Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Craving Killers: Hummus Meals

So last week I posted about Spinach Hummus (if you missed that post you can find it here) and today I'm going to share two complimentary meals that go well with it, you can it them separately, or serve them as a meal and a side. 

Green Salad Dressing

Yield: 2 Servings
Prep time: 10 minutes

You'll need:
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • 1 Roma Tomato
  • 4-6 Mini Bell Peppers
  • 1/2 Cucumber
  • 1/4 Cup Diced Mushrooms
  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tablespoons of Spinach Hummus (or as desired)

Put together your salad. I suggested some things that you can use, but always remember that the beautiful thing about salads is that any veggies can go together, so feel free to put whatever you want on it. :)

Mix your hummus with the lemon juice, as this will make it thinner and easier to mix. Put on your salad and enjoy! I also will add minced garlic sometimes, or a little bit of salt. It depends on what consistency you like. I personally don't like runny hummus, so I leave it a little thick. 

Rice and Hummus (Sorry, couldn't think of anything more original at the moment)

Yield: 2 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes

You will need:

Cook the rice, normal brown rice is healthier for you, so not using instant is better but you can if you like. If you have an InstaPot, cooking time is 8 minutes or so, if you don't, then 30 minutes with a rice-cooker. 

Warm the Spinach Hummus for about 1 minute until it's softened and reached a sauce like consistency (again you can add a little more lemon juice or water as a thinner). Serve on top of rice and enjoy! This is one of my favorite might be the rice lover within me, so I have to make just one serving of it or I'll totally stuff my face with it. 

(Take note, the picture shows regular hummus, so don't worry when the Spinach Hummus ends up being a paler green).

Monday, April 27, 2015

Week 1 Report

So, I've decided that I need to really tighten up the way I eat and exercise, so I'm doing Dr. Fuhrman's cleansing program which consists of eating lots of fruits and veggies, trying to eat at least a pound of vegetables, and a pound of steamed vegetables, and at least four fruits. No dairy, no sugar, only a cup of starch (so grains, rice, and potatoes) and no meat. I've been struggling with ice cream, my biggest weakness. It's been effecting my weight-loss goals and general lifestyle choices, so I've decided it's time to go back to the basics to get my lifestyle back under control. I've been writing up a report at the end of the week to compare how I can do better each week. So here it is!

Week 1: 4.20.15 – 4.27.15
Haha, this week was a little bit of a struggle. Monday was okay, but when I hit Tuesday I just wanted to eat, and EAT!! It was everything I could do to not go and buy ice cream. I texted Debs and she helped me out a ton. She walked me through the pros and cons of what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. I have to remember that I want to be healthier, and that I want to make better health choices. NOTE: When you struggle with something like this again, go through that text from Deb and review the lists that you put together with her.

I had a good talk with Dad and Adam about my fears with being able to break the 165lb point. They helped a lot. In essence, they both promised me that if I stick to the 12 week and if I actually do it, then I’ll break that point. My psyche still has a hard time believing them, but I owe it to myself to make good eating choices. Dad pretty much told me that I should really give my everything to this project so that I will see outstanding results. If I want to really break through, I need to exercise hard, and eat right. He’s right. I didn’t do the 6 week completely when I first got home, and I lost 20lbs doing it. [i]Now I’m at a point where I need to buckle down and be serious, because that is what it’s going to take.

Last night (the 27th) I announced in family time that I was going sugar and meat free, and that helped a lot, getting my goals out into the open. I told them I’m for sure going tell June 1st, though I’m probably going to push it past that to August 1st. I really want this to be a positive experience!

Struggles for this week: 
Breaking the sugar was hard, and when we went to eat at their cousins’ house I chose to eat cake and ice cream…BUT I only had one piece (and I didn’t let it mess with how I ate yesterday, and I haven’t eaten any of the sugar cookies Orson made!).

I eat granola bars, and need to stop, because they probably double my calorie intake, and yesterday I think that’s one of the reasons that my stomach really hurt… I want to be able to eat the foods I make without getting sick and too full…

I only ran once…

Solutions: Say no to granola bars, at least until June 1st. Because, you have one, and then two and then three…begin meal planning and make a grocery list based on that. Make garbanzo beans and such.

Keep staying firm on your decision to not eat sugar, and say no at social functions.

Run daily…even if it’s for ten minutes.

Benefits for this week: I feel skinnier in my clothes... I also did level three on the Daily Shred and I did a lot better than I thought I would. The cardio segments didn't leave me as breathless as I thought they would.

Weight as of 4.28.2015: 170lbs on the nose. 

[i] Remember that the weeks that you exercised daily, you lost 3 to 4 pounds a week!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Craving Killers: Spinach Hummus

I love how versatile hummus is! This one is especially yummy, and I eat it on everything. A fun suggestion: thin it out a little with water and then serve as a sauce with rice or pasta! (Or don't water it down, it's fine as it is. XD). I also have it as a sauce on top of my baked potatoes. It goes well with everything. :)

Spinach Hummus

Classic hummus goes deliciously green with a few handfuls of spinach thrown into the mix.
yield: ABOUT 2 CUPS

prep time: 5 MINUTES

total time: 5 MINUTES


  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans) drained, but reserve the liquid (about 1 1/3 cups)
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves 
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika, and then a pinch for topping, if desired.
Note: I prefer this with strong garlic. If your garlic isn't strong the flavor of the hummus will fall flat. Add just a little more based on your taste preferences, and feel free to do the same with the other seasonings. Most of the seasonings you add what the recipe suggests, and then, flavor to taste. 


  1. Add everything but the liquid from the chickpeas to the pitcher of a blender or food processor. Pulse, adding the bean liquid as needed to get things moving, until the hummus is completely smooth.
  2. Taste and add additional salt if desired.
  3. Scoop into a serving dish and sprinkle paprika if desired.
This recipe is a really good one...but I find I'm always tweaking it a little bit to get the exact flavor that I like. However, I just ordered better garlic (the last one had no taste at all) so I think that will greatly improve the consistency of the flavor. If that's the case, I'll just update the post. Meanwhile, if any of you try this and find something you like, let me know! 

- Shayla


Sunday, April 19, 2015

6:30 am...Gross!

When I was serving a mission we had a schedule that all missionaries in our mission were required to follow. It looked a little bit like this:

6:30 - Get up and exercise
7:00 - Shower/eat breakfast
8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. - Studies
1:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. - Serve
9:00 p.m. - 10:30 p.m. - Plan for the next day/go to bed.

Now the when I went to bed at 10:30, and got up at 6:30, I had 8 hours of sleep. Now as a college student I average like 5 to 6 hours of sleep a night. So at that time I should have had plenty of sleep.

If only that were so.

I was always so tired! Partly we worked really hard all the time, and we built up a lot of fatigue. So when that alarm went off at 6:30, we both felt a little like this:

What's that sound? body is dying...

Won't someone do something about that noise?!?!?

Target Identified
Needless to say, we weren't keen on getting out of bed. Even though we did, because we wanted to follow the schedule, our exercises weren't always very effective. I've learned that when I'm tired I react in an interesting way. If I'm a little exhausted I don't want to work out, just don't have the energy. But when I've had four hours of sleep, that's when I'm ready to tackle a triathlon. I have my theories, but I'm pretty sure that my rational mind dies when I get less than 5 hours of sleep...

Now that I'm at home and I don't have a specific schedule that I'm required to follow I exercise at very different times. Often I exercise in the late morning...or the late afternoon...or late at night. I've learned that I need to be awake and focused in order to go workout. I'm not that way when I've just gotten out of bed.

While it is probably more effective to start your day exercising, and people say it gives you more exercise for the day etc., but really, if that doesn't work for you, don't feel like you have to exercise then. When you can do it, and when you are happiest doing it is the best time to do it. Just as long as you do it.



Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Craving Killers: Chocolate Fruit Dip (aka Chocolate Hummus)

I. Love. This. So much. Chocolate is addictive (I'll write a post about that soon enough...when I'm ready to admit it), and incredible. But this dip is perfect with any fruit. My favorite is raspberries, but I love it with bananas, apples, strawberries...anything I can get my hands on. Don't let the ingredients fool you, it tastes like chocolate, looks like chocolate, and is better than chocolate. There's no guilt, no sugar, and no dairy (also gluten free!). Perfect for me!

Chocolate Hummus


1/4 cup almonds (walnuts are also good)
5 pitted dates (about 1 cup if you have pre-cut like me)
15-ounce can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained (1 1/3 cups)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup vanilla soy milk (any milk works. If you buy an unsweetened/non-vanilla variety just remember to compensate by adding a little more date and vanilla)


  1. Place the almonds in a food processor and process until you have almond butter, 5 or more minutes.
  2. Pour in the remaining ingredients and puree until smooth.
  3. Enjoy immediately with sliced fruit or pretzels and store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.
This is best when it's cold, but good when warm too. I love this recipe! I make it all the time. 

This makes enough for about 6, with 107 calories per serving (a serving is a lot of dip), and if you add 1 cup mixed berries, that only another 70 calories. So this dessert is only 177 calories total, not bad considering how much food it is for a snack/dessert. 




Monday, April 6, 2015

Motivational Moment

The horror movie themed font was not lost on me... 



Sunday, April 5, 2015

First Time Running With Wanlass

I remember the first time that I went to run with my good friend Becca. We were both serving as missionaries for the LDS church (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). It was my first time out teaching, so she was my trainer. In the end, she became my good friend and mentor.

Our days always started with exercising, and Becca was an avid runner. I would run occasionally before I met her, but more because I knew that it was an effective way to lose weight then because I actually liked it. But Becca, Becca loves running.

That first morning was especially beautiful. We had decided that we were going to run outside and get to the know the area since we were both new to the neighborhood. We had been there for about a week, but this was the first real run we were going to take.

We ran up the stairs from our basement apartment and ran into our land-lady as she was getting ready for work. Jan Scarlet was a small woman with sparkling eyes. We loved her. She had a chocolate bowl that she kept stocked just for us, and though we'd complain that she was trying to sabotage our goals, we loved it.

"Where are you headed?" She asked, glancing down at our running shorts and t-shirts.

"We're going to go running! I'm so excited!" Becca enthused.

"Oh are you?" She nodded toward the window. "Have you looked outside?"

Immediately I ran to the window. The trees were covered with a thick layer of snow, a beautiful contrast with the blossoms that covered it. The grass was covered as well, but the sidewalk, still warm from the 50 degree weather of the day before, was clear. It was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen.

I looked over at Becca who had joined me at the window. Her eyes were bright, and her smile wide. I turned to Jan.

"Yep, we're going out."

And so we ran.

I didn't run very quickly, but Becca was kind enough to go slowly and we loved the snow. The air was crisp, the snow beautiful. The tree branches hung lowly, and we had to duck to keep from getting dumped on by the snow.

I started to love running that day. I still go running in the snow, but I've never gone a run that felt as magical as that one did.

Thanks for the run Becca.



Saturday, April 4, 2015

Eat Right = Love Shopping

So I've never been much of a girly girl (well except when I was young...loved dresses so much!). But when I started gaining weight, my outfits became more boyish, and I struggled with dressing stylishly. I hated shopping. I also had a hard time food shopping...I'd just buy what I wanted to eat: chocolate and hot pockets. I knew I needed to eat healthily, but I didn't know what foods. I hated shopping.

But now that I'm learning about what foods make me feel healthy and energetic, it's a lot easier to go shopping. Now that I know what I can eat it's easier to plan for meals. Now that I've lost weight, clothes shopping has become easier too. Even though I'm not at my goal weight I still feel much more comfortable in my clothes.

It's all due to eating what makes your body happy: and I don't mean what satisfies your cravings. One of my favorite quotes is "Find the way of life you love, then have the courage to live it." For me, the life I'm discovering has made me free. First my religion as a member if the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints allows me to rely on my Savior, Jesus Christ. This brings me a lot of peace. Since I've been able to learn to forgive myself, I've found that I don't worry so much. That lets me focus on other things.

Second: learning to eat correctly has helped me learn how to be free of my food addictions. I've been learning that what I want isn't always what my body craves. The food I want fills me, helps me reach my fitness goals, and helps me want to exercise. The food my body wants makes me feel nauseous, keeps me tired, sabotages my health goals, and wastes my budget.

I rarely impulse buy a banana, but when I do it only costs me $1.50 (at the super expensive college store) and 90 calories (10 minutes on the treadmill), whereas when I breakdown and buy the rocky-road fudge I lose $5.50 and it has about 435 calories...40 to 50 minutes on the treadmill. It costs me a lot more, in time and money.

Some fudge now and then is fine, but every time I walk past it? Really? I don't need that. I don't like to feel like I'm not in control, and for a long time I was controlled by food. Now I'm slowly breaking free. Some days are better than others, but it's a gradual process. Yet, even though I feel like I have a long way to go, things have gotten better!

I love going to the store now. Sometimes the larges I grab are way too big, and the mediums fit just right...I love when I overestimate my size. It means I have changed more than I thought. I love trying new foods! I buy gluten free crackers, fruits and vegetables that I haven't tried before, I live on Pinterest, it is a great resource for new recipes.

Some days shopping is still stressful, but now I'm coming to enjoy it more and more, because now I know what I want, and I'm not fighting all the chocolate that surrounds me. I've already said no, and I stick to it. :)

Change one aspect of your life for the better, and the whole of your life will get better. Seeing that in your life is the coolest thing!

- Shayla


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Here's the Dish: Potato Hash

Here's one of my favorite home recipes. Proof that veggies are meant to be together! This is a child of boredom, but was well worth it...I make this almost daily. Super cheap, and is fast to prepare.

You will need:
1 Russet Potato

3 Mini Bell Peppers (I use the red and yellow for color)
1/2 Medium Onion
1/4 Cup Carrots

2 Mushrooms
1/2 Tomato
1/4 Avocado

2 Corn Tortillas

1 tsp Salt 
1 tsp Pepper
Seasoned salt to taste

Slice the potato and start to simmer (I use water instead of oil). The thinner you slice it, the faster it will cook. Let it simmer on the stove while you prep the onions, peppers, and carrots. 

Slice the onions into strips and chop the carrots and peppers. When your potatoes are cooked about half way add the veggies.

(You may need to add more water to keep the veggies from sticking, but don't add too much or you'll boil instead of saute)

Cut the mushrooms, tomato and avocados. When the other veggies are cooked, add the last group of veggies and let it sit for a few minutes. Add salt, pepper and seasoned salt.

Warm the tortillas.

Remove from the stove and serve! I add Tapatío to spice it up.


- Shayla