Friday, August 19, 2016

Funfetti Protein Cake Batter

I don't know about you, but I love me some cake batter... and cookie dough. I am officially 11 weeks out from my next shoot, so I am having to tighten down to be ready for the camera. So obviously, I thought the real deal was not the best idea last night haha!

In other news, I have a new records board going in the gym.

Earlier this week, I hit over 200 pounds for the first time on any lift in my life! I did 205 lbs for 3 reps of hip thrusts, and it felt EASY!

Still running on the beach a few times a week on off days from lifting. After about 8 weeks of effort of running barefoot in sand, I have worked up from a couple of 16 minute miles to 4 x 11-12 min miles today! Time to add another mile next run. I am nowhere close to my previous half marathon times, but not sure that is comparable!

So, this recipe is just the start of my ideas for this protein batter/dough. I love funfetti cake so I wanted to start there. The texture is not quite as dense as the real deal, and the yogurt gives it that bit of tang. But other than that, it is on the money. And you cannot beat quick to make with 4 ingredients!!! And those macros too!

Funfetti Protein Cake Batter

Serves 3


  • 0.25 cup, Homeground Oat Flour
  • 1 cup (227g), Yogurt Nonfat Plain Greek
  • 1.50 Scoop, Whey Protein (Vanilla) (I used Premiere Protein in Vanilla Milkshake; it has a bigger scoop than most so you may need 2 scoops of normal sized)
  • 1 tbsp(s), Sprinkles

In a blender or food processor (I used my Nutribullet), blend 0.25 cups of oats to a flour. Dump those into a mixing bowl and stir in the whey protein and Greek yogurt. Then stir in sprinkles and enjoy!

Nutritional Information

Nutrition Facts
Servings 3.0

Amount Per Serving
calories 235
Total Fat 4 g
Saturated Fat 1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 51 mg
Sodium 107 mg
Potassium 1817 mg
Total Carbohydrate 22 g
Dietary Fiber 2 g
Sugars 4 g
Protein 25 g

What is your favorite flavor of batter or dough?
X- Liss

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Sweet Potato Toast

Guys, have you tried this hack yet? You literally just toast slices of sweet potato in the toaster like toast. It is SO super simple, but genius. Why had we never tried this before?!

It has been SO super hot here on the coast. I hate using the oven like I would usually do without thinking. My kids are into playing Pokemon Go, they beg me to take them on walks almost every day. We have to schedule them either early in the day or in the evening.

Snapped this pic on our walk the other night, it is so beautiful here. I keep pinching myself! It cannot be real.

I also finally got a records board going in our gym room. I was nice enough to leave the other half blank for the husband ;)

So here is the recipe. Well, it's not really a recipe so much as a few tips ha!

Sweet Potato Toast

Serves 1

1 medium sweet potato

Slice the sweet potato into slices with a sharp knife.. I tried for less than 1/2" thick. A small sweet potato was just halved; while a large required 4 slices. Put into toaster. Turn the sweet potato around each toaster cycle. Toast until done. My toaster required 5 toasting cycles.

Notes: I tried microwaving the slices for 90 seconds before toasting and it cut my toasting cycles down to two! This is my favorite method.

Nutritional information

1 medium sweet potato

103 cals
0g fat
24g carbs
2g protein

Can you think of all the possibilities?! Here are just a few off the top of my head:

  • All by itself (this happens to be my current favorite LOL)
  • Sweet potato hamburger buns
  • Topped with avocado and over easy egg
  • Topped with PB and bananas (or strawberries!)
  • Topped with tuna or chicken salad
  • ...anywhere you would normally use toast!

Have you tried this yet? What did you think?
X- Liss

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Quinoa Throwdown - Oats vs Brown Rice vs Quinoa

Is quinoa a "super food" or is it just something novel? I call novel though it has it's uses.

But why don't you be the judge?

Compared here to brown rice, I am going to pick quinoa... but they are pretty much the same. Quinoa has slightly less calories, less carbs, and 3 more grams of protein for the same serving size.

Neither one is quick to prep.

Onto the next throw down...

Compared here to oats, I am going to pick oats all day long. Less calories for TWICE the volume. Less fat, more fiber too. Oats are also much quicker to prep.

As an aside, quinoa is a complete protein. So are rice and beans, but unless you're vegan neither make a good choice for a protein source (and even as a vegan they would be a mediocre choice). The calorie to protein ratio is quite low, especially when compared to things like egg whites, tempeh, tofu, seitan, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, fish, or meat. To put it in perspective, to get 78 grams of protein (which is a decent daily total) you would have to have 2,210 calories of quinoa which is well over most any woman's maintenance calorie level. In general, people would define and incorporate quinoa, brown rice, or oats as a complex carbohydrate source as that is their highest macro.

Chocolate PB&J Protein Oats is a recipe that I like to make with either cooked quinoa or oats, it is one of my go to meals. Lately I have really been into adding the greens to the recipe too! Here is the recipe and macros-

Bottom line

Is quinoa cool and different? Sure, but it's nothing magical. And it's not quick to prep either.

It's easy to get swept up in the latest super food trends but you have to rationally analyze and compare whether there is merit in the claims. Quinoa is healthy and a fine choice, but it's not "better" than brown rice or oats.

Try new things to see if you like them or not. Eat what you enjoy the most that fits within your calorie goals.
X- Liss

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Magical Peanut Butter Protein Cookies

First of all, I love peanut butter. I wish I could eat it by the spoonfuls and still hit my calorie goals LOL Alas, this recipe is the closest thing.

I called this recipe "magical" because it is only 3 ingredients, has great macros, and nobody will EVER know they are a healthy version of the classic PB cookie. SERIOUSLY.

Still been grinding in the gym. My squats are at 125 lbs for 4 sets of 3. Time under the bar matters so be consistent! Tip for barbell squats- try bringing your grip in closer. Your back where the barbell sits should feel better and it will keep your chest up!

I am joining an online powerlifting meet for a fun little competition this week since I sort of enjoy that kind of thing ;) oh and see my new decal on the wall?! Never give up.

I have also been working up my distance "running" barefoot on the beach, putting run in quotes because it's walk-jog intervals. Sand is NO joke, it's hard! I have a little fear of stepping on glass but so far so good after over a month.

But I digress, back to the recipe ha! This recipe is super simple to whip up. You can keep them in the pantry in a tupperware to eat in the place of protein bars or an easy snack!

Magical Peanut Butter Protein Cookies

Makes 11 cookies

1/2 cup, Peanut Butter (I used smooth)
2.00 tablespoons, Egg Whites
46 g or 1 scoop, Vanilla Milkshake Whey Protein (I used Premier Protein which is 180 cals / 30g protein per scoop)

Preheat your oven to 350*F. Grease a cookie sheet with non-stick spray.

In a bowl, heat your peanut butter in the microwave for a minute so it is easier to mix. Stir in your protein powder then stir in the egg whites.

Using a tablespoon, drop cookies onto the cookie sheet. Use a fork to make the traditional PB cookie hash marks to helps the cookies flatten so they will bake evenly.

Bake for 5-8 minutes.

Nutritional Information

Per cookie

Nutrition Facts
Servings 11.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 88
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 6 g9 %
Saturated Fat 1 g5 %
Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 9 mg3 %
Sodium 75 mg3 %
Potassium 0 mg0 %
Total Carbohydrate 4 g1 %
Dietary Fiber 1 g3 %
Sugars 1 g
Protein 6 g12 %
Vitamin A0 %
Vitamin C0 %
Calcium2 %
Iron2 %
* 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.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Healthier Huevos Rancheros Breakfast

My mother-in-law recently came to visit in our new house by the sea. We were actually fitfam longer than we have been actual family ;) we met at the gym and became friends.

We both love to cook, so when she comes to visit we lift and cook for fun haha!

I was so glad my daughter has been joining in on the cooking fun lately too. Just makes my day when she wants to help me in the kitchen. This trip we made sopes (pictured above), tamales (here is Ana's recipe), gorditas, and chile rellenos (here is Ana's recipe). So amazing. And now I must diet. ASAP lol!

So last week, she sent me a Facebook recipe post with huevos rancheros, a Mexican breakfast staple. I was totally inspired to redo this into a healthy version that I can enjoy on the regular. And I must admit, I was a fan and will be making this for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

Healthier Huevos Rancheros 

Serves 1


  • 2 eggs, fried
  • Sandwich thin bread (you could totally sub corn tortillas but I did not have any on hand)
  • 0.25 cup cooked pinto beans
  • 4 tbsp salsa
  • 1 turkey bacon (or bacon of choice)


Fry 2 eggs in a bit of oil. Cook your bacon. Meanwhile, mash your pinto beans with a fork. Place bread into the toaster.  Smear bread with mashed beans, top with fried eggs, then salsa. Serve the bacon on the side. Enjoy!

Nutritional Info per Serving

355  cals
33 g carbs
15 g fat
25 g protein


Thursday, July 7, 2016

Venus Veteran Kimberly Shares Her Secrets to Maintenance Success

Kimberly has been using Venus systems for over 5 years and placed in Venus’ very first open contest. I am proud to introduce her up next in our series on successful maintenance.

Kimberly placed in the VT1 Open Category back in 2011
Since 2010, she has continually improved her physique despite health challenges and global relocations. Kimberly knows what it takes to maintain and improve your physique!
Kimberly, Liss, Jenny, and Lou Ann in Vegas
Kimberly, Liss, Jenny, and Lou Ann in Vegas
So when I thought about interviewing veterans about maintenance, this sweet friend came straight to mind. I have seen her in person and even worked out together; we got to meet in 2014 in Vegas at a Venus meet up. Kimberly looks every part Venus.

Here is what Kimberly has to say-

During the VT1 competition back in Jan to April 2011, I set a goal for myself.  An “Every Day Venus”.  I wanted a body shape and appearance that I could have everyday.  A body that was not dependent on heavy dieting, posing or lighting tricks.  I wanted to learn a way to maintain a look that is athletic and lean….all the time.  There is no doubt Venus has taught me that.
... Continue reading, see more pics, and watch or listen to my interview with Kimberly HERE -

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Dinner Recipes for $500 Monthly Meal Plan

Last week, I shared with you how my family grocery shops for the month at a $500 budget.  You can read that here as well as get the grocery list HERE 

Today, I want to share all of this month's dinner recipes in one post.


  1. Burrito bowl (beef, beans, rice, greens, and salsa)
  2. Sauteed chicken breast, roasted sweet potato, and seared Brussels sprouts
  3. Hamburgers and sweet potato fries
  4. Roasted chicken breast, rice, and roasted asparagus
  5. Steak cubes, roasted potatoes, and roasted broccoli
  6. Baked fish, quinoa, and steamed snap peas
  7. Hashbrown omelet and bacon 

Burrito bowl (beef, beans, rice, greens, and salsa)

My kids and husband love this simple recipe, everyone can personalize their own bowl!  It is easy to make and makes plenty for a crowd. It also freezes and reheats well, so you could make a batch for your whole work week of lunches or dinners.

Burrito Bowl

Serves 5

2.25 lean ground beef (I used 90% lean)
2.5 cup cooked rice (I use white Minute Rice)
2.5 cup cooked pinto beans (you can also sub black beans)
15 tbsp salsa
10 tbsp plain, fat-free Greek yougurt
taco seasoning - you can buy it or HERE is my recipe from scratch
*optional toppings: shredded lettuce, shredded cheese, sour cream, diced onion, diced bell peppers

Brown beef with taco seasoning. Cook rice and beans. I do my rice in the microwave as directed and my beans in the crockpot all day. HERE is the recipe for how I do beans in the crockpot, just stop at the refry part. I freeze extra beans for future use.

On a place or bowl, layer 1/2 cup cooked rice. Then top with 1/2 cup cooked beans. Top with 6 oz beef taco meat, 3 tbsp salsa, and 2 tbsp plain Greek yogurt. Finish with toppings as desired but be sure to count those in!

Nutritional stats per serving

499 calories
52 g protein
46 g carbs
9 g fat

Sauteed chicken breast, roasted sweet potato, and seared Brussels sprouts

Roast sweet potatoes (1 per person) in the oven at 400*F for an hour. While those were roasting, we tossed halved and trimmed (about a pound) Brussels sprouts with vegetable oil along with a little salt and pepper. 

Then cube up the chicken breast (1 breast per person) and saute it with a bit of ancho chile seasoning (we picked up from Sam's Club) until cooked throughout. 

Heat a cast iron (or very heavy) pan to almost smoking hot, and place sprouts cut side down. Turn heat to medium, and flip after about 3 minutes. Cut side should be charred. Cook the other side 3-5 minutes until tender and charred.

Nutritional stats per serving 

1 large (approx 1 cup) sweet potato, 6 oz chicken, and 1 cup brussels sprouts

322 calories
40 g protein
44 g carbs
4 g fat

Hamburgers and sweet potato fries

I have discovered the secret to the best sweet potato fries of your life. Yep.

I like to serve them along side a burger, re-made in a bit more healthy way. I do a 4 oz 85% lean beef patty (320 cals) on the George Foreman grill, then top with mustard and veggies on a sandwich thin (100 cals). So you can do a burger and large helping of these fries for 540 cals! (You can also sub a turkey patty for the beef and save another 120 cals!)

The Best Sweet Potato Fries Ever

Serves 3

The stuff

3 medium sweet potatoes, sliced into fries
1 tbsp corn starch
1/2 tbsp paprika
1/2 tbsp cinnamon

What you do

Preheat oven to 400*F and spray a cookie sheet with nonstick spray. Toss fries in corn starch and spices in a Ziploc baggy or bowl. Spread out into a single layer on the cookie sheet. Bake for 45 minutes, tossing them halfway though.

Nutrition Stats

Per serving (1/3 fries recipe and beef hamburger)

  • Cals- 539
  • Carbs- 48 g
  • Fat- 24 g
  • Protein- 35 g

Roasted chicken breast, rice, and roasted asparagus

Serves 4

The stuff

4 medium chicken breasts, approx 2 lbs uncooked weight
2 cups rice, cooked
1 bunch asparagus1 tbsp paprika2 tbsp sweetener of choice, I used granular stevia2 tsp onion powder1.5 tsp salt1 tsp chili powder 

What you do

Preheat oven to 400*F and spray a cookie sheet with nonstick spray. Toss chicken  in spices in a Ziploc baggy or bowl. Spread out into a single layer on the cookie sheet. Bake for 45 minutes.

In another cookie sheet sprayed with nonstick spray, coat the asparagus with a little oil, salt, and pepper. Roast alongside the chicken for the final 15 minutes.

Nutrition Stats

Per serving (6 oz chicken breast, approx 12 asparagus spears, and 1/2 cup rice)

  • Cals- 305 cals
  • Carbs- 29 g
  • Fat- 5 g
  • Protein- 40 g

Steak cubes, roasted potatoes, and roasted broccoli

Serves 4

The stuff

Beef eye of round roast or steaks, cubed, approx 1.5 lbs uncooked weight
8 red potatoes, washed and larger ones cut in half
1 pound broccoli, cut into florets
vegetable oil
salt and pepper

What you do
Preheat oven to 400*F and spray a cookie sheet with nonstick spray. Spread potatoes out into a single layer on the cookie sheet. Bake for 1 hour. Turn potatoes halfway through.

Heat a dutch oven over high heat. Put a little oil in the bottom to coat, then drop steak cubes to sear for approximately 3 minutes. Turn steak onto opposite side for another 3 minutes. Cover with lid, then place into oven with potatoes.

In another cookie sheet sprayed with nonstick spray, coat the broccoli with a little oil, salt, and pepper. Roast alongside the potatoes for the final 15 minutes.

Nutrition Stats

Per serving (4 oz steak cubes, 2 small potatoes, and 1 cup broccoli)

  • Cals- 391 cals
  • Carbs- 32 g
  • Fat- 4 g
  • Protein- 52 g

Baked fish, quinoa, and steamed snap peas

Serves 4

The stuff

6-8 white fish fillets, I used tilapia but anything works
1 cup quinoa, cooked
1 bag snap peas
lemon pepper seasoning
salt and pepper

butter or margarine

What you do

Cook quinoa according to package. Preheat oven to 400*F and spray a cookie sheet with nonstick spray. Thaw fish in sink of water then spread out into a single layer on the cookie sheet. Sprinkle with lemon pepper seasoning. Bake for 15 minutes.

Put snap peas into bowl, cover with a place, and place in microwave for 3-4 minutes. Toss steamed peas with a little butter or magarine and salt/pepper.

Nutrition Stats

Per serving (5 oz tilapia (about 1.5 fillets), 0.5 cup snap peas, and 1/4 cup quinoa)

  • Cals- 221 cals
  • Carbs- 19 g
  • Fat- 4 g
  • Protein- 29 g

Hashbrown omelet and bacon 

This recipe is one of my favorites. Both my kids and my husband like it too. It is easy to make for a crowd and just as easy to make for one. It also reheats well, so you could make a batch for your whole work week of breakfast.

Hashbrowns Omelet

Serves 1

0.75 cup shredded potatoes (can use dehydrated potatoes)
2 oz deli ham, cut into ribbons (could sub deli turkey or chicken too)
1/4 cup cheese (I used cheddar)
0.75 cup liquid egg whites or egg beaters

Nutrition Facts per Serving
This is for omelet only, I usually add a bacon for 45 cals ;)
Cals: 379
Fat - 11 g
Carbs- 23 g
Protein - 41 g

Hope this helps you plan for some great dinners, and maybe you will consider seeing if you can stretch your grocery shopping to biweekly, maybe push it back to 3 weeks, and then maybe a month! Get the monthly shopping list HERE -

X- Liss