Friday, November 8, 2013

Pina Colada Protein Shake

I cannot believe the cold winter weather is already upon us! (If you live in a tropical, warm location- I ENVY YOU). This girl is not ready for the snow! Which must be the reason that I was daydreaming about tropical islands... and Pina Coladas! They are my favorite summer treat, but why not enjoy them in the winter too?

When I realized I had the perfect ingredients for a "Pina Colada" protein shake (coconut, banana, and pineapple), I raced to the gym, killed a workout, and sprinted right back home to make this. And let me tell you: H.E.A.V.E.N. A legit pina colada. But healthy :)

Pina Colada Protein Shake
The super simple ingredients:
2 ice cubes
1/2 frozen banana
1/2 c. frozen pineapple
1 T. unsweetened coconut
1 serving nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
1 packet stevia
unsweetened almond milk
Add the ingredients in that order into your blender and "ice crush" on the highest setting until everything is blended. I add just enough almond milk to make it thick and creamy. You may need to stop the blender a few times to stir it, and try adding another splash of almond milk!
If you've seen my earlier fruit&protein shake post, you will know that I freeze my bananas AFTER peeling them and dicing them into 6 slices. I put them on a piece of wax paper and put them in the freezer, as pictured above. 3 slices= half a banana. It helps to make the most delicious milkshake-ish consistency in your protein shake. I found my frozen pineapple in the freezer section, and the unsweetened coconut in the organic section.
Am I on an island? ... or in my 40 degree apartment?
I can't wait until my workout is over tomorrow so I can enjoy this goodness again. Heck, you could even make it as a dessert! Check out the nutrition facts below!

326 calories
5g fat
32g carbs
21g sugar
39g protein

Luckily, all of the sugar/carb content is from real fruit, so I'm okay with it! These are the perfect macros to fuel you after a good workout. So please, ENJOY, and let me know what you think!
<3 Morgan

Clean Pumpkin Protein Muffins

Tis the season! The fall season that is. After making my mom's delicious pumpkin bread recipe (which includes 3 CUPS of sugar...) I decided I needed to find a healthy alternative for my fall-ish pumpkin cravings! Hence, my Clean Pumpkin Protein Muffins! I mean, not only are these muffins made with clean ingredients, but they have PROTEIN. Morgan's favorite thing. 

These muffins took a total of 30 minutes to make, I had ALL of the ingredients lying around my house, and they are sure to satisfy your pumpkin sweet tooth without the added calories, fat, or sugar.

Try 'em out before winter sneaks up on us! Your house will smell amazing (and your roomates will thank you). 

Clean Pumpkin Protein Muffins
1 can pumpkin puree 
1/2 c. egg whites
1/2 c. unsweetened apple sauce
1 serving plain nonfat Greek yogurt
2 T. all-natural peanut butter
1 t. vanilla
4 packets stevia
1 c. oat flour
2 scoops vanilla whey protein powder
1/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. pumpkin pie spice
1 t. cinnamon
olive oil cooking spray
muffin tin
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 
Mix together the pumpkin, egg whites, apple sauce, yogurt, peanut butter, stevia, and vanilla in a large bowl with an electronic mixer. Add in the oat flour, protein powder, baking soda, baking powder, and spices and mix until well-combined.
 Prep your muffin tins with a coat of olive oil cooking spray and you don't even need to use muffin liners!
Spoon your muffin mixture evenly into each muffin tin (makes 15 muffins)
Now bake them for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees! You will know they are done when a toothpick or knife comes out clean. Allow the finished muffins to sit in the tin for about 5 minutes before removing them..... Then indulge :)
The pumpkin puree can be found on any grocer's shelves. Make sure its pure pumpkin with no added sugars. In my first batch of these muffins, I only used 2 packets of stevia and thought they tasted a little bland (oops, this girl has a sweet tooth problem) so I thought 4 packets would add the perfect amount of sweetness. Oat flour can be found in the organic section of your grocery store (this is also what I use in my Homemade Protein Bars so you can get multiple uses out of it)!

83 calories
1.8g fat
9g carbs
1.3g fiber
2.3g sugar
7g protein
Now I'd call that a clean muffin!
So much deliciousness, I can't handle it. Store your muffins in tupperware and go ahead and freeze a few to keep them fresh for next week! They will still taste great.


Monday, October 14, 2013

Spartan Race 2013!

Well, its about time I write a "wrap-up" for the Spartan Race 5K that I did in August! What a fun event. I mean, who doesn't love an excuse to roll around in mud? I ran the Boston Spartan Race and it was a blast.
To be honest, the obstacles were cool, but they were more of a "break" from running up and down the mountain. It is only a 5k (3.1 miles) but it was a tiring race! If you're training for an upcoming Spartan Race: TRAIN ON HILLS. While I love to run, I don't train on hills as often as I should so I would highly suggest this! Then again, running the Spartan Race is more fun to me than a competition for how fast I can run it... so enjoy yourself!
... and after :)
Throughout the run, there were about 20 obstacles that you had to complete. They had separate sections of the obstacles for girls (which kind of made me feel stupid... until the end of the race when I was tired!) and if you couldn't complete the obstacle, you faced a series of burpees. Who doesn't love burpees?! ;) Some of the obstacles were climbing across monkey bars, carrying sandbags up and down the mountain, dragging cinder blocks, climbing/jumping over walls, sliding down muddy hills, jumping over fire:
and the ever-exhasuting crawling under barbed wire through mud.. and 4 billion sharp rocks. While this was a blast, it was also the longest, most painful obstacle, and after swimming under a muddy wall, I saw that there was another entire stretch of barbed wire to struggle under. My face says is all:
"... more barbed wire???"
struggle fest
trying a new strategy to get through it!
While this race was awesome, and definitely something you can't do every day, I thought the price was a little insane. I paid close to $120 and because of that, I'm not sure I would do it again! I suggest getting a big group of friends to motivate you through it; make a day out of it. As I always say, it is good to sign up for a race or event so that you have a goal to work towards! That is what keeps me going and helps me to continue training.
all smiles at the finish line!
Don't forget to bring a change of clothes and enjoy the entertainment afterwards! Stay tuned for my post on the Electric Run, which I paid $45 for and it was worth every penny!!!
Stay healthy!

Healthy Homemade Apple Sauce

It is that time of year! Apple orchards are filling with people who end up leaving with 20 pounds of apples- but what in the world to do with ALL of those apples?
.... Make homemade apple sauce of course :)

I have to give props to my nursing buddy Lisa , who made this for me last year and ever since I've been planning on making it myself! It is healthy, super easy, and you can alter it to make it taste just as you like! You can also eat it hot (tastes desserty!) or cold (perfect side with lunch).

Healthy Homemade Apple Sauce
What you will need:
-Golden Raisins
I used about 6-7 apples varying in size and ended up with about 4 servings. The apples get all mushy and delicious when they cook, so I suggest putting in a few extra apples than you expect! (Plus, it makes delicious leftovers for lunches or tomorrow's sweets-craving!)
The only ingredients you need- easy!
First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.Peel and slice your apples into bite-size pieces. Toss them  into a 9x13 pan.
Next, cover the apples with ground cinnamon, a drizzle of honey, and a sprinkle of golden raisins! Honestly, there is no right or wrong amount. You can add more as it cooks if you feel that it needs more flavor, but adjust this to your liking!
Heaven on Earth, huh?

Now cover your pan with some foil and let these babies cook! Once again, cook it to your liking. The longer you cook it, the softer and mushier the apples get. I like mine with a few little apple chunks, so I cooked mine for about 40 minutes. 

Stir it about every 15 minutes, and why not have a little taste test each time :)
the final product
My house smelled incredible, my taste buds were so satisfied, and I cannot wait to eat this again tomorrow, YUM! I also decided to try mine with a baby scoop of lowfat vanilla frozen yogurt... the melty combination of warm apples and froyo was to die for.
So go enjoy these beautiful fall days, enjoy a healthy apple alternative, and hit the pavement for a run in this perfect running weather!
Lets get healthy!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

World's Best Fruit & Protein Shake

After just devouring one of these shakes, I figured it was about time to blog about it! If you've read my blog you know how obsessed I am with protein shakes... and yes, they are often the highlight of my day. Especially when I decide to make them with frozen fruit! There is nothing better than coming home after a sweaty workout to a delicious, refreshing, thick-milkshake-like treat... that is healthy! Perfect combination :)
Blueberry Banana Pineapple Protein Shake
Using frozen fruit makes the shake have ice-cream consistency which makes it so satisfying. I cannot stand watery smoothies, yuck. You can use any fruit! My staple is a half frozen banana. Buy a few extra bananas at the grocery store and when they are ripe, peel them, slice them into a few pieces, and freeze them in a tupperware lined with wax paper. This makes it super easy and convenient!
You can find frozen fruit in your grocery store's frozen section. I prefer buying it frozen anyway- you don't have to worry about the fruit going bad and wasting money! There is an example of how I slice of banana up. This week was the first time I tossed frozen pineapple in there.... umm YUM!
The only other ingredients you need!
So lets get started. Depending on the amount of frozen fruit you are using, use more or less ice cubes. Only use a few splashes of almond milk and add more as you need it!
When you add the ingredients to your blender, add them in this order:
- ice cubes (on the bottom)
- frozen fruit
- protein powder
- greek yogurt
- stevia packet
-  unsweetened almond milk
Blend your shake on high starting with the "ice crush" button. Once your smoothie looks consistent, use the "liquify" button and stir if needed! This whole process takes 3 minutes. It is my favorite snack of the day so I URGE you to try one of these recipes! Also, this makes a great BREAKFAST! When I'm making this for breakfast, I only use 1/3 or 1/2 scoop of protein so it isn't so filling (plus I ususally end up having more protein powder throughout the day. You don't need too much!)

Blueberry Banana Pineapple Protein Shake
(pictured above)
- 3 ice cubes
- 1/2 frozen banana
- 1/3 c. frozen blueberries
- 1/3 c. frozen pineapple
- 1 plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
- 1 packet stevia
- splashes of unsweetened almond milk
(This also tastes great with the blueberries alone. Use whatever you have on hand or try a different frozen fruit each week. Find your favorite combo!)

Banana Chocolate Protein Shake
- 3-5 ice cubes
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 scoop chocolate whey protein powder
- 1 plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- 1 packet stevia
- splashes of unsweetened almond milk

Rocky Road Protein Shake
- 6 ice cubes
- 1 scoop Rocky Road protein powder
- 1 plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- 1 packet stevia
- splashes of unsweetened almond milk
(Try ANY protein flavor with this combo! The greek yogurt just adds extra protein and extra healthy calories if you are looking for more of a "meal" after a workout compared to a snack. I love Optimum Nutrition! Other flavors I've enjoyed are chocolate mint, graham cracker, cookies & cream, the list goes on.)

This is my "is it protein time yet?" face :)
So go DOMINATE an awesome workout and sprint home to treat yourself to a delicious protein shake! You already know how beneficial protein is in muscle recovery (and is the best source of calories after a workout) so go indulge and enjoy every bite!

Lets get healthy!
<3 Morgan

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Grab & Go: Egg White Bites

Egg whites: a healthy food and perfect breakfast (or snack) that can now be grabbed to go during your morning rush! No excuses to stop and get a donut now! It is crucial to start your morning in a healthy way; it will influence you to continue the rest of your day on a healthy streak! 
All you need is a carton of egg whites, a mini-muffin or muffin tin, olive oil cooking spray and your favorite vegetables! It was the quickest process and they tasted delicious.
¼ onion, diced
½ pepper, diced
Handful of spinach
egg white carton (24 T. total is used)
olive oil cooking spray
black pepper

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Spray each muffin tin with olive oil cooking spray so it lightly coats the bottom
Add your favorite diced vegetables!

I added ripped-up spinach leaves, diced red pepper, and diced onion
Fill each muffin tin with egg whites. When using the mini muffin tins, it only took about 1 T. of egg whites to fill it. 
Lastly, sprinkle the tops with some ground black pepper for a little flavor.
 Toss them in the oven! 
The mini muffin tins took about 10 minutes. If you are using regular sized muffin tins, let them cook for about 20 minutes. 
Once they are cooled, enjoy! You can also add your favorite toppings- my favorite are avocado and salsa!

 Mine lasted in the fridge perfectly for 4 days (I couldn't keep them in there any longer... they were too yummy and too easy to grab and take on the go!)
Each egg white bite only has 10 CALORIES!
I had 8 for a snack which equaled out to about 80 calories! Unless you top it with avocado, the egg white bits have no fat, cholesterol, or sugar.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Fat Blaster: Bike Intervals

Intervals: the one exercise guaranteed to blast fat and to keep your metabolism buzzing all day! I have to admit, this is something I’ve turned to after enjoying a few too many post-pageant cheat meals and nothing makes me feel better!

Rather than maintaining a constant heart rate (as you would on a normal-paced run or steady bikeride), intervals constantly confuse your heart. The heart muscle never is able to adapt to your higher heart rate since you’re continually going faster and slower, faster and slower, thus TORCHING calories! The beauty of intervals? You burn calories all day long. Intervals are great for fat loss and building up your cardio endurance, so lets get started!

To make your life easier, save the picture below and put it on your phone- that way the workout is right at your fingertips.
Also, WORD TO THE WISE: make sure you have a motivating playlist. My music is literally bumping while I jam out (and sometimes dance or sing) on my bike. Music is the #1 thing that pushes me through this workout, especially during the last circuit when you feel like you could sweat to death. 
Fat Blaster: Bike Intervals
Head to the gym and get pumped up for this DIY Bicycle Bootcamp. Hop on a bike and adjust the seat so that your knees are NEVER fully extended (you should maintain a slight bend in your knees at every point of pedaling). Start by warming up those leg muscles by increasing the resistance on the bike- they are usually set at “1” … you want to have control of your legs and feel like you’re working. Having no control of the pedal will not help you accomplish this workout! I usually set mine to “3” or “4”; you can change this with each workout.

After 5 minutes of warming up, begin the intervals! Remember, you are the ONLY one that can push yourself (since I can’t be there to yell in your ear and motivate you… but imagine it). The intervals work like this:

20 seconds sprinting
20 second cool-off
Repeat this 5 times
(this equals one circuit- repeat circuit 3 times)

The “sprinting” consists of pedaling YOUR LIFE AWAY. I tell myself “faster, faster, faster” until my legs won’t go any quicker. I usually bring my butt off the seat (almost half-standing on your bike), grip the handles, and pedal, pedal, pedal. The “cool-off” consists of almost a break. You need to keep pedaling and moving your legs, but there is no reason to push it too hard. This is the beauty of intervals- you are confusing your heart so that it never adjusts to a constant heartbeat.
The easiest way to do the intervals is to watch the timer on your bike. After a 5-minute warm up, I usually start my intervals at 5:20. For example:

Sprint 5:20-5:40
Cool-off 5:40-6:00
Sprint 6:00-6:20
Cool-off 6:20-6:40
Sprint 6:40-7:00
Cool-off 7:00-7:20
Sprint 7:20-7:40
Cool-off 7:40-8:00
Sprint 8:00-8:20
Cool-off 8:20-8:40
Cool-off 8:40-10:40

Now you have finished your first circuit! You repeat this 3 times (of as many as you would like!). You would begin your second circuit at 11:00 since we have 2-minute cool-downs incorporated between each circuit. So you would cool down 8:40- 10:40 and begin Interval #2 with a sprint 11:00-11:20… Cool-off 11:20-11:40... Sprint 11:40-12:00... get it?!


Once you complete this you should feel SO proud of yourself! You will be burning fat all day long. Don’t forget: don’t ruin all of your hardwork by eating junk food. Nourish your body after your amazing workout and you will feel amazing!
Morgan :)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Morgan's Homemade Protein Bars

The only way to guarantee that you are “eating clean”… is to make it yourself! No more feeling guilty about eating packaged, preserved, nasty products- homemade is the way to go! These taste WAY BETTER than store-bought protein bars, can be grabbed on the go, and last in the fridge! AND you know they are healthy since you are making them! I bet these will become a weekly tradition for you (especially if you meal prep) and it definitely satisfied my sweet tooth! I've wanted to experiment making protein bars for the longest time.. Well, this one is checked off the blog-bucket-list and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Really, who doesn't love the combination of banana, peanut butter, and chocolate? I wasn't going to include dark chocolate chips in my first experimental batch but I cannot resist that flavor trio. A little sugar won't kill you (and dark chocolate is the smartest option anyway). Ahhh, I am so satisfied. Here we go: 

Banana PB Chocolate Protein Bars
Homemade Protein Bars
2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
3 egg whites
1/2 c. unsweetened almond milk
2 T. Teddie's natural unsalted peanut butter 
4 packets stevia 
1 t. vanilla
1 c. old fashioned oats
1 c. oat flour
1 1/4 scoops protein powder (I used Gold Standard Whey- Vanilla)
Dashes of cinnamon
 3 T. dark chocolate chips
-Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Coat a pan with olive oil cooking spray. I used a 9" circular pan, I'm sure an 8x8 or other size would work just fine- you just may need to alter your baking time by a few minutes.
-Mash your bananas in a large bowl. I used a handheld mixer.
-Combine the mashed bananas, egg whites, almond milk, peanut butter, stevia, and vanilla
-Next add in the oatmeal, oat flour, protein powder, cinnamon
-Lastly, stir in the dark chocolate chips!
before the oven!
Pour your batter into the greased pan and pop it into the oven (at 350 degrees) for 20 minutes! The middle should appear solid, almost as if you were baking a cake.
after the oven!
Let it cool for a good 10-15 minutes. Next, I was able to flip my pan over and the bars came out easily and cleanly out of the pan! (Remember to coat the pan with cooking spray before pouring your batter in). I placed it on a cutting board to let it cool more before proceeding to slice it!
I sliced it into 16 bars (which is what the nutrition facts portray below!) This gives you 100-calorie servings (99.75 calories to be exact) and is a good serving to fill you up with 6 grams of protein. Enjoy two bars if you're used to having 200 calories/12g protein snack times :)
can you imagine the deliciousness?
melty dark chocolate... mmmm
Nutrition Facts
100 calories
3g fat
12.5 carbs
3g sugar
6g protein
2g fiber

Enjoy one bar warm out of the oven (it made me feel like I was eating a cookie fresh out of the oven- seriously delicious, people) and store the rest in the fridge! I froze a few of mine as well. Since all of the ingredients are fresh, you want to enjoy them quicker than a store-bought product... those store-bought protein bars are filled with preservatives to allow them to last days, weeks, months, maybe years... EWWWW! Not Morgan's Homemade Protein Bars! And let me tell you- I don't know how these will even stay in your fridge for more than a week. They are THAT good.

Since they only take 20 MINUTES (with a 10 minute prep), you should have NO excuse that you "don't have time"- toss them in the oven when you watch the nightly news, when your dinner is cooking, while you're styling your hair... please, people. You have time! This will also save you money from the store-bought protein bars that can be $1/bar (or more)!
And never forget: healthy is possible.
Morgan :)