Pre-Vacation Food + WIAW

Wasting food is one of the 7 deadly sins in my house.


There are starving children in Africa!

Before leaving to go out of town I make it my personal mission to eat everything perishable in my house.  If it’s not eaten before I leave, it’s eaten on the road.  I’ve done a couple of travel food posts before; while I’m not in competition mode this trip I still would rather have my own food from home than eat nasty airport food.  I’d also rather not pay a ton of money for nasty airport food.  That money is better spent on chocolate and wine in Europe!

Often people are surprised by the food I bring through security.  You CAN bring food!  Just avoid the liquid.

Pro Tip #1: Protein powder will not be mistaken for cocaine.

Legit powder

Pro Tip #2: If you freeze yogurt, it’s a solid!  


This WIAW is a crazy mix of leftovers.  I’m not even going to try to separate it into meals!


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

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Cinco de Strange But Good

I’m stranging-up Mayo!


(That’s May, not mayonnaise.)

It occurred to me that many of my Mexican-inspired creations are a bit strange.  Mexican is one of my favorite cuisines, and I’m always looking for a good way to shake it up!

No matter what time of day you celebrate, I have an appropriately themed dish!



Cocoa-Cayenne Sweet Potato Oatmeal

Sweet Potato CCC Oatmeal

Mex-Fast Tortilla Stack

Mexi-fast Tortilla


Small Plates

Tofu Jalapeño Poppers

Tofu Stuffed Jalapenos

Avocado-Mango Soup

Avocado-Mango Soup

Mexican Pineapple and Beet Salad

Pineapple Beet Salad

Mexican Cauliflower “Rice” Bowl

Mexican cauliflower rice bowl




Mexican Socca Pizza

Mexican Socca Pizza

Seitan Chorizo


Tequila-Lime Tilapia

Tequila Lime Tilapia

Sweet Potato Mexican Pie

Sweet Potato Mexican Pie



Piña Mezcalita

Piña Mezcalita



Mexican Chocolate Cake

Mexican Chocolate Cake

Mexican Black Bean Fudgy Brownies

Mexican Black Bean Brownies


How have you enjoyed making co-workers, friends, or family stare with strange but good creations this week? The link up rules can be found here or by clicking on “Strange But Good” in the menu bar above. In short, I want to see what concoctions have earned you weird looks from co-workers, family and friends! Post your Strange But Good creations, grab the logo below for your blog, and link up here.

Sprint 2 the Table



Remember to use #strangebutgood in any Tweets and Instagrams of your creations. :)


Check out the FitFluential Cinco de Mayo Round Up for more ideas!

What’s your favorite cuisine to add a #strangebutgood twist to?

Do you have Cino de Mayo plans?  Any special meals?


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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Mexican Quinoa & Sweet Potato Casserole

New kitchen methods fascinate me.


The stranger the learning, the better!

This week’s ingredients aren’t necessarily strange, but the way I cooked it was strange to me.  It’s a quinoa casserole… but you don’t have to cook the quinoa first!  Perfect for the lazy chef.  Like me.

For some reason I have a mental block about cooking grains.  It seems like SO much effort.  I know this is totally irrational, and I make other things that take much longer.  It is what it is.  When I saw this recipe from Lee where she simply baked the quinoa uncooked, I knew I had to try it.

Mexican Quinoa and Sweet Potato Casserole


I used Mexican flavors here, but I’m excited to try the method with other flavor profiles (French is next on the list!).  It’s one of those magical recipes that seems like it took a ton of effort, but is incredibly easy.  It’s a one dish meal – I just tossed everything in a bowl to mix and transferred it to the dish.

Random story about my dish – it was just returned to me by a friend.  She’d had it for 2 years from when I brought over these Mexican Black Bean Brownies to an Oscar party.  LOL!

Mexican Quinoa & Sweet Potato Casserole


If you like heat, you’ll love this.  If you don’t, I’d keep the paprika but leave out the cayenne.  The smoked paprika is a must for me.  I love that smokiness with the Mexican spices and the slight sweetness from the sweet potato.

Between the bean and the quinoa, this makes for a fantastic protein-rich vegan dish!


Mexican Quinoa & Sweet Potato Casserole

Mexican Quinoa and Sweet Potato Casserole

  • 1/2 C quinoa, uncooked and rinsed
  • 1/2 C vegetable broth
  • 1/2 can (8 oz) salt-free black beans, rinsed
  • 1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 small white (or orange) sweet potato (~275g), diced


Preheat oven to 350F.  Prepare a baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Place all ingredients into a large bowl and miix until everything is evenly combined.  Pour into baking dish, spreading evenly to combine.

Cover with foil and bake for 75 mins, or until sweet potatoes are tender and quinoa is cooked.

Makes 9 servings.


How have you enjoyed making co-workers, friends, or family stare with strange but good creations this week? The link up rules can be found here or by clicking on “Strange But Good” in the menu bar above. In short, I want to see what concoctions have earned you weird looks from co-workers, family and friends! Post your Strange But Good creations, grab the logo below for your blog, and link up here.

Sprint 2 the Table

Remember to use #strangebutgood in any Tweets and Instagrams of your creations. :)


I’m so excited for this weekend – I’m going to see some of my old teammates at the Atlanta Rollergirls Bout!

Do you have certain foods that seem like a lot of effort to cook?

What is your favorite quinoa dish?


5 Things I Love

Last week was a long one.


Understatement of the year.

This past weekend I made sure to savour every blissful moment.  I took an extra moment to appreciate new product finds, watch my sister’s music video on repeat, and enjoy dinner at a special restaurant for no particular occasion.

In this month of love, I wanted to share a few apples of my eye with you guys! 

1. Jojoba Oil

It is saving my skin from winter.  My skin is dry in this crazy weather, yet it is also oily in spots and prone to breakouts.  Slathering it with oil was a terrifying thought… but I trusted my sister’s advice and gave it a shot.  Lo and behold, it works!  

I now use Jojoba oil as a nightly moisturizer, along with a bit of tea tree oil on any acne spots.  Both can be found at Whole Foods or most natural food stores.

Jojoba oil… 

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The One Where Food Became Fuel

Food, in the simplest of definitions, is fuel.


I missed that memo.

Food, for me, has always been entertainment.  It’s art.  It’s an experiment.  It’s what I do when I’m sad, happy, grumpy, tired, bored… I love food.  End scene.

You might imagine that a limited diet is my worst nightmare.  I’ve been trying to prove you can still be creative on a competition diet.  You can… but the last week of cutting is HARD.  You’ll notice from last week’s WIAW at 4 days out, I still had a lot of variety.  This time around I decided to try something new.  Being more boring traditional.

I cut fat and am sticking to lean proteins (mostly tilapia).  My main veggie is asparagus.  My carbs are oatmeal in the morning and sweet potato after that.  I’m not hungry at all… but my palette is bored out of its mind.  Food has become fuel.

4 days out


Why am I doing this?  Quite simply, to see if it’s necessary.  I want to compare last weekend to this weekend.  Will it make a difference if I eat more like everyone else the week before a competition?  Only my abs time will tell!

The fascination with experimentation is what’s keeping me on track this week!


I almost feel like I should apologize for the repetitive nature of this WIAW.  I am 4 days from my 4th figure competition.  It’s the last one for a long while… I promise next week will be more interesting.


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



I still start the day with my Aminos and ACV morning cocktail I swear it’s more energizing than coffee.

Breakfast was oatmeal with a ton of cinnamon, honey, and pomegranate atop a homemade Turkey Breakfast Sausage Patties.  I really do love the turkey “sausage.”  It’s something I would make in the off-season too – they’re a great clean, low-sodium alternative to the store-bought stuff.

As usual, I ate it in the car on the way to work.  Turkey-oatmeal coffee mug parfait!

Turkey-oatmeal coffee mug parfait


Mid-Morning Snack:

Surprise, surprise.  Tilapia.  I did add some variety with cucumbers, red bell pepper, and purple sweet potato chips (with cinnamon).

tilapia and purple sweet potato



Fish variety at lunch – I had Perch with my asparagus.  The asparagus I pre-sauteed during food prep with shallots, garlic, lime juice, and herb.  I’m really loving the perch – it’s super mild.

perch and asparagus


Mid-Afternoon Snack:

Tilapia.  Again.  Added some variety in two ways: I used purple asparagus and I made it into ribbons!  Purple asparagus is thicker, so it makes it a bit easier to shred into ribbons.  Fuel can be fun.  Ish.

asparagus ribbons



Dinner was is my favorite treat – Sea Bass.  It even makes asparagus taste better.  Purple sweet potato is like dessert.  I topped it with some nutritional yeast for a nutty accent.

sea bass and purple sweet potato



It’s not really dessert anymore.  Tilapia topped with a blend of Mexican spices and cucumber with salt-free mustard.  Nom.


I prepped all my food to take to Denver today for this weekend’s competition.  Tilapia and curry-roasted asparagus are on tap for the plane.  Others on the flight are going to love me. #sorryimnotsorry

Do you view food simply as fuel?  Fun?  Something else?

How do you keep it interesting in the kitchen?


A Day of Food at 4 Days Out

Change is often slow.


The bane of my impatient existence.

Change does come to those who stay the course.  When I started training for competitions I had some muscle tone, but was underweight and had literally run my ass off.  I posted about my journey here so I won’t rehash.  What I will say (again) is that there is NOTHING you can’t accomplish with hard work and the unwavering belief that you can do anything you want to if you want to badly enough.

Yes, I’m still small for Figure; I know I have a long way to go.  This weekend’s show is the most competitive one I’ve ever done and I know I won’t place.  That doesn’t lessen my excitement to have the experience, and to be around so many inspiring competitors.  AND – regardless of the outcome – I’m pretty damn proud of this progress in about a year and a half.

Progress pic 2013

Competing isn’t easy.  Some days I don’t want to get up and do cardio or eat healthy food or hear snarky comments from people… but it is worth it.  The good days and the personal satisfaction outweigh the bad.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: find something you’re passionate about and go do it to the fullest extent.  It could be running, lifting, painting, writing code… whatever!  You will be more fulfilled and SO MUCH happier – it has made all the difference for me.


Enough inspirational mush!  This WIAW I am 4 days from my 3rd figure competition!  Bring on the lean protein, complex carbs, and yes… the asparagus


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



As usual, I started the day I with my Aminos and ACV morning cocktail I swear it’s more energizing than coffee.

Breakfast was pancakes.  Not as good as my usual.  These were just oat flour, an egg white, baking powder, and cinnamon.  BUT… I got to have pancakes!  The sauce was the best part.  I mashed up raspberries, added a dash of maple extract, and microwaved them for ~10 secs to create a syrup.  I’d eat that outside of competition prep!

With a side of Cinnamon-Flax Baked Chicken.

oat cakes and raspberry sauce


Mid-Morning Snack:

Leftover Parrot Fish with asparagus and sugar peas.  Nom.

The fish looked prettier on Instagram 2 nights ago.  For those that were curious on Monday, the fish was tasty but nothing out of the ordinary. It was a mild white fish, on the meaty side and slightly buttery.

parrot fish



I froze last week’s leftover lean beef burgers for lunches this week.  It was just as good warmed up and eaten with sweet potato rounds, asparagus, and red peppers.

Some have asked why I eat the majority of my asparagus raw.  The reason is VERY important: I like it better raw.  It has a sweet crunchiness.



Mid-Afternoon Snack:

I gave in to a cliché and went back to an old recipe this week… Tequila Lime Tilapia.  Tilapia is “the” source of protein for many in the bodybuilding community.  Variety is a better choice for me; if I had to eat the same thing every meal I’d never make it.  Tilapia is fine in moderation though!  Especially with tequila.

The fish and calabaza squash were cooked during my Sunday meal prep.  I reheated them ate at it with a quick raw salad of yellow cherry tomatoes and white asparagus tossed in a mix of nutritional yeast, apple cider vinegar, and a homemade Mexican spice blend.

Tequila-Lime Tilapia



Dinner was a roasted veggie fest – part of this week’s food prep was a giant pan of white and green asparagus, red bell pepper, shiitake mushrooms, garlic, green onion, and fresh herbs in Meyer lemon juice.  I also tossed pieces of the actual lemon in the pan too.  It’s completely edible and not too sour after a good roast.

Eaten with my favorite protein: Sea Bass.

sea bass and roasted veggies



No more diary and no more protein powder in my diet… it’s Cinnamon-Flax Baked Chicken and carrots for dessert.  Admittedly, this is NOT my favorite part about competing.

chicken dessert


“I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I have just lived the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.” ~Diane Ackerman

What are you passionate about?

Do you prefer veggies raw or cooked?  I generally like ‘em raw… though I do love a good char roast.


StrangeBut Good: Curry Sweet Potato Burger

Sometimes you just need a good burger.


I’m not one to deny myself.

The craving has hit me hard toward the end of this prep.  The beef is easy – most grocers sell some form of “super lean” grass-fed ground beef (my veggie friends could use a bean burger or tempeh here).

curry sweet potato burger


The bun is a bit harder to replicate… until I remembered my eggplant chips!  They are delicious alone, but they also make for a perfect burger vehicle.

For my eggplant bun I cut the slices a bit thicker so that they were hearty enough to stand up to a festive fall spread.  Festive in color… perhaps a little nontraditional flavor-wise.  Some might call it strange, but I call it good.

Curry Sweet Potato Burger bite

During my meal prep each week, I bake a few sweet potatoes.  I mashed up part of one with nutritional yeast, curry powder, and smoked paprika to make a pleasantly sweet, Indian-spiced cheesy spread.

Craving = satisfied.


Curry Sweet Potato Burger

Curry Sweet Potato Burger

  • Burger patty (or protein of your choosing)
  • Eggplant chips
  • 1/4 C sweet potato, mashed
  • 2 T nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • Juice of 1/4 lime
  • Smoked paprika, to taste


Prepare burger and chips.

Meanwhile, prepare your sweet potato spread by mixing sweet potato, nutritional yeast, spices, and lime in a small bowl.  You may need to add water depending on the moisture content of your sweet potato.

Construct your burger and enjoy!


How have you enjoyed making co-workers, friends, or family stare with strange but good creations this week? The link up rules can be found here or by clicking on “Strange But Good” in the menu bar above. In short, I want to see what concoctions have earned you weird looks from co-workers, family and friends! Post your Strange But Good creations, grab the logo below for your blog, and link up here.

Sprint 2 the Table

Remember to use #strangebutgood in any Tweets and Instagrams of your creations. :)


I eat a TON of orange food.  How my palms are glowing in the dark yet it beyond me!

What was the best costume you saw this Halloween? 

Are you a curry fan?  Have you ever used it with sweet potato?


Cherry-Sweet Potato Greek Yogurt + NuNaturals Giveaway

Happy Birthday to meeeeeee!


Shameless over celebration of birthdays is a family tradition.

Today marks the 3rd anniversary of Sprint 2 the Table.  Rather than wax poetic, I figured I’d just give you guys presents.  Everyone ok with that?

This week there will be a giveaway EVERY DAY!  These are NOT sponsored – I reached out to my favorite brands to ask if they’d be willing to share some love with you in honor of the big #3.  I’m excited to start it out with my go-to sweetener.

Vanilla Stevia Alcohol Free 2 oz  Liquid


I try to avoid added sugars (within reason – don’t come between me and my chocolate cake), but I have a MAJOR sweet tooth.  One of my strategies for taming a sweet tooth is to use Stevia, which come from the Stevia leaf.

NuNaturals has offered to take place in the blogiversary celebration by offering to FOUR of you (1) one bottle of each of the Lemon, Peppermint , Vanilla, and the NEW Cherry Vanilla Stevia Liquids.  Even better?  This is open to anyone WORLDWIDE.

They sent me a little present too – I got to try the new Cherry Vanilla flavor!  I went straight to me favorite meal of the day to test it out.  Dessert!

Cherry-Sweet Potato Greek Yogurt Bowl


Nearly every night I have a midnight snack in the form of a Greek yogurt or no-salt cottage cheese creation (yes, I eat after 7pm *gasp*).  I don’t care for casein powder, so this is the perfect alternative for me.  To sweeten these creations, I prefer to use liquid Stevia because I find it blends better.

This bowl of Cherry-Sweet Potato Greek Yogurt is the perfect blend of rich cherry-vanilla from the Stevia and creamy, sweet sweet ‘tater.  The texture is silky-smooth, and I love adding cherries, raw oats, and cacao nibs to the top for a little texture contrast.  And chocolate.  Always chocolate… mmmm…


Oh, right… the giveaway!!!!  Enter here and keep reading for the recipe! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

In case you don’t win, NuNaturals is also offering s discount on all orders placed online (  Just enter discount code BLG1213 to receive 15% off of your order through December 31, 2013.  There’s also free shipping on in the US on all orders over $35.


Cherry-Sweet Potato Greek Yogurt

Cherry-Sweet Potato Greek Yogurt

  • 1/2 baked sweet potato, peeled and mashed
  • 1/2 C Greek yogurt
  • 1 T coconut flour (optional… but not really ;))
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • Pinch of cloves
  • 5-6 drops NuNaturals Pure Liquid Cherry-Vanilla Stevia
  • 1 T unsweetened almond milk (or other liquid)
  • Optional toppings: cocoa powder sauce (cocoa powder + liquid + stevia), cherries, cacao nibs, oats


Combine everything in a small bowl and mix until smooth.  You may need to add more liquid to achieve desired consistency.

Top with your favorites and enjoy!

Note: You can make this ahead and/or even freeze it to make a fro-yo!  This also makes for a bangin’ protein shake combo.


I have to say again how EXCITED I am for this week.  Tomorrow’s is awesome… and it comes with a workout.  Overall this week is pretty marvelous. ;)


Have you tried Stevia yet?  What’s your favorite way to use it?

Which do you prefer – sweet potato or pumpkin puree?  Others?


Sweet Potato Pizza Crust

My name is Laura.  I hoard booze.



Many of you were surprised that I could keep this pumpkin beer in my fridge – untouched – for 2 months.  That’s actually easy for me.  It’s mine.  It’s not going anywhere.  It won’t spoil.  It will be there for me in 2 months (after my next figure competitions).

Going out… that’s another story.  That lamb-stuffed squash blossom is seasonal!  The beers on tap rotate!  I might not remember to come back to try the bacon Manhattan!  (Ok, ok… it’s unlikely I’ll for forget bacon).  You get my point.

As such, this is (part) of my collection:

Wine fridge

I don’t store my beer in the wine fridge. It was posing for the pic.


Many of you commented and tweeted about YOUR favorite pumpkin beers that I should try.  Thank you for the suggestions!  I would like to officially announce that I am open to donations. ;)

Enough about my sobriety.  You know what goes well with beer?  PIZZA!  Kat has an awesome Sweet Potato Pizza Crust to share today!  

I’m not-so-secretly hoping she’ll make me one to drink with my pumpkin beer in a couple of months… 


Mix it up: Night Running and Sweet Potato Pizza Crust

This weekend, I (Kat) mixed it up by visiting a place I used to live, Savannah, GA.  I had a great time with friends, and sat at a booth with/for the Stonewall Bar Association at Pride.  I also got to visit with great old friends!  It was super fun. Now I’m trying to mix it up at home and outdoors.

I have been trying to mix it up by running with more friends (which is more difficult than you think).  I get turned down all the time, and people don’t invite me on group runs very often (Editor’s note: My invite must have gotten lost in the mail…).  So I decided to inquire about this lack of running buddies.

I find that the friends who know what kind of distances I run are afraid to run with me because they think I’m fast.  WRONG.  I am not actually that fast, but I can run super far, for a super long time (Editor’s note: Lies.  You are fast.  But you are a patient partner.).  That being said, I enjoy running at an 8:15-9:15min/mile pace in the city, and depending on the trails and the distance, 10:30-13min/mile.  So, run with me!  Let’s mix it up! :)

Slow Runners


I have also found that running in the city on pavement, especially flat surfaces, really hurts my body.  My knees and feet ache terribly if I run on pavement more than 7 or so miles.  So, I stick to the trails as much as possible, and throw in a bit of yoga for strength and flexibility (Editor’s note: You should come lift with me!).

While for many people, trail running is a great way to mix it up, because that’s my usual form of running, I’m taking extra measures to mix it up!  This Sunday at 7:30p.m., I am going night trail running with some friends.  It’s huge rush that heightens your senses, and it actually makes me run faster.  Check out this fun article on trail running at night.  If you want to join me, let me know, and I’ll forward you information on the run.  I wish I could go during the full moon, tomorrow night!

Full Moon


Speaking of mixing it up, my friend Julie from Savannah told me about a Sweet Potato Pizza she tried to make when I mentioned Laura’s Cauliflower Pizza.  When I got home, I had to try this!  I didn’t love any of the recipes I found online, so I tried my own!  (Editor’s note: Story of my life.. also prepping this post made me come home and pull one of my cauliflower crusts out of the freezer for a pizza dinner!)

I wanted to capture a picture of it picked up once I realized how great it was, but I was near the end of the slice… excuse my excess Sriracha (I put that sh** on everything). ← Don’t we all? ;)

Sweet Potato Pizza - Pick it up


This pizza, like the Cauliflower pizza, can be picked up like a piece of pizza (Editor’s note: It’s not pizza unless you can hold it in your hands!).

It’s a little chewy and a little crispy.  It has a bit of sweetness, and a bit of heartiness.  Really, a GREAT gluten-free pizza crust option!


Sweet Potato Pizza

Sweet Potato Pizza Crust

  • ½ C sweet potato (mashed)
  • 1 egg (I bet this would be great with Chia, too)
  • ¼ C almond flour
  • ¼ C buckwheat
  • 1 T flax meal
  • Pinch of Salt
  • ½ tsp baking powder


Preheat oven to 375.

Beat the egg, add the sweet potato, and then mix in everything else.  It should form a sticky dough.

Spread the dough onto a piece of parchment paper (about ¼ inch thick) and bake for 18 mins.  The middle should be firm when it’s done (you should be able to pick it up).

Load with veggies/toppings of choice.  Bake for another ~7 minutes to heat.  Devour.


Sweet Potato Pizza Steps

Also, if you like that bad-ass pizza cutter, check out Pequea Valley Forge. They have AWESOME kitchen utensils, etc. I found this on my trip to the beach in August, and it’s my new favorite thing (which results in eating way more pizza).

My pizza has sautéed peppers and onions, Daiya mozzarella cheese, tomatoes and spinach.  Delish!




I told Kat yesterday that I was going to require taste tests from now on.   Quality control, right?!

How are you mixing up your running/lifting/workout routine to get an extra rush?

Did you try Laura’s Cauliflower Crust?  Do you think the sweet potato or cauliflower does/would work better?  I wonder if we could combine them…