Gluten Free Triple Berry Chocolate Cake Bites!

Um.. Can we just talk about this month’s healthy bites flavor for a second? Total “amazeballs” and I never use that word. In fact, I loathe it. But I must confess, these bites…they are AMAZING and I’ve been hoarding them like no other! I know, shame on me.

triple berry cocoa cake bites _ Gluten free and great for valentines day! @cottercrunch

But I couldn’t help myself. You wanna know what else? I’m not even a huge chocolate berry combo fan. Yet I can’t get enough of these.

They remind me of flourless cake. The dark chocolate decadent kind with berries on top. Now that I like. Must be the cake texture. Which is why I named these Triple Berry Chocolate Cake bites. Swoon!

triple berry choc cake bites - cottercrunch #glutenfree valentines day treats!

But wait, it gets better! These bites are total LOVE bites, made with LOVEGROWN Foods limited edition Chocolate Strawberry Heart Power O’s. That’s what makes the third berry complete, and that’s what makes them have a cake like texture.

love grown power Os -heart cereal

When you grind up the cereal, it makes a base for the cocoa powder, freeze dried berries, dark chocolate nut butter, and almond meal, and chocolate chips. Um… you see? Utterly addicting combo!

triple berry cocoa cake bites (GF)

And I get to give it away! Yep, a box of healthy bites and a box of Love Grown Foods Chocolate Strawberry Heart Cereal. Both gluten free and dairy free, yet sweet and satisfying. Let’s not forget to mention –> FULL OF LOVE!

Okay okay, let’s get to the recipe and then to the giveaway, open to US and Canada, whoop whoop!

4.9 from 8 reviews
Gluten Free Triple Berry Chocolate Cake Bites
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert or snack
Serves: 30-32
Ingredients
  • 1 cup coconut or almond flour
  • ⅓ cup ground strawberry Power O's cereal (you can use vanilla or berry protein powder instead if you don't have the cereal, or ground banana chips)
  • ¼ cup crushed freeze dried berries (raspberry and blueberry) Feel free to use regular dried as well
  • ⅓ -1/2 cup chocolate nut butter of choice (I used Dark chocolate Nuttzo)
  • ¼ cup Enjoy Life GF/DF chocolate chips
  • 2-3 tbsp Cocoa Powder
  • ½ tsp raspberry extract
  • ½ tsp butter or vanilla extract (optional)
  • ½ or more cup honey or maple syrup
Instructions
  1. First, grind up your cereal if you are using it. Then just mix up dry ingredients and add in nut butter, extract, and, crushed berries, and honey. Mix well, then roll into balls/bites. Freeze right away then use cocoa Powder after frozen. That's optional for extra chocolate taste! Store in fridge or freezer to maintain freshness. Makes around 32-35 bites, give or take.
  2. NOTE –> if your batter is dry, you might need to add more honey and/or nut butter to keep batter from being to dry.
Notes
if you are wanting paleo, just leave out the cereal. or replace it with ⅓ cup almond meal. It works great either way!

This giveaway is ending Monday the 9th, so hurry and enter and go make these treats for you special Valentine! Okay, enough Corny Cotter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Favorite Valentines Day Treat to Make?

Cheers!

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5 Ways to POWER UP Your Push Up

Well… bye bye January and hello February! To be honest, I was quite surprised with January, in terms of fitness that is. I was expecting new people to join my strength and sweat class and then leave by week two. I know, pretty bad expectations, right? Shame on me. But this year I am glad to be wrong. I’ve had a few new “January Joiners” that not only have stuck around, but are ready to tackle more! Now that’s impressive. That being said, I like to give my class options to “POWER UP” their push ups. If they feel confident in their form and strength, then let’s take it up a notch and try a new way to add strength.

Start with the basic push up first and then go from there.

I’ve recruited a few of my fellow fitness instructor/trainer friends to help display these exercises.  Let’s get started, shall we?
5 ways to progress a push up- @cottercrunch #strength #fitness

Kindal has some great options here. I love her tricep push up! I use this move a lot at then end of my class. It’s great to incorporate with side planks, etc. Then there is the crazy back pack push up.  Basically a bag filled with heavy things! The good thing is you can progress weight here again, just depends on what you put in your back pack, right? haha. Check out her post for more push up variations you’ll love to hate!

side-tricep-pushups

backpack-pushups

Katie has a great way to get more core and upper body focus for you push up. Try placing your toes on a bench and bring your knees to chest or elbow after each push up!

knee to elbow elevated push up with @sherockfitness

As for me, I love a good twist and balance work. My favorite push ups are ones with a compound move, like this press and rotation like below. It works the core and really challenges your obliques!

push up with weight press and rotation #fitness @cottercrunch #strength

My other new favorite “advanced” push up incorporates a lot of balance well. Try placing your toes on a bench or box and then your hands on a foam roller. Trust me, it’s hard but definitely a push up to work towards. Great for upper body strength and focus!

Elevated push up with foam roller. Great for balance and core burner! #fitness tips. #strength @cottercrunch

Now the question remains… when do I try these push ups? How many reps? Etc.

  • First master the basic push up. Try to get to at least 30 in a row.
  • Once you have the perfect push up form, try a few of these, again focusing on form.
  • Add in a 5- 10 reps at a time.
  • Great for any body weight workout or to include with core work.
  • Be mindful of your neck position and take each rep slowly, but surely, if that makes sense.
  • Power up your push ups when you feel POWERful. We all have our good days and bad days. Learn to know which is which and execute when ready. Hey, we’re not super human, right?

Tell me, what’s your favorite way to PUSH UP? You know you secretly love them.

;-)

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Gluten Free Honey Basil Buttermilk Squares

Are you ready for another Super Bowl recipe?! Just kidding! I’m sure you’ve got every recipe planned by now. I married a man who doesn’t watch football (gasp!). Our sports watching consists of cycling, sailing, rugby, triathlon, and swimming (gotta love foreigners and their favorite sports!). But I did grow up with three brothers who were all huge Dallas Cowboys fans, so I feel like I put in my dues already with the sport. Am I right?!

Okay Okay, let’s talk snacking and food. What are you bring to your Super Bowl party? Or are you hosting? Either way, I think it’s great to bring at least one healthy dish or something to even out the cheese and chocolate consumption. Or at least something some what healthy to slather the cheese, dip, and chocolate with!

#gluten free HONEY BASIL BUTTERMILK SQUARES. great for snacks, with soup, or breakfast! @cottercrunch #baking

I am usually the one in charge of salads and veggie trays because I’m the “nutritionist” in the family. Typical, right? But surprisingly, all the veggies usually get eaten, along with the ranch (buttermilk that is)! But this year I am contributing another snacky bread/bar item that will pair well with Chili and are kid friendly! And yes, it will include buttermilk.. minus the ranch.

HONEY BASIL BUTTERMILK SQUARES (4 of 1)-2 copy

HONEY BASIL BUTTERMILK SQUARES - gluten free and great for snacking, with soup, and more! #healthy @cottercrunch #baking

Buttermilk Squares (bars). I made these a while back for a Love Grown Foods Recipe contest and could not stop eating them with soups, chili, you name it! Lightly sweetened yet still buttery. It reminded me of my grandma’s sweet jiffy cornbread in a way.

Gluten Free Honey Basil Buttermilk Squares
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • · 1 ½ cup honey Power O's cereal (or you can use ½ cup of brown rice or chickpea flour)
  • · 1-2 tbsp chopped basil
  • · dash of sea salt
  • · 2 tsp baking soda
  • · ⅔ cup buttermilk pancake mix (we used Flapjacked)
  • · 2 tbsp honey
  • · ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • · 6-8oz cup almond, coconut milk, or buttermilk
  • · If you are not using Flapjacked mix, then I would add in 1 egg or 3 egg whites (whisked) to make it more fluffy!
Instructions
  1. First, grind up your cereal to make a flour. You can use any oat, bean, rice, or corn based cerael to make the flour. We love using Lovegrown Foods power O's. Then mix all your dry ingredients first, then fold in your eggs (if you are using them) and milk. Whisk until smooth. Add in your honey and stir again. Pour into a small square brownie pan or bread pan and bake at 350F for 35 minutes or so. (I used a really small casserole dish)
  2. Remove from oven at let cool. Then drizzle with more honey and basil leaves.
  3. Makes about 6 squares.

The good thing is that these bars are UBER easy to make for anytime of year and are great with any meal. Want one for breakfast? Here ya go, take one!

HONEY BASIL BUTTERMILK SQUARES (4 of 1)-5

Well.. I’m off to decide who to route for. Because I have no clue, and I’m pretty sure I’ll just watch the commercials. Who you routin’ for?

Favorite way to use buttermilk? Do tell! I’m all about it these days.

Cheers and have a wonderful relaxing weekend!

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One Dish Fish and Veggie Bake {Paleo Friendly}

One dish meals. Oh goodness, we love them! I mean, throw everything in a pot or pan, cook, serve, bam! You’re done.  And if you’re like us, maybe you make a couple of dishes and save some for the next day? Leftovers for lunch is like GOLD!

Really though, one dish meals can save you a ton of time in the kitchen and make week night dinners delicious and healthy.

One Dish Baked Fish an veggie potato bake! #paleo friendly. Easy week night dinner. Healthy and delicious! @cottercrunch

When I cook one dish meals, I focus on making them balanced. This means healthy fats, protein, carbs, and flavor. Hey, good taste has to be included, right? You don’t want a one dish meal without flavor, that would be a waste. Flavoring is KEY to make the whole dish come together.

One dish fish and veggie bake - @Cottercrunch Now I know what you’re thinking…. fish, again? How in the world do you flavor fish along with all the other ingredients in the ONE DISH?

Here’s my fish dish trick. —> Try pairing light fish (like cod or haddock) with a starchy vegetable and then add a more fats by roasted the potatoes in ghee, duck fat, or butter. (optional). Or choose a fatty fish (like salmon) to go with a fruit grain (like wild rice or quinoa) and keep the veggies more green based, like spinach, kale, etc. I use lemon and olive oil to keep the flavor light with more fatty fish.

one dish cod and veggie bake #paleo Easy dinner!

5.0 from 2 reviews
One Dish Fish and Veggie Bake {Paleo Friendly}
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • ½ cup diced onion and celery (1/4 cup each)
  • 1½ cup to 2 cups shaved Brussel sprouts
  • ¼ tsp chili pepper or paprika
  • dash of sea salt and black pepper
  • ½ tsp garlic.
  • 3 cups diced potatoes
  • 2 cod fillets (4oz-5oz) - Or other white fish. I use sizzlefish Cod
  • ¼ cup honey mustard dressing
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • lemon juice
  • feta cheese or goat cheese to top (optional)
  • 1 tbsp butter, ghee, or duck fat
Instructions
  1. First, lightly pan fry your potatoes in sea salt and duck fat. cook until slightly tender but not all the way cooked. Next, coat your fillets in a mustard dressing and lemon juice then set aside. Combine your veggies and potatoes together, mix with balsamic vinegar and the rest of your seasoning. Place your fish fillets in a casserole dish, add your veggies and potatoes on top along with feta cheese. Bake at 450F for 15-17 minutes. Broil the last minute to make Brussel sprouts crispy!

Both of these styles of fish dishes are great for those looking to refuel after a workout or for growing kids! A good source of omegas, glycogen from the rice/potatoes, and antioxidants from the veggies.

Mmm k. Who’s hungry?

One dish fish and veggie bake - Week night meals made easy! #paleo friendly and delicious! @cottercrunch

What’s your go to one dish meal? I’d love more ideas!

Cheers!

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The Business of Blogging and Branding

When I first started blogging 6 years ago, blogging was pretty simple. I’d write a recipe, take a crappy picture, hit publish, respond to comments, read a few other blogs, done. Most of the time I was responding to my husband’s friends and fellow triathletes. They were always looking for more recipes ideas, nutrition tips, etc. Heck, that’s how I was nick named “the Sherpa Wife.”

cottercrunch - sherpa wife

There was no pinterest, I had just started a twitter account (and had no clue how to use it), Facebook was for catching up with old friends, instagram was insta ..nothing, and Google + wasn’t even born yet. At least not to my knowledge.

So you see, back then, blogging was a hobby that helped me share my passion… nutrition, cooking, recipes, being a wife. Simple.

Over the years the “industry” has really EVOLVED. I would say it’s definitely more entrepreneur friendly, but it also demands more of our time. That is if you want to be a full time blogger.

Blogging today means that women (and men) can provide a good source of income for their family while still being at home. That was a huge reason for me to continue to pursue blogging. I want to be a housewife (gasp!) and I hope to be a stay at home mom some day.

sherpa wife kiss

Blogging today means your life is displayed EVERYWHERE. And you’re expected to be EVERYWHERE. Note from lessons learned –> don’t be everywhere, be ONE place important (at that moment) instead. Avoid the burnout.

Blogging today means you will be judged, criticized, but also praised. Don’t let it go to your head, or your heart.

inspiration quote

And blogging today also gives you the chance to create your own brand. One that is very AUTHENTIC, ORIGINAL, and well… a perfectly imperfect YOU!

building your blogging brand - @Cotterunch #blogging #tips #branding #growyourblog

Branding your Blog can be the first step towards bigger blogging aspirations. It means you are serious about what you share, write, and so on.

How to create YOUR blogging Brand

  • Ask yourself what are you passionate about? What makes you excited about life? Find a purpose in it.
  • What can you contribute to the “blogosphere” that not many other can.
    • Think about it. What makes you different? Is it your attitude, your creativity, your organizational skills, your helpful tips, your recipes, your photography, your ability to relate to others?
  • Ask bloggers and non bloggers what they think you are good at and why. Is it something you can make into a business? Can you write an ebook about it? You’re good at something, that is for sure! God gave us all gifts for a reason! What is your gift?
  • Don’t be afraid to embrace change in order to find your brand or to REBRAND. I think it’s a natural way of life. We transition from one career to the next, from one stage of life to the next, and so on. But change is what makes you AUTHENTIC and strengthens you as you grow.
  • Don’t look at failure as if it’s an end to whatever you seeking. Look at failure as one event that can only lead to more growth and success. That’s part of your brand, failure.
    • I have failed at taking care of my health at times. I have failed at many recipes. My husband has failed at races and during key workouts, but all those failed attempts don’t make us FAILURES. They instead help us refocus on what truly matters.

Failure sometimes enlarges the spirit. You have to fall back upon humanity and God. ~Charles Horton Cooley

Okay, now that you have narrowed down your thoughts, HONE in on what truly makes you YOU (you brand), and don’t let fear or comparison get in the way!

As we approach the end of the first month of 2015, I think many of us already want to feel concrete and established, whether it be with our blog/career, with our life plans, or even with our health.  We want all the stars to align and our BIG dreams to come true. Hey, it’s natural, we’re human.

But what if we focused less on expectations and final outcome, and more on the process?  I think then, we just might be able to see where success and growth are already taking place, one step at a time.

Find purpose in your passion, learn and grow from it (failures and all), share it, nurture it, brand it!

That is Success.

What are you creating and sharing today?

That’s my corny Cotter question for you!

Cheers!

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Lower Sugar Homemade Fruit and Veggie Snacks

I remember it like yesterday. The after school snack time and crazy amount of extracurricular activities. My favorite was dance (jazz class to be specific). My neighbor and I would rush out of school, throw on our tights, jazz shoes (ya, I was cool),  and then head down the road to the local dance studio. It was there we would spend a dollar (gosh I wish things were still a dollar) on a bag of fruit snacks and a Clearly Canadian Fruit Water. Anybody remember those?  Oh man, it was good! It was also sugar water and sugar fruit candy. Seriously, no wonder I was always balls to the walls energetic at dance time! Then would totally crash after. Ha!

Nowadays it’s my husband who craves the fruit snacks, especially after long rides.  Hello glycogen depletion!

Sure, there are healthier fruit snacks out there these days, and there are naturally dried fruit, but they are not cheap. In fact, I went to go buy some organic unsweetened dried cherries and bananas at the store and they cost $10. Yes, $10 for a bag. WOWZA!

But this is where my sherpa wife/Martha syndrome comes in. Can’t I just make my own? Wouldn’t that save me loads of added sugar and money?

Ah ha moment here ya’ll!

Yes, yes i can! And it was easy peasy.

homemade fruit snacks - low sugar and made with coconut oil. @cottercrunch

You can make these two ways, in the dehydrator or in the oven. I like to coat my fruit with coconut oil or coconut butter first, then add a spice, like cinnamon! They smell amazing and have a chewy fruit snack texture that’s great to add to oatmeal, baking, or in a trail mix.

Lower Sugar Homemade Fruit Snacks
 
Recipe by Lindsay at Cotter Crunch
Ingredients
  • 2 bananas or plantains
  • 1 bag frozen or fresh unsweetened dried cranberries or other fruit of choice
  • 2-4 tbsp melted coconut butter or oil
  • cinnamon
  • *I love using sweet spreads cinnamon roll coconut butter melted in this recipe.
Instructions
  1. Slice your bananas and combine with berries into a large bowl. Coat with the oil and cinnamon.
  2. Lay flat on parchment paper or in a dehydrator.
  3. For the dehydrator, place on low for 8-10 hrs at 135F. If you want to try this in the oven, then crack the door open a little bit and keep the oven on low at 140F for 6 hrs or so.
  4. You can keep them there longer if you want them more crispy, less chewy

homemade fruit snacks (low sugar)  (4 of 1)-2

homemade fruit snacks (low sugar)  (4 of 1)

Aren’t they pretty?! I also think they would be great as gifts. To bad I didn’t think of that until AFTER the holidays. Haha.

Looking for more homemade snack ideas to save you money?

Try these homemade snap pea chips.

homemade-snap-pea-chips.jpg

Or Spicy wasabi roasted peas with nut butter!

homemade wasabi roasted peas! @cottercrunch

 

Okay tell me, what was your favorite afternoon snack growing up?

Have you tried homemade veggie chips or fruit snacks yet? You so need to!

Cheers!

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Mocha Muffin Bread Pudding (Paleo and Dairy Free Options)

January is an exciting month, isn’t it? Just feel fresh, new, and light. That is until something happens that is out of our control and we panic. It can be easy to feel like we failed at something when that happens, but in actuality, it’s not failing at all. It’s life molding us into something NEW.

So far this year, our car has broken down twice, our garage door broke, and I’ve had two “failed” recipes. But really, all that was not in my control. Okay maybe the recipes we a tad bit in my control, but I’m still in denial. Ha ha!

Regardless, what I tried to control didn’t work, even when I had the best “intentions.”

But what if we decided to give up control instead beforehand? What if we focused on turning frustrating situations into an opportunity to reshape?

I think that might make your January more adaptable, ENJOYABLE, and therefore lead to a better QUALITY of life.

Too corny for you? Okay, let me give you an example.

Gluten free mocha muffin bread pudding! Paleo and Dairy free options. Perfect for recycling dried out muffins. Delicious breakfast too!

I made gluten free (paleo) mocha muffins. While in the oven, something MORE IMPORTANT came up and I turned my back on them for too long. They did not burn, but they were a little dry. Still tasty though!

What might have been viewed as a waste of time and energy turned into something of better QUALITY.

Gluten free mocha muffin bread pudding! Paleo and Dairy free options. Perfect for recycling dried out muffins. Delicious breakfast too!  @Cottercrunch

Mocha Muffin Bread Pudding! A perfect post workout snack (healthy carbs, a little protein, natural sugars).

Gluten free mocha muffin bread pudding! Paleo and Dairy free options. Perfect for recycling dried out muffins. Delicious breakfast too!  @Cottercrunch

A perfect weekend breakfast or brunch dish, for when you can sip on a few cups of coffee without rushing. A satisfying dessert that can accommodate to both paleo and dairy free folks!

Mocha Muffin Bread Pudding (Paleo and Dairy Free Options)
 
recipe by Lindsay at Cotter Crunch
Serves: Makes about 6 bars or 6 half cup servings.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups of crumbled or 4 muffins crumbled. Regular or chocolate muffin (stale or dry works!).
  • ½ cup cream or coconut cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • dash of salt
  • 1 tsp coffee extract (or 2-3 tbsp ground coffee)
  • ⅓ cup chopped bakers chocolate (regular or unsweetened)
  • 3 tbsp 100% cocoa powder
  • topping --> cocoa powder, chopped nuts, vanilla protein powder, or regular powdered sugar.
Instructions
  1. First crumbled your muffins and soak them in the cream. Whip the egg and mix into your creamed muffins. Add in the chocolate, baking powder, salt, and coffee and mix again. Pour into a small oiled bread pan and bake at 350 F for 30 minutes.
  2. Top with extra nuts, chocolate syrup, and any other sugar or vanilla protein powder you'd like!
Notes
I used a Paleo chocolate muffin recipe that was too dry. I topped with Nu Naturals chocolate syrup (stevia)
 Gluten free mocha muffin bread pudding! Paleo and Dairy free options. Perfect for recycling dried out muffins. Delicious breakfast too!  @Cottercrunch

I guess by giving up control, I accomplished more than I had hoped. Yes?!

Food for thought, and well, more food!

What muffin flavor would you make into a bread pudding next?

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Mocha Muffin Bread Pudding (Paleo and Dairy Free Options)
 
recipe by Lindsay at Cotter Crunch
Serves: Makes about 6 bars or 6 half cup servings.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups of crumbled or 4 muffins crumbled. Regular or chocolate muffin (stale or dry works!).
  • ½ cup cream or coconut cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • dash of salt
  • 1 tsp coffee extract (or 2-3 tbsp ground coffee)
  • ⅓ cup chopped bakers chocolate (regular or unsweetened)
  • 3 tbsp 100% cocoa powder
  • topping --> cocoa powder, chopped nuts, vanilla protein powder, or regular powdered sugar.
Instructions
  1. First crumbled your muffins and soak them in the cream. Whip the egg and mix into your creamed muffins. Add in the chocolate, baking powder, salt, and coffee and mix again. Pour into a small oiled bread pan and bake at 350 F for 30 minutes.
  2. Top with extra nuts, chocolate syrup, and any other sugar or vanilla protein powder you'd like!
Notes
I used a Paleo chocolate muffin recipe that was too dry. I topped with Nu Naturals chocolate syrup (stevia)

4 Compound Exercises Great for Tabatas {And a Workout to Try}

It’s been a while since I posted a workout. I guess you could say it’s not my real focus on Cotter Crunch right now, but I still think fitness is important! I will be honest though, I think MOVING the body and fueling the body right is more important that structured workouts. Don’t get more wrong, I love teaching classes, but with the new year, brings a new FUN and PLAY focus.

Okay, that being said. Let’s talk fitness tips. Let’s talk tabata. Short intervals, high intensity. Yes! This is my thang. I dig it. I usually teach once tabata class once a week, and if I do it right, it takes the rest of the week to really recover. Hey, the kiwi and I are both getting older, we need more recovery days now! But also, it takes me (and my class) more time to recover between sessions because we focus on COMPOUND exercises during each tabata workout. That’s a lot of muscle work in a short period of time!

Compound exercises involve more than one joint and muscle group. I like to focus on BIG muscle group compound exercises and throw in some plyometrics. Phew, it’s tough!

Compound Exercises for a quick and effective Tabata WOD - Cottercrunch

Four of my favorite compound exercises are:

  • Squat with med ball toss –> Works shoulders, core, and legs
  • Chaturanga push up (or divebombers) with plank knee hugs –> Works core, shoulders, chest, back, hamstrings. (see video below)
  • One legged mountain climbers –> works shoulders, legs, core
  • Resistance bands Bear Crawls –> Works core, legs, and shoulders. You don’t have to use a resistance band, but if you have a partner to hold you back with the band while you crawl, it makes those legs really burn. Trust me! You can also use pole to wrap the band around and then crawl out and back with the band around your waist, if you don’t have a partner.

divebomb-combo

And if you dare to include more into your workout, try this snatch with squat jack.

snatch-squatjack

This workout with warm up and cool down can take anywhere between 30-40 minutes. Sometimes I will throw in a little core at the end too.  And like i mentioned before, if you do it right, you won’t need (or want) to workout any longer. Instead, focus on moving and getting in more steps throughout the day.

Bonus tip –> Take a few walks around the grocery store or park further away. The past few days I’ve done this and hit 10,000 steps , and that’s without any running, just walking.

Vivofit steps #pathToFit @garmin

Post Workout Tip –> Need a fast protein rich snack post workout? Try Flapjacks new Healthy Bites inspired recipe! The Cookie Crumb Protein bite. I usually grab a few Healthy Bites after a workout to keep me going till lunch. Can’t wait to try this next!

#flapjacked Cookie crumb bites with @flapjacked

Are you fan of structured workouts or prefer play? Both are great! Just depends on your goals.

P.S. HUGE thank you to Taylor (Kindal) for helping me with the GIF pictures. You can check out her tutorial here for how to do it yourself. Very cool!

Cheers!

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Don’t Break the Bank! 5 Budget Friendly Gluten Free Meals

Now that the holidays have passed, we’re all broke, right? Just kidding (kinda). But if you are like us, you are definitely scaling back on “wants” and focusing more on the “needs.” With our lifestyle and active jobs, we definitely NEED to focus on REAL (gluten free) food to fuel us!

I often hear people say …. “but eating gluten free is so expensive, right?”

And you know what? It definitely can be unless you learn to shop right.

Once you know that, it’s actually, it’s quite affordable! All you need to learn are a few helpful tips!

Budget Friendly gluten Free meals - cottercrunch.com #glutenfree #pathToFit

Tips like….

  • Don’t (always) buy the prepackaged GF foods, stick with real food first if you can. We still like to try out new GF brands and ready made meals from time to time (like when traveling) but we try to focus mainly on REAL food. 
  • Stick with only a few carbs and rotate them. Try rice, polenta, potatoes quinoa, squash, plantains, fruit, and beans as your main carb source.

Texas Style Salmon and Pork Paella - cottercrunch

  • Use protein (like eggs) in various dishes.
  • Recycle ingredients from a meal (more on this below!)
  • Make your own snacks, and trail mix. Unless they are on sale at whole foods –> THEN TAKE ADVANTAGE! haha. 
  • Frozen veggies, use them, again and again!
  • Support local. They usually have great deals on produce anyway. I always check out the local finds at my whole foods as well. 
  • Shop the outer aisles, like produce,  butchery, seafood, dairy, etc. And if you scam the aisles twice through, you might find some sales you missed the first time around.
  • Extra fit tip –> I like to where my  fitness tracker (vivofit) to see how many extra steps I can get in at the store.  Hey, every little bit counts!

#pathToFit vivofit garmin

OKay, now let’s get to those meals! All these meals have been posted before except for one, which I will give the recipe for below. And all these meals have been used from leftover ingredients from previous meals. Meaning, the salmon leftover from one dinner was used the next day in another. Same with the veggies, turkey, etc. It’s best way (for us) to keep meals affordable but still delicious and nutritious!

This first one is great for a brunch or paired with soup.

Salmon Brussel Sprout English Muffin bake

salmon and brussel sprout english muffin bake!  Great for brunch

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Salmon Veggie Avocado English Muffin bake

  • 4 oz salmon fillet (sizzlefish for us!) -> cut into pieces.
  • 1 gluten free english muffin
  • red pepper hummus
  • 1/2 cup shaved brussel sprouts
  • 1/3 avocado (slices)
  • oil
  • balsamin vinegar
  • 1 tsp garlic (minced)
  • salt/pepper
  • fet cheese crumbles

First, bake your salmon or use leftover salmon. I bake my salmon at 400F with 1tbsp oil/vinegar on top and fresh garlic pepper (1tsp). takes 10 miunutes.

Then toss the salmon (chopped) with brussel sprouts and lightly sautee until veggies are soft. Place on top of a toasted english muffin with 1-2 tbsp hummus, avocado, and sprinkle with feta. drizzle with balsamic vinegar and season with a touch of pepper.

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Not into fish? Here are few other Budget Friendly Gluten Free Dishes.

Gluten Spicy Pasta Carbonara with Hard Boiled eggs.

GF spicy pasta carbonara --> great for leffover pasta and quick to make! Budget friendly! www.cottercrunch.com #glutenfree #pasta

For the Vegetarians and for those frozen veggies —> Everything But the Kitchen Sink Soup 

Everything but the kitchen sink soup 2 (GF) - Vegan option. Budget friendly. #glutenfree www.cottercrunch.com @cottercrunch

For the One pot Crock Pot meals (vegan option) –> BBQ Lentil Stew 

BBQ Lentil Stew (Great for crock pot) and vegan option. www.cottercrunch.com #glutenfree #crockpot

For the Breakfast lovers and to use leftover meats/veggies —> Paleo Pumpkin Kale Turkey Frittata

paleo pumpkin Turkey Kale Frittata -budget friendly www.cottercrunch.com @LCCotter

 

See, when life hands you gluten free lemons, you make extra sweet gluten free lemonade! Okay, you get my point. Budget friendly meals can be delicious and nutritious, sometimes you just have to make the most with the BEST you got!

Do you budget meals? What’s your plan of attack at the grocery store?

Cheers,

The Sherpa Wife (LC)

Gluten Free Paella {Texas Style}

Two of my favorite dishes of all time are Paella and Texas Caviar. You know, the blended dish of black eyed peas and, corn, onion, and cilantro! Needless to say, I haven’t had corn or beans in a long time. Mainly for gut health reasons. Though each of us are so different in the way we can handle food, even the healthy real food, so I always like to share a variety of recipes! Plus I like talking about nutrition. You know me, I love a good reason to explain a recipe and it’s nutrients.

Like this one! The legumes/beans/peas! Is there a way for them to be “digested” properly?

We’ve definitely been trying them out more for their resistant fiber, or resistant starch. I’ve chatted about this in the past and would love to chat about it again now.

So, resistant starch is in several commonly consumed foods including raw potatoes, cooked and then cooled potatoes, green bananas, various legumes (beans), cashews and raw oats.

What do they do?

Resistant starch both feeds the friendly bacteria and indirectly feeds the cells in the colon by increasing the amount of butyrate. source

Butyrate is a short chain fatty acid that can help ease several digestive disorders. But you have to add in slowly and allow the gut flora to “adjust” accordingly, especially if you are already having gut issues.

Texas Salmon and Pork Paella (8 of 8)

But since the Kiwi is training for his last Ironman, I’m trying to keep his (our) blood sugar stable as well as increase his good carbs and beneficial gut flora! Legumes can help with all that (if your gut is healthy).Check out Dr. Alan Christianson great article on beans here.

We’ve been eating potato starch, potatoes, and plantains for a while now so i thought I’d venture more into the legumes for more types of resistant starch. Adding in a little each week to see how this helps with both our digestion, adrenals, and immunity. Lentils and Black eyed peas are a safe “segway” into beans if you are senstive. I also recommend soaking them first to help break down the phytic acid.

Okay okay, let’s get to this lucky recipe, shall we?

Texas Style Paella - cottercrunch

I’m feeling fancy, but frugal, so Texas style paella is the way to go! A Texas Caviar (Black eyed peas relish) combined with sizzlefish salmon and little bit of pork (bacon). I know the Spanish are mocking me right now, but hey, that’s okay. I’ll take my resistant fiber along with some spanish flare!

Easy Gluten Free Paella (Texas Style)
 
Serves: 3-4
Ingredients
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup red onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 cups of long-grain white rice
  • 1½ cups chicken or veggie stock
  • ½ cup of diced fresh or canned tomatoes, strained
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp chili pepper or cayenne
  • sea salt/ black pepper
  • ½ cup chopped zucchini
  • ⅓ cup chopped bacon or pork (optional)
  • 1 cup or about 6-8oz of cooked salmon (chopped)
  • 1 cup black eyed peas
  • lemon juice
  • Optional- chopped cilantro mixed in.
  • optional toppings- Avocado and/or roasted red bell peppers
Instructions
  1. First cook your rice in the broth. Once it’s ready, add in your tomatoes, garlic, 1 tbsp olive oil, cumin, and dash of salt.
  2. In another pan or large skillet, sautee your zucchini and onions with garlic, 1 tbsp olive oil, cayenne, and a dash of black pepper/sea salt. Once it’s about done, add in your cooked salmon, pork, and drained peas. Add a little lemon juice on top and stir in skillet until mixture is hot and everything is cooked through.
  3. Serve your rice first then salmon/pea mixture on top! Add cilantro or chili pepper and even avocado to garnish!
Notes
Note: You'll want to go ahead and grill or bake 2 small salmon fillets. I just bake mine or grill with a little olive oil, lemon juice and black pepper. Don't cook them all the way, just about 8 minutes on 400F. The rest of the cooking will be in the pan with the veggies.

If you are sensitive to peas, I would try soaking the black-eyed peas overnight in a large pot before cooking them. You can also just use canned peas and drain the juice.



Recipe by Lindsay at Cotter Crunch

texas style seafood and pork paella- cottercrunch

See, it’s easy! And it’s actually really good cold the next day.

Did you eat your black eyed peas this year? What’s your favorite way to eat iresistant fiber? Deep questions here ya’ll. 

;-)

Cheers,

The Sherpa Wife (LC)