Baked Oats Variations & Sauce

For those who know me, they know that during the summer months I ate Overnight Oats like it was a religion. I was absolutely obsessed.

Now that it’s gotten colder though, cold oats in the morning just don’t do the trick. That’s why I decided to try out my Triple-Chocolate Baked Oats last week. Since then, I’ve gotten creative with how to change up this easy and delicious recipe. Here are a couple of my latest recipes!

Cinnamon Apple Baked Oats

Baked Oats Base Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 2 teaspoons all natural sugar & stevia blend
  • 1/4 cup vanilla unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 medium banana mashed
  • Cinnamon to taste
  • Dash of vanilla extract
  • Dash of salt

Instructions: Turn your oven on to 375 degrees. While that heats up, spray a single-serving ramekin with coconut oil so your baked oats won’t stick. Then, mix all dry ingredients in the ramekin. Mix in wet ingredients once combined. After mixture is combined, add in creative variation (suggestions listed below). Make sure all additives are covered so the baking doesn’t dry them out.

Once the oven is heated up, cover the oats with tinfoil and put the oats in for 20 minutes. Uncover the oats and cook for another 5 minutes. Once it’s somewhat golden/crispy on top, take it out and let it cool for a minute. Then enjoy either straight from the ramekin or transfer to another plate.

Here are the two variations that I’ve experimented with this week (both of which were delicious):

  • Blueberry & Coconut
    • 1/4 cup blueberries
    • Add in a tablespoon of coconut
    • A small amount of coconut to put on top the oats
    • Dash of cinnamon to top the oats
  • Cinnamon Apple & Raisin
    • Chop up 1/4 cup worth apple of choice
    • Add in a tablespoon of raisins
    • A couple small slices of apple to top the oats
    • Dash of cinnamon to top the oats

Vanilla Cinnamon Sauce Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons ISO100 vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla unsweetened almond milk
  • Cinnamon to taste

Instructions: Mix together the ingredients in a small bowl. Add additional protein powder if you’d like a thicker consistency. Once the oats have been placed upside down on a plate, slowly pour the sauce on the oats. Top the oats with the necessary additives based on the recipe you’re following.

Then sit back and enjoy! What creative combinations have you come up with?

 

Vanilla Protein Fluff Crepes

This might be one of my favorite weeks of the year. It’s the official start of the holiday season, which means spending time with family and lots of delicious food!

This year for Thanksgiving, I’m in Maine visiting my dad. So, of course, we had to whip up is crepes for breakfast. Yum, right?

Unfortunately, it seems like everyone has some sort of dietary restriction. Between the five of us, we had to find a way to make our crepes Gluten-free, dairy-free and egg-free. Quite the task, right?

Well, we got a little creative and made some of the most delicious crepes I’ve ever had. On top of that, the crepes were just under 90 calories a piece!

Crepe Ingredients:Crepe with Almonds, Protein Fluff, Coconut and White Chocolate

  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 cup banana pureed (about 1 large banana)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions: Puree 1/2 cup banana and mix in flour. Gradually add in the milk and water, stirring to combine. Add the salt and mix until smooth. Heat a frying pan to medium-high heat and scoop ~1/4 cup batter for each crepe. Tilt the pan in a circular motion so the batter coats the surface evenly. Cook for about 2 minutes until golden brown and then flip until golden brown. Serve immediately. Makes about 7 crepes.

Then, I decided if we were going to have crepes, I absolutely had to try making protein fluff. I always see delicious pictures of it on Instagram, so it was time to experiment.

Vanilla Protein Fluff Ingredients: 

  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Instructions: Put all the ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth. After that, place in a large bowl and whip with an electric or hand mixer until the fluff is light and sort of gooey. Enjoy immediately.

The protein fluff was a complete success, and so delicious! I added the fluff, almonds, white chocolate pieces and shredded coconut to my crepes. Rolled them up and enjoyed these delicious treats for a healthy (and sweet) post-workout breakfast!

Triple-Chocolate Baked Oats

There’s nothing like a rainy morning to make you want to have something warm and delicious for breakfast. And considering how infrequently that happens in Arizona, I felt the need to make the most of it today.

That’s what spurred my new single-serving Triple-Chocolate Baked Oats recipe. I looked up some single-serving recipes that I could sort of following and stumbled upon this delicious looking cookie dough baked oatmeal recipe.

Considering some of my new dietary restrictions and obsessions, I decided to switch it up a bit and make it into my own creation. That’s how I ended up with this amazing (and protein packed) breakfast.

Triple-Chocolate Baked Oats

Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 2 teaspoons all natural sugar & stevia blend
  • 1/4 cup vanilla unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 medium banana mashed
  • 1/2 Double Chocolate Quest Bar
  • 1 teaspoon semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
  • Cinnamon to taste
  • Dash of salt

Instructions: Turn your oven on to 375 degrees. While that heats up, spray a single-serving ramekin with coconut oil so your baked oats won’t stick. Then, mix all dry ingredients in the ramekin. Mix in wet ingredients once combined. After mixture is combined, cut up quest bar into small pieces and mix into the oats. Make sure the pieces are all fully covered so the baking doesn’t dry them out.

Once the oven is heated up, cover the oats with tinfoil and put the oats in for 20 minutes. Uncover the oats and cook for another 5 minutes. Once it’s somewhat golden/crispy on top, take it out and let it cool for a minute. Then enjoy either straight from the ramekin or transfer to another plate.

Nutrition: 333 Calories, 7.5g Fat, 13g Fiber, 19g Sugar, 17g Protein

Kale & Pomegranate Salad Recipe

Decided to get a little crazy and buy a pomegranate for the first time yesterday at the store. I saw this recipe on Instagram a while ago and thought it looked amazing, so I wanted to create my own version!

I’ve also been on a kale-kick lately (like most people right now) but I hadn’t perfected how to use it in a salad. What I figured out was that if you cut the kale into thin strips and massage it with 1/2 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, it softens it up so that its easy to eat and tastes delicious!

Salad Ingredients: 

  • 2 large leaves of kaleKale Salad
  • 6 chopped almonds
  • 1 tablespoon feta
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/4 cup basmati & wild rice mix
  • 1 tablespoon raisins

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinaigrette
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 lemon squeezed
  • 1 tablespoon honey (I would probably use 2 tablespoons next text to make the dressing a little thicker)
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions: Chop the kale up into thin pieces and massage with 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar. Let sit for about 10 minutes before using. Chop up almonds (if you’re using whole almonds) into smaller pieces and set aside. For the dressing, mix all ingredients together and microwave for 15 seconds. Mix and set in the fridge for about 10 minutes. For the rice, I had leftovers that I just went ahead and heated up.

After the dressing has cooled and kale is set, place kale on a large plate. Arrange toppings on the salad however you want, I thought it looked fun with them in different groups, and then drizzle the dressing on top. Your masterpiece is now prepared and ready to be enjoyed!

Feel free to share your unique variation of this delicious salad!

My Quest Obsession

“Any food that requires enhancing by the use of chemical substances should in no way be considered a food.”

- John H. Tobe

Anyone that has ever traveled and tried to eat healthy has inevitably encountered the, “what’s a healthy snack to take on the plane,” conundrum. So many things are labeled, “healthy,” “low-calorie” or “skinny” snacking options.

Over the last couple years, I can honestly say I’ve tried around 80% of them. Some of the popular options are Clif Bars, Special K Protein Snack Bars, Larabars, KIND Bars and Quest Bars.

Coconut Quest Bar and Coffee

By far, my two favorites are Quest Bars and KIND Bars. KIND Bars tend to be more sweet than filling, so Quest Bars provide a better all-around option. They have ~20g. of protein and only ~5g. active carbs and range from 160 – 210 calories per bar.

Ask Men published the article, “Energy & Protein Bar,” that dives into what to look for in a protein bar, and also listed the top 10 protein bars. Quest bars were listed as #1.

Quest has also expanded their product line to low-calorie pasta and high-protein peanut butter cups.

Another reason that I love Quest is because of their brand. Being a social media and digital marketing strategist, I thoroughly appreciate when a company can effectively engage their customers and develop brand dedication. This is abundantly clear on Quest’s social channels including their Facebook, Twitter and Blog.

Quest Bar Treats Topped with Almond ButterSince falling in love with Quest Bars, I’ve tried almost all the flavors and products. One of my favorite treats that I’ve created are Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Balls (pictured left).

Here’s the recipe: Take 1 Chocolate Peanut Butter Quest Bar and break it into 6 pieces. Place 1 chocolate chip on each piece and roll it into a ball. Place the six balls separately on a coconut-oil sprayed plate. Microwave for 15 seconds. Afterwards, top each ball with a drop of almond butter (I used ~1/2 a tablespoon of almond butter total). Dash a little cinnamon on top and then enjoy! For all 6 balls it was ~250 calories.

Quest Pasta with Homemade Red Sauce, Veggies and FetaAnother delicious meal I created was a homemade red sauce with veggies and Quest Pasta (pictured right). The sauce was made with onions, mushrooms and zucchini and topped with feta. It was my first time making a tomato sauce from scratch, and I must say, it was delicious!

So, moral of the story: If you haven’t tried Quest Bars yet, you’re missing out. They are absolutely delicious and I promise you’ll find a flavor that you’ll love.

What delicious Quest recipes have you found or created? I’m always looking for more culinary inspiration, so feel free to share!

Master Cleanse: Ease-Out

“The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”

- Thomas Paine

10 pounds and 10 days later, it’s officially over! The last three days were by far the hardest for me. For a lot people the first three days are the hardest. I think that’s because the first three days are all about overcoming cravings and learning self-control.

The last three days for me proved to be the most difficult emotionally and physically. I think this was due to the fact that my body was undergoing the biggest changes during this time. I found myself to be more prone to mood-swings, exhaustion and some stomach pains.

Sweet Potato and Vegetable Soup

BUT, either way, I finished the full 10 days without cheating. (Woot!)

Today I started my day off with the suggested fresh orange juice and water. I did breakdown and go grocery shopping though. I decided to make a fresh sweet potato and vegetable soup (pictured left) tonight instead of tomorrow.

Tomorrow I’ll start my day off with orange juice again with more soup for lunch and then finally a delicious salad for dinner at Nourish to celebrate! If you like raw, organic, delicious food, you absolutely must go there. It’s amazing.

This is the recipe that I followed (rather loosely) for my soup. Instead of chicken stock, I used vegetable broth and I subbed in kale for the corn. I found that it was a little bit lacking in the liquids, so I added two additional cups of vegetable broth to off-set the amount of veggies. All in all, it was pretty delicious!

So, the real question is, now that the cleanse is over, how will I change my diet so that I can maintain a healthy lifestyle? Before the cleanse, I didn’t eat all THAT unhealthy, but I did have some vices that caused me not to be quite as healthy as I would like.

Here are the dietary rules that I’ll be (loosely) following now that I’m done with the cleanse:

  • Fridge Filled With Fruits and VeggiesNo dairy (other than dry cheeses and feta, because well I’m just addicted to feta)
  • No fast food
  • No juices/sodas/fruity 
    drinks
  • No fried food
  • Only lean meats (turkey, chicken, eggs)
  • Limited carbs
  • Limited sugary treats
  • Limited alcohol (yes, the only thing I can promise is limited)

I’m sure there will be other rules that I come up with along the way, and I’m sure I’ll probably break these rules at some point. The most important thing is that I’m on the right track and looking forward to cooking up some awesome new recipes with my new diet!

Master Cleanse: Day 9

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.”

- Abraham Lincoln

I’m almost there! One more day of lemonade and it’s home-free! I have to say, all of the people I’ve talked to have said that the first three days are the hardest. For me, yesterday (Day 8) was definitely the hardest.

Maybe it’s because it was Monday. Maybe it’s because I’m weird. Either way, being almost done makes me crave the food I’m already planning to eat after the cleanse.

Things haven’t been all bad though. The beautiful picture below was taken from South Mountain in Phoenix over the weekend during a lovely Saturday morning hike. The weekend was surprisingly easy despite the usual temptations. I even went to the movies and managed not to dive into the bag of popcorn my boyfriend bought.

South Mountain View

From my experience, here are 11 tips to succeed on the Master Cleanse:

  1. Plan Ahead: Make sure you look at your calendar and pick 12 – 14 days (with the ease-in and ease-out) when you don’t have a lot of events going on. Nothing like snacks and drinks at a networking event to kill your cleanse!
  2. Make a To-Do List: My saving grace during the first few days of the cleanse was having a to-do list. Before I started, I brainstormed all the things I could do with my extra time not spent cooking, eating, grocery shopping or cleaning dishes. During the first few days when I’d start to think about food, I’d do something on my list. When I finished it, I felt accomplished and fulfilled and no longer craved food.
  3. Have a Support Group: One resource said don’t tell too many people you’re doing the cleanse. I disagree. Tell all the people who care about you that you’re making a commitment to yourself to do this and that you want their support. Not only is it nice to have people cheer you along, it’s also a great way to keep yourself accountable.
  4. Buy in Bulk: Buy (almost) all your ingredients beforehand and in bulk! This is one thing that I did not do my first time around. I went through probably 6-8 small/medium lemons making ~10 drinks a day. This meant I had to go to the store Day 2 to get more. Also, you go through a LOT of maple syrup, so buy the biggest bottle you can find.
  5. Start On a Weekend: For people who work outside of the home, start your cleanse on a Saturday. I work at home so I was able to start on a Monday and still have some flexibility, but if you don’t, you could be setting yourself up for failure. The extra two days will help you gauge how much you’ll need to drink throughout the day so when you go to work monday, you’ll be prepared to fight off any possible temptations.
  6. Drink it Up: Normally, I workout and lift weights, so I tend to eat somewhere between 1,800 – 2,000 calories daily. When I found out each drink was only 113 calories, I thought I was going to be drinking 15 – 18 glasses a day. For the first few days, I let myself drink as much I wanted whenever I was hungry. This prevented me from feeling deprived. Even on my hungriest days, I didn’t ever have more than 10 drinks.
  7. Keep a Journal: For those who do the cleanse for any sort of mental or spiritual purposes, journaling daily is a great way to really understand your experience. Every day your body is changing, so it’s important to write about the emotional and physical changes your body goes through.
  8. Get Pronamel: Or something like that. With all the acid you’re consuming, if you’re sensitive to that sort of thing, it can become painful. By Day 6 I could definitely tell there was something up with my teeth. I grabbed some Pronamel mouthwash and it made all the difference in the world.
  9. Be Active: At first I was concerned I wouldn’t get enough calories to workout, but in fact, I had more energy most days and I felt great during my workouts. I focused on low-impact alternatives to keep me feeling toned as opposed to building muscle. Pilates, swimming and StairMaster are all great options!
  10. Don’t Cheat: You don’t want to have to follow-up telling someone you finished The Master Cleanse with, “but I cheated this one time…” Stick to your guns and do it right!
  11. Stay Positive: When all else fails, remember: It’s only 10 days! You won’t die, and when you’re done you’ll be able to say, “Hey, I kicked ass and I did it!”

Want to check out my previous Master Cleanse update? Here’s my experience up through Day 4.

Now get out there and cleanse away! Want to learn more about the Master Cleanse or my experience? Shoot me a message and if I can’t help, I’ll point you in the direction of someone who can.

Master Cleanse: Day 4

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

- Winston Churchill

Wow, it’s been a while! It’s crazy how time slips away and you look back and realize six months have flown by. That’s sort of what I realized over the last couple weeks, which is why I decided to take real steps to re-focus my life and get my priorities back on track.

So there I was, wanting to make a change, and not sure how to do it. Then the whole ‘cleanse’ concept came to mind. It seemed like sort of a drastic measure, but hey, I was on a mission. I looked through a few of the more moderate cleanses, and knew I needed something more intense. Then I came upon the the Master Cleanse.

The name itself is sort of intimidating, don’t you think? I read on and asked a friend I knew who had done it how it was, and I decided, what the hell, lets do it. I’m now on day 4 of 10 and feeling pretty good, I have to say!

The cleanse basically consists of drinking “lemonade” throughout the day for 10 days with a salt water bath in the morning and herbal laxative (as my boyfriend say, “ewwww”) at night. So this is what my kitchen consists of right now (quite depressing, I know.)

Cayanne, Sea Salt, Maple Syrup, Lemons

I knew that I’d have to keep my time filled with other things to do, so I made a list before starting the cleanse of all the things I’d been putting off (cleaning out my closet, going to the dry cleaners, doing Pilates, journaling). Of all the things that I’ve used to fill my time, journaling has proved the most beneficial.

One of things that I heard about the cleanse that I was most looking forward to and scared of, was the emotional cleanse that would come along with it. All the time and distraction that food (and alcohol) provide is taken away and all you’re left with is raw emotion and time for self-reflection.

For me, that all goes directly into my journal to be processed and released. As a whole, I’m really looking forward to see the results of the full 10 days, physically and emotionally. Stay tune for more updates!

Have a wonderful rest of your week, and don’t forget to be thankful for all the great things in your life.