Moving On

This blog has been a great experience for the semester.

When my life slows down a bit, (if that ever happens…) I honestly think I would enjoy keeping up a blog.

Aside from food and fitness, I have a very strong passion for home remodeling.

So, when the day comes that I finally own my own house…

{Hopefully within the next year!!}

Look out for a new blog chock-full of great new home remodeling and decorating ideas!

 

Where I am relocating for my new job, the housing market is completely under water.

I will be paying >$1000/month for a little 1 bedroom apartment, but could be owning a nice little starter house for >$700/month mortgage payments!

Since we plan on staying in the area for a while, and the $700/month mortgage payments would still leave us with a comfortable budget, we are excited to find a temporary apartment but be on the lookout for a nice little starter house.

So, enjoy your summer and thanks for tuning in!

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Growing Up

So, I have some exciting news…

I got a big girl job!!

…At my DREAM company!!

 

With this job comes a lot of new things.

Currently, I am working like mad to find a place to live where my new job is, since I start in 2 short weeks!

Sometimes I think I’m crazy… I mean, I could have pushed back my start date a little further.  But, what is the point?

Sure, it would have been nice to have more time to move, but I would be missing out on that extra experience, and the extra paycheck!

 

I get 3 weeks vacation my first year, though I doubt I’ll take all of the days.   Either way, I figure I’ll take that time off if I decide I need a vacation.   I’ve always been like the Energizer bunny, though… Run, run, run!!!

5 Minute Homemade Salsa

I made another promise last week for a great, quick and easy salsa recipe.  So, without further ado…

5 Minute Salsa

3 cups diced tomatoes (or about 2-15 oz. cans)

Handful of cilantro

Juice from 1 lime

1/2 onion, chopped

3/4 tsp. garlic powder, or 1-2 cloves

2 tsp. kosher salt

2 tsp. white vinegar

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (omit if you can’t take the heat!)

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and whir away until a smooth consistency is achieved, just like you’d get in a restaurant!  Best after refrigerating for a few hours to let the flavors meld.

A quick word of advice, don’t use the canned tomatoes with garlic!  You’ll keep the vampires away, but won’t like the flavor that lingers in your mouth!

Recipe originally from http://biblicalhomemaking.blogspot.com/2013/02/quick-easy-restaurant-style-salsa-recipe.html

Go-Go Juice

Last week I posted on how to beat the no-workout blues, and promised I would post later on my favorite pre-workouts.

It is now later 🙂

There are all kinds of different pre-workouts, and for the most part, I try to keep mine pretty basic.

Some can get pretty crazy with all their additives, stimulants, and whatnot.

In general, I like to avoid supplements containing creatine and any crazy fat burners.

Fat burners, because I don’t like taking anything that forces my body to work in a way different than it’s natural functions.  I don’t see any good that can come of it…

And creatine, because I don’t want to retain water or get big muscles 🙂  Some of you men out there might be interested in what creatine has to offer, but I’ll pass.

So… my two favorite pre-workouts are, (Drumroll, please)

Optimum Nutrition AMIN.O ENERGY

The grape flavor is fan-freaking-tastic, it tastes just like grape Pixi-Stix.  This pre-workout supplies you with the amino acids your muscles need to rebuild themselves, while also providing a good dose of energy in the form of caffeine.  I use this supplement when I’m in the mood to go to the gym, but wish I has a little more energy to get a good workout.  I also use this while studying for a quick pick-me-up and help me focus since I have ADD 🙂

Black Market Labs AdrenHERlyn

This pre-workout is one I try not to take as much primarily because it contains raspberry ketones, and I don’t want my body relying on substances such as ketones… I feel like it could mess with my metabolism, ya know?  Not that it has been proven, but I’m just not comfortable with it.  Anyway, I do like this pre-workout because it gives me the focus and drive to drill through a tough workout without the jitteriness or sick stomach I get from most other pre-workouts.

Do you have a favorite pre-workout for the days when a banana just won’t cut it?  I’d love to hear about them!

Breakfast of Champions

We’ve all heard it from our mothers, teachers, and even the media,

“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”

 

We keep hearing about it, because it is so true!

But, are you treating it like it’s the most important meal of the day?

 

Every morning I have two eggs with a bowl of oatmeal.

To some, that sounds soooo boring!

 

But, to keep it interesting I make it different all the time.

I often prepare and season my eggs in different ways, or top them with things like fresh homemade salsa (great recipe coming your way soon!)

My oatmeal is often filled with my favorite, a dollop of peanut (or almond) butter and a little squirt of Smuckers Reduced Sugar Strawberry Jam (every bit as good as the original!)

Othertimes I’ll throw in cinnamon and raisins or apples.

 

It is extremely important to be getting whole-grain carbs and protein in your system right away in the morning so your brain and body have the energy they need to kickstart your metabolism!

What is your favorite “breakfast of champions?!”

Workout Slump

Do you ever have those weeks where you just can’t drag yourself into the gym?

I’m having one.

Crazy days filled with obligations, job applications galore (don’t remind me), work, school, projects, blah, blah, blah…

All excuses, really.

What do you do to motivate yourself to go to the gym?

I’ve tried a number of things, what generally works for me is actually changing into my gym clothes, and taking a pre-workout.

Generally, the pre-workout gets me so wired up that the only way for me to stay sane with that much energy is to go burn it off at the gym. (I’m extremely sensitive to any and all medications, pre-workouts, etc)

If that doesn’t work, I’ll go on pinterest and look at workout examples and seeing all the super-fit girls on there makes me wish I could look like them… so I decide to go workout like them so actually give myself a shot at it!

Right now is a procrastination attempt to avoid the gym, so I suppose I should start sipping on my favorite pre-workout (more on that later!) to get that ball rolling!

My “Quest” for the Best Protein Bar

A couple of weeks ago I was preparing for a big trip that I knew would involve a lot of rushed days and no time for quality meals.  To solve this, I found three options:

1)  Get fast food or gas station food

2) Starve

or,

3)  Find a shelf-stable, healthy alternative

 

I decided that options 1 and 2 weren’t very good, so went on an online expedition to find the best snack/meal alternative/protein bar that not only tasted good, but was also good for me.

I soon discovered an almost cult-like following for a line of protein bars called Quest protein bars.  They have a “regular” and an all-natural line.  The bars are gluten-free, and aspartame-free.  They are also high in protein, and claimed to taste great!

Out of desperation curiosity, I ordered a dozen bars in assorted flavors and anxiously awaited their arrival.  

Is it bad when the part of your trip you are most excited for, is to be able to try a protein bar?

Anyhow, the trip finally came and excitedly tried my first protein bar, Strawberry Cheesecake flavor.  

And,

it was…

Good!!

Not fabulously amazing as I had hoped, but I brought my expectations back down to reality and was very pleasantly surprised!  

Keep in mind, these are protein bars, not Grandma’s cookies.  That being said, they still taste good!

My favorite flavors are Strawberry Cheesecake, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, and Apple Pie.

 

Give them a try and let me know what you think!

Fitness on the Road

While I love seeing the world and experiencing new things, traveling also tends to come as a minor annoyance to me for these two reasons:

1.  It is difficult to keep a healthy diet and eat at the times that work best for my body

and,

2.  It is difficult to get a good workout in!

Most gyms these days have fitness centers and pools, but from my experience, these fitness centers are generally in a state of poor disrepair and oftentimes only consist of cardio equipment.

So, I went out and found a great in-room strength workout to supplement a run around the area or in the cardio room of my hotel.  Props go out to nerdfitness.com for coming up with this plan.

As always, 3 sets of 12-15 is best.  Try to keep rest time between exercises minimal.  This is broken down into levels of fitness, if you are new to fitness, then stick to level one.  If level one or two looks too easy, then do level three!

LEVEL 1

LEVEL 2

LEVEL 3

Protein Snacks!

As promised, here is my recipe for protein bars/muffins.

The recipe is based off Jamie Eason’s Lemon Protein Bars, although I did modify it a bit.  If lemon isn’t your thing, I encourage you to simply Google “Jamie Eason protein bars” and you will find an array of recipes.  She has chocolate, carrot cake, pumpkin, and all kinds of flavors I have yet to try because I love these lemon ones so much!

1 C. oats or oat flour

2 scoops vanilla whey protein powder

1/4 tsp. salt (to help activate the baking soda)

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 C. lemon juice (I buy the frozen containers of Minute Maid lemon juice, but fresh works best)

4 egg whites

5 packets Stevia

1 C. applesauce

2 Tbsp water

Preheat oven to 350 F.  If using oats, process in a blender or food processor until a fine powder.  Combine all dry ingredients together in a bowl, then add in the egg whites, applesauce, water, and lemon juice; the batter will be somewhat thin.  Pour into a greased 8×8 pan, or muffin tins and bake for 20-25 minutes or until set and a toothpick comes out clean.

These are best kept frozen or refrigerated.  The recipe makes 16 squares, and a serving is 2 squares but I have a hard time keeping myself from eating them all!

Give them a try, you won’t regret it!

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

I have been craving pizza like mad lately.

So much so, I almost ordered an entire pizza for myself last night from Papa Johns.

Thankfully, I resisted the temptation, but spent all day today dreaming of that hot, salty goodness.

I finally couldn’t take it anymore, and so I improvised.

You know all those recipes floating around on Pinterest for cauliflower pizza crusts?  Welp, I broke down and tried one.

Credit: ClosetCooking

And you know what?

It was actually good!

I combined a few recipes I found to suit what I wanted and what ingredients I had, and ended up with this:

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Half a bag of frozen cauliflower (fresh would work too)

1 egg

1-2 Tbsp oat flour

1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning

pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 450 F.  Process the cauliflower in a food processor until it looks like rice.  Then, place the cauliflower in a microwave-safe dish and microwave for 7-8 minutes on high.

Allow the cauliflower to cool slightly, then wring out as much excess water as possible.

Combine the cauliflower with the remaining ingredients, and shape into a pizza crust on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until a light golden brown.

Remove from the oven, and top with your choice of toppings.  Return to the oven for ~10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and toppings are hot.

Enjoy!

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