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Tabata…Don’t Ya Want Ta?!

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Breakfast this morning came in the form of creamy, cold, deliciousness…



I had been craving something coffee/chocolate the past couple of days, and this satisfied that craving BIG time!

Mocha Overnight Oats

Makes one bowl of oats

  • 1/2 cup of oats
  • 3-4 oz. of Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/2 tsp raw cacao powder (can also use unsweetened cocoa)
  • 1 tsp instant coffe granules
  • 1-2 packets of stevia
  • sprinkle of cinnamon

Directions:

In a cereal bowl,  combine the oats, yogurt, water, cacao powder, coffee and stevia.  Stir until combined.  Sprinkle the top with cinnamon, and place in the refrigerator overnight or for 30 minutes if you want to eat the oats soon!  Remove from the fridge when ready to eat and enjoy!

Workout

After having such a satisfying first meal of the day, I was more than ready to tackle a new Boot Camp class that I began teaching this morning.

In this morning’s class, I made sure to include circuit training along with a high intensity interval training technique called Tabata.

What is Tabata?

Tabata is a form of high intensity interval training that comes in short bursts.  One Tabata lasts only 4 minutes!  It is a series of 8 intervals that are only 20 seconds of work at your absolute maximum effort level followed by 10 seconds of rest.  These short bursts of activity work the aerobic and anaerobic systems allowing the body to see gains in strength and speed.

Here is a look at the sweaty workout that we completed this morning:

It was a good workout, got the heart rate going, and the muscles working…all things that I look for when I complete my exercise for the day!

Have You Ever Tried a Tabata Workout?

    • This was my first attempt at Tabata…and I think I like it!

Just a Minute Abs…and Chocolate Cake

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Tonight, I am super excited because I will be teaching a 30 minute core class.  I love teaching classes like this because they are super quick, and when I workout on my rarely do I spend 30 minutes just focusing on my abs.  I usually just tag some planks and crunches on the end of a workout or run and call it good to go.

This is one of my favorite circuits, because it really allows you to challenge yourself.  There isn’t a certain number of repetitions required, so it challenges you to give it your all, do the most that you can, and have good form all within one minute.

Now, that we have done all of those crunches, let’s talk cake…chocolate cake…with wine.  While thinking up recipes for Easley Winery’s Cooking Made Easley page, I was completely inspired by the idea that I could substitute wine for the oil when making a boxed cake mix.  First, I made the Reggae Blush Strawberry Cake Balls…but I couldn’t stop there, I made Reggae Red Devil’s Food Chocolate Cupcakes too!

The Reggae Red wine is easily (get it!) one of my favorites.  When it comes to wine, I am a sweet girl.  I can enjoy a couple of sips of a cabernet sauvignon or a merlot, but I can rarely finish a glass.  This Reggae Red wine is sweet, delicious, and to be honest, kind of tastes like juice!

Reggae Red Devil’s Food Chocolate Cupcakes

What you Will Need:

Cupcakes:

  • 1 box devil’s food cake mix
  • 3.9 oz box of instant chocolate pudding
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup Easley Reggae Red Wine
  • ½ cup Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt
  • ½ cup water

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:

  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • 2 ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup milk*

Instructions:

Cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Place cupcake liners in cupcake pan. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients.  Mix at a medium speed for 2-3 minutes until the batter in smooth and thoroughly combined.

With an ice cream scoop, scoop batter evenly into cupcake liners.

Bake in the oven for 18 minutes, or until a clean knife inserted into the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean.  Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter for about a minute to soften.  Alternately, add in the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients.

*Only add the milk until the frosting is of the desired consistency.  You may need a little more, or a little less.

**Be careful licking the batter on these!!! The alcohol may get to you!! Don’t worry though, it all gets baked out while cooking 🙂

 

 

I Have Been Keeping Something From You

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Brian came to my Body Pump class tonight!  It was very fun, although having him in the front row did make me a bit nervous.  Anyways, Pump made me very hungry, and by the time I was done with church choir and got home I was ready to eat.

Dinner tonight was a new favorite post-workout snack for me.  Scrambled eggs, loaded with lowfat cheese, and veggies topped with salsa.

After having a salad for lunch, I just didn’t want to have the exact same thing for dinner…or use up all of our lettuce.  So the eggs did me well 🙂

Confession

I have a confession to make to you.  I have been keeping something from you.  An amazing cookie recipe. Seriously, these things are addicting and Brian will even ask for them by request on occasion.  If you know Brian then you know that when it comes to food, he is pretty whatever and usually doesn’t have a preference, so it is a big deal when he makes a special request.

I know you will enjoy these 🙂

Double Chocolate Oreo Crunch Cookies (Original Recipe from How Sweet Eats)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup crushed Oreos


Directions:

Cream butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until well combined.  Gradually add in the flour, cocoa, soda, and salt.

Once everything is combined, add in the chocolate chips and the Oreos.

Place tablespoons of dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  Allow to cool on wax paper.

ENJOY!

What to do with Chocolate Goo?

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Good Friday Morning!

Today is my workout “OFF” day this week because I have my BodyPump training all weekend and I hear it is pretty intense, so I want to be all rested and ready to show them who is boss 😉

Yesterday, I filled in as an instructor for a class called Total Burn.  I taught the class last week and had a great time, but this week I wanted to switch up the routine.  I took one of the boot camp style classes that we taught on the cruise and pumped it up a bit by adding some running in between rounds and about 20 minutes of ab work at the end.  By the time the class was finished, everyone was sweating and struggling to finish the last rep…just the way I like it!

 Here are some pictures for reference of each of the exercises:

Cross Body Single Arm Snatch

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Sumo Squat

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Punches

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Walking Lunges

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Crunches with Weight

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Clam Crunch

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Bicycle Crunches

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Straight Leg Full Sit Ups (starting and ending position)

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Chocolate Goo

After coming home from class and getting dinner ready, I decided to check on some fudge that I had made earlier in the day to see if it had hardened up nicely.  Well, it hadn’t.

Cooking is a science, and that is one of the things that I love about it!  Recipes are all little experiments.  Well, when I set out to make fudge yesterday, I used a recipe of my mom’s that never fails…except when you don’t have several of the ingredients needed.  Did I have marshmallow fluff?  Nope…but I had marshmallows and thought that melting them down would be the same thing.  Did I have chocolate chips?  Nope…but I thought that mixing sugar, cocoa powder, and butter would be the same.  Did I have evaporated milk?  Nope…but I thought that using unsweetened original almond milk would be the same.  None of it worked the same as the ingredients called for, and when I went to cut the fudge into slices, I realized that I had a ton of chocolate goo…great tasting chocolate goo I might add 😉

I thought…hmmm, what can I do with this? I know!  I’ll roll it into balls and coat it with unsweetened cocoa and it will be like little truffles…The balls turned into little piles of flat goo.

I hate to put it all to waste, so I simply put the goo in some jars so that I can think about what I should actually do with it…I have no idea!!!  It just goes to show that you never know what to expect when you experiment in the kitchen.

This Morning

This morning, I was woken up by the lovely voice of my mom on the telephone singing me “Happy Birthday…”  Brian, being the scrooge that he can be sometimes ;), heard this and immediately said “Go do happy birthday in the living room!”  haha!  Granted, it was 5am…what can I say, my mom and I are morning people.

After getting ready and waiting for scrooge Brian to wake up, it was time to open the last present from my mom.

That box had been sitting in my room all week just staring at me, waiting for me to rip it open…what can I say, I have serious will power.

 When I opened it, I saw the first glimpse of the blanket and knew exactly what it was!  A t-shirt blanket made of shirts from the sorority I was in at Butler.  Before I left for the cruise, I gave my mom a giant bag of t-shirts and asked if she would make one for me.  I had no idea when it was coming, and I am so happy that she made this for me!  It is absolutely perfect.

 I am glad that I waited until my birthday to open it.

 Breakfast

Then, it was time for breakfast…the most important meal of the day, and probably my favorite meal of the day.  Today, I had spinach and cheese egg whites with a little peach, strawberry, and banana fruit salad and some coffee.  What a great way to start the day!

Now, I am off to do some last minute BodyPump studying before going out for a birthday dinner with Brian and the Freshly Brewed concert (that is the women’s a cappella group that I was in during college).  Should be a great day!

Questions of the Morning:

What kitchen disasters have you run into?  

What ideas do you have for me to make with my chocolate goo?

Links of Possible Interest:


 

Completely Delicious Chocolate Protein Muffins

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Good Morning!

One thing I love about Thursday?  It is almost time for the weekend!  Which can often make it hard to focus on specific tasks that need to get done before the weekend.  This Thursday in particular just happens to be the day before my birthday!  Even though I will be spending most of the day studying for my BodyPump certification, I still have one more present to open from my parents, and Brian and I have a fun night planned together.

Anyways…back to today!

I started this morning off with my final BodyPump class before the big weekend.  It was hard work, but amazing….as usual.  I find that the hardest tracks for me are:

  • Biceps…seriously are killer.  It is a shorter track, but no matter what weight I have on the bar, my arms are shaking by the end…which is a good thing 😉
  • Shoulders.  I LOVE working my shoulders because I love the way defined shoulders look on a female, but this track is a tough one.  It’s a love hate relationship.

Breakfast

I then came home and my breakfast already prepped for me:

Overnight Peanut Butter Cookie Oats and Oat Bran

Mmmmmm....

In the bowl:

Mix all of the above ingredients together until well combined.  Allow to sit in the fridge overnight or for 30 minutes.  When  you finally remove the oat mixture from the fridge, stir in 1/4 cup of plain nonfat Greek yogurt to make them extra creamy.

These are completely delicious and taste like peanut butter cookie dough!

 

And as I promised yesterday, here is a delicious snack recipe!

Chocolate Protein Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup oat bran
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 scoop vanilla pea protein powder
  • 4 packets of stevia
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup organic unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp of organic raw cacao powder (or unsweetened cocoa powder)
  • 1/4 cup sugar free jam (I used blackberry)
  • 1/2 cup of water

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Mix the dry ingredients (flour, vanilla protein powder, baking soda, salt, stevia, and cacao) in a large bowl.

Mix the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl (egg whites, applesauce, jam, and water).

Add the wet and dry ingredients together.  Place in 12 prepared muffin tins (either sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, or lined with paper muffin tin liners).  Bake 20-30 minutes in the oven.

Allow to cool, and refrigerate to store.

Nutrition per muffin:

Calories:  43.7  Fat:  .5g  Carbs:  10.1g  Protein:  4g

These taste great with a little peanut butter on top!

Foam Rolling Magic

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Sorry about the lack of postage yesterday, I was having some internet difficulties…but as of right now, I am back online!

This morning, I started my day off early with some speed training on the track.  I completed a routine of 6×400 interval training, and ended my time at the gym with a session of foam rolling.

I am pretty new to the world of foam rolling, but I must say that I honestly feel that it is one of the best things I have ever done for my extremely tight muscles.

What is foam rolling…

Last fall, I ran my first half marathon.  I followed a combination of a two different programs.  It was a learning experience in many ways.  Although I made sure to stretch daily, it still wasn’t enough.  I didn’t have any knee pain until after the actual race, but the pain that I had in my knee made it very difficult to walk.  Both of my parents have bad knees, and I thought that I was getting my share of the problems early.  After continuing to stretch and rest, the pain didn’t go away fully until I left for the cruise and I did not run for about a month.

Things seemed to be fine once I was working on the cruise ship, until I taught spinning (among several other classes) 5 days in a row.  My knee started acting up again.  Luckily, the fitness center was part of the spa, and my roommate was a massage therapist who specialized in therapeutic massage.  She felt around on my knee, and assured me that it wasn’t the bone.  She then felt my outer thigh and was shocked at how tight my IT Band was.  She said that I needed to come in for a massage immediately.  

When I came in for the massage, she performed a technique on my calves and thighs that released the fascia (a layer of fibrous connective tissue that surrounds the muscles that can become restricted in movement from overuse causing “knots”).  The massage was very “deep” and a little bit painful, but afterwards, my knee pain was gone!  I simply could not believe it.  In my studies to become a personal trainer, I had read about myofascial release, but I didn’t have much experience.  I decided to do a little reading on the topic to figure out why this worked and what I could do to prevent the soreness in my knee from occurring again.  Since weekly massages are a bit out of my price range, purchasing a foam roller was the next best thing!

Just like the massage, using the foam roller realigns the elastic muscle fibers from the “knotted” position into a straighter alignment.

One should use the foam roller to apply pressure to tender areas within the muscles, known as knots.  The foam roller is used on muscle groups such as the calves, adductors, tensor fascia latae (upper outer hip), iliotibial (IT) band, and the glutes.

While foam rolling is used as a therapy to aid in stretching and muscular wellness, it is important to note that it is also hard work and can often be borderline painful.  When foam rolling, one must pay attention to what is a moderate “good” pain and a pain that could potentially cause injury.  The foam roller should make the muscle feel better, not worse.

According to the American Council on Exercise, one should foam roll in small, continuous back and forth movements over the tender area for 30 to 60 seconds prior to stretching.

Here are some poses that can be performed on the foam roller daily:

IT Band Pose

Lie on your side, with your outer thigh on the foam roller.  Roll the area between your knee and your hip, focusing on areas with more pain.  To decrease the pressure, you can place your top foot on the ground for added support.

Quad and Hamstring Pose

When focusing on your quad, lie with both thighs on the roller and your stomach toward the ground.  Roll between your knees and your hip flexors focusing on areas with more pain.  To decrease the pressure, do one leg at a time.  When focusing on your hamstrings, place the back of your legs on the foam roller and roll back and forth from the back of your knee to your glutes.

Middle Back Pose

Lie with the foam roller on your middle back region, knees bent and feet flat on the ground.  Cross your arms over your chest.  Simply roll the area from your lower back to upper/middle back.

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Breakfast

After a good session of foam rolling, I then came home to get ready for the day and refuel with some overnight oats.   But today, I added something different.  Oat bran.  Oat bran is the outer husk of the oat grain, which is usually thrown out while the oats are being milled.  The bran contains most of the dietary fiber in the grain.  I am running low on oats, and I had some oat bran on hand…so I decided to combine the two in my breakfast bowl.  This breakfast bowl seriously tasted like a Reese’s peanut butter cup in breakfast form.  It was good 🙂

Chocolate Peanut Butter Overnight Oats and Bran

  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup oat bran
  • 1 tsp raw cacao powder (can also use unsweetened cocoa powder)
  • 1 tsp of peanut butter
  • 1 scoop of Sunwarrior Vanilla Protein
  • 1/2 NuNaturals stevia packet
  • Top with: 1/3 frozen banana, and 1 tsp peanut butter

Combine all of the ingredients (except for banana and 1 tsp peanut butter), and allow to sit in the fridge overnight or for 30 minutes.  When ready to eat, top with banana and last teaspoon of peanut butter.  Enjoy!!

Nutrition for Entire Recipe:

Calories–269.5  Fat–8.6g  Carbs–48.3g  Protein 23.6g

 

Questions of the Morning:

  • What is one of your favorite flavor combinations?
Mine would definitely have to be chocolate and peanut butter 🙂
  • Do you use a foam roller?  What do you LOVE about it?

Energy Bites

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Boy, do I have a treat for you!

 

One of my favorite flavor combinations on earth has always been peanut butter and chocolate.  The sweetness and the saltiness compliment each other perfectly.  When I was home a couple of weeks ago, my mom made some energy bites, and as soon as I tried one I had to have the recipe.  They are the perfect size for a little treat that leaves you feeling satisfied and not too guilty 🙂

 

Energy Bites

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dry oatmeal
  • 1 cup toasted coconut (you can toast your own)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds (can use flax seed, pecans, etc)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla

 

 

Directions:

Combine all ingredients together in a food processor.

Process until it is a sticky dough.

Transfer to a bowl and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Once chilled, roll into 16 balls and store in the fridge.  Enjoy!!

Nutrition per ball:

Calories:  217.8  Fat:  14.4g  Carbs:  20.9g  Protein:  4.4g