Sunday, May 31, 2015

Sunday Seven #6

Happy Sunday! Normally I post seven of my favorite things from the past week, but this week I want to change it up a little. Instead of posting seven of my favorite things, I'm going to share seven things I'm grateful for. I think sometimes we all get so caught up in day to day life, I know I do, that we forget to be thankful for the little things.

1. The ability to workout. This probably sounds silly, but the ability to move, lift, and do crazy workouts is so fulfilling for me. I'm passionate about health and fitness and with lupus I know what it's like to not be able to do the things I want to. Every day that I can wake up and go workout I am grateful for that privilege.

2. My goofy puppy Cora. There are plenty of days that Cora drives me NUTS. Her manners are non existent no matter how hard I work with her. She is still scared of basically everything, but I know she loves me. She is always the first one to greet me with tons of slobbery kisses after a long day at work or coming home from college, she is literally the happiest dog, and her smile can melt even the coldest of hearts. Cora drives me mad but I also love her madly <3

3. My (crazy) family. I seriously have no pictures of the four of us, like what the heck?! Like any other family we have our moments- you know the ones where your family literally just drives you MAD, yet you know nothing could break your bond. My family has been so supportive of me with lupus and all the crazy endeavors I've been involved in. At the end of the day I do love them (most of the time lol).

4. Calming words from my father. Life has a way of being total chaos. Knowing that God is the calm in the midst of the storm brings peace to my over thinking brain. This is a verse I have been pulled to a lot recently as I face graduation and it never fails to bring peace to my heart. "The LORD says 'I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.'" Psalm 32:8

5. Friends. I am seriously blessed with the BEST friends EVER! They never fail to pick me up when I'm feeling down, they endure my tiredness and occasional mood swings caused by the lupus in stride, provide constant encouragement in Christ, drag my nose out of the books at school and me me socialize even when I have a million things to do, and they always have my back. 

6. Freedom. For me this one is an easy one to forget about, I know that's incredibly sad but I think it's true for a lot of people. Living in the U.S. is such a blessing. I don't have to fear persecution for expressing my thoughts or opinions, I can freely and openly worship without fear of persecution (or worse), I can go where I want when I please, etc. Both of my grandfathers served this country in World War II so I can continue to enjoy those freedoms. I don't have the words to express how grateful I am to every single person who has served our country to protect those freedoms! You are truly heroes! 

7. The promise of summer. This is probably silly, but I always get giddy when summer is in the air. Flowers begin to bloom, the sun shines (except today when it's pouring rain), and there's a promise of long days spent on the lake followed by BBQing! Summertime always brings me back to being a kid and there's a simple pleasure in that.

I hope you have a wonderful Sunday and take a few minutes to think about the blessings in your life! What are some of the things you're grateful for?

Friday, May 29, 2015

105 Calorie Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Microwave Cake (Low Carb, High Protein, Low Sugar, Gluten Free)

HOLY HEALTHY DELICIOUSNESS!!! Sound the alarm because this is not a drill, I repeat THIS IS NOT A DRILL! Dessert that is totally healthy- there has to be some catch right? WRONG! This cake is enough for a single serving and it's low carb, high in protein, low sugar, low fat, and gluten free (say all of that three times fast). 

Am I crazy or am I totally nuts? Probably, but this mug cake will knock your socks off (if you're wearing them that is). I am not a snacker or a dessert person. Sweets are just not my thing. Last night was a rare night that I wanted something a bit sweet. I've had mug cakes in the past and have not been impressed. Generally they are loaded with sugar and frankly don't taste good. 

I ended up throwing ingredients together as a kitchen science experiment crossing my fingers that the end result would be semi edible. It took a few tweaks but HOLY MOLY I arrived at the right balance! I thought it might be a fluke so I made it again, nope no fluke. I had someone else taste it and they thought it was good too. There was about six ugly photos taken before it was devoured. I apologize for the ugly photos (I plan on retaking them soon). Taste for yourself and you shall see dessert can be healthy AND delicious! 

Double Chocolate PB Microwave Cake
  • 2 Tablespoons Chocolate PB2 (powdered peanut butter, you can sub regular PB2)
  • 1 Tablespoon Hershey's special dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 Tablespoon gluten free all purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon zero calorie sweetener (I used Stevia, you can also use light brown sugar if you prefer a sweeter taste)
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • 3 Tablespoons liquid egg white
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • OPTIONAL- dab of plain or vanilla greek yogurt or unsweetened apple sauce (this will make it more moist)
  • OPTIONAL: any toppings your heart desires

In a microwave safe bowl or large mug combine all the dry ingredients.

When all the dry ingredients have been mixed together add in the water and egg whites. If you want a moister cake add in a small amount of plain or vanilla greek yogurt or unsweetened organic apple sauce.

Stir together all ingredients until no lumps remain. Feel free to mix in chocolate chips, coconut flakes, or anything your heart desires (but that does alter nutrition info).

Microwave for 45 seconds on high.

If the cake is still slightly liquid microwave for an additional 10 seconds. You don't want to microwave it too long and dry it up. Be mindful of the times as every microwave is different.

Pop cake out of mug or bowl onto a plate if you choose. Add any toppings. I added Redi Whip. DEVOUR!

Happy Friday and happy healthy desserting (totally made that word up) :) 

Nutrition info (without toppings):
MACROS: 16C/2F/11P
Nutrition Facts
Servings 1.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 105
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 2 g3 %
Saturated Fat 0 g0 %
Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg0 %
Sodium 2760 mg115 %
Potassium 75 mg2 %
Total Carbohydrate 16 g5 %
Dietary Fiber 3 g11 %
Sugars 4 g
Protein 11 g22 %
Vitamin A0 %
Vitamin C0 %
Calcium1 %
Iron14 %

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Thursday Thoughts #6

1. Office rule #205- if you want to make friends fast bake stuff. Not even kidding. I love baking, but I don't like sweets (weird combo I know) so now I bake stuff and bring it in to work. This week I made triple chocolate cookies, which I was later informed should be death by chocolate cookies, but everyone loved them! My dad even snuck some before I wrapped them up to take in. I can post that recipe if anyone is interested. 

2. It's hot and I've been eating a lot of açai bowls. That shouldn't even come as a surprise. BUT my favorite has been adding Purely Elizabeth original granola to my açai bowls- SO GOOD! And no I'm not being paid to say that. I genuinely love that granola. I have to restrain myself from eating the whole darn bag. 

3. I used these veggie burgers in my meal prep for this week. I really really like them. Typically I always make my own veggie burgers from scratch but it was Memorial Day weekend and I was lazy so these were a good option. They are high in protein, don't contain any crazy ingredients, and they're low carb. My favorite way to have them is on the grill. Vegetarian BBQ!

4. I like finding new workout moved to incorporate in my workout. HOLY SMOKES! Seriously this is a killer for basically every part of the body. I started in push up position, went down into a push up, back up and then kicked my left leg over to right side (like in the picture), and finished back in push up position. Do it to each side for as many times as you can. Wobbly arms are known to happen after awhile.

5. IT'S FINALLY SUNNY ON MY DAY OFF!! Seriously this never happens, like EVER. It is always rainy and usually gale force winds. But today it is sunny, 80F, and PERFECT! Cora and I have spent so much time outside its been wonderful. I had a post workout snack out on the deck. It's made up of Siggi's yogurt, Purely Elizabeth Granola, strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries. 

Have a great Thursday! Enjoy the beautiful weather!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Quick At Home Workout

I needed a quick at home workout yesterday because the gym was closed because of Memorial Day (so much for being 24/7 365 days a year). I had to be at work extra early (yuck) so I improvised a quick at home workout. I have basic workout equipment at home but I stuck to only using a medicine ball and ab wheel. 

This is a great at home workout that will get your whole body moving. If you're short on time and looking to squeeze in a workout then this is the workout for you! 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Monday Meal Prep: Portabella Veggiburger Salad (Gluten Free, Vegetarian)

Happy Memorial Day!! If you are lucky enough to have the day off I hope you can get outside and enjoy the day with family and friends! Don't forget the real reason we celebrate Memorial Day- to honor the brave men and women who have, and continue to fight for our country! A big THANK YOU to all of these amazing men and women!

Sadly, I don't have the day off. I have to work and I have to be at work early and work late- sounds fun right? Yeah no. BUT nothing makes the day move a bit faster than a delicious lunch! I have been craving veggies so I went with a salad this week. 

Normally I'd make my own protein for the salad, but I went the lazy route and bought these veggie burgers at the grocery store. These veggie burgers are so yummy!! They are gluten free and super quick to prep, which is always a bonus in my book. This salad is sure to make your coworkers green with veggie envy!

Portabella Veggiburger Salad:
  • 2 cups power blend lettuce (kale, spinach, spring mix blend)
  • 1/2 on the vine tomato, sliced
  • 1/4 cup avocado, sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 Tablespoon chopped walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon homemade roasted cinnamon chickpeas
  • 1 Tablespoon vegan cheese
  • 1 gluten free Portabella Veggiburger (I used Franklin Farms brand)

Line a baking sheet with tinfoil and spray with nonstick cook spray.

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. 

Place portabella veggiburgers on baking sheet. I prepared 3 burgers at once.

Bake for 6 minutes. Flip then bake for an additional 4 minutes. Cook time may vary depending on your oven and the type of burger you use.

While the veggie burger is baking prepare the salad. I use tupperware containers because those are the easiest for me to carry and take to work.

In each container place lettuce, tomato, avocado, blueberries, walnuts, roasted chickpeas, and vegan cheese. 

When the veggie burgers are done baking allow them to cool completely before placing them on top of the salad.

Keep containers in the fridge. I highly recommend packing the salad in a lunch box with a cold pack to keep everything as fresh as possible. 

I packed chopped up fruit and some almonds to go with my salad.

If you make them tag me on instagram and use the hashtag #thesimplelife and go like my new page on Facebook!

Nutrition information (based on 1 salad):
MACROS: 22C/9F*/20P
*if you think the fat count is high think about where the fat is coming from- walnuts and avocado- its a good kind of fat, the kind your body needs.
Nutrition Facts
Servings 1.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 228
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 9 g14 %
Saturated Fat 1 g5 %
Monounsaturated Fat 4 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg0 %
Sodium 569 mg24 %
Potassium 638 mg18 %
Total Carbohydrate 22 g7 %
Dietary Fiber 9 g36 %
Sugars 4 g
Protein 20 g40 %
Vitamin A112 %
Vitamin C151 %
Calcium20 %
Iron29 %

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sunday Seven #5

Seven of my favorite things from the past week...

1. I absolutely adore Amanda (her blog is Patient Endurance) and she wrote a post on Friday that really hit home for me. Loneliness is something we all struggle with, whether we admit it or not. Amanda totally hit the nail on the head and I can relate to this in every way. Her passion for the Lord is so authentic and her servants heart is so authentic I just want to hug her beautiful soul <3

2. I love Made in Michigan products and I was so excited that the health food store had a Made in Michigan display! This granola looked so delicious and I was sad I didn't have enough money on me to get it. The macros were awesome, it gluten free, and they have 3 flavors. I will most definitely be back to get this!

3. Carb Cycling. There is a lot of talk in the fitness world about carb cycling and I think there is a lot of misunderstanding about it. Carb cycling can be a really great thing, but it's super important to be informed about it. Honestly if you want to cycle consider getting a coach who can walk through the process with you- shameless plug Katie Ringley is AWESOME!! If you just want more information about carb cycling this article lays it out in simple terms.

4. Don't mind if I do...but really this looked delicious! All I need a gluten free wrap and sign me up for this yummy creation by Sam (her blog is Love Live Balance). Homemade almond butter (already drooling), greek yogurt, and strawberries delicately wrapped in a wrap (haha no pun intended!!) how can you NOT be drooling?! I can't wait to try this, but sadly mine will not be made with homemade almond butter :( If you want the full recipe here is the link!

5. My stomach has been tolerating small amounts of dairy, yay!! Siggi's is delicious plus it's macros rock!! I also got my hands on Purely Elizabeth granola, which I can have because it doesn't have seeds in it. It is majorly yummy and is PERFECT in Siggi's!

6. WORKOUTS! This had to be included because today was the first day since my biopsy that I was allowed to go to the gym!!! Of course I was there bright and early, and although I couldn't do everything at full force it felt amazing just to workout! 

7. Health food stores salad bars = OH MY! There are no words! I basically piled on everything there was- beets, pineapple, green onion, walnuts, fennel, tomatoes, tofu, and so much more. I will definitely be going back at some point! 

Happy Sunday and I hope you're having a great Memorial Day weekend!! If you're lucky enough to have a long weekend I envy you, but enjoy and remember the real reason for the holiday! 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

White Chocolate Wonderful Oats

Yesterday morning I had to be at the hospital bright and early for a liver biopsy. It was about as fun as it sounds...aka not fun at all. Forget the giant needle being inserted in you the worst part for me is I'm not allowed to workout today! I can go workout tomorrow so I will most definitely be at the gym bright and early (or dark and early because it's still dark when I get up). I'm a very bad patient. I hate/can't sit still. I have to be constantly moving, hence why I can never work a traditional cubicle job.  

On the bright side of this morning my stomach has settled down (mostly) and I was allowed to eat breakfast. Of course I went for oats :) I had an empty peanut butter jar so I after I made the oats I screwed the lid back on and let the hot oats sit in the jar for a few minutes. It sounds crazy but the peanut butter melts off the sides and flavors the oats making oats even more delicious! 

White Chocolate Wonderful Oats
  • 1 empty Peanut Butter and Co White Chocolate Wonderful jar
  • 1/2 cup Chex gluten free oats (made with 1 cup water)
  • 3 large strawberries, sliced
  • 1/8 cup blueberries
  • a few blackberries

Really all you do it prepare the oats and then dump them into the peanut butter jar. 

Screw the lid on and let the hot oats sit there for 4-5 minutes.

Unscrew the lid and add fruit toppings, or toppings of choice, then DEVOUR!!

Have a great Saturday and enjoy the beautiful weather!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Thursday Thoughts #5

1. I had a doctor appointment early this afternoon and my doctor is across from a mall that has a Vitamin Shoppe. Somehow I ended up in the store and a bunch of goodies jumped off the shelf and into my arms...not really but I had a coupon so it made me feel a bit better knowing I got a good deal. Quest bars for the win!

2. When I was at the Vitamin Shoppe I got another jar of Buff Bake since my jar of chocolate chip peanut butter is almost gone. I chose the cookie almond butter because it sounded really good (it has epic macros too!) but I'm kind of disappointed. It tasted a lot like the snickerdoodle almond butter, which is delicious, but I was hoping for more of a cookie flavor. Whomp whomp whomp.

3. I swear I have the BEST friends EVER!! Tomorrow I have a liver biopsy, doesn't that sound like so much fun...not, but I yesterday I came home to a package from one of my best friends Sam. She was so sweet and sent me a package of goodies because she knew about my biopsy! I LOVE HER SO STINKING MUCH! She understands my love of fun socks- I am totally wearing them tomorrow when I go to the hospital! Sam just started her own blog too so you should go check it out-

4. My dog is a nut. Seriously though. This is Cora's I'm about to be wild and run around the house like a holy terror look. She gets down on two paws with her butt in the air, barks like a maniac and then takes off like a rocket. I love her dearly, but its a good thing she's a dog and not a person because she would need meds to calm her down.

5. And I'm out of thoughts. Mostly my brain is too tired to function properly today. 

I hope you are having a great week and are looking forward to a long weekend (if you get one)! What thoughts are bouncing around in your head today?

Monday, May 18, 2015

Meal Prep: Spicy Falafel

Happy Monday! Wowza it is HUMID outside! Despite chopping half a foot of hair off over the weekend I still have an afro this morning. I hardly ever use hairspray, but even hairspray is no match for today. I shall just rock the fro today, but at least I have a good lunch packed...

Falafel was one of those things I kept seeing on instagram. All of my vegetarian and vegan friends raved about it while I stood off to the side thinking what is it? In case you don't know what falafel is a common dish in the Middle East. People eat it in place of meat, and one of my friends who traveled to the Middle East recently told me it's often found in pitas as street food. 

Basically falafel is delicious and you should try it! My mom was skeptical about it too, but she tried it and really liked it. It does have a different texture and a bit of a kick to it. I know it's made with chickpeas- I am not a fan of chickpeas, but once it's done you would never know it's made with chickpeas. Give it a try I think you will be pleasantly surprised at falafel's delightful taste!

Spicy Falafel
  • 15 oz. no salt added chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup almond flour (gluten free oat and coconut flour also work)
  • 1.5 teaspoons cumin
  • 1.5 cups fresh chopped parsley (about 1 bundle)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ground black pepper to taste

In a food processor combine cumin, garlic, parsley, lemon juice, and pepper until smooth.

Add rinsed and drained chickpeas to food processor. Process just long enough to mix everything together. You want the dough to be chunky to maintain texture. 

Scoop the dough out of the food processor and into a mixing bowl. 

Add almond flour (or flour of choice) to mixing bowl. Mix the four and dough until the dough is dry enough to be handled using your hands. Add in more flour as needed.

Preheat the oven to 375F degrees. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and spray with nonstick cook spray or with coconut oil.

Using your hands take small sections of dough and roll them into a ball and then flatten them out on the baking sheet to form patties. Repeat until dough is gone. I formed 7 medium patties out of the dough.

Bake the patties for 20 minutes at 375F degrees. Flip the patties and return to the oven for an additional 15-20 minutes. The longer you bake the patties the firmer and crispier they will get. 

Remove falafel from oven and allow to cool before removing from pan. 

Serve as a burger, in a salad, or in a lettuce wrap. Falafel is delicious no matter how you have it! 

Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week or freeze for later.

Nutrition (based on 7 falafel patties):
Nutrition Facts
Servings 7.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 92
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 3 g4 %
Saturated Fat 0 g1 %
Monounsaturated Fat 1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg0 %
Sodium 26 mg1 %
Potassium 203 mg6 %
Total Carbohydrate 13 g4 %
Dietary Fiber 3 g14 %
Sugars 1 g
Protein 5 g9 %
Vitamin A29 %
Vitamin C46 %
Calcium6 %
Iron12 %