Tuesday, March 29, 2016

IIFYM Lemon Bars

What do I mean by IIFYM (if it fits your macros)? I mean that these bars are not high in any one macronutrient, therefore they're low in calories and can easily become a part of your diet without blowing your macro goals for the day. I adapted this recipe from one I found here, and made it more flexible dieter friendly. 



They're easy to whip up and a guaranteed crowd pleaser! Who doesn't like cheesecake? I made two batches and took them with me to two different Easter brunches this weekend. The fresh lemon is tart and delicious without being overpowering and the coconut palm sugar adds just enough sweetness to be refreshing but not leave you feeling icky. You know, that gross feeling after eating a doughnut or a heavily frosted cupcake? Using erythritol (like Swerve) instead of coconut palm sugar could save you even more calories. This recipe serves 12. 

Ingredients:


CRUST

  • 6 full sheet graham crackers, made into crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter, melted (or melted coconut oil)

FILLING

  • 6 ounces (168g) light whipped cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (181g) plain nonfat Greek yogurt, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup egg whites
  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup coconut palm sugar 
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)2
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon zest2
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8 or 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment, leaving an overhang on all sides to easily lift the bars out of the pan before cutting. Set aside.
  2. Make the crust: Mix the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter together in a medium bowl until combined. Evenly press crust into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  3. Make the filling: In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese on high speed until completely smooth, about 1 minute. On medium-high speed, beat in yogurt until completely combined. Then beat in the egg white and egg yolk until combined. Finally, beat in the sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla extract until everything is combined and no lumps remain.
  4. Pour filling onto the crust. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the center of the bars no longer jiggles (remove from the oven and gently wiggle the pan to check). Allow the bars to cool at room temperature set on a wire rack for 30 minutes, then transfer to the refrigerator to chill for 3-4 hours or even overnight.
  5. Once chilled, lift the foil out of the pan using the overhang on the sides and cut into 12 squares. For neat squares, I use a very sharp knife and wipe it clean with a paper towel after each cut. Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  6. Make ahead tip: Prepare the bars 1-3 days in advance and store covered tightly in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Bars can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.

Macros for one bar:
Calories: 115
Fat: 5g
Carbs: 14g
Protein: 3g
Sugar: 8g

Thursday, March 17, 2016

5-Ingredient Protein Fudge Brownies

I am a basic bitch simple woman. I believe that less is more. Minimalism is the key to life. I love baking and cooking, but hate having pull out every kitchen toy and fill my sink with dishes (no dishwasher here yo, unless you count the future husband). I believe in easy to find ingredients that are accessible and don't break the piggy bank. I also lack actual culinary skills - so enter the five ingredient protein super fudgey and fantastic brownie. 



I tell my clients that when they're first starting with flexible dieting to live by the Rule of 5. 5 ingredients or less in a recipe or 5 foods or less in a meal. This keeps things simple and easy to log. 

Simple. Easy. 

Don't we all need more of that?? Life is already complicated enough. With relationships, work, elections, taxes, and Dave Castro's mysterious Open workout hints ... enough is enough. 

Enjoy these super simple, 5 ingredient (maybe 6) super-fudgey protein brownies. One bowl, one spoon. Two girls. One cup. One pan. 


5-Ingredient Protein Fudge Brownies
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 18 minutes
Serves: 8

Ingredients
200g pure pumpkin puree
1/4 cup plain Chobani greek yogurt
3 tbsp (45g) chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life Mega Chunks)
1 scoop whey protein power (I used Earth Fed Muscle in Vanilla)
1/2 cup cocoa powder 

Now, this is a very unsweet recipe. That's what I prefer. But, if you don't like the taste of bitter, dark chocolate, then I suggest sweetening this with a non-calorie sweetener like Swerve or liquid Stevia. You could also bake it as is, and serve it with a little honey on top, too. 


Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit 

2. In a medium bowl, blend all ingredients together except the chocolate chips. Spray an 8x8 cooking pan with non-stick spray (I love Coconut Oil spray or Grapeseed Oil spray). 

3. The batter will be thick. Work with me here. Spread it into the pan and into the corners. Sprinkle your chocolate chips on top. Pop in the oven for a few minutes. When chips have melted, spread them with a spoon. Now, bake for another 15 minutes. It will seem undercooked and that's what we want! Gooey goodness!

4. Cut into 8 squares. Store in the refrigerator. Warm in the microwave before eating! YUM!

Macro Information
per one brownie
81 calories
3g fat
5g protein
11g carbs
4g sugar



Friday, March 11, 2016

Spring Cleaning

A few weeks ago, I ordered this neat little book from Amazon by Moorea Seal. Because Amazon is everything. I put my Prime account through some abuse.


It's called The 52 Lists Project, a Year of Weekly Journaling Inspiration. When I read that title I thought, "Yes! Blog inspiration!" It's broken up into seasons. Since it's closer to spring than actual winter, I'm jumping right into List 14. 

List 14: List the Ways You Can Cleanse Your Life for Spring 

I couldn't think of a better list to start with! The future husband is away in Korea for another week, and in his absence I've been cleaning ALL THE THINGS. I actually enjoy cleaning and find it incredibly therapeutic. I also find counting incredibly therapeutic. Counting my steps. Lines on the sidewalk. Reps in my workouts. Counting to 8 when I'm bored in kind of a sing-song voice in my head - I think because of years of dancing. Or because I'm crazy. 

Same same.

Right, back to cleansing. Let's talk about things I've cleaned and organized recently. 

The fridge. I do this on a weekly basis with grocery shopping. Take everything out, wipe it down, organize, pull the old stuff to the front, etc. I like a pretty fridge. 

Food prepping. I do this weekly, too. Chop vegetables. Chop fruits, like pineapples and portion out grapes into baggies. On Thursdays and Sundays I do a decent amount of food prep. Get a chicken going in the crock pot. Make a large batch of cauliflower rice. Cook up some venison meatballs. Throw a spaghetti squash in the oven. I weigh everything out, store it in tupperware and write on the lids with a dry erase marker. Makes logging food and sticking to my macros SO MUCH EASIER. 


The downstairs bathroom. This is Trav's bathroom. It was gross. My hands still smell like bleach. Boys. I use the tub regularly for Epsom salt baths, so gave that a good scrub and hung up a new shower curtain. Good bye, camo hunter deer shower curtain ... 

Re-finishing a dresser. I picked up a sweet old credenza months ago that's been taking up space in the garage over the winter. I had future husband and his brother cart it upstairs (its a bitch to move) before he left so that I could start re-finishing it. I binged on House of Cards over the weekend and it turned out BEAUTIFULLY! It might be my new favorite piece of furniture in the house. I finally have another area for much needed storage. 




Up next: cleaning out the garage! The sun is here! It's time to scrub the stall mats and dust off the barbells in the garage gym. I need to get that place a lot more organized. Like any garage, stuff just kind of accumulates and gets thrown in there. I think a trip to Lowe's is in order for some shelving. 


Organizing the Guest Room. We'll see if I'm up for the challenge of moving our futon from the office downstairs to the guest room upstairs, and finally get that space organized and cleaned up. I have closet doors to finish and hang, too. 

On a personal level: I'm cleansing my body with acupuncture. I just had my third session last night and I have absolutely fallen in love with the practice. Not only is it healing my body, but the mental restoration I feel from it has been profound. 


And that forehead needle? For mental clarity. :)


And to top it off - this kombucha I am drinking right now is definitely cleansing!

What are you cleansing for spring?

Have a happy weekend!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Farmhouse Renovations & DIY Part 1

Totally un-fitness related, future husband and I have been working a lot on renovating his 100 year old farm house, which is charming, but was sadly renovated in the 1970's with green carpet in the kitchen and wood paneling throughout. Yikes. While I wish we could just hire someone and have it all gutted and finished in a month (how I miss having a dishwasher), Travis really wants us to do as much of the work ourselves as we can. Which makes total sense, this is what he does for a living. Why would he want to pay someone else to do it? So, we squeeze in the projects when we can here and there between our jobs, coaching, training, family events, and his Army career. Which makes it feel like NEVER. But, hey, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

So far, we've replaced the roof on the house/garage, replaced all of the windows throughout the entire house, built a back patio, and tackled most of the upstairs: we built a master bathroom out of a closet, gave the doors a facelift with paint and new trim, replaced all of the hardware (door knobs, hinges) and light fixtures, laid new carpet and painted all of the trim and that damn wood paneling - which  has been a HUGE improvement. 



Before and after painting the Master Bedroom 


The carpet upstairs was terrifying, a blood red and and weirdly faded in some places to a burnt orange. The paneling was about as dark and dreary as you could get, floor to ceiling everywhere. 

I'm not kidding when I say I developed tendinitis from painting it all. We're hiring someone to do the downstairs. Or he's buying me a sprayer. And giving me more back rubs.

Here's a peak at the closet we turned into our master bathroom ...





We converted one of the bedrooms upstairs into my dressing room, since almost all of the bedrooms lack real closet space. 


The 1970's called and asked for their brown paneling and red carpet back ... 


It just took coats on coats on coats. Getting into the grooves of the paneling was the most painstaking part. It required a high-nap roller and a good brush, and lots of going up and down the ladder. It was super nice not having to worry about getting paint on that carpet though since we were just replacing it. 


Once the paint was on there, the paneling looked exactly how I wanted it too! 


I love the look and feel of painted paneling and think it fits the house. 


All of the furniture upstairs I purchased at flea markets, thrift store and antique stores and refinished with chalk paint. I have a neat old dresser for the master bedroom I'm working on now with milk paint. Kind of excited! Painting furniture is MUCH more fun than painting paneling!


So here is my dressing room, one of the only furnished rooms upstairs - the master bedroom still just has our mattress set laying on the floor and the soon to be guest room is a storage closet for the moment.



Here's the dresser I was working on out in the garage along with the mirror. I'm obsessed with this mirror. Oh, apparently sandpaper, especially high grit sandpaper, scratches mirrors. *blonde moment*





So, I love this space. 

Things I've learned through this process already:

1. It's a process. The joy is in the journey, and not the final destination. 
2. Flat paint can't be used on high traffic areas, like trim or doors.
3. Flat paint shouldn't be used in high humidity rooms, like bathrooms, either. 
4. Chalk paint needs to be finished in something more durable than a soft wax, like Poly.
5. Shower curtains don't really work in showers. They work in tubs. 
5. DIY is fun and rewarding! But, requires patience and time and knowledge. Or the realization that you'll make a LOT of mistakes along the way, and be more knowledgeable for it. ;)

Maybe in another 6 months I'll have an update on the downstairs. 

Like a dishwasher?!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Back to Back

I survived back to back weekends of competition and CrossFit Gamma earned first place podiums again yesterday in all of the divisions! As our Coach Ryan says, "If Gamma keeps sweeping like this, we're going to need a bigger broom."

I might be in a walker for the next week, and need help taking my bra on and off (really, my shoulders are blown up), but it was worth every second of pain.


I don't mean to wax philosophic, but maybe one day there will be a competition where you show up, do the prescribed workouts, and if you're in first place at the end of the day or the weekend - that's it. You win! I feel announcing a Final WOD for the Top 5 is almost ... evil. It's like a giant middle finger. You're beat up, "but let us crush you just a little bit more & really showcase that fitness with this last and final WOD because the five prior didn't quite do it."

Over a 125 teams from Pennsylvania and beyond converted at Spooky Nook Sports Sports Complex for Cupid's Revenge IV yesterday. This is one of the coolest venues I've seen for a CrossFit competition - so much room for actives! They have a hotel attached, restaurants, bar, and over 14 acres of sports playgrounds including an ice arena, soccer stadium and rock climbing.

As soon as we finished taking our photo on the top of that podium, I was at the bar drinking a beer. Victory Golden Money, to be exact. It was the end to a perfect day competing alongside my hunky, strong, man and my friends and Gamma family!


Those studs to the left took 1st place Scaled, the studs in the middle competed in the Final with us and took 4th in Rx, and then Trav and I on the right finished 1st Rx. So much fitness! So much fun.

Two weeks of competition back to back. Two 1st place finishes. One beat up body. One happy camper.


So what's next? The Open! This will be my third year competing in the Open. Every year for the last three years I've been in a different Region. In 2014 I was in Asia Region, (I finished 11th) in 2015 I was in the East Region (129th) and in 2016 I will be in the Mid-Atlantic ... Hoping to have even more fun than the previous two years! 

Are you competing in the Open this year? What are you hoping Castro pulls out of his hat? I love me some handstand pushups, strict would be even better! 

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant. —Robert Louis Stevenson