Quinoa Protein Bites

Another month, another energy bite recipe. I am obsessed. These are just perfect to have on hand to grab and go. I have been looking for a quinoa cookie / no-bake treat to make for a while to use up my stash of bulk quinoa. I came across this recipe from Boys Ahoy and knew it was perfect. I swear I don’t stalk her, but I love nearly all her recipes and follow her on IG for some great workouts.

QuinoaBites

I made the recipe almost exactly as she posted but doubled the recipe, used my own brand of protein powder, regular Jif peanut butter and as always, added in a dash of salt. I am a salty sweat-er and a salt lover as well so salt is my jam so to speak. The hardest part of these is letting the quinoa cool.

These are like healthy cookies? I keep mine in the freezer and grab one or three after a workout. They are perfect.

Quinoa Protein Bites, makes anywhere from 30-40, depending on size, adapted slightly from Boys Ahoy

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked and cooled quinoa (cook in plain water)
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 scoops chocolate protein powder (other flavors should work, but I loved this combo)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 5 Tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, chopped

Directions

Put everything except coconut in a medium, microwave safe bowl. Nuke for about 30 seconds to soften up the peanut butter/honey. Stir until combined. Spoon about 1 inch roughly ball shaped bites onto wax or parchment paper. Then, roll into ball shapes into the coconut to coat. Store in fridge or freezer in air-tight container or zip top bag.

Here you can see the before and after. I simply spooned out the cookies in a rough shape and then rolled them in coconut and made them more into a ball shape. You could skip the coconut or roll it in something else. I love the coconut flavor though. Enjoy!

 

Posted in Appetizer, Breakfast, Cookies, Healthy Living | Leave a comment

Healthy Blueberry Muffins

Sometimes I go a little overboard when I shop at Sam’s Club and get a bit too much produce that can be eaten before it goes bad. Blueberries are easy to freeze but they are really easy to throw into this recipe too. These are healthier blueberry muffins with not much sugar, flax meal, oats and other goodies. No mixer required and they make an even 12. I get so annoyed when recipes make an odd amount of muffins or cupcakes!

bluemuffins

I love when the berries burst when you bake them. They look pretty too!

beforeaftermuffins

Healthy Blueberry Muffins, makes 12, slightly adapted from Good Housekeeping

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 c. oats
  • 1 1/4 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c. flax meal
  • 1/2 c. lightly packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 c. low-fat milk (I used almond milk)
  • 2 tbsp. vinegar
  • 3 tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 c. (heaping) blueberries

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray or use cupcake liners.
  2. In a large bowl, combine oats, flour, flax, brown sugar, baking powder and soda, and salt. In small bowl, with fork, whisk together egg, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla; stir into flour mixture until flour is moistened. Gently fold in berries.
  3. Spoon batter into muffin-pan cups. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of muffins comes out clean. Store in zip top bag in fridge. I preferred these cold. They also store well in the freezer.

blueberrymuffins

My Mom is going to try these with frozen raspberries. I bet that would be delicious as well. I enjoyed these with a smear of peanut butter and we preferred them after they had cooled completely in the fridge. They are lower in calories than traditional muffins and are great around a workout, as breakfast or even as dessert. Enjoy!

Posted in Baking, Breakfast, Healthy Living | 1 Comment

How to make cold brew iced coffee at home

I am very new to drinking coffee. I don’t know what flipped the switch for me? But I love a coffee as a morning snack or a treat after a long exercise session. I add sugar and cream to my coffee so my husband teases me about not being a true coffee drinker. BUT, I did read a statistic that only 1/3 of people take their coffee black so I guess HE is in the minority? I love looking at food photos online and I see a LOT of people post about iced coffee and protein iced coffee. I was intrigued. My sweet sister just took a trip to Guatemala and while there she toured a coffee plantation. She was nice enough to send me a couple bags of coffee from there!!

coldbrew

Since I like my coffee with sugar and cream, I’ll tell you how I made it to my preference. If you like super strong, cold coffee just skip the milk and sugar or lower it. Totally customizable.

img_5571

The night before you want iced coffee you will want to take at 2-cup or so container to put your coffee in. It should have a lid or be able to be covered in the fridge overnight.

Cold brewed iced coffee – serves one

  • 1/3 cup coffee, grinded
  • 1 1/3 cup water, cold or room temp
  • coffee filter
  • Ice
  • Sugar or cream to taste OR flavored protein milk

Put your coffee and water in container and stir to combine. Let this steep overnight in the fridge, or for at least 5-6 hours if crunched on time. The next morning, strain the coffee grinds from the water. Add lots of ice and your flavorings of choice. Crush that coffee down and have the best day ever.

img_5572

My favorite way to flavor coffee is with some of this Muscle Milk. I usually add the coffee prescribed above and about 3/4 of this 11 oz. container. It is perfectly sweet and creamy. So, so good. I highly recommend this way for coffee newbies such as myself. Enjoy!

Posted in Breakfast, Feisty Eats, How To, Informational | Leave a comment

Cycle – Drill List

I know I have been posting a lot of workout stuff lately but that is kind of how my life is right now. I actually rarely bake at all anymore (except for “healthy” type stuff) and of course I cook but again, it is mostly healthy. I’ll share a few of those recipes but as time marches on, we all change.

cycle

As a spin instructor, I am not certified or hold any special designations. I have attended cycling classes for probably about 10 years, have a passion for it and was willing to teach. I was glad to be given the opportunity to instruct class at our local gym and I absolutely love it. That said, I had a hard time coming up with challenging yet fun workouts. Even my usual method of GOOGLING didn’t result in a lot of ideal results. So, today I am sharing a one-hour session that I call Drill List that we do every few weeks in class.

img_20161220_080925

SPIN (don’t be alarmed, we do in fact, cycle in the garage of the gym where the laundry is done and materials are stored – it’s really no big deal – it gets the job done and the sweat soaks into the cement nicely)

DRILL LIST – this is a high intensity hour long class

Loosen/Warm Up  – (3:30) High Valley, Make You Mine
stand 1:30-2:30
Full Throttle (6:42 minutes) 6 sprints, level 4 out of 10
ATB Never Give Up

30 sprint seated, 30 off standing

Head for the Hills (14 minutes)
24k Magic 3:47, Side to Side 3:46 |
Parachute 4:13, After Party 3:39

Level 5 1 minute – seated
Level 7 2 minutes – seated one, stand run one
Level 8 1 minute (stand)
Level 8 1 minute (hover)
Level 9 1 minute (stand & climb)

Take a drink – off for (1 minute) and
repeat once more

Tabata Torchers (10 minutes – break between first two songs if needed)
It Ain’t My Fault 3:35,
Night of Your Life D. Guetta 3:32,
Beautiful Drug 3:12

Stand and work for 20, sit recover for 10
Various resistances – start at a 5 and work your way up and then down

Take a drink – off for (1 minute)

Tabata Torcher (10 minutes – break between songs if needed)
All of Me 4:12, We Found Love 5:46
Sit and work for 20, stand recover for 10
Various resistances – start at a 5 and work your way up and then down

Take a drink – off for (1 minute)

Full Throttle (5:35) My House Remix
Sprint 20 standing, sit 10 sprint and recover for 30 seconds

Slowdown (3:49 minutes), I’m Yours
Gradually slow legs and bring down resistance

Stretch (5:06 minutes), Home, Dierks Bentley
Stretch on and off bike, dynamic stretches off of bike

20161231_103829

I think this is a great workout and I like the songs so keep it high energy and going for a full hour. I like to switch up my classes with some of them going with the song and some of them the drills depend on time. I find it difficult at times to keep things “fresh” so any changes or suggestions are welcome. I hope you like this workout!

Posted in Exercise, Feisty Eats, Healthy Living | 2 Comments

February check in, 2017

I’m here to check in on with my two month update on trying to get more in shape and drop a few lbs. February was quite the month for our household. I started off in sunny Arizona, went to stay overnight with a good friend, my husband had a knee replacement surgery (!) and we went to a chili cook-off at our local bar. Busy month to say the least.

febcheckincover

Arizona was a blast and overall, I ate pretty healthy. I had one VERY BAD day in February with eating way too much (binge) and feeling very down on myself. I hate those days!! That said, one day out of the month is a big improvement from where I was at the end of 2016. In regards to that day, I just have to pick up the next day and move on and get back on track which I did. In regards to the chili cook-off, we won’t talk too much about it other than my husband took third and I took nothing. Dang it! We love chili cook-offs. They are kind of our thing and I am honestly glad he took third place.

The knee replacement surgery has been a long time coming. My husband is relatively young for this surgery, but he was just born with a bad knee. We both are hoping for a strong, healthy recovery with a lot more active years on the new knee. I do want to thank all of our amazing friends and family for helping us through those first few weeks. I don’t know what we did to deserve such good people in our lives, but we are very grateful.

smallchanges

Now, onto me. Haha. I guess this is my blog so I can be all about me. I had that one very awful day, but the rest were pretty good overall. I am trying to be more kind to myself and give myself a little slack here and there. Sometimes when you get to the gym for a workout, you just don’t feel it. That is OK. I give myself permission to try it for a half hour or so and if it isn’t what I want that day, I go home. No biggie. That does not make me a failure.

With my husband laid up (he will be home for 6 weeks but is already rehabbing and walking around – the body is truly amazing) and on medication, his appetite is off. I took time to prep meals for myself so I have healthy options that are ready right now in case he needs me. Every time I meal prep, I remember how an hour or two on one day is SO worth it during the busy work week. This is meals for 5 days! I find if I have roasted veggies on hand, I’ll snack on them instead of chips or crackers. I like them right out of the fridge dipped in hummus or ketchup.

These small changes over time do add up for me. The photo on the top right is a few new bottles I purchased. Two 64 oz. glass bottles and a BPA free water bottle for working out. I was in the bad habit of reusing plastic bottles and we know that isn’t good for us. I’m hoping to keep making these little swaps throughout the year with various things.

fitness

This month the weather has been pretty mild and I got in a few outdoor runs. I still have only been able to go out on the weekend due to sunlight hours and frosty conditions. I’m doing a few runs, spinning and a few strength sessions each week. A mix of things works for me to keep boredom at bay. I’ve really focused on my strength sessions and stretching this month.

One happy thing about my running lately is it was like a switch was flipped. Suddenly I got faster and stronger it feels like overnight. I know that isn’t the case. I put in time with my runs, cross training and lots of stretching. But one day I could just run faster. My mind didn’t think it was possible, but my body did it, I survived and to make sure, I did it again a few times. That is a great feeling. There are many times when I struggle through a workout or feel like it was SO tough so these moments are rare and super appreciated.

progress

I’m trying to eat healthy and treat myself on occasion. My drinking has cut back again, especially since my husband can’t drink while he recovers. I drink once a week I’d say? I probably should just quit while he is recovering from surgery, but I honestly just love to have some drinks. I’m not really willing to give up my beer or vodka drinks. The scale is down again this month, things are fitting better and better and I couldn’t be happier. I feel lighter and happier, my mood overall is better I think. It’s so, so hard to get started, but worth it. Sometimes I overindulge (usually on the weekend) and I pay for it a few days afterwards. I need to remember how great I feel when I treat my body correctly.

The photo above left is from early January to last week on the right. Sure, different lighting, different stance, different top but taking selfies helps me gauge progress along with how my jeans fit. I can see some difference in my mid-section and arms. Of course, probably my bra size too – the struggle is real with that one. Whoomp whoomp!

It takes a lot of effort and motivation to change daily habits but it pays off and a person wonders what took me so long to change? I have March and April to hopefully get to my fittest. Then, we will be gearing up for summer and hopefully a lot of adventures so we will see what happens…I’ll check in again at the end of March one way or another! I am hoping March brings a little more sleep my way, that is an area I can definitely improve upon.

Posted in Exercise, Feisty Eats, FeistyLife, Healthy Living | Leave a comment

Peanut Butter Protein Bites

These are easy, no-bake bites with one of my favorite foods: peanut butter. They are perfect for before or after the gym, as a sweet treat or anytime snack. I actually made these for a friend for her treadmill workouts and then promptly forgot to take them to her. I guess I’ll have to eat them all. #sacrifice

pbproteinbites

Feel free to play around a bit with the ingredients and take out or add in what you prefer. Or use almond, cashew, or other nut butter. I actually think these look a bit like meatballs, but trust me, they are a perfect sweet treat.

20170204_113327
Peanut Butter Protein Bites
Serves: 30-36, depending on how big you roll them
Ingredients
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1-2 tbsp water (it really depends on the PB and protein you use, just go until you can form a nice bite shape easily)
Instructions
  1. Place everything in a food processor and mix until it turns into a dough-like form. Roll into 1 inch balls, place in an air-tight container in the fridge. Makes about 30-36 depending on size. These also freeze nicely.

These mix up in just a few minutes in your food processor. The hardest part will be cleaning the food processor or remember to deliver them to your friend. They are perfect after a tough workout though, I promise. Enjoy!

Posted in Breakfast, Exercise | 1 Comment

Meal Prep Tips

If I am “on my game” I try to meal prep every week at least for Monday-Friday meals. I work several miles from a town and only have a half hour lunch and no cafeteria on site so I have to bring my own meals if I want to eat. This is a blessing as I can try to keep it healthy. I thought I’d share my process and some tips. You can use these tips to meal prep for the week or even to make freezer meals. I generally meal prep once or twice a week depending on my personal plans. I keep snacks at work and replenish as needed.

mealprep

  • It’s all about making a game plan
  • Decide what you will be cooking that day
  • Print out the recipes
  • Make your shopping list so you have everything (bonus points for writing the shopping list in order of the flow of the store – veggies, deli, meat, canned good, dairy, etc)

This particular day I was making healthy banana pumpkin bread (breakfast with yogurt), sweet potato, bean and kale skillet (lunches) and ground beef egg roll in a bowl (supper). I don’t have a problem eating the same meals a few days in a row. If you don’t like to do that, I would suggest making a full recipe and freezing the rest in individual portions and building up your freezer stash to grab something different throughout the week. You want your recipes printed and on the counter to follow along as you go. Make sure you shop a day or two in advance so you have everything you need in your fridge and pantry.

  • Do any prep in advance (chop veggies, thaw meat, etc)

I knew I’d be using spiralized sweet potatoes and you can spiralize and store them a few days in advance in the fridge. You basically want everything ready to go once you start cooking. Chop garlic, veggies and for sure thaw your meat if using any.

img_5570

  • Set out any cookware and utensils you’ll need including knifes, pans, garlic press, can opener, measuring cups, etc
  • Set out all non perishable food neatly the evening before your cooking day including spices, canned goods, etc

I like to go to bed with a clean kitchen, but if I know I’m cooking the next day, I set out all the utensils I will need. I also set out any spices, canned foods and storage containers.

img_5574

  • Take shortcuts where possible

I like to use this bagged kale, it is already chopped and I can just throw it in the pan. Of course, if you buy whole kale, just chop and store it the day before. I also eat my lunch and supper with veggies. I LOVE the steamable veggie bags you can get at the store. Sam’s Club has great options. I just microwave the veggies as I cook to put them in the storage containers with the meals. I eat a lot of broccoli (it is an on-going joke with my co-workers) and one bag is good for 2-3 servings for me. I NEVER feel bad about eating a lot of veggies.

img_5576

  • Make food in order that makes sense
  • Double up recipes

I baked the bread first, making a double batch. Once it was in the oven, I could move to the stove top. I double recipes a lot of times if they freeze well. This bread makes about 12 servings each and my husband and I both like it in our yogurt in the morning so bake once for twice the amount. This goes for a lot of meals also. Taco meat, spaghetti meat, grilled chicken breasts – cook once and store the leftovers in the freezer for those super busy nights when you don’t know what to cook or don’t have time. If I am making a salad, I make 3-4 at a time. One to eat that night and then you can store the others for about 3 days tops in the fridge. If I get all the stuff out, I just chop once and am done.

img_5577

 

  • Tidy as you go and schedule cleaning breaks
  • Use one skillet meals where possible
  • Set out all Tupperware or storage containers you will use for your meals
  • Let food completely cool before storage

I make the lunches first in a skillet, wipe it and then make the suppers in the same skillet. You want to clean and tidy your kitchen as you go so you don’t have a huge disaster when you are done. Take a 5 minute break or whatever. I try to keep the dishes to a minimum – use the grill, Crock Pot, Instant Pot or whatever.

I set out my Tupperware to divide out my lunches. The black containers were bought for cheap on Amazon (just search meal prep containers) – they are the perfect size and can be put in the dishwasher. The clear ones are Rubbermaid. The glass bowls are nice to use at home – that is my egg roll in a bowl. I eat that with more steamed veggies.

Finally, let your food cool off, especially if you are going to freeze it. You don’t want all that moisture and condensation inside – it’ll make your food watery when it thaws out.

I hope my tips helps you. One hour of work will save you HOURS of time throughout the week. Sometimes I dream meal prepping but the results are always worth it. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Feisty Eats, Healthy Living, How To, Informational, Main Dish | Leave a comment