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!!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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

Mesa Arizona Visit, 2017

January 29 – February 2, 2017, I flew down to Mesa to visit my folks who are down there for six weeks. I scored a decent direct flight on Allegiant and knew this was the only small window where I could make a visit work between job, personal life and home life. I’m so happy I went!

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I only had a few days there so we planned a few things carefully and also winged a few. Great balance that way so we didn’t feel rushed.

I flew in later on Sunday and we basically got home and went to bed. Monday we were up and at it to head over to Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale. My Dad dropped us off at the base and he went golfing. Mom and I choose to go on Cholla Trail which is rated difficult and is about 1.5 miles up, gaining a little over 1,200′ elevation. The trail started out easier than I expected but towards the top it got a bit more technical. We were awarded with glorious views on a blue clear day. The weather was perfect this morning, about 60 with a slight breeze. It got windier at the top of course, so having a light long sleeve shirt was welcome.

Some of the views along the way. There is a resort and golf course below the mountain. You can also see gorgeous homes built into the side of nearby mountains. You can tell it was quite sunny. We were worried there might be a lot of people hiking, but it wasn’t bad at all. My Mom’s Bison t-shirt attracted a few comments from fellow hikers!

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Yes, we made it to the top. I was very proud of my Mom. I know she struggles a bit with her breathing and I offered a time or two to turn around and she was like NO WAY! Amazing views!!

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This is me posing. I am very happy to hike. I have gotten to enjoy it the past couple of years but I do not like the edges or looking over. I get scared. There were all ages and body types hiking. It was inspiring.

As a reward for our hike (I think it took about 2.5-3 hours and we took breaks often), I wanted to go get some fresh juice. We had to walk about another mile and by that time my Dad was done golfing. We ended up at the Juice Core in downtown Scottsdale and Mom and I both got toast and I ordered a fresh juice and she got smoothie. I went with the I.P. Freely that supposedly promotes peeing. It hit the spot.

Later that day, after a shower, I wanted to hit up a little place I read about called Pita Jungle. It is in Dana Park, Mesa. They had happy hour Mon-Fri from 3:30-5:30 where you could get small plates for $1 and $2. I can’t recommend this place enough. Our waitress was fab, drinks were also on special and the food was so fresh tasting. My favorite was the feta plate (large chunks of feta with oil, cucs, tomatoes and seasonings – so salty!!), garlic dip with pitas and the falafal. I really loved it all. Dad got a falafal wrap (to our surprise!), mom got a roasted cauliflower dish (amazing) and I got this massive spicy chicken pita wrap with huge chunks of roasted veggies. The leftovers were also excellent a few days later.

Our other big event was on Tuesday where about 15-16 of us loaded up into two vehicles and drove over to the Waste Management Phoenix Open at the TPC Scottsdale public course, dubbed The Greenest Show on Grass. Supposedly, there is little to no waste, everything is recycled. Someone in our group is a Members Club member or has access to that so we all had $10 tickets to attend on practice day. That included 10 drinks of soda, wine or beer and all the food you want on holes #9, 17 and 18. Before checking out the golf, we went to the exhibits to check out the booths. I didn’t buy anything but saw a few fun things. I have to mention that all my parents friends were so warm and welcoming to me. I knew a few but a few were new – just lovely.

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Mom and I wandered around to a few different holes. This is famous #16, a short par 3 where you can see some really fun shots. These guys are so talented!!

You can see we go pretty close to the players. The views were also incredible. The hole on the right was #18 where we spent most of our time. The white thing floating is the Waste Management logo made out of golf balls. We dined on turkey sandwiches, cheese enchiladas and southwest salad. I had my share of water and Miller Lite also.

Later that night after we got back we caught a late taco Tuesday at a nearby eatery close to my folks. I can’t remember the name (too many Miller Lites) but it was on a golf course and good. The sunset is just as we were leaving. I bet they have some good ones in Arizona.

Wednesday was reserved to be a POOL DAY, which was nice considering my beers the night before. Mom and I wanted to relax and swim and we did just that. Here she is in her “happy place” swimming laps in the pool where they rent their park model home. They have lunch available on Wednesday’s so I had this refreshing taco salad and we met a couple from Washington, DC. They asked about the pipeline which is always a frightening question to receive from anyone not from ND!! They were kind though.

Wednesday was also market day. My folks live close to (we walked over) Superstition Market which is like a farmers market/grocery store. The produce is UNREAL cheap. A few examples: 4 avocados for $1, 3 bell peppers for $1, 3 bunches of kale for $1, 5# of apples for $2. Just insane. I bought all the produce pictured above (including the hummus which was $2.50) for $8!! I love to cook, so I cooked up some veggie tacos for us. Mom already had these fresh tortillas that are handmade and sold at the market. So thin they are see through but sturdy. They are so, so good. I made a mango guacamole to go on them with: avocados, mango, red onion, tomatoes, jalapeno, cilantro, salt and lime juice. Mom and I love guac and ate it up. Everything is so fresh. I am jealous!

Later that night, they taught me how to play Mexican Train. They play tons of games with their friends and I really ended up enjoying this one. Even better? I beat them! Beginners luck, no doubt. We played for hours!! I got in activity every day I was there. How could I not with the perfect weather? It had been cool before I arrived but I timed it to get some nice days. I feel so blessed to get a short break from our winter and quality time with my folks. They have so many more adventures planned with their friends.

Thursday was the day I flew out. We got to stop at a few new to me grocery stores (Sprouts and WinCo; I love visiting grocery stores) on the way to the airport. I look forward to being active and adventurous for many years to come. Their park is filled with lots of great people! Thanks for hosting me Mom and Dad. I can’t believe (but yes, I can) we don’t have a pic of the three of us. Dad is never in a photo, poor guy! Thanks for reading my long vacation recap. Take me back!!!!

 

 

Posted in Feisty Eats, FeistyLife, Informational, Misc | 1 Comment

Sweet Potato, Bean and Kale Skillet

I’m sharing today a one dish skillet that has quickly become my favorite lunch for a few reasons. 1) It is made in one skillet, 2) it is very affordable and 3) it is very nutritious, packed full of good for you foods. I think I’ve touched on this before that I am cheap, so the affordability is what initially drew me into this meal. But, I particularly like that it leaves me full, satisfied, not stuffed and makes me feel good with all that kale in there. This is a great dish to have in the winter when we don’t have easy access to fresh veggies in North Dakota.

I had a request to share a little more about my meal prep and what I do for that. That changes from month to month but right now I have this in heavy rotation. It makes 4 generous portions and I serve it with some steamed veggies. I’ll work on a meal prep post to hopefully put up soon. I have been pretty busy in my personal life so I haven’t had time to devote to the blog or cooking lately.

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I use my spiralizer to make this dish because it really adds volume and you can cook the sweet potato noodles so much more quickly than if you dice and chop them. However, if you don’t have a spiralizer, that method will work – just adjust your cooking time for the potato. Don’t like sweet potatoes? White potatoes would work fine here also.

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Sweet potato, bean and kale skillet
Ingredients, serves 4

  • 2 tsp. coconut oil
  • 1 large sweet potato, spiralized
  • salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4-5 cups chopped kale
  • 14.5oz can white beans
  • 14.5oz can diced tomatoes, drained (I like to use the ones already seasoned with oregano and basil or something like that)
  • ½ teaspoon herbs d provence
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese, or cheese of your choice (optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and once that is warm add the sweet potato noodles and season with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and garlic powder. Cook until mostly wilted, about 5-7 minutes. Add the kale, white beans, tomatoes and herbs and put a lid on the skillet. Toss until kale is slightly wilted and bright green in color, usually another 4-5 minutes.
  2. Remove the skillet from heat and sprinkle with the cheese. Serve or portion into containers for lunches.

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Look at that huge bowl of goodness. Sometimes I add in some fresh green onion. I hadn’t added the feta yet, but I like that, mozzarella or Colby jack. I have made this many, many times. Vegan? Just skip the cheese or use nutritional yeast. Enjoy!

Posted in Dinner, Dinner idea, Healthy Living, Main Dish, Veggie | 1 Comment