Sunday, July 26, 2015

Crockpot Snickerdoodle Protein Cheesecake in Jars

This recipe is another sneak peek into one of the recipes in an upcoming cookbook that I wrote for Venus Index Immersion members! If you do not have Immersion or Venus Index - you can learn more here -

Before I share the recipe, I have a simple life hack tip on hulling strawberries with a straw! I love to garnish this cheesecake with berries, it looks gorgeous!

Anyway, be sure to scroll to the bottom to check out the macronutrients on these cheesecakes. Pretty impressive!

Now onto the recipe...

Crockpot Snickerdoodle Protein Cheesecake in Jars

Serves 8

Two scoops of vanilla, cinnamon, or snickerdoodle protein powder (I used PEScience)
2 eggs
2 or 1/3 cup egg whites
1.5 cups Greek yogurt
2 cups granular sweetener of choice (I used stevia)
1 tsp natural vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon (reduce by at least half if using cinnamon or snickerdoodle protein powder)
2 x 8 oz packs of fat free cream cheese
8 mason jars (tested with 1/2 pint size jars, you could also use ramkins)
Optional - whip cream and sprinkles

Directions: Fill your crockpot with about an inch of water and turn it on high. Test how your jars or ramekins will fit in. (I typically do mine in two batches or turn on two crockpots since mine will not all fit in at once.)

Start with creaming the cream cheese and protein powder, then add the sweetener, yogurt, and eggs. Then add the rest of the ingredients. Mix your ingredients well with a mixer. Next, pour mix evenly into the jars. Then, carefully place in the crockpot. Make sure to not get water inside the jars. Add enough water to bring the water level 3/4 of the way up the sides. Cook for 2 hours.

Allow to cool and place in the fridge for a few hours.
Top with whatever your heart desires- I like whip cream, sprinkles, and a bit more cinnamon/stevia mixed across the top.

Nutritional stats per serving

142 cals
1.5 g fat
6 g carbs
21.5 g protein

Did you know about this straw hack?!
X- Liss

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Greek Stuffed Crockpot Chicken

I have been writing a series of cookbook for Venus Index, and want to share a sneak peek of one of the recipes in a recently released cookbook!

I had some of our family over for dinner Friday night, and we had this. All four kids enjoyed this recipe, and I would consider a couple of those to be on the picky eater side. So is my brother-in-law ;) he seemed to like his since he cleaned his plate! So this is one I will make again. And I really like the macros.

If you are a Venus Immersion member, you can download the 10th Immersion edition cookbook- Feeding a Crowd HERE in your cockpit, scroll almost to the bottom.

If want Venus Immersion, order it HERE 

Disclaimer: I halved the recipe and left out the chicken stock since I was out.

Greek Stuffed Chicken Breasts in the Crockpot
Serves 12

4 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breast (12 x 6oz. chicken breasts)
6 cups finely chopped spinach
4 roasted red peppers, chopped
1/2 cup sliced black olives
2 cups chopped artichoke hearts
8 oz. reduced fat feta
2 tbsp. oregano, chopped
2 tsp. garlic powder
3 cups chicken broth
Salt and pepper

Directions: In a bowl, mix together the spinach, artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, feta, oregano, and garlic. Season chicken breast with salt and pepper.

With a sharp knife, make a deep cut in the center of the chicken breasts to create a pocket. Be careful not to cut through the chicken.

Stuff the chicken breasts with the spinach mixture.

Add to the slow cooker. To get all the chicken to fit, you will likely need to place them on their sides with the spinach mixture facing up, basically stacking them sideways across the bottom of the slow cooker. This also prevents the stuffing from falling out.

Add the chicken broth.

Cook on low for 4 hours, checking to make sure the chicken is fully cooked through.

I chopped up my stuffing in the crockpot to be more a bit quicker

I had extra stuffing so I just smothered all of it ;)

I served the chicken with roasted veggies that my sister-in-law made and fresh bread

Nutritional stats per serving

(1 stuffed chicken breast)
209.8 calories
5.7g of fat
4.3g of carbs

34.1g of protein

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Efficiency in the gym

I have been adding additional shoulder, ab, and glute work to my base Venus workouts for a while now; I guess it has been about a year.

One thing I have learned is that I can combine similar equipment and body position work for efficiency. I had never really considered this before, and maybe to many of you this may be a no-brainer. But for someone who is really driven by efficiency, I cannot believe that it had never occurred to me! I mean, I blow dry my hair and read my Bible at the same time. 'you would figure it might have crossed my mind before, right? Haha!

The idea really was driven home a few weeks ago when I was travelling and the only thing the hotel gym had was the cable machine. That will really make you think about what you can do with how one or two arms will set up!

It has taken me a while, honestly, to get comfortable with adding my own exercises to a workout plan that is written out. But I know what I need now, and I am reaping the benefit of this additional targeted work. 

*Disclaimer* you need to have been lean (or are) to see what you need before adding extra specific body part work into your routine. The only additional work I can see most any woman needing across the board is additional glute work. Remember too that additional work is to build out areas, not slim as that is driven from fat loss.

Glute, chest, and abs quadset

Here my base workout called for 3 sets of 12 pushups. I needed to add some additional glute and ab work into my day, so I turned that base idea into the following quadset:

1. Banded side lying hip raise
2. Push up *disclaimer* need to pull my head up and get deeper!
3. Banded donkey kick
4. Ab wheel

I did 3 sets of 12 reps each, no rest

Glute and abs superset

This was an addition to the end of a workout that needed additional ab work; the original workout called for reverse hyperextension.

A. Weighted Reverse Hyperextenstion
B. Swiss Ball Crunch

3 sets of 12 each, no rest

P.S. I like to wear the heaviest leg weights I have (these are 10 lbs each) to really ramp up the reverse hyperextensions! On the Swiss ball crunch, really stretch back over the ball to get a full range of motion, and then come up through your knees!

Hopefully, this gave you some ideas if you are adding in additional work to your routine.

My next adventure is trying to go as heavy as possible on two movements per workout. I want to start tracking my strength gains and this seems like a logical place to start. 

I am rotating through doing as many reps as possible on one upper body and one lower body exercise per session. I am pulling enough weight to do 1-5 reps until failure for 3 sets.

Upper body:
Shoulder Press
Chin ups

Lower body:
Hip Thrust

What is new in your workout world?
X- Liss

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Ana's Picadillo Chile Rellenos

My sweet mother-in-law, Ana, grew up and went to University in Mexico.  She makes the most incredible food and bakes unbelievable treats! Ana can cook ya'll.

Ana and I making tamales
So Ana was actually my friend before she was my mother-in-law. She was a regular in my gym class and we became fast friends. Ana then got immersed into Venus with me. We soon realized we were back door neighbors, her house was directly across the alley from our old house! Anyway, the more I got to know her, the more I realized that she and my father-in-law were like disconnected soul mates. They HAD to meet! It took me months of talking, begging, pleading to make it happen. When they finally did go out, they just clicked. And now she is my mother-in-law. It is like I picked her out haha!

We came this past week to stay with them, and she remembered that I wanted to learn how to make tamales (will share that recipe soon too!) and chile rellenos.  Ana makes one very different but insanely delicious relleno. Consider yourself lucky she was generous enough to share the recipe! But it is definitely not low calorie or high protein haha! This is a special occasion recipe that will knock some guests socks off!

Ana's Picadillo Chile Rellenos

Serves 8

8 poblano peppers
vegetable oil
1 pound ground beef (we used 93% lean)
1 large banana, mashed
1 white onion, diced
3 large tomatoes, subed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup slivered almonds
3 eggs. separated
1/4 cup flour

In a large shallow saute pan, pour enough oil to coat the bottom and place 2-3 peppers over high heat to blacken the outside.

Turn peppers in oil until most of the outside is blistered and blackened.

Immediately place blackened peppers into a large plastic sealed bag to sweat. When cooled, run peppers under cool running water to remove skin. Slit one long cut into side of peppers and remove seeds as well.

Meanwhile, in a medium pot, start making the picadillo beef stuffing. Place the beef, mashed banana, onion, garlic, and tomatoes over medium-high meat. Toss every minute or so until beef is browned. Then stir in the almonds and raisins.

Start stuffing the picadillo beef into the poblano peppers. You want the pepper to be full but still be able to completely close the skin around the stuffing.

Next, start the batter. In a stand mixer, whip 3 egg whites until stiff. Then mix in the yolks and the flour.

In a large, deep pot, cover the bottom with about 1" of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. The oil is just right for frying when you can dip a wooden spoon with a little batter and it immediately starts bubbling.

To coat the chiles with batter, turn the batter bowl slightly sideways. Lie a stuffed pepper in with the slit on the side. Then take your wooden spoon and pour batter over the top.

Slide the battered relleno up onto the spoon and gently lay into hot oil. As soon as it is golden brown on one side (approx 30 seconds to a minute), slide up onto the spoon and flip it. Quickly add in the next relleno in to cook.

When the rellano is cooked on the other side, lay onto a plate lines with paper towels to soak up the excess oil. Enjoy!

Ana serves her rellenos with mexican rice (this recipe is similar to hers) along with pinto beans (this is her recipe for refried pinto beans, she just did not mash them this night!).

Nutritional stats per serving

1 pepper (I estimate that each relleno soaked up 1 tsp of oil in the calories)

390 calories
24.9 g far
22.0 g carbs
19.5 g protein

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Full Body Cable Machine Workout and Eating on a Business Trip

So I spent the last 5 days in Austin, Texas, on a business trip along with my boss and 4 co-workers in a hotel and at a conference all day long.

Exibit A- I am teaching at the conference

I told you a few weeks ago I am starting prep for my next photo shoot, so it was imperative to me to a) nail my nutrition while I was away and b) get in my workouts.

When we got to the hotel, the gym consisted of a treadmill, an elliptical, and a nice cable machine. That was it.

I made due with it! Hey this a chance to be creative, right?

Full Body Cable Workout

Superset #1 (set one cable for the appropriate weight
A1 Standing Cable Hip Thrust 3 sets of 10 reps
A2 Seated Rows 3 sets of 10 reps

Superset #2
B1 Cable Deadlift 3 sets of 6 reps
B2 Chin Ups 3 sets of as many reps as possible

Superset #3
C1 Bent one legged cable kickbacks 3 sets of 20 reps
C2 Cable Lateral Raises 3 sets of 20 reps

Superset #4
D1 Standing Cable Hip Abduction 3 sets of 20 reps
D2 Front Raises 3 sets of 20 reps

Here is a snippet of the workout:

Nailing Nutrition on a Biz Trip

So, my saving grace on the nutrition front was that the hotel served breakfast so I was free to skip that to hit the gym and shower later. Happily, coffee flowed freely at the conference so I could have my fill all morning.

I packed a few Quest bars for snack.  Most of the time, I had a decent choice for lunch and dinner, making sure to choose some sort of veggies to fill up on and a lean protein.

Trying to pick through tough choices at the food trucks at lunch one day, I chose a pulled pork sandwich and a kale salad

Most of the time, if the option was available, I had some sort of salad with a lean protein (usually chicken) and dressing on the side for lunch. At dinner, I would choose a lean protein with a vegetable side. One night was sushi, another was scallops over a corn and okra relish. When you are at the mercy of other people's choices, don't make it a big deal and go with the flow ;) you can ALWAYS control how much you eat. 

X- Liss

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein Cookie Dough and Quest Bar Super Couponing

So I have a little news update in my life - I have been writing a series of fitness oriented cookbooks for Venus Index Immersion customers lately! I somehow managed to get almost 10 books written before I realized I have not told a soul outside the company haha! I guess when my nose is to the grindstone, I just forget to announce things? Who knows!

Anyway, the recipe that I want to share with you today is a spin off of a recipe that I wrote in the Venus Index, Cooking with Protein Powder Cookbook- Chocolate Chip Protein Cookie Dough. If you are already a Venus Immersion customer, this cookbook is in your Immersion modules already! If you are not already an Immersion customer, here is where you can go to find out about it and sign up - LINK TO IMMERSION PAGE

I happen to reeaaaallly love peanut butter, so I just thought my original recipe would be extra awesome with more peanut butter in it ;)

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein Cookie Dough

Serves 2

1 scoop protein powder (I used Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey in Extreme Milk Chocolate)
4 TBSP peanut flour (I used PB2)
1 TBSP mini chocolate chips
1 TBSP peanut butter chips (you could sub completely one or the other)
2 TBSP apple sauce (I tried it with pumpkin puree too, but I preferred the apple sauce)
2 TBSP egg whites (I used Egg Beaters)
Stevia to taste (I used 1 TBSP of granular)

Directions: Mix all the ingredients in a bowl except the egg whites. Start adding the egg whites a tablespoon at a time until it becomes a dough consistency. Form dough into two balls and wrap in plastic wrap for at least 6 hours, or preferably overnight. (This step is important for that cookie dough texture!) Enjoy!

Nutritional Stats per Serving

200 cals
6 g fat
17 g carbs
20 g protein

How to Super Coupon Quest Bars

.... one more thing.... Want to know my little secret to get Quest bars for $1.06??? At GNC, ask the cashier if they have any reduced for clearance. My store marks them down to $1.50. (The deal is that they will expire in 60 days or less which would force the store to toss them if they don't sell.) They last about a week at my house LOL

If you have a GNC card, that will further reduce them. Then I use whatever coupon I got via email or in the mail last (this one was $5 off $30). Boom. 

X- Liss

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Drawing the Line

Whelp I hit the top of my range and I am drawing a line TODAY! 

Where I drew the line at

I came back +3 lbs from Miami in April ....

The hubs and I in Miami

and added another +2 lbs from a family trip this past weekend. Grr.

My cousins and I at our annual family reunion

I did not get a shoot done in April like I had planned so it is 10 weeks from today.

I am going to continue to lift (back to full body) 6 days a week with additional shoulder and glute work. I am adding in some walking/jogging/sprint intervals most days as I am pretty inactive in the summer and my standard poodle, Olive loves to go too  ;)

Cals will be less than 10K/week, and I would like to keep them closer to 8K most weeks. Maintenance cals for me are 10500-11500 a week. Most weekdays I will push my first meal back to 3 pm or so, it is just easier for me. Weekends will be maintenance days. That's the plan!

My point in posting this is that NOBODY stays at their goal weight. Even John Barban, myself, or any other fitness professional does not live at their photo shoot look everyday. Your body is in a constant swing and fluctuation. The KEY is to keep these swings smaller. Five to ten pounds instead letting it go to 30 or more pounds- that is just too much work.

So you just have to put your head down again, and get to work; if you have done it once, you know what to do. It still does not make it easier. Nobody LIKES to have to lose fat. It sucks, especially at first. But after a week or so, you get used to it again. You start to see results. The victories feed the next decisions.

You got this!
X- Liss