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!

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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!)

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4 Day Cleanse

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Happy Monday friends! I hope you’re ready to kick Monday in the rear and keep that positive momentum going throughout the week. Buds are budding, flowers blooming, and warm weather on the horizon. Spring is the perfect time to cleanse your body, mind, and spirit. So to honor myself and rid it of the toxins I’ve likely accumulated from the long winter, I’m doing a 4-day kick-start cleanse.

I’ve done this cleanse before, and will tell you exactly how to do it and where to find more information so you can always have this effective method of healthy eating at your fingertips. It’s gentle, and fantastic for beginners or those who have never tried a cleanse before. Disclaimer: you WILL be hungry. But if you space out the allotted foods throughout the day and drink a massive amount of water, you’ll do great and 4 days will go by in a flash.

Credit: I found this cleanse in a book by Dr. Ian Smith (you may remember him from the TV show Celebrity Fit Club) called The 4 Day Diet. He calls it the “Induction Phase” in his book, which you can find on Amazon or at your local bookstore. The first time I tried this cleanse, I lost 8 pounds in 4 days and felt brand new. It really works if you follow it precisely. This time, I will be making some slight modifications, and will let you know the result of those adjustments and whether it’s as effective.
4daydiet

DAY 1
-2 cups of coffee. Limit sugar to 1 packet and cream or milk to 1 tsp per cup
-2 cups of raw or cooked green leafy vegetables (i.e. spinach, kale, collard greens, Swiss chard)
-1 cup of freshly squeezed lemonade with no more than 1 tbsp sugar
-1 tbsp psyllium husk powder*
-4 servings of fruit (1 apple, 1 banana, ½ cup berries all count as 1 serving)
-One 6-oz low-fat or fat-free yogurt
-1 medium-size green salad (about 2 cups – veggies only) with 3 tbsp low-fat dressing
-1 cup of cooked beans (chickpeas, lentils, etc.)
-1 ½ cup of cooked brown rice (measured after cooking)
Unlimited water or seltzer. Be sure to drink 1 cup before each meal
Exercise – 40 minutes of cardio (can break up if needed with a 20 min session in am and 20 min session in pm)

DAY 2
-2 cups coffee
-2 scrambled eggs or egg whites (can add ¼ cup veggies if you want)
-1 cup of freshly squeezed juice (I substitute Naked juice I got at the grocery store since I don’t have a fancy juicer…sad face)
-3 servings of fruit
-1 large-size (3 cups) green garden salad with 3 tbsp low-fat dressing
-2 cups of green leafy vegetables
-1 cup of vegetable juice from the cooked vegetables
-1 cup of cooked brown rice
Exercise – 40 minutes of cardio

DAY 3
-2 cups of coffee
-One 6-oz low-fat or fat-free yogurt
-3 servings of fruit
-2 cups of green leafy vegetables
-1 cup of freshly squeezed lemonade
-1 tbsp psyllium powder
-1 medium-size green garden salad with 3 tbsp low-fat dressing
-1 cup of cooked beans, chickpeas, lentils, etc
-1 cup cabbage soup**
-Unlimited water or seltzer. Drink one cup before each meal.
Exercise – 40 minutes of cardio

DAY 4
Unlimited fruit of any kind
-1 cup of green tea or regular tea
-1 large-size (3 cups) green garden salad; add garlic, and 3 oz. of walnuts, cashews, almonds, or sunflower seeds; also 3 tbsp low-fat dressing
-1 cup of freshly squeezed carrot juice (can substitute pear, apple, or orange juice)
-1 tbsp psyllium husk powder
-2 cups of cooked brown rice
-1 cup of cabbage soup**
-2 servings of cooked or raw vegetables
Unlimited water or seltzer.
Exercise – Rest Day

*Psyllium husk powder can be found at Vitamin Shoppe. It can be mixed with water or lemonade. I recommend trying to get psyllium-enriched cereal instead. I believe Whole Foods carries it. I personally hate the powder version, it can kind of be difficult to get down just because of the texture. But it definitely works and is known to mop up and remove toxins in the body.
**Cabbage Soup:
1 tbsp oil 3 medium carrots, sliced
2 medium onions, diced 1 ham hock (can omit if vegetarian)
1 medium green cabbage, shredded 3 tbsp wine vinegar
1 ¼ quart chicken broth ½ tsp sage
3 small potatoes, cubed ½ tsp thyme
In a large pot, heat the oil and cook the onions until softened. Add the cabbage and cook, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Add the chicken broth, potatoes, carrots, ham hock, vinegar, sage, and thyme. Cover and simmer for 50 minutes. Remove from heat and add salt and pepper as desired.

So there you have it. The 4-Day Cleanse. I will let you know how it goes…wish me luck!!

Bubblegum Smoothie Recipe

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So, this was one of those happy accidents…you know, where you throw most of what you have in the fridge directly into your blender and see what happens? Yeah, well it turned out amazing. Just like that chewy, fun confection that reminds us of our carefree childhood: bubblegum!

Ingredients:

-1 cherry-flavored Chobani greek yogurt
-3/4 c. frozen strawberries
-1 cup fresh diced pineapple
-a few fresh blueberries
-1 1/2 ripe bananas
-1 scoop Herbalife french vanilla healthy meal shake (or any vanilla protein powder you like)
-About a cup of orange juice
-Handful of baby greens (or spinach)

Blend to desired consistency and enjoy!

*There are no rules when it comes to smoothies – that’s one of the many things I love about them! So add what you have and adjust to your taste. Smoothies are tailored to you, so create the flavors that excite you.

xoxo Steph

Perfect Pumpkin Soup Recipe

Perfect Pumpkin Soup Recipe

There’s something undeniably satisfying about soup, particularly in the cold-weather months (which we have many of here in CT). Soup warms the soul. This pumpkin soup is so uplifting, even the vibrant orange color makes me happy. I love soup because it fills the belly at a low calorie cost.

The health benefits of this soup are innumerable. Pumpkin is a fantastic source of fiber and Vitamin C. It also has loads of Potassium (more than bananas, surprisingly) and contains the cancer-preventing antioxidant beta-carotene. Carotenoids are free-radical neutralizers which may prevent wrinkles, so for that reason alone, I’m sold on pumpkin.

Curry powder has its own special health benefits as well. This soup does not have an overwhelming curry scent or taste, if you’re not fond of it. So try it! Curry helps control blood sugar, has cancer-preventive benefits, may help lower cholesterol, and has detoxifying effects.

So without further ado:

Perfect Pumpkin Soup Recipe

Ingredients:
-1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced (white button work great, baby bella as well)
-1/2 cup chopped onion
-2 tablespoons butter or margarine
-2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
-1/2 to 1 teaspoon curry powder
-3 cups vegetable broth (I’ve made this with chicken broth as well and that works too)
-1 15-oz can solid-pack pumpkin
-1 12-oz can evaporated milk
-2 tablespoons honey
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1/4 teaspoon pepper
-1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

In a large pot over medium heat, saute the mushrooms and onion in butter until tender. Stir in the flour and curry powder and blend well. Cook for a couple minutes to get rid of that raw flour taste. Slowly add in all the broth. Bring to a boil, cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Add in the pumpkin, milk, honey, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Heat through. Makes 7 servings. You can garnish this with sour cream and chives if you feel so inclined, I usually skip the garnish because it’s fabulous on its own!

If you’re wondering, the honey does not make it sweet, it just has this perfect balance of flavors. Even my brothers (meat-and-potato kind of eaters) love this soup. It’s a crowd pleaser, is great to entertain with, and makes excellent leftovers.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!

xo Steph