Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

I love fall!  I love the cooler weather, the warmer clothes, and the fall foods.  I don’t love how tight my pants feel when I eat the traditional fall foods, though, so I’m always on the lookout for healthier fall treats.  These pumpkin muffins are perfect for this–they fit into my food plan so there is no need to feel guilty, they don’t make my pants tighter, and they taste awesome!  Win win!

I’ve been making these muffins for the past couple of years, and they really are awesome any time of year since you can get pumpkin year round (in my area anyway), but there is nothing like making pumpkin treats when the weather cools down and the leaves start changing color.  The recipe calls to top each muffin with pumpkin seeds, which is delicious, but when I don’t have pumpkin seeds I use the same amount of chopped walnuts.  Either way is great!

For those on the same Fix eating plan, each muffin is 1 purple and 1 blue container.  That’s right, these don’t even count as a carb!!!  #winning

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins (from the Fixate cookbook)

2 oz cream cheese

1 tbsp pure maple syrup

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 cup canned pumpkin puree

1.5 cups almond flour

3/4 tsp baking soda

1 dash sea salt or Himalayan salt

2 tbsp raw pumpkin seeds OR chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Prepare nine muffins cups by lining a muffin tin with paper liners and coating with spray.  Set aside.

Combine cream cheese and maple syrup in a small bowl; mix well and set aside.

Combine egg and pumpkin in a medium bowl; mix well and set aside.

Combine almond flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.  Mix well.

Add almond meal mixture to egg mixture and mix until just blended.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin, filling each cup a little less than 1/2 full.

Spoon 1 heaping tsp of cream cheese mixture into the center of each muffin.  Fill muffin cups evenly, about 3/4 full, with remaining batter.

Sprinkle muffins evenly with pumpkin seeds/walnuts.

Bake 16 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Transfer muffins to a rack and cool.

Enjoy!

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Busy Mom Chicken-Stuffed Peppers

I love my Fixate cookbook–I have a handful of recipes from it that I make all the time (Grandma’s Tomato Sauce and the Clean Eating Sloppy Joes are a couple of examples), and now there is a Fixate cooking show on Beachbody On-Demand that I watch every week to get new recipe ideas!  I was watching it last week and got reminded of this stuffed pepper recipe that is so good, but also a little involved and complicated.

On the show, Bobby Calabrese (the chef) mentioned that instead of buying chicken breasts and cutting them up into bite-sized pieces to cook, you could just get ground chicken to save some time and energy.  GENIUS!  I’m not sure I would ever have come up with that on my own, but it’s such a simple tip!

The original recipe calls for quinoa and corn, but I opted to leave those out because 1) I don’t really like corn, 2) I didn’t want that many carbs in this meal, and 3) I was being lazy and didn’t want to add quinoa.  If you love corn and don’t care too much about the extra carbs, feel free to add 1 cup cooked corn and 2 cups cooked quinoa to the filling when you add the black beans.

If you want to make this recipe even easier and quicker, you can skip the whole baking step and slice your peppers into large strips and use them as a chip alternative.  You could also skip the peppers altogether and just eat the filling alone, or in taco shells or with tortilla chips.  Check your grocery for pre-chopped onion and minced garlic in the jar.  That saves a few steps, as well!  Last, instead of chopping the cilantro I usually just tear it by hand as I add it to the dish and that is a lot faster, as well.

Enjoy!

Busy Mom’s Chicken-Stuffed Peppers (adapted from Fixate)–serves 4

4 bell peppers (any color), cut in half and seeds/ribs removed

2 tsp olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 lb ground chicken (can up this to 2 lbs to bulk up the filling if you prefer)

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 tbsp cumin

2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp paprika

Salt, to taste (at least 1/4 tsp)

1 cup tomato sauce (I used plain canned tomato sauce, no salt or sugar added)

5 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

1 tbsp lime juice

Optional: 1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese

Optional: Hot sauce, to taste, for serving

Preheat oven to 375F. Place peppers skin side down on a baking dish (spray with cooking spray).  Set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat until hot.  Add onion and cook for 5-8 minutes, until soft and translucent, stirring frequently.  Add garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add ground chicken, cumin, chili powder, paprika, and salt and cook, stirring frequently, until chicken is cooked all the way through and no longer pink.

Add tomato sauce, black beans, cilantro, and lime juice and reduce heat to medium low.  Stir together until all ingredients are fully mixed and heated through.  Remove from heat and turn heat off.

Scoop a heaping 1/2 cup of filling into each pepper half.  Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes, until peppers are soft.  If desired, top each pepper with cheese and bake for 3-5 more minutes uncovered until cheese is melted.

Let cool about 5 minutes before serving. Top with hot sauce if desired.  Each serving is 2 pepper halves!

 

Cafe Latte and Chocolate Shakeology Treats

I LOVE my daily superfood shake.  I literally never miss a single day of drinking it, so I never have leftover Shakeology sitting around my house.  It just never happens!  Every so often, though, I have some clients that ask me for ideas on how to use their extra Shakeology that aren’t just more shakes.  Luckily for them, there are a ton of awesome treat recipes out there when you need to get to the bottom of your bag a little faster.

My favorite flavors are Cafe Latte and Chocolate (vegan or regular), so these treats are for those two flavors, specifically.  You are still getting your superfood nutrition with these treats, just mixing it up from a regular shake!

All of these recipes are from The Beachbody Blog–they have so many fantastic articles and are a great resource for anyone trying to live a healthy lifestyle!

Chocolate Shakeology Pudding

2 scoops Chocolate (or Chocolate Vegan) Shakeology

1 ripe medium avocado

2 large bananas, cut into chunks

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

  1. Place Shakeology, avocado, bananas, and almond milk in blender; cover. Blend until smooth. (If too thick add additional almond milk.)
  2. Pour into four dessert cups; refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or until set.

 

Double Chocolate No-Bake Vegan Brownies

½ cup mashed ripe banana (about 1 medium)

½ cup all-natural smooth peanut butter

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 scoops Vegan Chocolate Shakeology

Instructions
  1. Line an 8 x 8-inch pan with plastic wrap (or aluminum foil). Set aside.
  2. Combine banana, peanut butter, cocoa powder, and Shakeology in a medium bowl; mix well with clean hands or a rubber spatula.
  3. Press chocolate mixture into prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap and press down to flatten into pan. Refrigerate for 1 hour so that brownies set.
  4. Cut into sixteen brownies.

 

No-Churn Chocolate Peanut Butter Shakeology Ice Cream

1 medium banana, cut into chunks

½ cup unsweetened almond milk

2 scoops Chocolate Shakeology

2 Tbsp. all-natural smooth peanut butter

Instructions
  1. Place banana in plastic bag; freeze for 4 hours, or until completely frozen.
  2. Place almond milk, bananas, Shakeology, and peanut butter in blender (or food processor); cover. Blend until smooth.
  3. Serve immediately.

 

Homemade Energy Bars

1 cup whole pitted dates (or prunes)

1 cup dried fruit (like apricots, prunes, figs, raisins, cranberries, blueberries, or cherries)

1 cup chopped nuts (or seeds) (like almonds, walnuts, cashews, sesame seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, or sunflower seeds)

2 scoops Shakeology, any flavor

Instructions
  1. Place dates, fruit, and nuts in a food processor. Pulse for 1 to 2 minutes; scrape sides of bowl.
  2. Add Shakeology; process for 2 to 3 minutes, or until mixture becomes tiny crumbs that can come together to form a loose ball.
  3. Line an 8 x 8-inch pan with cellophane. Press mixture into pan until flat. Cover tightly and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  4. Cut into 12 bars. Store in refrigerator.
  5. Tip: For additional flair add one or more of the following: ½ tsp. rum extract, ½ tsp. cinnamon, 1 Tbsp. raw honey, ½ tsp. vanilla extract, 1–2 oz dark chocolate chips, or 2 tsp. grated fresh ginger.

 

Tiramisu No-Bake Cookies

1 cup oat flour, gluten-free
3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder, divided use
¼ tsp. sea salt (or Himalayan salt)
1 scoop Café Latte Shakeology
¼ cup all-natural smooth almond butter
2 Tbsp. raw honey (or pure maple syrup)
3 to 4 Tbsp. unsweetened almond milk (or low-fat milk)

Preparation:
1. Combine oat flour, 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder, salt, and Shakeology; mix well.
2. Add almond butter and honey; mix well. (Mixture will be dry and crumbly.)
3. Add almond milk 1 Tbsp. at a time until a thick dough forms; mix well with clean hands or a rubber spatula.
4. Roll mixture into twelve balls, each about 1-inch in size. Roll balls into remaining 1 Tbsp. cocoa powder.
5. Flatten each slightly so that it is shaped like a traditional cookie.
6. Refrigerate for a firmer cookie, or eat immediately for a softer cookie.

Roasted Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

I never, EVER thought that I would like Brussels sprouts.

I don’t remember having them as a kid, but they were part of the Thanksgiving meal at my college–cooked with bacon and maybe brown sugar?  I tried them because I like pretty much anything with bacon, but they were HORRIBLE.  As a part of the cabbage family, they can be very bitter, and I don’t love bitter foods like kale and other greens.

Like most people, I had basically written Brussels sprouts off as gross until my friend Deb shared this recipe with me.  There are many variations of this recipe on the Internet, and I really don’t know who to attribute this one to, but it is GOOD.  If you like balsamic and mustard, just try it.  I know that Brussels sprouts have a bad rep in general, but give it a chance!  They are so healthy and a great, nutrient-dense veggie option.

I’ve made these as posted here, and I’ve also made them with chopped white onion and a some minced garlic.  That adds some more flavor and a little more veggie power.  You could also roast this with bacon, because, well, bacon.

Roasted Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

2 cups Brussels sprouts, ends chopped off and halved (or quartered if they are large)

1 tbsp olive oil

1-2 tbsp balsamic vingar

pinch of salt and pepper

1-2 tbsp of mustard (any kind you like) for dipping

Preheat oven to 400 F. Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl until Brussels sprouts are evenly coated.  Spread in a single layer on a large cookie sheet lined with either foil or parchment paper.  Roast Brussels sprouts for 15-20 minutes, until slightly browned and softened. Serve with mustard and enjoy!

 

Clean Eating Hummus

I love hummus.  I could eat it with a spoon all day, every day.  But I am kind of particular about the texture of hummus, and when I’ve made homemade versions in the past, the flavor is always great, but the texture has been too thick for me.  So, I’ve stuck with my store-bought brands that are kind of expensive and filled with some extra ingredients that aren’t necessarily bad, but that I just don’t want to eat every time I have hummus.

Recently I posted a picture of some hummus I was eating for lunch, and one of my friends messaged me to offer up her dad’s hummus recipe.  Holy moly, ya’ll, this hummus is PERFECTION.  It’s a great base to add other flavors, like roasted red pepper or sriracha, and the texture is exactly what I like.  It’s simple to make, and has very few ingredients that I already had in my pantry from previous hummus experiments.  The best part of this recipe, for me, is the small amount of olive oil–I’ve always made hummus with at least 1/4 cup of olive oil, and that is a lot!  I love that this recipe still has great flavor without a lot of oil (and therefore fat and calories).

One variation I’ve tried so far is to double the garlic (because I LOVE garlic) and roast 2-3 cloves in the oven before chopping them.  I peel the cloves, put them in a small square of aluminum foil, drizzle with a tiny amount of olive oil, and fold up the foil to make a little pouch.  I put that in the oven at 375 for 40 minutes, and then chop and add it to the hummus mixture.

You can adjust the amount of liquid you put into the hummus based on the texture you prefer–less liquid if you prefer thicker hummus, more if you like it thinner.

***I half this recipe each time I make it because I’m the only one in my house that eats it.  The full recipe made just shy of 5 cups of hummus!

Clean Eating Hummus (from my friend Macarena and her dad)

2 cans garbanzo beans, liquid drained and reserved

3 tablespoons tahini

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons cumin

Mix all ingredients except the bean liquid in a blender or food processor.  Slowly pour the bean liquid as you blend.  Blend in olive oil to taste.

 

My Specific “Getting Out of My Rut” Plan

Earlier this week I shared the struggles I’ve been having with my health and fitness.  Thank you so much for the support you’ve sent me over the past couple of days!  It always helps to know that you’re not alone in your struggles–one of my favorite things about being a coach! ❤

I wanted to share my plan for getting out of my rut.  The steps are really simple, but it’s definitely not easy.  It will require dedication, a positive mindset, and help from my support system!

  • Making specific goals, both directly tied to my measurements and non-scale goals.  For the rest of the month, my goals are
    • Not skip any workouts (following 21 Day Fix Extreme)
    • Follow my clean eating plan with no cheats (meaning no sweet tea, no white bread, no candy/desserts–these are my biggest issues)
    • See the number on the scale go down
    • See the measurement numbers go down (I’m not making specific number goals because I can’t necessarily control how much I lose, but as long as it’s a downward trend I’ll be happy)
  • Planning and prepping my food.  I’m going to spend Saturday mornings meal planning, and Sunday night/Monday morning meal prepping.  For me, that means including snacks and lunches in my plans.  If I don’t plan specific foods for snacks, I end up eating junk that doesn’t help me get to my goals.
  • Reminding myself of my goals every day–this will include my short term goals (what I already went over), but also my long term goals.  I want to get back down to my weight/measurements from a year ago, and I want to be able to fit into my size 4 jeans comfortably.  I was almost comfortable in a 4 a year ago, and now my size 6 jeans are kind of tight.  Yikes).
    • Reminding myself about my goals helps me remember that I can’t be looking for instant gratification, and helps energize me when I’m lacking motivation.
  • Giving myself more accountability with my workouts by working out with my husband.  I’ve been struggling to get up with my alarm and get my workout in, which has caused me to miss several workouts in the past few weeks.  Now that my husband is getting up and working out with me, we are both encouraging and challenging each other to stick to the program.  Plus, we are both pretty competitive.  I want to keep being able to use the heavier weights.

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  • Staying accountable to my challengers by posting my food more often.  Since food is what I’ve really been struggling with, I want to post more of it in my groups and on my social media to help hold myself accountable to what I’m doing.  We have daily check ins with each other, too, and I want to be able to say that I rocked my nutrition every single day between now and the end of the challenge (which is Oct 2nd).

This is my plan right now.  I’m trying to be disciplined with myself, but also be realistic that I may need to be flexible on certain days.  I’ve been way too relaxed and lazy in the last few months, and my body and the way I feel really shows that.  I’m excited to tighten up my discipline, tighten up my body, and share the journey along the way!

Link to 20 Ways to Get Sugar Out of Your Life

I’ve been struggling hard with my nutrition after finishing 21 Day Fix Extreme last week and traveling over the weekend.  I have a really hard time finding the right balance between being strict with my food and allowing some indulgences.  It seems like any time I allow myself a cheat, I have such a hard time getting back on the consistency train.  Sugar just makes me crave more sugar!

I found this article this week when I was doing some reading on sugar, and I loved the different tips.  They are simple and straightforward, and anyone can take these tips and apply at least some of them to their eating habits!

Click here to get to the article.