live and learn: 2013

This past year has brought many changes to my life. I wanted to do a quick recap of the good and difficult that has come in 2013. I spent the first 6 months in competition mode. Everything I did revolved around my diet and workouts. I was disciplined, focused and hungry. Not hungry for food but to push myself as far as I could with every aspect of training. It wasn’t easy and Im not complaining I loved every minute of it. It was my life and I wasn’t ready to change that.

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My last competition was in May. I told myself after that I would give my body a break until July. I had a girls trip planned at the end of May so of course I wanted to stay as tight as possible between my show and Vegas with the girls. I stayed on a strict diet and continued my workouts BUT I still gained 8lbs. within those 2 weeks. I was so confused how and why it happened. I didn’t want to jump to any conclusions so I tried to ignore it and really give my body a break. After 4 weeks I jumped into crossfit and a new meal plan. NOTHING CHANGED. Day after day, week after week no matter how much I worked out or restricted calories I couldn’t lose 1 pound. My weight was steady at 130lbs. May not seem like a lot to some people but after all the hard work I had done and all the hardwork I was continuing to do, it made me depressed, I found insecurities coming out that I didn’t even know I had. I watched all of my clients losing wt. and reaching their goals, I felt like a failure I could help them but not myself. Competing at the end of August was completely out of the picture. Something was wrong with me, other then the weight gain I had noticed other things, I would wake up in the morning and an hour or 2 later feel so tired like I needed to go back to sleep.

After 3 months I finally went to the doctor and had my blood work done. “Hypothyroidism” “Medication the rest of my life” Those were the only things I heard from the results. I cried. My life was based off living a healthy lifestyle but something happened to me that was completely out of my control. For those of you who do not know about hypothyroidism its when you have an under active thyroid. Your thyroid controls the way your body uses energy. Having low levels of thyroid hormone can affect your whole body and make you feel weak and tired. Anyways my doctor started me on meds the very next day. My symptoms got worse before they got better but they did get better. I started feeling normal after about 6 weeks of meds. Its been about 4 months since I was diagnosed, My levels still aren’t perfect. I just had my dose increased again a couple weeks ago. Its something I’m going to have to monitor my entire life and I’m slowly coming to terms with that. My weight has still not changed despite anything i’ve done workout and diet related. I would still really love to compete again one day but I know I need to get my body right before I can do that again. My goal for 2014 is to find balance in my life and body. As much as I love having rock hard abs, I also love going to dinner with my boyfriend and actually eating there! So Im going to take it day by day and do what my body wants. Ill keep you guys posted on everything! If anyone has any questions about my symptoms or anything feel free to ask away.

Other than being diagnosed with hypo, this year has been amazing. I bought a new car….

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Went to Vegas with my girls…

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Fell in love….

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Spent a week in Jamaica with my best friends and boyfriend…

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Had this view while eating breakfast every morning…

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Watched the sun set…

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Sipped on dirty bananas with my girl…

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Jumped off the highest cliff at the resort…

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and enjoyed every second with this man!

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Hey guys!!

So I know it has been wayyyy too long since i’ve posted on here! But its only because I have been posting recipes, workouts, etc. on my IG and twitter! Its so much quicker and easier for me to just do quick post on there! So if you have IG follow me! My username is Kristinajelena! Also, Yes I am doing online training and other training so if you are interested please email me at Kristina@strongandglamorous.com. I have also been posting updates on my training for my next comp which is April 6th! I will still do blog posts but only sparingly :) Thanks guys!!!

legs and glutes! motivational video!

Hey guys! Hope everyone had a great thanksgiving! I had a great week spending time with family and friends and not fretting over my diet. BUT I will say…once you cut all the crap out and then bring it back its really really hard on your body. On top of that I only worked out once. It made me realize that the way I felt last week is how alot of people feel all the time, that feeling is considered “normal” to them. They have no idea how great they can feel! One week was enough for me, I couldn’t wait to bring my clean eating and work outs back. Speaking of work outs I went a little crazy yesterday and decided to do a really good leg work out, spinning and then I started cross fit again! Yay for cross fit! I really missed the competitiveness of it.

I am a huge sushi fan! I finally got to eat it after 3 months :)

Thanksgiving was also my parents 32nd wedding anniversary! This pic is circa 1980.

one and only game day for me this season, GO BUCKS!

*These pics were taken by the amazing Chip Willis

Alright so I’ve been asked a lot lately what I am doing for legs and glutes. Here is a work out I did yesterday. Im not going to post the weight because I don’t want anyone just starting off to hurt themselves, so do the amount that you feel is right. Make sure it is hard, you will only get out of it what you put in!

  • hamstring curls- 3 warm up sets, 15 R, 3 working sets 12 R with a pause
  • box squats w/ weight and bands- 4 sets of 3 with 20 sec rest
  • hamstring extensions- 4 sets of 15

Super set- 2 x

  • single leg press 15 R each leg
  • walking lunges w/ DB 15 R all one leg, then the next
  • power runner- 25 each leg
  • 15 non weighted reverse hypers

*If you need further explanation of these, msg me

I had to share my little boys new coat! SO adorable, can’t help but smile:)

I also wanted to share a motivational video that my friend Mack showed me yesterday. It inspired me and I’m not going to lie, I may have gotten a lil teary eyed.

Bikini comp!!

YAY all the hard work paid off! I competed in my first bikini competition and took home the 2nd place trophy in my division and qualified for nationals! 

Total prep time for this comp was 10 weeks. If you know me you know my diet is pretty much always clean and Im in the gym 6-7 days a week. What was different for these 10 weeks was the way I was training, and when I wanted ice cream or a cocktail I held back. It was hard at times and I was cranky quite a bit BUT I set my mind to it and once I set my mind to something there is no turning back. During that 10 week period there was a shift after about 3 weeks from me being pissed that I couldn’t eat dessert or even oatmeal to my eye on the prize. I stopped thinking about everything I couldn’t do and they didn’t faze me anymore. My goal outweighed all of it. It’s so MENTAL! Mind over matter. I was in the gym 2-3 times a day doing weights, plyo, spinning, incline runs, yoga and posing. I def missed my crossfit work outs but I was able to increase my strength big time I went from squatting 115 lbs to 140 lbs. My bench increased by 35 lbs. I pressed 270 lbs. These numbers are crazy to me! I never really pictured my self gettin up there. BUT I worked hard really really hard, there where plenty of times when I felt like I just wanted to stop and lay down in the middle of the gym but I never stopped, I never quit and I never gave up. I pushed myself harder in the past 10 weeks then I probably ever have, mentally and physically. I couldn’t do it alone though! I am the luckiest girl in the world for having the most amazing family and friends around to support me. They were by my side when I was miserable, tired and cranky and they were by my side when I was on stage holding up my trophy. So I want to give a huge THANK YOU to all of you, you know who you are and you mean the world to me, thanks for putting up with me:) Also thank you to everyone who made the trip to Wheeling this weekend to give your support. I could hear you cheering from the stage and it brought my confidence straight up. I have the WORST stage fright, like terrified! I have never been more nervous then when I was up there having my figure compared to the girls next to me and hearing your support kept a smile on my face:) Alright enough sappy talk! If anyone thinks they might be interested in competing let me know! I have a couple girls who  have the itch to compete and ill be helping them get there! I have a couple shows in the spring that I plan on doing and of corse now I will compete in nationals in August and try to get that pro card:)

5th,3rd,1st,2nd,4th

My main chick!

Bro and I

Mom and I

Front comparisons

back comparisons

Back comparisons, I am the only one looking back

Kate and I right after I got my trophy!

Kate and I right before pre judging!

Midday break, I sat while they ate and drank lol nothing new

Support from the Lifetime crew! So happy the girls made it:)

3rd,1st,2nd

This was during pre judging when we were being compared, I was moved twice to the center, and then they had the three of us in the center walk off.

Everyone wants to know what I ate after the show haha. Well first thing was an oreo cupcake from my number one fan Marybeth! It was SOOO good and took me like 2 sec to down it. Then for dinner I just had a big salad and sweet potato with a key lime pie martini. It was so yummy:) I def plan on indulging this week especially with Thanksgiving but my normal routine will be back before I know it! I don’t have an on and off season fitness is 24/7 for me!

Skinny and paleo Thanksgiving!

Yay the most wonderful time of the year! Thanksgiving! The average American consumes thousands of calories on Thanksgiving but don’t freak out because average weight gain over the holidays is less than 2 lbs. My best advice is small portions. I have to eat tiny portions or else I wont get to try each dish! These recipes are ones that I’ve found online or my friend Kate sent to me and a couple of my own concoctions. Some are skinny alternatives and others are paleo. I also wanted to share some of my calorie saving tips for that day.

  • Eat breakfast! Eating a small nutritious meal will give you more control over your appetite throughout the day.
  • Use fat-free chicken broth to baste the turkey and make gravy.
  • Use sugar substitutes in place of sugar and/or fruit purees instead of oil in baked goods.
  • Reduce oil and butter wherever you can. (replace 1/2 oil with applesauce)
  • Use Coconut oil! Instead of green bean casserole, make fresh green beans with coconut oil and almonds!
  • Try plain yogurt or fat-free sour cream in creamy dips, mashed potatoes, and casseroles.
  • skip seconds
  • small portions (skip the foods you can eat all year long, use your calories on the holiday favorites)
  • eat slowly
  • go easy on the alcohol
  • save room for dessert
  • substitute 1 whole egg for 2 egg whites
  • replace heavy creams or cows milk with almond or coconut milk

Breakfast-

pumpkin oatmeal

  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup unsweetned vanilla almond milk
  • 1 tbsp pumkin puree
  • cinnamon and apple  pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • crushed walnuts
  • microwave 2 1/2 min
pumpkin pancake with pumpkin cinnamon almond butter
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • cinnamon
  • mix and cook like pancake
pumpkin cinnamon almond butter
  • raw almonds
  • pumpkin puree
  • cinnamon
  • vanilla extract
  • roast almonds in over for 45 min, then let cool 30 min
  • put in food processor, once oils start to come out add pumpkin, vanilla and cinnamon for taste

Drinks-

Kate’s pumpkin and rum cocktail

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tb almond butter
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 oz dark rum
  • blend and enjoy
Side dishes-

Mom’s Stuffing, Lightened Up

Gina’s Weight Watcher Recipes  
Servings: 8 • Serving Size: 1/8th • Old Points: 3 pts • Points+: 4 pts
Calories: 175.8 • Fat: 3.0 g • Protein: 5.0 g • Carb: 29 g • Fiber: 1.9 g   

  • 1 (16 oz) loaf french bread, cut into small cubes
  • 2 slices bacon, minced
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 3 medium stalks celery, minced
  • 8 fresh sage leaves, minced
  • 2/3 cup chopped parsley
  • salt and fresh pepper
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 cups fat free chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • cooking spray
Preheat oven to 350°.In a large saute pan over medium heat cook bacon for about 2 minutes. Add butter; when melted add onions, celery, parsley, sage, salt and pepper and saute on medium low until soft, about 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool a few minutes.In  a medium bowl, combine chicken broth and egg.In a large bowl add bread and combine with sauteed vegetables. Add chicken broth and egg mixture and combine well. If stuffing is too dry, add a little water until you have the right consistency.Spray a casserole with baking spray, add stuffing and bake uncovered 35-40 minutes, or until golden.
Cranberry-Pineapple Sauce
Gina’s Weight Watcher Recipes 
Servings: 12 • Serving Size: 1/4 cup • Old Points: 1 pts • Points+: 1 pts
Calories: 54.5 • Fat: 0.2 g • Protein: 0.2 g • Carb: 13.9 g • Fiber: 1.2 g  

  • 8 oz fresh cranberries
  • 20 oz can pineapple in pineapple juice
  • 1/3 cup sugar (or agave)
Drain liquid from pineapples into a measuring cup. Add water so that you have a total of 1 cup liquid. Add to sauce pan with sugar and bring to a boil.Place cranberries in a food processor or chopper and chop fine. Add to pan and stir well. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until thick (about 10 minutes).Place pineapple in a food processor and chop. Add crushed pineapples to cranberry sauce and cook one more minute.Allow to cool then place in a covered container and refrigerate overnight.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes Brulee
Adapted from Cooking Light
Skinnytaste.com
Servings: 14 • Size: 1/2 cup • Old Points: 2 pts • Points+: 3 pts
Calories: 113.4 • Fat: 1.5 g • Protein: 2.2 g • Carb: 25.6 g • Fiber: 2.9 g • Sugar:14.8
Sodium: 141 mgIngredients:

  • 5 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and boiled until soft (6 cups cooked)
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 3 tbsp light butter, softened
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup unpacked light brown sugar

Directions:

When the potatoes are cooked and soft, combine them with milk, light butter, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg and mash or puree until smooth.  

Spoon into a 9 x 9 or 11 x 7-inch baking dish.

Preheat the broiler. Sprinkle 1/2 cup brown sugar evenly over top. Broil 2 minutes or until sugar melts, careful not to burn. Let it stand until the melted sugar hardens (about 5 minutes).

Makes 7 cups.
Skinny Potato Gratin
Skinnytaste.com
Servings: 7 • Size: about a cup (1/7th) • Old Points: 2 pt • Points+: 3 pts
Calories: 160.2 • Fat: 4.4 g • Carbs: 24.6 • Fiber: 1.8 • Protein: 7.2 g • Sugar: 2.6
Sodium: 42.6 mg (without salt)Ingredients:

  • olive oil spray (I used my misto)
  • 6 medium peeled yukon gold potatoes, sliced 1/8-inch-thick (2 lb 4 oz peeled)
  • 2 tbsp light butter, melted
  • salt and fresh pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 oz (3/4 cup) shredded reduced fat Cheddar (I used Cabot)
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 tsp thyme
Directions:
Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray an 11 x 7-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, combine potatoes, butter, salt, garlic powder and fresh cracked pepper.Arrange half of the potato slices in the baking dish; top with 1/4 cup cheese. Add the remaining potatoes.

In a small saucepan, bring milk, thyme, bay leaf and nutmeg to a boilpour over potatoes.
Top with remaining cheese and bake uncovered, for 45 – 50 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

Sweet Potato Casserole
Skinnytaste.com
Servings: 10 • Size: 1/10th • Old Points: 2 pts • Points+: 3 pts
Calories: 132.6 • Fat: 1.8 g • Protein: 1.5 g • Carb: 29.5 g • Fiber: 2.7 g • Sugar:10.4
Sodium: 15.4

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs sweet potatoes (about 5 medium), peeled
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1 tsp agave
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch nutmeg
  • pinch allspice
  • 8 oz can unsweetened crushed pineapple, drained
  • 2 tbsp chopped pecans
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows

Directions:

Cut sweet potatoes into large chunks; boil potatoes in a large pot covered with water until potatoes are soft if pierced with a fork. Drain and return to the pot.

Preheat oven to 400°.

Mash the sweet potatoes (I used my immersion blender) and add in raisins, agave, spices and pineapple.

Lightly spray a pie dish, casserole dish or even individual ramekins with oil, spoon in sweet potatoes. Sprinkle with pecans and marshmallows. Bake for 15 minutes.

Paleo Thanksgiving Sweet Potato Gratin
 
Ingredients
  • 2 sweet potatoes, sliced thin
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced thin
  • ¼ cup almond meal
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 4 tablespoons coconut butter
  • 4 tablespoons almond butter
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • enough bacon to cover the top OR cook and put inside

 

Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Grease a 9×13 baking dish with whatever kind of fat you’d like. I greased mine with bacon fat, but that’s because I’m incredibly intelligent. You can do what you want.
  3. Now you need to pull out your handy dandy mandoline. If you don’t have one, you are going to have to thinly slice 2 sweet potatoes, so you can come read the rest of these directions in an hour. BUT, if you have a mandoline, start thinly slicing your sweet Use the mandoline as well to thinly slice your onions.
  4. Now you’re going to start the layering process. Super fun I tell you. Actually, I kind of thought it was fun. Start layering the sweet potatoes in lines so you can’t see the bottom on the dish. Then layer with a little onion and a little almond meal. No need to pile it on, you’ll have many layers to go. We’re not building a cake for gosh sakes.
  5. Keep on layering until all your sweet potatoes are gone.
  6. Now it’s time to make our saucey sauce. Pull out a saucepan and put over medium heat.
  7. Add your coconut milk, coconut butter, almond butter, agave (or honey), and spices to the saucepan and stir until the coconut butter and almond butter have cooked. Don’t boil. We don’t need caramel.
  8. Once everything is mixed together, pour the mixture over the sweet potato layers. Then top off everything with a little bit more almond meal.
  9. Cover the rest of the dish with strips of bacon (unless you chopped and cooked it to add into your gratin).
  10. Cover your baking dish with aluminum foil and put in the oven for around 30 minutes.
  11. Once the 30 minutes are up, pull out the dish, remove the aluminum foil, and put dish under the broiler for about 3-5 minutes, or until bacon is nice and cripsy (or however you like yours).
  12. Let cool for 10 minutes or so then dig in. For real, dig the hell in to this.
Thanksgiving Caramelized Onion & Sausage Stuffing
 
Prep time:  
Cook time:  
Total time:  

 

Serves: 4

 

Ingredients
  • 1lb ground pork sausage
  • 2 yellow onions, sliced
  • 1 sweet potato or yam
  • 1 container of mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ⅓ cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fat of choice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste

 

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with foil, throw diced sweet potatoes/yams on it, sprinkle with olive oil and salt and pepper. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender, then set aside.
  2. While those cook, pull out a large skillet, place it under medium-high heat and place a tablespoon of fat along your minced garlic clove and your mushrooms in it to begin to cook down. Add a bit of salt and pepper and cook until soft. Once they are done cooking, add to a large bowl.
  3. While your mushrooms are cooking down, add a tablespoon of fat to another large skillet over medium heat and add your sliced onions. Continuously move onions around to help coat and caramelize. The caramelization will take about 10-15 minutes. Add a bit of salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. When your mushrooms are done cooking, add your pork sausage to the hot mushroom pan (the mushrooms have been removed at this point). Use a wooden spoon to break up sausage and cook until almost cooked through.
  5. Once the sausage is all done, add mixture to your mushroom bowl to cool. Now beat your eggs, add to your sausage mixture, and add your chicken broth and vinegar, along with your sweet potatoes, pecans, and chopped herbs. Mix well.
  6. You can now either use a 9×13 baking dish to place your stuffing in OR place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Either way will work.
  7. Bake at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes, then add your caramelized onions and cooked for 5 more minutes.
  8. Eat it up!!!! OMG OMG, its so good.
Desserts-

Easy Apple Crisp Recipe with Organic Cranberries

Serves: 6-8

For the Filling:

  • 3 organic Granny Smith apples, cored and finely chopped (keep the skins on)
  • 2 cups fresh organic cranberries
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Place all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl; use your hands to toss well. Set aside.

For the Topping:

  • 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour (such as King Arthur)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil, plus more for greasing the baking dish (such as Barlean’s)
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseeds (such as Barlean’s)
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats (not instant!)
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey

Place all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl; use your hands and mix well. Set aside.

To Make the Apple Crisp:

    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
    2. Lightly grease a 9-inch round pie dish with extra virgin coconut oil.
    3. Spread the apple-cranberry filling in the prepared baking dish. Scatter the topping over the filling. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until apples and cranberries are soft. When done, remove apple crisp from the oven and set aside to cool. Serve warm. Optional: Pour a little bit of amaretto or other liquor on top of the apple cranberry crisp before serving. Serve with a dollop of fresh whipped cream.


Pumpkin Roll, Lightened Up
Adapted from Joy of Baking
Skinnytaste.com
Servings: 13 • Size: 3/4″ slice • Old Points: 5 pt • Points+: 5 pts (4 pts no nuts)
Calories: 198.3 • Fat: 7.1 g • Carbs: 42.7 • Fiber: 0.8 • Protein: 5 g • Sugar: 21
Sodium: 133.9 mg

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour or almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • non-stick spray (I used Smart Balance)
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar (to sprinkle on towel)

For the filling:

  • 6 oz light cream cheese, at room temperature (NOT fat free)
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 6 oz fat free Fage Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • powdered sugar (optional for topping)

Directions:

Pumpkin Roll: Preheat oven to 375°F and place oven rack in the center of the oven. Spray a 15 x 10 inch baking pan with non-stick spray, line it with parchment paper, then spray a little more non-stick spray and lightly flour the parchment paper.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, allspice, and salt into a large bowl.

Beat the eggs and sugar together in your electric mixer or hand mixer. Beat on high speed for five minutes, or until thick, pale yellow, and fluffy. (When you slowly raise the beaters the batter will fall back into the bowl in slow ribbons.)  Beat in the vanilla extract and pumpkin puree. Using a spatula, gently fold in the sifted flour mixture.Pour the batter into the prepared pan, evenly spreading the cake batter with a spatula or knife.

Bake about 13 – 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake, when lightly pressed, springs back.

Sprinkle a clean dish towel with confectioners’ sugar.

Immediately upon removing the cake from the oven invert the pumpkin roll onto the clean dish towel. Carefully remove the parchment paper from the bottom of the cake and sprinkle lightly with confectioners sugar; roll the pumpkin roll up with the towel, while it is still hot and pliable. Place on a wire rack to cool.

Filling: Beat the cream cheese, yogurt, and vanilla extract until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat until smooth; fold in the walnuts. Refrigerate at least one hour.

To Assemble: Unroll the pumpkin roll, spread with the filling, and re-rollTransfer to your serving platter; cover and chill in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. (You can serve this cake immediately but chilling it overnight sets the filling and makes it easier to slice.) Just before serving, lightly dust with powdered sugar.

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Cheesecake
 
Serves: 4-6
 Ingredients
For the crust
For the filling
  • 1.5 cups roasted, unsalted cashews
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup raw honey
  • 2-3 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 5-6 tablespoons canned coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the topping
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • pinch of salt

 

Instructions
  1. Let’s first make the crust!! Add walnuts to your food processor and blend until you get a meal, almost a walnut butter. Then add the rest of your crust ingredients and blend until well combined.
  2. Add crust mixture to an 8×8 glass baking dish lined with saran wrap, press down until evenly distributed and smooth on the top.
  3. Wipe out the inside of your food processor, no need to scrub, then add your cashews and blend until you begin to get a clumpy mess.
  4. Then add your coconut oil, lemon juice, vanilla extract and honey and puree until well combined.
  5. And lastly, add your coconut milk, 1 tablespoon at a time to break down the cashews completely. I used about 5 or 6 tablespoons for mine until the cashews became this soupy paste.
  6. Pour your filling onto the crust and use a knife or spoon to spread mixture throughout the entire pan, covering the crust, then place in the freezer for about 1-2 hours or until completely hard.
  7. When you cheesecake is almost hardened, add all topping ingredients to a food processor and mix until smooth and silky.
  8. Smooth out on top of your cheesecake.
  9. Place it freezer for about 30 minutes until everything has set.
  10. Cut cheesecake into cheesecake slices like I did OR bars, any size you want. The saran wrap will help you pull them out without destroying their gorgeous looks. Just pull on the side of the saran wrap and it will pop right out.


LAST WEEK!

Wahoo!! its the last week before my comp! I am so ready to just get on stage and work it! This  last week is gunna be a little different then the past 9. Wednesday will be the last day that I do any type of working out including cardio (YAY). Which means Mon-Wed work outs I am still gunna kill it. My diet will also change, Ill only be eating fish and eggs for my protein and very very little carbs. Its all about watching your body and seeing what it needs! I will be cutting water because I think my body needs it. So the next couple of days I will be drinking ungodly amounts of water and then cut that down at the end of the week. I don’t want people to get the idea that I am starving myself or not eating enough because trust me I am. But its like the saying goes, you always want what you cant have. I want desserts so bad! Actually to be exact this is what I want come post comp..a cupcake, pumpkin pancakes, ice cream and oatmeal.

Alright so if you didn’t already know I am Serbian. I was raised eating lots of yummy yummy  stuff but a staple in my house was palacinka. My mom used to make it for us when we were little everyday! It is a crepe filled with nutella and fruit. You can put whatever you like in them; jam, peanut butter or sometimes just sprinkle with sugar. Needless to say nutella and palacinka haven’t been in my life for a while and I miss them! So I was playing around with my moms recipe which she doesn’t write down, because she just mixes everything together by eye (and its perfect every time!).

HEALTHY recipe:

  • 3 egg whites
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

whisk together and make like a pancake! I tried mine with almond butter and PB2! Soo yummy and guilt free! 

These are the drinks I bring to the gym with me! I have my zip fizz, which I drink 1/2 pre work out and 1/2 post, then my monster amino BCAAs that I drink during, water and my ice cream like post work out protein shake! I say ice cream like because I have been making them thick enough to eat with a spoon and its so good! This one was 2 scoops vanilla protein, 1 cup frozen dark cherries, 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk and 1 scoop glutamine. It was SO GOOD! 

People have been asking me about heart rate monitors, GET ONE! I recommend polar! This is my replacement one till I get mine back! This is a good one and pretty cheap, I think it was $80. My other one was $125. This one will tell you how many calories you burned and you can set it up to beep when you reach different zones. I’ve gotten one for my mom and best friend and they love em. My friend Marybeth says wearing hers motivates her to work harder. This is why I love it, it prevents me from over training as well as under training!

 

bikini comp and orange coconut cookies

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!

AHH I haven’t posted in weeks, I was starting to go crazy! Everything has been nuts lately, I haven’t been getting home until 10 at night and thats usually when I go to bed!

I am a little under 3 weeks from my bikini competition!! I’m not gunna lie, its been getting rough! I am down to just eating carbs two nights a week and when I say carbs I mean sweet potatoes, banana and oats. I am still getting carbs from all my veggies, and I am eating pretty much every 2 hours. I never feel hungry but I crave certain things like ice cream and oatmeal! I really really miss having a big bowl of oatmeal with different fruits and nuts mixed in. I have been eating like that for the past four weeks and feel extremely tired everyday cause I am still working out just as hard but with less energy and I’ve increased my cardio to two-a-days. So you may wonder why I am eating carbs like this, the reason is my body shows better results this way. I completely deplete my glycogen stores with my work outs and then those two nights I restore them and fill out my muscles! I have also been practicing my poses as much as possible! Out of everything, the diet and work outs, I would say posing is the most difficult for me, but I am getting there! I’ve heard if a pose doesn’t hurt or feel uncomfortable then you aren’t doing it right! My body is so tight right now that everything hurts!

Another hard part is maintaining a social life! I am so tired all the time that staying in and getting my sleep sounds the best but I miss putting make up on and curling my hair! So I pack my meals and try to get out. I went to a wedding and it wasn’t that hard not to drink or eat with everyone else around me drinking and eating, But when the cupcakes came out I felt so envious! I wanted one so bad and then on top of that I was so tired by 11, like could barely keep my eyes open. I was an awful date but I still enjoyed getting out. All I can ask is that my friends and family be understanding and they are thank god! I am blessed with great people in my life right now:)

WILLPOWER

Do you have it? Have you ever tested yours? I had no idea mine was as strong as it is. Thats what keeps me going, because I know I can. I am so focused right now, nothing interferes with my goals. It doesn’t matter how tired I am or how bad I don’t want to get out of bed or how good a blue moon sounds. Im not doing it. You have to keep yourself in check and I do that everyday. So many people tell me “I could never diet”,”I could never do what you are doing”. GREAT because thats what sets me apart from you, When I hear that It motivates me and makes me stronger because I do acknowledge this is not easy but I am overcoming it and still going. When people tell you, you cant do something use it as motivation, best advice I’ve received.

Ok lets talk about something yummy (even though I cant eat them yet)!!!

Orange coconut cookies-

  • 1/4 c almond flour
  • 4 tbsp coconut flour
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened coconut
  • 1 tbsp orange extract
  • 1 scoop orange cream sicle protein powder
  • 3/4 c of coconut milk or unsweetened almond milk
  • 4 oz baby food apple sauce

Mix and then bake like a cookie!

I survived SANDY! Thankfully Boston dodged a bullet. We had some rain and wind but other then that it wasn’t bad. My prayers go out to the ones who were effected by it.

I hope everyone enjoys their halloween candy! Eat some for me:) I dressed up as what I would assume I’d look like if it were still the 80′s. I love body suits! This was my moms body suit from the 80s.

Meg was a fox!

I’ve been doing a lot of indoor cardio lately which isn’t my fav so Meg came with me and we did hills in Beacon Hill. They are no joke! Especially in the pouring rain. We timed ourselves for 45 min and were able to get 8 climbs in thats how big the hills were! The view was awesome so many beautiful homes, thats why I wanted to share this pic!

I hope everyone has a great day! I am going to try to post as much as possible leading up to my comp and I promised a hair tutorial which I will do as soon as I have time to do my hair! Im gunna leave you with this awesome shot of me and my gf Jenna!

exercising 150 minutes per week can make you smarter

The University of Montreal issued the following news release:

Exercise is smart for your heart – and makes you smarter

Study shows that high-intensity training boosts cognitive function

A regular exercise routine can make you fitter than ever – mentally fit.

In a new study, previously sedentary adults were put through four months of high-intensity interval training.

At the end, their cognitive functions – the ability to think, recall and make quick decisions – had improved significantly, says Dr. Martin Juneau, director of prevention at the Montreal Heart Institute.

“If you talk to people who exercise, they say they feel sharper. Now we’ve found a way to measure that,” says Dr. Juneau.

Blood flow to the brain increases during exercise.

The more fit you are, the more that increases.

The pilot study – presented today at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress – looked at adults, average age 49, who were overweight and inactive.

Dr. Juneau and his colleagues measured their cognitive function with neuropsychological testing, as well as their body composition, blood flow to the brain, cardiac output and their maximum ability to tolerate exercise.

The subjects then began a twice-a-week routine with an exercise bike and circuit weight training.

After four months – not surprising – their weight, body mass index, fat mass and waist circumference were all significantly lower.

Meanwhile, their capacity to exercise (measured by VO2 max) was up 15 per cent.

Most exciting, says Dr. Juneau, cognitive function had also increased, based on follow-up testing.

These improvements were proportional to the changes in exercise capacity and body weight.

Essentially, the more people could exercise, and the more weight they lost, the sharper they became.

A decline in cognitive function is a normal part of aging, notes Dr. Juneau.

That drop can be worse for people who have coronary disease.

“It’s reassuring to know that you can at least partially prevent that decline by exercising and losing weight,” says Dr. Juneau.

As he notes, people can manage their cholesterol or blood pressure with a pill, but try to find a pill that will increase your cognitive function.

Exercise, he says, can do it all.

“At least 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per week can make a huge difference to manage risk factors for heart disease and stroke,” says Dr. Beth Abramson, Heart and Stroke Foundation spokesperson.

“There are many benefits of exercise – we know it can make us feel better. This suggests it can make us ‘think better’ as well.”

“Activity can help you even if it’s spread out in chunks of 10 minutes or more at a time,” she says.

“In fact, to get the most benefit, add more activity to your life over several days of the week.”

Thanks for sending me this Mack!

how bad do you want it?

I know its a little easier to slip up when its no longer bikini season hence all the motivational posts. I’ve been starting to notice people falling off a little bit with their goals, and I want to keep that fire lit! Being healthy isn’t just appearance its also very much mental. Eating bad foods or not eating the right ones can cause an imbalance with your hormones and mood. Its especially important to keep things balanced this time of year when individuals suffer from seasonal depression. Its been proven that exercise can help treat depression. When you exercise you increase blood flow to the brain and release endorphins aka the bodies own natural antidepressant. It also releases other neurotransmitters like serotonin which lifts your mood. My point being don’t quit! The best kind of treatment is prevention! Whether your goals be big or small, esthetic or internal, keep going. I wanted to share this video with everyone, maybe you’ve already seen it maybe not. It is hands down one of the most inspiring videos I have seen. When I have my bad days which I definitely do, I watch this. You can apply this message to all aspects in life, not just fitness. So pay attention:)

When you want to succeed as bad as your want to breath thats when you will be successful.

oh yeah and GO STEELERS!!!

Fall staples!

Alright ladies this ones for you! I was asked to show my fall staples, so here we go!

Shear blouses! They are super sexy and can be worn casual or dolled up. These are the cuffs of one of mine. My preference of under garment is a bandoo top or a matching color bra (risky I know!) , but if you are going to work, stick to a tang top! I am also really liking the embellished ones, like sequence around the collar, or these cuffs! When doing embellished, don’t get too crazy with jewelry.

FAUX fur vest! YESSSS I found this baby last year and I wore it so much! The key to this look is simplicity, the vest is so loud and out there that whatever you pair with it should be down played. Again I have on a shear black button down blouse.

Side note- the knot, clearly its happenin. Its a life saver for me when I just don’t have time to mess with my hair.

FAUX leather leggings! I have bought a pair for the past 3 cold seasons. They are the most comfortable thing and look so hot! My most recent pair I found at forever 21 for 10 bucks, cant beat it.

Leather jacket! Perfect for days/nights when you wont be outside for too long. Its not a warm jacket but its perfect if I just have a short walk to where I am going.

Dressy scarf! 

LOVE these, I have black but taupe is next on my list:)

Faux Ostrich! This bag also came in a mustard yellow and navy blue at Saks. I went with the hunter green because I have nothing like it!

Im still loyal to my UGGs but when its raining…you gotta go with Hunter.

awe the biggest debate! “I cant pull that color off” “my skin is too fair” blah blah blah. I did the make up for a fashion show 2 weeks ago..18 girls. I put this exact color on every single one of them, ranging from different ages and skin tones. Don’t you dare tell me you cant ware crimson because I will prove you wrong.

The look for fall-

  • Natural brows ( stop over tweezing!) and if you aren’t blessed with thick goodness, fill them in. If you don’t know how, email me, Ill teach you!
  • Neutral tone smokey eye
  • Jewel tone lips

and finally my favorite OPI color “give me moor”

If you have fall staples you want to share with me please do! Don’t be shy:)