Pages

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Art of...CAKE BALLS!

Cake Balls may be my ultimate dessert of all time.  There are so many variations of them, the concept is pure GENIUS!  I've been constructing these babies for over 7 years and still going strong. Although I had a sabbatical from making them, I'm BACK!

With that being said, I am going to talk a bit about the steps taken to make "perfect" cake balls.  

CAKE BALLS OMG...
Let's start with the CAKE! There are many options here.  If you are lazy in which is my case often, go for the cake mix in a box. That means all you need is: cake mix, eggs, oil/butter, water, etc.  However, if you are super amazing and want to make  your own cake then go ahead and make your favorite 1 or 2 layer cake recipe!


(Ingredients for the gluten free cake)


(Gluten free homemade yellow cake)

1.  Prepare cake of choice as described on the back of the box or by your recipe.  After this has baked, cool completely. Once cooled, crumble into small pieces in a large mixing bowl...it's not going to be pretty...

Next, is the FROSTING!! My favorite guilty pleasure.  Again, you have many options here.  You can buy store bought, gross, I mean do what you want. Or make your own!!!!!!! It's really easy, I promise.  


(Famous vanilla buttercream frosting perfection)

2.  Pour frosting into the large bowl with the crumbled cake pieces.  Stir all together until every crumb is coated with the delicious, sweet frosting.


(Crumbled cake with frosting...now mix together!)

3.  Place cake "dough" in the refrigerator and chill overnight or at least 1-2 hours.  I highly recommend overnight as it will be easier to handle when forming the balls.

4.  Once completely chilled, scoop into tablespoon sized balls using a cookie scoop.  Roll with your hands to form a uniformed sized ball and place on a waxed covered flat tray.

5.  Once all are formed into lovely little balls, chill again for around 30 minutes-1 hour. Just to ensure they will keep their form when the chocolate dippage occurs.


(Tablespoon sized cake balls)

Lastly, we have the CHOCOLATE COATING!  This is also very exciting. Again, you have your own decision to make here as well.  You can use pure chocolate chips with a little melted oil, or almond bark.  What is almond bark you say? It's the large chunk of "chocolate" that melts easy and looks pretty on your cake balls.  However, I love pure semi-sweet chocolate chips because it's just better that way.

6.  Take about 6 or so cake balls out of the refrigerator at a time to coat with chocolate.  Using a toothpick, pierce the cake ball so that it is easy to maneuver through the chocolate bath.  

7.  Swirl the cake ball around in the chocolate and using a spoon in the other hand, coat the entire ball.  Once it's mostly coated, place on the waxed coated sheet, remove toothpick carefully and cover hole with chocolate.


(So some of mine aren't the prettiest, but who cares they are delish!)

8.  Once the first round of cake balls are covered, place back into the refrigerator to chill/harden.  Continue this process until all are covered! Enjoy and store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Alright, so I've gone through the process but you still want to know what varieties you can make...

Chocolate Cake + Chocolate Frosting+ Semi- Sweet Chocolate Coating= DEATH BY CHOCOLATE

Yellow Cake or Funfetti + Buttercream Frosting + Semi- Sweet Chocolate

Chocolate Cake + Buttercream Frosting + White Chocolate Chips Coating or Semi-Sweet

Peanut Butter Cake + Chocolate Frosting + Semi-Sweet or White Chocolate Coating

Red Velvet Cake + Cream Cheese or Buttercream Frosting + Semi-Sweet Chocolate Coating

Carrot Cake + Cream Cheese Frosting + White Chocolate Coating

Strawberry or Cherry Cake + Buttercream Frosting + Semi-Sweet Chocolate Coating



You can also make these gluten free, which I did the other day for my CrossFit box.  

You can go with a store bought Gluten Free cake mix, which are actually decent depending on the brand. Or make your own cake. Also, you can make your own frosting.  I used Britney Angell's Fluffy Buttercream Frosting.  It is amazing!  For the chocolate coating I used Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips with a tablespoon of melted coconut oil.  They were fabulous!  






Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Live a Little...Eat Some Chocolate

Hello dear friends.  Thank you all so very much for the wonderful comments and support from the last post.  It really does mean a lot to me and I also it helps some others out as well :) So THANK YOU!

However, we need to get back to the regularly scheduled posts...FOOD!  Banana bread may be my favorite type of sweet bread to make especially PaleOMG Coffee Cake Banana Bread...omg. I decided to play around in the kitchen this morning and since I was in a chocolaty mood I added some cocoa to the mix and the Cocoa Banana Bread was born.

Cocoa Banana Bread
{Grain Free, Gluten Free, Sugar Free}



2 large bananas, peeled and mashed

2 large eggs

1/3 c. almond butter

1 tsp. vanilla

1/4 c. coconut flour

2 Tb. cocoa powder

1 tsp. cinnamon (optional)

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

pinch of salt

2 TB- 1/4 c. chocolate chips or chopped chocolate of choice (optional)*


Preheat oven to 350 degrees, oil loaf pan and cover with parchments paper.  Combine in a medium sized bowl the mashed bananas, eggs, almond butter, and vanilla and mix together until combined.  Add in the remaining ingredients besides chocolate (if using).  Pour into loaf pan and bake for 25 minutes.  Place on counter to cool. Slice and serve!


*Chocolate is tricky here.  There are many options, if you are not worried about dairy or sugar get the normal chocolate chips or bars. There are some sugar free chocolates as well as dairy free, so it's up to you!  However, this will affect sugar content if you choose to use regular chocolate chips ;)

Nom on my friends.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Healthy Gain

I've been wanting to write this post for awhile now but didn't have the right words to say or how to come about and just say it! So bare with me on this but I hope to possibly help some of you out on your own issues you could possibly be having or have had in the past :)

Some of you who know me know that I've always been active and love exercising in all sorts of ways.  It began when I was young and still love it to this day.  However, it has not always been a healthy stress relief for me.

Let's take it back to the spring of my Junior year in college.  I had just completed my first 2 seasons of swimming when I had a stupid accident and broke my leg.  This ruined my career. Period.  It was a really difficult time for me physically and emotionally.  I was in a boot for over 6 weeks and it basically took over my life.  I had big plans to continue my training that summer but of course this accident did not let that happen. During that time I lost so much muscle, lost my appetite, and did not care for myself properly to help with recovery. I'd say after all of this craziness I lost 10-15 pounds? I'm not sure but I got skinny. I of course did not think too much about that issue, just that I needed to get back to where I was for the next swimming season. There was countless hours in the athletic training room, trying to gain back muscle while keeping up with my fitness the best way I could.  It seemed to take forever, but I was given the okay to get back to training.  However, once I started back I realized how much I lost in my strength...it was pathetic. Really, it was. I somehow maintained good grades through the next 2 years but my swimming was awful. I eventually ended up moving down to the mid-distance group because my fitness was not that of the distance workouts anymore.  From once competing in the 400 IM to competing in the 50 Freestyle was not how I intended to finish my career. 

During this time I had so much support from my girls team and I know they did the best they could to keep my spirits up, but I really think it got the best of me.  I seemed to live on each day just thinking about everything I had to do to succeed in my swimming. This meant staying "healthy" which I was far from that.  I really focused on my diet and made sure to eat "proportionate" meals.  However, I should have been eating A LOT more since I was still recovering from an injury, back to tough training, and in need of gaining some weight. DUH, Kayla!!!!

Well I finished my career as a swimmer on a low note, BUT it was the most awesome experience I have ever done and so blessed to meet the people I did through all of it. 

Next, was graduate school where I majored in Exercise Science!  Best decision ever! Through my first year in school I kept up with my cardio, cardio, cardio all the time and some strength.  I started to eat a vegetarian diet and thought I was doing something great for myself...I was wrong.  I did not get adequate amounts of protein & certain vitamins, which is how I became anemic during that year.  Then I trained for a half marathon, got hurt but ran it anyways.  Started to train for a marathon got hurt and couldn't do it. My hormones were going cray, cray! I was a mess...BIG wake up call!  All the while I was learning about how to take care of your body and train smart...it was all coming together...

I learned a lot through this craziness.  Then graduated and began my career as a fitness specialist.  I started to try more strength workouts, learning a lot from my fellow co-workers. My research for classes and various blogs is where I learned about an awesome type of training called CrossFit and gave it a try.  Other BEST decision ever!  I decided to give some of these workouts a try on my own and from there decided that I wanted to belong to a box.  I joined my local box and the rest is history.

Learning so much about your body movements, the functional aspect and how to treat your body so that you are able to deadlift a 70lb box when you are 70 years old was exactly what I needed.  I've gained the weight back and SO much stronger now than I ever have. Training now focuses on body movement, strength, and how I feel as opposed to the aesthetics, how great I looked in 2009, or how many calories I ate at dinner.  It makes me sad to think of where I was a few years ago and how little I knew about the body and how it works.

So I leave your with this...You have the choice to decide how you want to lead your life, live your life, and continue on with your life.  What can you do to make yourself happier?  We all have our own vices, it's up to you to change!





Therefore, I just want to say how grateful I am to all my coaches, coworkers, professors, bloggers, and friends who have helped me over the years in "finding" my healthy self.  THANK YOU! 
 I hope this helps some of you find your way or make peace with something that you have went through in the past.  It's a very common issue and many of us just need support and knowledge to get through it!

LET'S GET TO WORK! STAY STRONG AND LIFT HEAVY!


Monday, May 12, 2014

NEW Post: Simple Random Paleo-ish Noms

I'm getting right to it today. Countdown for wedding is 110 days, time to get on the train and get things done! But of course I haven't been on here forever, whats new? 

I've decided to put together some random simple recipes for your arsenal of cooking & creating. People can then be impressed by your cooking, but you know you don't really try hard. So basically it's a win-win situation. Got me?! Okay...

I love salads. Like a little kale with a whole bunch of toppings because I'm a topping kind of gal.  This dressing, I can NOT get enough of it. I crave it. Kinda of weird.

Lemon Basil Tahini Dressing

1 heaping Tb. of tahini

1 Tb. fresh lemon juice

1/2-1 Tb. EVOO

1 Tb. fresh basil, chopped or 1 tsp. dried basil

Dash of salt & pepper

* Optional: Dash of garlic & onion powder

*Optional: 1/2 Tb. nutritional yeast

Measure and mix together.  Top your favorite salad with this and enjoy it's wonderfulness. Easy, peasy. 



Burgers are my jam! I absolutely love me some red meat. I remember a time I hated the texture of steak & ground beef. I am for sure over those days...here is a delish burger recipe using coconut aminos instead of soy sauce.

No-Soy Sauce Burgers

1 lb. grass-fed ground beef

2 Tb. coconut aminos

Dash of salt & pepper

1/4 c. chopped onion or 1/2 tsp. onion powder

2 chopped cloves garlic or 1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Combine all ingredients and evenly mix with meat. Separate and shape into 4 even patties. Grill or pan fry until slightly pink in the insides.  From here you can lettuce wrap, or just eat it straight up with a fork & knife. Side of spicy mustard is a must for me! NOM!



You all know I have a sweet tooth. Pancakes may be one of my favorite things. So of course I have a go to pancake recipe that is not full of sugar & gluten.  I've been staying away from nut flours also lately, so this one is coconut based. 
Try it out!


Coconut Blueberry Pancake

1 egg, whisked

1 Tb. applesauce

1 Tb. coconut milk

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 Tb. coconut flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

Dash of salt 

Dash of cinnamon

1/4 c. blueberries


Combine all ingredients expect blueberries.  Pour into a skillet on medium-high heat. Once it looks set, place a tablespoon of blueberries evenly on top of the pancake.  Flip to the other side and cook for about a minute, making sure to not burn the blueberries.  Place onto plate and top with favorite topping (coconut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, etc) Place remaining blueberries on top!  Enjoy :)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars {Gluten Free/Grain Free}

 Good evening friends! Currently watching NC State being awesome in the tournament. GO PACK!  I really need to quit making goodies for myself. But experimenting is fun so I don't want to stop. Can't stop, won't stop! I hope everyone had a fun filled St. Patty's day! DB and I went to Chicago and got to hang out with some awesome peeps. Drank too many bloody mary's but what else is new? 



Anywho, I'm sharing this delectable treat with you because I had a few peeps ask for it so I guess they can give it a try and let me know if it is really worth while ;) Also, I just want to say that I am really bad at measuring. I'm pretty sure I didn't even measure this besides the baking powder. But you can trust me, right?? I promise I will do better next time!





Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars 
{Gluten Free/Grain Free}

1 1/2 c. almond flour (I made mine with raw almonds)

1/4 c. + 2 Tb. for topping unsweetened shredded coconut

1 tsp. baking powder

Dash of salt

1/4 c. coconut oil, melted

1/4 c. grass fed butter, melted

1/3 c. almond butter

1/4-1/3 c. honey (depending on sweetness)

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 c.+ 2 Tb. for topping chocolate chips (could be Paleo depending on the type you get)

Directions:  Preheat oven for 350 degrees and grease an 8x8 pan with some oil/butter.  To make the almond flour from scratch, place almonds into food processor and grind until it becomes a fine powder.  
From there you can add the remainder of the dry ingredients into the processor and pulse a few times.  Add in the melted coconut oil, butter, almond butter, honey, eggs, and vanilla. Blend until combined.  From here mix in the chocolate chips.  Place dough evenly in the dish, top with the remaining chocolate chips (~2 Tb.) and a handful of shredded coconut (~2 Tb).  Place into oven and bake for about 25 minutes.  Let the bars cool. Please do this or else they will fall apart. (I guess more broken ones would mean more for taste tests?? ;)
ENJOY!



Monday, March 3, 2014

Well HEYYYYY! Sugar Abatement...

Post Paleo Challenge: Sugar hates me. It's a good thing I guess...

But instead of boring you with some sob story about my sugar nonsense (I'll save that for another time) I will give you a chocolate chip cookie recipe & chia pudding recipe that you may want to try. Because we all need a treat once in a while. Am I right??!!



Chocolate Chip Puff Balls
(Notice I called them "puffs" because they turn out a bit puffier and softer than normal cookies, but still delicious)

1/3 c. amond butter, smooth

2 eggs

2-3 Tb. honey 

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 c. almond flour

1/4 c. coconut flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

dash of salt

1/3 c. chocolate chips of your choice 

Directions: Preheat the oven for 375.  Combine all wet ingredients (almond butter, eggs, honey, vanilla). Then add the dry ingredients besides chocolate chips. Once combined fold in chocolate chips. Place by rounded tablespoon onto a greased or parchment paper covered baking sheet. Bake for 10ish minutes until slightly golden brown.  Let cool and enjoy.


*Note:  These are not super sweet. I am very sensitive to sweet now, and we are trying to take things down a notch in this household. Therefore, with baked goods I usually half it but try to make sure I even out the recipe based on the sugar reduction. Also, you can you use any chocolate chips you want. I usually use dark chocolate that I chop up or cocoa nibs but whatever should be fine :) These are gluten free and can be paleo depending on the chocolate you get.

 If you noticed in the picture above there is some weird looking goop. Yeah, that's chia pudding but don't worry it's mighty fine!


 Chia Coconut Pudding

1 c. coconut milk (or other milk if you want)

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2-1 Tb. honey or a few drops of Stevia

1/4 c. chia seeds

dash of cinnamon

Directions:  Place all ingredients into a small mixing bowl and stir until all chia seeds are coated, making sure they do not clump together.  Cover and place in refrigerator until set.  Stir and enjoy. 

This can be eaten with some bananas or other kind of fruit for breakfast or dessert! You can also take out the honey or stevia in which the pudding is still fab. I put a few pieces of dark chocolate on top because I wanted to :)

Alright, that's it for now folks! Enjoy this (silly) snow! 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Paleo Challenge Review...What's Next?!

The time has come y'all! This past week was the final week of the 6 week Paleo challenge.  Can I just tell you that I really just want a Lost Dog gluten free pizza right now! HA! But for real, I do. See the thing is I really enjoyed the whole Paleo approach and I still do. It's just, I do want to LIVE life and have some gluten free pizza once in a while with CHEESE. And you know what it's okay. As long as I maintain feeling well and performing well, I will enjoy what I want while maintaining a Paleo approach. Treats have their time and place  ;)


Below are some thoughts I have in various topics:

Mentally:
* Overall, I had about the same mental aspects as I previously did. I may have got a little bit crazier than I am considering it has been super crazy at work BUT I think I was able to handle situations better than I may have before (more patience perhaps??). I tried some deep breathing during some stressful situations as well and it really does calm you down!

* Also, I felt mentally in control with this way of eating and did not feel deprived for treats too often! SCORE! I also don't think I have been as "moody".  My fiance is probably happy about that one ;)




Physically:
* As I mentioned in the beginning of the challenge I had my case of stomach issues in the past and those issues have literally ALL disappeared through this challenge. It is so crazy to me, but I love it! Let's hope I am able to stay symptom free! (Update: I did eat some pizza (gluten free) with cheese then ice cream and I did NOT feel well. I suppose dairy is a big culprit of mine..and SUGAR! Get it together, Kayla...)

*I have felt strong during my workouts over the past few weeks.  Even days when I may have been a bit tired I was able to have some PR's! Woohoo!

*Honestly, I don't weigh myself like ever. I go by the clothes fit or body fat percent to find progress. My body fat percent has gone down 2 percent in a few months butttt I gained about 5+ish pounds?  Hmmm it's crazy how that happens...LIFT BIG! I attribute this to CrossFit (woohoo) and diet!

Time Management/Budget: 
*Eating Paleo does require some planning and preparation.  However, if you put a little time into preparing beforehand it really does not require too much time for cooking meals. I would make a large batch of food on Sundays or mid-week and that way I could use that for lunches & dinners through the week. I would normally make breakfast everyday which did not take more than 5-10 minutes total.

* Many people complain about the cost of eating Paleo.  Yes, it can be pricey but there are some ways you can save yourself money.  Superior quality food is worth it but can find bulk meats for at least $2-3 less a pound.  I look for sales on those meats in some of the organic markets, which I was able to find on many occasions.  Lastly, I know this time of year it may be difficult but farmers markets are a super way to keep the cost down while purchasing fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, etc.



Overall, I am happy with the challenge and learned a lot about myself during the adventure.  I found many new recipes that I will continue to enjoy.  I realized that I am able to feel great without taking TUMS or running to the bathroom on an everyday basis.  Lastly, I know that if I continue to feed myself real, nutrient dense foods I can continue to improve my health everyday :) Woohoo!

For those of you who are considering trying out a Paleo challenge or just trying it out for 6 weeks. I really do encourage you to give it a try. I do get many people telling me they don't like red meat or don't like many veggies. Well that does not mean you can't try it out. It may take a few small steps in the beginning but it is do-able and in the end it may be very beneficial for you individually!

I appreciate y'all staying with me through this and I plan to continue blogging new recipes and fitness ideas! Keep on keepin' on! Much love!

-KillaK