Tuesday, April 30, 2013

How To: Eat Clean!

Actually, I should probably title that "How to: SUCK IT UP and Eat Clean" as that is what my problem has been. Yes, I know, a Registered Dietitian has trouble eating clean? You 'betcha! (said in my best Midwest accent). I'm just like everyone else...French fries are my love, and a salad is the most boring thing on the planet. Ice cream? Only if its mint chocolate chip and has 4 scoops. So, how do you suck it up and just eat clean?
Here are my tips:
  • Don't start until you know you're ready - I haven't been ready to pass up on eating meals out and French fries before. But now I am. And that, my friends, has made all the difference.
  • Once you commit, COMMIT! - That's right, no more of these eating healthy during the workdays then gorging yourself on goldfish crackers (yes, I've done that...I bet you have too). Eat clean and healthy at work and keep the momentum going when you get home! Grab an apple and get out of the kitchen! Or, change into your running shoes and head out the door right away. I promise, if you're not around it you're not tempted. 
  • EAT CARBS! - This has been one of my biggest struggles, because I know low carb dieting leads to fast weight loss..however, it also leads to an insanely cranky Jess. So, I gave that up. I'm eating clean which now includes fruit, bread and wraps (before 4pm) and sometimes a healthy baked good!
  • Don't get discouraged - Once you hit day 3, you won't miss a thing about unhealthy eating. You'll have more energy and feel better in your skin. PROMISE!
  • Know that you are not going to die. - Enough said.
  • Find a buddy!! Mine is pushing and motivating me every day. Her name is Emily and we met through blogging, and now we're partnering up for the Bikini Series! Randomly enough she went to college in the same town that my boyfriend grew up in! We may live states away, but her check-ins push me to do better! Check out her blog here!
  • Plan out your week - meal by meal. This is another one that you don't believe until you actually try it. As soon as I started to write down what I was having at which meal, all that guess work just disappeared. Without the guessing, you're less likely to slip up and make unhealthy choices.
So there you have it. Tips on how to eat clean and healthy. This is my week 2... so I'll update you on the progress soon :)

Monday, April 29, 2013

Weekend Catch Up!

I feel like starting this post in the same way my friend Kait started hers... "I'd say Happy Monday, but I genuinely feel like starting with an oxymoron is the wrong way to go..." God bless her wittiness.

Today was hard to start...my weekend was filled with fun and I didn't want it to end. Joe-Joe and I went out of cell phone range on Saturday...which actually isn't hard to do. Drive 30 minutes outside of Madison and you're in the middle of nowhere. That's the Midwest for ya. Anyway... we drove out of town and hung out with friends all day. Played softball and ultimate Frisbee (yes, I'm embarrassing at both) and even ended the night with a campfire!

Look how cute the fire ring is with the deer on it!
On Sunday I went for a 6 mile bike ride by myself, and then Joe joined in. We had friends that needed help moving a mattress so we rode down to their place which is about 1.5 miles away. The fact that we're able to ride our bikes to a friends house makes me the happiest person!! It definitely made me fall more in love with Madison...not sure if the Winter is worth it yet. We'll see!

Still can't believe that I got my  bike for only $20!
Other than that, I've really been diving into the Tone It Up Bikini Series!! Its been such great motivation to get me moving and to eat clean. If you haven't checked out their website yet... do it!! The 4 winners of the Bikini Series get to go ANYWHERE on an all expenses paid vacation. HOLLA. Check it out :) Everyone needs to challenge themselves!

You can see all my check-ins on Instagram! CarpeTheSangria!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Cake For Breakfast with Perfect Fit Protein

Today I played around with some healthy baking. I really wanted to make something that hits the sweet spot and fills me up, but that doesn't ruin a day of clean eating. Here's what I came up with!!

Pear Breakfast Cake
Ingredients (Makes 2 Servings)
  • 1/4 cup Gluten-Free Baking Flour (or, you can combine other gluten free flours you already have like chickpea or almond)
  • 1 scoop Perfect Fit Protein
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 packets Truvia
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 2 TBSP Coconut Oil
  • 1 Pear
  1. Preheat oven to 410 degrees.
  2. Dice the pear into small chunks.
  3. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and hand mix.
  4. Pour batter into a greased small cake pan and bake for 10-12 minutes.
This recipe is great for early in the day or as a dessert treat after lunch!

I decided to top mine with Greek yogurt... 1/4 cup Greek yogurt + cinnamon + pinch of Truvia. Seriously yummy.

Let me know if you try it!!

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Protein Pancake

Good morning y'all! I'm so glad it's Friday. Despite having a day off this week, it still felt like it took forever to get here! 

Today I'm giving you guys some recipes for Protein Pancakes! Why are protein pancakes so good to have in the morning? The proof is in the name...protein. Protein helps to fill you up and keeps your hunger monster (that loud, embarrassing growling thing in your stomach) at bay for longer than any other food! It also balances out the carbohydrates that you eat at the same time, so, without protein you would experience a high spike in blood glucose...but with protein you create a less dramatic spike, which keeps your body working at its best! On top of all that, it feeds your muscles that you worked so hard! 

Below are a few of my favorite kinds.

Perfect Fit Protein Pancake
(Original Recipe by Tone It Up!)
  • 1/4 cup Egg Whites
  • 1 scoop Perfect Fit Protein Powder (Find at: PerfectFitProtein.com; if you don't have this, try a low calorie, high protein powder in vanilla flavor..something like Designer Whey is easy to find at stores)
  • 2 tbsp Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon (SO GOOD)
  • 1/2 Banana
  • Combine all ingredients in a blender...and blend. 
  • Heat pan to medium and spray with cooking spray.
  • Cook just like a pancake!
Confession: I have not yet mastered the Perfect Fit Protein Pancake flip...I always end up with a scramble. 

Oatmeal Protein Pancake
  • 1/4 cup Old Fashioned Oats
  • 1/4 cup Egg Whites
  • 1 scoop Protein Powder
  • 1 tbsp Ground Flaxseed
  • 2 tbsp Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 1 packet Truvia
  • (optional: 1 tsp Cinnamon!)
  • Combine all ingredients together in a bowl until well blended.
  • Heat pan to medium and spray with cooking spray.
  • Cook just like a pancake!

Greek Yogurt Protein Pancake
  • 1/3 cup Greek Yogurt (I love Fage 0%)
  • 1/3 cup Egg Whites
  • 1/2 cup Oat Flour
  • 1 scoop Protein Powder
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • In a bowl, mix egg whites using a fork or whisk.
  • Add yogurt, and mix well.
  • Add oat flour, mix well.
  • Add cinnamon, mix well.
  • Heat pan to medium and spray with cooking spray.
  • Cook just like a pancake!
  • Make small pancakes instead of one large massive one, trust me, I know from experience :)
  • If you think the batter seems too dry, just add more Almond Milk 1 tbsp at a time.
  • Top with almond butter, fresh fruit or a little bit of natural maple syrup to change up the flavor.
  • Cinnamon...seriously, try it. It tastes awesome!
  • Practice makes perfect. Don't give up after just 1 try...

What's your favorite protein pancake?
What's your favorite protein powder?


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

How to: Infuse Water

This weekend I FINALLY invested in a pitcher that has a special spot for fruit!
Prodyne® Fruit Infusion Pitcher

Beyond being perfect for making my sangrias, I'm also going to use it to flavor water throughout the week. Typically the only liquids I drink are water, coffee, and your assortment of beer, wine or champagne. The beer, wine and champagne only happen on weekends...so throughout the week I only drink water and coffee. As you can imagine, water gets pretty damn boring after a while. I used to try those Crystal Light packets but I hate the taste of that fake sugar. (if you know me, then you know I stash Truvia like a pack-rat in all of my bags so that I never have to use Splenda in a coffee shop haha).

But, besides adding lemon to water...what else is there? Here are a few ideas and some of my favorites! For all of these, let the fruit infuse overnight!
  • Lemon Water: 1/2 lemon per pitcher
  • Strawberry Mint: 3 sliced strawberries, several mint leaves (crush them so the flavor comes out)
  • Pineapple: 6 chunks of fresh pineapple
  • All Citrus'd Out: 1/4 lemon, 1/4 lime, 1/2 orange
Let me know if you have any favorites!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tone It Up Bikini Series!

Have you heard of Tone It Up?! I found them 3 years ago right before the 1st Bikini Series...and now, they've launched the 3rd Annual Bikini Series! I can tell that this is going to be the best one yet, because as soon as I signed up I got a Bikini Series Welcome Pack emailed to me! It's 5 pages of motivation, tips and recipes that will help you through even the diciest of days. My goal right now? Tone It Up for my cousin's wedding! She's getting married June 15th and I want to feel confident in that bridesmaids dress! 

Now, in honor of the bikini series I am going to share my Green Goddess Smoothie from this morning. Don't ask me what makes it a goddess smoothie, it just sounds nice. This smoothie also conencides with the 7-Day Green Smoothie Challenge from Katherine at The Real Food Runner! 2 birds, 1 stone..I like it.

First, you'll need to prep some spinach ice cubes. They will look gross, but I promise you that you won't be able to taste it in the smoothie! To make these, add 1/4 cup water to your blender. Fill to the top with spinach, but don't cram it in there, just let the spinach settle where it may. Turn the blender on and blend until spinach leaves appear to have liquefied  Add more spinach in the same manner, and blend. I repeated this step 3 times in total. I ended up with a thicker "paste" if you will of spinach and water. Pour the paste into an ice cube tray and let freeze.

3/4 cup Mango Fruit Blend (from Target)
1/2 cup Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla
2 Spinach Ice Cubes
1 Scoop (or packet) Perfect Fit Protein Powder (found here)

Add fruit, spinach, protein powder and almond milk (in that order).
Blend! You should get a creamy consistency smoothie from this recipe because there's nothing I hate more than an icy smoothie.



Sunday, April 21, 2013

Quick and Easy Recipes!

Here's hoping your weekend was filled with fun, relaxation and maybe some naps? Somehow I managed to get a nap in yesterday AND today. Not complaining.

Yesterday was the spring football game at Penn State, Blue vs. White! I hate missing the spring game because you get to see so many friends, tailgate with yummy food and play games. Stump is Joe-Joe's favorite game (you need a stump, hammer and nails...sounds safe, right?), whereas I'm more of a corn-hole (bean bag toss) fan. Since we couldn't make it home to PA, we decided to celebrate here in Wisco while watching the Pittsburgh Pens play the Boston Bruins. That game was a win-win no matter what! Although the Pens did end up winning!
Love him.

Joe-Joe didn't even let me win! UGH!

After that, we went to DSW and I exchanged some shoes that KILLED my feet for some that are more comfortable. Speaking of shoes, I don't think my feet were made to wear flats. Every pair I try to wear hurt, make blisters, and just make me mad in general. If you have any suggestions for a comfy pair of flats... feel free to send them my way!!

Okay, so onto the recipes I've promised. First up...Hummus! I hate to admit this, but I've never made my own homemade hummus. I always think about it, but then end up taking the easy way out and buying some at the store. So today, I changed that! It's actually amazing how easy it is, and how versatile. Below is the basic recipe I used!

Homemade Hummus

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 - 16 oz. cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed (keep liquid from can)
  • 2/3 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  1. Add all ingredients to blender or food processer (I use my trusty Ninja blender)
  2. After blending for about 30 seconds, open and scrap down the sides. If hummus seems to thick, add liquid from chickpea can to smooth it out and get desired consistency.
And the best part about hummus...you can do whatever you want with it! Tonight, I added extra garlic marinated olives that I had in the fridge (and needed to get rid of).  They blend right in and it created an Olive Tampenade Hummus. Fancy right? Next time I'm going to add Roasted Red Pepper!

Homemade Hummus on Flax Seed Crackers!

And for dessert....

Grilled Banana Split
  • 1 Banana
  • 2 Large Strawberries, sliced
  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt, plain, nonfat
  • Carob (or dark chocolate) chips
  • 1 packet Truvia

  1. Peel banana and slice in half
  2. Heat pan to medium-high, spray with cooking spray and place banana halves flat on pan.
  3. Cook for 3 minutes, flip, and cook for 2 more minutes.
  4. While cooking banana, blend 1/3 cup Greek yogurt with 1/2 packet Truvia. Set aside.
  5. Place banana on plate, pour Greek yogurt overtop and garnish with strawberries and carob chips.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Blood Orange Sangria

What I'm Making Tonight.... Blood Orange Sangria!

But first, let's continue to pray for Boston and all of the law enforcement agents charged with capturing this man. My thoughts go out to all in the area. Be thankful for all of the wonderful people you have in your life, and always know good will conquer evil.

Tonight, Joe-Joe and I will be staying in. He was gone this week for work and has things to catch up on--plus, we have some Dexter to watch!

As promised, here is a sangria recipe. It's one of my favorites. I didn't want to wait to post it until I made it (around 7pm), so I hope you still have time to run out and grab the ingredients before your Friday night begins!

Blood Orange Sangria


  • 1 Bottle White Wine (I use Cupcake Sauvignon Blanc for this recipe)
  • 6 Blood Oranges
  • 1 can Diet Sprite
  • 1/2 cup Brandy
  • 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 cup sliced pineapple


  • Juice 4 of the blood oranges and combine with wine, brandy and diet sprite in a pitcher. 
  • Chop up remaining fruit and place in pitcher. 
  • Let chill for at least 1 hour. 
  • Serve it up in cute glasses :)

Let me know if you give it a try, and enjoy your weekend!


Wednesday, April 17, 2013


So, as you may have read I recently became an ENERGYbits Brand Ambassador! I'm in love with all that they do for me. More energy during my afternoon slumps, better workouts and vitamins!  The cool thing about being an ambassador is I can offer you a really good discount! By using the code CarpeTheSangria at checkout you'll get 30% off your order!! Below is some more information, and if you want to try a sample or have more questions...feel free to comment or shoot me an email :)
ENERGYbits give you natural energy without the sugar, caffeine or chemicals. They are 100% spirulina algae, which has the highest concentration of protein in the world--and all for just 1 calorie! I love that there's no fillers or other ingredients in them (making them gluten-free!). Bits come in tiny "bits" (did I really just type that?) that you can swallow by the handful or chew whenever you're hungry, tired, or just want to have a better workout. I usually swallow 5 at a time. But, if you're afraid of swallowing pills that won't work for you...you'll have to chew lol. 
And, for all of my Tone It Up girls out there...you really can't get more LEAN, CLEAN, and GREEN than this. Protein is packed in each bit at just 1 calorie, the algae is NOT produced in a lab and is a food..not a supplement created with chemicals, and it's algae...literally GREEN.
I hope you'll think about being #PoweredByBits :)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Holy Moly, my blog just BLEW UP today and I can't say thank you enough! I now have over 200 followers!! Hello to all you newbs out there. Take some time to look around. CarpeTheSangria is all about healthy recipes, working out, fun stories and, of course, sangria!

Huge shoutout to MamaLaughlin! Her first feature of me has helped me meet so many new people. Thanks, Mama!

Now, onto some more crazy news. I am now officially a Sweat Pink Ambassador! An amazing community charged with empowering all women to live a healthy lifestyle and kick ass....and who says you can't do it in pink shoes? CarpeTheSangria and Sweat Pink are a match made in heaven. Healthy living with tons of fun! I can't wait to see  who I'll meet and what awesome things are in store...both for me, and you!

In other awesome news...I rode my new bike for the first time! I haven't really been on a bike since I fell back in the 2nd grade. So conquering that fear was cool...along with the 6 mile ride I had that burned 287 calories (gotta love heart rate monitors!). I only paid $20 for my bike, but after today I think I need to invest a little more in the seat...because you sure do feel every bump on the road! My butt is gonna be sore tomorrow! If you're a cyclist I would LOVE some tips on what kind of seat to get! Thanks :)
This route had a serious hill!

Isn't she a BEAUT!
This Friday I will be featuring a brand new SANGRIA recipe in honor of all the exciting things that have happened this week. As always, it will be delicious and make you even more ready for summer (if that's possible at this point).

Monday, April 15, 2013

First Things First, Prayers for Boston

Before I get to my recipe for the day, I have to express my deepest sorrow for those at the Boston Marathon. Like most, I can't believe something like this would happen. I'll be sending prayers there and to anyone affected.

Today, I have a REALLY healthy recipe! But, you better like mushrooms! Also, this is gluten-free and vegan...yet still filling. See, it can be done!

Stuffed Portobello Mushroom
(adapted from ToneItUp)

  • 2 Portobello Mushrooms
  • 1 Pepper, chopped (or you can combine green, yellow and red like I did)
  • 3/4 cup Quinoa, uncooked
  • 1/3 cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 TBSP pepper
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cook quinoa according to directions on package. Add chopped pepper a few minutes before quinoa is completely cooked.
  • In a bowl, mix balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, garlic and pepper.
  • Coat the Portobello mushrooms with liquid mixture and place on greased baking sheet. Be sure to save at least 1/2 of the mixture for later!
  • Once the quinoa and peppers have finished cooking, stuff the mushroom. Drizzle leftover balsamic vinegar mixture onto mushrooms.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until toasted to your liking :)

Enjoy and let me know if you try!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Follow Friend Friday!

Hi y'all! I found FFF through WannabeGreen.net ... how did you find me?

Happy Friday, cheers to the weekend!


My Dream Job

What? I don't have my dream job right now? No, no I do not. My current job was a great opportunity to bring me from Hershey, Pennsylvania to Madison, Wisconsin. I learned how to interact with people of all types, made the switch from dietetic intern to young professional, and started to pay my own bills! I will be forever grateful for the opportunity they gave  me, however, I'm ready to move on. I need a job that I get fulfillment out of, one where I help people and make use of my strengths.

Side note...have you ever read Strengths Finder 2.0? If not, I highly suggest investing in a copy! I have taken this test twice in the past and both times received very similar strengths. It's exciting to get your top 5 strengths, and then read about them. The descriptions fit me to a "T" and I guarantee yours will too. So, what are my top 5? Empathy, Positivity, Relator, Developer, and Woo!

Okay, back to my dream job...I'm lucky in that I've already found it, there's just no openings right now. There is a local grocery store, Hy-Vee, that employs Registered Dietitians ON STAFF! I know, working in a grocery store helping people, does it get any better?? I interned at a grocery store in PA for 4 weeks so I know a little bit about what the job would entail. I was able to create informational signs and presentations, healthy recipes, lead cooking classes and counsel clients everyday. Not only did I use my creative side, but I used my nutrition knowledge as well. It was a dream come true! The days flew by and I enjoyed every experience. Here is a picture of me presenting a healthy recipe I created with items that were on sale that week...

See, I'm one happy camper at the grocery store!

And, here's the recipe!

Spinach, Apple and Avocado Salad with Mandarin Orange Dressing
  • Makes: 10 Servings
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • 2 packages fresh Spinach
  • ¼ cup chopped red onion
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 cup crumbled bleu cheese
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
  • 4 mandarin oranges, juiced
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  1. In a large bowl, toss together spinach, red onion, walnuts, and bleu cheese. Mix in the apple and avocado just before serving.
  2. In a container with a lid, mix the mandarin orange juice, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic and olive oil. Drizzle over the salad as desired.
Nutritional Information: 140 Calories, 10g Total Fat, 2 g Saturated Fat, 3 mg Cholesterol, 110 mg Sodium, 9g Carbohydrates, 9g fiber, 4g Protein

So, if you're reading this Hy-Vee. I'm your next RD!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Scaredy Cat

The Midwest has been blowing up with Thunderstorms over the past 2 days!! And Wisconsin is no exception. I've seen some crazy lightning and heard some loud thunder throughout my stay in this boring town I had to visit.

As I ran from the school I was at, to the car I drove in, I got to thinking about all things that I was scared of. Here's a breakdown:
  • Heights: I developed this one at some point in my teenage years. When I was little I would always jump off of the high dive, even dive off of it with no problem. Then, I just stopped. THEN I started to get vertigo when I would look over ledges or see really high buildings. I did a ropes course last year though, faced a little bit of my fear... definitely don't need to do that again for a while.
  • Scary Movies: Never have I EVER enjoyed a scary movie. Suspenseful movies sometimes, scary movies NEVER!! Joe-Joe always tries to get me to watch them, The Exorcism of Emily Rose and stuff like that. You would think after 4 years he would realize it ain't gonna happen.
  • Bugs, all kinds: GROSS. I don't like to see them, think about them, kill them, or read about them.
  • Falling off a bike: This happened to me when I was in 2nd grade and I've been scared of it ever since! I might buy a bike this weekend-- maybe there's hope to conquer this one yet!
  • Sharks: Completely sane fear and allowable. Nobody likes sharks.
  • Getting hit with a ball of any kind: I'm pretty sure this one stems from getting hit in the head by a bat when I was little. Yeah, my brother "didn't see me" and swung the bat full-on-fast right at my skull. Maybe this is why I'm scared to play summer league softball? It's all making sense now! (In my brother's defense, he felt really bad and got yelled at for a long time by my dad haha).
So, what are you scared of? Have you tried "facing it?"

To end, I'm going to prove I'm not a total Scaredy Cat with this photo...
I'm sorry if you are an animal rights activist, but I date a hunter. This was bound to happen sometime.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Circus, Safari, Bed Bugs...what?

Let's catch up...using pictures!! Here's my weekend and beginning of the week all at once.

We visited Joe's work this weekend. He's employed at one of the craziest decorated places ever, and I love finding new things every time we visit!

Fun wall of mirrors. Don't be jeal of my long legs.

Fireplace in the Circus Circus Conference Room

Such a beach babe.

Part of the cafeteria. Beautiful.

Safari Building...

Chevron wall.
And right now, I'm on the road again for work....
Hampton Inn has the best breakfast around. #Free #Cheapskate
Good workout. And I got the Beach Babe DVD on my tablet!! YESSSS

WORST conference to host a hotel! Bed Bugs? Gross!
And for my cheese loving best friend at home, I found this wonderful present:
Cow Shaped Cheese. #Wisconsin
I promise to have more fun things to say tomorrow.
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