Honey, I baked! I swear I would bake all the time if someone else in my house would help me eat the finished product. They might actually. Maybe I just eat everything too fast so no one else stands a chance. It’s certainly possible.
Anyway, I noticed I was starting to accumulate quite the overripe banana surplus in my freezer so I figured I’d better start using them for something.
I sort of enjoy when my bananas “go bad” because I know that equals baked goods sometime in the future. The future is now, baby! Here’s the recipe I used:
(Almost) Paleo Banana Superfood Muffins
- 4 overripe bananas, mushed
- 4 eggs
- 1/4 cup Buff Bake Protein Almond Butter (or regular almond butter)
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- 2 Tbsp cacao nibs
- 2 Tbsp chia seeds
- 1 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- dash of salt
Buff Bake, Chia Seeds, and Cacao Nibs
First, I combined the bananas, eggs, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and almond butter. I didn’t really need to mash the bananas since these were basically mush already. Does anyone else hate the smell of overripe bananas? It’s weird but it totally grosses me out. I just have to concentrate on the end product. Mm.
Next, I added the remaining ingredients and mixed thoroughly. Then I spooned batter into a lined muffin tin. I baked the muffins for 25 minutes at 350 degrees (use the toothpick method to check if done. Insert a toothpick and if it comes out clean, muffins are done!).
I ate one and my daughter had one too. They were great! Perfectly spiced and actually pretty fluffy! Most Paleo baked goods I’ve made in the past come out a little flat but these were “normal” looking. I was worried they’d be too sweet with the bananas and maple syrup but they were just right. If you wanted sugar free, you could omit the maple syrup.
We both had a muffin then into the freezer they went! This is how I keep myself in check. If they’re out, I’ll eat like, 6 in one day so I have to hide them away in the freezer :).
my daughter stole one…
Buff Bake Almond Butter
Let’s talk about Buff Bake . I love their concept! Delicious flavors of almond and peanut butters mixed with whey protein, chia seeds, and flaxseed.
They sent me their snickerdoodle almond butter and it is good. They sweeten the butter with coconut sugar which I really like. I don’t love completely unsweetened nut butters. I tend to buy them with good intentions then they sit in my fridge for 6 months and eventually end up in the trash.
My favorite thing about the butters is the addition of whey protein. Personally, I’m always trying to find ways to add more protein to my diet, so I love this! It doesn’t have a protein powder taste either which is great. I’m pretty sure you’d never know it was an ingredient unless you read the label. In 2 tablespoons of the almond butter, there are 11 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, and 190 calories.
I only tried the snickerdoodle flavor but they also sell cookie almond butter and coffee bean (sounds amazing!). Their peanut butter flavors are chocolate chip, cinnamon raisin, and cranberry coconut. I want them all!
Finally, I just love the business. I think they created an awesome product with a great name and beautiful packaging. The product tastes great so it will sell itself, but they just did a great job with overall execution. I love that it’s made by two young women entrepreneurs. I will definitely remain a customer and supporter!
You can buy their products straight off their website, from Amazon, or vitamin shoppe (not sure if it’s in all locations).
Buff Bake Ingredients
I can’t wait to try their other flavors! I think chocolate chip peanut butter or coffee almond butter is next on my list!
(Buff Bake sent me their almond butter to review. All opinions are mine. I genuinely like the product ).
I am really enjoying weight lifting these days. I just love that tiny little muscle pump I get after lifting. I always think my muscles look so big so I snap a pic to capture the moment, then I realize, nope still pretty small. Ya gotta start somewhere though, right?
Typically, I use free weights. Even if you’ve never touched a weight before, free weights are pretty easy to pick up (literally and figuratively). By all means, if you’ve never lifted weights before, try free weights! Start with a light weight and just get used to the feeling and motion of using weights. Soon you’ll be a pro!
I’m pretty comfortable with free weights but have stayed away from barbells. For some reason, barbells have always been intimidating. It’s like I think if I pick one up, I’ll lose control and accidentally impale an innocent bystander. I’d really like to avoid killing anyone if possible. That or (and I think this is more likely), I’ll drop the barbell, which would be so embarrassing that I may never go back to the gym.
The squat rack in particular is a piece of equipment I always want to use but never pull the trigger. I want that booty to grow, so lifting heavy is a necessary evil. I’ve walked by the squat rack several times, even looked closely at it, but then kept walking. I was never sure how to change the height of the bar so I’d keep chickening out.
don’t mind me creepin around the squat rack…can you tell i didn’t want anyone to know i was taking a pic?
Well, I decided to get over it. I passed all the meat heads and headed to the squat rack. I played around with it for a minute and guess what? I figured out how to use it!
Since the barbell was new to me, I squatted with just the bar first then slowly added weight. I can see now why people hit the gym with buddies (spotters). I’m still not totally comfortable adding tons of weight but I think with practice, I’ll get there.
I swear just using the squat rack gave me the confidence I needed to grab a barbell and try other exercises. Here’s what I did:
-squat 5×5 in squat rack – started with barbell, then added 10lb plates, then 10 more
-deadlifts 5×5- used 25lb plates
-clean and press 5×5 <— love these- used 10lb plates
-row (underhand grip) 5×5- used 15 lb plates
-bench press 5×5- started with barbell, then added 5lb, then 10lb
I stuck to basic moves that work large muscle groups. My goal is to master these moves with the heaviest weight I can use, then increase the weight. Gainz baby!
little barbell corner
look at that weight!! beast.
I tried the bench press! It was a big day for me apparently. The bench press is another piece of equipment I need more practice with. I can see it being challenging to bench heavy weights if you’re benching solo. I guess I’ll cross that bridge when (or if) I get there.
If you’re like me and scared of barbells, here are a couple ways to face those fears:
Try It- grab a barbell and play around with it- without weight at first. get used to how it feels before adding weight. When you add weight, start slow!
Ask someone for help- if you’re not sure how a piece of equipment works, ask someone who just used it or better yet, someone who works at the gym. I know that’s kinda scary, but I promise whoever you ask will be flattered and not irritated by you asking. You’re basically implying they’re a pro in your eyes so I swear they’ll be flattered.
Watch some videos and have a plan- First of all, take videos with a grain of salt. Just because something’s on YouTube doesn’t mean that person knows what they’re doing. That being said, there are lots of good videos and explanations on exercises. Watch some videos to familiarize yourself with the exercises before hitting the gym. Then face your fears and grab that barbell!
One thing I can almost guarantee with barbell workouts are you will feel like a badass. Even with teeny tiny muscles, you suddenly feel like the baddest of bodybuilders. Lifting heavy feels pretty good. It’s a great confidence booster I swear!
Do you use barbells at the gym?
I have no idea who came up with the concept of a “mug cake” but I like them a lot. So, whoever you are, thank you. The mug cake is pretty great because it’s easy (few ingredients, easy clean up), it’s usually delicious (um, cake), but it’s small (portion control, baby!). All good things, all good things.
Typically, when I make Paleo baked goods, I use some coconut flour which tends to suck the moisture out of anything so it’s a little risky. I used a tablespoon in this recipe and I would recommend even using slightly less (so like, barely a Tbsp.)
Mug cakes are those kinds of things that you may need to play around with in your kitchen. You can add whatever you’d like: chocolate chips, banana, maple syrup, cocoa powder, blueberries, etc. Whatever flavors you like. I think next time I’ll try some banana and chocolate chips! I would also recommend testing your microwave the first time. Maybe microwave for a minute, then 30 seconds, then 30 more seconds, etc. since all microwaves are different. Anyway, here’s the recipe I used:
Paleo Mug Cake
- 1 Tbsp almond flour
- 1 Tbsp of coconut flour (barely a Tbsp)
- 1 sprinkle cinnamon
- 1 tsp of vanilla
- 1 egg
- 1/2 Tbsp (or more) of honey
- 1 tsp of almond milk
- sprinkle of cacao nibs
I sprayed a little coconut oil in a mug then added the egg and beat it.
Next, I added the rest of the ingredients and mixed thoroughly. After everything was mixed, I just microwaved for 1 minute and 30 seconds (again, take it 1 minute at a time or even 30 seconds since all microwaves are different).
paleo mug cake…nom
Let cool for a couple minutes, then enjoy!!
Have you tried mug cakes? Any good recipes?
Let’s flashback to 5 years ago: my husband and I were living in Cleveland and I was attempting the Paleo diet for the first time. I received some Paleo “granola” and one of the ingredients was cacao. I paid no attention to the spelling and assumed it was cocoa (ko-ko). My husband pronounced it ka-cow and I laughed in his face! I loved that he was wrong because it so rarely happens (that is hard for me to admit). I seriously relished in this moment until he pointed out that he was actually right and I had just never ever heard of cacao. Ugh. Right again!
So, in case you’re like me, yes, cacao and cocoa are two different things. Confusing, right? Let’s talk about the differences:
First of all, cocoa and cacao come from the same tree so they start the same way. These trees grow pods on them and inside the pods are cacao beans. The difference comes in the way they are processed after being plucked from the pod.
Cocoa is what you grew up drinking during wintertime and what you (probably) bake with. Cocoa powder is made from extracting cacao from the cacao pods on the tree and processing it at a very high temperature. Because of the high temperatures it’s exposed to, cocoa powder loses some of the nutrients it would otherwise have in its’ raw form.
Cocoa powder is by no means unhealthy for you unless you’re buying a sweetened version. If you’re looking for the healthiest option though, raw cacao powder may be the way to go.
Cacao is the raw, relatively unprocessed form of the cacao bean. Whether you’re using cacao powder or nibs, both are high in antioxidants, fiber, healthy fats, and protein.
I bought Viva Labs Organic Cacao Nibsfrom Amazon. They were highly reviewed and a good price.
Besides the fact that cacao packs a nutritious punch, there are claims it does a million other things like reduces blood pressure, reduces stroke risk, boosts mood, is the fountain of youth, etc. You get the point. I don’t know about all those claims-they may or may not be true. But I do know it has lots of great fiber, good fats, and protein.
Raw cacao is definitely more expensive than cocoa powder, but you get more of a nutritious bang for your buck.
Cacao powder or nibs can be used however you would use cocoa powder or chocolate chips. Keep in mind though chocolate chips have added sugar, cacao nibs do not. They are not sweet. I would describe them as bitter? Which makes them sound terrible but they’re not I swear. Are chocolate chips better tasting? Yes, of course. Not gonna lie. But then of course you get a ton of added sugar…
I’ve never used cacao powder only the nibs. I like the nibs because they’re a great way to add a little crunch to an otherwise crunch-less dish. I typically put them in smoothies or sprinkle over fruit at night for dessert. They would also be great in oatmeal or in baked goods you were trying to healthify a little bit.
Ignore the close up of the date. Dates and peanut butter and amazing by the way. So are cacao nibs on top of smoothies!
Have you tried cacao? Thoughts?
I love Quest protein bars. They are just so delicious. Like, too delicious. They almost border on I-can’t-keep-them-in-my-house-because-I’ll-eat-them-all-in-one-day delicious.
Quest Protein Powder
Anyway, I was pretty pumped when the Quest folks came out with protein powder. Seems like a natural transition for them.
I follow the company on various social media platforms and they often have mini giveaways of new products. About a week ago, they gave away 2 individual packs of their chocolate and vanilla protein powder and I was one of the lucky few who received them. Yay!
**Quick disclaimer, these opinions are my own. Quest sent out samples to like, 1,000 people (whoever responded first I think) so this is not a sponsored post…I just thought you’d be curious how the powders taste!**
I haven’t tried vanilla yet. When I do, I will do a separate post on that. On to chocolate milkshake!
Protein Powder Stats
- 110 calories per serving (which is a scoop if you have the powder)
- 4 grams of carbs in 1 scoop
- 2 grams of fiber
- 23 grams of protein
- less than 1 gram of sugar
Pretty good stats! Lots of protein, fairly low in calories (some powders are much higher with similar amounts of protein), and low sugar.
The powder is made up of three different types of proteins: whey protein isolate, micellar casein, and milk protein isolate. Whey protein isolate has minimal lactose and almost zero fat content (more info here). Micellar casein protein is a slow digesting protein. This makes it great to consume before bed or when you know you won’t be refueling for a long time (more info here). Finally, milk protein isolate is a concentrated form of protein found from milk sources. I honestly couldn’t find much info on milk protein isolate so I’m not 100% clear on how it’s different than whey. Anyway, it has protein in it.
I’ll keep it simple: I liked it. It was good! I’m always skeptical to try new protein powders because, let’s be honest, a lot taste like chalk. Or other things I don’t want to eat.
I made a smoothie with the Quest powder, half a banana, and a little PB2. At first, I thought I’d just make one with only powder and water so I could really taste the powder. But then I decided I would make it exactly how I would make it had I bought the powder like a normal human being. I also added some cacao nibs for a little crunch!
Quest Protein Powder Smoothie with Cacao Nibs
It tasted nice and chocolatey- not too sweet or “fake sweet” tasting. The more I drank my smoothie, the more I liked it! It had a good chocolate taste, just what I wanted. All good things, all good things (anyone recognize that from Frozen? Olaf? Ha!)
It’s a little pricey. They are $39.99 for a 2lb. canister ($19.99/pound). To compare, you can find a great 5lb. whey protein powder for about $57 ($11.4/pound) dollars. If you like to try different products, then give it a shot! But, by all means, if you feel like you found your “one and only” protein powder, then maybe save a few bucks and stick to what you know and love.
I feel like I’m biased to like their powder only because I love their protein bars. The bars are just greatness. They are pricey too but they suck me in every time….
Anyway, I’ll review their vanilla flavor in a few days!
What is your favorite protein powder?
I am a big ol’ fan of this workout. I don’t love working out my legs because they’re my weakest body part, that being said, I want my glutes to grow. Yes, my booty. Grow booty grow! Obviously, it’ll be hard to grow that booty if I never work out my legs. So, I’ve been doing some research on glute exercises and threw a great workout together yesterday.
Booty burner! Grow that booty!
I have to give credit where credit is due. I found the medicine ball tabata on another blog: Run Pretty (full workout found: http://runprettyblog.com/medicine-ball-tabata/). (Sorry about the URL This is difficult on an iPad). This was only half of the workout and I was more than satisfied. My arms are sore today by the way. Ugh, tabatas. Here’s a breakdown of each move:
Burpees with push-up- perform a regular burpee but holding a medicine ball the entire time. When you do your pushup, hands are on the ball.
Plank jacks- hands on ball in pushup or plank position. Jump feet out wide then jump back together.
Squat jumps- regular squat jumps except holding a medicine ball. When you jump, bring ball up overhead.
So, go through each move 8 times- 20 seconds of work followed by a 10 second rest, then move onto the next exercise.
On to the booty! I performed these exercises as supersets so once I went through 1 round of the first exercise, I immediately moved onto the next. Here’s a breakdown:
Lunge Walks with Kickback- I did a total of 10 reps on both legs. So, once I lunged forward, I lifted up the back leg and squeezed the cheek! I’ve done lunge walks plenty of times but this is the first time I incorporated a kickback. It burns the cheek I tell ya!
Split Squat on Bench- 3×10 on both legs. The picture shows this move on a stability ball which you can absolutely do. The stability ball will make the move more difficult. I find split squats pretty challenging to begin with so I would recommend starting with your foot on a bench or other stable surface. Once you’re in place with your back foot resting on a bench, squat down keeping that knee behind your toes, then back up. These are tough: your quad will burn, your butt will burn, everything will burn eventually. Love it. (I also look like I’m leaning forward in this picture, try not to do that).
Hip Thrusts with Weight-3×15. Again, I show these on a stability ball which you can do or you can rest on a bench if you’re at the gym. Rest your head, neck, and shoulders on a bench and place a weight (I think I used 15lb.) on your lower abs. Come up into a bridge squeezing your glutes. From there, lower your butt down almost touching the floor, then back up squeezing the cheeks. If you wanted to make these harder, try one leg at a time.
Single Leg Deadlift- 3x 10 both legs. I love deadlifts. I just really feel like these are working my hamstrings and glutes. Start on your right leg. Once you have your balance, hinge forward at the waist lifting your left leg off the ground and keeping your back straight (no hunching over), then use your right hamstring and glute to bring your upper body back up to standing. If this is too difficult, try it with both legs instead.
Bench Step-Ups- 3×10 both legs. Another tough one! Place your right foot on top of a bench and keep it there the entire time. Step up and lift the left foot off the ground. Gently tap the bench with your left foot and lower back down gently touching the ground, then back up again.
Curtsy Lunge with Bicep Curl-3×10 both legs. Start standing holding dumbbells in both hands. With your left leg, lunge backwards and towards the right so your’re in a “curtsy” position. At the same time, perform a bicep curl, then push off your right foot back to standing. Then perform on the right.
Hi shit eating grin! This is me trying to “act natural” in front of the camera. Ha!
Anyway, My booty was sore for a couple days!! Let me know if you have any questions or if you try it!
It has been snowing nonstop here. I guess I can’t complain much..we do live in Colorado. This winter has been so warm so we’ve been spoiled (sorry East coast).
The snow absolutely makes me want to make comfort food. Like, hearty stews and cornbread. Yum. Well, sadly I didn’t have either of those things around so I made stuffed red peppers!!
Originally, I was going to go low-carbish and just stuff them with veggies and meat but I added some rice so it’s a little heartier and feels more like a full meal.
This is really easy to make but you do have to allow yourself some time. It probably took me like, 45 minutes total? I found a moment earlier in the evening so I cooked the meat and veggie mixture so all I needed to do later was stuff and cook the peppers. Here’s what I used:
Sausage Stuffed Peppers
- 1lb. ground meat (we used Elk meat that is already seasoned with italian seasoning so you could either buy meat pre-seasoned or add your own italian style seasonings)
- carrots, chopped (I eyeballed this, so just add as many carrots as you’d like! I chopped baby carrots)
- half an onion, chopped
- 1 bag of 10 minute boil-in-a-bag brown rice (I love these!!)
- marina sauce to taste
- 6 red peppers, tops cut off and seeds removed
So, like I said I cooked the meat mixture first adding everything including the marina sauce and just cooking the meat through.
I only had four red peppers but this filling is enough for at least 6. Peppers won’t typically stand upright so I cut off the bottoms of a few to keep them from spilling over.
Once I was ready to actually cook dinner, I added the peppers to boiling water just for 3 minutes to soften them up a bit. Once they were dry and cool, I stuffed those puppies!
stuffed red peppers
I cooked them for 10 minutes at 350 degrees, then added parmesan cheese and cooked for another 10 minutes. That’s it!
Please excuse these awful pictures. I swear this tasted good. I need to get back to using my good camera!
I have really been liking my coffee lately. Like, really liking it.
In my previous life (AKA before I had kids..yes, I blame them ) I was so good at drinking enough water. It was kind of like second nature. I would gulp down tons of water throughout the day and never think twice about it.
Now, for some reason, finishing 1 bottle of water a day is a victory for me. A couple of cups of coffee? No problem.
I think my biggest issue these days is I really like coffee. I want to drink it all the time. Call it an addiction (it is) but I think I also just genuinely like it more than water. I mean, it’s delicious so what’s not to like?
So, you get the point: I like coffee. That’s all well and good but I am realizing that I should probably try and sneak more water in there somewhere.
Water bottles for the day=about 80 ounces or more
I did a Clean Eating Challenge group on Facebook a couple weeks back and posted in there on ways we can all drink more water. These are a couple tips that I find helpful:
- Fill Up Water Bottles- Like my pretty picture? Me and my photo apps. They’re so fun! Anyway, if you set a water consumption goal for the day, fill up water bottles and keep them in your fridge so you see them every time you open it. This makes it easy. Your goal for the day is to finish those water bottles!
- Use a Timer- If you’re at work all day or out and about and can’t lug around a million water bottles, set an alarm on your phone reminding you to drink your water!
- Use an App-If you’re an app kinda gal (or guy), there are “hydration” apps out there where you can track how much water you’ve drank throughout the day. You can set whatever goal you have and the app will remind you and log your consumption. Pretty great (as long as you use it!). Some app ideas are WaterMinder ($.99 cents) and Water Alert (Free).
- Spiff it Up- I think a lot of people complain that water is boring. It is, especially when compared to all the other yummy drinks out there. So let’s lively it up!! Lemon is an old standby and for good reason: it’s delicious and healthy. You can get creative though too and add some fruit, other veggies, or even herbs and spices like mint or cilantro.
I’m literally drinking coffee as I write this by the way, but I swear I’m on to water after I’m done!
Any tricks for drinking more water?
This workout is really focused on your upper body. The burpees in between each exercise is a great way to get a little cardiovascular workout in (which burns mucho calories). The focus is primarily on your chest, triceps, and shoulders but all three of these moves work your entire body, especially your core.
This workout can be done at home- no equipment required. Just show up with that sweet bod of yours…that’s all you need! Here’s the workout:
Here’s some information on a couple of the moves (if you have any other questions let me know!):
Burpees with tuck jump- I’m going to guess you are probably familiar with a burpee. So, once you’re coming up out of the burpee, when you usually do a jump, jump up in the air bringing your knees up towards your chest. Then, when you land go right into the next burpee.
Triceps Dips- You might be familiar with these too. These can be performed on the ground or the edge of a bench, chair, etc. If you want to make these more challenging, lift one leg up then switch legs after 15 seconds.
Judo Push-Ups- These are so great. They are a little hard to explain though so here are a couple links to explanations (here and a video here).
It’s short and sweet but should burn your arms and get your heart pounding!
I have been wanting to make cauliflower pizza crust for so long! I finally took the plunge.
It’s not hard to make but it does take some time. You know how I feel about long, drawn out recipes: usually not a fan. But I figured it was Sunday night…SNL 40th reunion show was on…why not spend a little time in the kitchen and make something fun? My husband of course was wondering why not make actual pizza, but he knows I like to torture him with my “weird food.”
I used a recipe I found on Pinterest via The Lucky Penny Blog (link is here). I altered it slightly only because I didn’t have all the ingredients. I wish I had mozzarella cheese…next time!
Cauliflower Pizza Crust
- 1 head of cauliflower, grated (I grated in the food processor. I’m sure you could use a hand grater too) I had a big cauliflower so it yielded close to 4 cups.
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 1/2 Tbsp almond flour
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- 1 egg
- 1 egg white
After grating the cauliflower, I cooked it in the microwave (covered) for 4 minutes. Once it was cool enough, I wrapped it in a towel and squeezed the hell out of it. You want to try and get as much water out as possible!
I got close to 1/2 cup of water! No one wants a soggy pizza.
Next, I mixed all the ingredients together in a bowl. Then I placed the dough on greased parchment paper and molded it into a pizza crust.
It felt really wet to me still so I blotted it with a paper towel.
I cooked the crust for about 12 minutes at 450 degrees. I would recommend checking it off and on because oven’s are different. It’s good to go once it starts to brown a little bit.
Once the crust was done, I added the toppings!! I threw some tomato sauce, spinach, olives, ground elk sausage, and parmesan cheese on top. I cooked it for another 8 minutes or until the cheese was bubbly.
Please excuse my crapptastic pictures.
Served with roasted carrots!!
This really did turn out great. I swear cauliflower still reigns supreme in the vegetable world. Is there anything it can’t do?
The texture was good. You do have to support your piece of pizza though with your whole hand. If you don’t, it will probably fall apart so be warned (this could have been something I did too). The taste was great though. No complaints at all.
I will absolutely make this again but do feel like I need to plan it in advance since it takes some time. Maybe I will make a few crusts next time and freeze some? That would be a huge time saver. We ate the whole damn thing too so I’d like to have leftovers next time :).