Monday, January 28, 2019

Powerhouse Waffles YES PLEASE!

I love a nice 'brunch' on a Sunday morning -  there is something about the weekend and being able to have the time for a nice big breakfast as it often needs to to tied me over until dinner time cause life gets busy on weekends and lunch often slips past on me. So these protien packed Powerhouse Waffles are JUST the thing!

If you have not already caught on to the awesomeness that is Greek Yogurt I highly recommend trying it out - unlike traditionally made yogurts Greek Yogurt is packed high with protien and if you choose the plain it is very low sugar/carbs which makes it a nice powerhouse option when balancing your plate! I use it as both a yogurt AND as a lower calorie sour cream replacement in my recipes - it is perfect. For a yogurt option it  does need to have a little flavor added to it otherwise it definitely tastes more like sour cream than yogurt we are used to!

My favorite brand is the Oikos Triple Zero because it has on added sugar, fat or preservatives so is a nice clean option and it is one that does not seem to aggravate my psoriasis since it is a 'dairy' product.

  • 2 1/2 cups of quick oats or gluten-free oats
  • 2 scoops of protien powder of choice - I like either Wegmans brand Protein powder or from Amazon Collagen Peptides 
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2/3 cup of egg whites
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp  vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 425° F (220° C). Place a lightly oiled Waffle Mold on a sheet pan - I love my waffle mould it is so quick and easy to make many waffles all at once - I got it  from Epicure
  2. Place oats in a food processor and blend to the consistency of flour - I love my Blendtec blender for quickly turning oats or almond or cocount into flour for me!
  3. Add to bowl and combine with protein blend, cinnamon, and baking powder.
  4. Mix wet ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix with dry ingredients until just combined.  
  5. Pour approximately 1/3 cup of batter into each mold, filling all corners. I gently bang the waffle mold on the pan to help flatten evenly over the mold.
  6. Bake 12–15 minutes, or until golden. 
  7. When cool to the touch, flip mold over a platter and gently remove waffles. 
  8. Repeat steps 5–7 with remaining batter.

These Powerhouse waffles freeze AMAZINGLY! I love to batch cook them and than freeze 2 at a time in Ziploc baggies and can quickly pull out from freezer pop into the toaster and toast them up for quick breakfast during the week too! 

You can serve them with traditional maple syrup and whipped cream and icing sugar for that true 'Sunday Brunch waffle treat' but now that I am clean eating I prefer to opt for even healthier low calorie choices  - so I forgo the maple syrup and whip cream and love to serve mine with an Epicure Sweet Dip  and Plain Greek Yogurt mix and fresh berries!
In this photo I have made up a Chocolate Truffle Sweet Dip and topped with Cocoa Crunch Whole Food Topper and than a half a cup of strawberries and blueberries. The chocolate truffle sweet dip is awesome as it is sweetened with natural sugars and gives the meal a 'chocolate whipped cream' flare! The Epicure Whole Food topppers are a great addition as they add 2 g fibre per serving & omega-3 fatty acids so great to add breakfast & desserts for that little pop of nutritional boost.

For those who like a breakdown of calories and macros for a balanced breakfast

If you get a chance to try a recipe please leave me a comment on the blog with your own review! 

Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much
Be Totallyawake4-life

Friday, January 25, 2019

Comparison is the Thief of Joy

I  love this quote! It is weigh in week this week in the Epic Life Challenge and many of the amazing support community is posting their successes which of course makes it harder for the ole brain not to try to 'compare' how much more someone might have lost or accomplished in the past two weeks than I may have ... but I cannot and should not compare my journey to theirs.

We may be doing the same challenge but we are not the same people - we might be starting at a different journey than others, our bodies are different, our whys are different, our over goals are likely different!

A success on my scale is not negated because someone else comes around and had a 'bigger' success on theirs!

We need to refrain from the 'I only lost X pounds' or the "I only got to the gym 3 times this week' that is the stinking thinking of the brain and focus on the I LOST X pounds and I pushed my body 3 times this week at the gym! They are positive movements in the direction we want to go and we should celebrate that!

We've got this! Focus on the positive of where you are going and what you want and you will get there!

Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much
Be Totallyawake4-life

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Embossing with a Twist Class

Love this card technique from our January Card class might! 
It really adds a nice texture to your paper crafting project! 

We created the Reference card practice sample using the Love You To Pieces stamp set and coordinating die bundle! Rich Razzleberry and black are such a striking color combo!

For the first card we used the dies from Lift Me Up bundle using the Up Up and Away Thinlits to create a lovely monochrome white on white with a black accent and sentiment.

For the final project of the class we showcased the Painted Glass bundle dies with the My Story sentiments from Saleabration  and the Taylored punch.

Card classes currently occur the last Thursday of the month. They are great for new and experienced cardmakers alike. Each month we try a new technique or product out and you get to make a sample reference card to have directions to make more at home if you like and than we make two projects featuring the technique or product. For the avid papercrafter you can create for free with a $35 order  of Stampin Up product the night of class to help build your collection  OR if you are just wanting to try paper crafting out or have a good size stash and are just wanting inspiration you can create with cash and carry for $10 cash.

Have an amazing day!

Live Well, Laugh Much, Love Often
Be Totallyawake4-life

Monday, January 14, 2019

Doritos Inspired Zuchinni Chips

Doritos inspired Zucchini Chips 

The key to a good zucchini chip is getting that thinly sliced uniform 'chip'. Which is why I love having a good mandoline for making home cooking quick - back in 2000 I used to sell Pampered Chef and I LOVE their mandoline!  

I have this baby for 18 years and use it regularly for all sorts of vegetables and it is STILL going strong.

A good mandoline is well worth the investment of going with a company whose products stand the test of time and have amazing guarantees on them is defintiely key to return on that investment! This baby has more than paid for itself in saved time!
I sliced my zucchini x2 in the thinnest setting and than laid out and patted dry on paper-towel - it made a couple layers which I left  to dry for about an hour while I was prepping other stuff and doing some chores.

Making sure that you pull out as much water as possible helps to ensure a 'crispier' chip when you are done. Some recipes I have seen online suggest adding salt to help with this process however I eat a low sodium diet so do not like to add salt to my own cooking and had the time to let them do it at their own pace. 
 Once they’d had some of water pulled out in the towel than you place in bowl and mix with 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp creamy ranch dressing, 1 tbsp spicy oregano and chilies and salt and pepper to taste - I did 1 turn salt and 3 pepper with the grinder.

Now if you've read my blog before you know my go to spices are Epicure because as I mentioned I like to cook low sodium and their products are MSG free and low sodium which is ideal for our lifestyle! 

This flavor combo of spices truly gives a nice Spicy Doritos flare but in all honesty you can use ANY spice palette for your chips here - BBQ is tasty as Dill whatever your favorite chip is you can find a spice option to add here!
 Mix up well in bowl  to ensure that your chips are evenly seasoned than lay flat on the cookie tray. I love to bake with Epicure silicone baking insert because environmentally friendly as it is non stick and washable.

Parchment paper will also work if you don’t have the baking liner - but seriously I cannot recommend it enough for all your baking and cookie needs.  It is another investment that will save you money in the long run from buying parchment paper and since it is reusable it is better for environment!

Bake 20 minutes at 350 F and than turn down 200 F and continue to bake 45 minutes - flip each one over and put back in for 30 minutes than remove if desired crispiness or return and check every 10 minutes until they are.

Keep a really close eye on them at the end because one minute they can see too wiggly and the next they can move towards burning! 

This is my first batch I ever made and I made that mistake of just giving them one more minute and than got side tracked and they got a little over done - they still tasted awesome but they were like those 'dark chips' you find in your store bought bag that some people love and other people are like um NO! 

If you give the recipe a try I would love to hear your feedback in the comment section! 


Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much
Be Totallyawake4-life 




Monday, January 7, 2019

Epic Life - Good Food Real Results

So - life got busy and my wagon derailed over the past year or so - stress, injury, anxiety an array of excuses that resulted in my slipping into poor eating habits, poor health habits and slipping into a state where I did not have the mental health to be creative or put myself first at all. As a result I have let my blogging fall on the back burner however 2019 is a brand new year and I have begun to pull myself out of the fog of anxiety and depression and back to making myself and my health a priority again! 

 In September I took one small step towards moving back into the light and pushed myself to participate in a #90daychallenge through my good friend Lisa with her  Epicure business - it was an amazing experience at not getting me back on track with clean eating and moving more but to begin to restore my mental health as well!

The program is VERY simply which I love - a focus on clean eating with attention to a balanced plate and 3 balanced meals a day with a 'dessert' option in the evening meal .... I love this way of eating it is something that is backed with loads of science, research and supported by Canada's food guide and unlike other plans such as Atkins or Keto you do not hear the same alarming warnings on the news about the long term effects of balanced cleaning eating on your liver or kidneys and so forth. Unless required for medical reasons no 'food group' is proposed to be omitted in the Good Food Real Results program - just a focus on the balance and proper portion sizes of the foods you eat. So while I am still eating gluten free myself and many days still lean towards grain free eating due to insulin response from grains - there is room in the plan for accommodating a craving for pasta or bread and still seeing amazing results!

To be sustainable a lifestyle change needs to be maintainable and a commitment to being 'totally' grain free for myself was not something I was able to sustain long term because when I succumb to eating something I felt I 'should not' have I felt guilty and a failure and this led to additional self sabotage of my health  goals! With the Epic Life Good Food Real Results plan I am feeling I can balance a wide variety of foods that fuel and sustain me while seeing amazing results!

Another component of the program is the important role of 'planning' .... you create a written 90 day challenge statement of where you plan to be. The statement is written from the perspective of the 90 days have past and what is your life like - so you can envision your outcome as you move through the 90 days! It is wonderful inspiration to have a vision statement and board to reflect on!  You also plan for your WOOP moments of wish, outcome, obstacles, plan using the 'if and then statement's .... this is great for self reflection of knowing in the past what caused me to derail my success and to plan for those obstacles so that I will better succeed this time around!  And most importantly - you MEAL plan and prep to help make success easier! The plan provides 'sample menus' for the first 4 weeks to help those who need inspiration but also has the flexibility of build your own plan with foods and LOADS of amazing recipes on the Epicure website. Just search 'balanced plate' for ideas!  Having a plan for what you will be eating helps you to stay on task and goal as well as prepping easy to grab healthy foods prevents you from grabbing easy junk type foods!

The other component is keeping a gratitude and food, sleep, exercise journal.  Journal writing is something I have always seen a lot of value in - I know from life experience that writing things out - either formally or informally - has so many amazing benefits for the brain and your mental health and yet often it is the first thing I let 'lapse' when things get busy and this has consistently seen me slip back into states of higher anxiety and depression. Hopefully getting back into this amazing habit is the 'third millionth' time is a charm for me to remember to KEEP AT IT!  In addition to the gratitude journal I also love using the My Fitness Pal app to food journal and track exercise with ... it is really great visual for ensuring that while balancing your plate you also keep your caloric intake 'less' than you need for weight loss goals because lets face it not all food is created equally when it comes to calories - half a cup of broccoli has different caloric intake than 1/2 cup of corn so plate might be balanced but the calories are not!
The last component is accountability - taking measurements, weighing in and photos to help to track your progress and reporting them to both your accountability partner and for the 'challenge' via a private portal to be eligible for prizes! 

The program suggestions weighing in and doing measurements and progress photos every two weeks - I LOVE this because the reality is that the SCALE is not always my friend! My body tends to hold onto weight so I can be eating really well, moving my body lots at the gym and the scale will not budge for days on end - weighing myself or measuring too often during these times can lead to disheartening and self sabotage so 'trusting' the program and waiting for the bi-weekly measuring and photos really helped me to not get stuck in that mindset!   

The last challenge which ran from September 10th to December 4th I was able to release 30 pounds and 24 inches total throughout my chest, waist, hips, biceps and thighs ... an amazing result that I am very proud of!

Another challenge is starting TODAY and I am excited to see what the next 90 days will bring me!

If you would like to join me on the Epic Life Good Food Real Results Challenge more info about joining can be found here!

Have an amazing day!

Life Well, Laugh Often, Love Much!  

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Putting the Wheels back on my Wagon

 Change is HARD!

Special milestones like the start of a New Year is a time for honest reflections for most - myself included! The last couple years have been rough for me and on my birthday in August, another milestone passage where I tend to feel extra reflective, I realized I was not headed where I wanted to be and with my 50th birthday approaching next year I really needed to work harder at maintaining my health and wellness and stop putting myself 'last' in my life! 

The challenge of adapting healthier lifestyle habits when you've spent decades ignoring your health or letting poor health rule you is that CHANGE IS HARD and what we know and have known all our lives is EASIER to maintain than the hard work of change!

As a result even when you think you have got this it is very easy to slowly slip back into the bad habits that resulted in being overweight in the first place .... to let your hard earned 'change' slip away like there is a hole in your pocket so to speak! 

Back in 2016 I thought I had created a SMART wagon going here with my blog and lifestyle change goals .... I had set sustainable goals, I had measurable and attainable goals, I had a method of reflection built into my goals with the blog and I was confident when I started my  journey  of change 3 years ago that in time I would get where I was going.
I was doing amazing reaching those goals, my weight was coming off consistently and I was feeling amazing energy and momentum so much confidence and then slowly one small thoughtless, often subconscious, action at a time I stopped maintaining my wagon and the wheels just completely fell off and I started sliding back down the hill and with those choices my health and wellness slipped right back to struggling with both my overwhelming anxiety leaving me just so tired that my goal became making it through the day any way possible! 

So the reality is that even if your wagon is SMART if you yourself sabotage it, either subconsciously or consciously, it will not get you where you are going! So this time around I am changing the A in my anagram to being ACCOUNTABLE .... you need to hold yourself accountable to your goals and doing the maintenance to your wagon and ideally surround yourself with others who know your goals and will help to hold you accountable. People who will check in and who will, if necessary, kick you in the pants if you start to backslide on your goals!

So how did I so thoughtlessly derail my wagon in 2017?

Small Thoughtless Action #1 - Journal Justification

Using the justification excuse of 'I am so busy right now and I know what I am eating I do not have time to journal it I have it all in my head'. Life got busy - well busy in my head at least on reflecting I am not sure it was truly busy in that I did not have the actual 'time' but rather that my 'mind was so busy worrying about stuff' that I was loosing the 'energy' so to speak!. Which is an important distinction when reflecting about is one actually 'being too busy' or is one 'making one self FEEL busy when in reality one is doing nothing productive at all!

Cognitively I KNOW the importance of a written journal - I really do. I have mentored and counseled others on journal keeping. Writing a journal when done consistently and with honesty is a form of 'accountability' to yourself - with a food journal for example seeing in writing everything you put in your mouth makes you accountable to those choices - it is so much easier to subconsciously put crap in there if you can live in self denial of doing it - seeing it in writing though not so easy. Same goes with seeing your daily, weekly or monthly goals in writing and holding yourself accountable to working towards them - easy to 'ignore' them when they are in your mind! A written journal lets you see your successes right there in writing when they happened so you cannot later 'deny' them with your anxiety riddled stinking thinking if you suffer from that like I do and so forth trying to tell you you are failure and never accomplish anything so why bother trying. 

The importance of journal writing has so many benefits to health, wellness and positive mindfulness and yet it is often the first thing I self sabotage when life gets 'busy' on me! My blog included - creating this was supposed to be my biggest 'public accountability' to myself and I even let that slide! Something I am setting a goal to rectify this year with working on finding a better 'flow' for content and committing to updating it so bare with me!   

Small Thoughtless Action #2 - Bailing on Breakfast

I have never been a 'breakfast' eater. When I wake up in the morning I am often feeling nauseous which puts off wanting to eat plus I take thyroid medication that requires one hour before meal intake or two hours after and well it is always easiest for me to choose to do it the one hour before so I take it in the morning. Well than life gets busy and as a result unless I force myself to remember by either prepping it BEFORE life gets busy or setting alarms to remind me I will forget to have anything until I am feeling so low blood sugared that I will grab a 'poor choice' like a bunch of gluten free crackers or cookies or chips on the go - which further destabilizes my blood sugar and sends my body into craving more poor choices at the next meal! Again things I cognitively KNOW but yet let me self slip into doing! And when you make a poor choice with breakfast it becomes easier to make poor choices with other meals and before you know it your in denial that you just ate a bag of Doritos with salsa and sour cream and called it 'a balanced breakfast' cause you know it technically had a grain, protien and veggies! It also had 1200 calories and likely 4000mg of sodium but hey it was just this once - until it wasn't! 

Small Thoughtless Action #3 - Vetoed My Vitamins!

I have always struggled with a weak gag reflex since childhood - it makes swallowing pills a challenge for me which in turn makes it 'easy' to subconsciously 'forget' to take them because well when we do not like doing something we tend to find easy excuses NOT to even when we know that it is good for us!

So I am supposed to break my vitamins up into a few at each meal over course of day for best absorption in my body. Each evening before bed I would set up my little pill container with next days intake broken into containers for each of the 3 meals. So the morning would come I would 'forget' to take them with breakfast and than I would start with stinking thinking in my silly noodle of 'well you missed a meal so not point taking the other two meals today cause than this day will be off in the measurements I will start again tomorrow" and I would not take the other two meals that day. Well than that grew into stinking thinking of well you missed 2 days this week whats the point plus you are eating healthy and getting better variety of vitamins from diet so you do not need them as bad its ok we will start fresh with our goal of regularly taking these NEXT week' than it was well you missed two weeks this month we will start fresh 'next month' and than well they sat in the cupboard slowly expiring eventually out of sight out of mind!

Challenge is that while for many people a clean eating diet should be enough vitamins for them my body NEEDS vitamins to help with my anxiety (being low in vitamin B for example is common cause of heightened anxiety) as well as with my pain and auto immune challenges I need extra Vitamin D and Calcium and Magnesium cause my body does not absorb these same as others and so when I stop taking them all those issues start to battle with my body and my brain making it hard to make those 'harder choices of change'.

Disclaimer that while they are vital to my own health and wellness not everyone NEEDS to take vitamins - my suggest, like in anything health related, before beginning taking vitamins go see your DR and ask them to do a nutritional panel blood work - see what your body is LOW in and only take those vitamins you need cause otherwise you end up with really expensive urine!

Small Thoughtless Action #4 - Postponing due to Pain

Quote from here
All the research out there says that huge part of a healthy lifestyle is making sure you are 'moving more' and I know that this is true for me - being active and getting out and about around the right energy filled people 'recharges' me in so many ways and yet I allowed a combination of the stinking thinking of my anxiety and the chronic pain that I live with due past injuries that never healed well and auto immune disease challenges to, like the vitamins, slowly stop doing ANYTHING extra in regards to moving more than I had to over the past two years and slowly greatly reduced even bothering to go out to do things for 'fun' either finding excuses to cancel or postpone whenever possible ... basically my anxiety had once again turned me into a virtual shut in and because i had no other distractions my chronic pain was all I could feel and think about and it consumed me .... I put on a smile and faked it for work but come 5pm I was done and hide on the couch or in bed until next morning when I would get up and do my best to fake it until 5pm again. I would tell myself I was 'too busy' and did not have 'time' to do any of the things I used to love or that I will just rest today cause my pain is so high I will get to that tomorrow ... and well tomorrow turned into two years of unproductive phoning it in on my life as I slowly withdrew from all the things I used to love and enjoy.

Needless to say with my wagon wheels deraield my health and wellness journey was stalled! So on my last birthday I started working towards fixing my wheels and righting me wagon!

I went back to my Dr for a physical (turned out I had not been in over 5 years) and got new blood panel and adjustments to both my meds and suggested vitamin supplements. In September I joined the Epic Life Challenge for round 1 and am about to start round 2 next week! I have been back at the gym at least 3 times a week. I have started signing up for regular 'social engagements' outside the home and am not using anxiety related excuses to not go and I am restarting my blog!

Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much
Be Totallyawake4-life