Pumpkin Protein Oat Bars

If you know me, or have been following me for…well, any amount of time.  You know that I struggle with staying on a healthy/active lifestyle.  Eating healthy and exercising regularly just doesn’t come naturally for me.  It is a real fight in my head between good and evil.  And for the last few months, evil has one every time.  Even the days that I randomly got out for a jog, I couldn’t stick with the eating well part.

I’ve never been a “meal prep” kind of eater for two reasons.  A) I never know when I want to eat until right before I eat it.  And 2) I don’t feel like eating the same thing all of the time.  (yes…I know I did A and 2…it’s supposed to be funny.  No?  Ok, moving on).

Another reason I haven’t meal prepped is because I’m mostly a stay at home mom.  Why would I prep everything when I am here to prep it before I eat it.  Well, that’s not working for me…OBVIOUSLY!

So Friday evening, I sauteed green pepper and onion for our stromboli.  I purposefully didn’t use all the veggies in the stromboli so that I could make some egg muffins.  Not exactly the same as I made here.  You can kind of make them with whatever ingredients you want.  I did sauteed green pepper and onion, turkey bacon, cheddar cheese and eggs with Morton’s seasoning, ground red pepper, and garlic powder to taste).  (Store in the fridge, heat in microwave about 30 seconds and I add Cholula to the top of mine and YUMMMMM)!

Saturday, I decided to make these Pumpkin Protein Oat Bars that I’ve been wanting to make, like, FOREVER so that I would have a healthy snack/post-workout food.

I apologize for the not perfect pictures.  I was making these in a hurry while trying to figure out what my son was going to eat for dinner.  That’s how I roll, unplanned and rushing!  🙂  I didn’t have a chance to get the good camera out to take any professional type pics.

But my son is very much into helping me cook so he did an excellent job at helping me stir all these ingredients together.

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These are super easy, just mix all of the ingredients (except for the oats) together in a medium bowl.

Preheat oven to 375º

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 cup unsweetened applesauce

2 eggs

1/4 cup honey

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

3/4 cup vanilla protein powder (we use this one)

(I did add a small pinch of salt)

Then add 1 1/2 cup of oats and mix together well.

Line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper and then spray paper with cooking spray.  Pour batter into prepared dish and smooth with a spatula.  Bake 35-38 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool in dish for 10 minutes.  Remove from dish and cool on a cooling rack for about 30 minutes.  Once completely cool, cut into whatever size pieces you would like and place in a airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.  Or wrap individually and place in a zip top bag for the freezer for up to a month.

There are other ingredient variations in the link for where I got the recipe from.

 

I will be making these again and probably have them around all of the time.

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I put the recipe into My Fitness Pal and these are the nutritional facts I got from making 8 bars.  164 calories, 2g fat, 25g carbs, 3g fiber, 13g sugar, 11g protein.

For a healthy recipe using no flour, these are probably the best I’ve had!  Make them and let me know what you think.

When all else fails…COOKIES!!!

Oh my!  Could it be true?  Could my last post really be a month and a half ago???  I know I’m not the every-day-blogger, but that just seems like a long time.

A lot has happened in that month and a half, so I’m not surprised that the blog got left out.  I will spare you the details, and just pick up like where I left off.

I was “challenged” by a friend of mine to do a #write31days challenge.  Where I would publish a blog post every day for 31 days.  I accepted the challenge…over a week ago.  Who am I kidding?  There’s no way I would be able to post every day.  Even if I wrote a whole bunch in advance and just posted one per day.  There’s way too much housework, almost-three-year-old entertaining/teaching, and part-time job work for me to be able to keep up with that write-31-days thing.  Maybe one day.

Knowing that I needed and WANTED to post something, I just couldn’t decide what.  I do have a little notebook that I keep for my blog ideas.  I am sad that I missed some good posts (I’ll still do them, the timing just won’t be as good) because my MacBook was in California, getting more storage space!

Still trying to decide what to post about, it came to me…COOKIES!  Everyone likes cookies.  I had found a recipe for these apple oatmeal spice cookies at work (Publix) and thought they looked good.  Plus they looked like a healthier version of a regular oatmeal cookie.

AppleOatmealCookies

Especially my brother-in-law.

A few months ago, we invited my sister and her family over for dinner.  My BIL has been having some weird digestion (we think) issues and has been cutting out certain foods in the hope to find out what’s wrong.  Also, he’s been trying to not eat as many sweets.  So I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to try these cookies.  Little did I know, that he would become obsessed with them!

And by obsessed, I mean he-won’t-let-anyone-else-eat-them obsessed.  Like he-makes-someone-make-another-batch-before-he-finishes-the-current-batch kind of obsessed.  So, I guess they were a hit!  Another bonus, my nieces like them too!  SCORE!

Ok, so here’s the scoop:

(see what I did there…scoop? like scoop the cookie dough onto the cookie sheet! no? just me? ok… :/   )

Makes: about 3 dozen

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I did halves with AP and whole wheat flour)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)

2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) light butter, softened

3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce (or apple butter)

1 egg

2 tablespoons skim milk (or whatever milk you prefer)

2 teaspoons vanilla

3 cups uncooked oats (quick or old fashioned)

3/4 cup diced dried mixed fruit or raisins (I used mini chocolate chips… 🙂   )

 

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly spray cookie sheets with cooking spray (I use parchment paper…always parchment).

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2. In large bowl, beat sugars and light butter with electric mixer until well blended.

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3. Add applesauce, egg, milk and vanilla; beat well.

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4. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg; mix well.

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5. Stir in oats and dried fruit (or mini morsels); mix well. (Dough will be moist).

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6. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheets, press lightly to flatten.

7. Bake 12-14 minutes or until edges are light golden brown.

8. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack.  Cool completely.  Store tightly covered. (and hidden in a cupboard like my brother-in-law 😉   )

 

Ta-daaaaaaa.

Have you had any recipes that you’ve made that someone has gone gaga over?

 

 

8 Week Journey…what’s the plan?

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Ok, so yesterday, I told you all that I am on an 8 week journey to getting as fit as I can get for our trip to The Keys at the end of July.

I am 2 weeks in and that’s the longest I have been able to stay on a fitness plan….like, ever!

Some have been asking what workouts I am doing, and honestly, I have found them all on Pinterest.

Here is how I planned out my days.  I knew I wanted to tone up and I wanted to be semi-aggressive (pretty aggressive for me, though).  First of all, I need to be training for my first 5k race coming this October.  I really can’t tell you how many times I have started the C25k app on my iPhone and not made it past week 4.  I have started it over again (June 1st) and have kept up with it!  But I’m not to week 4 yet…so, the true test is yet to come.

Next, I knew I wanted to focus on toning 3 main areas of my body: my arms, my abs, and my legs.

And I knew I wanted a rest day.

SO, it only made sense to me that I needed to map out my running days (the C25k app suggests running every other day).  In addition to that, I planned to do some sort of cardio each of the 6 days to help burn some fat.  I went through Pinterest, and found three workouts for each of my 3 focus areas.  I get bored easily and need variety.  I also found this a good way to see which workouts I like and are effective and which ones are not.  Then I mapped out what days I would do each focus area workouts.  Since I wanted to maximize my workouts, I also added a 30-day arm challenge and a 30-day ab challenge (more on THAT later).  So here’s how it worked out for me.

Beginning Sunday, June 1st, I wrote down “run” every other day.  And I wrote down Cardio on every day, except for Saturday.  Second, I rotated my focus areas.  Sunday = Arms, Monday = Abs, Tuesday = Legs, Wednesday = Arms, Thursday = Abs, Friday = Legs (you get the idea).  Then I rotated each of the workouts and wrote down the initials by each focus area.  I had three workouts for each area.  Basically it would take me a week and a half to do the whole set of nine workouts without doing the same one twice.  Next, I wrote down “arm ch” and “ab ch” …(need I not remind you, I am a list maker, I must see what I have to do, in order to make a better attempt at actually doing it).  I also wrote a “V” and “Cal” on each day to remind me to take my vitamins (or see which days I didn’t take them) and write down how many calories I was over/under that day.  This way I had it all at one glance, and also I took notes (why I went over calories, why I didn’t do a workout, etc).  And the end of each day, I would mark off what I did, make notes about why I didn’t do something, then give myself a score of a smiley face, a so-so face, or a frown face.  So far, I haven’t given myself any frown faces. (I know it sounds silly, but I must stay on top of this so I don’t quit).

Ok so for Arms, I chose: (all links are below in the pictures)

Arm Workout, 20 Minute Arm Workout, and Sexy Arms Workout.

Abs:

Lose Your Love Handles, 300 Abs, and 5-to-50 Ab Workout

Legs:

Thigh Thinning Circuit, Your Best Butt Ever, and Sexy Legs Workout.

If this kind of regimen sounds interesting to you, I’ll do an overview at the end of this post.

What I have noticed about Pinterest is that almost everything looks appealing to me.  As for some of these workouts, after I did them, I just wasn’t quite feeling it.  So I decided to not continue doing them when they came around again.  Here is a quick review of these said workouts.

Basic simple arm workout! Most guys like to have a day dedicated to having nice, defined arms!

This workout seemed to beat me up a little (maybe it was ’cause it was the first day, maybe it was the burpees)

I didn’t really feel anything from it the next day (I go by sore muscles) so I decided to scratch it and have found a new one for it’s place.  It’s this oneThe "Awesome Arm Workout".  And I like it a lot better.

Saifou images | SaiFou

This one I LOVED.  Maybe not at the time I did it, but I did feel some nice sore muscles the next day.

arm workout #exercise

LOVED LOVED LOVED this one.  I did it after a midday C25k run and it kept my heart rate at maximum of my “zone” the whole time!  I didn’t do the Finale, because I didn’t know what Curl Presses were and frankly…I was done!

Lose Your Love Handles....yes please

This isn’t a bad one, but again, I didn’t really feel my abs burning the whole thing or anything the next day.  I’d rather do other various ab exercises (especially planks).  So I think I will scratch this one.  I gave it 2 tries.

Girl's Home Ab Workout for Sexy Stomach

This one was a keeper.  I could still feel the affects of this one 2 days later.

5 to 50 Ab Workout

I liked this one too.  It has a variety of moves and really pushed me.  I couldn’t finish all of them, but I tried.  I had to keep reminding myself that I am at the beginning of my journey and I won’t be able to do everything yet.  But I am working toward it.

PWR-ThighThinning

To be honest, I didn’t try this one.  I kept a note (glad I did, cuz I couldn’t remember why I didn’t do this workout).  My legs were way too sore from the “cardio” workout I had tried to do on the previous day.  Since the day before wasn’t a running day, I tried to just do a cardio workout (from a workout app on my phone).  But I got bored after 10 minutes and ended up going for a walk.  But maybe I should consider that “cardio” workout for my phone for a leg workout.  So I have yet to try this one.  It was supposed to be done yesterday, but I did something different.

Glute workout

Ok, so technically this one was for the butt and not the legs, but I figured it could help the legs in the process.  I did like this one and had sore buns the next day.

Sexy Leg Workout That Only Takes 15 Mins!!!

Oh yes!  This one had me yelling at the exercises.  I hate wall sits.  But like planks, I hate them but I love them.

As I mentioned, I did something that wasn’t in the plan for yesterday and it was this one.

The Lean Legs Workout   I know these work.. So im interested to see If this workout plan works!!!!

I won’t be keeping this one around because my knees HATE lunges.  Which works out for me cuz I hate them too.  I might keep the curtsy lunges around if I need to bump something up.

This is my arm challenge and ab challenge.  I was not able to keep up with the ab challenge and I have decided that starting tomorrow I will be switching it to a plank challenge.  Planks are so much more effective.  I had to skip a couple of days of the arm challenge due to sore muscles or feeling like I was going to be sick at the end of a couple workouts.  So I’m just picking up where I left off.

Ok so here’s how the calendar actually looked in list form.

Day 1 – Run (C25k week1day1), Cardio (usually an extra 15 minutes of brisk walk), Arms (Arm Workout), Arm Challenge, Ab Challenge.

Day 2 – Cardio, Abs (Lose Your Love Handles), Arm Challenge, Ab Challenge

Day 3 – Run (C25k week1day2), Cardio, Legs/Butt (Thigh Thinning Circuit), Arm Challenge, Ab Challenge

Day 4 – Cardio, Arms (20 Minute Arm Workout), Arm Challenge, Ab Challenge

Day 5 – Run (C25k week1day3), Cardio, Abs (300 Abs), Arm Challenge, Ab Challenge

Day 6 – Cardio, Legs/Butt (Best Butt Ever), Arm Challenge, Ab Challenge

Day 7 – Run (C25k week2day1), Arm Challenge, Ab Challenge (REST focus area)

Day 8 – Cardio, Arms (Sexy Arms Workout), Arm Challenge, Ab Challenge

Day 9 – Run (C25k week2day2), Cardio, Abs (5-to-50 Ab Workout), Arm Challenge, Ab Challengs

Day 10 – Cardio, Legs/Butt (Sexy Legs Workout), Arm Challenge, Ab Challenge.

 Then it just repeats from there.  So far, it seems to be working for me.  I took my measurements today after the first 2 weeks and I am down 1.3 pounds.  Down 0.5″ in my right arm (left arm stayed the same), smallest part of my waist is down 0.5′, my biggest part of my waist (right under my belly button = my problem area) was up 0.25″ :(, my hips were down 0.5′ and my butt was down 1″.  My thighs remained the same.  Altogether that’s a decrease of 2.25″.  So yeah, I’d say something’s working so I’m going to keep going (making changes where I need to based on my notes) and see where I am in two more weeks.  And maybe (just maybe) if my progress pictures are good enough to show, maybe I’ll post those too.

This is the plank challenge I chose.  I will start it tomorrow.

Woohoo, something healthy(ish)

In an effort to try to clean up my eating a little bit, I decided to take the plunge and try to make those egg “muffin” thingies I see all over Facebook and Pinterest.  Now I have made some in the past, but they were mini ones with just egg and cheese for my tiny tot.  He ate some that day, but not any of the reheated leftovers, so I haven’t made any more since then.

But I eat leftovers so I made some for me.  And if he eats any of that…bonus!!!

I saw a friend post her bacon wrapped, sausage, egg muffins on Facebook and it inspired me.

So I had a log of Butterball Everyday Turkey Breakfast Sausage (forgive the lack of picture of that, I was in a rush) in the freezer that I thawed yesterday.  And this morning, I put it all together.

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I browned the turkey sausage in a pan on the stove (it’s pretty dry since there’s not as much fat as regular sausage, but I didn’t add any oil or anything cuz I didn’t want to add any fat).  I grated 2.5 ounces of Kraft Colby & Monterey Jack Cheese on the fine grater.  And I cracked 12 eggs into a pourable measuring cup, whisked, and added spices.  I chose onion and garlic powders, Creole seasoning, and red pepper.

I used my jumbo muffin pan because the small one just wasn’t big enough and boy am I glad I did.

I sprayed with cooking spray then divided up the turkey sausage into the bottom of each muffin cup.

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Then I divided up the grated cheese among the six.

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Next, poured the egg mixture over the top of each cup.

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WARNING…pour slowly.  Since the eggs are thick they fill the cup quickly but after they sit for a few seconds they settle into the sausage/cheese, then you can go back and fill more if needed.  This filled my jumbo tin to almost the top of the pan.

I baked them in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes.  They probably would have been fine at 23 minutes as they were a little overdone for my liking.  But the finished product was still yummy.

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Next time I might try other combos with veggies and maybe different meats (ooh, even veggie meat).

I think I could probably make 12 regular size muffins with this, they were so huge!

I then entered my recipe into My Fitness Pal and these are the facts according to them:

(Like I said, there were 6 huge muffins)

for one muffin

~~~333 calories, 23g fat (what do you expect, it’s eggs and cheese), 30g protein~~~

You can obviously change it to suite your taste or dietary goals.

This would be delish with a green smoothie!  I consider it a good way to get protein, veggie, fruit in for breakfast.  But what do I know, I ain’t no dietary expert.  It just seems better than Eggos or toaster strudels.  haha

Have fun and Enjoy!

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