Big Sexy Vegan Pancake Recipe

It’s a Big Sexy Vegan Pancake. I can’t think of anything else to call it. I’m not kidding — I write it in my daily food log as the Big Sexy Vegan Pancake. : )

I typically like to switch up my breakfasts every day, but I’ve made this 7 out of the last 8 days. I’m obsessed!

Full of fiber, it makes your tummy happy. The texture is perfect. And while it’s not super sweet, the addition of peanut butter, cinnamon, maple syrup and hemp seeds take it from good to great.

big sexy vegan pancake recipe

I LOVE YOU, Big Sexy Vegan Pancake!

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My Vegan + Blogilates Check-In

So I’m officially 1 week into my Lenten vegan challenge, and 2 weeks into the Blogilates ‘April Abs’ calendar.

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I thought this would be a good time to check in & recap how each one is making me feel. I must say — I’m a bit surprised!


1 Week Vegan Check-In:

  • I never feel overly full. After a meal, I feel noticeably good. Satisfied, not stuffed.
  • Okay… there are such poor protein bar options for vegans! I’m still looking for a vegan protein bar that is not soy based (pea or hemp protein would be great) and low sugar. Any suggestions? Or recipes?!

    Pro Base Bar

    Though it was tasty, this guy hurt my belly! : ( Can’t do soy isolate.

  • I know I’m late to the party, but I’m finally aboard the Vega nutrition/protein powder train! I tried individual packets of the Vanilla Chai and Coconut Almond flavors before investing in a tub of the natural flavor from TJ Maxx. Before, I had found all vegan protein powders to be pretty “meh,” but I looove the flavor & nutritional profile of these.

    vega one plant based protein

  • The only time I felt like I was missing out was Saturday. A friend & I won tickets to an event that was showcasing different BBQ restaurants around town. Free BBQ, and I missed it! Check out this brisket chocolate chip cookie. I mean, what?!

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  • As predicted, protein has been the biggest challenge – especially for snacks. I find myself defaulting to fruit as a snack.
  • I am choosing to do vegan 6 days a week, and vegetarian 1 day. On the vegetarian day, I’m not going to “seek out” things like eggs or dairy, but I will allow myself, ohhhh sayyyyy, a salted caramel pecan brownie. Not that I did that already. ; ) ; )
  • Overall, I feel good & this hasn’t been too hard at all!

2 Week Blogilates Check-In:

(In case you missed it, I committed to doing the April Abs calendar, even though it’s only February. I expressed some pros and cons to doing a specific workout plan, and my opinions have basically remained the same.)

  • Oh, Cassey… sometimes I mute you. But I definitely can’t discredit her perkiness and positivity!
  • I’ve been sore 2 or 3 times – mainly in my butt. No visible results yet in my abs/core.
  • The workouts are usually 45-60 minutes. It’s long, and some 15-minute HIIT workouts can get me WAY sweatier! These workouts sometimes feel like a “waste,” but I just try to remind myself that this is a different kind of workout than I’m used to.

    my progress on the Blogilates April Abs calendar

    Stickers help. =)

  • Cassey suggests you supplement the workout videos with additional cardio. I understand why, but I’m already dedicating an hour to her workouts, and honestly just don’t want to have to run (etc.) as well.
  • It also really upset me when Cassey suggests eating no fruit after 2pm. Any diet that wants you to limit fruit seems pretty messed up in my book. Fruit is not what makes us fat.

Overall, veganism is going great! The calendar is going okay. This week, I’m incorporating more HIIT workouts on top of the calendar. I don’t love pulling two-a-days, but I feel good when I can work up a sweat! =)

Sweets and Beets Your Turn-

  • What’s one workout, protein bar, or protein powder you’re loving lately?
  • Would you eat a brisket cookie?!

Reflecting on Running – Then vs Now

My relationship with the Timehop app? It’s complicated.

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You see, like a significant other, Timehop can be fun to have around — making you laugh and remember the good times. Or it can bring up emotions you weren’t expecting.

More often than not, I find myself laughing at the things I said in the past. I still agree with so many of my candid, sassy tweets (pretty typical of me). I groan at the things I posted as a freshman (so young & dumb, ha). I like to see what’s the same and what’s different.

According to the app, here’s what I did a year ago today.

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An 8 mile run followed by some super victorious pancakes.

So, why is that weird?

Last year at this time, my half marathon training was picking up. I had hit the point where each of my long runs was my longest ever. I had never run more than 7 miles, but my training plan began to call for 8. Next week, it would be 9. Then 10. Was I crazy?!

I still remember the feeling of nerves when it would come time to break a distance record. I’d think to myself – could I do it? After all, I wasn’t a real runner. But guess what? I did each one.

When I saw this post today, I couldn’t help but feel a little guilty. Instead of running 8 miles before 10 AM, I had woken up at 8:30 and watched an episode of Gilmore Girls from my bed. I laid around until I gathered up the energy to wander into the kitchen for coffee and, ironically, pancakes.

Looking back, I miss the feeling of accomplishment every time I’d smash a PR. I miss having goals & milestones – pushing myself to meet each one. I miss the sense of pride that I felt each time I did something that I wasn’t sure I could.

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My running career has changed dramatically in that it kind of doesn’t exist anymore. I don’t have the desire, let alone the time, to train for a race. Now, I run 3-4 miles once or twice a week. Unlike during training, the when & where are on my terms, which I appreciate.

So today, Timehop got me reflecting. On any given day, Timehop Me is not necessarily better than Today Me. Circumstances change. Priorities shift. Life happens.

I don’t want to use this app as a yardstick to compare my accomplishments. Last year was for fitness accomplishments. This year was for career accomplishments. Both have had their ups and downs, but have shaped me into who I am.

I told you it’s complicated.

Sweets and Beets

WIAW – What I Ate Before Going Vegan

I mentioned yesterday that I would be going vegan for Lent. That means that yesterday, Fat Tuesday, was my last chance to eat anything & everything non-vegan before spending 40 days plant-based.

So what did I eat before going vegan? A burger? A steak? Sushi? Ice cream?

Surprisingly, I didn’t crave any of those things. Here’s a look at what I ate before going vegan!

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My 40 Day Vegan Challenge

Happy Fat Tuesday!

I don’t know about you, but I’m totally in denial that it’s Lent again. That means it’s coming up on a year that I moved to Austin. Can’t think about that yet.

Growing up, my friends and I were taught to give something up for Lent. Chocolate, ice cream, soda, tv, or other bad habits were all fair game to say goodbye to between Ash Wednesday and Easter.

I typically give up sweets, with varying degrees of success. Last year, I gave up peanut butter. I was seriously addicted for a while – it was a problem! I had 10-12 jars at a time, and couldn’t keep the spoon out of any of ’em. ; )

The last few years, I’ve toyed around with the idea of giving up meat for Lent. This year, I’m doing it big.

I’m going vegan.

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Why Vegan?

  • When it comes to cooking, I want to get out of my comfort zone and think of food in a new way. Plant based proteins can be very nutritious, versatile, and delicious! I hope to explore that some more.
  • The vegan diet seems plausible for me. I don’t eat a ton of meat, and I realized my senior year of college that I was basically a pescatarian. So going vegan seemed like just the right level of difficult but doable.
  • Austin has its fair share of BBQ, burger and taco joints, but it’s also a very hip and liberal city. I’m interested to see how easy it is to find vegan options & vegan restaurants when dining out around town.

Biggest Challenges

  • I have 3 huge non-vegan diet staples: fish, Greek yogurt & egg whites. I rely on fruit and yogurt as my mid-morning snack. I stir egg whites into my oats several times a week. And salmon and tilapia are 2 of my major go-to dinners. Without a doubt, these are the non-vegan proteins I’ll miss the most.
  • Soy — this is an interesting topic. I have a slight intolerance to soy. I’ve also heard terrible things about it – but who knows.
  • I’m a bit bummed that I’ll be limited as far as the Austin food scene is concerned, but I can always go back to certain restaurants after Lent is over.
  • No more Quest Bars </33333
    goodbye, beauties!

    goodbye, beauties!


The Game Plan

Since I think protein will be my biggest challenge, I’ve already been stocking up on some different things.

Sources of vegan protein:

  • soy – tofu, tempeh, edamame, veggie burgers
  • lentils
  • beans
  • seitan
  • hemp (& hemp tofu – a new find!)
  • quinoa
  • nuts
  • falafel
  • vegan protein powder – pea protein, like the one I won from Brittany‘s fall giveaway! : )

The Fine Print

  • I don’t want to give myself an out, but .. I’m going to. I maaaay take a page from Arman‘s book and do 5 days vegan, 2 days vegetarian in order to give myself some flexibility.
  • I haven’t mentioned it on here, but I’ve been working with Oatmega, sampling their bars at events & grocery stores around town. I’m super excited that they’re coming out with 3 new flavors! The bars are not vegan, but I’m going to want to try them before I start giving them out.

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So that’s the plan! Feel free to let me know if there are any good vegan recipe resources out there. And keep an eye out for some vegan recipes and lots of salad WIAWs comin’ your way.

Sweets and BeetsYour Turn-

  • Do you like vegan food?
  • What non-vegan foods would you miss the most?
  • If you’re Christian, do you give anything up for Lent?

Throwback Thursday – Cooking Style

I remember when it hit me that I needed to learn how to cook. Fall semester of my junior year, I spent a semester in Los Angeles, studying & interning in the entertainment industry (so much fun!). It was my first time living in an apartment with no access to a dining hall.

The day I moved in, all I ate was a granola bar. Um, hellooo, I was in LOS ANGELES! There was so much to do and see, plus I didn’t have a car. Grocery shopping? That could wait, right?

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.. My pounding headache soon told me — nope.

I walked into the store completely overwhelmed. Of course I had gone grocery shopping with my Mom before, but I never had to shop from scratch, for myself. I threw frozen pizza, Yoplait yogurt, cereal, peanut butter, and fruit into the cart. Frozen chicken, pasta, and frozen vegetables were about as explorative as I could be. I figured I’d address all that later.

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WIAW – The Old and The New

Out with the old, in with the new. Well, okay… not all the old. Or all the new. Whatever – when it comes to food, I like what I like. =)

It’s What I Ate Wednesday! Easily the best day in the blog world. Not that we don’t always share all the good stuff we eat. But Wednesday’s a whole day dedicated to it.

wiawThis week I’m sharing a variety of breakfasts, lunches & dinners. Some old, some new. What I’m nottttt showing you is the dozens of quest bars, spoonfuls of peanut butter, glasses of wine and handfuls of dark chocolate chips I also ate over the course of the week. Whatever, I ain’t perfect.

But hopefully I’ll be getting where I need to be with help from Blogilates. I’ll be sure to track my progress here. Now, on to the good stuff.

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Never Too Soon for ‘April Abs’

I have mixed feelings about workout programs.

I like the idea of all my workouts being predetermined — it takes the planning out of the equation, putting it in the hands of experts. But on the other hand, I like the option to tweak my workout plan to whatever I’m feeling.

Also, I see the benefits of having an end goal (30, 60, 90, etc. days) and being motivated by results. However, I also think fitness is more than just a ‘fix’ and should be something you can sustain long term. Pros & cons, for sure.

While I’ve never done Insanity or T25 or anything intense, I’ve done Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred and Ripped in 30. My results were okay – nothing crazy. I also followed a plan when I was training for my first half marathon, but that’s a bit different.

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When I first moved to Austin in May, I didn’t have a gym membership. Instead, I followed Blogilates April Abs calendar, and was actually really loving my results.

To be honest, I’m not a huge Blogilates fan. Cassey seems super sweet, but her videos can get on my nerves — haha. Buuuut there’s no denying that she’s a great trainer.

So since the holidays & the winter have decided to leave me a souvenir in the form of some extra belly fat (haha), I’m refocusing my goals. Starting on Tuesday, I’m committing to the April Abs calendar again. Yes, starting in the middle of February. :’) Who says you have to follow the actual calendar?!

april 2014

The calendar requires an hour-long commitment per day. I’ll be working out in the morning, while keeping an open mind for running/walking/yoga in the evenings. I still plan to do Body Pump twice a week, which means doubling up on workouts some days.

In the next few days, I’ll also be talking about another commitment I’ll be making during Lent. I’ll keep you posted on that, as well as my ‘April Abs’ progress!

Your Turn-

  • Have you ever done a workout plan? Would you recommend or try one?
  • Thoughts on Blogilates? :0)

Healthy Treats That Do + Don’t Hit the Spot

Committing to a healthy lifestyle means making some sacrifices.

When my inner fat kid — it’s true — wants ice cream, tacos, baked goods & pizza, I depend on my willpower to moderate my intake. I was never the type of girl who could eat whatever she wanted, which I’m still pissed about. ; )

Now, of course you have to treat yourself from time to time … life would be no fun if you didn’t. But for times when you’re not able to go for the real thing — I look for healthy substitutes hit the spot.

I’ve gotten used to my treats coming in “healthier” form, and I can make a mug cake like a boss. But honestly, healthy treats don’t always do the trick.

Today I’m highlighting a few different treats I’ve had recently, and talking about how well they do or don’t curb my cravings.

Mug Cakes – 4/5 stars

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Yeeeeesssss, I love mug cakes. The one I made on Friday was on a whole ‘nother LEVEL. I had a busy/crazy week at work, and all I wanted was a giant chocolate/peanut butter cupcake from Central Market. But I held out, and it was so worth it.

This was a variation of @pbeechie’s 1-Minute Mug Cake, subbing 1 Tbsp cocoa powder for 1 Tbsp whole wheat flour. I topped it with a cocoa powder/Greek yogurt/almond milk frosting, natural peanut butter drizzle, dark chocolate chips, sliced almonds and unsweetened coconut. I want this all day, every day.


Arctic Zero – 2/5 stars

After every spoonful of Arctic Zero I put into my mouth, I think to myself, “Wow, you’re still not ice cream.” I rarely buy it because it doesn’t truly satisfy what I was craving. I’d rather have a little real ice cream than a lot of fake ice cream. That’s just me.

However, I’m a fan of the new packagaing and am curious to try their new flavors.


Whole Wheat/Vegan Blueberry Muffin – 4/5 stars

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I discovered a new place by me. It’s called Mr. Natural, and they sell the previous day’s vegan muffins/cookies/cupcakes for like 4 for $2. I’m screwed.

I stopped in on Saturday and grabbed a whole wheat vegan blueberry muffin. It was made with natural ingredients and no refined sugar, which I love. It didn’t taste as indulgent as a “real” muffin, but it hit the spot. I’ll definitely be back!


Homemade Smoothie Bowls – 3/5 stars

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I know I’m weird, but I’m just not a big smoothie girl. On Sunday before the Super Bowl, I tried making a mock acai bowl with frozen banana, spinach, almond milk, cocoa powder and blueberries. It tasted pretty meh, but was still a good pre-game snack.

Granted, my Magic Bullet isn’t the most sophisticated blender in the world, but I rarely make a smoothie I really really love. I need to get on my friend Georgie‘s level.


The Perfect Cookie – 4/5 stars

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A few weeks ago, I talked about Oatmega protein bars. They are also the maker of The Perfect Cookie, a gluten-free high protein (10g), lower sugar (9g) cookie, rich with Omega-3s from chia seeds. While it’s not exaaactly like a real cookie, The Perfect Cookie is my go-to when I want to be bad, but know I need to be good. : )


Kombucha BBQ Chicken from MyFitFoods – 1/5 stars

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I’ve mentioned my love for MyFitFoods before, and I was excited to stop in again on Saturday. Keeping with my theme of trying something I never would make for myself, I decided to pick up the Kombucha BBQ chicken. It wasn’t bad, but wasn’t great. I’ve been too spoiled with real Texas BBQ.


While healthy treats like this sometimes get the job done, they can’t really replace the real thing for me. But by making the decision to be healthy 85% of the time, I honestly enjoy the 15% of the time when I do treat myself.

I think that making healthy swaps can be a tough habit for people to get into. I’m lucky that I enjoy experimenting with healthier versions of things. It keeps it interesting! : )

Your Turn-

  • Which healthy treats curb your cravings? Which ones don’t?
  • Thoughts on Arctic Zero?