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spiced peach quinoa muffins

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Mad carb cravings, that’s me!  I’ve been dreaming up ways where it’s ok to eat an entire pan of brownies, or 2 dozen cupcakes, with extra icing, of course.. Um no, that probably wouldn’t be the best idea, plus I needed a healthy(ish) snack for my daughter to take to preschool next week. 

I searched a bit and found various quinoa recipes.  So these guys still have brown sugar (yes, that’s processed), and white flour in them, so they aren’t exactly Clean Eating approved, but they’re tasty, and they’re definitely healthier than your average cakey muffin. Bonus, they’re one of very very few healthier muffins that my little one will actually eat!  I cut them in half and froze them for many future snack times (after I ate half of them myself, fresh and warm and peachy, of course).

For the quinoa… I like to make a big batch, then use some for breakfast quinoa bowls, and save some for these muffins. They’re great with other fruit too, like apples, strawberries, or plums.

spiced peach quinoa muffins

recipe adapted from Egg & Dart
makes 12 muffins

1 1/2 cups peaches, pits removed, and diced (plus extra slices for topping)
6 tablespoons softened butter, divided
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmet
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup cooked and cooled quinoa
1/4 cup milk
1 1/4 cups flour

Preheat oven to 375F. Heat 2 tablespoons (1oz) of the butter over medium low heat in a sauce pan.  Add the spices, stir, then stir in the peaches. Coat them with your spice concoction, then remove from heat to cool.

In a mixing bowl, beat butter and brown sugar until light and creamy. Add the egg and beat until fluffy. Beat in vanilla, salt, and baking powder until combined.

Gently fold in the peaches and quinoa into the butter mixture. Add half the flour and fold until just combined, then half the milk and fold again. Repeat. Don’t over-mix. You might still see some flour streaks.

Grease a muffin tin and scoop batter evenly into muffin cups (mostly full).  Top with peach slices if desired, then bake until golden and a toothpick comes out clean (about 20 minutes).

Let cool 5 minutes in the tin, then remove to finish cooling on a cooling rack.

vanilla toasted coconut cashew butter

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Oh yummm.. yum yum yumminess. I made this weeks ago and then promptly forgot to share, as I consume more and more of it. I know, I’ve been holding out! This stuff’s amazing, and really not that tough to make. You just need either a food processor or a great high power blender, then you too can enjoy the coconutty vanilla-ey cashewey amazingness. It’s fabulous on toast, and even better on waffles.

vanilla scented toasted coconut & cashew butter

Slightly adapted from The Suburban Soapbox

1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut
2 cups unsalted raw cashews
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
a pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 325F

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then spread the coconut out and bake for about 5 minutes. Watch carefully, as you don’t want it to burn. Just let it get golden brown. Set aside

Toast the cashews in the same way (about 10 minutes), until golden.

Dump all your ingredients into a food processor or blender and just keep on blending until it’s nice and creamy.. Depending on the power of your machine, this could be 5-10 minutes.

Pour or scoop into an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 3 weeks (OK, I’ve had mine in the fridge for a few months now, because I FORGOT ABOUT IT (not sure how!), and it’s still fine.. but best to stick to the 3-week guideline.

quick and clean snack ideas

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Snacking.. good or bad? I’m a strong believer in it being a very good thing, as long as it’s intentional. You know those moments when you’re out trying to madly get some errands done and the bear in your stomach rears its head, telling you that you need to eat ALL THE THINGS, and right now?! Yeah, that one.. We really want to avoid it, and the number 1 way is to have a healthy snack planned, plus a few extras always available in your car or purse.

My #1 healthiest option is a shakeology, but here are some more great options that I love.

Toast with avocado: mash 1/6 of an avocado on a slice of whole grain toast, add a sprinkle of salt, a squeeze of lime, and some red pepper flakes. I can’t get enough of this!
Nuts: Seriously.. I don’t go anywhere without a little bag of nuts. They’re my emergency on-the-go snack food. Protein and healthy fats. Boom! Just be aware of how many you’re eating. 15 almonds is 100 calories.
Hard boiled eggs: I like to cut one or two in half, sprinkle with salt, and add a bit of salsa. These are even decent on the go.
Edamame: Boil or steam one-half cup of unshelled edamame with a pinch of salt for a fiber-rich snack.
Greek yogurt and berries: Top 1/2 cup plain non-fat greek yogurt with berries (defrosted frozen blueberries have lots of delicious juice to mix in). You can add a bit of high protein whole-grain cereal, seeds, or granola for crunch.
Veggie sticks and hummus: A few tablespoons of hummus and 10-15 baby carrots, or celery sticks. Yum.
Apple and almond butter: Slice up an apple, sprinkle with cinnamon, and dip into a tablespoon of peanut butter or almond butter.

What are your favourite snacks to keep you fuelled throughout the day, or stop the hungry bear while on the go?

21 Days to lose up to 15 pounds?

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Beachbody has a new fitness and nutrition program that helps you lose weight, and fast. It’s so effective that people are losing up to 15 pounds (ok, some even MORE) in 21 days! Yeah, I was floored by it!

The 21 Day Fix combines easy portion control with 30 minute workouts, getting you great results in a short amount of time. There’s no guessing, no fiddling with a scale, and no counting calories or points. The best part is that you don’t have to deprive yourself by completely cutting out some of the treats you love. There’s room for chocolate, and even wine! (Yes, ladies, I’m with you. I need my chocolate!)

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The workouts are easy to follow, with a modifier, so no matter what your fitness level is, you’ll see amazing results. Plus, there’s lots of variation, so you won’t get bored after 3 days!

I will be hosting a 21 Day fix Challenge group/boot camp to keep you motivated and on track. You’ll have others doing the program with you, so you’ll never be alone, yet you get to do this from the convenience of your own home.

I recently got the opportunity to do a live workout with the 21 Day Fix celebrity trainer, Autumn Calabrese (in the photo above!). It was AMAZING! Every single move was easy to follow, and she knew just what to say to make me work harder. The story behind the simple nutrition system? It’s still possible to overeat when you’re eating healthy food. The 21 Day Fix gives you super easy portion control. You fill coloured containers. You get to eat what fits in the right containers each day. Simple.

So if you want to get started on your journey to better health with me fill out the form below and get ready to change your life!

easy and flexible no-knead bread

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I want to stuff my face with all the toasts made from this bread! Seriously. Stuff. I’ve always loved homemade bread but don’t want to have anything to do with kneading it, or multiple risings/proofing, all that jazz. No thank you! Enter this crazy flexible no-knead bread recipe. You just stir it up and leave it for anywhere between 12 and 24 hours, then bake. It works around YOUR schedule. LOVE.

I made this one with some whole wheat flour and some 10 grain cereal because hey, why not make it healthier than plain ol’ white, right? This recipe has been slathered all over the internet in various forms, but I like this version the best for its flexibility, and not having to cover with flour or re-rise or any of that jazz.

no-knead bread

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup 10 grain cereal mix or bread mix
1/4 teaspoon dry active yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cup water

In a large bowl, whisk together everything except the water, then stir the water in until it all comes together nicely. This may take a few minutes of stirring.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap of a plate and just leave it for anywhere between 12-24 hours in a warm place.

When you’re ready to bake, place a cast iron pot into your oven, then preheat the oven to 500F. Leave the pot in there for 30 minutes, even though the oven will be at temperature before then. You want the pot to get nice and hot too!

Carefully remove the pot and use a bowl scraper to scrape the dough out and into the pot. You won’t be able to move it around once it’s in, but don’t worry if it’s not centered or looks a bit funny. Pop the lid on and bake for 20 minutes.

Remove the lid and bake uncovered for another 2-3 minutes to brown a bit more.

Remove from oven and cool. If loaf is stuck to the bottom of your pot, let it cool a bit longer until you can remove it, then cool the rest of the way on a cooling rack.

Enjoy with fresh made jam.. yummy!

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never give up!

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We’ve got struggles and excuses, right? Not enough time to workout, kids with demands on us, too much work, not feeling up to it, feeling too tired, or even an injury. I can give you ideas to work through those excuses, but none of that matters if you don’t really WANT to.

Here’s my injury story and how I almost did give up. I was just finishing up with a round of a mostly weights-based program. In retrospect, it was too much heavy lifting for my body, and not enough other stuff to balance that out. Still, I felt pretty good, and was in pretty much the best shape of my life, able to do about 7 full pull-ups. Yeah, a few years ago I couldn’t do ANY, even after completing P90X, so I was pretty proud!

Best shape of my life, hoping to grow our family and be super fit through the next pregnancy so I wouldn’t have to work quite as hard afterwards as I did last time. Heh. Nope, didn’t happen. Out went the disc in my neck and weeks of crazy excruciating nerve pain. Top it off? No meds because I WAS pregnant! (Yay/OUCH!.. Best/worst combo!)

I was pretty crushed, knowing the recovery was going to suck, and my hopes for staying super fit were gone. I could barely sit up on my own, let alone crank out a T25 workout! I stuck to physio and still headed to the Beachbody Coach Summit. I skipped all the workouts, but couldn’t really skip the Super Workout. I mean, miss the chance to workout in the blistering heat with 9 000 other crazies? heck no! I headed there and kind of mimed the moves, but did my best. No jumping jacks for this girl! BUT, as my body warmed up, I was actually able to do a burpee segment. Enter the one-armed burpees:

I was still pretty bummed that I wasn’t going to be doing any harder workouts as planned, especially in the early days of pregnancy. Weight gain, lethargy, blech. Along came the PiYo workout program, and I’m LOVING it. It’s hard, but doable for me, plus low to no impact with a focus on stretching and strength building. Perfect for a pregnant mama, or someone who’s just had a baby! (Honestly, it’s a good match for anyone wanting to work on strength, flexibility, or injury prevention in sports).

While things aren’t going as planned, they could be a lot worse, and I’m feeling good about myself for sticking with some fitness even when I want to hide under the covers most mornings!

Want to start your own PiYo journey? I’ll coach you through it. You can get that program here.

lemon poppy seed smoothie

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I’ve been having such strong pregnancy cravings for anything carby or SWEET. Like sugar cravings that I’ve never dealt with before. I was ready to run to the grocery store at 10pm just to see if they had any lemon poppy seed muffins. Thankfully I didn’t make the trip, since the closest one doesn’t carry them. Sad face.

Enter the brilliant idea of making a much healthier snack option while still getting that lemon poppy seed flavour. This was delicious, by the way. Not just a bland boring health food thing. It’s all about the yum-factor for me, especially when I’ve got crazy mama cravings like these!

I’ve used Vanilla Shakeology, so I know I’m getting all-the-healthy-things. To keep it clean I used some unsweetened vanilla almond milk, fresh lemon juice, maple syrup, and poppy seeds. So so good!

lemon poppyseed smoothie
A Cake and Greens original

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 scoop vanilla Shakeology
juice from half a lemon (about 1 Tbsp)
2 tsp. pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp poppy seeds
3/4 cup ice cubes

Add everything to a high powered blender and blend until smooth. Drink and be energized!

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