Saturday, August 24, 2013

Frozen PB & J Grapes

We have all heard of frozen grapes and frozen grapes dipped in yogurt.  To be honest either way kind of freaked me out.  I imagined a rock hard grape that was going to kill my teeth and well, I do not exactly have a good loving relationship with yogurt.  It is okay at times, but not my go to snack by any means.

So, I decided to take a leap and try out a frozen grape, but of course in Rachel fashion I had to take it one step further.  I love peanut butter and granola and have been doing my best lately to integrate both into as many recipes as possible so an idea formed over the course of a week.  What goes better with a grape than peanut butter?  You have had a Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich before, right?  Even as an adult that is the one sandwich I bet you secretly still enjoy.  Why granola?  While I have been known to eat PB right off the spoon, I needed the effect of the sandwich and granola is pretty trendy these days and depending on what type of bread you consume, it can be a similar flavor. 

To prepare:  Pick out some grapes, any kind, purple, red, green, whatever variety you love.  I happened to find these Midnight Beauty grapes at my local grocery and thought they would be fun to try.

First I rinsed and froze some grapes.  I will be honest and tell you I have no idea if it is important to freeze the grapes first or not, but I have seen it done that way in several recipes, so that is what I did. 


Then I made some granola.  I used a mixture of oats, flax seed, quinoa, and Pure Maple Syrup.  Have you been seeing as many recipes for quinoa granola as I have lately?  I was a little nervous so I kept the 2 separate when they were baking just to make sure the quinoa was going to be good :)  Turns out it is delish so I combined them, but...more on that later.  I blended mine up in my magic bullet prior to baking since I knew I was using them as crumbs and then blended them one more time after they baked just to get rid of some of the maple syrup that sometimes clumps. 


Then comes the peanutty yogurty deliciousness part.  I mixed 2 parts greek yogurt to one part peanut butter and added a little vanilla.  Ok, I added A LOT of vanilla, but I think vanilla is kind of like salt and pepper.  I can't tell you how much to add.  You just have to add until it tastes right to you.  But seriously....you can't have too much in my humble little opinion. 


Also, I only had crunchy natural PB.  I have 2 brands of nut butters I buy at my local grocery store because the only ingredient they contain is the nut and go figure this time around my almond butter and PB were only available in crunchy.  I guess the creamy fans beat me to the store this time, but I am not willing to compromise on ingredients just to have a smooth consistency.  If your PB or AB contains more than just the nut, read some more labels next time you grocery shop.  Palm oil and sugar are not important ingredients in nut butters.  I promise you will not be able to tell a difference.  I digress...


Back to PB & J Frozen Grapes.  Drop a grape one at a time into the yogurt mixture and coat.  It will be a thick coating. 

Drop into a pile of granola dust and roll using a fork until all the surface is coated. 


Lay them out on a plate lined with parchment paper (or if you are like me and bought an entire roll of freezer paper to use for 1 little project you can use that as well). Either way, cut the paper to size, shiny/waxy side up. Continue until you run out of yogurt mixture.  Freeze until firm. 

I tried 3 different varieties: 
oats, quinoa and a 1/2 and 1/2 mix of the 2 hence the need for separation.
The result:  a peanut butter sandwich in ball form.  It almost tastes like a Butter Finger which I really was not expecting but enjoyed regardless.  The grapes do not become teeth crushing rocks either like I imagined.  They will of course be frigid so carefully sink your teeth into them. 

 
The Recipe
 
Grapes:  rinsed and frozen
 
Ultimate Granola
1/4 cup oats
2 TBLS quinoa
1.5 TBLS flax seed
1.5 TBLS pure maple syrup
 
Blend all granola ingredients to desired texture, preferably to almost a powder. Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes, mixing up and turning 1/2 way through. It is powder/crumbs at this point so it should take significantly less time than traditional granola. Also, it does not need to be super toasty, just a light brown color.  Blend again if the mixture clumped up at all or if the texture needs to be smaller. Then lay out on a small dish or a bowl would work fine also. 
 
Yogurt/PB Mix
4 TBLS Greek Yogurt (I used The Greek Gods in plain)
2 TBLS PB (I used Krema Natural in crunchy)
Vanilla (to your taste buds desire, but I used at least 1/2 TBLS)
 
Combine all of the yogurt/pb ingredients in a bowl.
 
Once you have the grapes frozen and the granola and yogurt mix prepped, dip a grape in the yogurt/pb mix and then coat with the granola powder.  Lay out on parchment paper.  You will not want them to touch until after they have been frozen.  Once all the grapes have been dipped and coated, freeze for an hour at least.  Keep frozen.  This is a snack you eat at home.  It will not survive outside the freezer for very long.
 

Give them a try and let me know what you think.   




Friday, August 23, 2013

Why follow the fitness community



I was on Facebook earlier and Ripped Goddess asked this really great question:
Why do YOU come to Ripped Goddess or to any fitness page? I'm not asking this for compliments, but for real answers. Is it to receive motivation? Advice? To promote your own endeavors? To criticize and scrutinize? Or to feel supported? For community? I REALLY want to know. There are all types of "fitness" pages with all types of purposes.... so I'm interested in seeing if your reason matches my vision.
A million reasons came to mind for me of why I choose to follow so many health and fitness pages and blogs:
  • I want to know what is working for real people.
  • I want to meet others that have been where I was
  • I want to meet others who have achieved the amount of health or fitness I desire
  • I want support
  • I want to be surrounded by people that care about their health
  • I want advice
  • I want to know the latest research and trends
  • I just plain want (make that need) some motivation some days
  • I want to find products and services that work
  • I want to meet others who have Crohns, Ulcerative Colitis or any other inflammatory bowel disease and how they are beating it with nutrition and exercise
  • I need new workout ideas
  • I need new healthy recipes
So those are my reasons.

Why do you choose to follow health and fitness pages and blogs? 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Getting To Know You


So, I was looking for ways to connect with some local bloggers and women in general.  A girl can always use more mom friends, right?  I found Texas Women Bloggers and this was their prompt for last week. 

1. What part of Texas do you call home?     Arlington.  I moved to Fort Worth in 1998 to go to TCU and ended up getting married a few months after I graduated.  We moved into Arlington and have been here ever since. 

2. How long have you been blogging?    this blog...a few months, but my first blog was over 2 years ago when I was pregnant with my first son, The King's Prince and the one I have now for my 2nd pregnancy, Growing Baby #2.

3. Why did you start blogging?  to keep myself accountable to my fitness routine and inspire others to find fitness for their families.  For my baby blogs, it is a way to get out all my mommy frustrations and keep family updated on the pregnancy.

4. When we visit your blog, what can we expect to discover?  articles on health topics, recipes, family fitness and my own personal workouts

5. How did you come up with your Blog Title and what is its meaning?  My fitness journey is exactly that, how I am staying fit despite being pregnant and having crohns disease, oh and being a mom to a very active toddler.  It is also a way for me to show ways for families to find fitness together.  While I love a good DVD workout for myself, outside time around town with my family spent running around and exploring is important too.

6. What do you love about being part of Texas Women Bloggers?  Just joined.  Glad to be part of other women doing the same thing

7. Who inspires you to blog?  My kiddo.  I want to be healthy for him and that means remaining accountable.

8. If you could pick a favorite blog post from this past year, what would it be?  On this fitness blog, it would be a really recent one about a morning spent with my son at the Ft. Worth Botanical Gardens A 2013 Summer Memory.  On my baby blog, it would definitely have to be our Gender Reveal The Big Reveal
 
 
Getting to Know You Link Party with the Texas Women Bloggers

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Best Grilling Recipe/Tip

This is actually a tip from my dad, but I happen to love it.

Corn on the grill is one of the best foods during summer. It is sweet and juicy and adding it to the grill just makes it that much better.


So the tip is to soak it for an hour or slightly longer in water with the husks still on. When you are ready to grill, keep the husks on and grill on the top rack. It steams inside the husk, but still gets that grill flavor. Soaking keeps the husks from burning up.

Tip #2: For easier eating, turn a bowl upside down inside a much larger bowl. Remove the husks, stand the corn upright on the upside down bowl and using a sharp knife cut straight down getting close to the cob. The kernels and the corn "juice" will all fall into the bowl below. Add your favorite seasonings, butter if you dare and you are ready to eat.

What is your favorite thing to grill in the summer?

North East Bloggers

Friday, August 16, 2013

A 2013 Summer Memory

 

I love this topic, but how do you pick just one? The one that immediately came to mind and is an example of us staying active was a morning trip I took with my young toddler to the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens. It is one of my favorite places around DFW. I wish I lived just a tiny little bit closer and could spend more weekends just walking or even running through the gardens. It turns out my son loved it too so regardless we will go back in the fall once it cools down some.
 

I brought his car stroller, but he wanted out to explore which was fine with me. He ran around with me for more than an hour, giggling and touching everything he could reach. I let him lead us, which sometimes meant exploring the same 10 foot section of trail several times before he got the notion to continue on to a new path. The Native Texas Boardwalk has little learning areas along the path so he  
would play with those. Mostly he just ran and enjoyed the sun and nature.
 
 
 
 
When we got to the fountains is when his eyes lit up. My little water baby was in heaven. Touching the water in every fountain and pond was a must. There might have been some tasting of the water too, but I would rather not remember that part. I swear taste is his favorite of the 5 senses.

 

The 30 minute car ride home was the perfect setting to begin his 3 hour nap. Running and exploring nature is a great sleep aid. We should all spend more time outside, just enjoying the trees, flowers and sun!

What are your favorite outdoor spots for kids around your town?

North East Bloggers

Thursday, August 15, 2013

BMI Lies


 
BMI is based on the assuption that man grows equally in both height and weight at all ages, but the truth is far from that. We grow weight faster in our first year of life and again during puberty than at any other age and that is out of biologic necessity. BMI is based on your weight and height. In general we have always viewed a certain grouping of weight as acceptable for a certain height, but where it is flawed is that not all weight is equal. Yes, a pound of muscle and a pound of fat both still weigh a pound, they look dramatically different on your body and the ratio of fat to muscle can throw off the BMI number considerably. Just like diet and exercise is not black and white, your perfect weight is not either. Yes, I understand that makes it confusing.

So what is a better indicator? 

Your body fat %. 

Body fat is what causes the problems with your health and causes the bulges that you do not want to see in the mirror so doesn't it seem logical to focus on how much of that you have?

Also, it can be tested with various methods at different costs so you can find the method that works with your experience and budget. 

How do you determine your health and fitness?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

What matters most: Diet or Exercise?

 

First of all, it depends on your goals. Are you training for a marathon, trying to improve your health in general, trying to shed fat, or get that toned look? Training for a marathon and getting muscle would require exercise of some sort as a base, but to remove the fat for muscle tone to be shown, a healthy diet would need to be maintained. Shedding fat typically begins with your diet. You have heard the phrase, you cannot outrun a bad diet, right? If you are having sugar puffs for breakfast every morning following 30 minutes of cardio you are not going to see much difference in your appearance. The exercise also does not take away the harmful effects of a sugar puff either. Weight lifting has shown to improve your metabolism for longer periods post workout, but may also make you hungrier. The key would be to make sure the calories you consume not just empty calories, but serve a purpose such as protein. It has been shown to help repair the tears in the muscle that lead to muscle growth. So in many cases, you need to work at both. For general weight loss, it would be fine to start by improving your diet. Once you are comfortable with eating healthier foods and maintaining portion control, studies have shown that adding exercise will ensure that you keep off the weightloss.
Second of all, what will you honestly stick to? We all have these grand notions of waking up at 4 AM and getting sweaty and following it with some veggies folded into an egg white omelet, but can you be consistent with that? Like I said before, start cleaning up your diet and then add in exercise. You don't have to start out perfect, you just have to start somewhere. If you health is not in dire jeopordy, you can take baby steps, but you need to constantly grow and improve. You want to grow and become consistent and find what will work for you for the long term. Health is about life, not just a cute outfit for your next anniversary with your husband. When you are ready to make health and fitness your priority you view the process as a lifetime commitment and less as a means to an end. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Healthified Cannoli

First off I want to start off by noting that I'm the ding dong that turned her oven on all the way to 425 degrees when it is 100 degrees outside.  Who does that?  Me!!! I do that.  I had this idea to make Cannoli so that it can actually be ingested without the guilt and I wanted to do it NOW!

So onto the deliciousness that is Cannoli.

Spray the underside of a mini muffin pan with a nonstick cooking spray.  Then form wonton wrappers around every other muffin form sticking each of the corners down on the tray to keep them in place.  Give them a quick spray of more nonstick cooking spray and put them in a 425 degree oven for 5-7 minutes.  Watch them close.

 
For the filling, chop up 1/4 cup of dark chocolate chips in a blender until they are a fine powder.  Add 3/4 cup of ricotta cheese, and 1 scoop of Vanilla Shakeology and 1 teaspoon of Vanilla.  Add a tablespoon of milk and blend.  You may need to add another Tablespoon to get it to the right consistency. 
 
Drop by rounded spoonful onto the formed wonton wrappers.  Enjoy.
 
Makes 8.
 

8 wonton wrappers
Nonstick cooking spray
1/4 cup Dark Chocolate chips
3/4 cup ricotta
1 scoop Vanilla Shakeology (order here)
1 tsp of Vanilla (I use Penzey's)
1-2 TBLS milk (any kind)
 
Form the wonton wrappers over the back of a mini muffin tin that has been sprayed with non stick cooking spray.  Bake at 425 for 5 minutes. 
 
Blend the chocolate chips into powder.  Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until desired consistency.
 
 

 Nutrition per cannoli:
105 calories
5 grams fat
10.75 grams carbohydrates
1 gram fiber
5.1 grams sugar
5.5 grams protein

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Can Social Media Help you Lose Weight?

 

Almost everyone is on at least one social media platform these days from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc. Did you know there are tons of groups and pages dedicated to weightloss, muscle building, and health in general on Facebook alone? Some are geared toward the masses and others are specifically geared toward unique groups of people. I am in tons of these groups and even have my own, but do they help? From my experience there are definitely groups out there that will motivate you to success. What to look for when finding a group:

*Proper nutrition should be stressed
*Consistent workouts should be expected
*Support from members and the group leader should be apparent. The members should not only be working on their own fitness and health but encouraging other members to find the time and tools to be successful.
*Everyone should be encouraged to share the successes and failures for the day or week
*goal setting
*Articles and helpful information should be shared to assist members find a system that will work for them.
*Support tools such as meal options and ability to ask questions and get answers.

When these groups meet this criteria, the success rate improves. Why? We need to be around encouraging people that are on the same journey as us and we need to be heard. We need someone to listen to us and encourage us to find the answer rather than giving up. The people in our daily life (friends, family, and coworkers) while they are likely to cheer us on, they typically do not mirror our desire and whether they mean to or not lead us towards temptation which is hard to overcome no matter how much your goal is forefront in your mind. You need a group of people who expect you to be successful just as much as they expect success out of themselves.

Are you looking for a group of people who will not stop at status quo, who desperately want to find the system that will finally lead them to the health and body they have only previously dreamed about? Can you agree to the terms above? A person who is not mentally ready cannot be coerced into leading this lifestyle. If you are saying that today you make the pledge that your health is important lets talk. You are the person I want in my next Challenge Group. I will expect success from you. Email me at
Rachelkingfitness@yahoo.comso we can get you started today. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Midwife appointment

I am 19 w, 5 d pregnant.  I see a midwife group, so every time I go I see a different midwife.  The purpose is so you get to meet them all since you cannot guarantee which one will be on staff at the hospital the day you give birth.  So this time I saw Tania for the first time this pregnancy.  At my very first appointment with Amy I told her I was doing a boot camp class and she said if I had the energy to do that during the 1st trimester it was fine to continue.  So, when that was over Focus T25 came out.  It has a modifier so I went ahead and got it.  It has been perfect for me.  I can do somewhere between the low intensity modifier and the normal program, but can transition to just the modifications as I get farther along. 

As I am climbing on the table so she can listen to he heartbeat Tania gets a look at my legs and says wow, look at your legs, what are you doing?  I tell her T25 and she seems nervous or even slightly horrified until I tell her I am keeping it low intensity.  It made my day that someone (other than my husband) commented on my legs!   So clearly working out pregnant is working for me.  Think I will just keep at it. 

I also just completed a 7 day arm challenge posted on the Get Your Sexy Back FB page.  So lots of working out going on in my house.  

Did you work out during your pregnancies?  What were the advantages and bonuses for you?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Vanilla Cheesecake Protein Bite

 
Vanilla Cheesecake Protein Bite
serves 1
1 TBLS oats
1 TBLS Almond Butter
(preferably use a natural variety that only lists almonds and maybe salt as ingredients)
1 TBLS Cream Cheese
(for these I used Green Mountain Farms Greek which is a combo of cream cheese and greek yogurt.  It is only a tiny hair softer than regular cream cheese)
1/2 TBLS Vanilla Shakeology Powder
1 drop of Almond Extract
(always be careful with almond extract, it can easily overpower anything you put it in)
Mix all ingredients together.  Form into a patty and Enjoy!
I added an almond on top to make it pretty, but you could use crushed almonds to roll it into as well. 
 
Nutrition:
155 calories
10.5 fat
9 carbs
8 protein
1.85 fiber
 
 


Peach cobbler Vanilla Shakeology

Peach Cobbler Vanilla Shakeology
 
 
 
1 scoop Vanilla Shakeology
1 Very Ripe Peach
1 cup whole milk
(or non fat, 2 %, almond, soy, etc)
1 TBLS Almond Butter
(for best results use a natural kind with only almonds and maybe salt as ingredients)
1/4 cup oats
1/2 -1 cup ice
 
Blend together in the blender until desired consistency. 

 
 
Nutrition:
 
(as recipe is stated above)
504 calories
20.4 fat
56.5 carb
8.2 fiber
30.4 protein
 
(with nonfat milk)
440 calories
12.8 fat
56.4 carb
8.2 fiber
30.8 protein
 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Planning My Post Partum Body

I may only be slightly over 19 weeks, but it is never too early to start dreaming about my "forever" body.  By forever, I mean, this should be my last baby so after this baby makes it's entrance my imagined body will become reality.  You can count on that. 

I am not a huge cardio fan.  I feel like it has it's place and is perfect for those days when you need a mental break, but weights are my thing.  Weights will easily get me out of bed in the morning. 

So at the moment I am planning on doing Body Beast.  It comes with 12 workouts and only 1 of them is cardio.  That cardio video is only 30 minutes so it is PERFECT for me.  So why start thinking about it now?  It has been on my list for awhile but this month the Challenge Pack is on sale so I figure I will just go ahead and get it and have it waiting. 



You want to get started without me and take advantage of the sale?  Click this link and read all about it.  Body Beast  And if you think this program is only for men, believe me it is not.  I know of several women doing it.  Message me at the email below if you want more information about the program, doing it as a women or how to join my upcoming Challenge Group.  Free coaching provided by me, nutrition and a commitment to pushing play will be required from you, but this is a combination that works.  If you need accountability this is what you need and there are lots of Challenge Packs to choose from.  You don't have to commit to Body Beast.  Turbo Fire is also on sale for the month of August also if kickboxing is more your speed, but other options are available too.

I am a huge believer in finding a workout that you will actually do every day.  Sure there is lots of research on cardio vs. weights and which is better, but at the end of the day if you follow a recommendation but don't actually press play, it is doing you no good. 

If you need help finding something you will love, message me @ rachelkingfitness@yahoo.com and together we'll find you something enjoyable that will provide results.