Hi, I’m Claudia and welcome to my blog. I love cooking, trying new foods, and experimenting with new ingredients in an effort to create not only delicious food, but food that’s good for you. I believe that feeling good about yourself starts from the inside out and the food you eat, is only the beginning. Eating clean is a lifestyle that I hope you implement into your daily life and that I can make that process a little easier for you.
I live by the 4 F’s – Faith, Family, Fitness, and Food (the last two are interchangeable) but you get the idea. By sharing my best practices, recipes, and experiences, my wish is that you find a healthy relationship with food and your personal fitness journey. Eating clean is fun! Feel free to add or take away any ingredients that may or may not suite your taste buds, make the recipes fun and tasty. Have a question? I’d love to hear from you.
In the meantime, remember to Eat Clean and Train Dirty!
Claudia’s Newest Healthy Recipe
I’m going to make this blog post short and DELICIOUS seeing as I have a sleeping baby who at any moment will awaken and require my undivided attention.
Last night I made a regular dish that’s been in rotation for quite some time and I cannot take the credit for this concoction. It’s a recipe by Sunny Anderson of the Food Network but I make modifications of my own to bring down the fat and calories. It’s a Tator Tot Pie made with sauteed vegetables, cheese, and ground meat of your choice! For the sake of this recipe, I’m using lean ground turkey because that’s what I used last night.
So here are the ingredients you’ll need for this crowd pleasing, healthified Sweet Potato Tater Tot Pie:
1 20 oz bag of sweet potato puffs (I use this brand)
1 pound of ground turkey (I used 90%)
2 TBS oil
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp paprika
2 TBS tomato paste
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 medium zucchini cut into large strips
1 red bell pepper also cut into strips
2 carrots peeled and grated
8 ounces of shredded low fat monterrey jack or cheddar cheese
FIRST! COOK YOUR TOTS ACCORDING TO PACKAGE INSTRUCTIONS AND SET ASIDE **Do not top the pie with frozen tots**
Next, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
1. In a large pan on medium-high heat, add the oil. Once your pan is HOT, add the turkey, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Cook until the meat is browned.
2. Stir in the tomato paste and saute for a few minutes to intensify the flavor. Add the water and bring to a simmer. Season again and remove the mixture to a bowl with a slotted spoon, leaving the turkey juices in the pan.
3. In the same pan, add the onions and cook until almost tender. Then add the carrots, zucchini, bell peppers, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Cook, tossing, until the vegetables are tender but still a bit crunchy, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat.
4. In the bottom of an 8X8 casserole dish in this order, layer half of the turkey, pressing it down to level it, and then sprinkle half of the cheese evenly over the meat. Pour the remaining half of the turkey over the cheese and press down to level as well. Add the vegetables, followed by the remaining cheese; press to level. Top with the tater and bake until the edges on the tots turn golden brown, 25 minutes.
Modified from this recipe!
There you have it folks! This is a tasty recipe that Coach Kozak absolutely demolishes anytime I make it. Protein, complex carbs, and veggies…what more could you ask for?!
It only took me 6 months but learning how to take care of a baby is quite a steep learning curve, at least for me it has been. There are some women who are just very natural and slip right into the mother role but for me quite frankly it’s been a bit difficult at times. I’m not sure if it’s because we’re far from family as it’s just the two of us in California or if because I just happen to find it more difficult than other women. Either way, I’m finding my groove and definitely feeling more of myself except only with the most adorable plus one. And of course as well all know, Coach Kozak is a superstar father and such a supportive husband….duh! :-)
Little Miss Alessandra is 6 months old as of December 3 and is currently 26 inches, 17lbs 1.5oz of pure energy and joy. She was quietly born at home after 7 quick hours of labor and weighed in at 6lbs 7oz. As of late she loves sleeping on her tummy, rolling across the floor/bed, going on walks, and watching her parents workout! She’s already mastered a plane ride home to Texas to meet cousins, aunts, uncles, and one of her remaining great grandmothers. We’ll be venturing to Michigan soon to do the same with Joshua’s family. She also loves when we sing to her, bath time, exploring new solid foods, and going to bed at 6:30PM. Don’t mind me as I’ll just be uploading a few pics to this post that have nothing to do with the content, just wanting to share a few of the babes. ;-)
I’ve found a wonderful group of women in the form of a support group here in the Bay Area at Blossom Birth Services and have met some fantastic women. As a new mother, their support has been invaluable to me and it’s so great to meet women going through the exact same thing as you. I’d even go far to say it is A MUST.
Ale (pronounced Ah-lay) as we call her is currently at home with Coach Kozak as I quietly sit at a coffee shop writing this blog. This is the first time I’ve stepped out really without her since she’s refused to take a bottle. Thank goodness for starting solids! Being here alone feels strange yet amazing all at once. I will definitely try my darndest to make this a weekly update with baby, Coach Kozak, and recipe news.
Coach Kozak as we all now has taken a step back from HASfit for now to focus all of his energies into Track My Fitness and I am enjoying my maternity leave from HASfit but I’m hoping to ramp things up again. In all honesty it’s all about me finding the time to write and post these posts. I don’t have a nanny (yet) nor do I have any extra pair of arms in the form of family other than Coach so I hope to start some interviewing for nannies after the first of the year.
SO! As far as my eating has gone post baby, I watch what I eat but have really embraced flexible dieting. I started working out at 3 weeks post partum (very lightly) and as soon as I got the all clear at my 6 week appt, I turned up the volume on my workouts. I had a tiny tear which did not require any stitches nor did I or have I experienced any lingering pain.
I’ve also never had any issues with my milk supply and in fact I had oversupply issues which made breastfeeding difficult in the beginning. Since I’m working out at full force again, I stay super hydrated through out the day and track my food intake just to ensure that I’m eating enough to keep my supply up. I make sure still to have protein at every meal/snack, take in complex carbs and tons of healthy fats. I’m about 3 pounds away from my pre baby weight and now can fit back into my pre baby jeans. It took me about 4 1/2 to 5 months to do so but I did it at my pace. Trust, I had and still have many delicious burgers, burritos, and wine in between but I feel as though I’ve been able to balance the good with the bad at this point. We all know I have a sweet tooth too! Share desserts or order mini ones is my advice. I also have a pretty good low carb/high fat cookie recipe I’ve been loving lately as well and you know I’m going to share it with you. I also have been a BIG fan of Swerve Sweetener and it really helps cut out the unnecessary crash and calories from sugar so I can eat my desserts without worrying too much about packing on the pounds.
Working out has really been my release and my dedicated me time since the beginning; which is crucial for new mothers. Taking time for yourself to do something you enjoy doing is a definite MUST. If it’s good for mommy, it’s good for baby as well as daddy and really anyone else you share your home with. If there’s anything I learned from support group it is to take care of yourself and don’t be afraid to do so!
I realize that it’s been a long time since I’ve updated you guys on the progress of my workouts, diet, and the general happenings in the Kozak household and there’s good reason for that. We’ve recently made a cross-country move to California, I was trying to squeeze in as much family time as possible, and I was also gearing up for my baby shower ALL occurring at the end of March. I’m extremely close to my family and being hormonal as well as leaving your family behind can make for an emotional time for a pregnant lady.
Anyhow, all is well now, we’re settled in our new digs and I’m definitely getting used to my new state. We’re just south of San Francisco now and I must say…the weather is not terrible. :-)
I’m now a happy and healthy 35 weeks into my pregnancy, continuing my exercise routines albeit they’ve definitely slowed down, and have found a new wonderful midwife here in California.
I’m also currently doing a home study Hypnobabies Course that’s teaching me self hypnosis techniques to manage pain or “pressure waves” as they’re referred to as I’m planning an intervention free birth. I’ve also been reading great books such as Birthing From Within and Guide to Childbirth which have definitely given me a whole new perspective on the wonderful things a woman’s body is capable of when she’s allowed to birth freely and naturally….so very un-American haha!
Aside from how my time has been occupied these days (nesting, reading, studying, organizing the baby’s room) I’ve been meaning to share a few recipes with you guys specifically pertaining to CAKES!
Being the health nut that I am as well as a way for me to show love to the ladies in my life, I decided to bake my own baby shower cakes. I’ve mentioned it before but we have issues of Alzheimer’s, (pre)diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and just general sugar addiction in my family. My baby shower was on a Sunday and I started the baking preparations on Wednesday! I’ll share with you how I did it and a timeline breakdown. Cakes are resilient and can easily be made days ahead of time. Don’t try to do everything the night before or you will go CRAZY! These cakes serve about 40 people. **Note-if stored in refrigerator, make sure they’re covered and/or in an air tight container to prevent drying out.
Wednesday: STRAWBERRY BUTTERCREAM FROSTING
1 cup chopped fresh strawberries
1 lb bag of Swerve All Natural Sweetener Confectioners Style
2 sticks of softened grass fed butter
1 tsp vanilla
Preparation: I took my butter out of the refrigerator before going to bed and the next morning it was nice and soft. Take your cup of chopped strawberries and place in a food processor. Blend until a puree consistency is formed.
With a hand mixer or stand up mixer, whip the three sticks of softened butter until well combined and slowly add in the strawberry puree. Once the butter and puree are mixed in, slowly add in the confectioner’s sugar. I broke this process up into 1/4’s because the powdered sweetener will cause a cloud of sugar if dumped in too quickly! TAKE YOUR TIME.
Once all of the confectioner’s sweetener is mixed in well you can lastly add the vanilla extract.
When done mixing the frosting, I placed it in a storage container and placed it in my refrigerator. Simply allow it to fully soften (overnight) if you plan to frost a cake at a later date or you can frost immediately. This frosted a double layer 9″ cake or will do 24 cupcakes.
Thursday: ALMOND LAYER CAKE
1 1/2 Swerve Sweetener (Granulated) **you can also use regular coconut sugar or any other alternative that measures like sugar**
1 1/3 cup room temperature grass fed butter
4 cups almond flour (I bought a bag of this almond flour from Costco! *one bag is $21.99 in store*)
1 cup coconut flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
8 eggs at room temp
1 cup milk (I used Flaxmilk)
2 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 cup strawberry preserves (I bought a jar of good sugar-free (sweetened with erythritol) preserves from my local health market)
Preparation: preheat oven to 350F.
Prep 2 round 8″ or 9″ cake pans with parchment rounds and nice coating of butter.
Begin by creaming butter and sugar with hand mixer or stand mixer. Once combined and fluffy, add milk, vanilla, and almond extract at a low-speed, until it is wet and combined. Add in the eggs, a few at a time, and let it slowly mix.
Combine all dry ingredients together.
Add dry ingredients into wet ingredients until batter is formed.
Pour the batter evenly into the 2 cake pans, and bake for about 35 minutes or so. Watch carefully as nuts burn quickly.
Let them cool for a bit before loosening edges from pans and inverting onto cooling racks. These cakes are best served the day after as the flavors have had the opportunity to marry together.
Once my cakes were completely cooled, I wrapped them separately (and tightly) in plastic wrap and let them sit at room temperature until Saturday, a day before my shower. If you have room, you can also place them in your refrigerator (tightly wrapped). Once I was ready to frost (Saturday night), I liberally applied the strawberry preserves between the two layers and then went to town on the cake with the strawberry butter cream frosting and placed the cake in the refrigerator until just before the shower.
Thursday: BASIC CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING:
2 sticks softened grass fed butter
3/4 cup cacao powder (I used Navita’s Naturals Cacao Powder)
1lb bag of Swerve Sweetener (Confectioner’s Style)
1/4 cup milk ( I used flax milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
PREPARATION: Add cocao to a large bowl or bowl of stand mixer. Whisk through to remove any lumps.
Cream together butter and cocao powder until well-combined.
Add sugar and milk to cocoa mixture by adding 1 cup of sugar followed by about a tablespoon of milk. After each addition has been combined, turn mixer onto a high speed for about a minute.
Repeat until all sugar and milk have been added.
Add vanilla extract and combine well.
If frosting appears too dry, add more milk, a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency. Again, I placed the frosting in a storage container and placed it in my refrigerator. Simply allow it to fully soften (overnight) if you plan to frost a cake at a later date or you can frost immediately. This frosted a double layer 9″ cake or will do 24 cupcakes.
Friday: DARK CHOCOLATE CAKE & CHOCOLATE WHIPPED CREAM FILLING
For the CAKE:
2 cups almond flour
1 cup arrowroot powder
1/2 cup coconut flour
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup softened butter (plus more for greasing pans)
8 eggs room temperature
1 tbsp vanilla extract
Preparation: Preheat your oven to 350.
Grease and line 2 8″ or 9″ round pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
Combine the dry ingredients into a medium sized bowl
In a small separate bowl, whisk the eggs and add the melted coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla. Stir to combine and add to the dry ingredients.
Beat until well combined by hand, and pour into the prepared pans.
Bake for 20-25 minutes
Again, wait until completely cooled before removing from the pans and wrapping them with plastic wrap if you’re making these cakes ahead of time. These can also be stored at room temperature or in your refrigerator.
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life mini Chocolate chips because they’re gluten and soy free)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preparation: Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler over simmering water.
Beat your cream until it’s fairly stiff. (Either by hand mixer or stand mixer)
Add in the melted chocolate and give it another quick whip, and scrape down the sides of the bowl so it’s mixed in well.
I stored the chocolate fluff in an old yogurt container in the refrigerator and liberally applied it in between the chocolate cake layers right before I frosted them!
My shower went off without a hitch and I simply purchased Baby’s Breath to place around the cakes for decoration.
Everybody loved the cakes and were shocked to find out they were refined sugar free! My aunt even asked me for the chocolate cake recipe for a chocolate loving friend and my mother took a huge slab of strawberry cake for dessert over the next few days. :-) Overall, I had an emotional yet wonderful day with the 40 best ladies in my life. I can only hope to be half the mother as all of the strong and influential women in my family!
I have been having a deep love affair with vegetables lately which is pretty strange considering I was mentally preparing myself for being the typical pregnant lady and downing cupcakes by the dozen. I do my best to squeeze veggies in my smoothies, cooking them down and adding them to my enchiladas, and earlier this week I made an awesome Shepherd’s Pie. Instead of using sweet potatoes or regular potatoes as the topping, I steamed cauliflower and butternut squash together and made a puree. This is a super simple recipe you’ll want to add to your weekly dinner rotation. We’re jazzing up lean ground turkey and packing enough vegetables to keep the turkey moist and adding tons of flavor.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need for your healthy ground turkey recipe:
1 lb lean ground turkey
1 cup frozen peas
3/4 cup low sodium broth of your choice
2/3 cup chopped carrots
1/3 cup chopped white onion
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp flour (I used Garbanzo flour but any flour will do)
2 tsp fresh chopped Rosemary
salt and pepper to taste
1 small head of cauliflower
1 cup frozen & chopped butternut squash
1-2 tablespoons butter
splash of milk
1) Start by separating the cauliflower from the head and steaming the florets stove top or in the microwave until fork tender. Add in the frozen butternut squash for the last 5-8 minutes or cook as directed on package instructions. Place the cauliflower & butternut squash in a food processor along with a tablespoon of butter and a splash of milk and process until a puree is formed. Add salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
2) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add carrots and onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
3) Add turkey and cook, breaking up meat with a spoon, until browned, about 6 minutes.
4) Stir in flour and cook 3 more minutes. Stir in peas and rosemary.
5) Season with salt and pepper. Pour in chicken broth and stir. Bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with more salt and pepper as desired.
6) Transfer to an 8X8 baking dish and spread cauliflower/butternut squash puree across the top of the turkey mixture. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes or until golden brown on top.
Coach Kozak loved this dish so much, he ate the entire dish in one night! After I had my portion of course. He even said he’d like to see me make this dish once a week because it was so flavorful and light.
This is an awesomely easy, low carb, and high fiber dinner that’s great any day of the week!
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat 7.8 g
Saturated Fat 1.8 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.2 g
Total Carbohydrate 15 g
Dietary Fiber 5 g
Sugars 3 g
Protein 20 g
Enter to win here!
Happy 23 weeks to me and my sweet baby girl! She’s now the size of a sweet grapefruit and loves to move around these days. It’s truly one of the coolest feelings ever. It’s funny because every time I’ve felt her move I always grab Coach Kozak’s hand so he can feel her too & as soon as he’d do so, she’d stop moving, LOL! Luckily she has come through once or twice for him.
We’re still settling on a name but we probably won’t reveal what it is until she’s here. We keep going back and forth on a family name because Coach is sentimental that way. As for me, I’m a little more stubborn and like what I like (the Latina in me) but marriage is all about compromise so he’ll probably get his way. :-)
Now, speaking of grapefruit, I wanted to keep you all updated with how my pregnancy diet has been these past few months. I’m well into the thick of my second trimester and as we all know from my first trimester, I was living on a high carb diet because that’s all I could stomach. I’m happy to report that my diet is much more balanced much like it was pre pregnancy and as of now, I’m not having any crazy cravings. Thank goodness!
I really try my best to stick to whole foods at all times with exception of my occasional treats. Here is how my typical day is broken down as far as food consumption:
Oatmeal with 1/2 scoop of Vega protein powder usually topped with 1/2 cup full fat Greek yogurt, walnuts/raw pumpkin seeds & sliced banana OR Two eggs, a turkey sausage patty, and a slice of toast OR PANCAKES!
Slice of Ezekiel bread, 2 tablespoons mashed avocado, 2 tablespoons cottage cheese OR an apple with 2 tablespoons of almond butter
Tuna salad using light tuna in water with Nut-Thin brown rice crackers, assorted veggies (carrots, cucumbers, celery, squash) and 2 tablespoons hummus & an orange OR an opened faced chicken sandwich with spinach, slice of cheddar cheese, mustard, a pickle, all the veggies previously mentioned as well as a piece of fruit of some kind (apple, orange, half a grapefruit).
1/2 banana drizzled with almond butter (yes, I have an almond butter addiction)
Post Workout Recovery: (if it was an intense workout)
Always a protein smoothie of some kind. My favorite these days:
1 1/2 cup water or milk
1/2 a banana
1/2 scoop of protein powder
1/4 cup full fat Greek yogurt
1 tbsp of almond butter
dash of cinnamon
2-3 ice cubes
Discovered & currently obsessed with TruWhip to which I now add on top of my chocolate chip cookies that I now find myself making weekly. Or I am adding whipped cream to my Arctic Zero ice cream of which it’s never too cold for. For my post dinner sweet treat I try my best to stick to the serving size.
I believe in balance and don’t get me wrong, some days coach and I will have lunch or dinner at our favorite Greek place, have a Friday night pizza party (I stick to two slices), or share a huge slice of coconut cheesecake. Good example, this past Friday was pizza night and the following day I had a half order (6) of chicken fajita nachos with my parents the following day. Having those few treats once or twice a week is good for the soul. However the majority of the time, we eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at home most if not all days of the week.
I’ve given up non fat yogurt for full fat, I love avocados (even in smoothies), chomp on seeds & nuts, aim for 2-3 servings of veggies a day as well as fruit, and love getting my carbs in the form of Ezekiel bread, whole wheat tortillas, oats, and sweet potatoes. I’ve found that my body functions best when 35-40% of my daily calories come from carbs, 25-30% from proteins, and the rest from high quality fats such as my walnuts, avos, and coconut/olive oil. I rely on my food diary to ensure that baby is getting everything she needs to grow healthy and strong.
Of course my workouts are still coming in at 4-5 times a week and are a mix of HIIT, strength training to include some Olympic lifting, suspension training, and yoga/pilates. Which reminds me, I’m in need of new workout gear, I’m sure nobody wants a flash of my baby belly at the gym. My top is so tight it’s a tad embarrassing, lol.
I’m up about 11 pounds and feeling more beautiful and confident than ever to which I also attribute to my amazing husband. What you see in the videos is really how he is in person. Isn’t he the best?!
Coconut flour seems to be all the rage these days and for good reason. It’s a flour that is made from fresh coconut meat and ground into a fine flour. It’s incredibly high in dietary fiber, more than any other flour in fact. It’s also gluten free, low in carbohydrate, which in combination with the high fiber content assists with keeping your blood sugar stable and the increased feeling of satiety.
I’ve been on quite the oatmeal kick these days but had a dream one night of light and fluffy blueberry pancakes (thank you pregnancy brain) and when I awoke the next day, I had to have some. Now as much as I would love to drive to my local Ihop for a fat stack of pancakes but take a look at what it’ll set me back as far as nutritional content:
Directly from Ihops website for Blueberry Pancakes for a stack of 4
Calories from Fat 150
Total Fat (g) 17
Saturated Fat (g) 5
Trans Fat (g) 1
Cholesterol (mg) 80
Sodium (mg) 2110
Carbohydrate (g) 118
Fiber (g) 8
Sugar (g) 37
Protein (g) 18
Talk about spiked blood sugar and needing a nap afterward. No thanks! Not to mention you’ll probably be hungry an hour later. So here are the ingredients you’ll need for delicious coconut flour blueberry pancakes:
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup milk of your choice (I used my flax milk)
2 large eggs
1/2 tablespoon of honey or maple syrup
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
Blueberries are not currently in season so I used 3 tablespoons of frozen blueberries.
Place your pan or griddle on a medium low heat and spray with a generous amount of a non stick cooking spray.
In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients first and mix. To the dry ingredients add the wet (milk, eggs, honey, & vanilla) and whisk until all of the lumps in the batter are gone. Now mix in your blueberries and stir gently.
I use a large spoon and take about 2 tablespoons of the batter to create large medallion sized pancakes. Allow to cook for about 1-2 minutes on each side or until cooked all the way through the middle.
This will yield about 8 pancakes! Perfect for a single serve size or for your kiddos however this recipe can easily be doubled or tripled!
I topped my pancakes with full fat Greek yogurt (plain) that I sweetened with about 3/4 of a tablespoon of maple syrup and topped it with crushed walnuts for some brain boosting omega-3’s. Top yours however you’d like or even switch up your fruit and use diced apples, strawberries or raspberries. I even made these for my nephews when they were visiting and they totally loved them. Bon apetit!!!
1 Serving = the entire stack of medallions (does not include toppings)
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat 15 g
Saturated Fat 7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4 g
Monounsaturated Fat 3 g
Cholesterol 372 mg
Sodium 557 mg
Potassium 162 mg
Total Carbohydrate 22 g
Dietary Fiber 11 g
Sugars 6 g
Protein 17 g
Last week, Coach Kozak and I were thrilled to find out we’re expecting a baby girl….thrilled yet completely scared out of our minds! I know what I was like as a little girl which scares me the most and for Coach Kozak, he just has no experience or knowledge on the subject so is just baffled at the idea of a baby girl. I joke with Coach Kozak that this will be him….
Anyway, we’re excited and can’t wait to meet her! So, what’s life been like for me up to this point as a pregnant woman? Better than expected thus far I must say. I’m getting bigger but still fitting in most clothes although I have recently purchased maternity pants from H&M which I love, I just wish they’d make their skinny jeans for lady’s with quads. I will also probably need to invest in some new workout pants and tops as they’re definitely more snug. I have pregnancy boobs from hell that require a size larger shirt. Pretty soon, I’ll be raiding Coach’s side of the closet!
I’m up 9 pounds and have maintained a 4-5 day a week workout schedule. As we all know because of HASfit that YouTube is an amazing source from free full length workout routines. I’m still doing some HASfit routines but of course modifying them as necessary. I only do standing abs and planks now, I will still do chest flys but only on an exercise ball and I take breaks during routines if I need to. Some of my favorite HASfit and non HASfit YouTube workouts are:
7 Minute Plank Workout – modifications: opposite leg & arm raise is done from my knees, knee tuck jumps are done as knee to elbows from a high plank position.
Home Body Weight Workout Modifications: Opposite elbow to knee extensions are done as Bird Dog Exercise (same movement as Coach K but from the knees)
15 Minute Inferno Fat Burning Routine Modifications: 30-45 second rest between rounds!
Ultimate 10 Minute Cardio Modifications: Rest when need and windshield wipers are performed as standing opposite knee to elbow touches.
20 Minute Weight Training at Home Modifications: Dumbbell Floor Fly + Iso Leg Raise performed as 12 push ups (from knees)
3 Rounds of Beach Body Circuit Routine Modifications: DB Chest Press performed as push ups
Those are 10 of my favorite exercises that I’m performing right now and also when weather permits, I enjoy my 3 mile walk at a brisk pace or sometimes I walk/jog my 3 miles alternating every half mile. Finish it off with a nice strectch or the 25 minute yoga routine.
I’m still remaining as physically active as possible which is very important during pregnancy. If it’s good for the mama then it’s good for the baby. I’ll be addressing my diet and what I’m eating in a separate blog post!
Who does not love Lasagna?? I for one love it and have really fond memories of my mom making it as a little girl. The noodles, the cheese, the BEEF! Now let’s be real with one another, we all normally have more than one slice and load up on the cheese so we generally don’t think of lasagna as being healthy. This recipe I have for you is lightened up, packed with protein, and even has veggies in it! This is perfect after a busy day because from start to finish it is only 30 minutes to prepare.
We’ll be using ground lean turkey breast to bring down some of the fat and calories as well as adding in some super nutritious kale and squash. Who doesn’t love the opportunity to sneak in some greens? I even made this for my visiting nephews once and they gobbled it up. Best part is, no need to get the oven involved as this is a one skillet meal except for the fact that you’ll just need to boil the lasagna noodles in a separate pot. Ok, so technically it’s 2 but who cares, it’s fantastically delicious.
Here is what you’ll need for your protein packed turkey lasagna (choose organic when possible):
1 lb lean ground turkey
7 lasagna noodles (about 1/2 a box)
1 jar of low sodium pasta sauce
1 cup chopped kale
1/3 cup small chopped zucchini
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup finely shredded Italian cheese blend
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried parsley
pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
Preparation: Start by boiling your lasagna noodles according to package instructions. To prevent over cooking, reduce cooking time by about 2 minutes. These are the noodles I used….
While the noodles are cooking, heat a skillet over medium heat and add oil to coat the bottom of the pan, I always use coconut oil but any healthful oil will work. Add the turkey to the hot skillet and cook until browned. Once the turkey is browned, add in the basil, parsley, red pepper flakes and combine.
To the seasoned and browned turkey, add the entire jar of pasta sauce to the skillet. Add a bit of water if the turkey and sauce is thick just to thin it out a little bit.
Allow the sauce and turkey to simmer for about 2 minutes on a medium/low heat and add in the chopped kale and zucchini. Continue simmering for an additional 5 minutes to allow the kale and zucchini to soften.
After the veggies have softened and the kale has wilted, add in the cottage cheese and grated Parmesan cheese and mix in completely to the turkey. While that simmers away, drain your cooked noodles and chop each lasagna piece into 1/4’s like so….
Once cut into pieces, add the noodles to the top of the turkey sauce…
Last step before you’re done, fold in the noodles gently to the turkey sauce and top with finely shredded Italian blend cheese or any cheese of your choice.
Next, serve it up and devour! I paired our skillet lasagna with a fresh cucumber and tomato salad with balsamic vinegar and a bit of olive oil but a great big green salad works just as well. You can never consume too many veggies. :)
I totally love this recipe because it comes in at less than 400 calories per serving and each of those servings boasts 27 grams of lean muscle building protein. It’s even better the next day so pack it up for lunch. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as the Kozaks do.
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat 7g
Saturated Fat 2.4 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.2 g
Total Carbohydrate 39g
Dietary Fiber 3g
Alright so to speak truthfully and if you follow me on Instagram, you know I enjoy a daily almond butter (open faced) sandwich. Well last night (at 10pm) I was out of my Ezekiel bread and had nothing to spread my almond butter on, CRISIS! What I did have was 2 ripe bananas and I decided to whip up a quick batch of cookies. Because I ran out of space on my baking sheet, I took the leftover batter and made mini muffins.
Since they came out really, really good, here I am sharing the recipe with all you fit foodies. These cookies or muffins are low glycemic, sugar free, and full of nutrients.
Here is what you’ll need for your nutritious banana chocolate chip cookies:
1 cup sprouted wheat flour (whole wheat or all purpose gluten free works as well)
1/4 cup ground flax
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life mini chips)
Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
2 medium sized ripe bananas
2 tbsp milk of choice
1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 350 degress.
Mix all of your dry ingredients together and set aside. In a separate bowl, mash your ripe bananas until most of the lumps are gone. *Ripe bananas are IMPORTANT as this is a sugar free recipe and all the sugar will come from the bananas.*
Next, melt the coconut oil over a double boiler or microwave and whisk into the mashed banana. Add the egg, mix in the vanilla, and lastly the milk.
Once the wet ingredients are combined, add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in thirds. Try not to over mix the batter as this can lead to dense cookies! If the batter seems too dry, feel free to add in a few more splashes of milk. Fold the chocolate chips into the batter.
Bake for 10-12 minutes for super moist cookies or mini muffins!
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat 4g
Saturated Fat 2.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.6 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.3 g
Total Carbohydrate 12g
Dietary Fiber 2g
I’ve had a few requests on social media outlets in regards to my exercise routines since becoming pregnant. Had I toned down my intensity? Which exercises am I doing or not doing? So to clear things up, I thought I’d do a quick blog post just to let you all know what my routines look like now that I’m 15 weeks along in this pregnancy. I’m still doing most of what I did before but I now listen to my body and take a break when I need to. I DO NOT push myself to the max like I may have done before.
So last week was a pretty busy one yet I still managed to workout 5 days last week. That’s a record for me because since finding out I’m with child, my energy levels have tanked! Not to mention, my stamina has also taken a major hit. My 3 mile runs have turned into walk/jogs and even sometimes just a brisk walk. Also, since I’m now in my second trimester, I also refrain from doing any ab exercises on my back. Without further ado, here’s how last week’s workouts shaped up:
SUNDAY: REST DAY
MONDAY: 20 Minute Home Weight Training routine followed by 3 mile walk/jog alternating every .50 mile. For the weight training, I alternated between 5lb and 8lb dumbbells.
Modifications: High plank reverse fly was done from my knees/Claw crunch I just did a plank for the 12 count/Chest fly + crunch was just a chest fly (no crunch)
TUESDAY: 3 mi brisk walk
THURSDAY: Body Rock Baby/Week 5 and 10 Minute Trainer Workout 3 of 3 I used 8lb dumbbells for both routines
FRIDAY: 25 Minute Ignition HIIT Workout – Bodyweight and Tabata rolled into one, I love this routine!
Modifications: Push ups from knees/reverse crunch was turned into planks/arm haulers were done as high planks rows/sit ups were done as side planks 2 sets each side/ the 2 minutes of leg raises were turned into mountain climbers with high plank hold.
SATURDAY: REST DAY
Keeping up with a daily exercise routine is a non-negotiable for me. I want to be able to have a smooth pregnancy, delivery and bounce back as soon as I can postpartum. In addition to my routine, I’m also ensuring that I’m eating at least 2200 high quality calories a day for my growing baby. I stick to whole foods just like before and I will allow myself a couple of “cheats” along the way but for me it’s all about portion sizes. :-)
Mexican food is a big favorite of mine and these days it’s reserved for more of a cheat meal than an every other day thing. Over the past few months I’ve experimented enough to make healthier versions of some of my Tex-Mex favorites. For dinner one evening I was craving shredded chicken tacos! I’d seen my grandma make this a hand full of times and figured I could play with some spices and see how it goes. Now this recipe has been experimented on a few times already and I’ve found this to be too delicious not to share. Here’s what you’ll need:
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 8oz can of tomato sauce
1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1 large clove of garlic (minced)
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 small onion chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp honey or coconut sugar
salt and pepper to taste
Preparation: In a bowl, combine the tomato sauce, ACV, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, sugar, salt and pepper. Mix until all of the ingredients are well combined.
In a large skillet, bring 1 tablespoon of coconut oil to a medium-high heat and add the chopped onions. Cook the onions until fragrant and until they begin to soften, about 4-5 minutes.
Next, add the two chicken breasts in a single layer to the skillet and cook on each side for 3-4 minutes depending on the thickness. Add the the tomato sauce mixture to the skillet and bring it to a rapid boil. Cover the pan, lower the heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked.
After the 20 minutes, transfer the chicken breasts to a plate and shred using a fork. Once shred to your liking, transfer the chicken back to the sauce allowing the chicken to soak up the sauce for the next 5 minutes or so.
Serve the chicken in tacos, make a quesadilla, or even a burrito bowl! I topped my tacos with homemade guacamole, plain Greek yogurt, chopped spinach, and a sprinkle of cheese. Then devour!
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat 1 g
Saturated Fat 0.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.1 g
Total Carbohydrate 6 g
Dietary Fiber 2 g
Sugars 4 g
Protein 23 g
So we’ve recently broke news on our personal social media sites that we are expecting our very first baby! We of course waited the full 12 weeks to spill the beans however we did let close family and friends know ahead of time but we waited as long as we could until we were in the safe zone. I’m currently 14 weeks plus a few days and I’m feeling like a normal person again aside from the headaches I’ve been getting lately. This explains why I’ve been MIA on blog posts and videos because I just could not stand the smell of food cooking….especially meats!
Now as a DISCLAIMER I will start by saying any advice I may shell out is merely what’s worked for me and it’s ALWAYS recommended that you speak with your doctor first.
Coach Kozak and I discussed starting a family after our vacation in July and I began taking a prenatal soon after to start prepping my body. Here’s the prenatal I use and I purchase them online because they’re cheaper:
I continued my workout routine as normal which consisted of my usual HIIT, running, weight lifting, yoga, TRX, etc. My eating of 85% clean and 15% “Treat yo Self” remained the same as well. Before I knew it I was pregnant by September!
I found out I was pregnant the day I visited a local TV station to promote Women’s Health Run 10 Feed 10. This is me hours before my life would be altered FOREVER. :)
The typical pregnancy symptoms did not start for at least another 2-3 weeks when I was about 7 weeks pregnant. All in all I say I had it pretty easy as compared to most women who experience vomiting, extreme nausea, and extreme fatigue. I didn’t throw up once! Here’s what I did have: afternoon sickness, fatigue (low energy), bouts of nausea that came in waves, shortness of breath, extremely tender breasts, food aversions to meat, and bloating.
I would feel good in the morning and I’ve have a healthful breakfast of eggs or oatmeal, lunch time I’d feel ok and have a salad with a protein and some crackers but once 2 or 3 o’clock hit…I was DONE. I’m pretty sure I didn’t cook dinner for about 2 months and Coach Kozak would have to fend for himself (us). Some days my dinner was simply Nut Thin Almond Crackers, hummus, and baby carrots. On days I was feeling better I’d send Coach off to Whole Foods to get me Chicken Noodle Soup from their hot bar. On days I was feeling REALLY good I’d eat pizza! For some particular reason, all my body wanted was carbs, carbs, and more carbs in the first trimester but I’d always choose complex and not simple carbs. One night I had enough energy to go to Whole Foods on my own and this is what my cart looked like. Chips, pizza, salsa, soda, dips, I mean….who was I?!
For SHAME! I would come home and put on my own toppings such as mushrooms, onion, pepperoni, and bell pepper. We even had pizza twice in one week as it was literally all I could stomach. Even though my eating was not as on point as before, I always tried to bargain with myself. For instance, I could only eat pizza for dinner if I worked out or I could eat a drive-thru hamburger if I only got the kids sized burger, came home and used my sprouted grain buns and pass on the fries. I would only get fries if I was eating them for lunch and coupled that with a workout later in the day. While I never condone eating fast food, try telling a very pregnant lady she can’t have something….I DARE YOU! PS, it was not McDonald’s but rather a local chain that uses real beef.
I also lived on yogurt smoothies for lunch which is also how I would get my greens. I liked to add spinach or even a shot of wheat grass. Notice that most prenatals will not provide you with your recommended daily value of calcium which is important for both baby and mother as baby will take what it needs from mom regardless of how much you take in which could spell issues for mom years down the road. If you need to take a calcium supplement please do so. I aim to take in a serving of Greek yogurt and 2-3 glasses of flax or hemp milk a day to help me make my calcium goals.
How did I know if I made my goal you ask? My MyFitnessPal app. I’m not keeping a food diary to count calories, I’m using it to make sure that I’m meeting my protein and vitamin daily goals such as iron, vitamin C, and calcium. While staying within your calorie maintenance needs while pregnant is vital for gaining a healthy amount of weight, it’s also equally important of the quality of the calories you’re taking in. 120 calories in a can of Coca-Cola is not the same as 120 calories of organic Greek yogurt. Always choose quality over quantity while pregnant and even when not. It’s stated that in the 2nd and 3rd trimester your calorie needs only increase by 300 so don’t use that as an excuse to go crazy on the oreos. If I crave sweets, I make my own!
Now the important topic, EXERCISE. Pre pregnancy, I was working out 5 times a week. In the thick of my first trimester fog it dipped as low as 2 workouts a week. The workouts I do are exactly the same as what I did before. Ladies, as long as your body is used to exercise before pregnancy there is NO reason to stop once you find out you are. The only recommendation my doctor gave me was to scale back on my weight about 30% and to listen to my body. If I needed to slow down and take a breather, do it and don’t push yourself to the max. I ran a 10K the day after I found out I was with child but I did that because my body is used to running.
While I will blog about my pregnancy and what exercises I’m doing, I won’t be doing any exercise videos as that would be a regurgitation of tons of exercises and videos that are already out there. For this particular subject I’ve relied on Bodybuilding.com especially this particular post and even Pinterest which is how I came across Bodyrock Baby because I just can’t live without my HIIT and The Brewer Pregnancy Diet of which if you’re used to eating properly should not be much of a change for you. I’m still doing HASfit videos but I’m preparing myself for more pregnancy friendly routines because Coach Kozak’s intense workouts may began to feel like too much as my pregnancy progresses. In short, determine what fitness level you’re on and seek out routines that work best for your level. My body may be able to handle more intense workouts that what you’re used to doing therefore it’s good for you to find something that challenges you at your comfort level.
I’ll leave you with this, pregnancy is overwhelming physically, mentally, and financially regardless of how prepared you think you really are. There are so many do’s and don’ts but of all my recommendations, this book really helped me put a real unbiased and researched backed approach to my pregnancy, Expecting Better by Emily Oster. I also watched the documentary The Business of Being Born on YouTube and even their follow up series on Netflix.
There is SO much information out there and after researching and reading so much during my first trimester I’ve realized there is a lot of outdated information. You’ll be bombarded with unsolicited advice from all sides! Read, educate yourself, and make the decisions that are best for both you and baby. For those of you pregnant like me, I wish you a happy and healthy pregnancy. Those of you planning a baby in the future, good luck and may you start prepping your body the healthy and natural way.
Rolled oats are a food that I always have available in my kitchen. I bake with them, add it to smoothies, and most often eat a bowl for a hearty fiber packed breakfast. Oats have a trace amount of gluten which is caused mostly by cross contamination with wheat either out in the field or during packaging if processed in a facility that also handles wheat, barley, and rye. You can however, like myself, purchase gluten free oats. I buy mine at Trader Joe’s but I’ve also seen them at my regular grocery store. Rolled Oats are fantastic for a myriad of reasons as evidenced below and I encourage you to experiment with flavors and add-ins and you’ll become a lover of oats just like me!
Now, because I exercise often and to up the nutrition profile of my morning bowl of oats, I add in some protein. Oats naturally have 5g of protein per 1/2 cup but I up the ante and this is completely optional. I’m going to go through my morning routine and show you how I make my protein rolled oats on the stove in less than 5 minutes. Now this is my “recipe” so to speak but you can add whatever you want!
I heat my stove to a medium high and in a saucepan add 1/2 a cup of rolled oats along with 1 cup of liquid, I use 1/2 cup water with 1/2 cup (flax) milk. Next I add my add-ins, so here is 1/2 of a scoop of vanilla protein powder, 1/2 tbsp of chia seeds, 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp of pure vanilla extract.
**Note: if using a full scoop of protein, add about 1/4 cup of additional liquid to prevent it from becoming too thick! Unless that is, you like it that way.
Once you put in your ingredients, stir, stir, stir until everything is well combined.
If you need or prefer a bit more sweetness feel free to throw in a bit of stevia or maple syrup. After about 2 minutes or so your oats may be bubbling a bit however don’t bring it to a full boil. I allow mine to come to a low boil for about 2 minutes before removing it from the heat.
Once bubbling for about 2-3 minutes, remove your oats from the heat and pour into a bowl. Because I used chia seeds, the seeds have expanded and have absorbed some of the liquid.
Now comes the fun part! Add whatever you want on top of your oats. I added 1/2 of a banana that I’ve sliced, 1/2 of tablespoon of almond butter, chopped walnuts, about a tablespoon of hemp seeds, and a sprinkling of shredded coconut. Breakfast full of fiber, protein, and healthy fats is served! Talk about staying energized through the morning.
Nutrition Facts for photographed oatmeal to include add-ins!
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat 15 g
Saturated Fat 2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3 g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.5 g
Total Carbohydrate 43 g
Dietary Fiber 9 g
Sugars 6 g
Protein 19 g
For some particular reason lately I’ve really been craving chicken. I’m not sure about you but I’ll go through periods where chicken grosses me out and I won’t touch it however lately…I want it everyday.
Although it’s pricier, I now only purchase organic chicken and I’ll tell you a little story about why. During wedding planning last year I was busy and relied on those ready made rotisserie chickens at the store to feed Coach Kozak because he eats like a teenage boy. While picking at the last of the chicken, he flipped over the mostly eaten bird and discovered to his disgust a third wing. Yes, a THIRD WING! While some people may see that as a total bonus, lol, Coach was on the verge of vomiting.
Mass production of chicken plus the demand for bigger and meatier birds, you get birds pumped with steroids, growth hormones, not to mention antibiotics because they’re prone to more illnesses because of their close quarters. No thank you! Since then, it’s been organic free range chickens all the way.
Anyhow, back to my recipe, it’s no surprise that I like a little spice in my life as I know I’ve mentioned it in previous posts. I knew I wanted a spice rubbed chicken and decided on cayenne with a little avocado salsa right on top! Here’s what you’ll need for your fast and healthy chicken dinner recipe:
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts (buy organic when possible)
2 medium sized avocados
1/2 cup salsa of your choice
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp Himalayan pink salt
1/4 tsp pepper
cilantro to garnish
Preparation: Start by trimming away all the fat from your chicken breasts. In a bowl, combine the cayenne, chili powder, garlic, salt and pepper to make your rub. Now rub the spices on both sides of chicken breasts until all pieces are coated.
Place a skillet on medium high heat and add the coconut oil in the pan and allow it to melt. Once the skillet is hot, add the chicken to the pan and cook on each side for 8-10 minutes depending on the thickness of your chicken breasts.
While that’s cooking, half and dice your avocado and place it in a bowl. Add in the salsa and fold the ingredients together gently so the avocado doesn’t get mushy. *If you don’t have salsa, you can always dice onion and squeeze lime juice on top of your diced avocado and add salt and pepper to taste.*
You know your chicken is done when poked with a fork and the juices run clear. I plated my chicken on a bed of leftover quinoa I had in my fridge and top it with your avocado salsa mixture. Garnish your lovely plate with chopped cilantro and your dinner is done. Buen Provecho!