Happy 4th of July!

Just wanted to pop in and wish you all a Happy 4th of July!!  

Mike and I are heading to my mom’s house on the Cape for the long weekend.  I’m hoping our plans include lots of beach time, relaxing in the evenings (well as much ‘relaxing’ as you can with 12 people + a dog + a cat under 1 roof ;)) and enjoying my families annual Lobster Fest on Saturday night.  

As for food + drinks, I’m planning on whipping up this festive cocktail for everyone:

mocktail

Ingredients:

Champagne or sparkling water (I used La Croix’s coconut flavored sparkling water for my mocktail above)
Pomegranate or cranberry juice (optional)
Blueberries
Strawberries
Star-shaped iced cubes

red white blue mocktail

And making these delicious looking brownie, marshmallow, fruit kabobs for dessert!

4th of July dessert

Hope you all have a happy + healthy holiday weekend! :)

_ _ _ _

PS if you’re looking for some more red, white + blue ideas, just check out my fun & festive Memorial Day blog post!

Peanut Butter Banana Fudgesicles!

Good morning!  

Well it’s Wednesday which means it’s time to talk FOOD.  Here’s this weeks ‘What I Ate Wednesday Monday’:

WIAW

Breakfast: I woke up starvingggg so I made a big bowl of GoLean cereal, grape-nuts cereal and blueberries with a cup of coffee on the side.   I followed it up with a few slices of Entenmann’s Raspberry Danish Twist…   Ahhh so good!  

Lunch: A tuna melt on whole wheat bread + a granny smith apple.

Afternoon snack:  Multiple bowls of Boom Chicka Pop…  I couldn’t stop eating it {thankfully it’s really low in calories so eating half the bag isn’t too bad} :) 

Dinner:  A cobb salad with mixed lettuce, tomatoes, shredded carrots, corn, hard boiled egg, feta cheese, grilled chicken and low-fat ranch dressing.  I also ate a bunch of Wheat Thins while making dinner {not pictured}.

Dessert:  2 home-made Peanut Butter Banana Fudgsicles!  

_ _ _ _

Let’s talk about that ‘dessert’ mentioned above….

How have I never thought of turning a smoothie into a popsicle or fudgesicle?!  

Through-out my pregnancy I’ve been craving sweets at night and I either have a healthy{ish} popsicle or multiple pieces of chocolates {and then promise myself I’m done eating crap and will eat better the next day}.  It finally occurred to me that I can easily make my own fudgesicles by using all healthy ingredients I already have in my kitchen.  Plus, by adding protein powder + peanut butter I can make the pops more filling and prevent any late night hunger pains.

peanut butter banana fudgesicle

Ingredients*

2 medium, ripe bananas

1 1/2 cups almond milk 

1/4 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened

1/4 cup all-natural peanut butter (or any nut butter)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon honey 

2 scoops protein powder (optional)

Directions

Add ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth & creamy.  Pour into popsicle molds and freeze for 5-6 hours.  To remove the fudgesicle from the mold, run warm water over the outside for about 15 seconds then gently twist.  Enjoy!

*Btw I’m pretty sure you can turn just about any smoothie recipe into a popsicle or fudgesicle so feel free to experiment with the ingredients!

Ta-Daaaaa!

I love that I now have a super easy, ‘go-to’ dessert I can eat without feeling guilty!! :)  

_ _ _ _

Do you always end the night with something sweet?  

What’s your ‘go-to’ dessert?

_ _ _ _

**Don’t forget to head over to Peas and Crayons to see what everyone else ate today!**

WIAWbutton

Week 23 + My Favorite ‘Healthy’ Desserts!

(I swear I wear more than just gym clothes! :) I take these weekly pic’s on Saturday mornings which is also a workout day for me…  )

How far along: 23 weeks and 2 days

Baby Size: A bunch of grapes – or about a foot tall and 1 1/4 lbs.

Total weight gain: 13-14 lbs

Maternity clothes: Yup, wearing a comfy pair of Gap maternity active pants in the picture above.

Sleep: Sleep is good….  not as many potty breaks.

Best moment this week: Mike and I had a Date Night last Friday which involved a trip to Babies R Us to register (wow, such an overwhelming experience!) and dinner out. :)

Miss anything: Booze & a hard, sweaty run!

Food cravings: Lots of sweets – fruits, chocolate, ice cream….  see below for more details. :)

Food aversions: Nope, nothing really.

Movement: Yes, finally!!! I’ve been feeling lots of flutters!

Pregnancy symptoms: I’m tired but feeling pretty good overall.

Gender: Girl

What I am looking forward to: Saturday! I have a prenatal yoga class in the morning and meeting up with my gf’s later in the day!

_ _ _ _ 

My Favorite ‘Healthy’ Desserts

As mentioned in every pregnancy update, I’ve been craving sweets like craaaazzzyyy.  So in an effort to avoid the more sugary, high calorie desserts, I’ve been sticking with healthier yet delicious, alternatives!  Here are a few of my favorites:

1. – Yasso – Frozen Greek Yogurt Bars:  My favorite is the ‘Peanut Butter Cup’ flavor (which is only 130 calories and 6g of protein) but they also have dark chocolate raspberry, chocolate fudge, sea salt caramel, coconut and blueberry!

2. – Stonyfield – Dark Chocolate Frozen Yogurt Bars

3. – Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding: Which is so easy to make!  Just mix together 2 tablespoons chia seeds, 1/2 cup almond milk and 1 tablespoon cocoa in a small bowl and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.  Add honey for a little sweetness and top with chopped strawberries.  Yummmm!

4. – 4 Ingredient Cookie

5. – A bowl of strawberries + dark chocolate chips

6. – Skinny Cow – Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream Bars

7. – Greek yogurt, granola + dark chocolate chips

8. – Ben & Jerry’s – Greek Frozen Yogurt: I especially love the tasty ‘Blueberry Vanilla Graham’ flavor.

9. – Dark Chocolate Almonds: Since these are so addictive, I have to count out 1 portion size and put the rest away (or I give them to my coworkers to hide from me.  Hey, you gotta do, whatcha gotta do ;))

 _ _ _ _ 

What are your favorite healthier desserts?  
What are you craving lately?

 

A Healthy, Delicious 4 Ingredient Cookie!

Happy Friday!

As you know, I’ve had a crazy sweet tooth during this pregnancy and eating a lot more candy/cookies/chocolate/cadbury eggs than I’d like.  So in an effort to cut back on the crap, I decided to make some cookies which are not only good for you (yep, you heard that right!) but they’re also incredibly easy to make and they taste amazzzzinggg.  I followed the Tone It Up’s ‘3 Ingredient Cookie’ recipe and also added dark chocolate chips to the mix since obviously chocolate makes everything better.

I’m so excited that I have a healthy, chocolate-y, easy treat to bake whenever a craving takes over!

4 Ingredient Cookies 

(from the awesome Tone It Up! blog)

Ingredients

2 medium ripe bananas
1 cup oatmeal
1 scoop Perfect Fit Protein Powder (or you could use any protein powder)
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
(Optional ingredients: crushed walnuts, raisins, dried cranberries, peanut butter chips, coconut flakes, almond slivers, etc.)

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.

2. Mash the bananas in a medium size bowl with a fork.  Add the protein powder and depending on how ripe the bananas are, you may need to add a few drops of almond milk or water to make the right consistency.  Lastly, mix in the oats and dark chocolate chips.

3. Drop the cookie dough onto a non-stick cookie sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

And that’s it!  So simple, right? 

_ _ _ _ 

And here are 6 more delicious, healthy(ish) desserts that should definitely be included on our to-do-lists this weekend:

1. – Spring Rainbow Yogurt Tartlets, 2. – Skinny Peanut Butter Granola Bites, 3. – Carrot Cake Cookies

4. – Chia Seed Peanut Butter Cookies, 5. – Honey Yogurt Berry Pops, 6.  Healthy Samoas Girl Scout Cookies

 

St. Patty’s Day Chocolate Mint Brownies!

You guys ready to make some not-so-healthy but amazingly delicious brownies?!  Seriously, this recipe will have your friends, family, coworkers, etc. all begging for more!  I usually bake these treats for my husband’s office and for the holiday parties around Christmas time but they’re also perfect for a St. Patrick’s Day celebration!

Here’s my mom’s famous Chocolate Mint Brownie recipe:

Ingredients

For the brownie base:

  • 4 squares melted chocolate (Bakers unsweetened)
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the mint filling:

  • 4 cups confectioner’s sugar (1 lb box)
  • 8 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint flavoring
  • 4 tablespoon sour cream
  • 3-4 drops green food coloring

For the top chocolate layer:

  • 4 squares melted chocolate (Bakers unsweetened)
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter 

Directions

1. Preheat oven 350°F.  Spray a 9 x 13″ pan with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Combine the ingredients for the brownie base in a large bowl and mix together.  Pour the batter into the greased pan and bake for 25-30 minutes (bake less if you’re using a glass pan).  Once brownies are done, set them aside to cool completely (about 1 hour).

3. In a large bowl, combine the ingredients for the mint filling and beat with an electric mixer until smooth.  Spread evenly over the chilled brownies and refrigerate (about 30-60 minutes).

4. Add the ingredients for the top chocolate layer in a small microwavable bowl.  Microwave until the butter and chocolate are melted and then stir until the mixture is smooth.  

5. Pour the chocolate over the mint layer and smooth it out with a butter knife.  Refrigerate for about an hour or until the coating hardens (when the top layer appears more dull than shiny).  Cut the brownies into little 1 or 2″ squares (tip: wet the knife for easier/cleaner cutting) and store them covered in the refrigerator. 

Enjoy!

**P.S. I know these directions are a little complicated but it’s soooo worth it in the end!  The trickiest part is the timing between each layer and when to cut the brownies.  If you cut them too soon, then the knife sticks to the top chocolate layer but if you wait too long (which I usually do) then the brownies crack and break when you cut them.  So practice makes perfect when it comes to making these brownies. Good luck! :)

_ _ _ _

Looking for more St. Patty’s Day recipes?  You should head over to this fun blog for the lucky (recipe) linkup!

Healthy? No. Delicious? YES!

I’m talking about Peanut Butter Oreo Brownie Cupcakes!  Wow, so freakin’ good! 

My friend, Jacki is a genius and made these the other day.  Chocolate & peanut butter is the best combination everrrr.  Obsessed.

Directions: Spread peanut butter on an oreo and top it with another oreo.  Place it in a lined muffin tin, pour brownie batter on top, and bake at 350 degrees for about 18-20 minutes.  I only did one layer of peanut butter but you can also add peanut butter on the top oreo if you want.  Such as this yummy one that I had the other day:

 Have a great night, everyone! :)

Healthy{ish} Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

So I did it; I came up with a healthier version of my beloved peanut butter cookie.  I attempted to make theses cookies the other night but they came up tasting and feeling like rocks.  Gross.  So I tweaked a couple of items and now I have a “go to” healthy afternoon snack.  Don’t get me wrong, these aren’t as delicious as a real peanut butter cookie but they are filling, sweet, and they hit the spot! 

So how are they healthy{ish}? 

Peanut butter = protein, protein, protein

Chia seeds = a powerful superfood!  They’re high in omega-3 acids, high in antioxidants, packed with vitamins, and are super filling

Old-fashioned oats = contain fiber, vitamins, and help lower cholesterol

Banana = full of fiber, potassium, B6, and a bunch of other things I’m forgetting…

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp ground chia seeds
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 banana, mashed (add 1 additional egg if you don’t have a banana)
  • 1 egg, 1 egg white
  • 3 Tbsp butter, softened (I used “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, Light“)
  • 1 cup natural creamy peanut butter or any nut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Optional: dark chocolate chips….   I’ll probably add these to my next batch. :D

Directions

1) Preheat the oven to 350.  Lightly spray baking sheet with oil or cover with parchment paper.

2) In a medium bowl, mix the oats, flour, baking soda and chia seeds.  Set aside.

3) In a large bowl, combine the light brown sugar, banana, eggs, butter, peanut butter, and vanilla extract.  Beat with an electric mixer at a low-speed until light and creamy.  Add oat mixture; beat until blended.

4) Shape dough into rounded tablespoon balls and place on baking sheet 2 inches apart.  Lightly flattened each ball with a fork.

6) Bake 10-12 minutes or until light golden brown.  Let cool and enjoy!

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Do you ever substitute a banana instead of an egg while baking? 

I think it actually tastes much better with a lil’ banana flavor….  :D

Do you have any healthy substitutes?

Dark Chocolate & Almond Butter Frozen Yogurt!

Do you guys realize how freakin’ good greek yogurt tastes when it’s frozen?!  Well surprise surprise it tastes JUST.LIKE.FROZEN.YOGURT!  Guess I should have figured that out sooner.  But better late than never, right?  I saw this amazing recipe the other day and wanted to make something similar but also include my loves: chocolate & almond butter.

Dark Chocolate & Almond Butter Frozen Yogurt

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain non-fat greek yogurt (or you could use vanilla flavored greek yogurt and not add the vanilla extract)
  • 1-2 tablespoons almond butter or peanut butter
  • roughly 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • a little cocoa powder*
  • some dark chocolate chips

*Pictures were taken before I added the cocoa powder

Directions

1) In a small freezer safe container combine the greek yogurt, vanilla extract, and cocoa powder.  Stir well.

2) Microwave the dark chocolate chips in a small bowl for about 20-30 seconds then add to the yogurt mix.

3) Next add the almond butter to the bowl and stir carefully (it tastes good when you leave chunks) 

4) Freeze for at least 1 hour. 

Top the frozen yogurt with a couple of dark chocolate chips, fat-free whipped cream, chopped walnuts, almonds, or whatever you want!

This snack is healthy and delicious!  Enjoy. :)

Health Benefits!

Plain Non-Fat Greek Yogurt: Low in calories (only 100) yet it contains 18 grams of protein!  It’s also a great source of calcium.

Dark Chocolate Chips: Not only are the dark chocolate chips sweet, rich, and delicious but they’re also loaded with antioxidants.

Almond Butter: High in protein, fiber, and monounsaturated fats (the good fats which reduce levels of cholesterol)

Paleo Avocado Brownies

9 miler is done!  YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!  :D  I don’t think I’ve ever been so hot and sweaty in my life?!  The heat wasn’t crazy (around 73 degrees), it was the humidity that killed me…..  100% humidity!  But it’s done and I don’t have another long run till next Saturday, phew.

Right before my run, I had 2 FRS energy chews and half of a Lara Bar (I can’t eat too much before I run; it gives me crazy stomach cramps).  I also carried a GU energy gel while running and had it around mile 5.  I LOVE energy chews & GU!

Let’s rewind to yesterday……

Yesterday

So I realized that I haven’t been cooking or baking anything exciting lately and knew that had to change.  Last night before I went out, I made a batch of paleo avocado brownies with coconut flakes and chocolate chips.  They turned out very moist and delicious!  And you can’t even taste the avocados.  For real! 

Paleo Avocado Brownies

(adapted from tgipaleo)

Ingredients

  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted in 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 large avocados 
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon almond meal  
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetend coconut flakes (optional)
  • handful of dark chocolate chips (optional)

Directions

1) Puree the avocados in a food processor.  Make sure there are no lumps – you want it nice and smooth.

2) Combine all the other ingredients (except the dark chocolate chips) in a large bowl and mix with an electronic mixer.  Make sure it’s really smooth.

3) Pour batter into a 8 x 8 greased pan.  Sprinkle the dark chocolate chips on top (optional).

4) Bake at 350 degrees for about 30-35 minutes.

Alright, time to make an egg sandwich for breakfast. Then it’s brownie time!

Best Post-Run Treat? PS Coffee!

This morning’s workout was no joke.  I woke up bright n’ early and did repeat stairs over by Thomas Park in Southie.  I haven’t done a stair workout in months so this definitely kicked my butt!  I put the “Pink” station on Pandora and rocked out to my favorite ladies: Pink, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Katy Perry, and even Avril Lavigne had a couple good songs on the station.  Nice work, Pandora!

I raced up the 70 steps, jogged down the other side, and repeated.  Not sure how many times I did it, but I was on the steps for about 30 minutes and then jogged around the streets for a cool down.

Tired, shaky legs….

What’s the best treat after a great workout?  PS Coffee, of course!  I packed a couple bucks in my running shorts this morning and stopped by PS after my workout.

I have no clue what they put in the PS Special but it’s freakin’ amazing. :D

Dinner

The plan was to make a healthy grilled salmon, sweet potato, and broccoli dinner last night but I was more in the mood for mac & cheese.  I prepared a box of Annie’s Organic White Cheddar Mac & Cheese and added broccoli, grilled spicy sausage, and feta cheese to the mix.  I also enjoyed a couple glasses of wine – gotta drink up for my health!

For dessert, we enjoyed homemade “Paleo Dark Chocolate, Coconut, Almond Butter Cups” (wow, that’s a mouthful).

Super easy to make too, you simply: melt dark chocolate and coconut flakes, add to lined muffin pan, add spoonful of almond butter (or peanut butter), and top with the remaining chocolate/coconut mix.  Then refrigerate and enjoy!

Tonight Mike and I are gonna grab dinner somewhere then head over to the Cirque du Soleil show in Seaport.  I’ve never been to the show so I’m super excited!  I just hope I’m not nervous during the entire show (I can barely watch ice skating or gymnastics since I’m so nervous they’ll fall and get hurt!)  Does anyone else have these crazy thoughts or am I just weird?? :-/

Hope you all have a FUNNN Friday!