Wednesday, April 25, 2012

MRI Day...

Around our house, we joke that I'm on the joint-a-year plan. First it was my knee, then my shoulder, and now my back. UGH. Last week I got another cortisone shot in my shoulder to buy me through to June when I can do surgery. Today is my MRI on my back. Should have the results back to my doc by the end of the week, then I'll see him next week to get some answers and a plan. This being grounded crap is for the birds.

Today's cooler is up and in full color ;-) Check it out here  You might have noticed that I've been on a salad kick. I seriously cannot get enough! Maybe it's because we're already in triple digits here in AZ, or maybe my body is craving some nutrient - whatever it is, I'm grazing like a rabbit. Each morning I'm loading up my cooler with my portable salad, lol. The hubby laughed at me the other day when he saw it... a big ziploc full of greens and other smaller ziplocs. Worst case scenario, I can dump the smaller ones into the big one, seal and shake and voila! Salad in a bag! LOL!  Might seem weird but it works for me ;-)

Check it out...

Place your greens (lettuce, shredded cabbage, baby spinach) in the quart size ziploc. In snack-size baggies, place your additional ingredients, then place those bags inside the qt bag with the greens.

I've got my greens, a baggie of grilled peppers, baggie of jasmine rice, baggie of chicken breast, baggie of avocado, and one with 2 Tbsp oil/vinegar.

Dump it all on a plate (or in a bowl or in a big ziploc, lol) and enjoy!

YUMMM!!! :-)

In other news - people are really dangerous. Today I saw a woman pushing a stroller through a busy parking lot - while texting. No lie. She almost pushed that stroller right into my car! I could not believe it! I'm tellin' ya... it's a crazy world out there.

Happy Wednesday, Folks!!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Let's Talk About... Oatmeal! Champion Nutrition Recipe of the Week

I know, I know. I hear it constantly -  Oatmeal is BORING. Oatmeal is bland. For many of us, Oatmeal is the start of our day - every day, and yes - it can get old. BUT... there's no reason for it to be bland! Even on competition diet, you can jazz it up - you can even (gasp!) enjoy it! Here are a few of my favorite recipes...

Chelle's Banana Nut Oatmeal
Makes 1 serving


  • 1/2 cup dry oatmeal
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (my scoop = 1/3 cup)
  • 1/2 banana, peeled and mashed
  • 1 tsp vanilla, pure extract (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp crushed or chopped nuts (I like Walnuts in this one!)

  1. In a bowl, mix together the oatmeal and protein powder.
  2. In a smaller bowl, mash the banana then mix in the vanilla.
  3. Add the banana mixture to the oatmeal, add water to your desired consistency (I like mine thick) and stir.
  4. Microwave 1 minute.
  5. Stir in the nuts.
  6. Enjoy!

Chelle's Berry Yogurt Oatmeal
Makes 1 serving


  • 1/2 cup dry oatmeal
  • 1/2  scoop vanilla protein powder (my scoop = 1/3 cup)
  • 1/2 cup berries
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  • cinnamon to taste

  1. In a bowl, mix together the oatmeal and protein powder.
  2. Add water to your desired consistency (I like mine thick) and stir.
  3. Microwave 1 minute.
  4. Stir in the yogurt, berries and cinnamon.
  5. Enjoy!

Chelle's Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal
Makes 1 serving


  • 1/2 cup dry quick oats
  • 1 scoop/serving (20g of protein) vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin (not pie mix)
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 Tbsp NuttZo (or almond butter)
  • water to mix

Mix everything but the NuttZo/almond butter, microwave 1 minute, stir in nut butter and enjoy! Woot! 

Chelle's Harvest Apple Oatmeal 
Makes 1 serving


  • 1/2 cup dry oatmeal
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (my scoop = 1/3 cup)
  • cinnamon to taste (I used 1 tsp for oatmeal plus 1/2 tsp for apples)
  • nutmeg to taste (I used three shakes - technical, right?)
  • 1 small-medium apple (any kind, I used gala), cored and diced - skin on.
  • 1 tsp vanilla, pure extract (optional)
  • 1 cup apple-cider
  • 1 Tbsp NuttZo or other nut butter

  1. In a bowl, mix together the oatmeal, protein powder and 1 tsp (or less to your liking) cinnamon.
  2. In a glass bowl, combine the apple chunks with more cinnamon and nutmeg (I used about 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 3 shakes of the nutmeg bottle), 1 tsp vanilla and a splash (1-2 Tbsp) apple cider. Cover and microwave for 1-2 minutes, until the apples are soft and the liquid is syrupy. Stir.
  3. Add the apple mixture to the oatmeal, add apple cider and stir until you get the consistency you like.
  4. Microwave 1 minute.
  5. Stir in NuttZo or nut butter.
  6. Enjoy!

NOTES: Why leave the skin on the apple? Two reasons. First, there are a gazillion nutrients in the skin (yes, my grasp of scientific terminology often leaves me in shock, too). Second, if you by chance get distracted and overcook your apples (it happens), the skin will retain a bit of crunchy texture :-) 

Chelle's Every-Day Oatmeal
Makes 1 serving

This is part of my weekly food prep... I line up 7 snack-size baggies, and fill each with the following, then seal them and toss 'em in a bowl in the fridge. Each day I just grab a baggie and go! At work I can toss the contents in a bowl, add water and nuke.  In a pinch, I just add water to my baggie, mush it around until it's mixed and eat. 


  • 1/2 cup dry oatmeal
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (my scoop = 1/3 cup)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1-2 ground flax seed

Monday, April 23, 2012

Keep the Fire Burning

It was an incredible sadness to return from our vacation, plug back in and discover that the fitness world had lost an icon. Robert Kennedy, aka Tough Love Bob, was and will continue to be, a voice of strength, knowledge and passion. For the last week I have struggled to find the words to express my perspective of this intense loss. I simply cannot find them. My heart breaks for his family, and those who were intimate with him. I hurt, too, for the loss to the "every woman" who picks up Oxygen Magazine each month - those personal letters from the Editor were always the first page I'd read. His guidance, insight and motivation will be missed.

I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to meet Bob and his wife Tosca. I was able to spend some time with them last year during the Arnold Sports Festival, and was impressed by how real and open they both were. Bob pulled no punches - he told it like he saw it. As I sat and listened to him, or watched him listening and speaking to others, it occurred to me that here was a man who had made himself - but didn't stop there... he made it his mission to help others make themselves... but only if they put in the work. There was no enabling from Bob... there was empowerment and education, but no carrying. You have to do it yourself. Only you can.

When I began my journey toward health and fitness, Bob's editor's letters and the resources he made available (magazines, books) were key to my education, motivation, and eventually, my success. I have accomplished what I have, and maintained it, and continued to reach for new goals and heights, in a large part because of the work Bob Kennedy has done. His impact on my life is unmistakable. He lit a fire in me - to be better, to be more... to be me.

While I do not have the words to properly honor a truly great man, I do have that fire - one spark that he passed on to me - just one small light that I promise to keep burning. Though my reach is not as deep, not nearly as far, as Bob's, I will keep sharing that flame. I hope you will to.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Happy Friday!!

Woot! It's Friday! Where'd the week go? I posted Tuesday, then that night my youngest started getting sick, by the next morning it was BAD. Sore throat, headache, blech! I called the doctor - they couldn't get us in, so we headed to the clinic (Walgreens). I called my boss to let him know I'd be late, then we were in to see the doctor - who sent us straight to the E.R. ?????!!! I stopped home long enough to grab sweats for my daughter (hospitals are COLD), then drove over. They got us right in - and I mean quick, fast and in a hurry. Hooked her up to IV, and started pumping her full of antibiotics, steroidal anti-inflammatory and morphine. Are you kidding me?? I thought this was just strep or some such thing. YIKES!

We spent the day in the hospital, when they finally released us, the doctor called over to an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist and made us an appointment for the next day. We were sent home with more drugs. I dropped her off, headed to the pharmacy to fill her prescriptions, then back home to pick up my other daughter who had a dental appointment. Needless to say, I did not make it in to the office.

Yesterday, my beloved hubby handled the youngest's doctor appt. Diagnosis - Acute tonsilitis. Thankfully the hospital IV drugs kicked in and surgery wasn't necessary, but if it comes back, that's what they'll do. She's back in school today and back to her bouncy self, though her throat is still sore.

It's been a crazy week. I'm in the office today, since I missed Wednesday, trying to get caught up again, then the weekend will be full of errands and food prep.

Tabitha posted about our EPIC vacation ;-) Check it out here:  She reminded me of one other food I very much enjoyed on the boat... real caramel. OMG! The first dinner we had in the main dining room - the food was just ok. Dessert was just ok, so really no point in finishing it. But... it came with a side of caramel that turned out to be the real thing - freshly made and AWESOME. It won it's place as it's own food group. I poured a bit over my dessert, realized it didn't make the dessert any more palatable, so I shoved the pie over on the plate and just dumped the caramel in the empty space, dug out my spoon and enjoyed. LOL! And yes - I ate it all (the caramel, that is).

Another dessert that was memorable on the ship was in the Asian restaurant (Shanghai)... which by the way was the best meal on the boat - period. Dessert was two tiny pastries with a scoop of green tea ice cream. The ice cream alone was ok, the pastries alone were good, but put them together and OMG. No words. Truly! I told Bill (sorry, Dad) those pastries are what Baklava wants to be when it grows up. Flaky sheet pastry, one held a pocket of mashed red beans, the other mashed chestnuts, then the scoop of ice cream - oh, and a drizzle of real caramel ;-)  Most serious yummage. I'll have to figure out how to make my own version of that one! The green tea ice cream is a no-brainer, so watch for a new protein ice cream recipe soon :-) but I'll have to work on the pastries.

Today's cooler is up, so if you're wondering what's on my plate (literally), check it out here:  I've already started my May cardio playlist :-) Got some good stuff coming!  And I go back to my shoulder doctor this afternoon. Hopefully I'll be getting another shot which will get me through to June when I can have the surgery done.  Anyway! That's what's happening here... how about you?? What's news, folks? :-D

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I'm Back!!! Well, Sort Of...

Whew! How is it Tuesday? Yikes! We had a FABULOUS trip! Truly wonderful! I have so many great pics to share, but haven't had time yet to process them. It was so much fun! I know you have questions, so let's see if I can hit some of them ;-)

Q.  Did you come back with a tan? 
A.  NO. Hahaha. Who goes to the Caribbean and doesn't get a tan? ME. Loooong story, which I will share when I have more time. It's one of those, "are you kidding me???" deals. Lol.

Q. Did you gain weight? 
A. Yes. But not much. I came back 4 lbs heavier, and can tell you for certain it's water. Ugh. Can you say sodium? I've already dropped 2 of the 4, and am confident the rest will fall off this week as I am back to having total control over my food.

Q. Did you work out on the boat? 
A. Ummmm. Not formally, but I can assure you there was a TON of walking. We walked back and forth, back and forth the lengths of the ship - every day. Bill and I even did it on purpose several times - plus... STAIRS!! Lots and lots of stairs ;-) I took the stairs whenever possible. Tabitha, however, did hit the onboard gym, and I'm hoping she'll blog about that. Remember, I'm still grounded because of my shoulder and back. Bleh.

Q.  Were you tempted by all the food on the boat?
A.  Not so much. Seriously. Though, I get major bonus points for this one... some of you know that I have a - we'll call it a 'fondness' - for gummy bears. In the honor bar in our room, was a big bag of gummy bears. It was there the day we arrived, and it was there (untouched) the day we left. As to the rest... there really wasn't much to tempt me. I enjoy the food I normally eat, so I don't feel deprived, for one. For two... I knew going in that I would enjoy more treats than normal, so it was simply a matter of deciding what I wanted and when. I didn't hit up the coffee bars (can you say pastries?), and I didn't really go too far from my norm. Breakfasts were eggs, wheat toast or potatoes, and grilled tomatoes... and can I just say that I could have eaten those grilled tomatoes all day every day? YUM!

Don't get me wrong... I ate more than usual, for sure. And I ate things like wheat toast, rice, and a few french fries. I had an awesome jerk chicken sandwich on St. Maarten that was so good, we brought home 2 jars of the jerk sauce! LOL! And we might have brought home 4 bottles of flavored rum from St. Thomas. ;-) We had a few really fabulous meals on the boat, but for the most part, it was fairly normal for me.

I did learn that if you want your food prepared the way you want it, you can't be shy - and you can't take the nasty looks from the chef's personally ;-) If I don't want 1/4 cup of oil in my egg white omelet, I don't have to have 1/4 cup oil - ya know? They got me the first breakfast, but after that I was more aggressive :-)

I'll share more about the in's and out's of cruising and eating well in the future, but for now... here's a few pics to prove we had a GREAT time ;-)

Champion Nutrition Recipe of the Week... Clean Glutamine Jello! Competition Diet Friendly

I don't know about you, but I have a love/hate relationship with Jello. I love Jello. I love the jiggly-giggly, I love the flavor, I love the "light-ness". I hate the crap they put in it. Artificial sweeteners, colors, etc. Bleh. On competition diet, I craved Jello - I mean CRAVED. While it was acceptable "on diet", it wasn't ok with me to do all the artificial junk. So I began to experiment. With no room for juice in my diet, I had to get creative. Enter Glutamine. The recipe was awesome, hit the spot, for sure! Since then, I've stuck to the clean concept, and continued to create ;-) Here's the latest version of my Glutamine Jello. 

Chelle's Glutamine-Green Tea Gelatin

1 packet unflavored gelatin
3 scoops Glutamine Powder*
2 Cups brewed flavored Green Tea*

Mix the glutamine in the tea, until dissolved. Add 1/2 cup of the mixture to a bowl. Bring the other 1.5 cups to a boil (watch it, if it boils over you'll have a mess on your hands). 

Sprinkle the gelatin over the half cup liquid and allow to sit for one minute. Pour the boiling 1.5 cups liquid in and stir for 5 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until set.

Nutrition: Each half cup serving has 30 calories, 7 g protein. 

Remember… this is an unsweetened gelatin... don't be expecting your childhood jello to make an appearance here. What this is, is light and refreshing, and it tastes just like the tea you make it with, plus it's got the booster of Glutamine.

*Glutamine: There are lots of powders on the market - check the labels! I recommend Champion Nutrition's Power Glutamine - it's pure, it's tasteless, and it works. 
*Green Tea: Shopped for tea lately? There are a gazillion flavors! Have fun - try 'em all! You can also choose between regular and decaf, depending on what you want/need. My current favorite is Bigelow Green Tea with Blueberry and Acai. 
*Craving sweetness? Try adding liquid stevia to the mixture during the last step (stirring). 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Champion Nutrition Recipe of the Week... Power Cookies!!

These come together quickly and store well. Toss a couple in a baggie, then into your bag for those days when you’re on the run. They’re a tasty source of energy with a solid kick of protein.

Energy Cookie
Recipe by Chelle Stafford
Makes 12 large cookies

1 medium banana, mashed
1 cup quick oats (unsalted, plain)
2 Tablespoons coconut butter (coconut butter is NOT coconut oil – the butter is the ground flesh of the coconut, while the oil is pure oil)
½ cup Coconut flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 ounces sweet potato – microwaved/baked then skin removed (wash potato, poke with holes all over, then microwave on high for 3-4 minutes. Let rest 1 minute, stick a knife in it to test for doneness – if it goes easily in, it’s done. Allow to cool, then peel off skin.)
½ cup chocolate chips
½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
4 scoops vanilla protein powder (my scoop = 1/3 cup)
¼ teaspoon sea-salt
2 Tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
1 cup zucchini, shredded (includes skin) – about 1 medium zucchini makes 1 cup of shredded.
¼ cup pure maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350.
Mix together the dry ingredients (oats, flour, baking powder, sea-salt, protein powder, pumpkin pie spice).
In separate bowl (large), with a hand mixer, blend sweet potato, banana, zucchini, coconut butter, maple syrup.
Stir the dry ingredients into the 2nd bowl (mix until it looks like cookie dough).  Add nuts (if using) and chocolate chips.
Drop onto foil lined baking sheet and bake 24 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, then remove to wire rack to cool completely.  Store in airtight container on counter for up to 2 days, in fridge for up to a week.

Makes 12 large cookies or 24 smaller. Nutrition info is for 1 large cookie (divide by two if you make the 24 smaller cookie batch). 214 calories. 9 g protein, 25 g carb, 9 g fat, 4 g fiber, 10 g sugar.

Published in World Physique Women, Spring 2012

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Goin' on a boat... a big, big boat...

You know what today is? My last workday before VACATION!!!! WHOOOOOOHOOO! ;-)  We leave tomorrow! Sooooo excited!!! I have so much to do! Just little stuff, but still. Tonight we're doing a little fun and food party - Star Wars for X-Box Kinect - with the kids. And yes, I will be playing the part of Darth Vader.  Mwahahaha!!

We're goin' on a boat... a big, BIG Boat! Woot! 

All Aboard!!!!!   ;-)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Because it must be shared.... "I'm Han Solo"

Remember when I said this morning that it's random wednesday?
Here ya go...

from the Forbes blog

Random Fun-ness (yeah, it's a word)

It's Wednesday... that means there's just today and tomorrow then we board a plane to head to a boat! ;-) WOOT!!!

The hubby had a late meeting last night, and knew I was going to spend the time getting stuff ready for the trip - when he got home, he found me lounging on the bed watching Alias reruns (yes, I do have the whole series on DVD). He looked around, then looked back at me like, "ummm... aren't you supposed to be getting ready?"  I simply pointed at the suitcases. He walked over and picked one up... well, he tried to anyway. ;-)  Yes. I am packed. I am ready. Let's go! ;-)  We're goin' on a boat, a big-big-boat!

Wednesday is the day of the random. I have declared it, thus it is so ;-) And in the spirit of random... here is my Wednesday gift to you... Since the mattress hasn't taken any new hostages lately, I've had a few minutes here and there to do something other than fight my way out of bed (or pull someone else out)   ;-) The hubby found this little gem and (correctly) assumed I would love it. I do. And if you are anywhere near the geek I am, you'll love it too ;-)

Today's cooler is up HERE.  And, if you haven't checked them out yet, our (Tabitha and mine) cardio playlists for April are also up! Give 'em a whirl here:

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Champion Nutrition Recipe of the Week... Protein Brownies!

These rich brownies are an excellent portable meal. Fully balanced (carbs/protein/fat), they’re terrific when you’re on the go. Refrigerate after cooling, they taste even better the next day! Toss a few in a Ziploc and you have a fantastic treat when you’re ready to eat.

Cocoa Espresso Meal Bar (brownie)
Recipe by Chelle Stafford
Makes 9 brownies

1 medium banana (7" to 7-7/8" long) (118g)
1 15 oz can black beans (unsalted, unseasoned), drained and rinsed
4 scoops chocolate protein powder (my scoop is equal to 1/3 cup)
¼  cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tablespoon instant coffee crystals
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 dropper-fulls liquid Chocolate Stevia

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray an 8x8 pan with cooking oil.
Blend all ingredients together.
Press into 8x8 pan and bake for 10 minutes. Cool on wire rack, then cut into 9 squares.

Nutrition info is per square: 102 calories. 11 g protein, 11 g carb, 2 g fat, 2 g fiber, 2 g sugar.

Published in World Physique Women, Spring 2012

Monday, April 2, 2012

Counting Down...

Happy Birthday, Bill!!!!!
My beloved hubby is (ahem, cough-cough)-years old today! The kids will all be home tonight (except Joey) and we'll bbq up some steaks and corn on the cob ;-)  Then Thursday night, Joey'll be back and we'll all be together for our last evening home before the cruise. Bill got his present already - bugger was HARD to find! He got the new iPad - and won't let me play with it! Drat! ;-)

Today is also my little sister's birthday! ;-) Happy Birthday, Syl!!!!

It's almost here!!!!! Just 4 more days, then I am on VACATION!!!!! WOOOOOO! The luggage is all sitting in the middle of our bedroom, waiting to be filled (ok fine - one already is - I couldn't help myself!). All our documents are printed and ready to go, carry on liquids are already bagged, checked liquids are bagged, clothing is stacked... we are READY!!!

I've finished up the final info sheets for the kids and family - all our contact info, plus the list of who to call for what, and when. I've got a whole stack of pages that'll get stuck to the fridge - insurance, medical releases, calendar, itinerary, contact sheets... you name it, I've probably got it. I mean seriously - we are ready to go. ;-) he he he.

Now I just have to do laundry, and the actual packing! I am absolutely giddy! So excited for this trip!!

4 days!!!!

fyi... food for today is up on the Daily Cooler, and tomorrow we'll be posting the April cardio playlists!! Woot!!