I’m blue!

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A while back I heard The Color Run was taking place in my city and while I knew I wasn’t ready to run it quite yet, I also knew I wanted to be involved. So I signed up to volunteer.

Those of you that really know me, know that this is slightly a-typical behavior for me. Why? Well I’m a bit of an introverted-homebody. Talking to strangers isn’t my strong suit. Writing to them on the internet, that I can do; but face-to-face small talk usually has me running in the opposite direction. It’s not that I don’t like meeting new people or participating in things, I just, well, I take after my introverted dad more than my extroverted mom, so it’s not always easy for me.

Today though, I had a total blast!

I put myself out there, I participated in life. I had SO MUCH FUN!!!

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The Blue Crew!

I was stationed in “color zone 4,” near the end of the race, and it was our job to throw blue powder on all of the runners/walkers as they passed. We cheered and laughed and woohooed.

We turned blue.

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I had a blast volunteering, but I’m determined that next year, I’m going to run. I’m gonna make my dad and little sister train with me this year so we can run it together, it’ll be a challenge for me (Nothing for my dad who once ran the Chicago marathon!) – but I’m already excited!

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xo
j,ft❤

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Adventures in Healthy Baking: Flourless Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies!

A couple weeks ago, I was crabby and having a bad day and wanted a brownie.  I posted so on Facebook and a friend of mine sent me a link to the recipe for some flourless brownies (Click here for the original recipe from Ambitious Kitchen). I didn’t make them then because I was too lazy, but I made them yesterday and man am I glad I did because…YUM.
-4I tweaked the recipe a bit, because I’m not concerned with being vegan, so I added an egg.  I also used crunchy peanut butter because I like nuts and dark chocolate chunks because I didn’t have any chips but I had a big bar of very dark chocolate.

These definitely taste like dark chocolate, so if that isn’t your thing, you’ll probably want to add some more honey and maybe a small extra ripe banana or some dates for some extra sweetness.  But I liked them just the way they turned out.-5

Flourless Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies

1/2 cup crunchy all-natural peanut butter (smooth would work fine too, or any nut butter for that matter)
1/4 cup raw honey (maple syrup would also work – again if you want it sweeter, maybe go up to a 1/3 cup)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg (optional – I think without the egg, they’d end up a little fudgier, like the original recipe – mine were a little more cake-like)
1/2 cup all-natural (no sugar added) applesauce
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup dark chocolate chunks (I used a few squares from a very dark chocolate bar, chopped up. Dark chocolate chips, or regular chips would work to, whatever you like – or omit them all together.)

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  You could make these in a 8x8in pan or do what I did and make them into individual muffins – for me, it made 6 good sized muffins.
-Mix together peanut butter, honey, vanilla, egg and apple sauce until smooth.
-Add cocoa, baking soda and salt – stir slowly until well mixed. (I ended up with cocoa powder all over myself, so take my word for it, stir slowly!)
-Fold in chocolate chunks.
-Pour into greased pan of your choice. My muffins took about 15 min. If you use the egg, you’ll want to make sure they’re cooked through, check with a toothpick – if it comes out clean, you’re good to go.
-Allow to cool a bit before digging in.
-Enjoy!

(Recipe adapted from original at Ambitious Kitchen)

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j,ft❤

3 Month Update and Progress Pics (Ah!)

Today marks 3 months since I made the decision to change my life for good. 3 months of learning, of baby steps, of good decisions. 3 months of clean eating, of hard work, of working out, of sweat and sore muscles.

As of this morning, I’m down: 53.6 pounds!

Obviously, I’m super excited about losing the weight, but what I’m trying to be more excited about are the non-scale victories.

  • I’m down 2 pant sizes. (I have a stack of clothes I can’t wear anymore because they’re too big!)
  • I can walk up “the hill” without stopping to rest. (In case I haven’t mentioned it, “the hill” is this long/steep hill I found near my house, the first time I tried to walk up it, I had to stop many times to catch my breath and ease my screaming leg muscles.)
  • Today I am starting week 4 of T25 (Week 1, I thought I was going to die after every workout – I still feel like that now, but now I like the feeling!)
  • I’m proud of myself every day.
  • I’m more knowledgeable about health and nutrition.
  • I’m inspiring others.
  • I feel stronger.
  • Quite simply, I just feel so much better. Emotionally and physically.

And now for something I said I wasn’t going to do. Progress pics.  It’s not that I have anything against them in general, but come on, I don’t wanna put embarrassing full body pics of myself online. But, I’ve decided to stop looking at it that way. Its hard for me to see my own physical progress because I look at myself in the mirror every day and really, I feel like I look the exact same.

I have been taking photos w/ my phone just so I can look at them personally, but I know it inspires me to see other people’s progress pics, so I thought I should post them.  So please excuse the horrible quality of these photos, the dirty mirror and the dirty clothes in the background – they weren’t taken with the intention of sharing.

Left: taken about a month into my journey.Right: taken this weekend (10/26/13)

Left: taken about a month into my journey.
Right: taken this weekend (10/26/13)

Left: taken about a month into my journey. Middle: taken about a month and a half in. Right: taken this weekend (10/26/13)

Left: taken about a month into my journey.
Middle: taken about a month and a half in.
Right: taken this weekend (10/26/13)

I think I see the biggest difference in this photo - so happy that my stomach is shrinking.

I think I see the biggest difference in this photo – so happy that my stomach is shrinking.

These t-shirts are the same - just in different colors.

These t-shirts are the same – just in different colors.

Well, now that that’s over with, I just want to say thanks to everyone for all of the love, support and encouragement. It helps keep me going. I’ve got a long way to go, but I’m motivated.

Every morning I wake up and tell myself: I can do this.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

j,ft❤

An update

I haven’t posted in a while, so I wanted to do a quick update. 

I’ve been doing great, in case you wondered. 

I’m down 50 lbs in less than three months.  I’m doing a workout called T25 and it kicks my butt every time.  But I’m really enjoying it.

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I’ve been taking a lot of sweaty selfies, eating a lot of healthy food and in general enjoying life.

It’s hard to see a difference physically, since I look at myself in the mirror every day, but I can feel differences.  I feel stronger.  I feel better.  I feel like I’m on a roll and I’m loving it.  I feel proud.

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Adventures in Healthy Baking: Flourless Peanut Butter Banana Bread Cookies w/ Oats and Dark Chocolate Chunks

The other day I volunteered to make dessert for my small group and while I wanted to make something healthy (yet still delicious) for my fellow small group members, I chickened out and decided to forgo experimenting on them with healthy baked goods.  I made pumpkin-cheesecake muffins that look delicious and taste delicious, but aren’t exactly healthy. Well, I wish I had gone with my initial desire to make something healthier and made these, because I doubt anyone would be able to tell they aren’t just normal cookies made with flour.

They’re that yummy. Well, at least I think so. But try them for yourself and let me know. They’re really quick and easy.

I know, I know, stop talking and just post the recipe already…

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Flourless Peanut Butter Banana Bread Cookies w/ Oats and Dark Chocolate Chunks

-1 ripe banana, mushed
-1 cup natural peanut butter ( I used my homemade cinnamon-vanilla peanut butter.  You could use any nut butter.)
-1 large egg
-1/2 cup oats
-2 tsp vanilla extract
-3 Tbsp pure maple syrup OR honey
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp baking soda
-1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks/chips

Preheat oven to 325.

Mix all ingredients in medium bowl until well combined – you don’t have to get fancy, I mixed everything up with the fork I used to mash the banana.

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Line cookie sheet with parchment paper, spray/brush with oil/cooking spray of your choice.  Then you know the drill, drop batter on pan to make desired number/size of cookies.  I made them a little bigger than average cookies and I ended up with 12.  If you make them small, you’d probably end up with about 16.

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Stick ’em in the oven and bake for approximately 20 min or until just slightly golden brown.

Remove from oven and allow cookies to hang out on a cooling rack for a few min.  You won’t be able to wait long, they’re excellent warm.

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You’re welcome.  Now, what are you waiting for?  Go – make these.  And then come back and tell me what you think!

j,ft❤

Easy Egg Muffins

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Easy Egg Muffins

A yummy, healthy and quick make-ahead breakfast.

-10 Eggs
-2 Tbsp. milk of your choice
-Salt and pepper to taste
-Breakfasty toppings of your choice (I used sauteed mushrooms and green peppers, bacon, homemade breakfast sausage, cheese, green onion and spinach)

1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. Beat eggs, milk, salt and pepper.
3. In a well greased muffin tin, add meat, veggies, cheese of your choice.
4. Pour over egg mixture (about 1/4 cup in each).
5. Bake 25-35 min depending on your oven and pan. Basically until the’re golden brown, risen a little and the egg is cooked through.

Makes 12.  Can be stored in fridge for up to a week or frozen.

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Enjoy!  Let me know if you try them and tell me what you put in em!

j,ft❤

Paleo Caesar Salad Dressing

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Paleo Caesar Dressing

2 Tbsp. Anchovy paste
4 Cloves of Garlic, minced
4 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard
1 Egg Yolk
2 Tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar
Juice of 1/2 of a Lemon
1 Cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Hot Sauce, to taste (I used a few dashes of Tabasco sauce)
Salt & Fresh Ground Black Pepper, to taste

1. Put everything except the olive oil, salt and pepper in a food processor and pulse until smooth.
2. Scrape the sides and make sure everything is mixed. Turn your food processor on and slowly pour the olive oil in. 
3. Taste.  Add as much salt and pepper as you like and give it a final pulse.  
4. Pour it into a jar and stick it in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.
5. Eat it.


j,ft❤

@theweighout October Challenge : Vision Board

The girls @theweighout tasked those of us in the October Challenge with creating a “Vision Board.”

“We want you to get a little creative with your goals and create a VISION BOARD. … Find a wall in your home, a piece of card, a notebook, a pinterest board, or some clip art for the digital people. This should have pictures/quotes/scribblings that represent your GOALS. Not just your fitness goals, but career, travel, family and LIFE.”

Here’s mine:
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The One Where it’s Already October

Really, October, really?  Where has this year gone?!

Today, I had a great N.S.V. (Non-Scale Victory) – My favorite jeans are being officially retired!  They’re now two sizes too big and uncomfortably baggy.  I’m gonna wash ’em, fold ’em and stick ’em on the top shelf in my closet to save for my “after” pics.  (The weird thing about losing weight is what to do about clothes.  I don’t really want to buy new clothes, because I’m hoping they won’t fit for long, but at the same time, I do need to wear something.)  It feels good to think about N.S.V.s because I’m really trying NOT to focus so much on the scale and just focus on how I feel.  I mean, it’s amazing that I’ve lost 40+ pounds in the last two months, but there are so many more important things than the number on the scale!

So what’s up for this month:

@theweighout October Challenge

Surprisingly, I’ve found a really supportive community of weight-losers and fitness enthusiasts on Instagram.  Beginning October 1st, I’m participating in a challenge begun by three lovely ladies on Instagram who make up: @theweighout.  The point is to make 3 commitments (1. Food 2. Fitness 3. Personal) and challenge myself to keep them in October. 

Mine are:

1. FOOD: to continue clean eating and to go meatless 2x per week.
2. FITNESS: to workout 5x per week minimum.
3. ME: to hide the scale (only weigh 1x per week) and to spend more time with friends.

Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’!

Here’s hoping everyone has an awesome October!

Q: Will you join me in the @theweighout October Challenge?  What are your Food/Fitness/Personal commitments for the month?

j,ft❤

Cinnamon-Raisin Ezekiel Bread French Toast w. Maple-Berry Protein Syrup

 Cinnamon-Raisin Ezekiel Bread French Toast w. Maple-Berry Protein Syrup (Single Serving)

For the toast:
– 2 pieces cinnamon raisin Ezekiel bread
– 2 eggs
– 3 T unsweetened vanilla almond milk
– 1/4 t cinnamon
– 1/4 t vanilla
– pinch of salt

Mix eggs, almond milk, cinnamon, vanilla and salt together in a shallow dish.  Place bread in mixture to soak. After a few minutes, turn them over.  My bread soaked up every drop of the mixture. In a pan, melt some butter or warm up some coconut oil.  Cook french toast until golden brown on each side.

For the syrup:
– 1 T pure maple syrup
– 1 T butter (melted)
– 1 T vanilla protein powder
– 3/4 c frozen mixed berries
– Dash of cinnamon
– pinch of salt

In a small sauce pan, whisk together: maple syrup, melted butter, protein powder, cinnamon and salt.  Once combined, add berries.  Bring mixture to a simmer over low heat, stir frequently and reduce until berries break down and mixture reaches desired consistency.

Top toast with syrup and stuff your face. Believe me, this is delicious!!!

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