Sunday, October 23, 2016

No Bake Protein Pumpkin Cheesecake

Nothing says, "fall is here" quite like pumpkin does. For our first fall here on the island, it does not feel like fall at all so the pumpkin helps ;) I love that pumpkin is packed full of nutrients and is low calorie. So you know I have been experimenting in the kitchen! This recipe tastes like the real deal, decadent and rich!

Coffee- my breakfast, lunch, and snack today as I am doing an Eat Stop Eat style 24 hour fast. Regardless of whether I am doing a 24h fast or not, it is my breakfast 99% of the time. Why? Because the earlier you eat in the day, the higher your daily calorie total- almost always. It is like breaking a hunger seal. I am usually the hungriest in the evenings, so why not allocate most of my calories for then? Play it smart and do what works for you. I am 2 weeks out from my next shoot so almost back to maintenance land!

So addicted to this Superfood Stuffed Pepper recipe! I think I have made it every day all week long. I subbed 3.5 oz of leftover trimmed brisket for 4 oz lean ground beef in the recipe to keep the macros about the same. (422 cals and 35g protein) OMG! SO good! Serious flavor bomb. AND it is chock full of veggie goodness! Recipe from last week here -

I have learned through experimentation that I prefer to do my banded clams on a bench. It gives your lower leg more range of motion so you can really feel it in both glutes. But still swap sides, of course ;)

...So onto the recipe. I made you a video again!

No Bake Protein Pumpkin Cheesecake

serves 1

1 tbsp(s), Granular Stevia (or sweetener of choice)
0.25 cup (122g), Canned Pumpkin Puree
0.25 cup, Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal (could sub graham cracker crumbles too)
0.25 tsp, Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 ounce, Neufchatel Cheese (can sub Greek or Low Fat Cream Cheese too)
0.50 Scoop (32g), Vanilla Whey Protein Powder
2 oz, Fage Plain Fat Free Greek Yogurt

In a bowl, mix together softened neufchatel cheese with Greek yogurt and pumpkin puree. Stir in protein powder, stevia, and pumpkin pie spice. In a tall glass, pour in half the cereal then top with half the pumpkin cheesecake mixture. Repeat with other halves of cereal and pumpkin cheesecake mixture. Garnish with whipped topping if desired. Enjoy!

Nutritional info:

per serving
Nutrition Facts
Servings 1.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 244
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 11 g16 %
Saturated Fat 6 g32 %
Monounsaturated Fat 1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 47 mg16 %
Sodium 243 mg10 %
Potassium 21 mg1 %
Total Carbohydrate 20 g7 %
Dietary Fiber 3 g13 %
Sugars 9 g
Protein 21 g41 %
Vitamin A156 %
Vitamin C4 %
Calcium15 %
Iron11 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

I am thinking this would be good in a chocolate and peanut butter combination too.... off to the kitchen ;)


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Superfood Stuffed Bell Peppers

I had a date with the camera this week to make a recipe video. Not going to lie, I had my kitchen rigged up like a redneck haha! But the recipe turned out even more amazing than I expected. Guys, this stuffed pepper is delicious and makes a huge plate full of food (and you know how I am about volume).

My 10 year old daughter made this collage for art and remarked how pretty all the parts were before she combined them and that it looked kind of ugly together. It reminded me of something that I learned from one of my Venus sisters. "You pick all the best parts from beautiful people but together they are not as beautiful as one individual the way God made them." Don't pick and compare your parts to other's best parts. Become the best version of YOU! She decided to write that down at the bottom of her art πŸ’œ 

Here is a little twist on reverse hyperextensions for you that extends the glute areas worked πŸ‘Reverse Hyperextension Frog Kicks πŸ‘ I have a mini band around my knees! When you come down, go outward with your knees. I didn't think my bench would be high enough for these long legs, but I was pleasantly surprised!

But back to the recipe, I think you are going to love it enough to make it more than once! I also love how there are plenty of veggies packed into this recipe but it doesn't taste like a salad. And finally, it makes one pepper but it is super easy to scale up to feed a family!

Superfood Stuffed Bell Peppers

Serves 1

1 red bell pepper
4 oz lean ground beef
1 tbsp taco seasoning
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 tbsp diced chili pepper
1/4 cup chopped broccoli
1/4 cup shredded kale
1/4 cup spinach
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup rice, cooked
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided

Instructions: Take the top and seeds off the bell pepper and microwave for 5 minutes. In a cast iron skillet over med-high heat, add your ground beef and taco seasoning. Then add your onion and chili pepper. Stir frequently until meat is browned. Stir in the broccoli, kale, and spinach. Then stir in the tomato paste, rice, and half the cheese until incorporated. Plate the mixture in the skillet over the cooked bell pepper and top with remaining cheese.

Nutritional info for 1 serving: 

422 cals, 18.2 g fat, 30.1 g carbs, 35.4 g protein

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Malissa's Bacon Ranch Crack Chicken and Supplements

So I posted this recipe from my friend Malissa a few weeks ago, but I had not had time to make all her variations at the time I posted it. I made the Taco Crack Chicken recipe she had shared with me, and was super impressed. Recipe here -

This week, I finally made the "original" variation of her Crack Chicken, which is bacon ranch. Ummm WOW. This is the best one yet. It tastes and sounds indulgent, but the macros are spot on.

The next day, I served the leftover crack chicken on a flatbread with some spinach. It was MMmmmm good! You cannot go wrong with this stuff!

I had a busy week, and got a lot accomplished.

#rxbar haul! My sis-in-law told me I needed to try these a while back and I finally made it by the store here that carries them! While the calorie to protein ratio is not ideal (most are ~200 cals and 12 g protein), the taste is mmmmmm good! Reminds me of a Larabar. And the ingredient list is short, sweet, and all whole foods. I tried the Pumpkin Spice bar first, duh! It was two thumbs up. Think we will be buying these on the reg. Was not impressed with the peanut butter flavor though, so skip that one.

I am four weeks out from my next photoshoot! (Need to get this hair done STAT!) My favorite pre-workout is in this poodle mug (it's Olive Marie!) that I am holding. Coffee with a teaspoon of plain creatine monohydrate powder with a little stevia and a tablespoon of half and half. It's not fancy but it gets the job done. I have tried plenty of other pre-workouts, and I either hate the taste or they do nothing for me. This is cheap and easily accessible. It helps that I love coffee ;)

Figured I would talk about supplements since I talked about pre-workout ;) specifically what I take on a daily basis and WHY. Everyone is different but here are my reasons (from left):
1) multi-vitamin with 100% DV iron - if you are a menstruating woman, chances are high that your iron levels are low. A multi is an all around insurance policy to make up for dietary gaps.
2) fish or krill oil - fights inflammation in the body from multiple sources and improves brain function if you do not get enough DHA and EPA in your diet
3) calcium, magnesium, and zinc - I take an extra serving of this before bed when in a caloric deficit to prevent cramping (I get charlie horses from hell when I diet, some people don't)
4) probiotic - look for lots of strains and high CFU (at least over a billion). Rotate this every bottle because variety is key to a functional gut. People who have well-functioning guts lose weight faster and keep it off.
*I tend to rotate brands on everything.

I also use protein powder as a supplement, but I don't hardly ever make it as a shake. Instead I prefer to add it to my oatmeal or pancakes to boost the protein. My favorite brand (for a while now) is Optimum Nutrition's Gold Standard Whey. The chocolate and vanilla flavors are amazing.

Some small tweaks for your next workout that you can help increase glute activation:
Top) leaning back during seated banded hip abductions. Hits your glutes a bit differently, I feel it deeper!
Bottom) planks with banded hip extensions. Love multitasking, effective movements. Bonus: you are more unstable so it increases core activation as well!

Sooo onto the recipe. I have tried it with salad and by itself. My kids have enjoyed it on a sandwich and as the filling in a quesadilla. It would be great on a pita or a baked potato too.

Malissa's Bacon Ranch Crack Chicken

Serves 8

2 lb(s), Tyson Chicken Breast (I used frozen but you can use fresh)
2.50 tablespoon, Ranch Dip Mix (Or 1 packet)
8 oz, Cheese, neufchatel (You can use regular cream cheese, used because the calorie count is lower)
4 slices, Bacon, cooked

Spray crock pot with non-stick spray. Put in the chicken breasts, cream cheese, and ranch seasoning. Cook on low 6-8 hours or high 4 hours then shred and add bacon. If you prefer, you can bake in the oven at 425 for 45 minutes, then turn down to 275 for 2 hours. Shred and add bacon. Reduce your cooking times if you are using thawed chicken.

Nutrition Information

(per 5 ounces)

Nutrition Facts
Servings 8.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 289
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 12 g19 %
Saturated Fat 5 g27 %
Monounsaturated Fat 4 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 122 mg41 %
Sodium 509 mg21 %
Potassium 93 mg3 %
Total Carbohydrate 3 g1 %
Dietary Fiber 0 g0 %
Sugars 1 g
Protein 39 g79 %
Vitamin A5 %
Vitamin C0 %
Calcium3 %
Iron5 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

6 Weight Watchers Smart Points per Serving

X- Liss

Friday, September 30, 2016

Easy Fresh Balsamic Salad

This little salad has been a staple lately. And I stepped out of my comfort zone and did a quick, little recipe video for you so you can see just how easy it is.

I have been making lots of chopped salads with homemade vinaigrette dressings lately. They are super filling when you are watching your calories and they pack a lot of nutritional punch. The best part is that they last for a few days so you can prep a big bowl and eat off of it!

I just use whatever veggies I have on hand, this happens to be a chopped cucumber, handful of grape tomatoes, half a red bell pepper, half of a yellow bell pepper, handful of chopped carrots (gave them a whirl in the Ninja), a little onion, and some thinly sliced Brussels sprouts. I have used a combination of all the following with good results:

  • cabbage
  • Brussels sprouts
  • spinach
  • kale
  • tomatoes- regular or cherry
  • cucumbers
  • carrots- big ones chopped up or baby carrots
  • bell peppers
  • celery
  • onion

For the dressing, I do a tablespoon of olive oil, a tablespoon on balsamic vinegar (whatever vinegar you want), teaspoon of yellow mustard, teaspoon of honey (can sub stevia too, or both), a half teaspoon of tarragon, and salt/pepper. Taste and adjust then shake the dressing in a jar then toss the chopped salad with it.

Dinner out on the left, my morning run on the right! About 6 weeks to go to my next photoshoot and happy with my progress and where I am. But this little cut down has been unlike any other. Lifting 4 days a week and running 3 days per week (less lifting and more running than usual). Been eating out 3-4 times per week (way more than normal). I have been fasting about 16-18 hours every day (way more than normal). But it's working! My point is that it is okay to change up things. The perfect idea in your head may not actually work very good for you. As long as you are in a caloric deficit, you will lose fat. As long as you are lifting progressively more than twice a week, you are building muscle. You do you. It may require some experimenting, but it is worth it to find something that works. And what USED to work, might need tweaked sometimes which is my current situation ;)

Sea turtle on my run this morning! It was a first to see one, and we saw 3! Olive Marie, my standard poodle and running buddy, was so confused about what it was, but she left it alone after a good sniff πŸ’œ

I was able to do toes to bar hanging ab work this week for the first time EVER! Just keep plugging away and being consistent. It may take years, like for me, or months or days BUT you will get there! You CAN do it if you keep trying. Be persistent! It's the day in and day out grind that slowly takes you places. Slow or fast, progress is progress!
X- Liss