Saturday, October 26, 2013

Oatmeal Pumpkin Muffins

Lazy Sundays are great, but Super Productive Sundays are better. Yesterday was insane. I don't know where I got the energy or the time, but I got so much done! In addition to watching the dog, deep cleaning the living room, dinning room, & bathroom, cleaning our master bedroom, organizing my closet, going through clothes for donations, I also baked!

Craving the flavors of fall, I wanted something with pumpkin AND I wanted something to display in my cake stand (if you know me, you know I'm ridiculous enough to plan my food around my home décor) I decided pumpkin bread or a pumpkin muffin would be a nice treat. The Hubbs had my car for the day, so I walked over to the grocery store for some pumpkin. I really just started playing, dumping things together and the end result was craze amaze. Try them!

Oatmeal Pumpkin Muffins

1c. Old Fashioned Rolled Oats (not instant oats peeps!)
1c. Almond Milk
1c. Pumpkin Puree
1/2c. Unsweetned Apple Sauce
2 Tbs. Maple Syrup (You can sub in honey here, or really any other sweetener. I just thought that the maple plays well with pumpkin)
2 Egg Whites
2 TBS Ground Flax Seed
1 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/2 c. Wheat Germ
1/2 c. Whole Wheat Flour
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
Pumpkin Seeds to Garnish

-In a bowl soak the oatmeal in the almond milk. Soak for about 30 minutes until most of the liquid has been absorbed and you are left with soggy, unappetizing looking oats. (Trust me, it turns out delish...this is just an ugly phase, about like me at age 8)

-In a medium mixing bowl, combine pumpkin, apple sauce, maple syrup, egg whites, and flax seed. Add in the oatmeal mix.

-In a separate bowl combine pumpkin pie spice, wheat germ, whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir with a whisk to break up any lumps.

-Mix together the wet and dry ingredients.

-Fill prepared muffin tins (I use silicone cupcake liners) and sprinkle pumpkin seeds on top. bake at 400 for about 22 minutes.

The Skinny Per Muffin

Total Fat: 0.9g Calories: 59 Carbs: 10g Protein: 2.5g

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Coconut Key Lime Bars

What do you do with a hoard of leftover limes? This was my dilemma. I had several leftover from our championship salsa, and just didn't know what to do with them. On Saturday evening I just decided to start tinkering around in the kitchen. I knew that I wanted a dessert. I really love lime/lemon squares, but they are definitely not clean. Most are loaded with sugar, sweetened condensed milk, flour, graham cracker crusts etc...probably the only clean ingredient is the lime juice!

I pulled this recipe together and crossed my fingers as it was baking. They turned out perfect! Tart, sweet, crunchy crust, hint of coconut...everything they should be!

Coconut Key Lime Bars

2 Wasa Crackers
1/2c. Unsweetened Coconut
1/2c. Almonds
2 Tbs. Coconut Oil

1 Can Coconut Milk
1/2c. Raw Honey
3 Egg Yolks
2 Tbs Lime Zest
2 Tbs Brown Rice Flour (any whole grain flour will work. I used what I had!)
1/2c. Lime Juice
1 tsp. Vanilla

To make the crust-
Pulse wasa crackers in food processor until broken into chunks. Add coconut & almonds. Pulse until it is finely ground. Add in coconut oil and pulse until combined. Press into the bottom of a prepared 8x8 cake pan OR press into silicone baking cups. Bake the crusts at 350 degrees for about 10mins. Let cool.

For the flilling-
To make sweetened condensed milk add the coconut milk to a pot on the stove set at medium-high heat. Add in the honey and reduce until it will coat the back of a spoon. About 30 minutes. Cool.

In a bowl whisk the egg yolks, lime zest, lime juice, vanilla & flour together. Add in the cooled sweetened condensed coconut milk.

If using an 8x8 pan pour the filling over the cooled crust. If using the cupcake liners, spoon 2 Tbs of filling onto each crust. Bake for about 10 minutes until the filling is set. (If you touch the top it should feel about like Jell-O, springy with a little give).

Let cool completely.

Makes 1 dozen

The Skinny per Serving-
Total Fat- 9.6g Calories- 137 Carbs- 11.6g Protein- 2.4g

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Color Run

Do you ever come up with grand ideas but far enough into the future that you think something will change by then? I do. Often. So several months ago, I think sometime around May, I thought it would be a FANTASTIC idea to participate in The Color Run, because I'm *SUCH* a runner. And I mean, it was May, The Color Run took place in September, I for sure would lose 100lbs by then and be able to run a mile in 3 minutes right?!? Right.

Well... The months passed by, and while I have been working on my fitness, I haven't been working on running. I did attempt to run the Sunday before TCR. I thought about it strategically. I would not do a weekday, there would be too many people in the gym. I would do it on a weekend, and when would the best time be? Duh. When the Seahawks are playing the 49ers.  I left the Hubbs at home to watch the game, and I ventured off to my death *cue ominous movie soundtrack* When I arrived at the gym it was empty! SCORE! I carefully chose a treadmill on the back row, farthest against the wall. This is perfect. I can stumble, fumble, and fall and no one will see me! Yay! After figuring out the million buttons on this super fancy treadmill, I started walking. With Drake laying it down in my ears, I was feeling like a champ. I started increasing the speed, really walking with a purpose. My confidence was gaining. I was really going to do this! And happened. Dude gets on the treadmill right next to me! There were at least 20 open around me! And worse, he starts running like he's getting chased by a jaguar in the African tundra! It was all I could do to not push his emergency stop button and ask him what gives. All confidence was sucked out of me. I went and did an hour on the elliptical instead.

Fast forward to September 21st. We had to get up at 5, to make it to Tacoma in time. I didn't want to be up. I didn't want to go run. I don't run! I'm not a runner! This body, is not a running body! And not with a sea of people! UGH! What did I get myself into?!? My only saving grace was the Hubbs was doing it with me, our 13th anniversary celebrated by killing ourselves ( that some sort of metaphor for our marriage? Doing something you don't want to do that nearly kills you?!?) We arrived at the race, and I of course had to get a pair of pink color run sunglasses. If I am going to die, its going to be in pink. OK?

Then we lined up. They were releasing people in groups. It took forever. People were tossing their color packets all around. Music was blasting. Classic rock...If I'm going to die, its not going to be to classic rock. Just sayin'. Finally it was our turn to start. It was a slow takeoff. We had a nice jogging pace. It wasn't so bad. We were going strong, and then, WHAT.IS.THAT...a freaking steep hill! It was awful. That hill absorbed any and all of my energy. My calves were burning, my side hurt, but alas we could see the first color, Blue. The first K was down. 4 more to go. It wasn't so bad! For the remainder of the race we did intervals of walking and jogging. It was entertaining to people watch while going along. There was a woman being pushed in a wheelchair while smoking a cigarette. She was my favorite. There was a guy running with boxing gloves, I imagine his soundtrack was straight from Rocky. There were serious runners who were definitely gunning for a great time, and there were dedicated walkers. After a few more hills, we finished. It felt good to be done. We did the celebration ceremony and tossed our color packets into the air creating a beautiful cloud of rainbow dust. The only thing that could have made it better is if it was rainbow glitter dust.

Takeaways from The Color Run:
1.) I am not the fattest girl to have completed a 5k
2.) I did not die. I may have wanted to, but I didn't die.
3.) I didn't stop. We jogged/walked without stopping.
4.) The sense of accomplishment could become addicting. I see why these fools sprint through the damn thing.
5.) If you are a really big girl, you shouldn't wear a tutu. It makes you look huge. tutus are fun, they are cute, they are lots of things, but they should not be plus-size.
6.) The color gets everywhere. While it looks fun, the OCD in me didn't have fun getting it off. It was in my ears, stained my toes, and clogged my pores with blue. Not fun.
7.) If I am going to do something that may kill me, I want to do it with my Hubbs.

I already have decided my next 5k. The Ugly Sweater Run. Its in December...just far enough away for me to get stupid enough to do it.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Drunken Chipotle-Peach Salsa with Salted-Lime Chips

The Hubbs works for a fantastic company that really value their employees and they do all sorts of fun and different activities. This week he emailed me saying that for Thirsty Thursday they were going to have Sangria and a salsa contest. I love me some booze for sure, but competition is the key to my heart! I responded to his email with a simple "In it, to win it!" and then immediately got started dreaming up what I would make.
To me, a great salsa is spicy, sweet, salty, acidic & chunky. That was my starting point for deciding where to go with this. I knew I didn't want to do a traditional salsa. I wanted to stand really far apart. My first thought was a blueberry salsa, which I could fit into all of my categories except for chunky. I just didn't think that the texture would be salsa-like. I make a pretty decent mango salsa, so I started gravitating in that direction and ended up with peach salsa and of course since it was for Thirsty Thursday, I felt I *had* to make a boozy salsa.
The end result was a fantastic sweet, smoky, spicy, tart, boozy, & most importantly WINNING salsa.
Yes, that's right.
We won!
And since I am *obsessed* with Chipotle's chips, I had to make my own baked version!
Drunken Chipotle-Peach Salsa

 6 medium peaches
1 small red onion, diced
1 jalepeno, seeded & finely diced
1 7oz can chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce*
3oz Tequila**
2 limes, Juiced
3 Tbs. honey
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/2c. chopped cilantro

 -Peel & dice the peaches into a small dice.

(The best way to peel a peach is to bring a large pot of water to boil. With a sharp knife score an "X" into the bottom of the peach. Drop into the water, wait 2 minutes, then transfer the peach to a bowl of ice water. Once the peach is cooled, the skin will easily peel off.)
-In a large bowl, mix together the onion, jalepeno, chipotle, tequila, lime jice, honey, & garlic. Mix until the honey has dissolved.
-Gently add the peaches & cilantro into the chipotle mixture.
-Season with salt to taste

*Squeeze out the liquid from the peppers and just use the liquid if you want a less-spicy salsa. For more spice, puree the peppers and add them as well
 **I used 1.5oz Local Choice Lake Chelan Lime Tequila (silver) and 1.5oz of a Resposado Tequila. The silver has a strong flavor while the resposado has a more subtle, caramel-like flavor. The blend is great, but you could absolutely use just 1 tequila.

Salted-Lime Tortilla Chips
10 flour tortillas or 24 corn tortillas
(use whole wheat tortillas to make this truly clean eats!)
4 limes, juiced
3 tsp. salt
(olive oil or coconut oil are best)
Coarse sea salt, for sprinkling (optional)

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-Brush or Spray oil onto both sides of the tortilla
-Slice tortillas into wedges. If using flour, cut into 1/8ths if using corn, cut into 1/4ths.
-Mix salt into lime juice. Stir until dissolved.
-Dip each wedge into the salted-lime juice and place onto baking sheet. Do not crowd the pan.
-Sprinkle coarse sea salt over the top of each chip, if using.
-Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 14 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through, until the chips are golden brown.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Pulse Check

Ready For Fall! 18lbs, 6 inches and 1 dress size down.

So I kind of thought I would try to do a weekly update/weigh in/pulse check type post instead of always just talking about food (even though I really love food...)

Today is my weigh-in day. Not really sure why I chose Thursdays, but that's what day it is. Kind of odd. But anyhoo.... The scale was my friend today! I am down another 2lbs this week, which puts me at a total of 18lbs down. I also did measurements today and I am down a total of 6 inches! I knew I would be down inches because I could tell in my clothing. So exciting!

This is really the first time I have truly combined eating right and working out together. Always before I mostly focused on my diet, with maybe a little exercise thrown in there to say I did it. I kind of came to the realization though that it is a dual effort. You really have to eat less and move more. It isn't a new concept, but it is a new realization to me. I think I have been able to consistently lose 2lbs a week because when I work out like I do if I am not perfect with my eating, the exercise makes up for it and creates steady weight-loss. I don't workout every day. Some days I go for only 30mins, some days I do an hour and a half. I am just learning to make it work for my lifestyle and to create a lasting habit.

I am excited about my progress. I am happy to share it with the Hubbs and with all of you (the 3 people that read this thing).

Stay happy & healthy,

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Herb Marinated Shrimp & Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

No lies, I was dreaming about this dinner for a week. After my dad had sent me an email with a recipe for orzo pasta with lemon juice & feta. I knew I did not want to do pasta, and I thought quinoa would make a perfect partner for it. I played around in the kitchen and the end result is a fabulous Mediterranean quinoa salad that has quickly made it into my favorites list. I want to serve it with grilled shrimp, but our grill was out of propane, so I needed to come up with something else. After mixing a few things together I came up with an amazing marinade, that I literally wanted to drink. It tasted almost like a mojito without the mint, which was in my book. This marinade would work great on nearly any protein, so if you aren't a shrimp lover try it on chicken! I will be making this again soon!!

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

-1c. Cooked Quinoa
-1/2 red onion, diced
-2 ounces feta, crumbled
-1/4c. fresh dill, chopped (Don't substitute dried dill for this)
-1/4c. fresh parsley, chopped (If you don't already have this on hand, don't buy it just for this. It doesn't make or break the recipe, but I had some so its nice to add that earthy flavor if you have it)
-1 jar of roasted red peppers, drained and diced
-1 can of artichoke hearts packed in water, drained and quartered
-1/2c. grape tomatoes, halved

1 TBS olive oil
2 TBS lemon juice
1 garlic clove, pressed or finely minced

-In a bowl combine all of the salad ingredients.

-In a separate bowl mix together the dressing and then toss the dressing with the salad.

-Chill & Serve

Serving Size 1c.
The Skinny Per Serving-
Total Fat- 7.3 Calories- 209.6 Carbs- 27.6 Protein- 7.2

Herb Marinated Shrimp

-12 medium peeled & deveined shrimp
-3 Cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
-1/2c. fresh dill (dried can be used here, but I would only use 1-2 tbs.)
-1/4c. fresh basil
-2 TBS Dijon or whole grain mustard
-Juice of 1 lemon
-2 tsp olive oil
-1 tsp honey
Salt & Pepper to taste

-In a food processor, blend all ingredients until they are emulsified. The herbs will still be in small pieces, that is ok.

-Place marinade over your protein of choice. If marinating fish or shrimp, keep it to around an hour as the acid will start breaking down the proteins (ceviche anyone?!?)

-Broil shrimp until pink & cooked through. About 5 mins.

Serves 2
Serving Size 6 Shrimp

The Skinny per serving
Total- 7.4g Calories 121 Carbs- 0.7g Protein- 8.8g

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Chicken "Tortilla" Soup

Sunday the Hubbs was feeling under the weather so I decided to whip up a tasty soup to make him feel better. It couldn't be more simple, but it was really tasty. You can pretty much put anything in it that you have on hand. I think my cooking worked because come Monday he felt fine!

The tortilla is in quotations because I didn't use any tortillas. Traditional tortilla soup uses corn tortillas to thicken the soup. You can absolutely do this, just add 4 corn tortillas (chopped) to the onion/bell peppers when they are sautéing. I did not because I try to not use much corn products, I used brown rice instead and it was fabulous. Try it both ways, no way, whatever way you like!

Chicken "Tortilla" Soup

Ok, here is the break down. You can either make your soup base from scratch or you can use a quickie version. I like Pacific Naturals Tortilla Soup Base in a pinch. If you use the prepared soup base, skip the instructions on making the base.  
Soup Base-
4c. Chicken Stock
1 can diced tomatoes
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder

Soup Ingredients-
1 Onion, diced
1 Red Bell pepper, Diced
1 Can black beans, drained & rinsed
1 c. Cooked Brown Rice (great use for leftovers!)
6 oz Chicken, in chunks (I used pre-cooked from my sunday prep, but it can be raw)
Salt & Pepper to taste

Fresh cilantro
Tortilla Chips
Cheddar Cheese
Sour Cream
Green Onion
Cilantro-Lime Yogurt
Lime Juice

-In a large pot over medium heat, sauté the onion and bell pepper until just translucent, about 3 minutes. Add in the prepared soup base or the soup base ingredients & chicken. Turn the heat up to medium-high and bring to a boil. Once the liquid has come to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer about 15mins. Add in the brown rice & black beans. Let heat through about another 3mins.

-After the black beans & brown rice have been heated through, serve the soup and top with garnish. I used fresh cilantro, green onion and cilantro-lime yogurt, but its totally up to you!

Serves 4
Serving Size 1.5c

The Skinny
Total Fat- 2.6g Calories- 258 Carbs- 37.3 Protein- 18.7