Spaghetti Squash Scampi

Two shrimp recipes back to back.  Can you tell what I found in sale at the grocery store this week?! This time it is my spin on an Italian favorite, shrimp scampi. This recipe is made low carb using spaghetti squash instead of the normal angel hair pasta.

If you have never worked with sphagetti squash because you are intimidated by its size and have no clue what to do with it, now is the time to overcome that fear. Spaghetti squash is extremely versatile and can replace pasta in any of your favorite dishes. When cooked, it strands into fibers and looks like — you guessed it, spaghetti!

The easiest ways I’ve found to use sphagetti squash  Continue reading

Cauli-Fried Rice

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Cauliflower is such a versatile veggie! It really tastes like what ever you cook it with! This allows for a world of possibilities!  I’ve already made faux mashed potatoes with the cauliflower.  Now, I’d like to share a recipe starring cauliflower as a substitute for rice.  I found these need packages of already “riced” or crumbled cauliflower at Target, and it made life much easier!

You certainly do not need to buy the pre-crumbled cauliflower– it is cheaper to actually buy by the head.  If this is how you purchase you can simply finely chop the cauliflower, or grate the cauliflower raw into a large bowl.  Once you have your grated cauliflower– add veggies!! Any and all veggies you would like in your stir fried rice.  I chose peas, onions, carrots, broccoli, and green beans!  I supersized this recipe so I could meal prep with it for the next few days!  I made a total of 10 1-cup servings!! If you do not plan on meal prepping leftovers, I would recommend cutting the recipe in half!

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Homemade Dog Biscuits 

If you have dogs and are anything like me, your dog(s) are pretty darn spoiled! I had the idea to make them puppy cookies for Christmas.  I make Christmas cookies for my boyfriend and I, why not for my furchildren?!   Before the recipe, I want you to meet my pups!

This is Lola.  She is a 1 year old rescued mix from Sarasota Humane Society.  She was labeled as a “lab mix” but we believe she is at least half Australian Kelpie.  She’s a spunky and playful pup that loves peanut butter and cuddling.

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No Bake Peanut Butter Protein Bars

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Protein is an essential part to your diet.  It keeps you full longer and helps grow and repair muscles, especially when teamed with weight lifting. Protein bars are great–When you can find one without the extra sugar and carbs! Most protein bars that you find in the grocery store or health food store have very frightening nutrition labels.  Please be mindful next time you grab a bar for some quick protein power, because you might be consuming the equivalent to a candy bar in sugars and fats. When looking for a protein bar, choose one that has approximately 200 or less calories per bar.  Aim for 7 or less grams per fat, but keep the saturated fats as low as possible, healthy fats from almonds or omega-3s are common in protein bars and are good!  Your protein and carbohydrates should be at a similar number, ideally around 20.   Sugars are an important factor to look into when reading the nutrition label.  I usually recommend looking for a bar with as little sugar as possible.  Shoot for 7g or less of sugar.

Few of my personal store bought recommendations are:

Quest Bars- Quest Nutrition Protein Bar, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, 20g Protein, 2.1oz Bar, 12 Count

The Lions Choice Bars- The Lions Choice Superfood Protein Bars

Otherwise, you could simply make your own protein bars! Making your own is great because you can choose your own flavors, you know exactly what is going into the mix, and you can make large batches at a time. Continue reading

A ThirdShiftFit Thanksgiving

Hey everyone!  Happy Thanksgiving!  A time of family, friends, giving thanks, and FOOD.  A lot of food.  Thanksgiving has become a very gluttonous holiday.  I wanted to post my tips and tricks for slimming down the calories (but not the taste) at your Thanksgiving feast.

For the bird,

Avoid deep frying your turkey! You do not need the extra saturated fats, save those for dessert! To keep your turkey moist without deep frying, try a brine.  Brining your turkey for 12-24 hours before baking it keeps at the natural moisture from the bird inside during the baking process. My favorite brine: Continue reading

Common Misconceptions When it Comes To Fat Loss

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Hi everyone! I wanted to address some misconceptions I hear often about fat loss.

First, muscle is NOT built from fat.  Your body does NOT turn fat into muscle.  I hear this all the time– (Woman looking at her belly) “I really need to go do crunches because I want to have abs like you..” NO! You can honestly do crunches until your blue in the face, are you building muscle? Yes! BUT that muscle is still going to be buried under the adipose tissue.  In order to burn adipose tissue, or better known as the dreaded F-word, FAT, you must be in a caloric deficit! In order to do so, you must be stern with a diet and, usually, incorporate cardio into your routine.   Continue reading

Second Bikini Competition Overview

Hi Everyone!! I have been MIA for a few weeks because I have been so focused on work and my recent bikini competition. I did not have the time to create new recipes, nor did I want to bore you with weekly updates like I did last competition.  So, I just wanted to write a post letting you know this girl is BACK!  I will be taking at least three months off (if not more) to reverse diet and build a little more muscle (hopefully in the hamstrings and glutes) before competing again!  I am now focused on applying to graduate school and blogging.   I am even taking a week off of the gym entirely to regroup, relax, and give my body a chance to repair.  It feels a little strange because I am such a creature of habit and order– I feel like I am totally missing something each day, but I know that it is for the best for my body.  I am also taking a week break from counting macros.  Not one calorie has been counted since Friday and it is very nice to not worry about it at this time.  I will go back to counting macros and hitting the gym regularly by this weekend.

As far as the competition prep this time around, it was so much easier than the first time. Continue reading

Low Carb Mashed “Potatoes”

Fall is upon us. Yes, believe it or not, we do have fall in Florida.  I miss the change in foliage, the fall colors, but we do have a noticeable change in temperature. The weather is turning cooler, the air is crisp, and my mind immediately goes to comfort food.  Because, my mind immediately goes to food all the time.  Unfortunately, the comfort food I know and love is not very healthy or prep-friendly.  As my days are counting down and I am less than three weeks away from my second bikini competition, I need to get fancy with my low calorie options before I go crazy.  I am not–and will never be– the type of person that can just eat chicken and broccoli for every single meal of every day.  That will never happen.  Which is why I have been having such a great success with IIFYM, or If It Fits Your Macros style of dieting.  It is flexible dieting and I can eat what I what in moderation, as long as it fits into my macros (daily grams of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins–as well as calories)  For more information on IIFYM, you can visit my page here

Comfort food, to me, is meat and potatoes.  Hearty and full.  Gravy comes to mind–and now I’m drooling.  Anyway, before I force you to read a paragraph of me describing potatoes and gravy, I wanted to share with you my recipe for mashed cauliflower. Continue reading

Zucchini Pizza Boats

  If you know me, you know I am a lover of all things pizza! But, this love really nips me in the butt when it comes time for me to eliminate my weekly cheat meals for bikini competition prep. My next show is in November, only five short weeks away!  I really wanted to compete in another to see how I would do now that I know what to expect.  Also, I paid for the NPC entry card that is only good until the end of 2015, so I figured I should definitely get my moneys worth!  I’m really looking forward to prep this time around.  I feel comfortable with different recipes I’ve been working on, so I will be able to stay sane –not following the Tilapia and veggies diet for 5 straight weeks!  I found some great condiments, such as this Sugar-Free BBQ sauce at Walmart that I am excited to use for chicken–only 20 calories per serving!   I am happy to have found The Lions Choice protein bars, because they really appease my sweet tooth and have great macros (most under 170 calories with less than 5g of fat and 20g protein)

I’ve been experimenting with a lot of pure pumpkin and zucchini for recipes (I’ve been putting pumpkin in my oatmeal every morning, or mixing it with cinnamon flavored protein powder and fat free cream cheese for a decadent high protein spread/icing for toast)  I think I am going to begin experimenting with cauliflower next!  I used to make a cauliflower mash that tasted like mashed potatoes  that would be perfect for a low calorie meal prep.  I’ll be sure to post any and all  recipes for you to follow 🙂

So, I saw a recipe for Zucchini pizza crust– it contained grated zucchini, eggs, and cheese  baked as a crust for your pizza. I am on night shift so when I saw “grate zucchini and ring out excess water from zucchini shavings with paper towels…..” I knew I was feeling WAY TOO LAZY for that.  Sounds great, but not for that much effort today.. Maybe another time!  So I decided I would try just using the zucchini itself as the base for the pizza.  Turned out well!  My boyfriend was even pleasantly surprised at how good they were!  He was skeptical at first, being a veggie avoider, but scarfed two down in a couple minutes! Continue reading

Product Review: The Lions Choice Protein and Superfood Bar 

 Now a days it seems like protein bars are being created just as poorly as candy bars.  High in sugars, fats, and carbs.  Don’t be fooled! Just because something is labeled as a “High Protein” Bar does not make it healthy.  Be mindful and read those ingredient lists and nutritional labels!  Hi everyone! I wanted to inform you of a new protein bar that I have stumbled across.  I feel compelled to share this company with you because I know those that are reading my blog are just as health-conscious as I am!

  The company is called The Lions Choice and it has my support 100%.  The Lions Choice makes a variety of protein bars, nut butters, and even pancake mix, each infused with superfoods* and probiotics!  Today I will review the protein bars, saving the high-protein peanut butter and the pancake mix for later posts. 🙂  I found The Lions Choice on Instagram through social media members I follow– I was intrigued by the low calories, high protein, and low fat content of the bars.  I am constantly looking for macro-friendly options now that I am beginning to prep for my second NPC bikini competition. I decided to visit the website and research for myself.  Not only are the macros of these protein bars good, they are made with great ingredients!! Continue reading

Upper Body Circuit and HIIT Workout Wednesday

Upper body circuit 3 rounds. Each exercise til failure

  • Pull ups
  • Tricep dips
  • Ring rows 

*these are advanced movements, use the assisted pull up/dip machine or any progression of choice. My favorite recommendation is doing the negatives of the movement. Start at the top of the movement  (chin over bar in pull up,  elbows locked out on dip) and descend slow and controlled–3 to 5 seconds total.  

4 rounds

  • Dumbbell row 12 row
  • Decline push ups 10-15 (Feet elevated on bench)

Workout: 

3 x 3:00 AMRAP with :60 rest

  • 30 double unders (60 single jump rope if unable to perform double)
  • 20 Russian kettlebell swings (70/55)
  • 10 Burpees

HIIT workout brought to you by the lovely and talented Matt Saeler at Real Fitness Sarasota 

Protein Pumpkin Cheesecake

Now you can have your cheesecake AND eat it too!  I am absolutely amazed how this turned out.  It may be my favorite recipe I’ve posted yet!  It is extremely macro friendly–only 125 calories!–AND IT TASTES LIKE THE REAL DEAL!  It’s low in fat & carbs with high protein.  This is honestly macro-friendly enough for me to incorporate into my bikini competition prep!  Take this cheesecake to any holiday party and I can guarantee no one will know it’s not store bought–let alone decently healthy.


Ingredients:

  • 16 ounces fat free cream cheese (room temperature works best)
  • 1 individual package Dannon Light n Fit Greek Yogurt (I chose to use Caramel Apple Pie flavor, but you can use whatever you fancy– Stick with vanilla if you want to remain neutral!)
  • 2 scoops (~65g) whey protein powder (I used Cellucor Cinnamon Swirl – 2 Lbs)
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 120g pure pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup stevia in the raw (~6 stevia packets—or sweetener of your choice)

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Monday Means Leg Day!

Leg day with hamstring focus 

Superset:    8 rounds :

  • Squats (tempo 3 seconds down, 3 second pause at bottom, and fast up) 2 reps + 1 rep at normal speed 
  • Split squats with back leg elevated while holding plate overhead (25#) 8 reps each leg

Superset     5 rounds :

  • Deadlift — sets of 10-12 reps
  • Wide stance goblet squats (45#)

Heavy deadlifts  4 sets of 3 

Superset:

  • RDL (stiff leg deadlift) 12,12, 10, 8, 8
  • Lateral lunge (used furniture sliders)

Back extensions holding 25# plate 5×12

Glute Ham raises 5×10

Calf raises 4×50

Healthy “Fried” Chicken Fingers

Happy Sunday Ya’ll! I wanted to share with you another healthy family dinner idea.  These chicken tenders are bound to be a new family favorite, loved by both adults and kids alike.  They are breaded in an oat mixture and baked for a faux “fried” chicken crisp without all the fats and calories.  They are extremely simple to prepare as well!  You can double or triple the recipe for a great appetizer to take to a party. Perfect for football season!

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Ingredients:  (for 6 chicken tenders)

  • two chicken breasts–each cut into 3 tenders
  • 1 cup oats (I used instant, but I’m sure old fashioned would work as well)
  • 1/2 cup liquid egg whites  (about 3 whites from large eggs)
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1 tbs. parsley flakes
  • Dash of black pepper, to taste

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Simple and Healthy Breakfast Cookies

Hey everyone!!

I am excited to share another healthy baking recipe!  I had two very ripe bananas hanging around and I wanted to put them to good use–and trust me, I sure did!  These cookies turned out even better than I expected!  They are a perfect grab and go breakfast or snack.  I’m going to be using them pre-workout as they have a higher carb ratio.  Each cookie only contains 68 calories–so feel free to have more than 1.  They are thick and chewy like an oatmeal cookie, but less guilt.  The banana and sugar free syrup bring enough sweetness, without being overbearing or artificial tasting.

Ingredients needed for cookies: Continue reading