Monthly Archives: August 2014

Client Spotlight – Danielle Bertiger

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World – meet Danielle!  This little bit, Yankee-Belle, 21 year old has become one of my most favorite people in the entire universe.  That’s right – the UNIVERSE!!  I am blessed beyond belief to work with her, but to also call her a friend. She has such a huge heart, spunk, energy for days, a beautiful spirit and a smart mind to go with it.  Not only is she my longest-standing training client, but she also has taken on the responsibility as my assistant – helping me to schedule clients, organize music stuff, and basically keep my head on straight.  To say the least – she is nothing less than amazing.

Danielle has achieved SO many personal goals since we first met, and I feel like I’m getting to see her grow and blossom into an amazing young woman.  (Yes, I sound like her mom!)  She has given her all to her training, honed in on her diet and now  – she is in the best shape of her life as you can see!  Last year she started working with me only once a week then decided to bump up to twice a week.  That, paired with her diet and balancing her other workouts…and BOOM!!!  She really started seeing results!  Since she has started working with me, she has lost 10lbs, inches everywhere and dropped from a size 28 to a 26/25!!!!!!  HOTTIE ALERT!!!!

FYI – I am starting to do real before/after pics with my clients now – I’ve realized that we women do NOT keep bad pictures of our “befores.”  It’s hard to tell in the pictures above just how much Danielle’s body has changed!  I did happen to snap this great shot of her during one of our recent workouts.  Look at those hot legs!!!

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She didn’t have too far to go to reach her goals, but for someone that is already pretty small, 10lbs and a few pant sizes is a very big deal.  She already looked great when she came to me, but just wanted to tone up, and that’s exactly what she did.  Danielle is also one of my clients that can do pretty much anything I throw at her.  She is always a willing candidate for the new, crazy moves that I either come up with or find somewhere, and she takes them head on!!

With my clients I try to focus on realistic goals.  I try to encourage them to focus on goals that will help my clients learn to make healthy decisions and make healthy a lifestyle.  We aren’t trying to be supermodels here (well….that would be nice), but my focus is to arm my clients with positivity, motivation, ideas and nuggets that will help them become the best version of themselves without having to starve themselves or over exercise.  It’s all about balance and finding a healthy. realistic way to approach life and fitness.  I struggle with this – especially the balance part – as most people do, especially women.  We are human, flawed and beautiful!!  Coming together and striving for a healthy, positive life with support is what it’s all about!  Thanks to Danielle – she makes my life positive, better, and easier in every way.  (Not to mention she’s great advertisement!)…look at her!  🙂

IMG_6051While originally from New Jersey, Danielle is now a senior at Vanderbilt University studying communications and medicine, health, & society.  She  enjoys finding new, healthy preparations for meals, and is planning on becoming a registered dietician in the near future!In her spare time she enjoys running with her 2-year-old Jack Russell Terrier, hiking at Percy Warner, trying every sample item at Whole Foods, petitioning for avocado to be recognized as its own food group, and wondering if she will ever be able to properly pronounce the word “drawer.”

Go check out Danielle’s awesome blog – Adventures of a Yankee Belle

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Paleo Chocolate Zucchini Bread

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These are YUMMMMMM!!!!!  I mean – you will be in awe that healthy could taste THIS good!! I’m telling you…this may change your life – make them and put them in a ziplock baggie and let them sit overnight – holy chocolate wonderfulness!!!  I’ve found with a lot of these natural baked goods – if you put them in a baggie – they just keep getting better over the next couple of days.  I got this recipe from PaleOMG, which has a plethora of ah-mazing paleo, all natural dishes and desserts.  Check it out!

 

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 medium zucchini, shredded (equal to 1.5 cups shredded zucchini)
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • ¾ cup sunbutter (or nutbutter if you prefer) – I used almond butter
  • ⅓ cup raw honey
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • chocolate chips (optional)  – I put these in, but honestly I don’t think it needs it!  Save the calories!!
  • pinch of salt
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. So you first need to shred your zucchini. Use the shredding attachment on your food processor or take the long and boring route using a cheese grater. Whichever works.  I basically just put everything in my Ninja and blended!  🙂
  3. If you see a lot of excess water from the zucchini, you need to remove the excess liquid. And zucchinis sometimes have a lot of it.  You can place a couple paper towels down on the counter, throw the zucchini on top, then place another paper towel on top of the zucchini then squeezed. The more you squeeze, the more liquid will come out. Genius.  (I didn’t need to do this step, but you may want to!)
  4. Use more paper towels as needed, but be sure to squeeze until the zucchini feels water-less.
  5. Place zucchini in a bowl with the rest of your ingredients. Use a large spoon to mix well until all the ingredients are combined and you have a deep chocolate color.
  6. Pour your ingredients into a loaf pan or mini loaf pans.  Make sure to spray with coconut oil.
  7. Place in oven to bake for 25-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when you poke it. Mine took almost 35 minutes to completely cook through.
  8. Let cool, cut and serve!

Roasted Paleo Stuffed Bell Peppers

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This is a super easy, flavorful, and quick, healthy recipe!!  (I just can’t use enough adjectives for this one!)  Colorful is also a good one.  🙂  You can stuff these peppers with any kind of ground meat – turkey, bison, add bacon – the options are limitless…  I happened to have some bison meat left over from my burger so I put it to good use!  I have leftovers for tomorrow and can’t wait to eat them.  This quick. little dish is a winner, and also makes a great appetizer.  I used small sweet peppers from the farmer’s market, which would make for a great appetizer portion.  Mmmmmm!!!

INGREDIENTS

  • 3-5 Bell peppers cleaned and sliced
  • 1/2 lb Ground meat
  • Sliced tomatoes (to taste)
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • Onion (optional)
  • 1 tbs coconut oil
  • Fresh or ground basil
  • Salt and pepper
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a small baking dish with coconut oil spray. Clean and cut your bell peppers.  After slicing them, place them face down on the baking pan and roast 10-15 minutes.
  2. Slice tomatoes and set aside.
  3. Heat the coconut oil in a large nonstick pan over medium heat. Add in the onion and garlic. Sauté for 3-4 minutes until the onion begins to soften. Stir in the ground meat, salt, and pepper and cook until meat is browned. Add in the tomatoes and basil and mix in.
  4.  Place the peppers upright in the baking dish and spoon the meat mixture into the center of each. Serve as is or bake a bit longer to let the juices seep into the peppers. Serve warm sprinkled with chopped parsley.

 

Bison Burger with Paleo GF Bun and Mashed Coconut Sweet Potato

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The other day I wanted a burger and fries.  Instead of calling my order in to Burger Up, I decided to go for it on my own!  First a little background…

I am currently training for the Las Vegas Marathon in November and my long runs are already up to 14 miles on the weekend.  I have noticed while training for marathons – I usually gain weight, and this time – I’m saying NO.  NO I WILL NOT GAIN WEIGHT!  So, I called up the awesome Jamie Free to write a nutrition program that fit my tastes and needs.  (Especially my addiction to Quest bars).  Jamie is a personal trainer, CrossFit instructor, nutrition coach, inspirer extraordinare and owner of Max Muscle in Cool Springs.  Check out his website for his services or a good dose of inspiration – Jamie Free.

On my plan is BISON, which I’m a fan of.  It’s lean and tasty and a great protein.  Naturally I had to buy some for the week, so as soon as I got home I had to test it out.  I started my plan today (Monday), but I didn’t want to splurge too much the night before I started my new plan, so I curbed my cravings with a paleo friendly and gluten free meal that is as good as many burger joints!  And after I finished my little meal, I felt satisfied but not bad about what I ate!!  Try it out my friends, it’s a great meal!  It’s also a lot of fun taking some of your favorite meals and finding healthy alternatives!  Go for it!

PALEO GF BUN – inspired by PaleOMG

  • 1 cup cashew or almond meal
  • 3/4 cup coconut flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
Instructions
***Here are the detailed instructions… honestly, I threw everything in a bowl, mixed it up with no sifting and put it right in the oven with no problems!!)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Sift together almond flour and coconut flour, baking soda and powder, and salt in a large bowl.
  3. In another bowl, beat egg whites until frothy. Pour frothy egg whites into the almond flour mixture bowl and mix well. Then add the 2 whole eggs and bacon fat and whisk together. Place batter in fridge for 30 minutes.
  4. After 30 minutes, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Use an ice cream scoop to scoop out the some batter and pour onto the baking sheet. The batter will spread out just a little bit, but should still set up. Make them big and thick enough to hold the burger you’re about to mold!
  5. Bake for 15-18 minutes. If you poke the biscuits, you’ll be able to tell that they are done. Let cool.
BISON BURGER 
Get a good brand of ground bison.  Pat out the burgers in the desired size.  Season with salt and pepper.  Feel free to add more spices.  Grill or cook on the stove.  I like mine about medium on these burgers, but cook to your taste.
I garnished my burger with spinach on the bottom and topped with a fried egg!  On the top of the bun, I used avocado as my spread and also put some fresh tomatoes on there.  Onion or garlic would be great on this burger too to give it more kick.
MASHED SWEET POTATO 
Ingredients
  • 1 small to medium sweet potato
  • 1 tsp of coconut oil
  • 2 tbs of coconut milk
  • Chipotle Chili Powder
  • Cumin
  • Pepper
  • Coconut garnish

Instructions

  1. Place the sweet potato in the microwave for 2-3 minutes on each side or until done.
  2. Once the potato is cooked through take it out and place it in a bowl.  Mash it slightly with a potato masher while adding in the milk and oil.
  3. Mix in a dash of the chili powered, cumin and pepper for a little bite.
  4. Top with a bit of shaved coconut.

 

 

GF Vanilla Cupcake “Garden” with Buttercream Frosting (And a 30-something Roller Skate Party)

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Today is one of my best friend’s birthdays.  Her name is Robin Grant.  She is one of the most talented, most hilarious people I have ever known, and I am grateful to call her a friend.  She always keeps me on my toes with her texts, pictures, new ideas and creativity.  She decided that to ring in her birthday this year, we would celebrate by going rollerskating!!  Ummm…HELLO???!!  AWESOME.  Her husband rented one of the party rooms complete with a sheet cake with roller-skates on it, pizza, Diet Coke and Sprite!  We suddenly all became 12 years old again and were swept back to our childhoods…to high socks and skate rentals, trying to remember how to stop and not fall, dodging the innocent young children skating carefree to Taylor Swift.  photo-235

Here is a picture of Corky (left), Robin (in the middle) and me holding hands – just like the good ol’ days when you grabbed your best friend’s hand and held on for dear life.  This was a blast, and such a breath of fresh air!!

Robin is gluten free, so I made her some gluten free cupcakes and decided to dress them up a bit for her birthday surprise.  I originally was planning on making a cupcake bouquet for her in a potting plant, but because the gluten free cupcakes are so fragile, they kept falling apart!  At 11am today I started freaking out because I had a bunch of flower cupcakes and they weren’t holding in the bouquet!  I immediately got in the car and headed to Michael’s.  I thought – well, maybe I can make it look like they were just “planted,” so I went for a “garden” rather than a potted plant.  And that’s exactly what I did!!

To create your own cupcake garden, simply pick out some cupcake holders that look like flowers, and a rectangular basket.  I also got some styrofoam to place the cupcakes on.  Fill the holes around the styrofoam with green tissue paper.  Place the cupcakes in and fill in any holes with tissue paper.  I also found a watering can, and it would be really cute to put a carton of milk or bottled water in the there if you’re giving as a gift. (I found everything at Michael’s.)

For the cupcakes, I found the GF Vanilla Cupcakes on Gluten Free Gigi and the buttercream icing on Add A Pinch.

Make sure to check out Robin’s awesome blog – Sing Fly Love.  She’s a brilliant writer, and you will love following her adventures and creations!  

GF VANILLA CUPCAKES

Ingredients
  • ¼ cup dairy-free butter substitute, softened (or real butter, if you eat dairy; you may also substitute coconut oil)
  • ¾ cup granulated white sugar (substituting brown or coconut sugar will change the color and flavor of the cupcakes)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups gluten-free all-purpose flour blend of your choice, without gums
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup dairy-free milk (I use almond milk, but any milk of your choice will work – dairy or dairy-free)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Line 12-section muffin pan with paper liners (or omit liners and grease the pan, if you prefer)
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine butter substitute and sugar and beat until smooth sugar begins to dissolve a bit.
  4. Add eggs and vanilla; stir until mixture is uniform.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt.
  6. Add half of flour mixture to sugar mixture; stir.
  7. Pour in milk; stir, then add remaining flour and stir until batter is smooth.
  8. Spoon batter into prepared pan, dividing evenly between sections of pan.
  9. Bake 12-15 minutes, just until cupcakes rise and turn light golden brown on top.
  10. Remove from oven to cool, then frost as desired.

BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
  • 3 – 4 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • pinch salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk, heavy cream, or half-and-half
Instructions
  1. Place softened butter into the bowl of a stand mixer that has been fitted with the paddle attachment. Turn the mixer on a medium setting and cream the butter until it is smooth and has lightened in color, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add confectioner’s sugar, ½ a cup at a time. After each cup has been incorporated, turn the mixer onto the highest speed setting and for about 10 seconds to lighten the frosting.
  3. Add vanilla and a pinch of salt and combine until well-incorporated.
  4. Add milk, heavy cream or half-and-half until the frosting has reached the preferred consistency. For a firmer frosting, add more confectioner’s sugar, a ¼ cup at a time. For a softer frosting, add more milk or cream, a tablespoon at a time.

 

 

Paleo Sweet Potato Hash

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Breakfast or dinner – this is a winner!!!  I paired this with baked salmon and my “Better Than Tavern’s Kale Salad,”  and it made an amazing side dish!  You can also whip this up for breakfast too.  Add onions if you so desire, hot sauce and jalapenos if you like it spicy. Even without those, this dish has a TON of flavor!  Use more of the chili powder and cumin if you want – I kind of just dump it on and don’t really measure these days.  🙂  I found the original recipe on Paleoholic but really made this one my own based on my taste and what I had in my kitchen.  Play with your food, friends!!  Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS

 

  • 3 sweet potatoes
  • 2 green peppers
  • 2 Teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 Teaspoons chipotle chili powder
  • 4 Cloves of Garlic Chopped
  • Lemon
  • ¼ Cup Cilantro, Chopped
  • 2 fried eggs
  • coconut oil
PREPARATION
  1. Heat 3 tablespoons coconut oil.
  2. Mix together sweet potato, coconut oil, cumin, and chili powder in a large bowl.
  3. Roast in a pan for 30 Minutes until tender at 450 degrees or sauté it in a pan (which is what I did).  Roasting could give it more flavor though – so that might be a good way to go.
  4. Take 1 tablespoon coconut oil in skillet. Add green pepper and saute over medium heat until lightly browned. Add garlic and sauté for 5 minutes or more stirring constantly. Add salt and pepper.  Cook until peppers are crisp and tender.
  5. When sweet potatoes are roasted, add them to the pepper mixture and squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over.
  6. Fry eggs in separate skillet. (I actually used the same skillet that I sautéed the green peppers and garlic in!)
  7. Just before serving add cilantro and more lemon if you want!

GF Vegan Rice Krispy Treats Baby!

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A couple of weeks ago I received an email and was commissioned to make some vegan rice krispy treats for a beautiful preggers friend, co-writer and wonderful person – Jennifer Denmark.  (Look at what a cute preggo she is!!).  She has been craving these little guys in a BIG way, but wanted a healthy version, and she sure found them.  I have to say – I made a little extra for myself and my co-writer last night.  We might have eaten the entire pan.  I might have also put some chocolate chips in some of them…oops…sorry I’m not sorry.  🙂

Jen calls me “Crock” aka Megan “Betty” Crocker.  Crock for short.  She knows I love to cook and bake, and she came to the right place!!  It’s so funny – people tell me all the time – I like it when you make it for me – it tastes different. So,  I’m just going to believe that it’s the amount of love I put into what I make.  Cheesy, but true.  🙂

Jen found this recipe off of Detoxinista, and I didn’t change a thing besides adding a little bit of Trader Joe’s chocolate chunks to some of them.  (A very good idea in my opinion!)  The coconut flavor from the coconut oil is truly amazing.  You could even play around and put some coconut in them, nuts, chocolate like me, or whatever your heart desires.  You really can’t go wrong.  These are no bake, simple, better for you than real krispy treats, and beyond delicious!  (Also GREAT for kids and obviously moms-to-be!! 🙂

Ingredients
  • ⅔ cup brown rice syrup – I had to go to Whole Foods to find this ingredient
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 cups brown rice crisp cereal (Erewhon brand is what I used from Whole Foods)
Instructions
  1. Combine the coconut oil and brown rice syrup in a saucepan over medium heat, and bring the mixture to a rolling boil. Boil for one minute, then remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract and salt. Pour the cereal into a large mixing bowl and stir in the boiled syrup mixture until the cereal is well-coated.  If you want to add some additions in, do it at the last minute before you put them in the pan.
  2. Line a 9-inch baking sheet with parchment paper to prevent sticking, then spread the coated cereal in the pan. Use an additional piece of parchment paper over the top of the cereal, to keep your hands from getting sticky, then press HARD to pack the cereal tightly into the bottom of the pan. The harder you press, the better.
  3. Place the bars into the freezer to cool for 45 minutes, then remove the pan and bring the bars to room temperature. Slice and serve!
  4. Store any leftover bars in a sealed container in the fridge for best shelf life.