Freedom February Challenge

It's "winter" here in the United States. Some of you live in the warmer climates and won't be affected and therefore have no excuse NOT to get outside everyday! But for some of us, who live in the colder climates, areas hard hit by the recent Jonas blizzard, and regions that experience harsh winters...it can be easy to stay inside, by the warm pellet stove or fireplace.

January is almost over, and February is fast approaching. This February, I'd like to invite you to a challenge. The challenge is called Freedom February. And this is why...

Adventuring outside, exploring nature, exploring your town on foot, bicycling the beach, hiking the parks, beach yoga, park yoga, paddleboarding the nearby canals & marshes, hiking a scenic mountain trail, participating in your community's 5k....that's what freedom is all about!

A daily habit of exercising is healthy, but each workout should have meaning. Planned exercise should be meditative for mental health & clarity in addition to improving your physical fitness. The first Freedom February goal is to re-program your brain and the emotions that are attached to exercise. When you exercise, you should feel like you are exercising your freedom.

There is nothing wrong with monotonous treadmill running, mindless weight lifting, or torturous fitness classes…or wait, is there? Yes.

For example, when yoga (asana) practice is performed daily with the right intention, it is what I like to call, a form of "holistic fitness" that frees your mind & body.

But what is "right intention"? It’s when the focus is on the journey, when you are truly in the moment, in the NOW. "Wrong intention" is when the focus of your exercise practice is to achieve a posture, while "right intention" would focus on getting into a posture as a means to meditate and be at peace and feel that connection with divinity, that freedom from everything in life that pulls you down. For any type of planned exercise activity, your motivations should not involve the craving of 'worldly things'; such as impressing others, getting 6 pack abs, competition with your fellow fitness partners, doing it just because its part of a training plan, or to be ‘skinny’… come on! That’s not living…that's not freedom. You're not alone, we're all "guilty" of this. 

yogaunderpier.jpg

THE FIRST GOAL of the Freedom February challenge is to change this mentality. Here is a list of some "right intentions" or motivations to get you started (feel free to add your own!)

"My Planned Exercise Activity will":

  • Help me feel good
  • Make me feel alive
  • Help me feel energized again
  • Help me feel healthy & rejuvenated
  • Make me feel like I'm a part of nature, the community, the universe
  • And above all, help me feel a connection with my higher power

Yoga, like many other fitness activities, strengthens & tones your muscles and improves your cardiovascular ability so that you can get outside and enjoy life to its fullest. It’s meditative so you can approach each day with clarity, eagerness and unconditional love for yourself & others. It’s an amazing stress reliever. And, if you’re practicing yoga with the right intentions, you will feel that connection with a higher power. During yoga practice there is a time for reflection; reflection of self, the world, and being at peace... oh, and FREEDOM too.

YOUR SECOND GOAL for Freedom February is to find yourself a planned exercise activity that you will practice with the "right intentions". You can choose more than one activity. For example, I focus on yoga primarily, but each day my preference can vary slightly or drastically. Some days I have an overwhelming desire to breathe in the fresh ocean air so I take my yoga to the beach and other days I have this surge of energy where I just feel freedom sprinting along the beach (and I bring my dog too, she loves those days). Other days, taking  a long exhilarating bike ride or meditative stand-up paddleboard session are in the books for me or sometimes just having a fun jump roper session...again, all outdoor activities, all activities creating that sense of freedom within, and all activities that I'm doing with the "right intention".

And finally, YOUR THIRD GOAL for Freedom February is to spend at least 15 minutes outside everyday doing a planned exercise activity (taking a walk, bike ride, or doing sun salutations on your porch for example). Free yourself from the confines of your home or office space and venture out into the unknown. Do something you never do, like play tennis or hoops at the school around the corner. Just do something that you REALLY enjoy doing outside. Go rollerblading, play fetch with your dog or build a snowman with your daughter.

To sum things up..... if your experience is similar to mine...your Pinterest feed is most likely full of pins about 'how to' get flat stomachs or a toned booty...all because Pinterest noticed that you showed an interest in health & fitness. Social media (or really any media) brainwashes us into thinking happiness lies just around the corner of getting six pack abs, the thigh gap (come on really?) and a toned butt. Consciously or subconsciously. Hence the reason your motivations to workout are focused around the physique...

I want to offer you freedom from this detrimental mentality. There is too much emphasis on the physical, don’t fall prey to the monotonous treadmill routine and weight lifting program in which your end goal intention is to be thinner, build bigger muscles, impress others, or to get a "bikini body". Please, for your own sake, take a more spiritual approach to fitness and your eyes will be opened to a whole new world. You will look forward to exercise as a time to zone out and reflect on the day, your inner self, your thoughts, your morals & your higher power so that you can live a more present, valuable & inspirational life. Exercise should be calming not agitating. Exhilarating, not forced (consciously or subconsciously). When you're exercising, ask yourself, "Do I feel alive?" "Am I just 'getting through' this workout so that I can get on with the rest of the errands and fun things I want to do today?". You should be smiling while you're exercising, laughing, & enjoying it... and hoping it won't end anytime soon. I know that is hard to contemplate, but just work through the three goals of this challenge this month and you will get closer to "enlightened exercise".

Remember, in the end it will not matter how you looked in that bikini, will it? Nope! What will matter is how you lived, with love for others and yourself. How you have left behind a dynamic legacy that will somehow help future generations in a positive way. THAT, my friends, is what will matter. So approach your physical fitness activities with love and you will see how truly uplifting & moving a workout can be!

If you want to join us in our challenge, you can follow us on Instagram @thebraveangels where we will be posting our daily outdoor activities as well as following our fellow Freedom February Challenge participants on their journey for a healthier & more joyful approach to exercise! You can also participate by posting a pic or video of your outdoor activities on Instagram and also tagging @thebraveangels in your post and adding hashtag #FreedomFebruary. At the end of the month we will choose (at random) a participant as a winner. The winner will get to choose one free tank top from our Brave Angel Shop OR a doggie tank top from our Redemption Dog Shop (winner's choice)!

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March 21 Day Fitness Challenge

Starting March 16th, I'm participating in a fitness challenge group and I wanted to share this opportunity to join our fitness challenge group with my readers!

The fitness challenge will be 21 days. One ~30 minute workout per day. We're also going to follow a results-driven nutrition plan, because diet is 80% of the equation to achieving your weight loss goals!

You can do any 30 minute workout, or you can follow the 21 Day Fix Extreme workout program that I will be doing with my fitness challenge group (there is also a less "extreme" workout program that you can do with us, called 21 Day Fix). Since I live a Paleo & Bulletproof diet & lifestyle, I have tweaked the 21 Day Fix Nutrition plan for my specific diet preferences. I have put together a 7 Day Meal Planner for Week #1 just to give you an idea of what the Paleo or Bulletproof version would be like. Download the free PDF example >HERE<. And the free excel version (so that you can input your own calories and change the meals and macronutrient percentages) >HERE<.

If you aren't eating a Paleo or Bulletproof diet, then you can just follow the 21 Day Fix nutrition plan as it is!

Here's the game plan:

21 Workouts: Do either the 21 Day Fix Extreme or 21 Day Fix workout program {or choose any ~30 minute workout that really pushes your limits and gets you sweatin'}! You can find a plethora of at-home and/or gym workouts on my site.

Nutrition: EAT CLEAN. Abs are made in the kitchen, so this is a vital part of the 21 day challenge. No alcohol, it slows down your metabolism, adds calories to your daily caloric intake, and spikes your blood sugar levels which isn't going to help you achieve your weight loss goals! Follow my meal planner or follow the 21 Day Fix nutrition plan that comes with the workout program. I would suggest the 21 Day Fix nutrition plan, especially if you're just starting out with a wholefoods, clean eating approach to nutrition. It will get you on the right path!

That's it, keepin' it simple because I know you're busy! This fitness challenge is the perfect jump start to what I like to call "Spring Training". What's "Spring Training"? Winter is coming to an end, it's been REALLY cold and dismal and has put a lot of people into "hermit crab - couch potato" mode...so when the sun and warmth come back into the picture this Spring, we're going to kick into high gear with getting fit this year...THIS is "Spring Training". Not only will Spring Training get you in bikini body shape, but it will also boost your serotonin and endorphin levels to improve that mood and get you out of the winter blues. Let's just say, Spring Traning is SUPER ENERGIZING!

So this 21 Day Fitness Challenge is the perfect prelude to what's to come, Spring Training! It will kick your butt into gear and smack a smile back on that winter blues face of yours! Not to mention tighten and tone up that bod for bikini season woot woot!

Okay, enough chitta chatta, comment below if you want to join the 21 Day Fitness Challenge group!

If you need some Workout Gear, don't forget to pop on over to Brave Angel Shop for some Athleisure: Women's Motivational Workout Apparel for Everyday Use!

Any recommendations made by Natalie Krul, Brave Angel, guest bloggers, or on our website www.BraveAngel.com about weight training, nutrition, supplements or lifestyle should be discussed between you and your doctor because working out involves risks. The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.  Never disregard professional medical advice, or delay in seeking it, because of something you have read on this website or from our products or services.  Never rely on information on our website, from our products or services, in place of seeking professional medical advice.

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Final Part of the "Real Life" Expert Roundup Series!

This is our final part of the "Experts Reveal: Three Great Breakfasts, Lunches, and Dinners for Weight Loss" series!

Last week we spotlighted Certified Personal Trainer & Weight Loss Coach, Bianca Meehan. This week Marisa Watson, Certified Personal Trainer, Crossfit coach and certified yoga instructor is sharing her tips and recipes with us. It has been a pleasure working with these fitness fanatics, and we hope that you have learned some good tips and recipes too!

We asked Marisa, “What are your ‘Go-To’ Meals for Breakfast, for Lunch and for Dinner?"

So here are another nine more tasty yet healthful meal ideas. We’re giving you three recipes for each meal of the day; 3 for Breakfast, 3 for Lunch and 3 for Dinner. These meal ideas are Marisa’s “Go-To” meals that help her reach & maintain her health & fitness goals (and also can help you reach & maintain your weight loss goals!).

It’s hard to figure out what to eat…searching the internet = information overload!

So to help you out, we’re giving you some "Real Life" examples of the types of meals that work for our fitness experts. Everyone’s DNA is different, so remember that what works for someone else may not work for you. So you may have to tweak it to your liking and for your DNA…but, when it’s all said and done, if you’re looking to drop the LB’s, incorporating some of these meal ideas will really help you get there! Read on for the Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Fat Burning Meals that our health & fitness fanatics include in their daily diet!

CPT, Crossfit Coach, Yoga Instructor, Marisa Watson:

Marisa Watson, Before (right) & After (left)

Marisa Watson, Before (right) & After (left)

Marisa is a Certified Personal Trainer at Gold's Gym, CrossFit coach at Crossfit Pandora's Box and a certified yoga instructor.  Having lived in Colorado Springs her whole life she has participated in an eclectic assortment of activities ranging from horseback riding (barrel racing and polocrosse) to crosscountry and running trail marathons, to yoga, hiking 14ers, shooting, crossfit, olympic weight lifting, and most recently bodybuilding and NPC bikini competitions under Adam Bonilla of Team Elite Physique. Between August and October of 2014 she has participated in 3 NPC shows, never placing lower than 2nd.  These included two novice overalls and two second place finishes in open tall class.

Fitness has become an integral part of her life.  At one point nearly 6 years ago, she had begun having issues with an eating disorder which nearly killed her leading to two separate inpatient hospitalizations at two different treatment centers.  Since then, the focus has been more-so on fitness and performance and finding ways to balance overall health with a certain look and physique required in bikini.  Meal prep and planning has been essential on the road to recovery.

Follow her road to nationals on Twitter and Instagram: @RiskyRawr

Marisa’s Philosophy:

Marisa Competing

Marisa Competing

“I keep my meals fairly simple and adhere strictly to my meal plan whenever possible.  I find for me I am able to stay on track with my recovery if I track my food and prep ahead of time.  In the off season and while I am trying to build muscle I do allow myself some wiggle room so long as snacks or going out to eat still fits in my meal plan- otherwise I have known myself to restrict eating that day to compensate for other calories.  It is a fine line between becoming obsessive about my meal plan and being able to still reach my goals and stay in recovery.  For that reason, my meals are very plain and simple.
I also have a lot of dietary restrictions because of issues I've had with the eating disorder affecting my GI system.  I've been paleo for a number of years and other than adding in some beans and dairy occasionally I stay within the parameters of that diet.  This means eating a variety of lean meats, vegetables, nuts, seeds, oils (avocado, coconut or olive), some starches (sweet potatoes mostly), and a little fruit.  No grains, no legumes,  no processed foods, and if I consume any dairy it is full fat versions.”

Marisa’s Top Three Go-To Breakfast Recipes:

Breakfast Recipe #1: Competition Prep Basic Breakfast

“My go to breakfast is very specific to my meal plan but sometimes when i'm in the off season i replace on egg with a piece of bacon.”
  • 2 egg whites and 2 whole eggs cooked with spinach
  • Gluten free hot cereal (Bob's Red Mill has a lot of great options here!)
    • 1/4c Almond milk
    • 1 TBSP Honey
    • 1/2oz chopped almonds or 1 TBSP peanut butter
    • 1 T BSP apple butter (just for a little extra sweetness)

Breakfast Recipe #2: Sweet Potato and Bacon Hash

"When I was eating strictly paleo this was my favorite! IF you are watching your fats opt for turkey bacon instead."

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 Slices bacon or turkey bacon
  • 1TBSP chopped onion
  • 1/4c chopped bell peppers
  • 4oz sweet potato cut into thin slices
  • 2 eggs and 2 egg whites

Instructions:

  1. Cook the bacon in a skillet and put off to the side to drain keeping the remaining fat in the pan
  2. Add onions, bell peppers, and sweet potatoes and cook until veggies are soft and sweet potatoes start to crisp a bit.
  3. Chop bacon and add back to the mixtures. Add in eggs (either scrambled or I  like them whole for a runny yolk) and cover till eggs are cooked to your liking.

Breakfast Recipe #3: Paleo Pumpkin Microwave Breakfast Cake

"This is a recipe I modified from PaleOMG.com to fit my macros and give me a complete breakfast."

Ingredients:

Paleo Pumpkin Microwave Breakfast Cake

Paleo Pumpkin Microwave Breakfast Cake

  • 1/2c Canned Pumpkin (NOT the pumpkin pie mix but plain pumpkin)
  • 1/8c Almond milk
  • 1 whole egg and 2 egg whites
  • 1 banana (chopped into dime-sized pieces)
  • 1-2 TBSP Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Flour (or almond or coconut flour)
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1tsp pumpkin pie seasoning
  • 1TBSP honey
  • 1/2oz chopped walnuts

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl and mix well.
  2. Put in microwave for 2.5-3 minutes, sprinkle with cinnamon and enjoy!

Marisa’s Lunch Tip:

“My lunch stays the same for the most part and I just alternate the veggies.  To make prep easier I often times cook my chicken in the crock pot.”

Marisa’s Top Three Go-To Lunch Recipes:

Lunch Recipe #1: Crockpot Chicken

Crockpot Chicken

Crockpot Chicken

  1. All you do is take all your chicken breasts, put them in the crock pot with fresh rosemary, black pepper, garlic powder and a little salt and cover everything with water.
  2. Cook on low for 4-5 hours and you have chicken for a week! Always try and precook your chicken, sweet potatoes, and pre-chop your vegetables so all you have to do for prep is weigh and measure your portions.

Lunch Recipe #2: Ground Turkey Muffins

"Another way to make easy proteins is ground turkey muffins."
  1. Mix your ground turkey with fresh herbs (Marisa's Tip: Italian blend with black pepper and garlic is yum!)
  2. Add an optional egg white to hold everything together.
  3. Grease a muffin pan
  4. Roll the turkey into meat balls
  5. Cook for 20 min at 350 degrees.

Lunch Side, Recipe #3: Sweet Potatoes!

Sweet Potato Mash

Sweet Potato Mash

"The majority of my carbs consist of sweet potatoes so often I will have to mix it up and often make savory versions of them.  I always boil them and mash them but love using fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary, garlic, basil,) to make them savory.  I also found that they are amazing with thai green curry powder! I get a blend from a local spice shop and just mix it in.  For a more sweet, dessert style sweet potato with my evening meal I'll mash them with almond milk, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon."

Marisa’s Typical Lunch:

  • 3 oz lean meat (chicken, turkey, white fish, bison)
  • 1cup leafy green vegetables (kale, broccoli, asparagus, brussel sprouts, etc)
  • 1cup mashed sweet potatoes
  • 1tbsp coconut oil (while trying to gain some muscle mass) 

Marisa’s Dinner Tips & Tricks:

“Dinner is the one meal I don't usually prep ahead of time unless I will be at work or working out later in the evening.  I keep my carbs lighter here opting for baked winter squash or parsnips instead of sweet potatoes (it also adds a little variety!).
My protein is usually bison steak or just a top sirloin especially on days when I'm lifting larger muscle groups or doing more volume like back and legs.  I love using different flavors of balsamic vinegar and we have a few local shops that have great varieties!  My favorite for bison is an espresso balsamic and often for chicken or turkey I will use a pomegranate flavor.  It's like a guilt-free steak sauce!” 

Marisa’s Top Three Go-To Dinner Recipes:

Dinner Recipe #1: Slow Cooker Dry Rub Pot Roast

“I will also do a pot roast in the slow cooker as well using a dry rub."
  1. Line the bottom of the slow cooker with veggies (onion, carrots and celery)
  2. Coat the roast in a dry rub
  3. Sear on all sides in a pan before putting it in the slow cooker.
  4. Cook on low for 4 hours (depending on the size of the roast). 
  5. Another way to season it is to cut a few holes in the roast before searing and filling them with a sliver of garlic and a sprig of fresh rosemary then sprinkling the whole thing with black pepper.

Dinner Side, Recipe #2: Sauteed Brussel Sprouts and Parsnips

“The main thing I switch up is my veggies.  This is my go to when I have parsnips at home.”

Ingredients:

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

  • 1c Brussels sprouts, chopped in half
  • 1 and 1/2c parsnips, peeled and chopped into fries
  • 1TBSP onions
  • 1tsp olive oil
  • 1tsp Cajun seasoning

Instructions:

  1. Sautee onions in olive oil until soft
  2. Then add parsnips and brussel sprouts and toss to coat everything
  3. Sprinkle with Cajun seasoning and cook covered till the veggies begin to brown just slightly.

Dinner Side, Recipe #3: Sauteed Spinach with Craisins

Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/2 c spinach
  • 1 tbsp craisins
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 1tbsp onions
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • Black pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Sautee olive oil, garlic and onions in a pan until they’re soft.
  2. Add spinach and craisins and cook until spinach is slightly wilted.
  3. Add pepper to taste. 

Bonus Dinner Recipe Tip:

“I always like to keep baked winter squash prepped in my fridge!  All you do is cut the squash in half (spaghetti, kombucha, butternut, or acorn), scoop out the seeds with a spoon and place face down on a cooking sheet.  Bake for 45min-1hour at 350 degrees, scoop out the insides and enjoy!  The only difference is with butternut squash you will want to add a little bit of water to the bottom of the pan because the skin is so thin (you can also peel the skin of butternut squash and chop it up before baking for 25-30min).”

I hope you enjoy Marisa’s great recipes and tips as much as we have! It’s been a pleasure having our fitness fanatics guest post on BraveAngel.com! Next week starts our “Real Life” series, but this time around (instead of recipes) we are bringing you workout routines!! 

Marisa has one last farewell note for you too!

“There you have it! I keep things very simple and regimented because I have found that is what works best for me.  I live alone so I don't often have an excuse to cook anything much more elaborate than this but sometimes it's fun to mix it up!  Find your happy medium between obsessive weighing and measuring in meal prep and being able to go out to eat on occasion and truly enjoy yourself.  Trust the process and find what works for you!”

Check out our Motivational Workout Wear over at www.BraveAngelShop.com and receive 10% off your order by using coupon code: 10OFFBRAVEANGEL

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Part III: “The Experts Reveal: Three Great Breakfasts, Lunches & Dinners for Weight Loss”

We've rounded up some of the best fitness and nutrition experts we know.

Last week we spotlighted Fitness & Lifestyle Coach, Cynthia Spenla. This week, Bianca Meehan, a Certified Personal Trainer & Weight Loss Coach is sharing her tips and recipes with us. For our final week, we will have Marisa Watson, a Certified Personal Trainer on! 

We asked them, “What are your ‘Go-To’ Meals for Breakfast, for Lunch and for Dinner?"

So here it is, Part III of the “Real Life” series and nine more tasty yet healthful meal ideas. We’re giving you three recipes for each meal of the day; 3 for Breakfast, 3 for Lunch and 3 for Dinner. These meal ideas are Bianca’s “Go-To” meals that help her reach & maintain her health & fitness goals (and also can help you reach & maintain your weight loss goals!). 

I know it’s hard to figure out what to eat and when to eat it. When you search the internet for a good diet plan, you fall prey to information overload. Also, you most likely have no idea what will work and what won’t work. After searching the web for a weight loss diet and workout program, you probably just give up!

So to help you out, we’re giving you some "Real Life" examples of the types of meals that work for our fitness experts. Everyone’s DNA is different, so remember that what works for someone else may not work for you. So you may have to tweak it to your liking and for your DNA…but, when it’s all said and done, if you’re looking to drop the LB’s, incorporating some of these meal ideas will really help you get there! Read on for the Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Fat Burning Meals that our health & fitness fanatics include in their daily diet! 

Bianca Meehan, CPT

Bianca Meehan, CPT

Certified Personal Trainer, Bianca Meehan: 

Bianca has worked in the nutrition and fitness world for 11 years.  Her career started when she joined the Air Force and chose a job in dietetics.  She has a degree in Nutrition and is a Certified Personal Trainer and Weight Loss Coach.  Recently after leaving the Air Force, she started her own online coaching business.  She specializes in body transformation and wellness.  Also, she works in corporate wellness as an independent contractor. In her free time she is usually spending time with her kiddo, training for bikini competitions or studying. She also loves playing trivia with her friends and spends countless hours in her kitchen cooking, baking and making up recipes!

Bianca’s Top Three Go-To Breakfast Recipes:

Bianca’s Tip:

“My go-to breakfast is REALLY easy!  I make an egg white scramble with spinach, mushrooms and broccoli.  I eat this with a bowl of oatmeal or gluten free bread (usually millet and chia).”

Breakfast Recipe #1: Egg White Scramble

  • Handful of spinach
  • ½-1c sliced portabella mushrooms
  • Handful of chopped broccoli
  • 5 egg whites

Instructions:

  1. Lightly spray a pan with grape seed oil and all all of the veggies.  Sautee for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add egg whites stir.
  3. Cook until eggs are done.  I like mine browned.  Serve with salsa.

Bianca’s Tip:

“When I know I won’t have time to actually cook breakfast in the morning I like to make Overnight Protein Oats.”

Breakfast Recipe #2: Protein Overnight Oats

  • ½ cup old fashioned oats (not instant)
  • ½ -3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk or water
  • 1 - 2 Tablespoons vanilla protein powder
  • ½ Tablespoon chia seeds
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup berries, 2tbsp sliced almonds, or 1tbsp almond butter (for topping)

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small container, seal with a lid and place in the fridge overnight.
  2. Bring out of the fridge in the morning and stir. You'll notice that the protein powder, oats and chia seeds soak up a lot of the liquid so you may want to add a little more almond milk or water before serving.
  3. Top with toppings of your choice and enjoy. I love berries and sliced almonds or almond butter.
Bianca Meehan, CPT

Bianca Meehan, CPT

Bianca’s Tip:

“When I want a fun breakfast or am craving a donut (c’mon, I’m human) my go-to “sweet” breakfast food is a pronut.”

Breakfast Recipe #3: Blueberry Pronuts

  • 1/3 cup oats ground into flour
  • 3 egg whites, whipped
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup blueberries (optional)
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp almond flour
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • ½ tso vanilla extract
  • ½ scoop protein (I use dymatize XT blueberry muffin)
  • Sprinkle of stevia

Instructions:

  1. Mix everything except the berries until well blended.
  2. Fold in berries and pour into a sprayed donut pan.  Should make 4. Bake for 10-12 minutes in a 350* oven.  Enjoy!

Bianca’s Lunch Tip:

“Lunch is almost always prepped ahead of time for me.  I’m always on the go and prepping ahead of time is SO helpful and keeps me on track. One of my absolute favorite “salads” to make is cauliflower tabouleh. I mix it up and throw in some chicken for my lunch.  If I have carbs at the meal, I’ll add quinoa.” 

Bianca’s Top Three Go-To Lunch Recipes:

Lunch Recipe #1: Cauliflower Tabouleh

cauliftabbouleth.jpg
  • 1 head of cauliflower, “riced” (run it through a food processor)
  • 1/2c raw almonds (chopped)
  • 1 large bunch of fresh mint
  • 1 large bunch of fresh parsley
  • 2 green onions
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • the juice and zest of one lemon
  • 1tbsp sumac
  • 1tbsp za’atar
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1/2tsp black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Chop mint, parsley, green onion and tomatoes very finely.  Add to riced cauliflower and toss to combine.
  2. In a separate bowl, add garlic, lemon juice, sumac, za’atar, salt and pepper and whisk.  Pour over salad and toss gently to combine.
"As a busy mom, I need prep to be FAST.  Like, REALLY fast.  So, this is how I prep my chicken for my lunches"....

Lunch Recipe #2: Easy Prepped Chicken:

  • One family pack of chicken breasts with the remaining fat/skin trimmed off.
  • One packet of McCormick Seasoning (any)

Instructions:

  1. Put chicken in a crockpot.
  2. Sprinkle seasoning on top.
  3. Pour in ¼- ½ cup water
  4. Cook on low for 4-6 hours
  5. Remove chicken, drain juices and shred.

Bianca’s Faves:

“Another easy “salad” that I like to pack is Black Bean and Quinoa Salad.  I love the protein and fiber that is packed in beans and quinoa.  I usually have this on top of spinach and add chicken and sometimes salsa.”

Lunch Recipe #3: Black Bean and Quinoa Salad

  • 4c cooked quinoa
  • 2c black beans
  • 2 ripe avocados, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4c balsamic vinegar OR 2tbsp lime juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and serve. EASY!

Bianca’s Top Three Go-To Dinner Recipes:

“Dinner is one of my favorite meals.  I love sitting with my family, talking about our days… but most of all I LOVE COOKING!  These are a few of my favorite recipes.  All are family friendly and super fast to prepare.”

Dinner Recipe #1: Turkey Lettuce Wraps

  • 1lb ground turkey, browned.
  • 2tbsp dry Asian seasoning
  • 1/4c raisins (optional)
  • 1/4c minced onion
  • 1-2 chopped fresh chilies

Instructions:

  1. Cook all ingredients with turkey.
  2. Wash 1 large head of lettuce and pull leaves apart.
  3. Serve turkey mixture in lettuce with peanut sauce (recipe below).

Peanut Sauce:

  1. Combine: ½ c peanut butter, 1 tbsp fresh lemon or lime juice, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp apple cider or white vinegar, 1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  2. Adjust ingredients to achieve a pourable consistency, adding salt and red pepper flakes if desired.

Dinner Recipe #2: BBQ Rosemary Sweet Potatoes

  • 2 Medium sweet potatoes, washed and sliced (peel if desired)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh, chopped rosemary
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp paprika Ground pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Slice clean potatoes about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick at most. They cook better if they are cut thin.
  2. Place all ingredients in a large baggie and shake to coat potato slices in the oil and spices.
  3. Cook potatoes on the grill using a pan or aluminum foil. These take time to cook so if your meat cooks quickly, start these first. Once potatoes start to fall apart when stirred, they are done.
  4. Serve with your favorite grilled meat and veggies or salad.

Dinner Recipe #3: Whole Roasted Chicken with Veggies

  • 1 whole roasting chicken (about 6 lbs)
  • ¼ c olive oil (divided)
  • 1 c chopped carrots
  • 1 onion cut into large chunks
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled & crushed
  • ½ c chopped fresh parsley
  • Freshly ground salt & pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Brush chicken with some of the olive oil, then coat with salt and pepper.
  3. Place chicken, breast up, into a roasting pan.
  4. Combine: Carrots, onions, garlic and parsley in a bowl. Add remaining olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Stir to coat all surfaces. Transfer vegetables to roasting pan with the chicken. Wrap in foil and cook for 1 hour. Remove foil, stir veggies, baste chicken then cover and bake for another 20 minutes. Remove foil, baste chick and continue to roast uncovered until chicken is completely cooked (about 90 minutes). 
“This recipe is great for family events, cold winter days and if you want/need leftovers.”

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