Sweet Potato and Spicy Spinach Burritos

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Time seems to fly by more rapidly with each year’s passing. Halloween and Thanksgiving a glimmer in 2016’s rearview mirror. This seems to be a simple reality of being part of the working world- 8 hours or more you may sit lost pursuing a venture of something bigger- your work life piling task upon task untilimg_2123 yet another day has passed without taking some moments to be present in the season that’s presently whizzing by like the hands on your super hip leather wristwatch.

For this reason- I decided it was absolutely pertinent to make Christmas, this year, something that I could slow down and enjoy the days leading up to. The slowing down hasn’t quite been achieved but I’m doing my very best to be present in the season itself.

The efforts began with a salad bar date with my momma- my favorite meal; with a woman that seems to get my heart, despite our years of teen rivalry. We pulled our Christmas lists from our purses and shared the gifts we hoped we’d find under the boughs of my mom’s img_2122intricately decorated Douglas Fir. Purses, boots, horse bridles, pajamas- the lists went on- seeming to be the same items we’d longed for last year. After supper we piled into my cozy truck and whizzed over to an overpriced Christmas tree lot- these were Cadillacs of Christmas trees. All freshly grown and practically perfect Christmas trees – originating in the mountains of Oregon- they were pricey. The lot came with a Christmas on 34th St. Santa Claus and reminded me of when I bought my last car- an attendant asking you what you longed for in the pine you’d dreamed of. We left quickly, finding ourselves at the supermarket down the road that carried similar, but more economical, trees. We bought the first one we laid eyes on- maybe 2 feet tall and absolutely perfect- I named her Fiona and vowed to feed her lots of water because she’s not fresh and certainly not originating in the mountains of Oregon with her desert –like branches.

img_2083The next task on my Christmas season to-do list was to take an evening filing my little house with Jingle Bells and Santa Baby lyrics, sipping on Bailey’s and mostly whipped cream, styling Fiona’s branches with the most lavishly painted ornaments and putting together a delicious dinner for me and a friend. So the evening began.

Nicole is my go-to Lovelieats friend- being patient and embracing the many photos of the ingredients and steps taken to create each meal- only rolling her eyes a time or two.

 

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We opted for a Kale and Sweet Potato burrito recipe that we’d seen on Pinterest- our personal recipe database. We changed it up a bit but the original recipe can be seen here– it looks quite delicious in it’s original recipe too!

The filling was scrumptious- the spicy cayenne and fragrant garlic playing off of the sugary and earthy sweet potatoes. The avocado balanced out the spicy onion and pepper tortillas. This might be a new favorite of mine- I’d love to try it with pumpkin or butternut

squash instead of the sweet potato and pair the burritos with a creamy chipotle sauce or avocado cream sauce. You’ll find the recipe below- let me know what you think!

As for the rest of this cozy Christmas season I plan on spending time to remember what this season is actually in celebration of- preparing Him room- Christ our savior is born! Looking forward to seeing how each of you embrace this season- spending moments showing your gratitude for those you love most, making Christmas cookies to share and sitting around colorful trees sharing laughter and friendship. I’m so thankful for each of you who support Lovelieats! Merry Christmas!

img_2121Ingredients:

  • 6 Chile and Onion tortillas from Trader Joes- regular flour tortillas would work great too!
  • 5 garlic cloves,
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • ¼ – ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • ¼ -tsp. garlic pepper
  • ¼ -tsp. black pepper
  • 1 Jar of Trader Joes Red and Yellow Fire Roasted Peppers
  • 1 can of Sprouts brand Cuban black beans
  • 2- 5 inch sweet potatoes
  • 1 tbsp. nutritional yeast- or ¼ cup cheddar cheese if you eat dairy
  • 4 heaping cups baby spinach
  • 1 avocado- sliced
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425. Oil or butter up a baking sheet to lay burritos on.
  2. Wash sweet potatoes, pierce several times with a fork, place in a microwave and microwave for 5-8 minutes or until softened.
  3. While Sweet potatoes cook- mince garlic and simmer with 1tbsp butter or olive oil.
  4. When garlic has begun to turn golden: drain off the beans and add them to the garlic- simmer for 5 minutes.
  5.  When sweet potatoes are finished cooking: set on a cutting board and mash with a fork – no need to peal as this will provide extra vitamins and minerals!
  6.  Add the sweet potato mash to the beans and garlic, mix together over low heat for just 2 minutes or so- adding in the cayenne, garlic salt and black pepper.
  7. Move the sweet potato mixture to the back burner.
  8. Add spinach into a small pot with about a tbsp. of butter or olive oil- wilt over low heat. Stirring in the nutritional yeast before pulling from heat.
  9. Layer the 6 tortillas with the sweet potato mixture, spinach, peppers, avocado and cilantro. Roll the burritos- tucking in the ends or leave them open for prettier presentation!
  10. Line the burritos on the baking sheet and bake in the oven for 20 minutes- the tortillas should be golden when you pull the burritos out!
  11. Devore!

Cardboard boxes full of pizza

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It feels as if the good Lord above has just “pressed play” on life again. For the last- well I might not reveal how many years it took me to finish college- but for the last long-amount-of-time I’ve ,every day, had the excuse : “I need to study”. I need to read this chapter or cram for that test or listen to this podcast or go to that class. I feel as if freedom has just wrung it’s big brass bell in celebration of liberation from having to be tied to an assignment in one form or another.

Hence why this blog post is being tip-tapped away under my finger tips at this very moment.

The last month was the highest priority as I was preparing to take the credentialing exam for my Dietetic Technican registration. I put all relationships on a bit of a “rain-check- until –further-notice” stance and began spending countless hours tucked into my big fluffy douvet pouring over flash cards, old worn nutrition books and chugging down unthinkable amounts of dark caffeine concentrated coffee.

I won’t drag the anticipation out much longer- I passed!
Praise the good Lord himself- I was a nervous nelly the day of.

I could not be more grateful for the patient friends, family, professors and mentors that walked me through this process. They gave me grace in my absent mindedness as I shared with them facts about foodborne illnesses instead of listening to their life updates, they were understanding in my inability to attend social function after social function in my friend group, they spoke words and prayers of encouragement over me and lastly provided easy meals to prep when life got busy.

A best girlfriend of mine reached out sometime a few weeks ago with notice that she’d img_1051sent me three meals from Blue Apron- knowing I hadn’t the time nor juice in my brain to come up with delicious meals of my own during that time and was mostly living off of protein laden bars and shakes.

I was near beside myself with excitement as I perused the meal delivery site’s pages. The meals all looked like they’d come straight from some high end foodie’s instagram account. Dotted with sauces and herbs, rich in unusual ingredients and tempting combinations.

I chose a variety of vegetarian options -3 recipes that would prepare 2 meals each -and had them delivered the following Friday. As I drug my tuckered legs up the stairs that Friday I was elated to find a hefty sized box perched at my front door- the words “Blue Apron” dazzling across all sides of it’s cardboard exterior. I scooped the oversized package into my arms and hoisted it onto the kitchen counter for inspection. As I slit open the taped edges the interior began to reveal itself. The food all tucked into a big silver insulated bag. The ingredients were lovely- the presentation spot on. Each ingredient labeled and measured out in just the perfect amount. I emptied all of them into my fridge and waited impatiently for the supper hour to arrive.

The first meal I dove into was a Smoked Mozarella and Cabbage Pizza- I told you the ingredients were unusual. I can’t say I was tremendously excited to place a head of cabbage upon the yeasty delicious dough they’d sent me but I figured they knew what they were up to at this Blue Apron place and trusted the process.

The pizza was simplistic to assemble- some of the steps surprising me along the way but making perfect sense in the end product. The flavor was rich, smokey and tangy with the capers found peaking through the cabbage and hunks of gooey smoked mozzarella.img_1449

The recipe and ingredients are below for you to have a go at- I promise it won’t let you down. Despite how much you may not dig cabbage- anything is good when it’s draped upon a fluffy round of pizza dough and then covered in cheesy goodness.

Thank you Blue Apron for the study break of a lifetime- dinner was everything I imagined and more. I look forward to many a more gourmet dinner out of a box.

 

Original Recipe on BlueApron.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 Pound Plain Pizza Dough ( you can make this from scratch, buy Pillsbury or some smaller pizza chains will sell you a serving of pizza dough)
  • 7 Ounces Smoked Mozzarella Cheese
  • 4 Cloves Garlic
  • ¾ Pound Green Cabbage
  • 1 Tablespoon Capers
  • ¼ Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • Siracha for dipping- if you’re into that sort of thing.

 

Directions:

1.Remove the dough from the refrigerator to bring to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 475°F. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Cut out and discard the cabbage core; thinly slice the leaves. Peel and mince the garlic. Small dice the cheese. Cut off and discard the root end of the romaine; halve the leaves crosswise. Core and thinly slice the apple.

2. In a large pot, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the cabbage and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 7 to 8 minutes, or until softened. Add the capers and as much of the red pepper flakes as you’d like, depending on how spicy you’d like the dish to be. Cook, stirring occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Remove from heat; season with salt and pepper to taste.

3.While the cabbage cooks, lightly oil a large sheet pan. On a clean, dry work surface, using your hands and a rolling pin (or a wine bottle), gently stretch and roll the dough to a ¼-inch thickness. (If the dough is resistant, let rest for 5 minutes.) Carefully transfer to the prepared sheet pan; rub the dough into the pan to coat the bottom in oil.

4.Evenly top the prepared dough with the cooked cabbage and cheese, leaving a 1-inch border around the edges. Season with salt and pepper. Bake, rotating the sheet pan halfway through, 16 to 18 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let stand for at least 2 minutes.

Take-a-moment French Toast

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Sea foam green- a cool, calm and ever peaceful experience. Pair that shade of greatness with the wildness of a deep and ocean inspired turquoise and you have magic- pure magic. Picture noimg_20160917_204006w a willow -tree -shaded yard with long tables donned with brown butcher paper, porcelain navy mugs, fuscia wild flowers, bright bountiful sunflowers and food- lots of tantalizing food. The corner of the sweet patio surrounded by cozy outdoor sofas and centered on a glamorous fire pit- the stones all sea blue and fiery.img_20160917_101629This, my friends, was the setting of today’s decadent brunch. My very best friend- which I have a few of (praise God)- celebrated her day of birth with a relaxing and abundant birthday brunch. I arrived at the quaint cottage at 6am and we acted like little Marthas- like Mary and Martha – running from task to task, dusting off patio furniture, picking out flowers, displaying the coffee and mimosa bar just so, and then we assembled what now may just be my new favorite breakfast item- French toast bake. If you’ve not tried it you must. You must go to the market straight away and purchase the few ingredients required and assemble this masterpiece immediately- no matter the hour- it’s a fine choice.
The morning proceeded without a hitch, several girls arrived primped and pressed in their finest Saturday brunch attire and we enjoyed yogurt parfaits with loads of fresh peaches, berries and bananas. We sipped on tropical mimosas- laden with strawberries, pineapple juice and the finest $5 champagne. We prayed and played, we decorated mugs and talked about boys and weddings. It was scrumptious.

img_20160917_203618More often than not all of Southern California races from calendar event to calendar event- not taking a spare moment to breathe and be in the moment they currently exist. We hurry ourselves from work to dates to bed and to work to gym to church. It’s a busy life we lead and it is fine and dandy when we embrace secret garden moments such as these. img_20160917_203837Where we sit, we sip, we make eye contact and genuinely listen to the souls in our presence. The moments where we let the sun sink deep into our skin and breathe the fresh ocean air wafting in from the sea nearby. These times are where life, memories, and relationships flourish. These are the times we allow to remain in our memory banks for later reference and laughter.img_20160917_203157

On that note- go plan a brunch for yourself, yourself and some girl friends, for your mom and your sisters. Sink your teeth into this take-a-moment-French-toast and enjoy life for the riches it so abundantly provides should we take a moment to gratefully receive them.

Ingredients:

French Toast Bake:

  • 15 oz. day old French Bread- cut into cubes
  • 8 AA jumbo eggs
  • 2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk ( I like Whole Food’s 365 brand!)
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons  ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Topping:
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons butter ( cold)

For serving:

  •  powdered sugar for dusting.

 Directions:

French Toast Bake:

  1. Cut day old loaf into 2′ x 2′ cubes and layer in a 12′ x 10′ glass baking dish.
  2. Whisk the “French Toast bake” ingredients together and pour over the french bread cubes.
  3. Cover with Saran rap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and no more than 24 hours.
  4.  The day of serving: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Mix brown sugar, flour, oats and cinnamon in a mixing bowl, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it’s reached a crumb-like texture.
  6.  Sprinkle the topping onto the French toast bake and place in oven to bake for 45 minutes. Check the bake every 10 minutes or so to ensure the bake is not burning on top- if it is you may need to move the bake to a lower rack for less exposure to the superior heating element.
  7.  Once complete, dust the bake with powdered sugar!
  8. The bake can be refrigerated for 3 days.

Hungry Hungry…cancer.

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[ke″to-jen´ik]

definition- Giving rise to ketone bodies in metabolism.

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-Ruled.me credit-

Butter, butter drip dropped into your hot steamy morning coffee. Creamy cream cheese smeared on high fat crackers. Coconut oil, cocoa powder and peanut butter rolled into rich dreamy truffles. Have you died and ended up in the heavens of heavens. No… no you’ve just begun a ketogenic diet.

A ketogenic diet- sign me up! This diet came about originally in 1924 with the work of Dr. Russell Wilder in the area of epilepsy as an alternative to fasting, which was seen to decrease the frequency of seizures in epileptic patients.

Dr. Russell’s high fat, moderate protein and low carbohydrate diet came about with the work of Rolland imgresWoodyatt, an endocrinologist, which studied the effects of fasting on the human body. Woodyatt found that three water soluble compounds- together called ketone bodies- were produced in the liver during starvation and these seemed to be the correlating factor between less seizures seen in epileptic patients during starvation. Low carbohydrate intake during starvation caused the human body to metabolize it’s own lipids or body fat for calories- resulting in ketone bodies, an alternate fuel that can be used by the brain and muscles in the short term for fuel instead of glucose- the preferred source of fuel by the human body.

This diet fell out popularity in the 1940s with the rise in anticonvulsant medications but became quite popular again in 1994 with the story of Charlie Abraham– a 5 year old that suffered from daily seizures and saw a complete recovery after beginning the ketogenic diet. The boy is now a man and is in college pursuing his dreams and to this day seizure free.

This diet has been on the trend list the last few years as possibly the new “paleo” or “gluten free” diet- but it’s so much more. This way of eating has been used in Type II diabetics– resulting in more normal blood glucose levels, PCOS patients with incredible weight loss unachievable on a normal balanced diet and even with cancer patients– as a diet that “starves” cancer cells resulting in a full recovery.

Cancer.

It feels like a bad word. Yet it’s a terrifying reality. There will be an estimated 1,685,210 newly diagnosed cases throughout our nation by the end of 2016 and 595,690 deaths from the disease. Yet it didn’t feel like such a threat until someone close to me was diagnosed recently.

I can clearly and quite comically remember plodding away- yes plodding like a St. Bernard after a saliva drenched tennis ball- on the treadmill on a regular basis flipping lightly through the pages of yet another romance and rumor filled female oriented magazine. I would search longingly for the next dating advice article, tactfully avoiding the many articles on antioxidants and the famous pink ribbon breast cancer articles. I simply did not think I would ever come in to contact with cancer- it seems silly to think back on now. There’s a reason people my age are called the “young invincibles”- we don’t fall ill as often as older generations. With that in mind I determined that cancer preventing diets and antioxidant-laden foods simply did not apply or relate to me.

This was until my mom’s very best friend recently passed away from lung cancer and my aunt was just a month ago diagnosed with breast cancer. Now it feels real, now it feels scary and now I may just read those articles I so freely flipped past in days gone.

The company I work with, Quest Nutrition, is a dreamboat of a mission-based company. All along I thought I was simply selling “America’s favorite protein bar” but I’ve been part of so much more than I could’ve imagined for a few months now.

Quest’s mission is to “ End the global slide towards ill health”- well heck, how was I supposed to know they weren’t referring to their sugar free bars high in satiating fiber and protein. No you guys, Tom, Ron, Mike and Shannan were talking about curing epidemics- like cancer.

There’s a whole area of the company , Epigenix, they’re tucked nice and cozy in the middle of our office and they’re working on CURING- yea cuuuuring- cancer.

How splendiferous is that? Who knew that splendiferous was an actual word?

The company has several projects in the works, one of them is a group of breast cancer patients in Louisiana consuming a solely ketogenic diet- provided by Quest Nutrition. The meals are absolutely divine and free to the patients with their cooperation in blood work readings and supervision by our nutritional team.

imagesAnother of the studies in progress is a collaboration called “Keto Pets”- our company is studying the effects of a ketogenic diet on cancer-diagnosed dogs at kill shelters. Yea- heartthrob I know- if Quest were a guy I’d have a mighty crush on him and all his humanitarian efforts with sick women and dogs saved from the brink of euthanasia.

The ketogenic diet isn’t all unicorns and sunsets though- the diet can be a challenge. Most American adults are eating between 48 and 51% of their

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“Cali” one of the famous Keto-pets!

kilocalories from carbohydrates. The keto diet calls for 5% carbohydrate intake- that’s a jump!

By restricting the amount of carbohydrates taken in through our diet we allow our body to make the shift into ketosis- a metabolic state that causes the liver to begin producing ketone bodies- a source of fuel for the muscles of the body and brain- instead of glucose- but an incompatible source for cancer cells!

www.Ruled.me has a vast amount of information on the ketogenic diet and how to transition into a ketogenic lifestyle. KetoAcademySmallSaleThe website recommends an intake of 70% of daily calories coming from fat, 25% from protein and 5% from carbohydrates. There are plenty of recipes and even a calculator to determine what the best macronutrient quantity would be for you in relation to your current weight, height and body fat.

Let me know if you’ve gone Keto? I’d be thrilled to hear about your experience and any recipes you’ve found that you love!

-If you’re interested in supporting the cure of cancer check out the links above, Epigenix and Keto Pets are both fantastic organizations to get involved with.

 

“Iron sharpens iron”- look at those guns!

ariel7Strength in numbers, two heads are better than one, iron sharpens iron- things are just better in pairs. Especially workouts. I first began working out with a girlfriend in highschool- quite honestly we spent most of our time cooing over the cute boys in the free weight section. This was the reality at the time, climb upon the painted silver steed of an elliptical and power it out :flipping page after page of gossip glittered magazines and then shovel buckets of frozen yogurt down to – ya’ know- carb load for our next rough workout.

This was until my health changing trip to New York City in 2012- written about in my last post. This trip encouraged me to take my workouts more seriously and spend my time ariel5more intentionally when at the gym. The first program I signed up for was online and is called Live Fit by Jamie Eason – I’m still such a big fan because of how detailed and approachable her plan is along with the simple and correct nutrition information she provides for fans!

I was at the gritty and oh so grimy 24 hour fitness in my hometown when I first my game-changer of a new workout buddy. She saw me doing what I considered some pretty B.A. deadlifts and asked if I was a “rower”- “A rower!?”, I questioned. I had no idea what she was referring to at the time as I have absolutely no interest in college sports of any sort. She laughed and explained that her workouts for her rowing team looked shockingly reminiscent of the workout I was attempting at the gym that day. She became a quick friend and we connected on our passion for horses, health and fitness modeling. I was so excited to have a friend to share my interests with and we spent the next 4 years encouraging each other to become our healthiest selves- always trying new eating plans, diets, supplements and workouts. On occasion we’d meet at the gym at ungodly hours before our real life actually began- she was committed so I was too.

Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 9.00.40 PMThis was my first experience with how beneficial a workout buddy can be on your motivation levels. Even if there was a day I wasn’t feeling motivated I had to show up because I had a close friend waiting for me that needed my encouragement too. As the years have passed I’ve picked up a few go-to workout buddies along the way. One of them I love to do serene yoga overlooking the beach or a powerhouse Body pump class at our 24 hour fitness, another that I love to run 10ks with because of his encouraging mantras that he chants along the way and another that I enjoy crack of dawn morning runs with because he’s always there to join a spontaneous adventure- even if it is 6 am.

research paper from the Journal of Social Sciences  on  thePsychology Today website explained one of the theories as to why working out with a partner can be so beneficial in ariel4motivation, “Social comparison theory may offer a helpful framework for understanding the effects of exercising with others. The theory states that “humans have a drive to assess how they are doing and in order to assess how they are doing, they seek standards against which to compare themselves. When objective standards are not available, people look to their social environments and engage in comparison with available others” (Corning et al., 2006).”

My favorite workouts are those that challenge me and ones that feel worth while- increasing my fitness level and helping me grow in my abilities while simultaneously helping my workout buddy achieve the same.

ariel3So, how should you get started on your workout buddy journey? Look around your social circles, are there acquantences or friends that you admire for their health or physical fitness? Is this person also someone you’d like to deepen your friendship with or get to know better? GREAT!

My method of attack is generally to ask this potential workout buddy on a “friend date” at the gym. Tell them about how you admire their physical fitness and would love to learn how ,you too, could get in such mindblowing shape( they’ll blush and surely agree to the invitation)! Another tactic is to find a gym or class that offers “free trials” and invite the could-be-buddy to join you for a hit or miss first try at  a new class.

Another , fairly new, way of making some new workout saavy friends is through the website www.Meetup.com – think a dating service for solely platonic relationships with people that have the very same interests as you! I’ve joined just about every fitness related meetup in my neighborhood- although I’ll admit I haven’t gotten around to attending ariel2most of them. The groups range from saturday morning beach running, yoga in the park and even humanitarian groups that raise money for organizations and also hike together!

Below is a list of some of my favorite gyms and workouts that I’ve had the pleasure of embarking on in the past! I can’t wait to hear how your fitness journey goes! Use #lovelieats in your next gym selfie to keep us all posted on your workout feats!

Comment below with an idea or workout you love and would like to share- I’d be so happy to hear about it!

  • Kayla Itstines – Bikini Body Guide ( a 6 month journey to an even more b-e-a-utiful body!)
  • Jamie Eason– Live Fit 12 week workout ( a more intense workout plan that includes ariel6free weights and organized calendars of workouts for each day- so great if you’re a planner like me!
  • Less Mills- Body Pump ( offered at most gyms and such an awesome workout that incorprates free weights and fun cardio paired with some energizing beats!)
  • Meetups- ( as mentioned above, their are an absolute endless amount of workout and fitness groups to join- lots of potential bffs!)
  • Pinterest -( There are so many fun short and unique workouts to try! This has been my “go to” lately because of my jam packed schedule and lack of time to get to the actual gym, I recently bought resistance bands and a balance ball for more variety and challenges!)

ariel1

 

 

A taste of the Dietetic Exam

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Hey friends! :]

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I’m currently studying for the Dietetic Technician exam – hoping to take it in September this year!

I thought I’d share some of what we learn throughout the program- if you’re passionate about food’s and nutrition you may find the information interesting. This is the first video of many! Enjoy!

DTR STUDY

Any topic you’re particularly curious about? Let me know and I’ll include it on one of the upcoming videos!

Bicep Bursting Brownies

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New Years Eve, New York City- 2012.

I slipped on my frighteningly old tennies and scampered across the busy city street – destination: Gold’s Gym. I was staying in New York City, New York for the New Years holiday week and conveniently located just across the way from our chic boutique hotel was a sweat glisteni390516_10150461429303565_1869447226_nng , musty and jam-packed-with-hot-bodies place to work out. I felt so out of place, like a lot of women do, when entering the free weight area of a gym- except the whole gym was the free weight area. The bulging muscles, grunts and intimidating glances in my direction were completely daunting- I pressed on to the reception desk and signed up for a free trial week, the receptionist caring very little about my California residence and travel stories.

As I climbed the stairs to the brightly lit and mirror-rimmed room trimmed with what appeared to be every increment and form of weight a person could possibly lift I suddenly felt encouraged- “I can do this, I read Self magazine!”. The week passed quickly- enamored by the grand Central Park and380459_10150461454003565_1318124305_n the sweet sweet Serendipity Cafe, the Frozen Hot Chocolate and whimsical ambiance still sparkling in my mind. Towards the end of the week and just as the New Year’s Celebration was on the verge of beginning I’d determined my goal for the coming year- Lose weight- original huh?

I wasn’t unattractively heavy at this point, just curvy, and if and when I did step on that darned scale at the Herbalife center they told me my BMI put me in the-wait for it- “obese category”- 31, what a magical number to create such a lack of self love. I was determined in the coming year to get “in shape” like the glistening bodies at the Gold’s Gym. I bought a book on women’s body building, borrowed another read from a friend’s husband on Arnold Schwarzenegger and signed up for Jamie Eason’s Live Fit- 12 week weight lifting plan. Jamie Eason wins the gold medal on getting me in shape- 25 lbs later that year I was in beautiful shape, down to a healthy BMI and points beyond points lower in my body fat percentage. I’d worked out nearly every day- doing lots of resistance training in the free weight area of the less intimidating 24 hour fitness, ran about 20 miles a week and focused on centering my meals around fiber rich fruits and vegetables while supplementing my days with the most horrifying, chemical filled ,Walmart-bought Body Fortress vanilla protein powder.

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One year later- 25 lbs. down and apparently feeling very sassy. 

I was suddenly confident in my skin, I felt sexy and powerful and even made one of my long time best friends while doing one of Jamie Eason’s workouts at the gym. This new lifestyle had all sorts of perks. Like many things in my life though- it was a fad, I eventually lost interest with spending 2 hours at the gym every day. As time progressed and the years waged on I’m back at a more womanly figure with less than beefy arms- I’m sure to most men’s approval! What has remained is my interest in supplementation and healthy eating. I use Ground-Based

Superfood protein as a meal replacement twice a day for breakfast and lunch, and have done so for the last two years. I love the rich flavor of the organic salted cocoa powder in the Chocolate flavor and the creamy sweetness in the Vanilla flavor.

Since I’ve used this product for so many years I’ve also gotten fairly creative with applications for it- pancakes, oatmeal, protein bars, popsicles and nooooow rich, glorious, grain free Brownies.

These gems weIMG_20160711_054743re dense, succulent and full of tastebud-demanding rich chocolate flavor. The recipe is simple and very customizable. Depending on your nutrition goals you could add in peanut butter, white chocolate chips, walnuts, strawberries, cherries or even a different flavor or type of protein!

Comment below with the way you customized the recipe!

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Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a muffin pain with muffin liners.
  2. Peel one ripe banana and add into your stand mixer along with one single serving of unsweetened apple sauce, begin to puree at a slow speed.
  3. Add in the vanilla extract, coconut oil, fine sea salt, cocoa powder, chocolate chips and Ground-Based protein and continue combining at a slow speed.
  4. Place brownies in oven and bake for 20 -25 minutes or until set.
  • The brownies need an hour or so to cool and set as they don’t have any gluten to form a gelatinization process ( what makes a brownie solid when using flour). These set up quicker if cooled at a chilled temperature- refrigerator works best.