Category Archives: All Things Gluten Free

Puppy updates (“Pupdates”) & Life, In Progress

It’s been awhile since I wrote a blog entry, and since the last one was such a doozy (My Journey with “The Puppy Blues”) I really owe it to my readers to give an update.


First thing’s first: My Update on the Puppy Blues

Since I wrote my blog entry on my “Puppy Blues” (which was shared a ton of times with lots of visitors to my page- yay!) I had many people approach me and tell me how worried they were about me. Maybe it’s because I share so much on social media that tries to be positive and uplifting, but stopping and admitting that I wasn’t okay seemed to really upset people.

I also got several people who messaged me and sympathized with me, which was so nice! It made me feel like I wasn’t alone, and it helped me get through that tough initial time. Whether you extended a hand because you were worried about me or if you had a similar experience, thank you. The reaction over my last blog entry was more than I expected, and it helped me to feel that sense of connection as we adjusted to a new “normal”.


My Update on Cooper

Oh, Cooper. Our little black ball of fluff. Since I wrote the last blog entry, things with Cooper have been ten times better. He’s had some health issues (puppy UTI, tapeworm) from incidents along the way, but I’m happy to say that he’s healthy and a really happy, good dog. My phone has two sets of main pictures now: pictures of my garden and pictures of Cooper.



Everyone loves him….especially us.

We’ve been taking him to doggy day care 1x/week, puppy socializing classes 1-2x/week and family member drop-ins 2x/week. He’s such a good dog, and while we’re still working on his puppy behaviors (play biting- especially biting my husband), he’s so smart and friendly and a great companion. I know we are still adjusting, but things have definitely gotten better with Cooper since I last blogged.



I will say, though, that the past 6-8 weeks have brought out a new side of me. I can’t determine if it’s permanent or not. I have a balance of extroversion to introversion in my personality, and I’ve been much more introverted over the past few months. I don’t see the need for checking Facebook (unless it’s with my team of coaches or jaw surgery clients), and I don’t necessarily see the need for sharing my life’s journey at this time. Maybe I’m growing up, or maybe I’m going through a phase. I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I’m now creating social media content for a large-scale organization, too (which is such an honor), thus taking my “creative energy” and re-directing it to another source.


I don’t know, honestly. But what I can say is that I’m going through a phase in my life where I don’t necessarily plan on sharing every little thing on social media. I love blogging, though, and plan to share my journey throughout the summer on my blog (subscribe if you want these updates!). I also plan to work on some creative projects for jaw surgery clients. But in terms of my health & fitness journey….I’m just so sick of seeing the quick fixes that it drains the creative energy right out of me. (Just being honest!) I’m going to keep following my nutrition plan of simple, easy eating; I’m going to keep exercising from home and being in great shape as a result; and I’m going to work with the people who actually want to see change in their life. If this sounds like you, then please message me, and we’ll link arms together this summer. Otherwise, you may see less of me than you used to.


Stay tuned on my blog for more Puppy Updates/”Pupdates” and my journey, and until then, have a wonderful first official week of summer!


In peace & good health-


[UNBELIEVABLE] Brown Butter Carrot Recipe

Lately I’ve been on a carrot kick. The carrots in my region have been so affordable! One of my local grocery stores had carrots for $.69 for a 3-pound bag. That yields a lot of vegetable servings for .69 cents! So I’ve been playing around with recipes and I think that this one, by far, is my favorite. I’m considering headed out to the grocery store just to buy more carrots and make it again. Does that sound a little crazy? Even if it does, I’m fine with it. This brown butter carrot recipe is that good.

Now, this is not a 5-minute dish, but in 30 minutes or less, you’ll have some tender, caramelized, savory carrots that you’ll eat before your husband tries to get some. (Oh, did I just say that? Whoops…)


Brown Butter Carrot Recipe


  • Whole carrots
  • 1-2 tbsp Ghee (clarified butter) or regular butter
  • Salt to taste
  • Dried rosemary



  • Wash, peel and dice carrots. (I strongly recommend a mandolin for this step, as a mandolin cuts down on cutting time exponentially.)
  • Heat pan to medium heat; add 1-2 tbsp of butter. I used clarified butter (ghee) for health reasons and for its nutty taste. (For more info on ghee, click here!)
  • Heat butter until it melts; wait until it begins to brownImmediately add carrots and salt. (For more info on browning butter, click here)
  • Cook carrots in butter, stirring consistently on medium to slightly medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes, or until carrots begin to brown on one side.
  • Add rosemary for an additional few minutes of cooking. Enjoy!



Now excuse me as I go to the grocery store….I have more carrots to make.

Did you like this brown butter carrot recipe? If you make it, share it on social media with the hashtag #amandaplazek and I’ll check out your take on this savory, healthy, delicious recipe!


In peace & good health,


Baked Apple Oatmeal Recipe: an Easy Crowd-Pleaser Breakfast

Today I’m sharing one of my favorite recipes for an easy breakfast: my baked apple oatmeal recipe! I bake this in the oven while I’m cooking other things and it gives me breakfasts for days. Plus it’s gluten-free! (NOTE: If you have Celiac’s disease, you must get certified gluten-free oats.)

Here we go!


Baked Apple Oatmeal Recipe



  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  •  2 cups milk (dairy, almond, etc.)
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar or pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1-2 finely cut apples
  • 1 tsp cinnamon



  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients listed above.
  • Pour into pre-greased 1 1/2-quart Corningware dish, or any medium-sized baking dish. (I “pre-grease” with coconut oil spray or olive oil spray.)
  • Top with more cinnamon, if you wish. (I’m a cinnamon-aholic.)
  • Bake in oven for about 30 minutes.
  • Oatmeal should come out bubbling. I undercook mine just a tad because it continues to soak up the milk as it is stored in the refrigerator.
  • To reheat: add a few drips of water per serving before reheating in microwave.
  • Enjoy!


And that’s it! Would you try it? Feel free to share this baked apple oatmeal recipe with someone who would like it, too!


The Easiest, Most Delicious Roasted Sweet Potato Recipe

So recently I attended the Pennsylvania Farm Show and had one of the best sweet potatoes I’ve ever eaten. It was soft, and the texture was incredibly smooth. “I could eat this every day!” I thought….and I have almost ever since.


Turns out that sweet potatoes are a great post-workout recovery food! The amount of time it takes to prep the sweet potatoes frustrates me sometimes: washing the skin, peeling the potatoes, and cutting them into little cubes (from a 3-lb bag of potatoes) can be daunting when you don’t have much time on your hands.


However, I discovered this recipe and fell head-over-heels in love with it. It takes less than 10 minutes to prep, and as long as you’re okay with letting the potatoes roast in the oven while you watch television, then you’re good to go.


Here’s the recipe video and breakdown:



Feel free to print this out and save it for yourself!





Did you like this sweet potato recipe? Share it with a friend!

What’s on my Plate: Week of Nov. 7

Today is a very exciting day! There are lots of new beginnings, so why wait? Here comes the breakdown:



  1. I have a group of over 20 people who are counting down 21 days of gratitude with me! Gratitude is a hot button term that tends to pop up in November, but I wanted to take this one step further: Each week will focus on one overall theme, and each day is guided towards a certain topic/area.
  2.  I am officially starting a new workout program today! It’s called Core de Force and it’s a kickboxing, martial arts-style program. It’s not something that comes naturally to me, but then again, fitness didn’t come naturally to me about 4 years ago. I can’t stay in my comfort zone bubble forever!
    The workouts require no equipment, and are 30-47 minutes in length. I tried it over the weekend and I was ridiculously sore. I’m ready to feel that level of soreness all week! The soreness goes away, but the badassery doesn’t. 😉
  3. My meal prepping hasn’t been super on-point lately (read: not at all on-point). Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been eating healthy overall! But I love prepping my meals the way that I like to prep my meals. I can’t do a spreadsheet that tells me what I’ll eat all week. We don’t have room in the fridge for that! But I plan on working out this morning, getting ready and then heading to the grocery store to make plenty of food for the week.
  4. My menu of food for the week:
    1. Turkey Chili
    2. Pumpkin Squash soup (this one is so cheap to make, it’s insane)
    3. Italian Turkey Meatballs
    4. Roasted Butternut Squash
    5. Roasted Parmesan Sweet Potatoes
    6. QuinoaOverall costs for food: 
      Butternut squash: .99 cents each
      Ground Turkey: 5 pounds for $13 at Sam’s club
      Beans (for chili): .69 cents per can
      Canned pumpkin: .69 cents per can
      Vegetable stock (for soup): $2.69
      Sweet potatoes: about $1.99 for a 3-lb bag
      Quinoa: $2.99 for a bag
      ALSO: we always, always buy organic spinach and put it in our Shakeology, so add about $4.99 for a 16-ounce container of spinach in there too.

I’m going to keep it simple, healthy, and affordable this week!
GIVEAWAY!: If you sign up for my mailing list, I’ll send you my personal recipes for the rest of the food above!


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I hope you have a healthy and happy week! Take care of yourself and your body, or no one else will!

in peace and good health signature

Slow Cooker Apple Crisp Recipe

Ah, fall. While I am still a summer girl at heart, there’s something pretty nice about the warm smells of fall. I’m a sucker for anything with apple and cinnamon, so I love to toss around ideas for apple crisp that’s easy, pretty healthy and delicious. (and by “pretty healthy”, I mean “very little sugar added”!)


Follow the directions below, put it in your Crock Pot/slow cooker for 4 hours and enjoy! (note: I use 2 tsp of melted coconut oil in Step 2- forgot to mention that!)


Tip: This goes well with oatmeal, roasted oats or some ice cream. 🙂

Amanda Plazek Slow Cooker Apple Crisp






Did you make this slow cooker apple crisp recipe? If so, what did you think? Share this blog post with anyone that you think would like to make it too!


in peace and good health signature

What’s for Lunch? Creative (and Healthy) Lunch Ideas for the Busiest of People

Amanda Plazek Creative and Healthy Lunch Ideas


I’m a busy person.


I know, I know, everyone is busy, but there are essentially zero days when I sit down for lunch. When I do, I’m eating as I work.


I teach fitness classes during my lunch breaks, and eat while answering phone calls and emails as I’m back at my desk.


If I’m not at work, I’m driving over an hour, out of state, to go to graduate school. As a result, I must eat in my car. It’s non-negotiable.


So when people say that they are too busy to make a healthy lunch, I say, “nope! You can do it. Believe me.


So today’s blog talks about the bare-bones, simplest ways to eat “fast food” for lunch. And it’s not what you think. 😉


My “fast food” are the things that are healthy, cost-effective, and easily stored in a mini-fridge (if at all). These are the things I eat, week after week, that keep me from going through that tantalizing Chik-fil-A drive-through on the interstate. Damn that thing.



Amanda My Fast Food




From the top, clockwise:

1. Mini cheeses. I like Babybel cheese, but whatever floats your boat. These things come in their own wax encasement, making them perfect for eating on-the-go. I grab two and keep them in my fridge.


2. Individual packets of peanut butter. These are gold when it comes to traveling. I actually brought a pack of 6 with me to Europe this summer! It gives you healthy fats and can easily be dipped with…….


3. An apple. Ah, my favorite “fast food” fruit. I don’t typically cut it up, but when I do, it’s to dip in those little peanut butter packs. as I mention in my video about healthy grocery shopping,  I mentioned that apples are one of the only things I really do stick to buying Organic (because of the amount of pesticides that stick to an apple’s skin). Apples are so easy to grab and go!


4. Nuts. Easy as that. Peanuts, almonds, and pecans are the nuts I have on hand at all times. I put a handful of these in a Ziploc bag and I’m good to go. Believe it or not, your brain needs healthy fat to function. Not to mention that you will stay fuller, longer with healthy fats included in a meal. (True story! Not all “fat” is bad!)


5. SkinnyPop Popcorn bagsWhile it’s cheaper to buy a big bag of this non-GMO, gluten-free popcorn, I love to go to my wholesale retailer and get a box of individual bags. They are the appropriate serving size (although I’d like to eat 6 at a time) and are very easy to keep in my car for those hangry moments. I know we all don’t get hangry…right? 😉 These SkinnyPop individual bags are some of my easiest go-to snacks.


6. Shakeology. This is my superfood, whole-foods drink that has never left my side for 4 years. I can say, with full confidence, that it’s helped me get to where I am today on my fitness/wellness journey. At $3/serving, it’s cheaper than any healthy, full meal I could get on the road. (Believe me, I’ve tried. I got a salad at Panera and it was $9! Triple the cost of my Shakeology. Sheesh.) Shakeology is best when blended, but I shake it with water or almond milk if I’m on-the-go.


7. Greek Yogurt. I was so anti-Greek yogurt when I started this journey! Ha! But the protein in Greek yogurt has kept me on the healthy train when I forgot my lunch at home…which happens more than I’d care to admit. (What can I say? My mind is always in seven different directions!)



NOTE: most of these options are “snackable”! Snacks are not taboo in my book, especially if you’re too busy to sit down for a formal lunch. I personally believe that snacking on healthy options throughout the day will prevent you from grabbing that last chunk of cake in the staff break room.


Anyways, these are my best suggestions for healthy lunches on-the-go. All of these options keep me on the healthy track. They are cost-effective, and are tried, tested and true.


What are some of your best suggestions for healthy lunches? Share them below!

Know someone who would like these healthy lunch suggestions? Feel free to share this blog post. Pay it forward!


in peace and good health signature



Healthy, Easy Grocery Shopping Tips (while saving money)!

I talk to so many people who say that they hate grocery shopping. One of the main complaints is that they don’t know how to eat healthy and not break the bank.


I, however, see this as one of my strengths! On this video, I am going to:

  • Share my most recent grocery haul
  • Share some of my tips for saving money on veggies & produce
  • Share a sneak-peek of my new kitchen in my house


Watch below, and share your takeaways with me!




Do you struggle with grocery shopping and eating healthy? Contact me and we can create a personalized shopping list for you! It’s easier than you think! 🙂


in peace and good health signature

Pumpkin Oats Recipe

amandaplazek pumpkin oats


It may not be fall JUST yet but I am starting to use pumpkin in my recipes. 🙂 

Here we go! (makes 2-3 servings)


-1 cup old-fashioned oats 

-1 3/4 cups water

-1/2 cup canned pumpkin

-1 tsp cinnamon

-1/2 tsp nutmeg

-1 medium apple, chopped

-drizzled honey (optional) 


-boil water and cook oats, stirring often. 

-add pumpkin, spices, apple, and drizzle honey (optional). 


in peace and good health signature