Two incredible clean eating recipes- GRAIN FREE chocolate chip cookies and GRAIN FREE Pancakes!

Hi Guys!

I am really excited about these two recipes. Chocolate chip cookies and pancakes are a hit in almost every household. I knew that there had to be a healthier way of making them and there IS!  I have been tried and tested these recipes in our kitchen and they are a real hit among our family. Grain is not as healthy as the media cracks it up to be, in fact, it can be tied to numerous health issues. Here are two popular recipes that you can still enjoy GRAIN FREE!
 GRAIN FREE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE RECIPE:

I would double this recipe if you are making for a larger group!!
It is DELICIOUS!

1 cup unsalted almond butter
1/3 cup RAW honey (quality of honey makes a difference!)
1 whole egg
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used Enjoy life Dairy free!)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix together the first 5 ingredients until smooth and creamy. Mix in coconut and chocolate chips

Bake for 10-12 minutes depending on ovens. Turn halfway through. Remove and let cool.
Eat and ENJOY!

1483042_480492852069355_834823030_n

GRAIN FREE ALMOND BUTTER PANCAKES:

1/2 cup almond butter

1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce

2 whole eggs

1/2 teaspoon aluminum free baking soda

1/2 teaspoon of Pumpkin Spice (You can also use cinnamon if you prefer that)

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

** In a medium bowl combine and mix all ingredients until smooth and creamy.

Coat a pan lavishly with coconut oil spray ( I prefer to use stove top to make these)

Pour batter (I make medium size pancakes) so they are easier to flip! Wait about 3 min on one side and when edges are brown and bubbly, flip. I gently poke holes with a fork to tell when they are done.

This serves two. If you are looking to make these for a larger group or family, you can simply double or triple the recipe.

***Instead of the typical pancake syrup I like to heat up some RAW honey and use this as my syrup instead. 🙂

photo 2

photo

photo-1

 

 

 

 

RECIPES- Stuffed peppers, scalloped potatoes and grain/peanut/gluten free chocolate chip cookies! YUM!

Hello fitness friends and nutrition enthusiasts!

I have to say, I am super excited about this blog post!! I prepared this delicious and savory meal and it took a total prep time of 15 minutes (for the dinner portion only!) This meal packs in flavor and taste without sacrificing health.

Each item has been carefully modified so that you can enjoy all of the flavor, taste and delightfulness without guilt! Not to mention, the dessert recipe for grain free/gluten-free/peanut free/GUILT FREE chocolate chip cookies is out of this world! Get ready and start making your shopping list… this will be a hit with the whole family!

Peppers-

(I always make enough for dinner and lunch the next day)

Sweet red organic peppers (or yellow, green) This recipe is based off of 3 peppers so modify accordingly if you will be making more.

****The yellow and red peppers are sweeter while the green pepper is not quite as sweet. Depending on your taste preference, this will determine which you go with.

1 pound of ground lean organic turkey

1/2 red onion

2 cloves garlic finely chopped

1 can of organic tomatoes (I like basil or mushroom in mine)

garlic, himalayan sea salt to season

Preheat oven to 350 degrees while you prep your items. In a skillet (I use COCONUT OIL!) on low heat cook turkey and mix in chopped onions, garlic, seasonings. Once turkey is pretty well done add in canned organic tomatoes and continue to cook a while longer.

Once this mixture is done, simply stuff peppers and I like to add a little tomato sauce on top of each one for moisture. Pop in oven and cook for about 20-25 minutes. I use a glass Pyrex dish and fill with 1/2 inch of water.

**Please note- cooking times vary depending on oven so please keep an eye and make sure you cook long enough or dont overcook. Take your oven mitt and gently squeeze pepper to see if it is done. If it is nice and soft you will be good to go! :)

Image

 

SCALLOPED POTATOES- I know!! Most people hear that and think… healthy?? No way! However, with some careful attention to detail you can easily make this delicious dish without sacrificing health.

This is all you need for this simple dish:

4-6 red potatoes (I prefer organic)

garlic powder and any seasonings (let your creative Chef flow!)

Himalayan sea salt

coconut oil for cooking (I prefer to cook with this on LOW heat)

Directions:

Slice red potatoes into thin/medium slices

Heat pan on low heat and put in a dab of coconut oil (teaspoon size or slightly more) to coat the pan. Add in potato slices and sprinkle garlic, Himalayan sea salt and any other seasonings you enjoy. Put top on and cook (LOW HEAT!) Mix and let potatoes get coverered with the oil and seasonings. It usually takes 5 minutes and they are good and ready!

I topped mine with a TINY BIT of RAW BUTTER (RAW BEING KEY!!) and they came out fantastic and made for the perfect addition to the Stuffed peppers.

Image

 

GRAIN FREE/GLUTEN FREE/PEANUT FREE/GUILT FREE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES… This one will be a HUGE hit with the family! Get your “inner chef” ready and enjoy this delectable dessert!

This recipe can be made with almond butter OR Sunbutter (I love Sunbutter, made from Sunflower seeds and used this as my choice!)

Simple, easy AND delicious!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees while you prepare the mixture! ;)

In a large bowl add the following:

1 cup of sunbutter

1/2 teaspoon of Himalayan sea salt

1/3 cup of RAW HONEY

1/2 cup of soy/dairy free chocolate chip chunks- I use Enjoy life brand!

1 organic free range egg (more nutrition!)

1/2 teaspoon of baking soda (USE GMO FREE!!)

1/2 cup of shredded unsweetened coconut flakes

In a large bowl mix all ingredients (adding chocolate chips and coconut last!)

Mix until nice and creamy. Add in chips and coconut and continue mixing until evenly distributed.

On a non stick cooking sheet add drops of mixture forming small/medium-sized cookies.

Cook for 12-15 minutes (depending on oven)

Once done remove and let cool. These hold their form VERY well once cooled but if you consume while still hot or warm they will be flakier.

I have to say these were delicious! I couldn’t believe they came out so great with no flour or anything extra. This is a great cookie that will satisfy any sweet craving without sacrificing your goals…!

Please try this dinner/dessert menu and let me know your thoughts. I love bringing good clean recipes to the blog!

ENJOY YOUR EVENING AND HAPPY DINING!

~Ashley Poptodorova

The dangers of ultra-highly processed foods and how to avoid them- Ashley Poptodorova

ProcessedFoodsBannedinotherCountries062913

 

Living a vibrant, healthy and balanced life in today’s world is tough enough. Combine this with the over abundance of highly processed foods and it is a recipe for utter disaster and destruction. This is a battle that myself as well as countless other fitness and nutrition professionals struggle to educate on. I am on a mission to spread the word on how HIGHLY ULTRA PROCESSED FOODS are killing us.. and our children. I deem this “HIGHLY ULTRA PROCESSED” because it is much worse than ULTRA PROCESSED. The foods that we are being sold on daily are DEAD foods that offer little if not ANY nutritional substance at all.
Sadly, the food companies are aggressively marketing to our children more than the adults and this is causing a problem FAR worse than can be imagined as our babies are being raised while still in diapers to become addicted to these HIGHLY ULTRA PROCESSED FOODS therefore NEVER having been raised with an ounce of education on what nutrition is. We are breeding a new generation of children that will continue to be sucked into this downward spiral of mass NUTRITIONAL DESTRUCTION which will leave many future generations to come to pay the price. The more we allow the media, the food companies, and the government to dictate what is done to our food and how it is marketed to us.. the more this problem will spiral out of control and the harder it will be to fix.
Never in our history have we had such high incidence of disease and debilitation and never has it been so widely accepted. The combination of our nutrient depleted food supply and our lifestyle habits provide the recipe for disaster. Many of our problems are stemming not only from our poisoned food supply but from our lifestyle trends and habits. We live in a world where we are judged by our productivity in respect to time. Who can do MORE MORE MORE in less time? If we do not perform we are threatened with the loss of our job or worse our technological advances are replacing our need for “humans” to do the job – leaving many without a means to make money. What does all of this amount to? STRESS!

What does stress cause us to do?
Among the many things it causes here are the TOP TWO that are creating our biggest issues:
Stress causes us to NOT care.. we end up being so preoccupied with other things that the LAST thing we think of is how to properly fuel our hungry bodies, much less those of our children. This “daily grind” if you will, leaves us open and susceptible to the cheap, nutrient depleted, HIGHLY ULTRA PROCESSED foods which are so colorfully marketed to us and our children… and ALL for under $5 … and so the cycle begins.

Secondly, stress causes us to overeat and become addicted to these foods that offer no nutritional value to our bodies. This is where disease forms. A combination of stress and nutrient depleted foods form inflammation in our bodies which are beat down day in and day out. We wake each day to repeat the cycle and we are raising our children with these very same habits (and many of YOU do not even know you are doing so!) It is all a part of the clever plan. Feed more, on less and keep people sick. As much as I hate to say it…. SICK people bring lots and lots of money.

Our children have a higher incidence of learning disabilities, behavioral disorders and diseases than ever before…!! Children with diabetes? In today’s world – this is becoming accepted. It needs to STOP!
Is it their fault? NO!
It is however, up to YOU to put a stop to this massive horrendous destruction by taking the time to look at your life. Are you so stressed out and overworked that you just don’t care anymore? So much so, that your children are running the home and NOT you?
I know this is bold but sadly, BOLD is the only way this is going to get the point across enough to start making a dent in this thing.

We are allowing our children to pick what they want to eat for dinner because we are too tired to think of cooking. Here starts the problem. I can guarantee you that if you are relying on a neighborhood restaurant to provide your children proper nutrition that there are VERY few who are able to do so! Much less the local fast food chains which are poisoning our kids! Again, ALL for under $5 a meal.
Cheap. Easy. Convenient. Marketed to “today’s Parent” … AHHHH!!!
Do you see this cycle? Are you starting to see how everything is so much more interconnected than we are being told?

Well, now that you know the problem.. how do you fix it?
I can tell you this. IT IS GOING TO BE AMONG ONE OF THE TOUGHEST BATTLES that you will face. Fixing a problem that some do not even recognize as a problem. For others, the problem will be transitioning you and your families from HIGHLY ULTRA PROCESSED foods to a balanced daily meal plan.
Here are some practical ways to start TODAY:

1) You must start with seeking balance in your life. That starts with shutting off your phones and laptops after work. I do know and understand that for some this will be ultimately difficult. At the very least, shut off your technology long enough to think of what and how you will prepare dinner for your family.

2) Set a goal that you will make a home cooked meal every night for dinner. Choose a nice lean protein, a vegetable and a healthy complex carb (no flours, white breads, cheap pastas or hamburger help your whaaaa?)

3) Sit down with your family and explain your new decision. Remember, YOU are the parent and your child needs YOU and relies on YOU for the information. Explain that you care for your family and want them to be their healthiest possible self. Together, come up with ideas on favorite foods and healthy ways you can prepare them.
Possibly have a family calendar during which each member gets to decide on the Meal .. if you child for example chooses “Mac and Cheese” it then becomes your job to research how to make this in a healthy way. Mac and Cheese is highly processed! However, YOU can find wonderful cheese alternatives and BROWN RICE pastas. Make your own!
Then – educate your family on how you did it!
(This teaches them that they can still enjoy regular favorites in a healthy way)

4) Start packing YOUR lunch and your children’s lunch. Better yet, have them choose what they would like every day and arrive at an agreement. If they are old enough, have them prepare the next days lunch with you (after dinner) now you have replaced TWO meals and you are teaching your children invaluable habits. Not to mention, you are creatively spending more time with your family. This is a rarity in today’s world.

5) Start to realize your role. Not only as a parent (if you are one) but realize that you must discipline and coach YOURSELF!! If you do not buy junk it will not be in your home tempting you. For those of you with kids, YOU hold the purse strings my friend. It takes YOU putting a stop to this vicious cycle by not stocking your pantry with JUNK.

6) Start to research and look at all of the wonderful food options out there! Find your local Nutrition Store (they have specialty chains) that offer lots of great seminars and stock the shelves with food options for almost every liking!
Spend a day there browsing the products, taking notes and getting creative in your recipe modifications.

Remember, every change starts with one person and that one person could be YOU if you take the time to face the obvious (and at times uncomfortable) truth.
Take it ONE day at a time and commit to not giving up.
Once you have achieved success I would love to hear from you (and want you to share with someone else!) It takes ALL of us working together.

For more information on the offerings of A+A Wellness please visit us at http://www.AandAWellness.com
Thank you for reading this and please show support for us and our mission by sharing this blog with those you love!
In health,
Alex and Ashley Poptodorov

http://www.AandAWellness.com

Healthy Quinoa and Kale salad recipe

1236897_202957879878617_9347252_n

 

Hello Fitness friends!

Tonight’s blog is one I am pretty excited about, I mean, who doesn’t get pumped up to try new and healthy recipes? I love Quinoa because it is packed with nutrition and is wheat/gluten-free! Delicious too! It is a grain like seed that takes on the flavors of various seasonings quite well! My favorite part of quinoa is that it does not give you that “bloated” full feeling that grains often do.

This recipe is rather quick and takes virtually no time at all in the kitchen. Please keep in mind, once you have your base of quinoa you can start to play with the recipe by adding your own preferred seasonings and veggies.

2 cups Quinoa

3 cups water

(In a medium sauce pan cook over medium heat and once simmering, return to low heat) Cook for about 12-15 minutes until light and fluffy. You can test with a fork to make sure quinoa is fully cooked throughout and there is no water left at the bottom of the pan.

 

In a separate pan, lightly steam 3-4 cups of Kale. I season with Himalayan salt and pepper.

While your Kale and Quinoa are steaming/cooking, prepare the additional ingredients for salad.

For this particular recipes, I diced up red and yellow pepper, avocado, onion and mixed with lemon juice.

Once the Quinoa is cooked, remove and place in a bowl. Season to taste with Himalayan salt, cracked pepper, lemon juice. I also added just a “tad” of Mexican seasoning for an extra kick. Lastly, top with your additional ingredients and mix well. Add in steamed kale and mix.

Some people prefer “cold” salad and others like it warm/hot. Tonight I served it warm but the flavors will settle in nicely if you leave in the fridge overnight.

Once you are familiar with  preparing quinoa you can add in various additions to make it different every time.

My next round in the kitchen I will be playing with “Breakfast Quinoa”….! MMMM! Stay tuned!

Please enjoy this recipe and stay tuned for more to come!

In health,

A+A

http://www.AandAWellness.com

 

1377617_202957869878618_1391494831_n

Use the fall and winter months to get in the best shape of your life! :)

Eat-to-Stay-Healthy-This-Autumn-The-Food-We-Should-be-Eating-e1354028699522

 

Hello Fitness friends!

Alex and I just  LOVE this time of year, something about the fall weather and the “feel” in the air that just screams HOLIDAYS! Most people tend to “fall” off during this time of year when it comes to reaching their fitness and nutrition goals. However, I am hoping that you reconsider your options this upcoming Holiday season after reading this post. There is so much you can do during this time of year to gain momentum! It all depends on how much you want to reach your goals.

The fall and winter months are the time  of year that goals usually get shuffled under the rug. However, these are actually the BEST months to workout!! Did you know that this weather is actually shown to increase energy? This is the perfect time of year to get outdoors and get active! Whether you take a brisk walk, a bike ride or exercise with your trainer,  the weather is PERFECT!

The second reason this is the best time to workout is TIME. Most people tend to get a little bit more “off time” during these months. Take advantage of your free time and extra days off to commit to your goals! Not only will you feel better and be steps closer to your goals, this “workout” time will give you the needed ENERGY to rock your Holiday “to do” list!

You can propel yourself towards your goals starting NOW! At the very least, you can maintain so come January, you don’t have an extra 10 pounds on top of what you already want to lose. This time of year includes more family get togethers and parties than any other time of year. FOOD is a common staple at every party and it truly makes it tougher to maintain or reach goals. However, if you want it bad enough … YOU CAN! All it takes is a little bit of planning and research.

Start considering healthy Holiday options and recipes! You can set the pace by bringing your “clean eating” goodies to these Holiday parties. Not only will your options cause the party goers to rave but they will allow you to enjoy the Holidays while still enjoying delicious options. What a great feeling! Enjoy the sights, smells and tastes of the Holidays ALL while reaching your goals!

For example, instead of noshing on buckets of Halloween candy,  opt to pass out healthier options so the “junk” is not in your home. Remember, if the temptation is there, you will likely give in to it.

I would suggest sticking to a Holiday TO DO list. At the top of the list put your daily workout and keep a nutritional log. Allow yourself limited cheat meals and options throughout the week. Remember, this is all about balance and a healthy LIFESTYLE. Restriction only leads to failure. You can enjoy healthier choices and options throughout the Holidays but keep your goals at the top of your list and do something small each day to reach those goals! Come January, you will be refreshed and ready to ROCK!!

Here are some other quick considerations to help you in building momentum this Holiday season:

**If you are the one doing the cooking/baking EAT BEFOREHAND! If you are hungry… YOU will be your own best taste tester! Before you know it there will be “knocks at the door” and no Holiday cookies! UGH OH! Eat some fresh fruit beforehand or a fresh vibrant salad. The hungrier you are when you bake the more you will eat and the worse you will feel later! Make sure you are satiated prior to baking in the kitchen.

**Get plenty of rest! Keep in mind that you can only do what you can do. Keep the pressure off by setting a reasonable “to do” list each day and staying within your limits. Rest peacefully each night (YOU BURN TONS OF FAT THIS WAY!!) and you will be rested to tackle the whole Holiday season with energy!

**BYOK- BRING YOUR OWN KOMBUCHA! Did you know that sugary alcoholic drinks are responsible for LOADS of calories and gained weight each Holiday season? This does not mean you can’t enjoy the Holiday spirits, just do so in moderation! Allow yourself one (or two depending on how much you typically drink) beverages and then switch to the Kombucha! If you have not heard of this fermented drink.. YOU MUST TRY IT! It has a taste and carbonation similar to a wine cooler. This “wonder” drink is loaded with good healthy for your belly! Now you can enjoy this (put it in a glass for the placebo effect!) while doing something good for that body of yours!

Remember friends, this is a time of year to enjoy friends, family and gatherings as well as good food! There are SO many awesome blogs/sites with clean eating fall and winter recipes. You CAN enjoy the Holidays while respecting your body AND your goals! Just set your boundaries. WRITE OUT YOUR GOALS and commit to a HEALTHY HOLIDAY SEASON!

As we creep into October, these are some things to be thinking about. Proper preparation prevents failure!

Here is to a beautiful fall and upcoming Holiday season!
In health,
Alex and Ashley

A+A Wellness

http://www.AandAWellness.com

Goal setting for success with Alex and Ashley Poptodorov

goal_setting

 

Goal Setting. Two simple words that pack a lot of meaning. How many of us KNOW about goal setting (we think about it) but rarely put it into practice?
I could safely say that would be the majority of people. Today, I want to go in depth on GOAL SETTING FOR SUCCESS. YOU have the ability to reach your goals if you take the proper steps beyond just “thinking” about them.
My hopes is that by the end of this post you will be so EXCITED to ignite your inner GOAL SETTING ABILITY!

Have you ever stopped to think about how important goal setting really is? Each day MANY thoughts cross our minds including things we wish for, desire and “want”. However, most of these things are but a thought. We rush about in our daily pursuits and never really stop to evaluate and go beyond the thinking.

Our thoughts, desires and wishes can tell us much about ourselves but if we are too rushed or negligent with these thoughts they are in danger of being abandoned for the next thing that steals our attention. I encourage you to take some serious time to not only read this post, but to do the follow up homework as well. Sitting in a quiet environment alone with your thoughts and pen, is key.

The first most important component to goal setting is to sit down and WRITE OUT everything that you wish for, hope for and want to strive for. WRITE OUT YOUR GOALS. If you are new at this, which I am sure many of you are, do not be too difficult on yourself. This is not about perfection, this is about learning what you want and creating a plan to GET THERE. Perfectionism in goal setting can lead nowhere.

When I do this, I like to categorize my thoughts by personal goals, professional goals and spiritual goals. After you’ve got various thoughts written within each of these categories (or any categories you prefer to use) then it is time to create even SMARTER goals.

Take each goal and break it down into the following:

smart (smarter) goal setting

 

*Specific- this allows you to clearly VISUALIZE what it is you want.
*Measurable- How can you track or measure the progress you are making? Perhaps have an accountability parter who measures you etc. (thinking fitness)
*Agreed- make sure that these goals are agreed upon by YOU. It is key to understand that goal setting according to what someone else wants for you, will never lead to real success. You must be setting goals that you agree to and deeply desire to reach.
*Realistic- break your goals down into smaller SHORT term goals and be realistic. Take myself for instance, I once weighed 208 pounds. If I said “I want to lose 80 pounds by next month” it is safe to say this would be an unrealistic goal. However, by saying: Ok- my long term goal is to lose 80 pounds. I want to lose 2 pounds per week, would be considered a more realistic short term goal.
*Time bound. Make sure you give yourself daily “check ins” that are time bound. Weekly, monthly etc and then try to have a date (make sure it is REALISTIC) for your long term goal. Remember, as you go- YOU CAN ADJUST!!
*Ethical- Goes without saying. Be ethical with yourself during this process.
*Recorded- record EVERYTHING! Have a journal and record your progress and any additional info.

Now that you have formulated your thoughts on paper, categorized and fine tuned them, it is time for the next crucial component to goal setting.

MAKING THEM VISIBLE! When I was on my journey to losing 80 pounds, I had my goals typed up and I kept these in several places. On the bathroom mirror, fridge, car and a copy in my bag. I was not messing around! ;) Goals have to be read daily and VISIBLE otherwise, what is the point?
Have you ever heard of the saying “out of sight, out of mind”? You never want your goals out of sight.

As you progress towards reaching your goals friends, things will come up. Things may not always go as planned. Goals can be tweaked and adjusted frequently.
Just know that your goals are like a “road map” if you will. You can take a wrong turn but if you do, you will have the map to show you how to get back on track.

Friends, GOAL SETTING and ACCOUNTABILITY are key. All too often we get caught up in just mindlessly going about our days. Goal setting is a way for you to SEE and VERBALIZE exactly what you want! :)

I encourage you to start thinking and planning out your goals today! Follow the steps above and stick to it. A well defined goal is a great catalyst to helping YOU ACHIEVE!

If you have any questions we are always here!
In health.
Alex and Ashley Poptodorov

http://www.AandAWellness.com

Healthy Recipe! Power packed salad and homemade avocado dressing.

1184950_194175740756831_1566786857_n

 

1238362_194128774094861_735490548_n

 

Nothing screams health like vibrant reds, oranges, yellows and greens! Alex and I decided to get in the spirit of the long Labor Day weekend and whip up a healthy dinner that our whole family could enjoy! We made a huge vibrant salad, homemade avocado dressing and bought two organic rotisserie chickens.

I want to share this quick and easy recipe for the salad and dressing. It makes a nice addition to your healthy family meal and is a good way to get in all of your colors.

The salad was very simple. I chopped up fresh local peppers in every color, celery, strawberries, onion, heirloom tomatoes and mixed it with fresh organic spinach. It was delicious! You can add extra vegetables that you like as well but the key is to add as many colors as you can.

Instead of the usual preservative packed dressings (some of these can really sabotage your goals!) we opted to make our own fresh homemade salad dressing. It came out perfect! The right consistency and packed with good HEALTHY fats.

Here is the recipe for our Avocado Dressing:

1/2 cup of first cold pressed extra virgin (real!) olive oil

1 ripe avocado

1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon

1/2 cup raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon Himalayan salt

A dash of Frontier herbs mexican seasoning

Blend ingredients in your blender or Nutri-Bullet and voila!

You have a healthy dressing that will add great flavor to your salad.

Remember friends, the key is to get creative in the kitchen and do not be afraid to play around with ingredients.

You will be surprised at how delicious eating healthy can be! 🙂

Until next time!

A+A

(Your healthy lifestyle educators!)

149972_130661077108298_621847225_n

 

Above pic is Ashley touring a farm with Alex! We love learning about gardening and growing food!