Recipe: Mexican Hot Chocolate + PB overnight oats

For my refeed I planned some things that I don’t typically get to eat in the same day or get a chance to eat often. I had mentioned before that I’ve been adding oats into my diet as a way to change up my breakfast and this morning I made Mexican hot chocolate overnight oats, but I added peanut butter because peanut butter makes everything better.

I used my basic overnight oats recipe that I shared a few weeks ago, but here’s what I added.

2 tablespoons of chocolate PB2

When the oats were still dry, I added the PB2 so I could mix it in thoroughly.

1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

I add cinnamon to my basic recipe as well, but it’s more of a dash. For this recipe I added an exact amount to get the spice that I wanted.

1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

Mexican hot chocolate is hot cocoa with a kick and aside from cinnamon, the kick comes from peppers. Historically, cocoa wasn’t eaten and to drink it herbs and spices need to be added so it wouldn’t taste so bitter. I added cayenne pepper on top of my oats for this kick. Some recipes I’ve seen for from scratch Mexican hot chocolate call for chile pepper.

Mixed in, the oats are spicy without making your mouth burn up. I know some people say they can’t handle spicy foods, but this is just enough and with Trader Joe’s PB cups this was a perfect way to start my refeed day.

 

Enjoy!

❤ Cristina

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A week in review – week 4

This past week was a pretty awesome week all things considering. My water was on point, which has made me feel like a lean bean. My meals were fun and for this upcoming week I’ve been digging through some cookbooks to get some other ideas.

So here’s my week in review in photos!

Greek yogurt with granola – it only looks like a fancy dessert

I had the chance to enjoy some bread from a local bakery and it was amazing with an egg stuffed tomato

 

National Peanut Butter Day was a thing and of course I made sure to fit it in

Seeing more definition while I was working out this week made me feel confident that I will be successful this round of prep

 

I tried some new exercises and didn’t fall over :]

Oh hey, some back definition.

 

Ok, maybe I’m a little excited about some definition.

Transformation Tuesday reminded me that my wardrobe has drastically improved

 

Pancake Monday was a success and I finished a bag of mix, which means I could open a new flavor

I found some new yogurt flavors and they help fill the void that I wish I could fill with all the pastries in the world

 

I never thought I was an athlete, but I do now. I’ll do whatever it takes.

I made a post about what athletes actually look like and people could relate.

I stopped by to admire and buy peanut butter in Rhode Island.

 

I was also reminded that I hold onto clothes, well I hold onto sweatpants.

 

I worked on my posing, a pretty good use of my lunch hour if I saw so myself.

My check in was a day early, but I’m really excited about my progress. I’m seeing new lines, which is kind of cool and my butt isn’t looking too bad.

As good as my photos for check in, I was down another .4 pounds for a total loss of 3.8 as of 1/28/16

I found, bought and made some protein brownie mix. I may have paired it with yogurt and Nuts n More and Walden Farms chocolate sauce. It was an amazing dessert alternative and I can’t wait to have more of these as prep continues.

I was also told by my coach that I’m trying out a refeed tomorrow. At first I was nervous because I’ve never purposely consumed more than necessary. Then I went through the OMG what will I make phase because a refeed is an increase in carbohydrates for the day and that means I can eat a lot of different things that I usually can’t. Third, I consulted a friend and tomorrow’s menu looks freakin’ awesome and I can’t wait to blog about it.

Part of the refeed is to weight myself today, tomorrow – during the refeed day and Monday after the refeed, to see how my body handles it. I weighed in at 145.8, so .4 lower than I was on Thursday, which means the loss for the week was really .8 pounds. I can’t believe that was the number on the scale, that’s a 4.2 loss in 4 weeks. The last time I was this weight was my sophomore year of college in 2008. That’s nuts!

Moving on…

Refeeds aren’t for everyone, but I’m really excited to see how my body responds to it and also for the French toast that I have planned for brunch! If it goes well, there will be more refeeds during prep, which means the possibility of more French toast.

So week 4 is over and I have 12 more weeks of prep. Bring on the crazy, the cardio and the rush that will come as the stage day gets closer!

❤ Cristina

I’m an athlete, I just might not look like one

I grew up dancing, but I never thought of myself as athletic. When I was in junior high I tried a season of soccer and it was laughable. I only attempted because it was the cool thing to do. My dad signed my younger sister and I up for the community league; she was a natural and I would rather get back to my tutu.

In high school, I took dance class as electives in school on top of being in a dance school after school. It was my outlet to express myself and it kept me shape. When I got to college, I joined the cheerleading squad, but it wasn’t as strict as dancing had been so I opted for no cardio.

After some life changes I had put on just over 110 pounds in just under 3 years. That’s a large amount of weight and a very short time. After college and some other life events that made me examine and rethink my path I started to get healthy. I looked at my daily diet and eliminated things that had no nutritional value like soda, I made small changes like this and then started adding cardio in like walking. I started going to a gym class here and there and after moving to a new state for my first career job I got more serious and joined a gym, where I went almost 5 days a week. I used the equipment and took the classes. That was in 2012.

It’s 2016 and I have lost 93.8 pounds. Yes, I know to the ounce. I went from an XL/2XL top to a XS/S blouse. I went from a 22/24 at my largest in pants to a size 4. I started lifting in the summer of 2014 because I had made the decision to compete in a bikini competition. I had made progress in my journey, but I needed a good kick in the butt to kick it into high gear. It was what I needed. When I started I was a size 8 and a 174 pounds. Lifting has changed me for always and in so many ways, more than physical.

Bodybuilding is more than getting lean and toned. It’s more than watching what you eat and counting out your food. You push yourself in so many ways from the dedication to your goal to drag ass at 430 to get to the gym for a 5 o’clock opening all the way to drinking more than your body weight in water because you know it allows you consume all the sodium and helps flush out your muscles. The schedule is crazy and the planning that goes into building the best body is intense.

I recently was told that these bikini competitors, these physique athletes, weren’t athletes at all. They were only getting on stage to look good, there was no need to be strong or have endurance. Well, my friends – fuck that nonsense. I am athlete. I run an 8:22 mile. I squat 140, which may not be a lot, but is almost my body weight for a max of 9 reps at the moment. I have gained strength since I started lifting, even while eating in a slight deficit. I’m eating enough and I eat all the time, for my body to become something better than average. I am not average and I never will want to be. I’m working towards a goal that many are too scared to do.

As I’ve worked on myself and changed my way of thinking about my body and myself, I have learned that there are people out there who are jealous, who are just mean because they can be. It doesn’t make them happier or better than me, it actually is a poor reflection of how they feel about themselves. I guess I was in shock, I seriously couldn’t believe the conversation. It came out of nowhere. Just bad mouthing the look of a competitor and the skill of one. I think the best part was being told that I’m “way too sensitive about this shit. It’s a hobby.” For some it’s a hobby and for others it’s a career and a way of life.

 

So I asked myself, what does an athlete look like?

Is there a cookie cutter than makes the perfect one? I reached out to a few of my friends, some I have met through the amazing fit family that is on social media and asked them do they consider themselves athletes and why do they do their sport?

Here’s what they said:

 

Laurie – @tiny_gym_rat

“As my fitness journey has progressed over the years from competitive dancer, to distance runner, to lifting weights, to dabbling in powerlifting and now even giving oly lifting a shot, one thing has remained consistent. I challenge myself both physically and mentally every time I take active steps towards my current goals. It’s rarely comfortable, but always worthwhile.”

 

Monica – @monica_yng

I was not athletic growing up. I was super overweight and awkward, and I never really played sports. My hand/eye coordination is ridiculous. But in running and lifting, it doesn’t matter. With runners there is always an instant camaraderie and everyone understands that the person you’re trying to beat is yourself. I’m not looking to compete in anything, and that’s okay.”

 

Tresa – @not_a_runner

“I like lifting because it is all about you; beating your own records. It makes you grow physically and mentally. It pushes you, but if you push back you get stronger. I love pushing my limits and being sore the next day. Or next several days – I still can’t walk right from the other night.”

  Carrie – @ccohen814

Carrie had her first child last January after 24 hours of labor. She had gained weight during the pregnancy and had been concerned about it coming off. We’ve been friends since college and 7 months after she had Michael here and I got together for breakfast and we talked about my journey. I told her about the balance of eating what you want sometimes and eating things you need to because they’re good for you. The balance of being active and also watching TV. She has lost all the pregnancy weight plus some. The above photo is August 2015 to now. And she sent me this with it:

“Just wanted to say thank for motivating me! The picture on the left is in Aug and on the right is now! I still wanna lose more and be more muscular, but I had come so far. Thank you!!! You’re such an inspiration! I knew you before, so seeing you on this journey and knowing you do it right – you eat and exercise – you do it right is a real inspiration. It makes it possible! So many people do it wrong, they starve themselves and then after their “diet”is over, they gain it back. I have learned from you it’s a life style change not a diet.”

Melissa/Mellfire – @mellfire

I always felt indestructible, powerful and beautiful when I skated. Whether I was in the best shape of my life or just “fighting shape”I was powerful and felt like I could take on the world. My was a temple even if I didn’t treat it like one.

I was never encouraged to be something great. I have suffered great loss just like many others, but the difference is I am investing in myself. A few years ago I would’ve laughed if you said I would be competing, I would laugh if you said that I would lose almost 100 pounds because Cristina a few years ago didn’t have that much faith in herself. I am unstoppable now. I am an athlete, eve if I don’t look like one.

❤ Cristina

 


 

Recipe: egg stuffed tomato

I love eggs. I eat them all the time, but I’ve been playing with how I make them so I can incorporate more veggies into my day as well as keeping my meals interesting. I’ve seen posts of people baking eggs in muffin pans to make mini quiches or egg cups with ham or bacon. I figure I could do something similar, so I tried baking an egg in a tomato. While I was disappointed that the yolk was completely cooked, it was still soft.

Since tomatoes are low in carbs,I  paired it with a flax and oat pita, which gave me something to put it on and not just look like a crazy lady shoving a tomato into her mouth.

This week I made them again, except one came out running and I was so pumped. I also got a great baby loaf of olive and herb bread from a local bakery to use with it. Cream + Egg + Tomato = freakin’ heaven.

So enough about me stuffing my face, here’s the recipe.

What you’ll need:

  • whole tomato a little smaller than a fist
  • 1 egg
  • cooking spray
  • small baking dish or muffin pan

Directions

Pre-heat your oven to 350.

In your baking pan or muffin pan spray a little cooking spray. Your egg will overflow out of the tomato and this will allow it to come right out and not stick.

Cut the top of your tomato off. Try to not cut off too much tomato.

With a spoon, cut and scoop out the seeds in the middle. I scooped out a little meat to make room for the egg, but I didn’t need to cut out a bunch.

Place tomato in baking pan so that it doesn’t move around.

Crack your egg into the tomato. It’ll overflow so don’t be worried, that’s what the cooking spray is for!

Place pan in the middle of the shelf, for me this meant about 4-6″ from the edge of the shelf. Bake your tomato for about 15-25 minutes. When I cooked 2 it was closer to 25 minutes. I kept checking on my tomato every 5 minutes or so to see if the white of the egg was cooked since that’s what I care about.

After your satisfied with the doneness of your egg/tomato, pull it out of the oven and use a fork to loosen any egg white that poured over into the pan. I also used the fork to lift the egg out of the pan so it doesn’t roll around. I didn’t do this with the first egg out of two this morning and the fully cooked yolk popped right out. I was sad for a minute and then put it back in place once it was safely on my plate.

Macros – depends on the size of the tomato mostly. I used 200g of tomato between two tomatoes + 2 whole eggs = 9.4f/9.8c/13.8p

Have fun cracking!

 

❤ Cristina

Food Sharing and a Recipe for Peanut Butter Protein Cheesecake

I love dessert and really I love food. My weightloss journey has been about how to fall in love with other foods and live my life with moderation so I don’t feel deprived. That is why I will forever say that flexible dieting and macro counting have saved. I have counted calories and cut things out completely. My relationship with food was terrible. It was a comfort for me at one point and there are times that it still is, but not necessarily to the extreme that it once was.

Some of this journey has also been about tweaking some of my favorites so I can consume more and not feel guilty. To name a few foods I’ve done this with – pancakes, muffins and cheesecake. I’ve had people ask how I make different foods or how I assemble, so in honor of my prep journey, I’m going to share some of my recipes and tricks to make things a little healthier for  you while still having fun with your food. Remember it’s fuel!

I have made quiet a few pro or protein cheesecakes, but this by far is the best ratio mix that I have come up with. It started with a conversation with my friend Eva on Thursday, and it ended with a conversation about protein with my friend Tresa.

So here’s what you’ll need:

  • a food scale
  • 75g of 0% plain Greek yogurt – I used Chobani
  • 56g of 1/3 less fat cream cheese – I used Philadelphia because it was on sale
  • 1/4 liquid egg whites
  • 1 packet of Quest protein powder in peanut butter flavor – or any flavor you want. If you’re measuring from your tub – it’s 30g
  • 15g of Goldfish grahams – I used vanilla cupcake, macros may change depending on flavor
  • mini baking pan

This recipe is for one serving, so keep that in mind!

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small to medium microwavable bowl, measure out 56g of cream cheese. This was 2 servings of the 1/3 less fat cream cheese that I used.

Soften cream cheese in microwave for about 15-20 seconds.

Placing the same bowl on the scale, measure out 75g of 0% plain Greek yogurt. I used Chobani. Mix well with a hand mixer.

Mix in 1/4 cup egg whites.

Lastly, mix in your protein slowly. You want it to be smooth and blended well. If you add too much at once, it will be hard to break up clumps.

Set mixture aside. Take your mini baking pan and place on the scale, zero out and weigh out 15g of Goldfish grahams. This is half a serving so you could count the individually. Line the bottom with your fish! Some of mine were smiling at me.

Pour mixture over the Goldfish and smooth out so that the batter is even.

Bake for about 25 minutes. Make sure you check on your cake! My oven is very funny sometimes and I will have to check on things to make sure they aren’t cooking to fast or slow. Also be nervous if it puffs up like mine did!

Let your cake cool. This is more important than you know! The pan I have is from Michael’s and is a nonstick, but if you try to remove anything quickly it will stick because that makes sense. So after about 15 minutes of hanging out cooling, I popped mine out of the dish and got this!

All the fishies staring at me!!

Macros for this cake following the same ingredients are: 15f/ 19/ 42p. Remember different brands have different macros and calorie amount. Change up the flavor if you want, I really thought PB sounded like a grand slam! This is now in my fridge waiting for me for dinner on Wednesday. Yep, that’s right it’s going to be dinner. Maybe I’ll have some veggies as an appetizer :]

I hope you have fun playing with this recipe!

❤ Cristina

Recipe: Overnight Oats

The only thing that I can say about overnight oats is that I wish I had made these sooner. I started making them last month. I believe it’s because I was nervous about having too much nut butter in the container and going out of my macros. Well, I won’t lie, to ensure that I got all of the cashew butter mixed into my oats that I made last night, I scrapped the last bit of the container and weighed it. The put it back in the container. Obviously, not the point of using the jar, but overnight oats can be measured or not. It’s your preference.

This is my basic recipe for overnight oats. You can add whatever you want, just remember that macros and calories change as the brands or ingredients change, but you’re smart enough to figure that out.

What You’ll Need:

  •  1/2 cup rolled or steal cut oats – I used rolled oats because nutritionally there’s not much difference 
  • 5 ounces of almond milk – I had vanilla Almond Breeze on hand
  • 1/2 scoop protein
  • cinnamon – optional 
  • vanilla extract – optional 
  • container

Directions:

Measure out a 1/2 cup of oats (or a serving according to your label) in your container.

Add 5 ounces or 2/3 cup of almond milk (you can use any milk, I have a dairy sensitivity to certain products). To measure I used a liquid measuring cup.

Add a little cinnamon to taste and vanilla extract. Stir until cinnamon appears to be well mixed. Add protein powder if desired. 

Place in fridge for overnight because you know, they’re overnight oats. I’m sure they could sit for a few hours if you wanted them for later in the day, but overnight allows them to really absorb the milk.

morning after

This is the basic recipe that I follow every time I make over night oats. Most oats I will add a nut butter. I keep a million different kinds and flavors in my pantry, and they all have very different nutritional value. So it depends on the day as to which one I use. Below are some photos of oats I have made in the past few weeks. I’ve listed the extra ingredient and the macros for them.

Side note: I add half a scoop of whey/casein blend to my oats for more protein. This makes them thicker, you may need to adjust liquid for protein powders. I have found 2/3 cup is enough for thickness.

Have fun with your flavors!

1T Salted Caramel Nuts and More +7 mini PB cups from Trader Joe’s 15F/48C/12P

Same as above

Oats in the actual cashew butter jar

2T Caramel French Toast Cashew Fit + FF Whip and Cinnamon 17.8F/42.5C/15.5P

❤ Cristina

Two weeks in and I couldn’t be happier

Yesterday marked the last day of the second week of prep. It’s going better than I could’ve ever imagined. My weight has steadily decreased and I’ve lost a total of 2.6 pounds, which brings me to 147.4. This is the lowest weight I have been since I was in college. And really since my sophomore year of college. Every week I have been blown away at the progress I’m making, even before prep and even when the scale wasn’t really moving. I was still in awe of what I was able to accomplish.

My lifts feel really good and even better – my running feels amazing since I’ve been lifting more and changing up my lifts. Go figure that making your legs stronger would help them in running.

Something that I’m doing similar to the last prep is early morning workouts. I’ve been getting to bed around 9 pm so that I can be up at 430 for the gym to open at 5. I have been sleeping through the night and getting up with no problem. We even got snow this week and I had my butt up to scrap off my car before going to the gym in the morning. I guess that’s dedication. I really want this. Getting up in the morning has also helped me a lot when planning the rest of my day because with an hour commute fitting in gym time after work can be really hard. I also believe that this is a big contributor as to why I’ve lost so steadily. When your body gets enough sleep it helps regulate your metabolism and it also decreases the amount of cortisol that your body produces. Lack of sleep can also increase hunger and appetite – I know my eating schedule hasn’t changed, but I feel fuller longer, which makes me stay track.

So here are some photos to catch up on the week. I can’t wait to start week 3 tomorrow with quad day.

 

Chicken + Spinach + Onions + Mushrooms + Sriracha Mayo

 

Dessert! Whipped Greek Yogurt  + Granola and Whip

 

The Perfect Yolk

 

Weight check-in

We had our first snow!

 

Sweater dress season

 

Overnight Oats

 

Pancake Monday

❤ Cristina

 

Prep – round 2, day 2

There are so many things I want to say and so many emotions I’ve got going on right now. In the fall, I decided that I was going to compete again. I was going to do it better. I had a goal of 150 pounds by the end of the year. I was 150 when I competed in November 2014, so why not have that as my goal starting point. Well, I’m proud to say that I made it through the holidays and yesterday’s weigh in said 150 pounds. I couldn’t believe it that I called my boyfriend in to look at the scale and then take a picture to send my trainer/coach Alaina. I was speechless because I knew I had done well during the holidays, by it was party after party and even tailgating at the Winter Classic. Granted, I was strategic, but still. I’m scared I won’t do well, but I’m confident I have the right people supporting me that there’s never going to be a chance to fail.

So let’s play some catch up, shall we? December 2014 was about a month post-show. I put on between 8-10 pounds throughout the holidays, which really wasn’t bad. Eating at the holidays is hard and going from competition prep to reality is VERY different. I tried to get back into the swing of things in the new year, but after losing 5 pounds by March, I wasn’t happy with my progress and decided to not compete in the spring of 2015. I tried Kayla Itsines BBG program and lost an additional 6 by the beginning of June. I was under 150, at 149 pounds for the first time since my sophomore year of college.

After a crazy job search, some stress eating and not focusing on the gym, I gained some weight back and by some I mean I think I was pushing 162ish. July 21, I got my act together. It was the day after I started my new job and I figured that was the best time to start because for the most part, all the unexpected crazy adult life things, were over. I restarted BBG and was on a great path – I was down about 5 pounds, back to 166/7ish. I then found Alaina on instagram. I found her web site and read everything. I emailed her and a few questions and after talking with her, I knew I wanted to work with her. That was October, it’s now January. I’m now 150 and almost sliding into a size 4.

My first show is April 23rd in Albany and the second show is April 3oth in Boston. It’s only day 2 and everything is being perfectly lined up so I am successful. I’m going to do a dry prep again, so no alcohol for the next 4 months, except for Extreme Beerfest, I already bought JP tickets for his birthday in February. I’ve made the decision to “skip my birthday” at least the eating anyway. It wasn’t a hard decision to make either, I want to do well at competition and it’s one day. It will be more fun celebrating over a meal when I don’t have a strict schedule or big goal in mind.

I’m 16 weeks out from the first show and 17 weeks out from the second. I’m confident for this time around. I’m going to have some fun with my workouts, I’m going to be a little cleaner in my eating. Maybe rub a treasure troll for good luck.

Here’s some progress shots from the past year. Cheers to the new year and kicking ass this spring.


❤ Cristina