Chocolate Covered Strawberry Smoothie

Smoothies are a must-have in my house; I love them, my kids love them, and it’s a great way for me to sneak some veggies and fruit into everyone! Plus it’s Summer, and smoothies are a great way to cool down.

I hate taking vitamins and rarely actually eat the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables in a day, and some days I’m just too darn busy to make sure I’m getting enough protein, so I’m a big fan of vegan chocolate Shakeology. This past month I ordered tropical strawberry because it sounded a little more Summery, but I still had a little bit of vegan chocolate leftover. After a full month it finally occurred to me: WHY NOT MIX THEM?! And BOOM, chocolate covered smoothies were born. This is a recipe you absolutely must try. My 2 year old and I finished our smoothies in less than 5 minutes flat, it was that good! And hey, maybe add some fresh/frozen strawberries and/or a banana! I didn’t have any in the house today, otherwise I would have!

chocolate strawberry smoothie

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Smoothie Recipe:

1. Pour 8oz of cold water in your blender.

2. Add 4-5 ice cubes (depending on the size of your ice tray and how thick you like your smoothies).

3. Add 3/4 scoop vegan chocolate Shakeology.

4. Add 1/4 scoop tropical strawberry Shakeology (also vegan).

5. Add one green container baby spinach.

6. Blend until smooth (about 1 minute).

Enjoy!

Want more healthy tips and recipes? Check out my free health & fitness support group and my page on Facebook!

I Am Human

I dropped the ball. Yesterday was Father’s Day and I wasn’t as prepared as I thought I was. I spent the past month looking at cards, thinking of thoughtful things to write in the cards, making lists of possible gifts, shopping for gifts, and researching local restaurants who offer not only brunch but also vegan brunch items. After having very little luck finding a decent vegan brunch menu I decided to just leave it up to my significant other to decide what we were going to do for breakfast; after all, it was his day, not mine. Father’s Day morning came and I asked, “What do you want for breakfast?” His answer? Let’s just say it was not a green smoothie, protein pancakes, or a tofu scramble. So after a breakfast of sugar, oil, and more sugar I asked, “What should we do today?” We decided to take a chance and bring our kids to Fantasy Island for the first time despite the rainy start to the day. Since this was a last minute decision and we were in a rush to try and get in as much family fun before the next downpour I did not go prepared. I didn’t bring apples or raisins or sandwiches or Shakeology or anything else that could save us from our next bad decision. On the plus side I did pack a bottle of water (small victories). After a couple hours of basking in sun and walking (and spinning) in circles we got hungry. I had to face a decision: Leave the park after such a short time or find something to eat in the park. Have you ever tried to find vegetarian food in an amusement park? No? Let me tell you your options: French fries, nachos, popcorn, cotton candy, or fried dough. “Ummmmm I’ll take the deep fried corn and the deep fried potatoes please.” Okay, we’re off to a rough start, but hey, we can still walk it off and have a healthy dinner! WRONG! Dinner plans involve pizza and juice! There comes a point in the day where you just call it. You’ve made one mistake after another and there’s no turning back. The best you can do is stuff your cheeks with edamame before bed like a squirrel preparing for winter, but you won’t because you’re just too darn tired.

Why am I telling you this? Because I want you to know I am human. I have days where I start the day with donuts and end it with cookies, more days than I care to admit. Last year I would have days like yesterday and I would repeat that for a week or a month- I would binge! I’d give myself 100 reasons why I didn’t need to be “Skinny” and I would just let it go. Then eventually a lightbulb would go off (or a pants button would pop) and I would put my foot down and cut out everything. I would starve and deprive myself and I would find myself working out so often that I was even doing standing crunches in the shower. It was an unhealthy cycle of self hatred and deprivation until I decided enough was enough. I clearly couldn’t do this alone. The funny thing is my job is to motivate people, to keep them on track, to hold them accountable, to inspire them to make healthy choices and change their lives doing so, but really my team is what keeps ME on track, what motivates ME to make healthy choices and push past these bad days. That’s what I love about having a team; we are all helping each other. I may be the coach but a coach can’t do much without her team. As for how I am going to make up for yesterday: I’m going to have a green smoothie for lunch and plenty of veggies and fruits for dinner and for snacks throughout the day. I’m also going to get a good workout in. I’m not going to starve and I’m not going to obsess over yesterday. I got to spend a lovely day with my family and you can bet next time I will come prepared with healthy snacks. ;)

fantasy island

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xo,

Jessica M. Salgot

Bikini Boot Camp!

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Last week I was able to bring my family on the best vacation of my life so far, and after having two kids I was able to rock my new bikini! I have a ton of stretch marks and my abs are still hidden under a little bit of extra skin but I worked HARD for this body and I am proud of how far I have come. Don’t give up on your goals; it drives me crazy to hear moms say that they will never wear a bikini again/be a size _ again/fit in their favorite clothes again/etc. Believe you can and you WILL! However, my journey is not over, and it never will be! Healthy is a lifestyle, not a diet. My Bikini Boot Camp challenge group starts July 1st and I will be kicking butt with Hip Hop Abs! If you want to kick butt with me I urge you to join my challenge group to get the body you deserve and to make a healthy change!

https://www.facebook.com/events/893542224045658/

Vegan Curry Tofu

I fell in love with Indian food the first time I tried it in high school. I think the first thing I tried was called Chicken Malai, which became my regular order until 11th grade when I became a vegetarian. Then I switched to Paneer Akbari, which is essentially the same thing (both are covered in a tomato curry sauce) but paneer is cubes of house-made cheese to take the place of chicken. This year I finally went vegan so I have been experimenting with vegan options. I have found some great vegan take-out options, but ordering out all the time can get pretty expensive! I wanted to be able to make something similar at home, so I turned to tofu. I know, I know, everyone hates tofu. I have been a vegetarian for 8 years and I am JUST starting to come around to tofu. Trust me, there are good ways to make it, you just have to learn your way around it! Tofu is high in protein, low in fat, and just all around good for you; plus it is super versatile as it takes on the flavor of whatever you put it in. This is one of my favorite tofu recipes so far (which is best to start preparing the night before):

Vegan Curry Tofu

Ingredients:

  • 1 Package firm tofu
  • 1 Jar curry sauce (see directions)
  • 1t Olive oil
  • 1 1/3 cup uncooked brown rice
  • water (per package directions for rice)
  • 1/3 cup frozen peas (optional)

1) Drain tofu, place between 2 towels (or paper towels) and press excess fluid out. If you have time allow tofu to rest between towels in the fridge for a few hours to allow water to drain out. If not, just press as much water out as you can.

2) Cube tofu into bite-sized pieces.

curry

3) Pour some of your favorite curry sauce into a container, put the tofu in the container, and top with more sauce. I have used several different kinds of sauce (just check the Indian section of Wegmans). In my cabinet right now is Patak’s Rogan Josh Curry (see above) which is a medium tomato curry sauce; I prefer red curry, but you could use a yellow curry if you prefer. Let the tofu marinate for at least 6-12 hours in the fridge (the longer it marinates the more flavor it will absorb!)

4) When you are ready to eat pull the tofu out of the fridge. Cook rice according to package directions, adding peas to the pan before cooking. I use a rice cooker which makes it super simple; I measure 1 1/3 cup rice and then fill it with water to the 2-servings line, throw in the peas, cover it, and let it cook.

5) Add olive oil to a frying pan or wok. Add the tofu and sauce to the pan. Cook tofu, stirring occasionally, until it is hot in the middle (about 5 minutes).

6) Serve tofu over brown rice.

Vegan chocolate peanut butter protein pancakes

protein pancakeIf you’re following the 21 Day Fix like I am a small pancake counts as a yellow, and if you’re asking me, that’s one awesome way to use a yellow! The recipe I use for vegan pancakes is so easy to customize, and makes delicious fluffy pancakes every time. The only thing I do differently is use cold water for the flax egg and refrigerate it for 10-15 minutes to let it thicken (the recipe calls for boiled water, which I haven’t tried). You can add any kind of fruit you want (I love adding a diced up banana and some cinnamon), chocolate chips, or make them into chocolate peanut butter protein pancakes! To do so you make the recipe as shown, except substitute peanut butter instead of using oil. Then add one scoop of chocolate protein powder (vegan chocolate Shakeology is the healthiest and most delicious kind!) This will make the batter a lot thicker, so slowly stir in cold water until you get back to the right consistency. Spray your griddle or frying pan, add a scoop of batter to the pan, wait for it to start bubbling on top, flip, and cook until golden brown on both sides. You can top your pancakes with fresh fruit (sliced bananas would be delicious with the chocolate and peanut butter), or drizzle on some real maple syrup. I also love Trader Joe’s organic Maple Agave syrup which is half the price of real maple syrup but still all natural and free of that nasty “C” word (corn syrup! Ahh!) Alright, see the link below for the original vegan pancake recipe and try it out for breakfast tomorrow!

http://www.foodfanatic.com/2013/09/vegan-pancakes-healthy-and-fluffy-too/

From Divorce to Dating

The hardest part about getting divorced isn’t missing the person you were married to. You may be happy to finally be away from the person with whom you weren’t compatible and out of a toxic relationship. You may be happy to have a second chance at finding the right person for you. What you miss is the guarantees, the small comfort of knowing what comes next and who will be there. The little things like knowing on Sunday you will wake up, get dressed, pick up some doughnuts, and watch HGTV for 4 hours like you do every Sunday, or knowing that every single night when you get home from work there will be dinner ready and someone to share it with. You never have to worry about going to bed alone or needing to find the perfect body pillow because you have someone there with you 7 nights a week, who counts on you hitting the pillows at the same time they do. Many people believe that dating is better than marriage because it’s still fresh and exciting, but it’s also scary and uncertain. Marriage means someone has committed to spending 7 nights a week with you for the rest of your life, and to share the boring nights on the couch with cookies and sitcoms. Married couples should try to keep the spark and excitement alive. You should keep dating the person you love for the rest of your life and constantly remind them how much you care. Whether you have been together for a month or a decade the little surprises like flowers, chocolate, dinners, and phone calls should remain an essential part of your routine. However, you should never take for granted the little moments that seem boring, because it’s the boring stuff you miss the most in the end.💜

Living For Tomorrow

Alright, so I admit I am one of those crazy people who starts celebrating christmas WAY too early. This year I started listening to Christmas music in June, but that’s besides the point. Today I was listening to Christmas music (yeah yeah it’s only July), and as usual it put me in the most optimistic and positive mood. It got me thinking, so many people these days forget why life is worth living. There are so many teenagers and even adults out there that take their lives because they think things will never get better. So here is my assignment for everyone (don’t worry, it’s a fun one!): Make a list of things you are looking forward to, whether it be something later today or something 10 years from now. This simple task will make you excited for tomorrow, excited for the future, excited for life!

Here is my list of things I can’t wait for:

-To go to my husband’s family’s cottage next week for a week of camping. This time we are bringing my family which should make it extra fun!

-Fall. We’re almost to August and I cannot wait to break out my sweaters and scarves and head to Starbucks for a Pumpkin Spice Latte. Also, every year in the Fall we go to Becker Farms in WNY to pick apples, and I think my almost 2 year old daughter will really enjoy it this year.

-Christmas, this year and every year!

-To meet the newest addition to my family in January.

-To start nursing clinicals (hopefully) next Fall.

-To bring my kids to Disney (probably not for another 6 or 7 years, but I am still excited for it!)

-To learn French (probably not for another 10+ years, but I have always wanted to become fluent in the language so it will happen eventually!)

After thinking of all I have to look forward to I can look at life a little differently. Though things may not always be perfect and times might get tough here and there, I know that there is a lot to live for. I have way too much to do to give up now! I hope each and every one of you can find a few things to look forward to as well!