21 Day Sugar Detox Pep & Prep Talk

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Yay!! I’m actually really excited that I decided to do the 21 Day Sugar Detox! I’m starting tomorrow, but I’ve  been spending some time over the weekend planning it out.

Guess who’s going to be joining me?!

mom and me

My mom is going to do it with me, with some possible modifications. It’s honestly super difficult (and expensive!!!) to find some of the foods when your only grocery store is SuperValu in Wabasha, MN! She is also dealing with the added challenges of living with three others who are not doing the detox and a freezer that is always full of ice cream!!

Why?

I feel like I’ve been on a little sugar rampage for the last few months, and I just feel like it’s a good time for me to commit to this! I want to eat better for my workouts and recovery, and I want to make sure that CrossFit (not cupcakes) is the only thing making me bigger right now. I’m not expecting it to make my shoulders “unbroaden“, but I have gained a solid 10+ lbs in a year so I’m guessing I need to take some personal responsibility for that. I’m not overly upset about it, but I’d rather not outgrow any more clothes, and it might help my hspus.

I love that this detox is only 21 days. That’s only 3 weekends! Weekends were my downfall when I did a strict 5 week paleo challenge last summer. There were a few times where I actually sat in bed and would just tell Kevin how depressed I was (exaggerating, of course), but I just felt like we couldn’t go anywhere do anything because of all the restrictions. It just didn’t end up being a great fit for me, although I am happy to say that I definitely went the full 5 weeks without Diet Coke!! I had very low energy the entire time as well, which is not a great sign, and I think it was due to just not eating enough. However, that challenge did serve to teach me a lot about how certain foods (particularly excessive amounts of sugar) make me feel. I don’t think that I personally have any dietary sensitivities (other than self-inflicted from not eating certain foods), and I am always especially hesitant to give up dairy. I just don’t envision my life without good ice cream. But I do think doing a short challenge where you are super intentional about what you eat can be really helpful.

I was listening to the Barbell Shrugged podcast recently, and they were discussing nutrition and the popular paleo-type challenges. Their thoughts were that occasional 30-day-type challenges are a good way to not only do a reset, but also to help your “regular” diet become a little closer to “perfect” each time you do one. I think that’s true. Yeah, I’ve been drinking Diet Coke, but probably 75% less than I have at other points in my life. The truly sad part is that I don’t think I want to really ever eat Flamin’ Hot Cheetos again. So there’s that. :( :( :(

balanced bites 110

I listened to this Podcast from Balanced Bites addressing FAQ’s for the 21DSD, and she mentioned that this challenge is different from strict paleo challenges in that it is specifically designed to target sugar & carb cravings and change the way your taste buds respond to food. The author also mentions that she’s not opposed to doing things like making banana & egg pancakes because she thinks it helps you calm down your psychological limitations. (The Whole 30 people are big on not making paleo versions while doing their challenge so I think it’s in response to that). I’m a fan of that kind of thinking, not because I’m obsessed with paleo pancakes, but because if I don’t respond well to being extremely restricted even for a short period of time. I need a little space for creativity. It makes me feel sad. Haha. Listening to their podcast made me feel happy, optimistic, and like it was practical.

21DSD is different also from most paleo challenges in that there are three levels. Level 1 (least strict) even includes some gluten-free grains. Level 2 includes no grains, but you can have full-fat dairy!! Level 3 is fairly strict paleo although still less strict than the paleo challenge I did which allowed zero fruit/nuts. I will be going with Level 2, because that’s what I want to do. I think my mom is going to do Level 1 because she’s really not in the habit of eating paleo style, and as I mentioned, it’s more difficult for her to get some of the foods.

I will definitely be following the modifications for athletes (extra sweet potatoes) because, well,  I like to workout! And Pippa likes me to workout! And I have a new rower!!!

21 DSD Week #1 PLANS!!!

Breakfast: This is the easy one because I eat sugar-free and & paleo nearly every day, and I don’t snack a lot in the mornings. Only change will be no coconut milk creamer because that definitely has sugar in it.

eggs sweet potatoes avocado bacon

  • Water
  • Black coffee/tea
  • Bacon & eggs & vegetables
  • Coconut Muffins from Balanced Bites (weekend)

bacon and green onion zucchini panckes

Lunch:

  • Water
  • Leftover chicken & pork
  • Spinach!!!
  • Broccoli!!
  • Probably sweet potatoes with Kerrygold?!?!
  • Wholly Guacamole (classic with a little salt!)
  • Bacon & Green Onion Zucchini Pancakes (see pic above)

paleo pulled pork sliders

Dinner:

Snacks:

  • CHOMPS!
  • green apples
  • Perhaps some full-fat dairy. We shall see what I find in the grocery store.
  • tea

3-2-1 GO!!!

Related resource: Everything Fed & Fit ate during her 21DSD.

Have you ever done the 21DSD or another paleo-type challenge? What were your thoughts? Or are you more of a moderator? I always thought I was more of a moderator, but I’ve found that I sometimes need to do a little more structured plan to help me eat according to my goals. I love a good challenge without being too serious or restrictive.

 

 

Our Top 10 Cookie Fridays

vanilla pudding choc chip cookie
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This week was the official last Cookie Friday which we bookended with our first Cookie Friday – Monster Cookies. In celebration of this milestone, we’ve put together a list of our favorites – in no particular order. I think it would have taken Kevin hours to properly rank these so I’m just grouping them together. Perhaps he’ll put together a proper rating system when he finishes his MBA. Because you clearly need an MBA to do that!!

Top 10 Cookie Fridays: If you’re wondering how Cookie Friday started, the truth is that I’m not completely sure. I had seen Tina call it that on her blog and must have mentioned it to Kevin at some point. We had a hard-core Long Distance Relationship for almost 2 years so we had plenty of time to hash important details of our future married life such as Cookie Fridays! :)

We’ll start with the obvious: Monster Cookies!

Skinny Almond Joy Macaroons. My pick but Kevin liked these too!

Cowboy Cookies. Similar in a lot of ways to Monster Cookies, but with coconut & pecans.

Chocolate Chip Caramel Cookies. The original with a twist that even Kevin approved.

Vanilla Pudding Chocolate Chip Cookies. Our favorite chocolate chip cookie — soft & chewy!

Oatmeal Scotchies. A surprise favorite!! These were chewy & gooey!

Chubby Hubby Truffles. PB & pretzels inside! Bonus: easy to make!

Skinny No Bakes. Kevin will probably complain when he sees these made the list, but they were really good!!

White Chocolate Mocha Cookies. Not too overwhelming for those weirdos who are not fans of coffee (KEVIN!!).

Chai Spiced Sugar Cookies. These cookies win the award for making your house smell the best while baking!

Check out the whole year of Cookie Fridays on the Recipe tab.

The end.

Is this the end of Cookie Fridays – you may ask? My answer is that it’s the end of committed Cookie Fridays. I’m thinking of switching to Sunday Sweets (or something equally alliterative – any ideas?) so I can branch out to cakes, rolls, pies, etc. I’m still going to make my husband cookies, but he’s going to ask for endless repeats of chocolate chip and monster cookies! And maybe not every week since he probably doesn’t need to eat two dozen cookies every weekend. I mean that with love. <3

Which cookie would you most like to try?

 

2 Jar Meals + My Least Favorite Exercise

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I totally did not meal plan this week. Not at all. I used all my creative cooking up on the in-laws! So this week we’ve had meals inspired by jars seen in the grocery store.

I was originally planning to buy the Korma sauce I had seen the other day, but when I read the labels – this one seemed like a better idea. Spicier & lower in calories. Don’t you love that those 2 things often go together? I’ve noticed that when I order at restaurants (for example: at Firebowl I always order one of the spicer sauces because it’s the lowest calorie content).

We paired the sauce with boiled carrots, celery, cauliflower, and potatoes. Unfortunately, we were impatient and didn’t cook the vegetables long enough so they were pretty crunchy. But the sauce was awesome. I want to try a Vegetable Korma recipe from scratch one day soon!

Jar meal #2:

My wandering grocery store eye spotted this green chile sauce, and I knew it could be the starter for a delicious meal. And only 5 calories a serving!!! You could have the whole jar for less than 100 calories. I should have one for lunch someday! Haha.

Layer of green chile sauce on the bottom. Inside the tortillas: refried beans pureed with fresh spinach & red onion. More sauce and part-skim cheese on top. These were so filling I could barely polish off one! I don’t know what my deal is tonight.

Oh. Check this out. Remember my failed Cookie Friday Hot Cocoa Cookies?

Well. I still had the dough in the fridge. And it was just sitting there making me look like a loser. So I put some in a ramekin, and made kind of a hot cocoa cake!! Awesome, right? Kevin was definitely a fan. He has to have something sweet after dinner.

My Least Favorite Exercise: I can’t even begin to describe to you how much I despise push-ups. They are, hands down, my least favorite exercise. I don’t even like doing them on my knees.

 

But I’ve decided, that I need to get my act together and learn to pump out a few. Maybe not 100 at a time, but a decent amount! I bet you’ve heard of the 100 Pushup Challenge. I did the pre-test the other night. Trust me, I can do ALMOST 1 pushup. I have to do this weird jiggle to get myself back up. Isn’t it so weird that I can’t do pushups? I do a lot of planks. I’ve been exercising almost every day for about 3 years now… It’s time to conquer this once and for all. I’m happy because I’ve convinced Kevin to do it with me. I think he just wants to do it because he knows it’s something he can totally kick my butt at. Running definitely comes more naturally for me so I get a little cheerful annoying with it. ;)

I eventually want to be able to do this tough girl exercise: Bosu Burpee Pushup

Now that looks fun to me!

What’s YOUR least favorite exercise? Anybody with me on the pushups? Want to try the challenge.

What’s your favorite meal from a jar? Nutella doesn’t count.

How are your 2012 Resolutions coming? I ran 216 miles in January! Well on my way to my impulsive goal of 2012 miles for the year!


Jailbreak & Skinny Mini Pineapple Upside Down Cakes

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I don’t know about you, but I am really struggling with getting back into the swing after my awesome best first married Christmas vacation!!! Today particularly was not looking too bright since it’s the first real full week back at work. You’ll never believe how I made the best of it. Actually, you will because you read my blog.

To add insult to injury, I didn’t get to go home for lunch today because Kevin had a meeting over lunch. Boo. But then…. a plan formed in my mind to jailbreak out of that place and get some exercise in!

And the weather cooperated!! I power walked/jogged it in half work/half workout attire. I can’t quite bring myself to be like the real business power walkers who wear running shoes with their regular outfit. I did a quick change into yoga pants!

I picked up the little rascal along the way.

My lunchtime quickie workout: 2.67 miles power walked/jogged + 12 flights of stairs.

I was okay until I hit the stairs. Those left me a little sweaty!! Of course, I had to run into my boss’s boss in the break room right after I changed into my work clothes. He was trying to make small talk with me and my face was just sweating profusely. I know it had to have looked like I was afraid to make eye contact, but I was just trying to angle my sweaty face away from him!! And I am just so bad at small talk anyways. Why talk when you could both just stand there and wait for the microwaves to beep? Haha.

Gym workout: 4.31 miles @ 9:31 pace while watching Jeopardy! (the cute Dan won again!!) and 1.69 miles @ 7:29 pace. I ate a tiny little piece of toast before the gym. That was a mistake. I thought the blandest of foods wouldn’t bother my stomach. Wrong. I need to eat at least an hour before the gym.

Dinner was repeat!

Shepherd’s Pie from Clean Eating magazine

I think it tasted more delicious because I prepared the whole thing last night, and all I had to do tonight after the gym was stick in the oven. That was awesome.

Just so you can see all the layers. This time I didn’t have any green beans, but I just used all the vegetables in the crisper.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake is one of those desserts you can generally make from what you have in your pantry! Of course, I had to try to make a lighter version… in ramekins. Hello, portion control!

I even had maraschino cherries leftover from the White Chocolate Cherry Almond  Cookies!

Skinny Mini Pineapple Upside Down Cakes (adapted from Eat Yourself Skinny)

1 egg
1/4 cup skim milk
3 Tbsp butter, melted (I used Melt)
Dash of vanilla
1/2 cup flour
Your choice of sweetener (I used agave nectar)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1 can of crushed pineapple
Pinch of salt
**Confectioners’ sugar and cherries optional as garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Brush cupcake pan with butter and sprinkle brown sugar in the bottom of each cup along with a bit of crushed pineapple.  Whisk egg, buttermilk, melted butter and a dash of vanilla in a bowl.  Stir in flour, sweetener, baking powder, baking soda and a pinch of salt.  Divide mixture into each of the cups.  Bake for 20 minutes and let cool.  Unmold the mini cakes and top with additional pineapple, cherries and a bit of confectioners’ sugar.  Enjoy!

Do you ever squeeze in workouts over lunch? I would’ve been happier full out running because the weather was so glorious, but I was trying to keep my sweating under control. I saw a LOT of walkers in the park.

What food have you found that doesn’t bother your stomach before exercise? I really try to plan ahead, I really do. But what’s a girl to do if she is STARVING and about to hit the gym for an hour +?

A bonus: What Friends episode does the shepherd’s pie remind you of?

It tastes like feet!

 

 

 

Skinny No-Bake Cookies & BBQ Chicken Pizza Pot Pies

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I spotted this recipe on SkinnyTaste last week, and I instantly knew that I would make these. Kevin’s really more the cookie person, but I’m crazy for no-bakes!!! I think it’s more like eating the cookie dough, which really is the best part anyways!!! I madea few little tweaks because of what I had on hand, and they turned out beautifully!

Skinny No-Bake Cookies (via Skinnytaste)
Servings: 20 • Size: 2 cookies, 1 tbsp each • Old Points: 2 pts • Points+: 3 pts
Calories: 105.9 • Fat: 2.3 g • Carbs: 18.8 • Fiber: 2.3 • Protein: 3.1 g • Sugar: 7.9
Sodium: 12.2 mg 
 
Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tbsp Smart Balance Light butter   —-> I subbed the butter substitute Melt
  • 1/2 cup fat free milk
  • 2 1/2 cups quick oats (for gluten free, use gluten free oats)
  • 3/4 cup Better’n Peanut Butter   —-> I used PB2, the regular flavor
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • powdered sugar, cocoa powder (optional)

Directions:

Combine the first 4 ingredients (sugar through milk) and boil in a small sauce pan for 2 minutes.

Remove from heat and mix in oatmeal, Better n’ Peanut Butter and vanilla.

Drop by tablespoons onto a wax paper or roll into balls with slightly moist hands and refrigerate overnight.

The next day you can roll them in powdered sugar or cocoa powder if desired. Keep refrigerated if storing for several days.

Did they taste like regular no-bakes? Not exactly. It definitely cut the sweetness factor, but I totally don’t mind that. Kevin was a huge fan of them as well.

By the way, have you tried Melt?

I think I saw it first in a blog somewhere. I filed it away, and the other week I insisted on buying it a the grocery store. We’ve used it for paninis and a few other things, and I really like it. And it worked great in this recipe. I guess it’s made of coconut oil. That makes it cool, right? :)

Here I am sweetly exclaiming to Boyd that dogs are allergic to chocolate. Naa naa a booo booo!!! I said that part too. Lol.

Kevin has been stuck at work late this week because of projects. That means I’m stuck too!! I think there was only one other person left on the 12th floor by the time we got out of there today!! We totally missed our class at the gym. I’ve been wanting to take this Sports Training class. They do it in the gym and they do all sorts of drills and stuff! It looks fun!! But we totally missed it. I don’t understand how people make it to 5:30 classes. We’re super close to the gym and we can barely swing it!

We got home so late that Kevin needed to get cracking on his homework so I hit our apartment gym solo. I ran 4.14 miles @ 8:18 pace and did a 30-minute NTC circuit workout called the Curve Carver.

I had this idea to make BBQ Chicken Pot Pie Pizzas. I made a little pizza crust and then layered mozz cheese, bbq chicken, onions, and spinach on the bottom of the ramekin. The crust went on top.

But when the moment of truth came…  I did not like them. It was something with the chicken or the onions. Or maybe the overwhelming smell in the kitchen just made me hate it. I don’t know. I had a little taste which totally grossed me out.

And then I did what any cool kid like me would do.

I made some mac ‘n’ cheese.

It always pays to have some Annie’s on hand. Kevin’s going to eat my pot pie for leftovers tomorrow. Yay!! He liked it. I think he actually really loved it. Lucky for me!! This time I forced Kevin to eat some of the mac ‘n’ cheese so I wouldn’t eat the whole box again.

What’s your back-up food? Mac ‘n’ cheese every time. Or it would be McDonald’s back in the old days. :) I still say that like if I have to go to someone else’s house for dinner. Like,”If I don’t like it, can we get McDonald’s afterwards?” Haha. It’s rough being a picky eater.

Do you ever not like what you cook? Usually I can get a good idea and make things a way I’ll like them, but there was just some flavor tonight I couldn’t get over. I’m definitely a lot more judgmental of my cooking than Kevin is. Which is typical. And nice.

Try making those skinny no-bakes! You won’t regret it! I think this is where I first saw Melt — Love from the Oven made White Chocolate Peppermint Crunch Oatmeal Cookies with it!

 

The Best Carrot Cake Ever, Mini Pumpkin Pies, & Chocolate Cheesecake Bites

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Excuse me! I’m trying to catch up on all the goodness that was our Thanksgiving weekend.

I feel that the desserts deserve a post of their own.

On Kevin’s side of the family, his brother was making pie. I was thrilled to be relieved of that duty. I don’t enjoy working with pie crusts. Just not my thang. I came up with the idea to make my husband’s favorite dessert, carrot cake (or is it apple crisp?). I wanted to do it with a twist. This Orange-Pineapple Carrot Cake from Bon Appetit looks incredible! But Kevin through a hissy fit so I went with the original.

When Kevin’s dad told us he had tons of carrots on hand, I don’t think we realized how FILTHY they would be. Kevin tackled the job of scrubbing them which he barely finished by the time I had the rest of ingredients mixed together.

I am an extremely nervous cake flipper. So much so that Kevin looked at me and said,”Shouldn’t we pray first?” So I made him since he was being all cute & sarcastic with me. The pans took a little bite of each cake, but nothing that was noticeable underneath gobs of delicious cream cheese frosting!

Our masterpiece. My sister-in-law did the honors of frosting it. I’m a nervous froster as well. Basically all I’m good for is mixing together the cake! :) And I have a keen sense of timing when things are done in the oven. I haven’t burnt a pan of Cookie Friday cookies yet! *knock on wood*

This really IS the Best Carrot Cake Ever so I’m going to add this recipe:

Birthday Carrot Cake (via The Noshery)

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 3/4 cups white sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup applesauce
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups shredded carrots
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped pecans  —> I always skip this!
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained

2 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup pecans chopped (optional, for garnish)  —> We happened to have walnuts!

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour 2 9 inch round pans.

Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Make a well in the center and add sugar, oil, apple sauce, eggs and vanilla. Mix with wooden spoon until smooth. (DO NOT USE ELECTRIC MIXER) Stir in carrots, pecans, rasins and pineapple.

Split evenly between both 9 inch pans. Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes. Don’t panic, the center will sink a little. Allow to cool.

To make the frosting: Cream the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add the confectioners sugar and beat until creamy.

I heard a rumor that certain nephew would be disappointed without some pumpkin so I did make these. Pies in cupcake tins made with packaged pie crusts? That I can handle! These were so adorable that I had to show them off to everyone! I followed the directions from Make & Takes.

My father-in-law requested “chocolate” and my mother-in-law had cheesecake on the brain so this is what I came up with. I wanted to do some smaller desserts since super rich desserts would be a tad bit overwhelming for non-McMillin appetites. I found a really simple recipe for Mini Chocolate Cheesecakes on Betty Crocker. I realized that I called them Chocolate Cheesecake BITES in the title, but I just didn’t want to use the word mini twice! ;) These were really easy and turned out famously. Mine are a little on the large side because I only had one cupcake tin handy and was too tired on Thanksgiving Eve to stay up any later just to bake another pan!

Reminder: Maintain no gain!

By the way, check out my workouts (on Daily Mile) for Thanksgiving week.

I’m really happy we didn’t miss a day even with all the baking and traveling! It was a challenge, but you can do it if you set your mind to it! You really can! Do you think I really wanted to get up at 5AM so I could workout on Tuesday before work since we had to leave for the airport? Or on Wednesday after I faceplanted in Mile 1? :) I mean, it wasn’t my best mileage of all time. And I probably ate it all back, but I thought it was a good balance for the dessert post! Haha. :)  For more on this scintillating topic, check out an article in the NY Times about Curbing Holiday Weight Gain With Exercise.

Do you prefer to bake pies or cakes? Cakes!!!!! And preferably desserts that don’t have to be taken out of the pan. I like to minimize my meltdowns. Ramekins are the answer!

How are you staying committed to your health/fitness throughout the holidays? Staying totally committed to exercise really helps. I just consider it a non-negotiable in my schedule. :)

P.S. If you missed it, I think the Running For Turkey post was one of my favorite ever!!!!!