Super Simple Protein Oats!

OK, I know it’s not exactly Paleo (who am I kidding? It’s totally not Paleo), but I’ve been obsessed with oatmeal lately. I was just buying the single-serve packets to quench my cravings, but I looked over the ingredients and was shocked to find how much JUNK was in them. Even the organic brands had a lot of sugar added, and it seemed the only way to avoid the unnecessary simple carbs and “natural flavorings” (seriously, what is that crap??) was to make it on my own.

On Monday, I decided to prep my breakfasts for the week, and I wanted to make it as simple as possible. I took four mason jars and filled them with oatmeal, vanilla protein powder, stevia, cinnamon, and cashew milk. I had no idea how it would taste, but decided to make five of them and hope for the best.

HOLY DELICIOUSNESS, BATMAN!!!

These things are amazing. Instead of eating them cold (as overnight oats), I’ve nuked them for about three minutes and they turn into this warm, almost oatmeal-cookie esque bread pudding that’s to die for.

For roughly 320 calories, I’m getting a solid 35g of protein and 5g of pure fiber goodness. And, most importantly, only 1g of sugar (33g total carbs, but I’m not doing a restrictive diet here)!

In case you want to recreate this vanilla cinnamon orgastic breakfast, here’s what I’m using:

  • 1/2 cup organic, steel-cut oats
  • 1 scoop of Isopure Vanilla 0g carb protein powder (pricey, but worth it)
  • 1 cup Silk Unsweetened Cashew Milk
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/3 cup Stevia powder (more or less to taste)
  • Between 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup water, added a few drops at a time while microwaving

Mix-in Ideas:

  • 1/4 cup organic raisins (roughly 100 calories)
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (roughly 200 calories)
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree (roughly 40 calories)
  • 1 tbsp chocolate chips (roughly 80 calories)

You can realistically get away with microwaving this about 90 seconds if you just want it to be warm and thick, but I discovered that cooking it longer makes it puff up noticeably (imagine a cake rising) and give the illusion of substantially more food. If you do microwave past 90 seconds, consider adding a few tbsp of water every 30 seconds or so and stirring. I cook mine roughly three minutes and it turns into a MASSIVE bowl of doughy/cakey oats, which is my FAVORITE. If you prefer porridge-style oats, definitely cut the time to less than two minutes.

Oatmeal

 

FYI: I know this is a terrible picture, but it smelled so good and I was so raring to eat it, I honestly didn’t care about getting a good picture. It smelled like the oatmeal cookies your grandmother used to make.

And the added plus? This keeps me full for HOURS! I ate this around 10am yesterday in the office and didn’t touch my lunch until after 3pm. As someone who normally grazes all day (and eats religiously every 2 hours, hungry or not), that’s saying something about the staying power of this simple dish.

So, these oats prove it: there really is no excuse for not eating a healthy breakfast every day. I literally prepped five of these in under five minutes Monday morning, and they take less than four minutes to heat/cook. It would’ve taken me 2-3x the amount of time to stop somewhere and grab a breakfast sandwich, and they’re substantially more filling than my usual protein-bar-out-the-door routine.

What’s your excuse?

Bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori

 

Meal Prep and Real Life!

Today is officially my last day of “vacation.” Yes, I’m technically still off for the weekend, but today ends the last of my holiday vacation time.

While I had a blast in NYC from 12/28-1/3, I found this week extremely challenging. I was no longer in “chill mode” (aka: eat whatever, do whatever), but wasn’t back to my regimen, either. To be honest, I really didn’t know what to do with myself.

So, like any good yoyo dieter, I decided to use the week to “transition” myself back into the real world.

Since I had all day off while my husband was back at work, I used the free time to rack up a few hours at the gym, buy my school books, and catch up on some personal reading. I should’ve gotten ahead on school reading, of course, but that’s what my panic-induced Sunday cram sessions are for.

Today, though, I decided it was crucial I do something proactive for the upcoming week, as I will be back to full time work AND graduate school starting Monday.

I decided to invite my best friend Delonna, who has to follow a restrictive ketogenic and allergen-free diet, over to my house to do some healthy prep cooking for the week!

After three hours of laughing, making a mess, and “quality assurance testing” our goodies, here’s what I ended up with in my freezer:

3 individual turkey meatloaves (267 calories, 51g protein each)

3 individual beef meatloaves (288 calories each, 35g protein)

12 lamb meatballs (80 calories each, 7g protein)

12 chicken veggie muffins (72 calories each, 10g protein)

18 grain-free Italian muffins (98 calories each, 6g protein)

I’ll be making veggie egg muffins and grain-free cookies Sunday evening so there’s really no excuse to deviate from a healthy diet. Preparation is key to living (and maintaining control despite temptation) with a busy schedule. School and work are back full time on Monday!!

So, on that note, it’s time for a run and a little wine!

Bon appetit, my friends!

– Tori

Almost 2016

It has been several weeks since I posted on here, and several months since I posted with any regularity.

I’ll admit, 2015 has been a rough year for me in regards to my weight, but it has been a beautiful year in almost every other way.

I decided sometime around late August to stop worrying about my weight -which was climbing steadily despite ardent (translation: OBSESSIVE) exercise and dieting- and instead focus on enjoying my day-to-day LIFE. You know the old adage about a “watched pot never boils,” right? Well, I was watching that pot like a hawk, and it was lukewarm (and growing colder by the moment), so it was time to step out of the kitchen.

That being said, I didn’t stop caring about my health. God, no. Exercise has and will always be a part of my adult life: it’s my daily stress relief and something I do just for myself.

I’ve continued working out and trying to eat well, but I’ve stopped beating myself up after every cheat. I’ve also let myself indulge way more than normal, and it has been downright glorious. Chocolate and red wine have been in good company in my belly for several months.

Yes, my weight is up. As of this morning, I’m back up to 137.8, a weight I haven’t touched in over three years. This time last year, I was swinging from 124-127, so this is a big jump, and I’m not denying I can see it on more than just the scale. This Yo-Yo has some dough-dough, and it’s mostly sitting on her butt and hips (a first, honestly, since it used to all gather in my belly).

That being said, not watching the scale –and not letting my weight dictate my emotions– has been a beautiful, freeing adventure. And, surprisingly, it really didn’t cause much damage. At least, not as much as I expected.

I thought when I gave up weighing in daily, religiously using my GymPact and MyFitnessPal, and posting here, my weight would spiral out of control. I figured I’d be over 145 lbs by now.

Looking at the day of my last weigh in – the day I decided to “unplug” from my obsession almost four months ago – I am happy to say I’m only three pounds heavier on the scale. Huh. Three pounds heavier, but emotionally lighter than I’ve been in years.

That being said, instead of setting a New Year’s Resolution to eat healthier or lose weight, this year I want to focus on accomplishing goals. I want to run a 10k in March, a half Marathon in November, and a marathon in December.

I’ve already registered for two of the three races, and will register for the third as soon as registration opens in the Spring. I’m putting my money where my mouth is on this one.

Starting the week of the 4th, I’ll begin a running program to train for distance running. I won’t worry about my weight; I’ll focus on my breathing, my stamina, and my distance. I won’t worry about my pant size, but rather the soreness in my muscles and the strength in each leg.

While 2015 was about letting go, 2016 will just be about GO.

Bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori

P.S. Isn’t my mother-in-law beautiful? The picture is of her and I on Christmas Eve at my house. We’re so in-sync, we dress to match on accident.

Paleo Stuffed Peppers!

OK… everyone has been raging about stuffed peppers in my office this week. For three days in a row, it’s all anyone can talk about.

“Ohhhh, my wife made these ground andouille sausage and quinoa stuffed peppers last night and they were amazing!”

“I saw a recipe on Pinterest for these brown rice and ground pork cheesy stuffed peppers I can’t wait to try!”

“Have I said stuffed peppers yet today? Stuffed peppers! Stuffed peppers! STUFFFFFFED PEPPPPPERS!!”

OK. I get it, Paleo gods, I get it. I need to make some Paleo-friendly stuffed peppers.

However, I work full-time and hate the thought of coming home at 6pm to clean, prep, and bake stuffed peppers for an hour …because, damn it, I’m starving when I get home from work. I want to CHOW DOWN!

So… it’s crockpot time. Time for the magic.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 2 bunches of pearl onions
  • 8 large bell peppers
  • 1 cup raw button mushrooms
  • 2 cups of Trader Joe’s organic marinara
  • 1 cup red wine (of your choice)
  • 6 tbsp ground garlic
  • 6 tbsp ground chili powder
  • 4 tbsp dried onion flakes (if you haven’t noticed, I add these to everything I cook)
  • Non-stick Coconut Oil spray (I prefer Trader Joe’s)

Directions:

In your crockpot, spray a thin layer of coconut oil to prevent searing/sticking. Clean your bell peppers, chopping the tops off and removing the seeds/insides. Place the bell peppers into the crockpot.

IMG_6197

Now, in a large pan (I used a wok), spray your coconut spray (to prevent sticking) and put it on medium-high heat. Gentle saute your mushrooms (I chopped mine small), pearl onions, pepper caps (why waste them? dice ’em and add it in!) until they were nice and soft. Once tender, I added the raw ground turkey and seasoning.

IMG_6196

After the turkey was cooked through, I added 1 cup of the marinara, mixing well.

IMG_6199

While that cooked down, I mixed the remaining cup of marinara and the wine and poured it IN BETWEEN the peppers in the crockpot. The hope is that the fluid would help to poach the bell peppers, making them soft and sweet.

Once the meat mixture cooked down, I used a big spoon and (quite clumsily) stuffed the peppers in the crockpot.

IMG_6203

Don’t those look AMAZING? Who needs grains? Not this girl!

Since the meat is cooked and I won’t be home until after 8pm tonight, I set the crockpot to LOW and to cook for three hours, then reset to “warm” so it would still be steamy warm when I get home.

Now, since my husband isn’t devout Paleo, I sprinkled a little low fat mozzarella and Parmesan on four of these to make them extra tasty for him, and I plan to enjoy mine with some freshly mashed avocado.

Needless to say, I can’t wait for my work day to end so I can go inhale these!

Bon appetit, my friends, and I’ll let you know how they turned out tomorrow!

~ Tori