Well, we’ve successfully made it through the first week in 2015. YAY. I’m picking up my pace and finding my groove, while also cutting myself some slack. I’m taking things one day at a time and trying not to stress (too much) about how much I get done in a day.
Two key components that help keep me calm and balanced, both mentally and physically, are my workouts and what I eat. At the end of November when Kenna had her knee surgery my workouts took the back seat. I had a very crazed work schedule (which is great!) and a dog that needed hours of attention each day. Her rehab routine changes by the week but encompasses about 2 hours each day, plus 30min for Dakota’s daily walk. This left very little time to workout, which is normally something that I do without even thinking. Staying active is just part of my daily life, but I realize things happen and there just isn’t always time.
While our main meals stayed healthy and veg-heavy (minus the holidays…hello!) during this time, I found myself aimlessly snacking and eating a million too many cookies. This combined with infrequent workouts left me feeling off kilter. I was itching to get things back to my normal.
With a little nudge from Gina’s new book, HIIT It!, I was determined to find my workout groove once again. The HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts are quick, fast-moving, and challenging. I have been a big believer in HIIT workouts in the past and am loving what I’ve tried from Gina’s book so far. I tend to get stuck doing many of the same workouts over and over again at the gym, so this book was just what I needed to change things up.
I’ve known Gina for about 4 1/2 or so years now. Crazy! I first met her at a blog conference in CA many, many years ago. She is absolutely the sweetest, kindest, and most sincere person you could imagine, just as she seems on her blog. I’ve been following Gina’s journey and knew how passionate she was about writing a book, so when she announced she was writing a fitness book I was thrilled!
I’ve always enjoyed checking out Gina’s blog for workout tips, quick and easy recipes, and learning about all different forms of fitness. She always keeps things fun but informative, and her book is just the same! Gina writes about HIIT workouts in a way that feels approachable. She covers the basics and beyond giving you the tools you need to make your own personalized fitness plan. The workouts are quick, effective, and easy to follow. She has so many useful tips along the way and it’s so nice to have everything in one book to easily reference.
You’ll find detailed information about HIIT workouts, helpful ideas for meal plans, example workouts, instructions on workout moves, recipes, and more. Gina created a well-rounded group of recipes that you’re going to love. They are very gluten-free friendly and many are vegetarian and vegan-friendly, too! They’re straight forward and simple, perfect for weekday cooking.
I’ve already made two recipes and will definitely be trying more. I know these two are already going to become staples for me.
The first recipe I tried was Gina’s Blueberry Muffin Bake. Get this, it’s grain free and made with almond butter and eggs! I was really curious what this would turn out like and ended up loving it.
Gina says it has 4 servings, but I’m pretty sure I ate half the loaf immediately following the photo shoot.
The texture is super light and fluffy and kind of creamy. It’s a little hard to describe, but I urge you to try it out! I used blackberries instead of blueberries and added large flaked coconut on top for a little crunch. I topped each slice with a smear of coconut oil and proceeded to inhale them.
Blueberry Muffin Bake – makes 4 large servings (dairy free, grain free, refined sugar free)
- 1/2 cup creamy almond butter
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon coconut sugar (I used 1 1/2 tablespoons, which was perfect for me)
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg (I omitted)
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- pinch of sea salt
- 1 cup fresh blueberries (thawed if frozen – I used blackberries and chopped them)
Preheat the oven to 350° F and spray a 9-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray. (I lined an 8x4 pan with parchment instead.)
In a large bowl, use a fork to whisk the almond butter until fluffy and creamy. Whisk in the eggs.
Stir in the coconut sugar, lemon zest, vanilla extract, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt, and mix to combine. Carefully fold in blueberries.
Pour the mixture into your prepared loaf pan.
Bake for 20-25 minutes and allow to cool before storing, covered in the refrigerator. (Mine was done at about 25 in the smaller pan)
Notes (from Ashley): Sub your favorite granulated sugar if you don’t have coconut sugar. I’m not sure if other nut butters will work the same but I’m guessing many will (cashew could be good!). I used homemade almond butter that was thick and creamy and it worked perfectly. I also added about 1/4 cup unsweetened, large flaked coconut on top of the batter prior to baking.
The second recipe I tried and also ate the entire bowl of, was Gina’s very popular Cookie Dough Cereal. It’s basically a mix between oatmeal and overnight oats. It requires just a few ingredients and no cooking at all.
I let the oat mixture soak for a minute or two and it turned a bit doughy, just as expected.
Now. Finally. After talking your ears (errr, eyes?) off, a giveaway!!
- One lucky winner will receive a copy of Gina’s new book, HIIT It!
- giveaway ends: 1/12/15 at 5PM EST
- winner will be emailed
- Leave a comment telling me anything about your current workout routine (what you’re doing, what you’d like to change, etc.) and/or your current favorite quick and healthy recipe.