Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Life Hack :: Makin the Most of Brown Bananas.

While bananas aren't as mean as avocados, getting the perfect bushel with the perfect lasting ripeness is still quite the feat. Too green and you wait a lifetime to eat one, too yellow and brown spots for days! I mean who eats all their bananas in one day?! <don't do that. They are full of vitamins but also lots of naturally occurring sugar> Shortly into the week, you may encounter the all too common case of the browning nanners...something like this:
Well I'm here to give you a couple tasty life hacks to put those ripe nanas to good use and not waste anything...while still keepin it clean!

One favorite trick is these frozen almond butter banana bites. How often do you just need one little treat to end your evening with? Ladies, am I right? Well these are guilt-free and delicious and use your browning bananas. Simply slice your nanner into thin discs and then layer almond butter between two discs.<Don't forget to be checking your almond butter labels to ensure you're only getting ALMONDS and maybe sea salt if you prefer it>
I line a flat plastic container with them and stick them in the freezer. They'll be ready as soon as an hour or two later. Easy to grab a few after a meal and nip that lil sweet tooth in the butt.

Second hack with those brown bananas also involves a frozen treat. Ever miss ice cream?!? Again, I somehow feel it appropriate to direct that question at the ladies... Well this is the easiest faux "ice cream" you'll ever make and it's awesome!
When the bananas are brown, peel them and break them into 3 or 4 pieces each and drop them in a gallon size freezer ziplock bag. I try to always have bananas in the freezer to be prepared to whip up this little treat. Depending on how many people you're making it for, throw 1 or 2 bananas worth of frozen pieces into a food processor. The taste of the over-ripe bananas is already sweet so you can scoop it out and eat as is:
OR you can toss in some other optional items. Sometimes I mix in unsweetened cocoa powder, a spoon of almond butter, or even frozen cherries for some zing! I mean look at these pictures. You would never know this wasn't real ice cream...and you can leave the guilt with BlueBell.

Just a quick treat tip to look like a brown banana boss.
Finding Fit AND Frozen Treats,

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Veggies on Veggies on Veggies :: Just add Paleo Jalapeno Ranch.

I posted a photo recently on my Instagram (@designerlisa) professing my desire to include more raw veggies in my meals.
Hopefully the reasoning is somewhat common sense to most. Anything in it's truest form is going to be the most beneficial to your body. That is, afterall, the overriding point of eating in a "clean" or "paleo" style lifestyle. We were intended to consume real, true food and it was intended to fuel our bodies in a medicinal way...and any time the food is morphed or modified or manipulated into something processed and different, it becomes just the opposite of medicine...harmful to the body. Now, don't hear me saying that we can't cook and create beautiful culinary delishness in the kitchen...I'm simply referring to using real, whole foods in the way that we create the concoctions.

While that may seem a bit of a rabbit trail, it is true that the more you cook, steam, bake, fry your beautifully healthy and fresh produce, the more your nutrients are forced out of the food. It is not reasonable to assume you can just simply eat raw veggies all the time and not go a little insane. Cooking and making fun variety out of real foods is still HEALTHY and good for your body. BUT, the point of this post is to encourage mixing in plenty of RAW veggies. The raw, pure forms of vegetables and fruit are so full of wonderful vitamins and minerals, natural anti-inflammatorys and anti-oxidants, that you'd be crazy to not want to feed your body with these natural medicines.

This past week, I decided to start adding in more salads in my meal preps, in effort to get more raw produce in my daily intake. But salads don't have to be flavorless, mundane or boring...

No way that's a "healthy" salad, right? WRONG. This colorful beautiful salad is full of real, fresh, raw ingredients, and...incidentally, has been the object of much desire in the office kitchen too! Fresh veggies, clean meat, and a delicious home-made dressing to top make this a healthy and flavorful lunch.
So here's what I tossed in here to keep it simple, from bottom to top:
  • Cherry Tomatoes 
  • pre-chopped Veggie Mix from Trader Joe's (cabage, celery, radishes, jicama, carrots...all kinds of goodies)
  • Broccoli Slaw also from Trader Joe's
  • Arugula, and/or other power greens (spinach, kale, chard...)
Notice the name of the game is pre-done...while it is great to have time to prep, chop and dice all the veggies, I also have to admit that I find HUGE value in the ready-to-go various veggie options at Trader Joe's. This makes this meal so fast and easy...

With the base of the salad easily done, I just cook up some meat to put with the salad. In this instance, I cooked up some ground turkey doused in some Flavor God seasoning. I store separately to either heat or mix in cold when I dump it at work. Any kind of good quality meat you like with your salads will do from tuna and chicken to turkey, beef or bison. Pick your poison!

The other element of prep is the salad dressing. I go through phases of liking just some olive oil and lime juice or vinegar...but lately (as seen in a lot of my posts) I've become addicted to a tasty homemade concoction that I came across on the Living Loving Paleo blog! She has a wonderful variety of delicious recipes. And her jalapeno ranch has rocked my world! I've included a link the the recipe HERE! It is truly delicious and adds great flavor to anything instantly! With an avocado oil base, it is a great source of healthy fat and a small bit goes a long way.
For the purpose of my salads on the go, I have divided mine into small 2oz containers. I also bring a little container with some Frank's Red Hot Sauce as I have a sudden obsession with a lil kick and love the mix of a little Frank's in my salad too.
I bring my mason jar, my meat, and my little condiments to work. I keep a large mixing bowl there which I use and wash each time I bring a salad so I can easily just dump everything together, mix it well, and ENJOY!

It's a seriously wonderful way to change up the ole salad and bring in lots of nutrients and LIFE to your meal prep!

Mix and dump yall!
Finding Fit,

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Resolving to Resolve in 2015.

You wouldn't want to leave a James Bond movie, not knowing if Bond saved the day AND got the girl.
You wouldn't want to make it through a mystery novel to find the last chapter missing with all your answers.
And we all definitely needed to know if Rachel got off the plane (spoiler...she did.)
Common thread? Resolution.

There is a constant need for resolve in our lives. Even if books, movies and Friends episodes aren't your pick (though you should reconsider the FRIENDS thing. I mean, come on, she got off the plane!!!), there is a need to finish, complete or tie off all the loose ends in our lives, whatever they may be. We seek to see a before and after, a beginning and an end, a final result to give validation to whatever journey or process it took to get to that point.

You're probably a sharp cookie and can see where this is going...yes, I referenced cookies...and yes, I'm forging head first towards a talking-to about New Year's "Resolutions"...
Now before you think I'm ringing in the new year as some cynical party pooper, let me assure you I am your glass half-full, rainbows and butterflies (and compromise), goal setting, dream chasing, everyone's foam-finger-waving-cheerleader, let the good times roll, girl.
With that said, I admit I have a hint of scoffed eye-roll reaction any time I see the ads for "New Year's Resolutions" and the posts pop up on social media outlets. How many of us have set a lofty New Year's Resolution, fallen short, messed up or jumped the tracks within weeks, subsequently taking on either disappointment in your own failure or a laugh-at-yourself attitude in celebration of the reality that we knew we set ourselves up to fail anyways?? I heard my pastor say "if we succeed, it goes to our head and if we fail, it goes to our heart". He was talking about the building of character in regards to trial and perseverance through failures and successes. Rather than skeptically laughing at our inevitable let downs, why don't we fix our hearts on joys and lessons of each up and down. Rather than posting some formulated list (I'm a list maker, so I'm not hating on my fellow kind), start focusing on the small adjustments that will posture your heart and mind in a place to truly be in God's Will and I truly believe your personal best will just become a side effect of that!

It's the list of resolutions put out there as some pretty veneer of what we think others believe our lives should look like. It's the list of ideals we see as missing from our lives, even if they may not truly be reasonable for ourselves. It's the comparison to what others have done and what others may have that paints a rosy picture in our heads of what we have to do to get there. My issue with it is just that...when we are searching to match our lives to others' rosy picture lives and set grand "resolutions" that truly won't have the resolve we search for.

I do not want to discourage goal setting here. I just know that it is easy to decide that January 1st starts some grand gesture to completely change your life...and it often comes with no resolve by the following December. So why don't we think of ways we need to better our behaviors, our thoughts, and our habits, our prayer life, our attitudes...and start to work towards that character. After all, "where the ideal is lacking, Grace abounds" so even as we fall short, God's grace has already stepped in as more than enough.
As the quirky Kathleen Kelly said in You've Got Mail, "Whatever anything is, it oughta begin by being personal". And while we have to forgive Meg Ryan for strutting like a dude that whole movie, the girl has a point. Is it personal? Does it come from a place of wanting yourself to be better for you, or moreover, better because you know you were made for more? Because you are not your own? To make strides towards taking on your role as child of God?  The process of "becoming" is a gritty one and there is no true final moment of "oh I'm done". Your button doesn't pop. The timer doesn't ding.
We are not promised a garden of roses in this life. But we did have 365 days in 2014 and what will be the difference over the next 365 days until we are ringing in 2016 with a whole new list of resolutions? Character. Character is to be built in trial, perseverance, and endurance as in Hebrews 12: "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us".

With the top five resolutions set each year being the following...
  1. Lose Weight
  2. Get Organized
  3. Spend Less/Save More 
  4. Enjoy Life to the Fullest
  5. Stay Fit and Healthy
How could there possibly be anything wrong with picking New Years Resolutions? Especially coming from a girl who started a blog about seeking her personal best? There isn't. I am all for working to better yourself especially if you can recognize the season you're in as God's refinement and gritty work in your life.
But my plea here today, is that while listing off all the wonderful new beginnings 2015 will bring you, you remember we were made for more. Our worth and value is not in our goals and resolutions and whether we see the outcome desired. Our worth and value is in our Creator. And. Well, my heart skips a giddy beat when I think of the best and ultimate resolve that is spelled out in Revelation. And even then, it's a eternity with my Jesus. This is the only resolution which my identity and worth reside within and I couldn't be more thankful.

So ring it in guys, For Auld Lang Syne,
Finding Fit....even in the new year,