Goji Berry Granola

 When the weather gets hot, cold cereal starts sounding better and better as a way to start the day. This is a gluten free, high fiber granola that is just the right crunchy yet chewy texture. Since buckwheat actually is is not even in the same family as wheat this recipe is gluten free, vegetarian, low in sugar, and comparatively higher in fiber and protein. Cooking this with the maple, vanilla, and cinnamon made my place smell amazing, and it’s absolutely delicious and perfect in milk, on top of yogurt, or even on it’s own.

Keep reading for recipe...

Ingredients: (Makes 6 servings)
2 cups old fashioned oats
½ cup buckwheat flakes
1 ½ tbsp local honey
½ cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 ½ tbsp. chia seeds
2 tbp goji berries
½ cup sugar free maple syrup (or sweetener of your choice)
2 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 300 F. Place pumpkin seeds on a cookie sheet and toast in the oven 8-10 minutes until golden brown. Mix oats, buckwheat flakes, ginger, and cinnamon in a mixing bowl. Add water, vanilla extract, stir again, and then add the chia seeds. Add honey, maple syrup, goji berries, and toasted pumpkin seeds and stir until combined.
Spray cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray and spread granola evenly on tray. Bake 30-40 minutes checking the granola and gently stirring every 10-15 minutes.


(See below for nutrition)

Approximate Nutrition: (For 1/6 of recipe)
Calories: 241
Carbohydrates: 39 grams
Fat: 7 grams
Protein: 9.2 grams

Fiber: 4.8 grams


Orange is the new black

Outfit details: 10 Crosby Derek Lam shoes, Forever 21 crop top, Express skirt, Michael Kors bag, family heirloom pearl necklace
Crop tops have become ubiquitous on runways, and fashion sites like Refinery 29 argue that you can wear crop tops literally anywhere, but that doesn't mean that full tummy exposure is necessary to have a sartorially fulfilling summer. A high-waisted skirt (or if you're daring, even a mom jean) with a crop top means a slightly more elegant less Spice-girls-esque way to wear this trend. 


Boyish and Boxy

Outfit: Dolce Vita slip ons, BDG skinny jeans, Forever 21 burnout crop top, Betsey Johnson sunnies, DKNY watch, Michael Kors Bag
One of my favorite trends this summer has been slip on shoes that are slightly reminiscent of the 90s. I've been in a funk this week, and I think that explains my desire to wear anything comfortable. This muscle tee from forever 21 is the bomb, and I feel like I could dress it up with a pencil skirt or even take it to the gym. These photos are the first time I've used my dSLR camera for these blog posts, and I'm glad I got that whole situation sorted. 

Protein Ice Cream

I've been dying for some guilt free ice cream this summer. I've made "proyo" before, but what I really like is something that has the thick creamy texture of real ice cream. There are some store bought alternatives, that are made with coconut milk, greek yogurt, and even water and whey. But a lot of them have lots of added sugar, and while fine in moderation, I wanted something that was truly zero guilt and tasted delicious.

I blended my favorite casein/whey powder from Beverly International available here. I used the cookies and cream flavor, and blended approximately 3 scoops with 16 oz unsweetened almond milk. If you decide to use a pure whey or whey isolate powder, I would recommend adding 1/2 tsp of xantham gum in the blender to act as a thickener. I then poured the mixture into an open wide container in the freezer. Ever 15-30 minutes use a spoon to scrape and stir the mixture until it's the right consistency.

This should make about 2 servings. I topped mine with 1/4 tsp sprinkles and a dash of cinnamon and dove in!

Approximate Nutrition (per serving)

Calories: 225
Fat: 7 grams
Carb: 7 grams
Fiber: 1.5 grams
Sugar: 1.5 grams
Protein: 32.5 grams

You really can't beat the nutrition and taste, I hope to come up with some more ice cream recipes with different flavors and ingredients to share with you lovelies. 

Have a great weekend. 


Rainy Day Casual

Outfit: Jcrew shirt, thrifted dress, Vans sneakers, Ray Ban sunglasses, DKNY watch,  Michael Kors bag

This is a casual look I wore yesterday, it's been very rainy and dreary this week, so I decided to go with a comfortable basic look.


An-"tea"-oxidant smoothie

I love protein smoothies as a quick and easy mini meal in a glass. This smoothie is packed with antioxidants, hence the name, and tastes amazing. Start with 1 cup (8 oz) of almond milk (or coconut, soy, or cow's milk, it's really up to you) in a blender. Add one scoop low sugar vanilla protein powder, I used this one from Beverly International. I prefer whey powders since they are the most bioavailable, but if you are vegan you could opt for soy, hemp, or pea proteins instead. 

Then, add 1/2 cup blueberries, 1-2 cups chopped or baby kale, 1/2 tsp matcha green tea powder, and a few ice cubes. Blend 1-2 minutes until smooth, and enjoy!

The matcha makes this smoothie especially delicious, when combined with the milk and blueberries. Not only this, but it also makes a great afternoon pick-me-up without the crash of some overly caffeinated coffee beverages. There are lots of benefits from tea, particularly matcha. You can read more here

To see all the recipes I've been posting in one place, visit my pinterest page


Cheesy Broccoli Kale Casserole (Vegetarian & Gluten Free)

Cheesy broccoli is one of those favorite foods from childhood; that, as delicious as it is, may not offer the best nutrition. Even cheesy broccoli available in the freezer aisle of your local grocery store more often than not has added sugar and msg. With that in mind, I whipped up this cheesy broccoli casserole that has kale and whole grains to bump up the nutritional content, without sacrificing all that cheesy goodness.

2 medium to large heads of broccoli
1 bunch organic kale (or about 4 cups worth of the prepackaged kind)
1 onion
2 cups uncooked brown or wild rice
8 oz cheese (I used cheddar, but any cheese could work)
1 cup organic skim milk (swap lactose-free or soy/almond/rice milks for those with dietary restrictions)
1.5 tbsp organic butter or extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup garbanzo bean (chickpea) flour
1/2 cup fat free greek yogurt
salt and pepper to taste

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-Grate the cheese and set aside
-Cook rice in a rice cooker (or on the stove top if you don't have a rice cooker)
-Chop the onion, kale, and broccoli into bite size pieces and saute in half the butter/oil
-Add in remaining butter and flour, combine into a roux
-Add the milk and continue to stir in with the vegetables
-In a large mixing bowl, combine the sauteed vegetables, rice, cheese (minus a few tablespoons), and greek yogurt
-Stir and place in an oven safe dish
-Sprinkle with remaining cheese and salt/pepper
-Place in the oven to bake until cheese is gooey and melted (about 5-10 minutes)

Serve and enjoy! Nutrition info below...

The finished product, so delicious!
Approximate Nutritional Information (1 slice out of 12 total slices)
Calories: 273
Carbohydrates: 37 grams
Fat: 8.6 grams (of which, 4.9 are saturated)
Protein: 12.4 grams
Fiber: 5.6 grams

Also, to bump up the protein content, you could swap the rice for quinoa or even add in cooked chicken or turkey. Or, for those of you with dietary restrictions, feel free to swap out ingredients. Vegans can swap the cheese,milk, and yogurt for vegan options, usually available at places like Trader Joe's or Whole Foods. Make it your own, and enjoy!


Elite Body

This week I started Erin Stern's Elite Body 4 week program from Bodybuilding.com, you can view the full program here. So far, it is not only challenging, but also kinda fun if working out if your jam. Her workouts include not only heavy lifting, but plyometrics as well. Anything involving box jumps is fun for me, and I'll share my progress pictures at the end of the four week program. I'm also planning to start eating a little more, which as stupid as that sounds, is a little hard to do. When I started my fitness journey in 2011 I was definitely "skinny fat" and jump started my transformation by counting calories, so it's a little hard to accept that to get toned I need to eat more.

But the reality is that I work out 5-6x a week, my jeans from freshman year of high school are fitting again, and I am probably at my thinnest since then. I think there is just so much messaging towards women to eat no more than 1200-1500 calories a day, and also have a thigh gap (which is unnecessary for so many reasons, but I'll save that rant for another day). At 5'11" and change even 1500 calories is basically starvation for my body type, and I think accepting that building the body I want means more calories is just something that we as women are programmed to be skeptical of.

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This is a picture I took last Friday (before), below is Day 2 of Erin Stern's Elite Body program.

Warm Up 5 min on a spin bike

Complete Plyo Circuit 3 x
Line Jumps 10 reps
180 Jumps 10 reps
Knee Tuck Jumps 10 reps
Linear Depth Jumps 10 reps
Dynamic Step-Ups 10 reps (each leg)

Barbell Squats 5 x 10 reps

Barbell Good Mornings 3 x 10 reps
Barbell Calf Raises 3 x 20 reps

Reverse Hyperextensions 3 x 15 reps (I did these on a yoga ball)
Knee Extensions 3 x 10 reps

Cool Down 5 min


Double Florals

Joe Fresh shorts, River Island shoes, Express crop top, Hipanema bracelet, my own necklaces

This is an outfit from the other night when we decided to grill out. It's a little more skin than I would normally show, but it was 90+ degrees out that day...


On the road healthy eating

For the last year I have been on the road about 50% of the time for work. This includes driving and flying to different jobs sites around the country, and healthy eating can be very difficult when fast food and chain restaurants may be your only options. 

I try to plan ahead as much as possible, and if I'm driving, sometimes packing a cooler or lunch box with fresh fruits and vegetables is an option. In general, I try to make sure I'm eating (relatively lean) proteins with every meal and minimize refined carbohydrates and sweet snacks that will spike blood sugar and knock hunger cues out of whack. Also, if I will be eating at restaurants, most chains have menus online, I'll pick out my meal before I head out to eat. 95% of the time, it will mean choosing a better option. If you're flying, check out the app Gate Guru which lists all restaurants and amenities in an airport. This lets you weigh your options and sometimes view menus before wandering around aimlessly until you find yourself at the airport McDonalds.

Below are some of my favorite snacks that travel well, and help prevent overeating or overindulging while on the road...

Raw or lightly salted almonds are a great option, but you could just as easily pack walnuts, pistachios, peanuts, or trail mix. You can even portion them out in individual ziploc bags to control serving size.

Cellucor alpha aminos are my favorite BCAAs, and if you're using a hotel workout room this a great pre and post-workout drink that helps repair muscles and keep you hydrated. 

Fresh berries. It's summer, so many of these are in season, pack in individual tupperwares in a lunch box or cooler with an ice pack and these can last several days if you replace with ice or store in a hotel mini fridge.

Quest bars! These are by far my favorite protein bars, they have about 20 g of protein per bar depending on which flavor you pick, and about 20 g of carbs (most of which are fiber). These taste great and come in over a dozen flavors. Check out where to buy or order from Quest Nutrition

Low sugar protein bars or nut and fruit bars. These Think Thin bars are great as well, with relatively low (<4 g of sugar per bar) and about 20 g protein each. Several other options that I like are Kind bars and Lara bars. Look for bars with less than 5 g of sugar per bar and a short ingredient list. Lara bars and Kind bars may have a little more sugar than this, but they are made with natural ingredients like dates, nuts, and dried fruit.

Whey powder! Many brands make smaller portion sized containers, though if you have the room you could bring a tub of whey on the road. I know that Cellucor, Nectar, Jay Robb, and GNC brand all make individual sized packets. I like taking these to mix up shakes in water bottles or to mix in with oatmeal at a hotels' breakfast bar. 


Dark Chocolate & Banana Oats

This has become one of my favorite breakfasts, not only is it amazingly tasty but it also only takes a few minutes to put together.

Start with:
1 scoop protein powder (I like Cellucor's molten chocolate or Beverly International UMP in cookies & cream)
1 spoonful Hershey's dark chocolate cocoa powder
1 cup almond milk

Whisk these ingredients together until thoroughly mixed. Top with 2 tbsp chia seeds. Set in the refrigerator for about 5-10 minutes to let the chia seeds absorb the liquid.

In a separate bowl, microwave 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats for 1-2 minutes. Don't let them dry out too much, then add to the chia seed mixture and stir. Top with a sliced banana and a sprinkle of stevia and enjoy the amazing chocolatey-banana goodness.

Feel free to also adjust quantities, you could make half the recipe, or add less oats or chia seeds, or add more protein depending on your diet. This is a large and filling breakfast for me, and I'm just under 6'0", so this could easily be too much food for some.

Approximate Macros for recipe as listed:

520 calories
63 g carbohydrates (18 of which are fiber)
15 g fat (primarily omega-3's from the chia seeds)
34 g protein

Sun's out, guns out

Ever since I started consistently lifting, I realized how pointless the workouts I used to do in college were for actually developing muscle and changing body composition (think endless bicep curls with 5 lb weights and crunches for days). Because of this, I have shied away from anything resembling crunches or bicep curls with low weight. So with that in mind, this workout definitely changed my attitude towards working the "beach" or "glamour" muscles. If you are unsure what any of these look like check out Bodybuilding.com's exercise finder that includes videos with proper form. 

Warm up: 5-10 minutes walking on incline treadmill

-Barbell bicep curls 4 x 12 
-Tricep cable rope pulldown 4 x 12
rest 45 s after each superset

-Hammercurls 3 x 12 
-Barbell skull crushers on a flat bench 3 x 12
45 s rest after each superset

-Preacher curls 4 x 12
-Machine tricep pushdown 4 x 12

Tricep cable rope pulldown 
7 sets of 8-12 reps 

Cool down: 5-10 min walking on treadmill


Green-eyed monster smoothie

I'm a big fan of protein smoothies, not only for the convenience of an on the go meal but also for fitting lots of nutrients into one glass. This is the recipe for my favorite green smoothie, made with fresh kale. I know a lot of people aren't crazy about greens or green smoothies in general, but this one manages to disguise the bitter taste of the raw kale while still packing a strong nutritional punch.

Scroll down for recipe!

Start with:
2-3 cups coarsely chopped kale
1 small banana, sliced or broken into chunks
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 scoop vanilla protein powder, I like Beverly International UMP in Vanilla
a few ice cubes

Blend on low for 1-2 minutes until all ingredients are completely combined, and pieces of kale leaves are as small as possible.

Pour into a cup or a blender ball and enjoy! Feel free to swap your choice of milk (soy, rice, cow's milk) or even orange juice for the almond milk. Berries can also be a great add in or replacement for the banana.

Approximate macros for one smoothie (about 16-24 oz):

Calories: 312
Carbs: 41 g
Fiber: 13 g
Fat: 5.5 g
Protein: 32 g


Legs Day Workout 6.10.10

I've been following workouts and looking for exercises on Bodybuilding.com for a couple of years (I started my fitness journey around August 2011, but didn't get serious about it until January 2012). This past week, I finished reading my study materials to become a personal trainer, and now that I'm prepping and studying, I feel better about the idea of sharing workouts. Here's what I did today:

Warmup: 5 min incline treadmill, 3.5 mph 
Straight leg deadlifts (aka Romanian deadlifts) 4 x 12-15 reps
Barbell Squats 4 x 20, 15, 12, 10 increasing the weight
Leg Press (Legs high on platform) 4 x 15 reps

Hamstring Curls 4 x 12, Knee Extension 4 x reps to failure

Single Leg Calf Raises 3 x 30 seconds each leg

Make sure to get a cool down in as well, to avoid becoming light headed. Try it out and let me know what you think!


Friday Night at the Greek Fest

Every summer, the local Greek Orthodox church has a weekend long Greek festival. It's worth it for feta alone in my book. 

Outfit details: Nasty Gal Bag10 Crosby Derek Lam sandals, Forever 21 skirt and tee, thrifted gold chain

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