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Coconut_almond_energy_cookies
Motivation & Inspiration, Recipes, Sweets & Treats Recipes, Uncategorized

Tracy’s Chocolate Chip Moxie Cookies

Dear Diary,

Sometimes specific people are placed in your life at just the right time. They bring with them something you might not have even known you needed. They are like a magical unicorn, you’re positive they don’t exist, and then there they are in front of you. I like to think these unicorns appear when either good karma circles back around or the universe is prepping me for something difficult in my future. Most likely it’s a combination of both.

I recently met one of these rare, magical unicorn type people and she came along with one of the most healthy, and more importantly, delicious cookie recipes. She not only sparked my new love for essential oils, she also helped me find my way back to my blog and the kitchen. These cookies are that good! If they can renew my passion for sending ripples of health and wellness out into the world, what can they do for others?

What makes these cookies so great? Simply put, it’s the marriage of flavors from key ingredients like coconut oil, pure maple syrup, vanilla extract, and cinnamon that set it apart from the cookie crowd. The moxie part is the health benefits…and I kind of love the word moxie. One way moxie is defined is the ability to face difficulty with spirit and courage. We all need moxie when it comes to our health and wellness. For some super-food moxie, this recipe calls for almond flour versus wheat flour which makes this cookie packed with protein, monounsaturated fats, and B vitamins.

Chocolate Chip Moxie Cookies

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

diary_of_a_dietitian_power_cookies

These 9 ingredients are what make Moxie Cookies amazing!

1 whole egg, 2 egg whites

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

3 cups almond flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions:  In a large mixing bowl, combine coconut oil and maple syrup. Mix with a hand mixer, add eggs and vanilla, blend well. In a separate bowl, combine almond flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients 1/2 cup at a time. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop a heaping tablespoon full of cookie dough onto a cookie sheet and push down lightly to form a cookie shape. Dough will be more moist/sticky than dough made with other types of flour. Bake at 375 degrees for 12-14 minutes depending on size of cookie. Makes approximately 27 cookies.

Tips:  Do not use other types of “flour” as they do not interact the same with the moist ingredients. Believe me, I ran out of almond flour and tried to sub in half coconut flour…the result was a dry, bland cookie. Almond meal will give the cookies a more gritty texture, it’s best to use finely sifted almond flour. I have used Blue Diamond brand almond flour from Costco as well as Simply Balanced from Target with good results. I use Pink Himalayan sea salt, this is why the salt has a pink hue in the photo of ingredients. Any fine salt will work in this recipe. These cookies are high in protein with a good amount of healthy fats. They are a very satisfying snack and can be gluten free if the chocolate chips are switched out. I recently made a double batch and froze half of the cookies with good results on the texture.

Recipe used with permission from my magical unicorn friend, Tracy Schwartz. Thank you Tracy!

Do hard things!
Exercise & Fitness, Motivation & Inspiration, Uncategorized

Cue Hot Yoga Mantra

Dear Diary,

Those two little words, hot yoga, have become my new mantra in times of discomfort. I used to hold strong to the illusion that life is supposed to be comfortable. It’s not. In fact, life is mostly uncomfortable with glorious bits of comfort sprinkled in. This may sound like a negative outlook, I assure you it’s not. Allow me to explain my view of life, health, and wellness in relationship to hot yoga.

Hot yoga is just how it sounds. The temperature of the room is between 101 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit with around 40% humidity. It’s designed to induce sweating while moving through and holding poses for 60 to 90 minutes. For years, I told my husband I would NEVER take a hot yoga class. I don’t tolerate high temperatures during the summer months in Southern California or the humidity of July in Michigan. He took an 8 week Bikram yoga class and I told him he was nuts but I was glad he found something that he liked. Good luck to ya!

Never say NEVER. I have been wanting (needing?) to get back into yoga for several years. Since our move last summer, I have been eyeing a yoga studio that is walking distance from our house. I mean eyeing in the fact that I would look longing at it as we walked into our favorite pastry shop next door. Then a Groupon came across my email and I decided it was time. Too many signs were pulling me towards yoga to ignore. “Step away from pastry heaven and step into hot yoga hell,” is what I think I heard fate whisper that day.

Stay with me Diary, the build-up is important…you will soon see. So, I scan the class times and descriptions for several days looking for the perfect “starter” class. Not too difficult and certainly not hot yoga! I successfully complete two level 1 basic yoga classes with normal heat and humidity. Sounds perfect, right? Well, unfortunately those classes, along with a couple of other beginner type classes, are not offered when I am kid free. MMMmmm…hot yoga is offered at the perfect time after the kids are dropped off at school. Dare I do the exact thing I swore I would not do?

So, there I am in the middle of a hot yoga class and my LEGS are sweating profusely. Yes, I said my LEGS. How in the hell did I get here? I have never, ever had leg sweat. In fact, I sweat very little when I exercise. I’m more of a beet-red-face-might-explode kind of person and certainly not a sweat dripping (gross!) sort of girl. As I drip sweat, I look down to see my mat is getting slippery and I don’t have a large towel, just my tiny little workout hand towel. I look in the mirror and my warrior pose looks so awkward that I can’t believe the instructor has not come over to adjust me. Balance of any sort is not happening and my brain is screaming, “Why did you not stick with I’m NEVER doing hot yoga and go eat buttery pastries instead?!?”

In the midst of all this sweaty off-balance discomfort, I realize something. I have the power to shut off the negative never-ever voice that is telling me this is too hard. What if I just listen to the instructors voice and bring myself back to center like he suggests every couple of minutes? What will happen if I live in the moment I’m in instead living in the past (why did I do this to myself?) or the future (I will not make this huge mistake again)? The second half of my very first hot yoga class was spent in the present with my brain focused only on breathing. Interesting…I stopped falling over.

A few things happened after I completed that class. First, I took one of the best cold showers of my life and washed away all that sweat. Second, I reveled in the knowledge that I had just done something I never thought I could do. Third, I started thinking about how I needed to prepare better for the next class…like bring several towels. In short, class #2 required my “A” game.

I go to my second class and almost forget a large towel to cover my mat so I grab an old towel from the garage as I rush out. My second class consisted of more sweat with the added torture of a smelly towel. Awesome. I was the girl in the back of the class not only struggling through 60 minutes of hot torture, but I was also the girl that had a lovely bouquet of funkiness surrounding me. Not exactly my “A” game but I never allowed myself to think about quitting and walking out. Instead, I went home and washed that stinky towel in bleach so it would be ready for class number 3. I can do difficult things, even with a smelly mildew scented towel under me. I’m a little grossed out and a lot proud of myself.

Now, with several hot yoga classes under my belt, I am feeling more confident. The health benefits are more than obvious as I move through my days. Those 3 hours each week spent being uncomfortable, have given my body strength and my mind more focus. Hot yoga has become my really hard thing that reminds me to live in the moment because if I don’t…I will most likely fall over.

Mantras like “only kindness today” and “hot yoga” help bring me back to center and focus on what is in front of me. I am only temporarily uncomfortable and when this passes something less uncomfortable will most likely sit in it’s place. A 45 minute battle of wills with one of my kids…dial in hot yoga mindset. Stuck on a plane waiting to be cleared for take off…only kindness and hot yoga. An accident on the 405 that leaves me sitting in my car instead of at a friends house…channel hot yoga. Live in the moment or risk falling over…sometimes literally but more often figuratively.

The thing I didn’t embrace until recently is that life as a human being is sure to be uncomfortable. Once I stopped expecting life to be easy, comfortable, and tolerable…I was able to start embracing being uncomfortable. Then once uncomfortable becomes tolerable, comfort can be appreciated for the gift that it is. Did hot yoga do all this for me? No. But it did give me clarity, a bit of brevity and a brand new mantra.

Healthy living and eating are also a lot like hot yoga. They are not easy, comfortable or tolerable until we find a way to embrace them in our everyday lives. It’s really scary to change what we normally do. The trade off of feeling uncomfortable momentarily is to improve health and wellness in the long run. Running works for some people, swimming for others…for me it’s hot yoga. Alternate Day Fasting works for some people, a high protein low-carb diet works for others…for me it’s been tracking what I eat to hold myself accountable with My Fitness Pal app. The not-so-secret secret is to find what works and DO THAT! The secret is to never stop the pursuit of finding what works.

Stay focused!

Stay focused!

Kung Poa Chicken Zoodles from Diary of a Dietitian inspired by Skinnytaste
Motivation & Inspiration, Recipes, Uncategorized, Vegetable Recipes

Just Do It Kung Pao Chicken Zoodles

Dear Diary,

After our one year anniversary, I did a fabulous disappearing act. POOF! What happened and where did I disappear to? Well, long story made short, I temporarily misplaced my motivation AND my inspiration. Yikes! I moved in for an extended stay at the Desperationville hotel. Maybe it was Exasperationville, located right next door. Whichever “ville” I was in, I spent my time there prioritizing anything and everything above my health and wellness. I forgot to lean into the things that improve my well being and help carry me through tough times.

Trips to the gym were sporadic at best, meals became less planned and more on the fly, eating became less intentional, and I stopped holding myself accountable by faithfully writing blog entries. I closed my eyes to all the inspiring people and gifts of motivation around me. Here I am, half way through April, needing to rip off the proverbial band-aid. JUST DO IT! No more excuses, no more telling myself lies about exercise, no more eating my feelings, and no more allowing myself to be sucked down into a chasm of negativity.

Life is full of peaks and valleys. March, along with a good chunk of April, was a giant valley for me. I have decided to join Nike (and all those gorgeous, fit looking people in their advertisements) and move back to Justdoit Town. By the way, people from Desperationville despise people from Justdoit Town. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya! Motivation and inspiration are something I’m rediscovering. It’s quite a treasure hunt but I can assure you that neither one is found at the bottom of a bag of chips or a glass of wine while plopped on the couch. Believe me, I checked…several times. If only binge watching The Mindy Project and House of Cards while eating chips burned calories!

A few key people and events have helped me to locate my mojo again. I started this blog so people could have a bird’s eye view into a Dietitians life so here is what helped me.  Step 1: I reread some of my past blog entries to hear my own voice telling me how to find my way back. My blog has truly become my diary, in which I can flip back through and use tools that have already helped me. Step 2: Get a little help from my friends. It’s so important to surround yourself with people who inspire you to be your best you. I am lucky enough to have several key people that help lift me up. Step 3: Give motivation to receive motivation. I have restarted counseling a friend on nutrition and I am in the planning steps of creating an exercise group in my neighborhood (motivated by my friend Jennifer O). Step 4: Read a life changing book written by an author that somehow has put many of my own thoughts into words. My friend Whitney sent me “Carry on, Warrior – The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life” by Glenndon Doyle Melton. I love her style of writing almost as much as what she has to say about navigating life. Step 5: Tell the people who inspire me how much they inspire and motivate me. I’m sticking with the “get and give” and “send and receive” policy. Step 6: Be kind to myself as I keep taking baby steps towards a happier and healthier me. In the wise words of a former client, “This shit ain’t easy.” Nope, nothin’ easy about it.

Today I successfully completed my first yoga class in a very long time. I finally started using My Fitness Pal app to log and track my food intake. I am about to complete my first blog post after an almost two month hiatus. My herb and vegetable garden sanctuary is well under way with actual herbs growing. Many thanks to my Dad who worked tirelessly on it while he was supposed to be on vacation. The sight of plants growing and thriving is such a positive thing for my soul. Finally, I bring you another delicious recipe called Kung Pao Chicken Zoodles for Two by Skinnytaste.

My friend Jennifer O was the driving force in making this recipe as we love to cook together and “talk the journey.” She needed to have a go-to zoodle (zucchini noodle) recipe and her comfort level was low before yesterday. She brought the zucchini, red bell peppers and her positive energy, while I supplied the rest. It turned out fantastic with a few minor tweaks. We used fresh grated ginger instead of the dried ginger, Siracha instead of chili paste, doubled the recipe so we would have plenty of leftovers for lunch, and squeezed fresh lime juice over the finished product. With only 277 calories for 2 cups, this will definitely be a future meal in both of our homes.

To make the recipe from skinnytaste.com click below

Kung Pao Chicken Zoodles for Two

Kung Pao Chicken Zoodles for Two from skinnytaste

Kung Pao Chicken Zoodles for Two from skinnytaste

Kung Pao Chicken Zoodles fresh from the kitchen of Diary of a Dietitian

Kung Pao Chicken Zoodles fresh from the kitchen of Diary of a Dietitian