6 Simple Ways I’m Losing Weight

Some of you may know that around this time last year I was finishing up 6 months on the  Shaklee 180 program where I lost 25lbs along with the help of my fellow bloggers. We started out strong as 60 women all looking to lose anywhere from 10 pounds upwards to 50 pounds plus. I originally was aiming for 10, but once I got started the reality of how much more weight I could actually shift and feel stronger and healthier, my goal changed to 20 pounds.

I must have been ready to lose the weight, because I never suffered any major setbacks. I stepped up my running once again and stayed on the program and smashed my goals. I finished off the 6 months feeling confident that I’d be able to keep the weight off, after all I’d gone from 2 smoothies a day, healthy snacks with a sensible dinner to only 1 smoothie a day at the start of month 5. I was even able to go to Disney and Sesame Place without majorly overindulging.  The next year was a little crazy, and I’ve already beaten myself up about not maintaining. But as my sister reminds me, I did live through my husband’s mysteriously illness that had me calling an ambulance in the middle of the night fearing for his life and 2 hospital stays for him in less than a month; a gigantic cross the world move from New York city to New Zealand; settling the family; working nights back to the US for 3 months and then going straight into a job that was not quite what I wanted (can you say high stress?). 

I haven’t actually weighed myself since being here – my trusty scale no longer works. I’m not sure if it broke in the move or whether being in NZ is screwing up the mechanics, you know, like how our toilets swirl the other way downunder 😉 I admit taking measurements and weighing myself were definitely great motivators last year as I shed the pounds. Some weeks the inches melted off my hips, some weeks the pounds fell off at a respectable 2-3 pounds per week. But, I’ve always gone on how I “feel” in my clothes. When my pants are a little tight, when my pooch hangs over my jeans, when I start to tug at my tops, those to me are all signs that the weight is coming back on. Emotionally I start to feel not as fit as well, my mind starts playing games and what I see in the mirror is not necessarily the reality.

What I Love Wednesday: Thinking, Celebrations and Breathing

Rainy wet winter has finally arrived in Auckland and I have to admit it has been a struggle to stay motivated (and at times warm) over the past week. Not a day passed that wasn’t full of rain. The days that are the worst are the ones where it buckets down for about 10 minutes solid then stops and the sun never comes out – this repeats itself every hour non stop for 24 hours…yep, we had a few days like that last week. I kept it positive by getting to the gym first thing in the morning – great way to get the blood pumping and keep temps up for the day. I also  know I feel more positive when I’m creating, doing, being part of something. So apart from my 2 lovely bright sparks who always bring a smile to my face, I made sure to keep busy both physically and mentally to bust through the dreary days. So onto what I’m loving right now!

Everybody wants happiness and nobody wants pain…But you can’t have a rainbow without a little rain.

Recipe: Better Than Nutella Chocolate Almond Butter

It seems that everyone including my kids love them some Nutella! I’ve never tried the stuff as I am allergic to hazelnut (as well as peanuts and some other tree nuts). But luckily for me, I am not allergic to almonds. Almonds are a full of fats and omega-3s which are good oils and fats that the body uses to clean the bad fats. Fats are also filling, so if you can include the good kind in your daily diet then you’re onto something good. I’m sure if you are trying to lose weight or have done so in the past, you’ve heard all about proteins role in assisting with weight loss. Almonds equal protein, protein equals feeling full, feeling full helps with curbing you’re appetite. Get it?

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So now that you know almonds are good for you, besides eating a handful as a snack, what are the other ways you can get almonds into your diet? Almond milk, is a smooth, protein-rich, lactose-free and healthy alternative to whole milk. If you’d like to make your own, check out my delicious homemade almond milk recipe. Another tasty way to full up on this tasty snack is with almond butter, and if you’re prone to a sweet tooth attack like me, why not give this chocolate almond butter a whirl! Super simple in my Optimum blender and with the addition of chocolate, its just like Nutella (so I’m told!) but better. Creamy and smooth, its easy to spread on toast for the kids, to dip apples in, or any other fruit and even pretzels – the possibilities are endless. If you’re feeling really decadent you could dip biscuits right in….um…yum.

What I Love Wednesday: Eyebrows, Hammies and Cosy Toes

Happy Wednesday! What better way to get through hump day and middle of the week slump than to recognize all the great people, spaces and places that are bringing sunshine to an otherwise rainy winter in Auckland. So without further ado, here goes!

Cheap and cheerful ugg boots (fake ones!) to keep my feet warm // Eyebrow threading to rejuvenate my tired eyes // Superfruits tea on a  cold morning // Clipper Organic White Tea with raspberry as a warming afternoon drink // My high powered Optimum 9400 blender is making baking, smoothies and all kinds of healthy treats mega easy to create // #radicalselflovejuly with @galadarling // Joining up to a friendly new gym, setting new fitness goals and finally strengthening up my hammies and glutes with the hopes of less run injuries // Planning fun things to do with Mr P over his school holidays //

An honorable mention for the powerful #LikeAGirl campaign – watch the video below and see what you think. I’m definitely inspired to choose my words wisely especially in front of my son and daughter. After all, actions speak louder than words.

What’s rocking your life at the mo’?

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Delicious Homemade Almond Milk

I generally drink milk based smoothies 4-5 mornings a week. I prefer the mild taste of almond milk in my smoothies over low fat cow’s milk, plus it keeps my calorie count down (a girl’s gotta watch her figure after all!) Not only is almond milk rather costly, but it is usually loaded with added sugar and a list of other ingredients that I can’t pronounce. So, instead I have taken to making my own almond milk in batches every couple of days. I can blend up 4 cups of almond milk in no time with my blender and it lasts for about 2 days. Because I make it myself, I have the option of sweetening as much or as little as I like – I prefer the natural unsweetened blend.

This is such a super simple recipe that you could probably use for other nut milks. I’m allergic to most other nuts and can only eat almonds so I haven’t tried any other variation of this recipe.

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  • 2 cups of raw almonds
  • 4 cups of filtered water
  • 1 tsp of sea salt
  • optional sweeteners: agave, medjool dates, stevia.
What you’ll need: a high speed blender like my Optimum 9400 Blender, a milk bag and measuring cup.

Healthy & Chewy Chocolate Black Bean Brownies

I’ve seen recipes for healthy black bean brownies all over the internet. I have a sweet tooth, so I have been wanting to try my hand at making them. Now that I have a high powered Optimum 9400 blender, they were easy peasy to whip up! The one problem that people talk about is the dryness of some of the black bean brownie recipes. So, I decided to mash up a few different recipes and come up with what is undoubtedly the chewiest black bean brownie recipe. These are beyond decadent, and you won’t even know that the only chocolate in the ingredients are just 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips.

Chocolatey and tasty, these bad boys are a triple threat, packed full of fibre, protein and anti-oxidants. A cup of black beans is equivalent to two 8 ounces glasses of milk, plus the added benefit of fibre.

Easy to make in an Optimum blender, healthy profile and a nice snack to satisfy your sweet tooth, I bet you want the recipe, right?

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The chewy texture and sweetness comes from the medjool dates – also a fiber filled powerhouse. Applesauce keeps them moist and the cocoa powder and chocolate chips give that authentic chocolate flavour. I chose to make them into little brownie bites to keep myself from eating an entire brownie pan. Be warned that your kids will love these, Mr P polished off 3 with a glass of milk in no time – he would’ve eaten more if I’d let him (side note: these are fibre filled, so its to your benefit to NOT go overboard…if you know what I mean!).

And if you want to make it even that much more healthier, its super easy to blend up your own applesauce with a hint of cinnamon.

(Mouseover the top right hand corner and pin the recipe for later!)



  • 400g can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 + 1/4 of chocolate chips
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup of applesauce
  • 12 Medjool dates
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Recipe makes 36 mini bites using a miniature muffin tray.

Preheat oven to 170 degrees celsius. Use coconut oil to grease the muffin tray.

Mix all the ingredients together in the Optimum blender except for the chocolate chips. Blend until smooth. Once blended, add the chocolate chips and mix by hand. Scoop the mixture out by the tablespoon, I added 3 chips to the top of each mini bite before sliding the tray into the oven.

Let bake for 20-25 minutes. You don’t want the bites to get too hard, just a bit crunchy on the top. Let cool for 5 minutes then pour a glass of milk and enjoy!

I made this recipe again, this time opting to make it in a brownie pan. I also did not have applesauce so used a small banana instead. Needless to say equally chocolatey moist taste!

Have you tried black bean brownies before? Let me know how you go with this recipe.

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KiwiCanadian expat adventures with my husband and 2 kids from life in New Zealand to New York and back again. Adventures in inspired family living, travel, health & fitness.Read More »