Competition Update & Epic Arugula Salad

Hi guys!

If you recall from a few posts ago, I decided to compete in my first ever bikini competition. Yeah, I’m not sure what I was thinking either.
I kid, I kid. I am actually really excited, and of course a little nervous, to do this. I am just under 18 weeks out now and have started the great decent into abs, shoulder caps, bicep veins, hours of posing practice and of course flexing.

A week ago, I made it official and registered for my show. I can’t wait to receive my membership card in the mail. Having the cost of registration/competing so high is actually a very smart idea. I don’t want to throw money away, so once I clicked ‘okay’ and the money came off my credit card, there is no turning back.

I am going to compete!

My thoughts exactly…

I never really gave any information before, because at that time, I wasn’t sure which show i’d choose or the date.  I will be competing in the Physique Canada show June 13th (here in Ottawa) in the Fitness Model class. Yay!

Prep is going well so far, i’m feeling strong, motivated, and I’m starting to see progress. I have a cute little muffin top thanks to bulking and also have love handles (my sister refers to them as gel packs and they’re hella annoying and hard to get rid of), so I use those as my guide. As they start shrinking, I know i’m losing body fat. Unfortunately, as this is not a 100% fool proof plan, I scheduled a DEXA scan for next week. It’s important for me and my sanity to know where I currently stand, this will help me better prepare mentally for the journey I still have left to go.

Okay so, with all that competition talk I feel it’s only fair to share a recipe for my go to salad as of late. It is coach approved, delicious, fits my macros, and fills me the heck up! All things I need to consider when eating these days…

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Salad

3.5 cups arugula (more or less depending on how I feel)

1 cup cooked brown rice

75g organic extra firm tofu

Dressing:

1/2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

juice of 1/2 a lemon

1 tsp agave nectar

Tofu Marinade:

1/2 Tbsp Organicville Island Teriyaki Agave sweetened sauce

1 tsp Bragg’s liquid aminos

Instructions:

Press a block of tofu wrapped in paper towels for 15-30 minutes. Cut entire block into 8 or 10 slices. Place slices into plastic bag or Tupperware and marinade for 30 minutes refrigerated. 1/2 tbsp of teriyaki and 1 tsp braggs for every 75g of tofu (Approximately 2 slices if cut like the diagram below)

Tofu

Preheat over to 400. Bake tofu on parchment for 10 minutes, flip once and put back in the oven for an additional 10 minutes until golden brown and slightly crispy on the outside and ‘chewy’ on the inside.

Mix the 3 dressing ingredients together and pour over arugula. Massage gently for 30 seconds. Add the brown rice and tofu, toss gently and enjoy!

In case you’re wondering

Total Calories: 332

Carbs 48g

Protein 20g

Fat 8g

Would you guys like if I share more competition prep meals? Let me know in the comments!

Have a wonderful evening!

 

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Raspberry Rhubarb Oat Bars

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I REALLY like dessert.

No, seriously, I love it.

For all those times fresh fruit isn’t quite enough, I find ways to create healthy versions of what i’m craving. Please keep in mind, this is still dessert, but compared to the butter laden, brown sugar filled version I used to make several years ago this is essentially like having a slice of watermelon.

I have to admit, I wrestled with the idea of this post for a while because when most people think of fresh local rhubarb, they also instantly think of strawberries and probably pie. I, however, am not most people. *surprise!*

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I love strawberries. Love. Love. Love them. However, I love them fresh, not cooked–and I don’t like fruit pie. So there’s that. I decided a compromise was in order, this crisp is incredible and I like the tartness the raspberries bring to the dish. I know, I know…rhubarb obviously needs help being tart. Trust me tho, if you try it, you’ll be hooked. The other option is to simply swap out the raspberries for strawberries and voila, traditional strawberry rhubarb oat bars!

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Raspberry Rhubarb Oat Bars (Vegan, gluten free)

Oat Base:

2 cups rolled oats

1 cup oat flour

1/4 cup rice/millet flour blend

2 Tablespoons ground flax seeds

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup slivered blanched almonds

1/4 cup coconut sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/8 cup soy free vegan butter

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

Fruit filling:

2 1/2 cups rhubarb, cut into 1 inch sections

2 cups raspberries

juice of half a lemon

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1/8 cup maple syrup

1/8 cup water

Preheat oven to 375.

Place rhubarb, raspberries, lemon, sugar, maple syrup, and water in a pot and bring to a boil on medium heat. Cook for 15 minutes until fruit starts to break down, set aside.

While fruit cooks melt vegan butter and coconut oil over low heat. Remove from heat and add in  maple syrup and vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients and with coconut oil mixture and stir until fully coated and sticks together.

Press half the mixture into a 9×9 pan, pour the fruit mixture on top, then top with the remaining half of the oat mixture. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool, then slice into bars and enjoy!

*Alternatively, you can opt to not cook the fruit in advance, and simply layer it with the coconut sugar and maple sugar on the oat base, top with the rest of the oat mixture and bake for 20-30 minutes until fruit is tender and crisp is golden.

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Namaste beautiful friends.

Chocolate Maca Love Bites (Vegan, Gluten Free)

I know, I know…I had you at love bite. *wink*

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“Are you ever NOT eating?”

Do you know how often I hear this phrase each week from my coworkers? Let’s just say if I had a nickel for each time someone said it to me, i’d be very close to purchasing that new camera I want. What can I say, I like to snack. AND since I enjoy snacking, I like to have healthy foods at my fingertips made with wholesome ingredients. I enjoy nuts, homemade granola, dried fruits, etc. but sometimes a girl wants a brownie…and these Maca bites are basically a raw version of a German chocolate cake/brownie. However instead of being filled with bad ingredients they’re refined sugar free, gluten free, vegan, AND going to improve your sex life. Wait, what?

Okay, before you get TOO excited, the reason you’re possibly getting lucky later isn’t because these guys are filled with a love potion, however they do contain maca. Haven’t heard of it? Well it’s a root that originates in Peru and helps  to improve energy, stamina, and libido! Basically, eat your chocolate, get frisky–and you’ll have the energy to stay up all night if you want to. WINNING!

I like to have these as both a pre- or post- workout snack. They’re small, DELICIOUS, fill me up, give me energy, but never leave me feeling heavy and weighed down.

Roll them in coconut OR be adventurous and use anything you like. Hemp seeds, cocoa powder, almonds, pistachios, etc.
Roll them in coconut OR be adventurous and use anything you like. Hemp seeds, cocoa powder, almonds, pistachios, etc.

Chocolate Maca Love Bites

  • 16 pitted medjool dates
  • 1/4 cup raw cacao (normal people probably use 1/8 cup but I like that dark chocolate taste)
  • 2 TBSP Maca powder 
  • 1/3 cup pecans
  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut + 1/2 cup for rolling
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup water

Place all the ingredients in the food processor and BLEND BLEND BLEND! It should turn into a ball similar to cookie dough. If it’s too dry, add a little more water. Form into balls and roll in coconut.

ENJOY!

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Chocolate Protein Frozen Yogurt–PROYO (Vegan, gluten free)

Why hello there beautiful people. I cannot believe how much time has passed since my last post. I’ve been wrestling with the idea of what to post for several  weeks now, and finally last week on an insanely hot day it happened…

EUREKA! I’ll make Chocolate Protein Frozen Yogurt (or PROYO as it is often called)!! Have you ever received flowers from a boyfriend as an apology? Well this recipe is my stand in for flowers.

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Smooth, creamy, healthy, and delicious. I am quite certain if you try this, you’ll not only forgive my absence, but appreciate that it happened.

Although I made the original batch of proyo with my KitchenAid ice cream maker, it’s possible to make it without one. Swap out 1/2 cup of yogurt with 1 frozen banana and blend well. Put in a tupperware container and place in the freezer. Take out and stir after 45 minutes. Repeat 2-4 more times until desired texture is achieved. Or, if you want to speed up the process, freeze your yogurt in an ice cube tray before blending, and then there is no need to use the banana. You’re welcome!

Chocolate Protein Frozen Yogurt

2 cups non-dairy yogurt (I used vanilla flavoured almond cashew yogurt)

2 Scoops Vega Sports Performance Protein powder (50 g protein)

1/3 cup Soy milk (or almond milk)

5 Tbsp raw cacao powder

3-4 Tbsp agave or maple syrup (I used agave)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

Put all of the ingredients in a blender. Blend on high speed until smooth. Turn on ice cream maker (according to instructions) add the yogurt mixture and mix until you get creamy soft serve, approximately 15 minutes. Enjoy immediately! I mean, even if I said freeze for later, I doubt you’d be able to wait…I sure couldn’t. I drizzled melted peanut butter over my first bowlful, it was glorious.

Soft serve proyo with warm peanut butter drizzled over the top!! *Swoon*
Soft serve proyo with warm peanut butter drizzled over the top!! *Swoon*

NOTE: If using an ice cream maker, be sure to prepare it in advance. My KitchenAid ice cream maker needs to be frozen for 24 hours prior to being used.

I truly hope you enjoy this recipe. Have a wonderful night friends. On that note, I leave you with one final proyo photo! Tonight’s Proyo bowl with bananas! I made this batch in the blender and let it sit in the freezer for an hour. I personally like soft serve, so it was perfection.

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*Namaste*

 

Roasted Butternut Squash and Quinoa Salad (gluten-free, vegan)

Good Evening Friends,

Normally when it’s -25 in Ottawa I can’t get enough soup or stew, but there is something so amazing about this salad that it rivals even the heartiest of soups. The quinoa and butternut squash taste great while warm, and although this is traditionally a ‘cold’ salad I tend to eat it still slightly warm. I mean, it IS -25 after all. If that means breaking a few rules, then so be it.

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I have been meaning to post this recipe for a week, but since I took the photos with my phone needed to transfer them to my laptop in order to post. However, the 2 decided to give me grief this past week. Mr. Laptop decided it didn’t want to recognize any form of USB and Miss Android well, she was cranky and tried to hold on to her photos as long as possible. I sweet talked them both, and finally they decided to cooperate with me. Which brings us to tonight’s recipe. I hope you enjoy! (Try not to burn your fingers eating piping hot butternut squash cubes…I did it, it hurts!)

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Roasted Butternut Squash and Quinoa Salad

3 ½  cups cooked quinoa, cooled

2 small butternut squash cut into ½ cubes (approx 3-4 cups)

3 green onions or 1 small shallot, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

½ cup dried cranberries

1/3  cup chopped walnuts

1 lemon juiced  (about ¼ cup)

1 tbsp white vinegar (or vinegar of choice)

1 tsp dijon mustard

2 tbsp maple syrup (or honey)

¼ cup olive oil + 2 tbsp

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Toss butternut squash with 2 tbsp olive oil, salt, pepper, and chopped garlic. Roast for 25-30 minutes flipping once half way through. Once cooked, set aside to cool. Although I roast both of the butternut squash, I only use 1 ½ of them in my salad, the other half I eat while preparing the salad. It’s my foolproof way to ensure I have enough squash left by the time it’s cool enough for the salad. Ask my mom, leaving roasted veggies near me is like leaving a full bag of hallowe’en candy around a kid, it WILL get eaten as quickly as possible.

While the squash cools, prepare dressing for salad. Stir together chopped green onion/shallot, parsley, lemon juice, vinegar, dijon, maple syrup, and olive oil. This is not the time to get stingy, use GOOD dijon and olive oil. It makes a world of difference.

Once the butternut squash has cooled to room temperature mix together  quinoa, chopped walnuts, dried cranberries, and dressing. Be careful not to mash the butternut squash as it may be quite tender. Add additional salt and pepper if desired and enjoy.

As always, thank you so much for your love and support!

Namaste, my beautiful friends!

Coconut baked oatmeal with blueberry compote (vegan, gluten free)

Good Evening Beautiful Friends,

Have you ever been in the situation where you’ve eaten insanely clean all day, then 7pm arrives and suddenly you would eat your hair brush if  you thought it might possibly taste like a cookie? I tried sipping water, brushing my teeth, distracting myself with yoga, the list goes on, but running away wasn’t going to address the problem, it only made it worse. By the time my workout was finished, I was searching the fridge, freezer, cupboards, and everywhere in between for a cookie, chip, ice cream, ANYTHING. To the ladies out there, you know what’s it’s like when no matter how hard you try, when your special lady time rolls into town you go from wanting to eat salad to wanting everything sugar coated and deep fried. I love eating clean foods, but I am human. Mix mother nature with work stress, a headache, and exhaustion, and you have intense cravings that just won’t go away, and ignoring is just not an option.

I usually turn to fruit for my sugar cravings, and that often works, but tonight I needed to bring out the big guns to help satisfy my craving. That’s where tonight’s mini recipe comes into play. It’s super simple, easy, CLEAN, and best of all will satisfy your sweet tooth without cancelling out all of your hard work from the day!

The lighting doesn't do this dish justice...
The lighting doesn’t do this dish justice…

Coconut Oatmeal with blueberry compote, granola, and dried cranberries!

1/2 cup Bobs red mill Irish oats

1/4 cup oat flour

1/4 cup shredded unsweetened organic coconut

1 tsp ground flax

1/2 tsp coconut extract

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

1 tbsp maple syrup

3/4-1  cup unsweetened almond milk.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix everything all together (I mixed everything in the little pan I baked the oatmeal in) and pour into a mini loaf pan. Bake for 35 minutes or until firm.

Once the oatmeal is finished, allow it to cool before assembling. In the meantime make your blueberry sauce.

1 cup blueberries (I used frozen)

1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon

2-4 tbsp water

Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes, then puree. I used an immersion blender, but a regular blender would also work. OR just leave the fruit whole and avoid having another dish to clean. I, however, have this weird thing with cooked fruit and finding the texture off putting–don’t ask.

To assemble, use half the oatmeal as a base (*I broke mine into small pieces), top with blue berry sauce, a handful of granola  preferably one that is all natural. I used Siren Bakery’s Maple Pecan granola, it’s incredible. Finish off with a small handful of dried cranberries or dried blueberries and voila a perfect and healthy way to end the day AND help with those sugar cravings. If you’re anything like me, the entire bowl was licked clean in a matter of minutes…


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I hope you enjoy the recipe.

Namaste my beautiful friends.

Grilled veggie, wilted Kale and Quinoa salad (Vegan, Gluten free)

Good evening beautiful people!

While many people migrate toward a light and “raw” salad in the summer, I have this strange urge to grill everything. I am not sure if i’ve said this before but I LOVE grilled veggies…A LOT. I’ll give you my go to roasted veggie and quinoa salad recipe, as well as some alternatives that you can do to mix it up. The main reason I choose kale and quinoa are for the health benefits such as wanting to incorporate more greens in my diet, and of course the complete protein from the quinoa but you could easily do a different carb or green and it would be just as delicious.

Although this is to be a grilled veggie salad, I have a bit of a confession…I didn’t actually grill the vegetables tonight. *Gasp!!* I know, I know…I roasted them in the oven but I assure you there is a perfectly good explanation.  Can I be honest with you? I’m actually terrified of lighting the BBQ and so if my husband isn’t around to light it I refuse to go near it. And quite frankly, anyone who knows me would agree that me staying away from the grill is the safest plan for me and anyone within a 5 mile radius.

In my opinion this recipe tastes the absolute best when the vegetables are grilled, but it’s still amazing with them roasted. Play around with the different flavours and ingredient combinations and really make this salad your own. I hope you give it a try!

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Grilled Veggie, Wilted Kale, and Quinoa Salad

Makes 3 servings

1/2 cup cooked quinoa (I used white but any variety will work)

1 Red pepper cut into chunks

Head of garlic

2 corn (still on the cob)

1/2 red onion cut into chunks

4-5 cups baby kale

1/4 cup parsley

2 tbsp olive oil

1 lime

salt and pepper (to taste)

garlic powder, chili powder, sesame seeds, etc.

Grill instructions:

Cook quinoa according to instructions and in last 4-5 minutes place the kale in the pot and cover with lid. This will steam the Kale and make it perfect. Place onion, garlic cloves, and red pepper on a heat proof skewer and drizzle with olive oil and spice however you want. I like simple salt and pepper with a mix of roasted garlic, red pepper flakes, cayenne, and sesame seeds. Grill on medium high flame turning periodically until evenly charred. At the same time drizzle small amount of oil on corn with salt and pepper and grill directly on grill until charred evenly. (My mom prefers to boil it first and then grill, but I don’t bother). Once everything is cooked let it cool enough to handle (or burn your fingers like me and don’t wait) and then transfer into a large mixing bowl. Cut the corn off the cob, mix in the grilled veggies, the quinoa and kale along with the parsley, any additional flavouring, and the juice of 1 lime. Mix it all up and then try not to eat this entire meal in 1 sitting.

Oven Instructions:

Preheat over to 400 degrees. Drizzle vegetables in olive oil, season according to taste, then roast for 15 minutes. Remove from over flip everything around and place back into oven for another 5-10 minutes. (tip. I cut corn off the cob prior to roasting in the over to make it easier to cook). Mix everything together when finished the same as above. Enjoy!

A few variations on this simple salad are:

1. Don’t wilt the Kale (or whatever greens you choose). Serve the roasted veggies and quinoa over a bed of fresh Kale(if you like massage leaves first). I’m also a huge fan of romaine…

2. Add buckwheat instead of, or in addition to quinoa. I actually mixed quinoa and buckwheat in tonight’s salad and it’s so good.

3. Change up the veggies. I love asparagus, sweet potato, peas, and zucchini as well.

As I mentioned before, this is a simple salad, that has tons of potential. Feel free to mix up the ingredients however you see fit. Regardless of how you choose to dress your salad, the aroma of roasted veggies, however, will have your mouth watering and wanting more!

Have a great evening everyone! Love, peace, and fresh veggies!