Month: December 2014

What Will Your Word of the Year Be!?

Lemon Sorbet Champagne CocktailHiiiii!

Happy New Year’s Eve everybody!

I feel like this year everyone is particularly excited for 2015. I see all over Facebook, people declaring they are going to make it the best year ever! There are lots of resolutions being made too.

I love the new year, but I don’t really ever make resolutions. In my own experience, resolutions set me up to fail. I get hyped up and excited imagining this amazing brand new “me” and then January 1st comes and it’s just another day with the same to-do’s, habits and such. Maybe it’s all the sparkles and glitter of New Year’s Eve that makes resolutions seem so alluring, but really they are just goals. I’m all for goals. Love them! But I make goals throughout the year. Why save them for one specific day?

Lemon Sorbet Champagne Cocktail 4

So, instead of making New Years resolutions, I like to pick a word for the year ahead. The word I pick reflects how I want to feel. I love this tradition because it has nothing to do with succeeding or failing, like resolutions do. It’s really about aligning with what is important to you and reminding yourself how you want to feel on the daily.

Last year my word was courage.

~I started my website last year

~I began to share my thoughts and writing with all of you (hella scary for me, btw!)

~ I got my personal training certification

All of these things, plus many more, were acts of courage for me. They were all scary, but  I’m so glad I made them happen.

This year I have decided that my word is going to be Authentic.

I want to step into my authentic self even more in 2015. I’ve discovered that being authentic feels really good. I’m going to commit to embracing who I am with no apologies and no censors. (Well, maybe a few censors when I’m around children, ha!) I believe that when we fully embrace who we are, we give permission, and inspire others to do the same.

I’m leaving you, this final day of 2014, with a cocktail my sister created. It’s fresh, light and sparkly. (Coincidentally also how I want to feel in the new year!)

Cheers!

Lemon Sorbet Champagne Cocktail 2

Lemon Sorbet Champagne Cocktail

Makes 1 cocktail

1 oz vodka

lemon sorbet

your favorite champagne or prosecco

mint leafs

Pour vodka into a champagne flute. Add bubbly leaving 1 inch at the top. Add a scoop of sorbet. Put a mint leaf in the palm of one hand and smack it with the other hand. Yes, that’s right. *Smack the leaf! Garnish your cocktail with beaten mint leaf. Drink up!

*Smacking is a bartender trick to release the oils and fragrance of your herbs. Try it! One good smack will do the trick and it’s kinda fun :)

Lemon Sorbet Champagne Cocktail 1I’d love to hear what your word of 2015 will be. Tell me in the comments below!

Have a fabulous and safe New Years Eve!

See you next year!

xoxo,

Sam

Holiday Coconut Nog Protein Pancakes

Eggnog protein pancakesHi there my loves!

As you all know Thursday is Christmas and it’s a hectic time of year. I’ve been running my little (okay, big) tush around buying presents for all of my family including the newest addition, my sweet baby nephew. It’ll be his first Christmas and I can hardly wait. I have my camera charged and ready to capture every moment. Christmas is always special, but having children around really makes it magical.

Eggnog protein pancake 1

We always have a huge feast on Christmas and I look forward to it every year. I try to eat light during the day to make room for all of the yummy food, but I’m never one to skip meals, so I like to have a healthy breakfast to hold me over for the feast ahead. This recipe works double duty. If you remember last week I made a Chocolate Eggnog Crumb Cake. If you ventured to make it yourself, you would now have leftover nog sitting in your fridge. I was looking for a way to use mine up and I came up with these pancakes. They are perfect for Christmas morning, or any holiday you celebrate, when you want a special breakfast to kick off the festivities. They’re also the perfect healthy treat to curb your hunger until dinnertime.

Share them with your loved ones and no matter what you celebrate, here’s wishing your holiday is filled with warmth, joy and coconut flake snow ;D

Eggnog Protein Pancakes 2

(adapted from Ultimate Protein Pancakes)

Makes 4-6

1 medium banana

2 tbsp ground flax

2 scoops vanilla protein powder

2 tbsp oat flour

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

5 tbsp nondairy eggnog (I use So Delicious Coconut Nog)

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup egg whites

In a medium size bowl mash the banana with a fork. Add in the next 8 ingredients (everything but egg whites) and mix to combine. 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.

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

Top with shredded coconut and a drizzle of coconut nog.

 

Wishing you a happy, magical holiday!

xoxo,

Sam

 

Let Them Eat Ugly Cake + Recipe (It May Be Ugly, But It’s Delicious!)

“It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of someone else’s life with perfection.” ~Bhagavad Gita

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I had grand plans for this week’s post. I have a fantastic crumb cake recipe that I was excited to share. This cake has been a part of  holiday gatherings for the past few years and it is always a hit. I was planning a great photo shoot. I was actually going to take the time to photograph it properly. I wanted this cake to look scrumptious!

Well you must know that when we make plans God laughs. I didn’t have the right size pan so I crammed the batter into an 8×8 which made it more cake and less crumb. I also found out that if you chill the crumb mixture before sprinkling it on the batter it creates a lovely topping that crumb cake dreams are made of. Problem is, I learned this after topping my cake with unchilled crumbs which resulted in the butter melting into the cake leaving behind a layer of sugary almond bits and oats, not a crumb to be found :(

chocolate crumb cake

I was disappointed for all of 10 minutes because that’s how long it took for the cake to cool before I could taste it. It was as spectacular as ever. The cake was rich and tender and perfectly chocolatey. The “crumb” was nutty and buttery and still contributed some texture.

The only problem I had was that this cake was ug-lay.

I wanted this tasty crumb cake recipe to have a beautiful photo to show you all how good it is. :(

I know it is a gigantic leap from cake to life lesson, but I was watching Oprah when all of this went down so bear with me: I started this blog to capture my journey of learning about life through living it. I’m inviting you all along. That doesn’t mean showing you only the picture-perfect end-product and pretending the missteps didn’t happen. There is enough Photoshopping in this world. Every photo has a hundred filter options these days and if I’m not careful I can get caught up in the faux perfectionism of it all.

chocolate crumb cake 2

So ugly cake lesson of the day:

Don’t hide your imperfections. Embrace them. Share them because to be imperfect is to be human.

God has a plan for every one of us and sometimes that plan doesn’t look like what we thought it would. Sometimes it may even look like a failure.

Failing doesn’t mean you are a failure.

Failing means you are one step closer to success.

The only real failure is in not trying.

chocolate crumb cake 1

You can imagine all of the ways something will work out. You can make grand plans, but until you take action you will never find out for certain. If I hadn’t tried to make a decadent crumb cake worthy of pintrest and instagram pages galore, I would never have learned what to do to make it perfect next time.

And I wouldn’t have gotten to eat cake 😀

 

Chocolate Eggnog Crumb Cake

1/2 cup nondairy butter (I use Earth Balance Organic Buttery Spread)

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1 tsp vanilla

3 tbsp coffee

2 tbsp water

2 tbsp ground flax

1 cup oat flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup nondairy eggnog (I use So Delicious Coconut Nog)

Crumb Topping

1/2 cup oat flour

1/2 cup coconut sugar

4 tbsp crushed almonds

3 tbsp nondairy butter

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Chocolate Eggnog Drizzle

1/4 cup nondairy eggnog

1/3 cup chocolate chips

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 in. baking dish with nondairy butter. In a medium bowl cream nondairy butter with light brown and coconut sugars. In small bowl, mix ground flax seeds with coffee, vanilla and water until an egg-like consistency. Sift together oat flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda. Add the flax mixture to the creamed mixture. Alternate adding nondairy egg nog and dry ingredients to creamed mixture. Pour batter into greased baking dish.

For the almond struesel topping, combine oat flour, coconut sugar, cinnamon, almonds, and nondairy butter until just combined. Don’t overmix. Pop crumb in the freezer for 15 minutes. Sprinkle evenly over the cake batter. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove cake from the oven and let cool.

For the Chocolate egg nog drizzle, in a small bowl microwave eggnog and chocolate chips for 15 seconds at a time and stir until melted. Pour drizzle evenly over the cake. chocolate eggnog crumb cake 6

You don’t have to be perfect. I still love you.

 

Have you ever had a failure that turned out for the best?

Ever have an epic baking fail!?

Tell me in the comments below so I feel better about my own baking fails 😉

 

So Much Love,

Sam

 

 

 

Barre and Bars + Recipe!

Hey beauties,

Yesterday morning I rushed to a class at Exhale in the Flatiron district, only to discover that they didn’t have my name down. Tuns out I had booked the class in the Meatpacking district! I wish I could say this was the first time I made this mistake :/ But the people at Exhale were so nice and let me take class there anyway. I jumped in expecting a barre class and instead got a class called Core Fusion Extreme. Holy crap, it was extreme! The class consisted of plyo moves and intervals at different stations around the room and the only rest we got was 10 seconds to get to the next station. The teacher was the perfect mix of no bullshit and inspiration that I really appreciated. She wouldn’t let us quit and I’m feeling the effects EVERYWHERE today.

Moral of the story: Sometimes life throws you a curve ball and you have to be ready, and more important than that, willing to go with it. You’re not always going to get what you want, but you will always get what you need. And sometimes what you get is better than what you wanted in the first place 😉

I thought today would be a good day to do another Good~Better~Best segment. And this one includes a recipe!

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Today I want to talk about bars. Bars are a great, convenient way to refuel after a workout or get a snack in when you are on the go, but a lot of bars on grocery store shelves are no better than candy bars. Sugar content is in the double digits and the ingredient list may as well be in Swahili, what with all the artificial ingredients and additives. So I’ve picked out my Good~Better~Best options that I personally reach for when I’m in need of a quick, nutritious bar.

 Good~Think Thin High Fiber + Protein Bars

Full disclosure-These bars are delicious, they have a good mix of protein and fiber (13g/5 g) and are low in sugar (2 g). They are also gluten-free. If it was only about nutrition stats and taste, these bars would win a gold star, BUT-and this is a big but (see what I did there? :b) the ingredient list is what keeps this bar in the Good category. It’s not as bad as reading Swahili. It’s closer to reading Spanish. All of the ingredients are pronounceable, but I don’t like that a lot of them are isolated from their whole food sources (whey protein isolate, malitol, calcium calceinate). I have to admit that I reach for them from time to time, which is why they land in the Good category, but I don’t recommend them if you have the option of one of the next featured bars.

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Better~Kind Bars

These bars are having a moment right now. I’m seeing them everywhere and it’s no surprise why. Kind bars are gluten free, non-GMO and all natural. You will never find an artificial anything or word you can’t pronounce in their ingredients. Well, except maybe quinoa (“KEEN-wah”) I was saying “Kwi-NO-uh” for years haha!

Anyway, these bars are packed with nutritional superstars-nuts, coconut, dark chocolate, spices and just a touch of honey to bind it all together. The protein and fiber content is great (around 7g for each) and the sugar content is low (around 5 g) as long as you stick to the nut and chocolate based bars. Most of the fruit based bars have anywhere from 12 to 16 grams of sugar, which isn’t terrible if you’re refueling after a workout, but is still a little high for my liking.

My favorite flavors include Dark Chocolate Nuts and Sea Salt, Dark Chocolate Chili Almond and Dark Chocolate Mocha Almond. We buy the Costco-sized box of Kind bars because we go through them so quickly.kind bar

Best~Homemade Protein Bars!

The only bars that trump Kind Bars are the ones you make yourself! Making your own protein bars is a lot easier than you may think. You control what you put into them, how you want them to taste and what good-for-you ingredients you want to add. No oven needed and they freeze well too. They are also easy to adjust to your specific needs. I’ll make a lemon ginger cherry version to combat workout soreness and speed recovery, a maca coconut caramel if I’m exhausted and suffering from adrenal fatigue, or a chocolate coconut almond version when I’m having an It’s-my-day-off-and-I-want-something-indulgent-and-I’m-not-sharing-with-anyone kind of day ;D

protein bars

 

 Chocolate Coconut Almond Protein Bars

Makes 12 bars

1/2 cup protein powder (I use vanilla sunwarrior)

1/2 cup coconut flour

1/4 tsp salt

2 tbsp ground flax seed

1/2 cup almond butter

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup coconut oil

2 tbsp almond milk

1/3 cup chocolate chips

1/2 tsp coconut oil

3 tbsp shredded coconut (optional)

Lay parchment paper in a 9 x 9 inch baking pan with edges hanging over the sides. Mix first four (dry) ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Add in next five (wet) ingredients and stir until incorporated. The batter should be the consistency of raw cookie dough. If too dry add a few more tablespoons of milk. Spoon the batter into the prepared baking pan and press down until even. Melt chocolate chips and coconut oil in the microwave at 10 second increments until completely melted and smooth. Spread chocolate in an even layer over the dough and, if desired, top with shredded coconut. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Lift out of the baking dish by parchment edges and cut into 12 bars. Store in refrigerator up to 1 week or freeze up to 1 month.protein bars 1

Ever go to a class expecting one thing and got something completely different? What did you do!?

If you give the recipe a try let me know what you think in the comments! I always get a kick out of people trying the recipes I share 😀

Enjoy the rest of your week!

~Sam