Mind Fish Co. Tuna Fish Review

Mind Fish Co. Tuna Fish Review

When you think “high protein, high quality” snack, you never really default to “canned meat.”  At least, that’s not typically my go-to.  I got the chance to try out Mind Fish Co. canned tuna, and am so glad I did because this isn’t something I have ever bought in the store.  Mind Fish Co. is an interesting company because it supports sustainable fishing practices in an effort to preserve and manage the fish in the ocean.  The brand is partnered with the Marine Stewardship Council (MCS) and adheres to its principles and criteria for sustainable fishing.  Mind Fish Co. has also collaborated with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program which supports healthy oceans and minimal environmental impact from fishing.

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The products I tried were the pole and line caught wild Maldives Skipjack Tuna in both spring water and olive oil.  When I opened the cans, the meat didn’t look like cat food, so that was an immediate plus.  The fish looked and tasted incredibly fresh, and I fell in love with the tastiness and convenience of this meal option.  And, as an even more added bonus, the macros are exceptional.  One can of the tuna in spring water is P30/C0/F1, and the olive oil option adds 16g of fat.

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I tried a few different ways of eating this.  Here are my favorites:

  1. Mixed with greek yogurt, paprika, cayenne, and salt&pepper, and used as a dipper for veggie sticks (or crackers/chips). This came out similar to the consistency of buff chick dip (depending on how much greek yogurt you use), and you can also add buffalo sauce or regular sriracha to make it even more spicy and like buffalo dip.
  2. Mixed with mashed avocado, paprika, chili powder, and salt&pepper for a healthy tuna salad.  You can add celery or cucumber or anything else in the mix for a nice crunch.  What I did instead was layer some cucumber or zucchini on a Joseph’s Lavish Bread and then put the tuna mixture on top and wrapped it up.  I still got the crunch without having to chop up the veggies and mix them in.  This is a weekly staple in my meal plan now – it’s so tasty, full of healthy fats from the avocado, protein from the tuna, and is very satisfying.

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Mind Fish Co. products are now sold on Amazon, so purchasing them is super easy!  I’m so interested to see how you can incorporate this tuna into your meal prep!  Message or comment my your ideas, and tag me in your posts @LiftinLuxe #LitfinLuxe !

Stay fit and friendly to the environment, all!

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Oatmeal Cookies, Five Ways

Oatmeal Cookies, Five Ways

I really do believe that oats are one of the most versatile ingredients that you can have in your pantry.  They can be prepared as intended as oatmeal, and varied by adding virtually any mix-ins to make them either sweet or savory.  Or both!  [I’ll digress here for a moment and leave the menu for NYC’s Oatmeals as oatspiration – I dare you to tell me they’re are boring after seeing this selection.]

Another thing I like about oats is that they’re low maintenance AF.  They can be cooked on the stove, in the microwave, in the oven, or not even cooked at all and just soaked overnight in the fridge.  Talk about easygoing.

I also happen to love the way plain unflavored/unsweetened oats taste, though I know I’m the only person in the world to hold this opinion.  Welcome to the plain oats party, population me.

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Anyways, I decided to use the world’s most versatile ingredient and experiment with different flavor profiles in cookies.  Scroll down for the ingredients for my five of my favorite combinations.  In each of the recipes, all I did was mix all of the ingredients in a bowl and then spoon onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper – prep time for each was literally 5-10 minutes.  Individual nutrition facts and baking time are listed for each.

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Banana Pepita

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Why they’re great: These are the OG oatmeal cookie.  They’re quick and easy, there’s no added sugar asides from what’s in the banana, and the batter is easy to work with and not messy at all.  They’re also really versatile – you can add almost any mix-ins (any nut/seed, or any type of chocolate/candy) and they will still be yummy.

Why you can skip them: I’ve got nothing.  If you make ONE of these recipes, it should be this one.

Ingredients: 

  1. 1 cup oats
  2. 1 banana
  3. 1 oz pepitas (pumpkin seeds) – you can swap this for any mix-in that you prefer
  4. 1 egg
  5. 1 tsp vanilla
  6. Cinnamon to taste
  7. 1/4 tsp baking soda
  8. 1/2 scoop protein (I used Rootz Nutrition – Use code LUXE for 10% off!)

Bake for 9-10 minutes at 400 degrees fahrenheit.  Yield for the ingredients listed above is 2 giant cookies, or 4 regular sized ones.

Stats Per Cookie (I made two giant cookies out of the whole recipe) – Calories 341 P15/C50/F9.

Maple Hazelnut

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Why they’re great:  These are simple, easy to make, and have a great crunch.  I actually didn’t think they’d hold together cause the batter looked more like granola than cookie dough, but they cooperated nicely.  They’re also pretty low in calories. They also photograph the best of all of the cookies that I made.

Why you can skip them: These aren’t very sweet and have a mild flavor.  If you’re trying to mask the flavor of oats, you’ll have to add more sweetener.

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup oats
  2. 2 tbsp maple syrup (or sweetener of choice)
  3. 1 egg
  4. 1 tsp vanilla
  5. Cinnamon to taste
  6. 1 oz hazelnuts

Bake for 8 minutes at 400 degrees fahrenheit.  Yield for the ingredients listed above is 2 giant cookies, or 4 regular sized ones.

Stats Per Cookie (I made two giant cookies out of the whole recipe) – Calories 297 P10/C38/F11.

Pumpkin

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Why they’re great: I love the flavor of pumpkin, and adding the pumpkin seeds gave them great texture.  These were unconventional but really good!

Why you can skip them: Posting this recipe during the springtime is extremely out of season, and I understand if you’re not trying to incorporate this very typical fall flavor into your meal prep.  Asides from that, these were delicious.

Ingredients: 

  1. 1 cup oats
  2. 1/2 cup pumpkin (plain pumpkin puree, with nothing added)
  3. 1 egg
  4. 1 oz pepitas
  5. 1 tsp vanilla
  6. 1 tbsp maple syrup
  7. 1/4 tsp baking soda
  8. Cinnamon to taste
  9. Pumpkin pie spice to taste

Bake for 10-12 minutes at 400 degrees fahrenheit.  Yield for the ingredients listed above is 2 giant cookies, or 4 regular sized ones.

Stats Per Cookie (I made two giant cookies out of the whole recipe) – Calories 300 P11/C45/F8.

PB&J

[These were really under-photographed and I’m not sure why…]

Why they’re great: I really only kept this section here for consistency with the other variations.  No one should be questioning why these are great.

Why you can skip them: These were incredibly messy to make.  The batter was pretty difficult to work with, and was really sticky.

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup oats
  2. 1 egg
  3. 3/4 c greek yogurt (I used full fat but you can use whatever you like)
  4. 2 tbsp PB2
  5. 3 tbsp jelly
  6. 1/4 tsp baking soda
  7. 1/4 tsp salt (or to taste)
  8. Cinnamon to taste

Bake for 14-15 minutes at 400 degrees fahrenheit.  Yield for the ingredients listed above is 3 giant cookies, or 5-6 regular sized ones.

Stats Per Cookie (I made three giant cookies out of the whole recipe – Calories 300 P16/C40/F8.

Chocolate

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Why they’re great: Chocolate.

Why you can skip them: These were also incredibly messy.

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup oats
  2. 1 scoop protein of choice (I used vanilla)
  3. 1 egg
  4. 1 tbsp cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  5. 1 c greek yogurt (I used full fat)
  6. Chocolate (chips or a bar broken up)

Bake for 10-11 minutes at 400 degrees fahrenheit.  Yield for the ingredients listed above is 3 giant cookies, or 5-6 regular sized ones.

Stats (I made three giant cookies out of the whole recipe) – Calories 304 P22/C27/F12.

To those of you who read through to the end – Thank you, and I love you and appreciate your support.  Tag me when you try my recipes 🙂 @liftinluxe #liftinluxe !

Stay fit and fab, all!

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I Cooked Dinner After Work For Myself Every Day For A Week…

I Cooked Dinner After Work For Myself Every Day For A Week…

I love doing my grocery shopping every week, and I love doing a weekly meal prep, but I don’t always love coming home from work and then having to cook something.  I don’t cook every night, but I also don’t cook everything I need for the week on the weekend either (unless I’m anticipating a very busy week with work).  Most often, I will cook 1-2 times per week, cook extra, and have leftovers the rest of the nights.  Sometimes I’ll throw together something like a salad that I don’t have to do any cooking for.  Though I don’t often have a freshly cooked meal every single night, a couple of weeks ago I decided I would give it a try and cook myself a fresh one-serving meal every night (Monday-Thursday).  For the week, I had at my disposal plenty of avocado, frozen raw chicken, eggs, brussels sprouts,  cauliflower, and a variety of noodles/pastas.

A few things before I start.  I don’t have a dishwasher, so I did spend a significant amount of time doing dishes.  This would have been a LOT easier if I had a dishwasher to help with the cleanup.  Second, I have been practicing intermittent fasting for a while now, and depending on my schedule at work sometimes dinner is my only real meal.  That said, I am not going to really comment on my portion sizes, because I think everyone’s dinner is going to look different depending on the type of diet they follow, and their goals at the moment.  The real purpose of this post is less to show you how much dinner I am eating, and rather to show a few meals that can reasonably be thrown together after a full day at work.

Monday -Brussels sprouts, spaetzle, chicken, and a fried egg 

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I am always on the fence about committing to making brussels sprouts.  I love the way they taste, but they’re pretty tedious to prepare because you have to cut them if you want them to cook quickly and evenly, and to prevent me from chopping my fingers off I cut them up one by one.  For this meal I decided to go for it, and I sauteed the brussels sprouts in chili powder, salt, and pepper, boiled the spaetzle, and then combined the spaetzle with the brussels in the pan and sauteed that all together.  I cooked the chicken in the same spices, chopped it up, and then tossed that together with the spaetzle and the brussels.  Lastly, I fried up an egg and laid that on top of the assembled plate.  I didn’t use any oil in this meal, and the spices and juices from the chicken and brussels sprouts helped to give more flavor to the spaetzle, and then I let the runny egg get all over everything before I dug in.  This was delicious, and pretty easy clean up because it was just one pot, one pan, one bowl, and a knife and cutting board.

Tuesday – Brussels sprouts, spaetzle, avocado, and chicken 

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I enjoyed the spaetzle so much on Monday that I made it again on Tuesday.  I didn’t combine the spaetzle and brussels sprouts in the pan this time, but plated it all separately (but then mixed it all together in my bowl before I ate it anyway).  This meal is basically the same as Monday’s, except for the fact that I swapped out the fried egg for avocado smash.  I again didn’t use any oil while cooking, but the avo smash helped to make a sauce for the rest of the dish when I mixed it all together in the absence of the runny egg.  This was equally as delicious as Monday’s meal, with similar cleanup.

Wednesday – Chicken, and Barilla Plus high protein pasta with brussels sprouts 

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I sauteed the brussels sprouts in a little bit of butter, boiled the Barilla Plus pasta, and used some butter to dress the pasta as well.  I mixed the brussels sprouts in with the pasta, and laid the chicken (cooked with just salt and pepper) on top.  This was simple, easy, buttery, and delicious.  I really love the Barilla Plus high protein pasta because it helps me meet my protein goals without sacrificing any taste or texture.

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Bonus – I also had a snack before my meal of scrambled eggs and Mikey’s bread.  It was delicious.  I honestly learned how to cook scrambled eggs correctly from Frankie Celenza (Frankie Cooks) on a SnapChat discover video, and it changed the way I look at scrambled eggs.  Basically, you cook them on a very low heat, very slowly, and constantly move them around with a rubber spatula in circular motions as they cook.  They come out smooth and creamy, and almost look and taste like they have a ton of butter and cheese in them, but they don’t!  They take almost 3x as long to cook this way, but I highly recommend trying it.  Also, I really like the Mikey’s products.  My favorite are the english muffins, but they also make slices (pictured here), tortillas, pizza crust, and muffin tops! (And potentially more things, check their website!)  They’re a bit pricey, but they have very low net carbs if that’s your thing, and I think they’re worth a try.

Thursday – Chicken, cauliflower, edamame noodles, and a fried egg 

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This was my last day of cooking for the week, and I was honestly relieved.  I couldn’t back out of cooking this day even if I wanted to because I didn’t have any leftovers, and I had nothing that I could really throw together cold.  I sauteed some cauliflower in chili pepper powder, salt, pepper, cumin, and turmeric, and cooked my chicken in salt and pepper.  I boiled some Explore Cuisine edamame pasta, and plated it up.  Lastly, I fried an egg and laid that on top.  This dish was the least saucy because I used so many spices on the cauliflower that the runny egg wasn’t really enough to juice up the dish.  Lesson learned!  Overall, this was tasty, and I love the edamame pasta because it provides more protein than it does carbs!  And the texture of it is more like pasta than any other carb-friendly pasta I’ve ever tried.

Final Thoughts: 

This was a lot of work, but mostly because of having to wash pots every single night.  It was definitely nice to have so many freshly prepared meals, and I think I will try incorporating more cooking after work into my plans.  It’s really not so bad once you get into the swing of the routine, and as long as you don’t let the dishes get backed up.

What do you think? Will you try to incorporate more cooking into your evening routine? Let me know in the comments, and tag me in your freshly cooked meals @liftinluxe #liftinluxe !

Stay fit and freshly cooked, all!

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Homemade Healthy Bagels

Homemade Healthy Bagels

Try to tell me that bagels aren’t one of the top 3 most satisfying carbs and I will call bullshit on you immediately.  Maybe it’s the native New Yorker in me, or maybe it’s because bagels are life, but whenever there’s a bagel in my general vicinity I can hardly resist at least a piece of one with a smear (or slather) of cream cheese or butter.  My all time favorite go-to bagel order is either the OG BEC, or lox with scallion cream cheese.  If I’m feeling extra wild, a classic PB&J also hits the spot.

Unfortunately, for me at least, bagels haven’t been an every-day luxury since high school, and with all the yummy foods at my fingertips in NYC sometimes they don’t make it onto my cheat meal (day) agenda either.  I never thought to try to make them myself, but a friend of mine introduced me to the easiest recipe, and was pleasantly surprised when I tried them!  The recipe is, at its most simple, potentially only two ingredients – equal parts self-rising flour and Greek yogurt.  You can also customize it with whatever kind of flour you like, and top the bagels before baking them with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, everything but the bagel seasoning, and the list could go on.  I topped mine with nutritional yeast and sesame seeds.  I bet they’d also be really good with a garlic and oil baste!

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I kept the leftovers in the refrigerator and stored them for about a week.  They are best when toasted, and actually maintain that doughy consistency once heated up that I so love in a bagel, while still remaining crisp on the outside.  All week I brought them to work and heated them up with some Gouda as an afternoon snack, and then this weekend I slathered my last one in avo smash and ate it with my runny eggs.  Customizable and versatile, this recipe is definitely going to be one that stays in my rotation for a while.

Let’s get started!

Ingredients

(Basically, you want equal parts flour/Greek yogurt, and you can make this recipe with just these two ingredients if you use self-rising flour.  You can mess around with the types of flour that you use, but make sure to adjust the ratios accordingly.  This recipe made 4 mini bagels, and would make probably 2 regular ones, but on the smaller side.)

  1. 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (I used 2%, but you can use whatever % fat content fits your lifestyle)
  2. 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  3. 2 tbsp white flour
  4. 2 tbsp coconut flour
  5. 3/4 tsp baking powder
  6. Pinch of salt
  7. Nutritional yeast (to sprinkle on top)
  8. Sesame seeds (to sprinkle on top)

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Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F, and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the flours, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Add the Greek yogurt and mix until combined.  Don’t overmix, and you might want to switch to mixing with your hands once the greek yogurt becomes less messy
  4. Divide your dough into however many bagels you want to make (I made 4 minis with this recipe).
  5. Roll out the dough with your hands into a long skinny cylinder.  You are going to want to do this carefully, as the dough can be a little bit awkward to work with.  If you roll it out too roughly, it might collapse/break apart.  You can roll it with your hands to start and then once it starts to look like it’s getting brittle, you can stop rolling it and just start manipulating it with your hands to stretch it a bit more until you’re able to twist the cylinder into a bagel shape.
  6. Place the rolled out bagel onto the baking sheet and top with whatever toppings you like.  Press the toppings into the rolled bagels to make sure that they stick during the baking process.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes, and then increase the heat of your oven to 450 and bake for another 3-5.  Baking time will vary depending on the size of our bagels and your oven, but generally the bagels should be golden/crispy on the outside while still being doughy and soft in the middle.
  8. The bagels should be ready to slice soon after coming out of the oven, but be careful because they’ll be hot! (Obvi..I know I don’t have to tell you that.)
  9. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

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These bagels are the perfect treat, and you can eat them with your eggs, slather them with butter or cream cheese, or use them as the bread for any of your favorite sandwiches.  I would love to see how you guys customize these, so please try out this super easy recipe and tag me in your posts!  @liftinluxe #liftinluxe

Stay fit and full of bagels, all!

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Banana Oat Trail Mix Muffins

Banana Oat Trail Mix Muffins

My banana oat muffins have returned – and with a twist! Over the holidays my sister and I have always gotten really yummy candy and treats as stocking stuffers, which I’ll admit to have always eaten most of before New Year’s Day. This year was no different, but come the universal January 1st resolution to get back on track, I still hadn’t touched a little pouch of trail mix that was laced with dried fruit, peanuts, and various little chocolate candies – aka, everything I love to snack on. The pouch itself was about the size of one of those individual nuts packets you can find in vending machines, but since there was also dried fruit and candy within, the package was labeled to contain 4 servings and a whopping 680 calories total.

I had two options – open up the package in the hopes that I don’t nosh my way through the whole bag, essentially having half of my calories for the day in one fairly small snack; OR figuring out a way to use (but not actually eat) the whole bag in one sitting so it wasn’t sitting in my pantry opened, tempting me. I decided this was a perfect opportunity to revive my banana oat muffins, which I’d retired for a while during my days on keto (which, side note, I don’t think I’m done with for good), and the trail mix would replace the chocolate chips that I would normally include in the recipe. I’ll point out here that a substitution like this works with really any leftover candy/snacks you have lying around post-holiday-season (and really with any baked good recipe). Just remember that when you’re adding sweet mix-ins to a recipe, reduce the amount of actual sugar/sweetener in that recipe. And, if safely possible, before you incorporate your eggs into your batter give it a taste to see if it’s coming along as you envisioned.

Overall, this recipe substitution was a win-win for a few different reasons, and I’m excited to share this little leftover hack with you guys!  Normally I wouldn’t add nuts to these treats because I was never a big fan of nuts in baked goods (mostly because walnuts are in so many baked goods and I really just don’t like that flavor combination). However, I think the addition of peanuts gave the muffins a really great flavor (especially when paired with the banana), and also a great additional element of texture and crunch. I also normally wouldn’t have used a coated M&M type candy in these, but the candy coating bled into the oat mixture and actually gave the muffins a rainbow swirl, which was a pleasant surprise as far as I’m concerned.

Without further adieu, here’s everything you need to know:

Ingredients:

  1. Two cups oats (I used rolled oats, and not instant)
  2. Two bananas, mashed (Mine were medium sized, and very ripe)
  3. Two eggs (I used large)
  4. One cup Greek yogurt (any amount of fat is fine, I used 2%)
  5. 1.5 tsp baking powder
  6. 1/2 tsp baking soda
  7. 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  8. 1/8 tsp salt
  9. Cinnamon to taste
  10. Mix-ins of choice (I used a trail mix that contained peanuts, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, M&Ms, and raisins [which I picked out because I don’t like raisins])

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Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.  Lightly grease a muffin tin (you can use liners as well, but you still might want to grease them).  Mix all ingredients together (order doesn’t matter much, but I usually do the following:

  1. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl
  2. Mash the banana and combine mashed banana with eggs and greek yogurt
  3. Mix in the dry ingredients to the wet
  4. Fold in the mix-ins

Divide  batter among the muffin tin/cups (fill about 3/4 of the way).  Depending on your oven and size of your muffin tin, these will bake for 10-15 minutes.  I would recommend checking them after 10 minutes with a toothpick – when the toothpick comes out clean, the muffins are done!

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Stats:

  • Yield: 12
  • Protein per Muffin: 6g
  • Carbs per Muffin: 19g
  • Fats per Muffin: 6g
  • Total Calories per Muffin: 154 Calories

I also realize that I’ve been calling these treats “muffins” for this whole post, but they look more like a cookie in the photos.  When I first started making this recipe, I was making them in a regular sized/shaped muffin tin and they were indisputably banana oat muffins.  I have since purchased a different tin, which is more shallow than a regular muffin tin and the muffin rounds have a larger circumference.  When I bake using this tin, the muffins are wider and flatter, and take the shape more of a cookie.  Either way, the batter is the same and you can fill up the muffin tin/cup more to have them look more like muffins, or you can fill them up less and they will look more like cookies.  Remember that if you fill the tin less, you will have to cook each batch for less time, so check them sooner!

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I hope you give these a try, and I would love to see how you get creative with your mix-ins!  Tag me in your posts (@liftinluxe #liftinluxe) and as always, DM or email (liftinluxe@gmail.com) with any questions or collab requests!

Stay fit and festive, all!

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The Best Keto Buns

The Best Keto Buns

Being on the ketogenic diet for a little while now, bread has definitely been something I miss.  I was never a big carb person, and bread was always something I could take or leave, but I never realized how convenient bread made things.  I’ve had to get creative these past couple of months when trying to sop up the last of my runny egg, or eat a cheeseburger at a barbeque.  This past Labor Day, my parents got the most amazing specialty burger patties from the smokehouse upstate, so I decided that I wanted to enjoy a cheeseburger like a regular person, and so I committed to finding a recipe for keto bread that didn’t, frankly, suck.

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I did some research online, and found a recipe for keto bread/buns that looked really promising.  The first time I made the buns I followed the recipe exactly (because I really wanted them to work), but the second time around I experimented with different seasonings and methods.  The original website, which you can find here, was really helpful and thorough, with great tips and tricks to make sure your keto rolls come out perfectly!  You check out the website for a couple of different variations on how to prepare this recipe, but if you want to see what worked best for me and how I modified the recipe, keep reading!

The original website mentions this, and I will too – It helps to be the most accurate for this recipe, so try to measure in weight, rather than volume.  Also, the original website states that it makes 10 buns, but I easily made 12 out of the dough.  As such, the nutrition facts that I’ll mention later is reflective of a yield of 12.

With that said, let’s get started!

Ingredients:

  1. 150g almond flour (1.5 cup)
  2. 40g psyllium husk powder (2/3 cups psyllium husks or 1/3 cup psyllium husk powder
  3. 60g coconut flour (1/3 cup)
  4. 75g flax meal (1/2 cup)
  5. 2 tsp garlic powder (optional – my second time making this recipe I subbed this for nutritional yeast)
  6. 2tsp onion powder (optional – my second time making this recipe I subbed this for nutritional yeast)
  7. 2 tsp apple cider vinegar (can also use 2 tsp cream of tartar)
  8. 1 tsp baking soda
  9. 1 tsp salt
  10. Sesame seeds (Or any seeds you like. This is for sprinkling on top,  so any amount you want is fine)
  11. 6 large egg whites
  12. 2 large eggs
  13. 2 cups of boiling water

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Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Prepare a large baking sheet (you might need two) with parchment paper.
  2. Make sure your psyllium husks are in powder form.  If you’ve purchased whole psyllium husks, blend them (I used my magic bullet) until they are a powder.  Do the same with the flax – if you have flax seeds, just grind them until they become a meal.
  3. Mix all dry ingredients (except for the sesame seeds) in a large bowl. (You can use your stand mixer’s bowl and use a dough hook to mix everything together later.  Using a rubber spatula to mix in your wet ingredients also works.)
  4. In two separate bowls, separate the egg whites from the yolks.  (In one large bowl you should have 8 egg whites, and in the other bowl, two egg yolks).  Whip the egg whites until they are light and fluffy, and have soft peaks.  In the other bowl, beat the yolks and apple cider vinegar until combined and bubbly, but you don’t have to beat them too much.  (If using cream of tartar instead of apple cider vinegar, make sure you’ve added it to the dry ingredients.
  5. Mix the egg yolks into the dry mixture.  Then add the egg whites and fold gently.  You want to mix this dough as little as possible to keep it as light and fluffy as possible.
  6. Pour the boiling water into the mixture and mix until just combined.  Don’t over mix!
  7. Once combined, separate equal sized balls of the dough and set them down on the parchment lined baking sheet about an inch or two apart.  This dough will spread, but it will also rise a fair amount, so press down the balls so they look almost like hamburger patties (I didn’t do this the first time around, and the rolls came out too spherical) 2
  8. Sprinkle sesame seeds (or whatever seeds you like) on top of the rolls, and press down so they stick.
  9. Place into the oven and bake for about an hour.  Set the tray high enough so that the bottoms don’t burn (I like to place my baking tray on the top shelf, and put another empty tray on the bottom shelf to diffuse the heat in my oven).  I also like to rotate my tray halfway (after around 25-30 minutes).  You can start checking for doneness after 45 minutes.  The thing with this dough is that it crisps nicely on the outside, and they almost seem like they are done after 30 minutes of baking, but the inside takes a little longer to cook, so trust and leave them in for at least 45 minutes as long as the bottoms aren’t burning.
  10. Once cooked, allow to cool completely before wrapping up for storage.  Wrapped in saran wrap or in an airtight container, these will last about a week, and I have been storing mine in the fridge.

(Macro information below)

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Macros per bun (yield 12) is as follows:

  • Protein – 8g
  • Carbs – 10g (3.5g net)
  • Fat – 12g

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When you beat the eggs fluffy and are careful not to overmix, the buns come out light and fluffy, almost like english muffins.  They are perfect for catching the yummy yolk from your runny egg, making a sandwich, dipping into your red sauce, or just having with some butter or cream cheese!  One night this week I toasted up the bun in my oven with some parmesan cheese on it, spread some vodka sauce on top, and then topped with more parmesan cheese.  I paired this with some almond meal crusted chicken and cauliflower.  On another day, I took the roll to work and dipped it into olive oil and balsamic vinegar, seasoned with some salt and pepper.

The ketogenic diet doesn’t mean kissing your favorite foods goodbye!  I have learned that there’s a keto-friendly substitute for just about any food you love, and I’m excited to see the creative ways you use these rolls in your meal prepping!  Remember to comment/message me with any questions, and tag @liftinluxe #liftinluxe in your posts!

Stay fit and fluffy, all!

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Coconut Butter Keto Cups

Coconut Butter Keto Cups

Now that I am full force keto and have been practicing this diet for a month officially, I have a pretty good idea of the highs and lows of the diet, and the areas I have struggled with along the way.  It’s been quite a journey, and I think my body is finally fully adjusted to the lifestyle change.

I have always considered myself a “clean” eater, but I’m also a big proponent of balance in all aspects of life, especially in diet and nutrition.  Attempting keto was the first time that I actually tried to limit the things I am allowed to eat in a very strict way.  Prior to keto, I would indulge in occasional sweets, ice cream, and baked goods (I love cookies, and I also love to bake!)  I will be honest, the longer I stayed away from sweet things, the less I craved them, and I found that when I would have a sweet sugar-free indulgence, it would set off a world of other cravings.  After looking into this a bit more, I learned that anything sweet, whether it has actual carbs or not, sets off the same pleasure centers in the brain.  Therefore, even if you are eating something that is sweetened with stevia instead of cane sugar, you will remain in ketosis (if done in moderation) and there won’t be much of an effect on your glycemic index, but you certainly won’t kick your sugar cravings.  So, I’m prefacing this post with an emphasis on moderation! (What else is new, amirite?)  If you are keto like myself and are truly trying to kick your sweets addiction, it probably isn’t the best idea to pound keto cups sweetened with stevia, or even have them too readily available if it’s towards the beginning of your journey and your will power isn’t yet fine-tuned (speaking from experience).

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That being said, I do think it would be infeasible for me personally to give up sweets indefinitely.  In fact, to commit to such a thing would probably cause me to subconsciously put a limit on how long I even want to remain on the keto diet for.  I have thus far found it pretty difficult to find low carb or sugar free versions of regular sweets (i.e. chocolate bars and baked goods) without them being explicitly marketed as a keto product.  I’ve stumbled across a few interesting keto brands that I have yet to try, but they are certainly on my list!  I decided that since I couldn’t find a convenient product at my regular grocery store, or regularly available online, I would start to experiment at making my own.

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I’ll be honest, I’ve tried and failed a number of times already at creating a tasty treat worthy of sharing with you guys, but I think I really nailed this one.  I made coconut butter keto cups, inspired by the Eating Evolved Keto Cups (which I love, but are unfortunately often out of stock).  I did use stevia to sweeten up the chocolate in these cups, and I added some vanilla and cinnamon to the coconut butter for an extra punch of flavor.  These were so easy to make and came out so yummy that I would prefer to just make them myself, since it’s not only cheaper to do so, but you can also customize them however you like!  I’m thinking for my next round I’ll try to incorporate MCT oil, I’ll use more coconut butter (to even out the chocolate to coconut ratio), and I’ll add nuts and spices!  Stay tuned for updates, but for now here’s the original recipe:

Ingredients (this recipe makes 4 keto cups)

  1. 4 tbsp cocoa powder, unsweetened
  2. 4 tbsp coconut oil, liquified
  3. 1 tsp stevia
  4. Pinch of salt
  5. 4 tsp coconut butter
  6. Cinnamon (to taste)
  7. A dash of vanilla (seriously a small amount, like less than 1/8 tsp
  8. Coconut flakes, or whatever toppings you like (optional)

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Directions

  1. Prepare a muffin tin with 4 cupcake liners. (I have silicon individual cupcake molds so I just used those and set them into a glass baking dish for convenience)
  2. Mix together the coconut oil, cocoa powder, stevia, and salt in a small bowl.
  3. Spoon less than a tbsp of the chocolate mixture into the cupcake liners and place in the fridge.  After about a minute, take them out of the fridge and ‘swirl’ them to try to get the chocolate to stick to the edges of the liners.  This will help to hide the coconut butter layer later.  Place back into the fridge to fully set.  2
  4. While the first chocolate layer is setting, in a small bowl mix together the coconut butter, cinnamon, and vanilla.
  5. Remove the muffin liners from the fridge once set (should only take a few minutes) and spoon 1 tsp of coconut butter in the center of each cup.  Use your spoon to flatten the coconut butter into an even layer that almost, but doesn’t quite, touch the edge of the cup. 3
  6. Pour evenly the remaining chocolate mixture into the muffin liners.  Feel free to tap the muffin tin or use a spoon to even out the chocolate so it covers the coconut butter completely and evenly.
  7. Feel free to top the cups with coconut flakes, nuts, chia seeds, sesame seeds, or any other topping you think would be yummy.

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I would love to experiment with different toppings and fillings for this recipe, as well as different ways to season the chocolate mixture.  Mexican spicy chocolate with raspberry flavored filling, anyone?

I’m super excited for the possibilities, and to hear your ideas as well!  Leave me a comment or message on Instagram @LiftinLuxe #LiftinLuxe with your thoughts, I’d love to hear from you!

Stay fit and flavorful, all!

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Keto Tacos

Keto Tacos

You already know how much I love tacos.  “But Madeline, you can’t have tacos on a keto diet! Carbs!”  Yes, you’re right – I certainly can’t have the conventional Mexican meal with beans, rice, and tortillas.  What I won’t do, however, is give up tacos entirely, and so I set out to look for a way to make one of my favorite meals fit into my new diet (without having to completely deconstruct it and only eat the insides).

As it turns out, which I figured it would, there are a bunch of low carb and keto friendly options for all the taco lovers out there.  Replacing regular flour with almond flour or coconut flour in a taco shell recipe is a popular low carb alternative (which is what I did in my homemade taco post a few weeks ago).  I wanted to take it a step further, though, and make a truly keto friendly taco shell without using any variation of flours.  Here’s how.  Get your pen and paper ready for this long and complicated ingredient list:

Ingredients (taco shell): 

  1. Cheddar cheese, shredded (I used one serving, 1/4 cup, per taco shell)

Directions: 

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  3. Take 1/4 cup of cheddar cheese and dump it onto the parchment paper.  Spread it out so that it makes a circle the size you’d like your taco shell to be.  Try to make it so that there are as few gaps and holes as possible, because this will make your assembled taco less messy later.  1
  4. Arrange as many tacos on your parchment lined baking sheet as you want, making sure there’s about an inch between each one, as they will spread a little bit.
  5. Bake the cheese for about 12-15 minutes or until melty, bubbly, and gets a nice golden toasty color. 2
  6. Remove the sheet from the oven and allow the cheese to cool and set for about 10 minutes.  You’ll know it’s set enough when you can get a thin spatula underneath it without the cheese being so gooey that it breaks apart.  Play around with it when lifting it off the parchment, and be careful because you don’t want to tear your taco shells! (I used a metal cookie spatula for this because it’s thin and sharp enough to remove the cheese from the parchment without stretching it or breaking it.)  Don’t let it cool completely while lying flat, though, because….
  7. When the cheese has set enough to get it off the parchment, transfer it onto something that will allow it to hang and fully set into the desired taco shape you want it to be in.  I wrapped mine around a small bottle of vinegar that I had.  You can also suspend a ruler across two cups and drape the shells over the ruler.  The shells might drip some grease, so put something underneath them so your countertop doesn’t get too messy.  5
  8. While you wait for your taco shells to set, prepare your fillings.  I sliced some cherry tomatoes, avocado, and spinach, diced a chicken thigh, and spooned some sour cream on my plate. 3
  9. Once the taco shells hold their shape, assemble and enjoy!

Does anyone have any other keto tips to share with me?  I would love to hear from you guys!  Leave me a comment or an email at LiftinLuxe@gmail.com!  Also, please tag me in anything you make that my site inspires!  @LiftinLuxe #LiftinLuxe.  I’d love to see your creations 🙂

Stay fit and flavorful, all!

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EASY 1 Carb Protein Waffles

EASY 1 Carb Protein Waffles

I love waffles just as much as the next brunch-loving New Yorker, but I never get them because I just can’t justify all of those carbs (and, real talk, there are so many cheat meal options out there that I never settle on waffles).  I’m on a life mission to master the art of healthy eating, and this means giving in to our cravings sometimes.  That’s why I love finding and making recipes with healthier ingredients that mimic the epic cheat meals we REALLY want to be eating.  I’m not sure if this one was inspired by my southern road trip (where I shamelessly experienced arguably the best waffles ever), but I think I have perfected the protein waffle, and I’m so excited to share it with you!

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Let me preface with the following disclaimer: this will NOT be lightest, fluffiest, most delicious waffle you ever have.  Actually, it’s quite dense, and will taste mostly like the protein powder flavor you use to make it.  It is, however, a warm, tasty, and satisfying alternative to the monster that is a real official waffle.  It’s also a way better alternative to frozen waffles, in my opinion.  And it takes literally less than 10 minutes to make.  Ok, now that we’ve been completely honest with each other, let’s get started!

Ingredients:

  1. 1 scoop protein powder (I used PEScience in this recipe because it mixes the best of all other proteins I have used, but I also love using Rootz Nutrition as well!)
  2. 1 whole egg (You can add an additional white to achieve desired consistency)
  3. 1/8 tsp baking powder
  4. Water, for desired consistency
  5. Cinnamon (optional)
  6. Coconut oil (or whatever oil you want to use to coat the waffle iron)

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Instructions:

  1. Start heating up your waffle iron.
  2. Mix the protein powder into a bowl with the baking powder and cinnamon.  You can just use a fork to mix.  Add the egg, and start to mix until the egg becomes dry.  Note that your egg will become dry before all protein powder is incorporated.  This is fine; queue water for consistency.
  3. Add water, one tbsp at a time, until the batter becomes waffle consistency.  This means that it will be runny, but not watery.  I usually add 3 tbsp of water for this desired consistency.
  4. Oil your waffle iron with coconut oil.  I use a cooking paintbrush to do this.
  5. Pour batter into the heated waffle iron, starting in the middle, and once you’re out of batter use a silicon spatula or the back of a spoon to smooth out the batter until the waffle iron is coated pretty evenly.  Work fairly quickly, because the bottom of your waffle is cooking!
  6. Close the iron, and cook according to your iron’s instructions.  Since these waffles have different ingredients than a traditional waffle, it might take a shorter amount of time than suggested.  Mine usually cooks within a minute or minute and a half.
  7. Open up the iron once it’s done, use a fork to carefully remove the waffle, and dress it up however you fancy!

How many times did I just say ‘iron’ and ‘waffle’?

Warning: the next few photos will not be cute, because it’s difficult to make protein powder mixed with eggs and water look nice. Consider yourself warned.  But persevere, because stats for this waffle are below 🙂

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Stats (this recipe makes 1 serving): Protein – 30g; Carbs – 1; Fat – 6; Calories – 180.

When I made this waffle, I ate it plain because it was just a quick snack before the gym.  I do strongly recommend, however, adding toppings because otherwise it’s dense and dry.  My favorite is to add sunnyside eggs.  You can also add fruit, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, nuts, nut butter, etc.  Get creative with it!  You can even play around with the protein powder flavors you use to complement your favorite toppings (peanut butter waffle topped with banana and chocolate sauce anyone?)

I hope you guys try out this super easy protein-packed recipe.  These waffles are tasty, satisfying, and make a simple snack into something a bit more fun and interesting.  I would love to see what amazing waffle creations you made with this simple recipe, so tag me @liftinluxe #liftinluxe in your photos!

Stay fit and fab, all!

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Homemade Tacos

Homemade Tacos

I immediately lose trust in someone if they say they don’t like tacos.  Ok, I’m exaggerating, but seriously who doesn’t love a good taco?  Mexican food is actually a huge weakness of mine, and I have a love-hate relationship with Mexican restaurants because there’s so much potential for tag-along calories with your delicious Mexican meal.  How easy is it to fill up on guac and chips while you’re waiting for your tacos, then knock back your whole plate of tacos cause they’re just so damned delicious?!  Was there guac on the tacos too?  A creamy drizzle?  Sour cream?  Probably all of the above.  Then there’s the cheese, tortilla, and tag-along fats that come with cooking the meats and veggies. How about that side of rice and beans, though?  Are you salivating yet?  I know I am.

I thought that there must be a better way to enjoy tacos on the reg without having to make it my cheat meal every single week.  And alas, there was!  I made my own tortillas, slashing the carbs down significantly, and my own avocado sauce to drizzle, cutting down the fats by a whole lot.  Also, a solid benefit of making my own tacos at home was that I got to choose what to make on the side – AKA, no rice and beans sitting inches away from my fork to tempt me!

First, I’ll start with the taco recipe.  It was so so so easy.

Ingredients:

  1. 1/4 cup coconut flour
  2. 3 eggs
  3. 1 cup almond milk
  4. Coconut oil

Instructions:

  1. Whisk together the coconut flour, eggs, and almond milk until well combined.  Let the batter sit for a minute or two to thicken.  The batter should be runny, so add additional egg/almond milk in equal parts if need be to get it to a nice pourable consistency (I didn’t have to add anything extra when I made them).
  2. Heat a pan or skillet on the stove over medium heat and grease lightly with coconut oil
  3. Pour about 1/4 cup of batter into your pan or skillet and immediately swirl the batter around by tilting the pan to spread it out evenly.
  4. Cover the pan for about 2-3 minutes while the tortilla cooks.  When it’s golden and curled up a little on the edges, it’s ready to flip.  It should come up easily and should also be nicely golden on its pan side.  If it doesn’t come up easily when you try to flip it, it’s not done.
  5. Cook for another 2 minutes on the other side (or until golden brown)
  6. Keep going until you’ve used up all the batter.

This recipe made about 6 tortillas, and the leftovers stayed really well in the fridge until the next day.

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Now for the fillings.  I cooked up some chicken and beef seasoned with cumin, smoked paprika, chipotle pepper powder, and pepper and set it aside.  Then, I cut up some tomatoes, onion, and cilantro and combined it in a bowl.  I took an oz of goat cheese out of the fridge and set that aside.  I washed some lettuce and set that aside as well.  Lastly, I made the most bomb avocado lime dressing to put on my tacos (and to save as a salad dressing for the rest of the week).

Ingredients:

  1. 100g avocado
  2. Juice from 2 limes
  3. Salt
  4. A splash of apple cider vinegar
  5. 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  6. 1 cup almond milk

Instructions:

  1. Blend all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender
  2. Store in an airtight container.  The top layer will get brown after a day, but it will stay fine in your fridge for at least four days.

This recipe yielded 1 cup of dressing, and I decided that a serving would be 2 tbsp (1/8 of the entire recipe.)  The macros for a serving of the dressing are: P – 2; C – 2; F – 2.5.  40 calories! If you want a thicker dressing, use less of the liquid ingredients.

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Once all of this was prepared, I assembled my tacos and then devoured them!  They were honestly just as satisfying as the real deal.  And didn’t leave me overstuffed and bloated like a typical trip to my favorite Mexican restaurant.

Added bonus, I used the leftover tortillas the next day and made a really delicious dessert by spreading greek yogurt, honey, and cinnamon on them and rolling them up.  It was almost like a crepe, and it was an equally as delicious way to enjoy those homemade tortillas.

Stay fit and fiesta, all!

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