Monday, December 31, 2012

2013 - New Year, New Goals

Just like most other bloggers/people on this planet, this post is all about my new year's resolutions

Usually if I type out my goals, I stick to them... I know, I'm weird. (Life of a 5-year Internet addict!) But, this year, I decided against the 50000 unlikely-to-be-filled resolutions, and am set on just a select few.

I want 2013 to be a more positive year. Not that 2012 wasn't, but I just wasn't as happy or focused most of the year because of my newly-discovered "eating disorder". (I put that in quotations because I have never been diagnosed, and I'm not even sure what to classify myself as since no one takes orthorexia too seriously.) I don't want this year to be focused on my body, being "fat", skinny or fit. I want this year to be spontaneous, optimistic, and free.

My main resolutions/goals for this year are...
  • Get my license before summer! It's okay if I don't pass the first time. I will not beat myself up about it
  • Get a car... preferably a Beetle/Buggy! 
  • Do more yoga/use my beautiful new yoga mat more... Also learn how to do a handstand!
  • Stress less, especially about little things. Learn to make the most of any situation whenever possible. No more stressing about going to work... (Be grateful you even have a job, Alissa!)
  • Absolutely no calorie counting. No macro counting, no food-weighing. It's time to take on intuitive eating full-blast. My goal is to be done with this by summer.
  • Keep up the workout schedule of 4-5 days a week. (But, do NOT stress about it and do NOT skip out on fun activities and times because you "need to workout". If something comes up, that's okay. You don't NEED to have a set schedule EVERY week. Listen to your body and listen to your heart.)
  • Tone up! More strength, less cardio. This also means less worrying about calories burned, and more focusing on how I feel.
I'm also doing something I like to call a positivity jar. I found this idea online and I fell in love!
Everyday in 2013, I will find at least one good thing about that day. I will write it down on a piece of paper, fold it up, and put it in this mason jar. At the end of 2013, I can then look back and realize how good life really is. I will look back and see all the little things that made the year worth living.

Now, instead of dreaming of 2013, let's reminisce a bit on 2012...
I tried tea for the first time... and am now an avid drinker!
(LOVE me some sugar cookie tea!)
I also tried oatmeal, sweet potato, and the majority of vegetables for the first time...
And it's safe to say I'm an addict fan.
I got my first tattoo... and my second.
(Autism awareness butterfly under my left shoulder and a cross on my left wrist.)
I got bloodwork done for the first time... and nearly passed out.
One of my simple art projects in school got put in a local youth art exhibit!
I got my first job at a singing/dancing/performing ice cream shop!
(No, I did not do any of the above! I was a cashier/ice cream scooper.)
... and I also got my second and third job. I'm currently at my favorite one to date, which is Rite Aid.
I won "most changed" for my class of 2013's senior superlatives!
I gained confidence, and also started wearing makeup more... including red lipstick!
I regained my love for peanut butter.
I survived 9 days without power and heat because of the lovely Hurricane Sandy...
... and still managed to get some killer workouts in!
I started planking, and reached my current longest of 11 minutes and 07 seconds!
We rescued/adopted a kitten!!!! His name is Landon and he is a complete blessing.
I found my love and passion for health and fitness... and also got a punching bag, which I absolutely adore!
I spent more days like this, worry-free about any calorie taken in, than I have in months.
Tummy aches followed were completely worth it.

Of course lots of other lovely things happened, but I don't have pictures of them all! (I totally regret saying "no" to a bunch of situations where pictures were being taken... Never again!) For instance, I re-found my absolute love for blogging, and I have no idea where I would be without all my fellow bloggers and supporters on Instagram!

Now, here's to an amazing new year!

Have a safe one, lovelies! Thank you for the continuous support this year. I promise to bring even more with the new year to come!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Take 2 Fudgy Peanut Butter Black Bean Brownies

So, who actually remembers a month ago when I posted a recipe for one of my weirdest recipes yet; fudgy black bean brownies?

Well, today, I went on a baking kick, and I decided to remake those brownies... But with some adjustments!

Last time I made these, they weren't as sweet as I expected them to be because I had to use less sugar substitute. (My recipe says 1 cup, but I only used 1/2-3/4 cup.) This time... I added PB2! What is PB2, you ask? PB2 is peanut butter, but in powdered form, with 85% less calories and fat. It's almost like a flour, and you can add it to whatever you want! It's quite awesome.

I actually just recently ordered it on Friday from Amazon... and I received it on Saturday!! How? I have no idea... The company isn't located in my town or state, and I didn't even pay for fast shipping! So weird, but I ain't arguing it! 

But, anyways, the peanut butter fudge black bean brownies I made today are out-of-this-world awesome. Honestly some of the best brownies I've EVER had!

2 cups (1 can/1.75 cups) cooked black beans, drained
2 whole eggs
2 flax eggs (2 tbsp ground flaxseed + 6 tbsp water -- let sit for 5 minutes... or just 2 more whole eggs)
1 tbsp canola (or vegetable, coconut or olive) oil
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup sugar substitute
1/2 medium-sized banana
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tbsp chocolate PB2
1/2 tbsp plain PB2 (or just 1 full tbsp of either one)
optional: 1 tbsp Dark Chocolate Dreams (or any other kind; adds sweetness and more peanut butter flavor!)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp baking powder
dash of cinnamon
a few mini chocolate chips! (optional but totally recommended! You can also use carob or cacao)

1.5 tbsp chocolate PB2 + 1-2 tbsp water swirled on top

Blend all ingredients, aside from the last 1.5 tbsp of PB2, in a blender until COMPLETELY smooth.

When smooth enough, pour into a sprayed/greased 8 x 8 (or 13 x 9/etc.) baking pan.

Swirl prepared 1.5-2 tbsp chocolate PB2 on top. Also, add in some nuts, shredded coconut, or chocolate chips for extra goodness.

Bake for 27-30 minutes at 350 degrees.

This makes a big batch of about 16-20 brownies, and they're all decently-sized and 100% delicious.

PB2 is my newfound love.

P.S. I also made Chocolate Covered Katie's cream cheese stuffed cinnamon sugar "pillow" cookies... and WOW are they delicious! Too bad they come out to be so tiny! I definitely will double (or triple) the ingredients next time!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

What I Ate on Christmas Eve & Christmas! (WIAW #31)

Instead of posting my weeks-worth of eats (which you can find on my Instagram anyway ) this week, I'm gonna share my Christmas Eve/Christmas day feast with you all!

Christmas Eve was filled with fitness, food, fun, and family. My four favorite things in the world!

I started it off bright and early at 6:50/7:00 am with a workout...
Then, I made me and my family stuffed French toast for breakfast!
Oatmeal bread with White Chocolate Wonderful + cinnamon roll protein cream + banana slices + crunchy cereal, topped with clean chocolate fudge + more banana & cereal + Christmas sprinkles + more cinnamon roll protein cream + a drizzle of light maple syrup + my advent calendar chocolate! Oh, and a sifting of some nice powdered sugar, of course. 

After breakfast, I quickly showered and got ready for the day.
Then, my mom and I head out to run some errands!

When we got back home, we continued to set up and clean and what not. I had a snack of some fresh turkey and steamed vegetables with ranch yogurt "dip" while I waited for my mom to be ready so we could head out to get some of our food!

2:30/3:00 eventually rolled around, which was when all of my family (aside from one cousin and my uncle and his girlfriend), and we all got to eat! We started off with appetizers, and then moved on to our delicious main courses.
Appetizers: a huge plate of fresh shrimp with hot cocktail sauce, prosciutto wrapped breadsticks (my personal favorite!), and a HUGE delicious antipasto one of my uncle's brought.
Main courses/dinner: homemade baked ziti, Italian meat pie (aka one of my absolute favorite foods now), and loads and loads of fresh seafood in marinara sauce!

After stuffing our faces to the point of exhaustion, me, my brother and my cousins (minus the one who wasn't there yet) all head out for a bit. First we went to the mausoleum to visit our grandparents, and then we head over to Seaside Heights to see how it's keeping up after Hurricane Sandy a few months ago. It was quite depressing, to be honest. I'm still in shock about the whole thing!

An hour later, we arrived home, ate some more, and waited for our other cousin and our uncle and his girlfriend to come. When they all arrived, it was the best time... aka dessert time! We had a ridiculous amount of dessert for the amount of people, but hey, I wasn't complaining!
Homemade cookies (chocolate chip and chocolate with peanut butter chips), homemade rice pudding (aka one of my favorite desserts now), homemade super moist brownies, my homemade "hot chocolate" cupcakes with a candy cane handle (bigger picture on the right!), one of my cousin's homemade Santa cupcakes, a dish we all like to call "mush" (it's kind of like a giant pudding pie with a whipped topping), and the best part: a giant cannoli stuffed with mini cannolis... with extra cannoli filling to dip the actual cannoli shell in.

After two of my cousin's and one of my uncle's left, my family and my other cousin's exchanged presents. (Long story short, we never exchange with the other's because of their mom who never wanted to.)
They got me a coral Victoria's Secret v-neck hoodie, delicious smelling body sprays and lotions, nail polish, and the most gorgeous ombre purple scarf! Oh, and earlier in the day, one of our neighbors randomly came over and gave us $600 WORTH OF GIFT CARDS. Like... WHAT?! Six. Hundred. Dollars????!!!! That's over half a thousand! (Obviously...) They know how hard my mom (and dad) are struggling to keep our house and they found out when we're getting served for foreclosure in a few months, and they make a decent amount of money so they decided to be so super generous and amazing by surprising us with this freaking amazing gifts. We were speechless and we sent them an edible arrangements in return. It’s all and the least we could do. We were, and still are, SO appreciative.

I ate enough food to leave myself looking legitimately pregnant by the end of the night... I might of ended it with a horrible stomach ache, but it was well worth it! I can't believe it's over already... 364 days to go! 

But, I, of course, laid out some cookies and milk for Santa before heading to bed Christmas Eve night...

Then happily awoke Christmas morning to this lovely sight:
My presents consisted of...
A PUNCHING BAG WITH GLOVES!, a workout sandbag, Victoria's Secret pajamas + sweatpants + tote bag (which came with some perfume/lotion/etc. insde!) + workout/yoga spandex shorts + red keychain, nail polish, "Cooking with Coolio" the cookbook (hahahaha!), brand spankin' new GORGEOUS and PERFECT bright neon workout sneakers (mine now are basically fallen apart!), spiked/studded combat boots which I am deeply in love with, instant mini donut and cupcake makers, gourmet lollipops, fake pearl earrings, a GORGEOUS giant heart mood ring, new nail files, a big eyeshadow kit, new mini Christmas-themed spoon and fork (I LOVE mini utensils! Haha), gum, an egg scrambler (my mom/Santa is too cute), a lovely blue fake Otterbox iPhone case, an Insanity tank top, a Blogilates tank top, new socks, and nail polish remover!
From my siblings I got new tongue rings/barbells, a brand new huge mug with a spoon, and a gorgeous mint green glittery Victoria's Secret iPhone case!

I can't even describe how lucky I feel. My mom purposely puts aside a certain amount of money every year prior to Christmas so she can get me and my siblings gifts. I'm so grateful.

After opening presents, I made breakfast for me and the family again! Mine consisted of some of my best pancakes to date...

Other meals following mostly consisted of leftovers from Christmas Eve. And, again, I ain't complaining! Especially about the leftover antipasto and meat pie... OMG Italian Heaven!

Overall, I had an awesome, awesome past two days, and the tummy ache(s) were so worth it!  I love Christmas time more than anything, and I'm so sad it's coming to and end...
Oh, wait, no it's not! It's always Christmas in my little world!  I like to treat everyday like it's the most wonderful time of the year.