4-Ingredient Protein Pancakes

Benefits of this recipe: pancakes. Protein. Four ingredients. Need I say more???

You know how most blogs make you scroll down for like 5 minutes until you get to the actual recipe? Not this blog. You’re welcome.

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp. Whey protein powder (vanilla, or get creative! I used pumpkin spice protein)

1 banana, ripe (not overripe, that will make pancakes mushier)

2 eggs (medium or large)

1/8 tsp. Baking soda

Optional: cinnamon, vanilla extract

Directions:

Mash banana & eggs together with a fork. Mix in protein powder & baking soda until smooth consistency.

Heat frying pan over medium-high heat. Add pasteurized butter (like Kerry Gold) and when it’s sizzling, add your batter to pan.

Cook on one side until the edges start turning more opaque. Flip, cook for another 2-3 minutes. That’s it!

I topped w pure maple syrup, but you could add peanut butter, almond butter, whatever you have. Get creative!

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Maca Chai Smoothie

I’ve started incorporating Maca powder into my routine since my hormones seem to be all over the place. Maca is touted as being able to potentially balance hormones, support hormone production, and result in some crazy-sweet benefits, like easing PMS & Menopause, aiding in fertility issues, reversing hypothyroidism, and improving libido (bow chicka wow-wow!). The taste takes some getting used to, but I found a chai-flavored one at Whole Foods that I like (see photo below).

Ingredients:

1.5 cups coconut milk or almond milk

1 sliced frozen banana

1 Tbsp. Almond butter

1/2 tsp. Vanilla extract

1 tsp. Maca boost (see product pic below)

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in blender & blend to desired consistency. Pour in a glass & drink (it’s more fun with a straw)!

P.S. Here is the Maca powder I used (I got it from Whole Foods):

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4-Ingredient Almond Butter Cups


These seriously give me life. If you are following a ketogenic diet plan, these are also known as “fat bombs.” They’re filled with healthy fat & are super yummy! This is how I satisfy my sweet tooth on the reg y’all. Without any guilt or bloating or inflammation. Heck yes, I’ll take it!

Ingredients:

4 Tbsp Coconut Oil

4 Tbsp Chocolate protein powder** (your choice, I used Shakeology bc that’s what I had!)

6-8 tsp. almond butter (or other nut butter of your choice)

3 Tbsp. unsweetened shredded coconut (Optional)

Directions:

1. Place all ingredients (except shredded coconut) in Pyrex glass measuring cup or other microwave-safe dish. (You can also heat this on low heat on stove). The reason I suggest a Pyrex measuring cup is because it has a spouted edge to pour from. Otherwise this might get messy. 😉

2. Microwave or heat until coconut oil is melted. Mix everything together until smooth. Stir in shredded coconut.

3. Pour into mini baking cups (I found cute wrappers at Whole Foods) & place in fridge or freezer to harden.

Note: coconut oil is soft/liquid at room temperature. These need to be kept in the fridge or freezer until ready to eat. Another tip: I placed the mini muffin wrappers inside a muffin pan in case I accidentally over-poured.

**also, if the protein powder you used isn’t sweet enough for your taste, add a couple drops of liquid stevia.

Enjoy!  Subscribe below to receive updates when I post other amazing, simple, healthy recipes or other fitness & lifestyle tips!

Nutmeal

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Ingredients:

1/4 c. cashews (whole, not roasted or salted)

1/4 c. pecans

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

2 Tbsp. flax seeds (I used coarsely ground)

1 egg

1/2 c. unsweetened almond or coconut milk

1 Tbsp. almond butter

celtic sea salt, “real” salt, or pink Himalayan salt, to taste (just a dash)

Instructions:

1. Blend nuts, spices, & flax seeds in blender until coarse texture.

2. In a pot, whisk your milk & egg together. Then add nut mixture & almond butter.

3. Cook over medium heat, stirring, for about 4-5 minutes or until desired consistency.

4. Top with berries, granola, shredded coconut, more cinnamon, whatever! 🙂

Enjoy!  And for more healthy, easy recipes, fitness & wellness tips, and more, enter your name & email address below! 🙂

Creamy Chipotle Dressing

Ever since I made this recipe from Dora’s Table, I’ve been in love. It is addictive, it’s easy to make, it’s raw vegan, and it goes well on (almost) everything.

Use it as a sauce mixed with pasta. Use it as a salad dressing on top of greens, avocado, red onion, cucumber, and cilantro. Drool.

1/2 cup raw almonds

1/4 cup unsweetened plain almond milk

1 Chipotle in adobo sauce

1 clove garlic

3/4 cup water

1/2 cup canned fire-roasted tomatoes (I used Muir glen)

1 tbsp. Fresh lemon juice

Himalayan pink salt or sea salt to taste

Blend all ingredients in high-speed blender (I use my Vitamix) and enjoy. I find this keeps well in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

Enjoy!  And subscribe below to get email updates when I post amazing, healthy, easy recipes and other fitness/wellness tips!

5 Easy Habits to Get Healthier Now

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Tongue scraping

This is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that Western medicine is beginning to acknowledge as productive to oral health. Did you know that a coating of residue (including toxins and yucky bacteria) on the tongue is what leads to bad breath? You may have learned to brush your tongue, but I have bad news for you. All that does is push the bacteria around. Tongue scraping eliminates it. Getting rid of the coating on the tongue also leads to greater sensitivity of the taste buds; meaning, your food will be tastier. Wouldn’t it be nice to be satisfied with less food? Less food = less unnecessary weight on the body. We all know this. The process of tongue scraping is so quick and simple, there’s really no excuse to not do it. You simply take each end of the tongue scraper in your hands, start at the back of the tongue, and add gentle pressure, scraping from back to front, rinsing in between. Repeat about 5 times. I’m telling you, your mouth will feel cleaner. You can buy a tongue scraper here.

 

 

Switch to Whole Foods

 

No, I don’t necessarily mean the grocery store. You don’t have to drive to another town to find a Whole Foods market. A whole food means a food that is in its complete form, with no additions. Ingredients: 1. An apple is a whole food. A carrot is a whole food. An almond is a whole food. I like what author Michael Pollan says: “eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” What he’s saying is, avoid stuff with a million ingredients. Actually, more than 5 ingredients and you’re going down a road leading to nothing good. If this is too difficult for you, at least start reading the Ingredients on your box o’ food, and avoid anything with the words “hydrogenated”, “palm oil”, “carrageenan”, “maltodextrin”, and “aspartame”. That’s a solid place to start.

 

 

Drink Organic, Fair Trade Coffee (ditch the K-cups)

 

If you’re like most Americans, you drink coffee. If you’re like me, you have a slight obsession that borders on unhealthy. Nevertheless, we’re not here to judge. Coffee is delicious. However, I encourage you to do the environment a favor and stop using the disposable K-cups in your Keurig. I’m not saying to throw out your Keurig…that would be wasteful. Instead, buy a couple reusable, refillable little cups. Buy a bag of high quality, organic coffee. You’ll find that the coffee will last a lot longer, you’ll save money, and you’ll feel good about helping the planet. You can buy some on Amazon here.

Better yet, get yourself a French press.  You’ll feel like a badass, and the coffee honestly does taste better.  I got this adorable one that I take to work with me – it’s enough for one cup (there are larger ones as well).  Check it out here.

 

Begin a Daily Gratitude Practice

 

Get a cute little journal. Find 5 minutes to yourself either in the early morning or before bed. Grab a cozy spot, a cup of tea, and light a candle. Create a sacred space, and get to writing. Write what you’re grateful for. If you’re having a difficult time and grasping at straws, start with something very basic and primal. “I’m grateful for shelter and warmth”, might be a nice a place to begin, particularly if you live in New England like me, where the winters are bitter cold. “I’m grateful that my body carries me through the day and moves me from place to place.” It might seem silly, but it has been shown that gratitude and joy are directly correlated. This is no coincidence. The more we acknowledge all that we have, the more satisfied and fulfilled we can feel.

 

Incorporate Yoga into your Life

 

If you’re a seasoned yoga, or know the basics, try to fit 30 minutes in a day. No need to go to a yoga class, or pop in a DVD. Just roll out your mat and flow through 10 sun salutations, surya namaskar A (see photo below for instructions). If you have no clue what I’m talking about, click the menu at the top of this website and go to “private yoga instruction”, and schedule a session with me (if you live in CT). Even if you don’t live nearby, feel free to email me and I’ll give you some personal recommendations. So, 10 sun salutations, followed by 10 dirgha breaths, followed by 10 minutes of nadi shodhana, and finally, 5 minutes of meditating on the breath.

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Sat Nam,

Steph xo

Boyfriend-Approved Cauliflower Crust Pizza

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I have absolutely nothing against Paula Deen. However, I was skeptical when I found this recipe. A Paula Deen recipe with no…*gulp*…butter?? Healthy, even? It’s true. And I have to tell you…this Cauliflower Crust Pizza is the chiz (for lack of a better adjective). It’s easy to make, too. Also, I’d totally promote it as an arm workout, if you switch arms halfway through grating the cauliflower.

Anyway, just try it when you get a chance. It won’t disappoint.

Ingredients

Nonstick cooking spray
2 1/2 cups grated cauliflower (approx. half a large head)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Pizza sauce of your choice
More cheese and your favorite pizza toppings (I like black olives, peppers, mushrooms, and spinach)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a pizza pan with parchment paper.

Grate the cauliflower with a box grater until you have 2 1/2 cups. Place in large bowl and microwave for 7-8 minutes. Remove and let cool.

Once cool, mix in the beaten egg, mozzarella, Parmesan, and salt and pepper. Once combined, press into a pizza pan. Spray lightly with nonstick spray and bake for 10-15 minutes until golden.

Top the pizza with sauce and your favorite toppings. Bake in the oven for another 10 minutes or so, until bubbly and beautiful. Enjoy!

Tofu Pad Thai

So, several years ago I attempted making homemade Pad Thai. Let’s just say, it wasn’t so great, and my brother has never let me live it down.

I finally made it again using a recipe I found on the PETA website, and it. Is. Phenomenal.

1 10-oz. package rice noodles or ramen-style noodles
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, whole
1 package extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into chunks
4 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. peanut butter (I used Teddy’s Super Chunky)
Juice of 2 limes
3 Tbsp. sugar (or less)
Sriracha, to taste
Sliced green onions, for garnish
Chopped peanuts, for garnish

· Cook noodles according to package instructions.
· In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the garlic cloves and tofu chunks. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce over the tofu and sauté until golden brown.
· In a small bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, lime juice, sugar, Sriracha, remaining soy sauce, and 1 cup of water.
· Add the cooked noodles and peanut butter mixture to the tofu and cook through, about 5 minutes.
· Garnish with sliced green onions and chopped peanuts and serve right away. Enjoy!

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How I Stay Fit

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A friend I grew up with, a gorgeous young mother, asked me today if I have any other workout regimen other than yoga, and how do I stay fit. This opened up a can of worms, at least in my own mind 😉 To answer that question: I mostly practice yoga and walk our 2 doggies for exercise. A jog once in awhile is a nice supplement, but that’s pretty much my cocktail of exercise right there – yoga and walking.

So, I decided it might be helpful to provide a list of tips that I use for maintaining balance and a healthy lifestyle, without restricting myself. Disclaimer: this is by no means a comprehensive list! But I’ll throw out some ideas that help me find balance, and add more in future posts as they become available to my memory (haha).

Keep an abundance of healthy foods in the house.
This may seem self-explanatory. But if you allow yourself to become ravished, chances are you’re going to go for the quick and convenient, which often means fatty, sugary, salty snacks. I always have oatmeal, eggs, yogurt, fresh fruit, peanut butter, carrots, apples, and more on hand in my house so that I have the opportunity to fill up on healthy stuff. Alternately, and this is important, do not keep crummy foods in the house! By crummy foods I mean processed gunk. Packaged cookies, cakes, and snacks are typically a no-no in my house. Just check the ingredients. If there are many ingredients you can’t pronounce, or high-fructose corn syrup, or trans fats, chuck ’em. Or don’t buy them in the first place. If you have a sweet tooth, try making oatmeal with bananas, cinnamon, and some pure maple syrup. Another favorite of mine are smoothies! Or make your own dessert from scratch. Pinterest has tons of amazing recipes for healthy desserts made with pumpkin, applesauce, greek yogurt, black beans, etc. Give them a whirl!

Use Cinnamon.
I don’t know how I missed the boat on this for so long, but cinnamon is truly a miracle spice. Cinnamon is my new bestie. I put it on EVERYTHING. Well okay, maybe not everything. But truthfully, I use it in my coffee, chai or spiced tea, on cereal, oatmeal, rice cakes topped with peanut butter & banana, apple slices, you name it. It is so warming and comforting. It tastes delicious. And I haven’t even told you about the benefits yet. It has been known to stabilize blood sugar and reduce sugar cravings, and may be effective in treating Type 2 Diabetes by lowering blood sugar. It can be a remedy for headaches and migraines. In Ayurveda, it is believed to aid in proper digestion. It fights E.coli and inhibits bacterial growth, which means it’s a preservative. Honey and cinnamon together are said to alleviate arthritis pain. Simply the scent of cinnamon can boost memory and cognitive function. Isn’t that unbelieveable?! I know, I really nerd out when it comes to nutrition. But seriously. Start using cinnamon.

Eat Mindfully.
This is one of my favorite practices, and quite frankly it’s probably the most potent for stabilizing weight and staying fit. Most of us have busy lifestyles, I totally get that. But eating without paying attention to our food is wreaking havoc. I invite you to at least try mindful eating once. Maybe start on a weekend morning when you can actually sit and enjoy breakfast. Begin by sitting with a long, tall spine. Posture is important. Next, observe the food in front of you. Really look at it – colors, textures, elements. Where did the food come from? Did you prepare it yourself? Think about where the fruit/vegetables/eggs came from. Are they local? Think about all the effort it took to get this food to your plate, from cultivation to transportation, to you buying it, chopping it, etc. Now smell your food. Really take in the scents wafting into your nostrils. What feelings do these scents evoke? And now taste your food. Chew it slowly. Take sips of water or juice in between bites. Be with your food and the experience of eating it. Give thanks. This is a simple practice of mindful eating. It makes such a difference to eat this way, than to gobble our food down…sometimes not even remembering what we consumed. A consistent practice of mindful eating will naturally allow you to eat less, and actually be more satisfied.

Nix Liquid Calories.
The primary beverage we drink should be water. And a lot of it. Like, more than you thought possible. Our bodies need and want it desperately. If you hate water, try flavored seltzer. There are some pretty delicious flavors out there…black cherry is my personal favorite. If you need to have beverages with calories, let that be a special treat. Like a cup of hot cider or chai in the fall, hot cocoa in the winter, an occasional glass of wine, a freshly-made margarita with only tequila, lime, and triple sec (sour mix is the sugar devil!), or whatever your poison is. Just let it be in moderation. (Hmmm, where have I heard that before?) Seriously though. I like beer, trust me. It takes awhile to wean off. But now I can have one beer and be truly satisfied.

Well my friends, that’s all for now (this post is getting quite lengthy). I do have many more ideas and practical ways to stay healthy and balanced, I’ll post more soon!

Namaste, Jai Bhagwan, Om Shanti –

Steph
xo  (P.S. for more fit tips and to follow my journey/be in the journey together, enter your email address below – thank you!)

Mission: YOGA

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Soon I’ll be going off on an adventure. What type of adventure, you may wonder? Well, I’m chasing my dreams. They’ve been beckoning me for some time now. In a mere month, I’ll be living and learning at the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts. I’ll leave my hometown behind for awhile, as well as my corporate job (hopefully forever), to pursue what my spirit wants and what the world needs. This 200-hr program for my yoga teaching certification will be intense. From 6:30 am to 9:00 pm, 6 days a week, I will be quite literally living and breathing yoga.

Embarking on something like this ignites passion in my heart, and inspires me to draw on all my faculties to soak in all the knowledge and wisdom I can. As I draw more and more inward to prepare for this experience, I continue to consider my personal values and mission.

Completing the application for entrance into Kripalu’s Yoga Teacher Training program required much self-reflection and deep thought into why I want to pursue this path. I wanted to share some of my answers to the questions on the application. These will help me in the future, as I compose my vision and mission statements for a studio one day.

Why do you want to be certified as a yoga teacher at this time in your life?

There is a great deal of suffering in the world, and in our communities. I’ve witnessed the transformative power of yoga, and its ability to create a sense of peace, understanding, compassion, and love in people of all walks of life. If I could offer a small piece of solace through yoga practice, and a safe space for people to gather and feel welcomed and accepted, that would be an invaluable life skill to me. I would be living a life of true purpose and meaning, and helping people on a level where they could empower themselves, and find comfort in the deepest part of themselves that perhaps they didn’t even know existed.

I’d like to help others let go of perfectionism, quiet their inner critic, and feel able to live as they were intended – free of anxiety and discomfort. And when they are feeling anxiety, discomfort, depression, and anger, they should be able to use yoga to validate these feelings and perhaps be able to let them go.

When I walk through the hallway of the insurance office I work for, I’ve observed that many people hang their heads low, struggling to make eye contact, or smile, or say “hello.” These people can benefit from yoga. Almost anyone can. If I can offer the gift of potentially guiding someone to find peace in themselves, easing their tension and anxiety, that is awareness I’d like to create for people. Manifesting the peace that is within us, bringing it to the surface, and sharing it with others contributes to an outpouring of kindness in our communities that I hope to see more of.

How do you plan to apply your yoga skills to your life and work?

I’ve always had the innate desire to reach people in a healing sense. Ever since I was a little girl, I struggled with an anxiety that I didn’t understand. As a result, I was shy, awkward, and just felt different, or somehow separate. I want to help people understand that what makes us different is what makes us beautiful.

I suffered from an eating disorder as a teenager and received outpatient treatment; in the rehabilitation center I attended, I met many wonderful, talented, lovely, spirited young women who unfortunately buckled under the pressure of society’s skewed standards of beauty. It was heart-wrenching to be surrounded by these young ladies (and gentlemen) who to me, were gorgeous inside and out, but weren’t able to see it through their own eyes or hearts. I’m grateful for that experience, because a deeper sense of compassion was born out of it. It became my mission to help people find their beauty and truly accept themselves and be kind to their bodies.

Yoga fosters self-love. Yoga helps us cultivate understanding, patience, poise, and presence (among innumerable other benefits). It is a powerful tool that largely contributes to self-actualization, and gently leads us to becoming the best version of ourselves. Applying yoga skills to life and work comes naturally when we nurture a lifestyle of devotion and dedication to practice. The application of yoga comes through our countenance and in the way we carry ourselves, the way we communicate with family members, coworkers, strangers; it changes our perspective on daily life, allowing us to let go of trivial issues and focus on the bigger picture.

Om Shanti

Namaste.

xo Steph

This Morning

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This morning as I drove to the office, I felt opposing forces at work inside me. A certain magnetism pulled me to the place I report to in order to receive a paycheck. The need for money is as unfortunate as it is pertinent. I felt a familiar sadness wash over me, as I realized I wouldn’t be seeing my love, my boyfriend John, for the next 5 days (we now have opposite work schedules and no longer see each other during the week), and that my life right now is dictated by a job that has, in my mind, no meaning.

The other magnet pulling me was activated by a delicious thought of a lazy drive through the Connecticut country – Litchfield county, to be accurate. Nothing but me, the road, some great tunes, open air, and a steamy, rich, coffee. This thought freed my mind and senses, and the dark melancholy looming over me loosened up and drifted off on the waves of newfound positivity. My want to step off the treadmill and explore my own unchartered terrain is incredibly strong, as is my inherent need to live actively, and in nature. This morning is something divine, as patches of sunlight dance on the emerald leaves, and the all the dewy fields on my commute to work glisten, and look so inviting.

To leave the morning outside in all its glory and enter the world of gray cubicles seemed sinful. Even my car was reluctant as it rolled into its parking space. I paused after turning off the engine, and gazed out over the lawn in front of me. I imagined myself in Warrior pose out in the field – solid, grounded, unwavering. I smiled to myself at the passing thought; it was a comforting moment with just me and my conscious mind.

I took a breath in, sipping it in through my nostrils in the same way I would during my yoga practice. Although the uncomfortable knowledge of the stressful and tedious day ahead felt intimidating, I gathered up the same strength that I feel in Warrior. Using that same quiet confidence and renewed energy, I stepped into the office, ready to face an army.

My Monday Mantra: Live Like a Warrior.
Namaste.

xo Steph