Banana Oatmeal Cookies

If you know me at all, you know I love sweets.  I’m all about simple recipes for sweet treats that I can enjoy and not feel guilty about.  When I saw these Banana Oatmeal Cookies, I knew they would be perfect for the freezer in prepping for our girl to arrive.  They are sweet, they are carbs to help boost milk supply for me, and I don’t feel bad about indulging because I know exactly what’s in them.

This is an adapted recipe–the original calls for raisins (which, I mean, if you could have chocolate chips instead of raisins, that’s always a good call) and walnuts, which my kiddo is allergic to.  So I’ve changed just a couple of things to make these safe for him and more likely that he’ll eat them too!

Enjoy!

Banana Oatmeal Cookies (adapted from Fixate)

1 cup dry old-fashioned rolled oats, gluten-free

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

¼ tsp. sea salt (or Himalayan salt)

2 medium ripe bananas, mashed

1/3 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Lightly coat large baking sheet with spray. Set aside.

Combine oats, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl; mix well. Add bananas and chocolate chips; mix well.

Drop by rounded Tbsp. onto prepared baking sheet to form 16 cookies; flatten cookies with a spatula. Bake for 14 to 15 minutes or until firm.

**For my container friends, 1 cookie is 1 yellow and works as a refeed option for 80 Day Obsession!

Healthy Freezer Meal Options

With a baby coming sooner rather than later, I wanted to make sure I had some healthy meal options for the freezer.  Lord knows I’m not cooking for a bit, and my husband probably won’t be feeling up to it either!  We are blessed with a great church family who have already told us they’ll be setting up a meal train (woot woot!), but I wanted to have some options for our freezer, as well.

  • Cauliflower crust pizza–we love the CauliPower brand!  It’s easy, it’s pizza, my kiddo will eat it without fighting us on it, and it makes me feel better than other frozen pizzas.
  • These blueberry muffins–now that we know my kiddo is allergic to tree nuts, we don’t use almond flour and just sub in gluten free flour.  These muffins are healthy and filling as a breakfast or a quick snack.
  • Gluten free waffles–we love these blueberry waffles and they work for breakfast or a quick dinner
  • Homemade burger buns–these aren’t “healthy” per se, but they taste amazing, I know what’s in them, and we can use them for all kinds of sandwiches
  • Tomato sauce–yes I use canned sauce too, but this sauce is flavorful and perfect for our favorite sloppy joes!
  • Black bean soup–you can make a batch, and freeze in individual servings or in servings of 2-4.  This is true for any soup!
  • Italian Pork Roast–this is a recipe I’ll prep beforehand, put in the freezer, and then dump into the crockpot to eat that night.
  • Maple Mustard Chicken and Potatoes–again, prep beforehand, keep in freezer, then cook in crockpot.
  • Chicken Fajitas–prep, freezer, crockpot.  Sensing a theme here?
  • There are 3 weeks worth of slow cooker recipes on this blog!

If you prep meals ahead of time to cook in the crockpot later, be sure you clearly write on the baggie to label what the meal is, how long it needs to cook, and when you prepped the meal.  Those meals are good in the freezer for 3 months.

What are your go-to freezer staples?  I’d love to get a few more ideas before it’s baby time!

Keeping It Simple

If you follow me on Instagram and watch my stories, you probably see me posting the same meals over and over again.

I tend to eat the same meals when I find something I like. I make my shake the same way almost every day.  I buy the same foods at the grocery week after week.  I saute some spinach to put over toast for breakfast and eat some yogurt or some cottage cheese with it.  For some people, it seems boring to eat the same things all the time, but for me, it’s a necessity!

Whether you’re 34 weeks pregnant like me, or just someone who’s busy and doesn’t want to spend a lot of time each week and each day figuring out what to eat, keeping it simple helps SO MUCH.

Here’s how I try to simplify eating healthy:

  • I create different meal options for me to choose from throughout my day.  I make sure each meal has a serving of protein, veggies, and carbs.  I spread out fruit throughout the day, and add in healthy fats as well.  I use my container system and current weight to figure out how many servings of each type of food I need, especially to ensure I’m eating enough during pregnancy and nursing.
  • For example, this is a sample of the types of meals I’ve created in the past to choose from:
    • Spinach sauteed in coconut oil on Ezekiel toast, and Greek yogurt with fresh berries
    • My daily shake with banana, PB2, coconut flakes, flax milk, baby spinach, water, and ice
    • Baby carrots with hummus, a pear, and Ezekiel toast with coconut oil
    • A dinner option, like my family’s favorite sloppy joes

When I find simple meals that I like and taste good, I stick with it like white on rice.  Especially preparing to have my second kiddo and become a momma to a newborn and a 5 year old, I need to not think much about what I’m eating.  I also need to make sure I’ve got healthy meal options so I’m not eating Lucky Charms and Oreos all day long.  It keeps me sane, it keeps me healthy, and it helps me continue to feel awesome even as I’m gaining weight and getting bigger the closer I get to delivery!

If you are someone who needs to mix it up more with your food but still wants to keep it simple, you can approach your planning a couple of different ways.  You can either create all new menus each week, or you can plan for a certain menu Monday/Wednesday/Friday/Sunday and another menu Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday.  It will probably take some trial and error for you to figure out what kind of planning system works for you, and to find meals that you really enjoy!

Be sure to search through my site to find different recipe options–there are lots of meals on here to choose from and experiment with!

Pregnancy: 2nd Trimester Update

It’s been a while since I’ve done a pregnancy update–aka I haven’t done one since I announced I was pregnant on the blog at the end of my first trimester.  Ha!

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2nd trimester was much better than the 1st tri.  My dizziness went away completely by the time I hit 20 weeks, and by 23ish weeks my fatigue was a lot better, too.  I was able to pick up my workouts again and stay active, which has been so nice.  I need that movement for my sanity!  We found out we are having a little girl, which is very exciting.  I’m still dealing with all the pregnancy yuck of hormones, an achy back, and general fatigue, but I’m feeling much better compared to my first trimester AND to how I felt when I was pregnant with Liam.

Utilizing my resources this time around with my workouts, trying to eat healthy, going to therapy, and staying on my medicine (with my doctor’s approval) has made a huge difference for me. I’ve been drinking my Shakeology every day since I started my second trimester and got over all the nausea I was having, and it has been helping my pregnancy digestion issues, my energy, and getting good nutrition in.  Such a lifesaver!  I vividly remember how depressed and insane I felt during my pregnancy 5 years ago and I am very thankful to not be feeling that way right now!

All that being said, I am making some changes during my third trimester.  I have been making much more of an effort to be healthy this pregnancy, but I didn’t eat as healthfully as I could have/should have during my 2nd trimester and gained more weight than I wanted to.  Now, I am a short lady with a tiny torso, so there’s not much room for baby girl to grow except OUT, and I held on to a TON of water when I was pregnant with Liam: I recognize that my body is probably just going to hold on to weight regardless of what I do.  But I also recognize that I could be doing a lot more to help slow that weight gain down.  I’m being more intentional about my food and focusing on veggies more and not eating fried things (sorry Joella’s and Chick-Fil-A–I still love you).  At the beginning of this trimester I had a goal of gaining 10 lbs during this 12 weeks, so we’ll see if my body cooperates with my efforts!

I’m still staying active–I’ve got some amazing 20 minute workouts lined up for the end of my trimester.  I’m planning on modifying all the things and just keeping it moving, taking rest days when I need to, as long as my doctor is still okay with it. I worked as a teacher up until the day I went into labor with my son, so I feel comfortable with continuing my workouts up until labor too!

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I’m excited to give you my final pregnancy update–because then I won’t be pregnant anymore and will have a new baby to share!

I’m also working on a pregnancy guide, so stay tuned for that!

Holiday Tips + How to Start 2019 Strong!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  It’s also super busy, kind of stressful, and full of tempting treats all around.

For some people, thinking about their health during this time of year seems weird, but for me it’s the time of year when I decided to get serious about my health 4 years ago.  It’s also the time of year that I gained the most weight during my pregnancy with Liam.  I didn’t feel good in my clothes, I felt like I needed to hide myself in family photos, and I had a hard time enjoying the holidays–even though it was my son’s first Christmas–because I was tired, uncomfortable, and self-conscious.

Maybe you are feeling the same way.  Here are a few tips to get through the holiday season without completely giving up on your health goals.

  • First, relax.  You are allowed to enjoy the holidays guilt-free.  Whatever you decide to do with your health and fitness, OWN IT.  Don’t wish you did something different.  Really be honest with yourself about what you want, and go for it!
  • Drink your water!  Stay away from sodas and cocktails as much as possible–save those for your parties.  Drink up with your water to stay hydrated and keep your body working the way it’s supposed to.
  • Eat healthfully throughout the week!  You don’t have to deprive yourself of your traditional holiday foods that you look forward to, but you also don’t have to eat crap all day every day.  Keep plenty of veggies handy, and make it a point to eat mostly veggies throughout your day.  Keep satisfied with lean proteins and be careful about what carbs you want to have so you don’t overdo it.
  • Stay moving!  Keep up with a fitness routine throughout the holidays.  If you’ll be traveling on Christmas Day, plan for that to be a rest day and schedule in your workouts for the rest of the week.  For me, working out on the holiday makes me feel more energized and less guilty about indulging!
  • Plan ahead.  Not just for your workouts, but for your food!  Do what you can to make sure you have a healthy options, whether that means grabbing some hummus and baby carrots at the store when you’re on the road, making a healthy option to take to your family gathering, or planning out what you’re going to indulge in beforehand so you feel prepared and confident in your choices.

And you need to plan ahead for 2019, too!  January 1st will be here before we know it, and whether or not you’re ready to tackle your health.  I’ve already got my plan of attack for 2019: obviously I’ll be finishing up my pregnancy and then taking a hiatus from fitness, but I already have a new program lined up to get me to delivery!  20 minutes a day and no equipment?  I think I can handle that!  Plus, that is very manageable for after the baby as well once I’m cleared to work out again.  I’ll also be following the same eating plan I’m currently doing–no measuring any portions to make sure I’m eating enough for baby now and for breastfeeding later, but focusing on the quality of nutrition that I’m eating to stay as healthy as possible.

If 20 minute workouts without any required equipment sounds up your alley, click this link and we can chat! I’m hosting a test group for this new program and I have room for 10 new clients–don’t miss out!

 

And just like that, I’m a Food Allergy Mom

A few weeks ago, Robbie was out of town and Liam and I went to dinner with my parents.  They had some little brownie bites (the size of a mini muffin) that I used to bribe him to use the bathroom before we left to drive home.  I have no shame in that bribing game.  Once we were in the car and driving, he took one or two little bites of the brownie and said it made his tongue and mouth feel weird.  I took a bite of mine and realized there were chopped walnuts in it.  It concerned me, for sure, but I also kind of thought that since he doesn’t like nuts, that Liam was just making an excuse to not eat it.  I actually drove with the interior lights on because it was dark out and I wanted to be sure I could see him if he got hives or something.  He didn’t, everything was good, and then I forgot about it.

Cut to a few weeks later: we went to Liam’s already-scheduled allergy appointment to check on the progress with the allergy drops we started with him this year.  I mentioned the brownie incident, we had a skin test, and long story short: Liam is allergic to tree nuts.

We were kind of shocked at the diagnosis.  He doesn’t like nuts in general and just doesn’t eat them, so thank God he’s never had a severe reaction.  In fact, we don’t even know if he’s had a reaction at all before the brownie, but I’m thinking that he has been reacting mildly and just didn’t know how to express it.  He has eaten some things that he described as “spicy” that shouldn’t have been at all, and it’s likely that it was something I cooked with almond flour or almond milk.  In fact, some of the recipes I’ve shared on this blog that use almond flour (like blueberry muffins) he suddenly said he didn’t like anymore.  I thought he was just being picky, but now I wonder if he was having reactions and just couldn’t tell me.

I’ve spent the past couple of weeks doing all the research I can about tree nut allergies, and let me tell you, it is some scary stuff.  I cannot tell you how thankful I am that Liam hasn’t gone into anaphylaxis or had severe reactions before we knew he was allergic.  I am so thankful that the only allergy we have so far is tree nuts and not more of the top 8 allergens.  And I’m thankful that as of now, we don’t have to worry about “shared lines” or products that may be processed in a plant that also processes tree nuts.  But, we still had to make a few changes.

  • I actually had some chopped walnuts and pecans from some dishes I made at Thanksgiving (dishes that thankfully Liam didn’t eat), so I threw that out.  Walnuts were the tree nut that Liam had the biggest reaction to.
  • I had some treats in the freezer that I had made with almond flour that I threw out.
  • I had some almond milk in the fridge that I threw out.  I’m basically the only person who drinks it, but when we run out of dairy milk we use my almond milk for cereal and French toast.  It’s best to just not have it in the house!
  • I threw out the raw almonds and almond flour from the pantry.
  • I checked all the labels of the crackers and snacks that we have in the pantry, and the sauces we have in the fridge, to make sure it was all nut-free and good to go.

So I cleaned everything out of the house, and got a couple of substitutions for what I got rid of.

  • I already had regular flour and gluten-free flour at home, so I’ll use those instead of almond flour.
  • I got some coconut milk to replace the almond milk, but APPARENTLY coconuts count as a tree nut even though they are a fruit.  Insert eyeroll here.
  • So now I am trying flax milk.  The jury is still out as to whether it’s a hit.

We are definitely still learning–a day after his diagnosis we went to the store and got Honey Nut Cheerios, not thinking a thing of it.  It wasn’t until a couple of hours later (before Liam had a chance to eat any) that I realized DUH THERE ARE ALMONDS IN THIS CEREAL.  It’s even in the name!  But we’re learning.

Stay tuned for some nut-free treats and meals as we continue to navigate this new part of our lives!

**Just in case you need to do some research about food allergies yourself, you can check out American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology or Food Allergy Research & Education.