Waffles Everyday

Waffles can save the day. Their nooks and crannies create pools of syrup, while maintaining the crunchy edges. You can make them in so many flavors, shapes, toppings add ins, from savory to sweet. Heck….you can use them as sandwich bread!IMG_1614

 

These are so fluffy, light, moist and full of fall flavor, you may want to make these everyday! And they are macro friendly!

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If the macros for the entire waffle don’t work, the waffle is super easy to portion out into halves or quarters. It’s already in a grid. Love that!

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YUM!!

 

 

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  • 79g Kodiak Power Cake Mix
  • 25g NLA for Her Vanilla Cupcake
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 90g Pure Pumpkin Puree
  • 46g Liquid Egg Whites
  • 2.5 fl oz Almond Milk

Heat up waffle iron. In a small bowl combine all dry ingredients. In a separate small bowl combine all wet ingredients. Pour wet ingredients into dry and fold with a rubber spatula until just combined. Spray waffle iron with some non stick spay (I like to use Trader Joes coconut oil spray). Pour batter into waffle iron and close lid. Cook following your waffle iron directions.

Pour your favorite maple syrup, whipped cream, or did I hear someone say spiced caramel??

Macros for Waffle only:

458 Calories • 57g Carbs • 7g fat • 42g protein • 761 sodium • 8g sugar

(Your macros may vary depending on the brands of food you use)

 

Enjoy!

V~

Reality is Oreo Cookie Cake

Reality is, I need to reel in my diet. So what does one do if she isn’t going to bake a cake? She blogs about it. Its a logical answer. Still, it bites. Plus this cake is so good, I wanted to make another. IMG_8930

Often we can find our desires at odds with what our current reality can give us.  It’s pretty cool when one is given the honest truth of where your reality lies. Sometimes we’ll see it reflecting back at us, yet we choose to look away and ignore the reflection starring back at us. Often times it takes experiences to see that reflection through the eyes of others. And if you’re lucky enough to have it told in an honest, kind way, it helps you to see the truth. May not always look pretty, may not be where you want to be, but it’s an opportunity for change. A chance to create the life you want around your current reality. Its yet another lesson in letting go. Letting go of what we thought we wanted in order to allow what we need in our life. IMG_8871

 

Ok, the cake. The Oreo Cookie Cake. Looks fancy. Nearly worthy of being in the front of the refrigerated glass case at the bakery counter. Reality is, this cake is so much easier to make than it looks! Its just the ganache drizzle that makes it appear all pretty. It’s really just vanilla buttercream and chocolate cake. Smash up some Reece’s Oreo cookies for the filling, call it a cookies and cream filling, then all the boys come running to your yard. Not true. That is definitely not reality. But, it will make for a delicious treat for anyone who loves an Oreo on occasion.

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For this cake I used the Reece’s Oreos, which is a great combo, peanut butter and chocolate. Who doesn’t love that?! It would be easy enough to substitute this with any Oreo cookie. The classic, mint, S’more, Birthday Cake in a cake (is that a double negative?). You could crunch them up and add them to the outside layer of frosting as well if you’re really into them! There are endless variations to this cake. So play around with it and have fun! Just try not to eat a whole sleeve (not speaking from experience there).

Oreo Cookie Cake

(as adapted from Sweetapolita Midnight Cookies and Cream Cake)
  • 1 1/2 cups (180g ) all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups (300g) sugar
  • 3/4 cup (90g) dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (6g) baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon (4g) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) salt
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup (190ml) buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup (190ml) hot brewed coffee
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons (10ml) pure vanilla extract

For the Frosting (and filling)

  • 2 1/2 cups (5 sticks)(575g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 5 /4 cups (600g) confectioners sugar
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons (70ml) milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (23ml) pure vanilla extract
  • pinch or two of salt
  • about 8-10 Oreo cookies (flavor of your choice) crumbled

For the Ganache:

  • 5 ounces (150g) semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup

For the Cake:

Pre-heat oven to 350° Line 3, 6″ cake pans with parchment paper, grease and flour.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add all dry ingredients to the bowl and mix on low setting until combined.

In a separate medium bowl combine all wet ingredients, whisking to slightly break eggs apart and incorporate all ingredients.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry, mix on medium speed until thoroughly combined. Batter will be thin.

Divide batter evenly in each pan, bake for 20 minutes or until cake tester inserted in the middle comes clean. If the cake isn’t done after 20 minutes, bake in 2 minute increments until done. Once cake is done, remove from oven and let rest on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Once cooled, take a knife and run along edges of cake to loosen from sides of cake pans, invert and let cakes cool completely on wire racks.

For the Frosting:

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter on medium speed for about 6 minutes until butter is very light, fluffy, and creamy.

Add remaining ingredients and whip again for 8 minutes. Frosting will be light, very white and fluffy!

Take about a third of the frosting and place in separate bowl and add in the crumbled Oreo Cookies, set aside.

For the Ganache:

In a small bowl over a small saucepan with simmering water, place the butter and chopped chocolate in the bowl. Let the chocolate and butter melt together. Once melted stir in the corn syrup. Let cool on the counter until ready to use.

To Assemble the Cake:

With a sharp serrated knife, cut domes off tops of cakes. Take first cake layer and place either directly on cake plate or on a 6″ cake round. Take half of the Oreo filling and make an even layer on cake. Place second cake layer on top of filling and repeat. Once third cake layer is on top, spread an even layer of the vanilla buttercream all over the cake as your first crumb coat. Place in refrigerator for 10-15 minutes. While cake is chilling, take 4 Oreo cookies, and with a sharp serrated knife saw Oreos in half. Set aside.

Take cake out of refrigerator and coat with the final layer of frosting, getting it as smooth as possible, with no dark cake showing. Place back in refrigerator for another 10 minutes. Once cake is chilled, remove from refrigerator. Take the chocolate ganache, with a large spoon, ladle a small amount of ganache onto center of cake. Keep adding ganache until it covers the top layer of the cake and starts to spill over. You’ll have to use your own judgment on how many drips you want. I use the back of the spoon to help it spill over the sides. Once you’ve reached your desired look, place cake back into refrigerator to let the ganache set.

Once cake is chilled and ganache is set, remove cake from refrigerator. In a piping bag fitted with your choice of piping tip, fill bag with remaining amount of vanilla buttercream. Pipe eight mounds evenly around cake. Take halved Oreos and place onto the mounds of frosting. Chill finished cake in refrigerator. Before serving let cake sit out at room temperature for 10-15 minutes and enjoy!

Sometimes we can have our cake and eat it too. Other times we must sacrifice what we want now for what we want most. It’s not often those two things come together, but when they do, it’ll be a beautiful thing.

V~

 

 

 

 

 

Success Rates

A friend and I were discussing the failure rates of blogs, especially fitness blogs. Suffice it to say……I may not be here in a couple of months. Yep, everything seems to go downhill quickly for us bloggers. If you think about it, there’s plenty of us to go around….some 164+million blogs. So there’s that. But then you add in the fitness blog world and the success rates are even lower. So I got to thinking “why?”

Well, if you think about the number of people who start a fitness routine, they usually quit within the first 3 months. Any connection there? Hmmmmm……(scratching my chin).

You know, its tough, right? You jump in all excited. You get your first bit of results, then things start to taper off. The discouragement settles in and next thing you know the bottle of wine, the couch and TV start to look more appealing. No different from us bloggers here. It can get tedious. You have to work at it. It takes time. It takes effort, research, planning, typing, late nights. Blah, blah, blah.

The food portion of blogging seems relatively easy. I mean, who doesn’t like to talk about food? We all like to look at pretty pictures of foods we want to try. What’s interesting to me, is I find the food part the most challenging. To find a way to be creative, not repetitious, is really, really difficult. However, what makes blogging about the fitness so difficult is this: You. The reader. It’s my job to keep coming up with ways to keep you motivated.

From an honest,” I love you to death, I want you to succeed and I will do anything to get you there,” point of view……how many ways do we have to say “Just Fing do it already!!!!” ? Right? Maybe…just maybe…it’s not the blogger so much as it is, we literally run out of ways to say: stop eating the pizza and eat a turkey burger instead! Put the wine down, get up off the couch and start moving!!

So then WE let it go, start drinking wine and watching TV instead of blogging. It’s a slippery slope my friends. That’s why I kind of feel like there’s a balance out there. You know, that beautiful world where you can have your cake and eat it too? Oh, wait…I’ve said that. That’s me.

That’s all I’m trying to do! Help people live a life in balance. Maybe, just maybe, that’s what will set me apart!

Ok……my progress. I’m starting week 8 today! Has it really been 2 months??  This last week has been fairly good. Could my nutrition be slightly more on point? Yes!! No excuses!! Gonna dial that in. And when I say more on point, I mean watching my micronutrients. I’m pretty spot on with my macros…its those sneaky sodium and sugars that get me. I need to resolve to take less BLT’s (bites, licks, tastes). I always hit it hard at the gym, so nutrition is going to take it all the way for me.

With that said, I’m down to 129 on the scale. Which I’m slightly indifferent to. However,  I’d actually like it to be higher. I’m hoping it stays the same with more muscle gains. I think going into this next phase I’m going to keep my carb load the same, 185g a day. This will help me continue to gain more muscle in the final phase of the program.

 

There is not huge progress week over week. I *try not to get too in my head over that. But it’s hard sometimes. I put a lot of effort, energy, time, tracking, weighing, measuring, sweating all day, everyday. I want to see it!!! I know it’s all there. It’ll show up. Patience. Consistency. Never giving up!

Thanks for coming along on this ride!!

V~

 

 

Too Busy? Think Again. 

This has been one heck of a busy week. Painting. Kids. A Dog (a puppy to be exact), carpool, baking, working out, life. It’s just life. But we all give certain things in our life priority. For me, kids come first. Lately, the puppy comes in at a close second. Food. Then exercise. You’ve all heard the “there’s 24 hrs. in a day, you can find one hour to exercise” shtick. Although that statement is true, it’s actually more about what we are giving priority to. You say you want to lose weight or perhaps build a stronger physique. However you’re giving priority to other things. What do your TV viewing habits include? Perhaps there’s opportunity there. What does your lunch hour look like? Can you squeeze in 30 minutes of some weights? The dreaded 5am wake up call is daunting, I know that. I’ve done that. But if you want to make fitness a priority and your day is filled full of all the other responsibilities of life, perhaps that is your best option. Point is, you’re filling your day with something. What is it? Evaluate and adjust.

I make exercise a priority. Everyday I have to evaluate my day. What are the kids schedules? What school priorities are there? What needs to be done at home? What work needs to be accomplished? THEN I decide…..ok, what time will I go workout today? Is it that 5am alarm clock or is it a 7pm workout? I prefer to keep it regular times everyday, but that is not nearly as important as just getting it done. Maybe I have to break my workouts up. Weights in the morning and cardio at night, or at home. So, it’s just part of my everyday scheduling I do. We all schedule appointments every day. This is no different. Life gets busy and we need a way to be flexible, yet, not give way to our priorities.


 

I’ve reached week 4 in the Jessie’s Girls 3k Challenge!! I’m seeing progress. Although it may be small, it is progress. It’s in the little things you may not see, but can feel. My strength is increasing. My endurance is holding up longer. People come up to you at the gym and tell you that they didn’t recognize you because your arms are getting so big. Funny, but true. We tend to not see our changes quite as quick as others do.  So there’s that.

Week over week, here’s the difference. Last week I was around 131ish (I don’t weigh myself ever), I stepped on the scale this morning just for this and it read 130.4lbs. I’m currently eating roughly 2000 Calories a day. What’s more important is the macro breakdown of those calories. I consume 164g of protein per day, 59g of fat, and 203g of carbs. I also try to keep my sodium at 2000mg or less and sugar 30g or less. It’s funny because I’ve been feeling like a busted can of biscuits lately, which can be from any number of things. Sodium, carbs, water intake…you name it. I’m a woman, so you never know from one day to the next what’s going to happen. Which is why consistency has been the key for me. Every damn day. Gotta work at it.

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I have been changing things up a bit lately with my meals. I have a tendency to get stuck in a rut. I like routine, which has me eating pretty much the same thing every day. Which is ok, but after a while, that same bowl of Cream of Wheat and protein powder starts to taste like gross warmed up baby food.


I recently made some great purchases at Trader Joes. First off was their Fire Roasted Bell Peppers and Onions. I cooked up one pound of lean ground turkey with the entire bag of roasted veggies. I divided it up into 4 equal servings and would eat each serving in a flour tortilla. It literally took me 10 minutes to make up four meals! So fast and good!

The other finds were the Frozen Shredded Hash Browns and the Spicy Jalapeño Chicken Sausages. I’ve been using the Hash Browns as part of my pre-workout meal. Mixed with some egg whites, they are a low fat, high carb, high protein meal. Exactly what I need.

One of my favorites recently was a combo of the hash browns, chicken sausage and some whole eggs. This was higher in fats (not ideal for a pre-workout) but still a good mix, macro wise.

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I also purchased the riced cauliflower, which is good, but really low on carbs. This will be fine as I near the end of my challenge. Right now I need foods high in carbs……I’m eating a bowl full of oatmeal every night before bed for Pete’s sake!! Cauliflower isn’t working for me now. However, talk to me at the end of the Biking Body Program and I’ll be gobbling that stuff down!

I also had a fellow Jessie’s Girl post a recipe using the Trader Joe’s Buttermilk Biscuits baked with the Trader Joe’s Brie Bites in the center and topped with the Trader Joes reduced sugar strawberry jam. That was so delicious and one of the easiest things to make!

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Overall, it was a good week. Although it was busy I made the time to get my workouts in and plan my food accordingly. Having a well stocked kitchen is key for that. Making a daily plan was key for that. Making it a priority for my life was key to getting it done.

V~

Whats in your Kitchen?

 

The New Year is upon us. We all love the notion of a fresh start. A new beginning, new chances, new choices, new way of looking at things. I get it. It’s energizing and pulls us out of our holiday haze. I’m not huge on New Years Resolutions. Especially when it comes to fitness. I like to make changes when it feels right in my life rather than what a calendar tells me. Also, it’s helpful to look at change as a lifestyle change, rather than a resolution. However, if you feel like its a good time to jump into a new you, lets take a look at what might help you get there!

First off we all know (and I’ve said it before in my “the other 80%” post) that its all about what you eat. Let me show you what’s in my kitchen!

Aside from butter, flour, sugar and eggs…..I do have plenty of healthy eats in the house as well.

First off, all my major protein sources; ground turkey, turkey burgers, chicken breast and salmon are the mainstay of diet. Then some of my favorite veggies are asparagus, spinach, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, Brussels sprouts and broccoli.

Most of these protein sources are really high in protein per ounce while being low in fat and sodium. These help make reaching my protein macro goals for the day really easy! They can also be used many ways. Chicken tacos, chicken salads, chicken sandwiches. Turkey meatballs, turkey for tacos, on salads, mixed in with veggies. It’s endless with all the varieties!! The frozen turkey burgers are must have staple. Any time you have your grill going, just grab a couple and put them on the grill ready to have for the next day! Meal prep done!

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Vans waffles are a great grab and go breakfast item (or snack, or meal, or late night snack for that matter. I’ve been known to eat chicken and waffles at 10pm to meet my macros for the day) with plenty of carbs and protein to keep you satisfied. Top them with almond butter and some banana….SO GOOD!

Some other great protein sources are Greek yogurts, almond milk, almond butter, peanut butter, eggs and egg whites. Egg whites and Greek yogurt are probably some of the most versatile protein sources because you can mix them into anything. You can add egg whites into your oats for added protein. Add egg whites to scrambled eggs for added protein that doesn’t add fat. They’re virtually tasteless, so they take on whatever flavor you add to them.

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Greek yogurt is amazing!!  Again, you can take this and make it into so many different meals. You can add it plain on your tacos as a sour cream.  You can mix in avocado with it to make it like a mayonnaise spread on sandwiches. My favorite late night snack is Greek yogurt mixed with chocolate protein powder, almond milk and peanut butter topped with Lilly’s chocolate chips. If you haven’t ever tried Lilly’s chocolate chips I highly recommend them. They have no added sugar to them and they are the perfect little topping to special treats. Another staple item!

The only tricky thing about Greek Yogurt is you have to be careful of the sugar content. It can get high. Every brand seems to vary, so look carefully at labels and find the one that works for your needs. You can find Greek yogurts in varying percentages of fat as well. I like to keep both in the fridge. It helps to give yourself options. If I feel like I want something creamier, I’ll pick the Greek yogurt higher in fat. If at the end of my day I’ve consumed all my fat macros, but I still need carbs and protein, I’ll pick the fat free Greek yogurt. The more options you can give yourself, the more likely you are to succeed!

Next up are some pantry items. Most of your bulk carbs will come from breads, grains, rice, and cereals. Veggies provide carbs as well, and given a choice, veggie are always a great option. However, when you’re trying to reach well over 200g of carbs a day (yes I eat that many carbs) and stay within a certain sugar limit, you’ll need to eat rice, (some) bread, and cereals. Some vegetables and fruits that are high in carbs are also high in sugars. Sure they’re “natural” sugars, but its sugar just the same. So if you’re watching your sugar intake, you’ll need to be aware of the sugars in veggies and especially fruits.

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All rice products are just straight up pure carbs!! They can go with anything. You can cook rice in bulk to have on the ready in the fridge. Portion it out and you are good to go!! Rice cakes are perfect on the go snack. My favorite afternoon pick me up is a rice cake (or two) topped with creamy almond butter and Lilly’s Chocolate Chips with an iced coffee with almond milk. OMG…..the best.

Don’t forget to season your food! Mrs. Dash makes great seasonings that are all salt free. I know that there are a lot of other salt free products out on the market that are really awesome. Healthy food does not have to equal bland. If I do add salt, I will use sea salt, has more flavor and you don’t need to add as much to your foods. A little goes a long way! I also add cinnamon to nearly everything. Cereals, yogurt, egg whites, pancakes. I’ll sprinkle it on my almond butter slathered rice cakes. I love it. And its good for you. So there’s that.

Coconut oil cooking spray helps me to cook without added fats. However, if I want the added fat or need the added fat I’ll use coconut oil or olive oil.  Also good for you. Lots of healthy fats here! I may go through 4lbs of butter in a month for baking, but that certainly isn’t consumed by me!

The brown rice farina cereal is like a cream of rice cereal. Super high in carbs, gluten free (if you’re sensitive to gluten), no sugars and low in fiber. I use this as part of my pre-workout meal. Low in fats, low in sugars, low in fiber, high in carbs and high in protein. Why? It’s immediate fuel to my body. All those carbs are delivered straight to my system for energy to have a strong efficient workout. The protein is there to help protect and build my muscles. Its science.  Your body must have the proper fuel to build proper muscle mass.

Which leads me to supplements. There are a million different kinds of supplements out there. Are they a requirement to becoming fit and strong? Absolutely not!! That’s why they’re called supplements. They can help supplement your fitness goals, but they definitely don’t make or break it. Protein powders are the most helpful in that they can help you reach your daily protein macros. It can get tiresome to eat chicken, turkey, fish, beef, bison, eggs, yogurt all day every day. Protein powders can help you reach your protein goals and they come in a variety of flavors. For all you out there with a sweet tooth, these will get you through those cravings!!

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The next most popular is a pre-workout energizer (or if you’re like me, drink it the entire workout). This gives you that added bit of energy to get you moving through your workout. I will say that this definitely helps in the gym. With three kids (and now a puppy) my nights can be less than restful, so on the days I’m dragging my butt to the gym, my pre-workout is there to save me. As for the fat burners, I can’t say if they help or not. I’m sure I drink enough caffeine in the day that far surpasses what any fat burner has in it. The protein bars are great as well with a good balance of carbs and protein. I always like to keep them on hand or have one in my bag in case I get stuck doing something and I need to eat. It happens. And the people around me probably don’t wanna see me overly hungry either.

My biggest piece of advice is this: keep a well stocked kitchen. The more options you can give yourself, the more likely you are to be successful.  The other biggest piece of advice is to track our food BEFORE you eat. Right?? You don’t want to be mindlessly eating. The next thing you know, while you’re cooking your healthy meal, you’ve had a few bites of the cake on the counter, a spoonful of peanut butter, couple of crackers, and a glass of wine. Now you know what else is in my kitchen.

Lastly is try not to catch yourself hungry with no food around. Or at Costco shopping. Or at an In-N-Out. Starbucks either. Trader Joes can be a tough call on that as well. I’d only recommend a Whole Foods when extremely hungry. You see the point, set yourself up for success, not failure.

The deal is, food is THE most important part of your health and fitness goals. You could bust your butt in the gym for hours, but it’ll never show if your nutrition isn’t on point the majority of the time. The saying, “abs are made in the kitchen, not in the gym” is SO true! Speaking from personal experience!

Make this year the year you turn this into a lifestyle, not just another resolution!

V~

 

 

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