Strawberry Cinnamon Protein Pancakes + WIAW

I lost Vegas.

Not literally, thank god. 

We’ve been doing a little 21 day reset.  Vegas said she’d give it a week and then see if she wanted to keep going.  She lasted a week like a champion… but then I lost her.

Actually, we both went a little off the reservation Saturday night.  I got back on track Sunday, but Vegas was done.  She’s still been basically eating whatever I eat… just with a side of caffeine and peanut M&Ms.  She had no complaints about the protein pancakes we had for breakfast (more on that below).

Strawberry Cinnamon Protein Pancakes… 

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Cleaning Up My Act + WIAW

It is time I clean up my act.

Let’s be real – its beyond time.

It’s generally pretty easy for me to keep my diet in check during the week.  The weekends…. it’s another story.  Since I’m not competing this year I haven’t been following any real nutrition plan.  Of course I took that to the extreme.  

What I know about myself is that I love to indulge.  I also know that when that starts happening too much, I feel like crap.  It affects my physically and mentally.  I’ve been struggling lately, and I know it’s time to reign it in.


For a few years now I’ve been doing a version of the Standard Process Cleanse.  That’s the protocol I’m following for the next 21 days, except using my own supplements rather than buying their program.  Basically, it’s eating super clean and eliminating common allergens like eggs, dairy, nuts, and gluten.  The first 10 days is meatless.  The last 11 days includes chicken and deep sea fish.

I’m only through Day 1, but here’s my first reactions:

  • Not taking pre-workout is hard
  • I’m going to need to buy a lot more veggies
  • Some of the dishes I made when doing this previously are really good – I’m excited to bring them back
  • Fruit can make a fun ice cream dessert
  • Good lord, I miss meat


This WIAW is my first on the 21 clean(se) train.  I’m still working out the best foods to bring and when to time protein and carbs to get the energy I need.


Read on for my eats, and then check out Jenn’s blog for everyone else’s delicious creations! … 

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Do You Chia?

We all had chia pets growing up.

The adult thing to do with EAT the chia.  The seeds, not the pet… actually, I wonder if you could eat the pet…

Today I am guest posting on my friend Heather’s blog – Better with Veggies.  This vegan-rockstar endurance athlete is tearing up the slopes on a snowboarding adventure!

Click here for a little chia education and some tasty (and easy!) recipes like…

Peach Cobbler Chia Pudding

Blueberry Pear Overnight Oat Chia Pudding

Sweet Potato Chia Pudding Pie

Chocolate Breakfast Pudding


I’m going to be sweating it to keep up with blog this week… work is out of control!  Sorry if I am slow to comment.

Do you use chia seeds?  What’s your favorite way to incorporate them? 

Have you ever walked around with seeds stuck in your teeth?  Why don’t people tell you these things?!

Butternut Squash Chia Pudding

Book Club dinners when you’re on a cleanse are hard.


They’re even harder when you’re hosting and therefore responsible for food.  The icing on the cake is that the theme is French (to go with this month’s book selection).  Who ever heard of French vegan food?!

This may have had me sweating a bit.


So I said to myself:  Man up.  You can do this thing.  I think.



Predictably, I’m got a late start today so the details will have to come later, but it went really well!  Like, 100x better than I expected.


The menu included:

  • Provençal Spread and Veggies
  • Salade Niçoise with Tempeh “Tuna”
  • Oven-Roasted Tomatoes Stuffed with (vegan!) Goat Cheese
  • Roasted Eggplant Bruschetta


I warned everyone ahead of time that it would be a clean dinner… and they subsequently brought meats, desserts, and wine. :)



French wine Dessert was the saddest thing for me to miss.  There are so many possibilities for making French desserts that would have been fun to create.  There will be many other dessert opportunities in my life though.  And bottles of French wine.

In order to feel a little less left out, I created my own dessert to enjoy.  And you know what… I can honestly say it was satisfying.  (But I did swoon a little over homemade banana pudding.)


Chia pudding has long been a breakfast favorite.  As of last night, it’s been upgraded to dessert.



No this isn’t chocolate cake.  But it is good.


Made like a traditional chia pudding (chia + liquid + congeal in the fridge), the twist here is the sweet squash and a quick blend at the end.



The cocoa-flavored stevia did give it notes of chocolate-y goodness.  I also loved the classic pie flavors the vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg lent the dish.



A spin mix in the Magic Bullet at the end smoothed out the chia to make this like the pudding you grew up eating,  (Thanks to Kasey @ Power Cakes for the idea!)

Yes, you can have your pudding even if you don’t eat your meat.



Butternut Squash Chia Pudding

  • 1/2 butternut squash, roasted
  • 3/4 C unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 T chia seeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 7-8 drops cocoa stevia
  • Shake of salt


In a small bowl, mash up butternut squash until it becomes a puree (some small pieces are ok).  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 mins (or overnight for breakfast).  The chia will absorb most of the liquid.

Place mix in a blender (I used my Magic Bullet) and blend until smooth (about 20 seconds).  Remove, place in bowl, and enjoy!

Note: This would make a great post-workout snack!  Just add a scoop of protein powder and increase the amount of liquid you mix in.

Unfamiliar with the benefits of chia?  Click here for my post on why they rock!


I cannot wait to share the rest of the meal with you all!

For those with diet restrictions, do you ever feel left out in food-centric social settings?  How do you navigate?

Has anyone ever been to France?  I’m thinking that may be this year’s big trip…


Sweet Potato Pie Chia Pudding

We’re on Day 5 of a successful cleanse!


16 to go.

Honestly, it hasn’t been hard.  It’s been so great having the friend support, and seeing them feel good makes me even more determined.


Results come quickly!  My friend sent me the following message yesterday morning:

I have an inordinate amount of energy.  This from a girl who consumed no less than 6 servings a day of caffeine… I’m like, let me clean the whole house, do laundry, and work all day with my kid on my hip.  WOO!


I’m so proud of my best friend!!!


The daily breakfast smoothies continue.  I do love smoothies.  With all of the random things I throw in them, I rarely end up with the same concoctions (except my favorite Liquid Sweet Potato Pie).

Atlanta finally get cold(er) this week and the thought of a cold drink for breakfast was too much to handle.  Then I remembered – seeds are allowed on the cleanse… that makes chia pudding legal!


I typically make fruit-based chia puddings like this peach cobbler chia or this banana cashew… but there was a giant sweet potato staring at me.  With my favorite smoothie in mind, I decided to try it as a chia pudding.

Sweet Potato Pie Chia Pudding.  Sweet chia, it was good.


Nuts aren’t allowed, so that ruled out adding my usual nut butters… again, seeds are legal… sesame… tahini!  Turned out to be a genius mix-in.  The nuttytoasty flavor came through subtly, adding a cool dimension.


The martini glass certainly added something as well. :)

Cheers to Friday! (Recipe at the bottom of this post.)


Oh yeah… we need a WINNER for the “Be My Veggie Valentine” giveaway for 1 of 3 boxes of Almond “Heart Beet” cookies and Grapefruit Fennel cookies from Cookie Underground!

Thank you for all of the creative veggie cookie suggestions!  It seemed like a carrot and/or sweet potato ginger flavor was the most popular.  You know I loved that with my orange-food obsession.


Winner #1:

Claire @ Live and Love to Eat

Winner #2:

Ashley @ Freckles & Spice


Winner #3:


Please email me your addresses ASAP in order to receive your cookies for V-Day!!!



Sweet Potato Pie Chia Pudding

  • 1/4 large sweet potato, baked
  • 1 T chia seeds
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 C unsweetened vanilla coconut milk (or other liquid of choice)
  • 2 tsp tahini
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ginger
  • 2-3 drops vanilla stevia
  • Shake of salt
  • Pinch cloves


In a bowl, mash up the sweet potato until smooth.  Mix in all other ingredients and refrigerate at least 1 hour (or overnight).  If it looks too thick, add more milk or water as needed.

Stir and enjoy!


Weekends are always my clean-eating weakness, so I’m really excited to have a dinner and game night with my cleanse buddies!

Have you made chia pudding before?

Are you celebrating Valentine’s Day this weekend?  Share your plans – let me live vicariously!


Greek Protein Mess

By Friday of last week I had to force myself out the door for a workout.  



I say forced because I am determined to do cardio everyday and I just wasn’t feeling it.  Not being able to run is dragging me down… 30 mins on the elliptical (or any machine) is not my idea of fun.  My ADD and I need scenery!  I tried to push it this week with running… every time the pain becomes excruciating at 0.8 miles.



Anyway, Friday I stayed on the elliptical by promising myself that if I was really miserable I could stop after 10 min… then 20 mins.  This works really well for me – by the time I get to those marks, I tell myself “10 more mins isn’t going to KILL you.”

30 looooong minutes later, I did 45 mins of Back/Biceps.  I coaxed myself through some heavier weights with thoughts of breakfast. #fatkid


Specifically the Greek Protein Mess waiting in my fridge.  I wish I’d heated it so I could call it a hot mess.



Have you guys seen the Wallaby Greek Yogurt?  I found it a Whole Paycheck Foods last week and fell in love.  This is the creamiest, most flavorful Greek I’ve tried (that’s what she said)!  17g of protein and just 4 g of sugar, its my dream yogurt.


With the last of the container I was hoarding, I made a post-workout protein-filled mess.  Mess because it was a total hodge podge… and I had the shakes (sure sign of a good gym session) so bad that I spilled the protein powder and the cinnamon and then sloshed the chocolate milk out of my bowl.

This is one mess I plan to make  again!  Recipe following the recap.


So… yeah.  My knee.  I’m frustrated.  It better not ruin my plans to run the Nashville Rock ‘N Roll Half in April!  I’ve been really good about getting cardio in with the elliptical and the stationary bike.  The Mile-a-Day Challenge has been just the motivation I need.

I’ve also been loving Body Rock.  The hotel I stayed in last week had a terrible gym, but Body Rock saved the day.  The 30 Day Challenge is no joke!  Especially the Sean’s part of the Day 3 workout.  Holy quad burn, Batman.




Workout Recap (1/16 – 1/22)

  • Monday – 100 push-ups
  • Tuesday – Body Rock Day 2, 1 mile run, Shoulders, 100 push-ups
  • Wednesday – This Body Rock1 mile run, Ab Ripper X
  • Thursday Body Rock Day 3Stationary bike (intervals)
  • Friday – Bis/Back, Elliptical (intervals)
  • Saturday – Body Rock Day 4, 1 mile run, 20 spiderman push-ups
  • Sunday – 1/2 mile run (knee gave up), Tris/Chest, Ab work*, 100 push-ups

*Sunday’s ab work was basic but good – if you ever need a quickie just try doing 100 reps of your favorite ab exercises.  I did 100 sit-ups on the exercise ball, 100 bicycle abs, and 100 baby crunches.  Then I did Hayley’s 6 minute plank rotation.



Greek Protein Mess

  • 1/2 C plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 C unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 T chia seeds
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 2 tsp peanut flour
  • 1 tsp maca 
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 5-6 drops NuNaturals Liquid Coca Stevia
  • Apple


Mix everything (except the apple) in a bowl and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour.  Remove and stir, adding more milk if necessary.

Top with diced apple, or other fruit of choice.

Refuel yourself!


This weekend I completed a fun art project (and I’m NOT artsy like my aunt).  Can’t wait to share with you tomorrow!!!

Do you like doing cardio on machines?  How do you get through it?

Some of you said last week you were doing/wanted to do  Body Rock.  How do you like it so far?


Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner: A Tribute

Today is a tribute.

Friday seems like the perfect time to celebrate some fantastic bloggers who have inspired some of the best meals I’ve had.  This list is not at all exhaustive, but it’s what I’ve had lately for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.


These fluffy, lemon-flavored chia muffins were based on this Lemon Chia Cake created by Lisa @ Healthful Sense.  I’ve made several of Lisa’s recipes and have never been disappointed.  She’s also the only person more obsessed with sweet potatoes and peanut flour than I am.

They are gluten-free and vegan – great for breakfast or an afternoon snack.  Next time I make them I’ll add some poppy seeds too, as that’s what the chia bites reminded me of.  Who doesn’t need a little opium first thing in the morning?

My modifications:

  • Used brown rice flour rather than millet
  • Replaced Stevia with NuNaturals Fiber Baking Blend
  • Reduced vanilla extract to 1/2 tsp
  • Added 1/2 tsp lemon extract
  • Used a full 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • Made 6 muffins rather than cake (baking time = 15 mins)


You should try these.  Like now.




When I can work from home, lunch is my favorite meal of the day.  I can cook something fresh AND use the daylight for picture-taking.  Even though I was too lazy to whip out the good camera for this pic.



Sweet potatoes.  Smashed and coated with goodness.  I took the idea from Pinterestthis recipe for Hot Crash Sweet Potatoes pinned from Donalyn @ DLYNZ.


My modifications:

  • Rather than her spice mix, I used this one created for use in my Babaganoush Soup… fitting because the blend was from another blogger, Cara @ Cara’s Cravings
  • Brushed sweet potato slices with a mix of olive oil and rice wine vinegar.  
  • Skipped the boiling step (increased baking time to 20 mins on each side using convection bake)


These “crashed” sweet potatoes tuned out beautifully, and my Middle-Eastern spice blend went perfectly with the Coconut Curry Marinated Tempeh by Turtle Mountain I had in the fridge.  Nom.




After an orange lunch, I needed a green dinner.

Janet @ The Taste Space created a Spinach Dal Palak that couldn’t be any greener if it tried.  If you don’t already follow Taste Space, check it out.  There isn’t a day where I don’t drool over a post.



My modifications:

  • Short on spinach, I reduced the recipe to make a single serving
  • Increased cumin
  • Used ground ginger (I’m out of fresh – use it if you have it on hand!)
  • Added more red pepper flakes (because I’m not happy ’til my nose is running)


Served with sriracha and an Ezekiel Sprouted Grain Tortilla.  Pinned and will be making again soon!



I have a bajillion blogger desserts marked to try… but tonight was my own.



These Chewy Granola Cookies (not limited to dessert – momma texted me to say she had 2 for breakfast with Greek yogurt) with a glass of “Chocolate Milk.”



“Chocolate Milk”


Mix in cocktail glass and serve with ice.


Yes, I realize such a simple drink shouldn’t count as a recipe… but it was good, so I’m going to milk it.  (Tee hee… milk it… get it?)

What blogger recipe have you made lately and loved?

What do you use to bookmark recipes?  Pinterest?  Reader?  Delicious?


Top 11 in 2011

2011 was a big year.



I began this blog at the end of 2010 (yes, I missed my blogiversary), and I cannot believe how much my life has evolved since.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of the wonderful bloggers out there.  You have inspired me in so many ways – introducing me to new foods, pushing me to think of new flavor combinations, motivating fitness and healthy living by example and through kind comments.


Resolutions aren’t my cup ‘o tea – I like to tackle goals as I think of them throughout the year.

In lieu of posting those and in honor of a rockin’ 2011, I decided to list the top 11 posts for the year.


Often I see bloggers comment that they don’t necessarily agree with the top posts… but in this case I largely agree.  There are a couple of soups/stews not on the list – but you guys apparently like breakfast and dessert (and I have no room to judge)!  Out of these 11 my top 3 are #1, 2, and 7.


Top 11 in 2011

1. Sparkling (Champagne) Cake Balls (these would be great to bring to a NYE party – toast with balls!)


2. Peach Cobbler Chia Pudding (with an overview on the benefits of chia)


3.  Sweet Potato Pie Oatmeal


4. Rosemary Lemon Shortbread Cookies


5. Coconut Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies (with an overview on the benefits of coconut flour)


6. Coconut Milk Greek Yogurt (with PBJ Vegan Yogurt recipe)


7. Cherry Balsamic Chickpea Salad (this was one of my favorite meals of the year)


8. Biscoff Cookie Dough Balls


9. Liquid Sweet Potato Pie


10. Garam Masala Daal (this post also includes my favorite Banana Cashew Chia Pudding recipe!)


11. PB&J Pancakes (gluten-free and vegan!)

Thank you to everyone who has read this blog, left a comment, passed along my link, written an inspiring blog… I am honored to have you all in my life and wish nothing but the best for us all in 2012!


I stopped posting on weekends… but check back tomorrow for a special Saturday post that might come in handy this weekend.

If you are a blogger, are your “most viewed” recipes the one you like the most?

What is your biggest hope or goal for 2012?


Chocolate Breakfast Pudding

How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?


If you do eat your meat first, Google might give you a green light.



Apparently Google has begun giving their food a rating system.  (You know, the food that they supply their employees for FREE… no, I’m not jealous…)

  • Green = eat anytime
  • Yellow = eat occasionally
  • Red = splurge rarely

What’s next?  The Google Food Pyramid?



It is an interesting concept.  I wonder if it has the desired effect?  Would colorcoded foods make you think twice?


Apparently vending machines (the only items that aren’t free to Google employees) are priced according to nutritional value



For example:


“Quaker Chewy Bars are 15 cents each, Famous Amos cookies re 55 cents, and an enormous Ghirardelli chocolate bar

is $4.25.”



Not that Quaker Chewy Bars are the pictue of health… but there are worse out there.


Check out this article for more info.


If you are ME and you want pudding before you eat your meat you simply make it for breakfast.  Breakfast makes sweets acceptable – duh.



When searching for a sweet yet healthy source of protein for breakfast (read: too busy to go buy eggs or Greek yogurt), look no further then your trusty protein powder/drink supply.


Can’t decide between chocolate and vanilla?  Use both!

Want to cinnamon?  Dump it in!

How about some chia seeds for extra post-run hydration?  Done.

Want a little crunch with it?  Those raw Banana Nut Bars I made Friday are even better after sitting a couple of days.

Note: the banana granola and the banana in the pudding were a perfect pair! 


You’ve just witnessed the thought process that lead to the birth of Chocolate Breakfast Pudding.



Chocolate Breakfast Pudding

  • 1/3 dark chocolate EAS (or any chocolate milk alternative)
  • 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 banana, mashed
  • 1/2 T chia seeds
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Mix it all together and refrigerate overnight (or at least 2-3 hours for the chia to become “pudding”).  Stir and devour!


I would love healthier (and free!) options at my office’s lunch spot!

How would you feel if your employer implemented a similar system?

Does your opinion change if they are supplying the food to employees for free?


WIAW Pride

Happy WIAW! (What I Ate Wednesday)

There seem to be a lot of posts lately where people are talking about their accomplishments.  I think that’s awesome!


The part that makes me sad is that many of these posts are pre-faced with something along the lines of:

“I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging…”


“Not to sound full of myself…”


Why do we have such a hard time sharing our “wins?” Charlie Sheen certainly didn’t and he isn’t even a winner.

Maybe it’s a female thing.  Not to stereotype, but I have never heard a dude apologize or hesitate before talking about a success.

Women tend to be raised to support and nurture.  Society tells us we are “caretakers.”  This doesn’t have to mean we need to keep it to ourselves when we’ve accomplished something!  We are allowed to be proud of ourselves and receive support and kudos from others.  Personally, I love sharing in your successes and cheering you on!


Share a personal success one person today.  I dare you.


Today I am proud of myself for 3 reasons:

  1. I got out of bed and ran twice as far as I promised myself I had to
  2. I remembered to take pics of everything I ate for WIAW!  (Yes, I take my pics on Tuesday… I’m told that’s ok. :) )
  3. I made some serious deliciousness with the other half of my butternut squash


Here’s the story of my 3 prideful moments on what I’m now creatively dubbing Terrific Tuesday:

1. Run

Promising low mileage is one way I coax myself out of bed for morning runs.  I don’t really enjoy going right from the bed to the street (that’s what she said), but on work days I don’t have time to chill first.  So I make myself promises:

“If you get up, you only have to run a 5K. It will be easy.  Get up!”


I had some verrry filling Mexican last night, so I didn’t need a snack other than to take my B-12 (awesome AM energy booster) before taking off.  Apparently this was just what the Dr. ordered for me today.



  • Distance – 6 miles
  • Time – 49:22
  • Pace – 8:20


I think that’s my fastest time yet at this distance!  Admittedly my leg was shaking on the brake pedal while driving to work, but in a good “I pushed myself” way.




Typically I realize half way through my food-eating for the day that I’ve forgotten to take pics of everything I ate.  Not the case today!



My name is Laura and I am chia pudding-obsessed.

Blackberry Almond Chia Pudding

A few days ago I made Peach Cobbler Chia Pudding.  I’ve also done Banana Cashew Chia Pudding.  Today was Blackberry Almond Chia Pudding.

My favorite so far is still the Peach, but this was not bad.  I added a bit of butter extract which make it more pie-like.  Not bad at all, my friends.

Because everything tastes better in a martini glass


Blackberry Almond Chia Pudding

  • 1/2 C blackberries, cut in half
  • 1/4 C unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 T almond butter
  • 1 T chia seeds
  • 1/4 tsp butter extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix well, mushing blackberries slightly in the process.  Store in refrigerator overnight.  In the morning, stir and enjoy!



Eaten at my desk, but it was so good I didn’t care.

Roasted Butternut Red Pepper Lentils

Leftover Roasted Butternut Red Pepper Lentils… which may have been even better than they were on day one.  The flavors had a chance to meld, I topped it with the last bits of fresh mozzarella… and I was one happy camper luncher.

Snack #1:

Celery and a freebie PB packet


Snack #2:

Peanut Butter Creme-filled Chocolate Newman-O's

Yesterday I got these in the mail from Mary @ Bites and Bliss.  I won a recent giveaway she hosted… talk about bites OF bliss.  What could be better than FREE Chocolate + PB cookies!?


Easy salad with a couple more of my little kid hidden veggie Chicken Bites.

Simple Salad with Chicken Bites

Snack #3:

Chocolate-Banana Green Creatine Protein Shake w/ Fiber


3. Serious Deliciousness

Newman's Own Spelt Pretzels and...


What exactly is that yellow-orange glob of tasty with my spelt pretzels?  Check back tomorrow… *insert evil laugh here*


Happy WIAW/Hump Day!

Share your win with me!  What have you done lately to make yourself proud?