Pumpkin Waffles and Super Bowl Snacks

Hello, hello! How did everyone’s Sunday pan out? Mine was pretty darn fantastic.

It started out with Sunday morning waffles and coupon cutting. On Saturday night I pre-made pumpkin waffle batter so that on Sunday all I would have to do is crank on the waffle iron and get pourin’. I adapted a pumpkin waffle recipe from PaleOMG and they turned out very tasty!  waffle IMG_1569 waffle

The first couple of waffles didn’t come out very easily but I think it was because I was being slightly impatient waiting for them to finish cooking and opened up the iron too early. The last few turned came out way better!

I made a big batch because I wanted extra waffles to freeze so that I could have some quick breakfasts in the future. I could even slather one of those bad boys with peanut butter and call it lunch!

waffle

Pumpkin Waffles
Recipe Type: Gluten-Free Breakfast
Recipe adapted from PaleOMG at http://paleomg.com/paleo-pumpkin-waffles/
Ingredients
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Instructions
  1. Preheat waffle iron–(you could use a flat griddle instead and make pancakes).
  2. In a small bowl combine dry ingredients, mix well, and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl combine remaining wet ingredients. Use a hand-mixer or a whisk to beat ingredients together.
  4. Slowly mix in dry ingredients into the wet.
  5. Spray your waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray or butter and use a half cup measuring cup to scoop the batter onto the hot iron. Close and let cook for about 4-5 minutes (keep an eye on them).
  6. Serve with honey, peanut butter, syrup, or whatever you please! It would be really good to mix a small handful of chocolate chips into the batter too!

 Speaking of lunch, after running our grocery store errands, I put together a snack plate with veggies and turkey wrapped cheese, avocado, and mustard.snack plate

For dessert I had a spoonful of peanut butter.

I got into my workout gear and cranked out this leg workout with dumbbells, my plank-a-day, and other core work. I continued my workout by dusting and vacuuming (<—-such a weird word if you think about if for too long) the house. That absolutely counts as exercise in my book!

In the afternoon I snacked on a super sweet tangelo that mom and dad brought home from Florida, and a handful of cashews.

Then it was time to get ready for a Super Bowl party with a bunch of our friends. I seriously couldn’t decide what to bring for a snack to share (I am the world’s worst decision maker, ask anyone), but decided on simple yet tasty garlic parmesan popcorn.

To make the popcorn:

  1. Pop up a big batch of plain popcorn and place in a big brown grocery bag.
  2. Melt a half a stick of butter on the stove with two garlic cloves that have been peeled and cracked open.
  3. Scoop out the garlic and discard.
  4. Pour butter over popcorn and mix well.
  5. Use a mini grater to grate fresh parmesan all over the popcorn while it’s still hot. Give the bag a good shake. Serve warm if possible!

superbowl parmesan popcorn

The night was filled with great friends, kiddos, football, and of course tons of snacks.

There was jalapeño popper dip…

superbowl jalepeno popper dip

Saucy BBQ meatballs…

superbowl meatballs

Bacon wrapped lil’ smokies with a brown sugar glaze(!!)…

superbowl wrapped little smokies

Warm and hearty taco chili, beer bread…

superbowl chili

Fruit salsa with cinnamon chips, soft pretzels with cheese sauce, chips and dip…

And of course, the desserts.

superbowl cupcakes

I had good intentions of not touching any sweets but that intention was lost in the breeze as soon as my eyes caught the Special K bars. Those babies are definitely up there on the list of my favorite dessert bars. I kept shaving off piece after piece and wound up eating what would probably be equivalent to one of those big bars you buy in the bakery, but who’s keeping track?

As far as the clean eating goes, yesterday was what we call “a wash.” I am definitely okay with that though because it was GOOD, and it was just one day. Today’s a new day. 🙂 I had such a great time last night. Although I can’t say I watched a whole lot of the game, I thoroughly enjoyed the halftime show and catching up with friends. Beyonce’s still got it!

I have some very fun and relaxing plans on the agenda today. I can’t wait to tell you about it! Have a great day! xoxo

Question of the day: Did you watch the Super Bowl? What was your favorite snack?!

My Holistic Approach to Digestive Health

Happy Tuesday, Happy Tuesday, Happy Tuesday, Tuesday to you.

I had quite the productive Monday morning. It started with a chiropractor visit. I realize I haven’t yet mentioned that I am seeing a chiropractor. I started having back pain this summer and denied/ignored it for a while before going to seek help. The first chiropractor I found was in my network and in my neighborhood and I began seeing her a couple of times a week. I felt better within a few weeks but as we started to space out our visits the discomfort came back.

I wasn’t ready to give up on chiropractors quite yet, but I wanted a second opinion. I found another chiropractor who uses the Gonstead method in his practice.

Interestingly enough after examining my x-rays, he found that there are three vertebrae and their related nerves which are causing the discomfort. The one that most intrigues me is lumbar five, whose nerve directly functions with gastrointestinal health. The vertebrae are not aligned correctly therefore the nerve in between is being pinched which causes can disable the body from functioning at it’s highest capacity. Could there be a relation to the ulcerative colitis and my back? Quite possibly!

The chiropractor I am working with has a doctorate of chiropractic and is also a certified chiropractic wellness physician, so not only are we working together to fix my back problems, we are also working together on holistic healing through nutrition. He does a great job of answering my questions, offering suggestions, and guiding me towards my ultimate health.

There have been many changes in my diet in the past couple of weeks. This was partly due to my own research, being inspired by others, and the icing on the cake was talking it over with my chiropractor.

My Holistic Approach:

  • Supplements: I truly believe that if you are eating healthy, and are completely 100% healthy, that you may not need to take a supplement, but for those of us with compromised health, it can be a very good option.
    • I am currently taking cod liver oil, a multivitamin, calcium plus vitamin D3, and a probiotic.
  • Diet: I have eliminated processed sugars and most processed foods.
    • I am eating whole foods like fruits, veggies, meat, beans, eggs, nuts, and oils.
    • I have begun incorporating coconut oil into baking and cooking as it has been shown to help heal the gut lining.
    • I am in the process of incorporating fermented foods like kefir and saurkraut because they can aid in gut healing as well.
    • I am beginning to implement homemade bone broth which is an excellent source of calcium, and again, can help heal the digestive tract (do you see a pattern here?).
    • I am limiting dairy products.

bone broth

Physical Activity and Energy Level

  • In just the short amount of time that I have been living this wholesome lifestyle, I am shocked at the difference I feel already. I am remaining very active. My body feels lighter yet stronger and changes are beginning to show very quickly.
  • I have found that I function best when I eat 4-5 small meals throughout the day versus 3 big meals in order to maintain my energy level. It is a fun and new challenge to find healthy snacks and meals using natural ingredients.

I’m not perfect

  • I do my best at maintaining optimal nutrition, but I will ABSOLUTELY allow myself fun foods now and then. I figure if I can go 90/10, favoring the healthy choices, it will be a lifestyle that I will easily be able to maintain.
  • I WILL be eating my treats now and again, just not as frequently as I was before, but more than likely I will be waiting on those treats until I am completely healed.

I continue to take medicine prescribed by my doctor but will eventually be eliminating it all together and will no longer need it. I am thrilled to say that the combination of the supplements, seeing the chiro, and working with my GI doc, that I am significantly seeing and feeling improvements with the Ulcerative Colitis. I can’t wait for the day when I can say I am finally in remission. That day will be soon.

I am just so amazed by our bodies and what they can do if they are treated kindly. Remember, we are all different and react differently to foods and exercise, so finding the perfect balance for ourselves is the ultimate goal. What works for me may not work for you, and vice versa.

I realize everyone has their own opinion in regards to choosing a chiropractor, physical therapist, doctor, etc., and I have decided to try this route, and so far I am very happy with the progress we have made.

Disclaimer: Before you make any changes to your diet or start any supplements, PLEASE contact your physician or dietitian.

Anyway….after my chiro appointment I had a few errands to run including a tune up to my car. While I waited, I walked over to a nearby Starbucks and ordered tea with honey. I was glad I packed snacks because I was HUNGRY. Besides the homemade trail mix you see below, I also munched on a bag of sugar snap peas and an apple.

starbucks and a snackAfter the car appointment, it was home again home again jiggity jag. I got the chicken going in the crockpot so I can put together the bone broth in the next couple of days, I snacked on some dates with peanut butter, then a piece of banana bread, and then got my workout on (in my new workout tee from mom and dad).

melanie workout top

I started on the treadmill with a 5 minute walk warm-up. Then I ran 1 mile at 6.0 speed, recovery walk for 2 minutes, 1 more mile at 6.5 speed, recovery walk, and then one last mile at 6.7, followed by a 5 minute cool down walk. Whew!

Next, I worked out the legs. I completed this workout that I found on Pinterest that I’ve done before. Bring on the squats baby. I finished with a 1 minute plank.

This little guy kept me company during the wall-sit portion of the leg workout. Such a good boy sometimes.

moose wall sit buddy

It was sloppy and slushy yesterday but I took advantage of the warm weather and threw the ball to Moose in the yard. He was loving life. These poor dogs become slightly exercise deprived in the winter when the days become super cold like they were this past week. He is definitely antsy and has been starved for attention lately.

moose

For dinner, chicken salad made with avocado, lemon juice, coconut oil, cilantro, salt and pepper.

chicken salad chicken salad

And some snacks later on…

blueberry snack

Have a great day! xoxo.

Shrimp Pineapple Ceviche

Put it in the books—I did body weight-bearing leg exercises yesterday. I have quite the issue with committing myself to strength training but I cannot tell you how much I do want to get into it. I love the slightly sore feeling I get the day after a great workout.So don’t get me wrong because I know the importance of it and the great outcomes that comes from it, I just need to COMMIT. I am thinking about dipping my toes into the cross fit world…but we shall see.

After a 10 minute warm up run on the treadmill I completed this leg workout I found on Pinterest:

leg workout

I then did 5 minutes on the rowing machine followed by ab strengthening. Today marks the beginning of the 3rd week of the 30 Day Abs Challenge which means a new workout has been posted. Here is week 3:

30 day abs

A reminder that on the off days they encourage you to do at least a 1 minute plank. I am still loving this challenge. Am I seeing results? I think so…slowly but surely? 🙂

For lunch: mixed greens with baby bell peppers, and shredded chicken from dinner the night before. I didn’t get too creative with this one now that I look back at it!

chicken salad

 I also had an apple and a couple of dates.

In the afternoon I got absorbed in a book on the treadmill and couldn’t believe when I looked  at the time and I had been walking for an hour. I had to force myself to stop so I could get a couple of productive things done around the house!

For the past couple of weeks I have been attempting to plan out meals ahead of time in the hope that it will help me to stay creative during the week when I might otherwise be feeling like just tossing a salad together (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). This week our evenings at home are scarce, so I decided not to plan a week’s worth of meals, but one thing I had decided on for last night was CEVICHE!

I was first introduced to ceviche in Bogotá, Colombia in November when I was visiting my brother Jeff. According to Wikipedia, ceviche is usually made from fresh raw fish marinated in citrus juices, and spiced with chili peppers. Additional seasonings, such as chopped onions, salt, and cilantro, may also be added but there are also other versions of this dish.

The ceviche I chose in Bogotá had shrimp, plantains, onions, and a creamy sauce. It was amazing. Sweet and salty.

ceviche

When we traveled to Atlanta later in November, I stumbled upon another gem of a ceviche full of shrimp, scallops, pineapple, cilantro and spices.

Shrimp Ceviche from Atlanta…

ceviche atlanta

 I have fallen in love with ceviche. It was time to recreate that dish from Atlanta.

I chopped red onion, bell pepper, cilantro, pineapple, and shrimp and tossed it together in a bowl with lime juice, salt and pepper, a dash of garlic powder, and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes for a tiny bit of heat. I plated it up along with some romaine leaves and called it Shrimp Pineapple Ceviche!

shrimp ceviche

shrimp ceviche

It turned out SO well and it is so darn healthy too.

Shrimp Pineapple Ceviche
Print
Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup red bell pepper, diced finely
  • 1 Tbsp. red onion, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup pineapple, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked shrimp, chopped
  • juice of half a lime
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a dash of garlic powder
  • a sprinkle of red pepper flakes
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl; mix well. Serve cold by itself or with lettuce scoops or endive leaves.
This dinner comes together in about 10 minutes. Yes seriously 10 minutes. Give it a whirl and see if you like it!
I’m off to take on my day—-in the next 5 minutes I need to decide whether or not to get my yoga on or go for a run. I’m thinking since I slept wrong on my neck that a slower yoga session might be a good choice. Hmm…decisions decisions.
Have a great day my friends!

CocoaCraisy Energy Bites

Happy Saturday! Hi-fives all around for Saturday love.

This morning I snacked on half a banana with some Smart Balance Peanut Butter then headed to the gym. I was really feeling good today and knocked off a little over 4-miles on the treadmill. Since I got my new phone I downloaded the Pandora app and wanted to try running with that today. I loved not knowing what song was going to come on next but I didn’t like that I wasn’t always able to click to the next song. Maybe it was just me because I am a little special in the technology department. I don’t know, I guess I’ll have to look into that one.

Here is some good news….I haven’t had any shin pain lately. I don’t know if it was the Zumba class that threw me off, or I wasn’t stretching enough, or if it was a combination of factors, but whatever it was is gone. I feel no pain now! Now I can actually concentrate on building up my stamina and not have to be thinking about how badly my shins hurt while I run.

To touch base on the half marathon training…..I have decided to stick with the plan which has me running Tuesdays, Wednesdays if I feel like it, Thursdays, and Saturdays. As far as increasing my  mileage though, I am going to probably be halting it at 3-5 miles for now until the weather improves. I am driving myself crazy trying to run longer than that on the treadmill and no one wants to see crazy Melanie. Unless I am really feeling it one day on the treadmill and want to increase my mileage, it will have to wait a little bit. I am hoping only a month or so. Come on early Spring! I know the Groundhog saw its shadow but that means nothing to me. 🙂

Anyway, after my run I hit the weights to do some leg work.

  • 3×10 lunges with 20 lb weight (really it’s 3×20 lunges because it was 10 per leg–but who’s counting :wink:)
  • 3×10 leg press (both legs, then right single leg, left single leg)
  • 3×10 calf raises (changing direction of the toes each time to hit different muscles–toes in, toes out, toes forward)
  • 3×10 seated leg curls

I was Mrs. Jello legs after this! Can’t wait to feel it later.

I headed to get the car all prettied up at the car wash and snacked on apple on the way. Now I am home and sipping on some coffee as I contemplate lunch. I am really hungry but feeling pretty lazy right now to actually  make lunch. This afternoon Dana’s parents are stopping over to visit and then we are having a couple of friends over for Sushi later on! What a great day!

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Back this thang up to yesterday lunch. Remember how I said let’s see if I branch out from my usual order at Panera Bread? Well, guess who did NOT branch out? Me. I am ridiculous sometimes. The thing is though, I don’t go there that often so when I do get the chance to go, I like to stick with a favorite. If I went there ALL the time I would for sure branch out. I stuck with the French Onion soup and as always I am happy I did. It was served with a chunk of whole wheat baguette on the side. Nummy! It was great to meet up with mama during her lunch break!

What was even better was that I would be seeing her and dad and Kevin that night! Dana and I headed over to their place for dinner where mom had whipped up some of her famous chicken wings (Scott and Jeff if you’re reading this I know you are jealous). The chicken wings were served alongside baked (or broiled?) zucchini, asparagus, cheesy potatoes, and a side salad with balsamic vinaigrette. What a feast!

Thanks for the great company and the great dinner last night!

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For a while now, I have been meaning to share a recipe with you all for energy bites, or what we call in our household, Mah balls (MAH are my initials and we think we’re really clever and funny when we say it). There are made up of dates and nuts primarily, but other ingredients can be added to give them different flavors like cocoa powder, peanuts, Craisins, etc.

Mah Balls: CocoaCraisy

Not the prettiest things, but they are delicious!

These are perfect little bites of energy. I often will pop one of these in my mouth before a workout or if I need a quick pick me up if I’m heading out the door. I will give you other variations of the recipe in the future, but feel free to venture out yourself!

 

CocoaCraisy Energy Bites
Print
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup almonds, roasted
  • ¾ cup dates
  • ¼ cup Craisins
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa
Instructions
  1. In food processor, add almonds and process until they resemble wet sand texture; pour into small bowl and set aside.
  2. Add dates, Craisins, and cocoa to food processor. Process until mixture begins to form a ball, and pieces are small.
  3. Add almond mixture to date mixture and process until combined; about 1 minute.
  4. Form combine mixture into one inch balls using your hands and store in air-tight container in the fridge for up to two weeks.

I’m off to get ready for company! Hope everyone is having a great Saturday!

P.S. I updated my Education page under the About section in the top menu.