Dark Chocolate Gingerbread

send from InstaText(Free iPhone_iPad App) (10)This time of year is so much fun with testing out new recipes because of all the fall flavors!Β Sick of all the pumpkin recipes yet? Haha, I could never get sick of pumpkin, but if you’ve been dying for a healthy gingerbread recipe, this is an amazingly delicious and moist sweet gingerbread that you can enjoy this holiday season that won’t make you feel guilty. And we all probably regret some of the sweets we eat during the Holiday season. πŸ™‚ Please, for your own good, TRY THIS RECIPE and let me know how much you like it! πŸ˜‰

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup Oat Flour or Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 cup baking stevia (I use Stevia in the Raw zero calorie sweetener)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Dash of sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons molasses
1/2 cup fat-free Greek yogurt (plain)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 egg whites
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl combine all dry ingredients (flour of choice, baking stevia, ginger, cinnamon & sea salt). Stir gently with a fork until combined.

send from InstaText(Free iPhone_iPad App) (11)

2.) In a separate bowl combine wet ingredients (apple sauce, Greek yogurt, egg whites and molasses). Whisk until combined.

send from InstaText(Free iPhone_iPad App) (13)

3.) Add wet ingredients to dry mixture and stir until batter is smooth. Fold in dark chocolate chips (optional, could substitute chopped walnuts or pecans).

send from InstaText(Free iPhone_iPad App) (12)

4.) Pour batter into a lightly greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. Check center with a toothpick to check for doneness (if batter comes out on toothpick, cook longer).

send from InstaText(Free iPhone_iPad App) (14)

5.) Let cool for about 20 minutes.

*Makes 9 slices.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did! πŸ™‚

Nutrition Facts (per slice):

Calories: 116
Fat: 2.1 grams
Total Carbohydrates: 21.1 grams
Fiber: 1.7 grams
Protein: 4.3 grams

 

Advertisements

How To Get Your Pre-Pregnancy Body Back

I’ve been writing this for a few weeks and I have so many friends right now that are pregnant and having babies that I wanted to share my experiences! It is so

8 Month Transformation (after first pregnancy)

8 Month Transformation (after first pregnancy)

wonderful to see all the happy news going around as we have reached that time in our lives that we are starting families. πŸ™‚

There are so many wonderful things that come with pregnancy and to witness first hand how amazing the human body is, is truly a gift! The physical and hormonal changes your body goes through during pregnancy are exciting, interesting, exhausting, stressful and mind boggling all at the same time! Post-pregnancy is also an emotional time. While you have this precious baby that you have been waiting to meet for what seems like an eternity, you are also left with this strange, squishy post-pregnant body that you don’t recognize. No you are not ruined and stretch marks fade with time (while creams help keep your skin hydrated and nourished, stretch marks are mostly genetic). You just need to accept the fact that it is going to take more than a month and some honest work to get your pre-pregnancy body back. But you definitely CAN get it back and you WILL.

Since I now have two beautiful, healthy babies and have been through two “post-pregnancy bodies” I wanted to share some things I have done to get back to normal. Now, my way is certainly not the only way and there are plenty of women who have gotten in shape faster than I have, but this is a healthy and stress free road I have taken that I hope can help you.

First, it IS easier said than done, but PLEASE, don’t hate on your post-pregnancy body. Realize how much you have just gone through. Your body has gone through A LOT over the past 40 (or so) weeks, not to mention the trauma of child birth. Give yourself proper rest, proper nutrition and fluid intake immediately after child birth.Β Β I will admit, after my second baby I started trying to exercise too quickly, and along with taking care of my 27 pound toddler, I hurt my back. Your core has been stretched and practically torn in half,putting a lot of stress on your back muscles, it needs plenty of time to heal and gain strength. The first thing I did (before being cleared to exercise) was something very simple called the “stomach vacuum”. You can do this while nursing, showering, eating dinner, etc. Simply suck your stomach in, pulling your belly button in towards your spine, and holding that for as long as you can. Imagine your stomach muscles contracting and your belly flattening while you do this. Initially, you probably won’t even be able to feel your stomach muscles but this simple exercise will start to initiate the activation of the transverse abdominus (deepest muscle of your abdominals acting as a girdle) and will start pulling the muscles of your core back together. So Simple.

Once you have been cleared (by your doctor) to exercise, start slowly. Don’t kill yourself your first workout. It is totally normal to feel weak and fatigued after a few exercises. After all you have probably not yet had more than a 4 hour chunk of sleep. Start with a 20-minute yoga DVD or a few upper body and lower body exercises with very light dumbbells or just your bodyweight. Low planks, side planks and prone back extensions are your BEST FRIENDS right now. You can do these at home while the baby naps. Start out with a 20 second low plank, 10 seconds on each side plank and 12 repetitions of prone back extensions for 3 rounds. I do these exercises 3-4 times per week and my stomach has flattened out, my linea negra is starting to disappear and I have had a significant decrease in low back pain.

plank

Low Plank

sideplank

Side Plank

proneback

Prone Back Extension

 

 

Second, eat nutritious foods! I sometimes forget to eat because I have a 20-month old and I am nursing a 3-month old, but I do my best to eat as nutritiously as possible! I am not going low-carb, counting calories or cutting out any specific foods (unless it makes my 3-month old gassy LOL). IΒ eat protein at every meal, a clean complex-carbohydrate and I avoid processed foods. When it’s a really crazy day I snack on protein muffins or some leftovers. I DO have a “FREE MEAL” at least once on the weekends which is usually pizza (and more than one slice LOL). I mean, come on, you’ve got to live a little, right? This is usually on a saturday night when both babies are asleep and we are watching the FSU game. ;).

One great piece of advice I got when I was pregnant with my first was to get a postpartum belly band (I got mine for only $16 on Amazon). This saved my lower back! It will give your back great support and with help you to keep your abdominal muscles pulled in. Get one if you haven’t already!

I always tell my clients to give themselves at least 3 months to start noticing a big change in their bodies when they start a new exercise program. Below are my pictures from 2 weeks postpartum and 13 weeks postpartum (I was cheating a bit in my before picture because I was wearing my postpartum belly band). The biggest help for me was being in shape pre-pregnancy. I honestly was not one of those super active pregnant women during either of my pregnancies. I tried to exercise regularly but I didn’t have the energy or motivation and my daughter was measuring smaller than normal so I stopped working out completely around 30 weeks pregnant and started eating MORE.

send from InstaText(Free iPhone_iPad App) (9)

Current Transformation (after second pregnancy).

So when you are ready and cleared to start exercise, ease into it. Start with bodyweight exercises, core strengthening exercises and light yoga or pilates. Work your strength back up and start hitting the free weights and machines. I have done maybe three steady state cardio sessions since my daughter was born. I focus on strength training because it is the only exercise that is going to SHAPE my body into what I want it to look like. Most importantly, I’ve gotten a lot of strength back in my abdominals and lower abs without doing a single crunch. Remember, start with low planks, side planks and prone back extensions and then try this routine;Β it’s great for burning fat and increasing core strength post pregnancy. I will be posting more workouts in the future so stay tuned. πŸ™‚

*If you have any questions or you would like to share YOUR advice for how you got back into shape post-pregnancy PLEASE share your comments below! I look forward to hearing from you!

Dark Chocolate Donuts

photo (15)I have been just dying to make a “healthy donut“! I actually don’t eat donuts, I mean they taste great, but they aren’t going to get me the body I want so I don’t eat them . My first pregnancy I craved donuts all the time but I would refuse to eat them! Not sure why, it’s not like I wasn’t eating plenty of other crap. I guess it was just one food that I decided to have will-power against. πŸ™‚ Haha, the joys of pregnancy!

This is a super fun recipe, how great is it to snack on donuts and not feel bad about it? Not to mention, these taste dangerously similar to a Devil’s Food cake donut. Have these for breakfast, post-workout or even make your own variation for your kids! *You can substitute 1/2 cup whole wheat flour for 2 scoops protein powder if you prefer not to bake the donuts with extra protein and they will still be perfectly healthy. πŸ™‚ The only thing you will probably need to pick up is a donut pan. I got mine for less than $10 from Michaels, and it’s just more fun to make healthy donuts than muffins all the time! *See nutrition facts below.

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup stone ground, whole wheat flour
82 g whey protein powder (about 1/2 cup OR 2 scoops)
6 tablespoons Special Dark Cocoa Powder (I use Hershey’s Brand)
1/2 cup Stevia In the Raw Zero Calorie Sweetener
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup unsweetened applesaucephoto (10)
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
2.5 tablespoons coconut oil
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips (I use Whole Foods 67% cocoa baking chips)

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl combine whole wheat flour, 2 scoops protein powder, dark cocoa powder, stevia, baking soda & baking powder. Mix with a fork and set aside.

2.) In a separate bowl, combine almond milk, ground flaxseed and applesauce. Mix with a fork until completely combined and add to dry mixture. Stir well.

3.) Next, add 2.5 tablespoons melted coconut oil and mix until batter is smooth.

4.) Finally, fold in dark chocolate chips. Spoon into donut pan. *Fill about 3/4 of the way. Be careful not to get batter on the center of the donut. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. *Check for firmness around 10 minutes. Over baking will make the texture a bit harder.

*Makes 11 donuts.

photo (9)Nutrition Facts (per donut):

Calories: 143
Total Fat: 5.5 g
Total Carbohydrate: 17.3 g
Total Protein: 7.8 g
Fiber: 2.2 g

Italian Balsamic Vegetable Quinoa

photo (14)When you make quinoa you need to add some really good flavors to it, otherwise you are just going to have a very bitter, unappetizing dish. Quinoa’s natural bitterness is actually a defense mechanism. It is said that it’s bitterness is to protect itself from being eaten by birds and insects;Β interesting, right?

Quinoa is actually really easy to make and has a really fluffy texture similar to couscous, which I love. Only it’s full of protein (8 grams/ cup) and fiber (5 grams/ cup). I eat this dish as a side to some chicken breast or a nice piece of fish to get even more protein, however, you could eat this as your main dish and still get a healthy serving of protein. Although, I would increase the serving to ~1.5-2 cups.

One of my favorite ingredients to cook with is balsamic vinegar. I made a quick, 2-minute Balsamic & Basil Vinaigrette to serve over the quinoa and vegetables for an extra layer of flavor. It would also be a great salad dressing or marinade.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups uncooked Quinoa
3 cups water
1 pint grape tomatoes
1-2 medium zucchini’s
1 TBSP Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt & black pepper to taste

Dressing:

1 1/2 TBSP Extra virgin olive oil
2 1/2 TBSP Balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/8 tsp garlic powder
Dash of sea salt & black pepper

Directions:

1.) In a sauce pot, bring 3 cups of water and 1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa (rinse first) to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until all water is absorbed. Remove from heat.

2.) Chop your zucchini into one inch pieces, then cut each piece in half. Combine with 1 pint of grape tomatoes, 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil, sea salt & black pepper. Roast at 400 degrees for 15-18 minutes. * I like my tomatoes cooked really well so watch yours if you don’t want them to “explode”.send from InstaText(Free iPhone_iPad App) (4)send from InstaText(Free iPhone_iPad App) (3)

3.) Next add all your ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl and whisk until they are combined.send from InstaText(Free iPhone_iPad App) (5)

4.)Pour cooked quinoa, roasted vegetables and balsamic-basil vinaigrette into a large serving bowl and stir gently with a spatula until vinaigrette is evenly distributed. Add salt & pepper to taste.send from InstaText(Free iPhone_iPad App) (6)

*Makes 4-6 servings. ENJOY πŸ™‚

Skinny Pumpkin-Banana Bread

photo (7)This bread is sooo good and and totally worth the THREE failed attempts at making it perfect! Over the last few weeks I’ve discovered that banana literally goes with EVERYTHING! It goes great with pumpkin, coconut, raspberries, blueberries, chocolate, peanut butter, you name it! And despite it’s relatively high sugar (fructose) content, I like to use it in muffins, breads and protein shakes that I’ll enjoy pre and/or post-workout. WHY? I’m glad you asked!

Studies show a greater increase in muscle hypertrophy (growth) and strength when taking in protein and carbohydrates pre and post workout than simply following a general meal timing schedule. So make sure when you are working hard at the gym you ALWAYS replenish your muscles with a good quality protein and carbohydrate source immediately after! A good example of something I would eat post-workout would be a whey protein shake and 2 small slices of this pumpkin banana bread. So get to baking! πŸ™‚

Ingredients:

2 cups oat flour (simply blend about 2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats)
1 cup Stevia in the Raw
1 cup pure pumpkin puree
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and set aside.

2.) Next, combine all wet ingredients (except coconut oil) and mix with a fork or whisk until smooth.

3.) Add wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir until there are no longer any dryphoto (8) clumps.

4.) Add melted coconut oil and stir well.

5.) Pour batter into a lightly greased loaf pan, about 1/2-3/4 ways full. *You will have enough batter to make about 8 regular sized muffins or another small loaf of bread.

6.) Bake at 350 degrees for about 40-45 minutes. Check that the center is firm before removing from the oven. *If you are making this recipe into muffins, the baking time will be around 15-20 minutes.

*Makes 2 loaves or about 18 regular sized muffins.

Nutrition Facts:

Calories: 112
Total Fat: 6.9 g
Total Carbohydrates: 11.4 g
Total Protein: 2 g

Chocolate-Raspberry Protein Pancakes

photo (5)Ever crave something chocolate-y first thing in the morning but feel a little ashamed to actually eat chocolate for breakfast? Haha, well I hope I’m not the only one! In any case, I made these yummy chocolate-raspberry protein pancakes the other day and wanted to share them with you. πŸ™‚ I like to add protein powder to all my baked goods so that I get a nice rato of protein:carbohydrate:fat. I prefer to have a balance of macronutrients versus just having a ton of carbohydrates at one meal. You need a good combination of all of the macronutrients in order to build and shape your dream body. πŸ™‚ *See nutrition facts below.

Ingredients:

1/3 cup oat flour
2 TBSP Stevia in the Raw
1 scoop (31 g) chocolate whey protein (I used Publix Greenwise in this recipe)
1 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or low-fat milk)
1 egg white
1 TBSP coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup raspberries ( I used frozen, thawed in this recipe)
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

1.) In a mixing bowl combine ALL DRY ingredients.

2.) In a separate bowl, wisk together egg white, almond milk and vanilla extract. Add wet mixture to dry mixture.

3.) Next add 1 TBSP of melted coconut oil and stir until combined.

4.) Finally, fold in (fresh or thawed) raspberries.

5.) Pour about 1/4 cup of batter onto a HOT, lightly greased skillet. Flip when sides of pancake are bubbling. Cook equal time on opposite side.

6.) Let cool and top with a drizzle of sugar-free syrup or whatever topping you choose. πŸ™‚ ENJOY

*Makes about 6 pancakes.

Nutrition Facts via caloriecount.com (per pancake):

Calories: 75
Total Fat: 3.3 g
Total Carbohydrate: 7.0 g
Total Protein: 4.8 g