New Blog, New Me

Yep, this post is about baked tofu. Let that sink in for a minute. Baked tofu… 

Sounds good? No? Lol. I think most people would turn their nose up at such a thing, especially if they have never had it! But Ive found a several ways to prepare it and I think its actually pretty good. (Why tofu? You can read about the benefits here.) Baked like this gave a brown crust, paprika added a smoky flavor and it reminded me of nuggets. So hey, dont knock it until you try it. ;)

Baked Tofu Bites

Baked Tofu

I dont know that this will be much of a typical recipe because I didn’t measure the spices. If you’re the kind of cook that needs exact measurements, go ahead and use your favorite store bought spice mix – it’ll be ok!)

Package extra firm tofu
Favorite spices (I used sea salt, paprika, ground cumin, and chili powder.)
Olive oil

Prepare the tofu by removing it from the package and pressing it in between two plates to remove the excess water. Cut into cubes. Whisk together spices and olive oil, coat the tofu cubes. Place in a single layer on a backing sheet. Bake at 425 for 30 mins, flipping half way through, or until nice and brown!

I topped mine with hot sauce and parsley, dipped in mustard. This was one package of tofu and according to the 21 Day Fit Extreme program that Im on, it served 2. Cut in sticks, like french fries, and places in a zip lock bag, these would make for a really easy on-the-go snack.

Whats the 21DFX?

While my focus recently has been on health, a portion of that does have to do with my weight and I know that where Im at now simply is not best for my body. Since the birth of baby num 3, Ive lost 30 lbs but the beginning of this year I hit a standstill even though I still have the goal of losing 50 (ish) more lbs. Instead of getting discouraged and giving up because it wasnt happening, last week I pulled the trigger on a great fitness program that will hopefully put me even closer to my goal!

The program is 21 Day Fit Extreme and it focuses on exercise along with nutrition. As the title suggests, its only for 21 days but the short length of time is made up by the intensity of the program. I like a challenge and this most definitely fits the bill. The exercise portion is pretty easy to follow, you do the assigned workout every single day. In place of a rest day there is a yoga ‘active recovery’ day (good for me because I <3 yoga). The diet portion is a little more complicated but sooo worth it! Its based off a recommended calorie bracket and corresponding containers you use to measure out your food. The food segment is where I really want to challenge myself!

For the past 3 years I have been vegetarian (dont eat animals but still eat egg/dairy). A decision I made for mostly health reasons vs ethical reasons. (Full disclosure, with the rare occasion of eating sushi or seafood, which is not something I really do anymore because seafood is still eating animals.) With this program I am really trying to focus on getting all of the animal products out of my diet. 21 DFX with a Vegan slant! That means no butter, eggs, cheese, milk… A clean, plant based diet!

Why? Well this something my husband posted on my Facebook, a year ago today!

OTD

I remember this! I was overdue with our baby Joseph and went grocery shopping one last time before my induction (scheduled for the 2nd), whereupon I picked up these lovely items at the grocery store: stuffed crust pizza (I picked off & threw away the frozen pepperoni, ew I know), jalapeno poppers, nutella, and oreos. Having the label of ‘vegetarian’ doesnt necessarily mean that you eat healthy and when you eat this crap all the time instead of rarely, no bueno. Believe it or not, this was me eating better then how I had been eating a meat eater! Eating better but not great. Its easy to fall into those same bad eating traps and changing those habits has taken some time.

So thats where the 21 Day Fix Vegan Extreme comes into play. Really focusing on what exactly Im eating and the effort I put into exercising to see some awesome weight loss results! (Plus, we are going down to the Keys for vacation and I have no shame to admit that I want to look as hot as possible in my bathing suit! Hahaha.)

21dfx

Where are my abs?

Im happy to report, as an update to the post I made last time, my ab challenge is complete! Have I come away with a super ripped 6 pack? Suuuure, but its hiding underneath my mommy tummy. LOL. No, I cant say that Ive now magically got a flat stomach but I CAN say I learned something pretty awesome…

The challenge was a fun way for my fit friends and I to encourage others to join us in exercising. But here’s the thing, in order to help someone else you must first help yourself! I learned that when I put my mind to something, I can accomplish great things. I told myself (and the world of Instagram) that for two weeks I would be exercising every day, would post a video (or pic) of that day’s ab move, and invited others to join me. Did I feel like doing it every.single.day.?! Nope. But I did it anyways. Did I feel like posting a video of myself working out?! Heck NO! Me posting exercise moves for the one area of my body that Im most insecure about does not sound like a fun thing to do. How about you putting on blast, for everybody & their mama to see, your deepest insecurities about the way you look. I was very nervous when I started and had plenty of excuses about why I shouldnt even bother doing it.

“What if someone says something mean to me, what if I look like an idiot, what if I do the moves wrong, what if I miss a day, what if you can see my fat, what if you can see me struggling…”

For me the ab challenge wasnt about learning some cool workout moves, it was about challenging myself to change the way I think and feel. Be brave! Work hard! Dont quit! Thats what I learned from the ab challenge. And to address the insecure thoughts in my head.. I didnt get a single mean, rude, or off putting comment. Not a one. In fact it was quite the opposite because I got plenty of positive feedback.

So the next time I host a challenge (and yes, there will be more) I encourage you to not only participate, but to also post pics/videos of yourself working it with us. You might learn something about yourself & gain more then just a 6 pack!

((Ill keep the ab moves up on my IG, if you want to go back and review them))

ab challenge

I could use a little help in the mommy tummy department, its by far my biggest problem area. I know this and accept it but that doesnt mean I have to like it. Lol. So I signed up to host a 2 week June ab challenge with some of my fit friends. What a better way to get fit then with some awesome like-minded women and a little friendly competition! (Plus.. theres a prize! Free stuff, who doesnt like free stuff!)

Starting today, June 1st-June 14th we will be posting 1 ab move a day on Instagram. I also wanted to post on my blog to share my progress. (If you wated to join is, head over to IG here to get more details.)

Today’s Day 1 ab pose is the Two Point Plank. It increases core strength and stability…and you end up looking like superwoman! Alternate lifting hands and legs (right hand + left leg and then left hand + right leg), hold it for as long as you can, and repeat!

two point plankTry the plank position (top pic) but if you need, the modification is to simply go down to your knees (bottom pic). I can hold the plank but prefer the mod because I feel more comfortable and my form is much better. However, I do like to always push myself so I did the plank for as long as I could hold it with still having good form. It ended being only a few seconds, but at least I tired! Hopefully by the end of this challenge I will be able to hole it a little longer. I know that if I keep practicing, even past the 2 weeks, that Ill only get better and work up to not needing the mod at all!

Im at the lake today so I was able to get my workout in outside. What a better way to work on my summer abs then in the sand, with the beautiful lake behind me! This mama needs all the motivation she can get.

Look whos writing again! I had some inspiration today, in the form of a sweet friend asking me to post this recipe from an Instagram lunch post. {HEY girl!!} Lunch was pretty basic, I havent gone to the grocery store this week so I have very little in my kitchen to choose from. I guess that makes for some super simple, yet creative meals. Lol.

carrot and pea salad

Carrot and Sweet Pea Salad
2 large carrot sticks
1/2 frozen sweet peas
3 Tbsp Hemp seeds
Balsamic Drizzle

Using a vegetable peeler, shred the carrots being careful to not nick your fingers! (Or use a vegetable spiralizer, that would make life a lot easier). Cook the sweet peas per the bag instructions (I heated mine up for 4 mins). Mix peas and carrots. Sprinkle with hemp seeds (I use Manitoba Harvest, it adds 10g of protein!). Squirt the balsamic drizzle on top, using a delicate touch because its concentrated and comes out fast. Eat and enjoy!

carrot and pea salad

Hey there! I haven’t felt too inspired to write lately but as Im currently trying to search through recipes for this next week’s meals I thought Id share! You know, in case any of yall wanted to do a meatless Monday or even a meatless Monday-Sunday with me! ;) (Hey, a veggie girl can hope.)

Anyways, Im kind of in a bit of a food rut so instead of trying to come up with something of my own, Im searching through foodie blogs for inspiration. My absolute favorite vegan (no animal products as all) foodie is Happy Herbivore, I have several of her cook books and have found most everything Ive made from hers is delish.. Plus, unlike a lot of other vegan cookbooks I have from different authors, HH is really easy to follow with not a lot of odd ingredients. Easy and fast is exactly what Im looking for.

Breakfast
Chocolate Vegan Shakeology with Unsweetened Coconut Milk

Lunch
Caribbean Peas & Rice
Cassoulet

Dinner
Crockpot 3 Bean and Corn Chili
Chickpea Cacciatore with Italian Veggies

I know cooking all that sounds like a lot at first but Ive found that if I don’t, I end up ordering a cheese, tomato, and jalapeño pizza for dinner. (Ugh!) Ill get too busy with my day and then by the time dinner rolls around, the last thing I want to do is to think of something healthy to cook & actually fix it. To remedy that problem – today is planning the meals and tomorrow is making the meals, then Ill be all set for the rest of the week. It is a lot of work up front but it really does help me stay on track.

healthy eating

Give it a try?

News flash, it’s almost April. You know what that means? Summer is nearing! This summer I will have a child who turns 10 and will then be in the double digits for age. The baby will turn 1 and will be on his way to walking and talking. Insane! And we will be celebrating these birthdays in the Florida Keys! Key Largo, here I come! … Bathing suit season … Here. I. Come.

I know I’m not the only one trying to get that sexy summer bod! ;) Hows it going out there? It’s way too easy for me to give into ordering take out or eating out so my diet got a little wonky the past two weeks. Planning and preparing meals in advance solves that problem completely! (Along with observing a little self-control and actually eating what you plan.)

Last week I ordered some food trays to use for meal prep, they come divided into 3 sections but there are other variations you can get as well (I might order the bowl style for stir fries). I ordered them from Amazon, here. It’s kind of a thoughtless meal, like a frozen TV dinner kind of thing, but hopefully you don’t fill it with crappy food. I like that there’s room for everything – all your protein, carbs, and veggies.

The packaging says you can also freeze them so cook in bulk, divide meals up in the trays, freeze, and take out for a quick meal later on. Pretty darn helpful for example, a pregnant lady wanting to eat healthy meals after the baby comes. Or if you have to go out of town and leave your hubby at home, he will be able to survive without suffering through whole days of nothing but coffee, Hot Pockets, and Ramen Noodles (YEP, my poor husband).

Yesterday I had some free time while the baby was napping and the other 2 kids were playing, to tackle this task. It was pretty simple but did require a chunk of time to get it all done. Beans, veggies, and sweet potatoes. That’s it! Im still learning but I hope to get pretty good at this meal prep business. If you don’t already, you should give it a try!

What I wish my meal prep looks like…

IMG_8666

… What my mealprep really looks like!

IMG_8659

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