Healthier hot chocolate-peppermint

  HEALTHIER PEPPERMINT HOT CHOCOLATE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 ½ cups of almond milk or coconut milk
  • 1-2 tablespoons of cocoa or chocolate protein powder
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • ½ tsp cinnamon 
  • ½ tsp of peppermint extract- optional
  • 1 tablespoon of heavy cream and/or full fat coconut milk-optional
  • Can add a ½ tsp of tumeric-optional
  • Crushed organic candy cane pieces/ whip cream for topping

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat almond milk on stove top on low, add extracts and cocoa and stir until warm. Add toppings!

Cauliflower stuffing

  CAULIFLOWER STUFFING

If you’re still looking for a low carb side dish- this turned out great!
INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 chicken sausage links- cut up into small pieces
  • Head of cauliflower- cut up
  • ½-1 cup of chicken stock
  • 4 stalks of celery- chopped 
  • ½ small onion-chopped
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 tablespoon of sage
  • 1 tablespoon of rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon of thyme
  • Parmesan cheese-optional for topping

I used all fresh herbs but a poultry seasoning will work as well.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roast cauliflower for approximately 20 minutes. 
  2. In a skillet add tsp of butter and saute the celery, onion, and sausage. 
  3. Add cooked cauliflower as well as the broth or stock to the skillet and combine. Add fresh herbs for the last minute of cooking and remove from heat. 
  4. Transfer into a baking dish. Top with cheese if you would like and heat in oven until browned.

Peppermint cookies-with almond flour

       
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INGREDIENTS:
⦁ 1/3 cup of butter
⦁ 1/4 cup of coconut palm sugar
⦁ 3 eggs
⦁ 2 teaspoons vanilla
⦁ 1/2 tsp mint extract
⦁ 1/2 tsp almond extract
⦁ ½ teaspoon baking soda
⦁ 2 ¼ cup almond flour
⦁ dark chocolate chunks & coconut oil for melting over top
⦁ 1 scoop of protein powder-optional
⦁ Crushed up candy cane, I used organic ones I bought from Wegmans
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, and sugar. Add the eggs and extracts.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine baking soda, salt, almond flour. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the creamed ingredients 1 cup at a time. Refrigerate for 30 minutes for best results.
  3. Roll the cookies into balls and sprinkle candy cane pieces in dough and on top.
  4. Bake cookies about 9-10 minutes. You can also make cut outs if you prefer!
  5. melt chocolate with coconut oil and drizzle on top if you wish.

Chocolate dipped cannoli balls

CHOCOLATE DIPPED CANNOLI BALLS

INGREDIENTS:
½ cup of ricotta cheese
¼ cup cream cheese
1 scoop of vanilla protein powder- or sweetener of choice. Can substitute 2-3 tablespoons of coconut sugar, honey, maple syrup, or monk fruit
1-2 tsp of vanilla
1 tsp almond extract and 1 tsp orange extract-optional
Almond milk to thin
Mini chocolate chips
Dark chocolate pieces for melting- I use at least 85-90% cocoa

You can also make a cherry cannoli version by adding cut up cherries into the dough.

DIRECTIONS:
Combine all ingredients except for the chocolate and chips. You can use a hand mixer if you prefer. Add mini chips. Refrigerate until the consistency is hard enough to roll into balls. Place in freezer.

Melt dark chocolate, dip the balls into the chocolate and return back to the freezer.

  • another option is to make these in “cannoli pop” form. After you roll them into balls, place a sucker stick into each ball and place in freezer.

Cheddar Chicken, broccoli, & cauliflower rice casserole.

             CHEDDAR CHICKEN, BROCCOLI, & CAULIFLOWER RICE CASSEROLE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 chicken breasts ( or rotisserie chicken for simplicity) 
  • 1 bag of riced cauliflower- I prefer trader Joe’s organic
  • 1 bag broccoli
  • 1-2 cups of chicken broth
  • ½ cup of cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup of cream cheese
  • Organic bacon pieces for topping
  • 3 tablespoons of nutritional yeast- optional but it gives it a “cheesy sauce” taste. It also has great benefits including vitamin B12
  • Spray for pan

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Spray a large pan or wok. Cook chicken until no longer pink. Microwave the riced cauliflower and squeeze all excess water out-  a “nut bag” works the best or cheesecloth.
  1. Cook broccoli in the microwave for about 3 minutes. 
  1. Add broccoli, cauliflower rice, cream cheese, broth, cheese, and nutritional yeast  and stir together. Cook on medium for a few minutes until combined and melted. Put into 9 x 13 baking dish and top with crumbled bacon.
  1. Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes on 350 degrees. 

Spaghetti squash fritters

SPAGHETTI SQUASH FRITTERS

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INGREDIENTS:
-1 large spaghetti squash
-1 egg
-1 tsp garlic
– 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese or shredded cheese of your choice. I tried it with cheddar as well!
– additional spices-optional

DIRECTIONS:
1. Cut squash lengthwise and scoop out seeds. It’s easier to cut if you pierce it and microwave it for 2 minutes first.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place squash upside down on parchment paper lined 9×13 dish.

3. Cook until tender and squash pulls apart with a fork, approximately 35 minutes.

4. Let cool and scoop out flesh into a mixing bowl. I highly recommend a “ nut bag” to squeeze all excess water from squash. A cheesecloth will work too but it’s a very important step!

5. Add egg, cheese, and spices to squash.

6. Form into patties and cook them in a sprayed pan until browned on both sides.

Why consistency was ( is ) the key to my long term weight loss

  HOW CONSISTENCY WAS (IS) MY KEY TO LONG TERM WEIGHT LOSS

SUCCESS IS NOT WHAT WE DO ONCE IN A WHILE, IT’S WHAT WE DO CONSISTENTLY.

Being CONSISTENT means you behave in the same way over time and you have the same attitude towards something to achieve success.

HOW CONSISTENCY WORKED FOR ME:

  1. I STARTED PERFORMING SMALL TASKS ONE DAY AT A TIME: It was about developing habits. I was dedicated to  exercising for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, along with cutting my food portions, even if it was just one thing a day. 

         When you start creating new habits it may not make a huge impact today, next week, or even months from now. However over extended time you accelerate your momentum and start noticing differences!

*Imagine you exercised just 30-45 minutes a day for 5 days a week- or burned 300 calories a day. It could be as simple as walking for 40 minutes.

That would equal to burning 1500 calories a week=6000 calories burned in a month. That could be a loss of half a pound a week, 2 pounds a month, or 24 pounds in a year!

*Now imagine you regularly snacked on a bag of chips or had a fancy coffee drink- or consumed  just an extra 300 calories a day.

2. I REALIZED MY HEALTH WAS NOT OPTIONAL! It wasn’t necessarily that I was super unhealthy but I had high blood pressure and slightly elevated cholesterol, not to mention all the extra weight on my joints. It was probably only going to get worse if I didn’t lose weight and start taking care of myself. I admit that in the beginning I tried different diets that did not work long term. Consistency was what finally made me realize that this was my health and I couldn’t keep starting over!

That would = 1500 calories a week=6000 calories a month. Which would be a gain of half a pound a week, 2 pounds a month or 24 in a year. The choice is yours.


3. I COULDN’T EXPECT IMMEDIATE RESULTS: We all want instant gratification. This is one of my biggest obstacles when working with clients. It’s difficult to  keep them motivated and progressing long term. For me it was focusing on getting my 30 minutes of exercise everyday, whether is was walking or doing a video. There were many times I squeezed it in early in the morning or at lunch. It did not come easy to pass by  Burger King at times but it was important that I FOCUSED on that moment only! It’s much easier to choose what’s easiest, fun, or convenient however that’s not what got me to where I am today. I would ask myself “ How did I get this way?

4. REPETITION, REPETITION, REPETITION!:  If you repeat or do the same thing over and over again you will be successful.

Like other aspects of your life~ what if you…

*consistently study hard~ you will do well in school and obtain a degree

* consistently go to bed at a regular time~ you will feel rested and alert

*consistently prepare & plan meals~ you won’t be tempted to get take out or go through the drive thru.

If you want faster results then extreme consistent action is required. By repeating a task you gain feedback from these actions and adjust to them to help you stay on track.


5. I WORKED HARD 80% OF THE TIME:  It was difficult to stay focused 100% of the time, there were times when I indulged in ice cream or just didn’t have time to workout .I was not perfect but I always had my end goal in sight. Most of us struggle with consistency because we live for short term success, if we don’t get immediate results from our actions we don’t see the point in continuing.

One day you will look back in awe on where it all began in disbelief at the progress you have made! 🙂

Chocolate chip pumpkin bars

           CHOCOLATE CHIP PUMPKIN BARS

INGREDIENTS:

  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1 scoop of protein powder- optional
  • ½ cup of pumpkin
  • 1 mini avocado ( about ¼ cup mashed)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • ½ cup coconut milk-full fat
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 1 ½ cups of almond flour
  • Chocolate chips or dark chocolate chunks

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper or spray. 
  2. Cream the butter and sugar, add the remaining wet ingredients.
  3. Mix together the baking soda, spices, and almond flour.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well with a hand mixer.
  5. Stir in the chocolate of your choice and pour batter into dish. Bake approximately 20-25 minutes. Toothpick should come out clean.

Pepperoni chicken roll ups

PEPPERONI CHICKEN ROLL UPS

So Yes I might have broiled these a bit too long, however that’s how I prefer them! They’re a simple appetizer to make.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Sandwich pepperoni- I used nitrate free
  • Cooked (or Grilled) chicken slices, you could also substitute with organic deli turkey
  • Cheese slices, I used mozzarella
  • Sliced red, orange, or yellow peppers

You honestly can use any veggie or any cheese that you prefer.

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Place slices of the pepperoni onto a baking dish lined with parchment paper.
  2. Place a slice of chicken, a pepper, and slice of cheese onto each pepperoni.
  3. Roll them up or fold them and close with a toothpick.
  4. Broil in oven for about 5 minutes or desired cooking time. You can also eat them cold if you prefer.

Cold zucchini salad

COLD ZUCCHINI SALAD

This is a great salad to bring to your next picnic or summer BBQ. It’s a healthier alternative to a pasta salad.

INGREDIENTS:

⦁ 2 zucchini’s
⦁ Chopped cucumber
⦁ Chopped olives
⦁ Cherry tomatoes
⦁ Green and/or red peppers
⦁ Dressing of choice-Italian works well, I used a Trader Joe’s in this particular salad
⦁ Pepper to taste, optional- McCormick salad seasoning
⦁ Feta cheese, parmesan, or cheddar
There are so many variations you can include in your own creation.

DIRECTIONS:
⦁ Peel and spiralize your zucchini. Combine all ingredients together. Enjoy!