Guilt-Free Indulgence... How Sinful Does That Sound?

This is one of my all time favorite recipes because it feels so indulgent and sinful without any of those messy residual feelings of guilt we tend to get when we allow ourselves a big ol' bowlful of dessert! This bowl you can dive right into, swim around in it and get all close and personal with it and walk away with zero regrets. And apparently Tom Brady is a big fan of using these ingredients for his own indulgent purposes so you can add that to your mental imagery as you dive in ;) Food porn at it's best.

When you find yourself with avocados that are on the brink of over-ripeness, pop them into your processor and give this recipe a whirl, you're going to love it!

Blueberry Choco-Coconut Pudding

Ingredients

1/2 avocado
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 Tbs cocoa powder
2 Tbs coconut milk (or another dairy-free milk)
1 Tbs maple syrup
pinch sea salt
½ tsp vanilla
tsp unsweetened shredded coconut to top

Process all of the ingredients until smooth. Top with the coconut shreds and enjoy!

Sweet Potato Pancake (Yum And Yum!) Topped with Healthy Fats!

Ok, my best advice is to make the sweet potato pancake beforehand because I get it, who the hell wants to be this involved in breakfast when you're rushing your ass all over the place trying to get yourself ready (and maybe a kid or two) for the day ahead. No thanks. 

Make ahead of time and pop the pancake in your toaster oven for 1 min or two and boom, you're done... well almost, except for the laborious process of mashing up your avo, but in the name of healthy, I trust you'll take the time for at least that. 

Smoked salmon is in my top ten for super good breakfast food that's super easy to eat. Peel it open, gently finagle a slice free and place on top of something. Or eat it alone. The herbed ones are my favorite, I think in the pic I used the lemon and dill seasoned ones. No brainer. 

And if you'd like a run down of the healthy for these main components, here you go:
Salmon: high in omega-3's, rich in protein, B vitamins and a good source of potassium.
Avocados: high in vitamin C, vitamin K, good course of folate, potassium, monounsaturated fatty acids (goooooood fats), high in fiber and antioxidants.
Sweet potatoes: excellent source of vitamin A. Good source of vitamin C, B vitamins, iron, calcium, selenium, and fiber.

So you got a bunch of vitamins, good fats, and fiber which are all good things when trying to change your unhealthy to healthy. Changing your nutrition doesn't have to be a blandless journey! Try this recipe and ditch the cereal my friend... this recipe alone could spark your whole foods lifestyle change! 

Enjoy :)

Breakfast of babes! 

Breakfast of babes! 

Smoked Salmon Over My Sweet Potato Pancake

2 eggs
2 tsp flour (coconut, almond, all-purpose, whatever you have on hand.)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 cups shredded sweet potatoes (using a food processor with a shredding disc is ideal or shred them by hand, which could get to be annoying)
Coconut oil for pan frying
4 slices smoked salmon
1/2 avocado, mashed
A few shakes of red pepper flakes

Serves 2

In a medium sized bowl, beat the eggs with the flour, cinnamon, ground ginger, and sea salt. Mix in the shredded sweet potatoes until well combined. 

Add coconut oil to a large skillet over medium-low heat. Spoon the mixture into the skillet in “cakes” and cook approximately 2-3 minutes per side until they hold together, flipping once as you would a regular pancake. 

Layer the potato pancake with the mashed avocado and smoked salmon. Season with a few cranks of sea salt, and red pepper flakes. If you got a lemon, squeeze a little lemon juice on top. Easy peesy. 

I'd love to hear what you think of this recipe and, if the sweet potato pancake is prepped ahead of time, is this something you could easily do for a healthy breakfast one (or many) morning? Let me know!

Sweet Potato Chips Dipped In Chocolate... Yum Yum!

I went there. I took a nutritious veggie (sweet potatoes are high in fiber, Vitamin A and potassium), and I turned it into a sweet and salty snack you can count on to satisfy any craving without packing on the calories and guilt. (Not that we count calories over here at Little Black Dress - oh no, that went out with Jane Fonda videos. We simply eat clean and sensibly, and these snacks are right up there with clean and sensible!) 

Here's the how-to so you can get-to it already! 

Yum yum nom nom!

Yum yum nom nom!

Chocolatey Sweet Potato Chips

1 sweet potato, thinly sliced
1 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbs olive oil
2 oz (or 4 squares from a baking bar) chocolate (70% cacao or higher)
Sea salt for dusting
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

Preheat oven to 375˚F. Either with a knife, mandolin or food processor with the slicer blade), thinly slice the sweet potato into even slices. In a bowl, coat the sweet potato slices with olive oil, cinnamon and a little sea salt, and mix well. On a baking dsheet lined with parchment paper, spread out the sweet potato slices and place in oven. Bake for about 10-15 minutes, keeping a close eye on them. (Wait too long to check and you could have an army of blackened chips!)

As they are cooking, melt the chocolate in a double boiler over low heat. Add in the cayenne pepper and mix well.

When the chips are done to perfection, meaning they're a little crisp on the edges and not soft and mushy, pull them out and let them cool for a few minutes before handling. Once slightly cooled, carefully dip one side into the melted chocolate and place on a piece of parchment paper to cool completely.

Enjoy these bad boys pretty much the same day... they won't keep as long as store bought chips will, but I think that's what home cooking/baking is all about... take out the preservatives and eat real food :)

If you're game to give this a go (and I don't see why you wouldn't!) let me know how they turn out for you! I know for me, more times than not, when I follow a recipe the end result doesn't reaaaaaaaalllly look like what I was thinking. This recipe is intended to be easy and pretty much fool-proof, so give it a confident go and let me know how it turns out! If you rock it, you much share it! ;) Happy baking/cooking! 

How to Eat Out and Not Get Fat!

Just the other night, after finally getting the kids into their pj's, teeth brushed, books read, stories told, and about 100 goodnights given, no sooner had I sat down and put my feet up did my husband come up from the basement with a big ass bag of laundry. The kids laundry. So much worse. Their clothes are soooooo little and so much can be stuffed into a laundry basket before you actually have to do any of it. Ugh. My deflated existence melted even further into the sofa as I pressed my head back in-between the pillows and digressed "Remember when we used to go every single Friday night?" "Yup" was all my man could muster as he laid a pair of Superman undies on the coffee table. 

Those weekend nights used to be a ton of fun... but in looking back it's clear to see why I used to do much running then. I easily had an extra 10 pounds circulating around my mid-section that became more prevalent with every weekend that passed! That fat got pretty comfy there for awhile, even though I tried relentlessly to run it out of town... by running. And more running. And maybe a little ellipticaling here and there. But still going out. Every. Weekend. 

Life sure has a way of balancing out, or just tipping the scales in the completely opposite direction! Now, it's rare we head out for a night on the town, and instead opt for the comfy, cozy confines of our new home. (Honestly, I just don't have the energy anymore!)

Turns out though I'm a girl who has fallen in love with her stove, her pots and pans, and all sorts of cool kitchenry gadgets. And it wasn't until this happened, that my love for cooking popped up (I was NEVER into cooking - nev-ah!), that I was finally able to ditch the extra weight I used to carry. It literally melted off without me depriving myself. I was pregnant with baby boy No. 2 and the only thing I changed was that I cooked waaaaaaay more often, and I ate real food. Now I cook like no ones business, and that's where you need to be if you're serious about weight loss. 

Girl, you have GOT to do more home cooking if you're looking to lose a little weight!

But... I do know that we all need that girls night out every once and while, or a little couples therapy where we can go out and forget for a moment that we're supposed to be responsible adults. For those times when we really want to throw caution to the wind, we also don't want to be carrying around last night's pasta dish for weeks on end, attached directly to our mid-sections! Armed with a few tricks, a little mental preparedness, and a lot of determination not to sabotage our best efforts and put us back a dress size, I've got a few helpful tips that I've employed that take the fear out of eating out. Say ciao to grilled chicken and a side salad with no dressing. 

Food Rule Number 1: When ordering a drink at the bar... (total random thought here, came out of nowhere. Didn't even plan on this being a food rule but hell, it's a good thing to know for any boozy friends out there), and they give you that little piece of fruit precariously balancing itself on the rim of your glass, remove that sucker at once making sure it doesn't fall into your drink. Carefully squeeze the citrus out of it and place it on the side. (As an ex-bartender I once carried in my arms about 30 lemons and limes from storage, which was outside the restaurant, inside to the bar. Before I got there I managed to successfully drop every last one onto the gravel drive, scrambled to pick them up, and may or may not have washed them before slicing. I was young!!) But seriously, don't put those literally IN your drink. 

Ok, now on to the real tips:

Food_Rules.jpg

Real food Rule No. 1: Skipping the bread is completely obvi so I'm not even going there. When you sit down, drink a full glass of water before you put anything else in your mouth. If you're anything like me, you have been looking forward to this outing in what you could only imagine to be the way an inmate is looking at parole. You're so fkn free you can't even stand it. You're basically floating into the restaurant because you're thinking to yourself that right now you would normally be at home herding your kids into the bathtub. HA! Oh no... mommy is out tooooonight! So when you get to the restaurant it's like all bets are off, you're ready to paaaaar-tay! It's at this point I usually order the biggest, baddest, boldest wine I can find and oops, how did that go down so fast?! 

Slow you roll girlfriend, slow your role. Taking that glassful of water is just kinda like pumping the breaks. We're not stopping the fun, we're just harnessing the energy and using it for good, not hangover evil. This will also help you to not dive into any salty, crunchy, fatty whatevers they place before you as you wait to place your order. Drink your water, say hello to those around you... (and keep your phone off the table! That's a bonus tip.)

Real Food Rule No. 2: You don't need a 4 or 5 course meal. Skip ordering an appetizer as an appetizer and instead order one as an entree. The sizes are smaller and the food is usually pretty simple. There could be a tuna tar-tar or a grilled octopus if you're into food from the sea. Chicken skewers, or little meatballs if you're into meat. Maybe there is hummus and roasted veggies you use as dippers. Peruse the apps like the entrees don't exist. Appetizer portions are like regular people portions who aren't trying to feed a family of 10 off one plate. 

Real Food Rule No 3: There is this remote part of the menu that rarely sees the light of day, and it's really only the true purveyors of fine cuisine who know it's there and full of useful things... like vegetables. It's that little teeny-tiny section down in the corner of the menu called "Sides". Now beware! There are some bad things lurking in there that by simply reading them will begin producing excess saliva in your mouth which will then immediately send the signal to your brain that your gut is ready to digest some food so send down the truffle fries, STAT! 

Ignore your body/mind and listen to your fat cells. They don't want to get any bigger so please, order the spinach, or broccoli, or brussels, and ask them to steam them instead of roasting the ever loving goodness out of them. And ignore the fact that a plate of steamed broccoli can run you about $8... just ignore it and order them. 

Ok, so now you've had a glass of water, you've ordered an appetizer and a side of steamed veggies, and you're feeling pretty righteous.

This is where it gets tricky. You may be feeling a little too good here, but I implore you, don't get cocky. Don't start patting yourself on the back just yet. There's more to this meal and you know it, so you better be well prepared because here comes that sly waiter hoping for a sliiiightly bigger tip with his little tiny dessert menu that he'll casually place before you and leave it to your inner demons to hash out if it will be the bread pudding, pumpkin cheesecake, or that chocolatey lava thing! 

Can I interest you in some dessert? Take your time, I'll be back in a few minutes.

This indeed is a tricky moment. You're feeling like you deserve that dessert. Just a bite. You've been doing sooooo well! Well I'm here to tell you that it's not an option. Buck up girl and don't get your panties all in a wad because dessert ain't happening. Your reward is not packing on the pounds and sabotaging your weight loss efforts. So what you need to do here is say, Pardon me, but are there any fresh berries I could nibble on? And without even looking at your friends tell them to shut the f*ck up. They can have their cake and eat it too, but not you. Not this time. This time you're serious, and while you're out to have fun and let loose, you're not here to take home bigger fat cells. 

Going out doesn't mean that you need to be force fed large ass portions and eat 5 course meals. Just be smart, and deal with the fact that you may go home a wee bit hungry but you'll be damed if you're hungover at 5 am with kids jumping on your head and poking at your bigger belly asking if you're pregnant again! (Yup, that happened once.)

As always, I'd love to hear from you and discover what tips you've uncovered that work for you! My community can only grow by sharing the experiences and helping one another out, so please leave a comment, leave a tip, let me know if any of these tips are useful and/or currently being employed by you!!

 

 

10 Healthy Hacks That Can Help You Lose Weight!

I'm all about hacks. Whatever can make life a little easier, I'm all in. (Is there a hack for raising obedient and respectful boys who always listen their mom the first time instead of the 100th time when I'm at my whits end and I'm not asking anymore but instead I'm red-faced, with steam exploding out of my ears, hands flying in all directions and I'm saying things my brain can't keep up with? That would be a worthwhile hack to employ.) 

So I've got 10 hacks for you that I really think are going to help make the necessary small changes that will propel you into a momentous whirlwind that will get you creating massive change before you know it and shedding pounds!

But first, I'd like to point out that you are so much more capable than you think. This is a toughie for many of us to swallow, but it's so true, I've witnessed it a million times I tell you. You are stronger than you think. You can make massive change in your life, but you need to believe it to see it. And you need to start slowly. That's what these hacks are intended to do, to help you start slowly and gain momentum. You can do this, you just have to believe in yourself. 

Ok, so... here we go!

1. When dining at home, use your salad plate instead of your big mongo dinner plate for all your meals. This will help your brain to think you're eating the perfect amount by seeing your plate all filled up! 

2. If you're not getting a good night's sleep, your body isn't getting the proper recovery time it needs at the end of every day. Instead of taking some over-the-counter meds, try this little concoction I learned from Tim Ferriss (the 4 Hour Workweek, 4 Hour Chef, 4 Hour Body guy) for a blissful night of sleep! Take some warm water and mix in 2 Tbs apple cider vinegar and 1 Tbs raw honey. That's all! Enjoy about an hour before light's out.

3. Drink your veggies. I make a smoothie almost everyday and it's my veggie hack. I get in celery, a beet, ginger, a cup of leafy greens, and a small piece of fruit (usually a kiwi since it has high amounts of vitamin C). I also make enough for two... one in the morning, and one in the afternoon. 

Smoothie_1.jpg

 

4. When you're eating out, a simple hack is to order the house salad, and maybe ask if they can throw a few shrimpies on there or a slice or two of grilled chicken (they'll happily do that), and one appetizer, and that's your meal. With water. Done.

5. If you're a big snacker throughout the day, start eating protein at every meal. Every. Single. Meal. It will help to slow down your digestion and make you feel fuller longer. No more snacking. 

6. Change your vocabulary. (Yes, this is seriously a hack.) What you say to yourself has a HUGE impact on your day. Pay attention. We all know the famous quote, "If you think you can't, then you can't. But if you think you can, then you can" or something very close to that! What you think to yourself makes all the difference. Change out a few of your go to words and see how that can transform how you see yourself and your situation.

7. Know your mantra. I'm a big, huge mantra fan. I'm always saying one to myself and my most recent one is this, "Fill your mind with positivity - this way there is no room for anything else"

8. Start your morning with warm water and lemon. I know you've heard this one a million times, so just do it already! It's good for the belly.

9. Chew your food. Like really chew it. I'm thinking 40 chews. It'll feel really weird and maybe a little gross at first, but the more you do it, the more consciously aware you become of your food. It slows down the rate that food is storming the belly, and it helps with the digestive procedure. Give your gut a little break from working so hard and chew!

10. Sniff some essential oils. For reals. Orange oils have the ability to boost your mood and reduce anxiety. Lavender has a calming effect and is also an anti-inflammatory. I place a few drops on my palms and rub them together and then inhale and let the calming take over. It smells so nice! You can even get a little infuser and let the smell take over your bedroom which can help you to fall asleep. 

There you have it my friend. 10 healthy hacks that I use that help keep me on the straight and narrow as I journey to make my life a little bit healthier each and every day! If you have any that you use, please share with me, I'd love to learn from you! And in case you'd like to keep these hacks somewhere where you can always see them, you know I've got a little freebie for you! Download my PDF that has all these written down so you can employ a little hack when you need the help.