Thursday, January 26, 2012

Now how about those amazing cookies...the gluten free ones?!?

Wow - the week AGAIN ~ is completely getting away from me and my "To-Do" list is getting longer and longer.  This is my busiest quarter of the year, so things are hectic, I am not getting enough sleep and my goals feel like they are slipping away.

My goal of dropping the 7 lbs I put on from all of my injuries last year is getting harder because I am not sleeping enough or eating well enough and I am certainly smart enough to know that working out alone will never get me there.

My goal of teaching more of the classes that I love and I get excited for is still in the works...though I am going to give myself a little credit here - we are just in January.

In any event, I need to get back to the purpose of this blog post before I get too tired and this ends up a draft for another 2 weeks.

Here are those amazing, gluten free cookies that I believe I have finally perfected and they taste SO yummy!

Coco-Choco-Chia-Almond Cookies!
DRY Ingredients:
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/3 c. almond flour/meal
1/3 c. quinoa flour
1/2 tsp. Celtic sea salt
1/2 tsp. Baking soda

WET Ingredients:
1/3 c. Coconut sugar
3 eggs
1 egg white
1/4 c. Coconut oil (melted)
1/4 grass fed butter
enjoy life chocolate chips
2 tsp vanilla

mix dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately first before blending. I also add 2 heaping Tbl of chia seeds. I bake @ 325 until cooked brown - these take awhile - more like 13 minutes. They are good and packed with fiber from the coconut flour and chia seeds.


Monday, January 16, 2012

What's for Dinner? What this busy mom does...not always mom approved, but it works!

When I think about when I grew up, my mom stayed at home.  Sure she babysat kids during the day, but she was always there before school and after school.  She was always there to help with homework, she always made dinner...which we all had together and it seems like she always managed to have us bathed and into bed by 7:00(pm) and the house was clean no later.  Oh yes, and we didn't have money for a gym membership back then - and honestly I am wondering if many people went to gyms back then.  In any event, my mom was up just before 6(am) in her leotard and tights, exercising to Joannie Greggins (remember her, I do as I started doing this with my mom too).  My mom was a tough act to follow, she was sweet, nurturing, loving and one of the most loved people I knew.  She wasn't June Cleaver, but she was top notch.

Fast forward to 2012 and I am not that kind of mom.  Sometimes I wish I could be, but other times I know that I am wired differently and would not be a good stay at home mom.  How am I completely different?  I work - A LOT - too much - and I commute TOO long (for me, some people are okay with commuting, for me, I don't like wasting the day getting from one place to the next).  I do my best with meals, homework, play dates, etc.  Our house is not always spotless and the laundry is often only half put away.  I love things to be clean all of the time, but I am not around often enough to get them done.  I was going seriously go nuts, so I had to create a short list of what I needed to have cleaned each week: 
- Kitchen
- Living Room
- Main Bathroom
- All floors mopped
- All laundry washed, folded and put away (this is a lofty goal in our house)

Doesn't seem too bad right?   It seems like I do the above 4 times over the weekend.  Because time is tight and we have to get two kids from two separate cities in the evening (I will have to share the reasoning for that another day), so all grocery shopping is usually done on Saturdays.  If I can, I try to bring along one of the kids or both of them to give my husband a break because he takes them to karate and has them in the morning while I teach.  You working moms know that when you are carving out time, how important it is to try and balance things out with your husband so neither of you grows resentful.  Honestly - it still happens, each parent feels like they are doing so much more than the other.  I get it - it's what busy working parents do.  So I am constantly trying to remind myself that no matter how busy I think things are for me, they are often just as busy for my husband.  His strengths are different from mine, but equally important to our family.

What's for dinner is usually stuff that I toss together from food prepped on the weekends.  I have picky kids, which means there is only a portion of what we eat that the kids will also eat.  I have one kid who will only eat brown rice with black beans and another who hates beans and only eats brown rice with brown rice becomes a staple for the meal.  Here are some food preps that I do on Sundays for the week:

(1) Big pot of brown rice, I brown onions and garlic in coconut oil, add rice, turmeric, paprika, 2 Tbsp fresh chopped tomatoes, chili powder & salt/pepper to taste.  I cook in chicken broth.  It is the same as cooking regular rice - 1 cup rice to 2 cups broth.  I cook on low so that the brown rice is tender.
(2) Baked Chicken - marinate the chicken for several hours in the refrigerator with olive oil, minced garlic, salt& pepper.  I take it out of the marinade, brush with melted coconut oil and bake @ 375 until cooked all the way through.  It is really tender.  This adds well to lettuce tacos, chopped in quesadillas for the kids (rice tortillas as we are gluten free), chopped on salad, etc - this is a staple in our house as myself and the kids don't eat red meat or seafood (don't ask).
(3) Roasted vegetables - I make these as they pair well with most meals and are also flavorful to add to veggie scrambles.  When not doing the sugar detox, I usually roast beets, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, shallots, broccoli, zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes and asparagus.  Right now I am just doing shallots, broccoli, zucchini, squash and tomatoes.
(4) Shredded Fresh Vegetables - I used my small food processor to shred vegetables: squash, zucchini, celery, carrots all to add to salad. 
(5) Raw Kale Salad - this is the season for kale and I love raw kale salad.  Here is the dressing that I make: 1 T Sesame Oil, 1/8 C Olive Oil, 1/8 C + 1T Rice Vinegar, 1 T Sesame Seeds, 1 T Raw Honey, fresh cracked pepper and a pinch of Celtic sea salt.  Mix the dressing, pour over and let it sit for about an hour.  The kale salad is the curly green leaves, shredded purple cabbage and shredded carrots.   Sometimes for lunch I take this and add a liberal amount of mixed greens, raw vegetables and chicken to make a big salad that is really filling.
(6) Coconut Almond Chocolate Chip balls/Cookies - So I make these each week and freeze them.  I give some to our neighbor and our kids have them for dessert in the evenings.  Here is the current recipe, which I have been testing for a really long time:  WET Ingredients (mix together): 1/4 C melted grassfed butter, 1/4 C melted coconut oil, 1 regular egg, 2 egg whites, 1 T vanilla, 1/3 C palm sugar.  DRY Ingredients (mix together): 1 C coconut flour, 1/3 C almond meal, 1/4 tsp Celtic sea salt, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 2 T chia seeds.  Mix dry and wet ingredients and then I add 1/2 bag dark chocolate chips (70% or higher).  Coconut flour is crumbly so you need to make small balls with the dough (not too tight).  I don't make these very big as coconut flour is dense.  Bake @ 375 for about 10 minutes until just brown on the top of the cookies (if you take these out too soon, they will be doughy inside).  This makes about 2 dozen or so cookies and my picky kids love them.
(7) Pre-made Grilled Cheese and Quesadillas - I usually pre-make a few of these and add them to lunches.  My daughter's school can heat up lunches which is great.  I usually warm my son's and put it into his thermos to stay warm.  Since we are gluten free, we use rice tortillas and bread.
(8) Cheesy Pasta - this is a staple for our kids.  I use quinoa pasta, one cooked, I add in 1T grass-fed butter & liberal olive oil and mix.  Then I add cheese and cook on low heat.  When my son was little, he used to love the Mac & Cheese from Rigolo in San Francisco and one day I asked the chef how it was made: butter, olive oil & Gruyere cheese - simple, yet super tasty.
(9) Bacon - I put the entire pack on a tray and broil, then chop for later use for salads, romaine lettuce tacos, for my husband to add to chili (he does a mean, spicy turkey chili).  I also save the bacon fat which he uses as it adds a really smokey, flavorful taste to food.
(10) Wash, cut & portion out fruit - I make sure that all fruit is cut and in small containers for easy grab and go for kids lunches.
(11) Turkey or Chicken rolled around Mozzarella Sticks - it's really hard to get my son to eat enough food during the day, which then often leads to a very unsuccessful 2nd half of the school day.  I try to keep it simple and sometimes he eats, sometimes he doesn't.  I get presliced Applegate roasted turkey or chicken and wrap it around a mozzarella stick for his lunch.  He will usually eat these and they pack a protein punch. 
(12) Chia Seed French Toast - I bake french toast for the week for the kids and freeze.  We take out slices in the morning, heat and serve with grade B pure maple syrup.  The french toast is just a mix of eggs, milk, vanilla and cinnamon.  I top with ground flax seeds and chia seeds and bake @ 375 - you have to test this out as I don't watch the clock exactly, but maybe around 12-15 minutes, I turn it over and bake for another 10 minutes.  The kids have this and yogurt in the morning - so we know that they are getting a decent breakfast before they head to school.

For my personal food success, I have to prep all my food for the week and portion size everything so I don't eat when I am hungry and am pulling together the meals for the kids in the evenings.  So in addition to the above, I do all of the following for just me on the weekend:

(13) Veggie Scramble - Egg yolks are on my food sensitivity, so I only use the whites: Coconut oil to heat and cook chopped zucchini, yellow squash and minced garlic, add a liberal amount of spinach, chopped tomatoes, green chillies, Spanish olives.  Once all are cooked to where the spinach is soft, I add in about 4 egg whites and cook.  I repeat this 5 times (or if you have lots of pans, you can do bigger batches) for morning breakfasts.
(14) Baked Apple, Blueberry Crepe - I tend to love a breakfast sweeter food in the evening, so this I love in the evenings after have the scramble and large salad in the morning.  The crepe mix is simply egg whites, unsweetened almond milk, vanilla, cinnamon and added coconut flour.  The mix isn't too thick so not a lot of coconut flour.  For the apples, I baked them until soft with added vanilla and cinnamon - best aroma in the house.  I make the crepe and add in the baked apples and about 8 fresh blueberries and fold it over.  This is sweet enough from the apple and blueberries, so you don't need to add anything else.  BTW - I use coconut oil for cooking.

Hope the above is helpful and while it is a lot of work, it makes the craziness of the weekdays a lot easier.  I usually cut and wash all fruit on Saturday evening during movie night and then do a lot of the cooking early morning Sunday and afternoon post-run (while food is cooking, I do laundry, sweep, clean bathroom - basic mommy multi-tasking). 

~ Amy

Friday, January 13, 2012

Welcome to Crossfit!

Yes, it is true, I have joined the community of Crossfitters.  Why, some ask as I am a fitness instructor.  My answer, it is because I am a fitness instructor that I was dying to join. Because I also have a full-time desk job, when I teach is generally the only time that I get to workout ~ which is less than ideal.  When you teach, the focus is on your students, their form, their movement and their modifications.

I wanted to join last year, but my husband said I didn't need to because I teach all of the time.  I conceded and was silently envious of his trips to our local Crossfit gym.  I would see him come home drenched in sweat, riding on the endorphine high of a workout that kicked his butt...all along I was wishing to ride that same endorphine high.

I'll admit it, I am a total endorphinoholic.  I bank on that ride to get me through my day and I just haven't had it for a really long time...such a bummer.

Lucky me, I scored a Living Social deal to Ross Valley Crossfit - WOOT WOOT...all the way back in October.  I fractured ankle, followed by two broken toes kept me from my envious all along that I might someday be able to use my Living Social Deal.

2012 is a new year and FINALLY, I claimed my I am wondering why the HELL I waited so long (oh yeah, injuries) to "Play."  Play?  Yes, for me this is Play time.  Time to have fun doing what I enjoy doing  Time just to focus on me.  This busy mom is going to carve out this time so I can be a better instructor and I can start to hit my personal goals.

So I have made it through week 1 and while I can only carve out 2 days a week to get it done, I am doing that and I am loving it!  Coach Nick (one of the owners) is really awesome and the community of members, equally fantastic.  If you haven't checked out RVCF, you should.  Who DOESN'T love chain squats?!? Way to get that core engaged and those gluts fired up.  Both this morning and Wednesday morning I woke up feeling sore ~ not that sore that I get from not getting enough sleep and my entire body aches - that kind of sore that tells you that you WORKED - really WORKED.

I am looking forward to getting on track with my fitness and nutrition goals in 2012.  I am looking forward to that next WOD.  I am looking forward to having someone push me to be the best me.  I am looking forward to having my ass handed to me and to working so hard that I collapse.

Welcome to Crossfit to me!  Welcome to sore...seriously, sore never felt so good.  Welcome to a new and better me!  GAME ON!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Sugar Detox ~ Quick Workouts ~ Cutting Corners

Happy Sunday Everyone!  Happy because I have my Peets coffee in hand.  Happy because half the food prep work for the week is done.  Happy because the bathroom is already clean and all that is left is mopping.  Happy because it is January and the weather is topping the high 60s ~ nothing like a 8 mile run in shorts and a tank in January.

Wow - how sad is it that I started this post on Sunday morning and am trying to finish it at 5(am) on Wednesday morning.

As a busy mom and fitness instructor I have been trying to find ways to carve out time for myself, get in quick workouts when I can and also get through the 21-Day Sugar Detox.   Here are my quick tips for busy moms/parents:

Workouts - keep them short, but really intense - 30 minutes or less works if you really kick your own butt.  These can be all body weight, some weights, whatever you can do.  There are some basic exercises that I like to include in all workouts because being able to do these exercises effectively really helps with every day life chore/activities:
- Squats
- Pushups
- Burpees
- V-Ups

You can download the Tabata Timer onto your computer and do 30/30 or 60/30 or 50/10 depending on your fitness level (first number is working as hard as you can/second number is recovery time).

I post regular workouts on my fitness website @ - check them out.  Start at a level that works for you and don't get discouraged.

Cutting Corners - this is basically food prep work.  I wash all vegetables and fruit, I baked and cook in large batched.  I use a food processor the cut vegetables for salads in the evening.  I bake several chicken breasts on Sunday while cleaning, laundry, etc and add these to dinners for everyone.  I make a large batch of brown rice with chicken broth, onion, garlic, salsa added, tumeric, chili powder & paprika - it's not too spicey for the kids, but flavorful for my husband.  I bake healthy versions of cookies for the kids as snacks for the week.  I pack all lunches the night before while putting dinner together so everything can be grab and go the next day.  I pack all backpacks the night before as well. 

Sugar Detox - check out my fitness blog for recipes and updates as I am trying to post there regularly.  Also, like my Facebook page @!/pages/BASE-Fitness-Marin/120869794663976


2 Fit Mommy Approved Recipes that Pack a Nutritional Punch

Busy schedules mean easy meals to avoid hitting the candy dish at work or grabbing sugar/processed packed "energy" bars.  I wanted to offer up some recipes that pack a serious nutritional punch, are tasty, can be made in advance and are great breakfast options.  I have to pack all of my breakfast/lunch/snacks into a bag @ 5:30(am) so this takes a little advance planning to grab and go, but it is worth it.

Coconut Packed Shake - I blend and freeze this the night before and then take it out of the freezer in the morning.  I drink it as it thaws over the course of the morning.  It's super filling and tastes good.  No sugar added and the 1/2 frozen barely ripe banana kills the taste of the spinach and kale for those of you who are not fans of "green" drinks. 
- 4 ounces water
- 8 ounces unsweetned coconut milk
- 2 tsp coconut butter (I love Artisana brand)
- 2 T shredded coconut
- 1 tsp chia seeds
- 1 tsp flax seeds
- 1/2 frozen banana - just barely ripe (I peel a few of them and freeze them in a ziploc bag)
- 1 tsp Maca Root Powder - I really like MacaForce
- 2 tsp Spirulina
- 1 tsp Chlorella
- 2 tsp fresh ground almond butter.  I like grounding it myself at Whole Foods, if the machine is down (which happens sometimes) grab Artisana brand - there is nothing added and it is tasty
- 2 cups spinach
- 1 cup kale

Frittatta sans the Potatoes
- sliced yellow squash
- sliced zucchini
- finely chopped kale
- loose baby spinach
- shallots
- bacon fat (gives this a smokey taste, but you can use coconut oil or ghee)
- fresh salsa
- tumeric
- paprika
- cayenne
- pinch of celtic salt
- fresh ground pepper to taste
- garlic
- eggs (whites)

I put ghee, bacon fat or coconut oil to soften the shallots and garlic.  They I lay down pieces of squash and zucchini so they cover the entire pan and then just add kale and spinach.  I put a top on and let everything cook a bit (about 5 minutes or so) - then I add the salsa and egg whites (I have sensitivities to egg yolks, but you could add one yolk and a few whites for the added nutrition) and seasoning and then I cover and let it cook on medium low heat until it is relatively firm.  I use a pizza slicer to cut into 4 sections and then I turn it over to firm up the other side.

I pair this with mixed greens or kale salad and raw vegetables and it is really yummy.  Each one is about 2 servings, make two and you have lunch for most of the week.