Valentine’s Day for All

Ahhhh….Valentine’s Day.

If you’re anything like me, you don’t put a lot of attention on this day as it’s totally over-commercialized for the marketing industry but I do like to have some fun and just enjoy some extra special time with my hubby no matter what! (always a good thing, right?)

But what I realize is that this day is spent worrying about buying flowers; buying chocolates; buying expensive jewelry and gifts; spending a fortune on a dinner reservation…etc. That’s really not how I would describe “true love”…haha 😀 This can also bring about stresses about our current programs for following a healthier lifestyle and dealing with the decadent temptations that surround this day. Candy, chocolate, desserts, OH MY!!!

I thought I’d share with you a typical and fun plan you can enjoy EVERY day of the year…even today! ❤

—> If you need a healthy meal plan option that I recommend to follow for best results, here’s a plan that I have set up for weeks when I just need to get back to basics: FREE Slim Down Meal Plan

So for a fun breakfast idea with your love, I am loving:

Screen Shot 2016-02-14 at 1.52.52 PM

Banana French Toast (you can choose to add strawberries for Valentine’s Day)

Serves: 4
Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 oz low-fat cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp unsalted natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 tsp pure maple syrup, divided
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 8 slices whole-wheat bread
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup low-fat milk (preferably 1%)
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 medium bananas, peeled and sliced (or 2 cups hulled and sliced strawberries)
  • 1 tbsp fresh orange juice
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • Olive oil cooking spray

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a small bowl, mix cream cheese, peanut butter, yogurt, 1 tsp maple syrup and cinnamon until smooth and creamy. Spread 2 1/2 tbsp cream cheese mixture onto each of 4 bread slices. Top with remaining 4 bread slices; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk egg whites, egg, milk and nutmeg; set aside.
  3. In a separate small bowl, toss bananas with orange juice and zest; set aside.
  4. Heat a medium sauté pan on medium-high. Mist with cooking spray. Immediately dip 1 sandwich in egg mixture, coating both sides, and place in pan. Repeat, cooking 2 sandwiches in pan at once. Brown sandwiches, about 1 minute per side. Remove and top with banana mixture and remaining 2 tsp maple syrup, dividing evenly. Serve immediately.

Nutrients per serving (1 sandwich and 1/2 cup banana mixture): Calories: 332, Total Fat: 10 g, Sat. Fat: 3 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g, Carbs: 45 g, Fiber: 6 g, Sugars: 15 g, Protein: 16 g, Sodium: 366 mg, Cholesterol: 61 mg

 

Not too bad for breakfast, right?

About 2-3 hours later, I’ll have my Shakeology and on a day that is known for pink hearts, strawberries and anything red…I chose Strawberry flavor today and made it with 1 cup water, 1 cup ice and 5 pecans. (ya, it’s silly to count only 5 but I like the nutty flavor and this gives me a small amount of calories for a big flavor boost!)

My sweetie and I then enjoy a fun lunch. We prefer to go out at this time of the day instead of fighting the night crowds but it’s also special to just stay in and cook together. Seems like he’s always more eager to cook with me than me asking him to make something on his own. (try it, it works!)

P1010725

But asking him to take a selfie with me is usually out of the question!! (see here)

I don’t know what it is about salmon, but making it at home still seems like a restaurant style pleasure. We usually make a fun salmon recipe at least once a week for dinners but for a special occasion, we are known to add it into a midday meal too! Here’s a really fun and tasty way to get it made right!

  • Salmon & Bok Choy with your love ❤ 
  • 2 fillets salmon (6 to 8 ounces each), without skin
  • 2 tablesoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium teriyaki sauce
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 large bok choy, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped white onion
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup frozen green peas
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Brush both sides of salmon with olive oil and place skin side down in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Brush with teriyaki sauce and season with salt, pepper, and paprika. Place skillet in oven for 15 minutes, or until fish is cooked through.
  3. Meanwhile, steam or boil bok choy until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  4. Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add butter and melt. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 5 mintues. Add bok choy and veggie stock. Cook until soft. Add peas, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Sauté until stock has mostly evaporated, about 10 minutes.
  5. Remove salmon from oven and cover skillet with aluminum foil. Let rest 5 minutes before serving. (This allows juices to distribute throughout salmon.)
  6. Serve salmon atop bok choy.

Screen Shot 2016-02-14 at 2.07.52 PM

Pretty awesome, right????

For my next snack, (cuz I’m all about lifestyle goals and sticking to my 2-3 hour marker of eating a meal or snack is a non-negotiable for my success!) I’ll have about 1/3 cup of oatmeal soaked in 1/3 cup of almond milk in the fridge for about 20 minutes or more; and then I’ll add 1/2-3/4 cup greek yogurt (Fage only for me!) and 1 tsp PB and a few drops of stevia. I mix it all up and it’s freaking awesome creaminess goodness. (I know that last sentence made no sense but I don’t really care cuz it’s that good to not care!)

And finally, onto the final meal of the day…DINNER!! Or is it ‘supper’?? 🙂 I know my hubby loves his specialty type sandwiches (he actually watches the food network and searches out nearby eateries that are recommended for this reason). So I am sharing a favorite of his and even though I technically steer away from sandwiches due to the higher carb count…this one only gives about 350 calories for the serving. So I figure on a special occasion, it’s definitely an “all go”!!!

Screen Shot 2016-02-14 at 2.15.56 PM

Steak Baguettes with Pesto Mayo

Ingredients

1 (12-ounce) boneless beef sirloin steak (about 1 inch thick), trimmed
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons canola mayonnaise
2 tablespoons refrigerated pesto sauce
1 (12-ounce) piece white or whole-grain baguette, split in half horizontally
1 cup packed baby arugula (about 1 ounce)
3 (1/8-inch-thick) red onion slices
2 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced lengthwise

Directions

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle steak with salt and pepper. Add steak to pan, and cook 2 1/2 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove the steak from pan, and let stand 5 minutes. Cut steak across grain into thin slices.

Combine mayonnaise and pesto, stirring until well blended. Spread mayonnaise mixture evenly over cut sides of bread. Layer bottom half of bread with arugula, red onion, steak, and tomato; top with top half of bread. Cut sandwich diagonally into 4 equal pieces.

Nutrition Information

Serves: 4|  Serving Size: 1 sandwich

Per serving: Calories: 358; Total Fat: 11g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Monounsaturated Fat: 4g; Cholesterol: 45mg; Sodium: 674mg; Carbohydrate: 39g; Dietary Fiber: 2g; Sugar: 1g; Protein: 25g

Not too shabby, right? And pair it with a nice side salad with balsamic vinaigrette or other homemade favorite dressing…you can light up some candles and throw on some mood inducing music to create the romantic atmosphere, right? No need to throw down $100 for a night of eating.

And if you know anything about me, you know I cannot pass up the chance for a decadent and chocolatey dessert!! 🙂 (and I’ve trained my family to enjoy these too! lol)

Screen Shot 2016-02-14 at 2.25.50 PM

I’m not sure if you’re familiar with Chocolate Covered Katie but her website of recipes are to DIE FOR!!! No kidding at all! Please go check it out for yourself! ❤ Here is a favorite of mine that I got from her recipe book and I can guarantee you’ll love it too!!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup spelt or ww pastry flour
  • 6 tbsp cacao or unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp each: baking soda and salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar of choice or xylitol
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, optional
  • 1/4 cup yogurt of choice
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup almond butter, peanut butter or any nut butter of choice
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and grease an 8-in square or round pan.

Set aside. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, optional chips, and sweetener, and stir very well. (If your nut butter is not stir-able, gently heat it until stir-able.)

In a new bowl, whisk together the nut butter, yogurt, water, and vanilla. Pour wet into dry and stir until just combined (don’t over-mix), then pour into the greased pan.

Bake 25 minutes or until batter has risen and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out mostly clean.

(I like to take it out when it’s still a little undercooked, let it cool, and then set in the fridge overnight. This prevents overcooking, and the cake will still firm up nicely as it sits.)

Sprinkle with powdered sugar or find a healthy frosting recipe to top it off with…don’t forget the strawberries and sprinkles to celebrate the end of this romantic day!

 

Advertisements

K.I.S.S. (In Honor of Valentine’s Day!)

So you say you want to change your ways…but you don’t know how?

You hear so many different “experts” spouting off completely opposite points of views when it comes to nutrition, fitness and habits. What is anyone to believe anymore?

Well, if you just go back to “basics”, you will reach all of your goals. Remember the acronym K.I.S.S.?  KEEP IT SIMPLE, STUPID!! Not that I’m referring to anyone as “stupid” but if you keep doing what you’ve always done and keep getting the same results….then STOP IT!!

Common mishaps are skipped meals, over exercising or lack of movement, laziness, fast food habits, etc. So, in honor of getting ourselves on track, once and for all….here is a great plan devised by Steve Edwards (Beachbody fitness and nutrition blogger and fitness guru) that I think is the BOMB to getting back to basics. Read it and tell me what you think below!

**As a BONUS, I will be leading a PRIVATE group of individuals who want results and are willing to take on this very challenge. If this is YOU, please comment below with your email OR send ME and email to: http://www.spazzykay@gmail.com and title it:  “8 Week Transition”.  I will contact you and get you hooked up. Prizes awarded to the biggest achievers in this challenge…(hint, hint…you just have to follow the darn plan to get the results!)

578331_236746236436707_565210497_n

______________________________

The Easiest Way to Change Your Eating Habits

Inspired by Steve Edwards, Fitness Guru

99% of ―diet is cutting junk and eating real food.

Steve Edwards created ―The 8-Week Transition Diet is for those wanting to make a gradual transition. Healthy eating will become habit over time. So, let’s get started and make a gradual transition:

Week 1
No junk. Eliminate junk food from your diet, for example, potato chips, candy, ice cream, cake, etc. You may be stricter if you’d like, but for Week 1, don’t be too hard on yourself. For many of you, this step alone will reap huge benefits.

Cheat Days: 2 (reward for a life well-lived)
Since no one’s perfect, you get 2 days to cheat. That’s right; 2 days where you can eat anything you want! Listen to your body. At first, it’ll probably tell you it wants whatever you’ve been denying it. However, over time, it’ll start to crave nutrients you’re deficient in. Learn to read your body’s subtleties. If you’re craving ice cream, you may be short on essential fatty acids. If you crave a hamburger, your diet may lack protein. This way, you can make better food substitutions. It’s a way of getting in tune with yourself that will benefit you for your entire lifetime.

*Weekly focus: Water. You should drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water per day. Drinking a glass of water when you feel hunger pangs coming on will help stave off your hunger to some degree. Diet soda, juices and sugary sodas also fall into the junk category. Alcohol should be kept to a minimum. When you do drink, red wine is the alcohol of choice, with beer running second.

Week 2
Each week’s rules are cumulative, so the “no junk” rule from Week 1 will apply until the end, as will each subsequent week’s rule. Remember that this is a learning process. It’s like you’re in school and the subject is your own body. Eat small, eat often. Eat four to six small meals a day. Try to keep each snack or meal balanced. Keep a 30 percent protein, 40 percent carbohydrate, and 30 percent fat scale in mind, though you don’t need to worry too much about it. Just realize that you need a bit from each macronutrient group. Eat based on what you’ll be doing for the next few hours (if you’re working out, eat a little more; sitting at a desk, eat a little less).

Cheat Days: 2
Weekly focus: Carbs are not the enemy. Your body needs them, just like it needs proteins and fats. The trick is to choose the right carbs. As a society, we eat too much refined sugar. Complex carbs, like whole-grain breads, whole-grain rice, sweet potatoes, and legumes are outstanding foods. Even fruits, which have simple carbohydrates wrapped in fiber, are very good for you. Try to avoid white rice and flours.

Week 3
Eat some colorful, nutrient-dense food at every meal. Veggies are the most obvious example. You can eat a salad bowl overflowing with lettuce and veggies and you most likely won’t exceed 100 calories. By consuming veggies and fruits, you’ll keep your portions under control naturally. When it comes to live foods, the richer the colors, the fresher the products tend to be. Try to eat a
variety of colors in your diet. This simple and somewhat random act will help ensure that you’re covering your bases, nutrient-wise.

Cheat Days: 1
Weekly focus: Protein at every meal. Try to get some protein—meat, dairy products, nuts, seeds, or legumes—each time you eat (meals and snacks), especially when you’re working out hard, because you need to repair broken-down muscle tissue.

Week 4
Cook at home. One of the best ways to control your eating is to prepare all your meals yourself. Eliminate all fast food (which should have been gone in Week 1) and most other restaurant food. You may still eat food from certain restaurants where you can be sure of the ingredients. But avoid all fast food chains, even ones that claim to be “healthy.” For example, next time you see one of those nutrition charts, check the sodium levels; most fast foods use ridiculously high amounts of salt. Avoiding fast food alone will often bring your body closer to homeostasis (its desired state of balance).

Cheat Days: 1
Weekly focus: Fat is essential. Fat is a vital part of your diet. What is not vital is a lot of saturated or Trans fats. Trans fats are mainly those that are artificial, and hopefully they’ve been eliminated from your diet by this point, since they’re generally only found in junk. Saturated fats are found in dairy products and meats, and you don’t need too much (2 servings of milk/5 – 7 ounces of protein per day). For cooking, try to use olive oil when possible. Also, the addition of either flaxseed or hempseed can have a pronounced effect on your health. These seeds are loaded with essential fatty acids (omegas 3 and 6). Be careful about that amount of fat. It is dense and has 9 calories per gram, as opposed to 4 for both carbs and protein. A tablespoon goes a long way!

Week 5
Reduce starchy carbohydrates. Reduce your intake of rice, bread, potatoes, corn, and pasta. Starches are great energy food, but if you eat too many, they turn the tables and make you sluggish!

Cheat Days: 1

Weekly focus: Sugar is only beneficial after a hard workout. Your body doesn’t need processed sugar. But if you really enjoy it and can’t avoid letting some sneak into your daily diet, the 1-hour period after you exercise is the best time to indulge. During this window, your blood sugar is low, because you’ve used it up to finish your workout (assuming you pushed yourself), and sugar during this time will help you recover faster because it speeds into your system and initiates the recovery process. Adding a little protein, but not too much, will enhance your recovery even further. You should avoid fats during this immediate post-workout period, because of slow absorption—a good thing most of the time, just not during and immediately after working out.

Week 6
If man makes it, don’t eat it. This is likely to be the hardest week of your diet. You want to eat only whole foods and eliminate all processed foods. This includes salad dressings, cereal, luncheon meats, cheese, dried fruits, anything with preservatives, and alcoholic beverages. What you can eat are whole foods such as fruit, raw or steamed vegetables, meat (sans any type of sauce), natural whole-grain rice, eggs, etc. Since your eating habits have been slowly changing, this shouldn’t be that big a shock to your system, but keeping in mind that you only have to do this for 7 days will make it easier. (Although each week’s rules are cumulative in the plan, Week 6 is more of a “cleanse” or “reset” week where you avoid all processed food; after Week 6, you can go back to the occasional processed food, but chances are you’ll take what you learned this week and tend to make healthier, smarter choices.)

Cheat Days: 1
The “cheat day” mentality isn’t a bad one. Rewards like decadent desserts, a night at the buffet, or drinking with friends are good for you as long as you keep them in perspective. These are rewards for a life well lived and you should be able to feel good about doing them. Plus, there’s some method to this madness as well, in that you still tend to crave nutrients you lack. So if you’re cutting down on the calories to lose weight, allowing yourself a cheat day will give your body a chance to take in what it needs.

Weekly focus: Nuts make great snacks. A handful of raw almonds or pistachios is a quick and easy snack that goes a long way (one handful only). Don’t be put off by the high fat count of nuts, because this means it takes fewer of them to satiate you. Nuts are loaded with important phytonutrients, as well as good fats, protein, and fiber.

Week 7
Be yourself. No rules—just try and eat as healthy as you can and do it by feel. Trusting yourself might seem like a lot of responsibility, but by now you’ll be up to it. Learning to eat by feeling what your body needs is an important step in your transformation. Consider the way you’ve been eating over the last 6 weeks, but don’t worry about what you should and shouldn’t do. Just fuel yourself. The point is to take a mental break. Relax and allow yourself to eat in a way that feels normal. You may be surprised to find yourself craving something healthy instead of a candy bar or soda. You’ll be better at listening to your body because it will tell you what it needs to eat, as opposed to what you’re used to eating. Your body should feel somewhat transformed. Does it?

“Reward for a Life Well Lived” Days: 1

Weekly focus: If you’re so hungry at night that you can’t sleep, try a protein shake before bed. When it’s real, and not habitual, hunger means you lack nutrients your body needs to repair itself as you sleep. But protein at night, especially whey, will help the body repair damaged tissue and enhance the natural growth-hormone spike that you get while you sleep.

Week 8
Eat a perfect diet. Now it’s time for a real challenge—are you ready? The perfect diet is strictly individual, as there’s no one diet that suits everybody. So who better to choose the perfect diet for you than you? Our bodies are all different, and the key to your own perfect diet is learning about how your body reacts to different foods under different circumstances. Your journey over the last 7 weeks should have brought you to a new understanding of how food affects your body, both for good and for bad. Now it’s up to you to put it to the test. See how well you can eat for a week. In fact, see how well you can eat for the rest of your life. Live and enjoy.
Reward Days: 1, of course!

Weekly Focus: Don’t bonk. Bonking is a state where your body runs out of stored blood sugar for energy. If you feel like your workouts are going backward instead of forward, this is a likely culprit. Use your energy level as your gauge. As soon as it starts to drop, start adding carbs back into your diet until you feel energized all day long. When you feel energized during your
workouts and not sluggish throughout the rest of the day, you’ll know you’ve found the right balance between carbs and other nutrients. Also, remember that as your body puts on more muscle, you will need to eat more. Muscle weighs much more than fat so as you gain muscle and lose fat, you will shrink at the same weight. You will also require more calories in order to maintain your muscle. So when you’re working out hard, don’t be afraid to eat more carbs than you do otherwise.

______________________

So, there you have it! Doesn’t it sound ridiculously simple, yet beneficial? I challenge you to join the change!