Recipe: Stove-top Lattes

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.

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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

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We rudely interrupt your programming…

Ignore the haters they say. They’ll go away eventually. 

Then you have those who actively will email you while you’re pleasantly sleeping and dreaming about leg day 

It’s not an exaggeration that I get some pretty mean and nasty messages. So here’s one I saw during my morning pre-leg walk. 

Enjoy. 

❤ Cristina 

#hatergonnahatehatehate 

There are insecurities and shaming at every size

The other day I posted on my Facebook page a link to a story about girls who were trying to wrap their arms around their backsides and touch their bellybuttons, it’s called the Bellybutton Challenge. They were believing that this determined they were healthy because it meant they were thin. Well, girls- in reality you’re just flexible, not necessarily healthy. While I have been on a weightloss journey and my goal was to be thinner than my starting point of a size 24, I believe that you can be healthy at a number of sizes. Health is different for everyone.

Moving on…

I was sitting in my car on the drive home yesterday afternoon and I heard an ad on the radio for cools sculpting. It’s a procedure to help with fat reduction, less invasive than lipsuction. To kick off the ad, the radio DeeJay that is a spokesperson for the facility that conducts the procedures, talked about how these girls trying to touch their bellybuttons in China. Well that’s strange, why would that matter to her or this facility. I actually couldn’t tell if this was an ad or just a topic on the radio show. Yeah, nope it was an ad.

She continued to say that you could also touch your bellybutton is you had this procedure… Fantastic, we’re taking the insecurities of teenage girls and putting them in the faces adult women which they then usually adopt as their own insecurities and are led to believe that they aren’t healthy, they aren’t thin enough or beautiful enough without some kind of procedure, whether it’s as invasive as plastic surgery or minimally invasive like this cools sculpting procedure for fat reduction.

I have worked through and continue to work through a rough relationship with food. I have had binging issues for as long as I can remember. I’ve been able to identify trigger foods and remove them. I have also identified scenarios that will trigger me as well. I have found a workout routine that works for me and more importantly I have learned that being healthy isn’t a quick fix. It’s more than physical, it’s mental too.

I was really disappointed that a large Boston radio station allowed their DeeJay so be the voice of this specific ad because it does take the insecurities of young girls and emphasizes that you every right to feel inadequate. Well, no, you shouldn’t feel bad about your body. You shouldn’t try to be something you’re not.

In retaliation of this “challenge” many women and teens are taking pictures of themselves flipping the camera the bird while reaching around their backs. There also the #BoobsOverBellyButtons.These challenges aren’t things that should be making headlines, but there are causing a little bit of a stir. Even I felt inclined to throw my two cents in because I hate seeing the pressure put on young girls today. I feel the pressure too, I’m sure many women feel it. That’s why it’s important to talk about health and educate the new generation about food, exercise, overall health, etc. I hope that it doesn’t get worse.

What crazy challenges have you seen online? What are your thoughts about fat-shaming and skinny-shaming campaigns?

❤ Cristina

We just started this week and it already feels so long

The beginning of the week started rough. I mean, I know it’s only Tuesday, but Sunday night was a disaster. I have a few things on plate that are stressing me out. There by the normal stressors so I’m having difficulty handling them. I’m also having a hard time letting things that I can’t control go. These two go hand-in-hand. Sunday nights stressors led to a huge binging session with a 10″ cheese and extra pineapple pizza and my best friend Jess eating it with me. 

She arrived just as the delivery man was and she looked at me and goes well I’m hungry too. She figured I needed to get it out of my system because even if I hated myself the next morning, it’s something I needed to do. I needed to eat those slices and cry and complain. So we did that. I had 5 slices and she had 3. I cried and she listened. 

I woke up on Monday still full from the night before and decided a cup of coffee was really all I needed to get me through the morning. I felt bloated and angry, mostly at myself for not having more control over the urge, but also because I couldn’t figure out how to get the stress out in another way. I keep a protein bar in my bag, but I didn’t eat it until 2 pm. I was bloated and still full. I thought there was potential I could explode if I ate something. I drank a ton of water and that helped a lot. 

Today was a much can better day. I lowered my carbs a little bit since I’m still a bloated, but I hit my fat and protein goals spot on. My water is on track to meet my goal of 140 ounces. I’m less angry at myself and now I can move on from it. I’m planning my meals for the rest of the work week and I feel confident that there won’t be issues. I’ll figure out the weekend as we get closer. 

Even though Sunday was bad, looking back at where I’ve come, I’ve had worse days. I still have made so much progress. There’s a lot to be proud of regardless of slip ups because we all make them. 

Today I posted my transformation Tueaday photo comparing me at 26 to me at 18. I’m one size smaller now and 23 pounds heavier.  


I am still proud of who I have become even when I lose my way. 

I hope everyone else is having a good week so far!

❤️ Cristina 

Saturday adventures

 As week 10 of BBG comes to a close, I have a few things to celebrate!

 1. The thinning of my mid section! 
2. My journey’s progress is steady and I’m feeling really good about the recent changes.  
3. These baby biceps are going to start growing in a few weeks.  

4. I’m finding inspiration all around me, even in little things.


5. I’ve been giving myself time to explore the city around me.    
6. I’ve given myself some wiggle room for tasty local eats, but today I only got coffe 🙂    
7. But Infound some locally made cheese spread to bring home.  

8. I wandered around the farmers market and bought a croissant, which I have big plans for breakfast in the morning.  

9. I noticed my neighbor has the best flowers today.  

10. Date night with myself involved many carbs including a turkey burger and Halo Top ice cream for dessert.  

 

It’s almost sad that this week is over, but I’m excited to start a new one.

❤️ Cristina 

3 weeks left 

There are so many parts to this journey. In the beginning you’re making the decision to change. You’re figuring out what foods work for you and what you should eliminate. You decide how you want to workout and how often. You’re constantly evaluating as you lose weight to prevent a plateau. Sometimes you do plateau and you get frustrated, you figure out what to change next and then you do it.

I am so glad that I decided to try the bikini body guide, but I’m going to be honest. I can’t wait until I’m done with the workouts. I miss heavy deadlifts. I miss heavy squats. I do love the circuit style workouts, but after a Kayla leg day, you can’t add in extra leg workouts. 

I’m starting Week 10 this week after re-doing Week 9… Long story short, I wasn’t happy with how my first go at Week 9 was. This past week was much stronger and I feel like I was much more on track. I’m excited for Week 10, but I will be jumping for joy in the 3 weeks when I can set new goals for heavier weight and refocus my health. 

To start this week off right, I’ve prepped the essentials: turkey burgers, chicken breasts, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, rice and sweet potatoes. I’ve also written out my meals for tomorrow through Wednesday. I’m still in cutting macros, but I’m working my way up to maintaining macros. This means I get to consume more carbs, but it also means that I need to slowly introduce them so that my body doesn’t get completely shocked. 

This part of the journey is just as nerve racking as the beginning, but I love goal setting and seeking to achieve something better. I’m still learning about myself and what I’m capable of, but I’ve learned that I can do so much more than I previously thought. 

Cheers to a new week and to surprising ourselves.

❤️ Cristina 

War on S’mores

Yesterday I saw an opinion piece about S’mores. Yep, that’s right – the beloved summertime cookie-like treat that makes you feel like a five-year-old again. 

  

The author was clearly poking fun at the USDA’s suggestion to ditch the sweet treat for a fruit alternative. I kind of agree with him.

Regardless of my daily diet habits, I believe in everything in moderation. As a peanut butter addict and recovering choco-holic, I fully support someone’s right to get their S’more on. Have you ever melted a peanut butter cup instead of straight chocolate to make a s’more? I dare you to try it. I also encourage s’more and sweet eaters everywhere to eat in moderation and find alternatives when necessary.

If you plan on s’more-ing out with a bag of marshmallows once or twice this summer, I hope you enjoy that bonfire and soak up the company. If you have multiple s’more occasions this summer, maybe you figure out other fun alternatives like yogurt parfaits that have some chocolate or sweet component. Maybe it’s scaling back on the mac salad or leaving the cheese off the burger to accommodate the indulging of the chocolate-y melty goodness.

There are so many factors that cause obesity and it does come back to overall eating habits. If your daily habits are to over eat or not have balanced nutrition and even under -eating, you’re guaranteeing that you’re not going to have a healthy life. A body needs so many vitamins and macro-nutrients to meet daily needs for proper function. 

As for a war on s’mores, I can see where the USDA is coming from because obesity is a concern in America. However, there needs to be better education about nutritional needs, which means individualized discussions. Everyone’s body is different, everyone needs a different amount of vitamins and macronutrients. What is served in schools isn’t good enough and shouldn’t be a standard. Pizza and fries are not vegetables. 

Many parents feed their children what is easy because as an industrialized society we need easy and we need fast, but that’s why I meal prep. It’s the best way for a fast, healthy meal during the work week. There are also many Americans who believe that eating healthy is expensive, well yeah, it can be, but you don’t need organic everything. You also can shop sales and make your meals accordingly to those sales. That’s what I do. I would also ask people to think about Thor insurance claims. The medications they take for blood pressure? Paying a little more for real food will pay off in the long run. 

So if there’s going to be a food fight, there needs to be a different focus. It’s not a s’more or Oreo or pizza that is the real issue. It’s the education about nutrition and how to make healthy eating a lifestyle priority. It’s education to empower people about what they put in their bodies.

I’m a proud supporter of flexible dieting and s’more consumption. Balance is everything. We’re human and we mess up sometimes, but overall if you’re aware of what you’re eating you should be fine. 

❤️ Cristina 

Why do you stay in prison, when the door is so wide open?

I went to the museum the other day to get myself out of the house and to take a peek at a new exhibit that had just opened. Since it was my day off and I had nothing else planned, I was able to take my time through the museum, starting at the top, 4th floor and working my way down. Taking the time to see each exhibit, each sculpture and all of the paintings. There’s a room with modern works of art that include a variety of mediums. I have never seen this room rotate in what it carries, so I have seen these piece many times. But Sunday was the first time that I actually had the chance to see them.

I came across one painting that really got to me, it made me think.

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The image in the painting is of Eve sitting in the bushes. She uses it to shield herself, but the description of the painting asks the question: Is her isolation self-imposed or symptomatic of social restrictions? In what space and time does she exist? can her voice be heard?

I had a slight break down today in regards to my weightloss. I honestly never thought I would lose the weight I did and while it was hard to find clothes at a larger size, it’s not much easier at a smaller size. My biggest fear is that I will gain the weight I have lost back. Realistically, I have more knowledge now than I did before. I understand my body better than I did before. I know what food and exercise can do for it and I know how I feel without proper nutrition and exercise, but that doesn’t change the fact that my fear is still weight gain and failure.

So do I feel this way because I’m putting the pressure on myself? Probably. Do I feel this way because society has unrealistic expectations of beauty? Definitely.

I’m excited to compete in the fall and I see it as a competition with myself. How far have I come since the first competition. Since I first started lifting weights. I don’t see it as competing against other women because we all train differently and our bodies respond differently to diet and exercise. November was an experience that put health into perspective for me. It put ambition, goals and dreams into perspective for me. I never thought that I could accomplish something like that, but yet I did.

I love the progress I have had with only 2 weeks and some change into the bikini body guide program. I like that it changes it up and I like that I can fit the routines into my day without feel stretched too thin.

While I have this excited and I can see progress in my photos, I wonder if I would want this as much as I do if there wasn’t any societal pressure. At my heaviest, health wasn’t the first concern or reason why I started to loose weight. I had gotten out of a relationship, a very long relationship and I needed a change. I needed a drastic change. I also believed that I would never find love at my size. There’s that pressure again, just in a different form.

I didn’t find love until 31 months into my fitness journey and it was only after I had finally figured out how to love myself. I owe that to weight lifting. I truly believe I didn’t attract anyone because I didn’t love myself before and accept things as they come. I have my moments, like earlier tonight when I was arguing with myself over a menu item in preparation for a lunch meeting tomorrow. For the most part, I’m truly ecstatic about my progress and I can tell that I hold my head higher than before.

So why do I let pressure get to me? Why do I set my own expectations so high? Why does society believe they have a right to an opinion on beauty and worth? How can we separate our own standards of ourselves from the misguided ideals of those we’ve never met?

Does anyone have any answers?

Until I figure them out, I’m going to keep scrolling through my progress photos and remind myself how a flight of stairs would leave me winded, how a pair of heels would leave my knees sore and how I can now run a 8:38 minute miles.

❤ Cristina