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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What I Eat + Workouts, ETC.!

Hi friends! I have been bad about blogging…yet again…and I promise to do better! I am just sitting at work, staying late this evening, so figured it was a good time to do a blog. I am going to share what I ate today as well as a couple of workouts for the week!

This weekend is Memorial Day Weekend and I am going to Tampa Friday with my BF to stay with his aunt and his family. We are so excited for a getaway! We will come back to Birmingham on Tuesday and Wednesday is actually a Jewish holiday so I don’t have work that day, so next week is a short week! I absolutely love my job though so no day feels like work. Except tonight of course, as I sit here late for my boss LOL but it’s OK. They treat me great so I am happy to do favors when necessary!

FOOD TIME! So for starters I had 1/2 banana, spoon of peanut butter before my workout this morning at 530. I also sipped coconut water with my Julian Bakery paleo chocolate egg white protein during my workout. I also had blended coffee (coconut oil + a little grassfed butter).

After my workout I made a protein shake with water, berries, spinach, Julian Bakery paleo protein (another 25 g protein) and then I had a rice cake with celery!IMG_6185

 

Next I had 2 eggs and some organic, plain applesauce around 9 AMIMG_6186

Around 10:45 I had my chicken, potatoes and broccoli! Lunch is usually always chicken of some sort, either sweet or white potato or rice (I try to do a sweet potato and less of it on a lighter workout day/nontraining day), and I always have steamed broccoli because I never tire of it and because it’s so yummy reheated!

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12:45 I had a perfect bar! I don’t always eat these, but, when they are on sale I will stock up and have a couple that week. I usually have just 1-2 of these each week. It is the only pre-packaged bar I will buy and eat. They are also great for road trips!!!!!!

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Not pictured – another tbsp of peanut butter + an apple around 4 pm.

 

 

6:15 I had my salmon, spinach and sweet potato!

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NOW A FEW WORKOUTS………..

LEG DAY WORKOUT- laid off squatting this week to let my rhomboid kind of rest! My thoracic vertebrae are also tight lately so I decided to take it a little easy with heavy squats, so I did hip thrusts which I LOVE:

  • Hip thrust 4×12 185#; 3×10,9,8 205#; I superset these with 2 x 20 sumo band walks and 3 x 25 seated band abduction
  • Walking lunges – 4 x 16 with 30# DBs
  • 3 x 1.5 rep RDLs, close stance, superset 4 x 15 bulgarian split squats (3 sets with DBs, 1 set without weight)
  • Ham curls – 3 x 30 – I do pointed toes to failure and then flexed feet to failure
  • 3 x 25 leg extensions
  • 3 x 15 weighted calf raises, slow and controlled
  •  4 x 20 seated abduction – I use about 125-130#
  • 3 x 4/3/1 sumo squat 55# DB. 10 reps per set. 4 counts down, 3 count pause at bottom, 1 count up

SHOULDER DAY!

  • Seated shoulder press: 2 x 15, 4 x 10 increasing weight in DBs (I used lighter DBs as I have my shoulder injury in recovery)
    • superset these with seated lateral raises, slow and controlled, I did 4×20 and then 2×15 with a heavier DB (I used 5# DBs, then 7.5#s, then 8#s)
  • Standing DB upright row 3 x 15
    • superset rear delt cable fly 3 x 15
  • Single arm lateral raise 4 x 15 increasing DB weight
    • superset front arm raises 3 x 15 alternating arms
  • 2×15 cable external rotation (go light here!)

 

THINGS THAT ARE UP AND COMING…I am hopefully getting my nutrition certification through ACE soon – during the summer, and will hopefully have some clean eating growth coming out of that here at work. I just want to spread my passion for this lifestyle to as many people as I can!

How is everyone doing? Are we still eating clean? Fall off the wagon?? Need some motivation getting back on? Want any new recipes!? I gotta get back creative in the kitchen and start posting more things as I have been slacking! I get stuck in my routines of eating the same things so I don’t keep posting recipes…but I will get on it!

 

 

XOXO,

kelly

Blended coffee recipe – a take on “bulletproof” coffee

I discovered a new way to make bulletproof coffee and I want to share it with you all! I got the idea from Tosca Reno, who is the eat clean diet woman who FIRST changed my life for the better in 2011 after I read her books on eating clean.

The recipe is simple. Take a high quality coffee bean (I like dark roast, organic) and make as you normally do (I use a french press). Then pour it in a blender with the following ingredients:

  • 1/2 tbsp organic unrefined coconut oil
  • 1/2 tbsp organic coconut cream (just the cream of coconut from canned and preferably organic coconut milk)
  • 1/2 tbsp almond butter (pure almond butter with no added sugars or oils, preferably)

Blend for 15-20 seconds (cover the lid with a towel) and enjoy this amazing, filling breakfast! This can be breakfast replacement or enjoy it along with your actual breakfast! Just do count the fat servings in this as a dose of healthy fat for the day! Fat is GOOD for us, y’all! Enjoy! Feel free to tweak the serving sizes of these fats. I don’t really measure mine specifically, I just get a large spoon and scoop out a little of each and blend. It’s soooo good! And go follow Tosca Reno and her amazing motivation as well!

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Meal Prep for success, grocery shopping tips, and more!

Hi guys!!!!! It’s been about a month since I have written so I wanted to write a blog and talk about my meal prep as of late, workouts, and just life in general! First of all I am absolutely loving my job as a trainer. I have about 22 clients now every week and each day is different and so much fun. I love to work with people and share my passion for fitness AND food and hopefully some of it rubs off on them ;-).

So lately I have still been taking it easy on my shoulder since the injury – it’s been 6 weeks since I really pulled it. I have been walking at least 30 minutes every day (hills on treadmill at fast pace usually), I take 2 spin classes a week, and I train my lower body 2x a week (heavy) as well as an active recovery day where I do bodyweight stuff and core work/band work thrown in some days too! Be sure and follow my fitness account on instagram to see my daily workouts – kellybfitness.

So let me talk about meal prep! I do all my grocery shopping Saturday, usually, and try to buy everything for the week. Lately here is what I buy:

  • tons of bananas
  • 8-10 organic apples
  • 7+ lemons
  • 3-4 bags brussels sprouts
  • asparagus
  • cauliflower
  • kale
  • TONS of broccoli
  • raw nuts – pecans, cashews are my fav (macadamia also)
  • Raw oats
  • Steel cut oats
  • Plain rice cakes
  • Almond butter, organic natural peanut butter (usually 3 jars)
  • 10-15 sweet potatoes
  • bag of organic new potatoes
  • 2 onions, garlic (always on hand)
  • Large container of organic spinach
  • Frozen fruit (berries, mango)
  • Coffee (duh)
  • 1 large bag frozen wild caught salmon
  • 5# chicken breast give or take
  • 1-2# grassfed beef
  • 2 dozen eggs and egg whites (cartons)
  • oils: coconut oil (always on hand), olive oil
  • Grassfed butter (Kerrygold)
  • Cans of organic coconut milk
  • Chia seeds
  • Medjool dates
  • Organic strawberry preserves (as a treat on rice cake with nut butter)
  • Jasmine rice/brown rice
  • Bragg’s liquid aminos OR Coconut Aminos
  • Balsamic vinegar (make sure either organic or make sure it does not have added caramel color or some nonsense as I have found)
  • Fav spices: cinnamon, chili powder, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, PINK SALT, black pepper

That covers what I have on hand pretty much all of the time. I always prep a crockpot chicken dish for my lunches and I prefer to always steam a ton of broccoli because it reheats well. Again, I don’t mind eating the same thing for lunch every day so I have found what works for me and my  body. I prefer routine. Dinner varies though and is always delish – baked salmon sometimes, grassfed beef sauteed with spices and throw some veggies in there with roasted sweet potato fries or something of the like, etc. I have fav foods and continue to cook a variety of the same thing! There are endless possibilities. You just have to be creative and get in the kitchen and start cooking and your health will thank you!

All of this may seem expensive or overwhelming, but, then you don’t have to grocery shop during the week because you are prepped at home! This list is good for two people so you may need to adjust if you have kids or what not. I go to Whole Foods for almost everything except I get my peanut butter from Target (or walmart), and I get my large coconut oil containers from either Walmart or Sam’s. I also like to get the cheap egg whites from Sam’s in bulk as well as frozen berries to save a little $. Everything else comes from WF and I have price shopped and it’s honestly a good price! Trader Joes has good prices on raw oats, steel cut oats, organic peanut butter as well as almond butter too – if I can make the drive out there (Whole Foods is closer). So if I go to Trader Joes I will stock up on those items.

Lately here is a meal plan sample of what I do….

  • organic dark roast coffee blended with coconut cream, almond butter, coconut oil
  • overnight oats OR steel cut oatmeal recipe or post workout protein shake
  • 2 eggs, celery
  • chicken, broccoli, sweet potato fries (baked; or roasted organic new potatoes)
  • apple and spoonful peanut butter/almond butter OR rice cake with almond butter and dab of organic preserves
  • dinner : grassfed bunless burger with brussels and sweet potato fries or roasted salmon, brussels (some kind of veggie!!), sweet potato fries (y’all, they are my fav what can I say??)

Sometimes I will make my almond butter brownies as a treat, or protein ice cream, OR these cookies which I made recently and are to die. I did tweak a few things though in the cookie recipe…try these recipes out and stop fueling your body with sugar and junk! You only make the “quitting sugar” process that much harder each time you put that processed stuff in your body.

EMAIL ME FOR HELP…with workout design, injury questions, food or meal planning questions @ kelly.fitness.21@gmail.com

HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND! check out some of my meal pics below

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