Strawberry Fields Forever

Let me take you down…

strawberry fields

Random fact: I listened to The Beatles religiously high school.

I’ve been religiously adding berries to everything lately.  You’ve seen these if you follow me on Instagram, but here’s round up of some marvelous strawberry creations last week.

 

You may have noticed that I love to add fruit to seafood.  Most of the time it’s in the form of a salmon creation
(Like salmon and peaches. Try it.)  Last week I was on a crab bender, and so this salad was born:

Strawberry Crab Salad

Crab and Strawberry Salad

  • Crab meat
  • Strawberries, sliced
  • Basil
  • Balsamic
  • Lime juice
  • Pepper
  • Paprika

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Strawberries are also good for breakfast!  Friday morning I treated myself with a breakfast pizza.  Normally this would involve yolk porn, but I was out.

Instead, I made a creamy spread by blending my cottage cheese, and used bacon and strawberries as toppings.  The kicker was the fig balsamic glaze I’ve been adding to everything.

Strawberry breakfast pizza

Strawberry Breakfast Pizza

  • Flatbread or pizza crust (I used P28)
  • 1/4 C no-salt cottage cheese
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 3-4 drops liquid stevia
  • Strawberries
  • Bacon, pre-cooked and broken into “sprinkles”
  • Optional toppings: hemp seeds, cacao nibs, balsamic

 

Top pizza and place in oven under broil for a few mins.  

Sprinkle with hemp seeds, cacao nibs, balsamic… or other toppings of choice!

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Lastly, we must have strawberries on dessert!  My #1 favorite “healthy” dessert is my 150 Calorie Chocolate Cake.  Who knew 2 minutes in the microwave could produce such a perfectly moist individual cake?!  I followed my original recipe, but used mashed sweet potato in place of the apple sauce.  I think I’ll be doing that from now on – it was fabulous!

For the strawberry topping, I simply mashed up some fresh berries in a bowl, added a tiny bit of balsamic, and microwaved it to warm.  The heat juices the berries even more, making for a delicious fruit syrup.

150 calorie chocolate mug cake with strawberries

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One more thing… I’m now a strawberry blonde!  I went lighter for the summer.  Yes, my hair color is seasonal.  Holla at Karen and Lava Hair Studio.

Short red hair

How’s that for a berry Marvelous Monday? Check out all of the Monday Marvels at Katie’s linkup!

Marvelous Monday

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I have a little announcement tomorrow… I’m a little nervous about it, but I’m all about being real.  Suspense.

What is your favorite way to use strawberries (other than plain)?

Do you change your hair or something about your “look” seasonally?

 

Chili-Lime Crab Salad + WIAW

I’m full of it.

 

I also love a dual meaning..

No, today I am full of protein and carbs.  Last week I talked about my new, carb-heavy plan in effort to gain.  I also get a daily “cheat” vs. the one cheat day I was getting before.  At first I thought this was awesome, but I now realize that one full day of cheats was better.  It gave my brain a break from measuring out fat-carbs-protein 7x a day.

Which brings me to one reason I love my trainer: he’s open to changing strategy.  We talked about diet last night (during a brutal leg workout), and made a couple of adjustments:

  1. I don’t have to eat if I’m miserable – 6 meals is ok as long as I’m getting in the protein/calories needed to gain (read: no salad for dinner)
  2. Two 1/2 day cheats per week rather than the daily cheat – there wasn’t a point in the daily cheat when I was too full to even take it

 

Of course after complaining I wasn’t hungry at all and nothing sounded good, he killed my legs and I was ready to eat my arm by the time I got home.

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I’m working hard on fueling my body right via my Kitchen Workout (have you joined?) and my training plan.  Jenn must have read my mind, but my goals fit perfectly with this month’s What I Ate Wednesday theme: healthy holiday recipes.  Below is one day of delicious, healthy eats.

 

Be sure to click here to head over to Jenn Peas and Crayons and see how everyone else is eating healthy during the season of temptation joy.

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Meal 1:

Of course I enjoyed my morning cocktail (mix of Apple Cider Vinegar, Glutamine, and Fitmixer Aminos), followed by a 2 mile incline walk.  I take a treadmill walk every morning while I’m going through my Reader and commenting on blogs and catching up on the royal baby gossip.

Today was an odd breakfast day.  I didn’t know what I wanted!  I was hot after the brisk walk, so I wasn’t relishing the thought of a warm breakfast.  However, I don’t like to have shakes or yogurt for breakfast (I have no idea when/why this started).  After drinking an ice water, I settled on a favorite: runny egg with a P28 protein bagel.  Cooked in truffle oil and served with a side of blackberries.

 

 

Meal 2:

If you follow my on Instagram, you may notice that I ate the same thing for meal 2 yesterday.  This combo was a winner!  Lindsay put the chili-lime flavor combo in my head Sunday night.  Eyeing my fridge, I decided that sounded like a great flavor for my lump crab meat.

 

Chili-Lime Mango Crab Salad

  • 3 oz crab
  • 1/4 large mango, cubed
  • 1/2 C edamame
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Juice from 1/4 fresh lime
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste
  • Cilantro

 

 

Meal 3:

Nothing sounded good to me this afternoon.  I ate meal 3 (lunch) at 2:30.  Chicken Burgers, seasoned with my Mediterranean spice blend and mixed mushrooms and onions.  It was actually really good.  I’m glad I made 2 so I can have it again when I’m more excited about eating.  I ate it on an Ezekial pita with spinach hummus and cucumber slices sprinkled with pepper and paprika.

 

 

 

Meal 4:

Because I was so annoyed at my lack of appetite, I moved up my appointment with my trainer.  Leg day is a great cure for anti-hunger, right?  I whipped up a Zucchini Bread Protein Shake to have post-workout.  I mixed in oats for my carb.

(Random fact: I’ve always loved raw oatmeal.  I even ate them out of the Quaker container as a kid.)

 

Sorry for the bad terrible  pic.  I drank it in the car on the way home and it gets dark early!  And leg day so thoroughly cured my lack of appetite that I nearly forgot a pic.

 

 

Meal 5:

Dinner was leftovers.  This pic is a left over too… ’cause it was much prettier right out of the pot.  I have no real recipe – this Curried Tomato Chicken and Eggplant bowl was a “throw-together” dinner winner.

It involved curry powder, other Indian spices, ground chicken, fire-roasted tomatoes, Thai eggplant, onion, red pepper, and cilantro.  I ate it over shirataki noodles. 

 

 

Meal 6:

I repeated again.  Last week I made my beloved Carrot Cake Batter, using cottage cheese in place of the Greek yogurt.  This week I did it again, but also crumbled a salt-free rice cake into it and topped with a little sugar-free caramel (it’s by Walden Farms… and no, it’s isn’t near as good as the real deal). 

Meal 7:

When I drafted this post earlier in the day, I was ready to announce that I failed again at eating meal 7.  Behold, the power of leg day.  Meal 7 was an old favorite: 150 Calorie Chocolate Microwave Protein Cake.  Lots pf protein with cherries on top.

 

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The protein count for the day: 167.3g.

My 2 shameless plugs: I’d love it if you’d click here and “Like” my new Facebook page.  Also, don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a $25 gift certificate to Open Sky!

Are you a fan of “cheat” meals?  Would you rather have it all in one day, or spread out over the week?

How are you keeping it (mostly) clean this season?

 

Crab Eggs Benedict, Lightened Up

Would you believe I’ve NEVER had Eggs Benedict?

 

Sure, I’ve had a bite of someone else’s.  I’ve never ordered my own though.  At first it was because I was too picky.  Then it was because I was too health-conscious.

Monday night I was craving brinner (breakfast for dinner) but I needed to be responsible and eat some of the crab I  bought over the weekend before I goes bad.  I tweeted about my dilemma and the lovely Heather @ Girly Ever After (check out her blog – this fellow-Atlantan rocks and has PERFECT skin) saved the day by suggesting Eggs Benedict.

 

I actually had to make this again the next morning because I gobbled it down too fast to write down what I did or take any thing other than the following Instagram pic:

 

 

The sauce may sound a little ghetto when compared to the “real” thing.   I’m not going to tell you it’s as silky as the yolk-based variety.  However, this creamy, lightened up version put a big (guiltless) Cheshire Cat grin on my face.  (Not tomention it’s 1000x easier to make than  Hollandaise.)

A little cayenne heat and lemon tartness was especially good against the rich crab meat.  If you don’t have/like/eat crab, you could try it with ham, bacon, tempeh bacon, or even a veggie sausage patty.

 

 

This was also my first time poaching an egg.  I don’t know why I waited so long – it’s really easy!  A few people told me the trick is to add vinegar to the water to prevent breakage.

Another tip is to bring the water to a boil, but then lower it to a rolling boil before adding the egg.  It must work because I had no problems.

 

 

Not wanting to overshadow the rich flavors in this dish, I served it with a simple arugula, cilantro, and heirloom tomato salad dressed with lemon juice and black pepper.

Is there anything more fabulous than a runny egg yolk?  I think not.  #yolkporn

 

 

I’m really not sure why you’re still reading this instead of running sprinting to the kitchen make your own.

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Lightened Up Crab Eggs Benedict

  • 1 egg
  • 1 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1 slice Ezekial bread (or carb of choice) 
  • 3 oz crab meat
  • 2 T Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp dry mustard
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Fresh cilantro and cracked black pepper (to garnish)

 

Fill a small pot with 2 inches of water and vinegar.  Bring water to a boil and reduce heat to a rolling boil.  Crack the egg into a small dish and gently pour into pot.  Simmer for 2-3 mins (will vary depending on how runny you like your yolk).

Meanwhile, toast bread and heat crab meat.

Combine yogurt, dry mustard, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and cayenne in a small bowl and briefly microwave (~10 secs) to warm.

Place toasted bread on plate with crab on top.  

Carefully remove egg from the water with a slotted spoon, letting excess water drain off.  Place on top of crab; spoon sauce over the top.  Garnish with cilantro and black pepper

Commence feast.

Serves 1, easily multiplied.

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I can’t believe it now, but at one point I was so picky I wouldn’t eat eggs, yogurt, or anything green (unless it was drenched in ranch).

Have you ever poached an egg?

What is your favorite lightened up decadent recipe?  Or what would you like to see lightened up?

 

Microwave Protein Cookie + WIAW

Lifting weights will not make you bulky.

 

It drives me NUTS when I hear women say they don’t want to lift because they are scared they’ll get bulky or look “manly.”  Women don’t have the hormone levels men do, so it’s just not possible to gain like a dude.  It takes a TON of work to significantly grow muscle.  I should know.

 

 

It is especially important for women to have a strength training program.

A few of the benefits include:

  1. Body Fat Reduction – As you increase lean muscle, so does resting metabolism.  This means that you burn more calories all day long.  Studies have shown that for each pound of muscle you gain, you burn 35-50 more calories each day.  That’s as much as 18,250 calories in a year!
  2. Decreased Risk of Osteoporosis and Heart Disease - Women are at an especially high risk of suffering from this disease.  Weight training can increase spinal bone mineral density, and – combined with adequate calcium – can be one of the best defenses against osteoporosis.  Cardio is important in heart health; however, lifting can help to lower “bad” (LDL) cholesterol, increase “good” (HDL) cholesterol, and lower blood pressure.
  3. Improved Athletic Performance – Research continually proves that strength training improves athletic ability.  It enables you to increase endurance, improve technique, and decrease the risk of injury.
  4. Improved Mood and Fights Depression - A Harvard study found that 10 weeks of strength training reduced clinical depression symptoms more successfully than standard counseling did!  Strength training often helps women feel more confident and capable, both important factors in fighting depression.
  5. Physical Strength – This may sound obvious, but strength training is important for daily activities – chores, chasing after kids, carrying groceries… basic, daily tasks will be much easier.  And how nice is it to be able to open ajar unassisted?

 

 

Strength training isn’t the only factor though.  I’m trying my best to gain as much as possible before my November competition.  Just as important as lifting is diet.  Healthy fats, complex carbs, and a lot of protein are key to gaining mass.  As much as I’m taking in, I’m still not She-ra…. but I am making gains!

A few people have asked for progress pics.  I wish I’d done a better job to tracking and taking pics from the same angles, but here’s the best bicep progress pic I have:

 

 

Still a long way to go, but I think there are some changes!

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Speaking of strength training (nice transition, right?), this fall’s  What I Ate Wednesday theme: “Fall Into Good Habits.”

 

Check out my healthy fall fuel below, and then click here to head over to Jenn Peas and Crayons to get ideas from others’ fall eats!

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Meal 1:

I probably bore you all with my morning cocktail, but this day started out like every other day with a mix of Apple Cider Vinegar, Glutamine and Fitmixer Aminos… with some kombucha and water.  This week I had a lavender-rosemary homebrew to mix in.  Good for the digestion, skin, and overall energy!

 

30 mins later I noshed on a random concoction:

A Morningstar veggie sausage scrambled with egg whites and topped with cilantro, 1/2 a grapefruit, and a slice of Ezekial bread with sugar-free strawberry jam.  Not super creative, but it was the jam on this rainy morning.

 

 

Meal 2:

If it’s going to rain, at least my food can be bright!

There’s no shame in microwave baking!  Especially when it is an iced Sunbutter cookie. 

 

This cookie is incredibly easy.  I was going to bake it, but that seemed too time-consuming.  35 secs in the microwave for this baby!  I blended together cottage cheese, stevia, and apple pie spice as the icing and arranged golden kiwi slices on top.

Recipe at the bottom.

 

Meal 3:

Monday night’s dinner was a healthy version of Crab Eggs Benedict.  I remade it for WIAW because it was so delicious.  I’d probably be eating it again right now if I wasn’t out of my local farm fresh eggs.

However, I’m a tease.  The recipe will be shared tomorrow… sorry, but I felt it deserved its own post. :)  

 

 

Meal 4:

Tilapia again… but I did prepare it differently!  I’m working on a project making my own (salt-free) spice blends.  This was cooked in a grill pan with my Mexican blend and fresh lime juice.  On the side was roasted broccoli slaw and brussels, topped with more of my blend, rice vinegar, and nutritional yeast. 

 

 

Meal 5:

I’m trying not to Instagram everything before I post it on WIAW… but I couldn’t help myself last night.

This pizza combo knocked my socks off.  I toasted a low-carb tortilla as the crust, then slathered it with a sweet potato mashed with lemon juice, cumin, and chili powder.  Meanwhile, I sautéed asparagus and chopped fennel in a splash of garlic-infused olive oil.  That saute, arugula, and pre-cooked salmon topped my pizza.

I put the whole thing in the oven on broil for a few mins, finish with freshly ground pepper, thick balsamic, and cilantro… and viola!

 

Total foodgasm.  ♫ The neighbors complain about the noises above… ♫

 

 

Meal 6:

An old favorite… with a new twist.  Remember my Carrot Cake Protein Batter?  I made it chocolate. 

 

This Chocolate Carrot Cake Protein Batter was basically the same recipe, but I added 1 T cocoa powder and use almond extract instead of vanilla.

Side note: Did you know that 1 T of cocoa powder has 1g of protein?

 

 

Meal 7:

In the interest of honesty… this happened:

 

I get an extra cheat each day in effort to gain weight… although this may not be what my trainer had in mind…

It was delicious though!  Terrapin is a Georgia brewery, and their Pumpkinfest beer is fantastic. It combines two styles – pumpkin beer and Oktoberfest – to create a spiced pumpkin beer that isn’t overly sweet.

 

Never fear!  I got my protein in too: 

 

A maple-casein version of my 150 Calorie Microwave Protein Cake topped with fresh figs.

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Micro Protein Cookie steps

Nutty Microwave Protein Cookie

  • 2 T peanut flour
  • 1 T water
  • 1 T Sunbutter
  • 2 T egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 5-6 drops liquid stevia

 

Mix ingredients in a small bowl.  

Coat small, microwave-safe plate with cooking spray.  Spread dough on plate and microwave 30-40 secs.  

Serves 1.

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Protein count for the day: 191.3g from fall clean eats!

Do you do any strength training?  Why or why not?

What foods have you been loving the most this fall?