Mega Oat Chip Cookies – Serves 10+

New decade, new goals. Who’s with me? I’ll be discussing my primary focus right now and I hope this helps you get motivated! Especially those of you that are mamas!

Lots of changes occurred since my last post. My mother passed away August 2019 after a brave battle with an aggressive rare case of Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL). She is forever with me and especially in my son.  The best part is that he has reddish hair and my mother had red hair… His smile lights my heart on fire.

From the moment I knew he was going to make an entrance into this world my dietitian brain was sending me signals. I knew that breastfeeding would be the best gift I could give my son. Not every mother can breastfeed and there is nothing wrong with that or formula but luckily I found success with breastfeeding. I exclusively breastfed which was a real challenge when at work full-time. So many colleagues asked how I did it and frankly the credit must go to my diet.  I went back to work when Dominic was 6-weeks old and that is when I began to really pay attention to the types of foods I ate since I wanted to ensure that my milk production did not decrease.

Foods that promote lactation may not always work for some women but its a good idea to ensure that your diet includes them for the overall nutritional benefits. These foods are called galactagogue foods which need to be consumed in variety and daily in the diet. These foods include: flaxseeds, sweet potatoes, fennel seeds, oatmeal, almonds, garlic, dark leafy greens, and brown rice.

So to sum it up… my focus was being as healthy as possible with some indulgences to ensure that my nutrition was ideal to promote lactation.

These cookies are loaded with galactagogue foods. More importantly, these cookies taste amazing so they are NOT just for you but for the whole family!

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed meal
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light or dark brown sugar
  • 1-1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup coconut oil (or butter)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup macadamia nuts (or whatever nut strikes your fancy)
  • OPTIONAL: To change up the sugar content you can decrease the amount of brown sugar and sub with 2-3 finely chopped medjool dates (tastes amazing)

Methodology:

  1. In a large bowl combine all the dry ingredients (including the chocolate chips and nuts) and mix.
  2. Add in the liquid ingredients and mix.
  3. Using a tablespoon or ice cream scooper – create little balls and place evenly spaced on parchment paper.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes or 20 minutes depending on how large your cookies are. If they do not flatten then use a fork to gently press them down.
  5. Enjoy with hot tea, milk, or even wine… I choose wine.

xxx – Sarah

Goat Cheese Spiked Brussels Sprouts – Serves 6+

I’ve got news!  In a week from today I start my journey West.  I recently accepted a position in San Francisco…  Time for a whole new adventure.  I am super excited and nervous but I will channel that energy for something positive.  About five months ago I set out to change my career and well, it finally happened, anything is possible.

Fall weather has me reaching for everything pumpkin when I have a sweet tooth but when I want something savory then I reach for butternut squash or sweet potatoes.  I am over pumpkin at the moment; my savory taste buds have kicked in, hence this recipe was born.

Butternut squash is an excellent way to increase your dietary fiber as well as nourish your body with vitamins A & C.  With the winter months upon us your skin needs these vitamins more than ever (#makeyourskinglow).

Ingredients:

  • 1# Brussels sprouts; quartered with roots removed
  • 1# butternut squash; diced
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 shredded pieces of proscuitto
  • 3 tbsp crumbled goat cheese
  • Drizzle of balsamic vinegar
  • To taste: 1 tsp sea salt

Methodology:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a bowl toss the following ingredients well: Brussels, butternut squash, olive oil, black pepper, goat cheese, proscuitto, and sea salt.
  3. On a parchment lined baking sheet spread out the Brussels and butternut squash.
  4. Drizzle balsamic vinegar over the vegetables.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes.
  6. Set aside and serve with your favorite entree (or in my case, eat from the baking tray and pass out in a food coma).
  7. Cheers!

 

xxx – Sarah

Quinoa and Asparagus Hush Puppy Cakes – Makes a Dozen

Bread, buns, and cakes stress me out sometimes.  I try to find gluten-free options in the store that are appealing but lately none stand out.  I’m in the mood for texture/grittiness but without the wheat.  Rather than buying overpriced gluten-free options I opted to make my own…  These cakes are pretty darn good if I may say so.

I am heading out of town this weekend and wanted to use everything in my pantry/refrigerator… Successfully did just that.  The recipe calls for quinoa which is a fantastic gluten-free grain.  It is a great protein source for vegetarians and vegans since it is a complete protein – contains all of the nine essential amino acids!  Had a taste tester who said these were like a healthy but yummy version of hush puppies hence the name!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked (utilized the Organic Tricolor Quinoa from Trader Joe’s – so delish)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup aged parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 cup asparagus, minced
  • 2 tbsp garlic, crushed or minced (when in a bind I opt for ready-to-use garlic products which are a staple in my refrigerator – I love the Roasted Minced Garlic from Spice World)
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt or ‘to taste’ (I did about 3 full grinds of my salt – equivalent to 1/2 tsp)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper; ground
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper; flakes

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Methodology:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, olive oil, eggs, asparagus, garlic, and flour, stir well.
  2. Add the necessary spices (S&P) then stir well or mix with your hands.
  3. Under medium-high heat drizzle olive oil in a large saucepan then using your hands create Ping-Pong shaped balls and place on the pan.  Keep a space between each ball then flatten with a spatula.
  4. Allow to heat each side for 3-4 minutes until slightly browned then finish with a 30 second-1 minute sear on each side.
  5. Set to the site on a cool plate or wire rack.
  6. These cakes are absolutely heavenly when added to a salad, topped with meat, or topped with cooked veggies.
  7. Enjoy!

 

xxx – Sarah

To cook quinoa:  Combine 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups water bring to a boil atop stove then reduce to a simmer and cover.  I usually allow it to sit out on the stove top covered for 2-3 hours then start utilizing it by itself or in other recipes such as this one.

Workouts for the Modern Workaholic – Session #5

Time to get back at it!  This workout is like the others – short and sweet with a touch of ‘glistening.’  The focus is the chest with a mix of some other details.

 

**All sets in this workout are to start with a light to medium weight for the first set and then progress in weight without compromising form or remain with a challenging weight.

**When moving from exercise to exercise or waiting between sets keep the rest no more than 60 seconds. The supersets can have a 60 second rest before starting up the second or third set in the series.

 

Warm-up:  Light jog for 3 minutes on the treadmill or speed walk

Exercise #1:  Flat Bench Dumbbell Chest Press – 3 sets (15/12/10)

Exercise #2:  Incline Chest Flyes – 4 sets (15/12/12/12)

Exercise #3 – Superset:  Seated Machine Chest Flyes – 4 sets (18/15/12/10) and Stability Ball Abdominal Planks (60 seconds)

Exercise #4:  Push-ups from decline position on bench – 1 set (shoulder width to FAILURE)

Exercise #5:  Side Planks – 3 sets (60 seconds)

Exercise #6:   Cable barbell bicep curls – 4 sets (18/15/12/10)

Exercise #7:  Banded Bicep Hammer Fist Curls – 3 sets (15/12/10)

(Methodology:   From standing position step on a band of moderate resistance and curl up like a h’ammer’ bicep curl – keep the tempo the same going up/down.  In other words, keep your grip firm and make a fist like you would attempt a punch.)

 

(Bonus Lab:  Make sure you eat 30-45 minutes post working out for maximal benefits with toning, muscle mass, and weight loss.  The best options are a mix of protein/fat/complex carbohydrates.  Your body works hard day in and day out but it needs fuel and that comes from food.  I usually tend to have 6 ounces of chicken/fish with greens such as Brussels Sprouts sautéed in olive oil and herbs.)

xxx – Sarah