7 Days Clean and Awaken! My Journey Through The 7 Day Slim Down…

Food and Fitness go hand in hand [Image from: www.healthcareguaranteed.org ]

Food and Fitness go hand in hand [Image from: http://www.healthcareguaranteed.org ]

Hello my fellow foodies especially Team Fit and Clean! (Or getting there like me! lol)

So this is a couple of days in the making, my schedule this week has been fun but beyond busy and now we are here at the end of the week! I wanted to talk about my journey through the 7 day slim down challenge designed my Jillian Michaels through the Body Revolution (90 Day Fitness Challenge). I was inspired to buy this because I honestly wanted a workout routine that I knew would give me results but I also wanted something that was longer than 30 days but also realistic. I am NOT going to lie, I have not worked out in a MINUTE! Thank God for my job that keeps me busy and active throughout the day, because without it I have NO CLUE where my “fitness” would come from lol. Unfortunately I have been lazy for quite some time using the excuse, “Oh I am so busy I have no time to workout!”, but truth was I just did not want to workout, mentally or physically. ย I had rather laid in bed catching up on my favorite shows eating ice cream or going out with friends, baking, the list goes on. While in this state of laziness, I was not happy with myself. I did not like the way I looked, I felt so unmotivated about life, and health wise I felt sluggish and gross. One day I looked at myself in the mirror at work and said, “What the hell happened to me!” I used to love life so much, I was ambitious, I felt like the world was at my fingertips, but now I was so mad at everyone but I really had to say I am mad at myself. I made myself this way, no one but me. So I said, ENOUGH is ENOUGH! I am too young to feel like this, and I went on the Jillian Michaels Body Revolution website and bought the DVD set after looking at all the great success stories of real people. I felt like if they can do it, so can I so after about a week of waiting I finally received it and got to it!

Jillian Michaels Body Revolution Kit

Jillian Michaels Body Revolution Kit

So as you guys had noticed I had been on a slow but positive journey of clean eating. Clean eating (in my opinion) is consuming fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, seafood, whole grains, etc and excluding lots of things like processed foods, fast food, high calorie/sugar foods; basically all the fatty but the oh so tasty stuff! I had also stopped drinking coffee as well which was sooooo HARD! I am a avid coffee drinker who had at least 2 cups a days. So when I stopped, it felt like an addict going through withdrawal, I felt so so sick that I thought I was dying! Well after that lovely experienced subsided and eating pretty clean for almost a month helped me transition into the 7 day slim down. Now the 7 day slim down may seem easy but I DO NOT suggest to go cold turkey or binge right before this diet. If your a big eater try to eat less at least a week before this diet, if you love carbs, try to consume fewer carbs, or love sugar, ease your way down. If you can do this for at least a week, the transition to the 7 day slim down will be ALOT easier than if you just jumped right into it. Now to some of the key components of the 7 day slim down:

  • No fruit, sugar or artificial sweetners such as Splenda, or carbs throughout the whole 7 days
  • You are allowed 3 meals and one snack which is great so you are eating throughout the day
  • 1 low calorie dairy product a day such as plain non fat greek yogurt
  • No alcoholic beverages, and only one serving of caffeine if otherwise
  • Now raw veggiess such as broccoli cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts, and kale, bamboo shoots
  • No bacon (I know tear), lunch meat, hot dogs, or sausage
  • Drink lots, lots, lots of water – Great concept but I will not lie I have been making A LOT of trips to the bathroom….(Not fun AT ALL…)

With these rules in mind I knew my meals would consist of lots of greens and protein such as chicken and fish. Jillian Michaels gives you an option of following her meal plan during this slim down and I have to say it was pretty great. She had lots of stuff like steak salad, poached eggs, turkey burgers, greek yogurt with almonds,

Yummy non-fat vanilla greek yogurt with silvered almonds and cinnamon

Yummy non-fat vanilla greek yogurt with silvered almonds and cinnamon

to say a few. I did not follow it to a T because I was not crazy about all the items, plus I do not have time to make myself a full fledge breakfast but I did enjoy the greek yogurt with the almonds, which I ate everyday. Also you do two 30 minute workouts everyday instead of one. This was a bit challenging at first because the workouts are intense but you feel soo accomplished after that it is all worth it. Now throughout the weeks was some highs and some lows, heres how my week looked like:

Monday – Yes I am so excited about this, I do miss carbs but I can do it!

Baby Veggies with Grilled Chicken and Sauteed Spinach

Baby Veggies with Grilled Chicken and Sauteed Spinach

Tuesday – Wow I feel soo light today and yesterday was not so bad. The workouts were intense and I am sore but hey I am good!

Spring Mix Salad with lean  steak strips and avocado

Spring Mix Salad with lean steak strips and avocado

Wednesday – Okay…no offence I would KILL for a piece of bread (damn today is roll day at work….) I can do this though..I feel lighter than ever and hey is my face shrinking!

Thursday – Sore but I feel strong ย and lighter than ever before. Well I am sick of eating nothing but boiled eggs for snack so lets try a scramble with avocado (Yum!)

Friday – I want PIZZA! Oh well I have this yummy stir fry to hold me off. Workouts kicked my ass but I am still feeling good!

Broccoli and Chicken Stir Fry with Green Beans and Almonds

Broccoli and Chicken Stir Fry with Green Beans and Almonds

Saturday – I am hungry and a bit tired. The week was long and the transition was not so bad. For some reason I am feeling a bit bitter (I did 2 intense cardio sessions)…I crave chocolate and keep telling myself two more days in my head…

Sunday – its the LAST DAY YAYYYYY!!!! I ate my spinach and tomato omlette like a champion

Spinach, Tomato, and Cheddar Omelette..yumm

Spinach, Tomato, and Cheddar Omelette..yumm

and enjoy turkey burgers and veggies. I feel soo light and strong and the fact I have a break feels sooo awesome ๐Ÿ™‚

Delicious homemade turkey burger with low fat cheddar cheese, tomato, natural guacamole on a bed of  romaine lettuce

Delicious homemade turkey burger with low fat cheddar cheese, tomato, natural guacamole on a bed of romaine lettuce

Now as you can see I experienced some highs and lows but it was a great feeling to finish. I have to say I have not once cheated throughout the whole 7 days and I was BEYOND proud of myself. I reminded myself a couple of things, first how I love working out, how I love the euphoria feeling at the end of it, how eating more healthy can give you energy that you forgot you had, and I am A LOT stronger than I thought I was. This week was not only a test but a HUGE wake up call. It reminded me of goals I wanted to accomplish and I am so excited to continue to do this journey. It has been 2 weeks since I have started Body Revolution and I have to say I am in love with it. I have lost over 10 pounds and I feel soo great and have energy for days. I hope I can continue this amazing journey with you all and I will strive into bringing not only yummy but healthy dishes that I love.

I hope you guys think about goals you once had and really see if you can tackle them. Whether fitness, health, fashion, beauty, baking, whatever it is, if you have a goal, YOU CAN DO IT! I am working on my goals and I have to say, my outlook on life is better than ever! If I can do this, you sure can accomplish ANYTHING!

โ™ฅThe Sky Is The Limit! Go For It And GOOD LUCK โ™ฅ

Always remember no matter what...

Always remember no matter what…

ย 

Life Is Always Sweeter With Good Food and Great Friends – Restaurant Review: Sugarcane

The Restaurant Sugarcane! (Image from: suavv.com)

The Restaurant Sugarcane! (Image from: suavv.com)

Hello My Adventurous Foodies!

I hope everyone had a great and fun weekend. My weekend was filled with some relaxation, productive cleaning, and spending time with some great friends. Nothing beats good food and great company and I have to say I had both this weekend! I finally had the chance to visit the restaurant Sugarcane in Flatbush Ave., Brooklyn, NY. (This post is especially for my New Yorkers who are into Caribbean food or looking for a new cuisine to embark, I strongly suggest trying Caribbean cuisine if you are into lots of flavors and an array of exotic herbs and spices, it is one of my FAVORITES!) My best friend who lives in Brooklyn has been raving about this restaurant for the longest time and I finally got the chance to see it with my own eyes and mouth (well so to speak LOL).

My bestie Lynce who recommended Sugarcane

My bestie Lynce who recommended Sugarcane

A couple of my friends and a fun journey up to brooklyn and was welcomed warmly with our hostess who had seated us in a comfy booth for 5 at the restaurant. The restaurant is small and cozy (resembles a upscale bistro) and the service was great. ย Our server was extremely friendly and polite and we got our food quickly for a restaurant that was packed on a saturday night.

Part of the restaurant, my friend Valdimer is in this shot lol

Part of the restaurant, my friend Valdimer is in this shot lol

We started off with yummy and infamous Rum Punch which was STRONG yet tasty (DEFINETLY a must for Rum lovers, or someone who wants that immediate buzz).

Signature Rum Punch!

Signature Rum Punch!

My chica Yoselin enjoying her Rum Punch :-)

My chica Yoselin enjoying her Rum Punch ๐Ÿ™‚

We than all shared a sampler platter that showcase all their appetizers including their chicken and shrimp. The appetizers was delicious and it was gone in seconds!

Appetizer Platter - Doesn't it look sooo good!

Appetizer Platter – Doesn’t it look sooo good!

We than all had different entrees. I was starving so I wanted something filling and when my best friend raved about their Rasta Pasta, I knew I had to have it! Rasta Pasta is a creamy pasta filled with delicious Caribbean spices with your choice of vegetables, chicken or shrimp. I had the chicken and I have to say I loved it.

Rasta Pasta w/ Chicken!

Rasta Pasta w/ Chicken!

Other items that I got to sample was the Jerk Chicken, Rice and Beans, Shrimp, Fried Plantains, and their Macaroni Pie. All were delicious and you can tell they were made from scratch. The food to me tasted just like if you were down in a local restaurant in the Caribbean and eating authentic Caribbean cuisine. We than finished with a sample of their desserts that included Chocolate Cake, Bread Pudding, Cassava, and Coconut Ice Cream.

The array of desserts!

The array of desserts!

In the end we split the bill between all of us (Gratuity is included for groups of 4 and up) and the check average per person was $49) I think this was great deal because not only did we each get a drink but also a appetizer, entree and a dessert.

The food overall was delicious and the service was great! It is refreshing to go into a restaurant like Sugarcane and enjoy a delicious and authentic meal in a great atmosphere. I definetly recommend Sugarcane to anyone who wants to try a new retaurant in Brooklyn. So if you are in the area and want to try something new, go to Sugarcane! You will not regret it ๐Ÿ™‚

Food and Life quote (Image from: motivationblog.org)

Food and Life quote (Image from: motivationblog.org)

When Distraction Leads to New Creations… Chocolate Caramel Bundt Cake

Chocolate Caramel Bundt Cake!

Chocolate Caramel Bundt Cake!

Hey My Sweet Tooths and Chocoholics (I admit I am one of each!)

I am finally making my first baking post in a looong time! I guess when you get consumed with work and life you tend to not have time to do what you love! Well I finally took the time to test out a recipe that I have been trying to make for the longest! Well it all started when I stumbled on the recipe online while looking for a new cake recipe to try out. The recipe ended up on allrecipes.com. I have to say allrecipes.com is one of my top sites to look for recipes because it not only has all kinds of sweet and savory recipes but the reviews are honest and really helpful. While on the cake hunt I happen to have found a recipe called “Better than Sex Cake”. The name alone would make anyone stop and be like for real?! So I looked through the recipe and I thought why not give it a try! The combination of chocolate and caramel with sweetened condensed milk, I was like that’s my kinda combo!

Example of Better Than Sex Cake : allrecipes.com Image from Erica

Example of Better Than Sex Cake : allrecipes.com Image from Erica

I decided to make it with my sister as something fun to do on a cold day. The process was a lot of fun to make but heres the thing. I kinda winged the recipe LOL. I had thought I memorized the recipe in my head but I did not make the exact recipe and made something entirely different! (I blame it on my sister for making me laugh and distracting me LOL) I have to say I still like the results and the cake was flavorful and very rich. So without further ado here is Chocolate Caramel Bundt Cake!

Ingredients:

  • 1 box of Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix (I used Betty Crocker)
  • 1 and 1/4 cup of Carnation Whole Milk
  • 1 can of Carnation Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1/2 cup of Melted (Unsalted) Butter or Margarine (cooled)
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 tsp of Vanilla Extract
  • 1 box of Chocolate Fudge Instant Pudding Mix
  • 1 jar of Caramel Sauce
  • (Optional) 1/2-1 cup of Chocolate Chips to melt for chocolate drizzle
  • Utensils and Gadgets
    • Whisk
    • Rubber Spatula
    • Wooden or Plastic Mixing Spoon
    • Baking Nonstick Spray w/ Flour
    • Large and Medium Mixing bowls
    • Standard Bundt Pan
    • Wire Cooling Racks
    • (Optional) Decorative Squeeze Bottles for chocolate and caramel (Can be found in craft stores such as Michaels and AC Moore)

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven at 350 degrees F and spray your Bundt Pan
  2. In a Large Bowl add in your dry ingredients: Chocolate Cake and pudding mix and mix together with a whisk till combined

    Cake and Pudding Mix

    Cake and Pudding Mix

  3. In a Medium Size bowl add your wet ingredients: Whole Milk, Melted Butter, Eggs, and Vanilla Extract and whisk till combined

    Egg and Milk Mixture

    Egg and Milk Mixture

  4. Pour your milk and egg mixture to your cake mix bowl and mix till combined**cake batter will be very thick. (**The reason why I like this method of combining your dry and wet ingredients is your cake batter will mix more efficiently and your cake will have a fine texture)

    Chocolate Cake Batter

    Chocolate Cake Batter

  5. Pour Cake batter in your greased bundt pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or till cake springs back when you touch it or toothpick method

    Before Baked

    Before Baked

  6. After it is Baked

    After it is Baked

    Once cake is done remove from oven and poke holes throughout cake with either a toothpick or knife and pour sweetened condensed milk. Once soaked in take your wire rack or even your cake plate and flip cake over (**WARNING!!!: By mistake I had left the cake soaked in the sweet condensed milk for WAY t0o long and it had become stuck in the pan! (I told you my sister distracted me!) So my friends if your cake does become stuck, DO NOT PANIC! Just simple put your pan carefully in a hot water bath for a couple of minutes and your cake will come right out unharmed. DO NOT FORCE IT OUT!)

    Sweet Condensed Milk being poured into cake

    Sweet Condensed Milk being poured into cake

  7. Once cake is ready and cooled, drizzle both caramel and chocolate onto the cake. I used my decorative tubes to make the drizzle easier and there a great investment for any baking project!
  8. Serve and enjoy!

    Chocolate Caramel Bundt Cake!

    Chocolate Caramel Bundt Cake!

The chocolate cake is rich with flavor and quite delicious. I had made a cake for my family and for my coworkers and they had both enjoyed the cake very much. I hope some of you may even try out this recipe and let me know what you think! I have to say I had a lot of fun making this with my sister. During that time we caught up with stuff going on in our lives, joked around A LOT and I even taught her a couple baking tips. So next time you bake, do it with someone you love, whether your sibling, child, significant other, or a friend; you will see how much fun you will really have! So my friends hope you get inspired with a new baking recipe and even if you get distracted you never know what delicious creations you come up with!

Happy Baking ๐Ÿ™‚

Baking quote <3

Baking quote โค (Image from pininterest.com)

Brooklyn in the Moonlight

So last friday I had the pleasure of meeting up with my friend in downtown brooklyn for dinner, wine, and of course girl gab time. I had worked that day prior to meeting her so good company, food, and wine were a must. I had not wanted to go all the way to brooklyn but I’m soo glad I had. The streets when walking to the restaurant was calm and peaceful compared to the hustle and bustle of time square and it def was a great change from the norm.

We looked around and my friend took us to Chez Oskar and it was a cute little parisan restaurant. Our waitress was nice and we were automatically given water and bread. We started off with pink vodka lemonade that was freshly squeezed and delicious. Than we shared an appetizer which was crab cake which was soo delicious and fresh that I craved more. I never was huge on crab cakes but this one was the best I ever had. For our entrees my friend had roasted chicken with potatoes while I had grilled hangar steak with potatoes and carmalized onions. They both were soo delicious. One bite into my steak was soo juicy and nicely seasoned. We drank pinot grigio with our meal which was a nice light balance. Lastly we had flourless cake with vanilla ice cream. The cake tasted almost like mousse and it was made to perfection.

This by far was the best meal I had in a while. What I loved most was just the nice calm ambiance and just delicious and filling cooked food. I’m already a fan of french food and I can’t wait to tackle these dishes myself. I definitely rate this as an amazing and worth checking out!

First drink of the night, vodka strawberry lemonade

First drink of the night, vodka strawberry lemonade

 

the Best crabcake I EVER had to date :-)

the Best crabcake I EVER had to date ๐Ÿ™‚

our Pinot Grigio, and yes we bought the bottle :)

our Pinot Grigio, and yes we bought the bottle ๐Ÿ™‚

my friend's roasted chicken

my friend’s roasted chicken

my grilled hangar steak w/ potatoes and carmelized onions...yummm :)

my grilled hangar steak w/ potatoes and carmelized onions…yummm ๐Ÿ™‚

sooo delicious chocolate flourless cake w/ vanilla ice cream

sooo delicious chocolate flourless cake w/ vanilla ice cream