Category Archives: Clean Eating

Caramel Wraps Part 2

The verdict is in, and we have 2 contenders! I will note here that there are NO picture of caramel on apples.  We ate them all! 🤦‍♀️🤣  If you need to check back to the original post here it is!!

By the time I was done my family had no patience to wait for pictures, they wanted to taste test!!! I love my kids ❤️

Our first recipe was Hand-crafted Dairy/Casein Free Chewy Caramels from Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom

I did follow the quantities exactly, but I could not find the MimicCreme so I used CoffeeMate almond/coconut creamer. I also had dark brown sugar on hand instead of light, so you’ll notice how dark the mixture got in the pictures. It did lighten up a bit as it cooked. I think I simmered it a little too long though. There is a slight after taste, it’s not burnt tasting but similar to coffee beans that have been over cooked. The flavor over all was great though and the texture was spot on. It was sticky enough to attach to the Apple, but left at room temp it did slide off after a while.

 

Recipe # 2 was Dairy Free Glistening Honey Caramel Apples from Chemistry Cachet

We maintained most of the ingredients that were used in the first recipe. Instead of vanilla I bought French vanilla coconut milk, which tends to be very sweet ( we didn’t need to add anymore sweetness and I didn’t want to reduce the honey)

I will admit to an epic fail here. This recipe was by far the best, but I used wax paper instead of parchment paper 😬 and we could only get small bits off to taste 🤦‍♀️ I had to throw 98% out because I couldn’t even slowly pull bits off without getting a chunk of paper. Lesson learned universe!!! This is a great one with sea salt 🤤 I believe the stickiness factor would have lent it well to staying on the apples even at room temp.

I tried this one in mini cupcake tine to form mini caramels.  My kids scraped the paper with their teeth!!!  It was that good!

Recipe #3 is Paleo Caramel Apples from Plum Joyful

I do not know what happens with this recipe, but at some point during the cooking process I messed something up because it would not set AT ALL!!! I will admit that this was also the third recipe in a row, so I probably stopped paying as close attention to cook time and temperature.  I let the mixture sit for an hour and it was still liquid. It tasted great and the color was beautiful though🤷🏼‍♀️ so I will definitely try again because I love the idea of a 3 ingredient caramel!

 

I will continue to try out these and more recipes.  Tell me what you think of these and any other alterations you have or would make.

As always, see you on the other side!

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Stuffed Peppers – Halloween Style!

I love stuffed peppers! They are filling, relatively easy to put together and they freeze well (a must in my house!)

AS many of you know I am a coach with Team Beachbody and they are always testing and coming up with great recipes that follow a variety of food/clean eating plans.  The following recipe takes stuffed peppers up a notch by adding a halloween twist!

Here’s an excerpt from the blog post at TeamBeachbody.com

“What I love about this jack-o’-lantern stuffed peppers recipe is that it’s a festive twist on a savory dish that lets my family enjoy the holiday with a little less sugar. They’re a fun Halloween treat to prepare for your kids and something you can feel great about them digging into! The fun part is in carving the bell peppers, which act as edible jack-o’-lanterns. You’ll want a sharp knife for this, and ideally one that’s small enough to make tiny cuts (a paring knife works well). Then you’ll simply carve out little eyes, a nose, and a smile. And ta-da, the hard part is over!”

Jack-o_-Lantern_Stuffed_Bell_Peppers_in_post

Here is a link to the full article 

The original recipe contains meat, If you are looking for a lighter version or vegan version this Quinoa Stuffing is a great option.  It has a Tex Mex flavor to it and is basically a chop it, dump it, mix it recipe.  I also have another vegan stuffing recipe that has a balsamic base to it you can find that here.

Quinoa Stuffing
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 27 minutes
Total Time 37 minutes
Servings 16 servings, ⅔ cup each

Ingredients
2 Tbsp . olive oil
1 medium onion , chopped
2 cloves garlic , finely chopped
8 medium celery stalks , chopped (about 4 cups)
2 medium green apples , with peel (about 2 cups)
4 cups low-sodium organic vegetable broth
2 cups dry quinoa , rinsed
1 tsp . sea salt
1 tsp . ground cumin
½ tsp . ground black pepper
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
½ cup pine nuts

Instructions
Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes, or until fragrant.
Add celery and apple; cook, stirring frequently, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until tender.
Add broth, quinoa, salt, cumin, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, for 15 minutes, or until most of liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat.
Add cranberries. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.
Add cilantro and pine nuts; fluff with fork and serve.

Nutritional Information (per serving):
Calories: 156
Total Fat: 6 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 196 mg
Carbohydrates: 22 g
Fiber: 3 g
Sugars: 6 g
Protein: 4 g

If you follow any of the Team Beachbody workouts with meals plans here is a breakdown of how the quinoa recipe will fit into your day.

P90X/P90X2 Portions
½ Carb
½ Single Serving Snack

P90X3 Portions
½ Protein
1 Carb
½ Fat

Body Beast Portions
½ Protein
1 Starch
½ Fat

21 Day Fix/Extreme/Fixate Containers
1 Yellow
½ Blue

 

Photo Credit goes to Photographs by Anguel Dimov Who photographed for the original blog post

AS always, I’ll see you on the other side!!

Protein Consumption

I love protein as a topic, especially and an athlete who cannot consume dairy.   There is a lot of different research out there about what protein is best and how much is best and when to consume it. So in this article I'm going to highlight different types of proteins and what they do for the body. As far as how much to consume that all depends on your body, your sport, the time of year, the quality of the protein. So it's always best to ask a medical professional when you are going to start changing nutrient quantities in your own diet.

First off, lets talk about what protein is. If you asked the general population, the standard response is "meat." That is only part of the picture. Proteins are carbon, oxygen and hydrogen molecules just like fats and carbohydrates.  The thing that sets them apart is they also contain nitrogen molecules, which allows proteins to repair and help rebuild cells. Proteins are made up of 22 amino acids; 13 are made by the body and 9 need to be consumed from food.

All animal sources of protein contain all 9 essential amino acids, but several plant sources contain all 9 as well. Quinoa, hemp, chia and soy are great examples of plant based complete proteins.

A couple main types of protein are Branch Chain Amino Acids, Glutamine and Cysteine.  Branch chain amino acids (BCAA) are absorbed directly into the muscle tissue for energy use without having to be processed through the liver first. This makes it a great fuel for athletes to have in their system once the stores of glycogen have been depleted. Some researches believe BCAA can decrease muscle damage if consumed before and after exercise, amounts varied greatly so speak with a sports nutritionist if you want to begin adding BCAA to your daily regime.  Included in BCAA are whey and casein proteins.  Both are derived from milk and have differing absorption properties.  Whey protein absorbs quickly without being metabolized making it popular among weight lifters.  Casein must be metabolized by the body before it can be used, which gives the body a steady stream of amino. The downside to BCAA is it's a no-no for those of us who cant have dairy.

Soy has been found to be a great comparable alternative to animal proteins. The texture and flavor lend itself well to most dishes that require ground meat. Downside here is it's hard to find a non-GMO soy product and studies are showing that too much soy can cause issue with hormone production. It is also found in EVERYTHING! So you're probably getting more soy that you think.

Quinoa and chia are staples in my house. I use quinoa as an alternative to rice in almost every dish that calls for rice. I also add it to my salads par-cooked to get more plant protein and crunch in my salad.

Chia has an interesting texture. When you add it to liquid it forms a gel-like casing around the seed. So I tend to add it to my yogurt and oatmeal. In yogurt it gives a tapioca like texture and I don't even notice it in my oatmeal due to that fact that I add nuts raisins and apples as well😉

Like with all foods you want to get a variety. Each food may have its one or two nutrients it's known for, but getting a variety adds the benefit of additional nutrients you didn't know your body wanted.

As always leave your questions and comments below or on FB

See you on the other side!

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Vegan Cafe’ Latte’ Shakeology!

I have been waiting for this since the original version came out!!

Love my morning coffee and I love my Shakeology.  Last year the two were COMBINED!!!! 😍

But, alas, I could not have it because the main protein was whey, and my stomach and whey do not get along 🤢.

I have been finishing up my Vegan Chocolate Shakeology and now my order of Cafe’ Latte’ is on its way 😁

There are a lot of meal replacement and protein shakes available to us now.  And the science behind their development has made vegan versions SO much better in flavor and texture that even non-vegans are switching to vegan proteins for the ease in digestion and increase in plant based protein (i.e. Extra veggies!).

I love this product for myriad reasons,  the main one is convenience.  I get a variety of produce that I don’t usually buy at the store or would have to special order.  I don’t have to think about what is going into the blender to give me a great flavor and texture, that has already been done in the Shakeology labs.  As a parent, it allows me to take care of me quickly, with little effort, while I am busy holding the fort down.

Here’s a little insight into what goes into Shakeology.


This is the ingredient list for Vegan Chocolate Shakeology.  It is a better quality photo of all the ingredients, so imagine no cacao and instead natural coffee flavors!

Every person is different, so their nutritional needs are different.  There is never a one-size-fits-all model, but there are always better starting points.  Many people forget that you cannot out workout a crappy diet, and a true “diet” is not a temporary thing that you do to look good for an event.  A true “Diet” is what you are stuffing in your face on a daily basis.  Is what you are eating helping you with your goals or holding you back from what you want?!?!

If you need help getting your health on track, this is a great place to start

Leave me a comment below or find me on Facebook and Instagram.  Let me know where you are at, what are your goals? What is easy for you, what are your struggles?  The journey is real and it doesn’t have to be alone!

As always, I’ll see you on the other side!

Help reduce exercise-induced inflammation!

“EAT YOUR VEGETABLES!”

We have all heard or said the phrase a million times in our lives.

We all know that produce is good for us, but many people don’t always know “WHY”

I do a lot of research when I am highlighting my favorite foods, and come across many articles that give the information so much better than I could write it.  The following is a portion of one such article written by Trevor Thieme C.S.C.S. A link to Full article below.




… Odds are you, [like many people, have ignored advice to “eat your veggies” at some point or] for even your entire life. Your mom nagged you about eating your broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Your doctor advises you to “eat the rainbow.” And you likely have at least one vegan friend who wants to convert you — or at the very least replace some of the meat in your largely carnivorous diet with plants. Even Michelle Obama has got in on the act, imploring you and every other American to eat more fruits and veggies. And like Murphy (and most other Americans), odds are you don’t listen: Only 1 in 10 people in the United States eat the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, according to a report from the CDC.

That’s a problem. “If you’re not eating at least two servings of fruits and three servings of vegetables per day, you’re not building ‘foundational health,’ which is key for preventing disease and supporting athletic performance,” says Susan Kleiner, PhD, R.D., author of The Powerfood Nutrition Plan. If she had her way, you’d eat eight servings.

While nutritionists have long known about the athletic advantages of increasing protein intake, they’re only just beginning to comprehend the fitness benefits of eating more phytonutrients — bioactive (i.e., body-boosting) compounds found in fruits, vegetables, grains, and other “phyto” (plant) foods.

“One of the most exciting benefits of phytonutrients is their strong antioxidant potential, disarming free radicals that wreak havoc in the body,” says Kleiner. “But it’s also bigger than that—scientists are learning that some phytonutrients seem go deep into the genetic matrix, turning on and off genes that protect us from disease development.”

That potential of phytonutrients to bolster the immune system is hugely important for athletes, who often run themselves down through overtraining. “One of the biggest things that holds athletes back is getting sick, and research shows that some phytonutrients can act as prebiotics, stimulating the growth of bacteria in your gut, thus helping to boost immunity,” says Kleiner.

Polyphenols — found in abundance in green tea — are among them, according to Japanese researchers.

But perhaps the greatest benefit of phytonutrients — especially as far as athletes are concerned — is their ability to fight exercise-induced inflammation. “The nature of training is to tear the body down, and the body is extraordinary in its ability to repair and rebuild its tissues to become stronger,” says Kleiner. “But part of that process involves an inflammatory response — inflammatory cells rush to the damaged tissue, heat it up, and begin repairing it.”

If you’ve ever felt sore a couple of days after a tough workout (a phenomenon known as delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS), you’ve felt the inflammatory process at work. A little inflammation is a good thing — it helps your muscles adapt to the demands of training (and you to become more powerful). “But if you don’t have enough anti-inflammatory factors in your body, the inflammation process can proceed unchecked, which can delay recovery,” says Kleiner.

Fortunately, you don’t have to eat every single plant to reap the benefits; you just have to eat a variety of them, according to Kleiner. “And by variety, I mean not only among food groups, but also within food groups,” she says. In other words, while you might love bananas, Amaranth, and Swiss chard, don’t just eat bananas, Amaranth, and Swiss chard. Becoming stuck in a dietary routine is just as detrimental as getting stuck in training rut.
Click for suggestions on what to eat to stay out of a food rut


In short, your mom, doctor, and vegan friend were right — you should eat a greater number and variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. “And whenever possible, skip pills for whole foods,” says Kleiner. “There’s a lot we have yet to discover about phytonutrients, but one thing we do know is that they’re more potent when they work synergistically with other nutrients in foods than when they’re taken [and working] alone.”

Click Here for the full article by Trevor Theime C.S.C.S

As always leave your comments and questions here, or on Facebook or Instagram

I will see you on the other side.