Category Archives: Kitchen Adventures

Snacking Doesn’t Have To Be Boring! #SeasonEatings

Hi friends!

How have you been?!

There is sooo much happening in our household! Sofia is growing so fast and I’m full of conflicting emotions: I want to see her grow but at the same time I just want to stay in this moment.

It was a big month for us with Sofia’s baptism.

Sofia's Baptism

She also just turned 4 months old.

IMG_7538 edit

Since I’m breastfeeding exclusively, it does take a lot of energy. It doesn’t come as a surprise that I find myself looking in the fridge for a snack more often then usual. However, just like during pregnancy, I want to make sure to opt for healthier options. First of all, everything I eat gets passed on to my baby girl. And with the holidays just around the corner, I want to look my absolute best! *Is it too much to ask for? Haha!*

These past couple of weeks I was experimenting with healthy snacks that not only satisfy my sweet pre-holiday cravings, but also provide me and my baby with nutrients.

Probably one of the best recipes I came across is these No Bake Peanut Butter Bites. They are super delicious and fast & easy to make.

no bake peanut butter bites

First, soak 1 cup of raisins in warm water for 10 minutes. Then, add 2/3 cups of oats, 2 tbs peanut butter, 1 tbs chia seeds and 1/4 cup chocolate chips. Blend together until well mixed. Make 1 inch balls and put in fridge to set for 15 minutes. *Try not to eat them all at once because it’s not snacking at that point, more like pigging out. Haha!*

Another scrumptious snack I made recently is these Chocolate & Peanut Butter Chickpea Cookie Bars. They definitely take a little longer to make, but they are definitely worth it.

Chocolate & PB Chickpea cookie bars.jpg

While preheating the oven to 350 F, rinse and dry 2 cups of chickpeas. In a blender, mix chickpeas, 3/4 cups of maple syrup, 2 tsp vanilla, 1 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp baking soda until smooth. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and poor batter into it. Lightly press 1/4 cup of dark chocolate chips. Bake for at least 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes and then transfer to a rack for another 30 minutes to set. Cut in bars or squares and enjoy!

If you don’t have time or desire to make anything, you can always resort to the following ideas:

  1. Fresh fruits: I personally love snacking on apple slices with peanut butter!
  2. Vegetables: how about a few slices of tomato sprinkled with feta cheese and olive oil or baby carrots & celery with tangy hummus?
  3. Nuts: toss together your favorite trail mix and pre-measure it in serving sized ziplocks.
    By the way, if you are not aware, Nuts.com  has entire page dedicated to various healthy snack ideas.
    nuts_holiday_v02.jpg
  4. Holiday flavored teas to satisfy sweet tooth: I’m addicted to David’s teas! Check out a set I bought for myself this week. I have tried mulled wine, hot chocolate and Alpine punch flavors and I’m in love!
    12 teas of christmas
  5. It’s not really a snack, but try fooling your stomach by lighting some candles at home. At the moment, I’m in love with Vanilla Snow Flake from Bath & Body works. *I bought it last year, so I’m not sure if they still have it to be honest with you.*

IMG_7206 edit.jpg

What are your favorite holiday snacks? Please, do share, it’s always fun to try something new!

xoxo
Olena

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Health, Holidays, Kitchen Adventures, Running, Weight Loss

Hydration In Summer: Making It Fun & Tasty With These 4 Flavored Water Recipes

Hydration is important. *Duh!* You don’t need to have a high IQ to know that, even little kids know it!

i'm thirsty

Source

Now that summer is almost here and the days are getting hotter, it is very important to stay properly hydrated. It wouldn’t come as a surprise that we lose a lot of water, especially during a high intensity workout. Not only dehydration can have a considerable impact on the level of performance, it could pose danger to your health such as heat strokes, cramps and exhaustion.

According to Stop Sports Injuries, the following are some of the symptoms of heat illness:

  • chills,
  • dark colored urine,
  • dizziness,
  • dry mouth,
  • headaches,
  • thirst,
  • weakness

Ladies, I know what you are all thinking! Of course, I am aware, we never sweat. *Wink, wink* 

a lady doesn't sweat

Source

If you find difficulty drinking more water throughout the day, make sure to read one of my previous posts, Hydration 101, for more tips.

Today, I’d like to talk about hydration in a more pleasant and tasteful light! *It is indeed possible!* All it takes is a little bit of creativity, and maybe just a few minutes of your precious time. *Pinky swear!* 

Recently, I came across four fun infused water recipes on Greatist. They seem super fun, and I can’t wait to share them with you. You’ll need a 1L water bottle, water, wooden spoon and an optional sweetener of your choice *be careful not to needlessly overdo on sugar*.

Minty Cucumber Lime

Minty cucumber lime water

Source

1/2 cucumber, sliced
1/2 lime, sliced
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves 

Strawberry-Lemon with Basil

Strawberry-Lemon Basil Water

Source

1/2 cup sliced strawberries
1/2 a lemon, sliced
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves

Watermelon Mint Water

Watermelon mint water

Source

1 cup cubed watermelon
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves

Pineapple-Orange with Ginger

Pineapple-Orange Ginger water

Source

1/2 cup cubed pineapple
1/2 an orange, sliced
1 tablespoon freshly-grated ginger

Directions from Greatist:

  1. Choose which recipe you’re making — or come up with your own combination — and gather all of the ingredients.
  2. Place the fruit, herbs, and/or spices in the bottom of one of the glass jars, and muddle with a wooden spoon. *That basically means mash up the fruit in the bottom of the jar to release some of the flavor-filled juices.*
  3. Fill the jar with water and give it a taste. *You can also fill the jar with seltzer water for a fizzy treat.* If you’d like something a bit sweeter, try adding some agave (and mix until dissolved).
  4. Enjoy as-is or refrigerate overnight for maximum flavor.

do it for you

Source

What is your favorite way to drink water to change it up?

xoxo
Olena

25 Comments

Filed under Fitness, Health, Kitchen Adventures, Motivation

Nuts For Health? The Ultimate Guide To Nuts & Bourbon On The Rocks Cross-Train Workout

I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I said that majority of us, fitness bloggers and health addicts, are totally nuts when it comes to NUTS! Haha! And why wouldn’t we? Nuts are a great snack because they’re loaded with nutrients and are super filling. But how much do we actually know about their diversity and health benefits? Personally, probably not enough. To fix this little issue, I decided to look for more information. Look what I found!

the-ultimate-guide-to-nuts

Source

Pretty crazy, huh?!

useless fact about nuts

Source

According to Health Me Up, there are multiple ways you can add nuts to your diet:

  • Add them to salads: I personally love adding sliced almonds, cashews and sunflower seeds.
  • Add nuts to curries‘Try peanuts with stir-fried cabbage. Walnuts with gentle fish curries. Or almonds with spicy chicken curries. Very soon, you’ll find that you end up loving the new taste of these nutty curries.’
  • Add them to your pastas and sauces: ‘Pastas cooked with spinach, broccoli and other greens go beautifully with thinly sliced almonds.’
  • Add powdered nuts in soups and casseroles as thickening agents: ‘They thicken low-fat milk and yogurt quite wonderfully and add there own distinct flavor to the mix.’
  • Add nuts to fruit or other natural food desserts: ‘The trick here is to stick to portion sizes. So if you’re looking at filling a small bowl with a fruit dessert, then take your daily recommended dose of nuts and sprinkle them on top. In fact, chopped bananas with clove honey, sprinkled with sliced almonds and walnuts, and topped with a dash of powdered cinnamon is an exquisite and healthy dessert.’

Quotation-Penn-Jillette-love-humor-inspirational-Meetville-Quotes-108370

Source

It’s time for some cross training and strength. I love the name of my workout today: Bourbon on the Rocks. Sounds… FANCY?! Haha! According to the Spartan Guide, some may find this difficult to swallow though. Here is how it goes.

10 push-ups
10 burpees
5 pull-ups
30-second sprint
1-minute rest
Repeat 5 times.

Then, with a rock *ummm, in my case with dumbbells and a medicine ball haha!*

15 squats
Lunge-walk 50 yards
10 chest-passes
10 underhand toss
Repeat 4 times, resting for 1 minute between each circuit.

AB 500 + 30 squats for 30 days challenge

Strength

Source

How nuts are you for nuts? How do you ‘spice up’ your dishes by adding nuts? How’s your Spartan 30 squats for 30 days coming along?

xoxo
Olena

 

11 Comments

Filed under Fitness, Health, Kitchen Adventures

18 Smoothie Recipes That Will Make You Feel & Look FITilicious!

Tuesday was a beautiful day in Montreal! You know that awesome feeling when you take a breath of fresh air and all you can feel is SPRING?! Love, love, love it!

Dog_in_the_car_by_blaineyson

Source

To me, spring is a time of rebirth, starting fresh and refocusing on things that do matter. It is also the time of the year when the temperature finally starts to climb up. It may sound weird, but when it is warm outside, I lose appetite. I am simply not hungry. Therefore, the idea of getting all necessary nutrients in becomes so much more important. And what could be more exciting than fueling with smoothies?! *Please, be careful here, I am in no way encouraging anyone to replace any meals with smoothies. Your diet should be well-balanced and carefully composed according to the level of your physical activity.* 

smoothie-recipes

Source

If you’d like to know the exact recipes to the mentioned above smoothies, check out Super Skinny Me for more details.

How about you? Does your appetite vary from one season to another? What is your favorite smoothie recipe?

xoxo
Olena

10 Comments

Filed under Fitness, Health, Kitchen Adventures

How To Make A Healthier Salad & A 37-Minute Fat Burning Cardio Workout

Hello lovelies!

I apologize but this post will be short and sweet again. Frankly, being born in Ukraine and having lived there a huge chunk of my life, I am super upset and concerned about what has been happening there over the past few months. I am supposed to go there in April and now I am not sure as to what is going to happen given the circumstances. I am really sorry to get it out in here, but I just can’t grasp how this can be happening… My brain can’t stop spinning… I am overwhelmed…

make love, not war

So to take my mind off this entire situation, I will share this amazing infographic on how to make a healthier salad. Yes, salad! Why not?! Haha!

How to make a healthier salad

Source

I love this infographic particularly because I find that I normally stick to making the same salad over and over again and using this image I can already see multiple possibilities!

To burn some of my anger off *yes, anger and frustration over inability to do anything to help my friends and family back in Ukraine*, I chose the following cardio workout at home.

What are your favorite healthy salad dressings? How do you change it up once in a while?

xoxo
Olena

15 Comments

Filed under Fitness, Health, Kitchen Adventures

Breaking The Perpetual Cycle Of Sugar Addiction: The Sugary Truth, Its Hidden Sources & Proven Ways To Win The Battle

Hi darlings!

So I’ve got a little bit of a problem… You remember how about a week ago I said that I wanted to do a small detox? Well, I’m failing at it… And my biggest problem is cutting down on sugar!

You see, the last two-three weeks of February are normally super intense and stressful in the industry I work in. When I am stressed, I tend to crave sweets. The more sweets I eat, the more I crave them. As you can imagine, it becomes somewhat of a crazy cycle.

Sugar addiction - the perpetual cycle

Source

As if it wasn’t bad enough, I decided to share some extra sugary truth with you. *BOOM! Just because I can! Haha!*

TTC-The-Sugary-Truth

Source

To top it off, sugar:

  • is guilty of the creation of dental plaque & cavities;
  • triggers weight gain;
  • feeds cancer cells;
  • promotes premature aging, etc.

are you a sugar addict

Source

According to The Telegraph, you’re addicted to sugar if you answer ‘yes’ to one of the following questions:

1. Do you struggle to walk past a sugary treat without taking ‘just one’?

2. Do you have routines around sugar consumption – for example, always having pudding, or needing a piece of chocolate to relax in front of the television?

3. Are there times when you feel as if you cannot go on without a sugar hit?

4. If you are forced to go without sugar for 24 hours, do you develop headaches and mood swings?

Fortunately, I am a kind of person who stops craving sweets all at once if I don’t have any of them for about a week or so. Thus, the hardest step for me is pretty much to lower the consumption of sugar, and it’s an easy ride from there on.

There-is-always-hope

Source

*So dramatic! Hahaha!*

There are a few ways to curb the craving. Here are some of them:

  • MAKE A DECISION TO CUT BACK ON SUGAR *I mean, you gotta be committed! and mentally prepared for the challenge!*
  • Limit the amount of sugar you put in tea and coffee;
  • Substitute juice for water;
  • Watch out for ‘fat-free’ snacks;
  • Start reading labels;
  • Beware not only of artificial sweeteners but also ‘healthy’ sugar options *it still sends the same signal to your brain = I WANT SOMETHING SWEET!!!*;
  • Don’t overdo on fruit consumption;
  • No soft drinks *DUH!*;
  • Give preference to plain yogurt;
  • Swap sugar for cinnamon *This is genius!*;
  • OH, AND STAY AWAY FROM THE SWEETS AT THE STORE!!! *Oh, you knew I wouldn’t forget this one!*

8 hidden sources of sugar

Source

Now, share your secrets with me! What is your biggest sweet addiction? What works for you when you try to cut down on sugar?

xoxo
Olena

23 Comments

Filed under Fitness, Health, Kitchen Adventures

Fun Saint Valentine’s Day Facts, Mini Cheesecakes & 90 Partner Body Weight Exercises In 9 Minutes

Happy Valentine’s Day my lovelies!

Valentine's Day

Source

Here are some interesting facts about this holiday for you to start off this day of the right foot. Haha!

Valentine's facts

Source

I am not sure if these facts are true, but they are certainly fun! What do you think?!

You probably won’t be surprised, but I was really inspired to make a cheesy *literally* dessert to sweeten up the day of love. My choice fell on the mini cheesecakes! Mostly because they are very easy and quick to prepare, and they do not require to be cooled overnight. Which means that you can still make them for your loved one *or yourself! Why not?!?!* 

Mini Valentine's Cheesecakes ingredients

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 2/3 Oreo baking crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Filling:

  • 2 (8 ounce) package Philadelphia cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 natural vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs

Mini Valentine's Cheesecakes 1

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease 12-cup muffin pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together Oreo baking crumbs, sugar, and butter with a fork until combined. Measure a rounded tablespoon of the mixture into the bottom of each muffin cup, pressing firmly. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 5 minutes, then remove to cool. Keep the oven on.
  3. Beat together the cream cheese,sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla until fluffy. Mix in the eggs.
  4. Poor the cream cheese mixture into the muffin cups, filling each until 3/4 full. Bake at 325 degrees F for 25 minutes. Cool completely in pan before removing. Refrigerate until ready to serve and decorate.

Mini Valentine's Cheesecakes 2

Voila! Enjoy!

Workout Ideas for today

Why not take advantage of the holiday and workout with your partner? How about these 90 Partner Body Weight Exercises in 9 minutes?

Let’s spread some love!

What is your favorite Valentine’s Day desert? Do you ever incorporate partner body weight workouts in your routine? How?

xoxo
Olena

13 Comments

Filed under Fitness, Health, Holidays, Kitchen Adventures