More Protein, Less Candy

That’s what I’m telling myself anyway. Protein is good, candy is bad — right? I mean, it is almost Halloween anyway. And the chocolate just seems to be staring me down every which way I turn.

Chocolate never listens to me.

Chocolate never listens to me.

Luckily, the friendly people at NuZest sent me some packets of protein to try (they must have heard of my struggle!) and I played around with some different recipes while I fought my chocolate craving.

The first recipe I tried was a mocha recipe with their cappuccino flavored protein powder. I had never tried coffee flavored protein before, and since I love ALL THE COFFEE, this one had to be first.

It's like a 50V battery... in a drink.

It’s like a 50V battery… in a drink.

I mixed about a cup of cold brew coffee with the cappuccino protein powder and a splash of milk. Threw in a few ice cubes and blended. The directions on the packet say to shake in a shaker bottle, but we all know how well I follow directions…

The flavor was great. Not gritty, no weird aftertaste, and the best part — the ingredients list is very short. This is possibly the cleanest protein I’ve tried so far. The shake ended up being “frostier” than I like, which sometimes happens when I blend protein with just liquid and ice. I predicted adding fruit to a shake would help with that, and I was right.

The next recipe I tried was with the smooth vanilla flavor. I added some orange juice and a very ripe banana, plus a little ice. Oh yeahhh, that gave me the smooth consistency I like. The flavor was amazing. Like an orange dreamsicle without all the extra calories and junk ingredients.

Finally, I decided to step outside of the box with the chocolate protein powder and make a snack instead of a shake. My kiddos love “energy balls” and I was thrilled to be able to make a snack for them that didn’t have extra weird ingredients.

I mixed one packet of NuZest rich chocolate  protein, 1/4 cup rolled oats, 1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter, and 1 Tbsp honey in a bowl and stirred until the spoon was no longer effective. Then I used my hands to mash it all together and form little balls of yumminess.

These won’t last long at all…

My completely un-uniform method of rolling out these energy balls ended up making about 10 bites. That’s just enough for us to snack on for one day. Normally I would double or triple the recipe and save some for later. I would also refrigerate them so the peanut butter and honey became a little more solid… But when your snack smells and tastes this good, you just skip the whole refrigeration step. 😉

Thanks to NuZest for allowing me to try out this tasty, clean, vegan, soy-free protein! I am always looking for a great protein product to try since I don’t typically eat a lot of meat. This is a great protein powder, and one I would highly recommend! If you want to check out NuZest protein for yourself, head over to their website. They have a lot more recipes, and their own version of energy balls as well. 😉

Phoenix Fitness wants to know: What’s your favorite protein snack? 

Freekeh with Swiss Chard, Tomatoes, and Garlic

So this happened last night.

I got some swiss chard in our CSA share this week, and it is one vegetable I haven’t cooked before. Of course I went to Pinterest to see what to do with it, and it seemed that most recipes called for it to be sauteed or wilted and served with other veggies for flavor. So that’s what I did!

It’s kind of pretty, right?

So I washed the swiss chard, and removed the leaves from the stems. I chopped the stems into small pieces and roughly chopped the leaves as I would kale or collard greens.

I decided to use my last bag of freekeh with this dish, because it’s what I had on hand. You could easily substitute rice, quinoa, or couscous and have a very similar recipe.

I sauteed the chopped stems and onions in some olive oil first, then added some jarred tomatoes we got from a previous CSA share. Fresh tomatoes would work as well – about 2 or 3 if they are small or Roma tomato size. Just dice them up and toss them in!

After the tomatoes are warm and the stems and onions are softened, add in the garlic and swiss chard leaves. Cook until garlic is fragrant and leaves are wilted. Then serve over a bed of freekeh and eat!

This is a super yummy meal with plenty of protein and slow-digesting carbs, not to mention the nutrition from the veggies! You can play around with the ingredients and add some extra veggies like mushrooms, zucchini, or carrots, or maybe add different spices. If you do, please leave a comment and let me know how it tastes!  

Here’s the recipe for your viewing (and cooking) pleasure.

Swiss Chard Recipe card

Freekeh Jambalaya Recipe – and Giveaway!

Going with the original tonight. I'll try the rosemary sage another time.

Going with the original tonight. I’ll try the rosemary sage another time.

Yesterday I posted about freekeh, a cracked whole grain that I had planned to try in a new recipe tonight. I was pretty excited to see a rice alternative that would help me meet my fiber and protein needs for the day. One serving of freekeh has 6 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber — not too shabby!!

Protein for dem gainzzz.

Protein for dem gainzzz.

I decided that jambalaya would be our dinner for tonight, so I went with the original flavor. I got all of my ingredients together and started cooking. It was sort of a “cheat” recipe since jambalaya is one of those meals where you can just throw everything into a pot and walk away until it’s done.

Or maybe it was a “smart” recipe. Hah. #busymomproblems

Anyway, the jambalaya turned out great! The texture of the freekeh is just slightly more firm than rice, not in a bad way. I think this is more rice-like than quinoa, and would probably make a good substitute for rice, especially in stews or other one-pot dishes. Especially for fitness peeps like me who are really conscious about how they use their calories each day — I mean really! Look at the macros per serving! (The recipe makes six VERY nice sized servings.) **Sorry to my friends with gluten sensitivities – this is a wheat product so it isn’t gluten free.

Freekeh Jambalaya Recipe Card

Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 4.50.27 PM

If you aren’t a fan of jambalaya, you can head over to the Freekeh Foods website and check out all of their recipe ideas! I think we will try the Mexican freekeh chili next.

So…. do YOU want to try some freekeh for FREE(keh)? I’m having a giveaway so one lucky reader can win! Here’s what you have to do:

1. Like my fitness page on Facebook.
2. Like Freekeh Foods on Facebook.
3. Follow @bephoenixfit on Instagram.
4. Follow @freekehfoods on Instagram.
5. Follow @ask1980 on Twitter (that’s me!).
6. Follow @freekehfoods on Twitter.
7. Tweet about the giveaway using the hashtag #LoveFreekeh #Freekeh and mention me @ask1980 in your tweet.
8. Comment here that you’ve completed the six steps above, tell me what flavor you’d like to try (original, rosemary sage, or tamari), and you’re in!!

A winner will be chosen at random on August 22, 2015 so you have a little over two weeks to enter! So go ahead and get freekeh with it!!

**US Residents only, please.

freekeh foods flavors

Thin Mint Shakeology

Ooooh those Girl Scouts are at it again! Tempting me with their Thin Mint cookies. And those are my favorite! Actually, I love anything that’s chocolate and minty. When I was a little girl, I remember visiting my great aunt’s house and finding her box of Andes Mints…and I ate them all. Oops!

Instead of eating an entire box of Thin Mint cookies (because really, who can eat just one serving and then stop?), I just make my own Thin Mint Shakeology! Try it and tell me what you think of the recipe. 😉

D E SI G N (1)

Creamy Coconut Soup

This is a super tasty dish I made a while back. I really wasn’t sure how I would feel about fish in my soup, but it turned out way better than I anticipated! It only takes about 30 minutes to make and fed my family of four.


  • 2 tablespoons oil (I prefer coconut or olive)
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, chopped (or use the powdered stuff like I do!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more or less, depending on your heat preference)
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can light coconut milk, (sometimes labeled reduced fat)
  • 1 lime, juiced, plus wedges for garnish
  • 1 (6 oz) leftover baked or grilled tilapia fillet, broken into chunks
  • chopped green onion, for garnish


Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add onions and ginger and sauté until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Add red pepper flakes and curry powder and cook until just fragrant. Add the broth and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, then let cook for 10 minutes, allowing the flavors to blend. Stir in tilapia pieces and continue simmering on low for 5 minutes, until fish is heated through. Squeeze in lime juice and taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper. Serve in soup bowl sprinkled with green onion.

This is fantastic in the winter, when you really just want something warm and filling! If you try it, let me know what you think!

Egg Turkey Muffin Recipe

Protein, anyone?

I often get tired of cooking (heh heh, what mom doesn’t?) and I am always on the lookout for ways to cut down my time in the kitchen. I mean, I LIKE to cook and I LIKE to provide nutritious food for my family, but sometimes I want to spend my time doing other things. And what’s wrong with efficiency anyway?

So I made this recipe the other day, thinking it would be easy to pop some leftover protein-packed muffins in the microwave for a quick snack the next day. In theory, yes…but these things were so popular they didn’t even last the whole night!!


So here is the recipe I used. I will most likely double it next time!

6 whole eggs, lightly scrambled in a bowl
1/4 lb lean ground turkey, cooked (I cooked the whole pound and reserved the rest for tacos/spaghetti)
1 cup chopped kale/spinach/broccoli
1/4 cup chopped onions (optional)
Salt and pepper

With a fork, beat up the eggs in a bowl. Spray a muffin pan generously (this stuff sticks!!) Use a tablespoon to spoon the egg into the muffin slots, filling each slot about half full. I had enough egg to go in 8 muffin slots.


Ignore those boiled eggs. Those were pre-cooking for breakfast. 😉

Then put a spoonful or two of the ground turkey into each slot with the egg. Add chopped onion and veggies as desired. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper to taste and bake at 400 degrees for about 18 minutes.


If the egg starts to brown around the edges, it is definitely done. I served mine with a little drizzle of Frank’s Buffalo Sauce on top. As the commercial says, “I put that sh*t on everything.” True story.


Roasted Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Ahhh, don’t you just love fall? I like it when the sun is warm but there is a crisp breeze, perfect weather for cozy sweaters, skinny jeans, cute boots…or hoodies and yoga pants. Depends on the day.

I enjoy making soups in the fall. It’s the perfect time for chili, butternut squash soup, pot roast in the crock pot. One thing I’ve never made (or even eaten, that I can remember) is broccoli cheese soup. Actually, I think I might’ve tasted that Campbells cream of crap stuff once. It was all gooey and slimy and gross. I can’t do that stuff. Yuck. But I ran across this recipe while poking around (probably on Pinterest), and it just sounded yummy. One of my FAVORITE ways to eat broccoli is to roast it in the oven. When it gets just a little brown and crispy and it crunches when I eat it…omgyum. Kinda like kale chips, now that I think of it. 

Healthy and Fit Recipes- Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Anyway, I’m getting off track. So I took that recipe and had to tweak it just a bit. Rarely do I follow directions exactly as they are given. Hmm, that could explain a lot of things for me. So here is the recipe as I interpreted it:

  • 1 large bunch broccoli, cut into florets (My broccoli didn’t look like enough, so I threw in a few frozen pieces as well. Maybe your broccoli bunch will be bigger than mine was.)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • another 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • a few dashes of dried Italian seasonings
  • 3 cups  chicken broth (most of a cardboard container)
  • 1 1/2 cups aged cheddar, shredded*** (see note below)
  • 1 cup milk (I just used skim)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (this could go either way – taste a bit in a bowl before you put it in)

***Cheese note – I did NOT go cheap here. I wanted a good, quality soup, so I splurged on deli cheese. Think $14 per pound. Yes. And it tasted every bit of $14 per pound. I was NOT putting some Kraft mess in my fabulous soup. Next time I will probably not go so rich, but it is definitely worth getting a good, decent cheese for the soup. Shred it yourself, don’t be lazy. Oh, and that 1 1/2 cups is just an estimate. I didn’t measure it at all. I grated my cheese until the grater was pretty much full and my arm was tired.


Healthy and Fit Recipes- Broccoli Cheddar Soup1

  1. Toss the broccoli florets in the oil along with the salt and pepper and arrange them in a single layer on a large baking sheet.
  2. Roast the broccoli in a preheated 400F oven until lightly golden brown, about 20-30 minutes. Check it at 20 to make sure it doesn’t burn!
  3. Heat the oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat.
  4. Add the onion and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
  5. Add the garlic and seasonings and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
  6. Add the broth and broccoli, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
  7. Puree the soup until it reaches your desired consistency with a stick blender, or a good container blender if you have one. Make sure you vent it so you don’t explode hot soup everywhere. Not that I’ve ever done that….ahem, next step…
  8. Mix in the milk and cheese, let the cheese melt and season with salt and pepper, and dijon mustard if you like.

This was seriously one of the best things I’ve ever made, especially on the first try. Hubs and I LOVED it, and Hut ate it (who knows what she likes and what she doesn’t, at least she’s obedient when it comes to food). KK…well he hated it. And I was actually glad because it meant more for me! So I cleaned his bowl of soup. 😉

If you try it, please comment back and let me know what you thought! My low-key family chose to eat it with oyster crackers. I’m a little snobbier and would’ve preferred a little crusty bread or even a baguette, but we had none in the house. Oh well. I can pretend to be fancy in my mind – oyster crackers it is.


Paleo Diet, Day 3

Woohoo, no headache today!! Today was definitely way easier than the first two days, which I attribute to my body getting over the “sugar flu” and not thinking that it needs so many carbs all day.


So here is my day:

*Energy & Endurance, Focus T25 Rip’t Circuit – NAILED IT!!
*Vanilla Shakeology, Results & Recovery, vanilla almond milk
*Banana and orange slices
*Two boiled eggs, salad
*Almonds, banana (a little fruit heavy today)
*Ultimate Paleo chili, recipe from Robb Wolf


This stuff was amazing. This picture isn’t great because I was scarfing it down…and honestly this was my second bowl haha.

I followed the recipe pretty closely, except I used ground turkey in place of beef. I also used Rotel instead of just tomatoes because it was what I had. But I will definitely be making this again! And who knew you’d ever want to put coffee IN your chili??

I’ll absolutely never used packets of chili mix again.

Make this soon. You won’t regret it.

A few quick recipes!

I can’t believe it has been almost a MONTH since my last post! With school starting up and all of the stress and craziness that goes with it, I have been absolutely slammed. So busy, even, that my eating has gotten off track. Life got in the way, I didn’t plan as well as I would’ve liked, and I fell back into some old habits. I have not fallen off of the workout train! But my eating has been less than stellar.

Because of that, I have recommitted to planning my meals and surrounding myself with healthy choices! If I have good food in the house and a plan for what we can eat each night, I’m not so tempted to run to the drive-thru. Today I did my food shopping for the week, and made enough food for dinner so we don’t even have to think about what to eat tomorrow – planned leftovers!

One new recipe that I tried this week was Shakeology Balls. They are also called No-Bake Shakeology Cookies, because they taste so much like no-bake cookies that most people are probably used to. These things are delicious! My 4-year old gobbled up as many as I would give him the first time I made them, and then begged me to make more after that batch was gone. The best part – he is getting a TON of nutrition when he eats his “treat.” SCORE!

shakeology balls

Shakeology Balls

Total Time: 10 min.
Prep Time: 10 min.
Yield: 25 cookies


• 1 cup natural peanut butter or almond butter
• 1 cup rolled oats
• ½ cup honey
• 1 cup Chocolate Shakeology
1. Combine peanut butter, honey, oats and Shakeology in medium bowl. Mix well.
2. Roll 24 balls, each the size of 1 tbsp.
3. Flatten each slightly so takes on the shape of a traditional cookie. (I skip this step, and I also sometimes add a little water to make it mix better.)

Nutritional Information (per serving):

Calories: 112
Fat: 6g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 2 mg
Sodium: 13 mg
Carbohydrate: 12 g
Fiber: 1 g
Sugar: 7 g
Protein: 5 g
Another of my current favorite recipes is Mint Chocolate Shakeology – otherwise known as a Thin Mint Cookie Shake! Seriously, if you love Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies, this recipe is for you. It is my absolute favorite drink to make right now, and I can gulp it down faster than any other shakeology recipe I’ve found.
mint shakeo
1 scoop Chocolate Shakeology
1 cup cold water or unsweetened almond milk (plain or vanilla)
3 to 4 drops peppermint extract (it doesn’t take much, trust me!!)
Ice to taste
I have also made this with coffee instead of milk, and with a banana for extra calories and to make it more filling. The mint just makes it great, no matter what.
I have some new workout videos that I plan to post soon, so keep looking out for those. I actually made a video today, but my cameragirl was a little off her game with the iphone. 😉 Didn’t turn out so great, so we need to have a re-do.  Until then, keep living healthy!

Clean Eating Enchiladas with Homemade Sauce

My family loves Mexican food. You will catch us eating it 2-3 times per week on average. Even after hubs and I said “I do” at the courthouse, we hit up Taco Bell for our celebratory lunch. Yeah.

One thing hubs loves to make is enchiladas. We have experimented with it over the years, and during our vegetarian period we learned to make lots of yummy meat-free enchiladas. We aren’t vegetarians any more, but we still like to incorporate lots of veggies in there.

In my quest for making our foods as clean as possible, I decided to experiment with making a homemade enchilada sauce. I just don’t like buying that mainstream canned stuff if I can help it. A friend recommended a recipe from, but I had to change it up a little bit. Here is what I did:

Kauf’s Red Enchilada Sauce

2 Tbsp coconut oil
2 Tbsp whole wheat flour
4 Tbsp chili powder (I used chipotle chili powder, details to follow)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp (or a good pinch) oregano
2 cups organic chicken broth
1 can organic tomato sauce

Heat oil in saucepan over med heat. Add flour and stir together for one minute. Stir in seasonings (probably best to pre-measure these out before hand). Gradually stir in broth, stirring or whisking constantly so it doesn’t lump. Pour in tomato sauce. Simmer on low 10-15 min until thick, stirring occasionally.


So…I didn’t have regular chili powder on hand. I have this. I think this stuff has a bit more heat than the regular chili powder. I was coughing just from mixing it up. But it was a great flavor!! I’d recommend cutting the chili powder amount in half if you want to use this, or just stuck with the plain. The recipe I used for inspiration did not call for tomato sauce, but I added it in to try to dilute the spiciness of the sauce.

Now for the actual enchiladas…

I bought Chi-Chi’s multigrain fajita style tortillas. I’m not high-speed enough to make my own torts yet, and I figured these were better than traditional white ones. I browned turkey meat with a little garlic powder and salt (which you can omit if you are veg). Then I sautéed some diced mushrooms, green peppers, onion, and a yellow squash in a little coconut oil. That might seem odd to most people, but it is actually good! And you don’t taste most of it; it just gives a good texture.

We put a little shredded cheese, some meat, and some of the veggie mixture on each tortilla, then rolled them up. (Make sure you spray your baking dish with Pam or some other spray, and put the enchiladas seam side down.) Then I poured sauce all over the top and we baked it at 350 for about 10-15 min until the sauce was bubbly.

I ate my enchilada with some avocado slices, salsa verde, and a little lot of sour cream. It was amazing. My mouth was tingling and my stomach was angry from the chipotle powder, but it was too good to stop eating!!


The sauce made enough for us to make our meal tonight plus put some away for next time. I will most likely tweak the recipe again the next time I make this, but it is by far a great start! And if you enjoy food with a lot of kick, this is a good one to try.