You will not believe these healthy cookies are husband approved!

My husband was craving Raisinets the other night and I was craving cookies. So I combined the cravings and came up with a healthy cookie that would satisfy both our cravings. My husband was skeptical at first, but then couldn’t stop going back for more!

So here we go: Oatmeal Chocolate Raisin Cookies

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup rolled outs
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 tbsp of mini m&ms (that’s what I had on hand) or dark chocolate chips
  • 3 tbsp of raisins
  • 1 tbsp of honey

Directions:

Preheat the over to 350 F.

Mix the applesauce with the peanut butter.   IMG_2221

Add the remaining ingredients.

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Roll the “dough” into balls (as much as possible) and place on greased baking sheet.

Bake on greased cookie sheet for 12-14 minutes and then let cool for 10 min.

Delicious cookies, I promise!

 

 

 

 

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Fabulous Thai Chicken Pizza

It’s Friday night and the end of a long work week. It’s so easy to say “F it” to a healthy dinner and go out and have pizza and wings. I can never say no to pizza and wings. Either can my husband. If I bring up pizza and wings, he is in.  So we have decided to have healthier versions of bad for you meals on Fridays. That way we aren’t tempted to go out.

This week’s meal was Thai Chicken Pizza. Doesn’t that just sound delicious?? I have to admit, it took a little prep time. But my husband is a teacher and has the summer off. So what else is he going to do with all of his free time. Without further ado…Thai Chicken Pizza.

Finished product!

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup grilled chicken (marinated in garlic, fig vinegar (or balsamic), olive oil, curry powder), cubed
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp chili paste
  • 2-1/4 tsp tamarind concentrate (we mixed worchester and lemon juice)
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ginger
  • 1 package pizza dough
  • 4 white button mushrooms, sliced (we didn’t have these so omitted them)
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1 small shallot (can also use a red or yellow onion)
  • 1/3 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
  • Sriracha hot sauce (optional)

Preheat over to 375 degrees. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray. Whisk together peanut butter, soy sauce, chili paste, sugar, tamarind concentration, garlic, curry powder, oil, and ginger in a small bowl.

Roll out pizza dough to desired shape and size (we did round since we have a pizza tray. Otherwise just use your rectangular baking sheet). Spread peanut butter mixture over dough. Sprinkle with mushrooms, diced chicken, bell pepper, and shallot.

Bake 25 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Let cook five minutes and then sprinkle with cilantro leaves. Drizzle with hot sauce, if desired. I really liked the hot sauce part. It gave it a really good taste, plus it slowed me down from eating too much since my mouth was on fire a bit.

There it is! Tell me what you think!

Pesto Chicken and Zucchini Noodles

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On Friday nights, my husband and I make sure to plan a tasty meal so we don’t decide to go out to eat after a long work week. It may not be the healthiest, but it’s healthier and cheaper than eating out. This Friday was zucchini noodles with chicken and pesto. It was really quite easy, although I did shortcut the hardest part by buying pesto at the farmer’s market instead of making it. So here we go, below is the recipe.

Ingredients

  • Two large zucchinis
  • One pound of chicken breast, cubed
  • One jar of pesto
  • Garlic powder
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions:

1. Prepare the zucchini noodles. Since I do not have a kitchen tool to make fancy zucchini noodles, I use my potato peeler. I peel lengthwise along the zucchini to get a fettucini like noodle. I keep doing this until I reach the core of the zucchini. Put zucchini noodles in a bowl.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan. Add chicken to pan. Season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Cook until chicken is no longer pink in the middle. When chicken is cooked, set aside.

3. After removing chicken from pan, heat one tablespoon of olive oil in the pan. Add the zucchini noodles (I had so many that I had to do two batches). Season with salt and pepper. Cook noodles at a medium-high heat until they are soft and almost translucent. Approximately 7 minutes.

4. Add chicken back to noodles to heat. Add 1/2 – 1 cup of pesto, dependent on preference.

5. Serve and enjoy!

Why You CAN Work Out at Home

I will admit that I am in some of the best shape of my life. I attribute it to three things.

1. My accountability partner, my husband.
2. The nutrient dense shake Shakeology
3. Beachbody at home fitness programs

People will ask me how I have gotten in such good shape and then scoff at me when I tell them I do at home workouts. I’ve heard it all.

I can’t workout at home, I get too distracted
I work harder at the gym because I pick up the energy from the people around me
The gym has all the equipment I need

I don’t doubt all of that is true for certain people. So I asked my husband the other night when we were discussing possibly cancelling our gym membership, “why do you think we’re in better shape now than when we were going to the gym regularly?” We ran 5K’s on the treadmill and lifted weights for another 15-20 minutes and finished with an ab workout. What can beat that?

home workout

My husband told me that he had to think about it. 24 hours later I still hadn’t gotten an answer and I figured “I need to think about it” was his way of not dealing with my question. But he did answer my question! It was a good one too! This is what he had to say.

1. Flexibility

The flexibility of working out at home with Beachbody programs like P90X and Insanity is worth its weight in gold. The gym is not very close to our house so we have to plan going to the gym in the day. Therefore, if something comes up (running late for work, meeting called at work that you weren’t expecting, your chiropractor all of a sudden has a last minute opening), it can be difficult to work in going to the gym. You know what’s not difficult? Coming home and pressing play on the DVD player (or better yet, using Beachbody on Demand). When I know Matt hasn’t worked out, I will tell him to work out while I’m cooking dinner. He does the same for me. No excuses anymore! I also like being able to roll out of bed in my PJs and walk 20 steps to my living room to work out.

2. Consistency

Half-assing the workout is so much harder than it is in the gym. I know! You don’t believe me! It’s true. Let me explain. At the gym, if you’re not feeling it, it is so easy to just walk on the treadmill, or pick the elliptical because it’s a little easier. If you’re lifting weights and the machine you want to use next is taken, it’s so easy to just sit there, rather than take the time to come up with a new set of exercises. Or just go home. However, with the BB programs, there is no excuse to not keep going. No one is using the equipment you need. In fact, most of the time you just need your sexy self! Each program also has a count down timer on it. When there’s only 15 minutes left, I can’t let myself quit at that time. Only 15 minutes? However, at the gym I don’t have a definitive start or end time, so it’s very easy to just leave when you’re starting to get tired.

3. Access to Fitness Experts

These fitness programs are top notch. Insanity and P90X haven’t become household names because they don’t work. Those transformations are real. Beachbody has some of the top experts in the field helping to design these programs. They make sure every muscle gets worked and gets worked HARD. Most exercises are working two or more muscle groups at once to make it efficient. You are never just lifting weights for an ego boost.  I would much rather follow a program designed by experts in the field than come up with something myself that isn’t nearly as good.

So there you go – those are my reasons that I like working out at home. What do you think? Are you a gym rat or do you like working out in the convenience of your home? Why?

Chicken Oriental Salad

Hey there all my Type A’s! I’m an engineer who was once stressed out completely and worked way too much. I found a way to make my Type A tendencies work for me. Scheduling, cooking, and organizing (all of our Type A talents) combined to give me…a quality of life! I eat healthy, exercise daily, and am loving it! My family likes me better and I am more productive at work. Speaking of work, when I got home tonight I did NOT feel like cooking. Good thing I had this 15 minute meal ready at my fingertips.

Chicken Oriental 

IMG_1031Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of cookied chicken, cubed (the pre-cooked stuff was on sale BOGO, so I cheated and used this)
  • 1 bag coleslaw mix
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 cup crisp chinese noodles

Directions: Combine chicken, coleslaw, and green onions in large mixing bowl. Add oil, vinegar, soy sauce, ginger.  Toss to combine. Top with noodles. Serves four.

Sign up below to receive my FREE 7 Day Clean Eating and Fitness Plan. I don’t have a lot of time and either do you. Each will take less than 30 minutes. Daily support and motivation included! 

Don’t let that Wedding Derail You! – 7 tips to stay healthy

_MG_6617I just realized I have a wedding to go to tomorrow! Well, I’ve known for quite awhile, but with that long winter, May just snuck up on me. It’s May 6 already??! I have worked really hard these past 8 months to be consistent with my new clean, healthy eating choices. It’s been up and down. Holidays and vacation are usually a down. Routine life is usually an up! Now wedding season is upon us. I love a good wedding. I love good food, dancing, and drinks. The trifecta! I’m not one of those people to totally abstain from everything fun, but I do try to make better choices than I used to so it’s not a complete derail. So here are my seven tips for staying (somewhat) healthy during that wedding.

1) Exercise in the morning

Once you get in our day, time will fly by. Before you know it, you will be getting ready for the wedding and won’t have time to fit a work out in. So workout immediately after getting up. That way you can’t lose track of time and skip it. Plus, it will get your endorphins racing and you will feel fantastic about your sexy self. All the better to talk to that cute single guy at the wedding :).

2) Make sure you stick to healthy, clean eating the other six days of the week. And for the day of the wedding for that matter.

I am definitely not one of those people that things going to an event and enjoying yourself while imbibing in food in drink is going to completely derail you. You’re body will adjust the next week. But you have to let it adjust. That means you must stick to your healthy eating plan the week before the wedding, the day of the wedding, and the week after the wedding. You’ll feel so proud of yourself when you look back and realize you didn’t let a cheat evening turn into a cheat day or a cheat week.

3) Speaking of imbibing….

I’m all about it. I like to drink. It’s relaxing and fun. The problem with it? It’s a lot of empty calories and it can cause a killer hangover the next day. Make sure you stay dehydrated before the wedding. Take your body weight in pounds and divide it by two. That is the approximate amount of ounces of water you should drink throughout the day. Try to drink it all before the wedding to make sure you’re hydrated. Also, have a glass of water after every alcoholic beverage. Lastly, drink something you don’t like that much. It will cause you to sip rather than down your drink and so you will drink less.

4) Eat a snack before the wedding

Eat a lite healthy, balanced snack as soon as leaving for the wedding as you can. Make sure it is balanced with veggies, carbs, and proteins. This will cause you make better choices during cocktail hour. You will also have food in your belly and so you won’t get tipsy from the booze as quickly. This goes along with the better choices.  But still make the bad choice of hitting of the cute guy you’ve never met before.

5) Choose healthy options first

Walk around and see what food is available. Make a plate of healthy options first. Choose salad, veggies and hummus, grilled vegetables, fruit, ect. After that, take a little bit of those other options which aren’t quite as healthy. You will eat less now that you’ve filled up on the good stuff.  On that note, you can have that roll. I’m never going to say no to bread because it’s so delicious. Just limit it to one. It’s hard, I know, but it can be done!

6) Eat a little cake

There’s no way you’ll tell me not to have cake when it’s available. Therefore, I wouldn’t put you through that either! But take a little piece. Eat it. Savor it. If it’s not the great, stop eating. Totally not worth it! If it’s as good as you were hoping, well eat that cake up lady. If you followed all the above tips, you totally deserve it!

7) The day after

Ok, so it’s the next day. You ended up drinking too much with the cute guy you didn’t know. Now what? Well, don’t let Sunday turn into a greasy and fatty food day. I know you want to! I love a McDonalds Quarter Pounder and fries a night after drinking. But I have changed, and so can you. Detox. Eat veggies, fruits, and whole grains.  For protein try yogurt and low fat cottage cheese. Stay away from meats, oils, and sweets. Fruits and veggies just not looking appetizing? Well try the hangover cure that works for me – Shakeology. This stuff is freaking awesome. It has all types of superfoods in it like kale, spinach, and goji berry, and all vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and proteins your body needs. Because this super shake will give your body a daily dose of dense nutrition (replenishing the vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, water, etc. it lost the night before) you will feel so much better.

Lentil Curry Over Steamed Cauliflower


Ok, the whole point of these recipes is they are supposed to be easy. Healthy recipes that don’t overwhelm you. There are a LOT of ingredients in this recipe so you’re going to think I’m crazy. But give it a shot! Most of the ingredients are spices. If you don’t have some of them around the house, just substitute a different spice you like or use more of another one. Time, though, is not an issue with this one. It takes almost no time at all to prepare. Yay! Plus it’s cheap. We’re on a budget so I like cheap meals.

SO here we go – Lentil Curry over Cauliflower

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups red lentils
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 tablespoon curry powder
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground tumeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 (14.25 ounce) can tomato puree
  • 1 head of cauliflower

Directions:

Wash lentils under warm water until water runs clear. Put lentils in pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until lentils are tender. About 20 minutes. At the same time, cut up head of cauliflower and steam.

Heat oil in a pan and add onion and garlic. Cook until onion is caramelized, about 15 minutes.

Mix curry paste, curry powder, turmeric, cumin, chili powder, salt, sugar, garlic, and ginger together in a large bowl; stir into the onions. Increase heat to high and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in tomato puree. Remove from heat and stir in lentils.

Serve lentils over cauliflower. Yum.

21 Day Fix – One red and one and a half green. That’s it!

What meals do you use lentils for? Or are cooking with lentils completely new to you?

Muesli versus Granola

In my 21 Day Fix challenge group, one of my challengers mentioned that she would have muesli for breakfast instead of granola and talked about how it was healthier. I love having granola, yogurt, and fruit so I decided I needed to look into this. Turns out Muesli is mostly made with the same ingredients (nuts, seeds, oats, barley, dried fruits), but is raw. Granola has added sugar and oil and is baked. So if you are a granola eater, swap it out for muesli. I did!

Granola vs Muesli

I love my challenge groups because everyone has ideas and shares tips. So motivating! You can join these challenges too.

What is your favorite, “eat this instead of that” food? Comment below.

Fajita Friday!

Well, it wasn’t Friday, but we did decide to make some delicious fajitas. Anything that I can use the crock pot for is a big win in my book.  A crock pot meal that’s also Mexican? I’m in love! And so we have Fajita Friday (or Wednesday). For people on the 21 Day Fix, this is one red, one yellow, and 1/2 green.

TacoIngredients:

  • 2 pounds chicken
  • 2 peppers, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoon taco seasoning
  • 1 16 oz jar salsa
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • sour cream (optional)
  • cheese (optional)
  • cilantro (optional)

Put ingredients (except optional ones) in crock pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Put on corn tortillas (recipe below) and garnish with sour cream, cheese, and cilantro!

Of course you can buy corn tortillas. If you do, I suggest the fresh ones in the refrigerated area that you have to cook. They are so much better than the shelf stable ones. Even better are the ones you can make!

Ingredients:

  • Corn flour – 1 3/4 cup
  • water – 1 1/8 cup

Pour corn flour into a mix. Mix water in with corn flour until thoroughly combined. Knead dough until pliable. If mixture is too stick, add corn flour. If too dry, add water. Roll into 15 balls. Using a tortilla press, a rolling press, or your hands, press each ball of dough flat.

Spray pan with olive oil. Place tortilla in a preheated pan and allow to cook for approximately 30 seconds on each side, until browned and slightly puffy. Transfer to plate and enjoy!

 

 

Challenge Group FAQs

One of the great things about the challenge groups that I run is that I can answer people’s questions when they have them. Everyone in the group learns, and each answered question is one less excuse to drop out of this new lifestyle. I have compiled a list of 10 questions and I have been asked and their answers.

Do you have your own question? Comment below!

Questions

Is it more effective to workout in the morning than at night?

It depends what you’re looking to get out of your workout. In a strictly scientific sense, a workout burns the same amount of calories whether it’s done in the morning or in the afternoon. There is nothing about the time of day that will change that.  Plus, working out is better than staying in bed or on the couch. So if you’re not a morning person, workout in the evening! If you get too busy after work, workout in the morning!

Studies have shown that both strength and endurance are higher in the afternoon. This means, the likelihood of injuries is decreased (however, a good warm-up in the morning levels the playing field).  Working out at 4 or 5 pm means you are exercising when your body temperature is lowest, which results in improved performance and increased power. Muscles are more flexible, your reaction time is quicker, and this often results in more intensity in your workout. Thus, more calories burned.

Morning workouts are not without their pros! As much as I hate getting out of bed and moving my muscles in the morning, when it’s done my energy is increased for the rest of the day. Studies have also shown that workouts morning workouts result in a better night’s sleep. For me, and many others out there, morning workouts are great because it gets the workout out of the way. That way at the end of the day if something comes up, it doesn’t detract from my health goals.

Can I drink sparkling or seltzer water in place of plain water?

Yes! If you are used to soda and just can’t get used to drinking plain water without the fizziness, drink sparkling or seltzer water instead. Both have carbon dioxide added (sparkling naturally and seltzer artificially) to bring on the bubbles. Add a touch of fruit for flavor and you have a delicious and nutritious drink.

How much water should I drink?

The rule of thumb says to divide your body weight in pounds by two. This is the amount of water you should drink in ounces.

How much weight can I expect to lose on the 21 Day Fix?

If you stick to the program, you can expect to lose up to 10 pounds. My challengers who have followed the program (and even went off one or two days) lost between 7 and 10 pounds. I lost 8 my first round.

How do I stop eating Girl Scout cookies?

We all love Girl Scout cookies. The only way for me to completely STOP eating them is not to buy them in the first place. However, this is blasphemy according to my husband, so they will be in the house. I have come up with a good alternative that curbs my cravings 9 out of 10 times. I use my Shakeology and recipes I have found online here to make my healthiest meal of the day into a good alternative for a Girl Scout cookie.

I love me some Girl Scout cookies. Even more when it's my healthiest meal of the day!

I love me some Girl Scout cookies. Even more when it’s my healthiest meal of the day!

Why isn’t my scale moving?

There could be many reasons your scale isn’t moving. Assuming you are following the program as you should, look at a few other reasons. If you lost a large amount of weight the week before (on the order of five pounds or more), then your body may go into survival mode and try to keep the fat stores it has. Don’t worry, stay consistent and you will start to see the scale move again.

Are you weighing yourself multiple times a day? At MOST, weigh yourself once a day at the same time each day. Your weight fluctuates a lot during the day, so to rule out the fluctuations, make sure you weigh yourself at the same time each time.

What does popcorn count as in the 21 Day Fix?

Popcorn counts as one yellow container. However, you can eat three cups of popcorn as one serving! Watch Autumn and her popcorn seasoning recipe here:

What does PB2 count as in the 21 Day Fix?

PB2 counts as a teaspoon of oil on the 21 Day Fix. It is a good alternative if you are on an oil-free diet. However, Autumn does not recommend using real peanut butter. It’s creamier, tastes better, and a healthy fat. Also, a lot of nutrients are stripped out to make PB2.

She addresses it here: 

What type of sneakers should I wear with the Beachbody workouts?

It depends what workout you are doing. In general you want to use sneakers with a low tread. Especially if you are doing Insanity, any of the dance type workouts, or anything with agility. High tread running or cross trainers can will stick and squeak and are not the best option. However,  if that’s all you have and you don’t want to buy new sneakers, they work! That was me. I use my running shoes for my Beachbody workouts. I’m just extra careful.

What is your favorite afternoon snack? At the end of a long day, I end up pulling the first thing in front of me out of the cabinet!

I like to have snacks prepared and ready to go for when I need a snack quickly. Of course I love Shakeology. I often drink it in the afternoons around 3 PM. At this point my energy levels are down and I’m hungry and craving sweets. Since Shakeology provides the nutrition my body needs, my energy levels increase and my cravings for carbs usually disappear.

Other options of snacks are

  • popcorn with almonds, cranberries, and chocolate chips
  • celery with peanut butter and dried cranberries
  • fruit salad
  • ½ cup cottage cheese with some pepper
  • Carrots and hummus
  • Yogurt topped with muesli
  • Banana with peanut butter
  • Apple with a handful of almonds
  • Lean roast beef with dijon mustard
  • 1 corn tortilla with peanut butter and banana