THM {S} Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake Bars (Sugar-Free, Grain-Free + Low-Carb)

PicMonkey Collage CC Bar

This recipe can now be found on my website here:

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake Bars 

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Postpartum/Breastfeeding Diet

For the first month after Miles was born, I let myself eat whatever I wanted. I started exercising regularly as soon as I felt like it, but I didn’t make any attempt to change my eating habits.

However, last week I decided to start eating healthier…I still have about 12 lbs. I’d like to lose (10 from before I got pregnant) and my eating choices were making me feel tired and stressed.

My number one priority is to keep it simple. For me, this means…

  • Eating 2,000+ calories a day
  • Eating the same breakfast, lunch, and snacks each day (changing weekly so I don’t get bored)
  • Cooking dinner at home

Basically, I eat a healthy 500 calorie breakfast and lunch and two 250 calorie snacks. I decided not to worry about the calories of my evening meals because I HATE counting calories when cooking (as opposed to when making a salad or breakfast…that’s doable). The dinners I cook are approximately 500 calories, and, if slightly higher, help me make sure I’m breaking 2,000 calories/day (which I feel I need to do in order to maintain breastfeeding and exercising). I’m planning on sticking with this calorie window for a month and then adjusting if necessary.

I also went through the calendar for the next month and chose 5 cheat days where I can eat whatever I want. This is the only way I figured I can survive the holidays – plus the occasional calorie surplus will help keep my metabolism guessing.

This is the food I’ve eaten this past week, the first of my program. I’ve included daily treats because otherwise I will binge on sugar. It makes the most sense to me to have a little something sweet everyday instead of depriving myself and being miserable.

I tried to think this through carefully and come up with something that is doable for me. I’ve tried and failed many more rigorous diets and I don’t have the energy or time to do that again!

Week of 12.11.14

Breakfast:

breakfast

  • 1 piece fruit
  • 1 tablespoon nut butter
  • 1 hardboiled egg
  • 1/4 cup steel-cut oats, cooked, with 2 teaspoons maple syrup and a splash of 2%
  • Coffee with 2 tablespoons half and half (if I feel like it)

Lunch:

lunch

  • Big veggie salad with 3 oz. pepper turkey, 1/4 cup shredded cheese, 2 tablespoons toasted pecans, and 1 tablespoon Caesar dressing
  • 1/2 cup Edy’s Slow-Churned Ice Cream

Two 250 Calorie Snacks:

snack

  • Peanut butter Ritz Bitz and an apple
  • Greek yogurt and 100-calorie popcorn bag
  • Larabar
  • 1/3 ChocoLove chocolate bar + 100-calorie popcorn bag
  • Protein shake
  • Starbucks Grande Peppermint Mocha with sugar-free syrup
  • A beer (this was at our pub trivia night 🙂 )

Dinners (all gluten-free):

dinner

  • Crockpot ribs, green beans, corn muffins
  • Corn chowder topped with cheddar, sautéed Brussels sprouts
  • Tomato soup with toast and sautéed zucchini
  • Crockpot curried chicken thighs, sautéed broccoli, quinoa
  • Venison broccoli stirfry, rice

A note about Zach:
Zach likes to sleep in until the last possible moment, so part of my meal plan is keeping a grab-and-go breakfast on hand for him. This week I made paleomg.com’s Easy Breakfast Casserole. Lunch is a free-for-all…I just try to have ingredients on hand for meals Zach makes for himself (omelettes, GF pizza, etc.). We obviously eat dinner together. I’ve found the only way to make a meal plan work for me is for it to work for both of us – otherwise it’s just too much effort.

More weeks to come!

Gluten-Free + Low(er) Carb Breakfast Ideas Part 2: Mini Raspberry Cheesecakes

Check out the first post in this series here:

Gluten-Free + Low(er) Carb Breakfast Ideas Part 1: Protein Pancakes

Raspberry Cheesecakes 3

My quest to eat a high-fat and/or high-protein, low-carb, gluten-free breakfast (whew, that’s a lot of qualifiers) every day continues. These cheesecakes have been a favorite grab-and-go option. They’re also great for people like me who prefer sweet over savory in the morning.

#2: Mini Raspberry Cheesecakes

Cheesecake for breakfast is weird – but you won’t catch me arguing. These are easy to make, easy to grab out of the fridge, they’re gluten- and sugar-free, and the ingredients list includes eggs, berries, and nuts. If fat is an issue for you, you can substitute reduced-fat cream cheese and sour cream. Adapted from this recipe.

Makes 24 mini cheesecakes

Crust:

  • 1 1/4 cups almond flour
  • 1 1/4 cups finely chopped pecans
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons Pyure stevia (I buy this at Wal-Mart – it’s 2X sweeter than sugar)

Filling:

  • Four 8 ounce blocks of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup Pyure stevia
  • 1 cup raspberries, frozen or fresh
  • Sugar-free whipped cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 300 F and put cupcake liners in two cupcake pans. Combine all crust ingredients in a medium bowl (I like to use my hands). Measure 1 tablespoon of crust mixture into each cupcake well, pressing down with fingertips to form crusts.

In a stand mixer, beat together all filling ingredients except raspberries until smooth, scraping bowl with a spatula as necessary. Stir in raspberries. Divide filling among crusts, filling cheesecakes to the top of liners. If you have any extra filling left over, spray a couple ramekins with nonstick spray and bake the extra filling in those. They can be enjoyed as crustless cheesecakes.

Bake cheesecakes for 15 minutes, or until set in the center. Cool completely on cooling racks, then store in the fridge until enjoying. You can also freeze cheesecakes and simply thaw them overnight in the fridge when ready to eat. Top with sugar-free whipped cream for extra fun 🙂 

raspberry cheesecakes 2

Gluten-Free Quinoa Granola

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This is the healthiest granola I’ve ever made. Usually when I eat granola I have this foreboding in the back of my mind that I’m just eating junky boxed cereal with a better PR profile. Probably over-dramatic. But we all need to admit that granola is so good because of that wonderful trifecta: fat, sugar, and carbs. This recipe is an improvement! And it’s really delicious.  I’ve eaten it everyday this week. It’s also gluten-free and a 1/2 cup serving has 4 grams fiber and 5 grams of protein.

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Make it. It will make your kitchen smell wonderful and your meals more tasty.

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GLUTEN-FREE QUINOA GRANOLA

 *Adapted from this recipe*

Dry:

2 cups quick-cooking gluten-free oats (Not instant! You can use old-fashioned oats, but I like the extra crunchy/clumpy texture quick-cooking oats bring to this granola)

½ cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)

½ cup uncooked quinoa

3 Tbsp. ground flax

½ tsp. sea salt

½ tsp. cinnamon

Wet:

¼ cup applesauce

¼ cup maple syrup

3 Tbsp. nut butter

½ tsp. almond extract

Stir dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Stir wet ingredients together in a small, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for about 2 minutes, or until nut butter is melted. Whisk wet ingredients together to combine, then stir into dry ingredients until mixture is clumpy and well-combined.

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Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet at 325 F for about 25 minutes, stirring if necessary to prevent excessive browning (stir less if you want chunkier granola). Let cool on pan and then store in an airtight container or plastic bag.

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Gluten-Free Breakfast in Bed Chocolate Chip Pancakes

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I have been on a trial-and-error quest to create the perfect pancakes for both Zach and me (meaning, gluten-free). My mom makes a mean almond flour pancake, but I can never get it to cooperate with me, and though I’ve tried multiple paleo pancake recipes, none of them tasted naughty enough. Enter a good old-fashioned blend of highly refined gluten-free flours.

This recipe is perfect: tender but not gummy, fluffy, and flavorful. And I was able to successfully cook them in a nonstick pan on our electric stovetop – not an easy feat.

Wake up a little early and make them for someone you love.

Gluten-Free Breakfast in Bed Chocolate Chip Pancakes

  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 3 tablespoons tapioca flour
  • 1/3 cup potato starch
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 2 tablespoons of vinegar + enough milk to make 2 cups
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons sunflower oil

Whisk dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Stir in wet ingredients until smooth and slightly thickened.

Heat a skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Spray with pan spray and scoop batter by 1/3 cup portions onto hot skillet. Press a few chocolate chips into each pancake as it cooks.

Flip pancakes after 1-2 minutes, or until edges are firm, undersides golden, and the bubbles on top have popped. Fry 1-2 minutes on other side.Keep in a 250 F oven until all pancakes are done. Serve hot with butter and maple syrup and in your underwear.

Losing Marriage Weight

IMG_4378No more cupcakes for Margeaux.

Well, it’s officially true…being in a relationship and being married has caused me to gain weight. Ten pounds, all told. While that’s not a huge amount, I want to drop it because weight gain is cumulative after all and I might as well fix this problem while it’s still relatively easy.

This is my plan, and I’m posting it to make myself accountable and maybe connect with others in a similar place:

Goal: Lose 10 lbs. by Dec. 1st

Method:

  • Follow this eating mantra: no snacks, seconds, sweets, or wheat (I do allow myself the option of a 200-calorie or less snack in the afternoon because if we eat dinner late I can’t make it 7 hours [12:00-7:00] without eating)
  • Do at least 20 minutes of yoga a day and 1 hour of cardio a week (usually Zumba)

I would like to have time to exercise more but that is not feasible with my schedule. I’m all about figuring out what I can be consistent with, even if it seems small.

Yes, I sometimes get hunger headaches when I do this. I crave chocolate and sandwiches and the cupcakes I serve every day at my bakery job. But it is doable. I’m not skimping on fat, carbs, protein, or calories, and I’m able to participate in social events with minimal difficulty.

I’ve been playing around with different aspects of this plan for a while now, including limiting wheat/sugar/snacks and following the exercise plan, but my weekends have been my downfall.  Halloween parties, 5 Guys burgers, school stress and lack of sleep….not a good combo. However, I have seen my habits shifting in the right direction and by making a game plan for the month I will be better prepared.

Possible Challenges:

-5-day road trip to Virginia for a wedding // Plan: Eat and sleep according to normal schedule and make healthy choices within given contexts (restaurants, wedding meals, etc.). Use down time in car to study and research healthy eating/exercise ideas.

-Thanksgiving // Plan: Eat what I want Thanksgiving Day but don’t give up exercise and limit indulgences to that one day only.

-Weekends in general // Plan: Eat and sleep according to normal schedule as much as possible. Choose a healthy recipe to cook so that diet doesn’t completely depend on restaurants/in-laws. Use weekend to catch up and rest, not binge and veg.