Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Eating Out, Eating Clean - Paradise Bakery / Panera

I get asked a lot about eating out. I do eat out, sometimes more than just on date night (which is also my treat meal). So how do I stick to my Clean Eating lifestyle while chowing down in a restaurant? It's actually pretty easy. Throughout my weight loss journey, then on into maintenance (and particularly during contest prep) I learned how to order like Sally. (10 points if you got the reference before I share it below, lol).

Today, my youngest and I hit up Paradise Bakery for lunch (aka Panera). I really enjoy Paradise as I can get a ton of flavor, while still staying on track. I love their Thai Chopped Chicken Salad, but have you ever looked at the nutritional info for restaurant salads? They can be terrifying! Many salads are worse than a trip through the drive-thru! BUT... with a little "Sally", you can salvage almost any salad into a goal-friendly clean eating meal!

"What can I get you?"
"I'll take the large Thai Chopped Chicken Salad with double meat, no cheese, no tortilla strips, and dressing on the side."
"Got it."

Yep. It's that easy. What was I left with? A bowl of leaves and chicken? Nope... check it out!


What's in there? All-natural, antibiotic-free chicken, romaine, Thai cashews, fire-roasted edamame, red peppers, carrots, fresh cilantro, with the low-fat Thai Chili Vinaigrette and peanut sauce on the side. And... you can go a further step toward you own inner-"Sally" by utilizing one of my favorite calorie slashing tricks...

Dip the fork. Don't drizzle that dressing on - you don't need all that! Just dip your fork in the dressing, then spear up a bite and enjoy! You get the flavor of your dressing without the excess.



Dip and spear. Dip the fork in the dressing, then spear yourself a tasty bite!
Save yourself a TON of calories, without losing any flavor!
I got a bowlful of healthy yumminess, a tasty Acai Berry unsweetened tea, and stayed on track with my goals and nutrition plan! Which makes me happy ;-)


If you know ahead of time where you'll be dining, look them up online - find the menu and nutritional info. While Paradise Bakery doesn't offer their nutritional info online, the parent-company Panera does. They've even got a great interactive calculator that will help you "Sally" your order.

Panera Nutritional Calculator:  http://www.paneranutrition.com/?ref=/menu/cafe/index.php
Panera Menu: http://www.panerabread.com/menu/cafe/?ref=/menu/index.php
Paradise Bakery Menu: http://paradisebakery.com/

My meal? Came in around 470 calories with roughly 50g protein, 24g carbs, 15g fat. Factor in that I didn't finish it (it was big!), and didn't use but 1/4 of the dressings... my numbers were even better!

Don't be afraid to be a Sally when ordering your food. You're paying for it, order it the way you want it... and if it comes to you wrong- send it back. Be nice! But send it back and repeat your requests. In this day of food allergies and intolerance's  restaurants have become a lot more cooperative with special orders. Take advantage of that. And if anyone hassles you about the way you order, let them know that they are free to order like Harry, you'll stick with Sally. It's your plate, your goals, and your right. 


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Finally! A productive day...

Since saying goodbye to our Nakki, it's been a struggle just to put one foot in front of the other. Do the workouts. Eat the food. Do the laundry (well, I did wait until we ran out of clothes, lol). Study. Develop recipes. Post. Work. Tax itemization's.  Then there's my biggie - the project I can't share yet ;-) It's good to have something to focus on, though I wish it was moving faster. Newsflash - I'm impatient ;-)

Today, though... was productive! After my early moring coffee with the hubby, I hit the gym for some leg brutalization - I must have resembled a drunk duck walking back to my car, waddling on rubber legs. Ha! Back home, I whipped up today's Recipe of the Week for Champion Nutrition, photo'd it, then scarfed it down, lol. I got my work done then did my food prep. Yes, you read that right. My Sunday Food Prep didn't happen until today. Ya know the only thing worse than doing food prep late? Not doing it at all. I still had food from last week, so I didn't deviate from my plan, but it was really scraping the bottom of the barrel. Ugh. BUT... it's now done (as is the laundry, haha). And here are the pics to prove it ;-)

Bags - yes, I forgot my reusable bags. Ugh.

Pretty much all veggies, fruit and protein. I always get weird looks in the checkout line. You might also note that I took a few shortcuts this week... pre-boiled and shelled eggs, and rotisserie chickens. My motto is Do the Best You Can With What You Have...  This week, shortcuts are fine.  And yes - you do see wine in there ;-)
Lean pork drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with Mrs Dash. Roasted, sliced and bagged. Ready for anything: wraps, salads, etc.
Steamer bags of veggies: asparagus, green beans, peppers, zucchini. Each bag gets a serving of veggies and a sprinkle of Mrs Dash. I put the bags in a plastic bin in the fridge and they're "grab and go". 
Taco Meat! 1 lb ground chicken breast, 1 lb lean (and clean) chorizo mixed with black beans and sliced black olives. This goes great in low-carb tortillas, taco shells, taco salads, and more! Cooled, bagged and in the fridge ready and waiting for whatever we need.

Now, it's all put away. We're good to go. For dinner, we whipped out the taco meat I'd made earlier in the day and made wraps. Dinner done in 5 minutes? YES. ;-)
Low carb, high fiber wrap with taco mix, cabbage, lettuce, avocado, hot sauce, 1 Tbsp clean sour cream and 2 Tbsp shredded cheese.
And now I'm enjoying some TV and a glass of Pinot Noir. G'night, ya'll! ;-)


*If you'd like step-by-step instructions on utilizing a One Day Food Prep - check out my website! http://recipeforfitness.com/food_prep.html 

Champion Nutrition Recipe of the Week - Apple Pie Oatmeal Muffins

I don't know about you, but sometimes I grow bored with my daily bowl of protein oatmeal. Time to switch it up... Here's a super filling, dense, apple-pie muffin that is simply a bowl of oatmeal served a different way! PLUS... 17 grams of fiber. Full of muscle building protein, metabolism boosting carbs, and heart healthy fats - these muffins should be wearing a cape!

Chelle's Apple Pie Oatmeal Muffins
makes 3 muffins = 1 serving

INGREDIENTS
Filling:
1 large apple
dash of nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 packet Stevia
1/2 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp water

Muffin:
1/2 cup rolled oats
1.5 scoop Vanilla Protein Powder (I used Champion Nutrition's Pure Whey)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
*water

DIRECTIONS (see photos below)
Preheat oven to 350.
Spray muffin tin with cooking oil
Core, peel and dice apple.
In a medium bowl, mix apple pieces, 1 tsp cinnamon, dash of nutmeg, stevia, butter and vanilla. Add 3 Tbsp water and mix well. Microwave for 1 minute, stir, then cook 1 more minute. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix oats, protein powder, 1/4 tsp cinnamon and chia seed. Add enough water to make it pasty.
Using a spoon, line 3 muffin cups with oat mix, like a pie shell, reserving enough to top the muffins.
Divide the apple mixture between the 3 cups. Top with remaining oat mix, spreading over the apples.
Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes,  (tops of muffins will be glossy, but you can tap on them).
Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.
Using a spoon to loosen the sides, release muffins from tin.
Serve.

TIP: Be careful to not overbake these - the tops might look wet, but tap on them to check for doneness. If they bake too long they become rocks (oops, lol!).
ALTERNATIVE: mix together the oatmeal and apples and bake as apple muffins.

NUTRITION per serving (3 muffins): 586 calories, 43 grams protein, 61 grams carbohydrates, 19 grams fat, 17 grams fiber, 155 mg sodium. 44 grams net carbs.  33/33/32.

click on photos to view larger






Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Busy, Busy, Busy...

It's crazy busy around here. Spring arrived, then went into hiding, and is now peeking back out. Oy! We have finally (read: FINALLY AFTER 2+ FREAKING MONTHS) gotten the heater fixed at home - but now, wouldn't you know, the air conditioner doesn't work. It's not that we won't fix it - we lease. It's our landlord. And it's been incredibly frustrating - and uncomfortable. And yes, we are looking for a new place. Anywho...

My gym sessions are productive, and I'm increasingly sore (yay). My food is lean and clean, but I'm not able to finish every meal - just kinda pick at them, really. Working on that. Grief - it messes with your head.  Home life is packed, what-with all the wedding stuff (save the date cards arrived today!), plus high school stuff for the youngest, plus everyone's work schedules, etc. Ya'll know how it is.

In addition to work, home, and more work, I hinted previously that I'm working on something HUGE... I am. I'm nearly ready to share it! Hopefully Monday, from what I'm hearing. I CANNOT WAIT!!!  If you haven't noticed from some of my daily food photos, I'm one of those weirdos who works on her bed - the desk is too confining, lol. I like to spread out (and sit cross legged). Well - here's a peak of what my bed looks like while I'm working on this project for you...


Hahahaha - doesn't help, does it? Seriously, I am so incredibly excited about this! 


Woot!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Champion Nutrition Recipe of the Week - Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Roasted Red Pepper

I'm not one to choose bland food - I can eat it if I have to, but given the choice, I'll play with the recipe until I get something with flavor. And if it looks good, that's bonus points. I'm also not one to enjoy cooking twice for the same meal, so creating recipes that please my family and fit with my training diet is essential not only to my taste buds, but also to my sanity.

This Stuffed Chicken recipe hits all the notes. It's "cheesy", full of flavor, moist, and has a crunchy coating. And it's training friendly. And my non-training-diet-eating-family love it! (Oh - and Melanie? It's not spicy. wink-wink.). Best of all, it's super easy to put together and pounding the bajeebers out of the chicken breasts is highly therapeutic. ;-)  Enjoy!


Chelle's Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Roasted Red Pepper
serves 1 (increase the recipe as needed, the leftovers are great, too!)

INGREDIENTS
1 chicken breast, skinless, boneless, raw (about 6 oz)
1/2 a roasted red pepper*
2 slices Ultra Thin Provolone
2 Tbsp fat-free cream cheese
Mrs Dash Italian
1 tsp ground flax seed
Spray oil

*If you don't know how to roast a red pepper, pick up a jar of them from your local grocer. Be sure they're packed in water (not oil).

DIRECTIONS
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Spray a glass baking dish with oil.
  • Place trimmed chicken breast between two sheets of plastic wrap on a cutting board. Using a meat mallet (or whatever is handy), flatten the breast to about 1/4 inch thick. Remove plastic.
  • Spread cream cheese across the inside of the breast. 
  • Layer the two slices of ultra-thin cut provolone, then roasted red pepper. 
  • Sprinkle with Mrs Dash Italian Blend.
  • Beginning at the smallest end, roll the breast up, tucking the peppers in as needed. 
  • Secure roll with toothpicks.
  • Place chicken roll on baking sheet. 
  • Spray top of chicken with cooking oil, then sprinkle with the ground flax and more Mrs Dash.
  • Bake at 375 until cooked through (about 40 minutes) or until internal cooking thermometer shows done.
  • Serve.

NUTRITION
Per serving: 328 calories, 46 grams protein, 6 grams carbs, 11 grams fat, 2 grams fiber. 4 grams net carbs.

Click on images to view larger...

Monday, March 18, 2013

A fresh new week.

First - thank you so much to all of you who sent me comments, emails and posts about our loss. Truly, your words touched me and soothed. We're grieving, it's so difficult to accept that Nakki just isn't here anymore. But we know that just as we gave her a good and loving life, she gave so much back to us. We honor her place in our family while we suffer her passing.

While all this has been happening, life goes on.  Last week my youngest got her driver's license! The kind gal at the DMV handed her the brand new license and said to me, "Well Mom - you ready for this?"  I just looked at her then said, "Honey, she's the last of four. I have no nerves left."  Hahahaha.

I managed to get myself back on track. Mostly. I hit the gym, ate my food, drank my water. Not as much as is normal (for any of it), but all steps in the right direction. (This week, though my consistency in taking pictures is sucking, my food isn't - view my daily cooler here). Today's leg day left me carefully judging the distance of open ground I had to travel between the last machine and the cardio area. Yikes! Rubber legs!

Another new Yay - Champion Nutrition invited me to do local demos with Champion products! Wooohoo! I've been scheduling those and have April nearly full! I'm really excited for this opportunity, and proud that I've become someone Champion would choose to represent them. (This is where I insert - HARD WORK PAYS OFF - lol!).

Today I've been cramming work, work and work with food prep, laundry, and gym. And finalizing stuff for my latest news. My feverish little brain is jumping from one subject and program to another, lol. It's been a bit crazed, trying to get so much done in such a short amount of time. I hope I didn't put the chicken in the washing machine!

So.... what's the latest news, you ask? It's HUGE news, actually - and I can't wait to share it! Another couple days and I can. Trust me, though, it's so worth the wait!!! Woooohoooo!


Happy Monday!!!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

In Memory of Nakki

Many of you know that our family pet, Nakki, has been battling cancer. On Tuesday, her fight ended. While not wanting to subject her to full chemo (less than 50% survival rate), we did opt to try a different type of chemo, pills she was given once every three weeks. She did wonderfully on that therapy, even went into full remission. Then the day before Bill and I left for Ohio, we noticed her lymph nodes were swollen again. When we returned a few days later, she wasn't doing well. Not eating, not playing. We communicated regularly with her doctor, then I took her in for an appointment Tuesday at noon. Over the course of the previous 24 hours, she had gone from bad to worse. It was so fast. And so hard to watch.

I met with the vet, and we agreed that it was time. I took Nakki home, and Bill and the kids all gathered to visit with her for the last time. At 4pm, Bill, Shiloh and I took Nakki back to the vet's office, where they were ready for us. They were wonderful. We sat with her, held her as she passed. Leaving that office, leaving Nakki lying there, was one of the hardest things I've ever done.

We spent Tuesday night celebrating Nakki - sharing stories and looking at photos. We are all grieving. Nakki was a member of our family. Because we're a his and hers blended family, Bill and I always joked that the "ours" child was Nakki. Working from home since November, she's been part of nearly every moment of my day. It's really difficult - I look for her, listen for her, then remember she's gone. Bill came home yesterday from work and it was the first time in nearly 7 years she didn't meet him at the door, butt wagging. Shiloh and Bethany both say the house is too quiet. They're right.

Needless to say, my usual routines are shot right now. My cooler lies empty, I missed the gym Tuesday and Wednesday, and just to rub salt in the wound, woke up sick this morning - I've got chest congestion so once again, no gym. Hopefully tomorrow I can get in and at least lift, if not do cardio. I will get back on track. I'll be consistent again, but for now it's just doing what comes next. We're dog people, so we will have another pet, but with half the kids already moved out and on, and one more getting married this fall, leaving just one more who's fast-tracking graduation - we'll never have another family pet. Losing Nakki represents the end of an era for our family. She's missed. She was well-loved, and we have many wonderful memories of her. We cherish every moment we had and are grateful that she didn't suffer needlessly.








Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Guest Blog!! 5 Fun Treadmill Workouts for Weight Loss


Happy Wednesday! I'm very excited today to have a guest blogger! Woot! Jamey from Proform (one of the top fitness and exercise equipment manufacturers in the USA) has written a great article for us offering some fun twists to a treadmill workout. I myself am guilty of calling it the dreadmill (or satan's sidewalk), lol - and I have freely admitted that I am easily bored when doing cardio. These great tips are going on my Must Try list;-)  Think treadmills are only for runners? Ya'll know my injury/arthritis situation - I can't run - but using these same tips, I can modify using incline and speed. Give them a try and let me know what you think!
Chelle

5 Fun Treadmill Workouts For Weight Loss
Many people avoid treadmills, thinking that it can be boring to run in place. However, there are some treadmill workouts that can actually be quite fun. We're going to show you five ways to help you add to your mix of indoor runs. These techniques will engage your body, as well as your brain.

5 Fun Workouts for Treadmill Users

Follow these five treadmill tips to maximize your weight loss results, while spicing up your workout time:

1) Pull a Card

Here's a really cool card game to keep you engaged while you workout on your treadmill:
·         Get yourself four blank index cards. Write one of these terms on each card: walk, jog, run fast, run.
·         Place all of them in one envelope, and place it on the control panel of the treadmill.
·         Do a simple one mile warmup, then pull out one of the cards.
·         Perform the exercise on the card for about 5-minutes.

2) Total-Body Routine

This workout has great benefits for the stomach, legs and arms. It combines strength training with cardio. This 35-minute circuit requires weights between 3-5 pounds.
·         Take a light 5-minute jog for a quick warm up.
·         Get off of the treadmill and complete 15 pushups.
·         Return to your treadmill and do a 1-minute run.
·         Increase your speed on the treadmill by about one-mph, and complete a 30-second sprint.
·         Repeat the intervals above, in order, 3-times.

3) Treadmill Ladder Workout

This is a classic routine. Your interval lengths are increased gradually, as opposed to intervals of equal-lengths. Let's begin:
·         Warm up on your treadmill for 1-mile.
·         Increase your speed on the treadmill for 2-minutes.
·         Decrease your speed for 3-minutes. This is your recovery period.
·         Increase your speed for 4-minutes.
·         Decrease your speed for 5-minutes for recovery.
·         Increase your speed for 6-minutes.
·         Decrease your speed for 7-minutes for recovery.
·         Continue the intervals, or start from step one again.

TV Workout

Your television can be a good distraction during your treadmill workout. Not only can it help the time pass, the programming can help you structure your routine. Try this workout during a half-hour program:
·         When your show begins, climb on your treadmill and run hard.
·         As soon as the commercial comes on, decrease your speed.
·         Continue this pattern until the show goes off.
* Note: This workout can also be done using music. Simple, run hard for one whole song. Then, decrease your speed during the next song.

Dumbbell Workout

This treadmill workout routine is perfect for people who have very little time to dedicate to exercising.
  • Get your hands on a pair of dumbbells (up to five pounds).
  • Walk on the treadmill as you perform biceps. Lower and raise your arms with every step.
  • Hold the dumbbells up so that their aligned with your shoulders. The palms of your hands should be facing forward.
  • Stretch your arms up over your head.
  • Return your arms to the starting position.
  • Repeat this 10 times.
Author Bio
This content was written by Jamey Hardin. Jamey creates content for Proform, an industry leader in treadmills and ellipticals. Click here to find the right treadmill for your weight loss program.



Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Champion Nutrition Recipe of the Week - Steak & Bleu Cheese Flatbreads

While at the Arnold Sports Festival a couple weeks ago (has it already been that long?) I enjoyed an amazing flatbread at Gordon Biersch our last night. It was soooo good! And so high in sodium that my fingers were swollen before we even left the table! Yikes! While it was very tasty, I knew I could do better ;-) And let me toot my own horn here - I did. Oh yes. I most certainly did. This awesome muscle fuel tastes like a cheat! 

Chelle's Steak, Mushroom & Bleu Cheese Flatbreadsserves 1

INGREDIENTS
3 oz grilled lean steak (like london broil or flank steak)
1/2 cup baby spinach, raw
1/2 cup sliced brown (baby bella) mushrooms
2 Tbsp crumbled bleu cheese
1 Tbsp light bleu cheese dressing
4 flatbread crackers (see TIP below recipe)

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Line cookie sheet with foil.
Slice cooked steak into thin strips or pieces.
Place mushrooms in a small microwave safe bowl with 1 Tbsp water and cook 30 seconds.
Roll Spinach into a bunch and slice into ribbons.
Place crackers on foil lined baking sheet and spread each with 1/4 Tbsp of dressing.
Divide spinach and mushrooms between the crackers.
Top with steak.
Sprinkle each with bleu cheese.
Bake at 450 for 3 minutes or until cheese is melted and slightly bubbly.
Serve.


NUTRITION per serving: 331 calories, 26 grams protein, 26 grams carbs, 13 grams fat, 3 grams fiber. 23 grams net carbs.
per cracker: 83 calories, 6 grams protein, 7 grams carbs, 3 grams fat, 1 gram fiber. 6 grams net carbs.




Tip: search for the most natural flatbread cracker you can find - read the ingredients, not just the macros on the nutrition label. Look for low sodium, low sugar, and per your needs - low carb. I used the Open Nature brand from Safeway. Alternatively, you can use a sandwich thin, lavosh, pita, or if you need zero carb - you can make this into a wrap with an egg white crepe (simply pour your egg whites into a hot pan, spreading into a thin circle, then flip when nearly cooked through).

Monday, March 11, 2013

What'cha Reading?

When asked to describe myself, one of the first words is always "reader". I read. Voraciously. I own more books than I can count. More than can fit in my house (to my husband's dismay). I am a bibliophile, and I am not ashamed. I read fast, too. Super fast. I inhale books. And I read them over and over (and over) again. My taste in books is incredibly eclectic - something I'm proud of and for which I thank my also-passionate-about-books Mom (Victoria Holt is still my all time favorite!). This eclecticism has raised many an eyebrow of visitors who peruse my book titles (and those are just the ones I have displayed, lol).

Reading has always been my escape - a vacation in moments. If I only have 5 minutes, I'll use them to read. It's like meditation- it relaxes me, even just a few minutes will lower my stress level immensely. I love it.

A few years back, I got hooked on the Twilight series and The Host by Stephanie Meyer (books, people - I said the books, NOT the movies, lol). My daughter (who's now planning a wedding) turned me onto them - they were the first books she actually read willingly, so of course, I had to see why. Hooked. From there, I started tapping into what my youngest daughter was reading (enter Hunger Games).

Though I still have my favorite fiction authors (JD Robb / Nora Roberts, Kay Hooper, Iris Johansen, Mariah Stewart, Maggie Shayne, etc), and I also devour non-fiction, particularly recipes and health  & fitness titles, and other special interest (and I won't even bring up how many magazines I have - because they must ALL be kept) - lately I've really gotten into the Young Adult genre. And I've discovered some really great authors who write with incredible depth and skill.

Due to my lack of space (and a desire to spend less money) I've been reading iBooks on my iPod. Didn't think I could let go of the security of the printed page, but I can - and I enjoy it. That little device is a lot lighter than a hardback ;-)  And I read anywhere and everywhere - waiting in a parking lot, waiting in a doctor's office (or hospital), airport, mall, restaurants... seriously - have reads, will travel.

Here are some of the terrific YA (young adult) authors I've read this year (yeah, I said this year - told ya' I read fast!).

Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins (re-read them again, and will repeat just in time for the 2nd film!)
Divergent series by Veronica Roth (can't wait for book 3!!)
Fairest by Chanda Hahn (I've got 4 of her books and can't wait for more!)
The Mind Game series by Lori Brighton
Bound series by CK Bryant
Hex Hall series by Rachel Hawkins
The Grey Wolves series by Quinn Loftis
Destroy Me series by Tehereh Mafi
The Eden Trilogy by Keary Taylor

In Adult fiction, here are some more recent reads...
Anything and everything by Molly Harper, Michelle Rowan, HP Mallory, Shanna Swendson, and Juliet Blackwell. JD Robb (can I be Eve Dallas when I grow up? Really, I would like to be that badass - just sayin'.) and Nora Roberts new releases, plus those of my other favorites.

I did mention that I read alot - and fast - right? ;-)  

So... what'cha reading? Who else should I add to my repertoire?

More bookshelves, please ;-)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Need a Giggle?

So... Do you need a giggle? Let me share something with you...
You might not know this.
It might come as a shock.
Are you ready?
Sitting down?
Here goes...

I am a dork.

I know. It's a stunner, right? ;-)

After 40-something years (FINE, 42.5), my dorkiness is not going to change. I did not outgrow it, it will not fade. It is me. I embrace it. I name it George (no, really - I have a George in my head - just ask Tabitha!). ;-) Want some  proof that I'm a dweeb? Check out these blog posts. Go ahead, laugh. I'm used to it.


I slipped on a banana peel
I was bitten by a duck
I talk to my car
I always talk to my car
I am a danger in yoga      
I am really a danger in yoga       
No, really, I AM A DANGER in yoga
There is a Star Wars reference for everything.
I am sneaky and engage in creative parenting
I write poetry to clothing
I fall for purses (it's toward the end, and refers to this: BEASTS )
I lose battles with showers
I also lose battles with my mattress
Ummmm, and with my pool

And finally... at my mature age and sensibilities, I have finally learned to dance like no one is watching - even when someone is recording it and posting it to Facebook ;-)
Tosca and Chelle Booogie Woogie 

Laughter, folks. It's an under-rated gift of joy.

Where in the world is your....

It's contest time, folks!! Woot!! Tosca Reno and the Eat Clean Diet are giving away a prize package from Raw Elements - and all you have to do to enter, is send a photo! It's that easy!

With Spring Break just around the corner, many of us are traveling, some of us are not, but we ALL go places where we can carry a book. I'm known for having two things with me at all times - my packed cooler full of clean eats, and something to read. I'm flitting from work to gym to doctor appointments to vet appointments to school meetings to... Ya'll know the drill - we're busy! 

Whether you're taking a much appreciated break this Spring or just carrying on per usual - grab your copy of Tosca's Just The Rules, grab a few minutes of relaxation (and learn how it IS possible to Eat Clean on the Go!), and snap a pic! 

Don't have the book? Pick one up at your local book store, or download the digital version from the iTunes store! Here's the link.

Read on for contest details...


Where in the World is Your JTR?

The perfectly pocket-sized Just the Rules makes it easy to keep things Clean on the go – and we want to see where you’ll be taking your copy this spring break. Send us a photo of you with your copy of Just the Rules no matter where you are (whether it’s Guam or the grocery store) and tell us how you’re using it to keep your spring break Clean. You could win a Basic Kit from Raw Elements!



Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Champion Nutrition Recipe of the Week - TREAT!! Chocolate Cloud Pie

After a fabulous weekend at The Arnold Sports Festival 2013 - it was time to relax a bit. All the hard work done, the dieting, the workouts, the cardio - time to take a brief rest before diving back in. After meeting my awesome sponsor, Mike at Champion Nutrition, and discovering he's got a bit of a sweet tooth ;-) it seemed like a great time to share this recipe. It's not mine, though I made a few tweaks including omitting the crust - who needs a crust when you're dealing with some serious chocolate?

And just in case you don't think you have room for a treat? Check out the nutrition on this bad girl... per serving: 102 calories, 3 grams protein, 5 grams carbs, 7 grams fat, 57 mg sodium, 3 grams sugar, 2 grams fiber. 3 grams Net Carbs.  UNBELIEVABLE!

shown with crust - but trust me, you don't need it.
Chocolate Cloud Pie

The original recipe was by Silvana, tweaked by Elana (www.ElanasPantry.com) and further tweaked by yours truly ;-)
Makes 16 servings


INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips 73% cacao
6 eggs, separated
1 tablespoon agave nectar
¼ teaspoon sea salt


DIRECTIONS

• In a small pot, melt chocolate over very low heat; remove from heat
• In a medium bowl, beat egg yolks with agave for 1 minute with a hand blender
• In a large bowl, beat egg whites with a handheld blender until stiff peaks form
• Stir egg yolk mixture into pot of warm chocolate
• Mix chocolate and yolks until combined; mixture will be slightly thickened, shiny and beautiful
• Stir salt into chocolate mixture
• Fold egg whites into chocolate mixture
• Refrigerate for 3 hours
• Serve


NUTRITION
per serving: 102 calories, 3 grams protein, 5 grams carbs, 7 grams fat, 57 mg sodium, 3 grams sugar, 2 grams fiber. 3 grams Net Carbs.


Original can be found here: http://www.elanaspantry.com/silvanas-mousse-cloud-pie/

Monday, March 4, 2013

Back from the Arnold! Wooohoo!!!!

Wow! What an amazing weekend!!! It was so exciting!!! Thank you to everyone who came by the Eat Clean Diet / Oxygen Magazine booth to say hi!!!! It was GREAT to meet ya'll in person!

Ok... so let's break it down ;-)  Bill and I flew out of Phoenix Thursday evening. I had my cooler packed and was ready! We arrived at the airport, and checked a couple bags, then headed to security. Evidently they've never seen protein shots before ;-)  I had two in a baggie (they're 3 oz each), and they raised some eyebrows. The TSA agent really wasn't sure what to make of me. I had baggies of protein powder, baggies of protein powder, oatmeal, cinnamon and chia mixed, baggies of sliced red pepper, baggies of chicken, mini cucumbers, mini condiment containers of peanut butter, bags of celery, apples, rice cakes, and about a gazillion NoGii bars. And my protein shots. Which they took outside and ran through the big bomb scanner. LOL.

So once I had my cooler packed again and my shoes on, we parked ourselves at our gate. The hubby hit up Paradise Bakery for dinner, while I whipped out my "travel salad". Yes, I was quite comfy, lol.

We spent the flight watching movies and tv shows on the iPad, and munching on my clean eats. We checked in and crashed.  The next morning, I used the coffee maker to prep my oatmeal...

Then we headed to the booth! SOOOOO much fun! It's such a great energy when so many of us are together. ECD Family - it truly felt like it.  It was so good to see Tosca, Kiersten, Rachel, Tracey, Allison, Jill, and Meredith again - plus meet new friends - Amy, Stacy, Marilyn, Fatima, Chelsea... I know I'm missing tons of amazing ECD, Oxygen, ECD, REPS, Muscle-Mag folks. It was GREAT! Everyone was so nice and it felt so good to hear so many great success stories and see so many others in progress.

Tosca has so much energy! Which was good because she talked with, took pictures with, and signed a ton of autographs for an astonishing number of people! It's awesome to see how many lives she's changed - and to know that in some small way, I'm a part of that. It's truly an honor to be an ECD Ambassador. I love it!

Friday night, the ECD Team headed out for a beautiful dinner - the waitresses face was hysterical when everyone ordered the salmon, hahaha.

Amy captured one of our fun moments on video... truly - we had a blast! As you can see ;-)
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=341898132581217
Click here to watch FB video

Tosca, Bill (my hubby), and me :-)

Saturday and Sunday were packed full of amazing people, books, magazines and crazy crowds! The hubby would meet me at the booth during my breaks and we'd (try to) wander the expo - but it was largely so packed there was simply no movement down the aisles!

We did make it to the Champion Nutrition booth and I finally got to meet my amazing sponsor in person! :-) And... Lee Banks and Skye Taylor and Sherri Gray! So much Fun!!!
The amazing Lee Banks!

Skye Taylor - absolutely gorgeous!!

Here he is! Mike Carrubba - my Champion sponsor! 
I got an awesome wrist band to go with my IAAC band (remember this?) - here's a pic:
Champion Nutrition - Rise Above!

More highlights from the weekend - I met the beautiful Sarah Huggins! She has such an amazing story, and a sweet spirit! So good to meet her face to face! You can follow her blog here: http://www.lovemyhealthylifestyle.com/   

I also got to meet Keri Keenan of the Figure Girl World blog which has provided me with more encouragement and inspiration over the last few years than I can say! I love how honest she is about training and competing and I've looked up to her and respect her so much. It was a crazy surreal moment to see her at the ECD booth this weekend! Wow! So cool :-) My phone was dead (yeesh!), but she took a pic and sent to me. Here's her blog... http://www.figuregirlworld.com/


I also don't have a photo yet, but I got to spend some time (not enough!) with Don and Melanie! What fun that was!!! So good to catch up and so very exciting to see a glimpse of what's in store for them! Enjoy retirement, Don!!! Melanie - I'm so excited to see what comes next for you!! And I'm working on that non-spicy recipe, just for you! ;-)

Dr. Frederick Hatfield - co-founder and president of ISSA
I also came home with some fabulous stuff from House of Pain Clothing - incredibly comfy!!!  Here's me in the tank and sweats  - top is all rolled up showing off my non-competition hard work, lol ;-) Yeah, I'm that goofy. But you gotta remember, that prior to this last summer, I've never been able to see a flat tummy (all that loose skin, blah!), so I've been known to take a few silly pics just 'cuz I can. hahaha. Shoulda put my hand on my hip, lol, looks a little awkward. :-)

The hubby also bought me an awesome present - ya'll know me and my cooler... well, he got me a 6-pack!! I'm so excited!!! Unfortunately, they didn't have enough at the show, so I won't get it until they get more in (booo). But, here's what he bought me (thank you Bill!!!!!): http://www.sixpackbags.com/bags/innovator-300-black.html

So... FOOD. Let's talk travel food. I told you already what I packed to take with. Once we were out there, I snacked on all that (I had requested a refrigerator in the room), plus hard boiled eggs, drank tons of water. Bill had all the same snacky foods I'd packed plus he had beef jerky (I avoided it due to the sodium). Dinner the first night was out with the ECD Team - salmon with steamed arugula and carrots, and we snacked on calamari, meatball, olives and I enjoyed an Amaretto Sour. Saturday dinner, the hubby and I went to Gordon Biersch where I snaked a couple of his garlic fries (ahhhh!) and I ordered chicken breast and veggies (huge surprise, right?). It started snowing, so Bill and I had our first walk in the snow together ;-)

Sunday, though, all bets were off! LOL, kidding. Once the show was done, I could relax with my diet just a bit - for dinner I enjoyed a flatbread steak & mushroom with bleu cheese - OMG - it was sooo good! And I had a latte - which I regretted this morning when my gut said, "dairy??? what's this dairy????". Lol. Tonight, back home, I ordered tacos ;-) but they messed up and gave me soft tacos - so I just scraped out the meat and veggies and tossed the tortillas. Not that there's anything wrong with tortillas, necessarily  it's just that I've got to ease back into "normal" food. Tomorrow I'll do my grocery shopping and food prep - I'll be increasing my calories, but my macros will probably stay the same. I need to decide the next steps in my goal (build muscle and hit the stage 2014).

Tonight my daughter came in and asked for one of my carefully hoarded Samoas (lol) - then said, Mom - why haven't you had any of these yet? I said, I did - I had one this afternoon.  "Mom - seriously? No one eats just one samoa. What's wrong with you?"  Hahahaha. ;-)

And here we are. I'm home, relaxing. I'm looking back on an incredible weekend with amazing people - it's such an honor to serve Tosca and The Eat Clean Diet as an Ambassador. I've been touched and changed by the stories I heard, the wonderful people I met. I was thrilled to meet my Champion Nutrition sponsor and some of the inspiring athletes that represent Champion. Truly an unforgettable weekend. I'm recharged and inspired! Now I'm looking forward to the next leg of my journey, and I'm excited!

Woooooohoooo!!!!