These Gluten-Free Vegan Gingerbread Cookies are chewy on top and crisp on the bottom. They are nice and sweet, and not overly spicy.
Servings Per Recipe: 12
Amount Per Serving: 2 cookies
85 calories; .8 g fat; 19.5 g carbs; 1.7 g; 1.5 g protein
10-12 dates (pitted)
2 Tbsp. molasses
3 Tbsp. agave nectar
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. oat flour
Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare cookie sheet with a little nonstick cooking spray.
Put pitted dates into for processor and pulse them into a paste. (You can also do this by hand using a fork.)
Add molasses and agave nectar to the date paste. Combine well.
Add pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt, and once these are well combined add in the oat flour.
Scoop by rounded teaspoonful onto the baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Roll into balls, then flatten by pressing two or three fingers flat into the top of each. Make sure to wet your fingers a little bit so they don’t stick to the dough!
Bake for about 5 minutes, and let cool. (Makes 24 cookies; 2 per serving for nutrition info.)
Before this recipe I didn’t know that 99% lean turkey could actually taste this good, and I’ve been eating it for a while now. It’s kind of insanely good. I made it once as a whole meatloaf, but mini meatloaves are way easier for meal planning because they are already portioned so nicely.
They are low-carb, low-sugar, low-fat, and high-protein. And perfect with a side of baked sweet potatoes :)
1 tsp. olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
4 sprigs of fresh thyme (leaves only; you can also use dry thyme)
3 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup water
1 vegetable bullion
2 tsp. tomato paste
20 oz. 100% lean ground turkey breast
2 slices sprouted grain bread (I love Ezekiel sesame!)
2 Tbsp. ketchup
2 Tbsp. water
2 tsp. brown sugar
Preheat oven to 325F.
Put the olive oil, onion, and thyme in a small frying pan and heat on medium until the onions start to get translucent.
Combine Worcestershire sauce, bullion, water, and tomato paste, then add to onion mixture. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring, then remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
While that is cooling, prepare your ezekiel bread by toasting it lightly, and putting into the food processor to create thick bread brumbs. If you don’t have a food processor, tear the lightly toasted bread into large pieces and then give it a rough chop.
Put the exzekiel breadcrumbs in a large bowl, then add turkey, eggs, and about 80% of the onion mixture (the rest is for the sauce!), and combine well.
Spritz a muffin tin with cooking spray, then drop turkey into tins in even portions. I make 8 mini meatloaves with this recipe, but you can make more or fewer. Simply adjust the cooking time accordingly.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes. While that is cooking, add the ketchup, water, and brown sugar to the remaining onion mixture and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it starts to thicken.
Take the mini meatloaves out of the oven, and spread a little bit of sauce onto each. Put them back in the oven and bake for another 20-30 minutes, or until turkey is cooked all the way through.
Nutrition: Each mini meatloaf has 120 calories; 1.7g fat; 8g carbs; 1g fiber; 3g sugar; 18g protein.
I’m not exactly looking for a transformation, but I do have a new training and nutrition plan that’s pretty aggressive. As I’m rounding to corner of Week One, and getting started on Week Two, I’ve collected a couple of tips for making it through the first week and setting yourself up for a successful second.
Making it Through the First Week
Plan ahead and prepare. Of course this includes meal prep, but it also includes preparing for obstacles before they turn into challenges. Think about the things that could potentially throw you off – dinner plans, an early appointment before work – and figure out how you can stick to plan even with all of these things going on. This kind of planning can help you avoid challenges and excuses.
Take off some weight, not the whole day. Getting into a new rigorous training plan is physically challenging, and when combined with the psychological challenge of sticking to plan? It’s a little overwhelming. So help yourself out a little bit while you’re getting into the habit of your new routine. Make sure that you stick to plan, every day, even if you need to use lighter weights, just do a single rep, or walk half of the distance you were supposed to run. I mean, I’m all about pushing myself, but if it means that I will be in so much pain that tomorrow I have an excuse not to work out? Bad news. Push yourself to do everything, but take it easy if you have to. Trust me, it is much better for you (physically and psychologically) than sitting it out.
Track everything. This will give you the ability to constantly reflect on just how much you’ve been working toward your goals. And you don’t have to reflect now, but at some point you will want to. It is also useful in evaluating what was working for you and what wasn’t. I track everything – my training, my nutrition, the way I feel – and it not only helps me get through the week, but helps me plan for the next.
Visualize. Visualize. VISUALIZE. How will you feel when you’ve successfully complete the week? Read on. It may help.
Feeling Successful going into Week Two
Start the week fresh. I guess technically this is something you need to deal with while still in week one. Think about how the last days of week one can help you get into next week with a clear head and physical readiness. It might mean going a little easier at the gym (whoops! you saved the hardest workout for last), or eating that damn piece of chocolate that has been calling your name.
But don’t go crazy!
Doing what you need to do to start the week fresh is much different than overindulging or skipping a workout. Plus… you’ll have to answer to number 3:
Assess your progress at the start of week two. For some people it is weighing yourself, and for others it might be photographs or measuring. Avoid the temptation to do this too early. Sometimes seeing amazing progress on day 6 can lead to overindulging on day 7 (especially if day 7 happens to fall on a weekend). So make sure to wait until you feel ready to dive back into another week.
Use tracking to inform planning. Did you like doing cardio in the morning? Maybe it will be better at night. Did you like taking Saturday as a rest day? Maybe you would do better with a rest day mid-week. How about those asparagus and egg white omelets? Maybe something different for breakfast this week. And just like that… your plan is better for you.
So those are my tips! Anyone else out there have one to share?!? I am always looking for more….
I summarized it in an earlier post, but I wanted to go into more detail on each of the workouts. So here is Day One of Strength Training: Full Body Workout with Warmup, Cardio, and Kettlebell Circuit.
A. Foam Roll
I start by rolling out on the foam roller. I start with my glutes, then the IT band and quad on each leg. And then I move to the hamstring and calf muscle on each leg. Here is a great foam roll exercise guide on bodybuilding.com.
B. Corrective Exercises
The corrective exercises I do are to help with my hyperlordosis, or an excess arch in my lower back. I do 2-3 sets of about 10 reps each:
Contralateral Deadbugs (Learn more here on prehabexercises.com)
Forward Ball Rollout (Learn more here on womensrunning.competitor.com)
C. Strength Circuit – Kettlebell Circuit
My trainer has me doing the circuit 3-4 times, 6-8 reps per set, and two minutes of rest in between each complete circuit.
Single Leg Dead Lifts (Learn more here on runnerista.com)
I considered everything in my kitchen fair game when I was pulling together these Bread Pudding Protein Muffins. I had most of my ingredients ready when I spotted the Ezekiel Cinnamon Raisin Bread out of the corner of my eye, and the recipe took a whole new twist.
I started making Ezekial Breadcrumbs to help my lentil quinoa burger recipe, and I haven’t really stopped using them in recipes since.
Bread Pudding Protein Muffins (Fewer than 5 g of sugar!)
Nutrition: Each muffin has 86 calories, 1g fat, 14g carbs, 4g sugar, 2g fiber, 5g protein. (Recipe makes 10 muffins)
1 tbsp corn starch
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/3 cup (40g) oat flour, or 1/2 cup rolled oats ground to a powder in a food processor or coffee grinder
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 serving vanilla protein powder
1/2 cup almond milk
3 servings liquid egg whites (9 Tbsp., or just over a half cup)
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
2 slices Ezekiel Cinnamon Raisin Bread toasted, and made into large bread crumbs. You can do this in a food processor, or even by hand. (They should be just a bit larger than panko breadcrumbs, and probably a bit more moist.)
Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare muffin pan by lining 10 cups and spritzing with cooking spray.
Combine corn starch, oat flour, oats, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl and set aside.
Combine banana, protein powder, almond milk, egg whites, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt in a blender until thick and creamy.
Pour blender mixture into bowl with dry ingredients, and immediately add cinnamon raisin ezekial breadcrumbs and combine.
One of the voices in my head is saying “duh” while the other one is saying “well if it is so obvious then why did you only go to the gym once last week? And what about the week before that?”
When it comes to workout motivation, sometimes finding it in yourself to go to the gym is a problem. But (ahhhhh!) it’s also the solution.
Yes, I have two voices in my head. And sometimes they can’t agree on anything until I get my butt moving on the treadmill. So until I get there, sometimes I have to help the fit, smiley one tell the lazy, doubtful one to get lost. But how?
Always have an answer to everything. I mean, I know what the negative voice is going to say. And I’m not even talking about excuses. I’m talking about the negative thoughts that make me feel… well… bad enough to want to sit it out.
My new training program started this week, and it felt like a daily struggle to stick to plan, but I did it. And it’s because I was committed to convincing the negative voice that we’re on the same team.
Three negative thoughts, and how I kept them quiet long enough to go to the gym:
“I can’t even look at myself in spandex, how can I jump around and sweat in front of other people like this?”
There are a couple answers here, but how about, “do you really think anyone notices, or even cares that much?” Just go. No one is as observant or critical of yourself as you are. And if you need to, then pick a quiet area to warmup until you realize that unless you get out there, you’re not going to look or feel any better.
“I feel fat.”
The correct response? “You’re not going to feel any skinnier going home and sitting on the couch.” Next…
“I just feel so out of shape right now, and I’ll just feel bad about that if I go to the gym and can’t perform like I used to.”
Ask yourself this, “how did you get to that level of performance in the first place?” I remember when I couldn’t run a mile, and when I couldn’t do a pushup. It may sting a little to feel like you’ve regressed, but as soon as you see progression, even if you are starting a little bit behind, you will feel so good. I promise.
But want to know the secret? Any of those negative voices can be quieted with any of those responses. And this one is universal:
If you really aren’t satisfied, then do something about it.
It might be hard – for a week, two weeks, maybe even a month – but eventually the negative voice gets on board with the positive one, and it’s up to me to keep them on the same team. Once I accept that responsibility, things seem to get a whole lot easier.
Bottom line: get your butt to the gym today, and you’ll probably find yourself there tomorrow.
This week I start my new training program. I’ve got a seven day workout plan from my trainer, and of course I’m full of enthusiasm looking forward to it. We’ll see how I feel on Tuesday or Wednesday.
I’ve been working with a trainer for almost a year now, and it was one of the best investments I’ve ever made. I’ve seen progress in my fitness level, changed my body composition, and learned so much. And it keeps me committed to the gym even on the days when I feel like a lazy mess.
We talked about committing to the training program for twelve weeks, but right now I’m focused on getting through the first seven days. I’m planning to couple it with a seven day meal plan so that I can see the best results.
The program includes four days of strength training, a day of active recovery, and two days off: