Recipes

Recipes
Recipes

Accountability

Accountability
Accountability

Coaching

Coaching
Coaching

Peanut Butter Cups: 3-Ingredient Clean Eating Candy!

peanut butter cups, healthy recipe, Shakeology, dessert, clean eating, nut free, gluten free, vanessamc246, 21 Day Fix, PiYo
Tonight is Trick or Treat night in my neighborhood. This means CANDY everywhere. Instead of completely denying myself, and relying only on will power, I will limit myself to two piece of my favorite small, bite-sized candy (Twix), and I made these in advance so, I can eat clean candy, and not feel like I fell off track!

This recipe takes about 5 minutes to put together and I swapped out the almond butter for natural peanut butter because that is what I had in the house. I love how they turned out and they are the perfect "candy" to help me stay away from all the Halloween treats, or a dessert bite to curb my after dinner craving for chocolate. I used a mini muffin tin to shape them but you could also use an ice cub tray.

Try them and let me know how they turned out!

INGREDIENTS (this will make 8 peanut butter cups)
4 tablespoons of coconut oil
8 tablespoons of chocolate Shakeology (you can use vegan chocolate as well)
4 teaspoons of natural peanut butter (or any nut butter of your choice, or make them with sunflower seed butter for a nut-free option).

DIRECTIONS
1. Place 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds until the coconut oil is liquefied.

2. Stir in 4 tablespoons of chocolate Shakeology. Divide the chocolate mixture evenly between 8 spots in a mini muffin tin. Place in the freezer for 5 minutes.

3. Pull the muffin tray out of the freezer. Place a half a teaspoon of peanut butter on top of each chocolate disk. Spread the peanut butter evenly over the hardened chocolate with a knife.

4. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in the microwave. Stir in the remaining 4 tablespoons of chocolate shakeology in. Use this to pour on top of the peanut butter layer. **You will want to do this in 2 batches so it doesn’t harden up on you while the first layer of chocolate is hardening in the freezer.

5. Place the muffin tin back in the freezer and leave it in there for at least 30 minutes.

6. The chocolate cups will slide easily out of the tin. Keep the cups stored in the fridge or freezer for the best consistency!
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PiYO - Week 5 in review

PiYO Chalene Johnson Quote happy, vanessamc246, PiYO, pilates, yoga, weightless, exercise, fitness, beach body
Week 5 has come and gone, and I love PiYO more and more Every. Single. Day. Its not getting easier – I’m getting stronger! I love the way I feel post workout and I can’t get enough of the motivation provided by Chalene throughout the videos. She often states what a blessing it is to be working out together and she’s right – it is truly a blessing!!! It improves my body, and it improves my mood, EVERY SINGLE WORKOUT!
I workout because I CAN, because I'm "treating" my body, not because I "have to," and exercise is not a punishment.
I always make my meal plan up on Thursday nights, and because I work full-time, I'm lucky enough to have my mom grocery shop for me on Fridays. Thanks, Mom!!
This way I'm not missing precious weekend time with my husband or sons!
Here's my Week 5 meal plan:

On Sunday, I prepped my lunches for the week, and roasted some veggies for dinners. I also cooked up some ground turkey meatballs to add to tomato sauce, or make"burgers." This way, dinners during the week, after I come home from work, are simple to assemble, and I don't have to stress.

PiYO Chalene Johnson Quote happy, vanessamc246, PiYO, pilates, yoga, weightless, exercise, fitness, beach body
Week 5 workouts:
Monday: Sculpt
Tuesday: Sweat
Wednesday: Core
Thursday: Drench
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Super Saturday Workout
Sunday: Strength Intervals

The calendar provided in the DVD program is so important! Just when I feel body recovering from the prior days’ workouts I get those muscles stretched and ready to be lengthened and strengthened all over again.

My core is getting stronger and not only am I feeling the difference I can see the difference!!

PiYO Chalene Johnson Quote happy, vanessamc246, PiYO, pilates, yoga, weightless, exercise, fitness, beach body
Every week I start off strong, and rocking it. But between work, family, and all the activities we have, getting up and working out becomes more difficult. On Monday, I loved SCULPT!  Just really functional body strength movements, make me feel strong!
On Tuesday, I realized I'm mastering SWEAT. This is the confidence boosting workout for the week, as I've been doing it since week one.
This week, by Wednesday, I was exchausted! I coached my sons' XC team on Monday night, and had to work late Tuesday night, and so, I fell off the morning workout wagon!
Wednesday I did the CORE workout when I came home from work at 5:30, but had to attend a PTO meeting at my son's school.
Thursday, I pushed through the DRENCH workout.  It wasn't pretty. It's the longest workout in the program.  Getting started was the most challenging part. After the first 10 minutes, I powered through.

PiYO Chalene Johnson Quote happy, vanessamc246, PiYO, pilates, yoga, weightless, exercise, fitness, beach body
When Friday came around I was grateful for the rest day! The next day, I was driving to Pittsburgh and back in the same day, a three hour drive each direction, and I knew it was going to be a long day.

Saturday I spent the day in Pittsburgh with 1,000 other Beachbody coaches for Super Saturday! It's a day of training, celebrating successes, and a workout, of course! The energy is high, and when we all workout together we feed off of each others almost frenzied, excitement! It creates such a feeling of gratitude, positivity, and a lasting, all natural "high."

Sunday I crashed! I slept in until 9 a.m., then spent the messaging my Beachbody coaches and challengers. My body was so exhausted, that at 1 p.m. I took a nap!! Finally, around 3 p.m. I completed my workout – and yes, that strength interval workout is STILL killing me – and then I spent the rest of the day prepping the meals for the week.
I had a busy week. I was away from home late a night, and all day Saturday. But there is one thing I did every day – and that is PREPARE! Having my snacks all prepped in advance, able to be grabbed as I run out the door – keeps me on track.

If you are interested in PiYO or any other workout program and would like to get 1:1 coaching and support along with motivation and accountability, please fill out my challenge and accountability application below! I will share tips and recipes and I will help you with the one thing I always found so difficult – MEAL PLANNING! Remember – your health and fitness success is 80% nutrition. You can get all the results and support you need right in your own home – and you don’t have to do it alone!

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Pumpkin Muffins with Maple Cream Cheese - FIXATE style

pumpkin muffins, breakfast, 21 Day Fix, Fixate, autumn calabrese, recipe, clean eating, vanessamc246, fitness, beachbody coach


It's the season for EVERYTHING pumpkin!  Pumpkin coffee, cookies, breads, soups, raviolis, butter, crackers, cereal, and today at the store, I even saw, pumpkin spice peanut butter!!

However, these pumpkin foods are usually full of processed ingredients and imitation flavorings. When I saw this recipe in the FIXATE cookbook, I knew I had to try it, especially with the cream cheese center! Full of whole foods, clean ingredients and healthy, these muffins were perfect, paired with coffee as an afternoon snack.
Another delicious recipe from this book, and I'll be making these every fall!! 



(Makes 2 Servings)
Per serving:
1 purple
1 orange

INGREDIENTS
2 oz cram cheese
1 TBSP pure maple syrup (I used organic, local honey, because I don't like maple syrup)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups almond flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda (gluten free)
1 dash sea salt

pumpkin muffins, breakfast, 21 Day Fix, Fixate, autumn calabrese, recipe, clean eating, vanessamc246, fitness, beachbody coach
DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Prepare nine muffin cups by lining them with muffin tin liners or coating with spray. Set aside.
3. Combine cream cheese and maple syrup (or honey) in a small bowl. Mix well, set aside. 
4. Combine egg and pumpkin in a medium bowl, mix well. Set aside.
5. Combine almond flour, baking soda, and salt i a medium bowl. Mix well. 
6. Add almond meal mixture to egg mixture; mix until just blended.
7. Spoon batter into each prepared muffin cup, filling a little less than 1/2 full.
8. Spoon about 1 heaping tsp. cream cheese mixture into the center of each muffin. Evenly fill muffin cups 3/4 full with remaining batter.
9. Bake 16-18 minutes, or until golden brown and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 
10. Transfer muffins to rack to cool.

Nutritional Information
Total Fat 13g
Saturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 28 mg
Sodium 166 mg
Carbohydrates 8g
Fiber 3g
Sugars 3g
Protein 6g

For more healthy recipes and support in your fitness and nutrition journey, check out my accountability groups or fill out the form below for more info!
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Free 5 Day Clean Eating Crock pot Group

Clean eating, Crock Pot, Comfort Food, Free group, Accountability, vanessamc246

Halloween and Thanksgiving are around the corner, and the time of crazy schedules and activities, parties, and get togethers are upon us!

 If you’re like me, you dream of cooking healthy, hot and tasty clean meals every night.  Then, reality sets in.  Your son has a game.  You have to drive the other kids to to practice.  Or lessons. You forgot to get the (fill-in-the-blank item) at the store.  There’s not enough time to defrost this or that, and when you’re left with no time or ingredients, the processed crap seems to be the only solution.  This week the group will focus on healthy crock pot recipes that are quick and easy, but provide that healthy, hot clean meal for your family!

What are the requirements?

1. You must make me your official Beachbody Coach by going to my site and creating a free profile. This way I can send you recipes, meal plans and monthly motivation and tips to keep you on track with your lifestyle.

2. You must participate for the next 7 days in our online closed Facebook group each day!

3. Commit to checking in 1 time per day, rating your day and charting your progress.

4. Invite 2 friends to join! Why not bring a few friends along for the ride! There is nothing better than having an accountability partner in the next 5 days!!!! You are more likely to stick with it if you have someone by your side.

What do you get for joining?

1. A free 7 day meal plan;
2. A grocery list;
3. A place to check in daily, ask questions, get support and motivation;
4. Daily tips that have worked for me;
5. Strategies to handle emotional eating and temptations.

Are you ready to get started? We will begin the group on Monday, November 2 so please reserve your spot today!

>>>>>Email me at vanessamc246@gmail.com or send me a message on my Facebook like page at https://www.facebook.com/experiencebutterflyeffect?fref=ts  to get enrolled in the free group!

*Note- This is for new and existing customers. If you are already a coach or have a coach you are working with please contact your coach for details on their next group!
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Cheesy, delicious, comforting and HEALTHY lasagna!

21 Day Fix, Autumn Calabrese, Comfort food, healthy entree, Lasagna, cheese dish, vanessa mclaughlin
To my fellow cheese lovers, this recipe maintains it's cheesy, comfort food goodness, yet also maintains a whole ingredient, healthy composition! YEAH! That's a win-win!
AND, it got my kids to eat spinach! Yipee!

I created this recipe to go along with the 21 Day Fix, but you can eat it just as a healthy, clean eating dish. If following the 21 Day Fix eating plan, one serving of this uses one yellow container (one serving of grains).
However, if you want to by pass the grains, you can substitute the pasta for spaghetti squash.  I have not tried this recipe with zoodles, because I think they would make it too watery.
If you also want to keep this recipe at 1 green container per serving, but still use the spaghetti squash just remove the spinach.

(Makes 2 Servings)
Per serving:
1 yellow
1.25 red
1 green
1 blue

INGREDIENTS

1 cup (2 yellow containers) of whole wheat, brown rice, or high protein lasagna noodles (or any whole grain noodles you desire)
2/3 cup (1 red container) of cooked lean ground beef, ground chicken, or ground turkey
1 red container of cottage cheese (or you can use ricotta)
1 egg (if you use ricotta, just use 2 egg whites)
2 cups loosely packed (2 green containers) of spinach, chopped
fresh chopped parsley 1/2 cup (2 blue containers) of mozzarella
2 cups (2 purple containers) of organic marinara sauce

21 Day Fix, Autumn Calabrese, Comfort food, healthy entree, Lasagna, cheese dish, vanessa mclaughlinDIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Boil your noodles according to package directions.
3. In a bowl mix cottage/ricotta cheese and egg.
4. Add spinach and parsley.
5. In a separate bowl, mix all but a 2 1/2 cups of the marinara sauce and cooked ground beef/chicken/turkey. Set aside remaining 1/2 cup of sauce
6. In a shallow baking pan (I used a 7.5" x  9.5" pyrex dish) put few spoonfuls of set aside sauce on the bottom.
7. Add half of your noodles to the pan.
8. Layer half the cottage cheese mixture and half the mozzarella.
9. Layer again, topping with the left over sauce.
10.Bake for approximately 25 - 35 minutes until browned on top.

If you’re looking for some new recipe ideas, or meal planning tips or maybe just some accountability to stay ON TRACK especially when times get tough – then join my next online Health & Fitness accountability group! My next group is now forming and I am looking for more women who would benefit from the support network and accountability of achieving their goals TOGETHER! Fill out the form below to reserve your spot.

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Top 5 (Unexpected) Things I Learned from Skin Cancer

skin cancer, what I learned about skin cancer, vanessamc246, vanessa mclaughlin, vanessa fitMost of my posts are about fitness and nutrition, but I today I'm sharing something I usually keep private: my skin cancer. Why today? Well, every three months I visit the dermatologist, and she usually burns a suspicious looking spot, or biopsies one on my body. She almost always finds at least one spot. Today, she found THREE. She biopsied three.  One of them, is on my forehead, making my skin cancer very public.

My first spot appeared on my upper back, near my shoulder blade three years ago. It was Basal Cell Carcinoma, and the dermatologist sliced it out of my back. The second spot, three months later, was melanoma and she carved that out of my back too.

I started going to the dermatologist when I was 42, because I lifeguarded for 5 years in high school and college, when the object was to get a "good base tan" by pouring baby oil all over the body. So, I went to get checked as a precaution. I wanted to get a full body scan while I was there, but as soon as the dermatologist saw the spot on my back, she went into action hero mode and said, “the body scan can wait, we need to remove this now.” While I wasn't surprised she found a spot, I was shocked it happened to me so young.

While I can't change what happened in the past, I can focus on things I actually can control.

1. Taking care of myself is important, but goes beyond fitness and nutrition.
When your taking care of yourself, I mean really looking out for yourself, you just feel better in every way.  This means not only staying hydrated, eating lots of vegetables and nutritious whole foods, managing stress, and giving my body some daily movement, but it means going to the dermatologist, to the dentist, for women getting a mammogram, and fully taking care of your body. For three years I've been going to the dermatologist every three to six months.

2. People support me, they don't judge me.
To me, my skin cancer is not a big deal. The dermatologist cuts it out, and all is well. Until the next time when she biopsies a spot. Each time I have to wait seven to 10 days for the results. While my family supports me, I was afraid others would judge me and think I was a hypocrite.
"How could you not wear sunscreen? How can you advocate a healthy lifestyle and not wear sunscreen?"
But no one ever said that to me. In fact they realized right away it was my PAST!  Now, just like drinking about a gallon of water a day, I wear sunscreen EVERY DAY!

3. Nutrition and exercise empower me.
As I mentioned above, when we really take care of ourselves, we feel unstoppable!  When my nutrition is on track; when I'm guzzling water; when I get in a vigorous sweat sesh; my energy soars, my happy meter rises, and I feel like skipping and singing!
I've also done a good bit of research to discover red fruits and vegetables like tomatoes and watermelon deter skin cancer because of their high lycopene content. While the damage has already been done, I can try and delay more skin cancer from developing.

4. I got a lesson in gratitude.
From that very first spot carved out of my back, I started reading and learning about skin cancer.I have a 40 percent chance of getting another Basal Cell Carcinoma somewhere else on my body. I read horror stories of people finding a freckle on their body, but under their skin, lying unseen was cancer spreading so quickly, they did not survive.
I can never leave my house without sunscreen again. And I'm going to have to start spending money on floppy hats rather than bikinis. I go for regular checks every three months, and every time the dermatologist finds a spot I have some sleepless nights worrying.
But I couldn't have been luckier. I caught it early. I didn't have to endure chemotherapy, like millions of other people with more aggressive types of cancer. I have some scars on my back, which I jokingly call my bullet wounds, because of their round shape. But it's no joke.
Skin cancer can be deadly and is rising at an alarming rate. Current estimates say one in five of us will get it in our lifetime. Over the past three decades, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined. Get your moles checked often. If something looks unusual, do not wait.
Every time the dermatologist cuts out one of my moles or freckles, I'm grateful, because it means I'm okay.

5. The sun is still your friend.
I love the sun! I love the way it makes me feel. The sun is my friend and provides me with so much happiness and a healthy dose of vitamin D that also helps prevent cancer so WTF!?
But I need to be a better friend to my sun, I need to take it in small doses, while I protect myself with a physical blocker sunscreen. I need to wear hats and long sleeves to avoid getting burned if I’m outside all day and make sure to lather up when I’m exposing myself for a day at the pool or beach. I guess it’s like any friendship, do not abuse it or it might become less friendly.

So, now I wait for seven to 10 days to hear about the biopsy from my lower left shin, another one on my back, and my forehead. I try not to worry if she needs to remove it from my forehead that I'll bear a striking resemblance to a famous boy wizard, if I'll need to consult a plastic surgeon, and try not to fear worse things than aesthetic issues.  I will get a good sweat sesh in today. I will continue to practice self-care. It is part of my journey.

And thank you for reading because it felt so good to write and share this.



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PiYO - Week 4 Recap


Week 4 is officially in the books and this week brought on a whole new level of intensity! Two new workouts were introduced – Hardcore on the floor and Drench. Both left me spent and sweaty!

I can feel my strength improving even as I do regular daily activities around the house: grocery bags, the vacuum cleaner, lifting and lugging them around the house and up and down stairs. But its no secret. They’re not changing – I’m getting stronger – AND I LIKE IT!!!! This program trains the body for functional movement. It's not static, and during the workouts, the body is always moving.

To top it off, I've maintained my four pound weight loss. I still have six to go, but in weight loss, slower is better, because I know I'm more likely to keep it off. So, I try to remember to just enjoy the journey!

The workouts keep getting more challenging, which means my body is not adapting or plateauting, and I’m feeling the burn during week 4 – but like any workout regimen, the nutrition is 80% of success!!! I have learned the hard way you can do crunches until you’re blue in the face but without the proper nutrition those abs will remain in hiding!

OH…the meal planning!!!

I have found I have more success when I stick to my favorites! Meal planning is easier, shopping is easier, and I waste less therefore save more $$ – so what’s to complain about? I like my snacks to be filling and crunchy…and take a little time to eat. I am often grab my breakfast, lunch, and snacks a I head out to to work,  so, I've prepped raw veggies, apples, with small baggies of nuts, and my remade lunch; all things that I can prep ahead of time and quickly grab, except for my Shakeology. That I  make each morning, in five minutes or less and drink it on my way to work.

Here’s my week 4 meal plan:

Now for the workouts:

Monday – Sweat: I know this workout routine now. Each time I do it, now I can push myself more, because I know what to expect.

Tuesday – Hardcore on the floor: This WAS tough!!  Different than the regular core. I felt it in my abs the next day, which I loved, because it means I worked them!! Here is a little video of some of the exercises in this workout.


PiYO, Pilates, Yoga, Chalene Johnson, Buns workout, legs workout, glutes workout, vanessamc246, change one thing, change everythingWednesday – BUNS: Still one of my favorite workouts.  Love working my legs.

Thursday – Drench: This was a new workout in the rotation.  Longer, almost 50 minutes, and like the name, I was drenched at the end.  Great workout, but glad it's only once this week!

Friday – PiYO rest day, perfect after Drench.

Saturday – Strength Intervals: Love this quick and dirty strength and cardio session. 20 minutes and done!

Sunday – Sweat: back to basics with this workout, and I keep pushing and stretching!

PiYO, Pilates, Yoga, Chalene Johnson, Buns workout, legs workout, glutes workout, vanessamc246, change one thing, change everything, Drench, full body workout
I absolutely love the convenience of working out at home on my own schedule, but I also love running with my son, especially in the brisk fall weather!! We don't run fast or far, 3 miles at the most, but we are together, and outdoors!  So, Monday and Saturday we ran together, and I feel the progress from PiYO in my running. My hips and hamstrings aren't as tight, and I'm finding the jog more comfortable.

This week, I worked out in the morning EVERY day, even on the weekends. This is a struggle for me, because I'm not a morning person. But boy, to I LOVE getting my workout over with and accomplished at the beginning of the day.  e week closed out with a Sunday morning SWEAT session and a short cameo by my son, Colt. I love that my children get to see me in action. Children will imitate what they see not what they are told and I am going to do everything in my power to make sure they see me living a healthy happy life!

If you’re interested in PiYO you can create a FREE team beachbody account HERE and fill out the form below for a spot in my next accountability group! Its never too late to get started and you can never have too much support along the way!

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1

New Shakeology flavor!

New shakeology flavor, beachbody, cafe latte, weight loss, nutrients

Coming in 2016 – A new Shakeology flavor: Cafe Latte was recently announced. It will be available to all in the first quarter of 2016 and tastes like coffee ice cream!  For all you coffee lovers out there Beachbody just found a new way into your heart. I can't wait to get my hands on this and give it a try. If you would like to be notified when this new flavor is available, please send me a quick email and I will put you on my list to notify when it's available. In the mean time please check out my site if you ant to try some of the existing flavors!  

Check out my Shakeology recipes to make your own!
1

Mac and Cheese - FIXATE Style

FIxate, Mac and cheese, healthy mac and cheese recipe, autumn calabrese, comfort food, 21 Day Fix, vanessamc246, vanessa fit, change one thing, change everything, weightless
Who doesn't love a warm, cheesy, creamy comforting bowl of Mac and Cheese? But the boxed stuff is processed and full of preservatives, and the real, homemade version is full of saturated fat and calories. I don't know about you, but it's tough for me to just eat a 1/2 cup - the recommended serving size. All that creamy, melted cheese and carb-laden pasta, I could jump in a pan of homemade mac and cheese.

Lucky for me, Autumn Calabrese, creator of 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix Extreme, wrote a cookbook called FIXATE. The greatest feature of this cookbook: It gives the container equivalents for each recipe! AND it includes a healthified recipe for Mac and Cheese, still comforting, still cheesy, and still delicious, and for a TWO CUP SERVING!


I made mine gluten free with the ingredients in parentheses below, but the original recipe calls for whole wheat pasta.

Makes 8 two cup servings
Prep Time: 20 min. Cooking Time: 17 min.

CONTAINER EQUIVALENTS (per serving)
1/2 Green
1/2 Yellow
1/2 Red
1 Blue
1/2 teaspoon

INGREDIENTS
4 oz. dry whole wheat macaroni (I used quinoa/brown rice blend fusilli from Trader Joe's)
4 tsp. organic grass-fed butter
2 TBSP unbleached whole wheat flour (I used brown rice flour)
1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1 1/4 cups freshly grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
3 cups cooked, chopped chicken breast, boneless, skinless
4 cups chopped broccoli florets, steamed
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS
1. Cook pasta according to package directions. (Do not use salt or oil if suggested in directions). Set aside.
2. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat.
3. Add flour; cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute or until brown (don't let it burn).
4. Slowly whisk in almond milk; cook whisking constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until mixture thickens and there are no lumps.
5. Reduce heat to low. Add cheese; cook, whisking constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes or until melted.
6. Add chicken, broccoli, salt, and pepper; cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute, or until heated through.
7. Serve immediately

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION
FIxate, Mac and cheese, healthy mac and cheese recipe, autumn calabrese, comfort food, 21 Day Fix, vanessamc246, vanessa fit, change one thing, change everything, weightless
Calories: 245 per 2 cup serving
Total Fat: 10 g
Saturated Fat: 5 g
Cholesterol: 68 mg
Sodium: 486 mg
Carbohydrates: 14 g
Fiber: 2 g
Sugars: 0 g
Protein: 25 g

For more healthy recipes and support in your fitness and nutrition journey, check out my accountability groups or fill out the form below for more info!

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1

22-Minute Hard Corps - Tony Horton's new workout coming in 2016!

Tony Horton has toured military bases all over the world to helping troops train to their maximum fitness potential. Inspired by the no-nonsense simplicity of basic training, Tony decided to make it his mission to bring military-style workouts to everyone.


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Almond Chocolate Protein Bars - FIXATE Style

autumn calabrese, 21 day fix, protein bar, treat, dessert, gluten free, egg free, paleo, vanessamc246, change one thing change everything, vanessa mclaughlin, beach body coach, 21 Day Fix recipe
My husband loves sweets.....BUT they have to be healthy....AND taste delicious!  He's also always looking to get more protein in his diet, because he lifts weights.  So, for quick protein on the go, he buys protein bars. But then I told him to look at the sugar content!!  Either the bars are loaded with sugar, or contain artificial sweeteners.

When I found these protein bars in the FIXATE cookbook, and made them, they met all his requirements: sweet, protein filled, healthy, clean ingredients, and taste delicious!!  Another plus: no cooking!!

Autumn Calabrese, the creator of 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix Extreme, wrote a cookbook called FIXATE. The greatest feature of this cookbook: It gives the container equivalents for each recipe!

These protein bars are gluten free, and sugar free, and I've enjoyed one every afternoon with a cup of coffee.

Makes 16 square bars
Prep Time: 15 min. Cooking Time: None!! You just put them in the freezer!

CONTAINER EQUIVALENTS (per serving)
1/2 Yellow
1/2 Red

INGREDIENTS
1 cup oat flour, gluten-free
1 cup whey protein powder, vanilla flavor
1 cup almond flour
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 cup all natural almond butter
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips, (melt for 30 seconds in microwave, take out and stir, melt for another 30 seconds in microwave, take out and stir - continue process until completely melted).

DIRECTIONS
autumn calabrese, 21 day fix, protein bar, treat, dessert, gluten free, egg free, paleo, vanessamc246, change one thing change everything, vanessa mclaughlin, beach body coach, 21 Day Fix recipe

1. Line 8x8 inches baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
2. Place oat flour, protein powder, almond flour and salt in food processor; pulse to mix.
3. Add almond butter and extract; pusle for 1 minute, or until crumbly.
4. Add almond milk; pulse for 1 minute or until mixture forms soft dough.
5. Press dough into prepared pan. Smooth top with spatula.
6. Freeze, covered for 15 minutes.
7. Remove from freezer and pour melted chocolate over protein bars, and spread evenly.
8. Freeze for 10 minutes until chocolate sets.
9. Cut into 16 squares 2x2 inches each.
10. Store in freezer for up to one week in airtight container.

TIPS:
I used Sun Warrior- Warrior Blend Raw Vegan Protein in Vanilla for the protein powder. It's soy-free, gluten-free, non-GMO, dairy free, AND sugar free.  So, I added 1/4 cup stevia powder to the mix and a few more drops of almond milk.  You could also add 1/4 cup of honey to sweeten it, if you're using a protein powder without sweetener.

You can substitute almond butter with peanut butter, cashew butter, or to make it nut-free, use sunflower seed butter.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION
Calories: 182 (per 1 square)
Total Fat 13 g
Saturated Fat 2 g
Cholesterol 17 mg
Sodium 122 mg
Carbohydrates 11 g
Fiber 3 g
Sugars 3 g
Protein 8 g
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PiYo - Week 3 Review


PiYo, yoga, pilates, chalene johnson, weight loss, vanessamc246, the butterfly effect, change one thing change everything
I admit it! I thought PiYO was going to be too slow for me.
When I chose to do it, it was a half-hearted choice.
Was this program really going to get me the results I am looking for? I was probably going to have to supplement with other workouts.

I LOVED the 21-day fix workouts, and I knew these were different, but I decided to trust the program. Many people who worked to put this program schedule together with awesome workouts and an easy to follow meal plan, to get results.  So, I wanted to see my own results. I weighed myself on Sunday, and I've lost four pounds!!! Six more to go to lose my goal of 10.As I wrap up week 3 and the intensity builds, and I'm seeing results, I know the creators knew what they were doing!!

I’ve found the meal plan pretty easy to adapt, although you may find mine a bit boring! I tend to eat the same main items throughout the week and repeat a lot of my meals – but that makes my meal plan easier, meal prep easier, I know how I feel eating these foods, and it's within the meals my family enjoys (because I make the same meal for everyone) so to me its a win win!  I keep it pretty simple!! I've really focused and concentrated on sticking to the meal plan.

PiYo, yoga, pilates, chalene johnson, weight loss, vanessamc246, the butterfly effect, change one thing change everything, meal plan, clean eating, 21 Day Fix meal plan


PiYo, yoga, pilates, chalene johnson, weight loss, vanessamc246, the butterfly effect, change one thing change everything
Back to the workouts…
I like the way the program builds. It has a few main workouts during the first two weeks which really allowed me to master certain moves like the PiYO cross, the PiYO push up, the PiYO Pike and others that once seemed a bit tricky! The workouts build on each other, and get more challenging as it progresses. Because of this, I see myself get stronger, as the workouts stay one step ahead so I can continue to grow and progress!

Moral of the story – I LOVE PIYO!
PiYo, yoga, pilates, chalene johnson, weight loss, vanessamc246, the butterfly effect, change one thing change everything

Monday - Define: Upper Body
Tuesday - BUNS
Wednesday - CORE
Thursday - Define: Lower Body
Friday - REST
Saturday - SWEAT
Sunday - Strength Intervals

I did the entire Define: Upper Body this week without any modifications! I also ran 2.5 miles during my sons' XC practice. During the PiYo workout felt easier to hold downward dog as long as Chalene asked me to! The same thing happened on Wednesday with Core.  I completed all the PiYo Pikes, which I couldn't do without stopping last week.

On Tuesday I LOVED, LOVED, Buns!  It didn't just work the glutes, but all of my leg muscles, while focusing on the glutes.  The next day I was SO sore! I felt the workout when I walked down the stairs!!

PiYo, Buns, pilates, yoga, chalene johnson, beachbody, weight loss, lose weight, no impact, vanessamc246, the butterfly effect, change one thing change everything.

Even though it had been two days since I had done the Buns workout, when Thursday came and Define: Lower Body was on the schedule, I could still feel soreness my glutes and legs!  So, even though I improved in Define: Lower Body, my legs still got a workout!

By the time Friday came, as usual, I NEEDED the rest!!

PiYo, yoga, pilates, chalene johnson, weight loss, vanessamc246, the butterfly effect, change one thing change everything
Saturday I had a XC meet with the team, and did a light warm-up run with them, but only about 1.5 miles.  Then I went home and did the Sweat workout.  I know what I'm doing, now, in this workout and don't need to watch the screen, which means I can focus on the exercise.

On Sunday, I discovered Strength Intervals for the first time.  It may only be 22 minutes long, it's an effective workout, and I was sweating at the end, and barely able to finish the push-ups!!

Do you think you could benefit from PiYo? If you’d like some additional support consider joining my next support and accountability group! You can never have too much support and too much motivation to help you reach your health and fitness goals!
PiYo, yoga, pilates, chalene johnson, weight loss, vanessamc246, the butterfly effect, change one thing change everything

You can create a FREE team beachbody account HERE and fill out the form below for a spot in my next accountability group! You don’t have to do this alone – so why should you???


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Flourless Chocolate-Chickpea Brownies - FIXATE style

My three "boys" (my two sons and my husband) LOVE brownies. For their birthdays, they all rather have a whole pan of brownies, rather than cake.  So, for at least a year, I've been search for a brownie recipe that they will eat and enjoy, but not filled with junk and preservatives!

I've made about 10 pans of different clean-eating brownie recipes: some had spinach in them, some were gluten free and made with coconut flour, some came out like a pan of flat, tasteless cardboard, some had a grainy texture, and some had a chewy, almost gummy-like texture.  In other words, they did not pass the kid-taste test, they did not get two thumbs up!!

Until these!!!

21 Day Fix, Cookbook, FIXATE, brownies recipe, Autumn Calabrese, 21 Day Fix Containers recipe, vanessamc246, the butterfly effect, change one thing change everything
I was a bit skeptical, as the main ingredient is chickpeas, but I made them anyway, because so far, of all the FIXATE recipes I've tried, the family loved them all! They were chocolaty, fudgy, and perfect for my boys!

Autumn Calabrese, the creator of 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix Extreme, wrote a cookbook called FIXATE, with tons of clean eating recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, desserts, and even Shakeology! The greatest feature of this cookbook: it gives the container equivalents for each recipe!!!

Here is the FIXATE recipe for brownies:

Container equivalent:  1 yellow


INGREDIENTS
Non-stick cooking spray
1 (15 oz) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
1/4 cup organic, grass-fed butter, melted (or extra virgin coconut oil)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup pure maple syrup (or raw honey)
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup organic, unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking powder, gluten-free
1 pinch sea salt
1/4 cup chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS
21 Day Fix, Cookbook, FIXATE, brownies recipe, Autumn Calabrese, 21 Day Fix Containers recipe, vanessamc246, the butterfly effect, change one thing change everything
Hot out of the oven
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Line 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Lightly coat with spray. Set aside.
3. Place chickpeas, butter, eggs, maple syrup, extract, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in blender or food processor, cover, and blend until smooth.
4. Add chocolate chips; mix by hand until blended.
5. Evenly spread batter into prepared pan.
6. Bake for 25 to 28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out clean.
7. Cut into 16 squares.
21 Day Fix, Cookbook, FIXATE, brownies recipe, Autumn Calabrese, 21 Day Fix Containers recipe, vanessamc246, the butterfly effect, change one thing change everything
Two thumbs up from my son and his best friend!!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION:
Calories 106 per 1 brownie
Total fat 5g
Saturated fat 3g
Cholesterol 31mg
Sodium 95mg
Carbohydrates 13g
Fiber 1g
Sugars 8g
Protein 2g

For more healthy recipes and support in your fitness and nutrition journey, check out my accountability groups or fill out the form below for more info!

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PiYo - Week 2 RECAP

PiYo, Chalene Johnson, Beachbody, Pilates, Yoga, Vanessamc246, change one thing change everything

Finished PiYo Week 2, and I am SHOCKED that I am still feeling sore. It's a good thing, because it means I’m working new muscles and continue to push myself, but I didn’t expect this! BUT I sure do love that feeling because it means I'm getting great workouts!!!

While I follow the workout schedule in the program booklet, I’ve adding running two to three days a week, because I help coach my sons cross country team. But it's only about 5-6 miles each week tops, because I trust the program, the creators, and all those who put forth a lot time to make this amazing program available to us, all from the comfort of our own homes!

On Sunday, I created my meal plan for week two, grocery shopped, and food prepped, so I would be successful for week two.

Here’s what my meal plan for the week looked like:
PiYo Plan A Meal Plan, PiYo, Pilates, Yoga, Chalene Johnson, vanessamc245, beachbody coach, accountability group, challenge group, weightloss

I tend to eat similar items through the week to help save on grocery costs and reduce waste, and to make meal prep easier for breakfasts and lunches.

I've been successfully working out all week either in my office during lunch, streaming the PiYo workout of the day on Beachbody On Demand, or doing it right when I get home from work. I'd really like to start back with early morning workouts.  That's going to be a challenge for me, since I'm a night owl.
PiYo Plan A Meal Plan, PiYo, Pilates, Yoga, Chalene Johnson, vanessamc245, beachbody coach, accountability group, challenge group, weightloss
Week 2 of PiYO I started off refreshed and from a relaxing weekend.


Monday - SWEAT
I had a few modifications, but I got it DONE – and that’s what matters! The space in my office where I can workout, just behind my desk is tiny! Maybe about 7'x7'.  But that's all I need for this workout! AND, because I don't need any equipment, other than my yoga mat, it's simple and easy to do in a tiny space, away from home or a gym! I had to coach cross-country tonight, but we ran about a 3K, or about a mile and a half.


PiYo Plan A Meal Plan, PiYo, Pilates, Yoga, Chalene Johnson, vanessamc245, beachbody coach, accountability group, challenge group, weightloss



Tuesday - Define: Lower Body felt good to stretch my legs after Monday.






Wednesday - CORE I can really feel the
exercises in my core, now that I've done this workout before. I'm moving better, and able to feel my core working. Those side planks and PiYo pikes are killer!!

Thursday - Define: Upper Body I LOVE this workout!!  I can feel my flexibility improving along with my strength with every. single. tricep. pushup. AND the whole workout is only 20 minutes long! We all have 20 minutes!! This was perfect, because I helped coach the cross-country team again, and ran another 3K. Below I included a short video with some of the exercises.


 

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/AjyRwSO0mBA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> 
Friday – Rest Day! Okay, maybe this is my favorite!! Haha!!

Saturday - SWEAT This is still a TOUGH workout!! The name says it all! But I had fun, because
my son kept me company!! He was impressed that his mom could do these tough moves!

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/AjyRwSO0mBA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
SUNDAY - CORE I workout for several reasons, one being the way I feel when its DONE – those post-workout endorphins are hard to beat. And this sweat session was no different! Thankful for pushing play, and feeling it in my core!


Two weeks are in the books – looking forward to the next two and hitting that halfway mark!!!

If you would like more information about joining my next support and accountability group, fill out the application below! Whether you’re new to fitness or just getting started, this program can fit ANYONE, and who couldn’t use a little more motivation and support?!



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Stripped Kickstart Challenge Group - losing the last...or the first... 10 pounds!

Eat Clean, Tosca Reno, Accountability, Weightloss, Beachbody, Coach, Support, Lose weight


I want you to think a moment about how much energy it takes to maintain the status quo. Let's get real for a minute. Let me tell you how I felt after I had my kids and carrying around an extra 10-15 pounds. Before I got rid of them for good, these are some of the things I told myself:

"I need to wear boot cut jeans to balance out my big hips."
"I can't wear skinny jeans."
"My shoes need to have heels to balance out my short self."
"I need to cover up  arms."
"I need to wear my hair long to make me took longer."
"I can't wear stripes across, because they will make me look wider."

All of the energy it took to keep telling myself those things, to live by my made up rules -- and never once did I consider that it didn't have to be that way. All of the days where I berated myself for eating too much, and promised I would do better tomorrow, and all the times I wanted to cry when I was getting dressed because nothing looked good, and I felt awful. 

You may not realize it, but it takes a lot of energy to feel awful. 

Now, I throw on a pair of skinny jeans with flat flip flops. I put on a sleeveless shirt and a belt with them. I look in the mirror and I like what I see! Getting dressed doesn't make me feel like crying!
Getting dressed feels effortless, when instead of putting in effort into my made up rules, I put it into nutrition and exercise. I have a few pounds to go to get exactly where I want to be, but I think I'd rather commit my effort to the good stuff, and let go of all of that negative bullshit.  

For the month of October I will be running a 30 day stripped challenge group. This is for busy women who are looking to lose up to 10 pounds in one month by stripping away the junk and the excuses that have been holding them back in the past. In this group I will teach you how to eat clean, how to stick to your plan and how to be a new happier healthier you.

It means you will commit to doing 30 minutes a day of exercise, working on meal plans and clean eating, drinking Shakeology daily (I call that my super power, give me so much energy) and promising to stay focused on the goals you are going to set for yourself. The journey you are about to begin is hard, don't make it harder by trying to do it alone.

If you stay true, this works. Really works.  It will make a difference. I promise you.
 
Isn't it time you take time for you? Isn't it time you feel good again?
Enough is enough!!
Enough with running ragged. Enough being tired, unhappy and  unhealthy. Enough with the made up rules!

I'm taking on 10 new clients. This will be a focus first on nutrition accountability group.

How does it work?

1. We kick start our nutritional goals with a 3 Day Refresh to get rid of excess bloat and flush out any toxins.

2. You follow the 3 week "stripped meal plan" by Tosca Reno (you do not need to buy the book, I will be guiding you through the plan).

3. Replace one meal a day with nutrient dense Shakeology to make sure the unwanted pounds stay off.

4. Complete a 30 minute workout of your choice: 21 Day Fix (on sale this month), PiYo, P90X3, Insanity Max: 30, walking, running, or gym workouts all work!

This group will be focused on cleaning up nutrition and cutting out the foods preventing you from getting to your goal weight.

What you can expect from me is meal planning help, choosing the foods you like, or that you require (works with any diet that is vegetarian, gluten-free, or dairy free), support, accountability, tips on how to eat while on vacation or summer travel, suggestions and advice on how to prevent emotional eating, and lots of inspiration and motivation.

So, are you up for the challenge?
Limited 10 spots!
Will fill up fast!
Please fill out the application below if you would like to secure your spot on the October 19 Stripped Challenge Group.
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