Ring in the New Year with New (Healthy Plant-Based) Recipes

The New Year is always a great time to realign fitness goals and reassess your health. One of my goals for 2017 is to incorporate more veggies into my diet and enjoy more plant based meals. My friend Lotte, who blogs over at www.LotteLee.com, is sharing some new and delicious plant based recipes and how she eats a vegan diet and how it works in her household. Thank you Lotte for sharing this post with me and my readers! Here’s to a healthy, veggie filled 2017!

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If you’re a parent you know how halfway through the day you promise yourself that today is going to be the day that you feed your whole family one meal (gasp) that is both healthy and tastes amazing? Or maybe you’ve decided to take on a dietary lifestyle change this year and you’re ready to incorporate the whole family.

But then life happens.

There are sports and music classes to attend. A conference scheduled at the last minute that you cannot miss. If you have a little one in the house you just might be too darn tired to even function at a normal level, much less pull a meal together. Be there, done that…to every situation listed.

I’m human so there are days when mac-n-cheese or pizza is the only thing I serve my kids for dinner while I slurp down a smoothie or dig my way through a bowl of cereal. It happens. The other days though I try hard to give my family a well-balanced meal that fits all our needs and taste buds.

Did I mention that I’m vegan? Let me explain how that works in our house.

I choose to eat a plant-based diet. My husband is a good ol’ Southern boy and enjoys his steak and potatoes. Our kids fall somewhere in the middle. My theory is that just as I could choose, someday they can too. For now though, we have a good mix of all kinds of foods.

There are some nights that I completely forget to cook meat at all. I’ve been eating this way for so long that I know what each meal must include to fulfill all our nutritional needs. (Please note that I am not a nutritionist or dietician. I am merely a mom who reads an insane amount of information.) Even if the meal is a one-pot or four-ingredient meal, I make sure that there is at least a protein and a vegetable in each.

There are always the typical easy meals that you think of when you think of vegan meals: black bean chili, vegetable soup and roasted veggies. All of which are fabulous meals that even I fall back on when needed. Fortunately, there are people out in the blogging community that know their way around a kitchen and have, over the years, inspired me to expand my culinary skills and try new things…if they’re easy and don’t take a lot of time of course.

Here are some of my favorite, easy-to-make plant-based meals for any family to enjoy this new year.

For the working-chauffeuring-homework-helping mom: Coconut Quinoa Curry
http://www.simplyquinoa.com/slow-cooker-coconut-quinoa-curry/

I am a HUGE fan of all types of Asian cuisine. Thai, Indian, Chinese. You name it, I probably have at least one vegan meal that I am obsessed over. Alyssa at simplyquinoa.com makes it possible with this meal to be able to throw everything together in the morning before heading out to work, to school, to anywhere that you need to be.

Personally, I like that this meal has a bit of spice to it. However you may want to leave out the chili flakes if someone in your family doesn’t like spicy, like my kids. I just add the heat to my bowl afterwards.

For those of you wondering where the protein is, it can be found in the quinoa and from chickpeas. When cooked, quinoa has roughly 4.4g of protein per serving and chickpeas can have up to 20g of protein in a 100g serving size (that’s roughly 8 tbsp.). Combined, the two pack a mean protein filled punch. If, like me, there are members of your family who must have a meat as part of the meal, grill an Asian inspired breast of chicken. You could use Teriyaki or Soy Sauce for flavoring, but try to grill the meat since it is one of the healthier ways to cook.


photo via www.simplyquinoa.com

TIP: Chop the ingredients the night before and throw them in a bag or container together. I also like to have all the non-perishable ingredients out and ready on the counter when preparing so that when I am getting ready in the morning I can dump everything in, turn the slow cooker on, and not worry about it taking too much of my time or making too big of a mess.

For the one who likes to eat outside after being in all day: Chickpea Veggie Burgers
http://runningonrealfood.com/chickpea-veggie-burgers/

Oh man, I love “burgers”. Black bean burgers, quinoa burgers, and especially these chickpea veggie burgers. These have two of my favorite ingredients in them, peanut butter and chickpeas, and they are simple to make. Grill these with some roast veggies or sweet potato fries and a side salad and you have a meal everyone in the family will enjoy. Plus, you saw how much protein is in chickpeas, right? And don’t forget that, should you use it, peanut butter has 7g per every two tablespoons.

If there is a peanut allergy in your home, or you’re concerned about a friend with one, you can substitute any of the following: tahini, sunflower butter, or soy nut butter. There are many alternatives in grocery stores today that allow you to avoid nut butters. We are big fans of peanut butter in our house but my son has a friend at school with a nut allergy so he takes a sunflower and jelly sandwich to school instead. He says he can’t tell the difference and we applaud his compassion towards others. So, while we eat peanut butter, literally out of the jar with a spoon in our house, we make every attempt we can to think of others…just in case.

photo via www.runningonrealfood.com

TIP: I’ve found that plant-based burgers do better on the grill when you prepare them in advance and let them spend some time in the refrigerator. When it is time to grill, rub some olive oil on the outside (coconut oil is my favorite but the grill tends to be too hot for it) before cooking. You can also add flax seed to the recipe for added nutrients and for a stronger “hold”.

For the “I’ve only got 30 minutes tonight” person: Sweet Potato, Black Bean & Kale Quesadillas
http://cooknourishbliss.com/2013/03/04/sweet-potato-black-bean-and-kale-quesadillas/

Black beans are a main source of protein for me. I do eat tofu and drink protein smoothies often but beans have been a staple for me since I became a vegetarian (years before I converted fully to eating plant-based fulltime). Thankfully there are lots of delicious recipes that have black beans as the main source of protein (we are talking 6g per every 100g serving).

I’ve found that my kids become vegetarians when we go out for Mexican food; all they ever want is cheese quesadillas…sigh. I did mention that pizza and mac-n-cheese are huge hits in my family, right? Their love for all things breaded with cheese spills into all cuisine types. They do enjoy black beans though so I can usually talk them into adding those to their plate as well.

Thankfully, everyone in our house loves kale. Okay, maybe love is a bit too strong of a word but there is at least one meal that each person truly enjoys that has kale in it. Having sweet potatoes along with the black beans and kale makes for a hearty and filling meal. Plus they are so delicious!

This recipe does call for cheese and suggests sour cream as a topping but I make mine without and everyone else chooses if they want the cheese or not. (I’m all about choices, within reason.)

photo via www.cooknourishbliss.com

TIP: If you are 100% vegan or would like to maintain a plant-based diet lifestyle you can always go with a cashew nut cheese or a store-bought cheese substitute. I prefer not to eat heavily processed foods so I suggest trying the quesadillas without any cheese or cheese substitute first.

There are so many types of easy to make plant-based meals out there. Don’t make it hard on yourself and be forgiving if you would rather pick up a pizza or order takeout one night. Only you know what your day is like. Treat yourself kindly and fill your belly with some homemade love when you can. You and your family will be so thankful for it.

Lots of Love!

 

 Lotte Lee, a bookworm from the South, is a self-described gym-loving, vegan-eating, business junkie. Besides being a mom to two amazing kids, wife to a loving husband and master (or is it mistress) to an adoring pup, she is a writer/blogger at www.lottelee.com, momtrepreneur, and co-owner of GreenRose Marketing. Lotte Lee is currently devoted to empowering other moms to take control and create the life every woman deserves. It takes some serious grit to do it all but with a little grace and a lot of gratitude Lotte Lee believes anyone can become successful in all aspects of their lives.

Are you trying to eat healthier this year?

Marathon Weekend Outfit Inspo

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A year ago I was anxiously awaiting running my very first marathon! What a fun time that was! Marathon weekend at Disney is one of my favorite races. It’s such a great way to kickoff the New Year and a really fun race weekend. I will certainly miss participating this year, but I cannot wait to cheer on my running buddies this weekend!

One of the best parts of marathon weekend is that it’s theme is the fab 5 Disney characters. Such a classic theme and a great way to kickoff a new year of runDisney. It’s also super easy to come up with a cute outfit for the races. There’s so many options out there for whichever character is your favorite!

 

Are you running a race this weekend?? I’ll be cheering between mile 12-13 for the half on Saturday! Good luck runners!

 

She’s Here!!

Things have been a bit quiet over here the last few weeks and that would be because of our little one’s arrival! After months and months of patiently waiting, Reagan Ann Gill was born on December 9, 2016 at 4:49pm. She’s such a joy and a blessing and though we’re extremely tired, we could NOT be more in love and excited!

This week, she’ll already be one month old, which blows my mind. It’s crazy to see how much she’s already grown and changed, and now I really understand how everyone says it goes by so fast. It’s been a whirlwind so far and we cannot wait to see her grow. We love you little baby!

 

 

Holiday Links and Loves

Omg I just love a beautiful holiday ‘reef’ on the front door, don’t you?!! This was taken by my husband who saw it at our local tree place. Keep it classy, FL. ??

This sweatshirt is TOO cute. I’m actually obsessed with all the adorable apparel from ILY Couture.

Another awesome shirt for the holidays.

Definitely making this cranberry lime mojito at some point between now and Christmas!

Many of these stores are closing and are liquidating ALL of their apparel, accessories, and merchandise. There are some AMAZING deals…I’m talking I got $750 worth of clothes for $200 and a ton of people checked off my list!

Loving this decor idea for the holidays!

Obsessed with this t-shirt for all the dads out there. May or may not have gotten it for Brian for a Christmas gift!

This NYE onesie is TOO ADORABLE. My little girl is gonna have all the cutest clothes. ?❤️

Wishing I had an excuse to get these Christmassy plaid pumps. So jealous over all the fashion bloggers who are rocking them!

Speaking of plaid, can’t get enough of it…and sequins.

What are some of the things you’re loving this holiday season!? Share with me! 🙂

 

Holiday Workout Gear

 

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Fa la la la laaaaa It’s time for holiday workout gear!! All this festive gear is perfect for a holiday group workout, race, or to lounge around and eat Christmas cookies all day! Is that just me??

Either way, these fun items are great for gifts for the fitness enthusiast in your life or yourself. I’d definitely be happy with any of these cute things!

Do you incorporate fitness into your holiday plans?? As always, share with me in the comments!

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Healthy Holiday Fruit Bake

I found this pin while scrolling the Holiday tab of Pinterest and knew I needed to make it. The combination of fall fruits, the beautiful autumnal colors, and the seasonal spices just called out to me to make this healthy holiday treat during a weekend meal prep session. I figured the recipe is so versatile-I could add it to oatmeal, protein pancakes or waffles, yogurt, or just enjoy some on its own. I am always on the hunt for healthy recipes that will keep me on track throughout the holidays and this one seemed to check everything off my list. And holy candy canes, it’s so delicious.

 

There’s no better combination than cinnamon, brown sugar, and apples, cranberries, and pears. The pineapple chunks added such a sweet treat and really complemented the flavors so well! I really looked forward to this for breakfast every morning. Top it off with some pecans and it made the most amazing breakfast.

Recipe from Cotter Crunch:

  • 2 cup sliced apples
  • 2 cups green pear slices
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks (save the juice)
  • lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp agave or honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 stick melted butter or 4 tbsp melted earth balance vegan butter
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil (this is optional but does give it more flavor and coating. Add 1 tbsp butter instead if you don’t have coconut oil).
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts (I used pecans due to a walnut allergy)

Healthy Holiday Fruit Bake | Fresh Fit Florida

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300F.
  2. In a large bowl, toss your fruit and add in 1-2 tsp lemon juice. Set aside.
  3. In another glass bowl, combine your melted butter, sugar, spices, and coconut oil.
  4. Add in honey and a little bit of your leftover pineapple juice as well.
  5. Add this sugar/butter mixture to your fruit and coat evenly.
  6. Pour fruit evenly in a 9×12 baking dish.
  7. Pour the leftover sugar/butter/oil mixture on top.
  8. baking for 1 hr.
  9. Add your nuts last.
  10. Mix fruit again and serve.
  11. You can also add your nuts in the last 30 minutes of the baking time if you prefer them hot and baked as well.

I added a scoop to oatmeal every morning, topped with nuts, and stayed full ’til lunchtime! I also really loved this on top of a frozen, toasted waffle for an easy breakfast or snack. I need to make this recipe again!

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Holiday Baking Pinterest Bucket List

Back in the early fall, I put together an autumn Pinterest bucket list that was a super popular post! I have a feeling a lot of you out there pin a lot to Pinterest but hardly ever get around to accomplishing any of those gorgeous pins. I feel ya because off my fall Pinterest bucket list, I accomplished one thing:

Holiday Baking Pinterest Bucket List | Fresh Fit Florida

Pie crust chips and dip. But hey, at least it was a delicious task and was a big hit. Now that I’m about to have a newborn just in time for Christmas, I seriously doubt I will get around to any extra holiday projects, let alone showering for myself, so I figured it was a great time to again put together a Pinterest bucket list, but this time holiday baking style!

I would love to spend hours in the kitchen whipping up these gorgeous, festive treats, and while I may not be able to this year, maybe I can next year. Or maybe I’ll get a burst of energy while baby girl’s sleeping. Or not, but we shall see. Without further ado, here’s my Holiday Baking Pinterest Bucket List!

 

  1. Cranberry Bliss Bread via The View From Great Island

Holiday Baking Pinterest Bucket List | Fresh Fit Florida

How gorgeous is this loaf of ‘Better than Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bread’?! I have dreams I’ll whip up this treat and bring it to neighbors with a bottle of wine throughout the season. Only time will tell…

2.  3 Ingredient Butter Shortbread Cookies via Chew Out Loud

Holiday Baking Pinterest Bucket List | Fresh Fit Florida

So I actually attempted to make these delicious little morsels last year, but didn’t have all purpose flour and substituted almond or wheat flour and long story short they tasted like nutty crackers and were pretty gross, so I’d love a redo at this recipe. I can practically feel them melting in my mouth right now.

3.  Peppermint Ganache Pie via Crazy for Crust

Holiday Baking Pinterest Bucket List | Fresh Fit Florida

Peppermint and chocolate are a holiday match made in heaven. I’ve had this recipe pinned to my Home and Holidays board for like 3 years now. Time to get on it girl!

4. Make Your Home Smell Like the Holidays via The Style Dossier

Holiday Baking Pinterest Bucket List | Fresh Fit Florida

Not technically ‘baking’ but this pin has been sitting next to the peppermint pie for 3+ years just begging to be tested out. I can already smell how nice the house will smell.

5. Peanut Butter Reindeer Cookies via Bakergirl Holiday Baking Pinterest Bucket List | Fresh Fit Florida

I’ve actually made similar cookies from this pin before, but would love to again. Super easy…can use store bought cookie dough to save time…and imagine how adorable they’d be at a cookie swap or school function for the kiddos.

6. White Christmas Truffle Cake via Vikalinks

Holiday Baking Pinterest Bucket List | Fresh Fit Florida

This cake is just so so so so pretty and it screams White Christmas. I would love to have this dessert on the table for Christmas dinner. So white, clean, and pure, except in FL, just like the holidays.

7.  Gingerbread Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting via Super Golden Bakes

Holiday Baking Pinterest Bucket List | Fresh Fit Florida

Place this beauty next to the Truffle Cheesecake on that holiday dessert buffet for a Pinterest worthy event. So beautiful and festive. Love me some gingerbread at the holidays!

8. Christmas Tree Cupcakes via Cuded (couldn’t find original pin)

Holiday Baking Pinterest Bucket List | Fresh Fit Florida

Such a cute little cupcake forest! Wishing I find the time to make these and all the other sinful confections.

9. The Most Precious Holiday Door Cookies via Cori’s Sweet Temptations 

Holiday Baking Pinterest Bucket List | Fresh Fit Florida

How freaking precious are these decorated door cookies?! So simple, but adorable, I just want to whip up a batch and bring them to all my neighbors.

10. Frosted Sugar Cookie Shake via The Seasoned Mom

Holiday Baking Pinterest Bucket List | Fresh Fit Florida

I had to throw in at least one healthier recipe into the mix…so a Frosted Sugar Cookie Protein shake it is. How good does this look?! I love dressing up shakes to make them more decadent and festive and this recipe certainly will not disappoint. I’m also thinking of keeping this recipe around for raging breast feeding hunger. Can’t go wrong with a sugar cookie…

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So that’s that! My Holiday Pinterest Bucket List for 2016. Let’s see how much (if any) I’ll accomplish. Do you have a pin that’s longing to be checked off your list? I know I can’t be alone! As always, share with me and let me know if you accomplish anything off your list! Happy Holidays!

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The Prettiest Maternity and Nursing Robes from PinkBlush Maternity

Thank you PinkBlush for collaborating with me and sponsoring this post!

It’s about that time that our bags are packed for the hospital and everything’s ready for our baby’s arrival. It could happen any day now, although that’s a lot of wishful thinking!

 

One of the things that can easily be overlooked in all the baby planning prep is cute stuff for yourself after baby’s arrival. You definitely want cute things to slip into once your little one arrives and I don’t plan on skimping on that for myself. I’ve stocked up on some transitional pieces like comfy sweats and loose tanks for my post baby body, but something I certainly needed to get were cute nursing essentials for all the feedings coming my way!

PinkBlush Maternity | Fresh Fit Florida

PinkBlush Maternity has the absolute prettiest nursing friendly robes that I’ve ever seen! They are so perfect because the robes can be packed and brought to the hospital and then worn around the house once you bring baby home. I’m also guilty of lounging around in my super pretty navy floral robe  while I get organized and packed!

PinkBlush Maternity | Fresh Fit Florida

I love that the PinkBlush robes can transition from pregnancy, to the hospital and then back to home. I can’t wait to pack this in my hospital bag to throw on for photos while we’re in the hospital!

PinkBlush Maternity | Fresh Fit Florida

Robe c/o PinkBlush Maternity

PinkBlush also has the cutest nursing gear, including this nursing cover that is definitely on my holiday wish list! There’s so many gorgeous dresses I have my eye on and tons of nursing bras that I’ll definitely be browsing through once our little girl arrives.

PinkBlush Maternity | Fresh Fit Florida

In honor of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, PinkBlush is having some major sales! They’re offering 40% off and free shipping to the U.S! Head to their website to see the deals and all the prettiest clothes for mamas and ladies out there! PinkBlush also carries apparel for women who aren’t pregnant or nursing, so don’t feel left out. It’s all so cute! I will definitely be shopping for some new clothes to help me motivate to lose the baby weight.

PinkBlush Maternity | Fresh Fit Florida

Have you shopped at PinkBlush before? What’s on your wish list??

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Thank you again PinkBlush Maternity for sponsoring this post!

8 Tanks for Your Turkey Trot

 

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Happy Thanksgiving Week! Who else can’t believe the holidays are in full swing?! I seriously can’t, but couldn’t be more excited. Bring on the turkey, stuffing, mac n cheese, and DESSERTS! The only thing missing is wine. I would love a glass more than anything right now…only a couple more weeks to go!

Anyways, a big part of Thanksgiving are the Turkey Trots! I participated in races for the last two Thanksgivings and really enjoyed incorporating it into the holiday tradition. I’ll miss it this year, but I still plan to get out there and log some steps before getting ready for all the festivities. It’s always great to get active on holidays, especially with your loved ones. Make it part of the holiday tradition! And make lots of room for pie. Hope you all have a great Turkey Day and a fun Black Friday if you’ll be shopping. I know I will be! ??✨???

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Frozen Hot Chocolate Protein Shake

It may be November, but it’s still sunny and warm in Florida and probably will be until Christmas Day (and beyond). But that 100% does not mean I am willing to give up cold weather favorites like white peppermint mochas, ciders, and hot chocolates…it just means I may sweat a lil if I’m outside or moving around. That’s totally fine with me btw.

Sometimes though, it’s nice to enjoy a seasonal treat without profusely sweating or also packing on the calories. I love to indulge this time of year, but it’s always good to try and stay on track here and there as well. Especially with this baby weight that I plan to get rid of!

This baby is so frosty and sweet, you’d have no idea it’s secretly healthy. Protein smoothies and shakes are an easy favorite to whip up quickly without making a mess in the kitchen and leave you feeling satisfied. Making shakes in holiday flavors is a fun way to stay seasonal and fit so you can enjoy treats like cake and Christmas cookies amiright??!

Frozen Hot Chocolate Protein Shake | Fresh Fit Florida

 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup chocolate almond milk (or chocolate milk of choice)

1 scoop chocolate protein powder (or 1 of vanilla + 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder)

1/2 frozen banana

1/2 cup Greek yogurt (I used vanilla)

1 Tsps vanilla extract

Extras like mini marshmallows, chocolate syrup, and your other favorite hot chocolate toppings!

Frozen Hot Chocolate Protein Shake | Fresh Fit Florida

The How To:

Add all ingredients except toppings to a blender. Blend it all up and serve it nice and frosty! You may need some additional milk to thin the shake if it’s too thick for you to blend. Add a splash (about 1 Tbsp) accordingly.
Frozen Hot Chocolate Protein Shake | Fresh Fit Florida

 

What’s your favorite healthier holiday treat? Share with me in the comments..don’t forget the recipe! ?

Frozen Hot Chocolate Protein Shake | Fresh Fit Florida