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

Category Archives: Recipes

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

 

 

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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


We’ve been having a little fun with some food, while being mindful to not be too big of assholes. I still enjoy eating healthy, but we’re being a little more flexible with our breakfasts and making them a little bigger…especially on lab days where I can’t bring food into the room because #dissection.

What You’ll Need

  • Bread – your choice, I used Pepperidge Farm Cinnamon Raisin
  • Egg whites
  • Peanut Butter – your choice, I used Jif
  • Half a banana
  • medium sized skillet

Directions

  1. On both sides of the bread spread your peanut butter. I used a full serving for my sandwich so I divided it evenly on both sides. I know someone is thinking, but the fat! Yes, I know, but trust me it’s worth it.
  2. Slice your banana into pieces about a centimeter thick. I used about half a banana for my toast – so a whole banana for both our sandwiches.
  3. Put slices onto one side of the bread and close with the other side. Yep, directions for a 5-year-old. This is where the full serving of peanut butter becomes more than tasty and is useful. It holds the sandwich together because bananas are slippery.
  4. Preheat skillet so it’s hot for when you place your sandwich on it.
  5. Place your sandwich in a shallow bowl and pour egg whites over. We eat half a cup of egg whites regularly, so I measured a half cup and poured that over. By pouring the egg whites over the sandwich you ensure that it gets covered and is less likely to fall apart.
  6. Immediately after covering your sandwich in egg whites, bring it over to your skillet and cook for one to two minutes before flipping. You may need to use your hand to hold the sandwich together during flipping just because it’s heavy.
  7. If you feel that it needs a little more cooking time that’s completely fine, bread thickness and amount of egg white absorbed will change cooking time slightly.

 

The macros for my sandwich and toppings – left over egg whites not used on sandwich eaten on the side – were: 11F/48.5C/20P

All the items I used to make my sandwich were found at my local grocery store. They’re not fancy and in many cases people view them as bad foods. I’ll preach moderation because it’s true.

I’m interested to know if you try different nut butters and breads and how your sandwich turns out. If you make this, send me an email and let me know how it was!

❤ Cristina

 

 


I love sweet potatoes. It’s a staple vegetable in this house and there’s always at one on hand. I prefer them mashed with a little vanilla and cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice blend added and topped with peanut butter, but I’ve been known to get a little creative with my potato. I’ve made  mini sweet potato pies, I’ve tried baked sweet potato fries – those tasted good, but would NOT make again.

Last night I was trying to think about what I could do with some of the sweet potato that I had on the counter and then I realized it was pancake Monday and I could probably find something on Pinterest to turn these into pancake. I’ve made pancakes from scratch when I don’t have mix – somehow that shocked JP that you could do that. I don’t think anyone ever made pancakes from anything other a box growing up because one of the first conversations I remember having with his mom was about how I mad pancake from scratch. Nothing wrong with mixes, I use them all the time, but if you have enough baking supplies in the house there’s no real reason to run to the store.

 

I looked through a few recipes and took what I learned and applied it to what I wanted to make. Here’s what I came up with.

What You’ll Need

  • 100g of sweet potato mashed smoothly
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 46g  of egg white (boxed), if not boxed 1 egg white should suffice
  • 1 Tbsp of flour
  • 1 tsp pumpkin spice or cinnmon
  • 1 tsp sweetener – I used Splenda

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Weigh out roughly 100g of sweet potato. If you have to make sweet potatoes from scratch see directions below this recipe.
  3. Add in egg whites. I buy carton egg whites so it’s not hard to measure them out. 46g of egg white is also 3 tablespoons. Again, if you just have whole eggs on hand, one egg white should be enough.
  4. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Add in 1 tablespoon of flour leveled off.
  6. Add in 1 teaspoon of Splenda leveled off.
  7. Mix thoroughly.
  8. Lastly, mix in cinnamon and vanilla to taste – I used a teaspoon of each.
  9. Poor into a greased individual pie pan. I have 6″pans that I got from Crate and Barrel. I don’t know how much cooking time will change if the size of the pan changes.
  10. Bake for 30 minutes. I know that sounds like a long time, but I got some extra snuggles, did the dishes, made coffee and made my eggs while it baked.

 

 

The macros for the pancakes are 0F/25.5/5.5P. I topped mine with Walden Farms Pancake Syrup, which is a sugar free, zero calorie syrup. You can use any syrup you want – sugar free or otherwise. JP drowned his in maple syrup.

If you still need to make your mashed sweet potatoes, here’s how to make them!

  1. Fill a medium pot with water and bring to a boil.
  2. Peel and cube sweet potato. Cubed piece should be a around 1-2″ big.
  3. Add to boiling pot and cook for about 8 minutes or until soft.
  4. Drain water and mash cubed pieces with a potato masher until smooth.

I hope you enjoy your sweet potatoes and pancakes!

❤ Cristina

 


Let’s talk sweet tooth.

I think most of us can agree that there are some things you hate passing up on, but at the same time you wish there was an alternative. I feel this way about doughnuts and cupcakes, but I won’t lie those are sacred and I will never try to find a replacement.

When I started flexible dieting the idea of protein cheesecake was one of the most glorious concepts ever. I’ve tried different recipes,  one or two maybe posted on this blog, but as I’ve evolved in my knowledge of flexible dieting and exhausted myself in the kitchen, I realized some things can’t be completely left out just to make something healthy taste like the real thing.

Right now I’m talking about fat.

Last week, I played with a new protein powder I bought on sale – mocha cappuccino from Optimum Nutrition. It’s a whey isolate, which is different than a blend. It’s thinner for one, but it also doesn’t add fluffy or thickness like a casein blend does when mixed with other things.

To make cheesecake no- bake I couldn’t use whole eggs, but I knew I needed to keep fat somewhere otherwise the texture would be spongey and while I can tolerate that, I don’t want to if I don’t have to. This is something I’ve dealt with when making other recipes, but I’m over that nonsense. Either it needs to have some fat to be smooth or I don’t want it.

My fat source was light cream cheese, enough fat to have flavor and texture, but less than normal so that my macros wouldn’t be blown out of the water.

What happened in the kitchen was magical and I felt kind of silly for not trying to find a no-bake recipe sooner. So here it is. Play with it and let me know your thoughts!

What You’ll Need

  • 8 ounces of cream cheese – I used the store brand’s light cream cheese
  • Vanilla extract to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Splenda – or any sweetener
  • 46g of egg whites/3 tablespoons of egg whites
  • 2 scoops of protein powder – I used whey isolate
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt – I used 0% to bring the overall fat content down
  • Keebler graham cracker crust pieces

Directions

  1. In a mixing bowl, add cream cheese. Put in the microwave to soften. Heat for 20-30 seconds at a time. I needed about a minute and 20 seconds.
  2. With a hand blender, mix the cream cheese until smooth. Add yogurt and blend. You don’t need to use 0%, but if you’re trying to keep the total fat content down then it’s highly suggested.
  3. When thoroughly mixed add vanilla extract. I used 2 teaspoons, but this is completely on preference. Blend until smooth.
  4. Add in egg whites and 1 tablespoon of Splenda. At this point it should taste like cheesecake, this is the basic form.
  5. Pick your protein and add it slowly while blending with the hand mixer and scraping the sides as needed. I used a whey isolate, using a casein blend may make it thicker – if that’s the case a little almond milk or water may help with consistency.
  6. Since I track my macros very closely I weighed the total batter and then divided by the amount of servings I wanted. For this I wanted 4. These macros are slightly rough, but it’s really the best way to be as accurate as possible.
  7. I divided the filling into 4 mason jars for easy storage and travel. I let them sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours before consuming.
  8. I topped the cheesecake filling with 1 tablespoon of crushed graham cracker from Keebler. You could also use the mini pie shells Keebler makes or Goldfish grahams.

Macros for just the filling: 9.6F/5.8C/15.5P – nutrition may vary depending on protein and cream cheese used.

Try it out and let me know how it goes! What protein do you think you would want to try using for your filling?

❤ Cristina

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