Peanut Butter Pumpkin Salted Caramels

These peanut butter pumpkin salted caramels will get you in the holiday spirit no matter how much you’re dragging your feet on your Christmas preparations.  How did we get to the middle of December already??  My mother always started her Christmas baking around December 8 or so, and maybe it was just to put off going shopping!  Now that I’m in the midst of my own crowd-fighting experiences every time I go out, this makes all the sense in the world.  I’d much rather be in the kitchen than the mall….

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Vegan Banana Bread

I’ve been on a banana bread kick lately.  Not only do we always seem to have bananas going soft on our counter (who doesn’t?), but also I’m finding so much more freedom in my diet now that my show is over.  I’m still eating well… plant-based, plenty of veggies, adequate protein to fuel my lifting… but I’m definitely indulging in treats if I want them.  Whereas in the weeks leading up to the show, my diet was pretty strict and I focussed on completely nutrient-dense foods with very few extras.  I didn’t mind, because…

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What I Ate (& did!) in France

Howdy friends!  Or I guess I should say, “Bonjour!”

I’m just back from the trip of a lifetime… celebrating Mark’s & my 20-year anniversary!!!  Twenty years of marriage is something pretty special no matter how you look at it, and being away together to celebrate in Paris and the Loire Valley was truly amazing.

This trip couldn’t have come at a better time… just 3 weeks after my first bodybuilding competition and the structure and discipline that accompanied it.  I was so ready to ditch the weight scale and the food scale while I was away and just eat according to my heart’s desire.  And I did….

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What I Ate Wednesday- Peak Week

Hello friends!  Well, I’m in the middle of “peak week”!!!  (The final week preceding a bodybuilding contest.)  And from what I’ve heard about it, a lot of crazy things can happen… carb depletion, sodium depletion, water depletion… in efforts to strip that final bit of fat and eliminate any water under the skin.  But it sounds like a nightmare to me!

Thank goodness my coach doesn’t believe in any of that nonsense. She’s dialled in my physique in a slow & steady way so I don’t have to mess around during peak week… my body is ready.  So other than drinking 6 litres of water a day from now til the day before the show, I have no big changes this week.  Phew!

Breakfast was “pumpkin pie oatmeal” made with quick oats, mashed cooked pumpkin, cinnamon & nutmeg, one egg white, vanilla stevia, & powdered peanut butter.  I topped it with sunbutter & mango.  It was a huge bowl & really satisfied me after my 60-minute fasted walk.

I did my posing practice & upper body workout after breakfast, then had this snack: apple cinnamon oatmeal pancakes with peanut butter sauce & mango.  These are so easy to make & so filling that I’ve been eating them every day.  The recipe is simple: 1/2 cup quick oats, 3 egg whites,  1/3 cup pumpkin puree, 1/4 chopped apple, 1/2 t.cinnamon, 1/2 t. baking powder, &  1/8 t. salt… cooked on a pancake griddle in 1/2 tsp coconut oil.  I make a double batch & eat them cold the 2nd day.

After Bible study, I pulled out my lunch that I’d packed up earlier in the week.  I usually make 3 at a time so I don’t have to think about it- it’s ready to go at mealtime and I just heat it up and eat.  This was grilled chicken breast, rice with nutritional yeast, steamed green beans, & cinnamon roasted pumpkin.  I drizzled tahini & balsamic glaze over the whole thing.

Then I took a loooong nap!  I’d gotten up super early to do that fasted walk before waking up the kids for school, and anyone who knows what time we go to school can appreciate how early that must have been! ha ha  It felt so good to sleep.

I slept practically until snack time, which saved me from any potential hunger.  I love beating the system like that!  My snack was pretty simple: egg whites, roasted pumpkin (again!), rice cakes & a pumpkin oat cookie, sliced apple, & a big spoonful of peanut butter which I put on everything but the eggs.

My afternoon was spent collecting the items I’ll need on show day (any guesses as to why I’ll need a shower cap?  So much random stuff!!)  Then we had dinner: turkey burgers (I skipped the bun) with Dijon & balsamic glaze, mashed sweet potato which I pressed into a patty & dry-fried in a skillet, & grilled zucchini with zataar spice & nutritional yeast.  Even though I can’t eat as intuitively as I’d like right now, I am still able to make my meals interesting and creative within the confines of “meeting the macros.”  And that makes me happy.

Have a beautiful Wednesday, friends!

 

What I Ate Wednesday- 10 Days Out

Hi friends!  I’m now 10 days away from my competition… the finish line is in sight!  My coach gave me all my instructions for the rest of this week and next week (“peak week”).  My calories have dropped again just slightly so I can come in as lean and tight as possible.  But we’re still talking 1800 here, so I am not complaining at all!

Breakfast was a big bowl of oatmeal… as always!  I have every combination under the sun, and I love them all.  This one is chocolate zucchini with blueberries, banana, & peanut butter.  It’s sort of like “PB&J” oats. …

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Raspberry Papaya Smoothie

Hello friends! This raspberry papaya smoothie is one of the many recipes I’ve enjoyed during my contest prep that meets all my diet specs while still being decadent enough to qualify as a “treat.”

Even before I started training for my fitness competition (now only 11 days away!!!), I was never an Oreo & Pop-Tart kind of girl.  So I didn’t really have to change my diet that much when I started “the program,” mostly added protein and decreased simple sugars and alcohol.  But now, this close to showtime, I’m very careful that all my foods contribute something positive to my daily intake, and just look what this beauty provides:…

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What I Ate Wednesday… Getting Lean

Hello, friends!  Thank you so much for your lovely responses to my heartfelt post yesterday.  I appreciate you so very much.  I thought you might enjoy seeing what I’m actually eating these days in my “cutting” diet.  It may not seem like much of a cut…and I realise I’m very lucky to have a wondrous metabolism that lets me lose weight on 2000 calories a day.  I’m not gonna question it, I’m just gonna enjoy it while it lasts… because tomorrow is check-in day and who knows, the cuts may get deeper….

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Confessions of a First-Time Bodybuilder (Part 1)

Hello friends!  I’m now 18 days away from competing in my first-ever bodybuilding competition!  Somehow passing the 3-week mark has made it seem SO CLOSE!!!  I’ve been training for this since mid-November 2016, and now the finish line is in sight.  According to my coach, I’m coming in right on track.  And I feel on track!  I’m sooo excited for this event (it’s the ANB Universe International held right here in Manila), and I want to share with you some insights I’ve gained over the past 11 months of delving into this new sport:…

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