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

Image may contain: food

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!

Healthier thin mint cookies

THIN MINT COOKIES-WITH ALMOND FLOUR

These are a healthier version of a “thin mint” cookie.

INGREDIENTS:

Cookies:

  • 1 cup of almond flour
  • 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder- or 2 tbls cocao powder
  • 1 tablespoon of sweetner- coconut sugar, maple syrup or honey
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons of butter or coconut oil
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp mint extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Pinch of salt

Chocolate coating:

  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • ¼ cup of dark chocolate
  • ¼  tsp mint or peppermint extract

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine almond flour, sweetener, butter, protein powder, baking soda, salt, extracts, and egg in a bowl. If the dough is a little crumbly add a little almond milk. Refrigerate dough for about 10-15 minutes.
  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll the dough into balls and flatten them out with your fingers. Bake for 11-13 minutes.
  1. Melt the coconut oil and chocolate in microwave for a minute. Add mint extract.
  1. Pour or dip the cooled cookies into the chocolate. Store in freezer or in fridge.

Why I don’t “deserve” it

  WHY I DON’T “ DESERVE” IT

I used to tell myself that I needed or deserved “comfort food” it was typically dessert-ice cream, cake or chocolate that I wanted. We experience different emotions or reasons that we crave certain foods,whether it’s a  special occasion, feeling sad, depressed, happy, bored etc. You may have heard some upsetting news or it just might be the weekend. Unfortunately we associate food with social events as well. I however was reluctant to eat around others in fear of being judged.I used to wait until nobody was around so I could eat alone.

Let’s face it It’s mostly an excuse when we think we deserve or give ourselves permission to eat something. I’m not saying we can’t indulge or enjoy things once in a while, however it becomes a problem when we attach our eating to emotions. It happens more than you may think or you might not realize that you even do it yourself. It’s important to acknowledge when you are eating and why.

Some strategies that I use to help control cravings and emotional eating:

  1. RECOGNIZE WHEN & WHY YOU ARE EATING: do you tell yourself that you “deserve it” because you had a long week or the kids stressed you out today? I remind myself that I don’t need to reward myself with food. Replace it with something else you enjoy. Accept that you can allow yourself with a treat but not because you deserve it.
  2. RESEARCH THE NUTRITION FACTS: be aware of what you are about to eat. Check out how much sugar, the amount of carbs, and what kind of ingredients it contains. Most restaurants have nutritional info online. Check out that cookie or mac and cheese label before you make a decision.
  3. I TALK MYSELF OUT OF IT: I know this sounds easier than done. It takes lots of practice and some self control. I have to ask myself do I really need this or want it? I recently had a craving for pizza, I took a few minutes until I literally made myself walk away and resist it.
  4. WILL I REGRET IT & IS IT WORTH IT: I put my goals first, I am maintaining my weight now and do not want to go back to my “heavier” self. This takes motivation and sometimes eating the ice cream isn’t worth the extra calories.
  5. I THINK ABOUT THE LAST TIME I INDULGED: I often remember the last time I gave in or indulged in a specific item. Normally it was not as good as I thought it would be. This deters me from caving again. I also recall how I felt afterwards, physically and/or emotionally.
  6. I STILL AM ACCOUNTABLE: it helps me to reach out or tell someone else that I am considering eating or not eating. Having that person makes me feel better after acknowledging it.
  7. HAVE TO REMEMBER THAT I DON’T EAT LIKE THAT ANYMORE: I have worked way too hard to give into temptations.  

Lemon pudding

LEMON PUDDING

Image result for trader joes ricaotta

This is an easy satisfying snack or dessert, and low in sugar! One container of the lemon ganache is 8 carbs and 5 sugars. Also have a chocolate option, although a little higher in sugars.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup of ricotta cheese
  • 1 Lemon ganache
  • Mini chocolate chips- optional

DIRECTIONS:

Combine all ingredients together and enjoy! Store in fridge.