Vegan and Gluten-free Samoas

Vegan and Gluten-free Samoas 4Hey there friends!

Spring is HERE! And you know what that means, right?

Girl Scout Cookies!!!

Vegan and Gluten-free Samoas 6I have been looking forward to girl scout cookie season ever since I was a girl scout myself. My parents always went a little nuts and bought, I’m not joking, 21 boxes of cookies. Is that too many? That seems like too many, buuuut if I’m being real, it also doesn’t sound like enough. I mean, girl scout cookie season only comes once a year, so you really do need to stock up.

Vegan and Gluten-free SamoasThose girl scouts really have their business model nailed. A scarcity-based and time-sensitive sales strategy that causes a nation-wide frenzy. Sounds like Wall-mart during Black Friday. Could you imagine if those little Girl Scout pitched their tents outside of Wall-mart during Black Friday!? I shudder to think. That sounds more violent than a Donald Trump rally held on the Mexican border.

Vegan and Gluten-free Samoas 1Wait. How did Donald Trump end up in a blog post about cookies??? Ugh, don’t even get me started. He is everywhere and I don’t want to add any more attention to that crazy oompa loompa, so let’s get back to talking about all things pleasant and cookie-related, shall we?

Vegan and Gluten-free Samoas 2Ahh, yes. I already feel better. Girls Scout cookies are such a nostalgic part of childhood and I absolutely love that you’re never too old to get excited about them.

Of course, since I am older now I am much more aware that eating a cookie from each box (ie: 5 cookies) may not count as a well-rounded meal. Though points for variety, right?

So I thought it would be fun, and necessary for my waistline to recreate my absolute favorite Girl Scout cookie, the Samoa with better-for-you ingredients. I couldn’t call these healthy per say, but they are ten times better than the real thing.

Vegan and Gluten-free Samoas 3These are honestly my favorite cookies that I’ve ever made. They taste just like the original-so decadent, lots of different textures going on with the crumbly cookie, gooey caramel and slight snap of the chocolate coating. The cookie also contains a touch of salt which I LOVE with anything sweet or chocolaty.

There are four components to this recipe: the cookie, caramel, toasted coconut and chocolate coating, but I promise, all of them are super simple to prep and are totally worth it when you put them together.

Vegan and Gluten-free Samoas 7

Vegan and Gluten-free Samoas 8 Vegan and Gluten-free Samoas 9

Vegan and Gluten-free Samoas

Makes 12 cookies

Almond Cookie

Based on Chocolate Covered Katie Tagalongs

1 cup almond flour

1/8 tsp baking soda

1/8 tsp salt

2 tbsp maple syrup

1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla

Set oven to 325 degrees. Combine first three dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Combine maple syrup, coconut oil and vanilla in a separate small bowl. Mix wet ingredients into dry and stir very well, breaking up any clumps.

Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Scoop a heaping tablespoon of dough onto baking sheet and pat into a circle. You should get 12 cookies out of the dough. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes.

 

Coconut Caramel

1 can coconut milk

1/4 cup coconut sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

Combine all ingredient is a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer. Stir occasionally for a total of 30-35 minutes, stirring more frequently towards the last 10 minutes.

Take off the heat and allow to cool.

 

Chocolate Drizzle

1/3 cup 60% dark chocolate chips

1 tsp coconut oil

Microwave chocolate chips and coconut oil for 15 second. Stir and repeat until completely smooth.

 

Toasted Coconut

1/4 cup shredded coconut

Place coconut in a small pan over med-high heat. Occasionally stir the coconut in the pan until it becomes toasty and golden brown, about 8 minutes. Be careful not to let it burn. Turn off heat and allow to cool.

Samoas

Take one cooled cookie and turn it over. Using a spoon or knife spread a thin layer of melted chocolate over the bottom of the cookie and place back on the baking sheet, chocolate-side up. Continue coating all of the cookies. Pop the baking sheet in the freezer for 10 minutes to set the chocolate. Using a spoon, place a dollop of caramel on the other side of the cookie and spread almost to the edge. Repeat with all other cookies. Sprinkle on the toasted coconut. Using a spoon, drizzle the remaining chocolate over the cookies and allow the chocolate to set. Store cookies in a closed container.

Vegan and Gluten-free Samoas 10I deserve a badge for these.

 

Which girl scout cookies are your favorites?

I didn’t try Thin Mints until I was in my late teens. Somehow I was convinced I didn’t like chocolate and mint together. My only regret in life.

 

With so much love,

Sam

Like it? Share it!Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterGoogle+Share on LinkedInshare on Tumblr

Pumpkin Protein Pancakes with Salted Maple Cream

Pumkin Protein Pancakes with Salted Maple Cream 3Can we acknowledge how ideallic/stunning/picturesque this Autumn has been so far??

Fall has always been my favorite season, but add to that mild temperatures, golden sunlight and crisp air and I’m about to go do cartwheels into crunchy leaf piles! Can it be November for 3 more months?? Like can we just all collectively agree to not acknowledge December, January and cold, depressing February and keep it November until March?

Pumpkin Protein Pancakes with Salted Maple Cream 1It’s a good plan, isn’t it? You know what is also a good plan? These pancakes I made you. These over-the-top, fluffy, pumpkin-spicey, mapely beauties. They just scream Fall, don’t they?

Pumpkin Protein Pancakes with Salted Maple Cream 2I’m so proud of them too. When I taste-tested the final dish I couldn’t wait to share them with you.

Pumpkin Protein Pancakes with Salted Maple Cream 4Guys, I’ve really been trying to post things for you, but every new recipe I’ve tried to make in the past few months has been a complete failure. Seriously! I really couldn’t make anything good. Is it possible to win at failing? If so, I definitely won.

I tried muffins that turned out heavy and dry, this pumpkin pancake recipe that I almost gave up on (thank god I didn’t!) and a pumpkin cobbler with pecan streusel that sounded great in my head, but I think I can confidently call it my worst baking fail ever.

It’s the one that clinched the win for sure.

The streusel was tasty though.

Pumpkin Protein Pancakes with Salted Maple Cream 5Thank goodness I kept going or these babies might never have been born.Pumpkin Protein Pancakes with Salted Maple Cream 6Need some pre-Thanksgiving fuel? Here you go! Healthy, festive and, and maple cream! Please make these. If only for the salted maple cream!

Salted Maple Cream 1I have major issues with maple syrup. I love the flavor, but I hate how it just disappears the minute you pour it on a pancake. It’s like the pancake is a sponge and you have to keep using more and more syrup just to taste it, and then you end up in a hyperglycemic sugar coma.

You know what I’m talking about, right?

My solution was to dip my pancakes into the syrup instead of pouring it on, but it’s still a race to get said bite from the fork to my mouth before the syrup sinks in.

salted Maple Cream 2Hello, maple cream!

You solved all of my pancake syrup-tasting  problems. You sit so nicely on top of pancakes and never disappoint me by disappearing. And, your flavor is so intense and your texture is so creamy I don’t think I’ll ever go back to plain syrupy maple again.

Pumpkin Protein Pancakes with Salted Maple Cream 7Okay, here’s the deal. I don’t want to lead you all on because you’re my friends. You do need a candy thermometer to make the maple cream. You can’t make it it without one, so don’t even try, and you need some patience. And a little shoulder muscle will help too, but it’s soooo worth it! And there’s really only one ingredient necessary. I added a touch of vegetable oil to keep the maple syrup from boiling over on the stove, and I added salt because salt with sweet things makes them exponentially better.*

Pumpkin Protein Pancakes with Salted Maple Cream 8

Pumpkin Protein Pancakes with Salted Maple Cream

Makes 4-6

1 medium banana

2 tbsp ground flax

5 tbsp vanilla almond milk

1 tsp vanilla

1/3 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 cup vanilla protein powder

2 tbsp *coconut flour (optional)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ginger

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

1 pinch salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup egg whites

In a medium size bowl, mix flax and milk. In a small bowl mash the banana with a fork. Add banana and all other ingredients in with the flax mixture.

Heat a non-stick pan to medium and coat with cooking spray. Pour in batter and flip when you see bubbles. Only flip once for really fluffy pancakes.

For extra fluffly pancakes: Mix all ingredients except egg whites. In a separate bowl (or in a stand mixer) whisk egg whites until they develop stiff peaks, about 5 minutes. Add half of the whipped egg whites to the pancake mixture and stir. Gently fold in the rest of the egg whites. Be careful not to over mix.

*Coconut flour sucks up moisture, so I added it because the pumpkin puree made the batter runny. If you don’t have coconut flour, add a few tablespoons of oat flour until the batter has the right consistency.

Salted Maple Cream

1 cup pure maple syrup

1 tsp vegetable oil

1/2 tsp salt

Pour the maple syrup, salt and oil in a saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer. Fill a large bowl with ice and a little bit of water. Heat the maple syrup over medium heat until boiling (the oil should keep it from boiling over, but watch carefully anyway!) and cook until it reaches 235 degrees F. Once at 235 degrees F, remove from the heat and place the saucepan on the ice bath. Let it cool for 5 to 10 minutes. When the candy thermometer reads 100 degrees F, begin to stir the syrup with a wooden spoon until it’s creamy. This can take anywhere from 15-35 minutes. It requires patience and some muscle, but it is worth it! Stir until it’s light in color and the consistency of nut butter. Store in the fridge and use on everything!

I used this tutorial for the maple cream

Pumpkin Protein Pancakes with Salted Maple Cream   Salted Maple Cream*Maybe I should sprinkle salt on February.

 

What are your Thanksgiving day plans?…and more importantly, what are you eating!?

 

With so much love,

Sam

 

 

Like it? Share it!Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterGoogle+Share on LinkedInshare on Tumblr

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins

 

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins 1Oh my god, guys! How is it already August!? I feel like for months I’ve been waiting for Summer and now it’s almost over. What??? How did that happen!?

I didn’t get to do half of the summery stuff I planned to do, like sitting outside on a restaurant terrace slurping oysters and washing them down with ice cold rose, making the 30 minute trek to Red Hook Lobster Pound, (there is no public transportation that goes there) for the best lobster roll in NYC…totally worth it, btw. All Spring I couldn’t wait to have picnics in the park and host get-togethers on our roof, all of which has been a big fat fail so far. :(

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins 2

Why do all of my Summer plans include food?

And why do I act surprised?

What HAS happened is all the beautiful summery produce. The farmers markets here in NYC are overflowing with juicy, sun-ripened peaches, super red tomatoes and the biggest zucchinis I have ever seen!

I don’t think you can really tell from this picture, but trust me, it’s humongous!

What would you do with that giant vegetable? I mean, there are only so many zucchini noodles and stir-fry’s you can make.

Yes, muffins. My thoughts exactly.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins 4Because isn’t dessert always the answer?

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins 5

Or in this case, breakfast. Because there are veggies in here! My favorite kind of treats are ones that do double-duty 😀

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins 6Who knew that zucchini and chocolate went so well together. I’d like to thank the person brave enough to first try this combo.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini MuffinsChocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins

Makes 12

1 cup oat flour

1/2 cup protein powder

1 1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

2 small ripe bananas

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla

2 egg whites or 2 flax eggs

1 cup shredded zucchini

1/3 cup greek yogurt

1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners and spray inside of liners with nonstick cooking spray.

Put shredded zucchini in a clean dish towel and squeeze out excess liquid.

In medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

In a stand mixer add mashed banana, maple syrup, vanilla and eggs and mix until smooth. Add in zucchini and yogurt and beat again until well combined. Slowly mix in dry ingredients until just combined. Do not overmix! Fold in chocolate chips.

Evenly divide batter into muffin cups. Alternatively you can reduce the size and bake 15 muffins. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins 7 Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins 8There’s still some zucchini left over.

 

What are your favorite summertime activities? Have you done them all yet? If you haven’t, there’s still time!

 

With so much love,

Sam

 

Like it? Share it!Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterGoogle+Share on LinkedInshare on Tumblr

Ultimate Healthy Chicken Salad

Ultimate Chicken Salad 1The life of a personal trainer is glamorous unless you are a personal trainer lol. It seems like such a fun job where you are paid to be active and healthy all the time. Would you believe it has been a bigger challenge than ever to stay active and healthy since becoming a trainer!?

“But Sam, you work in a gym. How can it be that you are less active than ever!?” Well, it’s not that exercise has stopped completely. It is too important and fun for me to ever let that happen, but I spend most of my time now creating workouts for other people and helping them live healthier lives. It’s a great thing, but with spending so much time focusing on my wonderful clients, I’ve had to really stay conscious about prioritizing my own workouts. It’s kind of like a nurse taking care of everybody else and not taking the time to take care of themselves.

Ultimate Chicken Salad 2The other thing I didn’t think about until becoming a trainer is how much time we actually spend at the gym. There is a good bit of down time and with workout sessions in the morning and evening, and meetings and classes scattered throughout the day, preparing lunches and snacks has become essential. I can see how it would be really easy to buy lunch every day, but I know for my own sanity, health and wallet that bringing my own food from home is the only way to go.

Luckily I’ve been experimenting with healthy swaps forever so I’m pretty good at making my own lunches and keeping them nutrient-dense and delicious.

Enter my favorite chicken salad recipe ever!

Ultimate Chicken Salad 3I love chicken salad, but I don’t love all the mayo it’s usually made with, so I came up with my own healthier version that’s just as tasty.

Ultimate Chicken Salad 4Creamy avocado and greek yogurt take over for boring mayo, and celery and red grapes give a fresh crunch and touch of juicy sweetness. You could even throw in some walnuts and call this a Waldorf chicken salad! Hmm…I know what I’m making for this weeks’ lunches 😀

Ultimate Chicken Salad 5Ultimate Healthy Chicken Salad

Serves 4

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, grilled or pan-seared

1/2 avocado, mashed

1 7oz cup of greek yogurt (I used 2% Fage)

1/2 lemon

3 tbsp Dijon mustard

2 ribs of celery, thinly sliced

1 cup of red grapes, halved

salt and pepper to taste

With two forks, shred chicken and place in a medium bowl. In separate bowl combine avocado, greek yogurt, lemon, mustard and salt and pepper to taste. Add wet ingredients to chicken and stir to combine. Add in celery and grapes. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking.

Ultimate Chicken Salad*But, seriously I love my job.

 

Do you bring or buy lunch every day?

Any go-to recipes? I’m always looking for inspiration :)

 

With so much love,

Sam

 

 

Like it? Share it!Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterGoogle+Share on LinkedInshare on Tumblr

Beauty Picks: Skin Edition

Beauty Picks Skin Edition 8Oh hi!

Did you forget about me? Good, cuz I definitely didn’t forget about you 😉

So, I’ve realized that building a business is like having a baby…or correction, what I IMAGINE having a baby is like because I am certainly not there yet! It consumes all of your time to the point that you have to actively remember when the last time you showered was. Don’t worry, it was last night, but there have been bare nails, leg stubble (oops!) and 2 minute ponytails for the past few months.

Having very little time for a big beauty routine has made my skin care regimen that much more important these days. Since I don’t always (read: never) have more than 20 minutes to get my act together and my booty out the door in the morning, I’ve come to rely on some major skin savers that have been keeping the extra step of a full face of makeup from my routine.

A little back story about my skin: I’ve struggled with acne since I was 12. It was never severe enough to warrant serious medication, but it’s been persistent and I’ve tried all kinds of topical treatments. Throughout my teens and beyond, I’ve never had completely clear skin. Besides pesky pimples (that haven’t disappeared despite me being well out of my teens) I have skin tone issues and the beginning of fine lines on my forehead that suspiciously resemble my fathers. Not a feature I’m excited to inherit.

These products have made a serious difference in my skin, so let’s get right to it!

Beauty Picks Skin Edition 6If I had to choose one product that has made the most drastic change to my skin, this would be it. No exaggeration. As if I needed another reason to love Trader Joes, I found this Manuka honey and for only $10! I originally picked it up because I had heard that Manuka honey is a major superfood , and when I thought about its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties I wondered if anyone had tried it to treat acne. I googled, and lo and behold, I found a few sites that claimed it could!

I use it as a mask. First I wash my face with my usual cleanser and I leave my face wet. Water helps to activate the ingredients, but wipe your eyes and mouth dry because you don’t want honey dripping into places you don’t want it. Though there are worse tasting masks…

I leave it on for an hour or more. Since it’s soothing by nature you can’t leave it on too long and I can zone out on the couch, do laundry, pack lunch for the next day/all three and rinse it off before I get ready for bed.

This has reduced my acne SIGNIFICANTLY. I will only get an occasional pimple now when I forget to use it regularly.

Game changer award of the century.

Beauty Picks Skin EditionAfter my Manuka honey mask, this Roc Deep Wrinkle Night Repair goes on every night. It contains retinol which also helps clear acne by unclogging pores as well as even out skin tone and reduce wrinkles. All the things I need and at $24 it’s a great price.

Beauty Picks Skin Edition 7Have you guys heard of hyaluronic acid? It’s an ingredient that is found in soft tissue and cartilage to keep things pliable and supple. As a topical ingredient it holds moisture, but also adjusts according to humidity levels and climate. How cool is that!?

I first tried Hada Labo last winter when NOTHING would heal my flakey, dry, irritated skin. I tried coconut oil, all kinds of moisturizers etc. This was the only thing that my skin drank up like skin-soothing miracle water. And, ladies because hyaluronic acid holds moisture it plumps the skin, i.e. no more forehead wrinkles! I use it religiously every night and would cry if it was ever discontinued.

Beauty Picks Skin Edition 4My tried and true day moisturizer complete with vitamin C and SPF 30. I feel like it covers all the bases and is just a serious ol’ reliable that I keep coming back to whenever I feel like trying something new and different. It’s lightweight enough to use in the summer, but is still creamy enough to do the job in the winter. What!? Yea.

Beauty Picks Skin Edition 3 Beauty Picks Skin Edition 2I don’t like the feeling of a face full of makeup, so foundation was never a regular part of my beauty routine, but when I found this tinted moisturizer I fell in love! As I’ve gotten older, I also find that even skin tone looks a lot more polished and professional. This Stila Sheer Color Tinted Moisturizer is perfection. Lightweight, effortless to apply (I use my fingers and apply it like moisturizer. No brushes or sponges necessary) and I swear it gives a candlelit glow. Even coverage, SPF 30 and naturally healthy looking skin.

Done. Done. Done.

Beauty Picks Skin Edition 9So there you have it. My absolute favorite skin care products. I feel that a lot of products don’t deliver on their marketing promises, so I’m a very hard judge. When I find ones that do what they say they are supposed to do I’m loyal for life.

Are there any skin care products that you can’t live without? Any that have made a huge difference in your skin?

If you try any of these products let me know what you think in the comments below.

With so much love!

Sam

Like it? Share it!Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterGoogle+Share on LinkedInshare on Tumblr

Blueberry Lemon Bars

Blueberry Lemon Bars 3

 

Hi there!

How’s your week been so far? Mine has been buuuussy! It’s been one of those weeks where everything happens or has to get done at once and at some point you just have to laugh because the volume of work is ridiculous and you know next week isn’t going to be half as busy.

I won’t bore you with the details. I’ll just say that I was up at 4:30 this morning and got home from work at 9:30 tonight.

So these bars were necessary.

 

Blueberry Lemon BarsI decided to make these Blueberry Lemon Bars Sunday night after I finished my usual meal prep for the week. I’m so glad I did.

Blueberry Lemon Bars 9The chef was glad I did too 😀

I always consider it a win when I bake something that we both agree is delicious. He has a huge sweet tooth and he doesn’t care whether his treats are healthy or not, so when I bake something I feel good about and he chooses over an oreo, I’m happy.

Blueberry Lemon Bars 4Blueberries and lemon is one of my favorite flavor combinations. It’s just so summery. The lemon zest adds a pop of brightness to the juicy sweet blueberries and a touch of coconut sugar and vanilla just do magical things to these bars.

Blueberry Lemon Bars 5

Like make me feel okay about a 17 hour day.

 

Blueberry Lemon Bars 8Blueberry Lemon Bars

Vegan, Gluten-free

Makes 12 bars

1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained

1/4 cup almond butter

1/4 cup coconut sugar

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 tbsp ground flax seed

2 tbsp oat flour

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp lemon zest

1/2 heaping cup blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Soak the rinsed beans in water while prepping other ingredients. Grease an 8 x 8 glass baking dish with coconut oil.

Add all ingredients except blueberries to a high powered blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Mix in blueberries and pour into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes and slice into 12 squares. Store in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.

Blueberry Lemon Bars 7Yup, they’re that good.

 

What is your favorite summer fruit? Mine is a tie between blueberries and blackberries.

Any Memorial Day plans? Not gonna lie, mine might involve making another batch of these bars ;D

 

With so much love,

Sam

Like it? Share it!Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterGoogle+Share on LinkedInshare on Tumblr

Chocolate Chip Coconut Breakfast Cookies

Healthy Breakfast Cookies 1Hey there friends,

Happy Friday, first beautiful week of Spring, belated Cinco de Mayo, whatever else you have to celebrate.

I have a lot to celebrate this week. This past Monday my good friend and former roommate got engaged! A bunch of us were part of the surprise and it was so exciting and perfect. She laughed, she cried, she hyperventilated.

They are one of the best couples I know and I am so happy for them!

Healthy Breakfast Cookies 2Then there was Cinco de Mayo. Before last year I didn’t really celebrate this holiday except with an occasional margarita. But, last year on May 5th my sister gave birth to, no joke guys, a Mexican-American baby boy! My nephew’s birthday is my favorite thing in the world. You can’t make that stuff up.

His first birthday was full of drinkage for the adults :) Can you imagine his 21st birthday!? I kinda can’t wait.

Margarita’s for everybody!!!

Healthy Breakfast Cookies 3Lots of celebrations call for lots of delicious treats, and what’s more treat-like than cookies for breakfast!?

Healthy Breakfast Cookies 4I ‘m so guilty of getting in a breakfast rut. I have no problem eating the same breakfast for two weeks straight. Lately, its been protein pancake cashew butter roll-ups with chia seeds and blueberries, and while I’m still not sick of them, I thought it would be fun to try out a new portable breakfast option.

The breakfast cookie was born!

Healthy Breakfast Cookies 5I wanted these cookies to be healthy and something I could feel good about eating first thing in the morning. Does anyone else feel that what they eat in the morning sets up the rest of their food choices throughout the day?

So, healthy was a must and so was filling. I needed something to keep me going through my morning training sessions. I need to be focusing on my clients and not my stomach, so protein, healthy fats and fiber were also a must.

Lastly, they needed to taste great. A healthy cookie is worthless if it tastes like sawdust. These had to be chocolatey, moist and have some kind of texture. Coconut flakes and hemp seeds did the trick there.

Healthy Breakfast Cookies 6These cookies are such a great breakfast option. Two keep me satisfied for a full four hours!

They also only took one recipe test to get right, they only take one bowl for easy cleanup, and the ingredients are nicely interchangeable. Don’t have hazelnuts? No biggie! Use walnuts, cashews or just more almonds. Play around with add-ins like dried fruit. Don’t worry if you don’t have hemp seeds or are allergic to coconut. Just leave them out.

Should I stop talking now and give you the recipe!?

OKAY!

Healthy Breakfast Cookies 7

Chocolate Chip Coconut Breakfast Cookies

Makes 12-15

1 cup almonds

1/2 cup hazelnuts

1/4 cup vanilla protein powder

1/4 cup coconut oil

2 tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla

1 tbsp ground flax

1 egg

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1/3 cup chocolate chips

1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

1 tbsp hemp seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread nuts onto a baking sheet and toast in oven for 8-10 minutes. Keep the oven on. In a food processor, blend nuts until completely smooth. Add protein powder, maple syrup, vanilla, flax, egg, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt to the processor and blend for about 2 minutes. Remove the blade and mix in chocolate chips, coconut and hemp seeds.

Scoop a heaping tablespoon onto a prepared baking sheet and flatten to desired thickness. These cookies will not spread in the oven. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Store in an airtight container for 4-5 days.

Healthy Breakfast Cookies 8COOKIES FOR BREAKFAST!!!

Did you celebrate Cinco de Mayo on Tuesday? If so, how did you celebrate?

Would you ever eat cookies for breakfast? Or have you? 😉

With so much love,

Sam

 

 

Like it? Share it!Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterGoogle+Share on LinkedInshare on Tumblr

The Ultimate Veggie Lasagna

Hey there friends,

Happy Spring! Happy allergy season :/

Man, my allergies are here with a vengeance! I’ve never had them this bad before. Usually I don’t like to take any pills. I’d rather sniffle through them for a few days, but last week when they hit I was like, “GIVE ME ALL THE PILLS!!!!” I think I scared my co-workers ;b

So, this also happened last week.

veggie lasagna 1O.M.G does that not look like the most delicious, decadent, perfect slice of lasagna ever!?

But, isn’t it the wrong season for something so heavy? It’s getting warmer out which means everyone is taking a look at their winter bodies and saying, “uh oh”! Less clothing means wanting to drop a few pounds which means lighter foods, so…

Eat this lasagna!

No, seriously.

Guys, this is the ultimate veggie lasagna. Yes, it’s full of veggies, but there is one genius thing that sets this lasagna above all veggie lasagnas.

There are no noodles in this lasagna! At least no carby, starchy noodles. You see those layers up there? That’s zucchini and huge trumpet royale mushrooms sliced and cooked and masquerading as noodles. When cooked, the thinly sliced mushrooms take on an al dente-like texture so you don’t miss any of the satisfying bite of real noodles.

‪veggie lasagnaYou can thank the chef for this recipe. It was a special at the restaurant last week and the minute I tasted it, I knew I had to share it all over the interweb.

Here ya go, interweb.

Ultimate Vegetable Lasagna

4 lbs zucchini (about 3 large), cut lengthwise into thin slices

4 lbs trumpet royale mushrooms, cut lengthwise into thin slices

1 32-ounce jar marinara sauce

2 15-ounce containers part-skim ricotta

2 large eggs

1 cup grated parmesan

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2 baking sheets with cooking spray. Arrange zucchini in an even layer and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes and then set aside to cool.

In a large pan, saute mushrooms until each side is golden brown and most of the moisture has been cooked out. Set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, mix together ricotta, eggs, parmesan and season with salt and pepper.

Spread a thin layer of marinara sauce over the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Layer zucchini, cheese, mushrooms, then sauce again and repeat until baking dish is full. Top with mozzarella cheese.

Cover the top of the dish with aluminum foil and bake 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the top is golden brown, about 15 minutes more. Let cool at least 10 minutes before serving.

EAT!

 

How are you doing during allergy season? How do you get through it?

Do you like veggie lasagna? Even if you don’t, I bet you will like this one 😉

 

With so much love,

Sam

 

 

Like it? Share it!Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterGoogle+Share on LinkedInshare on Tumblr

A Case for Strength Training

Hey friends,

Long time, no blog! I didn’t mean to skip last week’s post, but as my colleague likes to say, “life happened” and I found myself so swamped with work that I, quite honestly felt crazy overwhelmed and I couldn’t add one more thing to the to-do list.

In the past I would have beaten myself up over not being able to do it all, and I was disappointed I couldn’t get a post up (I love writing this bitty blog and connecting with all of you), but I have been trying to be kinder to myself lately and this was a good lesson in that. I let myself miss a week and I didn’t die. My blog didn’t self-destruct, and look, I’m back this week on schedule with a post like nothing out of the usual happened.

I will say one more thing on the subject though: “Missing a day” as in missing a workout, a healthy habit, writing, playing or practicing is a slippery slope. Missing a day makes you vulnerable to the possibility of missing the next day and the next. Anyone who has skipped a workout can attest to this.

The danger lies in the discovery that the world doesn’t stop spinning because you missed a day. You build up momentum with habits and practices that you commit to. Over time those habits become non-negotiable and something you don’t even have to think about, but once you miss a day, it takes 10 times more effort to start again.

So, I don’t really have a smooth transition into my next subject, but this has been on my mind constantly for the past few weeks and I have to talk about it…

Are you familiar with the term “skinny fat”?

Skinny fat describes a person who looks skinny on the outside, but in actuality has a high body fat percentage. A healthy body fat percentage for a woman between the ages of 20 and 30 should fall somewhere between 18 and 24 percent. Around 15% is considered athletic, over 26% is overweight and over 30% is considered obese.

The reason I bring this up is because I have seen an alarming number of women lately who fall into the obese category’. These beautiful women don’t look fat, but technically  they are.

I can hear you’re objection, “So, what? If they look skinny then what’s the problem? Plus, what woman wants to have a ton of muscle? I don’t want to look bulky, or worse, like a man”

 

Do I look like a man?

I only use myself as an example because I know my body fat percentage and lean body mass and both are in the athletic range.

So, again. What’s the problem with being skinny fat?

Number one: A high body fat percentage puts you at risk for illnesses like diabetes and heart disease. It’s especially important to be aware of this if you have a family history of these diseases. Yes, avoiding strength training could possibly contribute to these conditions.

“But, I do a lot of cardio. Isn’t running good for me?”

Running is great and please don’t stop doing it, but here’s the thing: I see a lot of women who only do cardio who are skinny fat. They avoid strength training because they are afraid of looking bulky or simply because they don’t know what to do.

You can do all the cardio in the world, but strength training is the thing that is going to change your body for the better.

transformation14.jpg
{via}

Does she look bulky?

Benefits of Strength Training:

  • Higher metabolism: It takes 30-60 calories to sustain 1 lb of muscle. It takes 3-5 calories to sustain 1 lb of fat. That means, if you have more muscle than fat your body becomes a calorie-burning machine!
  • You burn fat 24/7, not just when you are exercising.
  • You can eat more! People are always amazed at how much and how often I eat. That’s not to say I eat junk, but I love food and I get to eat a lot of healthy, delicious stuff because my lean muscle is burning all the calories.
  • You feel strong, powerful, energized and capable of anything (at least I do) Who wouldn’t want to feel that way all the time?

If you are still concerned about looking “bigger” from strength training, think about it this way: 5 lbs of muscle and 5 lbs of fat weigh the same, but do they look the same?

{via}

I rest my case.

For now 😉

Do you strength train? Do you notice a difference in your metabolism and your body?

With so much love,

Sam

Like it? Share it!Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterGoogle+Share on LinkedInshare on Tumblr

Pre Workout Cookie Dough Bites

Pre Workout Cookie Dough Bites 1

Hi there friends,

How is your week going so far? I love the hint of sunlight streaming in my bedroom window now when I wake up. It really feels like Spring is here. It’s still a tad chilly here in NY, but no complaints. Winter is over! Yay!!!

Pre Workout Cookie Dough Bites 2

Being a trainer, I’m responsible for creating healthy bodies and healthy habits. In order to do that I sit down with my clients and they tell me everything about their lives, and I mean Everything! Sheesh, sometimes I can’t believe the things they share with me.

But, I also get a lot of questions, and one of the most common questions I get is, “What should I eat before working out?”

Pre Workout Cookie Dough Bites 3

It’s a complicated question really with a lot of different opinions. It’s one of those things that can be incredibly complicated or incredibly simple.

I advise clients first, to eat whatever they choose to eat two hours prior to exercising. If you don’t eat at all, you risk a blood sugar crash and you could feel faint. You definitely won’t perform your best. If you eat too close to working out, you could feel nauseous. Your body is working to digest the food in your stomach, so when you ask your energy to be used elsewhere, your body doesn’t want to do it.

Pre Workout Cookie Dough Bites 4So, simple answer: Eat something, not too close or too far from working out.

Now, I would get a bit more specific and say, eat something healthy and light with a good mix of carbs and protein. Something easy to digest with not too much fiber or fat is also what I like to recommend to my clients. Fiber and fat take more work for your body to break down, so you could find yourself cramping on an intense run, for example.

Pre Workout Cookie Dough Bites 6These bites are a great pre workout snack. I created them so I would have something healthy, nutrient-dense and a snack that wouldn’t feel like it was sitting heavy in my stomach during a tough workout.

And they’re not delegated to workouts alone. They’re yummy enough to eat as a healthy treat any time 😉

Pre Workout Cookie Dough Bites

Pre Workout Cookie Dough Bites

vegan, gluten-free, grain-free

Makes 5

1/4 cup vanilla protein powder

1 tsp ground flax seed

2 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes

2 tbsp maple syrup

2 tbsp smooth almond butter

1 pinch salt

3 tbsp chocolate chips

In a small bowl combine all ingredients except chocolate chips. If mixture is too dry, add milk of choice one teaspoon at a time. When thoroughly combined, mix in chocolate chips. Roll into 5 balls. Refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Pre Workout Cookie Dough Bites 5Ballz!

I’m 5.

What do you like to eat before working out?

How are you celebrating Spring finally arriving? I definitely find myself spending more time outdoors.

 

With so much love,

Sam

Like it? Share it!Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterGoogle+Share on LinkedInshare on Tumblr