Tag Archives: oatmeal

Food, Food….and for a change of pace…FOOD!

Well my friends, Chicago has been many things…one of which has been some AMAZING eats.  Lets take a look…shall we?!

Breakfast is not only the most important meal of the day, it also happens to be my favorite.

Gotta love a place that has stock Truvia for the coffee!

The menu was HUGE!  I narrowed it down a bit, and finally went with…

West Coast Crepes?!?!  You had me at avocado.

They didn’t skimp on the green stuff, either!

Huge chunks -o- cado!  Yummmmm

Shortly after this meal we walked deeper into the city, where we found a free zoo!  How awesome is that?

MONKEYYYYYY!  Have I mentioned my slight obsession with monkeys?!  There was also a huge exhibit full of sleeping gorillas.  If I didn’t think these gentle giants wouldnt rip me to shreds, I would have hopped in there with them.  I love the monkeys!

But I digress.  Time for more food.

One place I was directed to go for CUPCAKES was a place called Sprinkles.  Considering there are days when I go so far as daydream about cupcakes…I knew this place probably wouldn’t disappoint.

There is nothing like the sweet smell of icing hitting you in the face.  I knew this place and I were going to get along juuuuuuust fine.  How could I choose?!

The carrot cake ended up winning!  The icing looked divine, and everyone knows that is what I go for first!

In typical me fashion, I ripped off the top to save for last…and munched on the actual “cake” part of this beauty.

Super moist, hint of spice…and huge chunks of carrots, and nuts.  Awesome.

Now, what about the icing?!

Best.  Cupcake.  Ever. Seriously, and I am *THE* cupcake expert.

Bravo, Sprinkles…..you sold me big time.

If you are ever in the Chicago area,  you MUST check this place out.

Moving on…….more food!  🙂

The trouble with my brother planning all these food stops, is that he based most of them on “Diners Drive-Ins and Dives” from Food Network.  This made for amazing meals, but not so amazing nutrition facts.  This is a vacation, THIS is a vacation. I had to keep reminding myself of this fact as I was presented with meals such as these…


Smoque was a prime example of the classic BBQ joint.  This chopped brisket was great, minus the bun!  I was also not used to a tomato-based bbq sauce…so it was a nice surprise.  I am a fry junkie…and these did not disappoint.

This was also a prime example of a “dive”.  Leave it to my brother to find these places!

Which brings me to a HEALTHY meal!  Trust me, my stomach was more than ready for something a bit lighter.  Let me tell you….I am an official fan of “The Corner Bakery”.  They seem to be everywhere in Chicago, and offer great light/natural/organic options.  Panera like, but better!  I was a big fan.

OATMEAL!!!!!!  My poor stomach was in panic mode, but this meal seemed to calm it back to normal after massive amounts of not-so-healthy options!

Banana/Granola oatmeal with a crisp raisin bread slice.  YUM!

My stomach was also re-introduced to Odwalla juice.  Mmmmm….

Meals like this were few and far in between……but I was ecstatic, and enjoyed every bite.

All in all Chicago has been a great place.  Tons of stuff to do and even MORE stuff to eat.

Back to reality tomorrow, and time for a MAJOR detox for this blogger boy.  I have alot of calories to burn off.  My poor classes are going to hate me. 🙂

Have a great night everyone!  Long day tomorrow with planes, trains, and automobiles!  Back to Tennessee!





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Oats & More!

Hello bloggies.

It is yet another dreary, cold, rainy day in Tennessee.  All I want to do is go home, crawl into the covers, and hibernate into napdom.  Unfortunately, this isn’t in the cards for me today.  Maybe blogging about my oatmeal will warm me up…

These bad boys were the old fashioned stove top kind.  I like when I actually have time to COOK oatmeal.  Today was one of those days, luckily.

Theres also something about a new jar of peanut butter that gets me down right giddy.  Anyone with me?

With a name like Smuckers, it has to be good. Or at least, thats what the jar told me.  Luckily…it was correct.

Time to prepare the goodness…

I often times find myself obsessing over random things in my food world.  Right now, I am head over heels for some blueberries.  In yogurt, oatmeal, cereal, or by themselves…these little guys are an antioxidant powerhouse.  Check out this article I stumbled on this morning about these little guys.

It was time to plate!  Presentation is everything, people!

If you haven’t tried peanut butter in your oatmeal yet, then I feel very sorry for you.  YEARS ago I remember first finding these foodie/health blogs and everyone was putting peanut/almond butter in their oatmeal.  Sounded weird, but that first bite of warm peanut buttery oat goodness is enough to change the world.  For real!

And now lets smoosh it around….

Ahhhh oatmeal, how I am obsessed with thee.

Oh Mr. Quaker…..you make me so happy.

Now…..lets all go nap.  After all, they are GOOD for you….seeeeeeee…..   (hopefully my boss will approve this)

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Circuit & OIAJ!

So what do you do when you teach a class with a constantly changing class that expects something different each week?

Circuit Class!

A Circuit Class uses “stations” set up in a large space where the participants slowly make their way through each one at a designated time interval.  This particular class had 9 stations, which they would be at for 1 minute each.  In between each station, participants would do 30 seconds of HIGH intensity cardio.  These short bursts of cardio spike the heart rate briefly, getting that extra calorie burn.  Once the participants go through the circuit completely, I did a 7 minute ab section in the middle….then they did the circuit again.  Fun times!

Action clip…

This type of class allows a variety of exercises, including strength based…cardio…abs, or a combination of two or three!  This class had 9 stations:

  • Chest Flys on Inverted Risers
  • Lunges with Overhead Press on Tubing
  • Tricep Pushups
  • Agility Cone Drills (Suicides/Sprints)
  • Corkscrew Abs
  • Step Jumps
  • Kettlebell Swings
  • Squats (Taken slightly deeper)
  • Bicep Curls (Lower/Upper/Full Range)

We also hit abs in the middle with crunches, planks, oblique twists, etc.  Anything to get those abs burning!

Sweaty good times! 🙂

My light nights at the YMCA teaching classes usually mean dinner pulled together quick!  Thats when my bestest pal oatmeal always comes into play. 😉

Oats In A Jar!  The dangerously low level of PB hanging around in this jar was just begging to be turned into the perfect container for my oats!

(notice Steph trying to sneak her way into the blog world…)

Last year for Lent (which coincidentally is now!) I gave up ALL meat….and actually ended up going completely vegetarian for almost 8 months!  It was an awesome experience, and although I have slowly started integrating meat back into my diet…I could easily go vegetarian with meals like these.  As I incorporated more weight training into my workouts, meat was necessary…and I love it on occasion (chicken/turkey etc.) however I could leave it just as easy!

Oaty/Peanut Buttery goodness. *drool*

Since oats and group ex. have been the two main focus points of this blog…I have 2 questions….

  • Whats your FAVORITE Group Ex class?  Why?
  • Whats you FAVORITE way to make oats?

Have a great hump day everyone!  Zumba tonight…..gonna SHAKE it out!  Hopefully getting some good video clips for you guys!


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I’m back, FORGIVE ME!!!!

Biggest. Slacker. EVER.

Yep, thats me.

I promise though…


how in the heck is everyone?!?!  I have seriously missed the blog world so much!  I promise, no more disappearing from yours truly.  I am back to stay!

Just a little catch up for those first time readers…..

Former fatty (no, really!!!  300+ lbs) turned Healthy Living Director/Fitness Instructor at my local YMCA, I am here for humor, health, fun…and anything that goes on in my crazy life!  If this is your first time visiting, welcome!

Well it’s Sunday…the day we are all left collectively scratching our heads and wondering what happened to the weekend.  Got my day started with a killer weights workout!  I loooooove free weights, but rarely have the time with the weight classes I teach throughout the week.  Sunday is pretty much the only day I can head to the free weight room…zone out…and have an awesome solo workout.  Took full advantage today and worked the whole body!

Deadlifts………………………Chest Press/Flys/Chest Press
Pliet Squats……………………Pull Down Back, Row Back, Pull Down back
Calf Raises ……………………Shoulder Press Long Bar/Upright Row/Press
Squats Machine……………..Tricep Skull EZ  (Dips Middle)
Weighted Walking Lunges …Bicep 21’s Heavy  Curl/Hammer/Curl
For anyone who is scared/intimidated by the free weight area of their gym…don’t be! I promise, it isnt as scary as you think.  Get back there, and act like you own the joint!  😉  People are normally super friendly, and will always help if you have questions.  Sure…there may be your typical jerks back there…but for the most part the good ones out number the bad.
Post gym I headed to Dunkin Donuts (shocker, I know!!!)  I am conducting an experiment with my friend and fellow instructor Ginny…we are showing how healthy moderation can work!  Check out our DD challenge, here!
I left with food on my mind, specifically dinner.  With a crazy work schedule I typically try to use Sunday to make some meals ahead.  First thing that popped into my mind tonight was meatloaf!  This isn’t your typical meatloaf kids…
This ground turkey is extra lean, and a great source of protein!  Honestly…there are TONS of recipes out there, and I am sure everyone has there favorite.  I experimented with my own recipe tonight, and it worked out wonderfully (semi-shocker there given my track record of off the cuff recipe tries…)
You know this blogger boy cannot resist adding his trademark ingredient…
Good ole oats.  How I love thee.
I soaked some quick cook oats with skim milk for binding, as well as some straight out deliciousness!
Ok, so it may not be the most beautiful thing to photograph….but I promise the yum factor is high.
This little beauty is on its way to becoming a meatloaf (or turkeyloaf, if we are being technical)  masterpiece!
After it’s little date with a 350* oven for an hour…
Like I say, this was sort of a “whatever I felt like” kinda recipe, but I will try to recall!
Blogger Boy Turkey-Oat Loaf:
1.25 Pounds Extra Lean Ground Turkey
1 Cup Quick Cook Oats soaked in 1 Cup Skim Milk
1 Finely Chopped Yellow Pepper
1 Large Egg
1 Can Roasted Tomato Chunks (you could easily substitute plain here)
4 Tbsp. Low Sodium Natural Ketchup
Mix all ingredients, and form into a loaf on a baking sheet, around 2 inches thick.
Top the turkeyloaf with one small can of plain tomato sauce, and sprinkle with pepper
Bake at 350* for 55-65 minutes, or until the top is browned, and the loaf is firm. (teeheehee)
This bad boy would easily slice into 12-14 servings.
Voila, there you have it folks….a quick healthy dinner that will last for days!
While cooking I *started* watching the Oscars…
…..which quickly transformed into something MUCH more attention grabbing on my end….
I’ll take my Golden Girls any day over the snoozefest that was the Oscars…geez!
Of course, what would a night be without a little snack…
(notice the jealous onlooker. )
These fiber bars are my current ADDICTION!  They taste just like my favorite Girl Scout cookie…the Samoa!
Fiber and Dessert?!?!   Sign me up.
On that note my bloggies, it is time to adjurn.  Again, thanking you for not disowning me during my lapse in blog time, but I promise…I am back for good!  Happy Monday eve everyone.  😉  I know your excited.
Whats your favorite late night snack??



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Embrace Your Weekend Warrior.

Well, it was Saturday….which means a killer back to back class combo.  Started off with a 75 minute “Weekend Warrior” which combines weights, cardio, and anything else I want to throw in there for funsies.

Before the classes got rolling, I made some killer oatmeal.

Chia/Banana oats with Crunchy Almond Butter, and a new trail mix I picked up from our new little natural grocery store!

I have gotten several emails asking how I make my oatmeal, and the pros and cons associated with stovetop vs. microwave. In my case, it is all about convenience…which means I nuke mine in the microwave.  My oatmeal always starts the same:

  • 1/2 Cup Oats
  • 1 Cup Almond Milk (Original, 40 Calories per cup)
  • 2 TBSP Chia Seeds

(At this point, I alter it slightly)

Sometimes I will cut up a ripe banana and cook it right alongside the oats, and sometimes I won’t…depends on my mood, really.

I nuke it for 2:40 seconds (don’t ask why…it just works) and then I put it in a bowl.  Topping time comes next, which can be anything from nut butters, trail mix, chocolate bits of joy….basically whatever sounds yummy to you at the time.  In this mornings case, it was trail mix and almond butter:


Then it was time for Weekend Warrior!  We killed it today.  Something particularly groan-worthy that I have been doing incorporates the old fashioned side leg lift…we’ve all done these, right!?

Thank you for demonstrating, mystery lady.

At this point, on each LEG we slowly trace the entire upper case alphabet.  Seems pretty funny/easy until you hit the “O”….then it is pure torture.  In a good, and fun way.  😉  Then flip over, and repeat.  Try it out and tell me what you think!

Spin was next, and I gotta admit…I was dragging.  I don’t know if it was the combo of all the classes of the week…or just having to do them back to back….but I was struggling.  Thankfully, I had a killer class who totally pulled me through it!

Needless to say after both classes, I was ready for some food.  Have I mentioned how much I adore living literally two minutes from work?!  It is so nice not to have to pack my life in a gym bag everyday!

I assembled the troops for a pressed veggie burger!  I use the FlatOut wrap as a base…spread the Laughing Cow, place the cooked “burger” on top…wrap, and grill up on the Foreman!

Plate time!

I am also currently hooked on the new Sobe Lifewater brands.  And since I love you all as if you were my very own, here is a coupon for them.  😉  Your welcome.  Fuji Apple Pear is my faaaaaavorite, for the record.

Look who always shows up when the food is ready…

He’s cute, right?  😉

I also prepped a protein/chocolate/coffee smoothie for work that started with my new coffee!

“but please, don’t try to set it on fire.” bwahahaha.

Got to work on the coffee in the French Press (<3 ❤ <3)

Then blended it up (once cooled) with Almond Milk, Ice, and Protein Powder…

And prepared some snacks for work…

I.  Love.  These.  Bars.

You can get them at Target, I think a 6-pack is around $5.00???  SO GOOD.  Seriously, like my version of a candy bar.  Plus 12 grams of protein, which trust me…will be much needed to recover from this mornings craziness.  Plus, you add the words “cookie dough” to any/all food and I will have it eaten/buy it before you can say Hello Kitty.

Also made a random cereal bowl of joy, which contained Kashi Go Lean, Cascadian Farms Cinnamon Crunch, Chilean Raisins, and dried bananas!


Also tonight, I FINALLY get to see my nearest and dearest blog/all around BFF, Emily!!!!  We are having some shin dig at her house that is Mexican themed…what should I bring?!?!

Can we just talk about how I always get sidetracked at night, and sometimes forget to blog?!?!  I know, I know…go ahead and smack my hands now.

So just for youuuuuu, here is a recap of last nights dinner (which was pretty epic…)

I mean, who doesn’t want pancakes for dinner???  Plus, check out all the toppings!

I made four cakes.  One had the chocolate covered pomegranate seeds, one had trail mix, one had sunflower seed butter, and the last had almonds.  They were all topped with my favorite new syrup, courtesy of Jessica from our food exchange a while back!

Pancakes are fun….pancakes in a SPRAY can are even funner.

Pretty darn tasty.

And to wrap up the night, I hung out with my favorite butt kicker, Brenda Johnson.

Any Closer fans out there?!?!

I swear, once I start watching these I cannot stop.  I think I completed the entire first half of this season in one sitting.  Of course, the froyo helped pass the time. 😉

Well bloggies….it is time for work.  I am counting down the hours til partaying it up tonight with the gang!

Also, tomorrow is our first official “challenge” for “Eights To The Eights” which will be a one mile run/walk race!  Cannot wait!  Trust me, tons of pictures will be taken to document!

What is on everyone’s weekend agenda?  How will YOU embrace your Weekend Warrior?


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Hello, 5am.

I am surprised how much my body has adjusted to a somewhat “normal” schedule.  By normal…I mean waking up at the crack of dawn…teaching early classes, and then having an extended nap at some point in the day!  Weird how the body deals with sleep schedules, eh?

Nothing like starting the day out with Total Body HIIT!  Also, it was pretty swanky having breakfast already done and waiting for me.  It was time last night for overnight oats!  That way those beauties could soak and plump up…and I could eat them at work right after class.

Boo-yah.  Mr. Quaker never lets me down.  Also, some delicious Trader Joe’s goodies went in…

Chocolate is ok in breakfast, no?!

Some other yums included:

  • Almond Butter
  • Kashi Go Lean
  • Almond Milk
  • Chilean Raisins
  • Chia Seeds

Stirred it all up…and prepped it for a night in the fridge.

After some much needed sleep, and a killer HIIT class…these little cuties had firmed up into deliciousness!

The oats plump up, and the best part…no cooking required.  Cold oats + hot coffee = good any day of the week.

Got to see Emily from the Purple Team working out with her mentor, Christie, this morning!  Always makes me feel good to see these teams getting started…and the competition doesn’t even officially start until this Sunday!!!

Also so Heather, of the Yellow Team…..as well as both the Green, and Pink teams!

Can I also just say that lunch today was fannnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn-tasmic.  Terri, my beloved co-worker, made us homemade veggie burgers!!!  I took a Flat-Out wrap, and smeared it with some Laughing Cow Light Swiss…then I put the “burger” on top….folded it up, and toasted it up on the Foreman!

Paired it with some carrots, and what is quickly becoming my favorite “chip” ever!

Check out the middle!

So.  Good.

Well bloggies, time to close down the YMCA and start planning for tomorrow!  Spin (twice) plus a Circuit Craze class to teach!  Fun Fun!

Happy Wednesday! Make it a good one!


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Annnnnnd, we’re back.

Wow….spare time….to blog!!!  Where was this hour of opportunity yesterday?!?!  Oh thats right…I don’t even think I had time to exhale…let alone blog!!!!  Depressing!  From teaching my normal classes, to subbing for someone for 3 weeks and picking up all her classes….it’s insane!  Did I mention that our city’s version of Biggest Loser aka “Eight To The Eight’s” kicks off FRIDAY?!?!?!  I am about at max capacity in terms of time limits here.  Shew.  It’s a darn good thing I love my job more than life.  😉

Started off the day with a 5:45am “Insanity” inspired Circuit Class.  Emily and Kim have been doing Insanity on a regular basis, and I wish I had the time to do it with them!  It is full of awesomeness in every sense of the word…..assuming that is an actual word.  😉  Instead of joining them, I have been adding the moves to my classes…which is going swimmingly!  Today’s Circuit Class used absolutely no equipment, and had 12 stations.  We went through each station once, at one minute…and then repeated the circuit.  The last circuit was comprised of 12-1 minute ab workouts.  KILLER!  Also, theres nothing like ending a class with a full out 2 minute suicide drill using the whole gym.  😉  They love to hate me.

Walked back home (loving the fact that I am in walking distance) and met my favorite guy for breakfast.

Ain’t he cute?

Went very random with today’s mix-ins.  They included:

  • Agave Maple Syrup Blend
  • Chia Seeds
  • Dried Bananas
  • Mocha Madness Trail Mix
  • Almond Butter

Totally random.  Totally delicious.

Have I mentioned my un-dying love for my precious trail mix?!?!


At this point, it was back to the YMC-izzle to teach “Total Body Low Impact” which is basically a strength/cardio full body workout, minus the intense plyometric/jumping movements that I feature in my other classes.  Again, another sweat sesh!

Seemed to have developed a pattern for today.  Teach…eat…teach…eat.  Therefore…it was time for lunch.

New to me flavor of Veggie Burger…this time, Earth Fizzle brand!  This bad boy was sooooo good!  I put it on an Arnold’s Thin with some Light Swiss Laughing Cow, Spinach…and then pressed the whole thing on the George Foreman…

Melty, cheesy, yum.  Also had some Veggie Booty, and a chopped Honey Crisp!

Well.  It is almost 3:00.  You know what that means, right?!?!?!

I have been having them put my protein powder in the Frap when they blend it!  For half price, you can’t beat it.  Plus they are fully customizable now!  I higgggghly recommend the new Mocha Lite.

Well.  Time for a coffee/protein buzz…and then to my other gym for KidFit…and back to the YMCA for Total Body HIIT.  Man, my body is hating me this week! Do as I say, not as I do people! All these high intense workouts (especially weight workouts) should not be done back to back…and definitely not on the same day!  Give your body a rest.

What is your favorite Frappuccino/Starbucks beverage?!  How often do you hit up the Bizzle each week?  If you could invent any flavor of Frapp, what would it be?  I would want some sort of Almond Milk/Protein Powder/Carmel creation….Mmmmm…..


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