Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Champion Nutrition Recipe of the Week - Spring & Egg Rolls

Today's post is a two-fer! ;-) Spring Rolls AND Egg Rolls! Think you can't have a crispy egg roll while eating clean? Think again! These are easy (and I mean EASY) to put together, full of flavor, and training diet friendly. Give 'em a try!

Chelle's Clean Egg Rolls 
View all the photos at 

by Chelle Stafford
Serves 1


  • 1 egg roll wrapper 
  • 1 tsp reduced fat cream cheese
  • wasabi powder
  • 2 Tbsp shredded cabbage
  • 1 Crimini (brown) mushroom, chopped
  • 1/4 of a carrot, peeled and sliced into sticks
  • 1 green onion (spring onion), sliced
  • 3 oz shrimp, cooked (tail removed)
  • Coconut oil for cooking (I made 4 rolls, used 2 Tbsp coconut oil, and had oil leftover! It really doesn't take much!)


  • Chop vegetables.
  • In a small glass bowl, mix together wasabi powder and a small bit of hot water. Allow to rest for 5 minutes. Add cream cheese and mix well.
  • In a small skillet, spray a bit of oil in the pan and saute mushroom until almost soft. Add the cabbage and 1 Tbsp water, then place a lid over the skillet to steam (just takes a minute or two). Remove from heat.
  • Lay wrapper flat and spread cream cheese wasabi. Layer: shredded cabbage/mushroom, carrot, green onion and then shrimp.
  • Roll up wrap, tucking in the sides, and finish by moistening the end to seal.
  • In small skillet, heat 1-2 Tbsp coconut oil until hot. Add roll(s) and cook, turning often. Remove to plate.
  • Serve with dipping sauce (below). 

NUTRITION  Per roll (recipe makes 1 roll): 173 calories, 22 g protein, 15 g carb, 2 g fat, 1 g fiber.

Chelle's Egg Roll Dipping Sauce 

by Chelle Stafford
Serves 4


  • 6 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 green onion, sliced/chopped
  • 1 packet Stevia in the raw
  • 2 drops toasted sesame oil

Mix together in a bowl and use for dipping. (fyi - it's garlicky and spicy!)

NUTRITION : Per serving: 8 calories, 1 g carb

Ready for the next recipe? Here's my fresh & easy Spring Rolls!

Chelle's Clean Spring Rolls 
View all the photos at:

by Chelle Stafford
Serves 1


  • 1 wrapper (see note below)
  • 1 tsp reduced fat cream cheese
  • wasabi powder
  • 2 Tbsp shredded cabbage
  • 1/4 of a carrot, peeled and sliced into sticks
  • 1/4 of a cucumber, peeled and sliced into sticks
  • 1/8 of an avocado, sliced
  • 1 green onion (spring onion), sliced
  • 3 oz shrimp, cooked (tail removed)


  • Chop vegetables.
  • In a small glass bowl, mix together wasabi powder and a small bit of hot water. Allow to rest for 5 minutes. Add cream cheese and mix well.
  • Lay wrapper flat and spread cream cheese wasabi. Layer: shredded cabbage, carrot, cucumber, avocado, green onion and then shrimp.
  • Roll up wrap, slice in half and enjoy! 

NUTRITION   Per wrap (recipe makes 1 wrap): 166 calories, 22 g protein, 6 g carb, 5 g fat, 2 g fiber.

NOTE: Spring rolls can be made with a variety of wrappers - my personal favorite is made from Tapioca flour/starch. There are also rice flour wraps, and the ones I used in the recipe here - soy wrappers - found in the asian aisle at Whole Foods.

Find these recipes in printer-friendly format here: http://recipeforfitness.com/recipes/main_dish/index.html

Thursday, July 26, 2012

5-Week Update!

So here we are in week 5 post-op - Wow! I am moving much better, more freely and fluidly, well, as fluid as klutzy-me gets, lol! My incisions are looking better and better. I can wear all my clothes and have only minor discomfort along the lower incision (jeans rub a bit on the incision). I had a slight hiccup in the last couple days - more my crazy-brain than my body. WARNING - I'm about to get graphic - if you don't want to read it, check out Tuesday's Recipe of the Week ;-)
If you want to keep reading... click below:

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Champion Nutrition Recipe of the Week - Quinoa Pudding

During my competition prep, I craved rice pudding. I don't know why, I hadn't eaten it in years, but I desperately wanted the creamy-sweetness... but on a Figure Competition diet, that's a little difficult to come by. Well, a little playing around in the kitchen and I came up with a substitute - a quinoa pudding/porridge that even the family loved! Nice! :-)

Quinoa Pudding / Porridge 
Makes 5 servings


  • 2.5 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2 cups vanilla unsweetened almond milk
  • 1-2 Tbsp ground cinnamon (to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp sea-salt
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder (I use Champion Nutrition Pure Whey Vanilla)


Cook Quinoa. Once cooked, add the almond milk, sea salt, cinnamon and stir.
Once incorporated, sprinkle in the protein powder, a little at a time, adding more almond milk as needed. Once the consistency and flavor you want is achieved, allow to cool slightly then separate it into 5 small containers.

Nutrition Information: Makes 4 servings. Per serving: 185 calories, 13g protein, 23g carbs, 4g fat.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Turning the Page

Today marks a new chapter for me. After recent events, I made some major decisions. One of which starts today. I am now a part-time employee. As of today, I work 20 hours per week at my job, and will be phasing out of it altogether within about 3 months. Part of me is thrilled. I will have more time for my family. I will be freed up to add to my education, I will be able to focus more and more on RecipeForFitness.com and finally begin offering services (and finish the website, haha!). Woot! This is all really, really exciting for me and I'm chomping at the bit to get going. Then there's the other part of me - the one who wallpapers and furnishes her ruts - change is scary. How much will cutting my paycheck (and then eliminating it) hurt? Can I really do this and make it work?
Thankfully, I have an amazing husband who not only believes in me, but he believes in my goals and my dreams. We're going to make it work. We're going to make it shine. 

In the meantime, on the Daily Cooler page, you might notice that the cooler's are suddenly.... "light". Lol. I'm in the office from 8:30 to 12:30, so I only need breakfast and snack 1 packed. The rest of my food is waiting for me at home. I'll continue to post the full day's menu along with the photos.

So... today, I raise my water bottle and toast Scary Change. ;-) Here we go!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Week 3 Update...

Are we there yet? Are we there yet?

I've reached the halfway point. I've reached the point where I'm healed enough to wonder if I can start sneaking in some cardio, and not healed enough to know that if I do I am screwed. Ugh. ONE MORE WEEK then I can begin light cardio. And not the "light cardio" I've done in the past - I mean LIGHT. No incline, no resistance, blah. Oh well, it's more movement than I've been getting -
I will take it and be happy ;-)

My food/nutrition is right where it should be. My healing is good - up top, I am about 50/50... about 50% of the time I am unaware of my breasts. This is good, lol. It's like being unaware of your arm, or leg - because it's yours. The other 50% of the time, I feel anything from twinges to vague discomfort, to tightness... generally, I just do a bit of massage (which isn't really massage so much as directed and steady pressure) and it goes right away. They've fully dropped and softened and look absolutely natural. FYI... I am becoming quite the expert on comfortable bras for post-surgery, lol... I can highly recommend the Barely There CustomFlex Fit. It was already my fav sports bra, but after surgery (and in a larger size, haha) it was heaven! I also just received my order of Ahh Bra's - and they're pretty darn comfy, too.

My belly is looking better and better. The tightness when I stand upright is slowly easing. The scar is healing up nice. Three more weeks and the doctor says I'll feel "normal". Considering I have never felt normal a day in my life, I am look forward to seeing what that's like. :-)  I do still have that residual numbness - my scar is numb, and the ridge above it, and around my back I have a patch that feels like it's numb deeper in - the surface is normal, but then it feels just a little funky if I press on the skin.

This weekend, the girls and I went through all my bathing suits to see what still fits and what doesn't. Going from a negative-A to a C really changes a suit's fit, lol. What I discovered, apart from not fitting into the vast majority of my suits, is that I can wear a bikini. A real bikini. I can wear it and feel comfortable. I cried. My husband cried (but I think that was because I put my clothes back on). Truly, I cannot begin to express what it was like to see in the mirror the way I feel I should look. All the hard work, finally shows. In an odd way, I feel like I've been released from prison.

Anyway... so next week I get to begin cardio. Two weeks later I get to step it up (yay!!!) and start testing out weights. Woot!!!! Three more weeks. Why does it feel like months? LOL!

Champion Nutrition Recipe of the Week: Good-for-You Popcorn!

Recovering from surgery, I've been forced to lay mostly motionless for long (LONG) periods of time to ensure proper healing. Translated: I've been watching a boatload of movies. Which brings us to today's recipe. ;-) Popcorn. And not just any popcorn - this is not your full of fat, chemicals and salt stuff; this is good for you popcorn! Now, I must admit that I have not been chowing down on popcorn with my movie-watching - after all, gratuitous carbs and inactivity do not add up to anything I want to deal with once I'm up and about again. BUT... for the rest of ya'll.... check out my favorite CLEAN microwave popcorn recipes and let me know which is your favorite!

FYI... popcorn is a whole grain, and is packed with fiber and healthy polyphenols! Dig in!

Chelle's Microwave Popcorn 


  • 1/3 cup popcorn kernels (double-check the label, the only ingredient should be corn)
  • 2 Tbsp melted coconut oil
  • Sea Salt (I use Fleur de sel for this since it's got a really delicate flaky texture, very subtle)
  • Any other seasoning of choice (Mrs Dash, Pepper, or if you want to do kettle-corn, you can add some sucanat to the salt - see below)
  • Brown paper lunch bag

Put the popcorn kernals in a brown paper lunch bag. Fold the top over once or twice. Place in the microwave and nuke just until you hear the popping slow (don't wait for it to stop, it'll scorch - yuck!).
Put the 2 Tbsp coconut oil in a big bowl and microwave for 15-20 seconds to liquefy the coconut oil. Now dump in the popcorn, sprinkle your sea salt & any other seasoning, and toss well. Uber yum!

VARIATIONS  After adding the coconut (or olive oil, if you prefer... you can even use real butter*), add...
Vanilla protein powder - add a scoop to your hot popped kernels
Vanilla protein powder & Sea-Salt (this is my personal favorite!)
Vanilla protein powder & Cinnamon & Sea-Salt
Sucanat (Sugar Cane Natural) and Cinnamon
Sucanat (Sugar Cane Natural) and Sea-Salt
Mrs Dash - Any Flavor

*NOTE: Real butter?? Yep! Real butter is a great source of specific fatty acids that your body actually needs. If you're using margarine or other "fake" butters, dump them and use the real thing - in moderation.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Life's Little Lessons...

This image has been floating around Facebook lately... the first time I saw it, I thought, "hey - that's a goodie."  The more I saw it, the more recent events unfolded, the more I realized it was more than just a nice sentiment - it was the message life is trying to pound into my stubborn rock-hard skull.

It's been said that I have multiple personalities. Ha! If you only knew! LOL! But, it's kind of true... Online I am very bold. I am extremely comfortable putting it all out there - sharing my journey, my struggles, my successes... but in person, I am typically shy. Painfully shy. Depending on the situation, and who I'm with, I range from being "me" - outgoing, outspoken (opinionated), loyal and fun,  to being... well, bullied. My beloved husband - who has felt my wrath on more than one occasion, and who has listened to my complaints about this situation for years - cannot fathom why I allow it. "That's not who you are!" he says, "Stand up for yourself!!"

In recent weeks, it has become more and more of an issue. And my tolerance and acceptance of the situation are changing - drastically.

It would appear that I am growing a spine. 

Let me tell you, growth is painful. This is not fun. It's not easy for me to defend myself, or stand up for myself, or say 'no'. But... in recent days, I'm doing it more than I ever have (though still not more than I'm not, if that makes sense). Each day, and some days it's each hour, I'm being faced with moments where I have to decide if I'm going to get run over or if I'm going to push back. It's exhausting. And it's making my daily life a war-zone.

So, here's to one more of life's little lessons that I'm trying to learn... I think it's time for a glass of wine. Is it 5:00 yet?

No, seriously, is it 5 yet?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Champion Nutrition Recipe of the Week... Egg & Chicken Muffin Cups

One of my favorite convenience breakfasts are muffins... not the kind you pick up at a drive-thru, but the kind that are full of protein and veggies and keep you on track with your nutritional goals. I love to whip up egg muffins and vary what goes in them - it's pretty much whatever is handy, lol. Try them with ground turkey or pork - or go crazy and use beef! Switch up the veggies and/or replace the black beans with chopped sweet potato! There are tons of ways you can individualize this recipe!

Egg & Chicken 
Muffin Cups
Recipe by Chelle Stafford
Makes 18 muffin cups

These muffin cups are packed full with protein, complex carbs and vegetables. Whip up a batch and know that breakfast is ready when you are. Store in refrigerator, in air-tight container, or freeze.

1 lb raw ground chicken breast
Mrs Dash – garlic & herb
8 oz crimini (brown) mushrooms, washed and finely chopped
2 cups chopped bell peppers, any color
1 cup chopped zucchini (with skin)
1 cup black beans, low sodium, rinsed and drained
1 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese, shredded
½ cup salsa
¼ cup chopped green onion
2 cups liquid egg whites

Preheat oven to 425 F.  Spray muffin tins with cooking oil.
Brown ground chicken with Mrs Dash. When nearly done, add mushrooms, peppers and zucchini. Cook until chicken is no longer pink in the middle.
In a medium bowl, mix together the chicken/vegetable mixture with black beans, salsa, green onion and cheddar.  
Mix in egg whites.
Divide mixture between the muffin tins.
Bake 20 – 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center of muffin comes out clean.  Allow to cool on wire rack, then store in air-tight container in refrigerator.

Nutrition per muffin:
91 calories, 11 g protein, 4 g carbs, 3 g fat.

(and yes, as you can see I did indeed burn this batch, lol, but they still tasted GREAT!!)
Chelle's original recipe and photos, as seen in the Spring 2012 issue of World Physique Magazine Women (VIEW)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Two-Week Update

Whew! I made it to the two-week mark! Points for me! LOL! Ya'll know that I just don't handle "rest" well, and the last two weeks have been... challenging. After caving to pressure, I spent way too many hours hunched over my computer doing way too much work during the first week of my post-op, then going into the office Monday and Tuesday of my second week - BAD idea. Realizing I was setting myself back, I told my office that I would NOT be back in the office on Thursday (after Wednesday's holiday) or Friday, but would see everyone on Monday. (fyi, that went over like a lead balloon). And yes, they KNEW I was supposed to be completely out for two weeks. 

I committed myself to the true rest my doctor demanded, and already I can feel I am back on track with my healing. The parts of the incision I'd reopened are closed up, I can blow my nose (yay for ab healing!), and my bruises are nearly gone! Woot! The first week I looked like I'd been in a major car accident - the bruising was ugly! Now you can barely see them!

So here's the recovery run down so far... At two weeks post-op, I can sleep on my sides, I can blow my nose without abdominal pain, sneezes (darn pollen!) result in only one yelp now, my incision (lower) is nearly glue free (the outer layer is glued closed, while the inner layers are stitched), my bruises are nearly gone, the incisions around my nipples are nearly invisible, and the incisions under my armpits are invisible. My stamina is still short-range, but I'm sleeping good, and the hypersensitivity in my lower incision is gone, and it's much less intense in my nipples. I can now comfortably wear a bra without needing the gauze pads to protect my nipples from rubbing on the fabric of the bra. I've had full range of motion of my arms since the beginning. I've never had any issues raising my arms or anything - not even the first day.

The lower incision is by turns comfortable and tight... there are times I'm simply unaware of it, standing up straight... then there are times when it feels so tight that I'm being pulled over. This is particularly noticeable when I am in or just out of the shower. My belly button is awesome... the incisions are invisible except for the final bits of skin-adhesive that have yet to fall off. It's still numb, as is the skin above my lower incision. This is normal.

I feel good, and I look good. It's amazing! Up top, I went full but proportional to my frame, and they really look good! Natural. They're still a little high (they settle a bit as time goes on), but apart from that, they really do look like they're mine. Woot! In my abdomen, the swelling is lessening day by day, and I am so excited to see the shape I've worked so hard for emerging.

And just to toss out another pitch for a Clean Eating lifestyle ;-) throughout my injuries and inactivity, and now my surgery and serious-inactivity, I have not gained an ounce. Not one. Due to the lack of exercise, I am softer than I like, but I am still maintaining my size and weight. Well, except for my bra-size ;-)  LOL!

Today, I am again resting. I've started season 4 of Alias (Go, Syd!!), then later on I will hit the nail salon for a little pampering ;-) and then..... LUCY-ETHEL TIME!! Woot! I'm meeting Tabitha for some girl time! Yay!!!!!!

Here's to a great (and restful, haha) weekend!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

In Support of Tosca

I'm at nearly 2 weeks post-op. I'm feeling good. Good enough that we're heading over to my father-in-law's for a holiday barbecue. My food has been solid since surgery and I know that's helped speed my recovery. I'm getting hungrier, which is a good sign. I will tell you, I cannot wait to be back in the gym!!!! Just over 4 weeks to go. 

I will share the details of my recovery in another post, but today I wanted to address something I saw on facebook. I believe you all know that I am an Eat Clean Diet Ambassador - clean eating changed my life, and I am a huge fan of the resources that Tosca Reno has made available in her books, magazines, blog, and more. Tosca is one of my hero's and has been for years. Last year I had the opportunity to meet and work with her at the 2011 Arnold Sports Festival, and my hero-worship turned to respect as I learned how real and transparent Tosca is. With the death of her husband, fitness icon Robert Kennedy, Tosca is experiencing a grief and life-change that is devastating.  

As part of her grieving process, she is competing again, in October, to honor Robert. She's chosen to share her journey, and yesterday posted her food journal - her journal for that single day. The backlash that followed was ridiculous, and frankly mortifying. In response, Tosca posted a very personal video reply to the messages. I read through the posts, astonished at them. I know that many people do not understand what goes into competition training - it's not all workouts. In fact, food is a HUGE part of prep success. It's easy for someone not in the competition world to look at a day of competition diet and not understand that it is just a single day - for many of us, the diet is taken in phases - it changes from day to day, goal to goal. 

Most competitors keep their diets ultra-secret. After all, those meal plans are expensive and personalized. They're not for the average person, and they're not for weight loss. The supplementation is specific to the phases of the diet - to be sure that the body is receiving all necessary nutrients. That Tosca shared even a single day of her food diary was a courtesy - a glimpse into her daily life, but not necessarily indicative of
EVERY day. It is not, was not, meant to be a "plan" for others to follow.

People who have no understanding of competition prep, look at that single day of food and judge. And they judged harshly, unfairly, and ignorantly. 

I shared with all of you my own competition prep - including insight into my diet. I was blessed by your responses to me. You understood that the diet was temporary and targeted. You understood that I was doing everything in my power to keep my body healthy and strong. You supported me, encouraged me, cheered me on, and celebrated with me when I achieved success. I said it before, but I'll say it again - I am so very grateful for each of you!

My own experience in sharing my prep left me unprepared for the self-righteous judgement that was leveled at Tosca when she shared a small portion of hers. I hurt for her as I read the comments, and then watched her honest and vulnerable video response. Frankly, I wanted to take a big stick and go beat the crap out of everyone who was so judgmental of something which they did not understand. 

So why did I share all this? To ask you for a favor. I'd like to ask you, each of you, to post words of support for Tosca in her journey. You can post on her blog, or on her facebook page (or both). I would love for you to share with her the warmth and support that you shared with me. 

Thank you.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Champion Nutrition Recipe of the Week... Southwest Tacos

Each week I precook pounds and pounds of chicken for my protein, so I am always trying to come up with something new to do with it. Enter my tasty Southwest Tacos - which, by the way, are competition diet friendly
 ;-) Give 'em a try, and let me know what you think!!

Southwest Tacos
Recipe by Chelle Stafford
Makes 1 Taco

Use store-bought taco size tortillas, or try making your own! I have an easy recipe here (http://recipeforfitness.com/recipes/main_dish/taco_shell.html).

1 Taco size tortilla
4 oz shredded slow-cooker chicken (drained of liquid)
Shredded lettuce
1 Tbsp mashed black beans (or refried beans)
2 Tbsp Salsa
2 Tbsp plain greek yogurt
1 Tbsp reduced fat shredded Cheddar (or reduced fat crumbled feta)

In a small bowl, mix together the salsa and greek yogurt.
Spread beans over tortilla.
Top with shredded lettuce and chicken.
Drizzle salsa/yogurt mixture over tacos.
Top with 1 Tbsp cheese.

(Based on taco shell made with my recipe, adjust if using store-bought)
Per taco: 294 calories, 36 g protein, 14 g carb, 9 g fat.
Chelle's original recipe and photos, as seen in the Spring 2012 issue of World Physique Magazine Women (VIEW)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Entering week 2...

I am a Scorpio.

Now, I know that many folks put no credence in things like astro-signs, but let me give you a wee bit of insight into why this label so completely describes me. So completely, in fact that the total sum of this blog could be, "I am a Scorpio", and it would make absolute sense.


 Scorpio attributes: extreme loyalty, stubborn, motivated, passionate, stubborn, tendency toward over-achievinment, stubborn, intense, stubborn... Are you getting a clearer picture? I will tell you something else about me: I have trouble saying no... This is directly related to my extreme loyalty. So, when my job asks me to do many, many hours of computer work while I am recovering from surgery... Guess what I do? And when that same job asks me to do more work, at the office, guess what I do?

Let's recap... Surgery Friday. Monday and Tuesday I do light Internet based work. Wednesday, two of my bosses contact me with large amounts of work which have me, because I can't say no, hunched over my keyboard for three days. Let me assure you this is the wrong physical position for quality recovery. Indeed, I managed to reopen my lower incision in a couple places. But does this stop me from going in to the office today, and promising to be back tomorrow? Oy! Oh, and did I mention that I also went grocery shopping and did food prep on Sunday? Can you say "Scorpio"? I think my husband might strangle me, so let's keep this to ourselves, shall we? I am back in my chair, feet up, sucking down water and contemplating a pain pill. See? Good behavior. Don't tell on me! :-) 

Now does it make sense? All I had to say was "I am a Scorpio." Lol!!