Happy Thanksgiving week! From our family to yours, we wish you health, happiness and lots of delicious food this holiday week.
If you’ve signed up to bring a baked good to an upcoming holiday party, consider bringing these pumpkin muffins along. You don’t even have to tell anyone that they’re healthy.
Gianna and I have been working on this recipe for a while now. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Protein Muffins
Makes 12, macros for 1: 92 calories, 8P/10C/3F
- 1 cup oat flour (quick oats ground in food processor)
- ¼ cup almond flour
- 2 scoops (55g) Slap Cinnamon Streusel Donut Protein Powder (or similar)
- 3 egg whites (136g), use Muscle Egg Pumpkin Spice for added flavor
- ½ cup Greek Yogurt
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon liquid stevia (optional, used vanilla creme) OR 2T. honey
- 1/2 (90g) cup extra dark chocolate chips, Guittard
- 1 1/2 tablespoon pumpkin spice
- 1½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Place liners in one muffin pan and lightly spray with organic baking spray.
- In a large bowl combine egg whites, yogurt, pumpkin puree, vanilla extract and stevia.
- In a second bowl combine oatmeal flour, almond meal, protein powder, pumpkin spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Combine flour mix and egg mix together until smooth.
- Fill each tin ¾ of the way full, spreading evenly.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- Store in the refrigerator.
If you do not like cooking with Stevia (I usually don’t) try a few of the liquid drops. I like the liquid version much better than the powdered. You can also omit it all together and add in honey and/or a mashed banana. Enjoy!
19 pounds. That is how much weight I have lost since I started this prep in July. It sounds like a LOT, and frankly it is a lot. In all honestly, I am not comfortable being this lean. I went to my husband’s Navy Football game yesterday and wore a 3/4 sleeved shirt because I’m a little embarrassed at how vascular I have become. Borderline freak show. My body does not want to be 123 pounds and neither does my mind. I prefer a much more flexible lifestyle, more curves, and for goodness sake, I miss BREAD like you have no idea.
But for the purposes of going pro and bringing an even more competitive package to the stage in 6 days, I’ll stay the course for a bit longer. Beginning on the Monday after this show on the 28th, I will begin a very slow reverse diet in order to bring my weight back up to a more comfortable place at around 132 pounds. Stage weight isn’t maintainable (nor do I find it very attractive on me for everyday life), and if I want to keep improving my physique and growing my muscles, I need to eat more to fuel that performance. Bring on the carbs!
While my diet has shrunken down to about 1200-1400 calories a day, as opposed to my usual 2200 calories, I do admit that while there are afternoon bouts of low energy, I feel great overall when I eat a diet of 100% clean foods. On the menu most days are egg whites, oatmeal, almonds, a wide array of lean meats, and a lot of green vegetables. I get a little wild some days with hot peppers and flavored mustard. Boring, but it gets the job done.
Here are my best cooking tips for making the most out of a diet that may seem bland but PROVES to work!
I buy most of my vegetables frozen. My favorites are broccoli, green beans, and edamame. Frozen produce is picked at the peak of freshness and flash frozen to retain all the fiber and antioxidants that support a bodybuilders muscle-development needs. For fresh veggies, I choose spinach, arugula, kale and asparagus. I like to roast my asparagus on a large baking sheet lined with organic canola oil spray. Then I spray the tops of the asparagus lightly, and sprinkle on plenty of salt and pepper. I roast them at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Be careful not to overcook asparagus. You want them to be slightly soft with a little crunch.
Egg whites from a carton are always on hand in my fridge. Organic liquid egg whites are not cheap, at $5 a pint from Whole Foods, but in the end, I prefer to eat the best quality food possible and save money else ware. Make sure that you purchase egg whites and NOT egg beaters or egg substitute. There should just be one ingredient on the label: egg whites. I love to add salt and cinnamon to egg whites, and when I am allowed oatmeal, I mix it all together (after cooking both separately) for a hearty, sweet bowl of goodness.
I buy organic chicken breasts as my main source of white meat and cook them in the oven covered with plenty of Flavor God seasoning. My favorite flavors are Pizza, Taco Tuesday, Spicy Everything and Buffalo. Then I pour a small amount of chicken broth at the bottom and cover the dish with aluminium foil. I bake the chicken at 400 degree for about 20 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees. After it cools slightly, I cut it into slices and store it in the fridge for easy access. I do not reheat the chicken when I eat it after it is cooled because it can get very rubbery. I prefer cold chicken which retains a moist consistency.
When it comes to fish, my two favorites are cod and shrimp. I love salmon as well, but the last few weeks my fats have been coming from only almonds, and salmon can pack a whopping 14g of fat for a 4 ounce filet. I buy the cod and the shrimp frozen for ease of storage and cost-savings. For the cod, I spray a casserole dish and lay 6 filets (yes, 6, which I will eat over 2 days) inside, once again covered with Flavor God seasonings and some added lemon juice. I cook cod at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until the center is flaky. Do not overcook. You can reheat the fish the next day (or later that day) but I would suggest 30 seconds max in the microwave as to not overcook it.
I cook shrimp on the stove top in a frying pan. Spray oil, Flavor God seasonings, some crushed red pepper – whatever you enjoy! Cook the shrimp on medium heat for about 3 minutes, then flip each piece and cook for about 2-3 minutes more. The key with cooking any meat is NOT to overcook it. Reheat or enjoy cold.
Steak is a rare treat for a bodybuilder at the end of prep, so I typically buy the finest filet I can find from Whole Foods and prepare it in a cast iron skillet with butter and plenty of salt and pepper. I typically eat steak the night before a show, and it’s such a special treat. It’s also always my post show celebratory meal, alongside a crab cake and plenty of bread and butter.
I can’t even remember what a carb tastes like. Just kidding. But besides oatmeal, I haven’t had a potato in about a month, and the only other carbs come from green vegetables and the (very) occasional rice cake. When I am eating potatoes, I slice them into quarters, lay them on a baking sheet, spray with oil and top with plenty of salt and cinnamon (for sweet potatoes). Chili powder and a little cayenne pepper are great too. It’s all about flavor preference, so get creative!
If you’re not much of a cook, then I hope that these simple tips have helped you to see that cooking really isn’t that complicated or time consuming. Simple foods (with spice) are the best way to achieve a lean physique. Have a great week, and take some time to meal prep so you’re always prepared when hunger strikes.
If I entered in a bikini competition this weekend, I certainly wouldn’t win any trophies. I’ve been referring to this week as my “week of gluttony” to my husband who has seen me plow though some serious food over the past 7 days. (I hope my coach isn’t reading this).
**I may or may not have eaten an enormous tray of sushi this week from Ziki, including the Volcano and infamous Da BOMB rolls.
**I may or may not have eaten a chicken cheesesteak and fries from Heroes Pub. Oh and their steamed shrimp are amazing (not that I would know).
**I may or may not have picked up a piece of carrot cake from Stoney River, which may or may not have the best carrot cake within 100 miles.
**I may or may not have eaten several Levain Bakery cookies, shipped to my house from NYC two weeks ago.
**I may or may not have had the nuts ‘n more birthday cake nut butter everyday.
Sure I could pretend that I have been a perfect reverse dieter over the past week, but I think you know me well enough by know to know that I don’t pretend. Tomorrow kicks off my 2-week macro group with twenty new women, so I will get back to my healthy lifestyle then. For now, I’m finishing off the weekend strong.
I wrapped up my competition season with 2, 1st place trophies from the OCB, and 3 trophies from the NPC: 2nd Place in Masters 35+, 4th place in True Novice (never competed in the NPC before), and 5th place in Novice (never placed 1st in the NPC before. I trained for a total of 18 weeks for these shows. So am I mad at myself for my “week of gluttony?” Nope, I’m not.
My “off season” will continue through the summer, and I will begin training for my 3 fall shows in mid-August. An off season for me includes a little more flexibility in my diet (however not like the past week!) and a few less hours in the gym. I will still weight train for 3 hours a week and do about 3 hours of cardio, but I’ll incorporate 2 full rest days and more yoga. I will also plan to only track my macros during the week and leave the weekends off to enjoy more of a social life and meals out.
Despite my food fest, I did manage to do a few healthy things this weekend, including preparing a simple dish for lunches this week. The recipe is below. I hope to share more easy recipes with you over the summer on a weekly basis to help keep us all accountable in the warmer weather.
Sweet and Simple Honey Mustard & Goat Cheese Turkey Meatloaf Muffins
adapted from Skinnytaste
Macros for 1 muffin: 72 calories, 9P/1F/6C
3/4 cup grated zucchini, all moisture squeezed dry with paper towel
2T. onion, minced
2T. red pepper, diced
1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs, recommend Ian’s
1 large egg
3T. honey mustard sauce, recommend Tessemae’s (non-GMO, no added sugar, dairy free)
1T. Flavor God Honey BBQ seasoning, or similar
salt + pepper
1 ounce goat cheese crumbles
1 package (about 16 ounces) ground turkey meat (used 95% lean)
Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Divide evenly into 10-12 greased muffin tins. My mixture made 11 muffins. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until meat thermometer reads 165 degrees. Enjoy!
I ended up cutting up all of the extra onion, red pepper and zucchini and sauteed it as a salad topper for this week. I love it when 1 meal prep idea performs double duty!
A super easy and healthy turkey burger has been my staple at lunch the past couple of weeks. Turkey burgers are super high in protein (you know I like my protein) and low in fat, so you can easily have 2 at one sitting to help you feel full and satiated.
I’ve discovered a few tricks to making burgers lately that I want to share with you:
**Make things easier on yourself by throwing all of the ingredients except the turkey into the food processor. Then you don’t have to chop chop chop which can be time consuming. The juices from the canned peppers and chilies also provide a nice binding agent to help the patties stay together.
**Bake the burgers instead of grilling them. Sometimes when I grill mine indoors or outdoors, then juices run away from the meat. In this case, since turkey is so lean, I like when the juices stay on the meat. The result is a super moist burger.
So I hope you enjoy these little suckers as much as I do…
Green Chili and Roasted Red Pepper Turkey Burgers
makes 10 large burgers: macros for 1 burger: 114 calories, 1g fat, 3.6g carbs, 23g protein
1 cup cilantro
8 whole green chilies (from can) or 2 cans of diced green chilies
3 large roasted red pepper halves (about 4 ounces)
1 small onion (about 150g)
5-10 fresh basil leaves
Salt, pepper, and a pinch of red pepper flakes
2 pounds of ground turkey breast, lean (32 ounces)
Combine first 5 ingredients + spices in a food processor until mixed. Add the mixture to the ground turkey. Form into 10 patties. They will be a bit wet from the juices. Mine measured each about 135g per patty.
Bake in 2 large, greased casserole dishes for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.
After the patties have cooled to room temperature, transfer to the fridge or freezer for storing.
- 2 cups dates, pitted (100g)
- 1 cup almonds
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
- 1-2 T. unsweetened almond milk (optional, if needed)
- Put 1/2 cup of coconut flakes into the food processor and process to break up flakes slightly (about 1 minute). Do not over-process or it will become coconut butter.
- Remove flakes and set aside
- Place dates in the food processor and process until they have broken up and come together into a ball.
- Break up date ball with hands and add in almonds, cocoa powder, 1/4 cup of coconut flakes and sea salt.
- Process for several minutes, scrapping down the sides as needed.
- Add in vanilla and almond extract and 1 T of almond milk.
- Process until mixture comes back together into a ball. If it doesn’t do this, add in 1 more tablespoon of almond milk.
- Remove mixture from the food processor and roll into 20 balls.
- Roll each ball in the remaining 1/4c coconut flakes.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for several weeks.
Happy Valentine’s Day from our family to yours!
After a week in Miami on vacation, I seriously considered skipping this sweets that come with this holiday all-together. I do love to travel, but I also love being home and getting back to my routine of healthy home-cooking and fierce sweat sessions.
But when I went to Whole Foods to do my weekly shopping, I got sucked into the holiday – with husbands and children shopping for the wives and mommies in their life, and I wanted to do something special for my guy. He loves chocolate pudding, and I figured he probably wouldn’t notice if I threw in some healthier alternatives to the standard recipes.
This recipe was adapted from Giada’s Chocolate-Avocado Mousse
Valentine’s Day Chocolate Pudding
macros: 212 calories, 13g fat, 23g carbs, 3g protein, 6g fiber, 14g sugar
3T. mini chocolate chips, used Enjoy Life for dairy-free
1t. unrefined coconut oil
1 large avocado, peeled and pitted, about 5 ounces
4 ounces cultured coconut milk, plain (used So Delicious brand)
6 deglet dates, pitted
6T. unsweetened cocoa powder
1T. vanilla extract
1/2 t. sea salt
1/4 liquid cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
In a microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate chips and coconut oil in 15 second increments until melted, stirring frequently.
Lately I’ve been snacking on some chocolate chip protein bread when I want a sweet treat. It’s great cold from the fridge, and I love it because it’s dense and filling. And who doesn’t love chocolate chips!?
I have made this protein bread a few times with different protein powders, and I definitely recommend Slap Nutrition – Peanut Butter and Slappy Birthday are amazing! This protein powder is hormone free, antibiotic free, soy lecithin free, and sweetened with Stevia. It also bakes very well and comes in a variety of flavors. Use code: MARY for 10% off.
I also really like the PEScience brand for this recipe. It also bakes very well. Use code BEYONDFIT for 30% off on their website. I like the Gourmet Vanilla and Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup flavors. This brand uses artificial sweeteners.
Feel free to do some experimenting of your own to change up the flavors. This bread goes great with 2T. of truwhip (a non-GMO version of Cool Whip). Here is the recipe!
Chocolate Chip Protein Bread
adapted from iheartmacros
Serves 8. Macros per slice: 103 cal, 3g fat, 7g carbs, 11g protein, 2g sugar, 3g fiber
1/2 cup coconut flour (56g)
1 scoop of whey protein powder, recommend PEScience protein
1 tsp. baking powder
1T. Stevia (optional)
4 ounces whole milk Greek yogurt or So Delicious unsweetened plain coconut yogurt
12 liquid ounces of egg whites (making sure to use a liquid measuring cup or a gram scale to measure)
2 whole eggs
15g (about 2T.) semi-sweet chocolate chips (recommend Guittard – they are amazing)
15g unsweetened coconut shredded (toast at 350 degrees for 5 minutes for even more flavor) – optional, not included in macros
Mix dry ingredients in a bowl (excluding chocolate chips), making sure to remove any clumps. Add wet ingredients and wisk together until fully combined. Pour into a greased loaf pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes until golden brown. Let cool, and cut into 8 slices. Store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Enjoy!
Last week I met up with Evie Claire Photography and took a couple of fitness photos with Gianna to celebrate her 6-month birthday. Afterwards, I went and got a slice of carrot cake from a local bakery. I was relieved that the photos were over, and I was happy with how my weight loss was progressing over these past 6 months, with only 4 pounds to go to reach my pre-baby weight of 132. While I do not often celebrate with food, I did feel like having a treat.
So I got home and put my sweatpants on, and I dove into this white flour, white sugar triangle slice of carbs and fat. I ate half of a large slice…and waited…and then it hit me. The sugar rush, followed closely by the sugar crash, and the headache.
It had been a while since I’d had it, since I really do not eat typical baked goods that often, and now I had remembered why. They really make me FEEL like crap!
I follow a flexible dieting plan called IIFYM, so I can eat whatever I want as long as it fits my macros. I just choose foods that are usually free of refined sugar because of the way they make me feel.
I do love the flavors of carrot cake, so that inspired me to create these little bites of goodness. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. They are excellent pre and post workout, since they have less than 5g of fat and fiber per bite and are 60 calories each.
Carrot Cake Energy Bites
recipe modified from A Sunshine Mission
Makes 17 bites. Macros per bite: 60 calories, 1g fat, 13g carbs, 1g protein, 2g fiber, 8g natural sugar
1 cup pitted dates (150g)
1+1/2 cup shredded carrots (150g)
1 cup oatmeal (quick or old-fashioned)
1/4 cup raisins (optional)
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut
pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fresh or ground ginger
- Process all ingredients in a food processor until a ball of dough forms.
- Remove dough from food processor and roll into bite-sized balls with your hands.
- Place in the fridge for 1 hour to harden, and store them there between enjoyment.
It’s a beautiful fall Sunday here in Annapolis. My husband is sleeping in after getting in at 4am this morning from a trip home from Memphis where his team came home with a huge Victory!
Huge victories call for pancakes and bacon and chocolate chips.
My favorite bacon comes from Whole Foods; it’s in the butcher case and it’s the Black Forest Ham. I try to have some in the freezer for special mornings like this one. I pop it in the microwave for 1 minute to thaw, and then I cook it on the stove top. It’s delicious.
As for pancakes, I prefer to eat ones that have protein powder or lots of egg whites in them. I’m not a big fan of a carb hangover in the morning – carbs with a side of sugar just leave me feeling sluggish and tired, and it’s too beautiful out to waste this day on the sofa.That’s how my protein pancakes were born. The delicious warm, soft bite of goodness, without the sleepy aftermath.
1 1/2 c. oat flour (measure out oats and pulverize in food processor)
1 scoop of vanilla protein powder (recommend Vega Sport Vanilla)
1 T. baking powder
2T. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. allspice
1.4 t. ground nutmeg
2 T. sweetener of choice (stevia, honey, agave, maple syrup). I used honey.
4 egg whites
1/2 c. raw pumpkin
1 t. pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. unsweetened vanilla almond milk
Mix all of the dry ingredients together. Fold in wet ingredients. Do not overmix. Set aside.
Heat greased frying pan or griddle to medium high heat. Make sure surface is hot before you add the batter. Cook pancakes for 2-3 minutes on each side until desired doneness. Makes 10 medium pancakes.
Top with a few chocolate chips or – my favorite – peanut butter!
Macros per pancake: 104 calories, 1.6g fat, 16.4g carb, 7.1g protein, 3.1g fiber, 3.9g sugar
I love these dense little bites of goodness because they are packed with protein (12g per bite) and low in sugar. They are perfect post workout or right before bed as a sweet nighttime treat.
Mix the following in a bowl:
1 scoop chocolate protein powder (recommend Vega)
2T. powdered peanut butter
2T. ground flaxseed
1/4c. quick oats
4t. cacao nibs
1/2c. unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or use plain)
1-2T. Stevia (to taste)
Form into 3 large bites. Add more almond milk if needed. Roll in unsweetened coconut.
They are very dense, so you really only need 1/2 or 1 at a sitting. I like to enjoy mine with coffee or almond milk.
**For best results refrigerate for at least 8 hours before eating.**