG… It smells REALLY BAD LIKE… RIGHT HERE” as they hover over me. I would have chucked the HOTTTTTT toaster oven at them, but my delicious scallops were browning to perfection so I couldn’t. Instead I said, go wash your vagina.

    BAHHH HA HA! Truth. I only speak the truth.

    • Laura says

      GiGi… you’re comment always make me snort whatever I’m drinking up my nose. Thanks for that. Kombucha burns like a mo-fo.

  6. says

    There are these great Asian seaweed rice crackers I love. But whenever I bring them in for lunch people always start looking around and wrinkling their noses asking “what’s that smell!? It smells like broccoli!” But I just sink down lower in my seat and no one knows its the girl eating the nondescript innocent looking crackers!

  7. says

    Maybe it helps when I tell you how AMAZING I think you are for going so strong for your goal!! I know how hard it can be when job and appointments, travel or ‘people’ are likely to cross your way. What always helped me are affirmations which reminded me to stay focused. If these are post it’s on my mirror/fridge/closet where I write my affirmations on, a screensaver with a pic that motivates you (maybe one of you on last competition), the same for your phone background. I also take 15 minutes (can be 5 or 10) in the morning to sit and visualize my goal and say my affirmations over and over. Odd, but it works. Mental training is SO important for me to not lose my motivation and to remind myself what my goal is!
    I have a love/hate relationship with soreness – I love to feel that I worked hard, but oh well, it hurts, damn it :-)

    • Laura says

      Lucie!!! You are the best. That’s a great idea about posting some motivational things. I need to decorate my new office!

  8. says

    I make that same snack girl!!:) I posted it on my blog awhile back and people flipped on Instagram too! Guess this is a shared obsession because it really does make for a great dessert, right?:) I want to try it with canned sweet potato puréed next:) I love your meals and PS- I never felt bad about eating fish at work either:) Everyone hated my tuna days lol:) Oh well!!:) Take care of yourself in the midst of training!:) Get it girl !!

    • Laura says

      Sweet potato is really good too! I make something similar as a sweet potato chia pudding for breakfast. Or butternut! With cherries. Cheers to great minds. :)

  9. says

    Do waffles with a side of veggies count as a random lunch to bring to work? I usually go down the oatmeal/egg white route for batter and then layer it with peanut butter…such an easy way to get in a balanced, not to mention DELICIOUS, meal!

  10. says

    Girl, you bring some crazy stuff to work lol. I usually try not to bring crazy food to class or the library for fear that it will smell bad!
    I swear, everyone and their grandma always talks about (read: raves about) kabocha squash. But I have no idea what it tastes like! I guess I should just buy one and experiment.

    And I am going to make that pumpkin smoothie today…Just bought a can of pumpkin yesterday! I guess it was meant to be :)

    Also, this semester so far (3 weeks in) has already been the most busy of my whole undergrad (not an ideal senior year). Anyways, I’m already finding it really hard to schedule in workouts and make sure that I eat right. I just allow myself about 20 minutes in the morning to meditate. Sounds stupid, but that mental relaxation allows me to bring positivity to my day. I remind myself that even though it can be really hard to stay on track, that I am definitely worth it! I think having the right attitude is crucial, even when things don’t go my way!

    Hope this helps a bit…

    Have a great day!

  11. says

    back in the DAY when I was competing I worked in a college counseling center….I think they wanted to fire me :-) for bringing tuna and rice.

  12. says

    Such a change having to be in an office & not your won schedule anymore…. hopefully it will all work out. I worked in offices so much that I don’t want to go back! 😉 It is a tough & long day but I have no doubt that you will do it & do it well! You are already looking amazing!

    So the boobies – you have the green light to do anything you want – you enjoying those babies! 😉

    • Laura says

      The good thing is that I LOVE my job. I was actually thinking today that I don’t even mind going into the office so much. I just miss a midday workout. 😉 But… at least I HAVE An office.

  13. says

    I have been reading your posts long enough to know that you are motivated! Your motivation helps to motivate me :). I know it’s hard to get used to a new schedule but I think it becomes easier over time. Now that grad classes have started again I’m in the gym late at night usually, it takes awhile to get used to a 10pm dinner.

    • Laura says

      Thank you, Nicole! That means a lot. Blogging is really motivating – both for accountability and support from the amazing community.

  14. says

    I FEEL your pain, I really really do! Having a full time job and then balancing eating right and working out is tough! I do it every day. There is SO much planning involved, but I normally take a few hours out of my Sunday, do all my food prep write down my goals/plans and then I have it all laid out for me for the week. Sheesh! People wonder why I am always making lists haha

    I am totally trying that protein pumpkin pie thing next week! Doesn’t fit into my meals for this week, but I def will. I also am going to try that Growing Naturals Rice Protein Powder. Amazon is amazing :-)

    • Laura says

      Yes! That Sunday food prep saves my butt. And my diet. 😉

      Let me know what you think of the pie, and of Growing Naturals. I really do love their rice protein.

  15. says

    Living in the building next to my office has done nothing for my advanced prep routine! It’s nice but I think I take it for granted right now. I want to become more efficient with my time and not rely on the fact that I live next door. What works for me best is taking 30 minutes the night before to prep. Often I’ll switch on the TV for some background noise or play music to pump me up. It’s hard though, especially after a long work day!

  16. says

    That Pumpkin smoothie looks amazing! I haven’t picked up any pumpkin yet here in Houston, since it is still reaching 95 degrees everyday, but this is definitely tempting. HA! And love the bulgur idea…could you use barley too or no? Have a fabulous day rock star!

  17. says

    Overnight bulghur is so creative! Yes- the getting in our own way… I actually have a tough time working from home because I think I want a snack all day long. You’ve definitely got your act together- keep doing what you’re doing, it’s working!

  18. says

    Look if there is anyone who can adjust to change and still get the job done, it’s you. You do know that right?! You’re pretty much a rock star. That coupled with the fact you’re stubborn (this a good thing) and a wee bit competitive means you got this shit. Give the new gig and schedule a couple weeks and pretty soon it’ll seem like it’s always been that way. I have total faith in you.

    • Laura says

      You noticed I’m competitive? 😉 Thank you so, so much. Reading these comments has been the best motivator. Sometimes I forget it’s only been 2 (almost 3 more) weeks on a new schedule… and for one of those weeks I was traveling.

  19. says

    This week’s workouts have been the toughest yet for me, I’m hobbling around even more than normal. And knowing I have another session tonight…and for the next 3 days…is tough! I’m so sorry you feel like you’re going it alone for competition prep. :( What’s different?

  20. says

    That dead fish comment follow by that second pic on Instagram…I can’t even hahah. I think I may be finally able to welcome pumpkin back into my life (goodness knows I have been consumed enough of the Japanese variety aka kabocha) despite the fact we are still in the midst of summer weather here.

  21. says

    Sorry you’re struggling with motivation … although it sure doesn’t seem like it since you’re killing your meal prep and your workouts! If it helps, try putting things in perspective – remember when you were recovering from surgery how BADLY you wanted to work out? Also cut yourself a little slack – a new job is stressful and a huge life change! You’re doing great.

    • Laura says

      Megan, that really does help put it in perspective. I have unrealistic super-human expectations for myself wayyyy too much. Damn mortality… 😉

      Thank you!!

  22. Randi says

    you have kept ME motivated, a full-time-out-of-house-job is nothing for you! I do it with my food prep and competition prep, you got this 😉
    meal #2 at 11 am is actually my fish dish…so I hear you!
    curious, what was in the aminos you didn’t feel was clean? I saw you posted that about a certain whey protein as well…what was in that one?
    THANK YOU for the bulgur idea!! I need a low cal carb in the morning and I will have to try that!! looking forward to trying the pumpkin dish when I can eat more dairy…competition in less than 3 weeks : )

    • Laura says

      OMG – thank you!!! These comments are doing wonders to keep me motivated.

      The aminos and many protein powders just have a bunch of stuff added for flavor that I can’t even pronounce. If I can’t identify an ingredient, that’s a red flag for me.

      Good luck to you!!! 3 weeks is game time – have fun with it Let me know how you do!!!

  23. says

    I love what you said about “getting out of my way to meet my goal” you’re so right… sometimes we block ourselves from reaching a goal, even when nothing else is blocking us! I needed to read that.

  24. says

    Nope…not doing it! I’m NOT jumping on the pumpkin band wagon just yet! I refuse to do so because once that first can is opened, I’m done…I’ll forget all about my fresh summer berries and I’ll have the complexion of a Jersey Shore cast member in less than a month! What’s funny is that I’ve had forty (yes, you read that right…what? they were on SALE!!) cans in my garage (because OBVIOUSLY there’s no more room in my pantry what with all those grains and nut butter ;)) and I since last season and haven’t even thought about them ONCE!

    Weirdest thing I’ve eaten at work? Oh dear LORD! I don’t even know anymore…since I started working the night shift, I don’t have any one to gawk and stare, point fingers, or pinch their noses while I’m eating…oh damn! God, I remember the time someone “tried” to get me to explain what my meal was…I lost them at nutritional yeast! Ha!

    Question: What do you mean by “more fat to lose than in the past”? Where are you hiding it?! Those boobies are all water babe! 😉

    • Laura says

      Heather! 40?! You do know it goes bad, right? LMAO! Maybe you could make some pumpkin encrusted chicken titties?

      I had to explain what quinoa was the other day… pretty much everything I eat is “strange.

      Mwhahaha! I did a good job drinking wine this summer… I mean… bulking… ;)”

  25. Kat says

    Figure competitions are the opposite of true health. Cutting the fat down to nothing? This is pro-Ana(rexia) and I won’t be coming back to this blog. Please rethink your health or at least don’t encourage the blogosphere with your anorexia problems.

    • Laura says

      I’m sorry – it sounds like you had a bad experience. I keep a healthy fats in my diet throughout my prep. Best of luck to you.

  26. Carly says

    Hi! I always see that you put your protein powder directly into your yogurt and so I was wondering if there was a particular brand that wasn’t particularly chalky/gritty that tastes good as is (vs blended) because that would be so much easier to just be able to mix it in! Thanks!

    • Laura says

      Hey! I think most of them blend well with yogurt – the creaminess hides grit well. That said, but very favorite is Growing Naturals Rice Protein.

      • elizabeth says

        Growing Naturals is still my favorite. I’ve tried a few of the Vega products and some others and do not like the taste at all, maybe its the pea or hemp? I’m glad I like the organic rice protein, I use it more often in the summer.

  27. elizabeth says

    Your morning cocktail always sounds so good and refreshing.
    It looks like the Human Evolution and Fitmixer have similar ingredients, although Human Evolution doesn’t have caffeine, which is good. Do you notice the caffeine in Fitmixer? What are the questionable ingredients in Fitmixer, the red dye?

    • Laura says

      They just had a few artificial ingredients. Honestly, the biggest factor for me was the customer service. I loved the energy boost.


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