Sundays in Chelsea

Holy moly – has it been awhile or what?! I apologize for my absence, I know the world was quite effected by my lack of posts. I wanted to do a fun, picture based, post to get myself back into this thing! So as I have blogged & ranted about before, Sundays were always a bit of a rut. Well, now that I’m not a bobcat anymore (tear), I decided that my Sundays need to be productive & positive (or filled with mimosas & waffles)! Not to mention, I am currently living in New York City. There’s never not something to do. So sometimes Sundays are filled with brunch, grocery shopping or scoping out street markets. This sunday was filled with beautiful sunshine, some cardio and some cookies!

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Take a look at my adventure through my lovely neighborhood of Chelsea, as I run a long the chelsea piers, lay out a long the Hudson River, and take a bite out of somethings scrumptious!

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IMG_1172So – This was my Sunday! Grabbed some groceries on my way home and found some new almond butter to try! I am going to try to post more. I am cooking, but I am unfortunately not cooking anything recipe worthy – so those will be lacking! I am going to try to post about my adventures in NYC. Where I go, what I eat & what I see! Stay tuned ūüôā

Yours Truly,

Stef

Cookie Dough Quest Bar Cereal

If you haven’t realized, I’ve recently become an unofficial spokesperson for Quest Bars. I talk about them almost daily, I recommend them to those with a sweet tooth, and I just generally praise their existence. Almost as much as peanut butter, but that’s pushing it.

Okay, so Quest Bars are no chocolate lava cake, but they are the closest thing you will get to that while still keeping your diet clean. They don’t taste like any ordinary-100 ingredient list-high calorie-no protein-just carbs-diet bar. Each flavor tastes amazing, you almost feel like you’re cheating on your diet! But don’t worry, you’re not. Each Quest Bar has 160-190 calories, 4 net carbs, a ridiculous amount of fiber (rock on), and a weird amount of protein. Weird, as in freakin’ awesome, that is. Where does the protein come from? I’ll list the ingredients for the Cookie Dough Quest Bar, and then you’ll see.

-Protein Blend (Whey Protein Isolate, Milk Protein Isolate)
-Isomalto-Oligosaccharides (100% Natural Prebiotic Fiber)
-Almonds
-Water
– Unsweetened Chocolate
-Cocoa Butter
-Erythritol

It may look like I skimped on the ingredient list, but I’ll give you some proof.

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The first time I heard about Quest Bars I could have sworn they were going to taste like plastic. I got a Cinnamon Roll Quest Bar and ate it. It was delicious, but I was still not THAT impressed. Why was everyone raving about them? I then realized that my quest bar was practically frozen, so it was a little harder than it should have been. I put it in the microwave, and it’s all a blur from there.

Quest Bar Nutrition’s instagram posts 15 second recipe videos, which can also be found on youtube. I want to start trying almost all of them! Which takes me to my first experiment. Quest Bar Cereal. Who doesn’t love cereal? The other day I saw someone eating Reeses Cereal and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since. My inner fat girl was crying to come out. Anywho, this happened:

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-1 Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Quest Bar
-1 Rice Cake
-1 Small Banana
-1/2 Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk

The instructions are also very simple. Set your oven to 350 degrees. Cut your Quest Bar into tiny pieces. I’d say bite size but, I take big bites. I cut my quest bar into pieces the size of peanut M&M’s (yum). Lay your quest bar pieces on a cookie sheet, or a piece of tin foil¬†(I didn’t feel like doing dishes). Once your oven is preheated, put your quest bar in your oven and set your timer for 4 MINUTES. No more, no less. Once that 4 minutes is up, take out your quest bar and “stir”. Put your quest bar back in the over for another 4 MINUTES. No more, no less. Once my four minutes were up I put my quest bar pieces directly in the freezer for another four minutes. I chopped up my rice cake into cereal-like pieces, cut up my banana, and took my Quest Bar Cereal out of the freezer and added it to the bowl! Add your milk and enjoy ūüôā¬†

Yours Truly,

Stef

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For a video of how to do this, click here!

Quick Meals & Sweet Snacks

Before you read; This post isn’t all about chicken. But naturally, I rant about it for a solid half hour.

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Chicken is a pretty touchy subject for those who eat it all the time. When I first started becoming more aware of my eating habits, my focus was mostly on counting calories. Chicken seemed to be something that fit my macros appropriately. I could also eat a larger portion of chicken for a lower amount of calories than, say, ground beef. I always favored chicken… chicken breast, chicken thighs. I’d have chicken for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Chicken for days. And I mean…DAYS. So here I am, making my grocery list, and realizing that I have to buy some chicken. Buzzkill of the century. It’s more the thought of chicken that’s been pissing me off. In reality, when I sit down and eat it, it’s not that bad. I go through stages with my diet. Sometimes my go-to is chicken and sometimes it isn’t. I realized it’s because I never really experimented enough with chicken. Pictured above is chicken I seasoned with Lemon Juice, Mrs. Dash Chicken Seasoning & Mrs. Dash Spicy Seasoning. The lemon juice adds some moisture to it, and the mix of seasonings keep it exciting.

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Pictured above is a dish that looks a lot more fancy that it is. It is, simply, 5 cups of Kale, 2 cups of Mushrooms, under 1 pound of chicken, seasoned with Lemon Juice & Mrs. Dash Chicken Seasoning.

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I cooked this dish on 400 degrees for I don’t know how long. Estimate 25-30 minutes. Depending on the intensity of your oven. Anywho, I cut the chicken up into slices, added more lemon juice, and put it back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes to ensure that the chicken was fully cooked.¬†(I realize I need to start writing things down when I cook them so I don’t forget how to cook them. On my way to be the number one cooking blog in America..)

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I served my dish over a mixture of brown & wild rice and quinoa. It was very tasty and the chicken kept it’s moisture! Nobody likes dry chicken.

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This chicken dish was prepared in my cute little crockpot. I stared at my chicken for a solid ten minutes because I couldn’t figure out how to cook it and the last thing I wanted to do was cook these babies whole. Shredded chicken was my best bet. I put a pound and a half of chicken in my crock pot with 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth. I added Lemon Juice (obvi), Basil leaves, and Mrs. Dash Italian Blend seasoning. You haven’t lived until you’ve used Mrs. Dash Italian Blend seasoning… it’s a game changer. I let it cook on low for about 8 hours. I then changed it to warm and let it sit, which is something I’m never gonna do again because it wasn’t nearly as juicy as it should have been. So, next time, I’ll probably cook it on high for about 5 hours max and take it out. In the middle of the day, I slowly started shredding the chicken. Once it was cooked through, I shredded it completely and let it sit. The flavor was perfect but the chicken was slightly overcooked. I think I’m gonna try again today. I would have taken pictures of the finishing project but it was gone in 60 seconds or less. I’ll document when I’m more successful.

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Oh, tilapia. I have the same opinion about tilapia as I do with chicken. I cooked 7 ounces of Tilapia in Mrs. Dash Italian Blend seasoning and lemon juice. I put my tilapia over sliced celery, and a delicious slaw I’ve been buying from Kroger! I added lemon juice, hot sauce and horseradish mustard to the top and mixed it like a salad. It was delicious! I’ve been doing this with my tuna, too. The slaw adds a perfect crunch!

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I cooked about 3 pounds of Ground Turkey meat with Lemon Juice, Basil Leaves and a blend of italian seasonings that my mother gave me while I was home last weekend. The seasoning is delicious and has no sodium! Pictured above is just 6 oz of Ground Turkey with asparagus and carrots. I added hot sauce to my ground turkey. Perfectly portioned meal. Meat & veggies, you can’t go wrong!

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Pictured above is the same ground turkey meat I cooked, over rice and veggies, and a little bit of Mia’s Basil Marinara sauce! This meal gave me my italian fix, without the splurge! This was about 6 oz Ground Turkey, 3/4 cup rice, and two cups veggies! When I eat rice I typically eat 1/2 cup (measured cooked) brown rice.

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Onto some more “sweeter” options. Everybody likes a sweet every now and then. We’re only human. Sweet potatoes aren’t exactly a “sweet”, but they taste like candy when cooked to perfection! I turn my oven on 400 degrees and let my sweet potato sit for about an hour. I take it out when it starts oozing. (Oozing? Ew.) I haven’t made sweet potatoes in awhile, but I’m back on that bandwagon.

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Rice cakes have been my go-to snack lately. It may be one of those obsessions that I will soon get tired of, but right now I’m on a roll. I have been limiting my nut butter to, barely, twice a week. Rice cakes are also a great snack choice when eating nut butter because you are less likely to overeat. I just spread one tablespoon of nut butter on one rice cake, add some jelly, and I get my peanut butter and jelly fix! I haven’t been eating nut butter because it is so easy to overeat. You’d be lying if you said you’ve never sat there with a spoon and your jar of peanut or almond butter. Once I stop eating nut butter for a week or two, I stop craving it. Allowing myself to have it every now and then keeps me disciplined. I know I can eat it, but the less I have it, the more likely I am to have it in moderation. Portion control.

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I might do a whole blog post about Quest Bars, so I’m going to keep this light. This is a Cinnamon Roll Quest Bar, baked in the oven on 350 for 6 minutes, with 1 tbsp Nut Butter & 1 tbsp Jelly on top. I’d talk about it, but all you have to do is look, and you get the picture.

IMG_5296Last but not least… Cucumbers? As many of you know, there is a huge community of “fitness freaks” on the social media site, instagram. #FitFam #EatClean #InstaFit I recently saw someone post a bowl of cucumbers with…cinnamon? I thought it was weird, but then I heard from a friend how delicious it really was. So I cut up my cucumbers, added cinnamon and liquid stevia, and holy crap it was good!

As you can see, all of these meals are very healthy, easy, and diet friendly! Eating healthy doesn’t have to be a chore. It can be fun! You just have to get in the right mindset and you’re halfway there. Enjoy!

Yours Truly,

Stef

Get your chemicals here!

Get your chemicals here!

I am so grossed out.¬† Read the link above through and realize what you are putting in your bodies! I was at a gas station driving home from Ohio yesterday and needed something to eat. I was going straight to crossfit and hadn’t had a substantial meal since breakfast. There was NOTHING to eat at that gas station. Every packet of mixed nuts had a list of fifty ingredients. Why do they have to make it so complicated. People buy nuts because they want to eat nuts, not 100 oils and 100 chemicals. The ingredients could simply be almonds, cashews, pecans, but of course America loves chemicals so it couldn’t stop there. I needed food so I picked the one with the least ingredients. It had vegetable oil in it, not so hot but the only option! I think the brand was Frito-Lay. Anyways, there were hard boiled eggs near the sandwich section. I nearly vomited while purchasing them, but I did. My mother and I tasted one of the eggs and could just tell it was not fresh, and ridiculously processed with chemicals. We had to throw those away. As if we were expecting anything different.

 

Come on amurrica!

 

I didn’t fail completely though. We stopped at a farmers market before we left and I picked up two huge Bacon Peanut Butter Cups. One for my brother, and one for my coaches. I do this thing where I buy things for people that I want them to eat because I can’t eat it. SOMEONE has to enjoy this bacon peanut butter cup situation I stumbled upon, and unfortunately it can’t be me. I also¬†picked up¬†fig infused olive oil, garlic olive oil, and a mason jar wine class. They called it a redneck wine glass. I’m ready to get classy.

Snack Attack

So last week a little something happened to me that I like to call a snack attack. I’m completely fine talking about my “snack attacks” because I know that we all have those moments. It’s those moments where you are bored, stressed, really excited, or lazy. You’re so hungry that you sure as hell do not want to settle for a cup of broccoli and some salmon. It’s that stupid kind of hungry where you want the good stuff. You want the snacks. I was rummaging through my fridge because…
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…I wanted something delicious, but I didn’t want to cook, and I didn’t want to cheat on my diet. So what exactly does a snack even mean these days? There are a few different opinions about what a snack really is. Is your snack a bag of chips? A ho-ho? A honey bun? Donuts? That drenched in sugar protein bar you picked up from the gas station? Or are you super trendy and go for things like, celery sticks and peanut butter, frozen yogurt (plus all those healthy brownie toppings).
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I was watching Princesses of Long Island on Bravo the other day. LOVE that show, it is such a train wreck, and reminds me that I’m stable. Perfect. Anyways, two girls were shopping (cardio) and they talked about frozen yogurt. In all seriousness the younger sister starts explaining why they should get frozen yogurt. Main reason being she heard frozen yogurt naturally makes you lose weight. It was hilarious, I was laughing. Frozen yogurt is delicious but come on girlfriend. Another trendy snack; Diet Coke.
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Have you ever really listened to the sentence “I’ll have a diet” when people order their beloved diet coke? Oh, you want a diet? Here’s some lettuce, no need to tip.
Snacks are really confusing to me. I don’t even exactly have “snacks” anymore. My snack is a cup of veggies and 5 oz of chicken. The closest thing I get to a snack these days is a Lara bar. And when I eat those, the sky opens up and the sun starts shining. So obviously I’ve been feeling a little snack deprived…
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So if you’re like me and you, one, enjoy the paleo, clean eating, lifestyle. Two, are trying to lose weight body fat percentage. Or three, have a serious gluten & dairy intolerance. I am here to help you.
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As I said before, I’ve kinda been lacking in the snacks department. With the results I am trying to achieve and the way I am striving to eat, my “snacks” look almost identical to what my “meals” look like. I’m not always this strict. I went through this phase when I first got “diagnosed” with a gluten and dairy intolerance where I ate every gluten/dairy free dessert product in the books. That’s where I went wrong. I for some reason thought those products couldn’t do as much harm to my body because they were simply labeled “organic” or “gluten free”. Maybe if I was trying to maintain my weight, these snacks would be okay in moderation. I was trying to lose, but I was gaining. My head was not in the game. My friend Amber and I would come home from crossfit and make jokes about how we were eating like we were bulking. “It’s fine I’m bulking *hairflip*” Who are we?
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Cashew butter and enjoy life “chocolate” chips. Not a bad snack, in moderation, not every night. I was eating Organic Coconut Bliss ice cream and Almond Dreams ice cream bites. Gluten free cereal. And probably too much nut butter. I had been strict paleo for two months and obviously went a little cray cray after I stopped. Now I think I have it a little under control.
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This was my first ever paleo lunch, back in December. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing or what to eat because I felt like anything I currently had was not on the paleo checklist. This isn’t exactly a bad meal. It’s just funny to look at what I was eating when I first started. It’d make a great snack.
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Back to this snack attack I was supposed to be talking about. Pictured above is the remnants of my so called snack attack. I can give a big thank you to my food intolerances that save me from going to Wendy’s or Krispy Kreme with my brother. I was craving chips. I didn’t just want guacamole, I wanted to dip some friggin chips in some friggin guac. Ya know? But I couldn’t. So I finished off the guacamole with the rest of the carrot sticks and the rest of the mango slices in my refrigerator. I had a lara bar, and some cashews. Why did I just lie and say some? I had a lot of cashews. It happened and I was over it. Could have been worse. Could have had two lara bars (Still wouldn’t have been mad). But in the end of the day I was kinda annoyed at myself for not just making dinner and being content with that. So I realized I needed to make some moves and get creative with my “Whole Life Challenge” approved snacks.

Question 1: What the hell can I eat guacamole with that doesn’t involve being placed on top of meat or eaten with carrot sticks? Okay, so I want guacamole. But I need some protein regardless. What’s protein that isn’t meat? Eggs. Okay eggs. Hard boiled eggs. Perfect.
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I removed most of my yolks from my eggs and replaced them with guacamole. It’s consistency is very similar to deviled eggs, which I love. And you can’t go wrong with guacamole. It packs little protein, so yeah maybe I had some chicken on the side. But you still get a great, healthy, meal out of this. Or snack, I should say.

Question 2: I want chips. No this isn’t a question, it’s a statement. Every now and then, we want chips. This is no new and improved recipe, but PLAINTAIN CHIPS. In my opinion, they taste better than potato chips.
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-1 Medium Plaintain
-2 tbsp Coconut Oil (you may need more, depending on how much you’re cooking)
-Kosher Salt
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cut your plantain into very thin slices. Melt 2 tbsp Coconut Oil. Put a thin layer of coconut oil on the plantain slice and place on your cooking sheet. Sprinkle desired salt on top of chips. Cook for 20-30 minutes. I dipped these in Guacamole. Delicious.

Question 4: What is something sweet I can eat that is still on my diet? So you don’t want to binge out on fruit, understandable. But it’s the only “sweet” thing you can currently eat. What if I told you egg whites were the answer? Would you believe me? Cause you should…
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I didn’t initially measure, but I’ll give it a go:
-3/4 Cup Egg Whites
-1/2 Medium Banana
-3/4 Cup (pitted) Cherries
-2 tbsp Almond Butter
-Cinnamon to taste
I first put my egg whites in a bowl and sprinkled them with cinnamon. I added the bananas and cherries, more cinnamon, and mixed together. I put the mixture in a frying pan until cooked. I then drizzled 1 tbsp of Almond Butter on the bottom of my bowl, and 1 tbsp on top. I don’t think I actually used the full 2 tbsp, but I give you permission to.

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Jobless, single, so I bake

Every single girl has to post about how she’s single, so I figured I’d get it over with in my first couple of¬†posts. It’s completely irrelevant. Something a little more relevant is that I’m jobless. ¬†This is my last summer to have a not-so-serious job. Next year I’ll be required to have an internship, which will hopefully then lead to a permanent job. But this summer? Absolutely no one wants me. I’ve worked at Macy’s for quite some time and even they couldn’t hire me back. Nordstrom kept me on four interviews, talked scheduling, then decided they were over me. I was supposed to work at a pub, they hired me. After they told me to call about when I start training, they didn’t answer any of my phone calls. And last, the children I was supposed to nanny for got moved up from the wait list into this crazy¬†summer sleep away camp. So it’s the end of June and I’m officially done looking. I feel like a serious hermit. I try to keep myself busy but there is only so much time you can spend by the pool before you start itching for a job and some cash money. HAIRFLIP.

Therefore, I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting with recipes lately. I’m gonna start with what I made the other day¬†out of complete boredom. Took a huge bite of it right before my run and that was mistake number one. (SUGAR) I’ll show you mistake number two later.

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So I take a cup of dried mango, cashews, and almonds, and put it in a bowl. Add a cup of dry cherries. Add a lovely quarter cup (or more) of honey and go to town. Then I add 3/4 cup of chopped up coconut. Mix some more.

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I take my banana bread pan (that’s the only thing my mom used to use it for so that whatever by whatever pan is specifically called the banana bread pan) and layer it with more coconut, don’t chop it up this time. Add a thin layer of honey, and sprinkle some cinnamon.

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Add your mix on top of that. Bake in the oven, 350, 15 minutes.

So… I wanted these to be granola bars. A few days before this I made some seriously delicious granola bars. I took them to my gym and they were a hit. This experiment didn’t go as planned and I didn’t want to waste all that food so I had to think fast. I grabbed a packet of chocolate almond butter and a packet of honey almond butter and mixed it together with two eggs. It kinda turned into a brownie paste. I failed to take pictures of this part. Anyways, I layered it on top of my mix and cooked for another 10-15 minutes. It came out kinda like a cobbler, or a nutty upside-down cake. When I perfect the recipe and become as cool as Juli Bauer (Paleomg.com), I will name it, and you all will love it.

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Note: Don’t worry… I’ll start posting healthier recipes and ideas soon. For now, it’s treats.