Tag Archives: healthy-living

Adventures in Keto

In my last post I mentioned that I started doing Keto and if you’re like me, you’ve heard the term on social media and know it has to do with eating large amounts of fat…but you don’t really know what it’s all about.

I’ve been friends with people who follow a ketogenic diet on social media for quiet some time and I thought they were insane because all they ever posted were chicken wings, crazy amounts of cheese, bacon, steak and butter. Now there is nothing wrong with any of those items…. I’m actually a huge fan of all of them! I just couldn’t wrap my head around how eating those could possibly help you lose weight and be healthier. Then I met a dude who was super passionate about Keto and how it helped him and he explained it all to me. I mean he totally explained it all… like science nerd explanation complete with YouTube videos and books! After falling down the YouTube rabbit hole and taking a shit ton of notes I decided I couldn’t judge these people on Instagram without trying this and the science behind it all actually made a ton of sense to me.

I am not about to attempt to explain it myself. While I’ve read tons and watched a bunch of video AND took notes, I’m too new to actually explain it. So if you want to learn more about ketosis, read this: What is the Keto Diet 

Prefer videos? Check out Thomas DeLauer on YouTube he is easy to understand (and easy on the eyes) and really gets into the science behind the ketogenic diet.

Now as a sugar junkie, carb loving woman, my inner fat girl threw a hissy fit when I decided to give this a try. No pizza, no bread, no sugar….how was I going to survive?! No really…. I was pretty sure I was going to die. (I can be quite dramatic at times.)

But I didn’t. As I type this I am just about a week into it, intermittent fasting and all, and I gotta tell you, I feel awesome! I am never bloated, I don’t get hungry during my fasting (except for that one I baked a cookie cake before I even had my first cup of coffee, lol) and eating a ton of healthy fat is a lot easier than I thought it would be. Yes, I did have some “keto flu” symptoms. I had a headache one day and brain fog another. I also had some bad charlie horses in the middle of night because I need more electrolytes and I had this feeling that I can only really describe as “energy buzzing”  for a short time on days 3 and 4, but all in all it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. Granted, having a Keto Guru in my corner helped A LOT in figuring it all out and answering all of my dumb questions when I was too lazy to Google them. (Thanks dude!)

As you know I’m also a total Pinterest junkie so of course I did my “keto homework” and found lots of “fake keto” recipes. What’s fake keto you ask? Well, it’s recipes that are keto friendly but simulate the delicious carb heavy foods that you love! Recipes like the ones below have been my saving grace in all of this because if I can simulate a carb or sweet treat, I’m a happy camper. These Fathead bagels and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fat Bombs have been staples in my diet this week! They are sooooooo good!

Want the recipe? Check out Wholesome Yum’s blog here!

Want the recipe? Check out PaleoMomNoms blog here!

So  stay tuned for more Keto updates from me as well as life saving recipes that I try along the way. If you’ve done Keto before or currently follow a Keto Lifestyle, I’d love to hear your best tips and tricks to making it through the first few weeks!

 

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Avocado Bacon Stuffed Turkey Burgers

The temps are slowly rising, the yard is getting cleaned up and we picked up a new propane tank, so that means grill season is coming!

My love for Pinterest is still strong so I’ve been collecting recipes to try and I’m happy to report that this one was a winner! I looked at quit a few of the avocado turkey burger recipes on there and decided to create my own by taking a little from each and the results were moist and delish!

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I mixed everything except the avocado together first to ensure that the garlic and onion was distributed evenly, without working the avocado too much.

Be sure the spray your grill with some nonstick spray or wipe down the grill grates with some oil so there is no risk of sticking.

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 large ripe avocado – cut into chunks or gently mashed
  • cooked, chopped bacon
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp pepper
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Add all your ingredients  to a large bowl and gently mix together. If patties seem really moist and won’t form together well for you, add ⅓ cup bread crumbs but they will no longer be Whole30 compliant.
  2. Shape into patties and grill, making sure to cook the turkey meat completely.

These burgers were super moist and full of flavor! They are also paleo friendly and Whole 30 friendly (if you use Whole 30 approved bacon).

We served these up with some sweet potato fries and I served mine over some baby spinach and topped it sriracha ketchup.

For those of you who follow the 21 Day Fix, these could be counted as 1 Red and 1 Blue container. (Counts are for 1 burger only without a bun)

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Oven Fried Chicken {Healthy Comfort Food}

Oven Fried Chicken

Forget greasy fried chicken! This oven fried chicken recipe has all of the juiciness and crunch you’d expect from fried chicken, without the added fat and calories.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • Nonstick Cooking Spray
  • 1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 – 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup – 3/4 cup cornflakes, crushed finely
  • 1 pound uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, four 4-oz pieces*

* I’m a huge fan of dark meat, so I use boneless skinless chicken thighs. 2 thighs per serving.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Combine flour, Cajun seasoning, pepper and cayenne pepper together in a medium size bowl. Place buttermilk and corn flake crumbs in 2 separate shallow bowls.
  3. Roll chicken in flour mixture and evenly coat each side. Next dip chicken into buttermilk and then corn flake crumbs.
  4. Place coated chicken on your prepared baking sheet. Spray chicken with a light coating of the cooking spray.
  5. Bake until chicken is tender and no longer pink, about 25 to 30 minutes (there is no need to flip the chicken during baking).
    Makes 4 servings.

For those of you using the 21 Day Fix this is roughly 1 yellow and 1 red.

Once you have your first round of the program under your belt, try not to stress out over your containers. Life should be about balance and making healthier choices to keep yourself headed toward your goals and this recipe does that…even if you don’t have exact container counts.

Anytime you skip the KFC drive-thru, search for a healthier recipe and go to the store to buy the ingredients to make it, you’re on the right track!

What would be your side dish of choice with this chicken? We opted for some zoodles quickly sauteed with garlic.

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Shepherd’s Pie {Healthy Comfort Food}

Healthy Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd’s Pie and comfort food go hand in hand to me. Mashed potatoes, beef, veggies and a creamy sauce….yuuuuum!!

In this version, I have lightened things up a lot. There is no butter, milk, cream or sour cream to be found, but there is still a lot of comforting flavor!

Healthy Shepherd’s Pie

Potato Topping:

  • 2 lbs Yukon gold or Russet potatoes (peeled and diced)
  • 3/4 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsps Greek yogurt
  • salt & pepper to taste

Meat Filling:

  • 1.5 lbs 95% lean ground beef
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 8 oz mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 cups frozen peas & carrots
  • 2 Tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup low sodium beef broth
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Boil potatoes in a medium pot of salted water until cooked and soft. Drain and mash with chicken broth, Greek yogurt, salt and pepper, set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  3. In a large saute pan brown meat over medium high heat, breaking the meat up with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Add the onion, garlic and mushrooms and sauté on medium heat about 6 to 8 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Add the flour, frozen vegetables, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce and mix well. Simmer on medium for about 8-10 minutes, until sauce thickens.
  5. Spread the meat filling on the bottom of 9×13 casserole dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Top with mashed potatoes and sprinkle with paprika. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, then place under the broiler 1 to 2 minutes until the potatoes turn golden. Remove from oven and let it cool 5 minutes before serving.  Makes 6 servings.

21 Day Fix and Fix Extreme Containers: 1.5 Yellow, 1 Red, 1 Green

For those of you following the 21 Day Fix, you can cut back on your yellow container and tack on an extra green by cutting the amount of potatoes and adding mashed cauliflower. The two mix together wonderfully and you keep the great potato flavor without going over on a yellow container.

Want to cut all of the potato? Top with just mashed cauliflower. Not sure how to make mashed cauliflower? Just steam your cauliflower, toss into a food processor with the Greek yogurt and broth and pulse it all together until creamy. (Reserve a little cooking water or add some more broth if it is too thick.)

You can also substitute mashed sweet potato for your topping!

This is a really a forgiving dish and a great way to use up veggies that you may in the fridge.

I hope you are enjoying this Healthy Comfort Food segment. Don’t forget to share YOUR favorite comfort food with me below, so I can try and share a healthy alternative to it.

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Portuguese Kale Soup {Healthy Comfort Food}

Portuguese-Kale-Soup

Fall is the official beginning of comfort food season. The temperatures drop, we dig out the sweaters and there is something about casseroles, soups and baked pastas that just warms our soul as we kick off fall.

This time of year also tends to be the start of weight gain season for many. The sweaters hide the bulge, the leggings have give and stretch along with us as we indulge in these comfort foods and baking season, which isn’t far behind.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be featuring healthy comfort foods that will help you to combat the cold weather weight gain. These hearty meals will satisfy your cravings while keep your waist line in check. PLUS if you’re doing the 21 Day Fix, they will also be plan approved!

There are so many reasons to love this Portuguese-inspired kale and sausage soup. As with many soups, this recipe tastes even better on the second day. For that reason, this soup is great for meal prep. It makes enough for a whole week of lunches or dinners, and freezes well.

Portuguese Kale Soup

Total Time: 48 min.
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cooking Time: 38 min.
Yield: 6 servings, about 1¼ cups each

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp. olive oil
8 oz. turkey kielbasa sausage, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 to 3 medium leeks, chopped, just white and light-green parts
1 bunch kale, stems removed and discarded, torn (about 4 cups)
1 (15-oz.) can kidney beans, drained, rinsed
1 (14.5-oz.) can diced tomatoes, no added salt
6 cups low-sodium organic chicken (or vegetable) broth
Ground black pepper (to taste; optional)

Preparation:
1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat.
2. Add kielbasa; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until browned.
3. Add garlic, leeks, and kale; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until soft.
4. Add kidney beans, tomatoes, broth, and pepper (if desired). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.

Nutrition-PortugeseKaleSoup

Doesn’t that look and sound delicious?!

Personally, I think the best part about this recipe is that it is meal prep friendly. If you have been reading my blog for awhile, you know I am big on meal planning and meal prep, especially when doing the 21 Day Fix. It truly is the key to staying on plan and avoiding temptation during the week, when things can get hectic.

If you’re new to the 21 Day Fix, be sure to check out my 21 Day Fix Planning tools.

Been thinking about trying 21 Day Fix but have questions? Feel free to contact me with them! I’d be more than happy to help you figure out if it would be a good fix for you….plus it’s on special this month and I have a new accountability group beginning on October 26th!

What’s your favorite comfort food once the temps start cooling down?

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Football Snacks to Keep You on Track

Football

Are you ready for some football?!

I know I am!

This month I was going to run a 7 day group focused on football snacks to keep you on track, but I didn’t have any takers for it (insert sad Nikki face here). As a result, I decided to turn my idea into a blog post that might help some football fans who I have not personally connected with on Facebook yet.

(Hint Hint…you can like my Facebook page OR leave a comment below so we can connect!)

Fall equals football season, there is no denying that. Some of us can’t wait for Saturdays, so we can cheer on our favorite college teams, some are die hard NFL fans, some are into both and let’s face it…there are people who don’t care about who’s playing or who wins, they’re just in it for the snacks and the beer. I don’t know many of them, but I hear they do exist.

Personally I have always been into the NFL more (Go Broncos!) but over the last few years, I’ve been watching more Big 10 games and trying to keep all of the college rules and teams straight. I married into a family who takes football very seriously and likes to trash talk, which is really a lot of fun. Getting together with others on a Sunday to talk smack and drink a few beers is a great way to catch up and socialize, but the food that is typically served at these gathering can really screw up your week if you are trying to be healthier.

Below are some links to recipes that I love to make, as well as some that I plan on trying the football season. The goal is to help myself stay on track, while not feeling like an outcast who only eats steamed chicken and broccoli. I hope you give them a try and if YOU have any favorites that I did not list, I would LOVE to hear about them in the comments section below!

Football Appetizers

Healthy Football Appetizers:

Football Main Dish

Healthy Football Main Dishes:

Chili, Pizza and Taco’s just come to mind when I hear football. For you, it might be burgers or sausage subs. When you select your main dishes for game day, just keep a few things in mind:

  1. Keep it lean. (Sub turkey for beef or go 90% or leaner with ground beef. Turkey sausage is also super yummy!)
  2. Keep it hand held or easy to eat. (Sliders are a perfect way to enjoy burgers on game day!)
  3. Keep it simple. (You’ll want to watch the game, not be chained to the kitchen!)

As you can see, I kept things simple and flavorful. Good fun doesn’t have to be fried, full of fat or time consuming to make. These recipes are just the tip of iceberg and I encourage everyone to search Pinterest for more ideas, share some your favorite healthy game day snacks or even share an unhealthy favorite that you might need help cleaning up!

Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box by using cauliflower pizza crusts, offering Energy Bites or Cookie Dough Dip as a sweet treat instead of cookies or using mini peppers to make some Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers!

My final tip is something that you already know…… LIMIT EMPTY CALORIES FROM BEER AND ALCOHOL! I know having a beer while watching football makes the experience feel complete, and it’s okay to have one or two. It’s when you begin drinking to excess that you run into problems. As with everything in life, moderation is key!

Have fun with your food this football season and best of luck to your team!

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FIXATE Cookbook Revisions

Long time no post…I know, I know. Bad blogger!

The summer is a crazy time of year, as everyone knows. The kids are home, you sleep in (if you’re lucky), you move at a slower pace and there really isn’t much structure or a schedule to stick to. As a result, I didn’t have much time to write and tried to stayed focused on my nutrition and activity as best I could (I’ll do an post on what I’ve been up to shortly…I promise!)

Today, I wanted to share some revisions to the 21 Day Fix companion cookbook, FIXATE.

Myself, as well as all of my clients were filled with joyed when the announcement for this book was made. I ordered a copy as soon as it was available and I snagged a few copies while I was in Nashville for the annual Beachbody Coach Summit, to pass along to future clients. During the flight home I cracked it open and begin making a list of everything I was going to make when I got home and that’s when I realize something wasn’t right.

If you have been doing 21 Day Fix for awhile and are comfortable with the container system, you can tell by looking at a recipe roughly what the container counts should be and certain recipes just weren’t adding up. Thankfully, Autumn Calabrese (creator of 21 Day Fix) addressed the issue on message boards and they began answer questions regarding the container counts for the recipes in the book. Hence this post featuring FIXATE Cookbook revisions!

Below, is a .PDF revision for the book, so if you own it, be sure to save this, print it out or use it to manually change the container counts/colors in your FIXATE book.

Fixate Revisions

FIXATE Revisions

Another great resource that Autumn supplied to us, was this video which explains WHY certain foods become counted as a purple or orange container, even though the food items is actually on the green or blue container list.


I hope these revisions and video help you on your 21 Day Fix journey! If you have any other questions about the cookbook and or the 21 Day Fix program, please feel free to ask them below! I have monthly support groups each month and would love to have you join my next one.

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{21 Day Fix} Beach Friendly Snacks

Pool Snacks
Let’s talk beach & pool food!

You’re working out hard, doing great with your meals and then your friends or family want to hit the pool or the beach to cool off and enjoy the summer weather. You begin to freak out because this is out of your norm and you don’t want to ruin your progress with the 21 Day Fix or your fitness routine.

Don’t worry! Here are some healthy options to pack and take with you for a little fun in the sun.

21 Day Fix Beach Friendly Snacks:

  • Fruit & veggies teamed up with some hummus, PB, guacamole or yogurt dip are all quick, simple & nutritious option to prepare the night before.
  • Clean out old PB jars or use a mason jar to pack celery, apples it baby carrots with some PB or hummus. (This will also help to reduce getting sand in your food at the beach)
  • Plastic soda cups with lids make awesome salad containers. Just layer your ingredients (put your dressing on the bottom) and stick a fork in the top, for easy grab and go lunch!
  • Wraps are another great option. One of my favorites is nitrate-free turkey or ham with hummus, lettuce, tomato and a little broccoli slaw for crunch. Want something lower carb? Ditch the tortilla and use romaine lettuce as a wrap instead.

All you need is a cooler with some ice-packs, a little prep time the night before or the morning before you leave and you’ll be on track to avoid buying a hot dog, pretzel of other junk options that you typically find at either location.

Do you have a favorite pool or beach snack? If so, please share below!

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Crazy Cups: How I Conquer My Sweet Tooth

Crazy Cups PostDisclaimer: As a Crazy Cups Ambassador, I was sent a package of coffee to review. and no compensation was exchanged. All opinions stated are my own.

I have sweet tooth bigger than my head. Cookies, cinnamon rolls, ice-cream…you name it! I have a hard time saying no to them. I also have a hard time saying no to coffee, so this is where Crazy Cups becomes my saving grace!

Now, if you follow me on Instagram or if we are friends on Facebook, you know that I LOVE me some coffee! I am always picking up new flavors of K-cups to try and my morning posts typically have something to do with coffee, especially dessert flavored coffees. Knowing this about me, it will come as no surprise that when Crazy Cups reached out to me and asked me to become an ambassador for them, I said YES!

In case you have not heard of Crazy Cups before, here is a little info about them:

  • They have recyclable K-cups.
  • They are known for their flavored K-cups. (you’ll see why as you read on)
  • Their products are organic and fair trade.
  • Their cups have 13g coffee grounds, which is 30% more than the competition.
  • Get notifications about new flavors and become part of their Flavor Nation with their app: (Click Here)

I am not a stranger to the Crazy Cups line of coffee  and I have tried many of their flavors, including their Hot Cocoa line. (FYI: the Maple French Toast is hands down my favorite!)  They have a list of flavors that will make your mouth drool:

Crazy Cups

  • Chocolate Coconut Dream
  • Frosted Oatmeal Cookie
  • Italian Chocolate Cheesecake
  • Pumpkin Vanilla Creme
  • Cinnamon Churro
  • Caramel Truffle Sundae
  • Bananas Foster Flambe
  • Salted Caramel

…and more! Don’t those sound good?!

Coffee flavors like these have been the key to keeping my sweet tooth in check while doing my workouts and sticking to clean eating. They feel like a cheat to me and help me to curb my cravings without shoving a calorie-filled treat into my face and regretting it later. I also get the energy I need to feel human through caffeine instead of processed sugar. (Remember, always say no to processed sugar and enjoy your caffeine in moderation, while drinking lots of water because it can dehydrate you!)

Plus their dedication to flavored coffee brings a tear to my eye…

ode to flavor

Speaking of Death By Chocolate…it’s my new obsession!

This flavor can cure just about any chocolate craving with the smell alone. My entire kitchen smelled like a chocolate cake as this little pod brewed, it was absolutely heavenly!

Now, I drink my coffee iced and black (which is why this is a basically a calorie free treat for me) and the flavor of this was perfectly balanced. It was chocolaty but not so sweet that you forgot you were drinking a cup of coffee.

Want to try some Death by Chocolate for yourself? Enter my GIVEAWAY below for a chance to win a box of your very own! (CLOSED)

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{Summer Beauty} Coconut Lime Scrub

Can you believe it is July already?!

Sorry I’ve been MIA again lately. With the end of the school year, two kids graduation from their schools and getting into the summer routine, I’ve been a little lost. On the bright side, my brain has been going non-stop about new posts to s

We’re been having some strange weather here in New Jersey. Warm one minute, fall the next, however my skin is a constant reminder of winter. It’s dry and itchy and just not summer ready. I decide to quit relying on just lotion and I whipped up some exfoliating scrub after hitting Pinterest for some winter skin solutions.

This stuff smells ah-mazing and left me skin feeling smooth, hydrated and ready to slip into a pair of short or sundress.

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Coconut Lime Scrub
1/4 cup Unrefined Coconut Oil
3/4 cup Granulated Sugar
2 Tbsp Lime Juice
Lime Zest
Lime Essential Oil (if desired)

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. Store in a mason jar and use while you shower!

You can use the base recipe of coconut oil & sugar and change the scent if you’d like. Essential oils are very popular these days, so get creative and have fun! Lavender would be a great option to help you relax if you like to shower before bed.

Do you have a summer beauty tip that you can’t live without? Please share below so I can give it a try!

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