Pumpkin Protein Muffins

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I love the Summer with the longer days of sunshine and beach trips so it’s hard for me to say goodbye. The one thing that helps to make it better is pumpkin.☺️

I especially love baking with this fruit, yes, pumpkin is technically a fruit, crazy huh?  These pumpkin protein muffins do not disappoint!  They are nutritionally packed with vitamin A, fiber, protein and natural sweetness!  What this means is that you stay fuller longer so you have the perfect healthy snack-:)  WIN!

I decided to top my muffins with a cream cheese protein icing. I’ve included that recipe for you too:)

Oh, by the way, you could totally use this same recipe to make pumpkin protein bread.

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Ingredients

1 1/4 cups oat flour (read below for making your own)

1/2 cup oats

2 scoops vanilla protein powder

1/4 cup Stevia or 30 drops of organic stevia

1 tsp cinnamon

2 medium ripe bananas

1 1/4 cup pumpkin (no sugar added)

1 whole egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mash up the bananas and mix with wet ingredients.
  3. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.
  4. Place batter in prepared muffin pan and bake for 12-15 minutes or until cooked through. If making banana bread bake for 20-25 min.

*Grind up oatmeal in a blender until it’s a fine consistency to make your own oat flour.

*I freeze these and keep some in the frig for a snack when I have craving for something sweet*

Cream cheese protein icing:

2 oz low fat cream cheese

1/2 cup of Greek yogurt

1 scoop vanilla protein powder

10 drops of stevia (1 Tbsp for powder stevia)

2 Tbsp almond milk (or whatever milk you have)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

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Berry Picking & Blueberry Pancake Recipe

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Last month Remi and I were lucky enough to catch the last weekend to pick blueberries at a local berry farm, Blue Harvest Farms, in southern Louisiana.  It was our first time experiencing berry picking so we got all geared up for our adventure.🤗

Hats:  √

Boots:  √

Sunscreen: √

Buckets:  √

Shades for Titi Sunshine: √

We had a blast!  We chit chatted with other berry pickers, she entertained everyone around us with singing, and I seized some teaching moments on practicing mindfulness, which for her involved savoring one or two…

IMG_3063Some veteran blueberry pickers shared with us a great tips:

  1.  Look for powder-blue berries that are firm and uniform in size.
  2. When you get them home spread them-out in a single layer on some paper towels.  If possible, store them in a moisture-proof container for up to five days.
  3. Don’t wash until you’re ready to use them.

I froze half of our batch to use for smoothies or to add in to my banana protein ice-cream.  Here is the link to that recipe:

https://www.instagram.com/healthy_justice/

The rest of the berries we shared with our family and used to make blueberry pancakes.

Now that I have little ones in my life I realize how challenging it is to get them to eat nutritious food, and this is a meal they actually request.  It’s so simple and using a food processor makes it even easier!

IMG_3136Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1 tablespoon organic stevia
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cup milk with 1 tablespoon vinegar (I let it soak for awhile)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs

Directions

  • Place flour, oats, stevia, baking powder, baking soda, salt, buttermilk, vanilla, oil and egg in a food processor and puree until smooth.
  • Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

The homemade orange juice is also simple and makes breakfast even more of a delight!  

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Ingredients

1/4 cup (60 ml) water
2 medium navel oranges, peeled, quartered
3/4 cup (180 ml) ice cubes
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar or other sweetener, to taste (optional)

Directions

Place all ingredients into the Vitamix container in the order listed and secure lid.
Select Variable 1.
Turn machine on and slowly increase speed to Variable 10, then to High.
Blend for 1 minute or until desired consistency is reached. Serve immediately.

Here is a link to Blue Harvest Farms: http://blueharvestfarms.com

If you would like to find a berry farm close to you, this link might help: http://www.pickyourown.org/index.htm#states

 

Quick and Easy Summer Lunch Recipes

Here are some healthy lunch and snack recipes that will make meal prep easy during the hot Summer months!

Spring Rolls

Think of it as a salad except that it’s easier to eat and more fun.-:)  You could add in some protein with shrimp, chicken or tofu to make it a more filling lunch.

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Ingredients:

rice paper–avocado–your favorite veggies

Directions:

  • Soak your rice paper in a large bowl of warm water for about 10 seconds (or follow directions on your package).
  • Lay it on a moist clean towel and layer on your veggies & if you want.  Sprinkle with rice vinegar or Asian dressing.
  • Roll it up burrito style by rolling forward once, tucking in the sides and continuing to roll forward.

*Optional step: sauté your veggies in 1/2 Tbsp of sesame oil, 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce and 2 garlic cloves.

Dipping Sauce

3 Tbsp soy sauce, 3 Tbsp nut butter, 2 tsp chopped garlic, 1/2 tsp sesame oil

Turkey and Veggie Roll Ups

Another easy grab and go snack or light lunch idea.  These are surprisingly tasty eats!

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Ingredients

organic deli meat

green beans & carrot slices

mustard

Roll up 1-2 steamed green beans, a carrot slice and a strip of mustard.

Chicken Salad Lettuce Wrap

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Ingredients

1½ pounds pre-cooked chicken (I use a store bought rotisserie & remove the skin)
½ cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
¼ cup light mayonnaise
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup red seedless grapes, cut in half lengthwise (20 grapes)
½ cup coarsely chopped unsalted, raw walnuts or pecans
1 cup thinly sliced celery (about 3 stalks)

Combine yogurt, mayo, vinegar, honey, salt, and black pepper in a large mixing bowl.  Add chicken,  grapes, and celery and toss until everything is coated in the yogurt sauce. Give it a quick taste and adjust salt and pepper if needed.  Chill before serving.

 

Buff Bride: 5 Tips To Lose Weight & Stay Healthy For Your Wedding Day

What woman doesn’t want to look and feel her best for her wedding day, myself included!  My wedding is just a couple of months off, and it’s the perfect inspiration for me to get more toned and healthier.

So here are the tips I’ve been using to kick my exercise and nutrition goals into gear…

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  1.  Meal and Exercise Tracking.  Research shows that keeping a food diary may double your weight loss efforts!   The key is to track accurately and honestly.  Even if your goal isn’t to lose weight, this practice can help you become more aware of the quality of your food choices and the reason driving your behavior.

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Tracking my workouts helps me to push myself and continue progressing.

I provide digital health coaching and nutrition/fitness plans if you need more assistance & accountability in these areas.  https://healthyjustice.wordpress.com/2016/02/27/about-healthy-justice/

2.  Put more intensity into exercise.  A reason and a deadline always helps with motivation to give a little extra.  You don’t have to kill yourself training for your big day.  Simply ask yourself, ‘can I give one more rep? can I go one more minute?’ If the answer is yes then dig a little deeper!

3.  Find ways to relax.  I’ve been practicing daily meditation to help me stay grounded.  All the stress from wedding planning and family issues that pop up can have you turning to food as a way to cope.    Taking time to breathe can do wonders for your wellbeing and take the edge off food cravings.  This is a meditation app that I’ve been enjoying:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/stop-breathe-think/id778848692?mt=8

4.  Drink your body weight in water.  Water naturally detoxifies the body and flushes out toxins.  It also helps get nutrients to your muscles and with recovery.  Often we mistake hunger for thirst, so drinking a glass of water will help you eat less.

5.  Create a couples challenge!

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It’s powerful the influence your significant other has on you especially when it relates to food and fitness.  If Donny mentions that he wants a pizza, I’m going to be hard pressed to say no.  If he’s not really feeling motivated to go to the gym, but he sees me going, chances are he will join me.  Unless I start bellowing out, “let’s DO IT!”  This zaps him of all his life force;) LOL

Our partners have the power to influence us for good and BAD behaviors.  Imagine the goals you can achieve if you use your power to bring out the best in each other!

With this in mind, I challenge you to BE A FIT COUPLE! 

261Come up with your own couples challenge.  This adds fun and accountability.

Here’s the couple’s challenge Donny and I made with each other:

  •  I’m going to replace any snacks I have after dinner with a protein shake or small protein snack.
  • He is going to limit carbs and dairy.

We each get a point for every day that we succeed in our goals.  At the end of the week whoever has the most points wins.

  • If I win Donny is going to help me chop vegetables for my weekly meal prep.
  • If he wins, I have to help him with yard work.

With all the planning and hard work you are doing don’t forget to be good to yourself!happy

Get Healthy For The Summer

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photo credit to Mystic Mermaid @ https://www.facebook.com/MysticMermaidCove/

The dark and dreary Winter months can cause many of us to lose some of our zest.  Summer’s approach has a way of reviving and warming us from the inside out. Instead of wanting to hibernate in a cozy blanket, we are looking for flip-flops & a reason to get outside!

These are tips that will get you in shape AND healthy from the inside out!  When you feel happy and confident it reflects to the outside world, and this is what can set you apart on the beach.😃

1st Tip

Start your day with JOY and a glass of water

You’ve gone the entire night without water so even if you don’t feel thirsty, you need to drink some water.

  • Drinking water as soon as you get up brings a healthy glow to the skin, and it’s a good way to purify your internal system.

Your morning often sets the tone for the rest of your day.  Creating habits that bring you joy is important.  This will look different for everyone.

  • If you are super rushed in the morning it might be moving mindfully through your routine instead of going through the motions.
  • sitting with a cup of coffee in silence
  • snuggling with the kiddos or hubby
  • reading a Bible scripture.

Starting your morning with joy helps you begin the day with love flowing from the inside out.

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2nd Tip

Eat whole foods with plenty of vegetables

Eating whole and nutrient dense foods is going to nourish and energize your body.

  • When you are shopping stick to the perimeter of the grocery store.  This is where fresh foods like fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat, and fish are usually located.  The center aisles is generally where junk foods lurk.
  • Eating vegetables helps the skin and body look and feel better.

IMG_2943 IMG_2944A typical breakfast for me is usually a veggie omelette.  If I get bored with this I change-up the vegetables and herbs I use.  Read this blog for tips on sneaking in vegetables: https://healthyjustice.wordpress.com/2016/03/03/5-ways-to-sneak-greens-into-your-meals/

3rd Tip

Get some fresh air

Winter season or not, we spend a lot of time indoors.  Getting out in nature improves our health and overall wellbeing.  Whenever I’m upset about something it always helps me feel better when I go to the lake or to a park.

  • If you live in an urban area, getting fresh air where there are lots of trees is especially beneficial.  Trees remove pollution from the air, making it healthier for us to take into our lungs.
  • It might sound strange, but I’ve personally found walking barefoot is healing.  It reminds me of my essence and connection to my Creator.

IMG_2941This is one of my favorite places to go for a trek close to home:)

4th Tip

Do physical activities that you enjoy

  • Do yourself a favor and DON’T commit to an exercise class or program if you know you won’t enjoy it.  This will save you from the frustration and tirade of negative self talk that will likely come when you stop.
  • Give yourself permission to experiment and find out what will be fun for you.

5th Tip

Get plenty of sleep

  • Sleep gives you a youthful and healthy glow. These days people boast about the lack of sleep, but this shows up on their faces with lackluster skin, dark circles and wrinkles just to name a few!  There really is something to the phrase ‘get your beauty sleep.’
  • Sleep will help you lose weight.  When you sleep your body regulates the hunger suppressing hormone leptin as well as cortisol levels which helps your metabolism.

6th Tip

Drink more water

75% chronically Americans dehydrated!  A guide is to drink half your body weight in ounces.  If you are active drink an ounce of water for each pound you weigh.

Here are some ideas to make water more fun:

  • juice some  lemons and put them in ice trays.  Take a few out and put them in your water after they have frozen.
  • infuse your water with fruit.  Try lemons with mint and blueberries or any fruits you have on hand will work.
  • I found this drink mix that I use occasionally that is sweetened with stevia and has no artificial ingredients.

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7th Tip

Love yourself

What I’m discovering is that there IS an invincible summer inside, and for me this comes from self love.

  • What helps me is to ask myself, ‘what do I want?’  This question has been helping me be more authentic and even assertive with my needs.
  • Take time to do things you enjoy and be your own best friend. i.e. taking a bath, going to a coffee shop and reading, taking yourself out for breakfast or just chilling at home.

Invincible Summer says that when people turn against you and don’t like you, you are still too powerful to be defeated or overcome by their hate.  Keep shining like the Summer sun!

☀️Healthy Justice

 

 

Homemade Chocolate Candy

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I’ve always been a person that needs a little something sweet after a meal and these homemade candies are perfect!  Actually they are great for whenever you feel a sugar craving coming on.  They satisfy your sweet tooth, are easy to make and good for you!

Here are the ingredients you will need:

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You have the option to use maple syrup, VitaFiber, or you could opt for a sugar free version by using liquid stevia.

Step one:  melt coconut oil in microwave

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Step two:  I used VitaFiber and heated it over medium to low heat until it began to bubble.  I poured it, along with the coconut oil, vanilla and 10-15 drops of liquid stevia, over the cocoa powder.

I use measuring cups to make it easier to pour into the ice cube tray.

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Step 3:  mix everything together until smooth

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Step 4:  pour 1/2 of the mix into ice cube tray, then sprinkle in your dried fruits and nuts

This would be super cute to find heart shape trays especially for Valentine’s Day.💞

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Step 5: cover the fruit and nut mix with the remaining chocolate mix and pop it in the freezer for a few hours.  Let them sit out for a few minutes and they pop out nicely when I take a butter knife to one edge.  Enjoy!

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Protein Cheesecake With Coconut Whipped Cream

There are times when I want to indulge myself with a decadent dessert, but I don’t want the guilt or to sabotage all my hard work in the gym.  

So how do I have my cake and eat it too❔

I make myself this this delicious and healthy cheesecake.😍  It combines the rich and intoxicating sweetness that makes cheesecake so divine with ingredients that contribute to a building a lean physique.  

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Healthy Protein Cheesecake | Ingredients

  • 12 Ounces of 1/3 Less Fat Cream or Neufchâtel Cream Cheese
  • 12 Ounces Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 3/4 Cup Stevia
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Scoops Protein Powder (I use vanilla whey)
  • 10-15 Drops Liquid Sweetener (Optional)
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

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Protein Cheesecake| Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 325°
  2. Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl for 1-2 min.
  3. Spray a 6’’cake pan with non-stick cooking spray and line with parchment paper.
  4. Bake at 325° for 25-30min then turn down the oven to 200° and continue baking for 50-60 min.
  5. Let cool in the fridge for a 4-5 hours, but it’s even better overnight!
  6. Top it with my coconut whipped cream, protein frosting, or BOTH! *See recipes below-:)

*If you want some variation from plain old cheesecake simply change the flavor of your protein powder.

Coconut Whipped Cream | Ingredients

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  • 1 can whole fat coconut milk- look for higher fat on the label!  (*if it isn’t whole fat the water will not separate)
  • sweetener of choice, optional
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Coconut Whipped Cream| Preparation

  • Refrigerate your milk overnight
  • When you’re ready to make your whipped cream, flip the can over and open it from the bottom.  (this allows you to pour out the coconut water that set at the bottom of the can.)
  • Scoop out the coconut fat and put into a mixing bowl
  • Add your sweetener (I use 10-15 drops of organic stevia).
  • Use a hand mixer to whip up the cream for 1-2 min until it’s smooth and fluffly.

Protein Frosting| Ingredients

IMG_25673/4 cup plain greek yogurt; 1 tablespoon honey; 1 scoop protein powder; 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional).