Daner the Trainer is Prego!  No, not the pasta sauce, but expecting a Baby!  

Our li'l Watermelon!

We are excited to announce the arrival of our precious little baby girl!  After being induced Saturday morning, Ella Louise Vredeveld arrived at 7:05pm Sunday, May 22nd.  She weighed in at a hefty 5lb 1oz and was 18 1/4" long!  And THANK GOODNESS she was as tiny as she was, as I couldn't imagine popping anything larger out of me!😉  Overall labour went fairly well - lots of back labour! - but with the help of my Hubby, the wonderful nurses at SGH, the laughing gas (started around 1pm) and morphine (a shot at 3pm), I was able to breathe (and moan) through each contractions and then push this little peanut out in 1/2 hour!  Thanks to my strong pelvic floor/core muscles! 💪😀

Life has most definitely changed as we know it!  I am absolutely head over heels in love with our little Ella!  Aside from functioning off of an average of 3 hours sleep per day, things are going really well! 

Although, I think I was a little off with the sizing of each week of my pregnancy journey, eh?  Check out this pic of Ella compared to the watermelon!  That melon is at least DOUBLE her size/weight, eh?

My next journey is going to be Life with Baby Ella and getting my body back to BETTER than EVER, eating healthy and nourishing foods, and starting to incorporate walks into my daily schedule until I am more rested to work out.

Over the whole pregnancy I gained 28 pounds, getting up to 143lbs by the end.  When I came home from the hospital on Tuesday, May 24th I was 131lbs, and this am 125lbs.  I have another 10lbs to go to get to my pre-pregnancy weight. 

My goal is to do this as healthfully as possible to ensure I am getting adequate nutrients to nourish both Ella and myself.  I am not too concerned about my actual weight, but more about getting the "junk outta my trunk" and revealing some stellar 6-pack abs!  As far as my timeline?  Not sure yet!  Stay tuned for more on this and some "Before pics"!

That's it for now!  Ella is ready to eat! It's all "Ella time" now!

Week 38 - Length of a Leek!  FINAL WEEK!!

 

I am typing up my last pregnancy journey recipe as I sit here in the hospital!!! 

An update from last week ... I went to see Dr. Hancock this past Tuesday, and Baby V had flipped!!!  If you remember correctly, I had a 5% chance of the baby flipping, and BAM!!!  What do ya know!  I WAS on my hands and knees quite a bit last weekend cleaning floors and weeding my lawn, maybe that helped??? Dr. Hancock just gave me a smile and said, "The only thing that you get out of being on your hands and knees cleaning floors is cleaner floors!" lol ...  The funny thing is I didn't even feel Baby V flip!

So the plan was to come in to the hospital today to see if Baby V is still head down, and if so, we would start induction.  So here I am - Induction has begun!!!  Exciting times!!!

This week Baby V is comparable to the length of a leek!  Next week would have been the size of a watermelon.  Here is a yummy recipe for you to try using leeks.  You could use less water if you would like more of a dip/spread instead of soup.

 

Roasted Leek and Cauliflower Soup – serves 4

~2 cups chopped cauliflower
2-3 leeks, white and very light green parts, chopped (~1 to 1 1/2 cups)
2 cloves of garlic
1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup raw cashews
1 1/2 tsp miso paste or Sea salt, to taste
leaves from a few sprigs of thyme or dried thyme, to taste
3 cups of water
1 Tbsp EVOO
1/4 tsp smoked paprika (or more to taste)
Squeeze of lemon
a few more pinches of salt and red pepper flakes, if you like some heat!

1.     Preheat oven to 400F. Toss cauliflower, leeks and garlic with coconut oil and salt and pepper, then spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast for 20-30 minutes, rotating halfway through. Remove when everything is starting to turn golden, but before the leeks are burning (if a few get too charred, it's ok, just pick them out later).
2.     Add to your blender the veggies you just roasted, cashews, thyme leaves, miso paste/sea salt, a squeeze of lemon and half the water (1.5 cups). Blend until pureed. Add EVOO, paprika, and the rest of the water. Blend again. Taste and adjust seasonings.
3.     Pour into a medium saucepan and heat just until it's warm. Stir in a little more water if it's too thick.

Week 37 - large bunch of Swiss Chard!

Happy Friday!

Just under 3 weeks to go!  And it's been an interesting last 24 hours ... I went for an appointment yesterday to check in with my OB-gyn and he informed me Baby V is breech again!  That lil fart!  My doc told me this far along in the pregnancy I have a 5% chance of Baby flipping back to head down position.  And if Baby V does not, I will have to have a C-section ... My doc told me I am "special" (but you already knew that! lol) and I have a Bicornuate (heart-shaped) uterus, and that they do not like to try to deliver breech babies vaginally in that situation.  So in other words I have a 95% chance of having a C-section!  On the bright side, that means I won't have to sit on a "Donut pillow", however I will have to take it easy for a while longer than I would if I had a "natural" delivery.  Anyway, TMI I know!  That's me though!

Reno's are suppose to be done by the end of today so that Mama Bear and I can start cleaning this weekend, but they are not quite complete :( Although, with that said, we are going to do as much as we can this weekend as we are getting some carpet installed next Thursday, and I am working quite a bit during the week so I need to take advantage of this weekend! 

Anyway, enough of that, let's get on with this week's recipe!  This week Baby V is comparable to the size of a large bunch of swiss chard!  Swiss chard is one of the most powerful anti-cancer foods due to its combination of traditional nutrients; phytochemicals, chlorophyll, other plant pigments, and soluble fibre. The generous amount of vitamin K that is contained in Swiss chard, is especially beneficial in the maintenance of bone health.

 

Swiss Chard Frittata - serves 4

1 bunch Swiss chard, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
6 large eggs
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup Nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp  sea salt, to taste
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 to 1 tsp paprika
1 pinch cayenne pepper, optional
4 Tbsp Renee’s Spring Herb Italian dressing, optional for an extra flavour boost

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. In a large, heavy skillet over medium heat, warm 1 Tbsp of the oil. Add the sliced onion and sauté until translucent. Add the chopped chard and sauté until slightly wilted.
2. In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs with the garlic and nutritional yeast. Add the salt, pepper, paprika and cayenne pepper and dressing, if using.
3. Place the vegetable mixture in a round or square baking dish, greased with 1 Tbsp coconut oil. Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables.
4. Bake in centre of oven for 40-50 minutes until eggs are set.
5. Let cool for 5-10 minutes.  Cut into wedges or squares and serve immediately.

 

Week 36 - large head of Romaine Lettuce!

 

This week marks the 36 week point!  It's crazy how quickly my due date is approaching ... although I feel like I've been preggers FOREVER!  I'm feeling pretty good, still on Diclectin (it is what it is), and I am really enjoying the connection I have feel I have developed with Baby V <3 ... As I feel around my belly, it's fun to guess what body part that is bulging out!  It was kinda funny the other night as Chris and I were lying there, and Chris was saying our baby will probably be bouncing around like a pinball machine, and just then Baby V started moving around like crazy!  lol  Well, if Baby V is anything like us, he/she will DEFINITELY have lots of energy!

This week Baby V is comparable to the size of a large head of romaine lettuce.  So for this week's recipe, I would like to share a yummy CLEAN, Nutritious AND Delicious Caesar Salad recipe.  You can make this a complete meal by adding a proper portion of clean protein, such as chicken breast or salmon.

 

Clean Caesar Salad - Serves 4

 

1 bunch green kale, washed, de-stemmed and sliced into 1” ribbons

1 bunch of romaine lettuce, washed and sliced into 1” ribbons

1/2 cup roasted chickpeas (see recipe below) … This salad also tastes great with non roasted chickpeas too!

2/3 cup fresh lemon juice (~ 3-4 lemons)

1/4 cup EVOO

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

2 Tbsp water

4 Tbsp nutritional yeast

1/4 tsp sea salt

1 1/2 Tbsp dijon mustard

2 Tbsp ground flax seeds

1/2 cup raw cashews

2 tps garlic (~ 2-3 large cloves)

 

1.     For the dressing, blend: lemon juice, EVOO, salt and pepper, water, sea salt, dijon mustard, flax seeds, cashews, and garlic in a blender or food processor. (NOTE: This makes extra, so you can store it in a sealed jar in the refrigerator for up to one week.)

2.     Toss washed/dried lettuce and kale in a bowl with ½ cup of the dressing (or more to taste). Be sure to toss it until all leaves are coated evenly.

3.     Serve with roasted chickpeas instead of croutons.

You can add a serving of chicken breast to make it a complete meal  ; 0

Roasted Chickpea Croutons

1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (15oz can)

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp paprika

1 tsp melted coconut oil

1.     Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.     Shake all the crouton ingredients into a bowl or container with a lid and toss to coat. Spread the coated chickpeas in single layer on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until lightly browned and crispy. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Week 35 - large Honeydew Melon!

 

Here we  are at 35 weeks! ~5ish weeks to go!  YIKES!  I am starting to feel very excited to finally meet Baby V, yet nervous about the whole process of helping Baby V come into this world!  ; )    I have been trying my hardest to elevate my feet every day at some point, but finding 4 times to do that is nearly impossible!  (with the exception of yesterday when was I a little under the weather).  Baby V seems to be growing so much!  I can now feel his/her body parts bulging out!  It feels like the butt that pops out the right side of my belly button area, and last night while I was reading in bed I could feel either a foot or hand along my upper abdomen!  It's such an incredible experience!  I only wish Chris could experience what I am feeling too!  Soon enough he will get to experience more of Baby V - lol ... Although I know he is going to be a great father, and I am excited to work as a team to raise our lil babe  : )

This week Baby V is comparable to the weight of a large honeydew melon.  I am not a huge fan of honeydew melon on it's own, so I have concocted a sweet, healthy snack with it.  (you could also sub in other melon or more berries).  Enjoy! 

 

Honeydew Blueberry Lemon Pro-Trifle – serves 4


2 cups plain 0% fat Greek yogurt
2 scoops (60g in weight) vanilla protein powder
2-4 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
zest of 1/2 to 1 lemon
1 honeydew melon, cubes
2 cups blueberries

1.     Whisk together the Greek yogurt, protein powder, lemon juice and lemon zest. Voila! Lemon Progurt ;)
2.     Among 4 bowls, layer the melon, blueberries and lemon progurt to make 2-3 layers per bowl.

 

Week 34 - Mini Watermelon!

Here we are at week 34 of our journey :)  Only 6 more weeks to go!  This week Baby V is approximately 4 3/4 pounds, or the size of a mini watermelon.  It seems as though I have really grown over this past week!  And I earned my "Cankles" this weekend too 🙈 ... It's crazy how the body changes as it prepares to "do what it needs to do"!  Now I have to make time to "kick my feet up" and elevate them 4-5 times per day.  The only problem with that is I can't get much done when I am doing that!  But I guess it's better than running into more trouble in the future and being put on bed rest, eh?  "An ounce of Prevention is worth a pound of Cure" ... That applies to so many things in our lives!  And as you know, that is part of my purpose and mission with Excel.  I want to make it my mission to help as many people as I can to improve their health, fitness and lifestyles and take a more proactive approach to living a life full of vitality and greatness!  The QUALITY of your life is just as, or more important, than the QUANTITY.  You need to make the time for health and fitness NOW or you will have to make the time for illness LATER.

Now on to this week's recipe ... a nutritious and delicious Smoothie Bowl!  

 

 

Watermelon Smoothie Bowl (~4 ¾ lbs) – serves 2

 

450g (3 cups diced) watermelon
1 large banana, roughly chopped
140g (1 cup) raspberries
200ml milk
1 Tbsp sliced almonds, lightly toasted
1 Tbsp chia seeds
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (optional)

1.     Line a baking tray or large plastic tub then fill with the melon, banana and raspberries and pop in the freezer to freeze overnight or 4-6 hours.
2.     Once frozen through, throw all of the fruit into a blender with the milk.  Blend until smooth.  You may need to add a little more milk to the mixture to loosen it if your blender is struggling, but remember that it needs to be nice and thick as it’s being served in a bowl. You can always add ice to thicken if it becomes too runny.  Add in the protein powder for the last 30-60 seconds of blending.
3.     Once smooth and lump free, spoon into bowls to serve.  Decorate the top with sliced almonds and chia seeds

 

Week 33 - Pineapple!

 

What a beauty day out there, eh?  Summer is coming, and so is Baby V!  Only 7 weeks (give or take) to go!  This weather is quite the change from the weather last week while Chris and I were on our Babymoon!  It was a great week to get away though, and do not much of anything, but relax!  At 32 weeks, it was a real treat for me ... Although a little too relaxing for Chris, lol!  He was a trooper though - and it helped that the Masters Golf Tournament was on  ; )

This week, Baby V is comparable to the size of a Pineapple - and I must say, I definitely feel like I swallowed a pineapple!  I can only imagine what it's going to  feel like when I get to the watermelon stage!  And I don't even want to start to imagine what it's going to feel like "passing" that watermelon! (I know, I know, TMI eh? That's me! Hahaha)

 

D’s Pineapple "Fried Rice" – serves 4

¼ cup coconut oil
2 cups small chunks fresh pineapple,
1 red bell pepper
4 small carrots
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch of green onions, thinly sliced
1 head of cauliflower (~2 pounds_
4 eggs
Sauce:
¼ cup coconut aminos
2 tps chili paste
To Garnish:
•        ½ cup cashew pieces, light toasted
•        Sea salt to taste if needed

1.     Start by prepping all your ingredients … Cut the bell pepper lengthwise into ½” thick strips. Then cut the pepper strips crosswise into ½” pieces.
2.     Peel the carrots and cut off both ends before thinly slicing them.
3.     Grate the cauliflower using a box grater, use the medium-sized holes, or a food processor with an "S" shaped blade, to grate or pulse the cauliflower into the size of rice, leaving any large, tough stems behind.
4.     Crack the eggs into a bowl and lightly whisk them together with a fork.
5.     Mix together the coconut aminos and chili paste together in a small bowl and set it aside.
6.     Once the prep work is done, preheat a very large skillet or wok over medium-high heat for a few minutes until it's hot but not smoking.
7.     Add 1 Tbsp of the coconut oil to the pan and sear the pineapple chunks to create caramelized edges, 2-3 minutes. Remove the pineapple from the pan and set it aside while you finish the fried rice.
8.     Add the remaining 3 Tbsp of coconut oil to the pan and sauté the bell pepper, carrots, and garlic until the veggies are crisp tender. Then add the green onions, and cauliflower to the pan, cook 1-2 minutes to just soften the cauliflower. Add the eggs and cook stirring until the egg scrambles around the stir-fry (1-2 minutes).
9.     Add the sauce to the pan and cook for another 1-2 minutes until the sauce is absorbed and thoroughly mixed in.
10.   Remove the fried rice from the heat and stir in the cashews and caramelized pineapple. Taste test to see if you'd like to add some sea salt and serve immediately!
11.   This stir-fry tastes best hot, but it's really good at room temperature and cold right out of the refrigerator!

Week 32 - Kale!

 

Hello!  KALE???!!! You are probably scratching your head again, eh?  Well this week Baby V is the length of a stalk of kale.  For every 100 grams of raw kale you get more than 1,000% of the RDI of Vitamin K, just over 300% Vitamin A and 200% Vitamin C (that’s the same as 2 medium oranges).  Kale’s also a great source of Calcium, Magnesium, Iron and antioxidants. An article in Today’s Dietitian pointed out that kale’s Calcium and Iron are highly digestible, because, unlike many other leafy vegetables, including spinach, it has a very low oxalate content. One word of caution is to those who are taking blood thinners, because kale’s Vitamin K promotes blood clotting, so don’t go eating copious amounts of it.  Also, kale is one of the “Dirty Dozen” so buy organic or locally grown kale, which has no pesticides.

 

Now on to this week's recipes  :)

 

Kale chips – serves 4

2 tsp EVOO
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into chunks
Sea salt (to taste)
¼ cup nutritional yeast
¼ cup tahini or almond butter (I used almond butter)
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 packet stevia, to taste (optional)
1 bundle of kale
*You can also add pre-soaked raw cashew pieces


1. Wash and trim a bundle of kale, and ensure to dry thoroughly. Remove the centre stalk and tear leafy greens into medium sized pieces.
2. In a blender, mix together the first 9 ngredients to create your seasoning sauce. You may need to add a touch of water to get the right consistency (thick, but creamy).
3. Massage the kale the seasoning sauce until evenly coated.
4. Spread kale on a baking sheet - or a couple baking sheets ... (covered with parchment if you prefer) - the pieces must not touch or they won’t crisp up. 
5. Bake 275 F for 25-30 minutes flipping halfway through. 
If you have a dehydrator, dehydrate at 130F for 10-12 hours, flipping halfway through.


Belly Goodness Green Smoothie – serves 1

1-1 ½ cups milk/water (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
~ 5g fresh ginger, diced … I use ~1” cube, then be sure to peel!
~ ¼ tsp cinnamon … 4-5 good shakes
100g baby spinach, frozen spinach or kale (beware that kale has a much stronger taste!)
50-60g frozen banana slices … I like to freeze my ripe bananas on parchment paper
½ cup frozen blueberries
4-6 ice cubes to thicken

Blend and enjoy!

Week 31 - Coconut!

 

Good morning!  I swear the weeks are going by faster and faster!  I am happy to announce we have started into our bigger (and very dirty) reno's this week!  Chris and the plumber demo'd the bathroom on Monday and Chris is demoing the kitchen starting tomorrow!  That means Chris and I and our pups get to move in with Gramma and Gramps Robinson tomorrow!  I am so blessed to have such loving and welcoming parents! Thanks guys! xoxo  I will be sure to include some before and after pics for ya once this reno is done.  The countdown is on - our team has less than 9 weeks to complete this reno, as I would like to be moved in and settled by mid May - you never know how early this little bundle of joy make come!  Do YOU have any guesses?  Actually, my sister is going to start a Baby pool (I think on Facebook) to guess the Date of birth, the gender, and the weight and length.  If you don't have Facebook and you want in, just email me an I can mark your bet down!

Now on to this week's recipes!  This week Baby V is the size of a full size coconut! Approximately 3.2 lbs!!!  Coconut is another fav' of mine!  I use coconut flour in a lot of my baking as it's gluten-free (I do NOT tolerate gluten very well at ALL!!!), high in fibre, healthy fats, and it's free from wheat and other grains - much easier on the digestive system than other grains.

I have included one of my favourite chicken recipes as well as a healthy chocolate treat! Enjoy!

 

Coconut Crusted Chicken - serves 4

 

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3/4 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup almond meal/flour … you can easily make this by blending natural almonds in a blender or food processor
Pinch of sea salt
1 egg
1.     Preheat oven to 375F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper - for easier clean up J
2.     Mix the shredded coconut, almond flour and sea salt together in a bowl.
3.     In a second bowl, beat your egg.
4.     Dip each chicken breast or piece into the egg, then into the dry mixture, coating all sides evenly.
5.     Bake chicken breasts for 35-40 minutes until cooked.
6.     Pair with some tasty veggies and enjoy! You may want to make my favorite salad dressing too.

 

Dark Chocolate Avocado Cookies – makes 10
 

1/2 cup mashed, ripe, avocado
1 oz dark chocolate (I used 85% cocoa dark chocolate)
1 tsp honey
1/4 cup coconut flour
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup milk (I used unsweetened almond milk but any variety will do, even the regular kind)
1.     Break the chocolate into chunks and place in a small, glass bowl along with the honey. Carefully position this bowl over a pan of simmering water and leave it for around five minutes until the chocolate melts completely.
2.     Remove from heat and, while it is cooling slightly, whisk the eggs, milk, vanilla, cocoa powder and avocado together. Add the melted chocolate, a spoonful at a time and stir continuously. It should be a thick runny batter now.
3.     Sift in the coconut flour, stir.
4.     Dollop a Tbsp onto a baking tray (lined with parchment paper) to create ten blobs. Bake at 400F for 10 minutes.

Week 30 - large head of Cabbage!

30 Weeks!  Check out earlier progress pics below ; )

I’m am super excited for this week’s recipes!  I LOVE LOVE LOVE Cabbage!!!  I never use to like it, as I child.  I was extremely turned off of coleslaw after eating too much that a neighbour made for my family, as I ate way too much and was pretty sick!  These days I enjoy cabbage the most, cooked.  I was on quite the cabbage kick a couple months ago until my lovingly Hubby cut me off! Lol … well he didn’t actually tell me I couldn’t eat it, but he knows I can’t portion control my cabbage very well and he has to suffer the consequences – if you know what I mean! He would always say, “Why do you eat so much?  You’re killing me!” lol … And being preggers does not help my situation, so I guess I actually cut MYSELF off!  For now, anyway!

I absolutely LOVE cabbage steaks.  Slice the cabbage into ¾ to 1 inch rounds, massage with some melted coconut oil, season with some sea salt and pepper (I enjoy the Epicure Herb & Garlic or Chili Garlic sea salt), and roast at 400F for 20 minutes, flip and continue to roast for another 25ish minutes.

I also enjoy cabbage in my veggie scrambles.  I’ll saute chopped cabbage, and any other veg I have kicking around (mushrooms, onions, etc) in a bit of coconut oil, then add some coconut aminos, nutritional yeast, paprika and usually some kind of greens (ii.e., baby spinach, arugula, baby kale) until greens are wilted.  Then I add ¼ to ½ avocado, cubed and top with 2 beaten eggs.  Cook until eggs are done, and Voila!  A Nutritious and Delicious breakfast, lunch or dinner!

 

Lazy & Ripped Cabbage Casserole - serves 4-6


2 tsp coconut oil, divided
1 lb extra lean ground beef or bison
1 large onion, chopped fine
1 Tbsp finely minced garlic
½ tsp dried thyme
1 tsp sweet Hungarian Paprika
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1 large head green cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes with juice
1 cup tomato sauce

2-4 Tbsp water
2 cups Cauliflower Rice

To make Cauliflower Rice:
1. Wash and thoroughly dry cauliflower, then remove all greens and cut into 4 even sections (see photo).
2. With a box grater, use the medium-sized holes (see photo - the side commonly used to grate cheese), or a food processor with an "S" shaped blade, to grate or pulse the cauliflower into the size of rice, leaving any large, tough stems behind.
3. Transfer to a clean towel or paper towel and press to remove any excess moisture, which can make your dish soggy.

To make the Casserole:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Rub a large glass casserole dish with a bit of coconut oil.
2. Heat a large frying pan on medium heat; Add ground beef and cook until it's browned an
d cooked through, breaking it apart as it cooks. Remove ground beef and set aside.

3. In the same pan, add 1 tsp coconut oil, chopped onion and cook over medium heat until the onion is translucent and starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic, dried thyme, and paprika and cook for another 2 minutes. Then add the diced tomatoes with juice, tomato sauce, and ground beef. Add water and cauliflower rice to the pan. Simmer until it's hot and slightly thickened, about 15-20 minutes.
4. While it simmers, cut cabbage in half, cut out the core, and remove any wilted outer leaves; chop the cabbage coarsely into 1 inch pieces.
5. Heat remaining coconut oil in a large frying pan or Dutch oven; add the cabbage and cook over medium-high heat until the cabbage is wilted and about half cooked, turnin
g it over several times so it all wilts and cooks. Season with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper.

6. Layer half the cabbage in the bottom of the casserole dish, half the meat mixture, remaining cabbage, and remaining meat mixture. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 40 minutes, or until the mixture is just starting to bubble on the edges.
7. Remove foil and bake uncovered an additional 20 minutes, or until the casserole is starting to slightly brown. Let stand for 10-15 minutes, then dig in!

 

Week 29 - Butternut Squash!

 

Happy Hump Day! What a day, eh?  One minute it's warm and sunny, and the next it's dark and rainy!  The weather has mood swings like a Pregger Lady!  lol just kidding ; )   This week has been interesting, Baby V seems to have REALLY POPPED!  And my belly is now higher too!  I'll take a Week 30 pic for yaz next week! 

I had my first "failure" yesterday at tying my shoes - lol.  Although it didn't help that I had just eaten too!  I sat down on a mat at the studio while a client was warming up, she had the luxury of watching me struggle to tie my shoes, and then fall back on the mat in desperation ... hahaha.  I have discovered that if I stand up with one foot on a chair or step and bend over, it's much easier to tie my shoes!  I also had a fun time with my Mama Bear this past week going shopping for some maternity clothes - they have some really cute stuff out these days!  I managed to steal some deals at Old Navy.  If any of you out there have any small or extra small maternity clothes that you want to get rid of, send them my way please! ; )-

This week Baby V is a the size of a lovely Butternut Squash!  MMM!!! I LOVE butternut squash! There are SO MANY things you can do with it.  My fav' go to, is roasting it as cubes and tossing onto a salad or making up a power bowl with quinoa, roasted squash + other veggies and of course, lots of greens! 

Digging into my recipes, I came up with 2 fav's for you this week!  Let me know if you like them!

 

Butternut Squash Fries – serves 4-6
1 medium sized butternut squash (2-3 lbs)
1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
Sea salt, to taste … I usually use Epicure Chili Garlic Sea Salt or Epicure Herb & Garlic Sea Salt
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste


1.     Preheat oven to 425F.
2.     Use a vegetable peeler to peel the entire butternut squash.
3.     Once peeled, use a sharp knife to cut the squash into french fry shape pieces. Be careful not to cut the
4.     pieces to thin, fat thick fries tend to work best.
5.     Toss in a large bowl with melted coconut oil, sea salt and pepper.
6.     Lay the fries out flat n a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, being sure that the pieces do not overlap.
7.     Bake at 425F for 20 minutes. Remove the fries from the oven and flip the over. Place back in the oven and  bake for another 15-20 minutes.  I like to dip mine in guacamole J

Butternut Squash Lasagna – serves 6-8

 

1 lb extra lean ground turkey or chicken or grass-fed beef or bison
1 red onion
3 cloves garlic
1 cup pizza sauce …  I used Eden Organic Pizza Pasta Sauce
½ cup roasted red peppers … you can roast yourself or buy them in a jar
2 Tbsp EVOO
3 Tbsp of fresh basil leaves or 1 Tbsp dried basil
1 small butternut squash
½ cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, optional

1.     Preheat oven to 400ºF. In a large pan sauté pan brown ithe meat, along with the onions & garlic. While that’s cooking, cut the top and ends of the squash off and peel it. Split it into quarters à right where the squash starts to turn bulbous, cut it in 1/2, width-wise. Split those two halves in half, lengthwise. This will make it much easier to cut into thin planks. Pull out the seeds, then slice the squash into the planks.
2.     Make the sauce by pureeing the pizza sauce, red peppers, EVOO and basil. If you don’t have a blender, food processor, or immersion blender, chop up the red peppers and just whisk everything together.
3.     Using a 9×9 oven safe baking dish, put down enough sauce to lightly cover the bottom of the dish – enough to keep the squash from sticking to the pan. Next add the squash, trying not to overlap the pieces, then spoon on the meat mixture, followed by the sauce. Repeat until all your ingredients are used up … trying to reserve enough sauce to cover the top of the lasagna, and sprinkle the cheese on top if using.
4.     Bake for 45 minutes. You’re looking for a bubbly pan with a crispy, browned top. Right out of the oven, the lasagna may be “liquidy”, so let it set for a good half hour before cutting into it, as it will solidify.

 

Week 28 - Eggplant!

 

Here we are at week 28 of our exciting journey!  Only 12 more weeks (give or take) to go!  Ah geez!!! We have a TONNE of reno's to do still!  I am most definitely in "nesting" mode, but I am at a stalemate until the "Blue Team" do their jobs ;) ... But I must say, they are doing everything they can, and I know they will get the job done with LOTS of time to spare!  Chris and I are going to pick up a bathroom tub and kitchen sink this Friday.  And I must say, I was surprised that a basic, stainless steel kitchen sink costs MORE than a bathtub!  WTH?  That's crazy!  It is what it is though, eh?

I am also on a mission to find the best deal possible on a Madela Freestyle Breast Pump (that's a double electric breast pump), as this "Milkin' Mama" is gonna need that when I go back to work!  My plan is to take 6-8 weeks off completely, then slowly start back in August, and be good to go in September - that means we need A LOT of stored milk for our Baby V : )  If anyone knows where I could get the best deal, please share!

Bodywise, I have managed to decrease the leg cramps significantly as long as I take 2 Magnesium Glynicate cap's per day.  A couple days I only took 1, and BAM!!! Jumping out of sleep in the middle of the night will give your head a shake! I am also enjoying the connection I am feeling with Baby V as he/she somersaults around inside of me ... I am sure he/she will be a little active one just like Mommy and Daddy <3

Anyways, enough rambling, let's get to this week's recipe!  Eggplant Cannelloni!  Yup, that's right!  This is another great low carb way to get a pasta fix!  Let me know what you think!

 

Eggplant Cannelloni – serves 4

1 lb lean grass fed beef or extra lean ground turkey or chicken
2 eggplants, cut in slices lengthwise
4 shallots, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp dried rosemary
½ tsp dried oregano
2 cups of tomato sauce
4 Tbsp coconut oil, divided
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Preheat your oven to 400 F.
2. In a large skillet over a medium heat, warm 1 Tbsp coconut oil and sauté the ground beef with half the shallots, half the garlic, the rosemary, and the oregano. Cook until the meat is evenly browned. Season to taste, and set aside.
3. In a saucepan placed over a medium-low heat, warm 1 Tbsp coconut oil and sauté the remaining shallots and garlic until the shallots are soft.
4. Add the tomato sauce to the shallot and garlic, combine well and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.
5. While the sauce simmers, place the eggplant on a roasting pan and coat with the remaining 2 Tbsp coconut oil (melted) on each side. Roast in the oven for 10 minutes, then let cool for 5 minutes.
6. Once the eggplant slices are cool, place the meat mixture at the edge of each slice of eggplant and roll the eggplant around the meat. Place the cannelloni in a roasting pot, and cover with the tomato sauce.
7. Place in the oven and cook for another 15 minutes. Serve and enjoy.

 

Week 27 - Cauliflower!

Cauliflower ‘Mac” n Cheese – serves 6-8

2 bags of frozen cauliflower or 1 large head cauliflower
½ cup water reserved from cooking cauliflower or NSA broth
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 Tbsp pastured butter
1 clove garlic
3 Tbsp almond flour

1 ½ cups shredded cheese … I used ¾ cup part-skim mozzarella + ¾ cup old cheddar (both lactose-free)
¼ cup nutritional yeast
1 egg yolk
sea salt and pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Place cauliflower in a large pot of water.  Bring to a boil and cook under very tender.
2. Drain cauliflower, reserving ½ cup cooking liquid, and set aside.
3. Melt butter in same pot over medium heat. whisk in garlic, almond milk, cooking liquid, and flour, stirring constantly. Cook 7 to 10 minutes, or until sauce is thickened, whisking constantly.
4. Leave pot on the heat source, but turn off burner and stir in cheese, nutritional yeast, sea and pepper, and egg yolk until cheese is melted. Fold in cauliflower.
5. Spoon mixture into oven safe individual serving ramekins or coat 13- x 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray and spread cauliflower mixture in baking dish.
6. Bake 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.  Broil for 3-7 minutes until top is golden.

Week 26 - Head of Iceberg Lettuce!

Week 26!  14ish weeks to go!  This week has been full of LEG CRAMPS GALORE!  Last night I was up 5 times with charlie horses in my calf and shin at the same time!  Ugh!  That hurts!  I am trying to rule out what is causing these.  I drink lots of water; I am definitely not lacking potassium based on the amount of bananas (with nut butter! lol) and veggies I consume in a day.  I am also getting LOTS of calcium.  I have started trying to take my Natural Calm more often, but may need to increase to daily (this is a magnesium supplement which helps with muscle relaxation, and regularity to boot!).  I am thinking I need to incorporate more stretching into my bedtime routine and maybe rub some Natural Calm gel on my legs before bed as a preventative measure.  Other than the leg cramps, I'm feeling pretty peachy!   As promised, I have posted some "prego progress pics" below, along with this week's recipe.  

 

Grilled Iceberg Lettuce Salad – serves 4

For the Salad:
1 head iceberg lettuce
Prepared Goat Cheese Balsamic Vinaigrette
¼ cup raw pecans, chopped or whole

For the Balsamic Goat Cheese Vinaigrette:
2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
¼ cup EVOO
1 clove garlic
2 Tbsp crumbled goat cheese

1 tsp. fresh thyme, removed from stem (or ¼ to ½ tsp dried)
Sea salt, to taste
Fresh ground pepper, to taste

For the Salad:
1. Remove the core from the lettuce by pounding the base on a flat surface; then pull out the core. Run cold water through the lettuce and allow to drain. Pat with paper towels to remove any excess moisture.
2. Cut the head of lettuce in half, then in half again. You should have 4 equal quarters.
3. Heat your grill (I used my Cuisinart grill pan) and grill your lettuce approximately 4-5 minutes; until you have slight grill marks
4. Place the lettuce on a plate, drizzle about 1-2 Tbsp. of dressing on top; then top with pecans.
For the Balsamic Goat Cheese Vinaigrette:
5. Add the vinegar, oil, garlic, thyme and goat cheese to a mini food chopper or blender and pulse until all ingredients are smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Add a grilled chicken breast or salmon fillet to complete the meal

 

Prego Progress Pics (not the greatest hair days! lol ... who really does their hair to go and workout???)

 

       17 weeks!                      20 weeks!               22 1/2 weeks!              26 weeks!

 

Week 25 - Acorn Squash!

It's hard to believe how the last 6 weeks have flown by!  In the last 6 weeks Baby V has grown from the size of a mango to that of an acorn squash!  Overall I am feeling pretty good (still on Diclectin to help with nausea).  I am noticing that I need to modify my workouts by doing squats with wider legs, staying off my back, and planning extra time for several bathroom trips! lol ... As my belly is growing I have decided to take out planks and push ups, and I am going to do all my core work through standing stabilization exercises.  So far, at week 25 my weight is up 18 pounds, and I still have another 15 (give or take) weeks to go!  Uh oh!!!  It will be interesting to see what my final number is!  My goal is to stay below 35lbs; however I am not so much focussed on that, but I am focussed on eating lots of nutritious and delicious foods to nourish Baby V.  Speaking of which, check out these recipes below!

 

Roasted Acorn Squash and Brussels Sprouts - serves 8

1 small acorn squash (400g), peeled and diced

4 cups (600g) Brussels sprouts, cut half (~4 cups)
1 cup (100g) pecans, chopped
1 cup (150g) dates, chopped
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
¾ tsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp dried chili flakes
1. Preheat the oven to 375F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the Brussels sprouts, squash, pecans and dates and set aside.
3. In a smaller mixing bowl, or in a small blender, combine fresh rosemary, salt, pepper, mustard, coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, garlic, cinnamon, nutmeg and chili peppers, and whisk (or process) until all the ingredients are well incorporated.
4. Pour that over the reserved vegetables and mix until well combined.
5. Transfer the veggies into the prepared baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 40-45 minutes, stirring once or twice during cooking.
6. Serve with your favorite side of protein!

Week 24 - Small Cantaloupe!

½ small cantaloupe

1/3 cup (80g) plain Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp vanilla whey protein (I used Diesel)
1-2 Tbsp fresh raspberries
1-2 Tbsp fresh blueberries
1 tsp raw pumpkin/pepita seeds

1. Scoop out seeds from the center of your half cantaloupe.
2. Whisk yogurt and protein powder with a fork, then fill the hole with the “Progurt”.
3. Add berries to the yogurt and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds.
4. Use a spoon to scoop bites right out of the cantaloupe peel!

Week 23 - Papaya!

Gut friendly Tropical Green Smoothie – serves 1

½ cup pineapple
½ cup papaya
1 frozen banana
¼ cucumber (with skin)
2-3 cups spinach
1 cup milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk) … this also works well with coconut water!
4-6 ice cubes
stevia, optional to sweeten

Blend and serve

Week 22

Spaghetti Casserole that won’t go straight to your hips! – serves 12

1 large Spaghetti Squash, halved lengthwise, seeded and rubbed with coconut oil
Meat Layer
1 Tbsp coconut oil
2 lbs lean ground turkey/chicken
1 clove garlic, minced
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp black pepper
4 cups marinara sauce, divided
Cheese Layer
3 cups part skim ricotta cheese
2 cups part skim shredded mozzarella, divided
¼ cup grated Parmesan
2 eggs
½ tsp dried oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried basil
½ tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried parsley
½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp crushed red pepper for an extra kick! Optional

1. Preheat the oven to 400F and bake the squash on a parchment paper baking sheet for 45 minutes or until it gives to pressure.
2. Melt coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then combine the ingredients for the meat layer except sauce and cook until browned and no longer pink. Once cooked add 3 cups of sauce to meat. Reserve the rest.
3. Combine all the ingredients together in a bowl for the cheese layer but reserve 1 cup shredded mozzarella. Set aside.
4. Scrape the cooled squash with a fork and evenly add spaghetti squash to a greased 9 x13 baking dish.
5. Top with the meat layer.
6. Spread the cheese layer.
7. Add the remaining sauce over the cheese layer.
8. Top with the remaining mozzarella cheese.
9. Cover and bake for 30 minutes at 350F.

Week 21 - Carrot!

Roasted Carrot Soup – serves 4

1 lb. carrots, peeled and cut into 3-inch lengths
2 Tbsp coconut oil, divided
½ medium onion, cut into medium dice (to yield about 3/4 cup)
1 large rib celery, cut into medium dice (to yield about 1/2  cup)
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger (from about 1/2-inch piece, peeled)
2 cups homemade or NSA chicken broth
½ tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp. ground white pepper
Chopped fresh chives or chervil for garnish (optional)

1. Heat the oven to 375°F. Drizzle 1 Tbsp melted coconut oil over carrots and toss well.
2. Put the carrots in a medium baking dish or roasting pan (11x7-inch is a good size, or any dish that will hold the carrots in a single layer without touching).  Bake and stir once halfway through roasting, until they’re tender, blistered, and lightly browned in a few places, about 1 hour.
3. Melt the 1 Tbsp coconut oil in a medium (at least 3-quart) heavy saucepan set over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it’s translucent and fragrant (2-3 min). Stir in the celery and ginger and cook until the celery softens a bit and the onions start to brown (4-5 min). Add the roasted carrots, chicken broth, salt, pepper, and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low, and cover. Simmer until the carrots are very tender, about 45 min.
4. Turn off the heat and let the liquid cool somewhat (or completely).
5. Purée the soup in a blender in batches, never filling the blender more than a 1/3 full, and bearing down firmly on the towel-covered lid so the soup doesn’t come flying out.
6. You may serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 5 days.  This soup is best enjoyed the next day!

Week 20 - Banana!

Baby V is ~10” from head to heel at 20 weeks, comparable to the size of a banana! 

 

Leaner Pancakes – serves 1

1 tsp coconut oil
2 Tbps large flake oats
1 Tbsp ground flax
2 egg whites (4 Tbsp) or 1 whole egg
½ scoop protein powder (~15g protein)
½ banana mashed or 1C blueberries/strawberries mashed
1 Tbsp pure maple syrup (NOT Aunt J) mixed with 1-2 Tbsp plain greek yogurt  or fresh berries

1. Soak oats and flax in eggs whites until expanded. Don’t have time for that?  You could also blend up the oats.
2. Heat coconut oil in a small frying pan on almost medium heat (varies).
3. Whisk protein and fruit into oat and egg mixture.
4. Pour mixture in pan.  Cook until small bubbles form on top (~5minutes), then flip and cook for ~1 minute. Do NOT overcook! 
5. Top syrup mixture or fresh berries

 

Banana Split – serves 1
½ cup cottage cheese OR plain Greek yogurt
1 ripe’ish banana, halved lengthwise
1 Tbsp apple butter or unsweetened applesauce
1 Tbsp unsweetened coconut
1 Tbsp chopped peanuts/almonds

Week 19

I am into week 19 of my pregnancy journey!  And BOY my belly is growing everyday!  The look on my hubby, Chris' face is priceless whenever he catches a side glimpse of me - lol.  He's just like, "Whoa!  That's crazy!" Hahaha.  Gotta love him!  Can't wait for his reactions by weeks 35-40!  He has been so supportive of the emotional and physical changes I have been going through - I am the luckiest woman alive to have a man like him! 😆

Speaking of my hubby, when we first started dating it took me everything I had to try to get him to eat salmon.  He would not budge.   That was until I introduced him to one of my quick and easy recipes where I use Cock brand sweet chili chicken sauce (aka "Cock sauce") top with chopped nuts. It's delish!  Then we were out at TurtleJacks one night and h

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