Carrot Bread Muffins: 80 Day Obsession Approved Recipe


Some of you know that my husband & I recently started a new program that we're a little over 5 weeks into.

Details on our 80 Day Obsession progress (4 week photos/results!! woowoo)
& WHAT the program is coming to the blog SOON.

Well, a HUGE part of this program is the nutrition plan - not just the WHAT to eat, but the HOW MUCH & even the WHEN to eat it.

Our first meal of the day is a little after 5am & we've gotta have some sort of veggie, grain & protein combination.

That's EARLY for a full meal, right?! So I'm sure you can see the appeal of finding some winning recipes to try!

For the first few weeks, we were chowing down on egg + spinach muffins with toast & peanut butter OR turkey bacon with cut broccoli (yes, I'm serious) with oats & peanut butter. Some days it just felt like a LOT to eat so early. Other days, it was fine but we were still becoming eager for a little variety in our mornings.

Enter THIS recipe - which we saw many variations of online, but found our own little sweet spot combination that we INHALED this morning at 5:15 & decided was going to be part of our regular meal repertoire!!

Shout out to my hubby, Nate, for making them.
You da best, boo.

So whether you're on a regimented meal plan also, are simply trying to find another healthy breakfast or snack OR maybe you're desperately needing to sneak veggies into food for your picky kids or spouse - you're going to want to give this recipe a spin.



CARROT BREAD MUFFINS


INGREDIENTS:
1 cup carrots
(roughly 10 large baby carrots)
1/4 cup rolled oats - uncooked
2 eggs
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
(you could also throw in some clove, dried ginger or pumpkin pie spice!!)
*optional sweetener: truvia, stevia, agave or honey to taste*
(we used baking truvia to sweeten ours & stay on track with our meal plan!)

DIRECTIONS:
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease muffins tins or miniature loaf pans.
(I use coconut oil baking spray).
Combine ingredients in blender & let it run until SMOOTH.
Pour mixture into muffin tins or mini loaf pans.
(One serving of this mix will "fill" 4 muffin tins OR 1 mini loaf pan)
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out of the center clean.
Remove from pan or tin & allow to cool on baking rack, before storing in fridge.

Why hello, beauties..

Oh! I can't forget!

Here's a little serving suggestion that takes this RIGHT over the top.

We added 1 teaspoon of natural, crunchy peanut butter to the top of our warm muffins before serving with a dash or three of cinnamon! Holy smokes it decadent.
{this is me literally eating my breakfast in bed this morning}

Y'ALL.
This was seriously so good. 
Simple, naturally "sweet", light & YUMMY!
And if you're working through the same program as us, it will likely fit ONE of your meal plan options to a T. For us, it's our pre-workout combo!!
For my friends following the Beachbody fixate meal plan, here is the container breakdown for 80 Day Obsession and 21 Day Fix:
Each serving is 1 red 1 yellow 1 green 1 teaspoon.

FYI, we made 6 total servings of this at one time & refrigerated them in our portions so all we have to do is heat, drizzle with PB & eat - so that's 24 muffins at once!
BULK PREP APPROVED!

*be realistic & open minded when you taste these the first time, friends. remember that these are very healthy muffins & taste really yummy. BUT, don't be expecting carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting when you bite in. Ha!*


Give this recipe a try & let me know what you think
+ if you make any awesome substitutions, share!

ENJOY!






Crock Pot Freezer Meals: A Postpartum Mama's Best Friend


One of the things I did to prep for baby #NESTINGFEVER was to make several, like 11 to be exact, crock pot freezer meals to get us through the first few weeks of having a newborn.

I can honestly say that it was THE most helpful thing I did.

The first 30 days of parenthood are literally the equivalent of military survival training. You deserve a freaking patch for making it through AND keeping that little human alive. I'm not saying it's not a wonderful time & full of precious moments - it is. HOWEVER, the first 30 days are full of nothing but the unknown.. exhaustion.. nipple pain.. + unlimited trial/error.

Cooking was the absolute LAST thing I had time for & eating was the #1 thing I'd forget to do. But we all know, it's SO important to eat good foods regularly after baby comes for your milk supply to come in.

So first - you need food.

Secondly - you need healthy foods.

Anddddd we all know that when people BRING you meals, 9 out of 10 times, it's a really unhealthy plethora of casserole type dishes & comfort foods.

Trust me, you'll want to do this.

Make the time.
Prep at least 4 or 5 meals.
But go for 10 if you have the freezer room.
promise you won't regret it!

I whipped up a couple of my own personal "recipes" during pre baby food prep, but I primarily used THIS post for my inspiration!

We loved the convenience of these crock pot freezer meals so much that about a month or so after Reagan was born, we made about 6 more to get us through the next month!

(our peanut had some ROUGH reflux when she was teeny so these were seriously a blessing to have on hand).

Keep in mind, these are not my original recipes.
The original link/source is a couple sentences up.

Sharing is caring, though!
So here ya go.


First up..
Mushroom Barley Stew

Prep/Bag:
1 pound Baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
2 carrots, sliced
1 rib celery, diced
1 onion, diced
1, 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 cup uncooked pearl barley
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon black pepper

Day of:
Add 1 1/2 cups of water to slow cooker before cooking
Cook Time: 8 to 10 hours on low
Serves 6 to 8

Second..
Hearty Lentil Stew

Prep/Bag:
1 onion, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 cups peeled and diced (1/4 inch cubes) sweet potatoes
1 cup red lentils
½ cup washed quinoa
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 teaspoon oregano


Day of:
Add 5 cups stock (I used veggie stock) to the slow cooker before cooking.
Cook Time: 6- 8 hours on low or 5-6 hours on high
Serves 6 to 8


Third..
Teriyaki Chicken

Prep/Bag:

2 pounds boneless skinless chicken, thighs or breast, cut into bite-size pieces
(I recommend thighs, they don’t dry out as much in the slow cooker)
½ cup soy sauce
(I used liquid aminos in place of soy sauce)
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
¼ cup maple syrup
(I used agave in place of maple syrup)
1, 20-ounce can pineapple chunks
2 cloves garlic, minced

Day of:

Cook Time: 8 hours on low

Serve with: cooked brown rice and green veggies
Serves 6 to 8

Fourth..

Vegetable Beef Stew

Prep/Bag:
2 pounds stew meat
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, sliced
2 cups green beans, broke into bite-sized pieces
1 cup sweet corn
2 tablespoons beef stock base (I like Organic Better than Bullion)
1 teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup apple juice
(I left out the apple juice)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce


Day of:
Add 1 1/2 cups of water to slow cooker before cooking
Cook Time: 8 to 10 hours on low
Serves 6 to 8

Fifth..
Beef Stroganoff

Prep/Bag:
1 pounds stew meat
1 pound sliced baby bella mushrooms
1 onion, diced
½ cup apple juice
(I left out the apple juice)
1 tablespoon beef stock base (I like Organic Better than Bullion)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced

Day of: Add 1 cup water to the slow cooker before cooking. Stir in 1 cup of sour cream just before serving.

Day Of:
Cook Time: 8 hours on low
Serve with: quinoa or brown rice and green beans
Serves 6 to 8
*I stirred in greek yogurt instead of sour cream.
Additionally, I used turkey in meatball form*


Sixth & final..
White Chicken Chili

Prep/Bag:


2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed

(you can also cook this all together with the breastz whole & shred in the crock pot at the end if you prefer) 

2 cups of frozen corn
1, 15-ounce can black beans
1 can of diced tomatoes and green chilis


1 green bell pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
Juice from 2 limes
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro

Day Of:
Add 2 cups of chicken stock to slow cooker before cooking
Cook Time: 6- 8 hours on low or 5-6 hours on high
Serve with: quinoa or tortilla chips.
Top with greek yogurt, cheese, olives and/or salsa!
Serves 6 to 8



 Want more crock pot freezer inspiration??
Pinterest is where it's AT, y'all!!

And don't forget that you can find loads of recipe inspiration that you can always tweak to be healthier or to appeal to your taste buds.

If you end up trying any of these out, be sure let me know what you think and/or what you switched up.

Happy PREPPING, mamas!


Hospital Bag 101: What this First Time Momma Packed


The 48 hour stay of a lifetime?

A trip you know you'll NEVER be the same after..

How the HECK are you supposed to know everything you need to pack in your hospital bag?!

Woosah, sweet mama.

I'll start by saying that I had a natural birth - at a hospital of my choice - with a midwife on call I had met previously (not my personal midwife from prenatal care) & without any serious complications.

These things certainly factored into how I packed & what I ended up using.

So first, I created a list for me, hubby, baby, our hospital staff & miscellaneous.
Because ladies - you KNOW we're taking care of everyone else too, right?


Let's start with the hubby {or your significant other}.

For HIM:

a sleeping bag + possibly a pillow.. he's going to be on a pull out chair or "love seat" next to you. And you know the saying if you man ain't happy - well, he won't be able to function properly. So get the man his sleeping necessities.

comfy clothes + some warmies because hospitals are FREEZING + clothes he can wear while you labor. I had my husband bring shorts he didn't mind wearing into the birthing tub with me.

phone charger

a bag of vending machine change/bills.. you know he's going to want coffee & snacks. Also, some hospitals charge the spouse for each meal had with momma, which is usually cash only (we paid $5 per meal).

pre-workout blend for a mental/energy boost. I knew we were going to be running primarily on adrenaline, but wanted to have some plant based reinforcement. So I stashed some single serving packets of a blend called energize in hubbies bag & he was MEGA grateful!

(message me for info on "energize" - lindseykollar@yahoo.com)


Snacks.. nothing refrigerated, of course, unless you're wanting to share fridge space with the entire L&D floor. Grab some protein bars, some trail mix & maybe some candy to keep him sweet.

A re-fillable water bottle.

Toiletries.



Now let's hash out a list for that sweet peanut.

BABY:

A "receiving" + take home outfit.
I personally only used two pairs of jammies during our hospital stay!
This was partially because our peanut came out newborn size, which was totally unexpected. We actually had to amazon prime NB diapers & order teeny clothing the morning she was born so we'd have stuff when we got home! You might find that you want lots of options with you at the hospital - jammies, outfits, hats & headbands. I personally just kept it minimal.

a nursing pillow - maybe you'll use it a ton & maybe you won't. BUT nursing that baby around the clock while being half asleep & trying different positions - you might really like the comfort & support it offers. Just throw it in the car.

memory book or something for them to put those teeny tiny foot prints on!
I found this gem on Amazon. It's PRECIOUS, y'all.


carseat.. only if you're planning to leave the hospital. ha

bring your diaper bag, loaded with items like diapers, wipes & more for the drive home. You might be thinking "girl, our drive home is only 25 minutes." Let me just tell you - our 25 minute drive home was the most STRESSFUL ride. We made it across the street from the hospital before we had to stop, soothe & nurse our girl again. Have Z E R O expectations. It might go great! Or it might take a little longer than you expect. So just be prepared!

Honestly, if you forget stuff - you'll be okay.
The hospital is going to technically have everything you NEED to survive your stay. Don't stress about making sure you "have it all" for baby! Ultimately what you & your baby need are diapers & boobs!



And last but not least.. YOU!

For MAMA:

Okay, girl. Your list is a little longer. But that's because you got LOTS going on.



Nursing bras.. go for comfort & get a set of those sleep nursing bras! Maybe bring a set of nursing pads too JUST incase you ooze a bit. My friend Meagan gifted me some sleep nursing bras from Target (THESE) that I ended up snagging more of after Reagan was born.

(I also bought these & use them to this day at 7.5 months PP)

NIPPLE CREAM or balm. Hands down. You need it. Those puppies are going through some SERIOUS changes & are in high demand. That cream is sweet relief!

And be aware that the creams that have a petroleum base will leave marks on your bras & tops so maybe take into consideration the colors you wear to avoid circles on your boobs in photos.

(I used this primarily, but would probably just try coconut oil next time!)

Bring some of your personal toiletries - when you do finally get to take a shower, even though it might be 5 minutes, it'll be so refreshing! So snag shampoo, soap & lotion you like.

This is a great mama spray for your lady bits! While I was at the hospital, I took advantage of the GINORMOUS crotch ice packs they had & used them around the clock - making multiple shameless trips to the desk to ask for more. But once I got HOME, I used these panty pops and they were LIFE. At Reagan's first pediatrician appointment, the doctor came in the room & said "wow it smells great in here - like a spa!" I smiled at Nate as we walked out & said "you know she was talking about my panty pops, right?" They WORK & keep you FRESH fresh fresh! HERE is the link to my panty pop recipe!

ALSO.. because there is literally no such thing as TMI in the world of pregnancy, childbirth & motherhood -- pack yoself some stool softener to start popping after baby. I didn't have any tearing during birth BUT I still didn't envy the idea of having to push ANYTHING out of my body after baby. Go to the store, grab a bottle & run through the self check out!

Comfy undies. You might be surprised how much you like those sexy mesh hospital grade panties after delivery. But once you're showered, you're going to want something a little more snug. I'd definitely recommend some black or navy colored boy shorts!

Water bottle & hydration blend. You'll need to be chugging water during labor & after delivery while you're trying to get your milk to come in. I personally drank an electrolyte blend called "hydrate" to help with this process while avoiding extra sugar from an alternative like Gatorade. Life saver!

(MAMAS: message me for info on "hydrate" lindseykollar@yahoo.com)

Glasses & contacts.
If you use prescription eye wear - I'd recommend bringing both!

Chapstick. You will want this ESPECIALLY if you're having a natural birth & are breathing through each contraction.

Tinted moisturizure.
Maybe you want to fully "glam" while you're at the hospital. Or maybe you're like me & you have the intention of throwing on some makeup, BUT in reality you end up just using your tinted moisturizuring to get a bit of a glow.

You'll be chilly & then you'll be HOT. So be sure to pack some sweats or lounge wear.. because the night sweats are intense while your hormones are on the rollercoaster of a lifetime & you're going to want all the comfy options while your body is recovering. I personally found that a zip-up jacket (old navy for the win!) was easy to take on/off + nurse in! I also wore light sweats because I wasn't ready to wear shorts & be so exposed during the day with visitors or staff in & out.

FLOPS.. because three words. Hospital floors & showers. Nuff said.

Snacks - you'll go from starving to completely forgetting to eat. Pack some snacks that are healthy & maybe even a treat for yourself. Hospital food is BLEH. So have a few options stashed in your bag! So what did I have? Cliff bars,  fig bars, trail mix, twizzlers & my ole faithful shakeology {a nutrient dense meal replacement that REALLY helps with digestion + natural energy, mamas}!!

Birth affirmations or inspiration - for me this was some scripture verses that Nate & I chose. Before I started pushing, he read them to me. It was the confidence from Jesus's promises in the bible that got me through that last phase of labor to hold my sweet girl in my arms! I also had some phrases that I ran through in my mind over & over again that I pulled from the Hypnobirthing book I read!

*I STILL have my pregnancy scriptures on cards next to my bed to this day*

What I forgot?
Essential oils! Would have DEFINITELY utilized these postpartum!
You can also use these during the labor process, but I didn't pack any because I labored at home until my contractions were 2 minutes apart.

Something I opted out of using?
Music. I wanted a quite, dim environment. BUT, you might LOVE having some of your favorite tunes playing! Make a playlist & put it on your phones.



And all of those other important, random items!

Miscellaneous:

Birth Plan. HELLO! So so important, I believe, to have a written list of your goals + preferences in the form of a birth plan.

(Here is the link to the PDF I used. SO easy to read, streamlined & focused)



your CAMERA!! For obvious reasons.
Also bring a back up battery.. you're welcome.

Ditch the purse, but bring your wallet with your IDs!

Goodies for your nursing staff!


Some of those ladies just go ABOVE & beyond. And you can't go wrong showing a little gratitude. PLUS, a few little gifts also can soften the staff up a bit to the list of personal preferences you may or may not have for birth/postpartum recovery/baby :) I personally brought some dark chocolates & healthy chocolate muffins for the break room + some starbucks gift cards for each shift nurse that took care of us!

(recipe to these DELICIOUS healthy muffins HERE)

 

I hope this helps you, mama to be!

Add or subtract to this list.
But at least it'll give you some bones to work with.. some ideas!

Now go get that bag packed.. which is actually more like 4 bags.. & put them in a GO spot with a LIST for whoever is grabbing everything before you head out the door to the hospital.

Good luck!!

As always, feel free to share this with a friend!



New Blog "Series" : Things I didn't know before..

Hey there, friends!

I'm excited to announce a new, interactive blog series I'm starting this month called:

"Things I didn't know before.."

Each blog post will focus on a certain topic - like pregnancy, my first year of marriage, life with a newborn, living on my own, marrying into the military, etc. - sharing a personal story or two, but not just from me!!

I will announce each topic on my FACEBOOK & INSTAGRAM, asking for YOUR thoughts, experience or feedback to include in each blog post.

The purpose is to be primarily FUNNY, plus offer solidarity to those who have been there done that & maybe a drop or two of seasoned wisdom for those approaching these life events.

You can always reach out to me via lindseykollar@yahoo.com as well.

First post "Things I didn't know before PREGNANCY" is coming soon!