not so typical

Ugh. I feel like I am so far behind.

I really want to give you an update on Matt’s birthday celebrations, but I still have yet to share my Fourth of July celebrations.

Whoa is the life of I have way too much going on.

So we will save the recap of Matt’s birthday celebrations till a later date and I will share my deliciousness that happened on our Independence Day.

As if we could ever have a standard American celebration.
We started off okay with of course enjoying a few cold ones.

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We decided to venture out this year and go downtown to watch the fireworks, but knew it would be crazy so we headed down early to avoid the traffic. Which left us time for a few brewskies and dinner.

So we of course had the typical American dinner.

Sushi.

I can’t help it, I crave it all the time.

There was only one sushi restaurant in walking distance and we had been to it once before and weren’t impressed, so we really didn’t have high expectations, but that tells you how bad I wanted sushi.

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I’m glad we decided to give it another chance, because everything we ordered this time was great.

Matt was in the go all out mood, so that is what we did.

Yellowtail sashimi and edamame to start.

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Tuna tataki and a spicy tuna roll for Matt.

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Salmon asparagus roll for me.

It may not be your typical burgers and hotdogs (however I would not have been opposed to that!) but it was delicious none the less.

After dinner we still had some time to kill before the fireworks, so we headed to a favorite Irish pub and had another drink.

- insert un-pictured Guinness (I know, again – soooo American) -

Then finally time for fireworks!

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We had quite the adventure getting home after the fireworks.  Let’s just say it took about 2 hours and walking about 3 miles before we finally got a ride home, but we made it!

So your typical Fourth of July? Nope. But would you expect any less from me?

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Did you have a typical Fourth of July?


cinnamon flax seed wraps

Hey loves! I hope your week is treating you well.

Even though it’s only been two days, mine has been a bit challenging.

I don’t talk much about diets on the blog because, well I don’t follow one.

I don’t label myself as a vegan, vegetarian, paleo etc.  I actually don’t believe in labels. What I believe in is eating a whole food, healthy, balanced diet. So if one day I want ice cream, pizza, cookies… I’ll have them. If one day I crave fruit and vegetables… I’ll have them.

Yes I try to lead an overall healthy lifestyle, but to me a healthy lifestyle is balance, honoring our bodies and listening to our cravings.  Never restricting.

With that being said, this is why my week has been a bit challenging.

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I have been having a lot of issues lately with bloating, gas and stomach discomfort. It has kind of always been there, but as of lately it was getting worse. I discussed all my symptoms with my nutritionist and she suggested a few things that she thought could be the issue.

Gluten Intolerance.

Dairy Intolerance.

Or FODMAP sensitivities.

Awesome. Because guess what. I love bread. I love dairy. I love FODMAP containing fruits and vegetables.

(Not sure what FODMAP’s are? Check out this great post for more information)

So what’s a girl to do?

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Experiment and see if she can find the answer.

So that’s what I’m doing.

I can’t say I’m doing a extremely strict elimination diet, but I am making a very big effort to cut most gluten out of my diet and watch my dairy and FODMAP containing foods consumption.

It’s hard. I’m not going to lie.

However, Matt was very supportive and took me shopping which got me kind of excited about having to make the effort to make new meals.

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So I stocked up on some gluten free goodies and of course took to Pinterest to find some gluten free recipes.

One of the first things I looked for was some sort of wrap/tortilla. (this was before I purchased the brown rice tortillas)

I wanted something simple, and found a great idea for a flax seed wrap. I of course tweaked it and made it my own and was pleasantly surprised how well they turned out!

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 Cinnamon Flax Wraps

(paleo and gluten free)

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Ingredients

- 2 tbsp ground flax seed

- 8 tbsp liquid egg whites

- 1/2 tbsp cinnamon

- 5-7 drops liquid stevia (optional)

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Directions:

- Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes until mixture is thick

- Heat a greased pan with coconut oil (or spray)

- Pour batter in pan and swirl mixture to cook like crepes/pancakes

- Fill with whatever fillings you desire

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I filled mine with Plant Fusion Phood Chocolate Caramel protein frosting and frozen banana’s and then drizzled it with Click Mocha protein.

I made my wraps the night before and stored them in the fridge overnight which I think helped them stay pretty pliable and didn’t break when folded.

I think I may make a bigger batch of these to have ready when my wrap cravings kick in.

I really am liking trying to find more unique ways to cure my bread cravings and after trying a few gluten free products, I am more determined to just make my own. Not only are gluten free products twice as expensive as regular products, some of them just flat out don’t taste good. Also it’s just more fun to make your own and experiment!

 Hopefully I don’t have a full out gluten, dairy or FODMAP intolerance, but until this elimination diet is over, I’ll be making some changes.

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Are you gluten or dairy intolerant?

How did you find out? How do you avoid it?


coconut mocha energy bites

Ohhh Wednesday.
What a tease. Not quite the beginning of the week, but not yet the end.

However, I have been so tired lately it really doesn’t matter day of the week it is. I’m still tired regardless.

So what’s a girl to do when she has no energy?

Make protein energy bites of course!

And thankfully I have my favorite protein powders there to help the cause.

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Coconut Mocha Energy Bites

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Ingredients:

- 102g combined Drink Click Mocha protein powder + Growing Naturals chocolate rice protein powder (or proteins of choice)

- 3/4 cup almond flour

- 2 tbsp banana flour (or coconut flour)

- 1 tsp baking soda

- 2 tbsp coconut butter (I used Sweet Spreads Vanilla Cupcake)

- 1 tbsp honey

- 15-20 drops coconut stevia

1/4 cup vanilla almond milk (or coconut milk)

- more protein powder or cocoa powder for dusting

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Directions:

- Whisk together dry ingredients until there are no lumps

- Add in your wet ingredients

- Mix until well incorporated and dough is formed

- Roll into desired sized balls

- Roll balls in protein powder or cocoa powder (or other desired toppings)

- Store in sealed tupperware in refrigerator

Makes approximately 18-20 balls depending on size

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These make a great pre or post work out snack. I sometimes grab a few while heading out the door to work before I have my actual breakfast. I love using the Click protein as it has the added caffeine for a nice energy boost. And I love the mocha flavor in the bites themselves.

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And let’s be honest, I need all the energy help I can get.

So loves, if you find yourself needing some help in the energy department as well, these little bites might be the answer.

Or at least help a little bit, and if not, they at least taste delicious. So it’s really a win win situation.

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How do you stay energized through out the day?


banana coconut protein pancakes

Ok loves, get excited. Because I am.

 I  have not one, but two delicious recipes to share with you.

I know I have mentioned numerous times that my cooking mojo has somewhat disappeared, but for some reason this weekend while Matt was still sleeping away, I decided to use that quiet time and cook.

And did it ever pay off.

I have always said I wasn’t a huge pancake fan. If you know me you know I love my waffles.

It just seemed every time I tried to make pancakes, they just didn’t turn out so stellar.

This may be because this protein powder queen always insisted on using protein powders in her recipes and wondering why things didn’t turn out fluffy and normal.

Well as much as I love cooking with protein powders, and have no intentions on stopping, sometimes you just have to go with common sense and do what works.

But before we get to that, I actually do have a recipe using protein powder that even though it wasn’t texturally normal, it sure did taste good.

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Ingredients:

- 1/2 cup chickpea flour (could sub gluten free flour, almond flour or oat flour)

- 2 tbsp oat flour

- 3 tbsp chocolate protein powder (I used Plant Fusion – Phood chocolate caramel)

- 1/4 tsp baking powder

- 1/3 cup pure pumpkin puree

- 3 tbsp liquid egg whites (or 1 large egg white)

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Directions:

- Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix until well sifted.

- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until there are no lumps. (batter will be thick)

- Heat skillet on medium heat and spray with cooking spray.

- Pour batter in batches and cook for 3-4 minutes on one side, then flip and cook for another 3-4 minutes.

- Top with your choice of toppings.

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I topped mine with a Click mocha protein frosting, coconut shreds and a local granola mix.

Like I mentioned these were not your fluffy pancakes, they were a bit more “rubbery” as most of my protein baking tends to be, but the taste totally made up for that and I actually don’t mind that cakey texture.

If you’re looking for a more traditional pancake that is lower carb and high in protein, then this next recipe is for you.

As I mentioned in my last post, I recently discovered banana flour.

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In trying to think of what to use it in first, I thought it would be a great substitute for coconut flour, and I had been wanting to make a coconut flour pancake, so I decided to go with that!

In order to get it high protein without the powder I knew what I had to do.

Add eggs.

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Ingredients:

- 1 large egg

- 2 egg whites (or 6 tbsp liquid egg whites)

- 1/2 cup vanilla almond milk (or milk of choice)

- 4 1/2 tbsp banana flour (could sub coconut or almond flour)

- 1/2 tsp baking soda

- 1 tsp cinnamon

- 1 tsp vanilla extract

- 8-10 drops liquid coconut stevia (could sub vanilla or other sweetener of choice)

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 Directions:

- Place all ingredients in a magic bullet and blend until smooth.

- Heat skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray.

- Pour batter in batches – cook for 3-4 minutes (or until bubbles form) on one side.

- Flip and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.

- Top with whatever toppings you prefer!

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I topped mine with a coconut spiked greek yogurt and granola.

Guys. I can’t even describe how excited I was to make a fluffy pancake. Who would have known using eggs would cause this.

Oh wait. A lot of people.

Since I am not a huge egg fan, I don’t typically have eggs in the house, which is why I think I always try to find recipes that don’t use them, but I had a client give me fresh eggs from her own chickens, so I was looking for things to make with them.

I have a feeling the rest of the them will be going to making pancakes.

Because seriously. That fluff.

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The great thing about these recipes is it makes left overs. And I will say the banana coconut pancakes are excellent both warmed up and straight from the fridge!

So am I a total pancake convert? That is still to be decided.

But I think it’s safe to say there is room for both pancakes and waffles in my life.

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 Do you prefer pancakes or waffles?

Have you had a successful fluffy protein powder baking recipe?

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free gifts for you!

 Hey friends!

Wednesday kind of snuck up on me, but that is probably due to having Monday off. I’m not really complaining though because it was reeeaaallly nice having two days off in a row. I will never complain about that.

I must admit that my eats have either been take out/dine out or really lazy.

Lately I’ve been obsessed with some classics as well. An age old classic.

Peanut Butter and Jelly.

But not just any peanut butter.

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Have you guys heard of My Oatmeal?

It is this awesome site that basically lets you build your own oatmeal and peanut butter flour blends. It’s pretty amazing.

I of course opted for the peanut butter flour blends, because let’s be real, I love peanut butter. And I figured I could bake with it as well.

Head over to the site to check out all the oatmeal creation options though, it’s pretty intense. You get to choose your base like rolled oats, steel cut oats or a blended mix. You can add chia seeds, flax seeds, dried fruit and flavor it with almost any flavor combination imaginable.

For my peanut flour I made a carrot cake flavor sweetened with brown cane sugar.

And it was just as good as it sounds.

Another flavor I created was with a glazed donut flavoring sweetened with brown cane sugar.

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Another fun thing is you can name your blends whatever you choose! Fresh Out Of The Oven sounded cute for a donut right?

I thought so.

I used this one to help save my plantain waffle fail.

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It worked. I have yet to master a plantain waffle, but I think I just need to give in, stop making it so complicated and go the whole plantain+egg route and keep it simple. But even as a visual textural fail, with the addition of my peanut butter, it was still delish.

To continue the waffle talk though, I did manage to make a protein waffle success.

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Topped with banana slices, cocoa paradise mix (from my Graze box – use my code R4WFVPTWP and you get your first box for FREE!) and my favorite protein frosting using Growing Naturals Vanilla Pea Protein.

I love waffles.

Well loves that’s all that’s happening over here, have a wonderful rest of your week.

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What are you favorite add in’s for oatmeal?

Do you have a perfect waffle recipe?

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all things mini

Happy Wednesday my loves!

And by happy Wednesday I really mean is it Friday yet? That’s basically how I feel every Wednesday.

But since it’s only Wednesday I guess it’s only right to share some eats I’ve been enjoying lately for What I Ate Wednesday. It’s been awhile since I’ve participated as we all know how unmotivated and unproductive I have been lately. And the fact that 1/2 of my meals have been eaten out, there really hasn’t been much to share.

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As I was looking through pictures for my past eats I kind of noticed a funny trend. I actually usually have the problem of not knowing what I have a taste for because I usually have a taste for everything. Something sweet, savory, salty, spicy… you name it. Sometimes I’ll go as far as to put it all on one plate.

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Peanut butter chicken, coconut cinnamon roasted kabocha topped with a maple whipped cottage cheese, and brussel sprouts with mustard. Really, those three things should not be on the same plate.

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Raw carrots, oven roasted broccoli and cauliflower (with ketchup for dipping) and an english muffin with chocolate coconut butter on one half and chocolate peanut butter and blueberry jam on the other… again another pretty questionable combination. But such is the life of one indecisive eater.

With all that being said, I have found a lot of my meals tend to be a bunch of mini portions. Whenever I find recipes I am always looking for ways to scale it down. My past eats have been no different.

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It started with my wanting to switch up my breakfast and finding a fun recipe for apple protein mini cakes.

I topped mine with my favorite protein frosting ever using Growing Naturals vanilla pea protein.

Dinners have been very mini as well.

We had some left over grass fed beef so I made good use of it. Mini style.

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A mini burger with home made fries.

(don’t worry way more fries were consumed then what is pictured)

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With a mini pita pizza.

Made with Trader Joes whole wheat mini pita’s, Trader Joes organic pizza sauce, nutritional yeast and left over grass fed hamburger crumbles.

And then on the side…

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 BBQ parsnip chips topped with guacamole.

I’m pretty much convinced that guacamole makes everything better.

So maybe not a complete dinner theme, but it works in satisfying all my cravings…all at once.

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Do you mix and match your cravings during meals?

What’s the oddest combination you’ve had at a meal?

making food pretty

I love pretty pictures of food. I think the countless hours I spend on Pinterest prove that. A recipe can be the most delicious dish, but with the addition of a beautifully posed picture of the finished product can seal the deal with me on if I will attempt to make it or not.

With that being said, I know I’m not the best photographer and my pictures may not be the best, but there is definitely not a lack of effort. But sometimes you just don’t have time.

This friends is one of those times.

But minus pretty pictures, I still have some pretty tasty things to share with you.

Let’s start simple.

We all know I am a bread loving carb girl. No shame. Bread, bagels, english muffins, I love them all. Ironically, even though not gluten free, I have found that some of my favorite store bought bread items are gluten free ones. We all know I have a huge obsession with Silver Hills Bakery Gluten Free Chia Chia bread.

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And my favorite english muffins are Rudi’s Multigrain with Flax. Obsessed.

Both products however are a bit on the pricey side, so in order to try and save a few bucks I have tried experimenting in creating my own.

So I spent a few minutes hours searching pinterest for a simple english muffin recipe. I’ll be honest, I’m a lazy baker and the less effort and time I have to put into making something the better. I also wanted to find a recipe that didn’t make a huge serving, because yes I know I could halve a recipe, I’m not so great with math and somehow always mess us measurements.

Lucky for me I found a simple recipe that even I couldn’t mess up.

The only thing I changed was I left out the blueberries and I made mine into two decent sized english muffins instead of bagels.

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Paleo Cinnamon English Muffins

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Ingredients:

- 2 eggs

- 1 tsp coconut oil

- 1 tbsp vanilla

- 1/2 tbsp cinnamon

- 3 tbsp coconut flour (sifted to avoid clumps)

- 1/2 tsp baking soda

- Additional add ins: raisins, dried fruit, nuts/seeds

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Directions:

- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
- Mix the wet ingredients together.
- Add the dry ingredients to wet and mix well.
- Pour the mixture into two greased ramekins or muffin tin. (or a bagel pan to make bagels)
*Makes 2 large english muffins (or 3 small)
- Place in oven and bake for 20-22 minutes, or until fully cooked.

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I always have such a hard time when choosing my toppings. On one english muffin I did half chocolate coconut butter and on the other half almond butter and apricot jam.

For lunch another day I again couldn’t make up my mind.

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More chocolate coconut butter on one half and on the other half strawberry jam, cottage cheese and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Loves, these english muffins were a winner.

I will say they were a little bit too eggy for my personal preference, but I think next time I make them I will add more cinnamon and possibly some add ins to help mask the egg taste, but over all I was so pleased with the texture of these english muffins. Firm enough to be eaten cooled and also to be toasted.


 Next we have the perfect example of how pretty pictures make me want to make something, and how I fail to even do the dish any justice.

This picture will make you want to make this breakfast

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The very talented Ashley at Edible Perspective won me over to try this breakfast.

Raw Pumpkin Chia Pudding

(Inspired by Ashley)

Ingredients:

- 3 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1/2 cup pure pumpkin
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoon raw honey (I used pure maple syrup)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- pinch of ground cloves
- pinch of salt
*1/2 banana – optional – added in to blender (I added the banana)

This picture may or may not make you want to make this breakfast.

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Directions:

- Combine all ingredients and stir every 2-5 minutes for 20 minutes.I stirred mine probably once or twice to make sure it stayed incorporated and didn’t get too thick, then I let it sit over night. Add more water or milk if needed.
- If you want a smooth texture, add the mixture to your blender with 1/2 banana. You may also need to add more liquid.

To make this even more un-photogenic, I put mine in an almost empty peanut butter jar with a big glop of peanut butter slopped on the side.

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Pretty or not, both these recipes tasted great, which to me is all that matters.

So loves, my pictures may or may not make you want to try these recipes, but I really think you should.

Now I’m off to join Jenn for What I Ate Wednesday and take a few notes on photography. Because goodness that girl knows how to make food look good!


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Does a pretty picture make you more apt to try a new recipe?

Would an ugly picture deter you?

treating ourselves

Hey loves!

This post is coming to you much later than anticipated.

1. I am working on getting more sleep after discussing and realizing how important it is, so I not only went to bed earlier than normal, but since today is my day off, I also took advantage of sleeping in! However sleeping in to me is 7:30am, but compared to 5:00am that’s wonderful for me!

I had all the intentions of writing my What I Ate Wednesday post last night, but before passing out early, I was too busy shoving my face with this wonderfulness.

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I briefly touch on my recovery here and there and let’s just assume I am always in the need to gain.  Matt has been super supportive and really helping me push lately that he demanded we go to Dairy Queen last night since he knows I have been having stressful days at work. It seems to correlate when I am stressed at work, I am stressed with my eating and health goals, so I really appreciated him stepping up and making me keep pushing. And really. Who can say no to Dairy Queen? Not this girl.

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On top of that Matt also treated me to a fancy date night out.

Yes I eat a lot of sushi. That’s a fact.

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But to stay in our budget we usually go to a smaller sushi joint that is less expensive. The best sushi out there? No. Good for the money? Absolutely.  But when we decided we wanted sushi one night, Matt suggested we actually treat ourselves to a nicer restaurant that is in our neighborhood.

Let me tell you, I forgot what high quality sushi tasted like. It was amazing.

I started with a seaweed salad, and in first bite I noticed the difference between a freshly made seaweed salad and probably packaged seaweed salad I have been eating at the other sushi spot.

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We also got yellow tail sashimi to share and again, the difference in the quality of fish was instantly noticed. It tasted amazing. I love good fresh high quality sashimi.

We ordered four rolls to share for our main meal.

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Salmon wrapped in cucumber, fire dragon roll, special spicy roll and spicy tuna roll.

Yes. We like it spicy. And like the rest of our meal, all was fresh and delicious.

Now, our bill was probably 3x as much as what we spend at the other place, but totally worth it.

It was also great to have a nice date night out with Matt. Much needed.

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Home meals however have not been as fancy.  I have been having really long days at work and have been getting out late that by time I get home Matt has already eaten and I have no desire to cook anything fancy in my own kitchen.

Some of my quick meals.

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Avocado mash on toast. It has become a life savor for me. I am obsessed with it right now.

EPIC 100% grass fed animal based protein bars.

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It’s a quick way for me to get high quality protein in and I actually broke one up and added it on top of my avocado toast.

#strangebutgood?

Oh and since Monday was National Beer Day. I did that too.

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Beer and beards. All I need.

Well loves I hope you are all having a great week, until next time.

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What are some of your favorite quick meals?

How often do you treat yourself to nice dinners out?