Today’s Full Body Pyramid Workout will target every muscle in your body and work them to the max! Not to mention, this will all be accomplished using just resistance bands. Below you will find 2 different workouts, one using loop resistance bands and the other using tube resistance bands! 

I have an obsession with my resistance bands. I have come up with so many exercises with them and I love that they are small & convenient to travel with or use at home! 

Resistance bands are more popular now than they have been and you will find people all over incorporating them into their workouts. They are great for warm-ups, cool downs, and everything in between. I like to superset with my resistance bands to really target the muscle I am working; however, I have found that using them in place of weights can be just as effective! 

My Resistance Band Workouts page goes into full detail as to why resistance bands are super effective and why having this equipment can benefit your workouts. 

For today’s Full Body Pyramid Workout, you will strictly be using your resistance bands. Go ahead and grab 3-4 bands with all different resistances (light, medium, heavy) because a pyramid workout is accomplished using multiple weights, usually starting with the lightest and increasing to the heaviest.

However, a pyramid workout does not just focus on increasing the weight but also decreasing the reps. 

For example, if you start your exercise with 20 reps using 15 lbs, then you will follow that with 15 reps using 22.5 lbs & continue until your rep scheme is complete. (Make note, your first set should not be worked to failure. If you can not finish the whole 20 reps with the weight you are using, then drop the amount of weight you are using. )

What’s so great about a Pyramid routine? The main purpose of integrating pyramid schemes into your workouts is to help strengthen and grow your muscles. Due to the weight range of light to heavy in pyramid workouts, they typically involve a lot of reps, ensuring a high volume of work and therefore, creating growth. It’s truly a beautiful thing, isn’t it!? 

Pyramid work can be the focus of your entire workout or can be performed on only a few sets within your entire workout. I love incorporating pyramid work to keep things fresh and to work my muscles in a different way. Adding variety is important to not only assist in muscle growth but to also keep your workout interesting! 

Don’t forget! For helpful tips and videos, follow my Instagram @passionswithapurpose


Tube Resistance Band Full Body pyramid Workout:
[Start with a resistance that is most comfortable you. As the reps decrease, increase the resistance]

Bicep curls- 20, 15, 10, 5 (reps)
Tricep extensions-20, 15, 10, 5
Upright rows-20, 15, 10, 5
Shoulder press- 20, 15,10, 5
Seated rows- 20, 15, 10, 5
Lat pulldowns- 20, 15, 10, 5
Squats- 20, 15, 10, 5
Reverse lunges (each leg)- 20, 15, 10, 5
Lying chest press- 20, 15, 10, 5


Loop Band Full Body Pyramid Workout: 
Single Arm Tricep Extension- 20, 15, 10, 5reps)
Single Arm Bicep Curl- 20, 15, 10, 5
Kneeling Single Arm Row- 20, 15, 10, 5
Single Arm Lateral Raise- 20, 15, 10, 5
Rear Delt Band Pull Aparts- 20, 15, 10, 5
Squats- 20, 15, 10, 5
Glute Bridge- 20, 15, 10, 5
Single- Leg Kickbacks- 20, 15, 10, 5

 

If you loved this workout, don’t keep it to yourself–share with a friend and have them join in on the fun!

Soft, chewy chocolate chips cookies made perfectly with a buttery, unique cookie dough chock full of melty, gooey chocolate chip morsels ready to be gobbled up and washed down with a glass of milk.

Can you smell that? Fresh baked chewy chocolate chip cookies in the oven, minutes away from being taken out and only seconds after that being devoured! 

I once heard about a study that stated that losing your sense of smell may aid in weight loss. While this did prove to be true (in rats), there is not necessarily enough research to fully support this statement, but I personally believe it to be true. 

Would you really have had that extra slice, or even the first slice at that, had you not been able to smell the freshly baked dough, melty cheesy and delicious pepperonis? Let’s go ahead and blame our senses for the over indulgence. 

As humans, we associate smells with experiences and emotions, which is why I think so many people LOVE chocolate chip cookies! It reminds them of baking with their mom or grandmother, having a girl friend over and making a huge mess just because you wanted to bake some cookies! The smell is familiar and comforting and is undoubtedly crave-worthy! 

Everyone’s chocolate chip cookie preference differs. Some people love the straight out of the oven, hot, gooey (partially undercooked) cookies, while others prefer a crunchy, slightly over baked cookie. Me? Just give me the damn cookie!

If you are partial to a crunchy chocolate chip cookie, I advise you stop reading at this point, because this cookie is for those ooey, gooey lovers out there! 

I first stumbled across this chocolate chip cookie recipe while on the hunt for the PERFECT chocolate chip cookie that would satisfy all my husband’s cookie desires. I searched until I finally came across a cookie recipe on The Little Kitchen that was titled Doubletree Chocolate Chip Cookie. I have never had a Doubletree Cookie so that’s not what drew me in, it was the ingredients. I did not want a normal, everyday cookie so after reading these ingredients I knew this was the one! 

Lemon juice? Oats? (and no, this is not an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie). Intriguing. I was sold!

I have to admit, I did tweak this recipe ever so slightly by eliminating the walnuts. Why? Well, mainly because of mine and my husband’s preferences. We like walnuts, but I also like a good ole’ nothing added but chocolate chips, chocolate chip cookie. Also, I did not want to make a grocery store run for walnuts. 

Ultimately, I am glad I eliminated the walnuts because these chocolate chip cookies were so divine and extra-chocolatey without them! The addition of oats to the flour is genius because of how they added body and fullness! My husband was addicted; he had two hot out of the oven then saved room for more later. I even shared with people at the gym (how dare I?) and they were just as addicted and asked for more! 

I have to say, if you are on the hunt for a crowd-pleasing, better than basic, gooey, chocolatey chip cookie then this is a winner! Make, bake and share, or don’t, I won’t say a thing!

CHEWY Chocolate Chip Cookies
Chewy, soft, and decadent- these chocolate chip cookies are made with a buttery, unique cookie dough base that is full of gooey chocolate chips!  


Serving Size: 28- 30 large cookies
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients:
1/2 C rolled oats
2 1/4 C AP Flour
1.5 t baking soda
1 t salt
1/4 t ground cinnamon
1 C (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 C packed light brown sugar
3/4 C granulated sugar
2 t pure vanilla extract
1/2 t lemon juice
2 large eggs
3 C semi-sweet chocolate chips (original calls for mini, I used regular-sized)

Directions:
1. Pulse oats in a food processor until semi-fine. 
2. In a small mixing bowl, add the oats, flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Mix thoroughly together with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. 
3. To a medium-sized mixing bowl, add butter, both sugars. Cream together with hand mixers or stand mixer (I used my KitchenAid). Add eggs one at a time, scrape down sides. Add vanilla and lemon juice. Mix until you have a smooth mixture. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl with a spatula at least once. 
4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix with a spatula, being careful not to over mix. Drop in the chocolate chips and mix until evenly distributed throughout the cookie dough. Again, be careful not to over mix or they will have a cake-like texture. Using a large cookie scoop or spoon equivalent to 3 T, scoop cookie dough onto a lined baking sheet. Freeze or refrigerate the cookie dough for at least 2 to 4 hours or overnight. 
To Bake: Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Place cookie dough portions onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat at least 1.5 to 2 inches apart. Bake for 13 to 14 minutes or until desired doneness (cook 2 minutes less for smaller cookies). Cool on a cooling rack if storing. 

Notes: You can freeze this dough and use when ready. Be sure to store in an airtight container or thoroughly wrapped. 

This Sweet Vidalia Onion Dressing is bursting with flavor from sauteed sweet Vidalia onions and a hint of maple syrup that is complimented perfectly with tangy Dijon mustard and apple cider vinegar! Perfect for any salad or as a creamy dip! 

I LOVE sauces, dressings, and dips! I am that annoying dinner guest who always asks the waiter what kind of in-house dressings & sauces they make then proceeds to ask for one of each. However, one thing I do not love is finding that so many of my beloved store bought sauces/dressings are made with ingredients that I can not pronounce! Luckily, I have a simple solution for a catastrophe of this sort and that is to stop buying store bought sauces/dressings and instead, make my own!

For some, that may seem like a daunting time-consuming task, but recreating store bought items can sometimes be easier than it sounds, take as little as 10 minutes and not to mention, you will be able to pronounce all the ingredients! You will taste the freshness and feel good about eating something that was made with REAL ingredients!

One of my favorite dressings to recreate is my Sweet Vidalia Onion dressing; it is seriously perfection! (and it’s vegan!)

This dressing offers a subtle sweetness complimented by a tanginess that will keep you wanting more! This dressing pairs well with fresh salads, like my Not Your Average Kale Salad, or for drizzling over some grilled vegetables to make the most addicting side dish. I can assure you that you will begin to make dishes only so that you can douse it in this dressing! 

The best part about this dressing (especially for those of you pressed for time), is that it takes very little time to make and includes only a short list of ingredients! Seriously though, I whipped up this dressing within 10 minutes (while doing 5 other things) then stuck it in the fridge while I prepared the rest of our dinner. It is so great that this can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge so that you can always have some ready to use or take to a party to impress your friends with your how domestic you are! 

Sweet Vidalia Onion Dressing 
Perfect for drizzling, dipping and dressing- A creamy, sweet, and tangy dressing made with sweet Vidalia onions, a hint of maple syrup, and dijon mustard! 


Serving Size: 14 oz. mason jar
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients: 
1 C sweet Vidialia onion, chopped
1/4 C maple syrup
1/2 C apple cider vinegar
2 T dijon mustard
1/4 tsp ground mustard
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 C extra virgin olive oil

Directions:
1. Heat 1 T olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add in chopped Vidalia onions and cook until soft and transparent. Remove from heat. 

2. In a blender (or food processor) add the sauteed Vidalia onions, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, and seasonings. Puree the ingredients until completely blended and the mixture is smooth. Scrape down the sides as needed.

3. With the blender on low, begin to drizzle in the olive oil. Process until thoroughly combined and the dressing has a creamy appearance. If warm, place in containers and store in the fridge before using. 

Hello there!

Today I am sharing with you one of my favorite shoulder workouts! I love this workout because it isolates your shoulders while keeping your heart rate elevated allowing you to build muscle while burning fat. Now that’s a win, win!

For the longest time, I struggled with not only getting good results from my shoulder workouts but also having a super difficult time getting excited to work them out! It was not until one day when I was doing tons of research on shoulders about ways to really activate that muscle group and different workouts I could perform that would be really effective. I landed on a page that opened my eyes to some great information I never knew about the shoulder muscles and I finally had that “ah-ha” moment! From then on, I have LOVED working out my shoulders and have fun coming up with different exercises and routines.

If you are in the same boat I was in and want to be more educated on how to properly and effectively work out your shoulders, refer to my post All About the Shoulders; this post should clear up A LOT. It will not only help you understand the muscle and how it should be worked but will also provide you with the knowledge you need to create your own shoulder workouts. After reading the article, if you have any other questions please feel free to reach out!

On another note, I have recently been adding in some burnout workouts at the end of my workouts. These burnouts usually require little to no weight and target both the already worked muscle as well as a plethora of others that can at times get under worked (*cough* abs *cough*)!

For those of you who might be confused with the term “burnout”, it basically means working a muscle to failure and that muscle will BURN, BABY, BURN! Get it? 😉 Anyways, some people add this as a part of their normal workout routine in the form of a drop set (perform an exercise with a particular weight, then immediately drop the weight to perform the same exercise for more reps or to failure.) So today, once the shoulder workout is complete, get ready for a quick burnout workout that will have you begging for mercy!

To prevent any injuries, be sure to warm up your shoulders and get the blood flowing before performing the below exercises! Actually, this goes for any muscle group..but you already knew that!

Note: if you see an exercises reps decrease, that means you should be increasing the weight, even if it’s only 5lbs.

Dumbbell (DB) Shoulder Press: 12x, 12x, 10x, 10x 
–> superset (ss): high plank shoulder taps

DB Lateral Raise: 3 drop sets– 8x, 10x, 12x (weight should decrease as the reps increase)
–> ss: DB front raise 

DB Single Arm Arnold Press: 4 sets, 12x each arm 
–> ss: upright rows

Face Pulls w/ Rope: 4 sets, 20x 
–> ss: around the world w/ plate

DB Single Arm Lateral Raise: 15x,15x, 12x, 12x
–> ss:rear delt fly with resistance band


BURNOUT:
for the barbell exercises, either use only the weight of the barbell or add very little weights. 

Single arm landmine shoulder press- 20x each arm
Single Arm Rear Delt Barbell Row-15x each arm
Bus driver w/ plate- 20 reps (a turn to the right is 1 rep, a turn to the left is 1 rep)
High Plank Shoulder Punches- 15x each arm (keep your core engaged)

Arm circles w/ plate- 15 forward, 15 backward (plate should weigh 2.5 or 5lbs.)

 

For videos on how to perform these exercise and other great workouts, follow @passionswithapurpose on Instagram!

This kale salad is far from average! This Not Your Average Kale Salad is full of fresh kale leaves dressed up with a Creamy Vidalia Onion Dressing tossed with nutty quinoa, salty parmesan, sweet grapes and crunchy sunflower seeds! 

I absolutely love this salad because it offers an amazing combination of textures and flavors PLUS is chock full of nutrient dense ingredients!

I first had this at a summertime BBQ when the weather was hot and anything cold, crunchy and fresh had me salivating. I piled my plate high with the greens and dressed it generously; I wasn’t holding back on something that looked so delicious. It wasn’t but 5 minutes later that I had devoured my salad and was back in line grabbing more; it is seriously that satisfying & addicting! 

There are many types of kale to choose from, all of which are packed with vitamins and minerals, but for today’s salad, I will be using curly kale. I prefer this type of kale for raw salads because the tightly curled leaves give fullness to a salad and they trap all the salad’s flavors in their tight curls. TIP: Curly kale tends to have a bitter taste. After thoroughly washing (to remove any remaining dirt/grit) and drying the kale, massage the leaves with olive oil. This will not only take away some of its bitterness but will also help in making the texture softer and more enjoyable!  

 

Quinoa is a superfood that is full of nutrients and packs a punch of protein! This ingredient paired with kale creates the perfect picture of health. Feel free to use any variety of quinoa you prefer–I like to use white quinoa because it contrasts beautifully with the green kale leaves! Just be sure you give your quinoa a quick rinse before cooking. 

To give this salad a little punch of saltiness, parmesan cheese is sprinkled throughout! I love the texture and saltiness the shredded/grated parmesan (you know, the kind that looks like little sticks and comes in a plastic container) brings to this salad.  You’ll find the parmesan sticks hidden in the curls of the kale and without knowing, you get this explosion of flavor with your bite! 

Now, we have given the salty taste buds something to cheer about, so that can only mean one thing…adding a layer of SWEET! Introducing grapes. Adding grapes to this salad may seem a little odd, but trust me.

Not Your Average Kale Salad

Remember those clumps of parmesan throughout the salad? Well, imagine the flavor combination of the saltiness from the parmesan paired with the creaminess from the dressing and the perfect little pop of sweet from the grapes. It’s divine and it will make you go back for more (why else would I have finished two huge plates within 10 minutes?) I prefer the purple grapes because they add a beautiful new color to the mix!

Last but not least, sunflower seeds. Talk about texture, these bad boys lend the perfect crunch and nutty flavor to this salad! The sunflower seeds can also be substituted with walnuts, pepitas, or pine nuts!

My creamy Sweet Vidalia Onion Dressing is the icing on the cake for this salad. (Did I really just use a cake idiom for a HEALTHY SALAD?! sorry)

I prefer using this homemade dressing because it doesn’t have all the fillers and additives that store bought dressing has. The bonus: it is super easy to whip up and doesn’t require a ton of ingredients! (If you chose not to make your own dressing, don’t be ashamed, just get a dressing with a sweet kick)

Not Your Average Kale Salad
A crisp, refreshing kale salad mixed with quinoa, parmesan, grapes and sunflower seeds all tossed in a creamy, cool vegan Vidalia onion dressing. 


Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Total Time: 45 Minutes

Ingredients:
1 large bunch kale
1 C quinoa, cooked
1 C grapes
1/2 C parmesan, shredded (or the pre-packaged sticks)
1/4 C sunflower seeds
1/2 C Sweet Vidalia Onion Dressing

Directions:
1. Cook quinoa according to package directions. (If bought in bulk, be sure to rinse the quinoa before cooking.) Once fully cooked, set aside to cool.
2. With stems still intact, rinse kale leaves carefully to be sure all dirt is removed. With a towel, remove as much water as possible then set on a towel and let leaves dry completely. Once dry, remove the leaves from the stems and tear the kale leaves into pieces and place in a large bowl. Drizzle kale with olive oil and massage making sure you cover all pieces and crevices. Place in fridge.
3. Cut grapes in half lengthwise, set aside. If using a block of parmesan, shred 1/2 cup and set aside.
4. In a large bowl combine the massaged kale and cooled quinoa. Add grapes, cheese, and sunflower seeds. Toss gently to combine all ingredients thoroughly,  then add the dressing (if serving immediately) and mix gently until the dressing coats each piece of kale. Feel free to garnish the top with some of the ingredients! Serve immediately, or place in the fridge to keep cold. 

Tuna noodle casserole, an American classic made with egg noodles, canned tuna, mushrooms, and peas all tossed in a creamy sauce that gets topped with cheese and breadcrumbs then baked to golden perfection!

 

Though delicious, this casserole tends to be loaded with unhealthy fats and carbs when in all reality this dish actually has the potential to be healthy! How might you ask? If you take a look at the key ingredients that make up this dish then you will see how balanced this dish can be! It is packed with high-protein tuna, mixed with filling carbs (keeping in mind your serving size) and complimented by fats.

Having a solid foundation to start with, I decided I would put myself to the challenge and create my version of a lighter, healthier tuna noodle casserole.

Creating healthier versions of classic dishes is always a challenge. There is something comforting and familiar to American classics and switching out the ingredients for healthier, lighter ones could be a recipe for disaster, literally. Knowing that, I had to think long and hard on I would use as the substitute ingredients; ones that were very similar to a traditional tuna noodle casserole’s main ingredients so I would not compromise its creamy consistency and delicious breadcrumb topping. Ingredients like the peas, mushrooms, and tuna did not need to be replaced, so revamping the creamy sauce was my main focus! Off to the drawing boards…

One look in my fridge and I was onto something. Low and behold my trusty 0% Greek yogurt was staring me in the face.

This is a food product I love to use as a replacement for a “creamy” ingredients because of its high protein content, 0g of fat and its…can you guess? Creaminess! This time was no different and Greek yogurt seemed to be a great start for creating a creamy sauce. The rest began to fall into place as I scoured my pantry for ingredients! 

Nutritional yeast was a key ingredient in making this dish resemble the real deal. If you have never tried or even heard of nutritional yeast, then you are in for a real treat! Its texture and appearance are nothing like cheese (it’s actually comparable to fish food), but its flavor profile is nutty, cheesy and salty; just the thing we need to make this sauce! Because nutritional yeast is dairy free, many vegans and nondairy eaters use it to replace the taste of cheese in a dish. Using nutritional yeast also helps replace all those unwanted grams of fat & calories without comprising the flavor! 

You better believe I was not taking those veggies out of the mix; not only for keeping their health benefits but can you imagine finding substitute ingredients for peas and mushrooms? Now that would be a challenge! 

After fiddling, mixing and creating for a while, I was excited to try my creation! I must admit, this dish turned out fantastic! Aside from swapping the traditional, unhealthy ingredients to one’s much lighter and nutritious, the flavor and consistency between these two casseroles were very similar! Give this revamped tuna noodle casserole a try and feel good about what you are serving and eating! 

Healthy Tuna Noodle Casserole 
A healthy twist on the traditional tuna noodle casserole. Canned tuna, noodles, peas and mushrooms in a (healthy) creamy sauce with topped a delicious bread crumb topping. Feel good about eating this casserole! 


Serving size: 6 servings   
Prep time: 15 minutes   
Cook time: 25 minutes    
Total time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:
6 oz Egg Noodles (Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Rotini, for gluten free)
.5 T oil, for sauteing ( I use grapeseed because of its high cooking point)
1 medium onion, minced fine
1 tsp. garlic, minced fine
.5 T sherry (optional)
10 oz sliced baby bella mushrooms
1 cup frozen peas (thawed)
1 cup Greek yogurt, 0%
1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast
2 (5 oz) cans tuna in water, drained (I used albacore)
1 t salt
1/4 t pepper
Non-dairy milk of your choice 
3 tbsp sprinkle parmesan cheese (1 T. for creamy sauce, 2 T. for topping)
2 tbsp whole wheat seasoned breadcrumbs

Directions: 
1. Preheat oven to 375°. Lightly spray an 8×8 casserole dish with cooking spray.
2. Cook noodles in salted water until al dente, or slightly undercooked by 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.
3. Add the oil to a large deep skillet. Add onions, garlic and mushrooms cook on medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add sherry vinegar to deglaze the pan. Set aside to cool.
4. In a separate bowl, combine Greek yogurt, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, 1 tablespoon of parmesan cheese, and tuna. Add nondairy milk 1 tablespoon at a time until consistency is that of a creamy dressing. Adjust salt and pepper to your taste.
5. Once cooled, combine the sauteed onion mixture with the peas and add to the Greek yogurt cream sauce.
6. For the breadcrumb topping, combine breadcrumbs with remaining 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese. Set aside. 
7. Combine the creamy tuna mixture with the cooked noodles and stir until all noodles are covered with sauce. Pour into prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle breadcrumb topping evenly over the top of the noodles. Bake for about 20 minutes. For an extra crispy topping, briefly, place the casserole under the broiler–watch carefully not to burn!

Enjoy!

If you are ready to push yourself, sweat like crazy, and get a total body workout, then this HIIT conditioning workout is for you!

What’s great about this workout is that it gives you a goal and for me, having a goal to reach always helps to push myself and work harder in order to accomplish that goal!

Whether you are a beginner or more advanced, this conditioning workout will give you a guideline as to where you are in your fitness journey and will continue to be a test for you as improve your skills. This conditioning routine will increase both your stamina and strength as you work as hard and as fast as you can until you’ve completed the routine.

If you want to challenge yourself even more so, try adding in 30 seconds of medium-intensity jump rope in between each set drop. For example, after completing the second exercise for 50 reps do 30 seconds of jump rope, after the second 40 rep exercise complete 30 seconds of jump rope, continue through the routine. 

It’s important to keep track of the time it takes you to accomplish this full body HIIT workout each time so that you can use it as a baseline for how much you have improved and how much closer you are to your goal! 

Remember to go at your own pace and use weights that are comfortable to you; everyone is at a different place in their fitness journey! Also, keep your form in check throughout this routine. You may find certain exercises are easier if you start to slack on your form; however, this can cause injuries if you are not careful.

Try and give yourself a goal time the first time doing this full body conditioning workout and see how close you get! Get your timers ready & GO!

.25 mile sprint/run
50 overhead plate walking lunges
50 deadlifts
40 kettlebell swings
40 single arm rows in push-up position (20 each side)
30 dumbbells step-ups (alternate legs)
30 bicycle crunches
20 burpees
20 push-ups
10 pull-ups (modify with assisted pull-ups)
10 barbell overhead press
.25 mile sprint/run

 

Are you dripping in sweat?! Don’t forget to comment below on how long it took you and let me know your new personal goal time! 

A fresh farmers market tart made with layers of phyllo covered in a creamy vegan cashew cheese topped with fresh, juicy heirloom tomatoes, herbs and onions then baked to flaky, golden perfection! Serve warm with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt!

After your first bite, you won’t believe this tomato tart is vegan! I replace the traditional ricotta cheese spread with a 100% homemade vegan cashew cheese that gives this tart just as much creaminess and flavor and will have you hankering for another bit!

A flaky, crispy phyllo crust is the perfect base for spreading my creamy cashew cheese topped with slices of ripe, juicy heirloom tomatoes picked fresh from the garden! Fresh basil and parsley are chopped and added to compliment the flavor of the tomatoes and to make this dish a true taste of summer!

One thing I love about summer besides the longer days and sun-kissed skin is the produce! Summer offers an abundance of fresh produce that is full of flavor, vibrant in color and very nutritious. If you pass through a farmers market you will find crunchy cucumbers, juicy tomatoes, peppers, and beautiful fruits. Most of this produce can either enhance a dish with its unbelievable flavor or be used by itself and become the star of the dish.

How lucky are we to have a summer that gives us such amazing food!?

Anytime I get my hands on fresh-picked produce I am sure to create dishes that make them the main ingredient and that enhance their natural flavors, just like I did in this tomato tart!

The textural contrast of the flaky phyllo dough with the juicy tomatoes makes this dish a go-to anytime fresh tomatoes are in abundance! 

Serve this tart as an appetizer the next time you grill or make this your main dish with a few fresh sides to accompany it! 

Vegan Tomato Tart
w/ Cashew Cheese & Heirloom tomatoes


Serving Size: 8-10 servings
Prep time: 30 minutes 
Cook time: 30 minutes   
Total: 60 minutes

Ingredients: 
package (about 21 sheets) Athens Fillo dough sheets, thawed
Olive oil cooking spray
1.5 cups cashew cheese spread
1 t. garlic, minced
3 medium to large heirloom tomatoes
5 basil leaves, chopped
2 T parsley, chopped
1 T sea salt
1 t black pepper
Olive oil to drizzle (optional)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a cookie sheet that is larger than the phyllo dough sheets. 
2. Lay the first sheet of phyllo dough on parchment paper and spray with olive oil (you can also use a pastry brush & olive oil). Lay next sheet on top and continue the process until all 10 sheets are evenly layered on top of one another on the cookie sheet. 
3. Carefully, spread the cashew cheese onto the phyllo dough leaving a 1/4 inch of phyllo dough around edges. Sprinkle the minced garlic, half the basil and parsley evenly across the cashew cheese spread. Begin to lay the sliced tomatoes across the cashew spread alternately the different colored tomatoes. You can evenly lay the tomato slices in rows, or you can scatter them in no particular pattern. Once all tomatoes have been placed on the tart, sprinkle the remaining parsley and basil followed by the pepper and sea salt. 
4. Place tart in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until phyllo dough is flaky and golden brown. (Optional: Drizzle finished tart with olive oil) Cut into desired pieces and serve hot or room temp. Enjoy! 

Are you ready to get those shoulders sizzlin’ and triceps tinglin’?! If so, you are going to love today’s upper body AMRAP workout!

AMRAP?! What in the world is AMRAP?

Glad you asked. AMRAP= As Many Rounds As Possible: Complete a circuit as many times as you can within a given time frame. So for today’s 15-minute workout, you will complete 10 shoulders presses, 10 pushups, and 20 shoulder taps as 1 round. You will continue to perform these 3 exercises and their given reps until the 15 minutes has elapsed. Once finished, record the total amount of completed rounds. (There is no designated “rest” time during the 15 minutes, so take breaks as you feel necessary.) 

You will not need to keep track of time (as a matter of fact, you most likely won’t want to!); however, you will need to set your timer for 15 minutes to know when the time has elapsed. Focus on really pushing yourself today and completing the most amount of rounds possible, because the next time you choose to do this workout you will have a personal goal to beat and you will find with each passing week of conditioning your total rounds will get better and better!! This type of workout is a great way to gauge how much you have improved your conditioning skills and strength!

So, let’s get to it!

UPPER BODY AMRAP: 
[Equipment Needed: free weights or barbell]

10 Weighted Shoulder Press 
10 Pushups – modify, if needed, by touching your knees to the ground
20 (10 each side) Shoulder Taps– modify by touching knees to ground

Note: Keep in mind, the amount of weight you use for shoulder press should be challenging, but should not be your maximum weight. It’s important to complete all 10 reps, so drop the weight if needed. 

Comment how many rounds you completed and each time you do this exercise update me on how much you have improved! 

For more information about this workout, follow me on Insta @passionswithapurpose

Hello, fitness junkies! Today’s HIIT workout will be all about lighting the fire in the lower body! This is a great addition to any leg day workout OR can be done on its own. To make it more challenging for some of these exercises I will be incorporating my resistance bands! Do not worry if you do not have resistance bands- these workouts can be done without, but if you feel the need to challenge yourself the next time around then go ahead and get yourself a pair here

For today, you will work through a series of lower body exercises and (try to) not rest until you have completed the whole series! The following routine will be done 4x through with a 1-minute break between each of the series.

Exercises that will incorporate bands & how to use them:
Body weight squats/jumping squats- place band just below knees or around ankles
Squatted side step- place slightly above knees, step back and forth from side to side in a squatted position
Glute Bridge- place band above knees and press outwards at the knees while squeezing glutes 

Are you ready to get your heart rates elevated and feel the burn in your quads, hammies and glutes!?

HIIT LOWER BODY:

Body Weight Squats/Jumping Squats- 30 seconds
Alternating Jumping Lunges- 30 seconds
Squatted side step- 30 seconds
Burpees- 30 seconds
High Knees- 30 second
Mountain Climbers- 30 second
Glute Bridge- 30 seconds
Fire Hydrant- 30 seconds (each leg)
Rest 1 minute- Repeat 4x

 

For videos on how to perform the above exercises, follow me on Instagram @passionswithapurpose