Strange But Cheesey

What do you call cheese that isn’t yours?

 

Nach-yo cheese!

Today’s post isn’t about nacho cheese.  It’s about cream cheese.  However, if you know me you know that I love that joke.  Any excuse to share. :)

We do have cheese today!  Greek yogurt cream cheese.  I buy mine from a local company called Atlanta Farm Fresh, but I’ve started seeing it from larger brands.

Greek Yogurt Cream Cheese

 

I’m not a big cream cheese fan, but I love the texture and the taste of the yogurt-based version.  It’s less thick and rich – normally not a positive to me, but it always bothered me that cream cheese sort of sticks to your mouth.

I’ve been on a role using it for sweet and savory breakfasts, and for dessert.  It may have resulted in some strange spreads, but they were good!  Below are a few ways I’ve used it this week.

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PrOATein Pancakes with Maple-Cinnamon Cream Cheese

PrOATein Pancakes with Maple-Cinnamon Cream Cheese

  • PrOATein Pancake
  • 2 T cream cheese
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp butter extract (optional, but not really)

 

Prepare pancakes according to instructions.  Meanwhile, mix remaining ingredients in a small bowl.

Plate pancakes and slather with creamy, maple deliciousness.

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In the Atlanta, we don’t have a lot of lox and it’s hard to find a good bagel.  This is my Southern version of a New York classic breakfast.

Southern Breakfast Salmon

Southern Breakfast Salmon

  • 1 tortilla, toasted and sliced
  • Salmon
  • 2 T cream cheese
  • 1 T finely chopped parsley
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste

 

Slice and toast tortilla and remove pre-baked salmon (mine was done with lemon and dill) from the fridge.

Mix together cream cheese, parsley, and red pepper flakes.  Spread onto tortilla slices.  Top with salmon and more red pepper flakes, if desired.

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Zucchini Batter with Butterscotch Cream Cheese Protein Spread

Zucchini Batter with Butterscotch Cream Cheese Protein Spread

  • Zucchini Batter Protein Bowl
  • 1 T cream cheese
  • 1 T vanilla protein powder
  • 1/4 tsp butterscotch extract
  • Water, to thin
  • Optional cherry on top

 

 Prepare zucchini bread batter and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients.  Add water (or milk) slowly to reach desired consistency.

Spread atop the batter and top as desired.

 

I could have stopped there with the cherry a chocolate drizzle.  But why?

Zucchini Batter with Butterscotch Cream Cheese Protein Spread

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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. :)


***

It's Friday and I have no plans for the weekend other than then gym tomorrow.  I am elated.

Do you like cream cheese?  Have you tried the Greek yogurt version?

What is your favorite dessert bowl topping?  I'm all about the popcorn crunch! 

 

Strange But Good: Mexican Chocolate Cake

Dessert is my favorite part of a fiesta.

 

Christmas counts as a fiesta, no?

I made this for Thanksgiving, but it would be fantastic for a Christmas dinner, too.  Or New Years.  Or just for breakfast.

When you read the ingredients in this cake, you’ll see that it actually wouldn’t be so bad to have at breakfast.  It’s full of healthy fats and protein, and sugar-free!  This brings me to the strange.  The healthy fat in this one is avocado.  It’s good, I swear.

Mexican Chocolate Cake

 

Between the avocado, eggs, and yogurt, this is one of the lightest, moist cakes you’ll ever have.  It’s the perfect end to a heavier dinner.  You could eat half of it without blinking an eye.  Not that I would know.

The almond, cinnamon, and cayenne are the Mexican part.  If you’re concerned about the cayenne, you could leave it out.  It’s not overwhelming; it simple gives the smallest hint of “hmmmm” at the end of a bite.

Mexican Chocolate Cake with Coconut Icing

 

The icing on this cake was yet another healthy fat addition.  I whipped coconut cream into a pillow-y spread for the cake.  Don’t worry if it doesn’t seem stiff enough at first – it will firm up as it settles.

You can have fun with the flavors here.  I added vanilla and cinnamon, but a liqueur like Frangelico or pie spice would be excellent as well.

I know several of you made these Chocolate Avocado Cookies or these (Vegan) Blood Orange Scones… vouch for me! You really can’t taste the avocado.

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Mexican Chocolate Cake

Mexican Chocolate Cake

  • 1 small avocado
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 C xylitol (or other sugar substitute)
  • 3/4 C Icelandic yogurt (or Greek)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 C whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1 C unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • Coconut Icing

 

Preheat oven to 350.  Prepare a bundt pan.

In a small blender, mix the avocado and eggs until smoother.  Stir in xylitol, yogurt, and extracts until combined.

Whisk together dry ingredients.  Gradually add dry ingredients to the wet.

Once combined, add in milk and beat well.

Pour into bundt pan.  Bake for 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Cool for 10-15 minutes in pan and then transfer to wire rack to completely cool.

Eat as-is, or ice the cake with whipped coconut cream frosting.  I used this recipe for the coconut cream whip, only I subbed more xylitol for the sugar, and added vanilla and cinnamon.

Note: Like most cakes, the flavors improve after that cake has a day to rest.  Do wait to frost it until the day of.

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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. :)


***

My mom took home a couple of slices and called the next day (at breakfast) to tell me it had gotten even better!  I think day 2 is the perfect storm for this one.

Avocado.  Would you bake with it? Have you ever?

What is your favorite dessert for the holiday season?

 

Pumpkin Almond Protein Batter

The closer I get to my competition, the more fun I have.

 

Ask me again in 2 weeks and I may tell you different.

Right now life revolves around the gym, food, and work.  I love all three of these, so why wouldn’t I be ecstatic?  Here’s how my typical Saturday goes down:

1. Wake Up, Eat, Get Dressed

I started my day with a delicious combo of oats, TVP, egg whites, cinnamon, ginger… and cheesecake.

The cheesecake part was thank to a Loranne Cheesecake Flavoring.  I topped with frozen cherries and a sprinkle of cocoa powder.

Cheesecake TVP Oatmeal

 

2. Go to Competition Suit Fitting

No pic till competition day… but I LOVE it!

My suit

 

3. Posing practice and Back/Tri Workout

I did this at my trainer’s gym, which I love because it’s an actually a training gym vs. a fitness club.  The icing on the cake was that I was the only one there for the last half of the workout, which was amazing.

Clearly this called for a photoshoot.

 

4. Meet with 1st Personal Training Client

I am SO excited to be working with a former roller derby teammate.  She is going to kick ass int he gym too!

 

5. Grocery Shop

I hit out massive Buford Highway Farmer’s Market and bought a TON of food for less than $70.  Including this new to me fish – Sheepshead:

sheepshead fish

 

6. Cook Dinner

I couldn’t wait to try my Sheepshead, so that’s what I had.  It’s delicious – a mild, meaty white fish that’s low in fat and high in protein.

Seafood is one thing I prefer to prepare simply.  I baked this fish with lime and a dusting of Indian spices.  Eaten with bok choy sautéed with garlic, green onion, and coconut oil, and roasted portobello with a runny egg, and a slice of Ezekial.

 

7. Clean Out/Organize Work Emails

This was a productive activity while watching FSU beat the yu-know-what out of Clemson.  Goooo ‘Noles!!!

 

8. Eat dessert

The following is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Designer Whey and Smari.  As always, all opinions are my own.

Dessert is my favorite par of the day.  Even better was the fact that I got to try 2 new things: Designer Whey Vanilla Almond Protein Powder and Smari Icelandic yogurt.  I normally make my protein bowls with Greek yogurt, but I am loving this Icelandic too!  It’s very similar to Greek in that its super thick, high in protein (higher than Greek, actually!), and the plain is low in sugar.

I decided to create a pumpkin protein bowl using the ingredients.   What resulted was a Pumpkin Almond Protein Batter that made me a little sad when I was over.  It tasted like cake batter.

Overall, it was a marvelous weekend!

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Pumpkin Almond Protein Batter

Pumpkin Almond Protein Batter

  • 1/2 C pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 C Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 scoop Designer Whey Vanilla Almond Protein Powder( 
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • Pinch of cloves
  • 5-6 drops stevia
  • 1 T unsweetened almond milk (or other liquid)
  • Optional toppings: cocoa powder sauce (cocoa powder + liquid + stevia), cherries, cacao nibs, popcorn

 

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!

*You can sub any vanilla protein and add 1/4 tsp almond extract

***

Did you notice anything in that pic of me?  I went dark for the winter… every time I look in the mirror I double take at the dark haired girl.

Have you ever tried Icelandic yogurt?

What does a typical Saturday look like for you?

 

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 (www.nunaturals.com).  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.

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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. ;)

MMIM

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

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

 

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.

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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.

WIAWbutton

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

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Breakfast:

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.  

 

Lunch:

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:

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

 

Dessert:

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?

 

Strange But Good: Berry Corny Salad

I don’t particularly like corn.

 

I really am a terrible Southerner.

On a cob it’s too messy, off the cob it gets all mushy when cooked.  When Kat brought corn over to add to our dinner Monday night I realized something – I just don’t like it cooked.  She cut the kernels off the cob and topped our salads with it… uncooked.  Duh.

Raw corn has a pure, crunchy sweetness to it.  That fantastic flavor was lost for me in all the cooked renditions I’d tried before!  How strange to me!  But oh man, it was good.

Berry Corny Salad 1

 

Inspired by the sweet, I decided to create a spring salad using corn and my latest berry-obsession: blueberries.  The two treats were a natural fit!  I also added cucumbers for a refreshing crunch.

Spinach was my base, but arugula would also be good here.  Shallot was my last add.  The mild onion provided a slight edge to the sweeter flavors without overpowering.

Berry Corny Salad 2

To dress the salad, I wanted to keep it light but thought a creamy dressing would be a nice contrast to my crunchy veggies.  I used Greek yogurt as the base for a lemon and rosemary-laced creation.

It was berry good.

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Berry Corny Salad

Berry Corny Salad

  • Spinach
  • Raw corn kernels
  • Blueberries
  • Cucumber
  • Shallot
  • 2 T Greek yogurt
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • ~1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • Pinch of garlic powder
  • Black pepper and red pepper flakes, to taste

 

Mix together veggies and berries in a salad bowl.

In a small bowl, stir together yogurt, lemon, rosemary, and spices.

Dress salad and enjoy!

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 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 cannot get enough raw food lately!  It's such a relief after winter to begin eating fresh, local veggies again.

Have you ever eaten raw corn?

What are your favorite salad toppings?  Anyone else like fruit on salad?

 

Post-Surgery Surprises + WIAW

I’m baaaack!

 

You missed me, right?!

Just over a week after surgery, I’m feeling more “normal(in my own, #strangebutgood way) and the swelling is starting to go down.  They say some people freak out at first, but – thanks to many of you and some good friends – I had a good idea of what to expect post-surgery.

That’s not to say there weren’t some surprises…

 

5 Post-Surgery Surprises

1. All modesty will go out the window.  You will not care that you a naked in the shower at you mom’s house and she is (gently) scrubbing the surgeon’s pin marks off of your chest.

Proof that mamma doesn’t mind – she gifted me with a little boobie prize. :)

Victoria's Secret

 

2. Using a knife is impossible.  I can cut most* things now, but at first I couldn’t apply enough pressure to cut a pear.

*I still cannot cut the kabocha squash taunting me on the counter

3. Surgery and/or anesthesia does a number on your digestive system.  My muscles were so tight it took an effort to pee.  And let’s not even talk about the issues with going #2.

stopped up

 

4. Not being able to stretch your arms is torture, particularly after being propped up on a couch for days.

5.  The boobs will not be a normal shape.  I knew this and didn’t really freak out (thanks in part to the pain meds).  They have to settle.  No matter who warns you of this, it’s still bizarre the first time you see them.

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 This snack-themed WIAW is dedicated to post-surgery eats.  Another observation to add would be my appetite.  I have NEVER experienced a loss of interest in food.  When I’m happy, I eat.  When I’m depressed, I eat.  When I’m bored, I eat.  When I have surgery… I don’t care to eat.  Instead, I snacked.

wiaw sensible snacking button

Read on for my post-surgery eats, and then check out Jenn’s link up for everyone else’s snack-y ideas.

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Morning Snacks:

This was eaten just because I had to take my medicine.  Bribe me with pain pills the day after surgery and I’ll find something to eat!  I mixed almond milk with half a scoop of vanilla protein powder and cinnamon, added multi-grain Cheerios, and topped with sliced peach.

protein cereal

 

Greek yogurt did taste good to me.  I finished off a container of Fage mixed with cinnamon and vanilla liquid stevia.  Topped with delicious spring blueberries and cereal crumbles.

Fage greek yogurt bowl

 

When you are stir crazy and just can’t get excited for breakfast, a good alternative is to walk to you local coffee shop (relax Mom, it was only 2 blocks) for an Americano and some light-hearted Wall Street Journal reading.

Coffee and newspaper

 

Later in the Day Snacks:

Greens are good for you.  I tried to get my fill of the fresh stuff, and add protein where I could!

This salad was baby kale topped with no-salt deli turkey and nutritional yeast.  Side of heirloom tomato and basil, shredded butternut squash salad (thank you, Whole Paycheck), and blackberries.

fresh veggies

 

More salad with kale, turkey, butternut, and tomato.  This time I added avocado and pineapple (good for inflammation!).

I also sprinkled lemon juice, pepper, red pepper flakes, and cumin on top for flavor.

salad with pineapple

 

That thing about not wanting food?  I take that back.  I always want #yolkporn.

On my first day home I grabbed a Tempeh Mole Muffin from the freezer and topped it with a delicious local egg.  Eaten with a side if cucumber slices.

Tempeh Mole Muffin and egg yolk porn

 

The nice people The Good Bean at sent me some roasted chickpeas to try out.  I sampled them all… most were a bit salty – I prefer to make my own roasted chickpeas.  but I really liked the cinnamon flavor!  They also sent a few of their fruit and no-nut bars, of which I loved the chocolate (surprise, surprise).

The Good Bean

 

Actual Meals:

I was really proud of myself on Sunday night – I cooked dinner for Mom and me all by myself!  I started rattling off my meal idea to Mom and her reaction was “Have you ever made that before?”  I said no… but doesn’t it sound GOOD?  #strangebutgood

What resulted was a sort of fried rice.  Except I used spaghetti squash instead of the rice, and topped the whole thing with sea bass (that wasn’t exactly cooked by me… it was leftovers).  I started by sautéing some pre-cut veggies – red pepper, leeks, asparagus, and zucchini.  Then I added the spaghetti squash, and then the eggs.  Mix it together, plate, and top with sea bass!  Easy. :)

Fried spaghetti squash

 

The other “real” meal I ate was on my first night home.  Kat (who blogs here every other Thursday), came over and made me a delicious meal!  She made perfect shrimp and served it over a fresh salad of mache lettuce, avocado, raw corn, and cherry tomatoes.

It was all great, but The real star was her baked goat cheese balls (balls!).  She simple formed a ball of soft goat, rolled it in a mix of hazelnut flour and curry spice, and baked it.  I don’t know if she’ll post her exact recipe next week (Kat???), but I’m going to have her write it out for me at least!

shrimp salad

We also enjoyed it with a shared bottle of rosè.  My first wine in over a week.  Sweet nectar of the gods.

 

A Treat:

Mom surprised me with fro-yo!  Chocolate and strawberry topped with coconut shreds… we added the blueberries and cacao nibs at home.  Holla at being cheap saving money!

Pinkberry yogurt

 

***

I seriously considered posting a pic that shows how swollen and high the twins were… everything was covered… but that mayyyy be too far even for me.  More appropriate pics will come when things calm down.  ;)

Have you ever lost interest in food?

Do you ever bring your fro-yo home to add toppings yourself?  I thought this was a brilliant move by my mom!

 

What’s Beautiful?

Beautiful comes in all forms.

 

Much like diet, it’s personal!

There’s no right or wrong definition.  When I heard about Under Armour’s What’s Beautiful competition aimed at getting women to set epic goals and prove themselves, I was really excited.  You goal, your definition of what beauty is, is totally customized!

whats beautiful

 

I immediately signed up, and I hope you will too!  All you need to do is click here and enter some basic info, including what fitness goal you WILL accomplish.  You can customize the top pic (like your Facebook header), join teams, and follow/encourage others!

To me, beautiful is embodied by spirits unwilling to settle for less than they are.  Strong woman are beautiful to me, so of course that’s what my goal involves. :)

Check out my goal and challenges thus far here:

UA Collage

 

The competition is 100% personalized for you.  There are mini-challenges you can participate in along the way, but you can choose those that apply to you.

You don’t have to do the challenges… but you might want to because there are prizes along the way (read: Under Armour schwag bags) and one BIG reward at the end: a trip to Costa Rica to attend a four-day yoga and surf retreat, complete with massages, spa treatments and healthy, locally sourced meals prepared by personal chefs!!!

whats beautiful 1

 

Once you create your profile, I’d love it if you’d join my team: Team Fabulously Fit!  There are four of us FitFluential Ambassadors headed it up.  We have some diverse goals, but the underlying theme is healthy and fitness.  We are super excited to cheer for you and motivate each other!

Our team includes: Lindsay @ Itz Linz, Melissa @ Treats With A Twist, Lindsay @ Cotter Crunch, and me!

Team-Fabulously-Fit

 

The competition will be using the hashtags #whatsbeautiful and #iwill. Follow along both hashtags on Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest to stay motivated and dedicated to achieving YOUR goal!

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Don’t worry – we’re still going to talk about food today!  My WIAW meals were right in line with the No Shit Diet principles.  Including a little dinner indulgence.  :)

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Check out my eats and treats below, and then click here to head over to Jenn Peas and Crayons to get to see what delicious foods everyone else is enjoying!

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Breakfast:

Per usual, I started my day with a cocktail (apple cider vinegar, water, Glutamine, and Fitmixer Aminos).

Breakfast was a 2 course event today:

Atlanta Farm Fresh Greek yogurt is the best ever.  I don’t know if you can get it outside of the Southeast, but you can check out their website and see!  In Atlanta, you can find it in Whole Foods and Kroger.

Their plain is really good (I normally only eat plain Greek), but I couldn’t resist this in lieu of a fruit this morning: Strawberry Basil Balsamic.  It’s as good as it sounds.

Atlanta Farm Fresh Strawberry Basil Balsamic

 

Part 2 was Toad in a Hole.  Made with one of my local eggs and a slice of P28 protein bread.  Topped with fresh basil, pepper, and red pepper flakes. #yolkporn

Toad in a Hole

 

Post-Workout:

All of that deliciousness fueled one helluva spin class.  Did I mention I don’t spin?  This was my 3rd class ever.  It kicked my butt.  By the time I got home I was ready to eat ALL the foods.

I settled for a Carrot Cake Batter Shake:  This is one of my favorites – it was the first time I’d used tofu in a smoothie, but not the last.  Gives it the perfect texture!

Carrot Cake Protein Shake

Lunch-ish:

I saw Janet’s post about Black Bean Tostadas and knew I had to make them immediately.  I made a single serving, eliminated the salt, and added onion powder, turmeric, cilantro, lime juice, red bell pepper, and jalapeno.

It fell apart (probably due to the pepper), but it was delicious!  I just ate it as crackers alongside my sea bass and broccoli slaw.

Black Bean Crackers

 

Then I had “dessert.”  Roasted kabocha squash with coconut oil, cinnamon, ginger, cayenne, and maple extract.  Topped with a peanut sauce made from peanut flour, cinnamon, ginger, maple extract, water, and stevia.

Squash and PB

 

Dinner:

I got my tickets.  To the Gunshow!  Chef Kevin Gillespie lead one of my favorite Atlanta restaurants, but recently left to do his own thing.  Last night I got to try it out for the first time.  The fact that it’s called Gunshow was just the icing on the cake.

This is an entirely new format for a restaurant – there are no servers and the kitchen and dining room are one.  Everything is made fresh.  There is no set menu, they aren’t concept-driven.  The food served that day is based on what’s available locally and what they’re in the mood to cook.  The kitchen brings the food out dim sum-style on a cart or tray as they finish the dish.  The chef that made your food is also delivering it to your table and describing the dish.  How cool is that?!  One thing I love about cooking is seeing the reaction people have.  That must be hard for a chef in a restaurant who’s trapped in a kitchen all night.

Gunshow Menu

Gunshow Menu

 

Our group of 10 ordered one of everything.  And it was all amazing.

My top 3 dishes: a goat cheese ball rolled in burnt bread crumbs with a house made strawberry jam, the braised short ribs, and the spring vegetables and ramps with bee pollen.

Gunshow food

Gunshow food

The great part was that after splitting all this among 10 people, we weren’t over-stuffed.  Don’t get me wrong – I was full - but it was a happy amount of indulgence.

My friend Jessica had the description of the night:

The food spans such a spectrum and I love that [Kevin Gillespie] doesn’t box himself, or the other folks in the kitchen, into a defined style.  I told someone tonight that it reminded me of a first date.  Perhaps he was trying to impress and over time we may learn each other and reach a warmness and familiarity.  I was impressed and even more excited that we have somewhere else to discover that is different, although not better

Jessica, Chef Kevin, and me

Jessica, Chef Kevin, and me

 

Dessert:

We had to try the desserts too!  I would be hard-pressed to choose between the strawberry cheesecake (top pic) and Kevin’s great grandmother’s banana pudding (bottom right).

Gunshow desserts

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Obviously #iwill be hitting the gym hard today! :)  Join our team by clicking here: Fabulously Fit, or just leave me your email in the comments and I can send invite to our team!

What’s your fitness goal?  What WILL you accomplish?

What’s the best thing you’ve eaten this week?  Anything #strangebutgood?

 

Mango Protein Lassi

Indian food is my jam.

 

As evidenced by the fact I’m apparently unable to post about anything else lately.

Someone mentioned a mango lassi the other day and it has popped up everywhere since then.  Long ago I made a Savory Protein Lassi, but this time I (for once) decided to go the traditional route and make a mango version.

At least the idea of it was traditional… I have serious doubts that you’d find a “real” lassi with spinach and protein powder.

Mango Protein Lassi

 

Who needs real when you can have a protein version?  This shake was a refreshing post-workout refuel treat.  With spring temperatures here, I’m loving the return of smoothies.  And smoothie bowls.

I add a little more ice to keep it thick.  There’s just something about eating them with a spoon that makes a protein smoothie that much more satisfying.

coriander

 

The coconut extract and coriander enhance the sweet mango.  Greek yogurt adds a creaminess, but if you don’t do dairy you can leave it out or use tofu or avocado to add to the cream-factor.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with coriander, it’s a subtle flavor that is warm and a bit nutty with a slight hint of citrus.  Coriander brightens and deepens flavors, but in a gentle way where most people wouldn’t be able to pick it out.  It rarely overpowers or detracts from other ingredients.  Rather, it only adds.  It’s good in sweet and savory dishes (I also used it in my Cauliflower & Eggplant Curry).

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Mango Protein Lassi

Mango Protein Lassi

  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 champagne mango (~1/2 C)
  • 1/2 in piece fresh ginger
  • 1/2 C Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 C spinach (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp coconut extract
  • 1/8 tsp ground coriander
  • Stevia or other sweetener, to taste
  • Optional: 1/8 tsp of each Xanthan and Guar Gums (to thicken)
  • Ice + water, to taste

 

Place everything in a high-speed blender (I used my Vitamix) and blend until smooth(ie).

Enjoy by the spoonful.

***

I’m stopping with the Indian for a bit (I think).  My sister is coming back to the States and Cinco de Drinko Mayo is coming.  I’m feeling like a fiesta!!!

Have you ever used coriander before?  It’s great in baked goods too!

Is it warm yet where you are?  It’s warmer in ATL… but raining.  Obv.

 

Eggplant Chips + WIAW

Life gets busy.

 

I know this isn’t news to any of you, but it’s hitting me hard this week.

I’m 10 days out from my next figure competition.  The asparagus (click here for the reason behind that) begins this weekend.  I’m thinking next Friday’s #strangebutgood link up will take a twist as my diet gets to the most strict point… not-so-strange but good, anyone?

Balancing work with the competition preparation is not easy.  In addition to my 7 meals and regular workouts, I’m running sprints every day.  It’s a lot of fit in, especially since I dislike working out at night.  I’m TIRED.  Cutting a good amount of carbs and basically all sodium and fat leaves my energy level a bit low.

But I’m focusing on May 4th (competition day) and staying motivated.  I don’t want to get on stage and have any regrets!

desire to succeed

 

I’ve been taking a couple of products I received from GNC through a FitFluentiual campaign that have helped me maintain my level of activity: Ultra 25 Probiotic Complex and TriFlex.

The probiotics (said to replenish good bacteria needed for digestion) made a BIG difference.  Those 25 billion active cultures kept my gut healthy (translation: I have no problem going #2).  This make me happy and had prevented bloating!  This particular pill also has “enzymes and ginger for additional digestion support.”

GNC supplements

The TriFlex I think I need to take longer to say 100% whether it’s made a difference.  It is supposed to “promote joint mobility & flexibility” and contains Glucosamine, Chondroitin, and MSM – all of which are great for joint health.  I have been taking it regularly.  That in addition to seeing a new chiropractor I *believe* have kept my joints are feeling good despite some crazy workouts!

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My WIAW meals were still pretty good, despite and lack of yummy, yummy fat.  Mmmmm… peanut butter… I digress.

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Check out my 7 low-fat, low-sodium, protein-laced meals below, and then click here to head over to Jenn Peas and Crayons to get to see how more normal people are eating!

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Meal 1:

My day began with my morning cocktail (apple cider vinegar, water, Glutamine, and Fitmixer Aminos), as always.

I was going to go ahead and run sprints before breakfast, but my metabolism is out of control lately… I am STARVING all the time.  Breakfast had to happen before I entertained the idea of working out.  I wanted everything at once… so I had it!  It was PB&J-ish… with a coffee flair!  After adding baking powder to my Mango-Coconut TVP Oats, I’m hooked.  I used it again here for an especially voluminious bowl.

 

PB & Raspberry TVP Oatmeal

PB & Raspberry TVP Oatmeal

  • 1/3 C TVP
  • 1 T oatmeal
  • 1 tsp coffee
  • 3/4 C water
  • 2 T peanut flour
  • 1 tsp ground flax
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp butter extract
  • 1/4 tsp maple extract
  • 5-6 drops liquid stevia
  • Raspberries

 

Bring TVP, oats, coffee, and water to a boil.  Cook until liquid is mostly absorbed.  Add in remaining ingredients, adding additional water if needed.  

Allow to simmer until water is absorbed and your TVP oats reach your desired level of thickness.

Note:  I add 1/2 the berries at the end of cooking and use the other half to top because I can never decide if I like them better cooked or as a topping.

 

Meal 2:

First, I ran my sprints like a good kid.  Then I put a Mexican Sweet Potato Pie in the oven to bake.  It only made me wish I made a second one for myself.  This was to take to a good friend who is a new mom!

Mexican Sweet Potato Pie

 

Finally, it was food time.  And my continued bison obsession.  As part of my Sunday food prep, I made up several burgers to be able to grab quickly.

I ate this one atop a spinach, heirloom tomato and cilantro salad.  With red pepper flakes, obv.

bison burger

 

Meal 3:

Lunch was my current favorite – sea bass.  This is even better than swordfish right now… and that’s a big thing for me to say since I consider swordfish the “steak of the sea.”

Eaten  post-workout with a giant mound of lightly sautéed kale and a super-fast sweet potato and shiitakes with rosemary and garlic.

Sea Bass

 

Meal 4:

Clean chicken salad made from the “naked” (nothing added) Whole Foods rotisserie chicken, a little Greek yogurt, vinegar, cumin, and diced cucumber.

healthy chicken salad

 

Meal 5:

I couldn’t totally cheat on my favorite fish.  Steak of the Sea for dinner (swordfish)!  Served with my BBQ Roasted Cauliflower and eggplant chips.

Evey time I post eggplant chips on Instagram, I always get a billion questions about how to make them.  It’s the easiest thing ever, so I felt silly blogging it… but even simple meals can count a recipes, right?  The “secret” is at the bottom of this post. :)

Swordfish, BBQ cauliflower, and eggplant chips

Meal 6:

This was a hodge-podge.  I had a little chicken left and a little Monchong (fish) from last night.  So I made a combo to get my protein in.  I had celery sticks and sugar peas on the side.  I adore sugar peas – the dessert of vegetables!

 

Meal 7:

My favorite meal of the day is desert.  I took some non-fat Greek yogurt and mixed it with cocoa powder, cinnamon, vanilla, and a little stevia.  Then I melted some frozen cherries in the microwave with some ginger so my “sauce.”  Then I topped all that with homemade popcorn and more cinnamon.  Paradise.

Cocoa-Cherry Greek Yogurt Bowl

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eggplant chips

Eggplant Chips

  • 1 eggplant
  • Olive oil spray
  • Optional toppings: onion, garlic, nutritional yeast, herbs

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut eggplant into thin slices (~1/8 in thick).  Spray with olive oil and spread evenly across a foil-lined baking sheet.

Place in over and bake ~10 mins.  Remove from oven, flip slices, and top as desired.  Return to over for another 5 mins, or until crisp.

Note: These can be stored in the fridge – simply place them in the oven under broil for 2-3 mins to crisp back up.

 

I’m linking these up to Heather’s MMAZ – check out all the eggplant love!

MMAZ

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Protein count for the day: 163g

What was the best thing you ate yesterday?

What keeps you motived when you’re tired/busy/etc?