Sunday, September 14, 2014

Bacon Broccoli Salad

My Grandmommie is a fantastic cook. So is my mother. It is in our blood! So it is only natural I blog about cooking food, right?

Here is my Grandmommie featured in a cooking article in a local magazine this month, along with a handful of her recipes. So proud of her!

When I was pregnant with my youngest, she brought over this fabulous broccoli salad. Sounds boring, but this dish is FANTASTIC. I ate it all the time. It was ridiculous, I was making a dish of it every few days for a while.

It is slightly sweet, but tangy and savory. It is creamy but it has crunch.  It just crosses the T in every flavor and texture category. This is one of those dishes that I can take to any get together and people want the recipe.

So summer just ended and we were having a back to school block pool party.

Kidlets and back to school swimming block party

First day back to school
I decided that I would take this salad and some strawberry angelfood cake trifle. Guess which recipe they wanted? Yup. Haha! So here it is.

Bacon Broccoli Salad

Adapted from my Grandmommie Finney

Serves 8
*3 heads broccoli crowns, cut into florest (or you can do 1 lbs broccoli florets in pkg)
*1/2 cup craisins (or raisins)
*2 slices bacon, crispy and chopped (or 1/3 cup bacon bits)
*1/2 red onion, finely diced
*1/4 cup slivered almonds (or sunflower kernals)
Toss that with coleslaw dressing (8 oz) but I use the healthified and lower cal recipe below. Keeps overnight if you want to make ahead.

Coleslaw dressing

*1/2 cup plain nonfat greek yogurt
*1/2 cup mayo (you can do all mayo as well)
*2 tbsp vinegar (I prefer apple cider but any will do)
*2 tbsp sweetener of choice (I used splenda this time but sugar or stevia is fine)





Nutritional Stats

1 serving prepared, 1/8th of recipe

  • Cals 160
  • Carbs 8
  • Fat 13   
  • Protein 5             
  • Sodium 142        
  • Sugars 4
  • 4 weight watchers plus points


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Keeping Your Motivation Up

Coach Jenny knows what it takes to win a Venus Contest.
As we start out this latest Venus Contest- VT12, expectation and motivation run high. It is so exciting to think of the possible change you can drive in 12 short weeks with consistency and hard work!
For some the newness will wear down after a few weeks; challenges will inevitably present themselves and motivation will wane. What you will be left with is a choice to continue on with the commitment you made or to throw in the towel. Many will choose the latter. Do not be one of them.  You can do this!
Here are some practical tips to keep up your motivation-

1) Refocus and reflect

I like to look over how I did the day before and plan out the day ahead for both calories and workouts. I then take my daily goals and turn them into weekly goals. Those become a weekly journal where I can reflect on what went good or bad.  It is from this weekly feedback that we learn what works.

On scene at my last shoot, photographers and timelines are motivating for me.

2) Try a new tool

There are many to choose from, and how well they work for you will change with the seasons. Being open to trying new things and to changing something 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Vegetarian High Protein Meal Ideas

One of my best friends is vegetarian/vegan so this topic interests me as it comes up with clients on occasion. It is challenging to get your protein macros within your calorie limit when you are vegan or vegetarian.

Planning for success

My first tip is to plan your meals ahead of time and have calorie and protein chunks planned out for each meal- e.g. 300 cals and 30 g protein

Know your sources

An easy way to sort out best protein sources is by percentage =  ((protein in g) / (total cals)) * 100 per serving. E.g. a 4 oz chicken breast is 25 g protein per 142 cals or 17.6% which is pretty high compared to most foods thus it is a diet staple for the fit crowd.

Here are some high protein vegetarian food ideas in order from highest to lowest percentage protein:
-Egg 78 cals and 6.3g protein which is 12.4% protein (egg whites are even higher at 1 cup 126 cals and 26.5g protein 21.0%)

-Rice and pea protein powders 1 scoop is 120 cals and 24g protein or 20.0%

-Plain Greek yogurt 1 cup is  120 cals and 20 g protein or 16.7%

-Tofu 100g (3.5 oz) is 55 cal and 7.4 g protein or 13.45%

-Beans ( highest % is soy) 173 cal and 16.5g protein at 9.5%
Followed up by kidney, white, lima, fava, black, mung

-Ricotta cheese (no rennet so it is vegetarian) 0.5 cup is 171 cals and 14 g protein  or 8.2%

-Nuts and seeds (hightest % is pumpkin) 0.25 cups or 28 g 151 cals and 8.4 g protein 5.2%
Followed up by peanuts, almonds, pistachios, sunflower seeds, flax, mixed nuts

Other ideas- cottage cheese, quinoa, soy milk, nut butter, tempeh, vegetarian protein bars (aim for 200 cals and 20g protein per bar (Vega and Rise are good store bought ones... or make your own), Quorn, hempseed, buckwheat flour, chia seeds, Ezekiel bread, spirulina
I scaled the following meal plan example down (by 2/3rds) from the following website-

This site was featured in Brad Pilon's article here-

Vegan Sample Meal Plan

(You can combine meals as preferred)

Meal 1:
0.5 cups oatmeal
Protein shake with 0.33 serving of Plant Fusion, 0.33 cup soymilk, 0.33 banana

Meal 2:
1/6 block of extra firm tofu, scrambled with spinach and peppers
1/3 grapefruit
1 almond butter sandwich: 1 slices of whole grain bread, 1 tbsp almond butter

Meal 3:
Black bean chili with 0.33 can black beans, 1/6 pack seitan, and veggies
1/3 baked sweet potato
1/12 avocado

Meal 4 (post workout):
1/3 apple
Protein shake with 0.5 scoops SunWarrior protein, 0.33 cup soymilk, 0.33 banana

Meal 5:
1 large spinach salad
1/6 cup lentils, cooked with veggies and spices over 1/6 cup brown rice
1/6 pound steamed broccoli

Meal 6:
1 tbsp almond butter spread on celery sticks

Approximate totals for the day:
1128 calories, 69g protein, 171g carbs, 25g fat

X- Liss

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Commitment and Starbucks Blendicano

The most successful transformations 1) identify a clear goal 2) find a lifestyle plan that works with a nutrition and lifting component 3) stick to the plan- even when the going gets tough <- that is the hard part

A Venus coach can help you navigate steps 1 through 3. We are currently accepting clients in conjunction with the next transformation contest that starts September 1st. You can find out more about our coaching program and sign up here:   If you want me, you will have to request it in your form :)


 I found the recipe on how to order a Starbucks Blendicano on IG a few weeks back and finally tried one while travelling. SO GOOD and something that will not suck all your cals up!


Starbucks Blendicano

How to order
  • Quad espresso
  • 6 pumps sugar-free vanilla syrup
  • Venti ice
  • Blend
Over at the self service counter, add a couple of packets of Splenda if you want. It is already sweet, so taste first. Then hit it with some cinnamon!

This thing is like 20 cals. Yup.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Venus Meets up in Vegas

Enjoying a night out on the town

This past weekend, Venus members from around the world met up in fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada on the strip. We enjoy each other so much in the community, so we knew we would have a blast in real life! We put a heads up in the forum about 6 months ago, and I could hardly wait until it was time to go!

Continue reading HERE

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Venus takes on Vegas

Venus Coaches: Liss, Jenny, and Lita

This past weekend was a Venus meet-up in Vegas. I had the privilege of meeting several ladies who I have gotten to know well over the past 2 years in the Venus community, as well as spend some quality time in person with several others I have already met.

From L- Kimberly, Beth, Tammy, Lou Ann, Lita, me, Madonna
As crazy as it sounds, we make some pretty tight bonds in the Venus forum. Most of our relationships start as we go through challenges in our nutrition and fitness. And someone helps us through that via replies and private messages in the forum. Many of us even email, call, and text one another- making bonds deeper than just diet and fitness. We can lean on each other for family, relationship, work, and emotional issues. We KNOW each other. So getting together in person, we just click like we have always been “real life” friends.

From L- Eri, me, Kimberly, Julie, Lita, Beth, and Jenny


Our time together was special. Everyone always looks betterin 3D as I have said before. I knew to expect that. What I enjoy the most is getting to see the facial expressions, eye contact, and vocal tone. Also the hugs!


From L- Jenny, Elizabeth, Lita, Roberta, Lou Ann, Beth, me

While in Vegas, I also got a DEXA done at a clinic. My results shocked me. I was at my ideal Venus metrics and liked my look. Most women who are at VI have a BF (by DEXA) of 18-22%. I was guessing low 20’s based on my look. Mine came out at 27% which I was not prepared to hear.  I was upset for a while until I got a chance to talk it out with Coach John and the Venus girls.  Again, my Venus friends assisted me through the trial. I attribute much of my personal growth in the past couple of years to them.

Post lifting pic in the ring at the Cosmo gym. From L- me, Jenny, Roly, Lita, Kimberly

Body fat percentage is just another number to fixate on. Similar to scale weight, it is irrelevant. Just like two women at 135 pounds can look completely different based on their height and musculature- two different women at 25% body fat can look different also.  It was another mental hurdle for me to get past. I like my look, I have worked hard to get here. I am content. That is all that matters.


Venii from L- Jenny, Liss, Beth, Tammy

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Currency of Calories

One of my biggest AH HA moments in my transformation was the concept of weekly calories and budgeting. The fact that a less than stellar day nutritionally could still be saved by a forward week if you made up for it before or after; you budget for it. A calorie currency if you will.


If calories were currency, then fat is a debt. You have to save calories to pay off your debt. You can only save so much money, just like you can only limit the number of calories you eat by so much. There is a sweet spot. Ideally your spot is one where you have small indulgences which allow you to not feel deprived, but not so much restriction that you go hog wild one day.


So if every weekend, you are going out and spending all your currency do not be surprised when all your debt is back on Monday. It can be a vicious cycle. Spending all week to save from the previous weekend, then doing it again in a week or two. You cannot get anywhere if you constantly save, save then spend, spend.  It is like digging a hole during the week, and filling it back up with dirt every weekend. Sounds crazy, huh?


A moderate but aggressive pace is ideal. Fast enough to see progress, but slow enough to enjoy some indulgences so you are not feeling deprived. There is a happy place.


What works best for me during a calorie deficit run is to take one maintenance day per week for sanity. I eat a bit more overall, and eat a couple of things that I normally do not have a budget for during deficit days. Some of my favorites are cake, wine, and chocolate.  Are those ideal foods? No. Can they be enjoyed moderately? Yes. There really are no good or bad foods, just ones that make you feel best.


Perfection is the enemy of good. Allowing these treats prevents bigger calorie spending days that I cannot overcome in a week.  Sit down and make yourself a calorie budget, today. Try to set social events on maintenance days so that you have some room to play. With the right mindset, you can make it happen.