Uncategorized, family, food, health, motherhood

The easiest Christmas appetizer you have to try! plus workout update (setback)

Happy December y’all!! I honestly am in disbelief that we are in the last month of the year, anyone else? If you’ve been following along with me you know that I’ve been on a health journey over the past several months and have tried different approaches as I go along. Well, last week I tried a barefoot cardio class at my local gym and loved it, so I went again two days later; halfway through my second class I tweaked my back so badly I couldn’t even walk on my own out of the gym bathroom soo that was a lot of fun! My Dad and I were talking about it and I realized, as much as I want to do all the fun classes and have done so many new things, the most success I have had in fitness is when I stick to regular ole’ cardio, i.e the bike and elliptical. As much as I hate to admit it, my body is just not cut out for fancy workouts; this is not to say I won’t be partaking in them anymore but I am going to shift my focus back to old school cardio and weights for the most part so I’m sure I’ll give an update on how that goes once my back is back to normal and I can get into the groove.

Now, even though we are staying health over the holidays, I can NEVER resist making fun holiday appetizers and desserts. I can’t tell you how much people loved this super simple appetizer that I made so I wanted to share it with you guys to maybe try it out this year or put your own spin on it. All you need to make this Christmas Tree app is some cheese to cut into cubes (regular or dairy free) in two different colors for layering, grapes, one celery stick and greens for garnishing. After cutting the cheese into cubes, place on cutting board or serving tray and layer between the cheese and grapes to create a tree. Cut about 1/3 of a celery stick to use for the trunk and cut one piece of cheese into the shape of a star for the topper. Garnish with the greens and viola, all done! I can’t tell you how easy this was and how many people commented on it. Let me know what your favorite festive foods are and if you give this tree a try! Until next time, xo Chrissy

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family, fitness, food, health, Uncategorized

Keeping the Pounds Away During the Holidays! + Frap recipe

Can you guys believe Thanksgiving has come and gone already? I feel like November flew by this year and am in denial that it’s almost December. My parents and I hosted Thanksgiving this year and had a pretty mellow day with some close friends and family.  A tip for fellow parents out there to keep your sanity and the kids entertained is that I went to the Target Dollar Section a couple of weeks ago and got festive crafts for the kids to do while dinner was being made. You can get several options since they’re so damn cheap and the kids really loved being able to choose what they wanted to make first etc. I’m definitely going back soon to stock up on items for them to make at Christmas dinner.

Im terms of staying somewhat healthy this Thanksgiving, I realized that I filled up on a lot of the vegetable options and didn’t get seconds; that plus the fact that I was on my feet most of the day helped me to not add-on those extra Thanksgiving lbs that tend to set me back every year. I knew that I wouldn’t want to workout on Thanksgiving Day; I’m sure I could have made the time but to be honest I just wanted to relax and watch the Parade with my son and start getting things prepared so I worked out the day before and tried to push myself a little harder since I knew I’d be eating more than I usually do the day after. Obviously this didn’t mean I could go hog-wild on Thanksgiving just because I worked out the day before but I did feel like it made me want to pay a little more attention to what I was eating and not have the workout be for nothing. Another thing I did differently this year was making a protein smoothie in the morning and not just picking on things here and there until the feast, which before would alway lead to me starving and overdoing it by the time dinner was served. Most importantly I focused on having a wonderful time and being present with my family and didn’t let one day mess with my head and throw me off track. Balance truly is key to health and overall happiness so I’m hoping to continue working on that over the holidays and everyday afterwards as well.

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As we know, the holiday time is amazing but can also be busy as hell and lead to an increase of coffee consumption. Since it gets expensive to constantly buy coffee I love to make mine at home most of the time and especially during the holidays when fun creamer flavors come out. To make a frappuccino at home all you need is a blender and these simple ingredients: ice, bottled iced coffee (I love the Chameleon brand) and liquid coffee creamer (I used Pumpkin Almond milk creamer as well as the vanilla one) put in your blender and blend until a thick frap consistency occurs, it happens pretty quickly so keep an eye out. It’s so easy to do and really fun to make your own concoctions. Hope you give this a try and can’t wait to start sharing some christmas treats! Until next time xo chrissy

fitness, food, health, motherhood

How to Rock a Low Carb Diet + Thanksgiving Treat

Low carb diet + a Thanksgiving treat full of carbs, goes together like PB&J right?! Well actually it can; what I’ve been learning most on this weight loss journey is that balance truly is so important or else success is hard to maintain. By eating less carbohydrates over the past month I have dropped almost ten lbs and feel less bloated than I have in such a long time. One thing that has helped tremendously is that in the mornings I have a smoothie (can we get an Amen for NutriBullets, so mad at myself for not getting one earlier, the cleanup is SO easy!) with a scoop and a half of vegan protein powder mixed with a very small amount of berries, frozen spinach, water and a handful of seeds, such as chia and hemp. This keeps me from getting over hungry right away and gives me the nutrients I need. I would highly suggest incorporating this into your diets if you can. Now, if I’m going to do a workout I will have some hard boiled eggs or whole grain toast with peanut butter etc to go with the smoothie or else I don’t have enough energy to keep up. Instead of processed carbs I have been incorporating non-starchy vegetables whenever possible with meals and snacks and get as much protein as I can to avoid the sluggish side effects than can happen on low carb. Protein stays with us longer as it is digested slower than the other food groups and gives lasting energy instead of highs and lows like sugary items do. I’m not willing to have no carbs at all since they are important for brain function etc so I do have small amounts of fruit and whole grains. If you’re looking to kick start your weight loss I definitely have had success with focusing on lower carb-high protein, however as we know our bodies are all different but I would say it’s worth a try! Now for the fun and festive part: Turkey Cupcakes!

This is SO easy and fun for the whole family to put together. I made these several years ago so the picture quality is not great but I hope you can get the feel anyway. Make some cupcakes of your choice and frost, set aside for the time being. Get Oreo cookies and candy corn; place candy corn into the frosting on top half of cookie to mimic feathers. Take Nutter Butter cookie and with colored icing make eyes and gobbler on cookie to make the turkeys face. Let sit while frosting and icing hardens then stick the Nutter Butter into the cupcake and place the Oreo part slightly behind. Making all of these didn’t take as long as you would think and I had a lot of fun with it! I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season ahead of you with loved ones! Until next time xo Chrissy

family, fitness, food, health, Uncategorized

Finally seeing weight loss results and here’s why

Happy November everyone! If you celebrated Halloween I hope you had a fun night, we definitely did but I need to donate some of the 500 lbs of candy that my son got. I have some updates on my weight loss journey that I wanted to share. The other week I had my first appointment with a Stanford nutritionist at their weight management clinic. What they typically do is start people on solely having 4 protein shakes a day, but I knew with the amount of energy I need everyday to keep up with my toddler that it might not be the best option for me. We decided for me to skip ahead a bit and I am having 1 shake to replace my snacking (that I tend to over-do) and am just having my three meals that are focused on high protein and low carbohydrates. If I need something between meals besides a shake then I snack on non-starchy vegetables and have limited my fruit intake for the time being. I bought a few Fat Free dressings to jazz things up a bit and have decided to cut out alcohol of any kind for the moment. Workouts have mainly been low-impact cardio but I will increase it as I feel more energetic. Over the past couple of weeks I certainly have lost some weight with this approach; most of which I know is water weight but it definitely has been encouraging and I feel more motivated than I have in a long time. Since this is somewhat of a shock to my system, I have experienced some low energy while adjusting but overall I feel good and much less bloated than I usually do so I am going to stick to this plan and eventually learn to make the best food decisions for the future and not just initial weight loss.

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Something else that I wanted to share has been my experience with this celery juice fad that seems to be all the rage on social media and fitness sites. I started having celery juice about 4 days a week, initially because I heard it helped with IBS symptoms that I have suffered from for most of my adult life as well as reducing anxiety which I also suffer from. However, like with most of these fads I was skeptical and started looking up information on my own. What I never realized is just how many healthy benefits there are to celery along with the nutrients it holds. Some facts that stood out to me pertaining celery were: aiding in lowering blood pressure and bad cholesterol, reduces cravings and helps with weight loss, high in vitamins A &C, iron and magnesium, fiber, maintains healthy cell membranes, boosts immune system and helps to control UTIs and stones (gall/kidney.) I know there are many many more benefits to this simple yet amazing food but the bottom line is that if you’re going to give a fad a try, incorporating more celery into your diet in general should be one. After the first couple of weeks I did notice that I was not getting so bloated and I felt like I had some more energy along with not wanting to binge on unhealthy foods. Clearly celery juice or having celery raw is not going to cure everything but I do like how I feel since incorporating this into my diet. If you don’t have a juicer this can be found bottled at health food stores such as Whole Foods and I have enemy gotten some from my local Farmers Market. What I will say is that plain celery juice is not that delightful in taste but the more you have it the more you are able to drink and adjust to the taste. Again, I am no health care professional but I did want to share my experience with celery juice so far because I do think it’s easy to add to your diet and is incredibly nutritious. If you give this a try for a while let me know how you like it. Until next time, XO Chrissy

family, fitness, food, health, Uncategorized

Dairy-Free Vanilla Pumpkin Spice Muffins!

On today’s episode of “I literally never bake except for in the month of October” we’re comin’ at ya with some Dairy-Free, organic Vanilla Pumpkin Spice Muffins. Yeah you heard me, and yes they are as delicious as they sound. I got inspired by one of my favorite YouTubers Kalyn Nicholson (if you love lifestyle, fitness and recipe videos I would definitely check her out she’s amazing.) I took the recipe she had found online and tweaked it a bit for my own personal taste since I typically like to add vanilla into most baking recipes. This recipe is so simple and perfect for Fall, not to mention that it made the whole house smell like pumpkin spice heaven! I hope you give this one a try and let me know if you put some of your own personal baking touches as well. Until next time, XO Chrissy

Vanilla Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Preheat oven to 375, use a cupcake/muffin baking sheet. I used baking cups to make for easier cleanup.

Ingredients
15 ounce organic canned pumpkin
1/3 cup melted vegan butter
1/2 cup vanilla almond milk
1 cup brown sugar
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

Melt butter in large mixing bowl, then add all other ingredients and mix. Place in oven for 25-30 minutes depending on your oven but start checking on them after minute 20. Top with walnuts and dark chocolate chips like I did or whatever your heart desires! Seriously guys, give this one a try.

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family, food, health, motherhood, Uncategorized

Deliciously simple Fall family recipes

Any excuse to make pizza and I can guarantee you my son and I will take it! I think having kids help us in the kitchen not only makes them feel proud but also teaches them from a young age the importance of making their own meals (until college and all they care about is Taco Bell per usual.) The weather may not be rainy and cold like I’m waiting for but it IS October so that means Halloween themed everything, including pizza. These were so easy to make, since we know if it’s not a simple recipe I’m not about it, and were delicious! Side note: my son had so much fun making these and while they might not look perfect, they were to us 🙂

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Ingredients

  • English muffins
  • Pizza sauce of your liking
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Sliced cheese (I used CHAO vegan cheese for the mummies)
  • Whole black olives

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a baking sheet and cut english muffins in half if not pre-sliced. Add sauce. For mummies: cut thin slices of cheese and arrange into mummy-like pattern. Cut two slices of olive for eyes, you can cut some small tomato rounds to place in olives for even more of a spooky look. For bats: cut olive in half, place one half on pizza and cut other in half again to make wings. Not pictured: we made spiders on spider webs but ate that one before pictures were taken.  Place in oven for approx. 15 minutes but check as it goes. Enjoy!

I know I can’t be the only pumpkin spice lover on here, but as much as I’d love to go to Peet’s coffee everyday and get theirs I try to make my own as much as possible. Adding some vanilla really makes it even better and I literally just add three ingredients plus ice and am in pumpkin latte heaven!

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Ingredients

  • Ice
  • Cold brew of choice (I use vanilla Chameleon cold-brew)
  • Pumpkin spice milk (I used the brand Almond Dream from Whole Foods)
  • Vanilla coffee creamer

Just toss some ice into your favorite cup and combine the ingredients to your liking, add as much or little of each ingredient as you like. I know these are ridiculously simple but I hope you get inspired to have some fun and make your own Fall creations.

family, fitness, health, motherhood, Uncategorized

Spooktacular Fitness Challenge!

Happy October everyone!! It is officially my favorite time of the year; Halloween has always been my favorite holiday, which my son clearly knew and decided to be born two days before on October 29th. Since I am trying to better my health and overall fitness level I decided to set out a challenge for myself and thought I would share it here if anyone wants to join me or share what their October fitness goals are.

I am late to the game as it is currently October 2nd but we’ll count yesterday and today as prep days. This is totally casual and just a little schedule I put together for myself so definitely feel free to alternate it to your lifestyle and needs but I think Fall is a great time to step up the fitness game and really work on my goals before the holiday madness truly begins. Just a reminder that I’m a stay-at-home mom whose husband works in the emergency field and works long shifts typically 5-6 days a week so some of the workouts on this challenge are at-home and ones I have either done before or am eager to try! As always please let me know what you like to do to motivate yourself and make changes toward a healthier life. Until next time guys, BOO! -Chrissy

October 3- FitnessBlender’s Fat Burning Cardio Workout (YouTube)

October 4- Orangetheory workout (or any studio workout you belong to if any, example Spin or Barre, Pilates etc)

October 5- Gym cardio (i.e treadmill, elliptical or rower)/lower body

October 6- Take Sean on hour walk in stroller around town

October 7- Gym upper body/cardio workout

October 8- Rest Day

October 9- Orangetheory workout

October 10- Yoga With Adriene’s Yoga for Weightless (YouTube)

October 11- Orangetheory workout

October 12- Power walk outside one hour

October 13- Gym for abs/strength training

October 14- Rest Day

October 15- FitnessBlender’s Cardio Kickboxing (YouTube)

October 16- Orangetheory workout

October 17- PopSugar Fitness’ 30-minute Hip-Hop Tabata (YouTube)

October 18- Gym upper body/cardio

October 19- Rest Day

October 20- Swim! (We will be on vacation and the hotel has a pool)

October 21- Walk everywhere (We will be in Disneyland so I have a feeling I’ll be getting more cardio in than I want, ha!)

October 22- Gym cardio/lower body

October 23- FitnessBlender’s Bodyweight HIIT cardio (YouTube)

October 24- Rest Day

October 25- Orangetheory workout

October 26- Walk track at local school, one hour

October 27- Put on music videos and dance like no one’s watching, 30-45 minutes

October 28- Gym, upper body focus

October 29- Yoga With Adriene’s Yoga for Core and Booty (YouTube)

October 30- Rest Day

October 31- HAPPY HALLOWEEN!! My workout will be following Sean for miles as he trick-or-treats

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