A Recap Of 2014

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A little recap of the time between Jan 1st (left picture) and December 21st (right picture):

On January 1st, I made a 2014 goal to be happy. To actively pursue happiness. Things didn’t always go my way this year, but I was happy. Really, really happy.

I can’t even begin to express how much I’ve changed in the last year. At the beginning of the year, I was still working on getting myself to an appropriate amount of calories. I had already made the big jump to the 2000s and was gearing up for 2200+. Of  course my ultimate goal was to stop counting, but that was something scary to be conquered later. Today, I am no longer obsessed with numbers. I eat what I want, when I want- while emphasizing a healthy balance.

In the left picture, I worked out about 5-6 days a week. I ran some days and was really making huge progress with my weight lifting. I haven’t been working out a whole lot lately (seriously, only about 50 body weight squats a day) and that’s okay! I know I need to start working out again, because I feel so much better when I do, but my focus the last couple weeks have been to study and when I have a free moment, to spend it with family and friends.

In January, there were so many things I wanted to change about myself, but more than anything, I wanted to learn to love my body. Today, there are things I want to improve on (such as entering the gym again), but I’m also very okay with who I am.

In January, my body image was terrible on days I went off my macros or didn’t go to the gym (see the banana incident here), but I learned from those days (see pretty much any of my prior posts). Now, I have bad body image days, who doesn’t, but when I do I certainly don’t starve myself or take any extremes. In fact, it has been 1 year and 9 days since I intentionally went to an extreme just because of a bad body image day.

I transformed more mentally this year than ever before and for that I am grateful.

I am grateful for my health. I am grateful for my happiness.

And I am grateful for the wonderful people in my life that have supported me throughout this journey to regain my health and who I am (I am looking at all of you awesome people!).

2014 really wasn’t about the physical changes, it was about my mental transformation. A transformation I plan to embrace and adapt with for the rest of my life. If my goal for 2014 was to be happy, then my goal for 2015 is to stay happy, to spread happiness, and to continue to seek out what it means to be the best version of me.

PEANUT BUTTER OREO BANANA BREAD

I am going to let this recipe speak for itself….

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Ingredients

  • ½ cup of sugar or sugar replacement (I used splenda-sugar mix)
  • ¼ cup of coconut oil (for a lower fat option: use unsweetened apple sauce)
  • ¼ cup of whipped peanut butter (for a lower fat option: use PB2)
  • 1.5 overripe bananas
  • 1 egg (or ¼ cup of egg white, egg substitute, or vegan egg substitute)
  • ¼ cup of milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
  • ½ tsp of baking soda
  • 1 cup of sifted whole wheat pastry flour (or for a high protein option replace part of the flour with cookies n cream protein powder)
  • 7 crushed oreos
  • 3 crumbled oreos

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and grease a loaf pan
  2. Beat the sugar, coconut oil, and peanut butter in a large powl.
  3. Add the milk, egg, bananas, and baking powder.
  4. Slowly mix in flour with a spoon
  5. Add the crushed oreos
  6. Top with cumbled oreos
  7. Bake for 30(ish) minutes (use the toothpick test, but not on the center because it will not come out clean- instead test it 1.5 inches from one of the small ends of the loaf pan)
  8. Try not to devour immediately upon taking out of the oven (it is better if you wait 20 minutes to slice)
  9. ENJOY

As always, have questions? Let me know! Did you try?! If you post it on instagram tag me in it (@thesunflowerrunner) or leave a comment and let me know how you liked it!

 

This bread was inspired by the following recipe: http://www.somethingswanky.com/peanut-butter-oreo-banana-bread/

It’s a great website, definitely check it out!

 

Chai Spiced Cinnamon Roll French Toast

No I am not kidding. Yes it is a thing. And it is healthy. And it is perfect. It will take you a lot of time. It is worth it.

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Dough

¼ c water

¼ c unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or go bold with some coconut milk)

3 tbsp sugar free maple syrup (or agave nectar or regular maple syrup or honey)

a few dashes of sea salt

1 (¼ oz packet) yeast (about 2 ¼ tsp)

1 tbsp butter substitute (I use Smart Balance light with flaxseed OR for a coconut theme go for coconut oil), melted and cooled to room temperature

1 large egg, room temperature (or to make it vegan, a vegan substitute should be fine)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp maple extract

½ tsp of almond extract (or if you are koo-koo for COCOnut then use 1 tsp of coconut extract)

2 c whole wheat pastry flour, plus (quite a bit) extra for kneading

Filling

½ tbsp butter substitute (once again I use Smart Balance light with flaxseed or coconut oil), melted

¼ c sugar free maple syrup

1(ish) tbsp ground cinnamon

 

French Toast Coating:

½ cup of egg whites (or two eggs)

¾ cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk

¼ T of vanilla extract

¼ T of extract of choice (almond, maple, or coconut)

½ – 1 T of chai mix (for the recipe I used, click here)

 

Le Steps:

 

  1. To prepare the dough, combine the water, milk, maple syrup, and salt in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH for 40 seconds or until warmed (about 100-110°F, make sure it is warm enough).
  2. Wisk in the yeast, and let the mixture sit for 10-15 minutes until frothy (this is a word the original recipe used but I witnessed no frothiness, maybe I just didn’t warm the mixture enough).
  3. Wisk in the butter substitute, egg, vanilla, maple, and almond extracts. With a wooden spoon, stir in ½ cup of the whole-wheat pastry flour at a time until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. (It took mine about a cup and a half)
  4. NOW LET THE KNEADING BEGIN (I hope you have strong hands because this takes a while): I kneaded the dough in the bowl because I have a large nonstick bowl, if you don’t then knead the dough on a well-floured surface. Continue adding dough (slowly) while kneading until the dough stops absorbing the flour and the dough springs up lightly when pressed you’re your finger. This took me 10-15 minutes.
  5. Shape the dough into a ball. If you kneaded the dough on a floured surface, the coat a clean, dry bowl with nonstick cooking spray, and roll the dough ball around inside until completely coated. Place a clean, dry towel over the top, and leave the bowl in a warm draft-free spot to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  6. Roll out into a 15” wide by 10” tall rectangle on a nonstick surface (to achieve this, I floured a thin, flat towel). Brush the surface with the melted butter, leaving a 1” border on the two longer edges. Whisk together the maple syrup and cinnamon, and brush on top of the melted butter, still leaving a 1” border on the two longer edges. Carefully roll the dough into a log, starting at one of the longer edges and rolling towards the other longer edge. Refrigerate the log for 20 minutes.
  7. Lightly coat two 9” or 10” round baking pan with tall edges with nonstick cooking spray. Drizzle some additional maple syrup and cinnamon on the bottom of the pans. Using unscented dental floss (DO NOT USE A KNIFE- I didn’t have unscented floss so I literally used mint floss that I cleaned the mint off of), slice the log into 10-12 (I like mini cinnamon rolls so I think I made 14) equal rounds. Drape a clean, dry towel over the top, and place in a warm draft-free spot to rise for 60 minutes or until doubled in size.
  8. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Once the cinnamon rolls have risen, drizzle with MORE maple syrup and cinnamon, and bake for 14-18 (if you make them small, they require less cooking time) minutes, or until the top feel firm to the touch. Cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before serving (unless you are French toast-ifying it, then read on)
  9. Let the cinnamon rolls cool completely in a shallow bowl, compine all the “French toast coating” ingredients.
  10. Cut a few cinnamon rolls in half and dip both sides in the coating.
  11. Place the cinnamon rolls onto a heated (and cooking spray coated) pan (I cooked mine on just higher than medium heat)
  12. (optional) To give them additional crispiness, bake them in the over at 450 F for a couple minutes
  13. top with whatever pleases you and enjoy!!

 

For the inspiration for this recipe, click here.

If you are lazy, just use bread and the glorious french toast mix. If you hate french toast (weirdo), but love chai then replace the cinnamon in the cinnamon roll recipe with chai mix! This recipe is versatile- I gave it underlying almond flavor, but you can also give caramel or coconut flavors and it should turn out really tasty too!