Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Egg-White Oats!

I've been hearing all about how people add in different things to their oatmeal to add in volume or extra nutrients etc. and to be honest I've just been too lazy to try it out haha! I was sticking with what I knew because it tasted good, I already had the macros plugged in, and plus I didn't know how the new stuff would turn out. 

I did try adding egg whites awhile ago and it didn't turn out how I wanted but this time around I added the egg whites part way through cooking the oats and it made all the difference! It's so simple and makes the oats extra fluffy plus you get the added protein from the egg whites. 

This has been my favorite post-workout meal for the past couple weeks and I don't plan on changing that! 

So these are my standard ingredients for oatmeal: quick oats, liquid stevia, vanilla extract, and now egg whites. 

I like to add in the vanilla for a little bit of added flavor and sweetness. Depending on what peanut butter I use, I will also add in cinnamon.

So here's how you make them: 
1. Take 1/2 cup oats and add in 1 cup water (or however many oats you're using)

2. Cook for about 45-60 seconds. Add 1/4-1/3 cup egg whites (I just put in however much I need based on my protein macros for the day). I also add in about 1 tsp of the vanilla extract but that's totally optional. 

3. Cook for another 2 minutes or so until the egg whites and oats are fully incorporated. I usually stir about every 30-45 seconds. 

4. Let the oats set for a minute once out of the microwave and add in whatever you like! I put in the liquid stevia and always some form of peanut butter haha. 

This is one of my favorites!

But oh wait...what do we have here? #nomnomnomnom

The finished products! 

If I'm using a plain peanut butter I like to add in some cinnamon but any flavored ones or the cookies 'n cream one I don't like to add it in. I'll also put on other toppings like granola, goldfish grahams, bananas, or other fruits. Just depends on what I feel like and what my macros allow. 


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Sister Bootcamp Workout (Total Body & At Home!)

Merry Christmas Eve everyone! I feel like everyone has been saying it but really I can't believe it's almost Christmas. Today is just as jam-packed for my family as tomorrow will be so Christmas has always been a two day thing in my family. There's lunch at my dad's, dinner at my house, and church then tomorrow morning is breakfast at my aunt's and dinner at my grandma's. So Amanda and I will be cooking and cleaning all day in preparation for dinner. Layla doesn't even know it yet but she couldn't be more excited. She thinks every party is thrown in her honor haha! I'm not even kidding. 

The other day I put together a boot camp workout of sorts, and surprisingly Amanda asked to join me. Usually these workouts are not her type of thing but we made it into a fun sister workout! It's made up of 3 different circuits that you each do 3 times through. After each circuit is an insane burst of cardio to really sky rocket your heart more than it will already be going :) Amanda wanted it to be tough so that's just what I did! So for example you'll do circuit 1 three times through then do 3 hill sprints and then go on to circuit 2. It's a mix of upper body, lower body, HIIT moves, strength moves, and I even threw in some abs *gasp* ya'll know I never work abs! 

The great part is we did it all from home since we have some adjustable dumbbells and a hill right outside our door (we legit live on a hill). If you don't live on a hill or there's not one nearby just do regular sprints! Same goes for stairs. If you don't have any weights then just try to get creative with what you have around you: water bottles, bag of flour, cats, small children (not even really joking haha!). I've used one of cats before for squats or bicep curls and it was a joke at the time but those little heifers can be heavy! I've also seen moms use their babies and stuff to make it a cute little workout with them, and it's really sweet! If you can find some substitutions to dumbbells then this can be a great workout to do while at home or traveling. 

Circuit 1 (3x):
30 cross body curls (15 per arm)
100 mountain climbers
15 upright rows 
1 minute Heisman shuffle
15 burpees 

3 hill sprints 

Circuit 2 (3x):
20 stair dips 
20 180-degree jump squats
15 lying chest press 
20 v-ups
20 jumping lunges 

Sprint stairs 5x

Circuit 3 (3x):
12 lateral raise
20 kettle bell swings (probably shouldn't use a baby or small animal on this one though haha!)
21 bicep curls (7 bottom half reps, 7 top half reps, 7 full reps)
100 high knees 
30 russian twists 

3 sets of pull-ups til failure 

It took us about 48 minutes and we really didn't take any scheduled breaks other than a few seconds here and there for water. We were both dripping by the end but it was a great workout! Amanda even requested more so I know she must have been a fan because she does not like circuit workouts.  So grab a friend and let me know if you try out the workout and what you think! 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

White Chocolate Peppermint Bark

I happen to not be the biggest fan of peppermint in my desserts but ironically I have a lot of people in my life that do. So this recipe is for them and all of you who enjoy it or have peppermint fans in your life! 

By no means am I the first to come up with this combination but I did make this up as I went since I figured it wasn't rocket science. Amanda asked me if I was planning on following a recipe and I said "well, I'm gonna melt some white chocolate and add candy canes how hard can it be?"

And it wasn't hard at all! Takes less than 45 minutes and most of that time doesn't even require you doing anything ha! I just eyeballed the ratios and came up with the following proportions, which you can totally adjust to fit your tastebuds.

So here's what you'll need:
5 candy canes (crushed up)
1 bag of white chocolate chips
festive sprinkles (optional but really are sprinkles ever?!)

Here's what you do:

1. Place the white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and in 30 second intervals slowly melt it. After each 30 second turn in the microwave stir the chocolate so it doesn't burn.

2. While the chocolate chips are melting, crush up the candy canes. Just place them in a ziploc bag and crush them with a rolling pin until most of them are ground up enough but you're still left with some decent size pieces.

3. Once the chocolate is melted, mix in about half of the crushed candy canes. Pour the mixture onto a baking sheet lined with wax paper and smooth out until it's level.

4. Place the remaining candy cane chunks on top and decorate with sprinkles.

5. Let it set in the fridge for about 45 minutes and then break into small pieces once the chocolate has hardened.

And that's all there is to it! It makes a nice sized batch but you can always double the recipe if need be. Enjoy! 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Longest Recap Ever

Hi all! I've been away from the blog for awhile but I'm finally done with school and have a week off of work coming up. So I'll have plenty of time to catch up on blogging :) 

Alright, so I'm going to try my best to do this recap in sort of chronological order! First thing first, we got the tree up right after Thanksgiving. It's tradition to do it the day after Thanksgiving while we watch Elf. I've seen that movie dozens of times and it still cracks me up every time!

I also started the She Reads Truth (it's an app) Advent plan this season! It began in December and then there's a scripture reading every day leading up until Christmas. 

Also, I got my hands on this jar of peanut butter and my life has just never been the same again. 

I put it on everything. Every. Thing. That's a dark chocolate Justin's peanut butter cup topped off in the best way possible! 

Last week my church participated in the annual choir walk and my aunt was in charge of refreshments so we were baking cookies like crazy! I enlisted the help of my mom for a little occupational therapy :) I also bribed her with cookie dough too haha! 

This little goober turned 2 on the 13th! I can't believe how much she's growing up (I know, I know I sound like a parent with their first kid) but seriously where does the time go?! I was saying to Amanda how I can really tell she's grown up a lot more. She's definitely on her way out of adolescence which I'm not sorry about that ha! I think it's common knowledge in the dog world that adolescence is the most difficult stage of raising a dog. I'm happy to say that the past two years of consistency is paying off nicely! P.s. she was totally thrilled about the snap chat as her face shows..

I recently mastered the art of adding egg whites to my oatmeal and the texture/volume is out of this world! It's my new post-workout obsession. I'm going to be posting separately about the new recipes I've been making because I don't want to make this recap any longer than it already is! 

And speaking of other new obsessions, I've been making my usual tortizzas with Flatout wraps and they're by far the best wrap I've ever used for them! The bottom gets nice and crispy without getting soggy so I can easily load up the toppings and not worry about the wrap collapsing when I go to pick up a piece of tortizza.  Pictured on this tortizza is a plain Flatout wrap topped with pesto, shaved brussel sprouts (pre-packaged at Trader Joe's), acorn squash, and mozzarella cheese. I've literally made so many versions of this over the past couple weeks so I'll post those soon as well! 

The amazingly sweet Rachael Miner over at The Simple Life sent me a Christmas package and this book was included. I LOVE IT. Although for me it should be called Coffee With Jesus since that's when I read it haha! But really, I love it. It's amazing to me how God works in His ways because I was just talking about how I want to find the Lord in every day and guys THAT'S ON THE FRONT COVER! ("Discover His Presence Every Day").  As soon as I opened the book I knew it was going to be just what I need and I can't even begin to explain how God has blessed me with Rachael's friendship. I thought it was cool because as she was reading it, I was on her heart and it turned out to be just the book I need right now! 

Okay, we're getting to the end since we're up until yesterday now! Megan was in town and since I haven't seen her since my trip to Connecticut back in May, I was so excited to be able to catch up in person! We went to Burgatory which is an insane burger place with THE best burgers and milkshakes ever. It's a dangerous combination! I always do the build-your-own-burger with elk as the meat since it's my favorite. People ask me what it's like and if you've ever had bison (I know this isn't helpful if you haven't) but it's a lot like bison but I personally think it's better. It's a very tender meat and not at all game-y like deer can be. I got my burger medium-rare and it actually came out on the rarer side which I was happy about! It seriously is so tender that it melts in your mouth like buttaaaa. I got mine topped with arugula, tomatoes, organic field greens, dill pickles, and this delicious garlic shallot aioli. As it's the holidays and memories over macros, I've been loosely tracking whenever necessary! 

So two last things that I will be posting the recipes as soon as I can: white chocolate peppermint bark and Christmas crack! Amanda and I are going the homemade route for the family this year so we're making all kinds of goodies for everyone. Margot came over the other day to help us out and it was a lot of fun! She's home until like the end of January which I could not be more thrilled about and we plan on having lots and lots of baking adventures. 

Phew so that's the end of probably the longest blog post I've ever done haha! It might've seemed to be longer to me, though, since Layla decided that an hour straight of computer time was unacceptable and kept bringing me toys to play with her. And, yes, I did play with her because I mean have you seen her face?! She's lucky she's pretty darn cute. 

Anyway, I'll work on getting these two recipes along with the egg-white oatmeal and torizza ideas! Another post I was thinking about doing is a week's worth of workouts so if you'd like to see that just shoot me an email :) 

Friday, December 18, 2015

It's the Little Things

As wonderful as this time of year can be, it can also be a stressful one, too. Finals, end of classes, shopping for presents, plans to travel, tons of events and parties etc. can all catch up to us. But at the end of the day we need to remember to take the time to just sit back, relax, and take time for ourselves. Even if it's just for a couple minutes.

As you all know, I'm crazy about my dog #sorryI'mnotsorry #andneverwillbe haha! But seriously, Layla is my go-to girl when I need to just sit back and breathe. It's amazingly therapeutic to be with her, and I forgot these past few days how much it can be necessary to just slow down for a few minutes. Saturday and Sunday were go, go, go all day type days. I was working on final projects and studying all day Saturday that I hardly paid Layla any attention at all. Her birthday was on Sunday and I was maybe home for a full two hours between church, social events, and more church stuff, and Monday was the same as Sunday plus my final class at night.

Needless to say that I was feeling pretty burnt out Monday night when I got home. It was a little after 9pm, I was exhausted, wanted to go straight to bed, but then I caught sight of Layla. Just as sweet, loving, and happy to see me as usual even though I had been so caught up in myself the past three days. I had hardly spent any time with her, and I felt awful.

I knew she hadn't been out on a walk that day since it was raining all day but it finally stopped so I grabbed her leash and asked her if she wanted to go for a walk even though it was after bedtime. You would've thought by her reaction that I told her she just won the lottery (of treats haha). She was so happy to be invited to go somewhere with me and I made her whole day just by giving her my time.

We weren't gone long, maybe 25 minutes, but it was to give Layla a mental break from being cooped up all day, stretch her legs before bed, and to relax together. When we got home she was just so excited to have my undivided attention that I played tug of war with her favorite rope toy. Yes I was still tired, still burnt out, and wanted to sleep but it was worth staying up those 15 extra minutes to play with her. Once she was tuckered out I just laid on my bedroom floor and Layla LOVES it when you lay on the floor with her. She came right over, plopped herself down on my chest (yep she's 70lbs...), and started trying to lick every inch of my face she could reach. I had her stop and so she laid her head tucked under my chin and gave a contented sigh.

As I laid there on the floor with Layla cuddled up, I started thinking about how it was worth staying up an extra hour after getting home. I was feeling so much better already and totally relaxed. I thought to myself "when was the last time I took the time to simply be with her without any distractions?" and I knew it had to be either Thursday or Friday. It might sound crazy to people but that was a long time for me to go without connecting with my dog.

I have learned a lot from Layla and I think you will find any dog owner who is crazy about their dog say the same thing. She teaches me so much about just enjoying the simple things in life, soaking up the moment, and of course unconditional love. There are so many days that I feel like I don't deserve her love because no matter what I say or do, she still sees me as worthy of love. I joke around with Amanda and tell her that God sent us dogs as a reminder of his perfect and unconditional love, but it's really not that much of a joke and never was. My point is that being with Layla teaches me to slow down and open my eyes to see things a little bit differently in life.

I'm done with finals now, but the past few days I've been much more intentional about taking those few minutes to sit with myself and God, and to re-charge a bit. I try to appreciate the little things more despite the mountainous to-do list waiting for me. My goal is to find the Lord in each day because even if I'm feeling stressed out, have tons to do, or whatever is going on in my life I know that it's all part of a plan. What's going on now is shaping me for the future.

So as we are in the midst of the holiday season, let's all try to be a little more mindful of spending more time in the moment. Our society has become extremely fast-paced that it is nearly impossible to keep up all the time. All the little moments and small things that make us smile can pass us by if we're not careful. Look for the blessings, the little things, take the time to sit back, and it's amazing what you can find.

Best of all I think it's pretty cool that I learned this just by laying on the floor with my dog. It truly is the little things.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Incline Walking Cardio Blast

Incline walking is one of my favorite forms of cross-training cardio. I can't stand the elliptical, and my gym doesn't have a stairmaster so usually the treadmill is my last option. Also since I have a treadmill at home it's an easy way to throw in some cardio when I need it!

Just walking though can get pretty boring so I like to mix it up a lot when I do my incline walking. What I typically do is add in some little HIIT moves here and there to really keep my heart rate up and my muscles working. 

Here's what I did this morning: 
1) 3 minutes incline walking
2) 1 round of HIIT-- 20 jump squats, 50 high knees, 20 jumping lunges

Then jump right back on the treadmill and repeat! I leave the treadmill running so that I can keep the time going plus then the incline and pace are already set and I don't have to wait for the treadmill to warm back up. I just hop right off the treadmill, do the round of HIIT, and hop back on! Just be very careful getting on and off! It usually takes me about a minute to do the HIIT moves.  I repeat about 7-8 times to get me to about 30 minutes. 

For the walking itself, I do about a 10% incline (that's the highest my treadmill will go at home) so I do about a 4.0-4.2 mph pace. At the gym those treadmills can go a lot higher so I do a minimum of 13% there with a 3.7-4.0 mph rage depending on the incline percentage.  The important thing is that you set it to what you need but make sure you're still pushing yourself! You can add in whatever type of HIIT you want. Some other combinations I've done: 

1) 10 burpees, 20 pop squats, 50 jumping jacks

2) 50 ice skaters, 20 lunges, 15 pike-ups

3) 20 tuck jumps, 15 kettle bell swings, 30 shuffle squats

It's a great way to combine HIIT with steady state cardio and really keeps my heart rate up! Plus it keeps things interesting for me, and that helps me to look forward to my workouts. No one wants to keep doing the same thing over and over, that gets too boring! 

Let me know if you come up with any of your own HIIT combinations, I'd love to hear them :) 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Healthy Chicken Salad

 I never thought I'd see the day where I liked chicken salad! I'm not a fan of mayo at all but I've been meaning to try out a chicken salad with subbing greek yogurt for the mayo. Well, I finally got around to it! And I loved it. 

My friend told me about her chicken salad that she makes with pistachios and green grapes and it sounded delicious to me so I got my inspiration from her! She uses light mayo instead of greek yogurt but what I like about hers is she uses very, very little so you can hardly tell it's mayo. I still wanted to try it out with greek yogurt, and like it just as much. 

Plus, with all the chicken and greek yogurt it's packed with protein! The pistachios give it a nice crunchy texture and I like the green grapes since it gives it a touch of sweetness but not overly sweet. It might sound like an unusual combination but trust me when I say it works.

Here's what you'll need:
20oz shredded chicken
1/2-2/3 cup plain greek yogurt
1 cup green grapes, diced
1/2 cup pistachios, rough chopped

I did these proportions based off the chicken so if you don't want a huge back of chicken salad you can scale them back to fit what you need!

First, I prepped the chicken with the greek yogurt. Amanda made chili the other night so she kept some of the chicken separate for me. To make it easier to eat, cook it in the crock pot and then you can shred it afterwards.  Just a few hours on high did the trick and then I seasoned it with lots of salt and pepper. 

Once the greek yogurt and chicken is combined, add in the pistachios. I did a rough chop just to break them up a bit but still with large enough chunks for a nice crunch. 

Next dice up the grapes! I love these green grapes that I found at Sam's club. 

Fold in the grapes (be as gentle as you can so you don't crush them) and it's done! I added in a little more salt and pepper at the end just to make sure it was really seasoned well. 

This made a huge batch with two tupperware containers one for me and Amanda each. It was a great meal prep recipe for this week as I've been having it for lunches and snacks all week. 

And of course here are the macros! The serving size is 1/3 cup and I got 15 servings for the whole recipe. 

Enjoy and let me know what you think!