High Protein Cheesecake

 

Regardless of how hard I try, I am a dessert girl. One of my biggest challenges in my striving to eat healthy, is to curb my cravings for dessert. I am sure that most of you ladies know what that is like! Especially around “that” time of the month. So, whenever I find a recipe which makes dessert a semi-healthy choice, I am all in! 🙂

When reading “The New Rules of Lifting for Women”, one of the things I loved about the nutrition plans is they acknowledge that the majority of women are hard-wired to want/crave dessert! The meal plan even factors in dessert! Yaaa-hoo! That was one of the selling points for me {tee hee}.

One of the recipes in the book is high protein cheesecake. I was immediately curious! Especially since the cheesecake does not have a crust. I wondered how it would stay together when you served it? But I did love the fact that it had added protein aside from the protein found in the ricotta cheese and eggs. So, the other day I gave it a whirl and baked some up!

Verdict? Pleasantly surprised!! Of course, it isn’t the same as “real” cheesecake. The texture isn’t as creamy as real cheesecake, but that also makes up for the lack on crust on the bottom. It doesn’t dish up very easily since there isn’t a crust. But if it satisfies a dessert craving, does it really matter how pretty it looks?! The flavor is delicious, and when topped with fresh fruit, like blueberries, it is a special {and healthy!} treat!!

Tip: Be careful to not over cook. The recipe says to bake between 30 and 40 minutes. I chose to bake for 35, and forgot to check it around 30 minutes. Result? The outside got a little done. It was still good, but the center was creamier!

Cheesecake with fresh blueberries?! Yes please!

High Protein Cheesecake

Serves 8; approximately 190 calories per serving.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 2 medium eggs {I used large and it turned out fine}
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1/2 cup vanilla whey-protein powder {I recommend Optimum Nutrition, Vanilla Ice Cream}
  • 1/4 cup granulated stevia
  • Grated rind and juice of 1 fresh lemon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9-inch pie pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Put all ingredients in blender, and process until very smooth.
  3. Pour mixture into prepared pan.
  4. Place pan on the top rack of oven and place a flat pan of water on bottom rack. Bake 30 to 40 minutes. {Center will still jiggle slightly}. Allow to cool to room temperature on a cooling rack. Chill well prior to serving.

Source & Recipe: slightly adapted from The New Rules of Lifting for Women.

 

If you give this recipe a try, let me know what you think! Ciao!

 

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A new fitness plan and outlook!

It seems so easy to fall into a rut in your workout routine. Especially if you have been lifting for the better half of your life. That is where my husband was not too long ago. He was looking for a way to switch up his routine, and shock his muscles! He recently bought a book called The New Rules of Lifting. As soon as he started reading it, he was absolutely engrossed in what the author had to say. He read the book in nearly 2 days! He was so excited about everything this plan included, and I wasn’t really interested until a section came up about the difference in metabolisms between men and women. I admit though, I was skeptical. I wasn’t so sure about it. Then, we realized there was a version written specifically for women! So I immediately ordered the book, and when it arrived, I took was taken aback and also read the book quickly, in about 3 days!

I love the subtitle… “Lift like a man, look like a goddess”! Yeahhhhh… Talk about girl power! 🙂 Whoop!

What I liked most about this fitness plan is although the fundamentals are the same between the plan for men and women, there are still variations which recognize the difference between us. The author, Lou Schuler believes that women belong in the weight room, not using the pretty colored, “Barbie Barbells” {as he refers to them}, but using the same equipment {not machines!} that men use. He also believes that lifting muscle groups in isolation {i.e. having specific days for specific muscles, like ‘leg day’, ‘back and biceps day’, etc.}, is an inefficient way to increase strength and build muscle. Rather, he believes lifting should replicate typical movement types that your body goes through on a daily basis.

The fitness plans are what I was most skeptical about at first. I agreed with his theory, that you should increase your strength in order to build more muscle, and you should do so in a way that your body normally moves. But, before we read this book, we were working out 5-6 days a week! We spent 2 hours in the gym on the weekends. It was something that had become a huge portion of our lives. But Lou and Alwyn {Cosgrove, he wrote the fitness plans} only want me working out THREE DAYS A WEEK?! Say what?  This entire book made me second guess how I have been working out and lifting for my entire life. For instance, if you are trying to gain muscle, endurance training is contrary to the goals you are trying to achieve. Wait, I don’t have to spend 45 minutes on the treadmill anymore?! Lou and Alwyn integrate interval training versus long amounts of time on cardio machines. This is not only a fitness plan, but integrates nutrition and meals that are actually tasty and do-able, and include dessert! I could ramble on, and on about it, but I can’t explain it as well or as humorously as Lou. Buy it… do it!

Now, more about the workouts…

This program is approximately 6 months long with varying workouts. The workouts are broken down into 7 stages. Each stage has an A and B workout, which you do for multiple weeks. I am on Stage 1, and completed my second workout yesterday. Let me just preface by saying I have been working out intensely for the past 6 weeks since we started our new health kick. That being said, these two workouts {A and B} have kicked… my… butt {and ham strings, shoulders, abs, etc., etc.}!  Seriously. Obviously it is too soon in the program to tell whether I am seeing gains in muscle tone. But I think the immense amounts of soreness are a great sign!

Cliff’s note version/ultimate favorite things about this program:

1. Focus on strength, and efficiency and recovery time.

2. Well though out, efficient workouts {in and out of the gym in under an hour and I am sweaty!}.

3. Nutrition focused on feeding your body what it needs to compliment the workout and energy expenditure.

4. Written and built especially for women!!

I am already feeling stronger, and successful. Following this plan I am not hungry and feel satisfied. I am more excited than ever and actually feel as though my goals are attainable and I am going to be strong and still look fit and toned!

Now, for an entirely cheesy, yet accurate picture which captures my utter excitement for this new program…

And if that wasn’t enough… here is a goofy, cheesy, duck face picture I took when testing out the lifting for my very cool mirror pictures! 🙂

Question: What are you super excited about right now? What is your fitness motivation?

I can’t wait to read your answers!

Psst… by the way, if you haven’t liked my official Facebook page, do it {See that handy little Facebook box to the right?}! I have been posting fun and inspiring things nearly daily. Be sure to like the page to get all of the updates that are not available on the blog.

Ciao!

Chocolate Espresso Protein Shake

Raise your hand if you are addicted to Pinterest!

:Raises both hands:

I recently tried a coffee protein shake recipe off of Pinterest. I had envisioned it to be granita-esque {thicker than a frappe, with kind of chunky ice pieces… I love ’em}. However, it was a mess! It was thin and made entirely too much shake, which was flavorless because the protein powder was so watered down. So, I restructured the recipe to taste better and be thicker!

Chocolate Espresso Protein Shake

Ingredients:

  • 1-1 1/2 cups Ice
  • 1 tsp Instant espresso or coffee granules
  • 1 cup of Milk of choice {I used non-fat, some people prefer almond, etc.}
  • 1 rounded scoop of Chocolate protein of choice
  • Sweetener, such as Splenda or stevia if desired

Directions:

  1. Fill blender with ice to approximately the 18 oz. line. {More or less depending on how thick you want it}
  2. Dissolve 1 tsp of espresso or coffee granules in 2-3 tsp of warm/hot water.
  3. Add milk, dissolved espresso and 1 scoop of protein. {If you want it sweeter, add sweetener at this point}.
  4. Blend until ice is crushed! And ingredients are mixed.

Disclaimer: This is not intended to be a treat or sweet shake! It will not taste like a mocha frappe. Protein shakes are just that, for protein. This is just a fun way to incorporate your morning coffee fix into your protein! 🙂

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Hope y’all have a great weekend!

Friday Favorite and Key Lime Pie!

Friday Favorite: Muffin Topless! 

I love surfing Pinterest and the internet for motivation and inspiration to keep moving toward my fitness and health goals. Recently I ran across an amazing blog, and it is chock full of everything! Inspirational pictures, motivating quotes, recipes, music playlists, etc!! The best part? She is a real person who came to the realization that she needed to live her life in a more healthy way. I love reading about success stories! It inspires me. Check it out! {That is her in the picture… pretty darn cool}.

Eating healthy and staying on track is, well… HARD! If you’ve been following me since the beginning of my blog, I am a foodie at heart and love to try new and tasty things. So finding new recipes that are healthy and still tasty has been quite a journey. However, I am in the school of thought that even if you are eating healthy, you still need to treat yourself to stay on the band wagon. I know myself too well and if I know I can’t have a dessert for weeks on end, I’m likely to end up falling off the band wagon and ruining all the hard work I put in! “Treat days” are like the light at the end of the tunnel! 🙂

So this week, rather than a healthy recipe, I bring you a treat recipe! I had been craving key lime pie for weeks, and so I finally gave in {Against my better judgement} and made a pie. For treat days, I’ve been trying to indulge in things that are small, and won’t have anything left over {less temptation} but I couldn’t resist this time! And, I must say, I was pretty happy! However, I was less happy when it came time to get rid of the rest of the pie sitting in my fridge so I wouldn’t eat it! Haha.

Disclaimers:  {1}: I chose to use regular limes versus key limes. I got to the grocery store with every intention of using key limes, but what I didn’t realize is they are the size of a walnut. OMG, I could not imagine squeezing enough of those to get ONE CUP of juice. There was just no way. Even without the key limes, the pie was still delicious, so pick your poison! {2}: Also, another variable in this recipe is the crust. Some folks like a thick crust and some don’t. I like mine in between. I followed Emeril’s recipe, but there was too much graham cracker mix for my liking, so adjust as necessary! {3}: I adjusted baking times for the crust and also for the filling due to researching online.

Haha, forgive my lack of skill with serving pie. Inevitably I always end up breaking the crust!

Key Lime Pie

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons {1/2 stick butter} melted
  • 2 {14-ounce} cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup key lime or regular lime juice
  • 2 whole eggs
  • Heavy cream
  • Powdered sugar {approximately 1/2 c}
  • 1/2-1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter with your hands. Press the mixture firmly into a 9-inch pie pan, and bake until lightly brown, about 5-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature before filling.
  3. Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the condensed milk, lime juice, and eggs. Whisk until well blended and place the filling in the cooled pie shell. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes and allow to chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
  5. Before serving, make whipped cream for the top. Blend heavy cream on high until it begins to thicken, then add powdered sugar and vanilla to taste, and whip until stiff. Top chilled pie slices with a dollop of whipped cream and enjoy!

Source & Recipe slightly adapted from: Emeril

Happy Friday! I hope you enjoy your weekend! 🙂

Chicken Adobo

Good morning! Happy Friday everyone!! 🙂 It is a beautiful morning here in Washington! Look at this happy little cloud that popped up in the sky this morning.

I hope everyone had a happy and safe Fourth of July! Our holiday was very peaceful and relaxed. We spent the afternoon with family and had a barbecue! The Fourth landing on a Wednesday kind of made it difficult to do anything ßber exciting since we wake up bright and early {3:30am} every morning!

Yup. Yesterday was a rough one… we live in the city and there is a casino nearby as well as a reservation, needless to say fireworks go off all night and our dog is not okay with it! We got hardly any sleep on the night of the fourth. Yet – I still drug my buns to the gym! In all my tired glory. Whoop!

This week I bring to you another quick and simple dinner recipe, and a favorite around the Santie household! Chicken Adobo! My husband and I are often on often ends of the food spectrum, he prefers Asian cuisine and I could eat Mexican anytime of the day or week. This dish however is one we both agree on hands down! It is a healthy recipe, but make sure that you are drinking plenty of water throughout the day to counteract the sodium in the recipe. Even with low-sodium soy sauce, there is still a decent amount of sodium.

A cool thing that I found out – you can ‘adobo’ anything! According to a fellow blogger {Happy Jack Eats}: Adobo refers to the process of simmering in soy sauce, vinegar, and garlic. Anything can be adobo-ed, including pork, ribs, and even veggies. I have only ever had chicken adobo but I must say this dish is delish! If you read upon adobo, they say for it to be ‘authentic’ you should use bone in pieces, however, we have become huge fans of boneless thighs because they are so much easier to eat. You could also use breast pieces, but understand it will not be nearly as tender or fall apart delicious! This is one dish to splurge on, and use dark meat.

Don’t let the picture deter you… Sometimes I get in such a hurry to eat that I don’t take the time to check whether the picture quality was good. :-X Whoops. 😉

Without further ado…

Chicken Adobo

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 lbs of chicken {bone-in or boneless thighs are best!}
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 4 T reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp peppercorns {we prefer fresh crushed pepper}
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cloves of garlic

Directions:

  1. Heat a large skillet or dutch oven on medium heat.
  2. Combine the vinegar, soy sauce, peppercorns, and garlic in a bowl.
  3. Place chicken in pot. Pour sauce over top, and add bay leaves to the pot.
  4. Reduce heat to medium low, place lid on pot and allow to simmer for 20-30 minutes or until cooked through. During cooking, flip chicken occasionally to make sure all sides are coated in the sauce.
  5. Serve with brown rice and green beans or peas. This dish is really good with the adobo sauce over top of the rice.

Source & Recipe: Adapted from many online sources, including Manna and Quail and Happy Jack Eats.

Ahhh, so simple, and yet SO, SO, SO tasty! I love the tangyness of the vinegar, the richness from the soy sauce and of course, the garlic! Delish! If you try it, be sure to let me know if you love it, like it or hate it! I’m curious to get a consensus!

Question/Answer Time:

Q: What fabulous weekend plans do you have planned?  {Leave me a comment about your favorite weekend things!}

A: We are finally getting some gorgeous weather around the Seattle area, so I think the hubby and I might try to go for a hike or head out fishing. And since I have the day off I think I might go for a walk by water!

Naked Enchiladas! Ole!

Last time I posted, I shared with you that we began a new journey or rather restarted an old journey – healthy eating! So far things have been great, I feel great and making smarted food choices is becoming easier. It is still so hard to not want to eat junk food, but having a treat day once a week really helps! Tonight we are having a delicious dessert, that’ll be coming soon to a post near you!!

But first, on to the naked enchiladas! It is becoming more difficult each week to come up with inventive ways to eat chicken, steak and fish. And, to balance it with my love of Mexican cuisine! I decided I wanted to make a spin on my favorite dish – enchiladas! If you think about it, they aren’t half bad for you if take away the tortilla and the delicious, ooey-gooey cheese. :sigh: So I reinvented them without those not-so-good-for you ingredients. The result? Pretty darn delish and totally satisfying!

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Naked Enchiladas

Ingredients:

  • 2 T EVOO
  • 2 lbs chicken {we used thigh fillets – boneless and skinless}
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper, roughly chopped
  • 4 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, zesty or Mexican seasoned
  • 1 small can enchilada sauce
  • 1 can of water
  • 1 T Chili powder
  • 1 t Cumin
  • 1 t Garlic powder
  • Brown rice, for serving
  • Black beans, for serving

Directions

  1. Heat EVOO in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Mean while, season chicken with salt and pepper.
  2. Saute garlic in oil for 1 minute. Add chicken and brown on both sides for 2 minutes.
  3. Add vegetables {onion, pepper, celery and tomatoes}. Pour enchilada sauce and water {I pre-mixed the water and sauce before pouring in} over the top of the chicken and vegetables. Season with chili powder, cumin and garlic powder.
  4. Simmer over medium heat with the lid on for approximately 25-30 minutes. Check to see if the chicken beginning to fall apart, and then pull the chicken out and shred. Once shredded, add back to the pot and continue to simmer for at least another 20 minutes. The longer you simmer, the more flavor the chicken picks up!

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Serve over a bed of brown rice and black beans. Delish!

I hope everyone has a great weekend! If the Pacific Northwest weather holds out, we’re heading to the river to do some fishing. What are your weekend plans?!

Ciao!

Getting back on the {fitness} track & Pineapple Shrimp Brown Rice

Weeeee! It’s Friday! Hooray!

So, quick catch up… I graduated this past weekend! Woo hoo! {I constantly felt like I was being choked once I was ‘hooded’, the Master’s attire is so uncomfortable and strange… only my MAE cohort would understand the reference to ‘bat wings’}

Although there is only a little catch, I still have 1 culminating seminar to complete the requirements for my Masters, but all requirements have been met for state certification! Holla! So I have a two-week seminar starting next week, then I will be finished! It is a crazy, exciting and bittersweet feeling to be done. I started this program a year ago on June 13, and it has been an absolute whirlwind, but so special and exciting. Now the tough part – praying I get hired on this school year! Haha.

In the midst of the craziness we have gotten sick a lot, had very little time to eat right and work out and thus have allowed ourselves to get into a rut of unhealthy eating and not working out near enough. Result? Sluggish, no energy and totally not happy with the way we looked. We used to eat a fairly balanced diet, and at one time we were eating based upon a mostly ‘whole foods’ rule. Kind of like our own diet creation. So we made an executive decision… time to get back on track! We decided it was time to eat cleaner, workout more and treat our bodies right – we were so tired of feeling gross!

Two weeks ago we starting eating whole foods, hardly anything processed (exceptions: sauces, etc… we aren’t going entirely whole food sans processed foods) and no sugar except for special occasions! OH. EM. GEE. OMG! I had a sugar headache within the first day and it lasted THREE days!! Can you believe it? I felt horrible. And sick to my stomach that I was so addicted to sugar. Craziness. I felt so much better after the first day it was unbelievable, I felt like I had so many toxins in my body. My body is much happier, and actually craves fruit, water and, shockingly, working out! It feels amazing to want to work out again. I suppose the old saying is true: “You are what you eat!” 😉

And this chick… she doesn’t eat pizza, cupcakes and chips on a daily basis. :-X

So, we are eating things like: oatmeal, fruits (bananas, apples, watermelon, all the yummy stuff), almonds, salads, humus, sweet baby bell peppers (new fave!), carrots and other veggies, petite green beans, sweet potato, brown rice, lean steak, and we are taking full advantage of our amazing Pacific Northwest access to seafood: halibut, Copper River Sockeye salmon (OMG – I will be so sad when the season is over), tiger shrimp, etc. SO GOOD!

We had a good amount of tiger shrimp in the fridge so we decided that we would have those for dinner. It turned out pretty good! Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring, this was definitely not a boring recipe. So, here it is, the new recipe we tried out last night, it was so simple to make yet so yummy, and filling! I now  have a new favorite way to eat brown rice!

Pineapple Shrimp Brown Rice

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups uncooked brown rice
  • 1 1/2 lbs shrimp, shelled and deveined {we kept our shrimp whole, but you could cut them up before cooking}
  • 1 T sesame oil {EVOO works well too}
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2-3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bell pepper, or 3 large baby bell peppers, diced
  • 1/2 cup pineapple, diced {I only had canned on hand, it worked just fine}
  • 2 tsp teriyaki sauce {We used Yoshida’s}
  • Johnny’s seasoning salt {Salt and pepper work also, but Johnny’s is so good, and locally made!}
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder

Directions:

  1. Cook brown rice according to directions. Tip: I always cook my brown rice in my rice cooker, and it always turns out perfect! Be aware though that cooking brown rice takes much longer. In my rice cooker it takes nearly 2 hours. Be sure to plan ahead for this!
  2. Heat sesame oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Once warm, add garlic and saute for a couple of minutes. Add onions and peppers and continue to saute for a few minutes. While they are cooking, season with Johnny’s and add the teriyaki sauce.
  3. Add shrimp to skillet. {This is my favorite part! Watching the shrimp change color is still the coolest thing to me. Haha} Season with Johnny’s, garlic powder and onion powder. {We didn’t measure when doing this, but I would predict we used a 1 tsp-ish of each.} Using tongs, turn shrimp over to continue cooking on the other side.
  4. Once shrimp are cooked through, add brown rice to the skillet. Season again with Johnny’s and the garlic and onion powder {Again – use your best judgement, but 1 tsp-ish of each is a good guesstimate}. Stir the rice, shrimp and veggie mixture to combine.
  5. Add pineapple, and stir again to combine.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Nutritional Information:

  • 4 servings
  • Calories: Approximately 473/serving
  • Protein: 39 grams
  • Fat: 6.9 grams
  • Fiber: 4.9 grams
  • Sugar: 9 grams
  • Sodium: 10 grams

I am looking for fun and new recipes, so stay tuned as I will be posting some more!

Question: What is your favorite healthy recipe?? What is your favorite healthy snack?

Enjoy your weekend all! Ciao!