Friday, June 28, 2013

My Transformation with Vemma, Chris Powell, and Tone It Up!

Left: January 2013, Middle: end of April 2013, Right: mid-June 2013


I wanted to share a little story with you all today!  I realize that this is a food blog, but I wanted to share this for two reasons: 1) because I am so excited about all of this and 2) to help explain why K&K Test Kitchen will be continuing to transform into a more clean eating oriented blog.

How many of you watch Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition with Chris Powell on ABC??  The transformations on the show are some of the most incredible and inspiring stories.

What if I told you that Chris Powell is the face of Vemma's Bode line of products, because he helped develop them, loves them, uses them himself and with all of his clients... including those people that you see on the show?

Well, I need to thank Chris and Vemma for helping with my own transformation!

That picture on the left up there was from the beginning of January 2013.  I took it the night before I started drinking the Vemma Bode Meal Replacement shake daily for breakfast.  The picture in the middle is from the end of April 2013.  The only change that I made in my life between January and the end of April was the shake.  Check out those abs!!!

Drinking the shake was a super easy way to help me ensure that I was getting enough protein in my diet and it helped me start my day out right.  It also happens to come in two amazing, delicious flavors, so I felt like I was having a treat for breakfast.  At the time, I told you all that I was going to start carb cycling as well, but to be honest, I didn't actually do that until more recently.
The picture on the far right was from the end of the Tone It Up Bikini Series.  During the Bikini Series, I added cardio and started to follow a lean, clean, green diet that had elements of carb cycling to it (the diet approach that is part of the Vemma Bode plan), while continuing to drink the Bode shakes daily. I also make sure that I'm drinking half my body weight in water each day (recommended by both Chris and Karena and Katrina).  The Tone It Up community has also given my a huge boost of inspiration, motivation, and accountability.  The women involved in TIU are some of the most amazing women around, which makes the whole thing a lot of fun!

Now, I have all the elements in place to build lean muscle, boost my cardiovascular endurance, fuel my body with nutritious and delicious food, and be ready to kick butt on my first triathlon at the end of August.  Not to mention, I will be rocking that hot pink bikini all summer long!!

**If you would like more information about the shake and the other Bode products, feel free to send us an email: kandktestkitchen at gmail.**

Also, note that I still enjoy some of the foods that I love, that aren't necessarily lean, clean, and green, but in moderation. Balance is key! If you get invited to a birthday party, you say yes to that piece of cake.  Besides, I'm pretty sure cake is good for the soul and remember that red wine is good for the heart. xo

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Transitioning from Google Reader

Hello to our lovely K&K Test Kitchen readers!

As of July 1, 2013, Google Reader will no longer exist. There are several easy options to make sure that you continue to receive RSS feeds from K&K Test Kitchen if you would like to continue reading our blog (obviously we hope that you will stick with us)! This is particularly important for those of us who follow us through Google Friend Connect.

Transition to Feedly: Feedly has developed a seamless way to transfer over to their services, just check out this post to help you make the leap http://blog.feedly.com/2013/03/14/google-reader/

Transition to Bloglovin: Bloglovin has done the same thing, for directions see here http://blog.bloglovin.com/2013/03/moving-from-google-reader-to-bloglovin/

We will get some buttons added to our sidebar so that new readers can follow us on those platforms.

Thanks for reading!!

xo Kelsey and Kim

Monday, June 24, 2013

Secret Recipe Club: Broccoli Cauliflower Salad

Broccoli Cauliflower Salad recipe


It is time for another Secret Recipe Club reveal day! Each month, we have the opportunity to explore a new blog (in secret, of course), pick a recipe, and share it with you.  It gives us bloggers a chance to find new, fun blogs to read and share with our readers.  Pretty fun, right!?

This month for Secret Recipe Club, we were assigned the blog Baking and Creating with Avril.  Avril obviously has a passion for baking and her blog is full of delicious baked goods. I really want to make these Chunky Monkey Cookies! Yum!

Of course, I've been staying away from most baked goods, and while I did think it might be fun to adapt one of Avril's recipes to be a little bit friendly for our summer bikini bodies, I also didn't really have a reason to have baked goods in the house (healthy or not).  So, I was really excited to find this amazing broccoli cauliflower salad recipe.  This salad is AMAZING.  It is so fresh and crunchy.  It has lots of good stuff packed in there and would be absolutely perfect for a summer picnic or BBQ.  I think you should definitely make this for your Canada Day or Fourth of July party!  Your family and friends will be pleasantly surprised by how fantastic raw broccoli and cauliflower can be (I certainly was).  Give it a try!

Broccoli Cauliflower Salad recipe


Broccoli Cauliflower Salad

From Baking and Creating with Avril

1/2 head cauliflower, chopped into bite size pieces
1-2 good sized bunches of broccoli
1/2 orange pepper, diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2-4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
6 basil leaves, cut into ribbons

Stir together vegetables.

Dressing
1 tablespoon minced parsley (Italian, curly, or both)
1 tablespoon minced chives
1/2 tablespoon minced fresh oregano (1 teaspoon dried oregano)
2 cloves garlic
Sea Salt
Freshly ground pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

In a wet measuring cup or a small bowl, mash the fresh herbs, garlic, and salt together.  Let it sit for a few minutes, then whisk in oil and vinegar.  Let it sit for 10 minutes before pouring the dressing onto the salad.

Check out the other awesome recipes from SRC members!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Blueberry-Blackberry Oat Cake

Blueberry-Blackberry Oat Cake recipe


I was not initially going to share this recipe here and went ahead baking this cake as if it was just to enjoy and not to be blogged about.  Well, with one bite, I completely changed my mind.  This cake is good.  Really, really good.  It is fluffy and bursting with juicy berries (pick the ripest berries you can find when you make this).  Promise me that you will make this cake for your friends or family for the Canada Day / July Fourth holiday weekend.  It travels well, is easy to eat with your hands if you cut it up before packing it (perfect for picnics), and it is gorgeous!

Blueberry-Blackberry Oat Cake recipe


I can only imagine the other endless fruit combinations to add to this cake (peaches and raspberries, strawberry-rhubarb, mixed berry for the Fourth of July, apricots, plums, and on and on).

Blueberry-Blackberry Oat Cake recipeBlueberry-Blackberry Oat Cake

From Martha Stewart, June 2013

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup quick cooking oats plus 3 tablespoons
2/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar plus extra for sprinkling on top
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups mixed ripe or overripe blueberries and blackberries, divided

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8 inch square baking dish with parchment paper.  Grease with butter and dust with flour (or use the amazing Pam baking spray).

Combine 1 cup oats and water and let stand for about 5 minutes to soften the oats.

Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a small bowl.

Cream together butter and sugars using a mixer for about 2 minutes or until the mixture is light and fluffy.  Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined.  Add flour and oat mixtures and mix until just combined. Gently fold in half the blueberries and blackberries.

Spread the batter in the baking dish and sprinkle with remaining oats and about one tablespoon of brown sugar. Scatter remaining berries evenly over top.

Bake 40-50 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for about 30 minutes, before lifting the cake out of the pan, cutting it and serving it!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Three Ingredient Cookies

Three Ingredient Cookies recipe


Okay, so I may have been living under a rock, but I finally heard about three-ingredient cookies and I am so happy to finally be on the bandwagon.  Just in case you have also been living under a rock, I'm sharing this super simple and delicious recipe with you.  These clean little cookies will make your tummy happy.  You can whip these up in no time for a little treat to satisfy your sweet tooth, without any added sugar or flour!

On Thursday, I'm going to share a little bit about my recent fitness / clean eating / triathlon training / Vemma Bode / Tone It Up journey.  I'm pretty excited to tell you more about it.  This blog is a place for us to be real with you and to share delicious recipes and some stories to show you that enjoying food can be a real and special part of your life, just like it is in ours.  Now, I realize that I've switched things up a bit lately and have been giving you mostly "healthy" recipes.  I hope you don't mind, because what I've been learning is that it is possible to enjoy clean, but also extra-delicious food!!

Three-Ingredient Cookies

2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup oats
1 tablespoon nut butter (I used almond butter)
Optional: chocolate chips, nuts, dried fruit

Preheat oven to 350F.

Stir together mashed bananas, oats, and nut butter until well combined.

Bake for 15 minutes!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Peanut Butter Date Bites

Peanut Butter Date Bites


I've been sharing lots of snacks and treats with you lately, because I've been trying to get rid of the crap in my diet and substitute in wholesome, good stuff.  I've been cutting out refined sugar and flour, so I've been looking for ways to satisfy my sweet tooth without compromising on the "healthy" factor. These peanut butter bites are awesome.  They are sweet, satisfying, and filling!

Peanut Butter Date Bites

From Sprouted Kitchen

1 cup raw almonds
1 cup pitted dates
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of sea salt

In a food processor, pulse the almonds until a coarse meal forms. Add the vanilla, cinnamon, dates, peanut butter, and salt if using. Pulse everything together until they are generally uniform in color and texture. The mixture should stick together when pressed between your fingers. If it seems dry, add another Tbsp. of peanut butter.

Roll dough into scant tablespoon size balls. Press them down with a fork to make a cross hatch. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover and keep chilled in the fridge.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins



Sometimes you need a little chocolate in your life! These chocolate zucchini muffins pack a serious chocolate punch that will satisfy any craving, but come with some sneaky veggies and some extra protein.  They are definitely a treat, but they are also a treat you can feel good about.

Hope everyone is having a lovely week! I've been a bit sporadic in my posts, but that is because I've been so busy.  I started my triathlon training last week and I couldn't be more excited.  I'm finally feeling confident on my bike (it sat basically untouched for 2 years because I was afraid to ride it) and being back in the pool has been a lot more fun than I expected it to be, though it has been a reality check after my 7 years of retirement!

I still have lots of yummy, healthy (but obviously delicious) treats in store for you, so stay tuned!



Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Adapted from Food & Drink

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup coconut flour
1-1/2 scoops chocolate protein powder
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon chipotle pepper powder
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup packed shredded zucchini
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners.

Whisk together flours, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and chipotle.

In a separate bowl stir together milk, melted coconut oil, honey, protein powder, and cocoa powder.  Whisk in eggs and vanilla.

Fold in dry flour mixture.  Stir in chocolate chips and zucchini.  Fill muffin cups with 1/3 cup batter.

Bake for 20-22 minutes.


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Homemade "Lara" Bars

Homemade Lara Bar recipe


Lara Bars are actually quite impressive.  The ingredient list is often very short, only a few, minimal ingredients are included and there is never anything that you can't pronounce (though I will be honest that the Chocolate Peanut Butter is little more than a glorified chocolate bar).

Living a lean, clean, green lifestyle means that I have been paying a lot more attention to the processed foods that I buy and when I can avoid it, I don't buy processed foods at all.  Sometimes though, you are on the run, starving, and limited to whatever you can find in the store or whatever you may have stashed in your purse. In those cases (especially because I suffer from what some may call "hanger" = hunger + anger), I like to stick to the least processed things I can find (like Lara bars) or I like to have some healthy snacks pre-packed to avoid any meltdowns or snappy comments at innocent passers-by.

In this case, you can make your own Lara-ish bar and save a few bucks as well.  These bars are so easy to whip up and the flavor combinations are endless.  I went with the tried and tested recipe that I found on Cookie & Kate, but I can't wait to make these again and experiment with some other ingredients (e.g., chocolate!!).

Homemade Lara Bar recipe

Homemade "Lara" Bars

Adapted slightly from Cookie & Kate

1 1/4 cup almonds*
1 cup pitted dates
1 cup organic dried apricots (substitute dried cherries, cranberries)
Pinch of sea salt

Add ins: cocoa powder, chocolate chips, coconut shreds, lemon zest, nut butters - use small amounts at first and add more if necessary

Line an 8- or 9-inch square baking dish with parchment paper or wax paper. In a food processor, pulse the almonds until they are chopped (stop before they start turning into nut butter). Pour them into a bowl.

Process the pitted dates, dried apricots and sea salt until the dried fruits are mashed into a paste. They may try to ball up in the processor, in which case you’ll want to stop and break up the mixture with a spoon before continuing.

Break up the fruit mixture and add the nuts to the food processor. Process until the chopped nuts are incorporated evenly into the fruit mixture. Transfer the mixture to the baking dish, and use your hands to press it into an even layer.

Chill the baking dish in the freezer for at least 30 minutes, then use a sharp knife to cut the fruit-and-nut blend into squares or bars (I cut mine into 16 squares). Wrap each bar tightly for individual servings. These bars should last for a couple weeks at room temperature, but store them in the refrigerator or freezer for prolonged shelf life.

*I used 1.5 cups of almonds and as you can see from the picture, that was too much.  So in the recipe, I've cut it down a bit.  This should ensure that the bars aren't too crumbly!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Beach Babe Smoothie



I love smoothies in the morning, especially in the summertime when it is hot, hot, hot and my apartment feels like the surface of the sun at 7:30 am.  This smoothie will transport you to the shade of a coconut tree on the beach, with crystal blue water lapping at your feet.  It is packed with goodness - tons of protein, chia seeds, spinach, and tropical fruit.  Have you tried chia seeds?  I only recently discovered them, and I am obsessed! They are full of fiber and omega-3s, among other things, and make a fun addition to smoothies, since they have a unique texture.  Try them out in this delicious smoothie!

A few of my other favorites:
Green Goodness Smoothie
Peach Ginger Smoothie
Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
Chocolate Zucchini Smoothie


Beach Babe Smoothie

Adapted from Lauren Conrad / Tone It Up

1 cup Spinach
3/4 cup Pineapple
1 banana
1 tablespoon 2% plain Greek yogurt
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I use Vemma's Chris Powell Bode Shake)
1 teaspoon Chia seeds
3/4 cup vanilla coconut milk

Blend until smooth!

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