ooey gooey sweet ‘n salty quinoa squares

These bars are so yum they may be better than an almond butter brownie! Seriously! They are gooey, filled with sweet and salty flavors, and crunchy. Everything you could possibly want – AND they are HEALTHY!

I made these for the first time a few years ago before I had the blog, so I had completely forgotten about them. Now I have made two batches in the last two weeks and plan to make them a weekly occurrence. They are super satisfying and fillin and I promise they will satisfy a sweet craving!

Serving size: about 15 squares, but feel free to eat 2 at a time!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup – 3/4 cup almond butter (start with less, add a little more if mixture seems dry)
  • 1/2 cup chopped raw pecans
  • 1/2 cup chopped raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 4 tbsp chia seeds
  • 4-6 chopped medjool dates
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • dash sea salt and cinnamon

Method:

Cook the quinoa according to package instructions. Then basically mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Take a small glass baking dish and grease with coconut oil or grassfed butter and then press the mixture into the dish, spreading evenly.

Place in freezer for 1 hour and then store in fridge (it’s OK to keep in freezer longer, they will just be harder to cut!)

YUM! They will be a little gooey and may not hold together super well, but, I promise they will be delicious and oh so satisfying!!

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What I ate on Memorial Day vacation & how I kept it clean!

Hi followers! Just writing to give an update of my Memorial Weekend holiday, what I ate, how I stayed on track with my lifestyle, etc. As you all know, I make my way of eating an absolute lifestyle and don’t even change what I eat when I go on vacation. The only difference is, I may have a little more red wine than normal (or white) while on vacation, but I keep my eating in check 100%! I feel best that way! No bloat, no regrets, no coming back from vacation having UNDONE all of my hard work in the gym. I also know that by controlling my eating, and always eating clean food, I will feel the best and also improve my chances of NOT getting sick/getting a cold/or something like that which happens often when traveling.

Now, I am not saying that a carefully planned “cheat” of some sort isn’t OK – because it’s fine. I just personally am very picky about what I will “cheat” on and it has to be at least somewhat clean and nourishing…not absolute chemical junk! On another note, how beautiful is the weather in the pic below?!

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So we drove to Tampa/Tarpon Springs, FL Friday of last week and it took FOREVER to get there. We ran into traffic in 3 different areas so we didn’t arrive until 12:15 AM and we were both exhausted from having gotten up at 415 AM!

Things I ate in the car on the way: celery, perfect bar, clean tuna salad (pole caught tuna from WF mixed with chopped celery, Dijon mustard, Sir Kensington mayo, salt, pepper). I also had some leftover chicken and veggies that I ate cold. And a rice cake.

Saturday and Sunday I took off from workouts, which was fine. I got in 5 days of workouts that week before heading to the beach so I allowed my body two consecutive days of rest! We went on the boat both days, and I didn’t eat as much as I normally do.

Saturday I woke up and made my oatmeal (see above; which I packed all the ingredients to make) and I had my French press organic coffee! I like to bring my French Press when I travel because then I can just make my own coffee and not worry about using someone’s coffee pot since I prefer to drink the coffee I buy anyway! And a French Press is so easy to travel with because it’s small. I recommend you get one!

For snacks on the beach, we made a Whole Foods run and I picked up organic celery, uncured/applegate brand smoked turkey breast, organic hummus, and another perfect bar. I snacked on that while on the beach along with fresh watermelon and organic apples! See below for the brands I got! I would take the celery and put hummus in the middle and wrap a piece of turkey around it. It was SO GOOD! And I literally thought of that snack idea while searching Whole Foods and thinking what the heck am I gonna eat…!

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We cooked dinner each night, Saturday – Monday, and I was able to eat pretty darn clean the whole time! Pics of my meals below, including my lunch from Tuesday on our trip back to Birmingham – we found a Chipotle en route (I got Barbacoa, black beans, white rice, salsa, Guac).

Top left is baked shrimp, fresh organic salad with Tessemae’s dressing, organic new potatoes (again, we made a Whole Foods run so I could control what was purchased); top right is grassfed beef burger with onion, sweet potato fries, grilled asparagus and avocado; bottom right is my lunch from Sunday – grilled grouper over bed of spinach and cabbage and cilantro. I also had some raw oysters that day as well.

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I would also snack on rice cakes with almond butter or organic peanut butter if I wasn’t full from meals/in between meals. And that’s pretty much it – that’s how I ate on the trip! I don’t understand why people think you have to completely fall off the wagon and eat garbage while on vacation – I don’t do that, because it makes me feel like crap and I prefer my way of eating. There are indulgences here and there, sure, (for example, I ate an organic Justin’s peanut butter cup on vacation too), but I am not eating processed food or stuff with a bunch of refined sugar and corn syrup, etc., in it! That’s how I maintain my figure – and it’s how I love to eat and live! I also brought my lemons so I could make my warm lemon cayenne water each morning.

And also, my shoulder is doing so well!!!!! I never did go see a doctor but I did see this personal trainer/physical therapist/massage therapist who did a thoracic release on my spine and I felt amazing after he did it! I was feeling really tight in that area and wasn’t sure if I had aggravated my shoulder again or what, and I was pretty upset about it….but after he did the release I felt 100% normal and amazing! I just have to be careful with heavy pressing movements…which is fine. I have no interest in doing 1RM bench press anyway. I just want to be fit, healthy, and look good. Which all can be done with heavy weights, but not too heavy 😉

 

 

Pic below from the workout we did Monday (Memorial Day) at a gym in Tarpon Springs! I did a shoulder/back workout with 2miles running sprints/intervals and also 200 goblet squats and a ton of pushups!

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Goat cheese stuffed chicken breast

Chicken can get boring. I am usually eating chicken every day for lunch so I don’t always have chicken at dinner time, but this recipe is quite far from boring! Who doesn’t love goat cheese, first of all? I don’t do a lot of dairy at all – and if I do, I prefer a goat milk cheese since it’s easier for humans to digest and good for lactose-intolerant people.

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts, pounded flat
  • 4-5 ounces goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • Pink or sea salt and black pepper + additional for the chicken breasts

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.

Prep your chicken breasts – pound them flat and sprinkle with pink salt and black pepper. Then combine the goat cheese with the green onions and remaining spices in a bowl and mix well. Stuff 1/4 of the mixture into each chicken breast and fold over, securing with a few toothpicks. Place chicken in a glass baking dish and bake for 45 minutes – one hour, until juices run clear.

Enjoy! Depending on the size of the chicken breast, one could serve 1 person or 2 people. So this could be anywhere between 4-6 servings, give or take.

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Sweet potato-quinoa-black bean burger

Hi guys! The other night I randomly started craving a sweet potato black bean burger…so I googled some recipes to get ideas on what I could put together. This recipe makes 6 hearty burgers and it’s completely VEGAN. It’s also relatively inexpensive to make.

Each burger is about 350 calories. I would suggest eating them with fresh veggies – steamed or roasted – as well as some fresh onions and avocado. Pairing it with a portobello mushroom is also delicious and makes it seem extra “meaty”!

Here is what you will need and what to do:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 sweet potatoes, roasted whole and mashed (skin removed)
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup green onion, diced
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • Dash of cayenne pepper, optional
  • Sprinkling of sea salt and black pepper

Method:

To cook the sweet potatoes, place on a baking sheet and roast for about 1 – 1 hour 15 mins at 400 degrees. Remove from oven, let cool, and remove the skin and put in a large bowl. Prep and cook your black beans and quinoa, add to the bowl of the potatoes.

Now add the crushed/chopped pecans, green onion, and your spices. Mix well.

 

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Form the mixture into 6 patties and place on an aluminum lined baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes total at 375 degrees, flipping the patties once halfway through. Serve over grilled portobello mushroom with red onion and fresh avocado.

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