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Archive | July, 2013

Frozen Red Velvet Dessert

30 Jul

Red Velvet. Something everyone seems to absolutely adore.

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Yet did you know, that it is simply just chocolate cake with red food coloring? I think it is actually the cream cheese icing that tends to go on top of the cake that everyone actually loves.

But I love chocolate. All kinds. So naturally, I also love red velvet cake. Of course, I love making smoothies and shakes for a night time treat, and this time, red velvet was the choice of focus. I’ve posted a red velvet shake before on here, but this one is a little bit different, and certainly served differently!

Yes the ingredients are a bit different too, but instead of enjoying my shake as normal, I decided to have patience for once, and plan ahead. I made this during the day time, and then put it in the freezer for about an hour. The result was amazing. It was like icecream in a cup. Let it sit out for just a few minutes to dethaw a little, and then begin to break it up with your spoon. Not to mention the topping of a sweet cream that tasted similar to the frosting we all love.

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It tasted sinful. But it was oh so nutritious. Do you like chocolate? Come over to the red side. Add a little color in your typical chocolate shake.

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Frozen Red Velvet Dessert
-1 cup unsweetened almond milk
-1 frozen banana, very ripe
-1 scoop natural chocolate protein powder (can omit or use vanilla)
-1.5T unsweetened cocoa powder
-1/4 cup low fat cottage cheese (or 2T cream cheese)
-2T rolled oats
-1/2 tsp butter extract (can sub in vanilla)
-Sweetener to taste (I used 1 packet stevia)
-Optional: red food coloring (for color), 1/2 tsp xanthan gum (for extra thickness)

For Cream Topping:
-2T low fat cottage cheese
-2T Greek yogurt
-1T honey
-1/4 tsp butter extract (or vanilla)

Directions: Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Taste to gauge the amount of sweetener you prefer. Pour into cup and place in freezer, covered, for about one hour. Use blender to “cream” together 2T Greek yogurt, 2T cottage cheese, 1/4 tsp butter extract, 1T honey (or stevia). Set aside in fridge until desiring the shake. When ready to eat, take your cup out of the freezer and allow to sit for about 5 minutes (or simply nuke in microwave for just about 20 seconds). Top with “cream” and cacao nibs (or chocolate chips) if desired.

Cocoa Benefits
1)Decreases blood pressure
2)Improves cholesterol levels
3)Prevents heart disease
4)Rich in flavonoids, an antioxidant

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Pumpkin Peanut Butter

29 Jul

Ever since I was a child, I have loved peanut butter. It’s one of those things I don’t think I could ever get sick of. I use to sit on the couch after school with a banana and an entire jar of peanut butter. Spoonful of peanut butter on to the banana, take a bite, spoonful of peanut butter on to the banana, take a bite, repeat continuously. Banana is gone? No problem, I would just start eating spoonfuls of peanut butter.

Thankfully I’ve learned the meaning of moderation now, at least most of the time :)

As I was enjoying some peanut butter yesterday, a brilliant idea came to me. Why not made a more creamy and light tasting butter by adding pumpkin?! It only made sense as I love my pumpkin.

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The result was incredible. It give the typical heavy and rich peanut butter, a more refreshing, mousse like texture. And guess what? It cuts the calories and fat down in a natural way! The addition of pumpkin lends that lovely taste of fall inside that spoonful of delicious nut butter<3

This is absolutely delicious on toast, as a dip for apples, a mix-in to oatmeal and yogurt, of just by the spoonful!

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Pumpkin Peanut Butter
-1 cup homemade peanut butter (or any natural peanut butter)
-1 cup pumpkin puree (or decrease to 1/2 cup if wanting a richer taste)
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-Optional: 1T honey or stevia
-Optional: 1/4 tsp seal salt (if butter is not already salted)
Directions: Mix all ingredients together until well combined. Store in fridge.

Note: Turn it into a sinlessly sweet butter with the addition of sweetener and extract, or enjoy as your typical savory peanut butter by just adding pumpkin.

Note: Want a really low calorie option? Instead of 1 cup peanut butter, use peanut flour and almond milk to make 1 cup worth!

Note: Want a really low calorie dip? Use peanut flour mixed with water or almond milk in place of the peanut butter! (But don’t be afraid of all the healthy fats, they are good for you!)

Peanut Benefits
1)Rich in energy, containing many nutrients, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins
2)Good levels of mono-unsaturated fatty acids
3)Good source of dietary protein
4)Great source of resveratrol, an antioxidant found to protect against cancers, heart disease, and fungal infections
5)Excellent source of vitamin E, which maintains and protects cell membranes and skin
6)Packed with B vitamins

Pumpkin Benefits:
1) High in Vitamin aid which aids in eyesight
2) High in fiber to keep you satisfied
3) Rich in Beta Carotene with plays a role in cancer prevention and benefit your skin
4) More potassium than a banana (great post workout food!)
5) Rich in Vitamin C to keep you fit and healthy

What is Unconditional Love?

27 Jul

Do I even know the true definition of this anymore?

Everything of this world is constantly promising me love, yet is also constantly letting me down. Whether it is physical things I turn to in search for some sense of security, or the closest of my relationships, they all fail me.

But there is great news. There is something that will never fail us. A friend that does exemplify the true meaning of unconditional love. His name is Jesus.

When I hit an all time low, when I am running away from everything, when I am in the darkest of places, Jesus stays right by my side. When I feel like everyone else has forgotten me, or has run the opposite way in hopes to avoid me, Jesus is calling out my name. When I fall and cannot get back up, Jesus reaches out his hand to raise me up once again. Even when I am looking in every other place for comfort and security except for Him, when I disobey and blow him off, He remains the same. He continually loves me. That, is the definition of unconditional love.

“I loved you at your darkest” Romans 5:8

Jesus has a sense of humor I’ve realized. Sometimes He speaks to me through church services, and praise music..but then sometimes He speaks to me in humorous ways.

Meet Gracie, my lovely Labrador puppy (not exactly a puppy anymore).IMG_1107

There is no perfect example of unconditional love except Jesus, but He has provided me this gem as a reminded of what it looks like. See, no matter what I do, how many times I scream at her, how many times I forget to take her out because I’m “too busy”, or how many times I simply just ignore her presence because I have too much to do, she still loves me.

Last summer when I was still competitively running each day, I was injured during a run and was stuck laying and sitting for two weeks straight with over 30 stitches in my knee (I’ll spare you a picture of the actual battle wound, my coach said it looked like a shark bite). I was feeling so low, as I couldn’t run anymore, couldn’t even go outside much, or do the simple things I once took for granted. I felt like a lot of my friends didn’t understand what I was going through, and didn’t reach out to me in a time of need. But one thing exemplified love still (ignore my lovely just-got-done-crying-for-hours self).

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It was the cutest thing. She is usually very rough, but she knew. And she slowly one leg at a time came into my lap as I sat at the computer chair with my leg elevated. It was like she knew she needed to be gentle, but she knew I needed some love right then and there.

Then the other day Jesus reminded me once again of His unconditional love through this amazing little pup of mine. I was “too busy” to give her any attention, and unfortunately, my stress got the best of me and I screamed at her when she began whining to go out. I didn’t have “time to waste” on her when I had organic chemistry that needed to be done (even though I made time to lay out and go in my pool). But even after screaming at her and striving to ignore her the best I could, she still showed me nothing but love. Even while sitting in my chair doing homework..

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Whether it be through diving into His word today, or through something as silly as a pet, I hope God shows you the meaning of unconditional love today, as you realize just how special the gift He has to offer is<3

I’ll leave off with my prayer for all of you today..

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,
 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people,
 to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love
of Christ..” Ephesians 3:17-18

**If you’d like to talk more about this unconditional love, or have never heard of God’s great gift He has to offer, please feel free to contact me <3.

Coconut Spiced Waffle

26 Jul

The day has finally come. I now have my own waffle maker.

I have been wanting one for way too long now, and my boyfriend’s amazing mother just gave one to me when coming over the other night! I had to use it the very next day. I must admit my first waffle attempt didn’t come out the prettiest (I’ll share the recipe once it looks as good as it taste) :) But this one came out perfectly!

If you haven’t noticed yet, I am a big fan of pumpkin. Pumpkin everything. There is no “season” for pumpkin in my life. So I decided to make a high protein coconut spice waffle incorporating that lovely taste of fall. The coconut and spiced combination, goes perfectly together! This may have not been the most original recipe, but I was excited about my first waffle and had to share.

What is your favorite waffle flavor? Would you rather make them or have them out??

Waffle recipe below, so that you can make your very own waffle as well!

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Anyone else think think waffle looks wrinkly? Haha, but boy was it good!

Coconut Spiced Waffle

For Waffle:
-1/4 cup natural whey
-1/4 cup coconut flour
-1/2 cup egg whites
-1/4 cup pumpkin
-1/2 cup almond milk
-1 tsp vanilla extract or coconut extract(or 1/2 tsp of each!)
-1 tsp baking powder + 1 tsp cinnamon +1/2 tsp pumpkin spice
-sweetener to taste: about 1 or 2T honey or 1 packet stevia leaf (I used honey)
Directions: Mix all ingredients together and turn on waffle maker. SPRAY WELL. Pour batter into waffle maker, and close for about 5 minutes or until it looks done. Serve with drizzled honey!

Coconut Benefits
1)Fights viruses and bacteria growth in body
2)Fights yeast, fungus, and candida
3) Positively affects hormones for thyroid and blood-sugar control which leads to increase metabolism, energy and endurance
4)Aids in digestion
5)Absorbs fat soluble vitamins
6)Lowers cholesterol
7)Special fat called medium chain triglycerides (Research shows 2T a day allowed women not only to gain less weight but lower abdominal fat)

Watermelon Lime Pudding

25 Jul

Here is another creation of mine in order to beat this summer heat! I absolutely love watermelon. It’s probably my favorite fruit. My only problem is once I cut it open, I can’t stop. No self control when there’s delicious, refreshing watermelon in front of me!

Usually I just eat my fruit plain or with some type of yogurt dip/nut butter, but this time I decided to make a recipe with my favorite fruit! With watermelon being so sweet, I thought the pairing with lime would be the perfect combination.

I’ve made another recipe similar to this, but pumpkin flavor! As you know by now, that too is one of my favorite foods. That one can be found here.

How do you like to beat this summer heat? What is your all-time favorite fruit that you just can’t stop eating once you start?!

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Watermelon Avocado & Lime Mousse

-1 cup watermelon
-6 oz soft tofu
-1 very ripe banana
-1/4 cup mashed avocado
-juice from 1/2 lime
-1tsp vanilla extract
Directions: Blend all ingredients together. Scoop out lime and serve mousse inside!

Tip: **If it isn’t sweet enough for you with the banana and watermelon, feel free to add a tablespoon or two of honey!  **Use mini chocolate chips for “seeds” if your desire a pretty presentation.

Watermelon Benefits
1) Contains 92% water: aids in hydration
2) Full of antioxidants: neutralizes free radical damage in body, reduces inflammation, reduces chance of cancer and arthritis
3) Contains phytonutrients: naturally occurring compounds that are bioactive and able to trigger healthy reactions in body
4) Filled with Citrulline: this converts to Arginine, which is great for our hearts, livers, and circulatory system
5) Rich in vitamin C and Beta-Carotenes: anti-inflammatory properties
6) Aids in bloating and constipation: watermelon has a natural diuretic effect which can help eliminate water retention and wastes
7) Stops itchy skin: as a cleanser, it flushes out toxins that take the form of itchiness
8) Reduces blemishes: rub watermelon on your face, leave juice on for 10 minutes, rinse.

8 Minute Abs

24 Jul

Are you ready for the challenge? This is my go-to after a quick run when I don’t want to go to the gym for strength. Abdominal muscles are such a key group in your body that are important for so many reasons when living an active life.

No stopping, no breaks, eight complete minutes of constant work for those abdominal muscles! Challenge yourself. I am always sore after doing this :)

What is your favorite muscle group to work??

Facts and Tips about abdominal muscles below.

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Ab Facts
1) You don’t need to train them every day: you will actually overwork them. Think of them as any other muscle group, they need rest days
2) Doing ab specific exercises alone will not tone your stomach. To reveal chiseled abs, you need to train all your major muscle groups, do cardio, and follow a healthy diet.
3) If your abs are the star of the show, think of your lower back as the supporting cast. Strong lower back muscles allow to to safely complete intense ab workouts without injury
4) Skip the ab equipment on infomercials: the most effective ab-targeted moves are actually ones done at home with no equipment (see above workout).
5) Don’t let those abdominals be overlooked: those with a high percent stomach fat are more likely to develop osteoporosis
6) Last and most importantly, diet rules over any exercise: there is no workout that can help a bad diet. Eating healthy monounsaturated fatty acids like avocados, nuts and olive oil are known to actually help prevent weight gain in your belly. Fat is your friend, no foe :) (look here and here for some great healthy fat recipes!)

Source: http://www.fitbie.com

Sweet Potato Breakfast Pudding

23 Jul

Pudding..for breakfast?! Yep, that’s what it says!

This recipe has that same decadent pudding taste, yet uses all normal breakfast foods and is very healthy for you!

It all started when I had leftover sweet potato from the night before. I use pumpkin in a lot of breakfast recipes, yet always thought using sweet potato just wasn’t a normal thing to eat for breakfast. And maybe it’s not. But it sure is good, and full of nutrients for a well rounded carb to start your day. And, its healthy just like pumpkin is! So I reevaluated myself as to why I never used it before at breakfast…

And then this was created. I almost went and grabbed the oats, but then had just about a cup left of my fiber one cereal, and thought, I’m going to use this! Next thing you know, I’m blending it all up, adding this and that, and I got what I would like to call, breakfast pudding! Topped it with all natural peanut butter and clean chocolate syrup, and called it a morning.

It was so scrumptious, I will most certainly be using sweet potatoes more often than just in my normal baked version of it for dinner. These are just way too good. Of course, still not as good as my pumpkin though:)

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Sweet Potato Breakfast Pudding
-1 cup fiber one cereal (or any flake cereal would do)
-3/4 cup original almond milk
-1/2 cup cooked sweet potato
-2T pb2(peanut flour) or 1T pb (can omit)
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-stevia or agave to sweeten!
Directions: Combine all ingredients and blend using any type of blender until smooth. Top with any desired toppings. Enjoy right away, or put it in the fridge for just 10 minutes, which allows it to begin to thicken up much more!