[Yet Another] Jillian Michael’s Review

I’m a glutton for punishment.

So when I saw a 2 pack of Jillian Michael’s DVD’s at target for just $10, I couldn’t say no. I like Jillian’s dvds because they’re tough, but fast. Most of them are 45 minutes at the most, so they’re perfect when I need to squeeze in a morning workout.

I normally like to be kind of lazy on Sundays, so I decided to get in a sweat session before church. I popped in Jillian’s Shred It with Weights and waited to sweat.

The Workout:

Technically this was a kettlebell workout, but since I don’t own a kettlebell, I just used a standard hand weight. They recommend 5-8 lbs, so I used an 8lb and honestly, I think I could have done a little heavier. (To clarify, I don’t generally use heavy weights. I curl about 12lbs, if that gives you an idea.) The warm up and cool down are 2 min each and the actual “workout” is only 20 minutes, so it’s just 24 minutes total.

But how is it?

Well honestly, I think it’s the easiest of the Jillian DVDs (that I’ve tried). I think it would be good for someone who wants to ease into Jillian’s style. I worked up a sweat, but I didn’t have that “oh man I couldn’t do another minute of this” feeling at the end. It did a good job of working all my muscles, but it didn’t have as many intense cardio intervals, like her DVDs usually have. If you want to start using kettlebells, or you want a slightly easier workout, I’d recommend it. Or it could be a good workout after a short run. So I guess I liked it, but I didn’t love it.

In case you missed some of my previous Jillian reviews, check these out below:

(Note: I updated some of these past posts to make sure I was including necessary “review” things… and apparently editing posts re-publishes them. Oops. So I apologize if I blew up your reader last night.)

Are you a Jillian fan? I’ve heard good things about Bob Harpers dvds but I haven’t tried them yet…

Peanut Butter Heady Goo Balls

I can’t express how happy I am it’s Friday.

It’s not that it was a bad week, it’s just been a crazy week. And lack of sleep + non stop activity means that this girl is ready for the weekend.

I mentioned going to the Whole Foods cooking demo on Monday but what I didn’t tell you was that I think I discovered my new favorite snack.

Jesse (the chef) called them “Heady Goo Balls” which was actually a very accurate name for them, I think. You can see the original recipe on Stephanie’s blog, and while you’re over there, please wish her a happy birthday :)

So when I decided to make my own, I made a few revisions, because I was never much of a rule follower. Mine are kind of a peanut butter and chocolate version. This is what went into mine:

Peanut Butter Heady Goo Balls

  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped dates
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup wheat bran
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 package of Amazing grass (4 grams ish)
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup bee pollen
  • Shredded coconut (as much as you need for coating)

I love recipes like these because you can basically substitute until your heart is content. They sort of taste like brownies. (It’s not like, oh my gosh I just bit into a brownie, but its like a similar consistency and flavor.) AND they’re like, loaded with energy. Seriously. I ate some during my 3pm slump and it carried me all the way until dinner! I think I’m in love.

The one thing I want to point out is the bee pollen. Have you ever had it? I hadn’t, until Monday. Thankfully, Ellwood Thompson, the local natural foods store, carries it! It’s sweet, but apparently it’s really really good for you.

The recipe makes about 20 balls and each ball has about 60 calories, 2g fiber and 2g protein, plus a crap ton of vitamins. Yep, that’s how I roll.

 

 

I’m going to pack a few of these in my work bag, to replace the Fiber One bars I’ve been eating. If you just look at calorie, fiber and protein, it would end up being about the same. The difference is, these babies are allllllll natural, and packed with good-for-me ingredients. I think there’s something to be said for that, no?

That said, I think G-love and his friend were a littler weirded out when I forced them to go to Ellwood Thompson at 8:45pm because I need bee pollen. It’s ok. They don’t need to understand.

And now I’m looking forward to a nice relaxing weekend.

What’s the strangest ingredient you’ve tried in the past year?

 

What I Ate [on a Budget] Wednesday

Life has been kind of crazy lately, but when isn’t it kind of crazy?

I’ve been running from one thing to the next, including a cooking demo @ Whole Foods with Brittany and Stephanie. SO fun and  I’m glad I finally got to join them for one of the classes! We learned how to make all kinds of stuff, so I’ll have to share some of that inspiration soon.

But sometimes when life gets crazy, my budget kind of goes out the window. And even though I’m quite cheap thrifty about most things, I tend to splurge on food products. In an effort to get my spending under control, I’ve made a point of packing my lunches, and I’ve opted for smoothies in the morning (rather than my beloved Greek yogurt + pricey berries).

So here’s a budget friendly day of eating, just in time for the party!

Breakfast:

Banana + soymilk + stevia + Spreadable Peanut Butter Cup Filling and topped with Homemade Granola

Total cost? About $1

Lunch:

Lean Cuisine- On sale, for $2

I actually wasn’t a big fan of this one. I’d give it like… 2 1/2 stars (out of 5). It was really creamy and cheesy, which sounds good, but I’m actually not very in love with cheese. Weird, I know. However, it did a good job of keeping me fairly full until dinner my afternoon snack.

Afternoon Snack

Knock-off Fiber One bars from Target- On sale 2 for $4 (for a box of 6)

Yep. Nothing wrong with generic, in my opinion! If I don’t have an afternoon snack I get grumpy, tired, cranky, and I STARVING by the time I get home. No lie. It ain’t pretty.

Dinner

1/2 burger night at Home Team Grill! Which meant this whole plate of food was only like $5. (Technically free for me, since G-love bought me dinner, ;) haha) If you live in Richmond, check it out! It was my first time ordering food at Home Team. I’ll give them points for options. You could get any of the burgers made as a veggie burger, so I got the “Medeterianian” burger. Feta cheese + spinach + red onion + cucumber sauce. I actually ended up scraping off the sauce and the feta, because it just didn’t taste right with the veggie burger. It probably would have been better with guacamole… but oh well.

Night Time Snack

Soy Crisps- $2 per bag

I almost always have a snack before bed. Just being honest. So I munched on a few of these babies before going to bed. Yummm.

Total cost for the day: >$10!

Do you have a snack after dinner? If so, what do you snack on?

Spreadable Peanut Butter Cup Filling

I was planning on posting an oatmeal muffin recipe today. But let’s just say, the recipe testing didn’t go as planned, and the muffins ended up tasting the chewy cardboard. Fail. But that’s part of the trial-and-error process, no?

Luckily, I didn’t give up in the kitchen, and decided to play around with nut butter recipes.

I considered making my own version of PB&Co’s Cinnamon Raisin Swirl, but then I remembered I don’t really like raisins much.

But you know what I do like? Reese’s cups.

Specifically, that peanut-y inside.

Everyone know’s that what’s inside a peanut butter cup isn’t just peanut butter. It’s a different texture, and it’s slightly sweeter. Oh, and it’s kind of heavenly. It made me wonder why they didn’t make this in a spreadable-jar form, so that I could eat it on a sandwich and pretend that it’s healthy.

Then I spotted the box of graham crackers I picked up on an impulse, and I knew where things were going.

PB Cup Filling Spread

  • 2 cups peanuts, roasted and salted
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 full sheets of graham crackers (so 12 little graham rectangles)
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar or stevia
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast (Optional)

You’ll need a good blender or food processor for this. Start by blending the peanuts and oil until just slightly chunky. Depending on the peanuts you might need a little more or less oil. If you aren’t using salted peanuts, be sure to add salt to taste. After that’s blended, break up the graham crackers and slowly add to the blender, while running on a low speed. Add in the sugar and nutritional yeast and blend until just slightly chunky. If you recall, the center of a peanut butter cup has a gritty texture, and isn’t totally smooth. You should be left with a very spreadable butter, that tastes like the center of a PB cup!

And since the graham crackers get the credit for this one, it only seemed fair to allow them a dip in the deliciousness.

Oh, and it just so happens, it falls into the 5-ingredients-or-less recipe section on the new recipe page!

This is just more evidence against me, in G-love’s allegations that I always smell like peanut butter. #worthit

Happy Monday!

5 Ingredients or Less- Coming Your Way

Remember the time I posted that recipe with 1,489 ingredients, and 19 steps, which basically took all day to actually do?

Yeah, me either.

If you’ve read my blog for more than a week, then you know this is not the place to come for gourmet-60ingredient-18step recipes.

But I can offer you quite a few recipes that are FIVE ingredients or less.

And with only five ingredients, you know it can’t be much more than 5 steps.

Think of it as a mini-series. Coming to a blog near you. (Aka: mine.)

These will still be included on the “recipe” page, but I’m reorganizing things to make them easier to find.

That way when you have one of those “Oh my gosh people are coming over in 15 minutes and I have nothing to serve them” you can quickly grab ingredients you already have on hand, and whip up something impressive. You’re welcome.

So let’s kick things off with a recap of some of my favorite 5-ingredient or less recipes!

Nutella Muffins

Peanut Butter Cookies

Cheesy Pasta Bake

(Spices don’t count in the number of ingredients, if they’re things you’d definitely have in your kitchen. mmk?)

For other 5 ingredient or less recipes, check out the new Recipe page!

Any 5 ingredient recipes you want to share? I’d be happy to feature a “guest recipe” section on the recipe page!

The Naked Dress- Fashion Faux Pas

I don’t normally post on Thursdays, but this is being posted by popular demand.

I was tweeting yesterday about my accidentally see through dress. Yeah. Oops.

This is what I saw in the mirror before leaving the house:

But that’s not what you see when I’m walking and the light is behind me.

What you’d see is something like this:

Yep. It was the perfect outfit for my presentation yesterday. *sigh*

Don’t worry. I strategically positioned myself on the dimly lit side of the room, and stood with my legs together.

Story of my life. Don’t expect many fashion posts from me anytime soon…

What’s your worst fashion disaster?

What I Was [Convinced] to Eat Wednesday

If you follow me on twitter, then maybe you saw my tweet about this.

(What? You don’t follow me on twitter? Really? Then click here and do it.)

My dinner Monday night was actually kind of funny. After a 3 hour Monk marathon on Netflix, the man-friend was hungry, and suggested we go to Subway. I’m totally cool with Subway. That’s in my “I-can-eat-this-and-not-hate-myself” category. But then on our way he suggests we also get milkshakes. I whined something like “ohh I had Mexican food for lunch, I shouldn’t have a milkshake with dinner.”

He says:

“You’re perfectly healthy! You’re acting like you need to lose weight. Stop it and eat a milkshake with me.”

Point taken. What’s so bad about relaxing and eating a freakin milkshake?

Nothing. And yes, we got fries with that.

Anyways, since that wasn’t all I ate, lets jump into the link party! Thanks Jenn!

So this is what the rest of the day looked like!

Breakfast:

I decided to switch it up a little and try Kashi Cinnamon cereal

Have you had this stuff yet? It’s pretty good. I love Fiber One, but I wanted something with a little extra protein. So I tried not to let the higher-than-usual calorie count throw me off. I like it. It’s super crunchy, and a little sweet. Ok, a lot sweet. But that’s how I like it.

Lunch:

Since I had Monday off, I went out to lunch at Plaza Azteca with my name-twin Liz. (Love you, Liz!) She’s gluten-free, so we usually go for Mexican, since there are lots of options for both of us.

I had a MASSIVE dish of vegetarian fajitas. So much so, that I had leftovers for lunch on Tuesday. Holy yum. I love me a plate of veggies. I didn’t use the tortillas, but I did end up using the beans and rice.

But since I’m like the worst-food-blogger-ever. I didn’t take a picture. I don’t even really have a picture that looks close.

This is the best I’ve got.

Sorry. But that ^^ is also super delicious. Click here for the recipe.

Dinner:

Well, you saw the milkshake. But I also ate a veggie sub, courtesy of the Subway sandwich artist.

Veggies + sweet onion sauce = amazing.

And that, is what I ate on Monday. I wish I could have shown you yesterday’s dinner too. I went to a Japanese steakhouse for work. I desperately wanted to take pictures, but… it wasn’t the best scenario to play food paparazzi.

What’s your favorite thing to eat when you “let go” of your eating habits?

Product Reviews from Lolihop!

So the weekend literally flew by. I don’t think I opened my computer at all. That’s how busy it was.

I actually have lots from the weekend I want to blog about, but I haven’t had time to write up a post. So details to come. But for now, I have finally completed my Lolihop review! I wanted to actually eat everything before reviewing, and since I know it’s really UN-helpful when people are like “ohhh it was all just SO good” I decided to split up the box of my favorite and least favorites. So the least favorites weren’t necessarily bad… just not as good as the favorites. Make sense? Cool.

The wonderful folks at Lolihop offered to send me a box of treats to review, and since I’m not one to turn down free packages, I said yes ;)

First of all, if you haven’t heard of Lolihop, they’re a subscription company that sends you a box of treats every month! It’s pretty cool, especially because you get to try all kinds of products you wouldn’t normally pick from the shelves! So here is a massive product review round up.

Top Favorites:

Popcorners- These were like popcorn meets soycrisps. The kettle flavor was lightly sweet, slightly salty, and perfectly crunchy. I’d seen these at the store, but never tried them. For 140 calories, they were very satisfying!

Gnu Fiber Bars- I’d tried these before but not the banana nut flavor. The chewy 140 calorie bar backs in a TON of fiber, so it was a great afternoon snack, because it left me full and energized.

Somersaults- I’m not sure what I thought these would be. But they were delicious! They’re really crunchy nut clusters. They had a strong sunflower seed flavor which I really enjoyed. They were delicious!

KIND Bar- At first I wasn’t too excited about this bar. It was 180 calories, and didn’t have as much fiber or protein as the Fiber bar. But it was delicious, and there is something to be said for a bar that is literally JUST fruit and nuts. If you’re into all-natural bars, this one is for you!

Food Should Taste Good Blue Corn Chips- These were delicious! I’ve had the Lime chips before but not these. They’re all natural and delicious. Better than a standard chip, although these are pretty pricy.

Least Favorites

Just to be clear, it’s not that these weren’t good, but they weren’t my favorite.

Organic Antioxidant Granola Bar- Unimpressive name, unimpressive packages, and, oh yeah, unimpressive product. It was fine, but I wouldn’t buy it again. Just nothing exciting.

Dried cherries- I’d never had dried cherries and I’d say they’re just not for me. Nothing wrong with them, again, just not what I was looking for.

Ground flaxseed- Nothing wrong with the flaxseed, but it didn’t give the nutritional info for the serving sized provided. Annoying.

Larabars- I already went off on a rant about these. Don’t worry, Larabar-lovers, we can still be friends. If you need extra calories in your diet, grab some of these. Otherwise, I think they’re too dang tiny and unsatisfying for me.

Have you tried any of these products? Any new favorites you’ve discovered?

Guest Post from the “Cleansing” BFF

Hey friends! I’m so excited about this post! My bff, Alexa, offered to write me a guest post about her journey to healthy-things, and most recently her cleanse. (Remember those cleanse approved recipes I blogged about? That was for Alexa!)

Me & Alexa, the BFF

So enjoy :

Hello Vegetables, This is Liz’s BFF from the heart of America! You may also know me as “the weird friend who requested the “cleanse approved” post the other day… Yep, I’m that girl. It’s ok though. I’m good with that!

So I started doing this cleanse diet… and… Well… Now I’m… not.

It’s not that I fell off the wagon so much as… jumped off when no one else was looking.

Now you get that judgey look off your face (wether it be a pro-cleanse or… not pro… cleanse look) I did this program last January, and would definitely recommend it to anyone with some bad habits they want to break, and some extra pounds they’ve been “hanging out” with… I’m talking about the type of “extra weight” that likes to tell you “your butt looks big and floppy in your favorite jeans, soooo you should probably stick with those more comfortable sweat pants… and a sweatshirt… and… maybe a bag over your head…”

The Standard Process® Cleanse guidelines are this:

Eat fruits and veggies (1:2), drink LOTS of water, steer clear of: Dairy, Gluten, Added Sugar, and really… anything processed for 3 weeks. All while following “the plan”.

Also, take about 30 supplement a day.

See? This is an actual thing… not one of those “I read about it on the interwebs, and now I’m an expert nutrional-dieticianarian… things… Like when I wanted to do Beyonce’s Spicy Lemonade diet… Liz was probably right in telling me not to do that one.

There’s more to it than just this, but you get the idea.

So why didn’t I do the whole thing this time? (I lasted almost a week, ok!??!!)

Last year I was seeing a significant amount of weight that I wanted to break-up with… and never… ever… see again.

I did this cleanse, all the way through, start to finish. Checked EVERY label… Didn’t eat anything I wasn’t sure about… And it sucked.

But! I DID IT. And I lost 15 lbs, and I gained some seriously healthy eating habits.

Now, I realize this isn’t the only way to teach yourself how to be healthy… but if you ask Liz (or just take a quick peek at my dating history) You’ll see that I like difficult things. I like a challenge. And I especially like it when people tell me “there’s a better way to do what you’re doing”… and then continue to do it my way………….. It’s all part of my charm.

I didn’t go 3 full weeks this time because I found something else that works better for me.

C.O.U.N.T.I.N.G. C.A.L.O.R.I.E.S.

It’s like a game I play with myself! Similar to tetris, but with more rewarding results.

Here is me last January:

Here is me now, in the same pair of jeans:

Git’R'Done.

Blah, blah, blah… here is a recipe I like.

Spicy Sweet Potato Cakes

I skipped the butter and the oil… mostly because I forgot… but they don’t even need that stuff! Maybe a little cooking spray… So they don’t stick to the tray…

Tadaaa! Next time I’m gonna cut them like fries instead of cakes… Just to be different.

I hope you all enjoyed a little guest blogging there ;) Alexa is seriously one of the coolest people ever, and she should totally come visit me more often ;) I think I might also ask her to do a blog post on her famous Potato Soup because it’s THE BEST. 

Happy Friday!

What I Ate Wednesday- Breakfast Edition

Don’t worry, I’ll still follow the rules.

I’m not just going to show you a weeks worth of breakfast or something. That would be really really boring, since I basically rotate the same 2-3 things for breakfast. But it just so happens that almost everything I ate yesterday could be considered a breakfast food. Weird, no? But I love breakfast, so that shouldn’t be terribly surprising.

Breakfast: (The Real One):

I’ve been eating a bowl of Fiber One Honey Clusters in the morning. I realized it comes from a package and blah blah blah but it’s been keeping me more full and satisfied than my regular morning smoothies. Not that my smoothies are out of the rotation for good, but I like that Fiber One is doing it’s job.

Morning Snack:

I forgot one. Which was sad and my stomach was grumbling all the way to lunch. Even worse, I went to the gym during lunch so I didn’t get to eat until almost 1pm. I was about to get grouchy.

Lunch (Breakfast number 2):

Since I didn’t have yogurt for breakfast, I decided to have yogurt for lunch. A container of yogurt with an insane amount of frozen berries is kind of my favorite thing. (Forgive the recycled picture. I don’t have fun bowls like this one at work.)

Afternoon snack:

Ok so I guess this isn’t just a breakfast food, but I’ve been known to slather on some nut butter and call it that.

[Breakfast for] Dinner:

Remember the girls I made dinner for last week? Well we decided to do breakfast for dinner this week.

Yumm. It was so good. I was looking for a hash brown recipe and Debbie from Accidentally Delish sent me this one.  I loved the idea of something southwestern but I ended up not really following the recipe. This is what I ended up using:

Southwestern Hash Browns

  • 3/4 of a large sweet onion
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 cups shredded potatoes (I used frozen!)
  • 1 cup black beans
  • 1 cup sweet corn
  • 1/3 cup shredded cheddar
  • Garlic pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Salt

I diced up the onion and sautéed it in the vegetable oil and spices until it was soft, then stirred in the potatoes and cooked until they were lightly brown (and not frozen…) and then added in the black beans and corn and let sit for 10 minutes covered, on low heat. Then I topped with cheese and stirred right before serving. It actually came out pretty tasty! I think it would have been really good topped with some salsa… mmm…