Monthly Archives: November 2013

Featured Foxy Foodie: Courtney!

Today I’m super excited to feature my first Featured Foxy Foodie! If you missed it, I announced this series of posts last week, so check it out and email me if you’d like to sign up! 🙂

Today’s Featured Foxy Foodie is Courtney from Star Systemz. Courtney shares healthy recipes, tips and fitness advice on her blog, which I’ve quickly fallen in love with! Courtney is celebrating two years of blogging and hosting a giveaway so check it out! 🙂 In her words….

Courtney Bentley is not only a Certified Personal Trainer through NASM, but also certified in Youth Fitness, Women’s Fitness, TRX, Pilates and holds a degree in Nutrition. She also participated in personal training courses in college where she took Biomechanics and Human Anatomy. Her love for leading a healthy lifestyle started at an early age when her Mom enrolled her in Ballet classes. With over 15 years training to be a Prima Ballerina, Courtney said enough was enough and went on to become a cheerleader in High School. With over 5 years of trial and error, Courtney has come up with a method that is TRIED, TESTED and WORKS!

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Courtney - FFF

Name: Courtney
Blog: Star Systemz
Twitter: Star Systemz Twitter
Youtube: Star Systemz on Youtube!
Facebook: Star Systemz on Facebook
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Age: 25

What kind of “foodie” are you (i.e. Paleo, Vegetarian, Flexetarian, or do you just love all food? :-)) and why?:

I have experimented with it all, honestly, if it is a common “foodie” label I have been it, lived it and loved all of it. Through all of this experimentation I have found what works for me. Last year has been the year of knowing exactly what works for my body depending on what goals I have at that moment. When I want to shred, no dairy, no fruit, no grains, no beans and lots of chicken, fish, eggs, sweet potatoes, and vegetables. When I want to stay fit I stay away from dairy as I am allergic although I am able to tolerate greek yogurt (I think I just love it to much to let it go) and stick to whole foods nothing processed. I guess I would call my diet “Court-ne-tarian”

If you had to eat one food every day for the rest of your life, what food would it be?:

One food to eat everyday for the rest of my live, simple, I would have to say dried ginger, I could literally live off of dried ginger and add ginger to my salads, smoothies and with snacks, they are my crack.

Are there any foods you don’t like or refuse to try?:

I do not eat dairy so cheese and I are not friends. I sometimes miss cheese, cakes, soggy cereal with milk but honestly after the first year and with so many vegan options available in the world it is quite easy to hit the spot without dairy.

When/where did you learn how to cook?:

I learned how to cook because at 19 years old I went vegan and the only way I could be vegan is if I learned how to cook. I was over smoothies so I just YouTube’d how to cook different legumes and grains and BAM that is how I learned how to cook.

What is your favorite thing to cook?:

My favorite thing to cook is beef brisket, I cook my famous beef brisket every year during the holidays. I am nice enough to give you the recipe so check it out here.

What is the best (or most memorable) meal you’ve ever had?:

The most memorable meal is the feast I made last year for Thanksgiving. Spending a few days creating dishes for my family and watching them enjoy every bite was something I will never forget. We had 13 people and I cooked for each and every one of them. 8 lbs. of Beef Brisket plus a Turkey, side dishes and even dessert, the feeling I had after handling such a task has me confident enough to handle anything!

Have you found any new recipes lately that you’re dying to try?:

Mug Cakes, I constantly “liking” mugcake photos on Instagram and writing down recipes but have yet to try them! It is so odd of me, as I try pretty much every trend, but every morning I wake up I just go with the same thing and miss out, I always eat, 6 egg whites and half a Pomelo.

Do you have any embarrassing kitchen stories or recipe disasters to share?:

When I met my husband I wanted to impress him and cook him cinnamon crisps. I thought it would be easy, it’s a soft tortilla with oil topped with cinnamon and nutmeg baked for around 15 minutes or until crisped. Well I cooked those tortillas for a little longer than 15 minutes and almost burned his apartment down. I have made up for that incident but every so often I get a casual reminder from my husband on how I almost burned his apartment down.

What is your best tip(s) for eating healthy?:

Simple is always best. Not only is simple quick, its EASY and when you go out to eat keep it simple, just aim for veggies and protein. It is great to cook fancy feasts, and to spend hours in the kitchen, but if you don’t have the time it is better to just bake a batch of grilled chicken, have a ton of veggies steamed ready to eat. Whenever you go shopping stick to the outside of the aisles and always have a list with you, it will keep you organized and make you think of what meals you will create for yourself during the week.

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Interested in being a Featured Foxy Foodie? Email me at foxywholefoodie@gmail.com for details! 🙂

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Homestyle Chicken & Tortellini Soup

I’m so excited that it’s Thanksgiving week! 🙂 Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because it combines some of my favorite things – food and football! And family of course 🙂 We don’t have a lot of extended family in town for Thanksgiving so it’s just me, my sister, and our parents. It’s a nice, relaxing way to celebrate the holiday. And this year my Steelers play Thanksgiving night which should be the perfect way to cap off the day!

It has been very cold and windy in DC lately, which means I’ve spent a lot of time hiding inside from the cold weather. In addition to that, I picked up a cold this past week that made me want to do nothing but sleep. It was a little bit of a set-back fitness wise, but this week I’m looking forward to getting back into it! Yesterday I tried out Jillian Michael’s ’30 Day Shred’ DVD for the first time and truly enjoyed it. I didn’t think I could get that sweaty from a workout in my own home! I’m tempted to take it home with me for Thanksgiving along with a set of dumbbells. Because traveling with your dumbbells isn’t weird or anything. #fitnessbloggerproblems

Also, this year my family has decided we’re going to do a family 5k on Thanksgiving morning. Instead of doing an official race, we’ve decided to just map out a path together at a local park. I think it’s going to be a great healthy activity to start off the day! Considering in past years our morning activities have consisted of mimosas, this is a step in the right direction. Not that we’re not going to have mimosas once we’re back from the 5k! 🙂

Another way I’ve been fighting off this wintery weather is with the ultimate winter food – soup! Nothing truly warms me up like hot soup for dinner. Plus soups (at least broth-based soups) tend to be low-calorie foods. Perfect for my under-active winter I’ve had so far. For dinner last week (right in the middle of my terrible cold), I whipped up this quick and easy Homestyle Chicken Soup that was perfect for how I was feeling. This soup is a super easy basic recipe that you can customize with whatever you have on hand. I made this version based on several things I had around the house that I needed to use up. (I’m telling you – that’s pretty much always what I’m doing)

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Homestyle Chicken & Tortellini Soup

– 1 onion, chopped
– 1 cup carrots, chopped or sliced (shredded carrots work here too)
– 1 cup frozen green beans (or other veggie)
– 1 teaspoon dried dill
– 1 teaspoon dried marjoram (or oregano)
– 1 cup cooked chicken (I used leftover chicken that I keep in the freezer from making stock)
– 3 cups chicken stock (I used homemade)
– salt and pepper, to taste
– 1 8 ounce package tortellini or half a pound of dried pasta or egg noodles (your choice!)

Heat up a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and carrots to a tablespoon of olive oil. Salt and pepper the vegetables, and cook until tender – approximately 8 minutes. Add the dill, marjoram, frozen green beans, chicken, and stock and bring to a boil. Add the noodles and boil according to package directions. I decided to use tortellini since I had some in the fridge and it was a delicious decision! But regular noodle, or egg noodles, would work just as well.

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Such a quick and easy soup! And you can customize it with whatever vegetables you have leftover, on hand. It’s perfect for post-Thanksgiving leftover turkey and vegetables! I know I’ll be using the leftover turkey bones to make some more stock! 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Announcing: Featured Foxy Foodie!

So I got this idea from a friend of mine in the blogging world, Jennifer at Wine to Weightlifting. I met her through a post series that she does called the Lady Lifter Spotlight. Through this post I met her, several other bloggers, and got to share my own blog with a new network of readers. It was such a great experience that I decided to adapt the idea to use here on my own site!

Which is how I came up with idea for Featured Foxy Foodie!

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This series of posts (to be put up 1-2 times a month) will feature other bloggers (and non-bloggers!) from around the web. Each blogger will fill out a short questionnaire and provide me with a few photos that I will turn into a post that features their “food perspective” (i.e. paleo, vegan, flexetarian, clean eating) and why they choose to eat that way. I think this is a great opportunity for us all to learn about other people’s experiences with food, and to give other bloggers an opportunity to share their blog! I’m a true foodie at heart (hence the blog title) and I’m truly fascinated with hearing about other people’s perspectives and experiences. That’s my favorite part of the blogging world – learning from each other! 🙂

To be fair, and to give you an idea of what to expect, I thought I’d complete the questionnaire myself to kick us off!

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Name: Jackie
Blog Name: Foxy Whole Foodie
Twitter: Jiffy877
Pinterest: Pinterest Boards!
Facebook: Foxy Whole Foodie
Location: Alexandria, VA
Age: 26

What kind of “foodie” are you (i.e. Paleo, Vegetarian, Flexetarian, or do you just love all food? :-)) and why?:

I think of myself as a “whole foodie” which may or may not be a term I made up. Basically, I try to eat a clean diet – meaning no processed ingredients. I don’t always succeed – I’m not going to pass up food at a restaurant or work event just because of my beliefs – but I do my best to eat homemade food. I try to live by an 80/20 rule. If I eat really well 80% of the time, then the other 20% I don’t have to worry as much, and I can enjoy a night out!

If you had to eat one food every day for the rest of your life, what food would it be?:

I think if we’re going with a main course answer to this question I’d have to go with sushi. I’m absolutely in love with sushi and could easily eat it everyday without getting tired of it. But a more realistic answer would be dark chocolate. I buy very high cocoa content (over 70% dark chocolate) in small squares and I let myself have one every day. Dark chocolate is good for you – in small doses – and I look forward to this treat more than I work look forward to cake, ice cream, or candy.

Are there any foods you don’t like or refuse to try?:

I try every food once but I have a serious grudge against mushrooms. I know, I know – everything I say that people say things like “What?! Mushrooms are great!” I happen to disagree. I’ve never really just taken a bite of a whole mushroom but I know I’ve had them as ingredients in other foods and personally I think they have sort of a muddy taste. I can live without them.

When/where did you learn how to cook?:

I think I really started to learn to cook towards the end of my college years and as I moved out into my first single apartment. Growing up, I wasn’t too interested in cooking except throwing together the occasional Hamburger Helper meal for my family (see my healthier non-processed makeover of my beloved Stroganoff recipe). As I learned more and more about homecooked food and the hazards of processed ingredients, my cooking skills grew! I have Rachel Ray to thank for a lot of it. I would watch her “30 Minutes Meals” show every afternoon after work and her style of cooking (no measuring, going with the ingredients you have) definitely influenced how I cook today.

What is your favorite thing to cook?:

My Homemade “Almost” Tandoori Chicken. It’s so easy to throw together, so delicious – and gives me an excuse to eat other favorites like hummus and Naan bread! 🙂

What is the best (or most memorable) meal you’ve ever had?:

A few years ago I impulse-bought a Groupon for a small bed and breakfast down near Charlottesville, VA called the High Meadows Vineyard Inn. As a part of the Groupon, we got dinner and breakfast and the on-site chef (the owner’s son) was amazing. Everything was local and organic, with some things (like the eggs we had for breakfast!) coming from the inn’s own chickens. It was an amazing experience and the dinner I had was incredible. It was homemade Caesar salad and dressing (to this day the best Caesar dressing I’ve ever had), Salmon with caper berries and potatoes and crème brulee for dessert. Amazing.

Have you found any new recipes lately that you’re dying to try?:

In the Thanksgiving edition of Real Simple (the issue before the current one) there were two great salad recipes that I’m dying to try. I’m going to bring one or both of them to my office potluck. The first is called Crispy Greens with Oranges and Pecans and the second is Wilted Spinach with Raisins and Pistachios. Both just sound so delicious and perfect for Thanksgiving!

Do you have any embarrassing kitchen stories or recipe disasters to share?:

I’ve been pretty fortunate in the kitchen, especially given my habit of not measuring things and just throwing them in a “seeing what happens”. I think part of this luck has been that I barely bake – which is one of the pickiest ways to cook. Most regular cooking is very fluid and you can afford to go with the flow, add things, and taste as you go – that’s how most chefs cook! 🙂

Most of my embarrassing kitchen stories would have to do with the fact that I get injured pretty frequently. I have a clumsy nature, and a high pain tolerance which combines into frequent cuts, scraps, bruises, and burns (thankfully nothing too serious). For example, I recently accidentally let a small pot of water boil over on the stove. In my rush to clean up the mess I made – I cut off the flame, moved the pot and immediately grabbed the metal burner to pick it up and move it to wipe up the spill. Obviously, the metal burner was still extremely hot and I ended up scorching off a few fingerprints “Men In Black” style. Oops! 🙂

What is your best tip(s) for eating healthy?:

Find foods that you truly love that are good for you! When you look forward to those “healthy foods” – it doesn’t feel like you’re depriving yourself. Also, start eating whole, unprocessed foods and let your taste-buds adjust. Once you’ve gotten all those over-sweetened, chemical, junk out of your system you’ll be able to more fully appreciate the range of flavors in real food – the sweetness of corn, the nutty flavor of chickpeas, or the rich tang of roasted tomatoes.

I hope you enjoyed reading through my answers and were inspired to share some of your own! 🙂 If you’d like to be featured as a Foxy Whole Foodie email me at foxywholefoodie@gmail.com for the details! I’m looking forward to hearing from you! 🙂

Winter Fitness Hibernation

Is it just me or does winter weather make you want to hide inside under the covers and not go anywhere until spring?

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(Image Source)

I know some people are winter people, so even though I may not understand you I have to accept that some people actually like the cold weather. But I seriously can’t handle it. I’m more of a baby about it than most people, as the minute the temperature drops below 60 I’m complaining pretty much constantly. I could be bundled up in a coat, gloves, warm socks (double-layered), boots and a scarf and I’m still cold when I go outside. I don’t like it – and therefore I stay inside until it goes away.

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Yep, pretty much my winter
(Image Source)

A bad side effect of the cold (and the fact that it starts getting dark at like 4 in the afternoon) is that my motivation to get to the gym is waning. Fortunately, my undying love for Les Mills Body Pump (and my badass instructor) gets me out of the house twice a week but the other days I’m seriously struggling. Does this happen to anyone else? What do you do to stay active in the winter months?

My plan (so far) is to find some ways to keep active without leaving my apartment. I’m usually pretty terrible at working out at home, because it just feels awkward to me. The weird stares my cats give me when I’m doing burpees don’t help at all. But I’ve downloaded a few fitness apps that came highly recommended (Sworkit Pro, Blogilates, Popsugar ACTIVE, and the Nike Training Club – all free except for Sworkit) and I’m still working on my Hundred Pushups challenge (another app). I’ve tried out the Sworkit Pro app so far and I’m really liking it – and don’t worry, I’m planning on sharing a full review once I use all the apps! 🙂

In addition, I borrowed the ’30 Day Shred’ DVD by Jillian Michaels from a friend of mine. I’ve heard great things about this DVD so I’m hoping it’ll keep me motivated (at least for a month) to work out at home, on those days when I just can’t pry myself out of the comfort of my house. Also, the next round of GRIT training starts in January and I am definitely signing up this time! I really enjoyed the demo of GRIT that I tried out a few weeks ago and I wanted to sign up for the last round but finances and a busy work schedule just wouldn’t allow it. I’m super excited for it to start up again in January, and I think this program will be just what I need to stay active this winter and to help get my fitness to the next level!

Question of the Day Season:
So seriously, what do you do to stay motivated and fit during the winter months?

Things I’ve Been Eating Lately

As I mentioned yesterday, it’s been a very work-heavy few weeks for me. While I’ve resisted the urge to do a lot of eating out and ordering in, I’ve been mostly cooking other people’s recipes (mostly other bloggers!) instead of coming up with stuff of my own. But along the way I’ve discovered some great recipes – which I wanted to share with you! 🙂

Up first, this recipe for Light Sesame Chicken from Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice. I wasn’t expecting it to be as good as the take-out version, or to be able to stop my cravings for take-out at all but I was pleasantly surprised! This chicken was easy to pull together and absolutely delicious! Now I just need to perfect a fried-rice recipe to go with it, and maybe I can be free of my Chinese take-out cravings forever! 🙂

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This recipe is definitely a keeper!

Up next, I decided to make Beef Stew in the crock-pot one day because I had some great grass-fed beef in the freezer that I wanted to use up. Plus, when the weather starts to get cold there’s not better than soups or stews in the crock-pot! I following this recipe from Real Simple almost exactly as is and it turned out great! I just made a few basic changes: I used my own homemade chicken stock instead of beef stock, I added a few cloves of garlic (because I’m incapable of making anything without garlic), and I didn’t bother with flouring the meet before browning it.

This is a great basic Beef Stew recipe to keep around as a go-to. And it’s easy to change up with other vegetables as you’d like! Sidenote: I had enough carrot skins, carrot tops, onion scraps, and garlic bits left over from this one recipe alone that I’m going to have to make another batch of my homemade stock very soon!

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Another sidenote: I completely forgot about the peas until after I took this picture, then I stirred them into the remaining stew

Speaking of soups and stews, I took a trip for work earlier this year to a very small town in Georgia. There were very few restaurants in this town other than chains – and I think all the restaurants were in a row on the road my hotel was on. One night, I ate at Olive Garden and I really loved their chicken gnocchi soup. Apparently a lot of people like this soup too because once I started searching for it I noticed about a million copy-cat recipes on Pinterest. I used this recipe from Pass the Sushi and really loved it!

Here are the changes I made:
– I used some home-cooked poached chicken and homemade stock from my making homemade stock post.
– I used frozen spinach (defrosted and wrung out) instead of fresh because frozen, organic spinach is seriously one of the best deals in the supermarket. Seriously, with how much spinach cooks down – just think of how much fresh spinach it takes to make that bag of frozen spinach! Unless you’re making a spinach salad, I don’t see any reason not to always use frozen spinach.
– Finally, instead of using half and half or cream I used one of my favorite healthy-eating substitutions! Puree a half cup of white beans with a 1/2 cup of milk in the food processor and use that instead of a cup of cream. It adds great fiber and other nutrition!

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Finally, on to dessert! I finally ran out of the cookies I was keeping in my freezer (for those of you who don’t know, another trick of mine is I like to make a batch of cookies and freeze the un-cooked dough in little balls so I can pop a cookie or two into the oven when I’m craving one). I really enjoyed the last recipe I used, but this time around I decided to try a new one for Chocolate Cherry Heart Smart Cookies from Kitchen Food Recipes. I forgot to take a picture of them, but I made little dough-balls exactly like before and they are delicious! (Note: I used all whole wheat flour instead of half wheat and half white like in the recipe)

Speaking of cookies, the other night I tried the “3-Minute Oatmeal Raisin” cookie recipe from Carrots’N’Cake the other day and it was ok. I much prefer my method of making a batch and freezing the dough to bake individual cookies later. Just my preference.

Quest & Ignite Naturals

I hope everyone has been having a great week so far! This is “busy season” at work for me, so I’ve been working longer hours, and the last thing I want to do when I get home is look at a computer screen. Although I haven’t been posting as much, I’ve been sticking with my routine of Body Pump classes, yoga, and lots of home-cooked meals! With the change in weather, I’ve become more of a hermit than usual and I’ve spent much of the past few weekends hanging out at home, watching some shows/movies, and working on going through stuff around the house to find stuff to donate to the Salvation Army.

A few times a year, I like to dig through my clothes, shoes, purses, etc and donate things that I’m not using to the local Salvation Army. It’s a habit my mom instilled in me when I was younger and it continues to this day. Lately, I’ve taken this habit to a new level as I’m trying to declutter and simplify my entire life. I’m making a conscious effort to cut down on the material stuff around me in favor of more important things. Basically, if something isn’t being used around my house then it’s getting kicked to the curb (literally, in some cases). I’ve made some ruthless cuts to my movie and book collections, and I’ve steadily copied all my CDs into iTunes and gotten rid of the hard copies (seriously – when was the last time I played a CD?!). Some of the CDs are being donated, but a good chunk I was able to sell on the website Music Magpie which I have had a very positive experience with. I didn’t get much for the CDs (about $.50 each) but it’s better than nothing! My next big step is to get rid of my stereo. I’ve had the stereo since high school, and probably haven’t turned it on in 4 years. There’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just sort of outdated in our MP3 and Bluetooth culture. I haven’t decided yet if I should try to sell it or just donate it to the Salvation Army. I have a feeling selling it would be more trouble than it’s worth – does anyone buy stereos anymore? Thoughts?

Stereo Issues

On a completely different note, I wanted to share my thoughts on two companies with you: Quest, and Ignite Naturals.

Recently, through my affiliation with Sweat Pink Ambassadors, I got a chance to try a free sample of Quest bars.

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I was super excited for the opportunity because I had seen Quest bars before, but never stopped to read the label and realize that they are some pretty clean bars! These protein bars are made from real ingredients, with the addition of protein powder (which I think of as processed). I tried the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough one after Body Pump on Tuesday night and really enjoyed the flavor. The texture was a little on the chewy side, but it wasn’t unpleasant – just not what I was expecting. I prefer to get my protein from whole-food sources, but these bars could be a great (portable!) addition in a pinch!

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Now, onto Ignite Naturals. A while back (like 6 months ago), Ignite Naturals contacted me and offered me a free sample of their product Ignite Naturals Refresh in exchange for me filling out a survey about the product. I fell in love with both Refresh and Ignite Naturals, and have been buying their products ever since! The company is dedicated to whole food, non-GMO, healthy nutrition for active lifestyles. I love them so much, I also joined Team Ignite – which basically means that I get to share an awesome coupon code with all of you! Using code IN0690 will get you 10% off any Ignite Naturals purchase. Disclaimer: while my first sample of Refresh was free, I received no compensation for this post, I wasn’t required to write it as a part of my partnership with Team Ignite, and all opinions are my own! I just truly love these products!

Ignite Naturals Refresh is an electrolytes powder meant to help refresh and rehydrate your bodies. The best part is – it’s made from real food ingredients! I’ve tried the Tangerine Passion Fruit and Prickly Pear flavors and really enjoyed them both although Prickly Pear is more my speed since it’s not sweet at all. It easily dissolves in water, and is perfect for those super-long sweat sessions like Body Pump or Cycling class where you just need something a little more than water. In addition, the company makes gels, protein powders, and other nutritional aids so definitely check them out! 🙂

Don’t forget: coupon code IN0690 gets you 10% off any Ignite Naturals purchase.

Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

I cannot believe it took me so long to actually make a chia seed pudding.

I’ve seen it on blogs more and more over the past year, and I love chia seeds (I put them in my green smoothie each morning) but somehow I just never took the step of making pudding – until now!

My Body Pump class on Tuesday nights starts at 7:40 so it’s usually very close to 9 by the time I get home. After a strenuous class like Body Pump, I definitely need to eat something – and preferably something with a good dose of protein to help re-build my muscles. Since it’s later at night, I came up with the idea of making a chia seed pudding since it’d be very dessert-like. And who doesn’t love a good dose of chocolate late at night? Plus, chia seeds are a good source of protein, fiber and unsaturated fats!

Yes, I consider 9 o’clock late at night. Try not to judge me! 🙂

So I through together this chia seed pudding and I was super impressed with how well it came together! For those of you that don’t know, when chia seeds soak in water (or any other liquid) they absorb the liquid and turn into a gel-like consistency. This makes them perfect for puddings, jams and jellies! (I can’t wait to try some chia seed jelly next!)

chia seed pudding title

Chocolate Chia-Seed Pudding
Makes one serving.

    – 1/2 cup almond milk, unsweetened (or other non-dairy milk)
    – 1 1/2 tablespoons chia seeds
    – 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
    – 1/2 scoop chocolate protein powder
    – 1 teaspoon honey, maple syrup or other sweetener (optional! I didn’t feel like I needed it in mine)

Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate for at least half an hour to set. The enjoy!

Can it get any easier than that? I was so impressed at how the texture was just like real pudding. I’m definitely going to be making this more often – and trying out more flavor combinations!

chia seed pudding

As another post-workout, late-night snack I tried a recipe from Gluten Free Fix for chocolate muffins that are made using only cocoa powder, peanut butter, and honey. I apparently haven’t learned my lesson from the banana pancakes because I did not believe this combination would actually bake up into a muffin – but it does! I find them to be a little dry but not a bad snack overall, so check out the recipe!

protein muffin

Finally, last night Heather and I got together with my other friend Heather (I attract people named Heather apparently) to celebrate Halloween with dinner, a viewing of Hocus Pocus, and crafts! A few weeks ago, Heather and I picked up some craft pumpkins (made of plastic) at Michael’s so that we could decorate them and have them year after year. I gathered up a few ideas from Pinterest and decided to do three pumpkins – a glitter pumpkin, a mosaic pumpkin, and a sequined pumpkin. At Michael’s I also found these awesome plastic skull wine glasses that I just had to buy for the evenings festivities!

wine glass
The photograph doesn’t do justice to how cool they look

For the mosaic pumpkin, we stuck small squares of masking tape all over the pumpkin and then spray-painted it black. The plan is to pull the tape off and leave a pumpkin looking something like this. As of late last night, the paint was still drying so I’ll share the finished picture with you later, but here is the pumpkin in progress.

mosaic pumpkin

For the glitter pumpkin, I painted a small white pumpkin with orange glitter paint from Martha Stewart’s line. It’s taking quite a few coats, so it’s not done yet but I think it’s going to be cute!

painted pumpkin

I haven’t started on the sequined pumpkin yet because you’d be surprised how long it takes to stick all those little pieces of masking tape on a pumpkin, especially with taking breaks for wine drinking and quoting Hocus Pocus scenes.

As it was Halloween, I felt like I had to make some kind of dessert so I whipped up some Greek Yogurt Brownies I found on Pinterest. I was able to make them with ingredients I already had on hand, which I was super excited about. The only change I made to the recipe was to use sugar instead of stevia. I was really pleased with how they came out, as a moist, “cakey” brownie. This recipe is definitely a keeper!

I didn’t take a picture of the brownies. #bloggerfail – but I baked them in a muffin tin just like the original blogger and they turned out looking just like hers!

For more healthy dessert recipes, check out my Pinterest Board “Recipes: Sweet Thangs!