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Finding the balance of physical and mental health through adventures and fitness

Category Archives: Recipes

As warmer weather is approaching, we’re shifting how often we use the oven. It doesn’t matter if you have air conditioning, the oven turned on in the late spring and summer makes for a really warm kitchen. We cook a lot of things stove top, use our George Foreman or go outside and grill.

For this recipe, all you need is pots and pans and some tongs.

As we’re getting back into our routine of having dinner together again since the semester is over, I’ve been trying to incorporate meals that take a little longer or utilize entrees that may have a little assembly. I don’t need to rush dinner or have it in a Tupperware anymore, so this is a perfect opportunity to use corn tortillas.

I’ve made BBQ chicken tostadas before and since I had shaved steak I looked to see if there was a recipe that would be similar that I could check out.

Here’s what my Pinterest search looked like.

Pinterest steak tostada

So I skimmed through a few recipes and then decided to throw my own thing together.

What You’ll Need

  • Vegetables to saute (whatever you like, onions and peppers are perfect with this)
    • Red onion
    • White onion
    • Tomatoes
    • Bell Pepper
    • Mushrooms
  • 8 ounces shaved steak (I used Trader Joe’s because it’s lean and reasonably priced)
  • Jerk seasoning
  • 4 corn tortillas (I used Goya)
  • ~1/4 cup of plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • ~2T Mozzarella cheese
  • Cooking spray

Directions

1. Wash and chop vegetables into small pieces. They don’t need to be minced, but should be close to bite size.

2. Spray a medium sized pot with cooking spray and add vegetables. Put on medium heat. Stir occasionally as vegetables sweat.

3. In a separate pan, add shaved steak and seasoning blend. I used Jerk seasoning, but you could use something smokey or spicy for this recipe. Put on medium heat so you don’t burn the meat.

4. In a small pan, spray cooking spray or use a little bit of olive oil (with a paper towel) to lightly coat the bottom. Put on high heat to get pan to temperature, then decrease heat to medium/medium-high. Place a corn tortilla until you see air pockets form and the bottom side of the tortilla is browned. This should take a few minutes if the pan isn’t warmed up yet, then flip and let second side to brown. Repeat this for all corn tortillas. You may need to spray or wipe olive oil in between tortillas.

5. For plating, place a corn tortilla on a plate and spread plain Greek yogurt, I used a spoonful. Since this recipe makes two, I used half the steak for both tortillas, then added vegetables followed by shredded mozzarella cheese. Many recipes called for mozzarella, but you could use cheddar or a blend – whatever you prefer.

Nutritional estimates: ~350 calories, 11F/36C/32P

As always, nutrition will change based on brands and cuts of meat. If you use a different cut of meat, it may has more fat and therefore more calories. If you use more or less vegetables, etc.

If you want to check out the recipe that had inspired my BBQ chicken tostadas a while back, here it is!

❤ Cristina

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I love food and as someone who was formerly obese, I do understand what that love can do physically. However, emotionally, I also know what it can mean for someone to completely change their lifestyle and make extreme changes. I used to believe that you had to always say ‘no’ to see change. When I started competing and “macro counting” I learned that it didn’t have to be that way.

I know that sounds weird, since many competitors follow strict meals plans and often say no more than yes during season. But through macro counting I learned that balance could be created if I paid attention to what I was eating versus eliminating food groups. Emotionally I felt like I could participate with this approach over other eating styles and approaches.

There are foods that do absolutely nothing for you nutritionally, like soda and potato chips. I don’t care if it’s “organic cane sugar” in your soda, it’s not helping. But a huge aspect of food is enjoyment. I enjoy alcohol every now and then. I enjoy donuts and sweets, but I try to enjoy them in moderation. I’m not always perfect, but in this moment, that’s ok.

Cheesecake was a dessert that I always thought of as luxurious and difficult to make. When I was in college I made the mistake of not incorporating dairy into my daily diet like it had been while I was growing up. My consumption went from a gallon of milk a week to maybe a glass a week, if ever. I still ate cheese, but not as much as I had previously. My junior year I developed a lactose intolerance and a lot of foods went out the window including soft ice cream, sour cream, homemade whipped cream and cheesecake.

Some things were worth the stomach ache, but other things  – not so much.

Over the past few years, I’ve incorporated a digestive enzyme into my routine to help with digestion. I’ve also slowly added some dairy back into my diet and I know my threshold – cheesecake will probably never been something I will get to enjoy sickness free. This is not to say that adding foods into your diet will cure allergies, an allergy is an immune response, which is different than an intolerance. Everyone is different and adding small amounts to your daily consumption may be harmful. Talk to your doctor if you’re really seeking to make changes of this nature.

So recently when my sweet tooth was kicking in and I knew I needed protein because dinner plans later were going to be carbohydrate heavy, I turned to one thing that never disappoints – pro-yo. Better than drinking my shake is eating it.

For me, pro-yo is plain yogurt with protein powder mixed in. It’s just adding to the protein content the yogurt naturally has, but gives it some flavor too. I wanted something a little more, but I didn’t want to make it complicated. I’ve made no bake and baked protein cheesecake before, so I knew I had simple ingredients so I figured I could play around and see where I end up.

Frozen Pro-Yo Squares for 2

What You’ll Need

  • 3 Graham crackers (any flavor)
  • 150g Plain Greek yogurt (I used 2% Fage)
  • 20g of whey casein blend protein (I used Quest Salted Caramel)
  • water

Directions

  1. In a baking pan or tray, lay out 3 sheets of graham crackers. I used a brownie pan, but anything with side would work.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, combine Greek yogurt and protein powder with 1 tablespoon of water until smooth. You can use any fat percentage of yogurt, it’s based on preference. The protein powder should be a blend of whey and casein because it’s thicker than whey isolate and will set differently.
  3. Pour and spread yogurt mixture on top of graham crackers as evenly as possible. I used tapped the pan on the counter so it would level out a little bit, but it doesn’t need to be perfect.
  4. Optional: sprinkle mini chocolate chips or nuts on top.
  5. Place in freezer for about 15 to 20 minutes and then serve. If you leave in the freezer for more than an hour these will be rock hard and that is the down fall.

Optional if you don’t want in a bar form:

  1. Skip original step 1 and go straight to step 2 – Mix Pro-Yo in a bowl.
  2. Top with your favorite toppings – crushed graham crackers, mini chocolate chips, pretzels, etc.
  3. Place in freezer for 5 to 10 minutes to set like frozen yogurt.

Estimated nutrition for half a pan of Frozen Pro-Yo Squares without toppings: ~4F/22C/18P

 

 


I owe you this recipe. A few weeks ago I went on a chicken salad kick, mostly because I love dill and this was an easy way to get in some protein without a ton of carbohydrates. I don’t like to put food into categories – I want to eat what I want when I want it, so chicken salad and tuna salad are often snacks in this house.

Like most of you, the weekends are for grocery shopping and meals are a moshposh until that happens. So we were looking at all the parts that we had in the fridge and tried to figure out what we could do with them – that’s where the cinnamon raisin bread in this recipe came into play.

Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad for Two

What You’ll Need

  • 8 ounces of cooked chicken breast, cubed
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (I used 2% Fage)
  • 2 tablespoons walnuts
  • 1/3 cup grapes, chopped
  • 4 slices of bread (I used Pepperidge Farm cinnamon raisin)
  • 1 teaspoon of dill weed
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Oven or toaster oven

Directions

1.In a medium sized mixing bowl mix cooked, cubed chicken, Greek yogurt and dill weed. I had seasoned my chicken when I baked it, but it can be plain as well. Mix thoroughly.

 

2.Mix in chopped grapes. I quartered our grapes because they were large, but whatever size you prefer. Depending on the size of the bread or if you choose a wrap may not need to quarter them.

 

3.Mix in walnut pieces. I put my walnuts in a bag and used a meat tenderizer to break them into smaller pieces. I’ve found that using a knife can be a long process and dangerous if your knife isn’t sharp enough. If you have walnut or pecan pieces already you can skip this step.

IMG_0574

4.(Optional) Toast your bread! For a hearty sandwich, I find that they can fall apart if there’s a lot in the middle, so toasting helps prevent this. I put my toast in the toaster oven for 2 minutes at 300 degrees. You may not need to toast for this long, again, it’s preference.

5.Add half of the mixture onto your toast and serve!

Nutrition for 1 serving: 372 calories, 10F/39.5C/37P

  • Fats decrease without or with less nuts
  • Carbohydrates change depending on bread/grain type
  • Protein changes depending on amount of chicken


Pizza is a weakness.

I’m not the only one that feels this way. We don’t really order take out because I’m going to want to eat the whole thing. No amount of lifestyle change has made an impact on how I feel about pizza.

I’ve talked about my own struggles with food and there are events in my history that my eating can be linked to – these are times of high stress, times my PTSD is triggered, times of anxiety. For me, like many people I’ve spoken to and worked with, removal of an item can be helpful, but it doesn’t necessarily teach us how to behave around that food.

One way I’ve learned how to behave and treat certain foods is to keep them around in moderation and make some of them on my own. Pizza is one of those foods.

This is easy and completely from scratch, so let’s get started with the dough.

Do you like a classic, standard crust or do you prefer a thinner crust? Choose your crust below.

Classic Crust

What You’ll Need

  • 3/4 cup +1 and 1/2 tablespoons of flour
  • 1/3 tablespoon of salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon of sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 3/4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/3 cup of warm water (around 110 degrees)

Directions

  1. In a medium sized bowl combine flour and salt until blended well. Then make a well.
  2. Warm the water to 110 degree to active the yeast. Too cold or too hot can prevent the yeast from working. I used a cooking thermometer to determine exact temperature.
  3. Add water to the well and dump in yeast and sugar. Let is sit for about 10 minute until bubbly.
  4. Add olive oil to the well mix with a fork until most of the dough has formed a ball.
  5. Then using your hand kneed the rest of the flour and dough pieces into the dough ball.
  6. Let the dough rest in a greased bowl with a cover for about two hours so it can rise.
  7. On a counter or large flat surface, sprinkle some flour down so that your dough doesn’t stick.
  8. Wipe some flour on a rolling pin and roll your dough out to a 1/4 inch thickness.
  9. If you’re using a pizza stone, prep your pizza stone as necessary. I used a metal pizza tray, which I sprayed with cooking spray.
  10. Lay your rolled out dough on the baking stone or sheet.

This nutrition of the whole crust is  482 calories, 4.5g of fat, 84g of carbohydrates and 15g of protein.

Thin Crust

What You’ll Need

  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/3 teaspoon baking powder (I used 1/4 teaspoon and 1/8 teaspoon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/3 cup of water

Directions

  1. In a medium sized bowl combine dry ingredients until blended well.
  2. Add olive oil and water to flour mixture and mix with a fork until most of the dough has formed a ball.
  3. Then using your hand kneed the rest of the flour and dough pieces into the dough ball.
  4. Let the dough rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. On a counter or large flat surface, sprinkle some flour down so that your dough doesn’t stick.
  6. Wipe some flour on a rolling pin and roll your dough out to a 1/4 inch thickness.
  7. If you’re using a pizza stone, prep your pizza stone as necessary. I used a metal pizza tray, which I sprayed with cooking spray.
  8. Lay your rolled out dough on the baking stone or sheet.

This nutrition of the whole crust is 620 calories, 20g of fat, 92g of carbohydrates and 16g of protein.

Now for toppings. This is where nutritional value can really change.

Pick your sauce. Pick your toppings and just be mindful.

Philly Cheeseteak Pizza

We went thin crust and sauceless because we made Philly Cheesesteak Pizza and felt that it had enough flavor that we wouldn’t be missing anything by not having sauce.

What You’ll Need:

  • 8 ounces top sirloin, sliced and pan-fried
  • 1 medium bell pepper – about 150 to 200g, sliced into strips
  • 1 small red onion – about 75g sliced into strips
  • 4 large mushrooms – 50g sliced
  • 56g of mozzarella provolone shredded cheese blend
  • 28g of Parmesan Romano shredded cheese blend

 

Directions

  1. Pre-heat your oven 425 degrees so it can warm up while you get your toppings ready.
  2. Trim excess fat off your steak and slice it into 1/4 inch thick strips, ours were about an inch or two long as well.
  3. Cook steak in a medium sized pan. You will use this pan for the veggies as well, so a medium to large pan is necessary. You can use olive oil or cooking spray if you think you’ll have issues with the meat sticking to the pan. We used a little bit of olive oil wiped with a paper towel.
  4. Cook steak about half way before removing it from the pan. It’ll continue to cook in the oven and no one likes dry steak. Spread evenly onto your crust.
  5. Using the same pan, add sliced veggies and sautee in the steak juices until tender. You can skip this step if you prefer crunchy veggies on your pizza.
  6. While your veggies cook, in a small bowl mix your shredded cheese.
  7. Sprinkle a small handful of cheese over the steak already on the crust.
  8. Add your cooked veggies to the crust. Try to spread them evenly. It doesn’t need to be perfect.
  9. Sprinkle the remaining cheese to your crust as evenly as possible.
  10. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes depending on how crispy you like your pizza.

 

Nutritional Notes:

  • Fat content in dairy changed depending on the kind of cheese you buy, however, so does the melting. If you get a cheese that is lower in fat, it tends to be a little drier and won’t necessarily melt as well. If you want to go with a lower fat dairy, 2% still tastes good, melts and saves a gram or two on fat per serving.
  • Fat content in meat changes greatly depending on the cut. We used tri-tip sirloin steak, which has 9g of fat per 4 ounces according to the package we bought. Round, sirloin and top sirloin are the leanest cuts of steak.

We each ate half a pizza.

I also made a salad with tomatoes, lettuce, broccoli slaw and balsamic and oil.

When you’re cooking at home and cooking bulk or in an assembled way like a pizza is you make the best estimates for portions.

I know for certain that this WHOLE pizza was 61g of fat, 110g of carbohydrates and 86g of protein. We tried to spread the steak and cheese as evenly as possible and we got it cut pretty much down the middle.

I estimated that I ate about 30.5F (with 9.5g of saturated fat)/55C/43P or 667 calories.

Now before some of you freak out. Let’s discuss. The steak was pretty lean, the veggies were fresh veggies and the cheese was well under a standard portion at a restaurant.

I ate half a pizza, which was about four slices, completely loaded. If I compare this pizza to Domino’s Philly Cheesesteak Pizza here’s what we get:

A medium Domino’s pizza is 8 slices and so is the large.

1 slice of medium Domino’s Philly Cheesesteak Pizza has:

  • 230 calories
  • 10g of fat including 5g of saturated fat
  • 26g of carbohydrates
  • 10g of protein

So if I ate 4 slices of this pizza, I would’ve consumed 920 calories, 40g of fat (20g of saturated fat), 104g  of carbohydrates, 40g of protein.

1 slice of large Domino’s Philly Cheesesteak Pizza has:

  • 310 calories
  • 13g of fat including 6g of saturated fat
  • 35g of carbohydrates
  • 14g of protein

So if I ate 4 slices of this pizza, I would’ve consumed 1,240 calories, 52g of fat (24g of saturated fat), 140g  of carbohydrates, 56g of protein.

I want us to be realistic.

I’m sure many of you are saying well that’s not a lot healthier than going out for pizza because I ate half the pie – but be honest with yourself. Will you stop at a slice or two? Will the ingredients you’re getting be fresh or lean or antibiotic free (if you’re into that kind of thing). I’m pro-greasy egg rolls, sometimes, but cooking at home provides you the advantage of choosing your ingredients and building your nutrition skillfully.

I could’ve stopped at two slices, but I also planned for this. I knew I would want more than two slices. Knowing we were having a later lunch with the football game around 1:30 pm and we ate more densely and didn’t eat dinner until about 7 pm, which was chicken breast and broccoli #balance.

We don’t always make loaded pizzas like this. Sometimes we do lean chicken breast and veggies. Sometimes we do individual pies so we can each have different toppings. We almost always put veggies on our pizzas so we can say we did so.

Both of the crust recipes can be used for calzones or personal sized pizzas if you want something more individual or have picky eaters. I think you get more volume by making it at home than you do out at a restaurant, but to each their own poison.

 

 

 


Currently, there are 10 jars of nut butter sitting in my cabinet.

1. Cinnamon Raisin Swirl from Peanut Butter and Company

2. Mighty Maple from Peanut Butter and Company

3. Nutella – yes, that counts, hazelnuts!

4. Unsalted cashew butter, store brand

5. Pumpkin Spice from Peanut Butter and Company

6. Extra Crunchy Skippy

7. Smooth Jif

8. Brownie Batter from D’s Naturals

and now, chocolate protein walnut butter and plain walnut butter

It started with an email from The Peanut Principle telling me about their year of sale or coupon, regardless, I sighed because 1. I have a lot of jars in the cabinet and 2. I didn’t really need to spend the money on more right now. JP and I were getting dinner ready and I asked him if he thought we would have time to try to make our own this weekend.

He immediately turned to the cabinet and grabbed a full bag of whole shell walnuts and said “could we use this?” Yep. Yep, we could.

So I looked online so see if there was any magic to making nut butter and you know what, there’s not. So we played around and gave it a go.

Here’s What You’ll Need

  • Food processor
  • 1 to 2 cup of nuts, unsalted
  • optional – salt
  • optional – protein powder, we used Chocolate Cupcake from PEScience
  • optional – Hershey’s chocolate syrup
  • optional – vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Pick your nut! I know, I know, but you need to decide what butter you want. I chose walnuts.
  2. If your nuts are already shelled, you can add between 1 to 2 cups to your food processor. If they’re not shelled, shell them and make sure that all the piece of shell and inner skin are removed.
  3. Pulse your food processor on chop for a few minutes before switching to grind. If your food processor doesn’t have multiple settings or has numbered settings you will want to processor the nuts until they are smooth. Scraping the sides every now and then to ensure that all pieces of what may be meal now continue to be ground down.
  4. When ground to desired smoothness, pour into a jar and store in the fridge.

To make protein infused nut butter

  1. Make the recipe above and divide in half then add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
  2. Once vanilla is blended in, add a scoop of protein of your choice slowly. We used chocolate frosted cupcake by PEScience, which will cause the nut butter to dry out slightly. I believe all powders would cause the nut butter to dry out though, not just the whey casein blend.
  3. To combat the dryness of added protein, add a little bit of water. I added 1/2 a tablespoon of water at a time up to about 2 tablespoons of water.
  4. To enhance the chocolatey-ness of the nut butter or because I wanted to add chocolate sauce… I added 1 tablespoon of Hershey’s syrup and blended.

Nutrition for a 28g serving of protein walnut butter using 100g of blended nut butter: 12.5F/3.6C/7.1P

*Notes*

I would wait until the next day to put add-ins into the nut butter because this gives the mix time for the oils to separate, which may help with mixing in the protein. Since it is naturally and minimally made, we have had to mix both butters before every use so that oils are mixed thoroughly.


It’s single digits and with the wind, we’re hitting negative temperatures. I know, I know. I live in New England, I did it to myself. I like it here, but living here for about five years doesn’t make it easier dealing with the snow, the bitter cold or plastic wrapping my windows. Yes, for those in warm weather – plastic sealing your windows can help keep the draft out.

One thing that has been helping us this fall and into the winter has been making soup and chili. Our rotation has been ground turkey chili, white chicken breast chili and broccoli cheddar soup with the latter being added to the recipe collection this season.

We’ve buy a lot of vegetables in bulk from BJ’s whole sale, we also go to you-pick places in the summer and I’ve been trying to utilize as much of the veggies and fruit as possible. Broccoli cheddar soup is one of the recipes that allows me to use all the parts of broccoli without waste.

To me, at least, the stalk is usually a little bitter and needs to roast a lot longer than florets do, however, in this soup all parts continue to cook down and there’s no lack of flavor.

Back in the day, I could easily consume a bread with broccoli cheddar soup from Panera, however, that was before my diet changed and before my digestion system changed. If you’re someone like me who experiences lactose intolerance to things like cheesecake, soft serve ice-cream or heavy whipping cream, but can handle hard cheeses or goat products – this recipe will be for you.

Low Dairy Broccoli Cheddar Soup for Two

What You’ll Need

  • 1/4 cup red onion chopped
  • 200g of broccoli
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped carrot
  • 1 and 1/3 cups of almond milk or other milk alternative
  • 1 cup of water + 1 tsp of salt free chicken seasoning (you can also use 1 cup of chicken broth, I’ve made this recipe both ways)
  • 1 tablespoon of flour (you can skip this step if you don’t want your soup thicker)
  • 1/4 cup or more of shredded cheddar cheese
  • Baking sheet
  • Medium sized pot
  • Food processor

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Chop broccoli into 1 to 2 inch pieces include both florets and stalk in using a crown, if you using pre-cut florets cut florets into smaller pieces suitable for roasting.
  3. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray and spread out broccoli pieces so that they lay flat and aren’t piled on each other. Spray broccoli with cooking spray. If you prefer to cook with oil, use about a table spoon of olive oil to toss the broccoli in before laying it on the greased baking sheet.
  4. Bake broccoli for about 15 to 20 minutes (this is the longest part of this recipe).
  5. While broccoli is baking, peel and chop the red onion and dice the carrots. These pieces should be small
  6. In a medium pot, melt 1 tablespoon of butter and add chopped onion. If you want your carrots a little softer, you can add them with the onion at this step. Let vegetables simmer for a few minutes until onions become more translucent.
  7. Add 1 and 1/3 cup of milk alternative. I used almond milk, but I have used cashew milk before.
  8. Add 1 cup of water with 1 teaspoon of salt free chicken seasoning – I did this as a chicken broth alternative because I was out. I’ve made it with 1 cup of chicken broth, you could also use 1 cup of water with a bouillon cube. If you want this to be completely vegetarian, you can also use vegetable stock.
  9. With a whisk, mix ingredients well and top with a lid and let simmer on low heat until broccoli is finished roasting.
  10. Once broccoli is down roasting, you have two options – chop in a food processor and then add to the pot or add directly to the pot. I’ve done both. With the broccoli chopped fine, the soup become thicker on it’s own while with the whole broccoli it’s more soup and may need a thickening agent.
  11. If you prefer a more soupy broccoli cheddar soup you can skip this step: After you’ve added the broccoli to the pot, remove a little bit of the liquid into a small cup or bowl and then add 1 tablespoon of flour to create a paste. Mixing the flour in a small amount of liquid allows for it to be combined thoroughly and prevents clumping. Add the paste to the pot and whisk thoroughly.
  12. Lastly, add your cheese. I used a shredded cheddar jack and used about a 1/4 cup. You can use more, you could also use a different cheese blend.
nutrition label for broccoli cheddar soup on blog

Nutrition calculation in MyFitnessPal Recipe Creator

Macro Nutrients: Fat (cheese, milk alternative, butter) Carbohydrates (broccoli, onion, carrot, milk alternative, flour) Protein (cheese, milk alternative, broccoli)


Insert winter/holiday season pun/quote here.

I’ve probably consumed more pumpkin foods than I should’ve this fall, and now I’ve been turning to gingerbread and mint. As my adventure through my Pinterest pins continues, I’ve been trying to see how I can utilize my baking pantry in other ways that cookies and muffins.

I had found a few pins for gingerbread oats, but many had barely any oats and they were loaded with sugar. You can make good, sweet oats, without loading them with sugars or carbohydrates that won’t provide satisfaction.

So if you don’t mind stove top and you have about 5 minutes or so, this recipe may put you in a mood that satisfies the desire for gingerbread cookies  while leaving you’re stomach full.

What You’ll Need

  • Milk or milk alternative – I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • Rolled oats
  • Molasses
  • Almond butter – I used crunchy
  • White chocolate chips (optional)

Directions

  1. Using a medium sized pot, you’ll want a little room, warm on low heat about 3/4 cup of milk.
  2. When the milk is slight hot to touch (not boiling), add half a cup of rolled oats. This is a serving for the store brand I used.
  3. Keep the burner on low heat, you don’t want these boil and burn on the bottom.
  4. Mix in 3/4 tablespoon of molasses.
  5. Mix in 1/2 tablespoon of almond butter, I used crunchy because I prefer it. You can use smooth or crunchy – you can even use peanut butter if you don’t like almond butter.
  6. Immediately remove pot from burner and either store in a tupperware for later or bowl for serving. Removing from the burner is important because even if you turn it off the heat will continue to cook the oats.
  7. Top off with a few white chocolate chips. This is completely optional.

As always, brands and portions impact nutritional value. These oats were 280 calories, 8.5F/46C/7P

 

 


It wasn’t until after college that I ate seafood other than canned tuna as tuna salad. However, it wasn’t until a former student of mine and I met for sushi a few years ago that I started to really get adventurous with my seafood. There are still things I don’t like such as lobster – I know, blasphemous to many who are from New England. I had a bad batch of scallops that made me sick so I stay away from those too.

We will make seafood dishes every now and then, but as many people say financial barriers can make it hard to make healthier choices and that’s a huge reason why we limit the diversity in the seafood we have at home. When shrimp go on sale we will buy them and same with salmon burgers, fresh white fish and squid, but canned tuna is probably always going to be my go-to lean protein because it is more reasonably priced.

To help prevent meal burn out I try to keep diversity in my meal planning, but sometimes you can only have chicken so many ways before you decide it’s not what you want for lunch. Last week, while I was trying to figure out what I wanted for lunch that wasn’t chicken, I decide I could go for tuna, but I didn’t want a tuna sandwich or a tuna melt. I’ve had salmon burgers at a few restaurants in the area, not steaks, but a formed patty with spices and binding ingredients. I figured I could probably make a tuna burger if I looked hard enough.

tuna burger blog post

 

What You’ll Need

  • 1 can of tuna
  • 1 egg
  • 2T of flour
  • 1 tsp of seasoning blend of choice
  • Baking sheet
  • Cooking spray

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Prep your baking sheet with a little cooking spray. You could also use olive oil.
  3. Drain a can of tuna and add to a small bowl. Break up tuna into smaller chunks.
  4. Add an egg and flour to tuna. Mix well. You may want to add the flour a little bit at a time so that it doesn’t poof out of the bowl.
  5. Add seasoning blend to tuna mixture. If you want want to use a seasoning blend, you can add salt, pepper and individual spices to your taste.
  6. Once mixed, take a flat spatula and move mixture to the middle of the bowl forming a circle. Slowly dump mixture to baking sheet and shape to a circular patty about half an inch thick. You can make one patty or two 2 ounce patties.
  7. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes. Patty will be crispy on the outside and cooked through on the inside.

I served mine on top of lettuce with onions, tomatoes and sriracha mayo. You can serve it on a bun or in a salad. There’s a place in town that makes an excellent broccoli slaw.

Well, damn, Now I’m hungry.

Macros for a 4 ounce patty: 4.5f | 10c | 28p

❤ Cristina

 

 


My schedule this fall is pretty steady because I know which days are busy and which days I have down time. The days I have down time vary in what they’re filled with, but are pretty spread out. Tuesdays are pretty light: I eat, I workout, I do homework and sometimes when my Wednesday client can’t talk on Wednesday, we talk on Tuesday.

Last Tuesday, I had a pretty light day and while it’s nice to not have to be “go-go” all the time, the down fall of being a “go-go” person is that you can’t decide what to do with yourself when you do have down time.

I thought I would go out and read with a cup of coffee, but I didn’t really want to spend the money on coffee knowing we have a solid collection in the pantry. I figured I just wanted to get outside, it didn’t necessarily need to be physically out near other people. So I went for a run outside and looped the area.

Later in the day I still wanted a drink, but I didn’t want to go out for it. After some searching on Pinterest and knowing what I do about lattes, I made one for myself at home on the stove.

latte blog post photo

So if you have about 10 minutes and don’t want to leave the house this fall, or worse, get snowed in this winter – this may be a fun pick-me-up. It’ll also save you some money and calories as we head into pumpkin, maple, gingerbread season!

Here’s some variations we’ve tried and how to make them.

Blueberry Caramel Latte

This was the first one I made to see if I could even make these stove top. I looked at a few recipes and played with the ratios, so here’s what worked.

What you’ll need 

  • Blueberry coffee
  • Caramel topping
  • Milk or milk alternative
  • Small pot

Directions

  1. Brew your coffee a little stronger than normal. I filled my coffee pot to the 4 cup line and used 1/4 cup of grounds.
  2. While your coffee is brewing measure out 2/3 cup of milk or milk alternative and warm up on stove top using low to medium heat. I used unsweetened cashew milk for my milk because that’s what I had on hand.
  3. While the milk is warming up whisk in 2 teaspoons of caramel sauce.
  4. When milk is up to temperature add half of the coffee and whisk together.
  5. Pour in your favorite mug, top with whip cream if you want and drink.

Nutrition for Blueberry Caramel Latte: 1.5f | 13c | 1p or 70 calories

*nutrition varies based on milk/alternative and flavor add-ins

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Variations

Hazelnut and Honey: Substitute blueberry coffee for hazelnut and caramel topping for 1tsp of honey.

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Pumpkin Spice: Substitute flavored grounds for unflavored, cinnamon or pumpkin and use pumpkin pie spice blend to taste, 2T of canned pureed pumpkin and either 1tsp honey or caramel sauce.

I’m still playing with combinations, but check out Pinterest for other ideas!

❤ Cristina


What happens when I find things in the pantry I forget I had? I start skimming through Pinterest so I can make it a fun consumable and get it out of the pantry. Today’s adventure was with a can of pumpkin puree. In the fall I always have a can on hand and I won’t lie I was surprised when I found a can today. After going through some pins, I got an idea of the basis for a protein bite or protein ball, let’s be real though, 5g of protein doesn’t make something a protein snack. It does, however, support the well rounded nutrition in a snack, but I just can’t call it a protein ball.

So with a can of pumpkin, some protein and a canister of oats I made some magic in the kitchen.

What You’ll Need

  • 120g or 1.5 cups of oats
  • 264g of canned pumpkin
  • 1 scoop of protein – I used a sample of Sun Warrior vanilla vegan protein
  • 30g of 1/4 cup of unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 3T of Splenda
  • 2tsp of vanilla extract
  • a few dashes of cinnamon

Directions

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, weigh out your oats.
  2. In the same bowl, weigh out your canned pumpkin. I added pumpkin a little at a time until the oats were sticking together.
  3. Mix in Splenda, cinnamon and vanilla extract. I added cinnamon a little at a time until I got the taste I wanted. At this point it tastes like an unsweetened pumpkin pie mix.
  4. Add in protein powder. As I’m using up the pantry, I used a sample of vegan protein powder. You can use any protein powder. A basic flavor may be best like cinnamon roll, vanilla or snickerdoodle. I don’t think there would be an issue using whey, casein or a blend. *If you find that the casein or blend protein makes the mix hard to combine, add a tablespoon or water or two.
  5. Using your hands, mix in coconut flakes.
  6. When thoroughly combined roll into a ball and divide into your preferred servings. I wanted to keep the macros under 30g of carbohydrates per serving, so I made 5 equal larger portions.
  7. After weighing out the total serving fell free to make into small pieces. Each larger portion made 4 pumpkin and oat bites.
  8. Chill to keep fresh. Because these are a no bake, minimally additive food, please keep in mine that they may mold if kept too long.

Of course before I could chill the container, JP felt the need to take one to try – a row of 4 was a serving. I put pumpkin spice peanut butter on mine, but you could have them plain or with a different nut butter. JP and I agreed they tastes like an unsweetened version of pumpkin pie. Cinnamon and vanilla was subtle, but tasty.

Macros per serving without peanut butter: 5.9F/22.4C/7.6P

I hope you enjoy!

❤ Cristina