Friday Faves {2.27.15}

Good morning!

Excited for the weekend? I am happy in this neck of the woods because my mother and sister are coming down to visit for the weekend. The bad news is that the weather outlook is less than favorable. Austin weather can be very unpredictable. So it is living up to its reputation! The next couple of days are calling for rain and chilly temperatures. Not exactly the best time to be hiking around Zilker Park or grabbling a coffee on South Congress Avenue. Both were on my list as itinerary items! Of course it will be a fun weekend anyway, but I am a little disappointed Mother Nature is not cooperating with my plans!

To kick off the weekend, I thought I would start by sharing a few favorites from the week…

Friday Faves {2.27.15}

True Detective

True Detective

Scott and I watch very little television. We both usually get home fairly late so by the time we eat dinner, clean up and chat a little the day is pretty much over. I have found that I miss a little of that unwinding time on the couch at the end of the day.

So we settled on HBO’s True Detective with Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. It was so engrossing that it was a true battle of wills to only watch one episode at a time. We finished it a few nights ago. I highly recommend it if you are in need of a new show!

NSCA CPT

I was glad that I was able to have better study habit this week! I have been studying for my personal training certification and even though it was a goal for February I will most likely be taking the exam in March.

My time hitting the books has been a little spotty the past few weeks since I had some major changes to my schedule. However, this week I hit a better groove and was able to study at least a little bit most days.

NSCA CPT

I will be so thrilled when this exam is finished and off my radar!

Salads

I have been bringing back the salad at lunch most days. I really prefer hot food and it I have the option I will opt for that route. However, I felt like some raw veggies were missing in my diet. They are also much quicker to throw together than making yet another meal. I have been trying to cut back in that department as much as possible. Even when the meal advertises that it is 20 minutes it rarely is. Perhaps that does not include clean up?

This was yesterday’s concoction and it included spinach, carrots, cucumbers, yellow pepper, tuna and olives.

Salad

Workouts

Yes, just workouts. I had to attend all day orientations all last week for my new job and it just ate into my workout time. So it was one of those weeks where none happened…

Not the end of the world of course, but I always feel better mentally and physically when I work out. So it was nice to be back on track again! It is always ironic, but when we get derailed it seems easier to let the multiple days pile up on us.

Workout

The motivation somehow takes a real nose dive. So it feels good to be back at it!

Quote

Love this thought.

Quote

Let’s all keep striving to remember joy and enjoy the little things. Like Friday Faves. :-)

Have a wonderful weekend and stay warm!

Linking up for Friday Faves with Heather, Clare, Katie and Jill.

Question of the Day: What was your favorite thing this past week?

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Yoga High

Hi there! Happy Wednesday. Hope the week is treating you well so far. It has come up a few times on the blog before that I am a big fan of yoga. Unfortunately, I have not been practicing too much lately. So I was really excited when I saw an awesome deal for a local studio on Groupon over the weekend. Dharma Yoga in Austin had some great packages – sold! I grabbed one quickly, and added the app to my phone to claim my coupon.

Yoga High

Dharma Yoga

Beyond the physical benefits, there is a high that comes from practicing yoga when you truly enjoy it. A yoga high if you will. I had lost touch with that feeling after attending gym yoga for so long. The studio was as nice as they could have made it, but there was inevitably the clanking of plates and bars from weightlifters outside the door. The room was unnecessarily hot because hot yoga is the trend. The routines were almost all flow-based, and set to strange music choices. I made the best to just go with it because it was what was available to me without an extra cost.

I have had it on my radar to find a new studio since letting that membership lapse right after the holidays. Between working at a gym, and an extensive garage gym an additional membership is the last thing I need in my life! However, as much as I would pledge to do yoga at home it was just less than ideal.

Often it was hard to find routines I really liked via You Tube or online sources. So I found that I had skipped it as part of my routine for quite a few months now. The studio appearing on Groupon was a sign! Scott had practice on Sunday so I made plans to attend a 9:30 class.

The studio was lovely, the crowd was friendly and the instructor was knowledgeable. I even teared up at the end a little bit. I was feeling emotional, and after a rough week it was mildly cathartic. Yup, it was the first time I ever teared up during a class.

Yoga Wall

Riding the high of my fabulous yoga class I headed home, and proceeded to have my car rear ended merging onto the highway. Rest assured I was totally fine! However, there was the pulling over the cars and the exchange of information. All the usual stuff that goes along with a car accident that is in fact very stressful no matter how minor the incident.

To add to the situation, I am a newbie to Texas. I am not really sure “how they do things” so that weighed on my heavily too. Without knowing the lay of the land in a strange place you often worry that you are not doing things right because you simply do not know better.

I called Scott to check-in and let him know what had happened. He gave me ideas of how to handle the situation. I was distressed that the little fender bender occurred after my perfect yoga high, and I told him so. It was just such an ironic juxtaposition in my mind. However, Scott pointed out on the phone that it was far from being the whole story. You are taking all of this really well he told me, and are staying really calm. Is that not the real benefit of the yoga high?

It was a true insight that was escaping my attention since I was distracted by everything I had to handle. I had not noticed, but I was not as upset as I could have been about it all. The yoga class allowed me to carry my intention of staying calm into the real world. Sure, I was saddened that I did not get to stay put in my bubble a little while longer. Although who ever really gets to decide that? I took my yoga high with me into the real world and on Sunday that was all that really mattered. As we all know, nothing is permanent or fixed. We have to grab onto that high or feeling when we can and ride it for all that it is worth.

Question of the Day: Do you practice yoga? Have you ever felt a similar high from a class, a sport, or a run?

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Chocolate Chip Cookies {Grain Free, Low Sugar}

Hello there! I hope you had a wonderful weekend and enjoyed a couple of days of fun and relaxation. So sorry to have gone missing after last Wednesday! The week caught up with me, and I just was just too tired to feel creative or put my words together.  I was a little naieve to think that I could keep my current posting schedule up with spending so much time working at the gym. After giving it a lot of thought, I have decided to make some changes and will be posting Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I will pop in here and there for an extra post or two as time allows.

I love connecting with all of you, but I want to make sure I am providing quality content and writing. That process takes a little planning ahead plus some dedicated time towards putting the finished product together! Cranking away on my computer late at night slumped on the kitchen counter is not the answer. It has been happening more times lately than I would like to admit! So a few changes, but all for the best. Now onto a bikini-friendly cookie recipe that I am excited to share today!

Chocolate Chip Cookies {Grain Free, Low Sugar}

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love to bake and have really come to develop a fondness for grain-free baking. It is a good thing that I like to bake because it is extremely hard to find these type of treats when you are out and about at most stores. Even the health food mother ship aka Whole Foods still sells white flour based baked goods. I have been craving a gooey chocolate chip cookie for a while now. Yesterday I grabbed the chance during the afternoon to whip up a new recipe. Scott was away at work so it was just me and a little time with the oven. The ingredients to make it all happen…

Ingredients

These Chocolate Chip Cookies are grain free and very low in sugar. I do not eat much sugar in my daily diet so a little goes a long way for me. When we start to feed our sugar addiction we need more and more to truly “satisfied” by a sweet taste. Sugar is added to so many products that without keeping an eye on our intake we can be headed straight towards needing a sugar detox.

Cookies

I do like a little something for my sweet tooth after my meals. For some reason, dinner does not feel complete until I have a little something. I often pass the rest of my food onto Scott due to feeling full. A little while later I am usually hunting down a piece of dark chocolate! When it comes to grain free baking my two flours of choice are Almond Flour and Coconut Flour. Both have a tendency to be quite dry which is why you need a good amount of wet ingredients to balance the whole equation out. For this recipe, I relied on some of my usual favorites: Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk, Pasture Raised Eggs and Coconut Oil.

Cookies

Some sweet seasoning in the way of cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla extract makes this very closely resemble the chocolate chip cookies of my childhood. They were always a favorite of mine!

Chocolate Chip Cookies {Grain Free, Low Sugar}
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
The solution for your next sweet tooth craving! Chocolate Chip Cookies that are grain free and low in sugar.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 18 cookies
Ingredients
  • 2 Cups Almond Flour
  • ½ Cup Coconut Flour
  • 4 Pasture Raised Eggs
  • ¼ Cup Maple Syrup
  • 3 Tablespoons Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil (melted)
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • ½ Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ¾ Teaspoon Cinammon
  • ¼ Teaspoon Nutmeg
  • ½ Cup Chocolate Chips
  • Himalyan Salt (to taste)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all of the wet ingredients together.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients together.
  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and fold in completely.
  5. Once the mixture is completely finished add the chocolate chips and fold into the dough.
  6. Grease a cookie sheet with coconut oil and spoon the dough onto the cookie sheet.
  7. Bake for 21 minutes.
  8. Remove from the oven and place the cookies on a rack to cool.

Linking up with Deborah and Katie today! Have a great one and let me know if you give the recipe a try. You have a date with The Bikini Experiment on Wednesday. :-)

Question of the Day: What is your favorite healthy cookie?

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WIAW #29: Food Chat

Good morning! Happy WIAW. I am not sure if that is actually a thing or not. However, I do know that we all love sharing a little bit about what we ate. It a common point of conversation when I talk to my clients about their nutrition. Also, I have been known to throw it out there to Scott too. What to know what I ate today? My sister and I occasionally spark up that dialogue as well. Food chat I like to call it.

There is no shortage of WIAW chatter on the web so let us hop to it! Thank you to Jenn over at Peas & Crayons for hosting this fun food-filled weekly link up.

What I Ate Monday Wednesday

WHAT-I-ATE-WEDNESDAY-NEW-BUTTON-PEAS-AND-CRAYONS

I pretty much eat the same meals and such during the week and weekend. However, I usually share what I ate on any given Tuesday. This was technically Monday’s day of eats, but that is not too big of a deal really.

Coffee to jump start the day.

Coffee

Breakfast time…3 pasture raised eggs, Ezikiel toast and spinach.

Breakfast

Monday morning was spent running some errands, and fitting in some of my studying for my personal training certification. Getting there, slowly but surely!

Workout at home in our garage gym….

WOD

Post workout recovery shake

Protein Shake

Lunch came around and it may sound a tad ridiculous, but I wanted eggs yet again. I decided to go with it since it was quick and easy to assemble.

Lunch

I had every intention of doing some meal prep this past Sunday, but it did not happen. I have four bags of Trader Joe’s butternut squash sitting in the fridge right now. I may have overdone it. Do you ever food shop like you are going to make food in bulk and then it sits begging to be cooked?

I packed up a few snacks for the rest of the day and headed into work.

Snacks

I had a new client and an orientation scheduled for the afternoon. I also did a quick tour for a potential new member. I was surprised the gym was way more crowded than expected. Typically the crowd is lighter on a holiday.

The afternoon went by in a blur and I arrived home around 8:00. Starving of course! Dinner included wild caught salmon, sautéed kale and the last of our sweet potatoes that were already cooked.

Dinner

Write post, schedule to publish and get ready for bed. I also had an early morning client in the gym I needed to work on a plan so I was prepared.

That is all for this edition of What I Ate Wednesday (WIAW)! Stay warm and I will see you here tomorrow.

Question of the Day: Do you like to play food chat?

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Yoga AM Mobility

Hi there! How are you? There is always a lot of chatter around the web about the perfect way to starting your morning. I have read various articles about a powerful start, and though they do vary, one of the key themes is movement. I am not talking about walking to the coffee pot or jumping in the shower! I am talking about movement to get you ready to feel good and ready to tackle the day. Hence a post on Yoga AM Mobility.

You can get great benefit from these movements, and they take minimal time. Many of us struggle at the chirp of the alarm clock – myself included! It can be overwhelming to read how so many people are buzzed and leap out of their bed to start the day. I am guessing some of you need to ease in a little more too. These yoga inspired stretches are gentle, engage your full body, and will get your blood going. I like to use a foam roll because it further aids mobility.

Yoga AM Mobility

Yoga AM Mobility

Overview

This routine for Yoga AM Mobility can be completed in approximately five minutes depending on how many times you complete the moves. Scott took these photos for me out in our garage gym, but they can be performed on the floor of your bedroom or living room. Of course these exercises can be done as part of a warm up for your workout too. A little extra stretching is a plus in my book!

Equipment

I am using the smaller size foam roll which is often promoted for travel. There are a wide variety that can be found online at various price points.

Workout Options

You can personalize your Yoga AM Mobility in two different ways. Perform each stretch or mobility move for 2-3 sets of 8-10 repetitions before moving on to the next one. The alternative is to perform each move right in a row as a sequence and then repeat. The latter is usually my choice, however, both formats are a good option. It is simply a matter of personal preference.

Lower Back with Foam Roll

Place the foam roll underneath your low back. Lie back on the floor. Bend your knees and position your feet straight in front of you. Put you elbow on your sides which allow you to shift some weight onto each side as you begin to foam roll back and forth.

Low Back

I do not experience lower back pain, but I do know this is often a tight area for me. The use of the foam roll allows me to alleviate some of the pressure that can build up by working through the tissue.

Thoracic Extension with Foam Roll

Move the foam roll up under your shoulder blades. Keep your knees bent and your feet straight ahead of you. Clasp your hands behind your head. Reach back  so that you back naturally curves with the foam roll as a base. This move is great for opening your chest and getting a good stretch in the shoulders.

Thoracic

Pretzel Twist

Sit on the floor and draw your legs into you one on top of the other. Bring your one leg up so that it is stacked over the other and reach to the opposite side with your arm tucking the leg to your chest.

Pretzel Twist

Perform the twist a few times on each side and then bring your arms overhead and stretch out in front of you. It is one of my favorite stretches.

Pretzel Twist Side

Downward Dog to Upward Dog

A downward dog is an inverted “v” with your hands in front of you, your booty in the air and your feet planted on the floor. As you move through you will reverse and bring your feet and legs flat to the floor, your core down and your chest open and facing straight in front of you.

Downward Dog

Wrap Up

I feel so much better now! Hopefully these ideas for Yoga AM Mobility can help you get a more powerful start on your day too.

Up Dog

Linking up with Jill, Jess and Sara today.

Question of the Day: How do you like to start your morning?

The Bikini Experiment

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