Fat Tuesday: Chicken and Shrimp Gumbo

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What better way to  celebrate  Fat Tuesday and bring some New Orleans to your home than gumbo!

Come experience  New Orleans with me
Ingredients :
-1/2lb of cooked chicken breasts (seasones with cumin and tarragon)
– 1 pack of chicken andouille sausage (slice  thin)
– 1/2lb of fresh large white shrimp
-1 carton of chicken broth
-Creole Seasoning Mix: 1/2 tsp of bay leaves, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, 1 tsp of thyme, oregano, and 2 tsp of paprika (pinch of salt)
-1/2 of a yellow onion (chopped)
-2 bell peppers (chopped)
-1stalk of celery (chopped)
-1 8oz can of tomato  paste

Instructions:
1. Over medium-high heat add your chopped vegetables (onion, peppers, and celery) and creole seasoning into a large pot.
2. Once your vegetables cook down add your can of tomato  paste and chicken broth to  your pot and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes. Make sure to stir every 5 minutes to prevent burning.
3. Add your meat (chicken, chicken sauasage, and shrimp) into your pot.
4. Cook for another 10 min.
5. Cool and eat. Serve with brown/white/cauliflower  rice, quinoa,  vegetables, or eat alone. Enjoy!

Below is pictured with cauliflower  rice.

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What’s For Breakfast? Sweet Potato Biscuits!

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I love Sweet Potatoes! I can literally eat them every day and with every meal. So why not include them in the most important meal of the day- breakfast.  With this recipe I made the biscuits into an egg sandwich- YUM!  There are a lot of  varieties you can do with this recipe: waffles, muffins, biscuits alone… use your imagination and share your creations!

Ingredients:

  • 1 to 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 3 eggs (Whisked)
  • 3 Tablespoons of Coconut Oil
  • 1/3 Cup of Maple Syrup
  • 1 Teaspoon of Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 4 Tablespoons of Coconut Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon of Cinnamon

Instructions:

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

2. Wash your sweet potatoes, poke holes into your SP with a fork, and place in oven.

3. Cook your sweet potatoes for 60 min. (This process can be done ahead of time. I store sweet potatoes in the freezers and pop in the microwave for 1-2 min when ready to use)

4. Once sweet potatoes are down, peel them and mash them in a bowl.

5. In another bowl, whisk your 3 eggs, 3 Tablespoons of (melted) Coconut Oil,1 Teaspoon of vanilla extract, 1/3 cup of maple syrup, and add to your mashed sweet potatoes.

6. Add 4 Tablespoons of Coconut Flour, 1 Teaspoon of Baking Powder, and 1 Tablespoon of Cinnamon to the rest of your sweet potato mix.7. Mix ingredients. (food processor, blender, or hand mixture- my choice)

7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and use a ice cream scoop or spoon to spoon out your biscuits on the sheet.

8. Cook in oven (still at 375 degrees) for 20-22 min. Until biscuits are set.

9. Let them cool for about 5 min and enjoy!


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I’m MAD ready for #NoExcuses 2015!

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2015 is the year of no excuses. Many times we set goals for ourselves, have dreams to pursue, but never achieve them. Why is that? Guilt, Fear,etc… are the thoughts we place in our that keep us from success. I challenge you this year, to make 2015 your year of #NoExcuses! If you want to lose that last 10lbs- Do It! Quit that depressing job- Do It! Write the book that’s been on your heart- Do It! Leave those toxic relationships- Do It! Whatever it is you looking to achieve in 2015, Do It- #NoExcuses!

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Hey 2015, it’s me Alicia Monae (nickname, spirit animal, real name, blog name). This year I would like to run a half marathon, try a new fitness sport, and write a cookbook. It would also be super duper awesome if I also did teach a fitness class this year. It’s not a resolution, though, just a reminder to myself to try and have the best year yet because I am worth it.

The thing I am looking forward to most this year is using my gifts God gave me. I’ll use the one thing that truly gets me out of bed in the morning which is alarm clock to help me get up, get moving and get after my #NoExcuses 2015. Speaking of excuses (ahem), my very favorite excuse is I’m tired and I have used it to get out of doing workouts and blogging on more than  occasion.

I vow to move my body and be more healthy this year even if it means I have to make sacrifices daily. Even if my alarm clock gets eaten by the dog in the middle of the night, I’ll still get up and move. I will stop blaming the “fairy”  for eating the rest of the food when everyone knows it was really me. My JOB is not the reason I make excuses. I will show my JOB  who’s boss this year and get my Cardio on. I know that cardio is better than jiggle. I will reward myself by buying a new workout wardrobe (shoes too!).

No Excuses 2015 has just begun and already I am imagining myself a winner. I can’t wait to rock a compression shorts from Augusta Active. I can’t wait till my sweaty friends are jealous of how fresh, clean and energetic I am between workouts with help from ShowerPill body wipes. I can see myself rocking downward dog in new yoga pants from Actio926 and looking fit and fly while doing it. And of course, I’ll be taking my workouts to the next level and improving my fitness with my new ActivMotion Bar to help me train for my next  Peachtree Roadrace with Sasquatch Racing.

Oh, and let’s not forget how amazing my sports bra will smell in my / during my HIIT Workout after washing with some WIN Detergent. And lastly, I’ll keep rocking my 2015 with clean eats and nutrition from Beaming with Health!

Join me in making 2015 the year of #NoExcuses. Copy the Madlib above, fill in the blanks, and leave in the comments below. 

Tag, Tweet, shout-out, call, text, fax or email 3 friends to take this survey and share how they will have a #NoExcuses 2015. Remind your friends to simply fill in the underlined parts!

New Year, New Goals, and New Start

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It’s the first full week of the new year. This is the time we all have set new goals, resolutions, and ready turn over a new leaf and start fresh.  I thought I share yall a few of my goals for the year (please keep me accountable):

  1. Finish my Cookbook (Now you all will have access to my delicious recipes!)
  2. Keep the weight off I lose (Think this is something we all have battled with. Sometimes life hits you or we just really enjoy the holiday season)
  3. Try something new (Last year it was skydiving and trying out for Master Chef, this year???)
  4. Attend a fitness/ fitness blog conference (My sister attended 2 last year. She had so much fun and the knowledge/connections she made were invaluable.  Read more on her experience here.)

What do you all plan on accomplishing this year? What new things are ready to embark on? Please comment and share below. 

Take a look at these delicious cookies I made about a week ago. Flourless Cashew and Chocolate Chip Cookies. I am still working on the recipe to share with you all!

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Fitness and Community- There’s an App for that!

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Disclosure: This post was sponsored by The Fitness Games through their partnership with Fit Approach. I was not compensated monetarily, but was provided the Platinum Version of the application for review. As always, all thoughts are my own. 

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The Fitness Games (TFG) is an app that does an excellent job in tying fitness, community, and nice competition in on platform. Think about when you are posting your workout for the day or you working out on Instagram or Facebook, and you get the common comments:  “Hey @aliciamfitness, we should try this?” or “@aliciamfitness bet I can get more rounds?”  The Fitness Games App gives you the opportunity to challenge and do the same workout with other members of the fitness community.

How it works:

1. Create your account and log in

2. Choose a workout challenge from 4 categories: Strength, Cardio, Full Body and Cross Training.

Select your level of work: beginner, intermediate, or advanced. These workouts will definitely give you a challenge at whatever level you are. Prepare to sweat!

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3. Select or Create a workout.  I love that this app has a large database of workouts to choose from. Plus, you have the ability to create your own workout- be creative and get the challenge going!

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4. Pick your Challenger. Challenge a friend, yourself, co-worker, or someone on the other side of the world.  Fitness is Universal!

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5. Accept the Challenge and Work It Out!

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I got challenged from my swolemate/sister to a Tababta Total Body Blast, sadly I lost. But best believe, there is another challenge coming soon!

Now I Challenge You! Download the fitness games app for Iphone or Droid. Create your Log In, Add Me (Alicia Monae), your friends, and other TFG users. I accept the challenge, do you?

Why I Chose PALEO

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Happy Wednesday!!

Fall is nearing, which means the football, festivals, fairs, and of course the holidays are all around the corner. I like to indulge and dibble and dabble with treats but I know I have to stay on track with my diet to not gain unhealthy weight. My plan to beat the bulge this fall/winter is getting back on the PALEO plan.

So, I am one of those people who try everything and go on full ahead. I’ve been vegetarian (2 years), IIFYM (if it fits your macro), Atkins (low carb-high protein), a strict body-builder diet, and EEIS (EAT EVERYTHING IN SIGHT)! lol. What I’ve learned over the past few years is do a diet/meal plan that works for you, something that can be a lifestyle change, easy, and fulfilling.

Paleo. The best diet that has works for me. I eat a ton of vegetables, feel energized, and don’t feel like I’m sacrificing myself for it. I love it! It challenges me to buy and try new things, such as coconut flour- a staple for Paleo followers, it teaches you how to eat whole real foods, and most importantly it brought my love back to cook. I love creating and trying new recipes.

So what is Paleo?  The best description I’ve found – “In a nutshell, the Paleo diet (or, as I like to think of it, the Paleo template—the word “diet” tends to mislead folks into thinking this is nothing more than a temporary weight-loss program) is based on the notion that for optimal health, modern humans should go back to eating real, whole unprocessed foods that are more healthful than harmful to our bodies. “– from nomnompaleo

Basically you eat all whole foods:

Meat: Chicken, Pork, Beef, Fish, etc.

Vegetables

Fruits

Nuts

Fats: Avocado, coconut, etc. 

Back on the Paleo path, thought I share a dish I made last night for dinner. It will definitely become a staple this fall.

Crock-Pot Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs 

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For this meal what you need is a slow cooker, spaghetti squash, meat of your choice for meatballs, tomato sauce or your favorite pasta sauce, and seasonings for your meatballs and sauce (Italian seasoning, garlic, and whatever else you have in your cabinet).

  1. Cut your Spaghetti Squash in half and scoop out the insides
  2. Place your squash open side down into your slow cooker
  3. Add tomato sauce and seasonings into your slow cooker
  4. Grab your meat and add seasoning, roll your meat into meatballs (lb made about 10-12 balls)
  5. Add your meatballs into the slow cooker and cover.
  6. Cook on high for 3 to 4 hours.
  7. Take out your squash first, be careful because it will be extremely hot. Take a fork and scrape the squash into a dish.
  8. Add your sauce and meatballs… ENJOY!

3 Tips to Staying Fit on Vacation

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In a couple weeks I will be leaving the country to go to PARIS for a week!  Bring on the wines, crepes, and crescents. I will treat myself to authentic french food, but will still be mindful of my fitness goals.

 ID-100112469Here is my plan to stay on track on vacation:

  1. Cardio – I will be exploring the city on foot. I know I will be clocking in 6-10 miles a day. Walk, Walk, and Walk everywhere. I plan on packing my jump rope as well to get in a 20 min HIIT workout in the morning. 
  2. Strength Training – Unfortunately, my hotel does not have a fitness center so I will be packing resistance bands to work my lower and upper body. Body weight exercises such a squats, push ups, and lunges will become my best friend on this trip. 
  3. Food Choices – I am not the biggest fan of breads and pastas, so I’m not worried there. But I try to eat most of my carbs early in the day or save them for post workout. I want to time my carbs to benefit my body the best. I will choose lean meats for lunch/dinner- chicken or fish, keep sauces to a minimum, and will pile on the veggies/salad to keep me full longer (fiber)

The biggest thing when going on a vacation is to have a planFail to Plan, Plan to Fail!  

What are some tips you have for vacationers? What are your must do’s while on vacation?  Share and Comment below. 

Safe Travels! 

Health and Fitness Tips For the Woman on the Go

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When I started my fitness journey, I found it difficult to balance my social and fitness life. (Still a balance act today) I didn’t want to sacrifice my girl’s night, happy hour with co-workers, or my daily morning  jog.  As a young 20 something, working a full-time job, working to purse other dreams and goals, balancing family and friends, I was finding it to be challenging to create time for all these things. I’m always up for a challenge and after a few months I’ve created a formula that allows time for all the things I love: training for a fitness competition, vacationing to New Orleans, studying for a fitness certification, and celebrating friends and family.

Here are a few of the strategies that helped me find balance with my social and fit life:

Remember Your Goals.  Remind yourself of your health and fitness goals. Everyday, do an act that will get you closer to achieving your goal. If your goal was to run a 5k race, make a decision to run every morning or schedule a time that you clock your running for that day. Goal is to lose 5lbs, instead of ordering a Burger with French Fries with your friends, pick a healthier alternative and get the burger (no bun) or substitute the burger for a chicken breast and have a fresh side salad/vegetable. It is those little daily decisions that will take us to our goal.

Meal Preparation.  This has definitely been a life saver. I will prep my snacks, lunch, and dinner and occasionally breakfast (oatmeal) from 3 days to week. Doing this saves me time during the week to have to grocery shop, cook, and takes the guess work on what I have to eat. I like to make my life as simple as can be and this has been a key to that.  At the beginning of the week (Sunday or Monday) I will cook my food and bag/pack them for the days ahead, so the next day all I have to do is grab and go. Just think, cooking for 1hr – 1hr30min 1 day can save me about an 1 hour or more daily, which equals to from 7+ hours a week! Those extra 7+ hours is equivalent to a work day, daily workouts, a night on the town, that movie that came out last Saturday, or the diy project you’ve been wanting to tackle you saw on Pintrest. Take Time to Create Time.

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Create a Routine.  I found it easy having a daily routine, that did not change to balance my life. Wake up, workout, go to work, study, prepare dinner, bed… Creating a routine is a great way to keep you consistent.  It also allows you the flexibility to add other activities without sacrificing another. Creating a specific routine that works for you will take time, but will be worth it once you find one that fits your lifestyle.  Schedule your work outs into your daily life and try to be as consistent as possible to working out at that time daily.

Make Fitness Fun.  It is your night to pick the date or next social activity- how about a walk around the local park? Going to the rock climbing facility? Spending the day at the pool? Find and Create ways to make social gatherings more active. I know a lot of my friends won’t be jumping for a joy if I asked them to join me for a Saturday afternoon bootcamp, but what about a trip to Sky Zone? (Chose this as part of my birthday activities and had a lot of fun. Jumping around non stop for an hour- was tiring! Sweaty and All. We all had fun.)

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Put these strategies into action and be healthy and fit on the go!

What are some others way you balance fitness and your social life? Comment Below. 

Vega Sport Performance Protein- Review

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Today I’m highlighting the Vega Sport Protein Performance “Recovery” Supplement in Vanilla. I have been using this product to recover after workouts for the past few weeks. This product claims to improve strength, build and repair muscle, and  reduce recovery time between training.

I found this product to mix better in a blend vs a shaker bottle. I like my recovery shake with 1 scoop of  protein, 1 cup of ice cubes, 1 cup of water, with a splash of sugar free vanilla flavored coffee syrup. This product also tastes great with oatmeal= PROATS. Mix 1 scoop of protein into your cooked oatmeal for a more thicker and creamy meal.

What products do you use to #fuelyourbetter ? Have you tried Vega Sport products before? If so, what product and how did you like it?

Head over to fuelyourbetter.com and find the missing link to #fuelyourbetter.

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Bodybuilding and Fitness Bikini Compeitior

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To all my new followers I am prepping to step on stage  July 19  as a  Bodybuilding and Fitness “BIKINI” Competitor.

This will be my 2nd show and I’m  looking forward to see the changes my body makes this prep.   I started my competition diet and training March 24, which will give me 17 weeks to transform my body to be stage ready.

I am 5 weeks in and these are my results so far: (Only a -8lb difference)

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5 week transformation

FIRST SHOW:

During my 1st prep it was pretty much trial and error, but I had gotten to the best shape of  MY life and dropped 12lbs and placed 5th! I got these results with my trainer.   After my show I rebounded hard. It wasn’t fast but all the weight I loss slowly crept up in about 6-7 months. I did gain some muscle.  “Off season” got the best of me!  I let myself indulge over indulge, but I had no regrets. I went to Mexico, Myrtle Beach, Mexico again, Miami, Dominican Republic, LA, and New Orleans and had a time of my life. I felt like I had to play catch-up and do/taste/drink everything I opted out of during my prep.  I guess this is what they call  “Post-Competition Blues”.

SECOND SHOW:

This prep I got a Competition Coach, who will guide me with diet, posing, any questions,comments, and or concerns.  I got my trainer to help push and change up my workout routines to keep my body guessing.  I am definitely more prepared this time around. I know what to expect during prep (the lows, loneliness, judgement, dedication, motivation, ambition, and drive), and what to do post-competition.  I am about 11 weeks out now!  My coach says I’m right on track, I can’t wait to see what package I bring to the stage this time.

Bodybuilding was one of the best decisions of my life! I love a challenge and this sport gives me that!  Through bodybuilding I learned:

1. I am mentally and physically strong

2. I can push myself beyond  limits I set for myself

3. I can achieve anything I put my mind to

4. DIET is everything! 

5. Everyone won’t support your dreams or your journey

6. Anything is possible if you try

7. There is only losing/failure in not trying