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!

Homemade Black Bean Soup

It’s still almost 90 degrees right now, but I’ve got fall on my mind!  I’m hot all the time (thanks, pregnancy), so I am dreaming about cooler temperatures.  I remember with my first pregnancy that I didn’t even need to wear a jacket outside during the winter–I was so comfortable!  Sweating it out during the summer is not my jam.

With fall on my mind, I’ve been craving cool weather comfort foods, especially soups.  I’ve been looking for some soups I can make that are going to be filling, give me some veggies, and have nutrition that I need for my growing human, and this black bean soup takes the cake!

Beans especially are a pregnancy staple for me because of the fiber.  I had some awful digestion/constipation issues with my first pregnancy that were the WORST, so anything I can do this time to avoid that is something I’m going to try!  Even if you’re not pregnant, beans are a great source of fiber and protein!  I paired this with some cottage cheese for extra protein.

This was much easier to make than I had imagined, and it is very flavorful for being so simple.  The only tweak I’ll make the next time I make a batch is to add some spice–some red pepper flakes, chili powder, or even some hot sauce would put this over the top.  I recommend adding some spice in from the get-go, but if you’re not into spicy foods, make it as written first.  You can always add some heat in later!

One quick tip–if you use an immersion blender to puree the soup, make sure you get the onion and pepper!  Those veggies sunk to the bottom of my pot and I didn’t realize that my immersion blender wasn’t picking them up.  It was fine and tasted great, but wasn’t the consistency I was looking for.

This is going to be a winter staple for me during this pregnancy and beyond!  I topped mine with cilantro and some cheddar cheese, but you could do some plain greek yogurt or sour cream as well.

Enjoy!

IMG_9616

Homemade Black Bean Soup (from Fixate)

2 tsp. olive oil

½ cup chopped bell pepper (approx. 2⁄3 medium)

½ cup chopped onion (approx. 2⁄3 medium)

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 cups canned black beans, drained, rinsed

½ tsp. ground cumin ½ tsp. ground smoked paprika

¼ tsp. sea salt (or Himalayan salt)

¼ tsp. ground black pepper

2 cups low-sodium organic vegetable broth

2 tsp. cornstarch (preferably GMO-free) + 2 tsp. water (combine to make a slurry)

1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

2 tsp. chopped fresh cilantro (for garnish; optional)

 

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat until fragrant. Add bell pepper and onion; cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until onion is translucent.

Add garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute. Add beans, cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, and broth. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low.

Add cornstarch mixture. Bring to a gentle boil; gently boil, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute, or until sauce has thickened. Remove from heat.

Add vinegar. Puree using an immersion blender until you reach desired consistency.

Divide evenly between four serving bowls. Top each with ½ tsp. cilantro and cheese or sour cream, whatever floats your boat!

For my container people, 1 cup of this soup equals 1/2 green, 1 yellow, and 1/2 a tsp.  Makes about 4 servings.

My 80 Day Obsession Results!

I might be a little tardy to the party with sharing my overall results, but I am still THRILLED with this program and what it has done for me!

IMG_7970

When I started this program back in January 2018, I was stuck at an unhealthy weight and in unhealthy habits.  I knew the steps I needed to take to get out of my rut, but I was really struggling with actually making it happen.  This program is exactly what I needed!  The challenge of both the longer, more intense workouts PLUS the different meal plan was perfect for me.  I needed the variety of having a different workout every day.  I needed the challenge of new and different equipment.  I needed the structure of a meal plan that is so laid out that it took out a lot of the guesswork I normally have to do.

Even though I was afraid of this program, I knew that the results would be incredible if I only just stuck with it.  So that’s what I did!  It definitely wasn’t easy–during the 13 weeks I completed this program, I had 6 family birthdays, multiple holidays, a ton of family get-togethers, several church events, and countless times that I ate out with my family.  It would have been so easy to have some sweet tea, or to order something I knew wasn’t on my plan, or to allow myself a treat 6 weeks in.  But I was committed to doing the program full out–exactly as it was written.  And I did it!

This program wasn’t really about weight loss for me, although I needed that and I feel awesome.  It was really about finding my confidence again, finding my discipline again, and proving to myself that I could do hard things.  That I am capable of amazing results.  That I could prove myself wrong and show just how strong I really am.  And that is exactly what happened!

I have really been working hard at sticking to this way of living since finishing the program.  It means a lot to me to have completed it successfully, but I am determined to not have that healthy way of life be something that I did for three months in 2018–this is who I want to be, and I’m working every day at making good choices and figuring out how to make this my lifestyle without being 100% rigid on my eating all the time.  I haven’t eaten perfectly since finishing the program, but I have been eating mindfully and sticking to my workouts.  There have been days where I have eaten way too much white bread or sugar, and the next day I’ve really focused on my nutrition instead of letting it all go by the wayside.  I want to not just maintain the results I’ve gotten, but get even more results–I want to keep getting fitter and stronger and more confident!  Honestly, I know that if I can do this program full out for 13 weeks, I can do pretty much anything.

I’m 11 days into my second round of this program–join me!  Comment below or email me to chat about snagging a spot in my next group and getting some awesome results of your own.  If I can do it, why not you?

IMG_7940

Clean Eating Spicy Mexican Taco Meat

I’ve made several different versions of taco meat, and this one is currently my favorite–it’s easy, it’s spicy, and it’s so filling.  It was one of my favorite meals last week during the final week of my program!

The original recipe calls for one chopped chipotle pepper and 1 tbsp of adobo sauce, but I didn’t have enough for all the recipes I made, so I opted for 2 tbsp of sauce and no pepper.  I like spicy foods so I loved this, but if you don’t love spice, you could leave out the chipotle/adobo sauce and maybe add in some chopped red pepper instead.

Enjoy!

Mexican Taco Meat (slightly adapted from Fixate)

1 tsp oil (olive or coconut)

1 chopped onion

1 chopped jalapeno

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 lb lean ground turkey

1 cup tomato sauce (no salt or sugar added if you can find it)

2 tbsp adobo sauce from canned chipotle in adobo (or 1 tbsp sauce and 1 chopped pepper)

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp sea salt

 

.Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and jalapeño; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until onion is translucent. Add garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute. Transfer onion mixture to a medium bowl. Set aside.

Add turkey to the same skillet; cook over medium heat until lightly seared, stirring frequently to break up turkey, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until turkey is no longer pink.

Add onion mixture, tomato sauce, chipotle chili, and adobo sauce. Season with chili powder, oregano, and salt. Mix well. Reduce heat to mediumlow; gently boil, stirring frequently, for 5 to 8 minutes, or until most liquid evaporates.

1 serving=1 1/4 cup  (1/2 green, 1 red, 1 tsp)

Even Simpler Healthy Breakfast

I’ve posted about simple egg breakfasts before, but I don’t think I’ve ever posted anything this simple!  This takes less than 5 minutes for me to make, from start to finish–no prep work, no chopping, or anything!

I’ve been eating a lot of protein+veggie meals with this 80-day program, and this has been one of my go-to meals.  It’s cheap, it’s easy, and I can make it even when my kiddo is home with me.  Win on all counts!

For this recipe, I *highly* recommend using unrefined coconut oil.  This program is the first time I’ve ever eaten unrefined coconut oil simply because there was some that was cheap, so I went for it.  I was afraid to add a coconut flavor to my food, but it really doesn’t add a coconut flavor as much as it adds flavor, if that makes sense.  I don’t like bitter cooked greens, so a little bit of sweetness from the coconut oil makes it taste amazing.  Sprinkle some Himalayan sea salt and garlic powder on there and it’s SO GOOD.

Enjoy!

Super Simple Breakfast

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup baby spinach (a couple of handfuls, really)

1 tsp unrefined coconut oil

Salt and pepper (or other spices) to taste

 

Heat a small non-stick skillet over medium-low heat.  Melt the coconut oil in the skillet.  Add the spinach and stir for about 1 min, until spinach wilts and darkens a bit. Add the salt and spices.  Stir to mix.  Add the eggs and cook, stirring frequently, until completely cooked.  Transfer to a bowl and voila!  You’re done.

I’ve eaten this alone, on a piece of Ezekiel toast, over some leftover roasted sweet potato, and in a corn tortilla.  Every option is great!

Following a Program Strictly vs. Finding Balance

Several people have asked me why I’m being “so intense” about this 80-day program I’ve been doing (by the way, I only have 5 days left!).  That’s kind of a loaded question because when someone asks me that, it’s probably a thinly-veiled way to say, “Hey, weirdo–you’re being super crazy.  Cut it out and be normal.”

IMG_7774

And that is totally fine to feel that way.  I felt that way about health and fitness for a long time–don’t be so intense!  Be more balanced.  But you know what else I felt during those times in my life, when my health view was much more “balanced”?  I felt uncomfortable.  I felt bloated.  I felt pain with acid reflux.  I felt guilty for everything I ate, even if it was healthy.  I felt shame that my clothes were tight.  I felt disappointed that I wasn’t more disciplined and wasn’t treating myself better.

It’s pretty important to me to NOT feel that way.  For me, I needed to have a period of time where I was strict about my food and my fitness because spending time being relaxed about it didn’t make me feel good.  And that’s the bottom line for me.  It’s not really about the fact that I was overweight and put on 20 lbs.  It’s not really about the fact that I was eating emotionally to deal with my anxiety and depression.  It’s not about some idea of “fit” that I wanted to fit into.  It all comes down to the fact that I just didn’t feel good, and I wanted to feel awesome.  Period.

IMG_7748

This 80-day program has made me feel AMAZING.  Not just physically, but mentally and emotionally, too.  I feel strong, confident, capable, energized, fit, lighter, motivated, inspired, and fueled.  I feel awesome, which is exactly what I wanted–and it’s because I’ve been following this fantastic meal plan and doing every single workout every single day.

Now, will I repeat this program and do it as strictly as I am right now?  Nope.  Here’s why:  right now, during this first round of the program for me, I’m in a test group, which means that I volunteered to do the program exactly as written to see what results I can get by actually following the program.  Yup, I volunteered.  Here’s why: I wanted to see what my results would be if I actually followed the program.  #duh  I have spent a lot of time in the past couple of years doing programs and rocking out the fitness, but not at all following the nutrition.  I wanted to challenge myself, build my discipline, and prove to myself and everyone else that I COULD DO IT.  And I’m just a few days away from accomplish that challenge, and I’m so proud I could cry.  Actually, I have cried a few times.  It’s a big deal for me!

IMG_7740

Does that mean that I think everyone should strictly follow a plan all of the time?  Nope.  I *do* think there is something very important for your confidence and mental strength in following a meal plan/program to see what that program can really do for you, and to show yourself that you are capable, but it’s really unrealistic to think that we can all be 100% on it with nutrition every day forever and ever amen.  That’s not life!  Sometimes we need to have those periods of time where we are more disciplined and we do need to strictly follow a plan–and there are other times where we are strong enough in our discipline to be more “balanced.”

And that’s what my next round of this 80-day program will be about!  Yup, I’m doing it again!  Once I get back from Mexico, I’m starting it all over again.  But this time, I won’t be in a test group and I won’t be following the meal plan as strictly as I have been; this round will be all about me finding what works for me–how often I can indulge without going off the rails.  What I can indulge in without giving myself crazy sugar cravings.  What I really *want* to indulge in and what I don’t miss as far as unhealthy foods.  What I need to stay away from because it gets me off track.  And I’m really excited to experiment with it! Keeping this feeling of awesome going is my goal.

Have you been stuck in a place of “balance” that really is just making you feel bad?  Maybe sticking to a plan will help you, too.  Comment or email me at wweaver0@gmail.com to chat about joining my next group!

IMG_7711

Clean-Eating Eggplant Fries with Tzatziki Sauce

I love eggplant, I love fried foods, and I love Greek food.  This recipe is the perfect combination for me, and it’s completely on my meal plan!  It has the crisp and crunch of a fried eggplant, but it’s not completely horrible for me.

The Tzatziki sauce had so much flavor!  I loved the kick from the garlic, and I ended up using a lot of the sauce for a chicken quinoa bowl as a kind of dressing.  I’ll be using this sauce for several protein options to add some flavor without compromising on my goals.

I will say that I had a horrible time finding whole wheat panko.  I went to 4 different stores and NO ONE had it except Wal-Mart.  I looked at Kroger, Target, and Trader Joe’s before I tried Wal-Mart, so it was pretty frustrating for me.  Learn from my mistakes and just go to Wal-Mart first!

I highly recommend this.  It took a while to make it, but then it was ready for the whole week.  It lost some of the crunch as it sat in the fridge, but I think it would help to reheat on the stovetop instead of the microwave.  Either way, it tastes great and is good for you!

Clean-Eating Eggplant Fries with Tzatziki Sauce (from Fixate)

For the eggplant fries:

1¼ cups whole wheat panko bread crumbs

½ tsp. ground smoked paprika

½ tsp. chili powder

¼ tsp. ground cumin

¼ tsp. ground coriander

½ tsp. garlic powder

½ tsp. onion powder

¾ tsp. dried oregano leaves

1 medium eggplant, peeled, cut into 40 ½-inch-thick fries (about 1¼ lbs.)

½ cup all-purpose flour

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

¾ tsp. sea salt (or Himalayan salt)

½ tsp. ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425º F. Combine bread crumbs, paprika, chili powder, cumin, coriander, garlic powder, onion powder, and oregano in large nonstick skillet; cook, over medium to medium-high heat, stirring constantly, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from skillet and place on a large plate (or shallow pan).

Dip each eggplant fry into flour, then eggs, then bread crumb mixture. Place on large baking sheet. Repeat with remaining fries. Make sure there is a little space between each fry. Discard excess flour, eggs, and bread crumb mixture.

Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, or until eggplant is fork tender and breading is deep brown.

Season with salt and pepper; serve five fries with 3 Tbsp. Tzatziki.

5 eggplant fries is 1 green and a 1/2 yellow.

Tzatziki Sauce (from Fixate)

1 cup reduced-fat (2%) plain Greek yogurt

1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. finely grated lemon peel (lemon zest)

1 clove garlic

½ tsp. sea salt (or Himalayan salt)

½ cup coarsely chopped seeded cucumber (approx. 1⁄3 medium)

2 tsp. fresh dill

2 tsp. fresh mint leaves

¼ tsp. ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and mix until smooth.  Keep cold in an airtight container.

Tzatziki Sauce: 3 tbsp is FREE (no containers!)  3/4 cup is 1/2 red container.